Thursday’s Workwear Report: Cutout Shoulder Sheath Dress

Readers go back and forth on whether or not they like cutouts. I’m a big fan, but I get a lot of pushback from readers saying they’re not professional — it’s definitely a know your office kind of situation. I think this dress in particular isn’t that bad because it doesn’t show more skin than you’d be showing if you wore a sleeveless sheath dress, plus it’s easily covered with a blazer or a sweater; if the cutouts seem too risque for your office, and more of an evening look, you can still take this from desk to dinner that way. The dress is available in purple, navy, and black in sizes 0-16 (regular and petite), and it’s only $99 at Nordstrom. It just has a few reviews but they’re very positive. Halogen Cutout Shoulder Sheath Dress

Here’s a plus-size alternative.



  1. Anonymous :

    It looks like a camisole gone rogue

    • AttiredAttorney :

      Yeah, I can’t think of an office where this would be acceptable without a cardigan or jacket.

      • I would not feel comfortable wearing this in my office and 90% of the building leans heavily towards the casual end of business casual.

        • I bought this but returned it (not for the office, for going out) — it was too long all over – the proportions were off. I usually like halogen dresses, but this one seemed to fit differently than their usual. It went waaaay past my knees, for example, and I am not short.

          • The Halogen line seems off lately. They’re putting a little too much club into their business wear.

        • Maudie Atkinson :

          I agree that the proportions are off. I think the dress is otherwise lovely and would have no compunction about wearing a dress with this style cutout in my (boutique law) office. But the cutouts aren’t the problem. The hemline is both a little too low and the sleeves a little too short to my eye.

      • I’m fine with sleeveless dresses and tops, but unique cutouts (even if modest) read more club wear than just a normal sheath dress or shell.

      • I’m a co-founder at a West Coast start-up that focuses on a conservative industry. Fashion can be challenging because people are excited about working with start-ups who are edgy and forward-thinking! But also who they can trust! I get taken less seriously when I wear a plain suit with subdued makeup versus something a little wilder, with bolder makeup. So I’m always on the lookout for things that are a little funky but also can look polished and not too casual.

        • I get you, I’m on the West Coast too, in a more conservative industry but I’m the Boss Lady and the last thing I’d ever wear is a cookie-cutter suit. Screams ingenue to me.

          I’d wear this dress if it were the right shape for me but alas, it is not.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        I would absolutely wear this in my office (civil litigation boutique).

      • I don’t think this is appropriate for the office.

    • Or a sports bra worn under a wide neck. Not a fan.

  2. Wild Chicken :

    I need help writing the card to accompany my holiday gift to my assistant. She is smart, talented, amazing, makes my life so much easier . . . I can’t say enough about how wonderful she is, but I just can’t think of any way to phrase an appropriate holiday card. Help!

    • Anonymous :

      Dear June,
      Happy Holidays! Thank you so much for your help this year, I couldn’t have gotten through it without you.

      • AttiredAttorney :

        This, plus one specific example where she really saved you, especially if it’s an instance where you know you may not have thanked her sufficiently. So I would add “Thank you so much for your help throughout the year, but particularly on tough cases like the Jones file, where your attention to detail caught the critical error in the final report. I couldn’t have gotten through that time -or this year- without you.”

        • Ugh no this is not necessary and is totally the reason OP is stressed about writing the card. Just say thank you for all your help this year and give her the cash.

          • Agree. I would include the above in a nice glowing end-of-year email, copying her boss.

      • I thanked my assistant for making my life easier every day and wished her a happy and relaxing holiday. Sincere but not effusive was my goal.

      • WorkingMom :

        Perfect – for good measure you could include, “I appreciate you!”

    • Dear Assistant, you are smart, talented, amazing, and make my life so much easier . . . I can’t say enough about how wonderful you are. Thank you for all you do. Happy holidays, Wild Chicken.

    • Exactly what you just said. You’ve already written it!

    • Senior Attorney :

      I like to say “thank you for having my back.”

  3. Anonymous :

    I have a work question I could use advice about.

    I have a co-worker on the same team, at the same level. We perform essentially the same job function but support different business units. Recently, she was asked to do a project for my unit. The reason she was selected is that she has a particular skill that I don’t have (that skill is not normally relevant to our work but by pure chance happened to be very useful for that project – think being fluent in a particular foreign language).

    The project – unusually for our role – involved working very closely with higher ups, including people who oversee both the unit she supports and the one I support, as well as management in my unit. Apparently she did a really good job and everyone was super impressed with her. That made me a little jealous, if I’m being honest, but I told myself that I should just get over it and her success doesn’t take away from mine.

    However, she’s now been talking about how she wants to do more work with my unit and has created a string of projects for herself with my unit, ostensibly stemming from that one project but also going in some new directions too. I know the people in my unit are enthusiastic about these projects. I get the sense that her unit doesn’t have as much work as mine, and they’re not really missing her much while she’s off doing stuff for my unit, but I also don’t think my unit could support or would want to have two people in the exact same role.

    I’ve never gotten anything but positive feedback about my work, and have no reason to think they’d just give her my job, but I am feeling uncomfortable with this situation and could use a gut check about whether my feelings are just pettiness that I need to get over or whether I have reason to be worried about my future here. And any advice about what I can do about it besides doing great work?

    To further complicate matters, my spouse and I are planning to try for a baby soon. We’ve put it off for several years for reasons unrelated to my job, and I am not young, fertility-wise, so I would hate to delay it again, but I also feel like this is a really bad time for me to be leaning out.

    • Anonymous :

      You don’t have to lean out. If you’re just starting to TTC, it could be a year before you get pregnant and then 9-10 months after that before you have the baby. Don’t leave before you leave. Things can change a lot in that period of time – she could go on mat leave and come back before you do! She could leave and find another job or move to a new city because her DH gets transferred or her parents are sick. Continue to do your best work and don’t worry about her.

    • Anonymous :

      Carry on with your baby making. You won’t have to lean out due to imminent childbirth for prob a year. Do good work. As for more responsibility.

    • all about eevee :

      It sounds like this woman is really asserting herself and specifically trying to add value and put herself out there in front of higher ups. I did this once and it resulted in a major promotion. I think that you should stop thinking about her entirely, but begin to do the same. Toot your own horn more. She “created” some projects for herself in your unit and presented them to the higher ups and they loved them? That’s ballsy. Do the same thing. Surely you have an idea that may work in your unit. Don’t put yourself into competition with her. Instead, openly SUPPORT her and EMPOWER her within your unit. This makes you look strong. After all, her winning doesn’t mean that you automatically lose. There’s room for more than one successful woman in your unit.

      • This, exactly. Sounds like your co-worker is doing exactly what a successful professional should be doing, and you should do the same! You will put yourself in a much better position should you need to take maternity leave if you have made yourself indispensable to your organization.

      • Yes! She’s doing fantastic. Befriend and support her and be the new superteam – you will both shine brighter within your department as a result. (“That new project you mentioned sounds great – I would love to work together with you on it!”)

    • It sounds like baby-making should be a priority. There are many jobs, but a finite opportunity to make babies.

      I second the advice to think about finding ways to toot your horn and also support her, but maybe think about alternative positions, just in case. Not because they are going to give her your job, but because these days jobs just aren’t secure. It’s always a good idea to have a back-up plan, a strong network, an idea of your marketable skills, and extra money in the bank.

    • Generally agree with the others; you should get over it. Your coworker sounds like she’s doing a good job but not trying to step on your toes. There’s no reason why you can’t also look for additional projects and try to make yourself indispensable. Also no reason to put off family planning. Just keep working hard.

    • Having a baby does not automatically mean leaning out. Don’t equate maternity leave with leaning out. One, it’s not necessary, and two, it creates a misconception that other women have to overcome. We need to normalize parenthood among professionals rather than view it as a mandatory step back. It’s not.

      • I see what you’re saying, but I think OP is worried that while she’s out on leave, this person may cover for her and when she comes back she may find she’s less necessary than she was before leave. I agree that taking a maternity leave, especially a short one, is not “leaning out” per se, but it’s a valid thing to worry about, imo.

        • all about eevee :

          I understand this fear, but I think that OP needs to assert herself more in this situation. If she’s feeling insecure about this, she needs to advocate for herself and do something to get her needs met instead of just stewing about it.

    • S in Chicago :

      I’m going to be the voice of dissent-ish. I’ve seen countless people sort of bulldoze their way into positions this way. I think OP should be supportive but she should also try to come with her own ideas and make sure any execution in her unit is being done with her also in a key place and making it clear she’s at the helm (when there isn’t a reason like the skill that’s exclusive that was mentioned). Like having project updates run through her or making sure her unit’s resource use gets approved by her. Set it up to be this way for each unit whenever there’s project crossover (so you would do the same when proposing ideas that would require the other unit’s participation). Nature abhors a vacuum. If OP doesn’t take charge of her own unit than someone else will (directly or indirectly) over time.

  4. numbersmouse :

    I’m looking for a new watch. Silver-tone with a small dial, 26-28 mm (maybe 30 mm max). I’m looking for something plain and understated, with either a black leather strap or bracelet-style, absolutely no diamonds, preferably from a watchmaking brand (as opposed to a fashion brand). Any ideas? I’ve had my current watch, a basic Anne Klein, for over a decade, but the finish has chipped in parts and the glass is all scratched.

    • Have you looked at Daniel Wellington?

    • What’s your budget? I had a Raymond Weil for years and liked how understated and thin it was. A sapphire crystal face is a little more expensive, but doesn’t scratch. You’ll find them on a lot of the nicer watches.

      • numbersmouse :

        Oh, my budget is $100-200. Sorry, should have specified earlier.

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          In that case, maybe Fossil? I also found a small Citizen on sale once for that range, so check end-of-the-year sales at departments stores.

    • Anonymous :

      • Bewitched :

        Yes, Skagen is the clear choice here. I’ve had mine for close to 10 years with no problems.

      • +1 to Skagen. I have a silver bracelet watch, exactly as you described, with a square face. Fits my small wrist beautifully.

      • BabyAssociate :

        Yup, another +1 to Skagen. I have a simple silver watch with a white face and black leather band. I love it. It goes with everything and is so light.

      • Another +1 here too. Love my Skagen watch.

        • WorkingMom :

          Yep, I have a very classic, slim, silver watch by Skagen and LOVE it. No issues, long-lasting.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I was looking for something in the 24-26 mm size with no diamonds a while back and there aren’t many because most of the dials are bigger these days. Longines had a nice one (i think it was some version of the Classique?), and Raymond Weil, but that was all I found on the nicer end. I never did end up getting one, but the longines was the front runner.

    • I love my citizen eco-drive.

    • numbersmouse :

      Thanks, everyone! Looks like I’m going to go for a Skagen.

    • In all the podcasts I listen to, they plug mvmt watches, and my BIL got one for Christmas and it looks REALLY nice! They have simple and sleek designs and there are a lot of podcasts that get you 15% off or something. I would check them out.

    • Also look at Movado. I have a very simple one with no bling.

    • anon anon armani :

      I like my Citizen solar/light powered and my traditional Bulova watches. Both from Macys.

  5. BabyAssociate :

    Any of you own any M.Gemi flats? Are they durable? One of my new year’s goals is to buy less stuff, but buy better quality. I’m in love with the Tuta and the Saltare.

    • I have the Tuta. They are not durable without a cobbler’s intervention but very, very well made. As I mentioned on here a while ago, good quality does not necessarily mean more durable. The soles are made from very fine leather (as are the uppers), but that also means they wear out fast. They look amazing. I got rubber soles and toe tips installed on them and they are fine now, but I still wouldn’t be wearing it for any long outdoor walks.

      • BabyAssociate :

        Thanks BB, very helpful! I’m about start a walking commute (20 minutes) and I’m thinking I might pick up some allbirds or something for that and leave my nicer shoes at the office.

  6. Yeah…. this is not for the office. And it seems designed to show off bra straps on purpose. No thanks.

    PSA for lovers of the Lands End ponte dresses — they’re on major markdown (to around $40 I think) per the catalog I got in the mail yesterday.

  7. I think that these cutouts just look awkward – not too revealing or anything, just that they make you go “wait, what’s wrong with her dress?” Too bad, because if not for the cutouts, it would be an absolutely lovely basic dress with sleeves.

    • Right? It’s like “oh no, did a seam rip? should I tell her? wait…is that deliberate?”

      Hard pass.

      Kat, I heart this community, but sometimes I think your not-working-in-an-office-anymore is showing (and this is coming from someone who now works from home)

    • Agree. I’m team no-cutouts, but think the shape of this dress is really nice. I like the black one as a going out dress, but would not wear this to work.

      This is probably more trouble than it’s worth, but I bet it would look cool if on the black one a tailor could sew some black lace into the inside of of the dress so instead of just seeing skin, you’d see the lace.

    • I’m certain I would also spend the entire day wondering if my [email protected] strap was showing in the cut-out. Hard pass for me.

  8. Anonymous :

    Would you be weirded out or offended if you got a holiday card from a couple with no indication that they’re expecting and then a few months later they announced they had a baby? I’m superstitious and come from a culture where you don’t celebrate the baby until it’s born, so we have not shared pregnancy news widely. We’re definitely not doing any kind of social media announcement until the baby is born. We’ve told family and I’ve told my closest girlfriends that I text/email with on a regular basis, but we have some friends (mostly male friends and their wives) who don’t yet know. I don’t want to make these people feel slighted but I don’t really feel comfortable announcing it on the holiday card for some reason. We’re not doing maternity photos so if we did put it on the card, it wouldn’t be a cute, Pinterest-y announcement with a bump photo, it would just be text that says “We’re expecting a baby in spring 2017!” or something like that.

    • Does the card have any other text on it other than a generic holiday greeting? I think it’d be weird to get one of those page-plus long updates about what your family did this year and not mention that you’re pretty far along in your pregnancy. I wouldn’t think twice about getting just a card that didn’t include an announcement.

      Some to think of it, I think it’d be weird to get a card that said, Happy Holidays btw we’re expecting! Like is it a holiday card or is it a PG announcement? Do people even do paper PG announcements? I would be confused.

      • *Come to think of it. Sigh.

      • My niece did this–the reverse of her Christmas card announced the gender and due date. I thought it fit her personality perfectly. It came across as charmingly juvenile, but that’s just the way she and her husband are. I would never do it, though.

    • There is absolutely no rule of etiquette that says you must announce your pregnancy on your holiday cards. Most of your circle will eventually hear about it through the grapevine, and if they don’t, so what? If you really wanted to announce it to these people, you probably already would have.

    • Not at all weirded out.

      Sad anecdote – one of my mom’s good friends was expecting in the late Spring, and included mention of this in her Christmas cards that year (this was in the 80s, so handwritten notes instead of a photo or anything). She subsequently lost the baby. She received dozens of Christmas cards the next year from people referencing the baby, congratulating them, etc – b/c sometimes people on your Christmas card list are people you only really communicate with at Christmas.

    • You do whatever you want. Holiday cards are not birth announcements. If you would like, you can send a separate birth announcement. I am superstitious/not wanting to push luck or invite bad juju in the same way you described. I wouldn’t be offended and if I found out someone was offended, I would not care because I would have a baby to occupy all my spare thinking time. (Cautious congratulations in advance and wishing you a wonderful pregnancy and birth!)

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      I actually think its really impressive and awesome if people are just like SURPRISE WE HAD A BABY! because with social media stuff that never happens. So I would love it!

      • Shopaholic :

        +1 – I’m always really impressed when this happens. It’s happened once on my social media feed and I think it was because the couple was a bit older and it was their second kid.

        • A friend from high school and her husband decided NO SOCIAL MEDIA in re: their pregnancy and their baby. They did start sharing once he was a toddler, but the pictures are still fairly infrequent.

          I was impressed and truthfully, I feel it’s so much better for the child in the long-run. Now, I am not a parent and I am a daily user of social media, but the child has no control over it and the internet is forever. Those pictures will be out there, presumably, for the rest of the child’s life. I also get totally creeped out thinking that pedophiles search the internet looking for random pictures of babies in bathtubs or whatever. I have a friend who posts so many pictures of her girls half dressed. It makes me so uncomfortable. I won’t ever say anything because it’s her family and her decision of course, but it does make me cringe.

          • This is not a silly fear. There are lots of stories of people’s Facebook photos falling into the wrong hands. I will never, ever post pictures of my kids in any state of undress for that reason (even though my FB privacy settings are pretty locked down).

          • We are 100% no social media for all of these reasons.

          • I was zero social media until my kiddo was about a year old. Now there are maybe one or two pictures out there and I’m not entirely sure I’m okay with that.

          • Anonymous :

            This is super validating. I felt like a crazy irrational parent when I asked my MIL to stop posting bathtime pictures of my son on her social media account. She definitely didn’t get it, but at least she’s respecting it.

    • No, but I also wouldn’t really consider you a close friend if you didn’t tell me you were pregnant somehow.

      • +1. If I find out major life events on social media, I assume you don’t consider me a close friend. I’ve actually stopped talking to people because of this.

        • A little extreme isn’t it? My fiance’s mom almost found out about our engagement on fb. I called my mom and BFF as soon as we got engaged, but for a number of reasons fiance couldn’t call him mom for a couple of days. I posted a pic or checked in to a concert or did something on fb before he got to talk to his mom and my well-intentioned but slightly oblivious BFF posted a comment along the lines of, let’s see the ring! I took down the comment right away and told her what’s up, but it was a close call.

        • This position seems really extreme. I found about the engagement of a close friend via social media and was eventually asked to be a bridesmaid in the wedding. My husband has found about FOUR weddings in which he was asked to be a groomsmen via social media (guys don’t communicate that well with each other I guess). We also found out that several of our first cousins were engaged via social media. I agree it’s nice to tell your entire family and people who would be in the wedding party first (and that’s what we did), but many people just tell their parents and maybe a BFF and then Facebook it. It’s a little thoughtless but it doesn’t seem like something worth ending a friendship over.

        • OP here. Just to clarify, when the baby is born, we’ll send an email announcing the birth to our friends, including everyone who receives our holiday card, before we do a big facebook announcement, so they definitely won’t find out via social media. It just doesn’t feel right to me to do a mass email announcing the pregnancy, which is why I’ve just been telling people individually. If I communicate with any of these people between now and then, I’ll definitely share, but I probably won’t.

          Thanks all for the feedback; we’ll just do a regular holiday card without mentioning the pregnancy.

          • I get that, I’m just saying that if you don’t make an effort to communicate with me at all during those nine months, and I find out after the baby is born, that’s perfectly fine AND makes it obvious you don’t consider me a close friend. Sounds like you don’t consider these people close so that’s perfectly okay!

          • I’ve had friends not include a pregnancy on their holiday card. I did on my holiday card (Mr., Ms., and baby girl due in May) and I’ve had other friends do the same. I think this is one of those things where you do you.

        • Why would you stop talking to them because of it? Seems much more reasonable to just recognize that social media is how some people choose to let friends know about life events. It might mean that you’re not as close to that person as you thought you were, yes. It does not mean they are your enemy. This is an extreme position to take.

          • ITA. I was angry with a friend for never leaving me a voicemail. She would just call and hang up if I did answer. No text either. She considered this her attempt to reach me. I was annoyed by it until it occurred to me, this is just her way of contacting me in an ever changing world of cells, landlines, VMs, texts, etc. I did see that she called every time. So why did I draw the line b/c she wouldn’t leave a message? I got over it.

          • *didn’t answer

          • Calico, I don’t leave voicemail messages either. I hate having to listen to voicemails (though transcription on my iPhone has helped) so I don’t burden others with them. You saw I tried to call, you can call me back or text me. So you’re right not to take it personally.

    • all about eevee :

      No, but I also don’t spend as much time worrying about other people’s families and pregnancies as much as some other people do. I am sure there are people in my social circle that I don’t see that often who are pregnant right now, and I have completely forgotten about it. I’m not sure if I am an exception or the norm, but I am assuming people outside your immediate family and core social circle (who probably already know because they see you regularly) won’t really care about this, and will just be happy for you when you announce the birth.

    • We did that. We always send jokey “family photos” with our pets, and the year we were expecting we did the same. Not particularly intentionally, you couldn’t see my stomach in the pic, so if you weren’t close enough to know, you didn’t know from the card. It’s my pregnancy, I don’t feel obligated to tell anyone about it except when I want to.

    • lost academic :


    • Baconpancakes :

      Man I would love if my friend had done this instead of posting pictures of her belly every single week from week 12 onward.

      • lawsuited :

        +1 There can be happy middle, but erring on the side of less rather than more is always the best bet on social media.

    • lawsuited :

      I wouldn’t be weirded out or offended. I don’t think anyone who doesn’t see you often enough between now and Spring 2017 to notice that you’re pregnant can hardly be hurt that they didn’t know. I suppose if I saw you at 8 months pregnant and you didn’t say anything I would find that a bit strange, but I would never be offended by the way anyone chooses to announce/not announce their pregnancy/birth.

  9. LondonLeisureYear :

    What were your favorite books you read this year?
    Non Fiction Book
    Fiction Book
    Self-help/Finance Related Book
    Career Related Book
    Audible Book

    • Non-Fiction: Unbroken
      Memoir – The Glass Castle
      Fiction – Defending Jacob (runner up: Eligible)
      I didn’t read anything in the other categories.

      • Brunette Elle Woods :

        I read Defending Jacob last year. I really enjoyed it but I hated the ending!

        • I loved the ending, but it was definitely dark! I had to warn my mom not to read it because I knew she would hate the ending and it would ruin the book for her.

    • nonfiction: The Gulag Archipelago (Vol I), by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
      fiction: probably Red Azalea, by Anchee Min

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      Non Fiction Book – On The Move by Oliver Sachs tied with All Who Go Do not Return
      Fiction Book – My Brilliant Friend
      Self-help/Finance Related Book – Being Mortal (for helping my parents start the process of creating advance directives)
      Career Related Book – The Secrets of Happy Families (because I am a teacher)
      Audible Book – The Notorious RBG

    • fiction: Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier!

      unfortunately reading has been sparse this year so that’s all I can offer…

    • Non-Fiction – Disrupted: My Misadventures in the Start-Up Bubble
      Fiction – A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

    • Non Fiction Book – Poor White Trash
      Fiction Book – All the Birds in the Sky
      Self-help/Finance Related Book – When Panic Attacks
      Career Related Book – Firewater: how alcohol is killing my people and yours, By Harold Johnson.
      Audible Book – The Rook and Stiletto

    • My favourite non fiction of the year was one I just finished and is often recommended here – All Joy and No Fun. Incredible. The first chapters were like seeing my life on paper – and the last chapter was like my life philosophy on paper.

      Fiction – halfway through Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien and it’s gripping. I barely read at all this year until I started back at work and discovered free e-books from my library to read on the subway, so all my recs are from the last 6 weeks.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        In addition to the library’s ebook catalog, you can try to log into the app called “cloudLibrary”. It works with Brooklyn and NYPL at least. They have ebooks that aren’t on the library’s overdrive service.

    • I love that we’re sharing books! Last week Goodreads did a recap of the books I’d read in 2016. I honestly wouldn’t recommend any of them. They were interesting enough to finish but none of them were amazing. Now, part of my new year’s resolution is to read better books in 2017!

    • all about eevee :

      Nonfiction: The End of the Perfect Ten: The Making and Breaking of Gymnastics’ Top Score by Divora Meyers
      Fiction: Slade House by David Mitchell
      Career Related Book: Donor Centered Fundraising by Penelope Burke

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Oh I’ve never heard of The End of the Perfect Ten. Adding that to my to-read list now!

        • all about eevee :

          Oh, it’s fantastic! I read it right before the Olympics, and it was my Best Book of the Year. It really illustrates how and why the sport has moved from favoring graceful and fluid gymnasts like Nadia Comăneci to more powerful gymnasts like Simone Biles.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I can’t pick just 1 for each category! I’ve also been trying to cram in the last few books of the year to meet my reading goal, so I’ve read some great new to me fiction over the past month.

      Non Fiction: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt, Chalked Up by Jennifer Sey, and How to Make a Spaceship by Julian Guthrie
      Fiction: The Martian by Andy Weir, Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera, and The Cutaway by Christina Kovac
      Self-help/Finance: It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell (technically a memoir, but I’d consider it self-help for weight-related issues) and Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg
      Career: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (also a memoir, but about the founding of Nike)

      • It Was Me All Along was so good! Definitely made me think a lot about my own relationship with food.

    • Stormtrooper :

      Great question! having trouble narrowing down but here’s mine:

      PS. I think the two most important books that I read this year, for me personally, were Dreamland and Never Split the Difference

      Non Fiction Book – Dreamland, Isaac’s Storm
      Fiction Book – The Book Thief. I also really liked (unexpectedly) a series that I think is geared to young adults, particularly young adult boys, but whatever – The maze runner. Interesting, easy reads that held my attention. A little life (although this is probably hands down the saddest book I’ve ever read… like on and on with the sadness, but good)
      Self-help/Finance Related Book – Not sure this qualifies but Bossy Pants. Also happy I read I will teach you to be rich a couple years ago. Probably the most “finance-y” book I’ve read in the past couple of years.
      Career Related Book – Never Split the Difference
      Audible Book – I liked 13 Hours in Benghazi.

      On audible, I’m currently listening to the Chemist. I think the story is interesting, but the narrator is awful. That’s the first time I’ve ever thought that the narrator negatively impacted the book. it’s like being read to by Siri.

      I also suffered through the audible version of Sapiens. It was SO LONG. A lot of it was extremely interesting. But, I felt like half the chapters could’ve been cut and I would’ve enjoyed it more. The first chapters were the most interesting.

    • Oooh, I love this!

      Nonfiction: The Sixth Extinction. Or, if cookbooks count, The Dude Diet.
      Fiction: The Magicians trilogy. Except I might have technically read that last year (not sure), in which case the Tearling trilogy.
      Self-help: I Know How She Does It (although I liked 168 Hours by the same author, which I read a few years ago, a bit better)
      Career: Feminist Fight Club. I loved this so much I read it twice and gifted copies to some of my female coworkers for the holidays this year.
      Audible: I’ve only listened to three books on Audible this year, so I guess Hillbilly Elegy.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I read a fiction book last December called The Sixth Extinction last year that was fantastic but very much fiction, so I was confused there for a second.

        I’m reading 168 Hours right now and enjoying it.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Non-Fiction: Grunt. It’s about the science of the military. I found it fascinating.
      Fiction: The Nightingale
      Self-Help: Lean In? I think about it a fair bit but didn’t love it.
      Career: Just Mercy. It made me a better, more ethical attorney.
      Audible: None. But I loved Serial season 2.

    • Non Fiction Book – Dead Wake by Erik Larson
      Fiction Book – The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
      Self-help/Finance Related Book – 10% Happier by Dan Harris
      Career Related Book – Elon Musk: Reinventing the Future by Ashlee Vance (more of a biography but fascinating from a career/thought-leader standpoint)
      Audible Book – None, I like to read vs. listen!

    • Baconpancakes :

      Nonfiction: Names for the Sea – a memoir of an British professor/writer’s year in Iceland with her family
      Fiction: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
      Self-Help: The New Rules of Weightlifting for Women
      Career: Planning Local Economic Development – Theory and Practice – possibly the most useful textbook I have ever read
      Audible: Thirteenth Child

  10. Pixie help :

    Do you wash your hair every day with a pixie? If not, how do you deal with 2nd day hair, that already has yesterday’s product?

    I can’t see my stylist again for 1 week. I look a little crazy, and not as soft/feminine as I would have liked. But maybe that’s what a pixie is for straight, flat, thin hair.

    Thank you all for your very, very helpful recommendations.

    • I wash my pixie cut every day. No way around it.

    • I wash my pixie twice a week or so. Any more than that and it gets dry. But I don’t use product.

    • When I had a pixie, I used wax or paste for texture, and it was fine second day. If I slept on it funny, I could revive it with a quick dip in the sink with a little warn water. However, while my hair is straight, it is neither flat nor thin, so YMMV.

    • numbersmouse :

      I rinse my hair every day and shampoo it 3-4x/week (so essentially every other day). I actually like second-day hair better than freshly-washed, as the product residue helps tame my uncontrollable hair. If you do wash it every day, just make sure you use a gentle shampoo–sulfate-free or a cleansing conditioner would be good here.

    • I wash my pixie about twice a week. I use a serum on it every day for styling. I either shower each morning and get it wet, which washes out the product from the day before, or if pressed for time, I get it wet in the sink. I have to get my hair wet every morning. It’s a complete wreck when I wake up and there isn’t any way to fix it when it’s dry. I have fine hair with a very slight wave to it.

      The first time I cut mine short, it looked great in the salon, but looked horrible the next day when I tried to style it—-too poofy and not at all styled. I went back and we cut more hair off. I think the first cut was either a length that didn’t work with my hair or I didn’t know how to manage. Now that it’s short, it’s so easy (get it wet, add product, go). I cut it nearly five years ago and I’ve loved it ever since.

      • I cut mine about like this picture of Mia Farrow. It means I can go 8-10 weeks between cuts. I think its too short for the first 10 days (although DH loves it), but I still cut it this short because I hate having to get it cut every 6 weeks.

    • I washed my pixie every couple days, but I never used any product. Could you rinse the product out without full-on washing it? (I presume you’re concerned about over-washing and drying it out.) Also, I’d frequently wet it down in the shower on non-washing days to kill bedhead.

    • About three weeks ago I asked for advice from the Hive when I was considering getting a pixie cut! I went through with it and have found it to be a lot less work than I expected. I have naturally wavy hair, so my pixie has lots of great texture even without daily styling. Typically I was it twice a week in the evening and let it air dry with a curl cream. The texture and shape hold up for about three days and then I rewash.

    • I have thin straight hair with several cowlicks to boot, and I think my pixie is very feminine. But it took a few cuts to work out the best one for me, and the best products to use, so be patient with yours. I wash mine 2-3 times a week (less if I skip the gym). Yesterday’s product actually makes it come out better. 3-4 days in it honestly feels pretty gross to the touch since there’s a ton of product by then that has built up, but it looks its best (so I just don’t touch it!).

      • I’ll add that I do get it wet every morning – otherwise I’d be rocking a Flock of Seagulls look.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I wash almost everyday – I have fine, slightly wavy hair. If I do a curly style, I can usually get a second day out of it. I’ve not had great luck with dry shampoos but maybe I haven’t found the right brand.

    • I wash every other day and use dry shampoo if needed in between.

  11. Use of the OG Bag :

    How do you all use your OG?

    I seem to put in a laptop and about a ream of paper in a redweld. It is heavy! But the OG holds all of that well.

    [It is a crazy amount of stuff to bring home every night (and when I travel). But I have small kids. And they never give me advance notice of stomach bugs or high fevers, so I’ve gotten in the habit of bringing about a day’s worth of work home just in case I can’t get back in to work the next day. Thankfully I drive in these days.]

    I feel like I am packing for disaster and not quite using my bag in any sort of GYM way (or OVERNIGHT, either). I am just schlepping . . .

    • I have a bag similar to the OG and use it exactly the same way. It is a mobile office always packed with everything I need to work from home for several days in case something unexpected comes up, or all work-related items for a trip (laptop, notebook, MyFi, remote mouse clicker, chargers and cables, etc.). My GYM and OVERNIGHT bags are separate.

    • I used to use it a ton when I would workout during lunch to hold all my gear. I switched to a backpack for the general back and forth of laptop and notebook because it was impacting my posture to do that with a large shoulder bag. I thought about using it as a diaper bag, but ended up just using large canvas totes instead.
      Now I only really use it for travel. But it’s gotten a lot of use in 5+ yrs so still a good run.

    • I use mine for the gym or weekend/overnight trips. I like something more structured for my laptop, so I have a hard side rectangular shoulder bag for my laptop.

    • Me too! My OG always weighs a ton because I have my clunky, heavy work laptop and tons of paper (sometimes even a few binders) in there because I work from home almost every night (I get too cranky and distracted if I try to push through finishing what I need to do before going home to eat dinner). I also keep my kindle in there and a blank notepad and pen (just in case) and I have a flat envelope purse in the outer pocket with my wallet, keys, etc.. If I’m going to the gym or even bringing lunch I have to pack a second bag.

    • I don’t have an OG, but it sounds like you are living my life. I got a Chromebook over the summer that I keep at home and can use to get into my office’s terminal server. Not having to lug the big laptop home every night (unless I really do know that the next day will be a “sick kid day”) has been terrific.

  12. Piggy backing off the holiday card question above, is it common to include pictures of the couple and new baby taken immediately after birth on a holiday card? What about a birth announcement? People in my friend group have recently started to have babies. I’m child free and babies ick me out, but I’m trying to get over myself because I want to be happy for my friends and stay involved in their lives. If I was prepared for looking at post-delivery pics I think I could pull myself together, but I had a bit of a pearl clutching moment seeing it on holiday cards this year. All I can think is, omg horrible things are happening to her [email protected]@ in that picture! I’m wondering how much of this is a me issue or whether those cards are a little unusual. I’m obviously not going to say anything about it to anyone IRL, just looking for some perspective about just how much work I have to do on myself.

    • That’s weird and far too personal. Ew.

    • I mean, unless the baby is crowning, I’m not sure there’s a problem here

      And if the baby has a perfectly round head, that was a C-section, so no worries about the V there.

      Some guys be “that chick puts out.” You never know what message people take from what you convey.

      • Anon for this :

        Sometimes a baby’s head does not cone during a [email protected]@l delivery, leaving it with a beautiful round head . . . and mama gets lots of stitches. Speaking from personal experience. No, it was not fun.

      • Lots of my friends have had V deliveries, and the baby did not come out with a conehead.

    • Are you talking about hospital pictures where everyone looks very tired but happy? I’m assuming no one is sending you gory pictures on their holiday cards. If it’s the hospital pictures, I think you should work on getting over it. That is one of the most profound moments in your friends’ lives — and certainly in their year — so why wouldn’t they include it on a holiday card? Try not to focus on what is going on medically, and instead think about the emotions your friends must have been feeling at the moment.

      • Historically, childbirth was when a lot of women and babies died. That’s true in some of the world today (where hunger is a problem, many women are anemic and can bleed to death after birth). Mother and baby surviving that is something to commemorate. Like running a marathon, it ain’t pretty at the end necessarily. But I get it as something remarkable in one’s life.

        • Thanks for both of these comments – beautiful way to look at it.

          And yes, it’s the post-birth, everyone’s looking tired but happy, nothing overtly gross, type pictures.

    • Is it a picture of parents and baby together on a hospital bed once everyone was all cleaned up? I think that’s fine and in my social circles that’s often the photo that’s used for the social media announcement. Or is it a picture of the mom actually laboring? Because that is super gross.

    • wait, you’re squicked out by seeing a picture of the new family, fully clothed, in the hospital just after baby’s arrival? I think you overall get a cuter picture a few weeks later, but my mind doesn’t jump straight to “her poor vag” when I see them…

    • I assume that in these pictures everyone is covered up and the baby is cleaned up so I think you may be a little sensitive here although it does seem uncommon. Immediately after giving birth was not my best look! A lot of birth announcements I see have itty bitty babies who aren’t wearing much and are arranged in artful poses, but I’m sure that some people use pictures from post-delivery. Maybe look instead at how happy/excited/little bit scared that the parents are in the pictures.

    • If “babies ick [you] out” then the problem is you. There’s nothing wrong with a family photo taken in a hospital unless there are inappropriate body parts or bodily fluids visible in it.

    • Get a hold of yourself. This is an absolutely ridiculous complaint.

    • “omg horrible things are happening to her [email protected]@ in that picture!”

      I don’t think you actually understand how childbirth works. Childbirth is not painful except when you laboring and the baby actually comes out. No horrible things are happening when the picture is taken. People are happy that they are meeting their baby.

      Your friends are including pictures of a happy moment and you seem to have some kind of baby/childbirth phobia that you might want to deal with if you’re planning to be around friends with small babies.

      • This. It hurts like h*ll, but by the time you’re all cleaned up, dressed and taking a photo, nothing is “happening” to her lady parts.

      • all about eevee :

        Is this really true? Isn’t there a lot of mesh underwear and bleeding going on, dependent upon what happened during the birth? It’s maybe not “horrible” and I realize that Mom and Dad are really happy and it is a profound moment, but it’s not like labor just ends and everything is immediately just fine again.

        • Bleeding afterwards is just like a super heavy period. Even if you have stitches, you get painkillers for that.

          • all about eevee :

            A lot of my friends have told me that before they gave birth, they feared labor, but what no one really told them about was what came after labor. I wish we would be more honest about this and more descriptive about what really happens, so people know exactly what to expect when they go through it. The same is true of abortion and of miscarriage, in my opinion – we should talk about it way more openly so we are all less surprised or afraid when it happens to us.

          • Labor and miscarriages are like car accidents. Every one is different, so knowing what happened to one person is not necessarily what will happen to you (or happen to you next time).

            V delivery #1: WOW that hurt.
            V delivery #2: NBD, but the afterpains from nursing: WOW

        • I mean, you’re not comfortable, but many women aren’t exactly comfortable for days or weeks after birth and if you have a C-section, potentially not for a month or more. You’re not in blinding pain, and everything is in a static state, so it’s weird to me that someone would be distracted by “what is happening to the v*gina” at the point. Nothing is happening to it, anymore than it is a few days after birth when lots of people do professional photos.

        • Doesn’t anyone ever snap a picture of you when you have your period? Horrible things are happening to your lady bits then too. This whole conversation is really immature to me.

    • I’m not sure what the issue is? People can put whatever photos they want on a holiday card. Having a baby is an amazing and life changing event and the parents are super excited to share the news. Personally, I chose not to share the I-just-gave-birth-photos publicly but to each their own.

    • Having had three babies myself, the first thing I think about when I see a new baby is NOT the mom’s va jay jay. I think that’s weird.

      When you think about it, Christmas is all about a newborn baby. I can’t think of a more appropriate holiday card.

    • While I don’t understand why anyone wants to share a pic of themselves in a hospital gown – even when holding a child – rather than a pic from 1-2 days later when they’re dressed and still just as excited about the baby — I don’t bat an eye if people share.

      What gets me though is when pics are shared on social media where the woman’s gown isn’t fully on and just resting on top of her. Likely she lowered it to feed the baby or whatever and when she was done just laid it across her chest but I do need to see the top of your chest or know that you aren’t formula feeding. That I find indecent and I wish the – oh it’s so natural no one will mind -movement would stop.

      • I find this entire comment confusing. You don’t understand why someone wouldn’t want a picture of them with their brand new baby? Aren’t these pictures like standard since ever? There’s pictures from 30 years ago of my mom in her hospital gown holding me. And do women still birth in hospital gowns? That seems uncomfy, I just wore a maxi dress at my hospital. And babies attempt to nurse frequently in the first hours after being born. I would find in much stranger if the mom had a hospital gown all tied up covering her collarbone. Like her chest is covered, why do you care? And formula feeding isn’t the norm anymore so why would someone being taking a picture so people “know that you aren’t formula feeding”. I just assume people BF unless I see them actually give the baby formula.

        • You delivered in a maxi dress?
          That seems weird to me.
          I’m pretty sure everyone at my hospital wears gowns.. they are nice thick long gowns but still hospital gowns. What if you needed an emergency C-Section? I guess they would cut the dress off… for an epidural do they just lift the dress up way up your back?


      • numbersmouse :

        Wow, you’ve somehow managed to sound worse than the OP.

    • Are you asking this question for any other reason than to be super judgey?

  13. This is a weird question, but it’s a legit question, I promise.
    I need to get some kind of concrete tips or different advice on slowing down/de-stressing my life. For lots of reasons, the past two years of my life have been incredibly stressful. Job issues, money issues, an unexpected move, a child and a husband with unrelated major life-threatening medical issues. I’ve always been a high achiever, Type-A anyway with more than my fair share of anxiety.

    Anyway, I’ve started developing some physical issues as a result of this ongoing stress. Not debilitating ones, but ones that are making life difficult. I sort of wish they were debilitating, though, because I can’t seem to stop or slow down. Part of it is that I make good money and 3/4 of our family income, and even going part time, due to previous medical bills and unexpected move, makes money become untenably tight. But we’re at the point now where I’m having to seek medical treatment (including 3 emergency room visits in the past two months – unheard of) at least once a month or more.

    Right now I’m having irregular heartbeat issues, anxiety issue (I regularly wake up at 2-3 am and cannot go back to sleep), migraines at least once every two weeks, have developed a facial twitch that is being controlled by muscle relaxers, and an immune response causing an intermittent rash across my body. So they’re bad – but I can still put on makeup and go to work technically.

    Maybe this is beyond the scope of this group. But I anticipate there are a lot of Type-A anxiety people out there who maybe have some experience on coming back to center. I am just plagued by this fear (which honestly was true for 2015) that if I stop running at all out full speed ceaselessly, everything will fall apart. And so even with doctors saying I’m going to end up in the hospital in the next 12 months, I just. can’t. stop. It seems like all the advice on slowing down or leaning out is made for other people who never tried that hard to begin with.

    I’m just hoping that someone will maybe have advice to offer from a different perspective that will be able to stick inside of my head and outweigh my fear in a way that my doctor’s advice is not. Everything I understand in an intellectual way is somehow not translating to life changes.

    So thanks.

    • Are you taking anti-anxiety medication and seeing a therapist? If not, start. Immediately.

      All the advice on slowing down is not for people who never tried. It is for people like you who cannot see that their refusal to consider other ways of living is harming themselves, and a therapist can help you make a plan. Are you eligible for FMLA? Take it.

      • Paid Leave :

        Adding to the suggested FMLA leave, look into whether your company provides a paid leave benefit, like short term disability. Taking time off to get medications right/take a breath but without the no-money anxiety could be incredibly helpful.

        Hugs because family health issues are the most stressful of all.

    • Dial back now while you are in control. I had a young coworker have a stroke (late 30s). He doesn’t get to decide anything in his life now and he is on a LOA while he learns to walk again and write with his left hand. All day he has appointments, physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc. And he can’t drive anymore or read for very long. After his LOA runs out, he will probably have to stop working and go on disability (which we have good but not great insurance for — you should check your coverage). He is an attorney but now probably could not do most of the jobs here.

      Since so many people depend on you, you can’t afford not to take your health seriously.

      It’s like being on plane — put your mask on first.

    • “I am just plagued by this fear (which honestly was true for 2015) that if I stop running at all out full speed ceaselessly, everything will fall apart.”

      Get yourself to therapist who has experience helping high achieving people in high stress professions who can help you deal with boundary setting, work life balance, and generally reframing your thinking so that you *can* stop. I did this, it has been amazing for my psychological and physical health. People just telling you to slow down won’t work. You need someone to help you get to the root of why you have this fear and address it before you can make yourself slow down in a sustainable, authentic way (rather than just being in the ICU for a month).

      I have had employment situations where I have suffered like you- anxiety, racing heart, stomach aches every day, 3x week migraines triggered by stress. I changed jobs and the stomach aches and migraines vanished almost instantly. It’s amazing. You owe it to yourself.

      • I had 3 colleagues at 2 BigLaw firms I’ve been at have nervous breakdowns that required a couple months of LOA. One had a breakdown so suddenly that a client e-mailed another partner at the firm and the tech people had to lock down her e-mail and call her spouse because she had become combative. It was all very ugly and her reputation suffered.

        *** She’s not practicing anymore. Everyone knows what happened. She was her family’s breadwinner. ***

        You have a choice right now not to let this be what happens to you.

      • You need to reframe “ if I stop running at all out full speed ceaselessly, everything will fall apart.”


        “I must stop running at all out full speed ceaselessly or everything will fall apart.”

    • Hugs.

      This will be hard but you need to step back at work. If that means less income, you need to look at how you can decrease your spending. Talk to your husband and decide that this is no longer sustainable and how will you guys manage it. This is not a choice. I am giving you permission to put your health first. Your family will be a lot worse off if you are incapacitated or dead. Stop doing this to yourself and to your family.

      Signed, a former biglaw who wound up in the ER one night after fighting it saying, “I can’t, I have a motion due!” No. This is not a choice. All the money in the world will not buy your health.

    • Meredith Grey :

      Gah, I just alluded to being “stressed” like this in a response post below…. And let me tell you, it’s soooooooo much better on the other side!! Health benefits aside, life is actually so so so much more fun and amusing when you’re not driving yourself nuts with anxiety.

      Not to sound like a broken record, but I found therapy to be a great starting point to help me get a grip on anxiety like this. I also highly recommend “mindfulness” practice. I know this sounds like a load of crap- how can sitting quietly for 10 minutes help with heart palpitations and a facial twitch, but I swear it’s changed my brain. Headspace App & Dan Harris 10% Happier are both great starting points.

      The mindfulness exercises help me sleep, and reading your post, I’d probably put priority on addressing. In terms of mindfulness, the exercises teach you to practice being present in the moment. I found that when I went to bed I’d let alllll my worries/thoughts/or even just what I did during the day re-run through my mind. I’d replay conversation I had with co-workers and re-analyze them, run through to-do lists that were done and things I had to do the next day, I’d worry about issues unresolved from the day, count calories, think about my exercise for the next day… just this bat shit crazy loop of thoughts. It was so vivid I’d do it in my dreams too. The mindfulness exercises help shut all that down. I’ve learned that as a type-A over-performer, my brain got into this habit of constantly worrying and trying to think about the next thing I could or should be doing. I really believed that my constant thinking and worrying were contributing to my success. As it turns out, I was just driving myself bonkers and I’m successful whether I worry every waking minute or not! I expect a lot of type-A’ers have that in common.

      So anyway, once you get better sleep, a lot of the other decisions/side effects of anxiety will feel easier to tackle. I can’t recommend putting the work in to do this enough.

    • This isn’t actually that hard.

      You need to see a psychiatrist, and be started on medication. Immediately. That’s it.

      You may need a migraine medication for acute treatment.

      You medical issues are not actually that bad. None of them are serious or life threatening or in need of ER visits. You have off the charts anxiety. Stop going to the ER. Start seeing your primary care doctor. And you should be spending time in a psychiatry office.

      This is not a time for therapy, although this will be helpful to add and to work on behavioral changes, relaxation techniques etc… You need medicine.

      Remember – many things in your life are actually ok now. Family health issues are stabilizing. The move is done. You have a good, well paying job, and your husband is employed. But your anxiety now is through the roof and you are totally sensitized due to the hardships over the past years. So smaller things will send you spiraling when they should not.

      You need medication. If you are on medication, you need more/different medication.

      What are you taking now?

      • Yeah, agreed. When my anxiety got so bad that I started physically manifesting it, I had to take medicine. I didn’t go to a psychiatrist, just to my normal doctor. Medicine was the only thing I could do that would calm me down enough to make therapy eventually useful. I was on an SNRI and Ativan for “special occasions” (i.e. panic attacks or other physical manifestation events).

        I was the sole breadwinner, working full time, in school full time, there was a family health crisis, financial struggle, marital problems, the whole works. I was on medicine and in therapy for about a year. I also read and did the Anxiety and Phobia workbook that people are always recommending on here.

        • Anon for This :

          Same here. A psychiatrist explained to me that therapy isn’t effective when the volume on everything is turned up to 11 – you need to turn the volume down first. That said, OP, I think you should be in therapy now too because you need support in putting yourself first, and a therapist will help you with that.

    • “I just. can’t. stop.”

      You can stop. It’s scary and terrifying and it feels like everything will crash in but you can do it.

      And even if everything crashes down, that’s okay – it will be okay, you will get through it.

      If you need to look outside yourself for motivation, you have a child who needs a healthy mom. No job is worth risking your health.

      Please please explore your STD options. Take STD while you are able to seek out the help you need.

      If you are waiting for a sign, this is your sign. Stop. Take STD and get well.

    • So sorry, hugs!

      I agree with all of the above, go to therapy and get the necessary medicine. I’ll add in two things I learned after a particularly tough year: take magnesium (helps with the irregular heartbeart and sleeplessness, obviously check that it won’t interfere with your other medicines) and create boundaries on all your stresses. An example of mine was my brother needing help, to the point of exhausting me mentally and financially. Once I committed to limits on how and when I would help him, it reduced my stress around the situation. I’ve done the same with work, my boundary is that I don’t check email when I’m out of the office. If you can’t cut back to part-time, maybe one thing you can do is keep it from leaking into your life and keep your non-work time exactly that.

      Because I’m a control freak, when I get stressed I have to figure out what exactly about that stress is in my control. Once I can Do Something about it, I feel a lot better.

    • Anon for this :

      I fully admit, this is morbid and melodramatic, and I think the ultimate thing you need is anxiety pills, but sometimes I find that emotional things can get to me if I can’t convince myself of something rationally. Read some stories about kids whose parents died. Think about how frightening and upsetting it was for you and your family when your husband and child had health crises and and imagine what it would look like if you were the one in the hospital bed, near death? Leaving your child without a mother because you had a heart attack or stroke or complete mental breakdown because you “couldn’t” set whatever boundaries with yourself or with others that would allow you to be healthy. You deserve to be happy and healthy. Think about the big picture of your life. Is living this way really what you want?

      Someone above mentioned a coworker who had a stroke at a young age. That happened to a coworker of mine too. She was a stressed out disaster all the time and had two strokes in quick succession in her late 30s. She almost died. She had to relearn to walk, to write, to feed herself, was out of work for months. She’s back now, but can never work at 100% of her former capability again. She gets dizzy and tired often. She’s on all kinds of serious medication. And she’s a lucky one. You think money is tight now? What if you had a severe stroke and needed 24 hour care for the rest of your life? Your doctor is warning you that you need to slow down. Please, for your sake, for your family’s sake, listen.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m the O.P. and I thank everybody, but I think your comment is the one I will take home with me, so to speak. We came within a few minutes of losing our child twice in the span of a week and it was a level of trauma that I’m still processing even now over a year later. The thought of having my kids go through that if there is anything in my control to avoid that is just the sort of thing that is the kick in the pants that I will need. I’d cut off both arms right now to make sure my kids never go through that stress and terror.
        So thank you. Thank you for saying what I needed to hear.

        • Anon for this :

          Absolutely. Please take care of yourself. I can’t imagine how frightening nearly losing a child would be.

          This is the sort of thing you’d probably go over in therapy, but it might be possible that you’re going non-stop right now because you’re afraid that if you slow down, you’ll have to finally process the trauma and emotions you experienced (stuffed down?) a year ago and haven’t fully dealt with.

        • I don’t know if you’ll see this response, OP, but I was struck by your description of almost losing your child twice within a week.

          I was in the same situation and unfortunately I did lose my child. She was three.

          You don’t need a kick in the pants. You need medication and therapy. I’m sure you have PTSD. Does your body go into “fight or flight” over every stressful situation? It sounds like it does. That was my situation. After the emergency with my daughter, my body just reacted that way to everything. It was absolutely miserable. I feel awful for you having to go through this. In my case, medication helped my body “reset” to a non-panicked level, and therapy helped me process all of the feelings. I was on the medication for a year and I’m off now. When I have a panicked moment now, I understand what it is, what effect it’s having on my body, and what I need to do about it.

          Big hugs to you. Please take this seriously and don’t beat yourself up about it.

    • Yes, you need to take care of yourself now. I was incredibly stressed out at my last job, couldn’t stop, etc. and got on anxiety meds. Not trying to be an armchair doctor but look into getting your thyroid checked, too. That was the source of a lot of my similar symptoms. Can your partner help you now, if they are doing better? Don’t hesitate to ask friends and family for specific help – can you do x for me, etc. I completely agree you must put on your own mask first here.

    • Shot in the dark but anyone else have Grave’s Disease? I was recently diagnosed and looking for possible support forums, blogs etc. It seems like a fairly common thing but I’m a little terrified.

      • sorry, wrong spot

      • Anonymous :

        I have Grave’s. I took medication for about four years and it went into remission….still in remission 20 years later. I did not have my thyroid radiated into oblivion b/c I didn’t see the point of trading of one medication for another. But YMMV of course. I do think even if my thyroid numbers are good, I’m always going to have hair trigger responses, and I work to deal with that.

      • I have Graves too. I gained 10 lbs on the meds and its been super hard to get off, although now I’m in remission and not on the meds so I SHOULD be back to normal metabolism but its still way harder to lose weight than it used to be. But on the whole it was not that big a deal. The first year it was hard for me to think of myself as having a chronic condition because I’m pretty athletic and healthy and wasn’t ready to think of myself that way. But the docs were like — hey its not thyroid cancer — and after I got over myself I sort of looked at it that way too. I read a ton on the Graves disease foundation web site and message boards but then stopped because the people who seek support there are really messed up and hardly anybody was like me (basically fine) and I didn’t like being reminded of all the bad things that could happen, but weren’t happening. Good luck to you.

    • This was me, a few years ago. Hugs to you because I totally understand. I was also the breadwinner but I knew I had to do something, so I ended up “volunteering” for a RIF the company was having at the time, even though I was no where near being included in it. Any chance this is an option?

      I got to leave the stressful job and get some severance, and I immediately started looking for a new job (knowing it might take awhile). While it was so hard for me in so many ways to essentially quit my job, I found a new job that is so much better for my stress, anxiety and work life balance. I took a step down in responsibility, but I did that intentionally, knowing it would help. Yes, I make less money but at over 3 years in the new job, I now make closer to what I was earning in the stressful job, but I am so much better off mentally and physically. You can always, some way, make less money work. It was definitely worth it for me.

    • In a similar situation, I’ve had success with a naturopathic doctor. She’s helped me sleep, get my cortisol levels under control, and reduce inflammation. (True anxiety and other mental health concerns need other expertise, of course.)

    • I’m ultra late with the reply, but try Headspace. You should definitely seek for professional help and change your lifestyle, but 5 minutes a day meditation is a great start and very effective in short-term. Good luck!

  14. Oh guys. Pegasus the pony has been really sick. He just got out of surgery for colic yesterday. Check out his FB page.

    • Oh no! Although, it’s a good sign that he made it to and through surgery IMO. I’ve had friends lose theirs because they weren’t even able to get them on the trailer to get to the clinic :(

      C’mon Pegasus!

    • I was going to mention this – ever since someone talked about him here, I’ve enjoyed his FB near daily. There’s a (tax deductible) donation campaign to help pay for his surgery. You can click through from FB.

    • I have been so upset about this :-(

    • Mary Ann Singleton :

      I’ve been so upset to see it too (I follow him on FB). It’s like 2016 didn’t do enough damage – it had to mess with Pegasus the Pony too. Hoping he will pull through.

  15. lady issues :

    Medical question time! Around this time last year, I stopped getting my period. I was 28 at the time and had always been regular. I was not on BCPs at the time, though I have used them for stints of time in the past. When it stopped, I was going through a particularly stressful time and I’m sure that caused some physiological changes, but I never learned exactly what was going on. I visited my OB/GYN, had some blood work done (all normal), and was told basically to go back on the BCP to make me regular. I did so after about 6 months of not getting my period, and the BCP-induced periods have been normal for the last 6 months.

    This episode is still bothering me, and I wish now that I had asked more questions 6 months ago when I visited my OB/GYN. I’m considering going off the BCP to see what happens (will my period resume normally? or will it still be “stopped”?) I plan on TTC in 1.5-2 years and it seems like it would be beneficial to know what I might be up against if I’m not ovulating normally.

    Does anyone have any experience with a situation like this? Any ideas on questions I should be asking my OB/GYN at my next visit?

    • I think you’re borrowing trouble. This is a conversation to have when you start TTC, which you say is about 2 years away. There are all kinds of treatments and drugs to help regulate you. This is not something you need to worry about now.

      • Disagree. It can’t hurt just to mention that you are planning on TTC. I had that conversation, and it prompted my doctor to recommend that I shouldn’t wait the standard 12 months of TTC without assistance before coming in for a fertility workup.

      • Disagree also, especially since it can take a long time for your cycle to go back to normal when you go off BCP.

      • Also disagree– you are wise to be thinking about it a year or two ahead of TTC. When I went off BCP, it took a few months for my cycle to start back. I understand that to be typical. If it takes more than three months, it can be ammenhorea due to the BCP. Not uncommon but something you want to know about ahead of time, because it can take a big chunk of time away from your TTC plans.

        Does your OB/GYN have a nurse that will discuss questions over the phone? My doctor’s office has a number we can call where we leave a message, a nurse calls back, and we can ask questions like this. I would try that first, and if she is helpful, you may not even have to go in for an appointment.

        One approach (that I would certainly ask the nurse/OB about and not just try unilaterally) would be to go off BCP again, switch to a barrier method instead, and see if your cycle comes back and how long that takes. If it doesn’t come back in three months, then it might be time to go see the doctor about it.

      • Also disagree — I went off BCP 1 year before TTC to see how my cycles were. I had 3 regular one, then no period for like 4 months! then I had really long cycles. It can take like a year or more for things to normalize.

    • You were stressed, your period stopped. This is totally normal and common and doesn’t have anything to do with fertility.

    • Meredith Grey :

      I was on BC and my period stopped a little over a year ago when I was I guess what you would call “stressed.” (“Stressed” seems like an understatement though… closer to on the verge of breakdown/spiritual awakening a la Berne Brown…) My OBGYN actually was totally disengaged for trying to find a reason for it, and was very blase- “oh sure! sometimes your body just doesn’t cooperate with what’s been working for a while and you need to change things up!” And she put me on a different type of BC. Like you, it induced my period, but it wasn’t as predictable as it was in the past. Now that I’ve gotten a grip, it’s much more regular so I’m pretty convinced that was everything to do with it. I would talk to your OBGYN about it though, not that she will have some type of breakthrough information for you, but it’s good for it to be in your file and to have a rapport with her since you are planning on TTC later on. I also found it very cathartic to share my paranoia that I somehow ruined my reproductive system during my “stressful time” to my OBGYN and to hear directly from her that, no, that’s not how it works and I will be fine!

    • Since your period on BC isn’t actually a “period” (you’re not ovulating) and TTC is on the near horizon for you, I think it’s worth going off it (assuming you have other methods of BC to rely on) to see what happens. If TTC was further away, I’d let it go, but 1.5-2 years counts as the nearer term in my view.

    • Ask your ob/gyn to figure out why your periods stopped! It might just have been the stress (although it would have to have been a lot of stress!), or it might be something else. In either case, BCP produce regular-looking periods but they don’t actually address whatever the underlying health condition is. If you’re planning on TTC in 1.5-2 years this is not too early to start thinking about it, so good on you for being proactive. It can take a while for your cycle to go back to normal when you quit BCP–a year isn’t uncommon (and two isn’t unheard-of) and it might be hard to diagnose a potential health problem until that happens. (If your period doesn’t come back and your ob/gyn says they won’t or can’t look for and diagnose an underlying issue, kick them to the curb and find a new one. I’ve known people whose doctors basically said “hurr durr, I dunno, stay on BCP and then do IVF, what, me diagnose you? with my medical degree? what? hurr durr.” You deserve better than that! :)

      • Diana Barry :

        +1. But you will have to go off the BCP for them to be able to figure it out.

      • This is not true. Most people resume their regular cycle immediately. A full year is extraordinary, two is not real. Her doctor said it was stress at the time, which is a perfectly real diagnosis. Stop spouting Catholic NaPro propaganda, or at least identify yourself as an evangelist every time you do so you aren’t worrying people needlessly Emmy See.

        • Maybe “most people” resume their regular cycle immediately– but very very many do not. Very many.

          • This just is not true!

          • This is not a thing. “very many people” do not fail to get their period back.

          • anonymama :

            I think she meant fail to resume their cycle immediately, not fail to get their period back ever. My own doc said it could take 2-4 months on average to return to a regular cycle.

        • Dude, take it up with my ob/gyn.

          • Not Anons above :

            You might want to take your own advice about getting a new OB when you are given bad medical advice. Five seconds and a google search will tell you that the British National Health Service, Mayo Clinic, etc, etc, etc all indicate that most women get their period back in 2-4 weeks and anything longer than a few (3) months is outside the norm.

          • The Anons are very defensive about this! If you have an issue with regularity before going on BCP, it’s possible there is an underlying issue that is being masked. OP wasn’t regular, and she doesn’t really know why. The BCP is often pushed as a “cure” when really it’s kicking the can down the road. Women are not being given the information/diagnoses they need, and that can be really detrimental re: TTC.

          • What October said. :) I acknowledge that I may be mistaken about how long it can take your cycle to go back to normal (although I think people are reading my statement as stronger than I meant it, so I’m sorry for being unclear!) but it’s definitely risky to count on it being quick, especially since your cycle wasn’t really normal when you started BCP, OP. I hope you find good answers. :)

        • I’m not sure how you define “extraordinary,” but I failed to get any period back for 6 months after going off the BCP, and then only got 2 natural periods in the year thereafter. I had to have medical intervention to trigger ovulation to get pregnant. My doctor said this happens to about 3% of women who are on the pill. I’m not Catholic and very much pro-birth control and pro-choice.

    • Diana Barry :

      This also happened to me – about 1 year without a period after I went off the pill. They did a bunch of tests and hormone levels were “normal” – my reproductive endo said this is basically unexplained, but I will give you a “soft diagnosis” of PCOS. This was so that she could code the insurance for the subsequent provera and clomid that I needed to get pregnant. I think my body needed a kick-start, basically.

    • At the very least, I’d be curious about how my body works. I’d probably stop it on my own for a month or three and see what happens before going back on if I really needed oral contraceptives. But don’t take medical advice from me, I’m an engineer. And a lizard. Although I don’t think stopping birth control is that big of a deal, honestly.

    • Why not stop BCP and see if your period comes back? If it doesn’t then you can take it up with OBGYN and I would, given that TTC is not that far away at this point.

    • Shenandoah :

      I had a similar situation and ended up being diagnosed with PCOS. I had stopped taking BCP about a year prior when all of a sudden I went 4 months without a period (also during a fairly stressful time in my life). So I went to my OBGYN and ended up getting an ultrasound which revealed numerous small cysts. I don’t have many of the typical symptoms of PCOS, and my hormone levels were within normal levels. Coincidentally after I left the OBGYN, my periods resumed within a couple of weeks and have been normal since.

      I have not gone back on BCP but an contemplating it soon. I would consider getting an ultrasound done if one has not been completed. I’ve had irregular periods at various intervals of my life when not on the BCP but was always regular on BCP. I do think it took my body about 2 years to return to normal after taking BCP. I’m not currently TTC and never have tried so I can’t comment on that personally, but I would want to give myself a 1-2 year buffer between cycling off BCP and TTC based on how my body has reacted in the past. I’ve also looked into IUDs and that may be something worth considering for you.

    • Yes, bring it up with your doctor.

      As for what to do: that’s a very personal thing.

      Personally, I am a big fan of knowing your body. If feasible (and it’s not for a lot of women), I think it can be helpful to have an idea of when or if you ovulate. Some women can just tell; some use apps; some use other methods to figure it out.

      What you do with that information is your own choice (the troll who constantly screams about NaPro being “Catholic propaganda” is seriously mistaken and rather narrow-minded). But having that information can be enormously helpful: knowing if you’re ovulating is just good info if you want to conceive in the future.

      Most of us aren’t doctors, so we can’t really give you the right answer, but we can give you good questions to think about and ask.

  16. F 2016. Just, F it. In addition to the usual reasons, now my beloved cat has an enlarged heart. Probably heart disease. She’s only 9.

    The worst part is 2017 is only going to be worse. I can’t even be glad this year is over because we have four years to discover what new horrors a Trump presidency will actually bring.

    • I’m with you there about fearing 2017-2020 are going to be far worse than anything that happened in 2016. So sorry about your cat. Hugs.

    • My mom just had to put “my” cat from high school down. 2016 continues to find ways to be awful. I wish I could be hopeful and excited for 2017.

    • I’m sorry, that is such terrible news. I hope you get some quality time with your cat this holiday season.

    • Yep. F 2016 to hell. This has been one of (if not the) worst years of my life.

      My heart to your cat.

    • Oh I’m sorry. That is a horrible capstone to this terrible year.

    • Thanks everyone. :(

    • Oh no, poor kitty :( I’m so sorry you have to go through that.

    • Totally agree that F 2016.

      But! My cat (then 3) was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (sp? too lazy to google) in 2012 and given 6 months to live. He’s still alive and kicking. It hasn’t been cheap – he’s on 3 easily administered daily meds, has trips to see a cardiologist twice a year, and has recently been put on slightly more expensive low-sodium cat food, but his energy level is the same as its ever been and he doesn’t seem to feel any impacts of his diagnosis.

    • Hugs. I live in DC and am hoping Trump spends most of his time in New York. Good luck on kitty.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Yeah, I hate this year. It started bad, ended bad, and was bad throughout the middle of it. Sure, there were a bunch of good things, but they’re overshadowed by the reallysuperbad. And a lot of the good things would have been much easier had the bad things not been SO SO SO SO BAD.

  17. I had one of those bad travel dreams last night and now I’m all discombobulated. I am recently off a job where I had a 25-50% travel schedule so maybe that’s why.

    Do you all have these dreams? You’re supposed to be heading to the airport but you keep getting all distracted and forgetting to go. Or you’re at the airport and forget to go to your gate, or don’t know where your gate is, etc.

    Last night’s was that I was supposed to go to LA for a company meeting, so I showed up in LA, checked into my hotel room, had many distractions along the way, and then realized I’d never received any information on where the meeting was being held.

    • Showing up at the airport for an international flight without my passport is my standard travel anxiety dream.

    • I don’t usually have travel nightmares, but I regularly dream that I either slept through my last final exam or showed up to the last final exam without ever having attended the class. Sometimes it’s college, sometimes it’s law school. When I wake up it usually takes me a minute or two to realize that it was just a dream and I actually did graduate.

      • Not travel-specific but I definitely have “oops, i forgot something so simple” dreams all the time, like (1) Oops, I forgot I am taking the LSAT/Bar exam in 20 minutes, how do I get off this train and where can I find No. 2 pencils? (2) Oops, I know I have class but I haven’t gone in months and I don’t even have a schedule so I don’t know what time or room it’s in! (3) Oops, I forgot my luggage for this trip! (4) Oops, I totally forgot to change into my wedding dress and it’s already time to cut the cake! I have these ALL the time. I think it’s because I am a planner and little miss not forgetful, which is why my brain runs fire drills for these scenarios. (By the way, I always have an initial freak out but figure “it’s ok, I’ll figure it out.”)

      • Oh that’s one of my regulars too – having never attended the class and then realizing the final is today. Ugh

      • I’m a professor, and this anxiety dream has now changed to where I’m supposed to be teaching a course, but never met them or held class, but have to give them a final exam. It’s always a math class too, which is not my field.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        I have that college dream ALL THE TIME. Recently I had one where I couldn’t even look up my class schedule!

    • Anonshmanon :

      stuff like that is my number one nightmare, maybe once or twice a month. I typically shrug it off as a stress outlet for my overly preppy/planny nature. As long as it doesn’t impair your actual life, crazy dreams are just dreams.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I have these occasionally. Usually it’s that I overslept and missed my flight. I set two alarms on days I have to travel to try to combat having that dream, but it doesn’t always work.

      • I do this too. And if I have to wake up early (before 5-ish) to catch a flight, I don’t sleep because I’m waiting and listening for the alarm to go off.

    • Yup. I’m usually running through the airport as my terminal was switched at the last minute, or I’m about to board a cross-country or international flight with no food in coach class (in my dreams apparently purchasing food isn’t an option). I’ve also had the ‘arrived at an airport in my destination but my car is either snowed in (at home) or there are no cabs/ubers available and I NEED to get to a client meeting ASAP.
      Pretty common among those who travel a lot for work btw – my partners and I occasionally swap stories of the craziest travel anxiety dreams we’ve had.

    • I can never sleep the night before any trip.

  18. This is a terrible dress in general, but especially for work. I don’t like “cold shoulder” tops, either, but this dress is even worse. It really looks like a seam ripped. I can’t see myself wearing it out to the club, but absolutely not to work.

  19. Shearling/Sheepskin Insole? :

    Has anyone purchased a shearling/sheepskin insole for their leather boots? Could you provide your experience with them? I’m worried my new Aquatalia Olitas (knee high leather boots) won’t be warm, so considering buying a pair of insoles just for warmth. I’d like my winter boots to be waterproof and warm but most “waterproof, insulated snow boots” I have tried so far (looking at you, Sorel) are either not warm, too heavy (2 lbs or more!), or too stiff for me to comfortably walk around.

    • What is the weather like where you are? How long are you out in the weather?

      I would not bother to buy inserts until you actually try the boots. My Aquatalia’s are quite warm, and when weather is cold enough to wear tights I sometimes add an extra pair of socks. That’s plenty.

      • Shearling/Sheepskin Insole :

        I’m in a near Chicago suburb, so it’s colder than Mars apparently :) I am usually out in the weather for 5-10 minutes at a time since I drive to work, but sometimes I have to walk across campus for meetings (15-20 minutes). I have tried the boots on indoors, but am afraid of trying them outdoors and finding them too cold and not being able to return them to Nordstrom Rack…thank you for the advice!

    • Yes, I have. I tried UGGS and found them too thick for dress boots. I ended up with a thinner wool (not shearling) insole. It really makes a difference in keeping my feet warm. The brand is Pedag on Amazon.

    • Aunt Jamesina :

      My husband bought shearling insoles from LL Bean and has been really happy with them. His snow boots had lining everywhere except the footbed, and this has made them nice and warm. Shearling is really fluffy and can feel constricting on your feet for the first week or so, but then conform nicely to your foot.

    • This is so worth it (and, in many countries with cold winters, you see these EVERYWHERE). Wool inserts would work too. You don’t need expensive ones for them to be effective.

  20. To the meltdown poster yesterday…I hope you made it to your party last night, and I hope you didn’t quit your job, and I hope today is a better day. You’re a great person for helping your aging parents. Hugs!

    • The meltdown poster :

      Oh my goodness, thank you (and others) SO much!

      Yes, I am here, and I am chugging away and resolved to update my resume yet again in the next 2 weeks. I will survive, practice gratitude, and start leaning out more as soon as these deals close:)

  21. I’m dating someone who is “fancier” than I am – has a high paying job, lives in a nice, high-rise doorman apartment, does all the normal YUPPIE things (eats out a lot, nice clothes, fancy gadgets, vacations, etc). I also have a high paying job (mid level in biglaw) but I am frugal – live with a roommate in a walkup, don’t eat out often, don’t really buy stuff unless I really need it. I am pretty sure this guy is going to be surprised when he finds out my living situation and outlook on money (want to save a ton in the next few years) and maybe he will be turned off by it. At this point, I have been splitting dates with him which have been splurges for me to avoid tipping him off to my frugalness. Anyone ever been in a similar situation? We are going on a fourth date now and I’m going to have to stake out my position soon…

    • What are you looking for in this relationship?

      When I am just having fun… this isn’t a big deal for me. But when I am searching for a long term relationship, this is a big clash. But you honestly don’t know enough about him yet. Give it time. If he is put off by your frugality, then that would be a put off for me.

      Good for you for saving as you are. This is the time to do it if you don’t have other commitments, and the long term benefit from saving a ton now can be huge.

      • +1. I agree you haven’t gotten to know him well enough yet, but if he gives off even the slightest hint of scorn about your frugality, I would see that as a huge red flag. Money incompatibility is a big issue, especially if you’re the frugal one.

    • Maybe he will be surprised, maybe he won’t. Being frugal and saving aggressively for a few years isn’t a bad thing, nor is his wanting to spend money on himself. It’s only been 4 dates, he may have money strategies that you don’t know about. If this relationship becomes more serious, you probably want to explore general compatibility about money.

    • Why? Why do you need to stake out a position instead of just letting him get to know you? Invite him over for dinner and give him a heads up you have a roommate. Talk about what you’re looking forward to next year. Moralizing about money is a boring turn off. Happily living your life in accordance with your values isn’t.

      • +1. Don’t make a big deal out of your frugality. This is not your defining characteristic. You have so many other positive attributes! And how do you know he will be put off?

    • You’re overthinking this. Just suggest something fun and frugal for the next date.

    • Thank you for the responses! You are all right. I am thinking (and overthinking) about this a bit rigidly and self-consciously. I love “Moralizing about money is a boring turn off. Happily living your life in accordance with your values isn’t.”

      • Anonshmanon :

        At some point (before splitting these checks turns into a Problem), you could just suggest a restaurant in your preferred price-range as the next date. He might react like a snob, or he might just think nothing of it. Possibly, he just eats out all the time as he never learned/is too lazy to cook, and is mostly oblivious to what that does to his finances. Wouldn’t be the first…

      • Agreed 100%. FWIW, I am the saver in my house and The Hubs tends to be more of a spender. That said, we always agreed on common money and finance goals (pay off student loans, buy a house without PMI, buy next house without a jumbo, max out retirement savings, etc.) and kept them as joint priorities, and it has worked out fine. I still am more likely to clip coupons and look for deals, but The Hubs has admitted he finds it endearing that I want to save us some bucks and appreciates the money I have saved us over the years.

        Good luck!

    • When I got together with my husband I was working big law and he was working retail. There were a couple of moments of awkwardness with respect to dates and money, but ultimately we had similar values, had a ton of fun together, and he was (is) hotAF. And now he’s my husband! So it can work out.

    • Be who you are. At this point you need to figure out whether he has a problem with your frugalness/looks down on it. He might. Often these types of guys dating midlevel biglaw women assume you have the same work hard/play hard attitude as them, and if you don’t, they sometimes don’t like it. If this becomes medium term and you guys start thinking vacations together and your suggestion is a nice cabin in the mountains for a few days and his suggestion is grabbing 1st class tickets to the Caribbean or Paris or wherever and stay in a 5 star hotel — yeah he will be disappointed.

      So why not bring it up without discussing it and see how he reacts? Easiest ways — for date no. 4 — pick the restaurant/plan the date and make it something you would do in your normal life; if you typically eat at neighborhood restaurants or ethnic restaurants — you need to see how he reacts to that; does he role with it or is he a total snob bc it’s not a Michelen restaurant. The other way — invite him over to watch a movie or hang out or something. He’ll get to see your place and again you’ll get a vibe of whether he’s uncomfortable with a 4th floor walk up with a roommate (though it’s best your roommate not be there) or if he totally doesn’t care bc he wants to hang with you anywhere, anytime. After you do these 2 things, you’ll notice whether he uncomfortably distances himself or whether he’s a typical brash NYC dude who directly says — you make midlevel money why do you live like this or whether he seems happy as a clam and does not care. If he starts asking about your lifestyle, I think it’s fine to say that you’re looking to save a lot and not do the golden handcuffs thing and see what his reaction is. I know banking guys in NYC who LOVE when they meet a girl who says she’s doing banking or law for a few yrs and wants to get out (bc it means they’ll get someone with a 9-5 in a few yrs and a SAHM after that) OR they are completely STUNNED bc they don’t understand how/why anyone could give up the money.

    • If this is a dealbreaker for either one of you, probably best to find that out now rather than years down the road.

    • You’ve gotten good advice on this thread. Also want to point out that you’ve been on 3 dates. Back when I was dating, I recall that early dates tended to be fancier than later ones. He’s trying to impress you, but if you transition into something longer-term, you’ll both relax a bit. He doesn’t know how you are with money yet, but you probably don’t really know how he is, either.

      • Yes, good point. I don’t really know and I’m already making assumptions (that’s partly the lawyer in me, thinking of all the possible future pitfalls…)

  22. Chilly Hubby :

    My husband is in dire need of a trench coat and a warm winter coat. We live in the northeast, and he has one of those fancy business-formal jobs for which he wears a suit and tie, and then…either a Columbia windbreaker+fleece, or a dumpy too-large overcoat that he bought used. He takes great care of his clothes, and we both earned nice bonuses this year, so we can afford higher-quality items that hopefully will last him a long time. But he has no patience for shopping, and I don’t know what brand(s) to look at for him. He is on the taller, narrower side (with slight potbelly), and I think Brooks Brothers may be a bit too broad for him in the back/shoulders, based on how their suits have fit him in the past. J.Crew looks like a better fit, but I’ve heard that their stuff is overpriced and not necessarily all that warm. Any suggestions? Where else should I be looking?

    • My SO also wears suits everyday and wears/loves this:

      The key is 100% wool

    • Burberry or (obviously cheaper but still nice) London Fog for the trench.

      JCrew’s Thinsulate-lined wool coats are actually pretty good; my husband has a peacoat from them (from 10 years ago), long enough to cover his butt, that he uses on bitter-cold-but-dressy days.

      • Beware – I have a thinsulate wool jcrew coat from 10 years ago that I also wear all the time. Their quality and warmth have deteriorated in the past few years and I can’t buy new ones from them anymore. I don’t know if the men’s have similarly declined.

    • The Blocktewch jacket my uniqlo is really warm and not bulky. WE have a few guys at my ibank that have this to wear over their suits.

    • Trench Coat Rec :

      I can’t speak to the warm winter coat, but in terms of a trench coat, it’s hard to go wrong with Burberry. Mine’s been going strong for probably more than 30 years (it was my mom’s before it became mine; she now has a new one, and my dad’s recently gotten himself one as well), and it still looks great. I don’t know a lot about their men’s fit, though I can tell you that my dad isn’t particularly tall but is pretty narrow. They’re obviously expensive coats, but they look really good and will last for a long time.

    • I bought The Hubs a wool-lined Hart Schaffner and Marx trench from Nordies on Black Friday. He has been very happy with the coat and likes it more than his cashmere-blend wool overcoat because it comes up higher in the front and has a better pocket situation. The Hubs works in a full-time business formal environment (“Casual Friday” at his office means sport coat and trousers without a tie) and the coat works well over his suits. The coat was about $200 on sale before eBates cash back and definitely a screaming deal. I think it also was available on Amazon, but we like being able to return to our local store.

      FWIW, I have a fully lined Burberry trench and have been very happy with it, but their coats simply do not fit The Hubs well (medium build size 46R). Unless you go made to order with Burberry (which is what I did, but $$$), many of their coats right now run awfully slim with high armholes, which is not conducive to comfort over a suitcoat.

    • Anonymous :

      We just got my husband a coat at Macy’s. They had some great wool coats and trench coats. I forget which brand we ended up getting, but it was either London Fog or Ralph Lauren. We hit a good sale and have a store credit card, and ended up paying around $100. The coat looks so great – I would suggest starting there if you have one nearby. I understand wanting quality, but paying Brooks Brothers or Burberry prices just seems insane to me. Sure it might be higher quality, but not enough to make it worth that much more money! Especially if your DH treats his stuff well.

  23. Random, but does anyone have any advice on how to get over a phobia of needles?

    I’ve been terrified of them since I was a kid, and it was something that I hoped to grow out of but never did. I get really nervous, shaky, and pale whenever a needle might be involved, and I have to lay down whenever the actual procedure is happening to avoid fainting, which has happened in the past. I can’t even watch TV shows when someone is being pricked with a needle (those news stories about the flu vaccine are the worst!). Logically, I know it’s totally irrational phobia, but I can’t figure out a way to control my nervous physiological response. My husband and I are hoping to have a baby soon, and I know that there will likely be a lot of needles in my future, so getting over this sooner rather than later would be great.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Friend, I was exactly like you and used to faint often when having needles. And then I needed cycle monitoring for pregnancy and had to have blood taken every day for months…now, I am fine. In a weird way, having it happen all the time is what desensitized me, I think. I wish I had some better advice for you other than to say that it is a thing that you can overcome.

    • Anon in NYC :

      I used to get allergy shots a lot as a kid so I’m desensitized to it but I still don’t love getting shots. I do a few things: I look away or close my eyes when it comes time to the blood draw / shot, I take deep breaths, and I consciously do not tense my arm (leads to more muscle soreness).

    • I used to have a fear of needles but made peace with it before and during my pregnancy by doing the following:
      – Tell the medical professional with the needle that I am a total chicken.
      – Take a deep breath.
      – Never, ever watch the injection as it happens. Also try to distract yourself by counting to a specific number. The number should be high enough to keep you occupied during the entire procedure. (I usually count to either 20 or 40, and don’t make it all the way to either number before the medical person says, “All done!”)

      Injections are still Not Fun for me, but the experience has definitely become more manageable with this routine.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 to all of this. My issue isn’t so much injections (which you don’t get many of when pregnant anyway) as blood draws and IVs. My doctor agreed to give me a local before placing the IV when I delivered, which was helpful. Lamaze class actually helped with the needle phobia, too.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m similar but I suck it up and get flu shots, blood tests etc. I have gotten better and no longer get lightheaded, but it’s never easy. I look away and try to distract myself until it’s over. If someone can come with you and talk to you during the shot that might help.

    • I have this. The medical term is vasovagal syncope. I treat it the same as any medical condition and make sure I tell my doctors about it and that I need to lie down, or at least sit a few minutes, after a needle. When I am open about it, I am more relaxed and as a result have had fewer reactions. It is a fairly common problem and healthcare providers appreciate knowing about it in advance.

    • When I got my blood drawn at my first pregnancy appointment, I cried. Honestly, after that it wasn’t a big deal. And I hadn’t had a shot or a blood draw in at least 20 years? Probably since my last childhood vaccine. I was someone who wanted a waterbirth because unmedicated childbirth seemed less scary than an epidural. NOPE. By then I was like “give me all the needles, please.”

    • I think you will probably get over it, or at least get more comfortable with it, as time goes on and you start having lots of blood tests for pregnancy.

      I agree with Snick that it is vasovagal.

      I have the vasovagal response to pap smears and having my cervix manipulated. That was super fun while pregnant, and then I had an abnormal pap smear a few years later and had to go through tons of testing. My OB was the one who told me about the vasovagal response and just knowing what it was made me feel better.

      Take some time to read about it. Knowledge is power, right? The one thing I learned from my reading is that the faint feeling is from blood pooling in your lower extremities, so before you try to stand up, flex your leg muscles a few times to get things flowing again.

    • lawsuited :

      I avert my eyes pretty well the whole time – I don’t look at the supplies in the room, I look away while they’re swabbing my skin, inserting the needs, filling the vial, all of it. I take deep breaths and babble about current events with the nurse whether they are interested or not.

      Also, although I avoided needles when it came to my own health, I somehow haven’t felt that way now that it’s about my baby’s health, so you might find that you have a change of heart when the time comes.

  24. Hive, I could use some support. We may lose our foster (pre-adoptive) kiddo because a distant family member surfaced after several years. Kiddo has no relationship with this person. I am distraught and can’t focus on anything and we won’t know anything for a while.

    • Oh my goodness this sounds unbearably hard. I’m so sorry.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Oh my goodness. I’m so sorry. I hope that everything works out for you and your kiddo.

    • Marshmallow :

      Oh man. Sending you and kiddo ALL the hugs and positive vibes.

    • TorontoNewbie :

      *hugs from an internet stranger*

    • That’s terrible. If you haven’t yet, maybe reaching out to a family law attorney who deals with these issues could help? I really hope that this works out for your and your kiddo.

    • get thee a good lawyer! line up potential witnesses who can testify to your bond!

    • anon anon armani :

      Hugs to you. Praying it all works out and that transitions are erased. God bless you for saving and so thoroughly loving this child.

      • Developmental Psychologists can testify to emotional bonds, time periods, and attachment. I have in adoption cases. Find a good one who is experienced. Please.

    • Anonymous :

      Deep breath. Your post doesn’t mention how old the child is or how long they have been with you or whether there are cultural considerations as well. There are a lot of steps in the process. When children are placed in foster care, family reunification is usually the ultimate goal. Child services may determine that the relative is a suitable custodial parent or they may find them unsuitable. If the relative disagrees with that finding, they may purse a court challenge. There are a lot of unknowns right now and that’s really hard.

      I know others here are recommending you get a lawyer. I would approach that cautiously until you have a better sense of what is happening. Tying this up for years in court may not be in your child’s best interests or your own.

      Instead, I would focus on thinking about what the types of relationships may be in the future and what you are willing to consider. If the relative obtains custody, would you want to continue to exercise access?If you are able to adopt the child but the relative wants access are you okay with that? A therapist who deals with adoption/foster issues may be helpful to you. That’s where I’d spend my money right now vs. a lawyer.

      • Kiddo’s goal has been adoption for a long time and that’s why they were placed with us. We do have a good lawyer since we were on the verge of finalization.

        • Anonymous :

          Sounds like you are much further along in the process than I anticipated in my reply.

          I would talk to your lawyer about trends on access by biological family in your area. In my area, it is highly likely that the relative may get some form of access if there is a cultural benefit (if child from a different cultural group than adoptive parents).

          Sometimes the finality of adoption brings relatives out of the woodwork who then fade afterwards.


    • Senior Attorney :

      Sending hugs to you and your sweet kiddo! Hopefully this won’t gum up the works permanently!

    • Thanks all. Kiddo has been in care pretty much for their entire life so we were shocked that this person popped out now. We are the only parents kiddo recognizes. I’m having a hard time adulting while this hangs over our head.

      • Anonymous :

        I posted above but I want to emphasize that this is a not common part of the foster to adoption process. Often birth family need to be able to tell themselves that they ‘tried everything’ to keep the child, so although they don’t get involved during fostering, sometimes adoption can bring about a last ditch effort. If there is really no history with this relative being in the child’s life, it is unlikely that your adoption will be halted. Your worse case is probably visitation requirements but even that is not a shoo-in. Talk to your lawyer about what’s common in your area.

        • Anonymous :

          argh “not uncommon” or “is common” in first sentence. Basically, the courts have seen this before. Try not to stress.

    • Hugs

  25. Never too many shoes... :

    Your husband sounds like he is built exactly like mine. He has two winter coats from Back Brown 1826 (available at Lord & Taylor or The bay in Canada) that fit him well. The “dress” coat was maybe around $600 and the more casual car coat (still super nice) was about $500 maybe.

    • lawsuited :

      My husband also has a similar build and he recently got a wool coat he loves from a brand called 1670 (also available at Lord & Taylor or Hudson’s Bay). It was very affordable at around $200.

  26. Never too many shoes... :

    Sorry, that is Black Brown, not Back.

  27. Ugh I did something at work that was kind of a mistake and I am beating myself up for it. Basically I was given a new task (outside of the wheelhouse of something I should be able to run with) and there really wasn’t much to be done with it, and so with my supervisor’s advice I chose A from A, B, and C. But it turns out maybe I should’ve said, “no no we have to find a way to Z!” but I had no idea and it’s like… I wasn’t even aware that this thing could BE a mistake. And I’m wearing an ugly Christmas sweater for an event in the department related to the thing I screwed up and I hate everything and can’t stop beating myself up and I wish at least that I was dressed like a grownup.

    • Take a deep breath. Think of solutions. Don’t beat yourself up because it doesn’t help the situation to make yourself miserable on top of it. As for the sweater, make sure the rest of you looks immaculate (check your hair & makeup in the bathroom) and then go around with dignity. You’re still the same intelligent person even if you’re wearing an ugly sweater and made a mistake.

    • A lot of your best opportunities to quietly impress people will be your response to a mistake. Give yourself 5 more minutes to wallow, then no more.

    • You didn’t make a mistake, your supervisor did. Stop beating yourself up about it and count it as a valuable learning experience about both your supervisor and this issue that’s outside of your normal experience.

    • Anonymous :

      That’s not really your fault. You did what you could and if it was that much of a concern, there should have been someone there to peer review and suggest Z in the end. Clearly your supervisor agreed with your original approach, so the onus really isn’t on you. Now you know for next time and will never forget.

    • Oof, thanks guys. I wonder if I should pop into my supervisor’s office like “how big of an F up was that?” or just let it lie. He’s a great guy and I think that he is as surprised by everyone freaking out as I am… but man I wish I could just disappear.

  28. Ruby and Trixie :

    This dress is a work NO NO NO in my opinion. The cutouts are distracting and look too clubby. And I work in a business casual setting. Why diminish oneself with a wacko look? I hate this cut out trend–it cannot go away soon enough. I love off the shoulder, but this cut out thing and cold shoulder–especially in the worksplace–are a big fail.

    • Agreed. And contrary to Kat’s introduction, I don’t think we’ve been “back and forth” on whether cut outs are acceptable for the office. The general tenor of comments (not just today, but whenever it’s suggested) has been a visceral reaction against the cut outs, with an occasional comment from someone who finds them suitable for their own situation. The vast majority of comments seem to be team no-cut out.

  29. Anon for this :

    It is acceptable to wear yoga pants and a hoodie on a car trip? It’s often my go-to outfit when traveling with my family on our 6 hour trip to see family, and I dress for comfort because no one will see me in the back of the SUV, but I often worry abut getting the side-eye when we stop for food.

    • Yes. This is fine.

    • Nobody is paying attention to you when you stop for food. Seriously.

    • Oh man. Unless you’re stopping at super-fancy restaurants, that is absolutely fine.

    • Unless you plan on stopping at 5 star fine dining restaurant, it seems totally reasonable to wear yoga pants and a hoodie on a 6 hour road trip.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Absolutely. I kind of thought yoga pants and hoodie were required for 6-hour car trips!

      • Anon for this :

        Ha! Well I think jeans are allowed too, but I’m not a fan of jeans. I think my skin is sensitive to the texture of denim.

    • Anonymous :

      In my town they are standard SAHM wear even for people who are not on long car trips….so I say yes definitely ok for a road trip.

    • Of course :

      Why are you even asking this? Wear what you want on your own time.

    • Anonymous :

      Posts like this are why some people make fun and joke about this s*te elsewhere on the internet. Professional women indeed.

      • Anonymous :

        You internet too much if you have time to keep track of what’s being said on one blog/wherever about another blog.

        • Nope. Anonymous @ 2:47 is absolutely right.

          • Anonymous :

            I’m not disagree that it’s ridiculous to ask if you can wear a hoodie on a road trip but it’s just as ridiculous to spend time tracking what one blog says about another – ain’t nobody got time for that.

    • Of course. It’s also acceptable for walking the dog, going to the grocery store, ….

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