Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Hampshire Bootcut Pants

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

Hampshire Bootcut PantsWe’ve been featuring a lot of higher priced bootcuts and wide trousers lately, so when I saw these affordable, machine washable bootcut pants (in regular, petite, and tall sizes) over at Boden I thought I’d post. The trickiest thing with bootcuts is getting the hem right — you never want them dragging on the floor or pooling at the floor. That said, you don’t want them to be too short, either. The ideal hem length is with about an inch of heel showing in the back, with the toes of your shoes still showing in front. While this doesn’t mean you have to choose exactly what pair of shoes to wear them with, it does mean you should choose the general height — once hemmed pants will work with about an inch of the same heel (say, flats and kitten heels, or 2.5″-3.5″ heels) — but you probably won’t be able to go from 4″ heels to flats. These pants are $98 at Boden and are highly reviewed. (Ooh, and they have pockets.) Hampshire Bootcut Pants

Looking for something similar in plus sizes? Talbots has several options.

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  1. Moving this weekend. Should I tip the movers and if so, how much?

    • For an elevator-building to elevator-building move, I tipped $20 to each guy – total of $60 (I think the fee was around $400 pre-tip).

    • I usually tip 10-15%, as a separate check made out to the head of the crew. I have been present at both pick up an drop off and move along this range based on overall service, day-of service, care of my belongs, and any property damage done along the way.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes, you should tip. I tipped the movers $50 each for my last move because it was a 3 storey walk-up in July.

    • I tip $100 bucks each, always. Usually because I move in the worst of Boston summer and those guys fricking deserve it.

      • Wow that’s a lot.

        • Yeah, but multiple flights of stairs on both ends, plus long walks to the buildings, plus I have the heaviest all-wood furniture. They deserve it! And, like I said, it’s always like 100 degrees.

    • Dear god yes, especially in any sort of heat. Depending on your location anywhre from $20-$40/pp.
      Also – supply water or gatorade for them! Someone else mentioned it on another thread and it is so true in my experience – if you can, grab them lunch at your new place. It saves them running out to grab something and generally builds goodwill to get them to finish faster and be more careful.

    • Clementine :

      I say $10 per person per flight of stairs/annoying obstacle they have to move stuff around, plus another $10 if it’s anything other than like 62 degrees and dry out. So if you’re going from 2 story home to 2 story home and it’s summer, $50 a person. If it’s apartment to apartment on a perfect September day and they both have elevators, $20.

      Also, if you’re ever on the fence, I’ve never regretted rounding up with my tip. Ever.

    • We tipped about 11% ($200) to each of 4 movers (45% / $800 overall) who moved us from a ground floor garden style apartment into a three story townhouse. They did some packing for us as well. It was 80 – 85 that day and the townhouse faces southwest making it hotter. We also provided gatorade and bought lunch. We know that’s very high, but the work is so hard and they were so fast and professional.

    • Tip definitely, but tip what you are comfortable with. Sorry not sorry, I’m not doubling the moving bill with tips. But if you have a fairly standard move tip $20 to each mover, or 10% of the move split between the movers, whichever you’re comfortable with. There is no reason to tip hundreds of dollars to the movers on top of a moving bill, they’re not waitresses, they get paid by the move or by the hour. Tip higher for a particularly difficult move or one that goes over time scheduled through no fault of the movers.

    • In Australia it’s normal to give them a “slab”of beer last thing! ( ie about 3 cans each)

  2. London in September :

    Reposting from the dormant afternoon thread yesterday — THANK YOU to those who already responded. I’m printing out all recommendations for investigating.

    @kensington and MJ: Ffiona’s looked like exactly what we wanted but unfortunately they’re closed for a summer holiday 8/30-9/15 :( Anything similar?

    @Senior Attorney: A Winter’s Tale. I wasn’t familiar with this one, but it was the only one that worked with our dates — looking forward to the experience!


    In search of any specific dinner recommendations you all may have! Have three nights left to fill. Heading to Dishoom on night #1 (thanks to Scarlett for the very late lunch reservation suggestion), and will likely eat at the Globe on our last evening since that’s the night of the play we’re seeing.

    Seeking options for (1) a light dinner, like an excellent salad (we always regret it if we don’t do some meals super-light when traveling…), (2) pub with decent food, and (3) best splurge-within-reason place (we’re not dropping 3-Michelin-star money; more like $200-$250 for 2 including a few cocktails or a bottle of wine)?

    • During summer I am really into seafood so here are a couple recos:
      – Scott’s in Mayfair has an impressive fish selection and is one of the few restaurants where you can have ray (it comes with tiny shrimps on top).
      – Bentley’s oyster bar and grill also in Mayfair has obviously tons of oyster options but a varied menu.
      Both of them have seating options and bar options
      For something light, I like going to the Ivy Chelsea Garden, they have a massive menu and you can sit at the garden, the terrace, or inside (I don’t like indoor seating as it feels everyone is rushing)
      Aquavit in St. James has a very clean Scandinavian vibe. They also had the lightest oysters I ever tasted, should have asked what they were. Sometimes it’s too full and they make you wait at the bar, also the tables are tiny.
      Bronte on strand has that elevated bar bistro pub vibe and the food is great. Only caveat is you might meet many after-work diners so to me that kills the tourist vibe

    • For a splurge within reason, consider the Palomar if you like Israeli/middle eastern food. May be late for a reservation but worth a try – it’s phenomonal.

    • It’s been too long since I’ve lived there for me to be helpful (I just return to my old standbys).

      I would check out TimeOut London for more current recs–they tend to have a lot of listsicles and when I lived there, they were really spot on for hidden gems.

      You might also want to go for a curry on Brick Lane too! Another unusual experience is to eat right on the Thames. I don’t know what’s hot now, but this list should help:

      Also, I know you’re jonesing for a salad–salad there means stuff covered in mayonnaise. It’s oddly hard to find salads as part of British cuisine, but you’ll find them as starters, certainly.

      If you have time, my fave museums are the Cabinet War Rooms (don’t miss, and see “Churchill” the movie before you go) and Sir John Soane’s House.

      • Senior Attorney :

        +1 for Time Out London!

      • Also, don’t forget the Goop Guides. As much as I want to hate on GP, she’s nailed my hometown & I’ve had good luck using her guides when travelling.

    • Salad? Ottolenghi! All the vegetables. All the virtuous foods! Several locations (2? 3?)

    • London is huge, so restaurant recommendations would depend on where you are staying or what you are visiting on each specific day. In terms of light meals, a lot of restaurants are doing small plates/sharing menus these days, so you can order a couple if you want to keep the meal light. Ottolenghi and Moro are great for this kind of thing.

      For good pub meals, I would recommend the Pig and Butcher, the Albion or the Duke of Cambridge in Islington (although they are more gastropubs than old-school English pubs).

      For an upscale meal, I would recommend Bob Bob Ricard (famous for its Press for champagne buttons), City Social (lovely views) or Gymkhana (upscale Indian).

      Brick Lane has changed a lot in the recent years, and a lot of the curry houses have closed or gone touristy…

    • Senior Attorney :

      Fun! Nothing like Shakespeare in London!! Have a blast!

    • London in September :

      I’ll keep checking back, but in case a new post goes up and people stop reading this one, wanted to say thanks for the ideas while the thread is still alive!

  3. Sale Watcher App? :

    I’m watching a couple dresses hoping they will go on sale – is there a site or app I can sign up to watch them for me? A specific product carried by multiple stores? I feel like this has been asked before and apologize I couldn’t find it!

  4. Chair to bed? :

    In yesterday’s discussion of murphy beds, someone mentioned a la-z-boy chair that converts to a twin bed. Something like this would be perfect for me. Does anyone know of other companies that make chairs that convert to beds?

    • American Leather makes a “chair and a half” type chair that converts to a very comfy bed.

    • Anonymous :

      The Ikea VALLENTUNA is similar– it’s technically a sectional but is the size of a chair. I’ve been eyeing it for our kids’ room.

    • Crate and Barrel has one as well

    • We have had good luck with Jennifer Convertibles (which looks like it’s Jennifer Furniture now?). I see they have some twin pull-outs and even sleeper chairs ( on their site.

    • Anonymous :

      I have a chair that converts to a bed from Ethan Allen.

  5. Lana Del Raygun :

    This is confirming my sense that I need to start making enough to shop at Boden. I love their looks! Until then, any recommendations for a Boden-style brand at a lower price point?

    • Know what you mean. I want to live in a Boden catalog.

      Your other option is to commit to buying fewer, but higher quality clothes. And watch for Boden sales. They do 25% off every so often.

    • Legally Brunette :

      Boden is now being sold at Nordstrom and I’ve noticed that many times their clothes go on sale for 40% off. I would stalk items you like there.

    • I’d recommend looking for gently used Boden on Ebay, Poshmark, etc. instead.

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        I’m hesitant to do this without knowing how their clothes fit me first, though.

        • I have to say I find their sizing chart to be pretty spot on. (This is a little different from how would it look, but for sizing, I think their measurement chart is accurate.)

    • Some of the collaborations at Uniqlo might work for you.

    • Also, if you live in the Northeast, they have sample sales from MA to NY to PA. This weekend’s sample sale is in Saratoga Springs, NY! Get on their list for this–it’s kinda tricky to find but it’s on their website. Everything is under $50, including really fancy dresses and winter coasts. I’ve gotten some great deals!

    • Pretty Primadonna :

      This Patty Boutik printed wrap dress reminds me of Boden. There is a 3/4 sleeve version as well which I have and like. Link to follow.

      • Pretty Primadonna :

      • Pretty, have you washed your Patty Boutik wrap dress? I have two of the dresses but have been afraid to wash them.

        • Pretty Primadonna :

          I have several of them and have washed them with success. I don’t do anything special aside from air drying and they have held up well. I have not washed the one with this particular print and it is made from a different fabric that is more opaque but also seems more prone to snagging.

    • Depending on where you live (and what your budget is), I’ve had amazing luck at Boden’s “sample sales”. They have a few each year outside Boston, Philly, and a few other places. I’ve picked up dresses for $40 that are still selling on the website at full price! I hear the Boston sales can be hectic, but those outside Philly have been reasonable and easy to shop when I’ve been. I LOVE Boden and I’m a big bargain hunter, so they’re worth it for me.

    • I’ve had good luck with just shopping Boden sales, you can get ridiculously good deals on off-season or end of season stuff. I’ve never made it to a sample sale but I’ve heard they’re good.

      I’m not sure about a Boden-esque brand this side of the pond but maybe sort of a mix of J-Crew and Anthropologie but more British?

      • I think if you stuck to the classic preppy stuff at J. Crew (striped T-shirts, for example), added Anthropologie for some big floral prints, and seasoned with a bit of Talbots, you might be able to approximate a Boden aesthetic. But all of those brands are in Boden’s price range, in my opinion.

        • Lana Del Raygun :

          Yeah I was hoping for something more in a Gap range tbh, which is probably too much to ask. :-/

          • ATL rette :

            I’m in more of a Gap/Old Navy price point for clothing, and Boden has really good sales. You can find shirts for $20, pants for $50, dresses for $50…pretty comparable to full-price Gap in my opinion!

          • Anonymous :

            Lands End is short waisted like Boden and some of their dresses have that cheery preppy vibe. Charter Club at Macy’s has some nautical stripes and short cardigans.

          • Belated response, but some of the nicer Land’s End stuff is Boden-esque and a more obscure option is White House Black Market.

            But what really sets Boden apart for me is the quality of the fabrics. So it’s hard to find that in *any* American brands, let along discount ones, so sale shopping on Boden is what I try to do.

  6. Anonymous :

    I need help moving on and putting something behind me at work. I’m in-house counsel for a large corporation and spent a significant chunk of time over the last several days helping to work through a very challenging, urgent issue. I could tell that one person I was speaking to was not happy about the advice I was giving, but unfortunately it was based on the current state of the law that I can’t change.

    I arrived at work yesterday morning to learn that this guy had sent an email to entire world (that somebody kindly forwarded to me) full of insane things attributed to me that I would never say, including purportedly direct quotes and conclusions that are complete nonsense. I have some internal CYA memos to myself that show what my advice actually was. This email was sent mostly to people in various leadership positions across the organization who I know of, but have not worked with directly.

    I spent most of yesterday vacillating between burning mad and just apathetic and tired as I tried to clarify my position and clean up the mess. I’m trying not to let it get to me, and my boss is being supportive, but I just hate that after I worked so hard on something that the message is out there that I’m a crazy person who doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

    I also don’t know how to possibly talk to this person going forward on this or other issues. We will very likely need to speak again regarding this particular situation, and then it’s possible our paths may cross again in the future. I’m pretty sure if I had to talk to him right now, all I’d be capable of is either cursing him a blue streak or bursting into hot tears of frustration.

    Any tips for getting past this and moving forward?

    • I would absolutely have a meeting with this person and my manager or HR, bringing the email and say, “please don’t do this again–this is what this turned into for me.” But maybe I am more confrontational than you. I don’t take people f-ing with my career or my reputation lightly at all.

      • Marshmallow :

        Agreed– I wouldn’t be at the “moving on” stage yet. I’d ask for a meeting with this person and my manager (and his manager?).

      • You need this documented.

        If your company is not dysfunctional, they need this documented. You are not the only person he had behaved badly towards – trust me on this.

        It’s not about being confrontational; it’s about responding to the behind-the-back character assassination.

      • +1 to this!

    • I remember this situation from your earlier post.

      The fact that your boss has your back here is huge. I notice that the email he sent misrepresenting your advice went to everyone BUT you–any chance you can use that to your advantage? I wonder if you could say to your boss, “Clearly Sam is wanting to hear from others on this” and ask her to handle his follow-ups. He will then just get the same answers from her, and you will no longer be the scapegoat. You can also forward her all your emails to him clarifying what you actually said, and she can just refer to those or even re-send them to him.

    • This person was entrusted with coordinated with the company’s lawyer and communicating legal advice to the powers that be. He has demonstrated that he cannot be trusted with that responsibility. This is a major issue for the company. Definitely get HR involved. Get his manager involved. Sounds like your manager is already involved. Demand a meeting with HR, his manager, your manager to discuss how to clarify the actual legal advice you were giving. Ask them how they are going to make sure that this never happens again – and no just warning him is not enough. Don’t tell them you refuse to work with him, but see if they can get there on their own.

      • +1 He needs to be called out in a serious way. Leverage the support of your boss to the strongest extent possible.

      • BigLaw Sr Assoc :

        This. I think this person should be fired. To put it lightly, he sounds like both a jerk and a serious risk management issue.

    • If your boss is supportive, I would politely respond to the email chain (but not show who shared it with you) and explain what your advice actually was and offer to discuss further if he remains confused.

      • I would do this in addition to the Anon at 10:21’s advice. It protects your reputation by putting into your own words what you actually conveyed, to the entirety of the group, subtly undermines him as he should be (or obviously undermines him who cares at this point), and reframes your worries as concern for the company.

      • I’d redline the email and resend it to the entire group.

        • This. This would send me into such a rage that I wouldn’t even be able to function until I had done something about it.

          I would reply all and write a scathing email back. It would certainly include many phrases such as: It has come to my attention, As an initial matter, As previously advised.

        • Wanderlust :

          As a lawyer, I would totally laugh if I saw that. It would make my day. As a non-lawyer…not so much.

      • +1 to offering to “discuss further if he remains confused.” Makes it clear that he was misconstruing your advice/he’s the one who got it wrong, not you.

    • You have to speak to him about this, with your boss.

    • Honestly the way I would move past this would be to address it. Is it possible he just grossly misunderstood your advice? Reaching out to him might be the best way to address that. You can do it neutrally. Let him know you’re aware of the email (even forward it to him, deleting the email from the person who sent to you to protect their privacy) and explain how it gets your advice wrong.

      If he reacts rationally and says oops, I totally misunderstood you, then I think you can move forward pretty easily with your working relationship intact.

      It’s up to you whether it is also worth sending a mass email back to the full group providing the actual advice you gave. I would consider doing that if the major players on the email are ever likely to seek your advice on something, since it seems your reputation is at stake.

      If he does not respond rationally, well, you’re in the best position to gauge how bad his email really is, but if it is going to cause lasting harm to your reputation. I would reply all (deleting the forwarding email) and write a calm response stating that you need to correct several misstatements in the original email which do not reflect your advice as given, which is a problem in light of the urgency and critical nature of this issue. Then provide whatever advice you actually gave.

      I would get your supervisor’s buy-in to send this email and probably ask them to read it as well so you get a neutral read on your tone. (And sorry you’re dealing with this!)

    • How is this person’s reputation? I’m guessing it’s not that great, at least with the people who matter. If this were me, I’d go to my boss and ask for advice.

      • +1

        I would ask my boss for his input on how to handle it first. My inclination would be to respond to him on the email chain where he misrepresented your advice, and tell him that you need to be included on all discussions about legal advice so you can answer any questions he or anyone else might have, or something to that effect. But your boss may have experience navigating these types of situations with this particular individual and may have a different opinion you might want to consider.

    • Anon in NYC :

      I would not move past this right now. I think you need to talk to your boss about how s/he wants to approach it, but I also think you need to make it clear to your boss that your reputation and credibility are on the line. You don’t want these people in leadership positions who don’t otherwise know you to have a bad impression of you. I also would potentially be meeting with HR.

      I personally think some sort of direct response to this is appropriate, and my vindictive side would want to make sure that every knew this person was insane (but that may be less advisable).

    • Anonymous :

      OP here, thank you all for the thoughts and advice so far. I would love for this person to be called-out and held accountable. It would be personally satisfying and I think it would help rehabilitate my reputation. Unfortunately my company is fairly dysfunctional, highly political, and HR is basically non-existent. I’m concerned he basically threw me under the bus and is going to just get away with it.

      I did send an email to my boss saying I was very concerned my advice had been totally misrepresented, and clarifying the advice I did give. She forwarded my response to the entire group with a message that basically said it looks like there was a breakdown in communication and that I did a good job of summarizing the law. This guy and my boss have now exchanged a few more emails (the rest of the group has been silent throughout), and her emails are a bit passive for my liking, but at least she is handling what needs to be done in terms of the actual work, and for now I’m trying to stay out of it.

      What I’d like to do is send an email just to the guy saying I’m sorry there was a miscommunication, but in the future I’d appreciate if he would do me the professional courtesy of at least cc’ing me on emails where he attempts to convey my advice so I can be available to answer any follow-up questions. But given the politics of my organization, I’m worried about making it worse.

      I don’t know much about his reputation. Maybe he’s known as being a trouble maker, but maybe not. In my role I provide legal advice to basically tens of thousands of employees at every level of the organization – whoever happens to call needing legal advice. It’s a bit of a $h!t show. This person is fairly high in his role, and because of the politics here and the way we are organized, I don’t feel like I really have a way of ensuring he is held accountable.

      • Anon in NYC :

        I definitely would not reach out and apologize for any miscommunication. At this point, the broader group knows that you provided accurate legal advice and that he completely misunderstood it (to put it mildly). I would essentially ignore him unless necessary.

        Assuming that you are cc’d on these emails, when the thread seems to be dying down, I might send an email to everyone and just let them know that you’re available to answer any additional questions they might have.

        • north shore nan :

          +1. No need to reach out to him again. And no reason at all to apologize. My guess is that he didn’t get the legal answer he was seeking and made a big show.
          Good that your boss and he have been communicating and everyone is seeing. I wouldn’t expect them to chime in, But I would hazard to guess this is not new behavior for him. And they know it and put up with him.
          Eventually he will be held accountable in one way or another, just not in this situation and not by you (sorry). Wait for karma to play out.
          After this all calms down (and you calm down – because I would be fuming), you may want to sit down with our boss’ boss and gather insight. She/He may have an additional perspective that would be useful.

    • I agree with the other OP’s! I cannot believe that such a-holes exist in the business world, but am told by others that they Do exist and your note proves it. Your boss needs to go to HR with you first, and THEN have HR meet with this a-hole to see why he spread such falsities. He may have done something underhanded that he wants to conceal and pin the blame on anyone but where it belongs — on his smelley tuchus!

      Good luck to you, and I am happy I have ruled out goeing in house after hearing about this. I am now either goeing to stay here as a partner, or become a WC Judge if I can also get a gig as an Adjunct Professor at NYU, Colombia or Fordham teaching WC law. YAY!!!!

  7. Adulting Help :

    Hive – I’ve seen a lot of questions lately about moving and furniture which I imagine is fairly typical this time of year but I hope I can pile on one more question without repeating something that’s already been discussed [please feel free to direct me elsewhere if it has].

    Where do you buy furniture when setting up your first “adult” home? I just moved into a new place and want to step up from the IKEA and Target days of my past, but I have absolutely no idea where to start to find good quality. I’ve heard not great things about Pottery Barn and the like, so I’ve been looking primarily at the online shops – Joss & Main, Wayfair, One King’s Lane. Anything I should definitely avoid or places I should be looking instead? Brands to consider? Please help me adult better!

    • Just did this last year and so far have been very happy with West Elm. All the items I ordered from Wayfair arrived broken — just anecdata but I won’t order from there again.

    • I really love Arhus–I have a lot of stuff from them, and it’s well made and sturdy.

    • north shore nan :

      From my experience, it depends upon piece of furniture. I have had success with Crate and Barrel/ CB2

    • Is there a particular reason you don’t want to shop at Ikea/Target any longer? Ikea carries cheap stuff and pricier things that last. Unless you are sick of the styles, the notion of ‘real adults shop at better stores’ is largely marketing which leads to lifestyle creep.

      • +1 to this!

        “Adulting” doesn’t mean buying more expensive things.

      • I agree with this. You can buy high-quality solid wood furniture at Ikea for $150 or particleboard at West Elm for $450. It’s all about reading labels and not succumbing to lifestyle creep.

      • Anonymous :

        I agree generally, but also note that I was deciding between items that look very similar at Ikea and C&B about a year ago. I definitely preferred the C&B style, but resigned myself to the Ikea. When I arrived at Ikea to buy, I found the quality of the finish on the solid wood furniture to completely lack durability and realized I would quickly be unhappy with what were sure to be damaged Ikea pieces and would end up buying the same furnishings twice or three times in the period I would keep the higher-quality C&B pieces, ultimately saving money and headache and buying something I really love. I am not sorry about my decision at all.

        • Anonymama :

          If you prefer the more expensive style in the first place, that is one thing, but if you don’t have a particular idea of what you want, and just want to feel like you are “adulting” or whatever, so you go shop at the more expensive stores, that’s kind of silly. But I know a lot of pretty wealthy people who have very nice homes and expensive furniture and a pretty high percentage of them also have at least some ikea furniture (including me!). But I find that there is not a real reliable material difference in quality if you only step up a bit on the price point, say from the equivalent at Ikea to West Elm or CB2. Going up another step, to Crate and Barrel or Room and Board, is generally a material difference in quality, but also quite a bit more expensive.

    • My first stop would be Room and Board.

      I like West Elm for light fixtures, but this saga has firmly convinced me never to buy a sofa there:
      I also think their tables tend to look cheaply made.

      I haven’t used them myself, but an interior designer friend recommends Joybird as having good quality for the price.

    • Aptdeco. Used furniture but I’ve bought two side tables, a mirror and a bookcase and have been thoroughly satisfied. Why pay retail?

    • West Elm and CB2 if you’re looking for one step up from Ikea. Room and Board if you have the funds for 2-3 steps up.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        If you want to split the difference, I’ve had great luck with Room and Board finds on Craigslist. There are so many people in my area getting rid of really nice, almost new furniture for a fraction of the original cost!

    • Pottery Barn is probably better quality than the random and questionable stuff online stores purvey because they’re a store with their own brand and own quality control. If you do like Wayfair and the like, the store “At Home” carries a lot of the same things a bit cheaper.

    • Marshmallow :

      I love my West Elm items but their shipping and customer service have been disasters every time I’ve tried. I’ve had better luck with CB2.

    • Honestly, I don’t think there is really much of a difference between say “Target” and “Ikea” level stuff and sites like Joss and Main and Wayfair (who often have the exact same providers of stuff), at least not across the board. Most of these stores and shopping sites have items that vary from crappy to high quality, you just have to read reviews, handle the item in store if possible, and be willing to spend $. For example, Ikea has some furniture that rivals the Room Store or Ashley Furniture, but it comes with a similarly higher price point. And you won’t necessarily get good quality for more money.

      I would focus on high quality brands of a particular item, not a store. For example, if you know you want a leather chair, go to a local store with a good reputation, ask about the joinery, warranty, and leather grade to ensure you get quality.

      For random décor, Ikea (esp. for artwork), Target, Joss and Main, Amazon, etc. work just fine. A piece doesn’t need to be expensive to be pretty, especially if you know you might change your décor anytime soon.

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        IKEA Hemnes is solid wood, for instance.

      • Agree. We were looking at a dining room set, and saw one we liked at Joss & Main. We saw the EXACT SAME ONE on Walmart’s website for $300 less. It was literally the same set, down to the identical stock photo. That really turned me off from Joss & Main.

        We ended up getting our dining set at Raymour & Flanigan, and our couches at Macy’s. We’re very happy with our pieces, but I can’t speak to longevity as it’s only been a few months.

        • On the other hand, I’ve seen West Elm furniture listed hundreds of dollars cheaper on joss&main – same pictures and description except for the name. Furniture shopping is a real wild card.

    • Room and Board is my absolutely favorite and we’ve slowly added pieces from there over the years.

    • Ha, I literally asked my dad this question recently. His advice, to go to a big box furniture store in the suburbs wasn’t super helpful for my urban-dweller life.

      But, +1 to Wayfair. The couch I bought through them still gets compliments.

      • AnonInfinity :

        This is what I did, and I liked it because I got to actually try everything out before buying it. I ended up with good, modern furniture, too. I did have to spend some time hunting to find the more modern pieces. Plus they delivered and set everything up, so the only inconvenience was the drive there to pick everything out.

    • I use Wayfair for rugs and curtains, but not for furniture (so far). My stuff is a mix of Macy’s Home store (couch), Crate and Barrel (credenza and sofa table), Room and Board (Bed – new, kitchen table – Craigslist), IKEA Billy bookcases (everyone asks me if they are built ins), Target (lamps), the Container Store (C tables I use as end tables.

      I’m also in Minnesota, so have access to the Room and Board Outlet store – I’ve got some thoughts about a couple side chairs and a padded bench from there.

      I’ve got an older table/chairs from brother that I think is Pottery Barn and the chairs are all about read to fall apart.

      • This – also MSP, also recommend Room & Board outlet if there’s one in proximity. Restoration Hardware showrooms will also mark down display pieces. I know this isn’t want you asked, but I would decide what the vibe you’re going for, how it fits into your house, and find some inspiration photos. Also set your overall budget. I can’t recommend enough measuring, drawing out your rooms on graph paper to scale, and start googling things like “clearance between dining chairs and wall”. You’ll use that to figure out what size table you can fit and should seek out, or how big your couch can be, etc. You’ll find that your universe will start to narrow in a bit depending on what style you’d like to achieve.

        I, too, recommend mixing pieces from all over, high and low, including antiques if you enjoy the hunt. Decide if you have art you are bringing over, sometimes I start with art and select pieces to compliment it. Sometimes it’s the opposite, but only you know what you’ll have. Don’t get sucked into all one store unless you want to look like a West Elm catalog. Decide how to spend your money, what is most important to you, and what’s most practical? Do you want a comfortable couch for lounging? Do you want a set-up for entertaining? Spend money on what you’ll use the most, and all the accents can be picked up as you go. Target side tables can look great next to an expensive couch. Finally, think about what will make each room look finished, which is really what you want to achieve in adulthood – window treatments/curtains, area rugs, and thoughtful layering with pieces you love.

    • USED FURNITURE. The prices are often the same or lower than at big-box stores, but the items are so much more interesting and often better made. Most locales have a bunch of used furniture stores that carry items in great shape. My entire home is used furniture except for the couch and beds.

      • +1. Cost effective and environmentally friendly.

      • +1. I get a lot of used stuff through AptDeco, too. It does slow you down because you have to wait for the right pieces but I feel like I’ve saved a lot of money this way and gotten much better stuff.

        I do think IKEA is still good for some stuff. West Elm has been hit or miss for me. Some stuff is better than others.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        +1. For wooden furniture, I buy used (I won’t buy anything with upholstery used except dining chairs, though). This may be location-dependent, but I have found people on my NextDoor site tend to sell better pieces than on Craigslist, presumably because Nextdoor is not anonymous.

      • +1 consignment, antique stores and craigslist if you want pieces that are more unique. Takes a bit of work, but when you find something perfect, it’s worth it.
        We have also had good luck with Macy’s.

      • +1. I actually took my grandparents’ furniture, and so I have a few newer pieces from Pottery Barn, but the rest are heirlooms. My grandparents’ coffee table looks very much like one that is currently sold at West Elm, so that’s a nice bonus.

      • I agree: Buy used furniture. Hit up consignment shops, second hand stores, charity shops (not goodwill, but higher end 501cs run to benefit a charity) and keep an eye on eBay and Craigslist. This is the best way I’ve found to buy high end furniture at affordable prices. In particular, wood pieces (tables, dressers, chairs) and lighting are good to buy second hand. Be choosier about beds and upholstery.

      • Also agree re used furniture, especially wood. I heard that due to deforestation no New furniture is being made to the quality of old.

    • Honestly, everywhere. I have stuff from Target, IKEA, Macy’s, garage sales, Craigslist, inherited and antique pieces, Overstock, Crate &Barrel, Article, Restoration Hardware, etc. pretty much everywhere. I spend on things I really care about (my bed, for example) and on the main couch, but everything else is an eclectic mix, mostly picked for style. And you can find that at all price points.

    • The furniture on Wayfair always looks really junky to me.

      • Wayfair stuff is generally no nicer than IKEA in my experience, with the downside that you don’t find that out until it’s already at your home.

    • If there’s one near you, Nadeau! They have such cool pieces and the prices are really fair for the quality. I’ve also had luck with World Market. Much of it requires some assembly, but it’s sturdier than particleboard and usually quite stylish.

      • I like Nadeau for most pieces, but I pass on anything with drawers. Drawers tend not to be well constructed.

    • I bought a few pieces from friends who happened to be selling their old stuff before moving long distances, that really helped. I also, admittedly, got a few pieces from Wayfair and Overstock – it’s not the highest quality and you do need to assemble stuff, but I’ve liked what I bought so far. My standing mirror arrived with a broken leg, but I fixed it with wood glue and now you have to look really closely to figure out which leg it was!

      For my upcoming move, I’ll probably be checking out the TJX stores like Home Sense and Marshalls for stuff, and maybe the clearance section at Jordan’s. My boyfriend’s thinking we should take a day trip to Ikea and he’s a software engineer in his mid 30’s, so no, that’s not just for recent grads with no money.

    • You might also want to look at local home decor stores in your town. The prices are not always a huge amount more than online, and you’ll get to see the pieces in person. Customization is also possible. Stores I like near me also have warehouse sales a couple times a year. Almost every piece in the nonbedroom parts of our house came from a store in the town where we lived when we bought our first house. Sadly it is closed now but I still miss it.

    • I think this is easier if you think about pieces and looks that you want and prioritize what you want first. Most people probably have a mix of things from different stores. You don’t need to buy everything from one or two stores. I’d start with deciding what you really like and want to keep, and what you want to or need to replace. In terms of higher quality, I think you are looking at potentially solid wood, nicer fabrics, fabrics that stand up to wear and tear, and stuff you do not have to assemble too much.

    • BigLaw Sr Assoc :

      If you have one near you, Scandinavian Designs (formerly Plummers). Clean designs, high quality, and reasonable prices for what you get.

    • Honestly, the best and most eco-friendly thing to do is buy used and scour your family’s houses for stuff they no longer want or need. This is family-specific, of course, but there are so many older people who downsize their homes and give all the stuff away because the kids don’t want it. I DO want old family furniture, and as a result, I have end tables that were a wedding gift to my grandparents, a 1940s wingback chair that has been reupholstered, a trunk my great-great-aunt used on a tour around the world, and more, including art. They’re all high-quality pieces with a story behind them and I find that they lend much more style to my otherwise IKEA-furnished apartment.

  8. Dublin hotel recs :

    My husband is travelling to Dublin in two weeks and will have 24 hours to himself. He is looking for a cool, affordable hotel that is walking distance to shopping, a good pub or restaurant, and some exploring. Any recommendations are much appreciated.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      If I had 24 hours in Dublin I would do any or all of the above. Start at Trinity College and see the Book of Kells before it gets crowded. It is one of those historical things that is just as good as the hype. Walk over the Ha’Penny bridge to the north side, wander up past the GPO to the Parnell Monument and the Garden of Remembrance. In the alternative, check out Grafton Street and then towards St. Stephen’s Green. My absolute favourite tourist thing in Dublin is the Kilmainham Gaol (need to take a bus). The Guinness storehouse is also pretty great.

      Temple Bar is always a good bet for clubs/bars/restaurants. If interested in a more “traditional” night out, I like O’Donoghue’s in Merrion Row. The Oliver St. John Gogarty in Temple Bar also has great music. My favourite bar in Dublin is the Stag’s Head but the Brazen Head is the oldest pub in Ireland (so they say).

      Cool, affordable hotels are very hard to come by in Dublin, in my experience. Maybe someone else can help with that?


        I spent 72 hrs in Dublin solo, and stayed in Parnell Square at Hotel St George. I walked down O’Connell st to the GPO and then across the bridge and to Trinity College. Then Merrion Square and the National Museum of Archaeology (bog bodies!) Instead of the Guinness Storehouse, I did the Jamesons old distillery tour, which was just ok–i didn’t realise when i booked it that whiskey is no longer made there. Samples at the end, though.

        I loved Kilmainham Gaol but it felt oppressive — once the tour ended, i couldn’t wait to get out. The tearoom across the street is lovely!

        I can’t wait to go back.

        • In addition to these great suggestions, if he’s a reader, I suggest doing the literary pub crawl (which he can sign up for online). It was great!

    • Flats Only :

      It’s been a few years, but we stayed at the O’Callaghan Mont Clare Hotel. It was affordable, and walking distance to all the downtown sights, Temple Bar, etc.

    • I stayed at the Arlington Hotel at O’Connell Bridge. It was pleasant and walkable to stuff. They have a good breakfast too.

  9. I have these pants and I love them, BUT…they are Ponte knit, not woven, and therefore look pretty casual. I also noticed that the fly is sewn in such a way that the flap that covers the zipper is not secured, and therefore can pull so that it exposes the fly. Not a huge deal but I think it makes it look like my fly is down all the time. I wear them with longer tops so it’s not a big deal, but something to think about if you are considering these as work pants. That said, they are soft as butter and very flattering.

  10. Do you ever mention in an interview that its your dream job? FFIW this is the equivalent of an astrophysicist interviewing at NASA, the place I am interviewing at is the be all end all in my field. Also, I am so excited I could just scream. TIA!

    • Yes- I don’t see the downside here. I’ve also mentioned it when explaining why I am looking to leave my current company – I’m happy at xyz, but this type of opportunity is what I have always wanted to do.

    • You can say “I’m very excited about this opportunity”. I’ve also used the term “career sweet spot” to describe how well a position fits into my (very loose) career plan.

      the term “dream job” is overly gushy is my brain. And honestly – you can’t know how much of a dream it will be until you are in it, so I think it also comes off as a little unsophisticated to use in an interview itself.

      Remember – you’re in the interview to learn about them as much as they are to learn about you. Gushing too much about how excited you are might block you being able to see any red/yellow flags that come up during the interview process.

      • I agree with this. I wouldn’t say “dream job.” You don’t know that if you’re not in the job yet! I think it makes you sound a little naive.

    • anon a mouse :

      “career sweet spot” or “culmination of career goals” would convey your message without seeming dreamy.

      FWIW, I work for a place that people refer to as a dream job, and just saying that it’s your dream job isn’t worth much. We look for people who understand the nuts and bolts of what the job entails, including the less exciting parts, and ask thoughtful questions about the challenges and actual work that they would be doing. No job is perfect and you’ll do yourself a disservice if you treat it as such in the interview.

      • I know its not all roses, but the job will allow me to geek out and do important work. Its hard to explain how I have the knowledge about the job without outting the job or myself. But I will say I have been in this hiring process for 10 months.

      • I’m also a person who had a “dream job,” interviewed for multiple dream jobs, and got one. It was a job that everyone knows is the dream job- lawyer working for ACLU or similar. The reason people decide they want to become an xyz lawyer in the first place. It’s one thing to say if you’re an intern– you’re looking for an enjoyable learning experience, you won’t be doused with hard work, everyone knows you’re a bit immature. But as a person more established in her career? I’d veer away. Everyone knows that job is perceived as the dream job so you probably won’t be perceived as totally weird, but those who have worked there will know as anon a mouse says, what it’s really like and how it likely doesn’t fit with an outsider’s perspectives.

        I’d say something like “ideal fit” or “great match for skill set and goals.” Avoiding the phrase dream job doesn’t mean don’t be excited. That’s always key! But you can convey dream job without using the term that might make you sound naive/immature.

    • Absolutely say it or words to that effect. I always want to hire someone who really wants the job and I’ll give major plus points for enthusiasm.

    • “Dream job” is, I think, emotional and perhaps slightly gendered language.

      Talk about your career goals, what you can add to the company, and where this job fits in with your long-range plan.

      • Anonymous :

        This. I can’t picture high powered women saying (squeeze!) dream job!!!

        I think you absolutely should express your genuine excitement in a way that shows your interviewers that you “get” the job, as much as someone not in the job can.

    • Frozen Peach :

      I said, the job description is as though someone handed me a pen, and said write the job you’ve always dreamed of. It was received well. I start Monday.

  11. long hair don't care :

    How do you do your hair for work?

    I usually come in with it down but if I’m really focused on something it often goes up into a a half-up style

    • MagicUnicorn :

      I have a pixie cut, so I just finger-style it with a very small amount of wax while it is still wet after showering in the morning. Takes about 60 seconds.

    • BabyAssociate :

      In a braided bun, everyday. Usually with the front part as a Dutch braid then tied into a bun.

      • Wow this is an aggressively young look to be rocking every day.

        • BabyAssociate :

          A bun is an aggressively young look? That’s not one I’ve heard before. To each their own, I guess.

        • If BabyAssociate’s hair is anything like mine, this is the only hairstyle that keeps all the flyaways and generally uncontrollable hair looking manageable for hours on end without spending more than an hour on it each morning. It may look young compared to just leaving it down if you have easy hair, but if the alternative is crazy hair, it’s a good choice. I am speaking from experience, as I also do a braided bun or french braid every day.

        • Oh god, I’ve been gone for literally years, we’re not still arguing about whether braids are professional are we?

          Also, I’d be totally impressed by someone who rocked a braided bun everyday bc when I had long hair, the most I could manage was a low ponytail. Now I keep my hair short so I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

      • long hair don't care :

        oh that sound so pretty! I love braided hairstyles

    • Usually a french twist along my crown and then tied back into a bun.

    • Low pony, kept sleek with product.

      • What products do you use?

        • Anonymous :

          Bumble and Bumble Invisible Oil mixed with Bumble and Bumble Straight blow dry cream (apply, shape and don’t comb or brush it); a bit of hairspray on my flyaways.

    • As a disclaimer, I’ve been working for myself from home (except for client meetings) for 2 1/2 years. When I was still in an office (attorney at a boutique of ~15), I almost always wore my curly hair straight and down and still had bangs. It was frequently in a low pony for a significant part of the day. I would occasionally wear it curly with the bangs pulled back (top center) with bobby pins. Now, for client meetings, I wear it curly most of the time with the front part (bangs are much longer now, more of a side sweep layer) pulled back at the top center with bobby pins. I *love* it straight or blown out, but it’s a lot of work!

    • Down or messy bun, 85% of the time. Sometimes half up, with the hair that’s pulled back in braids or twists.

    • Naturally curly – either down or half-up, depending on how the curls are behaving that day, or thrown up in a bun for second day hair.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      In a bun made with a giant clip, until it gets long enough to do a normal bun (sigh).

    • First day hair – down
      Second day hair – ponytail
      I can’t get my hair into a nice bun to save my life, sometimes I’ll do a sock bun but its messy.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Unless I’m in court or have a client meeting, down if I have actually taken the time to blow dry it the night before (I usually haven’t), in a ponytail or twist if I haven’t. I’d like to claim the ponytail is neat and styled like Kim’s on Better Call Saul, but it is not.

      • housecounsel :

        Thank you for reminding me that Better Call Saul is back! I actually really want her to change that ponytail up now and then.

    • Naturally curly hair – wear it down & straight every. single. day. It’s very exhausting.

  12. Ladies, talk to me about your relationship with food growing up. Are there things that your parents did that negatively shaped your relationship with food? Are there things that they did that were positive?

    I have two daughters – 1 and 3 and feel like there are so many landmines around this subject even at a really early age. I was an athlete through college and was very much focused on food as fuel and my parents really supported that by having me see a sports nutritionist etc.There were so many thing that they did right! But I also remember my mom doing crash diets and being really controlling around dessert and I still have a huge sweet tooth and have been known to eat a sleeve of Tate’s cookies while watching a movie :)

    My husband has a really weird thing around food going to waste and I feel like it’s becoming significant enough to warrant a conversation because i don’t want it shaping how our daughters see food. He’ll eat food he doesn’t like or things that I think don’t pass the smell test because he doesn’t want to throw food away. In a perfect world he’d go see a therapist to unpack the stuff behind this, but I don’t think he’ll be on board with that. At a minimum, I want to have the conversation about how this could impact the girls and what we should be doing to develop a healthy relationship with food. I just don’t want them to think there’s a reason to eat food beyond they’re hungry, it’s delicious/nutritious etc.

    Thank you!

    • Husband and I talk about this a lot, because we both got lessons on food that we don’t want to pass on. My parents always did the “clean plate club” and so now I always eat my entire plate, even if I’m no longer hungry or enjoying the food. I do this without realizing it, which is something I’m now working on. I try to model leaving a bit of food on my plate for my kids, and we never encourage them to continue eating once they seem finished (or we’ll ask “All done?” and when they say “yes” we say “great!”).

      Husband was always encouraged to finish his plate and not to waste food.

      We generally follow Ellyn Satter approach. We say you have to try one bite of everything on your plate, then you can have as much of something as you want. And when you say you’re done, you’re done. We incorporate dessert several times a week, although it’s often fresh fruit– sometimes with whipped cream to make it special (they eat tons of fruit throughout the day).

      • My parents also subscribed to the “clean plate club,” and I hated it. It wasn’t until after college that I felt that I could say “No, I’m only taking as much as I want” or “No, that’s enough.”

        If there was something they did right, they always emphasized fruits and vegetables. My dad actually had the food pyramid posted on the fridge, and at dinner he would ask each of us about our produce intake for the day and apportion salad accordingly. I’m not so particular about it now, but I do make sure I’m eating a balanced diet.

      • This exactly. My parents were in the “clean plate club” too, and I still struggle to break out of it. I have caught myself thinking “I’m so full, its going to be hard to finish the rest of this, but I have to do it.” I hate it, and it probably contributes to my weight problem.

        My mother will also eat food just to not waste it, and I try to tell her that eating food you don’t want isn’t really saving food, and its not helping anyone, including her.

        We also do the Satter approach, except my daughter isn’t required to try a bite. We provide food, and she either eats or she doesn’t, and if she decides she’s done, she’s done until the next mealtime. Eating dinner is not a prerequisite for dessert, but we only have dessert a couple times a week.

    • I don’t think his behavior is unhealthy, unless he’s trying to make the kids eat rotten food or something. From his point of view it sounds like he is eating because he’s hungry, and he just doesn’t see the point in wasting food when he doesn’t mind eating it.

      • +1 to this. I’d be your husband. It drives me nuts when my spouse wastes food. He’ll buy crap and let it sit, then complain it’s stale and throw it away. but I’m not exactly in my kitchen binge-eating stale Cheez Its every week…

        I think there’s definitely a difference between encouraging your girls to NOT waste food that you’ve purchased and is in the house — and giving them a disordered perspective because Daddy makes himself eat food. Hopefully your family will figure it out, but just from what you’ve posted, it doesn’t sound that extreme yet.

      • He eats it *because* it will otherwise be thrown away. For example, he hates salmon. Our nanny got salmon for our girls one night and there were leftovers. Three days later, I went to throw it out and he practically jumps across the kitchen island and eats the salmon. He doesn’t enjoy it, he wasn’t otherwise looking for something else to eat because he’s hungry. It was only because the two options he saw were in the trash or in his stomach.

        • Yuck. That’s really bizarre. Was he really poor growing up? Is he a hoarder?

        • I wouldn’t be particularly worried about this impacting your children unless he is encouraging the same behavior from your children. I would also have a hard time not openly mocking/making fun of this behavior–“Look at crazy Daddy, he’s like a human trash can, gross!” Not sure that’s the healthiest family approach but I could totally see myself doing it. All of this goes out the window, of course, if he encouraged/leaned on me or the kids to eat it (Anon at 10:42–holy cr*p, I’m so glad he’s an ex!). Put what you want in your own body but if the quality is questionable, the standards need to be agreed on by both parents.

          • Aunt Jamesina :

            I think mocking a family member for their quirks (issues?) is way worse than the quirk itself here.

          • Senior Attorney :

            No kidding.

          • I agree with Aunt Jamesina. This sounds like an OCD/hoarding behavior (which I’m very familiar with) and mocking him is just about the shittiest thing you can do about this. It will create a ton of shame and drive you apart.

          • “Not the healthiest approach is a whopper of an understatement. You really don’t want to teach your children that mocking and shaming or showing outright contempt for family members is acceptable. Ask me how I know. What is that adage about contempt being a strong sign that a relationship will fail?

        • Senior Attorney :

          I used to be like this. Then I realized that it’s no less of a waste for me to eat it if I don’t like/want it, than it is to throw it in the trash. You might want to run that thought by him at some point…

          • Food that fails the smell test is bad. It’s rotten. Not healthy, not normal. I’d sooner eat junk food than rotten meat/dairy/produce. It’s a form of self abuse to regularly consume rotten food when you’re not hungry or when you have access to other food. This is worse in my mind than compulsively eating junk food and sweets. Really, you can’t model normal eating with this going on.

          • pugsnbourbon :

            +1. Even if he’s not asking your children to eat spoiled food, he’s modeling the behavior.

        • Anonymous :

          I sympathize with your husband; I’m kind of horrified that leftover salmon sat around in the fridge for three days to begin with. Isn’t that both expensive and also one of the most nutritious foods there is? To me it feels like burning money and also I guess the life of a fairly intelligent creature that died for human sustenance.

          • Anonymous :

            But eating it rotten doesn’t do anyone any good. The money is still wasted, the fish is still dead, and now you might get sick eating spoiled food you for which you’re not hungry.

          • Anonymous :

            I personally think leftovers smell off on the very next day and really hate to eat them. People have very different sensitivities here. Salmon is safe to eat after being in the fridge for three days. She didn’t say that he gets constant food poisoning.

          • Huh? I make salmon and it can sit in the fridge for a few days while I nibble at it. It doesn’t go bad at all.

      • But she says below that he’s not hungry when eating three day old fish that he doesn’t want to eat.

    • I was an extremely skinny kid and hated food because my mom kept trying to get me to I’m Indian and food is a way to express love. My mom is an amazing cook and was always trying to get me to eat food. But the more she forced it, the less I wanted to. Some of the reason also stemmed from not wanting to waste food, but honestly, I think my mom just wanted to fatten me up. It did not work. It was only until I got to college and no one cared that I ate that I started to enjoy food and gained 15 pounds.

      So the lesson being, being extreme on either end is no good. Let your kids eat nutritious food, don’t freak out if they eat some sweets now and then, and require them to take at least a few times of a food they might not like but don’t force it down their throat either.

      • Legally Brunette :

        Oh gosh, me too. Why are all the Indian moms always trying to fatten us up?? And now my mom does it to her grandkids…

    • I actually have thanked my parents serveral for having the approach to food that they did. Their approach was “this is what is being served for dinner. You’re welcome to eat it. You can skip it. The next meal is breakfast.” We were served the exact same food they were eating (meaning: “adult food”) that I did not like as a child, but I ate because that’s all there was to eat. There was no requirement that we eat even a single bite of food on the plate, but the alternative was to go to bed without eating. Our lunches were often leftovers from dinner. Because that’s what was served and there were not other options, we ate it.

      We did not have any snacks or prepared food in the house (no pbj sandwiches/chips/goldfish/etc.). There was not another option and my parents did not have to fight with us about whether we could have a PBJ sandwich instead because we didn’t like the lentil soup. I did not enjoy the food as a child, but I ate it, and developed a pallate for real food and not highly processed food that many kids in particular eat instead. As an adult, I eat a very healthful diet because it’s what I like; it’s what I was trained to like.

      • This is the upbringing I wish I had in relation to food. Healthy/adult food tastes awful to me because I was always eating Kraft Mac & Cheese and lunchables. Granted, it’s not all my parents’ fault. They worked crazy hours and immigrated from a country that didn’t have these boxed food and didn’t realize it wasn’t healthy until years later.

      • My parents were similar. Every dinner had a protein, a starch, a green vegetable, and a yellow vegetable (and they’ve kept doing that post kids). Some of it I liked, some of it I didn’t. Fast food was a vacation-only type of thing. We were allowed some snacks after school (and when I got a bit older, my after school snack was typically an entire pot of Kraft macaroni and cheese before my three hour swim practice), but dinner was dinner and the only other option was to go hungry. We were allowed dessert, but only if an acceptable amount of dinner was consumed. One time I did indeed refuse to eat, my mom told me that if I didn’t eat my dinner, she would feed it to the dog and I wouldn’t get anything else until breakfast. The dog was delighted, and I never refused to eat again. This is sort of indicative of my mom’s parenting in general – she always followed through on threatened punishments, so rarely actually needed to punish because we knew she wasn’t kidding.

        As an adult, I eat very vegetable heavy (though I do put too much butter on everything) and pretty healthy. Processed stuff actually makes me feel sick. I completely attribute my healthy diet as an adult to eating well as a child.

      • That’s pretty much what my mom did, except that I had to try a bite of everything. It was made clear to me that the food she cooked, was the only food I was going to get to eat.

        We did have some processed snack-type food around for convenience, and I got one Lunchable per week as a Friday treat because I begged and begged to have “normal” lunch like all the other kids. But foods like that were always framed as sometimes food, not default food, and they were never available as a substitute for dinner.

        With that said, I was never picky and have always been an adventurous eater, so it’s not like she ever had to battle it out with me to make sure I got adequate nutrition like some parents do.

        My mom was also religious about never doing anything even verging on body-shaming in front of me.

      • Anonymous :

        This sounds really healthy and realistic to me. I know there is the rare kid out there who will actually skip meals to the point of developing health issues if they don’t like what’s served, but unless you have one of those, I think this is the best approach.

    • Re your husband – separate out the parenting issue from his own food issues. Is he demanding that the girls finish their plate even if they’re not hungry? Does he feed them past-due yogurt? If not, then let that part be. I know it’s tempting to say, I don’t like this problematic behavior AND ALSO it’s not a good example for our kids, but those are really different issues. You don’t like the behavior. Address that. Don’t pile on guilt about being a bad example, it’s inflammatory and counterproductive.

      I don’t have good advice about how you get around his own food issues. My ex was like this, he would eat week-old chicken (microwaving it kills the bacteria!), moldy cheese (it’s just mold anyway!), expired milk (it’s not curdled so it’s still good!). He never got sick so he thought expiration dates were a sham. He refused to accept that I would get sick from it — which I did, several times, because he would cook old stuff without telling me. He insisted I must’ve picked up a stomach bug from work; if it was food poisoning we’d both have it! The lack of empathy translated to other areas as well and ended up destroying our relationship.

      • Week old chicken I would certainly take issue with, but many expiration dates are extremely conservative and misunderstood. Hard and semi-soft (but not soft cheeses) cheeses can be eaten if you cut 1″ around the mold spot, and milk can be drank after the sell-by date (usually 5-6 days or so). There is also a lot of confusion about expiration dates, sell-by dates, and what those dates imply. Don’t eat anything you’re unsure of, but these issues do contribute to food waste.

        • Yeah-but the op didn’t say he’s eating otherwise ok food that’s past it’s sell by date. He’s eating food that smells bad. Not ok.

        • I know the difference between an expiration and a sell-by date. You don’t wait until milk actually curdles to throw it out, it smells off long before then. And I freaking love cheese, so if it’s in my house long enough to mold (rare) then there’s only a tiny sliver of it left anyway, so you can’t cut away the mold safely.

    • 15 Year old daughter :

      My husband was very influential in posturing how we talked about food in front of our daughter. We basically group food into two categories, food that gives you energy and makes you grow strong and “extras”. We have always eaten reasonably well but were sure to always have extras available and allow her to eat the extras, with the knowledge of what they actually are. Lately she’s eating a ton of brown rice and brown rice pasta and dried cereal while training for cross country.
      Honestly, the possibity of eating disorders in teenagers is so frightening that the minute our daughter returned from two weeks at running camp, my husband proposed a meal at Buffalo Wild Wings followed by dessert at Baskin Robbins. She said running the next day was not fun. :)
      I definitely feel like the focus at our house is being active and fueling those activities, along with enjoying other foods, too. I pray that we are messaging things the right way. I personally know a few beautiful, brilliant, kind young people struggling through eating therapies.

      • Just a quick comment that you are so wise to be mindful/watchful of your XC running daughter in high school. Particularly after running camp. That sport really makes it easy to fall into some terrible traps and habits. I loved and continue to love running and don’t for a minute wish I had done anything differently in high school and college, but I wish my parents and coaches had been more aware of my disordered eating habits.

        • Agreed. I was a varsity runner in high school and I know at least four of our top seven women for XC had some form of disordered eating. 3/4 of us didn’t get to a point that required medical intervention. 1/4 was in a very, very serious situation resulting from over-exercise and anorexia–she had to be hospitalized and completed at least one inpatient stay that I know of.

          My coaches ignored everything but the over-use injuries. When I coached I was hyper-vigilant for any issues with my girls, and I watched a few coaches on other teams really struggle with how to handle their clearly-disordered athletes. I remember overhearing one coach yelling at one girl with clear issues “You JUST have to EAT,” which is just, no.

          I loved running then, I love running now, and I don’t think running or doing XC caused my disordered eating…but the dynamic on my team definitely exacerbated it.

          • Same. I wonder if we were on the same team…

            It seemed like XC was a compelling sport for girls who were already prone to disordered eating. Same with veganism (#notallvegans). It works as a “cover” for disordered eating–I’m thin because of running, etc. And, because it it is such a tough sport mentally and physically, it can feed the self-harm/punishment/ self-control aspect that can attend disordered eating. Feeling upset? Run till you puke to get yourself right. I don’t know that the culture of our team specifically contributed. That said, I was not one of those girls, so it could just be that I wasn’t exposed to the disordered eating aspect. (Some of my running was fueled by the self-control/self-punishment urge, though.)

          • anon today :

            I am so glad others are cognizant of this issue. It isn’t just cross-country, although I imagine it is more prevalent there than in some sports. We need to keep a close eye on our young athletes. I have so much respect for a gymnastics coach in our area who is very vigilant. I was still so glad, though, when my daughter dropped gymnastics in favor of volleyball.

    • First of all, there is nothing weird with not wanting food to go to waste. It’s actually a pretty great goal of his and more people should be like this. That said, there are ways to plan and not eat “old” stuff (which probably is still edible; grocery stores are pretty conservative with their dates.) My husband is actually kind of like this and I think it is fantastic he’ll eat the leftovers in the fridge when I don’t want to.

      Second, to answer your question, my family was on such a tight food budget and my mother didn’t like to cook (and OF COURSE my dad wouldn’t cook dinner) so we didn’t have the greatest quality food growing up and ended up getting takeout a lot. Bad takeout – cheap chinese, mcdonald’s, etc. And my family never ate together. So it is actually really important to me that we eat lots of whole foods, make dinner, and eat as a family. We try to have our 3.5 year old “help” as much as he can – adding ingredients to a crockpot, taking his plate to the table, etc.

      • If you’re eating food that you don’t enjoy, is spoiled and you’re not hungry, how is that food not wasted? It would be better served in a compost heap than potentially harming a person. Gross.

    • I lived in a “finish what’s on your plate” household growing up, and I still try hard to clear my plate even when I *know* I’m full and don’t want to eat anymore. I’m going to take more of a “eat some of each thing on your plate” approach with my kids.

      I also lived in a household where food was scarce, and non-essential food items like cookies or chips were huge treats. I still struggle to stop myself eating *all* the cookies like I’m never going to see another, and I feel guilty when I put turkey *and* cheese on the same sandwich because that was “greedy” and I was allowed one or the other as a kid.

    • I think my parents gave me a great relationship w food. They offered me a relatively healthy dinner each night but never forced me to eat it. Dessert was a treat and you didn’t get dessert if you didn’t eat a reasonable portion of your dinner. I was picky but not abnormally so as a kid and as an adult I eat everything. There was definitely a culture in our house that food was necessary for life, but also something that is meant to be enjoyed. My parents never dieted or did any kind of food restriction to control their weight and I have a similar attitude as an adult – when I’m feeling heavier than normal, I will eat more veggies and get more exercise, but I never do restrictive diets that cut out an entire food group.
      We ate dinner as a family every night.

    • Don’t send messages that looks are more important than being healthy and strong. I know it’s fashionable for women to devote vast amounts of time and money to trying to stay small, but it’s really destructive and we really need to break the cycle. My parents used to fight about my after school snacks. I was doing gymnastics and my mom wanted me to snack on something with protein after gym but my Dad didn’t want me to build too much muscle because it would be unattractive

    • So in addition to not instituting a “clean plate” rule, I’ve read that you should avoid the whole “one bite for mama, one bite for daddy” thing because kids should be eating for themselves.

    • I just can’t get past your husband eating rotten food. Seriously how can you live like this? Do you sit down to eat and he’s drinking sour milk and rotted produce? I won’t want my child going to a house where spoiled food was offered/ forced upon him. How can you ask your daughters to watch this?

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      My parents didn’t make us clean our plates, but we did have to try a bite or two of foods we said we didn’t like (one bite to get used to the taste, one to see if you like it). Also we were not allowed to complain about food we didn’t like — saying “No thank you” is fine but not griping (and the kitchen is pretty much closed until the next meal). I think that was really helpful because it made me willing to try pretty much anything, and while there are definitely foods I hate, I can eat them with a smile on my face if the occasion requires it (I briefly considered a diplomatic career because of this, lol). Lunches were often pretty free-form but we had a rule that they had to include complex carbs and protein. That combined with the fact that my mother literally never dieted gave us a healthy sense of food as part of keeping yourself healthy and fueling all the things you do, not part of managing your appearance.

    • The other lesson on cleaning your plate is not to take more than you will actually eat. Don’t leave food on your plate for the sake of leaving food — just don’t put it on there in the first place. It’s difficult to translate this to small children (who have often unpredictable appetites), but you can model the behavior yourself. Americans waste an enormous amount of food. We typically have a very unhealthy relationship with food in general.

    • Additionally, I’d watch my own issues/preferences. My moms refusal to eat any meat besides chicken and turkey breast in the fat phobic 80s really did a number on me. Unfortunately, I think today’s obsession with low carbs will lead to similarly bad outcomes.

    • Often, we didn’t have enough food, which I believe has led to me eating too fast now. I have to consciously slow down when I eat. We were expected to eat what we were served, which I don’t support. For example, I never liked any kind of pork, but if my Mom made it, we were to have pork or nothing. Well, there is something about pork that just does not agree with my body, and once I was old and confident enough to understand, I never ate it again. So, I can see encouraging your kids to try things, but if they consistently don’t want to eat something, recognize it may be a real issue for them.

      I also really don’t like when people eat my food or make comments about what I am eating. I’ve cried when my husband commented that I was getting “a lot”of soup from the soup bar — I guess it sent me back to the days when if one person took too much, someone else got less. So, please teach your children that no one should comment about what or how much they eat, and they shouldn’t comment either.

    • I just want to say I LOVE that you are thinking of this

    • BigLaw Sr Assoc :

      Do you have any idea why your husband is like this? Did he grow up really poor?

      This is extreme, but both my husband and I lived through wars/famine in our formative years, so it is a challenge for us to throw away food as well. Sometimes I look in our fridge and pantry, and all the food brings tears to my eyes. And I cannot eat any soup to this day because that is all I ate for years. I probably need therapy, but setting that aside…

      I’ve channeled this into very active meal planning so stuff just doesn’t get thrown away. Maybe that is something your husband can work on? It is a great goal to not throw food away – too much gets wasted.

    • My parents are a recovered bulimic and a compulsive eater… there was no way to have a healthy body image or relationship with food growing up. I’m rather proud of the fact that I’m within healthy weight ranges and eat all the produce. And good for considering how your actions affect your kids!

      My spouse does the no throwing out food thing too- he grew up really poor so throwing out 50C worth of lettuce is hard for him. But he grew up with poor refrigeration so he throws out leftovers rapidly. I try to clean out the fridge sat morning before he gets up to avoid the discussions on whether something is bad or not.

      • Housecounsel :

        I have to clean out the fridge when my husband isn’t home. too. This entire conversation is making me so uncomfortable (although I am thrilled that the OP is thinking about her daughters’ relationship with food). I have a horrible history of eating disorders and multiple daughters. The thought of being forced or strongly encouraged to eat something I don’t want to eat, because otherwise it will be “wasted,” goes against the concept of intuitive eating which is the cornerstone of my recovery. I would never impose on my daughters the feeling that anything should be eaten out of obligation. I get that an animal’s life shouldn’t be wasted, but think the solution to that has to be on the front end. You don’t buy or prepare more meat than you know you will eat.

  13. Moving into a apartment with an open floorplan and I’m struggling with how to lay out the living room and dining room space. Do I do separate rugs for both, or just the living room space? What size table? Etc. I also have a quirky column to deal with. Any ideas of instagram accounts or ways to look for apartment style decorating ideas? All the bloggers I follow have a lot more space so they don’t have useful guidance on the tiny space issue.

    • Best advice I’ve received and implemented is to use your sofa to define the living room space — back of sofa faces the dining area and creates a “room” type feel.

      Having separate rugs to define the two spaces will help too.

    • The is what Apartment Therapy was originally envisioned for, I think.

      Re rugs – you can go either way. Maybe start with just the living room and see if you end up wanting one for the dining room area too.

    • Can you float your living room furniture to create a natural barrier from the dining space? I’ve also seen really cool things done with extra tall decorative items or plants behind a long couch set on the edge of the living space that really creates a separate room effect. Or innovative layouts with an open book case or decorative half room divider jutting from the wall or ceiling. The below give some good ideas:

      • Ouch! that hurts :

        Yes. Putting a table behind the sofa and having some pretty things or plant on it which face the dining area is a great idea. You can clear off the “sofa table” and put dishes on it for a buffet in your dining room.

        Alternatively, free-standing open shelving (not bookcases) allows for similar “division but with more of an airy feel.

        Finally, you can find screens that are hinged together. Some are open woodwork so there’s the open sense. Others are traditional screens so you’d actually want to buy two so there is something to “look at” from both sides of the open room.

        In all instances, two separate rugs is a nearly “must” to separate the space. They can be of coordinating or shared colors with different patterns – or the reverse – similar patterns in different colors.

        You might look at mid century moden styling or atomic ranch for other ideas …

        Congratulations on your new space. Enjoy. Make it yours, slowly.

    • I’m doing this too! Not with rugs because our space is gonna be carpeted already (not ideal, but wasn’t a deal-breaker). I plan on using my open bookcases to separate the space, the ones I have are sort of “cubby”-like and can be positioned one of two ways which gives me some flexibility.

  14. I’m looking for a large area rug for my living room. Not too light colored as I have pets, but something not too dark either. Probably around 10×13. Does anyone have an area rug they love? I’m in a remote area so will probably need to buy it online.

    • Check overstock, I get all my rugs there. Thousands of options. Try search terms in styles you like to narrow it down. The Savieh line has been consistently good quality.

    • Ouch! that hurts :

      Been happy with Mowhawk brands we’ve ordered online from Lowes.

  15. Winter hourglass looks :

    I was very dissatisfied with my wardrobe last winter, and as in preparation for fall shopping I realize I have no idea what I’m looking for. I’m a petite hourglass, and my workplace is on the casual side of business casual. I also work 12-hour days sometimes, so comfort is important. What cold-weather items would work well for this shape? My style is feminine but practical.

    • You sound like me. I also have a casual workplace. My fall/winter uniform is basically skinny pants or skinny jeans with cashmere or silk sweaters. Last year I fell in love with Banana Republic sweaters – they have some that are cashmere/silk or silk/cotton blends with different necklines in very pretty colours. They are warm and look nice with a necklace, or a scarf if that’s your thing. I wear flats when it’s not too cold out, and booties in the winter.

      • Legally Brunette :

        + 1 Banana Republic sweaters, they are great for an hourglass shape and I wear them constantly in the winter with a pencil skirt and tights and a long necklace. I wish they weren’t quite so thin though but if you stick to the darker colors you should be fine.

    • I LIVED in this look all winter long: black boots, black tights, black or light gray fine gauge merino turtleneck or crewneck sweater, and a colored, knee-length, a-line, wool skirt from Talbot’s. (They have great ones every winter – I have them in gray, red, royal blue, and cream.) SO EASY. And if you don’t wear control top tights, it’s super comfy. I was actually a tiny bit sad when winter ended because I didn’t get to wear my super comfy uniform anymore.

    • Dresses and skirts :

      I’m an hourglass too, and my winter uniform is usually a thin sweater of sorts…my favorite is a merino v neck, or a cotton v neck, and a straight or a line skirt from pointe, or a stretch cotton. If it gets colder, I wear a longer open front cardigan, or soft moto jacket over the thin sweater. I wear tights and boots, or in fall, booties with this outfit. It is comfier than pants for me, but once A week I wear comfy stretch rockstar jeans or stretch pants from a substantial knit. I add a longer necklace or scarf to the outfit, and have tights in black, navy, light greyish blue, and plum. My boots and booties are black, cherry brown /whiskey colour. The skirts are a mix of solid and print, and the sweaters are usually plain.
      I do usually gravitate towards skirts and sweaters for winter though as they are the most comfortable with boots in my rainy meet climate. I buy the merino sweaters from banana republic, thought the quality varies from year to year (I wore a brand new one this year,and a hole mysteriously appeared that I could just not fix). I like the gap pointe material for skirts, and I find the soft motto jackets at Anthropologie on sale.
      It’s funny but I love dresses in the spring and summer, and skirts in the fall and winter. I find some of my warmer winter dresses are not as warm or comfy as a sweater or skirt, while in summer, skirts and tops don’t feel as free and cooling as dresses:). I realized that my uniform is seasonal; while I still have winter dresses and summer skirts, they don’t receive as much love as winter skirts and summer dresses.

    • Dresses and skirts :

      I am unsure if my reply was lost, but here is a recap.
      I decided this past winter, that while I love dresses and they flatter me the most, the winter dresses I was finding were a pain. The dresses with sleeves could be too cold / weird sweaty, and loose their look/ shape with a cardi or jacket over top, while the sleeveless dresses, did not work for me as well in terms of sweat temperature regulation. – my casual workplace is an older building that runs hot and cool all day.
      My winter and late fall uniform, once the cold rain begins on the west coast is as follows:
      -Pointe fit and flare skirt, or straght pointe skirt ( usually ordered from gap, but available at lots of stores)
      -Thicker stretch cotton skirt in patterns or solids, also a line, straght, or flared. ( I see these, but buy too, and make patterned knit skirts for colour variety)
      -Merino wool or thinner sweaters…also love BR for these, though quality varies from year to year.
      – tights in black, navy, light grey blue, plum
      – boots and booties in black, dark brown, grey…I find suede actually warmer and more waterproof in blondo and la Canadienne brands, which I buy on sale.
      -A scarf, or necklaces to jazz up solid sweater.
      -A longer open cardi or soft motto jacket over thin sweater if I’m cold.

    • Nerfmobile :

      Lined pants are key in staying warm. I like fuzzy sweaters. Scarves help a lot too.

  16. Kid phone bullying / problems / troubleshooting :

    IIRC there is a case in NJ of a middle school bullied via her phone who killed herself.

    I know that my kids are going to get a phone (pref a phone that just calls and texts at first, before we take the training wheels off for apps) at some point. They already very much enjoy using my phone at times to text various family members, which is a good thing for all.

    I wish that there were a training class for parents on how to do this well. With everything else, we work with them to develop skills and safety habits (e.g., biking) and then show them how to bike well in areas where there are cars, other bikers, etc.

    I have one kid who is . . . awkward and already has pretty bad FOMO for things like parties that some kids to go that she isn’t invited to. She is a very sweet girl and I don’t want to expose her to something that may wind up hurting her more than helping her. I know people here say kids have to have one else they will have no social life (but what if your kid really doesn’t have a social life and isn’t the social butterfly / cheerleader type)?

    We are going to be moving to an after-school college sitter (and her sorority back-fill people when she can’t make it). I can see how a phone would be helpful if kid ever doesn’t get picked up. Maybe a phone watch thing that just lets you dial a few people? Older kid is 10; lots of others have full-on iphones at school.

    • Personally, I wouldn’t make the situation worse by keeping her from having a phone if her peers, especially the popular kids have them. That will just make her all the more awkward by not being able to participate. The best thing you can do is talk openly about the struggles of growing up, and maybe find a good friend or aunt who can also be a grownup voice for your daughter to talk to. The solution isn’t limiting technology, it’s providing a safe place for her to talk about what she’s experiencing. I’d even consider therapy for her to have someone to talk to. But, only if you believe in it and even better, go yourself so it’s a “thing you do” and not a “something is wrong with you” appointment.

      • +1

        I’d also research the apps that the kid are using so you can make an informed decisions about whether or not to let your kid use it.

    • I know kids and teens chafe against this, but I think an “open phone” policy is important. Like, don’t unnecessarily invade the kids privacy, but make it clear that you can and will be able to check their phones. Period. (Same with social networking).

      I wouldn’t check it everyday or anything but it’s better to set expectations upfront rather than having a blow-up about it later.

      Also, I’d treat on-line bullying and all it’s various forms (esp things like revenge p*rn and selfies when they’re a little older) the way my parents treated drunk driving back in the day; the rule in our family was that if I ever got into a situation where i needed a ride, my parents would come get me and I would not get in trouble. Period. I never actually tested it, but my parents *did* do it for some of our neighbors kids too. But you have to actually be committed to it, even if you find out that they’re doing something you really don’t like (nothing says you can’t talk to them about it, but no punishments is what I mean). Just a thought.

      • Anonymous :

        I think this is smart. I have much younger siblings so my parents had to deal with the smartphone issue in a way that they didn’t have to with me. My mom’s rule was that my sibling could use instagram/facebook/whatever, but had to add her as a friend so she could look at what they were posting if she wanted to. In order to use snapchat, they had to listen to my mom read research she found on the internet about how snapchats didn’t disappear and could be saved by the recipient. They also had to sign a contract that my dad prepared promising that they would be fully clothed or wearing a swimsuit in any snaps they sent.

    • lawsuited :

      I think you can talk to a 10 year old about how smartphones are not strictly a good thing – they can be isolating, they can be used for bullying, etc. Talk to her about the rules your family follows to try and keep healthy habits around smartphones. Tell her that you’ll check in with her from time to time to find out how she’s doing with the smartphone, and that you really want her to share any confusing or difficult things she runs into with you so you can help her figure them out.

      This is really tough stuff. AS we all know, prohibiting something is not the same as preparing your child to interact safely that that thing. You’re doing the right thing being as thoughtful about it as you are.

    • Anonymous :

      The great thing about phones is that you can block or ignore anyone who messages you on them! Unfortunately, you can’t block or ignore classmates at school who you know hate you because of the messages they previously sent. Is the problem really the phone or is it being trapped in a physical space with abusive people who you know hate you? Is the phone still a problem for a child who is taken out of a bad school and introduced to a new, more civilized community? I like some of the other suggestions here (yes to phones, yes to open phone policy), but I think schools are trying to shift the blame onto technology.

  17. I’ve been seeing my BF for a little over 6 months. Things are going well and we’re starting to talk about moving in together. We spend just about every night together so I have a pretty good sense of his natural habits.

    But as neat and healthful and respectful as BF is, he demands pretty much none of that from his 8 year old, who is with him 2 days a week. The child is very sweet and loving but he’s a little wild. The kid’s stuff is strewn all over the house. His Halloween costume from 2 years ago lives on the living room floor. It doesn’t even fit him anymore, why is it in the living room? The kid’s room is a total disaster and it smells like there’s food in there somewhere. His diet is terrible – BF and I are (reluctantly) healthy eaters but his kid eats like Pringles and ice cream for breakfast every day. Which of course means there are Pringles crumbs and sticky leftovers on every surface – because the kid also doesn’t eat at a table or clean up after himself. Selfishly, I really don’t want junk food in the house because it’s a huge temptation for me (I have a lot of food issues). I’ve asked that if BF must give the kid chips then please get single serving sizes that get used up when he’s here; chips cannot be a staple in our shared pantry — he seems ok with that.

    I’m a longtime singleton, I know basically nothing about kids, but I was a kid once and my childhood definitely didn’t look like this. Maybe my parents were just unusually strict? Or I have unreasonable expectations of life with a kid? I thought by 8, the sticky, crumby, smelly years were over?

    • Lot to Unpack :

      wow. this is not the 8 year old and 100% your boyfriend’s issues. which will be yours when you guys move in.
      you need to have some serious talks and forward thinking about 1 food 2 cleanliness when kid is around 3 rearing of the kid?

      • This. This is 0% the kid’s fault and 100% his dad’s fault.

        All the issues are BF’s poor parenting – ANY 8 year old would eat pringles and ice cream for breakfast if they were allowed. It’s the PARENT’S job to offer appropriate foods at appropriate times.

        A ‘no food in bedroom’s policy is easy. But an 8 year old will likely still need help cleaning their room especially at first when setting up places for everything to go. With practice, they can do it themselves.

    • Flats Only :

      If you are not at peace with your BF’s parenting style, as it currently stands with no changes possible, don’t move in. It’s not fair to anyone – you, BF, or the kid, whose only constant comfort in life may be being allowed to eat pringles and ice cream for breakfast on the sofa.

      • Agreed.

        This is not about Pringles. This is about values, child-bearing, and a host of other issues that might be deal breakers.

    • I’m a little confused here. If BF is neat and the Halloween costume hasn’t been worn in 2 years, why is it on the living room floor? I can see not cleaning the kids room to make a point (maybe?) but if he isn’t picking up things in his living room, he’s not neat, yes?

      Generally, I would talk to BF about this. It sounds like maybe he doesn’t feel comfortable having strict rules for the kid and kid takes advantage.

      • Yeah it’s kind of odd. All of BF’s stuff is organized and put away. Even his fridge and pantry are organized. His kitchen is immaculate. But it’s like he won’t move anything that belongs to his son (other than dishes) and won’t make the kid do it either. If the kid tosses a toy in the middle of the floor, the toy stays there for weeks (or in the case of the costume, for years).

        I kind of wonder if BF is almost manifesting his son’s presence by leaving all his stuff all over the place? Like if he cleans up his stuff it’s as if he’s not even there. BF gets a little defensive when I suggest picking up so I haven’t pushed it. But I know if we’re going to move in together then I need to address it more directly.

        • If it’s a manifesting the kid’s presence issue could you help him make the kid more present in the house. Like one of those Skip Hop toy baskets that his toys can be toss into. Obviously belong to a kid but an easy place for toys to be tossed.

          The not eating in the bedrooms also sounds easy to solve. Maybe kid friendly snack bins in the cupboard/pantry?

        • Anonymous :

          You can’t be serious. You can’t move in together. You can’t date.

        • Frozen Peach :

          Or, the mother of his child always picked up that stuff, and your boyfriend has not yet noticed that NOBODY ELSE IS GOING TO DO IT because he is the only adult in the home. You absolutely must have an explicit conversation with him about this issue before moving in together. It sounds like he has yet to own his role as an actual parent vs a fun uncle.

    • Your boyfriend is NOT neat and healthful and respectful. It’s not the boy’s fault that the Halloween costume has been on the floor for two years or that the counters are sticky and crumby. The man you are dating is a messy man who doesn’t clean his house and who doesn’t train his son in cleanliness or health. DO NOT MOVE INTO THIS SITUATION thinking that the child is the one who is causing this.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Hoo boy amen to this!

        Please, please do not move into this situation because I guarantee you will make everyone miserable, starting with the poor little boy and continuing with yourself. Possibly your BF although he sounds pretty checked out so maybe not.

      • Yeahhh 100% of these issues are boyfriend’s, not the kid’s.

      • +1. Kids do what you require them to do. No kid automatically washes their hands after a snack unless they’ve been trained to wash their hands after a snack and someone reminds them over and over again, same with keeping snacks to a designated area, tidying up their own room etc. Your BF is not keeping a comfortable, clean environment for himself or his son.

    • Um, I mean this gently, but you seem to be seriously underestimating the challenges of assuming essentially a step-parent role in this household.

      Demanding that your boyfriend make changes (clean the kid’s stuff out of the living room, get the junk food in individual portion sizes) is fine. But it sounds like you expect the kid’s life to change in significant ways, and that is setting everyone up for failure in this relationship. The issue is not whether this guy is parenting the “right” way. It’s not how I parent, but it doesn’t sound like it’s actively bad for the kid, especially since the kid is only in the house two days a week. Presumably he’s spending the other 5 days a week with mom, so her parenting is going to be a much bigger influence in his life anyway, at least in terms of these day to day issues.

      But if you moving in means big changes for the kid – no more Pringles for breakfast, must keep room tidy, etc – you are setting yourself up as the bad guy. You do not want that dynamic.

      If you really can’t live with the kid AS HE IS CURRENTLY PARENTED, you shouldn’t move in with this guy. Maybe that means you break up. Maybe it means he works on some changes to his parenting entirely separate from you, and you keep dating, with the knowledge that things may never get to a place where you are comfortable moving in. But please do not move in expecting that your boyfriend will parent differently once you do. Either he won’t, and you’ll resent that; or he will, and his son will very likely resent you.

    • Anonymous :

      I want to cry with these posts today.

      No child deserves to live in filth. Really. Your boyfriend is not a good parent if the child’s home looks like this. My heart is breaking that an eight year old child has no clean place to sleep at night. Seriously? Does the child’s other parent know this?

      And above, a poster’s husband is gorging himself on rotten food recreationally?

      • Anonymous :

        It does not sound as if this eight-year old is suffering (sounds like he’s having a grand old time at Dad’s house, honestly). And I am sure the child’s other parent knows this, because the other parent’s house is where he’s developing his daily habits 5 days a week!

        • Anonymous :

          How can he not be suffering if his bedroom is covered in rotting food and clothing sits in the floor for years? Worse, the dad cleans up his own possessions and not the child’s because he can’t be bothered? Because he’s punishing him? What?

          • Anonymous :

            An eight year old can pick up clothes if clothes on the floor are bothering him (they teach this in kindergarten, come on). I hear you on the old food smell–it would bother me! But it certainly didn’t seem to bother a large percentage of guys in the dorm rooms when I was in college. We don’t have a whole lot of context here, and it’s clear that something is wrong, but a bunch of parents down thread are reporting that their 7-10 year old kids make messes and just don’t care despite constant reminders and interventions.

      • housecounsel :

        I want to cry because a girlfriend is so clearly put out by her boyfriend’s child.

        • Anonymous :

          Ugh you’re right. I got so upset that I missed that the point of her post was basically about how it affected her. These two are both awful humans.

          • Anonymous :

            Really? It seems perfectly reasonable to consider the impact of a boyfriend’s child on the decision about moving in together. My first thought was–“wow, they are not ready to move in together and this relationship probably isn’t going to work out”–but not at all that she’s a bad person for caring about her possible future living environment, including what food is kept in the pantry.

      • There is nothing funny about these situations but your summary made me laugh. Thanks for rephrasing.

    • I don’t have my own kids either, but I’d strongly suggest slowing down the move-in plan. I think that should happen slowly when kids are involved anyway, so the kids’ homes are not constantly in flux, but in this case it’s more concerning that you already see potential areas of conflict involving the child. I see potential for you to be the nagging stepmom who isn’t ok with things left on the floor or junk food at all mealtimes. The real disagreement is between you and BF, but it’s going to come out in front of the son, and out of frustration you will probably start trying to manage it yourself since BF isn’t really on board.

    • Anonymous :

      So you don’t like how he parents. Break up.

    • What in the world??! I feel so sorry for this poor child. Your BF is being a terrible parent. I wonder if this stems in part that he wants to be the “fun” permissive parent and let the kid do anything he wants?

      I think you can candidly tell me that the child’s diet and the cleanliness of the home is not healthy for his son. But ultimately he’s the parent and gets to decide. But no way no how should you move in with him. Honestly, if I were you and this is how my BF was treating his son, I would break up with him.

    • 8 year olds are not adults. You cannot have the same expectations of them that you do of grown men.

      And FWIW, even many adult men are not beyond the “sticky, crumby, smelly” years. I remember visiting some friends from college when we were in our mid 20s and they were living in a nasty glorified post-college frat house. They were adults with jobs at this point and they were living like that.

      If you were a finicky clean child, that probably had a lot to do with your personality and your parents telling you to clean up frequently. It is very unusual for a child to clean up or eat healthily of their own volition, especially if their parent lets them do and eat whatever they want.

      This is 100% a parenting issue. I would not touch that with a 10 foot pole. I would not move in if you can’t live with things exactly how they are. If your boyfriend wants you to move in so badly that he’s willing to change his parenting, he needs to do that separately from you moving in. Preferably for a long enough period of time (another 6 months?) that the kid doesn’t associate you with that change and resent you for it.

  18. Agree that this is probably a parenting style issue, not the kid’s issue. I have a 7 y.o. son and consider myself a strict parent. But he will only clean up after himself if I tell him to do so. For example, one of his chores is clearing his place after every meal. 90% of the time, we have to remind him even though this has been his chore for 2 years. I think kids just need reminding.

    We also have a rule that we only eat in the dining room. But if my kid gets candy or something from school, he will absolutely try to sneak it into his room.

    I am also shocked at how bad my son is at putting food in his mouth at the table without dropping it on the floor. Not sure if he is uniquely bad at this or if it is typical, but I honestly thought the food on the floor stage would have ended by elementary school. The solution is that somebody sweeps the dining room after every meal and I try to remind my son to eat more carefully if he seems to be flinging around food that he should be able to eat without making a huge mess.

    So I don’t think your boyfriend’s son is doing anything atypical, but I would recommend you and your boyfriend agree on house rules and parenting approach before you move in together.

    • Your 7 year old sounds like mine and most other 7 year olds I know. Still kinda messy at the table, likes to push boundaries on where food can be eaten, lots of reminders to clean up after themselves.

    • Anonymous :

      “shocked at how bad my son is at putting food in his mouth at the table without dropping it on the floor” – OMG yes! Telling my almost-10-year-old to sit up and eat over the plate so the food doesn’t end up everywhere is a daily occurrence. And I am always finding cheerios because the kids will sneak into the pantry, grab a handful, and snack on them while walking around the house, despite a strict “we only eat at the table” rule.

      • Housecounsel :

        Please, please, please end this relationship. The child is annoying to you. I am hurting for him already.

        • Yeah, I am often annoyed by my own child and have to remind myself that she’s mine, I am her mom, and it’s my job to teach her to do better (or to feed her better or make her go to sleep earlier so she is not a cranky animal). I honestly do not know how I could stand a child that I have no emotional attachment to. I think OP has to cultivate that attachment before she can move in, even if the kid is only there for 2 days a week. 2 days are too many to be annoyed and to hurt a kid’s feelings by being annoyed with them.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        To be fair to children, I struggle mightily with this and I’m 31. It’s especially evident when there’s no dog around to clean up after me.

    • And Peggy :

      It might be a good idea to tell the kid you want to see them get in the habit of doing something without you having to ask. “Jonah, I want you to start clearing your plate from the table after every meal, without me having to ask.” It would be great if kids picked up on those constant reminders and just formed the habit without that conversation, but that’s just not how their brains work.

  19. Perfect Towel? :

    Ladies, anyone know where to buy a great bathroom towel? Price is no problem.
    I am a towel snob.
    My favorite towels have to be replaced and are no longer available.
    Looking for extra-large, 100% cotton, QUALITY towel that is not chemically treated in any way (so very absorbent and has more traditional feel). Most of the towels I find in stores feel semi-plastic and too slick. My guess is that they are treated or blended with some kind of artificial materials.
    Thank you for any advice!

    • I like my waffle weave towels from Gilden Tree (Amazon).

    • I got some amazing towels from ABC Home & Carpet a few years ago. Not sure of the brand but check there. I regret not buying more.

    • Boll and Branch

    • Coyuchi – they’re online, and if you happen to be in Point Reyes they have a store. I love their Turkish towels.

    • Anonymous :

      I love Lauren by Ralph Lauren towels. They are colorfast, and last forever. Get the ones from Macy’s or Bloomies or a similar store, not the super expensive ones sold at the RL home stores (which were so heavy I couldn’t lift them and so thick they never dried). The colors are a bit traditional, but the fabric is great.

    • Anonymous :

      Keep in mind that the towels at the store have probably also been treated with a temporary protective plastic coating that will wash off.

    • Ouch!that hurts :

      Frontgate catalogue

  20. NYC restaurant suggestions? :

    I previously read some restaurant recs for midtown/soho/tribeca in NYC on this s i t e–thanks all. Now I’d like to ask for deli suggestions in/around those areas, and any restaurant suggestions near Prospect Park. FYI our 9 y-o son will be with us. TIA!

    • I really like Untamed Sandwiches near Grand Central. They basically make fancy pulled pork / sloppy joe type sandwiches…not sure if that’s close enough to being a deli for what you’re looking for.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Depends on which side of prospect park you’ll be on, and the area generally (i.e., north or south), but here are a few suggestions for the north / west side of the park:

      Talde – Asian Fusion
      Al Di La – Italian
      Miriam – Mediterranean / Israeli
      Gristmill – American
      Fausto (although only open for dinner, and perhaps a little too stuffy for a 9 year old) – Italian
      Hugo & Sons – American
      Stone Park Cafe – American

      A few other places in the area that might be helpful, especially with a kid:

      Bklyn Larder – a fancy deli. They have sandwiches, cheese, some sides, etc. You can build a picnic and go to the park.
      Ample Hills – ice cream. Locations in Prospect Heights and Park Slope/Gowanus.
      Little Cupcake Bakeshop – Prospect Heights. Great cakes/cupcakes/cheesecake.

      • I live in this neighborhood, and those are many of my favorite spots. You have good taste…we should get dinner sometime, Anon in NYC. :)

  21. I’m new here so please excuse me but: Why are there always random conversations going on under posts? I go to read comments/reviews/recommendations about what was posted and 9 times out of 10 I find something else. What am I missing ?

  22. Anonymous :

    I don’t really read the posts. The Workwear Report in the mornings and the Coffee Break in the afternoon are the two main “open” threads each day. The other posts tend to have conversations more germane to the post itself.

  23. Anonymous :

    Hey guys! A few of you might remember my posts about applying for lawyer jobs with a disabiliy. Got a job offer out of he blue today! First one I’ve had in 2.5 years. So that was amazing.

  24. Gum Graft :

    Just found out from the dentist that I should get a gum graft. Any recommendations for a periodontist in the DC/MD/VA area?

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