Tuesday’s Workwear Report: Huxley Dress

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

This lovely, short-sleeved, tailored dress is simple and classic. I love the darts and the tailoring as well as the square neck — one of my friends thinks it’s the perfect neckline for wearing underneath suit blazers (and it does have a matching blazer). I also like that it’s lined, and interestingly, it’s labeled as “dry clean” and not “dry clean only,” so you could give it a whirl in the washing machine if you wanted (probably using the delicate cycle). It comes in sizes 0–10 and is $340 at Reiss. Huxley Dress

Here’s a lower-priced option, one in sizes 16–18, and two in plus sizes (royal blue and orange).

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  1. Anonymous :

    Comfortable black wedges for the office? New office has a standing desk but I always wear dresses and feel like I need a little height! Budget is flexible. Already planning to try the Cole Haan ones.

    • Clementine :

      I’m a fan of my JCrew Factory wedges. I see that they only have black patent online right now, but I have a pair in the leather and they’re fabulous.

      Super comfortable and very polished looking.

    • Anonymous :

      Clarks Vendra.

    • If you’re looking for closed toe, I’m a fan of the Franco Sarto wedges at DSW.

    • I got black Cole Haan wedges at Nordstrom Rack and have been really happy with them.

    • I have a pair of Nine West Elenta wedges I really love for days when I need to stand a lot – and when I googled to find out the name, the Esmme looks really cute, too!

    • Ann Klein Sport makes some seriously comfortable wedges. I bought them for running through airports, and they have served me very well.

      • NewRecruit :

        +1! I LOVE Ann Klein Sport. Its’ not what you asked, but their summer sandals are cute and comfy too.

    • I would not recommend heels while using a standing desk. I would recommend a good anti-fatigue mat and maybe some clogs under your desk.

      • +1. Heels/wedges seem like a recipe for foot surgery down the road.

      • I have a standing desk and agree that you want a good anti-fatigue mat. If I’m wearing heels, I usually end up slipping my shoes off when I’m standing at my desk and then I slide them back on when I need to walk out of my office.

    • Cole Haan Tali Bow Wedge

    • Anonymous :

      I found Kate Spade, Tory Burch and L.K. Bennett wedges this year. I shop sales, so they are all likely from years gone by.

  2. Anonymous :

    What’s your go-to store for work clothes? I’m having trouble finding one. I’m specifically interested in places with solid, neutral, washable pieces. MM LaFleur might be a good option; it’s just a bit pricey!

    • It used to be the Limited and I haven’t really found a replacement. Now my shopping is much more piecemeal – some things from the Halogen line at Nordstrom, the Merona line at Target (which I also understand is being phased out – ugh!), the portofino shirt at Express, and some J.Crew Factory things thrown in there.

      • RIP Limited! I haven’t bought work clothes since it closed 6 months ago. Gap has some cropped pants that I want to try.

        • Limited pants were my favorite. Gap’s skinny ankle pants are amazing as well! They frequently go on sale, and you can find the patterned ones for cheap if you dig through the sale section.

      • An old friend has been working on a project related to the Limited reopening. There had been rumors about that when it first closed, but then a lot of speculation that it wouldn’t actually happen so I thought I’d share that here.

    • The only place that has consistently hit most of those marks for me has been Ann Taylor. Solid suiting and work separates, good reliable tops, people seem to love their shoes. Sales are good, and the prices without sales aren’t terrible.

      Sure, sometimes, there are some flouncy ridiculous bridal shower dresses you have to pick over to get to the solid workwear, but when you need a flouncy ridiculous bridal shower dress, they work too. Get you a store that can do both :-)

    • I’m lucky enough to have Ann Taylor and Banana Republic outlets near me, so I go to those. They’re both a bit out of my price range usually, but I can afford them at the outlets and I’m happy with the quality for the price.

      • Anonymous :

        I actually like the selection at the AT Outlet better than the AT store. I think it’s because they have more color options at the Outlet, where the store feels like the same coral/navy/white/black color scheme. Even though I am squarely in the coral/navy demographic.

    • Stella Link :

      I recently purchased a number of pieces at Hobbs (they had a nice sale). These were my first purchases and I was very pleased. Great quality which was reminiscent of J Crew from 15 years ago. Perfect for a curvy pear.

      • Just saw the sale, good prices! I’m a curvy pear too. What did you buy? I have never bought anything from Hobbs but I have been eyeing them for a while now.

        • Stella Link :

          The 2 dresses were fantastic. The navy is a new favorite and makes me feel like a million bucks!





          The pants feel so nice, but I have really short legs… Trying to decide if it is a flattering look on me. For someone tall, they would be a definite winner!

        • I discovered Hobbs on a trip to London and am obsessed. It fits perfectly and the quality is better than Ann Taylor. They sell it at some Bloomingdales if you’ve got one nearby.

    • J.Crew Factory. (If Boden fits you, J.Crew Factory likely will not, and vice versa.) I order multiples from there – pencil skirts, sheath dresses, t-shirts, sweaters. It’s just a great store for staples.

      • +1. I’ve recently started buying their suiting separates and I’ve been impressed, and a little surprised: I find that regular J Crew is cut very straight, and so I was never able to wear it (5’7″, almost an X hourglass, large-of-chest here). J Crew Factory, on the other hand, works so much better for my curves.

        • I actually find J Crew Factory items to be cut rather straight (not quite as much as J Crew but close). I’m an hourglass and I nonetheless found J Crew Factory’s suiting separates to be great (I don’t like single-button jackets, and my other go-to brands haven’t really been doing two-button jackets), but I need to size up more than I usually do for both the jacket and skirt.

      • Anony Mouse :

        My body type is straight and I’ve had luck with both Boden and J. Crew Factory.

      • So true!

    • I’m a Tall, so Boden, occasionally J. Crew, Talbots (only their less dowdy stuff, but they have good separates). AT doesn’t fit me well–I am short waisted and it just doesn’t work most of the time.

    • Flats Only :

      Talbots, in their work wear section. Ignore all the printed tee shirts, too-short colored capri pants and weird sweaters you will see before you click the work wear link. Tons of sizes, proportions that fit my “wish I could lose this beer gut” figure, good quality and reasonable prices. Plus their stuff goes on sale while there is still a good selection of sized/colors left.

      • KateMiddletown :

        +1 to Talbots sale. Some of my absolute favorites have come from the sale rack in store- every time I pop in I seem to find something high quality and conservative enough but not too marmy if I mix with other pieces.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I know it gets mocked a lot here, but the Brooks Brothers Red Fleece line has some beautiful basic suiting pieces at the moment for a reasonable price – these two dresses in particular caught my eye…both are stretch wool for $158.



    • Legally Brunette :

      Nordstrom online (on sale only) and Nordstrom Rack. Huge inventory online and free shipping and returns, so you really can’t go wrong. I’m a hourglass/pearish and I tend to wear a lot of Classiques, some Halogen, and Maggy London. I swear at this point 90% of my wardrobe is from Nordstrom.

    • I wish I had one :/ I’m tall and slightly pear-shaped, and my wardrobe is comprised mostly of dresses from J Crew, blazers & pants from Banana Republic, and blazers & skirts from Ann Taylor. I can’t seem to find a store where all the different types of pieces all fit my shape.

    • Landsend for washable ponte dresses. They have ponte pants too but I haven’t tried. Also I really like Uniqlo for easy care basics.

      • +1 those dresses are a go-to. I have maybe 5 at this point, in varying shapes and weights (fabric weights haha)

    • Banana Republic Foreverrr

  3. I posted a while back about being uncomfortable because I chose not to enter a lottery pool at my new office. My coworker had approached me individually about entering and I didn’t realize it was an office-wide thing, so I declined and didn’t realize my miscalculation until later. The next time it came up, I participated along with everyone else.
    Flash forward to now, and my coworker seems kind of obsessed with the lottery. We all get emails from her every week about how much the jackpot is, and she asks for a $10-15 contribution with the expectation of “re-investing” any money that is won. I’m fine with throwing $5-10 into a lotto pool every once in a while for the sake of playing along, but $10-15 a week is a little steep for office camaraderie (for context my salary is <$30k). I've gone with $5 a few times, but she really pushes for $10 and the whole thing has just gotten out of hand. I'm not in a position to throw money away, and I really hate how much this has invaded our office. Tips on handling this beyond "Sorry, I'd really rather not participate" (since she doesn't typically accept that answer)?

    • Your last line, plus a gentle but firm “and please, don’t ask me again. I’m not in a position to participate, full stop.”

    • In a cheery tone: “Sorry, it’s not in my budget to play every week. Thanks for checking, though!”

    • Are my jeans too tight? :

      So make it financial now.

      It’s not in my budget.

      And sometimes I just clearly say…. “I can’t afford it. Please pass me by in the future. Thanks.”

      It is hard to tell from your post, but if she is asking for $10, ?every week, and doesn’t back down after you say this… I would ask someone you work with about background on this, and report it to HR.

    • Flats Only :

      I agree with Pompom (plus I love her handle). When I was at your salary level, that $10-$15 represented the one lunch out per week that I allowed myself, or a couple of cheap beers at happy hour with my friends. I would have been just as ticked off as you are if someone has been pressuring me to give up either of those small pleasures, for whatever reason. Pompom’s script plus a pointed “what did I say about this before” when the lottery lady ignores it the first time. DO NOT worry about fitting in with this.

    • Anonymous :

      I was really thinking this was going in the direction of everyone else winning a huge amount of money and you being the one who didn’t play!

      If it’s an ongoing thing with different levels of contribution over different weeks and reinvesting, etc., this seems like a huge pain to figure out any winnings you would earn. How would she go back and do that?

      Yes, I’d just opt out completely.

    • Anonymous :

      “Sorry I’d rather not participate.”

      “I already told you no.”

    • I don’t play the office lottery. I’ll contribute to colleagues birthdays and baby gifts even if I don’t know them well. But I don’t consider the lotto a gift to my coworkers. It’s just a wait of money and I don’t play, even if it’s in my budget.

    • I bet (heh) you’re not the only one in your office who is over this. You might find yourself with a larger following than you think if you defect from this insanity.

    • I don’t think your coworker knows what “re-investing” means.

    • Your position is totally justifiable. $10 a week on the lottery would be $520 a year — nearly 2% of a 30K income! Just tell the woman that you are not contributing and please stop asking.

    • Nothing to add in terms of advice but there was just an episode on the 99% Invisible podcast (#268 El Gordo) about a little town in Spain who’s residents all went in on a lottery syndicate and won the $2B lottery. Literally every person in the town except one man participated and won. A community group organized it and apparently it’s a big thing in Spain for very large groups to participate together or for people to buy a very small share of a lottery ticket because the price of each ticket is expensive and cost-prohibitive to enter alone. Hearing about the dynamic was fascinating and I highly recommend a listen of the episode! Of course very different than your situation but just thought it would be an interesting tidbit of knowledge that was related

  4. Mayday! My 10-year wedding anniversary is this weekend and I have ZERO gift ideas for my husband. Anyone want to help me brainstorm? We are in our mid-30’s with three kids. He’s an athlete who’s sidelined at the moment do to an ongoing injury that we’re hoping isn’t super-serious, so sports-y stuff is out. Not a huge drinker — mostly just at social events — and already has nice bar accessories for the time he does drink. My best idea is a Yeti cooler but that seems boring/too much for our house and not for him.

    He likes cool gadgets (I bought him an iPod touch back in the day, as well as his first pair of Bluetooth headphones), isn’t a big reader, a couples massage wouldn’t be his thing…he just spends a lot of time being a dad. Any ideas from the hive?

    • The Yeti cooler may not be such a bad idea. I’ve been surprised at how much the men in my family geek out over them.

      • I would add that we were gifted a cooler by Rtic (Yeti competitor), and it’s bigger, constructed very solidly, and keeps ice frozen for days at a time (we’ve done this). It’s substantially cheaper, as well.

    • Oh yes, get the Yeti and two can colsters (they’re koozies, however you spell that lol). The men in my crew go nuts over that kind of gear.

    • Bose bluetooth speaker, Yeti/Rtic thermos (you can also get them personalized on etsy), nice sunglasses, drone

    • lost academic :

      Touch of Modern for inspiration and products but don’t wait if you find what you like, they rotate their stock nonstop. Saved Christmas for a lot of friends this year.

    • What about a weekend trip somewhere he’d enjoy without the kids? Obviously this would be a “hey, look what I’ve planned for us” thing instead of a physical gift.

      Would your husband appreciate something sports-related? Museum (Cooperstown?), tickets to a great game…? My SO is a pilot and I got him a ride in a WWII bomber for his 40th birthday. (Sounds a little cheesy if you aren’t familiar, but there are only a handful of them left that are airworthy, and a 30 minute flight is $500, so it’s definitely a special treat for aviation fans – not sure if this idea jogs anything for you.)

    • I did the Bose noise cancelling headphones for our 10th. I told him it was to help drown out me and the kids to make sure we lasted another 30 years ;)

    • Totally out of left field, but smart phone VR headset. My partner has one and I didn’t realize how cool they are until I tried it. Some people use them for video games, but it’s even better for videos and there’s a ton of content specific to VR. I spent a half an hour dreamily exploring Angel Falls on the headset- SO COOL! Link to follow in comment.

      • https://www.amazon.com/Virtual-Reality-Headset-Mobile-Phones/dp/B01BS981H0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1501598650&sr=8-1&keywords=cell+phone+vr+headset

    • Most of the tech guys in my life are enjoying Raspberry Pi’s right now.

      The traditional 10th anniversary theme is aluminum or tin. Fill the cooler with cans of soda/beer and go on a picnic with just the two of you/with the kids/with friends – whatever you guys are into.

    • Why don’t you get the Yeti cooler and fill it with awesome, less expensive stuff? These can be fun items that match his personality. My mom once got me a suitcase for a trip but also put small gifts inside (think stuff you would put in a Christmas stocking). It’s like opening a second gift after opening the cooler.

    • We got a soft-sided RTIC cooler this summer. I was skeptical but we use it constantly. Beer and juice and food for the pool.

    • Senior Attorney :

      My husband has this rooftop weather station with a monitor that sits on his desk and he gets a pretty big kick out of it. I think it’s a pretty cool gadget: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NI57C14/ref=asc_df_B00NI57C145102834/?tag=hyprod-20&creative=394997&creativeASIN=B00NI57C14&linkCode=df0&hvadid=194794599051&hvpos=1o5&hvnetw=g&hvrand=6936983620472245705&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9030938&hvtargid=pla-312992947862

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      The Yeti cups are really nice and might be useful while he’s rehabbing.

  5. Looking for a lightweight purse (not tote) to take to a conference that will still will fit my 9.7 inch iPad. What do you take? Have you seen anything lately that might work? <$500
    I normally schlep around with my Longchamp for these events, but I feel like it visually weighs me down a bit during small talk, networking, and coffee in between sessions. Not to mention, I wonder if it's starting to feel a little dated.

    • Coach Chelsea crossbody. dimensions are 11 x 7.5 x 3. It has an optional crossbody strap to go hands-free but also a regular strap/handle. the red is gorgeous.

  6. Either Talbots or, of all things, Macy’s on-line (where the work selection tends to be much wider than in my local stores, but I can still return locally). The options for petites and petite cusp sizes in my area are few.

  7. grey-blue :

    Does anyone have advice about caring for a difficult parent from whom you’re almost estranged after they go through major surgery?

    I agreed to fly down and take care of my mother for a week, despite desperately not wanting to. She’s pretty vague about what the aftercare will entail, which I am researching on my own online, but even more than that I’m dreading interacting with my mother. I haven’t seen her in years or had a conversation beyond surface level pleasantries. She means well, but has no boundaries and is super emotionally needy–I really don’t like to talk to or spend time with her. I don’t have any other family there with whom I could commiserate (though the neighbors are nice).

    Today I told her my boyfriend would be driving me down and would be staying for a day (this is both because otherwise I’d have to take lengthy public transit and for my emotional support). She insists that he can’t come because she’ll be weak and unable to entertain/accept guests (of course he’s not expecting that). I’m not sure whether to say okay (she is the one having surgery after all) or what I want to do, which is say “you made no arrangements for your care other than hoping your family would take care of you, if you want me to come I’ll come under my conditions or not at all.” Of course I also don’t want to put my boyfriend in an awkward position.

    As the date approaches I’m feeling worse and worse. I know it’s the “right” thing to do, but it does not feel right.

    • Tell him he’s your ride, and that you’ll do the hosting. If she’s worried about how she’ll look, tell her you’ll help do her hair (or whatever), but that he’s coming, end of discussion. Emotionally needy people will take and take. You are doing your mother a huge kindness taking time out of your life to care for her. She needs to be reasonable.

    • I’m curious what your boyfriend will be doing for the day to support you emotionally? I can’t imagine what that looks like– it seems like one of those situations where he’d be awkwardly perched in a corner staring at his phone or praying you’ll send him on errands to the grocery store or something.

      So I guess what I’m saying is from my perspective, it seems like bringing him along could be more awkward and unnecessary than if he just leaves after dropping you off. I’m not aware of the whole dynamic with you mother, but this seems like one of those situations to be the bigger person, keep it surface level if you must, and help her as you planned to. Think of it as one of those universal karma kind of things.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m assuming that she thinks her mother will be less awful in the presence of another person which will give her a day of breathing space to adjust to the situation before he leaves. I use a similar strategy with my mother in law, I try to avoid being alone with her as she moderates the snide comments a lot more in front of my sister in law.

        • Yes, this is basically it, and it will make it much easier for me to actually get there if he drives me (I don’t drive and there isn’t much public transit where my mom lives). He’d also be doing any driving for supplies, as otherwise I’m limited by taxis (no stores in walking distance).

          • Please unrelatedly to this learn how to drive. It’s an essential life skill.

          • Flats Only :

            Since you don’t drive, perhaps that will be your “out”. After your boyfriend leaves, you’ll be stuck there with no way to obtain supplies, groceries etc. It would be better for your sanity and your mother’s health if you arrange a nurse/companion who can caretake and drive if necessary. Your mother’s insurance may pay for it. My grandmother has hired herself these types of folks after surgeries, and they aren’t really expensive, even if you have to pay out of pocket. You can stay a day or two for moral support but leave the heavy care-giving to a professional.

        • I imagine that can be a useful strategy in some situations, but I think this feels like very much the wrong time to utilize it. Surgery is stressful enough as it is and having an unexpected visitor forced upon you is another blow (especially if they’ve never met).

          I get that OP’s mother is already a difficult person, but it seems like one of those situations that will ultimately be beneficial for the OP to work on detaching to the extent that she can get through a couple of days of what she promised to do.

    • Are my jeans too tight? :

      You’re being a good daughter. Yes, it is the right thing to do, and you can do it.

      I would not force your difficult Mom to have your boyfriend stay with her as she is just getting out from surgery. Even for just one night. That I would sacrifice. Her anxiety is probably high, just like yours, and that would set things off for a worse week. While I understand the need for support on your end, that almost seems like you are trying to push her buttons. I think you can manage lengthy public transit, yes? Or he can stay in a hotel or go right home.

      Start practicing your breathing meditations. When she says inappropriate things, just listen and don’t comment and change the subject. When she gives unsolicited advice, just say …”thanks, I’ll think about that”. When she asks inappropriate questions, say “I’m not up to talking about that now”. And then leave the room.
      These are very good skills for you to practice.

      I kind of feel for your Mom. I am single in my 40s, and have no one to “care” for me if I have to have surgery. It is crazy expensive to ?hire help, and also really awkward and inappropriate when you have no idea what your needs will be. Although I come from a really messed up family, I did my part when my (separated) parents each had surgery/hospitalizations.

      Do you have a therapist/psychiatrist? Can you have something for your anxiety at hand, as it seems high?

      I would have a checklist and use that to give myself some guidance. You will help with meal prep regularly, and encourage any exercise/doctor’s orders that are give post-operatively. I would try to think ahead about TV shows/movies that she likes (and you too!) and check out a bunch from the library. Or if you have Amazon Prime/Netflix that you can bring to her place, start planning your TV watching. I might also bring her a few books/magazines. Expect that she may be sleeping a bit more.

      And you may be surprised…. This experience may change her, change your relationship. Medical stuff can do that.

      Good luck.

      • Anon in NYC :

        I agree that I sympathize with your Mom’s position about having your boyfriend stay the day… she is going to be really vulnerable and may not have a lot of control over her body post-surgery. I would hate for someone outside my immediate family to see me in that situation.

        But, if you want him to stay for your own mental/emotional health, perhaps he can stay in a hotel nearby.

    • Anonymous :

      Drive yourself or send him to a hotel. Your mom is unreasonable but no one wants someone who is basically a stranger to them hanging around their home right after surgery. Next time don’t agree to this if you don’t want to do it.

      • +1

        Totally agree

        The boyfriend is…. too much. I would not want that at all if I was your Mom getting out of surgery, and I’m hoping that I’m not too unreasonable (!)

      • +2. If he must come as your ride, he needs a hotel. I wouldn’t want to host someone I don’t know well right after surgery either.

      • Yup. I didn’t even want some close family around the week after I gave birth.

        • Seriously. It made me uncomfortable having my mom in my house right after my c-section. I can’t imagine how I would have felt if she’d brought a significant other I didn’t know well.

      • I agree. I understand that your mother is a needy person and that your relationship with her is difficult. But it would stress me out immensely to have a stranger staying in my house post-surgery. You should either drive yourself or pay for your boyfriend to stay in a hotel for one night.

      • +1

        OP I use my boyfriend as a mother shield all the time. Mine is much like yours: she means well but she’s needy and emotionally unstable and if someone else is there she’s less likely to go off on a crying jag _again_ about something that happened 30 years ago that we have already discussed ad nauseam. But for some reason she loves my boyfriend and holds it together and acts more or less normal around him.

        That said, she already knows my boyfriend. Your mother doesn’t. Even an unreasonable person is occasionally completely reasonable, and not wanting a total stranger around when you’re recovering from surgery is actually completely reasonable.

    • Anonymous :

      Listen to your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t go. Every single time I have ever gone ahead with something that felt wrong, it’s been a mistake.

      • It’s a little too late for that. You can’t bail on someone getting out of surgery at the last minute. That is a bit cruel.

        I’m curious if the OP has talked to a therapist about this, and what they advised her?

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          Agreed. This is one of those things you just do.

        • I agree that she can’t cancel, but I also think Mom is being cruel here, not necessarily about boyfriend staying, but about not making any plans for care and basically insisting her estranged child come care for her.

          OP: If this were me and my mother, I would probably bring my boyfriend/husband anyway, but our dynamic is a little more complicated than your sounds.

          • I lean the opposite way, that it’s cruel not to care for your mother after surgery, even one with whom you have a tenuous relationship or dislike. Depending on the surgery, mom will probably be out of it an not stirring up trouble anyway. She’ll be tired and in pain. Surgery is potentially life threatening. People are not their usual selves in this state and I feel like this kind of thing can even change relationship dynamics for the better. I think not doing it would draw a line in their relationship that they’d never get past and would make a needy person feel like they’ve hit rock bottom in their life. While the op finds her mom difficult, I don’t think she wants to draw that line in the sand.

        • No, I haven’t talked to a therapist. I saw one briefly (largely talked about my mom) but I didn’t find it that helpful. Seems hard to start up a therapist relationship in the amount of time I have left before I have to do this.

          While I desperately want to listen to my gut, I think I have to ignore it.

          • I think that’s the right move. I like the suggestions above to practice some detachment strategies or de-escalation tactics during the visit. Those are skills that will be beneficial for you in a multitude of anxiety-provoking situations in the future.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        I have to say that I am with 9:57 Anonymous – this is going to be a nightmare and, given your description of your relationship (years without seeing her in particular), it was completely presumptuous of your mother to expect you to care for her.

        That being said, as it is coming up and she has made the plans, I would just tell her that I cannot make it and I would suck up the cost of hiring a caregiver for the period you would have stayed. Money is way easier to part with than your emotional well-being.

        • Must be nice to have the kind of money! Post surgical care is really expensive.

          • Must also be nice to be so manipulative you expect your estranged daughter to care for you after surgery.

            I’m not saying post-surgical care isn’t expensive. But I also don’t think mom behaved well in this situation either.

          • No one thinks she behaved well but it’s ridiculous to just say “well just drop out last minute and hire someone” as though most people can afford that.

          • Never too many shoes... :

            Post surgical nursing care is really costly for sure, but it does not seem we are talking about the type of medical care that requires a licensed practitioner since she is asking her daughter to do it (and it does not seem from her post that the OP is that type of practitioner). If her untrained daughter can do it, it seems like we are just talking about basic things which could be done by a personal support worker, which is far, far less expensive.

          • Never too many shoes... :

            I doubt that taking time off work to spend with her mother is not also costing the OP something monetarily in addition to the emotional cost. This site is very much in favour of generally throwing money at problems to preserve our sanity, I really do not see why this is different.

          • @Anonymous — I’m not saying she should back out. I’m saying the “must be nice” comment was flippant, and placed all the blame on the daughter in this situation.

          • I imagine I can afford it (don’t actually know prices), and would definitely prefer it. But my mother would be extremely unhappy.

          • No, it didn’t place the blame on the daughter- at all. You’re projecting.

            I know this s i t e is a bubble, but the vast, vast majority of people cannot just toss money around to hire caregivers. It’s not unreasonable to point that out.

          • Could you set a limit on when you can be there, then after that pay for some help? Like “Mom, I can be there for the first X days, but after that I must return to work. I am sorry I can’t help longer, but I’m happy to make arrangements for skilled care to come and assist after I leave–they’ll be more helpful than I could! This is how I can help you, Mom.”

            YMMV, as of course, idk your mom and relationship, but it sounds like boundaries are in order for both of you?

          • It’s not unreasonable to point it out, or to say she shouldn’t back out. It’s unreasonable to start any sentence, “must be nice ….”

            For instance, I cannot afford to pay for post-surgical care for relatives. But “must be nice” is a pretty ineffective way to do that, if you actually want someone to listen to you.

          • Omg stop ELS. Stop policing everyone’s words. Sorry my tone was insufficiently sugar coated for your pearls.

          • It’s probably $20-25 per hour for a CNA with a 4 hour minimum per day.

          • That will cost so much less than the travel/time off from work. Wow…

        • Senior Attorney :

          I have been involved in various aspects of caring for my very elderly (early 90s) parents for the past several years, and I am here to tell you that based on the information the OP has provided, if I could scrape together the money at all, I would definitely pay someone to do the hands on care rather than do it myself.

          If that isn’t an option, I think Anonymous at 10:25 a.m. below has good ideas.

        • It’s unreasonable to start a sentence with “must be nice”? Seriously? Your posts aren’t even making sense at this point. FWIW, I’m on team throw money at it if possible. Caring for someone can be extremely emotionally taxing, even if you’re on good terms. We had almost round the clock care, in home, for my bed ridden grandfather at the end of his life and it was a godsend. OP, maybe you could split the baby and hire someone to help part time? That would give you a break, allow you to take care of other things, and maybe your mom could get used to it/develop a relationship with that person, allowing you to be less involved. Plus, it would mitigate the financial blow.

    • I was in a similar situation (it’s a long story, I won’t bore you with the details.) What worked best for me was to try and have on benign TV shows like Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Price is Right, etc. This avoided political disagreements brought on by watching cable news TV. I also brought a couple of puzzles, those detailed coloring books with good pencils, word search/crossword puzzle books. This helped to make sure there were things for us to do, which helped avoid some of the criticism that happens when my mother is bored. I also baked a lot, because it gave me something to do in the kitchen and my mother appreciated it. The whole thing was very difficult but we all got through it. I don’t think our relationship is any better, but it is what it is.

      I would also not insist on having your boyfriend there if your mother doesn’t want him there. Have him stay in a hotel and run occasional errands if he is willing.

    • Pick some kind of physical activity to do every day–run, kickboxing, etc.–that lets you release stress in a healthy way. If your mom has a dog, make sure it is a very, very well walked dog during your stay. The whole meditative, get in a happy place option never worked for me and I just needed to physically blow off steam. Otherwise, think about other options to check-out while still being present like books and needing to work a few hours a day (even if people are leaving you alone). I’ve always found carving out time even if it means waking up at 5 am to be critical to surviving difficult family members.

    • I feel like I recently read this story. Did you post about this recently? You were asking advice on whether you should go or not. Clearly you’ve decided to go, so I think you need to suck it up.

      • Yes, I did…good memory! Can’t remember the name I used, and I did decide to go in the end.

        • Err, can’t remember the name I used to post it here before.

          • I remember that — I also remember everyone being kind of a jerk to you.

            Take care of yourself while you’re there — difficult mothers have a particularly intense way of messing with our heads.

          • Thanks, ELS…I appreciate(d) your comments.

    • I know your post said you were most concerned about the emotional aspect of dealing with mom post-surgery but what jumped out to me was the fact that your mom is vague on the details of what her care will need to be post-surgery.

      Is she being vague because she knows it’ll actually be intense and she wants to minimize the info so you’ll agree to go? I ask this because I don’t have a good relationship with my mom and that is something she would absolutely do in order to get me to do something.

      If I were you, I would tell mom that she needs to give permission to your doctor so the doctor can tell you directly, what will be involved in for the post-surgery care. I would not rely on your mom’s general information or the internet. If what the internet and your mom matches what the doctor says, great. If not, then you know if you’ll need to make more arrangements, get more supplies, etc.

      My relationship with my mom is strained. I also keep conversations at the surface pleasantries and do not spend time with her. I also *HATE* surprises. It makes me anxious and feel unprepared. I don’t mind doing difficult things but my coping mechanism is to get an idea of the details beforehand. This reduces my anxiety and surprise, the outcome of my efforts is usually more successful when I’m prepared. This is just me but if I found out the care was more demanding when I got there but my mom conveniently left out details (aka: lie of omission) to increase the odds that I would agree to helping out, I would be livid and our relationship would turn for the worse. Getting the real details from the doctor would be my way to avoid this scenario…

  8. Moving a Car :

    I need to get my car from the middle of the country to the west coast. I’d prefer not to drive it myself.

    Wondering if anyone has suggestions about services to look into (shipping or driving), or pitfalls to look out for. I do have a few moving boxes that need to come west, which I could either ship separately or leave in the car as it’s driven across the country. Nothing particularly valuable, but I still wouldn’t want it to be stolen.

    I want to make sure than any service I’d use is legit (has appropriate insurance/anything else).

    Thanks for any tips…have never done this before!

    • Car shippers usually do not allow anything to be in the car–not even the driver’s manual in the glove box. You may want to put up an ad on CL to see if a college student would do it, but…I’d be really nervous about that. Your best bet is a shipper. That said, road trips are super-fun, and if you can con a best friend into coming with you, it’s a great way to catch up.

    • I’ve shipped my car fully-across-country several times and highly recommend. with some things to look out for.

      1. yes the websites look shady. when you put your info in, they will email you often. but definitely get several quotes in writing – and double check the companies on BBB.

      2. the timing is HARD and there is NO WAY around this, so be prepared to be flexible. they truly have no exact timeline and you need to roll with punches. they can give you a window (usually 3 days) for both pick up – and drop off in the new city.

      3. most rules say you can pack < 100lbs in the car. nothing too overboard that will weigh the car down a lot – but a few boxes in your trunk is totally not a problem. I actually stuffed my plants in the car one time :)

    • FYI – I used:
      AutoShippingGroup and NY to CA cost me $1210

      I just find driving a car/putting on mileage to be a dumb idea. here’s the stuff policy:

      “100lbs of personal items…it can be anything, books, clothes etc… but just can’t exceed 100lbs….that’s the max.”

      • this is a fabulous FAQ for you too, in case our info hasn’t been enough:


    • You can’t put anything in the car when it’s shipped. We even had to remove some old towels we were using as floor mats. It’s a liability issue.
      Car shipping was fine for us, with the caveat that our car was almost 20 years or at the time and we wouldn’t have noticed minor dings or scratches. We used All American Trucking and Transport which is a Bay Area company. It was $1300 and took about ten days from CA to the eastern Midwest.

    • It’s been years since I did this, but I was able to move my car with my apartment across the country – I think they used a different vendor for the car part, but it was coordinated at the same place.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      Do you have any friends who could recommend a college student, someone between jobs or underemployed, who’s trustworthy and looking for work? For this kind of thing, it helps with peace of mind if there’s a personal-ish connection.

    • Executive Auto Shippers – cost me about $700 to ship between Chicago-LA and I used them three times. They were wonderful. They let me put stuff in the car so long as it was not blocking the windows or excessively heavy, so no furniture, but I did put a medium-sized flat-screen TV in there with no issue along with boxes of kitchenware, (i.e. stuff I could not put on a plane with me) with a blanket over everything. They were great – called me about 2 days out with an estimated time and then again about an hour or two out and then 15 minutes out and every time met me where I was and unloaded the car easily. I recommended them to some friends. Agreed that the interface to request a quote will seem shady. Get a few quotes from a few services, ask about what can be in the car, and compare. (By the way, my car was a 12-year-old Honda at the time and they cared FAR more about scratches on it than I did and my friend who babied his BMW used them, too.)

    • My now brother-in-law did this several times for friends and friends of friends. He charged $1000 to drive a car from Chicago to San Francisco, which included money for gas/tolls/food/hotels and a return flight. He’d had enough notice to get a cheap return flight ($150?) and wasn’t’ picky about hotels. He did it another time and actually charged less because he was just going to stay at a buddy’s house and didn’t have to pay for a hotel; in that scenario it was more flexible and the car made it “eventually” ie he spent a long weekend with his friends and then went out west.

      To be fair, you’re now spending $1000 AND putting miles on the car. Unless you are really averse to a road trip OR can be billing out your time instead OR want to use the car to lug stuff (that was the idea with the trips my BIL took), I’d just do it myself. Or use a shipping company.

    • When I shipped a car in college, the truck drivers were super unprofessional and so creepy that I felt I had to round up guys in my dorm to come out to get the car with me. The drivers showed up with cups of beer in their hands and my car smelled of cigarette smoke.

    • Post on Facebook that you’re looking for someone to drive it for you, and you’re willing to pay gas and/or flight home. Trust me, someone who loves road trips will take you up on it.

  9. CARDIGANS and sweaters from Diana Barry :

    Ladies! I have several cardigans and sweaters to offer to whoever wants them, just asking to cover shipping – here is the complete list:

    Navy wool, J Crew Tippi, M
    Kelly green lightweight, Gap, M
    Coral lightweight, Gap, M
    Pink wool, BR, M
    Brown cropped lightweight, BR, S
    Grey lightweight, Lands End Canvas, M
    Orange, Gap, M

    Burgundy wool Tippi sweater, J Crew, S
    Navy/white/green/yellow stripe Tippi sweater, J Crew, S

    I also have a J Crew navy/green SS wool sweater with jewels at the top, M

    Feel free to email me at dianabarry r e t t e at g mail. :)

  10. I’m curious what your boyfriend will be doing for the day to support you emotionally? I can’t imagine what that looks like– it seems like one of those situations where he’d be awkwardly perched in a corner staring at his phone or praying you’ll send him on errands to the grocery store or something.

    So I guess what I’m saying is from my perspective, it seems like bringing him along could be more awkward and unnecessary than if he just leaves after dropping you off. I’m not aware of the whole dynamic with you mother, but this seems like one of those situations to be the bigger person, keep it surface level if you must, and help her as you planned to. Think of it as one of those universal karma kind of things.

  11. I’ve been thinking about leasing my first car but I dont know where to start. Growing up we’ve always had toyotas and they were fine. A friend has been recommending Nissans as well so i’m going to look at all my options. I just want something simple, safe, and inexpensive (probably a hatchback or sedan).

    Does anyone have tips on car buying (well leasing in my case), brands you recommend, things to look out for, etc.?

    • Just as a general rule I’ve much preferred a hatchback to a sedan – you’d be amazed what you can fit in a hatchback

      • I adore my Honda Fit. Highly recommend. I also loved my Corolla, but the hatchback is where it’s at.

        • Yup! Mine’s a Ford Focus hatchback. Love driving it and have been happy with Ford recall/warranty services

    • Aunt Jamesina :

      Why do you want to lease rather than buy.

      • +1

      • So I’m a big car person & I usually lease instead of buy, but it’s definitely not because it’s a frugal option. My reasons are: I prefer German cars & when I’ve owned them, they’ve all had expensive issues around year 5. On a lease, you don’t have to worry about those things as they’re either covered under maintenance or you turn the car in before you have problems. I’d rather have a fixed car spend amount every month than a surprise repair bill, even if the repair bill ends up being cheaper in the long run. The hassle and surprise factors aren’t worth it to me. I’ve also had my car needs change within a 5 year window, so I don’t like feeling locked into a particular make or model of a car. In the end, I see leasing as a luxury that I’m fortunate to be able to afford – leasing is paying for convenience. If I was just starting out I’d buy something reliable that will last a long time & it sounds like that’s what OP is looking for, so +1 to the suggestions to buy, not lease, something in the Honda/Toyota family.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I’m still on my first Toyota my parents got used when I was 16. I’m 32. They’re like the energizer bunny-they just keep going. Hasn’t needed much beyond regular maintenance, either.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        (But I would buy, not lease)

        • +1. I would buy, not lease, a Toyota Corolla or Camry or Honda Civic or Accord (depending on how big of a car you want).

          • Anony Mouse :

            +1 Also, last I checked, Hyundais have a 10-year warranty that’s pretty solid.

          • +1. These are some of the most reliable and affordable cars on the planet, and if you’re able to put a couple grand down, you can finance a used one for the same cost of leasing. If you buy, then you’re not stuck with mileage limitations. These cars run forever, maintenance is easy and affordable and doesn’t require a special mechanic. I looked at all 4 of these makes/models and ended up with a Civic, and next time around, these will be my top 4 as well. Absolutely love them. There’s a real reason why they’re popular.

      • +1 I am driving a 7 year old Camry that I bought (…from my parents) last year. I may never buy another car.

      • +1 I’m your age and I also drive a Camry my parents got me when I graduated. It’s not glamorous, but very unfussy.

        • I drive a 2015 Camry which replaced a 2000 Camry (only because I wanted all the new tech in cars now, the 2000 is still going strong).

    • Mazda 3 – small, reliable, and fun to drive.

      • IP Associate :

        +1 – I had my Mazda 3 hatchback for 10 years. They’re so much fun to drive and mine had no major issues, it was perfect…until my husband got in a car accident with it and it was totaled (he’s fine). Loved that car and would buy another in a heartbeat.

    • I just bought a Toyota Corolla. My parents were leasing it, and no longer needed it. I was going to lease, but I got the Corolla for a more than fair price, considering the low mileage.

      Make a pros and cons list of each car you’re thinking about. I didn’t really weigh between the C-HR and the Corolla before I got to the dealership, so I was overwhelmed. If you can, bring someone who has a good knowledge of cars. I brought my dad and boyfriend to get a second and third opinion. Also, look up the dealership–I’ve heard some real horror stories. I went with a dealer that my parents had already bought cars from, and they had good reviews online. I gave them my price range and I never felt like they were pressuring me, which is rare with car salespeople.

      I would say go with a Corolla. Safe, fuel efficient, spacious, and speedy. I’ve moved three or four times with my Corolla, and it always amazes me how much stuff I can fit in it. I’ve basically gone off-roading (on accident, of course) in mine and she’s held up amazingly. Everyone always comments on how new it looks, but it’s a 2014.

      • also, +1 to honda civics. It was my brother’s first car, and then mine. We only just retired it, and it’s about 18 years old.

    • This is not at all what you asked, but I’d add my voice to those recommending buying instead of leasing. I would buy a reliable used car that you can pay in cash now (or save up for) over leasing. I’m kind of a Dave Ramsey disciple in this respect.

      My husband has been driving a used Honda Civic for years that has been awesome for us.

      • +1 on the civic. We have never owned a civic that didn’t last 20+ years and well over 300K miles without anything but routine maintenance. I’d imagine Toyotas are similar

        • Anonymous :

          +1. I bought me a 1993 Honda Civic in high school (it was 5 years old when I bought it.) I drove it until 2016. It had over 300k miles on it. It still drives just fine, but I was ready to upgrade. I bought a slightly used Accord in cash and expect to hand it down to my son when he starts driving.

    • First Car OP :

      Thanks for all the suggestions!

      As for the buying vs leasing: I’m in grad school right now so I’m just trying to keep my monthly costs as low as possible/want to hoard the savings/emergency fund I have instead of using it up to buy a car. I know in the long run its better to buy than lease but its just not a financial priority for me right now. I have two years left of my program so I’ll likely buy once I have a full time job again.

      • Personally, I would save the amount you would be making on payments for several months and then use what you saved to buy used. That would ultimately keep your monthly costs the same and be better financially in the long run. But again, not what you asked so I’ll stop now.

      • 10:45 anon here–I’m in the same boat as you. FWIW, I found out it was cheaper for me to buy used than lease. That all depends on your finances and numbers from the dealership. So look at both buying used and leasing! You’ll either be able to trade in whatever you bought later on or buy out your lease once you’re ready.

        • First Car OP :

          Ok I’ll be open to both then! Yeah I’m admittedly super uneducated in this area (city kid over here) but I’m going to do my research, visit and call around dealerships, etc. I just assumed buying would be more expensive monthly but im looking around and that doesnt seem to be the case!

          Thanks guys! Keep the comments/feedback coming! :)

          • Regarding buying vs. leasing at a dealership – look first at the interest rates the dealer is offering. Sometimes, lease interest rates are lower, and sometimes, finance interest rates are lower. When leasing, you always have the option to buy-out (ie. finance the remainder owing), so don’t worry too much about that. It sounds like it’s going to come down to monthly payment for you – so rates are going to be paramount.
            Domestic manufacturers tend to offer up better base model incentives, so if you’re looking for a good, entry level vehicle with lots of nice standard options, I’d suggest looking there first. Plus, they typically have slightly better interest rates than the imports.
            I work in Fleet vehicle purchasing.
            Good luck, and happy shopping!

          • First Car OP :

            Thanks for breaking this down – this was super helpful!

    • I had a Honda CR-V for 16 years in my family and I still miss it (and I now have a Mercedes)!!! It was an awesome first-time car, drove well, had the easiest maintenance, and was the perfect size for me. I loved having a ‘baby’ SUV with ability to fill it up (I moved in-and-out of college with it for four years as well as many inter-state moves and then across the US, the seats go flat in a snap) but it wasn’t so huge like most SUVs are so I could easily see everything around me and easily park. A law school friend of mine had an identical one and drove it from LA to Boston to move. They are AWESOME cars and have the easiest maintenance – for 16 years all we had to do was take it in for regular checkups to a trusted mechanic – he changed the oil, replaced fluids, changed the tires when needed, and brake pads… that’s all that I can think it needed. And the new ones are so nice!

      • I have one that I bought used in 2012 (it’s a 2010). I love it. It’s got over 100K miles on it now, and I’ve had no issues with it. I get regular maintenance, but *knock on wood* no major repairs.

        I’m hoping to get another 3-4 years at least out of mine (when H’s no-interest car payment is done), so I’m glad to hear yours lasted so long!

    • I loooooooved my white Mazda 3 hatchback. Fun to drive, reliable, good on gas, and can fit tons of stuff. I’ve gone to an SUV now, but I still miss that little car!

    • A lot of people keep encouraging you to buy, but I would like to make a case for leasing. I bought a car myself the year I graduated college, a brand new car, got a great deal. I put $3,000 down that I saved all through college and my payment was 269 a month for 5 years. 2 years in, I moved to NYC. Took a huge, totally terrible loss on the car. Two years later (this year), I moved to Atlanta. I need a car. I just leased a new 2017 Honda Accord for my fiance and I. We only had to put $3600 down, and the lease payments, get his, are only $150 a month (and that includes the Georgia TAVT tax rolled in!)
      My point is, after buying and getting burned, I knew leasing was right for me. you are correct, the monthly payments are easier to swallow, which is what my fiance and I are prioritizing over the next 5 years (I am getting a PhD). In 3 years, at the end of the lease, the buyout is only $13,500. You CANNOT buy a 3 year old honda accord with only 36k miles on it for 13,500, anywhere.
      I would say do your research and rock on. I loved my toyota corolla (that I bought) and I love the honda accord we have leased. I have always deeply wanted a honda crv but can’t afford it. good luck!

      • First Car OP :

        Right now I’m prioritizing my shorter term financial goals and want to keep my monthly costs as low as possible while in school so I’m thinking about the 36 month lease buyout option – by then i’ll be done with my program and can pay afford to buy. But I definitely want to weigh other options/deals out there before deciding- thanks for the pro leasing perspective =)

        • Aunt Jamesina :

          OP, careful on lease buyouts. Mileage overage are often killer. The previous poster would’ve been better served by buying a newer used car and letting the first buyer take the massive depreciation hit all cars have in the first few years than by leasing. There’s a reason so many warn against leasing. Again, go for certified used if you’re worried about maintenance costs. Finances are a long game, don’t just kick the can down the road.

          • Unfortunately no, this poster would not have benefited better from buying used. The interest rate is much higher (even with a 780 credit score) and I would, like I said, not had the opportunity to buy a similar used car in 3 years. I am confident I will not go over my 36,000 miles in the next 3 years. And I’m not sure you know this, but if you buy the car at the end of the lease, there is NO penalty for extra miles.
            For years, people preached “BUY A HOUSE. RENTING IS A WASTE OF MONEY”. Now, we know that unless you plan to stay at least 5-7 years, renting is actually better. I personally feel the same about a car. I don’t know where I will be in 5-10 years, and if I need more cash in the short term (again, grad school) there is nothing wrong with leasing. Saying leasing is the devil is old fashioned.

  12. Capsule Wardrobe :

    Done some reading here and elsewhere, but would love your thoughts on building a capsule wardrobe!

    Lately have been feeling like I have a closet of work clothes but nothing to wear. Over the weekend I donated maybe 1/2-2/3 of my work clothes. Looking for specific advice as to what pieces to add! My office is business casual and 90% of my remaining clothes are from Loft, because it fits and is in my relatively low budget. Let’s say I have $500-$700 to spend in the next few months.

    Here’s where I’m at:
    – 3 black dresses (they’re my staple)
    – 1 pair of black pants
    – 1 gray pencil skirt I don’t love
    – 5 blazers none of which fit very well
    – 4ish black/white tops
    – 5 cardigans I feel blah about

    My main question is around color. A lot of what I read says to pick one or two main colors so that everything matches. But if all of my basics are black, should I get an assortment of colors? Also, I’m looking to buy 2-3 new blazers and don’t know what colors to choose. Maybe one color and one textured black I can wear over the black dresses? Am I the only one who feels kind of frumpy in cardigans lately? They used to be such a staple.

    Two colors I gravitate toward are wine/burgandy and blush pink. Can I have a really have a wardrobe of all black, white, wine and blush clothes? I love how simple and easy that sounds. So eager for specific ideas here. Also, would like to get some statement jewelry to mix things up. Where are you guys getting cheapish jewelry these days? Alas, The Limited used to be a go to..

    Just want getting dressed for work to be completely easy and almost automated. So tired of wasting mental energy on this, but want to look put together and professional.

    P.S. this is just for work. Am I the only one who has completely separate work and play wardrobes? Literally never wear work pieces during my personal time and vice versa. Helps compartmenaize it.

    • I think black pants with bright coloured tops is kind of a dated look. Neutrals are much more current and probably a better investment. And yes, I consider blush to be a neutral! With black I also like to pair cream, white, grey, military green, and chambray blue.

      • I disagree that it’s dated. It’s not particularly fashion-forward, but I don’t think it’s dated.

      • I like black pants with patterned tops…then again, when you look inside my closet there is an explosion of pattern….geometric prints…floral prints, stripes. I have some softer patterns that look like solids from a distance. I actually have very few solid colours!

    • Hi-I’m attempting a capsule wardrobe myself, with similar color schemes, but I’m throwing grey into the mix. I find I like a black and white pattern better than just white with black-less severe or something. Also feeling dowdy in cartigans thinking a drapery wrap style would look nice over a dress. I might also do a neutral light leather jacket over them. (For more casual days). Can’t help with jewelry ( faux diamond studs and wedding rings for me) but I love a black and white patterned scarf to throw over all black or blush and black outfit. Hope this helps!

      • Sorry also -do you need a jacket every day? Poor fitting blazer sounds sad. I’d invest in a nice fitting one -makes or breaks an outfit in my opinion. In my ideal world I have a traditional cut in black and in blush and maybe a more fun (cropped or lapel-less or boyfriend ) in black.

    • Huh, I definitely wear black pants with a colored top, but I’m in the south and colors are big here. That said, I think your color palette sounds great! I would also invest in maybe 1-2 blazers you really love and get some blouses, lightweight crew sweaters, and/or cardigans you really like as well to replace the cardigans you feel meh about and blazers that don’t fit well. You can also add more color with scarves, which are great for fall and cold offices. You might want a couple more bottoms (skirts, pants) to round it out a bit more.

    • Delta Dawn :

      I LOVE the color scheme you’ve described: black, white/cream, wine, and blush. I think you could start with that in mind, and if it feels too bare, you could add another color later. For statement necklaces (which could be another place to add more color without committing too much), do you have Charming Charlie in your area? I’m not sure if it’s regional, but it’s organized by color and has good, inexpensive selection.

      For blazers, I think a blush blazer would be beautiful with the capsule you’ve described. I have a great inexpensive blush blazer that unfortunately came from the Limited (RIP), but I think you could find one in some end-of-season sales. I like the idea of a textured black, too, to go with your black solids.

      I have been feeling frumpy in cardigans, too. I think the “classic” cardigans I loved are not super current right now. They’re still wearable but feel less on-trend than an open/flowy/waterfall cardigan. I took this opportunity to purge most of my fitted cardigans except the five or so that I still really love (good fit, good color, in good condition). You say you feel “meh” about your 5 cardigans– I’d probably just get rid of them. You can gradually replace them with more current ones– maybe one in black, one in cream, one in wine, to fit your scheme.

    • I like Bauble Bar for cheap statement jewelry.

    • Baconpancakes :

      You’re pretty much describing my fall work capsule. I rotate out colors over the year, but my “base” wardrobe is navy, black, white, and tan. This fall my seasonal colors are maroon, red, and blush, with three orange pieces thrown in for fun. I sympathize with the cardigan quandary – I’ve pretty much pared down to three, which I only wear to the movies or to weddings. Thus the popularity of ponte or stretchy blazers. Black and maroon does look good but I’d recommend mixing it with grey or another neutral to keep it from being too severe, unless that’s what you’re going for.

      Statement jewelry is less on trend these days, but Baublebar still has pretty showy pieces for statement jewelry.

      I’m still working out the details, but my fall wardrobe is currently:

      Navy 3-piece suit
      Pink ponte blazer
      Black MM Lafleur jardigan
      Patterned black and tan floral moto style jacket
      4 long sleeve blouses – pink, black, red, black faux wrap top
      Maroon short sleeve top
      2 sleeveless tops – black and ivory
      2 lightweight sweaters – tan and orange
      Russet pencil skirt
      2 ankle pants – black and red
      2 trousers – maroon and tan
      4 dresses – greyish, black long sleeve, black short sleeve, navy
      Accessories – orange scarf, pink scarf, orange tassel earrings, pearl earrings, diamond studs, tiny gold monogrammed pendant necklace

      Considering adding a navy silk tee.

      • Your fall capsule wardrobe has inspired me to add some of these combos in my wardrobe! Thank you for outlining this so clearly.
        (My wardrobe consists of navy, silver grey, a bit of black, yellow, orange, and a bit of olive — looking to add more pink /blush/ berry — if I can find the pieces.)

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I think adding gray will help stretch your wardrobe, plus gray looks amazing with wine and blush. I love earrings and like to refresh my collection with pieces from Etsy (takes a lot of time to sort thru) and Francesca’s Collection (not a huge selection, but sometimes you find sterling silver).

    • You might find inspiration here? You could substitute her camel for a gray or navy.

      Or search through here to see if anything paired with “rose” feels good to you.

    • You might try the Vivienne Files for inspiration.

      I like this one in particular – you could substitute her camel for a gray or navy.

  13. HannahHunt :

    Thoughts for the perfect first designer purse? I’ve been looking at LV’s Neverfull, which is in my price range (under $1500). I also like that it’s a tote rather than a wallet-on-chain. But I’m seeing the Neverfull everywhere, and I want a purse that’s a little more unique than that, but still iconic. Help me shop!

    • Interested to hear responses on this. I love the look of the Neverfull, but won’t purchase since it’s basically part of the uniform where I live. Goyard is more expensive, but similar look.

    • There are so many beautiful bags under $1500, I wouldn’t go with LV. It’s just so overdone and tacky at this point.

      • +1. Look at Mulberry! That’d be my first. Drool.

      • The LV logo bags are so cheesy and already considered passé among just about everyone except suburban moms (and I think Goyard is even worse – cheesy and ugly). If you’re going to invest that much money I would get something without an obvious logo that will never go out of style.

      • Agree — maybe your definition of designer is different than mine, but I’ve found a lot of bags in the $200-400 range that are sturdy and I don’t worry about theft/damage. I also think LV is a bit … pervasive at this point, so unless you are gaga over the style, consider something a little more unique that you love?

      • Look at Mulberry or Ferragamo.

    • Shopaholic :

      I recently was looking for a similar purchase and I hunted through all the designer consignment stores in my city. I got a Celine bag for basically your budget, which would be probably around $3500 full price.

      My best advice would be to think about your purse habits now – if you’re spending that kind of money on a bag, you want to make sure you’ll use it and it fits with your lifestyle. Bonus – it’ll also help us give you suggestions!

      • HannahHunt :

        I love the look of Celine! But I’m wary of spending that much at a consignment store because I’m very new to this and am worried that I could buy a fake without knowing it. Any tips for a newbie?

        I schlep a fair amount of stuff to work, so I’d like a tote/satchel that would fit at least a water bottle, light cardigan, and wallet. I tend to carry the same purse for everything – to work, to dinner, to after-work drinks – so I’d like something versatile.

        • Shopaholic :

          I would be more worried about buying a fake on Ebay than in an consignment store… at least the ones I’ve shopped at, they verify purchases before they accept them because it’s a losing proposition for them to sell fakes. Usually it comes with dustbags/boxes/receipts but you can double-check with the sales associates!

          I may be outing myself here but I bought a gorgeous Celine Edge bag which I love so much. The other celine bags (I love the luggage totes) are more expensive (would probably be over your budget) but definitely not full price.

          At stores close to me, both Prada totes and Fendi bags have recently been within your price range.

          You have to hunt a bit but I prefer it that way because it feels more like it was meant to be than just walking in a store and dropping that kind of money. It may also expand your options when you see what type of options you have.

        • givemyregards :

          What about buying through the realreal? I haven’t pulled the trigger on anything from there yet, but have browsed a lot and supposedly they do a thorough verification of their stuff.

          • There are soooooo many reports of fakes fro the realreal. Supposedly if you get outside verification and its a fake they will refund your costs, but I would definitely get it verified by a third party. If you look online there are loads of BBB reports and lots of reviews by people reporting getting fakes.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      For a first bag, I wouldn’t choose an LV either (and I love them shamelessly). I would definitely pick a solid neutral that you will use literally forever.

      I would also wonder what you consider designer in this context and what is important to you? Is it quality, or look or do you just want someone to see it and think, she carries a “whatever” (not judging at all, that can be really important). If you just want a really high quality leather bag, some of the less high end designers make gorgeous bags at the corresponding price. For example, the higher end Coach leather bags are lovely quality and really understated but they are more of a “starter” designers. If you really want to make a statement, I would consider upping the budget to $2K and looking at Mulberry or Chloe or Burberry (not necessarily logo, they make great leather bags as well).

      • HannahHunt :

        Thanks for the helpful response! I’m looking for both quality and making a statement (I have no shame!). I really like the Chloe Faye, but it’s a little out of my price range. I guess I’m just having a hard time finding something in my price range that isn’t a tiny, glorified wallet! Upping the budget might be a good idea after all.

        • Never too many shoes... :

          I would honestly go to a high end department storm (if there is one near you) and just spend some time looking around and getting a feel for what you might love.

          As for your concern about buying a consignment bag, there are lots of places now that deal in consignment bags and will guarantee authenticity to help alleviate your stress about purchasing one. You might look into those as well. I would definitely not buy a Gucci from any old second hand shop for exactly the same reason.

        • Chloe Faye :

          This might be too late – but don’t buy the Faye for this purpose – it barely fits anything in it and anything not flat like a water bottle isn’t going in at all! Also Mulberry bags can be super heavy for daily use.

          • Agreed on Mulberry being too heavy for daily use. I’m still looking for my unicorn lightweight bag all-purpose luxury bag.

    • Have you looked at Cuyana bags? I have a few designer bags, and I find my Cuyana bag has a similarly high-end look and excellent construction.

    • IP Associate :

      The Saint Laurent shopping tote may fit your needs. It was near the top of my list when I was looking for a tote bag for work, but I ended up choosing the Neverfull because I wanted a workhorse that I didn’t have to baby and could be worn to work, on the weekends or while traveling. I bought an LV for my first designer bag (not the Neverfull) and love it still – the canvas is pretty indestructible and for a first designer bag, that might be helpful. I’ve since branched out to other designers but in my opinion LV is a great gateway designer brand.

    • I have a Tod’s bag for work that I love.

    • Anonymous :

      LV Epi.

  14. Going Blonde :

    My hair is long and brown. I want to cut it to shoulder length and dye it a medium/dirty blonde. Never done anything like that, but have been thinking about it for a really long time, discussed it with my hairdresser etc.

    This is such a stupid reason to hesitate, but I hate when coworkers comment on my appearance. Just hate it. I get comments every day about how I look tired or stressed, or when I wear makeup or do my hair how I look nice. Sometimes my supervisor asks how I am and says I look “gray.” I’m 27. Given my office, if I dye my hair dramatically, there will be so many comments. I should just own it, right? How long do people take to adjust to this kind of stuff? Just a couple of days, right? If I go blonde, am I going to regret it?

    • No one can tell you if you’re going to regret it.

      But you should suck up people commenting on your drastically different hair color. It will be over in a few days.

    • Do it. Sympathy – your coworkers sound like jerks.

    • I would do one at a time to help ease the transition (blonde then cut it). I went super super blonde overnight and got maybe two comments on it on the first day. And yes, it was just the first day for me

      • Or do both, but more gradually. When I’ve gone from dark to blonde, my hairdresser has basically insisted in doing it over several treatments, saying it would be less harsh on my hair to do it slowly.

    • Does your hairstylist think you can make the transition to blonde in one visit? I have a relative with very dark hair who decided to go blonde, and transitioning her to fully blonde hair took about a year. If you start with highlights and keep increasing them, you’ll probably get fewer remarks than if you come in with blonde hair one day. I would also recommend a cut with the first set of highlights.

    • Look at people like they’re crazy and say there’s nothing different about your hair :)

      Really though, I think you should do it! Have some breezy responses for the first few days at work “Just felt like a change!” “Well, I love it!” “Thanks, it’s different but I’ve wanted to do this for a while now!” and after a few days it will blow over.

      • Haha! Yes -I’ll add that my take is to thank these jerks like it’s a compliment.

        Suburban: good morning
        Annoying coworker: you dyed your hair?
        Suburban: Thanks!
        Annoying coworker: confused dirty look

    • Flats Only :

      You probably can’t avoid the co-worker comments (compliments, I hope?). Maybe get your hair done/changed before a vacation. That way you have a week or two out of the office to get used to it and you won’t feel so conspicuous. Your co-workers will get used to it in a day or two, especially if you are cheerful about it.

      If you are honestly hearing daily that you look tired, stressed or “gray”, your co-workers may be genuinely concerned about you. How is your health? Or is it one of these situations where your co-workers wear a lot of makeup and very “done” hair and act SUPER PEPPY all the time, so you come off as “tired” compared to them?

      • Also another option is you may be wearing unflattering colors by your face. Are you wearing a lot of black? That can be really harsh on some people.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Like Suburban, I like to accept comments as compliments or even just compliment myself.

      “You … changed your hair?”
      “Yeah, I LOVE IT!”

      (The truth is, I haaaaaate when coworkers comment on my appearance in any way, so knowing the tone/content of my response before it happens it pretty helpful.)

  15. Facial Spray :

    I recently bought the Mario Badescu rosewater facial spray. I am not sure why I bought it. I think because I had a coupon, because I saw it on a lot of blogs, and because it was $7. I have tried to use it a couple of times but can’t figure out how, or why. What is this actually for? (Promise I’ll curb my impulse buying next time.)

    • Ha, I just saw that at Nordstrom Rack yesterday and was wondering what people used it for!

    • It’s lightly hydrating – I used a bottle up by spritzing my face after I washed it and before serums.

      It’s also nice as a refresher throughout the day (just make sure you hold it far enough away from your face that you don’t drench it and smear your makeup)

    • I used it as a makeup setting spray. Loved it for that purpose! I quit using it because I was having break-outs at the time and eliminated several products at once – I’m not sure if it was the culprit or not.

      FWIW, I’ve never really understood/never had such dry skin that I just needed to spray moisture on my face during the middle of the day.

    • I actually went through the bottle really fast. Spritzed my face after my morning/evening skincare routine, and any time during the day if my face felt sticky or sweaty. I like the way it feels, but I can’t really say it’s a plus or a minus to a skincare routine. Just a nice refreshment.

      • I’m a product minimalist, but after receiving rose water spray as a gift it’s become one of my favorite products.

        I use after cleansing before serums, sometimes as a make up setting spray, and sometimes in the mornings as a refresher before primer and makeup. It’s just one of those easy self care things that makes me feel better!

  16. Veronica Mars :

    Does anyone have the Ikea Hemnes daybed and can comment on it? I’m considering getting one for my home office. I thought it would be comfy to lounge on, and I could pull it out to a king if guests come over. The other option is getting something like a sleeper sofa, but that seems like it would be less comfortable for guests. (I’m also thinking that I would get a foam topper to put over the mattresses so the king bed would be a bit more comfortable).

    • We bought the Ikea Hemnes for my daughter’s room. Daybeds are rarely “comfy to lounge on” (I am a professional lounger, I know) … they’re too wide and for a mattress to be comfortable to sleep on, it’s not comfortable to sit on. I love the storage drawers underneath, but we actually don’t use the trundle because … surprise! There’s nowhere to store the mattress that would go on top of the trundle when you close up the trundle. Also, when you pull it out, the mattress supports seem crazy flimsy … I would not put an adult on that side. Although, I guess people do and it’s not a problem, but it just seems … dangerous. Finally, although I pride myself on my Ikea-assemblage skills, this was the most challenging piece of furniture I’ve ever faced. I would recommend really examining a floor display (lift the mattress up and look at the bed slats underneath before committing.

      • Veronica Mars :

        Thanks for letting me know! I was so hopeful it would be a good option!

      • alexisfaye :

        This is funny to me, Susan. I have the exact same daybed for my daughter. We store the mattresses for the trundle under the one for the actual bed. Perhaps we have a much thinner set of mattresses? I think it’s perfectly safe for adults.

        BUT…It is incredibly hard to assemble. Ridiculously.

        • anonlawyer :

          we also have this in my daughter’s room and store the mattress the same way. I will say that its not a king size bed though — king sheets dont fit it when you have the trundle pulled out. its really just two twin beds.

          • Anonymous :

            2 Twins are the same width as a King, but not the same length. I think 2 XL Twins are the equivalent of a King.

        • Lol! That never occurred to me. I will definitely look into that … we bought it so that my daughter would have a place for friends/sleepovers, but then I was like, “Where the &@% am I supposed to put the other mattress?!?” I tried to put an air mattress on that side once but it didn’t fit.

    • I have the Ikea Beddinge futon for this purpose and I love it – it’s comfortable as both a bed and a sofa, and it doesn’t look like a college student’s futon.

    • We debated between the Hemnes and the Holmsund for a TV room since we frequently have lots of guests and wanted something flexible in addition to the guest beds we have (we pack a lot of people into our small house!). I would agree that the Hemnes did not seem soo comfortable for lounging/watching TV. We opted for the Holmsund and I quite like it. I sleep there on insomnia nights (a few hours in the earlymorning, not a full night) and I find it very comfortable for that purpose and for TV watching. We do have a memory foam topper for guests that squishes small enough to fit inside the sofa’s internal storage space but I don’t pull it out just for myself. It folds out into almost a queen size so it needs queen size sheets, not double.

      It was very tricky to move into our TV room since the main frame is one big tall/long piece, but again, we do have a small house with a weird narrow hallway so it shouldn’t be an issue otherwise.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      If you want an alternative from IKEA, we have the Frihetten (it’s definitely a larger commitment in terms of $ and space, though it does also offer good storage) and I love it. When I’ve been sick, my husband has opted to sleep on that instead of the guest bed because he likes it better! I’ve had a number of good naps on it too.

    • We have the Hemnes daybed and it is great in the guest room but we have never really lounged on it. In one of our other spare rooms, we have the Ikea Frieheten sofa. IMO it is much better for the constant lounging + occasional guests than the Hemnes daybed is. It has the chaise lounge + storage and pulls out into a full sized bed. No complaints from guests who have slept on it for a couple days.

    • Eager Beaver :

      I considered the Hemnes, but ended up getting this daybed for my guest room: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002VHRE54?tag=amz-mkt-chr-us-20&ascsubtag=1ba00-01000-org00-def00-other-nomod-us000-pcomp-feature-scomp-wm-4. It has also has storage. I thought it would be little odd asking couples to sleep on two twin beds instead of a king, but it hasn’t been a big deal. I like lounging on it pretty well.

  17. I need a different system for storing my passwords – ideally something my spouse could access as well. Does anyone have a system or app they particularly like? And can anyone well-versed in internet security tell me whether it’s worth it to use a password generator to make all of my passwords unique?

    • Use lastpass. All your passwords should be long, complex, and unique. Use multi-factor authentication for anything that contains particularly sensitive information — gmail, banks, dropbox.

      I know it’s a pain, but lastpass makes it pretty easy. I promise it’s worth it. I can’t even begin to describe how vulnerable most people are to hacking, and the world of pain you will experience in the event your personally identifying information is stolen.

    • Thisperson1 :

      We use LastPass. That way we can both access any bills, financial sites, etc., and can access emails, Amazon, etc. if needed.

    • I just bought a tiny notebook where I jot them down. I figure those online password keepers are never really secure.

    • Get a standard password system (say MKRJ______6904). The blank spot is some identifier for what the account is. So your bank of America login is “MKRJBOA6904”. All your passwords are different, but you only have to remember the standard to remember your password. It also makes it easy to give other people, like your husband, your passwords.

      • This is genius.

      • I tried this, but many sites have different requirements for passwords – like some need a capital letter, number and punctuation; some can’t do punctuation. Different password lengths, etc. Lastpass was my solution.

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          on my rarely-visited sites, I have been known to start registering for a new account just to see what their password requirements are so I can remember which standard password I used for the site.

  18. Just looking for commiseration. My sibling (who has borderline personality disorder) has been increasingly awful to me in the last couple of years (largely precipitated by my getting married to a wonderful man and ‘abandoning’ her), to the point where I have sought therapy to help develop skills to deal with her and reclaim my life from the constant twisting of my words and constant criticism (including criticism that I don’t prioritize her above my own spouse, which apparently she would do for me (false)). Things have been getting better for me in therapy, but I just found out from my mom that my sibling is interviewing for jobs in the city in which I live (she currently lives in a different country from me and is bad enough even with the distance between us – e.g. she hears from my mom or a mutual friend that I spent a weekend away with my husband and writes long emails or texts criticizing how I choose to spend my time ‘without her’, how I’m just a bad family member, how I ‘conveniently’ seem to have time to spend with my husband but not with her etc. — even in situations where I’ve literally just seen her, or where I’ve been unable to attend a ‘weekend’ she invites me to because it’s actually in another country and involves an 8+ hours trip each way for 1 day of time with her). It’s making me extremely anxious at my desk today – just the thought of her actually being in town for good. I know it sounds ridiculous but my first instinct is to move out of town. I know that’s not a good solution to the problem, and I’m already in therapy for the skills development and anxiety, but I just needed to vent today. I seriously don’t know what I would do. As an added bonus, my mother enables my sister’s behavior (and gets roped into ganging up on me by my sister) and would likely move here as well if that happened, since she has an apartment in my city that she currently rents out. Blah.

    • Omg. I’m sorry. That sounds awful. Maybe something to tell yourself is that IF she moves to your city, you will work closely with your therapist to develop even stronger boundaries with your sister (and maybe your mother). I’ve dealt with a BPD family member in the past and it’s kind of a moving target dealing with her because as I develop boundaries she finds new ways of pushing them. But one thing I know is I have a solid relationship with my shrink and whatever shenanigans this family member tries, I will talk with my shrink and find ways of minimizing their intrusiveness on me. I don’t always know what tricks this family member will have up their sleeve, but I do know I have the skills and resources to deal with them as they come up.

      Sorry you’re dealing with this. This internet stranger commiserates with you.

    • I estranged myself from a sibling (on purpose). It’s difficult when parents are enablers. But if you don’t want to move (and I don’t think you should), you need to put up walls. Block her number and email. If your mother tries to rope you in, shut her down. You don’t engage, don’t participate. If that means you don’t talk to your mother for awhile, so be it. Remember: what you allow will continue. If you allow your sister to treat you this way, it will continue. You deserve to be happy and live in your home without stressing about this.

      • +1,000 It’s not going to get better if you allow them to stay in your lives.

        • OP here. I agonize so much over this. I truly don’t think I could cut out my sister without cutting out my mother as well, which I would prefer not to do since even though my mother exhibits borderline traits as well, I find I can (occasionally) talk to her like a real person and gain something from the relationship. My therapist has encouraged me to see if setting ‘loving limits’ with my sibling is something that leads to progress before I cut the relationship off, but setting those ‘loving limits’ still feels an awful lot like being walked all over and not being able to communicate when behavior is unacceptable. I fear it would be even worse when I don’t have the defense of vaguery when being policed by my sibling (e.g. can’t not respond for a few days with a vague work or other pretense since she could presumably come check up on my at my apartment or see me about town and go off all over again).

          • Flats Only :

            Honestly it sounds to me like you are in danger. In addition to blocking phone/email, make sure your office building and apartment building know not to let her in.

            You are not a bad person for not wanting to be stalked and harassed, even by your family. Remember that “sticks and stones may break my bones (and thus the precautions above), but words can never hurt me”. Even if they say you are a bad XXXX, those are just words, and not necessarily true ones.

          • I highly doubt “loving limits” will work with your sister. I understand what you’re saying re: your mother, but she is not helping here. I think you need to set hard limits with your mom about what she tells your sister and what she tells you. I also doubt that will work, but I suppose it’s worth a shot.

            But I am the jerk who thinks you don’t owe toxic family members anything, just because they are your family members. There are many stories from posters here whose lives have greatly improved after cutting off toxic family members. I hope they chime in.

    • If you haven’t read the _Walking on Eggshells_ book, it sounds like now is a good time (and I think you’ll find it validates your concerns about how “loving limits” can play out poorly).

      • That’s interesting – I actually did recently read that book on a recommendation. One thing I found difficult about the book is that it didn’t seem to really advocate cutting off the family member (though it certainly portrayed it as an option). It was all about finding compassion for the BPD family member because whatever pain you are going through, they have it worse and you need to validate their feelings to make progress. There were pieces of advice in the book about what to do if your BPD spouse is physically abusing a child and how to validate their feelings and I was like – that is the point at which you no longer validate their feelings, you remove the child from them because they are not fit to be parents.
        Anyway, I do appreciate the recommendation as the book was helpful to some degree in at least understanding what may be going on in the mind of the BPD person and why explaining to them that their behavior is unreasonable doesn’t really work.

        • Thank you for sharing your reaction to the book! I think for me the takeaway was “radical acceptance is the only thing that will help this person, so if you are not up for that, you’re not doing them any favors by not cutting them off.” For me, this helped me set limits and impose distance (and stop feeling guilty about the one person I did cut off).

          I fear the scenarios involving child abuse are probably realistic (I don’t personally know any abusive parents who actually lost access to their kids, and divorce just meant that the one sane parent wasn’t around when the kids went home with the abusive parent)–but I generally think that the professionals sound jaded and tone deaf (and I maybe haven’t forgiven society for the situation I grew up in, but that’s a whole other therapy topic).

          Back to the topic at hand, I remember how anxious I felt in the same circumstances, so I do commiserate! Years later, I am grateful that I disengaged to the point that the salvageable relationships could be restored on new terms–and that the unsalvageable relationships aren’t part of my life or even on my mind anymore. Everyone’s situation is different, but I have hope for yours.

    • You asked for advice, so brace yourself. I have been there and this is what I decided to do. I am here to tell you that if need be, threaten with a restraining order. Cut contact with her and anyone else who tries to encourage you to accept what is clearly emotional abuse. You do not have to take it. It is tough but if you are serious, I would advise, cutting contact. Letting your mom know she can respect your boundaries or be cut off too and be firm. Unfortunately we cant choose family, but we 100% do not have to put up with disrespect, abuse, intimidation or stress. Stress is what leads to alot of illnesses. You do not deserve to live this way. You deserve your happiness. Fight for it.

  19. I’m leaving for vacation tomorrow after work and I have no motivation to do anything today. Aside from one meeting tomorrow, there’s nothing that can’t wait until I get back. I’m just counting the hours until I get to go home and pack!

  20. To Annony, From Potential Future Stepparent :

    I am posting here hoping you see this today in case you aren’t still checking your post from yesterday.

    I wanted to give you my thoughts, since I am in a way your BF. I am dating a fantastic man, who has two kids from his previous marriage. The kids are also awesome. I have always assumed stepparenting would be something I would easily agree to. I’ve been surprised in the last few months how much I find myself hesitating about committing to a life with these amazing people because of this, though.

    For me, growing up as a child of divorced parents and with 2 stepparents, and having already been divorced myself. I am ultra sensitive of taking any actions that might really hurt his kiddos. I worry that something unpredictable may happen in our relationship and they would feel like they lost someone else who had become family to them. I worry that I wont be able to find my place in a co-parenting situation he and his ex have that is working well as it is, and that the kids might suffer. I worry over and over about potential ramifications for them, which gives me much greater pause that if I was just thinking of he and I – two adults making decisions for ourselves – rather that for he and I and two darling small people who have already endured a divorce and who are not making this decision that could very much impact them.

    Maybe I am being too pessimistic, or planning for the worst instead of hoping for the best, but I thought maybe the inside of my confused head might give you a bit of insight into your BFs.

    Best of luck! xoxo

    • Thanks. I actually bit the bullet last night and told him I thought we should call it quits.

      He is having the same situation as you. He asked me to please wait, and give him the chance to keep working through it. I agreed, with the requirement that he independently bring it up on a once a month basis.

      I hope this gives us the chance to work through some of it, while having some accountability. I think he really wants this, but he is scared. And I’m ok with that (for now).

      • Senior Attorney :

        I have been thinking about you and now that you’re here again, I want to say, with all love, that he is right to be scared. I remarried when my son was 10 and if I had it to do over again I wouldn’t have done it. Adding a stepparent to the mix complicates everything and makes everything harder.

        It’s too bad he’s moving away because the people I know who have made it work the best are the ones who have dated their SO’s until their kids were out of the house, and then remarried. But even then it’s hard. I had lunch yesterday with somebody who is having horrible stepfamily issues even though she’s been married for 10 years and the stepchild in question is a 30 year old man.

        I wish you the best! Maybe some relationship counseling with somebody who specializes in blended families would be helpful.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          On the flip side, I know people that have blended families that work great and the step parents and bio parents all co-parent beautifully. Every relationship is different.

        • To Annony, From Potential Future Stepparent :

          Thanks for this thought, SA. My guy and I have talked about it and neither of us are in a rush to marry again. I actually feel calm at the idea you suggest – of dating until the kids are much older – and could see that as a realistic possibility for us.

  21. Seeking commiseration. I have the finest, thinnest, straightest, most damage-prone hair on the planet, and I’ve been working for months to grow out my chin-length graduated bob into more of a blunt bob just above the shoulders. I was about halfway there and went in last night for a trim…….. and ended up with a badly-cut chin-length graduated bob (except it’s not well graduated – the top “layer” is a large chunk that doesn’t blend well with the rest of the cut). So I’m back to where I started, but with a worse version of the cut I was trying to get rid of. I’m just so bummed.

    What do I do?? I’d rather not take even more length off the top layer since I’d like to keep growing the cut out (albeit I’m now starting again from square one). Anyone have alternate style ideas for lifeless, fine, thin hair that falls flat no matter what?

  22. Hello Hive,

    What is the distance at which you decide to have commuting shoes vs work pumps?

    I’m starting on a new project which is a 20 min walk from my place so I would like to seize this opportunity to fit in a little activity.
    It’s in Europe so a bit of cobblestone here and there but otherwise flat terrain.
    I tend to wear very comfortable shoes (think Clarks or Gabor, wide fit, maximum 2 inches heel) but was wondering whether it is worth wearing sneakers on my commute?
    Curious to know what commute you find too long to walk in regular shoes.

    • I would definitely want to wear something comfortable for a 20 minute walk. You might want to check out something in-between, not sneakers, not pumps. I used to have a pair of Born flats that were awesome! Lots of cushion and support. I walked all over the city in those. They don’t look like sneakers, though, so they suit your work outfit if you don’t want to change shoes when you arrive.

    • Flats Only :

      Work shoes never leave the work place. All commuting is done in commuting shoes. Be they sneakers, flats, etc. Keeps the work shoes nicer.

    • Legally Brunette :

      If I am walking more than 3 minutes I change from work shoes into commuting flats. I would never walk 20 minutes in pumps! I don’t do sneakers, but there are lots of cute and comfortable flats out there for commuting (AGL, Louis Et Cie, and believe it or not Dr. Scholl’s are pretty cute these days too).

    • I agree with Lottie. I would definite commute in flats of some kind and change into my heels when I get to the office. Even though I could technically walk that amount of time in my heels, I just wouldn’t want to. Plus, especially with the cobblestones, changing into your heels at the office will save them some damage.

      My commute is about a 15 minute walk and I usually wear some kind of fairly comfortable flat but not a sneaker (I just don’t like the look with my work clothes). Currently commuting in my Rothy’s.

    • Commuting shoes to walk 7 minutes from my parking garage to my office, then change into work shoes there. All work shoes live in my office. The only shoes I keep at home are weekend shoes and boots.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        I wear commuting shoes from the walk to the parking garage to my office. The rough, uneven concrete is the worst.

    • I have a similar walking commute and walk in booties or Toms. I leave my heels at my desk and change into them every day (or…most days…).

    • Baconpancakes :

      I will admit, I did at one time commute 30 minutes in heels. It was a poor life decision. I would suggest some 1″ athletic-type wedges, maybe flats with a little heel built in, or fashion sneakers if you don’t want to go the regular athletic shoe route.

    • I would absolutely wear sneakers to walk in and leave the work shoes at work (or bring them). But I have a very low tolerance for foot pain and even put flip flops in my car if I’m running errands after work.

    • Also in Europe, and I swear I have not walked on a non-cobble-stone path for 20 years or so. If you like your shoes, put them in a nice protective bag, put on your walking shoes and set off. The cobbled stones will scratch your heels – even if you are a fairy and can magically avoid the tiny holes.

    • Thanks all.
      I will commute in my Gabor flat shoes and change into my Clarks pumps when I arrive (I’ll probably just carry them in my laptop bag).

      • Or can you just keep them at your office? I have the same 4-5 pairs of shoes I like to wear to work and they all just live in my office drawer.

        • I am in consulting, so I go to the client at least 3 days per week, and work from a random team room.

  23. Awkward post but any underwear recs for someone prone to BV? I try to buy 100% cotton but the only options I’ve found are really visible with my work wear and not very nice (granny-panty).

    • Target!

    • Aunt Jamesina :

      I like Gap’s cotton thongs for no-show and I looooove Natori’s cotton girl briefs. Super comfy and non-binding elastic, so while they might not be no-show, they’re pretty darn close.

  24. Time keeping anxiety – help!

    I left a firm to go in-house. One of the main reasons I left the firm was because of anxiety around the requirement of billing my time. Starting today at the in-house gig, we are being required to keep track of our time in 15 minute increments. I thought I could roll with this, but I am kind of freaking out and my familiar anxieties from the firm have hit me like a truck.

    I don’t even know what I am asking for but I am having a seriously anxious moment right now.

    • What’s the purpose? Sometimes this is so the relevant internal affiliate can be charged back appropriately for your time, as opposed to “are you sufficiently industrious.”

      • We don’t bill our internal clients. My understanding is it is so we can have hard data to show higher-ups about the work we do to support the company.

    • What’s the big deal? Unless you’re used to wasting the day away and are now worrying about what you’ll put down you were doing?

      • Not the OP :

        Not the OP but you have articulated my problem with the billable hour. Most work days have so much down time in them. Time transitioning, time chatting with coworkers, time surfing the net, time thinking …. I also get things done faster than most people so I don’t get the benefit of drawn out work like others. It doesn’t look like much when it is all on paper.

    • First step is to take some deep breaths and drink a glass of water. Second step is to identify what the source of your anxiety is. Billing time sucks, for all sorts of reasons, but they’re all different. You can only learn to tolerate billing if you fix the underlying problem. Do you struggle with the tedium of writing down all your time? Figuring out how to describe your work in a way a client will pay for? Getting time entered on time? Feeling inefficient? Feeling awful for charging a client thousands of dollars for your brain work? Actually being inefficient and wasting your time as Rude Anonymous suggested above? (hey, sometimes it happens).

      • A big part of it is billable time was one of the main things I thought I was getting away from when I left the firm and I am just so disappointed that it has apparently followed me. I struggle with the disruption to my work flow and the tedium of writing things down and feeling like I have to be perfectly accountable for all of my hours spent at work. Like the company doesn’t trust me enough by my work product so now we have to do this. We don’t bill internal clients, so that’s not it. Thanks for the bit about “Rude Anonymous” – made me laugh. I’m plenty busy and don’t waste much time. Most of my time here I’m actually working. I just HATE having to write it all down.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Anon, I hope that some of this will be like… ugh sorry the only way I know how to say this is with a dumb long metaphor.

          I dated someone awful. Every time he would ask “what’s your plan tonight?” it was because he wanted to berate me about doing the wrong thing, imply I was cheating, be hurt that I wasn’t reading his mind about what he wanted to do, etc. Eventually we broke up (YAY!) and I started dating someone new. That guy would ask, “what’s your plan tonight?” and send me into a panic spiral. “Why does he want to know?!” …but the reason was different. He wanted to see if I was free to make a plan with him, or he just cared about my life. Anyway, it took a LONG time for my lizard brain to learn that that question wasn’t a setup. I hope you’ll be able to make the same adjustment with your hours.

    • There's an app for that! :

      I struggled so much with staying on top of billing my time for a variety of reasons and then I discovered the Hours app. It is so easy to use. You can either set a timer or go back and enter an item once you completed it. Then it creates a nice pdf report at the end of the week!

      • Tech Comm Geek :

        I have used the same app when I was working for a software team that tracked time in 15 minute increments. It’s stupid, it’s annoying, but the app really can make it much better.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I would be as upset as you are. I love my job but I HATE billing time. If I ever get another job that will be my #1 requirement. No time tracking. You are not crazy for caring, or if you are, we are both crazy! Currently, I use a free software called Manic Time to help me track everything I do. I then use that, my email, and a notebook I keep for phone calls to enter my time.

  25. Anyone have the Chanel Ballet Flats or any other similar ones? Ferragamo etc.? I buy pairs that end up battered after a few months and I am considering investing in high quality/higher price points. I like Chanel because of the quality – not the name. Open to alternatives. TIA!

    • Ferragamo :

      I have the ferragamo varinas. They are the most comfortable pair of work shoes I own. Was amazed to find flats with actual arch support for my flat feet.

      • Anonymous :

        My Stuart Weitzman shoes last forever. I just got some cute SW ballet flats from either 6pm or Zappo’s.

    • If you end up battering your shoes, buying a pricey version likely won’t help you. My expensive shoes stay pristine because I mostly wear them indoors – if I’m wearing Ferragamo flats, I slip into my commuting flats if I’m running out at lunch for errands, etc.

    • Have you considered AGL flats? I don’t have any but I have a friend who swears by them. They are very well made.

      If I could afford it though, I’d have a closet full of Ferragamo Vara. (Not technically a flat but a reasonably low heel)

  26. Rambling Anon :

    Looking for some support. I went to business school at a Tier 3 school, paid less than a fourth of what people pay at the top business schools and did it in a year. It made sense for my career goals, logistically and specialization wise. I am 100% sure it was the right decision for ME. I didnt have the grades nor money to go to a top school. Mind you I am almost 10 years into my career, which has been successful. Hoping to use the degree for more money + self satisfaction. I did what was feasible for me. But I still feel shame? Guilt? like it’s/I’m not good enough. Not sure. Just looking for support. Like I said this was the best, most feasible option for me. But just need someone to genuinely tell me its OK and I am good enough.

    • Rambling Anon's Conscience :

      I’m torn between wanting to tell you what you want to hear (because it is true) and slapping you in the face. You KNOW you did what is right for you and your situation so what’s the problem? That you didn’t go to a prestigious school? Does anyone in your real life (besides you) actually care?

      • Rambling Anon :

        HAHA omg that is brilliant! You are right. I actually do need a slap in the face. DH tells me constantly that I am being neurotic about it and that no one cares. I think its because I live in an area where its common to see “Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, etc.” but its never stopped me from getting offers (good offers), nor has anyone said anything to me. In my real life, I am one of the most educated in the family. Most have a bachelors, so they’ve congratulated but never said anything negative.

    • anonymous :

      It sounds like you made a sensible investment, and now you are being infected by the toxic prestige hierarchies so dear to academia (where many would have liked for you to spend beyond your means!). I would like to think that whatever career you are in is more meritocratic than that (especially if your career was going well for 10 years before you got this degree). There are people who will recognize that you did what was right for you and respect you for it. (These will be often be the people you want to impress anyway…)

    • Rainbow Hair :

      What if a beloved niece told you what you’re telling us — or even came to you asking for advice when her situation was the same as yours? You’d tell her that there are lots of people out there who will care more about what she can *do* than the name brand on her diploma. You’d be proud of your niece for making solid, responsible choices. Treat yourself with the kindness you’d show her.

      • Rambling Anon :

        OP here, once again, you ladies talk some sense in it me. Thanks for the support!!!! I realize now I am being silly and I DID make the right choice & you’re right, the people who are more concerned about brand names are definitely not the people I want to work for anyways. I just need to be nicer to myself and stop being neurotic.

  27. Love this dress! I can’t get enough of LBD’s! Every women should have a least one and if possible two that are different styles!

  28. I love the style of this dress and that it is in black!

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