Splurge Monday’s Workwear Report: Jacquard Blazer

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

I’ve seen a lot of jacquard blazers that almost look like pajama tops, but the darts and the three-quarter sleeves on this one go a long way toward giving it a more tailored look. I love the paisley jacquard fabric because it’s so intricate and beautiful with the embroidery, and I like the edging as well. There’s very low stock, so if you like this blazer, grab it now. It’s at Net-a-Porter for $1,890. Jacquard Blazer

Here’s a lower-priced option at Bloomingdale’s (with a subtle paisley jacquard) and a much lower-priced option at Amazon in sizes 12–30.

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  1. Lana Del Raygun :

    No, this 100% looks like pajamas.

  2. Baconpancakes :

    Anyone on here on the new Weight Watchers Freestyle? A friend recommended it to me, but one of the exercises I love is weight-lifting, and I’ve heard some negative things about people losing muscle on WW due to the structure of the points system.

    • Anonymous :

      There’s no reason why you would need to lose muscle on WW freestyle. In fact, it makes lots of protein all you can eat points free. Non-fat plain yogurt, chicken breast, lean ground turkey, eggs, and fish are all unlimited.

    • Nylon girl :

      I’m on WW freestyle & I was thinking of starting to lift weights. I think it is a balance of cardio & WL. I want to do the WL to get more muscle & speed up my metabolism. The most important thing is to track your points & don’t me like me—want to eat all your points at dinner. It can be tough to eat during the day & then I’m hangry by the time I get home to eat dinner. Good for you for putting your health first. It’s hard for us to prioritize us.😊

    • Not Legal Counsel :

      I agree that WW Fresstyle absolutely supports a high-protein diet, but WW in general is about a lifestyle change. I do not understand how you would lose muscle on WW, if you were being smart about what you are eating.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      WW works if you want it to work. It’s not inherently going to make you lose muscle.

      • Baconpancakes :

        In previous incarnations, I know a lot of high protein foods were high points, and some people have had a hard time getting enough protein and not being starving.

        One of the frustrations I’ve come across is that I can’t figure out exactly how the system works until I pay for it, so I don’t know if it will work.

        • Elegant Giraffe :

          Ah – fair point. They do change it up once a year or so, I assume to attract new customers. My experience is that you will learn what works for you and then adapt new programs as needed.

          On the current program – lots of protein is zero points! FF yogurt, chicken breast, fish, shrimp, beans, eggs, and a few others. Fruits and vegetables continue to be zero points. If you take advantage of that structure, you will not be starving, I promise. You’ll just be eating less cookies and pasta :)

          WW definitely works. I’m sure there are studies and statistics for that if you’re interested in finding it. They probably have a special where the first month is discounted. If you can’t find that online, stop by a brick and mortar location.

        • It’s pretty simple. Protein has never been super high points. If you eat a diet rich in lean protein fruits and vegetables staying within your points is easy. It’s fats and carbs and sugar that eat up most of them.

        • the yellow one is the sun :

          Are you on instagram? You could follow users on the system and see what they’re eating. Sometimes they mention their daily point allotment, too. You could get a decent sense of what average meals look like – and there are so many WW users I bet you could find someone who lifts while on the program too.

          To find users, search for ‘ww’ in the username and/or look for freestyle hashtags.

          I’m not on the new freestyle right now but my sense is that high protein foods are quite low or even free – for example, I think whole eggs are no points now, instead of just whites. I think WW in general is a really healthy approach, though I will say the only complaint I saw was a distance runner who felt like she couldn’t get enough carbs in her daily allotment. She didn’t try it for very long, though, so I’m not sure if she would have adjusted or if it truly wouldn’t have met her energy needs.

          • Elegant Giraffe :

            That’s a great idea. Look for some of the blogs that have WW endorsements – Emily Bites, Skinny Taste. Their recipes will give you a better sense of point allotment.

            The distance runner complaint about not getting enough carbs was probably totally warranted. The point system does make it hard to fit in carbs, no way around it.

    • JuniorMinion :

      I’m not – I tried a previous iteration by force in high school. Depends on what you mean by weight lifting – like a serious strength program where the goal is to gain muscle or occasionally throwing around some free weights / bodyweight exercises?

      You will likely struggle from a carb standpoint to appropriately fuel for a serious training program on something like WW. My only suggestion would be to weight your carbs around your workout (ie pre and post workout should be the heaviest carb loads) and cut out wine / sugary carbs etc especially on these days so you have more room to have high quality carbs.

      One note – I know skinnytaste is popular and while I love her recipes, some of her days of eating are around ~1000 calories. There is no strength training program that works on 1000 calories a day.

    • I’m doing Strong Curves and started WW Freestyle in late December. I really like it and when I tracked my macros in myfitnesspal, I was easily getting 150 g protein/day (without protein powder.) Having Greek yogurt, chicken breast and eggs as new zero-point foods has been great.

      • Popping back in to add that you can get “FitPoints” when you work out, so you could build more carbs around exercise…but I could see how a long-distance runner might have trouble.

    • Lyra Silvertongue :

      I did WW (not Freestyle) during my 1L year of law school and was lifting regularly and even on the old plan I did not lose muscle mass. From the sounds of it, Freestyle should be even better with zero points for high-protein foods. I agree with other posters who say that WW works if you want it to AND if you’re honest with your tracking.

  3. On a recent performance eval, I received feedback that I’m often quiet in meetings which can come across was aloof or disinterested. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard this about myself. I’ve heard it before (both personally and professionally), so it isn’t just an issue with this employer.

    It bothers me. I don’t like that I come across this way. I’m not meaning to be aloof and I’m definitely not disinterested – I’m thinking and processing, and as I get more information and get comfortable, I open up and speak up. But obviously this is an issue. Any tips on how to deal with this?

    • Do you have a frank friend who might provide some feedback? All my thoughts flash across my face (which is perhaps the opposite problem) but could you watch someone who is considered quite socially adept? What are they doing with their body, hands, head position?

    • In-House in Houston :

      No real advice, but I’ve been told the same thing. That I need to speak up if I have an idea or something to contribute. Because of this, I really try to plan advance of meetings, learn as much as I can before the meeting so that way I can at least ask intelligent questions.

      • I’ve been told I have this problem too. I try to combat it by planning a few items I want to talk about ahead of time, and trying to work those into the meeting as appropriate. It doesn’t always work but I think it has helped. Also, I jot down notes (not extensive, just a few words here and there) and then I can come back to something if I think of something to say about an earlier topic.

    • Are you doing the body language basics? Leaning in, keeping notes, nodding along?

      If it’s a question of not being sure of yourself/the subject, challenge yourself to speak up every once in a while when you’re really certain of whatever point you’re trying to make.

    • Anonymous :

      From an introvert who used to get that criticism: warmly greet everyone at the beginning of the meeting; focus on whomever is speaking and look at them; speak up at the meeting at least once (and, preferably, towards the end); and be warm in your good-byes.

      I’ve found that speaking up towards the end is helpful on two levels: I want to process information before opening my mouth, and whatever I say clearly shows that I’ve been paying attention throughout and am making recommendations based on the entirety of the meeting.

      For me, greeting people warmly at the start isn’t hard – they are usually nice people and it’s a short interaction.

      But if you are getting feedback that your quietness is mistaken for aloofness, I’m guessing that you process what people are saying but do not appear to be focusing on them. That’s the crux of the problem.

      • I think this is very good advice. OP are you in the US? Because if so, popular culture has it that extroverted is good and normal, and introverted is bad and needs to be fixed. And popular culture has bled over to corporate and business culture in this regard. I think this is complete bs, but for one’s own sake it can be wise to play the game. As an extremely introverted person, my advice is to make it a game. It’s not going to feel natural to you, so approach it as a game or as a process. To the managers on this site: value your introverts. They have a lot of skill and knowledge and good ideas. It generally doesn’t show well in large groups. Find ways to gain their full value. Also, read Quiet, The Power Of Introverts in a World That Won’t Stop Talking.

        • Introvert isn’t a synonym for shy and extrovert isn’t a synonym for outgoing. There are painfully shy extroverts and introverts who can light up a room.

        • Anonattorney :

          Agree with Anonymous @ 10:19. Also, being introverted is not an appropriate excuse for not participating in a group meeting. The point of the meeting is to engage as a group and discuss and work through problems. If you aren’t participating in that process, then you aren’t really contributing to the group effort.

          The most useful things for me in group meetings that I run, or am a part of, is when people clarify issues, and then do a run-down of the action items coming out of the meeting. Something like, “You said before that you want someone to prepare a list of objectives for the Johnson deposition, do you want that to include a list of key docs, or just topics?”

          Ultimately, it’s issue spotting. You need to be engaged enough in the meeting to timely contribute to the group’s analysis and problem-solving. If you have trouble thinking quickly on the spot, take notes throughout the meeting and ask questions at the end or, if necessary, shoot an email around after the meeting is over.

    • Anonymous :

      *uninterested, not disinterested

      Honestly this is probably s e x i s t BS. Women who are quiet are aloof. Women who speak up are overbearing.
      Did you ask them for actual tips on how to improve and they just went, uh um idk just be more like the others (who are all men and don’t substantively participate but parrot things someone else (probably a woman) said or say things like “good point bro”).

      • Anonymous :

        Yeah this.

      • At the same time, OP says she has gotten this feedback both personally and professionally so it’s worth some introspection

        • Anonymous :

          It’s almost like we live in a society that has gendered social norms.

          • We do. But I know men who get this criticism too. A good friend (male) has a similar demeanor and has consistently gotten feedback that he seems like he doesn’t care.

            Regardless, it’s something to address if this is the feedback you’re getting at work. Unfortunately success in most corporate/professional jobs is based on cultural norms so there’s only so much you can do about it, esp.when you are starting out.

          • If “gendered social norms” are the problem, why would she be criticised for being quiet?

            There’s a lot of ground between “so quiet that a lot of people think you aren’t interested in what is going on around you” and “overbearing.” Let’s not pretend otherwise.

      • I know this is a true thing that happens. But that is not what is always happening.

        I have a team right now, and whenever we have team status meetings 85% of the team never talks. It makes them seem that they are really disinterested in the project and not strategic thinkers (ie they will do what they are told to do, but never come up with an idea). It is made worse by the fact that most people are on the phone. It’s really changed my impression of some team members (both men and women).

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      If these are smaller meetings, like 10 people around a table, can you toss some softball questions in? Like “can we go back to X for a minute? Did you say 20% or 40%” Speaker – “20%” You – ah, ok, that makes much more sense.

      Or if someone else makes a recommendation – I like Bob’s idea, but how long would that likely take to implement? You don’t have to have an opinion on the response, just look like you are thinking critically.

      If you are going over documents that are going to be put in final form, be the person that finds the typo. Then you can say something like “overall, this is great, but I think you repeated a sentence on page 2 that should probably be deleted before this is sent out.”

      • So you go from the quiet one in the meeting to the annoying one in the meeting? Respectfully disagree. No contribution is better than one that’s interruptive or looks like it’s too focused on minutia. Better to prep with some thoughts ahead of time if possible as others suggested and do non-verbal cues: leaning in, eye contact with speaker and nodding/verbal affirmation. It may also help to sit near whoever is likely to be speaking a lot. Folks will register your nods as you being in on the discussion, and you also may feel more likely to contribute since it sort of feels more one to one with someone engaged in the convo sitting next to you.

        • the yellow one is the sun :

          Yes, agree on being careful with thinking critically v. providing only critical input. I have a coworker who could be following that advice and it’s incredibly irritating – she really does seem to comment and ask questions only for the sake of doing so. She is picky, overly focused on minutiae and often derails simple updates with her attempt to seem more dialed in than everyone else. Not to say there’s not value to asking questions, but it’s certainly a balance.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          I wouldn’t recommend all three of these in one meeting and I wouldn’t suggest asking for something to be repeated unless you actually were unclear on what was said. I was just suggesting these as easier ways to start talking if you aren’t used to talking. I get your point and agree.

    • Look on your face :

      Do you smile? I’m not talking about a huge cheesy grin but is it possible your resting face is unintentionally grim or cold-looking? A tiny half smile while paying attention to others talking (careful to not always be looking down or on a phone/laptop) could help a lot.

      This is something I have to work on and believe it really helps.

  4. Associate Review Coming Up :

    How do you handle, prepare, and recover from what you think will likely be an iffy review, especially when you know you did drop the ball at times? This is not newbie associate jitters. The partner I work for the most is one of the people who does my review. He has been a bit disappointed with my handling of a few matters (it’s my first time flying solo on some of these deals with him) and I will readily admit that I procrastinated on several things, which caused us to be pressed for time on some things. I am working on my procrastination, but I can’t very well say, “Hey, I got overwhelmed, so I didn’t do X until late that evening and that’s why you got it so late and had to send it to client at 6:00 a.m.”

    So other than sucking it up and not doing it any more, how do you handle this? Honestly, it’s been hard. I love my job and what we do, but I’m used to being able to get it done last minute/always works out. But 1) I want to change that because the stress and anxiety is killing me and 2) because I want to do good work.

    There’s some self-sabotage for sure involved in this and it’s sort of embarrassing. Anyway, thoughts on how to go into this review and how to go from there?

    • I’d try to come up with a very specific plan for HOW you’re going to fix these things. And then make sure that you’re following through on it.

    • Prepare – Have a plan of action for yourself
      During – Keep cool and accept all feedback
      After – spend a few minutes crying, then start implementing the plan

    • I am not an expert on this. But I would be emotionally prepared for criticism in the review, and I would also want you to state that you’re aware of the problem(s) and what you plan to do to address it. It sounds like a time management problem, so I think you want to note that and be proactive about improving it.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      I recently had a review I knew would be iffy. Since I already knew and understood my areas of growth, I prepared several questions to ask during the review. I think it showed that I was aware and invested in improving.

    • So there’s a decent chance that the partner has figured out that this is procrastination on your part. I don’t think you need to explain what happened in the way you’re envisioning. I do think you need to (as January said) proactively state that you’ve struggled with time management on a few projects and to specifically identify steps that you’re taking to prevent that.

      In terms of what those steps are – I wouldn’t think of it as “trying to solve my procrastination problem.” Sure, there are reasons you’re self-sabotaging, but those are probably complex and will need time to resolve. Start with trying to solve your lateness problem, because that will take some of the psychological pressure off and maybe actually help you work on the root causes.

      For me, when I’ve struggled with this, things that have been helpful have included breaking projects into small chunks and scheduling out when each of those has to be done. That helps me feel a sense of progress/accomplishment early on, makes the mountain seem a little bit smaller, and ultimately means I don’t end up with 8 hours of work to finish before a deadline that’s 4 hours away.

  5. Experience vs. Stuff :

    Counter to conventional wisdom, I think I truly get more satisfaction from spending my money on stuff rather than experiences. Going out in my city is one thing, but travel–which is where the big costs are–I often find stressful. I don’t want to do it that much. Moving through my regular routine, both work and off duty, while enjoying nice items is what I find more relaxing and rewarding. Clothes, beauty products, home items, etc.

    I’m trying to figure out if this is a bad sign or something. Is there anyone else who feels this way?

    • Why is this bad? You like what you like.

      • Experience vs. Stuff :

        I wonder if it’s a sign that I have too much attachment to my routine and am not willing to take more risks. Or if I will have regrets when I’m older about how I spent my limited time and money.

        • Elegant Giraffe :

          I think you’re borrowing trouble with this. If you want to test out your willingness to take risks, then buy new stuff (or go somewhere new in your city) and see how you like it. If you start to decide that you wish you were spending your time and money on travel, then do it. But don’t do it now if you don’t currently enjoy it.

        • EuroMover :

          You do you :)

    • I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it if it makes you happy. I think one reason people talk about experiences being better is because for many people spending money on an experience forces you to think about how the money is being spent and savor it, whereas it’s easier to buy stuff without much thought. But it sounds like you’re being very thoughtful with what you buy and getting enjoyment out of it. I wouldn’t overthink it.

    • I find travel very stressful as well. I would ignore conventional wisdom and do what makes you happy.

    • I’m the same way. I’m a bit of a homebody. I enjoy traveling to a point but I would rather buy makeup or clothes.

    • I am the same. I used to think I loved traveling, and am still very interested in other countries, cultures…. but I also find traveling exhausting, stressful and less satisfying as I get older. In addition, too many over priced mediocre meals make eating out seem a bit less satisfying, and tix to my favorite performances have gotten so expensive. Books/TV/recordings are so good….

      So now I get more satisfaction from the little day to day things that make my lifestyle better.

      And getting together with friends and cooking dinner /bottle of wine etc are the best times for me.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m glad you said this. I always thought I wanted to travel a lot, but I too find it stressful but do want to continue to learn about other cultures. Basically be a worldly hermit.

        • Anonymous :

          Yes, worldy hermit describes me, as well. I am so grateful to OP and all who posted–most of my friends love to travel and I feel quite unsophisticated sometimes that I don’t.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      Not a bad sign! That’s just what you enjoy. If I found travel stressful, I wouldn’t want to throw money at it either.

      My mother once told me that she’d noticed that I like it when men I’m in relationships with spend money on me. (as in, buy me dinner, send me flowers, etc.) It was supposed to be a criticism. I thought about it for a second, and then said “yes, I do.” I do like it when people I care about spend money on me. So what?!

      • I find travel stressful as well, and I often think what’s wrong with me when I read all the lovely travel questions on here – recommendations for 3 weeks in Morocco or SE Asia? I recommend staying home!! So I do a lot of road trips and visiting friends or family around the country which feels more “homey” to me. I’m trying to accept that it’s ok if I’m not an adventurous traveler. I do like experience and will pay for upgrades there – spa treatments, great tickets to concerts, shows, etc.

        • +1 – I am also one who likes routine, so for travel I like to visit familiar places (or people) vs doing a whole lot of new exploring. And even with those familiar places, it feels like I have about a 36 hour limit and then I just want to be back in my own space. I really like my place!

          I could maybe develop a routine for new places (find a coffee shop, then do a tourist thing, then do a meal, etc.), but it hasn’t been a priority.

    • You like what you like.

      I’m partly with you. I like the enjoyable tension of exploring somewhere new sometimes, but sometimes I just want to get away from “real life” but still know the lay of the land. So every year we go to our favorite beach destination for one trip (we’ve gone so many years that we don’t even forget the grocery store layout), and schedules permitting, somewhere new for one trip. I find it to be a good balance between enjoying myself in my comfort zone, and expanding my horizons trying something new.

      • Anonymous :

        I agree with the “enjoyable tension” phrase! I travel for work, and that is a perfect amount of enjoyable tension for me. For fun, I love to be at home, curled up on the couch with my SO or cooking something new. I like having a routine. I go to exercise classes every Saturday and Sunday. Love it. And, like the OP, i do like spending money on clothes (less so on makeup). I like having a nice home as well. I find that particularly amongst the budget conscious, spending money on travel is somehow seen as “good” or “permissible” but spending money on a nice home or clothes is not. Whatever.

        • Mineallmine :

          +1 I live in a very HCOL city where it seems to be a badge of honor even in your 30s and 40s to live in a tiny miserable dump but travel all the time. I find myself having to explain/defend my desire for a second bedroom (guestroom/storage) and space for a kitchen or dining room table, especially when friends come over and see that I have a sofa AND a chair (seriously). Yes, my home costs more, and having an elderly dog means it’s not easy on travel every weekend, but I love my life. There’s so much to explore nearby that I really don’t need to get on an airplane to stay curious about life.

    • My gut says “you do you”. But realize, all your material possessions can be lost in an instant (I have personal experience with this). Will you think fondly back on your time with your Urban Decay Naked Eye Shadow Smokey Palate? Probably not.

      • No…but you can replace it pretty easily. Or you can remember how you liked the way it made you look.

      • For those of us with terrible memories (brain injury), experiences are lost in an instant also. I like traveling, but I have an extremely hard time remembering specifics about my travels. That makes it hard to spend money on them vs. spending money on a book which I can reread or whatever. You should have stopped after your first sentence.

        There is nothing wrong with liking what you like in re: travel vs. possessions!

      • Alanna of Trebond :

        So I really do look upon fondly on my possessions. I have a somewhat unhealthy attachment to them. And as for eyeshadow, I always look forward to using it and have good memories of when I have used a particular makeup set.

    • I’m sort of the same way, but I think the key is to figure out whether spending money on “stuff” is to fulfill you (I love beauty products and the fun of trying new makeup or face masks and working on my morning routine and my nighttime skincare routine – that honestly makes me happy), or whether you are a hoarder. So long as you are not hoarding, which is essentially accumulating stuff for the sake of accumulating stuff, then no one says you have to travel the world to be happy.

    • I’m kind of the same. I do spend money on travel for vacations but I am most comfortable going to the same places over and over. For instance, we are headed to Kauai for the third time soon, and I’ve still never been to France. But I really love Kauai and I find it relaxing. I don’t want my few short days off work to be stressful.

      Live your life the way you choose, not the way someone else tells you that you should be doing it.

    • me too! glad others feel this way.

      • I’m the same. I don’t like travel, unless it’s a trip to Home Goods. I feel fortunate to have had travel experiences, but I’m always relieved when I come home. For me, spending money on home decor brings me the most joy, and that’s totally fine. I feel like I’m the only milennial whose dream is NOT to backpack around Asia, but honestly I just don’t care.

  6. I have the Emily dress from MM Lafleur, but recently it’s tight in the arms and a smidge too tight in the bust/armpits. I think this is because I haven’t worn it in a while and have been super focused on building upper body strength and now have bigger muscles. Is this something that a tailor can reasonably fix, or is it too much effort/not worth it?

    • Tailors are better at making things smaller, not bigger. There’s usually not enough fabric in the seam allowances of the sleeves to be useful and I don’t know that there’s much of anything to do thru the chest/torso, so my guess is it’s more trouble/cost than it’s worth.

    • I think mmlafleur has more seam allowance than most mass manufacturers because it is meant to be tailored. The only thing to do is to show it to the tailor and see what they think.

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        Agree that you should show it to someone IRL, but I might wait if you’re still bulking so you don’t have to do it over too many times. Also, congrats on your muscles!

  7. Ladies, I made it through January and am now really struggling. It’s still dark in the mornings. My ex boyfriend has been a sh!t and I had to block his emails. I have zero love to share with anyone new right now. There’s unfortunate pollution in my city that makes me not want to get outside even when it is sunny. I’m burning out at work – this was the first weekend where I deliberately shut off my work phone (and still managed to check it on Sunday). I am waiting —seemingly without much clarity — since December on whether my promotion request will go through. I need to bounce back somehow and regain my energy. Any suggestions? I’m hitting the gym, trying to eat healthy, and taking vitamin D.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      you mention it’s still dark in the mornings – so what about one of those lights that mimics natural sunlight? Good for you for all the healthy stuff you are already doing – blocking the ex’s emails, gym, etc!

    • Burnout, Hug’s. It sounds like you have SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER. If you have a boyfreind, he should be more supportive to you, especially when there is NOT anything s-xueal in it for him. After all, to many boyfreinds are interested in our issues only when it effect’s their ability to have s-x with us. Once that is over, they roll off, over, and out of our bed’s, leaveing us to clean up there mess. FOOEY on them! But that is for another day. For NOW, just hope you will get promoted, and go out and get some vitamin D! YAY!!

    • Sorry thats happening! Can you set aside an angry day: take time to write down everything thats causing stress then burn the list?

    • pugsnbourbon :

      If you can’t take a couple days off to recharge – can you carve out an afternoon? Even an hour in a cafe with a book, if that’s all you can wrangle.

      At this point in the winter, I have to plan things to look forward to or everything melts into this gray smear of time.

    • Depends on what gives you a feeling of recharge – for me, it is a dinner with friends, calling my mom or my niece; at times, it is staying in bed on Saturday doing nothing but Netflix or reading a well-loved book, taking a short trip to Italy (I am in Europe, so it is a 1hr flight for me) or going to a gallery.
      All things will pass, you will feel better soon!

  8. Chicago ‘hoods? :

    Hi all, any Chicago ladies have recs for favorite neighborhoods to live? My husband and I will be moving soon with two little kids. I have been looking at school ratings, and we are planning a trip soon to check out areas, but would love any advice on where to look or steer clear. Most interested in safety, schools, and being close to an L and to some kind of park or playground. Easy, right? :). Thank you so much in advance! And if anyone is looking for similar info about Brooklyn, I’m happy to share….

    • Budget? House or apt, and how big? Ages of kids? Where is work?

      Honestly? I’d move to Oak Park, walking distance to blue or green lines or Metra (all 3 are there) and call it a day.

      • Chicago ‘hoods? :

        Thanks :) we would like to be in the city, at least to start. Kids are 2 and under. Budget is around $700k max, house or condo is fine. Work is close to the Loop.

        • Why buy?

          • Chicago ‘hoods? :

            Some reason not to buy in the area? :) we want to buy for the usual reasons.

          • Because you’ve never lived there and don’t know the city. Why not rent a year or two and figure it out?

          • Chicago ‘hoods? :

            Not necessarily buying right away. But thanks.

          • Not in Chicago, but when we moved to our current city, we rented for a year to see what it was like and get a feel for best locations to buy. Had we bought right away, we would not have ended up in the location we did which we love but just didn’t know about at the time.

        • I’d vote south loop, if you’re committed to the city. New construction (parking, dishwashers and washing machines will be available). If you stay north of 18th street, a good public school. It’s not the most happening neighborhood, but probably has a lot of amenities you’ll use. That said, given the finances of the city, the county and the state I’m not sure I’d buy now. I already did and am really hoping we haven’t made a very expensive mistake.

          • I’ll add that I’m not exactly practicing what I preach here. I lived in the south loop for a long time but moved out to Oak Park when pregnant (space/$, schools and proximity to the train).

          • Chicago ‘hoods? :

            Thank you.

        • wildkitten :

          Oak Park has all the benefits of the city and the el, but is v popular for parents with kids..

          • Chicago ‘hoods? :

            Thanks, this has been so interesting. I had vaguely heard of oak park but thought it was too suburban for us. Maybe not :)

          • We’re in process of moving from city (Logan square) to oak park as we want more community and space as my kids grow. If any ‘rettes would be open to connecting to share their experience or advice, I would appreciate it!

          • S in Chicago :

            Technically Oak Park and Evanston are suburbs but they still feel very much like the city–easy L access, nice restaurants, mix of boutique and larger retail stores, etc. In fact, I think they are more city-like than some parts of the city (Jefferson Park comes to mind–where a lot of the police and fire live to technically keep a city address). I’d also suggest renting for awhile before owning so you get more familiar with neighborhoods. There are some lovely parts to Roscoe Village, Logan Square, Ravenswood. It will also give you a feel for traffic patterns and transit use. If you’re Gold Coast, for example, you may prefer busses over the red line at certain times of day because of the commuting crush. And you can have places geographically close that almost seem like islands because traffic get so bad or parking is so expensive. The more you get a chance to settle and explore, the more you’ll see what is practical for your lifestyle.

          • wildkitten :

            I live in ravenswood and find it boring but I think it’d be perfect for someone with small kids :-)

    • I strongly suggest renting for the first year before committing to a neighborhood. There are so many great neighborhoods in Chicago, but most people find they have a strong preference for 1 or 2. Schools make it more complicated, and that might take more time to sort out than finding a great property.

      That said, Oak Park is widely viewed as a great place for families who still want an urban feel. It’s supposed to be a strong community with lots of small children.

      • Chicago ‘hoods? :

        Great, thank you.

      • Yeah, Oak Park is also about as close to the city to get the benefits of city-living, while still getting the benefits of suburban living (lower crime and some better schools), and you’re on the el line so you can easily navigate between the two.
        Schools in Chicago can be really complicated to navigate, and if you have kids starting school in a year or two, I’d definitely start by renting, and then investigate some schools to make your final decision. It is very possible you could move into a neighborhood, even with an objectively “good” assigned neighborhood school, and find it’s not a good fit for your family but if you’ve bought you’ve lost the flexibility to pick up and try another location. Similarly, maybe you move somewhere and find that you’re willing to compromise to get a great house in a great neighborhood with a crummy school, and can commit to paying private or catholic school tuition for the next 12+ years (not terribly uncommon). Good luck on your move!

        • Chicago ‘hoods? :

          Thanks! Little stressful planning a big move with two littles. I appreciate the advice and good thoughts.

    • I lived in Hyde Park for a decade and loved it. Schools can be tricky unless you’re able to do private (and the private options for smaller kids are better than for older kids, IMO). But it is a great neighborhood, lots of interesting stuff happening and good food, and there’s now a Whole Foods instead of the Co-op that got shut down because of a rat problem (ah, memories.) 10-15 minutes to the South Loop Target. Metra and bus lines abound.

      • Chicago ‘hoods? :


      • Chicago chic :

        I was born in Hyde Park while my parents were grad students were at U of C. We moved to Oak Park when all the kids were school aged.

        If you are a crunchy Brooklyn type that appreciates diversity (race/religion/economic/architecturally), then Oak Park is for you. FYI – Chicago is chockingly racially segregated. Oak Park is so close to the city that it is closer to downtown than many of the North side neighborhoods. Good schools uniformly/parks/libraries with proximity to Trader’s/whole foods/Costco are nice. We went to the city all the time for museums/concerts/theaters etc… and there are even a few small theaters in Oak Park/nearby.

        If you are more of a yuppie/trendy Brooklyn type, Licoln Park, Gold Coast, or maybe sterile South Loop may be for you. You will need to extremely careful about schools, and where you live. I would also rent for a year before you buy. You may change your mind what you like once your kids are in school.

        • Chicago ‘hoods? :

          Thanks, the comparisons to Brooklyn neighborhoods are super helpful. Sounding like Oak Park is def a place for us to check out.

        • Agreed, South Loop is very sterile. Hyde Park is a huge bubble too and you may not feel like you fit in if you are not going to be affiliated with the U of C.

      • Current resident of Hyde Park here – Ray Elementary is the local elementary school and is pretty good. I think a lot of U of C types send their kids there if they’re not willing to shell out the big bucks for Lab/are looking for more diversity. I often walk by the playground during recess and the school seems to have a nice feel; kids of different races playing together, nobody sitting by themselves on the sidelines, etc.

        • Chicago ‘hoods? :

          Thanks, so helpful to hear about specific schools.

          • No problem – I really like living here and am happy to answer any more questions. The most family-friendly part of the neighborhood is south of 55th, north of 59th, east of University and west of the lake; that part is zoned for Ray and is further away from the areas where a lot of undergrads live. There are also a lot of new high-rise apartments/condos popping up all over the neighborhood, especially to the east. They have really nice amenities and the college students are largely priced out, so they’re quieter than the smaller buildings closer to campus.

      • Keep the secret :

        Hyde Park is wonderful. Commute to downtown is ~15 minutes. Housing can be a mixed bag in terms of prices but generally there’s something for everyone (high rises, single families, townhouses, etc.). Access to the lakeshore for runs and bike rides. Ray and Lab are both great. I could go on and on, but I feel like it’s a hidden gem.

        There are soooo many wonderful neighborhoods here though. (Oak Park is indeed amazing.) In general I think the best part of Chicago is all the options you have available to you. I’d definitely recommend renting for a year or two while you explore the city.

      • I’m just wondering if we know each other IRL. I was in HP….for about a decade….ah, the co-op. Memories indeed.

      • We’re in the process of moving from the city to Oak Park (to get more space, more community, less school drama) — come be our neighbors!

    • Chicago-rette :

      Are you buying or renting, and house or condo? Will you work in the Loop? I’m a fan of Andersonville, Ravenswood, Lincoln Square, and Roscoe Village for great neighborhoods for single family homes with room and yards for kids. Lots of local parks (including small playground parks and larger parks with ball fields and walking paths), relatively close to the Lake (and the lake shore trail), and walking distance to El stops.

      There are lots of options off the Blue line, too, between Division and Logan Circle, but I’m less familiar with the family life in that area. The housing stock around the Blue line stops are turning over and being renovated, so on the one hand, the housing prices are a bit less predictable, but on the other hand, the neighborhoods are pretty energetic and there are trendy options for 30-somethings, like restaurants and stores in easy walking distance.

      Bridgeport is a classic Chicago neighborhood, southwest of the Loop, with a nice mixture of long-time residents and new families, it’s more diverse (by Chicago standards), and has lots of single family homes. I don’t get over there much; I just know it’s popular with some of the young-ish families in my office.

      I personally wouldn’t consider Near North, South Loop or West Loop with kids (I grew up in a SFH with a yard, so I’m partial to that setup and I like neighborhoods with trees and parks), but many families live there and are really very happy and have access to good schools and a few parks.

      If you don’t necessarily need to be in the city, you might check out Oak Park. It’s on the El, lots of housing and families, and is a great community.

    • I moved to Chicago two years ago, and we are currently looking to buy. We started by renting, in the Oscar Meyer and Blaine school districts. Both have been great- we got more for our money near Blaine, but it’s also a little bit of a bubble up here. Access to the train to get to the loop is easy, but it’s harder to get to the highway to get to the airport. There are a lot of kids/dogs/families, lots of parks nearby, and we frequently walk to the lake.

    • Minnie Beebe :

      For convenience to the loop, the West Loop is fabulous, though it’s getting insanely expensive right now. Skinner West Elementary covers the entire West Loop and is a great school (though crowded!)

      I live in Ukranian Village which is still “relatively” affordable, if you’re looking for a SFH. There are lots and lots of teardowns, which are being replaced by $1.2-1.8mil homes, but occasionally I’ll see something below $750k that looks decent. That said, schools in UkV are generally not great, but if you were to buy in the Mitchell elementary district, that would be an incredible fallback option if your kids don’t test into the selective enrollment elementaries. (My son is in private.) But just down the block is a smaller (by the neighborhood standards) house that’s listed for $669 that is great: https://www.redfin.com/IL/Chicago/1957-W-Ohio-St-60622/home/14105081

      Access to the loop is more difficult than other areas, but not awful. Lots of professionals take the bus to the train… it’s not difficult, and the buses come pretty frequently in the mornings, especially along Chicago Avenue. We drive frequently, but also feel like we have many transportation options, which is important to me.

      I personally HATE Lincoln Park and Lakeview with a passion– traffic is horrible, trains into the loop are crazy crowded every morning. It’s just not my cup of tea.

      Oak park is great as well. I wouldn’t say it has a city feel, but it’s easy to get to the loop, if you live within walking distance of the El. You pay a lot more for that luxury though, and property taxes are high– you’d want to be aware of the cost before you buy… Schools are great though, and it’s got a great community feel – tends to have a higher-than average level of civic involvement amongst the residents.

      Reach out with any other questions!

    • We have three small kids, and we live in Boystown in the Alcott school district. We love it. Easy access to loop. Very good school. Lots of little shops and restaurants. Plenty of parks for kids.

    • Dem Politico :

      Check out Evanston. Some great schools, beautiful parks and areas along the lake, easy commute to downtown on purple line and Metra

    • Bridgeport. Close to downtown, all but one of the elementary schools are fantastic (you can look at the CPS school websites to figure out ratings and catchment zones), diverse, great food, affordable, several nice parks, urban and not boring, community is engaged–you’ll know your neighbors well and they’ll look out for you.

    • Chicago ‘hoods? :

      Thank you, everyone! This is all helpful— looks like we’ve got our work cut our for us :)

    • I love Evanston, it may be more expensive but is close to the city (purple line runs during the rush hours and takes you straight into the loop, you also have the option of taking the Metra from there). Skokie is next to Evanston but I am unsure as to what the school system is like.

  9. Eileen Fisher :

    Which crepe pants from Eileen Fisher are the magical ones everyone loves? I see two different styles. Do you wear them for casual wear or for the office?

    • The slim ankle pant and the slim pant are quite close fitting. The stretch crepe pant is by no means baggy, but it doesn’t hug the body, so it’s my choice for office wear, unless I’m having a very causal day and my top covers my rear. Pay attention to the EF size charts. I consistently size down one size in EF, as compared to AT or BB.

  10. Best basic pants for work :

    I used to be a fan of Gap’s trousers for work, but sadly (and inexplicably), they’ve discontinued them. I know everyone likes the Express editor pants, so I’m planning to try those, but are there any other good recommendations for a basic black or gray trouser that’s around $50? I’m an hourglass shape (size 10-12) and I struggle with gaping waists in some pants.

    • I like the Halogen Taylor fit from Nordstrom.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      LOFT Julie is cut to avoid the gaping waists.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I bought a pair of BR Ryan Trouser-fit bi-stretch pants, and I’m pretty happy with them. There is a tiny amount of gaping that doesn’t bother me enough to take to my tailor, and I tailor most things. They are on sale for $42 right now (lucky sizes only, of which 10 and 12 are lucky!).

    • I’m a similar size and hate the gaping waist struggles. I recently discovered New York & Company’s 7th ave pants which fit me well. My go-to’s though are all different colors and lengths of the same pants from Old Navy–I especially love their pixie crops.

    • I like the Express Columnist pant, which is cut for a curvier figure than the Editor. I can’t wear the Loft Julie because the rise is too long, but it’s a good option if it works for you. I also have the NY&Co 7th Avenue pants, and the BR Avery ones. My tip is to buy lots of sizes and styles online then be prepared to return some, because all of the styles/colors are cut a little differently.

  11. Epoxy floors :

    Anybody here gotten a previously wet basement painted with epoxy? i am thinking of getting it done but reading mixed reviews online about how well and long it stays. Ours will not be used hard: just laundry and storage. TIA!

    • You may want to consider using a product like Lastiseal as a primer to help guard against moisture seepage.

    • Different anon :

      Have a contractor look at your problem first. Epoxy will not solve a poor or wrong drainage situation.

  12. I’ve been unemployed for the past few months and I feel like I’m not making the best use of my time. I was really burnt out from the biglaw job that I left, so having a lot of unscheduled time was what I needed at the beginning, but now I’m just bored. I’m doing all of the job search related things I should be doing (checking job boards, applying to things, reaching out to my contacts, going to networking events, etc.) but those things don’t take all day. I usually get some kind of exercise during the day, but I’m spending the rest of my day watching TV or doing other unproductive things that don’t make me feel good. I’m getting discouraged in the job search and while I feel motivated to find a job, I don’t feel very motivated to do anything else. How else should I be using this time? Does anyone have ideas on how to make a little money while I’m looking for a job in my field (law)? Any advice on how to stay positive after several months of unemployment?

    • Do some volunteer work a few days a week! You’ll feel good about giving back and it won’t interfere with your job search. Will also give you a talking point during networking events and interviews

      • KateMiddletown :

        +1 – you don’t need to be dogwalking, but keep your skills sharp. I’m sure there are dozens of 501c3’s that would love your expertise, even temporarily!

      • Anonymous :


        Totally agree with this.

        I was in medicine, and while I was off work I volunteered in multiple settings – etc.. signing folks up for Obamacare and volunteering with Hospice. It was a relatively small amount of time, but was extremely worthwhile, and I made a real contribution. It was also tangentially related to my career, and my expertise was well used. These were also great discussion points when I went back to interview.

    • Flats Only :

      Imagine you get an offer this afternoon, and they want you to start tomorrow. What would you wish you had done in your off time? Start with that.

    • Can you set up networking coffee or lunch dates with your contacts? When I was in a similar situation a couple years ago, I found that having meetings set up (even if only a couple a week) helped me feel less isolated and gave my days a bit more structure. Plus it might help with the job search.

      As for a side-job, what about looking for something flexible in the “gig economy” like dog walking/pet sitting or instacart shopper/delivery person?

    • I think unemployment is really hard, even if you try to have a positive attitude. It’s hard to be excited about things when you really aren’t feeling it.

      One thing that might help – make a list of things you enjoyed doing in the past – and then schedule them into your week. Make a list for each day of what you want to do, and include some of those positive things, whether it’s listening to an audiobook or going for a bike ride or meeting friends for happy hour.

      But also, give yourself a break too. Most people struggle a bit during unemployment.

      I did land a freelance gig when I was unemployed. If you can do that, you may get a boost too. I contacted a company closely related to my niche of experience, and the CEO responded and ended up hiring me as a contractor. It was a totally cold contact. You never know what’ll happen.

  13. Bra help please…what kind of bras do you wear? I feel like I’ve tried the usual ones—balconette and Demi —-and my bra straps always show with boatneck tops. Am I doing something wrong?

    • They always show when I wear boatneck tops as well, so I don’t wear those shirts.

    • It’s the top,not your bra. You can sew little snaps in place to keep it from happening. Some shirts have this (Elie Tahiti, at least sometimes, Trina Turk, etc.)

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Oh. Those are what those are for. Oops. I had a shirt with those and cut them off thinking they were for hangers. I don’t know how I thought that but…oops.

      • Am I the only one who finds most of those useless? In most tops it’s just a thin piece of thread that serves as the ribbon to hold the bra in place… and no piece of thread is standing up to a bra strap that wants to move. I usually end up with the snap firmly in place and a broken thread peeking out in addition to my bra strap…

        • Mine work. The only annoying part for me is at the end of the day when I yank my shirt/dress off and can’t get it over my head because it’s attached to the bra strap.

    • Check out R/ABraThatFits – they have charts and threads on bras with the widest set straps/cups

    • there’s a tool on herroom.com that shows you what various bras look like under various necklines.

    • Ouch that hurts! :

      Funny story. Was having an xray of my neck. The tech came back and asked if I had piercings … nope. There was some metal in my neck or shoulders. Had just come back from travel in Asia and was wondering why I had tingling sensations in my body. Oh my! Well, as it turns out, the blouse I was wearing had those snaps. I had never seen them in there!

  14. To where do you want to retire and why?

    I’m dreaming of the NC mountains – reasonable COL, four seasons, natural beauty.

    • Some little village in ….. Indonesia? Malaysia? Where I will just eat, and eat, and eat…..

    • Hello, good retirement idea! I’ve read that old people do better in drier climates so might factor that in. Although the hilly walking in NC would probably help with the knees.

      Sidebar to this – what are people’s primary retirement considerations? Mine is easy to join the community, good weather, low cost of living, close to decent medical care.

      • Chicago chic :

        Agree with close to medical care, which usually means close to urban center if you want higher level care. Good weather. Supportive of senior services / needs…… My Dad’s community has free meals (or $1 donation) for seniors, delivered to your home if you are home bound, a senior shuttle service for rides that is wheelchair accessible, several subsidized senior housing buildings. This is important for me as I am single / childless, so will be aging alone.

        I also want a walkable neighborhood, close to good public transportation, and I can’t wait to have s self driving car.

        I will also probably need to move to a more affordable area, as the cities I prefer are just too expensive…. A university city would be best.

        And a place where I can enjoy my hobbies (music/arts) and volunteering.

        And of course I will live in a fully accessible elevator building with covered/indoor parking.

    • Southern Germany in my real dream world, a ski town in the West in my other, slightly-more-likely dreamworld.

    • I think of retirement as a early retiree as years of nomadic roaming. Maybe on a houseboat?

      But as an older retiree: somewhere with good doctors nearby, one-level living in something like a college town (plenty of young helpers) with an academic medical center. Mild weather. LCOL. Greenville NC? Charleston SC (like Mt. Pleasant or North Charleston)? Probably Greenville though — totally partial to vinegar-based BBQ.

      • the yellow one is the sun :

        Haha I love that BBQ allegiance is factoring so heavily!

      • I have one Negative Nancy comment about Greenville…My parents retired near Greenville after decades in Texas. It won’t matter if your family is driving distance, but if they’re far away, think about the inconvenience of living near a small airport. Fewer, expensive flights mean I am less likely to visit, and ups the cost for them to come see their grandkid. That said, they got a ton of house for the money, love their neighborhood and have gotten involved in the community fairly easily.

        • OP at 11:04 :

          Not only are my people near Greenville, all of my dead-in-the-ground people are there, too. The small airport is a minus, totally agree (y’all: it is PGV — short for “pigville”. I have a sib that it takes all day to get to (no direct flight, last airport is tiny, so 2 flights a day (which is still better than a lot of places)).

          OTOH, it can be easier to fly in/out of RDU and rent a car (OR send people on Amtrack to Rocky Mount and have someone pick them up or have them rent a car there).

          Williamsburg VA would be another place, but not sure how the medical care is (same airport situation, but there is Amtrak also and the whole Alma Mater thing going on as well for me).

          • Anonymous :

            Medical care in W’burg is limited and the food and arts scenes are lousy. Richmond is so much better on all fronts.

      • Anonymous :

        haha, probably too late to reply to this thread but my husband went to ECU and swears by B’s BBQ.

    • Near my hopeful children and grandchildren.

    • If I end up having the financial means, I want to retire to NYC. Everything I would ever need – great food, great healthcare, great cultural options. Plus the ability to fly pretty much anywhere direct.

      • I was a student in NYC, and I’ve always said I’d love to retire there if I can retire rich and healthy. NYC is very inaccessible. My mom attended my graduation with a broken foot, and even though she had a wheelchair and crutches and we took cabs everywhere, it was amazing how many places had stairs up or down to the front door, or only had bathrooms up or down a flight of stairs, etc. It was an exhausting and difficult trip for her (and very expensive since transportation options were so limited).

    • Wherever my kids and (hopefully) grandkids are. I’m raising mine without family nearby and it’s really tough. I hope I’m able to provide some help to my kids when they are raising kids in the future.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Yes. Having my grandparents around was so good for me and my family, and them, too.

        But…in a less practical dreamworld, Kauai near Poipu or the south Washington Coast.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I live where lots of people retire to (Triangle area of NC), so I suppose I’ll just stay here:-) Reasonable cost of living (not as cheap as other parts of the state, but relatively cheap), mostly mild weather and I don’t mind the heat of summer, excellent healthcare. I would like to be on a beach, but we’ll see what the cost of living/hurricane risk/available healthcare looks like when I get retirement age, which is very far away.

    • Santa Rosa, California was always the plan, before the fires, but I think we are still down with it. Good midsize city, access to great healthcare, a reasonable drive from a large city and airport, and lots to do – they have a symphony and a performing arts center and a vibrant restaurant/pub scene.

      I love the idea of retiring to the boonies but it’s a bad idea. When you’re older you need access to a good hospital just in case, and you may not be able to take care of a country home yourself. I’m thinking a close-in neighborhood, maybe even a really nice condo/ townhouse.

      • Housecounsel :

        Napa. The plan was once Yountville, but now I am thinking a condo in downtown Napa. However, if my children and any future grandchildren end up in the same geographical area, I want to be there and be Super-Grandma.

    • Ideally? Santa Fe. Small enough that it doesn’t have big city problems but big enough that there are city amenities. Plus, the scenery and outdoorsy things.

      Realistically? My current house in bigish city with all of those city problems. Because hopefully by then the house will be paid off.

    • Orlando, where I can work at Disneyworld as a ticket taker.

      • So I just saw Book of Mormon and this makes me want to sing out loud “Or-LAND-o, I love you”

      • My parents live in Celebration, about 10 minutes from Disney World. It’s definitely fun to take the kids to visit them! The annual passes for Florida residents are expensive (around $1000 I believe) but really work out if you’re a die-hard Disney fan.

    • We will probably sell our family home in expensive suburban MA once the kids are in college and move to cape cod or the vineyard where DH and I will continue to work on a part time/consulting basis. Once we’re ready to really retire, we’ll probably get out of MA altogether and have a home close-ish to the kids (wherever makes sense) once they settle and another home somewhere on the coast without freezing winters. Maybe we’ll luck out and the kids will end up near DC so we can kill 2 birds with one coastal home. Or we’ll just go there and have an airport to get us to the kids

    • Near wherever my daughter lives, if she’s ok with it (I would absolutely want my own place but I think it would be nice to be close, especially if/when she has kids).

    • A small town, preferably near mountains and a body of water, with a good number of other tree-huggers and hippies, where I can yoga my days away and we all trade veggies, herbs, flowers, etc., that we have grown ourselves.

    • Anonymous :

      My husband is a college professor and will never fully retire, so as long as he’s alive we won’t permanently leave our Midwestern college town. I’m hoping that when he’s 65ish he’ll be willing to stop teaching in the spring semester (he can do this just by taking a pay cut and hopefully we won’t need the money at that point) and we’ll be able to spend January through March escaping winter in Northern CA wine country. I used to dream about buying a condo there, but my parents have a vacation home and I’ve seen how expensive and time-consuming it is maintaining it, so we’ll probably just rent instead. That also gives us the flexibility to one year go to Hawaii or someplace like that instead :)
      We’ll definitely spend large chunks of every summer near our kids (and hopefully grandkids) wherever they’ve settled.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Am I really the only one who plans to stay put? I love my community and my house and Lovely Husband and I plan to age in place for as long as possible!

  15. mountain retirement :

    A consideration needs to be medical care – have seen a lot of retirees arrive healthy or healthy-ish to a semi-rural beautiful retirement area and now need to drive an hour or more to see specialists for their care or have further testing. While there is primary care, a lot of rural hospitals don’t have many procedures or specialists. It’s a significant source of stress for a lot of folks and definitely something to consider.

    • Chicago gal :

      Yeah for sure. My husband’s aunt moved to the Southwest. She is healthy and young by most standards, but a year ago when she had a medical emergency, she had to drive an hour to the hospital… and then wait three days for the neurologist to make his rounds to her neck of the woods. I could not believe it and it solidified that we will retire to a city or surrounding suburbs.

  16. I’d like a basic linen tank top (button down) to wear this spring. I had one from Uniqlo before, but it was too long and just kind of unflattering. Recommendations for one that is semi-fitted more than blousy?

  17. HanaleiDreaming :

    Thank you to this s*te on two great recs:

    “Everybody Rise” was a great read this weekend – so grateful for the recommendation and looking for other similar books. Did anyone else download it?

    DexFlex gray suede heels – have been looking for a pair of gray suede heels for the last few months – wanted a light/med gray, shorter heel. Think that would be easy to find but it wasn’t. It’s been a while since I’ve gotten shoes at Payless and these are a pair that I plan to go back and buy a backup (or two!) for. Grey heels to me are the most versatile shoes and I’ve been lost without a good pair (wore my last pair into the ground,)

    Love all of the good ideas that come from this board and just had to share two recent ones that made me so happy :)

    • Missed the original post– was it Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford? I actually just read it and really didn’t like it. I read The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis right after, which interestingly ended up being a similar storyline (young women trying to make it in NYC), and liked it a lot better. Total coincidence I read them back to back– they were two e-books that my library had available on an early page of my scrolling through the e-catalog that looked moderately interesting, but I liked The Dollhouse SO much better.

      • HanaleiDreaming :

        It was – it was just so different from anything I’ve read, but there were some parts I didn’t enjoy. I will definitely get the one you mention. Need some escape reading lately.

  18. Just got done watching the replay of the women’s slopestyle snowboarding and am completely annoyed and frustrated how the commentators nonstop referred to the competitors as “girls.” These are not girls, these are incredibly accomplished women out there throwing down some massive tricks in horrible conditions. I am one to usually overlook this type of commentary but for some reason I can’t get over this one. I don’t think they are announcing the men’s competition as “boys.” Let’s give these women some respect!

    • Flats Only :

      It’s obnoxious, but could it be part of the culture of that sport? How do the competitors refer to themselves?Ballerinas and models are both commonly referred to as “girls” (and for that matter “boys”) within their industries.

      • It doesn’t really matter if it’s part of a patronizing, misogynistic culture. It’s still annoying af.

    • Commentators always do this during bouldering competitions too and it drives me up. the. effing. wall.

    • Things that make me grind my teeth. :

      They keep referring to the contestants in team figure skating as “men” and “ladies,”, and have incorporated it into the graphics listing the team figure skating events too (“1 man, 1 lady, 1 ice dancing pair, 1 figure skating pair”) and I feel just the same way.

      • Those are the official skating terms, though, and have been for decades. I agree they could use an update now that it’s 2018, but don’t blame the NBC Olympics broadcasters. they’re just being precise and calling the events what the skating officials call them.

        • Yes, those are the official skating terms.

          On the other hand, it is hilarious that little girls’ gymnastics is officially called “women’s.” I think the lower (compulsory) levels should be called “girls'” and the higher (optional) levels, where kids are doing scary big skills and are usually at least in middle school, could legitimately be called “women’s.” Sorry, but someone who rode to the meet in a car seat is not a “woman.”

        • Flats Only :

          What would you prefer they be called? Not trying to be snarky, just curious.

        • Things that make me grind my teeth. :

          Thanks, that’s helpful to know. I don’t like them as official terms, but I get why, as they *are* the official terms, NBC would use them.

          Flats Only, if you’re talking about figure skating, I think “men” and “women” would be fine–the thing that grates for me is the juxtaposition of “men” and “ladies”. If someone doesn’t like “women” since there are usually a number of female competitors under 18, “gentleman” and “ladies” would work for me.

          • KateMiddletown :

            I mean, bathrooms are referred to as the men’s room and the ladies’ room. I don’t have a problem with that.

            But agreed – they should call these 18 – 22 year old males “boys” not men. (That male skater from Russia who did solo last night looked like he was 14!)

  19. This is going to sound ridiculously immature and like I am not a real adult, and maybe its true, but for the life of me I cannot get out of the house on time and to work on time. The heart of the problem is I wake up feeling so tired, like I haven’t slept at all, and I try to get a few extra minutes. My head aches, my body is sore, I feel like crap when I first wake up. My thoughts are irrational when I’m in this phase- of course a few minutes isn’t going to make a lick of difference and I just need to get moving, but my judgment is clouded when I’m waking up. I have insomnia and have been seeing a specialist for it for years by the way. Any advice? TIA!!

    • Have you had blood work done? I struggle with this as well and recently discovered that I was anemic. It doesn’t affect my sleepiness in the sense of tiredness but I have a lot of fatigue. Hoping the prescription supplementation will help.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Get tested for sleep apnea! Get a dog that needs to go out or a cat that needs to be fed. The latter is not fool proof because I have been known to do both and go back to bed. Get a job that allows flex arrival time?

      • nerfmobile :

        Agree on testing for sleep apnea. I finally did this after years of my husband complaining about my snoring and yep, I have it. It interrupts my REM sleep, so that explains why I could never remember any dreams. Got a PAP machine before Christmas. I’m not great yet about using it but when I do have glorious long complex dreams and wake up feeling much more rested.

    • Could you have a sleep problem that interferes with getting actual rest, like sleep apnea or snoring? You could see if a sleep study or seeing a sleep specialist would help.

      Or you could do what I did and have someone record you at night after complaining about snoring–my husband walked in yesterday, hit play on his phone and I heard “HRRRRNNNNGGG. HRRRRRNNNNGG. HrRRRRRRNGG-” you get the idea. I asked him how he managed to record his own snoring and he said, “Uhhh, that’s YOU.” I had no idea I snored but I’m planning on taking the recording to a colleague in otolaryngology.

    • you are probably doing this already dealing with insomnia, but if not, watch your caffeine intake! How groggy I wake up in the morning directly correlates with how many cups of coffee I have. I can handle one cup of coffee, but more than that really fuels the addiction.

      • Anonymous :

        This. I can do three cups in the daytime (8am, 10am, 3pm) but if I have 4th cup after supper, I’m up to 3-4am. Big change from my twenties when all the caffeine had like zero effect.

    • Have you looked into diet? I can be a slow and groggy riser, but I wake up refreshed when I haven’t been drinking and when I’ve been eating cleanly.

    • Short-term, you could keep a glass of water and an Advil by the bed. Set your alarm for 20 minutes before you have to get up, take the medicine, and snooze. I do this when I’m sick.

      Long-term, look into other sleep issues. Since nobody has mentioned it, I used to wake up feeling like this–the headache, sore body, etc. I had anxiety that was making me clench my jaw at night. My teeth were also cracking, and I had to have a lot of expensive dental work. A night guard helped. Medication for anxiety helped. Changing jobs solved the problem.

      • Agree with visiting a dentist to see if you are clenching/grinding your teeth. I was waking up with headaches every day that were severe enough that my alarm would go off and I didn’t want to wake up or move my head because I knew my head would start pounding. It caused me to sleep in a lot more than needed just because I was dreading the pain. A night guard solved that problem and I can tell a huge difference even if I forget to sleep with it one night.

  20. y’all, Burlington has some cheap cashmere ruanas! https://www.burlingtoncoatfactory.com/burlingtoncoatfactory/catalog/searchresults.aspx?filter=&search=cashmere%20ruana#si=200 I bought one bc there is a store in town so I can return if it’s not as described.

    • KateMiddletown :

      1) what is a Ruana?
      2) I clicked this link and it had “affiliate” multiple times in the URL. Is this one of those situations that people got all over Sloan Sabbith for last week? (apologies if I’m misremembering who perpetrated this crime.)

      How can you tell if someone is getting paid through a link? I’m just curious.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Is it possible that Kat is changing links so that she gets commissions from them? I think her terms and services allow her to do that. Maybe she is editing the comments?

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        That was not me :P It was Legally Brunette, and not her fault. :)

        • KateMiddletown :

          Sorry Sloan (and Legally Brunette!) And I didn’t even realize it was a crime, that’s how naive I am about this whole thing. I’m happy for people who tell me about products to get a kickback. I assume all recos are motivated by actually liking the product, on this blog, at least.

  21. I just saw that Barack Obama’s official portrait was painted by Kehinde Wiley. Coolest presidential portrait ever.

    • It’s a beaut!

    • the yellow one is the sun :

      I love it.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      It’s great! I don’t feel the same about MO’s though.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I feel like she looks a lot younger than she is.

        • Elegant Giraffe :

          I read that the artist doesn’t favor “realism” in her work which is cool…I guess I just prefer a more realistic depiction in portraits.

      • Baconpancakes :

        The Michelle one doesn’t really look like her? And the dress is good, but the pose plus the dress makes her look less active than the energy she gives off. The portrait feels still and contemplative, when she’s a very dynamic and energetic woman.

      • Anonymous :

        Yeah, what a letdown for her portrait! Looking at them next to each other, it comes off as if she were tired from the first portrait and did a subpar job on the second.

    • Yes, I loved them both. Gorgeous pieces of modern art.

    • Anonymous :

      Both are weird. Why is he sitting in a bed of leaves? And hers – her face looks nothing like that. Is this one of those blind arrangements where you pick an artist but have no clue how it’ll turn out? Bc I think both look bad.

      • Anonymous :

        A crazy background (usually wallpaper-ish) combined with a pose out of an old masters portrait is Kehinde Wiley’s signature style.

    • Unpopular opinion but I LOVE Michelle’s portrait.

  22. Occasion outfits :

    What do you do with all your special occasion or ‘fancier’ clothes? I have about five to eight ‘fancy’ dresses, and some silk tops. I am in my mid forties, husband and I have no children and both of us have small extended families, so weddings and other events are rare. What should I do with all this special occasion or more elegant clothing? I can sometimes dress it down for a weekend dinner, but it is not something I can wear to work, or out and about in the busy city I live in.

    We walk to most places, including dinner and lunch out, so I usually wear flats or boots with more casual dresses and skirts ( that’s how I got to this place… I love wearing dresses and skirts, and dislike finding pants…) These items are sitting in my closet and are looking more like an Anthropologie store display, than a working closet. I still receive compliments when I wear them, even though some are over ten years old. They are all more vibrant and unique items that were never really trendy to begin with. I must admit I like knowing that my eyelet fit and flare dress is there, as well as my chiffon sheath. Should I keep these items for the ‘pretty collection’ in my closet, move them to another closet, or simply prune them down? I tend to love doing wardrobe inventories on excel, have a medium sized wardrobe, and just want to use what I own. My aunt recently passed away, and seeing her prune all her posessions during her illness, and noticing how she only had few things is making me question all this.

    • It sounds like they pass the “spark joy” test, they still fit, and you have room for them, so why get rid of them? If you love these dresses so much, enjoy them! Have some photos taken in them and then find someplace to wear them. Season tickets to the opera?

      • Keep your fancy clothes if you like them. Imagine your nieces going through your clothing when you pass. This is the stuff they will get excited about, most likely. Not the workaday smart casual trousers and basic blouses.

        • Occasion outfits :

          Thank you for the validation, and the comments. I was just worried I was becoming too attached, and that it was preventing me from buying new things. I am intentional and over think purchases, so even though I am in my mid forties, and purchased the outfits mid thirties, I am not yet developing a huge overstuffed collection (more of a curated collection I guess…) I like the idea of my nieces and I looking at the items when they are older….not sure if they would want them, but it will be fun to look!

    • If you have the space, why not keep it? I think there are times when it makes sense to pare it all down, like if you live in a tiny apartment or if you are elderly and have declining health, but sometimes it’s nice just having around. I have clothes that sat for years before going back into rotation and I’m glad I kept them.

    • You could buy tickets for a premiere (theater/opera), dress up for a low-stress date night at home (fancy dress, glass of champagne, all on your own sofa), invite people for a cocktail party. Basically invent reasons to wear them a little more.

      • Elegant Giraffe :

        When I was in high school, I used to get dressed up to watch the Oscars. (would wear old prom/banquet/homecoming dresses) It was silly but fun :) would have been even better with champagne!

        • the yellow one is the sun :

          How fun! I would love to do this. I’m not getting my third trimester body into any old/fancy dresses for this year but maybe next year.

    • Wear them more. You’ve probably talked yourself into believing that they’re too fancy, but are they really?

      • Occasion outfits :

        I do wear them when I can…they are probably not too fancy, just because we walk most places, I guess I’m worries about perpetration, toppers, shoes…. Thank you again for all the wise words. I do have to get out more often:)

        • Out of the Box :

          Carry a set of cute dress shoes on your walk, and pop them on when you get there.

          • Occasion outfits :

            That’s a good idea…I’m also switching out my two inch heels to…half inch wedges or fun supportive flats…so the dresses can all be worn and enjoyed as I walk.

  23. Sloan Sabbith :

    Spent a lot of time putting on a monochrome outfit for the challenge (tl;dr a monochrome outfit) and when I got outside to walk the dog I realized I hate it AND that’s it’s too cold to wear it today. I look like Barney’s cousin and my legs are too cold because I need to do laundry and have no clean fleece tights. Plus I wore this same color combo for the last iteration of this challenge, everything in one shade.

    So I’m going to do the same top (purple) and cardigan (fuschia) I have on with grey suit pants and burgundy flats.

    How’d you do this one? I didn’t like any of Kat’s not this page suggestions.

    • I am doing violet blue that is almost but not quite navy. It’s not really a bold bold bold color but I did a bold color last time so everyone’s going to have to live with it. For those playing the game at home the color is Dark Night by Eileen Fisher and I have a silk/cotton interlock skirt and a longish wool cardigan that match, with a print top containing the color. I don’t have tights this color so everyone is also going to have to live with me wearing nude-for-me tights. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • I’m an accidental participant–I don’t get the list but am wearing a monochrome outfit today. Dark dark purple wool trousers, dark purple fitted merino top with a subtle, almost jacquard paisley pattern in an indigo (hand me down from my kid sister) and an inky black soft blazer, with black booties.

    • nerfmobile :

      I did brown because I wanted to wear a particular blouse today. It’s a crinkled silk button up blouse with an open collar, in dark brown with little diamond shapes in camel in kind of a watercolor style. Some of the diamonds have a little blue accent in the middle. I paired it with brown tweed slacks, and a khaki unstructured jacket thing (it’s fleece-lined knit, like fleece leggings, so very cozy). I don’t have a dark brown jacket or sweater so the khaki was the best I could do). For shoes I wore brown suede Mary Janes.

  24. If they’re super fancy you could bequeath them to a museum or something similar. Maybe ask a fashion school for suggestions. If you want to get rid of them, you could give them to one of those prom dress collection places, sell them, or give them to a thrift shop and some seeker of lovely things will get a thrill. If you like them for the moment, keep them to admire and sometimes wear. I do a combo of keeping and give to prom places.

  25. Weekend struggle :

    I am really struggling lately with my motivation on the weekends. I cannot motivate myself to exercise or get things done around the house (e.g. necessary cleaning and organizing, projects that have been on my list for quite some time). I know that tackling some of those things will make me feel good (I used to be a person who liked having a clean and organized home and I enjoy working out and can typically motivate myself on weekdays) but instead I often find myself with my rear end planted on the couch binge watching Netflix or Hallmark channel or something. I cannot even quite describe how it happens – I wake up feeling somewhat motivated but then sit down to drink coffee and suddenly half or more of the day has passed me by and I just cannot manage to get myself started. I can usually motivate for getting up and going for things like meeting friends for brunch or other fun activities. But even when I get up and going for something fun, I get sucked back into the same vortex of inactivity when I return home. Any thoughts or tips on what could be going on or how I can get my weekend energy and productivity back?

    • Weekend struggle :

      Also, I should add that I do not have anything against some binge watching and downtime. My concern here is that I’m getting too sucked in and then not adding other things to my weekend that will help me feel recharged for the weekend. I’m not trying to fully abandon Netflix or couchtime – just trying to minimize it and get back some of my productivity and energy.

      • Can you try to tackle a few items that you absolutely want to accomplish on the weekend before turning on the TV and set a timer for internet/social media reading as you drink your coffee? I have the same problem in the evening where once I am on the couch I am basically done for the night so I try to get everything done first and then relax.

    • Maybe try reading Laura Vanderkam’s book “What the Most Successful People do on the Weekend.” I found it very motivating.

    • Can you build in some activity that has to be done early? Like a 9 am haircut on Saturday or 8 am church or 9 am yoga? Going to the 8 am church service is our favorite – it’s quick service, only about 45 minutes, and by the time we’re done, we beat all the brunch crowds, then head to a sorta-still-quiet grocery store for our weekly shopping. By noon we’re at home and enjoying an afternoon nap.

    • Timers are your friend!

      First, if you decide you’re going to start your chores “soon” but just want to check your email “real quick”, set the timer on the oven or microwave for 20 or 30 min. Don’t use your phone, because setting a kitchen timer will force you to actually get up to turn the thing off. I have the same problem as you and it’s like just the very minor physical act of standing up and moving away from the TV/computer can be insurmountably difficult. Having a prompt to break up the hypnosis is very helpful.

      Once you’re standing up and away from the computer/TV, set the timer for another 20-30 minutes and just commit to as much productivity as you can fit into that time. If you get through that time and want to go back to watching TV, set the timer again! But if you feel like you can keep going, just keep going.

      • Timers are a good idea. Set a limit on the amount of screen time you get. To earn more, you have to do so many minutes of ___ activity. Also, maybe move some of your activities to the morning. I lose a lot of time “meal planning” which turns into me browsing recipes on my ipad and suddenly it’s 3 o’clock on a Sunday and I haven’t been grocery store yet. Forcing myself to do that shopping in the morning makes a big difference in my weekend.

        • pugsnbourbon :

          I almost always grocery shop early to beat the crowds. I get a very large coffee and I take my time and it’s really not that bad.

          I have a tendency to get overwhelmed by large tasks and they just never get done, so I’ve been applying the work tip of “break it into manageable tasks” to our household projects. I don’t have to organize my entire closet, but I’ll spend an hour finding items to donate. I don’t have to paint the entire living room, but I’ll buy samples and get those on the wall. Etc. A little bit of progress is still progress.

    • I reserve podcasts I really like for listening to when I am doing chores which makes me want to do them so I can listen to the podcast. Also works with audio books.

    • Anonymous :

      Are you sure you’re physically well-rested? I would try sleeping a bit more and see if you have more energy to leave the couch. If you’re already sleeping a lot (like 9+ hours per night) you might consult a doctor to see if there’s something like sleep apnea that’s interfering with the quality of your sleep. I always feel like I have so much more energy for doing things other than vegging out on the couch when I’m well-rested.

    • Anonymous :

      This actually sounds like depression to me

      • Anonymous :

        It could be depression, but not necessarily. I struggle with the same thing. Not depressed, just have too much time in which to get things done, therefore things don’t get done. No deadline = no motivation, for me. A timer is my friend, as are to-do lists that I can check off.

  26. Well there are upswings and downswings in life and maybe what you need is actually a weekend of hanging around, only doing fun things or low energy things, and regrouping? Can you try some relaxing yoga while you’re watching Netflix? Can you outsource the cleaning?

  27. My husband wants to learn to dress well, so for valentine’s day I’d like to get him a small book or something that explains how to do that. (getting him actual clothes is out of my budget right now, plus he’s picky and it’s hard to get the size right) any suggestions for something like that?

    • Maybe this: https://www.amazon.com/Gentleman-Ultimate-Companion-Elegant-Man/dp/3848008165

      Depends on how “Fancy” or how deep he’d like to go into this though. We have the book above at home and it’s a good starting point. It is very formal/Western-centric though.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Maybe get him a giftcard for an outfit service like Stitchfix? He can be picky and try things on at home that he wouldn’t normally.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t know about gifts, but you should tell him about dappered (dot) com. My husband got a ton of really helpful info from there when he wanted to start dressing better.

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