Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Paneled Sheath Dress

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

I can’t remember the last time I saw a sheath dress with a small pattern like a check — let alone one in a color other than gray. Yet this foulard patterned sheath dress from J.Crew comes in a navy & green pattern (pictured), as well as an “evergreen eggplant” pattern. I like the paneling on the dress, the just-below-the-knees length, and the crew neckline. It’s available in regular and petite sizes (up to 16); about 50% of the sizes are sold out. There is a sale today, but the dress seems to be excluded (boo) — you can use code YAYCLOTHES to try to take 40% off other “select” merchandise. Paneled Sheath Dress

Here’s a foulard pattern in a plus size dress, as well as a few other plus-size dresses with small patterns.

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  1. I really miss the days when Jcrew made work dresses with sleeves.

    • +1. This is so cute, but sleeveless is really limiting. I don’t want to wear multiple layers every time I put on a dress. Takes away most of the advantages of wearing a dress, IMO.

      • Anonymous :


      • I splurged on the infamous jardigan, and it was so easy to throw over almost anything (and throw in my purse in a ball when I wasn’t using it) that sleeveless became a non-issue. Recently lost it and I’m still mourning.

      • Anon in NYC :

        Unpopular opinion around here, but I love sleeveless dresses. I can wear them year round and I actually prefer wearing layers so I can adjust for the temperature as needed.

        • Seconded. I have to wear a blazer every day anyway, so I just adjust the blazer to the temperature and then never have to worry about stuffing long sleeves into a jacket.

        • Same.

          Also: my she-hulk shoulders mean not only to blazers never fit, sleeved dresses never fit either.

        • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

          Yeah, i wear sleeveless dresses and shells with no jacket or cardigan. I feel like I am in a small minority here though.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Word. I don’t show my arms (tattoo!) at work so I just stopped buying sleeveless dresses. I guess it’s good in that there are a lot fewer things I can buy.

        • givemyregards :

          Also don’t show my arms for the same reason! But I have a ton of sleeveless stuff; I just always have a sweater or blazer on. I’ve actually been asked if I dress modestly for religious reasons, which cracks me up, considering the real reason.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            Ha! Yeah, I think perhaps I am just not good at layers? I used to always wear a blazer when I worked somewhere more formal, but it seems like too much work now (or I am deeply lazy, perhaps!).

            Once someone found out I didn’t have a microwave or a TV (at the time I had long straight hair and was dressed pretty modestly) and he was like “uh… is it a religious thing?!” Nope! It’s a “got used to it in small apartments in NYC” + “all the TV I like is available on my laptop” thing!

    • Anonymous :

      I’m just glad they’re still making something fairly normal to wear to work in a professional office. That’s more than you can say about most of the other brands these days.

    • I have this dress. It is great. Honestly, much higher quality than a lot of recent J. Crew pieces. Fully lined, thick material, flattering.

      It runs very large though, be warned! Definitely size down.

      • Does it run large in the hips, chest or both?

        • Definitely large in the hips.

          FWIW, I am 5’9, 130lbs, bought a size 2 in this dress and it is loose (but still wearable – though realistically, a 0 prob would fit better).

      • Also have this dress but find it runs true to size, in part because it has no stretch. I took my normal J.Crew dress size in this. It is very pretty.

        • It could be that I just haven’t shopped for work clothes at J.Crew very much recently and am out of touch! I got this dress in a smaller size than I wear in Theory, Boss, DvF, etc. and the fit still is a bit loose…hence my comment that it runs very large. I may just be less familiar with J.Crew sizing.

          • Yes, I am a 4 in DVF and a 0 in all J.Crew. It’s consistent within J.Crew sizing but not at all with other brands. It’s all cuckoo because if you follow the J.Crew size charts, I should be a 4 there, too, but I would be swimming in that.

    • I don’t show my arms at work but I pretty much only wear sleeveless dresses. I always wear a “third piece”, whether a jacket or a cardigan, or my favorite, a jacket/cardigan combo (jardigan, swacket)

    • I prefer sleeveless dresses but hate really high necklines like this. It’s hard to find a happy medium between this and inappropriately deep necklines.

  2. Yay Kat! I love a checkerboard pattern like this one, as well as J. Crew’s priceing! Dad used to needle me about wearing checkerboard dresses b/c he said he could play chess on my “shelf”, which is his ewphemism for my tuchus. FOOEY on him. I am not sure why he always compares me to Rosa, other then the fact she is MARRIED with kids, but I am a PROFESSIONAL who needs to work to be abel to move to the West Side next year, and she lives in Chapaqua with Ed, who makes money for her to spend. DOUBEL FOOEY b/c I would love to find a guy to support me. I hope to find a guy on the West side who will appreciate me for my mind and intellect, and not just want to have me pleasure them. FOOEY on men who are like that.

  3. Anonymous :

    Vicarious shopping challenge: Can anyone identify the pale blue belt that Selena Meyer wore in two episodes of Veep season 6? In one episode she wore it with a red dress. There is no buckle in the front. I am not sure whether it is a wrap or has some sort of closure in the back. My searches don’t even yield a photo.

    I have a red dress that would be perfect to replicate the look. I did find a wrap belt by Ada in “chambray,” but it’s a little darker and wider than Selena’s.

  4. anonymous :

    I’m 5’2″and slight, and have had a standing desk for about 4 years and I love it … but, recent shoulder issues due to likely keyboard height miscalculation. I lowered the keyboard and it made things worse but if I raise it back, my arms and hands go numb. I’m currently sitting but that’s hard on my back. I have one person in the company who can do an ergonomic eval but I don’t like him nor do I trust his knowledge or judgment. Any recommendations for websites or resources to provide a correct ergonomic evaluation?

    • This may be one of those situation where you just can’t win and need to chose whether you favor your back or your shoulders. For me, neck and shoulder issues are the biggest problem and it’s essential that I have my shoulders in a relaxed position, which means a chair with properly fitting armrests at exactly desk height (for small people, this is almost impossible to find without paying a lot for a chair since they need to be adjustable and WAY narrower than the typical office chair- the small size Aeron really works for me). The armrests are key, so no matter how hard I’ve tried, there’s no way I’ve been able to get this right while standing (though I guess you could rig something up with armrests sticking out of the standing desk?). I do sometimes use a standing desk, but not when I have a lot of typing to do. You might just have to switch between sitting and standing, which is probably better than one fixed position anyway.

      • ps- I looked for the same thing in terms of ergonomics consultants since I didn’t have access to anyone at work, but I didn’t really find people that did it for one random person, at least not in my area. You probably want to just focus on figuring out which positions cause muscle tension and then try to reduce it. For small people like you and me, you want to bring the desk height down if you can or get a footrest if you can’t (I had to give up on my feet touching the floor). Getting a small chair with the right armrests and a short distance between your knee and hips definitely helps. I know less about the back issues, but I assume you also want to be able to adjust the lumbar support and things like that. If you really can’t sit, then do your best to get your keyboard at a neutral height, but like I said above, that might be hard to do.

        • S in Chicago :

          I had neck issues and my MD referred me to PT at a large chain provider. As part of it, they sent their ergonomics guy to my office and he made some adjustments that helped (lift for screen, tilting cushion, etc) Helped a million. Maybe worth calling one of those places to see if they have someone who can come out?

      • My prior post got ?eaten…

        Ask your PCP for a script for an OT (occupational therapy) Evaluation and Treatment visit for ergonomics (Diagnoses shoulder pain, upper extremity numbness). Maybe you meet with them once at the Therapy clinic to describe your issues, then meet at the workplace once or twice. You may need to call around for a therapy clinic that does on-site visits.

    • I would not trust yourself and online resources to make these changes.

      I would have the guy you don’t like come first, and if you don’t trust his recommendations, go so your primary care doctor. Describe your symptoms. Ask her for a script for an Occupational Therapy evaluation and treatment session or two for help. The OT will come to the office and do an eval, hopefully before or after work or during a lunch hour. You may have to call a few therapy places before you find one that has OT’s who will come to your work place.

    • Just did one and our guy told me arms should be hanging at your side, wrists flat. He also said standing all day is just as “wrong” as sitting all day, and that changing positions should help alleviate nagging pain.

  5. just angry :

    I am so outraged by this story about PA pro life congressman who asked his mistress to get an abortion. Between the frustration and sadness about yet another mass shooting and the likilhood that nothing will be done to change anything and then this story I have zero trust in our government or politicians.

    • Oh yeah… he’s my Congressman. His office is less than 2 miles from my house. A real jerk.

    • Anonymous :

      The hypocrisy of the Republican Party is just astounding.

    • Are you angry because you ard against abortion and hate seeing this, or angry because your are pro-choice and don’t want to admit that men love abortion?

      • Can’t answer for the OP, but he is very publicly pro-life and it is very clearly the position his office advances. In fact, they were pushing the message across social media platforms while he was telling her to get an abortion. It’s the fact that he likes abortion when it suits his personal agenda, but will push his political agenda to take away the right from other women.

      • Does it matter? Either way it’s a hugely hypocritical stance.

      • Ha ha ha this is a great attempt, Anonymous. Excellent baiting approach!

      • Baconpancakes :

        Probably because this particular congressman is currently pushing for a bill limiting women’s rights to get an abortion. The hypocrisy is pretty outrageous.

      • nasty woman :

        Lol, we don’t want to “admit that men love abortion”?

        Are you trying to imply that abortion allows men to get “off the hook,” and that women should therefore sacrifice their rights to attempt to force men into good behavior? (Because that worked so well in the past. Pregnant women were never abandoned.) Hey ladies, let’s toss our right to bodily autonomy and agree to mandatory state-enforced gestation so that we can keep men who don’t want to be with us around!!!

        Nope. I don’t throw away women’s rights in an attempt to control men’s bad behavior.

      • I’m angry because by his logic abortion should be illegal but he still shouldn’t have to deal with the consequences of his actions. In a pre-Roe v. Wade world this is one of the reasons that women died from unsafe, backroom abortions. He’s a terrible person. He neither respects babies nor women.

      • Linda from HR :


        People who are pro-choice very often get angry at people who are loudly against abortion, then either get abortions themselves or pressure the women in their lives to get them, because it’s okay for them to get abortions but not “those other women” who want access to abortion.

      • Wow 10:09, you must know some terrible men. Meet them at pro-life rallies?

    • Read the article this morning and felt similarly. These a$$holes . . .

      Did you read the memo by his chief of staff?

    • pugsnbourbon :

      Every so often I read through The Only Moral Abortion is My Abortion. It’s a collection of accounts from abortion care providers who have seen and treated openly pro-life patients, sometimes women who had protested at the same clinic. Link to follow, but you can just Google the title.

      • pugsnbourbon :

      • That site is amazing. I am one of those people who has always said I would not have an abortion unless circumstances were dire. But I am strongly pro-choice for everyone else because other people’s life and health-care choices are not my business. I had never considered the flip side: that there are people out there who are anti-choice for everyone but themselves. Unbelievable.

        P.S. – this is the second pro-life congressman to have gotten busted for abortion hypocrisy. A rep from Tennessee was exposed a couple of years ago as having sanctioned his ex-wife’s TWO abortions and suggesting an abortion to his mistress when she thought she was pregnant. He’s still in his seat. Let’s face it – these powerful, rich white guys in politics have probably paid for more abortions than most women on this board have had, cumulatively.

        • I think that most people who are pro life are only pro life for everyone else and pro choice for them self. You can’t truly know what you would do in a situation unless you are in it.

          • Formerly from the South :

            As a pro-choice person with a mostly pro-life family in a pro-life part of the country, I have to disagree with this statement. I have many family members and family friends who have became pregnant when they did not want to be (including because of assault; because she already had 3 kids and did not want more; and because she was a 15-year old victim of statutory r*pe). None of them had abortions; all of them remain pro-life (including the now 35 year old who was pregnant at 15).

            I do not agree with their adamant pro-life political stance (although their choices for their own lives are obviously their own business), but I absolve them of hypocrisy.

      • This. Such good journalism.

        I’ve seen this first hand as well. DH’s father left the Catholic priesthood after another priest was given diocesean funds to pay for an abortion for a girl the priest has been ‘dating’.

      • Sadly, this logic extends beyond reproductive rights. In the nonprofit sector, I’ve seen many clients who seek help yet think those in need generally are lazy and undeserving. They are always the exception-temporarily down on their luck and not “abusing the system”.

    • What bothers me is that it’s so clear that he feels entitled to control women’s bodies in either case. So fing clear.

    • Perfect example of how when abortion is a woman’s issue it is wrong and should be stopped. When it’s a man’s problem, abortion is a quick fix. It underscores to me just how little the country (and men) trust women to make decisions. When a man makes it, it’s a different story, but we just don’t trust women to make the decision so we create barriers for them to do so, such that only the most determined, rich, smart, or amoral women can have it done. Obviously because it is the woman’s fault again for bad decision-making in getting herself in this situation in the first place. Why don’t we trust women?

      And finally, because I always think it’s important to re-frame thinking when this comes up, being pro-choice means that you can still *choose* to keep a pregnancy. It just means that you think every person (and woman) can be trusted to make that choice for themselves.

    • These candidates’ “opposition to abortion” has nothing to do with abortion. It has to do with the desire to marginalize women and minorities (two birds! one stone!) and minimize their ability to hold any kind of power in society. Of course he wants his mistress to get an abortion–it affects him personally and he is not actually opposed to it. The hypocrisy of the situation is gross, but the most disgusting thing is the overall motive that drives the anti-choice position in the first place.

  6. Unicorn Jeans :

    I’ve been looking for months with no success to find jeans maybe you can help me out:
    – No distressing/decoration
    – Cotton/spandex
    – No polyester
    – Pull on style
    – Free in store or mail returns for Canada
    – Size 4
    – Any wash or shade of blue/black/white
    Thank you all

    • Anonymous :–24?pdp=1

      No polyester doesn’t exist in the pull on elastic waist jeans category.

      • Unicorn Jeans :

        Hue used to make some, but stupid me only bought one pairs now their “plain” styles have poly in them and all the cotton ones have weird rips

    • American Eagle.

    • Blair Waldorf :

      Have you tried Zara? A quick look at the website shows they have a lot of jeggings and free returns? A quick internet browse shows that most jegging style jeans (is this what you mean by pull on?) have some polyester content though! Will keep thinking…

    • JAG jeans were a lifesaver after I had a baby. Pull-ons for the win! They’re made by Silver Jeans, which is based in Canada, so I have to imagine they’re available there. I bought mine at Nordstrom.

  7. I’m making dinner for a co worker that just had a baby. Any ideas on what to make? I’ll prepare it tonight and bring it to them tomorrow to eat for dinner, so keep that in mind. No food restrictions, so anything works. Just the two parents to feed. Was thinking a casserole of some type? Suggestions and/or recipe links would be very helpful.

    • Anonymous :

      Nytimes oven roasted chicken schwarma. Make the chicken tonight, package with a container of hummus, bag of pita, and make a Greek salad. Fresh healthy and not yet another casserole.

      • This is a great rec!

      • Never too many shoes... :

        That sounds perfect!

        I would add some (store bought) baklava for dessert and a bottle of wine.

      • This looks delicious but I’m not sure I’m confident in my cooking abilities to make this. I usually make easy soups or crock pot dishes or other dishes that are more “prepare” and less “cook” and don’t really want to risk it on this meal.

        • Anon in NYC :

          If you would like a soup that is very easy to assemble, I like Wegman’s slow cooker beef minestrone. You have to sear the beef but other than that you can just dump everything in your slow cooker. You can do it on the stovetop too.

          I modify the recipe to suit my tastes, so I add less beef, use the vegetables I have (carrots, celery, onion, potato/sweet potato), use a package of frozen spinach in place of fresh, and use a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes rather than diced tomatoes + tomato sauce.

          Add a baguette or a side salad, and it’s easy and filling.

          • Anon in NYC :

            Here’s the link:

        • Mushroom barley soup, a loaf of crusty bread and some share cheddar cheese, and a veggie salad would be amazing (plus maybe a pint of ice cream!)

          • I think my comment was eaten. I love soup, but don’t bring soup. It takes forever to eat and it’s not high calorie. This is an occasion for fatty, high protein casseroles!

    • I recently took tacos/taco salads to a friend. I made shredded chicken in a crock pot and then set them up with tons of toppings. Easy to pick up most of it from the grocery store and then chop things that needed chopping into individual containers and ziplocks.

    • Stuffed shells. Just good old cheese ricotta/mozzarella mix (there’s usually a recipe on the box); you can add spinach if you want. Comforting, can be reheated as many times as you need, and full of calcium. It’s definitely more of a mix everything together/prepare recipe than a fancy recipe.

    • lasagna and salad, enchilada casserole is good to.

    • I make a super easy enchilada casserole, on the theory that people with new babies are stressed and stressed people like comfort foods. It also freezes really, really well.

      Cover the bottom of (disposable foil) casserole dish with corn tortillas. Stir together black beans, chopped onion, chopped peppers, frozen corn, shredded cheese, and chopped spinach with your favorite salsa and pour that on top of your tortillas. Cover with more tortillas. Cover the tortillas with salsa. Cover the salsa with cheese. Bake about 45mins at 350. You can also do this with hamburger or chicken or whatever. I don’t, because 1) I’m a vegetarian and 2) it’s an extra step in a super easy recipe. If you the buy the peppers and onions pre-chopped, assembly takes less than ten minutes.

      • Yes this. Comfort food that doesn’t require a ton of dishes. Unless you know they’re foodies, this isn’t the time to go fancy or do things that require plates and bowls and servers and multiple silverware options. My favorite gifted meal after my kid was a foil pan lasagna that they gifted with paper plates and plastic silverware – literally I just had to stick it in the oven, no prep and no dishes involved. It was really thoughtful in a way I didn’t appreciate before kids.

    • This is so sweet of you. Can you ask them? I had really specific post- baby food preferences.

      I literally cried when I sent my husband out for pizza and he came home with grilled chicken sandwiches. Actually, I’m still pretty upset about this.

      • Aw! Sometimes you just need pizza! I spoke with the father and he said no food allergies and no food preferences. He and his wife are very quiet and introverted so I don’t see them providing much more detail than this.

        Also, 11:56 anon love the idea of providing paper plates and plastic silverware.

        I wish I would have thought about this earlier. The baby is now a few weeks old and the father (my co worker) just came back to work and I realized (although I should have assumed before) that they don’t have any family in the area, no family coming out to help, and no real friends in the area either. I’m trying to get a few other people on board at work to provided a meal as well. I don’t have kids but I can’t imagine being all alone with a new baby with my husband back at work, no family or friends, and then having to think about food!

        • Haha! Also, I like to cook baked pasta or lasagna for this. whatever you make they’ll love.

        • As someone who is hoping to have a baby soon and lives in a city with no family nearby and we are still newish in town and in the process of making friends, it is SO sweet of you to think of this! Another suggestion, if other people in your office aren’t into cooking is even to offer to send them delivery for a night.

          I usually bring people something easy liked baked ziti and a bagged salad

        • Delta Dawn :

          Have you ever used the meal train website? Meal train dot com . You can set up a calendar where people sign up for days to bring meals to the family. Not sure of your office’s approach to things like this, but you could send the link to people at work for them to sign up. Not everyone will sign up, but maybe more than you expect. Either way, this is nice of you to do!

    • Tamale pie is easy – use a favorite chili recipe, put in baking pan, and cover with corn bread batter. (I like the Jiffy mix but you might need 2 boxes depending on pan size). Bake corn bread as ususal. Serve with sour cream.

      For chili recipes, I use Eatingwell’s Ultimate Beef chili but make it with ground beef or turkey so cooking time is MUUUUCH shorter. And I always use chicken stock instead of beer since we don’t usually have beer, and skip sun dried tomatoes since I don’t have them. I use canned chipotle chilis instead of jalapenos since i keep them on hand in the freezer. (They keep forever and add so much flavor).

    • Seventh Sister :

      Things we loved were lasagna (because it’s basically impossible not to have leftovers) and also moussaka. Plus red wine.

  8. Knomo bags – thumbs up or thumbs down? any different in quality between the nylon and leather bags?

    • Love mine. Pockets for days, great construction, and light as a feather (I have the nylon). Also I once spilled grape juice in the interior and it didn’t soak in or leave a mark. It was magic.

    • I only have their leather laptop case but it’s lovely – really well constructed. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy something else of theirs.

    • Thumbs way up. I have the Maddox (leather tote) in two colors (black and caramel) and a black nylon laptop sleeve bag. All awesome.

    • BLack leather Cavendish tote- excellent quality, used two winters and looks new

    • MollySolverson :

      Thumbs up. I have the Grosvenor Square and it still looks new after a year of heavy use lugging my laptop and other stuff to/from work every day.

    • My Knomo leather bags have held up great–no issues whatsoever. I have a nylon tote (the Marina) where the piping started wearing off at the corners after a few months. I sent a photo to Knomo and they sent me a brand new one for free. I am still using the old one almost three years later and will do so until it disintegrates. The laptop compartment is tearing off at the side and one handle is starting to fray, but it is still a great bag for toting around files between office and home and the nylon quilting still looks pretty new.

    • Aquae Sulis :

      My Curzon is still going strong after nearly two years. I went for the nylon version, to reduce the weight I’m carrying as much as possible, and I love it. I still get compliments on it, even now.

    • Definitely thumbs up. I have their nylon Grosvenor laptop bag (used daily for a year or so), leather Electronista shoulderbag (used 3x week for a year), and my mum has a leather Maddox. The quality is exceptional.
      I myself prefer nylon bag for bigger bags or bags which will need to carry the weight of a notebook and might be put on the ground from time to time. No real reason, just personal preference and I feel that they are easier to clean. For smaller bags, I only buy leather.
      Since I bought my first Knomo bag, most of my female coworkers jumped on Knomo as well ;)

  9. I find the firing of the CBS Veep strange. It looked like one of her friends took a Facebook messenger conversation and handed it over to a journalist?

    I come across impassioned arguments in my feed from old high school buddies who are blown away to see that an old BFF disagrees with them on a political issue, and it quickly turns to extreme statements and name calling and digging in to a crazy position (on all sides). Have we now reached the point that we turn that stuff over to the person’s employer and try to ruin their life?

    Publicly arguing on Facebook or Twitter is bound to bite you in the @ss (unless you’re Trump, apparently) but this case seemed different. It looked like a screen shot conversation over messenger.

    • I don’t think it was a message. It looked to me like she commented that on someone else’s public thread.

      • I couldn’t tell. One article had what looked like a phone screen shot, and the text bubbles reminded me of messenger. I rarely use Facebook on my phone so I couldn’t tell if it was a public wall or a private conversation.

        • I see what you mean about it kind of looking like a message with the text bubbles, but it says “Erin’s post” at the top. She was commenting on this woman Erin’s post which was presumably public or at least visible to all of Erin’s friends.

    • Oh wow, I didn’t realize that aspect of it until you mentioned it. I thought it was publicly on FB. I guess the old adage about not putting in writing what you wouldn’t say out loud applies to FB messenger as well.

      • I think this looks like FB messenger, but then again, I don’t use an app. It’s a shame that this adds fuel to the whole MSM is anti-Trump debate.

      • I don’t think it’s messenger. I shared a link that went to m o d, but the screenshot I saw says “Erin’s post” at the top – that means post not message. Also Erin didn’t seem upset by the comments so I doubt it was her who shared it with media.

        • I’m also not sure a reporter would trust a message because they can be doctored so easily. I assume someone sent a reporter the link to Erin’s Facebook page and the reporter went and actually saw the post and the attorney’s comment.

        • So Hailey (the VEEP) commented on her friend Erin’s post, and then lost her job over it. If Erin’s settings hadn’t been public, would Hailey have lost her job? Were Erin’s settings private, but she’s “friends” with a journalist, so it became public?

          I know the crux is “Don’t say dumb things online” but man! Aren’t we all guilty of saying something exaggerated/ridiculous/we don’t really mean? Or just use a bad word choice and then retract it, saying, “That didn’t come out right.”

          I’m just not comfortable with the idea that conversations that 20 years ago would have taken place in a bar between friends are now taking place online, and Hailey’s story feels a bit like wiretapping the corner booth. It’s a conversation happening in a public place, between friends, and while it’s a crowd and someone could overhear, you’re not expecting them to be listening or caring, you know?

          • Yeah I agree with your broader point. What she said was dumb and insensitive but I don’t think she deserves to have her life ruined because of it, especially when the POTUS says worse pretty much every day. But I do think it would be much more shocking if it were really a message just between two non-famous people, and I don’t think it was.

    • As part of my job, I review people’s personnel records. I came across one that had an email from a (unrelated/stranger) woman angry about the employee’s comments on a news website, one where you have to use your FB to comment. The comment was pretty bad but it had nothing to do with her job. The stranger, clicked the comment to see the person’s profile, saw the employer, and forwarded it. In response, it seems the employer asked her about it, suggested she not list her employer on her FB profile, suggested that while she may hold those views about immigrants/refugees she has to treat everyone equally in the workplace and left it at that. That incident had nothing to do with the case that resulted in me having that employee’s file. It’s amazing how often this is happening. It’s very “The Circle.”

      • I find this horrifying. Not because I’m personally sprinkling hateful comments around the internet, but it’s a step toward thought policing.

        Does it matter if Linda in accounting is passionately pro-life and comments on Fox News articles in her free time? Or that Bob in sales comments on MRA-Reddit under a corny handle? As employees, are we supposed to be a representative of the company 24/7, always carefully choosing our words and clothes and hobbies so that we fit the company mold? Is this what it means to be employed in 2017?

        • I mean, if you hold abhorrent views and express those views publicly and your employer doesn’t agree with those views and wants to fire you, I think it’s fine. There was a case recently about a woman who was fired from a bank where she worked for saying something awful about Muslims online. I wouldn’t want that woman as a friend or business associate and I don’t blame her employer for feeling the same way. She lived in Kentucky or some place like that so I’m sure she can find another employer that doesn’t care about her Islamaphobia.
          Or you can work for the government, where you have certain first amendment rights.

          • I 100% agree that companies should be able to fire an employee for publicly sharing views the company doesn’t agree with.

            What bothers me is that “public” is changing from the obvious (like a protest, or a rally, or a letter-to-the editor, or standing up on the bar and yelling into the crowd) to the subtle. A comment on a friend’s discussion thread, or a blog, or a re-tweet doesn’t feel like a public act. It’s a momentary click on your phone; thoughtless words. Getting up in front of a mic is pre-planned. Angry words thrown out during an argument or in the midst of bad news are typically just blurted out.

            If people are going to be shunned for owning their words, then the result will be that people scrub their profiles and no longer OWN THEIR WORDS. Discussions on Facebook are usually a bit more level headed than say, Yahoo News, because people can’t hide behind anonymous. It’s good to make people stand by their name! But if the repercussions of making a comment under your own name could mean loss of job, loss of social standing, pubic embarrassment–then who in the world is going to continue to post anything under their own name?

            Since we’re in the digital age, and people are too busy for sit downs with friends, sometimes the most thoughtful conversations are happening online. It’s how we’re connecting, how we’re exchanging ideas, how we’re growing and changing the world! If that whole forum is being monitored by our employers, then we can’t talk freely and openly, just like we can’t talk freely and openly while on the clock at work.

          • Blueberries :

            Or you can work in California, where a statute extends First Amendment-like rights to individuals who work for private employers. I’m not aware of holdings that limit the statute. I think there might be some dicta that it wouldn’t extend to really awful stuff. Anyone know more?

          • Anonymous :

            I agree, CBS VEEP, but haha, “pubic” embarrassment would suck.

          • @Bluererries Fascinating. I didn’t know this. I am so going to look into it. I am glad I learned this!

    • Am I the only one who doesn’t feel bad for her? And I know her (distantly – not a friend). I know this board leans liberal but to suggest east coast liberal lives are worth more than the Nashville or Dallas or central Pa people that go to country concerts and to write that down anywhere with her name attached – whether it was meant to be private or not – I think she got what she deserved.

      • No, you are not.

        • I don’t think she should have been fired. Even morally repugnant people should be allowed to earn a living. I just wonder how many other people at CBS think the lives of country music fans don’t matter as much as others because they are “repugs” (her word). Horrible.

      • She said she was unsympathetic… I don’t think that’s the same as saying that east coast liberal lives are worth more than those that go to country concerts.

        Honestly, I agree with her general concept, which I take to mean if murdered first graders didn’t cause change, then I don’t think something like this happening in an area that generally supports less gun control is going to be what causes more gun control. It is obviously a stereotype, but NV votes for many politicians who support loosening gun restrictions.

        • Come on. She didn’t come out and say it but the implication was there. East coast investment bankers’ kids who would’ve gone onto the best private schools and Ivy’s – like her own kids – than the 24 yr olds who were at a country concert bc they’d saved up money from their hourly job that they picked up in Tenn after their military enlistment. Come on – I know these types of people – work w many of them in NYC biglaw actually.

          • anonymous :

            I don’t think her views are to be commended but that wasn’t what she said. Her point (while gross) was that she wasn’t sympathetic because she assumed that country music fans are Second Amendment supporters and if you support gun rights then she doesn’t feel so bad that someone exercised his gun rights on the victims (who support gun rights). In other words, live by gun rights, die by gun rights.

            It’s a gross opinion. I do agree with the first half of her point before she derailed, which is the hopelessness of getting any headway toward protecting our country (everyone) after we (everyone) shrugged off the slaughter of kindergarteners. Even grosser that some call it a hoax. How shameful.

        • I doubt it :

          If you “agree with her general concept,” are you also “not even sympathetic because the victims are “country music fans” who “are often Republican”? Do you really agree with that?

          If so– If you are not sympathetic because the dead are (possibly) Republicans, you are just as much to blame for the divisiveness of our nation as the Republicans you blame for that same divisiveness.

          • I didn’t say I wasn’t sympathetic, but in general, I have no problem with the divisiveness of our nation – I would rather be divided with some of those views than united with them.

  10. Casual clothes :

    Thanks to those who commented yesterday on my quest for casual clothes. I haven’t been to Old Navy in ages but will check it out!

  11. Plays in DC :

    DH and I would like to start going to see some plays in DC. Any recommendations on good theaters or particular plays to check out? We love Arena Stage and recently saw The Originalist, which was fantastic.

    • Wooly Mammoth is incredible, and they have a 2 for 1 night now and again.

    • Shakespeare Theatre is fantastic. And if you are under 35 they have an amazing deal for subscriptions.

    • Check out DCist. They have a monthly review of plays in the area.

      A new fun find for me was the “Spooky Action Theater.” Really interesting experimental stuff.

    • If you’re willing to go to Shirlington, Signature has good shows, relatively reasonably priced.

    • If you like Shakespeare, the Folger is also really good.

      • is a great website that lists a lot of plays in the area. The Keegan Theatre, while small is one of my favorites. So is the Folger!

  12. Fender Bender Back Pain :

    I was in a fender bender yesterday on the way home from work – rear ended in stop and go traffic on I-95. Guy behind me was noticeably on his cell phone prior to the accident (I saw it in rear view mirror 10 mins prior) – obviously I can’t prove that he was at the time of the accident, but it’s clearly 100% his fault. At the time of impact, the other driver couldn’t have been going more than 5-10 MPH. My bumper is completely effed up, and my trunk was bent, too. I was shaken a bit, but otherwise ok yesterday. Woke up aching today; got moving around felt better. But now in my desk chair the ache is not just going away. I’ve never had back issues ever before today.

    Is this in my head? How is it possible that a relatively low impact accident has my back all messed up? I feel like a schmuck for thinking I should call the doctor (is there a statute of limitations for reporting some sort of medical issue?)… I’ve never been in an incident like this before. Should I wait it out? Google machine gives me lots of very biased personal injury attorney ads (sue! sue! sue!), so that’s not helpful. Thoughts on how best to handle?

    • Go to the doctor! This isn’t hard. You want this on the record in case it gets worse.

    • I’m sorry about your accident :(
      Your post seems to be about two issues: 1) your back pain and 2) the guy who hit you. I’m not an attorney, so I can’t offer any meaningful advice re: #2, but yes, you should call your doctor and go in to see him/her and get checked out. You could probably benefit from some physical therapy and medication (anti-inflammatory/muscle relaxer). You also want your injuries documented by a medical professional asap.

    • Go to doctor to document symptoms with third party.

      Write out your recollection of events while still fresh in your mind and email it to yourself so it’s date stamped to create a contemporaneous record.

    • Agreed, go to the doctor. I wouldn’t assume that this means you are going to have to sue. See what, if any, the problem is and go from there. Car insurance is already going to have to be involved, and you may be able to work this out without invoking lawyers

    • Agreed. You don’t have to decide to sue right now, but it will be much harder to sue if you decide to later if you don’t have medical records that are close in time to the accident.

    • Anon PI Atty :

      Yes, this is normal. Yes, it happens frequently. Yes, you could have a minor injury or a permanent soft tissue injury. I handle lots of these cases. Take pictures of your car. Get an estimate for the damage. The insurance companies like to see damages to the vehicle before they will believe your physical injuries. Beware of the insurance company offering to settle for just your out of pockets. Your health insurance often has a provision that they can get paid back with any money you receive. That means the insurance company has to pay the full amount of the medical bill and you then pay back the discounted rate insurance paid and keep the rest. You also get some money for your pain and suffering. The statute of limitation differs by state. You may also have something called medpay that is money through your insurance company that covers your medical bills. You can use that for copays/deductibles without having to pay back your health insurance company. If you have a lot of medpay you can use that to pay for all the medicals without going through health insurance at all so there is nothing to pay back. The liability carrier would still pay your medicals and pain and suffering. This all can vary by state though. It can’t hurt to do a free consult with a lawyer, even if you decide you want to try to resolve it on your own.

      A common settlement for soft tissue injury, ER visit, round of PT/Chiro, no permanent impairment is around $20-$25k where I live. From that you pay 1/3rd to your attorney, pay back your insurance (usually their discounted rate less 1/3rd since they share in your attys fees depending on your state law) and you retain the rest for your pain and suffering.

      • This is extremely helpful. Thank you! I’m in Massachusetts, in case that matters.

        The car was already taken into our insurance company (major, national provider) for the initial inspection this morning. They will come back once the bumper casing is removed to inspect other potential ‘hidden’ damage under the outer skin of the car.

        Sorry for the “Adulting 101” question, but should I not rely on my car insurance to cover/facilitate reimbursement and coverage for medical issues that come from this accident?

        • Anon PI Atty :

          Mass is actually one of the states I practice in. Post an anon email and I’ll get in touch with my real info.

          • Thank you! I have to run out to a work event, but will do this tomorrow and try to page you.

      • Former PI now defense :

        All this. Plus get and submit a no fault app if you’re in NY. And go to your doctor. And please feel better.

        And please don’t let yourself believe that there is anything morally wrong with suing for injuries caused by someone else’s negligence.

      • My mom has been rear ended 3 times, and has had nagging issues with each. The figures above are very accurate accurate (she’s in CT not MA). Most times the net gain to her was minimal because she’s self employees so has a fair amount of work/income lost for every hour she dealt with this issue.

        Also, DH rear ended someone at <5 MPH and no major bumper damage. DH wasn't involved in the process but his insurance co ended up paying out like $20k in pain and suffering.

    • Absolutely go to the doctor. Right now you (1) need to feel better and (2) need to preserve your options to sue should there be serious damage. If you do eventually sue, your lawyer can subpoena his cellphone records to prove he was on the phone.

      • Anon PI Atty :

        You can also send a letter to him/his insurance company requesting that he put a “litigation hold” on his cell phone records. Otherwise they are destroyed in due course and not all companies are keeping records of date/times of text messages beyond a certain window.

    • This happened to my SO. He was rear-ended and had back pain. He documented it with a doctor right away, and it ended up becoming a lingering issue that required PT and some epidural procedures. After some persistence, he got a nice settlement from the other insurance company to cover medical expenses and pain/suffering. Hopefully for you, it’s just soreness from the accident, but document with a doctor in case it turns in to something more than that.

  13. Shopaholic :

    I’m trying to get into reading more. I was a very avid reader when I was younger and then being a lawyer killed it for a few years. Now that I’m used to it, I want to start reading more but I’m finding it hard to get out of my tv habit. Any tips? How do you read more? I have what seems to be a never ending list of books to read and I love buying books but I find they have just been sitting. Is an e-reader the trick? Just being more disciplined?

    Thanks all!

    • For me, I need to turn off the screens and re-train my brain to be OK with not having constant stimulation and clicking and “new.” A good old-fashioned paper book requires me to slow down and put my brain into a different mode. Not always easy, but worthwhile.

    • Baconpancakes :

      E-reader is great for me, particularly Kindle since I can pick up where I left off on my phone if I’m waiting in line somewhere. The immediate access is great.

      One of the best Marie Kondo takeaways is that if I am not going to start immediately reading a book, I don’t buy it, and if I do buy it, I read it immediately. This prevents the New Book Excitement from fading.

    • If you have a big stack, why don’t you try picking one that looks good and leaving it on your nightstand and reading a little bit before bed every night? Some people swear by e-readers but I read a lot more when I have physical books to pick up.

    • How’s your public library? Sometimes having a return by deadline helps me finish a book faster than if I own it. You can also get e-books from many libraries if you can’t get to a branch during business hours. I read mine through a Kindle app on my ipad.

      • This- getting ebooks from the library is easy and free, but the time pressure of having to return the book motivates me to read them sooner rather than later. I read 100-200 books each year, and they’re pretty much all library books. I still have a ton of books that I’ve bought that I never get around to reading, so the deadline is key! Also, if I don’t like a book and just can’t get through it, I’ve learned to be okay just stopping and moving to something else. I make sure to go to bed early enough that I have some time to read and always have an ipad or phone with me so I can read anywhere and anytime I have some down time.

      • +1

        This is exactly what I do.

    • E – reader plus rereading old favourites has gotten me back into reading recently. I also exclusively read historical fiction set in Europe becauee I want my reading escape to truly be an escape in time and place.

    • Are you being too ambitious in your reading choices? Sometimes I think I want to read the latest heavy novel or a thoughtful work of nonfiction but I am too worn out from work and parenting to be up for it. I recently raced through a science fiction trilogy (Ancillary Justice, if anyone wants to know) but haven’t finished The Underground Railroad.

      • I usually have at least two books going for this reason – one is a heavier, need to pay attention, book and one is a light fun read. If I need to zone out and would otherwise flip on the TV, I go to the light fun read. If I have a good chunk of time on a Saturday afternoon, etc., I go to the heavier read.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          I do the same thing, but with three books-
          One light paperback
          One heavy paperback
          One light Kindle book

          If I’m reading on my Kindle (and by Kindle 85% of the time I mean the Kindle app on my phone) I’m probably at lunch or on the bus or waiting in line or something where I don’t have the concentration or desire for a heavy book but it gets me reading anyway. I’ve read a lot of books this year using this method.

    • What time do you go to bed? Try to get in to bed 30 minutes early, and use that time to read a book. Pick one that is really interesting and engaging to you – if it’s not doing the trick, put it away and find another one. The key is to find a book that makes you look forward to those 30 minutes. Once you finish that book, the high will compel you to find another one. Keep doing that, and soon you’ll have a reading habit.

      I “level up” and make myself a tea to savor during my 30 minutes of reading, and it’s the best part of my day. I even sometimes skip TV just so I have more time to read a particularly good book.

      Depending on your interests, young adult books are good to get you back into reading habits. Something like the new Wonder Woman: Warbringer if you’re into superheros. The Fault in Our Stars if you’re into tear jerkers. The Uglies series or the Lunar Chronicles (based on Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, etc) if you’re into Kardashians. Will Grayson Will Grayson if Bravo is your thing. Something by Sarah Dessen if you’re into romance. Etc.

    • I’m doing the same thing – here’s what’s been working for me for the last month – I’m reading the book from the TV show I’ve been watching. I already know the plot so if I zone out a bit it’s OK, but it’s getting back into the habit and process that’s helpful. I’m viewing this as practice. I’m even doing it on a Kindle, which I have never liked before.

    • For me, it’s finding a particular book that sparks the passion again. Kavalier & Clay did the trick, and then I gave it to my boyfriend, who was having the same problem post-law school, and it did the trick for him, too. 10th of December by George Saunders cemented it. We’ve both become avid readers again, and I credit those two books for creating the momentum.

    • Calibrachoa :

      I read on my ph0ne. It’s made a difference that I can flick into my book between all the other stuff I do

    • Linda from HR :

      I was the same way for a while, didn’t reach much for fun, until I discovered historical fiction novels that focus on female protagonists, now I’m in love!

      As for finding time to read, I figured out that if I wear headphones, I can read on the train with no problem. Even better if I can find music to go with what I’m reading, but sometimes just having something in or over my ears can help me block out background noise and signal to others that no, I’m not just reading because I’m lonely and no, I don’t feel like discussing my book with strangers at this time.

      • Any recommendations for historical fiction with strong female protagonists? That’s totally my jam.

        • Anonymous :

          The Nightingale! Circling the Sun and The Paris Wife (both McLain), Burial Rites (Kent), All the Light We Cannot See, The Aviator’s Wife (Benjamin).

    • I love reading and go a bit stir crazy if I don’t have a book to read. The trick for me, which sounds really obvious but took me awhile to figure out, is to read really good books. I used to slog through books just to finish them (and it would take forever) when I finally came to the realization that life is too short to read a book I’m not into.

    • When I’ve been out of the habit for a while, I need to read something “easy” to get back into it. I have a huge stack of non-fiction books I want to read, but if I’m just not reading them, then a few easy fiction books to get back in the swing of things helps.

    • Have you gone through your stack of books lately? I recently cleaned out my bookcases and got rid of anything that I wasn’t interested in reading and that helped me feel less overwhelmed by choices. I’m also part of a book club, so I have monthly “required” reading that I alternate with a book of my choosing.

      Don’t be afraid to pick up some fluff. I have a couple of books that I re-read when I feel like reading but am not terribly motivated to start something new, and that usually helps me to keep with the habit. I’m still learning not to slog through a book just because I started it, but I think it’s good advice to not feel like you have to finish a book if you don’t want to.

    • The Kindle Paperwhite was a game changer for me in terms of reading more frequently. I was always “anti” e-readers, but it was given to me as a gift and I am a full e-reader convert now. It’s thin and light enough that I always carry it in my purse (I never mind waiting at doctor’s offices anymore), backlit so I can read at night if DH wants to go to bed, and it’s so easy to load it up with new books.

      Also, don’t read what you think you “should” be reading; read what appeals to you. I’m on a huge memoir kick right now, even though I sometimes feel a little bit guilty that I haven’t gotten through more “literature” lately. Whatever. Reading is reading.

      • +1 to Kindle Paperwhite, especially for night reading. If I need to get back on a reading kick, I unplug the TV so that I can’t just turn it on after work without walking across the room to plug it in.

        I also tend to re-read old favorites at certain times a year. So, right now, I’m either going to re-read Something Wicked This Way Comes or The Graveyard Book. I always read Dandelion Wine sometime during the summer.

      • Anonymous :

        for the paperwhite do you still need a nightside lamp on? I read on my ipad in nightmode but I find I still need the bedside lamp which DH hates.

        • givemyregards :

          I don’t – it gets pretty bright, but I do sometimes increase the font size when I’m reading at night so the text stands out a little more.

    • I was a voracious reader as kid, got out of the habit in college and law school and early associatehood, and got back into it a few years ago as a new mom/more senior attorney/commuter.
      For me, Kindle and Kindle App on my phone is key, as I can pick up and put down the “book” easily when I have a few minutes at a time.
      I deliberately started with reading short stories and young adult books because I knew that my brain was out of practice and reading when I didn’t have to remember or thing much would help retrain my brain.
      Read what you like – if that’s drivel, so be it. I hit a point where the junk i was watching on TV was less interesting than whatever book I was reading so I’m less likely to turn on the TV at night. Doesn’t mean I don’t watch TV too, but TV is no longer my default

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Couple of things I didn’t mention above:
      – I download books on my Kindle/phone from the library that I don’t want others to know I’m reading (Outlander. Every Sophie Kinsella novel. Eligible.) I have no shame in enjoying them, but I want to be able to read some chick lit without judgment. I did that throughout law school, too.
      – I am extraordinarily motivated by checking things off. In 2017, I made it a resolution to complete the Popsugar Reading Challenge. I finished that and moved onto the local library’s book bingo, Modern Mrs. Darcy’s challenges and a few prompts from Read Harder. The prompts are so wide ranging I’ve never felt like I was stuck reading a book I didn’t care about, but it’s also pushed me to read books I otherwise wouldn’t have picked up.
      – Goodreads. I use it religiously. For lists and my Reading Challenge and ideas to read and tracking which books I’m reading. I also have a spreadsheet because I firmly believe no goal as an adult is legit without a spreadsheet. ;)
      – If you don’t like a book, put it down. Maybe try again. Maybe don’t. But don’t slog through just to finish. There are too many books to read one you hate for the sake of reading it. I’ve tried to read Everyone Brave is Forgiven twice now. Made a good effort both times. And it bored me both times. So I stopped.
      – YA books can be a great way to just start reading again, and they’re often very, very good. I’ve read a few this year for a couple different prompts and I still think about them.
      – Join our book club! Search this s i t e name on Goodreads. It’s the one with the slogan as part of our title. We’re reading Notorious RBG this month (for others- I’ll post some questions this weekend! I’m on vacation so I have time :) )

      • And if you use goodreads, also use the Library extension (on desktop only unfortunately, not phone) and it will tell you whether a book you’re looking at is available at your local library and can one click to order it on your e-reader.

    • anon a mouse :

      My reading ebbs and flows. When I’m trying to get back in the habit, I have found that a good gateway is longer-form magazine articles, like the New Yorker or Harpers. Less pressure than a full book.

    • Shopaholic :

      Thank you all! I’ve been trying to go to bed earlier and read in bed, which has been helping. I need to be better about giving up on books when I’m not feeling them. I usually force myself to finish and then I dread reading. But this thread has made me excited to try again and get through my reading pile!

    • Nudibranch :

      Give yourself permission to not finish books. Checkout a variety, read a few chapters, see if you want to find out what happens and finish the book. Or not.

      This low pressure, wide-ranging book hunt usually works. And you’ll find some real jewels that way.

      It also helps to find blogs/reviewers that have the same taste as you. I can usually tell by their reviews if it is something I’m interested in reading.

      I like Goodreads as I can get unlimited opnionated reviews. I avoid Amazon because they are nearly all too positive and way oversell the book’s wonderfulness. (Cynic here: very few books are 5-star reads in reality. If you find those, they are like gold.)

  14. Baconpancakes :

    Anyone have favorite beige micro fishnets? I was looking at the Spanx ones because I like the shaping aspect, but the reviews indicate they seem to rip easily.

    • Shopaholic :

      Have you tried the ones from Hue?

      • Baconpancakes :

        Maybe? I had a pair I loved a few years ago, but I can’t remember the brand. I know it wasn’t Spanx, though.

        • I’m on the same search and an loathe to pay the $40+ Spanx is asking with those reviews. Hue used to make them but currently only offers that style in black. I think there are Wolford ones but they’re $50ish

    • Norsdstom Brand sometimes has them online and/or at Nordstrom rack

    • Onlyworkingmomintulsa :

      So I’m looking for new ones too. I’ve had great luck with the Hue ones….except they don’t make them in beige anymore, just black. I ordered the ones from Nordstrom Brand during Anniversary Sale and they really aren’t “micromesh” like the Hue ones, just really small holes. I was actually thinking about getting the ones from Spanx. Sure wish Hue would make the beige ones again.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      I’ve been looking for a couple of years and haven’t found any good ones. Boo!

    • Baconpancakes :

      I’m going to try some Hanes ones I found on Amazon. Maybe they’ll work? I’ll report back. *shrug*

    • Anonymous :

      Falke from Zappos makes a nice pair but no shaping feature.

  15. Favorite Trader Joe's products? :

    I only get to TJs about once per year – what are your favorite products these days, especially frozen and non-perishable items?

    • Plays in DC :

      Check the archives too, tons of posts about this topic

    • Frozen palak paneer and garlic naan. I think the other frozen Indian foods are good too, but as a vegetarian, these are my favorites.

    • Turkey meatballs (frozen). Sometimes I’ll cook some of those up and eat them with spaghetti squash or cauliflower rice with marinara sauce. So easy and really tasty.

    • Frozen Vegetarian lasagna.
      Frozen sweet potato fries.

    • Salmon burgers
      Orange chicken
      Mac and cheese

    • Pumpkin cereal bars (seasonal)

    • Seattle Freeze :

      I buy the hatch chile mac & cheese and the Japanese-style fried rice every time I go.

    • Garlic Naan
      Regular Naan
      Roasted corn
      Everything Bagel Seasoning
      Himalyn Sea Salt
      Frozen vegetable lasagna
      Frozen meatballs
      Cauliflower Rice (more grocery stores carry it now)

    • Frozen Butter Chicken
      Frozen Pork Gyoza
      the fruit cereal bars (TJ Nutri Grain equivalent)

    • Thai curry sauce, nuts/seeds/dried fruit (freeze if storing for up to a year).

    • givemyregards :

      Their frozen falafels and tzatziki sauce. Falafels are admittedly pretty easy to make anyway, but I still love these for a quick dinner – just grab some pita, cherry tomatoes, bag lettuce, or whatever you like on them and you’re good to go!

    • Joan Wilder :

      Frozen: edamame (shelled and unshelled), vegetable gyoza, spanakopita triangles. Non-perishable: mini rice crackers and chocolate covered everything.

  16. House v. Condo :

    Can anyone share their opinion about the benefits and drawbacks of buying a house versus buying a condo in a mid/high COL area? Think urban sprawl/suburbs of a big city. A nice condo in a trendy location can cost as much or more than a nice, small house in a less popular area. I’m team house because I like the freedom- no noise concerns with neighbors, more independence to make changes to the building, yard for animals and entertaining, etc. Partner is team condo because he likes the amenities- on-site maintenance, no yard work, garage parking, on-site pool, clubhouse, fitness center, etc.
    What other factors should we be considering?

    • I’m Team House but we bought a smaller, newer house so it’s not a big burden to clean and maintenance costs have been really minimal (we’ve been here 4 years and other than totally voluntary renovations the only maintenance we’ve paid for is annual furnace/AC maintenance). This is also our forever home so I love that once it’s paid off we will have no housing costs except property taxes and insurance. Many of my friends in condos play close to $1000/month in fees. Old houses are a whole different ballgame though.

      • Even nearly-new houses can have astronomical maintenance costs. Our house was 13 years old when we bought it; it is now 26 years old. Within the first few years, we had to replace the HVAC, a bunch of siding and trim, some pipes, the water heater, the garage door opener, the deck, and all of the flooring, and paint the exterior. We just replaced the roof and are now looking at replacing all the windows, the entry doors, the gas fireplace, and the driveway and renovating the kitchen and bathrooms, which are literally falling apart. We really also ought to replace the siding, but I can’t deal with that yet. This is all in addition to the routine maintenance and all the little things that break. Add to that the fact that the value of the house has only appreciated 10% over the 13 years we’ve owned it, even though we bought several years before the top of the market. We would have done much better financially if we’d just kept renting.

        • That sounds like a failure of the home buying/inspection process. I’m sure we’ve been lucky and our maintenance costs are lower than average even for the age of our home, but I don’t know anyone who has spent that much on maintenance on a 20 year old house. You know when you buy a house when you are likely to need the roof replaced, for example. Our house was 15 years old when we bought, but had a brand new roof so (barring a disaster) we could bank on not having to replace that for a long time.

          Does appreciation really matter if you plan to live in the house forever? We see our mortgage payments as buying essentially zero cost living later in life (at least as long as we’re able to live independently) not an investment in an asset.

          • Anonnymouse :

            +1 agreed

          • All of these things were replaced at the expected time. For example, the typical lifespan of an HVAC system is 15 years; we replaced it at 16 years. The roof was expected to last 25 years and that’s when we replaced it. The only inspection failures were the siding and the pipes, which were defective products. Everything else just wore out normally.

          • So then you knew what you were getting into.

          • Anonymous :

            The point is that it is not cost-effective to own a house because it is normal for everything to wear out regularly and cost thousands of dollars to replace. People should know this going in–the oft-quoted figure of 1% of the home’s value annually for repair costs is very, very low.

          • Anonymous :

            Just know that if you rent, you’re still going to be paying those costs in the form of higher rents to your landlord. Signed, a landlord.

        • lawsuited :

          Replacing all the floors and siding? There are houses that never have those things replaced (true in the case of my parents 100 year old home and my in-laws 35 year old home) aside from cosmetic reasons.

    • Condo fees only go up and you have limited control over them. You’re locked into those amenities – will you want them in the future (or would you want to be able to source your own gym, etc.)? How long will you be in one place – can the condo be big enough for that long (should be at least 5 years to make a purchase worthwhile over renting).

    • No Problem :

      HOA fees. These can be bonkers high in condos with lots of amenities, and only seem to go up as the building ages. You could be spending as much in fees as principal and interest.

      • No Problem :

        Thinking of some others…bureaucracy of the condo association. Want to get an electric vehicle? Need to go through the board to get approval for a charging station. Want to renovate the kitchen? Need to ensure the work is done during the condo’s approved construction hours and the workers have a place to park and access to the building. Want to get a big dog? Or a breed that is often restricted? Good luck getting approval for that. And if you’re in a community where you have responsibility for some outdoor maintenance (like a townhouse community) you can also get cited for things like not having enough grass in your front yard (happened to a friend; it turns out to be hard to grow grass on a steep hill under a tree).

        • Houses have HOAs too. They’re not normally as restrictive as condo HOAs but they can certainly limit anything external or visible from the street, including a charging station. One friend wanted to paint her house a certain color (a totally normal color, not like, hot pink or anything) and it didn’t get approved by the HOA board. Your best bet is to look closely at HOA covenants for any property you’re considering buying.

          • No Problem :

            Of course – that’s why I included the grass example. But plenty of houses don’t have HOAs or are not very restrictive if they do have them.

    • Maddie Ross :

      Consider not just HOA fees, but who’s running the HOA. Assessments can be a real pain, especially if you don’t have say over them.

    • People complain about the HOA fees, but in my experience my friends with houses spend much more $$ on buying all of the stuff you have to buy to maintain a house/yard, and pay much higher bills on utilities/gym memberships/cable etc… They also tend to buy a bigger house than condo, which means more time to maintain/clean, more furniture to buy…. and much more expensive to heat/cool. And taxes are higher in general for the houses. This varies of course depending upon where you are, but where I live taxes are much higher than condo association fees. Very pricey.

      So there is no question for my peers in higher COL areas it is more expensive to buy a home. The reason people buy houses anyway are the other reasons you mention about a house…. yard, space for animals, no neighbors above/below…. Only you can judge how important these things are to you and your quality of life.

      For me…. quality of life means no shoveling, no lawn care, minimal household maintenance.

      Do not look at your home as an investment. That is a mistake in the long term.

      • We moved from a large 1 bedroom apartment (800 sq feet) to a 4 bedroom house (2300 square feet) and the only utility bill that went up was garbage, and many of the others went down significantly. We tend to be low electric/heat users, and in condos and apartments you pay a portion of the total, so if others are using more than you, you will pay for some of their use. In a single family home, you can also install better insulated windows if they aren’t already there. We also pay people to shovel when necessary and do regular lawn care and it doesn’t approach what my friends in condos pay in HOA fees.

        • That paying a portion of the whole is not always true. We have our own meters for gas and electric and pay only our bills. Even the owners with electric cars have their own separate meter for those, too. We do not pay water at all, though, which is covered in our HOA fees. Some condos will cover gas, electric, water, and internet/cable, or some variation of those. OP, when evaluating HOA fees, know what they cover and what matters to you.

          I have never had an issue with neighbors, but our units are solid concrete all around so I’ve never heard one in 4 years. We are about to buy a house (we want something bigger with a yard in a good school district), but you can’t control your neighbors in a house either. Another benefit to a condo is that the association/manager can do the confrontation to keep the peace. Case in point- my brother has a neighbor who parks all (5!) of their pickup trucks in front of my brother’s house on either side of the driveway, making it dangerous for him to back out of his driveway not to mention the unsightly image in front of his house of muddy trucks with random debris in them. The neighborhood has rather narrow streets as it was designed for people to use their garages and driveways, so that also means that only one car can pass through the gauntlet of his trucks, creating a traffic flow issue not to mention a dangerous spot for kids who wouldn’t be seen, so none of the kids play in the front. This is because the neighbors use their garage as storage and insist on not parking in their driveway. This wouldn’t happen in my condo building because someone would complain to management and it would be addressed. This same neighbor has a dog often in their front yard. Leash laws are only for beyond your property line, so the dog is free to roam on the front lawn. The problem is that the dog is aggressive and lunges at other dogs walking by (on leashes) not to mention baby strollers. It has been an ongoing issue in my brother’s neighborhood but in our condo dogs need to be on a leash at all times in a common area or else they are fined by management. The neighbor is within the bounds of the law but a [email protected] neighbor and there’s not much anyone can do about it.

          So I guess a question to consider – are you a homeowner who is likely to follow the rules and wants everyone else to follow them or are you the homeowner who wants the freedom to do whatever you want?

        • Do you know how much it costs to replace all of your windows on your house?

          Several thousands of dollars.

          Where do you live?

          This is not our experience at all.

          I am in Chicago, where you pretty much have to use heat quite a bit in winter, and AC quite a bit in summer. Most people are not as frugal as you.

          • Anonymous :

            We live in the Midwest too. I didn’t mean that we don’t use any heat or AC, just that we use less than our immediate neighbors (I know this because our utility companies send us a little chart with info about the neighborhood and how we compare to others). I’m sure we use a lot more heat and AC than people who live in California or Seattle, but all that matters for this purpose is your energy consumption relative to people in the same town.
            Replacing the windows is indeed a big expense, but a) you may be able to find a house that already has energy-efficient upgrades (we did) or b) you may decide to do it yourselves if you want to stay in the house long term and believe the utility bill savings will eventually pay for the window replacement.
            I’m not suggesting that these are absolutely the right things for everyone to do, just that they are additional factors for OP to think about. Obviously she knows her own energy consumption patterns better than I do.

        • Yeah, I pay only my own utilities other than trash/recycling.

      • So true that it’s personal. For me, not sharing walls with potentially noisy neighbors is hugely important for my quality of life. I also enjoy (most) home improvement projects. I absolutely would prefer to live in a house, but I totally understand why others prefer condos or apartments.

    • Like everything… it depends. We live in Chicago. Reasons we have enjoyed condo life- we don’t have to shovel snow, do any yard work, clean up anything except for our unit. Our association fees cover all (scheduled and surprise) exterior maintenance like everything from tuck-pointing to window-washing, to replacing the roof, to touching up the common areas. We have a doorman that accepts packages (package stealing is definitely a thing) and when I lived alone before I met my husband, it was a nice comfort knowing it would take 4 barriers for someone to get into my unit. As far as amenities, I wasn’t interested in paying for ones I didn’t use, so our building only has a small gym, which we use all the time and is almost always empty. Our association fees are very, very low for our area. We have two bedrooms/two bathrooms and a large terrace, so room isn’t really an issue. We have covered/attached parking, but use public transportation or walk to work every day, so we don’t even need the car very much. Neighbors who have babies love having an elevator.

      That being said, I bought it before I met my husband so the thought was that it could be big enough for a husband and possibly a baby, too. It has skyrocketed in value, but I would not recommend buying a home purely as an investment. How long do you plan to live there? We plan to move to the suburbs soon for a yard and schools when we have a kid. We will have lived in the condo for 5 years. A single family home will be a much bigger cost for us, not only because it will be a bigger mortgage, but because of the taxes (for schools), maintenance on the exterior, shoveling snow, yard work, more expensive commute, not to mention the initial and ongoing cost of heating/cooling/painting/decorating a bigger home. We are looking for a 15-20 year home. Our condo was turnkey and having finishes that nice and new in a single family home would have been too expensive. If you are buying a starter home, how much money will you put into repairs or work? How long will you want to live there after that? That is another cost to consider.

    • Team house. Condos are shared ownership with strangers. Read the comment section of any newspaper and decide if you’d be comfortable owning your primary asset with the first 5-50 people on there (depending on the size of your building). Because that’s what it’s like – owning with strangers with varying viewpoints on everything and you only have control over very minimal aspects of your home. If you want those amenities, rent a place in the condo complex. If you are comfortable having no real control over things, go ahead and buy a condo but don’t say you weren’t warned. Buy a single family home and deal with things your way.

      • +500 After renting for a very long time, I could NOT support making a major investment in something whereby I would be sharing walls with strangers. Too many horrible issues with loud and inconsiderate neighbors. I know there’s the argument that owners likely care for their building/unit better than renters would, but I was not about to take a gamble on that.

        Side note: if you do go the condo route, look into HOA restrictions for owner-occupancy/renting. Is airbnb allowed?

        • Also, your neighbors might be great right now but what if they sell and the new owners are awful? Or they rent it out? Obviously the same thing is possible with a house, but I’d argue the stakes are much lower.

    • I bought a condo. HOA dues cover my parking, pool/gym access, 24-hour security, 24-hour concierge service, and trash/recycling fees, and my HOA negotiated us a rock-bottom rate for amazing internet service. My other utility bills are incredibly low compared to my house-dwelling relatives (think, I paid $30 a month for electric in the middle of a southern summer when I was running the A/C nonstop), and maintenance is never my problem.

      My HOA has been non-problematic, we haven’t had an assessment, and although my dues were recently raised, it was by $10/year. More established condos are often more stable in terms of fees and assessments (ours has a strong reserve…we’re in the middle of redoing all of the facades on our 35-story building, and that has not required an assessment even thought it’s a very expensive project). I wouldn’t buy in a new condo building.

      That said, I miss having a yard. Although I don’t miss having yard work, and I love not having to do maintenance.

    • Personally, I own a house with no HOA, and love the freedom of doing whatever the eff I want with my property. But I do spend more time than I would really like to on yard maintenance, so there are trade-offs.

      I would just say that when you’re evaluating the condo vs house, I would only give weight to the amenities in the condo you’re actually going to use. So many fancy complexes have on-site gyms that no one ever uses, or on-site pools that so many people use that it’s impossible to go relax there because it’s so crowded. Will you really use yours? If not, don’t let it be a factor in your decision at all. Pretend it’s not even there.

      • and boy, if that pool ever needs maintenance. same with elevators. If the board/property management company isn’t appropriately anticipating or budgeting for these costs, it can result in a huge assessment.

    • I went for a townhouse, since it had the best of both worlds to me. My own entrance (i.e. not having to walk down a depressing hallway every day), a year, all the yard work and snow removal taken care of for me, multiple floors, etc.

      • Can you find something that has both? Condo doesn’t have to mean a high rise; many townhouses are set up on paper as condos. I have a patio, a private entrance, freedom to landscape but they do the mowing, mature trees, pocket parks, daily trash service, snow removal, etc.

      • I just moved from a bigger independent house to a townhouse with a HOA and shared area and I love it. The house is smaller but much more efficiently designed, so there isn’t wasted space. The old house was old and had lots of expensive un fun maintenance expenses and the townhouse is new and easy and looks great. I don’t miss the yard and space and pool, my kids are older teens now we never used the backyard any more anyway. Much less effort, and I can walk to some stores even though I am sort of in suburbia, I love the location. Part of my happiness is also a result of the divorce that led to the selling of the bigger house (and giving soon to be ex a bunch of money) but I also really like the townhouse.

    • Do you live in my city? That sounds like the market here. Things to consider:

      -Location. Would you prefer to be in the trendy area, or a less popular area that requires more driving?
      -Are you planning on having children? Will a condo be enough space to stay for a few years or will you have to move as soon as you have a child? You might also want to consider schools. If you don’t have kids yet, time FLIES once you do so it could behoove you to do that research and make those decisions now. On the flip side, it could be fun to live in a trendy spot for a few years before entering the next phase of your life.
      -Yard space. Do you have a dog? Big or small? Do you want to be able to just let it out into the yard or have the obligation of taking it on a walk a few times a day?
      -Maintaining said yard. Will you do it yourself or pay someone?
      -Would the house be the same square footage as a condo or more? More square footage = more to clean.
      -Everything else others have said – shared walls, HOA fees, etc.

      • Cat Lady In Training :

        We were in the same position and chose Small House, Less Popular neighborhood. It’s actually closer to my work and the airport than Popular Neighborhood. My parents own a couple of condos and the HOA board is ALWAYS an issue. Plus, the year before we bought, two separate friends bought into condo communities that saw massive increases in HOA fees (both due to deferred maintenance) within the first year.

        Our house is about the size of the condos we liked, with the added benefit of a garage (it is nice to have somewhere to put your holiday stuff). I ran the numbers recently and our expenses are still less than the HOA fees would have been.

    • My long reply got eaten. As a frustrated homeowner, I am on team Rent An Apartment Forever. Unless you buy a brand-new house with a really good warranty and then sell it within 10-12 years, you are going to spend a fortune on maintenance and renovations.

    • Ha, I’m house hunting right now mostly because I’m finally ready financially and emotionally but also because I’m renting a condo beneath the loudest upstairs neighbors in the world and I am so sick of them. I’ve lived in apartments forever but this is the first time I’ve lived in a condo building and what I’ve learned from this experience is condo owners are batsh!t crazy.

    • bluestocking :

      I’m on team house at the moment because I have dogs, but the noise from neighbors is worse in my house than in any condo I’ve every lived in. My house is 90 years old. My condos had much better sound proofing, most had central air so my neighbors weren’t running noisy window units nonstop all summer long, people in condos didn’t have as many dogs as my neighbors in houses, and none of my condo neighbors ran lawnmowers in their apartments.

      • But this is something you can fix when you own your own home! My parents are in the process of adding an extra layer of insulation to the exterior walls of their 100+ year old home mostly for heat reasons, but it’s had the added benefit of blocking A LOT of noise.

  17. Any tips for recovering from burn out?

    I’m a junior lawyer. I spent my first year in practice working for a partner with a personality disorder and worked through a miscarriage and subsequent complications (except for a few days in hospital) that I felt I couldn’t tell anyone at my old boys’ firm about. Also I moved house and then went through the job hunt process.

    Now I’m at a firm with a great culture, but I’m fried. Depression, anxiety, and IBS, which were all dormant, have all flared up. I look like I’ve aged 5 years. I cry at least once a week. I am very tired.

    (also, hello to anyone I’ve just outed myself to!)

    • Can I gently suggest that maybe it’s not just work but that you’re taking on too much at once (house, miscarriage, terrible job, job hunt) with a personal history of Depression and anxiety? Any of these items alone could have been a trigger. I would imagine some time to destress from all of this would be helpful, and in the future, to be kinder with the expectations you put on yourself (in terms of what you need to do all at one time).

    • AnonInfinity :

      It sounds like this is a really, really difficult time for you. Are you seeing a counselor? I think most states have attorney assistance programs that can help you find a therapist or psychiatrist who can help with these kinds of issues.

      I hope you’re able to back off work for a bit to deal with your emotions. Take as much time as you need, even if you have to take sick time (because your mental health is part of your health).

    • Honestly, you probably haven’t outed yourself, because this is super duper common (all of it). Do you exercise? Do yoga or meditate? Practice any routine self-care? It’s important to get in to those kind of habits now as a young attorney. (And no, I’m not saying you have to do cross-fit or something, but regularly going on a walk or even having a series of sun salutations you do in the morning all can make a world of difference.) If you have anxiety and depression issues, seek treatment. Like today.

      • +1

        Please see your doctor.

        Crying weekly is a sign. You realize your depression/anxiety/IBS are flaring. Time for a medication adjustment, therapy if you can fit it in, and I agree with others… anything you can do for self-care.

        Hang in there. It can be better.

    • Hi. Download the app Headspace and do it every day. It’s guided meditation. Then, hopefully this week, start going to therapy. Your employer has an employee assistance program (if you’re in the US) and you can start there if finding a therapist feels overwhelming. Find a therapist close to your office if you have a choice. After you make your first therapy appointment, make a PCP appointment for an annual exam. Tell her how you’re feeling. She can prescribe medication and she can give you a recommendation for a psychiatrist, who can fine-tune your meds. You deserve to get better. You can get better. Meditation, therapy, and meds will help immensely.

    • Everything you wrote seems like a symptom of burn out to me. You’ve been through a lot recently. Look for a therapist but also consider taking some time off. When I burned out a few years ago, I went away for about 2 weeks to a place where I could not use my cell phone. Getting away from the stress and catching up on sleep gave me a new lease on life.

    • Burnt out :

      Thanks to you all for your responses. It is helpful just to hear encouragement to go easy on myself for a while.

      It definitely was too much all at once, but that was not by design. I deeply regret not taking significant time off during and after the miscarriage but I mistakenly listened to people close to me who told me you just can’t do that in law.

      I actually can’t take time off right now (in trial) but I think I’m going to have to work on letting go of some of my expectations for myself about hours and take some vacation over Christmas. My selfcare has definitely fallen away in the face of work and fatigue. I will try the meditation, as well as getting my butt back to yoga.

      I have done some counselling but stopped becUse I couldn’t afford it. I will look into the ERP suggestion.

  18. I’ve done a quick search on the ette archives, but can’t seem to find many responses.

    Any suggestions for therapists (I’m thinking a psychologist) in DC? Looking for someone to help with grief and anxiety…

  19. Anyone following the interviews given in the LV case esp the guys brother? On Monday the brother struck me as shocked and believable — that he didn’t think his brother was capable of something like this. Yesterday he ranted for a half hr and I’m not so sure. He went on and on about how rich his brother was and how rich the whole family is, how he is retired at 55, and how 100k just isn’t that much money — and said — sorry if that makes people feel bad but we don’t all work at Taco Bell. He then went on and on about his brother’s high roller lifestyle and said — they’re saying it would’ve been an issue to carry 10 bags upstairs — my bro never carried anything, he handed a kid (bell hop) a $100 to carry his things – while mocking how the bell hops acted around him bc they knew they’d get cash (like Vegas bell hops don’t see money on the regular?!). He went on about how is bro was soooo smart and didn’t need anyone’s help and how it made sense that he’d mount the weapons on stands so as not to have to hold them. Sounds a little too defensive and “proud” if you ask me.

    • Perhaps. But I wouldn’t jump to conclusions. How hard must it be for him? Not only has he lost his brother (which is hard under any circumstances), but his brother is undoubtedly a mass murderer and likely clinically insane. These are very difficult things to accept and grief/anger/confusion do funny things to people. And then someone shoves a microphone in their face.

      • Agree. The brother is struggling to process what his brother, whom he presumably loved, did. Unfortunately, he’s having to do it with a microphone in his face. If it were my brother and someone put the mic in my face, I’m sure I’d say some bizarre things as well.

        • Agree that he’s processing. He’s probably also looking for things to be “proud” of his brother for — given the horrible things he did. For him the pride keeps coming back to money — my brother made up wealthy. Now given that he is talking about money – as opposed to say – my bro was a doctor who helped millions s of people in his life — it comes across crass. I do disagree re media though – he doesn’t have to speak, he can say no comment and keep moving. Nor are there hundreds of reporters outside his house – yesterday it was 2 dozen max. He is choosing to hold court while still processing.

          • Lol, I don’t think 2 dozen reporters is a few … if two dozen people were sitting outside my house it would freak me out. I don’t think people (most of us) who don’t generally have to deal with an onslaught of people asking us questions know how difficult it probably is to just not say anything when you think people are saying things that are inaccurate. Three days ago he was accustomed to being proud of his brother, and it’s taking him time to shift away from that feeling and come to grips with _not_ being proud of him anymore. I’m sympathetic.

          • Anon for this :

            I lost a friend to tragic circumstances in college and the media was unrelentless. Two dozen is an insanely scary amount when you are grieving. You can’t go outside without 100 questions. They follow you everywhere. They are waiting at the church and the funeral home. They wait outside the deceased’s family and friend’s houses. You start to think that if you just give them their soundbite, they will go away.

            In my case, I said I didn’t want to speak. Initially. I did speak to someone writing a book years later. Knowing that their presence was unwanted to me, they still set up across the street, used a wide angle lens and published lots of photographs of me hugging people and crying.

            This was a high profile case were five young mostly African American gang members carjacked and killed two middle class white college students. It was the media’s fantasy story. Even though I wasn’t that close with the deceased anymore (he had many newer closer friends in attendance) the media was all over me.

            My father even spoke to them at one point thinking they had confused me with his long term ex girlfriend. The media bluntly told my dad that I was the one they wanted to photograph and feature. When asked why, I don’t know the exact phrasing but it amounted to his other friends were average and I was blonde, blue-eyed, thin, pretty. They were really pushing the “are your kids safe from the gangbangers” racist tripe and I was the perfect poster child for the rich white family fears. It’s really sad.

          • Anon for this :

            I have a long response in mod. The tl/dr is you think if you speak they will go away. Also, 2 dozen is a terrifying number of people to have outside your house or work waiting for a statement.

    • I think he’s understandably in a great deal of shock and we shouldn’t pick apart things he says that seem weird or defensive. If facts emerge that suggest he knew about this in advance, then of course I’ll condemn him. But nothing you said remotely suggests that. I’m sure it’s weird being the sibling of a mass murderer and he’s allowed to have what others might deem a somewhat inappropriate reaction to it.

    • I am so curious what the “girlfriend”, now overseas, is going to say. There’s a story there, I suspect….

      • She’s back as of last night and being interviewed. Saw this morning that her family has said that he asked her to leave the country.

    • Ehhh I what everyone’s saying but maybe the brother is also a terrible human being. I’m not inclined to be particularly compassionate towards this murder’s family.

      • We really have no basis to know that either way. Everyone could possibly be a terrible human being, whether or not their brother is a mass murder. There’s no basis to be inclined one way or the other.

        • +1

        • I agree with your point. What I tried to say is that bragging about how rich your brother was, after finding out he was a mass murderer, who maimed 500+ people and killed fifty more, makes you arguably terrible as a human being. Is it mitigated by the fact that you’re “processing” or the event? Maybe. Probably even. But my feeling is that we’re trying to rationalize his words because they’re so upsetting and for some reason we want believe he didn’t mean it. Maybe we need to just accept that there are terrible people out there. This guy’s brother was terrible. Anyone who defends him is also terrible, brother or not.

        • Stuck in moderation, but I think bragging about your brother in the wake of his cruel murdering spree makes you just as likely to be a bad person as a good person who is “processing.”

    • I initially read that his brother said he hadn’t spoken to him in 20 years? Or maybe that’s another brother?

      • Anonymous :

        There are 2 bros he hadn’t spoken to in 10-20 yrs. This is a 3rd bro who he spoke to 6 months ago and they co owned some properties together – hence the wealth he keeps bragging about.

    • Meh, Vegas casinos bleed money out of dumb people. Bragging that a Vegas casino treats you like royalty is admitted you’re a dumb dumb.

  20. Just a moment to vent:

    We had a department head recently quit at my company, and in the wake of his departure, a lot came to light about his department basically being a mess. The managers under him now officially report to my boss (who is COO). I am the head of a different department. However, my boss has asked me to step in, evaluate the issues with that department, and prepare recommendations for how to move forward – likely doing some reorganization before bringing in a new director.

    It’s a bit awkward, but of the five managers in that department, four have been very helpful and transparent in working through this transition. The fifth has been a real pain – refusing to meet, claiming any information I’m working with is “out of date” but refusing to provide an update, repeatedly going to my boss to say that I have an “unclear mandate”.

    The latest: we were supposed to meet this morning, he never showed, and when I pinged him, he said that he is in out of the state at a conference that he is certain he mentioned to me previously. (He definitely did not, and he also accepted the meeting request.) So frustrating!! Why does he think this is a good idea? What benefit does he see from acting this way? I know he’s just upset that he had been operating with a total lack of adult supervision for the past few years and is now throwing a tantrum that it’s ending, but WOW does this show a lack of any sort of strategic thinking – I am working with all the other managers to incorporate their feedback into the official recommendation for how the department should be structured, and he is opting out of all those conversations! So stupid and irritating.

    • woops, see below.

    • Irritating, but he’s exactly what your boss wanted you to identify. I would find indirect ways fact-find on if this is just the way he’s treating you or if he’s part of the problems the department is having. Individually meet and ask each manager how they work together as managers, what the weak parts of their team’s structure are, etc. Reassure them that their comments will anonymous. I’d also remind this guys that your boss is expecting cooperation from their team now that their department head is gone, and his participation is part of that cooperation.

    • Your observations are part of your findings and recommendations. You don’t have to put it in writing, or you can be vague, but if I were your boss and this wasn’t at least included in your report, I would think you had missed a big “thing.” Something like “may be lack of alignment or buy-in across leaders on future direction.” or “inconsistent level of engagement by management team.” If this person has been going to your boss, it will be clear.

    • That’s terrible, but sadly not that uncommon.
      I’ve been in a situation where I’ve come into a leadership role and one of my directs was oddly defensive, turned down 1-1 requests without explanation, the whole hog. Here are my suggestions:
      1) Motivations: he is feeling threatened by your seniority and your mandate “above” him, the possibility that you will point out some things he did wrong, or even recommend re-orging and removing his role. Ironically, his behavior is only more likely to make you do those things.
      2) Strategy: I started this by being fairly sympathetic and patient, by reacting non-emotionally to anything he did (he’s trying to provoke you to make you be unprofessional as well – don’t fall for it) and by documenting everything. When he turns you down, send him an email. If he doesn’t respond, send another email and put an urgent tag on it, next step cc your boss and so on.
      3) Also it may help having an introductory conversation saying what your aims are clearly. You are looking to understand the situation and roles, come up with recommendations. Ask him what his pain points are and what he’s looking to achieve. Start off transparent and open-ended in seeing how you can fix any problems together. You are not here (initially at least – if he behaves well) to allocate blame.
      4) If nothing else works (and they didn’t in my case) then document everything, stay cool (we had a huge door slamming scene when my report left my office and I prided myself on staying cool though I was on the verge of tears inside!) and make him look like the emotional one, because he is just waiting for a chance to make you look bad. Stay on course with your mandate and plan and use the other 4 well and be nice to them, so that your boss can see that you are not the problem. Good luck!

  21. Calibrachoa :

    So, guess who has two thumbs and was startled by her boss during a conference call and had a full on ptsd flashback complete with bursting into tears on the spot yesterday, and is now feeling like an ant under a magnifying glass? Yeah, this guy.

  22. Is there any way your report can reflect that you spoke with 1, 2, 3, and 4? And then you could say in person if asked in a matter-of-fact but polite way, “Person 5 opted out of those conversations, but this recommendation was made with the input of the other 4, and they were all in consensus that the best way forward was…”

  23. Shopping help! I am looking for a jacket/coat for the rare occasions when I go “out” in the evenings. I usually wear fleece jackets or wool coats and I am thinking I would like something a bit more trendy and fun. Some of the moto style jackets appeal to me but I can’t seem to find one that doesn’t feel like it will be out of style a year from now. I’m also open to other styles. I tend to look better in fitted/tailored styles and not light colors. Help! TIA!

    • I have a black leather moto-like jacket that I wear going out that I love. It’s fitted and sleek, almost like a blazer fit with a mock neck cut when zipped up. I think this has weathered the style trends moreso than the more common moto-style jackets that have the diagonal zip up the front with flaps. I also wear huge scarves with it so it’s been pretty versatile. I’d link it but I got it several years ago at the Nordstrom half-yearly sale so it’s not around anymore. If you don’t like that style I’d recommend the Burberry quilted coat (look for some of the more tailored cuts to make it going-out friendly). If you want something more chic, Zara has great quality, trendy coats but you have to try all of them on because they look totally different on the hanger.

    • I have a fauze leather black moto jacket that I wear pretty much everytime I go out in the cold. I’ve had it for years and it’s still going strong. Mine looks something like this:

      • Love my faux leather black moto jacket! I have one from Target that gets a lot of play this time of year, it’s a nice way to complete a fun weekend outfit.

    • I have one similar to this and it goes with everything.

  24. Investing question :

    I have a substantial amount of cash in a brokerage account that I would like to start investing in some total market ETFs. I’m in my early 30s and understand that there will be a lot of ups and downs in the market and these are long-term investments. That said, I know the stock market is doing well right now – so is it a bad idea to purchase the ETFs now? I’m still new to investing and am trying to learn best practices.

    • How much?

      $10,000? Just buy it now. Or give it one week…. any day that drops…. just buy it that day.

      $100,000? Maybe split it into a few batches, and buy separated by a month. No right or wrong.

      But honestly, it is probably best to just get it over with and buy. Especially if it is for the long term. It doesn’t matter if it is for the long term. Anyone who tries to tell you it does matter must be psychic….

    • Check out their math on when it makes sense to go with an ETF versus a vanilla index fund. Honestly, “ETFs” are the hot thing, which is exactly why I’d go with a vanilla index fund if it were me.

    • If it’s a lot of money, why not spread it out in chunks, rather than buying all at once? You might miss out on some market increases, but you’ll also lessen your risk if the market is overpriced right now.

  25. Advice on Law Firm :

    Looking for some wisdom from the hive. The partners at my law firm are hosting a meeting for the associates to discuss the firm structure. They have invited the associates to ask questions anonymously. I am on the partnership track and am very interested in becoming partner here. What types of questions would you ask at a meeting like this?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Anonymous :

      Honestly, none. Ask a partner you feel comfortable with in private. Just listen at the meeting.

    • Anonymous :

      Stick to general questions. What is the partnership track, how long, what are the benchmarks to making partnership, what are common pitfalls. If you don’t already know, is there equity and non-equity partnerships. The more in-depth questions I would save for a private conversation with your mentor/champion who will push you across the partnership line. If you don’t have a mentor/champion, you need to get one because without one you are not really on the partnership track. You’re unlikely to get honest answers to the “real” questions in an open meeting.

    • Anonymous :

      How payroll/draw works and what additional financial impacts you will see upon becoming partner? For example, I know that for some new partners, it caused budgeting issues when they started only getting paid once a month and they were also on the hook for the full cost of their healthcare premiums.

    • How much the buy in is and what types of structure is in place to pay for the buy in (do you have to pay up front, is the buy in built into a bonus structure etc)

  26. I have a white and light gray patterned dress that I want to wear to a presentation but I can’t figure out what color shoes to wear. Would black heels look crazy?

    • Do you have nude or burgundy?

      • Even red or cobalt? I have a gray and white dress and have worn all of these.

      • Sadly just nude. I should probably invest in more options but I hate wearing them and it’s so rare that I have to (literally just weddings and the occasional presentation).

    • Black would be fine, but my choice would be nude-for-me.

    • Sounds good to me if you repeat the black (black earrings, belt?). Or, if you have them, shoes in charcoal or blush?

    • My supply of heels is shamefully low (work in a casual office setting and avoid them for foot-problem-related reasons) but I do have nude heels. That option hadn’t occurred to me! Thanks!

  27. Advice on Law Firm :

    I think my first comment got eaten, so I’m trying again.

    The partners at my firm are hosting a meeting for associates, and have invited us to ask questions anonymously about the firm structure, partnership, etc. What types of questions would you ask for this? I am on the partnership track and am interested in becoming partner here (currently third year associate.)

    Thanks in advance!

  28. Favorite runs! :

    Hi all! Do any runners have a summer half marathon or full marathon that they recommend? My mom and I like to do races around the country and we are looking for a fun race (trail or road) to do summer 2018. Any and all ideas welcome!


    • I did the Napa to Sonoma half a few years ago and enjoyed it. If I recall there’s a whole wine country series with races in the Napa area, Oregon, and Washington. I can’t think of many places in the country a summer race would be enjoyable other than PNW really.

    • I haven’t done, it, but Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN is supposed to be awesome and it’s a summer race (also has a half). I’m hoping to do it next summer. The lottery just opened.

      • Oh, wow, and apparently the half is already sold out three days after registration opened. (Guess it wasn’t a lottery.)

      • Grandma’s is an amazing marathon! It’s beautiful (run along Lake Superior for much of it) and the weather usually cooperates (rarely warmer than 70 degrees on race day). Plus it’s a lot of fun. I highly recommend it!

      • Anonymous :

        I’ve run Grandma’s twice. It’s a nice race – the half sells out quick, but the full is usually still open. Weather can be variable due to location on Lake Superior (but that also gives a good view for the whole race!).

      • I’ve done the half! It was awesome! And downhill!

    • not so speedy runner :

      If you’re into bucolic nature scenes, there’s a covered bridge marathon and a dandelion run (through rolling green hills with flowers) – both in Vermont and highly recommended by friends. I like the ones along the coast in Massachusetts: Gloucester and Rockport I think both have them along with a few other close towns around there.

      • Anonymous :

        I did the Vermont Covered Bridges race last year (it’s actually just a half)–be aware that it sells out extremely fast. Last year, it sold out in about 15 minutes and that was slower than average. My friend was not able to get on a computer at the exact moment when registration opened due to a work conflict, so I had the window open in two tabs on dual monitors and frantically entered all of our info to get us both in.

        Just a heads up if that type of registration process is not your thing. Otherwise, the race was great and we loved spending a week up there!

    • You can do a full or half (first- or last-) at the San Francisco Marathon, which is mid-July. The full crosses the Golden Gate Bridge, goes through Golden Gate Park, and touches a number of different parts of the city; either half should also be nice, but will obviously cover less of the city than the full. Everyone I know who’s run it (full, first half, or last half) has really enjoyed it.

    • Anonymous :

      This is mid-May, but my marathoning friends love it for its scenery:

    • Alaskanon :

      Lost Lake Run is a 16 mile trail race near Seward, Alaska that is awesome. Sells via a lottery system on April 1.

  29. Diana Barry :

    Reporting back on my SoCal conference: you ladies were correct, dress + blazer and I was covered for the whole time, although there were a lot of people in different outfits (pants, more casual things, etc.). More people had heels than not (I didn’t do heels).

    I was, however, annoyed at the makeup of the presenters (about 80% white guys) and the tendency that many of the older men had to not recognize my presence in a conversation (when they were talking to another guy). I’m RIGHT HERE. Argh!

  30. Rainbow Hair :

    Not looking for advice so much as real-life anecdotes — how do you deal with long distance relatives visiting?

    My MIL is currently planning her TWO WEEK stay with us over Kiddo’s birthday. There are all the good/reasonable things: I want Kiddo to have a real relationship with her extended family (something I didn’t get growing up), it makes my husband happy(ish…), uh it was sort of part of the understanding when we got married/moved away from his fam that this would happen, there’s a guest room in our house for her… but it MAKES ME CRAZY. Two weeks! In my house! She isn’t evil or nasty or anything, just unhelpful and subtly critical and I hate that I have no ‘off’ time, because I’m either at work or at home trying to be impressive (or just not disappointing). Definitely no lounging around in a towel. And the visit doesn’t even coincide with a work trip where I can be all “oops have to be out of town for four days!” And she doesn’t babysit.

    Every time these visits happen (once or twice a year) I am a grouchy basketcase while she’s here. Not looking forward to it. Tips or tricks, anyone?

    • Probably not helpful, but I just straight up tell my husband I can’t have his family visit for two weeks. But we don’t live close to my family either and I don’t particularly want my own parents visiting for that long, so we just have a general “house guests can’t stay longer than one week” policy. The only exception to this was that my mom stayed more than two weeks after the birth of our daughter. DH was really, really annoyed about that and how “unfair” it was (even though my mom was a saint who cooked, cleaned and helped with the baby and his parents showed up a couple of weeks later and…complained about how dirty the house was without lifting a finger) but I just told him “Childbirth is a major medical procedure for me and my mom was here to help while I physically recovered. When you have a major surgery, you can invite your mom to stay for two weeks.”

    • 1. In the evenings, you are VERY tired and “go to bed” early. With wine, tea, iPad, book, remote control, etc.
      2. In the mornings, Husband brings you coffee in bed so you can enjoy a few minutes of peace and quiet and privacy.
      3. Go to the gym or yoga or for a walk as often as possible.
      4. Send Husband, Daughter, and MIL on excursions on the weekend without you.
      5. Dear MIL, now that we have Daughter, wouldn’t you maybe be more comfortable in a hotel?
      6. (What we eventually had to do). Husband: Mom, we just can’t deal with visits in our home any longer. It is too stressful for everyone. From now on, we will come visit you and we will stay in a hotel.

      • I would definitely not say #5. It will not help your relationship with her, and I think it’s a little rude to say that to someone – you’re sort of telling them they’re not exactly welcome. Plus, the whole reason she’s coming is to spend time with the kid.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Yeah, hotel is not on the table for a bunch of reasons. I can’t even successfully negotiate for us to stay at a hotel when we visit her!

      • anonanonanon :

        I follow most of these myself, especially #1, 3,4 and I can only dream about #6! My kicker is that MIL always visits with my loser BIL who is mid-30s, lives with her and has no job. Oh yeah and he is completely anti-social and awkward, probably an alcoholic and totally enabled by MIL. How much I have to suppress during their visits!

    • I basically have this exact situation but add in a language barrier because MIL doesn’t speak much English. Good times.

      After ten years, my strategies are:

      1. work a lot – not necessarily extra hours but I’m not trying to duck out. I ‘lean in’ at work during the visit.

      2. Accepting that she may be judgmental about my life. – don’t want chicken fingers and fries for dinner then you are free to cook (she often does); she doesn’t think moms of young children should work – nothing I can say/do will change that.

      3. her own space – current set up allows her own bathroom and mini kitchenette (mini fridge + kettle) as well. If you don’t have that, try to give her a basket or ‘spot’ in the bathroom to store her stuff. Stock foods/tea etc she likes in the pantry before she arrives.

      4. wine – MIL likes a glass of wine with dinner – I find sharing that tradition helps take the edge off.

      5. karma – I have two boys and I hope that I’m building some kind of karma that will pay off when I want to go visit my sons and their families in the future.

      6. – go to ‘bed’ early to minimize interaction time. MIL thinks my bedtime is actually about 2 hours earlier than it really is. I clean my closet/read/catch up on netflix etc.

      7. have DH plan events with her. I usually make him take her out to dinner at least once and out to a concert on a separate night (she loves classical music). Gives me an evening by myself and she loves the attention from DH.

    • This has been a struggle my whole married life so I feel for you. Critical sounds tough. The only thing hat helped me was to lean in beforehand in little ways (make a big deal that all her favorite snacks are in the house, plop some flowers by her bed) and lean out in big ways (take nothing personal, do not wreck yourself cleaning/ cooking /etc., ). Also, you’re gonna need a few hours of downtime, so be busy on a weekend morning or afternoon both weekends. Fib if you have to. She may appreciate the alone time with the husband and kiddo. Build in some downtime, even if it means cutting out of work early one day for an exercise class or pedicure.

      Good luck!

    • Deep breaths. That would annoy me, too. Your mantra can be “I can do anything for two weeks.”

      Then, I’d suggest getting out of the house as much as possible. ;)

    • How can she not babysit? That is ridiculous. I am so annoyed on your behalf. I am thankful we don’t have a guest room because I find even a long weekend with my own parents who I get along with staying nearby stressful. I would absolutely plan some alone time away from her on the weekend – your husband must entertain her for an afternoon! And “go to bed” extremely early every night.

      • Delta Dawn :

        I am annoyed with that too. Why does she even want to be there if she doesn’t want to spend time with the kid (on her own) for a couple of hours here and there? What would happen if you told her you and DH have a dinner to attend and would love for her spend time with kiddo that night… Or are you not sure if she could actually take care of kiddo herself? What you wrote below about MIL looking up from her book to say “She’s crying” made me so angry. What would happen if you responded with “Uh oh, could you please go check on her?” I just can’t imagine someone being in my way for two weeks with absolutely no redeeming value. Agree with all of the advice to just be busy (and gone) as much as possible.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        She says she “couldn’t handle” babysitting her. It might be true — she’s older than my parents, and maybe more limited than I think (I mean, she’s always taking bootcamp classes and running 5Ks so I think of her as pretty tough/strong, but she obviously knows herself better than I do). At the very least I should insist that we go out after Kiddo is in bed.

        • Anonymous :

          My MIL doesn’t baby sit either. In her view she’s there to spend time with DH and the kids. So after the kids are in bed, she wants to hang out with DH, not have him leave.

          She literally complains if DH and I raise the idea of going out without her after the kids are in bed.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Thanks for the kind words, all!

      I invited my bestie to come into town so we could both move into our favorite margarita place for two weeks, but somehow I don’t think that will totally pan out. But outings with friends can definitely happen! I can definitely do ladies’ beer club while she’s here! We tend to have a no-booze-on-weeknights thing because of health and $ I guess, but probably MIL is a reason to bend it.

      Oh I should save up a massage gift card and get a massage while she’s here too!

      And yeah, I need to learn not to let her criticism get to me. It’s always the sort of subtle, “oh, we’re having …stir fry????… for dinner? I see…” that’s much more in the tone than in the words itself. And that she does nothing to help (I’m cooking, husband is cleaning, Kiddo is in living room crying. MIL looks up from her book and says, “she’s crying.” Wow thanks, too bad her grandma isn’t here to help out!) or when she helps it’s not actually helpful (“I’m going to make a roast.” “OK cool I don’t actually know what that is, but go nuts!” “Why don’t you have a roast pan!??!”)…

      It might be a good chance to get back into some exercise classes too. A good reason to be out of the house.

      • Anonymous :

        “oh, we’re having …stir fry????… for dinner? I see…”

        My house response: “You know what? I bet [4 year old] would love to cook dinner with you one night while you are here. Would you like to do that with Grandma, 4-year-old?” “YES!!!” “Why don’t you and Grandma look at this recipe book and decide what to make. She can tell you all her secrets to cooking!”

        Then 4 year old and Grandma make some kind of meal (often includes mac and cheese from scratch) and everyone wins. And even if grandma is grumpy, she gets time with the kiddo.

        • This is a great idea. I agree that when she makes passive aggressive comments like that, you should call them out in this way, which makes the point and yet is also diplomatic.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            This is good. I’m going to try to go with this. Kiddo is able to do stuff like sprinkle cheese on pizza, so I bet she’d be pleased to “help” cook!

      • Here’s a thought…. could you actually ask her to help? Or have your husband ask her?

        Start small…. but sometimes people will rise to the challenge when you…. force them!

        • Rainbow Hair :

          I could do better on this.

          It was interesting to hear the perspective that she might think it was rude to help without being asked — because from my perspective, asking would be so rude! Like saying, “hey, I noticed you aren’t helping comfort your crying grandchild, uh, maybe try that?”

          • Anonymous :

            Based on my experience, grandparents don’t like the dirty work – crying babies, poopy diapers etc. So it’s more like you comfort baby and then hand them to grandma to play with while you finish dinner. Or at a minimum give grandma a suggestion on how to stop the crying – ‘can you pick her up and see if she would like a pacifier?’. It sucks but I’ve heard the same from a number of friends.

        • Anonymous :

          +1. My H had a massive health issue to deal with this summer and as a result his mom/my MIL came for about 3 weeks to “help”. She initially got there while he was in the hospital, which was fine, but then stayed on the pretense of helping him when he got home so I could continue to go to work. She had always been notoriously less than helpful in the past. Even when visiting with newborns. Ultimately though, once I started actually asking her, for real concrete things, it got better. And in that circumstance, I just had to drop the martyr thing and really do it. Things like “there’s chicken in the fridge for dinner. I would do X with it and the ingredients are here for that, but if you want something else, the Giant is over there.” And I asked her to do a lot of the things that H would normally do (“can you dress the baby while I shower in whatever you want?”).

    • Anonymous :

      My inlaws come across the country for 4-5 days at a time. They offer to stay in a hotel but it makes it about 5x worse because then the entire visit is dealing with logistics (who should be where, when) and my ILs are very much retired and cannot be counted on to be on time for anything.

      They stay at our house, in our guest room which is a 2-room suite that is usually my office + one guest room. When they come, my office moves to my bedroom and they get 2 rooms of space. They have to share the bathroom with our 2 kids, but they get a little shower caddy thing and a drawer of their own.

      They don’t babysit exactly, but it works well when I give them an assigned/preplanned thing to do with the kids. Mine are 4 and 1. Usually, I have a craft or construction-y project for the 4 y/o to do with FIL and hand MIL the 1 year old and tell her to play peek-a-boo and feed her some yogurt. And/or send FIL and MIL outside with the 2 kids while I make dinner. FIL and my older daughter are sent on errands like “go to home depot and buy some plants. there’s a nursery and a starbucks on the way if you want to stop.” I make sure she’s already tried the bathroom and they are good to go for an afternoon.

      They aren’t ok to do bed/bath on their own, but I can send then in to do story time after bath for either or both kids. Then on occasion DH and I head out for a late dinner. I also ask MIL if she wouldn’t mind cooking one night. I send her to the grocery store to buy all things, then she cooks up a storm while DH and FIL and the kids play and I find something else to do.

      I’d suggest asking DH to take a day or two off of work. MIL is here to see DH and the grandkids. My FIL sits around and watches Fox News and scrolls through facebook on his phone all day if left to his own devices, so I do things like tell my kids that Grandpa has games on his phone :) :) Then they bug the heck out of him when he has it out until he goes away or puts it away. I also heavily encourage my 4 y/o to say things like “put down your phone and play with me please grandpa!”

      • Anonymous :

        One more thing. My ILs are southern. It took me a few years to realize that my MIL especially waits to be asked to do ANYTHING.

        Baby crying? Won’t do anything (out of fear that it isn’t her place) other than alert me. I now say “MIL, could you go pick her up and snuggle her for me?

        I often say “FIL- can you do this art project with the kids? Here’s the stuff you need.” “MIL, would you mind making [DH’s favorite food] for dinner one night this week? Which night works?”

        • Anonymous :

          +1 to getting MIL to make dinner a bunch by asking for DH faves.

        • +1 to this. My MIL is more along the 2 months track than the 2 weeks. She is also quite timid to interfere in things and won’t do anything until explicitly asked. I used to feel weird to ask so it created all kinds of issues until I sorted this out.
          “Can you read a book to kid while I make dinner?”
          “Kiddo, can you stop clinging to my leg and go play with grandma for a while?”
          “Kiddo, would you like to make some tea in your play kitchen for grandpa? Ask him what you can cook for him.”
          “FIL, can you sit in the backyard for a little bit while the kids run around and kick the ball around?”
          “FIL, if you have time can you chop up the onions and mushrooms during the day so that when I get home I can make x?”

          I do all of the above and it makes things way more bearable.

      • Nicely done.

    • Be glad it’s not two MONTHS! Ask me how I know. 2 weeks would be awesome….

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Hugs is all I have for you Rainbow Hair…as I have said many times, my mother in law is a lot like this and I really do not know how to handle her passive aggressive nature even after 14 years of marriage.

  31. I have a friend who is working at a big-city high-powered long-hours law/consulting/banking job . . . that she hates. I actually was in a similar role at the same company, but I left in the summer to go to grad school.

    She’s miserable and needs to leave the company and wants to do so. However, she says she doesn’t have time to job search or even update her resume, which given her hours is almost a reasonable thing to say. In my experience, even if that’s true, nothing is going to change if you don’t change it though. However, my team at that company was much more reasonable than hers.

    Any advice from people who have job searched while working long hours? Ways to streamline it or fit it into the day? Ways to be as supportive or helpful as possible?

    • Anonnymouse :

      Not sure if this will be helpful but my friend (who worked in ibanking) went through a similar thing last year. She was working insane 12-14 hour days nonstop and it was really a hit to her mental health. She needed to apply to business school AND look for a new job. So she decided to quit, move back home, and live off her savings for a bit. She ended up finding a new position in a few months that was a great fit and now shes in bschool at one of the top programs.

      Can your friend afford to do that? Another option is perhaps going through a recruiter. Before my friend took the plunge and quit, she got in touch with a recruiter who was going to help her out (she ended up not going with him because she decided she wanted a break).

    • I was in a similar position and I literally took days off / vacation days to update my resume and apply for jobs. then took days off to interview. When I ran out of paid leave I took a leave of absence for 2 weeks. My mental health needed it.

  32. Any college merit scholarship success stories? My daughter is in the rabbit hole of applying to colleges, in STEM fields, and unfortunately completely focused on schools that offer no merit aid. We won’t qualify for need-based aid, so she’ll use up her entire 529 fund then have loans. I know she should focus on schools that would be thrilled to have someone with her grades/scores and offer merit aid, but short of continuing to press her on those schools, did anyone actually get those elusive unicorn merit scholarships?

    • I did, but by association with my local private school system. It is a local merit competition of sorts that has scholarships all the way from middle school-college. I actually did not win the middle or high school, but did the college. I had to write an essay and application I believe, and submit my transcripts. It is also affiliated with my parish. So if she is in private school or you have a church community, check out options there.

    • I didn’t qualify for need-based aid, but got a small scholarship through my high school (I think I was selected as the top business student or something like that) and from the college I chose. IIRC there was some negotiating “X school is offering her X amount, she really wants to attend your school, can you match that?” But I went to a small school and really got to know my admissions counselor/the dean/etc., so YMMV.

    • Token Millennial :

      I got a sizable merit scholarship for music, even though I wasn’t studying music in college. It required me to participate in ensembles and take lessons for a grade (so if I slacked off my GPA would be impacted), but made a good dent in the overall cost of college.
      I also got a hodgepodge of smaller merit scholarships from outside organizations. Ask your daughter to go to her guidance office and request applications for every single scholarship she’s remotely eligible to apply for. I’d even include those that claim to be both need and merit-based. A surprising number of local scholarships struggle to get a good pool of applicants, but offer $1,000-$5,000/year that is renewable if you maintain a certain GPA.

    • I had better luck with merit scholarships after I was in my particular program. Have your daughter find out if individual college departments have different merit scholarship processes.

      Also, is your daughter aware of the cost of college and know how much she’ll be taking on in loans? Is she also aware that many kids start in STEM and end up as business majors after the first semester or two? Help her go into this process with eyes wide open and not immediately turn her nose up at colleges offering her merit aid.

    • My BIL successfully bribed one of his kids to go to a school that offered merit aid by buying her a car with some of the money they saved on tuition.

      • I’m the Anon that replied right below you, and my parents did this as well. Merit-based aid + graduated early = I got a car as my graduation gift. I still drive it today (though it’s getting retired today).

      • Anonymous :

        Yup. My parents made me that offer.
        State school = free (full ride)
        Private School A = 50% tuition (50% merit scholarship)
        Private School B = 100% tuition (0 merit scholarship)

        The difference between A and B over 4 years was almost 100k. They told me they’d give me $50k in cash to go to A.

        I went to B. I graduated with 30k in loans and my parents paid an extra 70k.

        Honestly and truly, A and B are now ranked/rated the same, A often higher. However, I got my first job out of undergrad because of an alum connection with B, and that was the first of many steps to get me into my career today. I also met my husband (whose parents made him a similar offer, which he turned down) at B. Were it not for those 2 things, I’d still be kicking myself.

    • I did, and it’s why I chose my alma mater (which was my second or third choice school) over my top choice. My family didn’t qualify for any need-based aid, so merit-based aid was my only option. I had a great GPA and high (but not crazy, 2350-high) SAT scores.

      I ended up with merit-based scholarship offers from 3 different schools (which ranged from $10k/year to full tuition). I chose the best school that offered me merit-based aid, which worked out to 3/4 of annual tuition at the time.

      For a short time, I did feel a bit like I was “settling” by turning down my top choice school for the merit-based aid, but I honestly had a fantastic undergrad experience and I don’t feel like going to the slightly less prestigious school has negatively impacted my career at all. I was also able to graduate without any student loan debt (my parents covered the remaining 1/4 of tuition + most of my living expenses). This didn’t seem like such a big deal at the time, since everyone was taking out loans, but now that I’m older, I recognize what a gift it is.

    • Anonymous :

      I didn’t qualify for need and got a National Merit Scholarship at my small private liberal arts school that was $750 per year. Yes, a full $750. I had straight A’s and high SATs and started with enough credits to be a sophomore. My brother got a free ride at a state school. Now that I am a parent I can’t imagine how my parents were encouraging me, but my mother really hated her college experience and wanted me to be happy.

      Assuming your child is going to be paying off the loans herself, can you talk her through what this will mean – run the numbers, look up starting salaries and cost of living estimates where she wants to live and help paint a picture for her so she can evaluate whether the loans are really worth it. I think you should also talk to school admission staff, if you aren’t already, about how much merit based aid is realistic – in my school’s case I think it was largely used to help enhance diversity within the school.

    • I got merit scholarships at small liberal arts colleges in less desirable locales (i.e., tiny midwestern towns hours from a city – my college plan consisted solely of getting away from my hometown haha). They would have been fine to go to school. I ended up at a state school where in-state tuition was still less than the liberal arts schools were with scholarships.

    • I would also look into private scholarships. When I was applying for college you could apply to certain scholarships if you were the descendents of some Civil War soliders, a certain ethnicity, played a certain instrument, and frankly lots of other random ones too. I remember a few of them were quite generous too (10k or so).

    • Anonymous :

      I had a full ride tuition scholarship to the in-state flagship, plus books and room and board covered by other scholarships. I graduated with no debt and went onto HYS for law school with the free car that my parents bribed me with like the other posters above.

      I didn’t want to go to the state school at all, and my parents pretty much seized all of my college mail and forged my acceptance of the scholarship and declined the other school admission offers. I resented it at the time, but grateful for it now.

      • Maudie Atkinson :

        Apologies if this double posts. Having some hiccups.
        Yes, all four years, full freight, but at an out-of-state, flagship state university. I had the Cadillac of merit scholarships there–full tuition, room, board, books, computer and study abroad stipends, special events only for students with my scholarship, etc. It meant that I was going to 18-year old me’s second- or third-choice school, but it also meant that I graduated from college debt-free and had overage money every semester that let me pay sorority dues and have “walking around” money. And even apart from those strictly financial considerations, it was the right choice for me. I got a fantastic education, got to do undergraduate research, had close relationships with faculty, got an invaluable social education from being exposed to so many different kinds of people, and basically never experienced the supposed pitfalls of being at a large, public university.
        And it meant my parents could save the funds they had set aside to help pay college expenses for my sibling, who really needed the help more than I.
        Moral of the story: It can definitely happen! But it might help to shift expectations around institutions, and I don’t think that would be “settling.”

    • My suggestion is that she needs to keep applying for scholarships even once she’s started college. Many of those scholarships seem less competitive. I got a Goldwater Scholarship, which is stem-based and covered $15k in tuition. My sister got a full tuition scholarship from her school starting as a sophomore. Keep searching and applying.

    • Marshmallow :

      Yes, but it was through affiliation with my private college (not something I just found on Google) and I also had financial need, so it’s hard to separate. I got 75% tuition through merit-based aid from the college itself, then another 10-15% on top of that through a private organization focused on providing merit-based aid to kids from needy families, then the rest of my tuition and nearly all my room and board were covered by need-based aid.

      Financial need or not, a takeaway from my experience is to ask the admissions office if they have connections with any merit-scholarship opportunities from private organizations. That’s how I got the additional private scholarship, just asking around.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I got one. It was small in $ amount, but my school was cheap so it ended up being 50% of tuition the first two years.

      I wonder if you can introduce her to people in the fields that interest her, who have careers that interest her, who went to schools she might be dismissing now? It might be great for her to see that Jane went to State U and has a super cool job designing projection lenses, or whatever.

      I worry about this in my future because it’s so hard for a kid to wrap her head around what that amount of $ in loans really means. It was nothing more than dumb luck that I ended up going to a cheap school.

    • I got a very large merit scholarship to a very good state school (University of California system). I don’t recall actually applying, I think I just got a letter with my acceptance saying “oh by the way, you got an achievement scholarship”. I assume it was based entirely on SAT and grades. I had a very high SAT score.

    • Merit Scholarship Student :

      I received a large merit scholarship to one of the bigger SUNY schools as an out of state student. I had a high GPA in high school, and a SAT score in the high 1400s. The scholarship covered most of my tuition for the first 2 years, then more than half for the last 2 after they hiked up tuition. To circumvent the increase, I worked for the school’s residence halls for room and board for 2 years. I still had to take out loans but I only ended up with 20K that I am aggressively paying off. Your daughter may be able to get merit money at other public schools.

      I started as a STEM major then switched to accounting in my 2nd year. Remember that if she choose the super science U, if she changes her major, she may need to transfer, and that would lose any school merit aid.

    • Maudie Atkinson :

      All four years, but at an out-of-state, flagship state university.
      I had the Cadillac of merit scholarships there–full tuition, room, board, books, computer and study abroad stipends, special events only for students with my scholarship, etc. It meant that I was going to my second- or third-choice school, but it also meant that I graduated from college debt-free and had overage money every semester that let me pay sorority dues and have “walking around” money. And even apart from those strictly financial considerations, it was the right choice for me. I got a fantastic education, got to do undergraduate research, had close relationships with faculty, got an invaluable social education from being exposed to so many different kinds of people, and basically never experienced the supposed pitfalls of being at a large, public university.
      And it meant my parents could save the funds they had set aside to help pay college expenses for my sibling, who really needed the help more than I.
      Moral of the story: I can definitely happen! But it might help to shift expectations around institutions, and I don’t think that would be “settling.”

  33. Kat – I have a suggestion for the mobile site. When I’m on my computer, I just click the arrow on the main post if I don’t want to read the comments underneath, but that option isn’t on mobile. Sometimes its a LOT to scroll through on my phone when I’m passing over a post. Maybe add this feature to mobile? Otherwise, love the site as always.

    • This would be so nice! There also aren’t as many levels of nesting on mobile and it gets confusing.

  34. I accepted a job offer last friday with a large state government agency. I spoke to the supervising attorney, not HR. I called to follow-up on Tuesday with HR because I had not received any formal offer letter. HR had the attorney call me back and she asked me for my SSN and assured me she was sending the paperwork to HR. Now here I am still waiting. I have accepted jobs at other state agencies and they were always fast in getting the paperwork to me after accepting the job offer. They were also responsive and moved quickly during the interview process. I’ve already given my notice and I’m working myself into a state of anxiety over this paperwork issue. How long would you wait until you followed up again? Would you call the attorney or HR?? ACK!!

    • Today’s Wednesday, right? So you talked to HR yesterday? I think it was a bit premature to give your notice without paperwork in hand, but I’d assume it’s coming. Call tomorrow if you don’t get it today.

      • Thanks, I agree its premature which is partially the cause of my anxiety. They gave me a start date of the 16th and were insistent on that date, so I felt I didn’t have much of a choice.

  35. Travel Medical Insurance

    DH and I are going on an African Safari in January, and I want to purchase travel medical insurance for the trip. I am looking for a plan that includes medical evacuation. Does anyone have any experience with GeoBlue? Or are there other insurance carriers out there that the hive would recommend? TIA!

    • Anonymous :

      No suggestions, but where are you going and what company are you using? I’m looking in to options for safaris.

      • We are using Cheli & Peacock Safari, Ltd. We are going with 2 friends who travel frequently and they did a bunch of research on safaris. After reviewing proposals from several safari companies, we chose this one, based on itinerary and price. We fly into Nairobi, and we will travel from there to the Serengeti North, with stops along the way, where we will stay 1-2 nights. The safari includes full board (1/2 board at one hotel), game drives and flights. We end our trip in Zanzibar with a couple of days of beach time.

    • Check your credit card benefits. Chase Sapphire provides evacuation and transportation if you purchase travel through them.

      • Thanks – I will definitely do that. I have a Citi card that has travel cancellation insurance, but I did not check to see about evacuation and transportation.

  36. Anonymous :

    Just need to vent for a moment. I’m miserable at my job, and my job search is going poorly so it looks like I’ll be stuck here. I’m a newish attorney and my boss has a brazen disregard for ethics. When I bring up ethics he becomes abusive and retaliates, giving me written warnings for the tiniest things that usually go unnoticed (and do go unnoticed for other attorneys). And these are serious ethnical issues. Yesterday I woke up feeling so depressed I couldn’t will myself out of bed so I had to call in sick. This is so awful.

    • Anonymous :

      Document, document, document. Also, is there a mentor that you can reach out to and discuss what is happening and why you are miserable? Often a fellow attorney can give you perspective. It is not uncommon for newish attorneys to find themselves in this situation. If you have someone to discuss what is going on, it could be really helpful to you as well as ease some of the misery.

      • Any specific advice on how to document? Normally when a client says something that raises red flags I send a follow up email or letter to create a written record of the conversation and my response, but I’m not sure that works so well here given the retaliation. I’ve taken to writing contemporaneous James Comey-esque memos but I’m not sure if those would be helpful either.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        To me it sounds like he’s already treating you poorly and being retaliatory, so you’ve just got to make sure you have your case built up.

        “Boss, this email confirms our conversation of this afternoon. Thank you for listening to my ethical concerns. Per your instructions [and over my objections?], I’m going to [allow unethical thing to happen]. If I’ve misunderstood you, please let me know ASAP, as I will [whatever] by [deadline].”

    • Anonymous :

      If this is a serious ethics issue, IMO, you’re better off quitting with nothing if you can afford it than risk an ethics violation. You can’t risk your reputation on this!

      • Anonymous :

        To add: everyone’s risk tolerance is different, but I was able to easily find non-attorney work while I was figuring out what I wanted to do career wise and I would do the same in this situation. I realize that is much easier said than done and things like financial situation make a big difference. I wasn’t trying to be flippant, sorry.

  37. Anonymous :

    I’m recently divorced, and I’ve never lived alone. I’ve always had roommates or a partner living with me. Recommendations for easy to cook meals for 1? Its an adjustment cooking smaller portions, and the last 3 things I cooked all were too large, and I ended up throwing leftovers away, which is quite depressing.

    I also have a monstrously large crock pot, so I may need to buy a smaller one.

    • Anonymous :

      I just cook whatever I’d cook for more people than me, but scale down the number of servings. OR … I make full recipes of meals that freeze well, and then freeze the leftovers in individual portions. Most soups and many pasta freeze well. I don’t use the crockpot unless it’s a recipe that freezes well.

      • Anonymous :

        Tell me more about freezing. Do you freeze in tupperware or ziplocks? For how long? I did crockpot meals once and froze a bunch, and much of it got freezerburned.

        • I freeze in Glad Freezerware. (You can find it at Target, etc in the aisle with the plastic baggies.) It’s meant for the freezer. Most of what I make in the crockpot is hearty soups and chilis, then I portion it into the Small 3 cup container. That’s a perfect meal-sized serving of soup. I’ve kept it frozen for months (I say that, but I’m not sure I’d notice if soup was freezerburned…can soup get freezerburned? idk. Anyways, it’s always turned out fine.)

        • Anonymous :

          I don’t freeze in tupperware or ziplocs, because then I have to thaw before I can reheat. I freeze in microwave-safe corningware or pyrex containers, then take those to work for lunch or eat them for an evening meal.

          They key to avoiding freezerburn is to only cook what you KNOW you like to eat, and only in amounts that work for you. Don’t stuff the freezer as if a crowd were coming over for dinner on the weekend.

        • Anonymous :

          I freeze each serving of soup/chili (about 2 1/2 cups) in a quart size freezer ziploc. You have to let them freeze totally flat on the bottom of the freezer (not on a rack), but then they’re like paperback books of food (about an inch thick) and you can stack them really conveniently. One minute in the microwave thaws it enough to break it into little chunks, and then I dump it out of the bag and into a microwave safe bowl or a pot. No freezerburn, because no air, and the plastic never gets hot so no worries about BPA or whatever.

    • I don’t cook for one. When I cook, I make enough to have leftovers either for lunch the following couple of days or for a second dinner (so maybe 3-4 portions). Often it is baking a cookie sheet of chicken and vegetables, or chili, or something like that. I save things that don’t keeps well for when I have people over. If I need a meal truly for one, I either make something super simple such as scrambled eggs or I “assemble” a salad or a meat, cheese, and fruit platter rather than cook.

      • +1

        I find it easier to meal plan if the meal includes whole ingredients: e.g. 1 whole bell pepper, not half of one; one whole head of cauliflower, not half of one. That means the dish is enough food for more than one person, and I have leftovers. This was how I cooked before SO moved in, and it’s still how I cook; I just have slightly less leftovers. The only way I know to cook just for one is scrambled eggs, a salad, or a peanut butter sandwich.

    • If you like to cook, this book has great recipes for one:

    • Cooks Illustrated has a cookbook aimed at cooking meals for 2. I’ve been meaning to pick it up forever, because I live alone and figure recipes for 2 are a lot better than recipes meant for a family. But mostly I just eat leftovers.

    • Anonymous :

      Never throw out leftovers!! Freeze them in single portions. I freeze in Tupperware. Take out of the freezer the night before you want to eat it.

    • Mayflower :

      This is late, but I cook large quantities of basic ingredients and then add to them as I portion them out for meals. For example, I’ll make and shred a bunch of chicken in the crockpot and cook a bunch of quinoa. The chicken goes in single-serving containers in the freezer and the quinoa goes in the fridge. Then for dinner, I decide what I feel like cooking to eat with my chicken and quinoa. This week I’ve been doing a lot of stir-fried veggies, but sometimes I’ll make a sauce or do a taco type thing depending on what grain and protein I’ve cooked that week. It doesn’t totally solve the problem, but I found that having the two big things portioned out helps me eyeball the quantity of whatever else I’m putting with it.

  38. Anonymous :

    Based off recommendations here, I ordered Rockport Total Motion heels in my normal 9.5 wide size. They are too wide, however, so I’m returning them to Amazon. Does this brand usually run wide? I’m unsure if I should try a 9.5 regular. I have a wide ball of the foot, regular heel, so I often resort to adding moleskin or heel grips. But these shoes were too wide all over.

    • Sounds like you have triangular feet like me. I am also 9.5. I find that it is hard to find shoes that fit us, so yes I often add moleskin/heel grips/liners etc.. too.

      I wear regular width in Rockports, and find I need to put the heel grips in the back of their flats (and often an insole too to fill up the space), but their total motion heels fit a little better. You might find the toe box slightly snug.

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