Thursday’s Workwear Report: Keyhole Ponte Sheath Dress

I’ve had my eye on this dress for a while because I love the color but — what what! — it’s now 60% off, putting it under $100, which is pretty remarkable. There’s a ton of sizes left, but note that the reviewers say this isn’t one for the shorter among us — if it’s too long, you can’t hem it because there’s a full-length zipper in the back. I think it’s a really happy, fun color that you could wear in spring and summer for sure and maybe in fall with a dark burgundy blazer, or a black blazer with a burgundy scarf. It’s just a matter of getting the length and the height of that slit right, but the slit can probably be closed by a tailor who knows what they’re doing. It’s a great deal! There is also a matching blazer that’s still full price. Keyhole Ponte Sheath Dress

Psst: This dress is on a very similar sale at Nordstrom at 60% off.

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  1. I work upstairs from a large PWC outfit. When I was in school, eons ago, these were accounting firms. Then they started hiring IT people. And also lawyers to do consulting. Now, it seems to be a lot of very young people who seem to spend a ton of time on travel (to cities where there are probably also PWC offices) (but maybe this means that if you are in NYC and want to move to Dallas, there is a PWC office you can transfer to). I don’t mean to rag on PWC, I just see them on every elevator trip and know when they are recruiting / having intern classes / etc. And I’m sure that what they do is what the other Big 4 do.

    I am curious though — what do they actually do? Is it hard to get a job there (like they recruit from most Big East schools, but you’d better be top 10% and only in certain majors)? I know that there is a lot of burnout (I am friends with alumni who have left to go to smaller accounting firms, law firms, or to big banks). I suspect that it is better to be a Big 4 partner than a law firm partner (not that I would want to be either).

    I’m not just curious for me, but I have a kid going to college soon and want to have a better sense of jobs that you could get with just a BA (I had the sort of undergrad major that is generally unemployable and makes you go to grad / law school or do something like TFA or try for a Fullbright). I gather that as entry-level jobs go, these are pretty good jobs to have coming out of college.

    • Anonymous :

      I interned at a Big 4 while in college. It’s not that hard to get an internship/job with them because they hire so many recent grads annually, but they do focus on specific majors. Think accounting, finance, and a few others. They are generally considered to be accounting firms, and a lot of their revenue comes from audit and tax. While they do have advisory/consulting arms, most employees in these branches are not doing traditional strategy work. A huge portion of these branches revolve around risk; risk consulting is actually somewhat of a rigid practice area. It’s not as innovative or thought-provoking as strategy work. It’s actually more routine like an audit procedure. Hope this helps!

      P.S. They do spend a ton of money recruiting. I took numerous trips and cruises during my summer interning. They have to makeup for the lackluster work somehow. However, keep in mind most of this stops when employees become full-time. I promise they’re not the most fun and exciting places to work.

    • I just left a Big 4 a few weeks ago. (I’m a tax lawyer, so not a baby accountant.)

      For an entry level job, it’s a pretty good gig. Because turnover is so high, they’ll hire just about anybody who has a college degree in a relevant subject. And if you know somebody, they’ll even hire you with a degree in underwater basketweaving.

      I will say that in many ways I wasn’t impressed with my colleagues. All of them were SUPER friendly, but none were ambitious or particularly bright. My Big 4 still offers a conventional pension and encourages/expects people to stick around for 30 years to earn it with the gold watch. The Big 4 also has an old-fashioned culture in that you will spend 2 years at your first title, at which time you will be promoted to second title, where you will spend 3 years until the next one. With that career environment plus the pension, you get people who really just clock in and do their work and hang out for a couple decades. I found that the bright people often came in for a couple years, left to go do something else, and maybe came back later in their careers.

      At the entry-level, the work is almost insultingly simple…and they act like it’s really complicated. It’s mostly the kind of data entry work I’d have undergrad interns do in other environments.

      Having done the work, I will never understand why the Big 4 is such a big deal. But, it looks good on a resume, there’s name recognition, the pay is decent, the culture can be good with the right group, and it’s an easy way to get that all-crucial experience so you can move on to something more stimulating.

      • Leaving big 4 for grad school and +1 to all of the abov

        I’m convinced the name helped me get into grad school because I don’t have much work experience, but agree that it’s not ambitious and can be very hierarchical/stuffy and not great work

      • baseballfan :

        I work in Big 4; have for most of my 20 year career. I have to say I disagree with much of the above, although it’s possible firms and locations vary somewhat.

        Big 4 firms are selective. They can be, because that’s where everyone in accounting wants to start out, but they obviously can’t hire everyone. In my observation, it’s the rare “mediocre” person who gets in the door. Too many other super bright people out there and lots of competition for relatively few jobs.

        Yes, there are other lines of business; consulting and such, but audit and tax are the bread and butter. Not as lucrative per hour, but solid annuity business.

        I also think there’s a great deal of latitude in the career progression. People don’t get promoted just because they showed up for 2 years. They get promoted because they’re performing at the next level. If someone is not performing at the next level and doesn’t seem to be headed that way, that’s about the time they’ll leave. You can’t stick around forever at any one level – but that doesn’t mean promotions are rubber stamped.

        I have always found the work challenging and every day is different. That’s why I stick around. I left for a few years in corporate tax departments and that was mind numbingly boring. It was challenging here as a first year; it’s still challenging 20 years in. I have shifted specialty areas, so I am at the manager level, but if I had not had some detours I would be a director/managing director/executive director by now.

        Many accounting/tax jobs prefer or require Big 4 experience. There’s a reason – You don’t see the breadth of clients and complexity of issues anywhere else. It would take a decade in a small firm to get the same experience you see in Big 4 in 3-4 years.

        • Until your last paragraph I was completely on board with your explanation. While accounting jobs do frequently state “Big 4 preferred” my experience in hiring Big 4 alums is that they are woefully unprepared for other jobs and most of them worked specifically in one niche. Specifically issues like hiring in a large regional firm, and needing a senior tax accountant who could work in diverse industries and entity types interviewed a Big 4 CPA with five years experience who had literally done nothing but work on manufacturing corporations.

        • I agree with all of this. Audit is easier to get into, and to a degree tax. E.g. My office would take ~200 audit grads a year but more specialised departments would take <5 and largely hired laterally at the senior/manager level depending on the skill set required.

          I found that I did really get a broad experience that worked in my favour as well as the networks – I wouldn't have gotten my subsequent roles without that name on my resume. Agree with the other poster that for some areas that may not be the case, particularly in tax.

          • baseballfan :

            It’s true that may not be the case in every situation, but it’s the rare exception to find someone who focused that closely, especially in the early years. We actually have to push back against young staff who try to focus too early in their career. They ask why they need training and experience with international tax when they work on a lot of domestic partnerships. The answer is that they need a solid base of knowledge to be better positioned for where their careers might take them.

            A diverse work experience in the first 4-5 years means the person is better equipped for a longer term career in the same firm. (That’s the reason for the attempts to diversify staff – but of course it serves those staff well should they choose to leave, also).

    • I hear there might be an opening at the Oscars.

      • LOL. They are apparently not ending their relationship with PWC, which is kind of crazy to me.

        • Yeah I was very surprised to hear that

        • Free work is always enticing. And a slip up like that is exactly what the Oscars needed to make headlines. They considered it an indirect publicity win for the academy

    • JuniorMinion :

      So I will caveat this with the fact that I come at this from the investment banking side not the accounting side – but PWC / EY etc. also do a variety of consulting work and investment banking “light” type work – so they consult on both the operational and strategy side (although not as competitively with strategy as MBB) as well as provide valuation and transaction advisory services (largely around 3rd party fairness opinions – less actual deal work). My understanding from folks I know who work there (and I have worked with EY as a client of one of their consulting practices) is that audit / the accounting functions are much easier to get into as they will hire anyone who has done reasonably well in an accounting program at a decent school. The valuation and consulting side of the business is much more competitive to get into.

      To answer your second question there are tons of great jobs available with only a bachelors degree – however it does matter what your bachelors is in and / or where you got it (this second one very much). Most of the good jobs in corporate land have a certain list of colleges they recruit from – this list depends on geography and company focus and in my experience additionally anyone from a Top 20 school will get a longer look even if they are in a different geography. What is your college age child interested in? I’ve never gotten any sort of graduate degree and am very well compensated.

      • Med school, actually. But that’s for someone who is not terribly into the hard sciences. The pre-med mantra of a year of college physics, organic chemistry, and o-chem and p-chem, may be the traditional weed-outs they are made out to be (I say: better to know as a college freshman/sophomore when you can re-assess and maybe hedge your bets; plus, many of my doctor friends did not go straight through).

        • JuniorMinion :

          Just FYI the courses required are 1) gen bio 2) gen chem 3) organic chemistry 4) biochemistry (no p chem or on one would ever get into medschool ha:) 5) Physics, but you get to take physics for pre-meds – not the physics with calculus engineering / hard science sequence that makes people cry. I’ve seen a lot of people do this successfully from a variety of majors. The bigger question is “do you want to be a doctor?” because once you enter that path / take on that debt you are sort of compelled to continue.

          True story: when I was in gen chem in college I was part of a study / homework group – I did the problem sets, my roommate did the pre-lab work and we had a third guy in the group who told us he would “punch the calculator” for us because he was struggling with the material. Third dude is now an anesthesiology resident.

          If he is into hard science and doesn’t want a grad degree, an engineering degree might be a good thing. Most big state schools have excellent programs as well as are “get students jobs” minded – I see the professors in my industry at all the big industry conferences chatting up the major employers. I will caution that engineering is not for the faint of heart and is much more like a full time job as a college experience than what people traditionally think of as “college” because you do a ton of project based / lab based work.

  2. Baconpancakes :

    How formal are wrapped wedge heels? I went to look at my 1.5″ black interview heels last night, and realized they were pretty beat up, while my 1.5″ black wedge heels are brand new. I honestly hated those regular heels, and love my wedges, and am much more comfortable walking in them. For an interview in a pretty casual workplace (khakis and jeans are the norm), what would you do?

    • Baconpancakes :

      Should note: wedges are black all the way around – not cork or wood-colored.

      • Anonymous :

        These should be totally fine as long as you are not an undergrad or law student interviewing for her first job who must look exactly the same as every other candidate. And even if you were, I’d still go for brand-new wedges over beat-up heels.

        • Baconpancakes :

          Nope, just interviewing for the first time in years after graduate school and multiple years of employment. Thanks all! Just wanted to confirm my gut check.

    • I’d wear the wedges. They are unremarkable, IMO, even for interviews.

    • Anonymous :

      I have rheumatoid arthritis and can only wear wedge heels these days (when I can wear heels at all), so I hope it’s okay! I think if they were the type that were partially wrapped in jute, cork, etc. it might be questionable, but if they are closed-toe and leather (or leather-like) all the way around, it’s probably fine.

    • Wedges for sure.

    • If it’s an option, I’d go with flats over wedges.

      • For an interview, I disagree. If the OP’s clothes are hemmed to look better with heels, throwing flats into the mix is going to throw off the balance. Should that matter at ALL for an interview, absolutely not, but the reality is that first impressions are important and flats skew casual IMO (I say this as a lover of flats).

        The wedges the OP described are completely fine for an interview.

  3. Sloan Sabbith :

    What health and fitness goals do you try to hit on a daily or weekly basis? How do you stay consistent in hitting these goals?

    For me, I’ve been trying hard to walk 10K+ steps per day for the last month or so, drink a lot more water, and get to the gym 3-5x a week for 1-2 miles on the treadmill and do some strength training or a Fitstar workout. I’m also trying to eat at home more and out less.

    By the end of 2017, I’d like to be able to finish one mile in under 15 minutes, lose 10 lbs, and take lunch and make dinner 3x a week. I’d also like to add some sort of strength goal to that but I’m not sure what. Upper arms with defined muscle?

    • Fitness goals :

      Pull-ups! First one dead-hang pull-up unassisted, then five.

    • Shenandoah :

      Regular weekly goals are to get to Crossfit 3x a week and run 3x a week. I don’t love running and am not a very strong runner, but I’m working toward a sub-28 min 5k and sub-60 min 10k. Should be able to meet those within the next 3-6 months, and then I’ll reevaluate.

      Strength-wise I’m trying to get a strict pull-up and am pretty close now. Once I get one, the goal will be 2, 3, 4, etc. I work on it a few times a week. I have lots of other stuff I’m always working toward, but overall the main thing I try to be consistent with is setting a major long-term goal (e.g. I want to deadlift 350lbs some day) and then setting realistic incremental goals to push myself on that path and maintain motivation.

    • I have more long-term goals in mind. I want to summit a 10,000 foot peak and then a 12,000 (exact peaks TBD) and do a 110+ mile trek in Europe (these goals are this summer and next).

      More recent short-term goals have included strengthening my legs and core for a four-day ski trip in Colorado. I did at-home workouts for strength training (squats, lunges, planks, Russian twists, and other body weight exercises) and hiked in the hills near my home with a few runs thrown in to boot. I was able to ski hard for four days with minimal to no soreness.

      Making my fitness goals functional and tied to the outdoor activities I love has really helped me rekindle the motivation and passion for it. I typically get a bit jealous of peers who are slimmer than me, but I was skiing with a slim friend and was not jealous at all the whole trip. I believe this was because I trained to be able to ski as hard and as long as her and it became clear that body size played no part in that.

    • I started stronglifts 5×5 program a couple weeks ago and relatedly my goals are getting my form as accurate as possible and moving up in weights and someday see my abs

      • I’m starting this in a couple of weeks (waiting for after some travel plans to start a new routine) and I am super excited!

    • Timely post for me as I need to get back into regular training for races after a week off for surgery and a little bit of slacking before that.

      My weekly goal is to follow my race training plan as best I can. That usually entails three shorter runs on weekdays, at least one day of leg strength training, at least one day of yoga, and a long run on the weekend. My cross training is to ride my horse twice a week (should be three, but life).

      I try to make one of my shorter runs a speed workout and another one a hill workout. I try to up my strength training weight resistance and reps at least once a month (no idea if that’s good or not, as I usually go by feel).

      This is my second year trail racing, so my overall goal is to improve my times from last year in the races that I am duplicating and keep my IT band from acting up. The latter has included retraining my gait to fix the root cause and also adding more hip strengthening and stretching exercises. Another goal is to run my first 50k (later this month) and do another 50k later in the year (possibly up to a 50 miler).

      What keeps me motivated is not wanting to have to bail on a race but for a serious injury and being a bit competitive. I’m not going to win anything, but being in the top 3 or 4 of my age group (which is super competitive in my area) feels good.

      • Oh, I have a silly ab contest with one of the race directors, so I am doing lots of ab work too!

    • ponte python's flying circus :

      Like CountC I’m a runner, and my goals are mostly process ones (do some strength and yoga 2x a week, stick to a training plan) rather than outcome ones (run x miles in y time, etc). I find that approach more flexible and positive – if I don’t make it, I try again next week, vs if I don’t hit a particular time goal, I feel a little worse about myself as a human being. Totally irrational, I know.

      What keeps me motivated: training with a group, having accountability buddies (mostly via social media), and keeping a detailed log so I can really track my progress.

    • New Tampanian :

      Ooooh… good topic!

      I am trying to hit OTF 3 times a week. I’m only in my third week of this and I effed up last week. I am slowly building back up to running again but have told myself I need to do at least 12 OTFs before I move from “power walk” to “jog.” This is so that I am strengthening my other muscles (core / glutes) in order to avoid ITB issues.

      Super long term is to run a marathon again. Baby steps.

      • I’ve been ITB issue free since I fixed my gait and incorporated certain exercises/stretches. Happy to discuss on email if you are interested in hearing about any of it! ITB plagued me for the last two months of the season last year and I would fix it (supposedly) then it would come right back. I was bandaiding it, not fixing the root cause. I really feel great and have been back up to 20 miles on the trails with no issues!

        • ponte python's flying circus :

          CountC, would you mind sharing? I currently have some sort of acute ITB issue that’s affecting my knee and hip, despite foam rolling and stretching like crazy. Have done absolutely nothing different (except perhaps that I need to toss a pair of suspect shoes).

          • Quit the ITB foam rolling!!! Seriously.

            If you have a running coach in your area, I highly suggest that you schedule a gait analysis with them so that they can video you and show you if there are any problem areas. My problem area happened to be that I was crossing my feet over the imaginary center line that I was running down. If you think of running down the middle of the road with the yellow line in between your legs, my knee would kind of knock in and my foot would land either on or over the yellow line. I figured out I was doing this even before the analysis because the inside of my running shoes got horribly worn down and I have scars on my ankles from where I hit them while running. Check this article out if I am doing a bad job of explaining: I also was a really bad overreacher with my leg extension in the front. Not helpful either.

            To correct it, I focused on pointing my knees where I wanted to go (straight ahead), visualizing keeping my legs out behind me and placing my foot under my hips (instead of in front), lifting my knees when drawing my legs forward (I also do a lot of walking high knees and high knee skipping drills), and visualizing keeping my legs farther apart (I think of pushing my legs out to the sides of the box where my feet land, if that makes sense).

            In addition to fixing my gait, I do the following exercises: single-leg and regular bridges, monster walks (, lunges, lunges, and more lunges (including pistols/single leg lunges ahhhhh), laying down side leg lifts (lay on your side with your back flat against a wall and keep the leg you are raising against the wall as you lift it), clamshells, leg extensions, and maybe a few others that I am forgetting. I also religious stretch every single time I do anything and I also religiously warm up before running for at least 5 minutes.

            If you can get it at your library or cheap used, Matt Fitzgerald’s book Brain Training for Runners has GREAT exercises for ITB and injury prevention.

            Also, if you don’t already, I highly recommend slowly transitioning to a mid or fore foot strike, not a heel strike.

            Here are some more helpful links:

            Sorry for the novel!

          • ponte python's flying circus :

            Thanks for the novel and the advice! I am definitely knock-kneed, and it is very clearly worse on the side with the ITB issues; that side is also obviously weaker when I’m doing lunges. Love Matt Fitzgerald and will pick up the Brain Training book!

        • I would love to hear how you resolved your ITB issues too – I have been suffering with knee and hip pain for a few years, and it’s definitely getting worse this year.
          CountC, please email me if you see this at jackski at gmail

          thank you!

        • New Tampanian :

          These are great! Thanks CountC! I know that my glutes, hamstrings, core are super weak so that is part of what I am trying to work on before I jump back into running.

          The things you mention are PERFECT! I am going to add in the exercises now while I am strengthening everything. I will certainly get a gait analysis. I already know that I “sashay” a tad much when I run. My hips do not stay put. That alone is problematic.

          • Minnie Beebe :

            I’ll point out that you need to be careful with gait analyses at running stores. The people mean well, but they’re (generally) not PTs. They don’t always know what they’re doing, even with the slo-mo video, etc. Running store people always try to put me into a motion control shoe (rather, they did last time I bought shoes at a store, probably 15 years ago.) But I (despite my gait) need to run in a neutral shoe, or I have hip pain. So if you’re currently running in a non-neutral shoe, I would recommend trying a neutral shoe and see if that helps at all.

            Everyone else’s advice is also good. Certainly fixing gait issues can help, but just be careful not to make any radical changes overnight. Ease into any changes gradually, and your body will adapt.

          • +1 Minnie Beebe

            My analysis was done by a legit running coach, not someone at a store. It took a little over an hour, included videos, etc. Also, echo the do not trying to change everything over night and also start out with short distances with the new techniques.

    • I try to get up to run every morning during the week, and do a core workout before I leave for the run several times a week. I hit the rock gym 2-3 times a week in the evening, and do yoga 2-3 times a week when time permits.

      I stay consistent because I just like doing it, honestly. I sometimes go through phases where I track results pretty closely (usually because I’m training for a race or something) but even when I’m not tracking results closely I still mostly get in my goals.

      Long term goal is a front lever. When I can do that, then I’ll feel like a total boss.

    • I’m just trying to do any sort of physical activity right now. I rely on my fitbit to help me hit 6,000 steps per day and 20 “active” minutes. Weather is nice, so I’m going to ramp it up to 7,500 steps and 30 active minutes soon.

      I’m certainly not shooting the moon here, but I’ll take my small steps where I can get them.

    • I try to close all three activity loops on my Apple Watch daily, and still try for 10,000 steps. Started a cut today to try and lose another 15-20 pounds.

      I am really close to being discharged out of PT and looking forward to rebuilding my squat. I did 150×5 the other day — my old, peak-shape 1 rep max was 270, and my 10RM was 200 pounds. I am hoping to have my 5 rep max back over 200 by the end of the year. I also REALLY want that strict chin-up.

      I should run and stuff some more but ugh. I’m becoming spin certified this year so look forward to that as well and diversifying my class roster/also using that to get back some conditioning!

    • Jitterbug :

      I try to hit my Fitbit calorie goal every day, it’s just over 2100 these days. Step goal is important too but I hit that one pretty easily. I’m also trying to do 10 pushups in the morning, and again at night. Once those start to feel easy I’ll increase it to 15, then 20, etc. if I stick with it.

  4. perimenopause :

    A year ago, I was having to buy a new wardrobe due to the attack of the perimenopause shapeshifters (like overnight, I developed a serious gut after being nothing but pear shaped all my life and packed on about 10 pounds; now I eat like a stevedore and am back to my usual size even though work is too busy to exercise with any regularity). Now, the shapeshifter has been gone since around Christmas, so I have my old clothes back (or: I got used to newer, more current clothes, so I have my old clothes and a recent buying bender’s worth of improvements).

    No other symptoms (still regular, still freezing in my office).

    This crazy train is just going to get worse, no? Any book like TCOYF for ladies shifting out of the fertile phase of life?

    This birthday puts me squarely into my late 40s.

    • perimenopause :

      One thing: I thought that the sudden gut was perhaps fibroid tumors, which run in my family. I’d get something like this checked out with a ob/gyn, esp if you have other symptoms. But not the case for me. True shape-shifters.

      • Perimenopause, too :

        Right there with you. It sucks. Hit me suddenly and like a ton of bricks. I gained about 15 lbs. seemingly overnight. When I complained to my GYN, her response was “eat less.” That wasn’t particularly helpful, and I now have a new GYN. So recently I have started intermittent fasting (nothing crazy, just not eating at night after dinner and skipping my early morning breakfast/coffee and eating it later in the morning). That has helped immensely – I’m about 10 lbs. down after starting that, and I’m not depriving myself at all. I’m also having insomnia, so started Epsom salt baths, and that seems to help. I’ve cut out alcohol for the time being as well, which may account for some of the weight loss. All that to say, I feel ya and would love to hear other weight-loss ideas from others going through this special (grrr) time in our lives.

        • perimenopause :

          I have no advice, really.

          I remember thinking that my eating habits are pretty set and pretty good, so there wasn’t going to be much change potential there.

          I remember thinking that I need to start lifting, but that didn’t really happen. I do a lot of what I call cardio-laundry and try to be reasonably sporty/active, but as a FT working mom, that was going to be a stretch though. I do have lots of cute new things from Athleta though :)

        • Seriously. I have always struggled with my weight, but this has been particularly challenging. I have cut out most of the things doctors tell you are bad for you (soda, salty snacks, fried food), I eat a fairly healthy diet, and I gave up drinking during the week for Lent. My one vice is sweets and even that is pretty selective. And yet, I was looking at pics today from just three years ago and it made me want to cry. I feel like I suddenly look dumpy and middle aged. Ugh. Especially since my knee is messed up and that limits my heels. I do cardio six days a week and weights three days (although weights have been somewhat curtailed by knees and a shift in the weight room making the machines I use busier). I’m sure there will be people here who would just say “eat less, eat better,” but I’m so f-ing tired of starving myself just to maintain my weight.

          • Yup, with you, too. Put on 12-15 pounds this last year, while eating less, and not only did it all go to my midsection, it looks like weight from other areas migrated there, too, so I feel like I look a good 20 pounds heavier than I did last year. I’ve started doing 5:2 intermittent fasting. Haven’t had the nerve to step on the scale (have only been doing it during Lent, so barely a month) but am hopeful that it’s helpful, as it feels like a program I could stick with long term. I’m also trying to get back to strength training. If I’m going to be bigger, I at least want to a firm bigger, as opposed to a flabby one.

    • +1. Interested in the responses.

      What is TCOYF? Sounds like something I need to read.

    • Pre-babies, I had small b00bs, flat and and a big butt and upper thighs.

      Post-babies I had bigger b00bs but saggier, a flat upper abdomen and a flap of loose belly below my belly button. My upper thighs were smaller than before and by butt, while still wide, was flatter. (Go to a public pool and look at the moms in their tankinis. This is a pretty universal shape.)

      Perimenopause made me gain weight, which I have not lost, but unlike before when any weight went to my butt and thighs, my excess weight is in my belly and, sadly, upper arms. And I look at women my age and this is also pretty universal. It’s why everything at Chico’s has an elastic waist.

      I visited my mom in the nursing home this weekend. She and her friends are the cool ones because they use walkers and not wheelchairs. And they’re all skinny again. Stopped over and saggy, but skinny. Too skinny. It endangers them if they get a serious virus.

      I roll with it. I’m happy to be healthy and not obsessed with how my body looks.

  5. Dresses for travel/work :

    I’m doing an 8-week stint in an office in Rwanda this summer and I’m looking for a few good casual to business casual black dresses that would travel well and require minimal care to look nice. A-line is usually most flattering on me (size 8 pear) and I would prefer sleeveless or short sleeve to wear with a cardigan or blazer. I prefer natural fibers, but would be open to synthetic travel fabrics if they hold up well and don’t hold onto smell. TIA!

    • Check Boden. I think they check all your boxes and they travel well in my experience. If you are concerned about smells, take a travel size Febreeze – that stuff really works.

    • I had an amazing dress from Garnet Hill that ticked these boxes. Might be worth checking out.

      One thing to note – I had a friend who mentioned that the chemicals used in laundry processes were much harsher in Central Africa than her home country – she sent her laundry out from the hotel and found that her clothes wore very very quickly.

    • Have you looked at the Lands End ponte dresses?

      • Dresses for travel/work :

        Yes, I tried the Land’s End ponte sheath that everyone loves so much, but for some reason, I could not get it to work for me! I tried multiple sizes, petite and non-petite, and it just did not flatter my butt and thighs at all. Too bad because the style would have been perfect.

        • same here :

          I had the exact same problem with Land’s End ponte sheaths; I tried everything. New York & Co. has a cotton ponte “bateau neck flare” right now that was a better alternative for me (I just bought myself a new color).

          • same here :

            PS. If you try the NY&C option, know that it runs large. I’m an 8 petite pear shape, and the small fits me better than the medium.

    • Title Nine :

      Have you looked at Title Nine? I got their Tech Tomboy dress in black for a long trip, and it stayed nice after being folded in a suitcase and didn’t stretch after many wears. The fabric was sufficiently heavyweight to keep a sleek shape, so I didn’t hesitate to wear it to nice locations. (Most other Title Nine clothes are pretty sporty or casual.) The sizes tend large: I’m a 8 on top, 10/12 on bottom, and the medium fit perfectly.

    • Dresses for travel/work :

      Thanks everyone!!

    • I am a mild pear (37-30-40) and find that cap sleeves balance me pretty well. I found this LBD not too long ago. It’s synthetic, unfortunately, but I’m normally picky and I don’t mind this one. I bought a size 10.

    • Check out Brass. They have a limited selection but their clothing is both comfortable and machine washable. I’ve traveled with Brass dresses and they’ve held up well. I also second the Boden recommendation.

  6. Is anyone familiar with an English clothing company called The Fold? An ad showed up on my feed and it was like someone had made my dream work wordrobe. It’s pretty spendy, though, and it looks like shipping and returns could be pricey. I’d be greatful for any info-thanks!

    • (Former) Clueless Summer :

      Would also love to hear about this! I’ve seen their stuff on a few bloggers and it looked amazing!

    • YES! Their stuff is gorgeous and very well-made and generally even fits my very tall frame. I’ve bought maybe 4 pieces from them over the last year and I’ve gotten a ton of compliments.

      The only real problem is logistics/cost; it’s usually like $25 to ship to the US, and if it doesn’t fit or you want to return it for whatever reason, it’s like another $30 to ship it back. They will occasionally email a coupon code for free shipping to the US, but I had trouble using it for anything but full-price items (in other words, if you have a sale item in your cart, you cannot use it. So I only order if I’m reasonably sure it will flatter my body type, etc. And usually it’s when I get a bonus or something like that, haha.

    • Love The Fold! Their clothes are really well made and drape nicely. Their customer service is excellent as well. With my first order, I emailed them with my measurements and they recommended sizes for the particular styles I was interested in, which all fit perfectly. I’ve purchased many pieces from them since then and have been pleased with all of them.

      The clothes have a very European fit (tailored, slimmer) so keep that in mind if that isn’t your preferred clothing fit. I love their clothes because they are unique, flattering, and I get tons of compliments on them.

  7. Sassyfras :

    Currently waiting to hear back on an offer we’ve put in on a house! It’s been on the market for <1 week, 4 offers on the table, and after our initial over-asking-price offer, were asked to come back with our "highest and best" by yesterday at 3pm. I'm not getting any work done because I'm so anxious! We've been looking for two years and this is the first house we have both loved. All the good vibes appreciated :)

  8. Makeup remover recs :

    Specifically looking for something that will take off heavy duty tinted sunblock and eye makeup (applied on the lighter side – I have tried some type of super oily eye makeup remover and it was awful feeling). I’m looking for something to use at home and would love some recs for individually packaged wipes for travel as well. Thanks!

    • I do a double cleanse (oil cleanser followed by regular cleanser) at night to remove everything. I use Banila Clean It Zero Purity followed by Cera Ve foaming cleanser. The combo seems to remove everything, except waterproof mascara. For that, I use Sephora Waterproof Eye Makeup remover. For travel, I transfer everything to smaller containers. Wipes don’t do much for my skin.

    • Apply cold cream (like the old fashioned Ponds stuff), wipe off with a warm washcloth. Wash away any remaining cold cream residue with a tiny drop (pea-sized) of any decent facial cleanser and thorough rinse of warm water. For wipes, Neutrogena.

    • Seconding a double cleanse. Try a balm like Clinique Take the Day Off. It destroys SPF and makeup including waterproof mascara. After that use whatever cleanser you like on your skin. There’s also a product by Pixi called the Doubnle Cleanse that has a balm on one side and cream on the other.

      Wipes are pretty bad for your skin in general, but the Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water Cloths are some of the best options.

    • Shopaholic :

      I really like the Kirkland brand wipes you can get at Costco – if I have intense Saturday night makeup on, I may need a double cleanse but these are pretty good for every day makeup. I only use them when I’m super lazy because I figure a wipe is better than nothing but they’re both effective and relatively gentle.

    • Not Legal Counsel :

      I double cleanse with coconut oil first. I just take a little scoop and gently massage it in all over – it’ll take off even thr toughest waterproof mascara easily. Then I follow with a basic cleanser like CeraVe. It has been great for my skin, which is normal to a little dry.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        Seconding coconut oil. I don’t use it all over, though, just eyes and lips if I’m wearing lipstick. I haven’t had issues with breakouts around my eyes, and my skin is very acne prone.

    • For heavier makeup, I like the Clinique makeup remover. It’s not oily and does not irritate my eyes. I’ll then wash my face with Clinique soap. I do like the Costco makeup remover wipes and use them most days but find that it requires too much rubbing to take off stubborn eye makeup.

    • I love micellar water for cleansing.

    • I’m a huge fan of Ponds cold cream + warm washcloth to remove makeup. If I’m wearing something particularly thick and want to make sure that it’s all off (like certain BB creams with high SPF), I will use that Clinique Step 2 toner and that seems to get out every last trace.

    • I really like the cleanser by Odacite. You can purchase samples on their website. It’s creamy, removes even my most stubborn makeup, and doesn’t dry out my skin.

    • Makeup remover recs :

      Thanks for the variety of suggestions! I’ll start with coconut oil since I have that on hand and pick up some of the others. Just purchased a Clinique toner yesterday, have not used that since my 20s.

      • Anonymous :

        If you’re still reading, I swear by Kiehl’s Supremely Gentle Eye Makeup remover, Dickinson’s witch hazel wipes, and Bioderma micellar water. If I have makeup on, I use all three in that order. I usually need two pads soaked in micellar water to get all the makeup off, even after the wipes (if I don’t use the wipes, I go through a ton of the micellar water- like 6 pads). I transfer the Kiehls and Bioderma into smaller bottles for travel. If I have no makeup on, I use just the Bioderma before bed.

    • applesauce :

      I have very oily skin and feel like coconut oil & cleansing balms leave too much residue on my face and in my eyes even with a double cleanse. I love Clinique’s Take the Day Off cleansing oil which isn’t actually an oil and rinses very clean but easily breaks down my SPF & stubborn eye makeup. I use the Simple micellar makeup remover wipes while travelling and they are good enough.

  9. Ikea Kitchen :

    Have any of you purchased an Ikea kitchen? How does the actual purchasing of it go?

    My 70 year old mother is renovating her kitchen and we went in a couple months ago and did the plan with a little assistance from them, and we’re ready to buy now. It’s the last weekend of the kitchen sale and I don’t know how this works. Can we send the parts list down to them in advance? Will they have everything in stock? (How on earth will they have everything in stock?) Do they help you load it? We need to rent a moving truck for this (there’s no Ikea near my mom, so she’s coming to visit me and driving everything home) and I want to make sure the timing works out.

    PS – Waiting until the last weekend of the kitchen sale was soooo not my idea. My mother is a queen procrastinator.

    • This isn’t what you want to hear but an ikea kitchen usually isn’t a one and done thing. They wont have all pieces in stock and there is human error on the consumer end. So she will need two trips. The second to get parts not in stock and things she forgot/neglected, she scr*wed this.

      • Also ikea pulls the pieces for kitchens so she doesn’t have to go to the warehouse herself, but they don’t help load

    • Can she just order it online? That way she’ll get the sale price if she orders today and she won’t have to deal iwth in stock issues. They usually have a fair amount in stock, but on the last weekend of the kitchen sale, it will be depleted. She will have to pay for delivery but if you’re renting a moving truck anyway, it may not be that much more. You could also do a combination – purchase some in store and order online and have it delivered for whatever is not in stock.

    • Veronica Mars :

      See if your town has an ikea shopping service. Mine does, and it’s much better than going there yourself. They charge like a 10% – 30% premium depending on the size of the order, but they make all the trips until everything is in stock and complete and deliver it to your door.

    • I lived in an ikea kitchen that the previous owners had installed. I loved that kitchen.

      I loved the bottom cabinets. Lots of deep drawers, a panel that pulled out with tall storage for my food processor, easy to clean. I did have to do some minor repairs: adjusting hinges, tightening screws.

      My rec is to hire one of the outfits that specialize in putting together Ikea kitchens. The materials and design are great but execution is tricky with getting everything level, all the fasteners adjusted, etc.

      Ikea can either rent you a truck or deliver your items for a fixed fee. It’s super easy.

      FWIW, my Ikea kitchen had a Corian countertop with an integrated sink. These were my favorite countertops ever! It was super easy to clean and you just use a green scrubbie to get out any scratches (rare but they happen). Corian is not appropriate for high-end neighborhoods (buyers prefer granite/quartz/marble) but was really so much better than those other materials.

      If you are doing a remodel, I recommend putting in a water line to the refrigerator if there isn’t already one. I did this when I had the house re-piped even though my frig didn’t have that feature. According to my realtor, it made a big difference to the buyers at the open house.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        My absolute favorite feature of our not-so-updated kitchen is the solid surface counter with an integrated sink.

    • I recently renovated my kitchen and puchased the cabinets, countertops, cabinet pulls, sink, and faucet from IKEA. I went into my nearby IKEA store and sat down with someone at their computers. The IKEA person looked over my “design” and suggested a few small changes (missing panels, etc.). Once the design was done, the IKEA person helped me place the order right there in the kitchen area of the store. I had everything delivered from a warehouse a few states away. Once the design is done, IKEA will help you figure out the best warehouse/store to order from based on what your ordering and what their stock is. There is a flat fee for delivery, which was only about $70, totally reasonable for the huge number of boxes there would be. I had a contractor who was familiar with IKEA kitchens assemble and install everything. I suggest going to your IKEA store sometime when it won’t be super busy (if that’s possible) and talking to one of the helpers in the kitchen section. They were all really helpful to me and do this all the time so can answer all your specific questions. Good luck!

  10. Anonymous :

    I will ask my doctor too, but am curious about anecdotal responses – did anyone start going to the gym regularly while pregnant? I meant to get into a workout routine before TTC, but I kind of postponed it figuring I could get more serious about it once we were actually trying…and then boom, trying only lasted one month. I know they say not to start a new workout routine while pregnant, but I would think the health benefits of regular exercise would outweigh the risks. I’m talking about doing 30 minutes on the elliptical a few times a week, not training for a marathon or anything like that.

    • I can’t imagine that’d be problematic – it really isn’t that much more energetic than walking quickly.

    • I think this should be fine. Just keep your heart rate down (your doctor can tell you where it needs to be) and avoid any abdominal exercises and you should be fine.

    • My OB suggested starting a walking program while pregnant. Terrible morning sickness + no energy meant I did not heed that advice and now that I’m feeling better work is swamped, but as long as you take it slow and gentle my understanding is that exercise (even new) is advised. I would be careful on the elliptical though. I was not terribly coordinated before pregnancy and now that my center of gravity has shifted it is exponentially worse. I sometimes get off balance just standing still.

    • There was just a piece on NPR about this – basically yes, it’s fine to start while you’re pregnant as long as you take it easy.

  11. Sterling silver for engagement ring? :

    My friend and her fiance are shopping for her engagement ring and she and I are doing some preliminary research. Price is a concern so we are looking at alternative metals and semi-precious stones. Is sterling silver an okay choice to hold a tourmaline stone? Would this ring hold up to the rigors of daily life? She would prefer white gold, but it’s more expensive. TIA!

    • Silver is harder than white gold so it will hold up better, although the look is different. She can always have the stone taken out later and upgrade the metal in her setting, although I would not upgrade to white gold, I would upgrade to platinum.

      • Sterling silver for engagement ring? :

        Hm, really? A few websites were saying that sterling silver shouldn’t be trusted to hold a gemstone because it’s too weak or something. Is it ever done where you have one metal for the band and another for the prongs, i.e., sterling silver for the band and platinum for the prongs?

        • It’s definitely a thing. My mom has a gold band with platinum prongs for her diamond (after almost losing the family diamond due to yellow gold prongs wearing away).

        • Aunt Jamesina :

          Yeah, I’ve had two sterling rings get smashed (not on my finger, thankfully. One was in my pocket and another in a bag). Sterling is way too soft to hold a stone you’d like to keep.

    • Silver will hold up better than white gold. White gold is a notoriously soft metal that is easily damaged.

    • I only have sterling silver for casual rings, so I can’t speak to daily wear, but the (huge, massive) downside is that they need polishing. And you can never get it to look right around the stones, so it’s always a little tarnished there.

      Has she considered an estate ring? They can sometimes be less expensive.

      • Deep Velvet :

        I agree. My engagement ring is a silver band and it is tarnished. I clean it about once a fortnight but I can never make it look like new. At this point, I cannot wait to swap to the gold band when I get married!

    • Silver will tarnish, especially with daily use. If she wants to keep the silver color with minimal upkeep, then she should really do white gold.

      If set on doing silver, what cleaning method will she use? Is it compatabile with the stone? A smooth band/setting will be easier to polish. Lots of surface in the silver means a liquid bath polish will be better, but may not be compatible with the stone (depending on the chemical interactions).

      • pugsnbourbon :

        Part of what gives white gold its bright white look is a rhodium plating. The plating will wear off with time and if it’s something she cares about, it’ll look best with a replating every other year. I’ve never cared enough to re-plate mine, so I have no idea what this costs.

        A tourmaline is a 7-7.5 on the Mohs scale – roughly the same as quartz. Diamonds are 10, rubies and sapphires are 9, topaz are 8.

        • At my local jeweler, replating is like $15 and takes about 5 min. Not a big deal. However, I haven’t had it done in about 4 years and the rings still look nice (and I like having the option to replate and wipe away any scratches).

        • InsureWhat? :

          My husband’s hometown jeweler replates mine for free probably every other year or so. (We didn’t even buy the engagement ring from him – but the wedding bands and every other piece of good jewelry I own. Relationships matter.) It’s never looked bad but always extra shiny after being replated.

    • Veronica Mars :

      While more traditional in appearance, a moissanite is a very good budget friendly option. Simple settings in white gold go for about $400-$900 for a completed ring with small (.5-.75-1 ct) moissanite center. I can provide a link to a reputable site on request. Secondhand sites you can get an even better deal on it.

      • Wildkitten :

        I’d love to hear about your favorite reputable site. (I’m not in the market now, but think I want a M’site when I am.)

        • Veronica Mars :

          For the price I quoted above, look at The trade off with them is that you can’t pick the exact stone, and you may have to return a dud before you get a really beautiful one (but that’s also if you’re really picky). But I’d say my absolute favorite is definitely Joseph Schubach Jewelers based out of Arizona. They will hand-pick the stone for you based on what you want (warmer/whiter, cut, etc). They can absolutely do a stock setting with a simple Moissanite, but you’d be charged separately for the stone and setting. They also do wonderful custom designs that are very affordable for what you get. (Check out the beth and ballerina setting) The website isn’t the best but they have a great instagram. Also, this is not at all in the original poster’s budget, but I LOVE Erika Winters designs and she will work with moissanite.

          • Veronica Mars :

            I also think it’s easier to view the custom settings either on the Schubach Etsy or pages. The website is so hard to find stuff, but at least it has a nice price quoter.

          • Veronica Mars :

            Also in terms of quality, the reason the price will differ so much is that MoCo uses stock stuller settings, Schubach uses custom CAD and/or hand forged settings, Erika Winters is hand forged (by far the most expensive and highest quality).

        • Anonymous :

          I love Lilly Emm Jewelry

    • Go with platinum. Silver will tarnish and white gold will scratch very easily. This is the advice my father’s friend (a jeweler) gave him when he picked out a ring for my mom.

    • Please please please don’t get a tourmaline for everyday wear. It is too soft. Go to pricescope dot com and ask the folks there to help you find something in budget. There are separate sections for diamonds and colored stones.

    • more rings :

      Check out paladium as an alternative to silver, white gold, and platinum. Also, titanium or tungsten. My e-ring is platinum, but my wedding bands are paladium, which is another hard metal. My husband’s ring is titanium, and that thing is indestructible. The only kicker with titanium (and I think tungsten) is that if you get in a scenario where they have to cut the ring off your finger, those two metals can’t be cut off. Thus, it’s your finger that’s coming off. So, terrible choice for high-hazard professions, but if you just sit in an office all day or only wear it for dates, it will be fine. We bought my husband’s ring online, but I can’t remember the site name from 10 years ago. We just g00gled around until we found something reputable.

      Seconding the moissanite suggestion. If we had it to do over again, we’d go with that over a real diamond. You might also look at several smaller stones vs. one center stone to reduce the cost of the stone if you’re set on diamonds/precious gemstones. I’ve seen some beautiful sapphire rings, and those seem to hold up well. There’s also a lot of engineered precious gemstones for much less, and again, they’re harder than real stones.

  12. sad dog blues :

    My dog passed away suddenly a few months ago, and my DH and I recently adopted a new dog. I thought I was ready for a new pup, and was the driving force behind the decision to adopt her, but it has not been going well for me. I get home from work every night and sit there wondering what the hell I’ve done. While she’s still a puppy with a lot to learn, she doesn’t have any issues that wouldn’t be solved with time, maturity, and continued training. This is 100% a me problem: it turns out I wasn’t ready for a new dog in my life and now that I have one, I don’t want her.

    DH adores her, but he knows I’ve been struggling. I also made a commitment to take care of this little life and I take that seriously, no matter how I feel about it. But I can barely handle the thought of getting through another week, much less 10-15 more years. I’m trying to do all the right things to bond with her, but it’s not helping. Is this something I need to give more time? I’ve always had so much judgment towards people who voluntarily re-home pets, but returning her to the rescue is the only other option. I do think it’s relevant that she came from a small, private, no-kill, foster-based rescue—she’d go right back to her foster family and I think there’s a good chance they would adopt her permanently.

    I don’t even know what I’m asking. I can’t believe that I’m on the verge of talking to DH about re-homing her, but I don’t know how long it’s reasonable to keep trying when a having a pet is making me so miserable, even though it’s through no fault of her own. I don’t even know if DH would agree to re-home her; we’ve talked a lot but I haven’t managed to make myself admit to him that in my heart of hearts, I want to give her back.

    • sad dog blues :

      Sorry for the novel. And reading over it, I’m sure I’ll get flamed, but I promise nothing you can say to me is worse than all of things I’ve been saying to myself

      • I volunteer for a rescue and the last thing we want is for a dog to go to a home where the dog won’t be fully loved by all household members. Keep in mind however, if you return the dog to the rescue, you’ll probably end up on a do not adopt list. That said, returning to the rescue is the right thing to do if you don’t want the dog.

        • Upon reading the comments below, I agree that this is pretty harsh for your husband since he has bonded with the dog already. I really like the idea of thinking of her as DH’s dog.

          Can you pinpoint exactly what it is about the dog that you can’t deal with? Like, that’s a pretty extreme reaction to a new puppy.

          • sad dog blues :

            I think the main issue is that I didn’t give myself enough time to grieve my old dog. We were so weirded out by the empty house that we started looking for new dogs; we met a few, and then I freaked out and decided it wasn’t the right time; we already had an appointment to meet this little girl and decided not to cancel it, and then after three weeks of flip-flopping I decided to move forward with the adoption. DH put the decision 100% in my hands, since the dog that died was very much my dog, not our dog–he loved her, obviously, but I’d had her for years before we ever met.

            I think it turns out that I just don’t have the emotional energy or space to give that this dog needs, and because of DH’s schedule there is unfortunately no way for him to handle more of the day-to-day logistics of dog ownership.

          • I agree with the outsourcing recommendations below, but you also HAVE to talk to your husband. Like now. I am sure he wants to know if you are struggling.

          • sad dog blues :

            He knows. I sobbed on him for half an hour last night. Before then, I think he thought it was the behavioral stuff, but he knows where I’m at a little more right now. I didn’t tell him I wanted to send her back, though.

    • I mean this gently, but I don’t quite understand what’s going on here. It doesn’t sound like grief over your old dog. “But I can barely handle the thought of getting through another week, much less 10-15 more years,” sounds like there might be something you should look into on your own. Would getting rid of the dog help whatever the problem is or will you still be struggling with this without the dog?

      • sad dog blues :

        I specifically meant getting through more time with the new dog. She’s a puppy, so having her in the house is unavoidably time and energy intensive–I can’t and won’t just ignore her.

        • So it sounds like you’re stuck doing a lot of the training and care for the new puppy, that you’re not ready to do. Can you have a dog sitter or dog trainer take care of the dog for an hour when you get home? Can DH modify his work schedule so he’s able to get home before you and receive the normal puppy reaction of OMG SOMEBODY IS HOME AND I AM SO EXCITED TO SEE THEM?

        • adult dogs for lyfe :

          And this is why I will go to my grave advocating for adult dog adoptions. Puppies are a LOT of work. Granted, so is my senior, but it’s different and you don’t have to adopt an ancient senior dog with health problems like me LOL

          Plenty of young adult dogs out there that people have no problem bonding with.

          Not that any of this helps you now.


          • Yep. Adult dogs are THE BEST. I love love love dogs and would adopt 20 adult dogs if my husband would let me but I would never adopt a puppy. So much work.

          • sad dog blues :

            Former dog was adopted as an adult. Current dog is 8 months, so she’s not a baby-baby. We were specifically NOT looking for a puppy but it just kind of happened.

          • AnonMidwest :

            A million agreements. I’ve only puppy sat. All my own dogs have been at least a year old. So much easier. Not that there aren’t challenges, but the puppy part isn’t one.

            The puppy I sat was super cute, for the few days. But oh my god. Both my dog and I needed a vacation when she went home.

    • I don’t think you should rehome her unless she is doing something wrong or is interfering with your life in some way. If you’ve simply not been able to bond with her, can’t you just think of her as DH’s dog? Dogs aren’t children, it’s ok if they have a much closer relationship with one parent. This is his dog, and when you’re ready to open your heart to a new dog, you can get a dog that will have a special bond with you.

      And please don’t just think about this in terms of whether or not it would be cruel to the dog. It would be cruel to your DH too. He has also suffered a loss and has found happiness with this new pup, to even ask him to consider rehoming her (in the absence of bad behavior on the dog’s part or a lack of responsibility for the dog on his part) is pretty cruel, in my opinion.

      And fwiw, I think time will probably heal a lot of this. A few months is a really short amount of time in terms of grief from losing a beloved pet. I wouldn’t begin to suspect this is a permanent issue until it’s been a year since you lost your dog. I’m sorry for your loss.

      • +1

        It’s DH’s dog. When you’re ready in another year or two you can re-open the idea of more attachment with the dog. Don’t make him give back a dog he adores because you are still grieving your other dog.

        • Just wanted to chime in that I’ve had this problem before. Part of it is just a commitment issue I think (for me, anyway). For every pet I’ve gotten, I’ve mentally done the math on their life expectancy plus my age and panicked. I also freaked out when moving in with Mr. AIMS and with certain other life events. I think it’s normal.

          I would give it time without putting pressure on yourself to love this dog or think of it as a replacement for your old pup. And agree that thinking of it as husband’s dog is a great idea. We have a dog and I spent the first year thinking pretty much “not my dog, I’m getting a cat as soon as we move and have some extra space” and now he is my little buddy and I wouldn’t trade him for the world. And even if that didn’t happen, he brings so much joy to the other members of our family that I can’t imagine our life without him.

      • sad dog blues :

        I wish it were as simple as making her DH’s dog, because it would make everything a lot easier. (She already likes him more, which is fine, since half the time I can barely pet her without crying.) But because of our respective work schedules, 75% of dog care is always going to fall on me–I do morning walks and breakfast, I get home first so I handle afternoon walks, dinner, and entertaining the pup until DH gets home 3-4 hours later. He’d do more if he could but he can’t. She’s sweet and smart and silly, but she also requires a lot of work on some things. It should be work that I’m happy to put in, and to be clear I do the work, but my heart’s not in it and it’s getting to the point where I don’t even want to be at home, because I have to be working so hard on this dog that I don’t want.

        My concern with just giving it another year is that DH is only going to be more attached by then, and she’ll be harder to adopt since she won’t be a puppy anymore. Her foster family also was on the verge of adopting her when our application came through–her foster mom cried when we did the handoff, and I’m almost positive that if we returned her to the rescue they’d permanently adopt her. That option may not be there in a year. And I know it would be cruel to DH, which is why I haven’t talked to him about it, but I also don’t feel like the current situation is sustainable. Is there an option C that I’m missing?

        • Outsource the dog care? But really you need to talk to him and let him know that it’s hard for you taking care of this dog. Then he can figure out if he wants to outsource, rearrange his own schedule or consider rehoming the dog. But I wouldn’t pitch it to him as “we need to rehome the puppy” – I’d say “it’s painful for me spending so much time with the puppy, we need to figure out how we can work out a schedule so I’m not doing the majority of the care.”

          Only you know your husband, but my husband and I were incredibly bonded to our dog within days. It wouldn’t have been appreciably worse if we’d had to give her up after a year vs after a few months, so I’m not sure that’s a good argument for not waiting. And I really think time will help.

        • Outsourcing some of it. You are struggling right now- what would you do if you were struggling in a different way (i.e. what if you broke your leg.) How would you and your husband handle that. Morning walk seems like the easiest thing to give to your husband- give him morning walk and breakfast. Can you hire someone to come in the afternoon and do the afternoon walk, dinner, and a little attention on a day or two a week?

          • This. If you happen to live in my neighborhood, my puppy-obsessed tween daughter will happily come over to entertain your dog whenever you want.

          • sad dog blues :

            He has a really weird schedule. I wish there was flexibility, but please believe me when I say that there isn’t. I’ll talk to him about adding a dog walker.

        • Someone else mentioned it above, but yes, Option C is to hire a dog trainer and/or dog walker. Option C may also include doggie daycare during the day so Pup can have some interaction with other people and dogs and burn off energy playing.

          • has an in-home daycare option, walkers, and daycare in someone else’s home. We did this with our puppy. He’d have a couple walks during the day, lots of playtime, and come home happy and tired.

        • I don’t think you should give it a year, but I think you should give it a month or two and hire help in the interim.

          This same exact thing happened to my parents. My mom could have written this post. For context, their first dog was definitely “my mom’s dog”. He was also so easy- docile and well behaved with minimal training from the time he was a puppy. Housebroken in a week, great on a leash, never chewed, bit, stole food, or dug anything up. Happy to take a walk but mostly likely to snuggle.

          After he passed away, they similarly adopted another puppy shortly afterwards.

          The new puppy was A Lot. High energy, smart, stubborn, with classic puppy behaviors (terrible on a leash, chewing, stealing things we were using, not good with other dogs, etc.). All totally normal puppy stuff but because compared to their first dog, he was so much work, and because they got him while they were still grieving, it was just a lot for my mom.

          My mom was the primary caretaker of their dogs because my dad travels. To top off all of the work of this new dog, he was definitely “my dad’s dog.” He adored my dad, and my dad got a huge kick out of how mischievous he was and enjoyed training him because it was challenging.

          It was not easy for my mom to be alone with this raging puppy who liked my dad better during the week. She honestly stuck it out because my dad really enjoyed the dog.

          And you know what? He got better with some training and age (although he was always a bit of a pest mostly because it got a rise out of my parents). It took a few months but my mom eventually loved the new dog so much that when he died, she refused to get another one. His death broke her heart and she said he’s “irreplaceable” because he was so much fun and had so much personality.

          I just want to offer the counter perspective – it feels insurmountable right now, but if you get a little bit of help, and get past the true puppy phase, it could get better.

          • sad dog blues :

            Thanks for the perspective, it’s helpful to hear. Our dog doesn’t sound anywhere near as difficult as your parents’ second puppy–she has her issues, and sometimes they can be extremely frustrating to deal with, but she’s smart and food-motivated enough to have been very trainable so far. Her difficulties are more around being anxious and nervous. She was okay the first few days, but has started pacing around the house whining and barking periodically whenever someone is home and not actively paying attention to her.

          • Anonymous :

            It sounds like she needs more walks and play time based on that description.

          • Adding from my parents’ experience. When their last dogs died, my dad insisted they would NEVER get another dog. My mom finally wore him down (she wages quiet, collegial sieges), but he swore that it was her dog, he would never be seen with it outside. He eventually bonded so much with the dog that my mom would get jealous.

            I know how you feel–we took a full year getting our latest dog after our first dog died (he’d been my dog before I met my husband, and I would just burst into tears at random moments). But I think if you can outsource some of the care and give it some time, I’d hope you could bond with the dod.

          • Yes, exactly this! OP, you said you got the first dog as an adult, so you don’t have a “puppy baseline” and are comparing the new 8-month old puppy (the most challenging puppy age in my experience, when the eagerness to please is lower and the drive to do new things at 100 miles per hour is still very high) to how your adult dog behaved. With all the grief/loss feelings still locked up inside you, no less. I’m sorry you have to deal with this, and this is a lot to handle if your husband is not around as much. You need to cut yourself some slack about the way you feel. It’s okay to feel this way.

            That said, the above example shows that these feelings can pass. In the meantime, can you guys come up with some money to throw at the problem while you wait for the dog to get older/calmer and easier to enjoy? Doggy daycare is what I’d do in your shoes. Put the dog into a reputable place 3-4 days a week and you will have an exhausted and happy puppy when you pick her up. From my own puppy’s experience, she may even be calmer/better behaved because older dogs teach puppies manners in a way humans can’t. And then do a training class with her and your husband on the weekends, maybe? That’s a good way to bond.

          • sad dog blues :

            Thanks, all. We had a summit via 8 million text messages and have signed up for obedience classes starting this weekend, and she’ll also start going to daycare twice a week. My DH is working different shifts next week so he’ll be home in the afternoons. Hopefully that will give me some breathing room.

    • I’m sorry you’re feeling this way. I felt similarly for a week or so when I rescued my current dog, but the swirl of emotions passed and now I can’t imagine not having him. How recent was this? Can DH shoulder most of the puppy care burden while you process your emotions?

      • sad dog blues :

        It was recent–about a week and a half.

        • Oh honey, give it a little bit of time. Puppies are exhausting, plus you’re not totally ready. It took me maybe 4 or 5 months to feel like I couldn’t live without the new dog, but after probably a few weeks I started to soften towards the idea of him. I agree with others about outsourcing as much of this as possible until you’re ready to deal with it. My husband bonded with our dog more or less immediately, and I know it would have really hurt him to send the dog back. You may have been ready for the idea of having another dog, but not the reality. Plus, you have a puppy and all the work that entails. Everything you say seems to suggest that this is temporary and will pass.

        • A week and a half?!?! Omg. Get therapy. You’re overwhelmed by grief. You can’t pat a puppy you’ve had for a week and a half without crying? There is something wrong that therapy can fix.

    • How long have you had this puppy? What are her specific behavioral issues?

      I know I will get tons of vicious criticism for sharing my story, but I feel it’s important for you to hear the other side. We returned a dog that didn’t work out about two years after we adopted her because after much training she was a safety threat to our young child and I didn’t feel safe around her either. In hindsight, we knew very early on that this dog was never meant to do anything but hunt and was not suitable as a family pet FOR ANYONE (not just for us), but we had such a sense of obligation that we did not consider returning her an option until the situation became downright dangerous. We poured thousands of dollars and countless hours into training, doggy day care, dog walkers, etc. with no effect. Instead of becoming a member of our family as previous dogs had been, the dog was a constant source of stress and made our lives utterly miserable. After we finally returned her, we felt such a sense of relief and our quality of life improved immeasurably. We later found out that other dogs from the litter had been returned for the same reason, and it took the rescue more than two years to find another home for this dog due to her behavioral issues. We will probably never be able to adopt another dog, but that’s a small price to pay and we are so scarred by this experience that we may never want another dog again anyway, despite the fact that we are lifelong dog lovers (I even competed in obedience trials with a previous dog).

      TL/DR: If you have a bad feeling about this dog, get out now before it ruins your life.

      • This is totally different than OP’s situation. There’s no young child in the picture that she has to protect. The dog has no behavioral issues other than normal puppy stuff that she will grow out of. And the husband clearly loves the dog, while your whole family was in agreement about returning your dog. Not even remotely comparable.

    • I’m so sorry! I can relate. After our dog(s) passed, my husband just wasn’t ready for another dog. After a few years, we started fostering for a rescue (well, I did. Technically, my husband didn’t really agree to it. That’s a different post, lol). I was so excited to have a dog again but I was surprised at how much grief it brought up for me. I’d look at the foster dog and think, “You are a perfectly lovely dog, but I would really just like MY dog back, please!” Tears were shed. I would try to give yourself (and the dog) some time. Try to appreciate this dog for it is. If your husband is supportive, see if he’ll take on more of the “work” with the dog so you can focus on just the fun stuff with it. You may not have the same kind of love/relationship with this dog that you had with your previous one, and that’s ok. Give this relationship time to find its own shape. It will still bring you something of value. Again, I’m sorry … it’s hard, I know.

    • Echoing everyone else that it would be helpful if you gave us some concrete things about the dog that are making you so unhappy.

      And fwiw, I love dogs and really wanted a dog, and got a lab puppy about a year ago. Even though I was 100% on board with dog ownership, it was still exhausting and hard having a lab puppy. He’s a good dog and never does anything wrong, but it’s just a lot of work! And now he’s 1.5 years old and life is a lot easier.

      And general advice – Tim Ferriss has a great podcast with Susan Garrett, a dog trainer, from November 2016. It’s very very good and I recommend it to everyone who wants to understand dogs better and improve their communication/relationship with their dog.

    • Maybe you feel that you were rushed through grieving, and feel that you weren’t given time to recover at all from your loss. We adopted two young cats 3 months after losing our old cat that I was extremely attached to. DH pushed for this and I made myself do it. I cried some of the time with them- easier with cats because I know they didn’t pick up on it as long as I kept playing with them! Donating to the shelter where we got our first cat, and doing some other things to help me grieve, made it better for me. I’d suggest continuing to grieve and talk to your husband about your loss, while taking care of the pup. I had to realize I could do both, and reason with myself that loving the new animals in no way decreased my love for my old cat.

      • I went through exactly this after we adopted a pet a year after another had died. I would sit on our balcony and cry because I didn’t want him to know that I didn’t want him. My husband and I agreed I would give it one week where every day I would just decide “I adore this creature” and pretend — sort of the “fake it till you make it” approach. After a week I didn’t dislike him, and then after a second week he and I had really bonded and now he is very much my pet.
        A week and a half isn’t a long time — you spent more time debating the adoption in the first place — so I would give it a couple of weeks of just pretending and see how you’re feeling after that.

        • Yes! I did this too when I found a new puppy a little annoying and needy. I hugged and kissed him daily and then he became my soulmate.

    • Give it time. When I lost the dog love of my life and got a puppy after that, I couldn’t tell the new dog I loved him for about a year. I was able to have my husband do most of the puppy work and that helped, because I just wasnt interested and just wanted my boy back. Now, he will be 6 years old and I love him almost as much as my other boy, and I feel great about that. I am not saying it will take 6 years, but it did take about a year or so. But, definitely, definitely worth it.

    • Arg! Comment got eaten. Basically, this “I promise nothing you can say to me is worse than all of things I’ve been saying to myself” isn’t helping. Be kind to yourself. You are not a terrible person.

      I also wanted to say that though I absolutely totally and with my entire soul LOVE my dog now, when I adopted her as an 8 week old puppy 7 years ago there was a period of at least a month where I would look at her and just think “Oh god what have I done?” I wasn’t prepared for how much work she would be and couldn’t shake the feeling that I was doing everything wrong. Plus she had annoying puppy habits. If I had been grieving over losing another dog, I’m sure that feeling would have been worse.

    • I’m going to echo the suggestion to find a good dog trainer – ideally someone who will come to your home and work with all of you. Every dog is different and your relationship with every dog will be different. A good trainer should be able to walk you through this adjustment. And, a good dog trainer will also help you make the transition should you make a joint decision not to keep the dog.

      My own personal experience does not parallel yours, but I do recall having a tear-filled conversation in the bathroom over our newly-adopted dog. We got a trainer and I also remember saying something about how felt annoyed we needed a “dog therapist”. Fast forward 2 years…. pup is our best friend and buddy. I credit our dog trainer with training us to be better pet parents :)

    • Wildkitten :

      I am so sorry that you lost your pup and that you are going through this. I think you will be okay. Having a new dog is HARD. It’s HARD. Even if you wanted this dog more than anything, you’re not going to feel that way when s/he gets an upset tummy all over your kitchen floor (ask me how I know.) A good dog trainer and some time will help with the adjustment. Anyone who thinks a new puppy is ever easy has never had a new puppy.

    • 1 – Tell your husband how you’re feeling. For all you know, he’s feeling the same way, but has been trying not to add to your stress. Tell him you’re having second thoughts and wondering if adopting her was the right thing to do. But definitely don’t let a dog keep you from being 100% honest with your husband.

      2 – It is OK to rehome her. It really is. Not all situations are the right ones and you don’t have to meet certain requirements. Essentially you have fostered her for a few weeks, to determine if she was the right fit. She wasn’t. It doesn’t make you a bad pet owner, it’s just the facts of the situation.

      3 – We also got a new puppy right after our first dog died. The difference in feeling was remarkable. The first dog was a member of the family, the second dog was…just a dog. We love her, and we enjoy having a dog, but at the end of the day, she’s not THAT dog (which seems to come just once in a lifetime, I think). If you can lower your expectations to having a dog that really is just a dog, that might help you.

      • sad dog blues :

        We’ve talked, and we are definitely not on the same page about the feelings. My dog that died was THAT dog for me–I can’t imagine that I’ll ever find another dog like her, and I knew that going in, but I guess it’s different to know it intellectually and experience it emotionally. She was the kind of dog that avowed cat people, and even a few people with lifelong fears of dogs, loved. She never put a toe out of line in all the years that I had her.

        I guess reading all of these comments has made me realize that I need to try harder and give it more time, even though that’s the last thing in the world I want to do right now. But thank you for the perspective that it’s okay to look at re-homing if it really doesn’t work out. She’d go back to the rescue with a new skillset and useful life experiences.

  13. I need help coming up with a sign for my closed door that makes clear when my colleagues should feel free to interrupt me vs. when I am pumping and they should come back in 15 min/ send me an email. I close my door from time to time when I need quiet to work, but my very considerate colleagues seem to err on the side of caution and wont interrupt/ knock in case I am pumping. My door locks, so there is no chance of them accidentally walking in on me while I’m pumping. I’m thinking I can have two signs and hang whichever one applies. Any ideas for something simple (and not cutesy)?

    • I had a sign similar to a hotel door tag that said, “Please do not disturb” in large bold print. Underneath, in smaller print, it said, “My door will be open in a little while.” I would put up the sign ONLY when I was pumping. (I also locked my office door.)

    • I bought a small whiteboard and I write, “Available at 11:15” or whatever. I do not write on it when I have my door closed for something else (like eating lunch), so people are aware that they can knock at that time. That has worked really well.

      • Oh, and obviously I meant the time I write is when I will be all done with pumping (usually with a few extra minutes – I’d rather open my door early than late).

        I really, really did not want a sign with a cow on it.

    • I think “please do not disturb” to put up when you’re pumping and “please come in” when you’re working should do the trick.

      Can you start to leave your door cracked when you’re working in quiet and only shut it all the way when you’re pumping? That would help too if it still allows you to work.

    • “No interruptions, please.”

      “Interruptions welcome – please come in”

    • I put a sign on my door that said–please do not disturb, come back in 15 minutes. Which everyone knew meant I was pumping. Another co-worker literally put a picture of a cow on her door.

  14. racist comments? :

    I’m faced with an uncomfortable situation. A subordinate has said a couple of things that I am afraid are racist, but I’m not sure if I’m being overly sensitive. For the record, I am white and this person reports to me. They are white and the group is about evenly split. This person recounted a story and talked about being called a racist for breaking up a fight between two black people. The next day they talked about having to help “black ladies” do something at another job. I feel like both comments were unnecessary to the overall stories/comments and they just left me feeling uneasy but I’m not sure if they were outright wrong. Should I call this person out? Has anyone dealt with this before?

    • Anon in NYC :

      The first story seems fine to me, assuming that’s what it is. The issue of the race of the two people who were fighting is relevant for saying that somebody called you racist. It’s a weird story to tell, but I wouldn’t automatically think the person is racist for relaying it.

      The second story sounds like it was completely unnecessary for them to mention the women’s race. I’m not really sure that I would automatically leap to thinking that they’re racist, but it’s something that I would note and keep an eye on in the future if it becomes an issue or is repeated. I don’t think that you should address this as a manager yet.

  15. I’m in my last year of law school, about to start at a pretty conservative firm. Dress over the summer was business formal and modest. Most of the women wore heels, but not higher than 3 inches. No cleavage, and sheath dresses were popular but they were still modest. Makeup was common, but not anything dramatic (so no red lips or heavy eye shadow). I felt like the “dress to look put together but not to leave a statement” rang true with my firm’s fashions.

    I recently went to a business formal dinner where firms bought tables. The audience skewed younger since it was for graduating law students and alums. I wore a black sheath dress with a dark blazer, and I was definitely on the conservative end of the fashion spectrum. A lot of the women wore solid, bright color sheath dresses that were knee length but very form fitting (like I wondered if they could wear underwear with it) without blazers. The heels were higher and there was a lot of red lipstick. Overall I felt like most of the women were much more “done up” than I was. I am not criticizing their looks at ALL; I had major dress envy and would dress like that for a cocktail party or wedding. It just seemed to be a different interpretation of business formal than I had seen at my firm or my work before law school, though I had been in a different field. I always thought s*x appeal was a major no-no in professional fashion.

    All of this is to say I don’t really think I know what business formal means. Can others give their input on what it means to them? Would these looks be okay for office wear, or was it only okay because it was an evening event? Are there any hard rules?

    As an aside, this event was a week ago, and I’ve been pondering it since. Incidentally, last night I was binge watching the West Wing (as one does) and there was a scene in season 4 where Donna has to tell Toby’s new assistant to dress more professionally and wear less makeup because wrap dresses are not okay, but pant suits are. After attempting to give some awkward advice, Donna gives up, saying to the woman that she appreciates that her fashion is her own and doesn’t conform to the office’s “rules.” That scene, in tandem with my similar confusion as to what constitutes business formal over a decade later, prompted this post!

    • get off my lawn! :

      Keep wearing what you wore over the summer and what other attorneys at your firm wear. Don’t change that based on what other young people’s ideas of office fashion are because from your description, it’s not and it certainly doesn’t fit with your firm’s culture and dress code.

      You’re doing what you should be doing, matching your firm and the other attorneys there. When you are more senior you can start being bold with colors and all of that, but just say no to bodycon dresses at work forever.

    • Are you sure the table people were lawyers? We often use marketing as table-fillers when we are obligated to buy a table at something. Marketing dresses differently.

      IMO, most female lawyers dress appropriately for being female lawyers while at work. No one who has any seniority wears heels over 3″ during the day. That’s a very junior look to me.

    • ponte python's flying circus :

      Caveat that I’m still figuring out what business formal means, but my general rule of thumb is that I don’t want other people to notice me for what I’m wearing; there’s a difference between looking professional and dressing in a way that attracts attention in and of itself. I think you’re absolutely right that the form-fitting + high heels + red lipstick, even if not s*xily inappropriate, was on the ‘look at this outfit’ end of the spectrum, and almost certainly okay only because it was an evening event. If you’re more comfortable on the conservative end of business formal, even at a dinner event, go with that! It’ll reflect in your ability to carry yourself and relax and hold professional conversations.

    • Well, Nikki Haley wore a wrap dress to address the UN yesterday, which I think underscores the idea that there are few hard and fast rules. But when you are junior, it is always safest to skew conservative.

    • I think that it’s possible that 1) people were dressed a little bit more brightly because it was an evening event (my default day to night thing when coming from the office is to wear a little more make up and, specifically, bright lipstick), and 2) you were at an event with students and young grads. With few exceptions, in my workplace, higher heels, noticeable makeup and form fitting is the province of very junior people, and mostly interns at that. It sounds like you have a good handle on your firm’s culture so I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Every workplace is different.

    • Marshmallow :

      I’ll play. I work in Biglaw, albeit not at a firm with a reputation for being particularly conservative. “Business formal” to me means a suit or a dark dress/blazer combo. That’s what I’d wear for, say, a deposition. Everyday at the office is on the formal end of business casual: colored dress/blazer, pants and a sweater, a nicer dress without a blazer, etc. For an evening event I might wear a brighter color, put on a brighter lipstick, and/or lose the jacket.

      It sounds like what you wore for your internship and what you’re planning to go wear when you go back to the firm is just right. Take your cues from the midlevel associates (think years 3-6). They are senior enough to know the ropes, but not so senior they’ve “earned” the right to break the rules.

      • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

        Completely agree with Marshmallow. This is a know your office thing.

        FWIW, I am on the West Coast, and we (as in men and women) typically don’t wear suits even for depositions! Both myself and more senior women wear bright colors, high heels, and bright makeup to work. But some women wear jeans most days and sneaker like shoes. It is a whatever goes kinda place. But my office sounds much much different than yours.

    • It sounds like you’re dressing correctly for your position and your firm’s culture. To me “business formal” is exactly what you describe. However, for an evening event, even one with a “business formal” dress code, it’s normal for some people to switch into brighter colors, bigger heels, a brighter lipstick, and/or more noticeable jewelry (hopefully not all of the above at the same time). And, yes, some of the people there may not have been attorneys who adhere to a “business formal” dress code day-to-day and did their best with what was in their closet.

    • Just writing to say I’d love a discussion on WW fashion. I’m watching the show for the first time now and am so intrigued by CJ’s pantsuits and other sartorial choices.

      • When that show was new I tried to emulate CJ’s look. It did not work because I am definitely not “five foot twelve,” as Allison Janney puts it.

      • My go to winter outfit for when I am sartorially uninspired is a pencil skirt and turtleneck sweater, which I call my Donna Moss outfit.

  16. Swimming at work? :

    I’m probably overthinking this, but would you swim laps in the hotel pool wearing a one piece competition style swim suit while on a work trip where your coworkers were in the same hotel? Obviously wear clothes when going back to your room etc.

    I was thinking that going to the gym would be perfectly fine, but this could be more iffy.

    • Yes. In case a colleague came down for the same purpose, I would probably leave a towel or wrap poolside/on a chair nearby to put on immediately after exiting the pool instead of just leaving my towel in the change room.

    • BeenThatGuy :

      Absolutely. As long as you are covered going to and from the pool, I wouldn’t even think twice about it.

    • I wouldn’t but I travel with people who do – and I’ve never seen then bc if I’m not swimming, I’m not anywhere near the pool (make sure it isn’t an outdoor pool w their rooms looking out over it or something) and obv don’t be in a swimsuit anywhere besides the pool – where gym clothes on top of it to/from the pool bc you know you’ll run into someone in an elevator or lobby.

    • Marshmallow :

      Totally fine. I work out in leggings at hotel gyms with coworkers in the same hotel, I don’t see how this is any different.

      • Um, because way more skin is exposed? I’m not saying OP shouldn’t swim if she wants to, but a one piece bathing suit is not at all comparable to leggings.

        • Marshmallow :

          But it’s appropriate to the activity she’s doing, just like leggings are appropriate for the treadmill.

          • Swimming at work? :

            Yeah this is exactly what I thought – it’s appropriate to what I’d be doing. Maybe they won’t even recognize me with the swim cap and goggles

        • Unless she is walking around the hotel corridors without a coverup, the only co-workers who see her in her swimsuit will also be wearing swimsuits. So not a problem.

          Hotel workouts are totally fine even if colleagues are also working out. It’s part of life on the road. Just don’t be like my husband’s former boss who ostentatiously performed a tai chi routine in a very visible location where literally hundreds of people could not avoid seeing him one morning during a conference.

    • I agree you are fine. You should be able to swim, and it’s smart to wear a 1 piece suit, b/c that way, you can NOT be accused of showing to much off as you would with a bikini. The manageing partner has swim parties and he does NOT care what I wear, but I know he does prefer me in a bikini b/c some of his freinds like me for my look’s, tho I am OVER 35, so they can NOT expect to much any more from me. Beside’s, I am a PARTNER, and am not being paid for my look’s anyway! FOOEY on men that do not want to understand that. I am so much more than a tuchus and boobies.

    • I would do this and wouldn’t think twice.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I’ve done it, and I have seen coworkers do it. Doesn’t phase me. The caveat is it’s usually at trials, when you’re away from home for weeks on end and everyone is much more casual.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      I do this, both in a one-piece and a two-piece sports suit. I have never thought twice about it. I typically wear one of the hotel robes or several towels to cover up between pool and room. I don’t see a need to get my clothes all wet/chlorine-y.

    • I just had a flashback….. My last position had a tradition of a “pool party” at the house of the director that hired the new group each year. I…. who doesn’t even own a pair of shorts…. was pretty stunned to see several of the young women hires from my “class” in bikinis jumping into the pool. Just…. such a no no no no. Many men (and myself!) couldn’t help but stare.

      You really do not want your colleagues to have a flashback of you in a bikini when they look at you at work.

      To the OP, I think you will be fine. But I would never do it. That’s my own insecurity and very strict standards of how I want people to see me at work. I am in a very male dominated industry.

      I also wouldn’t want to see my male colleagues in their swim suits either!

      • Anonymous :

        But a party is very different from swimming laps for a workout. OP’s not proposing to wear a fashion bikini, and she won’t be “jumping” into the pool. OP, unless you know a coworker is also a swimmer, the odds are no one will see you. Especially if you are wearing goggles and a cap I cannot imagine anyone would think twice about it. Wear a coverup while travelling to and from the pool and enjoy your workout!

  17. AEK going out :

    Where can I get a couple of “going out” shirts? For my late-30s toddler-having lifestyle, this means an occasional bar with friends or dinner out with husband. I’d prefer high quality (but not designer) to fast fashion ; I get out so infrequently that I’m not worried about repeating.

    Specific tops that you love are also welcome— I am S/M, not at all busty, midriff is slightly roll-y, and I’m self-conscious about my upper arms but I’m always cold anyway so usually wear at least a short sleeve.

    • ponte python's flying circus :

      Are you me?! We’re even the same shape. I don’t care if it looks dated, the fitted, short-sleeved peplum top is my friend. I need to follow this thread. My only bright idea at the moment is to stalk Anthropologie sales…

    • I bought two tops recently that I LOVE.

      This one:

      and this one:

      I wear the second one to work also – it’s so interesting. I get lots of compliments.

      • Love that first top. Does it run small? I have no chest (32A) but am pear shaped and am trying to figure out if I should get an XS or S….

        • It’s snug, but it’s supposed to be. I have no chest either (32 or 34A), but I am more of a straight down gal. I am 5’4″ if that helps. I got the XS. I think the small might have been too big in the bust. Get both and return the one that doesn’t work – Nordstrom is free shipping and free returns! :)

          • Thanks!

          • I think we have similar taste.

            What do you wear the off the shoulder top with? I really like it but am not sure what types of jeans it would go with. I think I’d feel like I was wearing too many tight-ish pieces if I wore it with a pair of black skinny jeans.

          • I usually wear it with rockstar skinnies. I think it would look great with black skinnies also.

            Depending on where we were going for date night, I might also pair it with a leather/faux leather pencil skirt. It would also look great with one of those puffy black tulle skirts that are popular with bloggers, but I don’t think I could ever pull that off!

    • Marshmallow :

      I have this body type, too! I’ve had good luck at Asos and COS (I know, fast fashion, sorry). Look for interesting necklines on dark-colored shirts. I have also worn my black silk Everlane button-down out, one more button undone than I’d usually wear and with a pretty necklace.

      I’m just drooling at this point for budget reasons, but you should also check out MM LaFleur. Although they’re known for work options, they have some very pretty draped tops out for spring.

    • Wildkitten :

      I recently had to buy similar tops and I went to Nordstrom Rack and went digging.

  18. Any suggestions for things to do on the Big Island? DH and I have never been to Hawaii, and have been so busy at work that we haven’t had a lot of time to research activities. We are in our early 40s, no kids, and are heading there next week.

    • Where are you staying?
      Kahaluu Beach Park has terrific snorkeling. Volcanoes National Park deserves the better part of a day. If the lava is flowing there are boat tours and helicopter tours to see it that I think would be really cool. Pololu Valley Overlook is really pretty.
      I really like the Big Island Revealed guidebook, except for restaurant recs (stick to Yelp for those).

      • We’re staying at the Mauna Lani Bay (Kohala Coast). Thanks for these suggestions!

        • Ekaterin Nile :

          I stayed at the Mauna Lani in October 2014! DH and I loved it. Early 40s and no kids. The resort has snorkeling gear and bikes available for use.

          We went to Volcanoes National Park, did snorkeling right off hotel beach, and did a sunset and stargazing tour on Mauna Kea. Link for the Mauna Kea tour is those two words together dot com.

          Volcanoes National Park is at least a day–you want to see the volcano and there’s also hiking.

    • You will love the Big Island! The Kohala Coast is my favorite beachy area in Hawaii.

      As someone else mentioned, a helicopter tour when/if the lava is flowing is really cool. I also highly recommend going to the observatory at Mauna Kea. The stargazing is spectacular!

    • Anonymous :

      The Ocean Rider Seahorse Farm! It’s just outside of Kona in an industrial park area along the coast. They have all the seahorses and you even get to have one wrap their tail around your finger. It’s super awesome!

      • Anonymous :

        Wut??? OMG

      • Anonymous :

        Fwiw, that place bills itself as a “conservation” outlet, but almost all the seahorses they breed are sold into the pet industry. There’s an argument that this is a good thing – after all if people are buying farmed seahorses they aren’t buying endangered wild seahorses – but I think a better approach would be to educate people about why seahorses shouldn’t be kept as pets. I visited because my kid really wanted to, and the whole experience left me feeling pretty icky.

  19. Would taking a light-weight wool pant that is really a straight leg cut/length and hemming it to an ankle pant work? Or would the shape / cut look off?

    I’ve been looking for a light grey ankle pant and someone on this site pointed me to the Banana Republic lightweight wool pant in light grey. Ryan fit. Was on a great sale at 40% off so I ordered a couple sizes.

    I am a pear, so it isn’t perfect for my shape, but it is so hard to find a decent quality light grey pant that I am tempted to keep it. But even though I am 5′ 7″ it looks like a longish straight leg on me, not an ankle pant, and makes me look very dumpy. So either I send it back and keep looking, or I take it to the tailor and hem it. But I worry the straight leg cut through the leg will still wind up looking off/dumpy at ankle length too.

    Ever done this? What is your shape?

    Otherwise, still looking for light grey, biz casual appropriate, ankle pant. I am a high waisted pear. My best fitting pants are the curvy line skinny ankle pant at Loft, but they don’t have the color I need.

    • BR are so not worth that kind of investment. The tailoring will easily be $40 for that kind of alteration.

      For ankle pants, I like the Old Navy Pixie. I’m a pear and find that the stretch in them is super forgiving around my thighs. People here also recommend the Boden Richmond pants that are similar.

      • Shopaholic :

        I disagree. I would take it to a tailor you trust and get their honest opinion before you make a decision. FWIW, I regularly spend money to tailor clothes from places like BR/JCrew/Ann Taylor – yes it’s not cheap but most clothes don’t fit me well off the rack. I just add that expense into the mental calculation when deciding to purchase.

        • This is what I am thinking. Nothing ever fits me right off the rack, so it is always a struggle with…. can I get by with it? But really, I need to tailor everything.

          I’ve already gone the $300 Theory pant route and had them bungle the tailoring (waist) so I couldn’t ever wear them, so I am loathe to spend a lot on pants that need tailoring.

    • I’m a pear, same height, but I look like an ice cream cone in skinny ankles. It doesn’t look ok with heels or heeled boots at the current length?

      • Not really. Straight legs that are not ankle length, but are longer and go down to the foot with a break…. just…. no. Bad look for me. Bad with heels, dowdy with flats/loafers. Not sure why I dislike it so much.

        But an ankle pant that tapers too much on a me (pear shaped), I agree can be risky. So for me the perfect ankle pant skims the leg and tapers at the lower leg slightly but then ends with a little/tiny flare. That is enough visually to balance my hips. Looks best with a heel though.

    • I alter BR wool suiting pieces (generally also bought on 40% sale) all the time. I’m a fellow high-waisted pear (and partial to the Logans). Once altered, the pieces go into a magical realm of total perfection. If you have a good tailor, go, try on, bring the right shoes and just ask. One of the reasons I adore my tailor is that we both agree when something I think is good is just a “nope.” I have thought about cropping some Logans for spring but haven’t yet.

      Also, if you have the BR card, I believe that they will do hemming for free. [I frequently have to get the waists brought in on anything but the Logan.]

      • Thanks for this. I was thinking about getting the BR card, as it seems they sometimes give you discounts you can stack.

        I have never bought BR before, and am a bit surprised that while they have different pant styles/cuts, they don’t seem to carry the curvier Logan cut in a ankle length style. Only a more boot/flare cut. I guess that’s their way of reminding us what flatters a pear shape more!!! But I can’t be wearing heals all the time, so I appreciate the flexibility of an ankle pant that fits well.

        Interesting that you were considering cropping the Logan. Maybe that is the exchange I should make then…. return my Ryan straight legs…… as there is a nice grey Logan in the longer leg version.

  20. Conference & LinkedIn use — so I’m scheduled to attend a 4 day conference in an area of law that interests me that I used to work in tangentially for 5-7 yrs (think something specialized like tax litigation; but not super specialized like tax lit for sell side deals only). I was just an associate at the time that I left so it’s not like I have a whole lot of contacts in the area – despite having done the work – and the partners at my former firm are NOT networkers and would be less than helpful to a former associate who wants to go do that type of work someplace else (for lots of reasons – I live in a different city now; and more importantly it’s a small group of partners age 60+ who are looking forward to retiring and aren’t thinking of relationship development at their ages).

    So this conference attracts 50% attys, 50% business ppl and I assume I’ll know no one. Would it be appropriate to post on LinkedIn in – hey I’ll be at XYZ conference from April x-y, looking forward to connecting? (Or something stated better than that?)

    I feel like I’ve seen posters do that before though I feel like it’s people with tons of contacts in the space so they do actually get messages back saying – oh I’ll be there too, let’s get a drink on Friday. Whereas for me – I don’t know what my wording would be (bc I’m just hoping that my 1st degree connections will have some tips on who I should seek out) and I have no reason to believe there would be any yield. Just wanted to get the balling rolling a bit on networking – but not sure if I should bother. Thoughts?

    • Seems like an appropriate use of LinkedIn. Use the conference’s official hashtag too, and see if there are people posting about it on Twitter if you’re on there.

      If you’re worried about not getting responses, ask people in your post to message you if they’d like to meet up – that way if no one responds, people can’t tell.

  21. Wildkitten :

    I had a group interview with 8 people. Do I sent 8 separate thank you notes? Do they have to all be different? They were a wide variety of seniorities/positions at the organization.

    • 8 separate thank you emails. Change them slightly especially for coworkers that work closely together (i.e. both attorneys) but each should have a sentence or mention about something specific you talked about so no need to completely reinvent the wheel on them. Also i don’t know if you saw my response to you earlier- don’t hire a lawyer go through small claims court.

    • Anonymous :

      One email to all? Individual email to each? Not sure but interested to hear what others think.

    • Not sure what the right answer is but I’ll tell you what I did. I once had a ‘group’ interview that fluctuated from 4 to 8 other people in the room interviewing me, 13 by the end of the day. I sent individual ones to each of them.

    • I had a half day of interviews at a law firm in which I met with the managing partyer and 9 other lawyers in the practice group. I was casually interviewing and wasn’t really interested in the job so I only sent a thank you note to the managing partner. I ended up getting the job so I’m guessing they didn’t ding me for it.

  22. Puppy Help Needed :

    We are in SERIOUS need of puppy training help – where do we start??

    We adopted a French Bulldog puppy at 4 mos old and he is now nearly 8 months old. He came home from the breeder mostly paper trained – he uses his puppy pads with a few accidents per week IF he is in the same room as his puppy pad’s primary location. BUT if we allow him out of the family/kitchen area where his “spot” is, he will pee ANYWHERE – including MY BED WITH ME IN IT. Twice. He also doesn’t do his business outside while on walks (he will rush to his puppy pad spot when we get home to go). I have tried moving a puppy pad to where he is but he won’t use it.

    I also don’t know anything about training him to sit, heel, stay, drop it or other useful commands. Where do I start??? Obviously, the house training is the biggest problem right now. I (mistakenly) thought that since he was doing pretty well when we got him that the situation would gradually improve as we praised him for going outside, gave a firm “No” if we caught him in the act in the wrong place, etc but that hasn’t been the case.

    I can’t work, juggle kids and try to shove a king bed’s worth of bedding into the beleaguered washer every night :(

    • This may sound counter-intuitive, but I think you need to scrap the puppy pads – my guess would be that he’s confused about where he’s allowed to go (which should be ONLY outside) and where he’s not. I would try dedicating a weekend to trying to get him on track with house-training and starting from square one (confinement to a “safe” zone, taking him outside when it’s potty time and keeping him there until he pees, no matter how long it takes; and picking him up and running outside if he starts to go inside the house). I suspect that since he’s already part-way there, a focused few days of this will get him over the hump. But I think the puppy pads are holding you back and confusing him w/r/t the inside/outside distinction.

    • Anonymous :

      Stop using puppy pads and hire a dog trainer. They learn it’s okay to use the house as a bathroom and why wouldn’t they? They learn where to go to the bathroom by smell – outside it’s grass, trees, etc. They don’t have those smells inside, so it’s open bathroom season.

      Also, crate training and no sleeping in the bed until the bathroom issue is resolved.

      • Anonymous :

    • Anonymous :

      He thinks he is supposed to pee indoors on his puppy pad spot. I would get rid of the puppy pads and restrict him to a different room than the one with the puppy pad association. Take him out to a designated outdoor pee spot every 30 minutes and reward him with lavish praise and a treat if he goes. If he starts to go in the house, scoop him up, take him outside, and drop him in the pee spot. Use odor neutralizer on every place he has peed inside the house. Keep him crated in a crate of the appropriate size whenever he is not being supervised.

      For obedience training, we took a puppy kindergarten class through a reputable local kennel and practiced at home daily. If one of your kids is old enough and committed enough, a 4-H dog obedience project is another possibility.

    • My puppy also peed three times in my bed, also when he was about 8 months. I reverted to a strict crate training schedule. Looking back, I can see he was too young to have as much freedom as he did, so adding lots more structure (walks at the same time, meals at the same time, crate at the same time) to his little universe really helped.

      I also trained my dog to use bells on the back door to ask out. (He nudges them with his nose when he wants out. To teach him, I just nudged his nose to bells for the first few times. He got it within a week.) I like that these are Amish-made, but there are cheaper ones.

    • Anonymous :

      I have a French Bulldog. I trained her by taking the pee pad outside with us. After about 5-10 of these trips + lavish praise, she figured it out.

    • Wildkitten :

      You need a dog trainer. What city are you in?

    • We adopted our pup when she was 8 months old and she was not potty trained but learned very quickly. For the first week, we took turns sleeping with her leash around our wrists so we’d wake up when she needed to go. We then started teaching her to ring a bell on the door when she needed to go and she still does it. At first we kept her in the kitchen when we were out (crate didn’t work because of prior trauma) and then gave her more room as she proved herself.

  23. Bachelorette Party :

    Etiquette question: When going on a bachelorette weekend, is the bridal party supposed to pay for the bride’s portion of the hotel costs? I assumed that we would buy most if not all her drinks and things of that nature, but I honestly don’t know the “rule”. Does your answer change if there are four bridesmaids, one is in graduate school and one is recently graduated and hasn’t found a full time job? I think the per person cost for the weekend will be $500-ish, more for the people flying in less for those who are driving.

    • Anonymous :

      I have been invited to ones where everyone paid their own way and we treated the bride to a dinner and some drinks and also ones where the attendees (usually everyone invited to the bach, not just the bridal party) split the cost of the bride’s flight and hotels. With only four people, I would not expect to pay for any of the brides flight or hotels. Regardless, all that matters is what you can afford. If you’re the one in grad school or unemployed and this is stretching your budget, just say you can’t contribute.

      • Bachelorette Party :

        No, I am the maid of honor and am trying to figure out what is reasonable to put on the table as being possibly shared. I was leaning towards not mentioning paying for her hotel out of respect for the two others in the wedding party whose financial situation is tight. Thanks for the gut check! I think I’ll talk to everyone about going somewhere fancier for dinner one night and covering her share. I really like that idea.

      • +1 if the bride isn’t paying her own way, usually everyone who attends chips in for her, not just the bridal party.

        If the trip is only the 5 of you (4 bridal party and 1 bride), honestly, I would really expect the bride to pay for herself. If $500 for her share is being split 15 ways it’s not that big a deal to each individual, but splitting it 4 ways strikes me as unduly burdensome. If it’s only going to be split 4 ways, I would object. And that’s with a good job.

    • Anonymous :

      Hotel costs yes, flights no?

    • Wildkitten :

      I went to one recently and we paid for the bride (and I am unemployed.) It didn’t involve flying but it involved very expensive lodging and I’m not thrilled about it but hope to get a job soon so that it won’t matter to me either way in the end.

    • The rule is, don’t put your friends in awkward positions by sending them invoices to things they never said they would or could buy.

      Whomever planned this shindig should have arranged for the group to cover the bride’s costs beforehand. If one or more members couldn’t agree, then the idea ought to have been nixed. At this point, everyone who committed to going should, but no one should be asked to pay for anything or anyone other than themselves.

    • At most of the bachelorette parties I’ve been to or have been invited to, the attendees split the costs of the hotel and local transportation (but not flights) or AirBNB without the bride contributing, plus picked up dinner for the bride. In many places, once a bachelorette party goes out, guys will be more than happy to buy you drinks. I don’t know that there’s a hard “rule” though–usually, with a small party, the person planning the bachelorette takes into account what everyone can afford, what deals are available, etc.

      I can say I’ve never been to a bachelorette where we all paid full-price for a hotel–I’ve stayed on other bridesmaids’ floors and couches, in AirBNBs, in a bridesmaid’s family’s rustic cabin. The only times I’ve ever stayed at a hotel for a bachelorette party were where the MOH’s parents used points to pay for one night and where a bridesmaid had a nice employee discount for an awesome suite. So… I guess my point is, if some of the bridesmaids can’t afford it, rethink the bachelorette party — either simplify plans or open it up to more attendees to share the costs of an AirBNB or something.

    • My response is in moderation, but yes, at the ones I’ve been to, the attendees share the hotel and local transportation costs (but not flights) and a dinner for the bride.

      If some of the bridesmaids can’t afford the trip you’re planning, rethink the plans. It does not have to be an elaborate shindig that requires an entire weekend away. I’ve stayed on people’s floors and couches, in rustic cabins, in AirBNBs, etc. I’ve also been to plenty of Thursday-night-before-the-rehearsal-dinner parties.

    • Another anonymous judge :

      I am sorry I don’t have any advice for you.

      But, I can say this is one of the few times I don’t regret having been younger in a time when these sorts of events were not the norm that they seem to be now (at least as far as I can tell from reading this site).

      I feel for you younger ladies – weddings seem to be very burdensome for all concerned these days!

    • The bride shouldn’t pay anything for her bachelorette party. All bridesmaid and maybe everyone attending should split the brides costs evenly. If there is some additional factor then perhaps some pay more than others. I’m also against extravagant bachelorette parties for this reason. 500 would be my limit!

      • I disagree- in my social group we treat the bride to dinner and buy her drinks but we don’t pay her flight and hotel costs. My social group tends to do pretty expensive trips (major sports events, nice spas, surf camps) and we don’t pack 10 to a room anymore (we are all in our 30s and mostly in lucrative fields). I would not expect my bridesmaids to pick up my hotel costs and I would be surprised if i was asked to pick up hers as a bridesmaid

  24. Puppy Help Needed :

    Ugh – I have already gotten this all wrong :( Puppy pads are my downfall :( This is worse than potty training a human child. Thanks for all this info!

    • One more thing to add to the other suggestions, if you see him looking like he’s going to pee, if you can go over to him and pick him up to take him outside to the pee spot and then put him down there and praise him when he pees, that might help. Even though he’s willing to go in the bed with you in it (honestly, probably because of the pee pad confusion), I would be surprised if he was willing to actually just pee straight on you. When I was house training my dog I used this trick on the advice of a friend and I found it worked. I would just pick her up, grab her leash from where it was by the door, and take her outside and put the leash on after I put her down.

    • My boyfriend has a french bulldog and we give treats after he goes outside, to reinforce a pretty solid set of housetraining. But they are stubborn little dogs and more training is likely needed.

    • Another anonymous judge :

      Don’t worry – he will get there! All you can do is your best.

      I do think that you will love puppy classes – they are really for the owners more than their dogs. There are some good training videos on YouTube too, if you’re looking for quick tips.

      As for housetraining, this book is quite useful. Dedication is key, though!

      And I agree – it is harder than potty training a child….

      • Wildkitten :

        Agreed – I love puppy classes, and if you’re the type of lady who is on thi s s i t e and you love school you might love them to. I love learning new things, and getting stuff right, and getting certificates. And also my dog was there…

  25. Where would you stop on family road trip (3 teen boys all active) between SF and the Olympic Peninsula? Looking for hiking, good good sight seeing. Will be mid-June.

  26. Is MM LaFleur really worth the money? I’ve been eyeing their pieces for years so feel I should just do it already. If so, what are your favorite pieces?

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