Frugal Friday: Knotted Elbow Sleeve Top

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

I always like this kind of top, and Ann Taylor always provides — it’s the interesting basic, the slightly elevated t-shirt, an easy to wear and easy to care for addition to your working wardrobe. I like the knot front detail and the elbow sleeves, the fact that it’s machine washable, and the $49 price. (There is a sale going on right now wherein “a select few” full price pieces are 50% off; alas, this is not among them.) It’s available in three colors, online exclusively. Knotted Elbow-Sleeve Top

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  1. Anonymous :

    Threadjack. Our relatively small company has just discontinued its tradition of celebrating weddings of employee weddings with a cupcake coffee hour and official gift. We might “offend someone”. Now we’ll only celebrate baby births. . . what could go wrong there? Anyway. I have two employees and one is getting married this week. I’m going to get her a gift – is a $100 gift card to her registry store plus a card a good gift?

    • Anonymous :

      Of course. That’s really nice

    • Anonymous :

      If you’re not invited to the wedding, I think $100 is super generous. If you are invited and especially if you are attending, I would probably give slightly more, maybe $150-200. In my part of the country, $100 is a standard gift from not-super-close friends and I think slightly more would be appropriate since you’re the boss.
      Gift card to her registry store is good.

      • Anonymous :

        Gosh. We had many family members who didn’t even come close to $100 gifts. Most friends were around $25.

    • If you have the authority, extra vacation days would be awesome. But yes, $100 is very generous.

    • Yay! Holiday Fruegel Friday’s! I love Holiday Fruegel Friday’s and this fruegel $49 top! Great pick Kat and Kate! I will buy for Rosa since she will look good in this.

      As for the OP, I think it is getting wierd when all these employer’s put all these politically correct things in place. Why is getting MARRIED offensive anyway? Nowadays anyone can marry anyone! And if you are not celbrating marrages, why then babie’s? You should be MARRIED b/f you have babies, tho these days, it is NO longer a requirement, and I too may take this up through the INVITRO process b/c no decent and worthy men are stepping up to the plate to MARRY me. FOOEY!

      I just learned today from the ABA that a female attorney was reprimanded for over billeing her hours after she got married and had to make her annual billiengs after she got back from a honeymoon with her new husband. Did anyone in the HIVE see this article?

      I think this is terrible. A woman is forced to bill ungodly hours, then gets suspended by the firm for doeing so? Where is the logic in this? DOUBEL FOOEY b/c we women are CONSTANTLY being taken advantage by men who want to see us bill and bill and bill, and then we get into trouble for doieng just that? TRIPEL FOOEY!

      What is the HIVE doeing for the holiday weekend? I am goeing with Myrna to the manageing partner’s house in the Hamton’s. He’s promised that his brother will NOT be there. That is good b/c I have to listen to him haveing s-x with different women all the time while I am trying to sleep. I can onley imagine what it would be like on the other side of our common bedroom wall. I can hardly imagine it if it were me in there with him. QUADROOPLE FOOEY!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous :

      Thanks, everyone – $100 it is (I’m not invited, but we’ll all pretty highly compensated)

    • I bought something for between $100-$200 from wedding registries of my staff members. I like to buy china.

      Usually $75 ish from baby registry.

      I had a pretty large staff in my most recent role and most were marrying/babymaking ages. It got expensive but they were really great and hardworking staff (we were not working in a 40 hr workweek environment) so it felt like the least I could do.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I actually like to buy an actual gift off the registry. I don’t know about other people, but I remember who gave me the actual objects from the registry, even many years later, whereas when somebody gives cash or a gift card it tends to all run together.

      • Same. If I have a personal relationship with someone I like getting a physical gift. Might not care about someone from work as much, but we have gifts from friends of our parents we met maybe once, but will be forever remembered as the people who bought our pots and pans.

  2. No plus size picks all week. :|

    • Yeah, it bums me out that so little attention is paid to plus sizes here. Why not actually feature a plus sized pick once a week, Kat?

    • random comment

      I went to an MM Lafleur pop-up yesterday and my consultant was plus-sized and she looked so good in head to toe MM Lafleur. Pricey, I know…

      I didn’t have great luck. The colors available right now were mostly too ?warm for me (I need cooler colors) and I have enough black. I am an extreme pear shape and not one dress worked for me. None of the pants either but the stretch pants that are popular were…. ok….but not worth $200…. and I really don’t think I can get away with essentially wearing skin tight leggings at work anyway!

      • Not sure how extreme you mean in terms of a pear shape, but Eloquii has dresses out that are 2 sizes larger on the bottom. I think it’s a great idea.

    • Don’t mean this unkindly but maybe lose some weight and you’ll have more choices in clothing.

      • 1) If you’re going to say something unkind, just own it. If you have to preface something with ‘Don’t mean this unkindly,’ then don’t say it unless you intend to be cruel.

        2) The world is full of choices in clothing, including (gasp) for women wearing plus sizes. People aren’t complaining about an absence of choices. They’re asking Kat to be thoughtful in ensuring that her choices are inclusive of the entire readership of this blog.

        3) In conclusion, don’t be a jerk. But if you’re going to be a jerk, at least own it and make mean comments that are actually responsive to the issues at hand.

      • Nope. You did mean that unkindly. We–and I don’t usually presume to speak for others, but I feel confident about this one–don’t do that here. Go elsewhere.

      • Is that all I need to do? Well, thank you so much. It had never occurred to me.

      • You know, it would be easier if I could just use some height. I’m 5’11” and at my skinny weight I’m a 12/14 and already sized out of a lot of picks. I’m not at my skinny weight currently, and neither is 50% of the population.

        You can go f yourself, Anonymous, and I do mean that unkindly.

        • Anonymous :

          Don’t mean this unkindly but maybe grow a few inches shorter and you’ll have more choices in clothing.

      • Don’t mean this unkindly, but maybe grow a heart.

      • I second this. People complain about plus size clothing, but honestly, don’t complain about the things that both you, change them. This is within your control. Sure it’s hard, but I’ve lost 45 lbs and now I’m an evangelist.

        • Anonymous :

          But you remember how you felt about weight and clothes before you lost those 45 pounds, right? When you remember back to those feelings, it can give you empathy, kindness, and generosity for where others are. Sometimes people who are in that place shut out someone who merely says, “honestly, don’t complain … change.”

  3. I *LOVE* this. I really like AT/Loft tops, and I wish they offered more in non-poly.

    • San Rafael :

      I tried this one and found it very unflattering. It highlighted the slight belly I have.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I like it in theory. In practice I guarantee I would look like a pregnant Barney. The way the twist falls would be right at the top of my stomach and it would highlight it like a neon sign.

    • This line/type of shirt at AT has been faithful over the years, but this style wouldn’t work on me. Their faux wrap blouses in this material are awesome.

      • link?

        I love a faux wrap blouse. I am a short waisted pear, with nothing on top, and I have been looking for good faux wrap blouses.

        • It’s from seasons past, sorry! I haven’t seen them yet this season, but if I do see them, I’ll share here!

        • Wait! I found the one I have on poshmark for reference:

          • Thanks! I need to check poshmark more often. Unfortunately not my size.

            Do share if they re-appear.

            I found a perfect for me faux-wrap top this summer at Macy’s of all places, Vince Camuto, with cap sleeves. It was so perfect on, and unfortunately all sold out now. I hate that you can find these classic pieces, and they are usually only around one season…..

      • Yes, I love those shirts.

    • I *just* got this one in the mail this week! It’s not great. Looks very cheap.

  4. Just bought a house and am going to need new appliances. I am feeling overwhelmed at all the google-able opinions. Whose reviews does the hive trust?

    I need a stackable washer dryer (standard size) to go on my second floor. Priority is something quiet. It is in a small closet, I really dont care what it looks like.

    I want a dishwasher (priority is something that gets dishes clean), fridge (no freezer drawers), stove/oven (would like long middle burner). I dont know what do to on finish, bc I dont know where we are going design wise in the kitchen, but will need appliances before we do new floors/backsplash/etc. Stainless seems to be the new classic look?


    • Anonymous :

      Wirecutter/Sweethome (though I’m less enthusiastic now that they’re owned by the NYT)

      • Why?

        • Anonymous :

          I guess I just worry that their editors are under more pressure to feature items that NYT’s advertisers want to promote? Perhaps this is unfounded? I don’t know–I just felt better about them when they were an independent outfit.

        • San Rafael :

          Do you work at the FCC? Me too. :)

          • No – it’s leftover from a previous comment – I’m a Federal Career (law) Clerk :)

    • Not sure what it’s like where you live, but is there a highly-rated independent appliance store? We used one when we redid our kitchen and I will never go anywhere else. They helped us find exactly what we wanted in our budget, and the service/quality is A+. I trusted them so much that when our washer broke six months later, I just emailed their person our specs and asked her to send me a few options, and just picked one.

      Personally, I don’t care for stainless appliances and go for white, but I also like to live in 100 year old houses and have the kitchens look as integrated as possible.

      Can you wait until you know what you’re doing design-wise? In the kitchen at least, I wouldn’t want to choose appliances without knowing cabinets/colors/backsplash/style/etc. Then again, I’m picky.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m not anti-stainless, but one thing I hate about our stainless stove is that the front of the oven gets very hot to the touch when it’s on. I don’t know what we’re going to do when my DD is crawling other than keep her out of the kitchen. So something to consider if you have/plan on having little ones.

      • thanks–yes, we have two toddlers

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Re: toddlers — ours (2.5) can open the freezer now! We have a freezer-on-the-bottom type deal, and yeah, she was like “look what I can do!” and I Amazon Primed a lock the same day. Something to beware of.

          • Maybe this is a really dumb question, but why is it such a big deal if a toddler can open the freezer? I guess if you have raw meat in there and you think she might put it in her mouth, but otherwise I don’t see the harm.

          • She could pull open the freezer, leave it open all day, and ruin hundreds of dollars worth of food. I suppose she could fall/climb in and break the shelves. Depending on how full the freezer is she may or may not be able to get stuck inside of it.

          • My guess is that the toddler is not reliable about closing the freezer well after opening it and then the frozen stuff doesn’t stay frozen. Plus letting the cold out is not great.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            Oh yeah, I mean, it would be a popsicle orgy and there would be thawed food everywhere and she just generally has terrible judgment because she’s two. It’s not an immediate safety issue (though knowing her I would not be surprised if she tried to eat a frozen pizza) just like, many disasters lurking.

      • Flats Only :

        This is crazy. Have you checked with the manufacturer to see whether it’s supposed to get that hot?

        • We’re renters so it’s not really an option. I’m curious if anyone else has had this experience with stainless steel ovens. Also, I do like the look but smudges are annoying. I might buy black or white if we owned.

          • There’s definitely something wrong. All my friends and I have stainless steel (some high end, some builder basic) but I have never heard of this problem before.

        • +1 This is not supposed to happen.

        • +1 that something is wrong. I have a mid-price stainless steel oven, and it doesn’t get hot.

      • We have a stainless steel oven and the front doesn’t get hot at all. I would assume this is a manufacturing defect and its not something I would tolerate.

        • Flats Only :

          Yeah. It sounds like at the very least there is insulation missing. Perhaps the door was replaced at some point and the new door isn’t right. Invite the maintenance department over for cookies and demonstrate the problem to the ASAP. If they aren’t responsive, contact your local fire marshal.

        • + 1 – the oven door should still be insulated; the finish has nothing to do with how hot it should get. Most colored ovens are just enameled metal.

        • Thanks for the input! My thinking was “oh its metal so it gets hot”. We rent from an individual owner and we’re going to buy next year, so it’s not worth the trouble right now. But now I know for when we buy our own appliances. I could definitely see where it was a case that the door front got replaced.

          • You should still at least tell your landlord that it’s an issue, even if you don’t need them to fix it right this instance.

      • Whoa, that is not normal. My only gripe with my stainless steel oven is the fingerprint issue, but it doesn’t get hot at all.

    • Apparently I’m in moderation, but I suggested using a local appliance place. And also I personally like white appliances.

    • Eh – I’d go stainless or white. Stainless is everywhere, so it’s common look, but I don’t know if anything really counts as classic.

      My comment with stainless is that it’ll show water spots/fingerprints – though maybe there are some that don’t? I’d go with whatever works for your kitchen – and there’s nothing saying the stove/fridge/dishwasher need to match in finish. If white cabinets, you could go with a white dishwasher, so it’s not a visual disruption, while still having a stainless stove/fridge.

      • Yes I like white appliances with white cabinets because it’s more of a seamless look and less disrupting. If you have dark cabinets, then look into black appliances or maybe stainless if you have to.

        Stainless plus granite plus detailed backsplash just screams ugly McMansion (or whatever the 2000s equivalent is) to me and feels a little dated, but I know it’s still pretty popular.

      • kitchen confidential :

        I also prefer white, and to me this seems more timeless….. as in, it comes back in style a lot. Stainless is already looking a bit dated.

    • Gardenweb for general advice.

      At my house, we favor the Bosch dishwashers, Dacor/Viking cooktops (although we had an Amana duel fuel range at our old house that we loved (look for the one with the “Big Oven”)), Jenn Air or Kitchenaid ovens (we are replacing soon and are narrowed down to models of those) and Amana/Maytag/Kitchenaid fridges.

      Why no freezer drawers? Fridges with bottom freezers are more efficient and give more overall usable space (and it is impossible to find a bottom freezer with a swinging door anymore — I have tried).

      • I hate digging through them to get to anything.

      • +1 to Penny. Our drawer bottom freezer drove us crazy. We could never find anything. The shelving drawers they put into those things are beyond useless.

    • Kitchen Mission :

      Just did my kitchen and chose GE slate appliances because I did not want stainless. My designer said that a lot of her clients had been choosing slate lately. A little darker than stainless but def. neutral. Only gripe is that the fridge handles are stainless so those are always fingerprinty.

      I have always only bought GE appliances so I didn’t do a whole lot of research, I just wanted the slate. So far I am very happy with them, but for the microwave (I bought the convection version in slate) which is nowhere near as nice as my old GE profile mounted convection microwave. There is only one baking tray (my old one had 2), the tray is much smaller, and the door sticks and its only a few months old!

      In any event, I figure GE are workhorses, I’m not designing a super high end kitchen requiring viking ranges and whatnot, and they fit my budget.

      Also get a dishwasher with stainless inside – much quieter than my other one which was plastic inside.

    • Kitchen Mission :

      I’m in moderation for some reason, but check out GE’s slate line. Neutral, no fingerprints, not stainless. My designer said a lot of her clients had been choosing slate of late. I chose it because I’m banking on it being the “next” stainless.

      • This. Slate is the new stainless. Works with the trend towards blues and greys with white cabinets in kitchens.

        • I did not realize this was a thing! Kind of hope GE’s competitors come out with some options before we start on our kitchen in 6 months.

          • Kitchen Mission :

            I really love the way they look. I think more modern than stainless. It did make choosing colors difficult because it’s such a non-color and can look different in different lights. One you start the project, check out for color palette help!

          • I have the GE slate and adore it. Kitchenaid just came out with “black metallic” that is also quite lovely.

          • Anon in NYC :

            I had no idea either, and we’re about to do a kitchen reno!

    • I think the fingerprints on stainless steel issue is overblown. We have a biweekly cleaning service and she has no problem making the appliances look sparkling. Sure, they show some prints near the end of the two weeks, but the whole house looks pretty grungy right before she comes, and the appliances don’t stand out as looking worse than the rest of the house.

    • I still love Consumer Reports for this kind of thing.

      • + 1 – subscribe online for a month or two to get all the reviews you need.

      • Anonymous :

        1) You can probably get consumer reports free from your library.

        2) I didn’t like CR when we were looking for a dishwasher. They recommended Bosch but when I read consumer reviews online, they noted the bottom shelf falls of the track (and it did when we tested in stores!). I found what worked best was finding my price range and then reading online reviews. We ended up with a KitchenAid and love it.

    • Senior Attorney :

      The GE Profile range I bought for my house fits your criteria of the long burner in the middle, plus it has two ovens, which is great if you are ever going to host Thanksgiving (sides on top, turkey on the bottom). I also loved using the small top oven as a warming compartment for my plates.

      Don’t know if it comes in slate, but I tend to agree that would look more modern.^206241217092-device^c-plaid^337103285955-sku^86307460018-adType^PLA

    • We have Big Chill retro appliances in our kitchen. It’s a certain look, but I love it and it makes me happy to walk in there.

    • For the w/d, I am very happy with my LG 4370 stackables. I bought white and saved ~$100 over stainless. I initially focused on them because they are the most shallow full-sized front loaders I could find, and I was installing in a closet, as well. But I also liked the features and the info I read suggested this newer, slightly more expensive model has shorter cycles than other LG models, which made paying a little more worth it. (I do a lot of laundry!) I find them to be very quiet, as well. I have a small home and the unit isn’t even covered by a door and I don’t notice they are running most of the time. In fact, more than once I’ve gone to check if they were running. (Caveat — I don’t use the high speed spin much because there can be a few knocks during the cycle. That may be a balancing/leveling issue. Not sure.) You do need water hammer arrestors, but I’d recommend those for any new machine. Also, if you are putting in a small closet, get an extra-long cord from Amazon. It will make installing and servicing much easier.

      • Anonymous :

        Meant to include — I look at Sweethome (which for w/d recommends the LG model down) and Consumer Reports (which for w/d recommends different brands that were too deep for my space but gave a lot of good info).

    • I posted about having and loving the GE Profile series in Slate, but it looks like both KitchenAid and Samsung are making a similar color/finish.

      If you do go GE, there have been a lot of mediocre reviews of the convention microwave (inlcuding in this thread). But the regular non-convection ones are great, especially the one with bottom controls (looks amazing, and nice if you are short!)

      I saw you have small kids, so had fridge concerns; for the stove, look at the induction cook tops. They cool almost immediately, and only get hot where they are in contact with metal in the first place, so they are super safe for kids/pets.

  5. Mental (in)competence :

    Non-lawyer here. What is the threshold and procedure for determining whether an individual is mentally competent to sign legal documents (in this case, a will?)

    Situation: Uncle A, intestate and declining in an assisted living facility, has been talking for some time about wanting to have a will made. He has consistently stated an intention of dividing his a * * e t s equally among beneficiaries 1-5. Uncle B (A’s power of attorney) took A to the lawyer to get the paperwork taken care of. When questioned by the lawyer, Uncle A said *nothing* about beneficiaries 1-5 and instead stated that he wished to will the entire estate to beneficiary 6. Uncle B and the rest of the family are shocked by the change and wondering if A is really of sound mind. The will is apparently drafted but not yet signed. Lawyer has said that he “would need to know” if A is indeed incompetent, but he didn’t give guidelines about how this would be determined. I assume a medical professional needs to be involved? Is it the atty who takes the lead in getting this determination, or is it up to the POA? Any insight welcome! (FWIW, I am not one of the beneficiaries in either case, just an interested family member watching this play out and wondering what can/should come next.)

    • Anonymous :

      The procedure and threshold level of competence depend on your state. There is also the question of whether or not competence matters, ie if this would be litigated. The will might have an in terrorem clause that disinherits challengers to the validity of the will.

      Honestly, look up the intestacy laws in his state. If they align with what he wants, just make a will that assigns an executor/personal representative.

      And everyone else: draw up a will before this becomes an issue.

      • Mental (in)competence :

        Thanks, very interesting. I will see if I can find/understand the laws as you suggest. Meanwhile, if A dies while the unsigned draft is sitting on the atty’s desk…do standard intestacy procedures probably apply, or does the document still have some force despite being unsigned? (i.e., would B/family be better served by trying to talk A back into his long-stated plan for dispersal among beneficiaries 1-5, or by just letting the draft favoring beneficiary 6 sit unsigned in the law office?) (I suppose this is another situation where the answer may vary by state, so apologies if this is a silly/useless question.)

        Agree that this should have been taken care of long ago, and I will be getting my own ducks in a row ASAP after watching this all go down.

        • An unsigned document, not witnessed appropriately, will have NO legal effect. He will die intestate and his estate would pass under intestacy statute.

    • I think it depends on the State of where the person is signing the will. Dad says that you may need to have a judge hold a competency hearing or appoint a legal guardian for the old guy (Dad is not a lawyer either, but he knows more then me about this). Generally, a person can give their will to any estate they want, but this could be a probelem if he is not “of sound mind”. The lawyer should know, so you should ask him/her. I wish you and beneficiaries 1-5 luck, ans Beneficiary 6 is otherwise due to get a winfall! YAY!!! FOOEY for the others!

    • Anon for this :

      We had a family scenario where parents never had a will, mother passed and all left to father. Father had some cognitive issues and mental illness. A will was finally put in place after mother passed, and father changed his mind and left everything to a (previously secret) mistress. Mother would not have been happy about that, as children disinherited. But hey…. it’s his money.

      So agree with post above – make sure you and your parents all have wills in place. Trusts can be useful in case one spouse dies to indicate whether deceased spouse would prefer for her/his monies to go to their children rather than to future spouse.

      In the situation I cited, the standard for finding someone incompetent was complicated and would have involved a doctor’s assessment and legal determination and would have been explosive. The chips just fell where they did.

      • Mental (in)competence :

        Thanks, good to know. The chips are falling pretty badly in this case. Sigh.

        • Anon for this :

          Sorry to hear that.

          People also change their mind late in life. Different things become a priority. I honestly have seen a couple men hook up very very late in life with women who become beneficiaries, with nothing left to the children. It would be normal for a man in this scenario to want to leave financial security to his new partner. If it gives them happiness, and it is what they want to do with their money, it is their right.

          In the scenario I outlined in our extended family, it was very painful to many, as the “mother” who passed would have been livid to know the mistress inherited the mother’s money (from a lifetime of working/investing etc..). If the mistress had instead been a second wife/not a secret mistress, perhaps that would have been more acceptable? Who knows, because no will/trust was done while “mother” was alive. Don’t know if that is relevant in your scenario, but doesn’t really change anything.

  6. Anon lawyer :

    Bright pink blazer, yay or nay? Link to follow.

  7. Partners and politics :

    A corollary to yesterday’s thread (although I did not post that Q): has anyone been surprised to discover significant differences between themselves and partners to whom they thought they were politically similar?

    My husband and I probably vote almost identically, but read different media sources and contribute to different organizations (the ACLU has been a recent sticking point). He has recently been surprised to discover how radical my thinking is, because he only recently started asking. Also, I’m informally banned from serving on local juries :). And yet by most standards we are in perfect agreement on politics.

    • My partner and I are both independent thinkers and have shifted from being pretty much hardcore progressive to somewhat more moderate. It doesn’t surprise me that we have both made the shift since we are affected by local politics where we live and because we discuss politics frequently. I am not at all surprised by any of the opinions or ideas he has offered, even when they differ from mine, because I know his life experience (as a former refugee in particular) has shaped his views in a different way. I trust him to think for himself. If you find yourself an intelligent partner with a mind of their own, i.e., someone who can formulate their own views and understand moral principles and values in some way, I find it hard to imagine how something could be a “dealbreaker” per yesterday’s thread.

    • My husband and I both support liberal candidates – but he aligns himself with anti fascist movement f (at least in his head, he’s otherwise a boring suburban lawyer) and I do not endorse some of their methods.

      • is this an American thing to make a distinct about types of anti-fascism? is there more than one type? I thought anyone who wasn’t a Nazi was basically against fascism which was sort of the whole point of WW2.

      • I think we are all anti-fascists but there is a difference between being an anti-fascist and being an antifa member. Particularly the Black Bloc contingent.

        I live in Berkeley, so I have lately become an expert – unfortunately.

        • fake coffee snob :

          Black bloc is really more of a tactic than a movement, which a lot of people don’t realize.

    • I’m not sure if this is responsive to your question, but I’m consistently surprised by how sexist/homophobic/etc. a lot of liberal men* are. They pay lip service to women’s equality but don’t identify as “feminist” because that means burning bras and hating men or something. Grabbing a woman’s ass in a bar isn’t assault it’s just DOOSHY. If the guy’s drunk too then who can say if it was assault or just a miscommunication, nevermind the dirt and leaves and twigs the ER docs pulled out of her. Same sex couples should be able to marry as long as they don’t think they can go around holding hands n such in public. I could go on. Pretty astounding mental gymnastics are required to continue to hold sh*tty beliefs but fit in with your liberal peers.

      *Maybe some liberal women are this way too, I just haven’t been exposed to it.

      • Yeah, my husband calls himself a feminist but had some really internalized 1950s gender norm ideas about what was going to happen once we had kids. We were talking about cars at one point and he made some comment about how I’d need a bigger car to drive the kids around. Because, obviously, as a woman, that would be my job? It sparked a good conversation after I got over my wide eyed open mouth shock/rage. We actually have a kid now and he’s a pretty equal partner and parent, but it’s taken a series of conversations and my forcing him to read about the concept of emotional labor and the “default parent”.

        • +a zillion on the emotional labor issue. I realize it’s become trendy to call it emotional labor but I’ve had this issue with almost every guy I’ve dated since high school. In fact I just stopped seeing a guy because apparently feeding us is my job. If I ask him to pick up groceries/dinner then I have to tell him exactly where to go and what to do so he doesn’t have to exercise any thought.

        • On the emotional labor front, what’s helped after having kids is saying to husband “I don’t want them to grow up thinking that ______ is solely ‘Mom’s job’.” Framed that way, he got it.

      • Yeah, I agree with this. I’ve seen this mentality/mindset play out way too often. I hear it more from men than women, but I don’t think women are exempt. The concept of “protecting yourself” from rape all too often turns into a blame-the-victim mentality.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          I’ve been disappointed in how some of my vocally liberal friends (like with do-gooder jobs! who go to all the protests and support all the right causes and have all the right credentials!) haven’t been able to make good on their ideals in their immediate lives. Especially with respect to s*xual assault. Giant sigh.

      • My father is a Republican but isn’t religious and he’s always been very supportive of his wife and daughters being equal parents / partners, calling an assault an assault, seeing anything LGBT related as totally fine and no one’s business … whereas many of the self-identified ‘liberal’ men that I know hold beliefs that have the effect of reinforcing traditional gender norms. For example, they’ll work full time but have demands that end up requiring their wives stay home to meet them: exclusively breastfeed, all meals be organic and made from scratch, bike everywhere instead of purchasing a car, etc. None of these ideas are bad – but they’re time consuming, and if the men continue to work full time, guess who’s left to make them all happen?

        • My father is like this.

          I don’t have brothers, so I think that it has helped that he only sees a gender that wrestles with the big stuff.

          • Lyra Silvertongue :

            This. I am an only child and my father is a great feminist and I think it partially comes from 1) having a working mother 2) having a breadwinning spouse for much of their married life (though that recently switched) 3) having a daughter and seeing her fight the patriarchy from childhood on up (Catholic school, working as an attorney, in the modern dating world, etc, the examples are endless).

          • I meant: my father is like your father

            He has no clue about anything other than work and academics; food magically appears on the table. For him, he knows it’s from mom. If at my house, he’s all about “where can you get takeout from, you are busy working and taking care of the kids.”

        • My husband is kind of like this. He doesn’t just support my working full time, he expects it. Same thing with BF’ing. He is very proud of his progressive, modern views. He also doesn’t believe that sexism still exists in the workplace, thinks it’s shallow that I wear high heels to make myself look as tall as the guys, and thinks it’s silly that I always take along an older white man to sit in the back of the room and lend an air of legitimacy when I make a presentation to a roomful of old white men.

        • So you’re touching indirectly on something I find fascinating, and that is the way in which many crunchy parenting choices are actually incredibly challenging if you’re a woman who works. When I lived in Seattle, there was this strong tendency toward really intensive parenting (extended breastfeeding, making all your own baby food, cloth diapering, lots of parental time devoted to educational enrichment starting as early as possible), most of which seemed to fall on women, and much of which couldn’t easily be combined with working a 9-5 (not to mention the extended hours many people work). Like, each of those choices individually might not add a huge amount of labor, but the combination of all of them was suddenly an enormous additional workload.

          It may have changed – in Seattle and elsewhere – but I remember really seeing people struggle with how to meet those norms around parenting. And even in ultra-liberal Seattle, to be honest, I mostly saw women dealing with laundering the diapers, making the organic squash puree, and trying to get to baby music class at 10 am on a Thursday.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            HEAR HEAR!

          • Pro-women in STEM :


          • Lorelai Gilmore :

            I 100% agree. I took an amazing women’s studies class in college where we talked about the rise of intensive mothering and the cultural history of “mothering,” which was very useful to me when I actually became a mother because I could apply some critical analysis to all of the mothering messages. I think that mothering trends are essentially culturally constructed, and it’s important to distill the signal (love your child, respond to your child’s needs, build a relationship with your child) from the noise (babywear! breast feed until age 4! c0-sleep!). There are many, many paths to the same result – healthy, happy kids who become healthy, happy, self-sufficient adults.

          • Never too many shoes... :

            I actually think that crunchy/attachment parenting is incredibly regressive. It places an extreme emphasis on “mothering” rather than parenting and, at least in Toronto, the crunchy circles really frown on working women, especially ones who choose to take less than the available one year of leave.

            Ask me how I know.

          • lawsuited :

            I stopped going to baby group because I was tired of the horrified looks I got when I explained that I was returning to work after a 12 week leave. The judgement I get for weaning my LO at 4 months is real. I really tried pumping at the office/in the parking lot around the corner of the court reporters/in a bathroom stall at the courthouse so LO could be EBF for a year but I couldn’t take it. I’m still trying to make our own baby food, but my “back up” store bought (Organic! In recyclable jars!) food is getting a lot more action than its supposed to because I never seem to get around to the “Batch cook baby food” line item on my To do list.

      • My husband is liberal and a trump hater but he gets defensive about the scorn heaped on white males, since he is one. As I move through life and my career I see more and more instances of the patriarchy trying to keep women in their place. My husband doesn’t see it because he’s in healthcare administration, a woman dominated field (except at the top, of course!) and because I have ultimately been more successful than he has been.

      • Bernie Bros, anyone?

      • Woke misogynist :

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Yes, this is why my response yesterday indicated that I need to have shared values, but I would tolerate a certain amount of disagreement as to methods.

      I march in the streets sometimes, peacefully. I have found myself organizing a tiny group of likeminded ladies to kvetch about the world, educate ourselves, and show up at rallies sometimes. I would never phone bank and generally think The System is a scam, but I can tolerate people who think all the answers lie in working to get democrats elected to make gradual change. But I can also tolerate my antifa friend who literally punches nazis and has for years (more than tolerate: I admire her commitment!). My husband votes, and yells at/about racists, but doesn’t march or protest or get involved in political groups (but he watches the kid while I do!) — I’ll let him stay.

    • Marshmallow :

      I’ve been (negatively) surprised by many people close to me in the wake of this election, but the only surprise wrt my husband has been how strong he is in his progressive beliefs and willing to stand up to his family. I always kind of viewed myself as the more liberal one and H as more moderate, but if it’s even possible, he is more upset than I am. I think it’s because he’s a history buff and sees history repeating itself. I’m extra proud to be his partner recently.

      That said, he has some hang ups regarding gender norms. We’re getting there both in our everyday life (who is the default house cleaner, cook, scheduler, etc.) and in more conceptual ways (ex. trans rights). He seems to know how he ought to feel/ what is right, but he has to reprogram the way he was taught.

    • My husband is extremely left wing (think Marxist professor) but we still argue over things like racism and sexism because he doesn’t share the same lived experiences I do. Like he sometimes buys into the “white men are becoming a minority” argument, makes slut shaming type statements, refuses to believe my opinion that I was discriminated against without “proof”, I could go on. Even though we align very closely politically, a lot of what is happening around the world right now is having an impact on our relationship. I am slightly more centrist when it comes to economic policies but far left on the social side. I can’t imagine how it must be like for people who are more ideologically opposed.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I was a little dismayed this morning when my husband poo-pooed the Los Angeles City Council’s decision to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day. I thought it was great and a no-brainer, and he thought it was “dumb.” I guess that was a little of the lifelong-Republican-until-the-last-election coming out. He’s just never thought about (or had to think about) a lot of issues until recently.

      • Anonymous :

        Where I’m from is almost all Italian immigrants. This would not go over well. Columbus Day growing up is a celebration of all things Italian. You take away their Columbus Day . . . I just wouldn’t. They’d say, all the things you complain of, take that up with Spain.

      • Anonymous :

        I think it’s dumb. Just get rid of Colombia day.

      • Anonymous :

        They still have Columbus Day in LA? I am surprised–I don’t remember it being a thing in the public schools there 30 years ago.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I’m not surprised by it, but SO and I were on the opposite sides of the political spectrum on a lot of issues for years (and still are on some things). We agreed on most social issues, so it worked. The Trump presidency and general move of the Republican party to the right on all issues (instead of just fiscal) finally wore him down and got him to switch parties. I’m still working on convincing him sexism is a bigger problem than he thinks it is, but we’re making progress.

  8. Does anyone have experience with Nisolo shoes? I really like the smoking shoe as a fall alternative to a ballet flat. Thoughts on quality or how it fits? Also anyone have ideas on similar alternatives you may like at a lower price point? Thanks!

    • Following. Googled the brand and those Frida woven loafers look perfect for weekends, but would love to know more first.

    • I have oxfords and “flats” (actually small wedges). Very high quality for the price, IMO. I had to size up in the oxfords, but that was their old style.

      • I can’t figure out the sizing on the loafers. I’m typtically a US size 10/Euro 40 or 41. But under this size chart Euro 41 is a 9.5 US.

    • am lusting anything from this company now… beautiful & reasonably priced & ethical ! whoot whoot. thanks anon!

    • I have the oxfords and LOVE them. They’re my daily work shoes (and on my feet right now, tbh). Excellent quality. I think they’re really worth the price and have been trying to figure out how I can justify buying more of them because they’re so great. I went with my usual size (37, I wear a 7) and they fit well but are a little on the narrow side. They do free exchanges, so get what size they recommend and then you can exchange as needed.

  9. Wondering if anyone in either dc, Maryland or Virginia had a fabulous surgeon for breast reduction they would like to recommend?

  10. Camping food :

    What are your favorite foods that would be good for camping, ideally with only water required for the cooking part? I’m thinking of making instant mashed potatoes and adding wild sockeye salmon (from a packet) into each person’s food bowl for one meal, but I need some ideas for the others that aren’t potatoes or instant oatmeal.

    • Is this car camping where you will you have a cooler? Have you searched for boil in a bag recipes (food is cooked, just needs reheating in hot water) or those tinfoil pouch recipes?

    • Pancakes- you can get just add water mix. But it would be more helpful if we knew what kind of cooking set up you have.

    • When I was a camp counselor doing short backpacking trips our main dishes were usually either:

      mac and cheese: bring shredded cheddar, butter, pasta and powdered milk (butter and cheese will keep okay unrefrigerated for a day or 2) boil pasta and drain pasta, add butter, powdered milk and cheese and maybe a bit of water, mix until cheese melts

      Fiesta Rice – this is an uncle ben’s product. We used to add more grated cheese and butter; you could add some beans.

      Any kind of rice/pasta mix with seasonings is good.

    • White Mountain Backpacker :

      Boil in bag food. Especially Indian foods, I do that plus quinoa or rice. Ramen is good too, I add dried mushrooms and seaweed. Tuna packets add protein to any dishes.

    • Our family’s favorite camping dinner is hot dogs roasted over the fire with s’mores for dessert. For breakfast, just-add-water pancakes or yogurt with granola.

    • cous cous–the kind with the spices etc already added

    • Camping food :

      We are car camping, but with a pocket rocket stove and one pot. We are testing the stove out since it’s new and we want to make sure everything goes ok before taking it backpacking.

      • My go-to backpacking dinner is ramen (yep the cheap packets) with tofu. I’ve found that tofu will keep well for a couple days in my backpack, so I just cut off a slab for each dinner and add it to the noodles late in the boiling process.

        A car camping favorite of my family’s is “hobo packets”– pre-prep foil packets for each person with sausage, peppers, onions, and other veggies, and just set all the packets over the fire to cook.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I love baked apples as a camping dessert — cut out the cores and fill with butter and brown sugar and cinnamon, wrap with tin foil and tuck around the fire. Mmmm.

    • Anonymous :

      If you buy a foil pack of freeze-dried vegetables, like peas or corn or whatever, you can put ramen in there too and then you get some veggies with your noodles, and not have to wash anything other than the fork.

    • fake coffee snob :

      Tasty bite – those foil packs of really solid Indian food. My picky Indian boyfriend will happily eat [some] of them, too.

    • Anonymous :

      For breakfast, we like to do breakfast burritos but make everything in one pan (we use a cast iron dutch oven on a grate over the fire, but you could do just a regular pan.) Shred potatoes (or use pre-shredded hashbrowns), and get them crispy, then mix in breakfast sausage and cook for a bit, then scramble eggs and mix those in. Wrap in a tortilla with cheese.

  11. Just a vent.

    My role is PR-focused. Originally, it involved going out and talking with people about our mission – I’m a huge extrovert, so this made me insanely happy. My company is shifting in a different direction that involves extroverted me sitting at my desk all week long writing articles and newsletters for publication. …I’m not an English major/author/journalist. I dislike writing long pieces on weekly deadlines. I especially dislike writing when I have to send my writing around for approval to 5 people, each of whom makes a million tiny changes – not to substance, but to style (e.g., “I think ‘mad’ sounds better here than ‘angry'” FFS).

    While talking and writing are both a part of any job in my field, going from 75/25 to 10/90 is making me pretty cranky. And it’s not that they’ve given the talking role to anyone else, that’s just not the direction they’re going in right now. I just got an email this morning that they want me to produce ANOTHER weekly article.

    My husband is likely to be transferred next winter (so over a year from now), and the people and the pay of this job are good, so I wouldn’t leave. But man, I am REALLY not loving the change in my duties.

    • Oof. I’m really sorry. I’m an introvert in a PR-focused role. I would love your new role and hate doing your more extroverted duties. You have my total sympathy; it’s really hard to be forced in a direction that’s a mismatch with your natural leanings and personality.

      Is there any way you can parlay interviewing into your writing process, just so you can get your extroverted needs met? It might not be that kind of role, but I thought I’d put it out there.

    • Flats Only :

      You are learning a new skill (writing weekly long articles on deadline), and like anything, once you have more practice it will seem easier. Also, you can always look forward to minimizing it on your resume so that your next employer doesn’t focus on it and hire you to write when you’d rather speak.

    • S in Chicago :

      I’m in a similar type of role and introvert. Had to do a speaking tour last year and it made me feel so off kilter, so I totally feel your pain (but the opposite). To build on anon above, any other ways to shift the work type a bit? Instead of all articles, would they be open to a short video interview from time to time? Is there any need for event-focused outreach (maybe you can make a case?)? Can you get involved in PowerPoint builds for any of the higher ups? And do all five folks have to review everything, or can you work in a system to streamline review of more standard communications? Is there enough work that you can freelance out some of the writing of the particularly boring/standard communications?

      Also, can you get support to attend industry-related education from time to time? Staying current is good for your company and your future job search. And having something on the calendar like that to look forward to will help the time go faster. (I’m the nerd digging the presentations, but I suspect you would be my opposite digging the networking.)

      Hang in there. For what it’s worth, I came out of the speaking tour feeling a lot more comfortable and confident flexing that part of me. I even submitted and secured a couple of speaking spots in my industry purely of my own efforts (not required by my job in any way). You may find yourself tapping into parts of you that you’ve forgotten. And the experience should help you be more marketable in the long run since folks often want a lot of demonstrated experience with both.

    • short video if possible is a great idea
      also, if it would help with the writing maybe record it a though you’re ‘live’ then transcribe –sometimes the typing can really interrupt and mess up the flow

    • I work in policy and like writing at my desk by myself but really hate when I send things around and get those little nitpicky comments back. If there is something blaringly, factually wrong, fine. But when all someone does is make tiny nitpicky edits I can’t help but think they have too much time on their hands. I don’t even bother with that stuff if I have nothing substantive to say, just hit up a reply with “looks good to me” and move on to something else.

  12. Do you really need to use barrier protection after going off the pill before TTC? A lot of people/sources suggest this, saying your body needs to get back in sync or whatever.

    My sister went off the pill and got pregnant immediately. She had twins and we blamed it on her not waiting after going off the pill. But then a few years later, she just had twins again! So, she hyperovulated and it didn’t have to do with the pill. I want to start TTC in January, and really don’t want to use condoms. Can we just go for it?

    • The reason people suggest using barrier methods is if you want to stop hormonal BC but DON’T want to become pregnant immediately. If you’re ready to have a baby, just stop using BC completely.

    • FWIW, I have never heard this. I got off the pill and got pregnant the next month with no issues and no twins :)

    • Would you be happy if you got pregnant now? Or would you wish you had gotten pregnant in three months? If you’re waiting til January for a reason like health insurance or to avoid a 9-months-from-now baby, I’d use barriers. If you really don’t care, go for it, but that means you will be TTC starting now, not in January.

      • No baby now (possible Zika exposure) – I’ll go off the pill in January and don’t want to bother with waiting a few more months.

        • You don’t need to wait. But if you definitely want to start TTC in January, you might want to go off the pill a month or two before and use barrier methods in the interim. Some women start back on their normal cycle immediately, others take a few months to even out. No way to know in advance.

        • My doc said there is a much higher chance of miscarriage if you get pregnant the first month. The lining hasn’t built back up yet.

    • If you don’t want the chance of getting pregnant between now and Jan, use contraception. If you aren’t using the pill, use barrier methods.

      If it doesn’t really matter if you get pregnant between now and Jan, then skip the barrier methods and go for it.

      • Anon in NYC :

        Yes. Use condoms, or be riskier and monitor your cycle and avoid s!x as necessary. No guarantee you won’t get pregnant though.

    • No it’s made up nonsense spread by the global internet mommy cabal.

    • I’ve never heard of a waiting period after going off the pill.

    • No medical reason to wait. Some women will wait one cycle to see how their cycle works off the pill if they have been on it for a while.

      • +1 If you come off the pill in January and are cool with being pregnant at soon as February then there’s no reason so use barrier methods. I think some women stop using the pill a few months before they want to become pregnant (so, October or November in your example) because it can take a few cycles to get back to normal (I went 8 weeks without a period once I came off the pill) and I guess they want to be sure that they are ovulating again before they TTC? I expect this is largely a result of women thinking they have far more control over the whole TTC process than they really do, and not because of a medical contraindication.

    • No, this is not a thing.

      It’s true that your cycles can be irregular and take some time to get to “normal” (assuming you have “normal” natural cycles), but there’s no reason why you can’t be trying in those times.

      The only way this makes sense is if people actually aren’t ready to start TTC for some timing reason but want to get off of hormonal birth control in advance to see if they do have irregular cycles so that they have a better sense when they start trying of how to time it. But there’s no harm in just going for it as long as you’re comfortable that it could take some time for you to ovulate naturally afterwards. Or possibly not, and you could end up pregnant right away.

    • “She had twins and we blamed it on her not waiting after going off the pill. ”

      This is silly. Your ovaries are not slot machines with eggs pilling up, waiting to be freed. How can you simultaneously believe that going off the pill caused your sister to have twins (or at least, that she did not have a ‘waiting period’) and that you can go off the pill and ensure you won’t get pregnant?

      • Yeah, there’s no science to back that up, OP.

        • alexisfaye :

          Why do you say that?

          birth control is hormonal. Adding/withdrawing it has an effect. Hyperovulation is a thing.

    • Four children in a few years is my nightmare.

      • Ha! We are good friends with a couple who had a 2 year old, a 4 year old, and wanted one more. The last one ended up being triplets! 5 under 5 is no joke! Great kids and parents though – they really just rolled with it :)

      • It doesn’t have to be, abortion is still legal.

    • Delta Dawn :

      I read your question to say that you want to go off the pill in preparation for TTC but that you don’t want to actually TTC for a few more months because of Zika exposure. That makes sense to me, because as buffybot points out, it can take some time for your cycle to get back to “normal,” or to kick back in. Anecdotally, I went off BC and did not have a period for two months. We were TTC that entire time, but I don’t know if/when I ovulated until the periods started back up. This was fine with us because we were intentionally TTC, but you want to wait out the Zika exposure, so I would use a barrier during that time. But my point is that it could be a good idea to go ahead and stop taking BC, if you don’t want to lose any time once you are out of the Zika window, in case your cycles take time to start back up. If you wouldn’t mind an extra month or two, then you can keep taking the BC until you are out of the Zika window. And of course, you could also get pregnant immediately, rendering this all inapplicable… yay predictability!

    • I personally just wanted to enjoy the feels of being off the pill for a while but not yet pregnant. I feel a lot better (and friskier!) off the pill.

      If I’d gotten pregnant during my pill break/pre TTC we would have been fine with it, but it was nice to just have a break.

  13. Let’s talk sheets! I ripped a giant hole in my PB sheets last night and they cannot be salvaged. I knew they were getting worn (and soft, and wonderful), but I have never had a sheet just rip in half before. Obviously, I’m shopping for new ones today. What’s your favorite sheet set? I’m open to PB again, but it drives me crazy that its website doesn’t have product reviews.

    I prefer a smooth 100% cotton. I really don’t like the sateens or jersey or those g*d-awful microfibers. 300-400 thread count is usually fine. Also considering spluring on a flannel set for winter!

    • Company Store all the way.

    • Best sheets I own are linen sheets from Restoration Hardware, although I don’t usually use them in the dead of winter. Also love my Wamsutta 750 cotton, which have lasted for years.

    • Kirkland brand from Costco are probably my favorite.

    • Wamsutta egyptian cotton from BB&B

      • Anonymous :

        This. I have these sheets on all the beds in my house. Cool, crisp and comes in so many colors! BB&B has carried them for at least 10 years in at least a dozen colors for a reason!

    • TARGET. I love their cotton sheets. Guests say they are the most comfortable sheets they’ve slept on. I buy them in the pure white.

      • This – I just had to replace my fitted sheet (worn, on the verge of tearing), and I just replaced it (old one was white) with a new white one from Target.

      • And for those who do like Sateen, I really love the Threshold Performance 400 sheets from Target. So much that I have replaced all my sheets with them and also got my BF to buy them.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Yup. Love my Target sheets. I got the vintage wash percale sheets and they’re my favorite.

        • I also love my Threshhold Percale sheets from Target. I have several sets. They are perfectly crispy and sleep cool. I prefer percale over expensive, high-thread count sheets because it sleeps cooler.

      • I wouldn’t have guessed, but maybe I should check them out. The Threshold bath towels are my favorites, so they must be doing something right.

      • +1 to Target Threshold sheets, particularly the cotton-sateen ones.

    • S in Chicago :

      West Elm

    • Target Threshold percale sheets are AMAZING. They wash and wear like a dream, but because of the fabric–percale–they stay substantial-feeling even when they soften up a bit.

    • Brand is less important than what the sheets are made of. Go for Pima cotton (the longest staple cotton means the smoothest sheets.). When I need a new set I just go to overstock and look for 800 count Pima sheets. They need a few washings to start to break in but once they do, they are silky smooth and it is very, very hard to get out of bed. :)

    • SF in House :

      Garnet Hill!

    • Linda from HR :

      I’ve had some good experience with the modal sheets I get from Bed Bath and Beyond, but it’s been a while and I’m blanking on the brand. Got some Egyptian cotton sheets from Groupon Goods that I like as well, but an edge of one of my top sheets has frayed in recent years.

    • L.L. Bean, especially for the flannel ones. They have a really awesome warranty, too. Sign up for emails and wait for a sale.

    • I just bought a set of linen sheets this summer and absolutely love them. Mine are from West elm, and I did get them on sale.

  14. very anon for this :

    A big thank you to everyone who chimed in yesterday about my MIL’s situation and whether to move her to an apartment or retirement community. I am going to save the comments and show them to my husband!

  15. Shoe rec for the hive: I stopped in a Michael Kors store yesterday to look at new fall shoes, and was impressed with this year’s Michael Michael Kors line of pumps. They got rid of the rivet on the back, so they’re very sleek. And the colors are gorgeous. I got the plum snake-embossed ones, but also loved the suedes.

    A note on the fit; I’m between a 7.5 and an 8, and found the smaller size was the right one here.

  16. Baconpancakes :

    Headed to Austin this weekend for a wedding! Yay! Due to the long weekend, I’ll have a bit of free time. What are the must-sees, must-dos, and must-eats in Austin? I’m already planning on seeing the bats. We’re staying in Crestview, but we’ll have a car. Suggestions? TIA!

    • Torchy’s Tacos for a very casual and inexpensive lunch. I still dream about those tacos.

    • Anonymouse :

      I would just make sure to double check hours and availabilities this weekend – a lot of Houston folks fled there for the storm and other places have mobilized to organize donations, etc.

    • OK in Texas :

      Check out 4th and 5th Streets downtown for food and entertainment. (6th Street is more famous, but is raucous and full of college students with fake i.d.’s) Oasis Restaurant west of town, out on the lake, has a great view of the sun setting. Mozart’s Coffee on Lake Austin Blvd. for great people watching and a relaxed place to have coffee. Lots of barbecue places. At 7:28 p.m., 1.5 million bats come flying out from under the Congress Avenue bridge over Lady Bird Lake to go hunt for insects. People stand on the bridge to watch this spectacle. This Sunday from 12-5, the Bullock State History Museum is free. One of the exhibits is: American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition.

  17. Speaking of Frugal Friday… calling all (current or former) YNAB users!

    I have been hanging on to the “old” YNAB 4 desktop-based version for a while, and just started the free trial of their new web-based version, which, unfortunately, differs from the old version much more than I would have liked.

    What I like about the new version: automatic import. Makes everything so much easier.

    What I dislike: almost everything else. Especially that you can’t forecast (I know, I know, this isn’t part of their “method” and you’re not supposed to do it, but one of the things I used YNAB for the most was planning for future goals). The old YNAB allowed me to plan for future goals in a more nuanced way that I loved. The new YNAB doesn’t allow you to do it at all. I can’t stand Mint’s goal feature and general lack of advanced budgeting.

    Basically, I want something that works exactly like the old YNAB did (an accounting/spreadsheet-based budgeting method) that would allow me to directly sync and import transactions. Does this exist??

    • Have you tried Quicken? I am not detail-oriented enough to really sit down with it and use it, but I would think it probably has forecasting features. Automatic import can have a fee, though, depending on your bank.

      • I was going to ask about Quicken– I wish they had a trial period, though. I’ll know within 10 minutes if it would work for me or not. In a summary I read on their website, it seems that their goal-setting (i.e. forecasting) might work the same as Mint’s– which I would hate.

        Thank you! If nothing else seems to fit maybe I’ll check it out.

        • Well, Quicken and Mint are owned by the same company, so that wouldn’t surprise me. When I do use Quicken, it’s more backward-looking (e.g., how much did I spend on Y type of expense in the past 12 months), so I’m not that much help.

    • What do you not like about nYNAB’s goals feature? That hasn’t been an issue with the new one for me.

      Personally, I’m really pissed about not being able to roll over negative balances. If I’m waiting for a reimbursement or something, I don’t want it to throw off EVERYTHING else in my budget. I like the web based platform juuuuust slightly more than I hate not being able to roll over negative balances, or I’d go back to the old version.

      • fake coffee snob :

        Gah yes this. I just budget a negative number in the same category in the following month, though (and then take that TBB amount and go budget it for my credit card – if that makes sense) to replicate that negative balance. Or I keep intending to set aside a positive “buffer” amount of money in my “reimbursable” category although that’s not my favorite because I’d rather budget that buffer elsewhere.

        • Anonymous :

          I hate that too. Sometimes I’ll just adjust the date on the transactions tripping over the edge so the role into the next month.

    • I’ve only used new YNAB because I wanted the auto import feature. I love it! But I agree that the lack of the ability to forecast is odd. I actually never watched the video classes and learned the method they use. I always assumed forecasting was somehow inconsistent with their method? I do my forecasting in excel. For me the trade off is worth it because I feel that pulling my info over to excel for forcasting is easier than manually importing transactions.

      This is what I do – but I’m a lawyer and not a numbers person, so my idea of forecasting maybe ridiculously simplistic for your needs. I have a spreadsheet that starts with my spending budget line items. I pull over the total amount spent each month. From that I use the functionality of excel to do averages of different time periods. I use the averages to adjust my budget and get a realistic idea of how much I can and should be saving. I use other sheets in the same workbook for specific savings goals. I can copy and paste, or update from the sheet where I manually enter my total spend amounts. I really like the functionality of excel.

  18. CherryScary :

    Half our office isn’t here because of the long weekend, I leave on my honeymoon tomorrow and I just.can’t.focus. Boss will probably let us go early, but for now I’m struggling. Who else is stuck in their office that can give me the kick in the pants to get these last two things done?

    • I need this too. I’m trying to think of a non-food reward to give myself this afternoon if I finish my items. Maybe you could get a fun mini makeup/toiletry item for your honeymoon?

    • Same here. The parking lot was practically empty this morning. I have a couple of things to get done too, but nothing urgent. I’m going to set a timer for 20 minutes and focus so I don’t have to worry about my tasks later in the day.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Ugh I’m with you. There are three people in my department today, out of 12, so I’m just slogging it through until 2, when I leave for the airport!

      But I really should do this report.

      Maybe if we get these things done we reward ourselves with fall clothes?

      • Linda from HR :

        Not a bad time for it, with all the labor day sales. I’m eyeing some stuff on Unique Vintage, gonna pounce when I get the sale email.

    • Yes. A thousand times yes. And i don’t even have a valid reason like a honeymoon to be distracted. I just plain want the weekend to start.

      +1 for the non-food reward idea.

    • Linda from HR :

      Slow office is definitely slow. Not much to do.

      Here’s my conundrum though: the office officially closes at 1, meaning we can all leave at 1 and not have to take PTO. But most people I know aren’t leaving then, they have meetings past 1 and some have on their calendars that they’re “busy” until 4. People are acting like ignoring the early close is either a requirement or some kind of virtue, but I have nothing pressing to do, no meetings, is it okay to leave at 1 or should I hang back a little later?

      • Leave at 1. Even chances some of those later meetings are being cancelled, so even the people booked until 4 may not really be. But why hang around if there’s no pressing reason to?

        • Linda from HR :

          Optics, mostly. And fairness, maybe. I have a feeling those who have to stay late, or feel like they have too much work to do, will bristle at the people who actually walk out the door on time.

  19. Good at Stem but care more about Big Ideas :

    As a kid I was very very good at science and math. I really always loved Big Ideas more (I lived through a revolution as a kid and am now on a Hamilton bender). I read history all the time and lots of random things. I’d never really do that with anything but fluffy science books but have actually done political history rearch and have been published.

    Now, it seems so on-trend to shove girls with any aptitude whatsoever into the hard sciences or math or computers. Which I’m not against — critical thinking is a great skill to know you have.

    But I also had an unhappy engineer for a parent who backed my going to a liberal arts college instead of to a all-female State U where I probably would have been thrown into a science career (that, from judging from the comments here, is probably even more s*xist and less lucrative than what I would up doing).

    I’m not sure there’s a question here, but for younger members who are good at STEM, did you go into it, feel compelled to try it (like “for the sisterhood” or something), or still would up following your BA-in-rhetoric ideas? Asking b/c now I’m the mother of girls who are also good at math.

    • I mean yeah STEM for girls might be a trend but that’s because still a vanishingly small number of girls choose it. Don’t pressure your kids into engineering school and you’ll be fine.

    • You should give your girls extra encouragement if they show aptitude for math/science, because they are less likely to get it from other sources and need to know that they are capable of pursuing a STEM career. But ultimately you shouldn’t push them into one field over another.

      • +1 – I did well in math and science in HS because I liked math and science. I don’t know that I was actively encouraged one way or the other, or if it was just more of a (parental) expectation that I would be in the advanced math track, and yes I would be doing a science class all 4 yrs of HS, even though I had the option for less.

        I did end up majoring in Chemistry at my public liberals arts college. It was always a question of which science (chem or geology), as opposed to science at all. Looking back, I might have been convinced to do an accounting degree, and may have ended up perfectly happy. Dad was an chemical engineer, and I don’t recall if there was any push for me to do engineering rather than a straight science. But the choice to study science was mine. Granted, this was in the late 1990s/early 2000s – I feel like some of the Girls in STEM push came later.

      • +1 for not getting encouragement in STEM from other sources. Looking back, I was equally good at science and math as I was at English, history, etc. Both grades and standardized test scores reflected this–I even received the highest grade in the class in an AP science class. But I was told (even by the teacher for that science class) that I was bad at math and good at English and history, and was encouraged to pursue those fields. That was silly.

    • I was the same as you as a kid. Really good at science and math, thoroughly disliked my english and history classes.

      I started college as a chemical engineering major. I was not prepared for the rigor/amount of studying it required- I had gotten through high school with straight As in honors classes without studying. I switched to economics, worked in finance for 4 years, and then decided to become an RN- which happily allows me to work in a “science-y” field. Sometimes I wish I had been able to cut it as an engineer (mostly for the money, honestly), but generally I’m relieved I didn’t go that route– I don’t think I’d be happy as an engineer.

      • Good at Stem but care more about Big Ideas :

        This is me, a bit. I really really did not work at all in high school and do wish I’d done something at the level where it got hard, b/c Danica McKellar I’m not (and I just want to know how wide of the mark I am). I don’t know if that actually is talent or just that the classes weren’t hard enough.

        [But if guy is getting 780s on his math SATs, OF COURSE he goes into a STEM field and there is OMG no way he can’t do the work — grrr.]

        I wound up in a finance-y field where my level of #s understanding is still way above average (and I didn’t haven math classes after high school except for auditing a masters level finance class in stochastic calculus and realizing that spending the time on this would help me at my job enough to make it worth it).

      • This is me. Good at math and science in high school. Started engineering in college. Was not prepared for the rigor in college. When I asked my assigned mentor/professor for advice, he said “Doesn’t matter what you do, you’re a female. You’re going to get a good job in engineering whether you can do the work or not.” and then didn’t really seem interested in giving me practical advice. That, combined with the other general attitudes I’d encountered in my classes, ultimately convinced me to switch to finance. Now very happy in finance.

        I look back and wish I wouldn’t have placed so much emphasis on one rotten guy, but I was the first in my family to go to college or try to have a non-blue-collar job, and the very clear contempt for women in engineering was just too daunting for me to fight against. Now that I have kids who also seem adept in STEM, I hope I raise them to do what they’re good at, regardless of how others think about it.

    • I think you should encourage your kids to do what they like, not necessarily what they’re good at. My husband and I are both good at math (although I opted out after college into a non-STEM career, he has a PhD), so odds are our daughter will be too. But we want her to do whatever interests her, whether that’s biology or creative writing or economics or whatever.

    • I think the best thing you can do for your children as they get older is encouraging them to pursue their interests but ALSO to think about what kinds of job they might enjoy that have a viable career path, including considering how much money they will make, keeping in mind that there are probably multiple decent options
      – there is no one unicorn career that is the only thing that will make you happy.

      My mother is very smart, didn’t feel like she had choices other than nurse/teacher/secretary, and never figured out what she wanted to do. She quit working to raise my brothers and I and did eventually become a landscape architect when I was in grad school. Anyway, she always encouraged me to just follow my dreams, which is how I ended up majoring in studio art at an expensive liberal arts school, and eventually getting an MFA while trying to be an artist. My dad is a civil engineer. I was great at math but frankly excelled in all of my subjects, and had no interest in being an engineer. I ended up working in nonprofit fundraising, focused on grant writing, and I now work at an arts organization that I love. But it took me a while to find a job I liked that paid well enough to live on comfortably, and i wish I had been pushed a little more to think about finding a 2nd choice career I liked rather than being a struggling artist with a hated day job.

      • I think about your last sentence a lot. I do wish that I had been a bit more practical (I had an equally impratical second major, but it would have been better to go from an area I dabbled in (like finance) to a double major in something like accounting or computer science or something other than Classics (I know! thanks mom & dad for indulging me).

        As a grownup, I am really happy to have had very interesting schooling and the luxury of living a lot through reading. I don’t need to find 100% of my happiness and fulfillment at work (it is very fulfilling, but it’s not a magical unicorn job). I am also fortunate to have always had steady work that let me live independently and have been able to use my math / softer skills to get the job done in my field.

        • To be fair, I’m not sure any parental advice would have sunk in anyway – I needed to figure some things out on my own, like, I may be (MAY) great at making art but I’m not particularly great at some things you need to be good at making a living from art (entrepreneurial, well-connected, comfortable with no steady income or health insurance…). I think I just lack self-awareness; the biggest thing I learned in graduate school was that I wanted health insurance.

          And I have also been self-supporting since graduating college and have lived comfortably enough, so I’m not sure what exactly I regret – I guess that it took me a while to find my current field, and longer to realize I would be happier if my “day job” was more challenging and a career in itself.

    • There are plenty of jobs and fields that combine science/math/computing with Big Ideas. Right up through college, at minimum, I think that kids who have the aptitude should be cultivating both sets of skills.

    • environmental compliance :

      This will probably out me to anyone who knows me in real life, but here’s my story:

      In school, I was good at biology, passable at math, but really liked reading history and social studies on my own. That being said, I never considered a non-STEM career because my high school was extremely focused on STEM studies.

      I entered college with the belief that I’d major in biology and go into academic research instead of medicine. What actually happened was that I ended up with a degree in environmental science, because while yes, there was hard science and critical thinking/problem solving skills, environmental science is also an interdisciplinary major that also included classes on sociology, economics, history, and law to name a few. So I got to satisfy my desire for some liberal arts classes, but also graduated with a degree in the life sciences that my parents could accept.

      I now work on the science side of environmental compliance, and even though the money isn’t great, the work is intellectually fulfilling for me.

      For your girls, I think when the time comes for them to choose a college major, if you want them to think about Big Ideas, consider interdisciplinary majors that teach both critical thinking and soft skills.

      • +1

        This sums up a lot about what I liked about environmental science (in addition to just thinking it was cool/ideology motivated stuff). I got to pay tribute to both my STEM/non-STEM inclinations and skill sets, but also wasn’t stuck in a lab doing quantitative analysis– not my forte or passion. You totally COULD do that in the environmental field but you don’t have to (my undergrad loved to push its environmental science majors toward what amounted to a combo of a physics, math, and chemistry degree, focusing on environmental modeling.)

        • environmental compliance :

          in case anyone comes back to read this, a little more on my background and why a non-STEM career never even crossed my mind growing up –

          I went to high school abroad (non-US), and at my high school, everyone was pushed to be good at STEM classes. Both boys and girls. In fact, since our top class rankings were publicized, there was always a girl or two always at the top of the grade, across all classes. Girls weren’t discouraged from math or sciences, it was more of an attitude of “if you’re not getting good grades, you’re slacking off and not trying hard enough to learn.” It was never “you’re bad at math/science/critical thinking skills.”

          There was also the consideration that I wouldn’t know what sort of career to aspire to if I didn’t get a STEM major in college. Growing up, my parents and many friends’ parents were engineers, professors in sciences, nurses, or doctors. I really didn’t realize there were all sorts of other careers until I attended college in the US.

    • STEM backgrounds give you options. I have a science PhD but am a lawyer now. I’m a valuable commodity bc clients like it. I have a friend who has a BS in an engineering discipline but is now a partner at a major consulting firm who works primarily with financial services clients. I fully support the worth of a liberal arts education and having a well rounded education. But STEM education teaches critical thinking skills and opens doors later. And does not prevent you from having a Big Ideas kind of career.

    • Marshmallow :

      We sound kind of similar– I was always great at math and science in school. One of my hobbies as a teenager was building websites and programming silly stuff with my dad’s Java books. But I liked reading, writing, and making music more than I liked programming. So I went into the liberal arts.

      Now I’m a finance lawyer and it was a great choice. Numbers make sense to me but I’d rather work with numbers in the context of a legal case than just trade stocks or program stuff all day. I’m known as the Excel whiz on our team, and am working to develop a mini specialty in legal technology. It’s so interesting to me and really challenging.

    • In high school I liked science and English. I was good at both, plus math. I hated math because it was taught in a repetitive, boring, and pointless way, and I was turned off by science when one of my classes spent an entire semester running the same failed lab over and over because the materials had gone bad and the equipment was subpar, which the teacher didn’t figure out until after we’d tried it about ten times. So I majored in English plus an impractical artsy field, worked in IT for a few years, went to law school, and have spent the rest of my life regretting the fact that I didn’t pursue a hard science degree and do something really interesting and beneficial to humanity.

      I am now the mother of a STEM-loving middle school girl who wants to be a scientist. I support and encourage her interest, and I was very discouraged when she decided not to attend a science camp this summer partly because last year “there were too many boys and they always pushed me out of the way.” At the same time, I hope she will pursue her passion for science through grad school and not take the easy way out by learning to code and getting a software development job straight out of college as kids are currently being encouraged to do. I don’t think this career path will remain so lucrative over the long run.

      I also worry that we are focusing too much on STEM and not exposing all students to important big-picture ideas from the humanities. I believe that a basic grounding in history, economics, literature, and philosophy is important for every person, and that a lot of our current societal problems would not exist if the electorate were a little more educated in these areas. I am having trouble finding it, but I believe there was an article in the Guardian about a year or so ago suggesting that the black-and-white way of thinking taught in the sciences makes young people more susceptible to recruitment by radical groups (trying to avoid moderation here).

    • Pro-women in STEM :

      You’re about to get a novel – this is something I think about a lot.

      I majored in engineering (at an ivy where they had 50-50 gender splits in engineering majors) and am very glad I did. I have never practiced as an engineer and never had any intention of doing so. I started college with the intention of going to law school so minored in such a way that I’d be able to do that, though ultimately ended up in consulting and got an MBA. There was a lot of push from my parents that I would major in engineering but could do anything I wanted as a career afterwards. Sort of with the mentality that it was a good insurance policy so that I’d always be able to support myself. This is probably the stance I will take with my children as well.

      The engineers in general had a much more diverse education and a more “liberal arts” education than many of the non-engineers. In my major, pretty much everyone got a minor in history, psychology, politics, foreign languages and we had distribution requirements across the traditional liberal arts disciplines. In contrast, my roommates and close friends (non-engineers) all kept their studies in closely-related departments, think psychology + sociology, history + politics. That could have just been my university though – at a technical school that’s less likely to be true.

      I do champion STEM in large part because it teaches a mindset and rigorous problem solving that is so translatable to any field, and that should be valued in an of itself. Also just the sheer terror of those classes (differential equations!) is a good learning experience in and of itself and the huge quantities of work was a wonderful training ground that made banking hours look normal and consulting like a vacation.

      I saw first hand that many women did not select into engineering programs freshman year because they had not previously been exposed to it, and many who did start as engineers were used to getting all A’s in high school and switched out when they starting getting B’s. Men seemed to not view their lack of experience as a hurdle the way women did, and they thought getting B’s was great! So, all told, I personally feel that there is huge undersold value for an engineering degree and that women have been socialized to see more hurdles to accomplishing it more than men do, so yes I actively participate in a lot of get-women-into-STEM initiatives.

      • Pro-women in STEM :

        Seconding a lot of this (and coming back with Qs):

        1. Yes — the GPA thing is real. People will not tolerate Bs, in part b/c law/graduate schools care about GPAs (or are perceived to), especially Bs they have to work hard for. Learning be d*mn*ed. A B is seen as a failure by people who have never failed to thrive at anything until then. [I think that this is so, so, so wrong and short-sighted.]

        2. Which Ivy? I know someone who recently chose NC State over Duke for engineering b/c NC State is a stronger school in engineering (plus in-state tuition, although probably would have qualified for aid at Duke). Are Ivies / Duke-ish schools more 50/50 in engineering or STEM fields? I hadn’t thought of that angle. [And hadn’t really considered that angle to be real at all before becoming a comment reader here. I work with guys on the trading floor and maybe it’s the New Yorker in me, but I can deal with that but not with what you guys report and would hate for that to be at the school level.] This might get me (and my wallet) on Team Ivies are OK. Balance is important once you move up in your career — how do you walk to executives if you just know one thing?

        • Poster at 11:52 :

          I went to Princeton. A number of my engineering TA’s had gone to undergrad at NC State – sounds like your friend had some great options!

          In general, there are two separate trends: (1) liberal arts schools with engineering programs have higher ratios of women in engineering programs than technical schools, and (2) more selective schools have higher the ratio of women in engineering majors. I suppose this is because (1) going to a broader university leaves more classes available for women with diverse interests (and may address many HS girls’ concerns about being only around “nerdy engineers” particularly for boys – “odds are good but the goods are odd”) and (2) is just generally because there’s more demand for the seats so easier to fill them with women.

    • When I was in college I wanted to major in Anthropology, but I chose computer science instead and it was absolutely the right decision. I loved all the Anthro-related classes I took, but realistically if I had gone that route I’d probably be off digging holes somewhere for minimum wage or struggling in academia. I was encouraged to choose CS from my parents, but weirdly I was discouraged by some teachers at my school because I was good at English and they tried to convince me that it wasn’t suited to my personality type. CS was absolutely the right decision, I think people do not emphasize enough the value of having a career that can pay well to teens. I honestly would have probably even chosen engineering if that had occurred to me at the time, but I am sorry to say I never thought of it and nobody ever suggested it to me, even though I was good at math. That is why I think women in STEM initiatives are important!

      I really bloomed in college, though I did feel pressure to always do well because I was sometimes the only woman in classes. There is definitely a culture in CS and similar fields like engineering of always trying to appear to be smart without any effort. There’s a learning curve and it’s so disheartening to struggle when you think everyone else knows what they’re doing. There were times I had bad grades (~60%’s) and was devastated that I was failing, but I was actually leading the curve. It took me about a year to realize that everyone else was full of it and then I got really good at solving problems and leveraging my profs and other resources to understand stuff better. I think that is a big breakthrough moment that a lot of women go through.

      In high school I avoided the computer club because they were a bunch of creepy guys, but in college and beyond it hasn’t really been like that other than a few one-offs. Especially now, the percentage of women in my field has changed a lot from when I started. I’ve even been on a few majority-female project teams, which I never thought would ever happen.

    • Anonshmanon :

      Love reading all the different experiences!
      At school, I was good at many subjects, but quickly fell in love with chemistry. Uni was hard, but we muddled through with some great friends. Grad school was when it got interesting for me. I developed my own flavour of imposter syndrome, where I was convinced for a while that an academic career was not for me because I was not enough of a Sheldon. You know, because I actually have some interpersonal skills and interests outside of my work. It took me a while to get over that because the ‘role models’ (old white professor dudes) just show so. little. diversity.

    • Not that Anne, the other Anne :

      I have somewhat of an opposite history from a lot of people who are in STEM. I loved science in school but didn’t like math because it just didn’t interest me. I was also good at verbal and written communication, which meant my test scores were fabulous in the written sections, not so much in the math. My “career counseling” suggestion was to become an English teacher.

      Instead I went to Big State U and started out premed, because if you like science you must want to be a doctor, right? That lasted about a year. My final degree was in a hard science …. with an English minor. And now I have a fancy degree in a hard science and work in a STEM field, but that English minor was definitely beneficial for me to have that extra bit of rounding out.

      Plus it was really nice to go from Upper Level Majors Science Course to The American Novel sometimes. It gave my brain a break. :)

    • I’m not “younger” but: I majored in economics because it was an easy major, but I was good at math and became an actuary. The work is more business oriented than math oriented (in my case and most of my colleagues, anyway).

    • Anonymous :

      I am a STEM academic, with a PhD and postdoc from top-5 departments. I love it! I read history and Great Novels all the time too, in my spare time, but math and computer programming are work I can do all day, every day, and find simultaneously exciting and restful.

      Please just help your daughters find a path they enjoy. Don’t shove them into STEM if they don’t want to do it. But also, don’t second-guess them if they do. My mom always seemed a little sad watching me in my high school and college years as I signed up for math course after math course, kept reminding me how I aced high school Latin and encouraging me to “sign up for an anthropology course or something, just to see if I would like it.” I think on some level she couldn’t really believe that I found math fascinating, and it sowed a lot of self-doubt in younger me.

  20. Has anybody used Pure Barre on demand? I love their classes, but they are so crowded and hard to reserve in my area. If the on demand product is good enough, I would be able to install a small bar in my workout space. Just wanted to hear some reviews before even bothering signing up for the subscription.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Yup. It’s good. You don’t even really need a barre- a table or a wall or a chair is all they require. There are workouts from 5 min to an hour, including some with particular focuses. They have a Fire TV app, too.

    • Another option to consider is Barre 3. I was a Pure Barre junk*e for a long time and just started going to Barre 3 when a new location opened up near me and the grand opening specials were too good to pass up ($99/mo and free access to the online classes).
      Barre3 has a really impressive library of on-demand workouts, ranging from 10-60 minutes, and dozens of workouts per length. Free subscription for 15 days and then $30/mo. afterwards.
      It is a little different style than Pure Barre/Bar Method — has some strong pilates/yoga influence — but I like the classes & online options.

      • I like Barre3 better than PureBarre, and they are ususally less crowded. What about FlyBarre? They have comparable pricing, are less crowded, and IMO, a better workout.

    • I use it and I love it. You don’t need a barre, I use my treadmill to steady myself. And I bought a small ball from Target (didn’t buy the PB brand ball). The workouts are great, and I like that they have different lengths and you can search based on which part of the body you want to focus on. Overall I think it’s a great value!

    • Marshmallow :

      I like Physique 57 on demand.

  21. Paging Gap Perfect Trousers :

    I saw your comment yesterday about having an extra pair of Gap Perfect Trousers in an extra size – any chance they are a 2? They’re also my perfect trousers. I would buy your extra pair if they happen to be!

  22. Suggestions Welcomed – I am looking for suggestions for a birthday gift for a fellow attorney friend who is turning 30. Cost wise I would like to keep it around 100-150.

  23. I bumped another car this morning when parking in the tight lot near my office. It was only a scrape but not a non-noticeable one, and I left a note with my contact information, but, geez. I know leaving my info was the right thing to do but I’m not looking forward to dealing with it, especially when I’ve dealt with this so many times over the last 6 years of living here and nobody has EVER left a note. What goes around comes around though, right?

    I am so ready for 5 pm.

    • You are a good person.

      And the time this happened to me, the guy I scraped couldn’t care less, told me not to worry about it. It made my day.

    • Ugh! Sorry! I’ve done this before and I left a note, and the guy was like “don’t worry, it’s not a big deal, I’m getting a new car next week anyways.” So yes, what goes around comes around.

    • I also did the same thing once and left a note about a minor scratch. I even had to put the note in a zip lock bag because it was raining out. The person must have been on vacation because I didn’t hear from them for weeks. I was dreading it. Then they called and thanked me profusely for leaving a note and said not to worry about it. Hope it works out for you. You did the right thing.

    • Flats Only :

      Third this. If it wasn’t a new car they may not care. I drive a junky commuting car (one of five cars we have for two drivers, to reference that other thread), and I’ve gone so far as to waive off someone who tapped into me at a traffic light. No real damage, as the bumper was already scraped up, so why ruin someone’s day.

    • Linda from HR :

      Honestly, most people don’t care about minor scrapes, and even if they do go through your insurance to get it fixed, it likely won’t be that much. My first accident was a side-swipe and the damage was less than $500 so it didn’t even impact my rate that much.

  24. Apparently this year will be the best year to see the northern lights for the next 10 years. I’d like to plan a one-week trip, maybe over the holidays, to go see them. It will probably be a solo trip. Where should I go, what should I do when I’m not chasing the lights?

    • Is Iceland an option? It will be cold and dark but could be an amazing trip. I’d go there solo.

    • I went to Iceland in the spring to see the northern lights. It was a solo trip and really enjoyable. I was looking for a variety of activities and did biking, horses, glaciers, hot springs, museums, etc. It was super! While I’m glad I saw the lights and they were cool, I wasn’t that impressed. I had good weather and good lights, but they simply don’t look like the postcards or Instagram photos. If I went with slightly lowered expectations, that would have been helpful.

    • Iceland!! Incredibly gorgeous place, safe, and easy to get around. I went in April and saw the northern lights, already considering a return trip soon.

    • We are looking at a trip to Calgary and Jasper this winter. Supposed to get a really good view from there!

    • Huh, I thought I’d heard that the intensity was actually on the decline. I live in Juneau and the past couple years have been absolutely bonkers for aurora. But trying to plan a trip here to see them probably isn’t the best idea; it’s usually too cloudy.

      • You’re correct, the aurora is on the decline already. It won’t be back up to the current levels for about 10 years. Last year would’ve been a better year to see them but I didn’t think of it then.

    • Anonshmanon :

      I saw them in Levi, Finland in February. It was great! Skiing, sledding, and sauna-going come to mind for your off-time. My hotel room actually had a private little sauna.

    • I went solo to the Lofoten Islands in Norway in Jan/Feb. In addition to northern lights, I did some cross country skiing, general touristing (good food, etc.), and snorkeled with orcas! Snorkeling with orcas was amazing. I still struggle to put the experience into words, but I nature photographer I follow on instagram posted this which gives a taste:

    • SF in House :

      I was in Iceland this summer and absolutely loved it. I researched going back for the northern lights and what I found that the weather can make it tough to see them in Iceland (wind + clouds), so it is often easier in Sweden and Norway.

  25. Just have to vent.

    Joel Osteen is a d-bag

    I have a FB “friend” who never posts but my feed is full of her going around and commenting on everyone’s posts about him saying it is fake news and everyone makes mistakes and he is a good x-tian

    And this is why he’s a gazillionaire. How does he get people to so slavishly follow him?

    • There are so many good Twitter memes about his fail this week.

    • Ummm, Trump is our president. Do you really need to ask that question? People believe what they want to believe, even if it’s ridiculous.

    • Marshmallow :

      Just posting to agree, nothing really to add. There’s a great opinion piece about this in the NYT from yesterday.

    • napoleon's ghost :

      I hate to use the word, but this may be his Waterloo.

    • Ack, my cousins are liking these dumb Facebook prosperity gospel propaganda stories, stuff like how some poor mother with $7 to her donated her last few dollars because she felt like it was the right thing to do and omg she got a $200 check in the mail the next day! How does anyone see it as anything but predatory? I think Osteen allegedly doesn’t preach about money, but his lifestyle is very un-Christian. I think people aspire to be like someone who is well spoken, rich, and debatably attractive and people generally don’t care about the religion part so much.

    • He is nothing but a motivational speaker and is generally an awful person. So is his wife. Anyone who thinks he preaches the Gospel or believes anything he says is delusional.

    • OK in Texas :

      The church was flooded inside the first few days and it would not have been safe to house people there. Pictures are online. I know Joel from high school and he is a very nice guy, always was. He didn’t do any public speaking in high school or at any church until his father died, and then he literally stepped into his shoes and preached for the first time. You won’t find a more racially diverse congregation as his. I listen to his channel on Sirius XM which plays his sermons, back to back. He does not request money. At all. And yes, his sermons are “motivational.” Is that bad? I know that listening to that station got me through a very rough year. If you look at the current news, you’ll see that he and his congregation Have opened their doors to Harvey victims in a very big way.

  26. Chair shopping help! :

    Can somebody help me find what I think is a basic chair need, but seems oh-so-hard-to-find! I am looking for an office chair (with wheels, fair amount of back support, arms) in light neutral colors (NOT black or dark brown) under $300 thats lasts a few years! This is for my home office desk which happens to be in our living room so I ‘m looking for something that looks a bit nice. TIA!

    • CB2 usually has beautiful chairs, like:


    • I really like my Markus office chair from Ikea. I’ve had it for about 5 years, no complaints. Comes in beige with black accents.

  27. Any recs for favorite summer/road trip Spotify playlists? I have a 6-7hr drive with my roommate / best friend today, which should be fun but I don’t know if we have 6-7 hours worth of things to talk about. We both are pretty flexible on music, generally whatever is popular and puts you in a good mood.
    Any fun recommendations are appreciated!

    • Lin Manuel Miranda makes weekly Spotify playlists with a theme. The songs are not all, or even mostly, musical theater songs. I’ve listened to a few of his playlists and enjoyed them.

      You could also download a few podcasts.

    • Anonymous :

      Not sure about Spotify, but on Google Music I can recommend the Electropop Loft Party station for good driving music

  28. 2nd baby showers are a thing now :

    Please help my check my judgy-ness. I’ve been invited to two showers for second babies and I’m kinda not feeling it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very excited for my close family member to have their second child, although the timing is close to their first so shouldn’t they still have stuff? The other shower is for a second child years after the first. Both are clearly celebrations and I am truly happy for them. I keep telling myself that we would have sent gifts no matter what and I’m glad to have the registries so that I can give them what they need…but y’all. Looking at multiple registries is driving me nuts and then I start hating myself. I just need to buy stuff and let it go.

    • I’m with you in not liking second showers. I went to one recently, and I was having a hard time bringing the level of enthusiasm I get when people are having their first. I just bought something practical from the registry (bottles, because parents may not have kept bottles, or they may be pretty worn out) for about $35. Once the baby was born, I was much more excited, and DH and I cooked all day one Saturday and showed up with a ton of food.

      So, yes, just buy something useful off the registry that’s within your budget and move on.

    • In my area it’s common although the second one is usually smaller and gifts are often consumable items (e.g. box of diapers and a cute onesie or board book; gift certificate for meal delivery, gift certificate for postpartum doula service). But showers here tend to have a lot of emphasis on showing support to the soon to be mom. So instead of games, it’s like write a note to tuck in a diaper for mom to read when she’s doing a middle of the night diaper change vs. gift bingo.

    • Ah, yes. The “sprinkle.”

    • Linda from HR :

      Responding to “they already have what they need,” maybe not. Maybe they learned a lot with their first baby, and now they know about products – which may or may not have even been around when their first was born – that could really help make things easier for this one, especially since now they have to balance the new baby with the at least slightly older kid they already have.

      Also, the idea that a shower for your second baby is tacky is not something that naturally occurs to everyone.

      • +1 You don’t know what they have, what they need, etc…Baby products change and update all the time. Even in 3-5 years someone can say “oh my gosh I wish they had that!’ (example: Boppy newborn lounger). We threw a sprinkle for my SIL because she had one accidental pregnancy, got rid of all the baby stuff, and then had another accidental pregnancy 4 years later. So she was a single mom with no baby stuff and not much money for it. I think everyone enjoyed giving her something positive during a tough time in her life. But, I like showers and celebrating babies so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

      • Mental (in)competence :

        +2 A second kid means another car seat, maybe a double stroller, etc., and those can be $$$. And I think every baby deserves to start life with at least a few things that aren’t hand-me-downs: its own special blankie, teddy bear, coming-home outfit, etc.

        Another gift idea: a photo album just for pics of the new baby, and maybe a gift certificate for a photo printing service. In my experience, second+ babies either don’t get as many photos taken or they never get put into albums like those of the first baby.

        I also like to give nicely bound editions of classic children’s books, like A Child’s Garden of Verses. Even if it’s already in the family library, kid #2 can have a copy to grow up with.

        • Anonymous :

          Personalized gifts so that second baby doesn’t just have first baby’s hand me down everything are standard at most sprinkles that I’ve been to.

          • Linda from HR :

            I like the idea of a sprinkle as opposed to a second shower, personally, but I’m not going to judge people who have full-blown showers. Aren’t showers thrown by someone other than the couple, anyway?

      • Ummm if they now know what they need, they are free to buy it. I like showers and babies and all that, but if you chose impractically the first time, it doesn’t make much sense to crowdfund your second one.

        Wedding and baby showers are traditionally throw because they’re ushering in a new “phase” in your life. My friends have an informal tradition of throwing a grad/PhD shower as well, which I wish would catch on more. But you’ve already gotten a bunch of baby stuff, it’s just being greedy and/or moochy to expect your friends and family to get you more for each kid you have.

        All that being sad, in real life I keep all this to myself, buy a nice gift off the registry, and fully celebrate the new baby.

        • Anonymous :

          Graduations parties (with gifts) are pretty common aren’t they? I don’t think you and your friends invited that.

    • As a single woman, no kids, approaching 50…. I’ve gotta say I hear you. The thousands of dollars I have spent on shower/wedding gifts for others (never mind second weddings….), does make my head spin when I think about it.

      But I see these follow-up showers as smaller things, and only go for good friends or if politically important. Gifts are simple…. a favorite book or two, or a really cute one-sy. I specifically don’t buy off the registry. I look on etsy for a onesie that somehow represents something I have in common with Mom. For example, for my friend who is a cellist, the onesie is one huge picture of a cello. Not expensive. She loved it.

      • Agreed. There are a lot of things I want to do that I don’t “have the stuff for” but I don’t ask my friends to provide it for me. What they have or don’t have ultimately doesn’t matter– you don’t throw parties based on whether you need stuff. (I would change my tune if someone was in a legit time of need.) First baby showers are a cultural tradition and honor a woman’s transition to motherhood, but I truly don’t see why someone doing the important but ultimately common act of growing their family is entitled to request gifts from friends. (yeah yeah you can say no gifts, no one’s obligated, blah blah.)

        The idea of throwing a party for yourself just because you’re pregnant again seems narcissistic to me.

    • I think a celebration for a second baby is nice, but would have a “We already have everything we need, no gifts please!” party rather than a shower.

      • Relatedly, I kind of love sip n sees for this. You can actually see the baby, celebrate with the family, and there’s no pressure to bring a gift (at least in my circle), stay for a designated amount of time, or play stupid games.

        • Anonymous :

          sip and sees are the worst! I haven’t slept in days, I’m probably still bleeding and sweaty from the hormonal changes, and lets invite a whole bunch of people over that I have to entertain while trying not to inappropriately leak milk? no thanks. SO MUCH pressure on a new mom.

          • I really agree. Someone mentioned the idea of a sip and see to me, and they backed off right quick when they saw the horrified look on my face.

            FWIW, my BFF hosted a sprinkle for me when I was pregnant with my second. There were 5 years between my kids and we had a hard time conceiving the second time around. It was meant to be a joyful celebration with a small, close group of friends. The gifts were mostly diapers and wipes and consumables. I’d kept all the baby gear from my first. While I never asked for, or expected, a second shower, it meant a lot to me.

          • Sip n see :

            I had a sip n see with my first, and LOVED it. It was at my mom’s house, though she wasn’t the official host (unusual perhaps, but I lived far from family and she had the biggest house to host everyone), I didn’t have to do the gift opening thing, and baby was a few months old, so I was happy to pass her around and wasn’t a mess myself. It was fabulous. (And several people brought very sweet gifts, but most didn’t, and that was fine by me.)

    • I don’t get why having a second shower is a bad thing. You’re having a baby! That’s a celebration-worthy event! In terms of social obligation, imo a second shower is like an adult’s birthday party – if you can go, show up for a couple of hours and bring a small gift. I’m not going super out of my way like I might for a wedding or funeral, though, and I’m definitely not devoting a full day to it (incl. travel).

      • Anonymous :

        Because a shower is literally an invitation to shower you with gifts. It’s greedy and tacky and horrible.

      • Anonymous :

        Have a party then. Not a gift grab.

      • Anonymous :

        This. The focus is on celebrating a joyful life event not on getting lots of ‘stuff’.

        And if the focus is the ‘stuff’ then you need new friends. Some people will be grouchy about anything. You don’t like it? Don’t go.

    • Anonymous :

      I hate these. It’s so gift-grabby.

      Doubly so when it’s kid #2, close together.

      Everyone, when you’re 18 / setting up your first housekeeping experience, should get a starting-out shower and then that’s it. You’re an adult and on your own. If you can’t / won’t fund your own life choices, pls don’t expect us to do it for you.

      • Linda from HR :

        You’re right, and while we’re at it, let’s stop with the silly tradition of giving adults presents on their birthdays and at Christmas. When my mom asks for my wish list in November, I’ll tell her to stop enabling my entitlement. Once you get your first job, that’s it, you have your own money now, no one should ever give you anything ever again!

        Come on.

        I do kind of like the idea of starting out showers, or maybe “move out” showers, not sure what name works best.

        I can see showers as being gift grabby if people throw their own showers and register for a mountain of overpriced gifts. Others are just following tradition, and are accepting shower-type celebrations thrown for them by friends and family, because it seems silly to refuse a nice party with gifts on the grounds that it might look greedy to grouchy people like you.

      • fake coffee snob :

        am I in the minority that I actually like purchasing gifts for people I care about? Gifts are definitely a love language for me and I enjoy showers and picking out cute baby stuff or brainstorming on a particularly awesome gift for a new grad. I know it’s pressure for other people (which is why I wouldn’t hold a shower for myself like that ever, plus I’m a childless unmarried person anyways) but some of us like those occasions :(. It’s not about stuff, it’s about thought.

        • fake coffee snob :

          plus it takes a village and all that…taking care of families who are working hard to raise the children that will eventually take care of all of us is a nice thing. I want kids in my tribe even if they’re not my own, anyways. I feel similarly about taking care of other caretaking adults, regardless of the age of the person they’re taking care of.

    • Eh I had a small shower for my second. My first was a girl, my second a boy. I actually knew this “no second shower” rule but my friends assured me that it was outdated and they really wanted to throw a shower for me.

      I asked them to keep it small and they did, and all the gifts were boy clothes, which he wore in constant rotation for his first 6 months. I was really grateful because I would never have bought such cute things on my own and now when I look back on the pics of him as a baby I think “oh, there he is in that cute onesie Sarah bought him.”

  29. anon for this :

    Reposting because I posted late yesterday and am hoping to get a few more responses.

    I’ve been at my job since January. I found out today that one of my co-workers, who is senior to me but not somebody I report to, is telling people, including my immediate boss, that I have a bad reputation and that people don’t like me because I’m unfriendly /aloof. I don’t work in that co-worker’s department at all, but he’s disgruntled about that and wants to be able to give me work from his department. FWIW, I don’t really want to work with him because he has a reputation for taking credit for other people’s work. I am polite to Disgruntled Coworker when I have to be but mostly avoid him.

    My bosses have told me not to worry about it because they are happy with my work and think I’m friendly and professional. One of my bosses also asked someone closer to my level in the company whether the he’s heard any complaints, and that coworker said no.

    I’m worried that this is one of those situations where Disgruntled Coworker saying things often enough will make it true. Basically, if he creates a bad reputation, other people will start to believe it and start to see things in a way that fits that narrative.

    Is there anything I can do? I do think I’m friendly with people and get along well. I go out for happy hours and attend other company social events. I’m participating in an office fundraiser for victims of the Houston floods next week. But I don’t chat much unless I run into someone in the break room or hall–I don’t stop by people’s offices much, but there doesn’t really seem to be a culture here of other people doing that. Yesterday I ate lunch in the break room (it’s not as though anyone eats there everyday, but there are always 5-10 people in there). I’ve made an effort to keep my door open. I’ve been more conscious about saying hello when I pass people (I think I usually do this, but sometimes I’m just in my own head space even when I’m walking to the bathroom or something). But if Disgruntled Coworker is just going to make stuff up, I feel like I won’t be able to get ahead of the next set of rumors.

    • You seemed to get really good responses here yesterday. Your bosses have reassured you that there’s nothing to this. Is there some type of reassurance or solution you’re hoping to hear that you’re not getting, or is something still eating at you about this?

      • I appreciated the responses yesterday. I posted again because reasonable people can disagree, and people have different experiences and outcomes with similar situations. I’m hoping to hear reassurance, or a solution, or if I need it, advice that this is unsolvable and I need to GTFO.

        My concern is that sometimes, people start to believe something they hear often enough (a “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” mentality). Right now, my bosses are happy and think this is all the work of one person who’s taking their decision about my work flow out on me. But if Disgruntled Coworker keeps repeating this or starts other rumors, they may start to believe that I’m the problem, or we’re both problems.

        • Some tough love: you need to stop worrying about this and move on. If the fact that one person at work doesn’t like you is making you consider the possibility that “this is unsolvable and I need to GTFO”, then I don’t think anything that anyone says here is going to make you feel better. You’ve gotten reassurance from your boss and various other colleagues that things are fine. I think you’re more at risk of sabotaging your work by overthinking this and fixating on it then you are at risk of having a bad reputation because of one colleague.

          • I’m not bothered by the fact that one person doesn’t like me. I’m worried about that one person hurting my reputation by telling people who matter that lots of people don’t like me, or whatever else he comes up with next.

    • Anonymous :

      I have found that one-on-one interactions with coworkers go a lot farther towards their perception of me than my attendance at group events. I find people are less likely to give credibility to claims that you are “aloof” or “unfriendly” if they actually know you. It also means that you have people in your corner who will defend you if he makes those comments when you are not present.

      For me, I have a rule that I will stop by the office of a coworker for a quick chat (5 mins) 1x per day. I usually just swing by if I have a meeting on their floor and ask if they have time to chat. I sit in a location that is fairly removed from other departments I work with, and I think people appreciate that I make the effort to stop by. I also do one-on-one coffee 2x per week – once with someone from my department; once with someone from other departments I interact with. I rotate who I ask.

  30. IDK if anyone here uses Poshmark (I do!) but there have been a few users there who have been selling MM LaFleur items in bulk at steep discounts. Everything is brand new with tags, mostly plus sizes. I’m wondering… how is this happening? Is this legit?? I feel like something shady MUST be going on

    • a millenial :

      they probably got them all at the warehouse/sample sale mm lafleur has in nyc – sample pieces, try on pieces etc they sell at a super steep discount and so people re-sell them

    • I must have missed the plus sizes, though I do see some XL

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