Thursday’s Workwear Report: Knit Surplice Dress

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

washable-sheath-dress-lands-end-2Even though we just featured this on CorporetteMoms, it’s worth a post here as well because this is a great dress — for $85 I think it’s going to be hard to do better than this. I love the sleeves, the flattering neckline, and the work-appropriate length. I’m probably more a fan of the black, but the pictured red is certainly very festive. It’s nice to see that it comes in sizes 2-18 in regular, petite, and tall — and it’s machine washable. 3/4 Sleeve Knit Surplice Dress

Here’s a very similar plus-size dress (but not the exact one) from Lands’ End — it comes in red and black as well as a deep pine, and (yay!) it has pockets.

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]



  1. What are your favorite food buys from Costco, bonus points if it’s anywhere from relatively to very healthy? I’m coonsidering a membership after I had an amazinggg salad-in-a-bag that a friend brought to my house this weekend for a potluck (something with brussels sprouts, sunflower seeds, etc.). We have a BJs membership that we use just for bulk goods disposable, and rarely on actual food, but I’m thinking of converting because the salad was that delicious.

    • Frozen salmon
      Chicken (frozen or fresh)
      Frozen blueberries (for smoothies, although they sometimes end up in cobbler)
      Frozen kale/spinach blend (for smoothies)
      England’s Best eggs
      Coffee beans
      Nuts (store in freezer)
      Broccoli/brassicus salad-in-a-bag (probably the one you were talking about, although TJ’s has a similar one)
      Big pieces of pork to put on the grill, occasionally
      Chicken sausages
      Parmesan cheese
      Fresh spinach, cherry tomatoes

    • I rarely go because I can never use that much food but I sometimes use my mom’s membership.

      What I like:
      – tomato soup
      – potato pierogis
      – all the cheese
      – big bags of organic spinach
      – wild salmon
      – fruit sorbets in hollowed out fruit (great for a BBQ)
      – the cream puffs (this is the best thing they sell but it’s not actually healthy; but so good).

    • The fresh meats are fantastic and the two-to-a-pack chicken breasts freeze wonderfully. I get a lot of produce there. Seafood, smoked salmon (both hot smoked and lox) for easy snacks/lunches on weekends. Quinoa, pastas, oatmeal, all the cheeses, prosciutto, jarred tomato sauce, etc. If you go, you’d be shocked at how many healthy options there are.

      • In-House in Houston :

        WINE!! If you’re a wine drinker, they have the best selection and prices. Seriously.

        • I can’t believe I didn’t mention wine. And don’t shy away from the Kirkland brand wines. They really hold their own and for the price, they’re great.

      • Dad once got a bad chicken at COSCO. He said the bird was rotten inside. I supose it could have been NOT frozen cold enugh, but Dad is pickey! FOOEY on bad food tho. I have been workeing to hard lateley. I think I need a REAL vacation where I can get a foot massage every day! YAY!!!

    • TorontoNewbie :

      We can get that same salad at our local grocery store – the bags aren’t as big but I regularly use it as the base for my lunch for a week.

    • Anonymous :

      FYI that salad is sold in grocery stores and I don’t think it is significantly cheaper at Costco. I have bought it at Wegmans and Whole Foods.

    • After joining and lapsing Costco about 4 times, I’ve given up. I don’t go often enough to justify the price, and most of the “oh-so-delicious” food is comparable to what I can find at Trader Joes without having to pay a membership fee.
      I really loved the Mortons Beef Pot Roast (I don’t eat meat, and preparing it is rough for me, but this is microwavable and apparently amazing taste-wise.). Trader Joe’s has a “traditional pot roast” that seems to get just as good reviews.

    • Constant Reader :

      They have gigantic apple pies that are among the best apple pies I’ve ever eaten, including the ones I make from Julia Child’s recipes. And I do mean gigantic — they probably weigh 8 lbs.

    • (Former) Clueless Summer :

      We eat pretty healthy (and shy away from a lot of the packaged foods at Costco) but find there are awesome deals on the following (in Canada, so YMMV):
      – that salad (but can also get from grocery store)
      – individual packs of the wholy guacamole
      – avocado oil (still expensive, but way cheaper than grocery store)
      – nut butters
      – coconut oil (still expensive, but again, way cheaper)
      – Argentinian wild caught shrimp (not so much a health thing as a working conditions thing – if you don’t know about the slave trade connection with shrimp, google!)
      – fresh organic meats (organic ground beef and whole chickens are a great deal)
      – tetra pack chicken broth
      – larabars
      – nuts

    • Anonymous :

      Their $5 freshly roasted chicken is simply put the best deal out there.

      Prescription Drugs
      Kirkland protein bars

      Nuts: almonds, pistachios, walnuts
      Frozen Salmon and Tilapia – we eat one of each once a week
      Dairy: Milk, Eggs, Cheese, Kirkland Greek yogurt
      Fresh Blueberries, Campari tomatoes, Broccoli, Spinach, Mushrooms
      Dried prunes, figs, dates

      Staples: canned tomatoes, black beans, olive oil, pasta sauce, chicken broth

      And for us, the gas alone makes the membership worthwhile.

    • Marketingchic :

      Big bags of frozen boneless chicken thighs – I use them for slow cooker tacos and curries
      Maple syrup
      Olive oil
      Organic chicken broth
      Ziplock freezer bags
      Skinny pop – the small bags are great for taking to work or putting in lunch boxes

    • nylon girl :

      Gas–if you use their visa credit card, you get 4% back on gas a year, hillshire nitrate free ham, mozzarella log–I cut it into 4 sections and freeze until needed. Books–I get lots of kid books there for birthday gifts.

    • Wild salmon (copper river when it’s available, frozen or fresh)
      Organic berries
      Organic power greens mix
      Sweet potatoes
      Organic chicken
      Organic milk
      Dried fruit
      Frozen organic vegetables
      Greek yogurt

      I’m single but I hate grocery shopping and buying in bulk works for me. I’d rather stock up at Costco and be done. They have better prices on organic food and in my area, their products are usually fresher than the grocery store.

    • In addition to what’s already been mentioned: gas; microwaveable rice/quinoa blend; whole-bean coffee; raspberries; olive oil; frozen panko-crusted tilapia; frozen French green beans; frozen Normandy veggie blend for winter soups; frozen organic berry blend for smoothies; giant bags of oatmeal; organic canned crushed tomatoes.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Can I do a Sam’s Club TJ? Our closest Costco is three times as far away as Sams… so I begrudgingly purchased a membership via Groupon recently. (Had never shopped @ Sams before.) It’s essentially the same as Costco, right? Current favorite buy is the coffee and the thin crust Palermo’s pizza. We just bought a fridge/freezer for the basement so we can stock up. Any greatest hits?

      • We have Sam’s for the same reason. I like to buy coffee, olive oil, pecans, whole almonds, eggs, ground turkey, chicken thighs, cheese, oatmeal, toilet paper, soap, shampoo and conditioner, chicken broth, canned tomatoes, dried beans, and rice. We have 3 kids so we also buy bread, milk, and almost all of our produce there because we go through it quickly. I like their big container of organic spring mix for salads throughout the week. We also put gas at Sam’s and bought our wood flooring there when we redid our house.

    • If you’re a tea drinker, their store brand green tea is fantastic.

    • I really love Kerrygold butter, although it may not help your plans to eat healthy.

  2. Anonymous :

    Love this dress!

    I grew up with a lot of emotional childhood abuse and it is getting hard to form relationships with other people, especially in the work environment. Anybody have tips or how they overcame their past?

    • Therapy. Overcoming a childhood of emotional abuse is sadly not something you can fix with a few tips from an internet comments section, sadly.

    • Anonymous :

      Practice gratitude and just don’t allow negativity/excuses

      …for me, anyway.

    • Anonymous :

      Therapy is the best.

      I actually only form very professional relationships at work. No “friendships”. I need work to be an escape, a safe place. No personal life here.

    • anon anon armani :

      You may also need to focus upon cultivating a few close, trusting relationships rather than a large body of acquaintances.

      Highly recommend the “Five Minute Journal” —- seeds of daily gratitude.

    • Yes to therapy. I was cynical about it for so long, but it has legitimately been life changing in helping me see destructive patterns in my thinking and behavior, and in helping me reprocess traumatic events.

    • I’m the poster from yesterday whose parents reneged on a financial gift after a long life of family issues. I’ve been planning to go to therapy to deal with them anyway, but I’m DEFINITELY going to now. I never had consistent parental models in the home and I don’t want to repeat the unhealthy behavior I learned with my own kids.

    • On therapy: Carolyn Hax has advice on how to find a therapist: and a lot of her regular readers say they found it helpful.

  3. Reduced Hours BigLaw :

    I know there have been posts in the past re this, but I’m looking for annecdata on going to a reduced hours schedule in BigLaw. If you’ve done it successfully, any tips? Or unsuccessfully, any pitfalls? For me, it will be a last-ditch effort to avoid quitting entirely, so I’m not really concerned about killing my BigLaw career or ruining my reputation.

    A concern is that we will need to upstaff if I go PT (like even down to 100% utilization). Selling that to management in conjunction to this may be where things get tricky.

    FWIW, I am pretty senior and have wound up controlling a significant amount of work. I get that work would be happy to pay me less, but to keep me, they actually need to start paying someone else.

    • Is work busy enough that you can sell hiring another person on its own? If you can stick it out, I might try to get another person on board and then downshift. Not in Big Law, so grain of salt.

    • Can you identify someone to replace your time? Like if you walk in asking for 60% schedule with the name of someone who’s interested in a 40% position (or a 60% position or 100% position with their own clients to fill the extra) ?

      • anon-oh-no :

        this does not work in BigLaw. In BigLaw, you don’t get to work 60% or 80% on any given case. Rather, you have to only take on 60 or 80% of the cases you normally would.

        The problem with this is that if one of your cases demands 100 or 150% of your time at any given moment, you have to give it that; you cant just say “im out” when you it 60%.

        I was on a reduced schedule for 2 years after my 2nd was born, and found generally that I just got paid less to do the same amount of work, so I went back up to full time. That said, the experience made it easier for me to allow myself to leave early, work from home, etc. And I’ve continued to do that even at full time.

        At my firm, there is no stigma or detriment, and there are people who can make it work (most of them are not in litigation though), but I suppose this depends on your firm.

    • IME, the issue with most Big Law Firms is not getting them to agree to some type of reduced hours plan (it may not be your preferred plan, but they almost always will agree to something), but the big issue is in implementation. Do you know anyone who’s gone on a reduced schedule at your own firm? They are probably your best source of information, bad and good.

    • My problem in the past was getting enough work — overly paternal partner and partner politics around “ownership” of associates.

      I’m on reduced hours now and I do everyday fewer hours rather than skipping a day. I like itbetter because I feel like it’s just not feasible to not be in the office for a whole day each week. Whereas leaving “early” (i.e. 5:30/6) is more acceptable, especially when I’m willing to log back on after 8/8:30 when it’s needed.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      I am on a reduced hour (but not part time) schedule. It works well for me, but if you want to stick to your hours target, you have to be careful not to take on too much work. In my experience, no one seems to really know who is on what hours track. My firm trues you up at the end of the year if you go over your target, up to the non-reduced full-time target.

  4. honeymoon :

    If you went on a honeymoon, where did you go? Or, if you didn’t but still want to play, where would you go?

    • Went to Indonesia for 3 weeks. I highly recommend.

    • Anon for this :

      Belize. Someone else mentioned Victoria House yesterday and that’s where we stayed — it was beautiful and the country offered a great mix of beach lazing and “activities” – snorkeling, diving, heading inland to see the Mayan ruins and go cave tubing / zip lining, etc.

      • That was me! We rented a golf cart for the week and bar hopped, explored the island and ate ceviche. It was amazing.

    • Anonymous :

      I would go to Australia.

    • Anonymous :

      If it is winter in the northern hemisphere, I’d like to go to the Panama Canal and then to Cartagena, Colombia, esp. if around Christmas/NYE.

    • We did a week away in a cottage in the north of England, so about a 2 hour drive away. Everyone was a bit surprised that we weren’t a bit more adventurous but these things cost money that we didn’t have at the time. My MILs gave us £1000 for our honeymoon which was kind and generous and but they then seemed surprised that that wouldn’t cover some sort of luxurious vacation? Which is why we don’t take money from families! (Sorry, that was a rant. They are lovely people who unintentionally push every button I have)

      We deliberated for ages and I worried it was a bit underwhelming but ultimately, I think it was the right choice. It had been a super intense period at work and I was exhausted after the wedding so some light hiking, naps, and hanging out were lovely. We also have jobs where if we wanted to, we could take a significant amount of time off, so there was less pressure to make it a big blowout event.

    • Sicily and Malta.

    • Anonymous4 :

      We were so broke when we honeymooned – we spent a week (off season) in a quiet cabin near Pigeon Forge.

      We’ve always joked about going to Fiji – and with unlimited resources, that’s probably exactly what we’d do.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Sydney and Cairns in Australia. It was an amazing trip. We loved it there so much that we would jump at the opportunity to move to Australia if it ever presents itself.

      Our trip was the perfect combination of total relaxation on a beach and both urban and rural exploration. We went to the symphony, an Australian rules football game, snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, spent 3 nights at a totally secluded beach house, and toured the tablelands with a guide for a couple of days. It was amazing and I can’t wait to go back.

    • Went to Big Sur, Napa, and San Francisco. Best trip we’ve ever taken.

    • Anonymous :

      A beach. I just want to lie in the sun.

    • (Former) Clueless Summer :

      Thailand for 3 weeks – split in half into cities/adventure stuff and then 10 days on the beach, doing very little but swimming, napping, tanning and eating. It was really perfect.

      • Anonymous :

        Is Thai food in Thailand like it is in the US?

        I know that there is standard American Chinese food and the Benihana-type places and what is different for each of those cultures. For for Thai cuisine, what should I expect there (potential stopover on the horizon)?

        • It’s spicier but generally similar. There’s much less of a divide than there is with Chinese food.

        • (Former) Clueless Summer :

          Spicier, more delicious, more full-flavoured and definitely some different offerings, but if you like pad thai and green curry and mango with sticky rice, you will definitely find very similar versions of those things in Thailand.

    • Two weeks, all inclusive, adult-only, luxury resort in the Cabo area. Greatest (and most gluttonous) vacation of my life.

      • On the flip side, we did 8 days in Cabo and I wish we had gone somewhere else. This is a total know-yourself issue, though, because if you love resort activities and beautiful views and lounging around, Cabo could be perfect (and cheaper to get to than many other tropical locales). I went stir-crazy not having more adventurous things to do and see and more of a city to “explore”.

      • On the flip side, we did 8 days in Cabo and I wish we had gone somewhere else. This is a total know-yourself issue, though, because if you love resort activities and beautiful views and lounging around, Cabo could be perfect (and cheaper to get to than many other tropical locales). I went stir-crazy not having more adventurous things to do and see and more of a city to “explore”.

    • Mendocino – a short drive up the Nothern California coast from SF (honeymoons may be my favorite topic)

    • Kauai. It was the perfect blend of active things to do, cool sights to see, and hanging out on the beach doing nothing.

    • Anne Elliott :

      Went to Nepal. Would have loved to go to Paris, Maldives, Fiji, Caribbean.
      All. The. Places.

    • Greece – Athens, Santorini, Mykonos. It was wonderful.

    • Wanderlust :

      We are going to Japan! Exploring Tokyo and Kyoto and then spending a few nights in a luxury ryokan onsen.

    • PrettyPrimadonna :

      I went to New Orleans. I was 5 months pregnant and it was the height of the Zika scare, so many places were crossed off our list of honeymoon destinations. I am hoping to travel somewhere more exotic for our anniversary!

      • We went to New Orleans, too. After planning the wedding, we didn’t want to go through the effort of planning a big honeymoon. We travel a lot, and I didn’t want our honeymoon to be just another trip. We’re very “active” travelers, and we love to go exploring and experience the culture of wherever we are at. But I didn’t want that for our honeymoon, I wanted something relaxing. We stayed in a very romantic bed and breakfast, walked around the Garden District, enjoyed some beignets, and had a great time.

    • Morocco and Spain! It was nice to splurge on nicer hotels/riads than we would normally stay in, and hammams and some durable souvenirs and all of that. We did a lot of city exploring in both countries, hikes and camel riding and similar adventures, and had some relaxing in a beautiful hotel time as well. We also feasted, of course. Such happy memories.

      • Brunchaholic :

        I did Spain, too and had a fabulous time! So happy that it was suggested to us. We did a mixture of beach and city. It was affordable, the food and wine were fantastic, and the weather was great. We aren’t really huge all-inclusive resort type people, which ended up being a good call.

    • Senior Attorney :

      We went on a cycling tour of Sicily. It’s not for everyone but was perfect for us!

    • SF in House :

      Three weeks split between Australia and New Zealand. Loved it!

    • Banff

    • These recommendations are so fun to read! I recommended Panama as a vacation destination here just last week, but I’m recommending it again! For us, it was a perfect honeymoon mix of beach time, outdoor activities, and cultural activities. We totally YOLO’d our honeymoon — did tasting menus at multiple awesome restaurants in Panama City and stayed at some great places, but it was still way more affordable than many other destinations. If we’d had more time, I think we would have gone somewhere in Southeast Asia, but if you’re time-constrained at all, Panama is a great option.

    • Meredith Grey :

      10 days in Bora Bora. Ventured out of the resort maybe twice. Was totally content gorging on the amazing food (Asiam French fusion, FTW!)… tanning on our own personal bungalo deck in whatever state of dress or undress I pleased… lounging… swimming… drinks… Maybe I walked through the gym at one point…. and allllllllllllllll the gardening. It was amazing and I want to go back!

    • Just got back from my honeymoon! We did a 13 day roadtrip up the Pacific Coast Highway from LA all the way to the Avenue of the Giants with stops all along the way. We loved it!

    • My husband and I went to Richmond and a state park in southern MD. It was pretty great! Richmond’s a gorgeous city and we got an airBnB in the middle of the museum district. Wherever you go, don’t pressure yourself to do all the Things they have at that location. You’re allowed to just sit around :)

  5. Term Limits are a terrible idea :

    Tl:dr — term limits: terrible idea and will not have the effect you hope for.

    Since the idea of pushing for term limits has come up post-election, including here, I wanted to encourage you to push back or at the very least re-think. I am head of a state agency in a state with term limits. Term limits don’t address the perceived problem (undue influence for existing office holders). What it does is periodically substitute a bunch of amateurs who don’t understand how to get things done, don’t understand their own legal system, won’t cooperate or compromise, and perhaps most importantly, have absolutely no capacity or interest in any long term solutions — because they won’t be around to take credit. The system rewards the quick and flashy — their initiatives and laws often are counterproductive to a real, enduring solutions for complex problems.

    For term limits to be effective, you need a non-partisan permanent, knowledgeable staff. Yet calls for downsizing the government at every level get rid of exactly those staff members. You know who steps in to fill the gap? Lobbyists. Term limits plus pressure for small government mean that we have outsourced expertise to lobbyists and special interest groups.

    If you take seriously the rhetoric about running government more like a business, how well would your business or organization run (or the businesses that you deal with all the time on a small and large scale) if the staff constantly turned over and a constant influx of newbies and amateurs ran the business? Is constant turnover a stellar service experience at your local Starbucks? If your organization has new top leadership every five years and reorganizes each time, does that help you get what you need or do what you need to do?

    And the whole scorn for politicians and government/state employees — if you all here find it offensive and wrong that the stereotype of lawyers and financiers is that they are all horrible and venal, why do we tolerate dismissive and scornful blanket condemnation of those who work for the state as lazy, incompetent slackers with no expertise, skills, or dedication to service? If you constantly bash and underpay teachers, CDC research staff, etc. etc. as a class, of course you will lose or fail to attract good people. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. And yet those people become more critical if term limits are in effect.

    There are some studies about term limits at the state level lay out exactly what has happened in my state (link to follow from WaPo that cites various studies).

    • Term Limits are a terrible idea :

    • Anonymous :

      We all love that the trash is collected and that the parks are clean. And that our buildings don’t fall down.

      What I don’t love is when I have to deal with people who make a bad homeowners association look good (e.g., having to get a medical exemption from a public school uniform policy regarding shoes for a child who has to wear leg braces). Or the stories from friends about how their agency has a hiring freeze and yet can’t get rid of the 2 or 3 co-workers who are always on improvement plans but somehow can’t be fired / tied up in EEO or OSHA complaints / are perpetually filing workplace disability claims / all sorts of craziness.

      The education stuff alone can drive a person crazy — kids are in no position to deal with this. Parents don’t have time / don’t understand / have to work and shouldn’t need pro bono legal help to keep their kid from getting written up in school for uniform violations and other craziness (so govt not following the law, go figure).

      • Anonymous :

        I’ve worked on both sides of union environments, and my experience lines up with what a Ford union liaison told me — 90% of her time was spent on 1% of the workforce. But those are the ones everyone focuses on and hears about. A happy restaurant patron tells one person; an unhappy patron tells five. Idiots abound in private industry as well as government, and stupid rules (return policies, anyone) exist everywhere.

        • Anonymous :

          Yes! Of course you only hear about the bad eggs, people don’t “complain” about the good people. People chatter when things are going badly, not well. I have lots of friends in state government who WORK THEIR A$$E$ OFF. They work nights and weekends, they actually care about what they do, and they care about their work product. If you use term limits to sweep out the “bad,” as said above you also sweep out the good!!

          • Anonymous :

            And firefighters and EMTs — it’s hard work and dangerous (move over people and stop texting — you could hit someone who is helping out after an accident).

        • Anonymous :

          That is so true.

          I guess with govt, what drives people extra nuts is that it’s not like a restaurant where you can just go elsewhere. And you can’t decide on your own to take up a collection to fix a crumbling bridge or put in left-turn lane. And I guess, as taxpayers, you are unhappy with something that you still have to pay for.

          But when China has an earthquake and schools collapse or the Brazil Olympics mess, I am happy that we have building inspectors and relatively little corruption (by world standards). I could be happier, but I could be so much more unhappy. Or live in somewhere like North Korea (those poor people — if they could free themselves from their govt, how much better off they’d be).

          • Yeah about inspectors — Indonesia has a very low tax base and an extremely corrupt bureaucracy (intern’l businesses hate doing business there). Govt employees get partially paid with bags of rice. When I was there, an brand new bridge collapsed. Contractors cheated on the cement, inspectors were bribed, disaster ensued.

      • Trash will still be collected if we have lawmaker term limits – those kind of functions are completed by career staff, not elected representatives or political appointees.

    • Hill staffer :


      I work on Capitol Hill. Government (especially Congress) has a lot of problems, but term limits are not the answer.

      • Genuine question – what do you think is? If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing, what would it be? I’d love to hear from someone who works there…

        • Term Limits are a terrible idea :

          I’m the OP, not Hill Staffer, but honestly I think campaign finance reform (candidates get a certain amount of money centrally and are not allowed to take money from other sources) would have much more of an effect and allow “outsiders” to compete with “lifers” during elections. But that is so hard to accomplish. What I’m wondering is if we the people could use the threat of term limits on current office holders as a stick to get campaign finance reform. Which would they see as the greater current threat to their self-interest?

          • That’s an interesting question. The re-election rate just seems ridiculously high, and then I look at someone like Grassley who’s been there for 30+ years and is 80 years old. He crushed a pretty capable opponent, in a state that’s usually close to evenly divided. She just could not compete from an advertising stand-point. And it was one of those where, “hey, she can’t win so let’s not throw away any resources on it”, so it just exacerbated the issue.

        • Hill staffer :

          I think about this a lot. I don’t think there’s a silver bullet, but I think that the following are all major issues:

          – Gerrymandering. When districts are formed to be ideologically cohesive and safe for one party, it behooves members to pander to their base. Compromise with the other side becomes politically dangerous, and as a result, members adopt a “my way or the highway” approach. That’s one of the major reasons that we have gridlock.

          – Lack of relationship building between members/Senators from different parties. It used to be the case that members and Senators moved their families to DC after being elected. They got to know one another over dinner, on the weekends, at their childrens’ school events, etc. Now, there’s an expectation that they go back to their home districts every weekend. When you don’t know your colleagues on a personal level, it’s easier to demonize them and believe the worst about their intentions.

          – Lack of investment in the institution itself. I work in the House, so I can’t speak to the experience of Senate offices, but Members’ Representational Allowances (the chunk of money that they get to pay their staff and run their offices) have been slashed dramatically in recent years. That means that members can’t afford to hire staff with substantive policy experience, and so staff end up relying on lobbyists and interest groups to interpret events, formulate positions, draft legislation, etc. And pay is so low that the average congressional staffer only stays for about 3 years. Constant staff turnover contributes to inefficiency and further loss of institutional knowledge. Congress has also decreased funding (and therefore staff) for nonpartisan entities, like the Congressional Research Service, that help Congress remain independent and efficient.

          – Money in politics. Because campaigns are so expensive, Members and Senators spend an enormous portion of their time raising money from both interest groups and wealthy individuals. Not only does that waste a lot of time that could be better spent legislating, but it also makes Members and Senators feel beholden to those groups or individuals.

          – Finally–and I think this is the hardest one of all, and one that I don’t know how to fix–people need to be more engaged with their government. Only a third of Americans even know who their member of Congress is. Fewer than 50% of Americans participate in midterm elections. It’s hard and sometimes boring to understand what Congress does, but it is so essential.

          • Hill staffer :

            This is a very good article on congressional reform:

          • As a former Hill staffer, I agree with all of this. Especially gerrymandering. It basically removes any incentive to compromise once you’re in office and also makes it very hard for moderates to get re-elected (or get elected in the first place).

          • This is an excellent list.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          What about setting a time period after someone leaves Congress before they can become lobbyists? That’s something that makes sense to me on a gut level but I don’t really know how it would work in practice or whether it would have a significant impact.

          • Hill staffer :

            That’s already in place for former Members and Representatives. Former Senators face a 2-year ban and former House Members have a 1-year ban. It’s known as the “cooling off” period. But I don’t think that it makes that much of a difference. And I worry that if you extended that ban to staff, you would probably dissuade even more smart people from working in Congress. We already make below market rates for the work that we do (my starting salary as a senior legislative assistant for a powerful/senior member was $40k), and like it or not, many people can justify that salary because they know that they’ll be able to make more down the road because of their Hill experience. If you removed that incentive, there would be very little to attract people to these jobs.

            Instead of saying “let’s make it harder for people to be lobbyists,” I would rather we all say “let’s work on decreasing the dependency on and power of lobbyists.” That would mean strengthening Congress as an institution by making it easier for policy experts to have careers there, making it harder (or impossible) for institutions that employ lobbyists to donate to congressional campaigns, and other measures.

            Also, I do want to point out that not all lobbyists are bad. People do have the right to petition their government, and some lobbyists perform a useful function. They can help their clients understand the complexities of Congress, and they communicate the needs of constituencies to Congress. The problem is when they’re essentially selling access and when one interest group is able to have outsize influence on what Congress is doing because of unequal distribution of resources (think financial services lobbyists). That will require more wide-ranging solutions than just imposing a lobbying ban.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            That makes sense. Thanks for explaining it.

          • Hill staffer :

            Gah, I meant “former members and Senators.”

          • Hill staffer :

            Thanks for asking the question! I wish that our country was grappling with these issues in a more serious way on a national level, and it makes me glad that at least the women here are interested in learning more.

    • Thanks. Term limits was one of the few attractive proposals to me and your examples made me rethink! Certainly in my field- pharmaceutical research- constant merger/acquisition etc with sudden wholesale change in research direction unrelated to project success- are an example of counterproductive actions! I can see how this would apply to govt as well.

      • Term Limits are a terrible idea :

        The 2004 report on Arizona’s term limits may be old, but the comments quoted in the interviews are relevant in my state today (not Arizona). Inexperienced legislators really screwed up the last operating budget (cancelling debt payment for all the agencies as a cost cutting measure — uh, what?) and it had to be undone in special session and a lot of messy incomprehensible budget stuff remained.

        “We are now producing leaders with little institutional memory and little knowledge of the
        issues they have to deal with.”
        “It seems like committee members less collegial and willing to compromise.”
        “Term limits had driven talented people and subject matter specialists (e.g., in budgeting and
        health issues) out of legislative office.”
        “The big winners from term limits were lobbyists — before term limits they had to deal with
        experienced people they could not get around.”
        “Lobbyists are more powerful, are able to intimidate new members, new people are
        overwhelmed by lobbyists”
        “Lobbyists have never had more power.”

  6. Baby party invites :

    I’m planning a low key baby party that will mostly involve people socializing, eating and drinking and just wishing the expectant parents well. Anyone have suggestions on how to word the invites so that I can tell people where the couple is registered but make it clear we won’t be opening presents at the event? It’s an online registry so I want people to feel free to send stuff directly to the ciuple’s home rather than feel obligated to bring a wrapped gift to the event. Thanks, ladies!!

    • Anonymous :

      Don’t? Cause it’s a) rude, and b) unnecessary. We can all Google their BuyBuyBaby registry just fine. If you don’t want to have a shower with the unwrapping of gifts, then don’t shill for gifts on the invite.

      • +1

      • +1

      • I have been to showers where no one unwrapped gifts. It was fine. Honestly, by the third “funny” onesie, I just want the gift unwrapping to be over anyway. I’ve always read that if you’re hosting a shower, it’s totally fine and expected to put the registry info on the invite (vs. wedding, birthday, etc.). Just because you’re not unwrapping gifts at the shower for everyone to coo over doesn’t change that in my mind.

        • If you’re reluctant to put the info on the invite, do they have a baby website or something where you could send people? I wouldn’t rely on google skills because not everyone is a savvy young person. My mom would have no idea what to do and would probably just be annoyed that she has to call and ask where the person is registered.

        • It’s either a shower or it’s not.

      • Brunette Elle Woods :

        I disagree. Tell where they are registered so I can find their registry and pick out a gift in under 10 minutes. No one goes to these types of things without a gift regardless of what you call it.

    • If you’re not going to call it a shower then don’t expect or mention gifts. There’s no such a thing as a non-shower where you still get to demand presents. And yes, saying anything about a registry on the invitation is demanding presents.

    • Man, people are giving you a lot of heat. I would LOVE to attend a “congratulate the new parents” party that didn’t have gift opening. I think your best bet is to avoid calling it a “baby shower” on the invite. Are you inviting men and women? Just call it a “Party to celebrate the new mom and dad!” or something like that.

      • I would too! The party sounds so lovely!!! It’s still rude to print the registry information on the invite.

        • It’s rude to include registry information on a birthday or wedding invitation, but for a shower it is not rude because the purpose of a shower is to give gifts.

    • If you don’t want it to be a shower, tell people that you’re having a party so that the new parents can hang out with all their friends and do not send formal invites. If you do want it to be a shower but don’t want to open presents, make it a display shower. Everyone will bring presents but they will be unwrapped and you can socialize instead of watching the parents unwrap presents for a couple hours.

      • +1 to a display shower. Those are the best. This is the poem I’ve seen the most. The key is for the hostess to take care to display the gifts in a nice way, with some kind of cards (think those little photo clip holder stands) to prominently say who it’s from.

        “Tradition is changing and showers are too,
        So here’s an idea we’re hoping you do
        Bring your gift without paper or a bag,
        Simply use a bow and the enclosed tag.
        An unwrapped present is just as sweet,
        and will save more time to mingle and eat.
        We’ll display your thoughtful gifts for all to see,
        then relax and honor the Bride-To-Be!”

        • Forgot to add, the second key is for the honored couple/person to write REALLY GOOD thank you notes. Like, hand-written notes that specifically mention the gift and the plan for how to use it. A generic print out saying “thanks for the gift” isn’t going to cut it.

          Make sure the parents are well aware of this and willing to do the right thank yous. If you’re not willing to do a nice written thank you, then you have to do a opening and thank everyone in person.

          • OldAndCranky :

            I’m probably a huge old-fogey but a printed note would never cut it with me. Why should I spend money on someone if they’re not going to spend at least a little time and effort acknowledging it? Handwritten, thoughtful notes FTW.

          • Brunchaholic :

            OldAndCranky – I’m pretty young, and I agree with you. If anything, modern conveniences should save people time so that they have *more* time to write a handwritten note. It’s just good manners!

        • Oh god that is terrible. Nope. If you need a cutesy poem to explain it, it is rude. You want to change a tradition? Let’s not shower independent adults with gifts. You want the gifts? Do people the courtesy of treating them as an important and meaningful thing.

          • Yea, that poem is majorly eye roll worthy and would probably cause me to either not go or go and not bring anything.

        • I think this is worse :( If you are having a normal shower, you should open gifts at a shower since that is the entire point of a shower (to shower the mom-to-be with gifts). Asking people to bring a gift and telling them up front that the host isn’t even going to take the time to open their gift personally seems rude to me… I feel like people want to use cutesy poems to do things that do not conform to etiquette and maybe etiquette is changing but I think you need to be a bit careful with showers as they can super easily seem like gift grabs.

        • so. tacky.

      • +1 zillion to display showers. They are the new normal in our family now because people are there to socialize and celebrate, not to sit in silence and watch an adult open gifts for 45 minutes. Most people want to bring gifts and do and are happy to. Seriously, it is the best.

    • How about this? Make the invitation clear that it’s a party celebrating the parents-to-be, and then add your contact information: “Don’t hesitate to contact me at ___ if you need any further information!” or a version that sounds natural to you. I bet you’ll get a lot of requests for a registry.

      (NB, I would be 0% offended if I got an invitation for a baby-is-coming party, with a registry link, and presents weren’t opened at the party. I give presents because I want to give something to someone (my friend is having a baby! i can’t wait to give her this book and that swaddle!), not because I want public adulation for it. But I can acknowledge that the tradition is otherwise.)

      • Senior Attorney :

        We did something similar for our wedding. I didn’t have my act together in time to have a wedding web site before the invitations went out, so we made a joint email account and on the enclosure card along with hotel information we put something like “Questions? Contact us at newemailaddress!” I got a lot of people asking for registry information and it worked out fine.

    • Baby party invites :

      Thanks for your input, everyone. I appreciate the perspective, but in this case I think friends & family will be interested in buying a gift for the couple regardless of whether they open it in front of everyone. It’s going to be a co-Ed event and I find that people generally want to help new parents out even if they don’t call it a “shower.” But I certainly appreciate hearing different viewpoints. I think I’ll include the registry info for those who are interested, but not do gift opening. In my experience, that part of a traditional shower is very drawn out and boring.

  7. Anonymous :

    I’m feeling very frustrated at my job lately. I do good work but every time I suggest learning something new, expanding my skills, or try to improve on existing processes, I get pushback and stonewalled. The senior members of my team are incredible micromanagers and are very resistant to new ideas. I don’t see any room to grow or expand and I feel like I have two people hanging over my shoulders every moment of the day shooting me down. As a consequence, there are long periods of time ( like right now) where I have nothing to do except try to look busy.

    Ugh. Just needed to vent.

    • I feel ya. Trying to look busy is what I do all day every day. I feel like my brain and knowledge and skills are atrophying and I’m having terrible luck finding something new. It sucks :(

  8. Hoping someone can solve a mystery for me…

    I have 2 different pairs of jeans (from 2 different brands). Both are size 31 waist and fit well. However, when I measure my waist (at the narrowest point) with a tape measure, it is far larger than 31 inches. Can anyone explain why this is? I’m relatively new to this kind of sizing (I was plus sized for many years), but I thought that “waist 31” = you have a 31-inch waist. I could understand a difference of 1-2 inches due to vanity sizing, but not the difference I’m seeing.

    • Basically nearly all jeans that are sized in numbers like that are just made up. There are a few high end brand that are closer but for the most part they have no relationship with any actual measurement on your body.

    • I’m not sure but I would not be able to fit into jeans that were sized according to my waist at its narrowest point. I think we are all shaped so differently that it just correlates to something else, maybe entirely made up?

    • It is supposed to correspond with your waist measurement, however your jeans probably don’t come up that high so the actual waistband of the jeans has to be wider, since your measurements get wider as you progress from your waist down to your hips. If you’re more of an apple instead of an hourglass shape, then your hip measurement would probably correspond with a smaller waist size even though your stomach is bigger. Depending on the brand, some are now massively vanity sized (like Land’s End) so they probably run 2 sizes too big. In many brands, the actual size and the waist size do correspond. I have a 29 inch waist and usually wear a size 29.

    • Sizing is rubbish for jeans. I found a pair that fitted, laid then down flat and fastened them then measured from the crotch seam to the waistband (straight up the zipper) and also measured straight across the waist from side to side. So when I need to pick a size on a new brand I get a tape measure out and I’m sorted.

      Recently my usual brand changed their rise naming convention and when I found a pair that fitted the waist measurement was bigger than I’d like. But when I measured them they were the same as my usual options. I just removed the sizing for my own comfort.

    • Do they actually sit at your waist? I have 31″ jeans too and a 34″ waist, but they sit on my hips.

      • They don’t, but the spot where they sit is also well over 31″. Sounds like the number is completely arbitrary!

  9. Anon for this :

    Just wanted a place to share ….as i have struggled a lot with not being able to lose weight.

    I’ve lost 10 pounds in the last two months through controlled carbs (not Low carb) and running. And have lost a dress size. It’s a big deal for me, as I feel fitter and stronger.

    That is all.

    • Congrats!!

    • Amazing – good job! What do you mean by controlled carbs?

    • Congrats! I’m glad you’re feeling fitter and stronger. I’ve finally developed strength and definition in my arms and suspect there are some ab muscles under the layer of cookie dough. It’s great to see those improvements in health and strength.

      • Congrats! Gives me hope. I’ve struggled to lose weight, and if fact have put on about 12 pounds this year despite eating controlled carbs and exercising. I fear genetics are coming for me (about 80% of the women in my family bear a striking resemblance to whiskey barrels with legs, and that’s exactly what I’m starting to look like.)

    • Nice!

    • Meredith Grey :

      Congrats!!! Please explain these “controlled carbs”!

  10. Shopaholic :

    Any advice on how to deal with personal calls at work? My mom has a much easier job than I do and makes personal calls during the day, including to me. She complains I sound distracted when she calls (well I am, I’m thinking about work) and I’m impatient. I know it hurts her feelings and I don’t want to hurt her feelings but 90% of the time I’m at work, I don’t have time for personal calls and chats. I try to call her in the evenings after work but a lot of nights, I go out for dinner/drinks and don’t get home until late so it’s not really an opportune time to call.

    • Uhhhh don’t answer? Or pick up, ask if it’s an emergency, and if not “ok, can’t talk now busy working, I’ll call you tonight.” Or if night doesn’t work (you can’t call her on the way to dinner) try mornings.

    • Two thoughts:

      1) if I’m in the middle of something, I either don’t answer, or answer and let whomever is calling (my husband, my mom, my friend) know that I’m in the middle of something so I only have a few minutes. Being honest about my current state/workload is better than both me and the caller getting frustrated because they’re distracting me and I’m annoyed by it.

      2) can you call her on your way to work once or twice a week?

    • I call my family members on the way to or home from work. I don’t answer the phone during the workday. If I miss a call I’ll respond by text when it’s convenient to let them know I’ll call when I get a chance after I leave for the day.

    • You need to set boundaries with your mom and stick to them. “Mom, you know I love you and I love talking to you, but I cannot take personal calls during the work day. Please only call if it is a true emergency. If it’s not, I will have to get off the phone immediately. How about we set up a standing call each day/week on [my drive home/lunch break, etc.]?”

      • Agreed. My family knows that I’ll only take calls from them during my commute home from work, which is long enough to have a decent conversation. Otherwise, I’m at work or chasing after a toddler and there’s no room for phone conversations.

    • Why do you need to talk to your mom every day?

      • HA! I understand everyone’s family relationships are different, but I cannot imagine talking to my mother every day. #nightmare

      • Why do you need to be so judgmental?

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        My mom is my best friend. I can’t imagine NOT talking to her every day. I usually talk to my dad once a day, but with my mom it’s more like twice or three times. Different strokes.

        • Wow! That is different strokes. Are you including texting when you say “talking.” I don’t even talk to my husband that much when one of us is traveling. I’m really not judging, just impressed. I love my parents but struggle to keep the conversation going when we talk every other week or so. We talk about what’s in the news, what the squirrels have been up to in her front yard (seriously), who from her church had a baby or got in a car accident ….

        • I am with you Sloan. I used to talk to my Mom on the phone at least twice a day.

        • +1

      • I think the better questions is why do you need to talk to your mom every day AT WORK? I know people who talk to their parents every day. I do not know anyone who has their daily calls at work and I would majorly side eye a coworker who did. Just tell mom you can’t talk during work hours.

      • I talk to mine 4 or 5 times a week. I have no significant other so she’s the only human being who actually cares if I had a good day.

    • It sounds frustrating but I think you’re giving her mixed messages here. By picking up the phone you’re indicating you have time to talk when you really don’t. Agree with the advice to just let it ring.

    • Shopaholic :

      I guess my problem is that I can’t not answer my work phone during the day – the caller ID doesn’t always indicate who is calling. Mornings don’t work because I’m on my way to work before she’s up and going.

      I don’t talk to my mom every day, probably about 3-5 times a week but it’s not a chore, she’s alone a lot and I’m single so I’m not trying to cut down the amount I speak to her – it may not work for everyone, but it works for me.

      I guess I’m just going to have to be better about calling when I can – if she knows she’s going to hear from me in the evenings, maybe she’ll be less upset about me not listening to her when she calls during the day…

      • Or tell her upfront “I can talk for 5 mins”

      • Have her call your cell instead of your work phone? Schedule times to call when you are at lunch?

        • Yes, I would tell her that you need her to call your cell phone if she ever needs to get a hold of you at work. I don’t think my parents even have my office number!

        • Scheduled times sounds good. Block 15 minutes on your calendar every afternoon or something. And absolutely have her call your cell number.

          I call my parents every Sunday and we usually run out of stuff to talk about after 15 minutes, so this is totally foreign to me. In a sweet way!

      • Yes to your last paragraph. Designate a time to chat. Tell her you can’t talk during the day but you will call her on your commute home, or whatever time works best.

    • I call my parents on my walk to pick up lunch

    • Get her to text you or get her on Whatsapp.

  11. Wish me luck, ladies! I have a phone interview for an amazing job at a non-profit later today, and I’m really excited! But also really nervous, because it’s a management-level job, and I’ve never been a manager before, and I’m trying hard to keep my impostor syndrome at bay so I can really sell myself.

  12. Anonymous for this post :

    My dad passed away when I was a baby, my mom remarried and I was raised by my step dad as his own. My mom and my step dad are from an upper class background (mom is in banking/finance, step dad is a lawyer) but my dad was from a more blue collar background.

    The reason I bring this up is because I want to connect more to my dad’s family. They all live in a different state. My mom and step dad are both supportive of this so there is no issue there. I got cards from them on special occasions when I was kid but I have been in contact with them more lately and I was able to meet my grandmother (my dad’s mother) once before she passed away.

    Besides all the emotions around this I am scared of not fitting in. I was born and raised in NYC and I work in biglaw. They live in a rural area in a different state, they work farming or blue collar jobs, I don’t know of any one of them who has gone to school past high school, a nice/special restaurant is a place like Applebee’s and travel outside of the US is a once in a lifetime thing like for a honeymoon (and even travel outside their state is special). My dad was considered fancy because he moved to NYC after high school.

    They are wonderful people and have been nothing but welcoming but the only reason I bring all this up is because I grew up in a different world (my mom and stepdad’s families are white collar and has the same lifestyle as most of us who post here) and I’m afraid of coming across as stuck up or putting in airs. I would appreciate outside advice as to whether or not I am over-thinking this or not, and what I can do if I’m not. Thanks in advance!

    • You don’t fit in. You never will. You don’t need to try. You are family- you love them because of that, they love you back. Be polite, be thoughtful. But I don’t think you should waste anytime worrying about this thing you can’t change.

    • Do you see them?

      Have you had encounters that have been worrying to you?

      In general, most is common sense. Don’t brag/boast…. and you seem self-aware enough to know what this means. Ask lots of questions about them, and be attentive and caring. Stay away from trigger topics like religion and politics while you get to know each other’s basic values.

    • It’s wonderful that you’re reconnecting with your family. We actually have a similar dynamic on my mom’s side of the family–she was the first in the family to go to college or hold a professional job, and I was subsequently raised with the trappings of your typical white-collar life. Even though I’ve been around her family my whole life, I’m not really close with them, although we are warm and cordial when we do see each other. In part, it’s for a lot of the reasons that you identify: we just don’t share a lot of life experiences, they eat at Applebee’s, and leave the US for military service and the occasional honeymoon. I also don’t have anyone in the family who’s near me in age, which exacerbated the issues somewhat; my closest cousin also passed away a few years ago.

      But still. We’re warm. We care about each other. We’re family at the end of the day and we all care about that. So all I can say is to be yourself, while checking your class privilege as needed. Applebee’s can make a tasty burger and there is no inherent virtue in preferring upscale dining. And ask genuine, honest questions about your family members. People’s love of talking about themselves transcends class.

    • Southern Anon :

      I have a sort of similar situation. My dad’s family was more upper class and I was raised in that setting, went to a fancy college, have a white collar career. My mom’s family is decidedly blue collar. My mom is one of 12 kids born across the late 1930s to early 50s in a large Catholic Cajun family that lived in poverty. My grandmother lived in a small trailer and had no teeth. None of my aunts and uncles left the state and none of them went to college. They work as machine workers, at the shipyard, on oil rigs, as truck drivers. The women are mostly homemakers. One of my aunts worked at Walmart for 35 years.

      We’ve never had a problem getting along. I love them. Even though my life experience is very different from theirs, I still love visiting and talking to them, my aunts especially. I have an aunt who is really crafty and into Pinterest, a couple that are amazing cooks, etc. You just connect with people over stuff like that. And SEC football. We have things in common. We can laugh at a lot of the same jokes.

      My mom was the outlier in her family, your dad probably was too. My mom was the one who left. She is not like her family, but they love her just the same. She got a masters degree in a hard science in the late 60s when women just did not do that. She lived in Europe for six years. Her life is very different, just like your dad’s life was different. As long as you are friendly and kind and interested in their lives, you should be fine. We don’t all have to be the same.

    • Life advice:
      Go have fun, and enjoy the fact that some traits are surprisingly genetic. You will discover that you do things similar to your dad’s family members without realizing it.

      Clothing advice:
      Don’t wear anything with an obvious label. If someone asks where something came from, just say you picked it up on the clearance rack a few years ago and skip what store it came from. If you are really worried about fitting, go to Target and pick up some clothes–because we all know that half of American women own the Target boyfriend t-shirt in at least four colors.

      Food advice:
      Don’t judge a restaurant by its appearance. Some of the best food comes out of hole in wall diner type places.

    • TorontoNewbie :

      Wear sensible shoes.

    • I have friends who pay big money to go to a cleansing back-to-the-simpler life off-the-grid retreats.

      Me: I visit my extended family. We go to Hardees and Wal*mart and cheer against Dooke. It is awesome (even though they now have cell service, I still feel so unplugged and refreshed).

      I am their crazy city relative. I am Niles Crane (or maybe Lilith) and they are Martin Crane. I get them to visit me sometimes (and we have the best staycations ever) even. But I mainly come to them and I do so love seeing my people. But you know what, they have awfully complex lives — full of hobbies (astronomy! opera! WWE! poetry!) and talents (canning, sewing, painting, doing hair (cause there aint no drybar there), putting on a wedding on a teeny budget). And lots of taking care of people in the ways that we outsource (older generations had people always die at home, so they were their own hospice). I walk away impressed by their hard work and grace.

      And the sweet tea at the Popeye’s across from the Wal*mart always hits the spot.

    • You’re over thinking. Sounds like you’re just doing 1 visit with them for now? So you’ll see how things develop. Just act normal. Don’t wear expensive clothing, jewelry or shoes. Don’t turn up your nose when dinner time rolls around and they want to go to Applebees. There is inherently nothing different about a burger from Applebees than from one of your NYC pubs. Don’t put on a show that your life in NYC is soooo glamorous that you can’t possibly relate. Just talk to them — everyone can talk about football/tv/holiday plans/bad bosses and whatever else.

      • I would add some respect for Applebees. Even in a small town, it’s a huge investment (not sure if they are corporate or franshised or what). The land + construction is easily $1M. So that alone employed a lot of people and the smaller the town, the more it was welcomed. The business employs people and gives a lot of the their first job and/or the job they live on. The business pays property taxes and probably supports local schools and civic groups in-kind. Where my people are from, this is your option for a rehearsal dinner if you aren’t using the church’s fellowship hall.

        There are mom and pop restaurants, which are so hard to open if you don’t have capital or have to deal with an upfit of an older space and zoning issues / permits / liquor licenses. A lot have gone out of business as the owners retire b/c the kids have all moved away and it’s hard to sell a small business.

        Still, I prefer the Olive Garden or Chili’s. But you are going for the followship.

    • I’m about to visit my red state relatives for Thanksgiving, so I understand to some extent. I think the best advice I can give is that you need to be open, curious, and keep a check on whether you’re passing judgement. If you don’t judge them – which they may or may not be anxious about – then they are less likely to judge you. And if they do judge you even though you were nothing but gracious, then that’s on them.

      I have fascinating discussions with my extended family about their respective industries, including ranching and trucking. They ask questions about my life in New York, which I answer honestly. Mutual curiosity and good intentions go a long way in smoothing over differences.

      • I second her last paragraph. I’m the other side of this – raised on a farm, brought home city boys occasionally as boyfriends. Be interested! You’d be amazed at what you don’t know about farming and ranching. For example, numerous people have been shocked to learn that you can’t actually tip a cow. :) I brought my dad to visit when I was living in a metropolitan area, and introduced him at a dinner party. He spent an hour explaining (to an interested and rapt audience – helps that the man is a natural story teller) the beef cycle. And on the flip side, most love hearing stories about living in the city and other industries that you just don’t have in the rural areas.

        • Anonymous :

          Now I’m curious: what is the beef cycle? Is it delicious?

          • Nope – it’s an economic cycle, and has to do with the relationship between ranches and feedlots, and the breeding life of a cow, and how it relates to beef prices, prices for calves, and several other factors which elude me. It’s really interesting when he explains it. One of those things that I didn’t even know about, growing up on a farm.

    • anon a mouse :

      This is wonderful. Be curious, be genuine. It might go a long way for you to say that you really want to know your “roots.” Be open to what they tell you, not judgmental.

      Ask lots of questions that are open-ended. Show warmth. You are their kin.

    • banana slug :

      You might try reading the Pioneer Woman’s blog. She also has a memoir “Black Heels and Tractor Wheels” that might give you some insight. (She came from a very different background than her cattle ranching husband and talks frankly about that.)

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        Her husband’s family has been well off for quite awhile. They weren’t poor farmers (although I get why it’s portrayed that way; it’s more relatable and interesting).

    • Brunchaholic :

      I would echo what others have said and urge you to try really hard not to overthink it, especially if they have given you no reason to believe that they would be anything other than warm and welcoming. I know this isn’t quite the same thing, but when I first started visiting DH’s family and friends in the rural midwest, I was quite obsessed with making sure that his friends didn’t think I was stuck up, and I think my paranoia caused us to get a slow start.

      A huge thing I learned from the experience – I don’t mean this in a mean way, but your upbringing probably grants you more of an understanding of the existence of different lifestyles than theirs does. It’s likely that you see the differences between you all as much more stark than they do. So if your goal is to connect with them and fit in with them, try not to self-sabotage. Just enjoy your time with them and enjoy the things that you have in common.

  13. Land's End Promo Codes :

    I bought this dress (and 4 more) after clicking through the link Kat provided.

    FYI to anyone else doing the same- google “Land’s End Promo Code” before checking out. There are 40% + free shipping promo codes available!

  14. 40+ and counting :

    Any current recommendations for BB/CC creams? I’d rather avoid heavy duty foundations.

    I am mid-40’s, mixed dry/oily skin, on meds/retinoids for lifetime acne, and never comfortable with my make-up/skin care routine.

    I already use a moisturizer/SPF combo, so my BB/CC cream doesn’t need to be all. I work very long days (12hrs+) among a lot of younger folks that don’t wear a lot of make-up, and am trying to figure out how to look fresh/healthy without being coated in make-up.

    • I absolutely swear by Maybelline’s Dream Fresh BB cream! Seriously, I’ve sampled some of the high-end brands from Sephora but I’ve never found one I liked more.

    • My two favorites have been Bobby Brown BB cream and Dr Jart BB cream and also the one in the light yellow tube. They’re not cheap but they last me a long time and I usually try to stock up when there’s some kind of friends and family sale. I would go to Sephora and ask for samples of a few so you can test them out in your regular rotation.

      • I love Dr. Jart and have worn it for years. It covers up the red areas on my face. I also tried Maybelline’s Dream Fresh BB cream and found it wasn’t enough coverage for me.

      • Agree – Dr. Jart Dis-A-Pore has a beautiful matte finish and enough coverage to make me look even and fresh without melting off my super-oily face.

    • I really like the Nars pure radiant tinted moisturizer. It’s so light and the coverage is great.

      • Anonymous :

        +1. I’m in my late 40s and have been using this for the last few months. Fantastic TM.

    • I use this and really, really like it. I have temperamental skin and this sits nicely on te skin without looking caked on.

    • If you are interested in a cruelty-free (and inexpensive option), I have been VERY pleased with the ELF BB cream. It doesn’t come in a ton of different shades, but provides coverage without feeling heavy and seems to stick around for a good period of the day.

    • Same age, same skin. I love the Bobbi Brown CC cream. I still need to use concealer under my eyes, but I like the finish the CC cream leaves. A cheaper but also good option is Olay Total Effects CC cream.

      • 40+ and counting :

        Thanks to everyone for these great options. I will try a lot of samples, when I can, and buy a few of the cheaper drugstore options. Really appreciate the diverse suggestions.

        I have quite fair but a bit ruddy skin. Brown+grey hair, brown/hazel eyes.

        If you have my coloring, what shade of the BB/CC cream do you like, for the brand you suggested?

        Also, if you use a concealer as well (which I often need for folds around nose/eyes), which do you use?

        Many thanks everyone!!

        • Anon @ 10:59 here – I am fair skinned with pink-undertones with (dyed) red ombre hair and I also have hazel eyes. I use the Fair shade of the ELF BB Cream. I use their under-eye concealer/highlighter duo, but that probably won’t work for what you are looking for!

    • Have you tried or thought about a cushion compact? Many of them are not all that different from BB/CC creams, but IME it wears and feels much nicer on my skin.

      • Def try a cushion to get that no make up look. If you can, try the iope/laneige which you can get from Target. Or the Amore. They have a ton of super fair skin options.

    • Lyra Silvertongue :

      Have you considered Clinique’s Acne Solutions BB/CC cream? I get it at Sephora and it comes in a few shades. Works well for my 29 year old zit prone oily combo skin with very little other effort/products for a work day.

    • Mary Anne Singleton :

      I love Dr Jart Black Label Detox BB cream. I get it at Sephora or Amazon. I have skin prone to breaking out and this does not trigger any breakouts.

    • Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream: Fantastic for hard-to-match skin tones, long-lasting, and luxurious feeling.

      If you have acne-prone skin, you can get a steal with the Body Shop’s tea tree oil BB cream. It helps control acne without drying out skin and provides nice, sheer coverage and it’s less than $15.

    • I really like It Cosmetics CC cream.

  15. International Adventure :

    Hoping the hive has some input on this. My family is looking to potentially move overseas and have an adventure if my employer is sold (which currently appears to be in the works). Any idea on how to connect with high-quality executive recruiter or recruiting firm for international job placements in the pharmaceutical/medical device/healthcare arenas? Currently a senior executive at a healthcare consulting firm earning well into the 6 figures with several recent promotions. Background includes a PhD in a science field and an MBA and pharmaceutical work experience. Domestic recruiters reach out frequently, but I just don’t know where to start on the international side. If it matters, we are most interested in Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, and New Zealand, but potentially flexible for any location offering good quality of life, good internet access, good schools for our child, and no major issues with gender discrimination. Spouse is an attorney with a science undergraduate degree and experience and can probably find a job once we are in a location. Also, any input on whether it is just best to contact companies directly instead of a recruiter would be appreciated.

    • I’m in the healthcare finance space and my recommendation would be to talk with domestic recruiters about being hired by domestic businesses with ex-US operations. There are many, many US companies in the space that have foreign operations that they may hire for, or be OK with someone being on the ground there.

      • Following up to add that Australia can be a good one. Many US biotech companies are running clinical trials there because of a generous R&D tax credit program.

        • Anonymous :

          Seconding this. I work in pharma in Australia, but support our New Zealand operation as well. Opportunities are very, very limited in NZ, as most NZ affiliates have a skeleton staff and are largely run from Australia. Additionally, all but one of the major pharma companies are headquartered in Auckland, where the cost of living is extremely high relative to income. If looking in Australia, the most active recruiters are Hays and Pharmaceutical & Medical Professionals.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I am unencumbered by any knowledge whatsoever about the job issue. But my two cents is that I would go someplace where I speak the language — i.e. out of your list I would go to Ireland or New Zealand (assuming you are from/in the U.S.). I remember years ago I read an article by Garrison Keillor about how he moved to Denmark (? I think) to marry his erstwhile high school sweetheart and it didn’t work out because, among other reasons, he felt like he was permanently stuck with the vocabulary of a third-grader. I wouldn’t want to be in a position of living someplace where I couldn’t communicate fluently.

      (If things go very bad here in the next few years, Lovely Husband and I may be looking into retirement visas in New Zealand and Australia…)

    • Thanks for the perspective.

      Anonymous–Switzerland appears to have several companies that have significant US operations or are based here, which is one reason it is on the list.

      Senior Attorney–Language is definitely a consideration and your point is well taken. I enjoy Garrison Keillor and will try to locate that article. One reason that internet access is key is so we can communicate online.

    • Irish lawyer here. If spouse is admitted as an attorney in New York, California or Texas (?), he can probably be admitted to the roll of Irish solicitors without taking any further exams. If not, his employment options may be limited in Ireland (if he wants to work in law that is) as Irish firms are quite often reluctant to employ foreign lawyers (who are not solicitors, barristers who are willing to become solicitors or European foreign registered lawyers) for regulatory and professional indemnity insurance reasons. I would check out lawsociety dot ie for further information.

  16. I have a question about changing last names with marriage. Historically, I never felt strongly one way or the other. I thought it would depend on the person and frankly, depend on the name. I have a good last name, simple but not very common.

    Now, I am in my mid-30s and I have established a career. I have won several awards. My name is important to me now. I wouldn’t change it now based on that.

    I’ve been dating a guy for a while now and it’s getting serious. He is the most wonderful person I’ve ever dated with one catch – his last name is awful. And I can’t say the name here of course but trust me when I say that everyone I’ve told has gasped or made a face so I know I am not being mean or judgmental when I say it’s bad. I’ve recently learned that his last name is his mother’s maiden name.

    A few days ago he said he would switch his last name to my last name if we ever got married. It was among friends in a casual setting where the ladies were talking about how we wouldn’t want to change our last names.
    My question to the hive is do people actually do this? How much of a trailblazer would he be? Not whether we can or we should or it’s politically correct. Frankly, I’ve not judged when people keep or change their names but it’s just always been the woman in my observation (or a man or same sex couple who adds both names hyphenated). I don’t want to immaculate him. As for lineage, it’s his mom’s name so how would it be any different than our kids having my name?

    • One of my coworkers did it, for similar reasons. He hated his last name, wife didn’t want to change hers.

      • I also know somebody who changed his last name to hers. His was more complicated to pronounce and her was easier. I’m sure there were other reasons too.

        My feeling is, you do you. Neither my husband nor I wanted to change our last names, so we didn’t. We created a last name for our kids that is a mashup of our last names. Yes, people occasionally say that it is weird. IDGAF.

    • I don’t know anyone who’s done this but I would think it was fabulous. My own attitude has always been pragmatic in theory (more centered on if you like the last name better) but given how so many women I know have changed their names to their husband’s and not one man has done this except for one guy in a same s*x r/ship, it’s starting to feel like B.S. to me. I would be thrilled to actually see men doing this more.

    • I know a few people who’ve done it, for sure – maybe 2? And if he is the one who raised the issue, I wouldn’t be worried about emasculating him. Sounds like he’d like to get out from under his last name as well.

    • I know someone who did it. Everyone understood – people were like well yeah, who really wants to be named Weiner? It wasn’t controversial the way it would have been if his name was Smith.

    • My husband offered to change his name to mine. I was opposed to taking his name and it was important to him that we shared the same name so he said he’d swap. Ultimately we compromised with a double barrelled name. Bonus, it doubles as a mascot for ‘team us’, think Black Fox or Brown Bear. I think my husband got a bit of teasing for it but it didn’t bother him at all. I think people are increasingly flexible with naming choices and if he has a truly terrible last name, people will get it.

    • I thought this post was going in a totally different direction until your 4th paragraph. It sounds like your guy has the perfect solution. If he wants to change his name, isn’t that up to him?

    • We did it! I felt strongly about keeping my name. My husband wanted to take my name so he uses a hyphenate with his master (?) name. I just kept my own. It’s unusual but we haven’t had any comments on it. Usually people assume I hyphenate the two on personal correspondence but I don’t bother to correct them.

    • There is a family in my town that had a bad last name. The grandfather lived in town; the parents in their 40s and kids in local schools. After the grandfather passed away, the younger family changed their last name all at once — mom, dad, & kids all selected a new last name (no connection — just one they all liked) and all changed the name. People were so supportive — the new name was accepted right away b/c everyone understood why they would want to do it.

      • I had a friend of a friend do this. Their last name was “Butt”. He changed it to “Butler”. He went and told his elderly dad, expecting his dad to be really upset. Instead, his dad said “I wish I’d thought of that!”

    • This guy sounds like a good dude.

      I bet some obnoxious people will comment/call you both Mr. and Mrs. HisLast, but that will happen no matter what you do. Most of the world will just roll with it.

    • My Brother in Law just did this! Name change was just official a few months ago, they live in a state where you cannot change your name through marriage as a male, he had to go through a legal name change so it was a process. His choice, he had a bad relationship with his father and it was important to him that they be a family unit. He is in his early 30’s, and didn’t make a huge deal out of it, but has changes it on social media etc. I have been impressed by how well people have responded and how supportive everyone has been, even older relatives and peers his age.

      • and actually, the funniest thing was at the wedding, all the women kept coming up to him and saying “make sure you sign the license with your new name!’ He then got to explain the whole process and has even more people backing his this is a ridiculous process claim. I should add this is in a very rural red area of the country.

    • Didn’t rich people (maybe in England) used to do this: guy takes woman’s name when he’s the one marrying up (see Queen Elizabeth II)? Dowager Countess: where are you?

      • Not really relevant, but since I enjoy royal trivia: pretty sure Prince Philip’s surname is still Mountbatten (side note: I think that wasn’t his original last name – if he even had one – but he had to adopt one when he renounced his Greek royal titles). Their children have, in some circumstances, the surname Mountbatten-Windsor (in other cases, no surname at all, in some cases they use one of their titles as a last name). Philip actually complained at one point about the fact that his children wouldn’t have his last name.

        • All the children of Elizabeth and Philip may use Mountbatten-Windsor as a last name. I believe legally that would be their last name if they needed one. Same with the grandchildren, except for Anne’s kids because she gave up Mountbatten-Windsor when she married. William and Harry chose to use Wales in the army, but it’s not their last name.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          Been watching The Crown and I understand this reference now. Also, this show is AMAZING.

          • +1 just recently started watching The Crown as an escape from American politics. This discussion thread had me thinking of it since I am right in the middle of the episodes where they discuss which name to take for the house.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I love it. I was 100% set on keeping my name but open to my husband keeping or changing his. It was totally up to him.

      I think it’s sweet that he’s willing to take your name. It’s win win since it lets him drop the awful name as well.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Heh. “Emasculate,” not “immaculate.”

      Anyway, I think it’s a great idea and you should totally go for it. Women have always had the option to jettison names they don’t like, I think turnabout is more than fair play!

      Fun fact: Way back when I was planning my first wedding, I copied my wedding cake design from Martha Stewart’s first book. And she had a chapter in the book about her brother’s wedding. And she mentioned in passing that her brother had decided to change his hard-to-pronounce-and-spell last name to his new wife’s name. That was in the mid 80s…

      • Interesting since Kostyra (Martha’s maiden name) doesn’t seem hard to pronounce!

        (yes, I knew Martha Stewart’s maiden name off-hand, I’m like a vault of useless trivia)

        • Senior Attorney :

          I actually knew it offhand, too, but I didn’t post it because I thought that would be too geeky! LOL #triviagoddesses

          • Senior Attorney :

            And I actually remember Martha saying something (in the book) about how George (her brother, whose name I remember offhand as well) was tired of spelling Kostrya for strangers!

    • I know a guy who did. He had a very long complicated name and hated his dad.

      Everybody should get to change or not change their name on marriage if they want to, regardless of their reasons. I think it’s great that men are starting to do this more frequently.

    • It’s not super common, but I don’t think it’s a big deal. If he volunteered, it’s hardly likely to emasculate him (though it’s good of you to be considerate of that). Basically you’ll explain it once to people who ask, and then everyone you meet post-marriage can assume what they want. It doesn’t really matter.

    • Brunchaholic :

      I gotta say – I don’t know anyone who has done this. I LOVE this idea, and the fact that so many people know men that have done this makes me so happy!

    • lawsuited :

      My husband hasn’t changed his last name, but our children will have my last name rather than his. His family hates it, and no one else cares.

    • Thank you so much for the wonderful, positive replies! And you know…my auto-correct changed it to immaculate because I put one too many m’s… dammit.

      Stay tuned! In like at least a year though …haha.

    • FormerAcademic :

      I know a guy who changed his surname to his wife’s surname when they married. She, like you, had professional recognition and awards under her current name and didn’t want to lose her ‘brand’. He was in a career where the name recognition didn’t matter, and he wasn’t that attached to his maiden name. Apparently their local DMV were initially confused and kept insisting that only women could fill in the change of name due to marriage form, but he talked them round and I think things have been fine since. Their son now has the family surname too :-).

  17. I think I’m being ghosted by the guy I’ve been dating for two months. Less than two weeks ago he introduced me to his friends and made a big deal of my birthday (with thoughtful gift and card). I was almost sure this was moving in a positive direction. Since this weekend he’s been acting distant and I just don’t know why. I have tried to speak with him and he is not making himself available for that, so I’ve resigned myself to just sitting back and waiting and seeing. Tips for handling this kind of rejection?

    • ETA: a friend also told me that he showed up in her matches on OkCupid and that he’s been active this week. It really stings that he won’t even talk to me (for reasons unknown) but is logging in there.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Ouch! I’m sorry but I think your instincts are right on. I think this is a Just Say Fooey and Move On situation. Maybe make a date with our friend Shots, Shots, Shots!

      • BeenThatGuy :

        Ugh. My stomach just flipped for you. At this point, you know he’s actively seeking out other women. You cannot ignore that (under the huge assumption that you were exclusive prior to the recent events). Since he’s not responding to you, I think it’s appropriate to send one final text. Be sure to mention that you’ve heard he’s active on OKC.

        Then have some shots like SA suggests.

        • When we started being intimate we had a discussion about exclusivity. He assured me at that time that he wasn’t seeing other people. Part of me says “oh maybe he’s having an exceptionally busy week and is on there for some innocent reason (got autologged in or something)” but my gut says it’s bad.

    • Wait, so for the last 4 days he has been distant? How about you don’t try and handle the rejection and just text him and ask if he’s free Saturday night?

      • I have. He’s not answering, at all. Radio silence.

        • DTMFA and block his number.

        • I would ask him what’s going on pretty bluntly. That’s so rude.

          • What hurts the most about this isn’t even that he’s not into it anymore (because I can only assume at this point that that’s what’s going on), but that he doesn’t even respect my feelings enough after two months to just tell me that (even via text if he must!). I think there is a time when ghosting is kinda sorta unofficially acceptable, but I don’t think that time is after two months of regular dating, meeting friends, talking about the future, etc. I have not become overbearing or unattentive or anything that would warrant such a quick change in tone from him.

          • Yes, it’s super rude and disrespectful. Remind yourself that if this is the kind of person he is, he’s doing you a favor by showing you 2 months in so you don’t waste anymore of your time.

    • Brunette Elle Woods :

      Talk to him this weekend and if the conversation does not go in a direction that you are comfortable with, then move on. 2 months isn’t a long time to waste. Cut your loses.

    • As someone who has gone through this multiple times in the past two years, I agree with anon @ 12:47 p.m. Cut your losses. It won’t sting as much a month from now, and you’ll be grateful you didn’t spend any more time with someone this inconsiderate.

      • Unfortunately, I agree. I had this happen to me after two months of dating and the guy telling me he wanted me to meet his family. I think it’s some sort of weird thing where they play into what they believe they should be doing and then just disappear once they realize it’s not what they actually want. It’s immature, hurtful, and rude. It’s disrespectful of you. I’d send a text asking pointedly what is going on and telling him his silence is hurtful, and if he doesn’t respond, f him and onward with your life.

        And if you’re in LA, I’ll happily hang out with you if you need to commiserate.

        • I wish I was in LA. Thanks a lot for the offer! I have no idea what’s going on in this case. The sense I get is that things are starting to be “real” and he’s not ready for a commitment or realized he doesn’t want it.

          • Anonymous :

            I agree. I also think he may be back at some point, based on my experiences. I vote to cut him loose by ghosting him right back, do your thing, and it will work out one way or another. But I’m sorry…you don’t deserve that.

    • eff him. My brother once jokingly said to a friend do NOT wait until after her birthday to break up. Do it before! That way she’ll already be surrounded by all her friends!

      I had sort of the same thing happen with a guy this summer but his was right after mine. I felt like he waited until after HIS just so he could get a gift! Because the things he said during the break-up all related back to between mine and his (also they conflicted with each other, made zero sense, and provided no closure and more questions). But he did sit me down and tell me. It was nice to know but…he did ghost me early in the summer. It was awful. I actually had his location on my phone and he told me he would be right back and left me with his unsigned (but paid for) tab. The bartender finally had to say “no, he left. I saw him walk out and then drive away.” And he was just at home!! I could see him on my phone! I couldn’t believe it. Consider it a blessing and a warning! Don’t stick around for an in person dumping later. My friend found him on Bumble in between the time he ghosted me and we dated during birthdays. It stings but 2 months is nothing. He’s a jerk. It’s not you.

  18. Things just ended with a new/promising guy I had been seeing for a couple of months and although it wasn’t so long or serious I am feeling pretty down about it. I could really use some encouraging stories from women who were perpetually single and eventually found happy loving relationships. I’ve only ever been in one serious relationship, which was not super long term. I rarely get past the second date with anyone, besides that relationship this was one of the longest things I’ve had with a guy, and just generally have trouble finding men I am genuinely interested in. I’m in my late 20s, this isn’t an age freakout – I know that I am super young. I’m just feeling really sad about my inability to form lasting relationships because it seems like everyone in my social circle has a lot more experience with them than I do. I’m very open to any advice if you have insights about what might have changed things for you, but please be gentle I am hurting a lot right now.

    • Acknowledge your sadness, so that you can move on from that to a better place. As for the issue of everyone else in your social circle getting paired up, please remember that we live in a society that constantly likes to remind women that we are nothing, Nothing, NOTHING without a man in our lives. The consequence of that is a lot of women are putting up with cr*p that you would not want to put up with just to say that they have a boyfriend. Don’t think that you know everything about someone’s relationship just because you hang out with them for a couple of hours every weekend.

      • This. I met my current partner in my mid-thirties. At the time, I thought my standards were super-low: a grown man able to take care of himself and hold down a job. Turns out, there are lots of men who can’t be bothered to furnish their house/apartment, schedule regular dentist appointments, like to speak in baby talk, or feel that wearing shoes other than gym shoes is just too much adulting for them. Last I heard, these guys were all in relationships and some of them were married.

        Enjoy being single. I wouldn’t trade my SO for anything. I am so glad I was able to be single for so long and learn so much about myself. Do what you want to do. Go on trips. Join groups that interest you. Be lazy every Sunday afternoon.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I was single for a decade before meeting my husband. I never really had a super serious relationship. I’d had a couple boyfriends in high school and casually dated a bit in early college. Meanwhile, virtually all of my friends found serious significant others and I went to or was in a ton of weddings. Part of the time I was totally fine with it. I was doing my thing, becoming a lawyer, and moving across the country. Sometimes though I was just really sad. I tried online dating before moving and never had a second date with anyone.

      I literally made it my New Years resolution one year to put myself back out there and signed up for online dating. I had several first dates, one of whom is now my husband. He had recently broken up with someone and signed up for the service the same week I did. It was totally magical timing. I really wasn’t expecting to find anyone although I was hopeful. I’m so glad we found each other and we are both aware of what lucky timing we had.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Oh I meant to add that I’m happy for my single decade now. Deciding to pick up and move to nyc was easy because it was all up to me. I was able to shape my life solely based on my own desires. Having someone else to take into account is nice but can be harder sometimes.

    • I didn’t have a boyfriend until my senior year of college (and barely went on any dates either though there were some multiple time hook ups with mutual attraction that I guess could count as something?)

      After that ended (10-11 months?), I wasn’t in a relationship again for 2 years (and went on maybe 5 dates in that time frame). Now I’m in my second ever relationship and it’s been going on for 3 years.

      I felt like I needed a longer time to come into my own than others. It can happen to the single and inexperienced.

    • Oh I’m sorry, that’s so tough. I had a boyfriend in high school and into college and then didn’t date again to any real degree until I was 28 and met my husband. (Seriously, I went like 8 years without a kiss, I think I had forgotten how). I was moving around quite a bit and then spent 4 years in a toxic job and a bad place health-wise. I tried online dating but didn’t think I was really in a mental space to open up to someone.

      I completely uprooted my life. I started CBT, I left my awful job, moved to a new country, dealt with my health issues, and remembered how much I enjoyed life when I wasn’t working stupid hours for crazy people. I remember smugly saying ‘I don’t have time for a relationship, I like this guy but I can see him 2x a week’. 6 months later we were engaged and living together, a year after that we were married, now we’re trying for a baby.

    • I feel like a lot of people settle.


      I feel ya but can’t give a cute story because samesies, 34

  19. PrettyPrimadonna :

    I love this dress. Good day, all!

  20. 30% off cole haan today! plus an amex offer (if you do that) through twitter, for 50 off 200, FS with shoprunner…. got 2 pairs of shoes this morning (including the eliza grand which are on sale???) instead of doing much work ha ha

    • Well I just fell into the Club Monaco sale on sale, and am climbing back out much poorer. But I’ll be warmer this winter!

  21. Oil & gas industry ‘rettes – I have moved into this space recently and am looking to educate myself on the industry generally (specifically oil field/rigs/platforms), learn industry terms and norms, any specific legal concerns (I am sure there is no shortage). I have some internal materials on post-BP best practices, but I am looking for a more comprehensive resource. I am a contract administrator/manager if that helps. Unfortunately, I don’t have a training budget at the moment, so am looking for free resources!


  22. Finding Friends :

    Cross-posting from the Mom´s site:

    Advise needed! DH and I relocated from a (non-US) large city to a working-class industrial town 5 months ago when DS was born, for DH´s job. My mat leave is another 10 months, and then I´ll start working mostly remotely for my previous/ current employer.

    Overall, this was the right decision for our family (more quality time together, exciting opportunity for DH, I was ready to take a real break from my 80+ hour job, non-bubble environment for DS to grow up etc.) But…
    How does one find friends outside of work as an adult?

    Our “old” circle of friends lives 2+ hours away. I´ve already joined several mommy-and-me classes, but so far I haven´t “clicked” with anyone (not even close). Mainly because the other moms are significantly younger than me (40 vs. early/ mid twenties). DH does not want to mingle job & personal life by introducing me to his colleagues and their families. Understandable, as the main purpose of his job is to cut costs. The local service clubs are either male only, or invite potential members only if recommended by current members, of which I know none. My professional organization does not have a chapter in our new hometown, nor is there potential to start one. I´m on the wait list for a sports club membership. The church volunteer group consists of (lovely) elderly ladies who lunch. We are on the wait list for daycare with a spot available no earlier than May/June, have no room for an au-pair and no money for a nanny. So going back to work earlier is not feasible.
    I´m desperately lonely and at my wit´s end. What am I missing? Should I just let time run its course?

    Also, how do I approach someone who might be a potential friend? I´m super anxious about approaching people socially due to a bad case of mean-girl-mobbing in high school. To me, it feels weird to just say Hey, as we both have xyz in common, why don´t we do lunch/ have a play date for the LO…? Would this script seem stalker-y (to my ears, it does)?

    • “Hey I’m brand new to town- lets get lunch next week!”

    • Do you have a dog? Dog parks can be great. Also check out meetup dot com for something that might interest you. Running club? Hiking group? Yoga classes?

    • (1) Meetup dot com
      (2) I think suggesting a playdate is universally acceptable. My 7-month-old son got super attached to another baby in his class. The teachers kept telling us they were BFFs, played together all the time, etc. My husband and I mentioned that we should have their family over sometime so when he ran into the mom during drop off he asked if he could have her number to pass along to me to set something up. I then put it off for a week because I had horrible anxiety about how I would seem like a super weird stalker if I texted her. Turns out she was wondering what they had done that I decided not to text her. Summary: another mom probably won’t think you are a stalker if you ask for a playdate.

    • Anonypotamous :

      Although it probably will suck for your current schedule, you need to try Mommy and Me classes that are on weekends, which will probably attract more older, working moms.

  23. Emergency Fund Question :

    For those of you have a secondary source of income, do you consider that amount when you plan for an emergency fund or do you stick to what your monthly expenses would be? For context, I rent out a room in my house. I’m aiming for an emergency fund that covers 4 months of my expenses. Should I just stick purely to what my expenses are or subtract the rental income from my monthly expenses because that is money I’ll have coming in even if I lost my job? If it makes a difference, I’ll add that it wouldn’t be difficult for me to rent out the room if my current renter left.

  24. Today is the Great American Smokeout. A friend of mine has casually mentioned quitting. Any resources on supporting a friend through this?

    I feel like it’s extremely easy to come off as judgey or overbearing. This is somebody I have smoked socially with on occasion (no lectures, please – it’s a rare occurrence for me, like a couple times a year rare, and I’m okay with it) and I’m wondering if I should stop, or if that also would come off weird?

    • To clarify: cigarettes, not, ahem, other materials.

    • Yeah, you should stop smoking. Both to be supportive and because it’s dumb.

    • Anonymous :

      “Hey, I heard that today is the Great American Smokeout. If you ever want support quitting smoking, I’m here for you.” Then drop it. Don’t ever mention it again. If they want support, they’ll remember you said something. If they want to be your friend, they’ll resent you if you keep bringing it up.

    • Your state should have a quitline they can call for counseling and medication (in my state, it’s free and they offer the patch, the gum, and the lozenge. Some states, it’s not free (like Ohio, I think has some sort of charge)) If you’re both trying to quit, it’s great that you have a team already in place that you can lean on it and chat with when a craving hits. Anonymous at 1:22 also has a great script if you’re bringing it up; if they bring it up again, maybe mention the quitline as a place to call for help. They should also be able to connect them to local classes.

  25. Sloan Sabbith :

    What’s everyone wearing today? I’m having a rough time transitioning from fall to the colder weather in the shoe department- I live in rainy/drizzly Seattle and, as much as I love my rainboots, I don’t want to wear them everyday. I ordered a pair of booties from the Rack, but they’re not here yet. I’ve got some TOMS booties, but I had an unfortunate incident where new Bogs boots created thumb-sized blisters on the back of both of my heels that is keeping me from wearing them at the moment. :(

    I’ll start- business casual office. Wearing brick-colored Gap cords, a black Gap v-neck dress-tank (there’s a better word for this, and I don’t remember what it is), an olive green 3/4 length sleeve open-front cardigan I’ve had forever from Nordstroms, and black flat loafers. Nothing particularly special today, but it’s been a terrible week both generally (looking at you, orange-cheeto-monster), with my chronic illness, and at work, so I’m pretty much just over it. Plus I overslept by an hour this morning….

    • Black skinny jeans, oatmeal heather long sleeve tshirt, sage green cashmere wrap, gold jewelry. And slippers. I work from home.

      When I go out in a little bit, I’ll add a grey herringbone blazer, a coat, and black boots.

    • Senior Attorney :

      MM La Fleur Nisa dress in teal, cognac-colored corduroy blazer, cognac-and-cream high heeled saddle oxfords, leopard bag. And jade beads from my trip to Korea.

  26. Christmas Morning :

    I know there was a post recently on holiday traditions and I’m hoping to get some advice on how people handle Christmas morning with extended family.

    Growing up, both sets of my grandparents were in the same town. We had a big Christmas Eve party with my mom’s side, did Christmas morning with our immediate family super early, and then had my dad’s side come over around noon and stay for a big Christmas lunch around 3pm, which then turned into cocktails and the kids all falling asleep in their pjs. So I’m new to this dilemma

    This is our first year with an 11 month old daughter. I know she’s too young to remember anything, but I want to start a good pattern with my somewhat crazy MIL, who travels to us on Christmas.

    MIL has been single for a long time, is one of those women who thinks her role as mom is the most important thing in the world even though her kids are adults, and has no problem laying on the guilt about things she claims as “important to her.” She has been making noise about how it’s important for her to see her granddaughter open presents from Santa (coming from someone who still gives her adult kids presents from Santa).

    I really want to be able to have Christmas mornings with my husband and kid (eventually kids) alone as a family. I remember rolling out of bed at like 6am to open santa’s presents and my parents would sit in their pjs with coffee and we would go crazy tearing open gifts. Then later in the day with the extended family we did the more polite gift exchange with thank you’s etc.

    I don’t really want her staying at our house for Christmas (there’s a fine hotel nearby) and I don’t really want her to think she can show up Christmas morning at our house before 11. But I know I’m going to hear about how we’re expecting her to just wait in her room until the middle of the day, she’s missing the excitement, etc etc

    What would you do?

    • I think you probably need to get your husband involved in communicating your collective desires. And I’m guessing there are going to be some hurt feelings, but it’s good to set boundaries now. Good luck.

    • Anonymous :

      I would get over myself and allow my husband’s mother to sleep in my home and be a part of my family on Christmas because I’m not a horrible person.

      No you can’t stick her in a hotel until noon. What is wrong with you?!?

      Invite her every other year if you don’t want her there all the time, assert yourself about how Christmas will go, but letting her visit and then excluding her is hurtful, selfish, and wrong. You really wanna teach your kids to warehouse grandma on Christmas?

      • Anonymous :

        A bit harshly worded, but I agree with this sentiment. If your MIL is single and your H is her only immediate family, forcing her to stay in a hotel all morning on xmas morning so you can reenact your childhood with your children isn’t really fair. Your children may just grow up with different traditions than you did and that’s ok. Allowing your mother in law to lay back with her own cup of coffee or cocoa and watch the mess isn’t going to drastically change things.

        • Anonymous :

          I hate to say this, but I tend to agree.

          Have a talk with your husband.

        • +1

        • Legally Brunette :

          + 1,000,000

          You can’t do this to your MIL.

        • Completely and totally agree.

          My MIL makes my skin crawl but I’d never suggest what you’re proposing

        • +1

        • Anonymous :

          Agree with all of this. It seems really unfair to her to make her stay in a hotel on Christmas morning just because you want to perfectly recreate your own childhood. I’m all for pushing in-laws into hotels if they’re being annoying or overbearing but you don’t seem to have a great reason for doing this. this will not be the last time your kid(s) childhood is different from your own and that’s ok.

      • Anonymous :

        Clearly you have never dealt with a crazy MIL. The rules are different for these women.

        • Anonymous :

          +1. There is no way on earth my husband and I would ever allow his mother in our house on Christmas. Don’t make her wait around in the hotel, though. Tell her that you already have plans for Christmas Day and offer some alternative dates for her to visit.

      • + 10000.

        Oh my goodness. YES. Please stop acting like a spoiled brat.

      • Anonymous :

        Ugh, my thoughts exactly.

      • Christmas Morning :

        I’m not looking to exclude her or anything like that. She is a part of a big celebration with us Christmas Eve and also for Christmas Day lunch. My husband has two other adult unmarried younger siblings who come (which is why some of the family is in hotel rooms anyway).

        I don’t want to be mean, but I do want to protect some time for my kids and set realistic expectations. MIL can be very needy and dramatic. Here’s how I see it going down- kid is up at 6, want to open some presents from Santa, MIL wants to be there and doesn’t want anything to happen without her, brothers in law (who are 27 and 29) won’t be up at 6am after a Christmas Eve party, chaos ensues. MIL gets to act like her feelings were hurt and I want to pull my hair out.

        • Christmas Morning :

          To add, she’s the kind of person where everyone has to be there for everything. And hasn’t shown herself to be very accommodating to the needs of toddlers. I’m not someone who thinks the world has to revolve around my kid, but I try to keep certain things like a naptime consistent. She’ll be all about how we’re in the middle of doing something, kid can wait an hour for her nap and be flexible, and then gets annoyed 45 min later when kid is having a meltdown over something silly because she’s offschedule and tired.

          So I can just picture it being like wait until other siblings come over, then when it’s 7:30 and daughters been patient but getting antsy and siblings still aren’t up, tensions start rising

          • In House Lobbyist :

            I’m a believer in setting rules with family once you have kids. Our rule changes with kids and we are now home on Christmas morning. We say that anyone can join us but we are going to open presents at our house. My MIL comes (which kind of makes my mom mad but she could come too). And it’s terrible but when my husband’s 90 year old grandparents pass away- we are staying home instead of doing Christmas lunch with 50 people. I think the best option would be to do what you want and invite her to join in and if she complains just smile and do it your way anyway. Because Christmas morning is way more fun with little ones than grown adult children and taking that away from her seems really harsh.

        • Why can’t your MIL be there even if your brothers in law aren’t up yet? Do your thing, just don’t exclude her. If she protests that you need to wait for everyone, say “I know they were looking forward to sleeping in, so we will open presents with them later today. Right now we are going to open presents from Santa together, and you are welcome to join us. Have you tried the cinnamon rolls?”

        • Anonymous :

          Then set those non-horrible boundaries. “We are following our own schedule and opening presents now because we are ready.” “If you’re going to be pouty about it leave you are ruining Christmas.”

        • You’re borrowing trouble. Your 11 month old doesn’t understand Christmas. If you had a 7 year old, you would be justified in worrying about these logistics, but this is not the year. Take it as it comes and don’t worry that baby’s first Christmas is setting a precedent you can never undo.

      • Meredith Grey :

        Woah, way way way too much judgement here!! DISAGREE. Christmas Morning, you aren’t rude or mean or offensive or any of these nasty things… Sending you some hugs. Sounds like MIL is generally overbearing and has no respect for the nuclear family. You aren’t “mean-” setting boundaries for your family is not “mean” and please don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Jeez people, not everyone has a Hallmark card waiting for them on Christmas morning…

        I do think step 1 is getting on the same page with your husband and leaning on him to communicate to MIL whatever plan you two come to agreement on. Given you’re spending the entire holiday with extended family, I think it’s totally valid to suggest that MIL spend X-mas morning with her *own* babies for a few hours so your family can have some down time and prep for the crowd in the afternoon. Will she like it, NO. But tell yourselves that you are being reasonable, polite, and courteous (and of course, do that) and follow through. You aren’t mean and it’s very difficult being in the position to want to be a welcoming respectful family member of someone who has no limits. Good luck!

    • Anonymous :

      Honestly, it doesn’t seem like a dilemma to me. I don’t know your personal situation and personal history with her, but if she’s traveling to your place for Christmas, it doesn’t seem crazy to me to have her over to watch your child open presents. It seems kind of rude to exclude her and I think her offense would be justified.

    • Anonymous :

      Your husband must absolutely get on board and clearly express to his mother that you have your own family tradition and this is what is happening. End of story. Don’t JADE (justify, argue, defend, explain). Just, “Hey Mom, we will see you at X time on Christmas Day.” The end.

      You have to get this under control now before this woman starts taking over all your holidays and family traditions. Read the subreddit JustNoMil for good advice.

    • I think this is a little harsh, although I do think establishing boundaries is good. Where is your husband on this? Since it’s his mom, I would let him take the lead. And remember that families are different. It’s possible that what she expects (or can be amenable to) is participating in the tradition you want to establish, not forcing the polite gift exchange to happen earlier. And as a non-Christian, doesn’t seem any more/less ridiculous to give presents from “Santa” to kids versus to adults, just throwing that out there.

      • Christmas Morning :

        Really? It always seemed like such a ridiculous charade to being gifts to adults from a fictional character that nobody believed in. There weren’t grandchildren involved at this point- it was MIL giving gifts to her 20-30 year old kids from Santa. To me it seemed like such a weird way of not acknowledging your kids are growing up and things change.

        • Anonymous :

          My parents get my gifts from Santa. I don’t see why that should bother you. We all think it’s just fun!

    • Anonymous :

      I have a crazy MIL and I highly value protecting our nuclear family time, and I think there’s a compromise here. Can you do Santa gifts as soon as the kids wake up (which in our case is 6 a.m. or so) and have her come over soon in the morning to open other presents? You could even offer to text her when you all wake up so she can come over, maybe at 7:30 or so. That way, you get the Santa experience in your PJs with just you, but she also gets presents and coffee and cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning.

      And I have no issues about having her stay in a hotel. Staying in a hotel has saved many, many relationships with crazy, overbearing relatives.

      • Anon in NYC :

        Yes. Assuming that both you and your husband agree, this is the best option. But I think if she always stays at your house, this is going to cause drama and hurt feelings. It sounds like anything that isn’t her way is going to be cause for upset. But I don’t really think you should begrudge her some present-opening watching.

        FWIW, for our daughter’s first Christmas, we hosted a brunch and told everyone to come over at 11. My daughter was only 6 months at the time so she had no idea what was happening, but it was special to us to have Christmas morning with just her.

    • Midwest Mama :

      I’m really surprised at the answers to this. My mom sounds exactly like your MIL – single, needy, must be a part of everything to do with grandkid(s), etc. We live in the same town as her, so fortunately we don’t have the issue you have, but I would not want her to be part of our Christmas tradition with our kid(s). I think there’s something to be said about Christmas morning and parents watching their kid(s) open Santa gifts. So I’m with you and agree with the suggestion to tell her you will see her at x time on Christmas day. I don’t think there is anything wrong with setting that boundary and wanting your own family tradition.

      • Anonymous :

        This kind of hurts my heart. Who does your mom spend her Christmas morning with? Maybe I’m reading too much of my own life into this question, but growing up I had living grandparents and great-grandparents and my grandparents all had multiple children, so a hoard of grandchildren. My husband is an only and his mom is single. While I could tell my parents that we’re not doing Christmas with anyone but my nuclear family and it would be ok (they have my siblings family, their own siblings, and each other), if I tell his mom sorry, Christmas is for us only, then she literally is at home with her cats. That just sucks. And while it’s not the tradition I grew up with or what I envisioned several years ago, it’s my reality.

        • +1 . And as a kid, we had to wait to open gifts until my grandparents arrived, around 9 a.m. It was pretty fun all gathering in my parents room and looking out the window for them to get there. Having my grandparents around for Christmas morning is such a special memory for me now as an adult. The holidays are about family — which includes extended family. I’m hoping that my kids will have grandparents to celebrate with on Christmas morning for a long, long time.

          • Anonymous :

            You are probably blessed with a MIL who isn’t overbearing, nosy, dramatic or selfish. Christmas isn’t a Norman Rockwell painting for every family.

        • + agreed. Even if your MIL is overbearing, it’s Christmas for goodness sake. One day of the year. There are so, so many traditions you can do as a nuclear family. If your family is in town for Christmas, you include them. The end.

  27. Anon-in-House :

    Lots of in house talk today: Let’s say you have the opportunity to go in house and compensation meets your requirements (is actually a raise due to current firm being well below market) and commute time would decrease by 95%. The potential CATCH is that you aren’t particularly interested in the substance of the company’s business. For those of you in-house: does it matter? Are the practical realities of the job (no billable hours, minimal weekends) enough to make it worth the concession on substantive business area.

    • In-House Response :

      I’m not entirely sure what you mean by substance of the company’s business – for example, if a company makes widgets, I don’t think you need to be passionate about widgets in order to be happy working there, especially if you like more of a business-type approach to practicing law (working with business people, attending strategy meetings, etc.). But if you mean substantive business area from a legal perspective, like you’d have to become a real estate lawyer or a litigator or a compliance lawyer (and you aren’t interested in those areas), I think that’s more concerning. If it helps, I love being in house and would never go back to a law firm, but I’m in the process of changing jobs (to another in-house gig) because I’m bored out of my mind with my day-to-day job because the area of law I’m currently practicing is boring.

      • Anon-in-House :

        Thanks. Essentially the company is in a financial products industry. My interest in financial products is minimal. I do think there would be some litigation management / strategy but another big component of the job would be compliance within this highly regulated industry. A big concern or not as much?

        • That could be a problem if your work has to tie into the actual business of the business. Areas like employment law, for example, can be done anywhere & the business matters less. I think the answer depends on your practice area. If you’re expected to take on a compliance role in an industry you dislike, you’ll become more entrenched in that industry over time, too & it’s harder to get out of it.

          • Anon-in-House :

            I’ll be the first in house lawyer – so I will do a lot of everything. Appreciate your comments – hadn’t really considered that it would be harder to get out of the industry over time.

      • Another in-house perspective. I’m in an industry I love and care about – I made a lot of sacrifices to be here (money, location, etc.) To me, the industry and the products of what I do was very important, but every day, I’m ‘just’ a lawyer. I have friends who don’t care/care less about the industry their job is in. In some respects its a really personal decision and only you can decide how important the industry is to you. If it’s not that important and you aren’t drastically changing your work practice like In-House Response says, then I would definitely take more money and a smaller commute. If it is really special to you, like it is to me, then I wouldn’t. For reference, I work in entertainment/media and I love my company’s product. I could see similar things for fashion, environmental work, outdoorsy stuff, technology, or whatever someone is in to. But if it didn’t matter, I’d totally go make more money working at the [bank, manufacturer, etc].

    • In my experience (somewhat limited but I am in-house), the best in-house lawyers know the business well and can speak the language. If you aren’t interested in learning the business, you shouldn’t go in-house. That said, I don’t really care about the “product” we sell as much as I care about how we go about selling it and how the business runs.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve been in-house at three companies in very different industries and I would say that while being interested in the industry makes the job more fun and fulfilling, you can still do the job well if you’re not particularly interested in the industry. Particularly if you’re going to be doing everything, I think you’ll be surprised how fulfilling the position is. Also, you may find that you get more interested in the industry once you have a vested interest in doing so. So I guess I’m saying that if this is otherwise a great opportunity (and it sounds like it is) don’t let your lack of interest in the industry be the deal breaker.

  28. Ugh WHY is the plus size cut as a flared skirt with a shorter hemline? That’s what I need – to look shorter and wider.

    I am convinced that people who design plus sized clothing aren’t not plus sized.

    • I’m plus sized and recently discovered that tapered midi skirts (hitting below the knee, not too far down on the calf) are about the most flattering things out there.

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