Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Linen-Cotton Jacket

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

This Brooks Brothers jacket comes in a bright green and a bright pink, both of which seem like a lot of fun if you’re looking for a lighter jacket as warmer days are (hopefully) on the horizon. I love it as styled here with pink, and I love the tie-inspired print under the collar and the pinstriped lining on the inside — it’s just a really great jacket whether you wear the collar popped or not. It’s $198 and comes in sizes 0–14. (Don’t forget to check out our recent roundup of how to build a work wardrobe at Brooks Brothers!) Linen-Cotton Jacket

Here’s a plus-size blazer in a very similar green.

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  1. Can anyone help me find a nice black a-line skirt for work? A true a-line, not fit and flare. My hips and I have given up on pencil skirts and its time to find the elusive a-line skirt. Size 8.

    • Calvin Klein usually has black a-line skirts — try Nordstrom Rack or Macys.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Amanda and Chelsea (Nordstrom Rack) sometimes has some, but size up.

    • anonymous :

      Talbots. They often do an A-line in their Italian Lux Knit fabrication and it’s awesome. I only see their seasonless crepe version right now–haven’t tried that one.

  2. Anonymous :

    How do you wash polyester items to get rid of body smells? So frustrated with workout clothes that don’t seem to get genuinely clean.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      A few things that have helped me: stop using dryer sheets or fabric softener. Wash on hot and don’t overfill the machine. Wash once with hot water and plain white vinegar, then wash again as normal. Use an enzyme-based spot treater for extra smelly areas.

      I know I should wash workout stuff immediately after wearing it but I never get that far.

    • I add a splash of white vinegar to the wash cycle and that helps my hot yoga clothes come out smelling a lot less funky.

    • Anonymous :

      Also, if you are not washing them right away, they need to be hung up and air dried until you wash them. White vinegar works for me. White vinegar + baking soda is also helpful.

      • +1 my bathroom is almost always draped in drying workout clothes. They get put in the hamper only when they’re dry.

        That said, certain of my shirts, one in particular, just are smellier. Something about the blend I guess.

      • Vinegar and baking soda don’t do anything together. They cancel each other out (acid + base). Wash once with one and then again with the other.

    • Anonymous :

      SportWash detergent eliminates odors for me on everything but underwear. Once in a while I soak my workout undies in diluted white vinegar. I also scrub the, ahem, smelliest area with Tide and rinse before every wash. This combination seems to do the trick.

      • This is what my cleaneing lady does! I asked her to comment directly, but she does not have a computer. I told her that she could use the Ipad I gave her in December when I upgraded, but she said she gave it to her grandson. But my cleaneing lady does a great job of keeping all of my clothe’s fresh. I recomend a good cleaneing lady if you do not want to do all of this yourself. My new apartement will have it’s own washer and dryer, so mabye I will learn how to use them myself, but Dad says he does not think so. Mom said she would help me, and also teach me how to make delicius meals so that I can attract a husband. I hope she stays over alot, b/c that is the ONLEY way I will learn from her! YAY!!!!

    • Anonymous :

      It helps to let them soak. They’re designed to repel water, which makes them hard to wash. Soaking overnight and washing in the morning will make a big difference. I soak my expensive stuff in cold with a little vinegar or oxyclean and then wash on cold with mild detergent.

    • Would people recommend any of these same tricks (or other ones) for non-workout polyester clothes? I wash after one wear but still feel like some blouses smell stale.

      • Yep, same tricks. Also, look into Nellies, Charlies, and WIN sports detergent. I get better results from these laundry powders than any commercial detergents.

        I’ve also started spraying the armpits with vodka as soon as I take them off, since I do laundry once a week.

    • I’m switching to wool activewear for 90% of the time. It manages odors SO much better. You can get nice tank tops from Smartwool that you could use for yoga or whatever, although their items are especially good for outdoor sports where long sleeves are appreciated (e.g., skiing or hiking).

    • S in Chicago :

      Use the “sport” version of Tide. Works like a charm!

    • I started using Sport Suds powder (can order on Amazon) several years ago after trying some other sport detergents that failed miserably. It works great at getting out sweat odor, and this is coming from a super heavy sweater in a really hot, humid climate where my clothes are often drenched 10 minutes into a workout.

      I loathe the smell of Tide so can’t comment on how it compares to their formula.

      • +1 for Sports Suds. I use Persil as my regular laundry detergent which I really like. Every couple of washes, I do the load of technical fabrics in SportsSuds.

      • SquashBlossoms :

        I was ready to toss all my workout gear and replace it because of the stench, but decided to try a specialized detergent first. My workout clothes smell brand new.

    • Lysol laundry sanitizer. Awesome stuff.

    • Old school solutions – washing soda, vinegar, and a LOT less detergent than you normally use. I also add ammonia for the WORST EVER smells (in our house, usually for dog beds and my husband’s cross fit stuff he forgot in his locker, ughhhh).
      NEVER dry in the dryer unless absolutely necessary, air drying (outside is the best obviously) is much gentler and works best to remove smells.

      • Different anon :

        I find it the opposite – if I try to air dry workout clothes, the BO builds up. Maybe it’s because I only wash in cold and the heat of the dryer kills the bacteria?

    • Amazing product. Great for pet bedding, too.

    • Midwesterner :

      I never put anything in the dryer. It bakes in smells. And I use a scoop of OxyClean along with detergent.

  3. With all the high achieving masters of balance who frequent this board, I’m curious: what’s your best tip, trick or – forgive me for this – life hack that makes your life work a little better?

    • Reducing the amount of stuff we have. It is amazing how much time you spend sorting, organising, and trying to store stuff.

    • Anonymous :

      Paying someone to clean my house and take care of my yard.

    • Anonymous :

      Washing and chopping veggies in the morning so that dinner prep is partly underway by the time the evening rolls around. We also try to cook enough to have leftovers for multiple meals so that we are not cooking every single day.

      • Ouch that hurts! :

        Along similar lines, we make a batch of protein on the weekends (pork loin, chicken, brisket, etc.) so we have it for weeknight meals … salads, sandwiches, in a stir fry, etc.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Oh wow, chopping in the morning! That is so smart.

      • +1 had a few extra minutes this morning and prepped dinner for tonight!

      • Anonymous :

        +1 to the making enough for leftovers. My husband and I usually cook to feed 4-6 people so that there’s enough for either lunches or dinners. I think, for the vast majority of weeknight/non-fancy/non-special occasion meals, that just cooking for two people/two portions and no leftovers is a waste of time. Chopping a whole onion for a meal for 4-6 people vs. chopping 1/2 an onion for a meal for two people doesn’t save me enough time for it to make any appreciable difference. Same with grilling 2 pieces of chicken vs. 4 or 5. However, if two nights during the week I only need to heat something up instead of cooking/a few mornings I don’t need to prep lunch? that saves probably an hour for dinner and 10-15 minutes in the morning for lunch.

    • Giving up on perfection i.e. lowering my standards: few dishes not washed overnight are nothing to gasp at.
      Adopting a capsule wardrobe so my Monday 6:30 AM flight is more bearable.
      Having a go to makeup routine such that I have all products needed and foolproof everyday makeup look in minimal time.
      Overall, as Cb said, having less things around so it’s less to clean, organize etc.
      And whenever possible, outsource what I can if it’s not breaking the bank e.g. order food when I am dead tired.

      • +1 to capsule wardrobe for travel. i also maintain ‘doubles’ of my makeup or permanently filled travel tubes of face wash/moisturizer etc/. so my makeup and toiletry bag are always ready to grab and go.
        Throwing money at things I don’t care about is SO helpful as well – lawn care, house cleaning are our two main ones.

    • Having a pantry stocked with ingredients–spices, sauces, staples and knowing how to cook. Then, if I need dinner, I can pick up a packet of chicken br*asts (or whatnot) and just whip up dinner.

      Relatedly, prepping soups in advance and freezing in individual containers to take to work has cut down on lunch stress and lunch costs.

      Amazon Fresh/grocery delivery is a godsend too–really frees up my weekends to know that I can get everything needed for the week delivered in a tight window. I live in a city, and their prices are no worse than local groceries.

      Buying staples like tissues/TP/hair stuff/cosmetics in bulk so there’s always some in the cabinet.

      Cosign getting rid of stuff–clothes, shoes, books, misc. junk, old toiletries–makes living in a small apartment much better.

      Setting my clothese out and packing my bag the night before. Taking a shower the night before and then just doing a quick rinse in the AM to floof my hair.

    • Not caring that my home is messy.

      • Anonymous :


        This was a big change for me.

        Per Mr. Money Mustache’s realization, we sometimes are obsessed about cleaning, and worry about this way too much. We waste too much time and money on it. I agree. I live in a simple apartment, and have drastically decreased how often I clean. I keep things basically organized, clean the kitchen (minimally) and put things away after using it each day, the bathroom when it needs it. It is fine.

        And the first thing I would spend disposable income on his a house cleaner.

        • +1 My house is certainly not a pig sty, but I do not obsess with keeping it spotless. I have so many other things I would rather do with my time and no one is going to die if they come to my house and it’s not perfect!

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        On the flip side, tidying my home every night has had a major impact on making my entire life feel more put together. When I come home to a complete mess of an apartment, it stresses me out. When I come home to an apartment where surfaces are usable, I can relax.

        • +1.

        • Same, I am really stressed out by a messy house.

          • Same. And as someone mentioned earlier, the best way to avoid a sloppy house is to not have so much stuff. I used to always have that one chair that was constantly draped in clothes…then I got rid of a lot of clothes and suddenly it was so much easier to take the step of putting things away rather than throw them on The Chair. Plus it’s easier to get dressed when you’re not overwhelmed by choice

          • Me too.

          • + 1

    • I am by no means a master and will be eagerly reading for new tips, but the two things that have helped me the most are moving into an apartment with in-unit laundry and buying pre-shredded carrots and cabbage at the supermarket. Even on nights when I just have no time to chop things, I can whip up an easy salad with more than just lettuce.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        The other night I had too much fun at the mall with my kid (escalator! escalator again! swatching lipstick! escalator!) and sort of blew past the time when I needed to be home to make dinner. Swung by Trader Joes for chopped carrots, zigzag butternut squash, pre cooked chicken breast, riced cauliflower, simmer sauce… BOOM, ‘home made’ dinner. But seriously, it was cheaper and healthier than takeout and probably no more effort.

    • Flats Only :

      Own enough clothes that I only have to do laundry every other weekend. I realized at one point that the only thing holding me back from this was having enough of my preferred undies. One trip to Target, and a purge of all the less-preferred undies, and I was all set. 3 hours back in my pocket every other weekend.

      • I do this too. I just need a few more pairs of pants because I dislike wearing pants more than once or twice.

        • I actually do my and kid laundry every 2 weeks. On off weeks husband does his. That way he’s 100% responsible for his laundry. If he wants to keep it in a bin and not fold it – I don’t care. His dirty laundry bin is separate from mine. My life is so much better after making this change.

          Also, we wash all colors together on cold. Have never had anything run.

          • I also wash the blanket with the duvet on. It’s not down and the synthetic doesn’t bunch. I hate putting duvet on and this lets me skip the entire process and have a nice clean blanket as well. Double spin, one dryer run and put on bed to dry the rest of the way.

          • That duvet thing is genius.

    • Legally Brunette :

      Cooking a few large dishes on Sundays for weeknight dinners. Makes my life so much easier considering that the kids are famished when they get home and are too cranky/tired for me to cook when I get back from work.

      • Cosign. If we are not home on Sunday, then we cook something big on Saturday or do something Sunday in the Crockpot so that we have at least one weekend day + Monday/Tuesday covered.

        We also keep the ingredients for 3 to 5 easy meals on hand at all times, e.g. grilled cheese + TJ’s roasted red pepper/tomato soup, brinner (eggs + breakfast meat + biscuits + some frozen potato item or leftover roasted potatoes), quesadillas + mexican rice + refried beans, fish sticks + box mac ‘n’cheese, tuna paninis (tuna + tapenade) + potatoes or argula salad. That covers Wednesday and Thursday (and also snow days in the winter so we do not have to rush to the market at the first sign of ice) and then Friday we go out or get take out of some type.

        Keeping shared shopping lists on Evernote for TJ’s, our local market, and Target has been a big help. The shared lists mean that whoever gets to one of those places can pick up everything we need and eliminates multiple trips.

        Life quality also has improved now that The Kid mostly eats the same thing as The Hubs and I.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Buying an espresso maker. It’s saved me money, but it’s also created a morning routine for me. It’s the first thing I do when I get up and I get a drink I enjoy at the end of it, which makes getting up easier. It was like $100 on the river shopping emporium (mod) but it’s paid for itself probably 5 times over since I got it in September.

    • Getting rid of enough stuff that I can now store my luggage in an easily accessible location. One of the worst things about business travel used to be getting down and putting away my suitcase.

      • Elegant Giraffe :

        It is amazing how long I will procrastinate putting a suitcase away after a trip. Why is that such a PITA??!

        • I unpack the minute I get in the door. Otherwise it’ll sit there for weeks.

          • Elegant Giraffe :

            I do too. I literally leave an empty suitcase sitting around. Bad habit.

          • +1 on immediate unpacking. I actually unload the dirty stuff in the laundry room on the way into the house to lighten the load I have to drag upstairs.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I did this unconsciously! I now have my two most-used suitcases on the high shelves in my closet, instead of my garage, and just being able to grab ’em down and throw ’em up is such a relief. No need to put on shoes and go to the garage!

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      1) Meal planning a week in advance.
      2) Having groceries delivered exactly for the meals we’ve planned. Not going to a physical grocery store saves at least 90 minutes per week, and we don’t waste food.

    • Meal planning and grocery shopping every Saturday for the week and doing prep for the next morning at night. I make lunches for myself and have my kids make their lunches, they lay out their clothes, and have their backpacks packed up. I don’t typically pick out my clothes the night before but I do make sure what I want to wear is clean and ironed, if needed (though I really try to stay away from too many things that need ironing.) I also trust my husband to manage things and try very hard not to “correct” him or take over things that he is in charge of.

    • 1. Never saving for the morning what you can do the night before
      2. Hiring a cleaning service
      3. Click-and-collect groceries
      4. Bagged salads

      • OMG, can you please convince my husband of #1? I HATE when he leaves pots in the sink claiming ‘he’ll clean them in the morning’ only to promptly get sidetracked with child/pet/work demands…guess who winds up cleaning them instead? Ugh.

        • Anonymous :

          I’ve made a rule that my husband doesn’t get to go upstairs to bed before me, and at around 9:30 (our bedtime is 10pm), I’ll turn off the TV and start tidying up/loading the dishwasher/emptying the trash/making bottles/turning over the laundry/etc. His choices are to help me and get things done faster or compromise his own bedtime, so he helps.

          (We have also had many conversations about how much waking up to a messy house stresses me out, so that is in the back of his mind, but I think when people get too tired they stop caring as much about the preferences of their partners in their haste to hit the sheets.)

    • Don’t work as much. We have a joint HHI of $180K and could both increase hours/workload, but it would take a huge amount more work and about 3 years to get to the “next level” in both of our jobs, which is something we’re comfortable holding back on while raising kids.

    • -I downloaded the YourCloset app so I can plan my outfits for the week while I sit in meetings at work, and then getting dressed in the morning is a snap.
      -Subscribe to things like toilet paper, paper towels, etc. on Target (you can do Amazon too) so I don’t need to think about running out to buy them. I have them on a regular schedule synced to how long it takes us to go through a package and they’re automatically re-delivered unless I choose to skip the delivery.
      -Similarly, Target and Amazon apps. Running out of tooth paste in the morning? Great, I’ll order some more on the app while I’m commuting to work.
      -Yes to making large quantities of food at once. I’d love to meal prep but just don’t have the time. Instead we make extra-large batches of food at dinner and save the leftovers for lunches.
      -Yes to getting rid of things! Makes staying organized/clean so much easier.
      -Signed up for a CSA. Now, if nothing else, I at least get fresh veggies delivered every week, and if we buy the non-perishables in big enough quantities, we can go to the grocery store only every few weeks and only have to stop for things like milk in between trips.
      -Accept that things aren’t going to be fixed around the house as quickly as I’d like, and if it’s really urgent, I should just hire someone.
      -I think the biggest thing, though, is multitasking on non-important things. I listen to the news while getting ready in the morning, make phone calls to friends, families, and any businesses I need to connect with while walking to/from the office or listen to podcasts/audio books at this time, listen to audiobooks at the gym, choose clothes while in work meetings as I mentioned before, etc. I take to heart the idea that multitasking generally is bad because you’re not fully concentrating on the task, but I am capable of walking and talking at the same time.

      • I don’t know the Your Closet app but I’m picturing Cher in Clueless and her (way ahead of the times) closet software. MISMATCH!

    • A monthly calendar of dinners. I print a blank calendar out and fill in the evenings/days when we have stuff to do. Then I plan meals around that and tape it up in my pantry. I have a system: meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, fish on Wed., soup on Thursday, pizza Friday, out Saturday, wild card on Sunday. I try to put things with similar ingredients in the same week to avoid multiple trips for little things or wasting food. We don’t stick to it 100% but it does help avoid, what-should-we-have-for-dinner-oh-no-that’s-not-defrosted-let’s-just-get-takeout-itis. Also, since getting an instant pot I no longer have to set alarms to remind me to take meat out of the freezer or to get a crock pot meal set up.

      Using dry cleaning delivery.

      Cleaning person.

      Having lots of underwear, socks, tights so I don’t have to constantly do laundry.

      Hmmm, maybe I do spend a ton of my life and $ cleaning things!

    • Senior Attorney :

      It’s just the two of us and we’ve been doing Blue Apron/Sun Basket for almost three years now. Love it. Healthy, less food waste, interesting meals, and we both like to cook. And it saves so much time in meal planning and grocery shopping.

      Organizing the house so that everything has a home. We were pretty big clutterbugs when we were first married but we’ve been on a purging/organizing kick (last month we set up our personal files and that was HUGE in eliminating paper clutter) and we are close to being clutter free because everything has a place to go.

    • I listened to a podcast last week that recommended doing a weekly meeting with husband to go over the week, meals, and a bunch of other things. We did one on Sunday and I have to say it was really helpful. We might adjust the topics we cover, but I hope we will keep it up because we noticed some scheduling conflicts on Sunday rather than morning-of or during and when he heard all the house things I was thinking I needed to do this week, he actually offered to take some of them on rather than my having to ask.

      • Horse Crazy :

        What podcast is that? I’d love to start doing this.

      • Anonymous :

        We do this Sunday night in bed. My schedule is crazy so we needed to coordinate daycare drop off. But it’s starting to spill over to our schedules generally. Really works and doesn’t take too long.

  4. Anonymous :

    I could use some tips from the Hive from moms who travel for work semi-frequently. I recently started a new job that is a big step up for me, and the kind of position I’ve been working toward for some time. It involves some business travel. I’m going to be traveling back and forth to a couple of my company’s satellite offices maybe once or twice a month, and be gone one to three nights per trip. I may have to leave with not-very-much notice (like I’ll know on Thursday that I have to be gone the following Monday-Wednesday). My husband is fine – he’s very competent at keeping the household running, and he works from home 50% of the time so it’s pretty easy for him to manage without me – but my 11-year-old seems to be struggling with this in a way I didn’t anticipate. I’ve already had to go on one trip, and when I got back, he kept talking about how much he missed me and kept asking when I had to leave again. I may have to go again next week and he got upset when I started talking about it. Any tips on how to make this easier for him? He’s generally not very clingy, and has already moved into that preteen stage where he can kind of take or leave spending time with us most of the time, so this caught me off guard. The things I did with him when he was much younger and I had to travel – making a calendar showing when I am leaving and when I’ll be back; Skyping while I’m on the road – don’t seem to be helping now that he’s older.

    • See if Dad can plan special events for the two of them that only happen when you’re out of town – special ‘boy’s night’ at a favorite restaurant, watching an (age appropriate) movie that you wouldn’t normally be into, special snack or dessert with dinner.

      Also, don’t apologize to your son. You have nothing to feel guilty about – and he’ll come around. He’ll eventually be proud that his mom was such a bas#ss that she worked her way into this cool job.

      • +1 to all of this. My sister has a big job and three kids and I like her strategy – they build in her working into their family story, as in “in our family, Mom works and travels to cool places, we are proud of her.” There’s nothing to apologize for and they don’t make it a sad event. She’ll skype and bring home a souvenir for the kids if she goes somewhere fun.

    • Anonymous :

      I have been traveling an average of once a month since my 11-year-old was 2, and I have been surprised that the older she gets, the harder my travel is on her. She used to look forward to my trips as special one-on-one time with daddy. Now she cries when I tell her I have a trip coming up, and when I leave.

      Phone calls and video chat don’t seem to help my kid either, although FaceTime is pretty convenient for homework help (daddy does not remember how to do algebra). My best tip is to spend as much unhurried time together as possible immediately before and after you leave. My kid does much better with trips if we’ve had a relaxed weekend that includes plenty of one-on-one time where I’m not rushing her to get a bunch of things done. If we have a crazy weekend with sports competitions, tons of housework and errands, etc., she gets much more upset when I leave. I have also learned never, ever to travel during state testing or final exams. She does not test well if I’m out of town. Finally, acknowledging her feelings instead of minimizing them seems to defuse some of the angst.

      • Okay, that doesn’t make sense. I mean spend time together immediately before you leave and immediately after you get back. Not after you leave. Need more coffee.

      • One more thing–my daughter loves texting me while I am on the road. If your son doesn’t have a phone yet, can you enable imessage on an ipod or ipad for him?

      • the yellow one is the sun :

        You sound like such a good mom. What a lucky kid.

      • Anonymous :

        Op here – Wanted to reply to this earlier but getting pulled in a million directions today. Thanks so much for sharing this. It really helps to know that I’m not alone and also for the tips on trying to avoid travel during certain high-stress times. We have standardized testing coming up so I need to be aware of that. I will make sure we try not to pack too much into weekends – it’s really hard sometimes but I need to get better at saying no to things and setting better boundaries. he has a phone that is supposed to be for emergencies only – I’ll encourage him to use it for communicating with me when I’m on the road. Mostly just thanks for sharing your story and your advice. This is why I am so grateful for this community.

    • Anonymous :

      I do this and my oldest is 10 – the unplanned nature of the trips may be what is throwing him off. My kids seem to do better when something is planned and on the calendar in advance than when it’s sprung on them. If you have any leverage to schedule the trips, that could help. Plus, this seems like a relatively new change, so give him some time to get used to the idea of you going away periodically.

      I wouldn’t apologize for leaving, but talking about what you’re doing at the other location and why it’s important for you to be there may help him understand. This helps my 6 year old – his big issue with my travel was he pictured it like a vacation and he was jealous that I got to go to hotels and have room service and a pool all the time. Lol kiddo, it’s nothing like vacation.

      Is the other location near anything cool? Maybe take the family with you once when school gets out (assuming dad can take a vacation day or two) and let them see where you’re spending your time.

      Sign up for hotel rewards points and have your son start thinking about fun places to spend all the points you’ll collect.

      Also, my 10 year old just goes through times where everything is awful, no matter what. It’s the start of the teenage hormones, IMO, so don’t start changing too many things because we’re headed to the Land Where Parents Are Idiots soon enough.

    • I have a similar job and a boy who will be 11 in July. He does some of the same things but I change the subject and give him extra snuggles. Other things that help are facetiming (we spend lots of time with the funny filters) and I always give him a tour of my hotel room. We also have an Echo Dot in our living room so I can drop in from my phone if he’s hanging out and just leave my phone on speaker so we can chat. I usually leave either super early Monday morning or Sunday night and am gone until either Thursday or Friday. I go about every 6 weeks.

      • My guy (12) always wants a tour of my room (bathroom included) when we are Facetiming, too. I had a trip cancelled recently, and my son was incredibly excited that I was staying home. I don’t take many trips and was really puzzled about why he was so glad.

        I came up with a few ideas as to why:
        –We don’t get much family time together. At night on Mon, Tues and Weds and sometimes Thurs only one parent is home while the other works.
        –Even though one parent is working late almost every night, our household runs more smoothly when neither adult is traveling.
        –This one is just a guess, that academic and social stress are ramping up, and it is nice to have us around if he needs us. The hubs and I are pretty different so he might come to us with different issues.

    • I had a pretty travel heavy schedule for four years when my kids were between 9,11 and 13,15. I reminded them that when I was home and not traveling I really only saw them from dinner time to bedtime, and that we’d have a bunch more time together on the weekends because i would prioritize it and not let the time get lost in a jumble of errands and obligations. And I kept my promise. Weekends were with the kids, whatever they wanted to do we did.

      I also reminded them that we have the house we have and the lifestyle we have because Mom works. I’m the primary breadwinner in the family and, while I did not share that directly with them, over time they have figured it out.

      I found that my kids at the middle school ages (around when i started the travel) were more likely to be dramatic about something just because it was cool to be dramatic. This is just tween territory. When they were being dramatic for the sake of drama, I tended to either ignore it, but i would call it out if it got really obnoxious.

    • Anonymous :

      This is kind of an old fashioned response, but how about sending a postcard from wherever you are traveling? Most of the time, he will get the mail when you are home already, but it is a physical reminder that you are thinking of him and kids, even these days, get excited when there is mail for them.

      DH used to do this when our kids were little. There were some postcards that were repeated over the years. And we know this because all of them were saved.

    • I usually text dad with all the daily goings on so he can repeat back to the kids in case I don’t get to facetime etc.

      My kids are under 5 so I always ask them to prepare drawings for me as a welcome home gift. Maybe something like that- a diary or building something with his legs… something that he can pour his feelings into while he misses you?

      Also I usually bring back a little Starbucks cookie/treat for them so there’s also a little anticipation around that too.

    • Anonymous :

      Thanks to everyone for the ideas. He has a great relationship with his dad but I think when I’m gone, my husband just kind of carries on with business as usual – which I totally get – and so I’ll make the suggestion about the two of them doing something special while I’m gone. I also think this may just take some time for him to adjust to. I definitely love the suggestions about not apologizing and working this idea into the “family story” – my mom has a cool job and sometimes she has to travel because of that.

      I appreciate everyone’s ideas and input!

    • Excel Geek :

      Random thing that works for me:
      My 12 yo is very driven by the cost and value of things. (He’s very math oriented)
      I showed him the mileage and hotel points I earn each week and what it takes to earn a free plane ticket/ night at a hotel. We plan where we could go with all the points.
      He’s currently tallying my segments to track if I can get to elite status so that I can upgrade him to first class. :) It actually really helped him deal with the frequency of travel.

  5. This got stuck in mod yesterday, but I’m wondering if anyone has any insight on living in Miami, particularly the Brickell area?

    We’re a mid-30’s couple with no kids and have been trying to get back to a coastal city. We’d be moving for the weather and opportunity for year-round outdoor hobbies, not so much the club scene.

    I haven’t found much info about the professional world in Miami– while I won’t be looking for a job since I work remotely, I do wonder how we might fit into the community there. Any thoughts would be very appreciated.

    • Following, as this is me and my DH’s ultimate goal (in 10-15 yrs; finish careers there).

      • That’s awesome. Hopefully I’ll have some better insight by the time it gets closer to your moving date!

        • My SIL lives in Miami now, so we get her version of it, but I think we’re different enough that I’d rather have the hive’s advice!

    • No direct experience but I have a good friend who is from Miami and lived in the Brickell area for many years (before ultimately moving to NYC for professional opportunities). In short, he said that the young professional community is very small. Lots and lots of aspiring models and actresses, but not the lawyers and other overachieving ambitious people he wanted to get to know. Way too much emphasis on looks and going out and plastic surgeries, less discussion about current events and politics and such. On the plus side, he said that people are very friendly, but Miami is a place where many people grow up and stay so it may be harder to infiltrate various social circles because everyone tends to know one another. Obviously amazing weather and food so there is that.

      • Thanks for passing that along– you’ve confirmed a lot of what I picked up during our last scouting visit. It’s definitely obvious that there’s a lot of emphasis on plastic surgery, having the nicest car, etc. But I think we’re secure enough in our own lifestyle that it doesn’t bother me enough to outweigh the positives.

        We’d be coming from a city in the SEUS that isn’t exactly known for intellectualism– so even though I consider myself to be part of that crowd, I haven’t been surrounded by a like-minded crowd since college.

        I wonder if it’s like some of the other cities in the south where, if you grew up there, you are still friends with your long-time crew, but if you’re a transplant, it takes actively seeking out other transplants since you’re never going to break in with the longtime locals…

        • Curious – why would you want to live in a community without many people who share your intellectual values? And where the ones who don’t even share your interests are also difficult to become friends with?

          I’m single, so maybe if I were married like you it would be different. Do you spend most of your social time with your husband, and travel a lot etc.. so the location is less important?

          Forgive me if I am coming off a tad judgmental… I am actually trying to figure out what I am missing here.

          • Not the OP but my guess would be because you really only need a circle of friends, not necessarily the whole community.

          • It’s a good question. I grew up in a family that doesn’t share my intellectual values or interests so it may be that I’m accustomed to seeking out the kind of people I connect with, rather than sitting among a big pool of them, so to speak. I guess it’s just my norm.

            I also tend to have fewer, closer friends and we travel a lot so that may weigh into it a bit, too. My professional network is also pretty spread out.

            Since we’re pretty sure we want to stay on the East coast to be reasonably close to aging parents, that eliminates California, but if some other magical place with lots of intelligent progressive people and weather like Miami exists, I would love to go there, too.

          • OP- have you considered other places in Florida like the Tampa Bay area? Much more laid back than Miami but large young professional network + top rated beaches, lots of outdoor activities and a surprising amount of culture

          • I haven’t given much thought to Tampa, though maybe I should give it a look. Thanks for the tip.

            I have a friend who did a clerkship there and he didn’t speak that highly of it, but he’s happiest in NYC so I guess I should take his opinion with a grain of salt.

          • Tampa native here – I would not say that Tampa is much better than Miami in terms of intellectualism, and there’s still a very large community of people who grew up in Tampa, went to UF/FSU, married someone they met in high school, and moved back.

            St. Petersburg, especially the downtown area, is much more hip and youthful, which may be a place to look if that’s the vibe you want.

      • +1. Based on what you’ve provided, I don’t think Miami would be a great fit. Brickell is probably the best area for mid-30s young professionals with no kids, but you’ll find that the overall Miami culture is not really best suited to outdoorsy intellectuals. It deservedly has a reputation for being a vain city with a lot of plastic surgeons. Clubbing is big. Wynwood has offered some alternatives to that with a number of breweries, bars, art galleries, etc. You also may find it frustrating if you don’t speak Spanish and/or don’t have a desire to learn Spanish. It’s a very expensive area (a lot of foreign investors buying real estate downtown) with a serious traffic problem. Yes, the beaches are beautiful, and the winter/spring weather is incredible. But I’m not sure it really offers you a lot. And certainly don’t consider it a Southern city or part of the rest of the Southeast US, because it’s not aside from physical geography. Looking at other areas of Florida, maybe Jacksonville would be a better fit? I’m not as familiar with it though.

        • Thanks for the feedback, it’s helpful– we do speak some Spanish and I realize it’s absolutely not the south– honestly, that’s part of the draw.

          By outdoor hobbies, I mean sailing so maybe not the typical “outdoorsy” activity in most of the country.

      • Also no direct experience, but I have a friend who lives in that area and this matches what she said–too much emphasis on looks, not intellect (and she is from Miami originally, so I’m not sure it’s just the perspective of a recent transplant)

    • I did not live in the Brickell area but spent 8 years(23-31) in S Florida between Miami and Ft Lauderdale. You seem to have a good handle on what they area is like. It is materialistic, it is very cliquey, and it is land of those who are uber wealthy and flaunt it and those who pretend to be but are truly broke. I still loved it. The weather for me is/was such a draw. I now live in the SEUS in a much more southern state and I am very happy but I miss S Florida. I live in a suburb of a city, but still miss being able to go get any kind of food or drink at any time of day. I love the beach and pool life and activities around those things so for me having a handful (3-5) close friends was all I needed to feel like a had a support system. Being on the water, being close to the Keys, Naples, and other beautiful areas I think you will find plenty to enjoy.

  6. I’m struggling with managing a direct report. He is extremely bright and has excellent analytical and technical skills. He has produced excellent contributions toward our department’s goals over his 2.5-year tenure at the company. However, when I assign him work that he is not particularly excited about or that requires qualitative analytical work (vs. quantitative) even if it is a high-profile project he drags his feet and produces sub-par work. To address the issue, I have (1) discussed with him the fact that the standard for his work is not lower for the work he does not enjoy; and (2) implemented regular conversations following discussion of work product content regarding whether he enjoyed/was motivated by the work and how he feels that he performed. Nonetheless, we end up having the same conversation repeatedly: he thinks he performed better than he did, I carefully point out objective areas for improvement, he implements for work he enjoys but not for the work he doesn’t. HELP! His role should be one of a self-starter, a leader in the company, but I don’t know how to bring him along without holding his hand further. How would you handle this situation?

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Asked gently- why are you asking him if he enjoyed it or it motivated him? It seems like that’s an easy in for “No, so I didn’t try as hard. But for how hard I did try, I did great!” I think focusing on 1 might be better. And maybe a firm conversation, too “This is an ongoing problem. We have discussed that the standard for your work doesn’t change if you don’t like it. I don’t like (the same thing, different thing), but it’s part of my job. Qualitative work is part of your job.
      You have the potential to become a leader in the company, but that won’t happen without more initiative and better work quality. How are you going to address this going forward?”

      • Thanks for this. You are exactly right that the questions I’m asking may be subconsciously giving him an out to perpetuate the behavior. I especially like your last two sentences and will be saving them for my next discussion with him!

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      I manage someone like this. She’s ambitious and I know wants to move forward in her career. So I’ve pointed out how tasks (that she does not like/isn’t as naturally good at) are related to jobs she might want in the future. It’s been helpful.

      I would also stop discussing whether or not he enjoyed the tasks you’re giving him, since that’s proved to be somewhat fruitless.

      • Good point. Explicitly tying these tasks to the next rung on the professional ladder should be extremely motivating to him.

    • Maybe you can explain that Task A is worth 50% of his overall rating and Task B is the other 50%. If he only performs well in one task then he deserves a below average rating.

      • YES. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this. We’ve been slogging through rounds of the same subpar work all quarter and he has had no other tasks. He’s got 5-6 weeks to straighten up before his next review.

    • No Problem :

      Maybe the best course is to play to his strengths. Is it possible to assign the work he doesn’t like to someone else who does like it? If he doesn’t want to do a certain type of work and that doesn’t impact his future career, that’s great. If it does impact his future career, maybe he’s ok with that because he just wants to do the quantitative stuff and be a rock star at that.

      • What?

        So the person who unfailingly performs well should be punished with the grunt work because he’s too precious to do what needs to be done?

        • I read No Problem’s response to mean that perhaps I should just let his actions communicate what he wants out of his career, which is actually an excellent point. Of course, that means he needs to be moved into a different position within the company, but I can let him decide if that’s the path he wants. If he doesn’t want to perform to the level required on the qualitative work, then I can move him to analytics and open his position to someone willing to execute all tasks to appropriate standards. Otherwise he can step up and we can reevaluate in X time.

          Actually that sounds like the perfect strategy – (1) informal discussion now per Anonymous at 11:00, (2) formal discussion at his end of quarter review with plan to reevaluate at next two quarterly reviews, (3) decide action required if any at end of Q3 review at the latest.

          Thank you!

        • +1. We are all so angry when we’re on the receiving end of this. Don’t reward his poor work by only giving him all the interesting assignments.

        • No Problem :

          Hm, I wasn’t assuming it was grunt work, just work that he doesn’t like and isn’t good at but others might like and are good at. I am not good with quantitative stuff, but I am pretty good with qualitative. Give someone like me that work. It’s not a bad thing to let people specialize in what they’re good at if you have discretion in assigning work.

          A mentor recently told me of a situation where an employee was being terminated because he was bad at giving presentations, despite being great at lots of other things. She pointed out that there were plenty of other roles available that did not involve giving presentations, but his manager did not consider putting him in those roles. So they let go a great employee because they kept making him do the one thing he wasn’t good at.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        We all have to do stuff we don’t like. Do not do this. Do not cater to him.

      • Response in moderation. Basically, you’re right. I can use this as an opportunity for him to choose a different career path and move him to a new position or he can straighten up.

      • Agreed – there are literally books written on this subject that encourage managers to assign work that plays to individuals’ strengths. That may not be the situation here — it sounds like there’s more of an attitude issue than aptitude — but forcing each individual to do the exact same proportion of a certain type of work in the absence of a clear rationale for doing so is the opposite of effective management practice. ***IF*** there is someone else in the organization for whom this work is a good fit/enjoyable, I don’t see why you wouldn’t save yourself the headache and assign work in an individualized way. If this isn’t the case, then I agree with the task-weighting methodology here.

        • You are correct that the issue is attitude not aptitude. I have immense respect for his intellect and ability, which makes this situation all the more frustrating. My department is an “up-or-out” department and his next step up requires him to seamlessly integrate the qualitative and quantitative aspects of the work we do. Therefore, assigning the work to another employee would set him on the path to termination, which I do not want to do. This ask is not unreasonable – I am literally not asking him to do anything I have not done in my tenure here.

          • I had a similar employee whom I eventually had to fire. She was very smart, could figure things out quickly and turn around complex analytics well and quickly. Once she figured something out, she refused to do it again. She would give me 1000 excuses but the reality was that she would not touch any recurring work. At the time, I did not have the ability to take her recurring tasks and give to someone else, and only have her be the “figure-outer”. I do think there are organizations where the figure-outer role is very important and can be supported. However, you need to think hard whether your organization can. The other problem with such an employee is that they stop being good at all jobs in a very short period of time, so although they can handle the immediate initial challenges very well, within months they derail. Thus, you can never recommend them for promotion, meaning you have someone who should be given new tasks whom you have to keep holding in the same position. I don’t think there is a winning situation for this type save putting them on a highly project-based team into a perpetual figure-outer role. I do think this is a maturity issue on the employee’s part. Every day I have numerous tasks I do not like doing, but I get through them anyway. So does literally everyone. You can’t have the special snowflake who gets to pick and choose, this is not a healthy work environment for either party.

    • I feel like you’re spending too much time on “why” he’s doing this. Essentially it doesn’t matter why. You’re not getting the performance you need from him. What would you do with anyone else who was underperforming?

      • In my past experiences, the why was important. The underperforming was due to lack of specific training or skills. Once I was able to get the direct report trained or otherwise educated the issue resolved. In this case, I don’t know how to fix the why and, to your point, now that I’ve determined that the why is not in my control it should no longer matter to me. It is his problem to fix or lose his position.

      • anon a mouse :

        A good manager will try to help motivate a poor performer to improve, and figuring out the motivation is a part of that puzzle. Simply saying “DO BETTER” is clearly not working here, so OP is asking for help.

        • Anonymous :

          That may be true in an industry that has leisure time to let someone improve. In my industry it’s perform or go. Therapists are for after work.

  7. Patty Mayonnaise :

    Ugh my beloved 9 year old kitty had to go to the ER last night after she was panting and very lethargic. She stayed overnight and it turns out she’s severely anemic so they’re running tests to see he cause and giving her a blood transfusion. Ugh I just feel so terrible and like I should have caught it sooner – in retrospect, I def should have brought her in for a check up sooner but have been preoccupied with my baby (not an excuse I know…) I’m just so sad and scared for what we may/may not find out. And of course it’s extremely expensive. I just know we likely have some difficult decisions coming and could use any words of wisdom and/or support.

    • I’m so sorry. No advice, just warm thoughts. We love our pets – they are family.

    • cat socks :

      I’m so sorry. Hope she gets better soon. Cats are experts at hiding when they are in pain. I had to take my big tabby boy to the emergency vet for an infected abscess on his back side. I had no idea he was having issues until he I noticed a loss of appetite and lethargy. I feel awful I didn’t catch it sooner.

      For the panting, they should check to see if she has fluid in her lungs or any heart issues. The same tabby boy was diagnosed with a heart murmur that was causing fluid to back up into his lungs. He was also diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. He’s been on medication for the past several months and is doing well. He’s also around 9 years old.

      Sending lots of good vibes your way and hoping for good news for you kitty.

    • Hugs. It’s so hard because pets can’t tell us that they’re hurting.

      I had to put my soulmate dog to sleep around this time last year, after a very sudden decline and terminal cancer diagnosis. She was five. I beat myself up for a long time for not having found a way to catch it sooner, but hindsight is 20/20 and taking her to the vet a week earlier (the first time she showed a symptom) would have made no difference in the end. My only regret is that I waited as long as I did to put her to sleep, because it meant that she had an extra day of suffering and in the end, I didn’t have time to bring a vet to the house to do it so that she could go in a familiar, comfortable place. (and now I’m crying in my office. pets are family. I still miss her every day.)

      All you can do is to do the best that you can with the information that you have at the moment, and cats are notorious for hiding it when they aren’t feeling well. I’m so sorry that you and your kitty are going through this, and I’ll be thinking about you + your family.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Emeralds, I’m so sorry about your dog. Your post reminds me though that we will always second guess ourselves because we love our pets and want to make sure we did right by them. I lost my prior dog to sudden cancer that looking back at old pictures, we should have noticed earlier as she was losing weight. I’m glad we didn’t know earlier since there was nothing we could do for it. We also made a very quick decision at the end and I have wondered before if we did that too quick. No matter which decision you made, you would second guess.

        We also had to handle ours at the emergency vet and they did such an amazing job. It actually worked out better that her regular vet was not available. Hugs.

        • I could not have gotten through the last day without the emergency vet and vet techs’ thoughtfulness and empathy. The emergency practice that I went to was actually recommended by another reader of this s*i*t*e, since they also have a veterinary oncology practice–thank you so much, if you’re still reading.

      • I lost my mother to cancer that could have been diagnosed earlier. (Drs went with the more common explanation of her symptoms and stuck with their diagnosis for too long.) I say that not to diminish your suffering but because even with people who can clearly articulate how they’re feeling it can be hard to determine what is gong on medically. It’s even harder with dogs (and, I assume, cats) who try to hide it when they don’t feel well and can’t tell you what their symptoms are.

    • Don’t beat yourself up. Cats are so good at hiding when they are sick. Try to just take this one step at a time, one decision at a time. If you have something you are really worried about – a worst case scenario – get the information you need to help reassure yourself. When our cat had cancer, my husband was tremendously reassured by finding a vet that would do euthanasia at home, calling that vet, finding out how much lead time he needed, etc. so he had the logistics worked out in his mind and felt confident we could make sure our cat didn’t suffer longer than she needed to at the end. As it happened, she collapsed at home and died on the way to the vet’s office, less than 30 minutes after eating happily (her #1 favorite thing to d0). I wish her death had been more peaceful but I try to remember that was about 30 bad minutes out of a very happy life we gave her. Hugs to you and your kitty!

    • Anon in NYC :

      Hugs. Less than 1 week after my kid was born, my dog developed an infected gland that we didn’t notice at all until it burst. We had to rush her to the vet, put her on antibiotics, the whole nine yards. We felt like terrible pet owners. But you’re doing your best here.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I want to second everyone that pets hid pain extremely well. My prior dog had a badly abscessed tooth. Luckily, the vet knew us and knew we were responsible pet owners. The dog went in every 6 months for check ups and they hadn’t noticed it either. She was still running, wagging her tail, eating and drinking. We had no indication that she was in severe pain or any pain for that matter.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Hugs on hugs. Yes, cats are really good at hiding when they’re hurting. Don’t beat yourself up. Oh it’s so hard. Thinking good thoughts for you and your kitty.

    • Patty Mayonnaise :

      Thank you so much for all of your responses. I really appreciate it.

      • Patty Mayonnaise :

        PS. Does anyone know a vet that does in home euthanasia in DC? I’m really hoping this isn’t something we need to look into now, but it sounds like a peaceful option to consider if need be.

    • Its not your fault. Cats excel at hiding pain. Cat anemia is a symptom of many different ailments. Sending good thoughts to you and kitty.

    • I’m so sorry. I hope she feels better soon and I hope you do, too!

    • kitty cat anemia :

      I’m so sorry about your cat, and I’m sending you all some love. I just put my eight year old cat to sleep at the beginning of this month for anemia-related issues. She had kidney failure that we kept under control for about two years before an anemia flare-up in the fall. My vet put her on Epogen injections, which completely turned things around for her for awhile and gave us about four more months of really good quality time. Unfortunately, some cats develop antibodies and become resistant to Epogen, which happened to her. There was nothing left to do but try to treat the anemia with regular blood transfusions, which would have just been too much for her and I. So, I found a wonderful, incredibly caring service (on my vet’s recommendation) that came out and put her to sleep in my room, on my lap, and it was the best death I could have hoped for. (side note: why can’t we do this for our human loved ones too when their time comes?)

      Depending on the cause of your cat’s anemia, if your vet recommends Epogen, I would ask them about that versus Darbepoetin, another hormonal treatment for anemia. It takes longer to work than the Epogen but supposedly has far less risk of cats becoming resistant.


  8. Anonymous :

    What should I know about retracting a resignation? I’ve been convinced to give management a chance to fix company-wide issues. I have a good relationship with management, and they’ve been nothing but supportive during my employment. The resignation has been broadly shared. I’m not sure if I need to update people or just let things spread naturally. I know this position isn’t what I want to do long term, but I’ve yet to decide what is.

    • Honestly that you should start aggressively looking to go. I’ve rarely seen someone recover from resigning and staying. Or at least quickly recover – it’s one thing to leave and come back, but to not go says you’re not committed and looking. I’m sure this isn’t what you want to hear, and in the meantime I think you need to double down on showing you’re committed. As for talking about it, I’d go with some version of “they made me a counter offer I couldn’t refuse” rather than focusing on the company-wide issues.

    • Anonymous :

      If you had another job lined up, I’d go anyway. If management hasn’t fixed the issue yet, they aren’t going to fix it now.

    • I really don’t recommend you go back to this situation. I realize that’s not what you’re asking. But this situation is fraught with red flags. Do you really think that now that “company-wide issues” were brought to management’s attention that they are going to change things? Fat chance. How were they asleep at the switch so badly? How did they look away and not know before?

      Run the other way.

      • Yes, this.

      • +1. Never have I ever seen company-wide issues get fixed within any kind of a reasonable time frame.

        Signed – person who wisely left a company with “company-wide issues” 3 months before it was shut down by the FDA in a sting operation.

    • Appreciate the honesty. I agree that significant changes are unlikely to occur. I’m thinking about staying in the short term while I prepare for next steps. (I know that staying long term is not an option. In addition to company-wide issues, my specific role changed via a bait-and-switch.)

  9. Boy, once you read about fragile masculinity you see it everywhere.

    Unfortunately I am dealing with it in a coworker. He is senior to me in the company, but I am not in his reporting structure. We have the same c-suite boss.

    This man will go out of his way to make my life miserable. He is supposed to use me and my team for certain aspects of his work, but will go to great lengths to avoid coming to me. It’s like he’s threatened by me/my team having more expertise in just this one area of a vast field, and can’t acknowledge that he does not know everything about everything. There is no doubt in my mind that long-term, the outcomes are going to be worse for the company due to his ridiculous behavior, but we are in a field that is so non-binary (non yes/no I mean) that it will be very hard to tell for possibly years. He can blame his failure fairly credibly on external factors and get away with it.

    I swear to god this is all because I’m taller than he is. I’m not making this up.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I have zero tolerance for that kind of man-baby behaviour. The annoying part, based on your post, is that there is little you can do about it…apart from making sure to wear your highest heels whenever you know you are going to meet in person. Because screw him.

      • Ha! If my knees could handle it I’d wear four inch heels anytime I thought I’d be around him. But about 2.5” is my limit. Bare-stockinged I have a good 4” on him anyway.

    • Anon for this :

      I love my boss. He is 99% of the time a wonderful person. However, he has commented that my height irrationally makes him uncomfortable sometimes. He has fully owned that his feelings on this are ridiculous and I give him credit for mentioning it. In a group photo for an industry publication, he was not happy that I wore heels. I have a standing desk so I wear flats in my personal office but I still wear heels when I’m going to meetings and events. He asked the photographer if my feet would show and if not, if I could just take off my shoes for the photo. Another male coworker said ugh, that’s incredibly sexist. He then said something like well, if she wants to look like she’s taller than everyone, fine, but she’s the only one in heels. I had 3 1/2 inch heels on while my other female colleagues had kitten heels or flats. I was pretty offended but he came and apologized later which I appreciated.

      In the group photo situation, after seeing the photo, I kind of understood his point. He is the business owner and wanted to be the center of the photo. The photographer re-arranged us based on height and since I was the tallest, I was center middle with everyone else flanking me so it looked like I was in charge.

      • Anon for this :

        * I saw his point about how the photo was arranged, NOT about my height. He should have pushed back and insisted on being in the middle despite not being the tallest.

      • That is super ridiculous. Especially to call you out in front of everyone. He could have stood in front of you, like in the middle of the front row.

      • Oh girl are you this weak? That is some sexist nonsense you are bending over backwards to justify. t

        • Anon for this :

          I wore the heels. Sadly, every man has an ounce of sexism in him. I’m not trying to justify it, I’m saying that if that’s the only time his sexism shows, I can live with it. He’s not sexist in how he compensates me, gives me huge assignments normally given to men in other companies, and otherwise treats me as an equal. He’s a short man embarrassed about his height. I think it’s BS but it’s not the hill I’m going to die on, particularly where he admits it when it happens and apologizes.

    • Are you talking about my former boss?

      My former boss seemed to flip out just a little more when I wore suits or heels (or both). He’s an ugly, balding dude barely over 5 feet tall who is also a complet pervert.

      • I might be! That sounds just like him

        • You’ll appreciate this (and it might “out” me): I was ranting to my mentor after I quit about what happened. Mentor interrupted me mid-rant and had one question: “How tall is this guy?”

          The epilogue is that one of my friends looked him up on the web and found some rather gross things. I did a more comprehensive search (hard, because he shares a name with a presidential candidate) and… what happened at work was clearly the tip of a very dysfunctional iceberg. The compulsion that caused him to be a prick, even at great cost to the company, was not limited to work. It was very hard (I came to fully appreciate how I never stood a chance), but very freeing to understand that it was not me, and what sociopathy caused this.

          I’m relating this because you understand that it’s not you, but might need to hear it from someone who has been down this road.

          • Hmm my nemesis does not have a presidential candidate name so it’s not your former boss. There’s that at least.

            But I’m honestly afraid to google him. I already can’t stand him and still have to work with him (when he deigns me worthy) and if I knew some creepastic thing about him …. which no doubt I would find …. I might have to quit! My current plan is to wait him out.

    • OP here – now that I think about it, I recall that he phone interviewed me before I took the job. He wasn’t required to interview me but I requested it because I knew my group would be doing work for him.

      It wasn’t until he met 5’11” me in person that he started disliking me.

  10. What to do :

    Somebody recently commented on this page that elbow length sleeves didn’t work for them if they ended in line with their bust because it just made the widest part of them look even wider. This was a total Eureka! moment for me as to why I like some 3/4 length sleeves and others just don’t seem to look right.

    (I’m tall so shorter 3/4 sleeves are elbow length on me.)

    Unfortunately, I had just bought a new Boden Elbow length top and dress that look great except that I’m not loving that sleeve length. Options are: 1) get rid of them. They’re not right and will never be. 2) this sleeve length serves a purpose! Keep them because you like them otherwise and be thankful you have them to wear in the summer. 3) Plan on always wearing them with a cardigan or a scarf to visually break up the look.

    • Anonymous :

      Have the sleeves hemmed a bit higher so they are long-ish short sleeves instead of elbow sleeves?

    • I once read that sleeves – or any strong line on an item of clothing – emphasize whatever is in line with them. So if you want to emphasize your waist, sleeves that end at your waist will work for you. If you like the dress, play with rolling up or pinning the sleeves to different lengths to see where you like them, then take to a tailor to hem.

      • What to do :

        Yes! This is why I like sleeves that most normal height people would consider somewhere between ‘bracelet’ and ‘3/4’. I’m not even super tall, I am moderately tall with long arms.

    • Anonymous :

      If your bust falls at your elbows (instead of the sleeves being shorter), it may be worth it to get a bra fitting. Different bras can really make a difference in how clothing fits.

      • Anonymous :


        Agree with this.

      • I agree with this to a point. My chest is just massive. There’s a limit to how high these bad larries can get, even with the best fitting and best made bras. As high as they’ll go, they still visually cloud my elbow line. It sucks.

        • What to do :

          Um, yeah. I’m a 32GG. There’s just a lot of real estate. I’m wearing a good bra and it’s just… there’s just a lot there.

          (Semi-related: I’m pursuing a reduction later this year… hopefully)

          • Awesome! I was looking into it a few years back, but I changed my weight loss goals/mindset since then* and may keep the tatas the way they are… 34/36HH. (*due to other reasons; relevant for the surgery prep and effectiveness)

          • I am a 32GG, too and can only wear Freya and Fantasie. Where do you buy your bras? I am trying to be frugal instead of just ordering them impulsively from Bravissimo/Figleaves. I have a deadline because we get reimbursed for them in the military and have to do it tomorrow but my one hour of research this morning shows Figleaves is still the cheapest to Canada.

          • Have you looked at HerRoom or Bare Neccessities? Amazon has a surprising selection as well sometimes.

          • What to do :

            I have a local shop that I go to… but when I’m in a pinch, Amazon.

            Currently wearing a LeMystere, but also partial to Panache.

            Anita nursing bras are the BEST though (if you need those).

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            KKRvF – I get mine at Nordstrom. I’m a 32G though. My current sets are Natori feathers.

        • +1 Try to place 2 volleyballs on your chest in such a way that they are above your elbows and not hitting your chin. It’s more about area than it is about lift.

          • That’s funny… I’m a G but I just realized that I probably am proportioned differently because I’m tall. It never really occurred to me how things might lay if I was shorter but still had the same size chest.

      • Lol what. I don’t want them any higher, I wouldn’t be able to breathe!

    • Flats Only :

      I have found that Boden elbow sleeves are a little long on me, even in petites. I just get the dry cleaner to hem the sleeves up to where I want. Cheap and easy.

  11. Anonymous :

    Parking ticket VENT! My city used to send a letter in the mail after you got a ticket because the physical tickets (which are like receipt paper, with no envelope) are often lost. They blow away, people throw them on the ground, etc. There have been a few times where I’ve received a letter, no ticket, and promptly paid it recognizing the physical ticket was lost.

    Recently I learned that not only do I have 3 outstanding tickets from the last year and a half, but each ticket has accrued a late fee PLUS a hold at the DMV fee. I learned of these tickets when I went to renew my registration online at the DMV website. It says I owe $35 (original ticket) + $30 late fee + $75 registry fee for $140/ticket or $420 total!

    I called the city and learned they stopped sending letters notifying people of tickets. I’m sure it behooves them as it increases revenue if they are able to tack on late fees.

    I work at a nonprofit and have to feed the meter all day, every day. There’s no company parking or public transportation. I’m super frustrated as this fee is nearly 2 car payments, or a month and a half of food, or over half my rent. Definitely did not have that budgeted.

    I asked about appealing but the city clerk was like, why didn’t you pay it sooner, its pretty late to appeal? Umm, because I had no way of knowing since you stopped sending letters!

    • Anonymous :

      If there was no ticket on your car, and they don’t send a letter, you can’t be expected to pay a ticket you didn’t know about. I would appeal, and write a letter to someone (city council member, mayor, the media, etc.)

      • Anonymous :

        Right?!? The city clerk claimed she can waive the late fees but not the RMV hold fees as the RMV, not the city, add them on.

        Then maybe send a letter? How in the world would anyone know except when they go to renew their registration every 2 years?

      • Elegant Giraffe :

        +1, this is nuts. They’re obviously aware that the physical tickets often disappear since they used to have an entire system to address that.

        • anon a mouse :

          This is insane. If it costs a lot to send a letter, they could add on a $5 processing fee or something for every letter they send. I’d much rather pay that than a late fee plus a registry fee.

    • I’d be so pissed. Yes, you should absolutely appeal (how could your appeal be timely if you never received notice of a violation?) and cc your local city and state representatives. Present yourself as a rational, hard-working taxpayer who always promptly paid tickets in the past upon notice, and that their current practice leaves people with no meaningful opportunity to comply with the law.

    • cat socks :

      That’s really infuriating. Like anonymous mentioned above, try reaching out the local media. There’s probably other people in the same situation.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      This is ridiculous. Contact your city council member or other representative and throw a professional fit. Play the nonprofit card.

  12. Anonymous :

    Can anyone recommend insoles for dress shoes? Would love something with arch support and heel cups to help prevent plantar fasciitis. However, need them to fit in my work shoes (mostly flats). Thanks!

    • I have been using Profoot inserts that just have heel and arch support and they work great in flats. I’m going to try to put a !ink next.


        • Thank you! Did you feel like the arch support was solid? If so these sound great!

          • I really like them. I have several pairs. They don’t stick in the shoe so I like how easy they are to move from shoe to shoe. I even put them in my slippers. The arch support is solely (ha!) what I buy them for, and I think it’s really good! I have high but weak arches and these help a ton.

          • That is awesome. Love the pun and thanks for the rec!

    • I love the Superfeet black insoles … very supportive and fit inside ballet flats.

  13. We’ll be in Barbados in mid-April staying in the Dover Beach area and close to St. Lawrence Gap. Any recommendations for restaurants? No food restrictions.

    I know we will be touring St. Nicholas Abbey and but any suggestions for other places to visit on the island? The beach at the hotel is supposed to be very nice, but I’d like to explore a bit too. We’re not renting a car in advance and I’m still on the fence about renting one while we’re there mainly due driving on the opposite side of the road. (We’re from the US)


  14. What do you do with old clothes in poor condition? I’ve sorted it into three piles: good condition is going to a thrift store, poor condition but soft cotton or knots are in my rag bag to be used for cleaning, but I have some denim and other items that aren’t in good enough condition to donate or the right fabric for rags. I’ve looked into fabric recycling but none of the programs listed on my city’s or state’s informational page actually have drop-off locations. Any tips?

    • I donate even things in poor condition to Goodwill because they supposedly recycle what they can’t sell.

      • I always did this, on the logic that if there’s anything more efficient to do with them, they’d be the ones who knew about it, but last time he was there, my husband said that he watched the workers just going through bags and dumping the unwanted things in the trash, just like we’d do at home.
        From at least some of what I’ve read, there really isn’t a good solution here.

        • Please stop spreading misinformation about Goodwill. The workers do not throw anything in a container that goes straight to a landfill. They don’t have the authority to do that.

          Every site has lots of bins – that may look to a casual observer like “trash” but are not – that are used for sorting materials. For example, clothing in poor condition is sold in bulk by weight. People bid on containers like you see on storage wars or whatever. Anything that cannot be sold that way is compiled and sold by the ton to companies that use it for rags or otherwise recycle it. The same goes for broken furniture, glassware, etc. – it’s all sold as scrap to be recycled.

    • Just trash them. Don’t overthink it.

      • Not our planet is it? :

        This is EXACTLY the attitude that has led us to the damaged planet we have now. Ignore this comment and continue to be awesome and thoughtful like you are. Every single thing avoided from going to trash helps the world!

        • Haha thanks for the support. I have some strong feelings about the ecological impact of textiles (I’m a hobby sewist as well so my rag bag is PRODIGIOUS and I often try to repair or recycle clothes) which is why I wanted to find a good solution.

          • Does your county/waste management do textile recycling (mine does). Might be worthwhile to look into.

        • Anon for this :

          I agree with your sentiment generally but does this still apply if your town uses an incinerator? We don’t have a landfill so everything just gets burned up.

          • Betty White :

            Yes, even more so. Incinerating waste is terrible for the environment and for your community’s health.

        • Systematic destruction of our resources by companies who willfully violate regulations (i’m looking at you coal companies) are why the planet is endangered now. ONE individual dumping SOME old clothes into a landfill isn’t going to kill the world and NOT doing that isn’t going to save it. Stop shaming someone who is already trying their best (3 piles? that’s very thoughtful). Putting the onus and shame onto one single person is completely counterproductive and turns what is really a systemic problem requiring large changes into a bs individual problem.

          • Think globally, act locally though. I’m focused on the behaviours I can personally change or impact, and until we have the political will to get global change I’m going to keep on sorting.

          • nasty woman :

            It’s the attitude she’s reacting to– don’t think about it, who cares?

            Why do coal companies get away with what they’re doing? Why are regulations weak? Why is it so difficult to get to those large changes that solve a systemic problem? Because most people don’t care.

    • Do you have a Planet Aid bin nearby?

      • Yes I do! I’ve seen those and thought they were for good condition only, but this seems perfect.

      • Except Planet Aid is a cult which has been found by many watchdogs to be a sham organization and has had its nonprofit status revoked in many countries as a result. NOPE.

        • Candidate :

          OH NO. Problem unsolved :-(

          There are enough options here I can pick from though.

        • joan wilder :

          Triple nope on Planet Aid and beware of any places that sells the clothes (but doesn’t clearly state how profits from the sale are used for their programs).

    • All of this stuff can go to H&M and you get a 15% off coupon.

    • there’s also some veterans group that take soft good donations that will take the poor condition clothes, cut them up and sell them as stuffing for other goods, like pillows.

    • AlexisFaye :

      Donate them to an animal shelter. They can use them for bedding, rags, whatever. They take pretty much everything.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      Check with your local recycling. Our city recently adding clothing/fabric recycling. There’s a special bag we have to use, but they send it to a company that shreds the fabric for use as stuffing.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        +1. We have a local recycling nonprofit here that takes all kinds of items, including fabric. It’s not a perfect solution as the reprocessing takes energy, but most fabrics can be recycled into stuffing, carpet backing, etc.

  15. Linda from HR :

    Is it immature to want to wear sparkly stuff? I used to like all things pink and sparkly in middle school, and was always on the prowl for glittery eye shadow, body glitter, hair glitter, pants with glitter, you name it. Then I grew out of it, but I got that email from Sephora last week that was full of sparkly makeup and all I could think was “oooooh I want all of it!” And last night I got my sample of Stila’s Glitter and Glow eye shadow, tried it on, and fell in love! I can’t wait for an excuse to wear it out!

    Granted, I’m less into the candy colors and more into gold sparkly stuff, maybe reds and silvers too. I wouldn’t wear it to work or anything, it’s more for going out, but at 28, it seems like maybe I’m too old for a phase like this?

    • No girl do you

    • I mean, I wouldn’t wear it to work, but going out? Have fun!

      • I’m 34 and accidentally wore glitter eye shadow to a networking event recently. I didn’t realize til I was already at work. Whatever, I rocked it, AND I got a client out of the event. I might have a new lucky eye shadow!

    • I’m mid 50s, a senior exec, and you can pry my sparkly silver kate spade tote out of my cold, dead hands

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Oh man, no!

      Like, you know we’re all going to die, right? How horrible to die without wearing sparkly stuff (if you want to wear sparkly stuff)! Bathe in a pool of glitter while you’re alive!

      • Never too many shoes... :

        Sing it, RH. The older I get, the more I just wear what I love without worrying about it.

    • Sparkly is ever wrong. It just changes form (from scrunchies and nail poliosh to jewelry and gold make-up).

    • Silver toes here right now FTW.

    • I hope not! (Says my silver oxfords, my rose gold wallet, my glitter flats, my gold weekend bag, my sequin throw pillows, the red metallic liquid lipstick I’m wearing right now and my enormous collection of highlighters and sparkly eyeshadow)

    • pugsnbourbon :

      Shine bright like a diamond. I’m trying to figure out how to work a metallic silver top into my work wardrobe.

  16. Office Design :

    I am fortunate to have $15k allotted to design my new office (law firm). I want to put on wood floors, and will need to pick furniture, etc. Where would you start? I’d like it to feel more like a home office/craftsman/mid century/reclaimed wood than corporate (others in my office have put a lot of personality into their spaces, so I feel I have leeway to do this.). Are there any sites you’d recommend for inspiration?

    • With that kind of budget, I’d hire an interior decorator.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      This is SO EXCITING! Wow! Now that you’ve said it, I want you to go craftsman all the way… (OK not *all* the way, like I’d paint my walls a dusty medium green instead of paneling them in warm wood, ha…) but man how perfect would that be? A mission style desk? A perfect perfect lamp? A seating area with a floor lamp to define the space…

      Right now it seems like a lot of people are doing that cold, greyish wood, but I think it’s… well, cold. And I would be concerned that you’d get tired of it quicker than a medium-to-warm wood. Though I guess there’s something to coldness/coolness in an office…

      A related concern of mine re MCM (which I love!) for an office is…. where are you gonna put all your stuff? Those super sleek desks don’t have a lot of room for files and cords and staplers. Whereas some of the craftsman style desks etc. have gorgeous cupboards and drawers.


    • Sunflower :

      I was in your shoes many years ago when I made partner at my firm and have several bits of advice. First, hire an interior designer. Mine helped me figure out a color scheme and then she’d narrow down choices for so I could make decisions: here are five fabric selections for the sofa, here are five ideas for your desk, etc. It saved a ton of time. Second, you never know when you might have to move your office, so don’t put a lot of money into flooring, wall coverings, etc. that can’t be moved. Third, get things you really love. Your designer can help you select items that aren’t traditional stuffy law firm furniture. When I amicably left my firm after several years of partnership, the firm sold me all of my furniture at a deep discount because it had been fully depreciated on the firm’s books. I got to take my furniture to my new office and even used some of it in my house.

    • Sunflower :

      Sigh. My long reply has been in mod for over an hour. Check back later.

  17. Thanks again to the ladies who shared about personal training experiences yesterday! I wasn’t feeling awesome going into the appointment, so I wanted to share out on how it went. It wasn’t salesy at all. The trainer looked like a card-carrying swole-up gym bro, but actually ended up being very pleasant and approachable. I’m in decent shape and circuit he gave me was legit HARD. (also, sorry in advance for the novel I just wrote)

    The one thing that did not go well was the gym’s weigh-in and body composition test. I thought about opting out, but decided to do it since I hadn’t had a body comp test since high school. They had a hand-held monitor and it spit out a high-ish number. The trainer kind of frowned at it and said we needed to do it again because it didn’t look right. We got the same number. And he was like, “I guess you’re overweight and we need to talk about weight loss!” I got teary eyes in the middle of the gym and managed to stutter something out about not being able to talk about weight loss because of a history of disordered eating. He did drop it immediately and we had a good conversation about other fitness goals.

    The part that makes me angry is that I went home and did some research, and it turns out that 1) there is no single accepted standard for body comp ranges, and the gym was using a stricter one than e.g. the Mayo Clinic’s; and 2) hand-held body testers have an error range of 3-5%, and are thrown off by how much food you have in your stomach or how hydrated you are. I had a big, salty lunch and was chugging water all afternoon, so there’s no way the result was accurate. (This was confirmed by my on-call licensed sports medicine professional with a degree in exercise science, aka boyfriend.) And the personal trainer either wasn’t educated enough to know that or didn’t choose to share it with me, even after I disclosed a history of ED and was visibly distressed. If I wasn’t in a solid place with my recovery, this would have sent me off the deep end.

    It just makes me so angry that a test that the trainer should have known was unlikely to be accurate, and that anyone looking at my height/weight or physical appearance would know was inaccurate, was enough to start a spiel on weight loss. I hate that exercise can’t be something that we do because it’s good for our bodies and good for our health no matter what our shape/size is, but according to the diet/fitness industrial complex, has to be something that we do so that our bodies can occupy a smaller space. I hate that a woman whose body already adheres to mainstream standards of size and appearance (thanks genetics!), is STILL told that I need to lose weight and that my body isn’t good enough the way it is, with no regard for the impact that it might have on my mental health or body image. If I had a do-over I would have emailed him ahead of time to say that anything related to weight loss was off the table, but mostly I’m mad about the fact that I would even have to plan to set that norm.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I’m really sorry. I got one of those InBody composition scans earlier this year and felt about the same- and I don’t really think a gym is where that conversation should ever occur. Maybe between you and your doctor if there’s a concern, or if you bring it up, but at the gym, there’s already this undercurrent of “fitter, stronger, thinner, prettier” that I know I feel and I suspect others do, too. The diet/fitness industrial complex. It doesn’t create a lot of confidence if there are any pre-existing body image beliefs.

      • Yeah, even though I got a great workout this was a great reminder of why I’ve historically given gyms a wide berth. The culture at so many of them is just–not great for me. Fortunately I can avoid this specific experience moving forward, and have had no bad experiences with weight-related anything in the group exercise classes I’ve taken so far.

    • Ok. If you don’t want to hear it about weight loss, then own that. Say it. Don’t do it. Do take the test.

      He is a trainer at the gym. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. You knew this was a concern going in. You chose to do it anyway. Unsurprisingly it didn’t go well.

      • She didn’t know. It can be hard to refuse something on the spot that seems like an expectation, at a place where you’re already not sure what the experience will look like. It’s awrsome you’re this confident, but not everyone is.

      • I agree with this. I think OP’s reaction is understandable given her history. But many people without that history wouldn’t have taken this as hard. Trainer seemed pretty clear that he didn’t think the test was 100% accurate.

        • He was unsure about the initial reading, but accepted it the second time it returned the same result.

      • I said I would handle this differently if I had a do-over. In the moment, I had no reason to think the body comp scan would return anything that would trigger a weight loss conversation, since I’m not overweight. The trainer himself initially thought the result was incorrect, based on my weight and physical appearance–if he’d said something like “huh, this is odd, factors XYZ can affect the results, why don’t you control for XYZ and try again another day if you want to” this would have been a non-event. (I mean, I would still have internally freaked out and googled everything, because that’s who I am, but it wouldn’t have been a whole Thing that I was posting on the internet about.)

        And also, I did say that I didn’t want to have the weight loss conversation after the trainer tried to start it.

        • Don’t give those machines any mind. Even with accounting for whatever factors, they just don’t work. I go to the gym 4-6 times a week and did this assessment at the beginning, too. I have historically low blood pressure, as in I am on medication for it and have been for years and it has been recorded in my medical charts. My blood pressure was recorded as crazy high and I immediately told her, “That’s wrong, my blood pressure is much lower than that” and she tested again and it came down 20 points and she recorded that. I told her “that’s still not right, my blood pressure is lower than that” and she sort of shrugged. I don’t think they are trained to question the machines, really. About 36 hours later I had my dental checkup where they recorded my blood pressure (with medically tested and professionally maintained blood pressure cuffs) and… it was the normal-to-low range that it has always been.

          Don’t trust those measurement tools at the gym – and you really never have to use them again. Try to let it go, as so many people *are* in there for weight/fat loss, so if they don’t hear otherwise they might not know any better. Be clear with the trainer what your goals are (to lift heavy, to strengthen your knees, to improve your posture, what have you). You can also be clear that another goal is to *not* talk about weight – that you want to focus on physical accomplishments that your body can do so that you reframe your thinking on your body. A good trainer will be able to help you do this.

          Another point – my gym is near everybody’s work and I go after work and I love seeing that it’s people of all different shapes, sizes, ages, and abilities. Seriously. Everyone minds their own business and I think this is because of the time/location.

        • No. Sorry. Anything about your Weight is a trigger to you because of your ED. You’re expecting way too much of him and giving yourself an out.

          • What am I giving myself an out for? I’ve read your comment several times and I don’t understand what you’re getting at.

          • Anonymous :

            Speaking as someone with a history of ED who is triggered by some things around weight loss and dieting but not others, I think she’s in a better position to know what is and isn’t a trigger for her than some rando on the internet.

      • Another Anon :

        I have to agree that with your history (and the trainer having no knowledge of it) that you should have skipped it. Or you should have said that you didn’t want to discuss weight loss at the very beginning of the session.

        I’m guessing his comment was said in an off-hand way, since he clearly didn’t think the reading was correct the first time. If you didn’t tell him, how was he supposed to know? Now, it would be super infuriating if you HAD said something and he ignored you, but he stopped as soon as you said you didn’t want to discuss.

        Feel your feelings, but I don’t think the trainer was super out of line.

    • Ugh, I’m sorry that happened, but honestly, I think the fact he dropped it immediately upon a mention of ED issues is a pretty good sign. And no offense, but if you weren’t mentally prepared for whatever answer the body comp testing gave (good/bad/indifferent/correct/incorrect, etc.), you probably should have declined… Esp. when it was a free service and not an official testing.

      • Yes, after I asked to not discuss weight loss anymore he was totally fine. Like I said, he was overall a very pleasant and approachable guy, and he found muscles in my traps and lats I didn’t know I had.

        I would have declined the test if I’d had any idea that I would get a triggering response. I know that now, didn’t know that then, and wasn’t provided the context in the moment to understand what could have given me the result that I got.

    • I posted one of the responses yesterday. I am so sorry to hear about your experience with the body composition test. I got rid of a scale that supposedly measured body fat for similar reasons–the conditions under which the instructions stated it might possibly be somewhat accurate (haven’t eaten or drunk or worked out or showered or a billion other things in some crazy number of hours) were nearly impossible to achieve.

      I hope you have lots of fun with your new gym membership. That’s what it’s all about, right?

      Also, if you want a different sort of gym experience, may I recommend our fantastic YMCA system (I am in your city).

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        The scale at my doctor’s office is always 7+ pounds above what mine is at home. I’ve decided that I’m just going to ignore it. I’m not overweight, confirmed by my doctor and dietician.

        I also have one of the body fat scales. Not surprisingly, it made me feel very good when it was low and very bad when it went up (which it did, I don’t deny that). So I’m just going by how I feel and how my clothes fit.

      • Thanks for the response yesterday! The handheld body testers appear to function with similar limitations to your former scale :)

        I’ve enjoyed the group fitness classes I’ve taken so far, and it’s so blissfully cheap after shelling out $$$ for my former studio! It turns out one of my good friends is also a member, which is nice since I have a built-in gym buddy. So far so good.

        I actually wanted to join the Y, but their schedule of classes didn’t work for me. It was a bummer since it was my first choice based on mission and overall ethos!

    • I’m glad he dropped it when you asked him to. I don’t think he was asking you to take up less space. He knew looking at you that the number didn’t seem right. He’s there to sell a service. Lots of people start going to the gym because they want to lose weight or lose fat. I’d say more people go to the gym to lose weight than go to the gym for fun. If your goal is to move more, he doesn’t have much to sell you. If your goal is a certain result then he can promise you unicorns and rainbows for $$$$. You are smart enough to see through all of that. You know that it’s not about you individually and he was just doing what gets him clients and $$$. Also, the body fat composition tests tend to be preferred by people that have high muscle mass since their BMI isn’t going to line up either. What makes me most angry about your interaction is the answer to high fat comp (which you likely don’t have) is not necessarily weight loss/diet. It’s often exercise and strength training.

      • Thanks, Anon. I don’t really blame this individual guy for what happened: it was just a very in-your-face example of everything that I hate about the diet and weight loss industry, which is worse for me as an individual because of my specific history.

    • My experience with gym coaches is that not all of them will have the right education to watchout for triggers or give medical advice. Some do this as a side hustle, some are very inexperienced etc.
      If need be, I’d say: “I’m not comfortable doing xyz, can you instead show me how to use this machine?” but I’d never expect more than basic knowledge from them unless it’s touted as part of their credentials.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        +1. Trainers can be a mixed bag.

        • pugsnbourbon :

          And I’m sorry this happened to you. I also have a history of disordered eating and still get weighed backwards at the doctor’s office.

          I’ve had success in small-group training where the emphasis is on weights and conditioning (kind of like crossfit without the competition). No talk of weight, goals were all about lifting more or rowing more efficiently.

    • Legally Brunette :

      When I got one of those free training sessions at my gym and took a body composition test, I was also told I was overweight. Mind you, at the time I was 5’5 and 124 pounds!! So ridiculous. I honestly feel like they tell that to everyone to guilt them into signing up for the training sessions.

      • I definitely think that’s why they use a stricter scale than the Mayo Clinic. Jesus! My reading wasn’t even on the mid- to high-end of the Mayo Clinic’s “average” scale.

        • Anonymous :

          That plus the use of the notoriously inaccurate handheld machine make the whole thing sound like a scam to sell personal training sessions.

    • SquashBlossoms :

      I’ve never had a body comp evaluation done at a gym that didn’t end in being labeled obese. Every. Single. Time. I am not obese. Listen to the logical part of your brain that is telling you about the margin of error and what you know about your body. You’re fit. You did a hard workout yesterday. Try to ignore the nagging doubt that you’re obese and in denial. Hugs.

    • I would email the gym with exactly this comment! Hopefully they will learn from the feedback.

      • What comment? That they shouldn’t offer the service? That they should ask if it would be a trigger? I’m confused as to what the trainer did wrong her. Could he have been softer? I mean, maybe? But he just reported the reading and then dropped the issue when asked to do so.

        • It sounds like there’s a lot more surrounding “body composition measurements” than a simple test and they should probably be more aware of the issues.

          • Anonymous :

            No. This is absurd.

          • I guess we’ll agree to disagree, Anonymous. It took me and my friend Google about 5 minutes to figure out that handheld body composition testers are inaccurate a lot of the time, and what specific factors increased the chances that they would be inaccurate. A real, trained, licensed, has-the-degree-passed-the-exam-does-the-continuing-ed sports medicine professional told me that they are inaccurate (exact word: bullsh*t) and should not be used in the way that the gym was using them.

            If the gym is offering the service as a routine part of new client orientations, they should be able to tell people what their test does and does not do, and should provide context if results seem implausible based on other factors. Personal trainer certification is its own can of worms, but if I were representing myself as an expert on something, I would want to do better in this area than the trainer I got did.

    • I know it’s hard, but maybe don’t take this so personally? Our country does have a problem with obesity, and there may be some people who benefit from having a reality check. Lots of people do go to the gym to lose weight, and having some way to track it can be motivating. Maybe this system is full of errors, but the trainer did drop the subject right away. He was just doing his job.

    • Anonymous :

      Lots of comments here telling you the trainer wasn’t out of line, how could he have known, etc., but I read your comment more as complaint about the culture around fitness, diet, etc. in our society rather than a rant about him individually – you did say “mostly I’m mad about the fact that I would even have to plan to set that norm.” It’s sad that there’s not a healthier societal view of these things and that someone who has experienced a life-threatening illness related to this unhealthy view has to take steps to avoid it. I have a history of ED too and when I ask my friend to stop going on about calorie counting and fad diets I’m not mad at her for doing it, I’m sad that I have to ask in the first place, so telling me “well how could she have known?” or “why would you hang out with a friend who’s dieting all the time when diets trigger you?” doesn’t address my complaint.

      • NAILED IT. Thank you. I liked the trainer as a person: he was very pleasant, not salesy or gross, and I got a great workout that I would never have done on my own in a million years. I was more unhappy about the culture and values that all percolated together to create the conditions for the sh*tty part of the experience (plus lack of context-setting for the numbers that came up, which were presented in a very black and white, yes/no kind of way).

        This was extra-sh*tty for me based on my personal history. But let’s be real, very few women do not have some complicated baggage lurking in their history around body size or weight loss experiences, and it’s our f*cking culture that put it there.

    • Lyra Silvertongue :

      I hear you, completely understand. I don’t have a history of disordered eating, but my experience with personal trainer at my gym was disheartening. I actually signed up for the session with my then-husband and stated on the intake form that I just wanted to do a refresher course to check my form etc with my workout and would be happy to learn new exercises to incorporate into my routine.

      Trainer looks at my form and maybe 2 minutes into his shpiel says to me, “so you must be looking to lose about 20lbs?” And keeps his eyes focused on my lower half while he’s talking.

      Ok, BMI-wise I’m bordering on overweight, but I have a 28″ waist at 5’9″, have pretty decent muscle tone and solid PR numbers, am very into cardio, great cholesterol/BP/heart rate…and I just happen to have a fairly big butt. Look at my entire female family, it’s a very dominant gene. But all the “targeted weightloss” in the world doesn’t get rid of it.

      I was so mad at him for assuming that he knew best what I wanted and needed, despite what I put on the form for my goals and despite the fact that having a large booty is not necessarily detrimental to my health the way abdominal fat is, for example.

      Our society needs a big cultural shift on how we think about this, and it needs to happen soon.

  18. I was fired this week for the first time in my life from my first real job, almost right after my 1 year anniversary with the firm. During that year every associate more senior than me left and was not replaced, leaving me the first year to handle all litigation matters. I thought this was an opportunity because I love litigation. I thought I was doing a great job. However, I was told I ask for too much help from the partners and fired on the spot. I’ve posted here before and everyone suggested I leave ASAP, perhaps even before lining anything else up, because of the malpractice risk. Well, I’m out. Doesn’t feel great. Thanks for listening to me vent and the collective advice over the past year! Truly

    • Anon associate :

      Hugs. I was similarly fired from my midsize law firm because I was asked to become the “specialist” in a highly complex regulatory area which no one else had expertise in. When a mistake I made blew up in the client’s face, I was fired. I went through a lot of anger and grieving but am job searching and have some opportunities lined up that sound so much better than my previous job. I remember reading your post and thinking it sounded so familiar. Something better is out there, you will make it through this.

    • Hugs. This happened to me too. And it was awful, not going to lie. It was my first big “failure,” and I took it pretty hard. I was stellar student all through college and law school (as I’m sure you were) and right after I was fired I assumed there was something more / different that I could have or should have done.

      But there wasn’t. No one is superhuman. Being fired made me a better employee in the long run (I set expectations up front, work my ass off but don’t put up with BS – people respect me) and definitely made me a better boss now that I’m at a stage in my career where I supervise people.

      Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed. Reach out to the other associates who left before you – they might be able to help you network into a new job. There are decent people in other firms, if you want to stay in litigation … just work on your elevator speech about why the employment relationship ended at the Bad Firm. Mine was rusty at first, but I settled on something like, “I tried really hard to make it work, I billed more hours than anyone else in the firm, but at the end of the day they needed a 4th or 5th year associate, not a 1st year associate. I’m sorry that it didn’t work out, but working for (Bad Firm) solidified for me that I love litigation and I’m excited to continue pursuing that line of work.”

    • It’s going to be OK. at the end of the day, they did you a favor and forced your hand! It’s really the universe giving you a shove! :)

      This is kind of a crazy thing that I’ve taken comfort in–I’ve been in employment law for a minute, and sat through some crazy plaintiff’s depositions. My conclusion is that there is literally no one who gets fired (even for the most insane reasons) who is permanently unemployed.

      Take some time off today for an afternoon movie or something.

      tomorrow, file for unemployment. Update your resume. Look at creating some freelancing profiles. It truly does all work out in the end.

    • I’m so sorry. It’s happened to me too. Now I’m in a much better position at a better company.

    • Another Anon :

      I’ve been in your same position. I was really angry about everything that happened and spent time getting really frustrated with them and myself. But I reached out to a lot of people in my network, including one of the former associates, and I ended up with an opportunity working from someone who respects me and my work. It’s also an opportunity to work on an amazing project.

      It sucks for you right now. But you saw the writing on the wall already and you knew something was up. You now have an opportunity to grow and thrive.

    • Something in the Water? :

      omg I was “let go” on Friday too! misery twins!

      but seriously, I’m an internet stranger with empathy for you. my position was eliminated due to lack of work and for the first time in my life I had to file for unemployment. That was pretty exciting. **sarcasm**

      here’s to us! and to something much better than we had, because we just got really good signs from the universe.

    • I know your pain. I always felt like I should be able to solve and fix any situation and rise above whatever dysfunction was happening. But sometimes it is impossible. I was laid off from my job and now am in a much better place with much nicer people doing more interesting work. Sometimes the universe does push you to a better place, even though it is painful and jarring at the time.

      Try to remember the bigger picture of what happened and go easy on yourself. I think when you talk about the overall turnover at the firm, people will begin to understand.

  19. Bags for OCI interviews? I’ve got the Dagne Dover 15″ in pacific, which is a purpleish blue. It’s not *brightly* colored but is definitely blue (not navy).

    My school does a public interest job fair in conjunction with other schools. I’m going to be at the conference center the fair is being held at for about 8 hours. I have to stay at the conference center all day, so I wanted to take my laptop to be able to do work. My Dagne Dover would be perfect size/shapewise, but I worry about the color. Am I being silly?

    • you are being silly.

      • #1Lproblems. Thanks.

        • I have one better – someone at my law school’s career services tried to tell me that my dark navy suit wasn’t interview appropriate. And that my cream and ivory shells weren’t interview appropriate; I need to wear a button up shirt to look professional. I’m a 34G. Buttoned shirts do not work for me. I ignored them and guess what I got a job and I’m still gainfully employed 8 years later.

          • Anonymous :

            Someone at my law school’s career services told me to reschedule MY WEDDING from the weekend before OCIs because I would look to tired at interviews.

          • I’m sorry they gave you that advice! Sad you got a dud! Wow. Both of those are…wow. I work in law school administration and if I EVER heard that advice being given…well, I’d chime in.

      • +1. You do not need a fancy bag for OCI. Anything conservative that isn’t falling apart will work.

    • This should work! Go get em!

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      I think so! Carry the bag, bring your laptop. It’s fine. Pacific is not too brightly colored. I would worry if you wanted to carry, like, a gold ombre sequined tote to an interview. Good luck!

    • Biglaw senior associate. Don’t worry about the color. That blue is fine. Also, serious question, do you really want a job somewhere someone thinks blue is not a professional color?

    • Never too many shoes... :

      You are totally fine. Really. Kill it, Meg!

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I agree with everyone else, but especially at a public interest law fair. I’ve interviewed at a couple and I legitimately do. not. judge. anyone’s bags, so long as they are not falling apart or gaudy in a way that suggests there may be a fit issue (don’t jump on me for this, please- intern with a Birkin may have a difficult time fitting in with our culture and clients, but I’ll obviously talk with them and hope I’m wrong).

      If they have a nice bag, cool! If they’re carrying a Merona bag, they are law students, so what (and also my Merona work bag is a workhorse). If they’re carrying a backpack, I assume they focused on interview prep, not interview looks, or that they didn’t think it was a good use of loan money to buy a new bag, or that they realized that a third of the public interest attorneys would ALSO have backpacks (because at least in legal aid, we do). I don’t care in the least. What I do care about is whether the person wants to work with our client population, knows what we do, has a passion for it or at least a passion for learning more, and seems as if our work will be a good fit for their goals (even short term) and our needs. Bags, outfits, the weight or color of resume paper, having law student business cards, having a portfolio, etc are secondary. Bring a pen and a small notepad or notebook, a smile, and any questions you have.

      Don’t worry about it. The bag you have sounds fine and like it even adds some personality, which I would love. You’ll rock it.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      For the love of G-d my comment went into mod. Check back. Public interest attorney with tips.

    • I carried a bright red leather tote (my everyday bag in law school) to OCIs. Reasonable interviewers from reasonable firms will not think badly of you for carrying a red or blue or pink or white or any colour bag.

  20. bathing suit hell :

    So, I haven’t worn a bathing suit in…. 25 years? I’m in my later 40’s.

    I don’t even own a pair of shorts. Just not my thing. Mostly because while I am tiny on top (slender 32A) I am very pear shaped and despite being a life long athlete I have a lot of cellullite and am many sizes bigger on the bottom. Even when I was an ultra-thin 15 year old varsity athlete, I had a lot of cellulite. And I still remember when I was I was ?22 and the look on my “friends'” faces when they were staring at my thighs (literally….) and made me so insecure I never wore a bathing suit in public again.

    But I need to get a bathing suit. Family reunion coming up in a warm beach locale. I never go to these sorts of places. But I need something, and hear there are a lot of different styles now. I don’t want to look dowdy or like a grandma, would rather look a tad sporty or ?chic…. if that is possible.

    Don’t know if any of you can relate. Few things bring out the insecure 15 year old in me anymore, but bathing suits do.

    • I really like the suits at Athleta. They have a good mix of sporty looking ones, but in fun prints and with straps, which can draw the eye up/take emphasis off your lower half (and I hear you – it’s my least favorite half of me, too). They also have skirts and shorts, as well as coordinating pieces if you’d rather have a more traditional tank or tankini.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      Lands’ End has a lot of suits with shorts and cute skirts that don’t look dowdy to me, and the separates are easy to mix and match.

      • +1 to Land’s End. Tons of options. I think in the past I’ve even seen swim dresses in their catalog.

      • Yes to Land’s end. They have longer boardshorts that you can pair with a swim tank. There are even swim capris now so you can go for the yoga at the beach look.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      We have the same thighs/rear end. This is going to sound silly, but I was once standing in line at a store looking at the tabloids. There was one of those awful pics of a celebrity at the beach and the headline was something about “even stars have cellulite!” And I realized that…lots of women have cellulite and mine is probably not going away anytime soon, so I should get over it. I still don’t love the way my bottom half looks in a swimsuit, but I just deal with it.

      No tips on suits. But there is someone else out there who is wearing the swim suit anyway. Go for it! And be glad you won’t see your college “friends” this time :)

      • I spend a lot of time at pools and beaches and I can tell you that a large portion of the population has cellulite. It’s a normal part of the human condition for most of us. Find a suit that is comfortable and fits and go forth and have fun.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Esther Williams has some cute vintagey suits that offer a bit more coverage.

      But also also, follow some bopo accounts on instagram! Don’t let the man get you down!!! Smash the patriarchy!!!! Self love is an awesome form of rebellion!!!! Wooh! (Pretty sure you look way way better in a bathing suit than you’re thinking you do.)

    • The best thing about being in our 40s? No one cares anymore! Have fun, no one will notice your imperfections.

    • Everybody has cellulite. Nobody cares. Wear the bathing suit and have fun.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Practical option, cool board shorts and a bikini top.

      But I also want to strongly suggest that you don’t let life and fun pass you by because of your perceived “flaws”. Focus instead on the warmth of the sun on your skin and the feel of the waves and the sand and picture your joy of being with your family and hearing their laughter. You are so much more than your thighs, friend – your college friends sucked and we have moved on since then. Live your life.

    • Aside from the bathing suit woes, which i understand all too well, try some self tanner. I like the gradual lotio. (I think mine is by Aveeno). It makes cellulite less obvious.

    • If I had your body type I think I’d opt for a bikini top and high-waisted/fuller cut bottoms. You can tie a wrap around your waist if that makes you feel more comfortable, but also, serious F the haters because there is zero wrong with you bum and thighs. I really like Lands End for swim separates, so I’d recommend starting there.

      • This is the kind of look I’m thinking of:

    • I got an “aquatard” on Amazon that makes me feel amazing. I’m about the same body shape as you (pear) and have two-year-old twins, and I mostly wanted something that let me run around with them without worrying that I was going to fall out of the top or bottom, but it turns out I love the way it makes my body look– it is very sleek and sporty and covers me down to mid-thigh without looking frumpy. I wouldn’t hesitate to wear a bikini despite all the stretch marks and pooch, but if you want something that has more coverage but isn’t a mumsy skirt, give one a try!

    • bathing suit hell :

      Thank you everyone. I really appreciate the recommendations and morale support.

  21. Month at the Beach :

    My husband, our one year old and I are thinking of trying to do a work vacation (both academics) in the summer. The idea would be to take turns parenting and writing and have family time at breakfast and dinner. I love the ocean and always wanted to write with a view :). We are flexible so anywhere in the world would basically work. The lower the costs the better (within reason). Do you have any ideas about a good location that is ideally at or very close to the beach (which makes both writing and parenting easier, at least that’s the plan), but not terribly expensive (but maybe that doesn’t exist anywhere)? Happy to hear thoughts and suggestions!

    • Look for an AirBnB in pretty much any area you’d like to visit. I would also suggest hiring a local nanny/help so you can work at the same time at least two days a week. That way you can take more family time together on another day.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Anywhere? Because SE Asia might be great, but it’s way the heck far away. Even with flights, it could end up being cheaper if you got good lodging, though. But then I would die of jealousy so maybe don’t. (-:

    • A Greek island comes to mind. Not Mykonos, of course ;)

    • I’d look at beach houses/condos at Anna Maria Island, Florida. I grew up going there. You can fly into Tampa and drive (about an hour). It’s easy to go grocery shopping and get anything else you need while you’re there, but it’s not overly built up. The beach and sand are beautiful.

    • Anonymous :

      What about the Outer Banks?

    • Anonymous :

      I have a friend that has a perfect 1 bed rental a block away from waikiki beach and only does long term rental (2 weeks+) on airbnb.

  22. Transitional Clothes :

    Today is my second day back at work after 12 weeks of maternity leave. I have about ten extra pounds of baby weight and discovered this morning that it’s just enough to make all of my work clothes uncomfortably tight. Awesome. Can anyone recommend some affordable basics for what is hopefully a transitional weight loss period? (I was able to lose it after the first baby and am hoping for a repeat.)

    My old tops fit ok; it’s mostly skirts and dresses that are too tight. I’d like to do a sort of capsule wardrobe– mix and match basics, maybe one affordable suit for court, to get me through the next six months or so. Since I hope not to be in these clothes for long, I’d like everything to be under $50. Any recs?

    • Don’t forget about your maternity wardrobe. I have a few pairs of nice pants with the half panel that totally worked for me for a while after pregnancy. I also ended up buying a few pairs of transitional pants and jeans at (of all places…) Costco! Affordable and nice enough for the office for a few months.

    • I’m loving some of the black ankle pants from ON right now. Some of them are on sale right now, too. A great basic with tops that still fit and an interesting jacket. (Honestly, I’ve even worn to court with heels and a jacket for less intense motions.)

      • +1 to Old Navy. Honestly you’d be shocked at the nice things you can find there sometimes. I just bought 5 sheath dresses in a thick ponte that look way more expensive than they are.

      • Anonymous :

        ON usually has ponte pencil skirts too, as does Target. They aren’t amazing quality, but they will probably do the trick temporarily.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Wrap dresses have a lot of give (and if you’re pumping they can be pretty convenient). Depending on how patient/lucky you are with stalking sales, you can get some good stuff… like some sizes of this dress are ~ $30.

    • anon a mouse :

      Wrap dresses. Or basically any jersey dresses with some shaping to them. Loft usually has some of these… I looked a few weeks ago though and the selection was pretty thin. Old Navy or Banana might have some as well.

      Did you use a belly band at all when you were pregnant? If so, pull it back out and use it to bridge skirts that won’t quite zip. Also, with the seasons changing, just go buy a couple spring pieces that you will feel good in.

    • Eager Beaver :

      Uniqlo’s ankle pants:

  23. Albuquerque? :

    Can someone talk to me about Albuquerque, NM? There’s an opportunity within my government agency to relocate from my very, very HCOL city to… Albuquerque. Even considering the locality adjustment to my pay (I would take home about $8k less per year), the lower cost of living is appealing, as is: sunshine, tacos, mountains, and vicinity to family (who are mostly in Texas). But I’m concerned that the city may be a bit of a cultural wasteland/ocean of strip malls. Anyone local or formerly local?

    • This may not be helpful because I’ve never been there myself, but one of my close friends used to live there and absolutely loved it. She is super classy and a big culture buff, so I don’t think she would have so much fondness for it if it were a cultural wasteland. She loved the Southwestern culture, weather, and people. It’s also only an hour from Santa Fe, which from what I understand has more high end attractions like museums, spas, etc.

    • My mom lived there. It has it’s benefits and drawbacks. Nice weather, no humidity, good food, mountains, university town. Crime is an issue there that has gotten worse in recent years. It’s not the most picturesque place in the world, just development-wise. And real estate tended to be expensive (at least a few years back) there because the state offered lots of perks to film companies who would come out to do work there. That drove up prices rather unreasonably, though I am sure you won’t think it’s too bad coming from a HCOL city. Overall, my mom liked it but found it a bit boring. I live in Texas, and it’s still a good hike from most major Texas cities.

    • My family is in Albuquerque, and I lived there briefly in my late teens. It’s a nice little city, but like anything, it depends where you’re coming from.

      Arts – Albuquerque has good museums and some theater and dance performance spaces, mostly in the downtown area and near UNM. Santa Fe, a short car or train ride away, has more in terms of museums & galleries, plus a world-class opera company in the summer.

      Food – New Mexican food is the greatest! And Albuquerque and Santa Fe have good restaurants beyond the local fare. If you go there, you will learn that green chile belongs on everything.

      Culture – First and foremost, all of New Mexico has serious car culture. Public transportation is slowly improving (see train from ABQ to SF), but you really need to drive almost everywhere. There are a few walkable neighborhoods in Albuquerque, especially near UNM, but you have to drive. People tend to be outdoorsy – lots of hiking, skiing, mountain biking – but there are also pockets of bookish, artsy types. Also, you need to go up in a hot air balloon at least once.

      Happy to answer other questions if you have them.

    • ABQ lawyer :

      I have lived in Albuquerque for almost 18 years – the longest I’ve lived anywhere. And, I’m done. It may be restlessness and just a desire to move somewhere different, or it may be that I want a bigger city, not sure. The weather is great but it can be windy, dusty and very dry. It’s brown. If you are moving from someplace green, that will be an adjustment. It’s beautiful but in a desert pretty way, not lush. There is culture but it is predominately Southwest art. We have decent local theater and get national shows, a couple of years later than other places, but we get them. We get concerts since we’re an easy stop between Texas, Denver and Phoenix for groups on tour. The food is improving, more emphasis on fresh and farm to table. There are some great quirky neighborhoods (I love mine, just not enough to stay) but a LOT of beige suburbs. The crime is bad, there’s no way to sugar coat that. And the educational system is just awful. But you are an easy drive to ski if there’s snow (most years but not all) and there are tons of outdoor activities. You really can ski in the morning and play golf in the afternoon. The weather and outdoor lifestyle is probably the biggest plus, even more so if you’re a runner or cyclist (lots of bike lanes and paths). Housing is on the high end for a city of this size (about 500,000) because it just geographically limited. Mountains to the East, pueblo land to the north and south, and that means the growth is way out on the West mesa which is windy, dusty, crowded and true burbs. But this is the only major city in the area so there is a great zoo, surprisingly nice botanical garden and aquarium, and better access to most things than the rest of the state.

      I’m happy to answer any other questions – sorry about the length – and if possible, visit before making a decision.

    • Sandia National lab :

      My sister in law lived in Albuquerque for five years while working at Sandia national lab and absolutely loved it. She is surprisingly bubbly for someone who wrote a dissertation on low level nuclear slag, meaning that she truly expects to find good in situations. However, more concrete examples are that she loved her house, the people around her and spending a lot of time outdoors.

  24. Thanks for all the good wishes on my first date yesterday. I was SUPER nervous but it went fine. It was awkward at first but I got through it. It was not a love match (it turns out he is really into getting drunk at death metal concerts while I am…not) but I did it! I have another date on Friday with someone else so we’ll see how that goes.

    • Woohoo!! This is really great news. Even if it wasn’t a match, it was great practice. And Friday will be the same. Hopefully you’ll be a bit less nervous nowt hat you’re back in the saddle.

    • Way to go! The more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll feel, and you’ll get good at spotting traits that interest you (or the opposite ha).

      • I should clarify, I’ve dated a lot before but I hadn’t been on a date in like a year so I was nervous. It wasn’t my first date ever, haha.

        Thank you!

  25. Anon for this :

    I started at a firm in October and was put into a highly dysfunctional practice group. I knew it was unusual at the beginning, but I’ve realized it’s pretty bad. My mentor (2nd year associate) just had a frank talk with me about how tumultuous and hostile it is and how they’ve tried to be reassigned to a different group in the firm and were shot down because of other partners’ fear of upsetting our group head. In the past two years, it’s gone from 12 associates to four, while the number of partners have grown (5 now).

    There are a LOT of problems in this group (no management, partners that refuse to speak to one another, people throwing one another under the bus, associates that don’t know whether they have been fired or not). I am a first year and am currently taking on assignments for an 8th year on maternity leave. I don’t know what I’m doing and there isn’t anyone between me and the partners to ask. I see partners, but I rarely speak to them in person, and asking for clarification or instruction has not been well-received (either ignored altogether or they just send an email with their thoughts). Most of my work is handled by partners forwarding the client email and asking me to address it and me providing a draft response (total guess as to whether I’m doing it right). Sometimes I see the partner’s response to the client and can learn from it, but only about half the time.

    Beyond that, there’s just uncomfirtable hostility and rudeness that’s pretty pervasive in the group’s dynamic. I could handle the work delivery issue above if there wasn’t a constant fear that a partner would find your email to be annoying and consider freezing you out or firing you without telling you (both have happened recently). As of right now, I don’t think this is an environment where I can perform well; it feels like the best I can do is avoid getting blacklisted.

    As of right now, I’m not ready to start looking to leave (though as soon as my second year mentor leaves the stress may become unbearable because then I will have literally no one to interact with/ask questions). I want to stay in biglaw and like the environment (beyond the dysfunction of my specific group). Does anyone have suggestions for how to navigate this environment better? I have this crazy idea of asking each partner to meet with me 1-1 for 15 minutes to ask what they expect of me as a first year and how I can be most helpful to them. Sometimes I think that’s a good idea because there’s no distinction in work for the 8th year vs the 1st year/2nd year, just how long they expect it to take us. Also I think the meetings may serve as a useful CYA in case I do end up accidentally annoying a partner; instead of blacklisting me for strike 1 (which has happened to others) they might recognize that I’m trying and be more communicative. Or maybe that’s wishful thinking? Any suggestions?

    • Anonymous :

      Get out! Get out NOW!

      You can’t improve the environment. The firm knows and doesn’t care. You are not learning as a junior should. I know that you otherwise like your firm, but this place isn’t going to work for you. Start thinking about how to set your self up to lateral to another firm.

    • Anonymous :

      Start looking immediately like it is your full time job.

      • +1

        There is no way to make this scenario better. You will only ruin your mental and physical health and likely end up getting fired or leaving under duress. Better to leave now on your own terms. Start talking to recruiters, meeting other lawyer friends for drinks to ask about job searching, reach out to your LinkedIn contacts, etc.

  26. I found out this morning that the guy I went on two dates with and really really liked didn’t think we had a spark. I know the best thing to do is just move on, but this was the first guy in a long time that had his life together, had similar hobbies to mine, and was attractive to me. Part of me wants to ask if he wants to be friends, but that never works out right?

    • Anonymous :

      Nope. Move on. Sorry, that sucks, but it’s better to move on.

    • Been there. Bummer. I don’t recommend pursuing a friendship, at least not right now. You have to be really good at keeping your thoughts out of “if only” territory.

    • Anonymous :

      Nope! Sorry. It sucks. But you need to move on.

    • being friends :

      I think it can work but only if all the way down from your topmost to your deep most subconscious mind you are not using that as hope to give him time to change his mind. Only you can judge that but if you were really into him and hoping for more it can be hard (for me anyway). I’ve been there and it’s not fun but I try to remind myself in these situations is perfect on paper isn’t necessarily a perfect life match.

  27. Call skills :

    Any tips on improving phone skills? I am a junior associate and think I have pretty good communication skills generally, but get nervous and self-conscious on calls and things never go as smoothly as I would like. Real life practice doesn’t seem to be the answer since every awkward call makes me even more self-conscious about the next!

    • If I know about the call ahead of time, I would jot down a few talking points. And like any conversation, remember to breathe and process. Give yourself some time to think about what has just been said and how you want to respond.

      • +1. My first few important calls starting out, I literally wrote out my opening lines and any points I needed to cover. This led to more confidence going forward. Just keep at it.

      • This helps me too. I have a habit of adding words and “eeehh” and “umm”ing through a call if I’m trying to hedge. Bulleting what I want to say, including using words I want to use, really helps me stay organized.

    • Stand up when you are on the phone. I find that it helps project confidence. Would it help to have notes in front of you since they can’t see you?

      • Anonymous :

        +1 to standing! And get a headset if possible for your office landline. I like to pace while talking if I don’t need notes. Hands free, no making sure the speaker phone is positioned ideally so you don’t have to shout across the room, just super great. I asked IT and they ordered one and had it installed in a week or two. It noticeably improves my time in the office every day.

        And +1 to writing down bullets, phrases (or heck, I even used to write down a script for what to say if I reached voicemail). This became unnecessary as I got more comfortable with my practice area but was key in the junior associate years.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I had an intern who was terrible on the phone, and I just made her do it over and over and over. Call these people to get a date instead of emailing; call this place to get instructions; call that place to check their hours; over and over and over. She was never *great* at it, but having a bunch of low-key phone interactions definitely helped.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      If you’ve been using your cell for work calls, start using an actual (sits on the desk) phone. Bonus points if you can close the door and use the speaker option. That should make it feel more like an in-person conversation.

    • Anonymous :

      Prepare talking points and actually practice saying them out loud before the call. This has helped me tremendously.

  28. Do you wash your pillows? Is there a way to freshen them?

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Washed all of mine recently. I honestly just googled it and followed whatever directions I found there. I then stuck them in the dryer two at a time with a tennis ball. Seems to have worked.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Jolie always knows!

    • I wash pillows periodically. I just throw them in the washing machine and use my normal (free and clear) detergent. I also put them in the dryer. They puff up a bit, but it goes down after a couple days.

  29. Weight Loss - Where to Start? :

    I’m not sure where to start with losing about 15 pounds.

    Following a surgery that limited my mobility for a good period of time, over the past two years I have gained 15 lbs. I have kept up with a resistance program/free weights but mostly cut out cardio and even a lot of the daily walking around I used to be able to do because of mobility limitations.

    I’m now back to being able to doing cardio, but I am easily winded, exhausted and overwhelmed by how hard it is. I’m was on the slimmer side (5’6 and now 150) so it seems like my body is really holding on to these extra pounds, plus I’ve just turned 40, which I hear does not help.

    I have tried making healthier choices and reducing portion size, but it hasn’t stopped the weight creep. I suspect I need a more focused and serious approach but there are so many fads that I don’t know where to start.

    Oddly, nearly all of my clothes still fit but I do notice extra weight in my middle and hips and I am concerned that this isn’t a healthy direction for my body – particularly because weight gain around the midsection is linked to so many health problems.

    • Weight Watchers. Yep, really.

    • Intermittent fasting. Skip breakfast and a morning snack (if you eat one), eat a normal lunch and dinner. Eat all food between 12 – 8 pm only. Works like a charm, seriously.

      • Weight Loss - Where to Start? :

        Sadly, this is already how I eat since I am too busy getting kids out of the house in the morning to eat breakfast myself. Sigh. I wish this was my magic solution.

      • Anonymous :

        I don’t know how people make this diet work. I would be starving and then stuff myself, or make it a personal challenge to eat as much as possible before 8.

        • Anonymous :

          You have to eat your defined calories/macros/intake for the day during your eating period for it to work — you can eat this way with literally any diet (low carb, low fat, Weight Watchers…). I personally don’t like a heavy meal in the morning (I get up at 5) and find a light meal doesn’t keep me full anyway, and I’m perfectly happy plowing through until 11 or 12 with my coffee and ice water. Eating 1800 calories between 12 and 8 results in more food/fullness/bigger meals in that time frame vs spreading them out during the day. If you’re not trying to lose weight, it can be a little more of an intuitive eating exercise, but at the end of the day all weight loss is just eating less.

        • That’s what I thought too, but it didn’t happen. I felt a little off the first day or two, then my body adjusted immediately. Frankly most days I forget to eat lunch at 12 pm and eat at 1 or 2 pm. I tend to eat heavy dinners, which I really enjoy. I’m never hungry eating this way.

        • Anonymous :

          The best way to compare it to dieting is this: diets tend to be simple to envision but difficult to execute, while intermittent fasting is difficult to envision but simple to execute. It sounds scary when you haven’t done it but it comes so naturally once you try. I’m someone who has never lost weight on a diet ever and I can regularly drop 3-5lbs a week on intermittent fasting and basic exercise while feeling no negative side effects.

          That being said, do pay attention to your body if you try it, as everyone is different and it’s much better to cut a fast short than to make yourself feel ill by continuing. I’m a 16-20hr kind of faster and I feel the benefits strongly within that window; I know people who wax lyrical about doing the odd 24-hour fast, but I’ve never been able to safely make those work for me.

      • Yup, this is what I do…

    • Anonymous :

      I was in the same boat after surgery about a year and a half ago, and seeing a personal trainer really helped me get back in the saddle. It was especially helpful for learning how to make adjustments in exercise to fit what my body could do at that particular moment, and strengthening my areas that had become weak from mobility limitations. I’m now the strongest I’ve ever been, and I lost the 15 pounds that I also had put on post-surgery (plus 5 extra). Good luck!

    • Keep doing cardio! Weight loss aside, it really is important for your health. It should get easier after awhile. Start with something on the easier side (a 15 walk around your neighborhood, you set the pace) and gradually work your way up (elliptical or stationary bike).

      • Weight Loss - Where to Start? :

        Thanks – I am fine walking for 15-30 mins but even running for half a block to chase my daughter EXHAUSTS ME. I keep thinking I should do cardio classes at the gym but I can’t imagine surviving a whole hour :(

        • Anonymous :

          I was like this too after health problems and double foot surgery. I started Couch to 5K 6 years ago –
          it really helped me a lot and now I’m a converted runner. I even did a marathon 3 years ago. Highly recommend trying the program out.

        • I am a huge fan of the classes and as a regular, I want to let you know that you are always welcome, regardless of fitness level. Let the instructor know you are getting back into things and may need modifications. If you are tired or winded, take a break.

        • Intervals are your friend. A Couch to 5k program with run/walk intervals is a great way to ease into a running routine. I’m also a recent convert to spinning because it’s lower impact, but it gives you a chance to customize intervals which really helps your cardiovascular endurance. Plus, you get to set your own pace/ level of difficulty which is less intimidating with a class setting. You can also get an app on your phone if classes aren’t at times that work. I’ve done a few runs (with walk intervals) since I started spin and I can tell a difference. Swimming might give you similar results since there is such a focus on controlling your breathing.

        • Couch to 5K is a good way to start; there are podcasts with music – I liked the one by the British national health service. I finally gave up on continuous running and follow what I gather is the Galloway method, which alternates walking and running. I’m faster that way than I am running. I use a Gymboss timer, which I set in intervals of running and walking. Start off with really short intervals, like run 1 minute, walk 30 seconds (first walk for 5 minutes to get your body moving). Your “run” should not be fast – just a nice easy pace. If you feel like it you can lengthen the intervals, but you don’t have to. The point is to find a pace and intervals that you find comfortable and that don’t leave you gasping for breath. Good luck!

    • Getting back into cardio shape after long forced inactivity is just really hard. I was unable to run because of a foot injury for almost 2 years and the first couple of months after I got back to it every single run was misery. I cried after more than one miserable, slow, short run. I thought I’d never even get back to loving running again, much less get back into shape. But I kept after it, and slowly but surely, I did get back into good cardio shape.

      It sounds like your mobility was very limited for quite some time, so it’s not surprising to me that you’re having difficulty getting your cardio strength back. Hang in there! You can do it! It WILL suck less eventually!

    • I am starting to lose 10 lbs now. I have a weight range and when I get to the top, I eat diet below till I’m back at the bottom. My plan is a bit rigid but it works, keeps me full, and gives me enough energy for my workouts. You eat the same thing every day. That gets boring but it makes it easy to plan. Get variety with spices. No added oils, fats, or sauces unless I make them and they are healthy.

      Breakfast: 3-5 egg whites, steamed spinach or asparagus, 1/2 c – 1 c oats (maybe with a little fruit)
      Snack: Fage nonfat yogurt and PB 2
      Lunch: steamed veggies, 4-6 oz of chicken or salmon, maybe 1/2 c rice or a piece of bread
      Snack: Fage nonfat yogurt and PB 2
      Dinner: Same as lunch
      Dessert: fruit; or a little oatmeal with pb 2, cocoa and sugar

      I work out a lot, so I am burning a bunch of calories, so for me, this is a lower intake than I would normally consume. It keeps me full because of all the protein. I eat a lot of veggies at lunch and dinner (2 cups) so I don’t have digestion problems that all that protein would otherwise give me. Also, drink a lot of water while doing it. And I’m eating every couple hours so I never get too hungry. My job has me go to restaraunts and events all the time and I have to either not eat (if its a fixed menu) and eat my food before or after or some restaurants will make you plain chicken or fish and steamed veggies.

    • Anonymous :

      I think these are two different questions — how to increase endurance for cardio and how to lose weight.

      I think you’ll lose weight in the kitchen — I second WW, but any program that emphasizes fresh vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains like steel-cut oats will help. I just finished reading “This is Why You’re Fat” by Jackie Warner and she had a list of foods that she ADDS to clients’ diets before she takes anything away — and why she does. Lots of interesting notes on what stabilizes blood sugar, increases metabolism, and more.

      Re cardio – I’m kind of in a similar place in that I keep injuring myself because my core isn’t strong enough and my hips are unstable after some problems. I’m going back to my postpartum workout DVDs (MIF bootcamp) because they are very gentle and focus on core rehab, and am pleasantly pleased with workouts I’ve done so far.

      If your core is fine though, and you don’t have any injuries, I think you want to build up your endurance slowly. Take a 10 minute walk in the morning, then a 10 minute walk at night — then increase it to 20 minutes at once. I haven’t Googled but I’d be curious if HIIT exercises (like the Seven app) aren’t a good way to build endurance.

  30. Waist to tummy pooch ratio :

    Can anyone recommend a brand or specific skirt for a body type with fairly nipped in hourglass waistline (like Kim Kardashian nipped in) but a decent sized lower tummy pooch and behind due to recent weight gain? I feel like I can’t find anything that fits my waist without giving a strong outline of the pooch, which probably sticks out at least two inches from the flatness of the crotch area.

    If not, any tips and tricks to disguise it without limiting my breathing?

  31. Suggestions for how to respond to well-meaning, don’t worry you’ll meet someone, type comments? I’m mid-30s, single, and I’m done with dating. I’ve been on various s i t e s on and off for the past ~10 years and nothing positive has ever come out of it. Basically I’ve spent pretty much my entire adult like looking for The One. I can’t tell you how frustrating it’s been to do all the right things and not meet that goal. So I’m out. I do not need an SO to live a complete life. I’m no longer going to allow my search for the life I thought I wanted prevent me from living the life I actually have.

    I’m actually kind of giddy, I almost want to celebrate liberating myself from this time and energy drain. My friends have been less than supportive. I get, well have you tried xyz s i t e my sister met her husband there, or, maybe you can do [other time-consuming events] to meet someone instead, or, when you stop looking it’ll happen for you, or, you’re so great it’ll happen someday! I don’t want to hear it. How do I politely shut down these kinds of comments.

    • I’m there with you and I feel you. I basically don’t talk about it with most of my friends because they’re all smug marrieds. If they bring it up, I change the subject. I love them, but they don’t get it. I also spend WAY more time with my single friends. I always feel validated and happy when I’m with them.

      Also in my 30s and I have basically given up and I’m fine with it.

      • +1

        This is similar to what I did.

        I am now in my 40’s, and people stop asking.

        I am very happy being single. It is possible.

    • Friends: “Don’t worry, you’ll meet someone.”

      You:”I hope not! Being single is awesome.” or “Dud,e, I wasted years of my life on bad dates. No thank you.” or “I’ve decided I’m more of a pre-Amal George Clooney type.”

    • Goodness, no. Being married works for some people but I’d rather be happy everyday, not stress about finances. Look at the stats (drop some stats about unhappy marrieds, divorce and cheating rates, etc.). The other day I (story about some amazing thing you recently did here).

      • Elegant Giraffe :

        This, except without the pessimistic marriage stats. That would be just as annoying as a married person bragging about being married to a single person.

        • Ha a tiny (ok some days not-so-tiny) part of me wants to turn it around on them – Don’t worry someday you’ll have a fabulous single life like me, either when you get divorced or when your husband dies! Somehow I don’t think they’d appreciate that very much, though.

          • As a smug engaged, dude, if you try to shut someone down and they ignore you the first few times, feel free to say exactly that. If they’re going to be rude enough to keep pushing their perspective despite polite signals to let it go, I think you can be a bit rude in shutting it down.

    • If you want to be extra daring, talk about your (real or fiction) love ers.

    • I tell people, “I’m retired!”

    • Anonymous :

      When you scratch the surface of many smug marrieds (and most smug marrieds with kids) you will probably find that it’s no picnic. Maybe they are subconsciously justifying their own choices. Who knows? You do you.

      It’s hard to find a response to any inappropriate comment and you’ll probably have to gauge the level of snark required as a partial function of the duration and strength of the relationship as well as the likelihood of nipping repeat offenders in the bud.

      I personally do not recommend marriage to anyone and I look forward to the kids graduating so I can be done. So done.

    • Anonymous :

      By not inviting the conversation. If you don’t want to talk about dating start by not talking about it.

  32. Thred Up – ugh!!! I just got an email that Thred Up accepted twenty items from my clean out bag, and my pay out is a whopping $4.60. Excuse me, what??? At the end of the day, I guess I’m still appreciative that I got my closet cleaned out, but four freaking dollars? Wow.

    On a related note, anybody ever have second thoughts about your stuff once you see it posted to the Thred Up website? I looked at all of my items to see what they were priced at and all of a sudden I’m remember how cute this stuff were and that I really liked it. Obviously I got rid of it all for one reason or another but I’m having a bit of remorse.

    • Pardon my grammar in that second paragraph. Ouch.

    • Yep, the same thing happened to me. I believe they resold most of the items they “didn’t accept” and I tend to think the whole s!te is a scam. Now I just donate to Goodwill or pass along to friends.

    • Ouch that hurts! :

      I’ve had the same experience with remorse after listing things on the real real. However, I just keep focusing upon the reason for downsizing being forced upon me and getting a little check monthly to help with expenses. That said, I am sad when I recall what I paid for items, and I just try to remember I enjoyed them and they don’t fit my life anymore (not true, but it is a POV I’m trying to adopt). Congrats on culling through and letting someone enjoy your items further. You never know, our sold stuff could really be making a difference in someone’s life who has far less than we have. (I told myself that when consigning 1960s Rosenthal china and antique Fostoria crystal for a pittance … “some Bride without funds actually chose to have this stuff…). It gets easier, I swear it does.

      • Delta Dawn :

        Along that line, I donate clothes every few months to Goodwill (consigning was too much work for not enough money), and a while ago I donated a sweater that was cute but not really my style anymore. A few months later I saw a worker at my child’s daycare wearing an identical sweater. I complimented her on it and she said “I love this thing, I got it at Goodwill!” I am 99% confident it was the one I donated (fairly unique, not in stores for several years, etc). I realized that even if Goodwill is not a “charity,” there are people who shop there that enjoy pretty things and are happy to find them in an affordable place. I really do think it makes a difference, and now I take all my things to Goodwill largely because of that.

    • I think over the last 6 months to a year they redid their system for pricing for clean out bags. The first bag I sent I received over $30, which wasn’t too bad. The second and third bags a few months later were all less than $5 each. All three bags had similar quality items, and the second and third actually had more items than the first. It was totally worth it under the prior pricing system, but I will not be doing it again now. Instead, all of my items are going to a program that works to give business clothing to women in need. Much more worth it than the little bit of money from ThredUp and the hassle of taking it to a consignment shop.

      • Yeah, a year or two back, it was worth it to send stuff to Thred Up. Now, not so much. Especially when they charge $10 for the shipping and handling – they didn’t used to do that.

  33. & this is why I don’t spend time with some people. They just can’t understand life is different for different people.

  34. Gratitude Post :

    I am the anon who posted about 7 weeks ago asking about “delayed” PPD as I have a two-year-old. I want to thank all the ladies who commented and shared their stories. Per your overwhelming vote to try ADs, I went to my PCP and took the behavior test again, which again came out exactly borderline. We then talked about things in general and something that really resonated with me was one person’s comment about how much effort it was to keep my sh!t together at this borderline level. The PCP seemed to really understand this and it changed her evaluation significantly. I think sometimes being stoic works against us in communicating the truth of situations. In any case, seven weeks later on a low dose of Wellbutrin, I am feeling much better and am appreciating life much more. Thank you all.

    To those who were wondering why I hadn’t done this earlier. I did have some reservations about trying antidepressants. To some extent it was the feminist in me. Like, is this why women worldwide pick up a disproportionate amount of work – because we’ve all been drugged into submission? (women are at least twice as likely to take ADs than men). I also did not like the idea of artificial happiness. However, what pushed me was that objectively I knew I should be enjoying things like playing with my kid but was not. I still can’t say that, on a macro scale, I think it’s normal for such a high percentage of population to take psychiatric drugs (around 1 in 5 American women) and that may say something about society and expectations in general, but on the micro scale I am extremely grateful to be a more joyous, happy, interactive human.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m so glad to hear that you’re doing better! Thanks for updating us :-)

    • I’m glad you’re doing better and I can definitely relate to the stoicism comment.
      I do think that while women may have been conned into submission in many ways by society, it’s also possible that men are simply less likely to see a doctor and get help, which would explain the whole live less, take less ADs phenomenon.

  35. Senior Attorney :

    I posted a few weeks ago about putting my house up on AirBNB or similar now that my tenants have moved out. I’m coming back to report that my AirBNB/VRBO experience lasted, like, all of two days! I thought I’d dip my toes in for a month or so but I quickly learned that people want to book further out than that and it was all pretty overwhelming, plus I had a bad experience with some glitchy VRBO software, so I almost immediately went to Plan B, which was to take all my belongings out of the house and rent it unfurnished.

    Well. That turned out to be the exact right move. Found a lovely couple to take the house unfurnished as of March 1. Moved the lime green velvet sofa, aqua leather chairs, a great rug and a couple of other fab items to my office at work, where I am enjoying the heck out of them. Moved the art collection to the marital residence, where it looks amazing. And moved a lot of other things to the marital residence, where Lovely Husband has discovered that if you scratch his Craftsman-style living room, there’s a Hollywood Regency living room just below the surface! (We brought in my designer to integrate my stuff into LH’s house and it was really worth it.) And my son got a job and is moving to a new apartment next week so he is able to take a lot of the remaining furniture. Everything else is being sold at an estate sale this week. Big fun!

    The crazy thing is that, as attached as I was to my beautifully-decorated house, I’m really ready to let go now. And I am thrilled beyond measure to have all my art and some of my furniture moved to the marital residence, which finally feels much more like “our house” than “his house.” So… thanks for the advice and input and that’s the update!

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