Thursday’s TPS Report: Optic Dot Cowl Neck Dress

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

LOFT Optic Dot Cowl Neck DressCute! I like polka dots in general, and this well-reviewed, three-quarter sleeved knit dress seems like a great addition to a fall wardrobe.  Note that it’s described as “clingy,” so you may want to consider sizing up for a bit more room. It’s $69.50 at LOFT. Optic Dot Cowl Neck Dress

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  1. And of course I start my day by spilling coffee ALL over myself. May go buy this dress at lunch…

    • Oh no! I’ve had decent luck with those Shout wipes, but depending on the size of the spill, a new dress might be easier.

    • Calibrachoa :

      I feel you. My soda just ‘sploded on me.

  2. I'm Just Me :

    Into the 3rd day, how are my fellow feds holding up?

    • starting to get a little nervous…thought it would be over in under a week, lack of progress is stressing me out.

    • One of the guys in my church choir, who is an attorney in the US Attorney’s office here, had a bit of a freakout at rehearsal last night. He said he’s been totally on edge about it. I felt so bad for him. He’s usually such an easygoing guy.

    • I’m a law clerk, so we’re considered “essential employees.” I know we’ll definitely get paid on the 11th, but I’m worried if the shutdown continues past the 11th, we won’t get paid on the 25th as we’re supposed to… and I really can’t afford to miss a paycheck :(

      • Wildkitten :

        This is my boat. I’ll be stressed after I get paid next, since that’s the last paycheck I know I’ll see.

      • Same here.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I’m stressed because my husband’s office keeps getting conflicting info. First he was told not only are they essential but they are funded 10 days post shut-down and will get paid. Then they were told that because they are funded for 10 days the determination of essential and non-essential has not actually yet been made but they will probably all be essential. Then they were told that (like the AUSAs) they might make a certain number of positions essential and rotate who works. So the role would be essential but only 3 out of 10 could be essential at a given time or something. Originally they were told they would still be paid. Now they are told that after the 10 days they will be paid in IOUs. Then they were told that even if they are essential their pay is not guaranteed (which is contrary to the OPM guidance.) I think the fact that no one knows what is going on is most frustrating.

        He is at least at a new agency that has high morale. When he left his last agency the union had just fought to get them award pay. He was told he was getting it and then found out yesterday that the agency was told, shutdown or not, no award pay. He hasn’t begun to talk to his old union yet or do the research to find out how that is legal. I can see cutting the award but you can’t reinstate the award, allow people to earn it and then cut it. Those are wages earned. So he is frustrated with that.

        I am worried and really feel for the people in worse positions than us. I caught yesterday’s thread late but like the poster yesterday, I have already said on here before that while I can meet most of our expenses on my check alone, I can’t do all of my student loans and our expenses on my check alone.

        The OPM guidance was really frustrating to read. I’ll post it in a minute. Basically, while you still have your health insurance, the amount you owe to your premium is still accruing and will be taking out of your next check. So, if you pay $250/pay period in insurance premiums and God forbid this goes on 4 weeks, when you finally get that first paycheck upon your return, $750 will be withheld for medical. Same goes for your FSA contributions. For people getting partial paychecks for the week they worked pre-shutdown, they will still have full withholding so they could have deductions greater than their pay. It is absurd.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          Also want to add that my husband just got back from work travel that he paid for on his credit card. No idea when we will see that reimbursement.

        • Ugh. I didn’t even think of that. I’m sure they will do the same for TSP payments.

      • My brother is in this boat – it is just the worst. I mean, its like, they know that landlords and credit card companies and grocery stores don’t go on furlough, right?

    • I’m doing as many (free) CLE webinars as I can, taking advantage of being able to run and work out in the middle of the day, and, after today, my apartment will be cleaner than it’s ever been!

      • Of course once I run out of CLEs and cleaning to do, I’m going to be extremely anxious.

      • Which free CLEs do you do? I’d like to do more.

        • I’m licensed in Illinois, and the Illinois State Bar Association has a bunch online (they let you do up to 15/year). I don’t know if other states have similar programs.

    • PinkKeyboard :

      We’re considered essential (direct fleet support-Navy) but in the same $$$ boat as LilyB. I believe the longest shutdown ever was 21 days which would be the 22nd…. I already emailed my Congressman.

    • Too angry to work. My leave was cancelled and I have to come in to work, with the promise of pay down the road. But they have also defunded some of the things I need to do my job, so it’s just a mess. The judiciary has 7 more days of funding so it will be interesting to see how we deal with the courts shutting down.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        This is the other crazy thing. So according to OPM you can’t be on paid leave during a shutdown. You also can’t voluntarily go on unpaid leave. So if you are furloughed (non-exempt/non-essential) you could hypothetically be on vacation or something. If you are essential though, you can’t be essential with future pay but not working. So, you have to be at work. If you don’t go to work you will be considered AWOL (absent without leave) and your agency has to decide what penalties if any will go with that. If your position has been deemed essential, they can’t give you a furlough notice so you can’t be away without pay. I have no idea what they are doing with people who were already away when this happened or people that are on medical leave, in the hospital, or something where they cannot come into the office. I’m sure it is happening to someone. That makes me super nervous for my husband too.

        Does OPM even cover judiciary? My husband is getting his (conflicted) info from the administrative office of courts. He is a USPO (pre-sentence investigations and bail recommendations) but for shutdown purposes is not yet designated essential law enforcement and is currently funded through the regular judicial budget.

        • We also can’t take sick leave so when people get sick, they have to drag themselves into work.

        • My mom is ok, but she is freaking out about co-workers who are currently trying to buy a home and one who is about to have a baby. It would be better if she could come to my city and watch her grandkids to distract her, but of course, she can’t be too far away from work if they actually end this thing.

    • DH is at home freaked out. I’m freaking out but trying to put on my good wife face and freak out while I’m at work. If I were betting, I’d guess late next week/early week after it gets resolved. I think there’s little incentive to do it before the debt ceiling at this point. He is non-essential and a contractor, so I’m concerned that there will be some sort of carve out and he won’t get paid.

      In addition to your Members of Congress, I urge you to contact House leadership. You may not be a constituent of their district, but their actions are affecting all Americans and so I think they should hear from us too.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        Of course, is anyone going to be in the House offices to take calls/read emails? I think it’s an office-by-office decision as to who’s working.
        (Also, this may just depress people further but–emailing someone who is not your congressperson is likely to be pointless. When I was an LC in a Congressional office, we either forwarded the emails to the person’s representative (if it wasn’t a form letter) or just deleted it (if it was a form letter)).

        • I wouldn’t email, I would call. And I would call the leadership offices because there are some staff working in those offices.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I really feel for all you guys, I find it amazing that you can just stop paying people’s salaries. I mean, people rely on this money to pay rent, buy food, pay their bills etc. and this is legal?! Employees are (at least here) preferential creditors in insolvency and if the only thing you can pay for is salaries, then that is all you pay for. I am genuinely amazed sometimes by how government works.

      Good luck to all of you and I hope it gets resolved soon!

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        This is how it is in the private sector. If an employer lets an employee work knowing they can’t make payroll the employer can be held personally liable and have to pay double or triple pay in a penalty. There are also penalties for paying an employee late. None of that applies to the government though apparently.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I feel so bad for you all. It’s got to be so scary so freakouts are completely justified.

      Since neither side is willing to come off of their positions and are just restating those positions over and over, I’ve been trying to figure out if there is a completely different option. It seems like they have position A and position B, which are opposite of each other. I can’t imagine any middle ground that exists between them so there should be an attempt to avoid either side giving in completely. Is there a third path that has nothing to do with either side’s position?

      • I’m also curious over the long run about whether/when shutdowns are going to start being a normal factor that people consider when they think about taking government jobs. I’m a total cynic, but I’m concerned this sort of thing is going to become almost de rigeur, so I’m imagining people thinking like “the security and benefits are good, but there is always the shutdowns to think about.” Starts being included in employee orientations, a whole set of lore and culture around furloughs emerges…? This just can’t stay as shocking and disorganized as it is now, forever.

        • I’m also polishing up my resume this week. I’m not convinced that the benefits are worth it.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          I think I agree with your cynical view. My fear is that this has come up as our country has become more divisive and that this just makes it even more divisive. If it was the natural result of our increasingly divided society then I’m scared this will deepen the divide anymore. I know this isn’t even the debt ceiling fight yet, but everytime that comes up everyone takes it one step further. Rumors of a shutdown one time, last minute deal (literally) the next, actual shutdown this time. How much farther can it be pushed?

          I really wish everyone could at least have civilized debates about it. I’ve seen friendships destroyed this week on Facebook because of the hateful things people are saying to one another. It’s all so frustrating to watch and I’m not even a government employee (or family member) who is being directly and sometimes severely impacted by it all.

    • SpaceMountain :

      My husband and I are both furloughed, so we’re home worried about losing our entire family income for the duration of the shutdown. Plus I have so much work to do and I doubt those deadlines will go away when I get back, so it’s going to be insane. These jobs seemed like a good idea at the time, but now I wonder . . .

    • not a Fed, but my dad and sister are furloughed. I feel terrible. SO is active duty and is fine. Rawr.

    • I’m not a fed, but I’m also not working due to the shutdown. I was supposed to start a new job this week, but have to wait until my immigration documents process, which requires input from the Department of Labor. It’ll be at least two weeks until I can start after that. I moved to a new city for this job but fortunately I planned to stay with family until I find an apartment, so that’s one major expense that I don’t have to worry about.

    • Another Stepmom :

      Husband is exempt — so working, but my understanding is pay is delayed until this is all straightened out. Due to a combination of sticking his head in the sand and being overwhelmed at work, he’s not sure if he’ll get one or not, and I have no idea.

      Luckily we’re fine, thanks to my income and savings, but his child support comes directly out of his paycheck, so if no paycheck, no automatic child support payment.

    • Oops reported this by accident.

    • I feel terrible for all of you who are directly affected by the furloughs. That kind of stress and financial worry is absolutely not justified. Even if you’re lucky enough to have built up some emergency fund savings, there’s just no certainty about how much you’ll need or what might come next. Hope this ends sooner than later…and I hope everyone is calling their representatives, especially if you live in a Republican district!

  3. Fashion question.

    Over the summer I got in to ankle length pants. I’m not quite Audrey Hepburn (ha!) but I feel like it somedays. Now that fall has definitely arrived in my neck of the woods, I’m trying to figure out how to transition them, as sandals and little flats are not going to cut it, and I don’t really want my bare ankles exposed.

    I’m in a casual place, so please don’t worry about appropriateness, I’m just asking about fashion. I bought these boots to wear with them —

    Is this an okay plan? The boots are cute and quite comfortable and I think it looks okay, but I need a fashion double check.

    • Diana Barry :

      Ha! I have this EXACT SAME question!!! I now have 2 pairs to wear to work…but what to wear with them in the winter?

    • How about the possibility of cuffing your socks above a bootie? That might look cool.

      Otherwise, I’m not sure. Susedna sent me a book called So Audrey: 59 ways to put a little Hepburn in your step. It’s so much fun! I’m taking it to lunch with my girlfriends today.

    • Anonymous :

      I think you can wear booties with them, but the booties and the pants have to be in harmony. I think ideally the boots would be slim enough to go just under the hem of the pants, which would overlap the boots by about 1/2 an inch. The bootie in the link you posted would be problematic because of the paperbag top of the boot. The pants would have to go inside those, which would not look right, I think.

      • Other option is a low bootie with a cutout / dip in front like this:

        The pants would end above the cutout. You’d have a little bit of bare leg in the front, but so long as you weren’t tromping through snowbanks, this could work.

    • I dont think you can do booties with ankle pants. It just doesnt look right in my mind

    • Sorry, I think those are far too clunky to wear with ankle pants. If the pants are slim, this won’t work with the silhouette. If the pants are wider-legged, this will just add to a potentially bulky look. Ballet flats look good with ankle pants because they are not bulky. How about some pointy toe loafers or even pumps or mary janes? If you need to cover more for warmth, you could try to find a taller boot that would go under the pants. I’ve never been a huge fan of that look but plenty of women wear it. Otherwise, consider your ankle pants spring/summer/early fall wear only. Perhaps the brand makes a regular length if you really like the style?

    • I’m tall, so I feel like ankle pants with boots wouldn’t look deliberate on me. That said, I can appreciate the look on others. If there’s a gap between the hem of your pants and the paperbag top of those booties, I’m not sure it will work. You might check out YouLookFab to get some inspiration – Angie and the forum members have been posting outfits with rolled up boyfriend jeans with booties/ankle strap shoes that might help with proportions. If you can get over the exposed ankles, a flat leather sneaker would make a good transition from ballet flats/sandals.

    • I don’t love the idea of these booties with ankle pants. You can get some more mileage out of ankle pants with sleep pumps or wedges but I think they look off with boots.

    • What about knee-high boots? Then the ankle length won’t matter.

      • This is my plan for some of them, the pants go IN the boots, but some of them are definitely a too-dressy material to put inside boots.

        • anon-oh-no :

          wear the pants OVER the boots. and for the dressy ones, a pointed toe boot

    • Blair Waldorf :

      I don’t think tall boots with ankle pants looks right. Booties that are short would be fine.

      Why don’t you find a way to commute, then change to flats/heels/booties when you’re at work? Can you wear tall boots under, or tuck the ankle pants in just for your commute?

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I think original Star Trek when I think of tall boots with shorter pants. I like the idea of commuting in something and switching to flats in the office assuming your legs won’t be cold in the office.

        • Hah! Perfect. This is what I think of too. And I’m not a fan.

          The only way I can imagine ankle pants for fall would be tucked into boots, in a way that no one can tell they are ankle pants.

          • Yeah, this is what I meant. I think ankle pants OVER tall boots would look utterly ridiculous.

    • Why not tights and regular shoes ? I like the sort of velvet/ suede loafers which look like men’s evening slippers for this.

    • Since I commute by cozy warm car from garage to garage, I was just going to add nude-for-me knee highs to avoid the totally bare ankle look in the office. I suppose if you have a chillier commute you could wear warm boots and change shoes at work. Obviously wont’ be wearing sandals in the winter, but I think this should work with my flats and kitten heels.

    • What about penny loafers and oxfords?

  4. Paging Big Transition :

    From Legally Brunette.

    Just caught up on some threads from earlier this week and wanted to reach out to Big Transition, whose MIL is moving in with her and her family. The other posters have provided excellent advice but I just wanted to add a few more tips. Our inlaws don’t live with us but they stay with us for several months on end, so I totally understand what you are going through and why this is stressful.

    1. The fact that you live in the city is a huge plus because that means that MIL doesn’t need to depend on you to get places. As soon as MIL is settled in, take her on a walking tour of your neighborhood and point out the grocery store, pharmacy, library, shops where she can window browse, etc. Teach her how to buy a ticket on the subway and get off on a few stops and show her places of interest. The sooner she feels comfortable getting out of the house, the better off everyone will be. It can be isolating being at home all day alone.

    2. If your city is anything like mine, it probably has a very active parents listserv. Post about your MIL and see if you can find other South Asians whose parents are visiting or staying with them. The great thing about our community is that it is highly likely that there are so many other couples who are in the same boat. If you can even find one friend for your MIL, she will be a lot happier and more inclined to do stuff outside the house. And who knows, maybe she can find a carpool who will take her to some of those cultural events in the burbs.

    3. Check out whether your local temple/mosque has a senior center (many of them do). Granted, you will need to drive her there probably but it’s another good social outlet for her (and I have found it is also a good excuse for Dh and I go to the temple, which we don’t do often enough).

    Good luck. You are awesome for doing this. I will likely be in a similar situation a few years down the road so please post periodic updates about how this is working out. And I totally get how in your family, people think this is “no big deal” and this is just what is done. But while I am Indian, I am also very much American and the idea of having someone else move in permanently is just a major major change. I sometimes chuckle reading other posters who get stressed after their family comes visit for a weekend or a week, because my family stays at a minimum for a few MONTHS. :) Hang in there.

    • Wait, this is common among South Asians to have your in-laws move in with you???? Wow. You are a better person than I am for being ok with this!

      • marketingchic :

        I live in a heavily South-Asian neighborhood in the Midwest, and I’ve seen lots of in-laws stay for the summer.

    • It’s very common at least here in the PNW – I see tons of multi-generation desi families at Costco Saturday and Sunday morning. I also see many grandmas (and a few grandpas) pushing strollers on the streets around the big apartment complexes by Microsoft headquarters during work hours. I think it probably really helps with the childcare conundrum.

      • My Indian-American friend just had her parents move in (the parents have been in America for about 30 years so they at least are pretty in tune with American culture) plus her in-laws come visit from India for 3-4 months at a time every other year. My understanding from her is that, yes, it can be wearing to have her in-laws there, but her daughter gets unbelievable attention and love from them, plus her MIL is an amazing cook and does everything from scratch. Her husband and parents get along well, and because he travels for work 4-5 days/week, he’s just happy the entire childcare/housework burden isn’t falling on my friend (who works fulltime) all week. I think it can work pretty well for families if they’re willing to make it work. We’re total WASPs but my MIL is planning to move in with us in a few years and I’m frankly pretty psyched for it. I bet more and more families start considering this as an option as childcard costs — and eldercare costs — skyrocket.

    • Chiming in to add that I’d love to see updates on this too – not South Asian, but some similar cultural expectations at play, and my husband and I have talked in the past about my parents moving in eventually.

    • Another desi :

      I’m also desi and I totally understand! I think the tips were great. Also, teach her how to use skype and some basic internet things. That way she can video chat with some of the other grandkids (if there are any) and her friends back home. My mother in law does that and LOVES it.

      • Yes, my best friend’s mom, after moving in with him and his wife overseas, got so excited about learning how to use the computer that she actually started her own blog in Tamil and now apparently has a giant following. So you never know what might happen!

        • Senior Attorney :

          That? Is all kinds of awesome!

        • Silvercurls :

          No kidding! Awesome. Please share the link here or send privately to Big Transition, Another desi, and others whose relatives might enjoy the Tamil blog.

    • Anon for This :

      My inlaws stay with me for months on end too (and currently are). These are some tips I have:

      1. DH communicates all bad news (but in a matter of fact way, not “lets sit down to talk” way).
      Having my DH casually say “the two of us are going out to dinner tonight, won’t be eating at home” or “we don’t want to eat rice-based dishes too often, watching our diet” goes down really well, makes it seem like his idea. Maybe generalizing but guys I think have a way of making things seem NBD and I tend to make it more serious and add more explanation than really necessary.

      2. Date night for us, weekend day/half-day for us all together.
      On one night a week after 8pm bedtime for my kid, DH and I go out to dinner. On a weekend day we typically take the whole household out somewhere so they get an outing too.

      3. Let go.
      When I manage the kitchen, I am particular about some things: not leaving too much stuff outside on the countertop, using the dishwasher as much as possible not hand-washing and air drying on the counter, buying more frozen or pre-chopped veggies to save time, making more salads and other cuisine foods, etc. When MIL/FIL are in the house all day and using the kitchen much more than I am, I have to let go of many of these things and not be in control, to avoid stress for both of us. If I need something done (eg another food item I like) then I’ll do it myself.

      4. Entertainment options
      Give them ways to access TV serials/shows in their native language, teach them to use an ipad, make sure they have a phone to use and they can make international calls on it, show them the neighborhood, make sure they have everything they need to explore it without feeling nervous (cellphone, good jacket, walking shoes), etc.

      5. Kid Rules – and let go!
      Make your kid rules known for the big stuff. For me, it’s safety and health related rules, what he eats, bedtime, etc. And dont sweat the small stuff. Grandparents to some extent have the right to spoil the kids, but when they live with you, you don’t want to play good cop/bad cop with them being the good cop all of the time. So they should send consistent signals as you. At the same time, its good for a kid to have lots of parenting approaches, and if they are not comfortable being strict or enforcing time-outs etc., you’ll have to do it.

      6. Find someone else to complain to (and dont complain too much)
      Ymmv, but I dont like to stress my DH out with minor annoyances I experience that will go away given time. For actionable and important things, I do discuss strategy with him that we both implement.

  5. Interview Quesitons :

    What are your favorite interview questions? I’ll be interviewing applicants for an entry level position next week (this will be my first time on the “other side”). Any favorite behavioral/fit questions? I’d prefer not to go down the “If you had to be an animal…” route, but am stalling after “Tell me about a class you enjoyed” and asking question about their past experiences/CV. Thanks!

    • Ask questions starting with “Tell me about a time when you… ” or “Describe a situation…”

      Get them talking about experiences that will tell you about how they handle projects or experiences or interpersonal interactions. Or “What was your most rewarding experience in your previous job?” It’s somewhat negative, but I know people who like to ask something like “Tell me about a time when you had a problem with a coworker and how you handled it.” Or “Describe a work situation that illustrates your ability to organize your work and juggle multiple tasks and responsibilities.”

      Our candidates spend two days (or a day and a half) with us. We asked out last candidate what was the most interesting thing they learned about our organization during their interview. Also, ask what motivates them at work.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      I’m answering this from an interviewee’s perspective, but I like interviews best when they flow naturally, instead of following pre-prescribed questions. Just ask me about something on my resume or transcript or in my cover letter that’s genuinely interesting to you. My answer should (if I’m interviewing properly on my end) spark some follow-up question of some kind.

      Also, if you have any concerns about fit (i.e. “your previous family law experience was with a private firm, how do you think that’s prepared you for working here, at our domestic violence non-profit?”), raise them! I’ve probably already practiced an answer to this one and I’ll be sad when you don’t ask me.

      Last thing: instead of the annoying “what’s your weakness?” question, I was once asked to identify a particular situation in which a weakness created a challenge for me professionally, and how I overcame it. I thought it was an awesome way to ask that question.

      • Love that last thing.

      • Oh I love that way of asking the “weakness” question. Although as an interviewee it would require me to do some serious thinking!

    • I was on a panel once that asked “tell me about the biggest mistake you made at work and how you dealt with it.” It was very interesting the different responses we got.

    • Some of my favorite questions to ask in interviews:

      -What do you think your biggest challenge in this position will be?
      -Tell me about a time you experienced a major change in your life? How did you deal with it?
      -Have you ever been asked to perform a task for which you were not changed? What did you do?
      -A year into this position, what would you like to have accomplished in order to feel that the first year was a success?

    • My favorite is “Tell me something about yourself that I wouldn’t know from reading your resume.” Some people talk about a professional accomplishment/experience, some go a personal route but it is almost always an interesting way to learn 1. more about the interviewee and 2. how they deal with a question they probably didn’t prepare for. I think I may have shared this here before, but when one candidate answered this question 5 minutes into the interview with “I make the best f*cking brownies on Capitol Hill,” it pretty much ended the interview.

      • anon-oh-no :

        interesting. i would have loved that answer.

        • ExcelNinja :

          me too! I think it shows confidence and also I love brownies.

          (subscribing because I’m interviewing someone tomorrow morning, and I haven’t had time to prep at all!)

    • My favorite questions measure a) interest in their chosen field, b) current knowledge needed for the job, and c) ability to think critically. I have asked all of these:

      Can you tell me what interests you about [field]?
      How might you define [field], and what does it mean to you?
      Can you tell me about a book you read recently?
      What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
      What is your ideal work environment?
      What do you value most in a job?
      What would you say is your strongest skill?
      Do you have a favorite project at [past job]?
      Do you have any questions for me? (hint: the answer should be yes!)

      Good luck!

    • Interview Quesitons :

      Thanks all, these are helpful! I’m hoping the interviews will go as Killer Kitten Heels mentioned, flowing naturally from experiences I’ve noticed on their resumes. But in the case a candidate is quieter or gives short answers, I also want to have a few additional questions tucked away as a backup plan.

      These are great, thanks for all the input!

  6. Shopaholic :

    I’m wearing a silk blouse under a fit and flare dress with a Peter Pan collar and now am concerned I look like I’m 12 years old. I threw a belt on and I’m wearing heels. Is this all in my head? I like the idea of wearing blouses under my sleeveless dresses but really want to look like a grownup at work.

    • I think peter pan collars tend to have that effect generally… if you add a fit-and-flare silhouette to the mix I think it would look a bit juvenile. But that’s not to say you don’t look adorable and great!

    • It sounds really cute, I have a friend who wears peter pan collars quite a bit (she loves them) and she always looks adorable. That said, she’s 24 and she looks 24(or younger) when she dresses like that and I do think it makes her look like the cute intern as opposed to professional.
      I don’t know what field you’re in so don’t know if it’s much of a concern for you.

    • I do the dress and blouse thing, but usually sheath dresses and non peter pan collar dresses. I’m sure you look great, though. I love the idea of a belt with a fit and flare dress.

    • Shopaholic :

      Thanks ladies! I do like this outfit but maybe I’ll save it for days where I don’t need to look especially authoritative.

  7. Coats for Pears :

    I love the J Crew Lady Day coat. It is so pretty! But I’m a pear and it just didn’t work for me, even going up a few sizes (I hate that it’s not in stores).

    Do any of you have a coat you’d recommend that’s as pretty but would work for a pear?

    I’m looking for something similar (long, pockets) and have a Lands End coat that is very good (a bit too much volume when I turn sideways, but the best thing I’ve found yet and the price was FANTASTIC, to be a bit Ellen about it).

    • Wildkitten :

      I like the coats that are skirted at the bottom, and they would probably be perfect for a pear. They look like outfits so you look put together just by putting your coat on.

      • Lady Harriet :

        +1 This cut is usually called a princess coat, and they are indeed amazing. I thrifted one that I love. I’m definitely not a pear, but I think the cut is very forgiving on many figures.

      • +2. Also, ’60s-style swing coats. I got one a few years ago from Max Mara and I’ve never had so many compliments in my life, plus I never have to worry about fit/buttons gaping around the hips.

    • I feel like a shill but check out DKNY. Lovely winter coats.

      • +1. I’m also a pear and my two favorite winter coats are from DKNY and Via Spiga.

  8. Professional advice needed.

    I interviewed for a wonderful opportunity a couple weeks ago. I loved the firm and the partners with whom I would be working. I received a phone call the following day from one of the partners (“Hiring Partner”), who said that the firm really wanted to hire me, but that they realized there is a conflict of interest. Apparently, Hiring Partner is defending a lawsuit that a partner (“Difficult Partner”) in my firm is handling. I know nothing about the case. Hiring Partner said that they did not want to put me in the difficult position of asking Difficult Partner to waive the conflict, but if they have an opening in the future after the case is over, they would like to reinitiate a dialogue with me.

    At the time, I was floored and did not know what to say. I now wish I had told her that I was willing to ask Difficult Partner to waive the conflict. I am considering reaching out to Hiring Partner again to tell her that I am willing to do this, but I am afraid that it may seem desperate or awkward. Thoughts? TIA!

    • If you’re sure you are willing to talk to Difficult Partner, I’d call her back and let her know you were caught off guard but given time to think you’d like to approach difficult partner. It may be too late and/or she may advise against it (she may think he’ll say no and then your current employment would be in jeopardy), but it may solidify you in her mind if they need someone again down the road.

    • “Difficult Partner” wouldn’t have to waive the conflict, he/she would have to ask the client to waive. Likewise, the hiring firm would need to ask its client to waive. (Sorry if you know this and were just using shorthand in your post – I offer it up just in case it makes a difference in your thinking.) I don’t think it seems desperate to go back to Hiring Partner and say that, after reflection, you are comfortable approaching Difficult Partner to ask him/her to ask the client for a waiver. However, it’s also possible that Hiring Partner isn’t willing to go to her own client to ask for a waiver, and, even if the lawyers are willing, the clients might be jerks and refuse to waive.

  9. Was it a date? :

    Thanks for all the sane advice yesterday re: was the guy fixing my phone interested. In retrospect, I’m embarrassed by my girlish obsession.

    Wore a flirty casual blue floral dress and pink lipstick. After he fixed my phone, we stayed for another drink and really hit it off. At some point, he told me how much he wants to meet someone, settle down, and have BABIES. At the end of the evening, he hugged me and then kissed my cheek. He even texted “see you soon.” Maybe more than just a business transaction? I have those teeny-bopper butterflies.

    p.s. when a 30yr old man actually says the word BABIES, it’s definitely caps-worthy,

    • marketingchic :

      That may not have been a date, but it sounds like a potential future “meet-cute” story!

    • Coats for Pears :

      This is what my husband would call a fact-finding mission.

      Mission accomplished :)

    • CapHillAnon :

      Aw! Good for you.

    • Oy! BE CARFUL of TECK guy’s that talk the talk! He could be OK and probabley is, but he MAY just want to have SEX (that, after all is how babie’s get here). My teck guy is ALWAYS stareing at me and makeing inuendo’s about the sexueal thing’s he has done, but he is fat, sloppy and has a dirty mustashe that has alot of very old food in it — HARDLEY what I would want nuzzeleing me at night (GROSS!)

      I hope it work’s out but please be careful. I was duped by what men say, NOT what they do. Talk is cheep, dad says, and action speak’s louder then words.

      Speakeing of which, Willem called to firm up the Barcleay’s thing. He will have a car get me at 4:00 pm, take me over to the Center where we will have dinner, then see the show, and he will take the car WITH me back to Manhattan, and drop me off by Midnite, then he will go HOME! DOUBEL YAY! Another gentelmen! Hardly like the Alan who got to drunk to see straight, let alone escort me home.

      With all the wierdo’s roming Manhattan stabbing peeople and pushing people in front of car’s and panhandeling, I am happy I will NOT have to be by myself on the subway, or even in a Car with a guy eating sloppy food. UGH! For now, I have at least 2 eligeible guy’s! YAY!!!!!

    • Don’t want to bust anyone’s balloon here, but he could also be a guy who has gotten really really good at telling women what they want to hear!!

      • Seriously. Sounds like a player to me. No one (man or woman) should be mentioning babies on the first date

    • hellskitchen :

      Happy for you!

  10. Hi ladies, I have a negoatition question (or two). I’m being recruited for a job in another city. I already have a job offer (in writing) and am going on my first visit the company in a few weeks. I’ve already decided that I would like to ask for more money, in some form. Here’s my first question: I’m meeting with a representative from HR first thing in the morning. I’d like to wait to negotiate until after my visit, and do it either by email or phone. I’m sure the offer will come up, how should I handle this: Say, let’s talk about it after the rest of my interviews? My second question is about what to negotiate. From what I can tell the benefits are standard/good and the base salary for the position is good to generous. I’d like to ask for 10% more base salary. Is that reasonable? IF they say no, I’d than like to ask for that 10% as a signing bonus. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated! For reference, it’s a scientist job at big pharma in Boston. Basically entry level (post post-doc position), and the base salary is high 80s.

    • Diana Barry :

      I think the 10% is a good ask for base salary – I might ask for 15% and expect to get negotiated down.

      Are they expecting you to accept? Is this your first post-doc job? You could tell the HR person that you are hoping the site visit will go well and/or that you are weighing other possibilities and you would prefer to wait until after the visit/interview to discuss the terms of the offer with them.

  11. Baby question – please skip if not interested.
    How many of you use(d) cloth diapers? I never considered it until a classmate mentioned that she uses cloth diapers at home and regular diapers whenever the baby leaves the house. She told me that her child never gets diaper rash from cloth diapers and she finds it fairly simple to deal with the diapers. I may have previously mentioned, I’m in a large city and I don’t have my own washer/dryer, so I would have to have a diaper service (I believe). Any thoughts/advice? Thanks!

    • I always used disposables and my son never had a diaper rash. Seriously. Never. Some kids are more prone to them than others, but it also has a lot to do with how quickly you get dirty diapers off of them.
      I can’t tell you what to do about cloth, I don’t know if you have environmental concerns factoring in.

    • Young House Love did a great, very comprehensive post on this issue – I recommend checking it out for how they handled it and cost breakdowns. However, they washed at home and didn’t use a diaper service, so I’m sure that changes the equation. (I don’t have kids yet but it’s something I’m considering for the future for cost and environmental reasons.)

      • Oh, also, your daycare may not accept cloth diapers so that’s something to be factored in as well.

      • Thank you (& everyone else) who recommended the Young House Love post! I just read it — very interesting. And yes, you make a good point that daycare may not accept cloth diapers.

        • Pregomama :

          Our daycare will do cloth diapers but it’s a huge mess. They just dump the whole diaper in a bag for you…so at the end of the day you have a huge mess in a plastic bag (vs. at home where you empty the diaper into the toilet before putting it into the pail/wash).

          (We don’t use cloth, but some in our center do…I am very glad not to be hauling that bag home!!)

    • Coats for Pears :

      Many day cares won’t use them — you might want to check on that.

      I was a cloth diaper baby (and remember the horrors when my younger sibling came along) back in the diaper pail / diaper service was mom days.

      I tried cloth diapers at home (with snappies) when we were getting ready to potty train our first (so she’d have some experience feeling what being wet was like, something that doesn’t happen with disposables). Unfortunately, she was old enough to tell us what she thought of them (but was very happy to then potty train).

      At first, with the projectile high-velocity poop, I was glad for disposables. The cloth ones are awfully cute though — we used them as burp cloths.

    • My mom used cloth (without a diaper service) and my sister uses cloth (also, without a diaper service). Both were/are going fine. My mom preferred cloth diapers on boys because it keeps the temperature lower (some people think that the warmth of disposables can cause fertility issues). I think that using cloth at home (washing frequently) and disposables outside of the home/when traveling is a nice solution. I would def. check out the young house love post on how to do it, how much you need to purchase, how often to wash. Some people don’t like waiting for the diaper service to pick them up. You are going to do a TON of laundry after your baby is born. Any way you can get your own washer/dryer?

      • I live in a law school dorm right now, so getting my own washer/dryer is definitely out of the question. After law school, DH & I will likely be in an NYC apartment, so having our own washer/dryer is extremely unlikely. I’m going to feel lucky if our next place has a dishwasher & microwave!

        • Sydney Bristow :

          I miss dishwashers so much. I’ve been in NYC for 4 years and only know 1 person who had a washer/dryer and 1 person with a dishwasher (and garbage disposal!).

    • Anne Shirley :

      My honest thought? This is something smart rich women do to justify themselves spending time taking care of baby. If you want to, knock yourself out, but I find it a disturbing part of a larger trend of denigrating all the time saving measures that have allowed women fulfilling lives outside the home, just like attachment parenting generally and the push to harvest our own f-ing chickens.

      My mom used them, because we were poor and disposables were a luxury in my country of origin. She’s really proud that she’s given her kids the luxury of skipping that drudgery.

      • +1

        Though I have a cousin who used cloth for all her kids, she said it was healthier but I really think she was trying to save money. (That being said, I’m not sure it’s really cheaper).

      • +1 Anne Shirley, this comment makes my day (which wasn’t off to a great start).

      • I do think it is a wealthy woman trend, especially among mothers who can afford to stay at home with their children. I mean I see that it’s more popular among a particular demographic.

      • I don’t know . . . my earthy crunchy hippie mother used them in the 1970s. Along with having a home birth, breastfeeding until 2.5+ and feeding us all organic and natural food. She is certainly not a wealthy woman who wanted to justify her existence as a stay at home mother. She simply thought that having that much plastic and chemical crap is not good for a baby’s skin or to be deposited into a landfill. Disposable diapers are also expensive as hell. These reasons still apply and there are plenty of mothers that care about what goes into and is next to their babies’ bodies and the earth.

        • I totally agree with this.

          But I also agree that there is definitely a trend of do-everything-yourself supermoms that gets super judgmental towards anyone who isn’t cloth diapering, feeding baby only organic foods, and making homemade diaper rash creme with one hand while brewing homemade kombucha with the other (after finishing a double-header crossfit WOD and a hot yoga class).

          • Ha ha. Choices are just that — choices; every one gets to make them and it doesn’t make you better than someone who makes a different one. I just think its fair to judge mothers who don’t make organic diaper rash cream, just like I don’t think its fair to paint mothers who use cloth diapers as rich women out to justify their own existence.

            Everybody makes different choices for different reasons.

          • I **don’t** think its fair to judge . . .

            That was a silly typo that changed the meaning of everything I was saying.

        • +1,000,000 to this. I used them (diaper service) with our first two. I was a working mom and I preferred cloth for the same reason I use my blue boxes to recycle-it didn’t seem that much harder and it was certainly reduced trash to the landfill. (As to whether it’s better for the environment overall, I think that’s debatable, especially with a service, which has trucks driving around for pickup).

          • dancinglonghorn :

            Its actually not debatable – lots of studies have shown that (ignoring the trucks), the increase in laundering is worse for the environment than biodegrading.

          • I get the impression that these efforts (cloth diapers, recycling), generally fail the 80/20 rule. All these efforts sound like a huge time-suck and (possibly) an imposition on individuals, that produce very little effort.

            As in: even if everybody who had kids switched to cloth diapers– it’s going to be more than offset by the much larger effect of:
            (1) fossil-fuel extraction efforts around the world and its effects on the environment
            (2) millions of cars and thousands coal plants (and worse, in some countries, power plants that burn high sulfur-content*oil*) around the world belching out their by-products into the atmosphere
            (3) millions of factories producing the durable (heavy equipment, metal stuff) and plastic stuff we use and buy.

            It’s fine if people want to do this because they want to try to be environmentally conscious in their choices, or to be supermom, or whatever, but the impact in terms of actually saving the environment is actually de minimis.

        • This. I have no personal diaper experience but have friends who opted for cloth, not because they wanted to justify anything but because they did not want to add thousands of pounds of trash to landfills or swathe their babies in chemicals.

          • Anne Shirley :

            Yup. Cause all moms who use disposables set out to “swathe their babies in chemicals”. That’s not EXACTLY the judgment I’m talking about at all.

          • Nice try at twisting my words. I am simply responding to your assertion that smart women choose to do to “justify” their actions.

          • Its actually pretty comical to hear you rail against judgment based on your initial comment. There’s plenty of judging to go around here.

            Also, there may be a more delicate way to say it, but if the disposable diapers have chemicals in them (spoiler alert: they do), then swathing a baby in chemicals is, in fact, precisely what you are in doing.

          • And this is entirely why I am planning to use cloth. I am by no means rich, nor do I have all the time in the world to do laundry. But the environment and my child’s health are both very important to me, and for me, cloth diapers go a long way towards helping with both. I won’t be using a diaper service – too expensive, plus they generally only pick up once per week.

          • Here’s a stupid question. Don’t diaper services do hundreds of loads? Aren’t they using harsh chemicals to get them clean?

        • dancinglonghorn :

          There have been tons of studies that show that once you factor in increased laundering, cloth diapers are worse for the environment than disposables (ever mind the increased costs we all bear from people who introduce raw sewage into our water supplies from laundering cloth diapers in their home washer machine – which we all pay to get removed!). They also are only cheaper if you plan to use them for at least 3 kids. I would actually do some real, statistical research (rather than just reading blog posts that make fluffy arguments) if your motivation is statistical.

          OTOH, I’m someone who needs to use cloth feminine hygiene products because of chronic yeast infections, so do what works for you. But don’t do it because of environmental concerns!

          • Yes, I know the studies you are referring to….but I still can’t get my head around the thousands of disposable diapers that would be mouldering in a landfill for thousands of years if I went disposable. I just can’t do that. But I do disagree with your comment about only being cheaper if you use them for 3 kids. Based on my admittedly unscientific, anecdotal research, cloth diapers end up being cheaper than disposables after about 8 or 9 months. If your child is in diapers for 2.5-3 years, that’s a lot of money saved over the long run.

          • hoola hoopa :

            First off, the poop goes in the toilet. What’s left on the diaper is a smear. You want to talk about damage and cost to sewer systems, let’s talk about people who flush tampons, drugs, and plain ol’ trash.

            Secondly, those studies are funded by disposable diaper companies. If you ask families who use disposable diapers about their laundry process, you’d feel much better about the environmental impact. We spent less water per month washing our cloth diapers than we do if we water our small, urban lawn.

            Thirdly, the cost number simply is not accurate. We used one of the most expensive cloth options and included laundering costs in a city with ridiculously expensive water, and even compared with bargain disposables we came out ahead within ONE child.

          • dancinglonghorn :

            I was thinking about this on my commute – about how so many people are convinced that cloth diapers are better for the environment because the impact is so tangiable (ie, when I use a rag instead of a paper towel, I can see that I don’t throw away the rag, while I ignore all the costs associated with the rag like increased laundering, bottling for cleaners to use with the rag, etc.). I wonder how much of our desire to be good environmental citizens is driven by the need to “see” that the choices we make impact the environment. Its definitely thought-provoking, and I think a lot of people are like you Nonny and would rather do something where the benefits appear tangible even if its an inefficient approach.

            The diaper thing is that it works out that most people buy/need way more diapers than they initially estimate.

      • I never thought about it like this but…wow. This explains so many other trends too. Now I have an extra bow in my patriachy-puts-us-down quiver.

        • Now I have an extra bow in my patriachy-puts-us-down quiver.

          This can’t be a real sentence can it?

        • You mean arrow. Bows aren’t kept in your quiver.

        • I might argue that it’s the matriarchy putting us down in this one. The men of the world don’t much seem to care – this is something that women do to themselves/each other.

      • Katherine :

        This comment is hilarious to me, because we are rather poor, my husband is the stay-at-home dad, and we use cloth. He really likes it. I guess the patriarchy has brainwashed him into justifying his existence! Or wait, it could just be that cloth is convenient, cheap and comfortable.

        I’m pretty sure Anne Shirley (Blythe) used cloth diapers! I bet Susan changed most of them, though.

      • You are awesome, Anne Shirley. My mother (well in her 60s) finds this trend disturbing – her own mother did all these cloth diapery, everything-by-hand things because she was dirt poor in a what used to be dismissed as “yet another Third World country” and lamented that these menial tasks prevented women from doing anything other than dispensing highly labor-intensive food and cleaning services while the men of the family expand their horizons and kept a lock on their “market share” of powerful positions in society.

    • Diana Barry :

      If you don’t have a washer/dryer, I would DEFINITELY NOT use them. There is so much baby laundry already, I really wouldn’t want to add to it with poo laundry!

      • Coats for Pears :

        Poopy diapers might freak out people in your laundry room. There can be residue, especially once you start solids (you will have this even without cloth diapers, as blowouts occur, but still).

      • marketingchic :

        +1000. Laundry will be the death of me, even with disposables.

      • +1 Your level of baby laundry plus baby stains on your laundry will be higher than you can imagine.

        I use disposables during the day and cloth at nap/bedtime. Cloth diapers with two doublers are the only way to control the pee in my house. With disposable diapers – even the expensive nighttime diapers – I was changing crib sheets at every nap and every morning. It was an easy trade for me, I would much rather wash a few diapers a day than constantly change crib sheets and mattress pads.

        And my cloth diapers are difficult even for adults to take off. So if by chance my son does go #2 in his crib, there is zero opportunity for any “art projects.”

    • I used disposables for all 3 of my boys, but I remember thinking that if #3 was our first I might have invested in the cloth. I’ve heard that babies are easier to potty train when you use cloth diapers. That would have been useful, especially for ds#2.

      As for diaper rash – all my boys had minor diaper rashes at one point. Nothing major that didn’t clear up in a few days. The worst case of diaper rash I ever saw, though ,was as a teen babysitter on a little boy who was cloth diapered. It was awful. Might have been a yeast infection – I’m not sure, but boy did he scream when I had to change him. But this was around 25 years ago, and I know that cloth diapers have come a long way since then.

    • CapHillAnon :

      Used cloth diapers on mine (both with very sensitive skin), but what made it doable was that we have a washer and drier at home, and my husband and nanny were on board and actively participating. I remember fervently wishing that there was a viable service nearby, because the washing is just another step that can be a hassle during those years when you don’t have enough time to do anything. That said, the modern cloth diapers are nothing like the bulky cotton things they used to be, and I felt better using things that were a little less chemically next to the babies’ skin (I still don’t fundamentally understand how the disposables suck up all moisture and retain it. It is convenient and mechanically cool, and we used our fair share of them, but I am a bit weirded out by it. Also, so many of them are bleached and plasticy). We used disposables when we were traveling or needed the convenience. I’m not a cloth diaper crusader by any means, though. It worked for us, and we’d do it again, but that doesn’t mean it would work for everyone. Good luck and congratulations.

    • We used cloth diapers for our youngest two children. We also used disposibles when traveling. Cloth diapers have changed a lot over the years. However, without a washer and dryer, you would probably have to use a diaper service (as you mentioned) and at least where I live, they will only do the pre-folds that have to be pinned and used with a cover. We did not use those kind of diapers, but rather used all-in-ones and the pocket diapers. It was not too difficult, but my husband stayed home with the baby so he was able to keep up with the laundry. I thought it did help us save money (I was a brand new lawyer working for a non-profit at the time and we were trying to save money, but also cared about the environmental impact. I know that is a debated subject however.)

      • A diaper service may limit the type of diapers that you can use. This could be an issue for childcare as some center don’t allow cloth diapers and those that do, only allow certain diaper set-ups. Just do some research.

      • hoola hoopa :


        We did cloth for our two kids (at home during the day – disposables out and about, at daycare, and nighttime) and loved them. I can’t recommend the BumGenius one-size all-in-ones enough. It’s as easy a disposable.

        BUT, I would have HATED them had I needed to store them up for a week and haul them down to the laundromat. Friends and family have happily used diaper services, but that seemed like a pain to me. First off, you have week-old diapers that are sooo stinky. Secondly, you’re limited to prefolds which are just ‘okay’ (no more pins and plastic pants – look at snappi clips and thirties diaper covers). Thirdly, the service is far more expensive than using your own cloth diapers or disposables. That said, they didn’t know any better and were really happy with the diaper service.

        As for diaper rash, it depends on the kid and which disposable you are comparing. My oldest has sensitive skin and cloth diapers made a huge difference. But also we realized that the rash was not nearly such an issue when we used Huggies or generic disposables (we like Kirkland). Effing Pampers were to blame; I suspect it’s the fragrance and the desiccant. With my second kid, it really didn’t matter as she does not have sensitive skin… although I never put her in Pampers. Their diaper design is flawed, too. Don’t fall for the marketing!

        • That’s interesting, my never-had-diaper-rash-only-used-disposables kid was all Huggies. At the time they had ones with a “cloth like cover” that I just personally preferred, so that’s what I bought. Interesting!

    • At the risk of starting a flame war with those readers who are superwomen and successfully did cloth (yay, you!) – for the love of GOD use disposables. Just do it and don’t feel an iota of guilt. Also, if you can get it in the States, use Sudacreme every time – a miracle British invention. This approach totally saved my tender, diaper-rash prone babies’ little behinds once I figured it out (and as a result quite a fear mommy tears, too).

      Also, congratulations and best wishes for all the wonderful baby time ahead of you!

      • I think it’s normal for a first-time mother to investigate all the options. It certainly does sound appealing to do all the “natural” things for one’s unique, precious bundle. (I was the same way, but with my total of 6 kids I left that stage long ago). Remember that detergent is generally not natural or amazing for the environment. If disposable diapers are irritating, detergent residue could also be irritating.

        I made all the baby food for my first child until we went on vacation at 11 months. For traveling, I caved and bought Beech-nut jars, and it was the world’s biggest revelation. The little food mill or blender or whatever I used went into hibernation forever.

      • dancinglonghorn :

        Horray for Sudecream! I’m British and when I go home to the UK, I stock up on that! I use it for any sun damage – instead of Aloe Vera. It works amazing and restores my milky complexion the next day! Try it if your kids get sunburned – you’ll be amazed!

    • Ciao, pues :

      I totally disagree that his is a rich-mama/ guily-mama thing. Cloth diapers are CHEAPER than disposables, even when you figure in the cost of laundering or using a service. We live in Boston and our service is 21$ a week (Boston), and includes all diapers, pick-up, and drop-off. You’ll spend more than that in disposables in a week for sure. Like someone mentioned before, our moms used cloth because they couldn’t afford disposables, which were new-fangled modern inventions and came with a hefty price tag to show-off. Cloths have traditionally been the arena of the less wealthy, not the other way around. I do agree that cloths have enjoyed a resurgence in the last several years and may be considered trendy, but I think this has more to do with environmental awareness than showing off your fancy. All of that plastic and bleach and chemicals against my baby’s skin and then in the landfill forever? No thanks.

      • Another desi :

        That’s not true about cost. I have amazon mom and spend about $38 a month on a case of diapers

    • As someone who lives in an apartment and shares a washer/dryer with other people, please don’t cloth diaper and use communal washers/dryers that aren’t necessarily built to sanitize. I’m so grossed out by this. If it’s your own washer/dryer, or it was meant to sanitize, fine, but I can say with certainty that the washers/dryers in my apartment complex do not get hot enough to make me comfortable with someone washing cloth diapers regularly in the same machine I use to wash my the pillowcase I put my face on at night.

      • This is the part I find so gross.

      • Sorry, but that’s just part of living in an apartment building with a shared washer and dryer. There’s all sorts of ick factors. Who knows what kind of laundry your building-mates are putting in there. I’m trying not to think too much about it, but basically, if you are unsure about the sanitizing properties of your washer, then you’re probably already sleeping on someone else’s bodily fluids.

      • Alanna of Trebond :

        Maybe I just find this confusing, but it is the same washer and dryer that adults wash their underwear, their lingerie and their own sheets in, all of which could have unsanitary materials on them. Why are those more gross than diapers? What am I missing?

        • Do people wipe their butts on their sheets? Sorry to be crass, but there’s a hell of a lot more harmful bacteria in fecal matter than there is on someone’s lingerie.

        • Presumably there is less ‘matter’ there. Most adults do know how to wipe.

        • I think it’s like how there’s a certain percentage of rat hair that is allowed in the dry cereal you buy at the grocery store that we accept out of necessity, but you wouldn’t exactly chow down on a bowl of rat hair in the morning.

    • I used cloth diapers, but it was 5 years ago and things have gotten a lot better. The best things about cloth diapers for me were less leakage and less diaper rash. Amy Storch, a blogger, has TONS of info on cloth diapering on her blog

      • Wow, lots of opinions here. Using a service makes it just as easy as using disposables, in my experience. Plus I didn’t have to take the trash out all the time, just set the bag outside our door once a week (trash goes all the way down to the street).

        I did it because of the potty training thing. They have a better awareness of when they are wet. Side benefit is that I never experienced a blow-out (except when traveling, and using disposables!).

        Now that my son is really hard to change (always moving), it would be easier to use disposables because he doesn’t have to lie down to put them on, but I am sticking with it because we are close to potty training time.

    • We use cloth for days, disposables at night. We wash our own, but live in the suburbs. In the city, I think a diaper service would be the way to go, since we do laundry at least every other day and when our washing machine broke, that was way too much time to be spending at the laundromat. They are not a hassle to deal with. We take a wet bag out with us (in the diaper bag) and just stick wet/dirty inserts in it to wash later. I think the washing gets a bit more complicated when the baby starts eating solids, we plan to use disposable liners at that stage. Anyway, I can’t recommend a particular service, but wanted to say that it’s really not been a hassle for us, and I think having a service would make it even easier.

      • Also, for upthread, no. This is not some weird excuse to increase the work involved in having a baby. That idea would make my friends laugh so hard – it is the opposite of my approach to parenthood. Rather, we care about the environment and live in an area where cloth is definitely the more environmentally friendly approach (it varies by geography, in particular by the state of your local water supply). Also, we are frugal people and this is cheaper.

    • Legal recruiter in DE? :

      I’m a big law associate and we cloth diaper for cost and environmental reasons. We’ve always had our own washer and dryer, which makes it easier. I spend about 10 minutes 3 nights a week washing diapers. In our large, coastal city, every daycare we considered would use cloth diapers. My son does get diaper rash, but usually when he is on antibiotics.

    • Emancipated Cloth Diaper-er :

      Wow! Evidently this is a really hot topic! There’s a whole lot of judgment going around. Everything is a balance, and different values are weighed differently for everyone. There’s no one right way to raise kids. I mean, I wouldn’t buy and do the same things for a beagle and a great dane, and I happen to think there’s a whole lot more variation for PEOPLE BABIES and FAMILIES then dogs…

      That said, my husband and I both work full-time and we cloth diaper. I decided that exclusively BF-ing was important to me – my husband is actually the one who absolutely wanted to cloth diaper (we want to have at least 4 children, maybe more, so cost was a consideration, + chemicals for us…we don’t care about landfills. Those are just our priorities…everyone can have different priorities and none are wrong). I was VERY resistant – cloth diapering plus BFing plus working attorney seemed like a recipe for a nervous breakdown. So he agreed to do all the cloth diaper laundry.

      Five months in, I’m totally converted. It is way, way easier than I thought it would be! My favorite part: WE NEVER, EVER RUN OUT OF DIAPERS because they are always in our house. I find it much easier to look and see there are three diapers left and tell my husband to/just dump and run a load than to see three diapers and think “how are we going to get to the store?”

      Our daycare takes the cloth diapers – we are the only baby they have with them, but we just send 6 diapers/day and a wet bag, and they drop them in there (he only uses ~4-5 diapers a day) and we drop in the laundry (those plus previous evening/night/morning) while we make dinner/play etc. They have 2 extra on board in case there’s a crazy day. Once they knew they could ‘treat’ them the same as disposables – they didn’t have to rinse poop out or anything – they were much more on board.

      Feel free to ask questions (or heap judgment on me) – but I am now a fan.

      • Basic question about cloth diapers – what do you do when they are particularly “full”? Can you really just put them directly in the washer like that?

        • When they have been pooped in, you dump the poop into the toilet before washing them. My understanding is that the way to go is to use a biodegradable liner that essentially contains the poop, so you just take out the liner with the poop in in and put that down the toilet, then the diaper itself goes in the diaper pail.

        • Trying again….I’ve been moderated, probably due to the excessive use of one particular word:

          When they have been p00ped in, you dump the p00p into the toilet before washing them. My understanding is that the way to go is to use a biodegradable liner that essentially contains the p00p, so you just take out the liner with the p00p in in and put that down the toilet, then the diaper itself goes in the diaper pail.

          • Thanks! Is this gross, or is it just something you get used to when you have babies and are awash in p00p?

        • Pregomama :

          You dump them out in the toilet. Flush. Then launder. :)

    • From those counting how many months it takes before cloth is cheaper, remember that while a newborn will go through a dozen diapers a day, a toddler will use less than half of that. The number of diapers used per day drops off dramatically well before the child is toilet trained.

      • This reminded me of another thing–I used cloth with 2 of my 3 kids. However, I potty trained them all at the same (probably considered early) age. Cutting out that year or more of diapers really made a difference in terms of cost, environmental impact, etc.

    • I work full time and my husband is gone quite a bit. BFing was most important to me, so I decided to start with disposable and focus on the BFing. I went back to work at 3 months, and wanted to give pumping/bottles/daycare routine a month. I decided to re-evaluate my options at 4 months.

      I’ll be honest and say I’m overwhelmed by morning routine, working/pumping, evening routine, playing with baby, and then bedtime routine. I just don’t feel like I could keep my sanity if I tried to add cloth diapers (and all the extra rinsing and laundry) into the mix, and I don’t feel comfortable spending more for a diaper service, since newborn daycare is so expensive. (Seconding the Amazon Mom comment – disposables are super cheap.)

      So disposables it is. But just wanted to encourage you – there’s no reason to decide forever and ever right now. Many cloth diapering parents I know did newborn disposables at first, because there are just SO MANY diapers the first few weeks, and everything is so overwhelming while you adjust. Give yourself time to make the decision later, if you need it.

    • I used them for all of 2 days. Son got rash. Switched to disposables and used vaseline (good ol’s petrolatum) as diaper cream and NEVER EVER had any issue.

  12. For those that have gone on mat. leave…looking for a little help on my out of office.

    I’ve got “thanks for your email. I’m out on maternity leave beginning X. For questions on A, contact B. For questions re: C, contact D. I look forward to speaking with you upon my return.”

    “I will be on maternity leave begining X. Please contact [my boss] with any urgent matters.”

    Is that about right? I have it worded more formally, of course, but I’m mostly thinking that I don’t need a return date or any personal contact info, right?

    Is putting that i’m on “maternity” leave vs. any other kind appropriate?

    Am I over thinking this?

    • I just got an automated “maternity leave” response this morning. I think it’s OK.

    • I think your internal is fine, but your external might require a little more direction. What plans have you made up with your boss or colleagues? Is someone(your boss, a colleague) handling your work while you are out? Saying “with any urgent matters” doesn’t really fit with the amount of time I assume you will be out. If your leave is 3 months long, matters that are not necessarily urgent may need to be addressed with in that time frame. If you go on a week’s vacation, things that are non “urgent” can probably wait til you get back. I’d talk to your manager about what they want you to put.

    • Oh and I wouldn’t put a return date since that could change. And definitely no personal contact info. If your office needs to contact you about something (whether directly or on behalf of a client), they will.

    • hoola hoopa :

      I also feel the external might need more direction, but it does depend on who externally would be contacting you and whether they will be able to discern what is “urgent” and what is not. It may be as simple as replacing “urgent” with something like “requests that need a response before I return.”

      Putting “maternity leave” is a personal choice. I see it more and more frequently these days. IMO the big plus is that it explains that you will be out for an extended period but not because you had a serious injury or medical condition, but the big minus is that you may be someone or in a position where you don’t want to broadcast personal details or advertise that you’re a new mom.

      Do not put personal contact info. Leave it with those providing coverage who you trust won’t abuse it. They should act as the middle-man, if that’s what your coverage plan includes.

      My personal preference is to give some sort of rough end date, like “mid-December” or “around the new year.” Maternity leave lengths can vary widely and many people don’t know what’s standard or simply do their calendar math wrong. But that’s admittedly a minority opinion.

    • I think it’s fine. Mine read “I am out of the office on leave for the next few months. I will not have access to emails during this time and will respond to your message when I return. For urgent matters, contact X.”

      I didn’t have a defined return date, so wanted to keep it open. And I wanted to be clear that I would not be monitoring my emails. I’ve found, at least in my corner of the industry, “maternity” seems to give people the impression that you’ll be checking in – I absolutely did not open my computer after I set the out of office.

  13. Ponte dress help :

    I just bought my first ponte dress & am wearing it at work today…..seems very work appropriate when I’m standing & fits great, actually long enough, not low neck etc.

    This one:

    But with the stretchy material, I am finding that it rides up as I am walking around. Is this normal, or am I doing something wrong (wrong size, wrong underlayers – I have a stretchy shaper/slip under it)

    • I find sometimes knits catch on shapers. If you take off the shaper, it probably won’t ride up.

    • (Former) Clueless Summer :

      I have a similar dress (same one but sleeveless) and don’t find it rides up but I usually wear tights or hose as opposed to a shaper or slip. I have another ponte dress that rides up though.

      Rub your undergarments/dress with a static dryer sheet. But there is a bit of just tugging it down through the day with ponte I think.

    • OCAssociate :

      Love this dress – I’m thinking of ordering it. How does the sizing run? (I’m short and hippy.)

      • Ponte dress help :

        I’m also pear shaped & was glad to find a dress that actually works for me – I’d say it runs TTS.

        normally wear 10-12 on top & 12-14 on bottoms. bought the dress in a L. It’s a little big on top (not overly so) & fits my hips well.
        I’m 5’8″ and it comes to the top of my kneecaps.

    • Baconpancakes :

      How did you know I was looking for a green ponte dress for work? Clever girl!

    • ExcelNinja :

      I miss Jacob since moving to the U.S. :-(

  14. Ok, I am one week away from my 29th birthday, and have noticed deepish wrinkles going down the sides of my chin (straight down from my lips). I have no idea what these are called, but is there any way to slow/fix these? I always thought I would be ok with wrinkles, but when I looked in the mirror yesterday I was seriously disturbed.

  15. I need a lil advice. I work for SaSS company. One of my colleagues is very nasty to me. Technically, she Sr to me (by about 1 yr), and to a certain degree, I report to her. She has behaved unprofessionally a few times and made nasty comments (some passive-aggressive, some aggressive). She is generally unhelpful and rude. As you can imagine this contributes to error and lengthy email back and forth between she and I.

    Does anyone have thoughts for how to handle this? I have reported it to management, and I don’t feel good abt bringing it up again unless I’m ready to go to blows about this (which I’m not). Thoughts…?

    • Talk to her in person or call her, if she’s not in your office. People are less nasty to your face or are hopefully somewhat shamed about it. Behave professionally and don’t engage.

      • I like that. Any thoughts on how to balance that w/ leaving a paper trail via email? Should I send a clear follow up after in person meetings? Or is that overkill?

        • Killer Kitten Heels :

          I don’t think there’s anything wrong with dealing with an issue in-person, then sending a short follow-up email, along the lines of “Suzy, in follow-up to our discussion this morning, it’s my understanding that the next steps for me to take on the Widget account are X, Y, and Z. I’ll have X and Y completed by Friday, and will send you Z by Monday at 12. Please let me know if you have any thoughts or concerns.”

          That way you’re not completely re-hashing the verbal discussion, but you are clarifying exactly what your responsibilities are and setting clear expectations for deadlines/scope of work.

  16. I applied for a federal job that closed this week. What can I do for next steps? Can I contact the listed person to follow up? Or just sit tight. (I think the answer is sit tight. I just really want this job.)

    • The person listed isn’t there. I’d say trying to contact them would look like you were unaware, so sit tight! After the gov’t reopens, I’d wait a few days and contact them then to make sure they received your materials.

      • Oh they are there, they are an open one. But I think I’ll wait a few days anyway because I don’t want to do it immediately, and then you think contact by email?

      • USAJobs has a function that should show the current status of your application, including that it was received. Don’t call or email to confirm receipt. It will look like you don’t understand how to use the website.

    • Sit tight and realize it might take a long time for something to happen or maybe nothing will ever happen. I applied for a position in July and no action was taken on it until the posting was cancelled this week. This isn’t a great time for fed hiring, unfortunately.

    • Do you know anyone in the agency/office where you applied? Some of these postings draw 1,000 applicants (not hyperbole). While the process is supposed to be insulated from allowing friends to hire friends, if someone can flag your resume for the hiring person, that can go a long way toward getting you an interview. Scour your network (including LinkedIn, alumni databases, etc.) and see if anyone you know works there. If the person is an actual friend or former co-worker, you can probably just say “hey, I applied for this job — would you be willing to put in a word for me?” If it’s a more distant connection, you could say you applied and were interested in getting more info on the job.

      Definitely don’t contact the person listed. That’s just someone in the agency’s HR department who fields factual questions about applications.

  17. Have any of you ever taken a strict and official break from dating, flirting, canoodling, etc? Why did you do it and would you recommend it to other women struggling in the single rat race?

    About 1.5 years ago, I got out of a long, serious relationship (engagement). I took time off dating after the break-up, but it seems like all of the men I’ve dated since are just awful. No real relationships, just flings that end badly and dramatically. Like the Navy SEAL who “went to Afghanistan” and was then spotted in town by multiple friends. Or worse, the man who ruptured my spleen.

    It makes me worry that I’m sending out terrible signals, attracting the wrong people, inviting drama etc. when what I really want is something quiet, steady, and serious. A man with whom to watch Suits and eat vegetables. Would calling it quits for three months (a No Dates ‘Til 2014 rule) solve anything?

    Also, dating takes up a decent portion of my current social life. Tips for how to fill that time and avoid getting lonely?

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I’m doing this currently, except it’s not voluntary and it has been going on for like four years now…

      Sorry to start on a flippant note, but the point is, I guess, that it may help you figure out what you want. Especially if you are a person who feels like you have to have someone in your life all the time to feel complete, it might help you feel more comfortable about looking for the right guy if you first get used to just being by yourself.

      Personally, I love being single and I enjoy my own company, so I know that it would take someone pretty spectacular to break into my little cocoon of a world, but depending on the reasons why you are not enjoying dating, a break might work.

      Of course, if TV shows are anything to go by, as soon as you take a break you will meet the man of your dreams!

    • Have you considered therapy? If you’re worried that you’re sending the wrong signals and seem to consistently attract men who aren’t what you’re looking for (when you said a man ruptured your spleen, do you mean he hit you so hard it ruptured!? That’s clearly the kind of person you want to be able to identify and avoid in the future!), then it seems like a therapist could help you figure out what you’re doing and how send the signals to get what you really do want.

      • Senior Attorney :


        I think it can be helpful to have somebody to help you look at your patterns and how you may be contributing to them. And a therapist might have some input regarding whether a dating hiatus might be helpful.

      • What TBK said. I would use this time to learn more about yourself, and learn how to read the “red flags” that are these types of guys’ little behavioral clues.

        I’d add this — I know someone in the psychiatric profession who has done work in prisons with some of the worst people on earth (child molesters). She told me that many of these prisoners have told her that they have a strong “prey” sense — they can scan a playground and just by looking at body language cues and how a child interacts with other children and/or with teachers, just know which children will they can pick off. (They’re screening for someone who won’t protest, run away, or tell someone and get help.)

        I don’t mean to say that the crappy guys you’re dating are child molesters. Just that they, too, have a sense of which women will put up with their BS (as least long enough to endure a few dates or even an actual relationship.) People who are crappy, manipulative, bullies, etc. tend to have that strong sense of who they want to prey on. Many of them aren’t even aware that they’re looking for someone to prey on, but that is the pattern of behavior. And it’s unfortunate, because many good, kind people, like you, can sometimes get chewed up and run over in the process.

    • How did someone rupture your spleen? (Do we want to know?)

      Take the break and throw yourself into something else. Join a social group like Junior League or an alumni group where you can meet new friends, and then be aggressive about making plans with them.

      During your break think about therapy or something else that might help you figure out what you want, as Woods-comma-Elle said.

    • I did this for a year in my mid-twenties. I was also getting over a tough breakup and decided to leave the dating world entirely–no dates, kisses, etc.–complete celibacy. I probably flirted with guys occasionally but that was it. For me, it was great. It gave me the mental and psychological space to heal, to focus on other things without the idea of men or relationships even making a dent in my brain. I didn’t have a set end date or anything like that, and pretty much kept it going until I was asked out by a man I knew without hesitation I wanted to go out with. I don’t think I would have had that clarity without my year-long absence from the dating world. For me it just felt right in my gut to step away and take that break, so if this is something you feel is what you really need, just know other ladies have done the same and felt good about it. Good luck to you!

    • anon a mouse :

      Yes. I went through something similar – a breakup of a long-term relationship followed by a series of terrible dates/short-term flings. In fact, it was after a terrible date that I realized that I was better off by myself for a while than being with someone who wasn’t worth my time. A friend of mine described it as a velvet-rope test for my time — someone had to prove they were worth it.

      It was hard at first, but I forced myself to stop thinking about wanting a boyfriend or not being coupled. I worked on my friendships, my hobbies, my exercise (lost about 40 pounds), exploring my city, and teaching myself a new language. Looking back, it was challenging but I really became comfortable being by myself at home and in public. It also made me more comfortable in my own skin and more aware of what was important to me. It lasted close to 3 years for me, and then I met my now-husband.

    • Seattleite :

      I don’t think it is useful to add an ending date. I think it’s better to start dating again when you have a single life that you really love, and would be content with if you were single forever. No accommodating (possibly toxic) other people…just you, and what you want.

      After that, we’re in a better position to evaluate whether a new love interest fits our dreams and values, and whether he/she is worth the necessary adjustments.

      It might take 3 months. It might take longer. But don’t date until you’re really happy, and don’t date just to fill time.

      • This is what I finally did after a divorce and a subsequent several year disaster of a relationship. (Followed by multiple horrible dates and flings). I just decided, I’m not going to ‘wait’ anymore for anything, I’m going to build the life I want. I did not date, I did not worry about it. It was only after this that I met my now husband. He’s great, and a TOTALLY different (healthier, more honest, kinder) man than I ever dated before.

        Change YOU into what you want to be, change YOUR life into the life you want to have. Maybe someone will fit into it, but either way, you’ve got the life you want.

    • ExcelNinja :

      I haven’t read the other replies yet, but went through a similar situation in 2009. I told myself I would not get into a relationship again until 2010 at the earliest. I still dated (which was mostly horrible as you describe), and had a couple of lovely flings and flirtations with male acquaintances (which was mostly wonderful, and one of them is now a dear friend), but didn’t get into anything serious.

      I LOVED it. Highly recommend. I learned so much about myself in that time and got into such a great groove of taking care of myself (eating & exercising), loving my little condo downtown, and figuring out what my priorities were in life without having to answer/consider anyone else’s feelings.

      In fact, I was loving it so much that I intended to continue this lifestyle as long as possible, but sadly my now-DH had to saunter along and mess it all up :-)

  18. Proactiv for chest acne? :

    I have horrible chest acne. I’ve tried over-the-counter stuff and it does nothing. Then I went to the derm, who recommended Fougera cream… and it hasn’t helped a bit. Thoughts on whether I should try Proactiv before resorting to an antibiotic (the last resort)?

    • Wildkitten :

      If you do make sure you buy it at a store and don’t order it from them directly. They’ll just keep sending it to you and keep charging you forever. There are lawsuits about it, so don’t get yourself stuck in that cycle!

    • All proactive did for me was bleach my bras and make me itchy.

    • I would not use anything with benzoyl peroxide (Proactive) because it will probably ruin all of your bras. I would try antibiotics ahead of that. It might be hormonal, so you could also look into starting or changing hormonal birth control to help manage it. Another alternative to creams is to try changing your diet ( or for the nerd version,

    • Have you tried tea tree oil? It can be drying but there are good products out there.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      Have you tried consulting an esthetician? If you contact a good day spa, they’ll usually have someone on staff who specializes in acne treatment, and they’ll be able to recommend products/treatments that may help.

      (I get bad acne on my face, and after years of epic failure with various dermatologists, monthly facials at a really good spa + use of spa products at home has finally cleared things up for me.)

  19. This really saddens and annoys me:

    • Anonymous :

      People still think the daily mail articles are real? The onion is satire btw in case you don’t know that either.

      • Woods-comma-Elle :

        The Daily Mail is not, sadly, satire. It is totally real and it is terrifying.

        • Anonymous :

          Its not real- there have plenty of articles about how those pieces are fake. Just look at her next article months later- same clothing in the pictures and no mention of the 3rd child

          • Woods-comma-Elle :

            It may be fake in the sense that it is made up, but it is not intended to be satire. I The Daily Mail is supposedly a serious newspaper, though it has a terrible reputation. I know someone who writes for them (but I don’t particularly respect this person).

            Incidentally, the only other article on the site I could find by this author was two months previously and the photos I don’t really put much weight on, as she is probably just a ‘contributor’ and they recycle the same pictures.

            For the record, I happen to think the Daily Mail is terrible, but I have never seen anything suggesting it is not supposed to be taken seriously by its target audience -as far as I can tell, it is not intended to be funny fake news stories like the Onion or the Daily Mash.

            Maybe I shouldn’t have engaged in this, oh well, back to work!

          • I don’t take the Daily Mail seriously in the least, and yet I find it strangely addicting…

          • Anonymous :

            I never said it was satire. Its just made up

      • Calibrachoa :

        And even if it were not, jut look at the comments section and despair.

        • Woods-comma-Elle :

          There has been a website doing the rounds here in the UK that tests ‘how much does the Daily Mail hate you’. As an un-married woman with both parents born outside the UK, I was off the scale…

  20. PSA for Chicago Loop Cole Haan lovers. The stock at Nordstrom Rack on State was particularly good today. I got a pair of what I think are Air Violets (almond toe, 2″ ish heel) in black patent, which they had several of and they also had some cute boots and flats.

work fashion blog press mentions