Frugal Friday’s Workwear Report: Maze Clean Tee

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

I think this is a fun but wearable pattern for work. (It looks like it’s inspired by the Greek key design.) I like the looser vibe to it — you could tuck it in or wear it out, and for some reason I’m seeing it with a high-waisted pant or skirt, but that’s me. It’s machine washable and it’s getting good reviews at Loft. The top is available in regular and petite sizes XXS-XL at $54 full price. Maze Clean Tee

Two plus-size options are here (cold-shoulder style, though) and here, both at Nordstrom.

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  1. Dining alone :

    What are your tips for dining alone while travelling? I have a couple of Europe work trips coming up and I’ll have at least a few evenings by myself. Being alone in a restaurant feels super awkward for me, but I also don’t want to do just do room service every night.

    • If you want company, sit at the bar. If you want to be among people but keep to yourself, bring a book (or something else to keep you occupied).

    • anonshmanon :

      If you work with someone local, ask them for restaurant recs, especially not-so-busy ones. Seconding the suggestion to take a book, it absolutely works.
      Right now though, the weather in much of central Europe is sunny and lovely. So you could easily do takeout and a park bench somewhere nice.

    • I moved to a new city fairly recently, and I do a LOT of dining out on my own. At first I was pretty wary, but then realized that I’d never actually get to try all the fantastic options if I didn’t go out by myself. So my tips for dining alone:

      1) Bring a book. Or Kindle or iPad or eReader, which are easier to use one-handed.
      2) Make friends with your waiter.
      3) Consider sitting at the bar for chatting, or near a window for people-watching.

      And have a wonderful time. :)

    • cat socks :

      I agree with the others. Sit at the bar or if you’re at a table bring some reading material. I use the Kindle app on my phone or Overdrive to check out library books.

    • I eat alone quite a bit when traveling, I’ll either sit at the bar (end seats are great, you can make friends with the bartender and have a bit more elbow room) or bring a book (or both). If you’re nervous, maybe start out with some places that it isn’t so odd to sit and eat at the bar – like a sushi restaurant, or a tapas place?
      I really enjoy eating alone now – with a kid I rarely get a chance to have a relaxing meal in peace! And truly – the bartenders usually take great care of you since they get that their tip will be higher.

    • Anonymous :

      I love dining alone in a new city. I get to try out the restaurants that I find interesting without the awkward “where do you want to eat? I don’t know, where do you want to eat?” dance, and no one will judge me if I decide to order an appetizer for dinner or eat a giant dessert. All of the tips above are great–ask locals for recommendations, sit at the bar if you want to chat (but see warning below), take a book or Kindle.

      Re. sitting at the bar, I will warn you as a solo woman traveler I have had some unpleasant experiences in hotel bars in mid-range U.S. chain hotels that cater to a certain population of frequent business travelers who are primarily male. In nicer hotels and restaurants I have had no issues sitting at the bar.

      • Some men just seem to assume any woman alone at a bar is asking to be picked up. I’ve had men hit on me at a Four Seasons, a Ritz, the Intercontinental, etc. etc. The bartenders however, were VERY good about intervening if I showed any signs of being uncomfortable. The joys of business travel while female…

      • Dining alone :

        On your second point, I hate that this is a thing we have to be concerned about as women. :( It totally already crossed my mind that I should always wear my wedding ring (not foolproof, I know), but then I get angry that I even have to consider that!

        To all of you: Thank you so much for the advice! It makes me feel much more comfortable about sitting alone with a book!

      • Mastering the art of returning someone’s glance/look/stare without smiling is key. Without smiling at all just look back right into his face, without looking away or down right away as though you are being coy, but not so long as to be aggressive or weird (although weird keeps them away too). My look says, “I see that you are looking at me, and I am deliberately not smiling at you.” I do not get hit on. (Maybe I’m just horrible looking is why, but I’m pretty sure it’s the thousand yard stare.)

        • +1 I have major RBF all the time. I never get hit on. It had the added bonus that no one (male or female) ever acknowledged that I was pregnant (despite me being visibly pregnant) until I was past 40 weeks, and no one ever touched my stomach.

        • Yup. This works.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          I’m pretty sure I have RBF because people don’t really even make eye contact with me. Whatever. I’ll smile at literally everyone, but I am also PRO at the thousand yard stare. Lots and lots of pratice when I had to wear oxygen for a few weeks- I can outstare literally anyone.

        • I’m objectively attractive. I do this instinctually, and I never get hit on. I think this is why.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        My approach is totally YMMV as I’ve heard it has backfired for others. I’ll smile, let them start a conversation (heck, I like meeting new people. Networking and all that). I very quickly though say something like “hey, I just want to be clear. I’m here for work and happy to chat with you but I’m happily married. I’ve had some people annoyed they wasted their time talking to me when I wasn’t interested in more so I just want to put it out there up front. No hard feeling s if you want to go talk to someone else.” Usually they say something like, oh, ugh, thanks for telling me, we can still chat. And then ten minutes or so later they move on. Or they say they are married too and also traveling on business but prefer to not dine alone. I don’t travel that much though so I don’t have a ton of experience with this.

    • Aunt Jamesina :

      Since you’ll be in Europe, I like eating outside and people watching when I’m alone.

    • I also love eating alone. Bring a book and read it until your food comes. Once your food comes, just focus on slowly eating it and enjoying it, while people watching or zoning out. I can pay so much more attention to my food and really enjoy it when alone. Once they take your food away, pick up the book again and enjoy it until you’ve settled the bill.

      • Legal Canuck :

        I love eating alone. I use my kobo app and catch up on reading (for pleasure). I get to eat in peace and quiet and enjoy the food! I also get to eat in places that are higher scale than the usually family friendly places we go to when traveling with the kids.
        As for getting hit on, it really doesn’t bother me and it helps me remember that I am still a female (not just a mom, as my 5 year old said “you’re not a girl, you’re a mom).

        • There is getting hit on, and then there is getting harassed by a lonely construction worker who has had a few too many beers and is very persistent.

          • Yep. I actually had a really nice conversation one time with a guy who was sitting at the bar eating by himself, but shifted over once we started talking. He had a ring on and so did I, and we showed each other pictures of our kids, talked about our spouses, etc. We were in the same field (at the hotel for a conference) and he had more experience in a particular area than I did, so he gave me some great pointers and resources that were helpful to me later. I also got invited, one time, to join a group of women who were breakfasting together and that was really nice.

            Then there was the time when the female bartender had to call hotel security because this drunk a – hole wouldn’t leave me (and a couple of the other women eating in the bar) alone.

            Unfortunately, you just never know what you’re going to get when you walk in the restaurant by yourself. I bring a book – not my phone, an actual physical book – when I’m 100% not interested in conversing with anyone.

    • Nothing much new to add, except that the first time is the hardest if you aren’t used to eating alone, and it gets a lot easier after that. Places where you will probably feel less conspicuous are either more casual cafes or hotel restaurants in the business district.

      However, if you are a foodie and really want to try the local restaurants (especially on an expense account), don’t miss the opportunity! The first time I ate at a nice restaurant I felt a little weird, like everyone was staring at me, but now (I travel alone quite a bit for both work and fun), I’m unfazed.

    • Nothing much new to add, except that the first time is the hardest if you aren’t used to eating alone, and it gets a lot easier after that. Places where you will probably feel less conspicuous are either more casual cafes or hotel restaurants in the business district.

      However, if you are a foodie and really want to try the local restaurants (especially on an expense account), don’t miss the opportunity!

    • Arundhati Roy :

      I travel alone a LOT, and eat most of my meals alone! Take a book if you want to read, but there is absolutely nothing wrong in dining alone! Enjoy your meal, drink good wine and people watch. It is therapeutic!

  2. Caraa Studio bags? :

    Anyone have a Caraa bag? I’m looking for a new work bag that can fit my mac 13″, peripherals, and sometimes be my sport bag for shoes and workout clothes. Ideally, I’d like to be able to sometimes use it as a bike commuting bag. I’m looking at either the studio bag or the studio 2. Weight is an issue, so while I love leather, if it’s too heavy, I’m out.

    Any other suggestions welcome.

    • I looked at that one and it looked cool, but ended up going with a Knomo Curzon because I wanted to use it more for work. The Caraa also looked slightly bowling ball bag-esque to me, and I couldn’t quite get past that. Very very happy with the Knomo.

      • Caraa Studio bags? :

        Thanks, that helps — I have a Knomo now (the Wigmore? it’s a discontinued model), and I love it, but not suitable for the bike!

  3. What would you say makes the difference between an outfit looking “Mumsy” rather than classic?

    I’m struggling with casual clothes. I need to replace items, but the current look of skinny ankle pants/flowy tops does nothing for my curves. I’d like to stick with more classic pieces but I don’t want to look like The Holding Up Well Grandma in the background of a Lands End catalog.

    • ok I don’t have advice, but am sitting here cracking up at “The Holding Up Well Grandma in the background of a Lands End catalog.” Thanks for the giggle this morning!

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        She looks so great *for her age*!

      • Anonymous :

        As a frequent browser of LE catalogs, I absolutely love the archetype description!!!

        To the OP’s question, I do think it comes to nuances in fit and style. But really – I am a true proponent that if something fits you well and you feel good in it, you’ll look a million times better than if you’re wearing something trendy.

    • Anonymous :

      I think skinny jeans and flowy tops is a very suburban PTA look. Nothing is really a “classic” either. Don’t wear really old clothes, don’t shop at Lands End, Talbots, or Boden (they all have some great pieces but really easy to slide into mumsy). Try something like this:

      • When you’ve had a baby, flowy tops are a godsend.

      • Disagree on the Lands End. I buy a lot of dresses from there and constantly get compliments from my (younger, trendier) colleagues. Washable stretch ponte knit/jersey is a godsend, and in the past few years I really think they’ve made an effort to focus on design/style. I have a few cute tops from there and bought a bunch of colored skinny corduroys for last winter (teal, magenta, etc.) in a long that actually was the right length that got me tons of compliments all winter (other than from my 24 year old NYC based accountant sister who believes clothing should only come in black). FWIW I’m 30 and work in a business casual office.

      • Sorry, but that J. Crew top is hideous. I wouldn’t wear that even if I could pull it off.

        • It looks very Forever 21 to me. And meant in the worst way possible. If anything, I think something that looks classic vs. frumpy is usually a matter of picking the right fabric. A lot of the comments the other day on “how to look like old money” come to mind. That top to me just reads cheap and trying too hard for someone out of their early 20s. It’s the equivalent of a guy at similar age consideration wearing dark jeans with ornate stitching on the pockets. When something is a trend, it doesn’t mean it’s the right one for everyone.

          • all about eevee :

            Can anyone link me to the old money thread? I have been searching for it the past few days and can’t seem to find it again.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            Here it is:

        • Yeah, I’m really hating this awful “cold shoulder” trend. It’s horrendous.

    • cat socks :

      You Look Fab has some “Ensemble” posts with example of outfits for various occasions.

      • Wait–what is this YouLookFab site?!?! This looks like exactly what I need!!!! Off to dive down the rabbit hole…

        • I love Angie and YLF but watch out for the comments section. Not only are you required to adore every selection she offers (and unless your taste runs to 1970s tomboy with square heeled white boots, you probably won’t) but you’re also required to tell Angie how fabulous she is each and every day.

          I don’t think Angie set this tone and I certainly don’t think she requires the idolatry she gets, but those everyday commenters will run you right out of town if you don’t toe the line.

          • OMG, yes! I thought it was just me. Love the content, but the forum is like a cult.

          • Aunt Jamesina :

            Bingo. I’ve read You Look Fab on and off since its inception (mostly for the early posts on organizing a closet and growing a wardrobe with personal style), but she has an oddball group of sycophants who ape her (very specific to her as a a Dutch person by way of South Africa and international schooling) wording and style. It’s quite strange.

            Angie herself is awesome, however.

          • Oh yeah, you bought a new “frock”? Girl, really?

            And the shopaholism – wow.

          • OMG, the forums. Nice women, but I don’t visit much anymore. When I do, it’s the same people who have been there for years.

            I also don’t think Angie is that *nice.* I think she has a snide/snobbish side behind if you’re not one of her sycophants and/or dare to disagree with her.

          • She actually is nice. I haven’t met her IRL but I had an email back and forth going with her when her blog was newer. She was lovely, really. And funnier than you’d think from reading her rather formal posts.

          • Aunt Jamesina :

            Yes, I always got the sense that she’s reserved and rather formal, but kind.

    • Why not stock up on day dresses instead of pants and tops? Or skirts and fitted tops? Fitted pants and flowy tops work well for me because I need to run around after (and pick up, and bend down with) an active small child, but I long for the day when I can get back to my spring/summer uniform of cute day dresses.

    • Baconpancakes :

      This is probably a different direction than you’re thinking, and it might just be the bloggers I follow, but I’m seeing a lot of natural, luxurious fabrics in modern cuts that read very classic to me right now. Lots of Elizabeth Suzann, the whole “fewer better” idea. The pieces look very similar to the kind that my glamorous hippie godmother wore in the 80’s, so that seems quite classic to me, particularly updated with new shoes and tiny pendants and delicate rings instead of the huge chunky necklaces she wore.

      The current silhouette is more fitted, straight-leg jeans and boxy (not flowy) tops, or high-waisted boot cut with loose, tucked-in tops, as far as I can tell. (Said the woman wearing leggings and a tunic sweatshirt on her work from home day.)

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        Elizabeth Suzann’s stuff looks really cool, but I would look like I was wearing pajamas. I think that’s a hard look to pull off and seem intentional.

        • Anonymous :

          I think that look works best on tall women with big personalities.

        • Baconpancakes :

          I definitely can’t wear all of her stuff, (medium height, generously built, thighs I am not happy with) but I have a boxy silk tee that looks great, and after trying on a few cheaper versions in stores, I’m ready to invest in the Georgia silk dress, OSP for the longer length (36″), since that cut is surprisingly flattering on me with the right shoes.

      • Huh, I wasn’t familiar with this line. It’s very Eileen Fisher. I like Eileen Fisher, and I’m tall with a big personality.

    • I struggle with this myself. For me, part of the solution is to make more time for shopping. Not buying, just getting out there, trying things on, and seeing what’s available that looks good on me. I see all these outfits online and the first reaction is that they won’t work. But, if I’ve actually tried on similar pieces, I’ll have a better idea of what to look for.

    • Anonymous :

      Straight-leg or skinny jeans rolled up at the ankle with a loose-ish tee in a half-tuck.

      • This.

      • Yup. My 16 year old is my stylist and this is the kind of getup she puts me into. I also now have some artfully ripped jeans (seriously, who am I?)

        I like the rolled cuff jeans with ankle strap flat shoes. My daughter would wear them with low top converse, vans or birkenstocks (you can get away with grandma shoes when you’re 16)

    • I think hair, makeup and accessories also make a difference. I have a friend who can wear something that would look frumpy on most people and make it seem super cool because the rest of her feels so modern and intentional, for lack of a better word. I struggle with articulating exactly how she does that but it’s something I definitely notice makes a difference.

    • Anonymous :

      Check out the Anuschka Rees website or her book “The Curated Closet.” I wouldn’t necessarily take the outfits she pictures as inspiration, but her process for defining your own style is interesting.

      I agree with the first reply that there isn’t really such a thing as a “classic” in the sense of an item that will never look dated or mumsy. Everything evolves over time–lapel width, pants rise, the cut of sweaters. To me a classic look is one that takes some of its cues from current fashion, especially in terms of shape, without totally embracing trends. For example, when everyone is wearing skinny jeans, straight-leg jeans approximate the silhouette and read as classic rather than mumsy. Well-made items in natural fibers will also have a more classic look.

    • Ugh, moderation ate my reply. Short version: Check out A n u s c h k a R e e s for advice on developing your own personal style, but not necessarily for outfits to copy. There is really no such thing as classic. Take some elements from current fashion and adapt them without completely embracing the trend. For example, if everyone is wearing skinny pants and they don’t work for you, approximate the silhouette with straight-leg pants. Also choose high-quality items and natural fibers.

    • If you are a jeans-hating pear, I’d recommend Athleta (I swear by some of their more structured items as casual-wear). And also tailoring. I know, it seems like a crazy expense for casual items, but it makes a huge difference in the fit of bottoms for me. Also, casual dresses (Uniqlo usually has some cute ones and also ones with more structure).

      • Also swear by athleta, and other athleisure wear (REI has tons of cute stuff).

        OP, as a person with a large behind, I’m really liking the “skinny boot” trend at the moment, if you hate ankle pants. Balances out hips/butt without looking like bell bottoms, as boot cut or wide leg jeans so often do to me.

    • Another poster on this site turned me on to wardrobe capsules and it has totally changed my life. By mixing high quality “classic pieces” (striped tunic top, white button down, cashmere sweater, skirts, pants, jackets, etc) in neutral schemes, a few patterned tops in an accent color, and by adding in a few accessories — it takes the guesswork out of dressing and keeps the closet organized. Typically there’s two or three capsules that a person goes through in a year, and they don’t include items like dressy work clothes or gym clothes. I don’t want to go down the rabbit hole of what a capsule wardrobe is and how to build it, but to start, check out Pinterest. There’s a lot of casual/business casual capsule wardrobe ideas there. There’s even some blogs I’ve found where an entire wardrobe is presented and links are provided of where to buy the stuff. Can’t get easier than that.

      What makes me feel frumpy is not *feeling* put together, wearing pieces that I impulsively bought but don’t really work perfectly with other pieces in my closet, and second-guessing whether or not whatever outfit I’ve put together actually coordinates.

      I am really indebted to whoever posted on here about wardrobe capsules. It’s Marie Kondo-fied my life and has helped me feel more confident about my body and how I look in clothes, while making me feel less stressed about getting ready.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      Fit is probably number one. Well-tailored clothing is going to look more classic than baggy/flowy clothing. (But for the record, I absolutely hate flowy clothing, so ymmv.)

      Also shoes. Frumpy shoes do no favors. Classic pumps or stylish sandals are going to look less “mumsy” than sneakers, other shoes with rubber bottoms, and flip flops.

      And finally makeup/hair/nails. I find having a very short pixie cut a god-send as a mom. Not only is it convenient and low maintenance, I think a good pixie cut makes women look instantly stylish. And I know not everyone wears makeup, but some eyeshadow, mascara, lipstick, and nail polish can go a long way.

      • I feel like you almost have to wear makeup with a pixie unless you’re going for butch. (Which is a valid style choice, just not mine.)

  4. Anon for this - ending emotional affair :

    I know I’m looking in the wrong place for support, but I’m not really sure where to turn. I ended an emotional affair two days ago. I am absolutely positive it was the right thing to do, but I’m really hurting right now. I thought I would feel better, lighter, once I had ended it. But instead I feel heartbroken. I literally burst into tears at the end of the day yesterday. It’s taking all my strength and willpower not to reach out to this person again. But rationally, I know if it started up again, I’d wind up exactly where I am right now sooner or later.

    I don’t know exactly what I’m looking for here. I’m hurting.

    • Anonymous :

      Of course you’re hurting! It’s a hard thing to do. The fact that you know it’s the right thing doesn’t make it magically easy. It’s okay to feel sad. Try and treat yourself kindly. I like getting lost in a book to get through heartache.

    • Time will be your friend.

    • cat socks :

      Totally normal to be hurting. You did the right thing. It will get easier over time. Continuing with the relationship for a longer period of time would have made it that much more difficult to end it.

      • Anon for this - ending emotional affair :

        True. It’s helpful to remember that in these moments when I question whether I did the right thing.

    • BeenThatGuy :

      You’re human. Let yourself be just that. Feel all the emotions, that way you can heal.

    • Baconpancakes :

      The decision you made- to end the emotional affair- was based on reality and a good decision. But the feelings you have are based on, well, feelings! You can feel just as heartbroken about a bad affair as you can a good relationship. Your feelings don’t know the difference.

      Spend the weekend wallowing just like you would after a normal breakup. Whether that means Netflix and Ben and Jerry’s or lots of baths and hot tea or partying with your friends and Shots Shots Shots, let yourself feel it, and don’t beat yourself up anymore about the emotional affair. You did the right thing. Now you can take care of yourself. It might be a little weird because you might not be able to talk about it to anyone else, but if people ask, say you’re feeling poopy and want some you time/a pick-me-up/whatever.

      • Cosign. You know you did the right thing, but that doesn’t mean it’s magically easy or that it won’t hurt. I’m so glad that you found the strength to do a hard thing that you knew you needed to do. The only way to get through it is to stay the course.

        Practical advice for handling the overwhelming need to contact someone you know you shouldn’t: with my messier breakups I told myself I could call after a centering, self-care-oriented activity with a concrete timeframe, like taking the dog for a 30 minute walk, or talking on the phone with a girlfriend, or after a run, or first thing in the morning after I slept on it. Through three awful breakups with that strategy, I only ever called the guy one time.

      • Anon for this - ending emotional affair :

        Thank you both. I have read and re-read these comments several times today and have found them really comforting. I’m so glad I reached out here because hearing this was exactly what I needed.

    • I’m so sorry. That’s hard. It’s okay to give yourself permission to grieve, although I know that it may be tough to grieve when you have to have your “game face” on in front of coworkers and family.

      Look, sh * t happens. I posted the other day about a crush I had on a client that, if I’m honest, probably did cross the line into an emotional affair. When I cut off non-professional contact with him, I went through some hard times emotionally. Just because it wasn’t right, or it wasn’t good for you, that doesn’t mean you’re going to feel good ending it.

      You did the right thing and the bad feeling is temporary. In a few weeks or months, you will feel relieved that you didn’t let it continue and do something you would really regret forever. Be gentle with yourself and give yourself credit for being strong enough not to let things cross other lines. Hugs.

      • Anon for this - ending emotional affair :

        Thank you. I was actually hoping you might see this, because I remember your post from the other day and it’s part of what gave me the boost I needed to end things. I’m honestly a little (a lot) choked up sitting at my desk right now reading these responses. My heart is hurting so much right now, but I feel like this is helping me get through it.

        • Anonymous :

          You will get through it. I spent a weekend, one where my family wasn’t around, crying in the bathtub. I felt such a sense of loss, it’s hard to put into words. At the same time, I felt unbelievable guilt that I had allowed myself to feel this way about someone and put my marriage to a truly great person at risk. At that point, the full truth of who my client was hadn’t been revealed to me. When that happened, then I had to go through a whole cycle of being furious with myself for A. not realizing who this guy really was – I had previously thought I was a good judge of character – and B. allowing myself to fall for his line.

          I had previously been extremely judgemental about people who cheated or allowed themselves to get sucked into an emotional or physical affair. Then it happened to me. I was absolutely not looking to get attracted to someone else, betray my husband or blow up my life. I had never ever even considered cheating on my husband. As I said, sh * t happens. I have a lot of sympathy now for people who find themselves in this situation. At the same time, I do think there’s a huge chasm between thought and action and we all have the ability to hold ourselves back from taking actions that cause pain to others. You did that, so feel proud of yourself.

          I promise, promise, promise you there are better times on the other side of this. I am one of those glass-is-half-full people and what I can say about about my experience is that I learned a lot about myself, and it pushed me to examine my life and why I was unhappy with my life and bored with my marriage. I made proactive changes to do things that excited me, and also to work harder on my marriage and spending quality time with my husband, and it really helped. Ultimately, we’re all responsible for our own happiness and my situation made me sit up and take more responsibility. Please take care of yourself and know I am thinking about you.

          • Anon for this - ending emotional affair :

            Yes! A sense of loss that is extremely difficult to explain, along with unbelievable guilt. I never in a million years would’ve thought I’d do anything that would risk blowing up my life, but I think I was on that path. But somehow, at the exact same time, my heart is absolutely destroyed with ache missing this person. It’s a complicated, messed up set of emotions.

            I’m trying to think about what it was this person gave to me and what needs were being met so I can hopefully address them in a healthy way. Your comment is really giving me a lot of hope. I feel so upset right now and just reading this is helpful. I can’t thank you enough for responding to my cry for help.

  5. Recently bought the Kamik Olivia Rain boot and on first try it felt tight in the feet area and abit stiff in the shaft. I’m not sure how rain boots are supposed to fit and I am thinking of returning it. I am in an area where it is cold, snowy, and frequently slushy in winter for which I have boots that are waterproof. However these would be too warm to wear when it is not as cold and raining alot. I do not plan on spending alot on rain boots, I only got the Kamik because of the look and that the price was reduced on Amazon. Has anyone tried rain boots from Walmart,how are they in terms of durability. This is the only other option in my area. Would also welcome suggestions of other affordable brands in Canada. FWIW not interested in Hunter, I don’t like that the name is emblazoned right on the front of the boot. Thank you.

    • Shopaholic :

      I don’t like knee-high rain boots because I feel like they’re more uncomfortable and hard to walk in. I bought ankle-length, Chelsea rubber boots and they’re perfect. (because I’m not walking through huge puddles, the ankle length is perfect).

      I also didn’t want to spend a ton and I’m also Canadian so I had to find something with easy shipping. I think I bought Kate and Mel ones from Town Shoes online a couple years ago, but I know Sam Edelman also has some right now. They may be available on amazon, the bay website or the Sam Edelman website which ships to Canada.

    • No experience with Walmart, but I’ve had a few pairs from Target over the years. They fit well, and last a few seasons and then start to fall apart, but are pretty cheap and come in lots of different colors. Getting them a little big and wearing socks with them is better than a little tight, since they won’t ever stretch out.

    • I have Kamik boots and they are much more comfortable than cheaper brands, in my experience. However, because they are waterproof, they won’t stretch, so I would exchange for a larger size. Thick socks also help a lot, so sizing to accommodate that is a good idea (e.g. if I wear them with tights, I also add thick socks, to help with rubbing.

    • Boots don’t stretch so definitely size up. I tried Target/Walmart boots before buying Hunters and found them to be very uncomfortable.

    • Anonymous :

      Kamik is much better quality than anything you’ll get at Target/Walmart/etc. They are excellent boots, but I do find they run small, so definitely size up.

      IME, they are slim in the shaft. If you think you’d do better with a different cut, I recommend Crocs boots. They are so lightweight and hold up well.

      – Signed, Rain Boot Fanatic in the PNW

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I have two pairs of Dav rainboots and they are really comfortable and have held up really well for about five or six years. Maybe longer.

    • I wear mid-calf bogs for spring/fall/slush in Canada. Mine are from clearance at cabelas (and maybe the kids section?) The calf is a little snug but they’re neoprene so they bend and flex better than traditional rain boots. I had a pair from a discount shop (not walmart, but maybe the shoe company?) and they cracked across the foot from walking after a season. My bogs are four or five years old and are still water proof.

    • full of ideas :

      I have a pair of rain boots from Payless, they look like similar to Hunter boots, they were $20, they are waterproof (plus for rain boots), and I’m happy with them

    • Anonymous :

      This is late, but I have the Kamik Olivia boots. They are skinny – I always feel like I have to wear my skinniest jeans with them if I’m planning on wearing them, rather than just wearing them to work and changing. They have always been stiff as well. However, I still think they’re worth it because I’ve had them for 4 years and they are still completely waterproof. I wore them in a flood last year and I didn’t get wet until the water level was so high it got in the top. My previous pair of rain boots started leaking within a year and they were just as expensive at DSW.

  6. Casual Corner :

    Does Casual Corner exist any more? I used to love it for getting work clothes (despite the name of the store) when we were going from suits to business casual. Everything went together, wore like iron, and wasn’t expensive and IIRC it fit my pear-shaped body without any alterations at all. It was like all of the benefits of Theory without the price tag and with room for my hips.

    • I thought all their stores (along with petite sophisticate and august max) were closed about 10-12 years ago?

      • Mascot is correct. August Max Woman and Petite Sophisticate, part of the same company, also closed.

    • Out of Place Engineer :

      I was just fondly looking at a Casual Corner vest in my closet this morning, missing them. And thinking that I should really get rid of my Casual Corner vests, since they have been closed for a dozen years! I still have some silk blouses & skirts that I wear…. although some of the pencil skirts are really on the short side. Ahh, the 90s!

  7. I’m looking for one or two new skirt suits, and finding it difficult. I want navy or mid- to dark grey (can be solid or subtle pattern), nice-quality fabric that’s primarily wool. That’s rare enough to find, but to make it trickier, I really need to get a petite jacket and a regular skirt. Am I stuck with J. Crew/Banana/Ann Taylor? I’m willing to spend more than the mall stores, but I don’t know where to go.

    • Lucky sizes mostly, but why not check out the Brooks Brother’s sale section?,default,sc.html?pmin=1&start=0&sz=24&view=viewAll

      • I had looked at BB – not the sale section – and the suiting has all gotten so weird, and isn’t really suiting anymore. I’ll take a look at the sale to see if there’s anything leftover from when they made suits.

        • Anonymous :

          PREACH, their suiting has gone totally crazy. Not even like trendy crazy, like weird crazy. I really miss old BB.

    • Anonymous :

      Hugo Boss.

    • I know Talbots is not very popular on here, but their seasonless wool suits are very nice, especially for the price. They are 87% wool per the website. I bought a couple last month and have been really happy with the fit and quality.

      • Go Talbots and tailor. Their separates allow you to buy one size in a jacket and a different size in a skirt from the same dye lot so that the colors match.

        I get petite jackets (two button, cropped, or no close style; their longer jackets look funny on me unless they are mid-thigh or duster length) and then petite or regular skirts depending on cut and length.

        I buy for shoulders and bust in the jacket and get the waist nipped, occasionally the sides tapered, and sometimes the sleeves shortened or chopped to bracelet length (particularly on some of the annoying bell sleeves, sleeve zippers, or chunky trim that they sometimes have on their jackets).

      • I unapologetically love Talbots. I am older and clothing construction is still something I look for, even more so than whether a piece is “on trend.” I don’t know if younger women know how different clothes are now from what they used to be. 20-25 years ago, even cheap clothes were better-constructed than some expensive clothes are now. Talbots definitely has not maintained the same standards they used to have, but they are still better-constructed than 99% of what you find at Old Navy, Forever 21, H&M and the like, and I have some Talbots pieces that have lasted me years.

        • lucy stone :

          Also an unapologetic Talbot’s lover. I am younger but have suits I bought while in law school that are now 10 years old and still in excellent shape.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m on the younger side so I thought I would hate Talbot’s, but I recently bought a navy skirt suit in their seasonless wool and a three-piece (pants, skirt, and jacket) in a charcoal grey in their winter wool fabric, and I have been super happy with both purchases. Their suiting can definitely be hit or miss, but their more classic pieces in classic fabrics are great (and still age appropriate on someone younger than their target demographic). I’m a Talbot’s convert.

    • Try Pendleton. Their seasonless suiting is on sale right now and they carry petites.

      • I keep trying them and can’t get them to fit me without being mumsy on me. I’m 5-4 and usually wear petite jackets (but regular pants) and while trim am definitely a pear. I love the quality though (and BR works perfectly for me for wool suits otherwise).

        • Same! I’m a smallish pear, 5’5″, usually a 4 jacket, 6 skirt/pant. I get a petite skirt at Pendleton because they run a little long on me and it looks frumpy. They are very conservatively cut.

    • What about the Halogen or Classiques brands at Nordstrom?

    • Theory? I’d try a department store. My Lord & Taylor usually has a good selection.

    • Try the Halogen line at Nordstrom. They sell their suits in pieces and usually in both petite and regular sizes.

    • Appreciate all the recs!

      I’ve never seen Theory in petites – I’ll have to look for that.

      I looked at Talbots, which I always forget about, and Pendleton. I may try the Talbots, as it looks classic. The Pendleton jackets are not cut well for me. I’m a 5’4″ short-waisted pear (hence the petite jacket) and find that the button stance on a blazer makes all the difference on whether I look polished or like I’m a kid wearing my
      Dad’s jacket. All of the Pendleton blazers have too much fabric below the button(s) to work on me, and that’s a hard thing to alter.

      I’ve looked at Halogen & CE at Nordstrom, but they’re inconsistent about having petites. Same for Boss, but I’ll keep looking. I’m ready for the Boss/CE/BB price range and quality, but it’s so hard to find!

    • try Tahari at Macy’s and I’ve seen some decent suits at JC Penny’s too

    • Hugo Boss!

  8. Anonymous :

    Any recommendations for a weekend getaway that is driving distance (preferably not more than 3 hours) from D.C.? We need to get out of the city!

    • Charlottesville is always nice. Richmond is fun if you want to explore a different city. If you want to stay closer to DC, I actually found the wineries in the Leesburg area to be nice, and there are some cute stores and restaurants there too.

      • Charlottesville or Richmond for sure!

      • Baconpancakes :

        If you come to Charlottesville, be forewarned that the Tom Tom Festival is the 10th-16th. Will make going downtown a headache, but there’s lots of events and concerts and stuff!

    • Casual Corner :

      I’ve always like St. Michael’s, MD, and also Baltimore and Annapolis.

      • I’ve been wanting to go to St. Michael’s but I’m not sure what there is to do once I get there. What are your favorites?

        • Seconding St. Michael’s. I love the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, and I have really fond memories from the pottery painting place in Easton.

    • Landsdowne Resort or Salamandar Resort

    • Rehoboth Beach (but it will be chilly and not beachy yet). My first choice, as always, is Charlottesville. :)

    • If you’re into spas and want to really get away, try the Omni at Bedford Springs (PA). One of the most beautiful hotels I’ve ever stayed in. Great spa, good food, lovely scenery. Also has a short hiking trail, golf, endless porches with rocking chairs for sitting and reading, an indoor pool, and I think a game room. Heaven. Now I want to go to there…

    • Anon in NOVA :

      Can you all elaborate on what exactly you do in Charlottesville? I live in NOVA but I’m not from this area, and have heard people talk of going to school there back in the day, but not of going there recreationally.

      • We are heading there with friends at the end of April to get out of the city, drink wine, go to the spa, eat food. The area around Charlottesville is really pretty, and the downtown is cute. Our trips typically include visits to the surrounding vineyards.

      • +1 to wine tasting and Charlottesville downtown food

        • In the fall, apple-picking – Carter Mountain. Year-round wine tasting or breweries. I love King Family, Veritas and Afton Mountain. Barboursville is the popular one. Blue Mountain Brewery has delicious food in my experience, but I am not a beer drinker. For a while there were a number of cideries as well popping up all over. If you’re into golf I believe there are a few nice courses around town. The Charlottesville downtown is a nice place to walk around, grab food, lots of outdoor seating in the spring and fall. My sister loves to go hiking (she went to undergrad there). If you haven’t done them, there is lots of history – Monticello, Ash-Lawn Highland is a little off the beaten path, Montpelier is a short drive I believe, These days I am usually only back for recruiting trips or alumni events – we do our winery visiting out by Leesburg.

      • Checking out local wineries and breweries, eating amazing local food (very big in slow food/local agriculture), wandering UVA’s Grounds or art museum, strolling the Downtown Mall (outdoor pedestrian mall with lots of unique restaurants, shops, and galleries…or as my non-native BF said, “oh, so you’re not actually all adult mallrats like I thought, this is awesome!”), going to shows (Cville punches way above its weight class in terms of the music scene because a major booking agency is based there), visiting Monticello/Ash Lawn/Montpelier/etc., partaking in extensive nearby outdoors activities (hiking, climbing, driving Skyline Drive, tubing, kayaking, etc.). Basically it’s a naturally-beautiful area with a lot of excellent food and drink. I am so lucky that it’s my hometown :)

      • Extensive comment extolling Cville’s many virtues appears to have been eaten. Short answer: drink everything, eat everything, see everything!

        • I agree that Charlottesville has lots to offer, but I guess I would add that a big part of Charlottesville’s appeal for many people in the DC area is that they went to school there, so it’s a nice opportunity to walk down memory lane. I think you could still enjoy it if you’re not a ‘Hoo, though – Charlottesville is a beautiful town with lots to see and do!

    • Our standard locations are everything folks have said here plus Shenandoah Valley (we’ve been to cute B&Bs in Staunton, VA, for example), and the Greenbrier. I went to college at U of R, so there is definitely some nostalgia, but I love staying at the Jefferson in Richmond. Also, Philly is only a 2 hour train ride, so sometimes we escape and go there.

  9. RedLeather :

    I’m adopting a Yorkie soon and am looking for tips on being a good, single dog mom while working full-time. I work about a 20 minute walk from home so I should be able to go home during lunch on some days, but I definitely won’t be able to do it every day. I plan to teach him to use a pee pad so he has that option, and I’m looking into a dog walker, but I’m not sure how often I should have them come and I’m not sure what else I should do. What do those of you with full-time jobs and a dog do? Tips on acclimating a dog to your home would be super appreciated too!

    • You don’t say how old the dog is but I highly recommend The Art of Raising a Puppy. Good tips for any age. Also – get a large crate. I always thought it was cruel until I realized how much comfort my dog got out of it. Now it’s his special place and we keep the door off and it’s basically his home (& is so great for making him comfortable when we travel or when we moved).
      On the subject of a wee pad, dogs can hold it for their age plus 1 hr. So if you have a 6 month puppy, that means 7 hours. But with a grown dog, that could be a whole work day.

      • RedLeather :

        Oops, I meant to include that. He’s two or three years old and he uses a crate at his foster home so I’ve already got a medium-sized one (so big for him) in my cart on Amazon. Thank you!

        • That sounds like too big of a crate. Dogs don’t need that much room. Stand up, turn around, stretch out. You don’t want to get them an apartment sized crate where they can use one end as the bathroom and the other end as their bedroom.

          • +1 to this. I bought a size based on what my dog was supposed to be full-grown, and even with the divider that allowed you to section it off, it was WAY WAY too huge for him as a puppy (and he ended up maxing out at a smaller size than expected, so even full grown it’s too big for him). Crate training doesn’t work if the crate is too big and they can use one end to go to the bathroom while still having a dry place to sleep.

            Also, my puppy would climb up the sides and rattle the crate like a monkey to get attention. That stopped when I got him a smaller one.

        • My pup was about 2 when I adopted him and I went home at lunch the first week to let him out until I determined that he was actually completely miraculously housebroken already. Now he goes a full work day without a problem and I actually have to drag him out when I get home because he’d rather play. He also loved his crate for the first few weeks but then decided that he felt safe I guess and will sleep ANYWHERE else. Really anywhere. Pile of jeans? Under the sofa? So be prepared that he may un-crate train himself.

    • How old is the dog? Is he housebroken? Most healthy adult dogs can handle being left alone during the day without needing a bathroom break because they spend a large portion of it sleeping. If you are getting an untrained dog or a puppy, crate training is a good option with some visits from you or a dog walker during the day until they are trained. I don’t love the concept of paper/pad training dogs because I think it can be confusing and teach them that eliminating in the house is acceptable. Obviously there is an entire industry that doesn’t agree with me. Find out what food the dog is used to eating and start on that. You can make a gradual change to another brand later. A sudden change can cause an upset stomach for some dogs and changing households is already stressful.

    • We crate our dog (12lb mutt) during the day. Her crate is large enough that we can put her food/water bowls in there as well. We have a dog walker come every day around lunchtime to take her for a walk. She definitely can hold it all day, but for us, we felt bad leaving her home alone 5x per week for 8-10 hours. She is elderly but looks forward to her walks! FWIW, we pay $14 for a 20 min walk.

    • If the dog is 2 or 3 and already house broken, I wouldn’t try training him to use a pee pad. You will probably just confuse him because you will be significantly changing the rules from what he’s already trained to do.

      If you want to have a dog walker come once a day, I don’t think it’s 100% necessary but if you can afford it your dog will enjoy it. Either way, you should try to give the dog as much exercise as he wants with morning and evening walks/play time. Dogs behave better when they’re not going stir-crazy from lack of exercise. I take my dog for a run in the morning and then leave her home alone while I’m at work, and she wants more exercise when I get home (we usually play fetch for half an hour or so in the back yard). She’s pretty high energy so your dog may want less.

      Also agree with anon at 9:51 re not switching food immediately. Some dogs have sensitive stomachs.

    • RedLeather :

      Thanks, all! This is extremely helpful and good to know I should avoid the pee pad! His foster mom say he is mostly housebroken so I’m more worried about him feeling lonely or bored during the day. He currently lives with two other dogs and a stay at home foster mom. I definitely plan to take him on long walks in the mornings and evenings, but I’m not sure what else to consider.

      • When my old dog was pouting about having to be alone for 8 hours a day for the first time in her life, I reminded myself that she was safe, healthy, and loved. Maybe she wasn’t getting as many walks or as much attention as she should would have liked, but there are hundreds of thousands of dogs in the world who would be lucky to have half the level of care that she did.

        The one thing I haven’t seen mentioned is to find the time to go to an obedience class, and continue to make training and obedience part of your dog’s daily life (sit for treats, practice stay or hold before releasing to food bowl, etc.). Mental stimulation is a win and it helps you bond.

      • Toys. And rotate the toys so that they feel interesting and new.
        Deer antler sticks are good. So are Kong chew toys.

      • so, from rescue experience….A “mostly housebroken” rescue Yorkie is a Yorkie that will use the bathroom outside if you take him there, but doesn’t really care if you don’t because everything is a bathroom.

        Small dogs are VERY HARD to housebreak if you are gone from the house for stretches of time. Pads or those weird plastic grass pads you can hose off are your friends. Otherwise, buy stock in Resolve :)

        If he gets a long with other dogs, a dog walker, or maybe once a week to doggie day care might help. Mine goes one day a week to keep him used to hanging out with other dogs. He is bigger (like 50 pounds) and most days though I’m convinced he literally sleeps the entire time I am gone.

        • This. I have a rescue Yorkie/Chi mix. I don’t know if he was house trained before I got him, as he doesn’t have a true signal other than starting to pace a bit when he needs to go outside. If I do not grab him in time and put him outside he goes to the bathroom where ever he happens to be at that point in time. I don’t get upset with him because he’s old, drinks a lot of water with his food because he has no teeth, and is a small dog with a small bladder.

          He does not like a crate at all, so my solution to this is to buy washable puppy pads and confine him to a bathroom during the day when I’m not there. He needs medicine three times a day, so I go home at lunch every day, but if I was not able to I would have a dog walker come to give meds and take him out. I did manage to train him to a poop schedule however. That has been helpful and really was just a matter of establishing a routine for him.

          Thank you for adopting!’

        • Aunt Jamesina :

          No to Resolve, yes to Nature’s Miracle! It’s an enzymatic cleaner for pet messes that gets out the scent much better.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Really good advice here- I’ll likely be getting a toddler/adult dog this summer and in the same position. So excited!

  10. Thought I’d share for anyone else with migraines. I was getting migraines 5-7 times a month, with an aura, centered behind my temples. I don’t respond well to most medication and was super frustrated with the ‘take a whole bunch of excedrin migraine and lay in a dark room approach’. I finally tried Botox between my eyes, over my brows, and on my lower forehead. It is now month 2 and I have had all of 1(!) migraine and it was much, much less severe than normal. It is a strange sensation, I can feel the muscles behind my eyes tensing, but there really isn’t any pain. Sadly, not covered by my insurance as it is off label, but so so worth it to me to pay the money out of pocket and be *functional*

    • Are you seeing a neurologist for your migraines? If so, they might be willing to appeal to your insurance company for coverage.

      Do you keep imitrex or the equivalent at home for when you do get a migraine?

    • lost academic :

      It’s not off label, I am fairly sure this has been approved since 2007 and is covered. You might need to inquire again, or get a prescription from your neuro?

    • Congrats! As a longtime migraine sufferer, I feel your pain (literally!). My neurologist prescribed both Botox and nerve blocks for my migraines, and both were mostly covered by insurance. I never got around to trying Botox because I ended up getting pregnant but I’m planning to try them once we’re done having babies. The nerve blocks were pretty effective, but didn’t eliminate the migraines altogether. Sadly, the only thing that has really gotten rid of my migraines is pregnancy – but I can’t be pregnant forever!! I just started taking Rizatriptan for my migraines and it has been great! Imitrex stopped working for me years ago, and I didn’t want to get the “boomerang” headaches caused by traditional pain meds (like Fiorinal) – I highly recommend it for anyone who is struggling to find a migraine solution!

      • Also a migraine sufferer and love Rizatriptan. I used to have Maxalt that only worked well if I could be in a cool, dark place and get a lot of sleep (it made me fall asleep in the middle of class once on my laptop). Then one day through a new insurance, I got Rizatriptan as “a generic” accidentally and it worked waaaaay better. I can take it in the middle of the day, out and about in the sunshine and doing things, and am not falling asleep. And it makes my migraines go away 90% of the time. OP, you should ask your neuro about Botox because it *is* approved for that use. If you have an FSA, you may be able to submit the claim with a doctor’s approval.

    • Thanks for posting this. I only get one migraine a month, but it lasts for three days and I’m over it already. I also take Excedrin Migraine or Midrin as I can’t take triptans (I had a serotonin syndrome reaction to Imitrex), and it works inasmuch as I can mostly function. I’ve thought about Botox a lot – there’s a TMJ specialist in our city that got some kind of special training in administering it for migraines, and he has excellent reviews/word of mouth. I think I’ll call and get an appointment.

      • Do not go to a TMJ specialist for botox for migraines. No no no.

        Do you have a neurologist? If so, go to who they recommend.

        This is not for cosmetics. This is for headache.

    • ponte python's flying circus :

      Congrats! Agree about checking with your neurologist or PCP about insurance coverage. Hmm, I’ve also been thinking about this, but my migraines are clearly hormonal and also much less frequent (once a month, if that)- they wouldn’t really qualify as chronic or severe. I do feel my brow muscles tensing and being sore all the darn time, and I’m fairly certain it’s not helping my occasional tension headache, either. I’ve been wondering if Botox could help – anyone have experience with this?

      • Yes, it will help. My botox is covered for migraines by my insurance company. It also helps with my tension headaches. Botox does not help with hormonal migraines but those are fairly predictable for me so that’s when I take my nSAID + triptan combo.

  11. For working Mom in recovery :

    I haven’t had a drinking issue ever but after my kids were born, I just lost my palate for wine. I simply don’t enjoy it anymore. Don’t know why.

    Maybe you could use that as a reason if people ask why you’re not drinking.

    I wouldn’t tell colleagues, no matter how trustworthy they seem.

  12. Interview Help :

    I completely forgot I am interviewing someone today for a role outside of my department. The reason I am involved is that the person in this role will interact with our group on some gov’t compliance issues and my boss is out of the office today, so the interviewee is stuck with me.

    This person is currently in a government role. I want to know more about why he/she is interested in coming over to the “dark side,” aka corporate America, and also how they envision the interactions between the open position and our group. I will give the interviewee a bit of an overview about how the groups work together.

    Since I am do not have any supervisory or direct influence on this role, what other types of questions should I ask?

    I am new to the employer-side interviewing game.

    • Do you have a copy of their resume? You can always ask questions like, “Tell me more about this project you worked on.” or if you don’t have their resume, “What work experience do you have that you think would make you a good fit for this role?”.

      Situational-based interview questions are always easy, and you can relate them back to your department: Tell me about a time where you had to work on a major project with colleagues outside of your work group. How did you approach it?

    • IME when my boss asks my to sit in on an interview even though I have no authority whatsoever on hiring decisions, what she wants to know is if I think this person clicks well with our group dynamic. It sounds like maybe that’s the input the hiring people might want from you, since you’ll be interacting with this person. So you might just ask what they did and did not like about their previous employer(s)? It’s a fairly open ended question but I’ve felt like it gave me some personality insight when I’ve asked it.

    • Anon in NOVA :

      My favourites are the situational ones or the “tell me about a time when..” ones, always good to see if someone’s judgement will fit in to the department.
      You can ask “Tell me about a time when you had to lead (or motivate, or whatever) a group (coalition, whatever) to design and implement a project, but you did not have official supervisory authority over group members” or something along those lines. Or “Tell me about a time you were tasked with convincing others to contribute to a project or initiative, even though that issue was not their priority”
      That could tell you about how they’ll interact with your division when they need info for their own deadline etc.

    • Interview Help :

      Thanks, everyone! I managed to ask a couple of questions that got the interviewee talking the entire time and were useful to understanding how she/he could assist us in the new role.

  13. Worthy charities? :

    I’m looking to spread around my tax refund to some charities beyond the ones I usually support. Any recommendations for worthy causes I may be overlooking?

    • Look to your local united way or community foundation and see what smaller agencies they support and then consider giving directly to them. Most agencies that serve the neediest among us are local-only and operate on a shoestring. Or you could find a needy public school in your area and just write them a check to use for their many unmet needs.

    • Legal aid. We need all the support we can get right now.

    • I like to support the Jane Goodall Foundation and also the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. Both do lots of conservation work adjacent to the primate issues, so they are broader than the names make them sound.

    • Maybe not your cup of tea, but two women Democrat Senators in Trump states are up for re-election: Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO).

      • Heitkamp is one of two Democrats who voted to confirm Scott Pruitt’s appointment to dismantle the EPA, and is one of two Democrats stating they will vote to confirm Gorsuch.

    • Anonymous :

      CASA for Children

    • Donor’s choose. You choose a classroom project to support. And then you get thank you letters from the kids.

      Last week I was having the WORST work day and I came home to en envelope full of thank you letters and cried happy tears.

      • Wildkitten :

        I love thank you notes and now will be donating through Donors’ Choose just for the notes…

    • charities :

      royal family productions provides theater lessons/experience to kids in low income homes, BC/EFA is a big broadway charity option, animal tracks is great for animal rescue, then there are the options for donors choose and the kiva website. Hope these help!

  14. Building on the Pence dinner thing, what is your personal rule? On the one hand, those types of blanket statements are incredibly hurtful and hold women back. On the other, we live in the real world where drama and rumors exist. My husband and I both travel extensively, and are relatively senior, so we’ve spent some time thinking about this.

    Our personal rules are: hotels, bars, etc – any public area is totally fine. Even if it’s candlelit, as long as you’re not staring dreamily into your coworker’s eyes, you’re fine. We do draw the line at solo meetings in hotel rooms or “walking” someone back to their hotel room. Mainly to avoid even a rumor that would start “we saw junior A sneaking into senior B’s hotel room last night”. But we don’t do this for either/any genders, so hopefully it doesn’t hurt anyone.

    Are we being unreasonable? Are we putting too much stock in rumors? We’re both in sales, where sleeping around is a standard rumor, and neither of us wants to deal with any impressions that we’re getting ahead (or helping someone get ahead) by anything other than our merit.

    • My personal rule is the same as yours and is gender-neutral. It’s not just about keeping up appearances, it’s also about respecting co-workers’ personal space and maintaining my own personal space.

    • My husband and I are living apart right now for career reasons. We didn’t decide on a rule, but we sort of independently work off the same premise, which is that I’d never do something that I felt like I coudln’t tell my husband about, or that I would feel improper doing if he were right there. I also have kind of a f*ck off demeanor when it comes to men and have been told that I come across as all business, which probably helps here. I woud probably draw stricter limits if that weren’t the case.

    • We operate the same way. Missing out on dinners or coffees is unacceptable and career-prejudicial, but there is no work-related need to arm people with gossip-fodder by meeting in a hotel room or walking someone back to a hotel room.

    • I commented late in yesterday’s thread, but I think there is something to be said about “keeping up appearances”. I would never want anyone to think untoward things were happening between me and a colleague/client. Even if they are not, people always want fodder for gossip and I don’t want to be the object of that gossip.

      My husband and I have similar guidelines to Anon above – we meet colleagues/clients in public areas. It actually can be really difficult to balance this. My husband works in a non-client-facing office job. He doesn’t understand how at 10pm after a customer dinner at a conference, I get regaled by other customers as I’m walking past the hotel bar to my room to “join them for drinks!”. Although I’d like to go to bed, you feel obligated to stay and chat since they are your customers. It can end up with late nights (although in a public, mixed gender arena), which can be disconcerting to the spouse at home.

    • Just a comment/question on the walking back to the room thing – in my entire working life no one has ever offered to do this and I would find it totally weird and/or a come-on.

      • No one has ever offered to do this, but a few times I have been asked to pick up materials at a colleague’s room. I respond by asking them to meet me at the elevator or in the lobby with the materials.

        • Really? It wouldn’t have occurred to me that picking up files from a hotel room was untoward. Maybe I’m naive.

          And Scarlett, me either.

      • Ha I almost had to do this recently. I had many banker’s boxes of exhibits shipped to an out of state location where I was taking a series of deps. Some of the boxes got lost in transit. I had to have them remade and couriered to my hotel late at night, and then I needed help getting them from the hotel to the office early the next morning. The courier very helpfully offered to take the boxes to and from my room but I just met him in the lobby and used a luggage cart. I think if it had been more than 4-5 boxes I would’ve had to take him up on it though.

      • It hasn’t happened to me personally, but the circumstance has happened to my husband where he was out drinking with a colleague and a client, both male. Client got incredibly drunk, and showed no signs of leaving the bar, so they left and went back to their rooms without him. They talked about how if that was a female client, they would have felt a little more “societal” pressure to not leave a solo, visibly intoxicated female alone in a bar and would have felt a little more inclined to make sure she got to a safe place, which would have meant walking her back to her room. It’s a hard line to draw, but (husband and I) err on the side of adults are responsible for their own actions, and he’s not obligated to cross our lines because of the choices of someone else. I see how that would be hard to do in person though.

      • People have walked me back to my hotel but I always say goodbye at the hotel entrance or the lobby if we are staying at the hotel- choosing to interpret that as my arrival home.

        I think if there was an extremely drunk female colleague and you are a male then there is a balance to strike. If I was in the kind of group or industry where there is a significant risk that my intentions could be misinterpreted or people who saw us could use the information against me (for example, I was a professor and she was my student) I would probably have my friend wait with her in the bar, and then go to the hotel desk, and ask them if a desk attendant could make sure she got to her room ok. If she is a little tipsy but not falling down drunk I might walk her as far as the elevator bank and assume she will get up to her room ok on her own.

    • My husband and I haven’t discussed it specifically, but my personal feeling/gut check question is, “Does he have a logical reason for knowing that woman?” E.g., when he travels for work and if the only person available for dinner was a female work colleague, that’s 100% okay with me. He works with her, I’ve probably heard her name before, etc. But if he was like, “I’m going to be having dinner with Susan. ” and I’ve never heard of Susan, and Susan isn’t a work colleague, I would likely freak out. I assume he’d have the same feeling towards me having lunch or dinner with a man – so long as he’s heard about him before and/or there’s some logical reason that I know him, it’s cool. I have a few male colleagues that I used to work with and now work at other law firms. I enjoyed working with them when we did work together and I want to maintain the colleague-relationship, so we’ll grab lunch or a drink after work occasionally.

    • This whole thing is cracking me up because this issue came up in my married people church group discussions about a year ago. It’s a pretty liberal church, so I was really surprised when almost all of the couples said that they have these rules for their marriages. Like, totally flabbergasted. Both DH and I are attorneys and I was like “how do you conduct business, market clients, etc. without having meals with members of the opposite sex??!!” Also, how troubled is your marriage that a meal alone with a member of the opposite sex is temptation to cheat?? Anyway, it’s good to hear that my thinking it was ridiculous is not unfounded. Most of the women in the group were planning to quit their jobs when they had babies (so not super interested in their careers) and I guess the men just made things super awkward by telling opposite-sex colleagues and clients that they couldn’t dine with them alone. That was one of the factors that made me realize this church group probably wasn’t for me :)

      • “Also, how troubled is your marriage that a meal alone with a member of the opposite sex is temptation to cheat??”

        My understanding is that Billy Graham adopted this policy not to prevent himself from cheating, but to protect his reputation against any possible attack. But as currently applied to ordinary non-celebrities, it seems ridiculous.

        • Anonymous :

          Not ridiculous. Even ordinary non-celebrities have professional and personal reputations they’d like to protect. One of my coworkers (married/kids, male) developed a reputation in the gossip stream based entirely on frequently dining out with another coworker (single, female, young). The meals were not working lunches or dinners when traveling for work together; they were ‘hey, do you want to grab lunch today?’ meals. While he’s by no means famous, we work in a specific industry and the reputation can follow him for the rest of his career.

          FTR, I think it’s ridiculous to have a standard personal rule of NEVER eating a meal with an individual of the opposite sex. My husband dines with clients, even if they are female. I agree that the marriage must have other issues if a single meal for work causes discomfort.

          That said, I know people would probably fit right into that married church group, and the men would set up that rule as a CLEAR and OBVIOUS sign that they RESPECT their wives. It can be quite showy, which bothers me on an entirely different level.

        • Anonymous :

          Fair enough for Billy Graham but the specific stated purpose of the rule in my church group was to avoid temptation. Which is ridiculous. There are several dozen steps between going to lunch and getting nekkid together and the suggestion that casual meals are the cause of infidelity is just silly.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        Not to paint with too broad a brush, but I’ve only ever heard of the “no dining with the opposite sex” attitude from couples where the wife doesn’t work.

        • Probably for good reason. If I had a nickel for every time a male colleague tried to come onto me with “my wife isn’t interesting. She only talks about the kids,” I’d have … at least ten nickels.

          • Aunt Jamesina :

            Ugh, those types are the WORST. So your wife enables you to be able to focus heavily on your career and the details of home life are taken care of? But you’re put off by the fact that she talks about what she does all day (and how she spends “your” money)?

    • Hotel bars/restaurants/lobbies are fine – and I use them as meeting places sometimes when I need to get a drink after work with a contact (even a male one) and we need to go someplace where we won’t be jockeying for seats at the bar etc/quiet enough to discuss resume. Agree re walking up to a hotel room. I have done it on occasion – usually trial teams when you return with so many bankers boxes that people need to help carry them. It’s always been totally fine – but it was always male or female associates helping other male/female associates. Had one REALLY creepy meeting with a partner in his hotel room when he wasn’t 100% sober – I was a 5th yr and fortunately it involved me and another associate. And that has made me 100% realize that as I get more senior – no one comes to my hotel room/hallway – i.e. no one walks me back or swings by to get me for dinner and I don’t do that for anyone either. Again if I had to bc of bankers boxes – I would try to make sure whoever I was with in the hotel room/hallway was a peer regardless of gender – rather than a junior person with me who was feeling uncomfortable as I did so many yrs ago but not knowing what to say.

    • Maybe it’s bc I’m single, but I never realized this was SUCH a big deal?? I’m in a client service business (consulting/law) – most clients are men. Should I just never pitch business then? Or does a dinner always have to involve a 3rd person – so I must always bring an associate or the male client must bring one? And what about former colleagues (males) who became friends but we all moved onto different jobs. I still consider them part of the network, so if I swing through their city, should we not get drinks bc a wife may be offended? Or is this really a flyover country, all women work as teachers and think such business meetings are totally made up and unnecessary – type of thing? Bc if you put down this many “ground rules” in a client service business, you will have NO clients.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        No way! Don’t accommodate discrimination.

        I’m married, and my husband’s role involves lots of client dinners. I’ve never thought to question this, because we communicate and I trust him. Crazy how that works! I live in “flyover country” (well, Chicago, which you can argue is an outlier…) and I used to be a teacher and I would never in a million years ask this of my spouse. I’d be upset if he suggested it since it shuts women out of business dealings.

      • I didn’t realize this was so much of a thing either! I have always participated in networking coffees/lunches/HHs and it absolutely would have stunted by career growth to not be able to participate in these types of meetings with men.

        I will say that my ex was adamant that it was inappropriate that I get lunch or drinks with a FRIEND of the opposite sex. He is about 10 years older than me and had been married for 20+ years prior to us dating, but is not religious. I think his concern was some appearances and some his own personal beliefs about how men and women interact. Needless to say, that was one of only a handful of problems in our relationship!

      • I’m the anon who posted above at 11:08. I’ve only ever thought about it because other women have been actually said to me, “You let your SO/husband go to dinner with that woman?!?!?!?” First – I don’t “let” my husband do anything – I’m not the boss of him. And yes, he went to dinner with that woman. Also – I trust my husband.

        I just would be not okay if my husband was traveling for work (or even just here in town), told me he is having dinner with X, and X is not a friend or a co-worker or a client. I know he would feel the same way.

        Finally, I fully recognize that while I am totally smitten with my husband and think he’s dashingly handsome and basically the most wonderful human on the planet, I highly doubt really anyone else feels that way.

      • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

        I have been married for years and didn’t know this was a thing. Now I wonder if I have made my male clients uncomfortable by taking them to lunch….alone. Gasp. But that is so ridiculous I can’t worry about it.

      • Same here. It would never occur to me to even have this conversation with my husband. We’re both lawyers, both do business with others all the time, sometimes we network together (we practice in the same area and know a lot of the same people) & I cannot imagine in a thousand years caring if he went to dinner/had drinks/whatever with anyone. He would be furious too at the idea – it’s controlling, patronizing, distrusting & sexist.

    • My husband and I laughed a lot talking about the Mike Pence story last night. Up until this year, I was in a job where my closest coworker was a younger male and we traveled together, just the two of us, semi-frequently. My coworker reminded me of my kid brother, and so it never even occurred to me that it might “look funny” if we were eating together, getting coffee together, etc. I honestly felt like his mom most of the time, and was almost old enough to be that. To me, it would have been way weirder if I had said to my coworker, I know we don’t have any other coworkers here for you to eat with and we have work stuff to talk about, but I can’t eat alone with you because, you know, reasons. Many times we would leave client meetings and need to talk about next steps after the meeting, and would do so over meals; I don’t feel like straight-arming him away from me would have been appropriate or productive.

      In my husband’s case, he’s in a male-dominated industry, and just never been in a situation where there was even one female coworker traveling with him, so it’s never been an issue. My husband did say that he is careful, when traveling on business, not to talk to women he doesn’t know in coffee shops, restaurants, hotel bars etc. because he doesn’t want the woman or other people to get the “wrong impression.” I said back to him that he doesn’t generally talk to people he doesn’t know – male or female (he has social anxiety) so I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

      I don’t know. It’s amazing to me that in 2017 we’re still acting like all men and all women are moments away from ripping each other’s clothes off and getting down at any point in time. If you look at statistics, even happily married/coupled people are not ripping each others’ clothes off with any great frequency. Acting like human beings are purely s * xual creatures, nothing more and nothing less, is really a disservice to us all.

      Also, I wonder if some of these old wrinkly conservative white guys like Mike Pence realize that they’re really not that attractive. Put me alone in a room with Jason Momoa when he has his shirt off, and we actually might have a problem. But Mike Pence? Um…no, thank you.

      • WestCoast Lawyer :

        Yes!!! This excuse has been used for so long to keep women out of places – oh, no, we can’t have women in combat or other close quarters, because then everyone will just have s*x all the time. No, girls can’t wear leggings to school because the outline of their legs might distract the boys and make them think about s*x. How about we just tell everyone, “hey – it’s 2017, it’s totally fine to have s*xual thoughts but whether or not you act on them is 1000% within your control so make smart choices.”

        Also, your last paragraph made me LOL :)

        • Anonymous :

          “hey – it’s 2017, it’s totally fine to have s*xual thoughts but whether or not you act on them is 1000% within your control so make smart choices.”

          Right. People think about s * x all the time and that’s normal. People don’t actually act on those thoughts, I would say 99% of the time. It’s like these old guys are living in some old reality where s * x was such a clandestine, hidden thing that any time men and women were alone together, it was just bound to happen because people were so repressed.

      • It’s because the guys like Mike Pence can’t contemplate interacting with a woman in a way that isn’t a service provider (waitress/hotel desk clerk/secretary), family member/relative (mom/ sister etc), or romantic partner (wife. mistress).

        It’s like they are right wing robots with no setting for female colleague/co-worker.

      • Not being snarky to you personally, but it also amazes me that it’s 2017 and it’s possible to write a sentence like “he’s never been in a situation where there was even one female coworker traveling with him.” I know there are male-heavy professions, but ouch. Not even ONE female?

        • Anonymous :

          It’s amazing and ridiculous. His field is small and I don’t want to out him, but I’ll say that he ends up working with a lot of retired military personnel, all of which have been male. However, his boss is female – she doesn’t go out of town with his team when they go on site visits, for reasons I don’t understand. He has actively pushed to hire women into his team and department, but they honestly don’t hire that often – besides him, they’ve hired one other person in ten years. His field is both interesting and high-paying and I hope they’ll have women come in as some of the older guys retire for good.

    • WestCoast Lawyer :

      I haven’t heard about the Pence comment (and I almost don’t want to look) but it’s never even occurred to my husband or I to have rules for each other regarding business travel, meals with co-workers, clients, etc. I mean, we have an implicit don’t cheat on each other rule (wedding vows and all), but honestly, if a co-worker or client was sick/drunk/afraid to walk back to his or her room at night I would hope he would help them get back safely and then have the good sense to leave them at the door and I would hope my co-workers would do the same for me rather than leave them stranded somewhere because he was worried about the rumor mill.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        This. I’m good friends with one of my husband’s female coworkers. She learned her mom had terminal cancer while away on business with him and several other colleagues. She’s not as close with the other colleagues. One heard her crying and went and got my husband. He spent time with her in her room processing the new info, hugging her while she cried. One of his more d-baggy colleagues was like “your wife would be so pissed.” The gossip mongers were right outside the door to see what her upset was about. I guess you could hear her crying several rooms down. My husband’s response was just pure confusion at first and then, um, I think my wife would be a lot more pissed if I didn’t comfort OUR friend who just learned her mother had a month to live. People are strange.

      • This. I’m in a committed relationship but not married, so maybe this is about rings or whatever, but it is really strange for me for couples to have “rules” for each other. Like, we’re monogamous, that’s how we structure our relationship, but I don’t understand having detailed rules about his interactions with other women beyond that.

        • +1 This is how I feel. If my partner/bf/spouse wants to eff up our relationship by cheating, that’s on him.

        • Aunt Jamesina :

          Nope, not about rings. It’s about insecurity and trust issues.

          • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

            Ditto. And speaking of rings, I have gotten snarky comments from other mothers when I don’t wear mine with one person going as far to say I am “out on the prowl.”

    • I think your rule is totally reasonable, and very different from Mike Pence. Women get held back when men won’t dine with them at restaurants or go to happy hours or drinks at the hotel bar. Refusing to walk a person of the opposite sex to their hotel room or hang out inside their hotel room just seems like common sense and doesn’t hold anyone back. My husband and I don’t have a hard and fast rule but I’d certainly be surprised and concerned if I heard he was hanging out in a female co-workers hotel room for an extended period of time. But he has dinner and drinks alone with women all the time in public areas.

      • anonymous :

        I have been your coworker in this scenario. I’m so very grateful to the coworker/friend who let me cry on his shoulder & hugged me while I cried, then sat on the couch and watched south park with me for a few hours. Neither of our spouses cared, and thank god for that.

    • Anonymous :

      Recently heard of a husband/wife team who I deeply admired where the wife has this rule for the husband – sometimes dinner even in mixed company is off limits, as is including single women colleagues in business trips (for the husband’s business) due to the wife not allowing it, even if they should have been there. The wife is fairly senior in her line of work. It was a very, very disappointing piece of news as she had always been someone I looked up to. FWIW, she’s mid-30s & I’m mid-20s. The women she’s banned from her husband (colleagues) are all mid-late 20s.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Of the work affairs I know of (prior job in case anyone I work with now is reading lol) both parties were married. Banning single people accomplishes nothing.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        Wait, so no single women even in mixed company? Does she hold herself to the same standard? WTF.

        • Anonymous :

          I’m the Anonymous from above –

          No idea if she holds herself to those standards, but it’s not just single women she bans – it’s all women. To the point where women who are told exactly why they can’t go along or are actually uninvited have been pushed to tears. I think her parents are divorced and there may be issues stemming from that, but it’s all speculation. It makes me sad because she’s otherwise a champion of bringing up other women into leadership positions/helping them grow in their careers but doesn’t see how this is harming and perpetuating the stereotype that all women are out to get married men.

    • Anonymous :

      A friend of mine travels a lot with her male colleague. It’s just the two of them, which in itself is fine, but she definitely crosses all sorts of boundaries for me. She *routinely* comments on how “sexy” he is, for example. That added with how apparently they get completely drunk most nights makes me wonder how her spouse handles it, to be honest.

      We don’t have rules for each other. It’s never even come up. (For reference, DH did have a long time female friend who went through a weird time in her personal life when he asked me to not leave them alone in the same room because he didn’t trust her – so if one of us had issues, we would have a conversation).

      I agree that I avoid being anywhere near the hotel door. I hate it when we end up having adjacent rooms. That said, there have been times when I’ve needed to pick up or drop off items, and it’s fine. I stand in the hall. I’ve never felt pressured, harassed, tempted, etc… I just don’t want to be even *that* near my coworkers’ private lives! The idea of potentially seeing their underwear on the floor, etc, completely skeeves me out.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      This entire discussion is so confusing to me. I have been married since 2003 and there is only one rule. – DO NOT HAVE S*X WITH OTHER PEOPLE. Beyond that, I seriously have neither the time nor the inclination to police his friendships and his life and I would not take kindly to him attempting to control mine.

      I have friends, and coworkers, and we travel together. Sometime on hearings we will work together after hours in someone’s suite. Sometimes we drink in bars and eat food. We just do not do it. It is not really that hard. The idea that swinging by another person’s room to pick them up for dinner is somewhat ill-advised because of potential gossip is, quite simply, unfathomable to me.

      True story – someone once told me that it was inappropriate to go out drinking alone with my brother-in-law. For real. We are no longer friends.

      • Another anonymous judge :

        I have been married for 20 years and this is also our rule. Has worked pretty well for us, too.

        My husband’s explanation of the rule when we first met was “it’s not that hard to keep your pants on.”

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      We don’t have “rules.” We have never talked about this. I don’t feel the need to.

      I work with male colleagues the same as women, period. I will travel, eat food, have drinks, etc. with a male colleague. Having a “rule” about not going to someone’s hotel room seems odd. Yes, don’t go to someone’s room and have sx, obviously. But if you need to go through boxes of documents or binders for work, and they are in someone’s room, it seems absurd to haul them to the lobby or do this in the hallway just because you are of different genders. I had one male co-workers prop the door open so I felt more “comfortable,” which wasn’t necessary but fine do that if you want.

      Who are these people that would gossip about something like that? That seems immature and counter-productive to getting work done. I can’t even imagine my co-workers doing something like that, so maybe I am lucky.

    • I don’t get the rules thing. My husband and I both travel for work with colleagues of the opposite gender, frequently lunch or happy hour with colleagues of the opposite gender, and have lots of cross-gender friendships. In my mind, having official rules as a couple on some level indicates a lack of trust in each other’s judgment.

      I’ll get texts at 2 am from my husband while he’s on travel and I know he’s out drinking heavily with colleagues and clients. He’s an incredibly trustworthy person though and I want to have the kind of marriage where I can trust my partner to set his own boundaries. And I would never think twice about him getting lunch or drinks after work with women he works with. He’s made the effort to introduce me to many of his colleagues, he doesn’t hide any of his professional relationships, and I also don’t feel like he needs to somehow report back to me if he has lunch with a woman. When it comes to social relationships, we both make the effort to get to know each other’s friends and generally invite each other along (although the other person doesn’t always come and we are both considerate of sometimes needing one on one time with a friend).

      My secret personal rule is that I won’t drink with men that I’m attracted to. That’s a boundary I set for myself though — my husband certainly would never presume to set boundaries on my behalf and vice versa.

    • A few years ago I was working with a very senior partner (male, married) who asked me (a bit younger, single) to visit a client three hours away with him on order to interview and review documents. It was an overnight trip. He expected me to ride in his car with him, but I told him I needed to have my vehicle as I needed to be home at a certain time the next evening. He then insisted I follow him (!) all the way to the client location. We had a great working relationship and I was grateful for the opportunity to meet with the client and really be involved in the case. The client interviews went well and that evening we checked into a very nice boutique hotel. He said he had reservations for the hotel restaurant. We are both foodies and so had discussed the excellent reviews this restaurant had received. . He suggested we meet in the bar before dinner. When I arrived and he asked me what I wanted to drink, I asked for a Sprite or Sierra Mist or whatever. He tried to get me to have a drink and I politely declined. When we got to dinner he again suggested I have a drink with the old, “oh come on.” When I again declined, he was visibly irritated. We had a nice dinner and things went well the next day. But I never worked on another case with him after the trip. I am not saying that he had anything inappropriate in mind, but it certainly seemed that me being unwilling to drink with him affected our working relationship. Damned if you do…damned if you don’t.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        This entire story is weird to me. To be honest, I don’t think your refusing to drink was why you never got work again. The car thing does not make sense – why would you have arrived back at a different time with your own car since surely you left when the work was done? What were you going to do if the work and meeting ran late? He probably wanted you to ride with him so you could discuss the matter at hand and was likely highly annoyed that time was wasted when you wanted to take your own car for a not very sensible reason.

        Unless you do not drink at all (and there is no suggestion that is the case), what kind of “foodie” orders a sprite? He should not have insisted, but it does seem like you were being a little unaccommodating generally.

        • OP AnonPara :

          I needed to be back in town for an event at 6 pm the next day, which meant I had to leave no later than 3 pm. He seemed to understand. I do not drink. I am in recovery and didn’t feel I needed to explain my reasons. I agree that maybe I was being a bit unaccommodating. Thanks for the reality check.

          • Counterpoint: your story made my gut prickle a bit. There’s no good reason someone should be irritated that another person isn’t drinking, and only bad reasons in the case of a senior-junior employee interaction. Don’t dismiss your instincts.

          • Totally agree with Nonster.

    • +1 and I also tell my husband about my plans in advance when I can. I also avoid riding alone in vehicles with men on my team whenever it’s possible. The car rule was drilled into my head by my grandfather – who worked in corporate sales. I adopted the rule because it works for my husband and I. My husband is in ministry and we decide what works best for us as a joint decision.

  15. Best hand soap for dry itchy hands? Moisturizer alone every time I wash isn’t cutting it.

    • My husband has an allergy to the soap used in the bathroom at work / in commercial settings, something about the strength of the disinfectant, might be worth exploring. E45 cream at night seems to help but he’s going to start bringing in a bottle of ecover.

    • L’occitane pure shea butter is awesome. Put it on at night before you go to bed.

      • +1 for L’occitane. I have little tubes everywhere.

        I hace Curel Ultra Healing intensive lotion in my desk drawer that’s pretty good too but honestly I just bought it on a whim. The soap here absolutely destroys my hands.

        For a little luxury I love those big jars of Laura Mercier body butter. I have one at the side of my bed and I lotion up my feet, calves, arms and hands most nights before getting into bed. My husband likes to get these for me for xmas because he finds the scent secksy. I have vanilla almond right now, but I’ve also had pistachio, and they both have a really nice scent.

    • Constant Reader :

      Not marketed as a dedicated hand soap, but my husband and I have found Dove Deep Moisture body wash to help dry itchy skin in the the winter — you might try that.

      • I swear by Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve. The first time I stayed to help mom through her chemo, my hands were peeling because (1) pregnancy seems to be causing dry skin for me and (2) I basically had to wash my hands every time I handed her something/touched her during her low count period – i.e, multiple times an hour all day long. A few days of the salve applied a few times a day cleared everything up even with regular non-moisturizing soap.

    • Shea Moisture is the best. I like honey one the best, but they’re all good.

    • I get dermatitis from soaps that are too drying. Some foaming soaps (like even the pretty smelling stuff from Whole Foods) dry out my hands, but the SoftSoap Whipped Cocoa Butter foaming hand soap smells good and doesn’t dry out my hands. I buy it for the bathroom at work just so I have soap that works for me.

    • Anonymous :

      Ditto others that the issue may be your soap.

      CeraVe. Plus, try covering them with vasaline and wearing those cheap knit gloves at night.

      OTC hydrocortisone OINTMENT will help. You doctor can also prescribe a stronger topical steroid, which can work like magic.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Body Shop Hemp hand treatment in a thick layer and then cotton gloves (or socks) for a few nights.

    • Gold bond moisturizing hand sanitizer/lotion.

      It’s just like using moisturizer on your hands…. but it sanitizes.

      I learned about it from a nurse.

  16. Are you all of the opinion that your shoes/your walking should not make noise as you “clomp, clomp, clomp” down the carpeted hallway???

    • Sorry, but no matter how hard I try or how many dance classes I take I am incapable of walking silently.

      • Yay! Fruegel Friday! I love Fruegel Friday and this $54 schmatta, tho NOT for work. FOOEY!

        As for the OP, I agree b/c I also make alot of noise with my 4″ pump’s even in a carpeted environment. Dad says it is NOT b/c of my shoes but b/c of my pantihose, which I insist on wearing all summer long even when it is hot outside. Men, includeing the manageing partner, have wondered what all the woosheing is about and when I tell them they smile. So since I love to have men smile at me, I continue to wear pantihose with my pump’s and keep the woosheing sound goeing. Dad just want’s me married already so I tell them I am trying, but need a littel more help from the HIVE! If anyone has a brother or cousin who is a NYC attorney or investement banker, let me know and I will meet him! YAY!!!!

    • No. That’s weird. I’m a human. It makes a sound when I touch the floor.

    • No. Is this really a thing you worry about?

    • You shouldn’t wear obviously noisy shoes like flip flops in an office environment. You also shouldn’t stomp around like an angry toddler. Other than that, I mean, being a human is sometimes a noisy business. If you think someone is walking/breathing/existing too loudly then you need to invest in some ear plugs or a white noise machine or maybe get a massage today because clearly you’re stressed.

    • A benefit to this is you can hear this person coming around the corner and won’t collide with them in the hallway.

      • +1. I work in cubeland where a lot of people are shorter than the cube walls. I deliberately walk a little heavy as I come up on corners so people can at least hear me coming, even if they can’t see me.

        Also, sometimes, my shoes are just noisy (like yesterday).

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I have an office on a corner, so every time I turn right out of my office, I risk colliding with someone. Often the person who works in the office behind me (other side of the corner). It’s happened so many times we joked we need a mirror there.

        And no. I’ve tried to walk quietly. I think I’m walking quietly. Apparently I am not. We make noise.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I mean, the “thwap-thwap” of flip flops is annoying, but all shoes make noise. I can’t move my meat suit silently through the world and I’m not necessarily going to make extra effort to try.

    • Heel Striker :

      Since I’m the boss, I get the impression that my staff is glad that I can’t sneak up on them, and I think that’s fair.

      • Mine usually has change in his pocket. No complaints from me to always know when he’s within ear shot.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        I used to have an awful boss who wore terrible perfume you could smell a mile away. It was good to have the warning :-)

        (I’m sure you’re a great boss!)

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I adore my supervisor and my previous supervisor and it was still nice to be able to hear when they were coming because I know how they walk. :P

    • On the one hand, clomping and stomping are huge pet peeves of mine. On the other hand, I know it can’t be helped sometimes. If I wear Oxfords with even the slightest heel (we’re talking half inch) the extra weight can make my footsteps more audible.

      Also, if a hallway is carpeted, the floor under it might not be as solid as, say, marble or hardwood floor, and that might actually be contributing to the sound.

      That said, there are people who walk with a lot of force for some reason. Maybe they’re just always in a hurry, maybe it’s how they display power and dominance in the office.

      So yeah, I think people in general should try to move in a way that doesn’t make unnecessary noise, we can’t expect everyone to walk like ninjas at work.

    • The only sound I can’t stand is heels in need of repair scraping on the floor.

    • When my plantar fasciitis is acting up I wear clogs. I’m tall and large anyway, so adding clogs to the mix makes it sound like King Kong is coming your way to destroy the city. What are you gonna do? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • I will say that co-workers who can’t walk in their 4 inch heels or massive block heals do “clomp, clomp, clomp” and that is just a no.

    • I am the world’s loudest walker in any non-sneaker shoe, and there’s nothing I can do about it. I concur with all the benefits noted in the thread, especially the collision-prevention one. My DH calls my walk “authoritative,” and I’ve decided to own that.

      • +1 This is me. I am small, but I walk very authoritatively, 75% on purpose and 25% because it’s just how I walk. People for sure hear me coming and I am fine with that.

        • Jitterbug :

          I don’t make that much noise, but I tend to walk fast and with purpose. I can slow myself down if I need to walk with someone, or if I’m stuck behind someone and there’s no way to pass safely or politely. However, it still bothers people. A few months ago I passed an older man on the sidewalk (giving him plenty of room) but when he caught up to me at the light he advised me not to hurry. I wasn’t in a hurry!

  17. Wedding dresses :

    I’m going to be MOH for one of my best friends next summer. The wedding will be in her parents’ backyard in a mountain state (so a beautiful natural setting). She likes the look of several of the more casual dresses from BHLDN (long, but with more plain silhouettes or details on the bodice only). What are some other stores with similar styles that I can research for her?

    • Look at the brands of the dresses and then look up bridal salons in your area that carry those brands.

    • My bridesmaids bought their dresses from Brideside. I live in Chicago, so I could visit their showroom here, but my sisters had no problem purchasing online. Their selection is more classic bridesmaid than BHLDN’s somewhat boho-look, but it’s worth looking!

    • Are you looking for dresses for the bride or bridesmaids? For the bride, try lovely bride (in some major cities), and sarah seven.

    • Try Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Saks, etc. Just filter for white dress. There are tons of white evening gowns (or more casual dresses) that work really well as wedding dresses. I did this for my wedding and it was SO MUCH EASIER (and cheaper) than going the full-on wedding gown route.

  18. Hi!! I’m the one who posted a couple weeks ago about starting a podcast. I am SO EXCITED! Things are moving along nicely. I have three people who have agreed to be interviewed so far (all from my immediate network) and I am going to start reaching out farther. Today I asked an amazing graphic designer that I work with if she would help me with the design stuff because that is SO not in my lane. She agreed! AND I figured out how to work my microphone! I am hoping to be able to launch by the end of April. *Happy Dance*

  19. pugsnbourbon :

    Frugal Friday makeup rec: Wet n Wild Liquid Catsuit matte lip color. I am new to lip color in general and really like this – not drying, decent color saturation and it LASTS. Didn’t get flaky throughout the day, either.

    • Yes! This is one of my new favorites too. Rebel Rose is a great pinky-nude

    • oooh, great recommendation. WnW eyeshadow is fantastic, too. I was just looking to for things to get at CVS with a 20% off coupon. What colors have you tried?

      • pugsnbourbon :

        I have Pink Really Hard and one of the reds, can’t remember which. But for under $5 I’ll probably get a couple more!

    • As long as we’re on the subject, I actively prefer WnW brow pencils to any of the pricier ones I’ve tried. I can be precious about cosmetics but I randomly left my pencil at home when traveling one time, and WnW was the only cruelty-free drugstore brand I could find. It was like $4 and I never plan to switch back!

  20. Switching Therapists :

    I have been seeing a great therapist for the past 2.5 years. I found her at a critical time in my life and I’ve grown so much with her. I started out seeing her once a week and now we’ve transitioned to every 3-4 weeks. I will be going back to school in the fall in a close enough city but its still out of the way/she will likely be out of my budget at that point.

    Part of me is wondering if I should just find a university therapist (which will be covered by tuition) but it took a while to find my current one. I’m fine going without any therapy for a few months if I need to but I’m really going to miss my current therapist =( Then again, a fresher perspective at a different point in my life could be helpful…Any tips on switching therapists?

    • Would your therapist be comfortable with some phone sessions, if needed, while you are transitioning? Sometimes just knowing that is an option, will help you relax more and be willing to try working with a new person.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      My law school had a lawyer-psychologist on staff, and the school would pay for sessions.
      I still paid $60 out of pocket for most of law school because I liked my therapist so much, she knew me, and it was good to have the distance from school. I liked knowing that if I said “OMG, the law school is being SO AWFUL,” I wouldn’t feel like I was talking badly about the person’s colleagues/employer/people they know and like. For me, the distance was very important.

    • ask your current therapist

  21. Holiday trip :

    Any recommendations for a cool place to spend Christmas? Our family consists of mom, dad, and tween girl. We would like to get away for a few days to a mountain destination with a good likelihood of snow for downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, and/or snowshoeing. We would also like to sit by a fire and drink hot cocoa, and singing carols with a live piano would make it perfect. Our preference is not more than 6-8 hours driving distance from central Virginia, hotel accommodations (not a condo or AirBnB), hotel under $300/night.

    • Hmmm that time of year for cross country I’d push a bit further. Can you do Stowe? Adorable, decent chance of snow. Moroni Mountain house is charming but prob no snow for snoeshoeing. But I’m putting in a plug for Quebec. Longer drive than you want but really special.

      • I love Stowe! It is so picturesque. And you can stay at the Von Trapp Family lodge and snow shoe from there.

    • The Greenbrier.

    • Look at Seven Springs in Western/Central PA. Not a far drive – not sure if they have cross country, but it may fit what you’re looking for.

    • What about Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia? Snowshoe technically books condos, but reservations are made and handled in a hotel-like way – you call and speak to staff, you check in at a front desk, etc. Snowshoe Village has some nice little shops and restaurants, too.

      The Homestead is another option but might be more than you want to spend.

      • Holiday trip :

        My concern with VA/WV is that there won’t be any snow that early. Is that a valid concern?

        • Whether there is natural snow totally varies by year. Sometimes it snows in October, sometimes it does not start until January. Snowshoe makes snow if there is not enough natural snowfall on their slopes.

    • Anonymous :

      Big Sky in Montana! Not driving distance but beautiful and snowy!

  22. I had a similar situation when I transitioned from undergrad to grad school, and I found a therapist here but had phone appointments with my first therapist every few months. Is that an option?

  23. In an average month, how much money do you spend on stuff just for yourself? I’m talking things like clothes/accessories, haircuts, makeup, participation in hobbies (such as, if you’re a cyclist, buying cycling gear or going on cycling tours), going out with friends, etc.?

    • On stuff, including material for my hobbies, clothes, and random items from Amazon: 200-400. (I rock climb and I really try not to let my inner gear wh*re have her way every time she sees a shiny, but she is really convincing sometimes)

      On going out: budget is 200.

      My hair is curly and I wear it long, so my hair cuts can be every 6-8 months without the cut starting to look weird. Each cut is $80. If I were trying to maintain a specific style I’d obviously need to get it cut a lot more often, which is one of the reasons I don’t try to do that.

    • Probably about $400-500. This includes exercise classes, running gear, lunches and happy hours out, charity events, salon costs, and clothing that is pretty much discretionary.

    • I’m a biglaw mom of small kids living in the Chicago area. My main just-for-me budget categories (not including restaurants/Amazon shopping/etc. that would likely catch both just-me stuff and family/couple/household stuff):

      $200 Exercise Classes/Personal Training Sessions
      $200 Personal care (regular hair cut & color, w a xing; mani/pedis occasionally)
      $150 Clothing
      $150 Entertainment (going out with friends, etc.)

    • Anonymous :

      Probably less than $100 on average/month: a $40 haircut every couple of months, $100 or so of clothes every few months and a dinner or two with friends each month. I don’t wear makeup, do my nails or color my hair so my beauty budget is really low. But if you count travel as a hobby – which it kind of is, since my husband isn’t really into it – then my self-spending waaaaay more.

    • Anonymous :

      It probably averages to about $100-150/month.

      I work FT and have three small children, so I simply don’t have time for personal hobbies. My hair style is low maintenance ($100 cut every four months) and not colored. I don’t wear make up routinely. I don’t enjoy shopping, so I only buy to replace items as they wear out. I don’t have gym or other memberships – if I annualize the cost of the elliptical I bought four years ago, it’s maybe $20/month.

      In fairness, if I were single, I’d consider things like my Netflix, meals out, travel – whereas now I consider those family expenses.

    • Just so you don’t feel guilty with all of these frugal responses – for me, at least $1000/ month. Probably more. I can afford it so who cares?

    • Last month’s spending:

      $110 on my haircut
      $225 on gym/yoga
      $435 on entertainment, nails, stuff on Amazon, moisturizer, some stuff for the house, etc.
      $1,778 on going out to eat/drink (a normal month is more like $1000 – I was traveling a lot so there were periods where I was eating every meal out)
      $418 on clothing

  24. Looking for ideas as relocation possibilities.
    Hubby and I currently live in rural Vermont and are looking to relocate. We are a young, professional family, and I am finding it difficult to live here (weather, lack of like-minded people, high taxes, poor schools, high cost of living). We’re looking toward the future and think that now might be a good time to make a move that puts in an improved situation financially and emotionally. I find the advice here to be thoughtful and intelligent, so I’d like some thoughts….perhaps you love where you’re living and it’s a place we’ve overlooked. Or maybe you’re like us, relocated somewhere, and it’s been a bust.

    Here’s what we’re seeking:
    -Moderate – large town/city in the Northeast or South (population 85k-800k)
    -Affordable cost of living (homes in the 300-400k range that don’t require total gut jobs, property taxes less than 10k a year, good schools or private schools that don’t charge tuition on par with colleges)
    -Good weather (although nearly anything is an improvement over Vermont – we are both avid golfers and tennis players)
    -Population that is moderate or left-leaning in political / religious views; right-leaning isn’t a deal breaker for us but might give us more pause…
    -Airport with direct flight to NYC

    For reference, Charlottesville, Savannah, and Knoxville are some of the places we’ve considered.
    Thank you for your help…

    • lost academic :

      Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area would nail it for you. Austin is a little larger than you’re looking for but you could shoot for it. Decatur, as a part of Atlanta. Some of the parts of Chicago – also see the map the NYT just did of various cities and housing cost vs school rankings for various cities for choices. I’d say the burbs of DC but I think they might be kinda pricey but you might luck out. I’d recommend Huntsville, AL but it’s just a little too remote.

    • North Carolina, specifically the Triangle of Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill could be ideal for you. You can choose to live as central as you want to those cities. Chapel Hill is considerably more left leaning than you might think–it’s a beautiful college town. Very affordable and should be easy to find work in RTP.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        Second this. I live there, and all three towns are pretty left leaning (and full of transplants). I will caution home prices in Raleigh are more expensive than you would think if you want to be in the main core of town. They’re not outrageous, but depending on what you’re looking for, they might be a bit more than you would expect. It’s cheaper if you are willing to go slightly further out. Durham is also cheaper.

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          Oh, and I travel a lot for work, and I love our airport. Big enough we have direct flights to major US cities (and London and Paris) and enough restaurants in the terminals, not so big that it has long lines or difficulty parking.

        • Yes, that’s consistent with my experience as well. But housing prices depend greatly on the neighborhood and proximity to downtown Raleigh or Cary. Inside the beltline prices has a huge premium but prices do go down the farther out you go, especially in North North Raleigh. Apex is also a nice price break.

      • Yes yes! I grew up in RTP area and now live in Connecticut and really miss so many things about living there. Some great towns right outside of Raleigh Durham Chapel Hill as well… Hillsborough, Morrisville (recently rated the #1 city of NC for something money related), Wake Forest, Apex, etc.

    • The Richmond, VA area might be a good fit. Within the city limits most people with the means choose private schools, but some of the surrounding counties have good public schools, property taxes are low, and you can find a brand-new house in your price range. Politics and limited education/life experience will be an issue in some areas, but there are some more cosmopolitan pockets.

    • Richmond or a suburb could work for you–it’s a very small-town place, even though the metro is over 800k (check out Ashland specifically). For other VA options, try Harrisonburg, Roanoke, or Blacksburg. Off the top of my head, Asheville, NC, Athens, GA, Johnson City, TN and Greenville, SC could also work.

      I’m clearly a fan of college towns, and I think they could give you a lot of what you’re looking for in terms of the political/religious leanings.

      • And Anonymous is right about being mindful of school districts in Richmond. Richmond city has some good elementary schools and then they all fall off a cliff, but there is an excellent governor’s school in the city; common pattern for my urban coworkers with kids is city elementary K-5, plan for three years of private for middle school, apply to governor’s school, move across county line into district with good high school if kids don’t make it in. County schools are overall much better.

        • It is insanely difficult to get into that high school, especially from certain districts. I am freaking out about it right now and my kid is entering sixth grade.

      • I really want to like Ashland, but I always get the impression that it’s run-down, icky, and provincial. Is there something I’m missing there? There are some other parts of Hanover and Henrico’s West End that are more with it, although McMansions are starting to become an issue in both places and traffic is getting bad in Short Pump.

      • +1 for Richmond Metropolitan Area. I grew up in the west end suburbs and loved it. Would love to move back, except that my husband is an only child and we live 20 minutes from his parents in NOVA….and I love my job. Moved to Richmond as a kid in ’95 in what was then the sticks (and now is 10 minutes from Short Pump) – routinely back since my parents are still there and friends are slowly but surely moving back. Henrico County schools (in the western part of the county) + the governor’s school were fantastic for me. Both of my sisters went to the governor’s school as well, but we probably would have gone to one of the “specialty centers” in Henrico had we not gotten in, likely Freeman or Godwin. I had a lot of friends come up through the Chesterfield County schools in the Midlothian area.

    • Baltimore sounds like a great fit for you. Also an option if you want white-picket-fence America, two large areas 5-20 minutes outside of Baltimore are Catonsville and Columbia.

      I think Baltimore is a city many people overlook, but I am so lucky to have grown up here. Everything is convenient, from a day trip to DC, to a drive to Philly, to an hour flight to Boston.

      -Affordable cost of living/schools – Renting is expensive, but for buying you will have so so many options in neighborhood and architecture. I don’t own so can’t speak to sepcifics however. Baltimore public schools are not great, to put it lightly. Public schools in the counties are fantastic. However, private schools are incredibly popular (as in people ask where you went to HS in MD, not college). Since they are so popular there are many options in price-point and they’re pretty universally good schools
      -Good weather – We are lucky to truly get all 4 seasons. Mild winters generally, but we freak out when there is snow and everything shuts down. The worst part of the weather is humidity in the summer and it is brutal
      -Political / religious views – You’re good on this one, but definitely will find more like-minded people in the city itself than the other areas I mentioned
      -Airport – BWI is a decent airport

      • givemyregards :

        I live in Baltimore and I love it but property taxes are high in the city if you buy a place. And housing prices for more family friendly neighborhoods are not super cheap (Locust Point, Roland Park, etc) although you can definitely get great bargains in other areas. I think if you’re used to Vermont, though, the lack of green space might be a tough adjustment. Hate to disagree with you because I really do love the city, but based on her ask I don’t think it’d a great fit for OP.

        • Ah, I could understand the difference in green space being hard. But I’ve always lived close to Patterson or Waterfront park, and have family in the county, so no lack of seeing green space for me :)

      • Anonymous :

        FYI Columbia, MD is a great place to live (green space, family friendly, pretty good school system) but housing costs and property taxes are going up due to all the new redevelopment that’s going on.

        I agree with everything else Anon said about the Baltimore area, as it’s a slightly cheaper alternative to the actual DC ‘burbs.

      • I live in Baltimore city. Property tax on a $350-400k property will be around $7-8k. Not cheap, but well under $10k. And for that money, you’ll have lots of options. Maybe not Roland Park proper, but Evergreen, etc (small neighborhoods nearby that are in the Roland Park school district). Wyman Park is zoned for Hampden, which seems like it’s improving rapidly. Private is an option, but you can definitely live in the city and send your kids to public, or at least charter

        I get the green space thing, though. We live right by one of the big parks, but it’s not the same as Vermont – true open green space is a significant drive away.

    • I’d consider Nashville over Knoxville. But my first thought when I read your post – Charlotte.

      You could look at the DC suburbs, but it’ll be hard to get a house for 400k that isn’t a true gut renovation IF you need to be commutable to the city. You didn’t say what you do for work – so if you do something where jobs would be locally available or you work from home and don’t need to go to DC – there are TONS of Virginia and Maryland suburbs where you can get a nice 400k home (they aren’t on a commuter rail line which knocks down the prices a LOT).

      • Anonymous :

        I live in Charlotte and it even though it’s at the upper range of population, I think my old neighborhood would be good for you. It ticks all those boxes. Plus, if you fly to see family or travel elsewhere, we have a good airport for that.

    • First Year Anon :

      I would imagine a lot of TX cities would fit what you want, if you aren’t afraid of hot summers.

    • Honestly. It looks like you’re a closet conservative from your description so any major southern city should be your speed.

    • all about eevee :

      I live in Knoxville and I think it’s just okay. We do have the best brunch in the country, though.

    • The weather is nothing good but I live in and love Pittsburgh!

    • The Triangle would work, to echo everyone else. We moved here in January for Dh’s career and were looking for several of the same things (sans the kid-related things).

      Would Atlanta work too? Curious.

      • Not sure if you’re still reading, but I’ll add another plug for theTriangle. I grew up there, loved it, ad want to move back when it’s time to raise a family (ideally sooner but partner’s grad school timeline doesn’t match up). I second someone’s above comment about the airport – NYC, DC, Boston flights are really convenient and can be cheaper than you expect if you just put down effort into tracking airline promotions.

      • Not sure if you’re still reading, but I’ll add another plug for theTriangle. I grew up there, loved it, ad want to move back when it’s time to raise a family (ideally sooner but partner’s grad school timeline doesn’t match up). I second someone’s above comment about the airport – NYC, DC, Boston flights are really convenient and can be cheaper than you expect if you just put some effort into tracking airline promotions.

    • NYT just put out a great interactive feature on this question (link to follow)…

    • Thank you, everyone, for all the thoughtful suggestions and input. Especially enjoyed the NYT link. I think I will be giving VA and NC another look…

  25. not Knoxville!

  26. Just a heads up – there’s an article in the NYT today about the student loan forgiveness program rescinding eligibility for some individuals seemingly randomly and without explanation. I don’t know if this is new or if it’s been an ongoing issue, but what a nightmare to deal with.

  27. Silent alarm :

    Does anyone use a Fitbit or something similar as a silent alarm? Any recommendations? Do they actually work? I’d like to start waking up to workout in the mornings without disturbing my partner.

    • Yes, that’s by far the best feature of my Fitbit. Works great and I love it.

    • Yes, and it’s great. I was actually having a huge issue sleeping through my alarm and the vibrating alarm completely solved the issue. My partner gets up earlier than I do, so I had trained myself to sleep through their alarm. The distinction between sound vs. vibration has dramatically improved my life. On days I get up earlier than my partner, the vibration doesn’t wake them up or bother them.

    • I like the Fitbit alarm. Good for getting up early if I’m sharing a room with someone who wants to sleep in. One time I used it as a food timer as a party. But I have to remember to delete an alarm if I just wanted it go to off once. Otherwise, even if I deactivate it, the app will mysteriously reactivate it and it’ll go off at the same time the next week

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I do, and it does wake me up, but doesn’t keep me awake. I hate getting up though, so YMMV.

      I also find myself half-asleep jabbing at the fitbit hissing “STOP STOP STOP OHMYGOD STOPPPP,” so if I were to actually take that time to get up instead of trying to make it go away, it might be more useful.

    • lucy stone :

      Yes, it works great. I roomshare with our baby and use it to get up and get ready before she wakes up.

  28. Received a letter today addressed to “Legal Department” of my company, and the salutation reads “Gentlemen:”

    I’m annoyed.

    • Was it from a Nigerian prince, though?

    • Aunt Jamesina :

      Is is perhaps dated from the 19th century?

    • I received an email from someone within my company yesterday that addressed me as “Mrs.” I’ve never met this person before (Fortune 100 company) but I was unsure why he would choose that as his default greeting. I am very much single and always have been. I was similarly annoyed.

      • Anonymous :

        Most men, honesty, truly don’t know there is a difference between Mrs. and Ms. Also, if he’s old enough, he may remember when Ms. was used for only divorced women, so it had a negative air to it.

    • We must work the same place.

    • Anonymous :

      We have a customer in Algeria who won’t stop referring to me (very feminine name) and my colleague Betty as Mr. He speaks English just fine, so that’s not the issue.

      • I don’t know Arabic, but such mistakes are often rooted in the mother tongue. I know people with very good level of English, who make these types of silly mistakes (no distinction between he and she, usually made by Spanish speakers; which/who, etc.). Heck, I do make them, especially the/a/an.

    • Received comments from UK counsel on a form letter (exhibit to an agreement, so unknown recipients) addressed “Dear Sirs”. Given my annoyance with other comments in their draft, I changed it to “Ladies and Gentlemen”. Women work too!

    • Anonymous :

      LOL at Nigerian prince.

      I recently had a conversation with my dad wherein he referred to every single professional person as male. I kept correcting him, and he laughed it off.

      It was strange because he’s always encouraged me academically and professionally and consults me for issues related to my area AND the people in question are in a related field, so I could have easily BEEN one of them.

    • General counsel at my office calls me “first name” but corrects me when I call him by his first name to “Mr. Last name”

      Nevertheless, I persist.

      (By the way, I’m 50. Not an ingenue)

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      I had an opposing counsel who addressed all letters to our team as “Dear Gentlemen.” Our team was five women.

  29. am I missing anything with this plan? :

    I am looking to buy another home, and preferably to buy it before selling my current house. I own my current house outright but owe on a HELOC. As I’m saving for a downpayment on a new home, I am thinking it would be smarter to “save” by paying on the HELOC, because paying off an interest rate of 2.99 is better than saving with an interest rate of .75. Then when I’m ready to make the down payment, I can borrow against the money I’ve paid off in the HELOC. Am I missing something with this plan? Would it, for some reason, be better to be saving separately rather than paying more on the HELOC?

    • Wouldn’t this look bad on the application for the mortgage on the new place?

      • am I missing anything with this plan? :

        I’m thinking it’s all good because my credit to debt ratio is good, my credit score is high, and I’ve been pre-approved for my price range. Would any of that change if I pulled a down payment from the HELOC?

    • WestCoast Lawyer :

      I did exactly what you are proposing and ended up wishing I’d just put the money into a savings account (assuming you are planning to move within the couple years). The difference between 2.9% and 0.75% isn’t that much over the short term, and when buying a house cash is king.

      There are two things I’d look into based on my experience. First, confirm you will actually be able to borrow against the HELOC. With my old one, as I paid it off they lowered the limit so I never had any additional amount I could borrow.

      Second, when you take out a new mortgage they often have a liquidity requirement in addition to the down payment. So in addition to 20% (or whatever you plan to put down), they want to see that you have cash or liquid assets in an account that covers a certain amount. It probably varies by bank, but for us I think it was enough to cover expected closing costs and maybe the first 6-12 months of mortgage payments. I don’t know that they would have accepted money pulled out of a HELOC for this purpose since it’s essentially another loan.

      • Thank you, that is really helpful!

      • This is good advice. I used a HELOC on my first house to make part of the down on my second house, then paid off the HELOC when the first house sold.

        However, the bank with the HELOC on my first house closed my line when they got wind that my house was for sale. It almost scuttled the deal. I spent a very stressful couple of days trying to get them to reopen it. They ultimately did, but this was pre-2008. I don’t think most banks would do it now.

        As the poster above says, cash is king. Even if you have to take $50,000 out of your HELOC and park it in a savings account for a couple of months until you find your new house, it’s worth it.

    • Borrowing against the HELOC may lower your credit score because on paper you are incurring a large debt. That in turn can affect the mortgage rate for the new property.

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