Coffee Break: Audra Loafer

These loafers come in medium and wide sizes 5.5–11, and they’re very highly rated at Nordstrom. Lots of women seem to really like them, and in fact they’re among the most highly rated loafers there. We’re picturing the “luggage,” but there’s also a really lovely grape red as well as neutral colors like black, rice yellow, cream white, and a blush they’re calling “cipria.” I like the sort of gentle point and I like how they’re a happy medium between very sleek, pointed-toe loafers and very casual, driving-slipper kind of shoes. They’re at a great price, too. They’re $89 at Zappos and also available at Nordstrom and Lord & TaylorMe Too Audra Loafer

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  1. DC specific question — I would like to begin volunteering on an ongoing basis and was wondering if anyone has ideas on where I might be able to volunteer during my lunch break at work or an afternoon (so during the day) in downtown DC. At my old job they had this amazing program where a group of 1st graders would get dropped off at our office every week and each of us would take one child and help them with their reading. I loved the relationship I formed with my student and it was so easy because they came to us. We don’t have a similar program at my current agency but I’m considering organizing one. Before I do that, though, I was wondering if anyone has ideas on volunteering during lunch/the daytime.

    • Hmm, I don’t know for sure if this is something you can do during the day (or would interest you) but when I lived in DC I volunteered with Community Tax Aid doing taxes January – April. I absolutely loved it. They have sites all over the city, but I think the shifts are usually after work or Saturdays.

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      My mom plays cribbage with some elderly people in her neighborhood she does this through her church. If there are churches/synagogues around you, you could contact them and see if they do similar senior visits and see if there are any near your work.

      Another thing is if there is an animal shelter near you -sometimes they need the animals to be taken for walks.

      If there is a hospital they need babies to be rocked and in general kids to be interacted with.

      Lastly as teacher we love volunteers if we know they are going to be steady and not quit after a few weeks. Teachers in neighborhoods with involved parents often have parents volunteer to help cut things out for the classroom (they send a bag of things that need cutting out in the backpack, and parents do it while they watch TV at night and send it back), but teachers in neighborhoods without parents that support the classroom love for volunteers to help do this!

    • Anonymous :

      You can try Reading Partners. I think it’s only 1-2 hours a week and you help children with below-grade reading level improve their literacy skills. They provide the curriculum/guidance for you.

    • Anonymous :

      If you are looking for pro bono opportunities, I volunteer with Catholic Charities of DC (pro bono immigration services but I believe they do a wide range of topics). There is also Pro Bono Center of DC.

      For non-pro bono volunteering, Catholic Charities (at least in Baltimore, where I work; live in DC) is always looking for individuals to come and teach classes about anything (knitting, hula hooping, whatever) at their centers. Also International Rescue Committee in DC most likely needs volunteers.

      If you are interested in something with children/schools, maybe try contacting one of the charter schools re: similar programs. As for organizing your own program, I have organized a few volunteer programs through my work and most of that has come from just asking a local non-profit what their needs are, fitting those needs to a work schedule and asking colleagues to help out.

    • Wildkitten :

      Why don’t you ask Horton’s Kids if they’d like to expand to your agency, or ask a local school if there is a kid who would benefit from extra reading time with you?

    • Anonymous :

      How about reading the newspapers or magazines for an hour to people at assisted living facilities who can’t read anymore?

    • You could volunteer at the Soup Kitchen shelter at around 4th and C street, NW; not far from UNION STATION. There are alot of peeople that could use a talking to, as well. I stopped there when I took the AMTRAK home and they loved me there. The peeople do need to shower more tho, so that is a consideration if you have a sensitive sense of smell the way I do. But it is rewarding. One of the men there wound up getting elected an Alderman for the district! YAY for him!

    • In at least some cities, Big Brothers Big Sisters has school-based mentoring programs that are similar to what you describe and less commitment to being an actual Big Sister.

    • If you’re an attorney, the DC Volunteer Lawyers Project is fantastic. It’s not necessarily a lunchtime thing but you set your own schedule.

    • N Street Village – they have a wide variety of needs throughout the day. I used to sign up for either breakfast (got into the office a smidge late) or dinner (left the office a little early). I don’t recall but they probably have lunch as well.

  2. I have these shoes in the olive color – they are SO comfortable although they seem to run slightly wide. I walk about 2 miles a day for my commute, and I got no blisters the first day I wore them.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I bought a similar pair and returned them earlier in the year because I couldn’t get them to look right with skirts. What do you usually wear them with?

      • I think there are better versions of this loafer style to wear with skirts. These skew a bit casual for skirt pairing to me.

      • Anonymous :

        I’ve worn them with skirts before – but my office isn’t terribly formal. I think the darker color helps – I’d agree that the tan looks a bit more casual. My favorite way to wear these is with black cigarette pants, black shell and a gray collarless blazer.

      • I’ve worn them with skirts before – but my office isn’t terribly formal. I think the darker color helps – I’d agree that the tan looks a bit more casual. My favorite way to wear these is with black cigarette pants, black shell and a gray collarless blazer.

    • Sock stylin :

      Thoughts about wearing these with socks? Yay or Nay?

  3. Anonymous :

    I’ve been taking prenatal vitamins for about a week because we plan to TTC in a few months. I’m definitely not pregnant yet. Since I’ve been taking them I’ve noticed I have way more energy than I used to. I’m sleeping less and have way less trouble getting out of bed in the morning. I’m more focused and efficient at work. Is increased energy a known side effect of prenatals or does this suggest that I had some sort of vitamin deficiency before?

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      Probably a question for your doctor. But if they have vitamin D or iron both are connected to energy problems if you have a deficiency.

    • I’m not sure, but the exact same thing happened to me. I hate taking giant pills, otherwise I’d be still taking them today even though I have no plans on having additional children, just because I felt SO GREAT on them.

      • Anonymous :

        I felt great on them too & asked my doc if I could take them forever. She said that they have too much iron in them for long-term use. Apparently if you’re not pregnant or nursing, that much iron can build up and become toxic (which makes me wonder if they’re safe to take for years if that’s how long it takes you to conceive!). She tested me for iron deficiency and said I don’t have it, so she recommended I try a multi vitamin (without iron) that was safe for long-term use. Sadly, I didn’t see any benefits from it – I may not be formally iron deficient but my body sure loved that extra iron.

        • layered bob :

          I also feel better on high doses of iron, B vitamins, and D, so my midwife runs a blood test every April and November (before and after the winter) to check my levels. It’s been three-ish years of heavy supplementing and my iron and D are just barely in the normal range, so I can keep it up.

          If you like the extra iron, maybe just ask your doctor to order a blood test once or twice a year to monitor it?

    • I’m not pregnant or TTC but I take a daily multi (kind of a horse pill) and vitamin C and if I forget I really notice a drop in my energy levels, esp. in the afternoon.

    • Also could be that you have now repleted B12.

    • Anonymous :

      You probably didn’t have an actual deficiency…but the B vitamins, iron, and vitamin D all boost your energy. Many women are low but not dangerously low in some or all of these vitamins.

    • This happened to me too. I’m still waiting for the thicker, fuller hair that is supposed to be a side effect, though.

    • Is a week really enough time to make sure this isn’t due to something else or some kind of placebo effect?

      • Anonymous :


      • For certain things it is enough time. D3 takes a LONG time to build back up if there’s a deficiency. But if you’re tired due to being low on B12 – it’s water soluble and you need to take it daily so within a day of taking it, you’ll feel better. Not sure about iron, but I think it comes up reasonably quickly as well – so 5 days of iron would make you feel somewhat better if you were low.

  4. Pixie products :

    I have a short pixie cut that is supposed to stand up in the back and lie flatter in the front–think Jamie Lee Curtis. I am currently using styling wax, and cannot get it to style correctly. It’s difficult to create a piece-y enough texture, even though my stylist has texturized the hair a lot and it looks fine when she styles it. Some days it all stands up like a big puffball, and other days it’s all flat, but it never does the right thing in all the right places. Once in a while I can get the shape almost right, but then it puffs up into a mess after a few minutes. I have even tried spraying it into place after styling it with the wax, with no luck. Any recommendations for a product that will create texture and help the style keep its shape all day?

    • Anonymous :

      Have you tried spraying it with a texturizing spray when wet at the roots, and then blowdying it with the diffuser? And maybe afterwards use some mousse.

    • Minnie Beebe :

      Joico Spiker Water Resistant Glue. (It’s a hair product, not an actual glue!)

      I don’t use it myself, but I purchased it for my son’s pre-Christmas “Crazy Hair Day” at school. We were able to create an INCREDIBLE (non-shiny, non-stiff) faux-hawk with this stuff, and it stayed put ALL DAY. On an active Kindergartner! I was amazed.

    • Try dry wax spray. IMO regular wax is just too heavy for my pixie. I use spay wax overall and only use the actual wax for the ends to kind of twist texture in.

  5. For you coupled ladies do you feel like you put in effort into finding your partner/you were ‘looking’ or it just ‘happened’? I’m taking a bit of a hiatus from dating at the moment but when I was dating my coupled friends would tell me ‘oh it’ll just happen, dont think about it’. I feel like some of them have selective memories because I distinctly remember them putting in a lot of effort to meet guys when they were single… Then when I talk to my single friends theyre all ‘oh its just a numbers game, you need to date date date’. I’m sure its a healthy mixture of both perspectives but just curious what your guys’ thoughts are on this in general and from your experiences.

    • Anonymous :

      Just happened. Met at a Starbucks randomly with a friend, and he was there with a friend of his. I wasn’t dating “with purpose” prior to that – maybe a couple dates a month.

    • anon for this :

      No advice, but I’ll say that I suffer from the same barrage of mixed advice, which is particularly annoying from my coupled friends. The problem is that, for most of us who spent 12+ hours/day in the office and barely have time to get life tasks done, if you don’t date date date (usually via apps, because where else do you meet new people?), there’s no way it can “just happen.”

      I think the idea people are trying to convey when they say “it’ll just happen, don’t think about it,” is that when you’re not looking/focused on getting into a relationship, you’ll present as your best, most natural self, and won’t constantly be evaluating your behavior in the context of formal dating/evaluating another person and being evaluated. You’ll be less invested in the outcome, and therefore able to connect/be vulnerable/be real. That’s all well and good and I don’t disagree, but the reality is that this theory isn’t always compatible with reality. See above. If I don’t “date” I almost never come into contact with any single dudes to be carefree and uninvested around.

      I’m really not into dating right now. Don’t want to, can’t muster up the energy or enthusiasm. So I’m not on apps, etc. But most of my social life now is hanging out with married friends and their new babies. Not conducive to meeting people. I don’t want to date (esp. not with a bad attitude), but I’m acutely aware of the fact that month after month (on top of year after year) is flying by with my romantic life continuing to flat line.

    • Anonymous :

      It just happened. I was actively NOT looking. I had dated a few guys in college without success, didn’t really like the idea of couplehood after witnessing my parents’ marriage, and was enjoying singledom. I was young but was starting to think through vague plans for pursuing motherhood on my own one day. Then I just happened to meet my future husband in our apartment building’s laundry room.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Finding the right person is something you can’t control. That will “just happen.” Meeting a lot of people in order to be able to find that right person – that you put work into. Also, meeting a lot of people helps you figure out what you want, and helps you narrow your criteria for a mate.

    • Anonymous :

      I put effort into it. For years I didn’t try that hard (I’d sign up for online dating but would let everyone message me first), but I read somewhere (maybe here?) about the numbers game line of thought. I took a pragmatic approach, went online, and messaged at least 5 guys a week. Within a month I met my husband.

    • Seatowner :

      I was actively looking to date anyway, not necessarily for a long term partner although that’s how it worked out. Online dating worked for me. I’m not great at meeting guys in real life, so that venue worked well for me.

    • Anonymous :

      Just happened. I met DH when friends introduced us. I was doing an internship at a university where he was studying. Looked nothing like my ‘type’. Took me a month to stop trying to fight the feeling that I was attracted to him.

      I was out there living my best life, being open to meeting new people and trying new activities at the time. The internship wasn’t in my city so I wasn’t looking to meet someone. I think not focusing on dating made me more laid back and confident which was attractive to men. I had two other guys pursue me a bit before I met DH (this was totally atypical for me – like never had a boyfriend in high school kind of history)

    • Anonymous :

      For me, the initial meeting just happened. I literally ran into him (on accident, haha.)

    • Effort. Numbers. Many, many bad dates.

      I don’t at all agree with people who say that finding an SO as an adult past college/grad school (where you are naturally socializing with heaps of singles in your age range) doesn’t take any effort. How can it not? But I do agree with those who say that when it’s right it shouldn’t take a lot of effort to be _in_ the relationship. Like you shouldn’t be spending a ton of time/emotional energy wondering where things stand, why he said that jerky thing he said, how to talk to him about something important to you, whether you can live long term with X, Y, Z, Q and T things about him, etc. When it’s working, there might be rough patches, but you don’t question your fundamental ability to communicate and care about each other.

      For reference I’m early thirties and have been with my SO for a year a half. No prior “relationship” lasted more than 6 months.

      • “When it’s working, there might be rough patches, but you don’t question your fundamental ability to communicate and care about each other.”

        I think this is an important thing to remember when dating. A friend of mine last night was stressing over a guy that wasnt putting in effort/seemed like he wasnt really committed and I ended up saying to not ignore that feeling and go with her gut/maybe even ask him about how he feels.

        However, deep down I really feel that if they are right for you it wont be incredibly difficult to figure out and you wont spend all this time and energy with all the wondering (not that youll get married and stay together for 65 years with this person but still)…and once you accept that, it can make dating a little less stressful.

    • JuniorMinion :

      No effort. We met at a party where neither of us knew the hosts too well and I had only been living in new city for three days. Now husband offered to come over and help me finish moving in and somehow I was totally fine with letting this strange man come over to my apartment who I had never met before.

    • Jitterbug :

      I’ve never actually found a guy by “looking” for one, it always kind of just happens.

      I was healing from a breakup, wanted to hang out with friends to get my mind off it, ended up watching a movie at this house I’d been to once for a party (one of those setups where everyone rents a room but lives like a family, sort of), and this guy who lived there, whom I didn’t meet at the party, came down to watch with us. We hit it off, went to a bar to get to know each other, went on a first date a few days later, and we’ve been together for about 10 months now.

      Pretty much everyone I’ve dated has been someone I’ve met by chance. At a social gathering, or from a shared hobby, for the most part. I guess I’m lucky that I’ve never needed to really look for someone, but one could argue that since nothing has led to marriage yet, maybe I am doing something wrong. I don’t think that way, but it’s certainly one perspective.

    • Anonymous :

      Just happened. Professional “friend” (more of a friend than a colleague, but we only interacted in a professional sense) until one day, *BAM*, there were sparks. The rest is history!

    • Every serious relationship I’ve ever had happened when I wasn’t looking or trying. I think something about “not looking” makes it easier to connect with people, for me at least. It’s like when you aren’t really that interested in a job, you just have a great interview because you’re not nervous and overthinking everything.

      That said, I wonder if a lot of the people who say that “it just happened,” paired off younger. It’s a lot easier to “just meet someone” when you’re in school or part of a big intern program or even just in a place where your friends throw a lot of big house parties or take weekend trips together. That was my life in my late teens and 20s, not so much in my 30s now. If I weren’t partnered up, I’m not sure how many single men that I’d want to date I would naturally come across. So I’d say depending on the point in your life, you may have to put in more of an effort and in that case I’d say that you’re better off setting up lots of quick low-pressure dates to replicate those “ideal” dating conditions of the college/grad school years.

      • Jitterbug :

        Once you’re out of school and your local friends have settled down, you can still meet people by chance if you have a hobby that has you mingling with people a lot. Social dancing is a good one, a good friend of mine met his girlfriend in a local climbing community . . . I can’t think of any other “social” hobbies off the top of my head, but you get the idea. Any community where people meet just to have fun and relationships are more of a byproduct than the end goal.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m one of the “just happened” posters above and I started dating my husband when I was 35

        • Obviously it can happen. My point was only that it’s harder and because of that it’s helpful to put yourself in situations where you’re more likely to meet people, like Jitterbug and others said above.
          Obviously it also depends on where you live and your social circle.

      • Anonymous :

        I think this is very true. I’m in my early 30s and all of my friends who met partners before about 27-28 just ‘happened’. Everyone else put effort into it, even if the eventual guy ‘just happened’. Personally, I wasn’t that concerned about being single for periods up to that point, but when I was about 28 i started to really want a solid long term relationship more than anything else from life, and started to put much more effort into dating and thinking about whether potential partners were long term material.

    • Anonymous :

      Just met randomly at a museum one Sunday afternoon. I was in black leggings covered in white dog hair and hadn’t showered in 4 days… However, while I was single, I was healing from a breakup and part of that healing included going to more museums, book readings, etc. because I am interested in that and if I am interested in that, hopefully while I was there, I would meet other people who are interested in that. And then I did. So it was by chance but I do credit a lot of that chance with me making a concerted effort to get out and do things that interested me.

      • Anon at 2:44p :

        Oh, I also went on a ton of terrible Bumble and Ok Cupid dates prior to this great meeting so give it time. :)

    • Moonstone :

      I think you want to factor in age as you read these answers. It’s quite a bit easier for it to “just happen” if you are in your 20s, because making friends in general is easier. I agree with the responses that you can choose to put yourself in a situation where you meet or take a chance on more people. In 2001, I made a resolution to ask out 5 guys (real life, not online). Two turned me down, one didn’t show up to the party I was throwing, one was an OK date … and on Dec. 6 I made myself ask out one more guy, whom I had met taking a class after work. Dear Reader, it’s 15 years later and we are still together.

      • Anonymous :

        aw, that is sweet. good for you for being so brave.

      • You also just look better without trying in your 20s. Plus you look more fertile, and men who want families will be more likely to approach you at 25 vs. 35.

        If I was 35 and still single I would be trying HARD to look healthy and approachable.

    • Anonymous :

      I think it’s the same as anything else in life: a lot of it is luck, but you can create the conditions to make luck more likely. When faced with multiple choices, choose the one that makes it more likely you’ll meet someone, and the rest is up to chance. I met mine at a housewarming party for the ex-boyfriend of a friend I met on a sketchy site when I posted for an activity partner. Never would have met him if I didn’t 1) go out of my way to meet a random activity partner, 2) stay in enough in touch with her extended social circle to get invited to one of their parties.

    • I’m single, but my friends’ relationships are definitely a mix of “just happened, i.e., we were in college/law school” and “met online.”

    • Anonymous :


      I was relationship-averse for years. Only ever dated a handful of people and only had two relationships, one in HS and one in my late twenties. The breakup of the second relationship was particularly painful. After about a year, I started seeing a counselor about a number of issues. He encouraged me to give online dating a try, “to practice my social skills” as much as anything else. I was reluctant, but decided to humor him and set up a profile on OKCupid.

      After a couple of weeks of messaging, I went on dates with four different people. About two years later, I married date number 2. Totally not how I expected things to work out–but I’m very grateful they did.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I absolutely put in effort to find someone. I was 28 and had not been in a relationship since high school. I had gone on a couple of casual dates over that decade but never got to a second date with anyone.

      NYE I realized that I wanted to be in a relationship. I had been pretty happy with my single life and it gave me the freedom to do lots of things, but I decided to really put myself out there for awhile and seriously look for someone. My goal was to find someone to be in a serious relationship with and although I didn’t expect to find the person I wanted to marry right away, that was the dream goal.

      I treated it like a job. I drafted my online dating profile, had several friends (male and female) review it and make it better, actively spent a lot of time on OK Cupid reaching out to people I found interesting and answering their questions and such. I put in my profile that I was looking to meet people in person very quickly and wasn’t interested in endless emails. If I had a couple of good emails with someone, I’d set up a date and I’d set up a date with more than one person per week if possible so that I didn’t get too anxious about any one in particular.

      I wound up having first dates with 4 or 5 people within the first 3-ish weeks after I put up my profile. I scheduled second dates with 2 of them but one of the guys cancelled and we didn’t reschedule. The other guy is now my husband. I absolutely got lucky finding him so fast. But I wouldn’t have found him if I wasn’t seriously looking.

    • Calibrachoa :

      I met my girlfriend though a hobby (… okay, tumblr fandom…) and we became friends first, with it deepening into something more as we kept talking more and more personal topics until one night I blurted out over Google Hangouts that I was a little bit in love with her and well here we are. It’s been less than a month and it’s long distance, but I do have my hopes up that this is going to be a long term good thing.

    • SmugMarried :

      Worked at it. Actually, I deeply regret listening to the advice that ‘it will just happen’ which led to me not putting any effort into romantic life from age ~23 to 33, with predictable results. I (and others here) put a lot of effort into other aspects of life. I studied hard in school, went the extra mile at work and made a effort to call friends so they wouldn’t slip out of my life. I have no idea why I thought my love life was exempt from need for work that governs every other aspect of life.

    • I was actively looking. I was constantly out at the bars, meeting a few guys here and there but nothing went anywhere and almost no one ever asked for my number. I was usually out with a big group of guys and girls. So a few girls got together to go out without the guys, and planned a meetup with some other (new ) guys…Poof! It actually happened that way for three of my friends too. A group of girls would plan an outing with a group of guys – ballgames, bars, football watching kind of stuff – and inevitably someone would pair off. Generally one or two of the girls would ask a guy friend to gather up his friends and meet up.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I was actively looking. I had ruled out online dating for a variety of reasons, chief among them being the fact that my ex was on every single dating site. So I put the word out to all my friends, and got involved in various activities where I thought I might meet people. Turns out Lovely Husband is somebody I’d met a few years previously in a professional context, but we met socially at our local Rotary Club shortly after my divorce was final, and the rest is history.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Oh, and although I was actively looking, I had an ironclad rule that I didn’t chase boys and I wasn’t going to pursue a relationship with anybody who wasn’t crazy about me (which is really the same thing, isn’t it?). That led to a fair number of one-and-done dates and a very short casual dating thing with an old friend, but that was fine because I didn’t waste a lot of time or emotional energy on guys who weren’t The One.

    • The meeting itself “just happened”. We had both recently gone through a period of online dating (both with the idea that the more people we met, the more likely we’d be to find one that fit), and were both sort of taking a disheartened break. Coincidentally enough, we had matched on that site as well but never made contact – I did not remember this, he did. We ultimately met at a mutual friends’ housewarming.

      Despite being totally practical in all other aspects of my life and never believing that I would ever say this, it was love at first conversation for me. The first time we met, I knew I wanted to date him, and on our first date a week later I had a very unshakeable feeling that we would get married (we are now). I never felt anything like it on any of the many, many, dates I went on in the year prior to meeting him. I can sometimes be shy, so in retrospect I was probably a more engaging version of myself the night I met my SO than I was on any of the other first dates I pushed myself to go on.

      Good luck! It’s very hard, and can be tough emotionally. Sending you all my good thoughts.

    • The meeting itself “just happened”. We had both recently gone through a period of online dating (both with the idea that the more people we met, the more likely we’d be to find one that fit), and were both sort of taking a disheartened break. Coincidentally enough, we had matched on that site as well but never made contact – I did not remember this, he did. We ultimately met at a mutual friends’ housewarming.

      Despite being totally practical in all other aspects of my life and never believing that I would ever say this, it was love at first conversation for me. The first time we met, I knew I wanted to date him, and on our first date a week later I had a very unshakeable feeling that we would get married (we are now). I never felt anything like it on any of the many, many, dates I went on in the year prior to meeting him. I can sometimes be shy, so in retrospect I was probably a more engaging version of myself the night I met my SO than I was on any of the other first dates I pushed myself to go on.

      Good luck! It’s very hard, and can be tough emotionally. Sending you all my good thoughts.

    • I married the boy next door right out of college. (He literally lived next door to me in college.) We divorced after 10 years. I don’t regard it as a failure, exactly. We were good partners for each other until we weren’t.

      After I got my head together after the divorce I did online dating. I kissed lots of frogs. I met lots of guys (at least 30? Maybe more) and dated a handful for more than the first date.

      I met the man who is now my husband of 15 years through this process. We knew right away that it was a serious match. I don’t know how to describe that feeling but it was just obvious to both of us. Which is weird, because on paper we weren’t a great match. It was more chemistry.

      So, lots of work, lots of first dates and putting myself out there. The #1 thing I can recommend from this is don’t write anyone off without meeting them. I was willing to have a cup of coffee with anyone. Literally anyone. If i hadn’t been willing to do this, I wouldn’t have met my husband because he met none of what I thought were my requirements.

    • I’ve not found someone (and perhaps don’t have the energy, or the will, required to keep actively looking), but if it helps, I have a theory that all dating advice is going to boil down to do whichever thing you are not doing at that particular time.

    • 1 million percent effort. I firmly believe it’s a numbers game and while you can’t guarantee success, you can improve your odds. You don’t improve your odds by staying offline or hoping to meet someone in real life. I’m not saying effortless romance doesn’t happen, but if you want it, you should try and not bank on it just happening.

    • He was a friend of a guy I was dating who I met online. He crushed on me silently until we broke it off, and then he asked me out. Online dating: doesn’t always result in a match in the way you thought it would!

    • Just happened (he hit on me at a bar!) but I had put a lot of effort into creating the kind of circumstances that had me open to that.

      Making sure I put effort into my appearance, even just for drinks with a girlfriend. Being at that type of a bar (a nice upscale lounge). Smiling at an attractive man in a suit. Being receptive when he came over. Being with a friend who was receptive and pleasant and was able to participate and support the conversation so I didn’t feel like I had to send him away for the sake of our girls night.

      I think there’s a happy medium. I personally had a hard time with online dating because I am so much about chemistry and that initial feeling of physical attraction and on my online dates I just felt like it was rarely there. So I wasted a lot of time on dinners when I knew 5 minutes in I wasn’t interested. On the other hand, I wouldn’t have met my guy sitting at home in my PJs reading a novel (what I actually really want to do with my evenings). So I made the effort to be out there, be receptive, smile at attractive men, flirt, etc. I’ve met most of my boyfriends at the gym or at parties or bars, so I would try to at least put myself in those places.

      • Dahlia, I think you gave the best advice. Instead of describing an online dating strategy or only talking about how you met someone, you described your day-to-day behavior, mannerisms, appearance, the importance of a good wingwoman. A lot of times it “just happens” when people put an effort into creating the right circumstances.

    • I’m coupled and would definitely agree that I met my husband when I started seriously looking. I had been online dating for a bit, and went to a work-related social event I would normally have skipped because I thought it would be a good place to meet eligible folks, and there he was : )

  6. Anonymous :

    My boss asked me for some advice on starting lifting for building muscle — she is otherwise active, enjoys her workout classes, walks a lot with her husband and dogs, etc. and is not afraid of gaining some muscle or “getting bulky.” She knows I weightlift, and coach CrossFit outside of the office, but I’ve been doing this for years and didn’t really know what to say to her for getting started. I recommended she check out the New Rules of Weightlifting for Women, and said I can send her some more resources.

    Any ideas or suggestions from anybody who has gotten in to weightlifting in the last year or two? I am obviously happy to help her out in any way I can, especially with form and such, but it’s been a while since I got in to weightlifting and I can’t say I even really remember how I got started in college or that I remember what it was like to be new and nervous/unsure! And I would love to help her get started on the right foot. Any advice is much appreciated.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I started a couple of years ago with New Rules of Lifting for Women and can’t recommend it highly enough. They also have a fantastic Facebook community if she wants to work out on her own but also wants some camaraderie.

      However, the best thing I did was to join a gym that focuses on weight lifting. Ours is very friendly to beginners and women (I heard about it through word of mouth), and it’s just inspiring to be around fit women. I joined that gym when I was about halfway through the program in New Rules because I loved it so much.

      At the very least, she should probably get a couple of sessions with a personal trainer who can make sure she’s doing all the movements properly, whether that’s you or someone else. That’s another area where word of mouth or some interviewing will help. I know some of the trainers at my former gym did not encourage women to lift heavy.

      • Anonymous :

        Yeah, I don’t want her to be discouraged by the jerk at her current gym who told her she was obese (she is CLEARLY NOT OBESE, and this is coming from somebody who used to weigh on the 300 side of 250 pounds) so I definitely offered to help her out, I know she is in a contract at her current gym but also said I am happy to answer any questions, help her with form in our work gym, etc. – I have a solid, well-paying job and I just coach because I love sharing it so I am more than willing to help her out.

        I may pick up this book just to read for my own continuing ed too because I hear so much about – thanks for the response!

        • AnonInfinity :

          Wow. That trainer sounds…unhelpful.

          It’s great your boss has you to help her out! One thing I remember being really confused about was how much weight to start with and how to increase the weight. I finally realized I could just try something and if it doesn’t work for me, change it in the middle of the set or just do something different in the next workout. I.e., as long as it’s safe, there’s no “perfect” program or progression.

          • Anonymous :

            I don’t know the exacts but I think it was a “desk attendant at Golds Gym” “try and sell you a package” kind of deal but…. yeah. She has a good attitude about it — like, “I’m not worried about being obese but I SHOULD lift more weights so I’ll just take that lesson from this!” but it does drive me nuts.

    • “Strong” is the updated program from NROLW. The Strong Curves program is good too. Can you go with her to the gym and give her some pointers? Knowing how to load the bars/machines, what the etiquette is for working around people, knowing how to read the workouts and understand the lingo, all of that can be intimidating at first.

      • Anonymous :

        I offered to do this too! Hopefully she’ll feel comfortable asking any questions she has. I also told her she’s free to come drop in my gym any time if she’d just like to take a class on squatting or deadlifting and that I would take it with her if she wants. I’ll def pass along “Strong” and “Strong Curves”! (I only added weighted hip thrusts to my lifting last year and I know they are no joke)

    • JuniorMinion :

      Personally I got started using a free online resource called Fitnessblender. As I got more into it I got a set of powerblock adjustable dumbbells (I workout at home) and purchased a couple of their targeted programs which combine weightlifting with HIIT and pilates etc (I think they were ~$10 each or something).

      I don’t do any barbells etc (would be difficult to fit this in my third bedroom…) but I found dumbbells very accessible.

      • JuniorMinion :

        Also for the budget conscious gym goers I really liked the Les Mills bodypump class when I used to go to the YMCA

    • Anonymous :

      Strong Curves- at first I found the focus on ‘curves’ to be a total turnoff (I just want to get strong!) but it’s SO COMMON to have under-activated glutes, a classic imbalance that can throw off your entire form and really limit your strength. The author is really diligent about testing and refining his exercises, too. Highly recommended.

  7. Sydney Bristow :

    33 years of not doing much for my skin has begun to catch up with me. I’ve been poking around Korean skincare blogs and am interested, but it seems so overwhelming. Can anyone recommend a super basic guide to what the various steps are, when you might want to use one of those steps, how to determine what type of skin you have, etc. Snow White and the Asian Pear was recommended here but even her beginner stuff seems to assume the reader has some level of basic knowledge already. I’m looking for something to explain it to me like I’m 7 years old.

    I’m not even sure what my skin type is. Part of it is dry and a little flaky but my forehead seems a bit oily but it also flakes some. I don’t break out much, just a small pimple here and there sometimes. My skin overall just looks duller than it used to. I’m attracted to the Korean skincare stuff because although it seems like there could be a ton of steps, you seem to have more options and use whatever number of steps you need on any day and the Korean brands seem like they cost less. I could be totally wrong about that though. Where should I start?

    • Lorelai Gilmore :

      I highly recommend going to a great facialist, getting a facial, and then buying skin care products. So much better to do that than to spend a lot of money on products.

      But if that’s not in the cards, I would recommend:
      1) Cleanse. I like micellar water for getting off makeup and then a sudsy cleanser, but you have a million choices for cleanser. Just pick one.
      2) Tone. No need for anything fancy.
      3) Serum/Acid. I use a vitamin C serum in the morning, followed by an AHA. Paula’s Choice makes great ones. Drunk Elephant makes a great vitamin C serum; Sunday Riley makes a great AHA product called Good Genes that people flip over. It sounds like we have similar skin types and adding in the acid/serum made the most difference for me.
      4) Moisturizer.
      5) Sunscreen.

      At night:
      1) Cleanse
      2) Tone
      3) Retinol. Mine is a prescription (Refissa) but you can get others over the counter. Again, check out Paula’s Choice.
      4) Moisturizer.

      • Lorelai Gilmore :

        Also, I think this guide is helpful.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          This is helpful, thanks! I feel like I should know what all those steps are, but I didn’t know what the tone/serum/acid/retinol really did.

          Side note: I feel like I’m really lacking in some basic woman knowledge here!

    • (Former) Clueless Summer :

      If you’re talking about BASIC basics, cleansing and moisturizing are the two most basic steps. You should basically always be doing that – generally twice a day, but for drier skins, perhaps cleansing only once. I would add the additional steps of exfoliating and serum (I think this is really like skin food/specialty care).

      People may have recommendations, but I find skin care to be very trial and error, but once I like something, I stick with it. Even for me, someone who cleanses and moisturizes twice a day for my entire teen/adult life (I don’t think I’ve ever not taken my makeup off to sleep), Korean beauty seems like overwhelming because there are so many steps.

      My AM routine is cleanse, serum, moisturize, spf if needed. My PM routine is exfoliate (with a clarisonic) and cleanse, serum, moisturize (adding skin oil for extra moisture in the winter). I don’t wear waterproof eye makeup and I wear tube mascara so cleansing takes off my makeup fine but you will need eye makeup remover if you wear waterproof mascara or eyeliner.

      For products, I’d start with a drugstore cleanser – something simple like Cetaphil. For serum, I’d check out Sephora – if you find you’re looking dull and given your age, I’d go with a vitamin c serum. Moisturizer – anything simple will work. I am a big fan of the brand Consonant.

      • Can you explain “SPF if needed”? I am so very novice when it comes to skin care but I always thought sun protection was like, the most important thing?

        • Calibrachoa :

          Some moisturizes come with SPF, some you have to add the protection after

        • Sun protection is definitely important. But a lot of serums and lotions have SPF built in, that is likely sufficient for a day inside an office, where sun exposure is minimal (like walking to/from the car). So a separate step of SPF would only be needed if using products that don’t have SPF, or if you were planning to be outside more.

    • Legally Brunette :

      Take a look here. I highly recommend Paula’s Choice products — inexpensive and they give you a full refund if you’re not happy. One of the many invaluable tips I have picked up from you ladies over the years! I have tried more expensive products and always return to PC.

    • Anonymous :

      Check out Caroline Hirons’ blog: She’s a skincare goddess and her cheat sheets really helped dumb things down for me.

      She’ll also help explaining skin types. Like what you describe fits right in with her philosophy that almost everyone’s skin is dehydrated (different from dry), even if they are oily.

      I also second the above routines. Cleanse, tone (Nothing with alcohol. Caroline calls this an “acid tone”. Purpose is exfoliation), serum, moisturizer, spf. Evening double cleanse when wearing spf or makeup, tone, serum or retinol, moisturizer, oil.

      The flakes and dullness sound like exfoliation and then hydration will help a lot. Acids like glycolic, lactic etc. will be your friend.

      Caroline’s blog helped me so much because of her explanations and then concrete examples (try this toner if you’re on a budget etc), and once you know what steps and ingredients you like you can explore brands.

      • Anonymous :

        An example of one evening routine of mine just to give concrete products would be: Pixi Double Cleanse (balm then cream cleanser, found at Target), First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance pads (exfoliation, Sephora or Ulta), Differen Gel (retinol, Target) or Cerave Skin Renewing Cream Serum (Ulta), Belif The True Cream Moisturizing Bomb (moisturizer, Sephora), Jordan Samuel Skin Etoile Facial Oil (on brand site).

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Oohh her blog looks helpful too. Thanks for the rec!

    • Shopaholic :

      If you don’t want an entire facial, Kiehl’s will do an assessment (either 5 or 15 mins depending on how much time you have) and will recommend products for you. They’ll also give you samples so you can try before you buy.

      Even if you don’t end up liking any of their products, once you know what type of skin you have, you can go to Sephora and look for specific products. I like Sephora because they will also give you samples, you have lots of options so you can cull together a routine from various brands and product lines and they have a good return policy.

    • Anonymous :

      Check out r/asianbeauty on reddit! But I’ve found it really worthwhile to learn the not-so-basic basics, too. It takes a few weeks of reading up, but having the background and understand really helps!

    • While I primarily buy japanese cosmetics, (I myself am Korean) I learned the steps through people’s experiences with korean cosmetics. The big thing for them is oil cleansing method (OCM), which I usually use as the first step. Some recommended oil cleansers are banila clean it zero, DHC olive oil cleansing (oil), but pretty much every asian brand has an oil based cleanser. After I use that, I use a mild soap. One of the differences in the next steps comes from terminology maybe? Western skincare using toner to mean (usually) an astringent liquid, but in japanese skincare, a toner is called a lotion, and rather than a thick cream, it’s a fairly liquid, moisturizing (but also sometimes mildly astringent) product that you pat on your skin after cleansing. After that are any serums and active ingredients, and then a moisturizer / sunscreen. I’m quite fond of the hadalabo shirojyun lotion. It’s like a drugstore brand in japan so it’s not very expensive to try out.

    • I’ll play. I read a lot of the Asian skin blogs and picked a bunch of things to try. My skin is t-zone oily/ noticeable sebaceous filaments, occasional hormonal acne, and some sun spots/wrinkles consistent with being in my late 30s. My routine isn’t 10 steps, but I am slowly seeing results. My skin is softer and my pores are clearer.

      AM- CeraVa foaming face wash, Mizon AHA/BHA daily toner, NuFountain C20 Vit C Serum, Cosrx Snail 92 Cream, Clinique All About Eyes Rich cream, Biore UV Aqua Watery Essence sunscreen

      PM- Sephora waterproof eye makeup remover, Banila Clean It Zero Purity, Cosrx Low PH Gel Cleanser, AHA/BHA daily Toner, Cosrx BHA Blackhead power liquid, Cosrx Snail 92 Cream, Clinique All About Eyes Rich cream

    • I’ve gotten more and more into skincare over the past few years, and I’ve gradually added steps to my routine. To start, all you really need to do is cleanse and moisturize (and once you see how good your skin looks, you’ll start adding in more steps and products from there!). I consider myself an “intermediate” skincare person – I have more than 2 steps but not a full 8-step, double-cleansing regime. My main issues are dry skin, occasional hormonal acne.

      Morning (I don’t re-wash my face because I cleanse at night and shower in the morning, and I don’t think my face gets all that dirty while I sleep, so all of this takes place post-shower):
      1) Vitamin C serum – right now I’m using TruNaturals from Amazon, which runs about $20
      2) Origins GinZing eye cream
      3) moisturizer with SPF (or I add in SPF after if I’m using a product that doesn’t have it) – right now I’m using Burts Bees Even Skin Tone Creme, but I also like Aveeno and Yes to Cucumbers Calming one. I don’t splurge too much on my day moisturizer, as I mainly care that it lays well under makeup

      1) Take makeup off with a makeup wipe (I usually buy whatever’s on sale as long as it’s not too harsh or drying)
      2) Cleanse with micellar water on a cotton pad – right now I’m using a deluxe sample of the Sephora brand and I really like it
      3) Serum of some kind – I’m TTC, so I use different products based on where I am in my cycle, to be safe. I like Sunday Riley Sleeping Oil, Ole Henrikson Truth Serum, or Olay Regenerist Regenerating Serum.
      4) Night moisturizer – Rotate between First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream or Jason Organics Vitamin E Moisturizer. If my skin’s breaking out, I use the Philosophy Clear Days Ahead moisturizer.

      I exfoliate 2-3 times per week in the shower, using either the Acure Brightening Scrub or Dr. G Peeling Gel. I also try to do a mask once a week, which varies based on how my skin feels at the moment.

    • Anonymous :

      I would start by buying products that look appealing to you to replace your current ones. You know that you’ll at least want a cleanser and a moisturizer. Then think about serums and chemical exfoliants, sunscreen, and makeup remover/oil cleansing. As you explore you’ll find more things you want to add in, but no need to make it super complex at first. I think I started with snail cream and then started replacing other products, and then got really into CosRx stuff. If you want your skin to glow, add in a chemical exfoliant like Cosrx Whitehead/Glycolic Acid serum and then their snail all in one cream or Mizon’s black snail cream to your night routine.

    • Anonymous :

      this is my somewhat bastardized asian skincare routine that has been working super well for me. i’m combo (dry on cheeks, oily forehead and t zone)

      morning: cerave cleanser, sunscreen, light moisturizer/tinted moisturizer + any makeup i feel like

      night: oil cleanser to emulsify and get rid of all makeup and sunscreen (and it moisturizes i feel like…), cerave to get rid of any last bits of oil cleanser/whatever is left. i generally do the cleansing with a shower. then i let my face dry 30 mins/eat dinner, then use retinol (generic tretonin 3x a week). then a serum/essence/watery cream basically a moisturizer without spf and eye cream if i feel like it.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Got pulled into a meeting. Thanks for the thoughts everyone! Lots of things to look into.

      I’m literally starting from scratch. I own Basis Cleaner Clean face wash and Almay eye makeup remover and that is it and I only use one or both of them sometimes (I rarely wear makeup so I don’t normally need remover).

  8. Jitterbug :

    A couple weeks ago, a Friday news roundup led me to discover Soak, a rise-free laundry solution intended to make washing things by hand a little easier. I was able to pick up a bottle at a local yarn store over the weekend, and I really like it so far! A lot of my lingerie, skirts, sweaters, and dresses need to be handwashed, and despite my best efforts to stay on top of it, I tend to let it all pile up. Now I can come home, change out of my dress, and put it to soak while I go about my routine, then after 15 minutes squeeze out the excess water, and lie it to dry.

    I also noticed my colors don’t bleed nearly as much as they do when I use detergent, even in cold water. So that’s really nice.

    I am using one of the scented products (Celebration reminds me of So Pink from the Gap, but not as strong), and it’s a noticeable smell when I use it; I can smell it on a dress while it’s still wet, but once it’s dry, I barely smell it even when I bring it up to my face for a good, strong whiff, so I doubt most people would notice it just by being near me. There is, however, an unscented option for those who are sensitive to fragrances or are really trying to be scent free.

    I will say, there’s one especially thick dress it didn’t get totally clean. It left behind some deodorant residue on the armpits and the dress still smelled a little funky. Not sure if I just need to try again, using a little more product and agitating it a little before leaving it to soak, or if I still need to wash it with detergent. Maybe this product doesn’t work on stubborn substances or gunky residue. I wouldn’t expect it to work on stains, seems too gentle.

    Also, it’s expensive. $16 for a bottle, and that’ll add up over time so I’ll need to decide if I really want to use Soak as my main method for hand washing clothes.

    Has anyone else used this product? Has your experience been about the same? Better? Worse?

    • Anonymous :

      I use the unscented version of Soak and have for several years. I’ve had a similar experience with the pits thicker cashmere, agitating it a bit should do the trick.

      While it is expensive, you use only a very small amount at a time,a bottle should last your for a while.

    • Any chance the dress it didn’t work on was made of synthetic materials? Since Soak is a wool wash I would expect it to be great on natural materials but maybe not as great on synthetics that need a thorough clean.

      • Jitterbug :

        . . . maybe? I can’t remember, either I never thought to look at what it’s made of, or I did when I first got the dress years ago and didn’t commit it to memory.

        • Anonymous :

          For some synthetics, a 15 minute soak is not enough to get the smell out. They need a longer soak – try leaving it overnight.

      • Anonymous :

        The Sweethome tested Soak and some other detergents on synthetic fabrics and Soak did pretty well. Soak does not contain lanolin (which is in Eucalan, a detergent formulated for woolens), so it’s safe for synthetics. I use unscented Soak on my daughter’s insanely expensive and blinged-out gymnastics competition leotard and it comes out great. On the other hand, I also experimented with Soak on some of my own workout gear and had to scrub the ickier spots to really get them clean.

        For really stinky synthetics, I like Sport Wash.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve been a Soak user for ~3 years. I love “Fig” and “Celebration”, but also like unscented sometimes.

      I’ve discovered the same issue with deodorant stains and also especially funky sweater smells. Haven’t figured out a way around the deodorant stains yet, but for funky smelling sweaters after the first wash/dry, I just wash and dry it again, usually increasing the potency of the detergent by adding more than usual.

      I don’t find it particularly expensive for upkeep of my hand-wash clothes, mainly because I don’t have that many hand-wash clothes and the large bottles last awhile. (I wash ~3 bras on a weekly basis, sweaters after 1-3 wears, depending on smell).

      I’ve heard good things about handwashing with Woolite Delicates, but haven’t used it myself.

      • Jitterbug :

        Have you tried Lace by any chance? The yarn store didn’t have a sample bottle to sniff, I bought a little packet that I’ll probably test on some bras, but I’m so curious as to what it smells like I’d love to know sooner if anyone’s used it.

    • Anonymous :

      I bought a bottle of Soak Yuzu last summer and love it. I’m normally fragrance-sensitive but this one doesn’t affect me negatively at all. I use it for lingerie, tights and sweaters. I haven’t noticed deodorant residue with Soak, but I switched from stick to roll-on several years ago for that very reason.

  9. Anonymous :

    I am getting harassed at work by my direct manager. I posted about it before- she pulled me out of a productive meeting and cornered me in an office, screaming at me “tell me why I’m mad at you”,calling me a ‘lost cause’ etc when I asked her to please explain what I did wrong since I honestly had no idea, cornered me AGAIN later in the same day to scream at me about the same thing, then ordered me to leave the office and tried to dock me PTO for ‘leaving early’. In the end, upper management confirmed that I had actually not done anything wrong after all.

    Anyway. I’m finally sitting down with the owners of the company tomorrow. It kept getting pushed out due various people being on vacation, getting sick, etc. It’s been maybe 3 weeks since the aforementioned incident and I’ve been consistently harassed since, with specific incidents I can point to. The issue is: I’m such an anxious, sleep-deprived mess that I’m worried I’m going to look weak and discredit myself by speaking tentatively and possibly crying in the meeting. I’m also worried that the owner of the company, a gruff, pretty old school guy, really doesn’t like me in the first place and is going to be harsh or even angry at me for being a troublemaker.

    The whole situation has made me physically ill, but I also know that I can be more sensitive than most to toxic environments and bullying tactics. I don’t know, just wanted to vent and see if anyone had advice for keeping it together for this meeting and the job in general.

    • I would try to be as calm and professional for the meeting as possible. Get enough sleep, eat a good breakfast, drink some calming tea. In your shoes I would take a low dose xanax but its not advisable if you’ve never taken it before.

    • “I’m also worried that the owner of the company, a gruff, pretty old school guy, really doesn’t like me in the first place and is going to be harsh or even angry at me for being a troublemaker.”

      In situations like this I find it helpful to take the worst-case scenario and game it out. If he’s angry, the conversation will be unpleasant, but once its over you will have confirmation that this job is not salvageable. Then you can begin your search for another one with a clear head and no “what-ifs” about whether the situation could have been salvaged if you had decided not to go to him because of your fear of his reaction.

    • Anon in NYC :

      If I’m anxious during the meeting I will either pinch together two fingers or pinch the area between my thumb and index finger. It’s a physical distraction from getting too upset.

    • This is a weird suggestion, but it might be helpful to find a little fire in yourself before you begin the meeting. Especially if you don’t think that management is going to voice your concerns, you will have to voice them for yourself. Being treated like that is unacceptable. Do they have a plan to address your supervisor’s behavior. You’re ready to acknowledge mistakes that you might have made, but this problem is also about [supervisor name]. Etc. Don’t take it too far, obviously, but I find that a little self-righteous anger, properly directed, can go a long way to masking anxiety and tears.

      • I’d also come prepared to pull out a list of specific, realistic actions that you think they should take to address the supervisor’s behavior. Show them you are on their team and you want to be a part of the solution.

      • Anonymous :

        Thanks, this is good advice. It’s hard for me to come up with specific, realistic actions because she shows absolutely no regret for her behavior, and has in fact doubled down on it. I’m totally willing to own up to my mistakes and be ‘part of the solution’, but how can I work with that sort of attitude? I’m completely at a loss.

        I think she’s just the sort of person who defaults to bullying tactics when she’s stressed in order to feel better about herself, and I just don’t understand it or want to be on the receiving end of it.

    • I just want to say that I think I have a pretty thick skin for toxic environments and bullying and the incident you described is way over the top to me. This sounds like behavior of a bad mother with a teenage child or an abusive spouse.

  10. Husband and I are planning a trip to Nashville/Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area of TN this spring (mid-late May). Any recs for hotels in Nashville? What should we absolutely do in that area? Planning to do a VRBO rental or the like when we head on to Gatlinburg. Driving from St. Louis area if that makes any difference.

    • Personally loved the Hilton Nashville Downtown. It can be pricey (as more most hotels in Nashville – I hear there’s a shortage) but that one also serves as the “official” hotel for lots of musical acts and for the hockey team — so it can sell out at times.

      Was there for a business trip and just spent my downtime exploring the main drag (Broadway) and listening to music playing EVERYWHERE (FYI – it’s a fairly loud city all the time). I’m sure others will have more concrete solutions.

    • Was in Nashville for business for a while.

      – Hot chicken at Prince’s

      – Andrew Jackson’s house if you are into that kind of thing

      – Loews Vanderbilt hotel, really liked the Hilton as well

      – Broadway/ music row was a lot of fun, different for this Northerner. Loved Centennial Park / the Parthenon

      – I ate blueberry cheesecake homemade ice cream somewhere on Broadway near the river. I don’t remember the name but it was to die for.

    • Dollywood!!

    • Goosebumpy :

      I’m heading to Nashville from St. Louis myself in a couple weeks! Very interested in the responses–any fun places for shopping?

    • Much of Gatlinburg burned during fires. Search early for a place there!

  11. Contacting State Reps :

    I need help! I just learned that my state is considering a bill I am strongly opposed to. What is the best way to get my voice heard? Write to my state senator (for the state senate)? Write to my district rep? Call these people? Draft letters my friends and family can send? All of the above? I’ve never done this before. Thank you!

    • This might depend on what state you are in. I am in Arkansas, and I’ve been told that it is most effective to call the main line for whatever chamber is considering the bill and leaving a message for your senator or rep from that line because it’ll be written on a specific type of paper, which makes a good visual to show everyone who’s voting how many calls they’ve gotten for or against. You just say something like, “I’m ____’s constituent, and I’d like him/her to vote for/against ___.”

      Also because I’m in a small state, many of the legislators actually read and respond to their email, so that’s an effective way to get in contact with them. When I’m emailing, I write the bill number AND TITLE in the subject line, then tell the rep/senator how I want him to vote in the first sentence. Then write a paragraph explanation and sign it with my name and zip code so he knows I’m a constituent. [I use “he” here because my state rep is a “he”.]

      If you’re in a larger state, I’d probably call the senator’s office and leave a message with the script above unless you think some kind of personal story will help.

    • Anonpolitico :

      All of the above! I think phone calls are recommended for Federal offices because they track numbers, but your state reps and senators likely don’t have that kind of manpower (depending on the size of your state and district!). Mine have been responsive to email in my small fly over state.

    • Anonymous :

      All of the above and if you can figure out when the bill is going to heard go and voice your opposition.

    • cake batter :

      Former state legislative staffer here. Ditto to what has already been said, and also look to see what committee the bill has been assigned to (if it hasn’t received a hearing yet). It can also help to contact the committee chair to voice your opposition and encourage him or her to not schedule the bill for a hearing. Form letters (either email or mass postcards) are essentially ignored and are the least effective way to make your voice heard.

  12. Calibrachoa :

    “Luggage” makes me think these loafers ought to have little feet sticking out of them and chase cats around when hungry… ;)

    Alas, my big feet, because wooowww i want those in the grape red!

  13. After watching The Bachelor last night, all I want to do is vacation in Finland. Anyone been?

    • Calibrachoa :

      I’m originally from Finland and I do recommend it to visitors wholeheartedly :D

      • That’s great! What is a good time of year to visit?

        • Calibrachoa :

          Depends a little what you would be interested in – summer, you have a lot of festivals, culture, and the midnight sun, in the winter you have skiing, winter experiences and the Northern lights. So for the former, June/July (But avoid actual midsummer, everything is closed) and for the latter, Feb/March would be the best bet.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve been to Helsinki. I didn’t love it but it was an interesting experience. I went in April, when most of Europe is beginning to feel spring-like with flowers and warmer temps, and it was still cold and gray but since it wasn’t snowy and I didn’t see the Northern Lights I didn’t have the real winter experience. The city felt harsh and kind of unfriendly to me and the Russian influence was evident in many ways – overall it’s a lot like what I always imagined Russia would be like, but I haven’t been to Russia.
      Finnish Lapland is on my bucket list.

    • I lived in Finland with a host family for a summer in high school in the very rural countryside, and again for a semester in college in Helsinki. If you’re going, I highly recommend making it a summer visit between June and August (and I say this as a Minnesotan used to the cold and dark, who enjoys outdoor sports like cross-country skiing). And honestly, if you’re not planning to leave Helsinki I would make it one stop on a longer trip, maybe with Stockholm and Copenhagen or St. Petersburg.

      If you end up booking happy to offer suggestions of places to visit around the city :)

  14. Does anyone else ever worry that their job may be lost to automation someday? I just read an article in Ad Age that claimed “Oxford University researchers have estimated that 47% of U.S. jobs could be automated within the next two decades.” I’ve heard similarly dire predictions on Bloomberg TV.

    Writers, doctors, salespeople, and accountants are all expected to face job reductions due to the role of robots, according to this article.

    But even if my job skills are safe, does it matter if 47% of other people’s jobs go down the tubes? The economy will be in complete turmoil.

    • Here is the link to the article:

    • I think about this all the time. I think there’s reason to believe that it won’t be as fast/dire as predicted but this is already having an impact on many professions. I’m not sure that US is adaptable enough as a society to get to some of the social safety net things that we’ve traditionally relied on large employers to provide, addition to just pay to eat and live. Maybe we’ll see things like a basic income or other creative solutions. I worry about this for my children and how I can prepare them to be successful/comfortable.

      • Thank you for this. Glad to know I’m not the only one.

      • I think about this as well. Will we have a Jetsons future, a Flinstones future (w/o dinosaurs), or some combination of both? IT bigwigs keep talking about a universal basic income, but Americans are known to dislike paying taxes. At this point, it seems like it’s a good idea to hedge your bets and prepare for the artificial intelligence future as well as the low or no-tech future. After all, if people receive a UBI and have a garden or farmland, there is money that would be spent on food that can be used for something else.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I worry about this. We have seen a lot of this in our lifetime already. People pay for gas at the pump and pump it themselves. We have self checkout at the grocery stores/pharmacies. People deposit their checks via their smart phones so there are less tellers. People book their own travel online and don’t use travel agents. While many people still use realtors, they tend to find the properties they want to see themselves online. We have less attorneys doing doc review due to word searches/de-dup tech but at the same time there are more docs to search with everything electronic.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Here’s another one – airport check in. Most people use a kiosk or their mobile phone now. I just got an email from Southwest about printing my own baggage tag.

    • Anonymous :

      That article is a bit sensationalist. No, robots are not going to take over those jobs – they will take over menial, repetitive tasks that are easily automated. A robot is not going to put writers out of work. Has the author ever worked with a robot or AI or has he just seen them in movies?

      • The article is sensationalist, I agree, but technology is changing rapidly, so possibilities that seem outlandish today may become a reality in the future. Some news services are already using artificial intelligence to write articles on financial markets and stocks. You’ve probably read them and haven’t noticed the difference. Sure, these aren’t prize-winning articles, but it shows where technology is moving.

        • Anonymous :

          The article is suggesting that journalists and creative writers will be out of a job. I work with AI and I don’t think he has, other than maybe in an imaginary daydream idea man role that has no basis in technology. Sorry – huge pet peeve! :) Actual writing (not data filled into a template) is one thing that will probably never be replaceable.

        • Anonymous :

          Yeah, I’m a writer and I can’t imagine AI doing anything that requires creativity, which is most journalists and communications professionals. Writing technical manuals, maybe, although I think that is probably more than two decades off. I can think of a lot of fields that could be automated more easily than journalism or creative writing.

          • Anonymous :

            They’ll never be able to write real technical manuals unless a human writes down what it all means first. At that point it’s just data processing.

        • I think most people don’t realize how much writing is already being done by AI technology:

    • Well, ideally you also have innovations in training so that those people can do other jobs. (For example, somebody’s gotta fix the robots.) The problem is when you have a group of people that is too old to learn new skills and not particularly politically inclined to *want* to, like 55 year-old factory workers who totally want small government except when it means demanding that companies continue to manufacture in the U.S.

      • I was just about to add – it will likely usher in new jobs along with the technology. And the problem being for those that are unable to adapt/for whom it is too late to do so.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        This is touched on in the book Average Is Over by Tyler Cowen (I think). There will be jobs created for servicing the technology that doesn’t exist yet. I do think there could be a monumental societal shift once AI is able to do so many jobs well.

        My job (doc review) has already begun to shift because of technology. Luckily for me, either the tech isn’t fully there yet or the courts are slow to accept it because I’m still useful and they keep hiring additional people for my department.

  15. Anonymous :

    If you have a new-ish coworker (6 months) who clearly has no idea what they’re doing, how much obligation do you have to keep following up with them to schedule trainings with you? Our pattern is: I realize they don’t know how to do something, bring it to their attention, they say they’ll follow up with me for training, and then never do. I’ve already spoken to our supervisor a few times about things not getting done. Nothing seems to change. I don’t want to be a tattletale but I’m sick of having to go behind this coworker for every single thing, answering emails from clients that can’t get through to them, and having to explain to other clients why something hasn’t been done yet.

    • It might be worth it to schedule a conversation with them in advance so that they’re prepared to receive feedback and you don’t have to deal with any reflexive reactions or defensiveness. It could be that 6 months in, they’re feeling overwhelmed, know they should schedule the training, but are struggling with how to make time for it in the midst of other work requests from multiple managers (this might be especially true if this is their first job after school or first job in this sort of environment). If that conversation doesn’t go well, then I think you would have done all you can to address it directly with them and you go to your supervisor without feeling like a tattletale.

    • Anonymous :

      I had a situation like this and eventually had to begin by scheduling the sessions myself instead of relying on the person who needed training to send me a meeting request. It was a situation where that much hand-holding was required at the outset. He eventually started setting up the meetings himself.

    • Are you reaching out with them through email? Document all of this! When you noticed the lack of skill, when you reached out to offer to train them, if they turned down the training etc.

  16. Dog People? :

    I am not really a dog person. My husband, however, is, and my kids (11 and 6) are lobbying hard for a dog. I feel like I’m not being fair to any of them to not at least consider the idea of getting a dog. I grew up on a farm, where work dogs lived outside, so the idea of a dog living indoors is not a natural one for me. We also have an indoor cat (who was declawed before we got her) so there’s that to consider.

    If I do give in, what kind of dog should I look for? If it’s going to live inside, I want something medium sized or smaller, preferably not much shedding, and not a yapper. Would avoiding the puppy stage be better? I live on seven acres in a rural area, so it certainly doesn’t have to stay inside all the time.

    Thoughts on how to ease into the world of dog ownership?

    • I would recommend adopting an adult dog in this situation. A lot of the things you say you don’t want are difficult to predict with a puppy.

      Has your cat been around dogs before? When I got my cat he was a kitten and my dog was 2. I put them in separate rooms divided by a baby gate (which the dog could absolutely have jumped but I knew she wouldn’t try) to allow them to see and sniff each other and get used to each other and it worked pretty well. I wouldn’t say they’re best friends, but they get along.

      • +1 Plus there are so many adult dogs that need adopting. Small dogs tend to be yappers, but that isn’t true in every case.

      • I completely agree that getting an adult dog will be best for you. You’ll know more about the dog’s personality, size, and ability to get along with your cat.

      • Anonymous :

        +3 to adult dog. You should be able to find a 2-3 year old dog who is fully housebroken, doesn’t chew on your stuff and is pretty obedient but is still young enough that you’ll have the dog for most of its life.
        Look for dogs in the 20 to 40 pound range if you don’t want a yapper. I have a 20 pound dog (she even has some chihuahua in her) and although she barks a lot she has a deeper bark and doesn’t sound like a little yappy dog.

    • I would definitely second adopting a young adult dog. If you are on the fence about dog ownership, dealing with the annoyances that come with a puppy will not be fun for you. (They’re adorable, but housebreaking, the chewing phase, etc. are taxing.) A slightly older dog (2-3 years old) will have settled into its personality, so you’ll have a better sense of how it will behave and won’t have to deal with some of the puppy PITA stuff.

    • Anonymous :

      Can you foster a dog first? I would probably not get one unless they proved they could care for it 100% on their own.

    • Go with a maltese or maltese mix breed if you’re wanting a smaller indoor dog, if you keep their hair short, there’s not much maintenance plus no shedding and they’re often found at shelters. If you’re wanting something non breed specific, go with an older dog (an adult or older) that you find at the local pound just by asking the workers for advice based on what you’re wanting in a dog, the type of activities you want to do with the dog, etc.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Some shelters have dogs who have been through training programs. The internet is also full of awesome pictures of parents who didn’t want a dog now loving it and cuddling it on the couch. You might surprise yourself! If you are easily grossed out by tumbleweeds of fur, consider a short-haired breed.

    • With a declawed cat, you have to be very careful. Definitely do not go with a terrier or any kind of terrier mix. the maltese suggestion is good. An older dog from a shelter who has been raised with cats is also an excellent option. Most shelters allow you to foster a dog for a short time to see if it will fit into your household. My mom had an Australian blue heeler who absolutely adored her cat, but the cat was an adult when the puppy moved in.

  17. trunk club? :

    Has anyone used Trunk Club and is willing to share a review and some info on the process and prices? Also, any feedback on the Boston one in particular would be helpful. TIA!

    • Legally Brunette :

      I had high hopes but wasn’t too impressed. The main problem which had nothing to do with my stylist is that each stylist is limited to 20 pieces of clothing per customer, for each visit. So if you’re between sizes and want to try a couple of pants and shirts, that 20 limit is hit very quickly. And they don’t have any inventory in-house. The stylists have to venture to the nearest Nordstrom to pick things up. So if you like something but it’s the wrong size, you can’t try it on right away — you have to wait until the next appt because they have to go to the Nordstrom to pick it up for you. It just isn’t very efficient.

      I can’t speak to Boston but I went to the one in DC.

    • I have. Trunk Club is owned by Nordstrom, so my biggest complaint is that I wasn’t getting anything I couldn’t get at Nordstrom. That said, the positive is that they also honor Nordstrom’s great customer service policies, so I got a huge credit on a leather jacket when it went on sale for a third off a few weeks after I bought.

      I did really enjoy the service. I did the online service. They send you a LOT of stuff, which meant sending a lot back. The price points can be high. That said, in every shipment, I got something that I never would have picked out for myself that I ended up really loving. So, for introducing me to new ideas, I really liked it.

    • Anonymous :

      I went to an appointment and was immensely disappointed. The clothing they showed me was mostly very mundane while also being incredibly expensive- think $250 baggy beige sweaters, when I get washed out by light colors and specifically requested tailored, structured professional pieces, and a dress with a gigantic peplum even though I’m pear-shaped.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I got a trunk once and although I adored some of the pieces and wear them all the time, the price point was sky high and I haven’t repeated.

      That said, my husband really clicked with his Trunk Club stylist and she has revamped his wardrobe and taken it up several gigantic notches. He’s less worried about the price tag than I am and it’s worked out incredibly well for him.

    • Extra Petite recently posted a review of the Trunk Club Boston in-person experience.

    • I did a few rounds online with personal shopper Jade and I liked it a lot. I liked Jade in particular.

      I needed help mostly with casual clothing and she pushed me gently out of my rut. Then I did a round with work jackets and my two current faves came from that.

      I’d do it again if I needed to but I feel like my closet is pretty well set. I never feel that “nothing to wear” feeling anymore.

  18. My first MM La Fleur order was just delivered to my house and I’m almost literally bouncing with excitement. Can’t wait for the day to be over!

    • On this note what kind of tops do people wear their jardigans with? I love them with dresses but I can’t seem to figure out what shirts would look good.

  19. There’s an article in the Guardian this week about tech workers in SF making six figure salaries who still feel “poor” because they can’t afford to buy a home. Places like NYC and SF seem so much hipper and more exciting than where I live, but then I see what it costs to live there and I wonder how people do it.

    I own a place in a less-exciting but still nice MCOl city. But I have sacrificed living in the coolest places and reaching the pinnacle of my career because my city just doesn’t have that stuff. I wanted to own a place and be able to save a decent amount, so the deal I made with myself was that I could travel whenever I wanted and I’d still come out ahead.

    Those of you who chose the HCOLs over home ownership, was it worth it for you? Are you glad you did it?

    • Anonymous :

      Isn’t there a way to do both? I’m in a HCOL area and own a home. It’s just smaller and older than it might otherwise be, so I can be near the things I want to be near.

      • My sense on this s i t e is that a lot of people are disappointed when they feel like they can’t buy in HCOLs. Definitely want to hear from those that made it work!

        • anonymous :

          I bought a place in DC with my husband when we were 25 and 23. I think we made about 85K together at the time. We both got a lot of financial aid in college, worked a lot, and got several scholarships, so we saved all that, invested it, lived on basically nothing, and used that as a down payment. I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do it alone at that age, though.

    • BabyAssociate :

      I recently moved from a L/MCOL city where I probably would have bought a place in the next year or two to a HCOL city and it was absolutely the right decision for me. I am so much happier being able to walk to work and actually having things to do within a 5 minute walk of my house. It was absolutely worth paying nearly three times the rent. Zero regrets at all.

    • 10 yrs in NYC and now DC for 1.5 yrs (and am vaguely thinking about a return to NYC). For me – yes.

    • Anonymous :

      I miraculously sunk my claws into a rent-stabilized apartment in NYC almost a decade ago, so that’s almost as good as home ownership to me. I’m planning on eventually building a home somewhere with a LCOL while subletting the apartment. Having it all!

      I know other people who have found excellent deals or other creative ways to make it work here. There are even neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens where it’s still possible to buy a decent home for under 1MM, they’re just a longer commute and not in trendy areas, but to me that would also be the best of both worlds.

      If you’re going to regret not living here for at least a period in your life, just do it! You can always move back in a couple of years, right? You can choose a more affordable neighborhood and still put money away for your dream home in a lower cost of living area.

    • Yep. I’ve spent the last 13 years in a combination of NYC and SF. If I wanted to move to a LCOL area and buy a home, that’s what I’d do :) For now, I’m very happy renting and taking advantage of what NYC has to offer.

    • I live outside of Boston and I absolutely love it. My husband and I both really love our careers, and his job in particular wouldn’t exist in a smaller city (he does global marketing for a very innovative tech company). We don’t live in the coolest neighborhood and we own a smallish house with tiny bedrooms, but it’s worth it to me to be in this region. That said, Boston is less expensive than SF/NYC.

    • I’ve lived in a HCOL area my whole life, so I have strong emotional and social ties to our area (not just financial ones). DH and I also have great jobs here, and jobs in our industry just aren’t as plentiful in LCOL areas.

      A 3-bedroom “starter home” where DH and I live runs $2M+ and we chose to pay his our student loans first, so it will be another few years before we’re comfortable with buying. I’ve lived here so long that I think these kinds of home prices are “normal” (though to torment myself, I sometimes search Zillow for homes in Dallas or Denver and want to cry at the beautiful places you could get for $700k). Eventually, we hope that DH will work his way up to be able to work remotely at his current firm (he’s the main breadwinner), and then we would be able to move to a LCOL in a more tax-friendly state, own a larger home, and save more.

    • Homeowner in SF Bay Area Without Big Law Salary :

      DH and I prioritized home ownership and purposely lived a very frugal life in our 20s. Very little travel, eating out, and entertainment other than movies. We bought in 2008 after the local market started to soften (but not at the bottom) with all our savings as down payment. We bought a house in an often overlooked suburb that has traditionally been blue collar but was quickly turning light blue. With good credit and good luck buying at a time of low interest rates, we got an initial mortgage payment we could afford. We then watched interest rates like a hawk and again with good luck were able to reduce our mortgage payments further by refinancing. We bought a house that was completely livable as-is but also with cosmetic issues that could be upgraded over time (which we did, often by ourselves). Housing market is now way up, and we have about 8x our initial down payment in equity. At the same time, our housing costs are now lower than the prevailing rents for our area and we have no landlord, which feels great. Now finally, as a middle-age couple and 15+ years into our relationship, DH and I are starting to relax the purse strings.

    • We own and live in a HCOL area. I am from this area and fiance has lived here for 10 years, so this is home to us and it would be weird to buy in a smaller city just so our home was less expensive – we would have zero roots there. He comes from a smaller city where the cost of his brother’s house would get you… maybe a studio in our city? But these things go hand-in-hand; both of us service rich clientele that are not in smaller cities, so we wouldn’t have the jobs and salary we do in our city if we moved elsewhere. I honestly think, though, that home-owning can be too costly for both HCOL and LCOL areas. It depends on your saving-habits and salary.

    • I’m in the Bay Area and am a homeowner. The tradeoff for me is about what I can afford here vs almost anywhere else in the country. I have an 100+ year old money pit of a house with small closets and no master bath. I often fantasize about living in one of those new McMansions with his and her closets and a luxurious master bath. I also fantasize about living in a place where my first thought when going out is not “but where will I park?”

      For me the benefit of here is the year round decent weather, always stuff to do outdoors, never too cold or too hot, and access to great restaurants and culture. I also enjoy living amongst my fellow liberals and not experiencing overt racism, misogyny and homo/transphobia on the regular. Just being on FB with my midwestern relatives and seeing many of the things they feel perfectly fine and justified saying (out loud! online!) is enough for me to realize that I like my bubble and I’m staying here. Screw the closets.

      • Anonymous :

        This is painting the Midwest with a pretty broad brush. Having lived in both the Bay Area and several places in the Midwest, I can promise you there are enclaves of the Midwest that are just as blue as the bay. I currently live in a college town in the Midwest (and not one of the famously liberal ones like Iowa City or Bloomington or Madison) and I do not know anyone here personally who supports Trump. My friend who’s an engineer in Silicon Valley has several old white male co-workers who like him. Of course, she can drive for many more miles than I can before hitting true Trump country, but my immediate bubble is just as blue as hers, if not more so.
        Just like California, the Midwest is liberal in cities and college towns and conservative in rural areas. The main difference is that in CA many more people live in the cities.

        • Yeah I hear you. Maybe I just don’t want to live around my midwestern relatives. But what I’m saying, inartfully, is that there is a certain level of acceptance in their bubbles (and no they are not all rural) for saying things that no one would dare say where I live and where I work. I’d rather be here, given that.

  20. I am a law firm associate and applied for an in-house counsel position. On LinkedIn I found out that a grad from my law school is an AGC there. I have a call scheduled with him on Monday to “talk about the position” and to talk about the transition from law firm to in-house, but I haven’t been contacted for an interview (yet, hopefully).

    Any tips on what sorts of things I should ask? And when we wrap up the call, what’s a good way to say PLEASE FLAG MY RESUME FOR HR AND TELL THEM TO INTERVIEW ME? without saying it exactly like that, of course? Thanks in advance!

    • “I applied to the position via xyz online portal. Would you suggest anyone else I should hand off my resume to as I’m certainly very interested in this position?” Hopefully he says – send it to me; or send it to the GC – here’s his email. BUT don’t be disappointed if he doesn’t. There are lots of people esp at big companies, who are happy to talk to you if they’re alums of the same school etc. but just bc they spoke to you, that doesn’t mean they want to vouch for you bc for all they know, you’re a terrible atty and just BSed for 20 min. Sometimes passing off a resume is seen as vouching for you. Though even if he makes no such offers to you — it’s not impossible that he could reach out to HR and ask for them to send up your application or tells his GC — I spoke to XYZ who applied for this position, she seems solid and in turn the GC looks at your resume and schedules an interview.

    • Anonymous :

      Okay, so I don’t work in law, but I did go to a school with strong alumni loyalty. I have done this (basically, an informational interview with somebody currently working at the place) and I have been the person doing the interview.

      Even though we share an education…. it is very rare for me to recommend the work of somebody I haven’t actually worked with. The same when friends apply. I can vouch for them personally, but not professionally, and professional capital is slow to earn and fast to spend.

      I don’t think you can, nor should you, ask him to send your resume. Just be authentic on the call. He knows what you want if he already knows you applied there. Asking comes off as tone-deaf.

      • I agree with this. I am a member of a bar association specific to my ethnic heritage and there are a lot of people that reach out based on that — as well as from my undergrad and law school. If he wants to vouch for you or help you further, he will ask for your resume and how he can help. That is not to say he can’t be very helpful to you in learning about the transition, the job, and the company. He can also be helpful to you in networking in general.

  21. You make it look easy! :

    I’ve been thinking a lot about how often women judge themselves based on their blooper tape against others’ highlight reels and I’m wondering how much we don’t know about the work other women put into their lives.

    Here’s a game:

    The stressful thing that’s true about my life that I would never post about on social media is:

    Something that others think I effortlessly do/wear/look like/pull off in my life but that takes/took me a long time is:

    • i'll play! :

      I would never post online that my relationship is in shambles, even though we look happy in photos. I would also never post that I can be a recluse and sometimes don’t leave the house from after work Friday until work on Monday, even if it sometimes looks like my weekends are filled with awesome fun.

      Something others think I do effortlessly is wearing jeans that look good on me. They don’t know it takes me over 100 pairs of trial/error before I find one pair that fits.

      The other thing I would say is that this makes me think of artists, how they can paint something or draw something in minutes like it’s nothing, but we don’t see that it took 40 years of work and talent and practice to complete things at that level at that speed.

    • Anonymous :

      The most stressful thing about my life I would never post online is that despite being a “good person” (maybe too good of a person? definitely a people-pleaser, probably partly a hangover from being fat and wanting to be liked) I seem to attract people and particularly men who leech my good-nature and then leave me in the dust when they have moved on. And this isn’t even always romantically. This isn’t something you post online anyway because it would make one a drama queen, but damn, does it suck.

      People always compliment my legs (I have nice, toned legs with no cellulite). I like them too, but they just came that way. Yeah I work out, but cellulite is genetic and not something I did. Plus, please keep focusing on my legs so you don’t see the flap of skin hanging down my stomach from losing almost 100 pounds.

    • The stressful thing that’s true about my life I would never post: I was abused by a guy I called my best friend and now I have diagnosed PTSD, even though we were never in a romantic relationship. The thought of running into him makes me shut down.

      Pull off: Flirting. I just don’t get it. I don’t get it when it’s happening to me unless it’s the most obvious thing ever, and I definitely don’t understand how to flirt with someone to express interest.

      Also, cuffed jeans. How do other people make this look good? It looks ridiculous on me. I finally figured out one way last week that I can wear cuffed jeans with sneakers, but booties…? No.

      • Calibrachoa :

        If it helps any you are not alone. Abuse by non-family memebers/non-partners is way more common than people think.

        • Any of the discussions of narcissists and DV on here are him to a tee. I tend to just call him my ex if I don’t want to explain, though. And I don’t usually want to explain.

          • Anonymous :

            Amen to this. I’m sorry you went through it, but it resonates with me also. you are definitely not alone.

    • Anonymous :

      Honestly? My life is easy. I am very fortunate. I know people are always suggesting that someone who appears to have her stuff together must be falling apart behind the scenes, but I just don’t stress about things and have worked hard at things I like to get where I am. I am not playing some elaborate game when I post pictures of myself on fun vacations on Facebook – I’m just sharing pictures with family and friends. I love fashion and design, but ultimate I’ll just wear what I like and not stress about how horrible I think I might look or what I can or can’t wear. I would say that I do spend time shopping or planning fun things to do, but I also enjoy the process as much as the end result. When I was younger I used to feel like some of these things were for other, cooler people but then I realized that there was no reason I couldn’t do all the stuff I thought was cool myself.

      • anonymous :

        +1. I’ve had my fair share of challenges in my life, but right now it really is easy and as rosy as it seems. And the things that others are envious of me for (being smart, generally good at things, and having professional success come with relatively effort) are as true as they look. And I’m as dumbfounded by it as anyone else.

        I’ll agree that most of the good things in my life that come relatively easily to me now were things that involved a lot of practice at some point. But most of those things (like I’m really good at setting boundaries with people and I find it relatively easy to manage crazy people and demanding and bad person family members with little negative impact on me or those I care about) came because I had a TON of practice as a kid, fell into some good habits, saw that they worked, and kept doing them.

    • The stressful thing that’s true about my life that I would never post about on social media is that I’m really fat. It has been a lifelong struggle and despite being extremely overachieving in all respects, it’s the one thing I can’t control. And it’s really, really hard – partly because it’s obvious to everyone. I feel ashamed about it just about every day.

      Something that others think I effortlessly do/wear/look like/pull off in my life but that takes/took me a long time is having a happy relationship with my husband. People tell us that we are the perfect couple. But we had many, many bad years in there, including struggles with depression. It’s not easy.

    • Both of mine are kind of the same.
      I moved across the country recently, and it’s been HARD. I don’t show that in FB. I show my new city and fancy life, but the truth is I don’t have a lot of friends here and miss my friends and family terribly.

      Relatedly, I gained weight with the move and am super conscious about how I look in photos that get posted to FB. I don’t want people knowing how much weight I’ve gained, and get SO self-conscious when I go back ‘home’ and visit old friends and family at my new size.

  22. anonymous :

    I used to be a really great Trumpet player back in the day, and I’ve decided to get back into it. I live in an apartment, but I’ll just practice when most people are out for the day (I have a really flexible work schedule). The problem is, my dog is super freaked out by it. It comes out and it takes him like an hour to calm down. I tried going into another room, the balcony, etc. nothing works. Where/how can I practice? I guess I’m looking for other location ideas or how to get my dog to stop barking at it.

  23. I’m not entirely certain how (lost a bit of weight? I honestly don’t know, God knows I don’t do ab work) but for the first time in my life, I can see abs when I’m looking at myself in the mirror. It’s kind of the best.

    I have a chronic illness that makes my stomach area always bloated- docs have told me I have great ab muscles (thanks coughing all the time), I’ve just never been able to see them and now I can and ohmygod. It made my self confidence yesterday sky high.

    • anonymous :

      Awesome, congrats! how did you get them? That’s my fitness goal for the year.

      • I have no idea. But I really want to keep them.

      • I have abs now, too. I got them through a combination of running (which make me lose some fat) and lots of pushups (which are incredibly good for the core). I follow the 100 pushup challenge training program.

  24. Do you have friends who are obsessed with their dog? As in – can’t go out bc DOG. Need to rush home after work bc DOG (and yeah they have a dog walker). And then they lament how they never see you? Sorry but every time we try to plan something you say no bc DOG. And no going to their house and hanging out with their dog isn’t a possibility nor is it appealing to me; we’re in a big city where it’s easiest to grab drinks or dinner after work and then everyone commutes home in their separate direction after rush hr.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes. I pretty much stopped being friends with these people.

    • Yes. I had a friend totally flake and use her relatively new dog as an excuse. Then another time, she got together for a half-hour visit to which she was late because of the dog AND left early because of the dog.

      In my case, newsflash: it wasn’t really about the dog. It took me a while to figure that out, though.

    • OP here – normally I wouldn’t care, but we have 1 other common friend (who is a law firm partner who travels a lot and has 2 young kids and she WILL make time to get together with you – which makes me even less “sympathetic to a single person with dog issues). So if all 3 try to get together and the friend with the dog can’t or drops out, the other friend and I will still hang out by ourselves. I don’t want her to feel like we’re excluding her in any way – but I don’t want to never hang out with the law firm partner friend (who is super close to the friend with the dog – though I don’t exactly understand how/when/how often they see each other).

      • If the person who “can’t” because of her dog chooses not to prioritize hanging out with you and law firm partner friend, I don’t think that’s something you can really change. You can offer to re-schedule or accommodate her time/place preference a time or two, but after that, I think the burden is on her to do her part to maintain her friendship.

        • Oh, P.S. And I say this as a person who is obsessed with my dog and would rather just chill with my dog most of the time, but I recognize the importance of maintaining relationships with people and don’t indulge most of the time.

    • BabyAssociate :

      Are you me? I have soooo many friends who are like this and I just….don’t get it.

    • anonymous :

      This is bizarre. I’m a HUGE dog person and I don’t get this.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      As a person with a relatively new dog, I’m not obsessed with her but I recognize her needs. My dog cannot yet be in the house unsupervised outside of her crate. I do not think it is fair to the dog to have someone just let her out and put her back into the crate. So, I need to get home so she can be out of the crate. She could go to dog daycare but someone would still have to pick her up from daycare and bring her back to the house and into the crate.

      • Right. But is all of this more important than people friends?

        • And to add — people friends who are NOT asking you to go out 5x a week until 2 am. We’re talking drinks or dinner once every month or two. The dog can’t spend an extra 90min – 2 hrs in a crate?

          • anonymous :

            I’ll admit that as a single person with a dog this is more difficult than it sounds. With my commute I’m already leaving him alone for up to 10 hrs a day. I have in an emergency situation had him go like 14 hours between walks, but I think it’s kind of cruel to let him go that long without going to the bathroom. If I go out after work, it’s easy 12 hours between walks. Doable, but I really, really don’t like it. I can’t really afford a dog walker. Normally I leave a little earlier to walk the dog and then go meet friends. Or various other scheduling gymnastics. It’s a challenge. But I always try to make a workable arrangement.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            I still make time for my friends and I trade off dog duties with my husband. When he’s traveling though, I usually have to go home after work. 2 hours more would probably be fine. Often I’m just going to a friend’s house to watch a show with her so on days my husband travels she just comes to my house. If it is something my husband and I both want to do, like dinner with another couple, we try to schedule it for the weekend instead. With our prior dog, this was not an issue because she wasn’t crated after one year old. We hope this dog gets to the same point and then it won’t be an issue. We are also those people that have to be home every 12 hours to give our cat insulin or hire the cat sitter to come do it, which doesn’t work on short notice. That is more important than friends because the cat will die without it. What I usually do if I have to is commute home, give the cat his shot and commute back to see the friends if the sitter isn’t free and my husband can’t be home. That was pre-dog in crate.

          • Omg. Cat insulin – wtf – they aren’t people?!

          • anonymous :

            They’re not people but they still have health needs. I have had to give that level (and more) or medical care to my dog. It was worth it to me because I loved him. They’re not people but they mean a lot to us still.

          • Anon at 7:15– wth? The cat needs insulin and will die without it. What’s wrong with you.

    • This was my ex-H. Travel was hard because we needed to get expensive house sitters for the dogs (and also cats), and he would get anxious if we didn’t have detailed daily updates from them by e-mail or text. We couldn’t do both dinner AND a movie because: dogs.

      This is not the reason we are divorced. But it didn’t help . . .

    • Well, yeah, a little. If I want to get together after work with my friend who lives on the UES, I go home with him on the subway, we walk his dog together, we take her back home and then the two of us go to dinner.

      Maybe it’s harder if your friends live in far-flung suburbs.

    • I’m one of those people with cats, sometimes with special needs. Sometimes I had frankly rather be with my cat than anyone else, but that’s infrequent! But anyone who has a pet should realize that there are times when your obligations to a creature who depends 100 percent on you for their needs has to take some precedence. For me, this has been when I have had cats with special medical needs, where timing of meds, feedings, and the like (subq fluids, PEG tube feedings) was critical.
      When you take on a pet, you really do have to realize that sometimes they are going to be inconvenient and interfere with things you had rather be doing (sort of like children!) It’s stressful if it lasts very long, and friends should really give you a break when you are dealing with these already stressful situations.

      OTOH, if they have a SO at home who could easily handle these situations, I agree that you may decide that they are not as keen on spending with you as you are with them!

  25. Sloan Sabbith :

    What was the moment when you realized “Wow, I’m an adult?” There are a lot of things I do not adult well at (read: literally anything that involves fixing something using my toolkit, cooking, especially when there are multiple pieces that need to line up to all be hot, etc.) but I’m saving each month automatically (not a lot, goal is to double what I’m saving each month this year), and I recently saw something my grandma would like and just bought it rather than waiting for it to go on sale or for a holiday to give it to her. Being able to see something someone would like and just get it for them has always been something I see my parents and grandparents doing and being able to do that was such a nice feeling. I love giving gifts but it’s usually little things- this was a somewhat expensive shirt and I knew I could afford it.

    • When I did my taxes for a first time.

      Also – now – when I realize how much time I spend thinking or talking about investments, 401ks, insurance and taxes.

    • Anonymous :

      I just bumble through life trying to be competent. I am 31 and have kids, a husband, a house, and a 401k, and I’m still not sure I feel like an adult…

    • Midwestern Consitutent :

      When I bought a car back in September. A new car, complete with a loan and a repayment plan. I was 32 at the time.

    • For me it was this weird moment when I got my first cat. I’d been living on my own for about four years (two of those with a roommate) and then my roommate and I decided to get a cat and suddenly I was like “holy cow, I’m responsible for keeping this thing alive.” It especially hit me this summer when my roommate and I “broke up” and I got the two cats.

  26. “Cipria” means “setting powder” in Italian

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