Thursday’s Workwear Report: Mid-Rise Ankle Columnist Pant

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

I don’t think we’ve ever had a Workwear Report on Express’ two very popular pants styles — the Editor and the Columnist — but we’ve mentioned them in our various roundups like machine washable pants for work and the best work pants. These have been around forever — I swear I remember them from when I was in college — and they continue to win rave reviews. Granted, they’re not made from the most luxe fabric, but they do tend to fit well and they come in a lot of colors and sizes. They’re available in regular, short, and long, and Express also has a separate petite section. I think the mid-rise ankle Columnist pant looks great, but note that the Columnist also has bootcut and low-rise versions. My understanding is that the Columnist fit is a little tighter through the hip and thigh, whereas the Editor isn’t quite as fitted.  Pictured: Mid Rise Ankle Columnist Pant

For plus sizes, Eloquii has the Kady pant and the Sam pant.

Psst: Club Monaco’s Mid-Season Sale is now on — you can get up to 60% off when you take an additional 30% off sale styles.

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Comments

  1. FirstWorldProblems :

    Help me! I am suffering from a crazy bout of envy. I know that’s normal and most people feel it one time or the other but I usually when I have felt this way in the past I’ve had something else (zx may have this but i am lucky to have abc and it doesnt really matter) to ignore it and move on. Not this time. Is this simply a side effect of being an ‘overachieving chick’. I will say I very very very seldom feel this way. And it is about something so materialistic, not even my career…. I did read the dear sugar column (writer’s envy) but would appreciate thoughts from my ‘real friends’ on this board as to how you all have dealt with this. Thanks!
    PS: I know this is a first world problem, it is lame and unwarranted, so am going to try my best to take all of the harsh words I deserve, may be that will help even, so don’t hold back :)

    • I would try to examine the feeling and see what it’s telling you. Is the thing you are envious something you really want? If so, can you take steps toward possibly getting it yourself.

      Or maybe if you really think about it, you don’t want to do what it takes to get that thing. A couple examples from my own life – sometimes I admire luxury cars and feel jealous of people who have them, but when I think about it, even though I could afford a luxury car, there are many other things I would rather spend my money on, and I actually think it’s kind of silly to spend money on a luxury car. So while I’m jealous of one piece (having the car), I don’t actually want the full reality (having the car and spending the money on the car).

      Another example is that sometimes I get jealous of people who look really put together and pretty, but when it comes down to it, I have no patience for spending a lot of time and effort on my appearance. So, even though I might be jealous of the results, I realize that when I consider the whole picture, I don’t want what they have (a very nice appearance and spending a lot of time, money, and effort on appearance).

    • What are you envious of? That might help drive the advice.

      • Okay, don’t hate on me, I am genuinely ashamed to admit this and know it’s frivolous but here it is.
        Someone getting an amazing amazing deal on a house they bought in our neighborhood: a sea facing community with hard to find direct views. We worked hard to get ours with partial views, been planning to invite all our (common) friends for last couple of months since we bought. This “friend” saw ours, got inspired and somehow this morning managed to get a place with many extra features and literally at the beach at about the same price. I just feel it is SO unfair. Am I going crazy?

        • I dunno, that seems like a pretty normal reaction to a scenario like this. I would be envious too. Are you sure there’s not a catch with the home though? I wonder if there is some deficiency with the house that you are not aware of or perhaps your friend had some personal connection with the seller. Anyways, it sucks but you still have a lovely home and I would focus on that.

        • Maybe remember that right on the beach means more vulnerable to climate change, flooding, weather, etc?

          And give yourself some time to feel envy, I think it sounds normal. Don’t let it consume your life but don’t just tamp it down either. Maybe lean in to the envy for an hour and then another hour counting your blessings. You have friends that love your taste enough to mimic you and a beach house!

        • Common. If it helps, house prices don’t fluctuate like this for no reason. There’s probably some issues they’re not telling people about (because it’s no one’s business). Like… needs a new roof, HVAC, and siding within the next 5 years. Beach front properties also come with a lot of issues. Mold, flooding, and salt residue come to mind. Maybe the sump pump is broken, they can’t finish the basement (or worse, the finished basement has flooded), or there’s mold in the walls. Or maybe they waived inspection to get that deal so now they get to discover all of these things on their own!

        • You’re complaining that your beach home only has partial views of the ocean. Yes, get a grip. Why are you putting “friend” in quotation marks? Are you implying that if they were a real friend, they wouldn’t have bought the amazing house? Not everything is about you.

        • Your feelings don’t seem that unreasonable. It’s normal to want to feel like you got the best possible deal for yourself and your family and didn’t leaving anything on the table, or over pay, so to speak. I don’t own any house yet, with good views or not, and sometimes I feel envy towards my friends who do. That’s natural. But at the end of the day, it’s not a zero sum game. Her gain takes nothing from you.

          That said, your characterization of this person as a “friend” who got inspired by you makes me feel like you’re irritated at her for doing this, which is a little silly. I certainly hope you’re not downgrading your opinion of her or your friendship because she made what you perceive to be a smart financial move. I assure you, she was probably inspired by what sounds like a lovely community. You didn’t tip her off to a state secret that she stole and is profiteering off of.

        • No. I am super envious of my friends who have managed to buy houses. Now it looks like we maybe maybe will buy one…a smaller one, in a less fancy city. It’s a great spot for us: good schools, quiet area, relatively new so no lead paint / pipes concerns, master suite on a separate level from the kids. And yet, I also feel the envy. I like to take some quiet time to confront envy/jealousy and just stare it in the face like a friend with whom I am having a disagreement so I/we can get past it.

        • You can still flaunt your new house to your friends!

        • Senior Attorney :

          If you’re crazy then I think pretty much anybody else in that situation would be crazy, too.

          And + a million to everybody who is saying they didn’t get that great deal for no reason.

        • Linda from HR :

          I think some envy is normal in that situation, as long as it doesn’t turn into resentment, and you don’t start looking for reasons why she doesn’t “deserve” it or how she must have cheated somehow to get the house. I also wouldn’t assume there’s something really wrong with the house that’s going to be a pain to fix, or make them miserable. Count your own blessings, and in time, try to be happy for your friend.

          • Anonymous :

            +1. I don’t like the line of thinking that encourages people not to worry, the other person actually ISN’T doing better than you. Maybe they are, and that’s OK too, as long as you’re happy with your life. And if you’re not, work on that, don’t degrade your friend.

            I would be envious too, OP.

    • I think we all wish we have something that we don’t, and when we do we tend to envy those who have those thing’s. It is kind of standard fair that goe’s with the territory. I know that when I see a woman with very skinny legs, like the model in this p’ost, I wish I had her legs, b/c mine are shorter then Rosa’s and very stubby. Dad always tells me about my tuchus, so I look to other women’s tuchuses and when I see one that he would approve of, I wish I had her tuchus. This I think is natural. Do not worry about seeking as long as you are doing so legitimately. YAY!!!!

  2. Cole Haan Women's Pinch Leather Weekender :

    Does anyone have these? I’m wondering how sneaker-like they are. I love the look but would wear them casually to chase after my toddler outside. Would they work for that from a comfort and style perspective?

    • I have these shoes in canvas, so keep that in mind, but I absolutely love them. I find them super comfortable, and have brought them on trips as my walking/ tourist shoes during the summer (including a trip to China). I liken them to walking on clouds. I think they would be perfect for chasing after a toddler outside. Note chose shoes for both style and comfort – have a lot of cute Clarks and Ecco shoes. I have had mine for 3+ years, wearing them a lot in the summer, and they have held up well.

  3. I have a conference in Denver coming up in a few weeks. I haven’t been there in a few years, but the last time I was, I got terrible altitude sickness: nausea, extreme headaches, faintness. Any tips on how to prepare for the trip or ideas on what to bring to help the symptoms?

    • I used to live in Colorado but would get really sick whenever I did hikes above 10,000 feet. I had good luck with the CoQ10 regimen Dr. Weil suggests. I’ll put a link in the reply.

    • I used to live in Colorado and didn’t experience the issues you described but the general advice when you are at higher elevations is to drink lots of water throughout the day, wear dark sunglasses, and wear good sunscreen. It sounds silly but you literally are closer to the sun and the dry climate sucks the water right out of your skin even though you’re not sweating. Also be careful about how much alcohol you drink because you will get drunk more easily at higher altitudes.

      • Anonymous :

        +1

      • The reason you burn more easily at altitude is because the atmosphere is thinner, not because you’re “closer to the sun.” The sun is 93 million miles away – a few thousand feet makes no difference.

    • Flats Only :

      I was concerned about altitude sickness before my trip to Machu Picchu last year. I read something online about taking chlorophyl pills or drops to build up the blood. It sounded ridiculous, but I ordered a bottle of ChlorOxygen from Amazon and faithfully took two pills morning and evening for about three weeks before the trip. And guess what – I was out of breath from exertion at altitude, but never got the headache that I was concerned about. So you might try that.

    • If your altitude sickness is debilitating or prevents you from fully participating in your conference, you may want to see your health provider for prescription medicine. I don’t recall what it was called, but I had a scrip when I went to Quito some years ago.

    • Lots and lots of water. Try to drink a glass of water every hour while you’re awake, even when if you don’t feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol.

    • The advice given so far about hydration, rest, alcohol is all correct. There is also a prescription medicine, acetazolamide (Diamox), which can be taken before and during the trip to alleviate symptoms. Given how severe your symptoms were, I’d definitely investigate that option.

    • If you are at altitude (so not in Denver, which is high but it’s not high for altitude sickness) you can take Diamox. Otherwise, if you’re staying in Denver, you probably won’t be able to get a prescription. Drink a lot of water, way more than you think you need, and remember that every time is different. Just because you were affected once doesn’t mean you will be again.

      • Diamox seems like an extreme option for visiting Denver for a few days. The side effects can be pretty unpleasant, frequent urination (like, getting up 2-3 times in the night), numbness and tingling in your hands feet, and face, and all carbonated beverages (beer, soda, champagne, will all taste terrible). Really, drinking lots of water and wearing good sunglasses and sunscreen is the most important thing. Ibuprofen has also been shown to address the symptoms of altitude sickness about as well as Diamox. Take an Advil before you land in Denver and then just plan on taking regular doses (in accordance with the medication’s instructions) while you are there.

    • anon a mouse :

      Ask your hotel whether they have oxygen tanks available for rental or if they can recommend a company that does. An hour or two hooked up to oxygen in the evening can do wonders for you.

    • Go to your doctor and ask for prescriptions if you’ve ever had bad reactions to altitude. Other than that, no alcohol, limit activity and drink ridiculous amounts of water.

    • Anonymous :

      Maybe also a saline spray to moisten your nasal passages? I would blow my nose up there and get a bit of blood.

    • Anonymous :

      Are you a migraineur at baseline? I’ve seen patients who get migraines who have very similar reactions at high altitude. Definitely talk with your doctor, as the symptoms can be truly miserable in a way that people who don’t have them do not understand. Yes, it may be appropriate to consider a prescription medication.

    • I also get worse than average altitude sickness, and my in-laws live in Denver, so I’ve had experience with trial and error. I’ve never taken prescription medication in CO, but did when I went to Machu Picchu and I found that does help if you’re willing to live with the aforementioned side effects. Seconding all the advice to drink lots of water, take advil, and avoid alcohol.

      Additionally, what I finally found I needed that helped me the most was spending the first day at altitude doing NOTHING and remaining mostly horizontal the entire day (so, lying down on the couch rather than standing up for the most part). A day of zero activity, followed by taking it easy the next day, means by the third day I’m usually up and ready to go. I’ll still get out of breath and tire easily if I’m doing anything strenuous, but by allowing my body time to very gradual adjust I don’t throw up/get the headaches. So if at all possible, I would advise trying to go out a couple days before the conference begins, so you have a chance to acclimate before needing to be on your feet all day.

  4. I’m plus size, and getting really frustrated with the quality of clothes available. Lane Bryant, Eloquii, etc are pretty cheaply made, half the jackets are unlined, and they show wear pretty quickly.

    Any suggestions for better-quality plus size workwear in classic shapes? (Not a fan of the go-to plus size design of endless prints and sparkles)

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I haven’t tried them myself, but I hear good things about Universal Standard. Very simple designs in neutrals and deeper colors.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Talbots quality tends to be top notch, and they have a decent plus size run from what I can tell online.

    • BeenThatGuy :

      I’ve had great success with the City Chic line (sold online and at Nordstrom). I’m a 14, and can wear straight sizes, but this brand is cut for my curves perfectly. I’ve even purchased 2 bathing suits from them, online, and loved them! And we know that never happens!

      • I wear a 12-14 in standard sizes and have been curious about the difference between a 14 plus and a regular 14. Sorry to sound stupid but what would the difference be? I’m 5’10”, if that makes a difference. I say this because I really like some of the Universal Standard pieces and want to try them!

        • You won’t really know until you try on, but I’m one size bigger than you, also just over 5’10 and I find most plus clothes are not cut right for me, but it’s due to body shape. If you’re an apple or a pear, you may have better luck.

          • Anonymous :

            Thank you!

          • Anonymous :

            I’m a 16. I’ve found that a 16w will be cut larger in the bust and stomach. Since I’m smallish in bust and stomach but large in hips and thighs (a pear), I try to stick to straight sizes. I’ve always assumed that a 16w would fit an apple shape much better.

    • Cosign Talbots. I am a cusp size but tall and I wear their smaller plus sizes to get extra length in dresses. All their stuff goes on sale, so you get much higher quality than you get other places, if you buy Talbots on sale. Occasionally they have a miss in terms of fabric being not thick enough, but you can usually tease that out in reviews. The only thing I hate about them is that they rarely have free shipping.

      • Stupid question but how are plus and regular sizes equivalent to each other? I’m also cusp sized and I can wear a regular size 16, would that be a 1x in plus? 16W?

        • Baconpancakes :

          Depends on the cut and the piece. All of the 1x and 16W dresses and tops I’ve tried on have been baggy in the wrong places, and straight-sized 16’s fit fine, but 1X bottoms fit me, and most straight-sized 16 bottoms fit me. Shrug.

        • Plus size tips :

          My experience with several is a 16 = a 14W, a 14 = a 12W, an 18 = a 16W, more or less. Depending on the brand there may be other changes. Looking at the size chart with number is useful. Some brands really have no overlap, but both Talbots and Lands End do.

          To Dolce, another vote for Talbots. I also like Lands End for things. If you can afford it, Lafeyette 148 is high quality and has plus sizes. Nordstrom Encore house brand (was Halogen, then Sejour) had good quality pants and suits. If you get basics/ suits between those three, Lane Bryant and Eloquii can fill in the “trendy fun peices.”

        • A regular size 16 or even a regular 18 can be much smaller than a size 16 W. Usually the proportion is a little different, too, so it’s not a matter of taking a straight size and proportionally adding inches to each measurement. If you compare size charts, you can see how they measure

        • Yes–it varies by brand. I am usually an X or 1X. I wear a 14/16 straight sizes and I know my measurements, so I read the size charts carefully. I also carry my weight in my midsection which I think is why plus sizes fit me. Totally agree that some plus sizes have extra fabric in places that don’t work for me, so I have just experimented with trial and error. For instance, I have no junk in the trunk and I have absurdly skinny swimmer legs so plus pants look terrible on me, but dresses look great due to the 1-3 extra inches in the hemlength.

          • I’m cusp sized but only 5 feet, so I often can’t wear the plus equivalent–when Jones New York was still open here, the 14 was tight in the arms but the 14W was enormous all over because of proportions.

      • Anonymous :

        Talbots fan as well — their misses sizes go to size 20 in many items and plus sizes start at 12W or 14W — so you can see what cut is better for you by trying a few sizes. They also have petite and plus petite.

    • Have you tried the Sejour brand from Nordstrom? They have good plus-size workwear.

      • Yes, to Nordstrom’s own brands. Also yes to Talbots.

        Eileen Fisher in plus sizes has some nice pants and jackets. Also check out Nic & Zoe for some nice knitwear pieces.

        Loft has added plus sizes. I’ve ordered one jacket from them, but haven’t had a chance to wear it because it is still too cold, but it seems nicely made. Simple, open cotton jacket, with a cotton lining. White House Black Market has also recently added plus sizes, but I haven’t ordered anything from them yet.

        And I agree with the OP about the sparkles on plus size clothing. Why do designers think we need glitter, rhinestones and crystals sprinkled across our chests? My bosom attracts enough attention due to its size, thank you very much. It does not need a spotlight trained on it.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Ellen Tracy has pretty dresses — their ‘straight sized’ ones go up to 16 and sometimes 18, and they have pretty, simple, true plus sizes too.

    • I have one dress from MYNT 1792 and I LOVE it.

    • I’m pretty sure MM LaFleur has some plus options now, haven’t tried them myself.

      • +1

        My MM LaFleur stylist (when I visited their traveling site) was plus sized and really looked incredible in her MM LaFleur clothes.

    • Nerfmobile :

      Nordstroms does have good options. I have recently discovered Talbots, and although a bit too preppy in some cases for my tastes, the Hampshire pant is a big win for me. I didn’t care for the LOFT plus line as much. I also subscribe to Gwynnie Bee partly as a way to try out different lines, and some brands I have found through there are like are Nic+Zoe, Eliza J, Taylor Dresses, Adrianna Papell (for dresses), City Chic, and Vince Camuto.

    • If you don’t mind taking a little time to filter out a lot of hideous prints and poorly made clothes, I suggest you give Dress Barn a try. Yes, it is mostly cheap and ugly, but I will also say that I have found a few dresses there that have wound up being absolute staples of my wardrobe, including one that was a “fit and flare” dress that was fully lined and had some light boning – probably the most flattering dress I owned for a while! (And it was a size 18.)

      • Anonymous :

        My all time favorite Chanel-style jacket is from Dress Barn. I get compliments on it every time I wear it. Go figure.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 – I’ve sorted through a LOT of not-gems and found a couple of gems.

  5. I’m heading to Iceland for the first time next week! Planning the Golden Circle for a day, then some kind of tour the next day– whale watching, volcano exploring, snorkeling… have you done anything like this? Any favorites or things to know? TIA!

    • Baconpancakes :

      How long do you have, what free times do you have, and are you renting a car?

      • Four days (3 1/2 really). Golden Circle and Blue Lagoon are planned; we have a rental car (two people).

        • Baconpancakes :

          Strongly recommend the Friðheimar tomato greenhouse restaurant. On the Golden Circle, I would say don’t miss the Geysir park, Gullfoss, Seljalandsfoss, and Skogafoss (the last two are the same park).

          • hehe, I actually would skip the tomato greenhouse restaurant.

            highly recommend the Geysir and Gullfoss and the last two waterfalls that Baconpancakes recommends.

            If you watch GoT, we did the tour and it was great!

            you *could* fit in one really long day on the snaefellness peninsula, and there is a GREAT seafood restaurant at Stykkisholmur (Narfeyrarstofar)

            In Reykavik–Ostabudin and Messin are my favorites for lunch and dinner and Sandholt for pastries :)

    • On your Golden Circle day, be sure to hike to the Reykjadalur hot springs. It’s about an hour hike through the valley before you start reaching warm water, the higher up the mountain you go, the warmer it gets. This was definitely my favorite part of the Golden Circle and you won’t find it on most of the tourist itineraries. Also- don’t be afraid to pull off in random towns and explore.

      If you have another full day- I highly recommend heading down the south coast and between stopping at waterfalls and Vik, plan a glacier hike- you can also add on ice caves which are pretty cool!

    • I loved the into the glacier tour out of Husafell. There’s a nearby tour that goes into lave tubes. It’s cool and much cheaper than the into the volcano tour (which I think is like $400/person). I did whale watching out of Husavik but that’s not a day trip from Reykjavik, you’d want to stay nearby, maybe Akureyri. You could do black sand beaches by Vik in a day trip from Reykjavik. The glacier lagoon, farther south, is also stunning and the boat tour is totally worth it.

    • Pale Girl Snorkeling :

      I did a horseback ride out in to the country and it was a highlight of my trip. Easy to book as a day trip out of Reyjavik and I combined my trip with a visit to the Blue Lagoon (which felt amazing after I exercised muscles I hadn’t used in a long time on the horse ride). Iceland ponies are so cool and you need to at least meet some even if you don’t do a ride.

      • Ditto on the Icelandics horses (“don’t call them ponies”) being so fun to ride since they’re shorter and mild (I’m clearly not a rider) and do the tolt.

        LOVED the hot spring hike mentioned above.

    • Thank you all!

  6. Leak proof containers? :

    Recs for leak proof containers for lunches? It seems like no matter what I use everything leaks. I have a special soup container – it leaked all over my bag. I tried my corningware today – milk everywhere. I’d prefer something not too heavy, but I’ll take anything at this point.

    In exchange, for anyone else who is trying to reduce their plastic footprint I bought some reusable sandwich and snack bags from Reuseit on Amazon and they are still going strong 6 months later.

    • Anonymous :

      Mason jars, especially if half-full. Works for liquids, at least.

      • I carry a lot of soups to work over the winter, and I don’t have any issues with my rotation of Mason jars, old peanut butter jars, Bonne Maman jam jars, and Pyrex. Not the lightest options, but they work.

    • Are the reusable sandwich bags a pain to wash? I haven’t taken that plunge yet because they look like they would be…

      And yes, +1 to mason jars, although I’ve noticed the plastic lids do leak.

      • Leak proof containers? :

        Not too bad. I don’t use them for anything really messy, though. I usually just rinse them out and air dry.

      • Baconpancakes :

        I just bought some rezip reusable snack bags by blue avocado, which some people have reported successfully putting through the dishwasher. It is not recommended by the manufacturer, but I’m going to test it. I do have a stasher silicone sandwich bag that is definitely dishwasher safe- you can use them for sous vide.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      All the containers with snap-on lids that I’ve bought from my local Asian grocery have been 100% waterproof. (I think they’re mostly Korean.)

    • Leak proof containers? :

      While I’m on the topic, lunch bag recs? Maybe that’s part of my problem.

      • I like this one a lot. Comes in lots of colors (I have the hot pink one). Easy to clean and holds lots of stuff.
        https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01I0YT8KU/ref=twister_B073V3JSXT?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

      • I use a “laptop” lunch box, it’s rectangular and flat so it fits in my tote. I got it on amazon.

    • Um, a thermos? I have never had a thermos, cheap or expensive, leak. That’s what they’re made for. Confused as to whether that’s what you mean when you say “container.”

    • I’ve never had this issue and I use everything from old jam jars to the glass snap on lid containers from Homegoods. I think the trick is to not fill too high, mind your bag a bit more than usual (I try to not let it tip over) and for extra measure put it in a plastic bag so whatever minimum leakage might occur is contained.

      • Anon in NYC :

        This. I carry all of my food in a structured reusable bag (like what you get from a clothing store). It holds it upright, and then it almost doesn’t matter what containers you use. But I prefer a thermos like hydroflask or containers with snap on lids (like snapware).

    • I really like my glasslock containers. I bring soup in them regularly and have never had a leak. https://www.amazon.com/Glasslock-11292-18-Piece-Assorted-Container/dp/B00LN810PM/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1524148928&sr=8-3&keywords=glass+lock

    • I’ve had really good luck with my snapware containers!

    • Zojurushi makes the utterly leakproof and extremely well-insulated coffee mug I use every day, and I suspect their lunch containers (they have a bunch of options on their website) would be the same with respect to soup. I also have the Glasslock containers recommended by Wirecutter and have never had a leaking problem with soup. There are some comments on the Wirecutter post suggesting that some of Glasslock’s containers are made in Korea, some (seemingly identical) containers are made in China, and the Korean-made containers are better. I can’t speak to the comparison, but I can say that I bought my containers from Glasslock’s website (rather than Amazon), they’re stamped as being made in Korea, and I’ve been very happy with them.

    • Anonymous :

      Foolproof, though not what you asked: I freeze my soup in individual portions in my “take to work for lunch” containers, and then just grab one out of the freezer in the morning.

  7. Anonymous :

    I’m unhappy at my current job and am looking for another. The problem is that I’ve noticed myself finding it harder to care about doing good work in my current job. I know I need to continue to put forward my best effort while I’m still here but sometime it’s just hard. I’d appreciate any tips or advice!

    • AnonTechie :

      If it works for your role, can you start a stretch project on the side- pick something you’ve wanted to do but never had time.
      I had the most fun time designing an investment analysis tool in a job i was about to leave (and one the firm had been putting off for a decade). Being about to leave meant that i didnt get frustrated when the project eventually got sidelined because there was another fake emergency fire elsewhere and resources got moved around.

  8. Edna Mazur :

    Here’s a hopefully fun one for you all!

    I have a birthday coming up (33? 34? what year is it?). My lovely MIL has asked for birthday hints and I am struggling to think of anything. I had a weird dream last night I asked for various cleaning products, like dish soap and windex.

    For context, my MIL LOVES to give gifts. I don’t really know anything about love languages, but I assume that is hers. (Aside: seriously, how lucky am I? Even without the super generous gift thing, she is about the best MIL /Grandma one could ask for.)

    Looking for inspiration. What is a good gift you’ve recently given or received? What’s on your want list?

    • Anonymous :

      APW has two posts this week on gifts. The one from yesterday has a couple of boxes that look like great gifts… I’m seriously considering the one with the robe and sheet mask.

      Some gifts I’ve recently bought myself: bath bombs from Lush, an assortment of bath and skincare products from Sephora (L’Occitane almond shower oil, Laura Mercier honey bath, various sheet masks, and the My Little Pony mask from glamglow), a little bath tub tray from Amazon, and a new Kindle. I also enjoy my Rocksbox (jewelry) and Boxycharm (makeup) subscriptions.

      • Edna Mazur :

        Apologies, but what is APW? Google brought me to A Practical Wedding and a couple different school district pages.

        Thanks for the suggestions! I’ll be looking some of these up!

    • Mrs. Jones :

      My birthday is also coming up. On my wish list are: medium-size Dutch oven, champagne stopper, plus some shoes, clothes, and jewelry.
      Happy birthday!

    • Some things that come to mind (I’m assuming a fairly decent budget):
      A nicer bottle of wine than you’d normally buy for yourself
      fun jewelry
      a wallet (my MIL bought me a coach wallet for my bday a few years ago. I wouldn’t have bought it for myself, but I LOVE it)
      homegoods: art, pillows, throws, candles and holders, lamps
      kitchen stuff
      pair of shoes you’ve been eyeing
      cookbooks

    • I often ask for an upgraded version of something I have/use but I know Mom/MIL would be great at shopping for.

      Last year my MIL got me new high end bakeware because I love to bake. Bonus is she uses it with grandkids when she visits.

    • I don’t know if MIL is local, but would an experience gift for you and your husband along with a promise to babysit work?

    • Jewelry!

    • Gift certificate for a massage or spa day. Apple Watch. Custom framing a treasured keepsake or piece of art.

    • I covet a Block Shop scarf. Something I wouldn’t buy myself but going to ask for as a birthday present this year.

    • Anon in NYC :

      I love gift certificates towards boutique fitness classes, since it’s something I love and will help defray the cost. Similarly, gift certificates towards stores like Lululemon or Athleta – gym clothes that I will love!

    • My birthday is coming up and I am thinking about an Apple Watch, noise canceling headphones, or a really nice table lamp. If she knows your style a household item could work?

    • I would love a gift certificate to a spa where I could go for a full day of pampering. That’s not something I would normally buy for myself.

      For smaller things, I love getting fun socks and fancy lotions and bath products.

      Also dinner and drinks at a nice restaurant.

  9. Any suggestions for vegetarian foods and snacks that are high protein and low carb?

    • Anonymous :

      Cheese. Eggs in their many delicious varieties – deviled eggs, egg salad, eggs “benedict” using tomato slices instead of english muffins (or make your own low carb muffins). Small portions of certain nuts (not cashews). Celery and nut butter boats (but again watch the portion on nut butters).

    • AnonTechie :

      Nuts, cheese, eggs, chia crackers, hummus (debatable about the low-carb on this one), peanut butter (w/celery)

    • Cottage cheese, greek yogurt (plain Fage is not very tart so easier to eat without much sugar).

    • Yogurt, blueberries dipped in yogurt and then frozen, cheese, egg white quiche muffin things, hard boiled eggs, certain types of smoothies or protein shakes. Not high protein, but avocados and kale chips are low carb.

    • Full fat greek yogurt with protein granola (check the sugar amounts on granola though, they sneak up on you)

    • roasted spiced chickpeas. I think you can buy the packaged kind as well as make your own in the oven.

  10. Housecounsel :

    I wore the Editor pants in the mid-oughts. They were advertised as the best-fitting pants in the world and thinking back, they were. So flattering, available in different lengths. I felt GREAT in them. I haven’t even thought of going into that store for years because I think of it as clubwear! Maybe it’s time to give the pants another go.

    • Two Cents :

      The only item of clothing I will purchase from Express is their Editor pants. They look fantastic on my hourglass frame, and they have held up well after almost five years. They are a nice, thick material as well, not flimsy at all. I highly recommend trying them out.

    • Does anyone know of the body type they are meant to fit? I’m hourglass shaped, but with quite a bit of thigh and glutes (not J0Lo level but close), with a significant pooch I’m working on but will probably never go away given my build. Size 12 and short so the thighs and pooch aren’t large just relatively to my body, just actually large.

      Are these pants forgiving in these areas? Can a short and almost squat person pull them off?

      • It’s definitely worth a try but I’m not sure they would work for you. The Editor pants tend to be lower rise, which is not great for muffin top/pooch. The store caters to the young and fit teens/20s set, and even though I find their Editor pants very flattering, I don’t find there is a lot of give in the stomach area (but in the thighs and glutes, definitely).

      • Express has a new fit (or at least new to me), which I haven’t tried, called Publicist that is described as fuller through the hip and thigh. Editor was not generous enough for me in the hip and thigh so I might try these.

      • Yup. I wore it pre-kids and pre-pooch and even then it was low waisted and emphasized the slightest suggestion of post-lunch muffin top.

    • I am a big law partner and almost all my work pants are Express Columnist. I went there in desperation after being able to find any other pants to fit. I am a small hour glass shape and have had good luck with the 0S.

      • Will echo the love for Express workwear. I am thin and J crew and Banana have both increased their sizing in the past year to the point that I don’t fit in their 0’s anymore. I went back to express to find pants and blazers and I am glad I did. I prefer shopping online because it’s easier to sift through the club-y stuff. The quality is not the best, but with the sales I don’t mind buying new pants every year or two. I also wear a lot of dark colors so that hides the quality issue pretty well. I have largely been sticking to pants and a black blazer from them, but I did a deep dive into their tops and sweaters recently and found several that were cute for work. They don’t have any good options right now but I think the no-frills portifino shirt without pockets is a good basic. I would love if they learned the art of subtle patterns, but I digress.

        • Yeah, Banana seems to have made their pants for those with more junk in the trunk than I have. Though I still have more than a lot of people.

  11. Insurance woes :

    DH badly needs an MRI, and the dr ordered one in the beginning of march. But with a combination of stingy insurance and repeated f-ups from the drs office staff, we’re still waiting, and it may take another 30 days (well, 27, now) for the insurance to consider our appeal. Even after we wait, insurance could deny it again.
    He’s in a lot of pain, and rarely makes it to work. No specialist will even schedule an appointment till they can see an MRI.
    Does anyone have tips for speeding along the insurance review? And alternatively, if we don’t wait, and pay for the test out of pocket, (about half of our emergency fund), will we ever get any money from insurance?

    • Can’t you pay and get reimbursed by insurance? Can you get your chosen specialist to write a note that you can submit regarding it’s necessity for diagnosis?

      • According to the doctors, it has to be pre-approved. And yeah, they’ve submitted the documents to the insurance company, finally–like I said, the drs office is partly at fault for screwing up and being very slow at the paperwork.

    • Have you shopped around on where to get the MRI – costs can vary between getting it at the hospital vs getting it at a clinic that focuses on MRI.

      And isn’t this what an emergency fund is for? What good is money if it can’t help you relieve pain?

      • Good to know that prices vary, although I think the hospitals in the 2 nearest cities are probably our only options. Profoundly underserved area.

      • And yes, I would willingly spend the money. But there may also be more demands on our emergency funds if he needs surgery (likely) or if he has to go on unpaid leave (very possible).

      • Try googling “MRI imaging center”. In my (admittedly urban) area it pulls up a bunch of options with self pay starting at $350. If your area is undeserved (which sucks) it might make sense to drive a few hours to get this done.

    • My insurer has an expedited review process – something like 48 hour turnaround for emergencies. Could you try that?

      • +1

        The doctor just needs to specify that it is an urgent review in their appeal letter. Otherwise it takes 30 days and there is nothing you can do.

        You could ask the doctor’s office if they can call the appeals office and change it to urgent. Often these offices are hard to reach by phone, so they may need to fax the request to your insurance. Call your insurance company and ask for the appropriate phone number / fax number to do this, and supply it to the doctor’s office to make it easy for them. I would fax the request with the same appeal letter, now with Urgent appeal written on top.

        Honestly, if you are willing to pay anyway, I would get the MRI now and finish the appeal after the fact. And I would ask the doctor where they want the MRI. MRI scanners vary DRASTICALLY in quality and can be different strengths of magnet, which give very different results. A cheap MRI is likely not a good MRI. Ask the doctor’s office. Ideally speak with at least a nurse because the front desk is not knowledgeable about this.

        Good luck.

        • Thanks for so much detail. Last time we spoke with a PA, she was very specific about where the MRI should be done–now maybe I understand why.
          I will check and see if they marked the appeal as urgent. I suspect not. But the dr’s authorization manager also lied about sending it in weeks ago, so…the battle continues :(.

          • Also ask what it would cost to do self-pay versus insurance. Some times hospitals have latitude the pricing if it’s not being billed through insurance. With the caveat that I don’t know how this plays into the procedure eventually being covered by insurance.

            Good luck!

          • I totally understand your frustration. Often you never know where the screw up occurred. Insurance companies lose things too, and EVERYONE lies. Or shall I say, exaggerates…. So it is a painful dance where insurance blames the doctor’s office, who claims they already sent it. So you try to stay calm, beg the doctor’s office to send it again, and try not to alienate your new doctor’s office. And every time I send something to insurance, I call to follow-up and make sure they received it.

            I have seen several times where someone brings in a copy of their small town MRI that is of such poor quality it has to be repeated. Then it costs twice as much. So I’m glad the PA gave you specific instructions where to go.

            Back MRI’s are incredibly subtle and complicated and, as I’m sure you know…. still may not give you the answer. Many people with back pain have normal MRIs and many people with crazy looking MRIs with bad arthritis have no pain. So you really need the best quality MRI possible, and a very very experienced doctor who does a very careful history and very good neurologic/physical examination, and who sometimes does additional studies like an EMG to get to the root of things.

            Sorry this is so hard….

          • Thanks. As soon as we have the MRI, we’re all lined up to go to a highly recommended neurologist. There just seems to be this one fundamental obstacle holding everything up.

          • I’ve also applied for direct reimbursement from my insurance (BCBS). Might be worth a call to your carrier to see if you could do that.

      • Well, I just spent 45 minutes on the phone–insurance can *maybe* process it in 5 days if the doctor marks it as urgent. And the doctors office says *maybe* they will be able to re-submit it Monday. At this point I’m just venting–but it’s so, so, angry-making!

        • And setting aside my frustration for a moment, thanks to everyone who gave me information on what to ask for, etc.

  12. I posted about photography yesterday, but I didn’t mention where I’d be looking to have pictures taken. Any recommendations for photographers in DC?

    Details: I rarely take photos and want to have a few nice ones. I’m not looking for a headshot. I want something similar to senior portraits or family photos, only for one. I hope that make sense :)

    • Made By Helen did some great shots for a friend of mine: her family, and just her for a casual/realistic linkedin headshot. I can’t find a link to an email, but she’s on Facebook as MadebyHelen

    • In mod with a rec

    • My friend did an amazing series of solo photos when she turned 40, I dont have any recommendations but go you! I’m sure you’ll treasure them.

    • https://www.sidedoorstudios.com/portraits-c9yf

  13. Legally Brunette :

    I had a great experience with Rebecca Emily Drobis. She’s done our family portraits over the last 3 years and they have always turned out really great. I’m very very picky about my photos and she manages to capture great natural shots (not overly posed/canned). She’s also very easy to work with.

  14. Paging KAC re: resort travel :

    A friend is raving about Jade Mountain resort in St Lucia – that may meet most of your criteria.

  15. My question got stuck in limbo yesterday, so hoping for more luck today.

    Do any of you ladies have a favorite marble and/or quartz cleaner(s)? We have carrera marble as well as quartz(!te?) surfaces in our home and I’m looking for a cleaner (or two) for them. For the marble, mostly looking to get water marks out as they are around the bathroom sinks. There is one cup ring water mark from the previous owner that I might have to accept is there forever, but am curious if I could get it out. For the quartz(!te?) it is water marks but almost like a streaking and I’m thinking the previous owners used the wrong product to clean it? It is really only visible when you look at the reflection of light on it and I’m just a clean freak, so I’m hoping for ideas. Thanks!

    • I’ve had luck with using a baking soda and water paste on stains. My late cat had some incontinence issues and went on my granite floors. Nothing worked except for the paste and now it’s perfectly clean. You might have to leave it on there for a day or two. For the streaks I would try resealing everything and then using a better cleaner. I like the Method cleaner and 409 Stone cleaner.

    • I just use vinegar for our quartzite counters. Can’t use it on marble. Marble is tough to maintain – can you adjust your expectations if water spots around the sink bug you?

  16. Just need to vent: I don’t know what to do with my life. I’ve done college, have a decent job, and know I’m in the wrong field. I’m willing to go back to school. I just can’t figure out what to go back for. I know this is a first world problem, but I’m so frustrated.

    • What do you do currently and what are some fields that interest you?

    • Why do you feel you’re in the wrong field?

    • Are you sure this is a work thing and not a “hey, real life is kind of boring” thing? If it’s the latter, finding activities for your off time that you’re passionate about can really help.

    • I’m sure this is a work thing. I studied something in college that sounded like it would involve stem subjects, but it was primarily general communication, english, and business classes. I didn’t find my courses to be interesting or challenging, and it likely wasn’t a great major for me.

      I’m in consulting. I’m not in the typical strategy or management role. I feel like I’m in the wrong field and can’t imagine a future in it. I’m not sure that I’d be any happier in opportunities I can exit to.

      I’m excited about the prospect of going back to school. I’m frustrated because I’m not sure what to study this time. I’m interested in using more math and problem solving in a career. I don’t think medicine would be the right field for me, but I’m otherwise open.

      • I wouldn’t go back to school unless you have an idea of what you are working towards. Which involves finding a career/job type that does seem to fit your interests and then figure out what background is involved there.

        Would something like a career coach help here? Help you find an industry/role that’s not on your radar? Make a list of your soft skills, a list of what kind of job activities sound like a good fit for your (Talking to people all day, strategizing on product plans, at your computer creating/maintaining worksheets, pulling data for other people, etc.). Start talking to your friends/networking to ask people about their jobs and what they or people in their organizations do on a day to day basis.

        Basically – you need a goal to work towards, not just a thing (job you don’t like) to run from.

        • I haven’t considered working with a career coach. Maybe it’s worth it? I do really agree with your last sentence. I want to work toward something that will be a better fit.

        • Anonymous :

          Excited to go back to school for the sake of it but no idea what you want to study? Of course school is more fun than work. You need to grow up. If you dont like your job get a different one. If you dont like that one try something else. Find yourself a career. If more education would advance that career then go for it. Get out there and find your passion first.

      • AnonTechie :

        Product Management is a good halfway point between what you studied and what you want.
        Especially if you slowly work your way into a more math-y project :)

        • Definitely a good suggestion. I’ve seen a bit of the project management side and don’t think it’s for me.

      • Before going back to school, I’d just sign up for as many professional/networking events as possible, talk to recruiters, etc. Find out your options. Find people you admire and think about their skillsets. You may have more options than you think right now.

      • Are you in the wrong field or wrong role? You could probably be a consultant in another field. On the flip side, you could probably get a different role in your field.

        I personally would be very hesitant to take on debt to go back to school (maybe not an issue for you). Unless you are doing a complete 180 (ie completely changing the subject matter or want to go into a field that requires a certain degree like nursing), you’re probably qualified for something more interesting to you, even if it initially might mean a salary and/or title cut.

      • How far out of college are you? If you’re looking for something more math or problem-solving oriented, I am reasonably confident you could find those types of opportunities within the consulting industry. And your major shouldn’t matter that much past the first job or two.

    • Check out the book “What should I do with my life?” It has a great framework for answering this question (and is a really quick read).

    • I’m looking for a career change too and have just started reading “What Color Is Your Parachute” to figure out what my ideal job would look like. It has helpful exercises to help you reflect on what you are good at and what you are passionate about. Definitely a good resource.

    • Anonymous :

      reach out to your alma mater and see if your career center provides services to alumni. i work for a career center and we serve our alumni free of charge for the first 3 years out and then there is a small fee

    • Coach Laura :

      I’ve recommended the book “The Pathfinder” by Nicholas Lore here for years and still find it’s the best book. I have used and read What Color is your Parachute and it’s also a contender.

      A new book that I’m reading now is Designing your Life by Burnett and Evans. It has good reviews.

    • This was me a year ago. I wanted to leave private practice and didn’t know else I could do. I reached out to everyone I could on LinkedIn. Old classmates, friends, strangers. I spoke with them and it lead me to where I am now, which is compliance. LinkedIn is a great way to meet new people and explore options.

  17. I’m looking for inspirational stories and maybe some tough love. We’re in the early stages of getting serious about paying off some miscellaneous consumer debt (mostly credit cards) and are following the Dave Ramsey system for the most part – not a big fan of him as a person but I like the simplicity of the plan. I think it’ll take about 2 years on a reasonable budget, and my brain knows that’s not long at all, but emotionally it seems like forever. Any tips, tricks, hacks, success stories are welcome!

    • I am a fan of the system (for the most part) but cannot stand him as a person. Anyways, I like Budget Bytes for suggestions on making all the beans and rice taste better lol, and also setting a lot of short term goals, in addition to the long term ones. This is a great time to incorporate some self care things, too, that are free, such as yoga and meditation. It’s a long road but amazing when you finish. If you have kids just think about how much this will benefit them in the long run. I think the great thing about his system is that there is a way out, you just have to stick with it. It’s not impossible. I’m rooting for you!

    • Not super-familiar with Dave Ramsey…does he have a system for tracking your expenses and setting up a budget? If not, You Need a Budget is wonderful.

      I have neither an inspirational story nor any tough love, but I’m so glad that you’re taking control of your financial situation! There will be bumps, setbacks, and months where you don’t make as much progress as you want because the car needed an expensive repair/the dog ate a sock/life happens, but don’t let those derail you. Stay focused on your goals and don’t give up.

    • Check out the Frugalwoods blog for inspiration on embracing frugal living! It’s what made me see that frugality is not about deprivation.

    • Betterandbetter :

      My Spouse and I went through this and found it really reset our hedonic adaptations and ultimately made us happier. We went from eating out literally almost every meal to a) finding it way more convenient to have food on hand during a busy work day and b) finding lunch out a real treat and opposed to Just what we did to feed ourselves. The period of anticipation for splurges was also alot more joyful. I’m a first generation child of immigrants so sacrifice is old hat for me but the reminder of exactly how little you “need” was refreshing to me and I think liberating to my spouse who doesn’t have that background. The sacrifice may not feel as sacrificial as you think. Good luck! It’s worth it (also we did something Dave Ramseyish but don’t leave an employer match on the table. That’s madness- especially if you are going to be done in 2 years).

      • I love this, and totally agree – I’ve already noticed a difference since we cut way back on our totally out-of-control eating out habits. I don’t even miss it most of the time! And yeah…I don’t care what he says I’m not dropping that IRA contribution completely lol.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Many many years ago my then-husband and I paid off six figures of debt in 39 months using the snowball method. It did seem like it took forever but we tracked those balances obsessively and celebrated every milestone (under $100,000! Under $95,000! and so on) and saved up to pay cash for everything and as Betterandbetter said it re-set our expectations and it ended up being the very best part of a very bad marriage.

      You can do this!

      And also? It’s important to put money away for those normal-but-not-regular expenses (property taxes, insurance, medical, holidays, etc) so you won’t be tempted to put them on the credit cards. If you don’t do that you’ll never get out of debt. Check out Mary Hunt’s Debt Proof Living, which is what we used. She calls it the Freedom Account. I do that to this day and I don’t know how I’d manage without it.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t think this falls into the category of “inspirational,” but here is my situation: Last year I bought a house and ran up some related debt for furnishings and renovation and overall overspending due to being overwhelmed and busy and well-enough-compensated that everything felt like NBD so I was careless. This year, on top of the lingering debt, I took a huge pay cut. It forced me to focus on my spending, and on what I already possess. I have tracked everything (I use and love and advocate for Mint but know YNAB is the gospel here) and now treat every purchase as a decision vs an impulse or “need”. I no longer spend just for convenience. I contemplate whether I really need to spend for quality on each item. I’m using up rather than accumulating. I return things on time and meal plan and stick to lists. It has actually been extremely liberating. I feel in control. And while I hope to get back to my previous salary, I am sort of grateful for this hit because I know I will be wiser with $ going forward. I’ve cut my expenses and spending a lot and I am making significant progress toward debt reduction despite the much lower income.

    • Anonymama :

      I think it’s actually really helpful to do a semi-extreme no spending thing for a bit to sort of reset your spending habits. We did out of sheer terror after we bought a house, then the economy crashed and my husband had a significant pay cut. We just were really, really careful for a few months, ate stuff in our pantry and freezer, etc. In some ways it makes life simpler because the answer to, should I buy this? Is no. Or which one should I buy? (If you have to) is the cheaper one. Then after the austerity period even small things feel like an indulgence (chicken breasts for dinner instead of thighs!)

    • Anonymous :

      The first time I put myself on a budget, I found I HATED being told what I could and couldn’t do. So expect some rebellion from yourself. But then I got to really liking it. I have right-sized “wants” now.

      Favorite hack: At the end of your month, if you have unspent money left in one of your variable categories (e.g., you spent less at the grocery store than you thought you would), you get to take that money and do something fun with it. It gives me an incentive to beat the system (even if it’s my own system) and get a reward out of it.

  18. As much as I may disagree with Nikki Haley, I have got to appreciate “with all due respect, I don’t get confused.” Such a perfect comeback to an accusation relying on sexist language.

    • Yes, I loved it too. Good for her.

    • Same. It was such a sexist way to marginalize her.

    • Could not agree more. Perfect response.

    • Maybe it’s the standard set by the rest of the administration but she is by far my favorite – maybe the only – person on his team.

    • Yes–it varies by brand. I am usually an X or 1X. I wear a 14/16 straight sizes and I know my measurements, so I read the size charts carefully. I also carry my weight in my midsection which I think is why plus sizes fit me. Totally agree that some plus sizes have extra fabric in places that don’t work for me, so I have just experimented with trial and error. For instance, I have no junk in the trunk and I have absurdly skinny swimmer legs so plus pants look terrible on me, but dresses look great due to the 1-3 extra inches in the hemlength.

    • Sorry! wrong place!

      I also thought it was great that the guy who said she was confused apologized profusely for even saying it. It was a classy ending to a d_ck comment in the first place.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      Agree totally. She is so baller.

    • Yeah, her response was awesome.

      As an aside, I really dislike that in order to address sexism like this, we have to make extreme statements like this that aren’t technically true for anyone. (like, of course we all get confused from time to time although I know that’s not what was going on here at all. Another one is how we’re always told that we shouldn’t say we’ve had great mentors and support when ppl comment on our professional success. Like, I know I’m awesome and I did the work to get me here, but yeah I had a lot of help and I wish it were ok to acknowledge that without it coming across as diminishing my accomplishments just because men seem to think they’re 100% responsible for all the good things that happens to them. I think we all make our own destinies, but no one ever does anything totally on their own. I dislike that the influence of misogyny doesn’t let us just acknowledge that. I also dislike that men don’t just acknowledge that too. )

      • anon lawyer :

        I don’t know- I took her statement as being specifically work related. That she doesn’t “get confused” then sanction a country.

        And I think that’s fair and not an “extreme” statement at all.

        Do I ever get confused in life, period? Sure.

        Do I, an attorney, ever “get confused” and represent to the court something totally wrong that I would have caught was totally wrong if I’d have just thought about it a minute?
        Uh, no. I don’t. Ever. Period.

  19. Acadia while pregnant :

    I’m planning a trip to Portland ME and Acadia National Park. I will be between 26-29 weeks pregnant at the time (haven’t nailed down the exact dates yet). A lot of people have mentioned not getting too far from a good NICU past viability, which has me a little bit worried. Is Acadia too remote for late second trimester travel? The flights would be 1-2 hours with a layover, so I’m not as worried about that part.

    My doctor is super laid back and says it’s fine, so I’m not trying to get online medical advice or anything. I just don’t know the area that well and am a little bit nervous about hospital access.

    • There’s a level III NICU in Bangor which is about an hour and a half from Acadia. I wouldn’t worry about it. I think people meant like don’t go to a remote island where you’d have to be taken to a hospital by helicopter or to a developing country without good medical care.
      Acadia is an amazing spot for a babymoon, enjoy!

    • I would do it (assuming you don’t have any major risk factors for pre-term birth, like health complications, previous pre-term deliveries, uterine anomalies, etc). I’ve had 2 kids, and am a biomedical researcher. Everything in life bears a risk, and people are notoriously bad at assessing risk. I haven’t run the numbers, but I’d bet $20 that if I did, we’d find that spending 20 minutes per work day in a car from now until you deliver has a much greater chance of causing harm to your baby than traveling to Acadia at 27 weeks. And that’s OK – both commuting to work and travelling have a (very small) risk associated, but also big benefits (earning a living, and enjoying your life, respectively). I always try to acknowledge the risk, think logically about its magnitude, and then make myself feel better by coming up with a plan to reduce risk while still getting what I want. In your case, for example, that might mean saying “I will go to Acadia, but I will make conservative decisions about seeing a doctor quickly if I sense something is wrong. Before I leave on the trip, I will make a note of the nearest emergency rooms and OB offices to the park.”

      • +1, but also make a plan for what happens if you don’t have cell service. Not sure about coverage there, but you don’t want to rely on your cell phone to call your OB if you’re deep in the woods somewhere.

      • Acadia while pregnant :

        Thank you! This is a helpful way of looking at it.

    • You didn’t ask this, but I’ll give you a couple tips from someone who went to Acadia for the first time last year.

      1) Google maps is pretty useless about park entrances and points of interest – get a paper map/research in advance.

      2) Union River Lobster Pot in Ellsworth is amazing. They’re on a stream and have Adirondack chairs outside where you can wait and (your partner can) have a glass of wine. The lobster pie is delicious.

      3) I found Bar Harbor to be pretty touristy (lots of cheesy gift shops) – we strolled through the town in about an hour and moved on to the next thing on our list.

      4) People will probably recommend you eat at Jordan’s restaurant for breakfast – it’s like a blueberry-themed Waffle House. The wait is really long and we really didn’t see what the big deal was – but maybe that’s because we make blueberry pancakes for ourselves on the weekends anyways. (We love small diners, so that definitely wasn’t it – it was just eh for us.)

      5) Red’s Eats is considered America’s best lobster roll…and we certainly loved it. The line waxes and wanes – we waited for an hour, but if you go off-peak, sometimes it’s very short. It’s in between Acadia and Portland.

      Have fun! We loved our trip last summer!

      • I’m one of the people who recommends Jordan’s here regularly (my family has a home near Acadia and it’s one of our favorite places) but I agree it’s not worth waiting in line for. If you can get there before 8 am (maybe 9 on a weekend) there shouldn’t be a huge wait. Otherwise you can skip it. One cool thing about Jordan’s though is that despite the super touristy appearances – I mean there’s a gift shop attached to it for goodness sakes – it’s actually popular with locals. If you go around 5 or 6 am you will see a lot of locals eating there. A lot of the restaurants in BH are exclusively for tourists but Jordan’s really is a beloved local spot and I think that’s why I have such a soft spot for it.

    • I would feel comfortable with this and I was one of the people who had commented about wanting to be close to a NICU on another thread. I decided not to go to the glaciers in Patagonia at 25 weeks pregnant bc it was too remote — but this sounds fine!

    • Anonymous :

      I have family in Acadia, including a sister in law I suspect may have children within the next year or two. I don’t think she’s planning on leaving town while pregnant because of the “remoteness” of the location. I think you’re fine.

    • Portland has the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital which is excellent. It has a high ranking NICU. In a worst case scenario, there are airlifts available from a local hospital to Portland. The drive in a car is about 3 hours between Portland and Arcadia (if I remember correctly) so it’s not too crazy remote.

    • My concern with this is the threat of Lyme Disease. It is very real and serious, and new studies say that the currently prescribed treatment is not effective for all. That is, if you are given treatment. You will have to wear some sort of spray on protection at the very least, and even the natural ones may cause some sort of hormone disruption. I live in the NE and have gotten Lyme 2-3 times at least in the last 2.5 years and still have chronic pain and leak urine (nobody likes to talk about this side effect)…even though I have changed my diet dramatically and go to PT. I don’t even go in the woods anymore. Just saying. Do as you will, though. Beach life just sounds better.

      • I’ve been hiking in Acadia every summer since I could walk and I’ve never even had a tick attached to me, let alone gotten a disease from one. You can get Lyme disease pretty much anywhere in the US. Just shower every evening and be vigilant about checking your body for ticks. There are a lot of hikes in Acadia that aren’t wooded at all, ie your likelihood of picking up a tick is very low.

        • I grew up in the woods and never had this issue until a few years ago. A LOT has changed here since then. Everyone is getting this. It is another consequence of climate change.

      • Also, to suggest that a normal hygiene regimen can prevent you from contracting this is preposterous. In the Spring and Summertime, ticks are nearly invisible. They inject you with an anesthetic, and you can’t feel them on you. Their bites don’t itch or burn. You may not get or even see a rash. The rash often is so light, and in such an out-of-the-way place, you would struggle to see it if it was there. Not to be an alarmist, just delivering a truth bomb. People deserve to know the facts, and then they can make their own decisions.

  20. I know many women on this site have recently (or in the past) taken the plunge to run for office, and I could use some advice! I’m a liberal living in a very Republican county (I grew up here). Last night, I was asked by the local Democratic Party committee to consider running against our county board chairman. I’m a couple of years out of law school and started a citizen action committee to tackle a long neglected, important community issue that should have been handled by the county board decades ago. My work on that issue prompted the request that I run for office because the party thinks that may be a strong enough platform for me to run as a single issue candidate. (My issue does have strong support from many, many Republicans as well.)

    Still, I don’t think my odds of winning would be good. Any advice for running in this kind of environment? I’m very much on the fence about whether the effort would be worth it or if I should stick to just running my law practice and citizen action committee.

    • A close family member ran, and lost, in a local race in our major metro area in a district where he couldn’t have won. I hope you’ll consider doing it, because being/having another choice in this kind of race is a really selfless act of community service.

    • I say do it! I would just try to approach it in such a way that a) it can maybe benefit your practice by increasing your visibility and b) think of it as a practice run so that even if you don’t win this time, maybe you win next time (for this or another office).

    • Are you interested generally in public office? If so, do it. Run a positive professional campaign. Don’t get caught up in must win at all costs drama. Even if you lose you’ll dramatically increase your personal brand as a candidate.

      • In my younger days (okay, I’m only 30, but in my early to mid-twenties) I was very interested in running for office. But now, less so for many of the reasons a lot of women decide politics isn’t for them. (I don’t want to drag my family into it). I also feel like working from the outside, without voter accountability, gives me more freedom to be genuinely myself and pursue the things I personally care about without worrying about how it will be perceived by the public.

        So, I am struggling with feeling like I could move us in a positive direction but also that the community does not want to go in that direction.

        • New law mama :

          Let the community decide! If they want to go in your direction they will vote for you; if they don’t like your direction they won’t. Either truly is an okay outcome, but don’t take yourself out of the race because you’re concerned you might win!

    • No experience but want to put in a plug for DO IT! You sound like the perfect candidate – I’d vote for you!

    • I say do it! And think about Danica Roem for inspiration – people really do care about the single issues, especially at the local level. You are someone who gets things done! People care more about that than the politics of it; they care about what you did or will do that will directly impact and improve their lives. Focus on that! Especially because it seems your local officials p1ssed their time away not actually doing anything and perhaps getting bogged down in the politics. Nothing bugs people more than when their local officials who are their own neighbors(!) are as ineffective as Congress. Do it!!! Do it!!!

  21. Is anybody here pursing financial independence (FI/FIRE)? I know a lot of you are familiar with the movement, but I’m curious whether anyone is actually pursuing it and if so, do you have any good web-based resources to recommend for getting started? I’ve enjoyed reading some blogs on the topic, but I want to evaluate more evidence before deciding if this is something I want to do.

    • check out Rockstar Finance- they have a directory to every single blog on FI and feature 3 posts every day. Great place to get started

    • Yes, I am.

      I started with Mr. Money Mustache. Once I had my basic strategy set, I don’t read as much anymore, and some of his beliefs annoy me a little. For example, for a millionaire with a wife and young child, for him to complain about not getting a subsidy to cover his Obamacare family health plan anymore is ethically questionable in my book. He’s exactly the person who should be paying his full way for healthcare if he is retiring in his 30’s. I don’t think we should be subsidizing his healthcare. He also gets a lot of slack for not donating more, especially since becoming so wealthy with his website. So he has responded to that and gives away a bit more $$.

      • I read MMM and have learned a lot from his site, but I agree that some of his beliefs are a bit annoying, in particular around healthcare. He sometimes takes the very simplistic view of “hey if you’re eating organic healthy food and biking everywhere your healthcare costs will be ZERO because you’ll be so healthy from that kick-*ss lifestyle. Which of course is way too simplistic (not only with regard to non-lifestyle diseases, but what if you crash on your bike?). But, I think it’s a great site to learn from as long as you take some of it with a grain of salt.

        I’m loosely thinking about FI/RE but am in the accumulating / renovating rental properties stage now so I am not saving anywhere near what I should. I’d like to be done by 45 though (6 years away). Done = not needing to work full time in a crazy industry, but I’ll probably still do some consulting work.

  22. Just wanted to thank everyone for the Lasik tips – I did it, it went well, and it’s pretty amazing that I can see for the first time ever. My vision is better than it was with glasses or contacts. Most appreciated the reassurance.

    • Do you mind if I ask what your rx was before Lasik?

      • Yea, it was super high, -8.5 and -9
        At that level, my vision bounced around for a few days after and it was kind of scary, but a few weeks out it’s the most amazing thing I’ve done in my life.
        Apparently, whether you qualify depends more on the makeup of your eyes (cornea thickness, surface smoothness, etc. than the strength of your Rx)

        • Anonymous :

          I echo your sentiments. I had -7.5 and -7 with astigmatism. I underestimated just how much lasik would change my life.

      • In mod w more, but high minus 8.5 and minus 9

    • Pale Girl Snorkeling :

      Yay! Isn’t it so amazing to wake up and see? My vision is also better than it ever was with glasses or contacts and I’m so happy not to be spending so much time and money on glasses and contacts (I always had to have both). I got some pretty bad nearsightedness and astigmatism corrected no problem. They were bad enough that when I got contacts they often had to special order me trial pairs as my wacky rx never came in the regular try on sets.

      I’m a huge proponent of Lasik now – it’s the best money I’ve ever spent on myself

      • I couldn’t agree more – it’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever done in my life. I was petrified about doing it and now I’ve become an evangelist.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Wow, congratulations!

      • thank-you!! I’m still running around in a state of disbelief that I don’t wear glasses or contacts anymore.

    • I really want to do it, but my RX is getting gradually worse every couple of years, which is apparently common for people who look at computers all day. Was this a concern for you? Should I just do it anyway?

      • I would absolutely go talk to the best Lasik doc in your area & have them evaluate your situation. What I found was there’s so much mis-information out there, or old information (the technology keeps improving) so things that were issues even a few years ago might not be issues anymore. If you have a weird situation, maybe get a couple of opinions before going forward but don’t rule yourself out prematurely by reading about it on the internet. There are also other options like PRK & ICL that I didn’t explore but I would consider too.

      • A couple thoughts:
        1) Have you talked to your eye doc about reading glasses? My rx was steadily worsening from looking at computers all day too–he gave me prescription reading glasses which I use any time I’m looking at screens/reading material for more than 15 minutes and I’ve been more or less stable for 5 years.
        2) My dad had a super strong rx and got Lasik–he’s relapsed a little bit due to computer work, but he’s still so much happier than before he got the surgery–though he still has to wear glasses sometimes, it’s far less often and he can work out without eye correction, and he is very happy with the situation. So something worth discussing with your doctor about what’s realistic to expect and whether that’s good enough for you.

    • Congratulations! I absolutely agree, best decision I have made ever.

  23. Medical school :

    I was always a good student and a hard worker. Then I read a book re law school and how hard it is to get it (maybe: to a good one), how much of the process is largely rote (the schools weed out so much automatically based on LSATs and GPA), and it put the fear of g-d into me that it would never work and I was just on fire for doing it right for the last half of college (in retrospect, I was too poor for an LSAT course, but I did study a lot with the free books; I probably should have studied for that more, but what’s done is done and I’m a biglaw equity partner now).

    Anywho . . . I think that getting into med school is 1000% harder than law school (like med schools are really small (even if the university is huge), they are ultra competitive, maybe only 1/3 of applicants even get in, so the score-based weeding out is SUCH a big deal, and you may not make it to the interview stage). Is there something like Above the Law for aspiring med students?

    I ask b/c a step-relative in college says he wants to go to med school. He’s first generation in college, so his bio-family thinks he’s doing just fine by even being in college and that “you can be whatever you want to be.” [Also, I have a sense that struggling in the basic chemistry, etc. classes may be a huge red flag, but maybe overall GPA/MCAT scores are what truly matters for getting in.] I suspect that it is so, so much harder than that (so if he really wants this, he ought to prepare accordingly and be realistic b/c I know people who had to work for a few years as they kept reapplying to med school, so a fallback plan is important and isn’t the same as killing his dreams).

    He will be visiting for two weeks this summer. I’m planning to introduce him to my doctor friends but really want to help him see this realistically and will support him in figuring this out. [FWIW, my doctor friends tend to recommend being a midlevel provider vs doctor, and the person with the schedule/income/life I most envy is a couple where there is a nurse anesthetist and a nurse practitioner.]

    • I think one big difference is you have to interview for med school. My cousin is brilliant and aced the MCAT and had a terrific GPA at an excellent college, but couldn’t get in anywhere because she couldn’t interview. My sense is that overall GPA and MCAT scores matter most in getting interviews though. Another cousin got a C in organic chemistry (at an Ivy that barely gives Cs) and got into good med schools because of her overall stats.

      • +1. My SIL is the opposite of your relative. She had good but not excellent grades, and her first time taking the MCAT, she did not do well. She did not get accepted into any medical schools. She studied hard and took the MCAT again, and her score was good enough to get her application sorted into the “maybe” pile. She absolutely aced her interviews, was accepted by multiple schools, and received a few scholarship schools. She ended up at a top-ten medical school (although, full disclosure, she had some connections there). So…as [email protected]:40 said, the interview matters a lot, but you need the grades and MCAT score first.

    • Legally Brunette :

      I don’t have a suggestion for an Above the Law equivalent, but my two best friends are doctors and they both say that if they had to do it over again, they would have strongly considered becoming a nurse practitioner for the reasons you cited. Six figure income, flexibility with schedule, respected by peers, etc.

    • Pharmacist is also another good healthcare option with steady income, fewer years of schooling and often better hours.

      • Quality of life is awful for pharmacists. I wouldn’t encourage this at all. PA or NP is much better.

        • Medical school :

          My PA/NP friends who specialize (e.g., something with kidneys, pulmonary-only) are really happy, happy people.

          My Dr. friends are tired and many of my female Dr. friends work PT now if they are in primary care and have kids (and are happy, but are still carrying some school debt into their 40s b/c they still need often still need nannies if they cover calls overnight ).

          But unlike law, I know no unemployed doctors who couldn’t pay back their loans eventually.

        • Pharmacy now isn’t what it was 10 years ago. There were major shortages so tons of people went in and were graduating with 150k jobs in their location of choice. Now it takes a lot to break six figures and people often have to move to random places bc it’s the only offer they have.

        • Anonymous :

          I would disagree a little here. I think it strongly depends on what you decide to do with your life. My sister is a pharmacist and absolutely, 100% loves her life. She works every third weekend, sure. But so do I in my non-pharmacist life. But her pharmacy isn’t crazy busy, they don’t have a requirement to fill a certain number of scripts per hour, etc. She makes a good salary and still has plenty of time with her family. She also was 100% open to going to a smaller town, though, so take that for what it’s worth.

        • Anonymous :

          My aunt is a clinical pharmacist and loves her life. She works in a big hospital in a specialty and is becoming renowned as an expert in her field. She does have to work some weekends and holidays but that is lessening as she gets seniority. There are options for people who don’t want to do retail pharmacy, which is definitely not for everyone. My aunt wouldn’t have become a pharmacist if she’d only had retail pharmacy as a career option.

    • Don’t try and talk a step-relative out of becoming a doctor! If he can’t get into medical school, he won’t and he will figure out other options. If you want to help, encourage him to talk to his school’s med school advisor and offer to pay for an MCAT prep course.

      • Medical school :

        It’s not talking him out of it at all. But opening his eyes that being a competitive candidate = grades of X and MCAT of Y (and even then, it’s no guarantee). And there are lots of other meaningful health professions to consider, especially if you don’t get in on your first shot. In the meantime, helping him explore his options to become a more competitive candidate (getting his EMT, encouraging his fraternity to host blood drives, volunteering at our local hospital (which has programs for college kids he could apply to next year)).

        To me, it’s like if I want to run a marathon, it would help if I went running. I am pretty sure he isn’t sure what the process actually entails.

    • Optometry is another medical profession that anecdotally has a good quality of life.

    • I work in grad school admissions (not med) and what you’re describing is something that happens a lot in first gen students – just not a lot of exposure to what admission to a med school entails, and understanding that merely being admitted to any med/grad/law school is not the easy road to big income. It’s hard to strike a balance between being realistic and not killing any kind of motivation or professional goals. If you can sit down and review his transcript with him, and even try taking some practice MCAT questions / sections, he can start to see if this is a realistic outcome.

      • Medical school :

        That’s it — I would hate for him to apply to med schools at a senior (or whenever you do this) and get rejected (b/c even a ton of very smart well-prepared wonderful people will not get in) and realize that he has no backup plan. Or that he’s not realistically close and wishing he could go back in time and make some changes.

        Like I realized that I had OK grades and that I needed stellar (I didn’t realize until I got into law school that law schools admit lots of kids with 4.0s at some schools and there will be someone with a 3.0 but it was a person who got a math degree from Cal Tech or another hard school) and worked to bring them way up.

        I took a lot of practice LSATs on my own from books (but from taking BarBri, see how a course makes a huge difference, as does being “infected” (positively) by group motivation).

        • Does his college have any sort of graduate school counseling which could help him navigate all of this? This is basically what career services did at my liberal arts school: went over transcripts, talked about the admissions process, did mock interviews, etc. He might be more receptive of someone who isn’t related to him.

          • BelleRose :

            Honestly, the pre-med counselling at most schools sucks. They’ll do things like recommend Caribbean MD schools (not mentioning the very poor USMLE scores and extremely low likelihood of getting a US residency spot). And that’s from supposed “pre-med” counselors; general graduate counselors are probably even worse.

      • Does anyone know what the odds really are?

        If I read this right, the relative is perhaps not a rock-star, academically.

        IIRC, I went to a school like . . . Stanford, so full of people who fought their way in. And I know a lot of people who wanted to be doctors as freshmen who didn’t get into med school. A lot of them struggled with science classes, but not all, and all of them were probably reasonably strong academically to start with.

        I think for first-gen students, saying “doctor” probably is easy to say. The kids not planning on a post-grad academic path have to start sweating the job thing early. Maybe everyone should sweat that a bit, especially since I think that med school is really hard to go into (my BIL worked for several years in construction and was in the Army before he finally got into med school).

    • Student doctor network – forums with a huge amount of info.

      You think NPs are as respected as MDs, come on?

      • I think the point was less about respect and more about quality of life v. time input v. debt load. It makes more sense for some people.

      • +1

        I agree with Student Doctor Network as a good website resource.

        Yeah, of course NPs are not as respected as MDs within the medical community. But often their patients love them as outpatient providers and their role is becoming more and more important for juggling overburdened inpatient teams.

        And a lot of burnt out docs “say things” that they don’t really mean……

        It’s like a lawyer saying they should have been a paralegal. My Mom made great $$ as a paralegal in big law, and did high level work with much better lifestyle.

    • On top of the trouble getting into a good med school, the hours, workload, debt, etc…where I live (Canada) residents are having such a hard time getting residency!! There just aren’t enough spots. It seems crazy that there are good qualified doctors who can’t get a job but there it is.

    • Do not discourage your relative from applying to med school. Of course it’s hard work. Of course it’s not a guarantee. It takes years of studying just to get ready to apply. If he wants to do that, then you should support him and not try to talk him out of it.

      • Medical school :

        I have no intention of discouraging him.

        I think though that he truly has no idea what it takes and want to support him giving it his best shot and thinking through a plan of attack (esp. since he may have to work for a while while working in a way that will help his chances) and then executing on it. Or refining it if he wants to go into a slightly different direction (hospital admin? finance? EMT? emergency management?), especially at first.

        “You can be anything” =/= a meaningful plan for being something in particular

        • Don’t forget other options like Physician’s Assistant (in some states, it is only a 2 yr post-grad degree).

        • Do you have to be such a downer? EMT?!? Come on. Ok. So he doesn’t get into med school. You’re acting like he’ll die. He will have a college degree! Like hundreds of thousands of others he will figure it out. Don’t dump on his dreams because of your anxiety.

          • What?!

            If you just wanted to go to the Naval Academy (in high school, a good friend wanted this more than anything on this earth), more than anything else, would you want to get advice on how to prepare to be a good candidate early in high school (grades + fitness + recommendations) or wait to get rejected from a school you can’t transfer into? Would you maybe want to also explore options for what else might actually make you happy (schools like VMI or doing the corps of cadets at Va Tech or doing ROTC)? Do a post-grad year at a boarding school and re-apply?

            If you only see one thing as success and that thing is fleeting, everything else looks like a failure and feels like it, too. If you see many ways to go forward that are appealing, then you are likely to be more successful and happier.

            FWIW, if your relative has bad grades already, she/he may need to double-down and/or reconsider. I know that PA school is hard to get into and hard to be at, so it’s not a given if med school is not likely to admit her/him.

          • Wow — way to dump on EMTs. I think the world of my friends who do that. They are good people doing incredibly difficult work. I totally admire them.

            A friend who is a fire chief in a big city started out as an EMT while still in college. He is one of the best people I know.

          • You know I didn’t say they are bad people. Come on.

          • IDK — a BA/BS without a plan is pretty much worthless. Having a goal and a plan is what is most important.

          • A BS/BA without a plan is pretty much what happens to most liberal arts majors, isn’t it?

          • Right. I think that the med-school-or-bust mindset isn’t helpful or realistic. It will likely yield the latter.

            It’s a delicate dance, esp. if it is a kid you care about (who isn’t your kid), especially if he isn’t the sort you think that would have to get admitted b/c s/he is Phi Beta Kappa and practices the MCAT nightly and is the sort of kid who would do well in the interviews (which they have, unlike in law school where they don’t and would admit anyone with a pulse it seems as a revenue grab).

          • I agree. As a first gen and first graduate student I’ll just add that you need to be careful how you couch your advice. Focus on next steps and what he should can work on right now, and in the next year. Leading with “you need to do all of these things, and have a backup plan for when you don’t get it” can be incredibly demoralizing. There is room to have the re-orientation conversation later, if it becomes necessary. (I have a friend who didn’t do so hot in college, took time off to work in a lab, did a post-baccalaureate program and aced her classes, and then went to medical school).

            Finally, be mindful of your own role in this, particularly if you are not extraordinarily close. I find it hard to tell from your post what your relationship is to this kid, only that he is a step-relative. If I, before applying to graduate school, had a not-so-close relative (who was herself very successful in a professional career) tell me to consider becoming a PA rather than a doctor, the effect would have been super devastating. Tread carefully.

      • Anonymous :

        I have a friend like this. First generation college determined to be a doctor. Had a terrible time getting in. Not perfect grades or MCATs. Eventually after many years and MCATS and getting a grad degree in biology she got into an osteopath school no one had ever heard of and is a successful emergency room physician today. It was her sole goal for years. Determination is key IMO. My point being, no need to disuade someone with unrealistic expectations. It will take care of itself.

    • A few thoughts, from someone working through the med school admissions process myself:

      First of all, Student Doctor Net is amazing. I’m including specific links in a reply. (A word of warning: the people on there are INTENSE. Seriously, people with 3.99s worried that they won’t get into medical school. Like, chill.)

      For during college:
      GPA/MCAT score is huge, probably about 80-90% of the application. Many schools will screen based off of GPA/MCAT grids, and not even look at applicants below a threshold. Below is a link for AAMC’s most recent MCAT/GPA grid of acceptances. Be realistic.
      Once the AdCom (Admissions Committee) looks at your application, they will start looking at extracurriculars and clinical/research experience. You need to have experiences that show leadership, clinical experience, AND research in order to have the best application.

      On applications:
      It’s really hard to get into medical school. No one will deny that. Be informed about the process, have good GPA and MCAT scores, have good extracurriculars, and you may have a chance. I had a great MCAT score, but my GPA was only 3.3. I took 3 years off after college to develop excellent clinical and research experiences, but the GPA is killing my application. I applied to 14 schools, and was rejected from 13 without an interview (currently waiting to hear back if I’m accepted off the waitlist from the 14th school; fingers crossed!).

      If he’s applying to med school his senior year of college, he NEEDS to have a backup plan. Unless he has like a >3.9 GPA and >515 MCAT score, there is a good likelihood he will not get in the first time. Have a backup like scribing or research experience, in order to have a job that will pay the bills and strengthen your application for next year.

      On midlevel providers (NPs and PAs) and DO:
      My aunt is a nurse practitioner. While she loves her job (she was previously an RN), she says that she will always be considered a second-class citizen by her doctor peers, so you have to understand that. Also, PA school is actually surprisingly hard to get into, as many people are seeing the better work/life balance and applicants are flooding the existing schools. Many schools are seeing this and forming PA programs in response, but this may also cause oversaturation of the market in the next few years.
      DO is also a great alternative to MD. GPA requirements tend to be a little lower, but you’re doing the same residencies as MDs (it may be harder to get a residency spot for super-competitive specialties, but even MDs face that problem).

      In conclusion:
      The road to becoming a doctor is really, really, REALLY hard. Common advice is “only become a doctor if you can’t imagine yourself doing anything else.” But obviously, I think it is going to be worth it. Maybe I’ll check back in 10 years and let you know. But if it’s what he really, truly wants to do, then encourage him!
      Email me at belle2542 at live dot com if you have any more questions!

      • Student Doctor Net (SDN) premedical forum: https://forums.studentdoctor.net/forums/pre-medical-md.10/

        SDN’s “Essential wisdom for premeds (compilation)”: https://forums.studentdoctor.net/threads/essential-sdn-wisdom-for-pre-meds.1177034/

        Most recent AAMC GPA/MCAT grid: https://www.aamc.org/download/321508/data/factstablea23.pdf

        Also, I forgot to add: MCAT prep class (I did Kaplan) was so totally worth it for me!

      • +1 for the mcat/gpa grid.

        I interview at my medical school and find it to be spot on. Once you get an interview, the numbers matter much less, but they’re important for getting an interview in the first place

        Obviously there are exceptions, but it’s a great place to start

      • Anonymous :

        WOW — this is amazing. I now know that no way would I ever get into med school. UGPA is way too low, no clinical experience. Would need perfect MCATs to even have a 1/3 chance of getting in somewhere.

        Med school is not law school.

  24. I’ll be in Savannah for work with free time only on Sunday and Tuesday late afternoon/evening.

    What must I do? I’d prefer to be outside but the forecast is rain.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      Check out Globe Shoe Co. on Broughton or Abercorn. Best shoe store ever.

    • What do you like to do? Savannah’s downtown is quite compact so it’s easy to walk around the squares and see what looks interesting. Broughton street is good for shopping-very much a main street feel. Check out ConnectSavannah for an events calendar, the subreddit for Savannah also has some good suggestions. There are some fun things going on Saturday (A Town Get Down and Earth Day festival) but I think they are both done by Sunday. You could also look into a kayak tour or a walking tour of even some of the museums (SCAD, railroad, historical forts, etc). Savannah excels at drinks outside either on patios/roofs or with (legal!) go-cups.
      Also, it’s only Thursday- our weather forecasts aren’t good way far out so Tuesday may end up being fine.

    • AttiredAttorney :

      Tea at the Gryphon. It’s owned/run by SCAD.

      Juliette Gordon Low House

      Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil Tour

      Ice Cream at Leopold’s (must, must must!)

    • in mod, stand by

  25. I just started a new job in January in a tiny office. I report to one person, my manager. Now she’s leaving and I’m going to have a new interim manager and eventually a new permanent manager. My head is sort of spinning. I’m still getting settled into my job and thought I knew what I was getting into…now it feels like starting all over! Has anyone been in this situation?

    • Very common, if unsettling! This happened to me at one of my first big jobs. A department leader hired me, then transferred to a different office. She remained on staff, and I continued to work with her remotely, but I reported to a new chief after a few months. It was fine.

      You may find that you have more independence for a while. It’s a great time to step up, perhaps quietly take on some part of what your manager handled during the transition–then smell like a rose when the new permanent supervisor arrives. You may find yourself in a position to argue for a promotion, new job title, or raise after a bridging period.

      If you instead see your stock falling during this time–fewer projects, less independence, no opportunity to grow as you wait for new leadership to arrive–then it’s time to go back out on the market. A short-term position like this is easy to explain. “I had scarcely arrived when my manager departed, and the climate changed for the worse. I’m disappointed to have to move on so soon, but I’m interested in opportunities that match my original understanding of my position at XYZ.”

      • Those are really good points, thank you. I’ve actually been pretty unhappy with this job and I do see it as a good excuse for leaving. Or maybe my new boss will be amazing and turn things around, who knows, but I’m not getting my hopes up yet!

        • Put feelers out now. You can always pull out of searches later if your situation improves. Then lean in–find something interesting to do while no one is watching. :-)

  26. Should I apply or not? :

    For the past 5 years, I worked as a manager in a pharma. I feel that I have grown as much as I could in this role. I like my job but I would love a new challenge. However, I have 2.5 years twin that are still waking up during the night and while I have a lot of help ( cleaning service , catered weekly meals, a terrific daycare, an husband that do is fair share of tasks if not more, grand-parents that are willing to help) I am still very tired and certainly not a the level I was before I had kids (will I ever be, who knows?)

    My department director moved to another department 4 years ago and she is somewhat of a mentor for me.
    She contacted 2 months ago to advise me that a senior manager position will soon be available in her department and hinted I should apply. The position is now open and I am torn. Part of me want to apply : this is a great opportunity with challenges, it would allow me to grow as an individual and within the company (more than now: I am kind of stuck in my current department – my next step would be my manager position but she is not going anywhere).
    At the same time, at the moment, I just don’t have the energy to start something new and comply with the expectations of starting at a new role: I am exhausted just thinking about prepping for the interview.
    The increase of salary is 30K (but my husband and I are making good salaries and 30K is nice but nothing substantial). I am currently working 40-50 hours/ week and I know I would need to work 50-60 hours/week in this position. My husband opinion is that I should do what I want, he will be there either way to support us.
    I don’t know if I should apply : yes the job is great but I feel it is not a good timing. At the same time, nothing is never perfect and I feel that by not applying, I am missing out. Looking for inputs.

    • Anonymous :

      Definitely doesn’t sound like a good time.

      Curious…what is your work day like?

      Are you a PhD? MD?

      So curious what your job/life is like where 30K is not that significant a raise. I’m a doc MD/PhD and I would love such a raise and work crazy hours.

      • Should I apply or not - answers :

        Thank you for your input. I have a MSc in immunology and a MBA: I work for a big pharma in clinical research, working mainly in oncology (in charge of multiple projects and of a team of people working on those projects – assistants, coordinators and associates). My work days are dedicated to making sure the projects under my umbrellas are moving along timelines, and within budget : emails, project meetings, finance planning, etc. I also focus on the employees working on those projects to make sure they have all the tools and answers they need. I currently work 40 to 50 hours/week,
        As for the extra 30K : is it is nice but I already make about 130 K and my husband 190K. I live in Montreal, Canada and the cost of living is not too high and the quality of life is excellent. Since we are in a more socialist country, we get taxed a LOT. In my province if we make above than 105K all the extra money we make is taxed at about 49% so a 30K raise translate more to a raise of 15K. If I get this new job, I will be working a solid 55 hours a week so I feel that working a good extra 10 to 15 hour for a 15K increase translate more into a 1K per extra hour…Yes, I would be making more but at the same time I have to put more hours.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t have any real advice, but don’t turn down a potential career change because you’re tired. This hard toddler stage won’t last forever. Things will get better.

      • Minnie Beebe :

        This.

        Also, a new challenge could be exactly what you need right now. It sounds counterintuitive, but a new job could really re-energize you in a way that your current job is not. Change can be scary, but it also can be motivating and inspiring!

        • Should I apply or not - answers :

          Thank you both for your comments. I think you might be right, it could help me to re-energize. If I did not had my twin, I would have applies without hesitations.
          My manager came to talk to me today about the position and told me I should apply. She realized that I am tired because of the hard stage with my twins but she told me that I should still apply, that it would be a good fit for me. I know I am comfortable in my current position and there is not much i can still learn: a change could help me be more challenged at work and it would help my career,
          I think I will apply and I will take time to prep for the interview and do my best . Who knows what will happen.

    • anonshmanon :

      I would factor in the following: what could you do with, say, 1K per month to buy any kind of household/childcare help to improve your energy levels? Also, would a work-from-home arrangement make a difference for you? If so, you can make it clear that you will need that as a condition for taking the job. At least the company knows you and your performance, so they might be more willing to give you that level of trust.

      • Should I apply or not - answers :

        Thank you for your input. I will think about it: 1K could help hired some kind of help.
        As for working from home: I already do that twice a week in my current position but I am unsure if this will be possible with the new role, I will have to see.

        My main conflict rest in the fact that I want a work life balance: I like my quality of life but I feel unchallenge at work. Plus, with my twin it is not easy at the moment: they are not always sleeping through the night (waking up a few time a night)… so I am tired…
        I guess I will apply and see. I will reget it in the long run if I don’t do it

  27. I’m having some trouble maintaining boundaries with a friend. My friend and I are both in biglaw, but I have more control over my hours than she does. I get up early to work out and I refuse to get less than 8 hours of sleep unless there’s some real emergency, which means I start getting ready for bed at 8:30 in a perfect world. My friend really likes to talk on the phone, usually for an hour or more at a time, but she tries to call late at night, sometimes when I’m already asleep, then gets mad when I don’t pick up.

    So now she’ll call at like 8:25 and complain – but it’s before 8:30! – as if she doesn’t know that her call is going to take more than 5 minutes. I’ve told her many times I can’t listen to frenzied complaints about work when I’m trying to relax so I can sleep. If you want to call and complain then you need to do it at like 7 (which she can’t because she’s working) or save it for the weekend. To be clear, I don’t mind listening to the complaints, I have plenty of my own too and she’s a great shoulder; she just gets in this anxiety spiral and needs to talk about it rightthissecond no matter what time it is. I’ve suggested therapy but she’s not interested. What do I do here? She’s a caring person and she would definitely reciprocate if I ever needed a complain-sesh at 2 a.m. so I think this is a bit of a treat others as you want to be treated disconnect for her.

    • “I’ll definitely answer and chat when I’m available but I’m not necessarily available to chat everyday until 830pm”

    • Why don’t you call her on a weekend when you presumably don’t have your phone curfew (or can be more flexible with it)?

      And just don’t pick up if you’re not in a mood to talk. For all she knows, you’re talking to your mom or out on a date or out having dinner or otherwise tied up. Half the time, I turn off my ringer and remember weeks later.

      • Yeah. I’ve got a friend whom I adore, and we both really rely on each other for support through similar issues. She works fewer hours than I do and wants to connect more frequently. I want the same strength of connection, I just don’t need to express it in constant texts and multiple phone calls/week like she seems to want to right now. It drains me. I basically just don’t answer the phone and then send a follow up text that asks what’s up and gives a reason- driving, on way to spin class, eating, getting ready for bed- and propose another time to talk. That way you set your boundary, honor her desire to talk/connect, and can check in to see if it’s actually urgent, and reframe it so the convo is on your terms. Eventually she’ll get used to knowing a call to you is not a summons. You’re just not available all the time. She has two choices- either learn not to get mad at you or lose your valuable friendship.

    • Stop answering the phone.

    • Yeah, in this case you stop answering, but call back when it’s convenient for you. I have a friend like this (right down to the “I know she’d be there for me at 2 am” part) who got really mad once when I said I couldn’t meet up on Friday, but I could on Saturday instead. “Fine, if you can’t be there for me, then let’s just forget it.” I responded with “refusing to do exactly what you want when you want it doesn’t make me a bad friend” and that seemed to resonate, but I said that during a fight and wouldn’t say it otherwise.

    • Delta Dawn :

      I put my phone on Do Not Disturb half an hour before I want to go to bed. This has cut down on calls like that– over time, people have learned that I don’t answer after 8 or so. I check for missed texts before I go to sleep so I don’t miss a true emergency, but otherwise, you pretty much can’t get ahold of me close to my bedtime. In short, I would just not answer when you don’t want to talk.

      • BeenThatGuy :

        I love the “do not disturb” feature. Another great feature of it is setting favorite contacts. Only those favorites can break through the do not disturb (ex-husband for child issues, mom, boyfriend, etc). Everyone can wait until it’s a good time for me.

    • Can you compromise and give her 15 min. to b*tch at least some times? I totally get where you’re coming from but 8:30 is early by most people’s standards. I have a friend like this that calls way later and sometimes I don’t pick up, but other times I just tell her “hey, I need to go to bed soon but I have ten minute if you want to vent” and it seems to do the trick.

      • Yeah I’ve tried this but it hasn’t gone well. She keeps wanting to talk about just one more thing! and I eventually have to tell her no, not one more thing, I told you 30 minutes ago I only had 10 to spare. And then we’re both frustrated.

    • I mean, really? You’re an adult with a 8:30 bedtime? Okay. But you’re deciding not to be available for normal friend interaction. That’s on you. If you don’t want to be friends with her that’s cool. But she’s not the crazy unreasonable person here! If you wind up with no friends because you have atoddlers bedtime enjoy that.

      • This is way harsh. I go to bed between 10 and 10:30 most nights but I couldn’t take a long stressful call at 8:30 pm. I need to wind down for a couple hours before bed and listening to someone complain about their job – especially if I deal with the same frustrations – doesn’t wind me down and will prevent me from falling asleep when I need to.

      • Eyeroll. An hour of complaining on a regular basis because she’s prone to anxiety spirals? But doesn’t want to actually pay someone to listen to her/help? I’d limit how many of her calls I answered even without an 8:30 bedtime.

        • +1. Who the heck wants to START an hour-long stressful call on a regular basis right before bed? Obviously that is not unreasonable. I’d go to bed at 8:30 every night if I could – early birds ftw.

      • Are you lashing out because you don’t have any friends with that charming attitude of yours?

      • Linda from HR :

        Rude.

        I’ll admit, 8:30 sounds way early to me, but I usually go to bed around midnight and when I tried to go to sleep around 11 last night it was hard, despite being exhausted, but that doesn’t mean that people who prefer to go to bed earlier than that are weird and need to be, I dunno, scolded into normalcy or something.

        Also, calling someone that close to their stated bedtime just to complain doesn’t sound like a normal friend interaction. It sounds like someone with a poor sense of boundaries who doesn’t understand how much her calls are wearing on the OP, and OP needs to be honest about that impact.

      • Anonymous :

        I agree with this ^

      • I’m not going to justify the 8:30 thing, though I’m regretting mentioning a specific time because it’s evidently distracting. It wouldn’t matter if I had a midnight bedtime. As I said in the OP she calls when I’m asleep and then gets mad I don’t wake up to talk to her. She calls at literally all hours – I have just as many missed calls between midnight and 5 am as between 8:30 and midnight. If she calls after 5 am I pick up because I’m on the way to or at the gym.

        My point in mentioning my bedtime is that I’ve told her, this is when I’m not available, but she’s just not hearing that and gets mad that I’m not available literally around the clock.

        • Anonymous :

          Here to defend your 8:30 bedtime. I’m the same way. I don’t actually go to sleep at that time, but I like to be showered and tucked into bed with a show to watch or a book!

        • Linda from HR :

          Hokay, if she’s calling you round the clock and getting mad when you don’t answer, it’s like she expects to complain to you whenever she wants regardless of whether it’s a good time for you to lend an ear, and that stinks. Her expectations are out of whack, and if she thinks a “friend” is someone who’s always willing to drop everything (or wake up in the middle of the night) to hear you complain about stuff, she’s the one who deserves to lose some friends, not you! I’d get up in the middle of the night for a good friend having a legit emergency, not just someone who needs to vent about stuff.

        • Pen and Pencil :

          I think people are stuck on the 8:30 time because it is a reasonable time to expect an adult to be awake, vs if she called at 11:55, most people would be either asleep or headed there. Regardless of your sleeping habits, her wanting to call you 5 minutes before she knows you get into bed is weird. Friends don’t push boundaries like that. I think she is trying to pick a fight with you because she is unhappy with everything else in her life, so she’s taking it out on you in a way.

          This girl needs therapy, no semi-stable adult needs a friend to talk to at 11pm, 3am, and 6am outside of major emergencies (like, someone broke in, I was just attacked at a bar , etc. level emergencies). This girl is drama, and you need to decide if you want that in your life or not. Anxiety spirals that often and at all hours of the night means she doesn’t even have beginnings of coping mechanisms and tools to deal with her issues, and if she’s refusing therapy/medication then this is just going to get worse and worse. Also, you should tell her that having good sleep hygiene can help just as much with exercise with anxiety.

      • Kat in VA :

        I get up at 05:30 every day for work, and get home around 5:30-6:00PM. 8:30PM sounds like a heavenly bedtime. Right now, between kids and husband, I’m managing 10:00PM. Some people need more sleep than others!

    • Is your friend local to you? Could you set up a recurring dinner/lunch/brunch/walking date? If she’s not local, could set up a recurring talk on the phone time so both of you can manage expectations? I think you can say something to her along the lines of: “I like to stick to a consistent schedule. Why don’t go we do brunch every other week so we can have girl chat time?”

      • I should’ve said this in the original, thanks for raising. We’re local. We hang out every weekend, we go to the gym together once or twice a week, and we have coffee together at least weekly, more like 2-3 times a week if we can make it work. We also text every day. That’s why I’ll tell her, dude save it for the weekend/coffee tomorrow but that’s not what she’s looking for. She has these spirals where everything is a catastrophe and she needs to vent rightnow, which I just can’t be available for at all hours.

        • Yeah she’s using you as her unpaid therapist which isn’t really fair. If you guys see each other that much, she has plenty of time to tell you about whatever she needs/wants to discuss when she calls at 8:25.

          I get it. I go to bed early too. I like to be in bed by 9:30, ideally actually _asleep_ by 10. Your refusal to sacrifice that is totally fair.

        • Anonymous :

          Geez. That is a ridiculous amount of together-time. I don’t have any friends (and I’m social) that I could maintain that schedule with, much less calls on top of it.

          Work on your boundaries!

        • Wow. You spend more time with this friend than I do with my husband. Do you want to hang out so much? She sounds incredibly needy.

          • Anonymous :

            But it also sounds like you may want to finetune your boundaries, if this degree of neediness on your friend’s part doesn’t trigger major warning bells to you (instead, you came here seeking validation that it’s OK not to answer).

        • I don’t hang out with dudes I’m dating somewhat seriously this often. This would drive me batty.

          Also your 8:30 prep for bed time sounds awesome and I’m jealous. :)

        • biglawanon :

          +1 to both anons at 2:34 and 2:39.

          I start to wind down around the same time as you, and wouldn’t want to be having stressful calls. About 8:30-9pm is my evening time with my husband and to relax and I go to bed at 10:30-11.

          I will say I did grow apart from a few people I considered close friends when I was younger because I worked on EST and lived in PST. I had to get to work around 4:30am, so I went to bed around 7:30-8pm. I definitely got made fun of, and it was entirely uncalled for. Same goes for you.

        • It sounds like you are giving her more than plenty of time. She needs next-level help that a friend cannot and should not have to provide. If this were me (though acknowledging I am more strict about this than many people) I would not take phone calls from this person in this context, and would view it as incredibly disrespectful, and would also encourage her to get therapy, and if she didn’t like those boundaries, then I guess that’s that.

      • +1. I have a sibling like this and definitely don’t take all her calls. I try to take one every week to 2 weeks on evenings when I have the energy and emotional capacity, and I think a regularly scheduled discrete activity would be better. In my case she gets it and doesn’t get upset about it, but I always have guilt not “being there.”

    • Anonymous :

      I go to bed at 8:30 too, so high five for that. I also wake up at 5 every day.

      Stop answering the phone! I wouldn’t do that anyway, even if it were a convenient time to talk. You should not be her therapist.

  28. Wide Leg Trousers? :

    I don’t look great in fitted trousers like the Express ones. I have an ancient pair of Armani wide leg trousers I adore and would love to find a source for more. Ones along the lines of what Olivia Pope wears, not bell bottom but truly wide all the way down. I can’t find them anywhere! Any recommendations?

    • Housecounsel :

      She does wear the most beautiful pants. Or, she did. Tonight is the series finale. I will miss the show, but I do think it is time. Have you tried MaxMara or Lafayette 148?

      • Wide Leg Trousers? :

        MM would be great but out of my price range and Lafayette is also a bit dear and not quite the right shape. Thank you!

    • I bought a pair from Gap not long ago. Not the greatest quality – sort of a light weight ponte – but serviceable.

    • Last time I looked for wide leg pants, JC Penny’s house brand was the only I could find <200$. They're washable, and have held up well but are not the thickest. My pants before that were from the limited RIP.

    • Yes!! Massimo Dutti. I love mine from there so much. They are a little expensive but items go on sale pretty fast. And for cheaper versions – ASOS. I really like my wide pants from there too. Not as high quality but still nice, thick, and drape well, just don’t feel as luxe.

    • These are surprisingly good quality and inexpensive. I am almost curvy, with 38-1/2″ hips and the size 6 fit well; fitted in the upper section and then draping nicely. At 5’7, these fell nicely to almost the floor on me — maybe a 31″ inseam or longer in the Regular. I would need to wear a medium heel, not flats with them.

      https://www.target.com/p/women-s-wide-leg-bi-stretch-twill-pants-a-new-day-153/-/A-52515772

    • There are some interesting wide pants at uniqlo and cos. unsure of your body shape/height for these to work… but wide legs seem to be in right now so try any of the trendy places too ( club Monaco, H&M, Zara, etc)

    • Vince Camuto had some at Nordstrom. Antonio Melani at Dillard’s also.

  29. is anyone familiar with the quality of Ballard furniture?

    • I think their upholstered stuff is well made, their wood stuff is on par with Pottery Barn.

    • Veronica Mars :

      I have the teak outdoor furniture and it’s held up really well and was easy to put together. I also looked at the Tuscan collection for my home office but that set had really iffy reviews.

  30. I work in a casual business casual office and have discovered I love “perforated” shoes for spring and summer because they cover the foot but are super breathable. Any recommendations for more styles of these?

    • Paul Green!

    • I googled “perforated shoes” and I just don’t see how any of these options can reasonably be considered business casual. Plus, imho, they just aren’t attractive.

      • Oh, I don’t know. One of my colleagues wears something like this: https://www.bluefly.com/salvatore-ferragamo-beige-perforated-leather-bow-detail-vara-pumps/p/342377301

        I’ve also seen some cute loafers with perforated trim or all-over patterns. Fine for “casual business casual”!

        • Exactly! The further from crocs they veer the better (but I do know some can look very much like crocs and that is not cute)

          The loafer style is exactly the kind I have now

      • https://www.neimanmarcus.com/MICHAEL-Michael-Kors-Fulton-Perforated-Leather-Logo-Moccasin/prod208530023/p.prod?ecid=NMCS__GooglePLA&utm_medium=CSE&utm_source=NMCS__GooglePLA&utm_campaign=MichaelMichaelKors&adpos=1o20&scid=scplpsku177370091&sc_intid=sku177370091

      • Anonymous :

        IMHO you’re not attractive

    • J Crew has a pair of perforated flats that I saw last night. They look perfect for your use.

    • Try searching for “laser cut”.

  31. Does anyone have experience with Varidesk, specifically this type of desk: https://www.varidesk.com/products/full-standing-pro-desk-electric ? I’m in the market for a desk and the sit to stand option seems nice, but I’ve never seen one in person. Kind of wonder how reliably built it is, since there is an electrical component.

    • Minnie Beebe :

      No experience with Varidesk, but I have an IKEA version, with push-button up/down, and love it. It’s IKEA, so I don’t expect that it’ll last forever, but it was maybe half the price of the Varidesk. Fewer color options though…

    • My husband did a ton of research when building his standing desk setup – he had spreadsheets on desks, monitor arms, chairs, etc. he went with the Jarvis desk and it’s great. I’m going to get one, too.

      • Do you find that it’s sturdily built? One of the critiques I saw was that it can be a little wobbly above a certain height.

        • Yes. He is 6-2 and i havent noticed any issues with it being wobbly when he stands to use it. And he has 3 mounted monitors plus other stuff (engineer…).

    • I have a Varidesk in my office and I really like it. It’s not the electric one you are looking at, but an add-on to a normal desk. It’s very sturdily built. Definitely reduced back pain from sitting all day. I tend to switch back and forth fairly regularly – an hour standing, an hour sitting, etc.

      • I had this one too. Incredibly sturdy. I would imagine all of their products are very sturdy.

  32. Would love to hear some of the wiser hive’s advice on dealing with self esteem in middle age and aging gracefully. I’ve hit a point where I just don’t like what I see in the mirror anymore–my weight isn’t ideal but it’s not terrible and isn’t going to realistically get better any time soon, face is changing shape and showing signs of age I don’t like, and in general I don’t feel attractive any more. No amount of clothing or makeup seems to help. I know I just need to accept that I am no longer a hot young thing and to find things I like about myself at this stage, but it’s hard to do so. I just feel schlumpy all the time. Has anyone else gone through this? How did you build and maintain a positive self image?

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Change the media you’re consuming! Follow women your age, with your body type, on instagram. Follow women who are beautiful in lots of different ways!

      And in real life, look around you at the women you love, admire, etc. Look at how beautiful they are! Avoid the ‘in spite of’ thinking and look at the ‘because of’s. I legitimately love how crows feet look. Grey hairs can be so elegant. I freakin’ love women who are rocking their own style — clothes that aren’t trend-chasing but are just “I f*cking love how I look in this, so this is what I’m wearing.” Some women look so hot in suits. That woman is so gorgeous with that lipstick! How sexy is it that she goes hiking every weekend morning?! Etc. etc. Speaking kindly and admiringly of the women around me (in my head) helps build up the habit so I can speak that way of myself.

      And one last thought — be gentle on yourself when this is hard. There are bajillions of dollars being spent by very smart people, every day, to make you feel bad about how you look so you spend $$$ to try to change it. It’s an uphill battle to fight against that, and it’s OK that it’s not always easy. <3

      • +1

        I read a few blogs by great-looking women 45+ who seem comfortable in their own skins: Directrice, Ephemera, Une Femme d’un Certain Age. I don’t necessarily come for the fashion, but for their flair and … joie de vivre?

        I’m hitting 50 this year, and for the first time, I’m really noticing the changes–skin coloration, neck, hands, all of it. It’s not easy, especially as I’m interviewing for a position that’s a step up right now, networking more, meeting people outside my orbit. I wish I looked as I did five years ago. But so be it. I have professional accomplishments and maybe some grace and gentleness with myself that I didn’t have at 40.

        Carry on, sister.

      • P.S. I also put some real time and energy into mentoring younger women. I remember with so much gratitude a senior-level person who took me under her wing when she was about 50, and I was in my late 20s and entering the profession. She was a top achiever and a firebrand, with a spiky pixie haircut and a mouth to rival Molly Ivins. Paying it forward …

    • Anonymous :

      Do you have any physical hobbies? I found focusing on strength improvements via weight training, as opposed to focusing on my body as an ornament, really helped shift my focus. FWIW, so does hitting up a nude beach occasionally. All different types there.

    • Anonymous :

      Yeah, I hear you.

      I have become invisible, and the service industry treats me like I’m a retiree.

      Things that have help a little was revamping my haircut, a consultation with Bobbi Brown and updating a few things in my wardrobe. But after that, I realized I needed a good check-up with my doctor. Not enough exercise, thyroid issues and discussing hormone replacement options were all helpful. And I also needed to carefully look at my self to see if depression was contributing. I use a happy light during this crazy long winter season, make sure I sleep enough (nothing is more aging than looking tired), hydrate well, and exercise more. It helps.

      Life and society is a bit cruel to aging women. But we do get to live the longest!

      Find something you enjoy, hobby wise and exercise wise.

    • I am over 50 now and totally get this. What seems to help me is I do Botox/fillers about 1-2x year in the obvious spots, I have upped my exercise frequency and am focusing on working out for health not beauty, I am trying to drink less alcohol (not easy for me), and I try to be aware of the latest clothing and hair styles – not necessarily to dress or look trendy but to make sure I don’t look frumpy and old, and then try to incorporate the ones that work for me now.

    • These are really helpful insights and comments. And just the commiseration helps too! Thanks, all.

    • Feeling the frumpies :

      I’m 48 and have the same issue from time to time. My best defenses are regular exercise including strength training. Also, strictly keeping my weight in check – +5lbs does unflattering things to my face, which was not an issue ten years ago.

  33. Are folks eating salads these days or eggs given the recall? As a vegetarian traveling for the next 4 days and an anxious person – not sure how to handle (and it’s travel for a work conference so I do have to order and eat with others). I was talking to someone who was saying the egg recall was a week ago and involved one farm. By this point restaurant suppliers have quickly identified where they supplied and notified restaurants and provided new eggs. Plus she thought that brunch places may be using the liquid egg stuff in things like French toast? Thoughts?

    For salad IDK – consumer reports is indicating avoid all lettuce and at the least all romaine bc it’s hard to know where it’s coming from?

    WWYD? Just avoid egg dishes and salads but eat products made with egg (pancakes etc). I know I am over thinking. I miss being a relaxed person.

    • Anonymous :

      Eat the eggs they are fine.

    • Linda from HR :

      I was at the grocery store yesterday, and there was a sign assuring people that the romaine they were carrying was safe because it wasn’t from the affected area. I don’t eat romaine do it doesn’t impact me that much, and I’ve been eating eggs like nothing happened and I’m still alive. I trust the grocery stores I shop at not to knowlingly sell me dangerous food.

    • Anon in NYC :

      I didn’t know this was a thing and have eaten both eggs and romaine within the past 2 weeks from restaurants and I’m fine.

    • Cooking kills salmonella. I can see avoiding raw or undercooked eggs especially if you’re pregnant or immunocompromised. But there’s no reason to avoid cooked eggs like scrambled eggs or French toast.

    • KateMiddletown :

      My grocery pulled all affected products so I feel fine eating anything I’m making.

    • Anonymous :

      Is this why there was no lettuce at my grocery store the other day?

    • I’ve been sticking to spring mix or Bibb lettuce. There’s plenty of other varieties to choose from.

    • I’ve eaten Romaine from a restaurant in the past few days. I didn’t know there was a recall.

      If I were pregnant or immunocompromised, I’d probably avoid raw or undercooked eggs and Romaine lettuce right now. Otherwise, I’d probably hope/assume that lettuce and eggs were OK to eat.

  34. Does anyone know of a resort on a great beach for a couple’s get away for 3 nights — within 3 hours (flying) of the bay area? I’ve been thinking san diego. We just need a nice beach and ocean we can swim in….and relax.

    • Cabo San Lucas has much warmer water than San Diego and a more resort-like vibe, if that is what you are looking for.

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