Thursday’s Workwear Report: Midi Dress with Elastic Waist Detail

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

Happy Thursday! This midi dress with an inset elastic waist has a stylish look to it — and I love that deep teal color and its perfect midi length. The dress also comes in regular and tall sizes, but the teal color is only in plus sizes 12–24. Nice. Also really nice: It’s only $60 at ASOS and is machine washable.  ASOS CURVE Midi Dress with Elastic Waist Detail

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  1. This seems a little short to be a midi dress. I thought they were more mid calf?

    • Baconpancakes :

      Unfortunately, they’re calling everything that isn’t a “mini” or a “maxi” a “midi” now. Which I agree is weird.

    • Anonymous :

      IDK but I love how the model is smiling. HI FRIENDLY MODEL!!!

      This is so not the vibe I get from the models in W.

    • Anything below the knee is now called a midi.

    • Given the assumed height of the model of 5’8 to 5’11, this will probably hit midi length on an average height to shorter woman.

      • Fair point. I guess it’s just weird to model a midi dress in such a way that it doesn’t look midi at all.

  2. Gift for a new vet :

    Any ideas for a gift for a friend who just passed her veterinary board exams? <$30, has to be mailed rather than given in person. TIA!

    • My sister is a vet and she gets tons of knicknacks, sweatshirts, pictures etc of animals from family as well as clients, many of which are too cutesy for her. What about consumables like something from Harry and David?

    • AttiredAttorney :

      the $6 cookie card

    • Maybe an amazon or similar gift card with a note that it’s for her to treat herself? I don’t usually like gift cards for gifts but you could include a note to personalize it.

      I don’t know what’s useful in her practice, but maybe some leashes or something?

      Perhaps a wall hanging with her name as a vet or of her with her favorite animals? You can usually find deals so that would be within your budget, then have it shipped directly to her.

    • When my friend graduated from vet school, we got her a big giftcard at her favorite clothing store. She needed dress pants with stretch (to bend down to examine) and tops that an animal couldn’t paw down or get caught in). Vets also often wear Danskos because they’re on their feet all day, but they are expensive.

  3. Yowzers, IDK about this one.

    • Yep.

    • Yeah, the inset elastic piece looks odd to me. I don’t know about everyone else, but I just want a plain, well-made, nice-fitting dress. I can add my own belt.

    • Amelia Bedelia :

      the concept is nice, but the dress just looks so wrinky and ill-fitting. if it doesn’t look good on a model, i’m hesitant to pull the trigger!

      • Yeah wow. I was willing to give it the “weird pose” pass but then I clicked on the back view and whoa. They didn’t even TRY to style it nicely.

      • Cornellian :

        Yeah. If it doesn’t look tall on a genetically blessed 5’10 model I would not risk it.

      • Exactly! If they can’t get the wrinkles out for THE shot to sell it, I’m never going to, either. If they can’t make it flattering on the model, it’s most likely not going to look good on me, that’s for sure!

        I think this is one where I like the concept and some dresses I’ve seen like it, but I wouldn’t get this one.

      • Minnie Beebe :

        And the model looks AMAZING in many of the other dresses on the site (Sequin Kimono Midi Dress, anyone?) – this teal dress, while I like it in theory, looks so awful on the model! Hard pass.

    • Yeah, you can tell how thin the fabric is / how oddly cut the dress is, by the fact that it’s giving the model VPL on the front and sides of her hip! Do better, ASOS.

    • BeenThatGuy :

      This dress is horrible. If it was brown, it would look like an potato sack with a weird elastic belt. Of all the plus-size picks available, this is a shame.

      • +1 Hideous.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I like the color, the length, the sleeves, the generous room in the bust and the concept of a cinched waist. I don’t like the off center waist and weird belt they used or the thinness or wrinkles.

    • Yeah, not flattering at all. Gorgeous color though.

    • Anonymous :

      Yeah, sometimes I feel like Kat should just…stop picking clothes.

    • Found some much better options at Talbots. Some are on a good sale so lucky sizes.

    • Probably the worst dress I’ve ever seen here…

      • Really? Wow. I like it! I was just about to pull the trigger on the blush version until I saw all these comments. Do you all hate this one too? I thought the top was supposed to look kind of drapey, so I wasn’t too concerned about the wrinkles.

        • I love this blush version! Thanks for posting!

        • This version is much better, but I still think it’s too wrinkled for me. This one I might order to try and see what the fabric is and the look on me before deciding if it’s a return or not.

        • IIRC, ASOS has a pretty good return policy. Try it and report back!

        • The blush picture is so much better. The elastic waist works on a straight/hourglass figure like the blush model, not an apple like the the teal model, so if you’re one of those shapes I’d say go for it!

        • The fit of the blush version looks better than the teal version, but the angle of the photos for the blush one reveals a dolman sleeve that I don’t care for.

    • Anonymous :

      I think it would be ok on a different shape of plus size model. Looks bad here.

  4. Ordering from Ulta today as a belated gift to myself. What would you order for fun/staples?

    For reference, I don’t wear much makeup but always think I should wear more and, as I near 40, am upping my skincare game.

    • I follow a mostly K-beauty routine, and love that they stock Cos-RX. I’d stock up on the low ph cleanser, acne patches, snail cream OR essence depending on your textural preference. If you have additional funds, I’ve heard really good things about their propolis ampoule and their AHA power liquid is really well priced if you’re looking to start on acids (but wear sunscreen if you do!!).

    • Constant Reader :

      Urban Decay Naked Basics eyeshadow palette (the $29 smaller one)
      Nars Radiant Creamy concealer
      Nars Powermatte lip pigment — that stuff is unbelievably awesome, stays on and doesn’t dry your lips out
      Too Faced Natural Eyes Neutral Eyeshadow palette
      Depends on your skin, but I’ve been really liking It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream with SPF 50+ although color matching might be difficult online.

    • I stock up on the small travel sizes of my fav products so I can have them with me when I travel.

    • Eeertmeert :

      More Korean beauty picks:
      I LOVE the brand Goodal. I use their Moisture Barrier lotion as a last step on top of my serums/creams every night and it keeps my skin hydrated and soft.
      I gifted my friend one of their Essances, and he has similar amazing results.

  5. Anyone see the email response from the writer of the Aziz Ansari piece about Ashleigh Banfield? Whatever your thoughts on the piece, does anyone think it’s an appropriate response to attack someone’s age and appearance because they criticized your story, however harshly? Am I wrong to be shocked by it? She concludes it by saying, “I will remember this for the rest of my career — I’m 22 and so far, not too shabby!” and all I could think of is was I ever like this at 22, and if I was, thank goodness I didn’t have a platform to say things like this.

    • If the right planted this entire story to discredit the me too movement, they could not have done a better job.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      That email was so completely cringeworthy. Way to dispel the myth of entitled millennials there.

      Also, Katie, you know what is not feminist? Disparaging another woman’s age and looks.

      Leaving aside some of her other literary masterpieces, including “Here’s what your go-to drunk food says about what kind of hoe you are” and “There’s a new proposed law to make glitter illegal, but I’m not going down without a fight”.

    • Katie Way’s behavior has been crazy unprofessional, and I agree it’s totally inappropriate and anti-feminist to criticize another woman’s looks and age. Whatever you think about Grace and Aziz’s encounter, the handling of this story has been a complete mess.

    • I’ve known a few people who have written loose-cannon emails that they signed their name to, because they were just so proud of themselves and their insightful and unique views, why wouldn’t they claim the email? These have usually been people in their 20s who didn’t have the life experience to understand just how long emails can hang around. 20 years from now, that email will come up when you Google Katie Way’s name. Will it hold her back in her career? – hard to say, but that’s what I’ve seen. The initial hubbub dies down and the emailer is just seen as unstable and rude, and their career mobility gets limited. So I hope Katie enjoys the ride she’s on, right now. Because there will be a pretty abrupt stop she’ll experience, sooner or later. Word to the wise, millennials: don’t ever, ever, ever send an email like this. Ever.

      • Like the meme says:

        Dance like no one is watching; email like it will one day be read aloud in a deposition

    • Also to the youngs on here, I hope you know that being young is not an accomplishment (Katie seems to think it is), any more than being white is an accomplishment.

      And you’ll spend more of your life being not-young than being young, so find a way to be proud of yourself at any age. Hint: it’s not through throwing shade at anyone older than you.

      • So true. Also– please try not to let “being young” get quite so wound up into your personal identity as much of the culture will encourage. I did, and then getting older (i.e. entering my 30s) felt really, really hard because I felt like I was losing a huge part of my identity.

      • Constant Reader :

        Yeah. I note but pass over a lot of casual low-level ageism on this board and elsewhere go (I’m thinking of the kind that’s more unreflective or unthinking, not deliberate). Unlike many other identity states, you *are* going to get older and it is to be hoped, wiser, more understanding and empathetic. If not, you’ll be dead and not a problem anymore.

    • I did after seeing this and…. wow. I agree with what a lot of you are saying. This is an email that will follow her.

      • Two Cents :

        I just read this too after comments here. I hope I wouldn’t be so stupid at 22 to write something like this but who knows. That email was just horrible and undermines any credibility she has.

  6. send good vibes pls :

    Arguing with husband and need to vent anonymously. Been married 15+ years and every couple of years we end up in a funk that boils down to him wanting to garden more often than I do. I am willing to cultivate more often, even when it is not my preferred activity, but the catch is that he really wants me to want it with every fiber of my being every single time, not just sometimes be on board with it simply because it is something he wants to do.

    Also pertinent: female BC methods are not compatible with my medical situation. I am vehemently opposed to ever, ever, ever becoming pregnant again (he is okay with this part). He refuses to wear garden gloves, though, and mopes about pursuing a nice pair of shears.

    • Cornellian :

      I have nothing to add but “nice pair of shears” had me spitting my coffee in my office.

      • Ha, +1. I finnnnally put my foot down about ‘garden shears’ after a difficult pregnancy, hormonal methods and IUDs not working well, and the greater risk of tube ties. Are there other guys you’re close to that have had it done? It helped my DH to hear multiple other guys his age talking about doing it.

        • another anon :

          Dude, I know TONS of men who have had the snip, and done so gladly. The downtime is nothing, they get babied, and get to watch TV, and it makes their wives happy and themselves happy to be ‘worry-free’ about it.

      • Anonymous :


    • If you’re vehemently opposed to becoming pregnant again– have you considered a permanent solution yourself?

      I might also talk to a doctor to figure out if there’s another underlying cause about drive (but if not– perfectly normal to be unmatched in this area). Maybe counseling, too?

      Good luck to you both!

      • send good vibes pls :

        I have, but the cons of major surgery v. a pair of gloves seem rather lopsided, particularly when I am okay with being a hobby gardener and not a master horticulturist.

        • the master horticulturist is just A+. 5 stars. would read again.

        • FWIW my male gyn said absolutely to have my husband get the permanent solution rather than me because the procedure and recovery are so much easier on the male side. Does your husband realize that not having this procedure is potentially affecting your “enthusiasm” and the frequency?

          • +1. It seems like your husband is the one who should be addressing this issue under the circumstances.

        • “master horticulturist” :) I am sorry you’re going through a hard time, but you are drawing many smiles with the metaphors. Sending you a lot of positive vibes

        • Legally Brunette :

          OP, you’re killing it with these apt descriptions. Rock on.

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            Yes, no advice, but I think we can all take tips about how to discuss gardening from you.

        • Wordsmithery, bravo.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m sure this is well intentioned but I’m so over the suggestion that women should undergo major surgery so men don’t have to be bothered with bc. Women already carry most of the burden of bc. Let’s not suggest they should go to even greater extremes. Cismen who want to garden with ciswomen bear equal responsibility for bc. I don’t really understand what OP’s DH is hoping for. My only advice for her is to suggest that he go back to middle school because clearly he missed something the first time around.

    • Baconpancakes :

      So I’m really sorry about your current situation, but you are killing it with this metaphor, and it made me laugh a lot.

      It seems to me that you’re doing the right thing by participating even when you’re not feeling it, so either he’s being unreasonable, or he is falsely equating enthusiastic gardening with the only way to be connected and truly intimate. Do you connect in other ways, have date nights with deep conversations, cuddle, share hobbies? It might not be the way he understands intimacy to work, but it might help.

      And yeah, it sounds like your best course will be for him to get snipped. It IS reversible! It’s an outpatient procedure! There are many, many beauty treatments that are more painful and take longer and have slower recovery times. He needs to get over that or wear the glove every time.

      • Baconpancakes, do you really believe this sentence you wrote? “It seems to me that you’re doing the right thing by participating even when you’re not feeling it.”

        I could not disagree with that more strongly. That is a sentence I can never imagine uttering to my daughters.

        • I agree with Baconpancakes.

          This isn’t the same as “participating” with a random guy even when you’re not feeling it (because you’re afraid to say no, because you feel obligated since he bought you dinner, because you otherwise you’re a tease). I hope every woman knows she always has the right to say no.

          But when you love your partner, sometimes you do things to make them happy, even when you’re not feeling it, even when you have every right to say no. I try to respond when my partner initiates as long as I’m not feeling actively opposed to it, and usually I’ll get more into it as things progress.

          My partner was actually initially concerned about pressuring me and didn’t want me to do anything I didn’t want. I had to persuade him that not always wanting to garden didn’t mean that I loved him or wanted him any less, and that I was glad to participate even when not-fully-physically-feeling-it because I loved him. OP – good luck to you!

        • I’ll bite: sometimes people decide that even if they are not super into gardening at any particular time, they are willing to do it because on balance they believe it strengthens their relationship, which is a goal they value.

          It’s like saying that I don’t love seeing Marvel movies, but it’s really important to my husband that I participate in this, so I’ve decided that it’s worth it to me to watch the movie.

          I suspect this is the sentiment she was trying to convey, not that OP has a generalized obligation to her partner to garden.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          Yeah, that one struck me, too. Enthusiastic consent doesn’t stop at marriage.

          • No, but sometimes part of the commitment you make is connecting intimately and you want to do that. I have s$x with my husband when I’m not OMG so Enthusiastic reasonably often. I still like it, I certainly still consent.

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            I’m not married, so I probably shouldn’t talk… #wellactually

            No, but seriously, that makes sense. Here, though, it seems like he’s actively trying to disrespect her boundaries and put the entire pressure of avoiding pregnancy on her, despite her extremely limited options for BC. That’s not fair to her and she shouldn’t have to consent to it with the huge stakes for her despite being married.

          • Yeah but it’s not always realistic. I love my husband but I don’t always want to garden. I frequently still do it anyway and try to get as enthusiastic as I can for a number of other reasons- mostly that it strengthens the relationship. I don’t talk to him about this because he would definitely say that if I’m not feeling it then I shouldn’t and he can deal, but it’s the decision I’ve made.

            I decide in these circumstances that I want to garden for reasons other than I’m really into it at that moment. It’s still consent.

        • Baconpancakes :

          Doing something you’re not 100% into but you’re willing to do because your spouse would like it? Yes? I think it’s standard marriage advice to be willing to garden more often, even if you’re not totally in the mood, because it does create intimacy, fulfill needs, and because if you have to wait for both people to be 100% in the mood after 15 years, it’s not going to happen.

          Not that someone should do something they’re against, or go along with something they really don’t like, but sometimes you eat pizza with olives once a week because your spouse really loves olives even if given your druthers, you’d rather not have olives. If you HATE olives, and your spouse loves them, that might be a breaking point. If your spouse constantly needles you to eat olives and you don’t want to, that’s bad news. But if you’re willing to eat them but wouldn’t order them yourself, sure.

          My thinking on this has been informed by a lot of writing along these lines by/for asexual people who are in committed relationships with heterosexual partners. If you make an informed, willing decision to engage in an activity to please your partner, it’s your decision.

          • Yeah…but having s*x (with all its attendant risks for women and the thousands of years of history of male violence against women) is not at all comparable to giving in to olives on pizza. We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one.

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            I don’t equate these two situations in the way you do (although I would love to see any recommendations for reading you have re: as*xual people w hetero partners). In your case, sure, 100% not in the mood is fair. But here, to continue your metaphor, eating olives may or may not make the non-olive-spouse go into anaphylactic shock, and their olive-loving spouse is pretty much saying “Wellllll, I refuse to get pizza without olives, or help you take them off, or order a separate pizza….good luck! And ohmygod, you don’t eat my pizza often enough!” That seems very different to me.

          • Baconpancakes :

            Yeah, I agree that in this particular situation, the OP needs to separate the whining about not gardening enthusiastically enough and with proper gardening attire from just the act of gardening itself, and it is not looking great for her husband. He is acting spoiled and jerkish and disrespectful.

            In general though, I do agree with Serafina and a couple of the anons on the times when it’s not about pressuring, but about compromise within a marriage. I’ll post the ace reading I have later tonight- not going to look that up on my work computer!

          • Anon at 11:19, you have a pretty toxic and oversimplified view of the world and of relationships, if you can’t separate “thousands of years of violence against women” from what happens with you and your partner in your relationship. Therapy might help.

        • Longer comment stuck in moderation, but I agree with Baconpancakes on this one. As long as I’m not actively opposed, I view it as an act of love to respond positively when my (loving, amazing, incredibly respectful) partner initiates even when I’m not 100% in the mood.

          • I also agree with BP here. It’s not giving in when you’re in pain or sick or whatever. It’s being accommodating when you’re just meh about it in the moment. I often do this because I know i will end up having fun.

            It’s a lot like going out Friday night. You’re tired, you’d rather sit on the couch and not go anywhere, but once you get there you have a great night.

          • Yeah, but being “meh, I might be in the mood” is a lot different from “I’m not in the mood.” The former means you might want to garden. The latter means you don’t. It’s very clear from these posts that many women feel that it’s “worth it” to “give in” even when they’re in the latter camp.

          • (That said, I think OP’s husband is a total d-bag on the birth control issue and I wouldn’t be willing to get up off the couch for him AT ALL)

          • send good vibes pls :

            Serafina & Baconpancakes – yes, you have the right of it.

            Sloane Sabbith – I agree that enthusiastic consent is always necessary regardless of one’s marital status. No trespassing in another’s garden, even if you have a signed lease on the land. That’s not quite my issue, though; it is more that he wishes I was enthusiastically consenting to feel enthusiastic.

        • No offense, but if this is how you feel, I’d love to know how long your longest relationship has been. If I waited until I really really with every fiber of my being wanted to garden to do it – that might be like once every three months. I’ve been married for 20 years and the “I must have you now” thing has faded except for a few notable instances a year. Gardening once every three months will not work for my husband. But he accepts that for me, mostly it’s about the niceness of the physical contact and togetherness and less about the throw-down. I think mostly he just feels lucky he gets to garden on any kind of regular basis as we know many couples who are basically non-gardening at this point. There’s a big difference between submitting to something you don’t really want to do and doing something that you like and think is nice even though you don’t have 100% raging enthusiasm about it. But again, if you haven’t been in long-term relationships, you might not get it.

          • If that’s directed at me (original responder to baconpancakes), happily married 11 years. Trust me, marriage gets so much better when you recognize and respect your own humanity in the bedroom.

          • nasty woman :

            Do you really think it’s accurate or appropriate to imply that OP or other women who agree to garden even if they’re not really feeling it aren’t “respecting their own humanity in the bedroom?” You are shaming her for making the choice to have s*x. Who hurt you?

            Seems like the only person telling anyone else when to garden is you.

          • I would actually rephrase my original post – I think it’s more that husbands aren’t respecting their partners’ humanity in the bedroom. I apologize for implying that women are to blame for the pressure that husbands put them under.

            That being said, I will never agree that agreeing to do it when you don’t want to (as opposed to when you’re in a “meh, maybe” kind of mood) is empowering for women. Not all choices are feminists just because you identify as one and it’s okay – we can’t all make feminist choices 100% of the time. What we can do is try to improve our social and cultural expectations of wives in the bedroom.

          • Years ago I had dinner with a group of the moms I met through kids’ preschool. Five of them (after a few too many margaritas) starting trading stories about how they avoided gardening with their husbands. One of the other moms and I traded horrified looks.

            Within a few years four of the five were divorced (three because their husbands left them – all three husbands remarried within two years; one because it turns out that she was only avoiding gardening with her OWN spouse – she was apparently happy to garden with someone else’s.) The fifth husband took a job in another country so although they are technically still married they don’t actually live together 90% of the year. His wife is pretty vocal about how she really does not care if he has a garden in his new home.

            I am sure there are times when my husband can think of things he would rather do than rub my feet. There are times I would rather not pull weeds – but we want to stay married and sometimes we do things to make each other happy (and take pleasure in their enjoyment).

          • nasty woman :

            “Not all choices are feminists just because you identify as one and it’s okay – we can’t all make feminist choices 100% of the time. ”

            What a snide, patronizing statement. Knock it off. This is just a different way of shaming women. No one has ever said that women should do it even if they really don’t want to, even if just to support their relationship.

      • LMAO at all the responses about not gardening when you don’t want to. I’m in the middle of TTC h3!! where we need to have timed gardening on a specific schedule when neither of us would want to otherwise do it. We are once a week on the weekend people. Having to suddenly garden Tues-Wed-Thurs when neither of us are really in the mood is the pits. For those of you that say you would NEVER garden if you weren’t feeling it, start mentally preparing if you ever want kids.

    • Maybe have him watch that movie where Jennifer Aniston says “I want you to want to do the dishes”.

      But seriously, it seems unfair to demand that you feel more interested in something than you do, especially if part of your resistance is a fear/concern about getting pregnant. I also don’t get anyone refusing to wear “garden gloves” if necessary. Married 14 years and we wear them occasionally depending on issues I am having with BC and my husband has never complained.

    • Anonymous :

      Honestly what would bother me more is that he refuses to use birth control knowing you don’t want to get pregnant. No wonder you don’t want to get it on.

      • Anonymous :

        Right? Deal breaker. You don’t respect me or my bodily autonomy, then I don’t bang you. Have a fight about how he’s a controlling jerk.

    • Anonymous :

      I can’t with men who won’t get snipped. Especially after their wife carries and delivers their children. You know what’s hard? Watching your body morph into something you don’t even recognize, risking your life to deliver a child, coping with the hormonal fluctuations before and after delivery, struggling with ongoing possibly life-long medical issues arising from delivery, and then resuming responsibility for pregnancy prevention ONCE AGAIN. No, you don’t get to mope about your bruised ego or the ick factor after everything I’ve endured. What a profound lack of empathy or respect for your partner as a human being.

      • +1 The male version of the procedure is so much easier in terms of the procedure itself and recovery than the female version

      • Anonymous :

        (From a regular going anon whose partner is being so annoying about this!)

      • +1

        OP, why exactly is he so resistant?

      • I’ll dissent and say I had the female version of the snip, and it was no big deal at all. Friday, outpatient, husband drove me there and waited for me, I came home and slept, he ensured that the children (who were small at the time) left me alone, and I basically vegged around the house for the weekend and was back at work totally fine on Monday and went skiing a few days later.

        I think it’s a little overkill and drama queen-y to call it “major surgery.”

        • send good vibes pls :

          Did they put you under?

        • I’m glad you had such a good experience. It sounds like it was a best case scenario. But if you compare the worst case scenarios for the two procedures as well as the probability of a bad experience, I hope you will reassess whether women are being “drama queens” about this.

    • Not sure which part he is okay with, but I read it as he’s okay with getting pregnant again. Sounds like you might need to have a discussion on number of kids and get to the root of the problem. (Root! Ha!)

      If I’m reading that wrong, then have you told him outright that possibility of pregnancy is the main factor that is keeping you from enthusiastic participation? If you have and he’s still refusing to glove or shear, you need a discussion as well. You say “pregnant again” so I’m assuming you’ve already had some kind of childbirth or D&C type of procedure, so you’ve already contributed mashed up ladybits to the relationship. It’s time for him to mash up his own bits. If he outright refuses, but is okay with you going through childbirth/ cesarean/ whatnot, he really needs to examine what he’s asking of you regarding the balance of personal pain for a shared goal.

      • Just realized that might sound callous. I was pregnant 4 times, have 2 kids. One labor, two cesareans, and two D&Cs for miscarriages. My DH did not bat an eye when we decided we were done with kids, since my body had done more than enough in terms of BC and then bearing children. One minor outpatient surgery and a couple rounds of bathroom reading material were nothing compared to what I’d gone through for even one of the pregnancies. If he hadn’t realized that, I’m not sure he’d be the partner for me.

        • We’re currently in the middle of this transition (done with kids and he will be getting the procedure shortly) and it honestly makes me so attracted to him that this is not something he is being squeamish about or whatever. I don’t know that I would be okay with someone just ruling it out or expecting me to undergo much more serious surgery as a solution. Obviously different strokes for different folks, but I’m with you on the “not for me” point.

      • send good vibes pls :

        Opposite, actually. He’s fine with the harvest we have. And due to the aforementioned medical situation, we have discussed that topic thoroughly over the years without it ever being a thorny conversation.

        Outside of this one issue, he is a rather woke man and a supportive partner.

        • Anonymous :

          Outside of the fact that he lacks fundament respect for your body and agency he’s great.


          • send good vibes pls :

            You bring up a good point and I have thought through this quite a bit.

            15+ years ago this was not an issue between us since our gardening techniques were compatible with our hopes for harvest. He just seems to have a hard time admitting to himself that the gardening techniques we have always relied on now need to factor in climate change.

          • OP, you might want to read “The Woke Misogynist.” I forgot where it was published, but it made the rounds a while back.

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            Woke Misogynist is at Splinter News- “Meet the Woke Misogynist.” Not linking it to avoid m*d.

            McSweeney’s also has one titled “Hey, It’s Me, A Woke Misogynist Sliding Right On Into Your DMS” and it’s hilarious. It’s not useful, but I did laugh out loud.

          • send good vibes pls :

            Nesting is getting strange, but thanks for the reading recs; I will check those out.

        • Yeah, no. You and he can’t claim he is woke if he literally refuses to do the simple thing to solve the BC problem OR pressures you for sex. Either of those disqualified him

          • Yeah this is a pretty big thing to be the “outside of this one issue”…

          • I do not think a wife who has had kids and has been married for 15 years to a man must always submit to s-x with him, even w/o regard to the birth control issue. At this point she must make clear that she should be far more than a s-xueal vessel into which he is entitled to inject his semenal fluids into. From my perspective, I got VERY tired of my ex always trying to get me to do this stuff everytime he got into bed. I use the bed to sleep, and I am tired from working 15 hours a day. The last thing any of us need is to have some unemployed schlub who has done little more then watching TV and drinking comeing into bed and starting up with us and expecting us to respond like s-x kittens for them! FOOEY on that!

        • Hee. Harvest. :)

          You’re very creative!

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            Loving climate change and that I totally know what you are talking about!

    • Anonymous :

      I’m amazed you’ve gotten such moderate responses here, because that combination of expectations is completely entitled BS! Doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a bad person or your marriage is doomed, although it would be a deal-breaker for me personally. But you should absolutely not have to make all the compromissions on such a profound issue, especially to the point of risking an unwanted pregnancy!

    • Anon phone user :

      His feelings about your feelings sounds like a him problem, not a you problem.

    • I usually try to see things from the man’s perspective (and get attacked for it here), but gross. He seems to want p-rn style gardening: a perpetually enthusiastic partner in a world wherein contraception magically takes care of itself.

      Perhaps you should sit down with him and discuss what each side is contributing to this and what each side is getting out of it.

      Also, the far largest harm to someone’s body that comes from gardening is pregnancy. The most difficult way to prevent pregnancy involves the woman getting sheared. Other methods are not available to you. Make him justify why those risks are acceptable to him so that he doesn’t have to use gardening gloves. That he is unwilling to take a trivial loss of pleasure for you is… sad.

    • Gardening is so much riskier for females and I don’t think men always understand that.

      • I don’t get the male perspective. I honestly cannot imagine prioritizing my own desire for instant gratification over my partner’s desire for sleep, a pain-free night, or just to do other things. I can’t imagine forcing my female partner into something that carries so many more risks for her that I (as a hypothetical male) will never, ever face. Who does that? “But I want to have s*x tonight.” Like, what? Are you a marriage partner or a garden-variety r*pist?

        • Not defending the men involved here, but I have observed that as super broad overgeneralization, the men that I’ve known tend to view sex differently than me and the women I know. I think there’s a lot of other stuff tied up with it, like emotional acceptance and affection and stuff. I can see how a female partner not wanting to do it would feel like something other than “oh well she just needs sleep” or whatever.

          Doesn’t excuse any bad behavior though.

    • I can’t get past the birth control thing. It is RIDICULOUS that he refuses to wear gloves or get snipped. I can understand a man not wanting to have surgery (even though it’s much safer and less invasive than the female surgery) but then he needs to happily wear a glove every time. BC cannot be a woman’s problem exclusively and certainly not in your situation because of your health issue. Are you using no BC then? Of course you’re hesitant to do it, since you don’t want to get pregnant (does he want you to get pregnant? Does he know that gardening without BC often leads to pregnancy??). The fact that he’s unwilling to sacrifice a small portion of his pleasure so you don’t get pregnant is just… beyond crazy. I normally think gardening issues require a lot of compromise and meeting in the middle, but I think he’s just flat out wrong on this. This attitude would be a dealbreaker for me.

    • He’s being unreasonable, IMO. Since this is a discussion that crops up every so often, it might be time to sit in front of a professional (marriage counselor) and hash it out.

    • The #metoo movement applies to married women too, people. Why should OP garden more when she doesn’t want to? Why should she fake enthusiasm or “just go along with it to make him happy?” This culture of expectation of female s*xual availability is even more pervasive for married women than for single women.

      OP, you have two choices that respect your own dignity. The first is to find a way to want to garden more if it’s what you want. Maybe there are games or outfits or scenarios that would be more exciting to you that are worth exploring. The second is to have an honest discussion with your husband explaining that you aren’t going to garden when you aren’t into it and that it is wrong for him to badger or cajole you (this seems obvious, no?). If that doesn’t work for him, then he is free to be upset about it or even to end the marriage (worst case scenario), but there is no scenario in which you should feel pressured to have more gardening time than you want.

      • Forgot to add – the third choice is to put the ball in his court for BC if that’s really the limiting factor here. If he doesn’t get snipped, then he doesn’t get to complain you’re not enthusiastic enough (and even though, he can f off, tbh).

        • Never too many shoes... :

          I fully support giving him the following options, OP – if he wants to garden in a manner that involves putting implements into the earth, either gardening gloves or the shears. Otherwise, the only gardening activities allowed are the peripheral above ground kind…

      • Diana Barry :

        Yeah, so “find a way to want to garden more” – I kind of take the Dan Savage perspective on this where, if frequent gardening is a good way to make DH happy (and it always does, he can be SUPER CRABBY and then presto, after weeding and watering he is happy as a clam again), then I feel like being giving to him in the bedroom is definitely worth it to me, and it gets me into it even if I’m not otherwise.

        BUT ix-nay on the no gloves. I also can’t take hormonal BC and the responsibility is all on DH now – he sometimes mopes about contemplating shears and I give him the death stare, at which point he realizes he’s being silly. ;)

        • Maybe it’s just the way you wrote it here, but your DH sounds like a major manbaby. Crabby until he gets a cookie (that you have to provide) and then he rewards you with a good personality again? If that happened once or twice, sure, whatever – but that’s his pattern? Hell to the no.

          • Anon, are you in a relationship with a man? Because if you’re the same Anon who has been posting extremely strident anti-male views up and down this thread, I think that’s relevant. Just as the single ladies here get tired of married women trying to give them advice, I’m a little sick of hearing single 35-year-old women whose longest relationship was 2 years, 8 years ago weigh in on what it’s like to live day in, day out with another person. I wouldn’t take diet advice from a person who weighed 350 lbs; not sure why the terminally single folks here feel they’re qualified to give their two cents about relationship problems. Fix your own life, then you can talk.

          • Anon @12:20 that’s cruel, rude, inaccurate, and wrong.

          • Yes, I am in a relationship with a man – been married 6 years and together for another 6. I don’t have s*x when I don’t want to and neither does my husband and it’s done wonders for us – now we both know that whenever we’re together (even though it’s less than in his ideal world), we’re both fully into it and enthusiastic. It’s great. Women should know that this is possible and attainable.

          • Another Anon :

            At 12:53, I’m glad this is working for you but be careful with it. It’s a slippery slope. The less you garden the less you want to garden. At some point, you two might realize way too much time has gone by without gardening. If that goes on for too long, it can lead to affairs or divorce for either party. Sometimes I garden when I’m not really into it and while doing it become really into and then remember, oh hey, that’s why I liked this. I really like the analogy of getting off the couch to go out on a Friday night.

          • Full of ideas :

            To “Another Anon” – I can’t garden (traditional sense anyways) due to endo – from your post, I guess I should just expect my husband of 11 years to cheat on me or divorce me? Don’t be so narrow minded!

        • This was me with my ex. He was always AGAINST wearing a “glove” (i get it), and he was extremely sloppy, so it was a miracle I never became pregnant with a little Sheketovits! I supose I was lucky, but that was b/c I never INSISTED absoluteley that he put a glove on, b/c even when he did, it ineviteably came off with all of the huffeing and puffeing goeing on down there. FOOEY!

          Today, I would insist on a no-glove/no activity in any of my feminine areas. I did NOT want that in either of the other 2 places Sheketovits tried to get access into. FOOEY! As an empowered woman, anyone now wanting any of that will HAVE to live by MY rules, meaning that only with an UNEQUIVOCAL “YES” will he be abel to insert. That is MY decision, not his. All of us in the HIVE need to be on the same page here, b/c if we are not, our men are goeing to find other hungrier women willing to let him get away doeing what we don’t want. So let’s stick together on this one, Ladies. It is the onley way to go below the belt! YAY!!!!!

      • “Why should OP garden more when she doesn’t want to?”

        Because if you want to make a marriage work, you have to compromise. The problem with the sexual revolution is that random men get the privileges only afforded to husbands.

        Husbands should rub their wives’ swollen feet even if they don’t want to, should not have s*x with another woman even if they want to, and should wear c*ndoms even if they don’t want to, because marriage.

        • No. Women should never garden when they don’t want to. There are no exceptions. This is feminism 101. The male is free to mast*rbate if he needs gratification on a night when his partner doesn’t want to.

          • nasty woman :

            No, it’s not feminism 101. I don’t WANT to go to work today. I WANT to keep my job and earn a living. So yes, while it’s not my preferred activity right now and I’d rather be in bed eating peppermint bark, it is far to say that I want to go to work.

            People can want to do things for different reasons. Someone may want to garden to maintain her marriage. Feminism allows women to choose to do that.

          • +1 to nasty woman

            I sometimes garden with DH because he’s looking for that intimacy and closeness but I may not be 100% ‘in the mood’. He does other stuff at other times (including certain gardening activities), not because he ‘wants’ to re that specific thing but because he wants to be a loving partner. Every marriage needs to find a balance that makes both partners happy. That balance changes and evolves with time. OP is venting (understandably) because she’s not happy with the current balance.

          • Except by not going to work, you risk your livelihood and ability to provide for yourself and your family. By not giving in to your husband, there are literally no consequences other than his hurt ego. Seriously, it is not a life or death thing to want s*x with your partner.

            I would never, ever want my husband (we have been together 10 years) to do it with me when he doesn’t want to. That would actually turn me off so much that I would have trouble getting into it.

          • nasty woman :

            “By not giving in to your husband, there are literally no consequences other than his hurt ego.”

            False. Harm to your marriage is a potential consequence. Moreover, OP probably cares about her husband and wants him to be happy. Most women who are in loving relationships do not want to hurt their partner’s ego. And it’s not just a question of ego. For most people, s*x/physical intimacy is a very real need and an important part of a relationship. It’s not just about getting off. If you want to see what this looks like in real life, go look at the dead bedroom subreddit. Consistent rejection by your partner can be heartbreaking. Any single instance of rejection is not fatal to a relationship, but when taken as a whole, incompatibility is a huge issue.

            Don’t like my work metaphor? Fine. Pick another- I don’t WANT to go to the gym. I do want to look like I’m 23 again and not buy all new pants, and work off the peppermint bark. So I want to go to the gym.

            I trust OP to decide for herself when she really doesn’t want to and when she’s willing to do it but maybe would rather be eating peppermint bark. (Not a metaphor, just my fave food.)

            *Side note, I think the issues with BC are a major complicating factor which I’m not addressing.

          • This is much more complicated and nuanced than you are making it out to be. There is doing something you REALLY don’t want to do (which I agree is not good) and then there is doing something you don’t especially want to do *in the moment* because you know you will be happy afterwards that you did it. I regularly garden in the latter situation, and my friends all do too. I don’t see it as doing something I don’t want to do to make my husband happy. I see it as doing something I don’t particularly want to do to make my future self happy. I don’t see what’s anti-feminist about that.

            From anecdotal experience, it seems like women (especially married women with kids and jobs who tend to have a lot on our minds at all times) have a much harder time feeling that initial desire than men do. That doesn’t mean that we don’t really enjoy the physical aspect once it gets going or that we don’t feel like it was worthwhile afterwards (for the emotional closeness and other non-physical benefits). I don’t think there’s anything remotely non-consensual about saying, “I’m going to do this thing I don’t really feel like doing right now because I know if I do it I’ll feel great later.”

            Of course, if I have a headache or something and really don’t feel like it that particular day, I am not going to do it just because my husband wants to.

        • I think it’s more, random men FEEL ENTITLED to privileges only afforded to husbands. But then that’s rooted in husbands feeling entitled to those privileges in the first place. No one is entitled to anyone else’s garden and marriage doesn’t change that. That’s the attitude that’s problematic –
          that men feel like you’re withholding something that’s rightfully theirs.

          I don’t disagree, though, that sometimes you do things you’re not enthusiastic about because marriage. I pretty much never feel like going to the gym but I’m always happy once I’m there. But the gym isn’t pestering me to work out. I go because I big-picture-want-to even if I don’t in-the-moment-want-to (if that makes sense).

          • What if a man said that it’s great that his wife wants to, er, flower during gardening, but it takes a while for her to bloom and he’s not into an hour or two of effort? So he says, gardening for a half hour, max, and her other choice is to not garden at all if she doesn’t like the abbreviated version.

            Would we be talking about his bodily autonomy or telling him to compromise?

            Spouses promise sexual exclusivity to each other. I am not saying that anyone should constantly be in the position of one-way compromise, or having to garden when they are deep-down unwilling to, but you all need to understand that feminism does not mean that the world revolve around your whims.

          • +1 it’s the entitlement factor that is bothering me here.

          • Anonymous :

            Anon @ 12:19, I feel like the second paragraph of the comment you’re responding to pretty directly addresses the issue you’re raising.

            Maybe we’re getting wrapped up in the word “want.” The word “choose” might be better. Sometimes I willingly and openly choose to do things that I don’t really feel like doing because adulthood. And that’s cool, that’s my choice. Badgering someone to do those things is not OK. You can ask in a respectful manner. But you have to accept their choice and be guided accordingly. Don’t continue to hound them until they give in like a 2 year old throwing a temper tantrum.

        • Anon phone user :

          Uh, I 100% don’t want my husband to rub my feet if he doesn’t want to.

        • Well, for some (many?) spouses, lack of intimacy is a deal-breaker. So you can be as theoretical as you want to be about what a woman is or is not entitled to do, but she does not also get to say whether her partner gets to divorce her for the same.

          Most of us compromise in many areas of marriage, including this one. I have a pretty strong s3x drive, but my husband’s is stronger. He doesn’t always get what he wants, and neither do I.

          I’m not a damsel in distress who needs to be saved by your woke feminism. I make a choice with my eyes wide open, fully informed, and fully feminist.

          I’ve been married for 20 years.

          • Also, to OP, my husband got snipped 15 years ago. Your childish husband needs to step up.

            S3x with no fear of pregnancy is hot s3x, and he needs to quit being ridiculous.

          • Full of ideas :

            Not directly on point, but I also think it is important to understand what “intimacy” means to each partner. To my spouse it means full gardening, but that doesn’t do it for me – I just want to cuddle. Once we figured this out, we figured out how to meet both our intimacy needs, at least usually!

      • “Want” to garden in a marriage (or other relationship) does not necessarily have to equate to lust. You may not be interested in watering your plants specifically, but do want the yard to look nice, or have a harvest in the fall, or understand some plants just need a quick give your consent and go ahead with gardening as an informed, deliberate choice. (OK, my analogies are not nearly as good as OPs). I’m trying to agree with other posters that a woman can want to garden and therefore give her deliberate and conscious consent and participation to gardening in order to achieve some other objective, like intimacy or closeness or strengthening the relationship. She does not “HAVE” to garden to keep her husband happy because the patriarchy, but may CHOOSE to do so for many reasons, only one of which may be the act of gardening itself. I think it’s totally anti-feminist to say you can only choose sex for one reason but not for another. The point should be the feeling you can have that choice, and acting on your choice, not the reason a woman makes that choice.

    • I read an article a little while ago about how what is normal in terms of desire and arousal in women vs men is different that really resonated with my experience – I often am ambivalent about gardening but if my husband wants to and I agree, I find I become very excited about gardening. I think this is called responsive desire. Maybe reading some of this research would help your husband understand how your POV better? I don’t think this is what I read, but it is along the same lines:

      And FFS, he needs to understand the BC issue is a major stumbling block. What is HE willing to do to remove it?

      • Anonymous :

        Also, read Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski for the factor that get women (and men!) in/out of the mood. Maybe not specifically on point for your issue, but some useful input on how we’ve all been viewing s*x thru a patriarchy lens.

    • On BC, I’ll agree with others, his refusal to consider getting snipped is ridiculous and he can just grow up and quit moping and have the procedure done or quit moping and wear gloves. This is not a thing men are allowed to mope about, as far as I am concerned. Zero sympathy.

      On the frequency front, I get where he’s coming from. I am more interested than my partner. But when he’s just obviously not interested for months at a time it makes me feel like he’s losing interest in me as a person or there’s something wrong with me. At that point it’s not even about the frequency, it’s about whether or not I believe he wants me at all, in any circumstances. It’s not logical. It’s emotional. I’m working on it, and trying to change this emotional response in myself, but it’s work. I have to consciously think about it. I’m not suggesting there’s anything you should do to change what you’re doing; quite the opposite! I think he has to learn to deal with this emotional response. I’m not sure how you convince him to do the work, but I sympathize with his perspective and I hope he comes to a point where he’s willing to do that work.

      • See, but what you’re doing is emotional introspection and trying to find a way to make it work. What husbands do (in far too many cases, at least) is badger and nag and make wives feel guilty about it. I agree it’s hard to be in a relationship where there is a mismatch, but your description doesn’t make it sound like you’re forcing your partner to do it when they don’t want to.

      • +1

    • I wanted to add one thing that has helped me in my marriage. I don’t do it when I don’t want to – ever. However, what I DO do is make sure to remove as many barriers to being in the mood as I can. For example, I know that it’s hard for me to get in the mood when I have a to-do list the length of my arm and the house is filthy. I therefore try to tackle as much as I can on the list and get the house cleaned up (with DH’s help, of course) before the weekend when I know we’ll likely have more time and energy to get into it. I also try to reduce electronics usage in the bedroom and I make an effort to encourage intimacy in other ways (hugs, smiles, etc.) all the time, so that we are never walking around feeling ignored or unloved.

      This approach really works for us and it might be a good path for some of the posters here too. I feel much better knowing that I never do it when I truly don’t want to and that I also put in the effort to have a romantic marriage. Of course it’s not perfect and sometimes I just can’t clear my mind during stressful periods and get into the mood, but that’s ok. I try my best.

  7. Can we talk about the standard deduction?

    I’m doing some spring cleaning and have turned up a bunch of clothes, mostly, to donate to Goodwill. There’s no way I’ll meet the new standard deduction this year, so should I bother getting a receipt or tracking what I donate? TIA!

  8. WWYD -- men's outdoor coats for warmth :

    In our area, someone I know has been collecting coats and gloves for day laborers who often just have hoodies. I’ve raided my husband’s stash of too-small coats and have donated several (so someone is maybe rocking a late-90s teal parka). He remarked that a doctor we know had gone out and bought coats and just donated them, along with gloves.

    I’d like to do this, too. It’s really cold here. I’m thinking of doing it as a birthday gift to myself.

    Would you go out to Walmart and buy as many Carhart (or Dickies or whatever they have) coats? Somewhere like Old Navy? I am having this really odd quality / quantity debate with myself.

    [There is no charity here that may have a purchasing program; this is just the personal mission of someone I know that I want to support. Also, in case it matters, I buy my family’s coats at Lands End. It’s not like donating one Moncler coat vs 50 Old Navy ones.]

    • Anonymous :

      Lots of winter coats are on sale now so I would actually check the clearance racks at any sporting goods store or major department store as you are likely to get a decently warm jacket for not that much. Or sporting goods resale stores in your area may also carry winter outdoor clothing. Layers are also good, especially as phyical labor can make you quite warm. So hats/mitts/scarves, fleece and rain shell would be good. Old Navy often has great deals on fleece.

    • I’d probably check out Sears/JCP for the sale options and then WalMart as well. I wouldn’t go to a low quality, as you say, but something hardy that is inexpensive is probably what they really need.

      Agreed on layers. For gloves, Sears often has sales on good, warm work gloves. (I have some that have fleece inside but are truly good work gloves.)

    • Speaking as the wife of someone in construction…Carhart jackets are really warm. Like warmer than DHs Patagonia coat on the coldest of days. I would definitely get these if you know you are donating to day laborers. Just make sure you don’t get a “welders jacket” which runs short. Something that could also be useful to them are Carhart bibs.

    • I come from a family of factory/construction working men– is that what you mean by laborers? If so, then I’d say quality is DEFINITELY more important than quantity. Even day laborers can put together the $35 it takes to get a mediocre Walmart coat on sale. Most guys working out in the cold will save up and buy a very warm coat to work in even if it is a stretch financially. For those who can’t stretch it, a high quality super-warm coat (or coveralls!!) would be a God-send.

      Also, long underwear/Under Armor is always something appreciated by my step-father who works at a factory the cold. In fact, some of the guys you see in “just a hoodie” might prefer to have lots of layers rather than a bulky coat because big coats can get in the way of what they’re working on. That’s why my step-father prefers Carhartt coveralls and under armor.

    • Long response in mod. Stay tuned.

      In short, quality >> quantity.

    • My own anecdotal evidence suggests that Dickies or Carhart will be warmer than anything at Old Navy. I would also contact Sears or Walmart and let them know what you are doing this for and see if they will give you a discount, especially if you are purchasing multiples.

    • Assuming there is an actual need for the warm coats, go with quality over quantity.

      DH and several other family members have worked in the trades through the years, in the upper midwest were we get real winter, and frankly most of them worked up such a sweat that they preferred working in a sweatshirt or flannel. They had warm coats but usually left them in the truck because they were too hot.

    • Blue collar :

      I would not get this kind of thing at Old Navy; it just won’t be heavy-duty enough. Warm enough, maybe, but the fabric is not going to hold up. Go for Carhartt or gear from Cabela’s. Their store-brand stuff is reasonably priced an durable as heck.

    • You might also try your local farm supply/tractor supply store. Carhartt jackets (and their knock-offs) are a good bet.

    • Full of ideas :

      You can save a lot buying factory seconds of name brand products. Try Sierra Trading post. The imperfections are often with the labeling, so no one is likely to know it’s a factory second and you still get high quality good

  9. the master horticulturist is just A+. 5 stars. would read again.

  10. I’m seeing a new therapist, and while I’ve seen a few over the years, never have I encountered one whose new patient forms – excluding HIPAA declarations – are 14 pages long. If she weren’t highly recommended, I’d skip her altogether.

    I have to fill out a form proving I called my insurance company and verified coverage for the sessions – including writing down the name and ID number of the agent I speak with. The form provides a script and requires me to fill in the blanks to 10 different questions. The header says this is in addition to the coverage verification they’ll do in the office.

    The biographical data sheet asks whether I’m a U.S. citizen (how that’s any of her business, I have no idea); asks where I went to high school (ditto); whether I own or rent (tritto); asks for my last three employers, job title, dates of employment, and reasons for leaving (therapy, not applying for a job); whether I have food allergies (tf?); and about all serious medical issues in my life.

    Yeah, sorry, you don’t get to know all that about me. I can see, of course, that any of these might have an impact on mental health, but I’ll let you know if they do, k? You don’t get to know everything about me just because I want to talk about practical solutions for handling performance anxiety at work. We’ll do an intro session like all the other therapists in the world, where I tell you about my life and my issues – and my immigration status and small, out-of-state high school that you’ve never heard of don’t come up.

    • Anon phone user :

      Yeah, that would be a deal-breaker for me. Especially because people dealing with mental health issues could easily be really overwhelmed by having to do that. Why create extra barriers to care for people?

    • Yeah I’m shocked at the information medical providers try to collect. I had one take scans of a government issued id without asking or mentioning it. Still fighting to have them removed.

      • That’s required now to prevent insurance fraud. I can’t remember which law and if it is state specific for me or federal.

    • Maybe it’s b/c I’m a lawyer, but I feel free to mark up forms or just cross chunks out and write N/A on them. Or ignore. Ignoring works 99% of the time.

      This seems to be an instance where you disadvantage yourself by asking permission.

      And frankly, I’m surprised that people want that much data that they need to safeguard. Like I would never, ever hand over birthdate and social security # b/c that is the holy grail of good info to fall into the wrong hands. I think they just truly need to know that it’s you and that you have insurance (or will pay) and anything pertinent to your treatment. I consider my billable rate when looking at any forms to fill out in my “free” time.

      • SFAttorney :

        I’m a lawyer and tend to take the same approach with forms. When my daughter first saw a pediatrician (21 years ago), I did not supply her social security number even though it was on the form. I think I have/she has successfully kept it off any form where it isn’t necessary. Maybe others do the same now but I know my SSN is out there because we didn’t used to be so aware of fraud and it didn’t used to be so easy to commit fraud with SSNs and other account numbers.

        • I’ve had numerous medical offices actually need my social. I agree that I wouldn’t want all of that information to safeguard, but I do think a lot of it is just reusing and adding to old forms rather than removing irrelevant and unnecessary parts.

        • I can get away with not giving my kid’s doctors her SSN (my usual excuse is that I don’t have it memorized because I don’t), but as the financially responsible party I always have to give them mine.

      • +1 to this. I’m sure I’m being cussed at in the back, but I do not care.

        Also, I have recently found that a lot of doctors want to take your picture. My dentist does this. I don’t like having my picture taken, and certainly not at 7:00 AM when I haven’t had any coffee yet and the last place I want to be is in the dentist’s office. For a while, they kept asking. I kept saying, “No, I’ll just tell you my name when I get here. Also, why don’t you put a note in my file that I won’t be having my picture changed, so we don’t need to have this conversation every 6 months?”

        • Anonymous :

          I was told the picture was to identify you if you are unconscious. My oncologist does this. Seems like a stretch for a dentist to need it.

          • It’s fraud prevention. They want to confirm that you are you and not someone else trying to use your insurance policy.

      • I’m in hospital finance. Your healthcare providers need your date of birth for positive patient identification. It’s non-negotiable. But they don’t need your SSN. Just ignore that field on the paperwork.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      He11 no. That’s too much information. They don’t need to know as much information as if I’m applying for the bar again.

      The script thing would be an immediate dealbreaker for me, no matter how highly recommended she was. If she doesn’t’ respect my autonomy enough to talk. to. another. adult (?!?!) then I don’t think she and I will mesh well, especially if I’m already anxious about my work/social performance/skills. She’s not a life skills counselor to teach people how to have phone conversations. I find it incredibly condescending to the point I would immediately write her off.

      Also, asking if you’re a US citizen makes me VERY worried in our current climate. Citizenship status, especially if undocumented, can absolutely be a reason to access mental health services, and there should NEVER be a concern about whether your therapist intends to use that information for negative purposes. Asking for that information without a good-cause reason makes me uncomfortable, even as a US citizen. It may not bother me, but I have privilege to not have to worry about it. Others don’t and I’d make a fuss about it for them.

      • I think the script is actually fine, because I’ve had doctors provide that for speaking with insurance in the past. Their reasons were twofold: 1) for me to know I’m asking for the right information (since a small change can mean a different billing code) and 2) to try to ease people’s anxiety if they are anxious about calling the insurance company. Especially a therapist, I could see this being important. Of course, if there is something saying you MUST use this script, that’s strange. I think the ten questions is also strange.

        I agree with the USC comment. Similarly to the anonymous lawyer above, I often leave parts of forms blank. If they really need it, they let me know. They usually do not.

    • Is this a therapist that has their own private practice, and does their own financials/billing?

      I can see why a good health care practitioner would want all the details about your health history. That does include allergies. You may not be aware, but there are some medical conditions that can affect behavior/mood (including anxiety) that also overlap with food allergies…. celiac’s disease is an important one.

      And yes, some of my father’s doctors have long paperwork with detailed questions that go on for pages. But not usually so much on the social history (where did you grow up, work etc..). But I can see why a therapist might want more of that info for social history reasons……. and for billing purposes. Many people do not pay their medical bills. And where you grew up, worked etc… can be extremely relevant to your social history.

      Could this info have been gathered a different way…. organically…. while talking with you? Yes, I guess….. But it does save a little time so the provider can get a snap shot of you. And since many therapists/psychiatrists do not accept insurance or are hard to schedule with if they do, every bit of time/$$ saved is appreciated.

      However, I will not go down the road at this time about all of the psychiatrists and therapists who start their own private practices (many not even accepting insurance…) to try to make as much $$ as possible, and how hard it is to find a decent psychiatrist/therapist in my city. It is shameful.

      I can totally understand why questionnaires like this would trigger your anxiety though, and you should tell the therapist this if you decide to see them. I would not let this dissuade me from seeing this therapist, if they come highly recommended. Actually, I appreciate when doctors ask for more information these days.

      Asking for government issued ID is standard at all of our hospitals/clinics now. There have been many instances of health care fraud, with people using false ideas and getting care under another person’s health plan. It is what it is.

  11. Anyone have experience with BCG Attorney Search for a legal recruiter (attorney)? I’ve got a few recruiters sending me things and wanting to put me up for jobs, which I’m doing as well as searching on my own. BCG just contacted me as well so I’m wondering what others think of them. I’ve seen a mix of comments but don’t know which to believe.


    • Have had some contact with them in the past and they are VERY big law oriented, to the exclusion and disdain of other types of opportunities. So unless you want to be pushed towards the most intense type of big law (ie where they get the biggest payout) would not recommend. The company has had some issues in the past, especially wrt their blog post, demeaning and calling in house or government career paths as lesser than, which has cut them from consideration of some in house positions.

      • Thank you! I’m considering all my options and may end up in BigLaw but don’t want to exclude options elsewhere. I noticed that demeaning attitude with a lot of their materials, which left a bad taste in my mouth. I didn’t know all that, so thank you very much for sharing! (Also, I’m glad that companies reacted to those blog posts by refusing to use them.)

        • I had read some of that stuff, too, and am pretty discouraged from wanting to interact with them. Glad those posts ultimately hurt their bottom line.

          • Same. They have a posting that I’m really interested in, so I might talk to them for that reason… but we’ll see. Ultimately, though, I’d prefer to use someone else, since there are a lot of recruiters who seem much kinder and less “we’re the best, you’re lucky we even talk to you.”

    • Hard pass. When I was last looking, I saw an opportunity and responded that I was interested in learning more. This led to a call with some head honcho… who was not even in my state. I was a little bit put off by that as it seemed a local headhunter would be better tapped into the market but took the call anyway. And then he never showed up for the call. Never sent an apology either. I contacted his assistant as I was waiting the whole time to be like what gives, she expressed confusion and then never set up another call or sent an apology. I have never been so shocked at an ego of someone I never even spoke to. And I already was predisposed to think they were not tapped into the market. Like you, I had several recruiters calling me. I followed up with the ones who were local and seemed to have been doing their jobs for more than 6 months and got several offers at a variety of opportunities. I am in-house now and we use local recruiters and/or public job board s!tes.

      • Thanks, nutella! That’s ridiculous, all around. That’s what seems to be happening here – I was asked to set up a call with the founder/head guy in another area but then also by someone local. I’m glad to hear you got multiple offers using recruiters other than them! Some of the others I’ve spoken to also seem to really know the firms and overall market, which I can’t understand how someone across the country would know.

  12. Has anyone tried Dr. Barbara Sturm’s sun drops sunscreen? I think I saw a celebrity endorsement in a magazine and wondered if it’s worth the hype — one of those silly “what I use every day” type interviews. Do you think there’s something similar that isn’t so ungodly expensive?

    • Woooooowee is that insanely expensive. May I introduce you to asian sunblocks that are cheap and feel like a light cream on your skin? Also – to get sun protection you generally need to use 1/4 tsp on your face alone, so I tend to lean towards $15 or under given I go through about a tube a month.
      Sun gel is better for oily skin, sun cream is better for dry
      The holy grail for many, but I found the new formulation a little oily:
      Slightly less oily than the Biore but I prefer the A’pieu – this is a great choice though

      • +1, I’ve used Biore Aqua Watery Essence everyday since I was 23. I recommend it to everyone!

    • I think it’s stupid. You need to use enough sunscreen, mixing it yourself with other products you probably won’t be. Just buy the $12 CeraVe

  13. networking help :

    I’m attending a networking event tonight. One of the organisers is the head of my dream department at my dream law firm. They currently have a position open, and although I have one year less than the desired experience, I have all the required skills and some points in common with the organiser (alum of my law school, similar background). Any advice on catching him alone and bringing up my tremendous interest in joining his department without sounding like a creeper? I am terrible at networking but I need to learn!

    • I’m curious what others say, but I would try to play it cool so you increase your chances of generating a more genuine rapport. Definitely introduce yourself and chat with him, and plan on working into conversation that you’re in the same practice area. Try to ask a few good questions about him, his practice, etc. Then graciously say, it was so great to meet you, and leave without asking about the job. Follow up by email tomorrow or Monday: “I enjoyed speaking with you at the XYZ event on Thursday. I particularly enjoyed hearing about your experiences with [such and such]. I see that your department is hiring an associate. I have submitted an application through the firm’s website, and would appreciate your consideration. Have a great weekend!”

  14. Executor of Estate :

    For those of you who are/have been the executor or next of kin: Did you read the documents before there was a need? I am the executor of my mother’s estate. I have a copy of her documents, which I know to include her will and a DNR. I am the “local” one of my siblings and an attorney. I was present for the signing of the documents, which my mother absolutely did not want to discuss. Is there any good to be achieved by knowing what the documents say now? I am getting pressure from a sibling to discuss with her and also have a conversation with our mother (which my mother will absolutely refuse to engage).

    • That seems like a violation of your mother’s wishes. Don’t do it. You don’t have any legitimate need to.

    • alsoexecutor :

      Could you ask your mother if you could discuss them with her lawyer? I’m the executor for my uncle (who will probably not die for decades). I read them and found it useful, mostly because my kids and I are major beneficiaries. These documents have changed how we plan for retirement/ college to a small degree, and at least I feel more comfortable knowing what’s coming down the road (though hopefully not for a long time).

      • alsoexecutor :

        Also, for any medical orders it might be good to get comfortable with her wishes before your faced with executing them.

      • I mean, maybe. People can and do change their wills all the time. Her mother has made it clear she does not want to discuss it. That should be the end.

      • Making changes to your retirement or college savings plans because you’re the beneficiary of someone’s estate seems super risky. What if they spend all their money before death? Or change their mind and decide to leave the bulk of the estate to charity or a different person (this is definitely not unheard of)? What if they don’t kick the bucket before your kids are in college or you want to retire? There are just SO many contingencies, I wouldn’t count on this money.

        I also don’t think anyone – even the beneficiary or executor – is entitled to know the details of someone else’s will. If your uncle was comfortable sharing it with you, that’s great, but OP’s mom isn’t and she and her siblings should respect their mom’s wishes.

        • +1

          Agree with this completely.

          NEVER plan for retirement based on assumed inheritance. In my family we have seen 2nd marriages where all went to new wife. And my elderly parent will need life long 24 hour care that will likely deplete what was a very generous savings (millions) – it’s already been 10 years since severely disabled.

          You never know.

        • alsoexecutor :

          In retirement/ college planning we’re subject to risk from a lot of places, most especially the performance of the stock market. I see a potential inheritance in the same light.

          My suggestion to talk to the lawyer is based on the assumption that the OP’s Mom doesn’t want to discuss her own future death. She might be ok with it if the discussion happens without her. Obviously, the OP will have a better read on it.

          • There are plenty of ways to mitigate the stock market risk. It’s very common to switch college/retirement investments over to mostly bonds once you are less than 5 years away from needing the funds. Many retirement plans even do it automatically – riskier, more aggressive investments when you are in your 20s and 30s and then very safe investments in your 50s and 60s. Even in a major crash like 2008, the market recovered within 5 years, so even if you leave it all in stocks, you’re not running a risk of losing your money *forever*, it’s just a risk of being able to access it in the near term. Stock market risk is not remotely comparable to the risk of counting on an inheritance. Even if you have 100% confidence this money will never be redirected to another beneficiary, the person could end up needing millions for their own end-of-life care. Most people who have never had a relative with Alzheimer’s have no idea fast that disease burns money, and people can live with it for 10+ years.

        • +1

    • I asked the manageing partner, who is an executor of alot of people’s estate’s and he says that the executor has a FIDUCIARY duty to know what he is doing. This requirement applies for both MALE and FEMALE Executrixes. You should be given copies of all of these documents NOW so that you can get smart when it come’s time to use them. When Dad had to become the executor of his dad’s estate (my grandfather Hy, who I never knew), he knew everything, so when it came time to distribute the estate, he gave it all out within a week or so. Grandma Leyeh got the most, and dad a little, but his brother, Sy, got nothing b/c he was cut out of the will b/c he had s-x with women other then his then-wife (he is divorced now) who Grandma Leyeh did NOT approve of, and this was all spelled out in the will. Sy was furius, but could NOT do a thing b/c there is no law that requires a father to give money to one of his son, as long as he makes clear why he is getting cut out. We never deal with Sy any more, particularly b/c he contiued to be mad at dad for following Grandpa Hy’s intentions.

      On another topic (above), I wonder why people are bashing the woman who had oral s-x with Aziz. Men are very pushy. I read today that James Franco removed the Vag*in a guards from women in the movie b/f he simulated s-x with them. If he removed them then he could have penetrated, no? Do men have similar guard’s and did he take his own off before the simulated activities? I hope there was no exchanges of bodily fluids here, either. FOOEY!

    • My parents have told me a little about what is in their will and DNR wishes, but I don’t know specifics. They keep a copy of the documents in their house, but I have not read them.

    • I’m the executor of my father’s estate. We read the documents together and discussed what he thought they meant. We also had his long time girlfriend present (she’s in his will as are her kids from her prior marriage). They won’t ever get married for lots of reasons I don’t really understand, but I think she’s wonderful so no issues there. Nonetheless, it was a very difficult and awkward process. I got really upset several times and I’m not someone who ordinarily shows a lot of emotion (my dad is my only living immediate family). That said, I’m very glad we did it. We are both crystal clear on his wishes, I know that his girlfriend knows exactly what will happen when he passes. (It’s complicated because she retired early and sold her house to live with him and his will accounts for that)

      Even if you can’t read the papers with your mom, I would read them now, when you have time and are not facing the recent death of a parent, to make sure you understand them / your mother’s wishes. If they aren’t clear you might be able to find a time to address it with your mom, if not at least you’ll know going in that there may be some issues to sort out. One way to address it with your mom would be just to tell her your understanding of the documents and ask her if that is her understanding too. All she has to say is yes or no. If she says no that makes it more complicated but I would approach it one step at a time.

    • I personally think knowing the details of her living will and any do not resuscitate order are much important – these things pertain to decisions that will need to be made quickly. Being the executor of someone’s estate really doesn’t require knowing anything in advance. It sounds like your sibling is just curious about how the estate will be distributed and if your mother doesn’t want to discuss that with you, that’s her right.

      • +1

        I am the POA for my father. It is very important to have a good understanding of his medical preferences for end of life — ideally knowing much more detail than what a basic ?DNR/POA form would give.

        And it is not necessary to push to know what is in the will. Give your mother that if she has made her preference known.

    • I work in Trusts & Estates. I always recommend to my clients that they go over the documents with their fiduciaries (in this case, you). If she didn’t want to discuss the documents with you even with the attorney at the signing, then she probably won’t want to now, either. I would still ask your mother if there are any she wants for you to look at (for instance, you mention a DNR – that’s one you should see, know her exact wishes on, and have easily accessible). I would also mention to her that you have not read any of the documents, as your understanding is that she does not want you to know about their contents until after she passes, but that if she wants you to review them or discuss her wishes so you carry them out properly, you are happy to have the conversation.

      The reason that I encourage the clients to speak with and review the documents with their fiduciaries is that underneath all of the legalese is their wishes. Most of those wishes are in the documents, but frequently clients will say ‘oh, for this, she’ll just do x’ – but if they never tell you that, you don’t know to do it. We try to write as much as we can in the documents, but there are some things that just can’t be put in there. This is also true for incapacity documents – most of the health documents are fairly restricted in what you can include so you need to know what she wants when making decisions.

      Bottom line: the most well executed plans are those that are communicated with the fiduciaries ahead of the client’s demise.

      Regarding your sister, though, I absolutely would not discuss with her until either your mother gives you permission to do so or passes.

    • I’m the executor for my mom’s estate and she doesn’t want to discuss it with me. I wanted to go over everything with her and her lawyer to make sure I understand what she wants and what will be expected of me. I feel much more capable of processing those things now than I expect I will feel right after losing her. But she won’t so there’s not a lot I can do, other than revisit the conversation every few years.

      She also doesn’t want to tell my older brother that he is no longer the executor. I have begged and pleaded and appealed to her better nature – you know you’re creating a difficult situation for your children during an already difficult time? – but she won’t relent. At some point you have to decide whether you will agree to serve under these conditions or if you have to pass.

    • PalCareMD :

      Palliative care doctor here…
      Please please please have a discussion about your mother’s medical wishes. What you’ve described in your post does not adequately address advance care planning needs, and I have seen families in absolute anguish for lack of adequate ACP. It is exceptionally rare that a “DNR” is applicable when someone is seriously ill — most of the living wills that we see in the ICU are pretty much useless. There are multiple online guides to help people through this process in a constructive way. Check out The Conversation Project or Or if she won’t discuss with you and your siblings, see if she would complete a Five Wishes document on her own (available through Aging With Dignity) and/or discuss it with her primary care provider. Happy to discuss more if I can provide additional guidance.

      • Thanks for this post. Those websites you mention have excellent “starter kits” for talking about these challenging areas. They are excellent, and I saved both website’s starter kits. Five wishes is also a bit simplier for those who are overwhelmed.

        Thanks for this great advice.

        FYI – I have had more family members recently become interested in making sure that when they pass they can become a donor if possible – either of organs or even whole body (or whole brain in those with dementia). For my very techie/scientist type family members, it has given them a lot of peace to know that even after death they will be contributing to another person’s good health, or further medical training/scientific research. It’s what I will be doing myself.

    • Anonymous :

      I would advise having a conversation if you can, including understanding whether there is a clear record of where assets are held,etc. You don’t need to know the quantum, but should know the location.

      I was the executor for my cousin who passed away from brain cancer. I didn’t feel it was right to ask her about these things when she asked me to be the executor after she was diagnosed. Then she could not speak, started losing her memory, etc. and there was no way to have that conversation. I was the Sherlock Holmes of bank statements and bills trying to figure out that I had all of her assets and obligations sorted out so I could distribute the net to her children.

      It was a good reminder to me that I should have that all written down for myself as well (as I’m single).

  15. Reposting in the hopes of a few more responses.

    Can someone be my personal shopper and help me choose cute and comfortable shoes for work? Business casual, gov’t agency. I hate shoe shopping. I have probably 25 work dresses and a total of 3 shoes I wear to work. Black leather pumps, nude patent leather pumps, and a leopard print pump. It would be nice to have 3 or 4 more pairs of shoes to wear, and I tend to like heels but if someone can point me to a professional looking bootie, I could get on board with that. I would say that I wear dresses/skirts 90% of the time.

    My criteria: must have leather lining (otherwise my feet get smelly), comfortable, no higher than 3 inches. Open to various colors and styles. I have no foot issues. Preferably no more than $200 but I could pay more if I really loved them. No flats. Kitten heels are fine but my preference is 2.5-3 inches.

    Anyone recently buy some work pumps that you love?

    • Anon phone user :

      Check out the Cole Haan Tali wedges

      • How is the Tali now that CH is no longer affiliated w/ Nike? (I broke out a new pair of Air Talis today, and they really are my HG shoe.)

    • I tend to buy all my work shoes from Boden, Ann Taylor, MGemi or LK Bennet (all on sale). Looks like Boden’s having a massive sale now, so I’d check there first.

      • Boden is a great idea, especially since I have a $100 store credit sitting there! Unfortunately it looks like the shoes are all final sale and I don’t want to take that risk but it’s good to keep Boden in mind for the future. I personally find LK Bennett very uncomfortable but will check out the other ideas. Thanks!

    • A lot of people are loving the everlane heels and they fit all your criteria, I think.

    • Cole haan has some great heels in black leather.

      I love Manolo BBs at 90 mm, but to get them under $200 you need lucky sizes on a lucky sale.

      • Clarks has some simple classic heels that are the most comfortable I’ve ever worn. Some of their styles can be frumpy, but not all. Worth a look.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 to Cole Haan. I think the comfort is marginally less with the new pairs than it was when they had the Nike collaboration, but even the newer pairs are the most comfortable shoes I’ve owned (second to the old CH Nike air ones I’m hanging on to from a few years ago)! They have lots of sales if you sign up for their email list, which would bring the prices into your range.

    • I find Aquatalia shoes to be very comfortable. These are on sale and seem to meet your criteria.

    • Constant Reader :

      There are quite a few Cole Haan pumps on sale at Saks Off Fifth:

      Second the recommendation for Aquatalia, adding Corso Como, Paul Green (my absolute favorites).

    • Blondo bootie :

      Posting late, but I recently purchased the blondo Liam bootie from nordstrom in black suede, and it has a one inch heel. It works with dresses and tights for me, and is comfy for my problem feet. It is the only bootie I own, as I prefer taller la candienne boots, which keep my cold, poor circulation feet warm. I like the variety the bootie adds to my dress and skirt rotation, but I will not likely buy more booties due to the warmth issue. I wear them on warmer days– I’m in mild vancouver, and still have cold feet!

  16. Overachieving chick NOT :

    It is not even the end of January. I have 75 (!!!) pounds to lose on my short 5 foot body and all my resolutions have already gone to the dogs! UGhhhhhh…. so frustrating, please HELP!

    • I’ve had good luck with the LoseIt app. I only use it 5 days a week to give myself a break. It helps me to focus on making good choices and not overeating one day at a time.

    • I like the Lean Habits book. The author is a big proponent of making small changes into habits and then slowly tweaking those habits to get the results you need. It’s not quick, but it is a more positve, common sense approach geared towards long term goals.
      I also read somewhere that maybe we should start anew in February. Take January to recover from end of the year craziness, really consider our goals and mentally/physically prepare for what comes next. So maybe give yourself the permission and forgiveness to begin again.

    • Aquae Sulis :

      I lost a lot of weight last year, but I waited until February to start. I wouldn’t have been able to get my head in the game in January! It was too cold and miserable, and I was still adjusting from the excesses of Christmas.

    • What’s the precise issue you’re struggling with?

      If you’re trying to lose weight then the main thing is portion size. I hate talking about food as “good” or “bad”. You can eat nothing but pizza and lose weight, but you’re gonna be hungry. Get a food scale, track calories, don’t beat yourself up for losing track of how many nachos you ate at happy hour, just note the issue for the future – like ok I can’t control myself around nachos now I know to make sure I’m not sitting next to the plate.

      Also anyone who tells you that you can lose weight without being hungry is lying. If you’re used to portion sizes that are too big – and you’re used to equating “stuffed” with “not hungry” and conversely “not stuffed” with “hungry” – then you’re going to feel “hungry” for a week or two while your body resets. Being prepared for that was a big help for me.

      • Well you can lose weight without being hungry if you eat a crap ton of vegetables (without dipping sauce). Eat raw celery until your heart is content. But yea, if you’re eating calorie-dense food, you can’t eat very much of it (especially at 5 feet tall– sorry!)

      • I’m really glad you posted that. I have been thinking about this concept just this week, where I noted I felt like snacking but really wasn’t “hungry” was just “not full.” I think that’s the big thing post-nursing that I have had to adjust.

    • Baconpancakes :

      January 1 isn’t a magical date. Every day you wake up, you get to/have to commit anew to whatever goals you’ve set for yourself. Learn from your slip ups. Are you putting unreasonable demands on your willpower? Maybe it’s better if you give up one thing for January, and limit the rest, and then give up a different thing for February. So for January you stop drinking, but you don’t beat yourself up if you have a cookie. Then for February you don’t eat sugar, and you limit drinking to 2 drinks a week (or whatever number/thing works for you).

      You can do this. It can help if you remind yourself every morning that you have a goal, and you’re capable of accomplishing it. And drink a ton of water!

    • Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I think it’s very tempting to tackle a large project all at once. People love that here for some reason. Whole30! Cutting all carbs! Whatever else is trendy at the moment! For most people, that’s just not tenable.

      So why not commit to one change and make it a habit? I suggest simply committing to tracking all your food for a month. Don’t try to change what you eat, just start paying attention. Set up some kind of reward for yourself or some kind of accountability that will help you make that habit stick. In my experience, observing what I eat gives me insights about 1) why I’m eating, 2) how what I’m eating makes me feel, and 3) some easy ways to save calories. Then, think about some painless changes you can make to your diet and work on making those a habit. I realized last year I was drinking way too much wine and switched to hot tea. I managed to cut 2000 or so calories a week without being hungry or cranky or feeling particularly deprived. Once you build a good base of success, it’s a lot easier to make other, bigger changes.

    • Congratulations, you’re starting your resolutions in February! This was a practice round. Come the first of February, you’re off to the races.

    • Whoa, friend. You’re doing a hard thing, and it is going to take time and kindness to yourself. You succeed one day, one hour, one bite, and one stair-climb at a time. Do I really want/need to eat X right now? Can I take a quick stretch or stroll break right now? It’s ok if the answer to #1 is sometimes YES, and the answer to #2 is sometimes NO. Remember that it’s a process, and take heart that many tiny good decisions can add up to big progress toward your goal.

    • As a professional diet quitter, you can do this. You have to commit to one thing: not quitting. Promise yourself you will log all your intake, no matter what it is, for the year. Good or bad. Then start setting small goals: a 200 calorie deficit. Et certera.

      I have lost almost 40 pounds after years of floundering. Calories in calories out works.

      I also recommend the reddit loseit group for additional motivation. IF you do the work it will happen— there is no magic. That knowledge really helped me fwiw. I had 75 to lose too, btw.

    • I’m right there with you. 60# to lose.

      • I like iTrackBites, it’s an app that’s basically a free knockoff version of WW. It allows me to eat whatever I want that fits into my points, and there are “splurge” points built in, so if I know I’m going out to eat or whatever, I can budget those. I’m not the most successful dieter ever, but I try to take it 5lbs at a time rather that focusing on the overall large number. It has never failed to help me get back on track and figure out my portion sizes, without going overboard or feeling like my favorite foods are off limits.

    • anon a mouse :

      Every day is a new day. Forget about what has happened so far this year. January 1 is an arbitrary date! Commit each morning that you can make it through this day on whatever regimen you want to do. One day at a time.

      When I had a lot of weight to lose, I could not look at the entire number because I would get overwhelmed. (It’s easy to say, I had a rough day today, I’ll never lose XX pounds, and consider quitting.)

      I broke it down into 10-pound increments. Okay, I will lose 10 pounds, then I will reset and evaluate what worked and what didn’t. Then move on to the next 10 pounds. For me it took more than a year to lose 50 pounds but I never felt like I was hard on myself because the goalposts were never more than 10 pounds away.

      You got this! You can do it!

      • I’m doing this too and it’s worked so far (over halfway there)! I also set non-food rewards for myself at each 10 pound mark before I started. How much you want to spend may vary, but make each reward a little more exciting than the last to help you stay motivated. And commit to not buy that thing until you hit the goal (even though sometimes it’s tempting)!

    • Look into the No S Diet. It’s not really a diet, and it’s slow going, but it involves zero tracking. The idea is changing your habits so eating healthier becomes a part of life rather than a specific diet you quit or fail at.

      I’ve been better and worse at it, but I’ve lost 20# (on my 5 foot frame) and have another 30# to go. I don’t feel deprived and I like that I’m not going to have some adjustment period later.

      Spoiler: the “diet” is: No snacks, no sweets, and no seconds. Except on days that start with S. You eat three times a day, only one plate, and avoid stuff heavy in added sugar. You get to “cheat” on weekends or special days like holidays, although 5 months into it, I didn’t feel as tempted to cheat as I might have before. A single cookie is good enough as a treat, rather than a second helping of cake plus a snack later on.

    • You got this.

      January 1 is completely arbitrary (as is February 1, or Monday, or midnight). You can start fresh right this second.

      Willpower is a crappy thing to rely on – it doesn’t work, it makes us sick, it sets us up for defeat and self-flagellation. Try setting up habits or rules instead so that the decisions have already been made for you. If you have to make yourself decide ten times a day if you are going to take the stairs this time it’s going to be a lot more exhausting than to just become the person who always takes the stairs). Be proud of what you’ve done.
      Be grateful for what you can do.

      Listen to your body. Don’t starve it, don’t punish it for slip-ups (either through deprivation or by binging), and remember that your worth is not the number on the scale.

    • Senior Attorney :

      This is not a popular option around here, but I had gastric sleeve surgery almost 8 years ago and never looked back. You would probably have to pay for it yourself, but “smaller” patients like you and me have great outcomes. I finally feel normal after all those years of dieting. Just another option. It’s not a panacea but it gives you a fighting chance.

      • I’m almost 3 years out from gastric sleeve surgery. It was the only thing I’ve ever tried that has been remotely successful in helping me lose weight. My only regret (well, other than having let myself get so heavy in the first place!) is that I didn’t do it sooner.

  17. First day back at work since getting sick since Sunday. I have my tissues, cold medicine, cough drops, and tea but my head is foggy and I’m having a hard time focusing. Any words of wisdom?

    • Are there some easy, quick tasks you can start on to get a few things crossed off the list, things that don’t require that much concentration? If you only have big tasks, can you break them into chunks and take breaks between the chunks?

    • Take the time to create a very tactical list of things you absolutely need to get done and focus on that. Push back anything not super urgent.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      For me, I have to force myself to get up out of my chair every 30 minutes or so on a day like this…or I will just zone out into a cold medicine-induced fog. Good luck! And hey – you only have the rest of today and tomorrow, and then you get another break!

  18. How to handle this situation? I’m in an office with approximately 50 staff, and no HR. Our big boss’s assistant does HR/payroll as well as assistant tasks. A couple weeks ago, I arrived into work late as I had a morning meeting. My job requires me to attend meetings out of the office several times a week. I submitted my time, and yesterday I get an email (with the big boss, who’s my superivsor, CCed) saying “I notice on X day, your time says 7 hours but you came in at 11:40 AM. I do not see any leave used. Does your timecard accurately reflect your late arrival?

    I’m floored. One, I’m disturbed she is jotting down my coming and going when she is not my supervisor. Two, my calendar reflected a meeting. Three, she is basically accusing me of improper billing and CCing my boss rather than speaking with me.

    I replied with a “thank you for the email. I had a meeting that morning, which my time card reflects”. Should I speak with her? I feel I need to set a boundary and say, come to me with any questions. But that may make her even more suspicious (which she may be if she’s jotting down the time I arrive). I can’t talk to HR as she is the de facto HR.

    • I don’t see an issue with asking her to verify with you if a time card seems off in the future since you often have off-site client meetings. This spares her the embarrassment of repeatedly questioning you and sending it up the chain with you having to constantly correct her.

      Agree that a “don’t monitor my comings and goings” request won’t get you anywhere.

    • This does appear to be her job. “Yes, timecard is accurate, I was at xyz meeting.”

      You’re an hourly employee apparently, so this isn’t that weird.

    • Super annoying. How close are you with your supervisor? Was this done at his/her behest, or were they as irritated by it as you were?

      Depending upon your relationship, I would consider talking to your supervisor since it bothered you as much as it did (and it would def. bother me too – I know it’s her job, but the tone of the question seems to question your integrity which is totally uncalled for.)

      • Thanks for the empathy. The tone struck me as rude.

        I’m not clear if recording leave v. working time is actually her job. As I’m salaried, I can work however many hours and get paid the same. I had 7 hours of work listed (a typical work day), and she basically said she thinks I worked 5 hours and 20 minutes and improperly failed to put 1 hour 40 minutes of leave. I’ve been here 3 years and never had any such problem before. It struck me as a very “gotcha!” move with the email and CCing our mutual supervisor.

        • Full of ideas :

          I would be annoyed for sure! But also agree, take high road with response like suggested above, “Yes, timecard is accurate, I was at xyz meeting.”. If it keeps happening, maybe offer to share your calendar so she can verify herself?

    • “Dear Name,

      On that day, I had an offside client meeting in the morning. My work day started at 9 am when I arrived there. This was noted in my calendar, which you have access to.

      As I frequently attend such meetings, please check my calendar if you have questions before looping in Boss.”

      • I like this wording although I would use “please check my calendar before questioning the accuracy of my reporting.”

        • This part sounds like it could incite hostility in the receipent “before questioning the accuracy of my reporting.”

          I would end it at ““please check my calendar if you have questions.”

          Of course, this means she has to have access to the calendar & it needs to be up to date.

          • OP here: I’m going with these suggestions. Thanks!

            She does have access to my calendar. All 50 employees can see all calendars.

            I’m just annoyed as I don’t report to her. I can work 5 hours in a week or 35 or 55, and my schedule is decided upon by my supervisor. For all she knew, I was flexing my time that week or working late the next week and actually intended to arrive and start my work day at 11:40 AM. I’m weirded out that she recorded it (this was the 5th!) and then emailed me asking why I didn’t use any leave if I arrived an hour and 40 minutes late. Its just strange and worrisome.

    • That’s obnoxious. It’s bad enough that she’s apparently tracking your time, but including your boss before even asking you about it is unnecessary.

      People who make it their business to “monitor” people in the office they don’t supervise are the worst.

      Personally, I think you handled it well by pointing out she was wrong. I’d probably let it go and see if it happens again before addressing it.

      • Also – next time I’d leave off “thank you for the email.” I know it’s polite, but I don’t think you need to thank her for sending you a needless, busybody email.

    • I wish I had more time to respond but quickly – a very similar situation happened to me. I am also salaried, and a woman who had absolutely no control/input over my schedule, and was not a manager (we share the same title) emailed the president of our foundation asking if I was properly tracking sick leave during my pregnancy. Basically, she accused me of lying. I only saw this email because it was accidentally forwarded to me. All of my leave had been cleared through the pres (who was at the time managing us due to a few open positions). I was upset and nervous and really unsure of how to respond – I ended up not responding at all, because I knew this reflected on her more than me. It was really, really hard not to follow up on it, but I knew I was doing nothing wrong, and this just made my coworker look like a meddling clockwatcher. It sucked, I was angry, it ruined all my trust with that coworker. Ugh.

  19. WS returns :

    Has anyone ever bought a gift through Williams-Sonoma online and then had the recipient return it? Did you get any kind of notification that it had been returned?

    I received a pretty pricey appliance that I can’t use. WS tells me that if I return it in store, they will snail-mail me (!) a gift card for the amount. Since the giver’s info is all over the receipt, I’m a bit cautious that the card might go to them or they’ll get notified. It’ll be kind of awkward if they knew I returned it.

    • Why can’t the store issue you a card right there? That’s normally how returns are processed. I’d push back pretty hard on that.

      Also, I find people are typically much more reasonable in person than online. Go to the store, tell them you want to return it, see what they say.

      • I have no idea, but I’ve called 2 stores now and they both say the same thing. I guess that’s just how WS does it? The store is also kind of a drive for me, so not a quick drop by.

    • That whole family of companies is a giant PITA for returns from online vs. in store purchases. The gift card does EVENTUALLY show up in the mail but I am perplexed why, in this age of online shopping, the B&M stores can’t process an online gift return like nearly every other retailer.

    • Baconpancakes :

      This is weird – we returned a pricey appliance and they had no trouble doing it in the store. We did directly exchange it for another appliance, and paid the extra $25, so maybe that’s why?

      • Did you buy the appliance online though? I think that’s where the disconnect comes in. If they will literally let me walk home with something from the store that day, I might do that. Although the thing I wanted to spend the money on seems to be online only.

        PITA indeed as the earlier person said. I haven’t shopped there for years, and I guess this is why I don’t miss it.

        • Could they order the item on line for you in the store and apply the credit?

          • Love William Sonoma stuff, but not their policies :

            We had off registry wedding gifts from there, and they insisted on the mailed gift card too. Be careful – it looks like junk mail when it arrives. Super annoying

        • Baconpancakes :

          It was a gift, so I’m not sure where it was purchased. I would ask about them ordering the item in store and applying the credit, though. I assume their policy is to encourage people to shop in their stores, and if you order something in the store, that is usually counted as a sale “in store.” Sounds pretty annoying, though.

    • Hey, recent bride here. WS has awesome stuff but the worst return policies. I wish I had known that as the bulk of our items were from there, and we could have ordered them from other places. AND their computer system is terrible, so even the most proficient sales associate is still a bit hamstrung by the system. First, no, I do not believe the recipient gets a notification. Yes, if it was purchased 0nline, they have to send you a store credit. It is annoying because I like to verify the amount is correct. If you have a receipt, bring it, as it makes things easier for them, but of course, we saved every receipt and many did not come with one. And then some that did, only say the item number, not a description, name, or the recipient (unless they included a message). They also send separate cards if you return multiple items – even if it is done on the same trip. The *only* way around this my husband and I have figured is if you also buy something at the time of return. So, I am returning the blender Aunt Bessie ordered 0nline and had sent to me but I am also buying this spatula today, too. Even then, you have to have a savvy sales associate to do this correctly and efficiently. Bring your patience. Sometimes we just deal with the cards, in which case we write down the amount and wait for them to arrive in the mail and then we have an envelope of all of the cards organized in one place. One more tip- don’t try doing the return over the phone. They are even less proficient with the system, and when I learned I would have to mail the item in and told the woman to just cancel the process and that I would return it in-store, it turned out she deleted the item off the registry and left no trace of it. This made returning the item in-store even harder.

      • Thank you for this super detailed explanation! It’s become this thing where it’s like I really appreciated the thoughtfulness of the gift and everything, but it’s kind of a pain now. I am super shocked that WS can do this though, given their price range I would guess their normal clientele has less patience for this.

    • Anonymous :

      Maybe you could return it to Nordstrom.


  20. I just started a new job where all the women in the office eat lunch together in the break room, and the bulk of the conversation is about diets and exercise. A lot of them are doing whole 30/other really restrictive diets and talk about it constantly. Do you all have any advice on how to handle this situation/participate in these conversations as someone who isn’t dieting? I’ve been trying to change the subject but it somehow always returns to food (I guess because everyone’s lunch is right there in front of them and it’s low-hanging conversational fruit). For context, I am very junior to a lot of the participants.

    • Don’t go all the time.

      • Elegant Giraffe :

        +1. I would especially avoid this if men never join. (Also…I bet the conversation topics change in a few weeks when resolutions are falling apart.)

      • Cornellian :

        Agreed. Go once or twice a week to be social, but make your own plans.

    • I would eat delicious pizza right in their faces.

    • Definitely don’t eat lunch with them all the time. Maybe make it a one day a week thing. You will probably annoy them by trying to criticize or change the conversation if too obvious. This is clearly their thing.

      Honestly, I hate when workplaces self-segregate like this. But I don’t get lunch so it’s not an issue for me.

    • Ugh, same. Nearly all the women at my work eat together and analyze their food intake. I go out, or eat at my desk, or frequently take my lunch hour at another time to avoid this. It is an unhealthy dynamic.

    • Triangle Pose :

      Where are the men having lunch? Go there.

  21. Legally Brunette :

    Does anyone have the MMLF Masha dress and can speak to fit? I’m an hourglass with a bit of a tummy so not looking for anything super tight in that area. I’m particularly drawn to the plum color. Would love to hear thoughts.

    • I tried it on. I loved the fit, relaxed, but looked good. I am 5’4″, 140 lbs, carry weight in my belly. I definitely would have had to have it shortened as it landed mid-calf on me, and I dont care for that length. It felt very comfortable. I didnt order it ultimately because there were other things I needed/wanted more.

    • I have that dress in a +2. I’m 5’11” and obviously plus sized, with a belly and thighs, and it’s one of the most flattering things in my closet.

    • Have it and love it–super flattering and comfortable. I found the sizing to be a little inconsistent (I usually wear a 10 or 12 in MMLF, but took an 8 in the Masha, with the MMLF stylist’s guidance). I’m 5’9, hourglass, slight tummy but carry most of my weight in butt and thighs. The construction of the dress is strongly waisted but with a lot of room below the waist–so take that into consideration based on where exactly your tummy weight sits and how long/short waisted you are. Midis don’t usually work on me but I find the length to be super flattering.

    • you all convinced me! Just ordered it in plum, will report back. I also ordered the Etsuko after reading all of the rave comments here.

  22. Just curious, those of you that see a dermatologist for primarily cosmetic/antiaging reasons (no real diagnosis or skin condition) how much do you pay a year for your visits and prescriptions? I pay $240 a year for Curology, which includes unlimited online consultations with a derm (who can only look at pictures of your face) and a custom compounded prescription- mine includes azelaic acid, zinc pyrithione, and clindamycin. I’ve been very happy with this service and have used it for years, my skin looks great, but I’m wondering if now that I’m in my late 20’s its time to see a “real” derm

    • I pay about $200 per visit at a Major Medical Center academic hospital, women’s derm specialist. They are short, mostly just to refill scripts, and not much advice.

      • Thanks, this is helpful. The derm I would go to is similarly at a Major Medical Center academic hospital.

        • It’s pretty shocking how much dermatologists make.

          I also pay in this range for my dermatologist visit, and I have acne as a diagnosis. Only go in for medication refills.

          I take one of my parents to several specialists for very complicated medical problems, and she is often seen by a nurse, a resident doctor, and an attending for more than 45 minutes to 1 hour with detailed discussions, examinations and complicated plans. I have to take a notebook to keep track of all of the issues, recommendations. And most of those doctors are reimbursed < $75-100 for all of that time (and that has to cover overhead too).

          My dermatologist swoops in, glances at my face/back, escribes my medicines, and maybe answers a question or two (not serious, not life changing, easy questions) and gets $200 for < 10 minutes work…. less than 5 minutes actually.

          Definitely a lot of things in medicine need to be changed…. and something isn't right here…

    • Anonymous :

      I pay only a $50 specialist copay because it’s considered an annual skin cancer check. I just get antiaging prescriptions while I’m there.

  23. environmentally aware :

    I recently read an article that said most US recycling is sent to centers in China and India, and the regulations in China have changed such that they are no longer accepting a lot of US recyclables. A waste management facility in Massachusetts was quoted as saying they may have to stop offering recycling services. If this is true, I don’t know how on earth (I guess pun intended) we are going to transition to reuse rather than recycle. I try really hard to do it now (yes I wash out Ziploc bags that have been minimally used, etc) but it feels like a losing battle.

    • China is changing it’s regs because Americans are really bad a recycling. You can’t recycle items that are soiled with food, and you have to check the recycling guidelines for your provider to see what kinds of items they can sort. Most people just throw anything they thing is remotely physically capable of being recycled by any method in the bid. But that’s not how it works. Recycling is limited by the ability of the machines at the facility to sort what you put in them, not by what items are made out of. So while technically almost any type of plastic physically can be recycled, for example many recycling sorting machines can’t sort plastic bags because they get caught in the machines. Also, and I was guilty of this until recently because I just didn’t know, many Americans collect their recycling at home in a plastic bag and then put the plastic bag with all of the recycling in it into a bin and put the bin out at the curb for pickup. The machines can’t take everything out of the bag and then sort it. They can only sort things not in bags.

      Personally, after reading the guidelines for the facility in my area, I have change the way I recycle. I rinse _everything_ food as touched thoroughly. I don’t put the items in plastic bags, but loose into the bin. I separate out plastic bags and plastic film into a completely separate bin, and I take those to the grocery store where there’s a dedicated plastic bag recycling bin.

      • If everyone rinsed their recycling out thoroughly (using a bunch of water to do so), would the environment be better or worse off? (I have tossed stuff in the dishwasher or submerged it in the sink, but when I just run water from the tap, I do wonder about this.)

        • Anonymous :

          No because plastic is around forever. Uses water but still much better to recycle. If you rinse it before dries, it doesn’t use that much water.

  24. Anyone have experience with a verbally abusive coworker changing their ways? I’m in a biglaw and a more senior associate is constantly berating and criticizing in a manner and tone that is both mean and rude . I didn’t sign up to be abused on a daily basis and I am consider quitting without another job to get out of this situation. Help. Thanks.

    • When this was happening to me, I went to the partner I work for the most, told them what was happening, asked to be taken off that person’s deal and never worked for them again. I think the blowback was mostly on the senior. There is no reason anyone should have to tolerate that kind of treatment in the workplace.

      • +1 go to a TRUSTED Partner, preferably one with clout in the group. You can asked to be quietly “requested” to another deal/case/project by a partner and just gently avoid this person. If this is the only, or one of the only, senior associates to work for who has to be included on all your work then your really only move is to bear it while job hunting.

    • Does this coworker verbally abuse everyone s/he works with, all juniors, or just you?

      • OP, here. The coworker has acted similarly with at least one other associate in our group. But the other associate is the same level as the coworker as so doesn’t have as much direct control.

    • Cornellian :

      Honestly, no. I found out later that I was not anywhere near the first person she had done this to, and that apparently the pattern had been taken in to account in her partnership chances. I now know the person more, and don’t dislike her as a person, just as a colleague. I don’t think she will change going forward.

      If you can’t get away from the coworker, you need to figure out coping mechanisms of your own, which is shitty.

    • I’ve had this happen to me. The only thing you can do if the person is senior to you is to leave. A firm that tolerates someone doing that does not have a good culture.

    • No, you will not be able to change them. Do not even think that is a possibility. Other posts offer good advice. Ask to be moved, or change jobs.

  25. Mid level review :

    Question for the hive: I’ve gotten such fantastic career advice on here before.

    I’m a mid level/senior associate, relatively recent lateral, at an Amlaw 100 firm in a major market. I work in a niche practice area in a group that is very… top-heavy. More partners than associates. My goal is to make partner in my practice area. I think it’s time I started the conversation with the partnership. My upcoming review, I think, would be the appropriate forum. How do I broach this subject, and in particular, my fears that the “stable is full,” so to speak? Everyone is happy with my work, but I’m not sure how to even start this conversation.

    • Do you have business? A plan to generate it?

    • What’s the partnership consideration process at your firm? How far out are you from starting it?

      • I do not have business. I am being introduced to clients now but the structure of the group is such that one partner generates the lions share of the business and farms it to the other partners. I have some skills that make me very useful to the group but I would need to go through the partners to get clients I think. I guess it’s about being picked, in a way. The partnership conversation starts about two years out from where I am.

        • So are you two years from the consideration process starting, or two years from the decision being made? At my firm, it’s a defined multi-step, multi-year process, and if you were two years away from that, it would be way too early for a conversation. In that situation, I’d say that what you should do is make clear in your review meeting and your memo/self-evaluation that partnership is your goal and to ask specific questions about the most important things you can do to position yourself for that.

          If your firm isn’t like that and you’re two years away from a go/no-go decision, then my advice is different, and yes, time for a talk. Who is your mentor/sponsor within the group? Start with that person. Ask them for a candid view on whether or not you’re someone people think of as a future partner. Ask them what you can do to change that if the answer is no. Two years isn’t a lot of time.

          • Thank you. I am 2 years from the conversation starting, not the decision. Thank you so much for your advice, which I will implement.

    • This largely depends on whether “partner” has any real meaning in your firm or whether it is a glorified senior associate (with an accompanying higher billing rate). When you say there are a lot of partners in your practice group, I assume the one with the book of business is an equity partner (i.e. someone with real power making real money) and the rest are some mix of junior partners (whatever your office calls those).

      In my office they create a LOT of junior partners in some departments because those clients will pay the higher rate and because it (1) makes the new “partner” happy, which means they won’t quit/demand more money and (2) it makes it harder for them to leave. However, those partners essentially get nothing tangible in return except a small salary bump to make up for no longer being bonus eligible.

      So have the conversation. Whether it is successful will depend largely on whether your current case load can support another person billing at partner rates and whether they like you and want to hang out with you at the partner retreats. But first, ask yourself what being a “partner” means to you and what you want out of it – because that is a whole other conversation.

      • Thank you for your response. There are a mix of equity and non equity partners. The main reason I’m interested is that I would like to continue to practice this kind of law— if I can make it rain, good, but I don’t need to make a gazillion dollars. I would be ok with non equity.

    • I think it’s fine to start the conversation now. You should not expect a straight answer until you are much closer to partnership, however. They will probably tell you that of course they will make space if you perform well. However, you should get a clear history of how your group has made partners historically (has it been a fixed number of partners for many years or does it fluctuate, do they promote people when partners are transitioning to retirement or only after they leave, etc.). You can do this by chatting with partners/associates about it informally.

      It’s unfortunate but in niche areas it often comes down to timing versus talent. So they may tell you that of course there’s a spot, but they might really mean that if a partner leaves unexpectedly, they want to have someone in the pipeline that they can fill the spot with, and if someone actually leaves and you perform well, that could be you.

      • Thanks. This is definitely a timing thing. There will be some thinning of the ranks in the next five or six years. But I know people that have waited 5+ years for it. I am in principle ok with waiting.

  26. Hive remind me how to search through comments… I need to find our many recommendations on best shoes while traveling. I’m going to Europe in the spring and there will be a lot of walking.

    • The search on the actual s!te doesn’t seem to work at all anymore so I do a s!te search in g00gle: “s! blah”. Replace with normal letters.

    • Going to be doing the exact same search and posting related question in a few days
      Happy travelling :)

  27. Rainbow Hair :

    Please help me buy a dress suit or two?

    I really don’t like wearing pants or pencil skirts, so that pretty much leaves me with a dress (or a suit with an a-line skirt) — any leads? I just need like, a black suit and a charcoal one or something, and I’m coming up empty. Thoughts? Help?

    • Theory, Boss

    • Talbots!

      • Talbots for sure

        • But I also think you ought to move out of your comfort zone and at least try some straight skirt / pencil skirt styles. They look more “serious” and adult than a-line styles and if you try enough on, you might find some that you feel good in. Sometimes it’s just a matter of giving the eye a chance to adjust.

          The same goes for pants, but baby steps.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            What I hate about pencil skirts is the way they sit at the waist — like I’m happy to wear dresses that are straight/pencil-y at the bottom (that’s basically all I wear), but it seems like pencil skirts always dig in at the waist or twist around or are generally super physically uncomfortable? See also, pants.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            Oh the point of saying this was that I am open to hear what I am doing wrong with pencil skirts/what to look for that would not drive me nuts!

            And like… pants? I don’t know how they work! They seem either baggy under the butt or too close too my butt and ha I just always feel like I’m in borrowed clothes in suit pants.

          • A good tailor is your friend here. If your pencil skirts twist, the fit needs a little tweak.

          • Baconpancakes :

            Sounds like they need to be tailored. The non-give/fitted aspect of pencil skirts that makes them look so professional means that unless you magically have exactly the same proportions as their fit model, you have to get them tailored. Every single non-stretchy pencil skirt I own gets tailored. Same with suit pants. It gets expensive, but the first time I wore a skirt that had been tailored, and it didn’t twist around, I felt like prehistoric man discovering fire.

          • I think you could also look into a matching sheath dress and jacket look, like Talbots tends to do. This is more difficult heading into spring. They always do their best stuff in the fall, but maybe try the seasonless wool. And yes, visit a good tailor.

    • Ann Taylor has a couple right now

  28. Reposting from yesterday. Is anyone else following the Nassar sentencing? I would love to hear the thoughts of judges, prosecutors, and criminal defense attorneys on the judge’s handling of the victim impact statements. I understand the need for sensitivity towards the victims, but is she creating a potentially appealable issue by comparing him to the Wicked Witch of the West?

    Also, is anyone else bothered by the fact that the Aziz Ansari inicident is getting so much more press than the Nassar case?

    • I’m not really sure what you’re talking about with that last sentence – the Nassar case is getting a TON of press. I’m not connected to the gymnastics world in any way and I have seen numerous headlines about it every single day. Also, I think it would be sort of natural if people were talking about the Aziz Ansari incident more, because I think most people would agree that there is a lot more room for debating that incident – both what you think about Aziz and Grace’s actions and also what’s become an entirely separate story about how the write-up was handled and the journalist who wrote it lashing out at critics. The Nassar thing is pretty cut and dried. He’s a monster and most people don’t really feel the need to keep talking about it, because there’s no nuance there.

    • Nassar case is getting tons of press. How could the judge deny the victim impact statements? These are the victims. It shouldn’t be a BOGO situation where you only have to hear from 1/2 your victims. He did a lot of damage to a LOT of people and they should be heard.

      Actually hearing from the victims helps the court understand the actual impact of 100+ victims. It is important that they are not a number. Just because a perpetrator has a lot of victims, doesn’t mean the harm to each individual victim is any less. How on earth should the judge decide to limit the victims? How do you pick and choose who gets to speak? Why would she limit them?

      • I am not saying she should be limiting victim impact statements, I am just curious about whether it’s typical for the judge to weigh in so much herself. I think this guy is a total dirtbag but I thought it was the victims’ job to say that, not the judge’s.

      • I’m not saying she should be limiting the victim impact statements, just curious about whether it’s typical for the judge to offer her own perspective during sentencing.

    • Personally, I’m seeing way more about Nassar. I was actually very pleased to see even our local news coverage picked it up on all major hours the last few nights, with not a mention of Ansari.

    • Anonymous :

      I haven’t really followed what happened with the victim impact statements, but I will say that generally (aside from death penalty cases), judges have wide discretion during sentencing as so long as the sentence is within the statutory range, there is almost nothing that can be done on appeal. Particularly after a plea or verdict (so not during the trial), a judge can say that the defendant is terrible, horrible, etc. A judge can consider a wide range of “evidence” during sentencing as well. (I put evidence in quotes, because most of it is not actually evidence–not testimony under oath, lots of hearsay, etc.)

      • Yea. Another thing to consider is that the reason that a judge or prosecutor can’t say things like “he’s a terrible person” during trial is that it could prejudice the jury (i.e. the jury will convict because everyone says he’s a bad person rather than based on the evidence that he did this particular crime). That consideration is removed once there is a verdict/guilty plea.

  29. Sloan Sabbith :

    I’m hosting a dinner for 10ish people in about 3 weeks. My apartment is small. Large enough to set up two tables for this to work, but my kitchen is not set up for major food prep. I’m also a terrible cook.

    I was planning on getting pizza, but does anyone have any ideas for things that are inexpensive, VERY easy, essentially unable to be screwed up by incompetence (I try really hard….it just doesn’t work.), and easy to either make ahead or make day-of? I was thinking a couple of pans of lasagna….? I don’t know. There are people coming I’d like to impress and I feel like one of the housewives in every single book ever who has their husband’s boss coming over for a VERY important dinner except I CAN’T COOK AT ALL.

    • This sounds like a casserole situation to me (although admittedly I’m trying to bring casseroles back…I know they seem hopelessly old-school to many people). I would do King Ranch Casserole. Lots of recipes out there – you can further simplify by buying a rotisserie chicken instead of cooking chicken yourself. You basically just have to layer filling and tortillas, and bake. You can serve with Mexican rice (grab a mix from the store) and beans (you can use canned; if you want to get fancy, saute some onions with cumin and bay leaf, pour in the beans with some water or boxed stock, and let it cook down a bit) on the side and make a pitcher of poor woman’s margaritas (i.e., bottled limeade and tequila). Voila. Not just a meal -a themed meal.

    • Do not try to cook anything you don’t already know how to cook. If you have never made lasagna before, this is not the time to try. I would order barbecue or Thai food instead of pizza. If you feel it’s essential to cook some of the food yourself, try baking brownies or something else that can be made ahead and will be easy and impressive.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Thai food takeout feast is our family go-to (when we get together the numbers get up to the 10-15 person range quickly). It’s nice because you can get a variety, and there’s generally something everyone likes/can eat (we’ve got vegans and ‘it’s not a meal without meat’ at the table and both are happy).

      • Yup yup.
        I learnt this the hard way. Do not cook anything for a party you have not already made, successfully, at least once before.

    • Please don’t order pizza for a dinner party. Casual get together? Sure. Dinner party for 10 when you want to impress some of the people? Please just no. If you want to look more homemade, go with a pre-prepared dinner item that you can just heat up from Costco or the like that serves multiple people. Serve with fresh salad, warmed up French breach from a local bakery and soft butter and/or olive oil mixed with fresh spices.

      You can serve a really good dinner without cooking a thing.

      • Anon phone user :

        If it was all good friends, I’d say go for pizza, but for slightly more formality a lasagne, salad, bread, and a bakery cake are great.

        Are you familiar with the concept of a crappy dinner party? I love the idea of taking the performance pressure off of entertaining at home. Go for it with your non-cooking dinner party!

    • Do a really simple protein (like fish–in the oven with olive oil, herbs, lemon), salad, bread, some really simple side vegetable or purchased side, you can buy decent soup at many grocery stores, purchased dessert. This is my go-to and comes together in under an hour once you’ve done the shopping.

    • If you’re not a good cook, that’s OK, and it’s clear that you know that this dinner party is not the time that you should start trying. Order in!

      Most places that deliver can deliver catering. So if you want lasagna, you can get an Italian place to deliver a lasagna to you instead of a pizza. You can probably ask them to deliver it to you cold the day before and give you reheating instructions so your guests think you made it, if that’s important to you. Then you can make an Italian themed charcuterie board of whatever your local grocery store/deli has in stock for appetizers, and buy a grocery store or bakery cake. Or maybe your Italian delivery place also delivers cannolis.

      If you’re in the northeast, Wegmans also has a top-notch prepared food section that you can certainly use to make people think you cooked more than you did. But really, I’d just order in.

      • Elegant Giraffe :

        +1 You can outsource this. Go to your nearest gourmet grocery store. Whole Foods or something similar. Make a pitcher of cocktails and a dessert, if you feel the need to make some of this yourself.

      • Senior Attorney :

        +1 to lasagna from the Italian grocery. They will also have delicious salad and bread and dessert. Also appetizers. And that will be so much better than pizza!

    • Chicken Marbella. Not hard. Don’t quarter whole chickens. Just use skin-on chicken pieces.

      A large Caesar salad made from cutting up two bags of romaine lettuce, tossing with store bought dressing (I like Marie’s in the refrigerated produce section), already shredded parmesan and a couple of packages of garlic croutons. I bring this to just about every potluck and it gets wolfed down. No skill required

    • In high school, we used to have pasta parties before big sporting events. These were cheap, and really easy to put on. A ton of spaghetti, some sauce, maybe some meatballs separate from the sauce (for the non-meat eaters; frozen is fine!), some parmesan cheese, a loaf or two of garlic bread (you can buy this and bake it), and some big bagged salads with dressing. Some wine if it is called for (…did not have this at hs pasta parties…).

      • This sounds like a great suggestion. Have an alfredo sauce, a marinara, maybe a vodka…easy. And all you have to do is boil water for the pasta and heat the bread in the oven.

    • With nothing but kindness and respect I ask, why would you host a dinner party if you don’t want to cook?

      That said, what about a few kinds of Stouffers frozen lasagna (veggie, meat, plain), maybe a tray of mac and cheese for variety, a nice green salad, garlic bread, and some wine?

      • Some people like entertaining, even if they don’t like cooking. But I think Stouffer’s frozen lasagna is a worse idea than takeout pizza. Takeout pizza isn’t fancy, but at least it often tastes good – those Stouffer’s frozen things are just nasty. OP should get real takeout/catering. Most pizza places will also make pasta and I think that would be a better choice than either pizza or a TV dinner from the freezer aisle at the grocery store.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          Yes, this is why. Also, see below- the dinner party is, by design as a Jeffersonian Dinner, more about conversation than food. I want it to be enjoyable, but I do not want to stress out about the food. I am already stressing out about making a good impression @ my house.

          I am so, totally getting food from the local gourmet grocery store.

      • Don’t serve Stouffers frozen lasagna to guests! Costco has some restaurant-quality frozen foods. Do you live near a Whole Foods? They have a lot of “heat and serve” meals that are decent quality (just make sure you have a salt shaker on the table).

        Alternatively, if it’s within your budget, just get catering from one of your favorite restaurants.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Another thought – if you have a Costco nearby, and Instacart available, you can get costco platters/ready-to-go meals that way, even if you don’t have a Costco membership.

    • I think it’s ok not to have dinner at a table to seat everyone if you don’t want to. If you are doing that and it’s a tight space, it’ll be tricky for people to get up and get more food, though you could put everything out on the table for fam style dining. We’ve had dinner parties where some people ate at the couch, some at the bar, some at the table. Agree that this is a situation that calls for catering/ordering out/getting pre-prepared food.

    • anon a mouse :

      This is when you want to hit up a nice grocery store in your area (Whole Foods or a specialty store) that sells prepared foods. Really. You’ll be stressed enough from hosting and you don’t want to add cooking to the mix.

      • Second the Whole Foods suggestion. Costco is great, but I find Whole Foods to be muuuuch better for delicious, easy, prepared foods.

    • I think it’s fine to get some other kind of takeout or have it catered, but it needs to be something nicer than pizza. I am not a fancy person and I would pretty shocked if I was invited to a “dinner party” and was served takeout pizza. A kid’s birthday party or something, sure, it’s expected, but not at an adult dinner party.

    • Triangle Pose :

      Outsources the cooking – bring in prepared food or catering that you just have to heat up. Create or get a recipe for a signature cocktail with something artisanal + top shelf liquor and make that the center of the presentation as your fancy creation.

      • Triangle Pose :

        Alternatively, just go out and buy fancy cheese, crackers, spreads, breads, prepared roasted veggies, cured meats, fig jam, fancy honey and mustard and create a giant cheese and charcuterie board. Buy a prepared lasagna or other main dish you just have to heat up. Still do fancy drinks and beers/wine.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Yeah, ok, I’m doing that. Fancy grocery store across the street has good prepared food.

        The food is not the focus as much- it’s about the conversation. It’s a Jeffersonian dinner. We had pizza at the last one and the people I want to impress do already know me. They’ve just never been to my place before.

        To answer the questions above: I’m hosting because I wanted to have this dinner about a particular topic and no one else was going to do it. The group is, by and large, casual people. I know them all. I do want to impress some of them, but I really don’t think they’re going to care about the food as much as I do.

        • Triangle Pose :

          Good luck! Love “It’s a Jeffersonian dinner.”

          • Anonymous :

            I want to come to your Jeffersonian dinner!

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            I am SO excited for it. We’ll be discussing something that I care about a lot, it’s with people who have inspired me and who will make for great conversation, and I get to show off my apartment. Which actually is 100% going to be the most stressful part of this.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Sounds great and yay for the fancy grocery stores!

        • Never too many shoes... :

          I just looked up Jeffersonian Dinner and that sounds like such a great evening!

    • You can’t cook, so that won’t be a way you can impress people! Get takeout/catering and impress them in other ways. Do a fun signature cocktail, clean your house and then clean twice more, have great music playing, be engaged and sociable and introduce people to each other. So many ways to impress outside of food!

  30. Day 2 of New Orleans’ Icepocalypse. Yesterday, I didn’t have hot water in my bathroom upstairs until late in the day, despite all of the normal precautions. Interstates and bridges are closed so we can’t go anywhere. Now they’re urging people not to use as much power and to limit water usage and we’re under a boil order. Luckily, classes have been cancelled for the past two days so I’m in my jammies. Went out to get food once the sun came out and things thawed to just above freezing yesterday. Such a mess. I hope nobody is visiting here right now.

    • I’m headed there next week for a training. I hope everything will be ok!

      • Oh yeah, next week should be fine. I think it will be in the 50s and 60s. The problem we’re having is that so many people have had broken pipes (they are under houses and unprotected) that the water situation is messed up. I’ve heard things are messed up in the hotels, but I think it should be resolved in a couple of days. They said that the boil order will be more than 24 hrs.

    • My office was closed because there was no water pressure in the building. I’ve heard at least one local hospital doesn’t have water pressure above the 3rd floor. My toddler is home from daycare, so I can’t get anything done at home.

      I have a meeting on the Northshroe at 3:30, which will probably last until 6:30 or 7. The roads are going to be icy on the way there. It looks like the meeting is not going to get canceled. There’s no reason it has to be held today, but I don’t have authority to reschedule it, and I need to be there if it goes forward. Ugh.

  31. For those of you who have or had jobs that you aren’t liking but they pay well, are good on the resume etc — did any of you have financial markers to where you told yourself — I will not leave before X? And that financial marker was something other than paying off loans?? I told myself I wouldn’t make any moves without a 401k at 300k. So I toiled away to get it there. Got there last summer, is flirting with 350k now and I’m like — hmm should I be aiming for 400k? But then I’m like — there’s no end to this . . . .

    How do you think about these things? FWIW I’m single, mid to later 30s and in a tight industry where getting another job and keeping it isn’t guaranteed and obviously I can’t financially rely on anyone else. So part of me things, stay a stable job while the other part doesn’t get what I’m making myself miserable for exactly. Likely I wouldn’t get another job in my city and would have to consider a move to nyc which I could consider based on salary etc. Thoughts?

    • I think it’s really hard to compare an abstract idea (a new job doing something? somewhere?) with a concrete reality (your current position). So start interviewing! You can always say no. But at least you’ll be able to make a proper comparison between two or more concrete options, if you get some offers.

    • This is more than a question about a single job – it’s a question about life and what you want out of it. Can you go on a weekend retreat / start journaling / brainstorm during your commute about where you see yourself in 5, 10, 40 years? Do you want to stay in your city? Do you want to buy a house? You’re in a niche industry that’s tight…would you want to shift focus to a related field (gov’t/non-profit) that allows you more time off/personal satisfaction/insert topic? It sounds like you may have a large savings account that you can access (not your 401k) that allows you to consider other doors besides long hours/high stress/high pay.

      • This is helpful. I’ve considered getting away from the northeastern winter for a few days, heading to a beach and thinking this thru. I do tend to do some of my best thinking on trips. Problem is I don’t come up with a full solution – which is probably hard in one shot to know exactly where you want to live; what you want to do; own/rent; move or not; financials etc. So then nothing comes of it really. But I honestly haven’t traveled for myself for this purpose in at least 5+ years so maybe it’s time.

    • Do you have time for outside work commitments? Volunteering, mentoring, joining a team, or a passion project could be ways that you get fulfillment and makes the immense benefit of a stable job something that’s okay.

      • So I hate to say this but outside of work, I’m lazy. Sure I’ll do a one off project or whatever esp if organized by a friend, but I’m not the type who will say — ok this stable job is good bc it enables me to do 5 Habitat for Humanity builds this year (always wanted to do one) or hike x national park. Knowing myself — I’m way more productive when work, deadlines and money is involved and otherwise things are just mere ideas that I obviously don’t feel strongly about because I don’t put them into play or if I do, I don’t stick with it. So I view it as — my God given talent is grinding away at work, so do that and make money until someday there’s something else I want more.

        • That’s great self insight. So keep grinding until you figure out what it is that you want more of.
          & Do the Habit for Humanity this year and report back! One of my uni mentors went for two weeks to Haiti on one of their projects and said it was such an amazing experience. From that it’s been on one of my many to-do lists.

  32. Salem Krnic :

    Great article! Please check out this: Skypip

  33. DontWantDinner :

    I dislike my future mother in law. I see her at least three times a month though and suck it up. Restaurant week is coming up (twice yearly in my city) and we always take her to a particular restaurant. I really don’t want to go. I endured a dinner out with her just last week. Dinners out with her are not enjoyable whatsoever. Anyone have any ideas for how I can bow out?

    • Does your spouse know you dislike MIL Does SPOUSE dislike MIL? If the latter and this is a matter of family obligation, then tell spouse the truth and let spouse lie to MIL that you developed a crashing migraine and just could not make it out the door.

      If spouse does not dislike MIL, then you are left with three options: (1) lie to spouse; (2) tell spouse the truth and deal with the consequences; or (3) go and be as pleasant as possible. Only you can know what the likely consequences of 1 or 2 would be depending on the dynamics at play. I adore my mother and would not take (2) well at all – but then my husband also adores my mother so it is not an issue.

    • Why do you see her so often if you dislike her? Does your spouse insist on it and are these visits with your spouse or just you? Can you plan to be busy during this upcoming dinner and let your spouse go alone? This could be a good opportunity to start dialing back the visits. I like my in-laws but I have too much going on to see them 3 times a month and there are times when my husband visits with them and I can’t/don’t go because I’m busy. I see it like budgeting: sometimes you don’t purchase something not because you don’t have the money but because you don’t want to spend money on that particular item vs. the other things in your budget. Can you do the same with your time?

    • I think this is partly cultural and I know some of my Asian-American friends would really disagree, but in my circles there is no obligation to socialize with in-laws once a week. My in-laws are perfectly pleasant people, but I can’t imagine seeing them several times per month even if they lived in our city and I wouldn’t ask my husband to socialize with my parents that much. Heck, I’m not sure I would want to see my own parents that much. In my opinion, as long as you divide major holidays appropriately between the families, maybe celebrate with her on her birthday or other significant days if she’s local and don’t interfere with her access to her son and any hypothetical future grandchildren, you’ve fulfilled your obligations.

    • Anonymous :

      Tell your husband it’s his mother and it’s problem.

      • This is a little abrupt but you should discuss this with your husband. My MIL is difficult, but thankfully my husband acknowledges this and accepts that if I have reached my MIL limit I will announce a work emergency and he will go alone. I have a job that requires evening/weekend work on a regular basis, so they can’t push back on that, but otherwise, having a migraine works too. You don’t have to phrase it as “your mother is a terrible person”, more like “I respect that your relationship with your mother is important to you but sometimes its hard to deal with her when she does XYZ, do you mind going alone?”

      • Anon phone user :

        And please, whatever you do, make sure you and your fiance figure out a strategy for dealing with her before you get married. However much she annoys you now, it will only get worse, especially if you have kids and you need to make sure you and your spouse are on the same team when it comes to dealing with her.

    • I’d reframe this as reducing the overall amount of time you spend with your FMIL. I live 5 minutes from FIL and 15 minutes from MIL (both of whom I like). I don’t usually see either of them once a week or three times a month. If it’s just a matter of disliking your MIL, try to cut back in a low-key way—be busy at work, have a networking thing, do something with friends. It’s OK for your fiancé to spend some time alone with his mother. If you always take her out for restaurant week, and you’d be willing to continue doing that if you cut back on other events with her, then I wouldn’t force the issue for this one dinner, as much as you’d like to.

      • This is a good point; there may be other ways to cut back on your visits so this one seems more bearable.

    • Anonymous :

      This isn’t what you want to hear, but I’d go to this dinner because it’s your twice a year special restaurant week dinner, then only see her once a month from now on.

      Caveat that if something specific happened at the last dinner then you are free to not do this dinner. And your fiance needs to have a come to Jesus with mom about whatever she did.

  34. Anyone been to Costa Rica? Suggestions for must sees?

    • How long are you going to be there and are you more interested in ocean-based activities or jungle-based? How much luxury do you want? For a small country it has a LOT of variety.

      Essentially there is the north Pacific coast, (calmer beaches, more luxury US hotels); the southern Pacific coast (can be very touristy or very wild depending on how far south you go; I love the Osa, but that is definitely not everyone’s cup of tea); the Caribbean coast; and the interior. Let us know when you are going to be there (time of year really matters), how long, and whether you want to spend the entire time in one location.

      I loved the wildness of the Osa Peninsula, but it is very wild. I also loved the Peace Lodge for a night or two (even though it is like the Disney-version of Costa Rica; I adored their exhibits and at the right time of year the location is beautiful). Also, although underrated, I really enjoyed hiring a driver to take me around to all of the small towns near San Jose (done when I had a day to kill before my flight). I personally thought Manuel Antonio was too overrun with tourists and felt sorry for the monkeys that have become incredibly habituated to people.

      Final note because I say this to everyone going there: If you are swimming off the Pacific coast, ask about rip currents. We have a family friend who was a very experienced swimmer/surfer who was killed.

    • AlexisFaye :

      If you’re there at the right time, watching the turtles lay was AMAZING.

  35. Any recs for good sheets and bedding? I know this is this time of year when they are on sale.

    • Brooklinen for sheets, especially if you like a nice, crisp percale. I love mine so much!

    • Anonymous :

      Wirecutter did a good review of sheets awhile back. I bought a set from Casper on their recommendation and I’ve been very pleased with them.

    • Bit fan of LLBean sheets – I’ve been searching for the crisp sheets of my childhood for ages and finally figured out that it’s not the thread count but the weave. You can get a great set of crisp percale sheets at LLBean, and my favorite – you can buy individual items instead of having to buy a whole set! I never use the flat sheet so I buy just the fitted sheets, comforter covers and pillowcases. They also frequently have sales and launder beautifully, and very quickly!

  36. CapHillAnon :

    Spa advice?
    My sister + I want to meet for a visit – spa – personal retreat kind of weekend (without our partners and children). She’s in SF and I’m in DC. We’re looking for someplace easy to get to for a long weekend, has hiking or some interesting activity, has spa stuff but won’t be as spendy as Mirival.
    We don’t know the lay of the land with destination spas: is the price worth it if we’re looking for a click or two below the premium luxury places? Are we better off just choosing a city between us with good food, hot springs, hiking, etc., and making our own spa experience? If so, any suggestions??

    • Arizona (Tucson, Scottsdale, Sedona) or the southwest generally. Park City, Colorado ski towns and if you don’t ski go off-season for deals, hiking, spa, etc.

  37. Anonymous :

    I have a strong suspicion I am going to get stuck in the Boston airport tonight. Any suggestions for nearby hotels with a shuttle to the airport?

    • There’s a Hilton (I think) onsite at the airport and you don’t have to walk outside at all to get to it (though if you’re at terminal b or c, it will be a long walk to terminal a (inside) to them quickly get to the hotel.

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