Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Natalia Sheath Dress

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

I feel like we must have featured this Shabby Apple dress at some point over the nearly nine years of this blog because it’s a classic style that I’m sure I’ve seen before. It looks like a great wrap dress, and I like the sunburst detail, the simple crew neck, the sleeves, and the fact that it’s only $86, with the red version even lower at $45. It comes in sizes 0-14. Natalia Sheath Dress

Here’s a plus-size option from Kiyonna at Amazon.

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  1. anonymous :

    Does anyone shop with Betabrand? I’m looking at their yoga dress pants, but also interested in general opinions.

    • Anonymous :

      they seem nice if you’re thin only and i’d be concerned about vpl

    • similarly minded :

      I’m not thin at all, and I’ve done well with the dress pant yoga pants. There can be a vpl issue, but it seems dependent on the underwear fabric. I do find the black pants way more useful for everyday business use than the gray, which is the only other shade I’ve tried. (On me, there’s something a bit clubby about the gray under fluorescent work lights.) Size-wise, I order a size up from what I normally wear.

      • Agree with this on the black pants.

        Warning though: I also bought them in houndstooth and am much less impressed. The fabric isn’t the same as the black ones. The black ones are a thick, stretchy fabric. The houndstooth ones are thinner and frankly much lower quality.

    • I have them and like them. They’re thick and hard to distinguish from regular pants. I wouldn’t wear them for yoga, but they’re my favorite for travel days. They run true to size, maybe a tad small and sizing up won’t change the look. I find them about an inch too short for me, but I’m 5’9″ and often have that problem – tall sizes are too long and regular is a smidgen short.

      • Do you (or anyone else who owns these pants) find that they stretch out as the day goes on? If so, how much?

        • No, I haven’t found that – they’re much more ” pants” than yoga wear, there’s stretch in the material but I haven’t felt they stretch out over the day.

    • I tried the first run yoga dresspants from their kickstarter campaign and they were roughly 6″ too long. Granted, I have a 30-31″ inseam, but 6″ beyond that seeemed execessive for average human builds.

      • I got a later version, and I found that they were too long, but after I washed them they were the perfect length.

    • Anonymous :

      I got a couple of pairs to try and I thought they ran a little small and long (and I am slender and tall). I also ordered the NYDJ michelle ponte trouser and I thought it looked a little more professional, but YMMV. I ended up sending both varieties back, having decided that if I am going to wear trousers to my conservative job, they should be real trousers.

    • JuniorMinion :

      I’ve had good luck with the Charter Club cambridge pant – I have found they look fine in my relatively conservative office.

      • I really wish they made them with belt loops – they look perfect otherwise, and the price is great! But I generally have problems with pants scooting down over the day if I don’t wear a belt.

    • I have black and gray. I bought them as I returned to work post partum. I hAve been overall happy with them. I bought the petite size and had to hem them about 6″ which is crazy for a petite length (I’m 5’3). I have been wearing them approximately 1x/wk for 6 months. They gray shows a little wear (pilling) and a seam came apart, but overall I am happy and they are perfect for my somewhere between business / casual office.

    • FrankieCat :

      I would just stick to the Uniqlo pant/leggings which is similar in comfort and a heck of a lot cheaper.

    • I have several non yoga dress pant items, such as the All Day Coat. I also just ordered the Reflective Dress (though it isn’t here yet). I’ve had the yoga dress pants in the past and liked them – they have definitely fixed the length issue. The clothes I’ve tried have been great for me – I always have fit issues with things that don’t have stretch, both due to serious below the waist curves and above the waist muscle, and so I’ve been happy with what I’ve tried. They last pretty well, though things with a lot of stretch never last as long as items without.

    • Wildkitten :

      I’m not thin and I love my yoga pencil skirt. It started to pill but only after I wore it every day for like a month straight…or more…

    • Anonymous :

      Size 14 here and they are AMAZING!

  2. Anonymous :

    Has anyone used Udacity (in particularly, their nanodegree program? Have you found it worth while?

    • Anonymous :

      Interested in hearing replies to this. I want to get some more training in U/X and am looking at either Coursera or Udacity. The credential isn’t as important as the quality of the instruction, for me.

    • I use edX, Coursera, and Udacity for supplementing my “real” education. I have been using these for around 6 years. I find it extremely useful to have as a source for lectures, textbooks, and discussions that round out my college classes, which most of mine seem to be hybrid courses anyhow. I certainly would not pay for the credentials for the online courses unless I knew it was contributing to Continuing Ed. Credits. However, if you value knowledge, the structure is highly organized and mimics an actual college syllabus. I am not able to have the education of Columbia or Wharton in my “real” education but having access as if I were part of the course is certainly an invaluable resource. Not to mention I have excellent networking opportunities with the students and opened doors in an pedagogy realm I wouldn’t have otherwise. Fun fact: I also have taken courses with the local Univ. through these courses to have an edge on the study and professor of the material before I actually take the class.

    • There were a lot of good comments about the Georgia Tech Program through Udacity. I’ve also done some of the Agile/Design thinking courses from UVA on Coursera. I think the quality really varies by specific programs. Maybe there is a reddit that is specific?

    • Wildkitten :

      I like the free classes.

  3. Does anyone have experience with Shabby Apple? I like this dress, but a friend of mine said their stuff is really cheaply made and doesn’t look great in person. Anyone else feel differently/the same/whatever?

    • I bought my MOHs dress from Shabby Apple, and she was happy with the fit and quality and the price was very good. It wasn’t incredible quality but I thought it was on par with things from midrange shops.

    • I’ve tried buying things a couple of times and always returned them. I’ve found the quality to be poor for the price point (seams not straight or finished, garments not lined) although the designs are cute. It’s been a few years, so maybe things have improved.

    • Love the style, but poor quality and ran pretty short. Looked fine on the model, just looked silly on me (I’m 5’7″)

    • I thought the items were poorly made when I ordered a few years ago.

  4. Skin Care Routine :

    I am looking for suggestions for specific products to step up my skin care routine. Specifically, I am looking to replace my morning moisturizer and night cream, and I also want to add one or two products to address wrinkles/early signs of aging (possibly a retinol). I currently use Ole Henricksen’s Truth Serum at night and plan to continue doing so. Budget is around $40 per product, but I would consider spending more on a really awesome product. I am 30 and my skin is oily, pale, moderate hormonal acne, and I am just starting to get wrinkles on my forehead.

    • Wildkitten :

      Check the reddit r/skincareaddiction

    • Check out the ordinary line- I discovered it through Caroline Hirons blog. Great products,more clinical than posh/frilly.

    • Ginger tea :

      I’m also in my early 30s with similar skin. For basic sunscreen and extra moisture, I stick to Cerave am and pm. Derm recommended pm for any moisturizing needs. Belif true cream is wonderful.
      For acids/ daily treatments, I use Drunk Elephant’s morning AHA product and evening glycolic product. I rotate between the glycolic and Retin A at night, mixing them with the DE marula oil or jojoba oil from Trader Joe’s. Have had striking results with the DE mask.

  5. Anonymous :

    Loved the white suits last night.

  6. Anonymous :

    I want to start lifting. Really lifting. I have heard of NROLFW, but I would like to sign up for some classes or a personal trainer who knows the program. I am a newbie so I would like to pick up the basics (also, I do better when I schedule I workout rather than commiting to a gym). Where do I start? I’m located in NoVa – any specific recs?

    • Anonymous :

      A college friend of mine opened Bodymass Gym in Courthouse. I am a crossfitter (which I also recommend!) so I haven’t been, but she is a lovely person and super strong.

    • This maybe isn’t what you’re looking for, but there are classes called Les Mills BodyPump which are like lifting lite. I’ve lifted on and off for years, and BodyPump is an easy and fun way to lift without it being all protein powders and PRs. Locally, I know it’s offered at both Sport & Health gyms and Gold’s Gyms.

      • LOVE Bodypump :

        Second the Bodypump rec. I did classes at a Gold’s gym for about 3 years, and then moved away. I now pay $13 per month to stream unlimited BodyPump classes at home. My discipline is not as great; I may lift 3x per week for 30 minutes and I need to pump that to 3x for an hour. But the results are incredible for the time I put in: I am 5’4 and my weight has held steady around 120, 26 inch waist, toned arms/shoulders, etc. Last month at a bar, a girl maybe 15 years younger than me inquired regarding my fitness routine!

    • This may not be remotely helpful, but you might try looking for a “powerlifting” club or gym that offers powerlifting training. This is what at least one kind of competitive weightlifting is called. My husband was into it for years, and we went to a few meets together. It was great to watch the older women lift. In general it seemed like a nice supportive community – totally focused on strength rather than appearance (not at all like bodybuilding – a lot of the better male weightlifters are chubby).

      • For this, try Cara Heads Fitness in Pentagon City.

        • CH Fitness and Performance (the name of her gym) is Olympic Weightlifting, not powerlifting (generally the deadlift, squat and bench).

          This gym will have the clean, jerk, and snatch — they also share a space with a CrossFit gym. I cannot recommend Cara enough, but you won’t find powerlifting there. :-)

      • You could try the Falls Church Barbell Club. Never been there but I drive past it and see people coming out (after their workout!) at an ungodly early hour. I love bodypump, but it does not sound like what you are looking for. It’s light(er) weight and lots of reps.

    • I started powerlifting about 2 years ago. I highly recommend it. My husband and I started with StrongLifts and did that for about a year, and then switched to some intermediate programs. It’s very important to make sure your technique is good on each lift, so I definitely would find a trainer for some sessions. I agree with Anonymous above that a powerlifting gym would be a good place to start. They’re usually cool.

    • Oftentimes, powerlifting or other lifting gyms will have “classes” that aren’t exactly like aerobics classes. For example, my gym is essentially small group training. Most everyone does the same workouts every week, and groups start every hour while the gym is open. If you’re new, the trainers spend more time focusing on you and your form. A place like that is a great option if you want guidance, training, and a schedule, but aren’t able to do a personal trainer several times a week.

      I believe some Crossfit gyms have a similar set up with an intro class that really focuses on form that you might try.

    • Wildkitten :

      I love Crossfit. Take a free intro class and see if you love it too.

  7. I don’t like talking to people I don’t know. It’s stressful for me and I get a little anxious. I’m actually pretty good at it now, I’m pretty good at parties, good at interacting with people for professional reasons, etc. But it really freaks me out and I get stressed out for a period before and after the conversation. I’m 28, and my job requires a fair bit of networking and other socializing. There’s a lot of people interaction, which totally exhausts me, which is a different issue. This isn’t debilitating at all, but I would really like to feel at ease about these things. Any suggestions?

    • Do you find that it gets easier if you do it more? If you have several events back to back, does the second or third get less stressful or are you more exhausted? Depending, I’d either do it more (even if you just go to a coffee shop and practice striking up a conversation with a stranger for a minute ahead of time to get into “networking” mode or I’d build in time to recharge your batteries.
      I never had that much stress but a lot of the stuff you describe used to make me very nervous when I started at my job and now I don’t really think about it because it’s such a normal part of my day/week that it’s just second nature.

    • I was the same way. The best actionable advice I have is to practice, practice, practice. As far as mental preparation: I keep in mind that no one is actively rooting against me – everyone wants to have a nice conversation. I also remember that every single person worries about how she or he is appearing in a conversation and therefore does not have time to care about how I appear in conversation :)

    • Don’t have any advice but just wanted to say that I’m in the same position. I don’t particularly like networking or chitchat, whatever, but I am actually pretty good at it, to the point where if I am in a group or team others push me to do it for the group. So it’s a weird situation.

      For example, my job is very client based. A lot of people prefer other work to talking to the client/sales, but I actually love and prefer that. At the same time, I hate speaking on the phone.
      Who knows.

      I just try to remember that other people aren’t noticing every little thing, because I wouldn’t notice it in other people. Also knowing that I’m good at it helps because I know that even if I dislike doing it, it’s probably going well.

      Other than that I feel better when I prepare topics or an idea of what to say beforehand, generally feel prepared. I also tend to speak too fast (just a natural tendency, apparently I speak too fast when speaking Spanish too), and memorizing and reading poems outloud helps with that.

      • Yeah, the phone stresses me out a lot more than meeting in person. I’m interviewing a bunch of people for a project I’m working on, and even though I’m the one asking the questions, it stresses me out. And I worry I sound like a dumb/crazy person. But the conversations actually do go well!

        I think it does get easier with time. At least now I know i’m good at it and my worries are irrational. But it seems like the pace of this improvement is slow. I’m also very very introverted, so even when it’s easy and I enjoy it, I’m exhausted afterward.

        • I had a phone call with a recruiter yesterday . . . . where they were trying to charm me. And I was still moderately worried that they would think I sounded so dumb they’d take away my offer. I am so much better in person than on the phone. Guess there is nothing to do but practice.

          I have a limit. I”m not necessarily exhausted after, but after some time I am done interacting with humanity.

    • Quiet by Susan Cain and Presence by Amy Cuddy both have some good tips that have helped me!

    • Try this too :

    • I think this is just part of the human condition. Practice makes perfect!

  8. Anonymous :

    I need help “starting” a casual, weekend wardrobe. I have plenty of work clothes, but over the years I have neglected buying casual items, to the point that I am essentially wearing the same 2 outfits over and over again. I’m at the point where I would like to basically throw out everything–I have a bunch of stuff I never wear, that I bought because it was on sale, etc.–and start over, but I have no idea where to even begin. I have a couple of pairs of “jeggings” (in black and blue), but that’s about it.

    Where do people shop for casual items? What foundation pieces should I be looking for?

    • Anonymous :

      Oh, and OP here – I’m about to turn 30, if age makes a difference.

    • MargaretO :

      What kind of styles do you like? I think thats a good place to start. And how formal is your weekend stuff? Are you looking for nice sweaters and jeans and loafers, or athleisure, or trendier stuff?

    • I would suggest looking at the blog The Mom Edit – they do lots of casual stuff and different contributors have different style.

    • I’ve been thinking about this myself, and we’re the same age, so perhaps there are similar life forces at work. This may not be your experience, but I find that I was actually wanting two kinds of non-work clothes: a casual wardrobe I can wear when I’m out and about, and the muck-around clothes to wear for cleaning, yard work, etc. Defining the line between those two has helped me feel as though my non-work clothes were still nice things that I enjoyed wearing, not just task-oriented garments.

      Can you look at the casual outfits you gravitate towards and extrapolate out to find complementary pieces? I also am better if I have a uniform and a color palette, so my weekend wear is heavy on pullover sweaters and button-front shirts in shades of blue, black, green, and gray. YMMV.

    • What do you like to do on the weekends? Do you live in a city?

    • My fall/winter weekend wardrobe consists of a good pair of jeans and Target shirts. For springs/summer, I add in a couple summer sundresses from Loft. I don’t spend a lot of cash on weekend wear and commit to recycling it twice a year.

    • OP again – Thanks for everything so far. I’ve got “muck around” clothes, as ohc above said. I think what I am looking for is more “polished” casual clothes when I’m out with friends during the day for brunch/lunch/drinks/casual dinner. I do live in a smaller city.

      I’m not explaining myself well, but I’m trying to figure out where to start — do I get a few things that form the “base” and work around that? It is overwhelming to me, for example, to just skim the casual stuff at Nordstrom’s.

      • I think the starting point is one nice pair of jeans that fit you really well, one pair of winter and one pair of summer shoes that look good with the jeans (booties and nice sandals, for example), and 2-3 tops that fit well and are a style you like. If you put those pieces together, you’ll look nice. If you have somewhere like a Nordstrom near you, I’d start there for the jeans, which is the first piece of clothing I would buy and build around that. If you don’t have a Nordstrom, do you have a specialty jeans store? If not that either, I think you’re going to have to spend a day at the mall going store to store and trying on jeans—hopefully you’ll get lucky and find something quickly. I’d suggest a straight leg style.

        Because you can wear jeans over and over and over, once you have a great pair, you can add more tops and, if you like, accessories (although I’m very much of a shirt, jeans, shoes only person because I don’t love fashion and don’t have an interest in putting together wonderful outfits—I just want to look nice and put together).

      • Yes yes to a base! If you like the jeggings you have, maybe have a few (3-5 per season?) tops to go with them, and settle on a good pair of seasonal shoes (or maybe two, depending on your weather/walking needs) that work with those outfits. Then if the weather changes in a few months, you can tweak accordingly–add sundresses or shorts and sandals.

      • Assuming you’re happy with your jeggings as your bottom layer, I’d start looking for:

        – 2 nicer tees
        – A casual sleeveless blouse
        – A casual blouse with sleeves
        – 2 boyfriend cardigans (1 in a neutral colour, 1 in an accent colour)
        – A casual dress (in a neutral colour)
        – A scarf you love
        – A pair of casual closed-toe shoes (nicer sneakers, ankle boots, flats – this really depends on your style)
        – A pair of casual sandals that aren’t flip-flops

    • Because I’m petite, I’m limited to only a few stores that carry tiny clothes. My go to are Loft for leggings/jeggings, skirts, and dresses. They used to have good jeans (not jeggings) but I haven’t bought jeans in a while so I don’t know how true that still is. I don’t much like their pretty silky tops anymore because I’ve figured I don’t like polyester, which is what most of them are made of. They don’t breathe well, they make me sweat, and they keep that sweaty smell after washes.

      I also sometimes check Gap and Uniqlo for tee shirts and sweatshirts. I should venture out more, but it’s a pain to keep up with various brands’ sizes that may or may not work, and also the sale cycles ;)

    • Wildkitten :


  9. BigLaw / household help :

    Currently in BigLaw (small partner, small market) with working spouse in face-time sensitive job and two school-aged kids. No local family. We have house cleaners come every 4 weeks and a yard service. We have one babysitter who comes one weekday night (so I can work late and or we get errands done). I feel like we are always stressed for time / peace of mind / etc. Most people I work with have a SAHW or are single. I am *feeling* like we just need more help (like Alice Brady?) to help with the juggle, but don’t know anyone who is in my shoes (working FT with kids is very socially isolating for me). Ugh. Advice?

    • Not in big law, but I have a babysitter every day 3:30- 6:30 who picks up the kids and gets them to their activities and (I pay her more for this) cleans the house, cuz my kids are early teens and when they are home don’t need much supervision. If I have to work late, she stays later. She doesn’t love to cook so she doesn’t make dinner unless Im not coming home and then she will for the kids, but if I were starting again I’d make that part of the deal too. (but she’s awesome and its been 4 years and I do like to cook and I just meal plan on Sunday and get lots of easy trader joes stuff for the week, so it’s not that hard.)

      Also I have friends! The only thing I do for myself is exercise, but I have this awesome group of women friends who I swim and bike with — some are moms, some aren’t, but they are pretty much the reason it doesn’t drive me crazy. I don’t need a lot of me time — I work out most days and then on the weekends, if no kids sports stuff, will have a longer workout and maybe breakfast with them or hang out a bit at the gym. Also my job is pretty social so that helps.

      Good luck.

      • I have a very similar arrangement to this. I am in-house, but work 40 minutes from home, and husband does shift work on a random schedule. We have a college student pick the kids up from afterschool and get them home or to activities. We have been using ladies from the same sorority for 6 years – they just pass them job on to lower classmen when they graduate. We also have a separate cleaning service every 2 weeks. They handle the kids’ laundry so I try to buy 2 weeks’ worth of outfits and underwear for the season for each kid (so I don’t have to do loads in between, but that sometimes still happens).

    • So I’m a single Biglaw partner with no dependents but a dog and I get lots more help than you do! My house cleaner comes every other week and I get floor service on the weeks when I don’t have a full cleaning. I get groceries delivered by an errand-running service or use Blue Apron/Hello Fresh. I also send out my laundry. My dog goes to daycare 2x/week so that he is more chill at night, which also helps.

      For me, the biggest time sucks were running errands and groceries/cooking, so I outsourced those (I still cook, but with the services, it’s a lot easier – no meal planning or shopping and recipes are straightforward). I would suggest thinking about what you value the most or want more of (time with kids? time for yourself? time with spouse w/o kids?) and what you feel like is the biggest obstacle to that other than your jobs. Can you outsource the latter so you can get more of the former?

    • Weekly house cleaning has a made a big difference to us. It makes us keep the house neater and makes spontaneous entertaining easier because I don’t worry about the house needing to be cleaned up before people come over. I do a lot of tasks online even if I pay slightly more in convenience fees.
      Also, I’ve had to let go of the idea that attendance at school/sports events is something that I must do or that both of us must do. My husband is just as capable of handling these events and is better at noticing that not all the parents come (despite what my kid thinks sometimes).

    • Anonymous :

      Hire more help. I’m astounded that you’re making it work with so little help. By comparison – My parents are 5 minutes away and help out a lot with extras (taking kids to swimming lessons etc), I have a 5-10 minute commute and not in bigLaw, my DH works from home two days a week and is off every second Friday. We have no yard service but we have cleaners every two weeks and a lady who comes for 3 hours every Friday to change./wash sheets on all the beds, fold and put away the kids clothes/towels (I put kids clothes in washer on Thursday night) plus do a quick clean of the two main bathrooms.

      Someone on here has a housekeeper that comes one day a week for eight hours to do meal prep/organizing/tidying and grocery shopping – if I could find the right person and DH had to do more facetime I’d be totally doing that IN ADDITION to biweekly cleaners.

      Do not change/wash your own sheets, or do the kids laundry or grocery shop. Outsource these things and you will buy yourself a lot of time.

    • ponte python's flying circus :

      No advice, just commiseration – you’ll find lots of people here in the same boat, which we are all furiously paddling to stay afloat… sigh. Big hugs.

      On the social isolation – I have group chats on my phone all the time and they’re with friends who don’t mind being asynchronous and are frequently in other countries or time zones anyway. Every night I try to catch up with the messages. Sometimes I’ll email a friend I haven’t talked to in ages. It helps a little bit, even if there’s nothing like face-to-face contact. Also, if you have work friends, grab a coffee with them now and again – talking to other adults helps!

      • That’s such a lovely idea. My PhD buddy moved away and we have a running email chain which makes us feel more connected. No need for formality or apologies if we haven’t replied in awhile but just a lovely line of communication. Silly stuff, what we’re up to, annoying stuff we noticed on our commute, links to videos of pandas and more serious conversations.

    • Every 4 weeks does not sound like enough with 2 kids at home! That leaves a lot for you to handle in the evenings/weekends in between. Can you afford to increase to every 2 weeks or even weekly? Can you outsource more errands or groceries so that your babysitter night can be used for half errands and half date night, instead of all errands?

      What’s your current daily routine? Do the kids get home on their own or do you need to pick them up? Maybe an au pair or babysitter for that afternoon pick-up and dinner prep would help – pick up kids, throw in a load of laundry for you to fold at night, put dinner in the oven?

      • Agreed, I’m single and my cleaning service comes every other week. There’s no way I would get by on once a month. OP, the extent of your cleaning responsibilities should be picking up, dealing with mail, and random spills that need to be cleaned up rightthissecond. No scrubbing, vacuuming, or routine laundry.

      • It depends on how much cleaning you’re doing on your own. Our cleaning service comes every 4 weeks but we just let the house get dirty in between her visits, so having her come every week or every two week wouldn’t reduce the burden on us, it would just make our house cleaner more frequently. If OP is doing a lot of cleaning on her own in between visits, I agree she should increase the frequency of the cleaner, but a lot of people just live with a less-than-perfect house in between cleaner visits. And picking up for the cleaner is time-consuming, so having her come more frequently would actually increase the time I have to spend on chores.

        • Your house needs to be cleaned more than that. Bathrooms? Kitchens? omg

          • Monthly Cleaners :

            I’m not Anon at 10:15 but our bathrooms and kitchens are only cleaned once a month when our professional cleaning team comes. I don’t think it’s that weird. Of course we wipe up spills and stuff like that in the kitchen and we vacuum the carpets every week or so because we have a dog, but otherwise we don’t clean between the monthly professional cleanings.

          • BigLaw / household help :

            Don’t call the health department (yet)!

            We find that we have to (as we were trained at McDonalds oh so many years ago) clean as we go. Milk gets spilled. Stomach viruses happen. We can’t leave that. So we have to do a lot daily (and sometimes with each meal). I don’t see a way around that.

            I see the cleaners as there for very thorough scrubbing, merciless vacuuming all over, and dusting (OMG the dust!).

          • Um, no? There’s no evidence that scrubbing your entire house top to bottom with harsh chemicals every two weeks is healthier than doing that every four weeks. Like OP, we clean up messes immediately after they happen with soap and water and we clean everything when someone is ill. Otherwise, if things get a little dusty and less sparkly because we go four weeks between cleanings instead of two, I’m perfectly ok with that. I’d rather spend my time and money on things I enjoy rather than keeping an immaculate house.

          • Our bathroom and kitchen are only cleaned once a month when our cleaning service comes (other than wiping the sink/counter tops).

          • I grew up in a middle to upper middle class family that (gasp!) never had a cleaning service, and was top-to-bottom cleaned maybe once or twice a year. Of course we wiped the counters and occasionally scrubbed out major stains or spills. We were fine. This site seems to have a way higher proportion of people with cleaning people than I’m used to IRL, even controlling for age and income.

          • It needs to because …..? What’s the thing that’s going to happen if the house is not cleaned more often than every 4 weeks? The difference between one, two, and four weeks between cleanings is mostly personal preference.

          • Y’all are making me feel so much better about skipping a thorough weekend clean (I do them every week, but eff that, no more)!

          • My house looks pretty gross if I go a month between cleanings. Makeup all over the sink. Hair in the corners of the bathroom (no I don’t have pets that shed). Crumbs on the kitchen counters and floor (where do they come from? I don’t eat bread or crackers or any obviously crumbly thing! it’s like mystery purse crumbs but WORSE).

          • Anonymous :

            Two weeks is fine, four weeks is disgusting. Honestly you guys, you need to be thinking about the dirt that you can’t see that your children are breathing in. Ugh. Ever wonder why there is an epidemic of childhood asthma? Clean your houses.

          • I think there is a difference between *not cleaning* and not deep cleaning. I have a service that comes biweekly. I have 2 kids under 5 and a dog. We sweep the kitchen daily, vacuum the two main rooms that the dog is in (family room, foyer) every few days. We do our own dishes and wipe the counters daily. We scrub (toilets, bathtubs) bathrooms only if needed (illness etc). I do our laundry. I do our sheets weekly and time it so I leave clean sheets for the cleaners to put on (so they strip the dirty sheets and put on new ones. I come home and do the sheets with the next load of laundry). We take out our own trash, except on cleaning day when the cleaners do it.

            We could easily stretch to a month between cleanings. The main benefit is the de-cluttering we do the night before the service comes. I really do not understand how deep cleaning monthly is gross.

          • Anonymous :

            This was judgemental and rude. Also, as an FYI, my brother and I both have terrible allergies and asthma, and I have autoimmune disorders. We’ve been told, by multiple doctors, that at least some of our issues are due to the fact that my mom was a germophobe and everything in our house was cleaned weekly to spotless condition with things like bleach, pure ammonia, and Comet. Apparently it’s better to expose your kids to dirt than it is to expose them to harsh chemicals and a nearly germ-free environment. There actually is research about this, if you care to look it up. Also, not projecting your own issues onto other people is generally a more peaceful way to live your life.

          • Yeah, regular household cleaning products are linked to asthma. I’m another data point for severe childhood asthma and a house that was deep-cleaned every weekend.

          • Wildkitten :

            I have severe asthma even as an adult and my single mom never cleaned. Anecdata.

    • Diana Barry :

      Are your kids in afterschool? I would increase the nighttime babysitter to twice a week at least, or look at getting an au pair or afterschool nanny instead of afterschool -the costs might be close to a wash.

      Our cleaners come once every 2 weeks and I would love for them to come every week, but our house is huge and it would be a lot of $$. No way we could handle it if they only came every 4!

    • My husband and I both work full-time, but not crazy hours (most of the time, anyway), and we have two kids at home (preschool and elem school). I agree with the above suggestions to increase your level of help! We have weekly cleaners who come on Thursday. As a result, on Saturday, when I would be tempted to clean, the house is still mostly in order. And when it is in need of a good clean on Wednesday, I know that they are coming the next day. However, our biggest help is our au pair. She works 45 hours per week and is responsible for most of the kid related tasks in our house, which includes getting my oldest on the bus, getting the youngest to and from preschool, their laundry, keeping the playroom and their bedrooms tidy and shuttling them to swimming. She does the lunches. Once a week, she works late to allow us to have a date night. Childcare help aside, what else can you outsource? Laundry? Meal prep?

      On a different note, I fully understand how isolating it is. I frequently feel like I am the only working mom around. Occasionally, I will catch a glimpse of another mom doing the same sprint, hair on fire type run into the grocery store/CVS/wherever and think that she probably gets me. But we are all so busy just trying to not let any of the big balls drop that we don’t have time to stop. There are other working moms in my company, but we don’t socialize. I think they find me scary or intimidating (in house counsel where there are many hourly employees). And the other folks at my level either have older kids (high school or college) or a stay at home spouse. You’re not alone, even if it feels that way.

      • BigLaw / household help :

        OMG — I would so get an au pair if I could talk my husband into it (our only extra bedroom is a tiny room that abuts where our bed is in our bedroom and he is totally creeped out that even our overnight guests can hear him snore and pass gas (among other things)). If we could have a live-out au pair (like renting an apartment a block away), I would totally do that but understand that that’s not how it goes.

        I call it the Harris Teeter 500 (our local grocery store). Grab cart and start moving at a 4-6 MPH clip, grabbing, grabbing without slowing down. I do it en route to school pickup and find it helpful (some movement, fresh fruits/veggies/meat) periodically throughout the week.

        • If you have Harris Teeter, start paying for them to do that for you! Use Express Lane! I mean, unless you actually like it. But it is so convenient to just pull in and have them hand you your bags.

          • BigLaw / household help :

            I tried that but I found it more stressful to be there in the pickup window, esp. with rush hour traffic being so variable. And sometimes people clog up the pickup lane (not cool if you are car #5 in line), so it wound up not being convenient for me. Easier for me to park and dart in.

          • anon a mouse :

            OMG, YES. Express lane is amazing.

        • See! I knew there were others out there! And I miss Harris Teeter as there are none where I live now.

          Ha! there are definitely adjustments to having an au pair, and decreased privacy is big one. If an au pair isn’t workable, can you find the closest equivalent? Actually, hire your local nanny service to find someone for you. Be honest and forthright about what you need: start with 20-25 hours per week of someone who can pick the kids up, do their laundry, pack their lunches for the next day, run one errand per day (CVS, pick-up/drop-off dry cleaning, etc.), start dinner, run the vacuum 2x per week, whatever other household tasks you like the least. Our local nanny service charges a significant fee, but it is worth it to have someone else do the curating for you.

          • Oh! And in case you don’t already: We use amazon prime (and the autoship) for a ton of groceries and things that are a pain to lug to the car. We have the following delivered every month: pasta, paper towels, toilet paper, coffee, dog food, kitty litter, the kind of snacks my kids like (larabars and Annie’s gummies), vitamins. Putting this stuff away would be a great task for a part-time nanny!

    • Legally Brunette :

      I am amazed you are getting by with so little help! Here are my suggestions

      – cleaners every 2 weeks at a minimum, or once a week if you can afford it (when I win the lotto I’m doing an every week cleaning)

      – mother’s helper who picks up your kids from school and helps out every afternoon at home (from 4 – 7 pm, roughly). That person can also help tidy up the house, load dishes, fold laundry, etc. If you have a college close by this is a great job for a college/grad student. We have always had one since my kids were little and she is indispensable.

      – cooking service like Galley once or twice a week (full meals delivered)

    • Get more help. We have 1 kiddo and have the house cleaned every other week. We do Blue Apron and Google Express to cut down on grocery store visits. We also order in food about once a week and sometimes we eat cereal for dinner. One weekday night with help does not sound like much. How are your weekends? We trade playdates with another family about once a month to get free time. I don’t know if it’s an option for you, but about once a month, I take a leave day during the week. It’s amazing how much you can get done on a Wednesday when there are no lines in stores.

    • I’d up your housekeeping frequency for sure. I only have one child and ours comes every other week, and I’d have her come every week if I could.

      I think finding some services that deliver key goods to your house might help. We use a local grocery delivery service (we are not in a big city, but our city still has one), order staples from Amazon, and go to Costco once a month and that saves a lot of grocery/household shopping time. Ditto prescriptions, contacts and dog medicine, and our dry-cleaner delivers to my husband’s work. Running around picking all that stuff up can eat up your whole weekend sometimes.


      Alice was not a Brady! She was Alice Nelson, until of course she married Sam the Butcher Franklin!

      • ha. i too had that realization. :) SO BUSY YOU FORGOT OLD TV TRIVIA! Clearly more help is needed!

        no, but seriously second everything they said. Similar situation (two working spouses, one biglaw salary, 2 kids (1 elementary school, one preschool). Until kindergarten started, we had a nanny and it was great to have the additional help. Now we rely on weekly whole-house cleaning, midweek tidying/errand running (paying a local mom $20/hr x3 hrs to do this), grandparents watching younger kid all day/big kid afterschool 2x a week, after school care, plus sporadic sitting.

        Find your pain points — what stresses you out? laundry, cleaning, last minute “get a birthday gift for [friend’s] party”, picking up kids from school… then go on a local resource [care dot come worked for me] and hire someone to do that. Good lcuk!

    • anonlawyer :

      BigLaw partner with BigLaw partner husband in Big (non-coastal) City. Kids in 1st grade and 4th grade.

      We have cleaners that come once a week and they do all of our laundry. That was the first step in making my life better.
      We order 2 meals a week from a meal delivery service (we use local, but think Blue Apron). Our nanny prepares those meals for the whole family, as well as 2 other meals each week. Taking weeknight dinners off of my plate was the next step in making life much better.

      As for childcare, we now have an au pair, which is the best thing ever. But if that option is not for you, for whatever reason, our situation was similar when we had an after-school nanny.

      Nanny picks kids up from school and handles all after school activities, including homework. Nanny cooks dinner and everyone eats together when husband and I get home, usually around 6:30 pm. Nanny is available (almost always) to stay late for after work events, both planned and last minute. Nanny can also do some light errands. Basically you need someone that can work about 20 hours a week consistently, with lots of flexibility if you need last minute help.

  10. Hoping for some good vibes from you ladies and the universe. I took my dog (/best friend/copilot/beloved companion of five years) to the vet yesterday because she seemed a little off. I thought she probably ate something funny and might need an antibiotic–turns out that she’s likely to have late-stage, untreatable cancer. I won’t know anything concrete until some test results come in later today. Really struggling to keep it together.

    • Anonymous :

      *Hugs* from me. My dog is like my first baby so I know how you feel. He’s getting older and I’m dreading the day this type of diagnosis comes. I will likely be inconsolable and will have to take some time off of work. So I feel you, and I’ll put some good vibes out there for you!!

    • So sorry to hear that! Sending good vibes

    • Oh no, my heart is breaking for you. Dogs really are members of our family. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that the news isn’t as bad as you expect. (And although I don’t know your office I would totally understand if an employee of mine needed to take the day off in this circumstance.)

    • I’m sorry to hear that. My family dog passed under similar circumstances last summer and my dad called to tell me she wasn’t going to make it. I was leaving in 2 days for a 2 week trip to Asia and was walking in to a bikini wax appointment when this happened. I bawled the entire night. And a large part of the trip. And I am maybe crying writing this now.

      My heart goes out to you. I know you’ll do what’s best for her even if it’s not easy. Enjoy whatever time you have left – be it days or months or years.

    • Sending you and your fur baby my thoughts. Hugs for you, pats for her. Pets truly are part of the family.

    • Anon dog lover :

      I am so sorry. If you haven’t already sought a second opinion, I highly recommend the Oncology Service and — if needed — Virginia Veterinary Surgical Associates, located in your city (sorry if it’s creepy I know that). We literally just went through this (albeit with an older dog). What was initially diagnosed by our local vet as untreatable, aggressive cancer turned out to be a less aggressive, operable cancer. My poor old boy is recovering from surgery now, but his prognosis is pretty good. I don’t want to give you false hope, but like I said, I’d highly recommend a second opinion with specialists. (Also, the cost was expensive but far more reasonable than we anticipated — under $3k for surgery, overnight stay, meds, and lab work.) Sending hugs your way…this is such hard news to hear.

      • I also dont’ want to give you false hope, but a vet told me there was a good chance my dog had cancer and it turned out to be something totally treatable…fingers crossed the news will be better than expected.

      • Thanks. My vet said that they’d likely need to refer me to a specialist, so I’ll keep those two in mind. There are less-serious things that it could be, but the vet said that the worst option was the most likely based on her presentation. Praying that it’s a less-awful one.

        This is another moment where I am so grateful that I have savings. I can go up to $4,000 if I need to, and my mom was kind enough to offer me a blank check from her savings account. My baby girl is only six so if there’s anything that we can do, that wouldn’t only serve to prolong her suffering, we’ll do it.

        • Good for you for remembering this is about your dog’s needs, not yours. I don’t want to be a downer but sometimes people put their pets through painful medical treatments when there is really no hope (or no substantial hope) of recovery. Chemo sucks, but a human understands that it’s a hope of recovery. Dogs don’t. Your affection for your dog really comes through in your post, so be reassured that whatever happens your love has meant that your pup has had the best possible life.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Oh, emeralds…all the hugs for you today. Fingers crossed that maybe the news will be better than expected.

    • Anon in NYC :

      I’m so sorry. Fingers crossed for the best.

    • Oh no! I’m so sorry. I hope you’re able to take a couple days off to enjoy some quality time together and just snuggle this horrible news away.

    • Keep saying to yourself – it’s a DOG.

      • Eff you see kay, anon at 10:40. If that’s how you feel about animals, I’d hate to see how you treat humans.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Please ignore this comment. I lost my dog of 11 years to cancer last year and the grief was so hard. The one benefit of late stage cancer is if there was nothing you could do anyway, you got to enjoy more time without grief. The time between when you know and when you lose her is the hardest. For us, it was less than a week but we were looking for certain signs that it “was time.” Other people may have waited longer but we didn’t want her to lose her dignity (she was very ashamed of accidentally going to the bathroom in the house) and we wanted to remember the good times with her.

      • Screw you, Anon at 10:40. Even if you don’t get the dog-human bond, there’s absolutely nothing to be gained by saying something cruel like this to someone who is in shock because they just found a beloved pet likely has a terminal illness.
        I’ve seen my father cry twice in my entire life – once at my wedding and once when we put our family dog of 12 years to sleep. Pets are family members, and the grief from losing them is every bit as profound as the grief from losing a cherished relative.

      • Anon, I hope you learn to have half the empathy that my DOG has always shown to people in pain.

      • What an ugly comment.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        You sound like a really pleasant person.

    • Oh no I’m so sorry!

    • I am so sorry. Here’s hoping for the best!

    • HUGS and sending many good thoughts from the CountC four-legged crew.

    • Hugs. Perfectly ok to close the door and fall apart.

    • I am so, so sorry. Keeping my fingers crossed that she’s okay.

      In case you get bad news – we lost one of our dogs two years ago to osteosarcoma in her spine. I’m happy to try to help if you have questions or need support. Praying things will turn out for the best. Hugs.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Sending you love, Emeralds. In case the news is not what you’re hoping for, we lost our family dog of almost 13 years in December 2015, and I still cry (might be crying now) thinking about it. It’s incredibly difficult, and the only way out is through.

      Love, love, love.

    • *Hugs* I hope you’re hanging in there okay.

    • I am so, so sorry. I would be a mess too.

    • I’m so sorry – and I hope it’s not the worst-case scenario for you and your pup. You’ll be in my thoughts today.

    • I’m so sorry. That’s terrible. I’ll be thinking of you.

  11. For those of you observing Lent, what are you giving up or focusing on this year? I’m trying to give up hitting snooze and I’m trying to be less apologetic/feel less guilt for things that aren’t my fault (I’ve recently realized I’m becoming one of those women who apologizes for everything and I hate it!)

    • Those are good ones! I’m giving up sweets, which I usually do. I teach Sunday School to 7th graders and I want to plan good Lenten lessons for them this year.

    • So while many people use Lent as a time to break bad habits, that’s not really what it’s for in terms of the historic Christian perspective – it’s a time that you refrain from good/pleasant/enjoyable things, so that you’ll be mindful that you’re in a time of penitence. So while I do refrain from alcohol, sweets, and (on Fridays) meat during Lent, I fully intend to resume all of those things once Lent is over (and I don’t observe those restrictions on Sundays, since Sundays aren’t part of the Lenten fast period).

      That’s not intended as a criticism – obviously everyone’s personal religious experience is just that (personal) – but for me, I just think of Lent different and that’s been positive for me.

      • I’m not even Christian (UU) but my husband is Catholic an our family has cultural Catholic roots. I’m totally with you cbackson. I could see how if you want to change your habits, it’s a helpful tool to get kickstarted but seems to not be in alignment with the true purpose. My version is a little different (see first line:) – I usually give up sweets because it’s something that I “want” but I know I don’t need and it’s really good constant reminder of how many things I have. One year I tried to give up cheese. That did NOT go well.

      • Yeah this is me. I’m giving up winetime but just for Lent!

      • You don’t get to decide how people spend Lent. My own church has a bunch of “challenge” groups that are focusing on doing good during Lent, not abstaining — committing to random acts of kindness, gratitude practices and prayer are just a few. Personally, this has been more meaningful/fulfilling than giving up sweets ever was.

        • cbackson was not in any way “deciding how people do Lent”. She was giving a very informed perspective on the season in a way that highlighted the rituals associated with it in a meaningful light. I’m disappointed at the way you responded.

      • Thanks for this, cbackson. I am Catholic and therefore take a similar approach. Everyone can obviously do what they want, but I appreciate the reminder that my Lenton practices should have a higher reason/calling. I also try to “add” in things (saying the Rosary, volunteering, etc).

        One of my favorite practices, when I lived in NYC, was not sitting on the subway during Lent. This had the dual purpose of 1) allowing another person to take my seat and 2) depriving myself of the comfort of sitting and reminding myself to be thankful for all that my physical body is capable of.

        (sorry if this posts twice…it disappeared and I can’t imagine why it would go into moderation?)

      • This has been my practice as well. I give up one of my favorite things in the world, chocolate, for a temporary period as a reminder and to serve to jog my mind to be thankful.

      • anonlawyer :

        agree. I’m giving up candy. which will be very difficult.

    • Veronica Mars :

      I’m giving up alcohol. My liver needs a break and I tend to slim down when I’m not doing a glass of wine with dinner.

      • I’m giving up drinking alone. I’ll still have wine out with friend but not on my couch watching TV.

        • Veronica Mars :

          Oh that’s a good one! Well I’ve already committed so it’s too late this year, although I will look into wether or not I’ll abstain on Sundays or not. I’m protestant so it’s a strictly “for fun” thing.

      • +1

    • I always give something up and try to pick up a good habit. This year I’m giving up sweets and thanking god for a very specific, non-repeatable thing each day (so while I’m obviously thankful for family, it can’t be “thankful for family” every day).

    • Diet soda. Not because I am worried about it being bad for me, but it’s bad for my wallet. So I guess larger than that, I’m giving up buying soft drinks at work (I work for a big government agency so it’s easy to walk to the cafeteria and pick up a diet coke for $2…) I am getting a case of La Croix at the beginning of the week for work and I only do 4 days in the office, so that’s 3 a day, and we have water and an ice machine.

      I was raised Catholic, but this is less about being observant and more about taking the opportunity to better myself.

      • Been there done that :

        if you need an extra incentive diet soda is actually terrible for you — all that aspartame/fake sugar crap is awful and leads to more weight gain

        • This actually isn’t true if you look at the science behind it and not the hype, but thanks for sharing anyway?

          • Alright then, feel free to have your teeth rot, a paunch, and an increased risk of diabetes. I seriously can’t believe you are arguing that diet soda is ok for your health. Good for you for giving it up for Lent though.

          • I’m not saying it’s GOOD for your health, but it’s not OMG CRISIS MODE like you seem to think based on your last comment. “Feel free” to do some research.

          • Here I did some for you:

            (check some of the sources cited within that article)

          • First Year Anon :

            I tend to agree (I am not a diet soda advocate I swear!). The issue is establishing causation instead of just correlation…

          • You don’t have to be an advocate of something to realize it’s not ~*~evil. People seeing health benefits from giving it up is great for them but pure anecdote.

        • That is good, b/c w/o diet soda I might have wasted away to nothing. Also, I don’t like coffee, so I need a caffeine vehicle.

          I used to worry that when I left college I’d waste away without the beer calories and now I see that the diet pepsi non-calories have taken up the slack. Good to know.

          • Legally Brunette :

            So this is purely anecdotal but my dad used to drink a lot of diet soda (maybe one a day or at least 4 a week) and he would complain of migraines and fatigue. Stopped cold turkey and those ailments went away completely.

    • I’m giving up eating out. I default to ordering a pizza or Chinese when I’m lazy, and now’s the perfect time to start trying to MAKE those dishes instead and save some money while I’m at it.

    • Edna Mazur :

      I’m trying to give up convenience eating out. Going out to dinner as an event is OK, but I’m spending way too much money on just grabbing something while I’m out or not planning ahead for the work day. Trying to get to work five minutes early rather than five minutes late.

      Also, rather than focus exclusively on giving something up, I usually try to do something to help me spiritually. I got a book last year of a bible quote and inspirational reading for everyday in lent, I didn’t make it through last year, but I thought I’d try again this year.

    • I am giving up the on-site cafeteria and will be attending stations of the cross each Friday evening. If I’m really bold, I might even make it to confession.

    • For me, it is pizza. Which is totally a Friday thing for me so I don’t feel that’s fair play. I am trying to come up with another item to abstain from that has daily significance. Perhaps colored nail polish, as superficial as it sounds, will constantly signify Lent is an important retrospection in my life. I think I will also do as I did last year and have 40 days of dedicated scripture/spiritual readings. I lean more towards a wider practice/investigation of religious beliefs I have found Lent to be an absolutely meaningful part of my life now far more than it was when I identified as Catholic.

    • I am giving up drinking during the week. So only Friday and Saturday evenings. I did it last year and it was really good for me to step back from grabbing that glass of wine during the week.

    • Senior Attorney :

      This isn’t for Lent because I’m not religious at all, but coincidentally Lovely Husband and I started a Whole30 diet program on Monday, which involves giving up alcohol, sugar, dairy, legumes, and grains for 30 days, most of which coincides with Lent.

      • Hoes that going? I think I could do that, except for the dairy. I love my yogurt, cheese and coffee creamer.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Well it’s only Day Three but so far, so good. This morning we had eggs, avocado, and a fun-sized portion of carnitas for breakfast (salsa on the side). What’s not to love?

          I am flabbergasted that LH agreed to do it with me but it is so much easier to have a buddy!

  12. Spring wardrobe refresh? :

    What’s everyone eyeing for spring clothing, especially for weekends (as inspired by the poster above)?

    I’m tired of my clothes, but working on losing baby weight so I’d like to just get a couple of pieces to help me through the transition. Suggestions/inspiration?

    • I’m looking forward to throwing out all the maternity clothes I am sick to death of wearing! Of course now I’ll be needing nursing-friendly styles, so I’ve picked up a couple of casual shirt dresses, scarves and sandals for my spring maternity leave :)

    • PrettyPrimadonna :

      Off-the-shoulder tops and dresses! White jeans. Blush everything.

    • Shopaholic :

      I bought a blush faux leather jacket and I’m counting down the days until I can wear it!

    • I would like a new trench, white and grey pants and jeans (none of which I own right now!), and stacked heel leather slide-ons.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I am getting the earth intrepid booties in taupe (which is really fairly pink). Shoes always fit!

    • I really want a pair of white shorts and a pair of white jeans. And some new sandals.

  13. I commented yesterday that I was eagerly awaiting my first MM La Fleur order. Here’s my review:

    Overall: Pretty hit or miss. When they say you need to size up from your J Crew size they REALLY mean it. I’m short, high waisted, with a large bust, broad shoulders, and short arms. The arm length was mostly OK for me, so if you have long arms you might have a problem. The bust was an issue though.

    Etsuko dress: I was most looking forward to this one and so I was most disappointed that it wasn’t quite right for me. The seams at the shoulders popped up like Vulcan ears. Idk what kind of fit issue that is, maybe my biceps are too big for this brand? That’s never been an issue for me before but I’ve been lifting a lot so idk.

    Albright jacket: This was great for me, though it needs a bit of tailoring. The sleeves are a touch longer than I’d like (though not as long as most jackets) and there’s some bunching at the back of the neck. I got the matching skirt but it hasn’t shipped yet. I bought the set to wear as a suit but I might keep the jacket even if the skirt doesn’t work.

    Barton shirt: Knocked it out of the park. It’s been AGES since I had something that approximates a button up shirt. I didn’t think I’d be this excited about a white shirt but there you have it. The arms are a touch long for me but I’m not sure it’s worth it to get them taken up.

    Fey Top: Holy heck this was tight. I normally wear a large in tops and have some room to spare, so I ordered the large in this. Big mistake. I’m going to return this for an XL but I’m concerned it’s just meant to fit a lot tighter than I prefer in workwear.

    Sant Ambroeus Jardigan: The large doesn’t fit over my bust. Like at all. It sort of bunches to the side of my bust. Returning for the XL to see how that works. It was nice otherwise, though I think calling it a jardigan is a bit misleading. It’s a cardigan. It is not a jacket substitute, imo.

    Foster Pant: I’m undecided on this one. The zipper and buttons are on the side, which is really flattering but is a pain to get in and out of. I haven’t had a chance to play with the length yet – apparently you can lengthen and shorten the pants with an interior button contraption.

    • Interesting, I am also very large busted (34 DDD) and have found the etsuko to be perfect – slimmer at the waist, fits perfectly in the bust – in fact I’m wearing the crackle version today. Although, I did try a new color (the maroon and black one, can’t remember the name), and the fit was terrible! Too tight in the shoulders and bust, too loose in the waist – very bizarre.

      I may have to try the barton shirt – I have avoided button downs for a couple decades now! The waist looks really large and it looks long, so I think for me it would have to be tuck into skirts/pants only.

      • Re the Etsuko – the fit through the body was great. The shoulder seams were so confusing. Maybe I should try returning for a different color.

        • BabyAssociate :

          I had the same problem with the Etsuko! It was so hyped and just did not work for me at all.

          If there’s one near you, I can’t stress enough how great the personal stylists at MMLaFleur are. I had so much more luck shopping with a stylist than online. She got me to try stuff on I never would have picked out for myself, but I ended up loving.

        • I hate the Etsuko, partly because of the shoulder seam issue. I did not have the same problem with the Nisa, so maybe try that style instead?

          A friend has the opposite problem–shoulder seams pop up on the Nisa and the Etsuko looks great. I think the sleeves and shoulders on the two styles are cut to fit different body types.

  14. Work Conundrum :

    So, I recently got a promotion, yay, to cover a team that is outside of my area of expertise. My former boss (FB) was expecting to take on this role, but his boss (who is my current boss) gave it to me instead. My current boss (CB) has told me that I report directly to CB, but he will not tell FB that I no longer report to FB – he keeps saying I’m “dotted line” to FB. FB is pushing me to make changes to the team, but I haven’t had time to evaluate the team and figure out what is really best.

    CB has told me that he wants me to take time to evaluate the team and figure out what’s best, and that I need to tell FB to let me run the team. The challenge is that I do need FB’s help in getting issues resolved and getting through a lot of the day-to-day work.

    FB is a terrible manager – micro manages everything and isn’t as good at the strategic piece or leadership, which is why I got the role instead of him. I feel like I’m kind of stuck, where CB won’t properly lead our team, and FB and CB have opposite views of what I need to do. My workplace feels like it has gotten very political, which I’m usually pretty good at navigating. But I normally navigate it by doing my best work and what I think is right (never by actually politicking myself).

    Anyone been in a situation like this? Any suggestions?

    • Work Conundrum :

      I hope that isn’t too confusing!

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      I’d recommend taking a run through the Ask A Manager archives. She has some very good advice on similar situations. Perhaps consider submitting this as a question to her. That is a tough situation!

    • Ask A Manager also has a open-but-work-related thread every Friday in which the readers ask each other questions. You might try there also. Thread goes up mid-day (somewhere between 11 and 1 ET).

  15. I want to buy some house plants. Where should I go for this? Is a home goods store fine or should I go to a nursery?

  16. What should I do in this situation? A dear friend dated a guy for five years (mostly long distance) and supported him through a long period of unemployment. He finally got a good job and then broke up with her a month in (after meeting fun new coworkers, evidently). That was two years ago, but I just saw on Facebook that he got married to someone else. My friend is no longer friends with him there and I’m not sure if she knows. I am tempted to reach out and ask if she’s doing okay/express my support in some way (it was a huge shock to her when they broke up – they had talked about marriage themselves), but is that just creating trouble?

    • First, it’s likely that she knows. Second, what is there to gain by making it a topic of conversation unless she brings it up?

      • Also, why are you still friends with said guy on facebook? If she’s such a dear friend, I would probably disconnect that friendship too.

    • Yep – don’t create drama. If she isn’t friends with him on FB and isn’t hanging out with his core group (which she may not be if he has switched to a more coworker friend group) – she may not even know. Or she may have heard and said whatever. Next time you see her- if she’s really broken hearted, she’ll mention it.

    • Creating trouble. Let sleeping dogs lie.

    • Ah, the perils of social media. This will only cause her (more) pain. Unless she brings it up herself dont broach the topic at all. Let her enjoy her life without knowing or acknowledging what hes up to.

    • Why would you tell her? If she doesn’t know, you’re going to hurt her by telling her. If she does know and hasn’t brought it up to you, she obviously doesn’t want to talk about it with you. I don’t see what could be gained by trying to talk to her about this.

    • Yes, it’s creating trouble. You’d be reaching out to her to tell her that she should be feeling badly.

    • OK, thanks all. I was thinking it might be worse to ignore it and make her feel abandoned/like no one remembers what she went through, but it sounds like a bad idea.

    • Try this too :

      Just check in with her like you don’t know. So that way if she does, and needs a friend, you’re there. If she doesn’t, you are just being a good friend generally. “We should catch up soon and do XYZ. How have you been?”

    • If you were close enough friends to bring this up, you’d already know whether or not your friend knows.

    • Calibrachoa :

      Updates about my ex’s new relationship always made me want to stab myself in the eye with an icepick and ruined many a good day for me so like… no just no.

  17. Travel Agent :

    Does anyone have a travel agent they recommend for a trip to India? I need someone that can buy train tickets as I haven’t been able to get my online account “verified”. Has anyone else dealt with this?

    • I just got back from a trip to India for my MBA program. The professor recommended a travel agent – I used her and she was very helpful. Info from him below:

      Kavita Wadera,

      Tel# 914-693-9358, [email protected]
      Call her any time over the weekend or on the evenings.
      She has a day job at a Travel agency..and she will be available.
      If you call during work hours, you will get her husband Ravi Wadera who will also help.

  18. Train travel in Italy :

    I’ve taken trains in Italy and elsewhere Europe before, but it’s been so long I don’t remember…is it better to buy tickets in advance? If we buy in advance are we locked into that time or can we change it? If we miss the train for a reasonable but non-train related reason (e.g., delayed flight) are we just out the money or can we take a later train for free or a small penalty? And what is the difference between first and second class on a daytime train?

    • We purchased the day of the trip, but for one leg, the high-speed train had sold out that morning.

    • Day of is probably fine unless you have a longer journey and want to get a specific train at a specific time. If you have a longer journey and want a specific train at a specific time it’s often worthwhile to book your specific seats as well, especially if it’s a popular route.

      I’ve always done second class but my older parents prefer to spring for 1st. The difference is about the same as economy vs business on an airplane.

    • This is going to vary by country. In the UK, it is usually much cheaper to purchase in advance, but there’s not a lot of flexibility to change tickets. Still, I usually take the risk.

  19. I’m getting back into the dating scene after a divorce. The ex and I were together 5 years and are the same age. What’s the range of ages you’ll date? I’m 33. I feel like I don’t have much in common with people significantly (maybe more than 5) years younger than me. What about an upper range? 10 years? 12?

    • This is totally an individual thing. I’d probably assume 25-40 if I was 33. On the basis that at that age I wanted to get married (in the sense of seeking a long term partner, not casual dating) and have babies within 5 years. I couldn’t imagine a 22-23 year old being ready for that. I’d be hesitant to go over 40ish because that feels like a different stage of life and I’d worry that someone older might either be on a much faster timeline for kids or not be interested in kids at all or possibly more likely have to older views on sharing parenting/kid responsibilities. I wouldn’t think of these as ‘hard’ limits, just that I wouldn’t be actively looking to meet someone outside that age range.

      YMMV of course especially if you are not looking for something serious or don’t plan to have kids in the next 5-7 years.

      • BabyAssociate :

        Interesting, I’m not looking for marriage or kids, but I’d also probably say the same age range!

    • You just have to go out and kind of see. I’m 35 and my search settings were 32 to 42, but I settled ultimately on meeting guys in the 34-39 range for the reasons you mention. My boyfriend now is 39 and the only way you can tell he’s a bit older than I am is that his friends’ kids are older and our taste in music varies just a smidge.

    • I’m 33 and I set my dating apps to 30-40 but I don’t automatically nix anyone a couple of years on either side of that. My 35 year old friend has it at like 22-40 though, so ymmv. It’s a really individual thing.

      This is a broad and maybe unfair generalization, but people under ~30 tend to communicate differently than I do. They’re more integrated with social media. They expect a more immediate response. They assume if you don’t respond immediately then you’re not interested. They’re generally just a lot more fast-paced and hyper-focused than I am. It’s all a little intense for me. Of course I’ve had 30-somethings who do this and I’m sure there are 20-somethings who don’t.

      • I wouldn’t go lower than 26 because that’s when the brain finishes growing or basically, notwithstanding a head injury, personality disorders are or aren’t there. Then, I skip all 29 year olds because I feel like they are all on the verge of a breakdown (so much worse for men IMO). I feel like because I look younger, even 33 year olds and definitely up to 40 year olds looked so much older than me but, a mature man (and immature) can be any age. Dating apps are hard like that. Make sure you are signing up for other activities to meet people too.

    • I think shared goals and maturity matter more than age. My husband is seven years older than me. When we met, we were both at the same stage of life and had the same goals. If we had been the same age and had met when we were both in our early to mid-twenties, neither of us would have been interested in the other. I would have thought he was obnoxious and irresponsible, and he would have thought I was uptight and boring. Those extra seven years allowed him time to enjoy and then get sick of the wild big-city bachelor life before we met.

      • BeenThatGuy :

        +1 to this. Maturity matter more than age. I’m 40 and my boyfriend is 27. Yes, it’s a big age gap but it works for us and that’s the only thing that matter.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yes, the person matters more than the age.

    • Like many other have said, it really depends on life stage and goals, more than age. I am 37 and set my range to 30 – 42 on dating apps, but generally end up going out with a 33 – 40 range. I have dated someone who is 46 and have now been out several times with someone who is 33. The 33 year old has a good job and a good career progression and, as far as I can tell, is not in full on party mode still. He has been happy to hang out at either of our places vs. going out to bars on what I consider prime time nights. I do want to get married am not 100% sure where I am on kids. I haven’t had that full blown goals discussion yet with Mr. 33 yr old yet, but I know he is interested in being in a relationship, so that will likely come up in the next month or so.

      FWIW, I’ve met guys in their early 40s who want to be party boys and I have met guys in their early 30s who want to settle down and have a family. Unfortunately, I think you have to cast a wide net and then figure out who is where you are life stage and shares similar goals vs picking a set age preference.

    • Try this too :

      I do two Olympics rule. Summer only. So, 8 years either way.

    • FWIW, I’m 32, and my ex is turning 30 this year and is just a total frigging man-child. Basically he acts like he’s 22, not 29. On the flip side, my sister is 27 and her fiance is 42 and they seem pretty stoked to be together despite all the age-gap-related judgment they get.

      Basically, just adding my person anecdata to those who say it’s more about maturity than just the age number.

    • Senior Attorney :

      My husband is 11 years older than I am. It’s not ideal (if only because he’s likely to die some years before I do), but he’s so fabulous that I feel like it’s a small price to pay. But I wouldn’t want an age gap larger than that, I don’t think.

    • This is more meant an an encouraging ancedote than concrete advice but my fiance and I realized that we’d never matched on a dating app we’d been using simultaneously… because after y divorce I’d set my age preferences a year older than he was. So, take that as “set your preference wide” or “you’ll meet someone when you meet someone,” but definitely that post-divorce dating can work out :)

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yeah, I didn’t do online dating for a variety of reasons, but I think I’d probably have limited the age range to 10 years on either side, so I’d have missed my lovely husband too.

    • Calibrachoa :

      I am in my 30s now and i finally feel comfortable dating people my own age. I had one of those “grow old, not up” early lives, so I’ve never felt at tune with people in my own age group until now. This is especially so with dudes, because society lets them get away with immaturity far longer.

      Until I met my gf, my dating apps were set to 28 to 45, although i would probably have dated someone older than that if we meshed the right way… and then I met my gf who turns 25 in April so shows what I knew.

    • Wildkitten :

      I’m 31 and I say 28 to 40.

  20. Last year, I went on an anxiety medication. I told myself it was just the bad year – father died, bad relationship, bad job – because I didn’t want to admit to myself that I might have the same chemical imbalance that most women in my family have. My therapist said she didn’t believe I needed meds, but that I was welcome to go to my PCP for a prescription if I wanted.

    My life is now (thankfully) completely different – new man, new job – and things are going really well, so I took myself off them as a trial, still wanting to believe the need for meds was just circumstantial. All the anxious symptoms returned.

    It’s now clear that this needs to be a lifetime maintenance thing for me like it is for the other women in my family. I am, without question, the best version of myself when I’m on them…but I just can’t quite accept this about myself. I feel…defective and inferior, like I should be fine without them because “everyone else” is, like staying on meds is saying there’s something really wrong with who I am as a person without meds. Can any of you help me “talk back” to myself and come to peace with this new aspect of myself?

    (To be clear, I don’t feel this way about anyone else who’s on meds, including all the women in my family and my best friend. This is my own perfectionism for myself at play.)

    • Ask yourself if you were type one diabetic and required insulin would you feel the same way?

      It’s clear that with your family history, there is very likely a genetic component that has led to you requiring medication. It’s no different that if you had a physical illness.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        +100. I started an antidepressant about ten years ago and have tried to cycle off it several times. I always come back. I’m going to be on this for the rest of my life, and like Anonymous at 10:21 said, it’s like insulin. It’s a tool in my arsenal, along with an occasional therapy refresher, exercise, eating well, friendships, that helps me be my best self.

        I’m a perfectionist too, but I’ve accepted that this is how I’m wired. Nothing I could have done to somehow “fix” it.

      • lost academic :

        Or glasses. Would you not wear glasses if you needed them?

    • It’s just a medicine, not a big deal. Like you said it’s just a chemical imbalance. My body doesn’t produce certain hormones so I take a replacement for that – I’m slightly vitamin B deficient so sometimes I take that – my body also isn’t great about these hormones that affect mood and stress so I take those too. Medical science is amazing, and it’s just that, a scientific fact. No reason not to use it.

      If someone needed glasses but didn’t wear glasses/contacts/get LASIK surgery – wouldn’t you just tell them to start wearing glasses? This is no different.

    • nasty woman :

      I agree with anonymous at 10:21. I struggle with anxiety as well and my therapist helped me frame it in a way that has helped me accept it: too much anxiety is not great, but recognize that, in moderate doses, your anxiety has also *served you.* It’s kept you on the look out for issues, it’s motivated you to work hard and stay vigilant. It’s a two-sided coin. Thank anxiety for the positive role it’s played, let it know that you’ve got the message, and tell it to take a seat.

    • Veronica Mars :

      I saw the most comforting cross stitch on etsy– “If you can’t make your own nuerotransmitters, store bought is fine.” It’s not your fault if your chemicals are out of whack. You can’t will your pancreas to create insulin, you can’t will yourself out of chemically-induced anxiety.

    • There is nothing defective about you just like there is nothing defective about someone who has high blood pressure, or diabetes, or any other condition that needs to be treated with medication. I’ve been on and off antidepressants and anxiety medicine since I was 19 – 18 years now. It’s just who I am.

    • Anon, life is long, and it is certainly possible you may not find it necessary forever. I would focus first on getting used to the fact that the medicine is really benefiting you now, and let the future take care of itself (so easy for the anxious person, right? ha ha). And maybe think about gratitude – what if you had something much harder to treat, like schizophrenia? You are really lucky to respond well to medications that are available. I’m saying this not because I think you are being a jerk or anything, just another idea for re-framing.

    • When my son went off his anti-depressants (different, but similar) because he thought things were going well, his psychiatrist told us that the general rule is a year of doing well on them before starting to think about weaning off, which should be done under supervision.

    • I’m on anxiety meds and thought the same thing. With a therapist’s help, I realized that I have always been anxious. With hindsight, I look back at events in my childhood where anxiety definitely played a role. I don’t love taking meds every day but I am so much happier on them. Living live while being able to breathe is amazing. I wish I had started the meds years earlier. Anxiety is not a character flaw but a medical problem.

    • I like to think about it this way: Some people don’t have great eyesight and need to wear glasses or contacts every day in order to see and function. Some people have diabetes and need to take insulin to stay healthy. You might need a medicine to help address a chemical imbalance. Presumably, you wouldn’t judge someone who wears glasses or uses insulin. Those people aren’t defective or inferior, and neither are you! You’re doing something proactive to help you be the best possible version of yourself, and that’s a very good thing!

    • I am staunchly for the practice of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and talk counseling and my viewpoint is strictly from a personal value when I profess that I am against most psychiatric drugs. With that being said, it is very relateable to me what you are saying. I now take two psychiatric medications, one from a psychiatric specifically for traditional mental health and the other from my neurologist for a different type of mental health. A huge part of my therapy sessions has been coming to terms with recognizing and accepting that while my feelings are valid to my personal stance on mental health, it is also reaffirming that I am worth accepting help that is available to me and I am the one who ultimately chooses my support. The key is: what is your support? Everyone needs help in some area of their life. Nobody came out of the womb and cared for themselves. Fact is we all require and need help from others in life, not unlike the continuum of birth to the blessing of late age death. How will you accept the support that is available to you? Think of it also this way–if you had a pair of shoes that you adored but gave you painful blisters, would it be silly to solve the problem by: A) throwing the shoes away; B) tolerating the blisters; or C) using a $1 insert to stop the friction? Only you know what is best for you and what the outcome is you want to attain.

      I hope that you understand and can know there is no dichotomy in life of being more of a person or less of a person because of the way your body decides to work for you. There is an incredible opportunity to work with your circumstances to gain growth through exploring your thought process and what it means to be worthy.

    • Did you talk to your doctor before going off the meds? There are a lot of anti-anxiety and anti-depression meds that require tapering off and oversight from a doctor because there can be side effects as you’re going off of them. Anecdotally, my sister was similarly on anti-anxiety meds for a year to deal with a confluence of stressful scenarios. When she tried to go off the meds, her anxiety actually got worse. The doctor had her do a tapering regimen to ease her into it. She’s now fine without meds, although she does use cognitive behavioral therapy as one of the other posters mentioned.

      My point being that this doesn’t necessarily mean you need meds for the rest of your life. It may just mean that you need a medically supervised plan to discontinuing them.

    • I cannot thank you all enough for your words. I actually got choked up at a couple comments. Much love from an internet stranger <3

  21. Fake coffee snob :

    I’m almost embarrassed to say this, but a random rec that may help someone else: I recently picked up the crocs “new commuter” flats on 6pm and I’m secretly really into them. They’re a really comfy, rain-friendly shoe that look completely unremarkable in a professional setting. Nobody is going to mistake them for high-quality leather but for commuting or less-fashion-intense offices they’re definitely sufficient. Unfortunately there’s a little crocs logo on the back but luckily it’s not really visible from above.

  22. Anonitynon :

    Looking for thoughts about getting back together after a breakup. How did you know it was worth another try? Is it possible to for things to work out a second time, or is it always a bad idea? Just looking for stories, if anyone cares to share!

    • How much time has elapsed since the break up?

    • I think it depends on how long you were together and why it didnt work out the first time. I have no experience with this but a friend of mine dated someone for around 2 months or so and was head over heels then when she flat out said she would not continue to see him if they werent in a relationship it had to end. He said he wasnt ready and felt like he wasnt over his previous relationship so she called it quits. Then several months later (maybe 6 or so) after casually texting he admitted he was ready and crazy about her. He had to prove himself that he was committed and she didnt take him back easily. However, they just celebrated their two year anniversary last month so I think it can work if the person at fault (if there was someone at fault) really changes/values you. I have another friend who had the same thing exactly happen to her and theyve been together around the same amount of time.

      That being said, those are the only success stories I can think of. Usually people who break up for a reason. If that reason (i.e not willing to commit, are lazy, on a different page in terms of the future, etc) is still present in the relationship it will only end again – and probably hurt more than the first time.

    • BabyAssociate :

      In my personal experience, people break up for a reason and unless that reason has somehow gone away (e.g. someone moved away and then came back)…the same issues inevitably crop up.

      • +1. I don’t know very many happy couples who got back together after breaking up and being apart for awhile. I do know several couples who tortured each other (and themselves) for years doing the repeated makeup-breakup dance, before finally marrying other people and realizing – oh wow, I could have been much happier with someone else years ago. Ask yourself, what is different about this person now vs. when you broke up? Why is it going to work this time? Fairy-tale endings are mythological.

      • Wildkitten :


    • Baconpancakes :

      I’ve seen it work once – because the guy did actually grow the eff up, when his immaturity was what made the woman break up with him. He’ll always be the guy who makes jokes in bad taste, but he finished his degree and got a job after putzing around for 6 years. They were broken up for a year.

      Everyone else – no, it hasn’t worked. Not for me, or my friend who had to get a roommate to pay her mortgage, or my friend whose ex cheated on her, or my friend who had tons of blow out fights followed by steamy makeup sex with his ex. Mostly, you break up because something is broken.

    • Why did you break up? Has that changed?

      If not (he was and still is married, or an alcoholic unwilling to attend treatment, or voted for Trump and doesn’t regret it), no.

      If yes (he was long distance but no longer is, he lived at home but now has an apartment, etc.) it depends. Can you be certain that the ‘change’ isn’t just temporary? Before he contacted you, did you miss him / hope to get back together?

      I think things very rarely work out on a second-try, but not never. If the reason you broke up was a good reason, and it still exists, not worth the heartbreak a second time IMO.

      • +1. It’s only worth taking a chance if you can point to a definite reason (the real reason, not an excuse) for why you broke up and that reason no longer exists.

        • Anonymous :

          +1 And don’t lie to yourself and your friends about this. I really wanted there to be a change, but he really hadn’t changed.

    • I tried again with an ex and it didn’t work the second time either. I think you really need to look at why you broke up and whether those things have changed in a meaningful way. If it’s something like one person not feeling ready to get serious yet, then time apart can change it. If it’s something more serious (inability to communicate) did one or both of you seek assistance in resolving the problem? In my case, it just wasn’t a great fit – we really cared about each other but ultimately had different long term desires and day to day preferences. So it was never going to change.

    • Try this too :

      Two things. Is it a deal breaker? Is it going to change? Keeping in mind that for the most part, people do not change no matter how much they want you to believe they will. Seen it work, more familiar with it not working. But definitely a case by case basis on the first two questions here.

    • Depends on the reason you broke up.

      I dated my now husband for 4 months when we first met (in grad school). I was not aware when we started dating that he and his live in girlfriend has broken up just a month before. It just did not feel like he was in the right place to be dating.
      I broke up with him, but we ended up starting to date again 6 months later.

      We’ve been married 20 years and have 3 children.

      BUT, I think we are the exception to the rule. Usually when you break up, it is for a reason.
      I also know people who have gotten back together with their high school sweethearts YEARS later and it has worked the second time around.

  23. Casual LGPs :

    When it comes to casual gardening activities, do you guys have certain standards? I know deep down I get really attached to the guys I share my gardening talents with so I know it cant be casual. I ask because my sister is currently engaging in an exclusive but casual gardening situation (mainly because shes moving out of the country in June so she doesnt want something serious) but is upset the guy isnt taking her out more/putting more effort. Do you think when it comes to casual LGPs the guy isnt obligated to do such things/thats what you signed up for or do you think the guy is probably a jerk??

    • Sounds like she doesn’t really want a casual FWB type deal then. Is she talking with him about it, and he’s refusing? Even so, I don’t think we can call him a jerk if she’s not communicating this, or she’s changing the terms on him.

    • Let me answer this by asking a question: What do you call a person with whom you (a) share regular LGPs; (b) are monogamous; and (c) go on dates?

      Your sister is looking for a short-term boyfriend. The guy she’s seeing doesn’t want to be a short-term boyfriend. Can you blame him? Why would he want to build fun memories with someone knowing it’s not going anywhere? Why would he want to get more attached?

      • Anonymouse :

        I cant blame him either – I wouldnt want that. But can a short term boyfriend/girlfriend situation really work though??

    • There’s no such thing as an exclusive FWB. If you are monogamous you’re a couple. I agree with the poster above that it sounds like your sister wants a boyfriend. I think its fine to expect some friend stuff with a casual partner, like watching a movie or hanging out a bit, but I certainly would not expect to be taken on dates.

      • I agree with most of your comment, but I disagree with the first two sentences. I had a FWB arrangement where we were monogamous – neither of us wanted commitment or to be BF/GF with each other but we didn’t want to be messing around with lots of people. We agreed that if either of us met someone we wanted to actually date, we would tell the other and end the arrangement. It worked for us, and lasted for quite a while.

        • But we did not go on dates. I agree if you are s*xually monogamous and going out on dates together that is basically being a couple. But I think you can be monogamous FWBs so long as you both treat it as a FWB relationship.

        • +1 I had the same arrangement and it worked out great. We both ended up meeting other people and we are still good friends. We didn’t go on dates but we had overnights because we were long-distance. We weren’t a couple, we would never have told anyone were a couple, and there was no expectation of anything relationship oriented. Your sister is looking for a short term relationship not an FWB.

        • My disconnect here might be that I don’t really separate dating from being sexually involved, probably because I am pretty quick to sleep with someone I am interested in – I tend to move to that stage within the first couple of dates with someone new and definitely don’t wait for a monogamous commitment (so I might be dating and sleeping with a couple of guys at the same time). But for someone who values monogamy more I can see it working better – but you definitely have to have good boundaries. It sounds like both of you had healthy functional arrangements but mostly I’ve seen situations like what the OP is describing – two people who have very different expectations or who are basically a couple but in denial about it for silly immature reasons.

    • I seriously thought this was about actual plants at first!

    • Why all the defining of categories? She knows what she wants, should communicate it clearly (to him, not her sister), and do what feels right for her. If she feels like she’s being used, there is no way she should put up with it. She doesn’t owe him anything. No one ever “owes” someone s€x

      • [do what feels right for her], and accept the consequences of that from him.

        • Yes. The consequence may be no more benies, maybe no more friends. But feeling like you owe somebody gardening, or that you aren’t appreciated for yours, could hurt a heck of a lot more.

      • I didn’t get that the sister thought she was being used from the OP. I understood it that the sister wants to have $ex with someone and be monogamous, but not worry about the expectation that it turns into a relationship because she is leaving. The problem here is that the sister wants the relationship bits too – dates. She asked for one thing, but seems to want something else. If that’s true, she should tell the dude and then it’s up to him to decide whether he wants a short-term relationship or whether he is out.

        • Yeah thats basically what I was getting at. I dont think she is being used at all and really just wants the benefits/security of a relationship (meeting of friends, getting taken out on dates, etc) but not call it that as some sort of control thing (i.e. ‘well we were never really dating so I cant get hurt kind of thing’).

          Overall he does kind of seem self-invovled but I think at the same time shes expecting a lot for a short term thing…I also dont think hes a jerk for not treating her like a gf when theyve only agreed to exclusive gardening. I basically just told her to be honest with what she wants to herself and to him…

    • Calibrachoa :

      Is this a case of “dude is not willing to do things that get her in the mood for gardening” ? Because it sounds a little like that too could be contributing herw, with the guy being all about the benefits and not wanting to keep up the “friends” part of it.
      Because foe me, a FWB should be willing to spend time outside the bed (eg group outings with mutual friends, meeting up for a drink before we head back, some actual netflix before the chill, ordering pizza after…) as well as in bed and communicate clearly. Monogamy not required but *being careful* is. No gardening with tools that haven’t been wrapped up while in use.

  24. Fashion tip for the hive:

    I’ve just started a new job where comfort is paramount, and oh my gosh, I feel like I’ve discovered a couple holy grails.

    Old Navy Pixie pants – ankle pants with a thick fabric (lumpy thighs don’t show – huzzah!) with tons of stretch (hold their shape) and a somewhat higher waist so you’re never worried about a muffin top in the office. They’re as comfortable as leggings. I’m buying every color that’ll work for my office. (Note these come in the original pants, that are more appropriate for a business casual setting, and chinos, which are weekend wear or casual offices.)

    Rockport Total Motion line – stylish heels and flats + Adidas sport cushioning all inside. They’re as close to bedroom slippers as you can get. I recently bought the Adelyn flat in 3 colors.

    • anon a mouse :

      I’m envious that the Pixies work for you. I’ve bought them twice and both pairs fell apart completely (like, stitching along the inseam fell out on one) within 3 wears. They were so comfortable but not even worth the cheap price I paid.

    • I love my pixie pants! Only complaint I have is that the first pair I bought, which was supposed to be black does not look like black at all and read completely like navy.

    • cake batter :

      I love the Pixies, too, but I found they stretch out badly over time. I bought one pair 6-9 months ago and have worn them almost once/week, and they stretched out at the waist so badly that they didn’t fit anymore. I took them to the tailor to nip in the waist (which was cheap, maybe $10) but I wouldn’t buy another pair for that reason. IMO the skinny ankle pants at Gap have the same fit as the Pixies but don’t have the stretching problems.

      • +1

        This is the problem I have found with all of the cheaper pixie pant equivalents I have found. That, and that the colors fade quickly.

        Now I’m working on the Loft skinny ankle pants, which look great initially, and I am wearing them as many times as possible before washing…. we’ll see how long they last.

        I may also accept that I need to buy new ones every year.

        • Yeah, mine didn’t look great after a washing, and one of the legs has a pull in it and I’ve probably worn them 5 times. They don’t re-wear well – they look wrinkled and stretched out after 1 wearing.

          Will burn thru the 2 pairs I have and then I’m going for Boden 7/8 Richmond pants.

          • cake batter :

            Agree – can only wear mine once before they need rewashed to look polished and fresh. My Gap skinnies otoh look fine for a 2nd wear after a 10 min bounce in the steamer (dryer on steam cycle).

        • cake batter :

          Ditto re: buying new cheapie pants every year. I bounce around in sizes on the bottom (but stay fairly consistent on top) so it’s easier/cheaper for me to spend $30-40/each on a couple fun pairs of Old Navy or Gap pants than to buy pricier options and risk having them not fit next season. I buy everything in the same color scheme (b&w, grey, + jewel tones), so my new pants will always match my existing tops/blazers.

          • I’m still looking for a good light-grey ankle pant (pear friendly), so let me know if you find one…

      • Hmm, I wear these every day and I haven’t found that the waist. I also don’t ever put them (or any of my clothes) in the dryer, so maybe that helps?

    • I love these! I like the long ones best. I think maybe you can get them only online?

  25. What’s an appointment at an mm la fleur showroom like? I got the email about the DC opening and I’m curious. I own an etsuko and a rachel though so should I use that opportunity to try on some of the stuff I’m not sure about the fit online?

    • BabyAssociate :

      You definitely should! When I got there my stylist had already picked out about 10 pieces for me. Some I discarded immediately, like items I had tried already in a Bento Box and didn’t like. Then as I tried things on she got a better idea of what would work for me and brought out different items. The sizing can be inconsistent, so for that reason alone the stylist was extremely helpful. I went in thinking I’d get dresses and left with tops, pants, and a skirt and I’m really happy with all my pieces. If there’s something you have in mind that you know you want to try, you can do that too!

    • Wildkitten :

      It was super fun I tried on a bunch of stuff and we wrote down what worked and didn’t. I didn’t buy anything at the time but now I have a list of what to buy when I want something new.

  26. Food When Traveling :

    I travel most weeks for my job. I find I’m increasingly skipping breakfast because I’m tired of hotel breakfasts and would rather sleep for 30 more minutes. So I eat a protein bar that I’ve brought from home. That wouldn’t be such a problem, except I often eat another bar for dinner because I’m working in my hotel room. A dozen protein bars per week just doesn’t seem like a great idea. Does anyone have suggestions of other things I could buy at home and pack in my bag that I could eat for breakfast? Something with the convenience of a protein bar, but that will provide a little variety? I’m not interested in sugary items.

    Alternatively, many weeks I could stop at a grocery store after I land in the city I’m in and pick up a few things to have in my room. But I need some ideas of what that would be. I generally don’t have a refrigerator, which makes me think I’m back to protein bars.

    • Breakfast in Bed :

      For breakfast, some of those high protein oatmeal cups. Provided your hotel room has a coffee maker, you can heat water in it and make them. Don’t forget to pack a plastic spoon.

      Nuts/trail mix/dried fruit.

      If peanut butter can go through as a non liquid (I’m not clear on this), then individual cups of pb and crackers. Or hummus.

      • + 1 nuts/peanut butter. Filling and good source of fat/protein. Heck, I often grab a couple of spoonfuls of PB for breakfast and I never travel for work.

      • ponte python's flying circus :

        A >3oz jar of PB may not go through – I once had a brand new, sealed jar confiscated by TSA on the way to a hiking trip, even though I pleaded that no one apart from Smucker’s could possibly have hidden any weapons in there. (I hope they enjoyed it!)

    • I would make more use of room service. So if you eat a protein bar for dinner one night, order room service for breakfast the next morning. Or if you’ve had a protein bar for breakfast, order room service for dinner.

      Apples, oranges and baby carrots can both be kept at room temperature and will add variety. A package of trail mix, jar of peanut butter and package of bagels are also good ideas.

      Travel with a spork so you don’t need to worry about having a spoon/fork/knife.

    • GoPicnic makes shelf stable meals/snacks. You can get them on amazon or at costplus world market. I just saw them on Groupon too.

    • Fruit. Comes in its own single-serving container.
      Protein is good, but you’re right that you need better ways to eat it. 3 oz of pb can get you through a couple meals. Bring along bread /crackers to spread it on, or put it on slices of oranges & apples.
      A lot depends on how low your taste buds can go. It’s not unusual for me to pop open a can of albacore tuna and dig in with a fork. I’ve also eaten those highly processed, individually wrapped cheese sticks after they’ve been unrefrigerated for a few days. My theory is that since cheese was developed as a way to transport milk before there was refrigeration, it must be ok, but still I’m not sure that’s advisable.
      If there’s a coffee maker or other source of boiling water, that opens up all kinds of dried or condensed possibilities.

    • I would start selecting hotels with minifridges (they’re very common, so this shouldn’t be super difficult) and then bringing hardboiled eggs for a quick morning meal. You can usually buy HB eggs at the grocery store so you wouldn’t have to make them yourself. Also recommend smoked salmon and yogurt with granola/seeds/nuts.

    • Do you have flexibility on your hotels? I try to stay at Marriotts of a level where they have a concierge lounge, because once you have status, they offer free appetizers in the evening that are enough for dinner for me. If that kind of hotel is not available, I try to stay at a Residence Inn, which has a mini kitchen in the room, with a microwave and refrigerator, so I can bring in some easily-microwavable foods to eat. I usually travel with an apple, almonds, and granola bars.

      • Legally Brunette :

        + 1 Residence Inn or any similar hotel with a full kitchen. Makes such a huge difference.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        You’re not kidding. I stayed in a Residence Inn last year – was actually the cheapest option – and it was far larger than my first apartment.

    • I usually stop at a whole foods and grab some oatmeal or yogurt, berries, nuts, milk, and cold brew coffee.

      • Also at many hotels, even if you do not have a fridge in your room, you can request one or use the staff fridge.

    • Wanderlust :

      When you land in the new city, could you stop and pick up a bunch of bananas? Bring a jar of peanut or almond butter with you, and voila! instabreakfast! I also have friends who enjoy those BelVita biscuits, but I have yet to try them.

    • Responding from my hotel room :

      Ditto to oatmeal packets. I pack Justin’s brand but butter packets and have with oatmeal or a bagel/fruit from the hotel breakfast. I also live on Orgain protein bars. I hit grocery stores like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Earth Fare when I can. I love Earth Fare.

      I also stay a lot at Hilton Homewood Suites – I like the kitchen set up they have, it makes feeding myself on the road so much easier.

    • anon a mouse :

      Call ahead and ask whether the hotel has refrigerators for guests to use. They often can send a minifridge to your room if you ask.

    • PinkKeyboard :

      Shelf stable tuna salad and cracker kits, shelf stable hummus and cracker kits, the laughing cow cheeses are shelf stable and would be good on crackers, trail mix, oatmeal cups, fruit that does well at room temperature (apples, pears, oranges, bananas, grapes), they make chia pouches for grown ups I quite like (mama chia brand?).

    • These would be good for dinner. They’re about $4 at World Market and come in other flavors.

  27. Medicine has made all of our lives better. If I had been born 50 years earlier I would have been disabled with chronic back pain in my late 30s, instead of walking around fine after a routine surgery. That pain would make me incredibly grumpy, depressed and unsociable. I’m my best self being freed from this physical imbalance in the same way that you’re doing better being freed from a chemical imbalance.

  28. Favorite closed toe black wedge heels? Would prefer to keep it under $300 but could go over if AMAZING? This is for work where I keep wearing flats…

    • I really like my Nine West Ispy wedges in patent leather. Wayyy under $300.

      • I also love the look of these but would caution on the quality. Mine started to squeak uncontrollably after about 3 months of only-in-office wear. I tried everything to fix it, even took them to a cobbler, no dice. Cheap construction.

      • Baconpancakes :

        The base of these is incredibly thin and hard. I love the way they look on me, but I can’t wear them for longer than two hours or so.

    • What is your preferred heel height, and amount of on your feet time?

      Aquitalia’s are the most beautiful I have, but are a little high for me.

      • Very little on my feet time. 2-3 inches I’d say?

        • Then you might be able to wear Aquatalias. About 3 inches.

          They are beautiful, pretty comfortable for heels …. and some amazing ones are on sale at the Aquatalia website.

          Normally $395, marked down to $198, and now with an additional 20% off. You wont get cheaper.

          They are weatherproof too!

    • I like my Cole Haan Talia (Tali?) Wedges

    • I’m looking for the same thing – super comfortable with a 1-2 inch heel…

      • Anonymous :

        I like Sole Society wedges for a low heel, and Aquitalia, L.K. Bennett and Tory Burch wedges for a higher heel.

  29. In house interview? :

    Thanks to the recommendation of a friend, I have an interview for an in house litigation role that partly involves my niche practice. I got the interview before I saw the posting, which is for some in junior to me by 3-5 years. Any tips for how to assess whether the position will be challenging enough for me/ not a step backwards?

    • I’d ask as many questions as you can about what your day to day responsibilities would be like and the amount of autonomy you would have. You can also ask about the seniority of the person who previously held the role.

    • I have found the “years” requirement in-house to be rather flexible. Some places they wanted someone “3-5 years” and went with a candidate who had 10 years’ experience. Another wanted someone 3-5 years and ended up hiring two attorneys – one 2 years out of law school and one 7 years out. It truly depends on the department and who is hiring: some of them have more traditional “classes” but most do not and hire as needed, which can really change as they meet candidates and figure out what they can offer. Sometimes the need changes from job ad to actual hire.

      I would ask about the role as it is right now – who previously held the role, what does it entail – as well as what it can be in the future – frame this as “what kinds of opportunities for growth are there within the department?” and “what needs to you anticipate in 5 years for the department and from this role?

  30. How bad is this bag? :

    I found this bag on Lyst, think it’s cute, but don’t know if I should get it.

    It’s on Linea Pelle’s site, so is not a knock-off, but I expect it will be of lower quality than their other bags. It bothers me that wherever I find it online, there is always just this one photo, never any other angle, and never a description.

    I only started carrying a purse a couple years ago, when I no longer needed a bookbag or briefcase. I’ve always hated purses for some reason, but have made my piece with a Coach mini crossbody. The strap on it broke just before the end of the year, and I’ve been using a really stupid-looking bag that my parents got free on some tour. It is much bigger than the mini, and I’m surprised how convenient I find it. So I’m looking to dip my toe in the water of the Big Bag pond (or Bog), but don’t want to spend a lot of money. This has enough not-a-purse about it that I can see using it, as long as it isn’t a hot mess. With no reviews, how do I find out?

    • Bag lady, here!

      (1) Do not buy this bag. You don’t love it. And while I can’t see reviews or more details about it, this is not a bag constructed for everyday use. This is a bag made for occasional outfit-matching purposes. If you are new to purses, you may not like the fact that this does not close shut (it cinches along the top but not fully) and you will likely be disappointed when the construction starts to wear and you have to go buy a new purse in 8 weeks. The difference between the leather and suede makes me think this will show wear quickly.
      (2) Bring your mini crossbody to Coach and ask what can be done about repairing the strap. Alternatively, now that you are considering a little bit bigger, Coach has some non-mini crossbody bags that would be convenient for you and great quality. I would suggest a more neutral color (unless you wear a LOT of blue), like black (if you wear a lot of gray and black as a base) or tan (if you wear more navy or gray or lighter colors) so that you can use it more.

      • Oh, but I do love it! I’m just afraid that I could be as bad at picking out purses as I am about men. (I go for bad boys. It takes them more than 8 weeks to flake out, but they always do)

        Coach no länger pays for repairs to their products, which makes me angry. And I don’t want to put out Coach-sized amounts of money and then find out that the big bag thing wasn’t me after all.

        You sound really knowledgeable. Are there brands or stores you’d suggest for me? Thanks!

    • Anonymous :

      That is super cute and I would be tempted by it if there were measurements on the site. My concern would be that it wouldn’t be big enough for me. I would email the company and ask for the measurements myself; if you have definite questions about size or materials, you could do that.

      • THAnk you for that suggestion!
        I did call. It’s a mini. I would’ve been so disappointed.

  31. I recently moved firms and I am not looking to move in the near future. A recruiter I’ve never worked with has left me THREE voicemails over the past two weeks. She referenced her prior voicemails in her most recent message, so I know it’s not accidental. I figured she would stop calling me when I didn’t return her call once. Should I continue to ignore or call her back to ask her to stop calling me?

    • Um -call her back? What’s so hard about this? Listen to whatever job she’s pushing. Tell her – you just switched a yr ago and aren’t looking to move now.

      Why burn bridges with a recruiter? What if it turns out you do want to move next yr – getting recruiters to pick up the phone isn’t all that easy – helps to know one or two.

      • I disagree. Legal recruiters are like sharks and if they smell blood they will never leave you alone. I’d ignore her. If you return her call, even to tell her you’re not interested, she will interpret that courtesy as a tiny bit of interest and start hounding you daily for months. Ask me how I know.

      • If it matters – it may not – the recruiter doesn’t specialize in my market. I’ve worked with a couple local recruiters in the past and I would certainly give them the courtesy of a return call.

        • I was a recruiter for a while, and unless someone told me they were not looking right now and to try them in a few years, I’d keep calling. Just call her back (or pick up her call) and say, “thanks for calling me but I’m really not interested in this position. I just started here and plan to stick around for the foreseeable future, so I’m not a good prospect for you right now.” I’d respect that (and put a note in the file so I and all of my colleagues could see it and not waste our time calling you if you didn’t have any interest in moving).

  32. Wedding Gift Q :

    DH and I are planning a church wedding ceremony during DD’s baptism. Had a super-small townhall wedding (immediate family only) 10 years ago. We’re now inviting our extended family and friends (~ 120 people). Most of our guests have less means available than us and will incur travel costs. While we appreciate the thoughtfulness of giving a gift, how can we clearly communicate “no wedding gifts please” and avoid getting things we don’t need?
    Also, “no gifts” is certainly not enforcible for the baptism. How do we gracefully steer people to a “gift list” even though we’re not expecting any gifts?

    • I’m confused. You’re having a vow renewal at your daughter’s baptism? (1) Why are you doing this at the same time? It seems like a way to obligate people who wouldn’t normally attend a baptism to attend the baptism. Can you at least schedule the events for different days? Maybe have the vow renewal on Saturday and the baptism on Sunday morning? (2) Please don’t call a vow renewal a “wedding ceremony.” There are different social expectations for a wedding than a vow renewal, like traveling long distances to attend and bringing/sending a gift. You’ve been married for 10 years. It’s not a wedding. (3) No, you can’t say no gifts. (4) You certainly can’t say no gifts and at the same time provide registry information.

      • This. You have been married for TEN YEARS. You can’t have a “wedding.” You can have some sort of re-commitment or vow renewal ceremony, but I agree it’s weird to time it with the baptism because it puts more pressure on people to attend, especially if you’re inviting 120 people. I’m not Christian but I thought baptisms were typically a much smaller group of family and very close friends. Most friends have had 10-30 people at their children’s baptisms, depending on the size of their families.

        • I wondered about this but figured that people in OP’s circle would understand their particular situation and choose to celebrate or not accordingly. Unless OP neglected to tell us that their town hall wedding a decade ago was secret and they’ve been leading a double life this whole time–in which case, OP, please spill.

    • Oof, this is delicate. Are you in a family/region/culture in which monetary gifts would be appropriate for the baptism? If so (and if this works for your financial planning), you could, say, set up an education account to which others could contribute.

      That said, I don’t think it’s inappropriate to make a blanket “Your presence is the present” statement covering both events. It’s unclear if this is your preference or if you just want to steer people towards the “right” baptism gifts. (In which case, consensus is that this isn’t going to work so don’t stress about it.)

      If you really aren’t expecting gifts for either occasion, I actually think saying so explicitly might be more worthwhile for the baptism than for the wedding–my impression (mostly gleaned from gift-giving threads here!) is that baptism gifts tend to be mostly meaningful (Bibles, religious jewelry, personalized frames) whereas wedding gifts are at least sometimes useful (or, at least, easy-to-give-away) household items.

      Congratulations on all your celebrations!

    • No, you’re not having a wedding ceremony. Because you are married. Are you talking about a convalidation in a Catholic Church? Those aren’t supposed to be big grandiose affairs with 120 guests. Frankly, that’s an insane guest list for a baptism too.

      Say nothing about gifts, and what are you thinking here? We don’t want gifts but here is our registry is bonkers.

      Don’t get married again. Don’t invite all these people. Don’t say no gifts. Don’t register.

      • +1 million. Everything about this is so tacky. Don’t force 120 people to come to a fake wedding and baptism. Invite whoever you would normally invite to your daughter’s baptism and bill the additional ceremony as a religious ceremony for the church to recognize your marriage, not a wedding.

    • Wedding Gift Q :

      Thanks for the replies so far. Just for clarification: In our country, the townhall wedding and the religious wedding are always two separate events, and having the church ceremony along with the baptism of the first child is very common.

      • What country is this? It’s so far outside anything acceptable in the US, Canada, or the UK that you may not get much useful information posting here.

      • Wedding Gift Q :

        Also, in my culture, the church wedding cerimony is considered the “celebratable” event, not the townhall government act.
        And yes, our overall preference is “no gifts and no money” for all events. We do not want our guests to spend money on gifts if this can be avoided.

        • Thanks for the extra details, OP. You’ll have to forgive us for all assuming that your traditions were the same as ours.

          Again assuming that this is appropriate in your culture, I think it is totally fine to be explicit about your preference. Ie “We are grateful for your presence at our celebrations and for your love and support during this new chapter in our lives–no gifts, please.” But again, know your audience–there may be better ways to get the word out. (And insert standard caveats that someone will bring gifts anyway and you will, of course, be gracious, send a thank-you note, etc. even though you indicated that you didn’t want gifts.)

          • ohc, thanks for your kind response to OP. It’s amazing how other people are being so dismissive when they clearly don’t know OP’s culture and only evaluate and dismiss it in terms of their own America/whatever perspective.

          • Anonymous :

            Nice-looking high horse you got there. Sometimes, inappropriate is inappropriate across cultural boundaries. OP asked for advice and people are giving it in the context of what we understand to be reasonable and appropriate. I’m very willing to consider cultural differences if the OP will provide more detail about what culture she’s part of.

      • BabyAssociate :

        Are they typically 10 years apart too?

        • Yeah, I need more info about where this is taking place (and also preferably a Wikipedia link to “marital customs of ___”).

          I know in many countries the civil and religious ceremonies are separate, and sometimes might be a year or so apart. But ten years? That’s a vow renewal or an anniversary party, not a wedding. And I think in any circumstance, combining the baptism and the marriage celebration thingy is an…interesting choice.

          • Wedding Gift Q :

            I fail to come up with an English-language Wikipedia link. However, a combined baptism & church wedding ceremony is so common in my country that it has its own liturgy in the mainstream Christian churches.

          • OP, combination weddings and baptisms are also very common in my area (I’ve been to more of them than I can count). What’s not usual, I think, is calling a religious ceremony a “wedding” when someone has been married 10 years. I think it’s the timeframe involved with the “wedding” part, rather than the confluence of the wedding and the baptism?

            FWIW last year I went to a “consecration” ceremony for two people who had been married civilly and wanted their marriage recognized by their church (it was a male-male couple). It was lovely, but they didn’t bill it as a wedding.

          • Hahaha, I absolutely don’t believe this. Show me the receipts, OP, even if it is a non-English Wikipedia link.

          • Wedding Gift Q :

            Even though implicating anomynously that someone is lying does not not merit a response…
            For the sake of intercultural understanding, google Traufe + Kirche and filter for German results.

          • Having a civil marriage ceremony and later perhaps many years later a church blessing is very common in Scandinavia and having a baptism as part of is common too

        • Wedding Gift Q :

          10 years is definitely on the longer side. I’d say the average is 6 months (town hall in Nov/ Dec to benefit from tax breaks, church in May/ June in the hopes of better weather.)
          It took DH a little longer (and a little baby) to re-discover his faith after a health crisis…

          • Anonymous :

            Imma try to say this delicately, but will probably fail :-)

            Sometimes it’s just too late to do something, through no fault of your own. I understand that typically, in your country, there’s a civil ceremony and a religious ceremony that are some months apart. You did the civil ceremony, but not the religious ceremony. And now you and your husband feel like, okay, despite the delay, we’re ready now for the religious part. And if you had only been married a year, that would be fine. Maybe even two years.

            But ten years out – no. I don’t care that you didn’t get the religious ceremony previously. You don’t get a “wedding” when you have been married 10 years. You should call this something else. A vow renewal, an anniversary party, a convalidation (if it’s in the Catholic Church,) etc. That’s fine. It’s not a wedding. I don’t care what culture or country you’re in, and I say that as someone who has been to “traditional” Chinese, Indian, Indonesian, Japanese, Russian, Mexican, Bolivian, French, Guatemalan, Kenyan, British and German weddings. I think there will be universal, cross-cultural side-eye thrown your way if you treat this as though you had just gotten civilly married a year ago and so here we go, time for the religious ceremony.

            I would strongly recommend billing this as a “family and friends celebration” that includes a vow renewal and a baptism, rather than calling it a “baptism and a wedding.” If for no other reason than creating good optics and not making this look like a gift/cash grab or “me, me, me, look at me” opportunity.

          • Anonymous :

            So what you are doing is not normal at all in your culture.

      • I trust you that this is normal in your country, but please think carefully about inviting people who don’t share your culture. As an American with many friends who are first or second generation immigrants, I’ve never heard of this custom and it would seem like a gift grab to me if I received an invitation to this kind of thing without an explanation and a strong “no gifts” statement.

      • Legally Brunette :

        Please tell us what country you are from , this is fascinating. I have never heard of a wedding celebration held as the same time as a child’s baptism.

      • I’m surprised at how much pushback (and open disbelief) you are getting on this, even after your clarification. Given that this is common in your culture, and there is a reason for the long gap between the civil and religious ceremonies, there’s no reason to expect that anyone in your culture would have an issue with this. Besides which, you presumably know your family and friends well enough to judge how they will react to this plan.

        I don’t know how gift requests are handled in your culture, but in the US it is considered rude to mention gifts at all on invitations for anything except showers (which are specifically about gifts) – even if the mention is to say “no gifts, please”. Here people handle this in two ways. Either they have a wedding website on which they give all the ceremony details, and a link to their registry or a request for no gifts; or they ask family members to spread the word about a registry or gift preferences.

        Congratulations on your church wedding and your new baby, and enjoy the ceremonies!

    • I don’t think having gift lists or registering for baptisms is a thing, so I would not address it at all. On the wedding ceremony/reception invitation, I would include the no gifts note (or “No wedding gifts, please” if the invitation is combined with the baptism’s).

      • No, sorry, it is inappropriate to mention gifts on the invitation. Even if it’s to say no gifts.

  33. happy wednesday! :

    Just to share with the hive… Came into work today and got an unexpected promotion and raise – even after I got a year-end raise and bonus. I was kicking myself for not asking for a larger raise back then, but now I make more than I would have asked for! Today’s a good day.

  34. For the person who asked about Jazz Fest last week, there was an article in the paper about the concerts at night during Jazz Fest, in case you’re interested:

  35. After some tough conversations with my boss’s boss and one other exec, I think my new boss is close to getting fired. People are finally noticing his incompetence and that I have been covering for his weaknesses. He keeps pushing parts of the job that he, and only he, should be doing, to me. Now that I know he’s vulnerable, how much should I be stepping up to “help” him? It’s interfering with getting my own work done. If I don’t help, his incompetence will become more obvious. I also could have a bigger mess to clean up if he really does get let go. If I do help, I’m continuing to enable the situation and people might think he’s getting better. (He’s not; he takes credit for my work all the time.)

    • Seattle Freeze :

      Well, what’s your objective here? If it’s to end up with a competent boss and be able to do your own work successfully, then covering for him will not help you to get there. Will you enhance your own reputation by enabling/supporting someone whose ship is clearly sinking? And would the mess you need to clean up if he’s fired really be bigger than remaining in this situation?

      • Fair points. I’m trying to hang in there and remain professional until the boss is asked to leave. If/when he does, I will likely be his successor. If, by some miracle, he manages to turn it around … well, I don’t want to do something that harms my reputation. I absolutely agree that supporting/enabling a sinking ship is not a good way to go. I just don’t want to be labeled as the “reason” he’s failing. (Unlikely, but possible.)

    • can you ask the boss’ boss about this? if the knowledge is known, maybe you could ask in a way that shows you are able to do his job tasks and will if they need it, but you don’t want to look like you’re not focusing on your own tasks.

  36. Lorelei Gilmore :

    I am going to a conference where the dress code is “resort casual.” Ugh. Why do organizers do this to us?

    • Senior Attorney :

      Yeah, I feel your pain.

      How about white pants, Lily Pulitzer prints, toned biceps, soignée attitude. And a tall froufy drink…

  37. Just found out my ex took his new girlfriend on a vacation that we had planned together before we broke up. Am I being petty to be annoyed by this?

  38. pugsnbourbon :

    That is REAL tacky.

  39. Do you suspect your spouse of cheating, are you just being paranoid or seeing signs of infidelity? I was in that exact same position when I met john through my best friend who helped me hack into my husband’s phone, it was like a miracle when he helped me spy on my husband and I got first-hand information from his phone. Now I get all his incoming and outgoing text messages, emails, call logs, web browsing history, photos and videos, instant messengers (facebook,whatsapp,bbm,IG etc) , GPS locations, phone tap to get live transmissions on all phone conversations. If you need help, contact him on [email protected]

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