Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Nell Ponte Blazer

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

This ponte blazer at Boden caught my eye because it’s such a happy pink, and it looks like a great blazer. It’s very easy to find ponte blazers in black, gray, and navy, but it’s very hard to find them in other colors — so if you like ponte because it’s machine washable, generally has a semi-fitted shape, and so on, do take note of this one. It also comes in black and navy and has a kind of fun lining, which is a nice detail. It’s available in regular and petite sizes and is $90–$105, marked down from $150. Nell Ponte Blazer

If it’s hard to find a ponte blazer in colors other than black/gray/navy in straight sizes, it’s even harder to find one fitting that description in plus sizes. One possibility is at Lane Bryant (not a store we usually feature), which has a pink ponte blazer. (It does have gold buttons, but if you’re not a fan, those are easily swapped out.)

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  1. Talbot No Button No Collar Blazer :

    While looking through the blazer collection at Talbots I ran across what they call a “Lightweight Unlined Blazer” which is really a blazer without buttons or a collar. It seems very familiar to jardigans although I’m confused why they think not having a lining is a good thing. Has anyone seen this in person? It seems like a more casual alternative to a blazer but dressy than a sweater/cardigan. I know a lot of the suiting is not in stores though.

  2. Re an additional plus size pick in a richer color: this one’s not ponte, but I estimate it could be easy to care for given the fabric content:

    • Talbot No Button No Collar Blazer :

      Nice! This one looks a lot like the Talbots blazer I posted about above but in colors (Talbots was only in navy).

      • I love both! The Eloquii one is in my budget right now, but when that Talbots one hits the sale…!

  3. Reminder – Boden Sample Sale in Boston at Hyde Convention Center. Doors open at 10am. Bring big bags and cash, wear something you can change in communal changing rooms in. Godspeed!

    • THIS SATURDAY….crucial detail. Sorry!

    • Two Cents :

      Having gone twice before, you might also consider bringing a cheap full length mirror. There are no mirrors.

      • Wanderlust :

        IME, there have been around 6 mirrors for hundreds of people. It’s not ideal, but it’s doable.

    • I’ve gone several times, these are my tips:

      1. Get there by 9:30 am so you’re there as soon as the doors open. Figure out what you are most interested in — dresses, pants, tops, etc. Go directly to that section first and grab as many things in your size that looks appealing, then go to a corner and try everything on. Sometimes there are mirrors, sometimes there are not. Consider going with a friend who can give you honest feedback. Smaller sizes get taken first so keep that in mind.

      2. If you don’t love it, don’t buy it. There is pressure to buy because it’s cheap and you’re surrounded by literally hundreds of women buying stuff. But it’s final sale and the checkout line literally can take one hour. So if you don’t love it, don’t bother. After going a few times and buying things that I didn’t love and couldn’t return, I’ve decided that it’s not worth it for me to go.

      3. Don’t bring your kids! Don’t bring your kids! They will be so bored and cranky. One woman nearly lost her child in that crowd and was understandably panicked.

    • Do they have mens wear too?

    • I’m kind of struggling to see how this sample sale is worth all the craziness…the prices are pretty close to what I’ve seen at Boden for sale prices online, aren’t they?

      • That’s why I’m not planning on going. Though, I guess the sample sale could have more stuff at sale prices?

        • I’ve had amazing luck at the Boden sales (though I’ve only been to the Philly ones, and it sounds like Boston’s are far more of a hassle). I’m never able to find dresses on Boden’s website for the prices I get at the sample sales – a $200 dress marked down to $40, with the bonus of being able to try it on before buying. I’ve bought dresses at the sample sale that are still selling online at full price! It’s been worth it for me, but I’m a pretty serious bargain hunter, and if you’re the type who doesn’t mind paying for shipping or dealing with returns, it may not be worth giving up a day for this sale when there’s no guarantees on what you’ll find.

      • It’s rare that sale prices get as low as the sample sales and there is more selection (and things I have never seen on the website – I wonder if they add things only sold in the UK).

        Dresses are a big steal at $40. They almost never get that low, particular the heavier winter dresses. Jackets are $50, also a steal. Shoes, IMO are not that much of a bargain, nor are t-shirts and shorts. But the heavier, more expensive items are worth it. Plus, I think it’s pretty fun. People are generally having a good time and really nice.

      • Yes, the prices are similar to the final sale prices on the website. I can understand why someone would have fun going to the sale, but it’s definitely not for me.

  4. Financial Podcast Recommendations :

    CPA Lady here– can anyone recommend a good financial podcast? I really like pop finance/psychology behind spending type stuff. I (obviously) have a good understanding of finance, so I don’t need anything that explains what a stock is or how to get out of consumer debt.

  5. Lateralling to a Midsize Firm :

    I am considering lateralling from biglaw to a midside firm in either Boston or NY. Corporate. I am a third year.

    For those of you who have made this transition, is it really just “the same amount of work” for less pay? These firms have much lower billables targets, but are they really going to hire more if there’s a ton of work and I’m billing 2200 instead of the advertised 1600?
    Are you worried that your firm is less financially healthy because there are less offices/practice areas to smooth revenues?
    If a firm gets a really big case or deal, will you be pulled into that even if it’s totally outside your practice area?
    Would going to work primarily for a partner pushing age 70 worry you? Or would it mean he’s a good rainmaker and there’s opportunity to inherit his practice soon?
    How do you find out information about raises while interviewing without coming off as money-hungry? (I want a future at this place, but not if they give me 2% COLA each year!)
    Are biglaw escapees truly nicer, or is it the same old ish in a different venue?
    If you work hard in midlaw for a few years, could you lateral back to biglaw with an “advanced” skillset because you were so in the weeds, or would biglaw look down on you for having left?

    Thanks for any input from those who have made the transition. I realize that you can’t fully generalize, but….

    • Anon Lawyer :

      Depends on the firm. I’m at a midsize firm and the 1600 billable hour target is real and most people don’t even hit it. Of course, the money is nowwhere near biglaw.

    • Anonymous :

      Ok chill a smidge!

      It’s less money and less work. Zero people at my firm bill 2200. It’s unheard of. I’m not worried about my firms financial health. Big law collapses too, nothing is certain, and I’d find another job. Yeah sometimes you do work outside your practice area but as a senior associate it is rare. You’ll come in at the top of their salary range and raises will be anemic. I don’t think you’ll want to lateral back.

    • This probably varies a lot whether you’re taking boson or NY. Biglaw Boston is often so different in terms of lifestyle vs Biglaw NYC that the move to midlaw is t that dramatic. My billable were about the same, my pay was slightly less, lifestyle was a bit better, but in Big and Midlaw Boston I never worked as hard as my NYC biglaw friends!

    • In my experience lawyers don’t really retire at 70. They may cut back hours but I would not bank in inheriting a 70 year old’s practice.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yup. Especially if, as you say, he’s “pushing 70.” If he’s in his mid-60s he ain’t going anywhere any time soon.

    • Diana Barry :

      How big is midsize? Totally depends. If it is a firm that has offices in BOS and NYC the BOS office is more likely to hew closer to the 1600 mark. IME the “bigger” midsize firms (Foley, Nutter, Goulston) pay closer to biglaw than the “smaller” midsize firms with 40-50 lawyers.

      Also, is the 70 yo partner the only one in his practice group? If not, I wouldn’t worry.

      My firm (for example) is smaller midsize and our pay for associates is about 1/3 to 1/2 of what biglaw/midlaw pays.

    • One consideration going towards the “health of the firm” – I would expect a midlaw sized firm to have less expenses than a biglaw firm in certain areas. I actually went from a mid sized firm to a biglaw firm and these were the things I notcied:

      At the midlaw firm, we did not have as many offices, so that’s less overhead. The offices may not be in the nicest building in town, or may be one street over from the “law firm corridor.” We did not have as much free stuff, or you may have a smaller CLE budget (here the fridges are stocked with multiple flavors of fruit juice, soda, la croix, beer and wine (why we have beer and wine is beyond me)). There may not be as many “free lunches” or you may not get dinner comped if you work late. Now there is an office or practice group or assocaite lunch at least once a week. this NEVER happened at my other firm.

    • OP - Lateralling to a Midsize Firm :

      Sorry, OP here. The two options are not midsized firms that have multiple offices. Each place is a separate firm, both places have ~75 attorneys total. So they’re like big boutiques, I guess? One firm is in NY and is very old (~125 years) and the Boston firm is about 20 years old and well known in its specialty corporate niche.

    • A lot of this depends on how well the individual firm is run.

      What I’ve seen personally at midsized firms: An 1800 requirement where select associates bill 2200 every year (not by choice) because they are “kept associates” for a particular partner who has ridiculous clients. Partners are also lazy and don’t want to train, so they give the same associate a certain type of agreement to draft every time, even if that associate is slammed. This means no one else knows how to do it to help in a pinch, and the associate is not developing their skills. We have partners who are extremely reluctant to refer cases out, so as associates we’re asked to “dabble” in ERISA and other areas that no one has any business dabbling in. Some partners are not used to using associates so they hoard work and only hand it off when they’re well past due on it, so you’re always in fire drill mode and only given incomplete information because the partner would rather have you give them something that’s 65% of the way there than spend the time to give you a full background so you could get 95% of the way. You don’t develop client relationships because they’re too cheap to have you on the call, and the firm won’t write it off as training time. The firm also views CLE as something to check off, so you do useless ones that you learn nothing from. The founding partners retire leaving the firm in an identity crisis, and the culture changes under your feet to a money hungry, high billables culture with half the pay of biglaw.

      I’d be much more concerned about these things at the 20 year old firm than the established one–where I saw it was a 25 year old and 30 year old firm that was going through its first round of partner turnover. At 125 years old, the overall firm culture should be pretty stable but you’d still want to find out if there are any “bomb” partners that would ruin working there if you had to work with them. They’re much harder to avoid at a small firm.

  6. Morning Rant :

    I’m on a committee with my grandboss. It’s a volunteer committee, but very popular and with limited space. I earned a spot because of prior experience with the subject matter. He bullied his way on by insisting that only he has the ear of the higher-ups and there was no way we could get anything done without him. Of our 7 meetings so far, he has attended 2 of them and requested that we email him minutes and highlights from the others. Yesterday we had a meeting run 45 minutes over because he was asking us to explain things that had been discussed and decided in previous meetings. He clearly did not read the emails that he had us put together for him and was frustrated to have been “left out of the process.” I also learned that he is using the work of this committee as evidence of his commitment and service to the company in his upcoming promotion negotiations. Great.

    • Is he actually influential? Does he have a good reputation generally and especially with the higher ups? If so, volunteer to give him personal debriefs after each meeting. (Spend 30 minutes telling him whatever was in the minutes.) Give him a heads up on something he can do to move it along – like “Can you start socializing X decision with the higher ups?” or “We think we might need Y in a few months. Can you report back on the process for that at the next meeting, or let me know and I can report your findings back?” Basically, get on his side so he sees you as an ally, and so you can use him when it comes time for your promotion negotiations.

      If he’s not influential or well liked, then do the same as above, but spend more time coming up with things he can “do” but that you don’t really depend on or need to move forward. Maybe he can help you brainstorm ideas, he can give feedback on a proposal, or he can talk to higher ups about participating in an event (but someone else will actually get them scheduled).

      • This is really thoughtful and helpful advice.

      • Morning Rant :

        Thank you so much for this advice! It’s already helping me reframe how I deal with this :)
        One of the reasons why the whole thing is ridiculous is that we don’t actually need to do a lot of liaising with higher ups. From the beginning, they gave us clearance to do what we needed to do, with the caveat that occasionally we send them reports. The few times we’ve needed their signature on something, he’s disappeared or said that he had too many important things to talk about with them and wasn’t able to squeeze in the committee business. Everyone assumes he’s influential because of his position, but I’ve yet to see evidence that he actually is.
        I do like the suggestion to give him concrete tasks of slightly lower priority. That way, at least we’ll know going in that he won’t be actively delaying the larger project.

    • new job who dis :

      grrrrrrr mediocre (white?) men!

      empathy for you. can’t wait for our uprising to take hold.

  7. I’m in the process of adopting a cat…talk to me about pet insurance. Is it worth it for a cat in DC? If so, any recommendation for companies?

    • I don’t think so. I have had cats all my life in NYC and if they are indoor cats, the odds of needing it are, in my opinion, slim. My last cat lived to almost 20 and I took her to the vet to get spayed and when she was very near the end and that’s it. I never got her shots, etc., in the in between because it just wasn’t necessary. I think you may want it if you plan on keeping up with annual vaccines, etc., or there is a chance of going outdoors or you have a dog that goes out.

      • Anonymous :

        I have 2 indoor cats, both 9, and I take them for a yearly checkup. They both need dental work, about $700-1200/each. They have cavities and need teeth pulled, which I imagine is painful. I still probably would not get insurance as they haven’t needed anything major until this point.

    • I don’t think it’s worth it for an indoor cat, unless maybe if your cat seems unusually accident prone or you don’t have a decent emergency fund. And I say that as someone who paid $6000 for emergency surgery for an intestinal blockage. I am now VERY careful about making sure there’s nothing bad my cat will be tempted to eat, but I still don’t have insurance. Luckily, we had the money on hand to pay for it without much difficulty. We obviously lost the bet that average care would be cheaper than paying for insurance, but most of the time the numbers would come out in our favor. Even if we had had insurance, I wouldn’t be surprised if it would have been difficult to get it all covered because we had to go to the extremely expensive fancy animal hospital several towns away that was the only place that could do surgery on a holiday weekend and paid all sorts of extra fees for that.

    • I have an indoor cat in DC, about 6 years old, already spayed when I got her. I don’t have pet insurance, but do pay for the optimum wellness plan from Banfield Pet Hospital (which is the most convenient vet for me anyway). It covers things like shots, unlimited visits, and dental cleaning, which is mostly all my cat needs now. When you look at the cost of a dental cleaning regularly, the plan pays for itself. Of course, I realize not everyone will care about their cat getting a yearly dental cleaning and I didn’t either, but if it means I don’t have to pay for something like teeth removal out of pocket later on because the cat didn’t get teeth cleanings, then I think this works out.

    • I think it depends on the age and the health of the cat you’re adopting. I got Cat 1 from a rescue when he was ~2 years old, and Cat 2 was a stray kitten a friend of mine picked up off the street. They are both indoor only. It would have been 100% worth it to get insurance for Cat 1. He came from a hoarding situation, and he’s had chronic respiratory and digestive issues that culminated in an expensive surgery. Every time he has a flare up, it’s another several hundred bucks. Cat 2 has been in perfect health his entire life.

      Another thing to think about is your financial situation– would you rather pay a lower amount on a monthly basis, or do you have the ability to cash flow a large vet expense should it occur?

      • So, the cat I’m adopting is 4 years old, and came from a shelter in rural VA. I have no idea what I’m getting into with regards to health. That’s primarily why I was considering pet insurance.

        Someone recommended setting aside money each month into a pet fund…that may be what I end up doing.

    • If you google pet insurance v self insurance, there are great articles that almost universally come out on the side of self insuring. I did a lot of research on the same topic when I got my dog. Pet insurers often leave out certain breeds and/or common ailments of a breed or animal such that it becomes worthless, especially when you consider the average use v. average monthly outlay. Most of the articles came out in favor of self insuring by putting away what you would give to a pet insurer every month into a savings account for the pet, as the cost for the typical claim typically came out to less than or almost equal to what one would have cumulatively paid to the pet insurers by that point, except it is already in your pocket.

      • This is a great suggestion, and I’m going to look into it. I may set aside a larger lump sum up front, and then contribute a monthly amount.

    • I am very glad we have pet insurance for our cats and have seen people in really tough situations when they don’t have it. For example, one of our cats recently needed $4,200 of surgery and vet care, etc., after eating string (sigh), and we only ended up paying like $700-$800 (can’t remember). Yes, the premiums usually aren’t cheap, but it’s really great to have in situations like that. Also, when our cats need dental work, they often need $500-$600 worth, and it helps for that too. Ultimately, it’s very nice to be able to say to the vet, if our cats are sick or injured or have some mystery illness, “Do whatever you need to — we have pet insurance.”

      We have something like a $250 or $300 deductible for each cat (per condition). Sadly, our company doesn’t offer 0% coinsurance after the deductible anymore — that was very nice! We have Petplan and have been happy with it. They offer discounts for various things.

      If you’re going to get it, get it right away — if your cat gets sick anytime soon, they’ll consider whatever it is a pre-existing condition and won’t cover it in the future.

    • After paying thousands of dollars for tests and surgery for my cat twice before losing her at age 16, I considered it for my 11 month old kitten. I looked at what they would cover and it honestly didn’t look that helpful. I think you would need to look at different policy possibilities to see what they would cover and whether it would be worth it for what you would use. As others mentioned, a young indoor cat isn’t going to need much, but as they age, there are many more possible expenses. Bloodwork, MRI, x-rays, surgery are what I’d look for.

    • I volunteer at a cat rescue in the DC area. I think pet insurance is probably unnecessary especially if you have a healthy emergency fund. But please please please do NOT do what one poster suggested and not take your cat to the vet annually. Cats need rabies vaccinations and an annual physical. Cats are masters at hiding problems and often you don’t find out until nothing or very little can be done if they aren’t seeing a vet regularly. Also, bats in DC carry rabies and while its unlikely you get a bat in your house or apartment it does happen. If your rabies is not up to date, and a bat got in, DC Animal Control, HRA, would want to quarantine your cat until they were sure it was not bitten. If it was bitten bu a rabid bat there would be no option but to put the cat to sleep. Please please please don’t put yourself at risk. (Also, as an aside, rabies vaccinations are required by law and likely under your adoption contract).

      • Well. The veterinary well-check is not itself risk-free, and I haven’t noticed that the vet does anything that I couldn’t do myself at the annual visit when it’s a young, healthy cat? My vets only started recommending blockwork for symptom-free cats once the cats were well over the hill.

        If I have no other reason to take my cats to the vet, I can have them vaccinated at animal control. I’m not sure that the frequency of rabies vaccination required by law where I live is consistent with Hippocratic (or scientific) medical practice anyway.

    • pet insurance and vets :

      The last time I looked into pet insurance for cats, I concluded that I would be better off setting the money aside each month in my own personal vet bills fund. I don’t find that cats are as likely to have health issues as dogs.

      I also put some thought into prevention. The serious feline health issues that I’m familiar with (urinary crystals, diabetes, obesity, liver failure, tooth decay) are all diet related. I’ve become persuaded that major cat food brands are probably contributing (since they are too high in carbohydrates and contain novel ingredients that are probably hard on the feline liver). Time will tell if this effort will pay off, but my cats’ more trivial health issues (stomach upset, itchy skin, etc.) have already been resolved by finding better cat food. Since pharmaceutical interventions can also be hard on the liver or increase the risk of diabetes, I think it’s worth trying something else for a more trivial issue before resorting to veterinary intervention.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I’m so excited for you! Adopting a cat was (each time) one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

      I have a bank account nicknamed “Cat Insurance” where I dump $ any time I feel rich. So far so good?

      • Hahah thank you!! My SO moved away for graduate school, and I’ve been thinking about adopting for a year now, and the timing seems right.

        I will definitely be naming my self-insurance account something entertaining.

    • Yes, it’s worth it. Our previous cat was diagnosed with possible cancer that turned out to be diabetes and a thyroid disorder. Since we didn’t have insurance, these were pre-existing conditions, so we can to pay for human insulin and syringes at full retail value.

      A few years back, we adopted a pair of sibling cats and insured them right away, so if anything happens, it’s covered by the insurance. It’s a minimal cost.

  8. CapHillAnon :

    San Antonio tips?? Meeting a friend in SA for a weekend of fun in late Feb. Any cool off-the-beaten-path places we should hit? Clearly, we’ll go to the Alamo, and we’re staying near the riverwalk, but I’d love to hear about other interesting museums/ curiosities. Neither of us has been in Texas before.
    -best places to grab vegetarian meals?
    -worth it to rent a car+ drive out to hill country?

    • Ouch that hurts :

      Might be the start of the bluebonnet season…

      There are so many little B and B and antique dealers in the Hill Country…biggest is probably Round Rock near Austin.

      The issue of BBQ is hotly debated in the Hill Country as to which is best … don’t know if any are vegetarian though.

      Look through “Texas Monthly” magazine on line … in the paper copy they list activities for each month by city.

      Welcome, Ya’ll.

    • I can’t help with the vegetarian meals, but I think it is very worth it to rent a car and drive to the hill country. Fredericksburg and New Braunfels/Gruene both make really fun day trips – lots of great shops and restaurants, plus beautiful scenery. Gruene Hall is Texas’ oldest dance hall and has live music every day.

    • Honestly, you’ll hit the best San Antonio spots in one day, it’s a much smaller than people realize, and reads like a big town rather than a small city. For San Antonio spots, don’t forget to hit a good paleta spot (Mexican style, popsicles with wild flavors), I recommend El Paraiso Ice Cream. The Pearl District is a great place for restaurants and (limited) strolling.

      Honestly, if you’re going to San Antonio, it is more bang for your buck to go to the wineries in Fredericksburg (also a cute German town with great food and beautiful hill country vistas) or spend a day in Austin, each about an hour away.

      • Definitely spend time around the Pearl and walking the extended Riverwalk (get away from the tourist-y restaurants). Green Vegetarian Cuisine is new to the Pearl complex, but an old vegetarian stand-by in San Antonio and is very good.

        I think you can make a fun weekend just in SA without getting out of town, especially if you go see the other missions and explore the arts area. The Japanese Tea Gardens are gorgeous as well, though I’m not sure how much they’ll be blooming in February. The gardens are also near the Witte museum and the McNay Art Museum, both of which are fun for a low-key visit.

    • Absolutely drive out to Hill Country. Hike if you’re in to that, drink wine if you’re not.

    • There’s an astoundingly great beer bar called Filling Station Tap Room.

    • Check out the Bracken Cave Preserve bat colony if it’s a nice evening. Watching a large bat colony emerge at the end of the day is pretty freaking cool.

      If you do decide to go to Fredricksburg, the Pacific War Museum is one of the best museums I’ve ever been to. The level of detail is almost obsessive, and they have some extremely rare exhibit pieces there. Even if you’re not that into WWII, it’s worth a visit.

    • I really liked seeing the missions historical park– you drive around and see four or five old mission churches from the early 1700s. If I remember correctly one or two of them are still in use, and others are in various state of (lovely) ruin.

      I also liked visiting the mercado and going on the riverwalk boat tour. Those are both pretty touristy, but fun.

    • Second the missions historical park.
      Check out the Pearl district for dinner or late-night drinks at the Hotel Emma.

    • There are other missions besides the Alamo, I think there is a tour of 7 or 9 of them or something. The Alamo is iconic, but the other missions are actually more interesting.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      If you happen to be in the neighborhood, go to Amy’s Ice Creams and get the Mexican vanilla! Riverwalk is maybe a little cheesy but certainly something you should do. And I agree with others that hill country is worth the drive. New Braunfels/Gruene would be easy. I would save Austin for a separate trip.

  9. Today's clothing challenge :

    DAY 8: BLUE + RED
    I LOVE this combo together — so much so that I’m going to make it an entirely separate day. It’s a great way to look sophisticated and daring (look at me, mixing colors you wouldn’t think go together!) but is super easy — particularly if you have a chambray blouse (for a more casual office or day) or a light blue button-front. (If you have a blue suit, this is an awesome use for it or pieces from it.) It can be as subtle as wearing a blue camisole under a black blouse, paired with a red necklace or a red belt.

    What is everyone wearing?

    • Talbot No Button No Collar Blazer :

      Why wouldn’t you think blue and red go together? Isn’t that a pretty standard combination, even pretty preppy?

      • The text above is taken from Kat’s email, not from me, but I think many people would find bright red and bright blue to be pretty bold for work.

        • Talbot No Button No Collar Blazer :

          Ok, sorry, I didn’t sign up for the challenge so I didn’t realize you were copying her email text. Maybe not necessarily bright red and bright blue, but some shade of blue and red is a pretty standard combo.

          • Indeed! I have not been following the challenge, but today I am wearing navy high-waist wide-leg trousers with a navy and dark red striped, jeweled collar shirt!

    • So I decided to do blue and red tomorrow because it will be a little warmer in DC and I want to wear a lighter skirt for that outfit.

      BUT, I swapped it for the day 9 challenge and OMG I cannot make a belt look good over a cardigan. What am I missing here?! I combed through the links in the email, tried different cardigans (all over a very plain sheath dress) and they just look wrong. Belt under a cardigan, sure, works fine (that’s what I ended up doing) and I frequently wear belts for other outfits. It’s just not working over the cardigan. Any tips from belting masters?

      • I’m definitely not looking forward to that challenge (belt over cardigan) because I’m squishy around the middle and it’s just going to emphasize that. I may have to do a Michelle Obama c 2009 look and wear a belt well above my waist. I also think the cardigan needs to be quite thin to work.

      • I’m not subscribed to the challenge, but one thing that comes to mind for something like this would be a fabric belt. I’m not big on belting in general, but a couple years ago I tried on a velvet top with a skirt at Anthropologie and didn’t like the line the skirt made across my waist. Voila, I was offered a jeweled fabric belt and it gave me an entirely different look. (I only mention Anthropologie by name because I don’t know know which other retailers might carry something like this. Link to follow.)


      • Belts also just don’t work for everyone’s shape. I’m long-waisted and they look terrible on me because they effectively cut off my proportions in a weird way. I tend to think belts look best on women with defined waists (hourglasses and pears).

      • Baconpancakes :

        I’m very short-waisted, and belts usually make me look like the Michelin man, but I figured out (unrelated to this challenge) that a thin-ish belt over a long, long cardigan, belted about 2 inches above my true waist, looks great. I got a ton of compliments on my outfit. It’s not quite at empire waist level, but it’s pretty high. The cardigan is pretty chunky, so I think the trick is to find the part of you that doesn’t create any “pouf” in your clothes when you belt it (for me, the bottom of my ribcage), and belt it there.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I am not doing that in the way suggested. I think I’m going to wear a belt over a dress with a short cardigan over the top or a belted poncho. Belted cardigans generally do not work on me. They make my hips look very wide and accentuate my stomach in an unattractive way.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          Maybe one of my belted dresses. Or, for a kind of similar look, I may wear my four-way cardigan crossed and buttoned over a skirt that hits right below the cardigan and a contrasting shirt under.

      • I’m skipping the belted cardigan challenge. That is straight out of my post-maternity wear catalogue. I was pregnant in 2009, btw.

    • Morning Rant :

      I’ve been obsessed with blue and pink together lately so I was tempted to cheat and do that, but I found a navy scarf with a red and tan pattern on it so I’m wearing that with a chambray shirt and black jeans (biz casual office, no meetings today). I thought I had a red belt that I could wear, but it disappeared. Feeling meh about the outfit in general. I think a red belt or red shoes would have made it better!

    • I’m really enjoying these challenges because it forces me to combine items I normally wouldn’t. I get stuck in a rut wearing the same things together all the time.

      Today I’m wearing a burgundy scoop neck sweater, Lafayette 148 navy/cream patterned skirt from the last anniversary sale, Kate Spade turquoise and gold necklace, and gold chandelier earrings.

    • I’m in the magic Eileen Fisher pants in navy (midnight) with a print top and navy long cardigan plus burgundy shoes. It’s not that wild a combination but the only true red shoes I own are too summery to be worn today.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Outfit 1 that I immediately spilled espresso on: Teal long sleeve dress with a dark red/burgundy jardigan-type jacket.

      Outfit 2: Navy sleeveless blouse/shell tucked into a black swing skirt and the same red jardigan. This outfit is the winterized version of an outfit I wore probably once a week my 1L summer almost four years ago. Different topper but same color, same shirt and skirt. Apparently it ages well.

    • I’m very excited about my outfit today – black ankle pants, black chambray blazer with three-quarter length sleeves, red shell, red heels. For my blue, I’m wearing a pendant necklace with mixed blue stones and blue drop earrings that go but don’t match. I feel much more stylish than I usually do on a Wednesday!

    • Baconpancakes :

      I’m a little sorry I am a week behind in the challenge, but the outfit that immediately springs to mind for a red and blue outfit is the cobalt The Skirt, fire engine red silky wrap blouse, red suede heels, gold WW belt I wore on Halloween.

    • Linda from HR :

      I stay away from that combo for the same reason I stay away from red and green together, it looks too much like a holiday ensemble. I might pair navy with deep shades of red, but that’s it. Personal preference though, definitely not a rule I’d impose on others, nor do I perceive it as a fashion “rule” I must obsessively follow because I’m crazy.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        It is very rare that I pair navy blue and true red and don’t think “Happy 4th! America wooooo!” Dark reds and burgundy don’t bother me. Bright, bright blue and red accents don’t bother me. But I seriously struggle with navy and red and am awed when other people pull it off. It may work better with someone whose coloring is not ghost-white on a good day.

        • Linda from HR :

          Fair! I do think navy and red can go together if there’s enough white in the ensemble, because then it looks somewhat nautical. Anything that’s mostly navy and white can support a bright red or yellow accent. And I think a lot of red with a little navy can be okay.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I LOVE my outfit today. My “magic” navy DVF pants that make my short legs look a mile long, LL Bean striped sailor shirt with blue and red stripes on a cream background, new Cabi red jacket that I got at a sample sale over the weekend. And I loved the examples Cat showed with pops of green, so I have bright green pumps and tote. Love. Love love love.

    • Greensleeves :

      I’m wearing my navy pinstripe pantsuit with a scoop neck dark red blouse and a navy/gold statement necklace. I’ve never work this shirt or color with this suit before, but I really like it!

    • nerfmobile :

      I have a pair of medium blue cotton roll-cuff pants and a deep red sleeveless shell. Over the shell I am wearing a button-front georgette blouse in a blue geometric print with a shirt-tail hem worn open, as a light-weight jacket. I have a pair of bright blue Tory Burch ballet flats and am wearing a pair of silver earrings with a blue faceted stone.

      • Inspired by the challenge :

        I didn’t sign up for the wardrobe challenges, but the spirit of them has infected me! After YEARS of not wearing a brown Ann Taylor skirt that was pushed to the side of the closet because…uh, because I just can’t make brown work, I wore this: Brown Ann Taylor skirt, black silk+cotton blend V-neck sweater, black textured 3/4 sleeve jacket, black Smartwool tights…and beige lace-up sneakers. Plus an old bronze skeleton key on a long chain necklace. I know this sounds odd…but I gotta say I rocked it. I’m in a creative+tech role, work in a very casual office, and can get away with funk.

        Thanks for all the encouragement to look for new combinations and options.

    • Anonymous :

      Blue (just short of navy) straight pants, red polo neck thin sweater, and a red cardigan with thin white detailing on the pockets and where it buttons (I love this cardigan).

    • I’m 20 weeks pregnant and really popped last week so my wardrobe is slim but I’m trying to do the challenge for fun anyways. Today I’m wearing navy tights, cognac heels, a red knee length dress, and a navy and white horizontal stripe blazer. I feel a bit patriotic looking today but I do like the color combo.

  10. Do you love Louis et cie pumps? :

    For those of you who love and find Louis et cie pumps comfortable, can you recommend other brands that are similar in style and comfort? I love that brand and find it difficult to find pumps that are as cute and comfortable. AGL is super comfortable but can border on frumpy, and some of the cheaper brands like Nine West and Calvin Klein are not comfortable for me. I need leather lining. LK Bennett, Sam Edelman, and Corso Como, which are often suggested here, don’t work for me. Any suggestions? Ideally under $200.

    • Have you tried Cole Haan?

    • Cole Haan are a good workhorse for me. I stick with their well reviewed basic pumps, though.

    • My Louis et cie pumps fit me perfectly–I bought multiples when they went on sale in January. Cole Haan is probably my favorite brand for pumps. Others that work well are Kate Spade, Calvin Klein, and Michael Kors.

    • I like Marc Fisher, especially the Zala pumps (but I love block heels).

  11. Arundhati Roy :

    after all the great reviews here over the years, finally bought tickets to be Orleans for end of Feb! Any tips? I’m there 5 nights with my partner starting mid Saturday. Does that mean I can only do a great NOLA brunch only once on Sunday? What are your great food experiences there? Any absolute must do’s? Can I get away without renting a car at all?

    • Arundhati Roy :

      *New Orleans (clearly one cup of coffee is not good enough today)

    • NOLA’s is pretty yummy. We just ate at Compere Lapin over Thanksgiving and LOVED it.

      You probably don’t need a car. You can get around on the street car, which is pretty fun.

    • Commander’s Palace jazz brunch is on Saturday and Sunday. Great food, fun, and nowhere near as stuffy as supper. Note that there is a dress code, which is essentially business casual, but see website for details. Luke also has brunch Saturday and Sunday, and a breakfast service 7 days a week. Luke is one block off the St Charles streetcar route, and Commander’s Palace is two blocks off the same route. Do ride the St Charles streetcar to its end and back.

      • Anonymous :

        Extra points if you do it on Saturday, because then you can visit the old cemetary across the street afterwards!

    • Now that there are multiple streetcar lines and, if you’re willing to Uber, I wouldn’t rent a car. It’s more hassle to figure out how to get places and park.

      I was just doing some research on brunch for a friend (his 50th birthday) and most places only do Sunday brunch, but a few do Saturday (doesn’t help you, I know). Just pick a good one! Of course, lunch at Commander’s is a lot of fun, so you could do that instead of brunch. 25 cent martinis!

      Things will be a bit quieter in the city at that time, post-Mardi Gras, but that could be nice. Get uptown and go to some different restaurants. If the weather is nice, browse Magazine Street. Go to live music on Frenchman Street. Go to the sculpture garden at NOMA. It is awesome. One of my best tourist days ever was a random day in January with a friend I met here. We went to the sculpture garden, then to NOMA, had lunch there, then hit Sucre in the afternoon, tooled around Magazine St. to shops and galleries, then went to Boucherie for dinner. Heaven!

    • Another NOLA Girl :

      I love the brunch (and Bloody Mary Bar) at Restaurant Atchafalaya. You’ll also be here during Lent, so you should try to get you some boiled crawfish one day! Also seconding every single one of NOLA’s recs – but I especially love Boucherie for dinner!

      I would also do drinks one night at either the rooftop at NOPSI or Hot Tin – cool views of the city. I also really like Bacchanal and Effervescence. And my favorite date night in the city is to head to the Bayou St. John area to a wine bar called Swirl and do a flight there and then walk to one of the restaurants close by – Lola’s or Cafe Degas, 1000 Figs for dinner after.

      If I think of more, I’ll post more!

      • YES PLEASE :

        OMG, this is awesome, please post more!

        • Another NOLA Girl :

          I wish I knew where you were staying and what you liked! I’m really, really into making recommendations.

          Arnaud’s French 75 Bar, Carousel Bar, and The Sazerac are some definite classic (and fancy) New Orleans bars you should check out. Souffle’d potatoes at Arnaud’s – divine.

          I also want to re-urge Bacchanal. It is perfect when the weather is nice for a late afternoon/early evening spot where you grab a bottle of wine and a bucket (literally just a bucket, nothing fancy) and just sit on a hodge podge of patio furniture and listen to local bands. I think it really captures the essence of New Orleans.

          For food, I love Mais (Colombian – but so good!) and think that Restaurant August is one of the most delicious places in the city. Might also want to check out Willa Jean (esp for breakfast) and Cochon. If you end up in the City Park/Mid City area do a po-boy at Parkway Bakery (hot roast beef is my favorite.) Meril is Emeril’s more casual end restaurant and is really good and has a cool vibe.

          I hear Revolution and Galatoire’s recommended a lot but I think they are over-hyped and would skip.

      • I haven’t been to Bacchanal but a group of musicians who were some of my faves as students play there regularly.

    • Muriel’s!! We had such a nice dinner there, and then took drinks upstairs to their balcony and lounges. It was really fun and a nice way to cap off our trip!

      • Senior Attorney :

        +1 for Muriel’s. We loved it!

        • I wouldn’t rent a car either – things are very walkable. For a delicious yet casual brunch, I highly recommend the Ruby Slipper Cafe.

      • I love taking drinks upstairs to the balcony and people-watching! It feels like a secret because there’s rarely anyone else up there.

        • I’ve been to Muriel’s with candidates and it was lovely. Haven’t been upstairs, though!

          • Oh NOLA, you have to go upstairs!! The lounges are so cool, and the balcony is awesome, overlooking Jackson Square. We were the only ones up there, it was so fun!

    • Not the OP, but has anyone been to plantations near NOLA? Thinking about renting a car and driving to 2 or 3 plantations for a day. Thanks!

      • Another NOLA Girl :

        I hope I’m not posting too late for you to see this.

        Oak Alley is *the* plantation to see, I think. It’s really pretty and has the iconic long drive with the oaks framing the drive.

        You could also do Whitney Plantation, which in recent years has opened something of a slavery museum and dedicated a lot of efforts to education about the atrocities that went on on plantations. This gets lost a lot when you’re looking at a plantation just as a “pretty house.” I would recommend checking it out.

        There are several all in one pretty close stretch on River Road. I think you could do Laura Plantation, Whitney Plantation and Oak Alley all in one day, they’re pretty close.

        I love Houmas House – gorgeous! – but it is a little farther away.

  12. Ouch that hurts :

    I have this ponte blazer from Boden … and the matching skirt … which I wear as separates. Being an hourglass, I had to have the waist in the jacket taken in. The “ponte” is not really “ponte” in my mind as there is not the same hand nor stretch in the fabric as ponte dresses from Talbots or Nordstrom (esp. unlike The Skirt of good years past). I’ve been steadily disappointed in Boden’s interpretation of ponte … but the color on the blazer is mahvelous darlings, mahvelous!

    • Ouch that hurts- question for you :) – I think this might be because most of Boden ponte is lined and so you wont get the same type of stretch as other retailers. Do you think this is the case? I have two ponte dresses and thought that the ponte was of a higher quality (less stretch at the end of the day, and not as wrinkly saggy in the elbows- a problem unique to me weird arms I think… anyone want to educate me?

      • Ouch that hurts :

        Thank! The boden dress I’m thinking of is a fit and flare and navy w floral on it. It is even called “ponte.” I feel it is more plasticy than anything in the hand of it.

        Yes, the lining reduces some stretch in the blazer, but it is still mahvelous!

        • I have this dress (in two colors) and I love it. I’m actually wearing it right now. I like that the knit is substantial, it doesn’t lose it’s shape, and appreciate the lining. I feel it’s stretchy enough to accommodate movement easily. Just my two cents;)

    • Senior Attorney :

      Yes, the color is mahvelous! I bought the jacket and pants in that color from BR last year and they have been such good additions to my wardrobe!

    • Anonymous :

      I have this blazer too! Also love it. I would consider it to be more of a purple than a pink though. It definitely has more structure than most ponte blazers thanks to the lining.

  13. South Africa :

    I had plans to visit South Africa (including Cape Town and Kruger) this Spring, but with the water shortage crisis, have decided to postpone. I would still go if I thought tourism helped, but it really seems like the less people there the better right now – it sounds really dire, and I’m hoping they find ways to alleviate the issue soon. Does anyone have any ideas for other locations (either in Africa or elsewhere)? Looking for something unique/adventurous, possibly with some beach. Would love to do New Zealand but don’t think it will be the right time of year. Thanks!

    • Argentina could be a lot of fun (and would still check the wine-region bucket). The country is so long that even if you go in later spring, the northern part would probably still be warm enough to not feel like you’re vacationing somewhere wintery. It would have a good mix of culture (Buenos Aires) and nature/adventure.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      We were considering South Africa for a honeymoon in May with safari+4 days in Cape Town and have decided instead to do Tanzania for safari and spend a couple of days in Zanzibar or one of the other nearby islands at the beach post-safari. This was in part due to the water shortage crisis in Cape Town, but also because I felt like I could get more days for my money and have a better experience in Tanzania (after reflection, I felt like the safaris in South Africa were too luxury for my taste. I probably could have found some more suited to my travel style, but the water shortage just made me switch focus to Tanzania.)

      • South Africa :

        Thanks! Will check out Tanzania!

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          Highly recommend the Lonely Planet guidebook and the TripAdvisor forums as a starting point, or Fodor’s guide to african safaris, which covers options in multiple countries–LP/TA is pretty much my starting point for planning any trip, but will give you a sense of the different types of safaris. I initially worked with a travel agent before realizing all the options they had were going to be group safaris or private safaris at super luxe accommodations, whereas the local operators suggested in LP/TA would be able to do private safaris at not super-luxe-but-still-perfectly-fine accommodations for less.

        • African destination :

          Tanzania is a great choice, but would also suggest you seriously consider Namibia–desert, coast, safari are all options. The Sossusvlei Desert (the famous sand dunes) is possibly my favorite travel experience to date.

    • You are right not to go. The city will probably be legit out of water by then, and the crisis management plans that are currently being put forward are deeply, deeply inadequate. They may sort things out and it may be fine; but it may not be, in which case there is potential for serious public unrest.

      Elsewhere in Africa: Tanzania would hit some of the same notes if you do Zanzibar+safari. Or Botswana, plus Namibian coast if you really want beach. I’d do two weeks in various safari destination in Botswana, though. There is so much variety, I don’t think you’ll miss the beach. Alternatively, in South Africa, Kruger + Hluhluwe/St Lucia. Doesn’t have the city break aspect of Cape Town, but the beach experience is actually much nicer (ocean in CT is really, really cold). Round out with a hike in the Drakensburgs if you want mountains.

  14. Results over the phone :

    I think I need a gut check here. Last week I developed excruciating lower back pain – I could not straighten my back more than 45 degrees, couldn’t rise to stand or sit without pain, couldn’t walk without a hunch, etc. I was lucky enough to be seen right away by an orthopedist, got an MRI on Monday, and have a follow-up on Friday with the same orthopedist. I just called the office to see if they had received the MRI results, and was told that they had, but they under no circumstances could discuss anything about my results over the phone. Is this normal? It seems like a ploy to get people to have to make a follow-up and pay for a second office visit. In my case, I’m going to the follow-up regardless – it just seemed like it would be very useful to know 48 hours ahead of time whether the MRI showed anything serious, in case it affects how I should be treating my back over the next couple of days. It just seems weird to me to hold someone’s medical information hostage! But maybe this is typical? Thoughts?

    • I think MRI results are not Yes/No, Positive/Negative. My MRI reports from a radiologist are very hard to decipher and I think subject to interpretation by the orthopedist. Mine were meaningless before talking to the orthopedist. I definitely do not think it is the job of the office staff to try to decipher the report and give you an explanation. If you are asking for the actual report from the radiologist, I imagine they would mail or email that to you. But, I definitely think it is reasonable and best practice for the admin or nurse answering the phone to not give you an oral synopsis by phone.

    • I think it’s pretty normal to not discuss results over the phone, especially if it’s an in-depth discussion. Maybe not MRIs, but certain lab results require a particular form of patient counseling. If there was something that required emergency care, I think that they would call you and let you know, otherwise just continue with whatever precautions/restrictions you got the first time. I’ve not looked recently, but I seem to remember there being some restrictions on whether a provider could bill for telephone calls, especially those near in time to face to face encounters so I can undertand why physicians are reluctant to spend a lot of time on the phone unless its a true telehealth appointment.

    • I’ve had many MRIs for my knees and shoulder and have always gotten my results on the phone. The only thing I can think of is that it could be something more serious that was found and they need to discuss treatment options or do more tests? I don’t want to scare you. Maybe this is typical for that practice.

    • Not that your results have anything to do with me, but admittedly I am curious about them. I had the same type of back pain (could not move off the couch for a short period and then had continued pain), but I let it take it’s course and have been fine since that four day window of pain!

      • Oh! To answer your actual question, I got MRI results for my leg/knee over the phone because all we were doing was answering a very specific yes or no question. I expect that if it had turned up something else or was abnormal, I would not have gotten them that way.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      When I’ve had imaging done that was “exploratory” (trying to figure out what was wrong), I have always had the results explained in an appointment. I have had one situation where I had an MRI to check on healing, and I did get those results over the phone.

    • It is completely normal for them not to relay results over the phone. MRIs are very complex, you will not understand much of the technical language which would then just cause confusion and anxiety, and sometimes there are things on them that are unexpected but really mean nothing. The doctor needs to see the MRIscan themselves, as sometimes the interpretation by the radiologist is actually not 100% correct either…. the clinical context/your symptoms/your examination results all need to be taken together by the orthopedist to decide on what it means and the best next step.

      A receptionist should never relay medical results over the phone. Sometimes a nurse who knows you well, can relay a simple result that requires zero follow-up and has no need for explanation for a patient being followed for a stable problem. But any doctor that allows MRI results in a case like yours to be read over the phone is a bad doctor.

    • I had an MRI of my leg looking for a stress fracture, which I definitely had, but they were similar about the MRI results. Someone from the doctors office called me and told me to come in right away. I was on a business trip so I said I couldn’t for a couple of days. Then the doctor himself called me (i was shocked) and said there was an “mass” on my MRI that required a follow up MRI because it might be a tumor. So I had to sit with that for the rest of my business trip (and also a stress fracture) before I could get back and have an MRI with contrast. The results of that showed that the “mass” was a cluster of blood vessels that is unusual, but normal for my anatomy.

      The big thing is, nurses/assistants/receptionists will almost never give you results over the phone. Some doctors will but they are mostly not great at calling patients, especially playing phone tag because they will not leave anything sensitive on your voicemail, so they just prefer you come in.

      I know it’s hard to wait but it’s probably just something like that.

    • Just as a community PSA, in most cases tests like MRIs are not indicated for low back pain unless it persists for several weeks.

      • Anonymous :

        Agree. Need at least 2 weeks of solid or worsening pain for tests like MRI’s. American medicine is so wasteful.

      • I’m generally inclined to follow the advice of my specialist who has seen my x-rays, thoroughly examined me, and knows my history. In my case, the pain has persisted for a couple of years – last week it developed to the point where I was unable to function. That detail didn’t seem relevant since I was not asking the group whether or not I should get an MRI. Thanks for your input, though!

  15. Fur for interview :

    Hello hive;
    I have an interview on friday for a business development role (think professional networker/match maker in the business sense) at a national chamber of commerce in Europe. Would it be OTT to wear a mink fur jacket in burgundy over a gray below the knee dress?
    It is a job where most of what you do is organize luncheons, be invited to galas and mingle in a social setting so I do not expect to wear a suit. The meeting is more a discussion than a proper interview and the dress if very formal. I am not sure about the fur though. Any thoughts from the non business formal crowd?

    • Never wear fur to an interview. Too risky that someone interviewing you hates fur.

    • IDK — fur is a very hot-button thing for some people. And can read a bit costumey. I’d save it for after you have the job. If you have a burgundy fur, your other clothes are probably just as good but with less downside risk.

      Even in non-suit world, an interview is an interview. Don’t let anything detract from you so that you get the job.

    • Not in Europe but a fur coat does not seem professional to me and many people have a strong negative reaction to fur (even fake because they may assume it is real) so I wouldn’t wear that to an interview unless it was the only coat I had.

    • I want to pause in appreciation of how thoughtful these answers were. I must confess when I read this post, I expected the OP to get some serious judgmental shaming.
      I missed this community so much!

    • Normally I would say no fur, but that crowd/role doesn’t seem like the type to be opposed to it. Still, it might be best to play it safe and wear something else.

    • Way, way OTT.

  16. Is anyone finding it’s easier to post as “Anon” so that posts aren’t held in purgatory forever? Kat, that’s not a good way to foster a community. I post sporadically but have to always change username because whatever screening program here seems to favor new or anonymous users. Definitely something to look into when you audit your screening system.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      I’ve been using the same user name for years and haven’t noticed any problems.

    • Honestly, I post as Anon because there are people who have good memories and can connect a lot of parts of your background if you use the same handle. Since this is work focused, I just don’t want people connecting my location, family, company, and career/role too much because it narrows me down pretty quickly.

      And even though I always post as Anon, I still get a fair amount held in purgatory. I think sometimes people who land in purgatory are posting on every thread in the comments, and there’s likely some algorithm that flags that behavior.

  17. I have a few hours to kill in NYC on Friday. I’m getting of a train at NYP at noon, checking in to my hotel a couple blocks south of Central Park, and getting dinner at 5 on Columbus Circle. Ideas for what to do in between? Might be me alone– I like cute non-clothing stores (plants, books, stationery), good coffee, and museums– and might be me and DH. Lunch ideas welcome too– nothing too heavy or expensive since I’m realllly looking forward to our 5:00 dinner. Would like to stay in the same general area as NYP/hotel. Thanks!

    • Brooklynite :

      MoMA is just south of central park. You could grab lunch in Korea town, which is near Penn.

    • Anonymous :

      The Museum of Art and Design is on Columbus Circle and often has interesting exhibitions. The shops at Columbus Circle is kind of a fancy mall, but if the weather is bad that might be a nice shopping destination. Koreatown has interesting Korean stores.

      • Cornellian :

        Second the Koreatown recommendation, especially if you like Korean beauty. There’s a cheap shop on the north side of 32nd between 5th and 6th that is fun.

    • Plaza Food Hall is fun

  18. Request for follow-up :

    To the poster who was asking about how much to negotiate for in a new job as a junior defense analyst in the DC area, I would love to hear how the negotiations went. I’m annoyed on your behalf that they tried to pull “the office is outside of DC” line on you.

  19. not sure if this already posted :

    The last time I looked into pet insurance for cats, I concluded that I would be better off setting the money aside each month in my own personal vet bills fund. I don’t find that cats are as likely to have health issues as dogs.

    I also put some thought into prevention. The serious feline health issues that I’m familiar with (urinary crystals, diabetes, obesity, liver failure, tooth decay) are all diet related. I’ve become persuaded that major cat food brands are probably contributing (since they are too high in carbohydrates and contain novel ingredients that are probably hard on the feline liver). Time will tell if this effort will pay off, but my cats’ more trivial health issues (stomach upset, itchy skin, etc.) have already been resolved by finding better cat food. Since pharmaceutical interventions can also be hard on the liver or increase the risk of diabetes, I think it’s worth trying something else for a more trivial issue before resorting to veterinary intervention.

    • Any recommendations for cat food? I’m looking to switch my 5-year-old (almost 6) indoor cat to something better.

      • I have a 5 and 3 year old cat that are all wet food, primarily Blue Buffalo, but I switched them over to Authority (which is Petsmarts’ store brand) recently without any issues and they’ve been in really great health. The switch to all wet food from dry food for my 5 year old cat a few years ago solved any issue I had started to see with a urinary tract issue. The big thing is to look at the ingredient list and avoid anything that has the carbs or meal product within the first 3-5 ingredients.

      • I’m in the same boat as the above poster; good food and yearly checkups or more if something seems off with my cat. I give him both dry and wet food and I like to mix it up–because I don’t want him getting addicted to one brand, texture, or flavor. As well there are different thoughts on the dry–some say it helps their teeth others are neutral so I err on the side of caution. However, wet food is super important since it mimics what they would eat in the wild and helps them get water. 10 calories per pound of cat is about how much they should eat for weight maintenance.

        Right now I’m giving him a brand called Boreal. The most important thing with feeding cats is that since they are obligate carnivores they cannot (unlike dogs) support non-meat food. So, the most important thing is to check the labels. Find a good pet food store if your local shops don’t have the right stuff. It is usually pricier but worth it in the long run. I’ve also found the cat is more satisfied on less food (probably because it’s got more of the stuff that’s filing to him).

        Dry food is worse than wet (but be careful it’s there as well) for adding soy, rice, wheat etc. to bulk up food cheaply but the impact on the animal is as mentioned above–urinary crystals, diabetes, obesity, liver failure, tooth decay–as well as obesity. Obese or overweight cats can be cute but it’s terrible for their health often leading to diabetes which will likely need multiple daily injections and a reduced lifespan.

        I’m a bit obsessed with my cat–He had a few rough years in his life and then I brought him into my home so I feel I need to take care of him as well as possible. He’s such a darling I would feel awful if something happened to him that I could prevent.

      • I feed Nulo. I’m not crazy about it being a new company, and I wish they had their own manufacturing plant, but my cats are doing well on it.

        I feed on a schedule, canned for one meal, and dry (with added water) for the other.

        My criteria were that I wanted something low ash/magnesium (I worry about crystals) and without carrageenan or tapioca (for some reason, these ingredients make my cats sick to their stomachs). I also try to avoid menadione (I know there’s a big controversy there, but so long as the FDA says it’s too toxic for me as a human, I’m not willing to feed it to my cat). I also needed something with enough calories that I wouldn’t be going through several cans a day (looking at you, Weruva!), since my cats, though thin, are very large.

        I’m fortunate that my cats will eat nearly anything I put in front of them, so I didn’t have to worry about preference.

      • Where do you buy cat food? Is there anywhere you can order it online? I’ll pay for shipping…I’m losing trust in Amazon these days.

        • I’ve bought dog food from Chewy and it was fine.

        • Anonymous :

          I also buy from Chewy.

        • Anonymous :

          Local retailers are starting to deliver in order to compete with online stores. If the food is really coming from the store and not some giant warehouse, then I feel good about the turnover and freshness.

      • Anonymous :

        My cat likes Indigo Moon (dry) and Blue Buffalo (wet). People have also had good luck with Natural Balance.

        The “worst” cat food he’s ever had is Science Diet. He’s in his mid/late teens and, fingers crossed, in very good health, so I think the high-quality cat food plus a pet fountain (to encourage extra water consumption), worked. Of course, there’s some luck involved there, too, but I have no problem shelling out an extra $10 or $20 a month to keep him healthy and happy. I would also much rather spend that on high-quality cat food than on pharmaceuticals.

  20. It’s rude to correct someone’s pronunciation of someone else’s name right?

    • No? Not if you know they are wrong.

    • Like a third person’s name? I think it depends on how often the person you are correcting interacts with the third person and your relationship with the person you are correcting. For instance, if all three are coworkers and you could be like “you know, her name is actually pronounced blah” in a very casual way, that doesn’t seem rude to me. And the third person may appreciate it because sometimes people are hesitant to correct people about name pronunciation, especially if it has been going on for awhile.

    • AlexisFaye :

      Is it? Wouldn’t it depend on how they do it? Like maybe OddName feels awkward about correcting you and NosyPerson is really trying to help both of you out? I feel like this would be highly contextual. But Correctee should probably take it gracefully, no matter what. Unless NosyPerson tells Correctee the wrong pronunciation…Poor OddName.

    • Cornellian :

      Generally, yes, but maybe not if you and the third person come from a shared background and language that the mispronouncer does not.

    • No? I’d rather be corrected than continue to mispronounce the person’s name.

    • definitely not rude :

      I absolutely depend on third parties correcting my name pronunciation on my behalf. My name is not pronounced at all like the spelling, and even if you hear me say it, there’s a common mis-hearing that is really close but not correct (think like an m sound being pronounced as an n sound) that then confuses people who are saying it correctly. I will only correct people once more after the initial discussion of how to say it, so I really appreciate friends or acquaintances who discreetly help me with this. I return the favor to others when I hear it happen. The delivery of the correction may be rude, but that’s a different situation.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Me too. My name is pronounced the way that name is pronounced in another language, although it’s spelled the Anglicized way. Think “Bacon” being pronounced “Bayconn.” I always introduce myself and correct people the first one or two times, but after that, I let it slide, because they are hardwired to know that a name spelled mine is pronounced a certain way, and it’s not worth it to correct them, although it grates on me a little bit to hear it the wrong way. They’re not pronouncing my name wrong per say, just not the way I pronounce it, so it’s much easier if my coworkers pipe up with “actually, she prefers it to be pronounced Bayconn.”

      • Me three! People frequently mis-pronounce my name and it feels awkward to correct people more than a couple times. I appreciate/depend on co-workers reminding others of the correct pronunciation.

    • I mean, anything can be rude depending on how someone says it. But in general, no, it’s not rude to say “Hey, just so you know, Lisa’s name is pronounced like ‘Liza’.” They’re trying to save you the embarrassment or ensuring you maintain professionalism (you obviously don’t want to be pronouncing a client or higher-up’s name wrong).

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      If it’s done kindly, totally fine. Two people in my office have names where the accent is a bit different than I originally thought (two syllables instead of one from “ahle” in the name, making the whole name 3 syllables instead of the two I was saying it as, for example) and having someone gently correct me was much appreciated because I want to say people’s names right!

    • Senior Attorney :

      That reminds me of a funny story about when I was working for the Court of Appeal. We had a pro per appellant who had a name that I knew was pronounced a certain way in his native country because I had a bunch of friends from that country. (Like “Louis” being pronounced “Lou-eee” vs “Lewis.”) So I made sure that all the justices knew to address him as Lou-eee at oral argument and I made a pretty big deal out of it because I was so sure of myself.

      Then when the day for argument came, he stood up and made his appearance as “Lewis” and made a big ol’ liar out of me! (I wanted to stand up and shout “Yeah, but that’s not what your mama named you!” but I restrained myself.)

      I guess the moral to the story is: Be sure you’re right when correcting people!

      • Ha! Reminds me of a scene in the West Wing where Matt Santos’ brother does the opposite: his license says George and he pronounces it Jorge (and the Secret Service is snippy to him about it, and he is snippy back, because a lot of reasons).

      • Anonymous :

        I love this story!

    • I usually repeat within a sentence: “Oh, yes, I did happen to hear that from OddName yesterday! How funny.” It allows people to save face if it’s an embarrassing mistake.

  21. What’s your office’s sick leave policy? I work in an office with many different hiring mechanisms. My contractor gives one leave bank (12 days sick and vacation) and encourages employees to telework when ill. About 90% of my coworkers have different hiring mechanisms and have sick leave and our boss doesn’t allow telework (despite my agency encouraging it), so there are about 10 of us with limited PTO, no sick days, and no telework which encourages everyone to come in while sick and spread their germs.

    • My firm allows 5 sick days (you can use vacation after that) and generally discourages working from home in any circumstance (other than snow days). Sick days and vacation are separate buckets. Vacation days rolls over and sick days do not.

    • We have a lot of sick leave (separate from vacation) but people usually don’t take more than a day off for a common cold (myself included) so there’s bound to be some germ spreading at work. People who have kids in daycare or school need to use a lot of their sick days on their kids and in general it just isn’t practical to be out for a week every time you get a mild illness – nobody would get their work done (we can’t telework). You’re also very contagious for at least 24 hours before you feel sick, so I’m not sure taking sick leave really does that much to cut down on disease-spreading.

    • OP here- I absolutely understand why people power through colds, etc but a coworker with a stomach bug threw up before work this morning and is planning on staying at work today until he throws up again. Which is absurd, I think. Just take the day!

      When I first started I caught the flu before I had accrued 8 hours of leave so I had to push through and work (leave without pay has t be approved in advance, even for illnesses apparently). With how dangerous this flu is this year, I really hope no one else is put in that position!

      • Baconpancakes :

        Ew that is wildly inappropriate. I’m pretty sure a stomach bug isn’t like a cold – you are not infectious a long time before you show symptoms, and you are definitely infectious when you’re showing symptoms.

        • You actually are infectious for about a day before you show symptoms, assuming it’s something viral like Norovirus (if it’s bacterial you’re not infectious at all). But agreed that you shouldn’t be at work if you have a stomach bug – those last for one or two days tops and you should stay home until it’s over.

    • Ours is one bucket of PTO, no distinction, and is accrued. There is an option to buy leave, but who wants to do that for a sick day? We do not have a work from home policy. People come in sick because of this. My department has been passing it around.

      • Max PTO accrued is:

        Year 1 – 10 days
        Years 2-5: 15 days
        Years 6 – 10: 20 days
        Years 11 – 15: 25 days,


    • Tech Comm Geek :

      We have a general PTO bank of 20 days (SO lucky!) and a very manager-specific view of telework. My team is pretty firm on “if you’re sick, at least work from home!” We’re a healthcare company, and I think that helps. We don’t have a corporate policy because we have a large call center which is not able to work from home.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m so grumpy about this right now. I have no idea how many sick days staff at my firm get but it’s not enough for them to actually stay home. I seem to pick up everything, despite upping my vitamins and hand sanitizer use. I am so. freaking. over. people coming in sick. I’m tempted to threaten to work from home for the foreseeable future.

      • Anonymous :

        Maybe you need to see the doctor about why you are getting sick so often. It doesn’t sound normal.

    • i totally agree this is why telework should be allowed in these situations. we have one bucket of days, but who wants to use them for being sick, so people come into work sick. i once worked from home for two days because other people had and so i thought it was ok to do while sick, but was then reprimanded for not using at least one day of PTO. I mean I guess only having to use 1 day instead of 2 days is better, but i might have forced myself to come in had I known. I’m currently pregnant and trying to save up all my PTO

  22. Can anyone recommend a lawyer in the Fort Collines/Greeley/Loveland area of Colorado?

    I have a friend who is coming to the end of probation for a DUI. She had bad representation (a friend’s father) after the initial charge. She was compliant with a doctor-prescribed dose of a medication that caused the impairment and has since gone off the medication. Her license was revoked (even though it was a first charge?) and she would like to get it back.

    I’m not in law and honestly don’t even know what kind of lawyer she needs.

    She is an extraordinarily anxious person with almost no confidence and a sensory processing disorder. No family in the area. She needs someone who will walk her through whatever remains of this process with kindness.

    Any recommendations would be much appreciated!

    • Senior Attorney :

      She needs a criminal lawyer who specializes in DUI’s. Every town has them. Can’t help you with Colorado but ask around…

    • That’s a really harsh penalty for a first offender. Did she cause an accident?

      FYI – I was hit by an drunk driver who ran a red light. Very serious, I was almost killed and hospitalized with a brain injury/seizures. It was his first offense. He was a businessman, out entertaining clients at the bar after a Red Sox game. His company paid for the lawyer/defense. He got off with a tiny fine, no license suspension, and the charge was expunged from his record after 6 months of probation.

      It was a shocking experience to see our legal system in action.

      • Totally agree. My brother lives in CT which is fairly strict on DUIs. He had THREE before he got jail time, and though I don’t know the exact circumstances, he also had pot (not legal) on him and as high as well as drunk. He got a year of jail time, was out in 5 months. He had his license revoked briefly (maybe a year in total, part of the time he was in jail) but got it back quickly as long as he had the breathazlyer installed. He gets to pull out the breathalyzer after i think 3 years of driving?

        The first time, he caused an accident (no deaths, no major injuries) and he got a fine. The second time, he crashed his own car, got a bigger fine, a suspended licence (a few months?) and had to go to some classes. Third time he flipped his car over an overpass and smashed it into the ground below, nearly killing himself, but no others. Destroyed a LOT of public property though.

      • Whoa. That is crazy and I am so sorry that you had to go through that.

        She didn’t cause an accident. As I understand it she went over a curb while turning and swerved, though there may have been more to it than that. The police officer asked for her license and her rx fell out of her purse. Saying that she is an anxious person is an understatement. She probably has ASD in addition to generalized anxiety (which was what the meds were for!). She also has trouble understanding facial cues when interacting so I can imagine the whole scenario was just bad.

        She tried to keep everything a secret from her family which led to some poor decisions about representation. I think her lawyer really messed up. Hence, I want to help her find someone solid this time around.

        • As a nervous driver on the spectrum who took anxiety meds specifically to improve my driving, this whole story makes me feel sick to my stomach. I have no advice, but I really wish it were easier to get by without having to drive!

  23. Egg Freezing :

    I know we occasionally discuss egg freezing on this site and I apologize if someone already mentioned this, but the Washington Post has been doing some interesting reporting on this subject (starting about four days ago with a follow-up to an old Bloomberg Businessweek story) and continuing with the first three episodes of a series created by one of their filmmakers.

  24. For those of you with wood floors, how do you care for/maintain them? I moved in last summer and my floors are just looking a bit…. dull?

  25. I have a $75 gc to Lululemon. What should I buy? I’ve never shopped there but I have a ton of stuff from Athleta – both workout and casual wear. I’m an hourglass ~12.

    • Wunder-under tights, in the luon not the luxtreme. Super soft, incredibly comfortable, last for years and years.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I really like Lululemon but haven’t bought much (hard to talk myself into it!). It is generally high quality, especially the pants. Their hoodies and sweaters are great, too.

    • Shopaholic :

      Do you need a gym bag? I love their gym bags… so many pockets!

  26. A tangent to the fur to interview question: where does one find a job that consists of being a people introducer, a fixer, matchmaker for businesses etc.
    This almost sounds like something from a movie and I guess such people exist, but how do you find such jobs? I’m interested …

    • Well, government relations has elements of that…

      • +1

        Friend does this on the gov’t side, liaising with stakeholders (businesses) in a particular industry. It absolutely suits her personality as a connector, and but requires her law degree/training to an extent the outside world doesn’t see.

    • Not the OP but I would assume a job like that would find you through your network since it is your network-building skills that make you qualified for the job.

    • That type of job can also be more of a grind than it sounds, at least from what I’ve seen. Constantly having to expand and maintain your network so that you can introduce your firm (or company or charity or whatever) to the “right” people/donors/patrons that they need to know, while making sure those people don’t feel “used” by you, or reject your invitations after the 3rd charity gala in 4 months can be tough. You have to kiss a lot of as$ and have to always be on. I’m sure it’s an awesome gig for the right person, but (like most jobs) there’s more to it than meets they eye.

    • I have a friend/colleague that has this as a pretty significant portion of her job – she is a development executive at a very large non-profit. She got the role by already being good at it – she is known for having a huge network and being a great networker and socializer. It’s a good fit for her but definitely a grind. In addition to what Pesh posted above, she also has to deal with a lot of people within the organization who think she doesn’t have a “real” job or that she just gets to have fun and go to receptions and events all the time. Also, because she’s very attractive and it’s literally her job to be warm and friendly, she has to be a pro at gracefully extracting herself from awkward situations with men – she gets hit on/propositioned a lot.

      I think you could start finding jobs that fit this sort of description by looking at jobs that are focused on “development” – for non-profits, this likely means fundraising.

  27. dietary obstacles to traveling :

    You all are very well traveled ladies so I’m asking for advice on how to travel with dietary restrictions. Due to a combo of religious and health reasons, both SO and I abstain from drinking and are vegetarian (egg is fine), and SO is not into the trendy vegan restaurant scene. One of our goals this year and moving forward is to travel more and get to more of the places on our “adventure map.” A major hang up in planning has been the dietary restrictions. When I suggested Japan, there was concern over all the seafood, France/Italy are big wine locations, Columbia or Peru have very meat based cuisines, etc. These are all places we want to go, but when we start researching, we get worried that because we won’t be looking to enjoy major aspects of the cuisine/culture, the whole trip might not be worth it or that we’ll have to take protein bars with us or something. Are any of you in this boat? How do you still travel far and wide with these restrictions?

    • I think Italy would be great with those restrictions. Its easy to go there and not drink. Just don’t go on a wine tasting tour and don’t order wine at dinner. The same with France regarding alcohol, though my sense is that many foods are cooked in butter or other animal fats, so if that’s an issue for you, the food aspect might be harder.

    • Of Counsel :

      My family includes vegetarians and I can tell you that Italy is not going to be a problem as long as you are a vegetarian and not a vegan. Lot of vegetarian options. I could not tell if you just do not drink wine or if you also do not want dishes cooked with wine. The first is also not a problem at all – nobody is going to think it is odd if you drink water (although it will be bottled and you will have to pay for it) instead of wine. There are also plenty of foods cooked without wine added (although you should probably ask about sauces).

      We have also traveled in Central America (Belize and Costa Rica) and the South Pacific without problems. If I am staying someplace that provides food, I call or email before I make the reservation to be sure they can accommodate vegetarians (and a shellfish allergy) and then remind them via email the week before I arrive. I have always found that they are happy to help. The critical thing is to contact them IN ADVANCE, especially small places that have limited menus.

      Even in pretty far-flung areas, you can find information about restaurant menus. I research and go with a list of places that will work (I usually create a google map if I am visiting a city like Rome). Tripadvisor is a great resource for this. Go to the travel forums and search for “vegetarian”.

      Final note – I have not been to Japan, but looked into it at one point. It can be hard to avoid fish. However, staying in small lodgings and making arrangements in advance helps. You can also try booking temple lodgings, which in addition to being a great cultural experience, will always be vegetarian. There are a lot of Buddhists in Japan so it can be done.

      • India is a heavily vegetarian country and a great many people do not drink so it sounds like a perfect travel destination for you both!

    • Anonymous :

      There are people who actually have dietary restrictions that make travel difficult (Celiac is one), but it’s really not hard to travel as a vegetarian who doesn’t drink. I don’t drink and I LOVE France and Italy. I have even traveled in some of the wine regions of both countries and not felt like I was wasting my money at all. The scenery is beautiful, the food is delicious, the people are charming and it is a wonderful vacation spot with or without wine. I mean, I wouldn’t choose an organized tour that is focused around wine and will take you on wine tastings every day, but beyond that I really think the alcohol is a complete non-issue.

      I haven’t been to Colombia or Peru, but I have been fine in Spain and Chile as a de facto vegetarian since I don’t eat pork or shellfish, which are the main meats there. You will certainly miss more of the signature local cuisine there than you would in, say, Italy, but you won’t have a hard time finding things to eat. Most restaurants will offer vegetarian paella, potato omelettes, gazpacho and ratatouille, among other things. And of course you can’t forget churros con chocolate!

      Of all the places you listed, Japan would probably be the hardest for vegetarians, I think, although I’m sure if you search online you can find vegetarians who have written about their experiences traveling there. I’d probably pick somewhere else for a first international trip though.

      If you’re really anxious about it, you might also consider a cruise – you have to pay a la carte for alcohol on all but the fanciest cruise lines so you won’t be wasting your money as far as that goes, and they are generally really good about accommodating different diets. Certainly there will be lots of vegetarian options at every meal.

    • Sensible shoes :

      I’m vegetarian. I traveled to (northern) India for 4 weeks and had wonderful, exquisite food. In contrast to my life in the U.S., it was SO EASY to find healthy and satisfying options. I avoided dairy when I was there because of the increased potential for stomach upsets, so I ate vegan the entire trip. I’m white and didn’t grow up with Indian food, but I’ve come to love it in the U.S.–and what I ate in India was beyond what I have experienced in the U.S. I will long for it, 5 years later.

      I know that some places in the U.S. (such as the Bay Area, where I’ve lived) have a decent amount of vegetarian food. But even in these places it’s not commonplace for ALL restaurants to routinely have an extensive vegetarian menu, where vegetarian food is the norm.

      I was especially lucky because I had a lot of home-cooked food, and friends who live in India traveled with me and could help advise about food choices. Even in very remote areas it was easy for me to find delicious and satisfying food at dhabas, which are small roadside cafe-like places. Seriously, I swooned over most meals and felt so taken care of by the food gods of the universe.

    • I am an alcohol drinking lacto vegetarian and have traveled to many places, remote and urban. Shorter trips are easier to places like south-east Asia and Japan–where they put fish extract in many of the dishes, such as miso, that are made vegetarian elsewhere. It’s the place I had the hardest time with the local cuisine; even remote rural China is easier. All the places you’re interested in, I’ve been and it’s doable.

      My major tips are : take snacks (bars, peanut butter, nuts) with you so if you’re starving there’s that. Also, figure out in the local language how to ask: does that contain alcohol, is it cooked in pork fat, does it contain any fish sauce etc. Maybe do a check before you go what kind of secrete ingredients are in things. In East Asia I found saying I am Buddhist and don’t eat any meat, then ask the questions, led to people understanding my position and being straight about it. In other places, I would say I have allergies, then ask the questions. The preamble (true or not true) makes the request less strange and rude for people/cultures who are not used to picky eaters. Also ask, if they can make something vegetarian for you–I’ve had many wonderful meals and interactions with chefs and servers that way.

    • Anonymous :

      I travel a lot internationally as a vegetarian and have been fine everywhere. Since you mentioned Peru, it is very easy to find vegetarian meals there – there are tons of choices, even if you do an Inca trail hike. Don’t let that stop you. Also, not drinking alcohol is not an issue anywhere.

    • World travel :

      Im a super picky eater married to a vegan. We love to travel and have been to all the places you listed. Go!!! It doesn’t have to be about the food. At all. We visit museums, take long walks, seek out adventures/experiences and then have dinners that would be meh to a foodie but are great for us. No vegan restaurant scene either I can’t stand it.

  28. Sloan Sabbith :

    I’m attending a young professionals happy hour tonight sponsored by a national chronic illness foundation. I have that chronic illness and will be the only attendee with the illness attending. I was asked to briefly speak, with zero guidance. I’m a bit of an outlier in my community because of my level of education and position, so I could talk about that, but I strongly, STRONGLY do not want to come off as inspiration….gardening videos, in our lexicon.

    What would you want to hear if you were attending? I don’t really get the point of the event generally, so I don’t know if it’s about fundraising or just raising awareness. I’m very open about my illness but struggle to be a “face” of the condition.

    • Could you ask the organizers for more direction on what you should say? Maybe they can guide you on what they’re looking for.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I did and they told me “Just whatever you want to talk about for a few minutes!” :|

        • Elegant Giraffe :

          I would push back on this response. They’re not being thoughtful hosts if that’s the only direction they’re giving.

    • “Thank you all for your support of [Organization.] Together, we can raise awareness/raise research funds/etc. As someone with Illness, I appreciate the work Organization has done to promote [awareness/research]. Thank you all for being here tonight. Enjoy yourselves!”

    • “Gardening videos”?!? What? Doesn’t that mean p0rn? I am so confused.

      • an inspiration f u c k

      • Yes – she’s worried about being inspiration [email protected]

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Yes. There’s an idea of inspiration p*rn in the disability community that I’m now realizing is not common knowledge. I can’t google it at work for a link, but think of those Pinterest photos of a woman with oxygen running a marathon or something that say “The only disability in life is a bad attitude!” or “Ohmygosh, I just don’t know how you do it, you just inspire me so much, getting up every day and doing what you do with…all you live with! I would never be able to get up.” In terms of being inspiration p**n, not just seeing it, it’s about people coming up to people with disabilities after you hear them speak and saying “Wow, you just make me realize how easy my life really is, any excuses I make for not doing all you’ve done are just so ridiculous! I am just so lucky!”

        For some people in the disability community, me included, it really rubs us the wrong way- my disability is only one part of who I am, and I don’t exist to make you feel better about your own life, nor do I exist to be what you think of when you think you can’t do something. I’m just…living my life. It makes disability into this thing that’s always awful and people just can’t understand how someone with disability gets out of bed in the morning and does human stuff, rather than a part of the human experience that has both pluses and minuses.

        I’ll say that some of what I’ve been able to accomplish is cool- I am an outlier. But I don’t want people to look at me and say “Oh, you just inspire me, any time I’m feeling lazy I’ll think of you!”

        • Ah, gotcha. I was not familiar with that particular expression and the phrase “gardening videos” just jumped out and me and didn’t seem to fit with the rest of your comment. But I get it now, thanks for the explanation.

        • Anonymous :

          Thanks for the explanation and perspective, never thought of this!

        • Anonymous :

          Thank you for posting this. I’m so grateful to this community for nuggets like this. I don’t want to ever make anyone feel bad for sharing their experience, so I really, really appreciate you taking the time to educate well-meaning but clueless people like me.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          One of the other issues with Inspo-p0rn (that exact term is new to me but I’m familiar with the concept) is it causes some people to compare people with diseases in an unfair way. Sure I accomplished a bunch of things with X and Y diseases but I have really mild forms of those diseases. Someone with a severe case may not be able to accomplish those same things and it doesn’t mean I’m better than them or they are worse than me. We are living with completely different challenges.

    • I think it could be in the delivery, right? Like if you are super dramatic about it, then you’re inspo p o r n. If you’re casual, like, “hey, I have this thing and so am happy to support this org and so should you because X,” then maybe not.

  29. Has anyone tried Superfeet insoles? I’m looking for ways to make my walking shoes comfortable for an upcoming trip to Europe and they look promising, but would appreciate a review.

    • Love superfeet! Wear them in most of my shoes at this point. Got the reccomendation from my mom’s podiatrist who said (at least for her) they will be almost as good as her custom orthodics.

    • Yes, I love them. They take up quite a bit of room in the shoe, which is perfect for me because I have narrow feet and they stop my heels from slipping around. Also that means they don’t work with skimpy or delicate shoes like ballet flats. I wear them inside my leather ankle booties (~1 inch heel) which makes them feel like sneakers that I could walk in all day.

      • Superfeet :

        Is that true for all the different models? I just got new sneakers I hope to take to Europe, but I actually don’t know if a really large insole will fit in there…

        • I love them. I took the ‘built in’ soles out of my running shoes and replaced them with superfeet – I don’t think the two together would have fit. I’m not sure if you can do that with all sneakers, probably depends on the model.

    • My ex was obsessed with them and he was the world’s biggest insole critic/purchaser.

    • They are great! Just make sure your shoe is big enough to hold them (or the insoles are small enough to fit). Even if they fit, you may be making the shoe smaller. I learned that the hard way when I put some into a shoe and they felt fine, but then I ended up with a black toe :(

      • Sensible shoes :

        Also have narrow feet, also love Superfeet. Agree that sometimes shoes aren’t big enough to hold them, or you need a larger shoe size if you’re wearing Superfeet with it.

    • Pen and Pencil :

      My physical therapist for my knee reccomends them to all of his clients that have foot/knee/hip issues. He says that he rarely recommends custom orthotics to people now because they are so good and customs are $$. I have a wide foot, with arch issues on one foot and a high arch on the other.

    • Anonymous :

      Which model do you guys use?

      And do you just buy one pair and move them from shoe to shoe each day?

      How long do they last?


  30. How much did you clean our your office before maternity leave? My officemate told me this morning that she thought I would be removing all my personal belongings from our shared office, which I wasn’t planning on doing. I certainly won’t leave food or anything else that could attract bugs, but I wasn’t planning to take picture frames and knick knacks off my desk or remove my stash of disposable paper plates & cutlery or the spare suit and shoes I keep at the office. We have a large office and separate desks and all my stuff is on, in or directly under my desk. Fwiw, I’ll be out about 3 months and definitely plan to return.

    • Anonymous :

      This is weird. I’d just have a clean desk when I leave and leave my belongings just where they are. I do this for vacation. I hate coming back to clutter.

    • Anonymous :

      Nothing more than I did for a vacation. Of course you leave your photos up, etc.

    • No one I know removes all their belongings before maternity leave. Her assumption sounds weird.

    • Anonymous :

      Sounds like she’s planning on taking over your space while you’re gone…. ;)

      Totally inappropriate to ask you to more your things.

    • What everyone else said. I have never seen anyone clean out their office in this way for maternity leave. I guess it might be different if you were in a position where a temp was filling in for you and would be using your office space while you were gone but that doesn’t sound like it’s the case.

  31. This Again :

    Inspired by one of yesterday’s discussions: I’ve decided to buy some black work pants! I need a little more guidance though. I already ordered: NY&Co 7th Avenue Pant, slim leg ankle all season stretch (bought two since it’s BOGO), and Everlane’s Modern Boyfriend Jeans in black, which will double as weekend attire. Now I’m trying to decide between: Everlane’s Work Pant, Brass’ The Ponte, and Brass’ The Modern Trouser, or just breaking down and ordering the EF slim crepe pants. I’m 5’3″, 125lbs, pear shape and I do not wear thongs, so I shouldn’t order anything that requires them. I work in business casual; jeans are fine most days but I want to up my work wardrobe a bit and I think boring black slim pants are the ticket. Finally, I appreciate everyone’s input and I really enjoy this community.

  32. Dealtwiththis :

    Is Bobbi Brown make up worth the splurge? I have foundation, concealer, blush and an eye cream in my cart but can’t bring myself to pull the trigger.

  33. Senior Attorney :

    Thanks to everybody who responded to my question about AirBNB hosting last week. I thought I would report back that I listed my house on AirBNB and VRBO and I lasted, like, two days! I thought I’d dip my toes in and see how it went, but I learned quickly that people were wanting to book very far in advance and I didn’t want to commit for that long. Also I learned that my city is in the process of instituting a ban on short-term rentals unless the homeowner lives in the house him- or herself for 9 months out of the year. So, long story short, I am over it.

    But… yesterday I went over there (tenants moved out on Monday) and gathered up all my art and some other stuff and took it to the New Marital Residence (aka Lovely Husband’s house) where I have been living for the past year and a half. My designer is coming on Friday and we are going to re-create a couple of gallery walls that I loved, change out a couple of furniture pieces in the living room, and generally incorporate a lot more of “me” into our house. Oh, and the lime green velvet sofa and aqua leather chairs (and the big painting of the purple elephant!) are coming to live at my office! We’ll have an estate sale to sell what I don’t need and will be renting the house unfurnished, hopefully starting March 1.

    It was a stupidly hard decision to dismantle my masterpiece but I slept like a baby last night after having begun the process. Turns out that house is the past and I’m excited to bring more of me and my stuff into my present and future home!

    Anyway, thanks for all the advice. I really appreciated it.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Sounds like a great outcome!

      Your style sounds so cool that I wish I lived near you to go to that estate sale!

    • Oh that sounds like a great plan!! FWIW, I totally get how hard dismantling your place is – when I got married, I had to do a ton of changing my place to incorporate my husband’s taste (it went from being very bo-ho to more neutral hotel) & it was really hard. Glad you’ve found a way to do it (& to keep that great couch!).

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yeah, it’s kind of funny because I’m all excited about the changes at the Marital Residence and naturally LH is… well, less so. ;)

    • Thanks for the update; I’m glad it seems to have worked out. And, honestly, I was worried about how that green velvet sofa would fare with short-term renters . . . (If I ever rented my house furnished, the first thing I would remove would be the wasabi-green deep shag rug in the living room.)

    • Lime Green! & gallery walls! yay!

    • That’s an estate sale I’d love to check out. Where will you advertise?

  34. Undie Hunt :

    I read all the suggestions you ladies gave for the post a couple of months ago for VPL elimination. However, I haven’t found what I needed, so asking it here. I’m looking for underpants that are:
    – Seamless at hips. Hip seams anywhere on the side or above the highest part of leg opening really really bother me. Don’t care about seams more up front or center down back.
    – Natural fiber (cotton / silk / wool)
    – Have a lower rise in front
    I don’t really care if they produce VPL as I’ll either be wearing them with thick/lined pants or with silk longjohns underneath my pants.

    Thank you!

  35. Panda Bear :

    Thoughts on wearing a tweed jacket/plain black skirt to an interview, rather than full suit? My favorite/best fitting jacket and skirt are separates. I rarely need to wear suits, so the only one I have is a few years old – still looks OK, but I don’t love it. Don’t know if it matters, but it’s a group interview for a summer fellowship in an industry that’s generally business casual.

    • Yes that sounds completely fine. I would not buy a full matchy suit for an interview if the position is going to be business casual.

      • Anonymous :

        Ehh this depends on the industry. I’ve worked in lots of law firms that were business casual and jeans on Fridays but you absolutely had to wear a full suit for interviews. Sounds like OP’s industry is less formal than law, but I’m not sure you can make the leap from “job doesn’t require a suit” to “interview doesn’t require a suit.”

    • If you mean a tweed jacket that has black in it with a black skirt, nice blouse, hose/tights, and nice shoes, I think it’ll read the exact same as a suit.

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