Coffee Break: Nice Flats

These $29 Blowfish shoes have a ton of really good reviews, and people are saying that they’re comfortable right out of the box. Ladies, I’d love to hear what your favorite flats are right now. I know in the past we’ve talked about Julianne, Felicia, Varina, AGL, and other comfortable ballet flats. These are a nice budget option and are available at Zappos in sizes 6–10 — but note that sizes run small. Blowfish Nice

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  1. Having an important (job opportunity) coffee with someone tomorrow and I’m at a total loss for what to wear. It’s in a casual west coast city, with someone in venture capital. I’ve never met the guy before – knowing VCs, he could be in anything from a hoodie and AllBirds to a suit (no tie). I need to look polished but also cool. What is the female equivalent of jeans and a blazer?

    • Anonymous :

      I work with a lot of VCs and my go-to equivalent of their jeans and a blazer is usually…jeans and a blazer. Pumps if it’s more formal, otherwise booties. Honestly when I show up to board meetings (startup cos and a few VCs present – I’m the lawyer), I’m always the most dressed up of the bunch if I wear a blazer and jeans and pumps. But erring on the side of more formal isn’t a bad thing if you’re gunning for a job, so I’d probably stick with that combo in your case. Unless it’s an interview, definitely no suit. I find the accessories (bracelet, chunky necklace, no pearls) help with taking a blazer outfit from stuffy to cool, while still looking polished. Good luck!

      • Thank you! I guess I kind of answered my own question (jeans and a blazer)! All my jeans are pretty broken down and frumpy – I guess this is a good excuse for a shopping trip tonight to refresh my jeans! If I can find some that look good, I’ve got some booties and a collar-less blazer that sound like they will work. Thank you!

        • Anonymous :

          Perfect! Yes, you’ll definitely want jeans in good shape that fit you well. Sounds like you’ve got this – happy shopping!

    • Anonymous :

      Female equivalent of jeans and a blazer is jeans and a blazer. Jeans/booties/blazer or ‘jardigan’ per last post. Black leggings or tights with booties and a sweater dress is another option. Basically whatever you’d wear for casual Friday at the office.

    • Anonymous :

      If you’re not sure about the jeans, wear ankle pants. They’re casual but also can be a little above jeans.

  2. Baconpancakes :

    Following the comment on the jardigan roundup – how often do y’all have your cleaning services come? No kids, just a cat, I do a FlyLady-style bathroom cleaning every morning, and we have a robot vacuum, so I don’t think we get dirty enough to have them come every week, but every couple of months I’ll pick up something covered in dust and realize how disgusting the house is, and that we haven’t dusted in months.

    • Anonymous :

      Biweekly. That’s pretty common based on a rough survey of my friends group. We do a vacuum/floor wash and some general tidying in between but no heavy cleaning.

    • Anonymous :

      Every other week. Sometimes I do better in between, sometimes worse. But living alone every two weeks means I never need to clean the bathroom, the stove, the floors, or dust.

    • Marshmallow :

      Also no kids and one cat here. We have a cleaning service come every two weeks and I think it’s the right amount. In addition to the usual picking things up and wiping surfaces down on a regular basis, we do a touch-up on the off weekend. It’s amazing how much fur a single kitty throws around our house, especially considering that he seems to just sleep in the same spot on the couch all day…

    • Never too many shoes... :

      We do every two weeks and have all along including B.K. (before Kid).

    • Triangle Pose :

      Every two weeks.

    • Once a month, but I only have a one bedroom apartment where I live by myself, no pets.

    • anon a mouse :

      We do monthly (1 kid, 1 dog) and do a deep-clean ourselves after 2 weeks, but I’m starting to really want to increase the frequency of the service to every other week.

    • Every two weeks but I sincerely wish they came every week. It’s just a budget thing for us but I’d be oh so much happier with every Tuesday.

      • Anonymous :

        2 kids and 2 cats, but had them when it was just the 2 cats.

      • Pretty Primadonna :

        This is me. I have a husband and a toddler under 2. Weekly cleanings are definitely on my wish list, but the way my budget is set up currently…

    • Once a week. 2 bedrooms, no kids, 1 cat. I’ll probably vacuum once in between.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Once a week. It’s just the two of us (well, DS is staying with us at the moment but usually it’s just the two of us), no pets. But I like a clean house.

    • biglawanon :

      Once a month.

    • 1 kid, two cats, cleaning every 3 weeks. Have considered moving to every 2 weeks – things get pretty raunchy by week three.

    • One dog who doesn’t shed much, one tiny baby who doesn’t yet generate household mess. Cleaners come once/month. We wipe down our kitchen every night after dinner, but we don’t vacuum or clean bathrooms in between the cleaners’ visits.

  3. Inspired? :

    Would you purchase a designer ‘inspired’ handbag? I’m spending too much time looking at handbag reviews (Prada, Chanel, YSL, Loewe, etc.) and even though I could afford to buy one, I just can’t justify spending that much on a handbag and even if I bought one I would keep it locked in my closet instead of actually using it. Also, I really don’t need any more handbags and barely use all the ones I already have.

    Now I’m wondering if I should just scratch the itch and buy an inspired bag (not a dupe – so the design would be similar but won’t carry a fake logo) to see how I feel about the design of the bag – kind of like a test run. However, I think I would hesitate to wear it out in public as it would not be an ‘original’.

    Would love to hear any advice on this…I know I should just stop watching the bloggers and all the time spent watching videos is self-reinforcing the lust for the bags…

    • Since you’re saying you don’t really use a purse and you don’t need more, I’m guessing this pressure is coming from an outside source. I had to give myself permission to not want the things people told me I should want. I “should” want expensive bags and luxury vacations…but they’re not me. Ultimately, I don’t *want* to spend my money on those things.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I think it depends on what crowds you run in. Most of the people I know don’t even know who Loewe or YSL is. They’ve heard of Prada and Chanel but couldn’t likely tell you what their latest it purse design is. In those crowds you could rock a dupe and there would be zero judgment. If you hang with people that are pursed obsessed, that’s a different calculus.

      • If you really want the bag get it. The difference with high-end designer purses is all about the quality. Getting a dupe is just going to give you an idea about whether you like the shape of the purse, not the quality.
        If you are lusting after a purse and have the opportunity, go to the store and touch and feel it. That will help you make the decision, not buying a dupe of it. Plus, depending on what bag you are looking at, the leather and hardware can make it quite heavy, which will help you get the purse out of your system.

        • KateMiddletown :

          +1. Go back multiple times and lust after it over lunch, after work, and when you finally have an “excuse,” buy it if you can’t stop thinking about it. Designer bags are like buying a piece of art that you wear – if you can’t stop thinking about it, brings you joy, in the budget, take it home and display it proudly!

    • Marshmallow :

      I’d rent the real thing through RTR or a similar service rather than buy an “inspired” bag. Or if you really want the bag, maybe buy used from The Real Real?

      Or if you are feeling external pressure to carry a luxury bag and you don’t actually want one for your own reasons… just don’t. *shrug* My first big stupid purchase post-college was a Coach handbag– fortunately it was a few hundred and not a few thousand dollar mistake. It just wasn’t “me” and I bought it because of peer pressure, not because I really wanted it. Don’t do that with a Prada-size price tag.

    • I spend my spare money on jewelry and not designer bags so no, I wouldn’t do it. But from a jewelry perspective, if you’ll allow me to give you an analogy, I wouldn’t buy anything so precious that I would be afraid to wear it. The items I’m buying now are everyday pieces that I wear to work and on the weekends. That said, it took me buying a few pieces to get comfortable wearing this kind of thing.

      I guess based on your post I’d ask myself why you want a designer bag if you are going to be hesitant to carry it. Would you get joy out of seeing it in your closet, or would the joy come from going to the Chloe boutique and being treated like royalty when you buy it?

      I don’t think it’s a terrible idea if you have the money and would really enjoy it. After all, these cult bags tend to have a decent resale value. But I think you first need to examine whether it would bring you joy or just anxiety.

    • Like Blonde Lawyer, most of the people I hang out with don’t know specific designer bags, especially when you get up to the Prada/Chanel/YSL level. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy a designer “inspired” bag, although I wouldn’t carry a dupe with the designer’s logo. (I avoid logo bags anyways.) I see nothing wrong with thinking, “Oh, I like that $2000 bag. Lemme see if I can find something with a similar shape and color.” That’s pretty much what fast fashion is.

    • window shopper :

      Back when it was briefly an it-bag, I didn’t stop myself from getting a Proenza PS1/Mulberry Alexa inspired messenger. In my mind, it was a classic shape that pre-existed the designer bags, even if it was only trending on their account. And it’s an immensely practical design (laptop + file folder = conference ready). There were enough high- and low-end variations out there that I didn’t feel like I was carrying a knockoff–but I definitely did notice whenever someone was carrying a real PS1.

      You sound ambivalent about whether you would carry a designer bag any more often than you carry the bags you own. Maybe you are actually just into bag design? Do you want a bag, or do you want to start a Polyvore collection or put together an outfit on Covet, etc.? We are in the golden age of window shopping, so it’s possible you’ll be more satisfied doing creative things with digital designer bags than by owning a lookalike.

    • Inspired? :

      Thank you everyone for your advice! I am examining my motivation to buy a designer bag and the closest thing I can pinpoint is buying into an ‘aspirational’ lifestyle. It probably drives most of my clothing shopping, but I seldom spend big bucks on clothes. No external pressure to indulge in the designer habit, and I would have purchased one of the bags by now if I was sure I would use it. Given my tendency to hoard rather than use beautiful/expensive stuff, I know I will never get ‘joy’ out of using the bag. Which is why I was thinking might as well go for an inspired one that will cause me less anxiety to use it.

    • I did this with a dupe of a pair of rock stud pumps and have never worn the dupe because they don’t look right with either my nice togs or the less polished part of my closet.

  4. Anonymous :

    Vionic–but have to try on, since different styles fit differently. And some are awful in the amount they stretch.

    • I loved my first pair of Vionics and wore them into the ground. All replacement pairs (same size same style) have given me giant blisters and/or just plain lacerations where the top part of the back of the shoe cuts mercilessly into my Achilles’ tendon. That’s a hard pass for me from now on.

  5. What to wear in London? :

    I’m going in two weeks and coming from a warm weather destination (but have cold weather clothes). What should I plan on packing? TIA!

    • Anonymous :

      Looks like it will be cloudy and 40-50s during the day. I went in November in similar weather, I wore my North Face Hyvent everywhere with jeans or betabrand dress pant yoga pants and lots of times some kind of a scarf. We did all the touristy stuff and walked everywhere. I wore booties if it wasn’t a heavy walking trip or all black Puma lace up mesh sneakers.

    • The blog Travel Fashion Girl has packing tips for different cities.

  6. Long-Distance/Busy Schedule :

    Any tips on how to make a long-distance relationship work with busy schedules?

    I’m a couple months in to seeing a new guy and we both think there is long-term potential, but we both have killer work/travel schedules (he’s a consultant, I’m in BigLaw). Given our current projects/cases, for the next ~6-9 months it looks like we will only have 4-5 days per month the same city. Long Skype dates every day are basically out of the question given our schedules, but time zone differences won’t be a huge problem.

    Any thoughts or suggestions on how to keep things moving forward while not being in the same place or having much availability are welcome!

    • Prioritize spending time together those 4-5 days you have together and be sure to be in contact frequently while you’re apart. I did 2 years on opposite coasts with my now-DH. We made it work by seeing each other every month, generally with only 4 weeks between visits, spending as much time as possible together when we were in the same city (which didn’t mean we didn’t see others, but if we visited family or went out with friends, we did it together), and texting or talking on the phone every day. We weren’t in the same time zone, but would text every evening during his commute/while I got ready for bed. Friends who lived in the same city as their SOs said we probably racked up similar hours together in a month as they did with their SOs when they were dating. We just packed it all in at once instead of a couple of nights every week. IMO, you both have to be on the same page about prioritizing though, because it does take some work and sacrifice.

  7. Retirement :

    Can we talk about how you decide how much to save for retirement versus focusing on current life – how much enough? I know the advice is always to max out the tax advantaged vehicles available to you, but those numbers are the same for everyone regardless of income, so I wonder if they are really that meaningful.

    To make this personal, I’m 33 years old and have 1.57x my annual income saved in retirement accounts. I read a guide that said you should have 1.5x saved by age 35, so that makes me feel like I’m on more than track. But I don’t max out my 401k, which is so contrary to all advice I read everywhere. I *could* max it out, but then I would not be able to travel at all and would have to almost entirely cut out the little things that make life more pleasant, like eating out and occasional cabs (I’m very lucky that my other financial goals are funded).

    I can’t be the only one in this boat – how do you ladies balance this?

    • Anonymous :

      Oooh, where did you find that, I’m interested to know where I fall!

      • It’s based on guidelines from Fidelity.

      • Baconpancakes :

        I found this chart to be more helpful/reasonable when I was in a lower income bracket.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          That one doesn’t make sense to me. Granted, I looked at the chart and didn’t read the article. It says high earners need more multiples of their salary than lower income earners. That makes no sense unless you are spending the majority of what you earn and anticipate doing so in retirement. If someone can live a good life off $60k in retirement but makes $300k now, they need to save less multiples of their salary than someone earning $100k, one would think.

          • Baconpancakes :

            It’s based on the assumption that you’ll be spending the same, because lifestyle creep is legitimately a thing. Very few people will go from spending a $300k salary (even assuming a huge chunk is going to savings) to $60k.

            More likely, they’ll go from spending a $300k salary to spending a $150k salary.

            Overall, though, the income-based scale is based on income replacement figures. If you are making less, social security will cover more as a percentage of your income. If you’re making more, social security will cover less.

      • Anonymous :

        These rules of thumb are unfortunately so unhelpful for those of us who were in school for a long time and then jumped to a high salary. I couldn’t contribute to a 401k until I was 28 (started at 26 but had a year and a half waiting period at my firm—they’ve since realized that was unattractive and lifted it, but it was still time I couldn’t contribute. I don’t know how I was supposed to save $160,000 in two years to get my 1x by 30, while also paying student loans. And I say that sarcastically because I know the rules of thumb are just that, so no one is actually saying I needed to hit that 30 benchmark. I guess that’s why we have Northwestern Mutual reps to guide us in the right direction ;)

        • Retirement :

          Yes, I started working at 21 and went back to grad school part time at night, so I think these rules of thumb apply to me – definitely different in your situation!

        • BelleRose :

          FWIW, White Coat Investor has a rule of thumb for doctors (so similarly don’t start saving until later but then make $$$$):

          Average Post-Training Income * Years Since Training * 0.25 = Expected Net Worth

          So if you finished school at 28, and were making $160,000, then by 30 you should have
          $160,000 * 2 * 0.25 = $80,000 net worth (debt + assets)

          He also edited for if you have huge debt (though note he campaigns for aggressively paying down debt):

          Expected Net Worth = Average Post-Training Income * Years Since Training * 0.3 – $200,000 (the average med school loan burden)

          So if you finished school at 28, and were making $160,000, but had $200,000 in loans, then by 30 you should have
          $160,000 * 2 * 0.3 – $200,000 = -$104,000 (that is, you should have paid off $96,000 in loans)

          • Marshmallow :

            This is a really helpful comparison! Thank you for posting.

          • Anonymous :

            Anon at 3:41 here. This is much more in line with where I’ve tracked over the years, and the annual increase goal in net worth is close to what I’d pegged as a goal for myself. Interesting, thanks for sharing!

        • BelleRose :

          Response in mod :)

    • I think there’s a couple definitions of “maxing out”.

      One definition is doing the maximum contribution that will be matched by your employer. You should DEFINITELY contribute as least as much as the match or you are leaving money on the table.

      The other (probably more common) definition is the maximum allowable contribution, around $18K/year. I think that’s a great goal if you can hit it, but I agree that it’s somewhat unrealistic to give as blanket advice. (Same goes for “1.5x income by age 35”.) I think you’re doing more than fine and are absolutely on track.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I think the “max out your 401k” advice applies to thinking about other investments – like if you have a choice between dumping that money into mutual funds or into your 401k. Which really only applies to people who are making six figures and up. If that’s not you, it’s probably not applicable. There’s a difference between splurging on cabs and eating out when you’re not saving for retirement and don’t have an emergency fund and doing so when you’re clearly appropriately saving.

      Have you done a projection scenario? If you have, and you’re saving enough to retire comfortably, don’t worry about it. That’s the only real “rule” – if you are saving enough to meet your goals, you’re good.

      • Retirement :

        Have you found a projection calculator that you like and trust? I’ve tried a couple provided by investment firms and they all seem to be of the opinion that I need to be saving 50% of my gross salary annually (above the max for a 401k), which just doesn’t seem right.

    • anon a mouse :

      I think you’re doing pretty good, fwiw. If you don’t want to dramatically cut back on your spending, from here forward you can prioritize retirement with any income gains. Like if you get a 5% raise, immediately increase your contributions by 3 or 4% — you’ll still feel more money in your paycheck but the bulk of it will be siphoned off to retirement. That will help prevent lifestyle creep too.

    • I just read that. Are you supposed to save x times your annual take-home or gross salary? Because I will never get there if it’s gross. But partly because I am a high earner right now, and I’m not sure I need 10x my current salary for retirement at 67

    • Anonymous :

      Savings factor: Aim to save at least 1x your income at 30, 3x at 40, 7x at 55, 10x at 67.

    • Anonymous :

      Is your income really the best metric to track against? I’d think tracking against anticipated expenses makes more sense, especially for many of us high earners whose expenses are likely to be lower in retirement (excepting healthcare).

      • Retirement :

        That’s the thing – I earn a decent salary but I am not a high earner by the metrics of this board (under six figures currently) and given my career path, this is unlikely to change. I anticipate that my mortgage will be paid off in retirement, but its 30+ years away so who knows what life will throw at me? I’m so far away from retirement that it’s hard to predict expenses, so I find income to be as good of a benchmark as any.

    • KateMiddletown :

      The answer is always, save as much as you practically can. If you max out your 401k, save in a brokerage or CD or cash savings, just keep putting it out of reach.

      I like to keep a net worth chart (google doc.) List all your assets: checking, savings, ret plans, house (just use purchase price since I’m not screwing around with this); then list all your debts: mortgage, student loans, car note, ccs (even if you pay off monthly, its to get an accurate snapshot). Total it out and you’ve got net worth. I do this monthly-ish and if it’s going up every month, I sleep better at night.

      • Retirement :

        Sure, but what is the metric of “as much as you possibly can”? At what point do you say to yourself, I’m saving enough, I can take a vacation now?

        • Anonymous :

          I think everyone’s comfort level is different. While I have a healthy savings account, contribute 12% to my 401k, have a little bit in a roboadvisor account, pay my student loans, mortgage, credit card bills on time every month, and don’t like beyond my means, I also want to enjoy my life. Could I save more if I didn’t go out with my friends once or twice a month for brunch, take weekend trips, or go on vacation every year? Sure, but then I wouldn’t be enjoying my life the way I want to. I have no desire to retire early and, barring any health/medical issues, plan to work for quite some time. As a result, I balance living the way I want to with saving/investing. It works for me, but for someone else it might not.

        • Straggler :

          I like this question. For me, I make annual savings goals and then set up automatic transfers to my saving accounts in the amounts that I’ll need to reach my goals. Once that’s done, I don’t give it a second thought; I feel comfortable spending the rest on whatever gives me joy. My annual saving goals are pretty aggressive these days because I am hoping to reach financial independence quickly, and I don’t want to be locked into a high paying job forever. I also don’t own a home and I’ve already paid off my student loans (with help from my grandparents), which enables me to focus more on saving. Finally, this year I got divorced and realized that I can’t account for every contingency in the future, so I need to build a happy life in the present. That includes spontaneous weekend getaways coupled with some longer trips–I cannot imagine regretting dollars spent on those categories.

    • Sigh. Sometimes I think people on this board are so literal, or just…can’t accept that the answer is, “It depends.”

      1x your income if you work at a nonprofit and make 30K is not going to be enough for retirement. Similarly, 1x your income if you just got out of grad school and are a little behind “time-wise” but not in terms of income, because you are a high earner, might be a lot.

      Investing is about 1) being cognizant that time is generally on your side, so you should save early; 2) risk tolerance and 3) emotional comfort with making save/spend decisions.

      You can check online calculators, you can read books, but only you can decide if spending on current you is better than saving for future you. No book can tell you the answer to, “Don’t take that trip to a friend’s wedding–it’s out of budget/will knock your savings out of whack v. this is an important wedding for a close friend so I must stretch my budget and save less to make it work.”

      Sometimes you just gotta decide. The biggest battle is getting into a savings mindset. Get there, stay there, do some saving, as much as you can, while still living what’s a reasonable life for you!

  8. Paging any medical professional... :

    I’d like to send a letter to my mother’s Dr about some developments in her health that have me concerned, but that she thinks are no big deal. She has told me she will not discuss them with her Dr. Please just assume I am a reasonable person who just wants to advocate for her mom. I don’t need her Dr to respond or even tell my mom she read my letter, just that she has this other point of view in mind at her next appointment. Is this allowed under HIPAA? My mom will not sign off on the Dr speaking to me, so I’m at a loss on how to advocate for her.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I’ve always heard that a medical professional can accept info, without confirming or denying a doctor/patient relationship, but cannot give info. I wrote in years ago about concerns I had with my dad and someone here suggested I just call and leave a message with the info for his doctor.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes, you can tell them. They can’t respond to you technically under HIPAA.

    • To answer just the HIPAA question: totally allowed under HIPAA. You are not a medical professional providing care to your mother and thus are not bound in any way by HIPAA. Your mother’s doctor (who is bound by HIPAA) will not be able to respond to your letter in any way unless she has your mother’s permission.

      Depending on the policies and procedures of your mother’s physician’s office, your letter may or may not ever make it’s way to the physician or be seriously considered. Including your mother’s full name and date of birth will at least help them locate the patient that you’re referring to but most offices would be very hesitant to add a letter like this to the patient chart. They will assume that your mother is capable of taking care of herself unless you have been legally designated to make care decisions for her.

    • Yes. You can send a letter to her doctor and state up front that you understand HIPAA prevents the doctor from discussing your mother’s treatments with you, but you wanted to provide a caregiver perspective so the doctor had additional insights during her next visit. Say that you’re available for additional discussion if the doctor feels it’s warranted and your mother authorizes it.

    • Anonymous :

      Is your mom of sound mind? If so, I’d expect this to be ignored.

    • I doubt anything will come of the letter. You should get a medical power of attorney for your mom in the event she is hospitalized or otherwise becomes incapacitated so that you can speak for her. You also need to know her wishes ahead of time, which can be in an advance medical directive or just a sincere conversation with you (which is sounds like she wouldn’t be keen to do)

      These are both standard components of estate planning / will making so your mom should absolutely have these or be on top of getting them now, while she’s relatively healthy.

    • an anecdote :

      My dad would never report symptoms to his doctor, even when it was obvious his health was in trouble. My mom reported his sleep apnea symptoms to his PCP, and he’s used a CPC machine since. The doctor told him that, the way things were heading, she probably saved his life.

      Now, I don’t know if they only took her seriously because everyone knows that people can’t report symptoms that happen when they are unconscious (when I did a sleep study, there was an official form for my partner to fill out). But over the years, this anecdote has elicited many similar stories. I feel like things have changed from the days when people had a family physician who was acquainted with everyone in the family, but this at least used to be a thing.

    • Anonymous :

      I have called my father’s physicians in the past when he had worsening psychiatric symptoms and told them my concerns, in confidence. I spoke with the doctors directly. This is definitely allowed. Keep it is a short as possible. No big stories. The main concern.

      The first time I called his PCP, and asked if he could screen for depression in his next visit, after telling him a few concerns. My father was severely depressed, and would never bring it up on his own. The doctor was amazing. I accompanied my Dad to the visit, and the doctor so casually asked questions that were usual medical stuff, transitioned to how it was affecting his mood, and made a suggestion about starting a medication that worked wonderfully. Never was it mentioned that I had called.

      The second time, I called his psychiatrist. My Dad was in his first manic episode and refused to go to the doctor. The psychiatrist listened to everything I reported, called in a new medicine immediately and I was able to start treatment at home and prevented me having to call 911. Miracle.

      Good luck. You are a good daughter.

  9. Someone on this morning’s thread mentioned they’ve seen no media coverage of the Austin bombings. I heard about it from TheSkimm this morning plus on NPR during my commute, but I just googled and it’s nowhere easy to find on CNN MSNBC or FoxNews. It wasn’t mentioned in The Broadsheet or yesterday’s RaceAhead either. That made me wonder what I could be missing since my own news comes from such a limited number of sources.

    I try to stay fairly balanced in my news media consumption without being overwhelmed with not-critical updates. (I hate the 24 hour news cycle and what it’s done for the concepts of relevancy and materiality.) TheSkimm isn’t my favorite in tone by far, but it’s still the best I’ve found that summarizes relevant stories in a daily format. Any suggestions on similar newsletters or feeds I could add to diversify my intake? Or ideas on how to stay up-to-date without becoming innundated with hardly-breaking news updates?

    • Anonymous :

      I subscribe to the “Inside Daily Brief” newsletter. I believe it comes twice a day and it has covered all the bombings. I also got a breaking news alert from the CNN app this morning. Most of their breaking news alerts aren’t usually all that breaking though.

    • NPR. Up First is a good NPR news podcast. It’s relatively short but still covers a wide range of topics, including FWIW, discussing the bombings last week. I didn’t realize it was underreported elsewhere because I heard about it there and have also come across a couple of articles about it, also from NPR.

      • +1 I listen to NPR exclusively in the car, and also check WaPo, NYT, National Review, and my local paper daily. I think I catch most things this way.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      It’s been on the Washington Post for a while, and they have a daily (and I think a weekly) round-up you can subscribe to.

    • I live and breathe this newsletter. If I read nothing else all day, I make sure I read this. (Paying subscribers (a few thousand) get it at 6:15 am; non-subscribers get it around 9 am, I believe.)

    • Anonymous :

      It’s all over the New York Times and the Washington Post. Read a real paper not a newsletter.

      • It has also been in the NYT and WSJ morning emails. Plus a headline on CNN. It definitely was not only covered in The Skimm.

    • I listen to NPR every morning and evening on my commute and have heard a lot about the bombings.

      NPR is the way to go for truthful, non biased news. I know a lot of right wingers find it liberal but factually that has been shown not to be true, verified by independent sources (easy to google)

  10. Lana Del Raygun :

    Any recommendations for flats specifically for us duck-people with disproportionately wide toes/narrow heels? I basically never wear flats because my toes are pinched, the sides of my feet spill out awkwardly, or my heels come out as I walk (or some combination!), but I really like them.

    • Anonymous :

      I get those grippy things that stick on the inside of the heels. I usually can’t wear flats either because my heels fall out.

    • Fellow duck here. I find that sizing down has worked for me on AGLs because they stretch quite a bit and then mold to your foot. Also, the recent resurgence of both slingback flats and mules has been wonderful.

      • Anonymous :


        Slingbacks and mules are the best for us.

        Otherwise, I construct a shoe by adding liners and heel non-slip pads and do wear flats. Currently I have several Rockport Total motion adelyn . I also bought a shoe stretcher on Amazon, but have yet to try it.

    • I have a few pair of flat’s but none of them make me look thin. In fact the manageing partner has told me NEVER to wear flat’s in the office, even on weekends! He wants me to look svelte, and flats make me look even shorter and wider then Madeline, he says. And Madeline is short and chubby to begin with so I make sure to always wear 4″ heels and once in a while 3″ heels.

      I went out with Larry today for drinks and he said he wanted me to come over to his apartement but I said I was anxius to get home b/c of the snow. I was afraid that if I went over to his apartement that he might want to do stuff, but it is to early for me to get physical with him. I spoke with Grandma Leyeh, and she said I should have gone over, but I also have to think about work tomorrow. If I can’t get to work, I have to work at home to complete 3 breifs for fileing this week.

      I hope the HIVE survives the snow! YAY!!!!!

  11. Tipping Etiquette :

    What % would you tip for a pricey facial ($145) by someone who owns her own shop? She has no staff. The facial was fantastic but I wasnt sure if standard tipping rates apply?

    • Anonymous :


      • Elegant Giraffe :

        Agreed. I hope I don’t get flamed for this. I assume an independent operator can charge whatever s/he wishes and they’ve built in a tip.

      • Tipping Etiquette :

        Of course I tipped $40 due to only having 20’s on me and feeling very awkward in the moment. Dang!

        • Elegant Giraffe :

          Hopefully $40 wasn’t too much of a burden for you and I am sure the facialist appreciated it!

      • +1 if it’s the owner of the business, I don’t tip. I view tips as a supplemental wage for someone who gets paid very little in salary/hourly wage.

        • Anonymous :

          I know this is the standard advice, but how do you all know if your stylist is an owner? My service providers don’t ever say anything about their role.

          • I just know who owns the salon I go to. I’ve been going there ever since she opened it.

      • Anonymous :

        Wow. No. This advice is outdated. You tip 20%.

    • NOT trying to thread jack, but I am wondering this about my hair stylist. He owns the salon and does everything himself (from answering the phones to washing my hair). I have always heard you do not tip in this case, however his payment system prompts for tips if you’re paying by credit card (as in, you have to hit extra buttons to avoid tipping). What to do?

      • Anonymous :

        I don’t have an answer for you but these situations make my social anxiety peak to the point of, I would have to find a new salon

      • Elegant Giraffe :

        I wonder if the payment system has to be used “as is” – the option to tip is built in, not something he requested?

      • Anonymous :

        Eh – it could be that he’s using an out-of-the-box interface that doesn’t allow for the removal of the screen – like the cash registers that just automatically print a tip line IF you want to live a CC tip. So, just skip past it.

      • Anonymous :

        Hit the extra buttons.

      • I tip in a situation like this but his prices are also less than they were when he was working at a fancy salon.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I don’t tip the owner but I do give her a nice cash bonus at Christmas.

      • Anonymous :

        Tip 20%.

    • I tip the standard 20% to my hair stylist, who recently started up on her own. She also has no staff. She didn’t raise prices between the salon and the new business, though–if prices had gone up 20%, I probably would have assumed that she built the tip in.

      • Anonymous :

        Except she sorta did, because she’s no longer paying a chair rental fee or sharing her earnings with the other salon owner.

    • biglawanon :


    • blueberries :

      I tip at least 20% to an independent facialist and independent person who cuts my hair. However, both charge on the low end for my VHCOL area for the quality and don’t have others working for them.

  12. I’m all about Rothys! I have two pairs and wear almost nothing else. They are super comfy, vegan, and they machine wash to look brand new every time. What’s not to love!?

    • Another Jo :

      Me too! And they work for my bunion duck feet. Only flat I can wear that is comfortable and does not fall off. I have an embarrassingly large collection of them as I wear them almost every day.

      • I have bunions too – do you have the round or pointed toe? I’ve been thinking of trying them but bunion-friendly shoes are so hard to find!

    • Two pairs of Rothys here. They are great.

  13. My fave flats are made by Lower East Side, available at Payless. The style is simple and goes with everything. I own multiple pairs and have had them for years.

    • Is it the Bree pleated flat? Because that’s my favorite as well! You can also get them on Amazon for about $20

  14. Lucky Brand :

    Lucky Brand Emmie. Fairly comfortable flats that stay on my feet. Not much support but they grip my narrow heel and have enough space for my normal width toes. Lots of colors.

  15. Rocking a pair of Toms ballet flats today. They are on the casual side though. For more formal shoes my go-to flats are Rockport and Cole Haan.

  16. If anyone is still reading I’m looking for a novel to buy at the airport. Crazy rich Asians? The lady in cabin 10 (or something like that)? The new dragon tattoo book? Looking for a page turner that isn’t terrible.

    • Crazy rich Asians was great escapism fun!

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I really disliked the Girl in the Spider Web or whatever the 4th book was, so I’ve not tried any of the next books there. Woman in Cabin 10 is an unrealistic page turner. Gone Girl, Girl on the Train, anything by Liane Moriarty. I bought The Light Between Oceans and couldn’t put it down on a recent trip.

    • I really hated the first post-Stieg Larsson dragon tattoo book, so I can’t imagine the second would be better. Crazy Rich Asians is on my to-read list, FWIW.

      And I liked the Woman in the Window, if it’s at the bookshop there.

    • Sunflower :

      The Dry; The Woman in the Window; The Wife Between Us; The Last Mr. Parrish.

    • Thanks! I bought commonwealth by Ann Patchett because I’d read and liked her before and because i was paralyzed with indecision!! But I’m saving your suggestions for the return flight.

  17. Has anyone experienced hair loss with retinoids (including Differin)? I’m reading some things online and getting scared. I also know that the YouTuber Hot and Flashy who promotes Retin-A use all of the time recently started using Minoxidil for male pattern balding. Thoughts?

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