Workwear Hall of Fame: Non-Iron Tailored-Fit Dress Shirt

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

This shirt from Brooks Brothers is a total classic and has been around forever. We’ve featured it before and it’s one of our Hall of Famers in our recent roundup of the best women’s dress shirts. If you haven’t bought one yet and you don’t object to the chemicals in non-iron shirts, then you truly must get it. The shirt comes in regular and petite sizes, and in both this version and a slightly less fitted dress shirt. We’re featuring it in black but it also comes in light blue, pale pink, and classic white in sizes 0–16. Non-Iron Tailored-Fit Dress Shirt

Here’s a plus-size option in white and blue pinstripe.

2017 Update: This classic no-iron shirt has been around for years, so we have added it to our Workwear Hall of Fame!

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This classic non-iron dress shirt from Brooks Brothers has been around for years, so we have added it to our Workwear Hall of Fame!


  1. Transition :

    I posted yesterday but didn’t get any responses so thought I might try again. How can one appropriately and effectively segue from one area of work to another (within the same organization)? My organization is starting a new area of work that for many reasons I would like to work on. I’d like to gradually disengage from another area of work. What strategies have you employed to accomplish this? Any pitfalls to look out for?

    • Anonymous :

      With the talk of strategies and pitfalls and gradually disengaging, it sounds like you’re trying to slide over into another area or change your job description without anyone really noticing … but that can’t be what you’re asking? Is this new area hiring, and can you just apply for one of the jobs?

      What is making this shift something that requires strategies and involves pitfalls?

      • If OP is in law, the realities may be a little different, because moving from one practice group to another can be more complicated than making an announcement about what she wants to do. OP – are you in law? Are you trying to get out from one practice group/partner and start working for another? Or move from practicing to, say, lobbying? You are intentionally vague in your post, but it could make a difference.

    • I agree with Anonymous: I think you’re overthinking this.

      Start putting the word out that you are excited that your company is going into this new area and you’re very interested becoming involved. Mention it in meetings with your supervisor or anyone else who may be involved in getting this division up and running.

      If they want your support in this area, it may be gradual (you start going to a couple planning meetings while it’s getting off the ground and then get increasingly involved) or rapid (they have a specific job opening and you are hired into a new role) but it will be up to your organization to decide how they want to handle it. The best thing you can do is just make sure people know it’s something you’d like to be involved with.

    • Anonymous :

      Agree that you should show enthusiasm for moving into the new area. I would say to be cognizant of the internal politics, esp if your shifting over could cause a rift in either your relationship with your current boss or between others, or a shift in workload, etc. If that is a possibility, you’ll eventually need someone to advocate on your behalf that your moving is good for you as well as the organization.

    • Anonymous :

      I think you need to approach your boss directly and tell him or her that you want to make this move and explain why it would be good for the company.

  2. NYC in February?

    I’m planning a trip to New York around President’s Day. I realize that is definitely still winter and I should plan accordingly. But what are your thoughts about that time of year generally? Is New York in February just a bad idea? Is waiting until March likely to make any kind of meaningful difference?

    • Anonymous :

      As long as you’re ok with cold, it’s a perfectly fine time to go. Plus it isn’t always freezing cold – sure you could get a 20 degree cold snap but you could just as easily get a stretch of 40 degree days.

    • NYC is best in late spring and early fall. Summer can be humid and hot and winter can be cold and just gross. That said, I don’t think there is too much difference between February and March. You may get lucky and have unseasonably warm weather perfect for sightseeing or you may get a snow storm; both are possible, both months. Generally though, aside from Hurricane Sandy, NY is never impossible to navigate. A winter storm can actually be a lot of fun (assuming you’re staying somewhere central).

      • Thanks for your first line AIMS – I’m going to NYC in September and I’m super excited! Makes me feel more confident in my decision!

        • I feel like September is the best time of year to travel just about anywhere. I love the temperate weather. Kids are in school, so fewer traveling families and things are generally less crowded.

      • My favorite times in New York are October and December. October has been lovely weather and there’s the chance of baseball playoffs. December because there’s nothing like the holidays in New York, even though it can be bitter cold.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I went in mid-March with my family a few years ago. It snowed for half the days and was freezing cold for the other half. Still had a good time, but it had been nice for a month or so in Seattle and going back to freezing cold sleet-snow, boots, hats, and gloves was not super.

    • Go. Enjoy! Just pack accordingly – shoes that you can comfortably walk in the snow in, warm coat, hat, scarf, and gloves. March and February often have the same weather so I wouldn’t change the trip to March hoping for Spring.

    • This year, if I recall correctly, February was actually balmy (trees started to open and there were a few days I only needed a light sweater!) and then March got cold again. Either month, count on possible snow or cold rain, or possible unseasonably warm loveliness.

    • Just be aware that NYC tends to get its heaviest snow in the February/March time frame (warm enough to have big fluffy, airport closing flakes) so be aware that your flights might be impacted. If that isn’t a worry (driving/train) then go for it! Pack nice warm clothes and sturdy boots for leaping over our super fun icy slush puddles on every corner.

    • Anonymous :

      No diff btwn Feb and March. Be prepared for slush.

    • Anonymous :

      I really don’t like cold, but imo February isn’t the right time to go to NYC. There’s so much to do on foot in that city and I think you’d miss out on a lot of it if you were trying to stay inside, which I would be. Sure, you can subway/cab to restaurants and museums and check off a lot of the tourist boxes but I think you’d miss out on the NY experience. I would recommend April/May or Sept/Oct.

    • Thanks, all! What kind of boots do people wear? I have Sorel snow boots – is that the kind of thing we’re talking about?

      • Anonymous :

        If there’s snow on the ground, absolutely. If there isn’t stick with normal boots.

      • Hmm. Where are you located? If you’re starting from some place already cold, I doubt you’re going to find February in NYC that difficult (unless a Nor’easter hits and you can’t go outside).

      • Yes – if snow is on the ground than definitely.

      • Yep, bring your Sorels

      • Honestly…. this isn’t Northern Minnesota or Canada or a Colorado ski lodge. I would leave the heavy bulky Sorrels at home, and just have a decent pair of short waterproof boots/booties. This is where I would bring out a decent pair of my La Canadienne’s (I have several booties and boots) etc… or spring on something decent but much less expensive.

    • I love NY in February – smaller crowds, no unbearable stinky garbage heat, chestnuts…plus it’s the perfect time of year to pack on a few pounds from NYC pizza, pasta, bagels, pastries, etc.

    • I went in February once and it was absolutely brutal and I’m from wyoming so I know cold. The humidity makes or feel so much colder.

      • Senior Attorney :

        And just to give the opposite perspective, I’m from So Cal and went once in February and was fine. Bundled up in my hat, boots, and puffer and had a grand old time.

  3. foster kitten update :

    One of them is figuring out how to purr. Hooray!

    • Yay! This makes my morning.
      Our old cat had kittens while she was with us and all those little milestones are such happy memories for me. I still remember watching her teach them to use the litterbox and how to jump off the bed. Makes me want to get a kitten.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Oh, yay!!!

    • I loved fostering kittens! My favorite is the 6-8 week range when they can already eat solid foods and don’t need to be fed with a syringe and/or given subcutaneous injections.

      • foster kitten update :

        Oh, man. That sounds glorious. Our best guess is that the babies are five days old today, so we have a few more weeks of bottle feedings. At this point, we’re just hoping for weight gain and seeing eyes open next week!

    • Awesome! We recently fostered a pregnant mom and then her kittens when they arrived. 3 of the 4 kittens have been adopted. The one remaining is 3 months old and such a funny little creature and very snuggly. Its wonderful.

    • Best update of the day, and maybe the year. :)

    • Not that Anne, the other Anne :

      Oh, I love when wee kittens try to purr. It’s almost as adorable as when they try to hiss.

  4. Anonymous :

    Any college professors on here? Thinking about going back for a PhD to become one. I’d love to hear any thoughts.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m in academia. Do you have specific questions?
      I think it varies a bit by field but in most fields you will do a PhD, then a postdoctoral fellowship or two, before getting a tenure-track position. Unless you’re extraordinarily lucky, all these steps will involve moves, often to places you have no interest in living and where there are limited opportunities for a spouse or partner to work (small college towns). It’s not something I would do lightly if you have kids or a partner with a career.

    • Anonymous :

      Why are you wanting to do this? Academia is a failing industry that year after year does not provide meaningful employment to its graduates

    • Professor :

      Don’t do it! This does depend a little bit on the field, but as the commenter above said, you need to be both very good and very, very lucky to get any kind of decent job and you have essentially no control over where you finally get a job. I managed to get a decent tenure track position, but I hate the place I live and moving somewhere I want to be is going to be very, very hard, never mind finding a job for my husband in the same place. The few possible exceptions would be if you’re a women in something like computer science or bioinformatics, where it might be a little easier to find a job, but I wouldn’t get a Ph.D. in the social sciences, humanities, or life sciences.

      • Anonymous :

        I work in a corporate job with two women who have bioinformatics Ph.D.s and didn’t get academic jobs.

      • I work in a corporate job with a social science PhD. This can be done, but one has to keep in mind how relevant her research is to the real world. You can do an Econ PhD and have it be super relevant and an asset, or you can write your dissertation on something totally esoteric and basically not be any more marketable than a humanities PhD. I found that I had to be mindful of this from the beginning of my program, and it’s absolutely not something you’ll ever get much help with. The department definitely pushed us all to become academics and more or less acted like nothing else existed.

        • Can you share more? Not OP, but I am somewhat interested in how a social science PhD applies to your corporate role (or not). My current corporate role involves some secondary research (reading management & other journal articles, qualitative interviews with subject matter experts and consumers), and there is a specific program, local to me, that I’m interested in applying to.

    • Fwiw, I just finished my PhD in the top school in my (relatively marketable) field. Less than half of my peers were remotely interested in going into academia by the time the program finished.

    • Anonymous - Original poster :

      Appreciate the responses so far. I graduated college recently and can’t imagine staying in my current field long-term, despite it being well regarded. I was looking at this for a potential switch. Thanks for the reality check; it may not be the best option for me.

      • Anonymous :

        Oh then he11 no. You gotta get through your early 20s. Find another job that pays you money don’t run back to school

        • +1,000 Do not go back to school because you don’t know what else to do.

        • Anonymous :

          Fwiw, graduate school does pay you money in most fields. Not a lot tho. But you don’t have to go into debt to pay tuition like law/med/business school.

        • +1. If your current field doesn’t pan out (give it a couple years), keep your eye out for other things that sound interesting. It’s not just a choice between current field and academia. You don’t actually have to work in a field that is directly related to your degree.

      • Anonymous :

        I highly recommend working for a few years, doing anything frankly, before accumulating debt (I am assuming you would have to) getting another degree. As others have said above, deciding to get a Ph.D to attempt to get into academia because you don’t know what else to do (much like getting a law degree in the same situation) is a bad idea.

        • Anony Mouse :

          +1 Having work experience outside academia will be a huge plus if you were to get a PhD and then decide to follow an “alt-ac” career path.

      • Biology PhD here. I got very lucky and have good interpersonal and business skills, so I’ve made a successful shift into pharma/biotech consulting. I did my PhD right out of undergrad (no gap) and do not regret at all. PhD is helpful in my industry, but not necessary However, I NEVER recommend doing a PhD to switch fields. 4-7 years of your life is a long time and you have to love the topic you’re researching to have the perseverance to get through.

        • As a biology PhD, can you expand on what your “business skills” were that made this transition easier? And describe this in lay terms rather than biz speak? tx

          • I did as much as I could during my PhD to gain exposure outside of just bench work and teaching. I went to a highly-ranked public university, so unfortunately didn’t have access to all the career counseling, job fairs, consulting clubs, etc that exist at private schools (but those are a great option!). Instead, I got involved in the technology transfer office (tech transfer holds the university’s patents, assists faculty to start businesses around university-owned technologies and licenses out IP), did some science writing with the university magazine, and was involved in founding 2 start-up companies (1 with my PhD advisor around my dissertation research and 1 in my field, but in conjunction with outside co-founders).

            If your university has consulting clubs, business certificate programs for STEM students, networking events, definitely take advantage of all of that! Reach out to people on LinkedIn who have transitioned from MS/PhD to the field you’re interested in and ask if they’re willing to have a phone conversation or coffee.

            If it’s pharma you’re interested in, read as much as you can about the industry. I’d recommend The Global Price of Health as a great primer.

            Hope that helps!

          • Really interesting, and great advice. Thank you very much.

            Is that reference actually titled “The Price of Global Health”?

            And wow – congratulations on the success of your research. It is not common at all to be able to start a company based on your PhD dissertation research, so it is wonderful that this was the result and that your boss respected you enough to involve you and that your University also allowed it!!!!

          • Yup – It’s the name of a book!

    • Cornellian :

      I agree with everything everyone else has said.

      I do have a couple friends who do adjunct teaching (in addition to their professional work, not because they can’t get a tenure track or even full-time job), and that is intriguing to me. It seems like most of them are about 12 years in to their law practice.

      If anyone lectures or teaches a course in addition to their day job, I’d be curious to hear more.

      • I teach as an adjunct at a law school. You have to do it because you love it, not because of the money. I clear $500/mo on a $3k/semester “salary.” Depending on the type of course you teach, there can be quite a bit of time involved. I teach a writing class, so I have quite a bit more grading than adjuncts that teach lecture classes. However, either way, you need to be prepared for class each week and for the students’ questions. I teach contract drafting, which is what I do every day, so it wasn’t as hard for me to get up to speed. That said, I did read the same stuff as the students’ every week because I needed to know where the textbook differed from my real-world experience and how I was going to approach those differences. I wanted my class to be as beneficial as possible for the students, so I took my preparation very seriously. My reviews for the semester were positive, overall.

        There are certainly some adjuncts out there who wing it because they like to hear themselves talk. Don’t be that adjunct.

        • Ugh, adjuncts *who

        • how did you get the adjunct teaching position at a law school? its something i’ve been interested in doing but not sure how to break in…

          • They approached me and asked me if I wanted to do it. It’s the school I went to, so they know me and I didn’t have to interview or anything like that.

            If it’s a cold call type scenario, I think you’d be fine to call and see if they have any adjunct needs, but I may not be the best person to give advice in that regard.

        • Cornellian :

          Thanks, CountC. Definitely was not thinking of it as an income steam, but just as something I might enjoy.

          I certainly took classes from the “wing it” adjunct types in law school. I think I need to find a friend who adjuncts a class in my city and see if I can do a guest lecture or take part in a panel or something to see what it’s like.

      • Anony Mouse :

        My area was humanities, not law, but I taught a night class for four semesters. Like CountC said, you do it for love, not money. (If you do the math, hourly adjunct pay is less than minimum wage. Don’t do the math.) I love teaching, love the subject, love working with students, so it was a great outlet for me. Unfortunately, I was one of the first ones cut when budget cuts came. Hopefully I’ll be able to pick up another class someday.

        • Cornellian :

          Thanks for responding. So I have friends who adjunct several courses trying to piece together a remotely livable wage, and hear the salary concerns. But I also know three folks who adjunct teach at t14 (t20, at least, not sure about the rankings right now) law schools and earn between 50 and 65K per semester. I wonder where the disconnect is.

          I definitely don’t see it as a new income stream for me (and I wonder if my firm might actually be entitled to those payments or something???), but it seems like there must be at least two tiers of adjunct teaching.

          • You would need to get it cleared by your firm for sure, but I can’t see how they would have claim to your earnings if you are doing it outside of work hours.

            I am not at a firm and am not even in a legal department, but I still had to submit my outside employment through our ethics/conflict of interest system.

          • Actually, I can’t see how they would have any claims to any money you earn at a second job, the only hurdle I see is getting it approved/through conflicts check. Depends on your firm’s policy, but generally, I think they like to see their attorneys teaching. Several of the adjuncts who teach at my school are with big firms (Cozen, for one), we also have a judge and a DA.

          • Anony Mouse :

            My adjuncting knowledge and experience is with undergraduate courses at public institutions. Pay rate for law adjuncts may be different, I don’t know.
            In general, I’d say there are two categories of adjuncts: those who have a separate job (which may be related the subject they’re teaching) and teach a class or two on the side, and those who try to cobble together a living solely by adjunction, often at several different institutions. I would love to only teach, but it’s not financially feasible for me. Again, it may be very different for law/professional school adjuncts, who are usually hired for their combination of academic knowledge and on-the-job expertise.

          • When I adjuncted, my firm offered me a choice between keeping the money but still having my billable requirements or having my billables reduced and giving the firm the money. I opted to keep the money, just bc the reduction to my billables would have been so small as to be meaningless. It definitely had to be cleared by my firm.

          • Cornellian :

            Thanks Anony Mouse and Cbackson.

    • FormerlyPhilly :

      What discipline/field would you pursue and why? I’m faculty in health sciences with limited teaching load due to significant administrative responsibility, at an R1. Finished my Ph.D. six years ago but worked in public health before transitioning back into academic. I have been tremendously lucky: discipline/dissertation marketable, good one year postdoc in major city that paid better than most postdocs, great mentors who supported my drive to pursue alternative/non-faculty jobs after graduation, and spouse who landed his own great tenure track faculty job (yes, I had a two-body problem). A Ph.D. can take on average 4-7 years to complete – so much can change during that time. If this is your heart’s desire, never never ever ever pay for it out of your own pocket. Get yourself fully funded plus living stipend. And be truly flexible to change.

    • Anony Mouse :

      What’s your field? I was working on a PhD in Humanities. Love the subject, love teaching, but finding a full-time professorship is like winning the lottery. It broke my heart, but I left without finishing so that I could move forward with my life. Humanities are perhaps the worst off, but I’ve heard similar statements from people in many fields.
      Moreover, if you work outside academia, sometimes having a PhD makes you LESS employable. They’ll think you expect a higher pay rate because you have an advanced degree, or they’ll think you’re not likely to stay in a lower-level position, or they’ll think you’re a lesser-quality scholar because you couldn’t find a job. (Most people outside academia have no idea what the academic market is like.)

      • Anonymous :

        A friend of mine got his PhD and has had this exact experience. He didn’t get an academic job, and couldn’t get a private-sector job because he was “overqualified.” He ended up in public education, not making much more than he would have made without the PhD.

        I think it’s always important to ask oneself, am I going back to school because I am passionate about this subject, or because I know for sure I need another degree to advance in my field? Or am I going back because either A. I don’t know what else to do right now, or B., I’m trying to insulate myself from the real world? School is too expensive – both in terms of real and opportunity costs – to go back for the wrong reasons.

      • Anonymous :

        I love my humanities-area professor job but a. it doesn’t pay all that well b. I’m living in a place no one with my general outlook and worldview would live if given a preference c. my school is not prestigious and I’m not one of the 1% of academics living the dream of being famous or highly respected outside the field and d. the politics are nuts given what is at stake (i.e., constant skirmishes over bull**** stuff that can’t possibly matter except as the context of a turf war.) Plus e. my boss is incompetent and crap at his/her job.

        • Anony Mouse :

          I realize there a lot of schools and regions like what you’ve described, but I can’t help wondering if you live in the same centrally-located state as me…

    • My husband has a PhD in structural engineering. He taught college for about 10 years, didn’t make tenure, quit (in spring 2008), economy fell apart, could not get another teaching job, could not get a job as an engineer (was competing against his former students who were younger and cheaper to employ) and eventually got certified to teach high school. He likes teaching and actually makes about the same amount of money he did teaching at a public college, with arguably better benefits.

    • My brother got a PhD at one of the top schools for his field (engineering). He’s now at a corporate job because he couldn’t get an academia offer, and also he couldn’t put up with more academia. He said he wished he hadn’t bothered with the PhD.

    • Assistant Prof :

      Social science PhD here with tenure track position at great school. Few questions to consider: can you get into top 10 program in your field for graduate school? Do you love research? Are you emotionally resilient or do you handle stress well (grad school is very depressing for many people – but it does get better eventually)? Will you be fully funded including living expenses? Do you have a full understanding of the probability of getting a full time job in your field? If the answer is no to any of these, don’t go. I love my job but only recommend pursuing a PhD on very limited cases.

      • Anony Mouse :

        Playing Devil’s Advocate here, aren’t there a few rare instances in which you’re better off choosing a program outside the Top 10? For example, if someone is focused primarily on teaching and would be happy working at a small regional or community college, then having a degree from an R1 might work against them, as the hiring committee might think the candidate wouldn’t do well in that environment or relate to their student population.

        • Hahahahahaha. No. The competition in academia is so insane that there are plenty of Harvard and Stanford grads competing for the jobs at smaller teaching colleges. Only a very, very small percentage of grads from Top 10 schools land tenure-track jobs at R1 institutions, and the rest of the graduates have to go somewhere. A sizable number leave academia, but the rest compete for the crappy jobs.
          Academia is the most prestige-obsessed field ever and it never, ever hurts you to have a degree from the best school in the country. If you want to get a job at a non-research institution, you should make sure you teach a lot in graduate school (ideally your own course, not just being a TA). Lack of teaching experience or a lack of demonstrated interest in teaching can hurt you. But a prestige degree absolutely can’t.

          • Anon for this :

            Sorry, but in the case of an institution like Oklahoma Panhandle State University (which is real, btw), I don’t think that’s the case. People from the coasts simply don’t want to live in Guymon, OK. For that matter, most people from OKC and Tulsa don’t want to live in Guymon, either. If you look at their faculty pages, the majority graduated from OK or TX schools.

        • Anonymous :

          This may be true; you can test this theory by looking up some small regional or community colleges and checking what where the younger/newer professors in your field of interest got their degrees.

        • 12.55 is spot on the money. I have an Ivy League PhD from a program that is very highly regarded in the field (and postdoc-ed at another Ivy). I work for a small liberal arts college and competed with another Ivy Leaguer and an Oxbridge graduate for that job (it’s a humanities field, btw). Previous to 2008, this job would have signaled job-market failure to my grad school professors… but I graduated in 2009 and getting a job at all was a victory. Many of my grad school cohort are adjuncting or teaching online.

          Don’t go to grad school unless the school pays for it (i.e. gives you a stipend of $20,000 or whatever, and requires/allows you to TA) and you want to learn for its own sake. Spending 5 or 6 years in something you love, neither making real money nor accumulating debt, isn’t the worst thing in the world. Just don’t get attached to an academic job afterwards, because the market is chewing up and spitting out anyone who isn’t some famous Prof’s Golden Child (for which one usually needs to be white and male) or very good at being in the right place at the right time.

    • In the humanities, you need to be a rock star or be willing to make many, many sacrifices over many years to turn your PhD into a professorship. For the most part, professors are people who signed themselves over to this career path body, soul, and spirit. (And even then, some end up trapped in adjuncting, which can be a difficult life to lead.) If you can imagine yourself doing anything else, pursue that first, and never enter a PhD program unless you’d be happy to walk way with nothing but the degree itself (i.e., no real shot at a professorship). (It is not easy in STEM either.)

    • IP Associate :

      Sadly agree with most of the comments here – my husband and I both got our PhD’s in a hard science from top schools. He wanted to be a professor but ended up in big pharma (he loves it though so it worked out great), and I wanted to work in the pharmaceutical industry but ended up in big law. Funny how things turn out!

    • academic ok :

      Another Ph.D. here – nearly 30 years FT tenure-track, business. I just had a conversation with a colleague in Australia and we both agreed we were glad we were nearer the end than the beginning of our careers. The job market is really tough, even in Management Information Systems. Publishing in the top journals (now a requirement at less prestigious institutions) is nearly random (5% acceptance rates). We also bemoaned the lack of collegiality – authors refusing to review papers for a journal they had published in, individuals refusing to assist with running formal special interest groups that are part of the national organization, etc. Just be sure you enter graduate school knowing what you want out of it – the view of university life as more relaxed and less demanding than other careers is out of date. Expect to teach at night, regularly, perhaps commuting to other campuses for night classes, students expect emails answered all hours of the day and night but don’t attend class, and significant time engaging in corporate outreach activities. In public universities, the lack of funding means years without raises (not a small one, I mean nothing) and passing on insurance costs. I have a good friend at a well regarded (non-ivy) private university, that no longer contributes to faculty retirement accounts (no match, nothing). If you really have to love teaching and research for it to be worth it. And we wonder why we have so few US citizens applying to PhD programs!

    • Anonymous Academic :

      Just to add another perspective. Every college and university in the country needs faculty members, and those faculty members have PhDs. While there is a serious shift toward contingent faculty across the country, if an institution wants to continue to be well regarded (even just for those US News & World Report rankings), it has to have a significant percentage of tenured and tenure-track faculty as well. I received a PhD in the humanities from a top university, albeit many years ago now. I found a tenure-track job at an excellent liberal arts college in the Northeast, where my family is, the first year I was on the job market. I received tenure and make a good, six-figure salary. All my friends from graduate school had similar experiences, as have my students who went on for PhDs in the humanities. Every year I see young colleagues hired and tenured at my college. All is not doom and gloom.

  5. Anonymous :

    Recommendations for a dentist in DC that doesn’t require x-rays?

    • Or a dentist at all? (I’m just not a big fan of x-rays every 6 months.)

      • What happens if you decline the x-rays? Even if your insurance covers, x-rays 2x/year, you don’t have to use them.

    • Anonymous :

      I successfully declined x-rays while pregnant (my OB said it was safe but I wasn’t comfortable with it) but I suppose that excuse would only work once at each dentist…

    • Anonymous :

      I like Ingber dental. I saw Dr. Porvaznik.

    • Wait, what? Most dentists will make you have X-rays? This has not been my experience.

    • You can always decline x-rays. I’ve done it with no push back.

    • My dentist, Dr. Surprenant in Dupont, btw, only does them once a year. I’ve never had a dentist require them for every visit.

      • +1. I’ve had them do xrays on the initial visit if you don’t have previous xrays for them to look at because they want to know what they are dealing with. But otherwise 6 mth checkups are just cleanings for me.

      • +1 I think my dentist does them once a year.

    • Thanks for all the thoughts! I’m guessing I shouldn’t mention it when scheduling the appointment? Maybe just do x-rays on the first appointment and then talk to the dentist him/herself?

      • A new dentist will want to do x-rays on the first visit to establish a baseline unless you can bring them from your last dentist. You can say no whenever, I suppose, but I would want a new dentist to have a baseline x-ray and then only update them once a year or whatever.

      • These days most xrays are digital. If you have a recent digital xray, just contact your old dentist and ask them to email the xrays to you. I have pushed back on too-frequent xraying successfully, and also provided digital xrays via email to a new dentist successfully.

      • I really liked Virginia Dental Center on Fillmore in Clarendon, if you’re still looking for a dentist.

    • I just say no thanks.

      I’ll do them every couple of years. I don’t want to do them every 6 months. I’m an oncologist, and even though I know the radiation dose is extremely small, I prefer to avoid all and any unnecessary radiation, just like I always wear sunscreen and avoid second-hand smoke. I just told the dentist I didn’t want x-rays this time around, he tried to justify it a bit, I said I totally understand that, but no thanks.. and that was it!

  6. I had an epic battle in the salon last night. My regular stylist wasn’t available until two months from now, so another stylist did my hair. She turned my hair ORANGE. Then bright red. The shop owner swooped in to help–because it was clear the stylist was panicking. I felt bad for her. My hair was bad enough that the shop owner and another stylist let me know they appreciated me being so calm. That made me laugh, because while I was super not happy with my hair, it’s just hair. They ended up just browning it out to approximately my natural color so I was able to leave the shop. My scalp is *very* tender from 4-5 treatments. Is there anything I can put on my scalp to help it not be angry? And when I go in for the complimentary follow up in a few weeks, as long as everything is good, I still tip, right?

    • Anonymous :

      I do not tip when I go back in for them to fix a mistake.

    • I would not tip.. and I hope you didn’t pay for last night’s treatment either.

      • No, I didn’t pay. Which is why I feel like I should pay *something* when I go back. Even though she made a mistake, her time is worth something. Is it a false comparison to think about this like attorneys/billable hours? Even when there are mistakes, something is paid. I’m lucky that I’ve never had to deal with this before, I suppose. So I’m like a fish out of water.

        • They are lucky you’re willing to go back.

        • eh, if a junior attorney badly screwed up a project, I could see the partner writing off the time (and letting the client know they are doing so).
          I think tipping is in your discretion, not required necessarily.

        • lawsuited :

          At this point, their goal is to retain you as a client, not to make money on this one service. You don’t need to tip.

    • Cornellian :

      I mean, I would tip. I would certainly tip the person who washes your hair/sweeps up, who has nothing to do with the problem.

      But then I’m a chronic over-tipper.

    • Flats Only :

      A good dose of Advil or another anit-inflammatory will help your scalp. If there are particular spots on it that hurt, and you don’t mind your hair getting grungy, you can get a burn spray from the drug store first aid aisle and spray it into the roots at those spots. But I would not do this during the work day.

      • Ooo I have the burn spray at home, I will be doing this then. Thank you! I laughed at your last sentence, I love that warning.

        • Burn spray or just straight aloe vera gel. Bonus: it’s also a good conditioner, just make sure you get one that’s 100% aloe. If you put it on at night and wash it out in the morning your hair won’t be grungy.

    • I would tip. I only wouldn’t if they didn’t try to make it right, which it sounds like they did. Hairdressers are not paid very well and the complimentary session is taking their time and labor.

      I would actually love to live in a society where wages were high and there was no tipping ever, but in the world we leave it, it’s good to tip.

      • So I think this is better articulated than what I was saying above. I did not pay or tip for the coloring last night. But I know she’s not paid well. She’s been gracious and apologetic and owned up to the mistake (a few friends who were receiving snaps of my hair last night recounted stories where their stylists didn’t want to spend the time to fix the problem right then). So I feel like something is owed. As an attorney reviewing billables, I’ve never zeroed a bill when an associate made a mistake. Discount, yes. She didn’t burn my hair off (because then, I’d channel Godzilla). It’s just the wrong color.

      • I agree with the caveat that the person doing your hair the second time is not the same person who messed up.

        Things happen, and I get that it wasn’t nefarious. But once bitten twice shy, and all that.

    • You don’t tip. They f’ed up.

    • Conditioner with tea tree oil. Carol’s Daughter makes a good one. Keep it on for a while so it can absorb well.

  7. Anyone have any advice for scanning all your home paper files so that the paper copies can be pitched? I have about three file boxes of paper that I really don’t want to move across the country at the end of the year. At the same time, I’m dreading the scanning process, especially since I’m not sure how fast my printer scanner is going to be. Anyone do this before?

    • Just throw them all in the trash. No one needs three boxes of files.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        This is….ridiculous. Sorry. But you have zero idea what’s in them.

        Err, this is not totally kosher, but if your office has a scanner that can handle a ton of pages, lug them in on a weekend, scan them, and then shred them.

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      I scanned a ton of stuff before we moved from USA to London. At the time I used my school’s large photocopier which had a scanner format and fed it through there and then just emailed it to my home email. Its a know your work space place but they were fine with me doing that. I am sure you can do that at Fedex/Kinkos places. Its so much faster when you can just stack it all up and have it self feed in.

      A few years later when I was helping my parents get all their paperwork organized we used their church office which had a similar photocopier that we could scan a ton of stuff at once with.

      Set up your google doc system (or whatever system you are using) ahead of time so as soon as the files go through you can name them and put them in their spot.

      One random tip connected to this is that your doctor will give you a hard copy of your medical files for free, but after a few years it usually costs money for them to give them to you. So every year I request my medical notes and then scan all of that in the system. I then put it on a USB drive and travel with it, in case I ever get sick in another country I will be able to give them a USB drive of all my medical files. I also keep a copy on google drive but sometimes its hard to access internet in other countries.

      If you are doing only a random page here and there – there are apps you can get for your phone where you take a picture of the paper and it turns it into a PDF that you can email to yourself. I find myself much more willing to do that than use my scanner on my printer at home.

      • FYI – it is not normal for doctors to give you copies of medical records for free. It is most common to pay a facility charge, per page, for copying. This is especially true if your doctor is part of a major hospital.

        If your doctor does this yearly for you for free, that is….incredible. And my guess is almost no one asks for it, which is why they do it.

        • You can keep your own records for free though. I record all my immunizations, lab tests, etc. My doctor sends me all that info through an online portal and I take screenshots. Obviously for anything official I’d have to pay a fee to get the real records bur this works for knowing my health history.

          • I keep running word doc about my health care. Before each doctor visit, I jut down any changes/issues and a list of questions I have and bring that to the visit with me so I don’t forget anything. I also keep a running list of my meds/topicals/vitamins I take with doses that I bring. After the visit, blood tests etc.., I add the plan/results in the word document.

            These days many practices allow you access to your test results online. So I do usually print those out and keep a copy. So I do have one file folder with all of those print outs.

            I haven’t gotten to digitizing everything.

        • LondonLeisureYear :

          huh I don’t have an easy medical history and have been to many medical facilities in many states, so I find it surprising that you say its not normal. Usually there is like a 5 dollar fee if I want a burned CD of them. I prefer the CD because if I would print them all out my files are many many phone books thick and that would kill some trees. I haven’t been living in the USA for the last 3 years so maybe things are changed in that time!

    • I have brother ADS 1500W multi-page scanner. It’s a fantastic work horse. It automatically detects double sided and will scan (if you don’t want it to there’s an option to turn it off); scans about 20 pages at a time; can do photographs and cards (e.g. credit, ID…). Colour & b&w, I forget how many dpi but more than archival quality so you can definitely print your image later if you wanted to. I got rid of so much paper; it’s been incredible.

  8. How long is too long? :

    I’ve heard 5-7 years at one job is too long. I am in year six (academic admin) and I am not sure I am ready to go in the next year or two. I came into my department, which I knew nothing about, as the head, so it took me 3-4 years to feel like I had a clue as to what I was doing. My job is challenging, I am paid well, I like my team, and I can do things I love outside of work. There are downsides of course, but I have worked hard to focus on the positives and after years of looking for a way out, I’m now not sure I am ready for that. I have tons of responsibility and keep taking on more within the organization but not related to title, but always acknowledged by my supervisor (dean). I’m getting a masters soon, and may look for areas for promotion within the organization but I’m not sure they are there, and the next step up is not something I am necessarily aiming for (and often requires a Ph.D. which…nope). There are lots of “lifers” in my industry in my role. Some sometimes will clash with a new dean or supervisor and quit or get canned, but it’s not the norm. And there are certain organizations I would really love to work for one day, but opportunities are few and far between, and I feel like I can create a great reputation where I am to set myself up for a move later on.

    Am I crazy? Am I selling myself short? Am I setting myself up for a massive career fail?

    • If you are happy in your current job, then stay in your current job.

      If you are adding responsibilities and getting new challenges, then 5-7 years is crap. I’ve never heard that timeline. I think what it’s getting at is that you shouldn’t let your skills get stale, but you can do that by showing a progression of increased responsibility, even under the same job title.

      This would probably be a great question for Ask A Manager, if she hasn’t answered it already.

    • I’ve never heard that there’s a maximum amount of time you should stay at a job, only a minimum. I think you’re fine.

      • How long is too long? :

        Thanks friends – I’ve been freaking out for days upon realizing I am in year 6.

    • nasty woman :

      The number of years you’ve spent at your job is a completely arbitrary way to measure whether staying there or leaving is the right choice. Don’t move just because you’ve been there for 7 years…especially if you don’t want to and it’s common in your industry not to hop around AND you are continuing to learn and grow. That’s silly. You haven’t listed a single reason why moving would be a good idea. Divest yourself of this notion immediately.

    • I thought 5-7 years was the average people do stay at jobs, not how long you should stay at a job. If you’re happy and learning, stay where you are!

    • What you have heard is incorrect.

      You know the goal actually used to be to find a good job, and keep in indefinitely. If you are constantly moving jobs, how can you buy a house, you know? Or sticking with a job was important for maximizing your pension/retirement benefits. Unfortunately, that is harder to find now. It is actually a change in our economy and employment issues that has lead to more job instability.

      So I think there is some rationalization that moving jobs often is a good thing. Often it is not, and in some fields it hurts you.

      However, there are some fields where it is important to move more to pick up new skills, learn new industries, and stay marketable. That is a different story, with different goals, and a different degree of risk aversion that varies from individual to individual.

      I think many people are hoping for a good job that can last them 10-20 yrs+, so they can thrive in all aspects of their life and now be constantly worried about looking for another job.

      • Hmm. I imagine this is so highly industry dependant… but almost no one I know has any intent of staying in the same job for 20 years- or even 10 years! For most people I know the idea is that if there is no room for upward mobility at your current position (the role above you is unlikely to open up or you don’t think you will get promoted into it) and you are qualified/experienced enough for a more senior role, you move on.

        Like would you stay a director for 10 years because the VP was 35 years old, not going to retire, and didn’t leave? I would move on to move up.

        But I guess my greater point is that you move on to do something. A lateral move isn’t going to benefit you if your current position is good. Move onwards to move upwards!

    • I’m in my tenth year at my first full time job out of college. I work hard and have received good projects with fair pay in return. I’m likely a lifer and lose no sleep at night over an arbitrary 5-7 year rule.

    • You are me, pretty much exactly. I’m in year six as an academic admin. Like my job, my team, my pay, my flexibility, etc. I’m high enough up that there are relatively few positions at my university in a higher pay band, and frankly, I’m not sure I’d want them even if the opportunity came up. So I’m content to stay. There are tons of people who do this job for years (my predecessor was here for 18 years, and would have stayed longer if not for one of those personality clashes) and there’s really nothing wrong with it. Wait for the right time and the right opportunity.

      • Macademia :

        I am sad to have missed all of the conversations about working in academia today! For what it is worth, I am finishing up year 17 in my position. I had the same issue around not seeing many positions that were a natural next step for me, and I also had some personal things I wanted to do that were easier in a job I knew well (have a kid, pursue ministry). I never expected to be a lifer at my place and still wonder what I might do next.

    • My husband just hit his 30 year anniversary with the same company. I wouldn’t put much stock in the 5-7 year timeline you referenced. What matters is you and how you feel about your job, your colleagues, your future etc.

  9. Anyone want to weigh in on middle school drama?

    School class assignments came out, and my 6th grade daughter isn’t happy. Somehow, 4 of the girls she was in 5th grade with are in her class AGAIN, and these girls formed the “popular” group that excluded her . In the beginning of the year she was in the group, then they ignored her at lunch/recess, and finally by the end of the year she was completely out of the group and hung out with a boy. (Not a boyfriend, just a level-headed and loyal friend-who-happens-to-be-a-boy, and 1,000 times better than the girls.)

    This is a fairly big school and I’m really shocked that these 5 girls are together again. She still is friendly enough with these girls that they contacted her (texting) and they are all talking and touching base again, but she’s asking me to see if they school will move her out of this class and into the class with her friend-who-happens-to-be-a-boy. I know the school won’t do that, and I told her I could ask her to be moved because of mean girl clique, but I’m 99% certain she will just be shoved in a random room. She could know no one, it could be worse, etc. I also feel (in my gut) that my daughter is in the drama age, where everything is either a disaster or epic. Not sure what’s real and what’s exaggerated venting.

    What would you do?

    • Call the school and get her moved. I wish my mother had.

      • +1 – I’m normally a teach kids to fail type, but this is different. Your youth social experience can sit with you for years. As an adult, you’d leave this kind of situation but as a kid, you can’t without parental help. I wish my parents had helped with this kind of thing when I was a kid.

    • Nothing. She’s at the drama age and she’ll find drama in any classroom. And good to teach her early that you can’t run away from people who aren’t nice.

      • +500 You can’t fix all of her problems. Teach her coping mechanisms, talk to the teacher as a heads up if it’s that bad. Don’t do anything more than that.

        • Baconpancakes :

          Eh. I’m an extremely resilient adult, but as a kid, was shunned in my tiny school, and it left some pretty heavy duty emotional scarring. Once we moved and I was put into a slightly larger school where the kids were less mean, I actually started to make friends, and without constantly questioning my personal worth because I was being purposefully excluded, I built the healthy emotional foundation you need as an adult. We moved back, I went back to that tiny school, and I spent most of high school depressed, until I left for an amazing college where I really blossomed. But I really wonder how much depression and self-doubt and self-sabotage I could’ve avoided if I’d just been put into a different school.

          • Right? And this is an easy one to fix.

          • Well she’s being shunned by four girls, not the entire class of a tiny school. I was also dropped by the cool girls around the same age. It made me sad but I made new friends and I don’t think it left permanent damage. Actually, my mom trying to intervene was the worst part because it made me feel like a baby who needed my mommy to fix my problems when I really just wanted to be left alone, even if I was friendless for a while. I guess if her daughter is asking for help it’s different. But the biggest scars from my childhood are definitely from my welll-intentioned mom trying to fix my social life.
            I think bullying is different and requires much more active parental involvement, but most 12 year olds can deal with a handful of people ignoring them without parental intervention.

          • anon for this :

            Agree. No comment on whether you should attempt to get her moved, but the real issue here is learning to process and handle the emotional pain of exclusion. Exclusion is extremely difficult for social creatures- like humans- to bear. Some people deal with it better than others. Like Baconpancakes pointed out, the danger is letting exclusion make you feel like you’re not worthy of friendship, happiness, and connection with your peers. Or that there’s something wrong with you, and you’re not good enough. People at any age are vulnerable to that, but once that idea gets into a kid’s head, it can be difficult to shake. I dealt with that some in elementary school and a lot in the 6th grade- my group of 4 girlfriends slowly, intentionally excluded me over the course of the year in favor of another girl, and basically denied it, and it hurt SO much. It really triggered years of self-doubt, depression, and self-sabotage. I didn’t have anyone (parents……) to help me work through it in a healthy way, so I focused all my energy into trying to figure out what I’d done wrong, what was wrong with me, and on how to win these girls back. Not productive. I’ve moved past a lot of it now, at least theoretically, but I’m still working on breaking some of those thought patterns I developed. I easily make friends now and am certainly not excluded.. sometimes it still shocks me that I have friends who adore me because I’m used to/ still afraid of the day people will just get up and turn their backs on you. I’m 33! AhH.

          • Never too many shoes... :

            Yes to this, Baconpancakes. I had a horrible grade school experience and did not make any friends until I went to middle school and insisted that I go to a school further away from where most of my primary school classmates were going. It would have been so easy to just demand that I be switched to another class but my mother was of the “just ignore them” and “it will make you stronger” school of thought.

            I was crippled by self-doubt for many years afterwards in every new situation wondering whether I would make any friends or be ostracized. As an adult, I know that I am an awesome person and will find my people wherever, but those wounds cut so deeply. Please OP, put your daughter in another class. Please.

    • No real advice, although shuddering at the memories of middle school drama. I’ve also heard good things about the QueenBees and Wannabees book (the boy version is good too).

      • I have the book and love it! I can’t decide if my daughter is herself a Queen Bee, or if she is a Floater/Champion. I shared the attributes of each level in the groups with her last night, and she could name the girls who fit each description in the 5th grade group. I asked her who she thought she was (and confessed that I wondered if she was a Queen Bee because of her self-confidence in clothes/appearance, and at Open House multiple girls made a point of running up to her for hugs and waves) and she digested that for a minute before labeling herself a Floater.

        It’s hard for me to know who she is at school. Is she the loner kid? Or is she a popular kid fighting for dominance between these other popular girls? I’m viewing this whole thing with suspicion.

        • Aunt Jamesina :

          As a former teacher, I’d like to gently suggest that you step back a bit from this and let your daughter see how this goes. From what you’re saying, your daughter seems to be mature and has found a good friend in this boy’s Exclusion is not the same thing as bullying, and if she’s texting with the girls, it seems she’s not being fully excluded. Keep the conversation going about how to be a good friend, and that friendships change and that’s perfectly normal throughout life. If an incident beyond being excluded, that’s when you should consider getting involved.

          • Aunt Jamesina :

            Sorry for all of the typos!

          • Thank you for this! It’s hard to know when to step in, and what is a bad situation vs. a normal part of growing up.

            I also think that the texting and reaching out means that the girls are friendly with her. Are they going to be best friends? No, but it doesn’t sound like she’s the Target and needs to be moved.

        • This changes my perception. If your kiddo was a quiet, nerdy kid (like I was, said without any judgment at all), and was feeling excluded/scarred from all sides, then I’d say to at least ask for her to be moved. But I asked to be moved in 5th grade because of some personality conflicts, and my mom didn’t ask. Now, as an adult, I’m glad she didn’t. It was uncomfortable at first, but I learned a lot about myself and coping with difficult things/people.

          Based on your description of your kiddo, it sounds like there’s some personality conflict/competition going on. I’d maybe send her teacher a note to be on the lookout (unless there’s actual bullying going on that you or she hasn’t disclosed).

          This sounds like a pretty normal pre-teen drama thing. I would worry that moving her would A) set her up to feel like she can run from uncomfortable situations and B) that you’ll swoop in and fix things whenever there is a problem.

          Obviously, however, this is all a different ball of wax if there’s evidence of actual bullying. It sounds like your kiddo is able to talk to you pretty openly still — I’d keep an eye out and keep checking in with her about what’s going on.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Depends on your daughter. Is she the type to get over things and forget? (In general – everything in 6th grade is a travesty, but other than school and for the past year or so.) If so, she can make another friend, and she will. If she’s more shy, prone to take things really personally, and has a hard time making friends, I would move her away from the clique, where she can start fresh and make friends easier without the mean girls around.

    • At least try to get her moved. Call a couple times and even try on meet-the-teacher night or whatever. If they keep saying no, it’ll matter to your daughter that you tried.

      If they say no, then help her strategize. Come up with things she feels comfortable doing, that will help her make it through the school year. Can she make a new group of friends in the classroom? Can she take up a new activity? Can she practice something to say, or talk through what they might do so she’s not caught off guard? Are you in a financial place to get her a few outfits that make her feel like a million bucks (her own “power suits”)?

      Check in with her during the year to let her know you’re her ally. Offer to try again to switch if they do anything that resembles bullying (and talk through what that looks like). Look for ways to help her feel she’s “above” the popular group clique stuff and develop her own confidence.

      • Anon in NYC :

        Agreed. Try, but if it doesn’t happen, help her cope with it. One of the things that I remember from middle school is feeling like my parents never really advocated for me / took my side in issues with teachers/administration. In retrospect I could have been completely in the wrong, but the feeling stuck.

    • Welcome to middle school. If she’s not actively being bulled, unfortunately I think this is something you’ll have to get used to.

    • I moved classes :

      I feel like this is the age where school starts to “matter.” When I was that age I begged to switch out of my assigned class and my parents did. I think it undermined me academically as I headed into middle school.

      I don’t have kids so I can’t relate to feeling my child’s pain and anxiety about this. But the school put her in that class for a reason, and I wouldn’t mess with it.

      Plus excluding is not quite as bad as bullying. If it were the latter, I’d say step in. But everyone gets excluded at some point during middle school. My lifetime BFF and I excluded the crap out of each other at that age. It all comes around or fades away. Hopefully she will make other friends. I think the key is teaching her not to pine for those girls and move on with new friends.

      • Most schools actually don’t put kids in a class for a reason.

        • Our elementary school does. They purposely break up the high-achieving kids so there aren’t too many of them in any one class.

        • Former Retail :

          One of my son’s elementary school teachers told me that the faculty works together to place kids in class with the teacher that best fits their personality and learning style.

          Now at the middle school level, they are putting the gifted kids together in a “team”. So, there is a thought process, but it varies by school.

          My inclination on this situation is to step back unless she had not been sleeping well, grades were suffering, etc. due the situation last year. Then I would ask about moving her.

    • Middle school is totally the drama age. But I always felt like my daughter had to learn to deal with people/issues/problems, etc. I would always listen to her and offer advice, but I was not going to swoop in and deal with every girl drama that went on. (I suppose if there was an issue with bullying, I would have done more, but this was just run-of-the-mill girl stuff.) She is now in 11th grade and has a much better/more stable group of friends. They seemed to have outgrown the drama.

    • Not a parent, but I experienced this in middle school. I begged my mom to let me go to a different high school than the popular girls in my class. I was miserable halfway through my freshman year, and ended up transferring to the small private high school where all the “mean girls” went. I ended up loving that school and my mom admits she should’ve put me there from the start. Needless to say, girl drama tends to pass quickly at that age.

    • anon for this :

      I would suggest not moving her. When I was in middle school, one of my friends decided she didn’t like me and wouldn’t talk to me anymore. A couple of girls in the friend group followed along, but not to the same extreme. For 8th grade, I ended up being in the same class as the mean girl and the friends who followed her, and all of my other friends were in the other class. On the first day of school, her locker was under mine, and I dropped all my books on her head. I was so mortified! It actually broke the ice a little bit (maybe she just felt bad for me). She started talking to me again, and by the end of the year, we were good friends. We’re still in touch.

      All that to say–if your daughter isn’t being bullied, I wouldn’t ask to move her. I know there’s a fine line. But (a) there are also good lessons in having to accept that not everyone is your best friend, and friendships change, etc., and (b) in middle school, friendships change all the time, so you never know if the pendulum will swing the other way.

    • As a former teacher, there’s one other point to consider that hasn’t really been brought up: Parents have limited goodwill with the school for requesting changes like this. The first time it will be done without question. The second time, probably the same thing. But by the third time, you may experience some pushback from the school. It depends on the school administration exactly when this point comes, but there will certainly come a point at which you will be seen as a ‘problem parent’ who is never satisfied, and your requests will be ignored (and unfortunately teachers’ and administrators’ negative feelings towards you are likely to spill over to your kid, even if she’s an angel).

      Sadly, the sort of thing your daughter is experiencing now is very common. If I were a parent, I would be inclined not to burn my goodwill on a situation like this where my daughter was being left alone and not bullied, because sadly the odds are pretty good she may be actively bullied at some point.

      I also second your instinct that she will not be moved to the class with her male friend. She will almost certainly be moved to a random room with people she doesn’t know. If you request that she be moved TO a certain room (as opposed to away from her current room), it is essentially a guarantee she will not be in that room, since school administrators do not like to cater to parents who want their kids to be with their current friends. If you do decide to request a move, it’s better just to frame it as a move away from the current room, and take your one-out-of-whatever chances that she ends up with her friend. I’d make this clear to her and ask if she still wants to move, knowing she likely won’t be with her friend.

      • I probably already have a file at the school from last year.

        I emailed her main teacher when the group of girls excluded her and my daughter was really upset by it. I asked my daughter if she wanted me to talk to the teacher, she said yes, so I emailed. The girls are excellent students, in the gifted and talented programs, and even on the school’s anti-bullying student board. (LOL FOR DAYS.) The teacher called me the next day and said that she went ahead and handled it–she pulled the Queen Bee up to her desk, told her that my daughter was feeling left out, and asked her to try to include her more. Wink, wink, I can trust YOU to do the right thing!

        The group–in front of the teacher–waved her over to their lunch table and made room. Then they proceeded to talk over her and pretend like she wasn’t there. If she started to talk they would wave their hands in her face, “Just a sec!” and shut her up. Constantly. So while it *looked* like the problem was solved, the girls only rolled their eyes and laughed. When I told my daughter how her teacher handled it, she exploded, “Seriously!!! So THAT’S why they asked me to sit with them! Now I just look like a loser!”

        Then later in the year, I had to escalate an issue with another teacher grading homework assignments on whether the parent signed it or not. Signed homework = credit, unsigned = ZERO. So I made a stink about that, and the principal agreed with me, and now teachers aren’t allowed to grade based on parent signatures.

        Last year was a crazy year. I swear I’m not normally involved like this! I’m usually the parent who never knows what’s going on at school, let alone all the inner drama. My daughter just shared so many ridiculous things with me that I got sucked in. And yes, I’m afraid of the teachers seeing my name and thinking, “Oh God, I’ve heard about this one.”

        • I can’t believe anyone thought that asking the queen bee to include someone because that someone felt like she was being left out would not backfire. I mean wtf. You can’t force kids to include or like other kids and if you do, they will make fun of or otherwise make that kid’s life even more difficult.

          This all sounds like normal “drama” for girls their age. If your daughter has other friends and is just a little hurt because she is being excluded, teach her how to cope with that. That will serve her better than being moved because I am sure the girls will notice that she was once on the roster and now she is not and that has the potential to cause them to ostracize her even more.

    • Does your daughter have opportunities to make friends outside of school? I grew up in a tiny town and wasn’t really part of any group in my class, but formed close friendships via out of school activities.

      • Yes! She has a chance to make friends through church youth group and she had friends at her dance studio / competition dance team. School isn’t her only chance to make friends, but it’s where she’s “stuck” the most.

    • So, I’ve been through this with my daughter, who will now be entering her Junior year. Thankfully it has become easier and less dramatic (though plenty of drama on the boyfriend front- stay tuned!)

      I found that no matter what I did, my daughter’s friend group changed every single year of middle school, and even to some degree, so far in high school too. They do tend to be kids from her home room or core class.

      There’s a difference between exclusion and bullying. The school won’t really care about exclusion from a particular group. They will take action on bullying. I would advise you have your daughter handle the exclusion issues on her own, but absolutely step in on bullying issues.

      My daughter had both exclusion and bullying in middle school. She’s now friends again with some of the exclusive girls, thought not in the inner sanctum, and they aren’t necessarily the most popular group.

      Absolutely go to the principal on actual bullying.

    • Aren’t classes in 6th grade tracked by academic performance? If they’re all on an honors track and it’s not a big school, she’ll probably be in class with these people for the rest of her school days. If you can get her moved to an academically better classroom I’d call, but otherwise do nothing.

      • I don’t know any public schools that are honors tracked by 6th grade. My middle school and my daughter’s school both start offering honors classes in seventh grade, but even then it is not a track – you choose which honors classes you take and some take honors math but not honors English or vice versa. Plus some subjects like art, music, PE, foreign language, social studies, etc. don’t offer honors classes so even if you were in all the honors classes you could possibly take, you would still have many classes with a more diverse group.

    • I wouldn’t just call — I’d set up a meeting with the principal and lay out the problems. I’d defer to their decision in the end as professionals, but I feel like you need to stand up for your kid and make sure they are fully aware of the issue. Phone calls just don’t cut it; I think you need to sit down with them, respectfully, and explain what happened and what you have seen. Then let them do their job — your job is to advocate for your child and make sure they know what is happening.

      • Anonymous :

        What are you talking about? You’d set up meetings because sixth graders decided they didn’t want to be friends with a girl any more? There will be other kids in the class. The daughter has other friends outside of school, and at least one other close friend AT school, just in a different class. She will adjust.

        • Anonymous :

          Yes, this. I basically had no friends from fourth through sixth grade and I was fine. OP’s daughter has friends outside school and may make friends with other kids in the class (most classes have 20+ students, so there should be at least five girls not in this clique).

          You call the principal when your kid is getting bullied or beaten up, not when a couple of mean girls decide they don’t want to be friends with her. Those girls sound like jerks, but not everyone is going to be friends and there is no way teachers or a principal can force kids to befriend someone they don’t want to befriend. They can discipline kids for bullying or harassment, but no school is going to punish children for being polite but distant to someone who they deem “not cool.” It just isn’t considered bad behavior from a disciplinary perspective and is so, so incredibly common that if every parent demanded a meeting with the principal every time a ‘friend’ gave their daughter the cold shoulder, the principal would literally not do anything else except meet with parents about typical pre-teen drama. If I were OP, I would be grateful she has friends outside school, encourage her to get to know the other students in the class, support her at home if she’s feeling sad about it and otherwise just deal with it.

    • Teach her how to stand strong and learn at this early age that those girls and those cliques don’t matter. This is her time to focus on herself and shaping the kind of future she wants. If she needs to avoid them, or make new friends in that case – that’s good too. But moving her will only cause her to become too dependent on you to fix everything. The reality is that not everything can be run from. It will teach her resilience, strength and determination. I learnt that from being in the same situation at her age and pressing on.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      At about her age, I’d grown up with two twins that lived near me. They ended up at the same school as me (which was not our home elementary school/middle school- kind of a charter situation) and in short order, I was excluded. They started hanging out with Mean Girl and I…wasn’t included. It wasn’t bullying, at the start, but they were SUPER exclusionary to me. I remember my mom talking to the teacher about it. I don’t remember anything changing. I wasn’t in the same class as them, but we shuffled around enough I ended up having some stuff with them and it still sucked. But then it became straight up bullying. Mean Girl started to make fun of me, and my two used-to-be-best-friends probably just didn’t know enough to shut it down, or didn’t want to.

      I’d chat with last year’s teacher if you had a good relationship with her or set up a quick meeting to give a “heads up” to this year’s teacher. And I’d definitely try to involve your daughter in other stuff. My parents got me involved in other activities that did help, and by 8th grade or so I had other people, but it was a long 3 years and it still stings in a way I wish it didn’t. She probably wont’ be moved, but I think the way 6th graders work it can quickly go from exclusionary cliques to bullying without a lot of in-between. Just my two cents.

  10. Crudite dinner :

    What are your best ideas for crudite-style “dinners”? Breakfast is my biggest meal of the day and I prefer for my dinners to be light, plus I don’t really like to cook. I would love some new ideas to mix up my usual cheese plates with fruit or raw veggies.

    • Do nachos count? I love eating “healthy” nachos for dinner. Using lots of veggies and some protein (beans or ground chicken/turkey/beef) with a little cheese and Greek yo makes actually a pretty healthy dinner if you watch the sodium.

      • CherryScary :

        I actually make chipless nachos! Use the mini bell peppers and cut them to use in place of the chips. Add protein, cheese, and salsa, and its good.

    • I like hummus and babaganush with sliced up carrots, peppers, and cucumbers. Other dips and veggies work too.

    • We used to do a wine- cheese- olive thing often with apple slices- changed out cheese for cannellini bean dip with garlic or spices of your choice to be more plant based

    • We do a sort of middle-eastern thing with a platter of tomato slices, diced cucumber, feta, and hummus. If we have time we roast small cubes of eggplant, too (just tossed with oil and salt – I don’t do the pre-salt/drain/rinse thing). My husband likes pita with it, I just eat as a veggie bowl.

      • And olives! forgot to mention the olives, but they are key for me.

      • Along the middle eastern theme, I buy rice and herb stuffed grape leaves from the grocery and pair them with greek yogurt, fresh dill, and a squeeze of lemon on top. Sometimes I add cucumber, tomato, roasted red peppers, olives, pita, even store bought tabouli or bean salad – honestly whatever looks good at the store or farmers market. It’s relatively light and healthy with no cooking required.

        Also, peaches with fresh mozz or burata cheese and some really good balsamic drizzled on top. Maybe also some prosciutto and a hunk of good bread.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Avocado toast topped with an egg is my go-to for days when I want to do minimal cooking. Of course, you can omit the egg. Add some carrot sticks or celery with a dip on the side.

      Other ideas: take deli meat and wrap it around cheese to make little roll ups. Wrap prosciutto around melon (or wrap it around asparagus and bake it in the oven until the asparagus is tender). Halve figs and top with blue cheese (or goat cheese) and balsamic vinegar (and prosciutto if you like) – sometimes I’ll put this on top of cottage cheese. Combine mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, some garlic & balsamic/oil for an easy caprese salad. Combine cucumber, tomato, chickpeas, feta, red onion & red wine vinegar/oil/dried oregano for a greek salad.

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      What about spicy sardines with tomato sauce? I love ones from portugal and we will eat them with crackers and bread.

      Hummus, labneh, babaganoush, cucumbers, pita bread, pickled veggies, is a easy meal.

      Mustard! makes my board dinners so much tastier.

      Intersting pickled veggies

  11. Cornellian :

    I have a conundrum.

    I am estranged from my father, who (according to my armchair psychiatry) is a narcissist and who (according to basically everyone who knows him) is an all around bad human being. My mother died when I was a teenager. They were unmarried but he mostly lived with us when he wasn’t in jail. To give you a flavor of this man, when my mother was in what turned out to be the last week of her life and sleeping on the couch because she couldn’t use stairs, my father spent every night on the other couch watching p0rn0graphy at 100 dB, and my 100 lb maternal aunt and (90 lb teenaged) I had to physically fight his drunken self away from my mother after he drove home and parked on the lawn. This stuff was pretty routine.

    I have had zero contact (although I’ve gotten letters and calls I have ignored) for 9 years at this point.

    Someone recently pointed out to him that he may be entitled to my late mother’s social security widower benefits. I have a STRONG opposition to this. I’m not sure how much of it is really relevant, though.

    I would rather almost anyone in the world (including the SSA) get that money. He’s a spendthrift. He abused her and me and made her life hell. He slept with other women. He did nothing you would expect out of a husband (and, to wit, they weren’t married).

    I got a letter today from the SSA asking for me to comment on the nature of their relationship. He needs to prove they were common law married (allowed in our state at that time). I don’t have to answer. If I do, I will do so honestly, of course. I’m not sure what my honest feedback would accomplish…. I would say honestly, some neighbors did think they were married, but generally most of my feedback would point in the direction of them not being common law married. As much as I feel a strong urge to keep him from getting any money from anyone he doesn’t deserve, I think my stronger desire is to keep my decade-long “no contact with this guy” streak up.

    Should I just ignore the request?

    • I would ignore for sure. You don’t owe him sh*t. I’m sorry for what you went through.

      • +1

        I usually follow the law to the T, but ……. I don’t blame you for misplacing this letter. At all.

        I am proud of you.

      • Actually, I think I’m confused – I would NOT ignore if that’s what will lead to him getting denied the money. Will he get the money if you ignore? If you would respond, I would note that he was abusive and make sure to speak to any financial selfishness on his part (i.e., if he did not support your mother).

        • +1. I also don’t know that responding to the SSA counts as “contact” with this dude — you don’t have to talk to him. You’re telling them how terrible he is, and that you don’t want your mother’s survivor benefits going to him because of his frankly deplorable treatment of her.

        • Cornellian :

          Yeah, I’m not really sure which way my testimony would point. I suspect that even if he was literally the worst partner in the entire world, they dont’ really care. I think they are looking to see if they held themselves out as man and (abused) wife.

          • Right. He sucks. They were still common law married.

          • Cornellian :

            10:51- I’m not sure they were, since he didn’t refer to her as his wife (until she died and then he was playing grieving widow, of course), didn’t wear a ring, slept with other people, didn’t cohabitate 100% of the time, etc.

            But, point taken, I think we’re saying the same thing. You can be an abominable human being and still a spouse. Of course, as the estranged daughter, I am less likely to take time to help you out when you’re abominable, common law marriage status aside.

          • I think the point you would make would be (assuming it’s true) that your mother didn’t describe him as, or consider him to be, her spouse, and in your view, nor did he during her lifetime. You can also say that you never understood him to be your mother’s husband, just your biological father.

        • Truly curious: is non-reported abuse and/or someone who is ‘financially selfish’ sufficient for the government to withhold funds that he is otherwise entitled to? My gut tells me no, but I’m not in law. Anyone know?

          • Cornellian :

            10:47 I’m a lawyer not in this field, and I suspect it doesn’t matter. I don’t think the SSA cares how shitty of a spouse or parent you are. They want to know if you were legally a spouse and thus now a widower.

          • Nope. Not remotely.

          • Right, so then don’t respond.

      • What if you said he was in and out of your lives, spent time in jail, etc? Could that still be considered common law spouses?

    • Ignore. Not your money not your circus not your monkeys.

      • Anonymous :

        I agree. Don’t respond.

        One of the dirty little secrets of adulthood is that some problems really do go away if you ignore them. Another is that in many situations, doing nothing is a perfectly valid choice.

        Responding to the letter with a litany of his many faults will do nothing except (probably) embroil you in further drama with someone you never want to talk to again. So do nothing. Eventually the problem will go away without any further emotional effort needed from you.

    • Anon in NYC :

      If you respond to the request, that doesn’t mean you have to have contact with him, right? Or is he able to see your response? Assuming that this would not otherwise break your no-contact streak or invite him back into your life, I would respond. Mostly because I would not want him to get a cent that he didn’t deserve.

      • Cornellian :

        Yeah, i have many conflicting urges. One is to make it as difficult as possible for him to get money because f that guy. Another (opposite) fear is that he doesn’t get this money, and he spends even more energy hunting down me and my sisters and trying to live off of them.

        • If he’s really that much of an irresponsible spendthrift, consider the possibility that he’ll get the money, blow through it, and spends energy trying to get money from you and your sisters anyway. I don’t really know how likely that is, but I guess I’m just pointing out that these two things aren’t mutually exclusive, so I wouldn’t let him have the money (or make it easier for him to do so) on the hopes that it’ll keep him away from you.

          • Cornellian :

            Yeah, I think with a solid income stream (my mom worked as a teacher for 25 or 30 years) he’s more dangerous as an abuser.

        • Is he trying to hunt you down?

          I don’t know what this form (assuming there was a form for response with the letter) looks like or whether he will get a copy, but if it includes your current address and contact information (which seems likely) and he will get a copy (which also seems likely) it sounds like both of those are strong factors against responding to the letter. Further like anon at 10:47 pointed out above, I would guess that the SSA only considers whether or not they were common-law married, not whether or not he was a terrible human being, in deciding whether he gets this money. I don’t know exactly what the criteria are for that, but it sounds like there might be evidence on both sides, and so your response might not even prevent him from getting the money.

          I 100% get that him getting this money would be unjust and unfair. But is it worth your peace?

        • Bewitched :

          I would look up the criteria for common law spouse and respond as fully and completely as I could ONLY to demonstrate he was not her common law spouse. In other words, I would try to actively torpedo his application. My back up plan would be to ignore and hope there’s no evidence to support his request. But f that noise, I’d try to bring him down. For my mom and for the teenage me.

          • Cornellian :

            On that note, anyone a PA lawyer willing to tell me more about common law marriage? I’ve asked friends but we were all trained after it had been abolished in PA.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I would first contact the SSA and confirm whether he gets a copy of the response and your contact information and, if he does, ask if there is a way it can be redacted due to concerns for your safety.

      If that can be done, this is a time to tell your story spinning it to the way he was absent and not a spouse. Find out what the regulations were to be a spouse during the period in question and use every example you have to show how he did not fit within those parameters.

      To be honest, if it was for sure that he was never going to know the identities of the people responding, I would fudge the details as necessary. Because f that guy, OP – you have suffered more than enough and that type never do.

      • Also, if you do not respond, will that possibly weigh in his favor? I.e. is there other testimony (you mentioned siblings) that he could solicit that would help him prove his case.

        • Cornellian :

          I’m an attorney, so he can pretty much find me for so long as I practice. He’s shown up at my workplace a couple times and been turned away by security (I always meet with them at new jobs), and sends letters/etc. He doesn’t seem to know my home address at my current place.

          My older half sister would push him off a cliff given the option. My younger sister might crack and provide info he wants. They’re in a sort of weird co-dependent relationship. But it’s a good point, maybe I should provide a counterpoint. They contacted me at my work address, which is not generally known to the SSA, so I imagine my father is whipping the agent over there and trying to make him get in touch with me.

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            Oh my god. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I don’t know what exactly that looks like for you, but please do try everything you can to keep yourself safe. He sounds dangerous, unstable, and unpredictable. Showing up at your work is setting off every single legal aid-DV-abuse alarm in my head. Have you considered a protection order?

      • Bewitched :


      • blueberries :

        +1 on confirming with SSA that your contact information won’t be revealed either way and on advocating for the position that they weren’t married per the SSA rules/state law. I would not fudge, though–bad for anyone to do so, but especially not ok for a lawyer to do so.

  12. Linda from HR :

    I have some mesh racks I use to dry clothes, and I’ve been thinking for a while I should clean them, and now that one in particular smells a bit funky (and everything I set on it to dry comes off smelling weird) it’s time to clean these bad boys. It’s slightly complicated since the mesh can’t be fully removed and thrown in a bucket (I tried) so this is a job for my whole bath tub. Yaaaaay. I’m thinking I just use Woolite and let them soak, that stuff has been awesome for cleaning things and leaving them smelling fresh rather than weirdly scented, but is there something else that might work better? Has anyone done this before?

    • I don’t even know where you found a mesh rack. If I were you, I might donate it and buy a wire rack for $10 on Amazon that won’t smell ever.

      • Linda from HR :

        It’s this contraption from Hamilton Beach, a stack of 4 racks with a fan at one end to dry things faster. Didn’t even know wire racks were a thing now, and it didn’t occur to me that using mesh was wrong, maybe that’s why this was discontinued.

        • Metal drying racks have been a thing for a long time.

          • Linda from HR :

            Ah, I checked Amazon to see what you mean. To clarify, I also have a metal drying rack I use to hang dry things, but in my apartment that means either setting it up in the bathtub for a couple hours (until everything stops dripping) or putting it in my bedroom with a towel under it.

            I envy just about everyone with their own laundry room, I really do.

      • Cornellian :

        I used to have a nylon mesh rack that I would use to dry handwashed sweaters, and they are great for that (so that there are no pulls, it doesn’t warp, the wires from a wire reack don’t imprint themselves on the sweater).

        But generally, yeah, I think you’re looking for a simple wire rack for hangdrying everything else. It will never mildew. If I had infinite space I might keep one of those sweater racks, but I roll them up in a towel and remove excess water and then lay on a towel on my bed to dry.

      • Mesh is better for drying sweaters, IMHO.

        OP I wouldn’t even use the bathtub. I’d take them outside, scrub them down lightly with dish soap, and hose them off. If you live in an apartment complex they should still have an outside faucet somewhere you can use.

        Or just spray them with alcohol.

    • Spray/soak with alcohol (Isopropyl or cheap vodka).

      • And leave it in the blazing sun for a day or two (taking in at night) if you can. Amazing what the sun can do.

  13. Italy advice please!

    I’ll be in Rome and Florence in late October (three days around Florence, two days in Rome). We originally thought we could only take a week off from work, but we’re thinking of extending our trip now. Is it worth the money?

    Also, what does one wear there in the fall? I’m envisioning riding boots and jeans, but apparently it’s around the high sixties and low seventies, which is shorts weather where I’m from.

    • Yes of course extend your trip! High 60s and low 70s is perfect jeans weather. What kinda weird tundra do you live on that shorts would be normal? Wear sneakers for day time and bring a pair of Chelsea boots for nights.

      • Michigan! In college, I wouldn’t be surprised to see people wearing shorts while there was still snow on the ground. Fall and Spring here is a mixed bag of hot weather with rain/snow.

        • +1 (MN here). 60 degree high for the day is when school (uniforms) would be okay with us wearing shorts, growing up.

          These days, I don’t transition to shorts until it hits 80 :)

        • Really? That’s so weird. And I’ve lived in Michigan. Don’t even pack shorts for Italy in late October. Bring a dress or two.

        • Haha, we are in Pittsburgh and it’s a joke that people wear shorts as soon as it turns 50+.

        • Midwest here also, and I definitely consider a high in the low 70s to be shorts or dresses weather (and I’m always cold). I definitely wear jeans in the 60s though. In New England and California it was also common to see dresses and shorts when the temps hit upper 60s/low 70s. The only place I’ve ever lived where people were consistently in jeans when the high was in the 70s was Miami – because that was about as cold as it ever got and they wanted a chance to wear their jeans at some point!

        • Midwest also. I ditch my winter coat and tights the minute the temps jump above freezing. 60s is acceptable shorts weather.

          • It’s really all relative. When it’s been 20 to 40 degrees for sooooooo long, 60 is really balmy.

    • It is absolutely worth the money. Rome & Florence was the best trip of my life. I feel like Florence can be done in 2 or 3 days but you definitely want more time in Rome.

    • Anonshmanon :

      From Florence, you could easily do a day trip to Siena, it was my favourite place in Tuscany!

    • Extend! Cute & versatile dresses and skirts, capris, jeans. No shorts. Light jacket, thin sweater, and scarf for if it’s chilly in the evening. Have fun!

    • Yes, extend your trip! The trains between cities are very efficient. If you can, try to spend more time in Rome. When I went, we did 4 days in Rome, 2 1/2 days in Florence and 2 in Venice. Rome has so much to see, I think you may wish you had more than 2 days. I LOVED Florence. It may be my favorite place on Earth, but I think 3 days is sufficient. Venice was amazing, it’s a totally unique place and worth the train ride – but I would say no more than 2 days is necessary as it’s very small.

      As for clothing, I went in the spring but it was hot. I wore mostly dresses and carried a military jacket with me and that seemed to work in most spaces/occasions.

  14. I admire Brooks Brothers quality but for more even trying multiple “fits”, none of them was quite right- too tight across the chest or too baggy (I wear them untucked). Eddie Bauer no iron fits great, and they have worn really well, with no special care. I find I’m going back to these to escape the shoulder-less or loose peasant style blouse styles…

  15. Hair Routine Question: What’s your blow dry routine? Is there any benefit to blow drying hair at night? I tend to wash my hair at night and go to bed with it wet, and I wake up with quasi-bed head in the morning. Not the most polished look.

    • I blow dry at night because I don’t want to go to bed with wet hair. It still doesn’t look that great the next day and I have to run a flat iron over it (even though my hair is pretty straight).

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I am currently in a no-blow-dry phase. But when I am in a blow dry phase, I almost always do it at night. Mornings are already too terrible without blowing loud hot air at my face.

      Anyway, I find that the polished, “I spent time doing my hair” look remains even after I sleep on it. Usually if I blow dry it I sleep with it in a sock bun.

    • I have a short haircut, pixie-ish, so I have to wake-up every morning and wash and dry my hair. That is the big downside of having short hair, I have found. With long hair, I could get away with washing the night before, skipping more hair washing days, and putting it up to save more time.

      Washing my hair at night and waking up for work with bedhead works poorly for me, and I wouldn’t do for work. I have done it on the weekend, and still have to spend a bit of time in the morning re-wetting my hair/adding goop/drying it a little, and then I try to avoid mirrors for the rest of the day.

      But that’s just me.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        I have a pixie. If I work out in the morning, I wash and dry my hair after, running a flat iron quickly over any weird waves. I squeeze out as much water as possible so that the actual time with the dryer is less than 5 mins.

        If I’m not working out in the morning, sometimes I’ll skip washing, add dry shampoo/hair powder/clay, and either curl or slick back into a pompadour.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Microfiber towel is a game changer for me- dries my pixie so much faster than a blow dryer.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I wash and blow dry (and hot comb and flat iron — I am the Power Tool Queen!) every few days, in the morning (I’m a morning showerer). In between I touch it up a tad with the flat iron. Chin length bob, naturally pretty curly but I straighten it.

    • I am a huge believer in washing and drying at night and *never* do my hair before work. I just pull it out of the elastic and go. Maybe once every two weeks I will brush it quickly before leaving the house. I wash my hair every 3ish days (usually on a sweaty workout day) and then wrap it in one of those super absorbent towels while I do other things/as long as possible. That cuts my drying time in half. (If I did this before work, it would probably take me over 2 hours because I have a lot of hair.) Then I use a combination of my fingers and a barrel brush to dry my hair (in sections). It takes about 10 minutes. (If I have to dry right away on the rare occasion, it takes ~35 minutes to dry my hair and I have an awesome babyliss dryer.) I hate drying it during the day because it comes out frizzy and coarse and often still damp inside… and my hair and body will often be sweaty because it’s such a to-do. The key to any hair styling is that you have to let it completely cool. So if you go to bed with it still warm and damp, it will get crazy. I also don’t put any styling material in my hair but on occasion will put in oil on the tips before I jump in the shower. Every so often I might straighten it so that it is smooth, but otherwise I just let it cool completely while I get ready for bed and sleep with it either in a loose elastic or none at all. I put my hair in an elastic when I wake up to wash my face and then do nothing to get ready for work. It holds the style, doesn’t frizz, stays smooth and soft, and feels clean. I was taught by my mom going to bed with wet hair would give you a cold (ha!) but I don’t do it because of the reasons you said- terrible bed head and frizzing and wet pillow. My hair would also not be dry by morning anyway.

    • I wash every other day at night and go to bed with wet hair.

      The morning after I wash I straight iron my hair. I have a ton of hair and it still only takes me five minutes to do it. I’ve used this cheapo $20 flat iron for the last two years and really like it.

      Day two, it’s still straight from the day before so I just roll out of bed, comb it, and go. It looks fine so I don’t use dry shampoo or the like.

      I also do five minutes worth of makeup every morning – eyeliner, mascara, tinted moisturizer, lipstick applied at work.

      I have a public facing role at work and need to look polished every day but am the worst morning person ever.

      As I learned on this site, having good maintenance routines (regular haircuts/color, good skincare, getting clothes tailored and sticking to a few base colors/shapes) makes it way easier to look good daily with minimal stress/time.

      Doing all of this, I can roll out of bed and look business ready in less than 30 minutes in the morning.

  16. Bulova watches :

    Do you think of Bulova as a mid range or more down- market brand? I’m looking for a tank watch for DH as occasional or dress watch- silver with black leather band. He loves the round Skagen I bought him last year but the Skagen rectangular watch is huge. Haven’t seen the Bulova in person (Macy’s, 120$). Unfortunately we’re in a place where people notice brands and I don’t want to buy him a gift associated with a cheaper label…

    • Country Biscuits :

      I’m surprised Bulova is that price. I thought it would be way more. My H got one around 2000 and I think it was $350 ish. But I think they’re fine, owned by Citizen.

    • Mid range, I guess? I have a Bulova watch and I love it. It is very classic and simple, and I think I paid under $200 for it.

    • To me Bulova reads as fuddy-duddy, not necessarily downmarket.

    • I have a Bulova watch that cost around that price. I’ve had it for years and love it, but I’m not quite sure how the brand is perceived (but I don’t really care either).

    • It’s fine for women but I wouldn’t get it for a man. I’d go with a Tissot. Same price range but better brand association and they look much more expensive.

  17. Google sheets people:

    I’m trying to make a chart. It’s regarding which group of people (A) have met with another group of people (B), and on what date the interaction occurred (column C).

    I’d like to have group A on the y axis, Group B on the X axis, and then (if they’ve met), there’s a point on the chart with the date.

    This is perplexing me to an embarrassing degree. Any help would be appreciated.

    • Anonshmanon :

      I’ve played with it for a while and the only solution I’ve found is to assign a number to each group of people. The reason is that if you want to plot a diagram, you got to input numbers, not text.
      So it’s column A and B for the groups of people (codified as numbers) and column C for the dates. Then make a scatter plot, select A and B for your data and you can assign a label to the data points which would be C. The unelegant thing is that you would have to give a table along with the diagram, explaining the numbers assignment.
      I’m beginning to wonder whether you need a graph at all. What about column A listing all the groups and row 1 also listing all the groups. Whichever ones have met, get the date printed in the cell where column and row cross.

    • Anonymous :

      Try a database! I use Airtable, which is very user-friendly, and looks and feels a lot like Google Sheets. You can have one “table” for the people in Group A, one “table” for the people in Group B, and a third “table” for interactions. The columns in the 3rd table will be the date, a cross-ref to the member of Group A, and a cross-ref to the member of Group B. A little hard to explain, but when you get used to it it feels much more natural and eliminates a ton of busywork.

      FWIW, I also use Airtable to organize my clothes! One table for clothing items and one table for purchases, cross-referencing each other. Because sometimes I have duplicates (multiple purchases) of a single item, or no purchase yet (I’m sale-stalking it), and sometimes I have multiple items in a single purchase.

  18. Question: Do you ladies travel with your engagement ring? My fiance and I are going to Paris and Rome for our honeymoon in September. My ring isn’t overly large and is insured. It was purchased for about $1800, so not terribly expensive. I only take it off to shower, and it is snug on my finger, so little chance of losing it while I’m over there. My fiance is convinced that I should leave it in a safe deposit box over the trip. It wouldn’t have even occurred to me to leave it behind if he wouldn’t have suggested it and been so adamant about it. What has everyone else done?

    • I never take mine off. I’ve traveled abroad/all over with it.

    • I have traveled to Europe with my ring. It didn’t occur to me to remove it, but I see your fiance’s point.

    • I normally wear it when I travel, including to Europe. I do usually leave it behind when we go on a beach vacation, since I wouldn’t wear it in the ocean or pool anyway. And my husband made me leave it behind when we went to Alaska since he thought that trip was ‘adventurous’ and I would lose it. I think that was kind of paranoid but it was making him really nervous so I just left it behind.

    • Generally, yes. My ring isn’t overly flashy and it’s fully insured. My friends with crazy big rings or irreplaceable heirlooms sometimes wear a cz ring when traveling. I did end up getting a diamond eternity band as my wedding band for the times that I didn’t want to wear my solitaire e-ring for fear of damage or loss, like water sports. So, that may be an option to look at if your SO isn’t comfortable with constant wear.

    • The only time I left my ring at home was when we went on a hiking trip; I don’t like to wear rings when I exercise.

    • I only have a $200 gold wedding band, and I generally don’t travel with it. It depends on the conditions of my travel. I went to Paris for a business trip and took it. I travel for fun and don’t. When I have all my fancy work stuff and I’m basically just going to an office in a different place, it seems fine. But if I’ll be out and about seeing and doing things then I’ll keep it at home.

    • I never take my rings off.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        Me neither. Been everywhere, done everything for almost 13 years. And it is 1+ carats so not a tiny thing either.

        Do not worry, OP. It will be fine.

        • anonlawyer :

          me too. i never take my wedding band off and only take the engagement ring (also 1+carats) off at the lotion portion of getting my nails done. and then immediately put it back on. no reason not to wear at the beach, pool, etc. and fully insured.

    • I leave mine at home and only wear my wedding band when we travel (aside from day trips). I don’t know if it’s so necessary but it’s a habit. At least this way I won’t forget it in a hotel room :)

    • Maddie Ross :

      I’ve previously left my (also not excessively large) e-ring off when I’ve gone white water rafting and downhill skiing, but it’s never occurred to me to leave it off for other travel. And there’s certainly nothing about Europe specifically that would cause me to leave it behind.

    • I only take mine off when I’m going to be at the beach or ocean, and it is a 100 year old family ring, and it travels with us to the beach – I just take it off when I am physically going to the beach/ocean (okay with it in the pool). But I wear it all the time. It is stressing me out that I have to take it off for my c-section since there is no jewelry in the OR (I’ve fortunately had no swelling necessitating an earlier removal). I have thought about getting just a thin plain platinum band (harder metal needed for my lifestyle) for things like beach vacations, but haven’t yet done that.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        Anon – just to make you feel better, I kept my rings on during my C-section as well as my dark purple finger and toenail polish and my toe ring. It can be done!

        • I did the same. I also (gasp) left my contacts in, because I’m blind as a bat without them. I just put in a fresh pair before I went in. Mine are extended wear and I normally wear them for 7 days at a time, so I wasn’t worried about repercussions. I just told my husband to have someone take them out if I ended up in a coma or something.

      • I kept my ring on during both of my c-sections.

        • The reason they want to take jewelry off is so that if they need to use monopolar cautery to stop bleeding the electricity doesn’t conduct through your body and out your metal jewelry causing burns. This is surgeon dependant but I personally insist that all my patients take off jewelry and if they refuse I make sure they are aware of and agree to the risk of burn and we still wrap the jewelry in plastic tape so the tape is against their skin to try to eliminate the conductivity.

      • Anonymous :

        This is sweet! However – if you are at some point unable to take your ring off – say, for example, the hospital won’t budge from its “no jewelry” rule and/or your hand swells unexpectedly three days before you deliver – the hospital will cut it off with a little twirly saw. And you will sit in the ER watching tiny bits of gold falling onto the cloth drape and be VERY SAD. Ask me how I know. Better to take it off and leave it safe than go through that. Childbirth without pain medication gave me fewer tears lol.

        • Anonymous :

          Having said that in 27 years I have never taken mine off for any purpose besides the above-noted other than cleaning. Certainly not for travel to Europe – which sounds DIVINE!

    • I travel everywhere with it – beach, city, whatever. I figure if I’m wearing it around my own major city, why wouldn’t I wear it around Paris?

    • I always wear my ring when I travel, and I’ve been all over the world — Europe, Asia, Africa, Central America. I’ve certainly worn it in both Paris and Rome, and it wouldn’t have occurred to me not to take it. I don’t wear it in or on the water, but otherwise, I’m wearing my ring.

    • I just wear my wedding band and leave my engagement ring at home – I do this for every trip regardless of location, even when on our yearly trip to visit family in rural European town in a safe country. It’s just one less thing to worry about forgetting or misplacing. I also take very little, if any, of my ‘real’ jewelry.

    • Of course always. Get it insured and wear it. It’s not even a particularly dramatic ring!

    • Yes. I’d maybe take it off if I was going somewhere where it would be conspicuous, but Paris and Rome are not those places.

    • Greensleeves :

      I never thought twice about traveling with my original, very modest 20 year old wedding set. However, about a year ago my husband upgraded my ring. It’s now a single ring with a lot more flash. I left it in our safe at home on our recent trip to Europe and wore a cheap band I picked up at Nordstrom Rack instead. Looking back, I think it would have been fine to wear it, but I wasn’t completely comfortable doing so and it was one less thing to worry about while we were gone.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Depends. I don’t wear my (not super big or flashy) engagement ring when I’m going to impoverished countries because it just seems a little tacky, and I didn’t wear it on my honeymoon in Sicily because we were cycling every day and I don’t like to wear it when I exercise. But a pleasure trip to a big city like Paris or Rome? Sure.

    • turtletorney :

      same as you OP, but I’m going to Greece for most of mine, so lots of beach and pool. I’m leaving it behind and only wearing my band. it is insured, but very expensive and I just don’t need the stress.

    • I take it off only for all-beach vacations — if I were some who hiked or camped, I’m sure I would take it off for those, too — but otherwise wear it everywhere. (I only remove it for swimming, exercising, showering, and sleeping.) My ring is large and very flashy and insured, but I live in a city, so wearing it on vacation is no different than wearing it every day. But… I am also not someone who understands why people buy travel purses, so go with whatever makes you comfortable for touristing vacations.

    • lost academic :

      I’ll buck the trend here and say no but I also don’t normally wear it. It’s expensive, fully insured, and I simply had it resized for my right hand when I got married. I didn’t feel like choosing a wedding band that fit specifically with it and the ring is a little ostentatious for me. I wear it for special occasions where flashing a diamond ring seems appropriate, which is not day to day.

    • Huh, I’m the opposite of everyone here – I never travel with my real ring & I have a couple of fake sets that I use just for travel. I’ve misplaced too many things in hotel rooms b/c it’s not my usual habit that I don’t like risking leaving my precious stuff behind. I also don’t sleep in my rings & always take them off at home at the end of the day, so much higher chance of getting forgotten.

    • Yup, and I have a flashy, large engagement ring. It’s fully insured, though I would be devastated to lose it due to sentimental reasons. I’ve always traveled with it and simply turn the stone around (so it appears to be a plain eternity band) if I feel like I’m in a place where it may draw unnecessary attention. I leave it in the hotel safe if we go to the beach/pool, though. I hate the thought of getting sand or sunscreen on it.

    • It depends on where I am travelling. If we are going on a vacation, we are pretty active and I just take my wedding band. If I am traveling for work, I wear both engagement and wedding rings.

  19. KateMiddletown :

    Is it worth it to remove your own gel toenail polish? Trying to decide whether to spend my lunch hour and $15 on this.

    • I had a gel pedi done for the first time and took the polish off myself at home. Totally worth it to avoid the $15 and ability to do it in my pjs before bed while watching my preferred selection of trashy tv. However, I already had all of the stuff to do it since I do my own gel polish manicures.

      • Yeah, I do my own gel not to save money but because I prefer to watch netflix in my sweats while doing it and not have to make any awkward small talk.

        It is super easy to remove at home. Get pure acetone, pre-rip some foil strips, buff the shine off with a file.

    • Toenails are prob fine since no one really sees them, but I had a bad experience DIYing my fingernail gel removal. Maybe I soaked too long? A couple of my nails split and would not grow back together until I got pregnant 2+ years later.

  20. Can I get Botox support? I have a crease between my eyebrows that I really don’t like. My mom had one too and I don’t want mine to get as deep as hers. I set a consultation with a reputable doc but a friend is telling me that I’m crazy to do it. FWIW I’m 40 and have never done any cosmetic procedures other than laser hair removal.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Never had it but I fully intend to dabble when I feel like things are getting bad (I also have an eyebrow crease/hard forehead lines.) Botox isn’t forever, so if you don’t like it, it will go away eventually, right?

    • Never too many shoes... :

      If it bothers you and is easily fixed, why wouldn’t you try it?

      Go for it, OP.

    • I’m generally Team No Botox for myself (because I hate needles), but I don’t think it’s crazy at all to get the crease taken care of. You’re not doing anything dramatic, it’s low-risk, and you’re getting it done by a doctor who is reputable.

      If it will make you feel more confident/make you happier with your appearance, this internet stranger says go for it.

    • I do Botox every 4 months. I love it. One of the best things I’ve ever done to my face next to a comprehensive skin care regimen with quality products. FWIW, I was terrified at first. And it isn’t permanent.

    • Who cares what your friend thinks! This is your face.

      I have been getting my elevens (which is what you are talking about, I think) done for several years now. I love it. I go from waking up and thinking I look instantly grouchy to waking up and thinking I look pleasant first thing in the morning. It helps my mood! It’s the only thing I get done and will ever get done, and no one really notices, which is exactly how I want it. The only thing people comment on is that I don’t look my age (37), which is just fine by me! If you want it, get it.

    • I love my Botox for that exact thing. My doc also does the top of my nose where I have a “bunny line” across the bridge. I do it roughly every 6 months but should probably do 4 or 5. Budget. I love the way it looks.

    • anonlawyer :

      i started for the same reason when i turned 40 last year. i get a relatively small amount every 4-6 months. it makes me happier. i say go for it.

    • I just had Botox for this exact thing yesterday. I love it. Worth every penny.

    • I do Botox for my 11’s about every 4-6 months. I’ve been doing it for 10 years (I’m 37 now) and it has made a huge difference. And, at least in my city, it’s not that expensive: $300 per treatment so less than $1,000 per year. If you want to do it, do it. The worst thing that happens is you don’t like the effect and you don’t do it again. You’ll look the same as you do now in six months.

  21. Lets get married :

    My boyfriend and I have been together nearly 13 years, starting in high school. We have always assumed we would get married at some point, but have put it off for a variety of reasons. How do I bring up that I would now like to get married sooner rather than later?

    • Talk to him? Presumably you’re close enough to have a conversation about this.

      • Lets get married :

        I guess I’m not sure how to bring it up. We don’t often just sit and talk, though generally I can talk to him about anything. Is this a bring up casually while playing games together discussion or a take him out to dinner and make sure hes paying attention discussion? I’m probably just overthinking.

        • Baconpancakes :

          How do you handle other sensitive conversations? Housework, finances, family, setting boundaries, etc?

          • Lets get married :

            Rainbow Hair made the point below that we are kind of past those conversations on a regular basis at this point. We’ve lived together for five years and we are just kind of settled into what we have. If there’s an issue it tends to be a little adjustment and we bring it up as it’s relevant. We haven’t had a big-topic conversation in years.

        • I don’t see what is hard about this. You presumably see him daily. “Hey, boyfriend, what are we doing? Do you want me enough to marry me? Good! Let’s set a date!” Or “Hey, boyfriend, what are we doing? Do you want me enough to marry me? You’re not sure? OK, I know I caught you off guard. That’s fine, we are kind of in a rut. Let’s make a date to talk about it in a week. I need to know what our future looks like.”

        • Just ask him when you’re sitting on the couch or hanging out the two of you – “Do you see us getting married sometime in the future? What timeline are you thinking about?” Say it nicely, like you’re interested in his point of view, like you want to know what he’s thinking, not defensive at all. You’ve been together a long time. It’s more than fine to just be direct! I did this when I was wondering when my boyfriend would ever propose. The conversation wasn’t a big deal in terms of freaking him out or anything. Proposing is a big step, and I think men need and want to talk about it beforehand, but it might not be on their minds with the same urgency.

          • And don’t be afraid to tell him what you want. Lots of couples do this throughout life. Speak up :)

        • Anonymous :

          “Hey, I think we should get married in the next year or so. What do you think?” Just start the conversation. At home, over dinner seems an easy/comfortable enough time, yeah?

          If you ask a question, he has to pay attention, right?

          • This is basically what I said to my now-husband. We’d been living together for years and had vaguely planned on getting married but hadn’t actually ever talked about timing. I just randomly said at dinner or something “hey I was thinking I’d like to get married next year, which would mean we’d need to start thinking about logistics sometime soon; what do you think?”

    • You shouldn’t get married to someone you don’t feel comfortable having conversations with. Just bring it up. Or you propose!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I think you can just say that. Presumably you two are pretty good at talking about things?

      Is it important to you to get Proposed To? If so, I think you need to tell him that.

      Do you think he hates the idea of weddings? (I did! But I did one and it was great!) If so, you can certainly talk to him about what you mean by marriage — do you want a wedding at all? or just to be married? if you do want to have a wedding, which parts are essential to you, and what’s window dressing?

      My brother and his gf have been together about 15 years (also since high school) and they’re getting married this October and I am PUMPED!

      • Lets get married :

        I don’t think he hates weddings. I think he is just content in what we have. Which I mostly am too. We live together and being married wouldn’t change anything about our lives. I just figure that since we plan to marry one day, I would prefer to do it while my grandparents can still travel (they’re in another country) and also before it gets more difficult to change my name professionally.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Oh, ok, then I think you’re set to just initiate the conversation! I do hear you about… after being together *forever* you aren’t regularly having Serious Relationship Talks.

          I was in a similar boat, after about 7 years of dating (esp. with regard to the family thing). I also really wanted to make that official commitment.

          We’d been to a few weddings recently, and I said something like, “Hey, here’s something to think about. We should get married soon. I would like that. I want Person and Person to be able to be at our wedding, and I don’t know how much time we have with them. Also, I think [addressing some concerns I knew we both had about weddings – but it can be low key and inexpensive, etc.]… I know that you like to process things quietly/alone so let’s check back in on it a few days later.”

          And then we kept talking about it for a few weeks, decided we’d go for it, told our parents we were getting married and considered that Being Engaged, and then we did it!

          • In mod with a similar comment! Go you!

          • Lets get married :

            Thanks. You are completely right that we aren’t having Serious Relationship Talks anymore. I do need to just push through and bring it up.

        • Your user name says it all! “Hey, let’s get married. I love you, you love me, let’s have a party and make it official while everyone we love can still celebrate with us.”

          Not quite a romantic sweeping proposal with a horse drawn carriage and a hashtag but none of that is really required. Nice to have, if you want it, but not required.

    • Veronica Mars :

      I’d definitely just ask him where he stands, but I’d also do a little homework first so you can give him your expectations. Many guys might think, “Uh oh, now she wants me to spend 3 months’ salary on a ring and have a huge wedding.” I’d frame it in such a way where you say, getting married is important to me, and I’m thinking we could do xyz to make it happen. His reaction might be different if you really just want a courthouse wedding, a moissanite ring, and a small reception vs you wanting the whole shebang (and if you do want the shebang, there’s nothing wrong with that, communicate that to him too).

      • Lets get married :

        Actually, I think that’s the least scary part. We’ve kind of talked about weddings before. Neither of us want big and flashy, and we have small families. Its really only the timing. (and I couldn’t help but laugh at the idea of 3 months salary for a ring, that just sounds crazy, I just want a little non-diamond, and I’m happy with synthesized over mined)

        • Veronica Mars :

          That’s great you’ve already had those conversations! I know with my BF, he was like, “uh, does an engagement ring cost $20k?” and I was like, “WHAT? How on earth did you come up with that?” I’m so happy for you! I bet it will all go very well.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Just a plug for a great resource – A Practical Wedding was my lifeboat during the whole engagement-marriage-happily ever after “journey”.

    • Are you worried that he might not be interested in getting married, as indicated by his longstanding inaction? I think it is important to prepare yourself for a hard conversation if he doesn’t just say “yes! Sure! Let’s get married this summer!”. Actions speak louder than words, and 13 years is a long time to not get married if you are someone who truly envisions yourself married. Not saying there’s anything wrong with not getting married, but I am wondering if you and he envision your futures differently.

      • Lets get married :

        He would have married me years ago, but I didn’t feel comfortable with a long distance military marriage while I was 20 and in school. And we’ve talked about it as something to do before kids, and we’ve been talking about kids more lately. (especially since my sister had a kid and boyfriend just loves our little nephew.

    • Lets get married :

      Thanks everyone. You’ve convinced me I’m worrying over nothing. I’ll try and tell him soon. Schedule a date night and bring it up sometime then. I’m weirdly excited about the idea of a piece of paper that makes it official.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Woo hoo! So fun! Please come back and give us an update!!

      • Hmm that's offensive :

        I assure you it’s more than a piece of paper. Be careful not to belittle what many see as a life-long symbol of fidelity and commitment because you are equating co-habitation to marriage minus the paper. That is not the same from a legal, religious or familial standpoint for many people. So please don’t belittle it here. But it’s fine if for YOU it’s relatively the same.

        • Anonymous :

          +1. Marriage is not just a piece of paper and it really bothers me when people use that expression.

          • Hmm that's offensive :

            Exactly. It’s usually used as an excusable veil over peculiar circumstances. (NOT saying that’s OP’s case) but either way – it’s insensitive imo.

        • Never too many shoes... :

          Give me a break. She said the piece of paper makes it official which is, by all objective measures, true.

          Marriage may be more than that to you, but that does not make it so for everyone. If her completely innocuous comment required a “that’s offensive post”, I honestly do not know how you get through the day.

          • Hmm’s post was polite and concise and merely pointed out a differing opinion/view — and an important one at that. I don’t see anything wrong with it. If anything, it’s giving credence to the OP’s excitement. There are so many “please be sensitive” posts around here related to feminism, gender, race, etc. and I think it’s perfectly fine to do that with marriage.

          • Hmm that's offensive :

            Lol… relax dear.

            Anon @12:18 below this said all there is to say in reponse to this one.

          • Hmm that's offensive :

            Clearly hit a nerve…. hmm.

          • Never too many shoes... :

            Sadly, no nerve hit at all. I am married. I wanted to have the wedding and the big dress and gather everyone that loved us to celebrate. But I do not think our relationship would be any different without having had all that. We lived together before, it was not any different to me.

        • Lets get married :

          I apologize, I did not mean to offend or speak generally that marriage is only a piece of paper. I know it is very significant to a lot of people. I meant it more that for us personally, the actual marriage only cements the legal portion. We are not religious and from a family and commitment standpoint, we have been married in all other ways for years. My (future) MIL has called me her DIL for a long time, and boyfriend is a son to my parents. In the states that recognize it, we would be considered common-law married. Not a single aspect of our lives will change, so for us, the marriage is a formality.

    • My husband never officially proposed, he just sort of brought it up while we were out hiking one day. If he hadn’t I probably would have around the same time. It was pretty clear that we were going to get married one day by that point. So you don’t even need to schedule a date night to discuss this or anything, if that’s not your style. Obviously, better to do it when you are both focused on the conversation and enjoying each other’s company, but there’s no magic to it, IMO.

  22. Get Thee To the Garden :

    Alert Alert! Our 7 year old is going to a sleepover tonight so my husband and I will have the house to ourselves. What are your strategies to ensure a garden party occurs during our night without children?

    • Don’t wait til bedtime.

      • Hahaha yes, or at least have bedtime early, because everyone knows what 9 pm bedtime means :) And by everyone, I mean me and my husband.

    • Lets get married :

      Text him to let him know/ remind him kid will be gone later, then ask what he wants to do with the alone time. maybe add a winky face. Then he is thinking about it all day.

    • Say, “Husband! Kid is out of the house!”

      That should be sufficient.

    • Um by saying “let’s do it tonight” and then doing it asap? Why you need strategies.

      • Get Thee To the Garden :

        Rude, but because when you have kids and two working parents a moment alone usually devolves into a glass of wine and netflix and falling asleep on the couch.

        • Get in a quick romp before you head out for dinner/movie/whatever. Because once you’ve had a drink or two and/or you are approaching bedtime, the urge to sleep often wins, at least at our advanced age for DH and me. But that early evening time feels much more unexpected and exciting.

      • Get Thee To the Garden :

        And also because I JUST texted him per above and he suggested we see a movie. My husband’s sex drive must not be on par with your partner’s.

    • Sassyfras :

      Send a sexy picture to him while you are at work. Or say something like “you’re going to love what I’m thinking about doing to you tonight”… you can let him know that you would love to garden without explicitly saying it and it acts as great foreplay.

  23. Baconpancakes :

    This week has been incredibly slow at work and I am painfully counting the hours until I can sit on my back porch with a glass of wine. Come to think of it, this would be a great afternoon to be outdoors ALL afternoon, drinking wine…

    • Rainbow Hair :

      It’s ridiculous that it’s not Friday yet. It seems like something must be wrong with all the calendars or something.

    • Anonymous :

      Yeah what is with this week? It’s really taking forever.

  24. Who wants to shop? :

    Anyone want to shop? Cap is $250. Needing uber comfy black and/or gold flats or low heel that are not hideous!

    • Anonymous :

      What are you going to wear them with?

    • Anonymous :

      I have been doing the buy-and-return boomerang for uber-comfy black flats lately, although my cap is more like $150. Contenders: Ecco Shape Pointy Ballerina (the best so far), Vionic Caballo, Rockport Adelyn, Clarks Neena Vine, Cole Haan Heidy (currently on sale in the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale). In your price range but not mine, there are some AGL flats in the Nordstrom sale too.

  25. Decorating help :

    I finally have an office with walls and a door — woo hoo! It’s not large, but it’s my first private office in 10+ years. However, I have no idea how to decorate it, and I’m someone who normally likes decorating. I don’t want it to look too dorm room, nor do I want an overly corporate ‘stuffy’ feel. I’ve already added a couple of family photos on top of a file cabinet. It still looks spartan, aside from the paper clutter surrounding me.

    The walls and floors are gray. Chairs are black and gray. Furniture is dark espresso faux wood. All clean lines, which I like, but the overall effect is very masculine. I’d describe it as “corporate environment trying to look like cool a startup.” Greenery would help, but what else? I want it to look more feminine and approachable, but not like Elle Woods lives here.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      What kind of at do you like? Is there anything related to your field that might be appropriate? For instance, my work is water-adjacent, and I’m biding my time before putting up a giant painting of a lake with flamingos in it.

      At home I like a lot of small pieces, but in an office I think a few large ones reads more serious. I would recommend a “theme” for your frames — like all black with white mats, or whatever. I think that makes things look more planned, which, again, makes things feel more office and less library, to me.

      Other thoughts: nice looking desk accessories if that makes you happy (I want a little globe so badly! but for now I console myself with a really pretty business card holder); diplomas if that’s something people in your field do; attractive storage for anything on your desk, really (a pretty thing to hold pens, a nice tray on which you keep your water pitcher and glasses, coasters you like).

      • Rainbow Hair :

        art. what kind of ART do you like.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Work is slow today…

          Depending on how serious your office culture is, and what your field is and interests are, you could consider things like:

 (I am obsessed with her stuff and if I wasn’t on a spending freeze…)

    • Foolish Fox :

      Maybe try and bring in some kind of cheerful color. A lot of darker neutrals can sometimes read more masculine. Some art, and then pull in a color into desk accessories?

    • Nature photos or paintings can be calming and pretty but not too feminine …I got nice comments always, back when I had an office, sigh…

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I work at a legal aid office, so YMMV, but I’ve got hanging:
      1. A Barack Obama campaign poster, framed, that directly relates to the work I do.
      2. A photo of me at graduation, matted and signed by people who came to my graduation party.
      3. A bulletin board with: two printed quotes (“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can….” and a Tyler Knott Gregson quote), tickets for Bryan Stevenson I went to in March, a laminated quote from Mr. Rogers, a “Don’t Tread on my Obamacare” bumper sticker, a sticker of a local homelessness agency, and a couple other miscellaneous things)
      4. A whiteboard that’s ugly as sin but I keep track of outcomes and meetings on.
      5. 4 printed, small square photos on blocks of wood of local landmarks, bought from a coffee shop near-ish my office.
      6. A gift my clients made for me and some framed photos on top of a filing cabinet.

    • My admin assistants decorated my new office for me and they did a great job. They made it a bit more feminine with

      – 2 potted plants (one is a gorgeous orchid)
      – a grey and white patterned rug on the floor
      – a couple of beautiful photographs of the university (I work at an academic hospital) framed on the walls
      – some gorgeous old historic textbooks on my specialty in the same grey and blue shades as the room on a side table
      – a little disk of mints and chocolates (I have already eaten all the chocolates out of it)
      – I had an ugly grey couch and they added some cream and grey patterned cushions in the same colour family as the rug

      It’s subtly feminine now and I really like it!

  26. Great article for ladies who are looking for cool office wears and and also for the fresh faces who are up for jobs. And also I notices these are non-iron things so they dont have to waste time in ironing. Yeee.

  27. I love this!

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