Thursday’s Workwear Report: Open Front Jacket

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

I believe this Halogen stretch crepe jacket has been around for a few years now, and it always gets good reviews and comes back in different colors. It’s available in regular sizes XS-XL and petite sizes XXS-XL, and it comes in several colors including black, ivory cloud, ivory texture (that one is cotton/linen), navy peacoat, and the pictured pink. Note that it’s marked dry clean but not “dry clean only.” The jacket is $99 at Nordstrom. Open Front Jacket

Two plus-size options are here and here.

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  1. Anonymous :

    How do you improve analytical skills? Practice makes perfect?

    • 1) Find examples of analysis in your job. Study it on your own to learn the concept, and then start to practice doing it yourself before comparing what you did to the official report. If you can, set up meetings with the person who wrote the official report to understand why they made the choices they did.

      2) Pretend you’re a decision maker. What are the key facts you need to make your decision? What are the assumptions that might change your decision? What are the risks? Look for ways to pull that out of your data.

      3) Analysis does the above. High-level analysis ties in to higher themes, like connects it to other data sets or other analyses. What are the goals of your organization? The challenges? Does this data or decision impact those? Point that out.

      4) Excellent high-level analysis does all of this in simple, clear communication. Make sure your email writing style is crisp. Develop your Powerpoint expertise. Pay attention to formatting and layout in Excel. Think about the “story” that your Word memo tells when you print it out.

      So yeah, practice makes perfect. But in the targeted manner above.

      • Ask questions! Find people who are good at this in your area and ask them why they came to the conclusion they did. Ask every time you can right up to the point of being obnoxious (don’t be obnoxious).

        You’ll learn more about what you need to consider when evaluating a situation from someone with experience than you will be reading all the books. Stand on the shoulders of anyone who will let you.

        Don’t be afraid to sound dumb, either. Questioning a decision is smart, going along without understanding is dumb. Asking the right question will make you sound 10X smarter than saying nothing at all and finding out later you didn’t understand.

      • I’ll push back on the idea of “perfect”. The nature of analysis is that multiple answers can be right. In fact, often the answer doesn’t matter at all, but is a matter of direction – do your assumptions lead to something directionally correct? So there is unlikely to be a single right answer even when you’re an expert on something. When I’m training people on my team, what I want to see are that you can tell me your assumptions and can identify the big issues.

    • I’m wondering if you might start by looking at some case studies. For example, presented with X and Y data, what would recommend to address issue Z. I don’t know your field, so I can’t be more specific, but I know that when I have been interested in assessing someone’s analytical skills, I have tried either presenting a scenario for them to work through, or data to assess and draw conclusions and develop courses of action based on the analysis.

    • I have no magic answer. Just hard work and dedication. You can do it b/c I did. Moreover you have the power of the hive behind you! Yay!!!!

  2. TorontoNewbie :

    I’m going to have some free time this summer and am looking for something to read! Ideally non-fiction, with a focus on science / business / law / history. Any suggestions?

    • Anonymous :

      King Leopold’s Ghost – about the history of the Belgians in the Congo – not a light read but a whole aspect of history I had no idea about before.

      I have Boris Johnson’s biography of Winston Churchill on my list for this summer.

      • TorontoNewbie :

        Oof yes that one is not a light read. Important though!

        • KateMiddletown :

          I want to read Gretchen Rubin’s biographies of JFK and Churchill (IDK if that last comment was about the 1st or 2nd suggestion.) She has a light style of writing and I love The Happiness Project.

      • In the mood :

        Yes to King Leopold’s Ghost. Great book, terrible, greedy man.

    • I really like Timothy Garton Ash’s books on eastern europe and the collapse of communism, a mix of solid history and personal stories. I also have a weakness for pop psychology/neuroscience (ie Thinking Fast and Slow, the Organised Mind).

      But also, what about a short course through a university? I teach adult ed courses which aren’t for credit. Typically these are the domain of middle class retirees but I’m seeing increasing diversity in my courses. I teach politics and it is a good forum to discuss the issues of the day in a structured / moderated manner.

      • TorontoNewbie :

        I’m trying to keep the budget fairly low, but I’m definitely looking at taking some MOOC courses if I can find some. Will probably take a couple of technical college courses to boost some other skills. I want to learn how to fix a car. Reading non fiction I figured I can do on my own with the help of the public library.

        • If you don’t already know how to code, there are lots of Computer Science 101 classes on EdX. I’m sloooowly working my way through one now, and looking forward to devoting more time to it when I’m on maternity leave in a few months.

      • Take a Udacity course

    • Anonymous :

      I loved Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. He is a death penalty defense lawyer in Alabama and has won some major US Supreme Court cases. He writes about his experiences with his death-row and juvenile clients. It is sad, but inspiring at the same time and touches on some of the legal procedure in the cases.

    • All of Mary Roach’s books! Science, but hilarious science. Her books are Spook, Stiff, Bonk, Packing for Mars, Grunt, and Gulp. Also, I really liked Dead Wake by Erik Larson and also Scott Carney’s books. Great White and The Wave by Susan Carey are really good as well.

    • It’s old, but have you read Guns, Germs, and Steel yet?

    • Le Monde and the Financial Times. All sorts of things to learn, and you’ll look adorbs cultured sitting at a cafe doing it.

    • If you have not read The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabelle Wilkerson, I cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s non-fiction but stylized into four interweaving stories, about four people and the great (African-American) Migration. Completely fascinating. I had never, for instance, thought about the fact that many African-American communities emerged in certain Northern cities with ties to specific Southern locales based on the railway lines. Seems obvious, but that’s the kind of “aha” connection she helps you understand–people ended up in specific places due to history, not accident. Loved it, truly. It is a fast and good read!

      • Anonymous :

        Warmth of Other Suns is so important for understanding the America we live in today. Why we have so much racial tension, even in “liberal” areas, goes back to the Great Migration and what happened when African-Americans moved out of the rural South. They were not welcomed and in many cases were shunted into ghettos by racist legislation, and by things like bank redlining. That book really emphasized to me that the liberation of Black people did not happen with the end of the Civil War and in many ways, it still has not happened.

        Other nonfiction books I love:
        Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks if you have not read that.
        Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher by Timothy Egan, about Native American tribes at the end of the 19th century.
        The Child Catchers (about child trafficking and adoption controversies) by Kathryn Joyce
        Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Killer, about the victims of the unknown serial killer burying bodies on Long Island.

    • All the Shah’s Men
      Devil in the White City

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I am finding The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks fascinating.

    • Lab Girl “An illuminating debut memoir of a woman in science; a moving portrait of a longtime friendship; and a stunningly fresh look at plants that will forever change how you see the natural world” and The Invention of Nature (about scientist/explorer Alexander von Humbolt) are both really good.

  3. Too many wrinkles - Paging Wildkitten! :

    Thank you for the steamer recommendation Wildkitten! Finally got it last night (From bed, bath and beyond with a 20% off coupon, because Amazon Canada didn’t carry the My Little Streamer)

    I had WAYYYY to much fun last night steaming 3 shirts, two pairs of pants, and two blazers.

    Feeling very adult today in my not wrinkled blazer! (I’m 23 working in an office with much older coworkers so this is a big deal!)

    • anonymous :

      what steamer is this? I’m looking for one too and I must have missed this thread!

      • Too many wrinkles :

        I decided on the “My Little Steamer – Deluxe”. WildKitten sent me a link to an article that tested and reviewed a bunch of steamers. Link to follow

      • Too many wrinkles :

    • Anonymous :

      I got it too. It is awesome. My white oxford shirts have never been straighter and it takes like only 3 minutes max. Love it!

    • Can I just say I’m impressed that you are 23 and wearing a blazer. I am shocked what the mid-20s women in my office consider workwear.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I ordered one of those, too. It arrived the other day but I haven’t busted it out yet. Will have to put “steaming” on the agenda for the weekend!

    • KateMiddletown :

      Does anyone have a large steamer and a small steamer? I have a huge Singer one that is GREAT except for the friggin’ size. I’d love to have a smaller one too to keep in my closet.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        I have 3… A large one, a small one like this, and an even smaller one for travel. I am too lazy to iron, but steaming somehow seems faster.

  4. cake batter :

    I have this blazer in black and love it. I had the sleeves tailored to 3/4 length.

    • anonymous :

      Does it wrinkle easily? Like could I put in in a gym bag or some other kind of bag and pull it out and have it look nice?

      • cake batter :

        It has never wrinkled for me, but I’ve never tried carrying it in a bag. I hate the feeling of a blazer under a winter coat, so I normally carry it on a hanger into work and put it on once I’m there.

    • I have a few of them too and generally have alterations shorten the sleeves and put in a hook and eye closure. They really are great quality for the price.

    • It is already sold out in pink in size XS.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        It has been coming in and out of stock in the pink in all sizes. Check again in a few days. I kept waiting for it in XL and it finally came back into stock and I was about to order it before remembering that I already have a light pink blazer. I might order the white one though.

    • I have it too – it is very flattering and an easy way to look put together.

    • Does anyone who owns this blazer wash it at home?

      • cake batter :

        I may be late for this, but no, I don’t wash at home. I steam between wearings to keep it fresh then dry clean every once in a while.

  5. aquitalia - caring for nice suede boots :

    I got these on sale and love them. But how do I care for them so they keep looking good? I only wear them on dry days and only about once a week.
    What supplies do I need?
    Or do I turn over to my shoe repair guy?
    Or some of both?

    Suede is scary to me (but so pretty) and seems so easy to ruin.

    Boots are black, if that matters.

    • I also just got a pair (the flat riding boot style with black suede front / elastic back) and, having stepped directly into a hard-to-see slushy gross puddle in Montreal wearing them, and promptly panicking, am happy to report that their “waterproof” claim is TRUE. The water just rolled right off the suede!

    • Waterproof spray them.

      Don’t drive in them because that will leave a heel scuff. Or put a soft folded towel under the back of the boot when you drive.

      Otherwise enjoy!

    • The first year, I had my shoe guy take care of them, then he told me I should do it myself. It’s cheaper.

      I have many pairs of suede waterproof boots, and bought a few things to help keep them looking great. Yes, they are amazingly waterproof, but I still want them to stay that way.

      Things I bought and or keep around

      Small Kiwi brand “suede kit” that has a suede brush, suede eraser. Or an rough scouring sponge.
      Whatever brand suede protectant spray is on sale, when I remember to get it.
      Old cloths

      At the beginning of each season, I brush the nap to even it out. Then I spray with the suede protectant. Follow the directions. Let dry well between coats. I usually do two coats.

      After wearing them, use vinegar diluted 1:1 in water and with a cloth, carefully rub off any salt/dirt stains. Don’t soak the suede. Then brush the suede to remove any other scuffs, use the eraser if I see other issues. Wipe the heels/soles/edges as needed. I do this on messy winter days, but less often on days when I am not exposed to snow/salt.

      And the end of the season, I clean/brush well, and store with paper stuffed in the foot, and magazines rolled in the leg portion of the boot to keep the shape.

      I bought classic styles, black. Booties (wedge and heel) and knee high and plan to wear them for decades. So far so good after 5 years.

  6. Mat leave and phased return :

    Advice on phased return after maternity leave? I’ll be off August through February and coming back on an 80% contract. My supervisor has recommended a phased return with a combination of holiday (will accrue 15 days on maternity leave) but I’m not sure what this would look like. I’ll have free childcare through June and by then will be hopefully be off a nursery waitlist. My hours are decently long (academia) but flexible in terms of working from home when necessary.

    What would you do?

    • Anonymous :

      Start on a Wednesday and do three half days working from home. The following week do 5 half days working from home. The following week do 3 half days and two full days at the office. The last week do two half days at home (Monday/Friday) and three full office days. Can you keep an 80% schedule of being off on Monday, working in office T/W/T and work from home on Fridays?

      Don’t burn all 15 vacation days in your transition because you will want a few for over the winter/spring when baby is likely to have a few colds.

      • That’s a great idea. My childcare will be at home (2 bed flat) but I could probably stick myself in the bedroom or go to the library if I needed some space and quiet or send baby and grandpa out.

        • Anonymous :

          Work from home could be a combination of a visit to the coffee shop down the street or sending baby and grandpa out to the park/walk in the stroller.

        • Anonymous :

          If grandparent is doing care, and depending on your commute, you may want to do an 80% schedule that is three full days and two half days (Monday and Friday mornings off).

        • Just FYI – if you’re in the house and are breastfeeding, both you and the baby will probably want to nurse not do bottles (pumping while the baby is in other room has not been appealing to me). It may be hard for grandparents to nail hunger signs (as opposed to fussy, tired etc.) so if being interrupted to nurse and for false alarms feels appealing to you, by all means work in the other room. If not, arrange it so you’ll be gone when you have to work.

    • I would go back at 80% right away and not waste the holiday. You’ll need it more often than you think for baby illness, and you cannot work from home with a baby there.

    • Can you go back at 80% right away with three days in the office and one from home? This was my schedule upon return from maternity leave for 6 months. I actually found the day at home to be incredibly productive. Our nanny and the baby were also in the house. She learned his hunger cues from feeding him the other three days, and would bring him to me to BF. Taking those BFing breaks took less time than pumping and were a lovely chance to snuggle with my son. And as others have said, starting on a Tuesday/Wednesday is a great idea.

  7. What has happened to White House Black Market?! They have been my go-to for years, both for work wear and casual. But the last year, their selection has gotten bizarre. I had a 25% off new arrivals email this morning so browsed online, and 90% of their tops are off the shoulder or cold shoulder. Practically everything else is asymmetric or a blousy tunic. With WHBM off the table and Limited closed, where else is there to buy appropriate clothing in that price point?

    • KateMiddletown :

      Ann Taylor and Talbots sale rack!

    • Anonymous :

      YES I totally feel you. It’s like WHBM has decided their target demographic is the Real Housewives of Whatever. I went into one of their stores a couple months ago, and literally half the store was cocktail dresses and other evening wear. So weird.

      I’ve been having the same problem. Spending more money at Ann Taylor and Banana Republic as a result, since I liked both of their fall/winter collections. I’ve been really unimpressed with what they’ve both put out this spring so far though, probably won’t be doing as much shopping this season as I normally would as a result.

      • Same here. I’m at a loss this season, so likely won’t buy much. I’m SO OVER the cutout trend because it’s not appropriate in my office, yet every store seems to think I want my simple pullover to have cutouts around the neck.

        I think instead of shopping, I’m going to finally pull the trigger on a capsule wardrobe. Someone here posted a link to the Vivienne Files 4×4 concept, and I’m going with that. I probably have most of the pieces already in my closet, at least for Spring.

        • This is a terrific idea! I’ve been wondering what to do to keep my wardrobe from feeling stale when I don’t want to buy anything new, this seems like a fun new wardrobe adventure.

    • Anonymous :

      Fwiw, right before The Limited died, 90% of their tops and sweaters were “cold shoulder” too. I think it’s just a massive trend this year. I can’t wait for it to go away.

      • Cold shoulder is completely adorable! (On my 16 year old daughter.)

      • KateMiddletown :

        You guys, I thought this was just the store in my area. Is the Limited ACTUALLY Dead???

        • Yep. :(

        • They filed for Chapter 11 and they’ve shut down all stores and the webs!te so they are not currently selling any merchandise. They claim it’s “temporary” but I think the odds of them returning are pretty small.

          • lawsuited :

            Danier (a Canadian retailer) managed to re-emerge from insolvency in late 2016 after filing in February 2016, so don’t give up hope!

      • Minnie Beebe :

        I saw this yesterday and though it was appropriate to share here:

        I don’t get this trend. At. All.

      • Minnie Beebe :

        I saw this yesterday and though it was appropriate to share here:

        I don’t get this trend. At. All.

      • Marshmallow :

        So I actually love this trend on myself– but I am still in my 20s and this is something I’d wear to a bar, not to work.

        • Anonymous :

          +1 – I like my shoulders and like off the shoulder tops (better than strapless) to show them off …but not for work. And I work in a casual environment.

        • That’s the thing – I don’t mind the look itself, but WHBM is showing it in their “WorkIt” section as though it is office appropriate, And they have basically no true office wear alongside it. If they had a few on trend pieces, regardless of whether I liked them, plus their former staples of classic workwear, I would have no issue with it. But they seriously think this is for work?!

    • JuniorMinion :

      I’ve had some luck with Macy’s, I like charter club as well as some of their “everyday value” items. I also shop a bit at ASOS although its only online and their stuff in my experience runs rather small. Depending on sizes needed, ASOS also has a great plus size section (their Curve line) as well as a ton of maternity / nursing stuff that looks rather normal compared to American stuff. Additionally since ASOS is fashion forward, if you are shorter most of their pants are cut ankle length (ish) which on my 5’4″ / 5’5″ frame tends to hit right at the ankle

      I also keep meaning to do a test run of H&M’s suiting / modern classics line (although also high street so likely runs small) as well as JCPenney as both offer washable suiting / some nice looking basics.

      Your mileage may vary – I am in Houston where very very few people wear suits, even in my more conservative corporate environment.

      • JuniorMinion :

        One more thing I forgot – you could also try a Talbots clearance outlet – its a true outlet, not a different line like BB / J Crew.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Not a fan of H&M’s suiting. I got a blazer from them. I usually wear a 6-8 and had to get a 12. F that. And it was super polyester and I always was hot and uncomfortable in it.

        • JuniorMinion :

          Hmmm good to know. For what its worth I’ve had to size up in most high street items (even in the US equivalent – I don’t know that sizing is perfectly analogous). The discomfort is a helpful tip though!! thanks

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            I’m not sure if target is an international thing, but I have three Target blazers and love them.

    • anon associate :

      Ughhg. I know. I used to love that place for work wear and classy, high quality dresses in HS/college/gradschool. The cold shoulder thing is definitely a trend, so I can’t blame WHBM exclusively for that one. Can’t wait till it ends, though, along with the sack-like shirts. But I miss the understated elegance (for lack of a better phrase) it used to have. Now that I can afford the store, I rarely shop there. I have long been irked at BR/AT/JCrew, quality, style, and price-wise. I just got a shirt from BR that I loved- and on day 1 a thread came loose in the front of the shirt and pulled- now the whole thing looks ridiculous. It’s polyester. It’s a tank top. It retailed for $68. (Of course, I got it with one of the daily discounts.) Come. On.

    • I agree. They business centered outfit selections are just bizarre. Incidentally, when I walked by a store during the work week, it was full of Real Housewives of X.

    • Nordstrom on sale or Nordstrom Rack likely has comparable prices to WHBH. And free shipping and returns so it’s no hassle. I can’t muster up the energy to shop anywhere else these days because I’m so spoiled by Nordstrom. Check out Halogen, Classiques and Emerson Rose which are all house brands. And they’re always going on sale online.

    • Uniqlo! I’ve actually had decent luck with them for basic work-appropriate pieces lately, including a black blazer I wore today.

  8. Birthday Cake :

    Someone here posted a while back about finding the perfect birthday cake recipe for their baby’s birthday – I think it was a Funfetti cake? Does anyone remember the recipe or where I can find it?

    Also, I am attempting to make this cake for 100 people – am I crazy? I would like to do a single large round cake – how many people would that be able to feed maximum? Do I just quadruple the recipe or does that throw the “science” off and the cake comes off a disaster? Any baking ladies know how I can accomplish this feat?

    • That’s completely insane. You should buy a sheet cake from a bakery. You obviously are not a baker, which is fine, but don’t attempt this.

    • Could you do a small round display cake or smash cake, and then 100 cupcakes? Or do a small display/smash cake and get a sheet cake from Costco?

    • AnonInfinity :

      If you love to bake, this is fine. If you do not love to bake, do not try to make cake for 100 people. You will need giant pans that you probably do not have, or else will have to make many (5? 8? depends on the cake) smaller cakes. You cannot just quadruple cake recipes because the leavening agents don’t really work lineally. Once you do more than double, it can get really weird.

      If you do decide to embark on this adventure, this is my favorite funfetti cake from scratch:

      The recipe is for cupcakes, but I have made a sheet cake from it. Just have to watch the oven to make sure it cooks corectly.

      • AnonInfinity :

        If you use CJH’s suggestion and make cupcakes (probably a much better idea than trying to make a round or sheet cake for this many people), I would make 2 batches at a time of the recipe linked above. When the last pan of cupcakes is in the oven, you can mix up the next double batch. Then do a single batch, and that should make the right number of cupcakes.

        You can make all the icing at once if you have a bowl and mixer big enough for that.

        • If you go the cupcake route, plan to add a lot more cupcakes per guest, especially if many of the guests are kids. There is a lot more “waste” with cupcakes (put one down, walk away, get another, or eat the icing off one, get another), etc. and unlike a cake (where you can cut smaller/bigger pieces), you’ll quickly run out if you’ve only allocated one cupcake a person.

    • Here’s a thought. Don’t have a party for your baby that includes 100 people. That’s insane.

      • Also this!

      • Amelia Bedelia :

        rude. in some cultures (i.e., my husband’s culture) it is extremely celebratory to have an infant reach one. there is a HUGE celebration and it would be very odd to do one for your own child.
        maybe stop the judgment?

    • My mom bakes cakes :

      A one layer, single round cake in any size pan that will fit in an non-commercial oven will feed maybe 30ish people cut into not-your-typical-cake-slices (google round cake cutting charts). Should you make a three tier cake and figure out how to cut it appropriately, you may have enough for 100. Additionally, there are all sorts of problems with trying to multiply homemade cake recipes to giant sizes like this, since most are made for 8-9″ rounds. Bottom line – to answer your question, yes, you are crazy, and should buy a cake from somewhere if you need that much cake.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Maybe it was me? I used the funfetti cake recipe (not the cupcake recipe – somehow less good!) from Sally’s Baking Addition and then made my own cream cheese frosting. The cake was delicious. But I think you’ll have a hard time making a round cake that can feed 100 people! Instead, I would focus on something more like a sheet cake that can feed all of the adults, and make cupcakes for the kids.

    • Anonymama :

      I actually think you could get away with making two 9″ round cakes and be fine, or maybe 3. But do NOT triple the recipe or try to do them all at once (you can’t bake them all at the same time anyway). Do one cake, bake it, do next cake while that one is baking, etc. I ended up making an enormous cake for one birthday party (it ended up as a tower about 6 or 8 layers tall, with appropriate supports). But I’ve also had cake failures so be aware that ymmv.

    • If you want to dig deeper into this, check out Smitten Kitchen’s archives from when she made the wedding cake for friends. IIRC, it was a positive enough experience that she said she would do it again.

  9. Woolovers has many cashmere merino blend cardigans, sweaters and vests for less than $10, mainly sizes XL and XXL which is 14/16 and 18/20 US. Very generous sizing and high quality sweaters

  10. anonymous :

    Okay, I realize that this may be venturing into “is my water bottle professional” territory, but I’m going to ask anyway. If I work in a male dominated, competitive field/office, should I stay away from wearing shades of pink? This blazer, for example. I feel like I have enough image challenges as it is- I’m tiny, brown, female, etc. And I’m not sure if wearing something pink will just emphasize these things or if it’s fine. If I weren’t super intent on climbing the ladder or whatever, I’d just wear whatever I want. But it’s not worth it to me to wear things I want to if it’s going to cost me in terms of my image as a competent, formidable professional.

    I’m overthinking, right?

    • No advice here, I’m not in that kind of field, but I’m sympathetic to your question. It sucks that we have to be so concerned about every little thing. It’s exhausting.

    • AnonInfinity :

      This might depend on region. I’m in the South in a competitive field dominated by men, and I wear pink or other feminine colors sometimes. I make sure I don’t look too twee otherwise, but I would absolutely wear this jacket the way it’s styled. At least where I am, if you consistently look professional and don’t look like Elle from Legally Blonde, this is not likely to be noticed.

    • Coach Laura :

      I think if you’re young and/or are having trouble with being taken seriously, you might want to stay away from overly feminine colors or trendy styling. However this reads neutral to me not pink but the way it’s styled here is too informal for many offices. Not knowing your field or location, I’d say you should err on the side of more formality. Think Power dressing with structured suits, sheath dresses.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I might not be one to talk, as I’m wearing burgundy pants with a pink top and black blazer today, but I think pink is okay if you wear it with dark colors- black pants, black shell, black bag. And this pink is not like, the BR blazer pink (which I would wear in a heartbeat!). It’s muted.

    • Olivia Pope looks fabulous in this blush pink color.

    • You’re not overthinking it. I think a lot of women have to worry about this in male-dominated industries. I definitely struggle with finding the right “look” at work as well. So jealous of the men that can just throw on a button down and khakis or dress pants everyday and think no more of it.

  11. Engaged Anon :

    I’ve been filled with this overwhelming sense of sadness and hopelessness regarding my marriage to come. I am getting married in July, and my partner recently made it clear he was having serious doubts about getting married in the Catholic church (mostly due to an anti-abortion display at our/my parish, which was an innocuous one as they go…) Edit: I am practicing Catholic, he’s confirmed atheist. Not only that, but some of the disagreements we’ve been having over and over regarding how we decorate/keep our home have caused such tension that we are having a cooling off period today (and yesterday) and haven’t really talked in 48hrs. He ended the argument with “we need to think about what it means to be a husband and what it means to be a wife, and what it means to be married.” I am looking forward to when we talk to get clarification on exactly what he means by “be a husband/wife” but I’m giving myself space on the issue to let him come forward and talk when he’s ready.

    I guess my question is, how do you deal with doubt when you’re engaged? The wedding is in July, and we have about a month before we mail invites. Therapy/pre-marital is the clear answer but I’m still freaking out that I’m making a huge mistake.

    • (Former) Clueless Summer :

      I think, despite what the expectations are, that engagements can be a very tough time. There is pressure as your fiance puts it, to figure out what it means to be a husband and a wife and to be married. Innocuous things that you once brushed aside become “OMG I have to live with this for the rest of my life” and small annoyances blow up into fights.

      The only fundamental incompatibility you mention is the Catholic/atheist issue. As a non-Catholic, I would not have been able to get married in a Catholic church due to the church’s position on a number of issues. I am impressed he is even considering it. While it must be very important to you if you’re practicing, you should consider whether you are planning to raise any future children in the church, regularly attend mass, etc. If so, some serious discussions are in order. I’m hoping you’ve had those and have come to conclusions about how you’ll deal with issues as they arise.

      Putting aside that issue, it sounds like tensions about decorating and keeping the home are class pre-wedding fights. Maybe you need to focus on learning to fight in a constructive manner and (for both of you) let small things go more. I don’t think small fights becoming big blowouts is any reason to call off a marriage you have clearly considered and wanted for a long time.

      • The second paragraph above nails it re: raising children, attending mass. They seem like small issues but they can be a huge point of friction. Agree with the posters below, if you are having doubts, hold off on this until you are sure.

    • Anonymous :

      If you’re not sure and you haven’t mailed out invites yet. At a minimum, give yourself two months before you mail invites. A mid-May invite for a July wedding is fine.

      I wouldn’t worry too much about the arguments about decor – you’ll find a way to sort those out. But you definitely need to do some pre-marital counselling to ensure you are on the same page about the bigger issues. Arguments will happen, the ability to deal with them in a healthy and respectful way is key to a successful marriage. I feel like a broken record on this recommendation, but I like John Gottman’s approach/materials as they are research, not religiously, based. Lastly, if you are 100% not sure, don’t get married. Ten years and 3 kids later, my options look a lot different and I probably would have made some different choices if I had my time back.

      • +1. At a minimum, before you send invites, commit to working through Gottman’s 52 Questions Before you Get Married. Maybe take a weekend, cancel plans and lock the doors, and thoughtfully work through it together. The answers don’t really matter, it’s more how the discussion makes you feel. Are you both respectful and working to a compromise you both can accept? Is one of you digging in their heels on a Very Important Decision? That weekend will tell you a LOT about whether you want to continue with the engagement.

      • Anonymous :

        I think arguments about decor are pretty trivial in terms of the substantive issue, but I find the 48 hour cooling off period a bit troubling. If it’s truly mutual, then that’s ok (although still unusual for such a minor disagreement I think) but if it is really one person giving the other person the silent treatment/refusing to discuss the issue for 48 hours, that’s very concerning to me, regardless of how trivial the underlying issue that caused the fight was…

        • Agreed. Arguments and disagreements about decor are normal, and there is a tendency to blow disagreements out of proportion during the engagement period. But I think OP and her fiance should focus on whether the real issue is the decor or their communication/ the way they argue. A 48-hour cooling off period/ silent treatment over decor is troubling when life is bound to present more fundamental disagreements (between any married couple, not specific to OP).

      • I agree with the Ops. If you are not heels over head in love with the schlub now, don’t expect for it to get better. I bit the bullet and got rid of my Alan, even tho it meant no boyfriend even when all of my girlfriends had boyfriends. FOOEY! But it was for the best and I concur that you need a cooling off period. Good luck as you navigate these rough waters with your SO. YAY!

    • Anonymous :

      If there’s any part of you that thinks you’re making a huge mistake, you shouldn’t get married. Lots of people walk down the aisle without any doubt and still end up divorced. It sounds to me like you need to postpone/cancel the wedding.

      • I agree. How does it make you feel if you imagine postponing the wedding a year? (of course, after you get past the freakout of telling people, which is real, but not a reason to get married)

      • For perspective, my divorce cost each my ex and me over $100k. Don’t get married if you have doubts.

      • Totally agree. I had no doubts/uncertainty when I was engaged. None. Your first two sentences are very alarming. It is totally possible to find a compromise when it comes to religion and decorating (but I wouldn’t necessarily put those 2 things on the same level), but since both of you are having serious doubts, you need to have a serious discussion/evaluation of your relationship.

      • Also, hopelessness sets off warning bells to me. You want to have some sense that there will be acceptable resolutions to the big issues with your spouse. A feeling of hopelessness, already, isn’t what you want. That leads to depression and feeling stuck once you are married.

        • Marriage is incredibly hard, even under the best of circumstances, and most (every?) marriage will hit times of crisis. If the hopelessness is a result of not thinking it would be tough at this point, I can understand because, as others have said, engagement is an oddly stressful period. However, if there is more to the hopelessness, take the time now to dig in and figure out if this is the marriage you want.

          • I’ve been married for six years, and I’ve never found marriage “incredibly hard.” My marriage makes my life better, sweeter, easier. If it doesn’t — what’s the point?

          • That’s wonderful, and I think I would have said the same at five/six years in. However, life happens, both to you and to people you love. Someone will get sick or lose a job or a child becomes disabled or some other crisis, and for a period, marriage can seem incredible tough. People grieve and deal differently, and in those moments, it can seem easier to leave. Persevering in those moments and sticking it out can be a hard road to follow, but good times can follow bad, and that is why you/I stay married. Our darkest (truly) days have been followed by wonderful moments.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I have been married three times.

        The first two times there were warning bells during the engagement. I ignored them and went ahead and lost years and years of my life and hundreds of thousands of dollars in the subsequent marriages and divorces. “Overwhelming sadness and hopelessness” are not in any way appropriate feelings with which to enter into a marriage. Don’t mail those invitations until you have had some serious counseling and unless and until you can dance to the mailbox with joy in your heart.

      • Yes to this. I’ve been married twice. The first time there were red flags all over the place that I chose to ignore, and the marriage was short. Thankfully, we were young and poor and didn’t have kids so the separation was easier than most.

        The second time, the engagement was stressful and there were some tough conversations, but I never thought, ‘wow, can I really marry this person?.’ Going on 12 years together now.

        Engagement is a stressful time, but it should be fun, too – if it’s all stress and worry, something is wrong. I can’t tell you if the religion thing is a deal breaker for you (it would be for me) but that coupled with the 48-hour cooling period from innocuous disagreements makes me wonder how you two would collectively work through more substantive disagreements.

    • I found this article recently and while it’s a bit disorganized, I think it has a lot of really great points about marriage and relationships- might be helpful to your situation:

    • How far have you gotten with the church? Doesn’t being required in a Catholic Church require pre Cana classes? Those will bring up a lot of what needs discussion- how will religion generally be approached in the home? With kids?

      I’m surprised that a Catholic priest will marry your husband if he’s an atheist. (Fwiw in a lapsed Catholic, so I have no idea- I married my DH in an episcopal church because it was the denomination of the chapel at our alma mater. A woman married us, but my Catholic grandma was pretty content with the churchiness of the wedding).

      • I understood that a Catholic can marry a non-Catholic in the church only if they promise to raise the children of the marriage in the Catholic faith. Not sure how that could be enforced but you’d have to lie to a priest if you didn’t intend to do that.

        • I’m a non-catholic (but baptized christian) who was married/no mass in a catholic church after going through pre-cana and some cursory premarital counseling with the priest (but without converting). I did, however, have to track down my baptismal certificate from when I was baptized.

      • No that’s not a problem for the Church. No mass but they’ll marry you.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        I’m an atheist (although baptized Greek Orthodox) and was married in a Catholic Church with a full mass and communion (ugh, why oh why did I ever agree to that?). We had to go to a pre-marriage course as well and I ended up in a full-blown fight with the couple leading the portion on birth control. I had to promised to raise our kids Catholic but that was a lie I was perfectly comfortable telling, as was my (raised) Catholic husband.

    • I’m sorry – this is a variation on what my ex said to me when we returned from the honeymoon. “I’m the husband and you’re the wife.” It meant I needed to know my place, defer, keep the house clean, etc. The needing a cool-off for housekeeping? A little OTT.

    • I commented above – I’m a non-catholic who didn’t convert but is essentially catholic-by-marriage (if we go to church we go to a catholic church, kids were baptized and will be first communioned/confirmed/etc.)

      I also have very strong reproductive choice beliefs, and even “innocuous” anti-abortion displays can be jarring for me as this is an issue I feel strongly about. I think you’re getting good advice above, but I’d also encourage you to consider his concerns about the church’s anti-abortion stance seriously and not brush it off.

    • I think you need to talk more about religion. Often people don’t really understand how they feel about it or what it means until there’s a hatch/match/dispatch occasion that forces the issue.

      Do you still want to marry him if he won’t marry you in a church? Are you willing to request a dispensation to get married outside of the church? Are your kids going to learn the catechism?

    • I feel like very few Catholics, even practicing Catholics, agree with all of the Church’s stances and it’s normal to lie to the priest and roll your eyes during pre cana. Is that maybe a disconnect for you two? He thinks that you need to buy into the whole thing and you’re comfortable with not agreeing with everything they preach, but still find value in being part of a community and believe in some things. Or do you really have fundamentally different beliefs? Maybe talking about it will clear some things up, but it is also worth examining, if you do not like some aspects of Catholicism, why it is so important to you to get married in church. FWIW, I used to play along until the church started emailing me telling me to call my reps and convince them to vote against some bill meant to protect child abuse victims, which was my breaking point.

    • lucy stone :

      I am a Catholic married to a member of a Protestant faith which literally teaches that Catholics worship the antichrist. You can be in a marriage with disparity of cult, but it is tough. We have a hard time with it sometimes and we knew what we were getting into and had firm agreements on which church would be used for what things. Our child is Catholic primarily because my spouse’s faith also teaches that women are subordinate to men and our child is female.

      • The last five words of your last sentence are troubling to me. Would it be ok to teach a little boy that women are subordinate to men???

      • nasty woman :

        Yours does too.

        • Anon Engaged :

          That was Nasty in a mean way. It’s not okay to tell other people what their religion teaches.

          • No, that was nasty in an accurate way. The Catholic Church literally does not allow women to be priests. It’s not a secret fact only practicing Catholics are aware of.

          • Anon Engaged :

            Agree to disagree!

          • It’s easy to cast aspersions on groups that are different from you and about which you make no effort to understand, eh?

          • “While women could publicly pray and prophesy in church (1 Cor. 11:1–16), they could not teach or have authority over a man (1 Tim. 2:11–14), since these were two essential functions of the clergy. Nor could women publicly question or challenge the teaching of the clergy (1 Cor. 14:34–38). “

          • nasty woman :

            Psh, please. It’s not okay to deny objective reality. I’m sorry, I’m not going to sit here and pretend that this is not what the Catholic Church teaches. Gaslighting, anyone? Sounds dramatic, but that’s essentially what you’re doing. I’m sure lucy stone disagrees with the premise that women should be subservient to men. She certainly appears to based on the fact that she’s making choices about her daughter’s religious education with this in mind. What I said *does not* translate to “all Catholics believe women should be subservient to men.” I am neither generalizing nor “casting aspersions” on groups that are different from me.

            Further, I assure you that I have put plenty of effort into understanding Catholic doctrine, especially in regard to its treatment of women’s reproductive rights.

    • Anon Engaged :

      OP here:
      Thank you guys for your carefully considered comments. Re: religion… I think the comment he made was a symptom of “What am I giving up by getting into this marriage?” We have a child who attends school at said Catholic parish. We’ve agreed to bring her up Catholic and respectful of all faiths and non-faith, and this hasn’t become an issue yet. We’re having a Catholic ceremony, not a mass, and we are only about 25% thru the Pre-Cana process (haven’t done the retreat, and our first meeting w/ the Deacon is next week.)

      The decor question is a long standing one that has sooo much more attached… without giving myself away, we’ve inherited many expensive whimsical pieces that I dislike but have high $ and sentimental value to my partner. I feel like this issue is something where compromise would look like we sell some of these pieces of furniture and buy things that are true to our (I guess MY) style. He feels like I’m making a big deal out of nothing and need to be appreciative of these expensive things we’d never be able to afford (or would have purchased even if we could.) The crux of the problem for me is the conflict resolution styles – idea of compromise and collaboration vs. you win this one I win that one. He’s conflict averse. I’m pro-talking everything out (to a fault, I admit.) Counselling is something I desire to get a few more tools in my bag when it comes to conflict management.

      • Anon Engaged :

        Edit: by non-faiths I meant non-religious belief systems. I don’t mean that to offend anyone who doesn’t practice religion or have a specific faith. This is a tricky lexicon for me.

      • Veronica Mars :

        This is a very tricky subject, I wish you the best as you navigate it. You’ve already gotten some great advice here, but I’d advise you to seek out any friends you have in your church who have spouses who are non-catholic, and get a clear picture from them how they’ve handled it, what conflicts arose that they didn’t expect, etc. If you don’t know any, I’d ask your priest if he knows someone who you could grab coffee with. Or if there’s like an equivalent of a family ministry person. (You mention that your child attends a Catholic parish, that may be another good place to connect with a fellow parent. There should be someone in charge of your school/youth program that can help as well). I’d lean into your church resources and see if they can help provide support for you.

      • I think it might be good to, in addition to pre-Cana, do some secular marriage prep.

      • B/c you already have a child this may not be as much an issue for you, but I found that, since getting married and having a son, my Catholic faith has become much more important to me, and I’ve come to understand certain tenets of the faith that I didn’t previously. For example, before I had no problem with using contraception, but after a lot of reflecting I really appreciate and intend to follow the church’s approach on NFP (for myself, not judging others). I’m married to a Catholic who is a bit less “devout” shall we say, though still very much practicing, and even that’s a bit of a challenge.

        For me, my faith is central to my life. I encourage you to think deeply about how you want to live out your faith in the future.

      • My husband and I have dealt with similar decor issues, and I understand what you’re up against when you don’t like the family heirlooms. One possible compromise is storage instead of selling. Yes, of course, getting cash for those pieces is better than spending money storing them, but storage allows you to say, “Maybe when we have more space,” and allows him to maintain the illusion that your child may one day want these pieces.

      • Good luck to you. I don’t know enough about your relationship to know what advice to give. But I had a rough time during my engagement too. It was very stressful. I think there is a big learning curve for some people to figure out how to get along when you’re building an entire life together, especially when some conflicts trigger big emotions. Sorry you’re going through this. I wouldn’t automatically assume you can’t make it work. Try to sort through your ideas using cognitive behavioral therapy on your own too.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      Postpone the wedding until you have no doubts. Good luck!

    • I attended a wedding last August of the daughter of a close friend, the daughter and hubs were late 20’s

      there were doubts in the engagement stage which young lady squashed. Two weeks ago, her mother, my friend called me crying. They are splitting up, less than 6 months wed. Listen to your gut, I think you will split up at sometime,

  12. Anonymous :

    Vent of the day – My coworker is in the office today even though she is sick. She sits four feet away from me and has been coughing for the last two days. She acknowledges she is sick and probably contagious, and even took a sick day earlier in the week. Our company provides plenty of sick leave and many employees have the ability to work from home (no idea if her boss allows her to do so), yet she is still in the office. Ordinarily, I would just be a little annoyed, but I’m pregnant (which she knows), and I really don’t want to get sick right now.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Can you go to HR and mention the issue? I can see a company-wide reminder during sick-season of the work from home policies/sick day policies being a huge help. Unfortunately taking your allotted vacations and sick days is not in our culture at my workplace and we have a lot of that here. Also, take your own steps toward prevention… and conspicuously lysol your work station.

    • Anonymous :

      Can you work from home to get away from sick co-worker? If her boss isn’t cool with her working from home, it’s hard to fault her for being in the office. Most people don’t want to use more than one sick day (or even one) every time they get a simple cold, especially for those of us with tiny kids that are sick about once a month all winter. My office has a very generous sick leave policy too, but if I took several days of sick leave every time I got a cold, I’d run out of leave and be seen as ridiculously lazy.

    • I’m listening to an Awesome Etiquette podcast about this situation right now

    • If she admits that she’s contagious, I’d ask her to work somewhere else so she does not get you sick. Add in that if you get sick, you are very limited in what medication you can take.

      • But everyone is limited in what they can take for colds – none of it is very effective.

        • That’s totally different. If you’re pregnant, you can’t really take more than a tylenol — no decongestants or sleep aids. Trust me, when you can’t take them, you realize how much they do help.

          • sorry not sorry :

            I would go FULL TILT Sars-era-Asian and wear a surgical mask everyday. maybe then she will get the point that she’s disgusting.

    • I have a coworker who had been walking around w strep for 2 weeks – convinced that it’ll go away on its own bc that what he read on the internet and doesn’t understand virus vs. bacteria. Went to the dr. – lo and behold – strep and now finally on antibiotics. Coworkers . . . ugh

    • You can protect yourself at work.

      Wash your hands well before eating anything.

      Do not touch your lips/mouth/face with bare hands unless they are very clean. No biting fingernails.

      Keep hand sanitizer at your desk, and use regularly. Keep sterilizing wipes, and wipe down your phone, keyboard etc. once a day if you want to be ultra careful.

      Unless she sneezes in your face and significant droplets go directly into your mouth, the chances of you contracting her cold are very low if you do the above. It’s your hands getting contaminated and then going in your mouth that is the problem. And you can control this.

      • Agree with the above but let’s not pretend it doesn’t affect everyone. Everyone has to use copy machines, door handles etc. Sure you can be super vigilant about making a copy and then running to wash your hands, but at some point people slip up.

        • Anonymous :

          Hand sanitizer at your desk and before eating. No hands in your mouth.

          It actually isn’t that hard.

          One of my family members is immunocompromised. Learning good habits can take some people a little time to use, but it isn’t hard. Only put clean hands in the mouth.

          It is totally unrealistic to expect others to protect your health care. Many people with respiratory illness are contagious before they even have symptoms. You are never “safe”. YOU have to protect yourself. That’s it.

          And don’t forget your flu shot.

  13. Anonymous :

    I have a blazer that looks just like this from H&M and it was a lot less than $99.

  14. Anonymous :

    Not sure how my comment went into moderation…

    Is there a way to make a single tier round cake that will feed a 100? Or a single tier round cake that will feed 50 even? What size pan do I need and how many layers should I do? I do not want to do multiple layers but would be willing to do multiple cakes, though I would like to avoid even that if I can!

    • KateMiddletown :

      I think Wilton’s website has good calculators for this, but I can’t imagine what size pan you’d be able to find for a single layer for 100 people. Most grocery store full sheet cakes are for 70-80ppl.

      • +1 – are you particularly attached to a round cake? A sheet cake would feed more people. Or as you suggest, do a bunch of round cakes (single layer or multi-layer).

      • KateMiddletown :

        Because I was curious: 2-layer 16″ is for 100 people, so I think a 32″ single layer? Still no clue where you’d find that.

        • No, two 16 inch layers means ~400 square inches of cake, while one 32 inch layer means ~800 square inches. The equivalent of two 16 inch round layers is one ~ 22 inch round layer.

        • And Wilton doesn’t mean 2 tiers of 16″ round cake, they mean a single 2-layer (which is standard) 16″ round cake will feed 100 people.

    • I don’t think so with a normal sized oven. If everyone needs a 3″ square piece, that means you need a cake with a minimum of 2,700 cubic inches. The biggest pan I can comfortably fit in my oven is a 9×13 casserole pan, so even if you used 2 pans and put them in vertically, you’d still only have like 700 cubic inches of cake.

      • Also, I think a cake with that much mass is going cook unevenly, and that a normal home oven will not be able to achieve and maintain a consistent temperature for baking it.

      • I’m picturing that scene in “Uncle Buck” where they are using a snow shovel to flip an enormous pancake. I miss you, John Candy.

    • Anonymous :

      For that many people, you’re better off with a sheet cake. There wouldn’t be a round pan that large. You’d probably have to do about 5 9″ round cakes, depending on how big you plan to cut the slices.

    • You could do a pull-apart cupcake cake.

      • Great idea. I am an experienced baker and would never want to make a single large cake for this many people. A pull-apart cupcake cake would be cute and much easier.

        Or just buy a cake. I bought a layered (but not tiered) round non-wedding cake from a super fancy bakery for 70 people recently for less than $1 per serving. A cake from the grocery store would have been even cheaper.

  15. I’ll be in Savannah GA for 3 days with husband and toddler. We are staying in the historic district, no car, but can rent or uber if needed. Looking for suggestions on what to do/eat/see. Thanks in advance.

    • Do a search of the archives, there have been a number of discussions about Savannah recently.

  16. NeedIdeas :

    Reposting from yesterday (as I posted very late in the day, sorry if you have to read this a second time).

    So I recently turned 30, and have sorta crossed off all the items on my list of things to achieve by this time. Over the last few years, and after a hard childhood and many years of very very hard work, I could save enough to go to a top school, ace the program I wanted, get a dream job, marry my long time partner, buy a house and was recently promoted to the top position possible in my work line. My work line is not very high paying (am not a lawyer haha) but money is not what drove me in the first place. I love my job, it is very flexible, allows me to travel the world and do what I love. As someone who has always worked towards a goal, I am now not sure what I should work towards, and as a result I think I am becoming too lazy. I have never lacked a drive like I do now. Not to sound thankless, I do appreciate what I got in life but again although it sounds all very rosy now, this is after years of absolute back breaking hard work and darkness. There are other areas of my life where I am behind: fitness, family, friends, hobbies, etc but I have been unable to push myself on those as all my life school and career were my priorities and what drove me.

    I am afraid that I can not be happy by just continuing to do what I am doing now for the next 30(!?) or so years, as so far I have always had somewhere else to be, something to run towards…. and while I can understand how buying a house and getting married helps you do the opposite and stabilize, am very worried that am just becoming complacent about my career, just leaning out/ sitting down… whatever one calls it, and will regret it in 5-10 years from now!DO I simply think “money is not that important” now as I don’t have responsibilities/ kids and will regret not trying to “climb the ladder” later when I could need more money?

    Please share ideas/resources on how I can “not settle” and get the will to do more and go further? I have been toying with the idea of a side hustle but can’t decide on one. I already volunteer a lot. Not ready for kids surely. Please help, I am driving myself (and my husband) crazy! THANKS!

    • What if you push yourself in a different aspect of life? FWIW, I get that feeling with respect to work, but I’ve started seeing a trainer recently, and having goals related to health and fitness have re-energized me in all aspects of my life.

      • +1. Set goals for the things you have been neglecting in favor of the work/school ambitions. It’s okay to plateau for a bit job-wise, while you work on some of the other balance. If you can’t stand to not have work goals, do something about networking, or figuring out where you want to be next – even if next is 5 or 10 years done the road.

        One of your other goals might be to figure out how to downshift out of pushing yourself so hard for the next thing. Because all those goals you’ve achieved (job, house, marriage), those all take work on their own. Maintaining those parts of your life shouldn’t been ignored at the expense of what is next.

    • JuniorMinion :

      I’ve had to do this. I also had a bit of a hard childhood and am a very achievement focused person (possibly as a result). I have found some enjoyment in fitness / reading etc focused goals as they add to my daily life but I would encourage you to spend some time exploring why you feel the need to keep running and try to hone your ability to find enjoyment in things where you aren’t achieving anything. I have spent a lot of time discussing ways to do this with my husband and have contemplated finding a professional to help.

      I saw my mom especially struggle with this but at some point in life the big milestones (marriage, first kid, first house etc.) are over. If you live your life perpetually gearing up for the next big thing, as she did, at some point you are 45, and there are no more big milestones everyone is gearing up to celebrate. At that point having a lifestyle / job / life that you find enjoyment in is most important I think.

    • S in Chicago :

      Even though you say you volunteer a lot, I’d encourage you to find something that’s meaningful and go full force after that one issue–connecting to something bigger (not just putting in an hour here or there but truly going after some way to move the needle in a much-needed area) so you can help others is the next goal. You’re not the volunteer. You’re the one setting the program and you’re in it long enough to witness the difference.

      • Thanks S, my full time job is in the volunteer sector (an NGO working on poverty alleviation in Africa) which is partly the reason I find it so fulfilling (and get paid so less)… so I do think am very connected…. in my spare time I volunteer on women’s issues (think planned parenthood types)… so not a one time thing like a soup kitchen once a year… I would love to get more ideas on what you mentioned though.

    • This sounds exhausting. Do you have a history of anxiety in your life? I’d actually recommend finding a way to be content with what you have. it will serve you better over your whole life. You never know when it might go away (disabled spouse, death in the family, etc.).

      • Agreed.

      • May be it is a first born Asian child thing… I grew up in a poorer Asian country, where anxiety seems to be internalized early on… Thanks for your advice.

        • I agree this is a great idea. Your anxiety is jumping off the page to me. It is a defense mechanism and I understand where you are coming from.

          It will be hard for you to accept, but you have MADE it. Well done. You are in an incredible, enviable position. I completely agree with others that your next goal should be focusing on taking care of yourself, so you continue to reach out to others and make strong fulfilling relationships and contributions that make life worthwhile. And honestly, what is more important than that? Nothing, as anyone on their death bed will tell you.

          When you reach this stage in life, you need to shift from thinking about what your CV should look like, to what would you like your obituary to look like? You are in the position where your basic needs are being satisfied and you can start to think about higher goals of personal health and enlightenment, happiness, and contributions to society.

          You are doing a great job.

          • This is brilliant – in one sentence you’ve captured the idea – shifting from thinking about your CV to your obit. I think everyone who grows older hits this decision at different times in their life -for me, it’s earlier than for others due to life circumstances – but that’s just a really smart way to summarize it.

          • NeedIdeas :

            Thank you Anna! This is incredibly helpful (and powerful). If anyone has any good resources/ reading related to this they can point me to, that would be much appreciated.

      • I’m similar to the OP. It is exhausting, but the alternative is being kind of crazy with boredom. I suggest finding a way to channel your anxiety/drive/whatever you want to call it. Pick an area of your life where you feel like you’ve fallen behind, set a goal, and drive toward it. Also work on appreciating what you have, but that doesn’t have to come at the expense of working toward something.

        • Anonymous :

          There are other alternatives besides crazy with anxiety and crazy with boredom. . . what about “at peace with simple joys in life and loving what you have”?

    • Anonymous :

      Your comment could describe me. I’m also 30, also killing in in my great but not-for-the-money field, also tough childhood and pushing hard for success in my 20s. It actually sounds like one of the most worthwhile -and perhaps, most uncomfortable – things you can do for yourself is to let yourself ‘coast’ for a bit. Your emotional life – family, friends, romance – needs time to self-generate. You can’t just push hard for this like you can for work, checking boxes and moving up levels. It might be time to allow a little bit more heart/mind balance into your life, giving yourself the time/space to let that side of you develop organically. Travel, garden, worship, dance, take long city walks, do whatever you think might give your brain a break and help your emotional core get a little bit of light.

    • I am also very goal-driven and look forward to the next challenge. You can pursue accomplishments in your hobbies; I am currently in the process of acquiring a teaching certificate in social dancing. You could take some classes (I take French)— or perhaps there is something relevant to your career field— nonprofit management/advocacy? How about mentoring younger professionals, or acquiring speaking roles on panels? Serving on a board (I do this too)? Things in your life can give and take. Now’s the time for your hobbies to “take.” You can also enjoy time off with spouse/house— maybe even consider renovations, if you’re really risky. : ) Cheers!

    • Frozen Peach :

      You could be describing me. Slightly different path, but same core situation, down to the bad childhood (waves at the other achievers with bad childhoods).

      I am consciously focusing my 30s on the things I missed out on because of the last 20 years of goal orientation. Part of this is becoming a parent, but a lot is because I have forgotten how to play and really relax and let go. Along with that goes forgetting how to be creative. The goals are very different– they are about unwinding, focusing on certain issues– I’m using a few daily and weekly meditation books for this purpose. Focusing on mindfulness, gratitude, enjoying the present, finding the zen in washing the dishes. The changes in my overall happiness (and productivity, and ability to focus at work) have been profound. When I feel guilty for not accomplishing more, I remind myself that there is no Great Judge Of Whether You Have Accomplished Enough, and that all of these things are correlating with such positive results in my career that I now frame them as an investment in myself.

      There are some really great articles about the two different states of thinking– conscious, focused thinking or working on a project, and then the sort of “beta” state when your thoughts flow freely and you are not actively accomplishing something– taking a walk, taking a shower, etc. Without sufficient beta time, the alpha time goes off the rails within a matter of days. That was a huge shift for me– the two are connected, and giving time and energy to each makes the other better.

  17. Anonymous :

    Recommendations for places to travel in late May with a then five-month old? Coming from Chicago. Europe seems to be the most likely destination because we aren’t up for a flight that’s longer than about eight hours, and the main activity we enjoy in beach destinations is snorkeling, which isn’t practical with an infant (I suppose we could take turns snorkeling and watching the baby, but that doesn’t seem like a whole lot of fun). We’ve done Italy, France, Greece, Germany and Spain recently and my husband goes to England a lot for work, so probably not one of those countries.
    My leading contenders at the moment are Portugal (would probably stay in Lisbon the whole time with day trips on trains to other areas) or Ireland (I’ve been to Dublin before so I’d want to get out and see the countryside, which would involve renting a car and staying in several different hotels). Would love thoughts on which of those places/itineraries would be more practical with a baby (I’m guessing staying in one place and not renting a car will be easier?) or if there are other areas you’d recommend. General tips for Europe/intl travel with a baby welcome too!

    • Martinhal resorts in Portugal are very family friendly.

      Another alternative would be to fly into Munich, spend a couple days there, 2 hour train ride to Innsbruck – lots of great hiking accessible from the city without a car, then train to Venice for a few days. Fly out of Venice.

      5 months old is great age to travel. You don’t need to worry about solids and baby will nap in carrier/stroller. Check if products you need are available before you go or bring enough with you. I found out the hard way that you can’t get playtex drop in liners in Europe.

    • replied but stuck in moderation

    • Lisbon is wonderful, I highly recommend it.

    • We did Iceland with a 7 month old. We stayed in Reykjavik the first few days, then we did a Ring Road tour staying in a different place each night. Both options were pretty easy with a baby that small. She wasn’t even crawling yet, so she didn’t mind being carried/in the stroller/in the carseat. If you do choose the driving option, I would recommend not going for more than 2-3 hours at a stretch. One of us always sat in the backseat with the baby to provide toys, tickles, or bottles as needed.

      I haven’t been to the rest of Europe, so I have no advice there. We took our own carseat, although American carseats don’t meet European standards (and vice versa). But we knew how to install our American carseat, and we knew it was clean, hadn’t been in an accident, etc.

    • It sounds like you want to go to Europe, and this is not nearly as glamorous, but I went to Daytona Beach with my then 6 month old and it was perfect. Not so cool that I felt like I was missing out on anything (DH and I are pretty active people, which doesn’t exactly jive with taking care of a baby), but we could take full advantage of the beach and the hotel pool (which was right next to the beach). Our’s was a very quick trip and if I were to do it again, I’d probably pick a nicer beach and resort but it was perfect for us.

    • What about Bermuda? One of the Fairmont hotels is incredibly kid friendly, has a beach and pool (and a separate adult-only pool, so no side-eye for having your kid squee in delight in the water) and spa. Hamilton is a cute little town.

    • A friend went to Ireland with her 6 month old and loved it. They did what you describe. Bonus is it’s a somewhat shorter flight (can you even do a direct flight from Chicago to Lisbon? I wouldn’t want to do connecting flights with a baby).

      Another suggestion is to go west. We took a really great trip up the California coast which would be easy with a baby and was lots of fun and I was someone who really didn’t see the point of flying 6+ hours from NY unless I was crossing an ocean. Or you could try Hawaii.

    • The blog aspiring Kennedy has lots of Europe with kid travel advice!

    • Anonymous :

      British Columbia – Vancouver/Vancouver Island is also really nice that time of year.

    • Anonymous :

      Not sure if the weather is what you’re hoping but maybe South America could be a candidate as well?

    • Long ago now, but I took my 6 month old daughter on an island vacation for a week. Travel tips: (1) take a carrier and not a stroller UNLESS you are going someplace hot and humid where baby wearing will be miserable; (2) take an change of clothes for YOU on the plane for that wonderful moment when your baby vomits all over you and you still have another 3 hours to fly (ask me how I know); (3) take more diapers/wipes than you ever thought you would need; (4) remember that 5 months is too young for sunscreen according to “the experts”, which means you will need other ways to protect them from the sun and which makes places with lots of sun problematic. You might be able to use sunscreen at 5 months but might want to talk to your pediatrician; (5) check to see if the place you are going has a highchair/other baby supplies. This is a great age to travel especially if you are b-feeding – no worries about water quality or strange foods and a baby who is not mobile. That was my last international trip until she was four!

  18. Pixie cut? :

    I have stopped coloring my hair and am growing out the gray. I have about 2.5 inches of gray now and am thinking about just cutting off the color and getting a pixie (or something similar, not sure what the different short hairstyles are called…just something simple and feminine that will be doable with 2-3 inches). I have always had shoulder length hair and am excited for the change, but also nervous. Has anyone done this with either good or bad results? Should I wait for more gray to grow out before taking the plunge?

    • Go for it! My stylist says this is the very best way to go gray. Check out some photos of Judi Dench and Jamie Lee Curtis for inspiration.

      I was waiting for my hair to go 100% gray to cut it into a pixie and grow it out gray at the same time, but I got tired of waiting and went ahead and cut it off while still coloring it. It took several cuts to get the shape and texture just right, but now I find it so liberating. It saves so much blow-drying time and is virtually humidity-proof.

      If you wear glasses, you may find that you prefer a different frame style with the pixie. You may also find that you want to take your wardrobe in a slightly edgier direction.

    • I cut my chin length hair to a pixie a couple years ago to make the transition to natural. I was 37 then, and well more than 50% gray. If you have less gray, the results won’t be nearly as dramatic. I loved the pixie cut so much, I’ve kept it short ever since with a couple style variations. Having a good quality cut in a style that works with the natural quirks of my hair means that my daily styling time is almost zero. I don’t even have to dry it for it to lay right. The shorter you go at first, the smoother the hair color transition will be, and then you can grow it out to something longer if you would like. I get more cut more frequently, but not having to touch up color every few weeks is amazing. I get compliments from people at least once a week on my hair. Not coloring requires a level of courage in today’s world, I think.

    • Go for it!

      Something random I read that was a total light-bulb moment for me is that when your hair color changes dramatically, like you’ve been dyeing your hair dark brown, then you chop it off and it’s light silvery gray, you will probably need to adjust your makeup colors. Same with clothing colors. If you’re going from blonde to gray, obviously you wont have to adjust nearly as much.

      • Yes, definitely! For my fair skin, going from brown to grey really washed me out. At first, I made extra effort to brighten up my makeup and wear more color near my face.

        • Pixie cut? :

          Thanks you guys. I will give it a whirl soon. I think the good part about going gray (besides getting my time and money back and saying f-that to ideals of feminine beauty) is that it will force me to be better about makeup and clothes. I may be back for more advice on that. thanks again :)

    • Talk to your stylist. I had an intervention of sorts with my mom when she decided to grow out her grey a while ago with just the it’ll grow and then I’ll cut it plan. She ended up going to a hairdresser who was able to hand paint in bleach to create an all over grey effect in her hair while it continued to grow out. I bit of a pain but it can serve as a middle ground to going full pixie. If you don’t like it, then you can always just chop it all off.

  19. Baconpancakes :

    I’m beginning to think South Carolina doesn’t want me. Was going to visit in late January, when the weather in SC was in the 60’s. The day before I’m about the go down, that cold snap hit and the temps went down to the 30’s. Went down this weekend after a week of 80 degree weather, and woke up to snow outside my hotel room. Southern hospitality, my aunt fanny.

    • Veronica Mars :

      Mother Nature, you drunk. Go home.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Less time outside = more time eating and drinking! Enjoy the truly AMAZING food.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Welcome to late Winter-early Spring in the South. If you don’t like the weather one day, just wait a day or two and it will change.

      • Baconpancakes :

        That’s just it – I live in Virginia, and we have the bipolar weather, too, but SC is far enough south that I was hoping to get some of the warmth I keep seeing on the weather reports right BEFORE I go down!

  20. Super anon :

    I’m going through a divorce and I’ve found myself wanting to do an awful lot of gardening with different partners. My marriage was pretty dead in that regard. I’ve never been much for casual gardening and now that I’m getting more into it I wonder… How much is too much? Is this normal? Do a lot of women have one guy leave in the morning and another guy come garden at night? I’m also starting to accumulate some semi-regular gardening partners and I’m not really sure what to do about that. I didn’t expect it to be more than a one time thing but they keep calling me? I have to admit it’s a bit of an ego boost. Of course gardening gloves are always a must. Really wish I had some single girlfriends to talk to about all this! I’m mostly hoping for perspectives on how this single thing works.

    • As long as you’re safe, I don’t think there’s an amount that’s too much or too little, so long as you’re enjoying it and not having regrets. There’s a huge range of normal so I don’t think anyone can really tell you what single people “should” do.

      • +1. If you’re not sure this is what you want, just take some time off to check in with yourself and let the calls keep coming without reply for a little while. (The ego boost will still be there!)

    • My only advice is to seek pastures that give you some degree of distance from your everyday life. I think things become too messy if you are seeking casual, fun adventures from colleagues or close friends or the parents of your children’s (if any) friends. Expectations may differ, and honestly, I just wouldn’t want people at work or in a tight-knit friend group or in my children’s networks (again, if any) being aware of my personal life at all.

      • Seconding this! Casual is easiest when you can cut things off without any other consequences to your social (or god forbid professional) life as soon as it stops being fun.

        Do you feel comfortable talking about STI testing and results with these partners? Most importantly do you feel comfortable telling them what you like and advocating for your own pleasure? If so, have as many as you like in a day, at a time, whatever. Keep using protection, make sure you are on reliable birth control, get tested every 6 months……that’s it. Have fun! Everything between consenting adults is fair game. And consider reading this article, its so good:

    • BeenThatGuy :

      I went on a gardening rampage when I got divorced. Don’t over-think it. Be safe. Be smart. And enjoy it.

      • Honest question from someone who needs to know: what does it mean to “be safe” with regard to diseases that can still be transmitted when you use a c0nd0m?

        • Ask when they were last tested and if they were clean. If they’re uncomfortable with the question, they probably are not very responsible with their health.

          • Good approach in theory….but not sure I would trust the answers of randos from bars or wherever she is finding these people.

            Also, not to burst your bubble OP, but guys will sleep without about any woman who is a borderline 4 out of 10. It’s your availability that is attractive here.

          • S’alright it’s their availability that’s attractive to me too. And one of them has a tongue ring. While I don’t find it attractive I do find it useful.

          • Oh fun! Gratuitous sl_t shaming!!

          • You’re a jerk, Anon @ 10:40 AM. What do you gain from “bursting the OP’s bubble”?

          • I don’t understand what your point is here. Even if they don’t think she’s the most beautiful woman to ever have lived, they are obviously still attracted to her and she’s having fun. Are you just trying to make her feel bad or what?

          • My point is that she’s risking her health for an ego boost that exists only in her head.

          • Shut up? She’s not taking terrible health risks and there’s more to it than an ego boost. You’re a nasty person and not in a good way.

          • Anon at 11:05 a.m. – all ego boosts exist in people’s heads. WTF is your point and problem?

          • nasty woman :

            LOL (not) like the only reason women have s*x is for an ego boost/validation. She couldn’t possibly actually want to have s*x.

            Anon, who hurt you?

          • OP, ignore this person at 10:40 and 11:05. The idea that all men are all willing to sleep with just about anyone is damaging, anti-sex, patriarchal propaganda, just as the idea that that’s a bad thing is.

            Second, adding to everyone saying you do you and just be safe! Wear gloves, ask about when partners were last tested, and get tested regularly yourself. Be clear about your boundaries and expectations, and have fun.

        • It means if you have sex, there’s always a risk. It’s up to you how much you want that to control your decision making. I’m comfortable with condoms and going to the gyn.

          • So to follow up…if you go to the doctor and get a diagnosis that is permanent, is that just sort of the cost of doing business? E.g. h3rpes, which I know is extremely common?

          • Yup. Cause h3rpes is also not a big deal at all. Are you a nun?

          • Also f your noise about “doing business”. I’m not here for you implying I am a wh0re.

          • I’m the anon at 11:13 am, not the other anon who has been shaming people. I absolutely was not judging and apologize for the wording. I am newly single and truly, honestly just trying to figure out what to expect and how to manage.

          • Gotcha! Sorry I reached the wrong conclusion.

      • F that noise. I also like to go on a gardening rampage when I’m newly single. I don’t think you’re necessarily risking your health if you’re careful about condoms and doctors appointments.

        Also FWIW, I have a lot of male and female single friends and I think all of them would unanimously agree that men don’t just sleep with women because they’re available. Attraction is a complex formula that’s based on personality, intelligence, chemistry and physical looks so don’t listen to anyone who categorizes women on a 1-10 scale.

        • Yeah, the comment above to that extent is largely inaccurate in my opinion and experience (as well as bitter and mean-spirited). Maybe that was true in college, but in grown-up life, I find that dudes are typically looking for chemistry. For casual experiences that may be heavily weighted toward physical chemistry, but it’s a lot different than just availability. My guy friends who are into casual hookups are typically looking for something their attracted to and who’s fun, because, you know, there’s more than just tab A + slot B, even when it’s not a relationship.

        • It’s not that men will sleep with any available woman, its that men find a much wider variety of things attractive than our culture (or sometimes they) acknowledges. People act like a traditionally “hot” guy sleeping with a woman who they consider fat or ugly is them scraping the barrel, but in my experience those men are genuinely attracted on a physical level, we just don’t have the cultural language to talk about varied types of female beauty.

        • Anonymous :

          The men who use a 1-10 scale to categorize women are usually themselves fours or below, and I’m being generous. ;-)

          Seriously, though, the whole “men will sleep with anyone” thing is like a 9th grade understanding of human s*xuality. Hot = would smash, not hot = would not, and that’s it. In the real world, where adults live, things are way more complicated. S*xiness is about way more than model looks, for both men and women. Heck, I’ve met women who exuded self-confidence and sensuality and been attracted, and I’m straight. The way s*x and attraction is portrayed in the media is about ten percent true, if that. Attraction is much more complicated than Cosmo, Maxim and movies would have you believe. PS to the poster who posted the snarky comment – you sound insecure, which is definitely not s*xy. You might want to work on that.

    • Honestly, you should do what works for you and makes sense in terms of how you want to lead your life. You need to sort of rediscover your single self right now, and that happens in a lot of ways. Be safe (physically and emotionally) and have fun! This may be something transitional for you or it may be how you live your life as a single lady; it really varies from person to person.

    • It’s just a fact that s*x is riskier for females than males. Figure out what you’re comfortable with – is it okay with you if you get pregnant and the guy isn’t there for you? Do you have the money to get an abortion if you want one? Would you be okay getting herpes from a fling? Only you can answer those questions.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      In another life I had a delightful phase I now refer to as my “trampage.” It was a lot of fun! I learned a ton and felt awesome, and it was refreshing to see myself in that new way!

      The only downside was that after a while I let myself get a little compulsive, I guess? Like I would stress out if I didn’t have a “date” lined up for most nights. And I think a lot of that was not wanting to be alone with myself. I should’ve done more sitting with myself, feeling my feelings, and having fun for its own sake, not to avoid some emotional things.

  21. DH put a Merino wool cardigan from Banana in the washer. He asked me if he should and I absentmindedly said yes. It’s not a total loss, but is there anything I can do to restore it to it’s former glory? The fabric is tight a bit. I’m stretching it as much has I can, but don’t want to make it worse. Thoughts?

    • KateMiddletown :

      I have a BR merino that suffered the same fate, as have some of my Tippi’s from JC. Unfortunately they’re never the same, but you might still find a unique place for them in your wardrobe. (Or in my case, never wear them and give them to your smaller sister.)

    • Baconpancakes :

      I’m told you can use a wool wash like Eucalan or baby shampoo to gently soak, rinse, and then hand stretch the sweater, drying it stretched out pinned like a newly knit piece (look up how to block knits). When I block, I find best results from putting rolled up towels inside the item to stretch it from the inside instead of stretching from the outside. Also there’s a new product, unshrinkit, that claims to help with this. It has mixed reviews, but might be worth it.

    • TorontoNewbie :

      Over the course of 6 months I put 3 of DH’s merino sweaters from BR in the washer on hot and then the dryer. They felted. I tried to make a tea cozy out of one. What’s worse is that he looked amazing in them and now he won’t buy any more because I apparently can’t do laundry. My mother would be so ashamed if I told her. (Just thought that might make you feel better.)

  22. Commitment Phobes :

    Have any of you been with someone who was a commitment phobe but eventually grew out of it? A friend of mine has been with her bf for almost 4 years and since the beginning of their relationship hes was hesitant to be exclusive/be a couple, and is now reluctant to talk about the future/marriage and so on. Yet she parades on social media like they’re the perfect couple. In my mind, to each his own, if she wants to ignore red flags so be it. But it made me wonder if some guys just need to be pushed more than others and give it time? Curious what your thoughts are on commitment phobes and if they ever grow out of it.

    • They grow out of it when they meet the woman they want to marry. See George Clooney. If they have been together for 4 years and he’s reluctant to talk about the future, she’s wasting her time.

      • Yup.

      • I think this is largely true, but there are exceptions, especially if the woman is wanting a commitment that is abnormal relative to the couples’ ages and duration of the relationship. A friend had a lovely BF when we were 23 (he was 22). She was pushing him to get married less than a year after they started dating. He was not ready for that, and she pushed and pushed him until eventually he broke up with her. I don’t think he was a commitment-phobe, just a normal 22 year-old guy who wasn’t ready to get married and I believe that if she hadn’t pushed him into marriage he probably would have eventually proposed when he was 25 or so and he had other friends that were starting to get engaged. But yeah normally if the person isn’t willing to commit, nothing is going to change.

      • +1,000,000

      • +1

        In my case the commitment-phobe was me, not my former boyfriends. Magically went away when I met the right guy.

    • Does she want to be married herself? If she’s happy with a less-committed relationship, then so be it.

      (But, you know, totally irrationally, this George Clooney-style stringing women along until BOOM, they meet the one they want to marry just makes me hate guys… but that’s not the question you asked).

      • I’m not sure George Clooney was really stringing people along. I got the impression that he was always very upfront with women (until Amal) that he was no marriage/no kids. If women chose not to listen to what he was saying, not sure how that’s really his fault.

        • To add to that, to me stringing someone along means more like saying “I’m not ready for marriage yet. Let’s talk about it again in a year.” and then doing the same thing in a year and then again in another year etc etc. Telling someone point-blank from the get-go that you never want to get married might be commitment-phobic but it’s not stringing someone along.

        • Agreed. Assuming the partner who doesn’t want to commit at the level the other person desires is open about it, it’s not their fault that the more-committed person chooses to ignore them and think they can change the less-committed person’s mind. As SA would say, people are not home improvement projects.

        • Yeah, “stringing along” might have been the wrong turn of phrase here… and I do know a woman who didn’t want to marry any of her various long-term partners until she met the one she did want to marry, so I guess the phenomenon goes both ways. Just feeling bitter today. Carry on.

          • That was me. I had a few 1-2 year-long relationships and didn’t want to marry any of them. It’s not that I strung them along (and when one started to suggest something more serious, I broke it off). I always knew I wanted to get married and didn’t think I was afraid of commitment, I just was ‘dating’ until it either didn’t work out or we realized we were on different pages. Then I met my fiance and from about 2 months in knew I wanted to be with him all the time. He was the first person I wanted to marry. Before, I knew I wanted to get married – I just didn’t want to marry those other guys.

        • Yea, I don’t think it’s quite as simple as being a commitment phobe – both my husband and I had a number of long term relationships before we met each other. For both of us, those weren’t quite right/ there were issues we tried to work out / and we bought into the sunk cost fallacy – in hindsight, I’d break up a lot faster with all of my exes, but at the time I did all the rationalization many of us do. I don’t think men are all that different. And then one day, sometimes you get really lucky and meet someone perfect for you and that totally changes the equation. Marriage suddenly just makes sense and you commit. It wasn’t a phobia, just the wrong person before.

      • Yes, very much so. Being in a relationship/having a serious boyfriend (that will lead to marriage/kids) is very important to her. But there have been moments where she mentions stuff like recently ‘he didnt want to go to family events anymore because he doesnt like when people ask if we’re getting married anytime soon”.

        We’re 26 if that helps, which is young but also we’re adults so if this is what she wants then fine. I dont want to be judgmental and overall hes a nice guy and one of the best things I’ve learned from this site is to not give unsolicited advice to friends about their relationships. Also, I’ve seen people on here post about how they had to pressure their boyfriends to propose so I was curious…

        • *they had to pressure them to propose and now theyre happily married

          • I don’t think it’s so much pressure to propose vs. having a serious conversation about the future. I got married at 27 – DH was 30. About 6 months before we got engaged I sat him down and said that marriage was important to me and that we had been together for 4 years and I felt ready to take the next step. If he wasn’t ready, that was okay but if he couldn’t see himself wanting that in the near term, we weren’t on the same page with marriage as an important value so we should break up. No deadline etc, he agreed immediately that he wanted us to be ‘forever’, and 6 months later he proposed. I didn’t want to buy a house/have kids without getting married and it was that value I was communicating vs. saying ‘you must propose this summer or it’s over.

            It just wasn’t on his radar as it’s much more common in his cultural group to not get married to your long term partner (two best friends + brother have house and kids with 20 year + partner but no plans to marry). That said, once we got engaged, he insisted on the full mass Catholic wedding.

          • I think some of the pressure isn’t really pressure, but pointing out how biology works to men. I had to inform my husband about the realities of getting pregnant, since we both wanted kids. It was something that had never occurred to him.

          • So if you have kids and some of them end up boys, PLEASE TEACH THEM about pregnancy and the female body and timing. Your girls, too, obviously.

            It is ridiculous that there are grown adults who do not understand how babies are made. Yes, they understand gardening, but not the actual science behind monthly timing and biological timing and how it all works. I literally had a long explanatory lunch with a friend who did not understand how his sister was having trouble getting pregnant, since he believed all the after-school specials about gardening without gloves and didn’t ask any other questions.

    • Baconpancakes :

      My SO says he’s dreading having to announce when we get engaged because his friends will make fun of him after he’s been so anti-marriage for so long. But I’m willing to wait a bit longer than I’d prefer for him to decide he’s ready because I know he needs a mixture of patience and prompting. So I’d say it’s a right person, right time in life kind of situation.

      • Perhaps he would like to borrow the line HL Mencken used when he announced he was planning to marry (after many years mocking the institution) “I formerly was not as wise as I am now….the wise man frequently revises his opinions. The fool, never.”

    • Kind of? Hubs and I were together 6 years, he said he didn’t want to get married, I said okay I’m moving out on X date with the dogs. He proposed before the move out date. I didn’t try and convince him to propose but I let him know it was a non negotiable and that while I loved him I wasn’t going to be a 30 year old with a boyfriend.

    • Anonymous :

      When I started dating my husband, one of his ex-girlfriends told me, “don’t get your hopes up; he’ll never marry you.” He had a reputation for being the Man Who Couldn’t Commit. I just laughed as I was not even looking to get married. Two years later, I was. To him.

      It’s honestly not complicated. It’s all laid out in “He’s Just Not That Into You.” When people meet the right person, the commitment-phobia evaporates. George Clooney is a perfect example. Never getting married again, just looking for fun, etc. Meets Amal. Boom! Married and she’s pregnant with twins.

      I do think that when men are younger,it’s going to take them longer to commit. 23 is crazy young for most guys to think about marriage, even if they’ve been in a relationship awhile. That math is different for men – they don’t think “we’ve been together two years, time to get married.” More like, “I’m still young – too young to get married!”

      But if a man is 28 or above, be should be able to figure out within three years if he wants to get married. Any more time than that – especially if he pulls the “let’s get engaged” but two years later there’s no date set – and he’s wasting your time. I came to this conclusion after watching three different girlfriends try to “wait out” their “commitment problems” with their boyfriends – one waited for seven years! Only to see said boyfriends one day dump them flat and then marry someone else within two years. Every single time. One guy was married and his wife was pregnant within a year of dumping my friend. These were guys who “didn’t believe in marriage,” FYI.

      It’s really sad but it’s true – either you are “the woman” for him or you are not. No amount of waiting patiently (or even not-so-patiently) can make a dude want to marry you if fundamentally he doesn’t.

  23. laser hair removal :

    I know this has been discussed on here ad nauseum but I cannot find any of the old threads, of course! Any tips for looking into this? I don’t know anyone who has done it locally and I’m not sure how to vet places. If it matters, I’m looking to do bikini line and/or underarm.

    (Is there some helpful blog post that covers all this somewhere?)

    • Are there any friends you can ask for recommendations? I generally trust yelp reviews, but beware of paid reviews. If there are friends you can ask/reviews you can read, look for someone with your coloring. Ideal for laser hair removal is light skin with dark hair. The description is correct- feels like a small rubber band snapping against you. I wouldn’t describe it as painful, just uncomfortable at times. I used to get waxes, and this is nothing like that. If I remember to, I will sometimes take an Advil before so that I am even less sensitive, but I would not use painful to describe it and it is all over in less than 10 minutes.

      I have had both underarm and bikini done and am very happy with the results. It isn’t quite like I’ve just gotten a wax, but can be easily maintained with a quick shave. (Thanks to my heritage, this was not something I could do before – I’ve had to wax since age 15 because shaving was too painful.) Now if my legs are shaved, I can wear a bikini no problem. One of my favorite things about the underarm is that I sweat less than I used to there. I can shave and some stray hairs will grow back but I am comfortable going to the gym in a tank top even a few weeks after shaving, whereas before in the summer, I had to do it every few days or else it was noticeable. You do have to shave every time before you go in- I used my regular razor for my underarms and most of my bikini but depending on what kind of bikini you choose or if you go for other small areas, buy one of those tiny facial razors so you have more control and accuracy. You should avoid sun and retinols for a certain period before, which they will tell you about.

      • Thanks! This sounds exactly like what I would hope for my experience to be. I need to wax because shaving is too painful/irritates my skin like nothing else. I love the idea of making the maintenance really really easy. And also, less sweating would be awesome. Basically I can shave my underarm and it already has 5:00 shadow so I would love to keep that under control. I do have lighter skin and darker hair so hopefully this will work out well!

        Sadly I have no friends who have done it so I feel like I’m flying blind as far as that’s concerned.

        • Ask about their policies if it doesn’t work. I have very pale skin and very dark hair. I paid for a round of treatments to underarm and bikini, followed protocol to a T, and it did not work. Reduced the hair, but not noticeably.

          The center gave me a second round free of charge, if I agreed to extra verification on protocol (using their specific lotions at specific times, etc). No difference from the first round. They offered a reduced-cost third round but I just wasn’t willing to commit that many more months to a failing process, so I quit going. Within a few months, my hair was back to normal.

          I don’t know if I have super hair, but all indications said I was a perfect candidate. I was glad they were willing to go an extra mile to try to make it work for me, even if it wasn’t successful.

      • Yep, this was my experience, as well. I’m beyond thrilled with the results, even if I have to shave occasionally because not every single hair is gone. I can go weeks without remembering to shave my underarms now, and I’ve also totally eliminated the chub rub I used to get when wearing skirts without some sort of spanx to keep my thighs from rubbing together. So worth it. I go to a derm’s office, but the nurse practitioner does the laser treatment.

    • I feel like I’ve read two types of opinions here – the first is that you must go to a dermatologist or else, the second is that you should buy a series of groupons (which are all inevitably done by people with no experience to get clients to practice on) to get it done as cheaply as possible. I am as confused as you are. I think though that as long as you have pale skin, you can probably go wherever. Darker skin I think you have to worry about scars, so go to a derm.

      • I went to what is callde a ‘medspa.’ The ‘clinician’ who does mine has been working there for 7 years. She is not a doctor but the whole facility is overseen by a doctor and a few RNs. They do not offer groupons but do offer internal packages, which I bought for my laser work.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      I used a Groupon at a reputable place (not a doctor) for my underarms and had good results. Not perfectly hairless though, because some of my hair is blond.

    • I used a Groupon at a plastic surgeon’s office/med spa. It was for my legs and I like the results. I chose it because of 1/ good reviews 2/ a doctor’s practice 3/ close to my office so I can zip off for an hour and then come back to work in the middle of the day.

    • Thanks, all!

  24. Laser Hair Removal - Boston :

    Anyone have recommendations for a place in or near Boston they like? And more generally, for folks who have had this done or looked into it, what questions should I be asking? I’m a little overwhelmed by the number of choices I’m finding online and the variance in the amount of information for each one. (FWIW, I have the fair skin/dark hair combo that seems to do well with laser hair removal.) Thanks!

    • I’m in Boston and go to Laser MD Med Spa on Newbury. They have deals all the time. I’ve been happy with them. Have done underarms, legs, upper lip.

    • I go to Laser MD Med Spa in Boston and have been happy there. They have promotions all the time. I’ve done legs and underarms.

    • Boston area :

      I’ve been happy with Clear Cosmetic Clinic in Brookline, especially when I get one technician who is especially thorough. I believe her name is Ashley, and I have encountered her mainly at Saturday appointments. I started with underarms as least embarrassing for me but in my experience most painful (though tolerable). Then progressed to bikini line and lower legs. All good. Very happy with results both short-term and long-term.

    • Laser Hair Removal - Boston :

      Thanks all! The poster at 10:25 and I must be on the same brain wave.

  25. NYC gov position :

    Thanks to the poster yesterday who offered to email with tips/thoughts about working in the NYC government. My address is generous.analytic AT google mail. I appreciate it! And would welcome thoughts from anyone about interviewing for government jobs (I’ve previously worked in tech positions in industry and academia, thinking about moving to a policy role in local government), or words of warning, general advice, etc.

    • lucy stone :

      Be able to explain what about government appeals to you. There is a lot of red tape and bureaucracy that most employees are trying to change, but that takes time, and it helps to have a passion for serving the public to fall back on.

      Do not say you’re going into government for the lifestyle. I hate it when people say this because I work just as much as my friends at our regional firms for less money.

      Ask about the specific reporting structure for your position. I think the ideal spot in government is two layers below the electeds. I report to them, so I could be biased.

      We’re big on culture fit when we hire, so if you can get some insight as to your department’s culture, that’d be good to know about in advance.

      • NYC gov position :

        Thanks, that’s really helpful! I was trying to think of way to phrase a question about how much this position would likely be affected by, for example, a different mayor being elected, and “reporting structure” sounds like the perfect way to open that door.

        • lucy stone :

          Good luck! I whine about my job a lot but I honestly do enjoy the work and love the fact that someday I’ll be able to point at projects and tell my kid mommy helped make that happen.

          • Anonymous :

            Agree. I’m in the legal department in a small state. I get to do substantive work on important files that are meaningful to me. It’s very fulfilling even when the pay isn’t great. I enjoy being able to have an influence via suggesting solutions to decision makers.

  26. Tailoring Question :

    I picked up a really cute Ralph Lauren dress on deep discount, but it’s about 1 size too big. It’s that stretchy jersey fabric, straight with the ruching at the waist on one side, they sell a bunch of similar styles like that. Does anyone have any experience getting something like that altered? It fits okay through the shoulders, so it just needs to be taken up along the sides, through the waist and hips. I’ve never had anything made out of that stretchy fabric altered, trying to decide if I should just take it back.

    • I’d take it back. The very area you need taken in is the area of highest detail – I can’t imagine it’s easy to tailor the waist/hips with one-sided ruching.

    • I would take it to your tailor with the tags still attached and ask her for an estimate. If it fits through the shoulders and bust, it should be possible to fix the waist and hips even with the ruching, but it could be on the expensive side. I need all of my dresses tailored through the waist and hips because I am very long-waisted, and I’ve had success with ruched styles.

    • I find these dresses really easy to find at Winners/Marshalls (I guess TJMAxx in the US?). I wouldn’t spend a lot on tailoring them and it doesn’t sound like a simple fix. I’d take it back and wait to find one in the right size.

  27. Folks who work for federal agencies: is there any hope of getting hired at one this year? Any insight would be appreciated!


      Unless you’re trying to get into DoD (and even then, looks like only hardware and military will really benefit), I’d say no. And, as a women in DoD, I can’t in good conscience recommend this to anyone.

      • anonymous :

        I’m a woman in DoD. My corner of the department is hiring. I also haven’t experienced any gender-related issues at work here that haven’t been more or less the same elsewhere, so I’m not sure what anon at 12:30 is referring to.

        • I’m also a woman in DoD and also not sure what she is referring to. My agency is hiring, but only at the junior levels. More senior positions are usually filled from within.

    • Anonymous :

      I would imagine it will depend greatly on which agency you are trying to work for.

      • Agency Counsel :

        Yes, look at the proposed budget. Which department and agency supposed to be getting more, who is getting less. Keep an eye on I’m assuming OP is looking for legal jobs and those will also increase in those particular agencies.

        Based on past knowledge, there will be a lot of competition for those jobs.

    • Anonymous :

      I know two people who just got offers from DOJ, one of whom has a start date.

  28. Outfit help :

    Is there a place where I can post outfit pictures and get opinions on fit, match, style?

  29. Feeling so “meh” about work. I don’t dislike it, but I’m definitely struggling through the transition from student to attorney (K-JD). I’ve received positive feedback and couldn’t be at a more supportive firm. I guess I’m just bored and just want to play hooky for a day or go workout at a non-ungodly hour, etc.

    • Sounds like the transition from school – where you had some control of your time/were often done classes by 2 pm etc. – to work – where you have to be there, day in, day out for the rest of your life. You’ll get used to it. Every adult has done it.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Take lunch breaks. My fatal error whenever I feel strung out at work is just sitting at my desk all day every day for 8 hours and not recharging my batteries.

  30. Given my hormones this week, I am really happy most of my co-workers haven’t read NGDGTCO and brought in baked goods. 3 scones and a piece of pie later . . .

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