Thursday’s Workwear Report: Origami Top

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

This origami top comes in black and cream, plus the pink pictured here. I think it’s definitely buttoned-up, but I really like the unusual aspect of it. (By the way, it has a hidden back zip — it’s not a pullover style.) It’s flattering, and it looks very cool (and a lot more expensive than its $68 price tag). It’s also nice that the top is machine washable. It’s sold out at Topshop but is available at Nordstrom. Origami Top

Here’s a plus-size alternative.

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  1. Thank you :

    To the poster who recommended Puma ballet flats for commuting: mine arrived yesterday and I’m wearing them today. It’s like a whole new commute. Thanks again for the rec.

  2. The Americans (no spoilers) :

    OMG I just cannot with the fashions on The Americans. Where on earth do they get 1980s clothes (and am I right that acid washed is early 90s? or legit 80s?)?

    And after seeing Mom jeans on The Americans, I cannot believe that they are becoming a thing again. [Same with midriff tops — I saw someone wearing one into our courthouse earlier this week. She was rocking it, but still.]

    • Anonymous :

      acid washed is totally 80s! I was rocking acid washed, pleat front, pegged leg jeans in 1985!

    • I am going to be so sad when this season is over! I have to say, though, that Paige is rocking a 2018 lob and not the big hair she should be wearing. Elizabeth is still more in late 70s clothes but that fits her personality. And Oleg and Phillip together on the screen is so much hotness!!!!

      • Totally agree with every word of this comment! That is such a 2018 lob! I love it, but come on! Not 80s! And thank you — I find Phillip so hot and no one seems to agree with me!

  3. I’m considering a major move from my US suburban town to European big city. I’ve never lived in a city, although visited this one often. I have three junior high age children and the school system would offer them many more opportunities. Partner and I have secured jobs in new city. I’m very excited about new job opportunity. I wonder if I’m just getting cold feet.

    What are the pros and cons of living in a big city that I may not be considering?

    Any advice on making a US to European move?

    • Less nature, more congestion, less space. Do you all speak the language? Kitchens and bathrooms below US standards, ditto laundry. Trouble moving home when you want to. Health care. Someday you and your kids winding up in different continents.

      I’d go for it myself! It’s a fabulous adventure and you’ve already done the hard part.

      • Confused by the nature and health care reference. Health care is generally way better in Europe vs. US. Plus it’s largely free. Most large European cities have amazing green spaces.

        • Green space in a city park is different than green space around your home in the suburbs. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, just different.

          Same with healthcare. I’m not suggesting European care is worse at all, but it is different. You may have a waiting period to be eligible and your experiences with practitioners will be different.

          Just things to consider!

        • Yes, absolutely. One thing that was super-odd for me when I lived in London was that you were assigned to a GP who covered your whole geographic area. When you saw the GP, you did not meet him or her in an examination room–you met in an office and talked about your health with the doctor behind a big oak desk and you in a chair. Super-different than the American way.

          If you are moving to London, I recommend you purchase the Junior League’s Living in London guide off their website. Worth every pence!

          The WSJ has an Expat column that has been running for nearly a decade. Covers almost every expat issue you could think of, including adjusting with teens, lack of US pop culture knowledge, lack of local pop culture knowledge, weird cravings for banal American foods, holiday travel dilemmas, etc. Recommend,

          • So interesting! I’ve had medical care while living in Zurich, Vienna, Munich and Dublin and each time it was pretty similar to the US, although 2/4 were like 20 years ago.

        • I think she’s saying healthcare is different in Europe not worse. It’s definitely different.

    • Is it a temporary move, or would you be essentially moving your kids to the country until they go to college? I think if you go for more than a predefined quick stint, you should prepare for an international family in the future- some of your kids will want to attend university in your new country, may land their first jobs there, may meet a partner there, etc. you may or may not want to move back, but if it’s a permanent move, can you retire in the new country? Or will you need to move back to the US?

      Totally separate from a couple of years in another country- or rotating countries. A couple of cousins of mine are army brats and grew up all over the world. My cousin is a diplomat and is raising his children in Japan, but via the American support system (American schools, American embassy type cushiness). Another cousin works for a 3-letter-agency and has moved his family to three foreign countries for 2-3 year stints. Those kids are now 8 and 10, and cousin has hit retirement age from his government gig, so he’s casually working a second career/being a SAHD while his wife dives back into law (she never fully left but definately sidelined her career). It’s one benefit to having kids late- he had kids at 38 and due to all the international rotations etc was able to retire from his agency at 45.

    • Um, bank account compliance? And then still filing US tax returns, reading up on the US treaty with whichever country, and reporting all of your foreign bank accounts?

      Also: retirement (check social security totalization rules).

      I lived abroad as a kid and would definitely recommend, esp given the ages of your kids. Kind of wish my kids could do that but not in my job situation or spouse’s.

      You may want to maintain being domiciled in the US in a certain state (e.g., Virginia) if your kids might want to go to college there, esp. if you move won’t likely be permanent. They’d qualify for in-state tuition and also any admissions preferences.

    • Visas — do you have visas that let you work in this country? How renewable are they? Are they employer-sponsored or can you change jobs freely? Also: can your kids work there?

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      I lived abroad temporarily as a child, and it was a great experience. My advice: put your kids in a local (not international) school so they learn the language by immersion. Large European cities tend to be pretty walkable, and if they’re in junior high they’ll be more independent than I was in third grade, so knowing the language to go out by themselves will probably be a big deal to them. Lean in to local history/art/culture/whatever (we did a lot of family day trips). Eat local food! If you can afford it, let them get new clothes so they can fit in (at least in Germany, people don’t wear sneakers when they’re not exercising, and I stuck out awkwardly).

      Overall, do ittttttt.

    • I did this three years ago. We are now back (military) but I would go again in a heart beat. It really depends on the city and the country. I was in Hamburg, Germany. There, the kitchens and laundry are VASTLY superior to anything in North America. We spent extended periods of time in the UK, France, Belgium, Switzerland etc for five weeks holiday every summer and I found the same there. The design is better and the engineering is better. Big Euro cities have outstanding amenities. Fabulous green spaces, parks, festivals, restaurants and usually great public transport. I can’t really think of one I would not go to (although Madrid or Barcelona is not my cup of tea, but Seville -not a really large city- is. Brussels is a bit grey and boring but I would still go. The cons are really nebulous and will come down to whether you are Euro-sympathetic and the particular city. Commuting can be one, weather can be another. Usually, everyone has a post-honeymoon period crash but gets over it unless you are truly just more comfortable in North America. In any case, it is an amazing experience that is unlikely to be regretted, even if you decide to repatriate, eventually. You can PM if you would find that helpful. I am very jealous!

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        I honestly could not see any real difference between American and German laundry when I was there — can you elaborate?

        German kitchens ime tend to be smaller than American ones, which may not be your cup of tea. If you want to cook efficiently and then go out into the dining room it’s great, but I personally like a large open kitchen where people can hang out with me while I’m cooking.

        • RE Laundry; German machines are literally called “cookers” they boil the crap out of your clothes and the result (possibly down to detergent, as well) is that your whites look much better. We have had 7 German Au Pairs and every one complains about how our machines ruin their clothes, which is right in my experience. The driers dry less and are condensing machines, as well (no vents), so they work differently. Both machines are much smaller and so you wash more “like with like” which is also better for your clothes. The cycles do take MUCH longer, which annoyed lots of my ex-pats friends.

          The kitchens can be much smaller but it really depends. Lots of newer builds have an open American style design. We looked at both options and ultimately chose a tiny, old fashioned, classic German 8X8 half finished kitchen which was my favourite kitchen out of ten we have ever had. I loved the closing door, and I am an advanced cook who cooks everything from scratch every day for six people and we still loved its function. But regardless of layout, what is in the kitchen should be better. The cabinet design is much better, and more high end. Lots of drawers you wouldn’t normally find in a rental, every little nook and cranny used in a clever way. The appliances are also amazing and typically well engineered, like most things in Germany. My father and mother-in-law are classic North Americans and were appalled by my kitchen, so it really depends on the person but I loved mine and would gladly take it back today over my twice as large suburban Canadian kitchen.

          • Aunt Jamesina :

            While newer kitchens tend to be high-quality, many European rentals are BYO kitchen! I know this is common in France.

    • Flats Only :

      Be prepared for culture shock – read up on it so if/when it hits you recognize it and can deal with it constructively vs. freaking out.

      Be prepared for your kids to have major culture shock. I lived abroad as a child, moving every three or four years on government assignment, and I was used to making new friends. I always felt sorry for kids who arrived overseas having never moved before – they were not used to making new friends, and it seemed to be a tough adjustment for them. Nowadays they’ll cling to their old friends via social media, so you need to make sure they get out and meet new people as well.

    • From suburb to city, prepare to do a lot more walking for errands and in Europe, prepare to do a food shop a lot more often than you do now (which also means you will want one of those rolling cart things since you will be walking more for errands). Things will be a lot smaller than you are used to, if you are coming from a US suburb and it is unlikely you will have a dryer in your home – you will get used to seeing your neighbors’ undergarments hanging out to dry. Depending on where you move, your hygiene levels may not match – a lot of Europeans believe Americans shower too much and Americans believe Europeans are more comfortable with BO (especially on public transit). This varies greatly by country, of course. You are going to miss things about living in the US, especially if you grew up American (peanut butter, deli meat, massive parking lots, gyms, ice in your glass, AC on demand, etc.) but remember that if you repatriate back there will be things about your adopted country you will miss, too, so try to take it all in. Take advantage of more vacation time and really explore. If you are going to do it, try to fit in, so learn the language and observe the cultural norms, dress, pace, gestures, etc. to really immerse yourselves!

    • It will VASTLY depend on which country and city you are looking at. As a Brit, I can see vast differnces between the north and south of Europe and also between west and east Europe. And even between different parts of the same city country. Any more clues where you are looking?

    • Can you share what city or country? France would be a different experience from Poland (with plus and minuses on both sides). I’m an American working in Europe and love the difference in quality of life, but I’m also coming from a city in the US so less urban/suburban/rural culture shock to contend with.

  4. I bought this top last year in hot pink and I really
    like it. I wear it to work and on date nights/nights out.

  5. commute vent :

    I’ve tried every commute possibility for the summertime, but no matter what, I end up arriving to the office a sweaty and disheveled mess. I’ve tried arriving earlier so that I have time to freshen up before the start of the day, but our office has enough earlybirds that I wouldn’t be surprised if more people saw my sweaty myself this morning compared to mornings when I get in at 9 on the dot. I am a productive and efficient employee with good ideas, but I feel like this morning routine of looking like I just worked out in a business casual dress is really undermining my image at work. Ugh. I’ve tried commuting in an airy blouse and then changing to something more office appropriate once I’m here. I joined the gym nearby and tried showering there after working out so I’m spending less time commuting once ready. None of it has made any difference. Anything more than 1 block, and I’m sweaty. I’m just done with nice weather, and we’ve only had it for a few days so far. Ugh.

    • Anonymous :

      Can you commute in a tank top and loose-fitting skirt or pants, and then change when you get into the office? There are partners at my firm who I see doing this. If it’s a matter of getting the clothes to work, you could uber/taxi to work on Mondays with a bunch of clothes on hangers for the week to keep at work, and then take the hangers and your commuting clothes home with you on Friday (or at the end of each day).

      also see if you can commute with your hair clipped up off your neck (assuming it’s long).

    • Anonymous :


      I will have to take public transit some days this year, and I seriously looked into those ice vests construction workers wear.

      I can change into fresh clothes in the office building, but there’s not a whole lot I can do about my hair. I’ve tried dry shampoo, etc., but sweat is just gross. It’s going to be a long summer.

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        Ice vests?!? You have changed my life, ma’am.

      • It depends on your hair I guess but I commute with wet hair in the summer and its great. I wash my hair in the morning, pin it back in a loose bun and arrive at work comfortable. Hair air dries and actually looks better too.

        My other commuting tip for summer: I leave all my blazers/suit jackets at work so I don’t have to wear on my commute.

      • This is gross but I blow dry sweaty hair so it doesn’t look sweaty anymore.

    • Anonymous :

      Have you tried 100% linen?

    • Anonymous :

      Are you sure this isn’t something you are projecting – do you have evidence this is hurting you? I mean, people sweat.

      • This. I sweat a lot – summer is a nightmare, but it also happens when I am indoors and it’s warm. To the best of my knowledge, this has never affected my career. I have steadily moved up and have had no problems being hired or in my reviews. Bring a handkerchief or face wipes and dab at it. You notice it more than others. My close friends swear they hardly notice it when I complain about my drenched hairline.

      • It is so hot/humid that you are a noticeable sweaty mess in the morning after walking just a block, it’s probably not unique to you and that’s just how people are and the long-timers are used to it and get that way at lunch and by the end of the day everyone is like that. Should be easy for you to NOT stand out in that crowd.

        • This. Whenever I am in a big city where public transit and walking are viable options, I notice that people just look different than they do in my car-centric city. Walkable shoes, backpacks, tights and more layers in cool weather, a lot of the “second-day hair in a ponytail” look, etc. Everyone just looks a bit worn-down, except the rich people who take a car everywhere and never actually go outside. If you are sweaty, you will look exactly like everyone else.

        • +1

    • commute vent :

      So I already wear Rx strength deodorant, but I am still noticeably more sweaty than my colleagues. I also have a longer commute than the people I work with most closely. I think a little sweat is normal and agree that others wouldn’t care. I think the problem is that I’m noticeably more of a mess than the people I have the most face to face time with.
      Perhaps changing is the way to go. I guess I just need to suck it up and get to work even earlier than I have been. Any thoughts on how “office appropriate” the commuting clothes need to be?
      I’ve seen some of the junior staff (male and female) and senior staff (male only) leave the office in exercise clothes, but haven’t seen anyone else arrive at the office in anything other than professional wear.

      • Diana Barry :

        When I had a walking commute I always wore exercise clothes – tank and shorts – and changed when I got to the office or after I went to the gym (right next to the office).

      • Anonymous :

        Counterintuitive, but add an inner layer (like the uniqlo airisms). I lived in japan for summer and this was the difference between looking sweaty and gross and not.

        the local folks wore an inner layer that captures the sweat so your outer layer looks fine.

    • No good suggestions, but totally sympathize. Adding smelly feet into the mix doesn’t help….

      Let’s just say I HATE summer.

      And I am starting to hate living in Chicago, where we just went from winter straight to miserable summer with no spring.

      • Another Chicagoan here. I CANNOT with this weather. I just want a few days of 50s/60s/70s and sunny with low humidity. They practically overnight change from snowstorms to humid 80s is making me rage.

        Maybe this is why housing is more affordable here… the weather is horrible.

      • Linda from HR :

        Same thing happened in Boston, summer slammed us like a hammer starting yesterday, and now I’m working from home in a house with no AC while it’s 90 degrees outside. Ma-ha!

        And the Bruins lost again, so that doesn’t help my mood -_- but hey, soon I can start paddleboarding and kayaking out on the river, so that’ll be nice.

    • commute vent :

      Longer reply in mod, but thanks for giving me some more options to think about. The right approach seems to be a mixture of accepting the realities of summer and getting a little creative about solutions.

      • How about stashing a cheap hairdryer at the office and literally drying yourself off after you arrive? (Signed, a fellow Sweaty Betty who has actually done this.)

    • You may have tried this, but I’m a really fast walker and the best advice I got was to walk slower when I’m commuting so I don’t overheat. It’s generally the physical activity + the heat that does it, so if I reduce my level of activity, I’m significantly less sweaty.

      • +1000 to this. Also walk on the shady side of the street, it makes a huge difference.

      • I learned this trick visiting Atlanta one summer. Watching the locals amble slower than I would have thought possible was a revelation.

    • It’s the humidity that gets me. I wear a cami every day in the summer – counterintuitive because you don’t want MORE clothes when you’re hot, but it really does help with the sweat. Some days I’ll even wear a sweat wicking workout t-shirt under my work clothes and take it off in the bathroom.

      Other than that… I put my hair in a top knot and wear a giant hat. Having a little bit of portable shade really does help. Heck I’d bring a parasol if I had an extra hand. And like the person above said, I walk very. slowly. Even though the only thing I want to do is get out of the darn heat.

    • Houston lifer here, so I understand. A walk from the parking lot to the building results in visible sweat. Some tips:

      1) showering at the gym nearby and leaving all but the top layer off is helpful
      2) loose fitting clothes with tank top – the tank top takes in the sweat so it’s not visible and keeps you warm from the blasting AC once inside
      3) Babywipes babywipes babywipes. A simple swipe of the sweaty places freshens you up much more than you realize.

      • commute vent :

        Going to order some wipes right now!

        • pugsnbourbon :

          Ban (the deodorant brand) makes freshening wipes. Some of them have a scent and some don’t. I’m not a huge fan of how baby wipes smell, so I really love using these.

  6. Anonymous :

    I think this looks a bit like an aesthetician uniform from a fancy spa.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Hilarious and kind of true.

    • Anonymous :

      I was thinking chef’s smock.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      I think it looks like something you’d wear as Princess of some far-flung planet in 2508 AD and I would totally wear it everywhere.

    • I have been eyeing this top for weeks and I never pulled the trigger because it looks evil villain/space invader to me. But it keeps coming back on my radar so maybe I will just channel my zenon/cruella vibes and rock it!

    • I think it is very chic. So much more interesting than our typical tops. And great for my minimalist wardrobe.

  7. Anonymous :

    I know someone who has this top and it’s even more gorgeous in person. I know I really shouldn’t spend that much on a top right now, but I really want to!

    • Anonymous :

      I adore this top and just bought it in the pink (boo to the black being sold out!).

      Are there brands I should look for that do a lot of these kind of architectural styles that also come in larger sizes (12-16)?

      • You might try COS … I think the sizes may only go to L but they do run a bit big.

        • Oooh, good recommendation – thanks! And price conscious too.

        • It was a few years ago, but I once got stuck in a top in the Cos dressing room. I have wide shoulders but am otherwise not large. I thought they ran very narrow, but maybe things have changed.

          • Ha! That must not have been enjoyable, but it totally seems like something I’d do :)

      • Modern Citizen.

      • Yay, a fellow architectural style lover! I have seen a few dresses with interesting drape (casual more so than business in style) at Universal Standard’s website.

  8. Anonymous :

    Are you really sweaty otherwise (I have one child who is just sweaty and one who is just not sweaty (both girls)).
    How much stuff are you carrying and are you carrying it on your back (backpack / messenger bag)?

    FWIW, a backpack will make you look like a hot mess. Ditto commuting in a jacket with any large bag.

    Recommend carrying less stuff if possible and/or not going at a cardio-level speed. Stroll. Glide. Wear heels if that helps slow you down.

    Also, sleeveless dresses that float a bit will help you air out. Keep a jacket at work if needed. But pants are sometimes not our warm-weather friends.

    • All of this. Use Rx strength deodorant. Pull your hair back. Walk slowly. Only SPF, mascara, and lip gloss.

  9. Anonymous :

    I hate necklines like this. They are so uncomfortable, and basically only look good on people with small chests.

    • Some of us have small chests!

      • Right? God forbid clothes are made for us too.

      • Right, not all clothes work best on every type of body. I bet the OP also finds turtlenecks uncomfortable, and that’s ok. Might as well JSFAMO, right?

    • But only women with big b00bs are #realwomen, right?!?! Eyeroll forever…

    • lighten up :

      I have a very similar shirt in black and ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. Bummer for you, I guess, that there are clothes made for people who are not you.

    • When did this s*te turn into 4chan? No wonder all the regulars are vanishing.

      The degree of pointless contrarianism is absurd. Nothing in OP’s statement can reasonably be construed as a dig against the small chested or statement that all clothes should be made for people with bigger chests. Unreal.

      I also have a small chest so while maybe this would look okay on me, I agree with OP-these necklines are uncomfortable.

      • Anonymous :

        Well I for one don’t see the point of whining that a particular item of clothing doesn’t work for a particular commenter’s super special body.

      • Here’s why OP’s comment was unpleasant: she could’ve said the shirt doesn’t work for her because it’s too small in the chest. But “it’s only made for small chested people” sounds like that’s an inherent flaw of the item and clothes should never be made that way.

    • Being of smallish size there, I enjoy clothes that work with what I have and not what I don’t have.

  10. Anonymous :

    Nice top, but this photo is so overexposed it kind of makes me wonder if the top is see-through. The model’s legs are almost invisible on my screen.

    • Anonymous :

      You should change your screen settings. The photo is fine.

    • Her jeans are bright white, the background is white. It makes sense that they’d be hard to see and it’s not an issue with the exposure of the photo.

  11. grapefruit :

    On the thread a few days ago about how to maintain relationships when your friends move out to the suburbs and/or have kids, someone said something to the effect of “just own your role as the planner and don’t get offended when they don’t reciprocate with making plans or visiting you.” This is something I’ve been struggling so hard with. I’m a planner, and it totally bums me out when some friends don’t make any effort at. all. to reciprocate. I love entertaining at my house and suggest that a lot, but I’d be open to brunches, happy hours, dinners, zoo with your kids, weekends, weeknights, literally whatever – just the fact that you’d reach out and invite me to something means a lot. But it seems like over and over, I’m the only one doing any inviting or initiating, and I’m starting to lose interest in these friends who make zero effort in return.

    To the others in my boat, how do you deal? Do you just hang out with other planners? Do you just accept that you have friends in your life that will never initiate any hanging out and pretend it doesn’t bother you? This kinda makes me sad but I’m not sure what to do with it.

    • Anonymous :

      I am the group planner (and also the family planner) but I am also an ENTP, so I really don’t like being all planned up. I plan a bit b/c otherwise relying on spontaneity hasn’t worked for connecting with the people I want to connect with since being in undergrad. But I probably wouldn’t like it if everyone planned b/c my schedule is all crazy (biglaw / school-aged kids / etc.) and this way the groups activities will always work for me and everyone won’t be trying to have dinner at 5 on a Tuesday (or worse — some weird game night an hour away in suburbia on a Saturday night that you want me to get a sitter for???) and then feel like declining my invite for an older-kid friendly event Friday at 7.

      Embrace the s*ck!

    • Anonymous :

      Yeah I just figure I’m good at it, I like it, having plans makes me happy, so I do it. It does hurt sometimes but I know my friends like me, they just don’t express that by making plans.

    • Anonymous :

      I struggle with this too. It sucks.

    • Legally Brunette :

      I’m the designated social planner and I have two young children. Whether it’s plan with friends who don’t have kids or friends who do, inevitably it comes down to me to plan. But I really enjoy doing it so it doesn’t bother me in the least. No idea why but some people will not initiate plans but will be ecstatic to go to something I have planned.

      • So I am one of those who has a hard time initiating plans, and it’s because I am always terrified that people will think I am weird for inviting them and won’t want to be bothered or spend time with me. Even people who invite me to do things with them. Just something to consider–maybe the people who don’t initiate much are shy.

    • I am a planner and have a friend who never makes an effort and when I do I always offer to come to her because she has 3 kiddos and (IMO) her husband sucks in terms of being helpful or wiling to help. BUT doing that involves batting traffic for nearly an hour during rush hour (she will not make plans on the weekend) only to arrive at bedtime and have a 1-hr fragmented convo while the kiddos hop around. So I can only do it 2x a year or so. We have a long history and I wish things were different, but for now I am just trying to accept that we are in different places in our lives. This is what she has to give. I accommodate her as often as I am willing.

      • I should add – I’m married, but no kids. Because of this schedule, she met my husband at my wedding, which makes me sad. But again – no effort on her part, not willing to do things on weekends. At the wedding she half-heartedly suggested a double date. Haven’t heard from her since.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I have become closer to my friends that are planners/reciprocators and have, both consciously and unconcsciously, distanced myself from my high school friends. I just got tired o doing the emotional and actual labour and not feeling like it was valued. It makes me sad sometimes but it is what it is.

      • I’m in the same boat.

        I will say re: feeling appreciated… I tend to take things personally that aren’t meant that way, and I’m really working on correcting that. I try to look for other ways people show that they care. Maybe Friend A isn’t great at planning but she always brings her chocolate covered pretzels to my house. Friend B can’t remember birthdays to save his life but he always thinks of me when summer concert schedules come out. But if I try really hard to find a way that a friend is showing me they care and I’m always coming up empty handed, I think it’s time to let that friend sort of fade away. I have too little free time to waste it on people who don’t care about me.

    • I follow a number of mothers/bloggers on Instagram who are outdoorsy. They still get out with their friends who are also outdoorsy because it’s something they truly love. It looks like it’s a lot harder (skiing with the kid in a backpack, bringing way more bags on a plane), but it also looks so worth it. These aren’t mega-rich women, either – just women with a high-priority hobby that they’re used to sharing with friends. Do you share any hobbies with friends that might be able to fit that style of meet-up?

    • I deal by minimizing the ‘one off’ nature of events. I see my BFF at yoga once a week. I have a standing brunch with college friends on the second Saturday of every month – we eat at the same place and have a standing reservation. Is this a bit more boring? yes – but it makes life so much less complicated. I organize two big things I host for a larger group of friends – summer bbq and Christmas brunch but other than that I just make an effort to say yes when friends ask – I rarely suggest an alternate movie/restaurant if they have made the effort to try and plan. Maybe if you think of it as getting to pick the restaurant/movie/play/sport as a plus side to being the planner?

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Yes! I’m (slowly, slowly) making friends through a group that gets together every Thursday. A lot of the women are already great buddies, but because of my schedule I can only go to maybe 2/5 meet ups, so it’s slower for me, but it’s nice to just be able to text (or message on IG if we aren’t that close yet) “will I see you this week at [thing]?” instead of trying to coordinate something.

    • So I’m the person who made the comment. When I was younger, the lack of reciprocation really bothered me and I always felt like I was on the outskirts of my friend group (i.e., no one invites me anywhere because they don’t like me) and I was very anxious about it and it made me honestly kind of sad/miserable.

      I still have those moments occasionally but I’ve mostly gotten over it because:

      – I’ve been friends with most of my friends for 5 – 15 years now and if they didn’t want to be my friend….we wouldn’t be friends and they would turn down my invites.

      – Most people are effusively thankful/happy when I do plan things, which makes me happy.

      – My non-planner friends demonstrate their friendship in other ways (calling a lot, sending cards, willing to take group vacations) and I try to value their demonstrations of friendship.

      – I appreciate that different friendships have different places in my life. My friends who live in the suburbs tend to be my “lifer” friends who are there for the big things. My friends who live in my city tend might not be as close but are always available for yoga/happy hour/brunch and that works too.

      – I too am a deficient friend in some ways! For example, some of my non-planner friends like to have spontaneous phone calls whereas I need to schedule them in advance (senior associate in BigLaw). So, while I wish they would visit me more, they probably wish I’d have random weeknight phone calls more.

    • Being the planner can suck, but it’s worth it to spend time with people you truly value. I think it’s important, however, to not confuse being friends with people who aren’t planners versus being friends with people who don’t value you or care about you that much.

      There are the busy friends who will still call or text to catch up and are there for your big moments, and the friends who pretty much forget you exist until you reach out for a preplanned easy and convenient thing for them to attend (and sorry, children are not an excuse – your brain does not shut out other people because you have a baby, if you cared you’d call). Don’t waste your planning or mental energy on the latter, to them you are an acquaintance.

    • I’m a planner who doesnt get hurt feelings about it. I think it’s because I’m a deeply pragmatic person– I would rather get what I want than wait for people to turn into something they’re not just to live up to my fantasies about how it “should be.” I just work with how it is.

      I want time with friends? I get that by planning and extending invitations? Great! I don’t take it personally that other people aren’t planners and I don’t sit around agonizing about what it all meeeaaaans that other people aren’t planners. I don’t care. I get to see my friends and we’re all happy.

  12. I’m supposed to bring some chicken and hamburger meat for a cookout where the meat will be grilled on an outdoor grill. Does anyone have a good marinade to recommend for the chicken and what pieces of chicken I should buy? I don’t grill good that often and I buy a lot of boneless skinless chicken breast, but this is for a group with some kids and I want it to taste good and not dry. Also, is ground beef basically the same or is there a particular type I should get for the burgers? Thanks!

    • I meant grill *food* not good.

    • Anonymous :

      Boneless skinless chicken thighs are great on the grill. They cook more quickly and evenly than bone-in pieces, and they don’t dry out the way boneless breasts do.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve had good luck with sriracha and chicken thighs. You want something skin-on and maybe a bit fatty so it stays moist. You don’t have to eat the skin.

    • I like boneless skinless chicken legs/thighs best for grilling (or skin on also works – sometimes I just debone a regular thigh). It’s juicier than breast which I always just slightly overcook to the point of dryness because of my chicken paranoia.

      The world is your oyster with marinades. My favourite is lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, oregano, basil, salt, black pepper, olive oil. Or you can go in a soy/honey/terikayi-ish direction. Or olive oil and paprika, oregano, and some chili. You can also use a bottled salad dressing if there’s one you like (something oil/vinegar based not a mayo/ranch type of dressing).

    • One of the easiest marinades ever for chicken is simply using zesty Italian salad dressing. Dump your boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a ziplock bag with along with enough dressing to cover and let it marinate in the refrigerator for a good half hour or more. Simple, tasty and mild enough that kids will eat it too.

      • Belle Boyd :

        I agree with using Italian dressing as a marinade. I use it for EVERYTHING – chicken, pork chops, steaks, grilled veggies… There are enough varieties out there that you find mild to zesty-flavored dressing depending on what you like, and it tastes amazing. Marinate your chicken in it as brokentoe said (I prefer to let it marinate about 2 hours myself,) and for added zip, brush some on your chicken in the last few (5-10) minutes of grilling. Every time I do this my dad says it’s the “best chicken he’s ever had” and it’s the same way I’ve done chicken on the grill all the time!

        Bonus points — you can’t get any easier than opening up a bottle of salad dressing.

    • Drumsticks go over pretty well. You can buy a big family back pre-marinaded at most grocery stores. If there’s kids, I would go for something more bland… maybe like plan ol bbq sauce.

      Were you asked to bring just ground beef – like this is at someone’s house and someone else will be making the actual hamburgers – or are you expected to bring patties? You can buy pre-made patties, usually in the frozen section. I’ve never had a lot of luck with those keeping together on a grill though. It works better if you get ground beef, like 80% lean, and mix in an egg yolk along with whatever spices you want (garlic, onion, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper), then form the patties.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      All ground beef is basically the same except for the fat content. Leaner meat is more expensive and in theory it’s “better,” but if you get something too lean it can dry out on the grill. I wouldn’t go leaner than 80/20, and honestly I usually get 70/30 because it’s cheapest, and it’s always delicious.

      For the chicken, I would use hoisin sauce with crushed/minced garlic and ginger, or just dust it with whatever your favorite spice blend is (I love Old Bay, and McCormick also makes a really yummy Montreal chicken seasoning).

    • Ouch! That hurts. :

      We use a brand called Soy Ve (?sp) marinades as well as the standard, grocery-store Italian dressings as marinades for chicken. Overnight in a ziploc bag in a bowl in the fridge. Easy peasy. Delicious. No one knows …

    • Never too many shoes... :

      My best chicken thigh recipe is this. Bone in skin on thighs. Marinade for an hour or so in 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/4 cup salt and 2 cans beer. After an hour, add a cup of water and boil 8-10 minutes (partially cooks chicken so less time on grill and renders out a lot of fat). Then just throw on a hot grill.

      Chicken is so moist and skin is crispy. Can brush with sauce at end if you want but is really not necessary.

    • If you are close to a Whole Foods, you may check there for pre-made fresh burgers. My WF in the meat section carries a few varieties that I often purchase to grill… they have a great one with jalapenos and cheddar mixed in to the ground beef.

      • +10000 We don’t ever make our own burger patties anymore.

        For chicken, we like grilled chicken breasts marinaded in buffalo sauce. They make great sandwiches with blue cheese. But really, you can probably get any bottled marinade and be fine.

    • Yoghurt marinades for chicken will change your life. Dinner a Love Story posted about it years ago with that promise and it is true. Yoghurt + acid (lemon, vinegar, lime etc) + herbs and seasonings (I usually do garlic, a combo of onion/garlic powder, Greek or Italian seasonings, ginger, fresh herbs, you name it) + salt and pepper.

      • +1

        Yogurt or buttermilk marinades will make it almost impossible to dry out the chicken, even lower fat cuts like breasts.

      • +2 2 cups of plain yogurt and ~10 crushed garlic cloves. Nothing else needed.

    • Soy Vay. You can buy it and just use that.

    • Anonymous :

      I like boneless, skinless chicken thighs marinated in Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce, some salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then for hamburgers, 80/20 ground beef is fine.

  13. Grill *out*, not grill good. Darn autocorrect.

  14. Would love to get outfit advice (and specific recs too) for this: 3-4 job shadow at a prestigious private golf academy, not an office job, would be working with the students. In a southern state, so it’s hot here already.

    Also, should I just ask about the dress code? DH and Mom says I should just ask, but I’m struggling with the wording of that email.

    Really excited the opportunity, which I think is making me overthink. Normally I’m good at this kind of stuff but too much thinking…

    • Anonymous :

      Athleta wiking polo and skort with pockets.

      Also: in a SEUS state and want to start golfing with my daughters. I know that USGA has a girls golfing thing but is a family golf lesson maybe the way to go and then follow up with doing 9 holes at something like a par-3 course? Kids are in grade school.

      • I’m not a golf coach (I see how you got there) or even play golf, so I definitely shouldn’t offer any advice. Give me a couple months and being around it a lot more, and hopefully I’ll be able to give advice in the fall. :)

    • Anonymous :

      It’s totally normal to ask HR about a dress code. Relax.

  15. Has anyone walked from San Diego to Tijuana and back in the past year or so? Did you feel safe? I have a free day coming up in San Diego and was thinking about visiting Tijuana solo.

    • Do people actually do that walk? I just looked on google maps and it’s 6 hours each way. Genuinely curious…

      • You take the San Diego Trolley to the border and then a 10-15 minute walk in to Mexico. People do it every day. I’ve just never done it before.

      • You can take the San Diego Trolley to the border and then a 10-15 minute walk in to Mexico.

        • Ahhhh, I didn’t know about the trolley. Thanks!

          • Rainbow Hair :

            There are also parking lots right by the border so you can drive yourself to almost the border and walk across. I’ve done it (though not recently).

    • I lived in San Diego for 10 years and I’ve never heard of anyone walking to and from TJ. Parking near the border and then walking across, sure, just to skip the car lines – is that what you meant?

      It’s admittedly been a long time since I was in TJ, and I’ve only ever been there to do charity work. I would have a hard time going to TJ just to be a tourist. There’s so much need and so much poverty – which maybe I’ve seen more of because of my work there. Maybe you could connect with a university or aid group or local church in SD that plans relief work there? You’d get to see TJ, do some good for the people there, and you’d be 100% safe.

    • I did it in college but that was 10 years ago and I believe Mexico is generally less safe now. We didn’t stay long in Tijuana – pretty much just walked across, said “woohoo Mexico” and turned around. As someone said above, Tijuana is generally poor and I don’t think there’s much to do as a tourist.

    • I’ve done it in the past- but my understanding is that it’s gotten a lot less safe. There’s a bunch of parking lots near the border because real san diegans drive everywhere. Driving across is a pain, and you have to buy mexican insurance so really not worth it. Once you get across there’s a bunch of cabs that can take you anywhere, but def only use cabs from legit companies. OTOH, san diego has lots of great stuff like balboa park, the zoo, the beach, horton plaza, the other beach, mission bay, UCSD and the other other beach- why would you leave?

    • Thanks for the feedback. I think I will skip Tijuana and head to Balboa Park and Coronado Island as I originally planned. I was just looking for something different.

  16. Anyone want to go shopping for me? I’d love some links to outfits I could wear for my engagement photos. They are next Saturday and I can’t figure out what to wear. They’ll be outdoors in a garden; temps predicted to be in the upper 60s. I’d like to wear a dress or skirt/top combo. Not because the photos are fancy, but because I’m just more comfortable in a dress/skirt than pants.
    Must be available in 00, so that’s a challenge. I’d like to spend under $150. Thanks!

    • Check out Jean at Extra Petite (even if you’re tall, she shops at places that offer petites & regular, usually tall too). She posts a lot of dress or blouse/skirt combinations that would be perfect for engagement pictures.

    • Are you petite? I like Extrapetite’s blog for spring-y, feminine aesthetic, and her recommendations are usually available in sizes like 00.

    • I do!

  17. I am planning to try a weekend solo backpacking trip this summer. I’m confident in my skills and my ability to do this trip in an area I know well and with proper safety precautions (leaving a detailed itinerary behind, checking the weather forecasts, etc). However, EVERY person I have told my plans to has said it’s “not safe” for women to backpack alone. This is really irking me because no one ever says that to men who do solo activities and I don’t think they’re any less likely to encounter a bear or twist their ankle than I am. Obviously they’re at less/no risk of s*xual assault, but I’m DEFINITELY at higher risk of that in my somewhat crime-ridden home city than I am in a national park.

    I guess this is part vent/part request for suggestions on polite but firm ways to tell people their concern isn’t helping me, but it’s actually infantilizing me. Tips? So far, I’ve tried convincing them otherwise (“actually, the evidence shows that women are less likely to….”), but I either get skepticism or “I just don’t see why you won’t go with a buddy” in return.

    • Thanks, but I’m happy with my plan. Then change the subject. Just as they aren’t going to change your mind, you aren’t going to change theirs, so don’t waste your effort.

      • +1

      • I guess you’re right, although I did get a “but I STILL don’t think you should go…” after doing that. Hard not to get snarky by that point.

        • Lana Del Raygun :

          “I appreciate your concern, but I’m confident it’ll be fine. What are *you* planning this weekend?”

        • “Do you think you’re the first person to tell me that? I’ve made my choice and wasn’t asking for an opinion on it. So please drop it”

      • +1

        Don’t let these idiots undermine your confidence! And just don’t bother to engage. People who feel that women doing things solo is unsafe are not going to be convinced by arguments or logic. Enjoy your trip!

    • It’s a bit of an investment (because you have to subscribe to the service which is like $300) but I have a Spot GPS tracker that I bring when I camp or hike alone. You can use it to send preconfigured “I’m OK!” or “I need help!” messages in areas where there is no cell service. It has been the magic solution in resolving everyone’s anxiety about me being alone in the wilderness, and honestly gives me some peace of mind as well to know that I can summon help if something terrible were to happen.

      On the topic of s*xual assault, when people bring that up, I just say, “Women get to worry about being assaulted all the time. I don’t think my risk of that is any higher while camping than any other time.” and usually that makes them uncomfortable enough that they drop the subject.

    • I left another reply that’s in mod but forgot about my favorite solution, which is just to say, “Well, it’ll be an adventure!” and then keep repeating, “Yeah, an adventure!” whenever they describe some horrible fate that is going to befall me. Sometimes I mix in, “Well, then I’ll have a great story to tell!”

      (Obviously these responses don’t work for the s*xual assault issue, but very useful for all other concerns like bear attack etc)

    • Is this your first solo trip? I got a ton of this before I went on my first solo trip, but not so much since then. It’s like I went out in the world by myself once and didn’t get murdered so I must be an expert!

      • Yes, first trip! Any successful responses work for you?

        • Not really… but they almost completely stopped after I got back from my first trip, if that makes you feel any better. I go on solo trips at least once a year and no one bats an eye anymore. People seem to accept, “Oh I do this all the time I know how to handle myself.” Maybe you could fall back on something like that? You said you’re familiar with the area, have you gone on solo hikes there? (Or maybe lie and say you have.)

    • “Oh, did you have a bad experience backpacking? What happened?”

    • I hear you. I am such a sound sleeper that unless I had a dog with me, there would always be a risk (so different than when I am walking along at night; more like if I slept on a dark remote park bench). BUT, most people are not psychopaths or bad people. True predators are unlikely.

      For me, I stay in a hotel at night if alone, but when I’m out on a trail, I am pretty alone should anything happen (even an injury). My husband always worries about having a heart attack (family history; he is right to be concerned and that is why he hikes for exercise now in addition to enjoying the outdoors) when solo day-hiking (we have small kids, so one of us usually stays home while the other goes out). We do what you do: leave a map, stick to the plan, have check-in times, and have a person who calls if you miss a window.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Bear spray the naysayers!

    • I solo backpack all the time and just ignore the naysayers. A friend of mine recently did 6 days solo in some real wilderness (completely disconnected from civilization, and she didn’t see a single person the entire time) and she said it was glorious.

      BUT my one caveat is that I would never advise anyone (doesn’t matter if you’re male or female) to solo backpack if the National Park you’re going to is Glacier, or in some areas just north of Yellowstone (particularly the Tom Miner Basin). I spend a lot of time in Glacier and the Tom Miner and I don’t even do shorter hikes alone now in those areas (I did when I was younger and less cautious). Grizzlies are a real concern in those areas, and they’re very different than black bears. Hiking in a group is the best prevention, unfortunately.

      So basically, I’d say go enjoy your solo backpack, but not in a griz dense area!

      • Anonymous :

        Yes, this–no solo hiking for anyone in grizzly country.

        OP, are you sure the concern is gendered? Some people don’t believe it’s safe for anyone, male or female, to hike alone, grizzlies or no.

      • Definitely not going into grizzly country and definitely wouldn’t go alone there!

        Thanks all for the tips. Anonymous at 2:37, I’m 100% positive it’s gendered.

    • “You know, I get that response a lot. In fact, the evidence shows…”.

    • enjoy your trek! :

      Woot! That’s awesome! My ex-in-laws were like this about things I chose to do alone, like biking in traffic in the rain (yes, I had lights and reflective gear) or skiing double black diamonds on a pow day, or even driving to the ski hill in the snow and putting chains on, and I thought their concern was ridiculous/sexist/paternalistic. Divorcing helped, haha but seriously I recommend ending relationships with people who treat you like a child.

      Alternatively, consider whether you could respond honestly. For me, this would look something like: I know you are not intending to be hurtful, but your comments come across as patronizing since they seem to imply that I have not already weighed these risks. Trust me that I have. Also, men suck everywhere, and backpacking is not more dangerous than working in a male dominated industry or even walking down the street. Telling me to be careful is not needed as I am already on high alert in my daily life. And consider what you are implying–that if something did happen to me (or to any woman), is it because she was not careful? Let’s do better than that! Ask me something cool, like what route I’m taking or how I picked my favorite gear, or my fuel plans… (you get the idea)

  18. I have tomorrow morning to explore in Albuquerque before I have to leave at noon for the airport. What’s the one thing I should see/place I should eat?

    • ABQ lawyer :

      Most things in Albuquerque don’t open until 10:00 but there is a pretty good visiting DaVinci exhibit at the Museum of Natural History and that opens at 9:00. The museum is near Old Town which is the quintessential tourist area in the city – old adobe architecture, a great old church, restaurants and touristy shops with some nice art interspersed. The NM art museum is right there too. You should indulge in New Mexico green chile – have it on Huevos Rancheros or a smothered breakfast burrito. The Range Café or restaurants in Old Town will be good for breakfast. The tram is a beautiful way to see the views, but it too opens at 9:00 and may be a bit time consuming and/or pricey to go up and then turn around and come down. Albuquerque is known for the hot air balloons and the museum is If you’re up for it, a balloon ride is really great and the best local company to check for availability would be They generally go up really early and it’s cold but worth it. I hope you find something fun to do – the weather should be great tomorrow.

    • For a Derby party:
      Hot Brown Casserole and Bourbon Slushies

  19. For those of you who are lawyers (specifically big law, but would like to hear from anyone who works at a firm) – what is your firm’s vacation policy and how does it work in reality? Do you get X number of weeks/days and someone tracks it? Do you have to formally request it? Do you get X number of weeks/days and no one tracks it? How far in advance do you let anyone know you will be out of the office for a real vacation – where you’re going to be traveling internationally or doing some sort of otherwise significant travel/activity (i.e., traveling from one coast to the other or doing a trip where you’re hiking/out of cell phone range). Thanks in advance for your responses – just trying to get a feel of how other firms handle this in reality.

    • My firm has no actual vacation policy and it is somewhat infuriating. I think we get 15 days but there’s no way to track that. We just take off and are expected to communicate this with the attorneys we’re working with/our partners. The issue though is that how this is carried out is practice-group specific. Some groups set up a more formal process that I think encourages people to take more “real” vacations (not expected to do work, viewed as don’t bother them unless critical). In my group there’s no additional structure, so we can put our vacations on the group calendar, but they may or may not be respected. The chair of the group frequently says “there’s no such thing as a vacation day, so responding to an assignment that you’re on vacation really only gives you an extra day or two of turnaround time. I have traveled while being in this group but I haven’t been completely off the grid. I get the vibe that it would not go over well, but other associates have done it.

      I do know that this is different than how other firms do it based on conversations with friends at other firms.

      • Thanks for responding – my firm has an “unlimited” vacation policy, but no formal way (at least with the practice groups I’m familiar with) to request/announce that you’ll be taking vacation. I think having a formal way to say “I’m taking vacation” does, like you mentioned, encourage people to actually take a vacation.

    • Big law:
      -taking vacation was a sign of not being dedicated to your job
      -honey moons were okay
      -funerals or deaths in the family were not an excuse to be out of the office or not responsive
      -nor were holidays
      I took 8.5 non federal holiday- days off over 2 years. 4 of those were for deaths in the family.

      Current midsize firm:
      -no specific number of weeks off, just make your hours and don’t schedule trips during trials
      -no need to ask or really inform unless necessary for a case/project (I did give advance warning with implied opportunity to nix when I took a 2 week international trip with limited internet. No one discouraged me.)
      -put it on the calendar and send invite to people you work with
      -people will leave you alone on vacay if at all possible
      -partners get very excited for you and sit you down to look at pictures when you come back (and you like them so it’s cool)
      -discuss trip planning with partners in detail
      -I don’t know if we actually have a policy?


    • I’m in BigLaw. We officially have “no limits on days you can take off! For any reason!” policy. But, in actuality, when you’re expected to bill 2000 hours a year, that practically limits the amount of days you can take off.

      I think my response is also practice-group specific. I’m in a regulatory practice that also does some transactions/litigation, and all bets are off if there’s something big going on. But, in general, when I know I’m going to be out of the office, I send around a calendar invite to the partners/counsel who I am working with at the time, with NO reminder, for the entire day or days that I’m going to be out. So it’ll say “Anon Out of Office–But available at (cell number).” I’ll also do this if I’m working from home. I try to send this calendar invitation at least 2 weeks before. If I’m actually going on vacation-the longest I’ve taken is four days out of the office. I went and talked to the two partners I work for the most, before I sent around the calendar invitation. I also will usually include the secretaries of the partners in question.

      In general, I take the time I want to take. I’m an adult. But, I also make it as easy as possible for people to find me, and to know where I am.

    • It really varies by firm. I asked about the vacation policy in an interview once; it was unlimited! The partner said, I don’t care where you are, you can be at the beach all year if you want, but when the work comes in you’re doing it. So… in reality there’s 0 vacation days? Awesome thx I’m out.

      At some firms, you are expected to be connected the entire time you’re on vacation. You cannot take a vacation where you will be out of cell range or not have internet – and that means good internet btw not like cruise ship internet.

      My current firm isn’t like that. You need to check email once or twice a day to make sure no one is emailing just you about something important – basically just to forward it along to whoever is handling. I’m senior enough that I have my own cases and clients, so I would not take a vacation where I’m totally out of range for days at a time. I purchase an international plan on my cell when I’m out of the country – that’s out of pocket, firm doesn’t cover it. It’s just a cost of doing business.

      Re planning – our vacation is theoretically unlimited, it was 4 weeks before that, which is generous ime. I’m not sure if people actually take all of it but most people seem to take most of it. I schedule vacations as far in advance as possible, like ~6 months, mostly to get ahead of when other attorneys are scheduling theirs. If the partner is out then I have to be in the office to cover for them, but if I get my vacation on the calendar first, then they’ll schedule around me.

    • Big Law. Officially 3 weeks of paid vacation per year. I assume if you were going to use more vacation than you’d accrued (e.g., taking a vacation a few months after starting) you’d have to get HR approval, but the partners judge you hard if you take more than one one-week vacation per year (and maybe a few days around Christmas/New Years), so the reality is almost everyone has plenty of official vacation time. Vacations out of cell phone range basically aren’t acceptable unless it’s your honeymoon. I did a cruise once but it was an Alaska cruise so I was able to check email whenever we were in port and a few times even from the boat because we were so close to land. And I got a LOT of snark about being incommunicado. When I travel internationally I always book a hotel with wi-fi so I can check email in the mornings and evenings.

    • We get four weeks, and most people I work with take it (I generally do, but I also usually bill well over the amount required for a bonus). This probably varies by practice group or partner, though. No need to request time, just communicate with the people you are working with.

      • Anonymous :

        My firm is like this too. No formal way to request time off, but don’t schedule vacations during crunch periods and let your teams know you will be gone in advance. Usually it’s about 1-2 months notice if you’re traveling internationally, 2-3 weeks for a long weekend in practice, with a reminder a few days before you’re out. I only check email a couple times a day (if even) while on vacation, and I’m not expected to respond, which is normal practice for my firm. We get 4 weeks, and most people take at least 3 of it. I like having a set number of vacation days, colleagues seem to respect your vacation time more when you’re using them versus having an unlimited vacation policy.

    • Regional law (large firm, home office is in the SEUS). We ostensibly get 3 weeks, but no one really tracks it or cares if you take more so long as you hit the hours requirement. And our hours requirement is reasonable enough that it works out to less than 40 billable a week even if you only work 49 weeks out of the year. People are generally good about respecting vacation and not bothering you, at least at the associate level. I assume partners who interface more with clients work more on vacation, but I really have no idea.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Litgation boutique associate here. We technically get 4 weeks vacation but could take more so long as you make your hour/money target. I know very few lawyers who take more than 3 weeks and never more than two weeks at once.

    • blueberries :

      My biglaw firm had “unlimited/no set number of days” aka no vacation. Travel is fine, but you’re probably still working unless you get lucky or are at a funeral.

    • Biglaw – got something like 25 days vacation, but took no more than 5-8 typically. A one-week vacation once per year (MAYBE a 10-day vacation once I got more senior), and a few odd days like if Christmas or the 4th fell mid-week. Keeping track – you recorded your hours for vacation days using a special vacation code. Long weekends were usually more stressful than they were worth (all of the communication about unavailability with the benefit of only a day or two “off” and even then a long weekend wasn’t considered a REAL vacation that was less interruptable).

      In-house – also have 25 days vacation, but take ~15. We have an HR system where you input days as you take them. I use my OOO liberally.

    • NYCbiglaw :

      NYC biglaw, litigation practice. My firm switched from 20 days vacation to unlimited a few years ago. It was generally viewed as a cost-saving measure (firm no longer pays out vacation when you leave) rather than an attempt to give us more time off. The change in policy did not impact my vacation habits. I generally take one big int’l vacation per year, spanning 7-14 days, so I’m out of the office 7-10 working days. Usually closer to 7. I’m senior enough to know when my cases should have big filings, so I schedule around those times and just tell people when I’m planning to be out (I don’t ask permission, but jr associates tend to, as they don’t necessarily have the scheduling insight I have). I check email a couple of times per day while I’m gone but I don’t bring my laptop, and I usually spend a couple days in a remote location where I have poor service, if any.

      Other than that, I usually take a few long weekends per year but I’m much more plugged in at those times. I’ll bring my laptop if going out of town for a wedding, for example. And I end up working remotely pretty frequently over holiday weekends and the week between Xmas and NYE.

      I think my habits are pretty typical of my office. People generally respect vacation, and I always bill well over my yearly target so I don’t feel bad about taking time off. When I do respond to emails while traveling, I get a lot of, “Thanks! But go enjoy your trip!” responses, which is nice. That said, the only times people truly unplug during an entire trip are weddings/honeymoons, which are generally longer. It’s not unusual for people to take 3 weeks off for those, but almost never for regular vacations, unless you have one foot out the door.

    • East Coast BigLaw. Official policy is unlimited vacation with no distinction between vacation/sick days. How much you work on vacation is typically a practice group/partner specific question. I take more vacation than most people but I also exceed my billable target. I typically take 2 1-week vacations a year (I’m gone the weekend before and after and sometimes a bit longer if needed to make a flight work). I also take a 2-4 long weekends here and there. In 8 years, I’ve only had one vacation ruined by work (i.e. it was a 5 day vacation where I worked 3 10 hour days and 2 5 hour days). The only vacation where I did no work of any kind including checking email was my honeymoon which was 13 days. I took a 10 day European trip last year where I did no work for 7 days other than checking email 3 times a day to ensure there was nothing I needed to attend to and it was glorious. The other 3 days I think I did 1-3 hours of work in the morning or evening. That is slightly better than typical.

    • Anonymous :

      biglaw. 4 weeks (20 days) and you can take those back if you work 4+hours on a vacation day.

      I take all 20 days. 2 weeks tend to be international trips (1 week each) and then some days here and there.

      I make my hours but i’m not a 2,500hrs + kinda person.

      but I also like my job :)

      • I am not in big-law, but we do not have a vacation policy. If you can take time, you do. So it wind’s up being that I get very little and the manageing partner takes about 2 days off each week while I work and bill. I think last year I got ab0ut 8 days off, plus national holidays. We have unlimited sick days, but when I was sick, I had to work from home to keep up on my billeings. So it is really a bit of a smoke screen for working your tuchus off for no real extra money. Fortunateley, I am making enough to pay the rent and then save in my 401k so that is a good thing b/c I can NOT count on finding a guy to marry me now that I am beginning to look a bit haggard. But there are still plenty of men that want to have s-x with me, but that is NOT what I need. I need a home and a family and a place in Chapaqua, not some sloppey looking schlub comeing over to my apartement, pulling his clothes off, then huffeing and puffeing on top of me, and then disappeareing on me w/o marrying me. FOOEY on that!

  20. Marshmallow :

    Is anybody in the mood for vicarious shopping? I’m looking for a light or medium gray suit and have had just the hardest time finding something. Ideally lightweight wool and super bonus points if there’s a matching dress. Coming up on summer I am realizing that my heavy wool navy suit is not going to cut it as my only option.

  21. nyc bakery help :

    Does anyone have a rec for a bakery in the NYC area (willing to travel to the bronx, brooklyn, queens, jersey, etc) that makes interesting flavored baked goods? Thinking like rosemary olive oil cake or something.

    • Anonymous :

      dominique ansel’s kitchen (?) in the west village off 7th avenue south has loads of these interesting flavors.

  22. Having a few friends over this Saturday and would like to plan a small easy menu that’s either Kentucky Derby or Cinco de Mayo themed. Needs to be easy to put together ahead of time and not dependent on being hot. So far all I’ve come up with is Guacamole and/or Pimento Cheese Dip. Other ideas?

    • Marshmallow :

      Cinco de Mayo or not, one of my favorite easy meals to make for friends is a DIY taco bar. Make a couple of different kinds of taco filling, set out a bunch of toppings, lettuce, rice and beans, sauteed peppers, tortillas, and let people assemble their own tacos/salads. You could also make posole or gazpacho if you wanted a little extra.

      • Ouch! That Hurts :

        This. It’s how we socialize and have casual parties here in Houston, Texas!!!!! You might want to have several different types of tortillas if possible. Corn, Flour, Blue Corn … Corn ’tillas are likely often fried and flour just warmed on a skillet (we use cast iron) or on the grill outdoors.

        Love posole. But it turns all my kitchen utensils red (permanently) when we make it from scratch.

        Sopapillas for dessert? Or flan? There’s a few companies that make Dulce de Leche flavored ice cream … basically a caramel flavour.


    • We always do ham biscuits for the Derby. Easy and can be served room-temp. Deviled eggs. Cheese straws. Salad with fresh spring greens. Cheese plate. Pimento cheese–put it on finger sandwiches if you want to fancy it up. I assume you would have this on lock if serving alcohol, but mint juleps are not actually that hard to make.

      If Cinco de Mayo, +1 on the taco bar.

    • For a Derby party:
      Hot Brown Casserole and Bourbon Slushies

    • Pen and Pencil :

      Derby pie! Really easy to make, especially if you just buy frozen pie crusts.

  23. Shopaholic :

    I need some food advice. I have newly discovered food sensitivities to dairy, gluten/wheat, eggs, garlic and almonds. It may explain why I’ve been feeling so terrible even though I’ve been cutting out a lot of wheat.

    I can handle the gluten/wheat because I was already cutting it out. But I love cheese as an addition to a salad (or let’s be real, on its own). I eat eggs for breakfast almost every morning. And I add garlic to everything.

    So what do I eat? Breakfasts? And advice on surviving without cheese? Does food still taste good if you don’t add garlic when you’re cooking?

    Thanks all. I could really use any advice/ideas/food blogs.

    • Tofu scramble instead of scrambled eggs? And on the garlic front, maybe look into Jain cooking. Jains don’t eat eggs or garlic, but the food is still plenty flavorful.

    • I find I get a similar feel from avocados in salad as I do from cheese so that’s one option. For breakfast I really like oatmeal with sea salt, avocado, and hot sauce/sriracha. Sometimes I add Everything Bagel seasoning from TJ (thanks for the rec, here!) but not sure if that has garlic. I previously only ate eggs for breakfast and this hits the same notes for me. I also like the oatmeal with crunchy peanut butter stirred in.

    • Nutritional yeast is a great way to get that cheesy flavor while also getting some B vitamins. I make cornbread croutons sprinkled with it by tossing cornbread with onion powder, vegan margarine, and parsley.

      • +1 Nutritional yeast
        There are also lots of vegan cheese recipes out there too, most of them use cashews. For breakfast there are still lots of options. You could also embrace smoothies as a way to get more fruits and veggies. You could add protein powder, peanut butter, chia seeds, or oats to make it more filling. I love making tofu scramble, but if I’m in a rush I will make oatmeal (with water or almond milk). Good luck!

    • Coach Laura :

      Gluten-free goddess blog is great. She’s GF of course but also has sensitivities to milk, cheese, eggs, garlic and onions so almost all of her recipes avoid those or have substitutions. Some of her recipes are vegan but some older ones are not. Love her chicken enchilada recipe and her GF carrot cake and brownie recipes are better than any non-GF version. She has vegan pumpkin pie so looking ahead to Thanksgiving remember that.

      You might find that after you’ve been GF for a while some of the other sensitivities disappear. The body is reacting to stress and may not react that way forever. That has been the experience of a lot of my gluten-intolerant friends.

    • I’m just going to throw out there (in a totally non snarky way) that if this is based off the food sensitivity tests you can buy and send in I would actually do elimination diets before you start contemplating a world of eliminating all those things. They are notoriously not super accurate, and the best way to know is to truly eliminate one at a time, for a serious chunk of time and monitor how you feel.

      Now, if you have already done that, then as a person who has had to remove a lot of dairy because my skin hates me for it( I kept trying, but after many many attempts I had to accept it), yes the world is sad without cheese, but survivable. Depending on how sensitive you are, raw goat and sheep cheese are usually way easier to tolerate. Avocado is my go to for the creaminess, the fake cheese substitutes have gotten a lot better in the last few years, and strong flavors help me get past cheese needs on a lot of dishes.

    • Look up paleo recipes, this is basically that.

    • Look up low FODMAP diet. There’s lots of recipes and Facebook groups for people following that diet. It requires you to eliminate basically everything you said, except eggs.

    • Shopaholic :

      Thanks all – this is really helpful. I’m going to start googling and see what I can find!

  24. A few months ago, I told my husband I wanted a divorce if things didn’t change. He said he would do anything to save the marriage, and would work on it. Problem is, he has worked on it by only doing the small easy things. It’s obvious he is not willing to do the deep reflective stuff. After we had another conversation this week about that, he has completely stopped doing anything. It seems to me that he is employing the last resort technique. Any advice on when two people are both technically employing that last resort technique and focusing on themselves instead of the marriage? It seems to be helping me with my confidence and happiness, and him as well. Do we just stay in the space where we are each doing our own thing or do we move on? I’m confused.

    • I’m out of my element here, but — talk to him about it and ask him what’s up? Does he want to work toward staying together, or not? (And do you?) Would separation be an option to see if divorce is what you both really want?

      • I’m not sure what I want. I feel like I have tried and been the only one trying for a long time. When I gave up and said I wanted the divorce, he started to realize I was serious and made some effort. He says he will do anything, but never follows through. I have asked him about the potential for separation. His belief is that separation and divorce should only occur if one is in an abusive relationship.

    • What is the last resort technique, doing your own thing? If you’re doing your own thing, and are not happy with a partner, you might as well be doing your own thing alone, it’s less stressful. You clearly know the answer to your question, what do you really want buy in on?

    • Do you want a divorce or not?

    • Anonymous :

      The fact that he has completely stopped doing anything sounds almost like he doesn’t know how to do what you are asking of him. Are you both getting counseling?

      • I am still in counseling. He said he would go, and went went to a few sessions. It actually made me more resentful because he would say that he would do the work and show up without it and make excuses.

    • Anon for this :

      I had been telling my husband for years that I would divorce him if he didn’t change and it resulted in small changes but not the big changes that are really necessary so after a bout of particularly unacceptable behavior on his part I filed for divorce.

      He is now really working on the big changes. Going to therapy. Not yelling. Taking a more active role in our children’s non-essential activities (i.e., procuring bday gifts and taking them to classmates’ bday parties, taking them out just for fun activities). Trying to engage with me on a meaningful level.

      On one hand, I wonder why now and not all the years I begged. I also wonder whether its sustainable. On the other hand, we have children and he is doing everything I asked (even though I wasn’t asking by filing for divorce, I was just stating that I was DONE). I’m not really sure what now because I am really tired after so many years of this but I also appreciate his substantial efforts.

      If neither or you is willing to make real efforts I don’t see how being happily married is tenable. But if an ok marriage is good enough for you (and there are a lot of reasons why it might be – I don’t think that divorce necessarily leads down the primrose path of happiness and delight with an amazing new partner) then you do you.

      I think you have to decide what you want and do that. Which is easier said than done.

      • Thank you. I think my situation is similar- definitely wondering if even the small changes are sustainable.

    • You can do you own thing in a marriage for a long time. But at some point, something will happen where you need to pull together – a death in the family, a serious illness, a disability, a job loss. If you’re no longer really a team at that point – just roomates who happen to share a last name and a health-insurance plan – you’re unlikely to be equipped to handle that.

      Would you really be okay with this being your relationship for the rest of your life? Because even if – touch wood – nothing serious ever happened and you could go on this way forever, isn’t it pretty joyless?

  25. Dining Table :

    I thought my dining room table could accommodate 8 people with the leaf in, but it turns out, only 6 really fit even with the leaf. I’m hosting a brunch for 8 in a few weeks, and we don’t have to sit at the table, but I’d like to. Does anyone have a creative idea to make this work? Maybe having a lumber yard cut me a large enough piece of wood to use in place of my current leaf (with a tablecloth so that it won’t be visibly mismatched)?

    • We have friends who put a folding table at the end of their dining table and then cover the dining table + folding table with a huge tablecloth.

    • See if you can get a larger or second leaf to add in.

      • Dining Table :

        The table only had an option for 1 leaf, there’s not an additional one from the manufacturer (and I think the table itself isn’t made any longer), so was trying to think of a creative work-around.

    • I’m not sure if the lumber yard idea would work – does your table open up much larger than is necessary for the leaf? Will the ends of the table be unstable?

      I think it’d be better to use or get a similar-height folding table to put at one end. It’d probably be less awkward to leave the leaf out so that you split the guests evenly between the two surfaces.

      Or get more narrow chairs and just let people get real cozy.

      • Dining Table :

        You’re right, I don’t think it will open much wider than the leaf, and it looks like making adjustments to allow it to open wider would make it unstable. Smaller chairs or a bench might be the answer here.

        • Anonymous :

          Ooo good call on the bench. Benches are super in right now!

        • You could have the lumberyard cut you a piece of plywood the size you want your table to be and then lay that on top of your existing table (with something non-slippery between the two) and put a table cloth over it. My friend’s dad did this.

          • Senior Attorney :

            This is probably your best option. Get a heavy tablecloth to cover the rough edges.

    • Flats Only :

      I expand my table, which is an oval and seats 8 comfortably with the leaf in, by putting a big piece of plywood on it and then using a table cloth to hide the plywood. The rectangular plywood fills out the corners and adds a little length so it fits 10 that way. So yes, figure out how much extra length/width you want, and get a sheet of plywood cut to the size you want. (Home Depot will cut a whole plywood sheet 4’x8′ down to a smaller size right in the store).

      • This is what we do in our big families – buy a folding/card table, put on one end and cover all of it with a tablecloth. Might not be the same height or width exactly, but it matters more to sit together! :)

      • Dining Table :

        I thought about that, but how do you keep the plywood top from sliding or shifting? If someone bumped the edge of the table when getting up, does that make the whole piece of plywood slide/shift, or is it heavy enough to be stable?

        • Flats Only :

          I put a flannel sheet on the table and then put the plywood on it. The sheet protects the table, and between the sheet and the weight of the plywood it does not shift around. People do bump the edge, as the whole setup fits quite tightly in the dining room, but we have not had an issue with shifting or candelabra falling over.

          • Dining Table :

            Awesome, thanks! I was thinking that using non-skid grippy type drawer liners between the table and the plywood might also help keep it in place (and protect the table).

          • Flats Only :

            Be careful that the non-skid drawer liner (I’m thinking you mean the sort that’s like puffy, rubbery webbing with holes in it) doesn’t mar your table top. I have solid cherry dining room furniture, and used a piece of that stuff on the side board at one point, and it left marks in the finish.

    • Would it work with smaller chairs? We can’t fit 8 chairs around our dining room table, but we can fit 6 chairs and 2 stools.

    • Without knowing what your table is like, I would be wary of making a wider leaf – I don’t know that the table would be able to support that. I’d do something bigger to put over the top, like this:

    • Kids in the kitchen? Do you have a bench seat you could purchase or repurpose?

    • Just put a card table at the end and use tablecloths.

    • We actually carry our dining table into a bedroom and use a folding table instead when we’re having guests.

      Or, if you have an outdoor space, you can always move the party out there–and on to that folding table.

  26. DC legal recruiter recs? :

    Hi all,

    Does anyone have legal recruiter recs for DC? Government regulatory practice attorney (foods side of FDA, if that helps!) looking to lateral to the private sector, including BigLaw. Any recs or advice appreciated, thanks!!

  27. I’m going to be in London for a meeting at the royal society and I have a free day. Help me plan? What can I absolutely not miss?

    • Ouch! That Hurts :

      Victoria and Albert Museum
      British Museum
      Tower of London/escalator around the Crown Jewels
      Harrods in Kensington (buy tea there!!!!!!!)

      If you love indian food, Star of Indian on the street level of the Montana Hotel is amazing. It’s in Kensington near Harrods (on the other side of the street and further away than the museum(s).

      Yes, you could spend entire days at either/both museums.

    • Sunflower :

      Churchill War Rooms. Unforgettable.

      Victoria and Albert, especially the jewelry.

  28. What are your weekend summer pants, that are comfortable and ok looking? Something cooler than jeans or leggings.

    No clam diggers / capri / too short. I don’t want to worry about trying to style them so I don’t look like my grandma.

    Ankle length maybe? I’m pear shaped.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Linen or linen blend. I wear long loose ones, but I’m sure you could find slimmer ankle ones. If you don’t want to spend a ton, Old Navy or Gap usually has some.

      • Nice idea in theory, but I gave up on linen years ago. Can’t stand the wrinkles and only being able to wear a pair of pants once before needing to launder. They are nice and cool though…. kinda miss that.

        • Lana Del Raygun :

          Are you laundering them just for wrinkles? Linen is really easy to steam, and I’ve had great success spraying things with vinegar/water 50/50 and shaking them out.

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          Maybe a linen blend with a higher cotton content so it doesn’t wrinkle as much? I steam rather than iron (hate ironing), but really I just accepted wrinkles with linen, because that’s just part of the look.

    • Also pear shaped, also against crapis.

      That was actually a typo, but I’m leaving it because it expresses my exact sentiments about capris.

      I like lightweight linen pants, bonus points if they have a stretchy waistband. Athleta has some ankle-length linen pants that I’m currently coveting, and I can attest to the softness/coolness of their linen fabric.

      Maybe ankle-length chinos, if that’s your style? I found some last fall at Old Navy that were surprisingly good, and they came in lots of colors.

      • +1 the Pixie Chinos at ON are my summer pants (weirdly, the regular Pixies don’t work for me AT ALL). Ankle length and cool without being capris or matronly.

      • I read your first sentence and I thought “I wonder if that’s a typo but what a genius way of expressing how I feel about capris” and then I read your second sentence. Ha!

  29. What kind of shorts look good on an hourglass shape? I’m 5’6″ and very curvy, with short legs which I hate (so much cellulite!). I actually haven’t worn shorts in about 10 years, but I’d like to find a pair that I’m comfortable in. Any ideas?

    • Shorter, relaxed shorts can look super cute on curvy figures. On the opposite end, longer Bermudas might work if you’re self-conscious about cellulite. There is a short, curvy woman in my neighborhood who wears denim Bermudas and they look great.

      • Oh! Check out Kut from the Kloth denim shorts or anything from Loft. They’re cut for curvier shapes.

    • I am a petite version of your body type and I look great in those paper waist shorts. They tend to be slightly more flared at the thighs so quite forgiving.

  30. Question for those of you who carry Neverfull bags

    I bought a coach bag at the outlet that is basically the same shape and size as the standard neverfull. Slightly larger than a standard zip-top tote. What I like about it is that I can shove lots of stuff into it – like on my recent trip to the east coast, it was raining, then suddenly it was warm, so I was able to stuff my raincoat into the bag with room to spare, which never would have worked with my standard zip-top bag.

    But my question is two-fold – one, do you worry about pickpockets just being able to reach into your open bag? And two, how do you keep from losing things? I think I lost a small makeup bag on my trip – it may have fallen out when I had my bag under the seat on the flight.

    • those of Neverfull nobility never waste time thinking of pickpockets

    • Anonymous :

      Anyone who wants to pick pocket me would have to root around in my giant bag and get past the loose Cheerios, file folders, toy cars, notepad, child’s sweater/jacket and various other flotsam and jetsam to find my wallet.

      And if I have it with me on a plane? Water bottle, juice pouch, a thousand snacks, a pack of cards, a doll or two, legos, chargers, leftover coins from wherever we’ve been and probably a stack of carefully Crayola-ed pictures on various paper placemats and maybe a fast food chain hat or crown.

      In all seriousness I have had open top totes for a long time and lived in or visited many major cities and I just tuck my bag under my arm and also to the front of my body when I’m in public transit or other places where people are in my space. I set it upright under the seat in front of me on the plane and don’t leave my bag unattended when going to the bathroom on the plan (which is the one time my not-so-nice bag was pickpocketed). It’s deep enough that things don’t seem to just fall all, but I do set it upright or at an angle and don’t just lay it down (if I have to for some reason, then I tuck the straps around it to sort of keep it closed, but that’s rare).

    • I had my wallet stolen out of a similar bag at lunch once. I still use the bag but am much more cautious now with keeping it in sight and making sure my wallet is not on top.

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