Splurge Monday’s Workwear Report: Danouk Shoulder Cutout Sheath Dress

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

Danouk Cutout Shoulder DressCutout details can be dicey for the office, to say the least, but this little hint of skin and this fun, bright color strike me as just right for a creative office or a semi-casual day at a conservative one. I love the asymmetric seams, the fact that it’s fully lined, and just the general sophisticated chic of the dress. It’s $575 at Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom. and Hugo Boss (where they also have it in black). Danouk Shoulder Cutout Sheath Dress

Looking for a more affordable option? This dress comes in bright pink and is $28, this $89 option comes in sizes 4-18, and this $199 dress comes in regular, petite, plus size, and women’s petites.

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Comments

  1. Sensitive eyes :

    I have very sensitive eyes (and wear contacts, fwiw). I’ve skipped foundation and concealer for years because they inevitably cause burning and redness, but I’ve reached the age where my skin really needs that help. Any product suggestions??

    • I have sensitive eyes as well and wear hard contacts. Every time I wear eye make up my eyes invariably get blood shot at the end of the day (not the best look). I think I’ve just decided to not wear eye makeup altogether and focus on the rest of my face (but if anyone has suggestions for eye makeup that doesn’t irritate and good for those wearing contacts, let me know).

      However, I don’t understand why you would skip foundation or even concealer. How does that impact your eyes?
      Just use a small amount near your eyes and focus on the rest of your face.

      • OP here. I meant I avoid under-eye concealer, like for dark circles or corners. I can mask distant zits with no issues. As for foundation, I wonder if it’s the fragrance. I’m always careful to stay away from the eye area, but it ends up bugging anyway.

        • You may want to try the Naked foundation by Urban Decay. It’s lightweight, buildable, and does not aggravate my rosacea.

    • Anonymous :

      I like korean ‘cushion compacts’ because the formulas tend to be light and moisturizing, and you can really control how much you put on. Right now I use one from Innisfree. Plus, it’s pretty inexpensive, so no big loss if it doesn’t work for you.

      • I like the cushion compacts too, mine is the Laneige hydrating, but I don’t think the Korean market is as careful about avoiding scent as the US market is. I find all my products, ranging from Innisfree up to Amore Pacific, have distinct fragrances.

    • I struggle with the same issues. I am a big fan of Tarte Amazonian Clay foundation and concealer – their products seemingly don’t irritate my skin as much as those made by other brands.

    • You might try VMV Hypoallergenics makeup. I have not used their foundation, but I also have sensitive skin and have used their skincare lines with good results.

    • Clinique or Almay all claim to be very gentle/hypoallergenic. I would start there, and try to isolate which ingredient is causing it if possible, like fragrance or alcohol or an essential oil.

      • I have always been sensitive to products near my eyes that contain sunscreen, but for several years now I’ve been wearing Clinique’s BB cream (Age-Defying, I think?) with SPF 30 under my eyes and on my actual eyelids with no problems.

    • It might not be your makeup, but rather your contacts – have you tried switching brands or going to a method where you change your pair more often (i.e. Go from monthly to every two weeks, 2 weeks to dailies, etc)?

    • It sounds like you might have rosacea (which can go hand-in-hand with blepharitis, a common cause of eye irritation that I unfortunately suffer from). I would make an appointment with both a dermatologist and an ophthalmologist and take it from there.

      • Frustrated by skincare :

        How helpful did you find your dermatologist to be? I’ve seen two dermatologists since my rosacea started. One was always pushing expensive luxury brand OTCs. It’s possible that’s exactly what I needed, if the formulations are less irritating (I get terrible rashes and breakouts from products like Cerave, and the prescription topicals seem to bother my skin too), but I was afraid to spend so much money on something insurance would not cover.

        My new dermatologist wants to do a facial biopsy. This is new to me–I guess I expect dermatologists to be able to recognize what’s going on with skin without resorting to lab work (based on my experience with my old dermatologist, who is now retired). She said the biopsy would leave a scar, and I believe it (my skin always scars). I guess since I’ve already spent a lot of money on this without seeing improvement, I don’t have a lot of faith that doing the biopsy will make any difference.

        • Not that helpful – she just recommended a topical ointment, but I’m not taking it because I don’t like using prescriptions when it’s not strictly necessary (my case is more mild and I’m working on avoiding triggers first). I’ve never heard of the biopsy thing…

          • Frustrated by skincare :

            Yes. I’ve tried an antibiotic ointment, an oral antibiotic, Finacea, and a retinol cream. Each of them was either not tolerated by my skin, or didn’t seem to make a noticeable difference. I asked whether a biopsy would lead to a different treatment, and it sounded like it would still be one of those options, so I didn’t see the point. I would like to find something that works though!

        • Welcome to Western Medicine. The foundation of the “universal healthcare” everyone is begging for. The root cause of rosacea are gut issues and skin damage. You can’t really undo the skin damage once it is there, as topicals and lasers can cause further damage. I have rosacea and the worst skin and there’s just not much I can do about it at this point. I only wish I didn’t take birth control and Spiro, because those messed with my gut and hormones and accelerated the permanent damage dramatically.

          • Frustrated by skincare :

            Interesting. The timing suggested that birth control was the beginning of my rosacea as well. I also wish I had never given it a try (I was taking it for medical reasons; it helped for a little while, and now I’m paying the price in so many ways). I’m generally a fan of Western Medicine, but you have a point. I really hope it’s not permanent though.

          • Not quite. Rosacea is an autoimmune condition, and while skin damage and gut issues might contribute to increasing inflammation and autoimmunity but neither has been directly proven to drive rosacea.
            FYI if you’re ever wondering about quality of medical advice, the Cochrane Reviews give a summary of the best scientific evidence.

            Among the recs for rosacea: Metronidazole, azelaic acid, and Ivermectin are effective treatments, with light therapy for spider veins.

          • Sun damage in your youth can set the stage for rosacea. Esp if you are like me and used Retin A back then. Actually using Retin A as an adult can do it also.

            I’ve been going to docs like it was a job for my entire adult life (20 yrs) and nothing has been accomplished, nothing new has come about to help, and I have a laundry list of scars and new problems from the treatments I’ve tried.

    • I have very sensitive skin and eyes and had to try several concealers before I found one that wouldn’t bother my eyes. I use MAC Prep+Prime BB and MAC Select Moisturecover. I set it with the Prep+Prime Transparent Finishing Powder. None of it irritates my skin or eyes. Took a long time to get there!

    • I like Physician’s Formula and Almay. Clinique irritates my skin. I’d start with drugstore brands for trial and error, but with good quality applicators.

    • I have this problem — dior concealer works for me.

  2. Catholic Funeral :

    Alright hive. I’m attending a very important and unexpected funeral later this week in the Northeast. I’m a direct family member but was not raised Catholic (have been to mass a couple of times). Not only am I not Catholic but I have never been to a funeral at all. I have plain black sheath dresses that I wear to work, but is that enough? Add black stockings and black pumps or flats? Pearls? I’m petite, 5’2. Forecast is calling for rain and I am in the market for a black trench style raincoat anyway so appreciate and recs on petite raincoats (with hood), links to dresses, attire, advice on Catholic funerals, commiseration… what a rough Monday.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m so sorry. But clothing wise you are good. A black dress is perfect. Don’t take communion if they have it and other than that you’ll be fine.

    • Anon in NYC :

      I’m sorry for your loss. Plain black sheath is fine. Stockings are up to you – I’d wear hose, but nude or black are fine. Either pumps or flats are fine; wear whichever is comfortable to wear/stand for a few hours.

    • I’m sorry for your loss. I’ve been to a bunch of Catholic funerals (and was raised Catholic fwiw) and a black sheath sounds fine with whatever you pair it with. I don’t think you need to go so far as to wear black stockings, but you won’t look crazy if you do either. Same for the shoes. Pearls are up to you — not necessary. I also don’t think anyone would think twice about a tan trenchcoat or any other color coat as long as it’s not a bright red, etc.

      • Boston Irish Catholic :

        Second all of this. Nothing wrong with a tan or neutral trench. Black stockings definitely not necessary. I basically dress just like I would for my business-attire, finance job.

        My last traditional Catholic funeral (3 months ago) in Boston was black sheath dress, a charcoal “boyfriend” length cardigan, black flats, black tights (only because it was mid-winter), and my daily pearl studs. If it was warmer I’d have skipped the tights. I have a black wool coat that I wore (again, winter) but would otherwise wear my tan trench if it was spring.

        • The last two Catholic funerals I’ve attended in the Boston area most of the women wore black pantsuits. But that could mostly just be what my family wears. At one, only the daughters of the deceased wore dresses.

          I think a black dress or suit would be fine. Nude or black hose. Black shoes. Any neutral colored coat.

          Given the weather so far this week, you might want to bring a black or other dark-colored cardigan in case it is cool in the church, but too warm for a coat.

      • Agreed with all of this.
        I’m Catholic and from NY and would consider everything you suggested wearing to be 100% appropriate. Sounds very similar to what I wear to funerals. Black stockings would be completely fine, but not necessary.
        As far as what to expect, it’s similar to most other types of funerals I’ve been to. They’ll have readings and a sermon, incense will be involved, a euology, some singing (they’ll usually have song books in the pew so you can follow along).
        So sorry for your loss!

        • Catholic Funeral :

          Thank you everyone. I read that there is no eulogy at Catholic funerals and instead people can say a few words at a reception or at the burial site? Is this not true? Again, I’ve never been to any funeral, that’s just what I read. I suppose I’ll ask a family member, just trying to learn as much as I can beforehand.

          • The last Catholic funeral I attended had a eulogy. I think a lot of this is personal choice.

          • Catholic funerals have eulogies.

            Just follow along for when people sit, stand, and kneel.

          • Except the kneeling part is optional. I’m Jewish with Catholic in laws. I sit and stand with the congregation at Mass, but do not kneel. It’s inconsistent with my own religious practice to kneel, so I respectfully sit while others kneel. No one gives me side eye.

          • Boston Irish Catholic :

            The funerals have eulogies, generally, but can be customized to match the wishes of the family. I’ve occasionally seen a priest or deacon that was close with the family eulogize the deceased rather than a family member or close friend.

            I’ve never seen words given by anyone but the priest at at the burial site, but again I agree that it’s all personal choice.

          • When I was a kid, I was an altar server at lots of funerals at my church, and they all had eulogies, so I would expect one, unless the family didn’t feel up to it for some reason.

          • My experience (as a Methodist occasionally attending Catholic funerals) is that they are generally not in the middle of the service, as they are in Protestant funerals. They are either at the very beginning, or after the mass portion is over (with the latter being the most common).

          • My mother had requested no eulogy at her funeral Mass, but we were told by the priests that one was required. They worked with us–it was very short, and given by the priest who had known her best.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      I’m not Catholic but have been to various religious funerals. A black sheath dress, black pumps or flats, and pearls would be just fine. A black (or other neutral color) raincoat is also fine. I’m sorry about your loss.

      • +1
        Black or nude hosiery optional, but wear or change into flats or low block heels if there will be an interment (graveside ceremony), as well as funeral mass.

      • Same. If you are going to be on grass for any part of the event, flats would be a better choice.

    • Got a black London Fog raincoat for under $100 at Macy’s, with hood. Highly recommend.

    • I’ve never been to a funeral that looked like a “movie funeral” — you know, those events where everyone wears dressy, black clothing from head to toe.

      Do dress to the formality level of the family (it sounds like you’ll know what that is). If they are pearl wearers, then wear your pearls. If they are incredibly casual and wouldn’t wear pearls ever, then your black sheath dress and pearls might be too much.

      In my region (not Northeast) people just wear whatever they have that is somewhat dressy. They are doing good if they can get the kids and young people into actual pants (rather than athletic wear). No one worries about all black. I usually just wear subdued neutrals — dress or pants — and call it good enough.

    • Sorry for your loss! Agree with all of the above – the black sheath is perfect, I’m usually more comfortable in the church when my arms are covered so consider a wrap or topper if it’s sleeveless.

      This would be a great time to pick up the Eddie Bauer Girl on the Go trench that is recommended here all the time, if you’re in need of a trench in general. It comes in petite but I am 5’2″ and got the regular and cuff the sleeves.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      I’m very sorry for your loss! What you’ve described sounds totally fine to me. I’m Catholic and have attended a number of Catholic funerals where not everyone wore black (I’ve often worn dark gray, for instance), so you should be good. Hose, pearls, etc will be more a matter of formality than anything else, so it depends on how formal the family is, but funerals also tend to collect a number of formality levels because they include people who don’t typically go to that church. I’d wear black shoes. If you don’t find a black coat in time don’t worry about it!

      Catholic funerals in general: The funeral Mass is a little different, but it’s basically regular Mass with funeral parts interjected. If you’re not very familiar with the Mass and want to follow along, look for a missal (or a “worship resource,” or whatever this church has) in the pew. There’s usually a section in the front with the Order of Mass that you can jump in and out of when you get to the extra funeral bits. If you’re not Catholic you don’t receive Communion (you probably already know this if you have Catholic family, but just in case).

      I’m really sorry about your loss! Don’t stress too much about clothes if you can help it; the important thing is that you’re there.

      • Catholic Funeral :

        Thank you for the long reply. I think I am stressing a little more over the formalities of the event than I am the dress code, I don’t want to be ignorant or disrespectful. I knew not to take Communion but is that all I should refrain from participating in? Do I still kneel?

        • Aside from Communion you can participate in whatever you want. You can kneel or remain in your seat. You won’t be ignorant or disrespectful.

        • anon Catholic :

          You can if you want to but certainly don’t have to. Most people who are non-Catholic at Mass just sit during the kneeling parts. That is fine and expected.

        • You definitely don’t have to kneel. Just sit quietly (maybe a few inches forward so the person kneeling behind you isn’t breathing down your neck).

        • Kneeling is optional – do if you want to. And you may want to do it if the people sitting behind you are doing it, since otherwise they’ll be in your personal bubble. But Communion is really the only no-go area for non-Catholics in the Mass.

        • Lana Del Raygun :

          Communion is the only thing you *shouldn’t* participate in; everything else is up to you. At most churches, you can go up in the Communion line with your arms crossed over your chest and the priest will know you’re not receiving and just give you a blessing. (I’m assuming this is a Roman Catholic church—arms crossed is the Byzantine posture for receiving!)

          Kneeling is done to venerate the true presence of Christ, so some people don’t feel comfortable kneeling if they don’t believe in it, but some people just kneel because most other people are. Either is fine, and at least one Catholic will probably be sitting because of bad knees or something, so it definitely won’t look like you’re protesting or anything.

          You can say any of the prayers you believe in; if you’re Christian you’ll probably agree with everything in the Creed except for the “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.” If you don’t know the prayers you can just say Amen (if you want).

          For sitting, standing, and kneeling (if you do it), you can just follow what others are doing. No one else will be moving at exactly the same time as each other anyway, so you won’t stick out.

          Also, everyone gets that people come to funerals who don’t go to Mass regularly, so no one expects you to know exactly how it runs! You sound very respectful and you’ll do fine!

          • Actually that part of the creed is said in all mainline Protestant churches too.

          • +1 to Anon 11:15 – “catholic” here is lower-case C, so doesn’t not refer to Roman Catholic, but instead to the dictionary definition of “all-embracing/universal”

          • I can’t remember if they say the Lords Prayer at funerals, but if they do be aware that Catholics stop before the “for thine is the kingdom part.

          • Lana Del Raygun :

            Thanks! I know it means universal, but I know basically nothing about Protestant ecclesiology so I don’t know how members of eg very small local denominations interpret that (or if non-Catholics would feel weird saying it with people who mean a different, specific thing by it).

            Ah, I forgot about the Lord’s Prayer! Yup, that is in the Mass and there’s an extra prayer said by the priest after “but deliver us from evil.” Also, the translation we use goes “For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours…”

        • No need to stress out. Sit and stand when needed, kneel if you want or sit if you want. Just don’t play on your cell phone during the service ;) A black sheath is fine with a regular old trench, flats or comfortable shoes are fine. I personally dress as I would for a day of meetings at work. Comfortable dress, blazer if needed, and comfortable but polished shoes. If you like pearls wear pearls. I would focus on looking put together and not distracting but don’t worry about it. One tip avoid any crazy lip or eyeshadow colors. My cousin wore purple lipstick to a funeral and the aunts still mention it.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I’m sorry for your loss. I hope I’m not intruding with this additional information but to the extent you are attending the fallen police officer’s funeral I have a few other thoughts. Police funerals are very formal but there will be so many people there that no one person will stand out. Your outfit sounds perfectly appropriate. There will be a lot of press though so if you are going to be in the very front with the immediate family you will likely end up on television. Cameras have amazing zoom lenses so even if you don’t see any cameras around that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. If a particular family member doesn’t want to be on tv, you can help by standing/sitting in a way that blocks the shot.

      If you are not sitting with the immediate family or in otherwise reserved seating get there very early. Officers from all over the country will be coming to show their support. They will normally stay outside of the church to make room for family but seats will fill up fast. Parking may also be a nightmare so consider carpooling or picking a family member to “valet” for older elderly family.

      I’m sorry for your loss and I hope everything goes as smooth as it can.

      • Catholic Funeral :

        It is not a police funeral but thank you for the thoughts. I am family but there are over 60 blood related guests so not sure how all the seating will work. I (again never attended a funeral) just realized I will need two separate outfits for two days – one for funeral home and one for the funeral itself. I assume the funeral itself is more formal? But similar dress for both days?

        • I would lean more formal for the funeral itself. The funeral home visitation will be long, so I would still wear dressy clothes in dark colors, but wear something you can stand around in for hours. I usually do a black dress + cardigan and flats for the visitation and a sheath dress + blazer with heels I can wear in the grass for the funeral itself.

        • Lana Del Raygun :

          Yes, wakes are generally less formal. But I also can’t imagine anyone holding it against you if you wear the same outfit.

        • Since you’re a blood relative, it is common for all relatives to gather in the church social hall prior to mass and process in together. The most immediate family will go in first and the more distant relatives will be toward the end. If you’re not sure if you should process in with the family, then arrive a half hour early and either ask another relative of similar distance to the deceased or a funeral director.

          Also, are you attending both a wake/visitation/rosary the night before and the funeral the day of? If so, the visitation is generally a bit less formal, but still wear muted tones. Generally only the immediate family (spouse/children/grandchildren) of the deceased are expected to attend the full visitation. It’s common for this to take place at either the church or the funeral home, so perhaps call the funeral home to ask about specifics. The order of operations is generally a longish visitation (1 to 4 hours) followed by a wake service and rosary. The wake service may involve family/friends coming forward to offer memories.

          If you were in my family, we’d proceed to the house or a local bar for a boisterous celebration of life following the visitation/wake/rosary.

          • In my experience with funerals, the funeral directors are very, very good at helping the family know what to do and guiding the details. You’ll be fine.

            If you’re not super-close family, you may not be there for the entire visitation. Different families might have different customs. Can you ask a family member about that part?

          • Catholic Funeral :

            It’s out of town and I’m going to be with my mother who is a very direct family member so I assume she’ll take the lead. She also grew up Catholic, just didn’t raise me that way. Thank you everyone for the thoughtful replies. Right now I am tasking myself with making sure my mom has food to eat, clean clothes, everything packed, etc. Thank you ladies.

          • Clementine :

            I’ll also add that good Funeral Directors will make sure that everyone in the family knows exactly what to do, where to go, etc.

            It’s a trade that I have tremendous respect for, especially after dealing with several excellent funeral directors who walked the family through the steps of ‘what to do’ when people were dealing with their own grief.

            If you know the name of the funeral home, you can also just quickly call and ask how formal their viewings generally are, how long the hours are for, etc. I’ll add that a black dress and cardigan is what I’ve worn to most calling hours and will add that if I would suggest bringing flats, advil, chapstick, and a scarf (sometimes funeral homes are FREEZING) as well.

    • In my experience, someone is coordinating this funeral from the family’s side (they coordinate with funeral direction/church/etc) and will hopefully get instructions out to the family. If you don’t hear anything, figure out who that person is, or someone close enough to have details, and ask where you need to be and when. Basically just go follow with what everyone else (especially other family members at your level) are doing, which is a strategy that will serve you well for the entire event.

      For the wake, I’d wear black slacks/sweater and standing shoes. If this is a high-volume wake, immediate family will stand near the front and a line of people will give them condolences either before or after viewing the coffin (typically there is a kneeler where they can pause a minute and say a prayer if they wish). Then, you mingle for a while with guests and family. If it’s not a large volume of people, everyone may be mingling. If your family is Irish Catholic like mine, the extended family may take off and hold down the bar at the nearest Irish pub as part of the “remembrance and celebration of life”, and the immediate family joins them after the other guests leave.

      For the church mass – you really don’t need to overthink this. Follow along. During funerals, the priest usually assumes there are non-Catholics there, and makes clear what page to be on. If you’re confused, you can very quietly ask the person next to you. There may or may not be a eulogy, but it doesn’t really matter. It will be clear when things begin and when they are over. There is usually a procession out to the cemetery. Just keep following. As long as you’re respectful, no one will notice if you sit instead of kneel or receive a blessing at communion or choose to stay seated when your row goes up. If the pews are very narrow, however, do try to help the people who have to climb over you.

  3. Career Advice :

    Reposting from the weekend, trying to condense it a little and adding extra information.

    I changed jobs at the beginning of December 2017. The reasons I left: (1) large budgetary constraints on our department meaning no raises, no travel, no training, and no support from upper management; (2) a large pay gap between me and a male coworker who far less experience than me; (3) due to the state of the business, overall employee morale, no support for our department from immediate management, we all felt there was no light at the end of the tunnel. I had wonderful coworkers and the work was interesting. Hindsight being 20/20, I probably should have stuck it out, but what’s done is done.

    Since I left, the department has been moved into a different (and more appropriate) business segment. This segment is VERY supportive, has more money to work with, has been providing numerous training opportunities, given raises, evaluated the department’s workflows and processes and is going through the steps to update processes and procedures to make the department more strategic and effective. The new head of the department has said that he wants everyone at an 8 – 9 hour workday, max. That’s his goal. Additionally, the business unit just had the best quarter it’s ever had since the BU came into existence. I talked to my former boss at length, as well as others in the larger business unit, and everyone agrees that they see a light at the end of the tunnel. I didn’t know any of these changes were in the works when I left. Everyone in my former department wants me back and the new head of the department has worked with me before, trusts me (his words), and would welcome me back with open arms (his words).

    On Friday, my former boss’s boss approached me and offered me a management role in the department (my former boss is retiring at the end of the year). The pay offered is $40k more than I am making now. The pay offered is in the middle of the range for that position and I expect I could negotiate up a bit, at the very least negotiate better vacation and bonus. My work life balance would stay generally the same, although there would be an expectation that I occasionally check email and my phone outside of normal business hours. I’ve seen this in action because I am close with my former boss and I am not opposed to this level of expectation.

    My current job is fine. I’m a little bored because my work isn’t all that challenging, but I would have been fine hanging out here for a while. There isn’t anything objectively bad about my current job. It would take me probably 5 years or so to get management experience here and to the salary level being offered by my former employer.

    I fully recognize that if I go back to my former employer, the bridge to my current employer has likely been burned (although they take back people who quit all the time). I also fully recognize that if I leave my current employer after 5 or 6 months, I am essentially unemployable until I say with my former employer for at least 5 years or so. This means that I better hope I don’t get laid off or whatever if I go back. It’s certainly a risk.

    I’ve talked to lots of people and feel as though I would regret not taking this opportunity. The biggest thing holding me back is feeling like I am a massive jerk to my new employer and coworkers, even though I know they will be fine without me although have a heavier workload for a time.

    What would the hive do?

    • Stop being so dramatic. You aren’t unemployable until you stick it out five years.

      Take the job. Give notice. It’s fine.

      • +1 I mean, it doesn’t look great to have to make multiple short stays in a row, but it doesn’t make you unemployable. And going back to place where you were before is different than having a short stay and going somewhere new.

        Yes, you’ll likely singe the current bridge a bit, but you can sell it like a good opportunity that came out of the blue to the current coworkers to offset that a bit.

        • Yup, had a boss who came and then left again when the old place needed her. We weren’t happy, but …shrug. Stop talking to “lots of people” and take the job.

      • Career Advice :

        Thank you for the reality check and the laugh this morning! You’re right. I need to get over myself a bit.

    • Under those circumstances, go back, no question. Lots of people boomerang like that. I wouldn’t even worry about the 5/6 months at new employer.

    • I work in HR and we see this a lot, so you are certainly not the only one to do this. Go back to your old job, as it sounds like you now regret leaving it in the first place.

    • Anonymous :

      also, if you’re worried, you can list it on your resume as:
      Old Job 2013-2017
      Old Job + Promotion 2018-Present

      and leave the interim job off altogether, as you were only there 4 months

  4. Cole Haan Zerogrand :

    For those of you that have the Cole Haan Zerogrand Oxford Stitchlite, how do those hold up exercising? I’m purchasing a pair for a two week trip to Europe, and was wondering if I could use those for the occasional hotel gym visit as well.

    • S in Chicago :

      No cushioning and no arch support. Almost like regular oxfords. Probably ok if you’re on an elliptical or bike. But I wouldn’t wear them for the treadmill. And if you’re already wearing them as day shoes with lots of walking you’ll likely want to give your feet a break as well.

    • I wore these shoes for a weekend of walking around Seattle and wanted to throw them in the trash. They have about as much support as flip flops…

  5. How do you guys care for your leather purses? I have a coach one that gets a lot of wear and I’m wondering how to make it last.

    • This is the one time I buy the manufacturer’s care products. I really like the Coach leather cleaner and moisturizer. Also, if you are traveling and your purse gets grubby, just go to their local store and they’ll give it a quick cleaning.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      The same way you care for leather shoes! Even just a bit of polish will do wonders, and if it gets dirty use a gentle leather soap, like saddle soap.

  6. Planning a first visit to London in September and trying to narrow down our Airbnb/VRBO options. Can anyone recommend the best neighborhoods or Tube stations for ease of transit and general walkability? We’re more “residential and pretty with cafes and shops” than “funky and hip” and were therefore thinking of starting with the areas ringing Hyde Park… TIA!

    • A- stay in a hotel, short term rentals drive out actual local residents and destroy the character of the city.

      Marylebone is great.

      • The problem with hotels is space and amenities — we like to have a kitchen when we travel so we can enjoy some meals at “home” (we both HATE going out for breakfast) and things like doing a quick load of laundry to help with packing. I live in a large city myself so I’m not ignorant of the disruption that airbnb can cause (a neighboring home is listed), but hotels are annoying as a guest.

        • Hey it’s your values your call! I just think it should be a bigger part of the conversation.

        • Linda from HR :

          I feel you on that, those amenities can be super important if you’re staying for more than a weekend! I wish there was some way to tell which homes on AirBnb are being rented out by the person who lives there, and really is just making extra money while going on their own vacation, and which ones were purchased and furnished solely to used as rental properties.

    • I loved staying with One Fine Stay (a vacation rental company operating in London) and enjoyed both Notting Hill and Hampstead Heath.

    • I know you are not asking for a hotel but I highly recommend Premier Inn County Hall. Great location, inexpensive, everything you need.

      • I strongly recommend the neighborhoods by Notting Hill Gate, Holland Park, and High Street Kensington. The Central/Circle/District lines will get you almost everywhere you need to go.

    • London isn’t really a walkable city, so if there’s particular things you really want to see you could base it on that e.g. if you want to walk to museums, South Kensington; if you want the classic Trafalgar Square/Parliament/Southbank try Kennington or Pimlico; if you want to walk to shops Chelsea as above; if you want to walk to cafes and up and down pretty residential streets Notting Hill is a good suggestion. Near Victoria might work for you, the area itself isn’t beautiful but it’s walkable to a lot of the central tourist attractions (including lovely cafes and shops in Belgravia), good transport links (Circle, District, and Victoria lines), not that far from Hyde Park. Baker Street could be good too – near Regent’s Park, Oxford Street if you want to shop, and decent Tube links (also basically Marylebone as recommended by someone else).

  7. Has anyone purchased any of the cotton wrap blouses from J. Crew lately? They seem to get glowing reviews, but I think they look like a mess on me. When doing a Google image search on them, I think they look like a mess on everyone else as well. Is it my imagination or what? I really want to like it. I’m 5’1″/112 lbs/32A so it isn’t a bulging body issue.

    I did get the polyester one as well, which I like better. But how much polyester does one need in her life?

    • As a fellow 32A, “wrap” blouses/tops/dresses are not our friends. They are very flattering on those with a bit more on top. However, faux-wrap can sometimes work ok for us.

      • And in general, poly falls nicely while cotton needs perfect fit/tailoring to look its best. At least for my shape.

      • Wait, so who do they fit? Because wrap tops/dresses are usually borderline risqu3 on bu$ty women.

    • I like the idea of wrap blouses and dresses, but in practice I don’t like how they look on me. I usually don’t have enough to fill out the top – maybe that’s your problem as well?

    • I’m just slightly bigger than you and I can’t do wrap dresses, or even wrap shirts. Just accept that they don’t work on you and find a style that does.

    • I tried the striped one in two sizes and it was a hot mess in both. In order for the waist to be snug and tailored, the v-neck area created by the wrap would stiffly flare out thanks to the curve of my 34C girls. There’s a reason all the varieties are now in the sale section.

  8. Low-cut tops :

    Has anyone seen any nice summery tops that would be work-appropriate except for a slightly questionable neckline? I have a disproportionately large collarbone area, so what doesn’t quite work for others works great for me.

    • I have an old Laundry by Shelly Segal top that meets this description. You might try that brand at Last Call.

  9. S in Chicago :

    Looking for audio book recommendations. I’m going to be taking a long road trip by myself and am loving the prospect of several days to get lost in great stories. I like mystery/thriller genre mostly. Prefer female narrators or mixed. Am even open to apocalyptic fiction if the story is good.

    • LifeScienceMBA :

      I loved the “Handmade’s Tale”, read by Clare Danes (if you haven’ watched the Hulu series already).
      Frank McCourt’s “Teacher Man” is also very good, especially if you read “Angela’s Ashes”.
      Trevor Noah “Born a Crime”.

    • No idea what the audiobook is like, but I just read Station Eleven over the weekend, and highly recommend it! It’s apocalyptic, but set the day the apocalypse (a flu epidemic) hits; 20 years later; and then with flashbacks that fill in the back story of the main characters, who are about 2/3 women. It skips over a lot of the violence that you often find in apocalyptic fiction with a sort of “yeah, years 0-15 were bad, but it’s settled down a lot by year 20” sort of explanation.

    • “Lincoln in the Bardo”. I actually think it’s a better story in the audio version than it would be on the printed page. There are a ton of different characters each of which are performed by a different actor.

    • The Girl with all the Gifts. I didn’t even want to get out of the car to fill up fuel when I was listening to it on a long drive.

    • All the Tana French mysteries. (They are slightly interconnected but there’s no real need to listen in order.) Female protagonists for sure in The Likeness and Trespasser.

      The Alice Network

      The Child Finder

      Anything by Kate Atkinson, maybe Life After Life

      The Hazel Wood

      Not a female character or narrator, but I really enjoyed Underground Airline

    • S in Chicago :

      Thank you so much for the wonderful recommendations! I swear, these are so much better than the automated suggestions audible gives me. I’m so excited to start!

      (And sorry for the double post below.)

    • Anonymous :

      The time travelers wife is exceptionally good on audio tape.

    • my male biglaw partner recommended the Outlander series on audiobook. I love it! (I’ve read them all but I’m enjoying the audiobook on my commute)

  10. Advice request: We are selling our house. No agents are involved. The buyers are extremely enthusiastic about the house, and the process has been very friendly. They have asked us to share some costs with them after the inspection. Our answer is no, we won’t share any of these costs. It seems to use that we are in an extremely strong negotiating position based on demand, situation, etc.

    Any advice about how to say “no” nicely so that it doesn’t damage the tone of the interactions? Am I overthinking this? Is it a non-issue?

    • Anonymous :

      Do you want to sell your house or not? If you’re fine with them walking away, so no. Your tone and niceness doesn’t matter. If you aren’t, offer to contribute something but less than their ask.

      This is why people use agents.

    • “Unfortunately, that’s not something we’re able to do.” If there really are other hungry buyers out there, it shouldn’t be a problem (and they shouldn’t be naive enough to ignore that fact.)

      • This should work. At the same time, think carefully about the reasonableness of what they are asking. Are these repairs something that they wouldn’t have known needed doing but for the inspection? Or, are these things that they should have know about from the beginning like the roof is 20 years old and near the end of its life.
        Sometimes tossing a little money towards goodwill and getting to the closing table is worth it.

    • I’m not an agent, but have bought/sold a few homes. I do not consider this a non-issue. This can be a significant negotiating point in the initial offer stage. I think you can say “No, this is not something we’re able to do.” and if they push cite that it was not part of the deal that was agreed to.

      You obviously want to have a cordial, productive relationship with the other side of the transaction so that you get to the finish line, but don’t forget this is a business transaction. Tone of the interactions doesn’t need to be anything more than professional.

    • Do you mean that they want you to chip in to fix stuff that the inspection found? In many markets, that’s a normal thing to ask. You don’t have to agree, of course, but whether it breaks the deal probably depends on local market expectations.

      • This. In a hot market, it doesn’t matter if the place is falling down, you get more than you ask for. If you’re not here, it’s reasonable to even after a price is agreed on get a charge back for costs of repair. I second the advice to get an agent. This is probably one of the biggest deals you’ll do personally and it’s worth paying someone to be properly advised.

      • +1. Sellers often pay to repair defects found. I’ve bought and sold many homes, and as a seller, I always pay for safety things – no question – and sometimes I’ll pay for cosmetic things (e.g., the storm door on my last house that was on its last leg and I had been meaning to get around to it anyways).

        • Unless their offer waived inspection, I think it’s an open item.

          I think that they should pay for the inspection.

          If it’s a safety / concerning item that you’d fix on any transaction, you still need to fix/negotiate that. A good agent knows if you can push on this with this buyer vs would eat it on any sale. [In any event, for other sellers trying this: get your own inspection before trying to see and see what defects are found and then resolve them before trying to sell. Puts you in a much stronger position.]

      • This is a good point. I’m Anon above and assumed she meant closing costs. If it’s costs related to what the inspection reveals, buyers in my super competitive/HCOL market often have little leverage because there are at least 3, if not 10, back up offers, some waiving inspections or “the first $5,000 of repairs identified by the inspection” altogether. Safety/structural items usually are taken care of. Chipped tiles, leaky faucets, suggested but not required upgrades to systems, cosmetic work – nope, no way.

    • This entirely depends on your market. If it’s a hot market, there generally is no expectation that you’ll share costs. If it’s a cooler market, you should probably consider their ask.

      For reference, I’m in DC and it’s standard for the seller not to pay any of the buyer’s closing costs. The buyer also typically won’t ask for money for small fixes around the house. For something big, sure, the buyer might ask, but the seller might also say no.

  11. Interview :

    When you are asked the question in an interview, “Tell me about yourself,” how long should your answer be? Ask A Manager says it should be about a minute, but I’ve heard other advice that it should be a bit longer where you go through all your past employment, dates, what you did there, accomplishments, etc. For those who have been asked this in an interview, how did you answer it? And for those doing the interview, what do you suggest?

    • I go with a quick overview of how I became interested in the field, the 10,000-foot view of my career progression, and my professional focus areas. I keep it as succinct as possible.

      When I’ve done the interviewing, that is also the format that I’ve appreciated the most. There’s no reason to go through all of your past jobs/dates of employment/etc.–I’ve read your resume.

    • Don’t give your life story, or regurgitate your resume. Give a brief (30-60 sec) thumbnail sketch of the relevant facts that got you to the chair in front of them in the interview. That’s what they are really asking: who are you as it relates to this role, and why should we care? Lets you set the tone, and them catch their breath before the interview really starts.

    • I would not restate your entire resume. The point of this question is to refresh the interviewer’s memory about who you are and also to highlight your best selling points – summarize why you are perfect for the job.

    • Amelia Bedelia :

      I’ve changed law firms three times, but only when moving to different cities. I always used the “tell me about yourself” question as an opportunity to explain why i’m moving to a new city. Particularly with law firms, it helps to establish why the firm should invest in you in a new city/state.

      this might be particular to my field, though, so YMMV.

      • Can you share strategies on how you conducted a long-distance job search when you were trying to move?

    • Anonymous :

      60 – 90 seconds.

      It should cover enough as you want to highlight, but doesn’t need to list everything. It’s something that you have to work on to really get right, so that it’s the right level of detail, communicates the points you want to hit on, and tells enough of a story to keep the interviewer engaged.

  12. Hair removal tips needed :

    I never had much trouble with excess hair until recently. As I’ve moved into my 40s I have noticed a dark shadow above my upper lip. The hair is downy, but it has definitely become darker and more noticeable. So far I have not done anything about it.

    I also have whiskery hairs all around my chin. I pluck at these with my tweezers. But it is getting more extreme (more hair in more of the surface of my chin). I don’t know what to do? Can you advise? Is there a good resource online? Is there one solution for both locations on my face, or do you recommend two different approaches? Thanks.

    • Yes, easy solution that I learned about on this site – Twinkle razors (or is it Tinkle….one is the original and one is a dupe). Buy on amazon in multi-packs. Cheap, fast, easy, painless. Watch a video online to see how to use them for dry shaving. Takes me like a minute every week or two. Also leaves my skin feeling very nice and soft with a bit of exfoliation. I use it on my chin, jawline, cheeks, above my lip. I’m hairy…. Don’t recommend using around your brows. Risky if you slip….

      I used to pluck my chin hairs, bleach the fuzz over my upper lip. Tried waxing and damaged my skin multiple times (v. sensitive skin). Hated this maintenance.

      The razors are amazing.

      In retrospect, as a child I saw my mother doing this and I didn’t realize what she was doing.

      • It’s tinkle – such an unfortunately named product, but I use them too and they’re awesome.

    • This is from excess testosterone production. This can occur due to excess carbohydrate consumption or stress on the body, such as from intermittent fasting or restricting calories in general. When you fast/sort of starve yourself, cortisol goes up which drives up an adrenal hormone called DHEAS, which in excess, can cause the hair. There may be other triggers as well, but these are ones that I deal with.

      • It is also very very very very very common in some races/genetically and is not due to stress/eating habits. The most common causes are not behavioral.

        Signed,
        I wish I had seen a dermatologist early in life and not waited until almost 40 to start spironolactone. Dramatically life / face / skin / hair altering.

        • I was on Spiro for years. Check the reviews/studies on that, because that stuff inhibits COLLAGEN production. Collagen 1 that is in your skin. It causes wrinkles, sagging, and undereye circles that will never go away and will make you want to kill yourself. Trust me.

          No, the doc won’t tell you.

      • Oh come on. It’s also caused by the changing hormones a woman faces in her 40s and beyond. Carbs aren’t the culprit of every problem.

        • I am not sure that women are really meant to have whiskers in their 40s. Did the Good Lord need to throw out quite so many signals to the men out there that women that age are no longer a viable option?

        • The poster didn’t at all suggest that carbs are the only source of the problem. She clearly said there could be other triggers. Why the condescension?

    • Use Tinkle razors. Waxing is too painful/expensive, depilators are toxic af, etc. The razors are cheap, easy, and foolproof.

    • I can’t recommend electrolysis more highly. It’s neither cheap nor quick but it is effective and permanent. Do you research and go to someone very experienced. I haven’t done anything to my upper lip in a decade, the hair is simply gone.

      I can’t get on board with using a razor on my face, I would be terrified if the hair grew back thicker and it would make me feel icky to do something that a guy does every day to his face.

      • +1 I have had excess hair on my face for a while due to PCOS. I tried getting it lasered, but I guess it was too light (even though it looks dark to me) and it didn’t work. Electrolysis has been the answer for me, even though I have to go way out of my way to find a place the does it.

      • Don’t knock it until you try it.

        I didn’t try the razors for decades because of my ignorance. The razors/technique are nothing like what a guy does to his face and the hair does not grow back thicker it grows back less. You are speaking from old wive’s tales.

        Sure spend $$$$ for expensive techniques that need to be repeated and may leave irritation. The time I have spent on tinkle razoring my face adds up to less than you have spent on looking for/going to electrolysis. And no irritation, no redness, no injuries, no complications etc..

        Sometimes simple is best. Truly.

    • I pluck any chin hairs and get my upper lip waxed every 5-8 weeks.

      • Be very careful about plucking, usually this leads to thick dark regrowth. That was my big mistake. Only electrolysis was able to get rid of them.

    • Don’t the razors leave you with stubble as it regrows?
      This is the main thing holding me back from trying it.

      • No. I swear it is amazing. It grows back lighter and slower for me. And not stubbly like a man’s beard at all. And when you start to notice it again (I either notice a single hair, or feel a slight regrown before seeing it), it takes literally 10 seconds to remove it.

        It is amazing not to have to irritate my skin anymore and struggle with wax burn, bleach burns, plucking injuries (ingrowns/redness).

        The razors are the best. Make sure to watch the video about how to do it correctly – Dry skin, angle of the “razor” etc.. These are not like traditional razors. Very different razor. More like a modified dermabrasion. But much much much less trauamtic to the skin.

    • I lasered my upper lip and chin, and it was a million times worth it. Very quick– not cheap, but not crazy expensive, either. It’ll take a few rounds, but then– no more dark hair ever!

    • Mrs. Jones :

      Getting older is a joy, isn’t it? :) I have a battery-operated facial hair trimmer that I got at Target. I use it about once a week, and it works great for lip/chin, and sometimes eyebrow.

    • I have the Tweezerman facial hair remover tool that has been a lifesaver to me. A little learning curve to get it to pull the hairs out correctly, but I use it all over my face to get the peach fuzz off.

    • Bellabe – it’s a spring with handles on it that you roll over your skin. It pulls out the hairs like tweezing would, but it’s much faster, and it’s gentler on your skin than waxing. You’ll still need to pull out strays with tweezers, but this is fast, cheap ($15 or so and lasts forever), and easy. Tightening your skin (e.g., by opening your mouth) helps. It hurts some the first few times but gets better. Ice might help too.

    • I apply an analgesic lotion, then thread. It’s easy and dirt cheap (a spool of quality thread will last you years). Like waxing, it becomes less painful over time.

  13. I am on the hunt for a basic black skirt. I’m in a super casual office so knit or ponte is fine. Above or to the knee. Just need something to wear with sweaters or button up tops. I had a black maternity tube skirt that worked but can’t find anything non-maternity.

    I’m in the UK but will be stateside in May so could expand my options that way.

    • Vince Camuto has a black ponte skirt, check Nordstrom online

    • What mat skirt did you use?

      • ASOS! I am not entirely convinced it was actually maternity (it didn’t have a panel) but worked just fine and it was cheap.

    • https://www.johnlewis.com/winser-london-miracle-pencil-skirt/p3409322

    • LifeScienceMBA :

      Old Navy has this one on Sale:
      https://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=1011457&pcid=79586&vid=1&pid=854575002

    • The J Jill ponte pencil skirt might work for you. I had several of them in a slightly different incarnation and they are great skirts.

    • I solemnly swear that I am not a shill for Eileen Fisher. But here I go again – my experience with black knit skirts from EF is that they are comfortable and go through the washer and dryer for years without shrinking, pilling, or losing their black. So long as I am not tucking, I’ll roll the waist to adjust the length to where I want it on any given day. Some of their skirts have been designed to do this, but it works fine on ones that are not. Their clothing is an expensive, to me anyway, purchase but the cost per wear comes out low for years’ long year round use.

    • I like my NYDJ ponte knit skirt. It’s stood up to a couple of years of use with no bagging.

    • anonypotamus :

      I just got one from Everlane that I adore. Thick waistband and thick ponte material and the perfect length for 5’9″ me

    • Old Navy sells a good one. Cheap too

  14. For those who like this color, J Crew was selling its resume dress in pretty much the exact shade of pink.

    • My coworker wore it the other day and it was such a breath of fresh. If I were in the market, I would have purchased it as well, but considering Resume Dress in a different color.

  15. Ferragamo Wides? :

    In most brands, I have B width feet. I have narrow heels, so I often add a stick-on heel gripper.

    My capsulitis (which is like a neuroma) has flared up and I am looking at flats / flatter emergency purchase shoes (and don’t want to cheap out on footwear when I have bad feet and adequate $) b/c I can’t wear Birkenstocks /socks to a important wear-a-suit meeting.

    I usually don’t wear Ferragamos b/c the B width shoes run narrow. If I try to get a W on Zappos, will the heel be way too wide for me (in the Vara / Varina models)? Or does the W just make them wider in the (all-important for me) toe box?

    • I dont know if it will fit your needs but if Birkenstocks help with your issue, they do have some shoes including flats and oxfords on their website. I recently had to switch to Birkenstock due to severe plantar faciatis. Luckily I am pregnant and able to wear them at work for all but the most important meetings. I keep some black Dr Scholls flats in my office for when I need professional footwear.

    • I have one foot that’s a pretty reliable B and one that’s much closer to a C – and I’m working from home and ran to my closet and look at what sizes my shoes are. I have patent Varinas in 9.5 B, patent Varas in 10 C and an old pair of patent Vara wedges in 10 B. The Varas – C width – I can clearly see a large different in the width of the toe box to my B width Varinas. The heel doesn’t seem too wide.

      If I had to chose, I’d definitely pick Vara over the Varina. I think they look more professional and polished, I also prefer to have a slight heel. Width wise, I think the Varinas only fit because they are really well broken in, they are definitely a bit tight on my wider foot. I’d prefer to have a C, but I got them for a crazy price at Nordstrom rack.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Check out Trotters too. I purchased the Estee and have been happy with them. I wear a W in Sam Edelman shoes and Cole Haan, but a M in the Trotters Estee. I got them on Zappos.

  16. Casual Dress interview attire :

    I have an interview for an in house position where the dress code says casual. What sould I wear for that? I was thinking still a suit but not in black or a dress and jacket in a color.

    • Amelia Bedelia :

      if the dress code says casual, I’d avoid a suit. I’d wear separates with a blazer — and make sure the separates look “complete” enough if i later want to remove the blazer.

    • What dress code? The companies or did recruiting tell you this? What industry? Personally, I’d ask the recruiter, and I’d probably go separates – slacks with a jacket not a suit top, silk blouse that’s interesting, cool jewelry and shoes. Basically a power outfit that’s not a suit. But this highly depends on geography and industry. And since the rules have changed around suits for interviews, I think it’s a perfectly reasonable question to ask the person you’re communicating with about the interview.

    • Veronica Mars :

      Dress and jacket with color would be perfect.

    • In-house in Houston :

      I’d still wear a suit. It’s an interview…better to be safe than sorry. I’m in-house and our dress code is business casual but we still dress for interviews and expect the interviewee to dress the same. Now if they specifically told you not to wear a suit….do what they say.

      • +1

      • I understood it as the company specifically said the dress is casual for the interview. If you’ve been told to dress casual for an interview, suiting up is extra tone deaf and will make the interviewers question judgment. Go for a step above casual. I like everyone here saying a step up from casual but far from business is right – light colored slacks, a coordinating blazer, interesting top, simple jewelry.

    • biglawanon :

      I’ve skip even a blazer, particularly if you are somewhere known for being casual like CA. I’d suggest a blouse/slacks or a business casual dress.

      The interview for my current job had a “casual” dress code, I showed up in a suit, and my interviewers were in some variation of cargo shorts, hoodie, jeans, flip flops, sneakers. It was hot, so I was wearing a shell and couldn’t take off my jacket. I managed to remove my pantyhose and switch to flats on a bathroom break.

  17. Can soda totally mess up your lower digestive system? Drank it all the time growing up and had no problems. Now at 37 I’ll have it 1-2x a year max. Had 2 tall glasses at an event on Thursday (so like 16 oz or maybe 20-24) and it tasted relatively flat. Since then – feels like trapped air which then got uncomfortable Sunday night. It’s literally the only “new” thing I’ve had in several weeks and part of me is like – how can air bubbles survive 3 days? Or is it not actual bubbles but just the ingredients in regular (not diet) soda messed up my system? Anyone experience this?

    Taking otc meds and now scared to eat – big week with taking a deposition, 2 day conference where I must be on, and then a 4 day weekend starting Friday with bf and meeting his fam – where I will not be able to just eat yogurt and cereal without offending folks who’ve cooked for us and are taking us out. Any tips for making your system feel good as new in 4 days??

    • You might just have a bug/virus that will clear up on its own.

      Hydrate, try a probiotic. If things are loose, increase your fiber (try some Metamucil if you are worried about fiber in foods causing gas). If things are the other way, try some Miralax.

      No, air bubbles from soda are not still inside you at this pint.

    • This sounds stress-related. Reducing stress would be how to calm your system.

    • You didn’t mention which OTC meds. Did simethicone not help? Consider a probiotic (bacteria produce gas, and some kinds of bacteria proliferate in response to sugar).

    • Honestly, try gas-x. It’s a miracle drug.

    • Gallbladder :

      Not a soda drinker, but I had that similar feeling and thought it was gastritis/GI discomfort. It would get SIGNIFICANTLY worse with LaCroix or anything carbonated. Turns out my gallbladder was giving notice. Ended up at the hospital for emergency removal roughly a month and a half later.

      If it doesn’t resolve, I’d really encourage you to go to a GI.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      Try Pepto-Bismol. It’s my go-to for random digestive issues.

    • I agree. I drink a lot of soda and never have this issue. I think you have a stomach bug that is giving you a lot of gas. FOOEY!

  18. I’m looking for lentil soup recipes (I like lentils and need some budget-friendly meal ideas). Any winners out there? It would be great if they had a little extra protein in the form of some kind of meat or cheese, but I definitely want the lentils to be the focus and extra veggie servings would be great as well. I have a Dutch oven and a slow cooker at my disposal.

    • I like Jacques Pepin’s sausage and lentil stew. You can cut back the amount of sausage to make it healthier or feature lentils more. It’s one of my favorites because it freezes perfectly.

      http://articles.courant.com/1997-12-03/features/9712020057_1_lentils-sausages-italian-seasoning

    • You can take any lentil soup recipe and close to the end of this simmer just throw in a bunch of chicken from a rotisserie chicken you buy at the grocery store.

    • https://www.budgetbytes.com/?s=lentils

      I find this blog reliably tasty, and reliably inexpensive and unfussy in its ingredient requirements. I usually double the spices, but I do that for almost all recipes.

      • Love Budget Bytes!

        • I particularly like this lentil soup from that website:

          https://www.budgetbytes.com/2014/01/chunky-lentil-vegetable-soup/

      • I was also going to suggest a recipe from budget bytes. There’s a one-pot lentil soup with Italian sausage on there that I make at least once a month.

    • I have made a simple lentil soup by sauteing onions and garlic, then add carrots, then smoked sausage to brown a bit. Add low sodium broth and the lentils and simmer until the lentils are softened. Make sure you have extra broth if you plan to reheat as the disintegrating lentils will thicken it.

    • https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016522-red-lentil-soup

    • Not a soup, really, but I love the red curry lentil recipe on Pinch of Yum. So good over basmati rice.

    • This is worth scrolling past all the photos; it includes kielbasa for extra flavor/protein.

      http://www.posiegetscozy.com/2016/10/stormy-soup.html

    • This one is vegetarian and one of my favorites:
      http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/lentil-soup-with-chard

    • Horse Crazy :

      I absolutely love Mark Bittman’s lentil soup recipe. On the link below, he posts the basic soup and then multiple variations, but I usually take Aidell’s artichoke garlic sausage, chop it up, and sautee it in a pan separately from the soup until it’s a little brown, then add it at the end. So filling and delicious!!

      http://markbittman.com/7-ways-to-make-lentil-soup/

    • This is a veg slow-cooker stew that I like a lot, and it cooks all day in the crockpot (instead of those annoying 6-hour recipes). I’ve made this for potlucks and for meal-train meals for friends, A few notes: the indication of 2 tsp. of pepper has to be a mistake. The comments all said to reduce it and the first time I made it I put in 1 tsp., but even then it was pretty peppery. I’ve been putting in just ½ tsp. and it’s fine. I use fresh onion and garlic instead of dried. The first couple of times I made this with brown lentils they came out a bit crunchy even when cooked on low for 10 hours, so now I soak them in boiling water for an hour (if I have the time) or just in cold water overnight. I mostly use black beluga lentils, though, and they don’t seem to need soaking. Do note you need regular barley, not the fast-cooking kind. Finally, I usually add about a pound of chopped carrots, which give it some color and more nutrients.

      http://allrecipes.com/recipe/mushroom-lentil-barley-stew/detail.aspx

    • Anonymous :

      I love this one: https://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/9566-roasted-carrot-and-red-lentil-ragout

    • Thanks everyone!! These look great.

  19. I know we’ve talked about password managers like LastPass before, but can we talk about the relative security of these options? I would love to use technology to manage this for me, but is it safe to have passwords all stored like this/can it be hacked? What methods or platforms do you think are best and safest for managing passwords?

    • Veronica Mars :

      Yes it can be hacked. Passwords are just one layer of security. Pick long passwords you can easily remember and change them often.

      • Not very helpful. Most of us have literally dozens of passwords, and changing them often and easily remembering them is impossible. So you have to write them down somewhere.

        • Veronica Mars :

          Yes, on paper. Which is not hackable. Do you want it to be easy or do you want it to be secure. You can’t have both using an external (digital) password management service.

          • Yes, so that was a helpful answer.

            Write them down on paper.

            It’s what I do. I have a little password book that I bought on amazon. I keep it at home. And I keep a cheat sheet in a place with me that has a few passwords in a “code” that I use so if I use it no one can figure it out. Very useful.

          • I think I’ve told this story on here before, but please do not think that writing them down on paper and keeping it in your house is 100% secure. My house was burglarized several years ago, and my Day Timer, which never ever left my home office, was one of the things that was stolen. My password list was inside. I keep it in my husband’s gun safe now.

    • There are two types – cloud based and not. Cloud based is nice (like Lastpass) since you can use it across all your devices, but non-cloud-based is more secure (and less convenient) since it’s on your computer only. I’m pretty sure OnePassword fits in this category, but you might want to check on that.

      The average user is probably fine using one of these services. You can’t eliminate all risk, but you can take other steps like multi-factor authentication, etc.

    • LastPass hashes and encrypts all your passwords, so it’s not like someone can just hack into a database of passwords. It also encrypts your master password. In terms of security, using LastPass or a similar service to help you create and keep track of more secure passwords is definitely better than not using LastPass and instead creating less-secure passwords. IMO.

      • Veronica Mars :

        Encryption can and is broken frequently. Do not let their marketing lull you into a false sense of security.

        • Anonymous :

          Want to detail how you’ve broken AES-256 and can crack our passwords? Because you’re going to be super famous if you can…

    • Sr Software Zookeeper :

      LastPass and it’s ilk are a much better option than simply remembering your passwords. With a password manager, you want one very secure password to get into it – and turn on real two factor authentication, not an SMS passcode.
      Within that password manager, have it generate a random password for every single site you visit. Change them quarterly.
      Given that their entire business model is keeping your passwords safe, count on it being better than your own memory.

      • What is “real” two factor authentication?

        • Sr Software Zookeeper :

          Real: use an authenticator like Google Authenticator.

        • The basic “factors” that people usually talk about for authentication are “something you know, something you have, something you are”. The password is the first factor: something you know. A second factor should be either something you have, like a physical token, or something you “are”, like fingerprints or retina scans.

          SMS passcodes are a proxy for something you have because theoretically, it is checking that you “have” your phone. BUT SMS messages aren’t super secure – SIM cards can be proxied, SMS messages themselves aren’t encrypted, and other apps on your phone probably have access to your text messages. SMS authentication can protect you if someone is just running through a stolen list of usernames/passwords, but if someone is targeting you specifically or knows your phone number, it is much less secure.

          Authenticator apps are a better option because they do validate that you have your phone; more secure would be a standalone token like an RSA fob.

      • Veronica Mars :

        While it is their business, no business is 100% secure. For a business to truly be secure, there’s three factors– the people, processes and technology all have to work together behind the scenes for a company to identify and prevent massive data breaches as they happen (at this point, it’s not a matter of if, but when a company experiences a breach). I would not voluntarily give out any sensitive information to a third party. No company can guarantee your data is safe.

    • A password manager like LastPass is definitely your best option for keeping your information secure. Is there a chance it could be hacked? Sure, but it is a much, much lower chance than any other website that you have a login to. They have much more extensive and pro-active security processes in place than almost any other website, and using a password manager allows you to have a unique and complex password for every website, which is important because of how breaches typically happen: if someone gets access to your username/email/password from one website, they immediately try those combinations on a wide variety of other websites. Your bank doesn’t have to get hacked for your account to be compromised; if the photo-sharing site that you had to create a login for one time to see pictures of your niece’s wedding gets hacked, and you re-used the same password as you use for your bank account, then guess what – your bank account just got hacked, too. LastPass-generated passwords + two-factor authentication (using something like Google Authenticator or an RSA token) is a very secure way to keep important accounts safe.

      tl;dr: LastPass + 2FA is much, much more secure than reusing passwords across websites or having overly simplistic passwords so you can remember 500 of them.

      • Oh, and I should add – writing passwords down on paper is a fairly decent option if you can keep that paper/notebook secure. My mother uses one because she primarily uses her desktop at home and hides her notebook when she goes out of town. But I wouldn’t use a piece of paper if you are frequently logging on from different locations, like you travel for work or don’t have a secure office at work.

    • I think the responses here are really illustrating the dilemma I feel. Right now, I write them down, but I don’t love having to look them up every time, and I do have some overlap across sites. But I also worry about centralizing it all digitally! Thanks for giving me more info to chew on – and feel free to keep the comments coming.

    • I can only remember my passwords for, like, two sites. For all the others, my solution has just been to change my password every time I log in. It’s a little annoying, but we’re supposed to change passwords often anyway. I think it might be the most secure solution.

  20. KateMiddletown :

    I’m trying to be consistent with my Neti Pot, but it’s such a PIA to use “distilled water that’s hot, not warm..” I’m using filtered water from our fridge boiled in an electric tea kettle and cooled, but I get distracted and the water cools to room temp or I forget to do it entirely. Any tips and tricks to make this an easier habit to keep?

    • We buy gallon jugs of distilled water and use them at room temperature. My understanding is that heating the water may make it slightly more comfortable, but it’s not necessary.

      • +1. I just keep a gallon jug of distilled water under the sink and use that. It is a little less pleasant than warm water but definitely easier than heating and cooling etc.

      • KateMiddletown :

        I guess I just have to suck it up and do the same thing – if I keep the jug on the bathroom counter, I’ll be reminded to do it daily, too.

      • I used distilled heated in the microwave.

    • Wait what? I’d never heard that the water is supposed to be HOT. This is going in very sensitive areas! I always thought it should be about body temperature or maybe slightly more?

      • KateMiddletown :

        Sorry, typo – “warm not hot” are the instructions on mine. I usually pour it on the back of my wrist a la baby bottle to make sure it’s a good temp.

    • Our pulmonologist recently recommended Neil Med sinus rinses instead. Easier than nettipot.

      • KateMiddletown :

        My neti pot is a Neil Med (same company, just pouring vs squirting.) Unfortunately it doesn’t change the water filtration/heating issues.

      • Anonymous :

        My ENT also recommended the NeilMed pressurized rinses as he said he has seen a couple nasty fungal sinus infections caused by neti pots that didn’t get cleaned enough. Also, the NeilMed stuff is precisely calibrated to the correct amount of salination and sometimes that’s tough to do with a neti. I used the hypertonic NeilMed wash the last time I felt like I was starting a sinus infection and it cleared everything up within a couple of days.

    • S in Chicago :

      Walgreens sells a hand-held bottle with a special filter that allows you to use tap water. It’s still a PIA though since you have to wash all the components with dishwashing liquid every single time. (But it’s good when traveling.)

      • I don’t think it’s safe to use tap water for this.

        • S in Chicago :

          It’s normally not. The product is specifically designed for tap water use.

        • Anonymous :

          It’s especially not safe if you’re in a swampy area, but you live elsewhere it’s extremely unlikely to have a negative effect on you. You still shouldn’t use tapwater, but many people do and they’re all fine

    • No suggestions, but I would warn you that boiling the water is very, very, important. The membranes in our sinuses aren’t prepared with the same defenses as our mouths, so bacteria that are fine in drinking water could cause horrible effects in a neti pot.

      • +1. I cringe when I remember how I used to use tap water for this, especially since I recently discovered I have an autoimmune condition.

      • +1 Do not give yourself a brain infection.

        • Yes, I have seen this. Devastating. Was a teenager, and the sinus infection went to the brain and essentially covered the brain in pus. He had a massive stroke as a result.

    • What is the reason for doing it when warm? Just so it’s at body temp, right?

      This is part of why I bought a jug of distilled water and just use that in the neti pot. I don’t have to boil it for safety and if it’s cooler than body temp that’s not really a problem for me.

    • My husband just takes water from the Brita filter, and heats it up in the microwave for about 20-30 seconds.

  21. Vent about body fat %. Or more accurately people who complain to others about their body fat %s. I’m overweight and I’ve been trying to fix that for years; I work out hard, I eat right, but nothing really happens. I’ve been trying some new things recently and I’ve had some success so fingers crossed… hopefully I’ll be able to get and stay in a healthy range (shooting for 30%) soon.

    I have two friends who are very into fitness and ‘health’. Over brunch this weekend, they both lamented the fact that their body fat is so high; they’re close to or under 20%. These people both have desk jobs, they’re not training for the Olympics. When I said uh you guys that’s crazy good especially for women who have sedentary jobs, they looked shocked and horrified and said, oh nooooo the ABSOLUTE most you ever want to be is 25% and you should really be under 20%. I… almost got up and left. Like, I’m clearly nowhere near that and probably never will be. I felt really good about my progress before brunch but now… ugh. What a cruddy start to the week.

    • You’re right, and they’re wrong. I’m sorry they were insensitive about this.

    • I posted about this a few weeks ago and got a lot of hate for having 28% body fat and wanting to bring it down. I’d be thrilled for 25% but I’m not too hung up about it. 20% is crazy skinny though….you’re right. Women are supposed to have a lot more body fat than men.

      • Omg srsly? You are literally the problem. Congrats on being so skinny!!!!! Maybe stuff your mouth with a bagel until you learn common decency and tact? This is so not the post to be bragging.

        • Not the previous poster but 28% is not skinny (I’m closer to 30%). It’s more like skinny fat, on some people. My doctor told me to aim for 25 or 26% if I could.

        • Good grief. Sounds like your issue isn’t your weight, it’s what’s on the inside. Work on that. No one is being “skinny” AT you.

      • I was amazed that my fat % is something like 28% (even though I weigh what I weighed when I was more like 20% in college).

        Decades of sedentary life can do that, I guess.

        At any rate, we each have what we consider to be ideal *for ourselves*. And I think that that is OK. Too bad your friends didn’t qualify their statements that way (b/c I have a feeling that deep down, that is what they meant ).

        • Yeah I don’t really care if someone wants to talk about their personal goals. Like I wasn’t upset by the – I’ve been working toward 15% but it’s an elusive goal – conversation. I was more upset by the comments – one should be under 20% and by no means greater than 25%. I think there’s a difference between, I’m frustrated I’m not meeting the goals I set for myself vs. I need to be skinnier because where I am now is not objectively acceptable.

          • Linda from HR :

            Right, talking about personal goals is fine, but making normative statements like that, especially over brunch (brunch is supposed to be FUN, dagnabbit!) would irritate me too. And a lot of the people who say that stuff have been fed every food myth in the book, and have read about every diet trend and “new study” about food out there and then spout it off to their friends and family, but they’re in no position to be telling anyone how to eat or what people’s bodies in general should look like.

            You don’t have to cut these people out, at least not yet, but tell them you don’t want to talk about that stuff, especially when you’re eating, and see if they respect that. If they don’t, stop hanging out with them.

    • Please don’t be their friend. “Hey you’re being incredibly rude and hurtful to me. Stop.”

    • I’m sorry, that really stinks. Your friends behaved in a very insensitive way, and honestly, I would have no tolerance for mealtimes turning into discussions about ‘health’ in this way. Be proud of what you’re accomplishing; the only person you’re competing with is yourself. When you’re making big lifestyle changes, it is so important to surround yourself with messages that build you up, not discourage you.

    • I hate that. I’m overweight – it’s not like it’s a secret, everyone can tell by looking at me. But I have friends who weight significantly less than me, who are probably a size 4 or 6, who complain to me about their weight and how they have to lose more weight. For those I want to stay friends with (I’ve cut some people off who discuss it consistently), I just tell myself that they complaint says a lot more about them than me.

      I know it is hard, but I try to run my own race/live my own life. In general, I’m happy with my life (I want to lose weight, but who doesn’t?) and I don’t want to ruin that by consistently focusing on my weight. I instead focus on all the great things about me and the great things my body can do (I walk 4 miles a day to and from work, I weight-train, I can out lift most people I know, etc). And I’m glad that I don’t tie my self-worth to a number on the scale.

      • Yeah that’s a good point. I’m trying to see this as a word of warning. I think we get so caught up in feeling down on ourselves that we can’t celebrate our accomplishments because there’s always something better we’re reaching for. I’ve definitely been guilty of that in school and work… wow I got an A but it wasn’t an A+ so it’s not good enough! I hope if/when I reach the body composition I’ve been working toward, I can feel happy with my body instead of seeing more and more imperfections.

    • You must be young. As soon they you hit late 20s/early to mid 3os, they will look like cryptkeepers unless they get filler, which will make them look like clowns. There is no winning. Women age. Work on your inside self.

      • I tried to respond earlier but looks like it got eaten… this is so funny because we’re all in our mid-30s. None of us have had kids but even still, weight issues get harder and harder every year. It’s kind of hard to fathom a 35 year old woman with a desk job who has 17% body fat thinks her weight is a problem….

        • I am terrified to lose fat in fear of how I will look at 38. I hate how I look now, but I don’t want to know how I’ll look after losing 5-10 lbs and exercising. Some bone structures may be able to handle it. Or heavy Retin-A users, but I have sensitive skin and delicate features so looking like a potato seems to be my destiny.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      Ugh, I’m so sorry! They sound to me like they’re fishing for compliments. You’d be totally justified in asking them to cut it out if you want to.

    • I have a friend that was … humblebragging? … about being close to 14%. I take it this is unhealthy then?

      • No, it isn’t. 14% is very lean but still a healthy weight.

        I’m also not a fan of the “crazy skinny” language for people at 20% body fat. Um, it’s thin, but there’s nothing crazy about it, thanks very much.

      • Yikes — that feels (to me) to be awfully thin. Like don’t-get-a-stomach-bug-or-you-could-go-to-the-ER thin.

        FWIW, I know that we shouldn’t let the male gaze affect how we do things. But once I realized that guys Do Not Care about things like this (and maybe prefer women who will eat a burger / not obsess on their weight), it became a lot easier not to care about my body fat %. [Within reason, I’d prefer to fit into my clothes.]

      • I think it’s more the “caring this much about it” that’s unhealthy. The health concerns begin closer to 12%.

        • +1. Fixating on the number is the issue. I manage my weight fairly carefully for athletic performance, and I can never imagine talking to *anyone* about it. Both because it’s a boring topic, and because of the prevalence of disordered eating (and disordered thinking about eating) in our society.

          • +1

            I care about my weight. There are a lot of reasons for that, including both athletic performance and vanity. I don’t apologize for it. But it’s incredibly boring to discuss and I have very little interest in either talking about it or listening to it be discussed.

      • Not necessarily. Competitive non-professional Crossfitters and weightlifters (the sport, not bodybuilders) regularly sit there, with lots of muscle and in great physical condition and preparedness. It totally depends on your build and if you’re eating/feeding yourself vs. starving and having disordered eating issues.

        BUT that’s not something I would ever talk about with anyone who is not in this world. It’s a totally common conversation when a sport you participate in has weight classes, but not in every day life. Super rude.

      • Anonymous :

        It’s fine. I’ve been lower and looked normal, I was just really into running and only found out because I stopped menstruating. It’s just not usual, and anyone who talks about it like those people are kind of messed up.

    • They’re insensitive and you should feel sad for them that they place so much self-worth on an artificially low standard for women with no basis in health. How depressing that they can’t love themselves because of that obsession.

    • Your friends are tone deaf. I can’t stand any sort of healthy eating discussions. Everyone has different needs and goals and I really think they should be kept to themselves or to their doctors/trainers/nutritionists, etc.

      • Housecounsel :

        Agree. I have really tried to curate the people I spend time with to avoid having to talk about diet culture in all of its many aspects. Before I did that, I had to realize that I was a huge part of the problem and reckon with the damage that I have no doubt done with my history of diet obsession and inflicting that on other people.

    • Oh man. I accidentally had a humble brag on a similar situation this weekend and felt like such an ass. I’m doing fertility treatments. My friends wanted an update on how things were going. I said that I was thrilled to learn I could do the sub-Q injections instead of the intra-muscular. Apparently the doc decides which to use in part based on fat percentage/weight/BMI. This turned into a whole discussion about who carried their fat where and I was like uhhhh guys, let’s not go there – I’m just excited I get to use a little needle instead of a big needle.

      • I’ve never heard this. For me it depended on the type of medication. (I had both types of injections.)

  22. Eager Beaver :

    Has anyone tried the Glossier skin tint foundation? What did you think? I’m looking for light coverage.

    • I wouldn’t call it foundation. It’s very, very light, more like tinted moisturizer. I like it, but wish it had SPF.

    • I have it. It works for me but I have no illusions that I couldn’t find something similar and cheaper. Probably won’t buy again just because I don’t LOVE it.

  23. S in Chicago :

    Any audio book recommendations? I’m about to spend a few days by myself on a road trip and am super excited to get the time to listen to some great stories. I typically like mystery/thriller genre. Ideally, a female narrator or mix or female authorship. Narrators with some edge are bonus. Sometimes end-of-the-world type fiction is good bunt only if the story and characters are well-developed.

    Some things I’ve liked:
    Gone Girl, Sharp Objects (Gillian Flynn)
    Final Girls (Riley Sager)
    You, Hidden Bodies (Caroline Kepnes)
    In the After (Demitria Lunetta)
    Any of the City or the Until the End of the World series (Sarah Lyons Fleming)
    Luckiest Girl Alive (Jessica Knoll)
    Girl on the Train
    Stillhouse Lake (Rachel Caine)

    Any suggestions???

    • Lost Girls (Robert Kolker)
      Before the Fall (Noah Hawley)

    • Colin Cotterel’s mysteries set in Laos. The first one is “The Coroner’s Lunch”. They are a little bit fantasty, but mostly mystery and culture. And the narrator is awesome, although I don’t remember his name.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      I’ve enjoyed Liane Moriarty’s books on audio. There’s a narrator that’s used in a couple of them – Caroline is the first name. She has a lovely (Australian?) accent and does a good job mixing up her voices so you can follow.

    • You will love The Kind Worth Killing, by Peter Swanson. Totally gripping thriller.

      You would probably also enjoy The Woman in Cabin Ten – it’s a fun read but to avoid spoilers, I’ll just say it got a little eye-rolling as the story progressed.

    • No idea what these audiobooks are like, but I recently read and liked:
      -In A Cottage In A wood (Cass green)
      -A Fatal Grace (Louise Penny)
      -the Immortalists (Chloe Benjamin)
      -Into The Water (Paula Hawkins)

      All but The Immortalists are mysteries/thrillers and very good. The Immortalists was an interesting concept (four siblings find out as children when they will die but don’t tell each other) and it was interesting to read how they processed/handled this information.

      Good reads just did a Mysteries/Murder week that had lots of good recommendations!

    • KateMiddletown :

      The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

    • Anything by Sophie Hannah – she has a series of mystery novels and a handful of stand-alones that are more psychological thrillers, and the audio versions have been consistently great.

  24. In case this is helpful to anyone, I was desperately seeking a lifehack to make getting ready in the mornings easier. I finally switched to a capsule wardrobe, and it’s done wonders for my sanity. I didn’t buy anything new (or that I wasn’t already planning to get). I used the Project 333 formula and it’s provided enough variety to make me happy. My neutrals are black, navy, gray and cream. Colors are pinks, blues and lavender. Almost everything mixes and matches well, and it’s greatly reduced my decision fatigue. I also moved the current capsule to one section of my closet so I’m not searching for anything – it’s all there and ready to go.

    I live in a four-season climate, so I’ll switch things out as the weather gets warmer. Over the past year, I’ve been paying closer attention to seasonality — basically, I try not buy many 1-season pieces, to the extent I can. Limiting the color palette — an idea I always balked at — helped, too. It’s definitely helping me get off the shopping merry-go-round, which was stressing me out. True fashionistas wouldn’t like this system at all, but I’ve finally realized that I’m not one, and I never will be. I just want to look appropriate and put together, which doesn’t require a giant wardrobe.

    For outfit ideas, I started following the MM LaFleur instagram feed. I’ve never bought a single piece of clothing, but it has given me a basic footprint for where to start. I realized that I was really drawn to the simplicity of the silhouettes, although I still incorporate pattern.

    Now, if I could only find my perfect work bag, I’d be set!

    • Oh! I did exclude outerwear from my items. Good outerwear is way too important to my comfort and being able to get away with buying fewer clothes. Besides, when it’s 80 degrees one day and 20 the next (not an exaggeration), I have to be able to adjust!

    • I, too, always balked at limiting my color palette because it sounded boring to me and I love bright colors.

      But then I realized that the items I wear over and over again tend to be in the jewel-toned family, and the clothes that I theoretically like but never wear are often pastel or light colored. Focusing on jewel tones plus navy, grey and black has made it much, much easier for me to shop and dress. I’m much less likely to get seduced by things I’ll never wear.

  25. sorting the amazon brands :

    Help! I cannot figure out how to search for clothes on Amazon without the results giving me like 30 different versions of the same shirt from different “brands” – Assume these are all the exact same item from the same factory just with different names attached. What is the deal here? Is there any way to sort these out of your search? Does this make any sense? Thanks!

    • Anonymous :

      You can check a box to limit the search to Top Brands, which gets rid of all the weird multiples of cheap Chinese factory clothing.

  26. Recs for where to get my car detailed in DC? it’s super dirty and I need to drive some people from work around this weekend. I’d like a moderately priced place, but I’m willing to pay a bit more if it’s convenient and a good job.

    • There’s a place on Georgia Ave up near Military Road, Express Car Wash, where it costs $25 for a very thorough detailing. They even wiped the insides of my windows and hosed off my plastic floor mats. And they scrub the wheels and even wipe down the gaskets on the trunk.

  27. Piriformis issues :

    Has anyone dealt with piriformis syndrome and/or tightness of the piriformis? Any tips for fixing it? I miss running!

    • I found a couple of youtube videos I liked that I used to stretch twice a day until it got better. I also saw a PT and several very targeted, extremely uncomfortable “massages.” I’ll post links to the videos I liked below.

      • +1 to how uncomfortable the massages are! Mine also did a lot of loosening of muscles around the area and it’s probably the worst massage pain I’ve ever felt. Worth it though if you can power through!

    • Looks like my post is in mod, but for whenever it finally comes through, here are the videos I’ve used in the past with success.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YXglW9kvH4
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5h0jkoBFbI

      Good luck!

    • I have tightness but not the full on nerve issues (no tingling or anything), and massage has helped, but you need to make sure you find a good therapist who will be careful around your nerves. Figure four stretches have also helped (and other stretches you can find googling around). You can also get a tennis ball and sit on it to get a bit of a self-massage, but don’t use really hard balls like golf balls.

    • Yep. Cyclist. I have a oddly dominant left leg and get ridiculous problems in my left piriformis unless I’m really mindful about pedaling equally and stretching. If I have a flare up and lots of pain, I go to my sports chiro to help get to the, ah, root of the issue, and rest. If I’m just maintaining, I stretch a lot, do gentle yoga and see the sports chiro on a regular basis during the warm months for overall adjustments and balance. I basically do the same figure four/tennis ball/variations in the videos above and am really deliberate about getting a good warm up in, as well as being really thorough about a good quad, hamstring, and figure-4 stretch after every ride.

      I still get a chuckle thinking back to before I had a word for it and was trying to describe to my chiro what hurt… “no, it’s not the glutes, I know where those are at, it’s like…. under that and…” SMH.

    • Anonymous :

      Yep! Not only was I having back/buttock pain but I started having pain in my outer thigh that I couldn’t figure out. It was all related to my piriformis. The stretches are great but in the beginning you have to do them 2-3 times a day. Don’t sit with one leg under you (major issue for me), don’t sit too long with your legs crossed at the knee. That will aggravate the issue. If you have a desk job where you sit a lot, make sure your ergonomics are good – correct seat height, good lumbar support, etc. Wear good supportive shoes and don’t spend a lot of time standing in high heels (meaning higher than an inch) – we naturally shift our weight when we stand in heels and that can cause tension in the very muscles you need to have relaxed. (these were all the recommendations from my doctor, who is a D.O.)

      I did not have to do anything for mine except correct my ergonomics and poor sitting habits and do the stretches. My doctor had recommended PT, but while I was waiting for an appointment with a PT who had experience with piriformis problems, I was doing the stretches religiously and my pain and other issues cleared up. I make sure to do the stretches at least nightly now and that has resolved the problem.

  28. Anon Lawyer :

    I think I need some perspective. I started a new job about 2 months ago. My old firm was pretty toxic in ways I’m just starting to realize (the full extent of it anyways). My new firm is much better but I find myself instinctively bracing for a bad reaction or something.

    This is all context for this: one of the main partners I’m working with sent me a calendar invite for lunch this week. He didn’t preface it with anything, just asked if I was free for lunch.

    My brain is going crazy thinking I did something wrong – this is just my old toxic job talking right?

    • This is always my immediate reaction too, but for no reason related to past jobs. It’s just irrational and maybe a little of my natural pessimist coming out.

      Fwiw here, if he had something bad to say, I don’t think he’d take you to lunch – he’d probably just call you into his office. My guess is he wants to just check in and see how things are going.

    • I think it’s something he needs to do. At my previous job, a couple senior partners had it scheduled in their calendar that they needed to have a check-in with me at X weeks from joining.
      I wouldn’t overthink it.
      Also, for bad news, they wouldn’t ask you for lunch and be awkwardly stuck with you while you process the negative feedback.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      Sounds like he just wants to get to know you a bit better/see how you’re adjusting. No one uses a lunch to crack down on someone.

    • Anon Lawyer :

      Thanks all! The logical part of my brain was thinking that but I’m not used to working with people who are proactive and care about things like that so I was going a bit nuts

    • Survivor of a toxic workplace here: yes, it’s your previous workplace talking, and it will get better eventually.

  29. Shopping Help for Conference :

    Ladies, point me to your favorites:
    1) a cream/white/ivory shell to wear under a black and white dotted suit (on sale at White House Black Market)
    2) a tote bag to carry around the conference…what do you usually do for collecting cards/taking notes/holding your snacks/water bottle? What is professional enough to carry?

    Bonus points if these items are available in-store or via Prime.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Re bags = I typically bring my Dagne Dover as a laptop bag, but it’s too much to carry during the conf, so I bring a small wristlet and toss that in a freebie tote from one of the vendors.

  30. Going to Boston in November for the first time with two of my girlfriends. Staying in the Brookline area. What are your favorite things to do? We’ll be there for 4 days.

    • Linda from HR :

      I lived in that neck of the woods for four years, it’s a great area! Check out Brookline Booksmith, their bargain tables are great! And the Coolidge Corner Theater is awesome, they show a lot of indie stuff, and their After Midnite series shows some neat stuff if you’re in town on a Friday or Saturday night. I would also check out Harvard Ave in Allston, and Union Square in Allston, they both have great food options. If you’re into live music, see who’s playing at Brighton Music Hall and Great Scott. Check to see if WGBH is doing any cool events while you’re in town. Venture across the river to Harvard Square, the Border Cafe has excellent Mexican food and margaritas. It’s also pretty easy to hop on the C line and go straight to Haymarket, where you have the Boston Public Market right there, and both the North End and Faneuil (pronounced Fan-yull) Hall close by, both are cool places to check out although the shops at Faneuil are mostly chain stores at this point.

    • I insist you have crepes at Paris Cafe in Coolidge corner. They are _awesome_. November could be really chilly or not, but if not, I walk around the Public Garden and Common too.

  31. My marriage needs help. We’re not in dire straights, but parenting is really taking a toll on our relationship. I know you’re not supposed to admit that, but it’s true. Specifically, we have a second-grader with recently diagnosed ADHD and resulting behaviors have put us under a ton of stress for a long time. Years, really, and now we finally are getting behavioral counseling for the kiddo and medication. We’re putting so much into getting Kiddo the help he needs (plus raising another child, who needs us too!), that I don’t think we have much energy left to care for each other. It scares me. We’ve always had a good friendship, in addition to being partners, but something feels off. We’re not having much fun with each other because everything revolves around problem-solving our lives: kid issues, work issues, extended family issues, you name it. DH also has some caregiving responsibilities with his parents, so we’re spread pretty thin for a couple in their late thirties. We’re not arguing; we’re just maxed out.

    How do we turn this around, before it turns into something worse? More date nights? Assume that leaving the kids for a week to go on a couples-only vacation alone is off the table because of childcare issues. (The sad truth is that DS is a LOT to handle, and the grandparents wouldn’t be up for that. I have no idea who we’d ask instead.)

    Or do we buckle down, and accept that we’re at a particularly challenging stage of life — and that’s bound to translate to how we feel about marriage, too?

    • More date nights. More sex. More therapy.

    • Is each of you getting enough solo downtime? I find that if I don’t have enough alone time, I don’t want to interact as much with my husband when we are together because I am just too exhausted from dealing with everyone else’s needs and demands. We enjoy our time together much more when I go to the gym by myself a few times a week.

    • Sometimes things are just a slog. Here are some things that I’ve found helpful in my marriage during what I like to think of as a Season of Slog – making casual touches a priority, like a little hug or goodbye kiss or couch snuggle; low-stress date night, i.e. takeout and watching something fun on TV after kid bedtime; sending each other emails or texts with something funny or interesting that we see during the day; helping each other get a minimal level of self-care, i.e. parenting breaks, exercise, and healthy food. Really this just amounts to making the effort to see your partner as a person and not just a co-parent even if you don’t have the time to do big things like a couples vacation.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      I would recommend officially scheduling couple time when you are hanging out with each other and not allowed to do any problem-solving. It doesn’t have to be a Date Night(TM) activity–if what you really enjoy is taking walks together, do that! But it sounds like couple time is falling off your schedule, so give yourselves permission to prioritize it.

      Any problem you can just fix with money, fix it with money. Your time is valuable!

      I do think you should accept that you’re at a particularly challenging stage of life, but not in the sense of “it’s supposed to be terrible.” More like “right now our life demands that we do X and Y special things to cultivate our marriage” and “the way we feel now is just that, not How Our Marriage Is.”

    • Parenting is hard. Parenting a kid in a challenging phase can be harder. Caring for aging parents is also hard. It’s okay to say all of these things out loud. It’s also healthy to recognize that these can all be hard on a marriage and it doesn’t mean that y’all are somehow broken. We are at a similar place and find that just saying out loud how we are feeling helps a lot. Do what you can to make time for each other, hold each other accountable for being unnecessarily mean/snippy as a result of the stress, have your ground rules for handling conflict, encourage each other to take breaks and have self-care. You can get through this.

    • I was actually with my DH at marriage counseling this morning. It’s done wonders for us, and helped us reset some bad habits. One thing that our doc said this morning was, “you don’t need to climb to the top of the mountain to see the view.” Meaning, you don’t need to do some huge, drastic, dramatic, shock to the system change to get back on track. You can do something little. For us, it was that we had fallen into the habit of eating dinner in front of the TV. Which meant that we basically didn’t talk to each other. This threw off everything else – our emotional connection, knowing what was happening in each other’s work lives, and just our general family to do list. We were already eating dinner together, but the simple act of having it at our kitchen table instead of in front of the TV has made all the difference. Sometimes dinner is literally just 10 minutes.

      But yes, therapy and a few minutes of just you two each day.

    • sister anon :

      this is kind of an aside, but as the sister of someone who had severe behavioral issues, thank you for thinking about your other child! i was pretty much left to my own devices (which turned out fine, classic case of if i’m perfect maybe you’ll like me more), but has given me some super weird complexes to work through as an adult about how people are supposed to care about you/notice you.

      my parents were very clearly super stressed in the worst of it. things got better when my sister got better, but there were two extremely terrible years where everyone was just in pure survival mode. i think that what would have helped most was time. time for each of them to just chill alone, and more time together without us. i have no idea how to have made this happen, but i think it would have helped.

    • What’s helped us:

      1. weekly date nights – hire babysitter at leave house at least every second week. If we stay in, watch a movie or play a boardgame + drink wine but spend at least three hours together without talking about kids/house stuff.

      2. weekly lunch together – meet up at a cafe for an hour

      3. weekend staycation every three months – we go Friday/Saturday so it’s not too much for grandparents. check into hotel thursday night, dinner out, sleep in Friday, go to matinee/museum/ziplining, hotel Friday night, late check out, go out for brunch, head home to see kids midafternoon. Grandparents – sometimes with a few hours of babysitter help can handle this amount of time even though they couldn’t handle a full week.

      We don’t talk about kid stuff during these times. Weekly phone call at lunchhour to work out kid logistics/planning for the upcoming week.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I feel your pain, OP. Parenting is hard enough but a kid with behavioural challenges is a whole other thing. You have received a lot of good advice above – anywhere you can spend your money instead of your time, do it. Find a trustworthy caregiver for your kids, and there are people out there who specialize in respite care, and use them. Make time for yourselves individually and it will improve you lives as a couple, and that might include therapy. My husband was not interested but it made the world of difference for me.

      All the best, OP. You can do this.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t really have any advice but I think what you’re going through would challenge even the strongest marriages. More date nights, etc. can’t hurt but I also think you’re probably being a little hard on yourself. It sounds like you’re doing relatively well as a couple, given the circumstances, and you may just need to remind yourself of that and try to focus on the long-term.

    • anonforthis :

      My husband and I struggle to feel like we have time for us all the time. Saying that out loud to each other helps.

      It has been worse from time to time. Parenting is a major stressor, and it isn’t one we even thought we’d have since we decided we did not want children. But a close friend of mine passed away, and we became the guardian of their two children. There were a lot of behavioral issues when they first moved in with us. Another trying point is when I had a super surprise multiples pregnancy in my 40s.

      Also, hugs. Long hugs. Saying I love you. Going to sleep at the same time each night and cuddling, even if for like 10 seconds. Asking how each other’s day was.

      And echoing hiring help where you can.

  32. Question/advice needed: My 30 yr old husband is an alcoholic – went to 30 day treatment program mid January this year to mid February. This treatment program focuses on the 12 step program and strongly encourages AA meetings and fining a sponsor. Fast forward…he came home and drank again on day 2 of being home and secretly/not so secretly continued drinking nearly daily ever since. Last week, I gave him an ultimatum that he return to treatment or I would leave. He had been going to 2 AA meetings a week since he came home, but he had not found a sponsor yet. This time, he switched to beer (vs. vodka before) because “he thought he could handle it.” He’s slated to come home again on April 26…does anyone have any advice for me or good online/book resources? I need to create some good boundaries for myself and potentially for him.

    • Why? Here is a good boundary. Call a divorce lawyer and change the locks. You gave him a chance. Go to Al-Anon now, minimum.

      • How is this helpful? “Change the locks” is not good feedback for someone looking to establish boundaries with a loved one suffering from substance abuse. OP, I recommend seeking some personal counseling to figure out what kind of boundaries you want and to help you with this challenge. Afraid I can’t recommend specific books, but I’ve heard anecdotal feedback that 12-step programs can be really hit or miss, so maybe there are others to research? I’m sorry you’re going through this.

      • Maybe I read it differently but she gave him an ultimatum and he’s following it (going to rehab) and asking for advice on when he returns.

      • This kind of response is not helpful. In fact, it’s the exact reason why I felt I couldn’t talk to my friends about my husband’s alcohol abuse issues and ended up going through it alone for so long. When you love someone, and they have a disease like addiction, it is not as simple as just waking up and deciding to get a divorce for most people. Many have stuff they need to work through before making that kind of decision. And for many, they will spend the next decade dealing with it whether they got divorced or not.

    • Is he back in rehab now? If not, it sounds like you want your boundary to be “in treatment or leave” but he’s still drinking, and that won’t prompt you to leave.

    • Are you doing Al-Anon or something similar? Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there in your position, but the good news is that there are a lot of resources for people in your position.

    • Been there. It sucks. You already set one boundary – go to treatment or I’ll leave. Good. Once he’s home, you need a new boundary: stay sober or I’ll leave. And actually do it.

      You are not in charge of setting his boundaries. You are not in charge of finding him a sponsor. Addicts are experts at shifting the blame to someone else – but this is HIS problem. Being supportive never means being a doormat. And just because you’ve put up with him before doesn’t mean you have to continue to do so.

      A divorce or separate would be difficult and maybe humiliating for him – but it won’t kill him. An alcoholic addiction very well might. Setting and sticking to a boundary is the healthiest thing for both of you.

      I’m sorry you’re in this situation, but I’ve been there myself and it can get better. My divorce was the only thing that finally convinced by ex-husband to get sober. Too much anger and resentment had built up over the years for our relationship to be salvaged, but we both moved on the better, healthier relationships. He was, and is, a kind and generous man whose alcoholism stole all of his good qualities – I am glad he’s been able to get his own life in order.

    • Does he have a therapist?

      Often alcohol is the substance/self-medication of choice when there are underlying anxiety/depression/issues that need to be worked through. Was he transitioned to an outpatient therapist and psychiatrist to be part of his care team?

      And is there an outpatient alcoholism program he can transition to rather than going cold turkey to AA alone, which isn’t enough for most people (even when they go every day)?

    • Has he discussed treatment options with a physician? It sounds like both rehab and follow-up were very AA-focused, which works for some people but definitely does NOT work for a lot of people. Link to follow with a relevant article. Just because AA isn’t working for him does not mean he is doomed, and I would suggest to you that your ultimatum to him not be AA-focused if that does not seem to be working for him. He needs to find a treatment that works and stick with it – bouncing in and out of ineffective “programs” will be miserable for both of you.

      • https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/04/the-irrationality-of-alcoholics-anonymous/386255/

      • If you’re still there and reading, I second this. My husband (sober for 15+ years) did not use AA – it just wasn’t for him at all. Therapy + doctors. If you want to keep at it, look into the alternatives. And I’ve also read that Atlantic article and can’t recommend it enough.

    • Anon in NYC :

      A friend has been in your shoes. For her, finding her own therapist has been really really helpful for figuring out how to create boundaries with her husband, understanding how she can support him but also take care of and protect herself, and working through the emotional pain he caused her.

    • Anonymous :

      https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004KABERE/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

    • If you’re still reading…

      Can he enter an intensive outpatient program (IOP)? The transfer from inpatient to home/complete freedom seems pretty abrupt. IOP has a lot of group meetings, so he actually gets to know and care about the people on the journey with him. That care helps foster a reciprocal relationship where he wants to be strong and stay sober to help them on their journey.

      AA is recommended in addition to IOP. In fact, often inpatient centers recommend attending 90 AA meetings in 90 days post-discharge. Has he tried several different AA meetings – different locations and different times? Groups can really vary so its important for him to try out a couple of different ones. There is an expression that you have to go to AA until you like it (and then once you like it you naturally just keep going). Finding a sponsor is very important, but it’s also not something that happens overnight because it requires a relationship.

      Al-Anon is important for you. And it’s okay to go and just listen. You don’t have to share or make any commitment to going. Just being in that room and hearing that you’re not alone or crazy is so comforting. “How Al-Anon Works” is the standard beginners book.

      I’ve been in your position and know how difficult and confusing it is. If you’re anything like me, you are probably researching and looking for someone to just tell you what to do, how to fix it, what the answer is so that you can solve the problem. Unfortunately, the disease of addiction doesn’t work that way. I, a rational person, kept trying to thinking about it logically. It helped a lot when I finally understood that addiction isn’t logical. Group family sessions are very insightful and helped a lot with this. I hope you have some at his inpatient facility or IOP program.

      Recovery is possible, but your goal has to be to maintain your happiness, whether he is sober or not. That requires detachment (which doesn’t necessarily mean physical separation) and a host of other skills that Al-Anon helps teach.

  33. Any recommendations for a large lightweight suitcase?

    Looking for the largest checked baggage suitcase I can find with the least weight so that I can pack the most stuff. Because of our transportation situation on arrival, I can only take two suitcases for our family of five so I need as much space/weight as possible.

    Tried various g00gle searches but not much luck in figuring this one out. Also opened to a wheeled duffle.

    • Anonymous :

      You want hard luggage made of the newer polycarbonate material. I have a large Victorinox suitcase that is extremely light, but there are cheaper brands out there. Avoid soft luggage, it’s heavy.

      • Anonymous :

        Thanks – I’ve traditionally gone with hard luggage but I saw Heys has a soft sided at 5.2 lbs. Nervous about if it will be enough protection though but I can’t find any hardsides so lite. Will check victorinox.

  34. It’s an oldie, but I recommend “World War Z.” I love the book but the audiobook is even better – great all-star cast of narrators, very engaging story with geopolitical overtones. Basically, if you’ve seen the movie – the book is nothing like it … it’s so much better.

    It’s not a mystery/thriller per se, but have to throw in a recommendations for “The Monuments Men” – a nonfiction book that was way better than the movie. I was on the edge of my seat listening to it!

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