Splurge Monday’s Workwear Report: Plaid Off Shoulder Jacket

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

When I saw this, it made me think of our post on how to dress like Selina Meyer in Veep. She had a similar blazer that she wore for a speech or something similar, and it was really great. Yes, this one is not a regular day-at-the-office jacket — it’s for a special situation like accepting an award or, like Selina Meyer, giving a speech. You could very easily layer it with a simple black sheath dress; it does come with a matching dress with a high crew neck that I’d want to try on to see how it looks. I think this is an interesting look, and it’s a statement piece that’s still conservative. The jacket is available in sizes 00–12 at Saks, where it’s $495, as well as at TheoryPlaid Off Shoulder Jacket

A more affordable option is this blazer, but if you’d prefer something more traditional but in plaid, here are two others. Here’s one available in plus sizes.

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  1. Yay Kat! This is very cute, and not all that pricey for a pricey Monday! I think I would buy this if I were goeing to accept an award. I think the manageing partner is goeing to nominate me for an award from the bar association b/c I have been in the shadows for a few year’s now, writing all of the slides for the manageing partner’s CLE presentations, all without cost and without the ability to bill any cleint’s for my time. The manageing partner says it is equal to pro bono. I agree b/c I spend dozens of hours writing these and it does NOT count against my billiengs. FOOEY!

    I went with Myrna yesterday to Jone’s Beach, and she showed me where to go where we were NOT bothered by men. The place was quieter, but there were very few men there. I just wish there were ELIEGIBLE men there. FOOEY b/c I am not getting any younger, and I had a cute bikini that NO ONE called out to tell me how cute I looked ! DOUBEL FOOEY!

  2. Anonymous :

    I love this so much. One of the best picks in a while. My office isn’t business formal so I could totally wear this. Would do black skirt or pants or black sheath dress, the matching dress would be too much look for me.

    • Agreed, this is gorgeous, still office appropriate and looks so luxe.

    • Agreed that it’s beautiful, but I wish the neckline wasn’t so wide.

    • I like the silhouette/idea, but don’t like the execution. I think it looks weird in a plaid, and the placket down the front pulls at the top.

      • Pretty Primadonna :

        I don’t like it too much, either. I agree, it is probably the plaid. I would love it in black or white. Even navy.

  3. Something fun for this Monday – what are your wardrobe plans for fall? Anything you’re looking forward to buying (or getting rid of!)? This summer, I’ve taken stock of what I have and am planning a big purge when the weather changes. I’m turning 35 soon and I’m excited to buy a few high-quality items as a treat to myself. On my wishlist for a fall wardrobe refresh: cross-body leather handbag, soft oversized grey cowl-neck sweater, 3/4 sleeve boxy black cashmere sweater, leather-like pants, wine-colored silk blouse.

    • Anonymous :

      Fun question! I’m planning to get new jeans, either bootcut or flare, to wear on casual work days.

    • Love this question! I need to do a severe sweater overhaul. I keep beloved sweaters way too long after they’re no longer wearable and then don’t want to buy new ones because my sweater drawer is crammed to overflowing. Konmari scares me.
      I also need a good med/dark wash denim jacket with no distressing for under $50. Any recs?

      • Delta Dawn :

        I got a dark wash denim jacket with no distressing two or three years ago at Old Navy. I think they have some iteration of them each fall. Inexpensive but still looks nice!

    • I am in the market for a new brown bag. I’m having a hard time finding the right shade of brown – I want something really rich and lush that looks good with black or gray and isn’t too light. I’d love a pair of boots in a similar color too, suede ideally.

      • Cognac is a great shade for this. Chloe has the end all be all cognac bag but there are lots of dupes on the market now.

    • cat socks :

      I have several pairs of knee high boots, and I’m finally going to look for a pair of booties. Other than that, a new purse probably in a cross body style.

      • Anonymous :

        I have a pair of booties (the After Hours Sorels from the NAS). Now I have to figure out how to style them, esp. with pants. I am a tall boots with dresses girl, so will be learning a new skill.

        • Same here! Styling booties is a new skill for me. I’ve tried wearing them before and they just looked clunky and odd. I’m going to give them another try with a more pointed toe style.

          • That’s interesting, I think of booties as so neutral and basic that styling them is a no brainer for me. Just wear them the way you would any other shoe?

          • Agree. I’m always surprised by the bootie angst here.

    • Anonymous :

      I think I’m set on clothes.

      But I flipped through a Boden catalog recently and wanted all.the.shoes. Like ~$750 worth. YIKES!

      Somehow shoes are my cryptonite. Much less $ per pair than a splurgy purse. And technically I am always needing a pair or two b/c if you wear them, they don’t last forever. And Hannibal Lechter always me noticing shoes (my own included), so I always want them to look sharp.

      And for casual, I want a pair of Birkenstocks and a pair of Minnetonka boots.

    • lost academic :

      I’m hoping to find some new daily cardigans! I don’t prefer 3/4 length, but the everyday cardigans I wear at the office are really showing that everyday wear (things I picked up from Kohls right before starting the new job). My blazers won’t fit right till I lose a little weight and they’re a little too formal for everyday at my office anyway. I think a new purse should be on my list! Also considering splurging on the OG/OMG.

      • Anonymous :

        I’ve had an OG for years. I usually use my Seville in town but my OG for travel. And the last time I travelled was in April and it is just so d*mn handy that I have yet to repack. I will bust out my Seville for fancy in-town office visits next week (and then keep using it until my next trip).

      • I tried on the Lands’ End supima cardi yesterday and was surprised by the quality. Thick, soft cotton, sturdy buttons, good fit. Also, machine washable. Decently priced even at full price, but they did not have my size in the colors I preferred, so I plan to pick a couple up for the office next time I get a coupon. Might be a good choice .

        • lost academic :

          Their arms are never long enough for me, but it might be worth checking again…

        • Annony Moose :

          The Land’s End Supima cardigan is my go-to for the winter. My office is business casual, more to the casual end of things, and these are warm and more than dressy enough for work.

    • I’m looking for booties and flats, and planning to go to the MM.LaFleur store for the first time to see what dresses work for me. Also considering the Seville tote from Lo & Sons once I know how big my laptop will be at my new job

    • Need a cool name :

      Most of my works skirts are from Pendleton and were purchased in 2007 or 2008. I should probably get a couple of new ones. Left to my own devices I tend to buy brightly colored dresses from Boden.

    • I could really use some classic, special, (but not cashmere) sweaters. I try to snag one or two a year and sadly need to retire some of my older ones. Would also loooove to find some jewel toned long sleeved blouses. I also probably need new casual pants, but ugh I hate shopping for pants.

      • Shopping for pants is the WORST. I have just one pair of work pants that I like. Every time I go shopping for more I try on a million pairs, get frustrated that none work, and come home with new blouses that I don’t need!

      • Uniqlo has some jewel-tone basic blouses on sale at the moment (links to follow).

        • https://www.uniqlo.com/us/en/women-rayon-long-sleeve-blouse-400522.html?dwvar_400522_color=COL48&cgid=women-shirts-and-blouses


      • Annony Moose :

        If you want wool sweaters, Bloomingdale’s has their own line of merino wool sweaters every winter. They are as warm as cashmere, and soft. Cashmere can sometimes feel very limp, for lack of a better word, but merino wool has a slightly sturdier feel to it.

    • Linda from HR :

      I need a new fall coat, since the one I’ve been donning for a good 5 years is now too small for me. I also bought a new one last year, but it doesn’t go with everything and I’ve been meaning to reattach a button that fell off last year. So two goals, right there!

      I also need some new booties, and I should get some new rain boots with maybe a nice autumn color like mustard yellow or deep red.

      Finally, I bought an awesome plaid skirt from ModCloth last year, and found out the designer sells the same skirt in a different color, so I may order that.

      So that’s coats, booties, rain boots, and new skirt. I probably won’t check off all the boxes but I’ll do my best!

    • Diana Barry :

      I have procured
      – white blouse with origami detail and small peplum (asos)
      – grey blazer (NAS)
      – grey open front long cardigan (NAS)
      – purple sheath dress (from Marshmallow – hi!)

      Also ordered a few things from Boden (dress, few blouses) so will see how those are when I get them. I am fine on shoes etc.

    • I really need new basic black work pants – Gap discontinued the kind I loved and I haven’t found any others I like in my budget.

      Other than that, I’m trying to gradually replace my cheaper poly sweaters and tops with better quality. I love Banana Republic’s silk and cashmere blends!

      • I so wish Gap would bring back the (old) Perfect Trouser and Modern Boot Trouser. They were truly perfect work staples.

    • Fun question! I’m planning to hit a Boden Warehouse Sale this fall, as I did so well at the last one I went to, but it’s all luck as to what I might find there. Other than that, I’d love to pick up:

      – a dark camel (maybe tweed?) knee length pencil, straight, or A-line skirt. Anything in the khaki family can be a challenge with my coloring, so I’m oddly particular on this one.
      – Maybe a quilted jacket (are those still in? I think they’re a classic, but correct me if I’m wrong) if I find the right fit. What I’ve tried so far has either been too boxy, or too tight in the bust/shoulders.
      – A nice charcoal grey sheath dress, and some open front cardigans.
      – To get my boots re-heeled and polished before the season starts.

    • I’m looking forward to finding a black leather (fake but quality will do) and replacements for my Sperry boat shoes that finally bit the dust last month. I’m dreading breaking in the new Sperry shoes though so if anyone has suggestions for alternatives I can wear with socks, I’m all ears.

      Won’t be buying these, but I’m also looking forward to chillier weather so I can wear an olive green skirt and thick gray sweater that I bought in the off season.

    • CherryScary :

      I purchased myself some new work shoes yesterday, and finally bit the bullet on a new purse and wallet.

      Plans for the fall include a new pair of jeans, and probably replacing some sweaters since I’ve lost a lot of weight since last year.

    • all about eevee :

      I need to buy new booties in brown AND black leather, and one of those fuzzy Patagonia vests.

    • I also would love a great leather luxe cross body bag. Recommendations??

  4. Over the weekend a friend and I were talking about how habits our parents modeled for us when we were growing up are easier to now carry out as an adult. Examples: brushing teeth, reading, volunteering, exercising.

    In my case, my parents never exercised so I didn’t have a model to follow so its felt really hard to adapt this life trait in my life as an adult. However, volunteering was so important to them. I also find volunteering important and manage to squeeze it into my life, and I think I am able to do that more easily because I had them model that.

    Do you find this to be true at all for you? If so, what are you thankful they modeled for you as a kid? What do you wish they had modeled and didn’t?

    • Anonymous :

      I would agree with this. It’s funny how specific some of it is for me. E.g., my mom was terrified of roaches and thought mice were cute and I can’t be in a room with a bug, but mice and rats are totally no big deal for me.

      In terms of what behaviors they modeled that were good: I’d say reading and valuing education were big; not carrying debt and being fiscally responsible; empathy for others.

      In terms of bad: we rarely had sweets in the house because my parents would always consume anything treat-like immediately and I’m the same now, but I really wish I had learned some moderation and that just because you have ice cream in the freezer doesn’t mean you have to eat it; and I wish they were better about dental care- they were both from a country where it was common to have problem teeth and treated all my cavities as a kid as no big deal and normal, and I really wish I had grown up with better habits and expectations for my own teeth because so many of my own dental issues were preventable.

      • Yes, never be in debt for me also. My parents are the type that go to a dealership and pay for the car in full, in cash. Not that they are rich, they just save up enough until they can afford to do it. I lived on nothing after graduation so that I could pay off my student loans right away, I pay off credit card balances every month etc. Besides that they aren’t big on anything else. I sometimes wish I had a fashion/beauty savvy mother who could show me things. I basically neglected my skin through my twenties and struggle with applying makeup.

    • Anonymous :

      Exercise is the biggest one I wish they had modeled. We always ate at least two veggies or fruits at each meal and I keep that up to this day but activity/exercise wasn’t a ‘default’ part of life in the same way. My husband’s family was much more active and he really views everyday activity (riding his bike to work sometimes, going for a run at lunchtime) as a basic part of life. I’m trying to learn that to model for my kids because I see what a big difference there is between my mom and his mom who are almost the same age.

      • Anonymous :

        My parents weren’t formal exercisers, but are active. They walked everywhere when we lived in the city and for leisure after we moved. And they hike. But my dad has a pair of like-new sneakers from the 1980s still.

        They are relatively trim, so I think it works if you also eat in moderation. They’ve never sweated other than if the weather was not; never from exercise.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      My parents didn’t really have any friends or individual pursuits. They were certainly friendly with many people from church, my friend’s parents and other parents from sports leagues and would bring to their BBQ’s and the like but my mom didn’t have BFF Jane that she called to chat or anyone to go out with for a girl’s night. They never did couple’s dinners and very rarely did dinners out the two of them.

      Like the OP with exercise, I’m not good about prioritizing and nurturing my friendships and working them into my schedule. I realize my husband has stayed in touch with people from high school, college, other state’s we’ve moved to, etc. while I have really let a lot of those fade away without realizing it.

      Other than that, they were great at everything else!

      • It’s funny, because my parents *did* have those friendships and personal time/pursuits (…mom’s bff is actually named Jane!), but my DH’s parents did not. At all. Ever. Like, I am not sure that my MIL talks to anyone aside from her dog all day now that her kids abandoned her (FIL passed away 13 years ago). And I see such a different approach or attitude toward that kind of thing between us. Not good or bad, or better or worse, but different.

        My parents were married for 11 years before adding kids to the mix, and they were very adamant that we were there because they were functioning, happy, independent adults and a working couple. It was a great model for me and I think I grew up understanding that adults in marriages, couples, and as parents must maintain some semblance of independent self to be good to those around them.

      • This is so interesting because Mr. AIMS has very few “old” friends – i.e., pre-dating law school – and I’ve always found it odd even though I don’t actually find him to be odd or anti-social in any way. He always blamed it on moving a bunch as a kid and switching schools, but now that you mention it: his parents totally don’t have any close friends either. They always have people they’re friendly with, like neighbors or coworkers, but no BFFs or even Fs. Maybe this explains it! He does have friends but all from his recent past (10-12 years?) and I think almost all of them, myself included, are people who are just good at staying in touch and are still friends with people they went to grade school with. My mom, meanwhile, is as I type, having an extended visit with her friend from 1st grade.

        • AIMS, your husband is me. I am a really lovely person who is actually quite likable. (I swear)

          My parents never really had family friends growing up and I just never really learned that skill.

          I have also moved around a lot since graduating college for my job and I think that has made my naturally poor skills in friendship maintenance even worse.

          • This is a great term for it – friendship maintenance! And I believe you. He’s a lovely person too. Friendship maintenance is definitely a skill.

          • Same here! I have a hard time with this skill, too.

      • The same with my parents, they’ve never had close friends which I find very strange. They’re best friends with each other, basically.

    • Glad they modeled: exercise/love of the outdoors (this one is huge for me now); strict chores and responsibilities; limiting screen time.

      Not glad they modeled: unhealthy relationship with sweets; manipulative behavior from one parent with no pushback from the other; unhealthy relationship with one of my siblings (treating the sibling as a friend to complain about the spouse).

    • Habits that stuck: Making the bed daily-we make ours and our kid makes theirs. Confining food and drink to the kitchen, especially for kids. Eating in front of the tv is a special treat and it also means that we don’t worry about spills and crumbs in other rooms. Volunteering, whether it be with a kid activity/school or in the greater community. Reading- my mom always has at least one book going.
      What we are doing for our child: All of the above, plus an increased focus on being active. We go through spurts of exercise routines, but also try to do non-sedentary activities when possible, preferably outside.

      • Anonymous :

        + 1 million for making the bed

      • Can someone please explain to me why making the bed is so important? My husband acts like it’s the end of the world if I don’t make the bed. I grew up in a non-making the bed household. We are otherwise very similar in our cleanliness levels, but he seems to think it’s a significant character flaw to not make the bed. I think it’s a waste of time (unless we’re having guests or something).

        • The joy of climbing into a “fresh” bed at night rather than one that’s all twisted and pre-rumpled from the night before.

          Visually, it looks better all day than a messy pile of twisted sheets and blankets.

          Intangibly, it’s taking care of personal space and saying it matters. Just like it matters not to have clothes thrown all over and towels slopped on the floor. You’d walk out of a hotel room instantly if it looked like that when you checked in — why not give yourself as good an experience as you’d want there?

          • Jinx on the hotel comparison.

            I want an oasis to come home to. A made bed is as close as it gets some days.

          • I like this analogy, and this is why I started making the bed as an adult (even though I also grew up in a non-bed-making house). It just relaxes me to have it look neat when I come home/go to bed.

            I don’t think it’s a character flaw, or even a housekeeping/cleanliness flaw. I just think it looks tidier, and at this point in my life, I’m trying to be tidier at home.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Yes to all three of these.

        • My life is very chaotic and stressful. Having a made bed makes it seem that something has actually gone right and is capable of going right in my world. And it is so much better for me to come home to that than the alternative (it may be what I love about hotels).

        • It’s part and parcel of a neat and tidy living space. I fling the covers back to air out while I’m getting ready for work, then make the bed before I leave for the day. It takes less than a minute.

        • For me, there is an ick factor with leaving the bed open all day. I have pets, and while I love them, I do not want their little paws that have been in the litter box/outside all over my sheets. I also am completely grossed out if there are bits of anything in a bed. Making the bed helps prevent bits and at least makes me feel better in my mind about the cleanliness of it. FWIW I do not go to bed in clothes that I have worn throughout the day/been exposed to outside gunk and I wear slippers in the house at all times so (in theory) my feet are cleaner than they would be if I walked around barefoot accumulating bits.

          This makes me sound a bit fanatical, but oh well!

          • Ha – I feel the same way. My fiance still thinks my insistence that no “outside clothes” touch the bed is weird. Like, if I want to take a nap during the day, I’ll put on pajamas or a clean pair of lounge clothes – I won’t take a nap in the shirt I wore to brunch. Totally understand your perspective!

          • It’s actually better with respect to dust mites if you leave the bed unmade and the sheets pulled back. I guess that only applies if you do not have pets. :)

          • Anonymous :

            Ironically, bedding is cleaner if it’s allowed to air out instead of being closed up.

        • Some people are so uptight they can’t sleep without hounding someone else about a nonsense task?

        • I don’t get it either. I never make the bed. It just doesn’t matter to me. Also if my dog jumps up there during the day she pushes the blankets into a pile she can nest in while she naps, which would negate any effort I might have wanted to make anyway. But even if she didn’t do that I probably still wouldn’t make it.

        • +1 I just get into bed when I get home so what’s the point.

        • I never made my bed either growing up. We were also allowed to have dirty dishes on the counter or in the sink for a period of up to 24 hours or until we ran out of a certain type of clean dish. But according to my husband and his family this is completely unacceptable. I did the dishes growing up so they got done once a day, typically when I got home from school. Dishes from the night before would get soaked overnight or rinsed and placed in the dishwasher when we had one. My husband is so horrified by this routine he has taken over dishwashing, but I really wish he spent he time cleaning other things. He gets so much water everywhere our whole kitchen counter needs to be replaced. He’s always standing at the sink hand washing dishes I can barely get anything done in the kitchen. Most of what we have can be put in the dishwasher. It is such a strain on our marriage and others don’t get it because they only wish their husbands would clean something. But mine only focuses on 3 chores he is absolutely OCD over and doesn’t touch anything else. It’s irritating AF.

          • Anonymous :

            That’s so bizarre – why not just put the dishes in the dishwasher?

          • I’m guilty of absolutely hating to unload the DW (my kitchen set up drives me nuts and makes me mad every time I unload…), so there’s not always a spot for them in the DW because it’s full. That, plus dishes are the worst and I hate them so I prolong the process in a completely immature cycle that I’ll never ever break…whew!

    • Good:
      – money stuff– not living beyond your means, how to invest, etc.
      – no hangups about body image
      – being involved in stuff. My mom was a big do-er with volunteer stuff and I am too.
      – being lifetime learners. “Lets look it up” was the answer to any question my mom didn’t know the answer to.

      Not so good:
      – doing “active” things outdoors. I don’t even know what type of outerwear is appropriate when you go outside when the weather is not perfect, because we never did it. I think I would be more likely to go outside when it’s cold or wet if I actually had “active” jackets and mittens or whatever it is you healthy people wear.
      – cooking. We regularly ate cereal for dinner or cheese and crackers. I’m in my mid 30s and am only learning to “cook” because I have a kid of my own now.

      • Are you my sister? :)

        Good – frugal parents, healthy attitudes towards food (grandmother cooked meals, we occasionally had heartily-enjoyed meals out), lifetime learning. My mother was my original role model – she was the first person in her family to attend and work her way through university (in a developing country), and enjoys sparkly baubles but earns and budgets the money to buy them herself.

        Less good:
        – my parents do not cook, or barely do; to this day my sister doesn’t really cook. Luckily, I picked it all up from my grandmother at an early age, and meal planning and cooking is a hobby I enjoy.
        – my mother especially is very cautious and not outdoorsy, and I had to learn all of that when I went to a very outdoorsy rural town for university. (The answer is synthetic base layers, mittens, and…hand warmer packets! Also short jaunts to do small things and gradually build confidence – a couple of day hikes, a few overnights, one multi-day cabin camping trip, a multi-day tent camping and hiking trip, etc.)

      • Good gear is so key to enjoying yourself outdoors. I must have warm hands, or I get SO CRANKY. If you do want to venture outdoors more, I suggest a good quality windproof, waterproof shell with a hood, a few warm base layers (silk or wool are my preferences), and good gloves. All the gloves.

    • Anonymous :

      Financial prudence. My parents were open about things we couldn’t afford and what luxuries we chose to do without for other priorities.

      I can’t think of anything good they didn’t model really!

    • Cornellian :

      I was raised mostly by my mom. She modeled being conscientious and hard working very well. I think growing up in the Presbyterian church sort of solidified that in a Max Weber way.

      We didn’t live a flashy lifestyle, but she never talked about money or retirement or savings. I think she genuinely didn’t understand it or care to find out. She used to dutifully pay the minimum on her credit card each month because she thought of it like any other bill, and I remember asking her about paying for college and her starting to collect box tops as her response. I figured money out, but I wish I had had some modeling of it.

    • Good: picking up after ourselves including putting dishes/silverware in the dishwasher, confining food and drink to the kitchen, empathy and helping others, and no body image issues – my mom is super skinny and neither my sister nor I were, but she never criticized our weight

      Negative: not an active lifestyle, and not eating healthy (both weren’t an issue for my mom because she was naturally very skinny) so I had to figure out exercise and healthy eating on my own in my 20’s

    • anon a mouse :

      Exercise for sure. I went to the gym with my dad before school for years, and when the weather was gross outside he would ride a bike set up on a trainer. I didn’t appreciate until adulthood how making something routine totally normalized it.

      Also, screen time. We very rarely watched television — most evenings were spent reading or doing homework, or my parents working on their hobbies. Television was an “event” usually with popcorn (like the annual TV airing of the Sound of Music). My husband grew up with the television always on. When he travels, I can go days without turning it on.

      • Anonymous :

        Oh, the TV! My husband tries to keep it off from my sake, but it’s been a struggle for him. It’s always on at the in-laws’. Drives me up the wall.

    • Need a cool name :

      I think about what I am modeling for my kid all the time and find these lists really interesting. The hubs and I are conscientious about enjoying the outdoors, healthy eating, active lifestyle, reading, volunteering & community engagement, and church/prayer. We do ok on extended family time (which my parents modeled for me) but it is hard because we are 3 hours away from our closest relatives. We like cooking and playing games so the kid has picked up on those. We are fine on tooth brushing but not so great on making the bed. We are lousy on time with friends, it can take months to find a day for a dinner party.

    • Linda from HR :

      I’m glad they modeled going to the grocery store, and I’m glad I went with them into my late teen and early adult years, because apparently some people my age are overwhelmed with the idea of buying their own food. My experience going with my parents, and helping them gather the food into the cart, helped me see that grocery shopping is no big deal.

      Going along with that, my mom really emphasized the importance of using coupons and buying things on sale.

      I think the same goes for making home-cooked meals often – cooking meat rather than heating up pre-cooked meat, and ensuring that every meal included carbohydrates and vegetables. When I started handling my own lunches on the weekend (as a teen) they would actually say things like “where’s your protein” or “just meat and veggies? you need some carbs, did you see we have that bread you like?”

    • Positive: Serving balanced dinners with all the food groups. (Granted, “balanced” has changed over the years, but I’ve noticed that I feel like something is missing when there’s no green on the plate, and my husband doesn’t.) Financial prudence/living within their means.

      Negative: This isn’t quite a negative, but my parents exercised formally and even ran marathons for a while, but they were not otherwise active and did not spend much time outdoors. As I’ve figured out what works for me, everyday activity is easier and more effective than formal exercise (more effective mostly because I can’t bring myself to do formal exercise, except occasional yoga).

    • My mom (even now at 72) is sort of like a college freshman – “woohoo! there’s nobody telling me what to do!” – so she modeled lots of less than ideal behaviors. (She’s super sweet, not a mean bone in her body, but a college freshman does not an ideal parent make.) My Greatest Generation grandparents were really the people who shaped me.

      Mom: sleeping til noon, zoning out to TV, eating junk food as meals, spending money you didn’t have

      Grandparents: making the bed, keeping a tidy home, living within your means (some of my fondest memories are of clipping grocery coupons with my grandfather when I was little), going to church

      Things no one modeled that I’ve picked up as an adult (and it’s taken some work): getting outdoors, making the effort to maintain friendships, regular exercise

      I learned about volunteering and morals (lying, cheating, etc) at school where they really emphasized doing what’s right.

    • I feel like my parents did several “good” things for my brothers and I, but I don’t necessarily model them now.

      Good – exercise, time outdoors (mostly playing golf – they played 3+ times a week), traveling, being financially responsible, cleaning up after ourselves, both parents cooking, generally cooking instead of eating out (I honestly didn’t know until college that there were people whose parents didn’t know how to cook).

      Maybe it’s because both my husband and I work and are lawyers, so it’s a different idea of “vacation” but we don’t really travel now or spend “active” time outdoors. I grew up hiking a lot as a kid, but don’t really do that now. I think that’s in part because I live in a city now and grew up in a rural area. We exercise, but it’s reallllly hard to be motivated to that.

      We are very good about cooking, cleaning, and being financially responsible.

    • Good: my mom is an excellent cook and always made dinners from scratch; they weren’t fancy dinners, but we never ate anything out of a box or can. Always had fresh produce and good quality food. She taught me a lot about cooking and the value of quality ingredients.

      Bad: Their spending habits, which is something I inherited unfortunately.

    • On paper my parents modeled a lot of good behavior. Very little screen time, staying active, making a point of eating dinner together as a family, relatively good nutrition, keeping a clean house, etc.

      But my mom has always been extremely impatient and impulsive, particularly with her spending habits, and I definitely picked those habits of behavior up from her. I’m definitely not as profligate with my spending as she was growing up, but I’m not as frugal as I could/should be either. My SO is the _least_ impulsive person ever and the contrast in our approaches to decision making since we’ve been together has really highlighted for me how much of that I picked up from her. I’m working on curbing it … with mixed success.

      My parents also had a completely terrible relationship for most of my life, with lots of screaming fights and being terrible to each other. I had to do a lot of work in my 20’s to change my ingrained responses to hurt feelings and anger to stop lashing out irrationally and entirely out of proportion to the offense after growing up around people who processed their hurt feelings and anger that way.

      • +1 to your last paragraph.

        I woke up to screaming fights between my parents from about age 8-13. They were pretty cold to each other other than that. (PSA: Don’t stay married for the kids. It’s not helping them. They know.) I destroyed my first long term relationship in college with someone that I loved because I had these warped ideas about how people behaved in relationships and no ability to cope with my anger. Knowing what I know now, I feel sick to my stomach and so remorseful thinking of how much needless pain I put myself and my SO through. (He wasn’t perfect, but still.) I feel like I shot myself in the foot and ruined my best shot at love and I really, really hope he’s managed to move on to a healthier place.

    • Baconpancakes :

      My mother modeled kindness above all else. She has a mischievous streak a mile wide, but she always considered whether her actions could hurt someone, and was careful to avoid even accidental cruelty or exclusion. I am incredibly grateful to her for that, because I feel my sense of empathy is so much deeper than many people’s, and it makes me a better person. She taught me to never lie to a pet or a child, because they wouldn’t understand. And she modeled taking pride in your surroundings and yourself, keeping yourself clean and neat even if you didn’t have “nice” things or expensive clothes. She modeled frugality and living below your means but never feeling poor or deprived. She modeled bringing a sense of adventure to every day, and being open to new experiences, new friends, new foods and places and thoughts. She modeled loving the world and the great outdoors.

      I wish she’d modeled better moderation and a healthier relationship with food and exercise, but she did a lot better than my grandparents did. I also wish she’d modeled better boundary setting, and healthier trust and give-and-take in romantic relationships.

    • I get the comment that I’m well put together/good at adulting (ha!) which I think is a large function of the behaviors my parents modeled:
      -Cooking: I adore grocery shopping and am good at keeping my food budget low through pre-planning (my mom and I would clip coupons together, meal plan, and make a shopping list). My parents did a good job of making sure all meals were well balanced (we always had a protein and at least 2 veggies). We ate some processed food, but usually for convenience (chips in a school lunch). Thanks to this, I don’t find eating well intimidating.
      -Cleaning: I thought my mom’s methods of cleaning were crazy as a kid. For example, sweeping and then mopping? Wiping down baseboards – who even looks at them? But as an adult I’m thankful for all the tips I picked up.
      -Home maintenance: My dad encouraged me to follow him around the house as he did repairs. I can fix a faucet, hang drywall, pull out carpeting, and replace a sprinkler head. I’m still afraid of doing my own electrical work, but feel confident talking to contractors and doing my own simple repairs.
      -Caring for others: My parents did a good job of modeling the importance of being active in the community/volunteering/helping those less fortunate.

      Things I wish they had modeled more:
      -Maintaining friendships: It took some time for me to realize how important this is, especially as I’ve moved a lot as an adult. I’m still not very good at it although my fiance has done a great job of gently nudging me to stay in touch with friends.
      -Exercise: My parents were insistent I was involved in team sports, but I had no model for staying active on my own.
      -Going to church regularly: We went a few times a year growing up, so I struggle with navigating being part of a congregation (even though I attend weekly services as an adult).
      -Having personal hobbies: My parents lives revolved around their kids (which I appreciate!), but as a result I feel guilty about pursuing a hobby that’s purely for myself.

    • Mary Ann Singleton :

      Yep, definitely. Raised by single mom.
      What stuck: active lifestyle and exercise, travel, interest in lifelong learning and development, financial insecurity and fear, dislike of sailing, love of horses and other animals.
      What didn’t stick: no sugar/candy, excellent cook (why did I not learn more from her?), work ethic and motivation.

    • Positive:
      Spending within your means and saving the extra
      Active lifestyle
      Outdoorsy spirit (lots of camping and hiking)

      I have a hard time managing clutter in my house, which I think stems from the “normalcy” of my messy home growing up

    • What a great thread.

      Good behaviors they modeled:

      Frugality. Saving for retirement. Opening an IRA as a teenager.
      Eating a homemade balanced and healthy dinner, together, every night.
      Working Mom
      Non-judgmental. Valued important things, and let the rest go.

      Things I missed….

      Learned nothing about how to do basic home/car maintenance. Wish I knew more practical things.
      Learning how to cook. I learned how to get supper started, but not much skill.

      And my parents had a terrible marriage full of unhappiness and I was scared all the time. My father attempted suicide, and neither of my parents got medical treatment for mental illness. Now I am a very anxious adult, likely as a result. I decided as a child I would never marry, And I have never had a relationship.

  5. This is gorgeous.
    I’m looking for a new table and nothing in the “usual” stores seems to be right. I feel a bit like Goldilocks – everything is either too big or too small. Where do you guys shop for furniture?

    • I replied to your thread on this the other day, but I was in a hurry and way overstated the price. White on White has lovely NYC-sized dining table for $1000-$1500ish (not $12-15K!). I also have friends who got a great table at From the Source.

      If you’re open to vintage, Baxter & Liebchen has lovely pieces in excellent condition, but you’ll pay for it. Repop is reliable for nice pieces at reasonable prices, and Furnish Green has hit or miss quality at great prices.

      • Thanks! I thought that one got lost in the internet ether so didn’t realize there were responses. I’ll look into those.

    • You can get custom sizes on some tables at Room and Board. Their furniture is American made and top notch in terms of quality and the price is still somewhat reasonable given those two factors.

    • Every piece of wood furniture in my home is second-hand. 1) It’s good for the environment, 2) You get high quality for reasonable prices, 3) You have a million styles available to you, not just whatever’s in stores at the moment.

      Check consignment stores, antique stores, Goodwill, flea markets, and Craigslist.

      • I would LOVE a second hand piece. The proportions would actually work a lot better for me than new furniture, but I haven’t had any luck yet. I check daily though and will keep trying.

        • Delta Dawn :

          My area has largely switched to facebook marketplace rather than Craigslist. I used to go to Craigslist first for these types of things, but the selection has really gone down lately– I realized that people are posting on facebook marketplace instead. Have you tried there?

          • Gail the Goldfish :

            And in my area, a lot of people post things on NextDoor, so you might try joining that, as well.

    • anon a mouse :

      If there is a Nadeau near you, they have interesting table tops that you can pair with legs of your choosing. Their web site is terrible though – you have to go in person.

    • Ive had good luck getting things made by people advertising on Craigslist – just had a custom dining table built for around $500 and it’s all wood and came out lovely, and a fire pit made too. In SF there’s a delivery company called Lugg that will pick up CL items, but I’m sure you could find someone similar in NY – the makers usually have people they use.

    • Shaker Workshops, Amish furniture stores, Pine and Main, and local custom etsy carpenters.

    • Cost Plus / World Market has the best tables and chairs

  6. Anonymous :

    What’s your go-to “meal” when you don’t want to cook?

    • Cereal or chips and salsa haha

    • Hummus with veggies and pretzels, usually with some cheese and/or fruit

    • Spaghetti with hot dogs. That’s spaghetti with hot dogs in the sauce, not on the side.

    • Right now it’s a baguette with brie and sliced cucumbers and tomatoes.
      But, when I am being less indulgent, it’s usually a Trader Joe’s roasted veggie frozen lasagna or “beans and greens” with a fried egg on top, which comes together in 5 minutes and hardly counts as cooking (basically, I cook a bag of prewashed spinach with a can of cannellini beans in a bit of garlic and then top with an egg, all in one pan).

      • Anon in NYC :

        Oooh, beans and greens with a fried egg sounds like something I need in my life.

        • Shopaholic :

          +1 – this is so perfect and easy. I need to be better about go-to healthy meals when I don’t have anything else prepared.

      • Linda from HR :

        Yup, I love brie with bread, or crackers if I don’t have bread, with some raw veggies.

    • Anonymous :

      Takeout like any normal American!

    • I always keep a bag of frozen spinach and cheese ravioli in the freezer. Quick boil, throw some pasta sauce on it. My mom would always buy them from Costco, and I’ve been eating them since I was five.

    • Anonymous :

      Eggs on toast

      • +1

        If I have a little more time I cube 1/2 a potato and maybe some onions, maybe some pepper, maybe slice up a chicken apple sausage and make a little hash-like sauté. I like an over medium egg on top of this but you could also scramble an egg into it. If going the scrambled route you might add some cheese and serve with salsa

        Or scramble an egg, warm a tortilla and wrap it up. Cheese optional. I sincerely like the canned salsa in the little cans (Herdez brand, don’t know if that’s regional) so I always have salsa on hand.

    • In the colder months, I’ve been known to make a mug of hot chocolate and eat graham crackers with peanut butter for dinner. It’s incredibly cozy and comforting.
      With temps in the 90s right now, I typically just cut up whatever produce in my fridge can be eaten raw and call it dinner.

    • JuniorMinion :

      A couple of the trader joe’s frozen meals (trader ming’s mushroom chicken, mojito salmon one or two others) that have good macros / minimal added sugar or breakfast for dinner (eggs, veg, sweet potato / squash, little cheese)

    • Frozen thin crust Newmans Own pizza.

    • Anonymous :


    • This weekend, I had a sprinkling of mixed roasted nuts, a mini brie wheel from TJ, a huge fig, and some little salami meat sticks (…also from TJ) for a meal. Plopped it all on a fun patterned app plate and felt damn fancy.

    • If its just me, cheese/crackers/fruit. Done!
      If I don’t want to cook but need to still feed my family I usually season a pork loin from Trader Joes with salt/pepper/paprika/garlic and pop it in the oven in a aast iron skillet, along with cut up broccoli on s sheet pan with olive oil/salt/pepper. Its all done in about 30/35 minutes at 375, totally hands off.
      We also keep 2-3 frozen pork loins on hand at all times because its one of the few easy things my husband and son both like/eat leftovers of.

    • Flats Only :

      Four beers and a chili mac from the local chili parlor.

    • “Toothpick supper ‘ – turkey or ham cubes, cheese cubes, cherry tomatoes and carrot chips with dip, cornichons or other pickles, olives,some crackers or pita triangles, and grapes or berries. Sometimes we do it in front of the tv and call it picnicking.

    • Need a cool name :

      We do “French night” because it is how we ate at a rented house in France. Baguette, selection of cheeses, olives, salad or vegetable crudite, maybe some smoked fish or cured meats. And wine.

    • Honestly, I love bread so much, sometimes I just have bread and butter. Even if there’s better stuff in the fridge to eat.

    • Sloan Sabbith :


      Or, at home, two toaster waffles with whipped peanut butter, apples, honey, and cinnamon with a handful of macrona almonds on the side.

      • Mine isn’t as fancy, but we do frozen waffles with peanut/sun butter too. I tried some toast with cream cheese, pear slices, and honey, and my kids looked at me like I had 3 heads, but I thought it was good.

    • Quesadillas or cereal.

    • One of those pre-made salad kits and some beans from a can. Or one of those frozen vegetable steamer bags and a couple of scrambled eggs.

    • Peanut butter sandwich. That’s usually what I have for lunch on weekends, and sometimes I have one for dinner too.

    • A really good cheese and some apples.

    • Nachos with baked corn chips or Beanitos chips. We usually have leftover chicken around (we eat a lot of chicken) and we’ll throw that, some beans, and some cheese on the chips and then add lettuce, tomato, salsa and some sour cream when they come out of the oven.

    • Ramen with an egg in it or a takeout order from our favorite sushi restaurant. If I’m alone, a smoothie made with orange juice, vanilla soy milk, and frozen banana and mango, or just toast and hot tea.

    • Egg burrito or one egg omelette.

    • BodenLover :

      Sourdough bread, toasted with hummus and sliced tomatoes. Yummm

  7. Office Fridge :

    I may be overthinking this, but is it too much to keep a french press in the office fridge? My office has a coffee pot governed by some fairly nuanced etiquette (only 2 people use it and they only use it when they both want coffee except for the rare occasion when one of them makes a pot and offers it to the whole office) so I’d like to stay out of that, and I prefer cold coffee in general. I realize this is a KYO situation, but in your experience, how would people react to a personal french press in a communal fridge?

    • Anonymous :

      In my office, no one would notice who it belongs to, so I don’t think it’d be a big deal.

    • Anonymous :

      DH uses a french press at his office and I would too if I didn’t have access to a K-cup machine. He uses a single serving size one so there isn’t a half empty french press on the counter. Totally confused about why the french press might need to go into the fridge? Are you cooling the coffee for iced coffee?

      • Office Fridge :

        Yes, to iced coffee. My thought was that I could set it up before I leave in the evening, then have cold brew ready when I got to work in the morning.
        I suppose I could also do this at home and bring the coffee in every day. But keeping everything in the office would be easier!

        • You could also do this and avoid the French press altogether: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/27/dining/276drex.html

          I love French press coffee but I think for iced coffee this is better and to the extent anyone would question a French press in the office fridge, I feel like you’d have less of an issue with just a big mason jar.

        • Anonymous :

          In my office would depend on how big it is and how much room it takes up in the fridge, and that’s all.

        • Anonymous :

          I used to do this at home, though I just left it on the counter overnight. Then I took it to work in a thermos/water bottle. Now I do cold press on the weekend, which makes enough for a week or even two, and bring a large bottle in to the office and leave it there. I know people already comment on my distaste for things like the common office coffee and the salt and pepper on the lunch table, so this is a little less obvious.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I hope not – I just ordered a cold-brew maker and plan to start bringing a jug of cold coffee to keep in the fridge. I say go for it, especially since the coffee politics seem to be pretty touchy.

    • Anonymous :

      In my office, our communal coffee pot is huge, so there is pressure on the afternoon coffee drinkers to bring in a single-serving alternative.

      We thought the new department head’s machine in her corner office was strange, but only because it sounded like she was being abducted by aliens while she set it up ;). Beeps, mechanical voice recording, hissing steam, and occasionally she would scream when the it burned her.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I think a personal french press is a little strange just because I don’t associate it with cold coffee — will you brew it hot and then let it cool and then refrigerate overnight? But a coolbrew thing or just a jar of cold brewed concentrate, why not?

    • Christine :

      I don’t think people will think it is weird, but consider cleanup. I used to keep a French press and water kettle in my office, but cleaning the grounds out was difficult. I switched to a pour-over, which doesn’t help you for iced coffee, but is so much cleaner.

    • If you work in my office, our communal fridge is so full everything gets shoved around when anything new is added, so your French press would get knocked over and spill. Can you decant it into a container with a secure lid?

  8. Anonymous :

    I don’t get my hair done often because I find the sinks at hair salons to be very uncomfortable. (I’ll have pain in my neck for a few days.) For anyone with this issue, have you found a way to overcome it?

    • Find a salon that does dry cuts, so you can wash your hair at home beforehand

      • At every dry-cut salon I’ve ever been to (probably half a dozen), they cut my hair dry first, wash it, and then clean up any stray curls. So that wouldn’t fix the OP’s neck problem.

      • Oh interesting! I went to one for a while that didn’t wash at all – I would come in pre-washed and they’d just cut and apply product.

    • Anonymous :

      You could probably just ask them to spritz your hair with water instead. That’s what they do at the barbershop that cuts my sons’ hair — I don’t see why it wouldn’t work at a salon. Funny, though, because I looove laying back and getting my hair washed in those things — it’s my favorite part of the experience!

    • Anonymous :

      They’re adjustable, have you tried asking to have it adjusted?

    • Anonymous :

      I read about someone having a stroke using one of those sinks so now I usually show up with wet hair to get a haircut.

    • Thanks guys! I have an injury, and adjusting the sink would be unlikely to help. I love the idea of washing my hair beforehand and coming with wet hair. I think that’s realistic.

      I’m also interested in changing my hair color. Does anyone know if balayage is done at the sink, or if it’s done sitting up? (I want something that won’t be too high maintenance when roots grow in. I don’t know much about hair color, so other suggestions would be welcome!)

      • That was OP

      • The painting of the highlights is done sitting up but you do have to go back to the sink for them to apply toner and then wash it out.

      • If you are doing color, you would need it to be washed out. Have you called and explained that due to your injury you can’t be set back in the sinks to see if they have a solution? I would imagine they would want to accommodate you if possible to get your business.

        • Do you have a hair salon already? If you’re wanting color (so you have to have your hair washed there), could you look for a salon that is attached to a spa? Maybe they would let you use the showers and rinse your hair yourself.

    • I ask for another towel to fold up under my head.

      • Constant Reader :

        +1 and I take some advil beforehand as a muscle relaxant. Color will require a washing — but you might ask if you could bend forward for the rinse instead of sitting down. Most of the time they have flexible hoses that could work that way.

        • Anon in MN :

          At Juut salons in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, they use custom-designed sinks where you recline horizontally on a padded table (sort of like a massage table). There’s a small ridge that keeps the water they run through your hair from getting your body wet. The part your head rests on is stainless steel and flat. This emininates the need to contort your neck.

  9. Talk to me about bedbugs :

    This was a terrible weekend- on Saturday I discovered a bedbug in my bed, and realized that the welts I had been getting were not mosquito bites or poison ivy, but bedbug bites. We were able to get someone in to inspect and treat that same day, but I am now driving myself crazy with thinking of well, what if they missed this place? what if there were eggs left alive? etc. The inspector was pretty casual about our situation- he said he has seen much worse, he found exactly one adult bug other than the one we found and no signs of infestation, we clearly caught it very early (thanks to just happening to find that one bug). Son’s daycare was treated for bedbugs about a month ago (although they also said they had no signs of infestation), and extended family, including us, recently rented a group house at the beach- he said they could have come from either of these places but there is really no way to know. I am trying to be thankful that it was caught early, the inspector seemed to know what he was doing, and I am the only one who got bit, not the baby. But how can I not drive myself crazy thinking they are back?

    Advice from those who have dealt with this? Talk me out of just burning our house down? I would particularly love to hear from anyone who was able to successfully get rid of them after one treatment, which is what I am desperately hoping will happen.

    • Anonymous :

      1+ to burning your house down.I jest…kind of. Honestly, treatment can be very effective, but it has to get into every seam or join of the furniture and walls, between every shhet of paper. Your exterminator sounds incompetent.

      On the more comforting side, bedbugs have (last I checked a couple years ago) not been shown to carry any human diseases.

    • Anonymous :

      I lived in an apartment some years ago an experienced a bedbug infestation there. The bedbugs came from the apartment across the hall. As I recall, the landlord had my apartment bug bombed about two or three times. (More frequently than you, I assume, because there were several units affected.) I was also advised to encase my mattress and rewash all my clothes. I never had an issue after that.

      If it helps, I would trust that the inspector knows what he’s doing. It would be in his financial interest to sell you more treatment, so if he’s not doing so, he must think it unnecessary.

      Good luck!

    • lost academic :

      My husband had the exact reaction when we had 2 cats with flea bites. He finally started reading about it and just about lost his mind. (I, as a child, had lived in a house that had a MASSIVE flea infestation when we moved in and was pretty calm about being able to resolve it.) Of course fleas and bedbugs aren’t the same, but you’ve almost certainly just carried one of them in and you’re not at the infestation level. Trust your pest control folks.

    • I had bedbugs in an apartment a few years ago. I was getting bites in bed over a few days, got scared that i had bed bugs, inspected my bed and found a live one between the mattress and box spring. My landlord called out an exterminator who said I also had a light infestation. Not sure the exact treatment you had, but I had some type of chemical treatment. I had to empty all drawers in my bedroom so they could treat in the cracks/seams of anywhere a bug could be hiding. Heat also kills bed bugs, so I washed/dryed all of my clothes and kept everything clean in those huge zip lock bags. I needed a secondary treatment to get rid of everything. From what I’ve read online – this is very common. I would recommend buying food grade Diatomaceous Earth and Bed Bug interceptors (both sold on amazon). Both will help give you some peace of mind. Let me know if you have any other questions…..sorry you are going through this!!

    • I had a similar situation to you a year or so ago. I completely lost my sh*t and lived with everything I owned in vacuum-sealed bags for a solid three months, and heat-treated a lot of things that probably should not have gone through the high-heat cycle in the dryer.

      But honestly, once I came down from the hysteria–the exterminator said that bed bugs are extremely good at hitchhiking, and that it wasn’t unusual for someone to pick up a couple from anywhere from a school to a movie theater to a friend’s house to just…their lived environment. Kids and pets up the risk level. As long as you catch it early, which it sounds like you did, and follow the exterminator’s protocol, you’re probably fine. And the good news is that you know what your skin reaction looks like now, so if they ever pop up again, you’ll be able to catch it even earlier.

    • Flats Only :

      Remain calm! We had bedbugs last year after DH and I both traveled in the same week. Not sure if they came from San Francisco or London! We washed our sheets and comforter, replaced the mattress pads, vacuumed the mattress carefully, and cleaned our luggage thoroughly inside and out with wipes and vacuuming. This took care of the issue. No need for an exterminator.

    • Exterminating HR :

      Bed bugs are very treatable, but “one treatment” would really depend on what you have chose for the treatment protocol. Thermal (heat) is the most reliable and the most expensive, but you don’t have to do much prep work. treatment with cryonite or chemicals do work, but there is a lot of prep work- emptying drawers & closets, cleaning all clothes in the room, and we automatically schedule a follow up for 1 week later, so there not a guarantee after 1 service.

      Don’t burn the house down, but for peace of mind, have the other rooms inspected.

      • Talk to me about bedbugs :

        Thanks! I really appreciate all the replies so far. I called and spoke to the office this morning and scheduled a follow-up inspection in 4 weeks just for peace of mind. They were very nice about it. It was a heat treatment on Saturday with some chemical (diatonomous earth sprinkled around baseboards, etc). I was surprised by how less invasive? with such little prep work it was because while this is my first time with actual bedbugs and bites, it is my third time living somewhere that has been treated- college dorm and apt building in the past, and both times I remember extremely harsh chemicals being used. So I appreciate your comment about how heat is the most reliable, because I was worried that maybe we did need the harsh chemicals.

        Exterminating HR, just out of curiosity, I asked the tech if he was paranoid about bringing bedbugs home, he was like, um yes I am. He said that while he never had, some of the guys in their office had. Have you dealt with them, or have strict office protocols?

    • Spirograph :

      We had what I think were bedbugs earlier this year — very minor infestation, we only saw one actual bug and identified a couple spots on our mattress, but my husband and I both kept getting bites. I went full DIY shock-and-awe, but we didn’t do a professional treatment. Instead, we
      1. Vacuumed the entire mattress and bedframe, then immediately put the mattress in an encasement cover. It’s still on there, apparently bedbugs can take a year + to die without food
      2. Put “interceptors” under the legs of our bed and the bed in the room across the hall. We never found any bugs in these, and I removed them a couple weeks ago after about 6 months.
      3. Washed all bedding, including everything in the linen closet with hot water and ran it through the dryer twice on high.
      4. Took everything out of our dresser, put the clothes in the dryer on high, and vacuumed the insides of the drawers.
      5. Took everything off/out of our nightstands and put it in giant ziplock bags. I put books in the freezer for a week, and a lot of the other stuff that I don’t need regularly is still in the bags under my bed.
      6. Vacuumed all the couch cushions, removed covers from them (for the couch that this is possible) and put in the dryer on hot. The cushions are foam, which apparently is inhospitable to bedbugs, so I’m not too worried about that.
      7. Thoroughly vacuumed (upside down and right-side up) the rugs in our bedroom and the other bedroom, and the baseboards in both.

      It was a lot of work, but that took care of it. My understanding is you have to do basically the same stuff to prep for professional treatment, so it’s worth doing everything and then waiting to see if it resolves the issue before you spend the money on bringing in the pros.

    • Just another positive bedbug story – we found a few larvae in our bed and I had bites all over my body (which I had assumed for a long time were mosquito bites since it was summer and I spend a lot of time outdoors in the evenings). We didn’t see evidence of a massive infestation – no adult bugs, no blood spots on anything – but our exterminators said they found a lot of bugs hiding out in the walls.
      We did a heat treatment of our master bedroom and closet. We did not treat any other rooms in the house and because all our clothes stayed in the room for the treatment, we didn’t have to wash, vacuum or bag anything. We left our cars in the hot sun for a day so anything in them was killed, although our exterminator said this was probably overkill and bed bugs really only hang out where you sleep, so they wouldn’t be living in our car. The treatment of our house cost about $1000 (we successfully obtained reimbursement from the hotel where we picked them up) and it’s been several years and we’ve never had a recurrence. Finding out we had them was so stressful but the actual treatment itself was so easy and because we opted for the more expensive heat treatment, it ended up being basically no work for us (beyond nagging the hotel for the reimbursement).

    • I had a similar situation — found bedbugs, called exterminator, was informed that it was an extremely minor case and that a single treatment would solve it. The exterminator was extraordinarily prompt and thorough. I ended up moving for unrelated reasons six months later (new job), but I didn’t spot a single additional bug while I was there.

      In my experience, dealing with the infestation was MUCH easier than dealing with the psychological effects of the infestation. It was hard to shake irrational feelings of uncleanness and I didn’t even feel comfortable at first back in my own bed. I highly recommend getting climb-up interceptors and diatomaceous earth. The earth is nice because you can sprinkle it in the corners near the walls and under your bed. The interceptors are helpful for both bedbug interception but really for psychological reasons — I would check them every other day or so, saw nothing, and would feel reassured. I think I also switched to a light bedspread, to make it easier to spot blood or tiny bedbugs (similar effect as the interceptors, this mainly just gave me peace of mind when I kept seeing nothing, day after day).

      Good luck! This is a really annoying thing to deal with, but you will be fine.

  10. Colleague Gift Advice :

    A colleague I work with has been dealing with a family member’s health issues lately (she’s had to work remotely from the hospital on and off the last few weeks). I wanted to get her something small as a pick me up gift. She’s a rockstar and has balanced her normal workload on the projects we share seamlessly despite all of this.

    Would you do a Starbucks giftcard or something in this scenario? I basically am looking for something that conveys “hey, sorry things are rough right now, take care of yourself and look forward to everything being back to normal soon.”

    • Anonymous :

      I’m your coworker (hope my team thinks I’m a rockstar!). . . I’d love a little gift card (see if it will work at the hospital’s coffee stand – in my case it’s a Starbucks), someone to check in every couple days, or an amazon gift card to watch movies or a TV show if she’s into that (there is a lot of downtime). A little fun pair of socks would be great too. If you’re close enough, you could meet her for a walk or a little getaway for dinner. . . I’m indebted to the colleague who did that for me recently.

    • I probably would, but I am very close to my coworkers. A Starbucks card or something like a gift cert for a manicure would be very thoughtful!

    • Starbucks card with a little note telling her to treat herself.
      Although, one of the most thoughtful gifts I ever got during a similar time was actually a chick-fil-a gift card. I love chick-fil-a and don’t let myself eat it often, but in this situation my friend knew I needed “permission” to eat chicken nuggets and a milkshake for dinner when I was stuck crying in my car from everything that was going on.

      • A similar idea would be a gift card from a grocery store or deli that has great prepared meals to take home and heat up.

      • Colleague Gift Advice :

        Great idea. Coincidentally, Chick-fil-a was my comfort food when my mom was in the hospital years ago – I swear those breaks to go grab a sandwich and milkshake kept me sane!

  11. A few weeks back, posters were asking about shelf bras – the non-fancy, slightly stretchy cotton kind many of us wore to sleep in. I was at Kohl’s yesterday and saw a few that might fit the bill, particularly one by Fruit of the Loom. (I didn’t know they sold FOTL at Kohl’s, actually. It was labeled as a sports bra, and was on display in the middle of an aisle, but there is no way it would provide any athletic support whatsoever.) So stop in and give Kohl’s a visit.

  12. Anonimouse :

    Slight panicky vent. Had my first mammogram last week, was told being called in for a follow up is common. Was called in for a follow up and now going back for a biopsy in a few days. Odds are still good that it’s nothing, but literally EVERY female in my family has had at least one form of the C word, and every female on my mother’s side has had br#@st C word. (I’m not saying it. Because it’s nothing. Nope.) I’m 41, have two older (adult) kids and a toddler. I cannot leave them.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Sending you good thoughts.

    • Prayers and good thoughts for you.

      Once you get through this scare, find a bre*st specialist who can assess your risk in light of your family history, any genetic factors, bre*st density, and lifestyle factors, and recommend a plan of screening and/or preventative treatment.

    • This was exactly my experience with my first mammogram, and it turned out to be nothing.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Good luck. Hugs.

    • It’s statistically highly likely to be a benign cyst or something similar. A lot of women have dense or “lumpy” (heh) breasts, and when the doctor finds a common cyst it’s always better for the peace of mind to have the biopsy. I had the same thing at a regular checkup a couple of years ago – had a biopsy (minimal pain, nothing bad), was relieved. It was very stressful in the meanwhile, however. Sending good thoughts!

  13. Power Flats :

    I’m looking for black power flats, meaning no round toe, no ballet flat of any kind, has to have structure, a small heel even, etc. I would also prefer them to be plain so no rhinestones or embellishment either. Any suggestions?

    • Allow me to introduce you to the Rockport Adelyn flat.

    • Cole Haan dellora skimmer

      • What is the fit like on those? Do they run TTS? They look EXACTLY like what I’ve been looking for!

        • JinSeattle :

          I have the Dellora in leopard. Haven’t really broken them in yet and they’re stiff, tbh. But, they look great. And may be more flexible if you get them in leather. For a similar shape, I like the Audra Loader Flat from MeToo. I have the black.

    • Everlane modern point or modern smoking loafer.

    • M. Gemi stellato.

      They stretch out though, so my verdict on them is still out.

      • +1, I don’t personally own these but I’ve seen attorneys wearing them in court and they look great (and I want a pair).

    • I swear by Clarks Corabeth Abby. They are structured and hold up brilliantly. Work well with dresses and pants.

    • I really like the Ecco Shape Pointy Ballerina. I tried the Rockport Adelyn and the Cole Haan Heidy, which look near-identical, but they didn’t fit me well.

      • Anony Mouse :

        Despite being someone who hates “toe cleavage,” the Ecco Shape struck me as a little frumpy. Other opinions?

  14. Look like a mombie :

    I need help covering up my dark circles and undereye bags. I have kids and am always sleep deprived. Sick of getting the “you look tired” comments. I tried some great concealors that work but seem to accentuate undereye lines/make skim look crepey (MAC studio finish, tarte).

    Where is the best place to go to get help? Sephora for better makeup recs or do I need skincare? Has anyone tried juvederm/restylane undereye injections for this?

    • Haven’t tried injections but having a similar issue. One thing I find that helps is a light reflecting eye cream – both under and over the concealer. I like Origins Eye Zing. For the over, I use a teeny tiny amount and pat super gently but it helps avoid the lined look.
      For special occasions, I use a lifting mask (Lierac) as an eye cream. Let dry for ten min. and my bags mostly disappear.

    • Veronica Mars :

      Nars creamy concealer is the gold standard for this. Make sure to set it with a light-reflecting powder (either Laura Mercier’s secret brightening powder or Nar’s light reflecting pressed powder), and you’ll be all set. Touche Eclat from YSL is also a good option if you’re just looking for brightening and you don’t need color correction. Maybelline also makes a dupe of the YSL, it’s a dream lumi pen, I think. This is my struggle too.

      • Anon in NYC :

        This is basically what I do. Nars creamy concealer and YSL touche eclat (although I don’t see a huge benefit to this so I’m not sure that I will re-buy it because it’s expensive).

        • Veronica Mars :

          Are you putting it under the nars? If so, it does work to have a thinner liquid concealer as a base, but it doesn’t need to be Touche Eclat (the maybelline would be much cheaper). Wayne Goss did a video on why this works.

          • Anon in NYC :

            I do the nars first, and then the touche eclat on top. I just don’t see a noticeable difference, so I think I’m going to try a different product when my stash runs out.

    • Puffiness: Origins Ginzing eye cream

      Dark circles: Maybelline Age Rewind concealer

    • My personal opinion (which many people disagree with): I think almost everyone looks better with their natural dark circles/bags, and that attempts to cover them up make the problem worse. (The exception is that concealer and other cover-ups can look amazing in photos – I just think they look fake in person). I find it much more effective to keep the under-eye area moisturized and healthy, and then to fight the “you look tired” comments by upping my game in other areas: not going too long between haircuts, not getting lazy about my clothes (in terms of style, fit, upkeep, etc), and of course, trying to prioritize sleep to the extent possible.

      • I agree. Some signs of aging make people noticeably less attractive but dark circles isn’t one of them.

      • I agree, especially the part about the concealing working in photos but not real life.

      • Agreed. Also, add something else to your face for definition/focus – whether it’s your eyebrows, eyeliner, blush, and/or lipstick. You may need color/definition somewhere else to look “awake”.

      • Anonymous :

        I disagree!

    • I have dark under eye circles. Staying hydrated is the most effective thing I can do (and the hardest). Keeping that area extra moisturized also helps. I use the YSL Touche Eclat and like it a lot.

      • Look like a mombie :

        For those that go the non-makeup route what moisturizer do you use?

        • I don’t wear make up on the weekend and still like the origins ginzing eye cream. the light reflecting particles still help to make the whole area look fresher and it has a bit of caffeine to help with puffiness. My weekend routine is basically that and a tinted lip balm.

        • Delta Dawn :

          I asked this question here a couple of weeks ago and got several recommendations for eye serums with caffeine– for swelling, but not for the dark circles. I ordered a caffeine serum from The Ordinary. I’ve been using it about a week and can tell a difference in that there is less swelling.

          • I think the consensus is that the TO caffeine serum isn’t good for the elasticity of the undereye.

        • My favorites are the Bobbi Brown Extra Eye Repair Cream and a Kiehl’s one that my mom has put in my stocking a few times. Right now I’m using the Neutrogena Hydro-boost gel cream because it’s in my budget ($20), and it’s pretty good.

    • anon a mouse :

      Urban Decay makes a skin color correcting fluid that is great for me. It looks like a concealer but it corrects for the bluish tint to my dark circles. There are a few different shades – you could test them at a Sephora or Ulta.

    • I have dealt with his all my life. best tip I have is, whatever concealer you use ( i like erase paste) make sure to put extra in the inner corners of your eyes/side of your nose. It makes a much bigger difference than what you put underneath. Also, I only really wear contact lenses and makeup for special occasions and the rest of the time I wear glasses. I feel the particular shape of my glasses minimizes/disguises the dark circles more than anything else.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Bobbi Brown creamy concealer, a bit of Mineral Veil, then Shy Beam from Benefit. It’s a “matte highlighter” which makes no sense but works beautifully.

    • Laura Mercier secret concealer works for me. The brightener/ setting powder that’s sold to go with it, did not work for me- it got crepey and shiny, so agree everyone is different! The concealer itself is creamy and seems to have a lot of pigment so a little goes a long way. I like a no-makeup look, but going without concealer makes me look like I have two black eyes :(

    • No advice but I’m following to see if anyone reports on Restylane/Juvederm for this. I have hollows under the eyes that have developed with aging.

    • I’ve had Voluma injected twice now (very similar to Juvederm, but lasts longer, though it can be more finicky to inject). On my very pale skin it has been pretty miraculous – I constantly looked tired/ill without makeup, and I’m so fair that nearly any concealer looked odd/fake on me. Now I just use undereye cream for moisture and am good to go.

      The injection lasted about two years (where Juvederm is supposed to last one). I definitely had bruising right after, but my derm used a bruise reducing laser on it so it was only obviously for about 24 hours. yu can feel it under your skin for a couple weeks after which is kind of alarming, but it flattens out to be unnoticeable in texture, while providing fullness. I did my nasolabial folds too, and am happy with that as well.

    • I’m cursed with dark circles and puffy bags, here is my routine… I use this $6.70 eye serum from The Ordinary that reduces puffiness. I’ve been using it for almost a year and it works for me. Then I put on a light eye cream to moisturize (I use First Aid Beauty’s eye cream, it’s fine but nothing to rave about). Then I put on NYX dark circle correcting concealer, which has peach tones to cancel out purple/blue tones, and blend that in with my beauty blender. Finally I top it off with Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer in a color slightly lighter than my skin tone, and blend that with a beauty blender. This takes me less than 5 minutes and makes a huge difference!

  15. This is more of a rant than a question, but ugh I’m so over social media. My wedding anniversary was over the weekend and I didn’t say anything about it on Facebook. A friend actually messaged me and asked if everything was ok between me and my husband. I know the friend was well-meaning but I’m so sick of our society’s attitude that if something isn’t on Facebook it didn’t happen. If you don’t make a gushing post on your husband’s birthday, you’re not happily married. If you don’t post about your kids all the time, you’re not proud of them. If you don’t post about your girls nights, you don’t have close friends. Gah. I’ve thought about deactivating my account but I really enjoy seeing my friends’ updates.

    • Maybe your friends just enjoy seeing your updates the same way you enjoy seeing theirs. I don’t post much and I don’t buy into the expectation that everything has to be posted. But I usually will post a birthday/anniversary picture sometime around the date and I appreciate well wishes.

    • My friends all know that I don’t share things like that so it never comes up. If someone emailed me that my response would be hahahahahaha…. I hate all this too but I think you have to just set the tone and hold firm. No one will ask you these questions if you’re consistent about not posting this sort of stuff. Just keep your accounts for the stuff you like and make it a policy not to post stuff like this. How do your friends even know when your anniversary is?

      • Eh, I have a good memory for dates and remember the date most of my close friends got married (the weddings were all in the last five years though). I also remember birthdays without a calendar or Facebook reminder. Some people are just good at remembering that stuff. I definitely wouldn’t reach out just because they didn’t post anything on Facebook though!

      • They probably posted photos of the wedding and are getting the annual reminders from Facebook’s memory feature. I sometimes wish my friends a happy anniversary if I particularly enjoyed their wedding.

    • That friend sounds like a lunatic, to be honest.

    • Linda from HR :

      That’s a little silly, so actually assume something is wrong because you didn’t gush about it. I’ve actually heard that if a couple is very public on social media, constantly posting about how much they love each other, it’s a sign that the relationship is actually very insecure and they’re trying to hide that. I know that’s not always the case, but there’s a correlation.

      I don’t gush on social media, maybe because I’m just bad at it. I don’t write a paragraph of prose on Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day, or on the birthdays of my loved ones. I didn’t say anything when the family dog was put to sleep, because I didn’t want the “awwwwww, are you okaaaaaaay, I’m here for youuuuuu” attention I was likely to get from people I wasn’t actually close with (I know it’s usually well intentioned, I just don’t want it so I don’t open the door for it). I like to post about cool stuff I do, but sometimes I don’t have the time because I’m too busy enjoying it, and then the moment has passed and it’s time for the next big thing.

    • I used to roll my eyes so hard at other people’s gushing posts to/about their loved ones on facebook. Displays like that just seem really phony and self-congratulatory to me. If you want to tell your husband how much you love him, tell him, not everyone else you know or everyone else he knows. That’s just weird. My husband and I both deleted our facebook accounts, so all our friends must think we hate each other and our kids and our lives suck. Clearly, that’s the only explanation for not having a highlight reel.

    • Clearly they are not a close friend! Ignore. Perhaps delete?
      Since having kids, my husband and I have basically vanished from Facebook because we don’t want kid photos to be shared or made public, so we rarely interact on there any more. Man, people must think we loathe each other.

    • I’ve been reading “The Circle” by Dave Eggers and it’s making me rethinking my usage of social media as well. I’ve definitely noticed in the last few months that my postings have been down – I’ll still scroll through, but I’m not posting as much. I’m also super cringing when I look at my previous posts from many years back and how passive aggressive they were.

    • My MIL has a whole comedy routine/rant she does about people’s public declarations of love for their husbands, children, etc on Facebook. It drives her totally crazy and she’ll go on about it for a good solid half an hour. Personally, I take it as “good for you, not for me” – I don’t want my daughter’s image on social media beyond a limited, controlled amount, and my husband is not a Facebooky person at all so if I were to post something to/about him he would never even see. Or care. There are some people that post so much/so over the top that I roll my eyes a little but for most people I enjoy seeing the updates and am happy to like/love/comment. I think Facebook friendship can sometimes be an easy out (making you think you’re maintaining friendships without actually putting in the work) so I try to force myself to keep up with friendships by actually messaging them or catching up in person.

    • Related, I don’t understand why people care about my + DH anniversary in general. I don’t usually post anything on our anniversary so it doesn’t even pop up in peoples feed, but year after year my aunt will post a Happy Anniversary message, which then will prompt others to post something as well. The fact that she pays attention to the date and exerts that effort (however minor) it’s totally odd to me. Along the same lines, I don’t get why my mom and grandmother buy us anniversary presents every year. Its very nice and thoughtful of them and I’m always grateful/appreciative, but why? I get why DH and I honor the date (although we really don’t do anniversary presents) but I don’t get why other people care, especially when it’s not a milestone.

      Also, I’ve adopted that I don’t post happy birthday messages on Facebook as a general rule. Otherwise I feel like I have to do it for alllllll the friends and that sounds exhausting and meaningless. If it’s a friends birthday who I want to wish them happy birthday, I do it in a text or phone call.

      • Are you me? I don’t understand why people care so much about anniversaries either. Aren’t they supposed to be between the couple? I can understand milestone anniversaries – being married 50 years is totally worth a celebration. But otherwise don’t get it.

        And also agree to the birthday announcements. I don’t post for anyone, nor do I post that sappy “Thanks for all the birthday wishes, everyone! It made my day so much better to read them!” because it’s so not true. I doubt people actually read through 200 generic HBDs and think those people did anything other than just follow the FB prompts for the 5 other friends with the same birthday today. It’s so meaningless and weird.

        • Hmm, well, I do and it actually does make me really happy to get well wishes all day long. I also post for others. It doesn’t take long to do, and if it makes someone smile for a second even, I think it’s worth it and really nice. And I absolutely mean it if I say thanks/made my day. I think birthdays are one of the best things about Facebook.

          • Senior Attorney :

            I agree, Scarlett! Just because Facebook reminded me it’s your birthday doesn’t mean my birthday greeting isn’t sincere!

      • I agree! I actually find it strange when someone (usually my mom or grandmother) wishes me a happy anniversary or sends a card. It really feels like an occasion to be celebrated by me and my husband… maybe for the first year or the big events, but I don’t really need my family commemorating my 18th!

      • Anonymous :

        Ha, I must be an attention wh*re because I love when family members and friends remember our anniversary and send well-wishes, even if it’s a fairly unimportant number like seven. It’s just like a birthday wish to me – it’s so nice that they remembered and were thinking of us. But I’m not into public displays of affection (even verbal affection) and don’t make any posts about my anniversary on social media.

      • Nudibranch :

        I don’t mind birthdays, because ultimately they’re reciprocal.

        But anniversaries? Blrgh. They come off as bragging and attention-seeking to this single. (I’m okay with milestone ones though.)

    • I feel you. I got it from my sister in law about not posting about my husband on Father’s Day. Yes, he’s a great dad. No, he is not my dad.


  16. My 7th anniversary is fast approaching and we follow the traditional or modern gifts for each year. This year is wool/copper. I already have a copper gift, but am trying to find a wool gift as well. I ordered a wool/cashmere scarf from Saks off Fifth on deep discount, but was disappointed when it arrived. It’s YSL and I was hoping it would feel a little more like cashmere – it was pretty rough. Anyone know of any super soft cashmere scarves under $75? TIA!

    • You can check out Lord and Taylor; or try Brooks Brothers. Lots on sale in your price range and their quality tends to be on the better side.

    • This is not what you were asking for but I immediately thought of getting him a pair of All Birds for the wool gift.

      They’re amazing.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I once knit a boyfriend a cashmere scarf and it cost $80 for just the materials, so probably no.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Also this sent me down a rabbit hole and this seemed fun (maybe not for this year but for future years).


    • Woolovers has great cashmere, check out their sweaters. For scarves, they have a $49 cashmere merino scarf.

    • Veronica Mars :

      Nordstrom’s house brand of wool scarves are really thin, soft and nice. I look for wool/silk blends personally. I think they’re usually around $50-$75.

      • I bought a Nordstrom brand of cashmere scarf last year and it snagged right away.

        • Veronica Mars :

          Hmm… Mine have held up really well. I normally get the tissue thin ones with a short unfinished/raw hem (eyelash fringe?) and not the ones with the knotted/long trim. And I normally get the ones with patterns.

    • Not cashmere, but Pendleton has some beautiful wool scarves for less than $75.

    • Allbirds?

  17. Purse recs? :

    I now commute to and from work with a baby in a front carrier and a backpack (need the backpack to balance the baby weight and shlep baby stuff). Any recommendations for a small purse or similar that I can keep in the backpack and use when I need to go out to lunch with clients for the day? I just need something professional-looking that can hold a wallet and a phone and has a strap of some sort so I’m not awkwardly clutching it while shaking hands.

    • I’d go with the Cameron Street Sima from Kate Spade. It’s basically a clutch with a strap so you can fit your wallet/phone etc.

    • the envelope clutch from saddleback leather?

    • I just got the Cuyana double zip pouch for exactly that and now it’s just my wallet/ what I use for everything – perfect size and I like having money/cards on one side and phone/keys/lipstick on the other: https://www.cuyana.com/double-zip-pouch.html#black

    • S in Chicago :

      Tumi Tristen. You can hold so much stuff without taking up any space. Simple enough in style that it can go from work to casual. I bought for a trip, and it has since become my everyday bag. I’m 5’8″ and the length can even adjust longer if I wanted (lot of cross bodies are too short, especially if you have a heavy coat). Expensive so check EBay.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      What about just taking one of your regular purses and leaving it in your office for times when you need it rather than carrying it every day?

      • How have I never thought of this? I don’t even have the excuse of a baby/backpack commute, but this is such a smart idea for when I am just running out to grab lunch and don’t want to lug my laptop/everyday bag…. thank you, NTMS!

    • I got this in tan from the Coach outlet – I think every brand is making a similar style clutch crossbody. Perfect size for my wallet, two cellphones, headphones, and keys. http://www.coach.com/coach-crossbody-clutch-in-polished-pebble-leather/65547.html

    • Let me introduce you to my favorite wallet for what you’re talking about. https://www.hobobags.com/products/hobo-designer-wristlet-wallet-danette-vintage-leather

      Holds my phone (iphone 6, I think it would hold the + size), I use it as my wallet, and it has a strap so it’s easy to carry around. I love it.

  18. Grilled cheese :

    Can we talk meal delivery services? Interested in Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, etc and wondering if people have strong recommendations. Anyone tried multiple? We want to incorporate more vegetarian meals so would sign up for veg-only, organic preferable.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      We’ve used Hello Fresh for several months and like it. We are not vegetarian though, so I don’t know about those recipes.

    • I tried Blue Apron (free trial week) and didn’t continue because…
      – our problem is *not* meal planning or grocery shopping
      – the recipes were higher calorie than we prefer for dinner
      – you can “choose” which recipes to receive online (3 of 6 each week), but selecting some of the recipes rules out others, which is annoying
      – the amount of prep work was underestimated and required getting multiple bowls/pans dirty — for the equivalent effort of prep work, we prefer to end up with a stash of intentional leftovers to freeze, not just a single meal
      – for $10/individual serving, we could get a decently healthy takeout meal with NO prep required

      • Just fyi now you can choose any of them- it no longer rules out others.

        • Anonymous :

          Glad to hear they came to their senses on this, that was one of the main reasons I gave up on Blue Apron in favor of Plated. I assume some meals are more expensive than others and they want to make sure to meet some minimum margins on every box, but the amount of money you could lose from some customers picking only the more-expensive option is nothing compared to putting off customers because you’re limiting their choices.
          Case in point, I still won’t be going back!

        • Anonymous :

          Are you sure? I am trying to change up my meal choices for the upcoming weeks and it still grays out some choices based on what I am selecting. Is there something I am missing?

          • I just went back to look at the email I got about it- it may be limited to certain areas. I can choose any combination I want out of 9 meals.

          • You can’t choose between some but not between all. They have an algorithm that basically lets you pick two and third is a default. Usually it’s obvious why – two higher cost and one cheap.

      • Delta Dawn :

        +1 to all of this, except we did Hello Fresh. The food was good. But it took at least an hour to prepare each meal, and there were no leftovers. For that amount of time, and that amount of cleanup, I need to be able to eat leftovers a couple of times. The cost savings was not that helpful, either. Basically I found it inefficient.

      • The lack of leftovers is a big reason I’ve never used any of these services. That and the price. I don’t see the point of cooking for 30 mins to an hour, plus clean up after that, and only ending up with one meal’s worth of food.

      • +1 – we had the exact same list of gripes with our trial, and I believe the gripes hold true for all of the similar services, not just Blue Apron (but I’d be curious to hear otherwise).

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Purple Carrot is all vegetarian (I think) and Sun Basket is organic. I haven’t actually tried either, but I would assume they would have more options than Blue Apron and Hello Fresh if you’re looking for vegetarian.

    • Ive used Blue apron for two (almost three) years now and have loved it. If you leave an email address I’m happy to send you a free week.

    • JuniorMinion :

      I used Blue Apron for a while – ultimately a few reasons I cancelled:

      1) No macro information – some calorie counts however what was provided was high and it seemed like they were leaning heavily on starchy carbs. I also don’t want to eat 800 calories of faux healthy food (BA seems to conflate healthiness with farm to table / organic – those are different in my book) – if I am consuming 800 calories in a single meal I want it to be a dedicated weekend meal I enjoy and not random weeknights. They also would do things like send two burger patties and two buns and then call the serving size 3 to make the calories look better but in reality who is going to think that a serving is 2/3 of a sandwich / burger / entree. This is probably the biggest reason I cancelled.
      2) No ability to mise en place over the weekend – ie stuff that if I was making the meal myself and had all the ingredients on had I would do over the weekend I now had to do on a weeknight
      3) Portions of the proteins were small – so getting a significant balanced portion of leftovers available for lunch was low probability which I can do when I shop over the weekend and cook myself

    • Anon in NYC :

      I have tried Plated, Blue Apron, and Hello Fresh. For me, it’s a toss up between Plated or Blue Apron. I did the Blue Apron vegetarian plan and I liked it. There were a lot of asian-inspired meals, which was a plus for me. I liked being able to regularly eat those flavors without having to buy a lot of things that I don’t normally use. The downside was that there were no other choices if you didn’t like any of the 3 vegetarian options (not sure if they’ve since changed their plans). The nice thing about Plated is that there are a lot more choices each week, although the flavors tend to be more straightforward (still good though).

    • I’ve tried them all, I think. Most offer free or discounted trials so you can easily try all too.

      Blue apron is the cheapest and easiest to navigate. Plus they have great customer service. Every week there are 3 veggie options and if you eat fish, you can mix and match with the seafood, too.

      I liked HelloFresh a little bit more but not enough to pay the price difference. The main pluses for me were: all the ingredients were corralled together by meal so you didn’t have to dig through your fridge for that tiny package of tomato paste at the last minute and they were a bit quicker to make (Blue Apron has gotten better at this recently but still not as good as they could be).

      Plenty was nice too but more expensive than either of the above. I like that you had more meal options and not limited to which meals you could mix and match (Blue Apron only allows certain combos, but this is more of an issue if you eat everything they offer).

    • I’ve tried Blue Apron.

      If you’re familiar with cooking, the directions will drive you absolutely insane. “Step 1: Mince the garlic. Step 2: Put the minced garlic in a container and set aside for later use. Step 3: Dice the tomato. Step 4: Set aside for later use. … Step 42: Add minced garlic. Step 43: Add the diced tomatoes.” It used to make me so frustrated because you had to read an entire sheet of paper printed in 12 point font to figure out that what they really wanted you to do was combine all this stuff and saute it for 8 minutes.

      The food was tasty, but the recipes usually took too long for a weeknight. (Where I might buy jarred minced garlic and canned diced tomatoes, it has you chopping all this stuff. I just need to get food on the table, not practice my knife skills.) Your experience may vary depending on your evening hangry-ness ;)

      If you’re in DC, look at Healthy Fresh Meals. They deliver fully prepared meals that are healthy and fresh (not frozen) and all you need to do is microwave. I think it works out to $10 per meal? Not cheap, but if you’re a working professional and you were going to go out to dinner anyways, it’s a bargain. And SO TASTY.

      • Anony Mouse :

        +1 In addition to what Anon at 11:08 said, I was really put off by the amount of waste. The recipe calls for two garlic cloves, so you’ve sent me exactly 2 garlic cloves in their own little package? (Also, if a recipe says 2 cloves of garlic I usually interpret that as 4-6…. A bulb a day keeps the vampires away.)

      • They did start sending full bulbs, so I would just mince all of the garlic and keep it in a jar for the week.

        Pros of Blue Apron is that the meals are not something I would default to, and took out the work of finding a recipe in my cookbook, making sure I had all the ingredients before being able to make it. Also, got rid of the “what do you want for dinner?” question my SO always asks me.

        Cons–not much. I just don’t get to cook at home that often (BigLaw).

    • I used Blue Apron for about a year and liked it. We’re not vegetarians but sometimes ate the vegetarian meals, and they were almost always good.

      That said, I’ve talked about Blue Apron with several vegetarian friends, and it seems like it wouldn’t be the best choice among the meal kit services. The biggest drawback is that you don’t get any choice among vegetarian meals (on a 3-meal plan, there are 3 meat options and 3 vegetarian options). So if there’s an ingredient you don’t like in one meal, you either skip the whole week or have one meal you don’t like. Also, I often felt like the vegetarian meals were not particularly well balanced or filling. Blue Apron has a lot of simple carbohydrates, and many of the vegetarian meals do not include enough protein or a legume that would make a complete protein with the carbs.

    • My husband and I did Blue Apron for about 4 months, getting it two weeks a month. Our initial thought in signing up for the service was that it would provide us with some new recipes and make two weeks out of the month easier on grocery shopping. All the food was delicious. However, we also weren’t focused on the vegetarian options.

      Ultimately we dropped the service for three main reasons: (1) it was more difficult to deal with the scheduling of the boxes/integrating that into our meal planning for the week than what we had prior to Blue Apron (2) the directions were usually missing one key step (3) in our area, the meals could only be delivered on Wednesday or Thursday which doesn’t work for our schedule. We needed it to arrive Saturday or Sunday. My friends who use blue apron 100% of the time, hate grocery shopping, generally don’t like cooking and hate meal planning have the best luck with the meal delivery service.

    • We get 2 dinners/week from Plated and love it. I haven’t tried Hello Fresh, but I did try Blue Apron for a couple months and my husband and I both prefer Plated for both the quality of recipes and the packaging. Blue Apron felt very “remedial” to me, whereas Plated is more like exploring unfamiliar recipes and types of food.

    • Need a cool name :

      We just signed up for Blue Apron the other day. We’ve been starting to say that the lad (11) picks and helps make dinner once a week, and he wanted to try Blue Apron for his night. My meal planning starts to fall apart around Wednesday/Thursday so this should help there too. He picked the meals, I’ll find out what they are at delivery time Wednesday.

    • I’m a vegetarian and my husband has a Blue Apron subscription. I honestly can take it or leave it, there are a lot of pasta/sandwich meals that are seem like a waste to me. The other popular theme is some variation on vegetables with rice, like a rice bowl or stir fry. They’re fine and it’s nice to have a variety, but as someone who likes to cook I’d rather cook my own recipes. I do not like how some of the meals are starchy and not that high in protein. They could all easily be made healthier – I feel like they could at least throw in brown rice instead of white rice.

      • We do Sunbasket and love it! Yes, you prep/cook for up to an hour and there are no leftovers, but that’s fine for us. The main reason for doing it was to cut down on time meal planning and shopping. The meals have mostly been phenomenal and compared to what others have said above, a huge variety. You can also do a breakfast option that’s usually a smoothie and an egg dish or chia seed overnight oats, etc.

    • I tried Hello Fresh for a few weeks and I liked it OK, but not enough to justify the cost or the waste. I realized my main problem is planning meals, not buying groceries, so I started using a meal-planning app instead. The one I use is called Mealime. You put in your likes/dislikes (such as vegetarian, gluten free etc), then build a meal plan for a week from recipes on the app. It generates a grocery shopping list for all of your meals. I love coming home from work knowing I have a recipe and all the ingredients for dinner. The recipes are pretty easy to follow and mostly very good. It has seriously changed my life.

    • We’ve tried Hello Fresh (eh), Blue Apron (good), and Plated. We stuck with Plated because it has the most meal selections (between it and Blue Apron). Overall the meals were pretty similar between Plated and BA – and the instructions were equivalently easy to follow, etc.

      We really like the concept! We both work, have a small child, and are too lazy to meal plan. The boxes help us cook healthy meals, that are the correct portions, and we don’t have to meal plan or shop. It’s been great for us, and has saved us a lot of $$

      • Anonymous :

        yes, this is why I like it too! It saves me the mental effort of meal planning, and results in less waste overall than when I, or especially my husband, goes grocery shopping and just buys stuff to eat for the week. So I get a couple “interesting” meals, and between those and boring stuff like pasta, fajitas, and grilled [meat] + vegetables, I have a week’s worth of meals.

        I find the Plated portions to be pretty big, actually. My family is 2 adults and 3 kids ages 1-4, and 2 portions feed all of us, sometimes even with enough left over for a lunch or two (depending on how much the kids liked the food).

        Also, I find the time estimates for cooking to be pretty accurate, and most meals are 20-40 minutes. I like to think I can make a quick dinner faster than that, but between thinking about it, grabbing the ingredients, etc, it works out about the same — don’t underestimate how much time it saves to just pull a bag of everything in the correct amount out of the fridge and work from that! I have realized that I was previously a pretty disorganized cook; the order of operations in the recipes (while the meat is browning, do blah. even just the reminder to preheat the oven as the first step) helps condense the cooking time quite a bit from what I would do naturally. And I usually have time to clean up as I go. If you don’t enjoy cooking, you probably won’t like these services, regardless. But if you do enjoy cooking, it doesn’t feel like “I did SO MUCH work for so little reward/leftovers and now I have to do it all again tomorrow.”

        The only thing I don’t like is the packaging waste, but much of it is recycle-able, at least.

    • Senior Attorney :

      We’ve been using Blue Apron for two years now and we love it. Lovely Husband is a big guy so he generally eats about 1-1/2 portions and I eat 1/2 portion so the portion size works out well for us. There are far, far more hits than misses, especially now that we can choose among 8 recipes every week. The only downsides are the large amount of packaging, and the fact that most recipes take about an hour to cook (although that’s not a huge issue for us because we like to cook and be in the kitchen together).

      I’ve also tried Sun Basket and I like that you can get paleo recipes from them. But it’s significantly more expensive and I don’t like the food as well.

  19. Veronica Mars :

    Paging Rainbow Hair and other decor-minded ”rettes–I’m redoing my home office and want to add some leather chairs for comfort (along with a daybed so it can double as a guest room). I want the whole room to feel very light and airy, with lots of white. Unfortunately, I’m finding it hard to find lighter colored leathers (beige/cream would be ideal). The closest I’ve found that’s comfortable and in budget were the Caramel color from Pottery barn, which is a solid medium brown. Would that look OK with white as a color scheme? I’m thinking the accent color would be a cornflower blue.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      How committed are you to leather? You’ll have a lot more light colored (and light feeling) options if you’re willing to do a textile. I assume you mean the kind of armchair that you sink into to relax, not a sitting upright and chatting chair? When you say light and airy do you imagine like a beachy feel? A bright midcentury vibe? Moroccan/Mediterranean?

      To answer your actual question, I think if the dark goes with other things (floor? wooden bases on furniture?) and is not huge, you’ll probably be fine (I mean, no matter what you’ll be fine, but you know what I mean). If you are leaning beachy, I could see a nice cream nubby knit throw over the back of the chair, or something similar in a small pillow. If you’re thinking MCM I could imagine that if the legs are spindly and make the whole thing feel lighter weight… You just want to avoid that heavy, black-hole feeling that large dark furniture pieces can have.

      • Veronica Mars :

        Thank you Rainbow Hair! Yes, I’m looking for something to sink into, that’s comfortable with a book. I’m fairly committed to leather because my dog works from home with me, and he is really hard on upholstered pieces (he refuses to let me touch his paws, so he tracks in a lot of dirt). I’m thinking either light and beachy or more of a modern, girly glam type look (shamefully, I think good inspiration are some of the designs behind those gorgeous, custom walk-in closets). The floor is cream carpet, and the walls I’m considering painting the room an off-white blue, or maybe a bright ivory, because right now it’s a terrible beige color. Or maybe I should go full throttle on color and do something like SA’s lime green velvet? I’ll have to find something cleanable though with the dog.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          PSHAW no shame whatsover. Your house, your taste. Does girly glam mean you get to have a fluffy (faux?) sheepskin something, and live out my dreams? (Or does dog mean no, just like my cats do?)

          Gold! Will you have gold stuff in your room? I love gold. Maybe also lucite? Am I going too far?

          Nutella is so smart with her thoughts on the legs of furniture and the window treatments!

          Chairs… Joybird has something called a Bradshaw chair that comes in light leather. It’s not super cushy looking though. Wow they also have a Louie chair that is $$$ but I would feel like a queen lounging in it. Now I’m just straight up shopping, but on Wayfair I came across the Willem Barrel Chair which I think is prettttty. Oh girly glam (and light leather and gold!) all over the place in Aloisio Genuine Leather Upholstery Armchair also on Wayfair!

          • Veronica Mars :

            Not to far at all with gold! My desk is glass and gold (from world market). The sheepskin is debatable. He may try to eat it. Although I told my BF that we should be wildlings for Halloween when I found out they use Ikea rugs for their costumes! Maybe I’ll see if he likes it then. I love the Aloisio! That’s super glam and definitely in line with what I was thinking. I keep getting drawn to some touches of leopard print as well. I think Ikea will definitely play a big role for finishing off the room, so hopefully I can get some sleek white options from them.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            Yay, this sounds like it’s going to be gorgeous!

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Also I think a caramel goes with pretty much everything.

          Also I think square isn’t inherently heavy, but the lower to the ground it is, the heavier it might seem. My hesitation on Tyler is the nail head rivet things — with brown leather they make it look pretty masculine to me (in a way that I love, tbh, but it might not be the breezy girl glam you’re looking for).

      • Veronica Mars :

        One more thing–would you caution against doing a very square chair? I was in Pottery barn and the Tyler leather chair was super comfortable and really good quality for the price, but it’s more masculine than I was planning.

    • Yes! Love caramel and white together. Your accent color could be anything- cornflower blue, black, red, navy, blush, emerald green, leopard, the list goes on! This means you could change it up if suddenly cornflower blue feels too summery or you want a more sophisticated palate in winter, etc. I would actually recommend a brown leather over a white or cream one (which can be found eventually) because they will wear nicer.

      For a “light and airy” look, other things to keep in mind:
      – Window dressings. Think about sheer white curtains with maybe another light color but thicker curtain on top if it is to function as a guest room where people sleep
      – The floor. Not just carpet or flooring, which should also be light in color if you want it “light and airy” but also the furniture touching it. Ideally, the bigger pieces like the daybed or desk have thinner legs and not essentially walls to touch the floor – like you could vacuum under it. You don’t have to do this with every piece of furniture, but best for the big pieces as they will draw the eye downward and the heavier they are underneath, the more it weighs down the room.
      – Proportions. Do the walls look bare? Hang some large scale art in sleek frames. Hang the curtains high near the ceiling. Does the ceiling need a hanging light fixture or something ceiling mounted?

      Have fun!

      • Veronica Mars :

        Thank you Nutella! These are all great to keep in mind. Don’t tell me leopard goes though! I found an incredible leather-printed ottoman at Horchow and I’m trying to convince myself that it would be impractical. I do have some silk-like white curtains I was considering using, but I could find something even more sheer since there’s only one big window in the room. I love the lighting idea. I was thinking of waiting until the Aberdeen chandelier from Ballard goes on sale (brass ginko leaf design–so pretty), or I have a capiz shell hanging light already that would look very nice with the color scheme.

        • Gah, I L-O-V-E leopard. Leopard for an ottoman would be awesome, too, because it wouldn’t show stains or marks. But to me, leopard or really any animal print is a neutral. Sorry to tempt you! :)

          What a gorgeous chandelier! Unique with that gingko design. Retro, modern glam, natural-evoking all in one! If you check out the second photo in the product description (the bed) you will see a lot of these colors play out. Gorgeous cognac end-of-bed bench with blush and white bedding accents and the tan (animal print!) rug. You can see how the black anchors the room and really contrasts with the lighter pieces, but how if you didn’t want so much black you could easily remove it for a different look. An few other lessons from this photo: the ceilings are tall, so not only is there a hanging light fixture but a large and dark piece of art to draw the eye upward along with a tall dark headboard. This is what I mean about proportion – if you have tall ceilings, do something with the height. If you have a smaller room, stick with shorter pieces. (That being said, no matter the height, hanging curtains as close to the ceiling as you can will always make a room look larger and taller.) Another great lesson: mixing metals works well here so don’t shy away from it! (Though not silver the mirrored wall piece and night stand are more ‘silver’ and look just great with the chandelier and brass bench legs.)

          Capiz shell will also work well and give you the ‘light and airy’ look you are going for. If your ceilings are low, I could also see that working well because they would blend well with a lighter ceiling.

          If this is your home office and just for you, I saw go with what makes you feel however you want to feel in that room (inspired, comfortable, focused, whatever). Have fun with it!

    • Senior Attorney :

      Here’s one: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Home-Decorators-Collection-Moore-Ivory-Bonded-Leather-Club-Arm-Chair-7159400440/203911519

  20. I have had anxiety my entire adult life (late 20s now), but about a year ago I finally found a therapist I clicked with and it has been life-changing. My quality of life now compared to before I found her is night and day. I’ve “graduated” from attending therapy regularly and now just check in every few months as needed. I’d love to do something to thank her – I’m thinking a thoughtful thank-you note? Would that be super weird? Any other ideas?

    • Veronica Mars :

      I think a thank you note is lovely.

    • Seeing this gives me so much hope! I just had an intro meeting with my fourth therapist in the last 5 years, and we clicked in a way I’ve never found in the past. I am so hopeful that I’ll have a similar experience to yours. But to answer your question, a thank you note is perfect. I work in education, and I have a really spectacular thank you note from a student that I absolutely cherish.

  21. Why do otherwise rational and well-educated people get sucked into MLMs? It seems like every week another friend is hawking LuLaRoe, Rodan and Fields, jewelry in candles, or essential oils. These people have good jobs and advanced degrees. Several are lawyers. I’m honestly wondering why they all seem blinded to how much of a scam these kinds of things are?

    • There was a fascinating article about Lularoe in the Atlantic that was just recently re-run. I think the answer to your question is a combination of gambling and intimidation.

      • Yes, great article. It also discusses how MLMs have successfully lobbied to keep certain information opaque such that even if you are approaching it with a clear head (and usually, you are not because you want to earn income while also being able to stay at home, ahem, we need better childcare in this country), it is difficult to even kick the tires.

        • Does anyone have this link? I haven’t found the article after several searches.

          • This is the one I was thinking about that people have been talking about a lot, though it is not in the Atlantic, https://qz.com/1039331/mlms-like-avon-and-lularoe-are-sending-people-into-debt-and-psychological-crisis/

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Google is failing me — can someone share a link?

        • Anonymous :

          I think this is it? https://qz.com/1039331/mlms-like-avon-and-lularoe-are-sending-people-into-debt-and-psychological-crisis/?utm_source=atlfb

    • JuniorMinion :

      I think people in general have a tendency to exercise wishful thinking that there will be a shortcut somehow to get what they want and the MLMs play right into that. Get rich quick schemes and diet schemes seem to proliferate across all income levels / intellectual abilities.

      Things – whether $$$ / job satisfaction / six pack abs tend to take a good deal of grinding and schemes that promise people a way out of that seem to be universally pretty successful with humans.

    • I think for some people, and for some MLMs, they are just fun outlets that allow them to flex other parts of themselves outside of their rigid careers. Some of the models are not as terrible as others, some of the products are better than others, and some promote different parts of community. As long as someone isn’t blanket adding me to “parties” online or blowing up my social media, I just don’t care.

    • I think it’s a lack of self-confidence or powerlessness that drives some of this. If you don’t see an avenue to improve your lot in life, whether financially or psychically, this is probably appealing to you.

      • anon associate :

        Agreed. It’s easy for me to say “no thanks, this clearly looks like a bad deal and wouldn’t be worth my time, there are so many other things I can do to earn a living” when I have a fancy JD, no kids to take care of, and the ability to command a large salary and live in whatever urban metropolis I feel like. Even the idea of doing it as a “side hustle” is not appealing to me because I value my rare downtime more than any extra cash I could make.

        I’m a mom with two kids who need caring for who doesn’t have those career options who followed her husband to the military base? Yes, a “job” where I can be flexible, be social, and earn money all the sudden sounds really tempting. I might even engage in some wishful thinking or unwarranted optimist, because I’m human. (You know, how kids who went to law school after 2009 do).

    • I think it’s because they get roped into them by friends and you trust your friends. I’ve had a couple of friends who tried to get me to sell stuff. They pitch it as a nice easy side hustle to make some extra cash. I might even believe them if I didn’t do so many tax returns of people who participate in these things.

      I also think that if daycare were free, all MLMs would collapse overnight. It seems like lots of SAHMs who participate in MLMs would like to work part time but can’t justify it to themselves because of how expensive daycare is and how difficult it is to find part time care.

      • +100 to this. Also, a lot of SAHMs are lonely. I stayed home for a brief period and it is really isolating, or at least it was for me. There were only so many playgroups and Mommy and Me classes I could do fill the time. After awhile, I just needed to talk to an adult about something besides diapers. MLMs sell this fantasy of, you’ll be able to stay home with your kids (and pressure to do that is still really strong for some people) but still make money and have “girl time.” It looks like the best of all possible world’s, until they start selling and realize that making a real profit is nearly impossible. Also, many MLMs use spiritual messages or align themselves with religion to draw people in. And they also encourage participants to rely on questionable methods of accounting to determine how “successful” the business is. It becomes a perfect storm of deception.

      • Yes, I have *only* seen these marketed as “I earn my own income and can stay home with my babies!” Don’t get me wrong, I’d love this (if/when I have kids) but that is a big factor, combined with the predatory practices and shrouded policies, in answering your question.

    • I’ll preface this by saying I’m not interested in joining any of these MLMs, but what I don’t understand is how these people go on these big all expenses paid luxury business trips. Does the company just make so much money that they can pay for this to lure others in? A friend posted on social media about a week long trip in California that she was able to take her husband on and she claimed it was completely free.

      • My guess is that yes, the company does make enough money to pay for those things. It’s a good profit for them when the reps shell out $$$ for inventory and then the company isn’t on the hook for the loss of unsold items. Also, they aren’t paying benefits of any kind to their sales reps. It probably leaves them with plenty of money for fancy vacation perks for good sellers that get splashed all over social media and glamorize being a part of their company. I guess this would basically amount to advertising for them.

      • lost academic :

        The people who get in early and recruit a lot of folks under them are making money off their cut of those sales as well as having a solid client base of their own. I know a couple people who are ground floor R+F consultants who really have made it that way (popular in the equestrian community it seems). They’re also great at networking, promotion and follow up. I imagine many people with these skills to be that successful in this kind of work are already doing it in some sort of marketing line.

  22. I’m 34 and have some graying patches at my temples that are more than I can pluck out (I know I shouldn’t but…). I have shoulder length, thick, wavy hair that’s medium brown and prone to dryness. I wear it down and wavy. I never thought I’d dye my hair, but I’m feeling a little frumpy after having a kid and struggling w the mom pooch/c section shelf and not loving my current clothes, so I think that not having gray hair will make me feel more put-together.

    I’ve never ever dyed my hair and am baffled by all the options available. Any ideas on what kinds of hair dye processes cover stray grays, look natural, don’t dry out hair, and won’t look horrible if I’m a few weeks late on an appt? And how much could I expect to pay for it (suburbs of big city in the Northeast, HCOL area)? I could ask my stylist but I’d like to make an appt for the dye and the cut all at once.

    • You can try Clairol’s Beautiful Collection. They are semi-permanent washes – one covers grays more but uses more chemicals to do it. The other is safe for people with PPD allergies. They fade over time so you won’t get the demarcation. I don’t have the patience for permanent color upkeep and the chemicals scare me.

      • S in Chicago :

        Avoid semi permanent like this if you might opt for permanent. It can actually do damage to go permanent after. Since it’s your first time, I wouldn’t mess with the drug store kind. Talk to your stylist. She’ll best advise on time slot needed (won’t be that much different regardless of what type of color) and she’ll have the best eye for what works with you coloring and how to do it without damage.

    • I swear by Aveda hair color. Covers gray nicely but the color has a translucent quality to it and the color doesn’t look flat. It’s not cheap, but it the only hair color I’ve used that left my hair in better condition than without it. I’ve gone to highlights only, and am getting a clear gloss (just like their color, only clear) so as to have the silky texture I got used to with the color.

    • Not related to hair, but NPR recently did a story on some new and quite effective method to get rid of the mom pooch, which arises not from fat apparently but from a separation of the abdominal muscles during pregnancy/childbirth. (Link to follow.)

      It seems like it’s worth a try. (It’s probably hopeless for me, since I’m, oh, 22 years post-partum.)

      • http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/08/07/541204499/flattening-the-mummy-tummy-with-1-exercise-10-minutes-a-day

    • Yep, you’re a great candidate for semipermanent color. Choose one or two shades lighter than your hair so you won’t darken your natural hair color is my advice. Try to apply primarily to the grey only.

  23. Can we talk about Charlottesville? As a U-Va. grad, it’s hitting me particularly hard, and I don’t know what to do about my sense of powerlessness about Trump and his apparent support of these terrible people.

    • I think one thing you can do is demand that more people take a stance against this. The Merck CEO on his advisory counsel just resigned. Of course, POTUS immediately issued a statement criticizing him (nice to know how quick he can call out things when he gives a sh&t). Call your elected representatives. Support organizations that stand against this sort of hatred. Get involved in the 2018 get out he vote effort.

      • Work on voting issues. One reason we’re in this mess because the only people who pay attention to and vote in primaries are the party loyalists who are likely to hold more partisan views than the public at large. If we can get everyday people to start voting in primaries, we can put forward more reasonable candidates and fewer extremists on November ballots.

      • 100% agree with AIMS.

        Also, get active on ending open carry laws. The VA state police stated that they were intimidated by the automatic weapons being carried by many of the demonstrators, so they stood down as the violence escalated. I believe in everyone’s first amendment right to speak their opinion, but I don’t believe the second amendment gives them the right to do so in a paramilitary exercise.

        • Anonymous :

          Not disagreeing with your point. That said, for clarity’s sake, demonstrators may have been carrying semiautomatic weapons, but certainly not automatic. There’s a big difference.

    • Charlottesville Resident :

      It was a very emotional weekend. I stayed home, checking twitter news every 15 seconds, and went out Sunday morning to support local businesses, leaving before the 2pm press conference that ended in a mob scene. The nephew of our admin was one of the people hit by the driver, but he’s going to be ok.

      The thing is, this feels very raw to us, but it shouldn’t. This hatred isn’t a surprise, it’s just a surprise that it happened here. Doubling down on removing Confederate statues seems a good option, as does getting hate-mongering politicians out of office, to cut down their influence and power. But I don’t think you can change someone’s heart.

    • Cville native and double Hoo here. All of my people are okay, although I know a few who were on Water Street when the car hit.

      The most relevant commentary I’ve found: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/jia-tolentino/charlottesville-and-the-effort-to-downplay-racism-in-america

      I think the most powerful thing that white progressive women like myself can do is to acknowledge our complicity, resolve to do better as individuals, and then demand that our white progressive spaces shape the f*ck up. What happened in my hometown this weekend was horrible. I’m sick over it. (Like, really? Nazis? I thought America as a society had decided the Nazi: y/n question in 1941.) But I’m so goddamn over people being so shocked that racism happened in Charlottesville. Especially everyone who spent four gilded years at UVA without once having cause to interrogate the racist structures underpinning the entire institution.

      • Oops, sorry for the incoming double post–thought I got moderated but apparently not.

      • +1

        especially given (what I *think* is) the makeup of the commenters/readers on this site — I think progressive/democratic/whatever, white women need to do A LOT better at being more vocal. denouncing more actively. taking part more aggressively in dismantling this hatred. we owe it to ourselves, but also to others, to lead this charge forward. honestly, I don’t think we’ve been doing enough. if you have children – especially men – you need to be bringing this up in life conversations everyday. we need to be more active in raising generations of humane society.

        those white hateful nazi dudes in the pictures I saw were YOUNG. strikingly young, which particularly hurts as someone in their age bracket. I think of my parents as the passive-aggressively racist people (the I-know-black-people-so-I-cant-be-racist garden variety) but I’m disgusted to think that racism keeps moving forward in this fashion. I don’t have kids now, but this garbage makes me want to breed 10 boys that I can raise to grow up as champions for minorities and women who get strompled. (ok maybe thats dramatic, but it gets me fired up)

        • Very true and well said. I saw a quote that said: “I know this is hard to hear, but… white supremacy benefits all white people. Including the ones with no torches. That’s why it survives.” Very powerful and true quote.

          As a white woman, I think it is our job to raise awareness within the white community that this is not an outlier and to read and listen more to minorities that have been telling us for years/ decades/ centuries that sadly, this *is* the norm and this *is* America for a lot of Americans. No matter how much we want to believe “this is not America.” We have to admit we have a problem and that racism and hatred are very much alive and part of America today.

      • Just read this and it is very well written. Particularly: “Black demonstrators protesting the murder of teen-agers are met with tanks and riot gear; white demonstrators protesting the unpopularity of Nazi and Confederate ideology are met with politesse.”

        Thank you for sharing.

    • Cville native and double Hoo here. All of my people are okay, although I know a few who were on Water Street when the car hit.

      The most relevant commentary I’ve found: http://www.newyorker.com/culture/jia-tolentino/charlottesville-and-the-effort-to-downplay-racism-in-america

      I think the most powerful thing that white progressive women like myself can do is to acknowledge our complicity, resolve to do be*t*t*er as individuals, and then demand that our white progressive spaces shape the f*ck up. What happened in my hometown this weekend was horrible. I’m sick over it. (Like, really? Nazis? I thought America as a society had decided the Nazi: y/n question in 1941.) But I’m so godd*mn over people being so shocked that racism happened in Charlottesville. Especially everyone who spent four gilded years at UVA without once having cause to interrogate the racist structures underpinning the entire institution.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I was hoping someone would talk about it here because I want to read about it but I really don’t know what, if anything to say. I was pleased to see vigils popping up all over the country. On the other hand, I don’t feel like enough people are talking about it. People just go back to work and their social lives.

      When I watched the Handmaid’s Tale, the scariest part for me is how they had attended protests and rallies and none of it mattered.

      One slight glimmer of hope, I posted a few years back (I think pre-trump) about someone in my town that had a truck covered with horrible hate speech, swastikas, confederate flags, etc. I ended up behind the truck today on my way to work and noticed it had been really toned down. No more swastikas. There was now an 88 which apparently stands for HH which stands for H**l Hit!er. Still really awful but I’m imaging he must have received enough push back from others to tone it down. He did have stick on lettering that said something like “thank white men for the bill of rights.” Amazing these people exist.

    • Another Nazi rally is scheduled for September 11 at Texas A&M. I live in Texas, but I’m not brave enough to go to a counter-rally. I have a young child, and I don’t want to leave her. I’m going to donate blood today though. If things get ugly, hospitals will need blood. I’m also writing the college and the governor asking them to cancel the rally or increase security.

      I’ve been doing a lot of work to change things in 2018, and this just gives me motivation to keep working.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I agree that private property should not endorse or sponsor such rallies. I have mixed feelings about government intervention though. Who gets to decide what speech is hateful and what speech incites riots? I fear that if we allow that to be the standard, it will be used against those who need to protest the most, not the Naz!s.

        • I don’t buy this argument. If actual neo-Nazis waving Nazi flags and making Nazi salutes are not hateful enough for government intervention, who is? Because that is exactly where things are in this country right now. They rioted in Virginia and killed/injured people. They support a political movement/ideology that directly caused a genocide killing 6 million people and an ideology that led to them invading other countries in the name of ‘racial purity’. Government intervention is absolute the right response. They are not exercising free speech, they are trying to take away everyone else’s right to free speech through violent intimidation. If not them, who? If not now, when?

          • We need to allow the neo-Nazi rallies to happen, for a couple of reasons.

            1. Not allowing them to march doesn’t make the beliefs disappear, it just hides them behind closed doors. And then everyone is stunned when Trump gets elected president because OMG white supremacists are a thing? Yes, they are a thing and have been for years. Let’s get this all out in the open. Let’s encourage racists to out themselves.

            2. They aren’t wearing hoods anymore, and thus weekend there was considerable social media effort put toward identifying the neo-Nazi marchers, who are now losing their jobs, being investigated by their schools, and having their families contacted. We can’t fight these people if we don’t know who they are. If they’re dumb enough to get out there and march with their faces out, let’s use that. A young neo-Nazi operating in anonymity can’t have his mom, his boss, or his friends check him, and challenge his views. Some of those little boys are about to experience real-world consequences for their actions, and I doubt they’re going to like it much.

            I say let them protest, from sea to sea. I think the anti fas should show up, but stay out of the fray. Let these m o rons hang themselves with their own stu pid ity. Ignoring this problem has not made it go away, for over 150 years. They only way you clean up rot is by exposing and treating it, not by ignoring it and hoping it will go away.

          • I totally agree with you, but I feel like the ultra-conservative right would say similar things about BLM and use the same reasoning to justify trying to suppress BLM.

            If we could somehow have gov’t intervention with a wink to the fact that we all know we’re talking about the Nazis and nothing else, I would be all for it. But in our political climate, I don’t think that’s possible.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            And that’s why I’m on the fence. I completely agree with you too. But then I think about BLM protests (mentioned above) where the police have tanks and riot gear. If they feel such events are inciting violence too, won’t they just shut those down?

          • “I feel like the ultra-conservative right would say similar things about BLM”

            This is insane. BLM has never actively committed or supported genocide. BLM has never tried to limit the rights of others to vote. BLM has not shown up in a college town with guns and torches.

            There is ZERO comparison between BLM and neo-Nazis. Do not buy into the neo-Nazi (“alt-right”) propaganda.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            I cross posted with 12:50. When I said “referenced above” I meant Nutella at 12:40 but it fits either way.

          • Anonymous :

            I agree. We have laws against hate crimes. We have a definition for hate speech, but we are so concerned with protecting freedom of speech that we protect hate speech as well. Hate speech incites violence, and we shouldn’t be accepting violence from any group. We do not need to try and understand the other side, as our President would have us do, but we need to assert that hate speech will not be tolerated.

          • I hear you but I disagree. Our problem isn’t people with abhorrent ideas voicing those ideas. Our problem is the (American) society that is receptive to abhorrent ideas. Silencing abhorrent ideas does not make them less attractive to people who hold them. Someone shouting an abhorrent idea being met with 99% of society saying ‘we completely reject your abhorrent idea and you should be ashamed of yourself” is what actually works. We need to fix the society, not the ideas. How can we fix our society? Education, values, shared experience, interconnections, information, etc.

          • Anonymous :


          • Anon 12:50 :

            I agree with you that BLM and neo-Nazis have nothing in common and are not at all comparable. You are 100% correct. But I also think the argument would still be made and is a risk of opening up this kind of thing to government intervention.

            Maybe it is still the right thing to do and the thing that needs to happen right now. But I get really nervous when we start talking about gov’t intervention and gov’t policing of speech. (ACLU supporter here.)

          • First Amendment :

            Hate crimes is not hate speech or vice-versa. These are completely different concepts. What most people think of as “hate speech” is protected under the First Amendment in the U.S., with very limited exceptions. The best response to these abhorrent demonstrations is overwhelming, peaceful counter-protests showing that the vast majority of Americans don’t agree with their hateful ideology.

          • First Amendment :

            *are not

          • another anoonnnn :

            +1 Anon @ 12:46 I don’t want these a$$holes hidden, I want them front and center so we know who they are and folks can hold them accountable for their actions/speech.

            I am privileged and white, but I have never been so naive to think that racism and Nazis aren’t alive and well all over the US of A. I may not experience it because of what I look like, and I may not understand how it feels to be the subject of this hatred, but I have never ever pretended that it didn’t exist.

            Come on out you mother effers and show me your hateful faces so I know who you are.

    • Anonymous :

      The tweet that stuck with me most was one that said “Is it now too much to ask for a President who explicitly condemns Nazis?”

      Like how did we end up here? Didn’t our grandparents/great-grandparents fight a whole war exactly for this purpose?

      Between threatening war with North Korea and not explicitly condemning Nazis, I feel like I’m living in a Bond movie. How can this be real?

      • Totally. Saw a FB post recently comparing lists of people Trump has and has not criticized this week.

        People/Groups Trump has criticized this week: NYT, Mitch McConnell, Obama, WaPo, Hillary Clinton, etc., etc., etc.

        People Trump has not criticized this week: neo-Nazis marching in Virginia.

      • Won’t condemn Nazis until days later when I imagine his staff/advisors finally won the battle, but will immediately condemn Ken Frazier, a black CEO who resigns from an advisory counsel for perfectly legitimate reasons. Aye yi yi.

    • I think that one of the most important things most of us can do right now is figure out what we will do when the Nazis come to our cities to do the same thing they did in Charlottesville. Because they’re coming.

      • I saw a really powerful post that I will basically sum up as, “Dear Charlottesville residents: for those of you who wonder what you would have done during slavery or if you were in pre-WWII Germany, you just got to find out.”

        I say that as someone who wasn’t there–I don’t live in Cville now and I had a family obligation elsewhere on Saturday, but I’ll be there next time.

        • Anonymous :

          Give me a break. While I hate those groups, if I lived there – I would have remained chilling in my house. Sorry I’m not paid to fight these people – call in the army, national guard or whoever – I’m not enough of a do gooder to take it on personally.

          • Anonymous :

            No one is suggesting that you need to be physically in the streets. If you think it’s the national guard or police’s job to to handle this then you need to call up your representatives and advocate for that.

            Silence is acquiescence. The only thing necessary for evil to triumph if for good (wo)men to do nothing.

          • Well, and there’s your answer, about who you are and what you would do. If you’re comfortable that you’re living your values by chilling in your house when there are avowed Nazis marching down the street of your hometown, then sure, do that.

          • Anonymous :

            Criticize all you want – I know you hold yourself out as the authority on everything around here. But yes I’m comfortable with who I am and that includes not voluntarily standing in front of men with rifles to be a part of the “resistance.” All these ppl running around protesting won’t change anything. Had they not been there Sat there wouldn’t have been deaths and injuries so tell me – how was standing up beneficial??

          • Anonymous :

            Yeah, I’m not proud of this aspect of my personality, but I have young kids and there is nothing I would take to the streets for at this point in my life and in this political climate. The terrorists have won with me; I avoid angry crowds like the plague.

            I absolutely call my representatives and vote my conscience; I’m just not going to put myself in a dangerous situation. I recognize that I’m extremely privileged.

          • Anonymous :

            wow. nice job with the victim blaming Anon 2:37pm. Totally the lady who got run over’s fault. So stupid of her to have left her house. Take your cray cray elsewhere.

        • Anonymous :

          Absolutely this. My DH is German born and about ten years ago I had some very enlightening conversations with his older relatives who lived through the war. Even for the side of his family that was active in the Resistance, how long things got slowly worse and worse before the war was really interesting to hear about. How much they thought things had hit rock bottom, only to find it then got worse and worse was amazing. It’s not like Hitler showed up one day, announced that they would have a genocide and everyone went along with it. The lead up period was long. One Aunt in particular has been so upset about what is going on now because she feels like she is reliving her childhood in terms of the rhetoric and marches.

          If you once sat in high school history class and wondered what you would have done if you’d lived in pre- WW2 (1930s) Germany, whatever you are doing right now is your answer.

        • Anonymous :

          Put Sept. 16th on your calendar, then. Apparently there are plans to march near the Lee statue on that date.

      • Rainbow Hair :


        They’re coming to the next town over in September — the nazis, I mean — and I’m glad a little clique I know from the women’s march is talking about what we’ll do. I’ve read that it’s better to hold a positive alternative somewhere else (draw attention away from the badguys) but I also do want to just scream in a nazi’s face if they dare to show it in my town, so… I’m not sure.

        I also am risk averse and conflict avoidant but I can’t stomach telling my kid I didn’t even show up to yell at *literal nazis* because I was afraid…

        • Anonymous :

          Counter protest in an alternate location is a great idea. Makes for fantastic visuals for media coverage to demonstrate the difference between love and hate. And media coverage matters because we see how much it affects us to see the awful images coming out of this weekend. We need hope amiss the hate.

        • If you do hold a counter protest, call up your local newspaper and tv affiliate to tell them about it ahead of time and while it’s happening! Advertise it within the community so that people know there is a place for them to join.

  24. I’m moving at the end of the month, but there’s a 5 day gap between when I move out of my current place and when I can move into my new one (the moving company is storing everything). I’m staying with a friend during that time, and I want to get her something in thanks. Any thoughts?

    • How about a cookbook? (Sorry, just a plat on your name- but honestly, it would be a good gift if it’s a nice cookbook)

      • Anony Mouse :

        Or, if you cook and she doesn’t, a couple of home-cooked meals would probably be well-appreciated.

    • They are kind of obvious, but I would probably just do flowers, wine or chocolates (or some combination thereof).

    • Offer to pick up the tab for dinner/bring in dinner for you both at least once (in addition to bringing in/providing your own food), be super tidy and easy to room with, and something consumable as a hostess gift (chocolates? fruit bouquet? flowers?)

  25. Is it crazy to wait until 16 weeks to announce a pregnancy at work? I’m 13 weeks now and still fit into most of my regular clothing, but I have a noticeable swelling in the belly area (I think it’s bloat though – it’s been roughly the same size since week 6 and tends to vary a lot based on time of day and whether I’ve eaten recently). I’m guessing in three more weeks it will be even more prominent and noticeable, but the way my doctor’s appointments shook out, I had one at 10 weeks and then won’t have my next one until almost 16 weeks. I have a couple of friends that had miscarriages with no symptoms, so I would really like to wait until I hear the heartbeat at the 16 week appointment before announcing at work – thoughts?

    • Anonymous :

      No that’s totally fine!

    • Anonymous :

      Totally fine.

    • Cornellian :

      Totally fine. I waited until 20. I’m sure some people paying attention figured it out, but I was still in normal clothing and didn’t want to have convos before I needed to.

    • lost academic :

      Related: how long CAN you wait to announce? I really don’t want to announce at work at ALL – I’d rather keep it as late as possible to the key staff that need to know about an upcoming unavailability, and we are TTC … but some of the staff in my office are CREEPY AF about pregnancy and babies and I’d as soon not have a discussion with any of them in the first place. (I don’t do much work with the people physically in my office)

      • Anonymous :

        Anon for this, but I waited until 23 weeks and 17 weeks respectively. And even then, it was not a company-wide “announcement,” it was just at that point that I started mentioning it to my supervisor and my direct reports. With those co-workers who were not in my office location, I waited until well after 30 (like 32-35 weeks) when I had my leave plans in better shape. I felt the same way – it was weird to be looked at and discussed. I tried to keep it as related to work and work-based issues (leave coverage, assignments, etc.), as I could.

    • Diana Barry :

      I could barely wait until 12 weeks – I showed EARLY. Totally fine!

      • Anonymous :

        I showed early too – I’m pretty thin and by 8 weeks or so I had a visible “bump” and had to wear maternity pants. I’m sure it was all bloat but it was very noticeable and it was clearly not just a result of me overeating since it was all in my gut. I didn’t announce until 14 weeks. I’m sure plenty of people guessed but who cares? Announce when you want to announce (so long as you allow reasonable time to plan for your leave). You don’t owe anybody an explanation of why your body is changing.

    • I personally wouldn’t tell people if I could avoid it before a heartbeat. But every time I was pregnant (5 pregnancies, 3 live births) I could not stand to wear anything fitted the minute I was pregnant. It just drove me crazy. So people could pretty much tell from my looser clothing.

    • I waited until week 17 to tell everyone, though I told my boss at 15 weeks because we were having a private long-term strategic planning conversation and it felt relevant and necessary to bring it up. 90% of people were totally surprised (thank you, long torso!), and the ones who weren’t were suspicious only because I had been wearing looser tops and dresses than usual. I didn’t really start showing until 19-20ish weeks, so I probably could have pulled it off for a few more weeks.

  26. Paging Nancy B :

    (From Upstream)

    Over the weekend, I tried to email you (once with a zero, once with an o) but got bouncebacks. You can reach me at c o r p o r e t t e . g e r r i @ gmail dot com (remove all spaces). Hope to connect!

  27. nose piercing :

    So, last week we learned that nose piercings aren’t technically piercings (or the skin is pierced, but it doesn’t go all the way through).

    1. How do you make the hole if it the stud is twisted in?
    2. I have an ice-pick scar on the side of my nose that actually looks like a nose-piercing hole. It isn’t though. Could it be? I was thinking of seeing a derm of a way to burn it off or otherwise fix. Maybe a nose stud is the answer?

    • Huh? It’s a piercing. It goes all the way through.

      • Yea, the twist part is what is on the inside of your nose, instead of a straight post with a back. No back means the twist holds it in. The other type I used had a small ball at the end of the post, but that was more painful to take in and out. Trust that I had a large needle poked all the way through my nose to make the hole!

    • Huh, my daughter has a nose piercing and it goes all the way through.

      She’s currently wearing a hoop but can also wear a fixed stud with a screw on back or an L-shaped stud that stays put because the post turns at a right angle.

      The fixed stud is hard to get out by yourself. She had to go back to the piercing shop to have it taken out when she switched to the hoop. They also put in and fitted the hoop to her for a small fee.

      Go to a good piercing place (not the mall, not Claire’s for gods sake) and tell them what you are looking for. They will have all the jewelry and all the advice.

      How fun for you!

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Often tattoo parlors have a piercer on staff who will be well trained and well versed in how to do a nose piercing. (I worked at Limited Too and “learned how to pierce ears” and would not recommend that anyone go that route.)

  28. Anonymous :

    I’m checking out MM La Fleur’s pre-fall collection (didn’t know that was a thing) and I’m sort of lusting after this suit, but the jacket gives me pause. Is it appropriate for federal court?


    • Anonymous :

      Assuming you intend to wear it with the matching skirt, then I vote yes. Glad/sad I’m pregnant so cannot buy this for myself…

      • Yes, with the matching skirt, I should’ve specified. I couldn’t quickly find a linkable pic of the jacket and skirt together. Although I AM also tempted by the dress that’s shown with the jacket….

  29. Can we hurry up already :

    Just venting/procrastinating while rebooting my computer… I am finalizing the details on a new job (YAY) but for the duration need to keep on keepin’ on with my current. While I care about the org, and do still get satisfaction from doing my job well, I. Am. Done. And I need to go into my performance review this week acting like I care.

  30. Anyone have advice for dealing with a boss who tends to go through a Praise-Devaluation cycle with his employees? He’s under a lot of stress, and sometimes he treats me like a rockstar, and sometimes nothing is good enough and I can see him tallying up my defects in his head. He’s overall a nice, well meaning person, but he’s under so much stress and I think has a tendency to point fingers or kick the dog. I try not to take it personally, but I’m a “heart on my sleeve” type with anxiety issues so it does affect my performance quite a bit when I’m the target that week.

  31. Yes. Thanks for posting

  32. This is such a nice jacket! It only looks a bit old to me, but still very nice!

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