Frugal Friday’s Workwear Report: Pleat Front Trousers

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

These pull-on trousers from Leith have a ton of really good reviews (70+) at Nordstrom, and they’re hand washable (which, of course, means machine washable too, if they’re OK in the hand-wash cycle). Some of the reviewers note the good fit and design and the fact that they’re true to size and very comfortable. They have real pockets, too. (If you’ve bought these, we’d love your opinion on them.) They look like a great pair of pants for $55, and they come in sizes XS–XXL. Pleat Front Trousers

Vince Camuto has a plus-size option, as does Foxcroft.

(Psst:  check out our recent discussion on comfortable clothes for late nights.)

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  1. Anonymous :

    Anyone else have an issue with pocket lines showing on dress pants? I’ve had this with a few brands, and the pants aren’t too tight. I’m thinking about just having the front pockets removed. Not sure if there’s a better alternative.

    • Panda Bear :

      Yes, and I hate it. I always have my tailor take the pockets out. I never put anything into pants pockets anyway.

    • I mean, it happens to me, but I don’t have an issue with it. If it bothers you, then removing the pocket lining is probably the best bet, but it’s probably trickier than you are thinking (depending on the type of pocket).

    • Anonymous :

      I just cut out the pocket to a nub and hand sew it shut.

    • What’s wrong with pocket lines showing? I mean it’s not VPL….

  2. Non-Anniversary :

    Boyfriend and I are celebrating a milestone this weekend. Planning is his love language, so he’s set up some kind of elaborate surprise date for me (he’s told me time and dress code, but that’s all I know!).
    I posted about this in the Coffee Break the other day and got some helpful responses saying that even though I shouldn’t feel like I have to reciprocate by doing the same thing for him (my initial instinct), it would be nice to have some kind of little token or something to do for him. My question now is what should I do? What are some meaningful gifts or gestures you’ve gotten from a guy or given to him? I want to express how much he means to me, how wonderful dating him so far has been, etc. in a way that is a little more special than just saying it out loud. Thanks!

    • Buy him a gift? A book he loves nicely bound? A watch? A special bottle of scotch?

    • Planning may be his *giving* love language, but what’s his *receiving* love language? They can be and often are different. That’s the best answer to this question.

      • This is a good point. I give acts of service and gifts, but far prefer to receive in other ways.

      • +1. I am a show-love-by-planning-and-doing, but I don’t like to receive it that way (I feel like that says a lot about me…yikes)

      • Non-Anniversary :

        Oh, this is a good question! The only other gift I’ve given him was a set of books in a subject he was interested in. His family doesn’t really do gifts. He said that was one of only 2 or 3 personal gifts he’s ever received in his life, so all I could guess about his receiving language would be things that are super thoughtful and personal.

        • Look beyond “things.” I really dislike receiving physical gifts – my receiving love language is acts of service. It means a million times more to me when my husband hangs the new blind in the kitchen than literally anything he could ever buy. Consider things like cooking a nice dinner or giving a massage or an IOU for a quiet night of his favorite pizza and movie when it’s been a rough week. There are so many ways to say thank you other than physical things.

          Look up the Five Love Languages. Super helpful!

    • Do you think he’d enjoy a handwritten note from you? It can be as simple as “I love you – glad we’re together!” or a special memory you share or as elaborate as a poem or song. DH wrote me a poem once and he is…cautious about sharing his deep feelings, so I get all mushy and heart-eyes when I read it. +1 to Anon at 10:18 who said the best gifts are ones that match his receiving love language.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yeah, I wrote a poem for my husband for our anniversary and he loved it! (Even though it came out more Dr. Seuss than Elizabeth Barrett Browning!)

  3. Anonymous :

    Has anyone done some kind of book club monthly subscription? I thought that might be a fun gift for my sisters, and I could get one too so we’re all reading the same book and can discuss. But I have no idea if there are any that send quality books or books by topic.

    • Book of the Month was great. You get to choose from 5 books each month so you could all check the selections and vote together?

    • I’ve really enjoyed Book of the Month in the past, though you choose from 5 different options each month. I was alway very happy with the selection, the binding quality wasn’t typically stellar but was good enough, and it was a fun and affordable monthly surprise. There was always a lively text chain discussing the merits of the monthly picks when we were making our selections at the beginning of the month. I stopped because I was getting too many books piled up in the summer months when I was outdoors (I really prefer audiobooks), but my friends still subscribe and I check out their selections and add interesting titles to my library holds. I don’t know anyone who is a subscriber, but Hello Book Lover looks intriguing as well, as does Cozy Reader Club, which is more $. Whatever you do, look for coupon codes from bloggers or sign up for their emails before you subscribe – it seems like there are always better deals to be had.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Not the cheapest option, but the Book Drop, out of Bethany Books, seems to have high quality choices, and I trust the shop owners.

    • Hatchards, the hundreds-of-years-old book store in London, does personalized book subscriptions. You tell them what your interests are, and what books you’ve read recently and liked, and then every month a book just appears in your mailbox, based on which of the books that’s just come out they think you will most enjoy. I did a mix of fiction and women’s travel writing, and I’ve loved all of them so far. With the international shipping, you end up paying the price of a hardback book and receiving a paperback, but it’s not that bad.

    • Indiespensable from Powell’s Books is amazing. It’s not cheap, but the books are gorgeous and always interesting reads.

  4. One day at a time :

    Early this summer, I posted about being frustrated that my exercise and weight loss efforts were going nowhere. I wasn’t technically overweight, but getting close to that point and I could tell that I was heavier than was really comfortable for my frame. Well, anyway, after almost 6 months of consistent exercise, including a running routine, I have lost almost 10 lbs. It’s not a huge loss, but it has made such a big difference in how I feel (both in terms of energy and body image).

    I stopped tracking food. It was making me crazy. Given my issues with anxiety and borderline OCD, I was concerned that obsessively tracking calories could quickly turn into disordered behaviors. I’ve watched my portions, but I haven’t been that strict. I know the conventional wisdom is that abs are made in the kitchen, but exercise has been a much more positive way to channel my wellness efforts. Even if progress is slow and not dramatic. It feels like I’m doing something good for myself, instead of depriving myself and taking something away.

    This is my note of encouragement to anyone who is trying to be healthier and getting frustrated by the process. It takes a long time to change habits. It can take even longer to start seeing results. But every healthy choice you make IS adding up to something, even when it doesn’t feel like it.

    Now for the fashion part of my post … my work pants are sliding down my hips and starting to look really sloppy. The next size down is still a bit too tight, though. So, I need to figure out how to dress my body as it is now. Most of my pants weren’t super high quality to begin with, and I think altering them would cost more than they’re worth. I’ve never been big on dresses for winter, but that seems like the most practical option for now.

    • Anonymous :

      Congrats! I haven’t lost much weight but have been on a similar wellness kick – more exercise, healthier food but no tracking, and I can see the starts of results. I feel stronger and sleep better!

      For clothes, I’d try to make them last until the next size down fits you or you have been at the current size for a few months. My usual approach is to add belts and slightly longer tops for a short while.

    • Sorry if it’s a dumb question but… are you wearing a belt? Another solution is to get some ponte skirts in the next size down. They’ll be a bit tight, but the stretch will make them fit. Wear with slightly longer tunic-style tops if they’re noticeably too tight around the top.

      • I am wearing a belt, but there’s enough extra fabric that it sometimes looks bunched-up around the cr*tch and waist. It’s OK if my shirt is long enough to cover it, but it looks pretty bad with button-downs! My issue is that my stomach is relatively flat now, but I will always have wider hips (and no booty to match).

        • Anonymous :

          You need new pants! Keep shopping. Pants exist that fit you.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Yes, this was going to be my suggestion. You may have to switch brands but you will find some that fit!

        • pugsnbourbon :

          A New Day at Target has decent work pants (I am wearing them now) for about $30 – might be a good option to tide you over.

          And yay for finding the solutions that work for you. I also focus more on exercise than food w/r/t wellness. I’ll never have a six-pack, but I feel strong!

          • I got some really inexpensive trousers from JC Penney – Worthington was the brand I think. With a sale they had it went down to less than $20. I ended up getting a second pair because I liked the first so well.

        • S in Chicago :

          Try pants with a different rise. Hips will still be pretty much the same but the fit across your core can be quite different.

    • Anonymous :

      Congrats! Ten pounds is not nothing – go hold two 5 lb bags of flour next time you’re in the grocery store.

      And thanks for this – I’ve been getting a little discouraged so I appreciate it.

      • Anonymous :

        Me too! I’ve worked really hard this year and lost a whopping 15lbs. But, now that I’m pulling out last winter’s clothes, it actually makes a difference!

        • I totally agree! I’ve lost 20 pounds in 18 months. The progress feels achingly slow at times… but then I just pulled out a button-down today that I haven’t worn in 4 years and it FIT. Hallelujah!

      • +1 Ten pounds is a lot! Especially if you’re short like me :) I’m so proud that you stuck with it! And that you didn’t “give in” to conventional wisdom and did what was righ for YOU! You’ve inspired me to get back into weight lifting not because it affects my weight but because it makes me FEEL better. Cheers!

        • That’s great! Good luck with getting back into weights. I think that’s my next step!

          I’m on the tall side (5’8″), which is a good and bad thing. It can take me awhile to catch on when I gain weight, and by the time I realize it, it’s A Problem.

    • Anonanonanon :

      Congratulations! 10 pounds is NOT nothing!!
      Have you considered something like Rent the Runway’s service where you can rent a few designer pieces every month for a flat fee? That may be a good solution while your body is in transition, and you can experiment with new styles to show off your hard work! I’m currently pregnant and am considering trying it while my body is changing post-partum

    • Go to BR and try on some different cuts in their wool suiting pants (even if you don’t need that in your closet).

      I need the Logan cut b/c I have bit hips / butt / thighs for my waist size. The Ryan fit is just too tight in the thighs. There is another cut that isn’t great for me.

      So this will show you that cut (not size) is where the solution is. If the Logans work for you, the Loft Julie fit will probably work for you for non-suiting pants options (FWIW, I have not found the Julies to be sized consistently and own them in sizes 4-8 for various iterations of the pant in skinny, cords, and cropped non-skinny pants and shorts). It’s a bit of mail order roulette, but something always works in that cut for me.

      • This is really good advice; I hadn’t thought about switching the fit. Really wish the Loft in my town hadn’t closed!

    • Congratulations on your progress! It can be frustrating when it is slow, but know that you are doing it 100% the right way where it will be lasting. Keep up the great work!

      Also, when I went through a similar experience, I leaned heavily on dresses and pencil skirts for about a year, and bought several pairs of really thick fleece tights to make them work in the winter. They tend to be a lot more forgiving than pants as you are changing shape.

    • Dealtwiththis :

      I just wanted to say that I’m the same as you in regards to tracking food. I’ve found that it makes things worse for me and just makes me obsess over what I’m not eating when I probably wouldn’t even have thought about it if it wasn’t restricted. Exercise is a great way to go instead, I focus on the good feeling I will have after working out and let myself eat when I’m hungry. Great job and keep it up!

  5. Anonymous :

    I’m not close with my family, which has been such a great decision for me. I didn’t realize how much this mattered in dating until after my most recent breakup. Ladies in similar situations – how/when do you bring this up with a new partner?

    • Anonymous :

      Gradually and as appropriate.

      My situation isn’t quite the same as yours, but I have been disowned by my only sibling, and while that’s not a first-date revelation it is something where the groundwork gets laid organically very early on.

      “Do you have siblings?”

      “Yes, one.”

      “Where does sibling live?”

      “In exotic place [where sibling does in fact live].”

      “Wow! Have you been to visit?”

      “Oh, I think sibling moved halfway around the world to get away from family, not to invite us to visit, and of course life is busy here with XYZ…”

      And it’s on to the next topic. As it comes up again later, there may be a few more details. If it is an absolute red flag for New Guy when someone is not close with a sibling, he’ll still know early on, but I’m not inappropriately over-sharing. And it is an absolute red flag for some. But not all or even most, and after all you only need to find one person who is right.

    • Anonanonanon :

      Can you give more details on how it mattered in dating? I’ve never had family stuff come up very early on that I couldn’t brush past with “oh they don’t live locally”

      • Anonymous :

        Mmmm. It may have mattered to this one person but I don’t think that’s universal at all.

        • Anonanonanon :

          Yea if someone is super intent on being with someone who is close to their family (which, why?) it may just not be a good match!
          You’d think, if someone was close to their family and valued spending time with their family, they’d be thinking “score! No arguing over whose family to spend the holidays with!” haha

          • Anonymous :

            Lol yes that is me. My family is great! I don’t need yours to be.

          • No, then you get the “but you don’t even LIKE your family why do we have to see them over the holidays at all?” Uh because they’re family? Even though they’re pretty awful, they’re the only family I’ve got and this is the one time a year everyone forces themselves to almost get along?

          • This reminds me of one my friends. I asked what her ideal partner looked like and she said he would have to be an orphan so they could spend all holidays with her family. I think she was only half joking.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Heh. I always say I hit the jackpot with my childless widower only child orphan husband…

        • anonforthis :

          I had it come up with someone I dated many years ago. When he learned that I had no contact with any family members, regardless of the fact that I fled persecution in my home country and could not contact my family before I left, he broke up with me for not being “family oriented.” I realize now that is insane, but it was scarring at the time.

          Setting aside extreme situations like that, I would hope normal people would respect someone who is otherwise normal and has made a conscious decision to not really interact with family. There has to be a good reason.

      • Anonymous :

        Mine aren’t local, so that’s a great suggestion. He didn’t like that he wouldn’t have a close relationship with my sibling, and also that my family didn’t know about him. (Fwiw – they don’t know about any guy I’ve dated. They don’t need to know unless I’m going to be engaged/married.)

        • Yeah, I mean I get that and I get that people don’t like to feel hidden. Sounds like just not a good match.

        • Lack of a close relationship with a sibling wouldn’t be a red flag for me but I can see how not meeting the family before engagement would be a deal breaker. If you are close with your family and marry someone, they are becoming a part of the family. It would be so strange to think of being proposed to by someone who had not met my family on numerous occasions. I can’t imagine asking my parents to accept a person who is essentially a stranger to them as my spouse and to be happy for me. I would never consider a proposal from a guy if I hadn’t met and spent time with his family at least a few times.

          • It sounds like you are close to yours? I think we’re looking at this from different lenses.

          • I am but that’s sort of my point. If you had explained to him that you are not close to your family and what ‘not close’ means, then he shouldn’t be surprised that he wouldn’t meet them. But if you hadn’t explain that you’re ‘not close’ and what ‘not close’ means in terms of contact, then I can see what he would feel strange about being ‘hidden’.

            None of your posts clarify your level of contact with your family. Are you no-contact not close or only talk on the phone once a month and visit in person annually not close? There’s a huge difference. I wouldn’t expect to meet someone’s parents in the former, but I would in the later situation.

          • I think there’s a difference between meeting them and whether or not they know you exist. My SO hasn’t seen his family in … six years? He talks on the phone to his parents … twice a year? They’re not close, and I don’t think it would be incorrect to say they don’t like each other very much. His parents know I exist, and when he’s on the phone with them I can hear that they politely inquire about me, but in two years I’ve never met them and I’m not bothered by it. On the other hand he’s met mine numerous times and is on our group text we use sometimes. We just have different families.

          • But they know you exist whereas OP was talking about her family not knowing about her partner until they get married. My point was that depending on the level of contact between her and her family, I could see why a partner would have a hard time with that. The same way you might feel strange about it if your partner’s parents didn’t know you existed.

    • Anonymous :

      What it means to be ‘close’ to family can be very variable. I talk to my mom everyday and my sister once a month at most. I love my sister dearly but she lives in a different city, we both have busy lives and we don’t seem to be able to make the time. I still feel close with her because when we do talk it’s like our last conversation was 5 minutes ago.

      Family relationships can be super variable. I wouldn’t be bothered at all if someone said they weren’t close with their family because the family had racist views, or wasn’t good with boundaries, or was abusive or whatever relatively specific reason. But if someone had cut off contact with all parents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles etc and wasn’t able to explain why? Definitely would give me pause.

      • I think you might be starting though from the assumption that the default is closeness as a child, and that as an adult you would decide for yourself whether to continue that closeness. Some families aren’t like that.

        I saw my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents about every other year for a week growing up. As an adult, I see them even less. There was no real relationship to begin with, so there’s not really one to continue having. One aunt and cousin in particular I haven’t spoken to in … 4 or 5 years? I never made a conscious decision to not speak to them, it’s just never been a habit for my entire life. I barely know them and we don’t really talk. There’s no explanation because this is how it’s always been.

        • But that’s why I said “and wasn’t able to explain why” – you can – you didn’t see the aunt/cousin a lot when you were a child and you weren’t in the habit of contacting them in adulthood. Pretty common. My DH has similar examples in his own family – ten years ago he was much closer with his godmother and they drifted apart when we moved. It’s not a big deal, but if he was secretive about his family more generally then I would wonder if he’s hiding something or what the real story was.

    • Slowly. Some people have an unfair bias against people who aren’t close to their families. Once they get to know you, though, they seem to understand that your family must be the problem, not you. I think it’ll always be hard for people with great families to understand just how bad a toxic family can be. They have to learn to not think and certainly never say things like, but she’s your mom you HAVE to see her at Christmas! Personally I’m almost glad to have such a clear-cut empathy litmus test.

      And further to that – if a guy is going to hold it against me that my dad split when I was a kid, he’s not the kind of guy I want to date. I’m pretty over people who blame women for the bad behavior of men. No I am not broken and I do not have “daddy issues”; I am thankful that I didn’t grow up looking up to that POS as my primary male role model.

    • In previous discussions, some women here have admitted that they use closeness to family as a screening criterion for potential dates. No reason to assume men don’t do the same thing.

      OP, I wouldn’t try to hide it, but I wouldn’t highlight it or try to start a serious conversation about it until you get to know the potential partner well enough to know that s/he is interested in you as a person and you are interested in him/her as a person. I haven’t had contact with my father since I was in college, and my now-husband thought my father might be dead for the first few months we were dating because I never mentioned him. Once we knew each other well enough for him to ask and for me to give a detailed explanation, we were at a point where he was interested in me for who I really was and it didn’t matter so much. If on the first date I’d told him “I don’t speak to my father” he would have found it very off-putting.

      • I appreciate this anecdote. I’ll need to work on being communicative about why when the time comes.

      • I’m close with my family and it was a huge red flag to me when my now husband told me when we were dating that he was not close with his parents (he had not talked to his dad in years, and had a very contentious relationship with his mom). But once we dated longer and he explained the circumstances behind WHY this was the case (in his case, emotional and physical abuse), it was of course perfectly understandable to me. He’s also very close with other members of his family, so that was a positive sign for me. I would have found it pretty concerning if he had no relations with any of his family at all (unless of course there was a clear reason for that).

        I also think in some cultures it might be a bigger pill to swallow than others. I’m Indian, and my parents found it really odd and a huge negative that husband doesn’t speak to his dad. But this is because it’s standard in Indian culture to think of “marrying the whole family”, not just the person.

    • Thanks to everyone for the responses. I’m feeling better. A few (potentially) relevant additions:
      – I have minimal contact with family, not none. I generally choose not to see them for holidays.
      – I live far from my family, so this is a great thing to mention.
      – I wouldn’t be asking my family to accept a partner. No one is good enough for them, not even my siblings and myself at times.
      – I’m not sure how I’d handle him meeting the family. I’m sure most guys would want to at some point, and I’m not completely opposed. I think we’d take a trip to a city about an hour away and go up to the family’s city for a day. Not sure.

      • By saying that I generally choose not to see them for holidays, I mean that I don’t anymore, but used to when I was young. Communication is almost negligible now.

      • I’m not close to my family, while my husband is close friends with his. I would not want to be judged on my relationship with my parents by acquaintances and potential friends who aren’t close enough to hear gory details about my family of origin.

        I make sure my statements are as respectful and upbeat as possible. For example, rather than talking about not wanting to spend holidays with them I talk about how many times I’ve spent the night at Ohare airport and how traveling during the spring/summer is easier. I’ll include some superficial details, can talk about my young nieces, but not much about the adults. I don’t express negative emotions about family, they aren’t in my life much but I save expressing those emotions for my closest friends.

  6. blueberries :

    Any recommendations for rain boots that one can tuck two layers of pants into (jeans and rain pants)? I’m having such a hard time finding anything suitable.

    • LLBean, maybe? I also have a pair of Kamik boots that I love. They have a wider top than Hunters and may accommodate more layers.

    • Anonanonanon :

      I think Hunters makes a boot with a wider calf option, maybe that would give extra room for tucking?

    • Triangle Pose :

      Rain pants? Curious, you are wearing jeans and then another pair of pants for rain and then putting both into rain boots?

    • If you’re wearing rain pants, I would wear Goretex hiking books with them instead of rain boots.

    • Puddlejumper :

      I usually don’t tuck my rain pants into my boots because thats a way that water can get in. My pants go in my boots and then my rain pants go over it all so there is no exposed seams so water can’t creep in. My rain pants have pull ties on the bottom so I can make them really snug around my ankles so they don’t creep up.

    • When does one wear rain pants?

      • Puddlejumper :

        When you are hiking in really wet conditions. You don’t want to carry an umbrella on a trail, you also don’t want to be soaked to the bone. They pack down really small so if it starts to rain you can just pull them up over your clothes and you won’t get soaked. Or on a boat in really wet conditions. I also used them when I biked to work every day.

        • Hiking umbrellas are a thing, though! When I was hiking in Nepal during monsoon season, the happiest people were those with trail umbrellas. I had water proof gear, and at some point, it wasn’t effective.

          • Puddlejumper :

            Like ones you wear on your head? I feel like you would bump into trees and stuff.

      • Triangle Pose :

        This was really my question I guess. If it’s for hiking, why are you wearing jeans under? Jeans aren’t really good for hiking ….

      • Hiking or camping or biking in the rain. Do you stay inside when it rains? Being active outside usually means an umbrella won’t cut it.

      • On my walking commute to work! But I live in an actual rain forest, so it’s necessary.

      • Anonymama :

        When walking the dog in heavy rain. I usually wouldn’t wear them over jeans (leggings or yoga pants are comfier) but sometimes you don’t want to change your pants that often.

    • I put my rain pants over my boots. They unsnap to fit over the boots, and that prevents water from getting in.

    • Can you just scotch guard your jeans? It’s not going to keep water out like gortex, but it works pretty well.

    • blueberries :

      Thanks, all! I wear rain pants over jeans for bike commuting so I don’t have to change clothes when I get to my destination–just take off the rain pants like I would a rain jacket. I like to tuck my rain pants because my city has terrible drainage and I’d rather the street yuck stay on my boots as much as possible.

      • You must live somewhere cold! I bike commute in Houston when possible and would absolutely _cook_ in two pairs of pants.

  7. Work From Home Spouse :

    My husband mostly works from home. He used to travel one week a month, but that’s now really rare. The issue is that he spends all day at home, along, with just our pets, and when I get home from work he is READY TO TALK. It is like a wall of words coming at me. And I get that most days he hasn’t seen another human since I left to go to work, but my job *isn’t*staring at a computer all day-I spend my days managing a million human interactions and when I get home I need to decompress. Last night I just wanted to come home, eat dinner, and watch Dynasty. It’s been a long week, and I was done. DH wanted to tell me Every. Single. Thing about his day in great, great detail. About thirty minutes into his monologue I finally had to tell him I need some quiet time, and he got his feelings hurt. Anyone else in this boat?

    • I was your husband. I have learned that I have a certain number of words I need to get out each day. What helped for me was setting up social things during the day – coffee and lunch, or an exercise class I went to regularly so that I could interact with people and develop acquaintances.

      Specifically for men that I know who work from home but want to be social, they have enjoyed the F3 workouts (f3 nation dot com) which are volunteer led workout groups for men. It’s very big in my city (Charlotte) but my understanding is that they have them all over the country.

    • My husband is a teacher, so we have days like that in the summer. I said he was like a dog who had been left home all day and would practically attack me at the door. The best time to address it is not 30 minutes into his monologue. At another time, say, “Hey, I need to decompress when I get home. Please leave me alone for [half an hour/ until dinner is ready/ 8 pm/ whatever you need].” Then when time’s up, listen attentively to him and engage.

      • I do a variation on this. My husband is a musician who works in a home studio for the most part. I get home from work and need some time to myself, but he’s been alone all day and needs some human interaction.

        I’ve found that it’s easier for us if we spend 15-30 minutes together talking when I get home during my change clothes/read the mail/put away groceries time. Then I get a half hour of time alone to decompress before we make dinner and hang out until I inevitably fall asleep on the couch. It’s imperfect, but it’s the current best solution. I give him a little attention right away while I’m otherwise occupied, then I get my time alone, after which I’m better able to really engage.

    • equestrian attorney :

      Yes, exact same boat – I’m an introvert in a job with a LOT of human interaction, DH is an extrovert who works from home. This was really hard for us at first but has gotten much better. I have explained that I need a “decompression period” when I come home – for the first 30 minutes, I need to do my own thing (work out, browse the internet, do laundry, whatever, but in general silence). I say hi when I walk in, but then he knows to respect that. Then we have dinner together and talk – I’m usually in a much better mood by then. If I’m feeling super overwhelmed, I tell him: “sorry, I am not being social but I had a crappy day at work and I just kind of need to chill right now”. I also encourage him to see friends or do hobby-related things on weekdays – I get an evening alone to take a bath and chill, he gets social time that doesn’t depend on me, and we enjoy each other’s company even more the next day.

      • +1 for this.

        DH and I both allow each other at least 15 minutes of decompression time once we get home from the office (we both travel and have work from home flexibility, so we each sometimes find ourselves being the overwhelmed one and the lonely one ready to talk). Other than a basic greeting, there’s a mutual “leave me alone” period for the first 15-30 minutes that the other person arrives home. That little bit of personal downtime makes the rest of the evening so much more enjoyable.

    • Triangle Pose :

      I think you can tell him you need alone time and if he needs to talk then during his day or after work he should find some other friends or people so that he isn’t trying to get ALL of his facetime and socialization from you.

      • Mineallmine :

        +1000 A lot of men expect their wives to be their only social outlet and get upset if we cannot deal with them acting like needy toddlers who won’t let us go to the bathroom by ourselves (this is where they go on the ‘you love the kids more than MMEEEEE’ rant. No, we get frustrated with kids, too, it’s just that kids need more attention because they can’t take care of themselves. You can, or at least should be able to). Men are adults who are responsible for their own lives, too – it’s not entirely our jobs, and their needs are not more important than ours. Signed, someone who was married to a nonstop talker for too many years. He wasn’t like that before we married, but afterwards, he felt it was my job to entertain and soothe him 24/7.

    • Are you me? This sounds like Mr. gov anon. Complete with the wall of words the second my toe hits the threshold. We have talked and talked about my need to decompress. Some things that have worked, most of the time, are the occasional quick text or call to home during the day so he can get a little of it out and feel like he’s being social. And the other thing I do is let him go for 15 minutes or so, then I take a walk. By myself. So I get about 20 minutes to decompress. I’m usually way more ready to talk by then, and he had a chance to get at least a little of his need to talk out and the rest of the evening is less a monologue from him about All The Things.

    • Can you run errands before you get home or stop off for coffee/tea? Just something to make your commute a few minutes longer so you have that “alone time” that you need?

    • Do you have a dog you can walk solo to decompress when you get home? Or some other routine to be by yourself for a while? My parents were in this situation and my mom can get pretty long winded. My dad had a routine of playing the piano for a while to unwind after work. I think you can probably work something out where you get time to yourself to adjust before he launches into a long monologue about his day.

    • I’m in a similar situation, and what helped a lot (in addition to what others have suggested re: telling him that you need time to decompress before talking) was encouraging him to find a part-time co-working space. He only goes once or twice a week, but it’s made a huge difference. He has a standing breakfast date with someone once a week as well, so at least two and often three days a week he’s out of the house and talking to someone who’s not me.

    • My husband is a wall of words because he is an introvert and doesn’t chit chat with people at work. So I get all the chit chat at the end of the day. He’s also becoming worse about talking over everyone as he gets older (A trait I have also noticed with a lot of the older men I work with). I need to talk to him about it – if I can get a word in edgewise- but I will be following this thread for thoughts about how to do it, because I agree – it could be very feelings-hurry.

      • Mineallmine :

        Good luck with that. I mean that sincerely – I know men like this and am related to a few. It has never gotten better.

    • Sounds like he needs a coworking space.

    • Yes, I feel your pain! I ended up having a sit down discussion with my DH last year (when I was in the middle of a super busy/stressful project at work) where I politely told him that while I really wanted to connect with him about his day, when I get home from work, I first need some decompression time before I am ready to hear everything. We also brainstormed some strategies to get him out of the house more to have social interaction during the day. For example there are some monthly breakfast networking meetings in my city that DH started attending. I also encouraged him to make an effort to meet up with friends for happy hour or lunch a few days a week and he is in to biking so I encouraged him to find regular group rides, etc. Are there similar things that you could encourage your hubby to do?

    • Wow, thanks for posting this. I now understand why I am so grumpy on rainy evenings when I can’t take a stroller walk with my daughter after work. It’s “wall of words” or out of the house for me. I guess I need a better jacket and suck it up. Aside from me, each week my husband only has a few work meetings and talks to his parents on Sundays. While I also work from home, I am talking to people ALL DAY LONG and need some peace at the end of the day.

  8. Talk to me about podcasts. This is a little embarrassing to admit, but I’m very well read and have a great written vocabulary and all that, but I’m not really comfortable conversationally. I will never forget in elementary school doing a presentation in class about a book that was way longer and more complicated than what my peers were reading with “chaos” in the title. I knew what the word meant by the context of how it was used in the book, and i knew what chaos meant, but it literally never occurred to me that the written word chaos was the same one I had heard pronounced as chaos. I gave my whole presentation pronouncing it with a “ch” like chess, but ch-a-Os.

    I read the papers and all that, but then it’s like how to you pronounce some of these names! Prime Minister Abe I’m looking at you. I think it would help me to listen to some of the news instead of reading everything. I’m up and out the door in the morning in 20 min so I’ve never been one to have the news on in the background. And I have a 45 min commute each way so it could be really efficient.

    Do you have any favorites to recommend? Looking for current events, news, and finance/markets. Can you download them in advance so when my train goes underground and loses reception the podcast continues?

    • Anonanonanon :

      I’d start simple and check out what options NPR has available, they’re the only reason I know how to pronounce the names of any world leaders (like Prime Minister Abe! Or all the French ones!). My 40 minute commute is a drive, so I just listen live and am not that familiar with their podcast offerings

      • +1 NPR. You can listen live on the NPR News app or NPR One (I don’t think you can download from those). NPR also does great podcasts that you can download from a podcast app (like the Apple podcast app that is already on iPhones, if you have one). I like the NPR Politics and Fresh Air podcasts. They also have a podcast called Planet Money that is good for your finance/business interests.

      • +100 NPR

      • Nudibranch :

        Ditto to the NPR rec.

    • Triangle Pose :

      Download Stitcher app. Yes, you can download them in advance so you don’t need wifi or data to listen to them. Just go in browse and look at the category for news, current events and finance. NPR Up First, NPR Politics Podcast, Slate’s Political Gabfest are all in line with what you’re looking for. Also, Death, Sex and Money, and Open Accounts with SuChin Park.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        +1 to Stitcher – it’s my go-to now for flights.

      • Same here. I switched to Stitcher when iOS updated the podcast player and no longer has podcasts autoplay when one podcast finishes.

    • Puddlejumper :

      1) Yes, you can download them in advance, so you can listen to them when you have no reception.

      2) There are a bunch of free apps to download podcasts to. The iphone automatically comes with one. Its not great but probably a good place to start. My favorite Pocket Casts costs like 3 dollars.

      3) News:
      – NPR has a daily podcast called Up First which does in under 15 minutes a daily run down of the news
      -The New York Times has a podcast called The Daily which is 5 times a week, 20 minutes
      – NPR has a 2 times a week podcast that is longer called NPR Politics
      -Crooked Media has a bunch of political/world news podcasts: Pod Save America, Pod Save the World, Crooked Conversations etc

      -Slate’s Culture Gabfest is a good one to learn about authors, tv shows, movies, etc
      -Pop Culture Happy Hour might help with that too

      Finance –
      – Planet Money

    • Anonymous :

      No specific podcasts to recommend, but just playing CNN or the New York Times or NPR news recaps on Alexa every morning is a great start to my day.

    • Nothing to add in terms of podcasts in your interest categories, but you should be weirdly proud of mispronouncing words! Tells the world you’re a reader :) I read all the time as a child and mispronounced words ALL. THE. TIME, but to this day, I have a really big vocabulary. One thing you might try is writing down new words you’re not sure how to pronounce (or that you suspect you’re not sure about) in the notes app on your phone. Then you can look them up later when you have time. I do this and it once saved me from pronouncing “anathema” as “ana-THEME-a” in a presentation.

      • Yes, I heard someone say this once: “Don’t be ashamed of mispronouncing a word. It shows that you learned it by reading.”

        • +100000!!!! A random sampling of words I love, but have no idea how to pronounce … unrequited, truculent, Eurydice …

          • un-re-QUITE-ted, TRUCK-you-lent

            I don’t know the other one!

            I used to have a disconnect between the spoken word and the written word. I had read the word “specifically” but when i heard people using it I thought they were saying “pacifically” – which made sense to me because we are on the west coast…

          • Senior Attorney :

            Yep! I remember when I was a little tiny girl I was super into the origins of humanity and I was telling my parents all about Nee-an-DER-thul man.

          • YOUR-rid-dih-sea

          • Eurydice is + yer-‘id’-itch-ee with emphasis on the ID


    • Eager Beaver :

      Nothing to add on the podcast front, but I’m raising a virtual fist in solidarity.

    • Dirty John, Serial, Stuff you Missed in History Class, Beautiful Stories by Anonymous People, The Moth, This American Life, S-Town, How Did This Get Made, Lore, Just a Story, The Bowery Boys, Radiolab, You Must Remember This

    • Speaking of words we can’t pronounce – I’m seeing Turandot this weekend.

      Tur-an-dot or Tur-an-doh ?

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I love “Oh No Ross and Carrie” — they investigate/engage in claims of the supernatural/spiritual and report on it. Like they go to alien conferences, try to OD on homeopathy, hang with flat earthers, go to a creationism museum, etc. They’re skeptics. And they’re funny.

    • Just wanted to do a note of solidarity- I had the same issue with chaos! (I still say it like that in my mind :)

    • Stream Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

    • If you are looking for a single program to listen to on your commute, the Morning Read from the Wall Street Journal checks all of your boxes and is usually about 30 minutes long. I get it with my Audible subscription. I also like pretty much every podcast NPR makes, but those are more subject specific.

  9. My husband wants outdoors boots for christmas. Maybe a pair of boots for when it rains and is warm and another for snow. (We live in Texas but ski).

    Any recommendations? I know what I’d buy for myself, but not sure what brands/styles are good for men! Especially texas rain boots? Or ski boots! Agh.

    • Bean boots from LL Bean, although they can be on backorder at this time of year, have a timeless style. Or look at camo Goretex lace-up or rubber rain boots from Cabela’s? My hubs can wear these hunting in TX too–even in summer, to protect against snakes– and not look out of place.

  10. Harassment :

    I missed the morning discussion until late yesterday, but I wanted to say something important regarding creepy men and attractive women. I understand why women say “I’m attractive and haven’t had a problem” or “I’m conventionally pretty and do get harassed,” but it is an enormous, dangerous myth that men only sexually harass or assault women who are conventionally attractive. Men around the world harass and r*pe young girls, college students, elderly women, and others of all types of appearance, race, ethnicity, body size, and disability status. It has something, but ultimately so little, to do with beauty or physical standards in any given country. Think of Trump has denied sexual harassment allegations because of how “unattractive” his accusers were. Let’s not do creeps like him a favor by helping perpetuate the idea that only pretty women get harassed and that all other women are just liars (or even worse, that they’re women who should be grateful for a man’s attention).

    This also goes hand in hand with the myth that wearing a miniskirt means someone was “asking for it” or “making themselves a target.” Men r*pe women whether they’re wearing bikinis or burkas or children’s pajamas. There are no behaviors, clothes, or life choices women can adopt that will make them immune to male violence.

    • Anonanonanon :

      Yes. The most groundbreaking moment in understanding consent for me was when I was training to work at a r**e crisis hotline in college, and the SANE nurse from the local hospital said “Even if you are passed out completely nude in the middle of bourbon street in new orleans, NO ONE has a right to touch you”. I knew that, but hearing it said that way really stuck with me.

    • Triangle Pose :

      Yes, thank you! I just DO NOT GET the shock (!) and surprise (?!) that other women’s experiences are not your experience. I haven’t been raped, had my home burglarized, or had a SO steal money from me, or been diagnosed with cancer, or a million other things that have happened to other women. But I am not shocked or surprised or clutching any pearls when other women say they have been through that. Why is sexual harassment in the workplace the one arena where we constantly use our own experience as a reference point as if it has any bearing on the experiences of others or the horror that is the behavior of these men?

      • I didn’t think anyone was shocked that it happens. I think it can seem kind of weird when it’s such a common occurrence that has never happened to you and you don’t have a great ability to relate to how that person feels (other than you know, being a decent person).

        And you may not use your experiences as a reference point for everything, but the vast majority of people (men and women) do for most things. Not excusing it at all. It’s bad and drives me nuts. But it is common.

        • I think what people were trying to say, though, is that even if it didn’t happen to you it’s probably happened/ing at your workplace just to someone else. I agree that we all use our reference points but it is a mistake to go from “it is has not been my experience” to “it has not been the experience at this workplace or with him” which is the common fallacy.

          Case in point – the women writers for SNL who wrote to stand up for Al Franken. I’m sure it is true that they have loved working with him and that he has never [email protected] them but that does not mean that he did not perform bad acts to others, but it has this exact effect.

          • Mineallmine :

            That’s a great point – just because the accused didn’t harass you doesn’t mean he didn’t harass me. Even the most prolific harasser didn’t harass everyone he knew. I was majorly harassed and electronically stalked by a VP at my old job. As far as I know, he didn’t harass anyone else I knew, but that didn’t mean his creepiness towards me was any less than it was.

      • All.Of.This.

    • Linda from HR :

      If anything, creepy men are intimidated by attractive women, unless they feel especially emboldened. They opt for women who feel vulnerable, who would be too caught off guard to do anything, and who would be told they should feel flattered some guy wanted to touch them, and that includes women who aren’t conventionally attractive.

    • This is exactly what I thought every time someone started a post with a reference to their appearance. I haven’t been harassed in the work place since I was a teenager, but I don’t think it’s because my appearance is only average now (which I’m fine with, btw), I think it’s because I’ve been fortunate to work with decent men and in organizations with cultures and policies that would not support that kind of thing.

    • That post made me ragey- “well I’m stunning and it has never happened to me so those women must be lying” – just gross.

    • Different type of predators will want to prey on different types of women. Some will get an extra “high” off the power of demeaning an especially attractive woman; other will want what they perceive to be “easy” targets. I doubt that the same man would prey on a confident, gorgeous woman and a meek woman who is not conventionally attractive, but both hypothetical women could get preyed on by different men.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Yeah, it was such a weird thing to introduce the comments with. People don’t say, “I’m moderately well off but I haven’t been robbed, are you sure *you* really got robbed?” …it’s not… that’s not how anything works.

      Also also, reminder! No one is or isn’t “attractive.” That’s not a thing. (Let’s be heteronormative here because that’s the context of most of this convo.) There is not a quality called ~attractiveness~ that a woman can have that makes men attracted to her, or an opposite quality that repulses men. It’s not on a scale, either, like the strength of magnets. A man is attracted or not attracted to things about a woman, and vice versa. The attraction originates in the person who is attracted, not the supposedly ‘attractive’ person.

      • So true.

      • I get what you’re saying, but come on. There have been studies showing that universally, there are several traits that ALL cultures consider inherently attractive in women. This is true in WASP cultures and also true in tribes in Africa. When someone says that they are conventionally attractive, you have a pretty good sense of what that means.

        I didn’t get a chance to respond yesterday but I think people are really getting worked up too much about this comment. When you are attractive, you get a lot of both wanted and unwanted attention in general. My friend who is gorgeous gets way more attention from men than I do. I would understand why an attractive woman would be pleasantly surprised to not be the victim of any harassment in the workplace, considering the attention she gets outside the office.

  11. Fun Ties? :

    My husband is an elementary school principal. He wears a tie everyday. He is rough on clothing, partially because he cannot resist joining in science experiments, soccer games at recess and the like and the guy is a messy eater. The rest of his stuff is machine washable. Any leads on “fun” ties that look presentable but are not super serious? He has one Dr. Sues tie with one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish on it. I’m looking for ties in a similar vein.

    • My kids’ pediatrician wears cute ties. When I g oogle “ties for pediatricians” a lot of items that may be appropriate come up.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Cute. I have no idea about quality, but check out ties dot com.

    • Hmm – what about science-themed ties on Etsy? Also, how does he feel about bowties? My dad, a doctor, has a large collection of nerdy bowties – they’re less likely to flap about and get in the way when he examines patients.

    • My brother is a teacher, and gets his fun ties from thrift stores – lots of options, and no big deal if they gets dirty/destroyed since they cost like $2 max.

    • Save the Children ties – they benefit a great cause and the designs are based on pictures drawn by kids. I can’t think of anything more perfect for an elementary principal.

      • +1

        For a further element of fun, consider a needlepoint belt from someplace like Tucker Blair, Smathers & Branson, Good Threads, or Eye of the Needle (EotN will stich them for you for an upcharge, but worth it because of the number of patterns). The Kid’s ped has them in Sesame Street and Transformers patterns. I have seen belts with things like pandas and Grateful Dead dancing bears on them as well.

      • +1

    • Love that he does this! You’d be surprised what an impact a principal’s clothing can have on kids. A kid told my first grade daughter that her navy pants were ‘boy pants’. She was upset and we talked about how colors are for everyone, that my favorite color is blue. The most important example to her was that her principal wears a pink dress shirt sometimes. So if he can like pink shirts, she can like blue pants. Apparently principals are more trustworthy than moms on the ‘colors are for everyone’ point.

    • Would bowties work for him? Less in the way?

    • Senior Attorney :

      He sounds like such a great guy! Go, Mr. Fun Ties!!

    • So Jerry Garcia used to have a line of ties, not sure if they’re still made, but fun and cute.
      Also check out museum shops, like the museum of natural history or the smithsonian. I like this Floating Astronaut tie, but they have others with dinosaurs and penguins.

  12. Has anyone had any success with convincing a reluctant family member to undergo medical testing or evaluation?

    My 65-year-old mother is the kind of person who has to be on death’s door before she’ll consider seeking medical help. Over the past year or so, my siblings and I have noticed some changes in her cognitive abilities – short term memory loss, word-finding difficulty – as well as some mood changes. She has acknowledged that she sometimes feels “out of it” or not like herself, but has brushed off my suggestions that she bring this up with her doctor.

    I’d really like a professional to evaluate her but just can’t figure out how to get her to see that it’s a good idea. I feel a little hampered by the fact that we don’t live in the same state. I would appreciate any suggestions!

    • Puddlejumper :

      Does your mother have a partner? Does she have a best friend in town? Do your siblings live in town? See if someone who is around can ask her if she wants them to go with them to the doctor appointment and explain how they always find it really useful to have an advocate there and someone to take notes. Then make it a fun day – go get breakfast, go to the doctor, then out shopping or something.

    • My mom who is in her late 60s just went for a physical with her doctor and she said that he asked her if she would do a mental health test. I think it was some kind of memory test that he administered in the office. Can you convince your mother to see a PCP for a physical, then call the office and let them know that you think it would be a good idea if they test her cognitive abilities–which they might do as a matter of course anyway? You would not be asking for her medical information, just making a suggestion and leaving the follow-up up to the doctor, which seems completely appropriate to me.

      • This is actually something that I had considered! Her PCP has a policy that anyone who takes a prescription medication regularly (my mom takes Imitrex for migraines) has to come in for an office visit at least twice a year. My concern is that these are probably brief appointments and might not allow for a in-depth evaluation, but I suppose it’s worth a shot!

    • My two best tactics with my mother are completely manipulative, but generally successful: 1) reminding her how frustrated she got trying to convince my grandmother to take care of her health and 2) stressing the importance of her health to be able to watch her grandkids grow up.

      • I have tried playing the grandkids card in the past – it might carry more weight coming from my sister, who is the mom of said grandkids. I’ll see if I can get her to jump on the bandwagon!

    • Does she see her PCP regularly, and get her yearly physical?

      Could you go with her to her next appointment? Plan it around a visit.

      You can also call her PCP and tell them your concerns, so that they can (discretely) ask and test for causes at the next appointment. You can do this without your mom knowing, and I did it in the past to help my depressed father.

      Fortunately, the most common cause of memory issues like you describe is not progressive dementia/Alzheimer’s, but is a medical issue. Depression (so common and under treated in seniors), sleep issues (ex. Sleep apnea), thyroid problems, B12 deficiency etc. and all of these are easily treatable.

      So sitting down with her when you see her over the holidays when you have a quiet break, and just ask her how she is feeling lately…. and really listen to what she is saying. This is often the first step. Then reassure her that she can feel better, and if she is scared to go to the doctor….reassure her that there are simple things that can be checked and fixed by the doctor. This can go a long way. I’ve also found that calling depression a “change in your mood” that you have noticed is more acceptable to seniors, and let her know it is common with aging. It is just as important to treat depression as high blood pressure, and untreated depression increases the chance of developing Alzheimer’s.

      • It’s not really feasible for me to go with her to a doctor’s appointment, and I don’t think she would be very receptive to that idea (she’s a very private person). I will definitely be talking to her over the holidays. It’s challenging because for most medical issues she is extremely stoic – won’t seek medical help, doesn’t even like taking OTC meds. And when it comes to more serious issues like dementia/Alzheimer’s, she is fixated on something that a friend told her (allegedly quoting a doctor): “if you forget your keys, it’s no big deal – it’s when you forget what keys are FOR that you have something to worry about.” I have tried explaining that by the time things get that bad, your options are really limited, which is why early diagnosis and treatment are so important. Unfortunately, this seems to fall on deaf ears.

    • Another sign of decline is whether or not she can still cut her own toe nails. Can she bend over that far? Can she do it without fainting? Does she do it without cutting herself? Does she even remember to? I noticed this in a client and it was one sign among several. Alas, she’s now bedridden and virtually immobile, mostly from ignoring her health for so long.

  13. Lucky Charm :

    Have you all seen Dana Nessel’s campaign ad (for Michigan Attorney General)? Love it:

  14. Help me console my sister :

    What would you do? My younger sister (42) just called me in tears. She is single, has always been single, lives in NYC, and has always wanted to get married and have a family. She’s started her own law practice this year and lives alone except for her cat. A couple of years ago she froze 12 eggs. Today she learned that the last egg didn’t successfully fertilize. She says she’s realized she’s going to be all alone for the rest of her life, no family, no husband, nothing but work forever.

    I don’t even know what to say to her because–as she pointed out and I agree–I have no idea what it’s like to go through this because I’m married and don’t want kids. I said she has family and friends that love her and she will not be alone and that I would love it if she moved to my state (where she’s already admitted). But none of that matters to her, especially today, because what she wants is a family. WHICH IS A TOTALLY REASONABLE AND NORMAL THING TO WANT!!!

    Does anyone have any advice for anything else I can say or do that would be helpful and not hurtful? She doesn’t want to hear about people who miraculously found love late in life or had babies late in life. Anything? Because I hate to see her hurting like this.

    • I don’t have anything to suggest, but I wanted to say that you area a kind and loving sister.

    • IDK — sometimes we just need to have funerals for our dreams.

    • You can’t fix this. I know you want to, but you can’t. She needs to be the one to make changes, and she does have options, but now is a time for sending flowers, and having take out delivered, and loving her.

      • +1 Now is not the time to recommend adoption or alternatives. Now is the time to just listen, be sympathetic and confirm for her that in fact yes, this totally and utterly sucks (which it sounds like you’re doing – keep it up). In her own time she’ll eventually become ready to think about alternatives, if that’s even what she wants.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Yes, this. She’s a smart woman and knows that adoption/whatever is out there, but right now I think the right thing to do is support her with this specific thing she’s mourning. <3

          Do you two spend one-on-one time much? Maybe you can take a weekend and stay with her in her city. Not just ~because~ of this, but it sounds like she could use some sister time.

      • Anon in NYC :

        +1000. There is nothing that you can do that will fix this; the only thing to do is to keep showing up for her. With flowers (send them today), with texts and phone calls, with inviting her to events and on vacations, with solo sister time, etc.

    • I’m a 38-year-old lifelong singleton who would love nothing more than to be married or in a long-term relationship. Like your sister, I don’t get any comfort out of stories about people who found love late in life. As someone who is in a situation that is kind of similar to your sister’s, I would recommend just reinforcing how much you love and care about her. This is something that she needs to work through on her own; I would just make sure she feels loved and supported while she does so.

    • You’re a good sister for supporting her. But I’m having trouble with her reasoning. Adoption? Fostering? My mom became a foster mom at age 60 because she was alone in a big house. She probably doesn’t want to hear this now, but perhaps in the future she can explore other ways to have a family if that’s something that is important to her.

      • Nope. Cut out your tongue. This is the worst least helpful thing to say. Obviously there are other options. She’s not an idiot, she is aware. The fact that adoption and fostering are things that exist does not solve the pain of desperately wanting a husband and biological children and not being able to have them.

        I don’t give a flying f if you have “trouble” with my “reasoning” because it’s not “reasoning” it’s emotions and you can go crawl in a hole somewhere.

        • Yes, exactly this. Biological parenting and parenting through adoption and fostering are different experiences. Neither is better – they’re just different. It is okay to mourn the loss of a dream of biological parenting – this idea that infertility is NBD because you can always “just adopt” is infuriating, and in my view further suggests that parenting through adoption is just a fallback decision instead of a unique experience that requires different commitments and choices than biological parenting (and should be as carefully considered as trying to get pregnant should be).

        • This response was inappropriately hostile and unnecessary. Poster, please consider therapy. Please. Before you hurt yourself or someone else. Carrying around that kind of rage is not healthy for you and puts others around you at risk.

        • Amen.

      • Thanks for demonstrating exactly what not to say.

        • Which is why I said, she doesn’t want to hear this now, perhaps in the future.

          • Yeah and ya know what? If you can’t understand her reasoning you have a serious empathy gap.

      • Help me console my sister :

        She has considered adoption and fostering and has decided against them. I support her decision and will not raise it with her unless she raises those options with me first.

    • Lucky Charm :

      I think you just have to take her mind off of it and provide company so that her grieving process is easier — there’s all sorts of awesome stuff she can do because she’s not tied down to a kid, maybe explore that with her? Can you go visit or take a trip with her?

      I don’t think anyone you say on the topic will help. Pointing out the facts certainly won’t – though really, she is only 42 and has maybe lived only half her life so far. For all the hype around egg freezing, doesn’t it typically have a very poor success rate? I wish that was emphasized more.

      • Yes and? It’s still better than nothing. I’m glad you recognize this isn’t at all useful to share.

        • I don’t think she means tell your sister that egg freezing typically isn’t all that successful. Although I do place some blame on the media and businesses that sort of sell it as a guarantee.

        • Lucky Charm :

          Well yeah, obviously it is not something to tell the sister, but there are a ton of people here (including myself) in similar boats. I’ve heard a lot of talk around egg freezing, both from people using it as a contingency plan and also in the news as a benefit that some companies offer, but there’s no discussion about its success rates. I think more frank discussion around it is a good thing – not so that people don’t use it, but so that people think about it in a more realistic context. Obviously if I were to use it I would hope for success, but I think I would find it at least a little easier to deal with a negative outcome if I had been preparing myself for it – and it would be easier if society didn’t reinforce the message that it’s an easy fix, since it’s not. Why not talk about it?

          • It’s just not a useful thing to discuss in the context of someone who already did it and already it didn’t work.

          • Okay, Anonymous, but that person isn’t here and there are a lot of other people here who might not know that information. Calm yourself.

          • I don’t think that poster is capable of calming herself. She seems to show up in every discussion where “what to say to a single woman” is a topic of conversation, and her posts are always these anger-filled, jump-down-the-throat, immediate leaps to assuming the worst about people and their motivations. I’ve observed this several times now. It really gets old and definitely does not contribute to a constructive discussion. I wish people would work out their own insecurity issues on their own time.

          • Lucky Charm :

            Sorry you feel that way, anonymous. It was useful for me and maybe others, too. I was grateful when the topic came up in a group I discussion I was in, because I didn’t know. None of our comments are really useful in the context of this post about a pair of pleat-front trousers anyway – what’s the harm is talking about things?

    • I’m your sister except I never froze eggs, I figured I’d adopt. The only thing that’s helped me is to accept that that part of my life will never happen. And before anyone jumps up and down with “ohhh but it still couldddd” no stop that’s not helpful. I am a goal-oriented person. If I have a goal I need to do something to reach it. If the goal is finding a husband, that means going on a ton of dates and volunteering and doing stuff that’s likely to put me in the path of eligible men. But it hasn’t happened. So I need to let go and free myself from spending every second of my limited free time banging my head against the dating wall.

      I have found fulfillment in other ways. I travel internationally by myself. I invest more time in friends and their families. I volunteer more. I’ve tried my hand at some cool hobbies. I wouldn’t have done any of these things if I kept pursuing the life I’d always wanted. I don’t have the life I thought I’d have (who does?), but I have a pretty great life, and that’s really all you can ask for.

      • Mineallmine :

        Are you me? Because at age 40 I realized that I was going to let go of the having kids idea because although part of me still wanted it, it was pretty clear from my actions that I didn’t really want them. I left my husband in my 30s (for excellent reasons), I broke up with boyfriends who wanted kids (though for other reasons), and I never put having kids as a real goal, just a ‘someday’ sort of thing. Life is good. It’s different than I expected, but good. I know I won’t die alone because I have great friends now and know I will continue to have great friends. It takes a village, not just a partner or a child, to get through life, and my village is global :)

    • Agree with the above, comfort her now, and let her know you’ll be there for her when she has time to process these emotions about what her options are to expand her family in nontraditional ways, if she wants to do that at all. There other ways to have a family than a husband or your own eggs.

    • I was your sister (minus the kids part), and I don’t think you can console her. She wants a very real thing, and there’s no guarantee it will happen (and hearing urban legends about it happening for others doesn’t help at all). What did help was having people remember me and include me in things, and take my issues into consideration (i.e., consult on the details of a family get-together rather than assume my time didn’t matter because no H, no kids, so what could I have going on). You sound lovely, and like you do these things. Since we’re rolling into the holidays, send her a nice gift this year, invite her to spend the holidays with you (or go out to visit). You can’t fix it, but you can be there.

    • Helpful things people said to me when went through a Very Hard Thing that Could Not Be Fixed:

      -I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine how hard this is for you.
      -That is super sh*tty and unfair.
      -I love you, you’re pretty much the best thing ever, and I know this is devastating.

      What made these things good: they were focused on my feelings, they didn’t minimize (in fact, they straight-up acknowledged) the awfulness of the situation, and they were open-ended statements that let me say whatever I needed to afterward.

      • ^ This.

        My sister and her husband dealt with infertility issues for years. They did eventually have a child, but wanted more and could not. My sister loves her child with all her heart, but it still hurts that there is not a second child. Other people in the family assume that she’s over mourning the loss of something that never happened, but she isn’t.

        Be kind. Be loving. Listen and acknowledge. It’s all you can do, and it’s a lot.

    • I would just tell her you love her and hate to see her hurting like this and leave it at that.

      In our culture we have a tendency to try to find the silver lining and say things like “well, at least you ____” or “it could be worse, you could ____”

      Most often the kinder thing to do is to say, “I’m so sorry, that sucks, I can’t imagine how you feel,” and just be there to listen.

    • Just basing this on my relationship with my own sister but I would appreciate the opportunity to mourn what I have lost – the ability to have biological children – including possible some kind of action/ceremony/process to let that part of my life go (like burning the receipts for the medical bills associated or something). But separately, I would also appreciate a space/time to try and look forward to what the next chapter of my life might bring. Maybe great take out, a couple bottles of wine, a gorgeous journal and an evening brainstorming session with my sister about what the next chapter might look like. Do I want to travel a lot? Do I want to lean into my career? Do I want to adopt pets? Do I want to explore fostering or adoption? She’s probably put a lot of things/decisions on hold waiting to have news about pregnancies. Support her in creating a new vision for the next chapter of her life but only after she’s had the space to mourn the loss of her dream.

    • There’s nothing you can really do in this situation to make it better or fix anything. I have a friend who is going through something similar – she is 46 and just found out her last frozen embryo transfer didn’t take and she’s out of embryos. It’s a loss, and people need space to grieve it like a loss. There are lots of options out there, of course, but in the place your sister (and my friend) are at right now, she feels like she’s staring into an abyss and it’s hard to focus on what to do next. The only real thing to do next is stay out of the abyss. So offer sympathy, empathy, a shoulder to cry on. Let her know you love her. But this is a journey where she’s the only one who can figure out the next path to take and dissecting options with people doesn’t help. My heart goes out to your sister. I’ll keep her in my thoughts.

    • This is my sister. She’s 5 years older than me, and she is unmarried and childless. I married at 41 and had a baby at 43, so I understand her pain because I’d started to put my hope away before it happened. Somethings in life are just unfair and suck and will be a loss no matter what happens in the future.

      I agree with the advice to acknowledge how awful it is. I personally am a big proponent of flowers and a card to offer sympathy for non-traditional losses that most people don’t acknowledge or wouldn’t even know about. There’s something about formally marking a loss that I think validates someone’s feelings. But I also think a trip is a good idea. Time/money permitting, ask if she’d like to plan something special with you.

    • Metallica :

      As someone who went through infertility, I can’t imagine the level of grief your sister must be experiencing now. If it helps, I’ll add this–one of my dear friends is a social worker and her mantra is that sometimes the best thing you can do for someone who is grieving is acknowledge the terrible nature of the situation and express your sorriness over it. She says that sometimes we are all just too ready to jump in and try to fix things, and that grief is just not amenable to that sort of approach.

    • I don’t think this will be helpful to your sister RIGHT NOW when the loss is immediate and raw. But in Julia Child’s memoir, she acknowledged in sort of a passing way that she had unsuccessfully tried to have children, and that she and her husband were sad about it, “but it was just one of those things.” That always sort of struck me. She doesn’t dwell on not having had children any more than that.

      When your sister is in a better place emotionally, she might like to read that book. It’s not a book about infertility at all, but it is a book about someone who led a very full and fulfilling life in the absence of children.

    • Tell your sister that she’s loved, she’s not alone, and she matters to many people. My heart breaks for her. I wonder if an infertility support group would help her.

  15. I have had bronchitis for 3.5 weeks. I have tried antibiotics, steroids, codeine cough syrup, an inhaler, and perles. I am still coughing. X-rays and scans have revealed nothing. My ribs and back feel like they are bruised from the coughing. I am exhausted. I have also tried homeopathic honey, pineapple, etc. A month ago, I was swimming 1.5mi, 4 days/week. Now I am winded after walking up stairs.

    Anyone get over something similar? How? I want to be able to have a conversation without hacking and wheezing!

    • I was in a similar situation about 5 years ago. I was on steroids that made me crazy and wanting to eat all the things without getting rid of the bronchitis. Finally I saw an acupuncturist who gave me needles (which are so tiny you don’t feel them) and an herbal remedy to put in hot water. I don’t know or care if it was the placebo effect, but I got better. Maybe try that?

    • I had something like this last year. Basically, from mid-November until about April, I was getting sick every few weeks. I’ll tell you that it will feel like you will never get better, and then a few days will go by and you’ll realize that you are breathing much more easily and aren’t so exhausted. You pretty much have to be patient, which sucks.

      Last year I got antibiotics, a nebulizer treatment, and an inhaler. This fall, I got sick again and went to the doctor to try to head off the worst of the respiratory issues. This time I got Mucinex (just the plain guaifenesin kind) and a prescription for guaifenesin with codeine for night). So that’s another option, if you haven’t tried that. I think it did help.

      I do sympathize. It’s awful to not feel yourself for so long and to have to miss out on so many things (I do a strength training class twice a week and ballet 1-2 times a week and felt like I couldn’t do anything physical for months and months. It sucked.).

    • This happened to me at this exact same time last year. No suggestions, only commiseration. The bruising/pain can’t heal though until the actual coughing stops, so keep it up with the RX strength cough suppressant. I know this sucks but mine took ~ 8 weeks to go away and was brutal.

    • I am so sorry. I am on day 13 myself and it’s really awful. And a little embarrassing when I take a breath to say something at work and then sound like I’m coughing up a lung.

      • Don’t be embarrassed! We’ve all been there. I hope you and the OP both feel better soon.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      That has been me before. The only thing that helped me was whiskey, which I quit the other meds to consume. I added a few tablespoons into hot tea. It worked miracles for me. I was even using it at work with my boss’ blessing. Not enough to even be buzzed. Just enough to give the tea/hot water that whiskey flavor and vapors. My doc said it couldn’t be worse than codeine but I have a pretty chill doc. Hot toddies for the win.

      • I’m mentally filing away the whiskey idea. I’m chiming in to commiserate – I get something like this every year. Last year I didn’t get better after one z-pack so I had to take a second z-pack and that finally worked.

        One of my colleagues in the Midwest has it right now and his doctor told him it is a “100 day cough” based on what he’s seeing among his patients.

        One suggestion – after a long bout of bronchitis, coughing becomes a habit. Toward the end when you are no longer having acute congestion, try to suck on cough drops, gently clear your throat, or find another method that helps you resist coughing.

    • If you already have had all.the.tests (ruled out asthma, pneumonia, seasonal or other allergies), consider an ENT. I had a cough for months and a scope (up the nose and down the throat to see everything on a big screen!) demonstrated that I had a vocal cord problem that was cutting off my air supply and leading to the cough. Vocal therapy has done wonders for it; the first session dealt with cough mitigation (which worked amazingly well for me) and now I am working through related breathe and voice issues (which probably were out there for years, but only discovered by the scope).

    • In my experience, bronchitis just takes a really long time to get over. I had a pretty bad case about 5 years ago and I really think it took months to feel back to normal.

    • A question: What are you supposed to do while you’re waiting for your bronchitis-induced cough to go away? I know people say to stay home if you’re sick, but I had a cough going for 6 straight weeks and there was no way I could stay home all that time. I tried to manage with cough drops and wash my hands and keep my door closed at work, but I still felt bad…

      • Thank you all for the suggestions. It feels a bit better to know others have run into this as well. Others have suggested acupuncture. I think I may explore this.

        I have worked from home frequently because of the coughing issues and missed several days when I was too exhausted to do anything. Everyone looks horrified at me when I have tried to speak in meetings. I know they don’t want to catch it!

        I have no idea what the right thing is to do with this type of persistent illness. My thoughts are with the others still struggling through this!

  16. It’s December now, so it’s a perfect time to ask about assistant gifts. I’m junior in big law and was transferred between two assistants mid-year. I know what I would give in $ for the assistant if I worked with her all year, but what do I do in this situation? Full amount to both women? (That’s a not insubstantial sun.) Divide it amongst them roughly evenly? Only give a cash gift to my current assistant and give my former assistant something smaller to recognize her? Thanks!

    • At my firm, you divided the cash based on how long you’d worked for each of them. So if you worked for one for three months and the other for 9 months and you would normally give $100, you gave $25/$75.

    • I’d do cash for both and probably split it between the two based on how many months I was with each one.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      If you went from one to the other mid-year, I would take the amount that you would give and give 50% to the old assistant. I would then give your ongoing assistant the other 50% plus about 25% more because you continue to work with her. I hope that makes sense.

  17. LOCK HIM UP!!!

  18. fun xmas gifts :

    What gift are you most excited to give this year? I am giving my SO a bidet. I know that sounds so weird but I think he’ll really like it and I can’t wait to surprise him. He really wanted one after traveling in Japan.

    • Bread of the month club

    • Senior Attorney :

      HAHA! I think everybody who travels to Japan comes home wanting a bidet! I know I did, and I’m getting one when we re-do my bathroom next year!!

      We agreed no gifts but I’m excited about doing a tour of Hearst Castle and seeing it all decorated for Christmas, and having a couples massage at the infamous Madonna Inn (the spa is lovely and not at all kitschy like the rest of the place) on Christmas morning!

      • OMG, that place is still around?!?

      • +1 it was literally the second thing I had on my list for our bathroom reno (first being heated floors). It is AWESOME.

      • I misread the line as “wearing a bidet” and not “wanting a bidet”, and had several very confused moments about the logistics of this. TGIF!

      • BetterAndBetter :

        You may not have to wait a year. There’s a Bidet model you can get on line called Tushy (sp?) that we have installed on our standard rental toilet. It wasn’t my idea and I don’t use it but it was affordable, the Mrs. says it was easy to install without making any permanent modifications to the toilet and I don’t think it’s hideous or obstructive as a non user and DW is a big fan.

    • We are giving our toddler son a ride-on jeep and he is probably going to lose his mind with excitement. He will probably be almost equally excited about the $5 electric toothbrush he’s getting in his stocking.

    • Anonymous :

      I am giving my SO an apple watch, which I think he is going to LOVE. I’m giving my kids (1 boy and 1 girl) orange buckets (like the home depot buckets, but smaller) with construction vests for dress-up, which they will LOVE.

      • This is super cute and I love that you’re giving them both the same thing. Might I also suggest hard hats for children?

        • Got to have the appropriate PPE!

        • Anonymous :

          Godzilla – in case you see this – I looked for hard hats for the kids but couldn’t find any I was happy with. I think I’m doing bandannas and goggles instead.

  19. Lock him up!

    • New Tampanian :


    • I hope HRC is enjoying some early cocktails.

    • Metallica :


      For the attorneys on here–does a guilty plea this early mean his cooperation with the special probe might lead to Mueller landing an even bigger fish (Kushner…?) or am I just being overly idealistic and hopeful?

      • It doesn’t necessarily mean they’re getting bigger fish because of his help, but it almost certainly means he is cooperating with the government and assisting in the investigation. This was a negotiated plea deal.

  20. Amazon add ons :

    Do you have a list of things you’ll throw on if you only need a few more dollars to get to $25 for an add on item? I usually do razors, soap, toothpaste – but we have all those. I want to add some random things to my wishlist so I am not buying stuff I don’t need.

    • Floss, dishsoap/handsoap, deodorant, mascara/concealor, tissues, almonds/cashew/trailmix, clorox wipes, sponges

    • Dog bags if you live in a city and have a dog.

    • socks, tape

    • deodorant

    • Light bulbs in all the odd sizes that we end up needing. Vacuum cleaner bags. Damprid. Emery boards. Clear mascara.

    • Nail polish :)

    • Haha, i just put in an order like this last night because kiddo needed graph paper for school, and it was an add-on item.

      -Lip balm (Burt’s Bees original FTW)
      -Sunscreen or moisturizer with sunscreen
      -Those cotton pads you can use to take off makeup or nail polish
      -Micellar water
      -Cuticle sticks
      -Cotton swabs
      -Nail polish remover pads
      -I’m gluten free so there’s always some gluten-free food or baking mix I can add.
      -I’m also on a perpetual search for a truly great mascara, and so I usually have tubes I want to try in my Saved Items that I can throw in my cart if I’m trying to hit the 25 threshold.

      • One more – sheet masks! Esp if I’m only a couple of bucks away from the magic number. I’ve been able to try several different brands this way.

      • Apparently, the Essence mascara is amazing. I’ve been meaning to try it.

    • Batteries
      Cotton swabs
      Hand or dish soap
      Chapstick or Aquaphor
      Dryer sheets
      Cleaning supplies, like an all-purpose spray or toilet bowl cleaner or something I know will get used
      Paper napkins/towels
      Sometimes something fun or small for myself – an inexpensive kitchen gadget, lip gloss, or sheet mask

  21. jobless anon :

    So I was told yesterday that I have 3 months to find a new job. I have been completely miserable in this job and was already low-key job searching, but I wasn’t expecting this now and my ego is crushed. I know three months is a long time and they were generous in that respect, but I have no idea what I want to do with my life and I’m freaking out. At least my boss told me to stay home today… Please send good vibes my way.

    • Anon in NYC :

      I’m really sorry.

    • Take time this weekend to mourn and get out all the feelings. Then rev up the job search come Monday. Unless you were told otherwise, don’t feel like you need to work super hard or try to win your job back over the next 3 months. There is an expectation that you will be focusing on finding a new position.

    • Anony Mouse :

      I’m sorry you’re going through this. Take the feel and process your feelings, and be sure to treat yourself kindly.

    • I’m sorry. I was laid off from my last job and it was a hugely painful experience. Remember that you are more than a job, and you will have many other great jobs in the future (much better than this one). Give yourself time, because it will most likely take time to find another position, and that’s just how it goes. What I mean is, don’t beat yourself up if it takes you more than three months to find a new job, but still do everything you can to find one that’s a good fit. Be nice to yourself, as you would to a friend, who has something bad happen to them that they don’t deserve. Also, know that unexpected people will come out of the woodwork to help you, if you let them know you are looking. People I didn’t even know that well offered me fruitful job leads. It’s awkward sometimes to talk about job searching, but wow is it great when you get real help from others. I went to a networking event the other week and several women there said, “they were in transition” and no one raised an eyebrow. That’s a good way to phrase it.

    • Ugh. I’m sorry. Based on my most recent experience of job-hunting, you’ll probably start feeling like you’re gaining traction in the job market right around the 3-month mark. Something will come through for you. Good luck!

  22. Ohhh gosh. The above post got me thinking. I (foolishly) didn’t know Christmas gifts for assistants were a thing! I’ve always worked in the public sector where Christmas gifts are tokens, usually of the edible variety. I’m now a non-practicing attorney at a small firm (unusual role), and I don’t have my own assistant, but I have used the help of two assistants throughout the year. I’m not flush with cash (law school loans on a non-lawyer salary) and I hadn’t considered gifts for the assistants. How much DOES one normally give? Would an Amazon GC be appropriate? The firm pays its attorneys handsomely, so I imagine the assistants are used to nice thank yous and I’m genuinely not able to give more than something modest.

    • I give my secretary $100, I make $145000 if that helps. Standard in my office. I think yes, you should give a gift, a gift card is perfect, and what you can afford.

    • It’s $100 in my non-NY big law office as a junior. I always go gift card. Also, Target gift cards are 10% off this Saturday if that helps you.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I share my assistant with another associate. We get her a gift of around $100 – $125 and we take her out for a fancy seafood lunch.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      You said small firm so you really need to talk to the other attorneys or office manager. This varies wildly. My firm has a no cash gifts rule for a bunch of different reasons but no one told me until I asked. I know my assistant pretty well so I try to get her something in the $50-$100 value range with a smaller gift ($30 value or so) to the other people that help me on the regular.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Also, key word here is value. I’m a great bargain hunter so sometimes I spend less though it looks like I spent more.

  23. Just bought these pants and am returning. They look cute but are very, very thin material. I felt like I was wearing pajamas at work. They are also a little bit shiny. Had to go back.

    • Try the Eileen Fisher slim crepe ankle pants. (The “magic” pants around these parts)

      They are not cheap but look great, are washable, and feel as comfortable as pajama pants. I don’t know how they do it but I’m glad they do.

  24. Any suggestions for things to do to make this season special when you don’t celebrate Christmas? My oldest is three and starting to understand that her friends are going to Christmas parades, tree lightings, to the mall to see Santa, etc. every weekend this month and she’s not. I feel like we should we be doing something for our kids so they don’t feel left out, but I don’t know what. We celebrate our holiday (Hanukkah) at home but we’re not religious and we’re in an area where almost everyone is at least secularly Christian so there’s very little non-Christmas holiday stuff to do outside the home.

    • What about starting some non-holiday-related winter traditions? Ice skating (even if indoors) or a winter nature walk, volunteering together for a food bank, watching non-Christmas themed winter movies (like Happy Feet), doing snowflake or snowman art projects.

    • Do you object to a lights tour? The idea of light at the darkest time of year is pretty consistent across religions, even though you’ll probably see some crazy light-up creches.

    • I’m Jewish and growing up we partook in some of the secular aspects of Christmas. We lived in NYC and went to see the holiday windows at the department stores, my mom took me to see the nutcracker, mostly because I loved the ballet and we saw the rockettes, but I also had a very good understanding that I was doing these things because they were fun, but not religious. Once we moved to the burbs we also used to go to this big park and drive through to see all of the holiday lights. As an adult, I’m a Jewish girl addicted to Hallmark Christmas movies, but my Jewish identity is very important to me, was important to me to marry someone Jewish and I celebrate all Jewish holidays.

      Some things my parents did to incorporate more Hannukah traditions were baking Hannukah Cookies with cookie cutters, we’d also put up homemade Hannukah decorations inside our apartment (so part of an activity can be making the decorations), making latkes, but I know you said you wanted stuff to do outside of the home, so maybe there is a place where you can go eat latkes or go eat jelly doughnuts. Or since your child is only 3, you can probably make lots of little things into an adventure – like going to the store to pick out Hannukah candles for the menorah, or to buy dreidels, etc. Or look for some Hannnukah art projects or recipes and make going to the store to get the supplies, part of the activity. There was also a great Rugrats Hannukah episode, and Shalom Sesame Hannukah. A Jewish friend of mine whose daughter was 3 last year, said that at one point during the holiday season while driving around her daughter started sobbing because other people had christmas lights at home, but she didn’t. My friend explained to her daughter, that just because they don’t celebrate christmas, doesn’t mean that she couldn’t enjoy how pretty the lights are, etc. and then talked about the other fun things they do to celebrate Hannukah.

    • Anonymous :

      Our local zoos have a light display. Going to that, getting hot chocolate, watching “once a year” movies (wizard of oz, Charlie and the chocolate factory – the originals…), winter sports (sledding/making snowmen/snow ball fights) and seeing family. Cooking special foods that are family traditions.

      We are all atheists.

  25. The s3xual harassment prevention song:

  26. Elegant Giraffe :

    Who is a great gift buyer and wants to give me some ideas? (I am a horrible one.) Every year, I buy three matching gifts – one for my mom, my sister, and me. They’re usually more like stocking stuffers – super soft socks to sleep in, knock-off Kate Spade earrings, etc. It’s just a fun tradition, but I’m coming up short this year. Any suggestions? The three gifts must be identical, and my total budget for this would be $50 or so. Mom doesn’t drink, no clear shared hobbies between the three of us…help me!

    • Never too many shoes... :

      What about matching sheet masks – you could do them together!

    • Mugs! Find something you all love (feminism? dogs? kitties?) and you can pretty much find anything on Etsy. And think of each other every morning while you have coffee or tea.

      • This reminds me of a great gift I did for my parents a few years back, and I didn’t think it would be such a hit. We live far away from my parents, and our dogs are their “Grand Dogters” (we don’t have hooman kids).

        I had two mugs made: each one had a photo of one of my two dogs on it. So, there’s a Fluffy mug and a Scruffy mug (…not their real names). Fluffy and Scruffy have very divergent personalities.

        My mom now wakes up every morning and reaches for the mug belonging to the dog with the attitude that most closely matches her attitude that day. Is it a Fluffy day, or a Scruffy day?

        Gosh, I am a total millenial cliche. Ha!

    • Those fuzzy slipper socks from Target

    • Cocktails to go – little sets with everything but the booze to make a fancy cocktail on a plane – around $25 each

      Word of the day calendar in a language they want to learn

      A set of little zipper pouches for travel (amazon has tons)

      Fancy journals

      Perfume sampler sets

      Tea set – mugs, tea ball, a couple of loose teas

      A book you can all read and discuss over wine/lunch/coffee


      Hat/mitten/glove sets

      Nice jammies (Target has some super soft sets right now, and I found fancy ones on Amazon for around $50).

      • I was once given a ‘sangria kit’ and it was adorable – a half bottle of red wine, a can of sprite, a little nip of rum (?), and a lemon, lime, and orange.

    • Reusable grocery bags, like Baggu?

      Popsocket phone handles?

    • Anonymous :

      There are lego Creator sets, where one lego set comes with 3 sets of instructions and you can build 3 different things. Since there are 3 of you, you could get the same set for each of you and you could each build something different.

      Also, this is a bit higher than your budget, but what about 3 matching alarm clocks that run around your room (Clocky, $35/ea, available on amaz0n)?

  27. Journaling :

    Does anyone write in a journal on a regular basis? Why did you start doing it and have you seen any benefits from doing it? Suggestions on resources / writing promts as a way to start? I’ve read that journaling can be a good way to figure out where you want your life to go, discover goals for yourself, be happier and more focused, etc., but I’m not sure where to start.

    • New Tampanian :

      Start with the 5-minute journal. It gives you prompts and you do a little in the am and at night.

    • Anony Mouse :

      Journaling helps to clear my mind and bring me peace.

      Something you might be interested in: Q&A a Day: 5-Year Journal. It’s provides a brief introduction to writing on a regular basis.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Kind of TJ off this, does anyone have a less intense version of the Ink+Volt planner? Something with guided goals, weekly prompts, but not as huge and demanding an entire novel every week? I bought one when it was still a kickstarter, and the entire page of guided reflection and so many spaces for new goals every week was a little too much for me. And sometimes, my goals aren’t exciting – track calories this week, drink less coffee, etc.

      • The day designers they sell at Target have a much more minimal approach to these things. My weekly page is staring back at me from my desk. Each day has a schedule space and a to do list space (with check boxes), and the bottom of the two page spread has a section for your top three goals, a little quote or proverb, a notes box, and a gratitude section.

        The month pages have a small to do and notes section along the side.

        The beginning of the planner itself has a whole thing on goals/values/routines. I skip that, usually.

      • I have been using the Self Journal from Best Self & I really like it. It is set up for weekly/daily/quarterly tracking.

      • New Tampanian :

        passion planner

    • My NYR for 2017 was to write three pages every day (I use a website for the writing and to track – It’s been super helpful in keeping me sane while I’ve had a lot of not-so-good things going on, both personally and professionally. I’ve only missed one day so far this year (I had a friend visiting from out of town, and the first day of her visit, I completely forgot!), but even though it’s something I look forward to, I also sometimes find it’s hard to get myself to write.

      The consistent thing I write about every day: 3 things I’m happy about/grateful for. Some days they’re actually kind of grim (like, “I’m grateful that I crossed the street multiple times today without getting hit by a car.” when I was having a particularly bad week where it felt like literally everything was falling apart) but overall it’s been a good way to help me feel better about the overall shape of my life.

    • I am in year 2 of a 5-year journal. Each day has room for 3-4 sentences. Sometimes I write about events, sometimes about my mood, sometimes about my family. It’s a very small time commitment (less than 5 minutes before bed) but I find that it helps bring me some clarity and quiet before sleep.

    • Check out The Artists’s Way

    • I’ve been journaling since I was 9. It’s amazing to be able to go back and read my thoughts over the last 20 years (I’m 29 now). I also just feel a sense of satisfaction after I write about being able to express myself. I don’t have any particular format or prompts. I just reach for it when I feel like it and write about whatever’s on my mind. Frequency varies. Sometimes I write every day, and other times a month or two goes by before I pick it up again. It’s always a goal of mine to write more frequently.

      I think one of the biggest benefits is a relatively unbiased portrait of myself and my life through the years. I’ll remember myself one way and then go back and read and realize that I sort of selectively forgot some things. (in both directions, I’ve mis-remembered myself in a much more positive light than I actually was sometimes, and other times been really impressed with myself in retrospect in a way I didn’t expect)

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      Honestly I quit journaling because it was just a way to spiral into a pit of rage and sadness for me. I would feel bad, and then I would write about it, and then I would think about why I was feeling so bad and discover that it was related to this other terrible thing, and on and on and on. It was like talking to a really terrible therapist who encouraged me to feel bad all the time and never helped me do anything about it. I gather that other people are better at it than I am, but this is something to watch out for (and maybe an argument in favor of journals with goal-oriented writing prompts!).

      • Anonymous :

        +1 same! It’s not for everyone. I stopped for a few months and felt better so now I journal the same thing every night: repeat 2 positive mantras and list what I am grateful for today. I put no pressure on myself and sometimes my gratitude list is like: breathing, myself, yoga, books.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I have a bullet journal and I’m really into it. I do the habit tracker religiously, so I get to cross off boxes when I remember to take my medicine, when I work out, when I don’t buy lunch, when I don’t buy anything, etc. I also write daily gratitudes — and my rule is that it has to be specific, so no “my family” but yes “playing sock puppets in the bedroom with my kiddo.” And I do a daily journal entry but usually it’s just a brief minute or two to check in with my daily feelings. I have to avoid what LDR is talking about above, and what helps is keeping it a check-in rather than a rant session.

  28. Frustrating :

    Can any of you wise ladies tell me why and how Dairy Boards are classified as NGOs or non-profits? As someone who got into the field for ethical reasons I find the whole thing kind of icky. I’ve also been contacted by one who was really cagey about what they do and unaccepting of my very firm No.

    • Because they don’t make a profit?

    • Lots of organizations qualify as non-profits for their tax status besides NGOs and charities, so are you particularly concerned about the NGO part?

      • Frustrating :

        Yea I’ve always associated those designations with ‘good’ and daily boards are clearly not good, even demonstrably bad.

        • Frustrating :


        • Well that’s the problem. NGO or non profit status has absolutely nothing to do with being “good.”

        • Rainbow Hair :

          An org can be tax exempt because it does general charitable stuff (think of your classic 501c3) or for other reasons that are just things the government is OK with making tax exempt (see: 501c7s for people who want to pool their money to buy a tennis court).

    • I think they’re considered a 501(c)(6) business league/board of trade. Why those orgs are tax exempt is another question.

    • At least in Canada, there’s a difference between a not-for-profit org and a registered charity. You may be conflating the two? Dairy boards or other industry/sector associations or umbrella groups typically don’t turn a profit and are NFP, but wouldn’t be eligible for charitable donations and the associated tax benefits (in part because they lobby the government which charities legally may not do).

    • What is a Dairy Board?

      • Anonymous :

        omg I did legal document review on a case involving dairy — and it’s all a fascinating world!!

        google it this weekend if you have some time to fall into a hole. dairy boards. cooperatives. the meaning of ‘organic’ farms. etc

    • Anonymous :

      As others have said tax-exempt does not equal charitiable organization. Only 501(c)(3) are charitable organizations (I think, my tax code is rusty), but lots of other orgs can qualify for tax-exempt status under other provisions of 501 section (and others) of the tax code.

  29. Any successes from Black Friday?….I’m all Corp*++* today…wearing mostly from the Nordstrom Thxgiving sale:

    Floral sheath dress (2nd from left in “dresses under $100” row) and the Olivia Moon knit blazer in navy blue (left most in the Blazers for work row).
    Have some customer meetings later today — and then a tough meeting with one of my colleagues. At least I look awesome, even if my co-worker is a problem!!!

    • My basic b1tch Corp-r-t-e look this fall is booties with my skirts rather than tall boots. I bought a pair of Aquatalia boots some on here recommended (the Frieda, the one with cutouts) and I have been liking them with opaque tights and a knee length ponte pencil skirt.

      Not really a Black Friday success, but when the poster recommended them, I googled them and found them on eBay, new without box, for less than half retail.

      • Oh wait, one Black Friday success. A new tote from the Kate Spade surprise sale. It’s probably not my forever tote because like any self respecting ret te I am Tumi4Lyfe, but it wasn’t expensive and is a fun color so

  30. I’m going to a 1 year olds birthday party. Any suggestions on useful or typical gifts? I just realized a bottle of wine may not be the thing to bring.

  31. Baconpancakes :

    Talk to me about your plates.

    We’re looking at replacing our dinnerware, and I’m firmly on the not-precious white plate train, but I’d like something smaller than the 11″ behemoths I see everywhere, ideally with a little of a modern look to it, but not square. What dinnerware do you have and love?

    • fiestaware. I love mixing dishes in different colors.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I have all white Fiestaware and I love it. It comes in every size and shape under the sun and it’s always on sale somewhere.

      • biglawanon :

        This. Can also go in the oven, which is great. Pretty indestructable, even after my kindergarteners started using them too.

    • I don’t love my set – a bit heavy and the “dinner” plates are huge so I tend to use the “lunch” plates.
      I do always and forever love Corelle and plan to switch over when we need more place settings/as our daughter moves to using real dishes. They have a good variety of styles.

    • I switched from Johnson brothers Heritage white stoneware (heavy and increasingly hard to replace) with Corelle Bella Faenza and have not regretted it one bit. They go in the microwave no problem. They don’t chip. They are lightweight. If they break, are cheap and easy to replace. And they look decent. I like the swirly embossed pattern around the rim.

      Also, they came in a set that did not have cups and saucers, which never get used at my house – we are mug users and, like most people, already have plenty of mugs from various gifts-trips-events. My Corelle set came with big plates (dinner) small plates (breakfast or lunch) and cereal bowls. I bought two sets.

    • Longish response in mod, but corelle

    • Crate and Barrel has several good options for white, modern, open stock dishes.

    • Wedgwood Edme. It’s cream colored and I still adore it after 20+ years.

    • Mikasa!

    • We have Jars Tourron. C&B carries several colors right now, but not the ecorce (grey) that we have. I love them, especially the soup bowls, which are low and wide and great for way more than soup.

    • avoid Noritake. I had their stoneware for my casual dining on my registry and most of the pieces have chipped in the last ten years. I’ve since started using my formal set for everyday use – all white Royal Doulton china with zero breakage or chipping issues.

    • It may not be modern enough for you, but I have and really like the Apilco blue band from Williams Sonoma. A little bit interesting, but basic enough that I’ve not gotten tired of it and also easy to expand (my understanding is they’ve been making this stuff for a million years and will keep making it for a million more) or mix with a white set if I ever have a life where I’m hosting 20 people for holidays or something. Plate size should be exactly what you’re looking for.

      • I have these but with the red band (clearance sale when they made that version and it didn’t sell). I’ve had them for years and they are great. Look like new, dishwasher safe, don’t get tired and great for missing with fun other plates. I really didn’t expect to like them as much as I do. I also usually eat off the salad plate most dinners b/c dinner plates are just massive everywhere.

        • Your dishwasher comment reminded me that they’re also oven-safe, which I don’t use often but really love when I do. I can melt cheese on top of french onion soup with no concerns, throw a plate in to hold pancakes at a decent temperature while I cook the rest of the batch, heat up a slice of pizza when we’ve just moved into a new place and cookware is still packed, etc. Just a nice option to have in my pocket.

    • Check out Lenox, they have some nice designs at a lower price point, $10-12 a plate. Mine have held up perfectly for 3 years now.

    • Crate and Barrel Essential Dinnerware. The dinner plates are 10.5 inches across, and the salad plates are 8.5.

      I have had them for about 7.5 years, and they still look brand new. When/if I’ve chipped anything (one plate, one mug, in 7 years with tile floors and a klutzy husband), they are SO easy and cheap to replace. My one gripe is that the bowls are slightly bigger than I’d like (…portion control is a problem for me).

    • in mod with crate and barrel essential dinnerware.

    • On a much cheaper end of the spectrum: we have the Scape dinnerware from West Elm, and I really like that the plates aren’t tidily round–they’re a slightly irregular shape, which feels appreciably more modern to me. I know they used to sell this set in white, too, but it looks like now they just have the “cocoa” color (on sale!), which is what we chose. It’s really a very dark warm gray, and if you are a plating nerd like my DH, you may appreciate that food looks *wonderful* on it.

    • Puddlejumper :

      Whatever you get, before you tag off the tags…try it in your dishwasher. I know a few people who got plates of untraditional sizes/ shapes and found that they didn’t stack in their dishwasher!

    • Sur la Table’s bistro set. I still prefer to eat off of the smaller salad plates (easier to balance on the couch), but the regular dinner plates are not bad.

    • I love my Mikasa set – the Ultima + in HK400 Antique White. It’s still pretty white but is great in the dishwasher, doesn’t show scratches, and I haven’t managed to chip any pieces (and I’m a klutz who has had this set for 3+ years). I also prefer to eat off the smaller salad plate, but I’m one of those people who can trick myself into thinking I’ve eaten more if I put it on a smaller plate.

    • Anonymous :

      Not sure if I would say ‘love’ but my set from Target has been great, at least in the sense that they look pretty good and I never give them a second thought.

    • I like my Niveah dishes by Fitz & Floyd (at Bed Bath & Beyond). I got the grande salad plates instead of the dinner plates. They’re white but they have different styles (I think one is square) and are pretty but durable. They don’t get as hot in the microwave as my stoneware dishes (fiestaware style) that they replaced.

    • AlsoNotMartha :

      Avoid the Martha Stewart line at Macys. It looks great – but the glazing job is very inconsistent. We’ve been getting staining and gaze cracks and they’re not even 2 years old.

  32. Any suggestions on how to get over not getting nominated for a prestigious work award when others who are less deserving were nominated? I can get over not being nominated, but two men who worked on similar projects at a smaller scale and had a smaller role were nominated, which is making me cranky. (And self doubt, and consider if my contributions are ever going to be valued…)

    • I’m right there with you. I’ve put my team in for awards the past 2 years. They handled a major project that brought a lot of “fame” and attention to our organization. They’ve been passed over the past 2 years in favor of some decent well deserving projects and some useless stupid projects getting the award.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I think you need a meetup with our friend Shots! Shots! Shots!

  33. Legality Check :

    We were just told that the water is off in our building for the next few hours, possibly longer, due to an emergency (they wouldn’t say what emergency, presumably a break in the line). We now have no access to restrooms, sinks, or water of any kind since there’s nowhere nearby we could conceivably go. Can they require us to stay and work here when they don’t know when it’ll be back on? Bathroom access seems like a pretty basic requirement to meet.

    • No they need to send you home. It happened at my old workplace and everyone had to raise a stink (bad pun not really intended) before HR acted on it. I think sometimes mgmt just doesn’t know what to do.

    • this has happened to me before, too. We had to stay and it was off all afternoon.

    • Access to drinking water and bathroom facilities is necessary for health reasons. I am not sure if it’s an OSHA violation for employees not to have access to sanitary facilities, but it is definitely an ADA problem if people have bladder or kidney problems, are diabetic, etc. If they can’t get the water on within a couple of hours, they need to send people home for the day. Previous poster is correct; you and your coworkers may need to go to management and/or HR en masse to get the outcome you want.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Dude I would go home. Can you work from home? Let ’em f-ing fire you for refusing to work when you *cannot go to the bathroom* for hours.

      (Not legal advice, but advice from someone well hydrated.)

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Happened to my office too but surprisingly, the business behind ours, that shares a parking lot had water. Originally, it was turned off at 3 or so. HR said they would understand if people had to leave before 5 but to stay if you could. In other words, work until you have to use the bathroom. For the next day, they had arranged for us to use the bathroom in the business behind us instead. There was a lot of complaining but even for someone that pees on the hour, it wasn’t that big of a deal. No bathroom though? No way.

    • I think this has been asked on Ask a Manager before so maybe you could find it in the archives? She would know better if it is legal or not.

  34. I’m trying to make soup more often for dinner as I have a ton of homemade broth/stock and a family that wants to eat lighter.

    Caveat – two of four of us don’t like dried beans so lentil, black bean etc are out.

    What are your go-to soups that can be put together in 30-45 minutes? We had Jamie Oliver’s minestrone with cabbage last night and it was fantastic.

    • Legality Check :

      Cauliflower Chowder from [email protected] Delicious!

    • America’s test kitchen Caldo Verde soup – it’s broth, onions, chorizo, kale and potatoes. It’s delicious and filling. I make my variation a bit more “brothy”

      I also love the America’s Test kitchen quinoa and veggie stew, and the america’s test kitchen sweet potato soup (I omit the brown sugar from their recipe, which leaves you with essentially sweet potatoes, water and shallots.

    • Puddlejumper :

      Look up Paleo recipes – because you can’t eat legumes when you are on Paleo. They will have a ton of instant pot ones that are really fast. Paleo Soups & Stews: Over 100 Delectable Recipes for Every Season, Course, and Occasion – You would also like this cook book by Simone Miller.

      My favorite fast soup is this one. You can leave out the beans. My sister also makes this same soup veggie by using the Trader Joes veggie chorizo and it works out really well for her.
      Kale Sausage 15 Minute Soup Recipe
      3 garlic cloves (minced)
      1 Onion (chopped)
      1 bunch Kale (chopped no stem) (or i buy the bag of kale salad from trader joes which is pre chopped but has some stems and I just remove the obvious big ones)
      1 28 oz can of fire roasted diced muir glenn tomatoes (must be fire roasted for that extra flavor)
      1 pound spicy italian pork sausage out of its casing (i typically get this from whole foods butcher because they have it out of its casing already) The spicy part is key because it gives the soup most of its taste
      1 can 14 oz of white cannellini/northern beans
      Veggie broth (imagine brand) whole container
      red pepper flakes

      Cook the sausage with olive oil in the pan that you will put the soup in. Cook until done. Its okay if you get burnt things on the bottom in fact its good. Take out meat. Put in garlic – roasty toasty. You can put in this point a pinch of red pepper flakes to roast with the garlic if you want a real punch. Put in onion and cook until transparent. (add olive oil as needed) Add beans and cook until toasty. Add kale and cook until wilted. Pour in tomatoes. Pour in broth. Add back in meat. Cook until flavor blends. If flavor feels weak add a bit of butter to cream it up.

    • Caldo Xochitl from Budget Bytes. Super easy chicken soup with a little kick and an excuse to eat avocado. I make it in my InstantPot now.

    • Posole!

      Budget Bytes has a version but there are many variations. I love hominy.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Tyler Florence’s roasted tomato soup (tomatoes + onions + garlic + stock + basil — and heavy cream if you want it, but I don’t add it).

    • Senior Attorney :

      Zeke’s Tortilla Soup from Delish!

    • Mushroom-barley soup from 100 Days of Real Food. So good, especially with the little bit of heavy cream or half and half added at the end!

  35. (Very) casual men's shoes? :

    My DH is a professor at a fancy school but he hasn’t upgraded his wardrobe since grad school. It has come to my attention that he wears orange crocs every single day at his office. (He bikes to work and keeps one pair of shoes there.) He exclusively wears shorts at work. Any suggestions for a men’s shoe that can be worn without socks? Obviously the bar is low here.

    • My husband likes Sanuk slip-ons

    • I am assuming that your DH might be a professor of something outdoorsy or sporty, but I really hope that he’s rocking the econ department in his shorts and orange Crocs. :)

      Allbirds sneakers are touted as good for going sockless. Depending on his shorts style (athletic versus fabric), a pair of LL Bean-style boat shoes could work, too.

      • I’ll check out allbirds. I kind of wanted a pair for myself, anyway.

        No, he is just your basic technical nerd out here on the West Coast (boat shoes probably won’t work for his style)

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        He wouldn’t stand out in the math department at my alma mater. :P

      • Ordered the Allbirds. Thx!

    • My hubs is a math professor who likes nice shoes (and rocks orange socks with them!). Here is one he likes, which is less casual than what you probably have in mind:

    • Sperry’s

    • Anonymama :

      Olukai has a bunch of casual men’s slip on shoes that are comfy and moderately stylish, and good with shorts since they are a Hawaiian brand.

  36. Basically a TJ from above: what shoes do you wear on the weekends? I own work shoes and running shoes. I mostly wear skinny jeans and shorts on the weekends. I used to wear Sperry boat shoes, but those seem dated now. I need a little arch support. What are your favorites that are a step up from sneakers/running shoes?

    • flats, slip on sneakers, toms, or this time of year booties. though am i rocking my sperry boat shoes today.

    • Toms, Clark’s slip on Mary Jane style shoes, Sam Edelman petty boots, converse sneakers (no support unless you add an insole)

    • Sperry’s are dated? Oops. Wearing mine today … I wear them and Ipanema sandals or Rainbow flip flops most weekends. In Houston sandals are all-year-round footwear.

    • I think it’s fashionable to wear sneakers now with weekend wear. I love this trend because it’s great on my feet. I like the Addidas Gazelles and Nike Frees for my casual wear; I have different shoes for actual exercise.

  37. biglawanon :

    strappy wedge/block heel sandals, booties

  38. This is the only place I can share this! I met a woman recently that I share a relative with. She and her group of her friends are all so beautiful,successful and polished. Like mind-blowingly successful. My heart was beating so so fast I was excited to meet her. When I spoke to her she was even more beautiful, cool, and so warm. She was not standoffish to me at all. We exchanged information so it is in her court to reach out, because I am too fearful to make a move. I was very intimidated and although I want to be her friend badly (common interests, family connection)- it would be perfect. My fears: I am terrified that possibly in meeting her other friends or getting to know her better (if she chooses to), that she will not like me, or her friends won’t like me. Think real housewives kinds of friends. (Which aren’t my cup of tea ordinarily). But I am open minded. I am not a social climber – nor do I want to be around her to gain anything. I simply have been wanting to make friends and given our connection, I am hoping it could be a safe – life long friendship turned sisterhood.

    I know this is MY insecurity and I am owning my stuff. I know I have been hurt and betrayed in the past, and so I am worried about putting myself out there. I am also worried I don’t match up to her. She is no stranger to a private jet or other luxuries. I do well for myself too – but I am not one that is interested in being “seen” or “flashy”. But I could hold my own.

    Gosh I am overthinking, or maybe I am not. Feel free to tell me if you have felt this way.. or not. lol

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