Thursday’s Workwear Report: Pocket A-Line Skirt

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

This pocket A-line skirt is a bestseller and an online exclusive at Ann Taylor. I really like the happy blue version pictured here, but it also comes in a more subdued taupe. It looks like a great skirt that would be easy to wear with some of the sleek and tailored styles that have been coming out lately, like wrap tops and ballet wrap sweaters. I like that it comes in regular and petite sizes 00–18, although a lot of the middle sizes are sold out — I can’t tell if that means it runs small or big, but in general it’s just a popular skirt. The taupe comes in tall as well, which is fortunate because it looks a little short on the model (although the model’s height isn’t listed). The skirt is $79. Pocket A-Line Skirt

There’s also a lovely midi skirt if you want something on the longer side, and this previously-featured dress is now on sale.

For plus sizes, Loft has an option for $59.50.

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Comments

  1. Any recommendations for shower caps that won’t make my hair weird? I normally just put my hair in a topknot if I’m not washing it, but I got it cut and it’s too short. I’m worried that clips or headbands will leave marks.

    • I got a lot of ads for the ssshhhowercap and thought about it, but it’s $40, so I found a nice knockoff on amazon. Betty Dain brand. I’ve tried the poofy ones and the turban ones: the turban is cuter and doesn’t dent your forehead but the poofy leaves more space for your hair).

    • Anonymous :

      I swear by using a terrycloth headband with a shower cap over it. I get both at Marshalls or similar.

      • I do this, too! I have a lot of hair, so have to go with a poofy shower cap (honestly I just use hotel ones) but w headband underneath keeps water from getting to the fringey-baby hairs that will then curl and look weird with my straightened hair. I’ve been doing this for years and come to think of it didn’t even realize this was a trick because my mom did it for years, too.

  2. Scottsdale? :

    Early AM TJ: stuff in Scottsdale AZ for solo travelers? I will be in the area for work (solo attendee at a conference) for several days. Planning a visit to Taliesin West, but beyond that – any recs for short (safe, see: solo) hikes, restaurants, etc? I will generally only have evenings free.

    • Anonymous :

      Desert botanical gardens in Phoenix; Old Town Scottsdale

      • Hike at Camelback Mountain or Piestawa Peak, shop at Fashion Square Mall, spa at any of the high end resorts (their spas are top notch).

      • The Desert botanical gardens is amazing. I also really enjoyed the Heard museum.

        • pugsnbourbon :

          Another vote for both the botanical gardens and the Heard!

          • Parts of he Heard Museum really rubbed me the wrong way, except for the Diego and Frieda exhibit, but I don’t think that is there anymore.

    • I was just there recently and hiked Camelback Mountain with my husband. It’s a short hike, plenty of other people, and in the middle of the city, so you’re never out of cell range or anything. The view from the top is quite pretty. We also went out to the Superstition Mountains but that does get you out of cell range so if you don’t want to do something like that alone maybe that’s not the best spot.

    • Desert botanical gardens, nice trails, nice exhibits. Also, a more strenuous but well populated hike which felt very safe to me up Camelback Mountain in Scottsdale.

    • Delta Dawn :

      Cowboy Ciao– I love their Stetson Salad.

    • Horse Crazy :

      Barrio Cafe in Phoenix. Best Mexican food ever.

  3. I will be going to France next week and plan to travel with my carry-on only. Since I won’t be checking a bag, does anyone have any recommendations on hair styling products- ie, hairspray/mousses that either come in travel sizes or are readily available for purchase in France? Normally when I travel overseas for vacations I go low-maintenance and don’t style my hair (blow dry only), but this is for a work presentation and my hair needs to look good. Any tricks? I already have my dual voltage curling iron. Thanks!

    • Monoprix is a pretty widely located department store-ish type place, and I did a quick search to see that a lot of familiar products are available there:
      https://www.monoprix.fr/courses/coiffant-0000288

    • Anonymous :

      Can your stylist get you samples of your normal products? Mine usually has access to some and sometimes sends some with me to try stuff out. I bet he or she can help with at least some of them.

    • Anonymous :

      This is why I can’t give up subscription boxes. I need lots of little sizes for travel but my favorite products are either hard to find or VERY expensive in small sizes.

      If you have an Ulta near you, they usually have a good stock of small sizes. I like Bumble & Bumble products, personally.

      • I got travel sized reusable containers. I just take my full size bottle of whatever I want and put it in the containers. The kit came with a funnel and a small spoon to help get the product into the containers. When I’ve used up all of the product in the travel size container, I wash it out and it’s ready to go for next time.

        • That works for most things, but not mousse or hairspray that she was looking for. I do the sample boxes for this reason as well.

          • Anonymous :

            IGK coconut oil gel is great for letting your hair air dry. I have straight hair and it give it some body. It comes in travel size at Sephora. I also like Loreal Elnett Satin hairspray. It comes in travel size at most drug stores and likely Target.

        • I use reusable containers as much as possible. I haven’t seen them for things like mousse or dry shampoo, though. I don’t think I can even unscrew my mousse bottle.

    • Tresemme, available in sample sizes at Target and available in larger sizes in France at many pharmacies/Monoprix.

    • If you go to Target, CVS, or similar, they will have empty travel sized bottles for about a dollar. I get those and then just put some of my normal hair product in from the big bottles in my bathroom. Then you don’t have to worry about how your hair will react to a new product.

    • Ouai leave-in conditioner is great for my fine, thin hair and doesn’t weigh it down or make it frizzy when blow drying. It also contains a hair protector for heat, so it is a good two-in-one traveler. I used it in Italy every day either when blowdrying or to put up in a bun and take down later for waves.

    • Not what you asked but with all the pressure changes on an airplane… be sure to double-bag your toiletries to prevent spills. Don’t ask me how I know.

    • They really do sell normal toiletries in France. I promise!

    • French drugstores are amazing and if you are in a tourist area will have minis to try.

    • Anonymous :

      Sephora has a lot of products in airline suitable travel sizes, both online and instore.

    • Anonymous :

      Ellnett by L’Oréal.

  4. I finally got it from my library’s immense waitlist. OMG I stayed up late reading it last night. It is so good and so immensely disturbing.

    One thing that I find interesting is the blind trust that people feel towards doctors and large corporations (to the point where doctors seem to trust mere drug reps of large corporations). The love of easy money is at the root of so much that is wrong with this world.

    Early on, one of the outspoken people against this is the lawyer wife of a country doctor in SW Virginia. I wonder if there is something in the lawyer temperment or law school training that makes it likely that they will challenge things and speak up (there are some social justice nuns in the story, too who seem fierce). Sometimes I forget that lawyers are here to speak up and do good (instead of just pushing papers around and writing things that no one reads).

    • I don’t think that there is anything magical about lawyers. I’m a transactional lawyer / paper pusher, but did enough with litigation in law school and while clerking that in the back of my mind, I always think of “could I defend this action in court?”. And my clients are petrified of headline risk and have left profitable business lines behind b/c of it.

    • IDK, I don’t think there is a standard lawyer temperament. A lot of people think about lawyers as crusaders, but in many ways, law is a profession that attracts the risk-avoidant – especially practicing law in large firms, because that was a historically reliable career in terms of economic security.

      It’s also the case that lawyers are the agents of clients – and I felt like law school training in many ways was intended to force you to be able to see multiple sides of every issue so that you would be equipped to represent your client’s position even if it didn’t accord with your own (or was different than your own).

      I guess I don’t think we lawyers are any braver or more likely to stand up on issues than anybody else. I wish we were, but that’s just not my experience.

      (I really want to read this book now, though!)

    • Anon for this :

      Not trying to out myself, but…I’m a legal historian and currently writing a book on exactly this subject, more or less, although not about the 21st century US. My take is that type of legal practice matters a lot. I do think that (at least in the time/place I’m writing about) there is something really formative about the experience of adversarial courtroom practice. The people I write about are lawyers in lower-level courts who have high case loads and appear in court on a daily basis, if not more. A surprising number of them go on to become involved in the creation of the anti-colonial movement in this area, and you can really see the effects of their courtroom practice in the ways that they confront the colonial power. Part of it is about a certain comfort with confronting authority structures at all, part of it is about understanding how those structures work and what legal, moral, and social leverage they can apply. But it’s a super interesting phenomenon. Especially because, in a colonial context, these are some of the most ‘assimilated’ people – they speak the language of the colonial power, have gone through colonial education, have converted to the dominant colonial religion. They are lawyers of colonial law, in colonial courts. But that all ends up teaching them how to oppose the colonial government as well.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      Oooh just added this to my library list. Thank you!

    • Part of it is being comfortable with the fact that the Truth is often more gray than black and white. Lawyers tend to appreciate that there’s no such thing as objectivity. Two people can observe the same thing and have very different reports about it. That doesn’t mean one is lying. It just means they’re different people so they experience the world differently.

      I think that helps with things like doctors. For most people, getting a second opinion/questioning the doctor’s opinion is tantamount to telling your doctor they’re a fraud and you don’t trust them. People who see the world in shades of gray aren’t like that. You can trust that your doctor is doing her best and still know that a different doctor might see the same facts differently.

      • What is it with doctors?

        I mentioned a second opinion (b/c I had read about it in somewhere bland like Prevention, not some lawyer’s anti-doctor magazine) once and was shocked at the intense, vehement, and negative reaction I got.

        As a lawyer, I use my . . . mental tenacity . . . to tell clients (gently, but directly) when they are wrong, that there are risks to what they propose, b/c I should (and b/c I am not doing my job well otherwise). And then I need to get myself paid, and that’s a fun task (but you can do it in a way that builds the relationship if you do it right).

        But, man, does it come in handy with some doctors. I don’t get it — do they not realize that there is an art to what they do, as well as a science? That patients want the reassurance of a chorus (not a soloist) before they embark on a new path with great risk (I know brain tumors may be what YOU do every day, but it’s not what *I* do every day)?

        But I’ve read Dopesick and it really, really does not make some doctors look great (but makes me really appreciate public health workers and people who make choices not to practice as a pill mill and maybe takes things with a grain of salt).

        I can remember being prescribed an opioid for something like a sinus infection once. Now I would be all OMG are you kidding me? I feel so fortunate that it didn’t go sideways on me as it so easily could have and did for many. [Apparently it is common in wisdom teeth surgery, so affecting a large % of young people.]

        • 30 days of opioids for wisdom teeth extraction! To teens! On pre-written prescription pads, provided graciously by the pharmaceutical industry.

          • Plus they prescribe these drugs and don’t always tell the patients how they should be used – some people think they have to take them all and do.

          • Anonymous :

            Yup. I read this book and also thought of the 30-day prescription I received in 2005 for wisdom teeth removal.

        • Frozen Peach :

          For the love!! I think I had a week of meds, maybe?!

        • I haven’t read this yet, but have received my fair share of opiods for 1) wisdom teeth, 2) GI surgery, and 3) I fell and scraped my face while running (that’s all, no bones shattered, nothing, just a little smidge of road rash).

          In all instances it has made me severely ill.

          RE: the original question, while I agree that not all lawyers have same traits, I do think the basis of our education (sharply questioning everything) makes us annoying as heck sometimes (ask my SO), but also always has our mindset looking for things that aren’t right or seem like a problem. Then we jump into problem solving mode. Again, ask my SO, what my reaction is to something being amiss in his world, whether family/friendship/work/hobbies, and my immediate reaction is “X because Y, accordingly, you should do Z.” He’s the complete opposite personality, so it works for us most of the time, but there’s never a time when my brain is not thinking: 1) how could this go horrible wrong, 2) how do we decrease risk, 3) what are the chances someone is lying here, 4) being distrustful of most things (or at least question them sharply), and 5) solving a problem I wasn’t asked to solve.

    • here’s a recently released study that shows that even small gifts influence decision makers (like a pharma rep buying a doctor lunch) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/10/181004095943.htm

      I think the great breakthrough of this coming century (if man is still alive/if woman can survive) will be a dawning realization of how susceptible we are to social pressures. I think that we feel like we are independent decision makers a lot of the time and we as a society need to wake up to how malleable we really are.

    • Well as a career public defender, I feel fortunate to be surrounded by lawyers who try to “speak up and do good” every single day for our clients!

    • Semi-related, did you read the article about the open air drug market in Philadelphia in today’s NYT (“The Wal Mart of Heroin” or something like that)? It’s visceral, terrifying, frustrating, and heartbreaking.

    • Frozen Peach :

      Just added this to my list! Thank you!

      Also highly recommend Dreamland by Sam Quinones on this topic.

  5. Anonymous :

    Can we go review what tights are acceptable to wear with a navy skirt? Navy on navy seems weird/hard to match perfectly, gray legs look strange to me- is navy skirt, black tights, black shoes the answer?

    • That’s what I do. Or maroon tights but I’ve never quite figured out shoe colour.

      • Anonymous :

        Maroon or burgundy look soooo good with navy. I also wear nude/ sheer hose with navy and it always works.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        I would do navy skirt+maroon tights+dark gray or brown shoes; navy skirt+navy tights+wine, black or gray shoes; or navy skirt+black tights+black shoes.

      • Cognac shoes/boots look great with navy!

    • Anonymous :

      Rule of thumb I’ve heard is to either match the tights to the shoes or the skirt.

      If black tights/shoes work for you, then go for it. The key with navy/black clothes is to make it look intentional. Also Black shoes (and accompanying tights) are a common enough neutral that I don’t think it actually even implicates the navy/black rules for clothes.

    • I actually prefer gray tights and gray shoes or gray or brown/cognac boots. But I do think this is a bit tricky, which is why I tend to either wear with boots alone (bare leg) for as long as I can hack it, and then largely put the navy away until spring.

    • Cap Hill Style/The Work Edit’s 2-of-3 rule. She has some old posts you can search on it. Basically skirt and tights are the same OR shoes and tights are the same. I’ve worn dark navy tights in the past with navy, but sometimes I think my navies can start to clash, and then what color shoes to wear? Cognac works, but I only have booties, not pumps in that color. I like a navy/black combo as long as it looks intentional.

    • I actually do navy tights and dark blue suede shoes. I like the unbroken line.

      I mean, there’s a reason they sell navy tights.

      • But there are so many different shades of navy. Same with grey. I’ve found that if you get a patterned/textured tight, it hides slight variations in color.

    • – Nude fishnets
      – If you do black tights & shoes then you need black on top too. Either a black blouse or blazer/cardigan.
      – Gray textured tights.

      I would not do navy because it’s too hard to match. I would not do other colors of tights in my workplace but ymmv.

    • Nude hose solve this.

  6. Anonymous :

    Styling help! I’m thinking of getting this dress for 2 weddings I have next month — https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/eliza-j-bubble-sleeve-velvet-sheath-dress-regular-petite/5022267?origin=category-personalizedsort&breadcrumb=Home%2FWomen%2FClothing%2FDresses%2FWedding%20Guest&color=navy

    One wedding is in northern Florida, so warmer climate, and one wedding is New England. What shoes? For the Florida wedding, I think I can wear my strappy nude heels and be fine, but that seems too “summery” for the New England wedding. Any thoughts? Also, bag/clutch recommendations? Jewelry?

    • The shoes the model is wearing look appropriate for NE in fall. Or maybe a navy or burgundy shoe for fun.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Very pretty!

    • Are your strappy nude heels sandals? I feel like that may be odd with velvet, even in Florida. Shoes like the model is wearing would work for both places, I think. Or even just pumps, maybe higher and more fun than what you’d wear to work?

      Beautiful dress! Wish I had a reason to buy it…

    • Link stuck in mod, but high file or satin pumps with some beading or sequins.

  7. Anonymous :

    For those of you who plan conferences: please, when inviting your speakers, be bold!

    I’m at an annual scientific conference that usually has good representation of women as atendees and speakers, and representation of racial minorities consistent with the field (better than some, but still not great). I was worried this year, because the conference moved to a much smaller, much whiter, much more conservative city.

    The opening speakers were astounding. If anyone else is here, I’m outing the conference, but I have to say this.

    The welcome speech nearly brought me to tears–a disabled minority cleric of a minority religion spoke about bringing our science into balance, and in about 10 minutes covered colonialism, #me too, veteran suicide…every time I settled back down he brought my heart up to my throat again.

    The main plenary speaker was a woman of color (her words) from the opposite side of the country, who spoke with a completely different acccent and looked like no one else in the crowd, wearing a drop dead gorgeous plum suit to address guys in flannel and ball caps. She convincingly explained to us why racial equity is the solution to the environmental issues, starting from basic relatable stories about caring for family members and an excellent introduction to intersectionlaity. She even calmly fielded the inevitable “but what about the white people” question”. She closed with one sentence about how exited she is about a new project her foundation is doing- meant only to close on a hopeful, inspring note, but I will definitely be making the effort to find it and donate!

    Obviously massive credit goes to the speakers. The received standing ovations, and that’s not a thing at these conferences. But also, I am so impressed that the conference organizers took the risk to invite them. It did NOT detract from the hard science and policy happening here, it only added. Please, if you are ever in thevery position to do so, make more conferences like this happen.

    • That’s wonderful. I’m peripherally involved in my field’s big conference in 2020 and am lobbying hard for some interesting speakers.

      We’re running a small academic workshop and have worked so so hard to maintain gender balance. It made for some extra effort but it is so important (and I don’t want to be twitter shamed for hosting a manel).

    • I think I’m not following something — why does conference location matter? Is it that the speakers are likely to be local (perhaps due to budget constraints)? But it seems that your speakers were flown in from elsewhere.

      • Some places are not diverse, period, so there are travel expenses to consider. (Count me in on Worth It) Also, the demographics of attendees will skew local, and it’s tempting to say, well, we might not be inspiring the local minorities, which Completely Skips Over the impact the speaker has on the local majority demographic.

        There are some pockets of professions where people literally aren’t aware of a peer in a certain demographic, which can be gender, race, disability, LGBTQ or more and conferences are a way to highlight that there are talented, highly skilled professionals out there with ideas and innovations that help everyone in the profession.

    • I wish that were possible in my field! I’m involved in conferences, and there’s just no one interesting in our field. It’s a tiny, nerdy, nichey field, and everyone knows each other. If you bring in an outsider, their understanding of our field is usually “a is for apple” elementary, so you’re in the audience cringing for them and thinking to yourself, “Aw, good effort, buddy!” Glad you enjoyed this one!

      • It’s a regional conference, although high caliber, hardly anyone flies in, except a few folks from DC who represent the region.
        And not to put to fine a point on in, but the second speaker I mentioned took a risk coming to white supremecist country.

        • Sorry, threaded wrong.

          • What is the white supremecist country? I thought that once apartheid was done in South Africa that was the last domino to fall. Or is it hyperbole?

            Genuinely asking — I can remember encountering people who wouldn’t play Sun City and S. Africa being banned from sports competitions but no one is doing re any country I can think of now. And countries are banned, but just for doping.

          • Obviously she means the American South. Idiot.

          • Obviously, thinking that the American South is somehow akin to South Africa is insane.

          • To Anon Y Mouse :

            White supremacist country is in quite a few places. Driving up 95 in MD near Rising Sun I was not at all surprised to see a confederate flag hung from a crane on the northbound lanes at the tolls near the northern outlets. Not that many miles more until you cross the Mason Dixon line.

            And there is a Ted Talk given by a black man who visited the Whitest Places In America. One of them was a community formed by police officers in…Idaho? But really, rather than white people ignoring issues affecting minorities.

            As for the American South & South Africa – both are post-colonial and have national laws that helped end post-slavery segregation. There are MILES to go to overcome systemic issues and the implicit bias that helps racism live on. It’s like saying, we have a national speed limit, therefore no one drives faster than that. The truth is, most people will speed at least once (have a bias-based decision that isn’t good for the minority), and the most interesting part is how people rationalize it, including “everyone else is doing it and will challenge me, or even harm me, if I follow the letter of the speed limit”

        • I just want to push back on this. The idea that a woman of color “took a risk” by speaking at a conference in a “much smaller, much whiter, much more conservative city” that’s “white supremacist country” is hyperbolic. I’ve lived in 15 different states and I’ve visited 46 of them. Our nation is not so messed up that a professional black woman now needs to fear for her life when invited as a guest speaker at a conference.

          I’m exceptionally curious which small American city you’ve decided still has lynchings. Louisville, KY? Omaha, NE? Little Rock, AR?

          Open-mindedness goes both ways. The idea that small, conservative cities are so backwards that a black woman needs to fear for her life when visiting is exactly why many heartland Americans feel looked down upon and Trump came to power.

          • +1.

          • I have to agree with this. Maybe not the “this is why Trump came to power” because there’s clearly so much underlying racism and sexism that boiled over as pushback to Obama and Hillary, as well as many other factors. But I don’t think any city large enough to hold a national conference is “white supremacist country.” I’m in a very white, very conservative state and I’d be pretty offended to hear it described this way, especially major cities which are almost always more diverse and more progressive. I’m liberal, fwiw.

          • +1million

          • Right? Being at a conference is about the safest place I can imagine unless you find sitting in uncomfortable chairs with either frigid/broken A/C dangerous.

          • You know, instead of whining about how “the libs” just don’t understand smaller conservative towns and so they voted for Trump, when study after study shows that racism was a primary driver for voting for Trump, maybe look to your small conservative towns and ask WHY people who don’t live in small conservative towns think of them as racist. Or maybe ask why those small conservative towns keep electing politicians who seem to be doing all they can to make sure power stays concentrated in the hands of white conservative men.

          • Anonymous :

            OK. So the 2016 election had nothing to do with HRC being like Al Gore, politically (got jobs through family connections), while being less likable than Ted Cruz. It was all the racists’ doing. That thinking is going to get DJT re-elected in 2020.

          • Anonymous :

            I’m from a small town that is in one of the poorest counties in the country. It is reliably D. I went to NYU in the mid-90s and was treated as if I was a slaveowner from a plantation just because I was from a southern state. That New Yorker cartoon is true. No one ever heard of Norma Rae (and back then, Norma Rae had a job, now those jobs are gone and the mills are closed; no one in our town is turning those mills into fancy condos, either; they are just a loss for the tax base that didn’t have much to begin with). I am pretty much Norma Rae’s daughter and granddaughter, but I was treated like I was Scarlet O’Hara.

          • PolyD: no such study exists. What we know us that there are many Obama-Trump voters and many Obama 2008 – sat at home in 2012 – voted Trump voters.

          • It’s hyperbolic to suggest that “took a risk” only means a risk of her life–a risk that her message wouldn’t be heard or listened to, a risk that the attendees would be unhappy and/or unreceptive. I didn’t take the OP to say a risk that her life would be in danger–you read it that way.

            I’ll take it one step past small towns though. I worked on a conference last year in Denver for lawyers and we had a speaker on diversity. I worried about how he would be received. It is a risk to bring in speakers that aren’t white men and have them speak to an audience of mostly white men about issues that white men statistically don’t support. I didn’t worry about his life. But, I did think we took a risk having him speak. (A risk that paid off, so I’m glad we did.)

          • Much smaller, much more segregated. And actually, I live not very far from here at all, and have family in the city, so I’m not just making assumptions. The area has made history and recent national news for violent racist nut jobs, although I never suggested the speaker should have feared for her life.

          • Anonymous :

            So tired of people relegating all racism to the South. It knows no geographical boundaries and pretending it does is a disservice to all. A recent study shows Black people fare better in Atlanta than in any other major city in the country. Boston can hardly brag about its record on race relations. St. Louis and Kansas City have a few things to answer for. Chicago, Portland, and Los Angeles, too. And the fact that vast swaths of the Midwest, Southwest, Mountain States, and West Coast are all virtually devoid of POC (or people at all) does not mean they are bastions of racial equality and wokeness.

      • You might be surprised what would be available, if you thought about it. Are there common communication issues? Are there ethics?

        Frankly, it doesn’t get much nerdier or more theoretinal than the science were discussing at this conference. That’s why adding deeper context is so important.

    • I am currently planning a big conference, and I am going to bat for cool speakers, but my white middle aged male boss probably wont sign off on them. This is just to say that lots of times people try, but are unsuccessful because of greater forces.

      • Can I just put in a contrary position that I would find this all kind of annoying? Politics is EVERYWHERE now. And I say this as someone who loves politics. I love my political podcasts but I really want to keep it more limited. I just get exhausted by being punched in the face with it everywhere I go. And perhaps you should consider that half of the people in the audience may find that offputting and really irrelevant to the topic of the conference. They might be there to learn about science and not politics—again.

        • In environmentalism (what the conference I am planning is on) there is a lot of politics, not just science. It requires lobbying government, writing laws, changing social norms, social media etc. The science is fairly settled, so conferences are more about action and making sure the community is working in unison to solve issues. So making it another middle aged white guy conference is doing a disservice to the cause.

        • I tend to agree with this. Get great speakers if their speech is topical, but don’t force politics when you might easily turn off half or more of your audience. I would hate to see less buy-in for science because the speaker politicized what could have been a neutral presentation. Again, it may work depending on topicality. I could see a great speech on the disparate impact of fuel emissions on poor communities, but I would cringe to see that same speech coming from a “white racism causes all problems” angle.

        • Lots of science is funded by the government. You kind of can’t avoid politics when your livelihood depends, to at least some extent, on it.

          Implementation of science to policy also is somewhat dependent on government.

        • You are responding to someone who said they are trying to get cool speakers. That doesn’t mean political, necessarily – unless your definition of political is so broad that it includes basically everything. In which case, I don’t have much sympathy for your desire to rule out 80% of the world as a topic.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            I have started pitching “cool” speakers at our annual conference too. It becomes ‘political’ because the speakers I pitch are not cis/straight/white/men … but that is where the politics begins and ends. But also, that is the very politics I *want.*

            I want someone who represents someone other than that majority to stand up and give the keynote because it’s important to acknowledge that people outside that majority have valuable things to say to our group, and when everyone who takes the stage (and appears in the magazine and is featured on the website and sits on the board etc.) looks one kind of way, year after year, well, everyone else rightly starts to wonder if they have a place in this group/industry.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            Possibly relevant: I don’t get even the tiniest bit of consideration when I pitch these speakers. But I’ll wear ’em down one of these days!

        • It is not irrelevant. I say that as a scienctist. For example, temperature is the epitome of objective, measurable fact. But do you measure it in C, so people all over the world can talk together? So you measure it in F so it’s easy for average US citizens to understand?
          Most American weather stations are at airports, which is convenient, and certainly helps because pilots need very specific info. It distributes them in cities around the country. But on the other hand, it leaves rural areas and inner cites unmeausured.
          If you don’t like the term politics, call it underlying assumptions, or ethics. Science is not “pure” and these things should be discussed at every conference.

          • If you must publish temps in C, please consider whether a substantial minority of your audience only thinks in F and, if so, provide the equation for conversion. You can easily serve both rather than either with a simple footnote.

        • I’m not understanding what you mean by politics everywhere. What part of having a cool speaker or speakers that are different from the majority of the participants political? No one is going to get a speaker that isn’t well versed in the conference topic and the speaker will presumably only speak about conference relevant items. Just because something is different and makes you uncomfortable (OH NOOOO a woman, a woman of color at that, is speaking at a mostly male conference, you guys are so political!). People that don’t look like you deserve a space at the table in all arenas. Don’t be a di**.

          • I would love to have more diversity, so thanks for the accusation. I was talking about the topic of the conversation, which she quoted, and which didn’t have anything to do with science — even this thing about temperature. Okay, so that makes sense. Talk about that. It’s relevant. But that’s not what you quoted above.

    • Don’t you worry about tokenizing speakers? I would not invite a woman of color to speak and then repeatedly emphasize her race in selling the idea to my bosses and mention it in posts on this site. There’s a difference between inviting speakers who can expound on diverse topics and speakers who check a certain box for you. My mentor in grad school was a woman of color from sub-Saharan Africa who also happened to be one of the leading experts in our field. She speaks at conferences extremely frequently, but I have NEVER heard her, or an organizer, refer to her race as a selling point. Her research is the selling point, although the fact that she grew up in one of the countries we worked in and speaks five languages helps.

      • One of the best science speakers I ever heard was a woman of color, and she emphatically made the point that science is 1) not “finished” and 2) not objective. So much of science is interpreting findings and data, and when the only people interpreting it are old white guys, you risk missing a lot. Science is better, the more people we have at the table contributing.

      • Anonymous :

        I would definitely consider tokenization a risk!

        That’s one reason I mentioned that she identified herself as a WOC and spoke about it directly. I think by addressing the issue and simply by being suuuuch a powerful speaker, she overcame that.

        The other speaker I mention was native American, and the conference avoided tokenization him in the best way possible- by including many other speakers, representire several tribes. Many of them were represented by non-native staff, but the viewpoint was treated with at least an attempt at inclusion.

    • This whole thread is so batsh*t I can’t even.

  8. Packable Running Shoes for Carry-on :

    I typically travel with only a carry-on suitcase and would like to find some packable lightweight but well cushioned running shoes. Can anyone recommend some models?

  9. Beaded file pumps, something like these? They have a bit of sparkle and in my view are eminently wearable with other events with a standard LBD.

    https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/imagine-by-vince-camuto-leight-pump-women/4848053?origin=category-personalizedsort&breadcrumb=Home%2FWomen%2FShoes%2FHeels%2FWedding&color=black%20satin

  10. Coughing at night? Any advice?

    I wake up coughing at least three times per night lately. I do have a dust allergy so I’ve taken extreme steps to make sure my bedroom is dust free, including getting new pillows, protective covers, and obsessive vacuuming under the bed and in every nook and cranny. But I am still waking up coughing, which in turn wakes up my husband. It’s not a “productive” cough as in bringing stuff up, but more of a dry cough that has to be calmed down by standing up for a while and drinking lots of water.

    Please share if this has been a problem for you and how you’ve fixed it. I’m exhausted!

    • I would get a heavy-duty air purifier and a humidifier (not sure if that could be a two-in-one thing or not). Sounds like you are dried out! I would also suggest increasing your water intake during the day (by a lot) for a week, to see if that helps.

    • This is a symptom of my asthma when it goes untreated. You may want to look into being tested for asthma.

    • Have you asked your doctor?

    • Dry unproductive cough comes with a lot of things, and for me, one of those things is GERD with active reflux.

      • That could be it for me. I guess I should look into it. Any tips?

        • Weight loss was what worked for me. The meds gets prescribed all the time, but you’re really not supposed to be on them for more than 2 weeks.

        • Tums!! And raise the head of your bed – some people put a couple of bricks under the legs at the head of the bed.

          My boyfriend had this kind of cough for months – thought it was whooping cough. It was reflux.

        • Sleep on your left side.

        • The meds work for me, and for the most part, given the specifics of my condition (busted muscle in throat, like old underwear elastic), are the best solution along with avoiding triggering foods for the second half of the day. I do 20mg of omeprazole/day, in the am, per doctor’s orders. But the doctor part is key!

        • I’ve had severe heartburn issues for the last few years (endoscopy, meds, etc). A lot of treatment is lifestyle:
          – I sleep on a wedge pillow, on my left side. You can find pillows on amazon. I used to be a stomach sleeper, and the pillow / sleeping on my side made a big difference.
          – Don’t eat within 2 hours of going to bed- you need time to digest before lying down.
          – look online for foods that act as triggers of gerd / reflux. It differs for everyone, but mine include alcohol, coffee, and spicy and fried food
          – my reflux is always worse when I’m stressed, so I’m more careful about diet in stressful work periods

          Hope that helps! If you think it’s reflux, I’d also recommend seeing a doctor.

      • I was just coming here to say this. It sounds like reflux/GERD or LPR. Elevate the head of your bed, take an acid reducer/PPI at night to start.

    • Are you taking an allergy medication? Could it be too drying for you, thus causing you to be waking up coughing from dry mouth? (This happened to me once.)

    • Prop your head up with a few extra pillows.

      My husband had a horrible hacking cough that wouldn’t go away for months – turned out to be allergies. Do you take meds?

    • My mom coughed for two years before a nurse practitioner linked it to the new blood pressure medicine they’d prescribed just prior to the onset of coughing. Have you considered medications?

      • I only take thyroid medicine for hypothyroidism, which has been stable.

        I occasionally use nasonex but since my nose isn’t stuffy and I’ve done so much to eliminate allergens in my bedroom I’m doubting that’s it.

    • For me, the single most helpful thing has been running a HEPA filter every night, followed by nasal spray to keep postnasal drip under control. However, mine is actually a productive cough that bothers me all day long, it’s just more of a problem when it’s waking me up. I also tried asthma medications and considered GERD, but it didn’t seem to really fit my symptoms. In your case, I’d follow up on those possibilities more carefully, as they are two of the most likely reasons for a night time cough. Consistently losing sleep because of coughing is really miserable!

  11. Flats - J.Crew CeCe :

    I know ballet flats aren’t in style anymore, but they work for me! Help me find a replacement for the J.Crew CeCe please! I loved the plain black leather, no bows or trim of any kind, and they fit me perfectly. Thanks.

    • Flats Only :

      Have you checked eBay? I’ve had great luck with J Crew flats from there over the years. Plenty of pairs that someone only wore once or twice, or even new in the box.

      • Yes, thanks – Checked eBay and Poshmark. I think because of the fact that they were discontinued I haven’t had any luck finding a decent pair in my size.

    • Have you seen the Sam Edelman felicia flats? They do have a couple of details you may not like, but they are the most comfortable flats I have ever worn. I seriously feel like I’m walking on clouds.

      • Elegant Giraffe :

        +1

        Also I didn’t realize ballet flats aren’t in style anymore. Oh well. I’m not taking these off.

    • Sam Edelman Fritz
      Luckybrand Emmie

    • M Gemi

    • I like Madewell’s leather ballet flats. They do have the higher vamp which is more “in” now. I love them.

    • They can pry my ballet flats off my cold dead feet.
      Just got a pair of Naturalizer Flexy and they seem very promising.

    • Everyone in my office wears the Tory Burch flats.

      • I love Tori Burch, but I am told never to wear flat’s in the office (except on Fridays where no cleints are scheduled to come in). The manageing partner thinks I need to wear 4″ heels to look svelte, and he is probably right b/c of my tuchus. Dad says if I loose 8 pounds in my tuchus, I would be married by now, but Gonzalo loved my tuchus b/c it is a cultural thing for him in his country to have a woman with a tuchus.

    • AK sport round toe flats. They sell on Amazon

    • AK sport from Amazon.

    • Anonymous :

      French Sole New York

      • Rockport. They’re online only at this point, but so comfortable. (I find they run a tad large, so maybe order two sizes and keep whichever fits better.)

    • Nerfmobile :

      Born also has some nice comfy flats. The “Julianne” style would probably fit your desires.

  12. Cooking adventures :

    Just for fun, because I love food and wish it was lunchtime:
    -What was your most recent kitchen “success”? Doesn’t have to be fancy; it could be a microwave meal that tasted way better than expected, or making a stash of freezer meals over the weekend. Or it could be trying a new food or recipe (or getting kids/partner to like it).
    -And, because life isn’t always amazing, what was your most recent kitchen fail? Extra points for humor.

    My responses:
    -Thanks to you all, I made cake mix cookies that turned out amazing with so little work! I used devil’s food cake mix and added in white chocolate chips and crushed Oreos (I used a Pinch of Yum recipe for reference, but subbed the Oreos in for her chocolate chips).
    -With the above cookies, for some reason the amount of toppings in the recipe was way too high – not as in my preference is for fewer, but as in there physically wasn’t enough dough to hold them all! So I wasted a large amount of toppings (because they had some uncooked batter remnants on them).

    • Triumph: Oh, I made lentil soup in the instant pot the other day and it was delicious and easy.
      Fail: getting my kid to eat anything these days. He seems to subsist of breastmilk and air.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Triumph: Ricotta Panna Cotta. Topped with plums and honey. https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/ricotta-panna-cotta-with-nectarines-and-honey

      Failure: Italian wedding soup. When I cook soups, I throw in spices like the Swedish chef. “A voom! Herpdy der, der spice a voom!” Normally it ends up great but this time it was just so much dang oregano. Blech.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        Snort laughed at the Swedish Chef thing as I totally relate. Sometimes I actually saw “Bam!” a la Emeril. Note, does not always work out.

    • Triumph: I love cooking, nothing crazy, but over the last several months I’ve toned down the meals to avoid arguments from kids about “I don’t like that.” The last two weeks I’ve made some of my favorite dishes with out GAF whether my kids (or even husband) likes them, like Beef & Broccoli. It’s been fun and they have actually eaten more than I thought they would. I’ve kept repeating the line “I’m not asking you to like it, if you’re hungry this is what’s for dinner. If you’re not hungry, please just sit with us at the table.”
      Fail: I also made the Ina Garten Apple crisp, thanks to you all! But I ALWAYS forget my grocery store provides JUMBO fruit, so when a recipe calls for 1 lemon, it’s actually 1/3 of a Mariano’s lemon. But I forgot…so the crisp was really delicious, but also very citrus-y!

    • Success: Socca! It is so easy and versatile! Husband has celiac, so I get experimental with bread-like items sometimes and this one was definitely a success.

      Fail: I made a carrot and red lentil soup and decided I wanted a larger amount than I had a recipe for, vastly underestimated the amount of liquid required, and ended up with like … mashed potato consistency thing. It’s edible but strange.

    • Triumph: I cooked spaghetti squash for the first time and it came out super well! I roasted it and totally guessed on the seasoning- sprinkled it with some random stuff before it went in the oven, then added more stuff by taste after shredding/scraping.
      Fail: I tried to make bread last weekend and it came out terribly. I’m usually pretty good at bread and this was a recipe from a trusted source, so I’m extra disappointed.
      Sidenote- what do you do to use up 3 loaves of dry, dense bread? Crutons? Find some ducks to feed? Nobody in my family is going to eat it as-is, but I hate to waste it!

      • Never too many shoes... :

        Bread pudding?

      • French toast will take care of some of it. Bread pudding?

      • In addition to the other good ideas above:
        – homemade breadcrumbs
        – homemade seasoned croutons
        – crostini: slice very thin (if the slices are large, just cut them in half), rub with a clove of garlic, brush on a little olive oil, bake until they’re toasted, and top with bruschetta or tapenade or….

      • Stuffing! Do a trial run for Thanksgiving. :)

      • it is great in frittatas or strata

      • You could use some of it for meatballs! A lot of meatball recipes call for bread soaked in milk

    • Success: I love making holiday cutout cookies. Last weekend, I made the most adorable acorns and pumpkins, which my kids decorated. The edges were crisp and perfect; my frosting game was on point.

      Another success: Discovering a recipe for homemade corn chowder. OMG. So easy, so delicious.

      Fail: I made a breakfast hash brown casserole on Sunday that was OK but nothing great. I sort of winged the measurements and I don’t think the egg/milk ratio was quite right.

    • Success: Macaroni and cheese, for a friend who had to put her dog to sleep a few weeks ago. I used a recipe from Homeroom in Oakland, which I found on Chowhound, and their video tutorial was really helpful. I made enough for a small pan for our household to try it (for research!), and it was super yummy.

      Fail: Egg muffins. I made them for breakfasts this week, but I overcooked them. They’re dry, especially after reheating.

    • Triumph: I picked up a loaf of pumpkin brioche at Aldi on a whim and made the most delicious bread pudding out of it. I used the NYT Mark Bittman recipe and added pumpkin pie spice to the custard.

      Fail: I tried making my own thai curry paste. It was so labor intensive and time intensive, and it just straight up didn’t taste as good as the canned stuff I always get from my asian market. It was bland and flavorless. Ugh. Sticking to storebought for that one.

      • Good to know! I have considered trying this but based on your experience will probably just do store bought.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Those little tuna-tin sized curry pastes? They’re so great. Once it gets actually cold I’m gonna make myself a big ol’ pot of curry!

    • Triumph: I had a girls night over the weekend and made tiramisu cupcakes – delicious!
      Fail: Made chicken and dumplings for dinner the other night. Just kind of blah. I was looking to use up some stuff from my pantry and didn’t have a lot of veggies to go in, so it was just corn.

    • Win: Finding these recipes on Instagram: https://pinchofyum.com/12-healthy-freezer-meals
      Delicious, easy to prep, Instant or Crock Pot, no weird cream-of-whatever add ins.

      Fail: Using up what’s in my freezer. I have a lot of meat and several whole chickens and they just seem like too much work to deal with.

    • Success: I made eggs en cocotte with a tomato onion herb base and a little goat cheese. I made it for myself, but I made two cocottes because I had enough tomato mixture for two. The tomatoes were from my garden. My teenaged daughter who is a notoriously picky carbs-only eater took a bite, said it was bomb, and then ate a whole cocotte plus part of mine.

      Fail: most of my failures are being too ambitious in the grocery shopping and then having to toss fresh food that no one ended up having time to cook.

      • Do you have a recipe? That sounds amazing.

        • It’s basically this but I used my garden cherry tomatoes cut in half, and used some thyme I grew, and i think I used less goat cheese.

          https://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2016/01/tomato-goat-cheese-eggs-en-cocotte-recipe.html

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Win: I made tofu lettuce wraps: marinated the tofu in lemon/spicy/little soy/sesame/garlic/ginger and baked it up, lettuce for wrapping, kimchi for deliciousness, avocado for fat… it was surprisingly great!

      Fail: not cooking enough to have any recent fails.

    • Horse Crazy :

      Triumph: I made jambalaya for the first time and it was AMAZING. I made it for my friends who just had a baby, and the husband, who is normally a very reserved and quiet person, went out of his way to tell me twice how wonderful it was. I’m making it again for them this weekend :) https://www.daringgourmet.com/jambalaya/

      Fail: Was browning some chicken thighs to be roasted the other day and completely forgot about them. I blackened the skin to a crisp and smoked the house out!

    • Anonymous :

      Triumph: creating a delicious pasta sauce that can be made in less than 5 min in the Cuisinart (key because we have a newborn). Fresh garden basil, feta, yogurt, tiny bit of garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Sometimes add walnuts. Add red pepper flakes for serving.

      Failure: neglected to add eggs to muffins (see: newborn).

    • Anonymous :

      Triumph: Bobs Red Mill gluten free cornbread from a mix.
      Fail: frying an egg into a polymer.

  13. Attorneys- please comment what your firm’s PTO policy is and whether it results in you actually using it? Mine is 12 vacation days per year, they don’t roll over. I took 6 days off to go to Europe this summer and have 5 days off for a beach vacation this winter. I have 1 day remaining and I plan to use it. Sick days don’t count as PTO, although I’ve never taken one. Days increase with seniority, I’m currently a newbie.

    • My firm has “unlimited” PTO as long as you still meet your billing requirement, which is 170 a month averaged over 6 months. I just started so not sure how workable it is.

      • Does anyone have a similar policy? I can’t tell if this is fair or terrible

        • My firm also had unlimited PTO and a billing requirement that averaged out to 160/month. I actually really liked it, and miss it now that I’m in-house and have more firm PTO requirements.

      • Me too. I’m actually fascinated at having actual PTO days. Do those days count against your billable hours? Or are you still just making it all up anyway, but your firm is big on face time and needs to micro manage whether you’re sitting in your office or not?

        • OP here- my firm has no requirement to “make up” the hours, but hour bonus schedule is kind of wonky and you for sure won’t be bonus eligible if you don’t. (personally, I’m fine with not getting the bonus and not making up the hours)

      • Anonymous, this is standard in the BigLaw firms I’ve worked at and seen others work at. It’s seen as a downside because, well, this was always really the policy — you couldn’t go on vacation when there was work to do or hours to bill — but the change with this policy is that you don’t have any accrued vacation to get paid out when you leave.

      • My firm is also “unlimited leave” so long as you use your judgment about using it and make your hours. The result it the use of leave varies widely depending on whether the associate plans on sticking around long term. Its awful. Taking vacation is equated with not being committed.

    • Government here: 20 vacation days a year, and they roll over and can be cashed out when people leave the office. 4 “administrative” days a year which are basically vacation days that don’t need to be approved, but do not roll over. I’ve used maybe 5 days total in a year. It’s extremely difficult to actually be able to take time off due to very busy trial schedules. I usually use one at a time to turn a three day weekend into a four day weekend, and I like to take the week before Christmas off.

    • At my old Biglaw firm, I’m pretty sure it was somewhere around 25-26 days PTO, but I don’t think I ever used more than 7-8 in a year, basically one 1-week vacation and one long weekend.

      Trying to get away more than that was more stressful than the vacation would have been relaxing/restorative…

    • 20 days per year, but really, so long as you’re getting your work done and you spread it out reasonably, they aren’t monitoring it. E.g., most people take a 1-2 weeks in the summer and 1-2 weeks over Christmas with a couple random days here and there.

    • Really interested in this for both firm and in house lawyers. I’m in house – 15 days PTO, but I had to negotiate for the extra 5 days. unlimited sick time. I had come from BigLaw with 20 days PTO, which I always used (though I have a feeling that was frowned upon). Supposedly unlimited sick time, but I worked even when I was vomiting in the office.

      • I’m in-house and our sick time comes from our PTO bucket. I hate it.

        • In House in Houston :

          In in-house too but our sick time is separate from PTO. I get 4 weeks of PTO and a year of sick time which includes anything from missing 1 day for a cold to needing year off for something significant. We get paid 100% of salary for so many weeks( based on years w/the company) the and rest of the time we get paid 60% (for 52 total weeks).

    • My firm has “unlimited” PTO, which was basically a change so that it could stop paying out unused PTO when associates left. I toke a 2 week vacation every 18 mts or so, and a few days around the holiday and a few days spread out during the year. At the end of the day, the firm just cared that you were hitting your billable numbers for the year.

    • My firm has unlimited PTO as long as you meet your billables as well. We have a 1900 billable.

    • Medium-sized firm, no billable requirement. 12 days of vacation, and 3 can carry over. 6 days of sick leave, which I use as needed.

    • BigLaw had 15 days but never used more than 5 except the year I got married and took my honeymoon. I could work remotely though, so I’d go visit family for a week here and there and work while there but at least get to see them (and I worked on official vacation too so it wasn’t that different).

      Now I’m in house (higher ed) with 25 days and I use them all. But if I’m out of town I’m officially on vacation, I don’t travel and work remote.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      20 days, up to 10 days roll over. I have always been away for at least 15 days every year that I have worked here, but sometimes end up working for portions of those days.

    • Our company starts at 10 PTO and you work up to a max of 20 based on tenure. I came in at 20 because I had way more than that at my prior employer.

      We can carry over up to our annual allotment but you can never hold more than 2x the annual, so if I were to hold onto 40 days, which is my goal, I can’t earn more PTO until I use some of it.

      This is combined sick and vacation. The 10 day entry level is extremely stingy, in my opinion.

      • PS we are not a law firm, we are an insurance company, but the same rules apply to the legal department

    • Blueberries :

      My old firm had “unlimited” aka no PTO. You could take as much PTO as you wanted as long as you billed at least 2,000 hours a year and were available when your clients or partners needed you. That said, as far as I know, no one was checking your hours when you said you’d be taking time off.

    • Small Firm IP Litigator :

      “Unlimited” vacation and sick days. No hard hours requirement, but most people bill between 1600-2000. I take 4-6 weeks a year, usually after trials or other intense periods, seems average.

  14. Aritzia sweaters! :

    Can someone talk me out of (or into, ifthey are worth it) Aritzia sweaters? They are gorgeous, in the exact tones I always search for in sweaters (deep greens, burgundies, mustards and rich neutrals) and they come in natural fibers AND some good non-wool options—ideal for my wool sensitivity.

    However they are all like $150+. Worth it? I’ve never spent more than $70 on a sweater before.

    Reasons to buy:

    I can afford it if I cut back on other unnecessary spending.

    I live in a cold city where we can wear sweaters more than six months of the year.

    Did I mention they are gorgeous sweaters? I have seen them IRL and I think they look way nicer than similar options at BR, etc.

    Reasons not to buy:

    If I start thinking 150 is a normal amount to spend on a sweater, will I never be satisfied with cheaper sweaters again?

    Aritzia has a terrible return policy.

    Thoughts?

    • What if you just buy one to see what it’s like. Or look for them on Poshmark or Thred up?

    • If you can afford it and it makes you happy, then buy it. I don’t make a habit of buying pricy items but I figure paying more for something I’ll actually get a lot of wear out of is better than paying less for something I don’t want to put on in the morning because the colors don’t inspire, or the fabric will itch etc.

    • Imo that’s a normal amount to spend on a sweater (at full price anyway). Sweaters are expensive. But the quality is worth it. I hate spending over $50 on a sweater then I launder it once or twice and it starts to pill, or the texture changes, or it doesn’t hold its shape. I just end up getting another $50 sweater the following season. My more expensive sweaters though? I’ve had some for 10+ years. I’ve just accepted that I will have fewer, but higher quality, pieces like this.

      • +1 – $150 is not an unreasonable amount to spend on a good quality sweater. That’s easily the full price of a nice wool sweater many other places. I would consider it pricey for a cotton sweater, though.

    • If you’re anything like me, and you manage to talk yourself out of it, you will then spend way too much time and effort trying to find a similar but cheaper sweater, and then you won’t really like it and won’t really wear it. You actually may buy several versions of this cheaper sweater and not really like any of them, and by then you’d have spent more than just buying the one you really want.

      I think it’s always better in the long run to buy what you really want. The fewer, better philosophy is kinder to the earth and to our wallets.

      Get the sweater you love. Maybe start with one color and see if it really lives up to your expectations.

      • Hah, this is so me. Seconded. Buy it. You need one or two nice items and it won’t spoil you for the future.

    • Ooh, can you post some links to the sweaters you’re looking at?

    • It’s late so I hope you’ll see this. I love Aritzia. But I shop in store and I have to tell you, their sale section showcases the most pitiful looking clothes imaginable. Tears, pills, loose hems. Everything looks terrible. It really put me off buying clothes there because it appears they can’t hold up to the rigors of multiple try ons.

      I do have a silk blouse and pair of work pants from there that I love. Luckily they’ve held up well, but I wouldn’t take the chance on knits.

  15. Has anyone bought the Everlane cashmere crew and can advise me on sizing? The size guide is super confusing and not very helpful. I’m a size 10 and wear either a medium or large top depending on the brand. Everlane runs small, right?

    • I’m usually a medium in tops from other stores and wore a medium there. I’m usually a 6/8, veering more towards an 8 and am about a 32E/F. It has a looser fit..

    • I’m a small to medium in most brands (medium in designer or European brands; small in US brands), and I took a medium in their cashmere crew. It’s fitted but not tight.

    • I am a similar size to you and have the Everlane crew. I wear a size L. I find their sizing to be inconsistent (size L in their boxier cut stuff is way too big on me) but L is just about right for the sweater–the shoulder seams are a little off but I prefer it to look fitted but not too tight. I could fit into M but would have a tight look.

  16. When you make a budget what categories do you make? In the past after accounting for all fixed expenses (rent, utilities (we pay a flat fee), transportation (taken out pre tax) and student loans) I just had a few simple categories: food (grocery store purchases), fun (socializing, entertainment, going out, eating out, etc) and incidentals (clothing, CVS type purchases, gifts, pedicures, etc) and the rest allocated to savings. I’m thinking of revamping my categories and was curious as to how others structure their budgets. I don’t use Mint (it always has errors syncing yo my bank account) or YNAB (opposed to paying in order to budget).

    • I use Mint, and I mostly use their pre-set categories–transportation, bills and utilities, entertainment, retirement savings, food, health and fitness, kids, personal care, shopping, and travel. I use a lot of personalized sub-categories because it helps me see if a particular bill jumped for no reason, or if we’re going off the rails somewhere.

      I feel like Mint and YNAB both have issues. I left YNAB because it had issues syncing with my accounts, but then even after it re-synced, the amount it showed in my account would be wrong, and I couldn’t budget properly without manual adjustments. I’m no huge fan of Mint either.

      • I use Mint too. Do you ever worry if it were hacked someone would have all your financial information. Not just one credit card account but everything?

    • I do it backwards — everything but mandatory (housing/car/ins/taxes/utilities/childcare) and savings (broadly lumped into three categories: cash savings, investment savings, vacation fund) is spendable $. Savings are deducted automatically when I get paid. So I don’t really sweat categories or category-specific sub-budgets. I just don’t have time for that. I am aggressive with savings, so I feel like what is leftover is something I’m philosophically OK spending (or not spending).

      • I budget what we need for savings and fixed payments like the mortgage, and everything else is spendable. Our savings are taken out of our paychecks so the money never hits our bank account. I tried budgeting in categories, but I couldn’t make it work, largely due to fluctuations. For instance, I might spend $80 on dog food in September, but that will last through February. We buy a lot of our groceries in bulk, so we might spend $600 at Costco one month but then have a super low grocery bill for the next couple of months.
        We have a general idea of what we can afford and limit our spending accordingly, but there’s no defined categorical budgeting. Like a PP, I am aggressive with saving so I’m comfortable spending what is in our bank account, because I know we have enough in savings elsewhere.

    • I don’t formally budget, but I make sure that spending aligns with my values. I have found this a lot easier than budgeting because it seems that there is always some random expense that doesn’t fit well into a particular category. As an example of what I do, I spend more on organic food and safety equipment for the sports I participate in, but I very rarely buy new clothes. I try to cook at home as much as possible and only eat out when it’s really worth it. I don’t have cable or a brand-name cell phone plan, but I do pay for Netflix.

      Overall, my focus is on getting the most bang for my buck. Spending $100 for an amazing day of skiing that combines family time, exercise, and beautiful scenery? Definitely. Spending $100 on upgrading my riding boots to currently fashionable booties that no one else will notice or care about? No way. Figure out what is worth it to you and see if you can structure your budget around that or even forego a budget altogether.

    • I have quite a few categories. The fixed expense categories include mortgage, phone, internet, and other utilities. My every day expenses are groceries, restaurants, meals or snacks at work, clothing for work, clothing for casual, clothing for exercise, transportation, exercise expenses, personal hygiene, home goods, pet costs, and spending money (i.e. my catch-all other category for events with friends, random books, movies, etc.). My other expense categories are insurance, gifts, charitable, medical, vacations, and annual fees.

      I’ve been doing it this way for about 6 years, and have really appreciated the level of detail. When I start feeling like I’m spending too much, I can really tell where my money is going. For example, I used to spend a decent amount on work clothing, but felt it was a cost of doing business in biglaw. After switching jobs 6 mts ago, I don’t think I’ve bought any new clothing but I’m spending a lot more on restaurants and spending money because I’m doing a lot more with friends. But I’m spending significantly less on food at work, cause I now bring my lunch every day, and less on transportation cause I’m using public transit instead of ubers. Without that level of detail, I think it would be harder for me to get a real sense of where my money was really going.

      • After reading the other comments, I want to add that the amount for each category of my every day expenses and my other expenses varies each month. I “budget” x for the month for every day expenses, and then track how it’s being spent. But the amount I spend in each category tends to change a little each month.

    • I do Mortgage, Childcare, Utilities, Savings, Car Payments, Gas, Groceries, Giving, and Everything Else. I used to break down the Everything Else budget into more categories, but found I was “borrowing” against categories most of the time so I just lumped it all together. It helps to think of it as the only pot of money that is optional. I use Mint and I can still use more discrete categories (shopping, home improvement, pets, etc) and Mint still lumps it under Everything Else.

  17. I am a busy married working mother of two teens and I just realized I’m going to have the entire weekend to myself! I usually do the kids’ sports travel but my husband is taking my daughter this weekend and since it’s in a cool location, my son has decided to tag along. This almost never happens.

    I reached out to a friend to see if she had plans Saturday night, and I realized while I was waiting to hear back, I was hoping she wouldn’t be available. And she wasn’t! So since I felt that way, I decided not to reach out to others.

    Other than a work obligation Saturday morning, which is why I couldn’t so the sports travel, I’m free. I made a color and cut appointment for Saturday afternoon, and will probably also get a pedi, but after that I am free until Sunday afternoon. I am also free Friday night.

    What would you do with a rare chance to be alone and do your own thing?

    • A leisurely stroll around TJ Maxx (want to spend 12 minutes sniffing seasonal hand soap? go for it) followed by a fluffy, feel-good Hallmark movie at home on the couch with a blanket and hot cocoa. Bliss.

    • I literally just had this too! I picked up brunch components from Trader Joes, ate in bed, drank champagne, and went back to sleep.

    • Take myself out to eat alone at a sushi restaurant.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Yes I love eating alone at a restaurant bar. I can take my time, chat as much or as little as I want, read a book… so good.

        • I will probably at least do something like this Friday night. There is a restaurant in my neighborhood that I love and my husband is meh about so it would be perfect to eat there alone.

    • I am a mom to an infant and a toddler and basically never alone. Just reading on the couch with a cup of tea or hot cocoa for a couple of uninterrupted hours sounds beyond amazing to me. I feel like I’m always out doing stuff with the kids, so if I had a solo weekend I would probably stay home the whole time and live the hermit life.

      • I wish I could take your little ones for a few hours so i could share the wealth!

        • Aww thanks! I know this stage of life is short and soon they’ll be teenagers who want nothing to do with me, lol.

    • Read a book. Go to the gym. Leave the TV off all weekend. Do some shopping.

    • I’d do a fancy yoga/exercise class then wander around a shop, swing by a fancy grocery or get nice takeout for dinner, eat in bed, read in a bubble bath while eating dessert with a face mask, and of course change the sheets so I can crawl into a fresh bed before I ruin it with cookie crumbs.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      My current home-alone joy (I get to eat out alone a decent amount because of work travel, boo) is doing crafts in the living room while watching Netflix. No one demands to use my paints or tries to eat a bead or needs a snack RIGHT NOW (except the cats, who do all those things).

    • Senior Attorney :

      I love to go to the movies by myself. A Star is Born, anyone?

      • Anonymous :

        I went to see A Star is Born by myself on Sunday. I’ve never gone to a movie before by myself, but no one else wanted to go and I really wanted to see it. This was the PERFECT movie to go see by myself because I cried so, so hard. I would have been embarrassed at how much I cried if I was with someone else. By myself? I didn’t care at all! Totally recommend.

  18. PSA

    Eileen fisher is having a pop up sale of 50% off cashmere

    https://www.eileenfisher.com/our-48-hour-cashmere-pop-up-sale-18f-m4/

    I just ordered two pieces. They have a really good return policy.

    • Thank you! I had been thinking about ordering one of their cashmere sweaters, but couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger at full price…

  19. DH and I are in a big time dinner rut. He cooks dinner most nights because he works at home, which I’m very grateful for, but he won’t spend more than about 5-10 minutes on prep (cook time can be longer, because it can cook while he works), which results in us having a lot of very basic baked chicken or fish with a side of roasted vegetables. Once a week we have pasta with jarred sauce and frozen meatballs. These really aren’t bad meals, but we have them over and over and I’m just so bored. Does anyone have suggestions for other very easy to prep meals? Cost isn’t a concern and we’ll buy anything that will make our lives easier (eg, we buy pre-washed, pre-chopped veggies) but I don’t want to rely too much on frozen or prepared stuff, because I know it’s not super healthy.

    • I would check out soup recipes that are easy to eat two nights in a row. Otherwise, I’d hit the frozen aisle at Trader Joe’s. I know you don’t want a lot of frozen stuff, but many of their items are interesting, free of preservatives and sketchy ingredients, and so so easy.

      • We don’t have TJs :( We used to live in a city with TJs and we ate food from there all the time – I agree, I have no problem with their frozen foods.

    • Anonymous :

      Shrimp or ground beef/turkey tacos. Only takes a couple minutes to cook in a skillet with seasonings. Serve with pre-shredded lettuce, cheese, salsa, a can of black beans for an extra dose of healthy protein, sour cream, etc. There are plenty of healthier soft tortillas on the market.

    • Anonymous :

      Poached boneless chicken breasts or thighs, shredded (while still warm – you can do this very quickly for a lot of meat using a stand mixer, believe it or not). Toss with BBQ sauce for ‘pulled chicken’ sandwiches, served with pickles and a side salad.

    • Fried eggs and toast

      Hummus and pita bread and cucumber/tomato salad, with or without the chicken

      Turn baked fish into fish tacos with a bagged coleslaw (just use the dressing recipe on the package) plus lime wedges and salsa, and bottled Pacifico beer if you’re feeling festive

      Sausage and onions are just as easy to bake as chicken and fish. Nigella Lawson has a good recipe on her website

      Lentil soup takes no time to prep and only a little time to simmer. Great with some crusty bread

      Shrimp scampi can be made using frozen shrimp. Just cook it low and slow in lots of olive oil and minced garlic. Squeeze lemon in at the end. Great with crusty bread to dip in the sauce. Maybe use up the rest of the bread from the lentil soup.

      Polenta can be started on the stove and finished in the oven and would be great with the meatballs as a slightly different option to your pasta dinner.

      • Anonymous :

        Polenta can also be cooked totally in the oven- my recent life changing discovery. Google “Alexandra Cooks baked polenta”

    • Coach Laura :

      Sheet pan meals fit the bill. Like fajitas or pesto chicken with potatoes, Greek chicken, salmon with veggies are good variations – there are hundreds of recipes online. Or if you want to prep a bit the night before you could get meals that he can just dump in the crock pot or instant pot at the right time.

    • PetiteCocotte2008 :

      I strongly recommend a meal delivery service like Blue Apron. DH and I both work, and Blue Apron has changed our lives. It eliminates all the emotional labor and time loss involved with figuring out dishes/recipes, putting together a grocery list, time to and from the grocery store, shopping, etc. For our plan, it ends up costing $20 or so dollars per dinner for two, which is less than what we’d pay to eat out. We also eat somewhat healthier as I try to pick the more veg-heavy dishes, and Blue Apron will occasionally do Whole-30 menus. I also pick the dinners that take the least amount of prep/cook time (35 minutes max). My only regret is that we can only get three dinners per week max with Blue Apron. I’d happily sign up for at least five dinners a week if that was an option.

      • Senior Attorney :

        *1 We’ve been doing Blue Apron for several years and love it. It’s not super quick but I feel like your husband really should be willing to do more than 10 minutes prep time per meal.

  20. Anonymous :

    Aritzia will start putting stuff on sale in November. Stuff may be sold out by then but I typically just keep stuff in a cart on their website at all times and will pull the trigger if it says there’s low stock. You can also use shoptagr to send you alerts for when the price drops.
    FWIW, their clothes are expensive but most of the stuff I buy there I wear constantly and my favorite styles I end up buying in multiples. There are several skirts, blouses, and sweaters that I have in multiple colors and fabrics. But I think I’ve only done this with two sweater styles–Nathaniel and Copernic.

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