Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Ponte Knit Blazer

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

This blazer from Talbots seems like a nice basic blazer — it has sort of a fitted, shrunken look to it and a lot of darts for a good fit. I’m not always a fan of shiny gold buttons, but if you aren’t either, that’s an easy swap. It has a welt pocket on the chest and angled besom pockets on the front, as well as interior contrast piping, which is always nice — and a polka dot lining. There are a lot of ponte blazers out there, and we rounded them up in our post on five great blazers under $50, but something about this one looks great. It comes in three size ranges — misses, petite, and woman — for $149. Ponte Knit Blazer – Indigo Blue Heathered

(Wondering what the greatest hits are at Talbots? Check out our recent roundup of how to build a work wardrobe at Talbots.)

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  1. Roly Poly Little Bat Faced Girl :

    I finally bought some riced cauliflower from Trader Joe’s. I’m not much of a cook, but do you have any suggestions for tasty but very easy recipes that I can use it in? Thanks!

    • I also buy the red curry sauce from Trader Joes. I mix the sauce on the cauliflower rice and heat in the microwave. One jar of sauce makes aout 3 bags of cauliflower rice and can be stored in the fridge between uses. Makes an easy, but reasonably tasty, meal. I also use the cauliflowe rice when I order takeout where I ordinarily would use regular rice.

    • Butter + salt. Enjoy.

    • AttiredAttorney :

      I just stir fry it lightly on the stove top with some oil and salt and use it as a rice replacement for any of my normal recipes – taco bowls, topped with chili, topped with Instant Pot butter chicken, etc.

    • I like to get the Trader Joes frozen chickpea curry and spoon that over the top of some cauliflower rice. I also like it as a base for a simple burrito bowl with crockpot salsa chicken (chicken, jar of salsa, taco seasoning – done), black beans, salsa, and avocado as toppings.

    • rachellen :

      Laughing cow cheeses?

    • Heat a skilled, add garlic and light amount of olive oil, throw in cauliflower rice and frozen stir-fry vegetables. Have it cook about 5 minutes, add soy sauce and red pepper flakes. Toss in rotisserie chicken or leftover meat.
      Seems involved, but it’s just dumping convenience foods in a pan.

      I also second the curry recommendation. I’ll also head up their frozen lamb vindaloo, dump the basmati rice, and add the cauliflower rice instead.

    • I add pesto and some feta

    • skinnytaste has a few super easy recipes on her site with riced cauliflower.

    • Thank you! Now I have You can call me Al and the entire Graceland album playing in my head. I was 10 when that album released, but I think it’s one of the best albums of the 80’s, and is one of my favorite albums ever. I understand the political backlash, but see the album more as a tribute to and education by the African musicians who were such an influence and part of the album.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I make this:

      I also did not know Trader JOe’s had cauliflower already riced and had been making my own, so that’s lifechanging.

      • Costco has it, too, in a 2lb re-sealable bag. Organic.

      • chrisonli :

        My local TJs has both fresh and frozen cauliflower rice – and fresh broccoli rice too! I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks good.

      • Puddlejumper :

        The frozen is a better taste!

        • +1 and the frozen lasts longer. The fresh goes bad very quickly (much quicker than a head of cauliflower or florets) so I only opt for fresh when I can use it within a day or two of purchase.

    • Horse Girl :

      I use this recipe to make Mexican rice with it:

  2. Just need to vent:
    I’m tired, have been staffed on a series of bad cases (some completely nasty and unlivable). Got my fair share of apologies form the staffing team each time with a promise it gets better.
    I have now changed my mindset, and while still on crappy projects, at least I act more in control. Even when other people finish at 3 AM, I still finish at 11PM because I didn’t have 17 coffee breaks or butterfly around so I shouldn’t have to live their presenteeist lifestyle.
    I will get through this. I’m strong and the move was worth it. Things are getting better, I’m just exhausted so can’t see it clearly.
    Ad astra per aspera
    Deep breath. Now back to work

    • Yeah I feel you :

      *Hugs* I am going through something similar. I feel ya! Senior associate works until 11:55 p.m. without any assistants and does half paralegal work while the junior associates get to actually practice law and work 8-5.

      You will do it. I am breathing with you. Thanks for the reminder. Now back to work.

    • Triangle Pose :

      You can do this!! This will pass. Good luck and take care of yourself in the small ways that your work life allows right now.

  3. Thisperson1 :

    Can we make it Venting Wednesday? Our house has sold (yay) and we have to be out by Thanksgiving (someone should have looked at a calendar when selecting dates) and we just lost our bid for the FIFTH house we’ve tried for. Discouraged. And, soon to be homeless. Happy Holidays!

    • Big cyber hugs. I’m all in for vent Wednesday… it’s when you are still far from weekend

    • Too late to see if you can rent back from the buyer?

      • This happened to us too – Springhill Suites was going to let us and our pets stay for $100/night indefinitely. Fortunately we found a rental house!

    • i'll play :

      i got 10+ new assignments this week (junior corporate attorney) so i tried to get in early to make some progress, got stuck in so much traffic, not only did i not get in early, I was actually late. 3 weeks till vacation.

    • I like “Whining Wednesday” followed later by “Wine-ing Wednesday.” It’s been a long long ugly week. Why isn’t it acceptable to have a drink at 9am?

    • I just found out our master bath remodel won’t be done until the literal day before Thanksgiving due to some massive pieces being back ordered. So we’ll have workmen tramping through the house as I’m trying to clean/prep for the meal. I may have had a bit of an ugly meltdown yesterday about this. And I’m interviewing for a new role and the hiring manager is dragging their feet on moving the process along. UUUuuuuggghhhhhh.

    • TO Lawyer :

      I’m in the middle of a tug of war between two partners – where they both want different things and instead of agreeing on something (or listening to me), are giving me contrary instructions. And we are running out of time – they’re basically just trying to assert their egos/dominance instead of actually getting what we need to get done done.

      Oh and one of them refuses to do anything on another file (because he doesn’t think it’s important) when the other one is getting upset at me that it’s not done. (he knows it’s not my fault but yet…)

      I am in desperate need of wine.

    • My sister isn’t speaking to me – again – over the stupidest, petty thing. I’m sick of this being the pattern and even though I know I’m lying, today I feel ready to write her off forever.

      • My sister and I haven’t spoken since July over what I thought was the stupidest, petty thing, but which apparently is deep seated resentment on both sides. I’m lying too, but I’m ready to write her off as well.

      • Anonymous :

        My brother and I didn’t speak for more than a year over a stupid petty thing, which he escalated by defending my father who was being racist in front of my children. Wow, way to pick your battles, man.

        I’m sad that I don’t have a close relationship with my family members, but all I can do is parent my kids the best I can and not repeat bad patterns on both sides of the family of ongoing, vicious conflict. Extremely limited contact works just fine.

    • I’m so here for Whining Wednesday (and already planning on picking up necessary components for Wine-ing Wednesday on the way home!)
      The past few weeks have s*cked. I got hit with a lingering sinus flu thing and I rear-ended someone in traffic last week after leaving work early to take a sick day. Insurance adjuster is taking his sweet time with the claim so I’m driving a car that looks barely street legal (it’s fine to drive, just looks like sh!t), I keep getting nasty phone calls from the person I rear-ended (I’m sorry, it’s not like I meant to hit you! My insurance is going to pay for your damage, please leave me alone!), it’s a super busy time at work, and I have several major projects due for a graduate course I’m doing.
      I need wine. And chocolate. And a few thousand dollars. And a vacation.

    • On the team of four who report to me, I’m down 1 and have 2 newbies. Am trying to position my only veteran for a promotion, so I’m handling most of the onboarding. I can’t get anything done! (Keep reminding myself that training staff is getting something done…)

      • Chicaganon :

        As some one who was recently on the other side of this situation (a newbie on an understaffed team) thank you for focusing on onboarding and training! As you note, it really is an investment that will pay off in time and your new hires appreciate it!

    • I feel like I am getting sick. GRRRRRRRRR

    • I am applying for a masters degree program and have had TWO people not respond to my reference requests. Both people who really liked me when we worked together, so it’s not like they’re ignoring me because they don’t want to recommend me. My deadline is coming up and I am starting to freak out.

    • On Board the venting Wednesday train :

      I have had a series of too-serious adult-life-events happen. Two recent deaths in the family, a serious medical diagnosis and finding out someone very close to me has been abused in her relationship. Been married 3 months and my husband says I sometimes take an attitude/tone with him that makes him think I don’t respect him/treat him like a stupid child. I have never felt that way towards him and have had this fight a number of times since we have been dating. It’s the only issue we have and was the cause of our only major fight in 5 years of dating. I keep trying to figure out what causes this tone that bothers him and keep turning up with no solutions.
      Plus, I am on an exciting project at work which is overwhelmingly huge. I am trying to get clear instructions, practice self care and keep on trucking on. If only my boss would allow us to use headphones so I could get in the zone and knock this out instead of being interrupted every few minutes. I hate open office plans.
      Rant over.

      • Anonymous :

        That’s a lot.

        Give yourself some breathing space.

        I wonder if a little bit of therapy might help, just to decompress? It might also be helpful to unpack that issue with your husband, which is worrying. If you lose respect in a relationship, it is doomed, and since he has been feeling this for awhile and your marriage is so new…. try to nip in the bud if you can.

        • On board the venting Wednesday train :

          Thanks Anon! I’ve been trying to engage in the typical self-care rituals…While I study for the bar for the state I just moved to.

          Hubby says he is tired of talking about it and just has to accept that is who I am. I want him to help me work through it or figure it out but whenever this comes up he’s (obviously?) fed up and wants me to “just fix it.” I’ve tried to explain that I need his help to figure out when it happens, don’t think of him in a disrespectful way, why I may have sounded rude during specific situations but it doesn’t seem to work. He also says I apparently don’t talk to anyone this way but him.

          Perhaps I should look into therapy for a few sessions. Wonder if our insurance will cover it

          • cookie dough :

            This might not seem entirely related to your question, but perhaps both of you pick up the Five Love Languages book. My husband and I both read it recently and it’s been mind blowing how the book explains many of our major miscommunications. I’m recommending it to literally everyone now.

  4. 2017 Business Casual Uniform? :

    For those of us who don’t have to wear suits to work, what is the 2017 going into 2018 uniform? My default polished, professional outfit was a pencil skirt with a Tippi v-neck sweater, usually with a button down underneath, but I’ve been wearing this exact outfit for several years. The other version, dating from about 2013, was slim ankle pants with a Jackie cardigan. My Jackies feel dated right now-is it just me? ISo, what is the modern business casual silhouette?

    • For my business casual client: Fitted cashmere turtleneck, the Skirt, an Hermes Twilly for the pop of color

      • What do you do with the Twilly? Tie around your turtleneck? I hate just tying mine on a purse.

        • I wear mine with a scarf ring 99% of the time, but there are all sorts of fancy ways to tie them into loops/bows/ascots/etc. on pinterest. I also love wearing scarfs as pops of gorgeous color – and they’re less itchy than the insides of blazers.

          • Would you share what type of scarf rings you use? I have one that looks like a divided circle, but I have seen others that are multiple interlocking rings, ovals, etc. curious what type works best for you?

          • I use this scarf ring, which works nicely for wearing it like a tie, but I think the flat ones that look like a divided circle work really well for more intricate bows.

        • As a child I used to wear the tiniest tie with dresses.
          As a grown-up I tie the twilly on my neck so it has a mid knot around the base of throat and the two loose ends fall on your upper chest.
          Let me find photos to illustrate

        • I love scarfs but feel like a flight attendant wearing one.

          • try rectangles

            i am with you for square ones

          • Yeah, I can’t wear them tied up just around my neck, but having them dangling down along my chest is much more flattering…and nicely distracts from my post-baby pooch.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Good question. Right now, mine is slim ankle pants with a boxier sweater, but I’m not super into it. I often wear flats with it, but I look better with wedges.

      • Where are your current favorite boxier sweaters from?

        • Eileen Fisher!

          • +1
            Beautiful fibers/fabric

          • Baconpancakes :

            So beautiful. So expensive. Any Eileen Fisher alternatives?

          • Anonymous :

            JJill is a lower cost EF-like option. IME, their stuff is good quality. It tends to be too boxy for my shape, but I buy it anyway, lol.

          • My take: Eileen Fisher – full price worth it for certain pieces like pants, cashmere or slub cotton sweaters in black/gray other neutrals, shells in neutral colors. They travel amazingly well, the fabric is top quality, they last forever. I have been able to alter them multiple times (weight loss) without sacrificing the shape.

            I tend not to pay full price for EF for tshirts, seasonal colors, coats, ponchos, cardigans, anything I deem “trendy” (like slouchy pants or midi skirts). I look for this stuff on eBay. There is a consignment store near me that occasionally has EF pieces. Nordstrom Rack and NM Last Call sometimes have good deals, too.

            J Jill has some stuff that is EF-like, too. Some of it isn’t my taste, though.

        • Baconpancakes :

          I think Marshalls? Not very exciting.

    • Pencil skirt, patterned sleeveless top or short sleeved top (basically Lucky brand), long cardigan, ankle strap flats. A wide scarf that can be used as a wrap in my freezing office.

      Substitute the magic pants from Eileen Fisher on days i don’t feel up to a skirt. (Slim crepe ankle pants)

    • My business casual formula is black or grey pencil skirt, patterned blouse, solid cardigan (usually Jackie style because I like the crew neck, but I prefer my cardigans a touch longer and cheaper than the Jackie so I buy a similar style from Target). In the winter I switch the blouse out for a sweater (usually v-neck cotton or cotton blend since it’s not super cold here) and add a scarf as a third piece. Pointy or almond toe flats year-round in black, nude, or snakeskin. Black boots and tights when necessary in winter.

    • In skirts I look and feel like a small child playing dress-up, so my uniform for maximum comfort is slim ankle pants and a sweater or popover + cardigan.

    • This is really casual, not business casual, but subthread for that:

      Slim dark jeans (I have blue, wine, and black), ankle boots

      + a neutral solid-color blouse, and an interesting blazer. I have 4 of these: greyish beige suede waterfall, long black with tie sleeves, textured navy, and jewel-tone tweed

      + cashmere v-neck sweater

      I kondo’d my closet last year and it’s the best thing ever. I really want a dark green or wine leather pencil skirt to mix in with all of these, but haven’t found a great one yet.

      • Mary Ann Singleton :

        Where are you wine jeans from? That sounds awesome. (not just because they have “wine” in their name, I really do love that color)

    • I don’t think there is anyone office wardrobe but, for me, I very much like skirts, especially The Skirt. I like button downs. And I love scarves. I also find that a vest is a fun way to take a button down and trousers or a skirt in an interesting direction.

      For me, I just try to make sure that anything I buy for my work wardrobe fits into a general color scheme so I can mix and match them all over time.

  5. Black dress shoes :

    Looking for a pair of black shoes that can be worn with a wrap-type dress. I’m tall (5′ 10″) and my partner is very short, and since we often present side by side, I try to stick with flat or low heels.

    I only have flats and 3″ heels; flats don’t look right and 3″ heels are both too high for the optics I want and also, too uncomfy since I’m pregnant.

    Any low-ish heels or wedges you’d recommend? I have cute wedges but they are summery.

    Size 11. Flexible budget- will definitely pay for a work horse type shoe- but no more than $200.


    • Anonymous :

      • Minnie Beebe :

        These are insanely comfortable, btw. I can wear them all day at a conference and still walk to dinner later. Highly recommend!

      • Another vote for these low wedges. I have them in three colors. Wearing a pair right now! Very comfy. As comfy as any flat.

    • Everlane has 2 inch kitten heels in black suede that have gotten really rave reviews but not sure if you want something lower. They’re ~$150. Nordstrom has a similar style for $92 – (Stormm Pointy Toe Pump by Athena Alexander).

    • S in Chicago :

      I like Cole Haan air tali wedges. They look great anywhere a flat would do, are super comfy and come in a gazillion colors. Once you get your size right you can usually find at a discount on Amazon or 6pm. They’re one of the few at that heel height that never feel frumpy to me.

      • Black dress shoes :

        Perfect. Follow up- if my meetings are all in the south (FL, AL, GA), can I wear peep toes?

        I live in New England and am already in winter mode ;)

        • Coastal south here. Closed toe will be more versatile. I wore closed toe wedges with a dress and bare legs earlier this week since it was 80 degrees. Open toe feels too summery in a professional context- I say this as someone who wears flipflops year round on the weekends.

      • Black dress shoes :

        Tali bow wedges on their way! hopefully they fit well :-).

      • Anonymous :

        +1 – except my only comment is that I felt the sizing changed a little (1/2 a size?) when the got rid of the Nike Air technology. So I used be pretty solidly an 11 in Cole Haan, and have been trending more towards a 10.5 these days (especially for the taller wedges).

    • A quick thought – if you’re pregnant, I wouldn’t spend too much on a pair of shoes that might not fit you after pregnancy. Or even during pregnancy (unless I was the only one unlucky enough to have swollen feet for the last two months).

      • Black dress shoes :

        Fair enough…it’s my 3rd kid though. You never know but I’m OK taking the gamble. Once I hit the 3rd tri I’ll be WFH in Birkenstocks and slippers looking like a giant whale.

        • You’re giving me hope that my feet won’t weirdly change again after my next pregnancy! (Even if this is not true, I choose to believe it)

          • Black dress shoes :

            Idk, mine have been an 11 forever. No change at all except for minor swelling that went down with my first. Feet swelled to insane proportions around month 7 with my second (who was an August baby…) and I only wore flip flops and Gizehs. Went back to normal after.

            My feet did get larger after I gained weight, and if i ever return to my “fighting weight” of my early 20s I’ll be a 10.5 again.

    • Ecco Abelone Ballerina

    • So I’m also tall and an inch taller than my husband. I didn’t want to wear heels to our wedding, which he found very bizarre. He’s also an immigrant. I explained that in the US, women are self-conscious about being taller. He found this hilarious and said in his country, people generally are short. He’s tall for his country. Women there wear heels, and they are always as tall or taller than their partners. When we later visited his country, I found this to be very true.

      Just anecdata-it may be an American/Euro-American fear. This actually helped with a lifetime of feeling uncomfortable with my height, and I wore a low heel. I’ve always stressed. I remember wearing silly sandals to a formal dance in junior high because I was 5’6″ by age 12 and my “boyfriend” was the same height.

      • Black dress shoes :

        Work partner. Both female. She’s 5’1″ and I’m 5’10” so I try to avoid being an entire head taller than her when possible ;). She doesn’t wear flats around me for the same reason.

        I’m DH’s height or slightly taller in heels, no big deal.

      • I’m curious about this too! I avoided wearing heels around my boyfriend when we started dating because we’re exactly the same height and I thought we both would find it awkward if I were taller. Eventually, I said F*** it, and it turns out that he loves the way I look in heels so much that it doesn’t matter to either of us who is taller!

      • This is so funny. I was so much taller then my boyfriend, Sheketovits, even b/f I put on my 4″ heels. Once I did, he really looked like a schrimp! Dad never thought much of Sheketvits, tho he DOES want for me to find a man to marry me. He tried to set me up with some schlub that was even shorter from my hometown, but he works on LI, and I do not want to live on LI if I do get married, and I would also need to have a guy who will inseminate me soon, as I need to have a baby soon! YAY!!!

  6. Anyone else really excited about the election results last night? It’s almost ridiculous how much lighter I feel this morning. I’m sure this will sound absolutely ridiculous (yes, yes, I am the special-est snowflake) but I feel like the last year has actually taken a mental toll on me because it’s just hard to reconcile how people can be okay with Trump and what he represents (not talking about standard GOP politics here, but just his lack of basic knowledge, lack of curiosity, lack of humility, the absolute pettiness, crassness, not to mention the whole “grab them by the p*ssy…”). Logically, I know that people have different motivations for voting and I work with plenty of his supporters so not trying to paint with a broad brush here, but just happy to wake up and feel good about the fact that there are voters out there rejecting this road we seem to be on. And especially happy about the first transgender woman who defeated the incumbent who sponsored the bathroom bill in VA – talk about poetic!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I’m at an annual meeting. Last year I was at the same meeting over the election. The meeting is a lot of conservative old white dudes and it was just so disheartening to see Grab Em By the P*ssy get elected, and then to go down to my meeting and get elevator eyes-ed/winked at by old men…

      This year is definitely better — not all great, but better.

    • Baconpancakes :

      As a Virginian, I can wholeheartedly say YES.

    • Anonymous :

      We’re a long way from out of the woods but I definitely think people are thinking more seriously about “what kind of country do we want to be?” and saying “Well, we know we don’t want to be Trump Country.” I don’t think it’s gone farther than that yet, but maybe we’re on the cusp of something good, some kind of positive shift. Maybe Trump’s election will turn out to be not the beginning of an era, but the end of one.

      • I can only hope that’s the case. I am heartened by last night’s election results, but I still feel so down and discouraged about everything that’s happened in politics during the past year. It goes so far beyond policy — it’s about basic human decency. I would love to say that people are rejecting the Trump mentality, but I don’t see many of his supporters admitting they made a mistake.

        • I feel the same. I don’t really feel any hope; I am thinking, “At least we didn’t lose any more ground.”

        • I don’t think people admit they made mistakes. But they stay home, they become complacent, they don’t get involved. In this case, I’ll take it.

          Also, I agree that this is by no means a sign of victories to come. I actually think it could end up making the left complacent or energizing the Trump supporters, long term. But this past year’s been hard and I’ll take what good news is available right now.

        • Anonymous :

          Why would Trump supporters “admit they made a mistake” when most of them are THRILLED?

          The courts are being staffed by rock star judges. Regulations are being rolled back. We’re advancing school choice at the federal level. The press is in a screaming meltdown. HHS finally got on the side of science and says life begins at conception.

          This is CHRISTMAS EVERY DAY.

          • Anonymous :

            Oh sweetie. You can certainly keep telling yourself those things, in the dark of night, over and over as more and more of your friends unfriend you on Facebook and stop inviting you over to hang out. In your words I hear hysterical desperation and meaningless hyperbole. If things really were going that well, I doubt you would have bothered to respond at all.

            It’s got to be hard right now. Vocal Trump supporters are personas non grata in most social circles these days; I imagine it’s getting pretty lonely for you. You might want to talk to someone about that – you’ll probably have to find a therapist; I wouldn’t be too up-front about your politics with them until after the first appointment.

            I feel sorry for you. I really, really do. It must be terrifying as you watch the choices you’ve made come back on you in such an ugly and personal way. I don’t have hope you’ll learn from your mistakes – people like you don’t do that – but maybe somewhere in all of this, you and your ilk will serve as cautionary tales for others. Like all the kids my son’s age, who hear about nothing all day, from all their pop-culture heroes, except what a pathetic loser “your president” is. The next generation of progressive warriors are training now, as we speak.

          • Anonymous :

            Lol, science.

          • Anonymous :

            Rock star judges? Are you Trump?

          • Anonymous :

            Yeah…no. Religion says life begins at conception. Not science. Science can’t even agree if viruses are “alive” or not (last I checked).

          • Anonymous :

            I think this is was meant as how trump supporters see it…not necessarily coming from a trump supporter

          • Anonymous :

            Yes, this is sarcasm folks.

            But yes, I do see some Trumpers who feel this way.

          • Appreciate this final response because I was like, this is a joke? Why is everyone so upset? As I feel like I’m always saying, we need to develop a specific font just for sarcasm. It’s so hard to translate through the internet.

    • Feeling the same way. This last year has been *HARD* for me as a big Hillary supporter. very excited to see so many firsts and blue wins today!

    • Still tho... :

      Another VERY important thing to note:

      we need to continue to check the white lady privilege and make sure we’re doing all we can to pump up participation and support for POC. black women once again came through to save our a$$es in this election round. we need to listen to everything they tell us.

      • I think that’s one of the most encouraging things about the election – lots of first among non-white/non-male/non-cisgendered folks. But I agree — the breakdown in the gov race in VA by race and gender is really interesting .

    • My small contribution – I’m a councillor-elect now for my city! I won! We also double the number of women on the city council, from 2 to 4 (out of 15), but we’re making progress.

      You should all consider running for something. If I can do it, you can too!

    • I hope people won’t take this the wrong way – as this board tends to do these days. But why do yesterdays victories matter so much? Don’t get me wrong, I’m
      in Va and happy about the candidates that won. But these are state level wins, while I think things like Obamacare, taxes, gun control, DACA, denying climate change etc are being/will be done at the fed level. If one state wants good gun control, great; but if it’s not there on the federal level, won’t people just buy the guns 2 states over and take them wherever? Do these wins matter simply bc they show that people are sick and tired enough of trump that they’ll go vote in these elections? Or am I missing something bigger?

      • Yeah I don’t think anyone thinks electing a Democratic mayor or even governor is going to do much on national issues like health care. Rather, people see it as a rejection of Trump and a sign that Democrats will turn out well next year when it matters for Congress. Historically Democrats have had problems turning out in non-presidential election year so this is a good sign that this is changing.

        • BensonRabble :

          Actually states and even cities impact health care. Seattle passed minimum sick days and the state leg eases birth control access last year.

          We need to start paying attention and VOTING in all elections.

          • Not to mention the flipped Senate seat in Washington State creates a “wall of blue” with governors + legislatures all Democratic down the West Coast (Hawaii included). As a result of the flip, you will likely see Washington pass the country’s first tax on carbon this year.

            And you’ll continue to see collaboration from the West Coast governors on international trade and climate change.

      • Yeah states actually have a lot of power!

      • The GOP has controlled a lot of state and local governments for years, which has resulted in so many bad things:

        – Gerrymandering
        – States not fully implementing the ACA, including Medicaid expansion
        – Open carry laws
        – Degradation of LGBTQ rights, like bathroom bills
        – Defunding public education
        – State-level abortion restrictions

        Democrats need to take back power at the state and local level to make real change. Last night’s election is a good start.

      • BensonRabble :

        This is a common perception among progressives and even the Democratic Party that states, counties and cities don’t matter. When actually innovative policy happens at that level. We got to show gun safety works (NY Times has frwar graphs over weekend that states with gun measures have fewer deaths) first before others states might adopt similar policies.

        Annoyingly the national media has ignored the state legislature win in Eastside of Seattle. The State Senate flipped to Dem control so we finally have a chance to act on climate. And with Oregon and California (And Canada) putting a price on carbon, what if we all work together? We are a economically strong part of the country and if we go green, we have the ground work laid when US Congress gets its act together.

        Super conservatives have been building their game in states for decades and that is where the fight on abortion rights, minimum wage, gun rights is happening. While the Left has given up the field to be honest.

        Short version: incredibly important to focus on local politics and it was a good night!

      • All politics is local.

        R’s have been building a bench for decades across the country & that starts at the city council & county level to the state houses & senates and governor races. As a democrat in a deep red state this is exciting to me – at our state level, we’ve had a number of scandals and resignations by members in the majority party & all of those seats were then won by democrats – most first time candidates. We’re building our bench, nationally. These folks who are being elected now could in time turn out to be our next president or state governors.

        • BensonRabble :

          Yup you could argue that the Dems suffered last year from not having any viable options beyond Sec. Clinton at the onset of 2015.

          The state rep now is 2024’s governor and 2028’s president

          • As an aside – if you’re in a solid blue state & want to support red states becoming purple, the orgs Flippable & Sister Districts have been doing amazing work at the state level across the US.

      • Partly, because governors and state legislators are in control of districting. Currently, districts are gerrymandered and are benefiting Republicans in the House of Representatives.–it’s the reason the Republicans have such a solid majority in the House.

      • Virginia and Maine can both expand Medicaid now, giving healthcare access to hundreds of thousands of people who didn’t have it. That’s a big deal

      • Wildkitten :

        Because I worked on the Clinton campaign, and today is the anniversary of the loss, and it was going to be a very very very very hard day, and because of yesterday’s victories, today is a little bit less terrible and more tolerable. That is why. (And also the Medicaid stuff, etc, but today is very personal for me.)

      • Additionally, these races can prove the viability of particular candidate platforms/policies and tactics – which can (should) inform those national elections.

      • I haven’t read all the answers, but a big part of the reasons I’m excited are this: generally, the Dems are *awful* at off-year elections. They don’t focus on them and Democratic voters are more likely to skip them, which is how things like local town ordinances banning the homeless or gerrymandering is so common on the local level. (Summary, all politics are local and we need to step up our local level representation.

        The second is this – after the election, thousands of women (including several of my friends) decided to run for office, up and down the ballots all over the country. And I’m excited to see women stepping forward and saying that they want to govern.

        There’s a few others, but these are two of my big ones.

        • BTW, my comment was totally in moderation during the time that everyone else gave you all the same answers – worded more elegantly that is.

          I will add one more relief about this week’s results, even though they don’t directly impact my home state and many of the wins were at relatively “unimportant” state-level positions. But that’s where many of the members of the House and the Senate started out. Building a solid ground-level Democratic party means that we’ll have a better pipeline for electable, experienced, (which really shouldn’t be a controversial job requirement), and connected potential candidates when they get to higher level positions.

          If we can groom candidates better early in their career, we’re going to have better candidates overall. At least that’s my two cents.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Oh he11 yeah. Virginia plus some great local wins? Loving it.

    • KS IT Chick :

      One of the things I’m happiest about is that the two women who co-own a local winery ran for seats on the city commission & local school board, and they both won. The city commissioner-elect is strongly in favor of broadening what constitutes “economic development” to include healthcare & technology (“you can’t ignore 1/6 of the national economy when you are trying to expand your economic base”), while the board member-elect wants to assure that no one leaves elementary school without knowing how to read & do basic addition & subtraction.

  7. Anonymous :

    I’ll take you up on that Wednesday vent.

    A few weeks ago friends we haven’t seen in awhile invited my husband and I to happy hour. We did some last minute child care re-arranging and got there with a few hours notice. Turns out it was to meet a political candidate in their city (I think they didn’t realize that when we moved 3 YEARS ago we don’t vote there anymore). No big deal, happy to see them and be out, and we do have friends in the area, if things were good I thought I’d promote them on FB. Things were not good. The candidates wife started bad mouthing another candidate (my mother’s cousin) and the candidate said he wasn’t going to support an initiative my family has been working on for years. It was an awful case of not knowing your audience.

    This morning I found out he lost and the wife of the friend who invited us is saying the election was rigged. I just can’t.

    • Your friends & their candidate suc*! The invitation to a happy hour without disclosing the candidate link & when they don’t know you have moved years ago would probably be a friendship ender for me

      • It’s been a few weeks and I’m calmer about it now. I’m in my 40s and wish I had more friends so this isn’t something I will end it about, plus we don’t really see them, so there isn’t much to end.

  8. Florida Again :

    Jumping on yesterday’s post about Floridian vacations. Boyfriend and I are going to Redington Beach, which is closer to Tampa, in a few weeks. We will have a car and don’t mind driving an hour or two to do something fun. There were suggestions yesterday for Caladesi Island so we will check that out. Any other daytime suggestions?

    • It was me yesterday who was failing at geography and recommended Caladesi Island, so I’m happy it helped you even if it was off for the original poster. :D

      It’s close to Clearwater, so we went there the day before Caladesi. It was super crowded and we weren’t that impressed. But we didn’t really spend a lot of time there, so maybe there’s cute stuff we just didn’t find? Not sure.

    • Frozen Peach :

      St. Pete Beach is lovely, rarely crowded, and has some really cool little art galleries and shops and places to have lunch. The Don CeSar is also definitely something to see.

    • Downtown St. Petersburg :

      You should definitely check out downtown St. Petersburg! There are tons of great little shops and restaurants on Beach Drive. Also, there is a Salvador Dali museum there that has the largest collection of his work outside of Europe. St. Petersburg also has the Chihuly Collection which is a permanent collection of artist Dale Chihuly’s artwork (blown glass). There is a place in town that does glass blowing demonstrations as well. And if you are into beer there are also a ton of breweries. Love, love, love this city!

    • If you like beer, there are a ton of great breweries in the area (Mastry’s, 3 Daughters, Green Bench, just to name a few). I suggest spending an afternoon around downtown St. Pete- visit the Dali museum, shop along central, stop at a few breweries, hit the Saturday morning market, and definitely enjoy some food- downtown St. Pete is developing into a foodie hotspot.

      If you enjoy kayaking, I suggest checking out Weedon Island- there is a couple mile loop through the mangroves that is really cool.

    • Shenandoah :

      Caladesi is easily one of my favorite beaches in the U.S. So glad you’re going there! Honeymoon Island has some nice hiking trails and is just a nice state park in general to check out in addition to Caladesi. But I’ll definitely echo the suggestions to go to downtown St. Pete. The Chihuly Collection alone is enough to warrant a stop.

  9. rachellen :

    Anyone in New York have suggestions on discount or relatively lower-cost dry cleaning? I have a sheepskin runner rug that desperately needs a cleaning but I’m being quoted like $100 by all the neighborhood places. I’m in Manhattan but would travel a bit to save some money.

    • Is taking it to a dry cleaner the only way to clean it? Maybe look up Vorwerk Kobasan carpet cleaning?

  10. When people suggest swapping out buttons, do you bring buttons to the tailor? Do you just tell the tailor what you want and they pick out the buttons? I have a vintage trench where I’d like to change the buttons but I have no idea what kind to buy.

    • Anonymous :

      Find a local sewing store if you want to pick your own. You can also find buttons on ebay, amazon, and etsy.

    • Anonymous :

      I like this blazer without the gold but it seems like a lot of buttons to replace. It looks like they are also on the sleeves.

      • Yes, it would take some time. I actually like sewing, but I don’t pay full price for something new with the expectation that I need to do something to change it. I reserve those projects for used or deeply discounted items.

    • Delta Dawn :

      They can sometimes replace one missing button but probably do not keep a whole bunch of matching buttons to do an entire trench. I would buy my own buttons. I would order them online (etsy, amazon), with the following things in mind: they need to fit the existing button holes. The best way to make sure is to buy them the same diameter as the current buttons. You probably want either flat or shank. Flat buttons are like you normally think of a button, with either two or four holes in the middle. A shank button is one that has no holes on the front and is sewn onto the garment through a little tail, or shank, on the back of the button (that you can’t see from the front). I would get the same as what the original buttons are, if you see some you like. If you fall in love with some shank buttons but your original buttons are flat, order one anyway and see if it will fit through the existing button holes. It might work fine. Buttons are cheap, so it’s ok to do some trial and error.

    • If you’re in or near SF, take the trench with you and go to Britex Fabrics! Just off Union Square. They are *awesome*.

  11. Conference newbie :

    Capsule fail: my outfit for today is identical to the staff uniform at the conference center. If only I could swop for anything but black slacks. Note to self: check this before backing in future.

    • Oh no. It happens! It’s why I stopped wearing gray pants with navy blazers – it seems to be the default security guard uniform in too many places in NYC.

    • Do you have any accessories that you don’t normally wear with that outfit that you could swap in? A bright scarf or shoe definitely helps differentiate from a staff look.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Ha! It happens!

      I don’t know if this will make you feel any better, but at my husband’s birthday party a couple of weeks ago, his out-of-town friend (was the “best woman” in our wedding) thought one of my son’s friends (nicely attired in black pants, white shirt, black necktie) was a waiter and grabbed his plate of appetizers right out of his hand. He was later heard to say “I don’t think I can ever, ever forgive her…”

    • Only somewhat tangentially related, but one of the most mortifying things that I do frequently is when you think someone works at a store and ask them a question. At which point you realize you were just confused and they don’t work there. I never know what to SAY!

  12. Sephora VIB sale – I’m seriously thinking about the Dyson hairdryer. I dry my thick curly hair out nearly every day, and I feel like this would save me a LOT of time (and sore arms). But it is still a huge splurge – any thoughts from those that have it? Worth it? Overhyped?

    • In-House in Houston :

      What’s the VIB sale? Is this better than any holiday or black Friday deals? I want to get my sister the perfume sampler for Christmas. Should I buy now? TIA!!!

      • If you want something from Sephora it’s a good time to buy. They only have a few sales a year.

      • If you’re a VIB or VIB Rouge you get 20% off, which is typically their biggest sale of the year (bigger than black friday sales).

        • they’re giving it to Beauty Insiders this year too for this first time ever. They get their discount next weekend.

          • shamlet96 :

            wait, it isn’t just 15% for BI like it usually is?

          • Whatt? Seriously? That kinda blows for the rest of us who have “earned” special status…

    • I looooooooove mine. Best hairdryer I’ve ever used. I have thick hair with some unruly waves but not curly.

      Truthfully, I’m not sure that it saves you radically more time than any other high-powered hairdryer, although it is certainly powerful (so powerful that I typically only use it on its lowest setting). But I find it quieter and it “sets” my hair in shape far better than anything else I’ve ever used. Makes a curling iron completely unnecessary.

  13. My mother died last week. Her funeral service was this week and my siblings and i have just discovered a small stack of condolence cards hidden in the guest book. Some of the cards from the relatives contain cash, and one (from a relative unable to attend) contains a check.

    I’m not sure what the money is intended for. Funeral costs? A donation to the church? A donation to the charity we named in her obituary?

    Have any of you experienced this? I will need to write thank you letters of course, but I’m not sure whether it s a thank you for your donation kind of thing – most of the family is catholic, if that makes a difference.

    • Frozen Peach :

      This happens sometimes. It’s usually in lieu of flowers or a gift– I think from a practical perspective it’s intended to be used however it is most helpful to the family. If covering funeral costs helps, do that. If you can do something with your siblings that honors your mother’s memory (even if that is going out to her favorite restaurant or to a favorite destination), I think that’s fine too. As long as you thank the giver, I don’t think you should worry about this.

      And I’m so sorry for your loss. Lots of hugs.

      • This. It may reflect the culture of the giver. My DH is from a country where it is common to give the family cash to help with funeral expenses (similar to a wedding gift), they rarely do flowers/charitable donations.

    • Anon in NYC :

      No advice. But I’m so sorry for your loss.

    • Are you in the Midwest? This was normal/expected behavior in my small Iowa hometown. The money could be used for whatever the family wanted – expenses for the luncheon afterward (also an Iowa thing), funeral expenses, charitable contribution, whatever.

      When I moved to the northeast, I noticed people did this way less often (or if they did, it was for a specific reason – namely, money to charities).

      I’m sorry for your loss. When my dad died, we used the money found in cards to buy wind chimes for immediate family members. 10 years later, mine is still hanging from a tree in the backyard, reminding me of Dad.

      • That’s a beautiful idea. DH is from a small town in Iowa and his family also does cards with money to help with costs of the funeral and the lunch.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Echoing the others to agree that you can do whatever you like with it – a dinner out with your siblings in your mother’s honour seems lovely and so appropriate.

      I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a parent is beyond awful.

    • Older atty :

      My mother also just passed away (hugs and compassion to you) and we also received random gifts of cash. I think you can do what you want, but we contributed the money in equal shares to the charities my mom wanted and that were listed in the obituary. The thank-you notes reflected that.

    • New Tampanian :

      Just hugs to you and your family. No advice. Thinking of you.

    • Yes, it is quite common for folks to make donations. I live in a community of folks with modest means, and yes… The intention is to help any of the expenses incurred. So funeral, food for the grieving family, income lost while time away from work etc… And it is becoming more common not to send flowers/money and for the family to suggestion a charity for donations, if the family is less in need. When my Mom passed, we asked that donations go to the research foundation working to cure pancreatic cance.

      I’m so sorry to hear about your Mom. It can be quite devastating.

    • i am so sorry for your loss. hugs.

    • This is common in my primarily Catholic Northeastern city, and people donate to help with any funeral expenses. I’m very sorry for your loss. If the final expenses are taken care of, I like the idea to purchase a windchime or do an activity in memory of your mom.

    • I am so sorry. Also, I hope you aren’t stressing over the TY notes – I’m sure people don’t expect them, and definitely don’t have an expectation of quick turnaround, so if this is providing any stress to you, I suggest tabling it for now. Hugs.

    • SC lawyer :

      I am so sorry for your loss.

    • My grandpa passed away this summer, and many of the condolence cards contained checks or cash. The donations were given to a few of his favorite charities. Some were specifically addressed to the charity, others we decided based on how my grandpa knew the people. I believe the church choir he sang in for years is going to use the money donated to commission a choral piece in his memory.

      I’m so sorry for your loss.

    • Anonymous :

      So sorry for your loss.

  14. I’d love to hear from ‘rettes in the public sector who have gone through a bad hard time in their jobs. Especially when the hard times are because of leadership changes and/or being short-staffed and unable to hire. I really believe in what we do and don’t want to leave — and yet I think about it all the time because I’m burned out and wonder if it’s possible to bounce back. I feel like most people in the public sector would cut and run, but it feels different when you’re working for a cause. I realize there is a cyclical nature to all of this, but the last 18 months have been among the hardest in my 15-year career.

    Can this get better?

    • I work for the public defender in a very poor state and we are chronically underfunded and short-staffed. I have been here 10 years. What helps me is to sometimes take the time (even though there is never enough) to really connect with my clients. When I go do prison visits and sit down and spend time with my clients it really is a reminder of what I am fighting for. I also really like when our annual training includes a kind of “get re-inspired” portion and the best for me have been former clients who come back and talk about how much their public defender helped them to turn their life around. I also try to find books and other people to connect with as a reminder of why we are doing this. Also, take a vacation and really try to disconnect.

    • Public sector work is hard. I’ve done it for 11 years, and many friends and colleagues have burnt out. My #1 piece of advice is don’t sacrifice yourself for your employer. Your employer would not hesitate to let you go if the budget gets slashed, so don’t feel you have to give 110%. Its hard because we work with real people who have real problems, and we want to help fix those issues. But you can’t fix everything all the time, and I remind myself of that fact.

    • I’ve had a hard few months on the public sector but I’m sticking it out. In my role, I feel like I can really contribute to meaningful change. Sometimes that just looks like saying “have you thought about xyz policy option?” or “what if we amended the regulations to do abc?” These things have a meaningful impact on citizens day to day lives. And even if the options I bring forward are not employed, at least bringing them forward ensures they get on the table and are considered. My goal is to ‘expand the pie’ everyday. Speaking truth to power is an important role and it needs to happen from inside govt as well as from outside.

      That said, I am also very clear with my superiors about my workload and stress levels, and cya by making them tell me to shelve xyz in order to do abc first.

    • I’m in state government and when my last job got to be terrible because of leadership I switched departments. It’s made a world of difference for me because the leadership in my new department is great. The work I’m doing is less focused on the cause I’m interested in, but I still feel like I’m helping make the state a better place.

    • Horse Girl :

      I work for a state elected official and am currently filling two and a half positions, as well as training a new person (and picking up a lot of his slack). My boss “can’t find the time” to come do interviews to fill our empty positions, and I’m definitely getting burnt out. I asked for a week off before Thanksgiving and they told me they would prefer I didn’t, because one of our offices would be closed if I left, but I pushed back and told them I really need a vacation for my mental health, and they finally relented. I’m getting pretty frustrated with our leadership, as are most of my coworkers, and I think leadership is going to get an unpleasant surprise when a bunch of us find new jobs in the next few months. I want to stay in the public sector, and I think switching positions will help. Public sector work is so demanding, and I have really learned how important it is to have leadership that’s supportive and understanding of those who work below them. If you don’t have that, maybe it’s time to start looking for another position.

  15. Anonymous :

    I bought a Hooty the Owl after reading about him on here (thank you!!!) and my SO is also a little obsessed. I want to get him his own, but he isn’t a huge fan of the lavendar smell — anybody know if there is a similar item out there unscented?

    • Conference newbie :

      Shameless threadjack: is hooty really any different/better than the plethora of other microwaveable pillows that have been around for decades? Or is he just cuter and fashionable right now?

      • In-House in Houston :

        What is it? Saw a bunch of different things on Amazon. My hubby loves lavender, so it could be a good stocking stuffer? Link please???? TIA!

        • Hooty is adorable, and the exterior is really soft. I am not a huge fan of the smell but love everything else. Here is a link:

          My son has the dinosaur, and for some reason that one has a much more intense scent.

      • Basically, I think Hooty is the soft/cuddly version of the microwaveable buckwheat neck pillow thing my mom had when I was 8 that I thought was super weird :-)

  16. Anonymous :

    Can anyone recommend a gynecologist in Manhattan who definitely does IUD insertions? I like my gynecologist but she does not do them (maybe doesn’t want to have to stock them? don’t know why). I went to Planned Parenthood to get one a week ago and now can’t feel the string and am worried it was expelled. It’s possible I’m just being paranoid but I could always feel my old IUD*. The next PP appointment isn’t until December, and my first appt. there involved a 2 hour wait to be seen, and I would love to find a doctor I can see sooner who could replace the IUD if necessary.

    • Your regular gyn can check and confirm it’s in there, but it for sure is.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Having expelled two IUDs… I don’t think you could miss that happening. :-/

        • Really? I use a menstrual cup and am worried it got sucked out. I couldn’t really feel anything when the doctor removed the old one (although I definitely felt the new one going in, OUCH!).

          • Really. It is not getting sucked out. That is not a thing.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            I had copper IUDs both times and it felt like a small stick of copper POKING through my cervix. I also just had general pelvic pain/discomfort. I don’t think it can just SWOOSH out in one fell swoop… I mean, who the F knows, I’m not a doctor and cervixes are mysterious!

            But my personal experience is: the first time I expelled mine it stayed half in half out for like a week and I definitely knew it was there… the second time I actually don’t know how long it was hanging halfway out because I was also dealing with painful cysts… but yeah there’s a definite Something Wrong feeling.

          • I someone who used to post on Altdotlife when I was active there got pregnant (with her 4th!) because she lost her IUD and didn’t know it, so I’m attuned to this risk. I have no reason to believe she made this up but she isn’t someone I know IRL. From what I have read there is up to an 8% risk of expulsion happening, but I don’t know how many of these happen without the woman noticing.

            I am pretty sure the possibility for negative IUD interactions were mentioned on the warning materials that came with my cup; the DIVA Cup website says the following:

            The DivaCup is worn low at the base of the vagina and away from the cervix. This means that it should not interfere with an internal birth control device. However, please use caution when using any internal feminine hygiene product with an IUD as there is the possibility that they can be dislodged. When using The DivaCup, it is important to carefully follow the directions in our User Guide, paying close attention to inserting The DivaCup low in the vaginal canal and breaking the seal (suction) before removal. Many of our customers use The DivaCup with an IUD or NuvaRing® simultaneously, but we recommend that you become familiar with your birth control device’s risks (such as the body expelling the IUD, etc.).

    • Anon in NYC :

      I don’t know if she/her practice does IUD insertions, but you can call the Weill Cornell OB practice on 72nd & York and ask ( I really like my ob (Dr Jin), but have heard nothing but good things about other doctors in the practice.

    • Lower Manhattan OBGYN in the Woolworth Building (Weill Cornell affiliates).

    • Columbia Midtown doctors

    • Dr. Buxbaum at Downtown Women’s definitely does them. And if she’s not seeing new patients, everyone I’ve interacted with in that office is pretty great.

    • Wildkitten :

      I got my IUD at One Medical Group and found them to be among the most experienced at inserting IUDs in women who had not yet had children, if that’s your demographic. They charge a membership fee but I find it to be worth it.

    • I don’t know if this will help you feel better, but when I had my IUD, I never felt the strings. But, my PCP was able to see them when she did my Pap, so you could even just ask your regular doctor or an NP at their office and they could check too.

  17. Could use some advice on this. Women in my graduate school classes fall all over themselves to check their privilege, apologize for having opinions, say “I could be wrong about this…,” and especially to say “I’m not saying that this applies to all instances…” whenever they raise their hands to comment on the lecture or the readings. I’m getting so frustrated that a) it’s become expected to fill up a comment with all these meaningless check-list items for privilege awareness and b) we are not being encouraged to make our points clearly, directly, and powerfully. Does anyone have any tips for how I can encourage the women in the class that I teach that it’s okay to have opinions, even controversial ones, and that filler words detract from their points? It’s seriously gotten so bad that a 90-second comment will include 60 seconds of empty filler and 30 seconds of a convoluted point.

    • You teach the class? Just say it! I had a social studies teach in 9th grade that said early on that he doesn’t want to hear answer that begin with “I think …” or “It seems to me …” or anything of the sort because it detracts from your point. Now, I think (ahem) that may be a bit extreme, some things are opinions and debatable and shouldn’t be stated as fact, but everyone got his point very quickly. You could just say it to the class as a whole, kind of like “I noticed a phenomenon …” It’s definitely something you can address early on with future classes.

      • I teach one class (specifically a discussion section – the professor is the main instructor) and have noticed the phenomenon in several others that I attend as a student, but I figure the teaching opportunity is the place I can maybe intervene…

    • Frozen Peach :

      There’s a great article floating around about how Google execs taught their reports to stop using “just” in communications. I suggest taking half a class period and having a session specifically around this topic and public speaking, particularly through the gender lens. It will serve them all so well in their futures. I wish more of my grad school profs had addressed this directly with us.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Ha I always go through my emails and delete “just” before sending.

        • Me too. Someone here mentioned it once and every since then, I always look at why I’m including “just” and usually take it out.

    • “Don’t apologize for having an opinion and don’t dilute the worth of your contribution with fillers. Own what you are saying.”

      • The problem is that women, white women in particular, are expected by all segments of society, including other women/other white women, to apologize for having an opinion. If a white woman owns what she is saying, she is called pushy by the men and racist/classist by all of the women.

        • Which is why you have to teach them otherwise. And maybe stop being so racist.

          • Flats Only :

            And at the same time teach the men and others that having and opinion does not make one pushy, racist or classist.

        • I don’t think that it is necessarily true.

          I work with lots of junior women. Our clients are all men. If you say “We need to do X b/c of Y,” then that is fine. If we say “I am not sure, but I can see why maybe X is something you should maybe consider” no one will have confidence in our advice and we are being poor counselors. If someone junior to me tells me “maybe we should do X,” I’m going to needle her a bit and get her to the point where she says what she means and means what she says.

          It’s not the first time I’ve said it, but I am so so grateful I grew up in New Jersey b/c it really helps toughen a person up.

        • Why is this just a white woman thing? I feel like WOC are even less allowed to have an opinion than white women are.

        • I’m a white woman and I don’t think I’m expected to apologize for or justify my existence in the way many women of color are, sometimes on a daily basis. I’ve never been asked where I came from. I’ve never been treated like a potential threat because of a head scarf. I’ve never been told that it didn’t matter that people who looked like me were being mistreated by the cops.

          And I definitely was never raised to be submissive.

          I get the feeling that you may be talking about a white privilege thing, but if the biggest racial problem is people telling you the thing you said was rude (or whatever) and having to apologize for that, well, you have it a lot better than a LOT of women in this country.

    • Flats Only :

      Do the men do the same thing? Or is the class all women?

      • Not the OP, but I bet it is at least 90% women doing this. I swear it starts in elementary school. You can almost hear the hair-twisting in some of the e-mails that I get.

      • I wonder sometimes — is this what the sell is for places like Bryn Mawr, etc., that if you classes are all women, you will just come out and say something (or would you apologize more b/c you’re demonstrating how woke you are all the time)?

        • That’s exactly what I learned to do at Wellesley

        • Anonymous :

          I had a law clerk last summer who was a Smith grad and I was very taken with her self confidence. I hope law school doesn’t ruin it for her, it was truly refreshing.

    • Is it only the women in the class that do this? Because the constant apologizing is a thing that happens in the real world and should be curbed. I get wanting to check their privilege, but good grief, at some point you have to just presume good intentions. Unless they’re saying things that are blatantly tone deaf, in which case the apologies don’t really make sense. Tell them to just say what they need to say!

      • They sound like people who almost want to project no confidence in what they are saying (in that case: don’t say anything). Pls do these people a favor and nip this in the bud unless they just want to wear a sign saying “doormat” or “I can’t trust my own judgment and neither should you.”

    • Thanks all for the responses. Unfortunately it is mostly women who are doing this; it makes me think that I should look into all women schools for my daughter. I’ll talk to the professor and see if there is a good way to address this based on the feedback here.

    • Anonymous :

      Related: did anyone else see The NY Times article about the little girl who led the charge to have a Girl Scout patch encouraging girls to raise their hand? I love it…. I think you can definitely say things in class to encourage students to own their opinions or thoughts.

    • Anon from Canada :

      I’m a communications professional. I counsel women to speak with confidence, and to start by making eye contact with the ‘alpha’ in the room. Once you have the leader’s attention (informal or formal leader) speak in a strong voice, slowly, and without emotion. Be prepared to speak to any feedback in a non-judgemental way or you’ll sound defensive. Something like, “I appreciate your comments” or to counter a comment, “in my experience…” Don’t argue with a colleague in a meeting; instead offer to continue the discussion after the meeting. This shows you’re interested in discussing more, but respect the group’s time at the meeting.

  18. Food and energy :

    About six months ago, I suddenly gained 10 pounds for no obvious reason. Increasing my exercise and cutting 500-700 calories a day slowed, but did not stop, the weight gain. I am completely exhausted by the time I get home from work every day. The other day, I attended a meeting where I had a sandwich with fries for lunch and a cookie for an afternoon snack. Ordinarily I would eat a salad with protein for lunch and a handful of nuts plus a Greek yogurt for an afternoon snack. For the first time in ages, I had enough energy that it was not a horrible ordeal to make dinner and then drag myself to the gym. But the next morning I was two pounds heavier. I am so discouraged–is the only way to have any energy to keep eating tons of carbs and gaining tons of weight? Why does my body seem to be prioritizing fat storage over fueling activity?

    • Have you asked your doctor? Also there’s a ton of room between no carbs at all and bread AND fries AND a cookie. Maybe try a whole wheat pita with your salad? Are you weighing your food or measuring? Are you sure about your calories counts?

    • Two pounds in a day is a lot. It’s probably water weight, I would guess from the salty fries.

    • Diana Barry :

      Have your dr check your thyroid.

      • I second this. If you’ve tried diet and exercise for an extended period of time and you’re gaining weight, there is probably something medical going on (its commonly a thyroid issue). But only a doctor would be able to answer that, not us, unfortunately.

        • Food and energy :

          I am waiting on the results of bloodwork, but am not encouraged because I assume they would have called by now if the results were abnormal.

          • Anonymous :

            Not necessarily–thyroid issues generally aren’t urgent. If your TSH is above 4, you might ask about meds.

    • I’ve had this happen twice recently (mid 40s). I think it’s the goblins of sliding towards perimenopause, delicious food, and not going into the gym for a few months (triple witching hour for my calorie load / metabolism).

      Once something randomly happened (must be hormonal) and the weight vanished.

      Then it came back.

      Randomly wishing it to vanish again hasn’t worked, so I did 10 minutes of squats with weights this morning and will do more light weights at home this evening and work on things from that end (and delicious food maybe weekly instead of 2x a day).

      I hope abs are made (or unmade) in the kitchen. Now that I’ve pulled my winter clothes out, they still fit but are snugger than I remember.

    • I agree with others about getting checked out by a physician. But I want to push back on your distinction between meals of just greens and protein that leave you hungry vs. “a ton of carbs.” It’s possible to include carbs in moderation, and personally, it is something I absolutely require to feel sated. It doesn’t have to be a huge serving, but it makes a big difference in feeling satisfied.

      • +1 Carbs aren’t evil and your body is probably hungry if all you’re feeding it is protein.

      • Definitely this.

        I am always hungry if I eat only a salad + protein at lunch. A doctor is a good idea, but I would also suggest taking a serious look at the quality of the food you’re eating – can you add some beans or quinoa to your salad? I try to make my lunch look more like my dinner – i.e. a piece of protein, a lot of vegetables, and a carb. If you’re just eating greens/raw vegetables + piece of protein, you’re basically only eating the piece of protein from a caloric standpoint.

      • I think adding a mild amount of complex carbs will help. If you restrict carbs, you likely aren’t getting the B vitamins that give you more energy, particularly in breads. Add quinoa or fennel to you salads, you will notice a difference.

        And weigh all of your food when you calorie count. My pancake mix called for 1/2 cup or 53g to be 190 calories, but when I weighed my measured half cup, it was 96! That’s a huge difference, nearly double what I had been tracking.

    • In my forties I had to really start strength training to rebuild muscle mass that just disappears with aging- I see you mentioned the gym- make sure you’re doing exercise to add muscle mass, not simply cardio; although to counteract a slowing metabolism I had to do cardio too. With these changes I was able to eat reasonably and not gain, though.

    • Anonymous :

      Read Eat To Live, start eating more vegetables and beans, and go to your doctor!!

  19. TorontoNewbie :

    Does anyone have any recommendations for road cycling in the United States in December? Thinking of taking a week over Christmas to get some riding in somewhere it isn’t snowing…
    Hawaii is probably too far.

    • Around Ocala, Florida. Pretty horse country. Easy to visit from St. Pete or Orlando.

    • Flats Only :

      Florida is really flat and it won’t be snowing there.

    • Austin and the Texas hill country area are great for cyclists and comparatively warm in December.

    • Tucson! The weather could not be more gorgeous that time of year, and we have tons of bike paths.

    • Come on down to Florida! St. Pete is a great place to cycle (you can ride to the beach) and has a huge cycling community. See thread further up about all the other great things you can do in St. Pete.

    • I’m in North Florida and will definitely be getting some miles in over the Christmas break. I highly recommend the Tallahassee FL/Thomasville GA area. There are also some great clay roads that are really popular for folks with ‘cross bikes. The downside of riding in North Florida/South Georgia that time of year is that it could be 30 degrees and it could be 80 degrees. There’s no way to know until a day or two ahead of time which it’s going to be.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      Marin County, CA
      Malibu, CA

    • San Diego California

  20. Drunk Elephant :

    I finally drunk the Drunk Elephant Babyfacial koolaid last night – wow! My skin feels great and isn’t red!!!

    Are their other products good?

    • I LOVE their Marula oil. It’s sooooo nice. But generally their products are way too spendy for me. Their glycolic acid in the pink bottle gets rave reviews but I have found cheaper ones that do the exact same thing.

    • I love their Lala Retro Whipped Cream for winter, but my skin gets very dry. Am stocking up at VIB.

      The vitamin C serum is good, but it tinted me orange. If you wear makeup, it may be fine.

      Trying to break my Carmex adddiction, I got the Lippe Balm. It’s not that great.

      As always, YMMV.

  21. I’m the poster that moved out of the apartment with her boyfriend and into a studio rather suddenly. I’m mostly settled in but I have a small project I need a handyman for. I’ve contacted several handyman services in the area (DC) and they are all respond with their quote, not discussing whether the project is actually feasible. I don’t have anyone handy in my network, and I have far too much pride to ask my boyfriend. I also spent an hour googling DIY sites and still haven’t found any guidance. So… anyone have ideas on whether this can work?

    I have a small nook in my bedroom that is 15.25 inches wide. I bought two skinny bookshelves to be used as shoe storage to go in this nook. The height and depth is perfect; the only issue is the width. Together they are just under 1/4 inch wider than the width of the nook. Is it possible to sand down the sides of the bookcases to get them to fit? The sides are extremely thick so I don’t think there would be structural issues if I took a tiny bit off of the outer sides. Here is a link to the bookcases. I believe the sides are made of particle board.

    • No this probably isn’t a good idea, sorry.

    • These are not really sand-able in that way because they’re made of a thin veneer over particle board. You’re better off returning, or selling on Craigslist/Kijiji, and buying something that fits the space. Ikea has tons of options for small space storage so I’d keep looking there for something that fits as is.

    • Sanding? I mean, you could, but that’s a LOT of sanding – my initial guess was that they would run it through a planer – however, when you google “running particle board through a planer” you get a lot of negative responses saying don’t do it. If these handymen are giving you a quote, you have every right to ask them questions about how they’re going to do it and also what the most cost-effective method to accomplish this is.

    • Hi! I had to go through hiring a handyman in DC. I used Mr. Handyman of South Montgomery (they’re based in Gaithersburg, MD but come down to DC for projects).

      I would buy shelves that fit the space that you want, and the handyman can hang them. I think if you describe what you want, and explain you don’t have the necessary hardware to hang the shelves, they can bring the hardware and hang them.

      FWIW, I found a ton of shelving options for different sizes at the container store.

      I agree with other posters; sanding particle board isn’t feasible.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      What are the chances you can leave out one side board. Like a full shelf assembled next to a one-sided shelf, but the otherwise-would-be-hanging shelves of the one-sided case are secured to what is effectively the outside of the complete shelf?

    • Maddie Ross :

      sanding them isn’t going to work. if you were handy, or had someone you could hire, since they are ikea and therefore something you build, you could conceivably cut down the interior shelving by 1/4 inch (or a bit more) and redrill the anchor holes to make one set smaller.

    • If it’s only 1/4 inch you could possibly just remove the veneer from each side and sand down the particle board to fit. You can google how to get the veneer off but it’s a pain.

      Can you get the carpenter/handyman to just hang some shelves cut to the right width?

    • Probably not feasible. When they respond with their estimate, have you replied and specifically asked them “Thanks for the estimate– can this actually be done, or would a different solution be better?”

    • I would just have the handyman install shelves on the wall in that nook. He could easily cut wood for the shelves the exact length needed to fit, and install them. Simple project and would look nice too.

      • Floating shelves, if that wasn’t clear. Ikea sells brackets for this, and then he’d cut the wood to the size needed.

    • Have you assembled the bookcases already and actually tried them in the spot? Furniture in general often isn’t exact in measurements, esp when you build it yourself, so you might find this is unnecessary, or that you need even more cut off. Try that first if you haven’t.

      If it doesn’t fit, I don’t recommend trying to slice/ sand off a side. Instead, give those handymen the dimensions of your nook, and say you want 12 equally-spaced shelves cut and hung in the space. (If you can drill into the wall)

      Another option: buy stackable shelves and just fit those in the nook. Search for stacking storage bins and find the style/price you like.

    • no you cant sand- take the side off of one of them (You are putting them together right? side by side? that means in the middle you essentially have two “sides” or dividers. On one of the book cases, take off that entire side. put them together in the nook, and I would prob just use a bit of gorilla glue at each spot. the pressure from the walls should help keep it together, or you could drill it in. watch some video tutorials. You can figure this out without paying someone!

  22. Feeling very bummed about local elections. A woman ran for mayor and lost. My smallish city of 100K in a super-blue state has never had a woman mayor.

    Of a City Council of 9, we have 1 women. Others ran and lost. The woman is also a woman of color, joined by 8 white men (1 is gay, the rest are cis/straight)

    Of a School Committee of 6, we have 0 women. All the women and people of color lost (even though half our students are children of color). Its 6 white straight/cis men.

    So out of our 16 elected officials, we have 1 woman. I saw women joking on social media, “oh, am I sexist because I voted for all men?” Yes. If you couldn’t find a single competent women to vote for, then I do think you are part of the problem. We have very qualified women running. Why do women not vote for women? Why are we brainwashed to think only men are qualified to represent us?

    • If it makes you feel better, my large city has a city counsel member who said “people who voted for candidate X have no place in politics.” SHE, running in her first race as a formerly-appointed incumbent, won her race. I did not vote for her.

    • “Why are we brainwashed to think only men are qualified to represent us?” I think that’s quite a leap. I vote for the best qualified candidate, regardless of gender or race. If I feel like a white male will do a better job representing me, I’m not going to punish him for the odds of his birth by voting for a diversity candidate for diversity’s sake.

      • I find it hard to believe out of 16 slots for which to vote (you cast 1 vote for mayor, 9 votes for City Council, and 6 for School Committee), that you couldn’t find a single white woman, or a woman of color, or a man of color to be the best qualified.

        • It may be the the best-qualified women have sense to do something else.

          And are they split evenly across parties? My guess is that they aren’t.

          In my big racially-diverse city, we had quite a large number of crackpot candidates and gadfly candidates and while some of them were diverse, they probably drew attention away from other qualified candidates of all stripes.

          Maybe ranked choice voting can lead to / and yet prevent the results you prefer?

          • All municipal elections in my state are nonpartisan. We don’t have party primaries. FWIW, all candidates were Democrats or unaffiliated (“independent”).

            There is a statewide movement for ranked choice voting, which is an interesting idea.

        • All of the city council and school board candidates are at-large candidates? That’d be very unusual. If you look at wards or districts or however the city is divided, it may be that the women were running against well-qualified men. So it’s not that a voter had 16 choices to vote – it’s that they had 1 or 2 city council reps and 1 or 2 school board reps.

          • Yes, in my city all are at-large. It is unusual. You do indeed vote for all 16.

          • In our city, we have at-large races that people in my party will never win b/c so many people just vote a straight ticket.

          • All candidates are at-large but not party affiliated. You can’t vote a straight ticket. There is no Democrat or Republican ballot. Everyone gets the same ballot. The ballots don’t list party affiliation.

            That’s how all municipal races are in my state.

    • Even if I won the lottery I would not run for office. I will always have better things to do with my time. I think that most women are smart and stay out of politics. I don’t feel bad that we aren’t represented there b/c I think we are generally out doing better things with our time.

      I don’t think you think much of women by the last sentence of what you wrote. Maybe you are frustrated? But that’s not the way to change things that are upsetting you.

    • Maybe I wrote the last sentence out of frustration, but it is frustrating to see women who ran and were plenty qualified lose. Some of these women who lost were more qualified with greater educational attainment, which I think should be a factor especially for School Committee.

      I just “felt the love” at all the Women’s Marches and to see only 1 woman elected, compared to the 5 currently in office (term ending January) makes me frustrated. I thought more women would get in, not significantly less. Seems a long way toward equality, and I do think its critical for elected officials to look like the city they represent.

      • ” greater educational attainment” isn’t really a qualification.

        If everyone has gone through high school, even if they haven’t gone further, they are qualified. I don’t know that “more qualified” matters so much unless no one even went to college. I have 3 degrees — none of which really qualifies me for school board and they certainly don’t qualify me more (IMO, people who hire local grads and parents of children who have finished high school probably have better windows into the schools than I do — I hire only college grads who come from all over and my children are only in elementary school).

        • Most of the men who won did not attain a 2 or 4 year college degree. This is true on the City Council and the School Committee. All of the women who ran have a 4 year degree. I do think having degree is important for the School Committee, which has the primary job of passing a balanced school budget. I think having college math, statistics, finance, etc classes gives you a better background to analyze budgets. The high school doesn’t teach finance or statistics.

          • No. Not necessary, not a part of every education at the college level. A budget is adding and subtracting and the school business administrator formulates it. I get your frustration but this isn’t a legit complaint.

          • In our state they have and use line item veto as well as increase/decrease and reallocate funds. The budgets aren’t passed all or nothing, so the individual committee members do very much get into the weeds. There have been issues of the School/City Committess passing budgets that don’t add up. This happened 2 years ago.

          • HAHA. I took all of those classes, and have a non-humanities advanced degree, and would have no idea how to analyze a budget other than adding and subtracting.

          • It’s possible to have a 4-year degree without ever having studied finance or statistics. I went to a top tier university and was only required to take 1 math course. I chose the easiest one I could find, and it would have been zero help preparing me to develop a balanced budget.

          • I don’t know important school math questions like “how can I spend Title I dollars” and “what do I cut if my budget request is denied or trimmed” and “how can we fiddle with start times so that we can use the same bus for one or two runs in the morning instead of buying more buses (and then we can give each driver more hours instead of more downtime before the afternoon shift). Also: how much do we need to pay to get a good pool of substitute teachers? How do I know if we are adequately insured?

          • hahaha

            You can’t really budget as a school b/c you don’t know which students will show up on day 1, who will sue you (recently: mom sued school + the room parent when someone gave a lactose intolerant kid M&Ms at Halloween), whether the kids who show up will have special needs (ranging from T1 diabetes to needing to be fed via a tube to being blind — in a small district, one kid with huge medical/educational needs can easily take 25K from your budget, if the parents aren’t litigious), how many teachers go out on maternity leave (so you have to budget for subs). Union rules often make a teacher’s replacement done at an unequal cost to the prior one, based on education / years teaching. And you have a constitutional mandate to teach.

            Real businesses go bankrupt all the time; school districts can’t.

            SO, TL;DR: you should only vote for people who are psychic

    • Flats Only :

      I’m supposed to vote for the women without regard for which candidate’s positions I support?

      • Of course not. However, how likely is it that when casting 16 votes, you can’t find a single woman who has a position you support?

        • This x 1 million

        • Yes, this. If the election process is honestly supposed to get to the best and the brightest, then why is it magically almost all white men. Is it just that more white men are the best and brightest? Something tells me there is more at work in the greater political picture that doesn’t involve almost every white male candidate being “the most qualified person” – seemingly no matter what their qualifications are or are not.

          The same is true for POC as well.

          If US elections were really entirely about merits, I think our legislatures would look a heck of a lot different.

  23. Terrible Granddaughter? :

    Last night around 12:30 am, my cousin called me to tell me that my grandmother was on life support and about to be taken off. She was upset and I helped ease her pain even if just for a moment (had to make a joke about how the hell our grand father was going to survive since I”m pretty sure he’s not done a damn thing for himself his entire adult life – she laughed). An aunt called me soon after so that I could say my “goodbyes” (They live over 1,000 miles away). My goodbye mostly consisted of me telling her to say hi to my dad (passed when I was 8) and I cried a little. She passed at 2:30 am. There are weird family dynamics having to do with my dad’s death and my mom not really allowing that side of the family to have much of a relationship with us. I really know them mostly as an adult and a bit emotionally removed. I don’t really feel sad. She was in her 80s, not in great health, and it was kind of a surprise she lived this long with how bad her heart has been since my dad passed. (Seriously, her heart broke). My sister who is even more removed from it all is really upset (we’re not close either) from what I can tell on FB. That could be more empathy for the few cousins/aunts we know better than others. I just… don’t feel much. Am I terrible? I’ll try to make it to whatever events are planned. And I’m very empathetic/compassionate and will be a good support for those who are so upset. But I feel like people must think I’m cold and terrible. I didn’t have much of a relationship with this woman for most of my life. I don’t know. Ugh.

    • Uh no? You’re fine. Don’t go around telling people you’re not sad.

      • Anon in NYC :

        Yep. It’s perfectly fine to not feel sad… just don’t tell your relatives that you’re not sad!

    • I wouldn’t worry yourself too much over it. old people die. we all die; either we get old and die or it comes sooner.

      death is for the dead. If anyone gives you grief about your level of “grief” then that’s on them. It’s very nice that you are ready to attend events for others though.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Your feelings are your feelings. You behaved kindly and you will support people as best you can. You’re doing fine. <3

    • Been there in a similar situation, where I’ve never been physically or emotionally close with one side of the family and did not feel particularly sad when some family members passed. I think this often happens when branches of the family live in opposite areas of the country.

      If you feel awkward saying you’re not sad, you can always say you’re taking comfort in knowing she lived a long full life and is no longer in pain/poor health.

    • Linda from HR :

      My grandfather passed away a little over a month ago. He was 89 and had lived a great life, but he was old and had been sick for years, we thought he was going to die years ago and every time we see him we felt like we were saying goodbye for the last time. It was sad, reading his obituary made me tear up and I’m sure going to the memorial will bring out emotions, but I’m like you, I didn’t feel particularly sad.

      Feel how you feel and don’t feel bad about it, it’s actually good that you’re keeping it together and can be a solid support for those who need it.

    • You’re definitely not terrible. Try to focus on being there for relatives who you may be closer to. People often will just notice that you were supportive and compassionate and helpful to those who were grieving and not think that it’s because you yourself weren’t very upset. It’s actually great to have someone who is capable of taking care of things that people who are more upset can’t really handle, so just focus on being that person. If anyone asks, say things like “For me, it’s best if I stay busy,” or “It helps me to handle this by helping out any way that I can.” It’s a sentiment people will understand and you don’t have to get into the whole issue of whether or not you feel as upset as you (or they) think you should be.

    • If you’re terrible, so am I. Both my grandmothers died and one was much more present in my life than the other, even though the ‘other’ lived with us when I was little and so we really should have been very close. But the fact is I didn’t see her after the age of ten and when she died, I was sad that she was gone and I cried in the moment, but I really didn’t feel any big loss, just felt bad for my dad that he lost her. I don’t think it makes me a bad person or bad grandchild and I don’t think anything you’re going through makes you a bad one either. You’re being compassionate and respectful and you’re entitled to process your feeling however you feel them. I’m sorry you lost your grandmother. Please don’t feel bad about how you now feel about it.

    • I don’t think you’re cold and terrible. I didn’t cry when either of my grandmothers passed away or at their memorial services (and I regularly cry, both at movies & real life events, so it’s not like I’m just some super stoic person — in fact, I cried a little this morning when I got an email about a close friend’s health scare).
      One of them I wasn’t close to at all, the other I was close to when I was younger, but she had been suffering from dementia for some time and I didn’t really feel like her physical death was a loss since she had not been there mentally for years and no longer recognized me, etc. Both were also in their 90s so the deaths were relatively expected and there was no great tragedy. It sounds like you’re being very compassionate to your grieving relatives and that’s all people can expect.

    • Spirograph :

      I’m sorry for your loss, and I don’t think you’re terrible. I remember when my grandmother died a few years ago, I was sad for my dad, but not really sad that she’d died. We weren’t super close, because of limited visits/geographical distance my whole life. She was in her late 80s and one of the last of her generation among her family. I think the best we can hope for is to grow old with our mental faculties still intact, die peacefully in our sleep, and be remembered fondly. If anything I was glad she got to do that.

      You’re handling this just fine. Support the people who are grieving, be respectful, and don’t judge your feelings.

      • Senior Attorney :

        All of this. Support the people who are grieving, be respectful, and be kind to yourself.

    • Baconpancakes :

      No, your feelings are your feelings. I felt much more grief over the death of a family friend whom I called “aunt” than I did my actual uncle. Blood isn’t always the determining factor in grief, and the fact that you’ll be there for your family is what matters.

    • I lost my dad too early (not as young as you, but when I was in my 20s – he was in his 50s). It was incredibly sad, emotional, and quite frankly terrible. It’s been almost 12 years, and I still find myself getting very, very sad at particular times. I lost my grandmother the next year, and she was in her mid-90s. I was actually quite close to her, and it really wasn’t a horrible, sad experience for me. I knew I was going to miss her, and that made me sad at times, but it was completely different. I think when you’ve lost someone way too young or way too early, it can end up putting the other losses into perspective (and that’s in addition to the fact that you weren’t very close with this particular relative). You’re doing the right thing by showing empathy to your relatives who are sad, but there’s no reason to feel guilty about your reaction to the death.

    • Since you have a good sense of humor I’ll share this at the risk of sounding totally bizarre and like a total jerk. But I actually applaud your reaction. When my father passed, I was extremely bothered by some folks who didn’t know him that well (practically at all) who were absolutely sobbing at a lunch we held after Like literally wouldn’t have even been there if weren’t a relation to someone closer. At the time, I felt like–how dare you drag all this attention to yourself? You don’t even know him! And my poor mom is struggling to hold it together and the last thing she should be doing is comforting YOU. I know, I know. Really childish.

      Long story short, I wouldn’t be hard on yourself or question it to much or even compare with others. Now with perspective, I do truly get that people are different and grief isn’t just about that loss but can bring up a whole lot of other feelings of loss. I suspect that may be why you can see such differences regardless of relationship.

    • Metallica :

      Im so sorry for your loss. If it helps, I had a similar situation (death of a grandparent whom my parent distanced us from) and someone told me that there is no incorrect way to grieve. It’s ok to laugh and do other positive things in the wake of someone’s passing—I think a lot of us fear that this will make us appear callous.

    • Terrible Granddaughter? :

      Thank you all. I’m obviously not going around SAYING that I’m not really sad. That would be horrible. LOL. But I do appreciate all of your comments. I feel better about my reaction now. Also, I think I’m just a little jeaous that she might see my dad. I know that’s odd and I am ABSOLUTELY NOT thinking of self harm in any way. But that’s one of the thoughts that came to my mind. “Well, I guess if there’s a heaven she gets to see Dad. F**k. I want to be able to see dad.” Death is so complicated for me.

  24. You’re not a terrible granddaughter or person. How you feel and how you grieve is ok. How those around you process and grieve is also ok. Don’t feel like you have to mimic their behavior. People probably aren’t paying too much attention to how you are grieving. But if they are, yuck.

    It’s a good idea to go to the events – you only have one shot to attend those, so IMO it’s better to go and have regretted going rather than not go and still regret not going. Usually I find these types of things have a way of (temporarily?) connecting people.

  25. Linda from HR :

    I’m on board with the vent Wednesday because I need to vent.

    It’s not even Thanksgiving and today I saw a status from a friend about how this holiday season we should be supporting “small businesses,” only she doesn’t mean neighborhood bookstores or indie movie theaters, she means “home sellers,” “social sellers,” AKA people who’ve been sucked into MLM schemes and have been convinced that if I don’t buy from them I don’t care about them.

    I love supporting small businesses when I can! I just placed a big order of Soak wash. My stylist has her own business and she does great work. I buy mead from a local meadery because it’s amazing (and a delicious way to help bees). I love going to independently owned restaurants, my boyfriend and I are members of a great independent movie theater and there’s a local bookstore that is wonderful and always has great stuff on their bargain tables. I’m happy to buy from them because the product is awesome and the price is good too. But if I don’t want what someone is selling, or I know the business supplying the product is scummy, I’m staying far away!

    I don’t mind my friends trying to get me to be a conscious consumer, but I hate when they try to use guilt to convince me to buy stuff that sort of benefits them and really benefits the corrupt company preying on them.

    • Small Business Saturday =/= Roldan + Fields facebook sellers or LuLaRoe

      Small Business Saturday = go to my local brewery and raise a glass and then go hear a band

      • Linda from HR :

        I like your style :)

      • Small business saturday = browse at our awesome local jeweler with an amazing vintage case, buy Xmas toys at our local toy store and have lunch at a local restaurant while the local toy store wraps presents for me (ie – the best reason to go there!).

    • Yeah, that’s ridiculous. MLM sellers aren’t small businesses anymore than the local franchise of a huge fast food chain is a small business.

      • Anonymous :

        We have a family friend who owns a McDonalds and it is very much a small business in that you put all of your family eggs in one basket and give 110 of your time and your family’s time in the early years (and then that drops down to 105%). He hires, fired, promotes, supports local schools, lets groups hold carwashes in his parking lot, deals with the lease, etc. And he gets all of the anger that people like to throw at “big corporations.” It’s like the worst of all possible worlds.

        I am not a big McDonalds food fan personally, but I would 1000x rather pay for a soda every time I take advantage of having a clean bathroom when I’m on the road than ever, ever buy from LuLaRoe.

        • I’m sure owning a franchise is a lot of work, but going to a McDonald’s is absolutely not the same thing as supporting a small business.

        • Anonymous :

          To me, small business Saturday is about supporting local, independent shops. A fast food chain is a part of a huge corporation, so I don’t consider it a small business. Nothing wrong with supporting a chain franchise, but it isn’t the same thing as a small business IMO.

    • I have a chronic illness and MLMers I haven’t seen in years are always contacting me to tell me that they know just the thing to make me better [insert terrible, unstudied, weird smoothie or something here.] I mean, I hate when people do that with non-MLM stuff (i.e. I know yoga is great, it’s not going to cure me) but I really, really hate it when they do it to me with the MLM stuff. For four reasons really. (1) Frequently, it’s overpriced junk. The stuff that isn’t junk still almost certainly has an equivalent product available from a reputable vendor. (2) I know they’re just trying to get me “hooked” so I’ll sign up to be in their downline, which I have absolutely no interest in doing, (3) I’m not going to buy products from companies taking advantage of my friends (even if those friends are choosing to be taken advantage of), and perhaps most importantly, (4) if you reach out to me for the first time in a decade to tell me about your miracle treatment for my “health,” it makes me feel like you just want to use me for my illness and that’s a pretty good way to keep me from even being polite when I tell them to go away.

  26. Talbots has really upped its style ante recently! Moving right on up there with J.Crew, Ann Taylor and Club Monaco as one of the stores I check every week or so for cute items for work. This is such a classic and stylish blazer; thank you for highlighting it, Kat.

  27. No show socks :

    Best no show socks for slip on sneakers and booties?

    • I like the bombas ones- they’re spendy but they stay on!

    • no lie. I am obsessed with the converse socks – bought them for weightlifting days but they are so comfy I’ve started wearing them to work.

    • Maddie Ross :

      Smart Wool

      • Cosign. I really like the hike and seek model, which comes farther up the top of my foot than the very small footie things that have never really worked for me, but is low enough to be a true no-show even in very low booties.

      • Dude. I just got my first SmartWools and now I want to replace all my socks. And yes, the smartwool hidey socks are the best things ever.

    • I like the Zella ones at Nordstrom, though if it’s hot enough that your feet may be sweating, they do start to slip a little.

    • Anonymous :

      I love the Lululemon ankle socks.

    • The ones that Sperry sells are terrific and don’t just work with boat shoes. Definitely worth a try, I love mine.

  28. Baptism Gift? :

    Trying to figure out what to get our friends for their infant daughters baptism. Do we just do a card? Money? A gift? If so, what?
    They are Catholic, if it matters.

    • For my Catholic kids’ baptisms, nearly everyone wrote a check. Typical amount was $50 a kid in greater NYC area. A non-Catholic friend gave a stuffed lamb, which was cute.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      So first off, you can just do a card! That is totally fine in all the Catholic circles I’ve been in. You can also get a “Mass card,” which is where you go to the parish office at a Catholic church and ask to have a Mass said for the baby. They mark it in the church schedule, and they give you a card that says “A Mass is being said for the intentions of ___ on ___.” Mass cards are common for deaths, so they’ll probably ask you whether it’s for a living or a dead person. They ask for a donation, which is typically around $10, but afaik it’s against canon law for them to require it.

      But if you want to give a physical present, babies can never have too many rosaries! Especially the chunky wooden kind. Find out what Saint she’s named after (there are, like, eighty different St. Catherines, and you can’t always tell from the spelling) and if they’re a reasonably popular Saint, you can probably find a statue, book, doll, etc of them. Catholic book/gift stores also have lots of more generic gifts–Bible story board books, crucifixes to hang on the wall, that sort of thing. Soft dolls are becoming more common, and if you can’t find her Saint, Mary is always nice. (Lots of parents like them for their kids to play with during Mass, because they’re religious and quiet when whacked against the pew.)

      Honestly anything in a Catholic gift shop that makes you think “Oh, I bet a baby would like that” is probably a good Baptism gift.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        OP, are your friends actually religious beyond baptisms and weddings? If not, I would not do any of these things. My sister in law got some of this stuff and it all went to the charity box right away because she was never going to used these things.

        Cold, hard, cash – one size fits all.

        • Lana Del Raygun :

          Oh, yeah, I’m definitely writing for families who are actually religious. I have no idea how people who aren’t serious about their faith in general celebrate Sacraments.

    • Anonymous :

      Ditto cash+card. It’s the most common item.

      I leave gifts like rosaries to the godparents, but I do give religious themed board books. In catholic churches, there’s typically no nursery so it gives the kids something to do. On of my favorites is the Little People Noah’s Arc. Lots of flaps, and that entire series has been very popular with my kids.

  29. Anyone have advice for coping without “work friends”? I’m a month in as a senior associate at a new job (midlaw firm) after moving from out of state for unrelated reasons. People are nice enough but not friendly, and I feel very isolated. I’ve always had good relationships with coworkers in past jobs, and just coming in, eating lunch alone, and leaving without really talking to anyone is new to me.

    I’ve tried to make an effort to get out of my office a lot and just to be as pleasant and friendly as possible, but it doesn’t seem to be getting me anywhere. I’ve thought about reaching out and inviting someone to lunch or a drink – but I don’t know where to start or even who to ask. People seem to just want to bill their hours and leave.

    Anyone have advice for feeling less isolated at a new job?

    • Ask anyone? “Lunch sometime” and follow up!!

    • Does it seem like others are going to lunch/coffee during the day with each other and just not you? Or does it seem like others all come in, do their work/bill time, go home? If it’s the first — then I think you can say to someone “hey coffee this afternoon” or “lunch sometime” and over time you’ll get into the fold with that person + whoever they hang with; they may not be asking you bc they may feel that you just want to bill time and go home/don’t want to be involved etc. yet if you reach out, most people aren’t going to say — no you can’t come to Sbux with us. If it’s the latter, then I’m sorry to say it’s more of a cultural issue. Not saying you can’t find 1-2 friends bc you probably can find 1-2 who feel the same as you, but it’ll be harder than just joining the afternoon coffee run.

      • I think it’s the second, unfortunately. I don’t really ever see people socializing (though it’s possible they do and I just don’t know about it). I think you’re probably right that it’s a culture thing; my prior firm (and previous non-law job) was very social, so I think I’ve always just took that aspect of work for granted.

        People seemed very outgoing and friendly when I interviewed, so this aspect of the culture has caught me off guard.

    • this had been hard for me too. my previous job was VERY social. lots of people around my age/stage of life. then i moved to a new city and took my current job and i’m kind of in a weird place. my colleagues are either older with kids in elementary/middle/high school or they are in their low 20s (I’m in my low 30s, married, but no kids). i do really miss having work friends and I tried for a while at my current job, but we are a small team (12 people) and i’ve come to realize that it just isn’t going to happen for me here. or at least not in the way that i had it at my old job. instead i try to be very cordial/friendly, asking people about their weekends, their kids, etc. and i use my lunch break to go for a little walk and have some “me” time.

      I also think that asking someone to go to lunch is better than asking someone to do something after work bc to a lot of people that can feel like an extension of the work day

      • Yes, that sounds exactly like my situation. I like the idea of trying to use lunch for something specific for myself, a walk is a good idea.

      • I’m in my mid 30s and my closest friends at work are all in their late 50s. Don’t discount them because of their age!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Give yourself time. It’s harder as you get older/further in your career, in my experience.

      I was worried at my new job because there were long-standing friendly relationships between all my close coworkers, and I felt so conspicuously like the newbie. I have breached that, slowly, by saying, “hey, you like [thing]? let’s do [thing] together/with our families!” And then I follow up with an email like, “would next saturday afternoon work for your family to do [thing]?” and eventually…….. we’re kind of friends.

    • This is basically the culture at my firm. In some ways, it may be easier to make friends outside of the office (easier said than done, I know). What about the women’s section of your local bar association, inns of court, young lawyers section if you still qualify for it? If there’s one or two friendly people around, they may be receptive to a lunch invitation.

      • +1 This is also the culture at my tiny satellite office of midlaw. I think you are feeling this more acutely because you are also new to town and may not have as many contacts outside of work yet (assumption, I know)

      • Anonymous :

        Completely agree with January. My firm has the same culture, and I also came from an extremely social job before this. I think most of the people who stay at my firm long-term (mostly men) are very family oriented and find it very important to be home for dinner every night… which means that any sort of work function we do is during the work day and people don’t really go out to lunch or hang out during the day because they are trying to bill their hours and leave.

        I would also say that there is something to be said for this. I actually like the work I do, and I normally am home by 6. I can make dinner and go workout etc. I’m not stuck at the office til 10 making up for a long lunch like a lot of my BigLaw friends. So again, this there are some positives to this type of culture.

        I would second the recommendation to join groups outside your office. I’m in a women lawyers’ group and the Junior League in my area, and through those, I’ve met people that work near my office, etc. and have people to go get lunch with when I actually want to leave the office for lunch.

  30. organizing help :

    I need help with work and office organization. I’ve made it to mid-life with my haphazard approach, spattered with occasional bursts of organization strategies, but it’s not working and hasn’t for a long time. Does anyone have suggestions of incremental changes I could make to help me out? Here are things I’m struggling with, in no particular order:

    -taking notes on a variety of pads, then having to page through all the random pads to find what I need
    -difficulty tracking ongoing projects/issues that don’t have immediate needs or to-dos, but that I need to keep on my mind
    -taking the extra steps in the moment to log into our system to track my work (housekeeping issue, one I’m bad at and tend to “write them down somewhere” instead of logging them in at the moment, then they don’t get logged in or I miss some and I get way behind)
    -my desk is a mess; I get stymied because I don’t know where to file things, so they are just in piles
    -I am getting better about throwing things out I don’t need, but sometimes I am not sure if I will need something, so it stays in the aforementioned pile
    -tendency to get distracted/difficulty motivating myself (I feel like this is related to feeling overwhelmed by clutter/disorganization/difficulty prioritizing tasks)

    I don’t think that I will have useful results from immediately leap into some sort of complicated, color-coded bullet journaling solution, or spending a whole day organizing into some system that I then don’t maintain. I’ve tried these sorts of solutions before. I was hoping the hive could throw out some incremental changes I can make to build better, sustainable habits. This is something I’d really like to improve, even if I can never fix it totally.

    • Maybe you can reduce the number of pads you have? At some point I realized I had like 6 legal pads going for no apparent reason. I pulled all the pages off, had the notes scanned in, and started fresh with just 1. I keep a separate to-do list, and try to make sure I only have one of those as well. I think the only answer to your messy desk is that you have to figure out how to file stuff!

      • +1. Forcing myself to keep only one legal pad at a time was one of the best organizational changes I’ve ever made. At least my random, haphazard notes are all in one place now.

    • Every Friday night I set a timer and spend 1 full hour cleaning my office. After a few weeks of this, I noticed I started putting things away in the first place, so once the hour wasn’t just digging through stuff, I started getting on top of the filing. Now my office is clean, I’m organized (except for that one desk drawer of miscellaneous), and I spend the hour tidying up, entering my time, and catching up on things.

    • Baconpancakes :

      For organizing notes, I’ve started migrating over to One-Note, where my notes are searchable, and I can organize them by meeting type and then date. Sometimes I’ll take paper notes and then type them up later.

      For organizing to-do lists, I honestly do follow the bullet journal method, BUT I just use a pre-printed planner with blank dates. As much as I love arts and crafts, I do not have the time nor patience to hand-draw my planner every week. That lets me get everything down when it comes up, but then migrate tasks to individual days. Long-term project planning also goes on One-Note. Again, I’ll sometimes migrate things from the notepad into the planner at the end of the day, and I review long-term projects every Monday with my supervisor, so that’s built into my week.

      Honestly, though, just going through my desk/planner/One-Note/calendar at the end of the day and organizing my stuff/tasks for the next day was the single most helpful thing.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I have, every day, on my ~habit tracker~, “clean desk.” What that means is that everything has to be put somewhere. TBH there is a file folder next to my keyboard labeled “NOW” which contains the stuff that otherwise would be spread all over the desk — but having to put it into a file folder at the end of the day makes me ask, daily, “is this really something I’m dealing with now, or am I storing it for later?”

    • Anonymous :

      What does your job consist of? Is it long term projects/cases (that are theoretically finite), short term projects/cases (a week or two), or ongoing recurring tasks (e.g. monthly reports)? Figure this out then create a file for each one. Depending on volume, this might be a manila folder or an entire file cabinet drawer. Then figure out how to organize these files – alphabetically, date due, something. You might need a separate archive for old projects or reference files for training materials, etc.

      If your work is usually discrete to each “project,” and there aren’t more than, say 30, of them, start a notepad for each one and keep it in the file. All notes about meetings etc go on this notepad with a date on top. When the project is done/closed out/archived, you can tear the notes off, staple and reuse the remainder of the pad for other projects. You might not need a pad for each project, but as soon as you start taking notes, start one so that you don’t lose the notes.

      On a separate notepad (or notebook, to differentiate it from the notepads), make a list of each of the projects. Don’t add anything to this list other than the name of the project. This is just a tracking document.
      Separately, for each project make a list of next steps and “waiting for” – someone to get back to you about something, etc. This list might be all on one page with a few lines per project, or you might have a separate page for each project. Also list any deadlines and upcoming dates.

      Next, you need a way to remind yourself to follow up on the “waiting for” stuff on your list. You can either add each one to your calendar, or use outlook tasks for reminders, or keep a post it on your monitor with each one, or just decide to sit down at a specific time once a week to follow up on everything – pick a system based on how many of these things you have and the time range for each of them.

      Take the time every day to clean up your desk and add anything that’s come up to your lists. Make your daily to do list by looking at your entire list and picking out your priorities.

      As for getting started – take a half hour to identify all your pending projects and make one big folder for each of them and make the structure of your to do list. Then take an hour each day to clean up portions of the paper mess until its all filed, and as you think of things, add them to your to do list. The list is an evolving, living document, so don’t put pressure on yourself to have it be 100% comprehensive – just when something occurs to you, add it in immediately.

      Good luck! You can do this.

  31. Talk to me about Richmond :

    My partner will be in Richmond, VA for the foreseeable future (think medical residency or fellowship with a nonnegotiable location), so I will be moving there next year after completing my MPH. This is a bit of a surprise for us both, as we were planning to be in/near DC, and my job hunt has been focused there. He will be working insanely long hours, so living halfway between Richmond & DC and having both of us commute wouldn’t work, so I’m shifting my job hunt to Richmond, BUT I know nothing about healthcare related jobs in that area.

    What is the market like for healthcare administration or health policy or nonprofit management (for healthcare orgs), especially for someone with a degree from out of the state? My MPH courses so far have been more policy oriented, which is great for DC, but there’s little to no health policy activity in Richmond (that I know of). Should I be looking for administrative type roles in hospitals/other providers? Will I even be able to get a good job with a MPH? I still have more than a semester left in my program, so I do have some flexibility to take courses that would make me a more competitive candidate, but I’m feeling overwhelmed about this and am not sure how to proceed. We are finally reuniting after 3 years of long-distance, so I’m committed to finding a good job in Richmond if at all possible.

    • Is there state level health policy work- lobbying, non-profits, or state agencies?

      • Talk to me about Richmond :

        I’ve found some non-profit postings, but I don’t have a clinical background (undergrad in econ, and pre-MPH experience at a nonprofit) and all the postings I’ve seen so far require a certified nurse. From my initial searching and the lack of postings, I’m getting the sense that Richmond is not a hot city for this stuff, so whoever is in this field, finds the best job they can and then doesn’t leave it because there just aren’t that many opportunities. I’m hoping I’ve overlooked a specific job board or some other resource…

    • I cannot comment on working in Richmond with an MPH or that job market specifically, but I lived in Richmond for several years and loved it. It’s a reasonable sized city and it’s the state capitol, so there are several large hospitals and public sector work. VCU may be a good place to start looking. And enjoy the city! There’s good food and plenty of walkable neighborhoods, which I loved and now miss.

    • MCV is there and VCU has a bunch of health programs.

      It has some awesome and fun neighborhoods. And can be incredibly patrician in others. You will find something that truly works for you. It is a good place for launching weekend trips from.

      Also, it is not that far from Charlottesville where UVA has a med school. I know lots of couples who have had work / school in one city and have managed it for short periods (assuming no kids) for law/med school / clerkships / etc. for several years (but not forever).

    • Definitely look into the state legislature and associated state trade organizations (nurses’ groups, etc). It’s a state capital – there are opportunities to touch more lives than you’d expect. I got a state policy job a couple years ago (when my husband was relocated to somewhere we had no ties) by literally walking around the capitol and shaking hands and handing people my paper resume. Just look up who handles the relevant committees and go visit all their offices.

      I’ve worked federal and state policy, switching back and forth over the years, and I actually really prefer state. You can get so much done! But states are often a little old-fashioned, so don’t be afraid to put in some shoe leather.

    • Anonymous :

      At least 16 new delegates were elected last night, in an election in which Medicaid expansion was a major issue –
      surely some of them need an aide who knows health policy? Pay would not be great, probably, but it would get your foot in the door for state-level work.

    • RVA Healthcare Attny :

      If you can post an email address, I’ll touch base with you. I am a partner at an RVA healthcare firm, and can discuss lots of these issues with you if you’d like.

      • Talk to me about Richmond :

        No legal background, but would still appreciate any knowledge you have to offer!
        anon561313 at the google mail services

    • Anonymous :

      Consider also looking for work at insurers. A friend did her MPH in the late 2000s and ended up with a job for BCBS interpreting how her employer would shape the policies they offered after the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

      • +1. I work for an insurance company and there are lots of roles where the MPH would be useful.

  32. If you’re looking for a REALLY inexpensive blazer, Costco has some right now that look damn good for the price – $15.’-Knit-Blazer.product.100326187.html

    • Mrs. Jones :

      I actually bought this and it looks cute on. I haven’t washed it yet so can’t say how that goes.

  33. Totally on board with whining Wednesday- I arrived to the airport an hour and a half before my flight, and just realized im at the wrong airport. There’s no possible way to get across the city in time to make my original flight- thank god for loyalty and status and good airline customer service moving me to a flight from this airport. Now I’m wondering how early is too early for wine-ing Wednesday!

    • Oh man, I’ve been there and done that. Good luck getting to your destination! Hope the rest of the day goes smoother.

      • Me too, and it was en route to a funeral. Fortunately I still made it but it was stressful. This is what happens when you have 3 different airports in the same metro area!!

    • All time-based alcohol rules do not apply in airports/airplanes. Wine-ing Wednesday may begin now.

      • Metallica :

        Seconded—said the woman who dropped some jaws on a flight from the Middle East when she ordered Chardonnay with breakfast :). I must not be the only one, because the flight attendant just winked and said “I like your style.”

  34. Anonymous :

    Thank you to all who encouraged me to go on a 10th anniversary trip sans toddler and infant. We’re booked for a 4 day trip, and I’m super excited!! Paris will always be there, and we’ll go when circumstances are different. For now, a beach is calling my name for January!!

  35. I applied for a job on Indeed this morning. Twice today I’ve gotten a call from an unrecognized number and I just googled and it’s the company I applied at. They haven’t left a message. My resume clearly states I am currently employed, why aren’t they leaving a message so I can call them back???

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