Frugal Friday’s Workwear Report: Ponte Sheath Dress

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

This dress from Target’s A New Day line (which replaced Merona) looks really short on the model — but the model is almost 5’10”, so if you’re the average 5’4″, it’s worth a try. It looks like a great dress, and it’s only $28, has real pockets, and is machine washable. The dress comes in the pictured blue as well as green, black, orange, and magenta in XS–XXL. Ponte Sheath Dress

A plus-size option is at Amazon.

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  1. What are reasonable expectations for someone on the waitlist at HLS? I’m curious to know if a significant number get acceptances, etc.

    • I can’t say specifically for law school, but I heard a report on NPR last week that colleges (for undergrad admission) across the country are putting thousands of kids on the waitlist and only accepting a handful. For example, the University of Michigan put 13,000 kids on the waitlist and accepted less than 50.
      Good luck on getting in, I hope this isn’t the case for HLS!

      • Looks like my memory wasn’t totally correct – UM offered spots on the waitlist to 11k students, 4k accepted the spot, then 470 eventually got admitted.

    • I know this is not the question you asked, but seriously consider whether or not it is worth it. The sticker price is almost a hundred thousand dollars a year, and that debt cannot be serviced except on twenty years of a BigLaw salary. It will drive every single decision you make for decades.

      • My understanding was that you shouldn’t borrow more than your likely starting salary. But at least you could likely repay this and your lifetime earnings bump would be a lot more than 300K. Unless you can go for cheap or free elsewhere and hate big city living, I would consider it. Kids from Charlotte Law may have 200k in debt and nothing to show for it.

        • When you say “your lifetime earning bump would be a lot more than $300k” you’re talking about vs not going to law school at all. But that’s not the relevant comparison. If she can get waitlisted at HLS she can probably go to a place like Northwestern for free or a huge discount. I really doubt there’s a $300k lifetime earning difference between graduates of those schools.

        • It costs a lot more than $300,000 to pay back $300,000 of debt, and someone smart enough to get waitlisted at HLS has options. Those options might include a free ride at a power-packed school or a career outside of law.

          Sadly, a lot of American higher ed is an expensive sorting mechanism. The people with the brains to go can still do well in life.

        • The kid at the top of my class went to a city of 100K people. For her, free was the best option, not HYS. For you, HYS may be right, if you want big city big firm for the first 5 years. You really have to know yourself and commit to some sort of future path. If you want to keep walking out the door as an option, HYS may prevent that.

      • Agree. If you’re HLS waitlist caliber you can probably get close to a full ride at a T14. (I got a full ride at a top 25 school 10 years ago when there were more law school applicants, and I was straight up rejected from Harvard.) Unless your goal is being on the Supreme Court, there’s not much difference between HLS and other good schools but there is a huge difference between no debt and $300k of debt.

      • Anonymous :

        This is so fear-mongering. HLS grad here–I paid off my loans in less than 5 years (and that included UG and grad school) on a less than Biglaw salary. It’s not a lifetime of handcuffs.

      • This is unnecessary. She asked a specific question. It’s not your prerogative to weigh in on her life choices, which she has presumably carefully considered/doesn’t need the two cents of random people she doesn’t know.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve had 2 friends waitlisted at HLS. One actually was eventually accepted, after she had started law school at another T14 that started before Harvard. She did leave the other law school and matriculate at HLS. The second friend decided to matriculate elsewhere and removed herself from the waitlist.

    • I would ask this on the Top Law Schools Forum and check prior years’ threads for Harvard specifically to see who got off and when. That will give you a good indication. Also cosign the prior commenter re going to HLS at sticker. If you’re coming off a waitlist, the chances you get a scholarship are essentially nil. Given that your numbers were close to getting into HLS, you likely have some offers at other schools which are financially more attractive.

      Also, legit, the weather in Boston is terrible. I came here for school, and I’ve lived on the East Coast before. For instance, yesterday it was both raining and hailing as I walked my dog before work. It’s almost May, FFS! Just sayin–if you have the choice to go to UVA or Columbia or NYU or UCLA…think hard before you feel like HLS is shangri-la.

      • HLS doesn’t give merit scholarships. She may get significant need-based financial aid; we don’t know her circumstances.

      • Linda from HR :

        The other day I learned it’s only hail if the weather is warm, if the weather is cold it’s just sleet. But words aside, it was not awesome.

        But for real, I’ve lived in/around Boston my whole life, went to school here, I don’t always love the weather but I’m in love with the city itself, the summers are (usually) worth it, but yeah, the school year is mostly cold and snowy and gross, it’s great that you can get around without a car but the T can be a pain, and the housing situation gets more redonkulous each year, but Boston is my true love and I love it flaws and all (NYC is my friend with benefits, Paris is my sexy mistress). I wouldn’t recommend coming here for school unless you really love the city and have ties to the area.

    • Anonymous :

      A friend in college and I were both waitlisted at HLS. He got in off the waitlist, I did not. So not impossible.

    • Someone at my law school got in off the waitlist at HLS after we had started school and promptly departed.

      I don’t know whether going to HLS is that important to you, but apparently, it can happen pretty late in the game.

    • Wouldn’t be mad about seeing it end in rejection. In fact, I might be happy about if it does. Just wanted to have realistic expectations here.

    • Anecdotally, I had several friend in law school at HLS who got in off the waitlist. I know it’s a MUCH higher chance than the undergrad numbers above, but I don’t have any solid numbers. Good luck!

    • I’m in admissions at a top law school. We have hundreds of people on our wait list – if she wants to get in off the WL she should be the squeaky wheel. Check in every couple of weeks via email. She should also honestly consider the chance that she may move somewhere, start orientation, and get a call from HLS. I hate when it happens but it’s a very realistic outcome since not all schools start at the same day.

      • Anonymous :

        This is what I did when I wanted to transfer to a T14 school. I think the admissions person was a bit fed up with me by the end, but I was certainly in her mind when last minute admissions went out.

    • Harvard’s waitlist move in fits and starts, and goes right until the first day of classes. I got in off the waitlist in late June, and had at least three people in my section who had started classes at Columbia when they got in, and promptly moved from New York to Cambridge. After the first one got in, they told the other two, who called HLS and said “I would move tomorrow if I got in,” and then got in. At that point, they only accept you if they know you’ll come. Even for me, in June, I got a phone call giving me 24 hours to let them know if I would go if accepted, and only once I said I would did I get my formal acceptance. It’s a game to them, gaming the US News numbers.

  2. I’m looking at buying the Rothy’s loafers, after reading a lot of great comments here. Can anyone comment on sizing? I have slightly wide feet, and normally wear a size 6.5 in dress shoes or 7 in sneakers. The Rockport total motion pumps in size 6 wide fit me well.

    • I found Rothy’s did not work for my wide feet. My size was too tight in the toes, and when I sized up they turned into flip flops.

      • Thanks… I was definitely skeptical about Rothy’s suggestion to size up for wider feet. Wider and longer are not the same thing?!?!?

        • Bigger shoes typically are wider, and how much wider varies by manufacturer. Usually it’s only a few millimeters so it’s not significantly wider, but it can make a difference, especially if the extra length will make the widest part of your foot sit further back (rather than being shoved into a point). Personally, I can wear some brands of shoes like Kate Spade by going up half a size, but other brands like Cole Haan just don’t work at all because of how they’re shaped. I hope that makes sense. I have spent way too much time analyzing shoe widths…

    • I bought by Rothys in my normal size but the toes do hit again the top so in retrospect perhaps I should have bought the larger size. However, I do not have wide feet.

    • Does anyone have a referral code they would like to share? I might give the loafers a try in size 7…
      also I’m thinking I might have the best luck with the loafers because that shoe shape should be more forgiving than the ballet flat (especially the pointy toe shape)

  3. Our graduation robes are open (cape-like), black with a red stripe on the inner edge (so the red stripe sits next to your clothes). The guidance is to wear a dark dress, I assume black is the best option but any thoughts?

    • Dress Options :

      Charcoal or oxblood would also be pretty if you’re not feeling black. I would stay in the black/red color scheme though – I don’t think eggplant, for example, would look as nice.

    • I’d do blue or mustard or even jade green, but then i love colors and mixing them!

    • Wear whatever goes with your house and will match your Quidditch Banner (…I just always imagine you are at Hogwarts. Am I close?)

      I think black or a dark maroon, or hunter!

    • Anon in NYC :

      I would wear something that would disguise sweat, so for me that would be black rather than gray.

  4. Anonymous :

    During the past 7 months or so the skin around my eyes has been extremely…finicky. I’m not sure what the cause is or if I can adequately explain it, but it’s extremely dry, sometimes flaky. When I wear makeup no matter what within an hour it’s completely dried out and looks horrible. I’ve tried every trick I can find on the internet and the only thing that seems to make some difference is icing the area/cold compress. Sometimes, seemingly randomly (like this morning), my eyelids are totally swollen. Other times they’re red. I’ve tried switching products. I’ve tried using no products. I’m 27 and take EXCELLENT care of my skin, have no other skin issues. Should I see a derm about this??

    • I would see an allergist before a derm, but probably see both. If it’s worse in the morning, maybe it has something to do with your sleeping environment. Do you wash your pillows?

    • It does sound like there’s something going on that skincare alone may not fix. An allergy of some kind, maybe?

    • Anonymous :

      Yes! Obviously! Your skin has been messed up for 7 months!!!!!!! An Rx steroid cream cleared this up for me in a week.

    • Yes, sounds like blepharitis to me. You might try the “eye wipes” that you can buy in the drug store in the ocular section, if you have not already. And switch to a really gentle cleanser–cetaphil or purpose, for use around the eye area. GL!

      • This. Go to a derm, avoid using mascara or eyeliner in the meantime. Try the eye wipes or TheraLid foaming wash, and a really really gentle moisturizer at night.

        I have blepharitis as a complement to rosacea, and whooboy is it fun. not.

        • +1

          Agree with blepharitis.

          Agree with seeing a dermatologist or even eye doctor (that’s where my brother’s got diagnosed… at Costco!).

          It is actually quite common and both my brother and father have had bouts of it that resolved after mild treatment (warm compresses, using the lid wipes for awhile). If you don’t have other skin issues, this may be self limited.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            I’ve had blepharitis too. Also just generally delicate snowflake skin. When it’s acting up, I wash my eyelids/lashes with baby shampoo.

    • Oh man! I have had the exact same problem this winter. I am prone to eczema and thought it was somehow connected to that, although it looks as you describe. I noticed I was involuntarily tearing before/during sleep a lot, which I think made it worse. Fixing my dry eyes and drinking a lot of water helped that problem. For the eyes what finally finally worked was 1) not cleansing the area at all with facial soap, only micellar water and very rarely, plain water 2) pure argan oil. another oil might work. I had to stop all other products for about a month to see full improvement, but the argan oil helped within 48 hrs.

      • Oh I have argan oil! I looked at photos of eye eczema and it looks exactly like what I have, and it definitely seems exacerbated by cold dry air (plenty of that where I live, even now in late April). Do you cleanse with Argan oil or moisturize with it?

    • Anonymous :

      Late response, but – I had something similar and it turned out I was allergic to my contact solution. (Took me awhile to figure out because my eyes were fine, just the skin around them was irritated.) Switching solutions did the trick.

  5. I’m in income partner at a midsized firm. I like the work but I am basically on call at night, work at least a couple of hours a weekend and during vacations. Also have 3 kids in elementary. A friend is in house counsel at a company where there is an opening and wants me to join. Friend works 9 to 5, no nights or weekends and gets paid about 30k more than me. Lower stress job as they outsource work to firms. Friend works from home 1 day a week too. Sounds amazing but there are constant rumors that this company will be merging with another out of state company and I was downsized once and found it super stressful. Also, the role is limited to one type of work within my practice area, which I enjoy, but it could be repetitive and I wouldn’t be able to learn and grow and my other skills may atrophy. I am now exactly on the middle of my career (low 40s). What would you do?

    • This is not typical of most in-house departments though, so proceed with caution. Most in-house positions are not anywhere near 9-5 anymore, as companies are constantly trying to get more with less. And I outsource only the absolute necessities to law firms (trade compliance, EU competition law). So, if this company gets acquired, be prepared that the culture may change rapidly. Even if you don’t get downsized, you won’t necessarily get to continue the reasonable lifestyle that your friends enjoys now.

      • I don’t think it’s that atypical – she’s probably exaggerating about 9-5, but the hours in-house tend to be regular and predictable compared to a firm. That said, it’s the wrong reason to move in. You should do it if you want to be more on the business side, enjoy being more strategic and less purely legal. Law comes into decisions but it doesn’t and shouldn’t drive them. It sets the floor not the ceiling. I’d argue there’s way more growth opportunity internally, but into different work than at a law firm. You usually do end up picking up new practice areas because you can’t hire a specialist for everything that comes up, and yes, you don’t outsource every question. I’ve been inhouse for 10+ years and I love it. Worked at one company with the M&A issue, survived the re-org but left anyway. It’s not the end of the world – you tend to see things coming and can get out if you need to and once you’ve been in-house it’s easier to get another in-house role than from a firm as there is a very strong bias against firm lawyers.

        • There are lots of in-house roles but there doesn’t seem to be as many openings at the higher levels, would you agree? It seems like in-house folks stick around for a long time so there aren’t that many openings.

          Your statement about the wrong reason to move in-house is interesting to me, because I know this friend and the reason she moved in-house was in order to have better work-life balance and not because she cares more about the business side. The law department at this company is huge so it’s kind of like a mini-law firm environment where the lawyers sit together and not with the business units.

          It’s hard for me to see whether the business side it going to be interesting because this company’s business is not a super-exciting cutting edge field. It’s a retailer with retail stores around the country. For you, did you already have a passion for the industry or your company’s products?

          • I think in-house is generally seen as the holy grail because the hours are a lot more predictable, but the people who end up being unhappy don’t have a desire to do “business side work” but really just don’t want to be law firm lawyers anymore. Choosing something just for the hours may help with your happiness, but those people tend to get more frustrated by the less law-firm style approach to problems and struggle in internal roles.

            You’re also hitting on a big in-house issue – the size of the company and department will matter. Larger companies with essentially in-house law firms are going to be a different experience from small law departments where people wear a lot of hats. The former might work better for someone who wants more of a lifestyle but still likes firm practice.

            Personally, I didn’t have a passion for the industry itself but for the practice area, which transcends all companies (I do employment law so I work with HR & you can do that anywhere). It was important to me to work somewhere where the HR practices were aligned with my approach to the practice, so I looked for that. I love being able to work more closely internally with those areas as I feel like it’s much higher impact than when I was a law firm lawyer.

            I know people working for large retailers & industry pressures aside (lower pay on average, lots of mergers & folding of companies), they love the work. I think it’s also broad enough that you could probably transfer skills from that industry to others, especially if you get involved with e-commerce or some other areas that touch on a lot of industries if you’re concerned about transferability.

          • & PS – yes, it’s a lot easier to go in-house at a lower level than a higher one. It’s also easier to be more competitive for a higher-level role when it comes open if you’re already in-house. If it is the right move for you, I’d consider the step back for the ultimate step forward.

      • This friend occasionally works later, but not nearly as much as me. I am logged on and billing time or inputting my billable time (ugh) almost every week night for at least an hour and at least a couple of hours every weekend.

        I know for a fact that this company outsources a ton because I was pitching to do the work as outside counsel and got passed over for firms that were willing to do the same work on a cheaper flat-fee basis, but through the process I learned about the volume of work they have and their list of preferred counsel.

        If the company is acquired and I am let go, I will not be able to move because DH loves his job and is generally very picky about where he works. The job insecurity is what worries me the most.

      • Triangle Pose :

        I don’t think it’s atypical either. I’m in-house at a large public company and her hours sound reasonable to me and I hear the same from others in the in-house org I am in.

    • I would take it but I would sock away the entire 30K in extra pay for 3-4 years instead of integrating it into the household budget so that you have nice cushion if something happens and you need to find another job. Doing that would ease job loss stress for me. But I also intensely disliked the billing hour/prviate practice so YMMV.

  6. Anonymous :

    Happy 4-20! Would love to get Chuck Schumer’s bill passed!

    • Anonattorney :

      I get the policy reasons for legalizing marijuana, but to be honest – I hate that my state has made weed legal. I smell it everywhere now. When my neighbor smokes in their house, I can smell it in my son’s bedroom. I can smell people smoking in their cars when I’m driving behind them. It just doesn’t dissipate. I’m just not a weed person.

      • This, and also, I hate that there have been few LT studies on the effects of smoking on the lungs. In general, putting a bunch of smoke into your lungs is not a good thing for your lungs. I believe it’s highly likely that we will have a public health crisis related to lung disease around this in 20 years.

        I am all for medical legalization, and I support legalization due to the disparate impact on POC. But I don’t support it for recreational use generally due to public health issues that have not been fully studied.

        • +1

          I’m in Canada and it already constantly stinks like weed here. It’s going to get worse this summer!

        • Doctor here, and also agree.

          The effects on the developing brain are only in the early stages of research and it is already clear to us docs that they will be significant. The young/youth populations that increase use with legalization will be affected the most.

          And it is just crazy that drugs like this get legalized without a way to standardize/establish paramenters for driving under the influence. It is actually mindboggling to me. So dangerous….

      • Anon for this :

        Smoking while driving? I’m a huge supporter of legalization, and a long time user, but I’m confident driving while smoking marijuana is still 100% illegal. A call to the police would be important in that situation. That’s no different than driving while drinking a beer.

        As for your neighbors, maybe say something? I assume you aren’t in a single family home so there is a level of respect that is expected, at least I’d hope so, when sharing vents/walls. There are plenty of non-smelling marijuana options (liquid, edibles, creams).

        • Anonattorney :

          I am in a single family home and we can still smell it through the walls. Old house, close neighbors, and the smell is just that potent.

        • Yes, driving while smoking MJ is illegal. But unlike drinking and driving, which has social stigma attached to it, there doesn’t seem to be any concern about smoking and driving on the part of most people who enjoy marijuana. I do most of my commute on foot in Boston (so it’s still really cold and windows are up) and I am passed by at least 5 cars a day that reek of smoke. Plus, every smaller scale construction site (like, not the new 30 story office tower but the gutted 5 story building) also reeks of smoke all day long. Not safe. It’s not possible for the police to keep up, and it’s not like the police can do anything if they pull someone over who threw the joint out the window – there’s no field sobriety test. They can’t waste their time responding to calls from pedestrians who saw someone smoking in a passing car.

          I also support legalization, but I think responsible MJ users need to establish better social norms.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        Anonattorney, do you feel the same way about cigarette smoke? I am honestly curious. I love the smell of mj, but tobacco smoke is so gross to me.

      • True, I never really thought about that. The smell does travel much farther than the smell of liquor.

      • My understanding is that weed has gotten a lot stronger. It’s like drinking a beer and then realizing when it hits you that it’s 40 proof. Too late!

        But people then do things (like driving) within only an hour or two (overnight would be better — be sure you’re really sober).

        And stuff seems to wind up in food, etc., all the time at kids’ schools or workplaces where people *get drug tested*. WTF people! It may not be illegal, but some of us can still be fired (or violate probation) for testing positive.

      • Ugh, same. I don’t care about it in general but I HATE the smell. And it lingers on everything. The DC metro always smells like weed, I can tell who smokes around me. It just makes me sick. I feel like the legalization is normalizing so that people feel free to smoke it out on the street at all hours of the day.

        • Yep. It’s just so gross. There was a pro-MJ festival thing at a big college in my city a couple weeks ago. Smelled bad everywhere. Didn’t like the smell in college and generally didn’t really hang out with people who smoked it. Don’t like the smell now.

          • I love it but to each her own.

            As for neighbors smoking, I would just address it as any other issue with smell, whether that was food, perfume or cigs. People didn’t just start smoking when the laws loosened, most smokers can easily take precautions to make it less bothersome for their neighbors. And potency, btw, has nothing to do with the smell. Also, don’t most states have impaired driving laws to deal with this though? NY does.

        • Agreed. I don’t mind it in principle, but I loathe the smell.

  7. I clicked on some links yesterday and am 100% sure I would never get into medical school even with a perfect MCAT. Which is fine – I am in biglaw anyway. But those are daunting #s. Law schools now seem so fraudulent – generous admissions, bad placement rates (like Caribbean Med schools), and loans you can’t discharge in bankruptcy or often afford to repay. One school in my state that got shut down had 0% bar passage and used to be classes of 400 kids in each class and was expensive. Yikes!

    It is still interesting to me how fractured medicine is – doctors vs optometrists vs podiatrists vs dds dentists. Not sure why that is or if those are just easier / less prestigious (to me, eyes, teeth, and feet are important daily use body parts and I go to a DMD dentist).

    Interesting to see how other professions are.

    • In case it ever sets anyone’s mind at ease, there is no difference between DDS and DMD dental schools. The curriculum is the same, and schools choose which degree they award based on how they interpret certain Latin translations. (Source: married to a dentist with a DMD.)

      • I thought that DMD dentists went to medical school and then specialized in teeth.

        I thought that DDS dentists just went to dental school (not sure the difference, but thought that it would all focused on teeth and maybe anesthesia and xrays and running a small business (leasing space, leasing equipment, hiring employees, offering employee benefits, etc.) vs rotating through all parts of the body (and not any business training)).

        FWIW, I don’t know a dentist who works on Fridays. Wish I had known that when I was 18.

        • Both DMD and DDS degrees are awarded by dental schools. Dental students spend the first two years studying anatomy, pharmacology, etc. and learning how to do procedures in the lab, then two years in clinic working on real patients. At some universities, dental students take the first two years of classes together with med students, but that’s not the case at most schools (from the patient perspective, this isn’t important – it can help academically for students who want to specialize and will need to eventually take a medical board exam for their specialty, but as a patient, you’re going to benefit much more about the quality of their training in the clinical years).

          It’s really a good career path in terms of work-life balance! My husband is specializing and thus working crazy hours for that, but most of our general dentist friends have way better schedules than my (relatively humane!) law firm one.

        • Ok. But you were wrong and clearly have no idea what you’re talking about so why share?

  8. Patty Mayonnaise :

    (cross-posted on Moms’ site too)
    Thoughts/suggestions on travel with a ~1.5 year old? After taking 2 years off from our previously (pre-baby) annual big trips, my husband and I are itching to go somewhere – probably early fall timeframe. But this time we’ll have our 18 month old in tow. I’d love to go to Italy, but I’m wondering how that will work with a toddler.

    Friends have recommended just keeping him on East Coast schedule so we can still go out to dinner, etc. But then I think he’ll be sleeping until like noon? I don’t want to spend $$$ and not be able to experience the place that we end up going. So I’ve also been considering a resort type setup where husband and I could hang out/go to the pool, etc. while baby sleeps. Maybe Greek islands or something? Anyone have any advice or suggestions that worked really well for them with a kiddo this age? Thanks so much!!

    • Babies and kids generally handle jet lag better than adults so I wouldn’t worry too much about that, and I wouldn’t try to keep him up for late diners. Just go to dinner at 5:30ish so you can be back in time for a normal bedtime.

      The hardest part of travel with an 18 month old is that they’re still normally taking at least one and maybe two naps per day, so you won’t be able to go out for a full day of sightseeing. I think Italy would be great, but maybe a villa inTuscany instead of trying to explore Rome or something. I would definitely recommend a hotel pool if the weather is warm enough. Splurging on a room with a nice view is also smart so you enjoy the vacay even if you spend a lot of it in the hotel room.

      • Oh and adjust your expectations a little bit. I was a “we have to see everything” type of traveler pre-kid and that just doesn’t work with a toddler. You’re spending $$$$ for quality family time and the experience of showing your kid the world, not seeing everything there is to see at your particular destination. It’s a different kind of travel, but well worth it!

        • We took our toddler to Taormina, Sicily, and it was wonderful. We stayed at a hotel with a great pool overlooking the sea and spent a lot of time there. The lovely town of Taormina was perfect for wandering and eating dinner and having gelato. The town has some Greek ruins, which my kid loved, and there’s also Mt Etna. It was a departure from our usual vacations, but by slowing down and keeping it small, we were really able to explore and get to know one very charming town. It remains one of our favorite trips.

        • This. We took our 2 year old twins and 4 year old to Italy. You switch from “seeing Italy” to “enjoying life in Italy.” VRBO is clutch for travel with small kids; kitchen 24/7, more space to play or set up as kiddie area, and you can get space for the parents apart from kiddie sleep/nap area. Local stores are awesome; wandering from butcher the veggie stand was a fun Italian experience. (No, I promise I will not use red tomatoes for salad, Mr. Vendor. I know red tomatoes are for sauce. I promise to use the greenish ones for salad. May I buy them now?) Do two “things ” a day, either in the morning or afternoon or separated by lunch, and then just enjoy lazing around, strolling the town, wine and cheese at your own place – find a place with a terrace/yard/view/balcony. We even bought a blow-up kiddie pool in Italy to watch the young fry splash around while we enjoyed the small yard, drank wine, and stared at the hilltop town. (We stayed outside Cortona, border of Umbria and Tuscany.) Basically, go to Italy and practice being Italian.

    • We took our 20 month old to France for two weeks and had a blast. We lowered expectations, and those (lowered) expectations were way surpassed. I thought it was a great age because he was still pretty content to do what we wanted and snooze on the go. We did a week in Paris and a week in Nice. We went to a playground each day so my son could get his energy out, and he was content to be along for the ride the rest of the day. That was also a fun way to force us to slow down and relax. Happy to send you more details about our trip if you want to post a burner email.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I agree with the advice here. I haven’t taken Kiddo abroad but I took her on a weeklong trip when she was 18 months and it was a hoot. We had to cater to her, totally. That meant we couldn’t eat at the coolest restaurants, and that we went to the zoo and the science center instead of fine art museums, and we spent a lot of time practicing climbing up and down stairs in the hotel. But I have delightful memories of all of that, and of letting her eat ice cream for dinner, and being unable to pull her off the dance floor one night… I didn’t get nearly enough sleep, and I wish we’d stayed at a slightly nicer hotel (read: cleaner carpets) but if I could go back in time I would totally do it again. I think you’ll have a blast.

  9. Hi hive, i recently started working from home and contrary to my expectations, I’ve somehow ended up eating fast food/frozen stuff for lunch instead of gourmet home cooked healthy meals. Any tips/ suggestions how to set myself up for success?

    • Make soup or stew over the weekend and heat it up, make a quiche the night before, make a gourmet grilled cheese (tastes better but not much more effort), have fresh fruit and veggies on hand, have avocado on hand for a quick avocado toast if in a rush, try sardines and crackers for a filling small lunch…I love the options that come with WFH.

    • I really like scrambled or poached eggs with veggies for lunch when I’m working from home. You could go basic with toast or use some sort of grain as a base.

      • +1 – this is one of my go to healthy lunches. Fried/scrambled/poached egg, with a slice of sprouted grain toast and some veggies either cooked in or on the side. I usually also try to slice up some fruit to snack on while the egg is cooking – apples, oranges, etc. Nothing fancy but I seem more likely to eat cut up fruit.

      • I do the same with eggs, but I usually start by chopping up and sautéing whatever meat or veg leftovers we have, then I add the egg at the end to make a scramble. You could add cheese but I think that might defeat the purpose…. I find that just a few fresh herbs (I like chives) and maybe some green tabasco make this a really satisfying, tasty lunch.

    • You may find you do better doing some meal prep/cooking on the weekend or weeknights. You likely don’t have the time during the workday to cook a gourmet meal from scratch. Or, identify dishes that can be thrown together in 10 minutes using items that you prepped ahead of time (runny eggs over just about anything is one of my favorites). Also, you can feel free to eat anything without worrying that you are making an office smell – fish for lunch, popcorn, reheat that broccoli.

    • Prepping lunches ahead of time is the only way I will eat a healthy lunch whether I work from home or in the office.

    • I’m at home ~3 days a week, and find I still have to plan, the biggest benefit of being at home for me is that it’s my fridge and I can take it over with all my ingredients. So, my mid-day meals happen 1 of 3 ways: 1. leftovers, 2. meal prep, like individual ingredients prepped for a grain bowl or quick entrees of protein, roasted vegetables, roasted sweet potato and a sauce. Some weeks I’m feeling in a mezza mood, so I’ll have a bunch of dips and veggie + pita dippers on hand, and grill some kebabs to be reheated, then throw together a plate for lunch. 3. have all the ingredients on-hand and “cook” something completely hands-off (cut up a potato and veggies to make a hash which goes in the oven for 25 mins in a cast iron pan while go back to work, with some sauce/dressing and maybe a soft egg and on top if I have time to add one more thing)

      I cook a lot from the What’s Gaby Cooking blog, and will make her cilantro or basil vinaigrette as a sauce I use all week. I also love her turkey larb lettuce wrap recipe – I’ll take a little more time to cook on a slow Friday or day before a holiday. Frozen stuff isn’t always bad if it’s mindful and moderately healthy. I always have a few frozen soups on hand. For emergencies, I make and keep individually wrapped burritos in my freezer – breakfast burritos, chicken, pulled pork, ground turkey, veggie, etc. I’ll use ancient grain tortillas and bulk them up with a grain and always veggies to keep the stats reasonable. Those work great for both office and at-home but still busy days.

    • I start a soup on the stove in the morning (during my would-be commute time) and let it simmer until lunch.

    • Dinner leftovers?

    • I read somewhere that planning and prepping are the #1 factor in eating healthy. So I’d suggest sitting down over the weekend and planning out a few meals for the week before you go shopping.

    • I make a giant batch of these oatmeal squares and freeze. I don’t eat breakfast so I like these for lunch. Toddler eats them for breakfast.

      • I put cheese or berries or smoked salmon in the “dough”.

    • Anonymous :

      I do this for taking my lunch, but it would work for you — it all depends on making ahead on the weekends and freeze.

      Instant pot pulled chicken or pork (seasoned with salt and pepper) frozen in individual servings to put in as extra protein in salads, soups, omelettes, tortillas, etc. that I make on the fly.

      Trader Joe’s marinated chicken thighs shawarma, cooked up and frozen in individual servings, see above for the strategy, with Naan, rice, in a tortilla, on a salad, etc. (This is my absolute favorite thing from TJ’s right now — 4 lbs of easy, delicious marinated chicken thighs for $4.99).

      Frittata squares, frozen — I like chicken sausage, feta and spinach in mine, but the possible combos are endless. Cut in brownie sized squares, freeze, they microwave really well.

      Fried rice, frozen — I make mine with jasmine or basmati, but you could use brown rice if you want healthier. You can make it vegetarian and add protein of your choice, but I just make it with eggs and add pulled chicken as above if I want more protein. This is a great fast breakfast, too (as is frittata).

      As others said, soup, pasta dishes, stir fry, curries — anything that freezes well. I usually do two different kinds of soups and freeze on a Sunday so I have sufficient variety.

      My lazy go-to is always having the ingredients for a greek salad at hand.

    • Linda from HR :

      Same thing happened to me when I worked from home. If you’re not used to preparing a lunch from scratch in the middle of the workday, you won’t start doing that just because you can, so it’s best to do Sunday meal prep (or night-before meal prep) even if you work from home.

  10. When you’re thinking about the income you need for retirement (your “spending”), do you include taxes in the total and if so, which tax rate do you use? Do you assume you’ll be living off capital gains at that point? Also, how can you REALLY predict what your health care costs might be? I want to get a better estimate so I can plan better and set some goals, but it’s confusing because I’m not sure how to get at an accurate figure when my own health/livelihood could change dramatically (to say nothing of the political climate and social safety net).

    • Yes, include taxes. How can you have a realistic number otherwise. And yes, I assume most income will be dividends/cap gains. You can also log in to SS and get a statement estimating your benefits (note the statement assumes you will continue working/earning and not retire early). Healthcare depends on when you retire and whether you will be medicare eligible. If not, price out some ACA plans in your area and then increase that budget by 20%. Yes, it will be a big figure.

    • I mean, you can’t REALLY predict your healthcare costs. For all you know, you might not even live long enough to make it to retirement.

      • retirement :


        You really can’t predict health care costs, unless you know you will be one of the lucky few working for a government department with retirement benefits that include healthcare. And even then it is difficult, as the cost of medications/co-pays changes yearly, and even “promised” retiree benefits will change in their details by the time you retire. The cost of Medicare will also increase by the time we retire, with more co-pays and higher premiums based on income. And there are many things that Medicare does not cover, which you only realize once you are hit with severe/catastrophic illness (eg. specialized medications, specialized medical supplies/equipment)

        You can be low income and spend only a few hundred dollars a month on your Medicare premiums and medication co-pays if you are “healthy” and see the doctor rarely. Or like an average senior, you may be seeing a few specialists, have dental issues and need hearing aids (both not covered by Medicare) and take multiple medications that have co-pays that vary widely. Or you could get cancer and the exciting Immunotherapy drugs of choice right now are not covered by Medicare, so you pay for those out of pocket(tens of thousands of dollars…..). Or you could have chronic serious medical problems or disability and require supplies/meds that traditional Medicare doesn’t cover. Or you could be higher income, so Medicare premiums increase to several hundred per month (these are going up and up based on income).

        I have a parent that I help with their taxes, and they had $22,000 of uncovered medical expenses that were itemized on their taxes for 2017. But only a small portion of that is deductible, based on your income.

        At some point, you can’t model every scenario. Or you have to just hope for the best. And you never know what will happen. You could die early from cancer and never enjoy your retirement savings, and then in retrospect you should have retired earlier. Or you could become severely disabled due to unexpected injury/cancer/illness/severe dementia, and eventually need to go into a nursing home because your around the clock care needs exhaust your family’s ability to help or manage. I’ve seen all of these situations in my own family.

        You never know. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

    • It’s not realistic to assume most of your income will be capital gains (and therefore taxed at a lower rate) if the bulk of your savings for retirement is in 401(k) plans/IRAS. Withdrawals from those — including Required Minimum Distributions — are taxed at ordinary income rates. But agreed we don’t know what those rates will be . . . .

  11. I hate my hair :

    My partner has thick, black, coarse, straight hair that has zero issues with flyaways or frizziness. My hair is somewhere between wavy and straight and extremely fine. He often wonders, out loud, why my hair is messy and unkempt and has gone so far as to try to brush my hair to flatten it out. This is not actually messiness – I just don’t have straight hair. I have two questions:

    1. What are your favorite hair care products and techniques for enhancing a natural wave? My family also has pin straight hair, and while I’ve searched for techniques online, I haven’t found anything that works.

    2. How do I communicate to my partner that this is actually really hurtful? I wish I had his sister’s beautiful hair, but I don’t. I’ve tried telling him all the things I listed above, but he doesn’t seem to get it.

    • Anonymous :

      What?!!! Why are you with this person? He calls you ugly and lazy!!!!! And ignores you when you ask him not to.

      • I hate my hair :

        I know! It’s very rude! He also comes from a culture that is way more direct than mine though, and is otherwise a perfectly fine partner.

        He actually complimented me on how my hair looked when I hadn’t washed it for three days, which I found hilarious – maybe I just need to oil it up?

        • Shrug – I think my hair looks better on day 2 (3 is iffy) because the natural oils have had a chance to redistribute. If you are having issues with frizz, you might be overshampooing if you are washing it every day or every other day.

        • Maybe you need to tell him “stop. I understand this is ok in your culture. I’ve repeatedly told you it is not okay with me. It is rude and disrespectful and hurtful.”

        • Why are you trying to conform to his hair standards?

        • No advice on hair, but I wish you better than “perfectly fine” for a partner. <3

      • I agree. I am sure he would not be critical if you told him he would never be able to touch your hair anywhere any time again for saying that, and believe me, men buckle under when you tell them that b/c they do want to get close to you. FOOEY on this oaf!

    • Whoa, your partner is way out of line. Actually brushing your hair? Please tell him to knock it off immediately, along with the comments about your hair. If he doesn’t, I would wonder how much he actually respects you.

      Now for more practical advice: My hair is a lot like yours. Fine textured, but a ton of it, also somewhere between wavy and straight. When it was longer, I never had much luck coaxing a natural wave out of it, even with product. There just wasn’t enough natural wave to start with, and my hair doesn’t hold styled waves very well. I straightened it almost every day, which was a huge PITA. You may or may not consider this an option, but I like my hair so much more when it’s short. Anywhere from chin length to pixie, with tons of layers, works really well for me. Probably 90% of my styling is done when I blowdry it, which doesn’t take that long when it’s short. Sometimes I finish it with a flat iron, other times I don’t.

      I’d be glad to recommend specific cuts, but I realize short hair is not everyone’s jam.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 – length really matters. Weight (long hair) pulls the wave out, so then you are better off aiming for straightened. Using a moisture rich conditioner and going at least a day without washing are also important (and easier when straight). I usually have to go just above collar bone length to get my waves to come out – and then its a case of DO NOT COMB OR BRUSH EVER. I’d get out of the shower with wet hair and scrunch it to dry and add product. But any other attempts to tame it would disturb the texture (because curl wasn’t that strong. So brushing it is DEFINITELY not going to help. I also had to explain to my mom to stop touching my hair when it was curly (or slightly damp and curly) because handling the hair hair doesn’t help the curls.

        That being said, I wear my long because it’s a bit easier. I blow dry it and then twist it up in a bun while my hair is still warm. That helps keep it straight/contained while it cools and the hair shaft settles back down.

        • I hate my hair :

          Yeah, seems like the frizz is not helped by my brushing or overwashing. My hair is about that length now, so maybe I’ll try washing it with conditioner and banning the brush. Do you have any product recommendations or product types that you use? Thanks for your help!

          • I have similar hair (fine but mine is more curly/wavy than straight) and I highly recommend finding a Deva salon or someone who is experienced in cutting wavy hair. Go to naturally curly (one word) dot com for recommendations on salons nearest you. You should not be brushing your hair. That’s why it is so frizzy.

            My routine is that I shampoo and condition every other day (I use Aveda Invati shampoo for fine hair and Aussie Miracle conditioner because it’s amazing for creating curls and leaving my hair non-frizzy). When my hair is dripping wet, I use a generous amount of Deva ultra defining gel. I then blot my hair with a microfiber cloth, put some clips at the roots for lift, and LEAVE IT ALONE. No touching it for at least an hour, usually 2 hours. Then I turn my hair upside down and crunch it out so that it doesn’t look hard/gel-lly. I get beautiful soft waves/curls this way.

            Definitely recommend finding a hairstylist who knows wavy hair. Your hair actually might be curly and you don’t know it because you keep brushing it out. That’s what happened to me — I had stick straight hair until puberty, then my hair got incredibly frizzy. It took me several years to figure out that my hair had actually turned curly and my brushing my hair just made it frizzy.

      • I hate my hair :

        I think you’re right. My hair was actually easier to manage when it was very, very long – I think due to the sheer weight of the hair. Now that it’s shoulder-length, it’s basically a frizz-bomb. I’ve had short hair before, and it’s flattering – I do like the look. Maybe I need a new haircut!

        • I’m the short-haired poster from above. For this type of hair, I think shoulder length can be surprisingly hard to manage. Mine always wanted to do this stupid flippy thing in the back even when I straightened it. You either have to go really long, or quite a bit shorter to get it to behave.

        • AnonTechie :

          My hair is similar and mid-back. It now ends up in either beachy waves or something a little straighter and looks intentional.
          +1 to never brushing or doing anything other than washing, really
          Also, recommend conditioner and even some “leave in” conditioning spray/argal oil like product

    • You dump your partner because he sounds awful.

      • Uh, +1. If it matters to YOU a keratin treatment might take care of some of the flyaways/frizz.

        • I hate my hair :

          I have heard about that, but I haven’t scheduled one because of the cost. Have you found it to be worth it?

          • Surely the jerk you insist on dating will be happy to pay for it, no?

          • Senior Attorney :

            I get Brazilian blowouts and they are fantastic.

            But I would absolutely the jerk. And watch carefully: If you straighten your hair, I bet a million bucks he will find something else to insult you about.

      • +1

    • BeenThatGuy :

      I’ll stick to commenting on your hair instead of your partner…

      Are you interested in a Keratin treatment? It would remove the wave and make your hair silky smooth and straight for several months. I don’t personally have this done, but many loved ones have this treatment regularly and rave about it.

      • I hate my hair :

        Yeah, I had heard about this. but hadn’t pursued it due to the cost. I didn’t realize it lasted several months. I’ll look into it- Thanks!

        • Be careful about Keratin. I think it works best for those with thick hair, but if your hair is already fine then it will likely make it look even thinner/flatter.

          • I took the OP to mean the individual hairs were fine (vs coarse), not that her hair was thin (vs thick).

    • I think you need to tell him point-blank that this hurts your feelings. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. That’s just rude on his part.

      Unfortunately, I don’t have any great tips for #1. I have fine hair that has a little bit of natural wave. If I let it air dry, it’s wavy, but not smooth. Years ago, I had some type of curl defining mousse from Redken that I used when my hair was wet. Then I would dry it using the diffuser attachment on my hair dryer. It looks like they don’t make that exact same product any more, but you could check out some of their products.

      Nowadays, I have a long-ish bob and on days I wash my hair I dry it and then flat iron it straight. On day 2, I’ll flat iron again. Then on day 3, I will curl it.

    • Linda from HR :

      “He often wonders, out loud, why my hair is messy and unkempt and has gone so far as to try to brush my hair to flatten it out. This is not actually messiness – I just don’t have straight hair.”

      He reminds me of my dad, when I had a bad frizz problem in middle school. One time he was mad at me about something, not related to my appearance, and before he left the room he added “and brush your hair, it looks messy!” Only because I was young, it made sense why he didn’t listen to me when I told him I did brush my hair but it was frizzy and that wasn’t something I had a lot of control over. You’re an adult, the fact that your partner isn’t listening to you is a big problem.

      I did find Frizz Ease to be a good product line for controlling the frizz and getting my hair in better shape, but it’s not specifically for wavy hair.

    • Most shampoos and conditioners are optimized for straight hair, so make sure you are using something that works well for fine, wavy hair (i.e., formulated with gentle cleansers and no silicones).

    • I have your hair. Fine, with a mix of wave and straight and the rest is frizz. You have a few options:
      1. Fitch your boyfriend for being rude
      2. Find a Deva Curl salon. They work with all curly hair, including waves, and use products and tools that enhance and define your natural texture. They’ll teach you how to get perfect waves all the time.
      3. Go for Japanese Straightening. This is what I do, but that’s because I love straight hair. It takes a while and can be expensive, but it gives me a full year of pin straight, glossy hair right out of the shower.

    • I have thick, curly, unruly hair. It’s always messy. That’s just how it is! I like that my hair is different. Your partner is way out of line.

    • I’ll second others who have said you might try using the words “You’re hurting my feelings” with your partner instead of trying to explain your hair texture to him. He might be well meaning, but he’s being a jerk. It’s possible he doesn’t get that; you know him better than me.

      On what to actually do with it, my hair is much curlier than yours, but I have had a lot of luck with argan oil shampoos and apple cider vinegar rinses. Since I started doing the the ACV in particular my hair is waaaayyyy less frizzy. I use ACV once a week instead of shampoo and conditioner, and then style as usual. I’m not sure what the chemical reason is that it works so well, but it’s magic.

    • I have very fine, very straight hair and would LOVE to have some wave to it! You are so lucky! I do think you’re probably shampooing too often. I’ve gradually trained my hair so that I only need to shampoo every 3-4 days, and it looks much better than it did when I was shampooing every day. A lot less effort too.

    • My hair sounds similar to yours. I feel it looks best when it is very long so the weight pulls it down and then I often spray dry Argan oil on it when it is wet, then I dry it and spray one more spray. I think it has helped with the frizz and I get lots of compliments on how shiny my hair it.

    • I have your hair – super fine, somewhere between straight and curly. My life was changed by finding a stylist who tecognized the wavy aspect of my hair. I have a pixie cut now and style with wax. This was an epiphany.

      +1 he is so rude he sounds like my immigrant mother…

    • I’ll respond to the hair issue only. I have short hair, wavy, fine and (mostly) a lot of it. It frizzes a lot both in winter and summer. Summer is better because my hair behaves with more humidity. I know – opposite of a lot of people. What’s worked best for me is to not use conditioner in the shower. Use a shampoo for fine hair. I subscribe to Birchbox so I get samples and some are really good (Davines MOMO Moisturizing Shampoo, Davines Love Curl Shampoo). Then, I towel dry and add some argan oil. I’m using one from HASK that is really luxurious and not too expensive. R&CO High Dive is also a good shine cream. I may add some curling gel (Curl Keeper) but it’s important that it doesn’t have silicone as that will actually work against the curl (for me, at least). No blow drying – only air dry. No combs or brushes – just fingers. And then hair spray. I haven’t found the unicorn hair spray yet – holds enough but not too much. Periodically I have to do a ‘purge’ of product buildup; I have a John Frieda Sheer Blonde shampoo that works well to bust through the build up. I think DevaCurl also has a product to cut through the buildup. Fine, frizzy hair is a challenge but the products today are so much better than even ten years ago. Good Luck!

      • +1 I have the keratin Hask shampoo and conditioner from walmart which were $5 each. They completely turned my frizzy hair softer and more manageable. My hair got frizzy when I cut it short like other commenters were saying. Also try a round brush with bristles. It really helps tame the frizzy. I just got an inexpensive one at sally’s or a similar place.

    • For what it’s worth, I used to describe my hair the way you are, but it turned out my hair is actually pretty curly/wavy (I’m a 2B if you google types of curls). It sounds like a weird thing to say but I didn’t even realize my hair was curly until someone pointed it out when I was like 25. I always liked the way my hair looked at the beach (curly) and a friend very nicely pointed out that my hair always looks like that, I just don’t care for it like its curly. I’d been blow drying/straightening it my whole life (because that’s what everyone seemed to do growing up in the 90s/early 2000s) and I was always frustrated with how it looked.

      Now I routinely wear it curly and love it. You can read about caring for curly hair online (I checked out the curly hair subreddit on reddit) and that might help.

      • I hate my hair :

        Yeah, I looked into it (the subreddit) and the before/after shots are startling! I actually like the wave, I just wish I had more of it so it wasn’t as frizzy. I think I’m going to try some basic steps and see where it gets me. Thanks!

      • + 1

        Yes to not realizing your hair might be curly. See my post above.

    • Your partner sounds like a d0uchebag. That said…

      I’ve posted on here before about this technique but I’ll do it again. This is for people with somewhere between straight and curly hair who want to have organized waves when their hair air dries – from my hair stylist.

      When your hair is still wet but not dripping, brush it. Then take sections of your hair and twist them away from your face. I usually do about 5 sections on each side of my head, all the way around to the back. The more sections you do, the curlier it will be. Then don’t touch it till it dries.

      I will admit that I lightly push up at the crown of my head while my twists are drying, so that my hair isn’t completely flat on my head, but this is not what my hairdresser told me to do.

      I now really only dry my hair when it’s cold out and I don’t want a wet head. I otherwise style my hair this way every time I wash it and it looks like intentional curls rather than messy semi-wavy hair.

    • I just want to say that I think people are being really hard on your bf! It’s not exactly unusual for people to have unexamined beliefs and assumptions about grooming and appearance. And some cultures perceive these choices to be more communal and less personal or individual. (I know I learned this the hard way when I moved from the US NE to the SE.) It sounds like you would like to do something different with your hair anyhow, so I hope one of the suggestions shared here works for you!

      • I sometimes think this board expects absolutely perfection. :) My own husband likes my hair but will say, you need to move your hair, meaning off the pillow if I’m close to him. It’s so coarse that the ends can feel like little needles! He will also tell me if he does not like clothes, etc. Sometimes I listen; sometimes I don’t. He is one of my biggest fans overall and while it would be nice to hear all good things, it is also nice to know when compliments are sincere.

      • Good grief, thank you! He sounds fine to me. For what it’s worth, I could see myself saying something like that to my husband!

      • +1

    • What products do you use? Sometimes, the frizz prevention products that are designed to keep moisture out are too good at what they do. By keeping out the moisture, they dry your hair out. It then becomes a dry hair problem, not a frizz problem. You may need to reduce your use of products.

      • Yes. Try using an oil instead of any anti-frizz products. Esp. since you said your oily hair looks better.

      • Hair changing :

        This was hair changing advice for me when I figured it out. I was in a cycle of: wash hair, apply frizz products, combating frizz…frizz would die down as oils/moisture crept back in over the next couple of days. Then I would wash hair and cycle would restart. Once I cut back on the frizz products and started using moisturizing products, my hair got so much better. I have slightly wavy, fine hair like you are describing and it made it so much more managable once I figured out I had dry hair, not frizzy hair. They look the same, but need different treatment!

    • Aveda Confixor & oils :

      I have similar hair. It’s course and thick and sort of wavy but I wear it pretty straight. I used to get Keratin treatments but now just aim for a good haircut, products and less frequent washes. It also helps to wear it a bit longer. My daughter tells me that she is so glad she did not get my hair (she’s also direct!), yet some people genuinely seem to like it since I occasionally receive compliments from strangers including “who is your hair stylist.” My hair is sort of like Connie Britton’s but not so long and without the beautiful blowout.

    • Hi. I have thick hair, but wavy and frizzy. There are two ways for me to have good hair:
      1. Have a hair style that doesn’t require much styling, so I can wash, dry, and go. Finding a hair stylist that helps you decide what hair style looks best on you will be helpful here.
      2. Co-wash. My best hair is either day 2 or day 3 after a wash, and at the end of day 2, it starts to feel gross, so I wash with a light conditioner only (no shampoo), dry and style as usual, and it looks fine that day. I wash at end of day 3. Sometimes I don’t do the day 3 wash – i just wash and condition every other day.

      Suggested hair products: I really, really, really like Mixed Chicks detangling deep conditioner.

      After rinsing out conditioner, I style with eva-nyc mane tamer leave in cream ( also available at various stores – check their store locator), and then use hair dryer to dry and style.

  12. Brooklyn/NYC Tailor :

    I’m in a wedding next week, and I need to get my bridesmaids dress altered (job is taking over my life, and I’m woefully behind on personal tasks). At a minimum, I need the dress hemmed, but I also would like to take it up at the shoulders (too long from shoulder to chest).

    Any recommendations for a tailor/alterations person in Brooklyn or NYC who can turn alterations effectively and quickly?

    • I don’t live in the area, but I’ve taken bridesmaid dresses to a nice dry cleaner to be hemmed and had great experiences.

    • I don’t live in the area, but I’ve taken bridesmaid dresses to a nice dry cleaner to be hemmed and had great experiences.

    • Meg March :

      The Tailoring Room on the LES. There will be a rush charge, but I’ve always been very pleased with their work and their prices.

  13. Another graduation gown question – ours are maroon. What color dress? Navy? It will be a thousand degrees and the ceremony is partially outside, if that matters.

  14. Streaming Service Movies? :

    I just saw that Netflix is releasing The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society in August. I loved that book and cannot wait. Then I noticed they have an adaptation of an old favorite YA novel – To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in August too.

    Am I missing any original romantic or rom com movies that have come out on the streaming services? Or just good ones? But maybe not prestige drama type – I have two toddlers and don’t sleep much and these are more what I am excited about!

    Basically comfort food type streaming service movies you’ve loved recently? Any channel works!

    • Sooooo excited for Guernsey! From the trailer it looks like a good adaptation. Although I would have liked to see Kate Winslet in the role as she was supposed to be years ago.

    • I enjoyed “When We First Met” on Netflix recently–fairly cheesy rom com. Not a stunning film, but cute.

  15. Looking for advice on picking a mentor!

    I’m in a pretty great position of having two women a few years ahead of me in the work place who seem interested in becoming my mentor in our male-dominated field. However, I don’t know which one would be better for my career. The first, let’s call her Ana, has been at my company for 5 years (this was her first job out of college, and the only job she’s ever had.) However, she’s risen very very quickly through ranks, receiving three promotions and more than doubling her salary in the 5 years she’s been here. She is very very good at what we do, but it is a bit of a niche industry. Also, we went to the same school for undergrad.

    The second woman, let’s call her Kim, worked at my company for three years right out of college and then left for a
    much bigger, broader company. She only stayed there for about 6 months and is now back in our small field.
    Even though she’s younger, since she has had more jobs she has a much wider professional network.

    Now, the issue is I have to pick because these two women hate each other (really Kim hates Ana, Ana is a pretty
    chill person, but there is definitely animosity on both sides.) I still hang out with Kim socially, and she frequently asks me about Ana (what she’s doing, what the office gossip is, etc) and recently while chatting with
    Ana I mentioned chatting about salary with Kim and she asked how much Kim was making at her new job. So basically, I think either one of these women would professionally mentor me but I feel a little sleazy talking to both of them, since the info they give me on their career progression is something the other one would be interested in for gossipy reasons.

    Any and all advice appreciated!

    • Don’t pick. Distance yourself from their drama. Don’t give either of them info about the other.

      • I realize I focused a lot on the drama here, but neither of them are super dramatic people to be honest! They are both nice women who I enjoy spending time with, they just have issues with each other. I have been trying to dodge the questions about from one about the other, so thanks for confirming that that is the right path :)

        • They might not be loud about their drama, but they are being unprofessional by bring you into their tiff. Professional behavior would be to acknowledge knowing the other person, but to not comment otherwise.

    • I agree with anonymous above. Distance yourself from them both and don’t supply any gossip to either. Why not look for a different (even male) mentor with good industry connections who can help you rise above all of this petty gossip and back-stabbing.
      I probably would not associate with Kim socially either – if she is creating drama at work, you’ll get wrapped up in it eventually, whether you want to or not.

    • There is no reason you can’t keep both as mentors, just don’t talk to the one about the other, there is your solution. If Kim asks you a very specific question about Ana, just say “I don’t know” and pass to another subject. Don’t feel sleazy, it’s not your fault these two women don’t like one another.

      But if you HAVE to choose, go with Ana. She is more experienced, seems like she can give you useful advice in how to approach your career strategically and aggressively (which advice is useful beyond your current job). And TBH Kim sounds awful and threatened by Ana, that is not the sort of example you want to follow.

    • Anonshmanon :

      I think Kim’s perspective might be valuable, because she’s been at different places (although the 6month stint sounds like she wasn’t necessarily successful). Having input from someone not in your org would matter to me.
      Agree with the other posters to try and keep both, but minimize gossip and drama.

      • Thank you! Out of curiosity, if they didn’t dislike each other would it some sort of faux pas to try and cultivate mentorish relationships with both? Can you cheat on a mentor? I’m very new to this haha.

    • Is this some sort of company-sponsored mentorship program? Because apart from that context, I don’t think you “pick” a true mentor… don’t they normally sort of naturally fall into place over time? The two people I consider mentors to my career happened that way, anyway. So if you reframe it in your head like that, there’s no reason why you can’t maintain two distinct professional relationships with these women. In time, one might prove more valuable/coach-like/mentor-like than the other. The exception might be if the drama between the two is so extensive that they’re using you as some sort of go-between, in which case, buh-bye to both of them but for cordial professional encounters.

      • It’s not officially (and Kim doesn’t work for my company anymore, just the same field.) Basically, I have mentor-like relationships falling into place with both of them but since they don’t get along I feel like I need to pick one to nurture. It seems like I don’t really need to pick, which is great news!

        • I’ll just add that it’s not useful to get caught up in the idea of having a mentor. There will be multiple people in your career that you take advice from and who help your career. Be open to nurturing multiple relationships up and down the food chain. Formal mentors are for company programs and huffpo articles. Real life isn’t that crisp.

  16. What would you see/do/eat with two days in New York City in June?

    I’ve been several times before and have done all the typical touristy stuff like Empire State Building, Statue of Liberty, etc. I’m mostly excited to walk around, window shop, maybe an art gallery or museum or two, and eat. I don’t have a huge budget.

    I’m really overwhelmed trying to plan my time so suggestions are appreciated!

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I know I say this every time, but a trip to the Whitney and a walk along the Highline. Especially given the time of year.

    • Shakespeare in the park. I think this summer the June production will be Othello. Get tickets early in the day, you shouldn’t have to get there super early when a show just opens, have a nice lunch somewhere outdoors, maybe go to a smaller museum like the Frick and then head over to see the show, dinner or picnic in the park beforehand optional. Or just show up around 4 with a picnic and join the standby line – it’s a NY experience all it’s own (there’s usually someone playing music, people to talk to, etc.). You could also go get a drink at the rooftop bar at the Met.

    • Wanderlust :

      If you’ll be there over a weekend, look into Smorgasburg. Lots of cheap eats all in one place!

      • Anonymous :

        Not the OP, but planning a similar trip. I am originally from Park Slope and have been torn about how to spend my 2d day in NYC. I think this resolved it. I’m going back to Brooklyn! Thx

        • Funnily enough I’m going to be staying in Park Slope but adventuring into Manhattan for those two days. :)

    • I don’t live there (and haven’t been in several years) but I would walk along the highline and see the window displays at Bergdorf.

    • Patty Mayonnaise :

      Building on this q, any suggestions for a great hotel (relatively affordable) in NY – near the high line maybe?

    • I am also planning a trip to NYC in June, and my one must-do this time is the “David Bowie Is” exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum.

  17. Statement Necklace Recs? :

    I’m looking for summery statement necklaces, but I am SO OVER the ones that are sort of J.Crewish/Kate Spadeish, with big fake jewels. Where do you shop online for interesting statement necklaces besides Baublebar?

    • Housecounsel :


    • Never too many shoes... :

      Banana Republic has some great stuff sometimes. And I know a lot of people here loathe the MLM aspect, but Stella and Dot makes some lovely things.

    • I’ve found some nice costume jewelry at Banana Republic.

    • BeenThatGuy :

      I like Francesca’s.

    • Anonymous :

      Racked has really good suggestions for online jewelry (link to follow, or just google “Racked online jewelry).

      I’m not sure Mejuri has statement necklaces, but I’ve been really happy with the jewelry (mostly earrings) that I’ve gotten from them. It’s high quality and not super expensive.

      • Anonymous :

        Also forgot to say that I’ve picked up some good costume jewelry at Loft.

    • Anonymous :


  18. Hair dryers… My cheap Conair hairdryer broke. I am interested in upgrading to a better hairdryer (if it is worth the cost). I have fine, wavy (sometimes frizzy in humid weather) hair. Does anyone have any good recommendations?

    • Housecounsel :

      I have the same kind of hair, and really like my Chi Rocket.

    • I got the Harry Josh Pro Tools Dryer at the end of last year, and am really liking it. I can’t speak to how it works on wavy hair, but I have very fine, straight hair and was dealing with a lot of frizz. I feel like since I’ve switched my hair is much less frizzy and is very silky looking.

    • I swear by Babyliss

    • AnonInfinity :

      I have the XTava ionic dryer and LOVE IT. It’s not very expensive, but it was a huge step up from my conair. I have very unruly, frizzy, curly hair and use the black orchid diffuser with it, and the combo makes my curls look perfect. A professional hairdresser recommended the whole set up to me a few months ago. I could not be happier with it, and it’s so much cheaper than the higher end hairdryers a lot of people recommend.

    • My hair is the same as yours – fine, goes wavy in humid weather (I was positively curly in Kauai recently)

      I had a Conair, upgraded to a T3, then upgraded to a better T3, then a Babyliss, but every time I was in a hotel room I appreciated how quickly their standard Conair dried my hair. I went back to a Conair and honestly, it’s fine. I never noticed great improvements with the expensive dryers.

    • Barbar! I HATEEEE doing my hair, and very specifically blowing it dry. Upgrading to Barbar totally changed my outlook. It’s powerful, relatively compact and basically cut my hair drying time in half, if not more.

    • Panasonic ones. My sister has this one – Panasonic Hair Dryer Nano-Care Pink Gold EH-NA59-PN (sold on Amazon), and it’s amazing.

  19. I like the color of this dress, but it’s several inches too short for me to feel comfortable wearing to work. Love the color though, and this would be perfect to wear for running errands on a Saturday.

  20. Managing Advice :

    I recently hired a mid-level lawyer under me who is great, except he uses “um/erm/uh” constantly. Like every other word constantly. Recently I counted, and in a three and a half minute conversation he said one of those words 32 times (and then I gave up counting). Apart from me being petty, I worry that he won’t be good at public speaking (we do a lot of training of business people) and that he doesn’t convey the level of confidence to our in house business clients that I would prefer. Do you have any suggestions on how I could delicately address this?

    • Does your organization have a contract with a consultant that will do a session with someone on public speaking, executive presentation, that sort of thing? That’s what you need here. And then you pitch it to him as “this kind of training is a perk that we provide to individuals in roles that require a lot of public speaking, we want to invest in your career, this is to prepare you for the next level, etc.” And you tell the consultant specifically what you’d like them to work with him on.

    • My firm hired a “coach” who specializes in public speaking, presentation skills and executive presence. Because that is her job, it was very palatable when she pointed out every issue. She even filmed us presenting and made us watch our cringe footage. Is this something your firm can do? Doesn’t have to be an external trainer, could be any colleague offering a “presentation skills” training.

      • Senior Attorney :

        My firm did this about a hundred years ago, and I still use some of the tips and tricks I learned. It’s a great idea for everybody, not just your problem child.

    • For some people, this is a nervous tic, and can be very hard to change. For that reason, I would hesitate to say anything unless you had a specialist who could address it head on. I have a friend with Tourette’s syndrome that is fairly well controlled that does this, and another who was a stutterer as a child and after years of therapy, this is what he is left with.

    • Be aware that this could be a speech impediment, which would worsen with the stress/ embarrassment of a superior complaining about it.

  21. Biglaw Anon :

    I’m buying my first designer bag ever (carried over reward from last year’s bonus + concluding a monster of a trial + 6-year-old Le Pliage has just fallen apart), and looking for something in black with gold hardware. I’d like it to be reasonably sized and somewhat practical.

    I’m currently considering a medium Balenciaga City or a Chloe Marcie, does anyone have any other recommendations in the $1 – 2k range?

    • how about the 3.1 Philip Lim Paschli bag? I’ve been told (here) that this was the IT bag several years ago but I bought it anyways because I loved the look of it so much. It’s held up well and it’s still pretty stylish I think. I have the black with gold hardware and still get tons of compliments on it. I have the medium and it’s a good size although if I was planning on using it for work/to carry papers, I would maybe consider the large size.

    • I’d go for Prada Galleria in saffiano leather with gold hardware


        • Gorgeous bag. Does it also come with a lifestyle that permits me to wear what appears to be a sweater, pink silk pajama shorts, and a birkenstock-croc hybrid sandal? :) I love how retailers style models sometimes. Where is she going….

          • I think they have a roulette challenge where they have to fit randomly selected items on a shoot

      • Biglaw Anon :

        Thank you! It’s actually a bit out of my budget, and I’d be paranoid about scratching up the saffiano leather.

      • I’d go for a Prada Saffrano tote or similar

        Keep in mind that there are Prada outlets with (usually) a reasonable-ish selection of bags if you are near an outlet center.

        Or Louis Vuitton.

        My designer bag mistake has been buying things I loved that ended up being dated after a few years so now they sit in my closet. I eventually started choosing a few well-made classic bags and that has served me much better.

        LV retains its value and has classic shapes (along with trendy shapes so consider that).

        Prada, Gucci, Dior, Chloe all get discounted at outlets and such so I don’t think they hold their value as well, if you care. That said, the quality of my Prada bags has been the best – far better than others.


    • Both are beautiful but keep in mind that both are heavy. If you’re used to a Le Pliage it may be heavier than you are comfortable carrying.

      • Anonymous :

        On this point ( I recommended Prada S above) I actually love my Goyard tote. You can get a momogram to add personality, its super light, holds a ton, and has been surprising durable – you can just wipe off spills, it’s water resistant due to coating.

        It may be headed towards dated, but I’m hoping it falls at least partially into classic because it is my favorite bag ever and the others languish unused in my closet.

        • Anonymous :

          I really dislike that tote, and would never use it for work, as a professional. Anything with labels everywhere like that screams look at me/trying too hard.

          In my area, it is ladies who lunch, rich Mom diaper bag, and the Other Woman.

          Not professional.

          Am I too harsh? Probably….

    • I have a Tod’s tote bag that I really like.

  22. Just wanted to share an article about New Zealand’s prime minister going on maternity leave (link to follow)


    • Along these lines, I’ve been reading about Senator Duckworth bringing her newborn to the senate floor to vote and how a special rule had to be created and while I’m all for workplace accommodations and think it’s great that the senate could do something bipartisan quickly, what am I missing that makes this necessary? How long does it take to vote – genuine question? My understanding is that this was framed as a nursing issue but this seems fairly easy to plan around (I’m currently nursing my second and have yet to need to bring him into a courtroom with me). Is this largely symbolic? I’m genuinely curious and think maybe I am missing something here.

      • Yes, symbolic. She could have easily leave her child with a caregiver off the floor for the length of a vote.

        • Yes, symbolic, but also there is a bigger issue is that there is no official maternity leave for the Senate (as in the Senators, though there are policies for those in their offices) and illuminates the fact that Senators have to be physically present on the floor to vote, meaning that she can’t really take leave and vote (especially because to qualify for FMLA, you can’t just take three days off, then come in for a day, then another three off, etc. as has been discussed here a lot). This means, too, that if you are taking leave for other non-pregnancy medical reasons, you can’t vote, like Sen. McCain. So she is taking leave where she can (baby was only 10 days old) but still sort of working and voting. This particular vote was symbolic to show how many workplaces have not thought these things out. The very fact that this was a quick vote also means that she could just pop in with the baby to vote, so it’s not like she was running a daycare center on the Senate floor – her other daughter wasn’t there. These jobs have term limits and have different expectations and objectives from our normal 9-5 jobs and I think these women do their best to make it work between serving their civic duty to their voters who elected them to represent them and being a mother to a newborn. (See the Italian woman from a few years ago in the EU Parliament who had her baby attached to her for a vote.)

      • Anonymous :

        She was forbidden from leaving the child with any of her staff, so it was either child + Senator or no child and no Senator.

        • Can you explain how she was forbidden to leave her child with staff? I honestly don’t understand. I recognize that daycare is not part of the staff’s job, but Senate staffers do all sorts of things that fall outside of typical duties, and watching a baby for 5 minutes while she votes doesn’t seem like something that should be forbidden.

        • Or god forbid a baby sitter.

  23. Standing desk :

    Hi all,

    Has anyone used a standing desk? Do you love it? Do you have any recommendations for a table top standing desk for my regular office desk (if such a thing exists) where I can put my double monitors on top and it can move in standing and sitting position?


    • Someone in my office uses a Varidesk I think and seems happy with it.

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        Several people in my office have them and keep recommending them to newer people who want standing desks.

      • I have a varidesk pro with two 22 plus inch monitors on it. I stand only when my back is bothering me – usually I need to sit to focus. Not sure what you mean by move in standing and sitting – the desk is stationary, it just lifts up and down (spring assisted).

    • Varidesk makes a contraption like what you describe, but I didn’t like it when I tried it. I found it cluttered my workspace. I sold it and bought an adjustable UpDesk instead and it’s freaking great, but my coworker got the Ikea one and I wish I’d just gotten that one. It’s considerably cheaper for only a small difference in quality.

    • At my old firm we all had desks where you would push a button and the whole desk came up. My new firm does not have that and I have a Varied desk thing that is on top of my desk and basically raises up my two monitors, keyboard, and mouse pad and that’s all it fits. Which is great when I can don’t need to be drafting revised documents or incorporating comments. The whole desk moving up is preferable for me because i’m often looking at lots of papers or large surveys (like 3’x5′) and there’s no room for them on the standing desk.

      If you get a standing desk of whatever variety, I also suggest you get an anti-fatigue cushy mat thing to stand on.

    • I used to have a varidesk table top contraption at work and rarely used it because it was an older version and the eye-monitor height was not ideal. Some colleagues have a newer version of the tabletop desk with a monitor arm that they seem to like. I recently got a standing desk for my home office and absolutely love it. I find myself standing almost all day. I bought it from

    • I have GeekDesk and couldn’t love it more! Definitely get a squishy kitchen mat as well.

    • I have one by Human Scale which fits two of my monitors. I find it helpful when researching documents to use it standing up, and when I’m doing other things that require more brain power like drafting documents to sit down. Generally, I try to alternate every half hour between standing and sitting. It definitely makes a difference compared to days when I’ve been lazy and just sitting the whole time. I do have colleagues who end up just sitting down all the time anyway, which is basically what happens to me when I’m feeling lazy. However, whenever I have my doors open, it acts as a trigger for me to use it standing up because then I feel like others who pass by my office will judge me for getting one and not using it.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Does your office pay for the upgrade to standing desk/varidesk? I want one bad, but not $500 out of my own pocket bad.

  24. Does anyone have a good, straightforward chocolate cake/cupcake recipe? It’s for my kid’s birthday party on Sunday. I’m a good baker, but none of my cookbooks have just “normal” chocolate cake, and I don’t want to weed through online recipes.

    • Smitten Kitchen’s “I Want Chocolate Cake” Cake

    • Try the Smitten Kitchen’s “I want chocolate cake” cake.

    • I have used this for years and it’s extremely easy. Also there’s no butter and you can substitute nondairy milk if anyone has a dairy allergy or avoidance.

      • Away Game :

        THIS ONE is perfect. Hershey’s FTW. It is my go-to chocolate cake recipe and beats all the other fancy ones I’ve tried.

    • My mom always just used the one on the box and they were perfectly delicious…

    • I bake chocolate cake for kids’ birthdays at least 3 times per year. It’s their favorite and has been forever. I use this recipe
      And it’s awesome. Dead easy, one bowl, no softening of butter required, almost as fast as a mix, and super super yummy. I’ve tried a few other recipes and always come back to this one because it’s just that good.

  25. nylon girl :

    I vote for wacky cake. no butter, no eggs, one bowl. super easy and you can double it to make a 9×13.

    • I make this one too but for some reason we call it Amazon cake. I think it’s also known as Depression cake since no butter or eggs. It comes out great.

    • Yes! This one is delicious! My vintage cookbook calls it Wowee Cake :)

  26. HELLO Ally McBeal! This pic has to be based on that show, even the model looks like her.

  27. Has anyone tried cubii? Would be interested in reviews. Thanks!

  28. Lyme Disease? :

    I saw a comment yesterday about lyme disease in Acadia National Park. Is this a real problem I should be aware of, or fear-mongering? Are people avoiding the park because of this?

    • It’s quite possible Acadia now has Lyme Disease (I don’t actually know one way or the other), but that’s no reason to avoid the park! I’m from New England where Lyme Disease is quite prevalent and rather than never go outside, just take reasonable precautions. Wear long pants and shoes with socks, use insect repellent that can repel ticks, and do a thorough check for ticks when you get out of the woods and you should be fine.

      On the off chance that you do end up getting it, it’s pretty manageable as long as you catch it early. I have a dozen or so friends/relatives who’ve gotten Lyme and everyone who got on antibiotics within a couple days is fine. The long-term effects generally occur when it goes untreated.

    • Have a long reply in mod–short version, no need to avoid the park for this reason.

  29. If anyone is still reading the comments on this, I got this dress thinking it would work since I’m only 5’6″, but it was just as short as it looks – waaaaaay too short for me, even for the weekend.

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