Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Portfolio Dress

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

We’ve featured J.Crew’s best-selling Portfolio dress before, I’m sure, but something about this deep berry color is calling to me — lovely. For springtime I’d pair it with white and pink accents, or pale blue. (The dress is also available in black and “misty twilight,” sort of a cornflower blue.) It has great reviews and is $148 in classic (000–16), petite (00–12), and tall (2–16) sizes. Portfolio Dress

Here’s a plus-size sheath dress in almost exactly the same color.

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Comments

  1. Paging TeenMom Dress person :

    There’s a wrapdress on the modcloth website that might be close to the lines you are looking for.

  2. Anonymous :

    This is my absolute favorite dress. I have it in four colors, including this one which is totally beautiful in person.

    • Just got this dress, mine is more ‘raspberry’ than the red this reads as on the screen. I will probably keep it but I don’t think it’s my favorite.

  3. Housecounsel :

    J. Crew dresses make my life easier.

    May I request some help from the hive? I was recently promoted (yayyyyy)! One of my new tasks is participating in weekly conference calls with a group of execs in which we discuss important items on an agenda. It’s kind of awkward; there are about a dozen of us, mostly at the same level, and people are always starting to talk over each other and there are so many “no, please go aheads,” etc. Some people seem to dominate the conversations and others seem to talk for the sake of hearing their own voices. I feel like I can’t get a word in edgewise. I’ve never had this problem in face-to-face meetings. Does anyone have any advice for figuring out the right amount to contribute and how to interject? My boss, who is also on these calls, has suggested that I need to speak up more – but I don’t want to be THAT person who talks just to talk. Thanks in advance.

    • I often interject with “Hi, this is [name]. I wanted to say/add/suggest, etc” and if someone talks over me, I just keep doing that until I have a chance to speak. I feel like the “hi, this is [name]” bit gives people a second to stop talking if they started at the same time. If interrupting gets to be a problem, I’d just keep going and if someone says “please go ahead,” I’ll say “thanks” rather than “no, you go ahead.”

      • Agreed, you need to interject and not apologize. Also, is anyone chairing these meetings? They should help control the flow of discussion.

    • If you know the agenda ahead of time, identify a couple topics for each call that you have something definitive to add and jot down short notes on what you want to say. Having that ahead of time will help during what sounds like a chaotic call and should prevent the feeling of “talking just to talk”. Agree with the suggestions above on how to break into the conversation to make one of your points.

  4. How do you keep your spirits up when you feel like life keeps shitting on you? We found out last night that our beloved golden retriever has an aggressive oral cancer that can’t be treated, so he has only months to live at best. It has been an especially rough 1.5 years for me – my cherished grandparents passed away within 2 weeks of each other; my favorite aunt was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer thr same month, went into remission, and we just learned that it has returned and metastasized; and my cat passed away after prolonged illness. Now this. I feel like the hits just keep coming.

    • Sorry you are going through this. Sometimes life is just like that but good things will follow. I had a year where my mother died of cancer, my dog died, my long-term boyfriend dumped me, and I was fired from a job I loved. I would wake up at night and just weep for hours. Fast forward 2 years later and I had a year where I met a wonderful man, got married, finished my graduate degree and got a fantastic job. The years following have been wonderful. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, get professional help if you can’t do that, and remember “This too shall pass”.

      • I agree. You will have good years and bad years and you have to take the good with the bad. I can’t tell you how many times I could NOT figure out WHY a girl like me, pretty, educated and admitted to the bar, can NOT find a decent boyfreind, let alone get married to one. I also had years where I worked in [email protected] jobs where men constantly pawed at me and grabbed my tuchus, but I needed the paycheck. It was all I could do NOT to cry. But then after 7 lean year’s, I am now in the middle of a stretch of some good years, which I hope will lead to marrage and kid’s. I made partner, and am working my tush off, but I think I am in line for the manageing partner’s job when he retires, since I am the #1 biller in the firm for 3 years now! I hope I can find a guy who will not hold my larger tuchus against me, as the women in the fashion industry have totally non-existant tuchusses (other then the Kardashians — who have tuchuses like mine). But I just role with the punches, and I am goeing to get ahead and MARRIED if I am lucky! YAY!!!!

    • These times are so hard, and often you will find that few of your friends/support network can relate. They say things like this happen to everyone, at some point, but when you are young you realize how difficult it can be when you “are the first”. It is incredibly isolating, and depression is common.

      Finding someone you can vent to is so important. Sometimes it is a friend, sometimes it is a family member and sometimes you need a support group and sometimes professional help is the best. Venting to the “wrong people”, like friends who can’t relate/empathize can be very very depressing and can destroy friendships. You learn who your real friends are…. and also realize that sometimes you have to compartmentalize with some people when they can’t handle it.

      Keeping spirits up is easier when you have the venting space. Only once I had that, could I start enjoying the little things again, and those are what kept me going. A walk outside in the sun, a favorite food, a tasty drink, a frivolous TV show, doing something special that you enjoy just for pleasure. Even one chocolate donut a week that I looked forward to helped.

      And when I was surrounded by illness and death in my family, I found little solace from my peers. My greatest relief came when spending time with older people, and volunteering for hospice. I’m sure your local nursing home/facility would love to see your young face, visiting lonely seniors with your sweet puppy.

    • In-House in Houston :

      I’m sorry you’re going through this. I don’t have any words of wisdom, but wanted to share with you that my beloved dog was diagnosed with Lymphoma last April and she was given 4-6 weeks to live. She lasted until January 30, well past the 4-6 weeks. So, spend as much time as you can with your dog and take a lot of photos and videos. It’s the worst thing in the world, and I still miss her so much. But hopefully you’ll have more time than you think with her. Sending hugs….

  5. Anonymous :

    Reassurance please. I was invited to be part of a group meeting, with another department which I was very excited about. Unfortunately, it was rescheduled due to weather, to a day where I’m out of town. I don’t have enough clout to have it rescheduled on my account but I’m so bummed. I can’t cancel my trip because I’m taking my young child to visit an elderly relative who is so excited he.wont.stop.texing.me. I feel like I just sabotaged my one chance to shine. I’m feeling awful about it.

    • There will be other meetings. Careers are long and I’ve never heard of a single meeting that made someone’s career. Your elderly relative won’t be here forever and your kid won’t be young forever either. This is where helps to have a life philosophy that keeps you focused on the things that are most important to you.

      • I find this useful – I don’t want to have any of these regrets one day: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/01/top-five-regrets-of-the-dying

      • I love this. I am a young attorney (31 years old, 5 years out of law school) and have little kids. I remind myself of this all the time when I feel like I am losing perspective.

      • +10000000000

    • Can you request a dial-in?

  6. Anonymous :

    I’m negotiating going off of partnership track at my big law firm. Do y’all have an opinion on which title I should request? Counsel, of counsel, senior counsel, etc.

    • Does your firm offer all of these currently and do you have a choice? IME, counsel and of counsel are essentially the same thing. Senior counsel can either be for partners who are stepping down from equity/ just about to retire, or, the promotion option for people who had been counsel for a while and were killing it. Poeple didn’t go from associate directly to senior counsel at that firm.
      I think the more important thing is the compensation structure and what happens if you meet or don’t meet your goals.

    • BabyAssociate :

      I imagine this largely varies by firm. At my firm a “Senior Counsel” is a partner who has now largely retired and what you’re describing is “Of Counsel.”

      • At my firm, it’s the reverse. Of counsel are more like friends of the firm who do practically nothing and senior counsel is fairly commonly used by practicing attorneys who have been around longer than associates, but aren’t partners. We are Big Law, but not of the strictly up-or-out variety.

        • BabyAssociate :

          I recently interviewed somewhere that has “Counsel” as part of the partnership path, as in Associate > Counsel > Partner. Interesting how it varies so much.

          • At my firm, counsel is confusingly both part of partnership path, and also for partners who step down from equity.

    • What titles does your firm typically use for people in off-track roles? I wouldn’t ask for senior counsel because I most often see that for attorneys who are semi-retired. I’m also aware of firms that seem to make a distinction between “counsel” and “of counsel,” so I would probably try to find out where your particular firm stands on that.

      • We don’t have enough people in that role to have a default. I know, I know, that is a bad sign, but my particular circumstances mean I just need to hang out at my firm for a year or two.

        • Understandable, in those circumstances. I’ve also seen the title “Senior Attorney,” which seems to be for associates who have attained a certain level of seniority but aren’t on partner track. In your shoes, I’d try to negotiate for some type of counsel title, just because I think “counsel” sounds better.

    • I agree completely that you should be worrying less about your title and more about your comp/bonus/milestones/professional development. Title is easy–the other stuff is hard, and you should lean in and ask that these things be codified before you get screwed.

  7. Expensive shoes :

    I am debating splurging on Ferragamo Varina flats. How well do they hold up?

  8. Adult/Life question :

    A friend mentioned that some “return to sender” mail is just thrown away at post offices. I’m curious if this is true? I return bulk marketing mail addressed to previous residents and have been wondering why it doesn’t seem to stop…

    • Anonymous :

      I started writing “Return to Sender/ Addressee moved 3 years ago” and that seems to help? Maybe less likely to just get tossed.

      I had a couple ones where it looked like important info (government) so I made a point of calling the office on the return label and said please stop sending stuff for old homeowner and it stopped.

    • I work in nonprofits and return mail definitely comes back to us.

    • I used to work at a university doing a lot of mailing (not alumni/fundraising, actual relevant mail for staff) and we definitely received back mail marked return to sender. (In Canada.)

    • For junk mail, you’ll notice in fine print that it’s normally addressed to Name or Current Resident. The post office has no obligation to not deliver those to you, even if you RTS.

      For junky catalogs, I’ve actually called the company pretending to be that person and asked to be taken off their mailing list. (Cute catalogs I’m happy to have come ;) But the really obscure ones – like ’80s swimwear – I definitely cancel.)

      • Yeah – I don’t think you’re going to get out of the junky bulk mail. They just send to all addresses in the book. Just recycle and call it done.

    • There was just a whole thing in the NYT about how to get rid of unwanted mail, including mail to former residents.

      • Adult/Life question :

        Just looked this up. It has an interesting recommendation of crossing out bar codes, so I’ll definitely try that!

    • I actually call the company if it keeps coming, and take the name/address off the mailing list. Only thing that has worked for us.

    • I’ve received undeliverable letters. The Post Office puts a yellow sticker on them and returns to sender. These are letters specifically addressed to individuals.

  9. Anonymous :

    I’m thinking about taking the plunge and buying Rothy’s in plain black… has anyone tried them?

    • Anonymous :

      I have the plain black pointed toe ones. I love them. I wear them to court and out on the weekends. They’re pretty much the perfect shoe.

    • I tried the pointy toe Rothy’s but they did not work with my feet – I have a narrow heel and wide forefoot. The size six was too snug in the toes, but 6.5 kept slipping off my heels. I really wanted to like them, but they just didn’t work for me. Cap Hill Style/Work Edit and Wardrobe Oxygen have posted more detailed reviews about them.

      • I had the same issue.

        FWIW I don’t usually need to buy a wide size to accommodate my wide forefoot, I just know certain brands run narrow and I can’t wear them. I found Rothy’s is one of them.

    • I have a purple point-toe. They are super comfy, but they got super smelly (I walked in them a lot, and mostly outside; they were my canvassing shoes last summer). I washed them before putting them away for the winter, in a well-aired location, and am hoping they will be okay to wear again this year. They have no visible wear though, even after putting probably 50+ miles of walking on them.

      • + 1

        They get very smelly so I refuse to wear them in the summer. I wear them sometimes in the winter only when I am wearing thick tights. I agree that they are very cute and stylish and reasonably comfy, but the smell is an issue they need to address. Washing them doesn’t get rid of the smell either.

      • Ah, this is the main reason I’d get them: everyday shoe that I don’t need to worry about because I can wash them. But if they get super smelly, that defeats the purpose and I’ll stick to buying cheaper flats :(

        • In-House in Houston :

          This! That’s why I returned them. They are not cheap and if they smell, gross! I’d rather buy a cheaper pair that I can just throw away if they started to smell.

          • Wow, you’d rather just throw things away then get a pair DESIGNED to be washed and worn over and over again?

          • Anonymous :

            Wow, the comments above clearly state that washing them doesn’t get rid of the smell.

        • They wash very easily and dry quickly. I put different insoles in mine that aren’t washable, so while the shoes are in the wash I just spritz the insoles with Oxyclean and set them in the sun. Neither the shoes nor the insoles retain odors after washing!

          Can you tell I’ve graduated to two pairs of Rothys? Phenomenal shoes.

          • I have a wide forefoot and narrow heel and the pointed toe shape does not work for me, but the round toe does in a half size up from my usual. They do make my feet a little sweaty, but I have had success with machine washing them. Amazingly, they do look good enough for my business and casual clothes, and I would buy them again. If I primarily wore closed toed flats in the summer, they probably wouldn’t be my first choice though.

      • I have four (!!) pair of the pointy toe flats because they are extremely comfy, don’t pinch or rub on my bunions and still manage to look professional. I have problem feet and these work for me. The stink is an issue but I’ve found washing both the shoe and insert helps, airing them out helps and not wearing them without a sock liner or tights helps. I also saw Rothy’s sells replacement insoles on their website which might be an option too (most of the stink is in the insole). Hope this helps!!

    • Yes. Bought red flat pointy toes, they do smell now, I haven’t gotten around to washing yet but I will.

      I liked them so much I bought a second pair, kind of a gray with sparkly dots — those I’ve kept under my desk for a backup office shoe.

      I think I’m gonna end up with several more pairs.

    • I’m the dissenter. I have the purple pointy toe Rothy’s and they’re very cute. The toes don’t pinch, like some pointed toes might, but they are somehow shallow or short – the shoes tend to rub the top of my toes. So I can’t wear them for tons of walking, which was the idea. A half size up might or not help this, I haven’t been willing to pull the trigger on a new pair.

    • Add me to the list of Rothy Converts. I ordered an extra pair of insoles and alternate them with each use. I spritz the unused insole with 1 part vodka, 1 part water in between wearings.

      I wash mine with Hex performance detergent if they still become stinky and they come out stink free without fail.

  10. Anonymous :

    My BFF is pregnant! I’m over the moon for her and her husband. They live a flight away from me (I’m on the east coast they’re in Houston) and not being there is driving me bonkers. I want to send ALL THE FLOWERS AND HEARTFELT CARDS! EVERY DAY FOR THE NEXT 7 MONTHS! Please help me channel this energy into something useful.

    What can I do before the baby comes? I’d like to send a gift just for mom – is a subscription to a makeup box too weird? I also suggested planning a spa weekend for just the two of us and she loved the idea. Any recommendations for luxurious things to do around Houston? Her mom is planning the shower… which I may or may not be able to attend depending on when and where it is.

    • That’s great! I wouldn’t do a make-up box subscription right now because many women (wisely) change or cut down on their make-up routines while pregnant to avoid exposure to phthalates and parabens. Why not try to do a girls’ trip instead?

      • I’m pregnant right now and I signed up for a makeup box and LOVE IT. I get ipsy (which is more makeup focused), FWIW. And while I did change my skincare routine, I did not choose to avoid exposure to phthalates and parabens.

        I’m not really a makeup person, but there’s something very relaxing about the inconsequential silliness of getting my monthly box. There are SO MANY BIG SCARY THINGS that can happen, that it’s nice to distract myself and think about my sparkly new eye shadow instead.

    • KateMiddletown :

      they have specific subscription boxes just for pregnancy, so if you go that route look up some of those!

    • Cosabella makes a lovely pregnancy PJ set with robe. To the kind of thing I wouldn’t have indulged in fir myself but would have loved to receive.

    • My BFF sent me the Baby Bargains Book and it was a lifesaver.

      • +1
        Also the pajama set on Kindred Bravely has been really nice. It doubles later as a nursing pj set. One friend sent me the bump box, another the Baby Bargains book, another has some machine that makes tees and onesies and has been making and buying things for me. I think her plan is to buy what she sees and likes, which helps with her excitement, and to give to me in a lump sum for a shower type gift. A spa day is nice but be aware that prenatal massages are very light. depending on when you visit and the hear, a lot of walking could be miserable for her. I recently did a girls weekend with friends and we shopped, went out to eat, chatted, and went to the pool. It was wonderful and relaxing. All of the excitement and support from my friends has been really phenomenal. We didnt have an easy time getting and staying pregnant and their support has been wonderful.

    • Spa Day at the Houstonian

    • For Houston, here are some ideas:

      1) High tea at Kiran’s (upscale Indian place with high tea on the weekends) – it’s gorgeous and indulgent and lovely
      2) The Houstonian and the spa at the Four Seasons downtown are what I’d recommend if you really want to do it up right. I’ve also heard really good things about Milk + Honey.
      3) Brunch at Brennan’s, a really nice old-school white tablecloth restaurant with New Orleans cuisine. Order the bananas foster no matter what meal you go for, and there’s a dress code so be forewarned.
      4) Macaroons at Tout Suite just east of downtown, or fancy pastries and coffee at Common Bond in Montrose
      5) Tiny Boxwoods for a meal, or just for their chocolate chip cookies, which are to die for
      6) Book a room at the new Marriott Marquis downtown and float in the Texas-shaped lazy river or their rooftop infinity pool.
      7) We have an amazing arts and culture scene which people from other cities don’t realize – the most seats in our theater district of any US city outside NYC. Check out the schedules for the Houston Grand Opera, the Houston Ballet, the Houston Symphony, the Hobby Center (touring Broadway), and the Alley (plays), as well as what exhibitions might be at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.
      8) A relaxing walk in the McGovern Centennial Gardens at Hermann Park.
      9) The Chocolate Bar in Rice Village – enough said

    • Aww – you sound like such a good friend!

      I’m a former east coaster, currently pregnant and live in Houston. I haven’t had one there yet, but I’ve heard the Motherhood Center has a good prenatal massage. They also have prenatal yoga and pilates and you can get gift certificates. Classes there are a bit pricey, so it could be a nice treat for her. Otherwise would echo the Houstonian or Milk & Honey for a prenatal massage.

      There are maternity subscription boxes that come with creams and lotions and other stuff. i personally do not receive one, but my friend did and she gave me her extra stuff, which I’m currently enjoying.

      I’ve been very nauseous throughout my pregnancy so food related gifts/experience would not be good for me at all. For once she has the baby, some good ideas for gifts that are helpful to mom instead of just for baby are a year of grocery delivery, a gift card to Snap Kitchen or a gift card to Uber eats.

  11. Question for those of you with more experience with babies than I have (so, any experience, really). I’m planning to visit one of my best friends when her baby is about 3 months old (baby isn’t here yet, I’m just a planner). She’s the first friend of mine to have a kid, so I have no experience with this, but I want to be as helpful as possible while I’m there. I’ll be there for a week, staying in an Airbnb close by, and she’ll still be on her maternity leave. What sort of things would be helpful for me to do while I’m there? Anything I should avoid? Any suggestions for gifts (for mom and baby)?

    For context, my friend lives in a different country, with no family close by (though she’s planning on staying with her parents in their country for the first month). She also hadn’t lived there that long before she got pregnant, so she doesn’t really have a support system there besides her husband. I am an experienced traveler, but have never been to this country before, and am a mediocre speaker of the language so I can’t do any types of errands that would involve complex communication.

    • Do laundry, clean, get groceries, hold the baby so she can nap, don’t make her wait on you.

      • These are all great ideas. One sort of caveat – be insistent about helping. I have a tendency to just say no to people who offer help so saying ‘hey let me know what I can do’ or ‘want to go take a nap’ doesn’t get far. I need someone to really say ‘ok, I’m taking the baby and you go nap for an hour’ or ‘I’m doing X, please don’t stop me.’

        Also, two other ideas: offer to stay with the baby so your friend and husband can go out for a date (insist that you don’t want to go with them if they feel like they should be entertaining you) and take baby for walks outside if that works logistically so your friend can unwind or get stuff done in the house.

        • One more: if she pumps and you both feel comfortable with this, ask her to give you some milk for the night and take over feeding baby. My mom did this for me a few times and getting even 5-6 hours of uninterrupted sleep where I wasn’t listening for baby to wake up was amazingly restorative.

          • Or even do formula if she’s comfortable with it. I just had my first baby and am now exclusively nursing but I had a rough delivery and didn’t sleep in the hospital because I was in pain and constantly being woke up to breastfeed. I came home an absolute zombie having not slept in 72 hours and my mom took one look at me and decided she and DH would give formula at night for a few days so I could sleep and recover. I nursed 10+ times per day during the daytime but slept 8-10 hours straight at night. A month later, we’re exclusively nursing even at night so it didn’t kill my supply and I’m a big believer in supplementing with formula even if the lactation consultants would be horrified.

          • Delta Dawn :

            Agree with all of this, and even if she doesn’t want to delegate feeding (she may feel like she needs to nurse rather than you give a bottle), you can take the baby as soon as she is done nursing and let her go straight to sleep. An instant handoff will maximize the time that she can sleep before baby needs to eat again.

            A 3 month old will eat approximately every three hours or so during the day. So if mom feeds baby at 8:00 am, she could hand baby to you at 8:30 or so and go take a nap until the next feeding at 11:00. This saves mom a lot of time and lets her get a solid nap.

            You mentioned you haven’t been around babies a lot, so you may wonder what to do with baby while mom is napping. Check with your friend to see what her baby is used to, but a typical example for a 3 month old might be eat at 8:00, finish eating around 8:30, change diaper, “play” (this can be baby on floor on a blanket and you talking to baby, showing him a ball or rattle for him to grasp, etc), and then baby may go down for his own nap at 9:30 or so, then wake up when he’s hungry around 11. But your goal would be to let mom sleep as long as possible in between feedings. You’re basically buying her an extra hour– which is invaluable and amazing when you have a 3 month old!

        • Lana Del Raygun :

          Yes, this is an important point! Parents feel a lot of pressure to be “on” all the time, and anyway when you’re really tired you can’t always tell how tired you are and how much help you need until someone makes you accept it. :)

      • anonshmanon :

        I did this when my BFF had a two month old and we had a great time. It obviously depends on your relationship, but back then I just would go and empty the dishwasher/plan and cook dinner/vacuum when she was running an errand, without asking for her input. And lots of holding the baby, so she could shower and have a coffee. Part of the benefit of your visit is also that she has company. Being at home with a baby for weeks and weeks (in many countries the staying at home starts weeks before birth) is pretty isolating and plain boring. So just by being there you are helpful!

    • Use your visit to encourage her to get out and find her support system. Since you haven’t visit her country before, you can go for walks to see some of the sights. Maybe go out for a drink in the evening when her DH can stay with the baby. Is there a class/activity or hobby you share? Maybe you could participate in that together at new location. I was feeling pretty housebound at 3 months and would have loved to have a friend to do stuff with.

    • Helping around the house would be great if she is comfortable with that. Always come over with food/a plan for food, don’t make her “host” you. Wait to plan anything fun until the date is closer. She may be itching to get out of the house at that point (so going to baby friendly shops, cafes, etc. would be really fun) or she may be so tired that she can’t see straight (so holding the baby while she showers/naps and then hanging out on the couch may be all she’s up for). It’s just so hard to know until you’re in that spot.

    • Anon in NYC :

      In addition to all of the recommendations to insist on helping around the house, and forcing a date night for her and her husband, honestly, she’s going to be so relieved to have you there. Socialization! Familiar face! Best friend! Get her out of the house, go to cafes/parks, spend lots of time inside the house, be very go-with-the-flow in terms of scheduling because she’ll have to accommodate naps, etc. I really think this is one of those scenarios where you just being there is going to mean the world to her.

      • you are an amazing friend!!

      • that’s what I was going to say! i’m currently pregnant and live far from family and close friends and it is so nice that you are taking a week out of your life to go and help her!

    • Honestly, those are all good suggestions above, but I would take my cues from her. By three months old, my LOs both slept through the night the majority of the time and I felt like a pretty normal human being 80+% of the time. I probably would have wanted to socialize, go shopping, go on walks pushing the stroller, sit at a coffee shop and chat – basically feel like a normal person during the day, which is sometimes hard when you’re on leave because all my friends worked. I honestly would not have needed someone forcing me to nap or do my laundry – I would have felt weird by 3 months with that.

      One other suggestion – offer to watch the baby some evening so she and her husband/SO can get a drink or go to dinner. At 3 months, I still was not comfortable hiring a sitter, but I would leave my little one with relatives and it made such a HUGE difference. Or take her out yourself for a wine night and leave the LO with her SO. That would be awesome too.

      • +1. When Baby was 2 months old, some relatives offered to watch him while DH and I went out. It might have been the first time I put on lipstick. DH and I just went to the closest restaurant, within walking distance, and had a drink and heavy appetizers at the bar, but it was nice.

    • You are an awesome friend.

      (1) Do some geographic research ahead of time. Locate one or more stores that sell food and baby stuff for the inevitable moment that some unforeseen and suddenly critical errand presents itself. Locate a restaurant that delivers or at least does take out. Locate some fun things to do.

      (2) Cook/freeze one or two of your friend’s favorite dishes for after you leave.

      (3) If there is something she wants that is hard to get in her country that is easy to get in your country, bring her some.

    • A little late to reply, but all the suggestions above are great.

      Time to brush up on your kids lullabies and songs – singing is great for babies. I visited my sister when baby #2 was around 3-months and helped with feeding by bottle, prepping the baby bag when going out (remembering things like diapers, wipes, butt cream, 1-2 back up outfits, burp cloths, bottles/formula/etc., a thermos of hot/warm water for mom, mom’s cell and wallet, and tissues).

      General light help around the house is probably helpful.

      I think another thing that’s helpful is to help when baby needs to get changed when you’re out and about (helps to have someone hand you wipes, etc.). Also helpful to have someone in the backseat playing with baby if baby is fussy in the car. See above re singing.

      Things I remembered to prepare for when I went to visit for 2nd baby that I forgot about with the first – I’d avoid wearing jewelry, as babies can be grabby. If you wear glasses but have contacts, I’d go with contacts. For some reason, 3-month olds love grabbing glasses. I also avoided taking pictures with flash.

      Stuff to do with mom and baby – go out and shop, hang out in a coffee for afternoon tea, etc.

  12. Friendship woes :

    If you had a friend who fairly often ignored what you said in favor of her own life, would you say something or just pull away? My friend has always been self-absorbed (by her own admission) and since we are long-distance now, we mostly text (every day) and talk on the phone 1-2x a week. A conversation will often go like this where I share something from my life and then hear something more dramatic/important from hers (even when I’ve shared something important):

    Me: Wow, I just heard that my boss wants me to go on the trip to ___.
    Her: Omg [fiance] just did something so terrible….[insert long paragraph].

    The alternative is that I’ll share something actually important and get something like this:
    Me: I just heard from the doctor that it’s going to take at least six months to heal.
    Her: Omg, that’s awful! We can get back to that in a sec but can I tell you something about my colleague first…[we never get back to my topic].

    I’m not sure how to deal with this. She knows she’s self-absorbed, has acknowledged it many times, sometimes makes a half-hearted effort to ask me more about my life, and then nothing changes. I’m really tired of getting no response or “that’s nice” to whatever I say, so I’ve mostly just been going the petty road and ignoring what she texts back for as long as I reasonably can. I don’t want to be that person. Should I bring it up again or just focus on other friendships and not specifically say something since it’s unlikely to result in anything different?

    • Honestly, if that were me and those were the responses I was getting, I’d stop sharing those things with this friend entirely. I don’t have high confidence that she’ll re-order her priorities for you any time soon. Grieve that level of friendship, but find someone who responds appropriately.

    • I have a friend like this except she’s great about listening to my complaints too. We have a rule – if you complain about something for x minutes then you have to listen to me complain about something for x minutes. It helps us both keep our complaints in check because we’re watching the clock. Of course this is over phone not text… maybe you can transition her to talking on the phone?

      • Responding to my own comment – it’s not petty to not respond to a complainy text until you feel like dealing with it. I’m an old millennial and I despise this notion that a text must be answered immediately. The whole point of texting is that it’ll still be there in an hour! Or 6! Or whenever I get to it!

        • Ha, yes! I feel the same way. It’s like a little postcard. Just because we technologically can reply from anywhere, anytime, doesn’t mean I have any obligation or desire to (….I’m looking at you, mom and dad! cell phone =/= tracking device, especially with adult kids)

        • Yuuuuuup to all that, especially the expectation of an immediate answer (I don’t want to be surgically attached to my phone!) and except for the age bit (late gen X here.)

    • I’m actually shocked that you communicate so often (this is a lot…) with a long distance friend that behaves like this. Why are you still friends with her? Is this an old friendship from childhood/college etc…? Maybe it is finally time to let it go.

      We often have friends at younger ages that aren’t a good fit, and we stick with them out of habit. Why are you friends with her? Is it time to move on?

      You are not going to change her. This is her personality. I have “friends” like this, but these are folks I communicate with… maybe once or twice a year? Or maybe have lunch with if I am in their city. But would never communicate with them daily. Sounds like self-inflicted torture….

      • Yup

      • Friend woes :

        Yes, it’s a lifelong friend – since birth! I have been wanting to pull back for a long time, but at the same time, there is something so nice about having a friend who knows everything about you. It hasn’t been great for the last few years (obviously to the point where I’m posting this question), but it’s kind of hard to let go of the good memories too.

        • You don’t have to let the memories go.

        • She obviously doesn’t know everything about you since she doesn’t listen to you. You can safely put her into the category of “old friend” and pull back to that level because that is what she is. Maybe she’d listen a bit more if you let time in between your interactions for something to happen as well.

    • You’re not going to change her, so make your decision based on that fact.

      • Friend woes :

        I think you’re right. I keep hoping that the next conversation will be different and it never is.

        • +1. My closest friend and I have become like this over the past year or so and it is just exhausting. We live a few hours away but talk/text at least once a week, usually more. I have become her free therapist and the more complicated my own life gets, the less I am willing to do this. I have been working very hard this year to stop giving her advice or suggesting ways to improve the various things she complains about. I have been wanting to do this for a long time but I have a small circle of friends and was afraid to let go of someone I have been so close to. But she never tries to change her circumstances and is extremely jealous, negative, and insecure. I reached my breaking point last year and decided to start putting some boundaries and distance in place this year. I have also started cultivating a closer friendship with someone else who is in my inner circle but has not been as close as this friend.

          • Friend woes :

            This describes my situation exactly. Part of it is being sad to potentially lose a close friend when I don’t have that many on that level. It’s so rough!

    • I have a friend like this. I haven’t cut her out of life, because she has other qualities that I really love, and not having her in my life at all would make me sad. But I have dialed our relationship down to the point where we only meet up once or twice a year. That way, when we catch-up, I am genuinely excited to find out what’s going on in her life and it doesn’t smart if she doesn’t listen to what’s going on in mine. But I really think it is impossible to be super close to someone who treats you like this.

  13. Looking for a good recommendation for a powder spf. I have one from colorscience that comes out through a brush, but I’m hoping to find one that I use with a separate brush.

    • Obviously you want a different format thus the recommendation, but, how do you like the Colorscience one? It was recommended to me by my derm, hadn’t heard of it.

      • To be honest, I haven’t used it a ton. I like that it’s a physical spf and haven’t had any issues with the product itself. I find that it’s difficult to get enough powder out, which is why I’m looking to switch.

      • Marshmallow :

        I had the same problem with the Colorescience one. It seemed to work OK as a mattifying powder but I never felt I was getting enough out to actually provide SPF.

      • Ditto here. I never burned with it (but avoid the sun anyway as a rule) but I never trusted that I was actually getting enough product on my face.

      • I haven’t used colorscience but used similar products from two other brands. I’ve used it in a pinch as a main sunblock, but primarily I use it to touch up or refresh my sunblock in the summer when I’m outside a lot and am sweating. I haven’t ever burned when I use it.

    • I like the Bare Minerals Mineral Veil and their foundation, but definitely try in store first to see if you like the finish. I run a bit oily, so it works for me, but YMMV.

  14. PMS in your late ’30s is terrrrrible. Every month, without fail, I have one or two days when I’m ready to quit my job, divorce my husband, and take a long vacation from my kids. Then I look at the calendar and realize what’s happening. I don’t actually hate my life, but my hormones sure do! The sad part is that my mood swings are actually *less* intense now that I’m on a low-dose SSRI. It used to be at least a week of this “blow up my life” nonsense, which wasn’t exactly great for anyone who had to be around me.

    Has anyone else experienced this? Everything (cramps, mood swings, headaches, pain level) has gotten worse since I turned 35. I’m now 37 and omg, how much worse is this going to get?

    • Are you on hormonal BC? I had devastating PMS like that before the pill. Like, I would be crying over everything and want to die.

      • I had devastating PMS on the pill. Whatever you’re doing, talk to your OB and consider changing your BC method and see if that helps.

    • I do feel like my cramps have gotten more intense in my 30s, though not consistently so than they were before. But I had more issues with PMS when I was on BC than off, so I can’t really comment there.

    • Anon in NYC :

      I actually think it is a postpartum thing for me. I stopped taking the pill a few years before I had a kid. I had a pretty routine cycle, not a ton of PMS or bloating, and everything was like clockwork. Post-kid (still not on hormonal BC), I have so much bloating and far worse cramps, and for a longer period of time leading up to my actual period.

      • Could you have uterine fibroids? They tend to cause long periods and PMS like symptoms. The hormones of pregnancy can make them grow. I’m not a doctor, but this may be worth asking your doctor about.

    • My late 30s is when PMS started veering into PMDD for me and it sounds like that could be the case for you as well, which is why the SSRI may be helping.

      Mirena almost completely solved the issue for me, but it does not have the same effect on everyone.

    • I’m 35 and I’ve found that HIIT + yoga completely eliminates all PMS symptoms for me. My period got way worse after I went off hormonal BC but then I figured out the workout hack by accident and now I make sure that I fit in 4-5 workouts the week leading up to my period. I have a significantly lighter, shorter period, no bloating, no mood swings, no cramping, and no breast tenderness. It’s pretty amazing.

      • Anonymous :

        Wait, is this real? This sounds amazing. (Not OP, but I have terrible periods.)

        • Yes. For me, I only get cramps when I don’t run and swim almost daily.

        • Anon @ 11:45 :

          Yeah, it’s awesome. I also tend to eat better when I’m having a heavy workout week, so I’m sure that helps too. It really is like magic though.

    • Ok obviously pure anecdotal from me- but drinking two glasses of soymilk daily before and during PMS worked for me for moodiness- specifically rage. For the first time in my life, suddenly in my forties I developed ragey PMS. I stumbled across this and noticed the rage went away- and the months I forgot, it came back.

    • Not to discourage you, but your 40’s are even worse: PMS, mood swings, bloating, debilitating cramps, heavy bleeding, and oh yeah, you get your period every 20 days and it lasts for 5 of them.

      Perimenopause is the worst.

      • brokentoe :

        + 100000000000. And to add to the sad story, perimenopause can go on..and on….and on….says the 57 year old women who isn’t done yet. :(

      • Anonymous :

        For sure. I’m 49 and the last 5 years have been awful.

      • Thanks for saying this and confirming I am not crazy. I am almost 41. I have had IUDs for 12 years and barely had to deal with any symptoms, and now I am dealing with crazy ovulation pain, followed by crazy spotting, followed by terrible cramps but no bleeding. I got checked out at the doctor, nothing’s wrong – this is just “how it is” as your hormones ramp down, apparently. My older friends warned me about this but nothing prepares you for it, especially if you’ve had things be relatively level for a long time. This is the pits.

    • Anonymous :

      My MIL had this and her doctor suggested she take b6 every day, and it solved it! She actually asked her doctor “what is it about PMS in your 30s that makes me actually want to rip peoples heads off”, and she’s a severely nice person the other 98% of the time!

    • Yes. They called it PMDD (though I also get PMS). Wellbutrin helps, but so do vitamins (a B-complex with folate; my psychiatrist and I decided Deplin might be overkill, but I will try it if the B-complex is ever not enough). I sometimes will also take some 5-HTP on those exact days of the month imagining that I could use some extra serotonin and melatonin, but I can’t tell if that’s contributing.

      I’m really grateful to my psychiatrist for coming up with this plan; in the past, I relied on my gynecologist who only ever offered the pill. I took it because I was desperate, but my quality of life is very low on any version of the pill, and I always end up quitting it. I felt like the psychiatrist treated this as a solvable problem in a way the gynecologist did not.

    • Eeertmeert :

      I have PMS rage. It’s really tough, and can get out of hand. I am on 5mg of Lexapro, which reduces my week long irrational rage to a couple days of mild irritation. I didn’t take it last month and blew up at my husband pretty intensely a few times. This month went back on it and there was barely a blip.

      It sucks to feel overtaken by these feelings. I hope you find something that helps soon. Good luck, It’s worth it

  15. Shoe Recommendation :

    Any suggestions on a fantastic, very comfortable shoe for clomping around Europe? Leaning towards flats :)
    Thank you!

    • Following! Heading to Scotland this spring.

      • Foe Scotland you want something with suppor and padding. I live in New Balance trainers outside work

      • Hi. Wear trainers in Scotland, its whst we wear. Anything with decent support and is good for hills (put my cities can be quite hilly).

    • I just got back from clomping around Europe for a week in Allbirds. The hype is totally worth it.

      • Vince sneakers are really comfortable (though not really my aesthetic). I wore them for a 2-week European jaunt and am packing them for another trip next week.

      • I’m a carry-on packer and firmly believe you still need 2 or 3 pairs of shoes + slippers and flip-flops, depending on when you’re going, your location and activities. Wear the biggest/heaviest on the plane.

        I wore Allbirds as my walkers for two weeks in Germany. I’m meh on them but you need a pair of sneakers and they’re fine if they work for you (too much cushion for me, not enough support). You want a sleeker sneaker unless you’re going to be doing rugged hiking (in which case, add hiking shoes or trail runners). You see a lot of Europeans in the Vince-style slip-on sneakers, or Stan Smith style lace-ups. You also want to give your feet a break from one pair of shoes all the time (found this out the hard way, I just wore the same pair of boots for 10 days in Scandinavia. They were great until day 9 when one got wet and my feet started screaming…)

        Naturalizer, while not my go-to for work or in general when I’m at home, is my favorite travel shoe brand.
        Going to Ireland mid-summer and taking:
        -Either these sporty loafers: http://bit.ly/2pdF2QY
        or these sneakers: http://bit.ly/2DqauQY
        -These flats for days I’m not walking as much: http://bit.ly/2DqJ2Tl
        -Older sandals similar to these, though with a block heel, perfect with a dress for dinner: http://bit.ly/2tKuhLr
        + flip flops if you’ll be doing any water-related activities, and slippers for the plane and around the hotel room.

      • I bought Allbirds slip-ons with the intention of wearing them for an upcoming Europe trip, but my feet ached after walking 4 miles in them (I usually walk more than twice that each day in Europe). I might still bring them to use as slippers, but I’m trying New Balance sneakers instead for the big walking days.

      • I am going to pick up a pair of Allbirds for an upcoming Europe trip, but am torn on color. Kotare Heather (more lavender) or Tuke Dusk (more pink)? My one coat for the trip will be a blush DVF trench and I am planning on black + charcoal + white with olive, lavender and pink/blush accents and accessories.

    • I would reccomend some kind of fashion sneaker over flats. They will do better on the cobblestones. I ended up buying a pair of Vans when I was in Spain because the flats that were comfortable at home just didn’t cut it over there.

      • +1, or booties. Waterproof, comfortable booties will work in any situation.

      • +1 to this. These have been my to-go Europe shoes for a while: https://www.merrell.com/US/en/civet-zip/27777W.html

        They are slim and not clunky like many sneakers but provide more support and coverage than a flat.

      • Yup, go for Lo Pro vans if you want a lighter shoe with thinner sole than the traditional ones.

        I wore those and a pair of sandals through Ireland and Spain

      • Beware that Vans might not be comfortable if you’re walking 10+ miles. I brought my trusty comfy Vans Europe but after day three of walking over 30,000 steps/day my feet were dunzo. I had to find a Foot Locker in London and buy a pair of sneaks. Just my two cents…

  16. The video of Elsa dressed in drag and pushing a police wagon out of a snow bank during a blizzard has delighted me this morning. :)

    • Linda from HR :

      Yes, I loved that!

    • Senior Attorney :

      “I bought this costume last year during a snow storm because I thought it would be hilarious to walk around Boston in an ‘Elsa’ costume during a snowstorm,” Elsa (secret identity withheld) told WTIC [News] Tuesday night. “It turns out I was correct, it is really funny to walk around Boston in an ‘Elsa’ costume during a snowstorm.”

      So great!

    • It was so great! I really need to stop checking Twitter as soon as I wake up every morning, but today I saw that and it was an awesome way to start the day.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Above the Law has reported that the person dressed as Elsa is a big law attorney!

  17. If anyone else is a fan of Emily McDowell cards, she’s having a one-day sale today. (Not affiliated, just love, love, love her irreverent cards.)

  18. PT nanny vs college after school helper :

    I’m at the breaking point and need more help with my elementary school kids.

    Ideally, we could find a college student this fall to help after school 4x/week (maybe 12-15 hours/week) with some light driving. We’d be at the mercy of exams, school breaks, and 20-somethings maybe not being full adults in some areas (based on annecdata of friends). And if we got a student home on summer break some this summer, we’d be looking again this fall anyway unless we have a student here who is also from here or keeps a year-round apartment or dorm.

    Would it be better (in terms of maybe finding someone now) / sooner / fewer breaks in the calendar to go to a 20 hour/week professional (likely non-student) PT nanny?

    I’ve never gone down either route (FT daycare before starting school), so I’m imagining that it’s cost vs reliability vs some level of professionalism (the permanent PT nanny maybe hasn’t been to college but is more skilled at child care vs the student maybe can help with geometry more but may be texting more than you’d like; with a 20-hour person, maybe you could throw in some errands / starting dinner but maybe you don’t expect that of a 12-15 hour college kid).

    My nurse/doctor friends who NEED childcare b/c they can’t work from home get an official year-round PT nanny and seem more consistently happy than those using the students (who are less pricey and often have friends who can pitch in when the student is busy).

    Any more anecdata / recommendations?

    • In our area, PT nannies tend to be college students or recent grads, not career nannies.

      • +1 I was a pro nanny for 10 years. The only way you’ll find a pro part-time nanny is an older lady who’s retired and does it for fun.

      • Same here. You’ll likely find good candidates with lots of childcare experience that are college students, or better, grad students in education.

    • I’m not sure how old you are, but you’re describing a 20 yr old college student as if they are 13; a properly screened 20 yr old and 40 yr old will keep your children equally safe (and will both text/do human things – not sure what that comment is about). A college student may have more years or hours in childcare than a part time nanny, depending on their background, so don’t generalize. I’ve had good experiences with education or early childhood psychology majors.

      You need to make this decision on 1) how long term you want this person to be, 2) the maturity and experience of the caretaker, and 3) the cost, and 4) consistent availability of the caretaker. You win with college students on points 3 and 4, and with long term caretakers on 1 and usually 2. Decide which are more important.

      • This. Look for someone going into education, psychology, nursing, social work etc. To get into those fields they probably already have solid childcare experience.

        Many students looking to work 15-20 hours a week may only be attending part time for financial reasons. Or you may get a grad student who is able to flex their research/thesis work to accommodate your schedule. Lots of college students work and are used to balancing school and jobs.

        • Also, college students are less likely to have home commitments like childcare or eldercare (being usually in between the age of voluntary child bearing and aging parents), and a set class schedule, at least for 5 mths at a time.

        • Working 15-20 hours per week is a pretty normal amount for full-time students. That’s how much I worked when I was in college and so did all my friends.

    • Legally Brunette :

      We have hired an afternoon college student who works with us 12-15 hours a week doing some chores at home and also childcare. The issue with a part-time nanny is that it seems impossible to actually find one. Most nannies, understandably, want full time. In contrast, a college sitter specifically wants part time so we tend to get a large pool of qualified candidates that apply. We have tended to hire young women who are the eldest of several siblings and have been babysitting for a while. We post an ad through the local college. We don’t need our sitter to drive, however. I’m frankly not sure I would be comfortable with that, but that’s just me.

      As you mention, there is an issue with our sitters going away on spring break and summer vacation, and also having to duck out during finals (but only sometimes). If you are set on a part-time nanny, you may have to go through an agency. From talking to several friends, the part-time nanny is a unicorn.

    • I have always used older PT nannies. I pay a high wage for my area and they get guaranteed hours. RIght now its 12 hours a week 3 pm – 6pm Monday-THursday. She makes 12 hours a week plus $15 a day for car expenses no matter what. If she works extra she makes extra, but if I get home early or she is sick a day or if she travels she still gets her hours. Ours cleans other peoples houses in the morning and we’ve had basically this arrangement for 6 years. She cleans my house and if she can get it done during the time that she’s with the kids (they are older), great. If not she comes in early or stays late to do it. For that I pay an extra $150 a week for the job, not by the hour. She is responsible, has great judgement, does what needs to be done (I had to tell her stuff at the beginning but she remembers and then just figures stuff out – cuz she has already had kids and run a household and just makes it work. Occasionally I use a younger backup babysitter who is 22, a college grad, and she will only do exatctly what I tell her to. If I forget to say make them lunch AND put the dishes away she will make them food but not clean up. She would never think to do a load of wash if they went swimming with friends and dirtied 7 towels, whereas the older woman just does it. In my experience you get what you pay for, and the benefit of developing a relationship over time is invaluable.

    • A coworker makes this work with college babysitters by having 2 part-time sitters at a time. Each sitter works about 10 hours each, 20 hours a week for 2 sitters. He sometimes has gaps at break times, but he can usually work out coverage between the two of them (and former sitters who still live in town). He has also had great luck with his sitters suggesting replacements once they graduate.

      • PT nanny vs college after school helper :

        THIS is brilliant! Redundancy! And double the network. I love it!

  19. We don’t have enough people in that role to have a default. I know, I know, that is a bad sign, but my particular circumstances mean I just need to hang out at my firm for a year or two.

  20. Depression help? My sister is suffering from physical illness, it’s been a couple months with no end in sight. She’s getting really depressed (obvi, she’s in lots of pain and stuck on a couch) and I’m worried. Anything people have found helpful for this?

    • Mrs. Jones :

      Offer to make a psychiatrist/therapist appointment and go with her if possible.

      • She’s housebound unfortunately and also flatly refuses this. “I’m not mentally ill, I’m sick and my depression is reasonable.”

        • Can you reframe it not as “you’re mentally ill” but as “of course your depression is reasonable given your situation, but that, like your other symptoms, should be treated as a symptom of your main ailment”?

          • +1

            Your sister is short-sighted, but her response is unfortunately typical. Agreeing with trying to re-frame it. I used to call it “mood changes” instead of depression. And actually, several common medical problems actually have depression as a component of the disease. For example, people with pancreatic cancer often have depression as the first presenting symptom long before the disease is diagnosed. The cancer actually most produce a molecule that travels to the brain and affects mood centrally. And depression after a heart attack or stroke is so common (and interferes with recovery) that doctors are finally screening more aggressively for it.

            And even though her depression “is reasonable”, that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved with treatment. I have met quadraplegics bed bound for life that are not depressed. Everyone’s brain chemistry is different and some people are more genetically susceptible than others.

            This is very important. Not treating depression will decrease your chance and speed of recovery. It can make pain worse, and symptoms of disease worse. Nevermind that being depressed is just… awful. And if you are housebound, depression will increase your isolation by alienating you more from the few people that visit/talk with you.

            Does she have a chronic illness that is shared by others? Sometimes joining a support group…. even just online…. can be a huge help.

            You could buy her a happy light, to sit near during breakfast.

            And you could do what I did…. you could (secretly) call her doctor/nurse and let them know that she is really depressed and you are very concerned. Ask them to be discrete and not reveal that you called. A good doctor will take that information and do their own questioning at the next appointment and can start a path to treatment. For example, there are some excellent medicines for chronic pain that also treat depression/sleep/nausea etc… (cymbalta, effexor, duloxetine) so sometimes a doctor can introduce a medicine for one reason that has desired “side effects”.

            Also, simple things can sometimes improve mood. Exercise (even just walking/moving/standing!), sunlight/getting outside, visits/phone calls/care packages, improved pain and sleep (so doctors need to attack those aggressively), and having small things to look forward to can help. Pets are also great…. and even a growing plant can help!

        • You could respond with something like your depression is 100% reasonable but therapy may help it be less emotionally painful for you.

          I just received the same advice re: seeking a therapist for infertility. My initial reaction was that a therapist can’t get me a baby. My husband also had a similar reaction when I suggested therapy for him when he was stuck in a miserable job. He thought they are just going to tell me what I already know, I need to quit. Instead, the therapist gave him a lot of coping skills and a place to vent that helped him get through another 2 years until he could get into the dream position he was holding out for.

        • Could you pose it as, “a therapist can help you learn to deal with this long term illness in a way that is better for your mental health?”

    • Specifically any ideas other than therapy. I agree with you all that it’s the best option, but I can’t force her to do it and I’ve already tried talking her into it.

      • My reply is in moderation with a few suggestions.

        And to add to what I wrote….. if her situation is chronic/long term, the sooner she can get back to doing something… ANYTHING constructive/job related/school/volunteering will make a big difference. So that she feels that she has value and is doing something worthwhile. And even better… so that she becomes less self absorbed, which can lead to a cycle of worsening depression that you can’t dig out of.

        But if depression is severe, that can’t be done and the only help is medication if she is refusing therapy. Medications can help a lot in situational depression.

        • And you can do those constructive/job related/school/volunteering things online or on the phone…. so even if you are housebound.

        • Anonymous :

          Thanks. This really isn’t an option though. And calling someone sick self-absorbed is pretty rude. You might mean it neutrally and clinically but that’s not how it sounds.

          • AnotherAnon :

            Why isn’t it an option?

          • Anonymous :

            You’re sensitive, I get it. Try to assume good intentions though. I’m really trying to help you. I also speak from experience.

            A hallmark of depression is utter complete self-absorption. This is a just a descriptive term. It is also incredibly common for people with chronic illness to become completely self-absorbed, often understandably so and heightened by their isolation. It is well established that being pulled ever so little out of this can make huge differences in mood, hope, and quality of life.

            I have been the primary caregiver for a house bound severely disabled family member for 10 years. And I was the primary caregiver for a parent with severe illness who died after 1.5 years of being housebound. Both struggled with severe depression….. one for years before I was able to get them treatment….. and I was involved in their medical/psychiatric care throughout. I know of which I speak. I hope you will not disregard my good advice due to a misinterpretation of internet tone.

            And I agree with other Anon…. why isn’t it an option? If you don’t think she can do it, chances are high she wont think she can do it. But…. she can.

      • Anon in NYC :

        I would say that you should just keep showing up. Spend time with her physically in her house. Rent movies, bring treats (food, face masks, nail polish, etc.). Send her texts – funny videos, links to articles. Accept that she’s depressed and isn’t going to be in a good place right now. Maybe drive her to doctors appointments if you can. Make dinner for her.

    • I have a family member in the same situation. Dealing with an illness, housebound and severely depressed. She is on meds, though they haven’t been working their magic lately. She actually managed to find a therapist who can come to the house and previously was working with one over the phone.I would encourage you or her to speak to her doctor about this. They can probably prescribe medication. Online support groups could also be helpful to your sister because that is something she can do from home. I do not know if you live close by or if your sister has friends near by or a spouse, etc. but visitors can help too. This will not cure her depression, but is there a tv show you could sort of watch together but from your respective homes. Like you each watch an episode on Netflix and then chat about it? It is important for her to maintain connections with the outside world. hang in there – this is tough!

    • I have a chronic illness that is just sh*tty to deal with and has caused depression and anxiety at various points in time. Therapy is clearly the answer, and has helped me a lot, but it’s also important to me that the people in my life acknowledge that I’m not crazy, that my emotions are reasonable relative to what I’m going through, and just to empathize with the fact that it’s scary and awful to have a degenerative, painful disease that’s only going to get worse. The more you can emphasize the points raised above that “Yes, this is totally reasonable, but therapy may still make you feel better,” the more receptive I imagine she will be. Chronic illness can be very isolating, not just practically, but also existentially.

    • I have a chronic illnesses that took a long time to diagnose because doctors were so sure I was just anxious and depressed that they wouldn’t order the correct tests or send me to the needed specialists. It’s hard to think about how different some things could have been if I hadn’t trusted people who did not trust me. Now I’m sensitive about anything that sounds like gaslighting or pressure.

      “You deserve extra support through this extraordinarily difficult situation” is a very different message from “but have you considered you are making this worse with your attitude and choices?” Frame everything in terms of the support she needs. She is already doing her best.

  21. Any recommendations for a non-caffeinated tea that I can sip all day so I don’t freeze? Thanks!

    • I’m all about the mint from traders Joe’s.

    • Right now I’m into the Republic of Tea “Cuppa Cake” line. The blueberry and lemon chiffon are both Rooibos tea which are naturally caffeine free. Added bonus – my office smells amazing most mornings.

    • This may sound nutty to you, but I just drink hot water all day at the office. My favorite herbal tea is Bigelow’s orange & spice – it reminds me of my grandmother, so it’s my go-to for a warm beverage on a quiet evening.

      PS – I also have a mini heating pad at my desk that I use like an electric blanket ;)

    • Tazo passion or wild sweet orange.

    • I am a fan of Teapigs Liquorice and Peppermint and Mighty Tea Ginger Twist.

      • If someone has a licorice tea that does NOT have peppermint in it, please let me know. I find that peppermint, and most mints, overwhelm all other flavors.

    • Good Earths Sweet and Spicy – it comes in black tea and herbal tea versions, so make sure to check which one you get.

    • I keep a variety of caffeine-free tea in my desk, favorites are:
      Harney & Sons Mint Verbena when I need something refreshing
      Numi Fields of Gold Tumeric when I want something soothing
      Chai Rooibos (there’s a bunch of brands carrying this, including Yogi and Numi) with a splash of milk and honey when I want to fake a chai tea latte
      Basically anything from Mighty Leaf and Tea Forte.

      Also try an insulated tumbler if like me you never finish a beverage before it gets cold – I love my Yeti and a friend was just raving about her Zojirushi mug that seals.

      • Balt Associate :

        +1 Zojirushi mug! Although you might want a regular coffee mug to pour the liquid into. I find the Zojirushi mug works so well that I can’t drink my hot beverage straight from it!

    • Frozen Peach :

      I do this! My current favorites are Bigelow’s Perfect Peach, I Love Lemon, And Red Raspberry. Also really like the Yogi Tea Honey Lavender and the Celestial Seasonings Lemon Lavender.

    • I do this too and I buy organic chamomile lavender tea from Whole Foods or regular organic chamomile from Trader Joe’s. I always buy organic for things I have daily, including coffee and tea, and I recommend considering the same if you plan to have quite a few cups per day.

    • I really like rooibos (Republic of Tea Double Red Rooibos) for a little body that feels more like drinking regular tea, or lemon ginger (basically any brand) for a little spice. Also Celestial Seasonings peppermint tea, but that’s more of a drink-at-home tea for me because I don’t necessarily want to be so relaxed at work…

  22. Anyone have a good book recommendation on how to help a loved one who’s going through depression-lite or a rut in his/her life? I know my loved one needs therapy but I guess just looking for ways to address that in a loving way.

  23. Anon for This :

    My periods are so irregular… I’m 30 so I highly doubt it’s perimenopause. I was on the pill for years but have been off it for probably a year or more. In the last 6 months, my cycles have ranged from 30 days one month, to 39, to 48, to 31, to 38… and I am currently on day 49.

    I have no idea what to do or say. I’m not TTC so I don’t really know if it’s worth talking to a doctor about. Any advice?

    Thanks all!

    • Talk to Your gyn about it.

    • For me, the irregular periods were PCOS. Yup, talk to your doctor.

    • It’s worth talking to a doctor to get it documented in your medical history so that you have the record for when it becomes a bigger problem. Could be PCOS, from being under/over weight, etc.

    • Talk to your doctor. I had this for more than a decade and my old/bad gyn ignored it and said “meh! stress…” Turns out it was PCOS and a sign of much more significant fertility issues. Not sure if you ever plan on TTC, but the diagnosis is good to have either way.

    • Anon for This :

      Thank you all. I called my doctor and made an appointment. I was worried I was overreacting but you’re all right, it’s worth it to get it checked out.

  24. How does one request to be waitlisted for the best surgeon at a practice? DH is probably going to need surgery on his spine, and for something that serious it seems worth getting the best care. I have angrily fired incompetent doctors, but in this case, we need to maintain a relationship with his current dr for interim care and in case he can’t wait for the surgery.

    • What’s your question? How to ask – say we’d like to be waitlisted for Dr Smith as we’ve heard he’s the best. Say it to your current dr or his resident or his scheduler or scream it from the rooftops. This isn’t the time for shyness.

      • Yes, that’s my question. How to ask. Who to ask. Thank you for you advice.

        • You just call up the clinic, and ask to make an appointment. If you have a name you can drop as someone who referred you, mention that name. Ask to be placed on the waiting list for any cancellations. Also, ask if it is worthwhile to call once or twice a week to see if there are any last minute cancellations too. You need to be ready to drop anything at a moment’s notice to grab an opening, but it sounds like you would be willing to do this.

          Be extremely polite when you call the clinic. You sound a bit anxious, and I understand… this is potentially a serious issue. But remember, everyone that calls this doctor has a similar serious issue with a potential for surgery. Every little interaction is important and you don’t want to alienate people before you even get to the clinic. The reception desk has a lot of power, unfortunately…..

          And then keep calling. Every Monday/wed/friday.

          Some doctors are just booked up and there’s not much you can do. Sometimes if you know a doctor that knows this surgeon, they can reach out to the clinic to see if they could see you in an expedited manner.

          Also, has he seen an excellent neurologist and physiatrist in addition to surgeons? Back surgeries very often do not work, and can make things worse… including causing chronic pain and paralysis. For that reason, they should be the absolute last resort unless he has at risk for ?fracturing his spine or causing a spinal cord injury or something. Physical therapy/neurology/physiatry/pain clinic and the kitchen sink should be tried before taking a young healthy male to the operating room. I cannot emphasize this enough. Remember, if you go to see a surgeon, the vast majority of them will be focusing on what they can do in the operating room for you…. they don’t make any money sending you to physical therapy. And I would always favor a neurosurgeon over an orthopedist for spine surgery and always get 2-3 opinions before heading to the operating room.

          And while I believe you may have gotten questionable care in the past, I worry when you suggest you have already fired multiple “incompetent doctors”… and worry about what is really going on and if you are getting a little anxious about the situation and may not be seeing clearly. I’ve been there, so I understand your stressful situation. Please keep in close touch with his primary care doctor, so that there is someone more impartial overseeing things and who can help you interpret the doctor’s recommendations. Don’t alienate all the doctors you are seeing…. as probably they aren’t all incompetent… really…

          • Anonymous :

            Thanks for the thoughtful comment. To respond to a couple of things you brought up:
            ~ Thank you very much for the feedback about when/how/who to call, what tone to take. The neurosurgeon who has been so highly recommended is in the same practice as the physiatrist DH is seeing right now. But we’ve been warned the physiatrist can be a little too knife-happy.

            ~Seeing specialists has followed months of PT, medications, and weeks completely off work. We’re in an underserved area and now that we’ve finally traveled to see a specialist, she was incensed that DH hadn’t been referred sooner.

            ~The doctors I’ve yelled at were mine :). Believe me, they were completely effing incompetent, and told me that migraines and endometriosis were untreatable. I only mentioned it in relation to this thread to make the point that it isn’t shyness holding me back. PSA: if your doctor doesn’t believe your pain, find a new doctor.

          • Anonymous :

            I hear you.

            You are absolutely right. So sorry to hear about your experiences. You are not alone there, unfortunately. Sometimes you really have to fight. Good for you.

            Good luck. I really hope your husband improves.

    • On the who to ask question, it’s been my experience that there’s a time when you’re scheduling the actual surgery. This has sometimes been with the front office people or sometimes (in the context of a larger hospital system) with a particular doc’s personal scheduler/admin person. I’d bring it up then. “Oh, we’d actually like to have Dr. Smith do the procedure. Do you do her scheduling or should I speak with someone else?” Then I’d proceed based on their response. If what you want is to be scheduled for your current doctor (so that you know you have a slot in case the whole thing gets more urgent) but also get on Dr. Smith’s waitlist (so if waiting is possible, you get your preferred provider), I’d say, “[do whatever scheduling for your current doc] We’d also like to get on Dr. Smith’s waitlist. Are you the right person to do that, or should I speak with someone else?”

  25. Corporate photos :

    My firm is re-doing our corporate photos. They are going to do full body shots. Any advice?

    Here I was, going to bring in a blazer to wear just for photo (not worrying about matching since would wear for all of 15 minutes). Looks like I need a new strategy…

    • Marshmallow :

      Wear a navy or charcoal suit with a light (not white) shirt. Stand up straight. Hope they eventually crop the photo? I would find full-body shots on a professional website really weird. Maybe it will wind up being waist-up in the final version.

    • Diana Barry :

      Blerg, my firm does these also. Most of the women attorneys wore dresses with blazer over for the photos. Make sure your shoes aren’t too trendy or a trend that’s been around for a while – more ‘classic’ looking shoes are better (like for example my shoes in the photo are too square, I didn’t think about that enough).

    • I know the Boston firm Goulston & Storrs has this. Pop around their website to see what you like and don’t like. GL!

  26. First year woes :

    I’m a first year in a pretty toxic group and I’m noticing a repeated issue with more senior female associates. Everyone is pretty hostile and rude in general, but I (and my peers) are noticing that they’re more hostile to me than the baseline rudeness. Examples include telling me I look “frumpy” and “unprofessional” when wearing non-heels to go to the bathroom, demanding that all work, even projects on which they’re not assigned, be reviewed by them, even when the partner directly refutes that, cutting me off and giving me patronizing advice that “there’s a time for thinking and a time for executing, and that I need to learn my place,” saying that when they ask me to do something, they’re not asking, they’re telling, and my only answer should be “yes, happy to help,” and reminding my frequently (several times a week) that if I don’t turn in top-notch work, no one will want to work with me and I’ll get blacklisted. The thing is, she gives me a lot of work and is happy with my work product. I’ve jumped through all of her hoops (working every weekend since christmas on her projects, accommodating all of her “rush” deadlines) without complaint.

    My strategy thus far has been to acknowledge and pivot or minimize opportunities for this kind of “advice.” It all boiled up yesterday when we had a quick conversation with another associate (male if it matters) and the whole “cut me off, condescending advice, telling me I MUST do something that’s in conflict with the partner’s request” happened. As soon as it ended the other associate was shocked and said that was insane, I shrugged it off. But when I got to work this morning, senior associate was in his office saying that she has a history of miscommunication with me and that when she tells us junior associates something, the only acceptable answer is “yes.” He said she followed up with trying to encourage him to agree (that I suck) and he said he had to rush to a meeting to get out. She then stopped by my office and asked me to send all of the emails I’ve previously sent to a partner relating to a project she’s not on. I said of course and forwarded them all.

    The thing is, this is the second time I’ve had interactions like this with a female associate more senior to me. The other mid-level would constantly roll her eyes when I spoke, would withhold reviewing my work as required so I was forced to miss deadlines, would make me stay until one a.m. for her to tell me she decided not to get to my work that night, etc. I posted about this a while back and the consensus was that I should separate us and start making a paper trail. This drama fizzled out by me avoiding work that required interacting with her, but I feel like there’s a similar pattern.

    So my question… what’s going on here? This is my second issue and even if I’m confident that this hostility is undeserved, I can’t ignore that it’s happening twice now. I think that this is largely a result of a lack of management, so senior associates can get power trips and haze to their heart’s content, but am I also bringing this on myself? Is this because I’m too accommodating and deferential from the get-go?

    FWIW, these two mean associates are probably the most dramatic in the firm, and they’re frenemies in that they only team up to stir drama. So it could be that I’m just unlucky having to work for both of them. But I really want to avoid having another person on my “avoid at all costs” list. Because at the end of the day, if I can’t get along with my coworkers, that’s my problem.

    • You aren’t in CLT by any chance, are you? In which case, just start looking. You can’t fix this.

    • The other person has poisoned you in the new mean associate’s mind, so you probably cannot come back from this. You should start looking, soon. In the meantime, 1) unless an official advisor, you should not have your work reviewed by someone who is not on the project team or case, as they clearly are being nosy and have not context for your work, and you don’t know what types of conflict walls may be in place, and 2) start recording their requests in emails to “confirm” with a cc to the partners. The mean associates already don’t like you so you might as well “CYA” with the partners.

      You should know, however, that this is a highly irregular workplace and extremely dysfunctional. This is not how most colleagues should or do interact with one another. Even if someone doesn’t like you, the professional dealing is to “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”, not what you have described. And the fact that it is tolerated says a lot about your workplace as a whole.

    • Marshmallow :

      Yeah, normally my attitude for junior attorneys is to try to suck up the interpersonal dynamics. But it’s very, very weird that she wants to review your work for cases she’s not on. Short of looking for a new job– is there anyone else at the firm you look to as a mentor? A different senior associate, a junior partner, etc? I might try to schedule a bit of time with that person and have a serious “Am I the problem or is this a known issue?” conversation. If she’s a known problem, that person may have tips for navigating. If she’s on the lower end of mid, this may also be her first experience delegating and she doesn’t know how to do it very well.

      Please drop the attribution to her gender as any reason for this. She’s just a terrible manager.

    • She is taking advantage of you because you are too accommodating (and I say that knowing just how hard it is to say no to a senior associate, so I don’t mean that as a criticism!) She will continue to do so unless you call her on it.

      Some of these requests make no sense, and you should treat them as such. If she’s asking for emails on a project shes’s not on, do not forward them to her – say, of course, I’ll just need to confirm that’s ok with the partner in charge of the project. If she has a real reason to need them, that’ll be fine. If it’s not, she’ll flip out, but you need to hold your ground.

      Also under no circumstances should she be reviewing your work if the partner says she doesn’t have to. That’s a waste of time and money for the firm, and it sounds like a power grab for no good reason. Again, hold your ground. If she demands your work and you don’t report to her on that, say, Partner said it didn’t need to go through you, I’ll check with him to make sure that’s what he wants me to do.

      She’ll be angry, and will bad mouth you for a while until she finds her next victim. Paper trail like crazy, follow the chain of command on your files, and start looking just in case it goes fully south.

    • Anon Midlevel :

      Agree with those who say you should start looking. This is bananas.

  27. GUYS. I was doing a video therapy session in my office and my boss called– I thought I declined the call but apparently he overheard enough to figure out what it was and then hang up (he told me afterwards). I AM DEAD. Fortunately I like him and I don’t think I was saying anything insanely sensitive at the time, but OMG. I think we are both just going to pretend like this never happened.

    • Hahahaha. Sorry but why do you need to do therapy at work?!

      • Flats Only :

        Standard homing from work? I suspect she needs therapy to deal with the depression brought about by long hours which also preclude her from meeting with a therapist in person.

      • I came in a little early and did a video session with my office door closed. Because it’s easiest to fit into my life that way and therapy should not be, itself, stressful?

        • Yeah, I totally get therapy at work too. At home, my husband and kids would hear it, and that would be worse than co-workers/bosses . . . at least for me

      • Wow, what a weird question. Obviously that’s when it fits in her schedule.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Oh man! That’s rough. I hope your therapy isn’t about how much work sucks! I also totally understand why you would do therapy at work.

  28. What’s your go-to song when you’re feeling sad or discouraged and need a pick-me-up?

  29. Thank you all for the comments on my post about the MTHFR mutation earlier this week. I am especially grateful to the person who paged me so that I’d see the later comments–thank you for the heads-up, and thank you all for sharing so much of yourselves.

    • I missed the original thread. I have the mutation and carried a healthy pregnancy to term and have a healthy 11-year-old now. I took extra folic acid during pregnancy and had no worries from the MTHFR – I also have a Factor V Leiden mutation and that caused some problems (along with my PCOS); I had three miscarriages before I got put on baby aspirin. But from the MTHFR – nothing. I wouldn’t have known if they hadn’t tested me. You’ll be fine.

  30. Does anyone have experience with Allstate?
    Our homeowner’s went up, thanks Texas storms. We have been with an independent agent for 20 years. My H talked to Allstate and they are quoting $500 less, even after I provided all the coverages on our current policy so they could match it.
    Could I still be missing something or are they this much more reasonable?

    • Insurance carriers do that. Your premiums may go up when it’s time for renewal. Happened to my ILs – they’d been with an independent agent for 20 years, switched because the price was too good, then when it was time for renewal, the price skyrocketed and they went back to their old agent and apologized for ever leaving him.

    • Flats Only :

      Switching insurance firms will often get you a better price – they give new customers discounts. We had Allstate for a while and they were fine. Your independent agent should have been doing this all along to get more commissions – the agent isn’t insuring you himself, but identifying and selling you a policy from an insurer. We have had Liberty Mutual for a long time for auto/home/life and the premiums kept going up. DH called them to complain, and the kind lady on the phone poked around in her computer and found us $300 worth of discounts on our policy, so if like your current insurance it’s also work just bugging them.

  31. National school walkout – what is the point exactly? Do they think Congress will suddenly see the error of its ways and put a bill on the floor banning ARs? Because they won’t. As for letting Congress know they’re coming – ok then vote in Nov and the meantime match yourself down to chemistry lab, son.

    • Please don’t talk you have nothing to contribute.

      No obviously they don’t think there will be instant success. Most of them are too young to vote. When you’re worried about getting killed you raise your voice. If you don’t get why that matters, that is a you problem.

    • Wow. Could you be more condescending?

    • Are you the same person who keeps posting about how we should all just shut up and enjoy watching our stock portfolios appreciate?

      • Which they’re not even doing at the moment!

        • I’m the resident stock person y’all crit

        • I’m the resident stock person y’all criticize. No dog in the fight this time with no kids in school so I didn’t start this . Market is up 3% for the year and 30% since Trump won so no idea what you’re complaining about. Did you think volatility would never return?

    • I agree with above poster, but if you really want an answer (that you probably will also try to discredit since you seem trollish and combative):

      1) Press and optics
      2) Future voters – many of these kids are one election cycle from voting and will remember this
      3) Parents of future voters – they don’t want their children shot
      4) Trending liberalism of younger generations – it’s better stave off strong impressions against the Republican party just prior to voting age, when they have less to occupy their minds (ie jobs, kids, etc.)

      • Everyone is a liberal when they’re young and all about these causes. You become a republican when you’re older and make $$$$$ and actually worry about things like taxes. It’s easy to be all about ideals when you’re on your parents payroll without worry about a mortgage.

        • Young or not, they’ll still be able to vote when they turn 18.

        • BeenThatGuy :

          Say what? There are plenty of older liberals, like myself, who make boatloads of money and are still liberal. Money and age don’t make you lean Republican if you believe deeply in social issues.

          • I have actually become more liberal as I get older (and earn more money).

          • I’ve always been very liberal on social issues (gay marriage was OK for me b/c everyone ought to be able to get married pay the marriage penalty, not just hetero people; FWIW, I think that the marriage penalty is something Dems ought to be all over b/c it hurts working women in two-earner couples) and otherwise fiscally conservative. I’ve been an R since I registered to vote at 18. I grew up in the NE and now am in a SEUS purple state. My big-city R friends are cut from the same cloth. We have a lot in common politically (other than actual party registration) with most of our neighbors.

          • +1

        • No, I was raised Republican and became liberal when I grew up and realized that I’d only been able to go to college because of Pell Grants and that if I hadn’t been lucky enough to land a job with health insurance I’d have been in serious trouble. I became even more liberal when I had a child who will inherit this world and its problems, including global warming, racism, and economic inequality. And even more liberal when Newtown happened. The victims were her exact age.

          It’s easy to be a Republican when you are rich and are the one in whose favor the Republicans are stacking the deck.

        • anonshmanon :

          As you saw in the last election, over 50% of the adults vote democrat.

          • Actually, almost 40% of adults stayed home.

          • anon 12:21, see above: press and optics. Also influencing other current and future voters (to get off their arses and vote).

        • There used to be some saying about this – “if you’re not a liberal when young you have no heart, if you’re a liberal after 30 you have no head.” Not exact but that’s the gist. It’s been true for me but not for most of my friends who make $ and vote against their interests (wanting better entitlement programs; universal health coverage; basic income etc) because they vote largely on social issues. I’m of the “it’s the economy stupid” camp and more inclined to vote my interests.

          • I make lots of $$ and “vote against my interest” because I don’t think paying higher taxes IS against my interest. I think it’s in my best interest to have a more equal society, to have strong social programs, to have high-quality education, reliable public transportation, good infrastructure, etc. I am voting for the society I personally want to live in, not because I feel sorry for other people or I am just a do-gooder. “My interests” are not solely confined to the number in my bank accounts.

          • That’s not voting your interests, that’s voting your privilege.

          • I’m really not sure what you mean. I’ve just said, my interests are a more equal society, to have strong social programs, to have high-quality public education, reliable public transportation, good infrastructure, etc. Those are my interests; that’s what I’m voting for.

            I’m guessing you’re trying to say I am privileged to be financially secure enough to not have money be my top priority, and yes, that is true and it is a privilege. But it’s a bizarre application of the concept of privilege to suggest that voting for policies that REDUCE inequality is a privileged and therefore invalid position.

          • Anonymous :

            I interpreted that comment as being directed at the Anon you were replying to, not at you, because you’re right, it doesn’t make sense if it’s at you.

          • Anonymous :

            It’s not against my interest to have good social programs for everyone.

          • Ah, thank you! Too many Anonymouses in this thread :)

          • I’ve seen this attributed to Winston Churchill, who was a Tory, so I wouldn’t necessarily accept it as universally true.

          • Anonymous :

            12:38 Anonymous here, that was indeed directed at 12:12. But yes, I think it is in all of our best interests to have strong social programs, public transport, robust infrastructure and so on – the benefits are just more distributed.

        • I think it may help you to acknowledge, to yourself, that different people with different opinions exist. Whipping yourself into a frenzy over people whose opinions you disagree with is not doing you any favors. All of these little digs are weird and aren’t supporting your original point. We get it, you really hate those dumb children and you’re so much better than them. That is what you sound like, which I don’t think is your intention.

        • Or you stay liberal and work to make a contribution to the world you live in. You do you; I’ll cheer on my protesting kid because I want her to be smart, politically engaged, and as tough as she can be given the world she’s going into.

        • Adding my voice to the “more money, more left-wing” chorus. My staunchly mainstream Democrat dad and I used to argue because I was more conservative than him, and now we argue because I’m far to the left of him. We are both solidly upper middle class. Your experience is not universal.

          • I got more liberal as I got older and wealthier because I realized how fortunate I am and how the deck is stacked for some people so they don’t have the same opportunities I did, and because I believe in using what I have to make the world a better place for those people.

          • I also got much more liberal as I got older and got more money.

    • Love the attitude on this board. Just because someone disagrees they have nothing to contribute? Give me a break.

      They can raise their voices all they want, no one who matters and can make change cares. So they’re wasting their time, but it’s a nice way to get out of English class.

      • I’m guessing you’re one of those people who insist black people would not be killed by police officers if they would just follow orders.

        • Pretty Primadonna :

          I was coming here to say this exact thing. Or tells black people to “get over slavery already.”

      • It’s so easy to dismiss protest. Must be nice being ignorant of history enough to believe this.

      • Well following that logic, you’re also just raising your voice for no effect. You’re not changing anyone’s mind. Why make your comment at all in the first place? Isn’t your original comment the equivalent of disagreeing with the students and saying that they have nothing to contribute? Why be upset when someone reacts to you the same way?

        • I’m not upset. Just pointed out that this board is only open minded if you 100% agree with majority views.

          • Disparaging a group of people for having a different opinion and then complaining about people not being open minded for not agreeing with you is not exactly going to attract people to your point of view. Protesting is part of American culture, and many different types of people participate in many different types of protests.

          • Marshmallow :

            S/he didn’t say, “I disagree with why the students are protesting– I think gun control is unnecessary.” S/he said the protest itself doesn’t matter and the kids should “march [themselves] down to chemistry, son.” The first one is expressing a view others may have disagreed with but could at least discuss. The second one belittles the students and states protests are pointless. It’s not the board that’s being closed-minded.

          • sounds like protest….

            likely using work computers. DURING WORK. March yourself down to the copy room, girl!

      • You’re the OP, aren’t you.

        Go home and take a nap or something.

      • nasty woman :

        This poster didn’t “disagree.” She (you) threw out a troll bait post that pretty much said “what y’all are doing is stupid, justify yourselves to me.” That’s not a contribution. She didn’t post an alternative solution, or anything. Just the same old nonsense she always posts on this board- you liberals are dumb and nothing you do will change anything. She pretty much just said “sit down and shut up.” Again, not a meaningful disagreement or contribution. It’s a classic troll bait way to rile people up and get them to react.

        I don’t even understand how you can be a living breathing person in America and not recognize the role that protest has played in our country’s history. Whether you disagree with the aims of the protest or not, you have to be willfully ignorant to pretend that it just doesn’t matter.

      • I’m proud of my son who will be walking out tomorrow. He is engaged and standing up for something he believes in. He’s growing up in a world I never had to contemplate – where any day he shows at school might be the last day he is alive. You can scoff at it all you want. I imagine you were either one of those super-lonely kids who loved to pretend like you were above it all, or one of those super-lonely kids who acted out in the hopes that someone – anyone – would pay some attention to you. And you’re probably a super-lonely adult who had to come here and post your ridiculous opinions because no one IRL will listen to you. I feel sorry for you, honey. You’re in my thoughts.

    • You sound like a gem. Can you imagine being a student in these days of mass school shootings? Because that’s not something I had to deal with back when I was a student. You don’t get to second guess what these young students are doing as long as it’s peaceful/non-violent. I find them admirable and am heartsick that we adults can’t protect them and that we’re counting on kids to fix this when we can’t.

      • Anonymous :

        Columbine happened when I was in middle school, and I’ve had lockdown drills ever since. In high school our bio teacher armed us with yardsticks. Virginia Tech happened while I was in college and I would get nervous in the lecture halls that didn’t have things to hide behind. When my law firm moved into a new office with glass walls one of the first things people tried to figure out was where we could hide from a shooter/could we fit into the filing cabinet.

        Tell me again that this isn’t something I should be concerned about?

    • related:

      what’s the point of complaining on a fashion blog about teenage strangers spending 17 minutes outside of school?

      What are you trying to achieve?

    • Yes, they should just be quiet until they are 18 years old and then they should just vote in elections and otherwise stay home and behave nicely. Great idea. Everyone stayed home and no one protested Vietnam either.

      The point is that it’s insane that they can’t go to school without worrying about being killed. This happens literally nowhere else in the developed world.

      You all don’t realize who crazy you sound to the rest of the world. Armed teachers? AR-15s to hunt? Crazy. I work directly in the regulation of wildlife hunting. There is literally nothing that you need an AR-15 to hunt. You can hunt bear without an AR-15. They, and guns like them are just not needed at all. Their only result is dead kids.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        Yesterday there was a headline about an elementary school that’s been specifically designed to thwart shootings. It is insane. Like, Norman castles would work, too, but do we install moats? Drawbridges? Trapdoors?

        These kids are doing something incredible. Bravo to them.

        • Anonymous :

          That was terrifying — a portion of a building can be put on lockdown remotely. I’d be terrified of that – locked in with a bad guy. no no no

    • Well you sound nice.

      My kids are in high school and will be walking out today. Protest is an important form of expression in the US, especially among younger people. It does garner media attention (positive and negative) and keeps the news cycle from moving on to other topics.

      But you go ahead and go to chemistry. My kids will be exercising their rights for an important cause, and I support them 100%.

    • Marshmallow :

      Right, because we should all stay perfectly silent about all issues of consequence except for the five minutes per year or so we spend in the voting box, during which time we speak ONLY with our finger pushing a button and then promptly never mention it again. Media coverage and public awareness never influence politicians or folks’ votes. Nobody has ever accomplished anything of consequence through protest. Exactly.

    • It’s a way to skip school for a day – at least for the ones here in DC. Pretty sure they didn’t march from Bethesda to the Hill in 17 minutes.

      • Housecounsel :

        I couldn’t be prouder that my daughter walked out. She and her friends know exactly what they are doing and why. The kids at her school are walking out for seventeen minutes, then returning to class. This isn’t an excuse to skip school. They are feeling their power, which will be exercised at the polls very soon.

        Our school told parents that they couldn’t guarantee there would be no punishment, but I sincerely doubt that anyone will be disciplined if they follow the plan of 17 minutes and back to class. My daughter’s teacher for the class she is missing made this explicit.

        • And in those 17 min we got gun control, so your daughter changed the world. Mission accomplished. Oh wait . . . .

          • You know the entire civil rights movement was based on peaceful protest like this right? Also played a big role in women’s suffrage and the Vietnam War etc etc. Of course we are not going to get gun control in 17 minutes. But repeated protest has led to social change many times.

          • Housecounsel :

            You don’t have children, do you?

          • Boy, are you miserable!

            Luckily, your 17 minutes of angry rants on a women’s fashion bl 0 g aren’t changing the world either because these kids are determined.

          • nasty woman :

            So, uh, what are your suggestions for improving the situation? Surely you must have *tons* because you’ve so easily concluded that what the students are doing is OBVIOUSLY stupid and worthless.

            We are all EAGERLY awaiting your ideas. Please, enlighten us benighted fools.

          • I feel deeply sorry for you, that you feel the need to come here and post things like this to get attention – calling out other people’s children for doing something that doesn’t even really affect you. Your life must be a wasteland, for you to be doing something like this. It truly breaks my heart.

      • I’m not a protesty person (I am a Virgo to the core), but isn’t the idea that you walk out for 17 minutes and then walk back in?

        It sounds like a fire drill, TBH.

        Are people taking the whole day off? In our city, it’s a walk out / walk back in thing that has time blocked out for it if you want. But only those 17 minutes are an excused absence.

      • You are confusing two events. No the walkout for 17 minutes is just that – a walkout. The March for Our Lives is on a Saturday. The purpose of these is to keep the fact that children are being slaughtered in the news until we all do something about it instead of feigning shock for 24 hours, sending thoughts and prayers while it’s ‘too soon’ to talk about it, and then never talk about it until the next mass shooting happens and the cycle repeats.

        I’m glad Gandhi and MLK didn’t have you on your shoulder saying, “what’s the point of this dumb protest??”

      • Because the ability to protest is one of the greatest freedoms of living in the United States.

        OP, I know folks are calling you a t r 0 l l and I just saw that you are the same poster who by your own admission “is the same stock person y’all criticize”, so I’ve got to ask…are you ok? What drives you to keep posting if it’s unpleasant for you and you always get pushback?

        • Anonymous :

          I think the stock person chimed in to say it wasn’t her, not the OP.

          • Yea the stock poster said above she doesn’t have kids and she didn’t start this thread.

          • Metallica :

            Oops. Off to make some more coffee in the hopes of improving my reading comprehension :/. (I can’t brain today, I have the dumb.)

            I do wonder why people post stuff like that when they know they’re just going to get a bunch of pushback, and then crab about getting said pushback.

    • Sad that this issue only matters because it’s a rich white community. No one cares all that much when it’s inner city Philadelphia with gun violence. I’m sure people will say oh it’s only school violence, not street violence issues. But guns cause problems in both places not just in the town with a 130k median income.

      • I hear you.

        FWIW, it seems there were ample warning signs that that no one was surprised. Not sure what tools schools have (the stories that people were warned of this guy, esp. if he showed up with a backpack, are chilling). And this guy wan’t even a student.

        Workplace shootings are very real. I’ve been in office and courthouse locations where we always have armed guards. B/c the world needs to be safe for me to make $ for people who have $ I guess.

      • Agreed, but I’m glad that these student are doing something outside their own community – organizing these protests nationwide uses their socio-economic leverage to keep the issue in the news.

      • A high school in my inner city Philly neighborhood had a big rally a few weeks ago, chanting “We Count Too!” It got front-page coverage in the local paper. I assume those kids are walking out today, too.

      • This is such an important point, and thank you for raising it.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I’ve seen a lot of info on Twitter that the Parkland kids are engaging inner city kids of color. They specifically brought in a group of kids from Chicago to work with them.

    • To give you a real answer, from someone who is very involved in organizing and activism, when events like this are done, the organizers are under no illusion that this one event will change things. In this work we like to remind each other “it’s not a moment, it’s a movement,” and that kind of sums up your answer. It’s part of laying a foundation – getting people fired up so they’ll get and stay involved, getting other people talking about the issue – as well as expressing your frustrations about your situation when the more mainstream every day ways – voting – have not worked for you (this is sort of why MLK called riots “the language of the unheard”). We might not still be talking about this event and the potential policy changes around it if this walkout weren’t happening and the Parkland kids weren’t talking about it every day. It’s another step on the long road to real change. It has to be viewed in context of the long term. I participated in several protests and events in college that didn’t achieve anything themselves but that got some attention at the time and were part of movements that had longterm effects. They are also events that I still count as part of what drove me to do what I do, and that taught me organizing skills, and introduced me to other activists who are now organizers themselves or even elected officials who I can reach out to for support. It’s a ripple effect.

    • Because the ability to protest is one of the greatest freedoms of living in the United States.

      OP, I know folks are calling you a troll and I just saw that you are the same poster who by your own admission “is the same stock person y’all criticize”, so I’ve got to ask…are you ok? What drives you to keep posting if it’s unpleasant for you and you always get pushback?

    • I know that you think you’re making some scathing, critical insight here, but you should know that this reflects very poorly on you. It’s a good thing you’re anonymous. I hope you haven’t said this out loud to anybody today!

    • Former high school teacher here :

      You realize many seniors in high school are eligible to vote, right?

  32. Paging the Anon asking about Houston weather yesterday :

    This is EmEsq. I responded to your comment but it was so late in the day I wanted to make sure you saw it:

    Yes, hello! It feels pretty cold in the morning but warms up nicely. However in the shade and the wind it still feels a bit chilly, so I would err on the side of a light jacket. Today I wore a lightweight wool coat and expect to carry it over my arm when I go home like I did yesterday.

    • Thank you! This is me, from yesterday. I appreciate this! I missed the response from yesterday. This is very helpful!

  33. For a real conversation on the school walkout–how are your kids’ schools handling it? We got an e-mail from the school district with a thinly veiled warning that any child who walked out of class or otherwise attempted to participate in an “unauthorized demonstration” would be arrested, and warning that kids should not discuss the issue at school at all because the school couldn’t be put in the position of “condoning” any particular point of view.

    • I’ll be at the protest right along side my kid. I’m so sad that we live in an age when my kid needs to protest this and it makes me feel like I’ve failed to keep him safe by not doing my part to protest to change the laws before now.

    • I guess it depends on where your kids go to school. My kids go to Berkeley public schools and the walkout is enthusiastically supported.

      • We are in the Tea Party part of VA.

        • I imagine a lot of this is based on majority views on the area where you reside. Same for us in Va though we’re in a liberal (for Va) area. Yet my friend in Bethesda – tells me some schools provided buses to the Hill (or school clubs did to be exact) so kids could do the walk out there and all they get is an unexcused absence – which has no further consequences. You can be suspended/in detention for an unexcused absence and for all any college knows – you took 3 days off your junior year, they have no idea what for.

          • Housecounsel :

            We live in a very, very red county, but the school is taking a pretty hands-off approach. They’re not guaranteeing no discipline, but in reality, I don’t think anyone will be disciplined unless they try to make it into a pseudo Senior Ditch Day.

    • Southern NJ – my school “discouraged” it and instead had this whole “March up” slogan. Ie don’t march out of school, march up to the lonely kid and befriend him. And they discouraged it by being vague on consequences. Principal issued a letter saying there would be no detentions handed out by the office, but each teacher could do what they wanted. Ok so you don’t get a detention from the administration, you get one from your history teacher – they show up in your file the same way.

      • Marshmallow :

        I can’t stand the “March up” slogan. It’s victim-blamey and attempting to plaster over a serious issue with superficial [email protected] Sure, kids should be taught to be inclusive. That’s not the root problem here.

        • It’s really terrible and shows such an awful misunderstanding of mental illness and of the causes of shootings like these.

        • Totally victim-blaming.

        • I don’t have a problem with march up. [Although it seems like the sort of things that are more often said by churches, etc.]

          In my purple city, it’s not an unexcused absence if you come back after 17 minutes and aren’t disruptive.

        • I cannot imagine that a “walk up” initiative would not be used for passive-aggressive bullying.

          Sometimes I wonder if the people running schools ever went to one. I’m thinking of the poster the other day who wasn’t getting invited to lunch. I’m sure it would have made her feel much better if her workplace had had a “walk up” initiative (with an implication that this will keep her from one day attacking her coworkers), in which context her coworkers invited her for a pity lunch that week. How dumb do we think kids are?

        • Linda from HR :

          Right. My high school boyfriend turned out to be emotionally abusive and wouldn’t you know it, he was expelled from another high school for threatening to blow up the place before we started dating. And for two years he was amazing, until things got bad – he was in trouble in school, I found out he’d been cheating, and he got really bad, making me feel awful and pushing away all his friends. Love can placate a troubled kid but it can’t fix them.

          Love, kindness, compassion, friendship, and community are all really great things and we should promote them, but if someone is angry and disturbed enough to murder their classmates, they need more than a lunch buddy.

      • I have family members who are teachers in Texas who posted something similar, WALK UP, not OUT. It annoyed me. Why not have a serious conversation with your students about the issue?

        • That’s what it was – walk up, not march up. All I thought was – if they’re pushing this message in S NJ, 30 min away from Philadelphia, does this movement have ANY legs in places like Tx or Alabama?

      • There is a legal issues for the schools here. The students are minors who have been put in their care they can’t just release them into the wild. It may be one reason why schools are urging students not to walk out.
        https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/03/13/591858922/how-school-walkouts-test-student-rights-and-school-responsibilities

    • Many colleges and universities have jumped on this and are putting out statements that applicants will not be penalized in any way for suspensions or detention or whatever imposed by their high schools when applying for college.

      • Lots have but many haven’t said anything. I’ve noted the colleges making these promises are top schools on the east and west coast. Great if you’re MIT or UPenn caliber you’re protected. What if you need to go in state to Alabama or Auburn – will they overlook it or label you a “discipline problem.”

        • Serious question – are your disciplinary records really sent out when applying to colleges? I can’t recall this being done when I was applying.

          • For us it was a section of our transcript. Pretty sure it’s standard for colleges to want discipline records to know if you’re a problem kid.

          • It seems like one incident in four years wouldn’t be a big deal.

          • Yes it would. For state u – maybe not. For the top schools with 6% admissions rates? They’re looking for any reason to say no and if they have a kid with a stellar record vs one with even 1 suspension, the decision is easy. That’s why it was important that the Ivy’s came out and said they’d overlook this.

        • anon a mouse :

          Or it becomes a great college essay topic. Pretty sure that a single disciplinary mark on a college transcript won’t prevent someone from getting into state U if it’s explained.

          • State U, sure. Some people want more than that.

          • anon a mouse :

            Yep! As mentioned above, many private schools have issued statements saying protest-related actions won’t be held against students.

            I was responding specifically to 11:52 who asked about staying in-state.

            Still think it’ll be a good essay topic across the board, though.

          • Wow. That’s pretty classy, throwing a little shade on state universities for no reason at all.

        • Well, I’m obviously not in the northeast!

    • My kid goes to K-12 private school (progressive school, conservative community). They aren’t doing anything for the lower grades who are in a separate building. Middle and high school kids may leave class and go to a pre-designated gathering area on campus during the observation time. Administration will monitor the students for safety reasons, but are otherwise not going to intercede. I assume that there is some discussion in certain classes about current events, free speech, etc. however, there was not a formal school-wide agenda or lesson created for today’s events. Overall, this has been meet with a positive reaction from the school community.

      • My former high school had a similar protocol – the students participating in the protest congregated in the soccer field rather than the street/parking lot/etc. Further, the district asked that the protest begin at 10:10 so as to not be during a class transition. (With school construction, transitions are already chaotic.)

        From what I heard, the protest went off without a hitch and I am proud of how my alma mater treated this issue.

    • I think what your school is doing is illegal. They can punish kids the way they normally would for skipping class but they can’t impose a harsher punishment because they don’t agree w/ the viewpoint expressed. I highly doubt they normally arrest kids for skipping 17 minutes of school. They also can’t prohibit kids from talking about this subject at school.

      • Actually I believe courts have held that freedom of speech does not extend to students in schools. See case where kids in 60s/70s wearing black arm bands to protest the Vietnam war were told to take them off and courts upheld. I could be wrong (or have outdated information) but recall reading about this before in the last couple of years.

        • No, even K-12 students have certain free speech rights. That case, Tinker v Des Moines, went all the way to the Supreme Court and they found that the students had a first amendment right to wear the armbands.

        • You are. The armband case, Tinker v. Des Moines, came out in the students’ favor, explicitly stating “It can hardly be argued that either students or teachers shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.”

        • Anonymous :

          Kitty, sorry but you’re completely backwards and wrong on this.

        • The case you’re describing (Tinker) came out in favor of the students.

        • Seventh Sister :

          Students in school do not have the same First Amendment rights they have outside of school, but they have some First Amendment rights. For instance, a kid can refuse to say the Pledge of Allegiance, but cannot disrupt class.

    • Greensleeves :

      My kids attend public school in a solidly red midwestern state. Our school system put out a statement that they are “protest neutral” and therefore there will not be a punishment simply for participating, as long as the students don’t otherwise violate the school code of conduct. There was a discussion of the school’s role in fostering and encouraging conversation, even about controversial topics, and encouraging students to find their voice in expressing their views. My high schooler was planning to participate, if anything actually ends up happening at her school. We live in a conservative area of a conservative state, and many of the students in her school are not in favor of gun control generally because they’ve grown up hunting and don’t want it to be harder to buy a gun when they turn 18. Back to the original question, I was pleasantly surprised by the stance taken by the school district.

    • My daughter’s high school came out with a fairly genius idea. They are having a “school safety” rally that corresponds to the time of the walk out. Any student who does not want to participate in the rally has been invited to go to the gym. Basically all of the students are being excused from class about five minutes before the scheduled walk-out time and expected to be back in class about 20 minutes later. Obviously the teachers will be monitoring for any safety issues, but there is no formal school-mandated program. I gather that some of the kids have arranged meet-ups at various locations on campus.

      • My daughter’s high school is also having a “school safety” rally today at the time of the walk-out. We live in a fairly conservative area of a purple state though our family is staunchly liberal. Our high school also had a recent scare with a very specific threat of a school shooting posted on social media. I kept my daughter home that day; though I also recognized it was probably the safest day ever on campus since it was crawling with police. It is scary.

  34. Traveling while job searching :

    I’m a masters student currently looking for summer internships. I’m also going out of the country for 12 days starting this Friday.

    I just had a phone screen and I have another one tmrw; At the end of the phone screen when she was talking about scheduling I told her I would be out of the country. I have not told the second interviewer anything yet but plan to tell her at the same time.

    I’ve sent in a bunch of applications last week and this week. I set up an out-of-office email message saying I’ll have limited internet access and when I’ll be back.

    I’m going to Asia and moving around a lot so it really won’t be feasible to do phone interviews or something while abroad. Am I handling this correctly?

    • You can do phone interviews while abroad if you’re in a major city, you just have to plan for it. Schedule something a week or more out, then call a hotel populated by business travelers (think Ritz, Fancy Marriot/Hilton, Four Seasons of the city) or temporary business suites center about using their business center for one day. You will be able to do an international call on a land line in a private setting.

  35. Any women here on a corporate board (not non profit – either a public or private company)? Or is that a goal for any of you. As I’m evaluating where I want to be in the next 10 years (37 yr old govt lawyer now, 10 yrs in private practice, business education), I’m reminded this is a goal I’ve had since college – that someday I’d be successful enough to do this. Yet it seems soooo impossible. Curious if anyone has done it or pursuing it — and it doesn’t have to be like the board of Amazon — I really just want the opportunity with any company.

    • Is there a particular reason you’d want to do it? From my perspective – looking at a lot of early and mid-stage companies in a sophisticated/specialized industry, lawyers aren’t typically sought after for board seats.

      • Isn’t that odd though? Given how much regulation, compliance and litigation risk companies face, you’d think it’d make sense to have a lawyer on a board? OP there are initiatives in place to encourage females on corporate boards — as there is evidence that companies do better with at least some female leadership rather than just boys club leadership. You never know – you could crack the ceiling in the next decade as a female lawyer on a board. I take it you went to b school? Why not reach out to b school folks – alums or even profs – as a start?

        • Anonymous :

          I don’t think it’s that odd – most companies are going to hire outside counsel for their legal needs. They won’t need it on the Board.

    • It’s a big goal for me. I’m the same age as you, in a tech field with a tech degree (not an MBA). I’m not sure how I’m going to make it happen, but my approach so far is to get involved with startups and VC-style investing (mostly by volunteering for related assignments through my job), and hoping over time this may lead to something. The board of a start-up should be more achievable than an established company, though still not easy. I figure I’m at least a decade out from achieving this goal, and will be following to see if anyone has good advice here.

    • I am not, but I just wanted to point out that being on a board is a real responsibility, not a gold medal. Director duties are taken more and more seriously. It is no longer acceptable to just show up. You should absolutely not agree to be on a board unless you really know what you are doing — you feel competent to evaluate how management is doing its job, think critically about the strategic alternatives for the company in its industry relative to its competitors, and read and understand the financial statements. I am not sure how being a government lawyer helps you in any of those areas.

      • What an odd assumption – that a woman who sets the goal to be on a board must be looking for a gold medal, unaware of the responsibilities that position entails.

        • Anonymous :

          Re-read the original post – it reads as those the poster wants the brass ring but doesn’t understand or mention the work/responsibility involved.

    • Anon prof :

      There is a program at Northwestern University that helps prepare women to several on boards and maintains a list of women who are interested.

  36. Does anyone have pointers on how to find greater personal connection at an awkward stage of life? Married 18 years, two teens kids, work exclusively from home. It is a good life! But it is missing something. My husband and I don’t share as many interests as I wish we did. The kids need me less and less. I’ve been at the same organization my whole career and, while I am well paid and have incredible flexibility, it isn’t fulfilling. I’ve thought about it a lot and what I want/need is more connection in my life. That is the word I keep coming back to, at least.

    I consider working out to be my main hobby. Attempts at other hobbies always seem to stall. I have two or three close friends including siblings but I’ve felt distanced from them recently. I’ve also invested a lot in my appearance the past several years – diet, exercise, makeup, skincare/maintenance. I think maybe I thought this would attract what I was seeking. I am social but most of those relationships remain surface level.

    So what inventive things have you done to spark connection? How do you meet new people? Do I need a life coach? More therapy? How do you weave these things into busy, full lives?

    • I really only meet people by working alongside them. I would do recurring volunteer/service work that involves others (coach for Girls on the Run, Rotary), or join a commitee or working board of a nonprofit. :)

    • Volunteer work. You’ll meet people, certainly, but I think it will also give you the sense of fulfillment that you are looking for. I think everyone needs to give back in some way. Spend a little less time on the self-care and improvement and substitute in efforts to help others. Some easy places to start if you don’t want to have to spend a lot of time independently tracking down opportunities- your kid’s school, junior league/rotary/local civic groups, or your church/mosque/synagogue if you have one. If those don’t appeal, look for bigger organizations that have lots of volunteer opportunities like the food bank, animal shelter, RedCross, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, the library system, hospitals, etc.

      • I do some sporadic volunteering and always love it when I manage to get there. Schedules are hard (teens aren’t driving yet) but maybe this is where I need to commit. Thank you for the suggestion.

      • +1. I’m on the board at church, and I know there are lots of similar non-profits where their need for volunteers is really scalable – you can be as involved as you want to be. If you think you can make the time commitment for a once a month board meeting, being on the board of a nonprofit is really rewarding.

      • Yes. Service. In addition to the standard advice re; getting back into hobbies, investing in friendships, this is my therapist’s #1 recommendation for fulfillment and connection.

    • I do not think you need a life coach. Personally I think trying to work with a therapist is always better than a life coach, because at least your insurance will cover part of it.

      What about some type of volunteer work? Since you work from home (which sounds AMAZING to me – so jealous), it makes sense that you are missing personal connections. Think about a population that interests you and whether you prefer direct service work or more administrative type work. For example, I have a friend who volunteers at the local children’s hospital playing with the kids (at many hospitals you can also volunteer to hold babies in the NICU) and another who volunteers as a reading buddy at an elementary school, while a different friend volunteers at a clothing bank and helps sort clothes so she does not interact directly with the people the organization is serving. Or you can help an organization plan a fundraising event, etc. I think this would help a lot. You would feel needed by the organization you are helping and it would allow you to get out of the house and connect with people more. Plus – organizations need more people like you!

    • I’d focus on reconnecting with your husband. Maybe find a new activity you could both do together. The last thing you want to do is throw yourself into your own hobbies and friends and grow more distant from him, especially as your kids get ready to leave home.

    • Someone above mentioned visiting nursing homes, with a dog, or even hospice volunteering.
      This appeals to me a lot except I am pretty quiet so wouldn’t be much company. Agree with getting out of yourself and serving others.

      • Some people would love a quiet hospice volunteer. My grandmother currently has in-home hospice care and she wishes that the people who are with her talked less. She has spent her life as a super extrovert, but now at the end, she seems to just want quiet. So if that’s what is holding you back, there may be people out there for whom you would be a perfect match.

    • Working from home is the dream, but co-working spaces can be a nice way to switch it up. The co-working spaces around here have relaxed social events to encourage networking, mentoring, and just meeting people. They also have opt-in workshops (my town is pretty crunchy, so here these are things like making a terrarium, giving somebody feedback on their startup’s health muffins, or just yoga; I’m sure it varies elsewhere). You will probably know in an instant whether this sounds appealing to you or not, but it helps some people.

  37. Housecounsel :

    I found that what started as surfacy relationships with some of my kids’ friends’ moms (mainly from travel sports) turned into real friendships. I have one kid who has graduated, and I have to admit I was suprised that some of those friendships with that group of parents didn’t last beyond the kid commonalities. However, a couple of them have endured and I’ll take that.

    What about volunteering, or a worship community?

    • I think as the kids have gotten older I’ve realized there are fewer and fewer of those opportunities to meet people. When my kids were younger it was so much easier. We aren’t religious but I think volunteering might be the right path. I am worried about the commitment – I worry about flaking because of shifting schedules.

      • maybe you can find something biweekly or once a month that you are able to commit to?

        you mention that you like working out – I do not know if you are a person who likes exercise classes, biking, running, tennis, etc. but often times if you go to the same class on the same day/time each week you will run into people and strike up conversations and can make new friends that way.

      • Don’t let your schedule be the one that gets shifted. It sounds like you don’t have a ton of mandatory items, so what if you say “Family, I will be volunteering at X one day per week. That means I’ll be out of the house for 2 hours from 6-8pm on Thursdays. DH, I’ll need you to commit to covering X & Y with the kids at that time. Kids, this is an excellent way to start practicing being an adult. You’ll start covering Z yourself. I need to do this because I’ve spent the last 15 years focused on the family, and now I need to spend a little time focused on myself.”

        And yes I echo you go on a date night with DH and say look we’re not as connected as I’d like us to be. What are some things you (DH) have dreamt of doing? What’s on your bucket list? Oh, I’d love to learn more about World History too. What if we let oldest be in charge while we take a history course together at the local community college? Or, yes I want to hike Machu Piccu too – let’s start taking walks and then hikes together and try to get in good enough shape to hike it together in two years?

  38. My husband is out of town on a trip that I really would’ve loved to join him on but couldn’t. I’m feeling down and bummed out. I know people have posted before about what to do with themselves when their spouse and/or kids were gone and there were good ideas about how to really enjoy yourself, but in my current funk I can’t remember what any of those ideas were. If you had a week to yourself, how would you make the most out of enjoying your time?

    • I’m in the same boat now. I like to take a bath, have a glass of wine and watch dumb youtube videos. I’ll also binge my favorite shows or go to bed early and read as much as I want.

    • Metallica :

      Do anything you ordinarily try not to do around him (if there is anything)—toot with impunity, order in a giant plate of nachos, eat the nachos in the bathtub, drink beer and then dance along to hip hop fitness videos on YouTube…whoops, I’m describing what I aspire to do when my husband is out of town ;)

    • Anonymous :

      I will gladly trade places with you. I would love a week of “me time.”

      Yoga every day! Wine and cheese for dinner in front of the TV! Manicure! Read All the Books! Buy a stack of magazines and read them in bed! Learn to meditate! More yoga! Go to the fancy mall/art museum/bookstore and just walk around and look at stuff with no one complaining at you to hurry up! See a movie that you really like, TWICE! Watch the 6-hour A&E Pride and Prejudice! Try Orangetheory! And then more yoga!

    • yoga, spin class, salad bar restaraunt for dinner with a friend, movie

    • Frozen Peach :

      I was one of those posts! If you search the site for “Weekend at Mommy’s” you may find past ideas.

      I always have a few LONG phone dates with girlfriends, eat pizza and at least one food that is so gross I won’t consume it around others (for me it’s usually those cheez-balls that are basically just packing peanuts), and watch TV that my husband won’t watch with me.

    • Work out a lot, go to bed really early or really late, make a bunch of plans with friends, cook eggs for a dinner or a curry that he wouldn’t be into, take myself out on a date to eat dinner at the bar of a hip restaurant, go to a lecture or a museum or some other cultural event, read a novel, go see a movie at the theater, etc.

    • I go to all the yoga classes, eat all the foods that aren’t allowed in the house bc of allergies, organize my closets (therapeutic for me), go shopping/watch whateva I want! Think of all the things you never have time to do, visit an old neighbourhood, call up a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while. Read a great book!

  39. PSA for those who hate the audio ads that pop up here from time to time:

    The latest Chrome update has a “mute site” option – just right-click the tab and select “mute site” to mute any audio from the site. Not 100% sure how well it works but I just learned about it and enabled it on a few frequent offenders. (Ahem, CNN)

  40. Planning a quick honeymoon (4 days + flight days) to Iceland in early August. Any advice or suggestions from you wonderful world travelers? TIA!

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