Frugal Friday’s Workwear Report: Printed Scuba Skirt

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

This skirt from Alfani (created for Macy’s) looks really great. It comes in six floral prints, most of which are $36 (when you use code SPRING to get an extra 20% off), and I like that the colors of the pictured skirt feel very spring-y but would also work for fall. In the spring, I would go with lavender, pale pink, and white, and in the fall, I would emphasize gray and navy and other darker colors — and I always love pairing green and purple. The skirt has a bunch of good reviews and is machine washable, and it comes in sizes XS–XXL, as well as plus sizesPrinted Scuba Skirt, Created for Macy’s

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  1. Anonymous :

    Any hacks to stop a coil phone cord from getting tangled? I just replaced mine a few months ago and it’s already totally tangled and i’m struggling to untangle in a way that it stays untangled. I’m getting so frustrated.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      There used to be a little thing you could buy and install where the cord meets the handset that would spin around and prevent tangles, like this…

    • Anonymous :

      Throw away your antique phone?

    • Anonymous :

      I think you can buy a little dohickey (technical term) that allows the end to spin freely to keep it from tangling. see

      I’ve never tried one so not sure how well they work.

    • Anonymous :

      Unclip the cord from the handset or base set (or both?) and let it hang loose so it can untwist. It tangles because it gets twisted up.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      In mod – go to amazon and search “phone cord detangler”. Totally useful little gadget.

    • I used to have a retractable phone cord. It was amazing. like this–VQ22-624116875-VQ27-10575873596&mrkgcl=1104&mrkgadid=3115168401&rkg_id=h-0f57ae9da5bd9164a288903f7da7d346_t-1520609534&adpos=1o1&creative=51194798396&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=CjwKCAiA_ojVBRAlEiwAOLRxI5iYNTNynoKpe_-Ow7NjxZZJHbMhdTQDO8SMwcKY8TMca-6hF6N61hoCx50QAvD_BwE

  2. I looking to get my first facial sometime in the next couple of months to pamper myself for my birthday/get skincare recs. Do any of you have any recommendations on what to look for in a spa or any spa recs in DC specifically?

    • I prefer to get facials at derms offices instead of spas, so I’d investigate that option. I could be imagining this, but many of the facials I’ve gotten at spas have been the relaxing/face massaging variety instead of the more clinical “productive” facials that derms offices often offer. As I’m typing this out, I’m not sure even how to describe the distinction – I just feel like facials at spas feel nice but sometimes aren’t as good as the more clinical kind.

    • Don’t schedule it for when you need to look great that day or next. I made that mistake my first time, thinking the experience was more like a regular salon visit and I’d just emerge all glowing but my skin needed a day or two to purge everything out.

      • Agree with this. Remember Samantha after her chemical peel, but on a mild scale. No one tells you!

        For me, my sensitive skin can’t handle all that rough manual work and substances, and most facials are not flattering. At all. Come out of it irritated.

        Purging…. well, I guess that’s a word for it! Recovering is more like it…

  3. They make plugs/accessories that you can add to the phone to prevent the tangling.

    • Anonymous :

      2nd but I’m not sure where you would find them now. Maybe ebay?

      • Office supply stores or Amazon should have them. Plenty of office phones still have coil cords.

      • Hahaha what? Landlines aren’t some obscure relic of a technology. They’re everywhere. You can still find phones and their accessories readily.

  4. anonymouse :

    i am headed towards my 35th birthday and would like to point my dh to a nice necklace. mainly for work purposes (i work in biglaw in california), something that looks nice and will not go out of style any time soon. i had always pictured this being the point where i get mikimoto pearls but i just dont see a strong use for pearls anymore, no one seems to wear them around here and none of my outfits are really screaming for pearls. any ideas? willing to spend up to about $3k.

    • Anonymous :

      Diamond solitaire?

    • Anonymous :

      Take a look at Neiman Marcus’ site under precious jewelry for some ideas. I know pearls aren’t in-in right now but they are a classic and they’ll be back.

    • dtw counsel :

      a few of my faves: oro and vrai, catbird, noemie, tiffany, vintage david yurman could all be within your price range.

    • Unusual but fancy beads? My parents got me a coral bead necklace for my 35th and I love it. (Silverscape Designs, Northampton, MA) It provides a nice bit of color and interest in my otherwise blue and neutral wardrobe.

    • Anonymous :

      What about a diamond station necklace? Very classic.

      • +1 My DH gave me a Roberto Coin station necklace on our wedding day and I reach for it nearly every day.

        I have a very nice set of pearls that I rarely wear – I feel like they age me.

    • anon a mouse :

      I’d look at some images from The Good Wife for inspiration — particularly Christine Baranski’s character. She always had amazing necklaces.

      • anon a mouse :

        Here’s one roundup — the pictures aren’t great but you get the idea.

    • Have you thought about a jewelry set of precious or semi-precious jewels? I’ve had my eye for a while on a matching pink morganite, diamond/white sapphire, gold metal cocktail ring with earrings and pendant.

      • Link:

    • This is pretty badass

      • Or this one

      • +1 for big Tahitians. Like others I haven’t worn my polite white pearls for years but I get a tonne of wear out of a strand of big dark Tahitians bought on a whim. They weren’t expensive, under a thousand, because some of them have visible surface blemishes but their luminosity lights up my conservatively-coloured professional wardrobe.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Wow I did not expect to like the persephone as much as I did!

    • Polly Wales or Elisa Solomon are the jewelers I’d look to at that price level.

    • I have been coveting a black diamond bead necklace with one black pearl in the center. I can’t find something like it online

      Sort of like this, but with one large pearl:

    • Out of the Box :

      Elsa Peretti at Tiffany? Modern diamond station necklace.

  5. Anonymous :

    I don’t like that skirt. The print looks like a grandmother

  6. Nylon girl :

    Great pic, Kat!

  7. Any recommendations for a custom jeweler in DC? Or advice on designing a piece using inherited stones, when you know nothing about jewelry? My SO and I are about to obtain an heirloom ring and intend to use the stones in an engagement ring, but will need a total redesign of the setting as it’s dated in a bad way. (And yes, family knows we would dismantle the existing setting to use the stones, and they are OK with that.) I’ve never owned such a small yet pricey (and sentimentally priceless) item and have some nerves around leaving such an item with someone I don’t know to have this work done. Is this an irrational fear? I’ve read horror stories about places switching out a valuable stone for something lower quality behind the customer’s back! Granted, all of this is a first world “problem” I’m glad to have – but any recommendations would be appreciated.

    • Tiny Jewel Box

      • seconding this recommendation. i bought my engagement ring while living in another city, but needed something fixed and took it there and they were amazing!

    • Anonymous :

      Market Street Diamonds

      • Anonymous :

        Seconding this. I loved working with them, I love my ring, they have great customer service. When we thought I might be allergic to nickel and need my white gold rings remade, they quoted us an extremely discounted price to remake them in platinum. (Luckily, turns out I’m allergic to parabens in soap and not nickel – yay!). Can’t say enough about them though.

      • Seconding MSD :

        I think my reply went to mod but we used Market Street Diamonds and loved them. Exact same situation – we took the stones from an old family ring and had it remade as my engagement ring. They were great to work with.

    • anon a mouse :

      Goldworks in Alexandria. Alternate: Torpedo Factory has several jewelers, you could walk around and see if any match your style.

    • When I had my engagement diamond reset the jeweler required me to remain on the premises while the work was done. I’m not sure how it works when the job takes longer than a few hours, but I think many/most reputable places have this policy.

    • I’ve had an excellent experience w Dominion in Falls Creek, as have other family members. Ask for Sergio.

    • I’ve had a good experience with Dominion in Falls Creek, as have other family members. Ask for Sergio.

  8. Athleta Silk Tunic :

    Just received the navy and black silk tunics from Athleta and I love these. on sale for $70.

    Perfect length to tuck into skirts for (a long waisted gal like me ) for work and to dress down with leggings/skinny jeans for a casual day.
    Only caveat is that there is a button along the open slit part on each side of the tunic, so it might be irritating for tucking in- haven’t tried it yet.

    The cut is flowy/tad oversized so if you are a little in between, opt to size down.

  9. Friday fun – please help me plan a bachelorette in Miami! I have never been and am not sure where to stay.
    We are expecting 10-12 guests for 2 nights in July. We’d like to stay on or near the beach, have a boat experience, keep logistics low (rather not rent cars/drive everywhere), and keep costs reasonable. Is that even possible?

    • For 2 nights I’d stick to a hotel in South Beach. I’m partial to Kimptons but there are many great options. And plenty of restaurants in South Beach. Easily walkable or a quick Uber.

      You’ll need to get an Uber from the airport though if you want to avoid renting a car. A regular Uber would probably be ~$30 one way; UberXL would be a little more but could fit some additional people per vehicle. I’ve found car rentals to be very cheap in Miami but I doubt it’s worth the hassle of doing that for 2 nights. Plus you’d then have to pay for parking.

  10. Friday fun – please help me plan a bachelor e t t e in Miami! I have never been and am not sure where to stay.
    We are expecting 10-12 guests for 2 nights in July. We’d like to stay on or near the beach, have a boat experience, keep logistics low (rather not rent cars/drive everywhere), and keep costs reasonable. Is that even possible?

    • No need to rent a car – South Beach is super walkable! I was there over New Year’s and stayed in an AirBnB. While I wouldn’t recommend the one I stayed in, I’d use AirBnB there again over a hotel (especially with a group).

    • Delta Dawn :

      You can keep logistics low if you are in South Beach– easy to walk everywhere there. AirBnB will be more affordable than the resorts there. I would do a lunch in Little Havana at Versailles if at all possible. It has been a few years since my clubbing days but if you want to do that with your group, Purdy Lounge is a classic. Otherwise the clubs change and rotate so much I’m not much help there. Brunch at Rusty Pelican would be fun– great view from there. Wynwood has a lot of murals for cool insta pics if you’re into that. Also some breweries in Wynwood. Baires Grill on the beach is also delicious. But don’t eat anywhere right on the ocean in SoBe where someone is waving a menu outside to beckon you (actually I think that’s generally true everywhere– but for sure here).

  11. Anonymous :

    My coworker just did a trip to South Beach with her friends. They should split an AirBnB and might have split a car rental but for the most part just walked around South Beach.

  12. Choosing happiness :

    What are some things you do to choose to be happy, or at least choose to avoid being unhappy? If you’ve made changes in your outlook on life to become a more positive person, what has that journey been like for you?

    I think I tend to be pretty negative. I come from a family where complaining is conversation. I’ve come a long way from that but I’m still I’m working on recognizing when I have a legitimate complaint, honoring that feeling, and letting it go so I can move on to something better. I thought y’all might have some great insights or stories to share.

    • Aquae Sulis :

      I don’t have any great advice, as I’m on the same journey, but, so far, I have found that surrounding myself with positive people has made a huge difference for me.

    • I have a temper and tend to catastrophize so I try to ask myself a few questions when I’m getting stressed or angry. These include “Did anyone die?” “Will anyone die?” “Will this matter in 5 days, 5 months, or 5 years?”

      • I like the first and third self-questions, but the second makes things worse for me. I learned at a young age that the worst CAN happen and it’s always affected my ability to not get anxious about people dying. If anyone else is in the same boat as me, what helps me on that issue is to say to myself “even if she dies, I am lucky to have had her in my life for this long.” For some reason, it helps me be more accepting of the possibility of death (the proverbial worst-case scenario) without continuing to obsess over it.

    • Anonymous :

      I keep a running list of good things in my head.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. One thing that’s really helped me is creating an actual (color-coded, alphabetized) list of the things that do make me happy: what I like about my job, my favorite foods, my favorite activities, and so on. I also listed things like physical sensations like the experience of drinking coffee when I’m very cold and taking off my heels at the end of the day. It’s helped me to focus on these experiences and their effect on my happiness a little bit more when I’m actually experiencing them. I’ve also tried to be attentive to other people’s happiness. If my friend is happy about a promotion, I try to really empathize with that instead of thinking about whether I think she deserves it or whether I’m better or worse than she is and so on.

    • I have consciously become a more honest person. I was raised in a household where no one expressed big emotions, and it taught me to bottle up negative feelings, which made me unhappy. It has taken a LOT of self-reflection and getting over discomfort and fear, but being able to tell others that they hurt my feelings or made me angry has been a great source of relief vs. walking around being unhappy because I have the weight of all my unexpressed feelings bearing down on me.

      • I come from a similar background and struggle with being able to react in the moment the way I would ultimately like to. Can you share what you did to cultivate the ability?

        • Green Hat :

          I think the initial push was doing premarital counseling in which the counselor recommended some communication exercises that required us to express something that made us mad using “I” statements. In doing that, I realized that 1) expressing the feelings felt really cathartic and 2) expressing them wouldn’t cause my now-husband to blow up at me or leave me or anything. I did some additional self-reflection on my own and with my (very supportive and communicative) husband about why I used avoidance and sarcasm as a front when I had negative feelings, and realized it was likely because I was afraid that people would think less of me or dislike me if I was honest. I made a conscious decision that it was worth the risk to be my true self. This all happened slowly, and over the course of maybe 5 years I have reached a point where I feel generally comfortable expressing how I feel and can do it without crying.

    • I have to cut myself off from my best friend, who has the same negative tendencies as me, because we will start complaining about something and will let a simple vent get out of hand at times. She and I are both workign on this. I also try to follow up a complaint with something positive. For example, if I complain about the icy sidewalk to a coworker, I’ll add “at least all the snow is good for ski season” or something like that. I have noticed that I don’t mind other people’s complaining when it’s limited to a few sentences, but that someone who goes on and on and on just brings the whole team down. I don’t want to be that person.

    • Woops meant to post here:

      To the extent I can, I’ve always tried to carve out one or two things to do a week whose sole purpose is bring me joy. It doesn’t have to be big. One month it might be a one hour a week dance class. One week it might be taking a trashy british chick lit novel and drinking a glass of wine while reading alone at a café. One week it might be locking my family out of the bathroom and taking a bubble bath with a scented bath bomb and those cool faux candles that flicker (these are amazing and cost $30 for a set of 9 on Amazon) and zone out.

      Focusing on things that make me happy helps, as others have mentioned above, but choosing to do and follow through on an ACTION whose sole purpose is to bring you joy, to me, solidifies that focus as a thing you do, have control over, and is a priority in your life.

    • I no longer describe myself as “busy.” For some reason, it helps. Example:

      Mom: “How’s work”
      Me: Instead of my usual “I’m so busy,” I say something like, “I have a couple of really cool projects going on, plus the usual stuff!”

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Lately “busy” as a self-descriptor has made me uncomfortable too. With me it tends to be friends saying “I haven’t seen you in forever!” And I’ve stopped responding with, “Yeah I’ve been super busy…”

        Because, yes I am busy, but like, I’ve *made choices* that got me here and I like my job and love my kid, and it’s not like I’m ~busy~ because bad things have happened, this is just the way my life is lately! “Busy” feels like throwing my hands up, like “woah how’d all this start happening all around me?!” when that’s not really the case.

        • Amen! Also, people so often say “I’m busy” as a way to signal “I’m important.” It’s really bad for how much we tie self-worth to (over)work, at work and/or at home. I’ve tried to start getting comfortable telling people that my workload is manageable and I have plenty of free time. (These things are true.) It shouldn’t be difficult or awkward, but the fact that it is is telling.

      • Linda from HR :

        Oh yeah, I avoid that word! Seems like way too many people are either using it an excuse not to make time for someone or something (“I’d love to do that sometime, but I’m just sooooo busy!”), to garner sympathy, or to seem important, like if you’re going a million miles a minute it means people need you and things would fall apart without you. Instead I say my life is full, that I have a lot of stuff going on right now, work’s heating up, I’m going out almost every night and doing all these fun things.

    • I started daily journaling – I write about all kinds of stuff, but always have a gratitude list. I’ve found that it’s easier for me to see the positive stuff now, and I think the consistent (short!) writing is what helped me to do that. (PS If you are pressed for time, google ‘micro journaling’ which is basically what it sounds like, but with some good suggestions for how to make it work…)

      • Rainbow Hair :

        YES. I write a daily gratitude, and I have rules for it: it has to be specific and not (easily) repeatable. So I can’t write “I love my family” but I can write “I loved dancing in the park with my family today.” Finding and focusing on one great thing every day has been so good for me.

      • Same – I have a five-year journal with just enough room for 2-3 sentences. Before bed I think, what do I want to remember about this day? What am I thankful for? Now that I’m 4 years into it, it’s really powerful to see all the little things, day by day, that I otherwise might have forgotten. I also love going to bed with positive thoughts in my head.

    • I used to spend a lot of time obsessing about things that upset me but that I had no ability to control or even influence for the better, e.g. my mother’s erratic and mean behavior. I came to the conclusion that I could just decide not to let things I can’t control upset my fundamental happiness, and instead focus on improving things I can control. I’ve found it very freeing.

    • I had to get over the idea that being negative or cynical equated with intelligence. Early on, I developed a tendency toward depression, and my attitude was that the world was such a dark place full of such lousy people, that you’d have to be sort of dumb to have a positive outlook. Like you just weren’t noticing reality. I felt that I was “above” happiness because I knew too much for it, and it was easy for me to discount the views of happy people because I thought they just didn’t understand how bad things were. Please don’t attack me for this terrible attitude–it was part of a mental health problem, as I stated above. Anyway, I think a lot of unhappy people have this view to some degree, so it’s worth targeting in whatever way works for you.

      • My father has had this view my entire life and it took me until age 35 to understand that it is ok to be happy. Happiness does not mean you are under intellectual.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I spent some years as a member of a religion in which one of the big no-nos was “gossip and backbiting.” I internalized that and to this day I don’t listen to or participate in gossip. It has increased my happiness level SO MUCH over the years! I know it goes on, but if I don’t participate or listen, then as far as I’m concerned it isn’t happening and I don’t have to give it any brain space.

      Also some time ago I did a 21-day Complaint Free World challenge ( and although that hasn’t stuck quite as well (my husband would laugh his head off if he heard me say I don’t complain) it also was a really good experience. I do not participate in things like “let’s all complain about our husbands” or “let’s all complain about our bodies.”

      Another fun thing: Lovely Husband and I laughingly say we are Professional Fun Havers (we even have cards that say that) and we make it a point to have fun! Life is too short to be serious all the time!

      We do service in the community and that makes us happy.

      And yes, honesty and having the hard conversations when necessary.

    • I’ve been doing yoga and I find that shutting my brain off for about an hour has been so great for my attitude. I like that I respond to instructions for the teacher and that there’s an overarching message of self-love and kindness that really resonates with me.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      It’s a very small thing, but I’m surprised at the impact it has had for me over the long term. As I observe a person (walking by, in a meeting), I think of something positive about them. In the last few years, I’ve begun saying the compliments when it is appropriate. These are all very quick. “I love the color of that shirt!” “Nice clear statement of the issue in the meeting!”

      To be frank, much of the statements in my head are around fashion or style. The idea to do this was as the same time as I began to really focus on developing my professional style and wardrobe, so I was more closely observing women around me. I’ve been startled by the impact of these fleeting moments of explicit positive statements. Because I’m making them about other people, they “feel” more genuine.

      It’s also helped my own self confidence. It has helped to derail the track in my head that thinks that everyone is secretly criticizing me.

    • On a very micro level, I don’t check my phone in the morning from the time I wake up until I’m walking into the elevator to go up to my floor. (Caveat, I don’t have kids, so for me, the time between waking up and getting to my office is relatively quick and direct). I just realized that (1) if an email came across, it was unlikely I would be able to deal with it over my phone, so at best I would be able to give a partial response and (2) it could probably wait until I got to work, had all of my stuff ready and could fully respond to an email.

      It wasn’t worth being stressed over something first thing in the morning.

      The only exception to this is if I’m on a huge deal where I know that timing is everything, but on a standard day, stuff can just wait until I am at my desk at 8:45.

    • I keep a page in my bullet journal where I write down at least 3 good things that happened the day before. It sounds silly but it forces me to focus on the good (which is not my natural instinct) rather than on everything that went wrong. Some days come easier than others, and it’s often as simple as “time with my dog” – but it’s working for me.

    • Exercise regularly.

    • Shoe Ruiner :

      I decide something to look forward to every day. Usually it’s regular things but I acknowledge the joy they bring me. A good lunch I packed, a show I get to watch or book I get to read, my morning coffee. And then I am always either enjoying something or looking forward to something nice.

  13. To the extent I can, I’ve always tried to carve out one or two things to do a week whose sole purpose is bring me joy. It doesn’t have to be big. One month it might be a one hour a week dance class. One week it might be taking a trashy british chick lit novel and drinking a glass of wine while reading alone at a café. One week it might be locking my family out of the bathroom and taking a bubble bath with a scented bath bomb and those cool faux candles that flicker (these are amazing and cost $30 for a set of 9 on Amazon) and zone out.

    Focusing on things that make me happy helps, as others have mentioned above, but choosing to do and follow through on an ACTION whose sole purpose is to bring you joy, to me, solidifies that focus as a thing you do, have control over, and is a priority in your life.

  14. Downtown DC Tailor :

    Anyone have recommendations for an affordable but solid tailor in downtown DC? Or a dry cleaners that does alterations. I’m not looking for anything fancy, but I have some pants and skirts that I want hemmed up or hem let out and some minor waist adjustments on skirts/pants/blazers/dresses. All I’ve seen on Yelp are horror stories, so any positive experiences are appreciated.

    • Lam Couture on 14th and L is great. They do custom clothing but also regular basic alterations.

    • I always had good luck with Cheryl Lofton, easily accessible on yellow/green line (she’s probably done 30 things for me over the years esp during pregnancy). But she may be expensive. I always used my dry cleaners for hems, jacket sleeves taken up at the wrist and other easy jobs. I used a dry cleaner in Market Square at the Navy Memorial/Arhives if that happens to be close to you and they were fine. Also used Cleveland Park Vallet and the organic dry cleaners on the corner of 17th and R. All fine.

  15. I have back pain from two bulging discs (result of an injury), but the doctor says it’s not surgical, that it may take 1-2 years to heal, and that I should focus on core strengthening to take pressure off my spine (and avoid activities like running, weight lifting, etc. that do put pressure on it). Has anyone been in this situation before and can you recommend any particular types of yoga, Pilates, or core work videos that would be good for this purpose? I’m feeling pretty discouraged by this, but am willing to try these exercises.

    • Have you done physical therapy yet?

    • Sounds like physical therapy may be an appropriate first step?

      • Forgot to mention I did five weeks of physical therapy and four of chiropractic. I’m keeping up the PT exercises at home, but my insurance won’t cover more visits right now and I’m not sure it was that helpful anyway.

    • Of Counsel :

      Reformer Pilates worked miracles for me with low back pain. I started by doing it with a physical therapist to be sure I was doing it right/using proper body mechanics (which also had the advantage of being paid through my HSA). I then moved to a private class my PT recommended.

      I found that a lot of other types of core work were hard unless I was being watched by an instructor who really knew what they were doing (hello yoga!) because it was easy for me to strain my back and knees – but a big part of my problem is hyper-flexibility so that might not be an issue for other people.

      • I really second that a lot of core work can be hard if it’s not individualized to you or you don’t have a great instructor who will remember your limitations and give you modifications. I love reformer pilates but find a lot of the stuff programmed in group classes is terrible for my low back and tight hip flexors–e.g., cueing too heavy on leg work where I can’t maintain proper core and back alignment and my back hurts after, too much core work all in a row or cueing an advanced modification as the “base” such that I end up dumping into other muscles instead of actually strengthening my core. I’ve got an instructor in the family that I stick to now because I know she will give me the modifications I need, and I’ve also started working with a private yoga coach to get more individualized attention. It’s not cheap though :(

    • There’s a class called Solidcore that might be good for you. It’s literally just intense core work, but supposed to improve alignment, strength, etc. But not bad to start with physical therapy per the suggestion above.

      • +1 to Solidcore!

        I’ve been going to Solidcore 3-4x a week for a little over a year, and I’ve never been this strong/fit in my life (used to be a ballet dancer & weight lifted after). It’ll be a tough workout, but it’s low-impact and you can modify moves as needed for your back.

    • Look into Egoscue therapy. There are clinics around the country but you can start with one of Paul Egocues books off amazon. Turned my husbands life around.

  16. Suggestions for what to do when you’re burning out?

    • Schedule a vacation asap. Or a long weekend, if a longer vacation isn’t in the cards right now. But still schedule a longer vacation for further out so you have something to look forward to.

    • anon a mouse :

      Keep work at work (as much as possible). When you leave, don’t check your email.

      Generally I have a harder time relaxing when I’m in front of screens in general — try to minimize time spent on your phone or in front of a television. Get lots of fresh air and sunshine. Go for long walks. Cook something interesting. Do something with your hands. Catch up with a good friend. Get dressed up and go out for a nice dinner, even if there’s no special occasion. Send a care package to someone.

    • I’ve been battling a nasty case of burnout for close to a year, which sounds terrible when I think about it. Definitely schedule some time off. It will help if you generally like your job but just need a break; it’s not so effective if major parts of your job and life need to change. Make self-care a priority and try to spend serious time away from the situations/people who stress you out.

    • Remember to take my multivitamin or at least get a green juice. I know we’re supposed to be able to get adequate nutrition from food, but chronic stress just burns through nutrition, and I figure we probably eat less to begin with than ancestors who did manual labor (even when our diets are perfect, which mine is not).

    • Anonymous :

      Cut out all non-vital after work activities. Stop working at least 30 minutes before I normally do (even if I can’t get it all done). Use that 30 minutes for self – care and resting. Get more rest and build time cushion for it.

    • Going to dissent from the crowd and make a different suggestion. Find a hard project that will teach you a new skill and focus on it as much as possible, even potentially outside work hours, and potentially to the detriment of other work (which, let’s be honest, we are not doing so great when we are burnt out anyway). This was the only way I was able to get out of the rut that I was in. I now feel like I have truly accomplished something and it makes me feel good and like I can do anything, making my normal work a breeze by comparison. I know my current company benefits from it but I can also take this skill anywhere. In my field, such a project would be anything relating to learning visualizations or statistical analysis (=crunching big numbers).

      • Anonymous :

        Yes, this! I just started taking flying lessons. They are so, so hard as they require a skill set that doesn’t reflect my strength areas. Not to mention it’s been a long time since I learned something so different that I couldn’t build on my existing fund of knowledge.

        But that’s partially what makes it so much fun. It’s like living a different life a few hours a week, and hopefully it’s something I can enjoy in the years to come.

    • Call your best friend, meet to go for a walk together, or schedule some down time together when you can really connect. Talk about everything on your mind and try to make jokes out of the worst of what you’re going through. It’ll help you get perspective and feel like the stress is not in control of you. Friendship and laughter = strong medicine.

  17. Anon - considering in-house :

    I’ve tried this a couple times this week at bad times – one more shot.

    I’m a biglaw midlevel thinking about what I want to do with my career. I am partway through an in-house interview and have gotten good indications about the job so far. I also recently had my annual review at my firm and it was stellar. I don’t want to make partner at my current firm, but I would consider staying longer in order to lateral later, or to go in-house at a higher level in my practice area.

    How do you think about when to leave biglaw, and what to do with your career after it? I worry both that I’ll leave too soon (and not get enough of the valuable training), and that I’ll stick around too long (I’ve seen inertia and flattery do that to seniors who eventually run out of options).

    • I think you’ve received good advice, as there’s no hard and fast answer to this. If you don’t want to make partner but you aren’t immediately thinking you’ll be pushed out, you probably have anther couple of years. If you like what you do, it may be worth sticking around for them (assuming you’re less than a 6/7 year now). If you are getting up towards that 6/7 year and don’t want to be partner, probably consider this opportunity or another one the near future.

      • Anon - considering in-house :

        Thanks, I think you’re right. I do appreciate the advice I’ve gotten so far.

        I’m a 4th year, so a lot of my friend are leaving but I don’t think I’m too senior yet. I’m in NYC on an 8-year partner track so I’ve heard most people move between years 3 and 5 (aka now / within 18 months of now).

        People aren’t generally pushed out at my firm, so the danger is mostly getting comfortable and letting time slip by without making a real decision.

        • To be honest, in-house opportunities can be hard to come by. If you get an offer from this company and you are interested in the opportunity, I would think long and hard before turning it down. I’ve seen in-house job searches take 1-2 years, so if you turn this down now, you might be looking for another job for another 1-2 years.

          The bigger picture questions are harder. I’m technically a seventh-year and was effectively pushed out at my last review. I’ve spent a lot of time since then thinking about what I want to do, and I’m still not sure I know the answer to that, but informational interviewing and actual interviewing were both very helpful. I’ve accepted another position now, and I’m looking forward to the change, but I still wouldn’t say I know the answer to what I want to DO with my post-biglaw career.

    • I’d consider whether going in house at a higher level is realistic without having previous in-house experience. I think it can be done, but I see a lot more openings for “entry level” in-house positions that are geared towards firm midlevels. You then move up in the organization or lateral to another organization.

      • Anon - considering in-house :

        Thanks. I think it is possible (since 7th years at my firm have done it) but rare. It might not be worth waiting for.

      • Triangle Pose :

        Yep, this is a risk. Much easier to move to the “entry level” ib-house position and move up within the company or jump to another company at a higher level, than it is to rely on moving in at 7th year when there is a ton of supply (a lot of senior associates just got the talk they are not making partner and so apply to go in-house) and who knows about demand for that level.

        I’m in-house and we have definitely passed on 6th and 7th years because we didn’t want overqualified people that we couldn’t train or people who we would see as “giving up” their entire practice (think 7 years of litigation) to learn the new thing we want to teach them.

    • Don’t assume you’ll go in at a higher level if you stay longer. Most in-house jobs don’t work that way outside of GC. Practice specialists get to a higher level by being promoted internally.

      • Anon - considering in-house :

        I meant GC, which I know is rare.

        • Don’t bank on that. Most of the time companies prefer GC’s with in-house experience- it really is a different way of thinking about law. If you want to be a GC, go in-house as soon as you can.

    • biglawanon :

      It sounds like you don’t hate working at a law firm. Is there a counsel track at your firm?

      • Anon - considering in-house :

        You’re right that I don’t hate it. However, I don’t want to stick around at my firm long-term for other reasons. It’s one reason that I’m thinking about lateraling.

  18. anon-for-this :

    Any idea what big-law conflicts counsel positions pay?

    • Take with a grain of salt, but when I was burnt out from biglaw and considering everything, I asked a partner/mentor about those positions. Going salary, at least for Chicago three years ago, maxed out around $120k. Problem is that there is basically no upward growth, so that salary isn’t really growing, and your next job afterwards is pretty much doing conflicts at a different big firm.

  19. 403b rollover :

    I would like to consolidate 403b accounts from several former employers. How do I determine the best course of action? Do I rollover into my current employer’s plan? An IRA?

    • I was in your situation. Do you already have an IRA and brokerage account at a major company like Vanguard or Fidelity? If not, open one at Vanguard. Call them, do it over the phone. They can walk you through how to roll your other 403b accounts into an IRA.

      I would not roll it into whatever random current employer plan is, as these are not always good choices to begin with, and then you have the same problem when you move jobs again.

      It feels good once you have everything in one place. Keep it simple. Low fee Vanguard index funds!

      • 403b rollover :

        I have an account with Fidelity (from a previous employer!). Thanks for the advice. I will get this set up ASAP.

      • Tech Comm Geek :

        Fidelity is also SUPER helpful to get funds rolled over. You have to call them, but they really walked me through all the steps and facilitated things.

      • Anon for this :

        I’ve heard that there are better protections from creditors for 403bs/401ks than for IRAs, but I could be mistaken. You may want to look into it before making a decision, though.

    • Anonymous :

      The down-side to rolling it to a IRA is that you can’t then do backdoor roth contributions. Consider whether this is something you would want to do in the future.

  20. I’m going to be attending a conference next month in Houston. It’s my first time visiting the city and I will be there on my own. My days will be busy, but evenings are all free – I’d love any recommendations on things to check out, restaurants where eating alone might not be totally uncomfortable, coffee shops, and anything else. Also, how is public transportation there?

    • What area of town will your conference be in? The city is so spread out, this really helps with recommendations (as in 20-40 min. driving between entertainment or population centers).

      Food: Eating alone is fine anywhere, especially since Houston has so many top notch, and very expensive restaurants. It is hard to give suggestions without knowing what type of food you would like since every Houstonian can give you about 3 – 5 amazing restaurants in each genre.

      Transportation: You might as well pretend public transportation does not exist, unless you are specifically going from places that are within a block or two of the train (which has only a handful of arteries and only touches major work centers). Rent a car or Uber.

      Night activities: If you’re in downtown, the park there “Discovery Green” often has free public work out classes, movie screenings, or some kind of band. What kind of activities are you searching for? Houston is not a city with a hot night life, especially during the week.

      • I’ll be in the Medical Center / Museum District. I’m not a picky eater, but I do try to keep it relatively healthy. I love seafood and I eat a lot of salads. Not vegetarian or vegan, but those places always interest me too.

        Thanks for the heads up about transportation. I’ll plan on renting a car.

        • The Medical Center / Museum District is absolutely terrible with respect to food – it’s a lot of take out in the hospitals for the staff. Nearby is the Montrose district which has great food. Alladin’s is a Mediterranean place with good vegetarian and healthy options. Since you’ll be in Houston and love seafood, I’d also recommend trying out Pappadeaux’s which is gulf-coast/Louisiana style Cajun food. Highly caloric. Very delicious.

          Coffeeshop that also serves wine and beer: Agora’s in Montrose neighborhood.

          In addition, the Museum of Fine Arts is amazing and is open and free until 9:00 pm on Thursdays.

          • These are solid recommendations. Montrose is fun. I would add the Rothko Chapel since you’ll be in the Museum District.

        • You’ll be in my neighborhood! I’d try to stay at the ZaZa rather than one of the Medical Center hotels.

          For entertainment the arts museums are great. You might also be able to catch a free performance at the Miller Outdoor Theater. There are also events at Rice (concerts, lectures, baseball games). Speaking of Rice, the running / walking track around Rice is great and safer than the nearby Herman Park trails.

          My favorite nearby restaurants include Helen, the Raven Grill and the Istanbul Grill. I prefer Goode Company Seafood over Pappadeaux for seafood. If you’re looking for something very casual, get tacos at the truck across from the Alabama Icehouse and take them over to the icehouse to eat.

          Post an email address if you’re looking for company and we can try to meet-up.

          • Pen and Pencil :

            Second all of this. Especially the taco truck across the street from West Alabama Ice House (grab tacos, cash only, then walk across to grab a beer). Also seconding Les Grival’s from below, which has amazing sandwiches and vermicelli. Hungry’s is also a nice place that has good vegi options. There is a raw vegan place in the Museum District that is really good called Green Seed Vegan, but it’s definitely a hole in the wall. Local Foods is also vegi friendly and delicious. You have to get Tex-Mex while here, and for that, I would recommend El-Real which has several locations. Seconding, post an email if you want dinner company!

          • Thanks guys, that would be great! Email is e t t e travel at outlook

      • I don’t recommend walking around alone at night. The area you’re in isn’t very high crime, but because it is a driving city, the street lights are widely spaced, there often are no sidewalks, and there is little to no foot traffic at night, so you can easily find yourself alone on a dark street.

    • More food recommendations in Montrose and Midtown (both very close to the museum district):
      Mala Sichuan
      Les Givral (for banh mi in particular; their pho is OK but their sandwiches are amazing)

      Buffalo Bayou park has mooooostly been cleaned up from Harvey and is quite pretty again. The Menil is always charming.

      • These are all great options! I also like Poscol for wine and cheese/charcuterie.

      • Menil is currently closed for renovation.

      • oil in houston :

        second Hugo, but I Would add Xotchi to the list, downtown, best Mexican I’ve had, including in Mexico.
        I love backstreet café, great outdoor space, and Americas has great food options too, in a really cool setting.
        if you want steaks, then Pappas steak house is a good choice.
        Last but not least, not too far from where you’ll be is my favorite French restaurant, Artisans

        for hotels, the bar at Zaza is good, although I find service to be rude at times, by Houston standards anyway (where I find service to be stellar compared to NYC or LA)

        finally, if you have time for shopping, galleria has great options.

        • Xochi!!! Can’t believe I didn’t list it! Parking downtown can be a pain, but the food is worth it.

    • I live right near there. Medical Center is literally a sea of hospitals, but you are very close to Rice Village and Montrose, which are both very close to the museum district. Herman Park is also very close by and nice to walk around. Public transportation is practically non existent, but if you are staying in the Medical Center and your conference is there, you could just uber to restaurants. Warning – Houston is one of the ugliest cities I’ve ever been to and it is very spread out.

      Two of my favorite nicer restaurants that are nearby: (i’ve taken lots of out of towners to both)
      Pax Americana

      More Casual Lunch/Brunch:
      Tinys No. 5
      Local Foods (good healthy options, one of my favorite places. Try the crunchy chicken sandwich or the quinoa burger at the Rice Village location)
      Barnabys (local chain, good for salads or burgers)
      Sweet Paris

    • Uchi!

      Check out the Houston Eater blog.

    • My experiences in downtown Houston are pretty boring. The one bright spot is Vietnamese food – there is a large Vietnamese population and lots of great options. I also liked the Phoenicia Specialty Foods market, for food to go. My clients were also very into a place called Treebeards for lunch.

    • JuniorMinion :

      Sniff. Missing Houston right now. You’ve got good recs so far – would add

      Anvil for drinks (can walk here from hugo’s easily – it is across the street)
      Benjy’s (rice village locations)
      Provisions (near downtown)
      Also – in Museum district – having a drink at the bar at Hotel ZaZa is always fun, my husband and I would sometimes go to the Houston MFA and then go there for a drink.

    • Thank you for all of the recommendations!

      I posted an email address above that appears to be stuck in mod, but it would be fun to have a little Houston meet-up with anyone interested.

  21. PSA to the plus size ladies – Eloquii has the neoprene pencil skirt in solid colors for $25 today.

    • Have you tried it on? I ordered a couple on a similar sale and thought they looked awful. Unflattering through the front, but huge in the waist, and like 5 inches past my knees.

      Unless you’re a wide-waist-ed but flat-stomached giantess, hard pass.

      • Hmm well I’m tall so I’m excited about the length – I saw they have a viola cut for a more pear shaped woman but I’m not quite that hourglassy so i hope they’ll work for me. I do not have a flat stomach but I tend to wear my tops untucked because it’s an issue in every skirt (thank you babies!)

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Have you tried them? I’m in the market for a very-high-waisted red pencil skirt and they’ve come up in my search.

  22. What are you most excited about fashion-wise for spring/summer? I need inspiration. In prior years, my warm-weather style has gone pretty hard in a very feminine direction (think Lilly), but that’s feeling really dated to me.

    • I’m excited about colors – I don’t wear a lot of color but I’m trying to incorporate a little more. I picked up some pretty shells in colors I like on deep discount at the Talbots sale beggining of February – lavendar, orchid, teal – and am looking forward to wearing them.

      I’m also looking forward to ditching the tights and wearing some of my lighter colored shoes.

    • I’m going to be all about neutrals, ankle pants and silk blouses this summer. Meghan Markle is currently my biggest fashion inspo.

      • It sort of feels like a pants moment in fashion to me.

        • I love pants in the spring/summer – I go for drapey/jogger styles or linen. I basically wear dresses or pants in the summer, I don’t own a single skirt beyond my skirt suits!

          • Lana Del Raygun :

            I miss the clamdiggers of my childhood, even though I never got to dig any actual clams.

    • Linen pants and skirts with pretty tops.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I’m so excited for SKIN! Just not being all covered up!

      I have some big ol chunky sandals that I’m excited to wear when I go out with my beer drinking ladies. I’m excited about my 90’s-inspired sundresses. I’m weirdly excited about tee shirts!

      • Ah yes on the sandals! You reminded me – I ordered these and am dying to wear them (I realize this style is not for everyone ),pdtr0:924868%7C924880,vw:g,init_ar:SgVKAwi7AUoKUggIxLk4INC5OA%3D%3D,ss:44&tbm=shop&prmd=sivn&srpd=15865479334424157092&prds=epd:14620726801951344639,paur:ClkAsKraX4BuD-A1MiZZ8xUFm47Uyx1PpQx_BZNScgiaMeqJeBVo0K6eKoVGph0BOu27j99usXgoS_9iV0acI32Z7kbS0u14ezu054jF9pq5w9d9-VBAbUfv5BIZAFPVH729-VhvkXRHRYq_6vybbIwPseeIkA,cdl:1,cid:7256635375170587029&srds=as:1&ved=0ahUKEwip4MDQ19_ZAhVI02MKHeTSDmk4PBCBNgiyBQ

        • Wow, that was some link! Let me try again

          L’Artiste by Spring Step Women’s Avelle Camel Sandal

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      What I’m excited about is that I’m going to replace all my shorts that don’t fit in, like, April, instead of waffling and “oh, well, they sort of fit, if I literally tie them up with string”-ing until August and then declaring it “not worth it” to buy new one for the rest of the summer like I did last year.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        This is inspiring! I bought (online) a pair of shorts that are just… like, fine, they cover my body, but I think I’m going to return them and get GOOD shorts, that work.

  23. Paging Linda in HR!

    I wanted to chime in here today and say I was totally with you on the conversation we were having in the comments yesterday about being sick of women getting shade for doing totally normal things like having parties, showers, weddings, etc. I didn’t see your response until much too late, so I wanted to raise a solidarity fist with you today! I’m not sure my comments reflected it at the time, but I agree with you.

    • KateMiddletown :

      I totally agree. (And I find it funny that none of the haters mentioned it to above turning 35 seeking necklace recos. Gifts, parties, showers, taking the day off to do you – celebrate whatever and however you want!)

      • Maybe they can tell the difference between anticipating that a DH would buy a birthday gift for his wife and someone throwing a party for acquaitances they haven’t seen in 3 years….

        • So those if us who are not married don’t get to celebrate our birthdays?

          I know you didn’t mean it that way, and that married women can also throw themselves parties, but that is the practical effect if it for those of us who are not (yet) married.

          • I referenced DH gifting because that’s what today’s OP asked about on the post above. Sub mom/close family member/friend and it’s the same point. Gifts from or celebrating birthdays with close family/friends are pretty common on birthdays but inviting people who you only know because you were a +1 at their wedding three years ago when you haven’t seen them since (yesterday’s post) is a bit much.

          • Let’s be real here – a husband buying his wife a necklace for her birthday is essentially the same as a woman buying herself one.

        • I don’t see what’s wrong with the latter. If you don’t want to go, rsvp no. Problem solved.

    • It is so much more pleasant to gather with those important to you for a celebration compared to something like a funeral.

    • I didn’t hav a dog in the fight but I did think there were obnoxious commenters on both sides. There was some anonymous calling everyone who disagreed with her names.

      Have a 30th birthday party. Go for it. Don’t act like a petulant princess if people decline to attend. I think 90% of the commenters fell there.

    • I can’t figure out the logic for which topics on this board become super heated and nasty. I never would have guessed that a post about something as simple as an adult birthday party would be so controversial.

      • (Fwiw, I’m team celebrate whatever you want! People don’t have to come if they choose not to.)

      • Ha, yes. It is super surprising to me sometimes the threads that start getting heated versus ones that are totally benign, but seem comparable.

        • Never too many shoes... :

          I found that out to my detriment when I asked if people still use cheques…

          • Haha really? It’s hard for me to see how that could go south, but I guess anything can.

      • Linda from HR :

        Well, the OP did ask how important 30th birthdays were, and a lot of people have strong opinions on that, and adult birthdays in general.

        • I guess that is what surprised me! If I had to list “controversial topics” I would not have expected adult birthday parties to be on the list. I always sort of assumed, you have them if you want them, and go if you can and want to . Apparently I’ve been missing a lot of drama!

    • Linda from HR :

      Woah, I don’t think I’ve been paged before on this s-te, awesome!

      I really hope I didn’t make anyone angry yesterday, apparently some feel that everyone who participated in that thread was being awful. But I don’t know how anyone is supposed to react when they’re told that wanting to celebrate a birthday automatically makes you self-centered.

      • Nah, I think it was just a few people being nasty.

      • Anonymous :

        I think it’s either people who couldn’t care less about their bday (and also have zero empathy for people who do) or smug marrieds (whose spouses will always do something for their bday so they never have to organize their own).

        I remember years ago there was a long thread about how it’s self-centered and awful to even invite people out to dinner for your own bday because a party to celebrate you should be thrown by other people not by you — oh and if you DO invite people out to dinner/drinks you have to pay for everyone because you’re “hosting” the party. Well for those of us who are single and don’t have a local BFF who’s attuned to such things (because you can’t ASK someone to throw you a party) that means sitting at home by myself on my bday. Or very likely going to someone else’s party – that she planned for herself – on my bday.

        • “or smug marrieds (whose spouses will always do something for their bday so they never have to organize their own).”

          That’s what I was getting at above in my comment at 11:31 AM. You put it better than I did.

  24. varicose vein fun :

    Question: if your lower legs sometime throb and feel vaguely uncomfortable and achy from time to time — and compression socks make them feel better — is that the beginning of varicose veins? does anyone wear compression socks year round? ugh so ugly. anything else to do? supplements? massages? yay 40s.

    • Mention to your doctor. Wear good shoes. Elevate your legs when you are sitting. Compression socks when you can.

      Do your ankles swell by the end of the day? Are you on your feet a lot?

      No, just having the symptoms doesn’t mean you are getting varicose veins. You see varicose veins, and only some people have discomfort. A lot of it is genetic. You may not get them at all.

      • Yeah, I have varicose veins with zero symptoms or problems. They just popped up out of nowhere.

      • varicose vein fun :

        No swelling at the end of the day. I did mention to my doc because I was freaked out about blood clots and she said, sounds like varicose veins, just wear compression socks. Seeking a new doc though so when I find one maybe I’ll ask her.

    • Full length compression stockings basically look like semi-sheer pantyhose, if that is any better. (I have POTS, not varicose veins, but I definitely wear them year round.)

      • Wow I had to google that, but it looks awful! Is it painful? So sorry you’re dealing with it.

        • It is not painful, thank you! The compression helps a lot.

          I think a little compression can make everyone feel a more peppy; I know runners love compression gear, and a lot of older people wear compression stockings too.

      • Any recommendations for compression socks? (specific brands or where to buy?)

        • CVS carries some seriously hardcore compression socks. For full length tights, Brightleaf on Amazon is the cheapest medical grade around (they are hard to put on though; if lower compression is adequate for varicose veins, lower compression might be easier).

    • My friend recommends compression socks year-round, or at least when not-visible, similar to sunscreen. I’m about to do it, too. Unlikely to hurt…

  25. Dressing my age :

    Happy Friday! Here’s a fun shopping question for the hive.

    My style, even pre-kids, always slated towards very conservative styles and/or “mom” fashion… I’m pretty low maintenance and have not been super into body-con styles or fashion in general. My goal has always been looking put together and professional and tidy, everything else is sort of just a pain to think about. I have always worn a lot of neutrals and dresses because I’m not very confident about fashion or clothing combinations. The last time I really loved my clothing pieces, they were from J. Crew, circa 2002. Fortunately that look is back in style!!

    Having a child has totally radicalized me. In the long term, my husband and I are making job changes and locale changes to reflect the shifts and clarifications in our priorities. In the short term, I am reclaiming my time and my body from the rat race and the patriarchy. This includes getting (not generally visible) tattoos re-inked from having them partially lasered, taking dance classes again, and has already included losing about 30 lbs. I am the weight and size I was in high school, and none of my old clothes fit. So far I’ve been getting by with my old tunics (hello pleione) and skinny jeans from target, but I would really really like to shift my personal style to something that better reflects the internal bad a** I’m getting to know. And for once I have the genuine need to buy a whole new wardrobe!

    The other salient factor is that all of my investment clothes have historically been business wear. Thanks mostly to Kat, I’ve gotten pretty literate about suiting and workwear brands. Now I work for a startup and it’s jeans 5X week. I know zilch about how to dress for this, other than the most basic combination of jeans and a popover. I want to look cool and hip like the ladies I see on instagram. I haven’t the foggiest idea where to start. What would you do? Where would you shop? Because I’m still trying out my sea legs, I prefer not to invest too much cash in any one item yet– I need to get smarter about what styles and brands work for me first.

    • anon a mouse :

      Nordstrom personal shopper.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      YAY This is exciting to read!

      The answer to almost every question in life is “have you tried a leather jacket?” and I think it fully applies here. Though I’d start with a fake one. Over the tunics and jeans it’d be cute!

      • Second this! Leather jacket + cool black boots. I think adding that to any outfit immediately punks it up. Then from there, you can start figuring out what other pieces you like.

        YES to reclaiming your time from the patriarchy, YES to tattoos, YES to this whole journey.

      • Oh! And additionally I made the same kind of journey starting last year and Nordstrom Rack is my go-to. I got these awesome boots there for very little that I used to snag a new job, and you can get a fake leather jacket there as well. Plus it is very easy/non-intimidating to move into the younger women section there … which is where I recommend you try some bad*ss clothes.

        • Anonymama :

          Yes, just go and try a bunch of stuff on and go with what feels like what you want to look like (I like TJ Maxx or Nordstrom Rack). Maybe peruse some celebrity/blogger style or just people-watch to get an idea in your head of what looks you like. Sometimes I start with one thing (burgundy faux leather moto jacket) and google/Pinterest outfits to figure out what to wear with it.

    • Cuyana has a very cool vibe but it’s elegant and laid back. I don’t know if you’re going for more of a heavily tatted pinup style or a studs and leather style – or maybe you don’t know. But check out Cuyana because i feel like they have their finger on the pulse of cool style, at least the west coast version.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        This is the exact question I was pondering — are you looking for studs/scary/punk edgy, or maybe spooky/goth/witchy edgy, or pinup/rockabilly style? There’s obviously overlap (and an LJ works with any of them!) (#teamLJ4lyfe) but thinking about which kind of [email protected] you want to look like could help!

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      My strategy here would be to wear plain-ish jeans and pair them with blouses and tops with fun decorative elements like huge floppy collar bows, scalloped edges, peter pan collars, and prints that I really love (for me, that be dinosaurs and birds from Modcloth), with matching shoes. Would that be too cutesy for your startup?

    • Marshmallow :

      Yay! This sounds amazing.

      I’ve recently been focusing on ethical fashion to the extent possible, and an overhaul like this is the perfect time to do it. Support the environment and the (mostly) women who work hard making our clothes! Try Cuyana, Everlane, Amour Vert, Kowtow, Everybody.World, Reformation, your local vintage store. I would go for mostly black basics punctuated with colors and accessories that make you feel happy and powerful.

      • I’m limiting myself to natural fabrics this year, and I’d like to support organic/sustainable/ethical brands. I’m having a hard time finding things because I am a curvy petite hourglass who benefits from a tailored fit (and who doesn’t have many occasions to wear body conscious clothing). Following those links, it looks like vintage may be my best bet, but I’d love to know if you’ve come across any brands I’ve overlooked!

    • I love this! It’s so hard to figure out your personal style – there’s tons of things that I love on other people and in photos but hate actually wearing. I don’t have much advice since I’m also on the same journey – but I highly recommend keeping your wardrobe very small while you figure it out. Keep us updated!

      Also want to thank the poster above who listed out a bunch of stores – I’ve never seen Amour Vert before and am looking forward to checking out some of the others.

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        Keep your wardrobe small while you figure it out, and buy cheap versions of things you don’t know whether you like (which you can upgrade if you do!).

    • Honestly, I think most of us tend to default to, or gravitate around a certain natural style. If your natural style is more covered up, conservative, or classic, embrace that, but embrace it in a way that makes you feel fabulous and fun. So that means probably neutrals with an interesting element that are well fitting/tailored, but that can pair with multiple items with little thought or planning.

      Think, a series of work blouses with fun prints and/or interesting necklines, collars or bottoms.

      Jeans in multiple heights (ankle v full length), cuts (straight leg, skinny, bootcut), and colors (khaki, army green, dark rinse, light rinse, black).

      Blazers in neutral colors for your patterned blouses, and fun bold colors for your neutral tops (my favorite is a sun yellow, orange, deep reds, moss green, and aubergine purples)

    • Check out the momedit for ideas. I have been reading for 6 months or so and have really gotten a lot of great ideas. I’ve actually bought several specific items I’ve seen on there.

    • I love stitch fix.

  26. Senior Attorney :

    Another travel question: Need hotel recommendations for Budapest at the end of May. We’ll be staying over for two nights after a cycling trip down the Danube. Anybody? Budget not a huge factor so much as good location.

    • I stayed at the Intercontinental Budapest in 2015 and thought it was great. Really comfortable beds and a nice location right along the river and near lots of shopping.

    • I don’t have a hotel rec because I haven’t been there in 15 years, but I really recommend the Gellert Bad for some post-cycling soaking :-). Your trip sounds awesome! Are you guys using a tour operator?

      I’m going to Belgium in 3 weeks to ride the Tour of Flanders and Roubaix sportives! So excited.

      • Senior Attorney :

        We’re doing a Trek Bicycle tour on a Scenic river cruise:

        VERY EXCITED!!

      • Senior Attorney :

        Also: Your trip sounds amazing! Are YOU using a tour operator?

    • Hands down the Four Seasons. It’s an old castle at the foot of the bridge that connects Pest and Buda. It’s amazing. And gorgeous.

    • And I recommend you book yourself a dinner at a Michelin-starred place called Tigris, check if the ballet is in town, book massages when you visit the baths (very excellent Eastern European women getting out all my knots for like $10) and then have wine to end the night at Di Vino wine bar near the cathedral. This ONE awesome day I had there, and is still right up there in terms of awesomeness.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Oh, wow! Thanks for all this! We love massages while traveling!

        • Late on this, but I think the quality of the massage varies by the bath, because I got one at the Szechenyi baths and the massage table wasn’t really padded so I ended up with bruises on my cheekbones. It was definitely an authentic experience, but it wasn’t relaxing at ALL.

    • We stayed at the Hotel Boscolo in 2014 and loved it. The room was incredibly spacious, and the service/staff were great.

    • Aria Hotel Budapest. It is in the heart of the city and has an amazing rooftop terrace.

  27. I’m that person today. I’m getting over a bad cold and I have a loud, annoying cough that just won’t quit. I’m quarantining myself in my office with the door shut as much as possible, but I know people can still hear me and are probably super annoyed by it. But I can’t exactly stay home for 2-3 weeks. Gah.

    • Ugh, sorry. For what it’s worth, I’ve been that person and have also seen coworkers come back after a couple days out with a nasty lingering cough. I didn’t hold it against them at all because sometimes it takes forever for coughs to go away! Also unsolicited advice but an actual spoonful of honey worked better for me than OTC stuff you’d get at CVS.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      My nose has been so runny this week – not necessarily stuffy, just drippy and gross. I apologized to my desk-neighbor for blowing my nose 800 times yesterday. I’m telling myself that everyone is annoying from time to time and I’ve got plenty of goodwill built up in the bank.

    • Linda from HR :

      I’ve had to be that person too. I get wicked coughs when I get the flu or a cold, and they hang around for a long time. seems like my manager is okay with me working from home when my coughs sound awful, but I just can’t do that for more than a couple days. Between being sick and the weather being garbage, I’m so. Forking. Sick. Of being stuck at home for days on end. I’m coughing at work because I’m trying really hard to get back to my normal life!

    • Anonymous :

      Me too, and i finally gave up and took a sick day and it was soooo good. I really don’t feel very bad but nice to cough in solitude.

  28. Totally placebo right? Started meditating 3 days ago using the Calm app. Literally just sitting and breathing – don’t even know if I’m doing it right or if there’s something more to it. So far it’s been 15-20 min/day – usually a 10 min block plus multiple 2 min sessions including at work (w eyes open at work just staring at a pale green office wall). Somehow the running commentary is anxious/awful thoughts in my head isn’t there. Placebo right? How could it work this fast?? Any experience with this?

    • I’m not quite sure what you’re asking. If you’re asking whether or not meditation can help with anxiety, the answer is yes.

      • I think the question is can it help in just a few days in 15 minutes per day? Not OP but I’d expect it would take time to see results.

    • I don’t know, but you inspired me to download that app. Even if it’s a placebo, I’ll take it!

    • It sounds like it’s working. Why fight it?

    • It absolutely can work this fast. You are doing a nice amount of practice each day for someone just starting out.

      I took a mindfulness meditation class, and I remember one women who had exactly your rapid response. She had pretty terrible anxiety. She was a lovely middle school teacher, and her pressured anxious speech made me a little stressed and anxious just listening to her in class! When she started the meditations, which for her she really needed to fall asleep at night (ahhh… night-time rumination….), it was like night and day. She had an almost immediate response. She admitted her mind wandered, but she wasn’t judgmental with herself about that, and she kept practicing and she saw benefits so quickly. It really helped her tremendously. We could all see so clearly.

      In fact, she started teaching her kids at school and they would do a quick couple minutes of meditation before a test. They loved it.

    • Does it matter whether it’s placebo if it’s working for you?

      For what it’s worth, the link between meditation and better mental health is well studied and documented, so I don’t think it’s actually a placebo effect

    • Yes, I think it can work that fast. I started reading Compline (the nighttime prayer service from my denomination) before bed and it helped basically immediately too. Meditation can help immediately too.

    • If it works, it works? I don’t see how you can have a “fake” peace of mind.

  29. Send me your completely drugstore-based skin regimen (serums, vitamin c, eye cream, moisturizer, sunscreen).

    I am finishing up my last Ordinary purchases (vitamin c, HA, Buffet, rose hip seed oil) and want to try something new. I am still nursing so I can’t use retinol right now.

    • All the CeraVe products. Cleanser, day moisturizer with SPF 30 for morning and cleaner with night moisturizer at night.

      • Anonymous :

        CeraVe made me breakout. Honestly, if you liked the Ordinary and had a good response, I might stick with it. It’s only marginally more than the drugstore brands and certainly not as expensive as a lot of the regimens can get.

    • What skin type do you have? What are your concerns?

      Cleanser: Simple or Garnier Micellar Water and Simple Cleansing Oil
      Retinol (when you can): Differin
      Serum (hyaluronic acid): Hada Labo Rohto Gokujun Hyaluronic Lotion Moist
      Eye Cream: take my serum up around my eyes, haven’t found a drugstore pick
      Moisturizer: Skinfood Royal Honey Good Moisturizing Cream
      Sunscreen: We CAN make Mermaid Skin Gel UV

      • Very normal, aging skin (late 30s). No big problems aside from signs of aging. A very, very occasional blemish. Some dryness (long winters). Dark circles under my eyes.

        • Never too many shoes... :

          An old-but-good rec is Oil of Olay for moisturizer. In winter, I use Darphin Stimulskin but the Regenerist Night Recovery is almost the same at 1/3 the price.

          • I haven’t tried Oil of Olay in years. The old school stuff used to irritate my skin but I will give the Regenerst a try. Thanks!

          • eertmeert :

            I’ve gone through a few bottles of Olay Regenerist Serum (fragrance-free) and it is excellent. I’ve since switched to Korean beauty products, but would re-purchase the Olay Regenerist if I wasn’t on this kick.

        • What I listed would probably be good for you! Just try to swap one at a time to watch for rections. I am using an Ordinary AHA right now but I’m guessing you don’t want to repurchase from them due to their owner’s actions?

          I love the Pixi Glow Tonic for a chemical exfoliant in it’s place

    • Ponds cold cream – rec from this place – has completely changed my cleansing routine. I slather it on and rub it in, then wipe off with a warm washcloth. Every stitch of makeup, including eye makeup, is gone and my skin is still hydrated but clean. I haven’t had flaky winter skin issues in 3 years since I started using ponds exclusively for cleaning.

      Olay 7-in-1 moisturizer without sunscreen. A good, basic moisturizer that doesn’t not break me out.

      Elta MD mineral sunscreen, another rec from here. A good non-irritating basic sunscreen.

      • *does not break me out. Haha I swear that was an autocorrect. Calm down, Siri!

      • Definitely trying Ponds when my current cleanser runs out. I put it on my list after reading so many raves here.

      • +1 to the Ponds cold cream cleanser. Love it.

        Check out Mizon Snail Repair Intensive Ampoule gel for a serum. It’s drugstore-priced even though you have to get it online.

    • BelleRose :

      Plain old Aquaphor is my go-to around the eyes. Has made such a world of difference for my dark circles, and has lengthened/thickened my lashes, too!

      • eertmeert :

        Aquaphor is my go-to overnight lip mask. I slather on a thick coat every night. My lips have been hydrated all winter.

    • Simple Micellar Water, Thayer’s Witch Hazel in Lavender, sometimes use Pixie Glow Tonic at night, CeraVe PM Moisturizing Cream day and night.

      I used CeraVe for a long time, recently I switched to Drunk Elephant LaLa Retro Cream but its suuuper pricey so I might be going back soon. I also use Benefit’s Dream Screen Sunscreen, it’s not drugstore but I’ve found it works the best for me.

  30. It absolutely can work this fast. You are doing a nice amount of practice each day for someone just starting out.

    I took a mindfulness meditation class, and I remember one women who had exactly your rapid response. She had pretty terrible anxiety. She was a lovely middle school teacher, and her pressured anxious speech made me a little stressed and anxious just listening to her in class! When she started the meditations, which for her she really needed to fall asleep at night (ahhh… night-time rumination….), it was like night and day. She had an almost immediate response. She admitted her mind wandered, but she wasn’t judgmental with herself about that, and she kept practicing and she saw benefits so quickly. It really helped her tremendously. We could all see so clearly.

    In fact, she started teaching her kids at school and they would do a quick couple minutes of meditation before a test. They loved it.

  31. Lana Del Raygun :

    So, uh, how weird would it be to tell a stranger on the bus that I really like her haircut (specifically her bangs), and ask her if I can take a picture to show to my hairdresser? Prohibitively weird? We work at the same giant organization but have no professional contact with each other–we just get on and off at the same bus stop.

    • Flats Only :

      I think it’s fine as long as it’s while you’re waiting for the bus (assuming this is a corporate shuttle, so it’s obvious you aren’t some random stranger off the street). Asking on the bus might seem weird since she can’t get away from you if she thinks it’s creepy for some reason.

    • I’d try it and see. I took a pic of a lady’s jacket, with her permission, in the TSA line once and i think she was flattered.

    • FWIW I really dislike strangers asking me to take my photo (which admittedly has only happened twice but it made me very uncomfortable and I declined). I would ask her for her hairdresser’s info and her name instead so you can go to her hairdresser and ask for bangs like Zoe. Then take photo and come back to regular hairdresser.

    • I asked a stranger at a coffee house if I could take a photo of her t-shirt – it said “Grateful As F___,” with a lovely graphic – to share with a friend.

      I started out with something like, “I hope this doesn’t sound too weird, but I really love your t-shirt and would like to share it with my friend . . .” She was very pleased with the compliment and posed with a wonderful smile.

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