Wedneday’s Workwear Report: Wool-Blend Sheath Dress

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

red dress for the officeWow: I’m really impressed with all the cute affordable dresses that Brooks Brothers Red Fleece has, as well as some awesome suiting dresses with matching blazers (gaah! love!) and a crazy affordable $68 ponte sheath dress with ruched details. This pictured lipstick red dress is, in my mind, the perfect shape — it’s definitely not a wiggle/bodycon dress, but it’s not saying “I wish I were a socialite” like some of the more flared dresses tend to. It’s got the rare high neckline that looks like it would be flattering on a larger bust, and while the lace detail at the hem is definitely a “know your office” situation, I kind of like it. The dress is $158, available in sizes 0-14. Lace-Trimmed Wool-Blend Sheath Dress

This red plus-size dress has sleeves but just hit the sales rack, meaning there are a ton of great sizes left.

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  1. Blonde Lawyer :

    Lot’s of people are asking for ways to donate to Harvey relief efforts without donating to the Red Cross. Lutheran Church Charities has a disaster relief fund set up and they operate on dollar in/dollar out funding process so none of your money goes to overhead. They have a separate fundraiser at year end to cover their operating costs. I’m not religious but I have been donating to their sub charity, the Comfort Dogs for years and I have benefited personally from one of their deployments (the comfort dogs, not the disaster relief fund). I’m not affiliated with them, except as a donor, but I believe they will be a good steward of your money. (The links to the different funds are halfway down the page.) There is also this option:

    To send a text message to give to the LCC Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund:

    Create a new message
    Text @LCCGive #lccharvey to 52014 (You must include the @ and #)
    You will then receive a return text that says: “How much would you like to donate?”
    Then text the amount that you want to give.
    Then you will get a PROMPT to click
    This takes you to the Text Giving Sign Up which is only a one time sign up if you wish it to be.
    You have an option to choose the frequency of your gift at this prompt
    Click Donate and you are done!
    Once you are registered you simply text the amount to give.

    • Moonstone :

      Thanks for this info. It gave me the push I needed.

    • JJ Watt’s fundraiser is like that too — money/goods are being purchased and going out on semi trucks where they are needed and money isn’t being used for overhead; there’s not even any kind of % or commission taken by Youcaring which is the platform hosting the fundraiser. Honestly overhead is what makes me shy away from lots of these big organizations bc they take too many $ here and there for “processing” fees, operating costs, housing their own workers down in Houston etc.

      • I feel like housing their workers in Houston is a pretty legitimate use of donated funds, though – that costs money (potentially a lot of money) and those people are needed. How else is that supposed to be paid for? How else are nonprofit salaries supposed to be paid for, for that matter?

        Don’t get me wrong, I believe nonprofits should operate efficiently, but nonprofit employees deserve to get paid fair wages, nonprofits need buildings to work in, need to be able to offer employee benefits, etc.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          +1 million

          I’m a nonprofit attorney. I still have to pay rent. I still have to eat. This is what I spend my days doing. It’s my job. Overhead is what allows me to provide the services people are oh so stoked about.

        • Anonymous :

          Agree completely. Check out the Ted Talk by Dan Pallotta if anyone wonders about the value of money going to overhead in non-profits.

      • Plus, somebody is paying for those trucks, fuel, and drivers. Maybe that’s JJ Watt himself, but all that means is that he is donating for the overhead so you don’t have to.

        • Right -which is what I prefer that the fundraiser itself donate the overhead (which he is thru his existing foundation). I don’t need to be contributing to run someone’s non profit — I don’t particularly care about their buildings or salaries.

          • …. then who/what is left to implement the programming you want to support?

          • So in your view, disaster relief should be funded through crowdfunding campaigns and a rich individual should bankroll all overhead? What happens when a city doesn’t have a wealthy sports star who’s willing to pay for that? I just don’t think that works as a model. Providing relief isn’t free. I’m not generally a fan of the Red Cross, because I think there are more effective organizations, but ensuring that relief workers are available and have the supplies and infrastructure necessary to provide assistance in a disaster has fixed costs that have to be covered somehow. Everyone says they don’t want to pay for overhead, but overhead is literally stuff like ensuring that an aid organization can give its employees cellphones so they can communicate…or even just so that an aid organization can pay salaries to trained individuals so that they are available to go help.

          • Cbackson is smart. Listen to her because she knows stuff

          • Name an instance in the last 5 yrs where it hasn’t worked as a model? Crowd funding and wealthy individuals local to the incident taking the least have become very common . . . in any event, if you look hard enough you can find THAT fundraiser and bypass the bigger bureaucracies.

    • I really don’t understand the push-back on contributing to non-profits’ operating costs. Non-profits do have overhead. Now don’t get me wrong — instances like the United Way scandal from years back are totally unacceptable. But I have no problem paying for a food bank’s warehouse or the Red Cross’s vehicles and volunteer housing. Nor do I have a problem with paying for a professional staff to effectively run a massive organization. Sure, it would be nice if all of these organizations could run well on volunteer staff alone, but that is simply unrealistic. So I’m perfectly happy to help pay the United Way to have a professional, competent, committed and long-tenured staff. I’m far more offended by for-profit corporations whose CEOs have a billion dollars but continue to draw outrageously high salaries and get golden parachutes after a bad year.

      • Ok so go ahead and do that. When I donate, I’d like all my money to go to whoever I’m donating to. It’s not my problem how they run their non profit.

        • You are literally relying on their infrastructure to get funds to those in need, though, and that infrastructure costs money. If you don’t want to rely on it, find a way directly to wire money to people in Houston.

          • Why do you need to have the last word on everything? You do what you want; I’ll do what I want. And for the record – yes – when I donate I always seek out the way to almost directly hand money to individuals with as few middlemen as possible in between.

          • If you don’t want have a conversation, maybe don’t post on the internet?

          • Nothing against conversation — it’s the way that you need to — in every single thread — beat others over the head with your way of doing things. You realize that different people can view things differently, right?

          • Nah she doesn’t do that.

          • Eager Beaver :

            Nope. I read almost every day, and I have never noticed cbackson doing this.

          • cbackson4EVA :

            Yeah–CBackson is a welcome, longtime voice of reason here. She’s just making a salient point. It’s not pedantic. Sorry, Anonymous.

          • Coach Laura :

            +1 for cbackson. Always well-reasoned and certainly entitled to express her opinion.

          • Right, and even if money was wired to a person in Houston, what’s the point if they’re stranded on their roof after running out of food and water and their phone has run out of power? It’s easy to ignore the importance of infrastructure until it’s gone. After all, a nonprofit will have an operating budget of X, and a disaster will mean they need more than X to help out in the aftermath. It’s like trying to buy a cake while refusing to pay for flour. All the ingredients are needed to make it work.

        • Pretty Primadonna :

          While I disagree with you somewhat, I do think it is important to know what percentage of donations go toward actual aid and relief. If a non-profit is spending most of its money on infrastructure, operating costs, and salaries, I pass on donating to them. However, they do have bills to pay and so an appropriate amount of donations going toward those costs is acceptable to me.

          • OfCounsel :

            While I agree with your point, I do want to caution that sometimes salaries are aid. For example, a number of charities that provide medical care pay a substantial share of their revenues toward salaries for doctors and nurses. That is not the same as administrative costs.

          • Anon at 11:40 :

            Of course. And someone posted good resources for checking that elsewhere. It is also important to understand that the mission will dictate what percentage in overhead is appropriate. Blanket rules don’t apply. But the logic applied above is flawed. If Wealthy Donor is willing to contribute X dollars to the cause, and allocates 100% of X to overhead, then yes, theoretically, all of “my money” goes to the cause. But if Wealthy Donor still contributes X dollars to the cause, but doesn’t earmark it, what difference does it make that a portion of my money gets thrown into the overhead bucket in the end, offsetting what Wealthy Donor put in that got used for direct assistance? $ is fungible. I question whether, in some instances, it wouldn’t be more efficient for Wealthy Donor to give X dollars to an organization with an existing infrastructure and using his/her media power to convince his/her “fans” to donate to the same organization rather than on setting up something new. No comment on JJ Watt’s efforts at all here. I have no idea what the case is with this. I hope he is wildly efficient and successful in this effort and I am certain, at the very least, that his intentions, and the inentions of his donors, are good.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I agree with you and I do donate to LCC’s end of year fundraiser / campaign to cover their operating costs. For those like anonymous that don’t want their money to go to operating costs, this organization separates the campaigns so she doesn’t have to worry about it. Guidestar is also a good resource to see how in check a charity’s operating costs are. If you are really curious, you can also look up the public 990s to see the highest salaries in the organization. There are certainly roles that justify a 6 figure salary, even in non-profits but there are very few that would justify 7 figures of compensation.

    • Having been through a disaster situation, I did not see where the Red Cross had a noticeable impact for those of us affected. There are a number of ways I have donated but I really like UMCOR. They put together hygiene kits and flood buckets. I have even used their flood bucket lists to purchase supplies for people in need after last year’s floods in Baton Rouge. I also connected with friends who were volunteering (mostly veterinarians) and collected supplies that they knew were needed and that my friends could deliver. There are also local rescue groups who are taking in animals from flood zones and need contributions for veterinary care (although that’s often donated), food, etc.
      Here’s a link for UMCOR:

    • Oh so anon :

      I would like to donate to help those impacted by the hurricane, but I have not yet found an organization where my contribution would be tax deductible in Canada. Does anyone know of such a charity?

      • Anonymous :

        The Canadian Red Cross is your best bet – my company has offices in Houston, and that’s where they’ve sent our Canadian employees to donate re: Hurricane Harvey, and I got a tax receipt when I donated.

    • PatsyStone :

      You can also donate diapers directly through the Texas Diaper Bank wishlist through Amazon. The need for diapers is immediate and enormous.

      Texas Diaper Bank Disaster Relief Wish List

      Or to the Texas Diaper Bank itself:

      • New Orleans Junior League also has an Amazon wishlist for the relief efforts.

  2. I like the way the skirt is cut. It’s much more flattering than a lot of flared skirts. However, I can’t tell if the neckline has pleats or if it’s just fitting poorly. Also, the lace on the hem and the gold flair on the zipper is just a little tacky.

  3. Beautiful dress! Immediate TJ: My 9-year old daughter has started to pay attention to clothing, and she realizes her current wardrobe is lame (we’ve been extremely frugal with her since she didn’t care anyway). She wants to be more fashionable, but she has no idea how to get there, and neither do I. I am happy to take her to Old Navy or something like that and let her pick out clothes, but I’m afraid we’ll end up with a bunch of pieces that don’t coordinate with anything else and that therefore she won’t wear. I need a Garanimals for tweens or something like that . . . where do I start to help her identify her style and find clothes that she isn’t embarrassed about?

    • I’d use ThredUp for this. She can browse to her heart’s content and save favorites, but everything will be heavily discounted.

    • My mom took me to Old Navy and Kohl’s and I allllways really wanted to be shopping at American Eagle or Aeropostale. What about the American Eagle clearance section? Their clothes always rotate through there for $10-12 a shirt. Also I feel like it’s a bit of a right of passage to choose your own terribly not matching outfits at some point!

    • Anonymous :

      Let her be uncoordinated. Experimentation is a right of passage.

      • Anonymous :

        Sorry, I meant rite, but the homonym kind of works both ways in this case!

      • Anonymous :

        +1 – this is how kids develop their style, by trying things and liking it or not. You can offer to give her guidance if she wants it, but I’d give her a budget and free rein to choose what she wants.

      • Flats Only :

        Yes to this. If the un-coordination bothers only you, don’t worry about it. If what you really fear is her buying a whole bunch of things that don’t really go together, and then wailing about not having anything to wear every morning, introduce her to the idea of knowing her favorite colors and then picking neutral pieces that go with them.

        • This is where a phone camera is great — in the dressing room, have her think up outfits with what she has at home and try them on with the new pieces together (or better yet: buy outfits).

          Then when you get home, try them on with shoes and take pictures of them. This should give her some sort of mental idea board of what clothes make outfits.

          Better yet, if she has a birthday coming up, maybe your present can be a stylist to come to your house, shop her closet, and give her ideas to make / complete outfits on a shopping trip.

          Outfitmaking is an important life skill. But it’s OK to learn / fail / failure = learning is occuring a bit, too.

      • This. I wore, to put it mildly, some weird-a$$ sh!T for a number of years as a tween and young teen, and frankly I sometimes an jealous of my younger self’s willingness to just take a flyer on, say, combining a shiny aqua tutu-style skirt with a silver tank top and sneakers. I sometimes looked awesome and sometimes looked bizarre (and people who know me only in my current, fairly preppy, style iteration are very surprised to see old photos of me), but fashion was just really *fun* in those days.

        • God yes. Let’s all post some of our worst outfits ever from those years.

          For me, it was a star-print off the shoulder crop top and denim shorts. I wore it to a Fourth of July parade. I was very patriotic and very 14 in 1994.

          • I was heavily influenced by the fashion stylings of Rayanne Graf from My So-Called Life, and I frequently wore a charcoal wool vintage school jumper that my mom had cut off so it was miniskirt length, a purple or green bodysuit under the jumper, fishnet tights and knee-high lace-up combat boots. Definitely a choker and maybe some jelly bracelets. I had, like, three mini-braids in one side of my hair (possibly streaked with hair mascara), and I favored berets with vintage military pins. It was a Lot of Look. I went to a school without a dress code, so one could wear such things and it was NBD.

          • I also went through a heavy Ani DiFranco phase where I wore camo pants from the Army surplus store, various shrunken tops (a favorite was a burgundy vest-styled thing), Doc Martens, and lots of metal chains as bracelets and necklaces. I think I had a chain wallet too.

            I oscillated wildly from one fashion statement to another within the same week, so this look might be followed by a pale pink satin ballet skirt, a black bodysuit, and those chunky block-heeled black Steve Madden sandals everyone wore in the 1990s.

          • Rayanne! Yes. So awesome. I could not pull that look off.

          • A few looks from the early ’90s when I was about 5-6 that I still remember vividly: (1) we wore uniforms to school so weekends was when we got to dress ‘for fun’. I came downstairs with a lime green t-shirt and forest green spandex shorts and my older sister told me they didn’t “match” which was the first I had ever heard of that term. Uhhh, they were both green?! (This was early colorblocking, folks.) (2) Before a summer vacation my mom took us to the VERY upscale Children’s Place store where I bought a large white t-shirt with flowers brushstroked on and matching spandex shorts with flowers on them. But the accessories are where it got fun – I had a neon rainbow tie-dyed sunglasses cord for my baby faux raybans, a necklace with tiny plastic fruit dangling on it, and a white hat with ‘gemstones’ sewn on. And let me tell you I am posing in picture on that trip.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            In 8th grade I was *so* committed to the Clueless look.

            I remember in particular an outfit from Wet Seal: a pastel blue and green mini skirt – it was an oversized plaid print, and had a sort of fuzzy, almost felt-like texture (though it was lined which is strange considering) – and a coordinating ribbed sleeveless mock neck shirt in the same light blue. Oh man I was so cool in that outfit (I was not cool).

          • AnonMidwest :

            Middle school in the late 80s/early 90s. Tie-died long johns, boxer shorts and an inside out sweatshirt. Oh yes, extra bonus for slouch socks (multiple) and white keds.

            Seriously… how I got to be the sheath dress wearing, stiletto rocking adult is a bit of a mystery.

          • Ooh, where do I start?
            – Baby tee, choker, baggy jeans. (I am a short-legged pear. Did not suit me.)
            – Also channeling Clueless, plaid miniskirt and short sleeved mock neck. Never could figure out what shoes to wear with that one.
            – Late 90s/ early aughts: Spaghetti strap dresses…over jeans.
            – All of the blazers with all of the pins. (Daria was/ is my spirit animal.)

          • Flashing back to the big sweater with geometric shapes all over it, worn with an acid-wash denim miniskirt and light gray granny boots (with two pairs of fluorescent socks). Ah, the 80s! That was my favorite favorite outfit when I was 11.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            I wore my (6’4″) dad’s pajama pants (not plaid, like some circle pattern that could almost pass as cotton hippy style pants) with 90’s grunge band t-shirts and those big metal ball necklaces. I also wore overalls with one strap down, a halter top, and my boxer shorts showing through, with a choker. (Just wore that to a 90’s concert recently. All those items were back in stores.) Baggy was so in then and I wore a ton of my dad’s clothes. My dad had purple and turquoise work polos that I was always stealing. So much flannel.

          • Hahahahaha. I went through a (wannabe) skater phase in the late 90s in middle school. The worst that comes to mind are some (wannabe) wide leg black jeans and an oversized blue polo style shirt. Plus a backwards baseball cap. Apparently I missed the memo that there was a difference between boys and girls. Looking back, I wish someone had given me some guidance, although I’m not sure if I would have heeded any advice.

          • Limited 2 :

            Late to this thread but in middle school I had corduroy leopard flared pants that I LOVED. I wore them even in high school cringe.

          • My favorite jeans in elementary were so tapered they had zippers at the bottom with a snap on jean bow at the top of the zipper. I looooooved them. They came with jeans-colored, red, and pink bows so I could switch them out.

        • I liked (and, to be honest, still like) anything shirt where I could tie the shirttails at my waist. I wanted every shirt I wore to be tied in a cute little knot at my belly-button. (I actually would have liked to tie them higher up to make a crop top, but my mom wouldn’t let me.)

          At some point, I decided that my father’s dress shirts were perfect for this, and I would constantly steal them and wear them with super tiny jean shorts and clunky leather Doc Martens sandals. Maybe this looked cute? I’d like to think I was pulling it off.

        • In middle and high school, I thought I was a hippie. My most prized possession was a floor length bohemian sundress from Delia’s that I would wear braless, and sometimes with a choker– this was circa late ’90s early ’00s. What a rebel I was!

          In elementary school in the early 90s I love wearing turquoise and purple scrunch socks, one over the other. But on one foot I would do purple over turquoise and on the other foot I would do turquoise over purple.

          • DELIA’S. Oh, the sense of possibility that accompanied the arrival of the Delia’s catalogue!

      • Baconpancakes :

        There’s tweens who put together outfits that maybe aren’t the best and then there’s tweens who stick out like a sore thumb wearing JCPenny flower-printed cotton shorts and tee sets next to their friends wearing jean shorts and rhinestone tank tops. Letting her decide is one thing, but if you can provide some guidance so she can avoid the years of hating her clothes but feeling helpless to change it, that might help her avoid some of the inevitable self-image problems that will come in middle and high school.

    • Old Navy is perfect for that. So is Target. But Target and Old Navy typically have different color families, so it might be hard to mix and match ON stuff with Target stuff unless what you buy is neutral, like jeggings or something like that– Target is more bright colors and ON is more muted. You can easily mix and match within a store’s collection though. One thing about ON– take her and write down all the things she likes and what size she wears and take pictures. Then buy them online. They always have better sales online, in my experience. Also, look at the outfit pictures on the website to get ideas of how to mix pieces.

    • Anonymous :

      Take her to the mall, maybe wherever her friends shop. Try stuff on. Where is that these days – Justice, Aeropostale, H&M, Old Navy, department stores?

    • When I was a tween, I lived for trips to Marshalls and TJ Maxx with my mom. Inexpensive, and usually on trend.

    • Seems like a good learning opportunity to begin the basics of building a wardrobe. Ask her to create a Pinterest board and pin a bunch of stuff she likes, and then go through it with her and see if you can identify some themes or staples for her particular interest. Doesn’t have to be super heavy-handed, but even something like, “it looks like a lot of these outfits have a jean jacket, should we get you one of those? I bet it would go with a bunch of stuff you already have.” Asking open-ended, non-judgemental questions like, “What drew you to that outfit?” or “Are you thinking of that as something you’d wear to school or more on the weekends?” will help her start thinking beyond, “Pretty clothes: I want them all!”

      • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

        I agree with this. My oldest son (13) is REALLY into fashion, and I go shopping with him. He appreciates my input, but I am far from heavy-handed. He especially appreciated the idea of buying pieces that can go with many things (solid colors, etc.). And the idea of color palettes (although I doubt he would ever use that word).

        He buys some things I wouldn’t suggest (like a pair of white leather driving loafers). But today he wore those with a bright purple button down and white pants, and I have to say he looked pretty handsome. We can’t buy kids clothes because he is just over six feet tall, and since he is still growing, I direct him to sales at Gap/Banana Republic/etc.

    • I took my niece (11 at the time) on a back to school shopping trip last year, and used it to teach her some shopping rules that my mother taught me. You can’t buy something unless:

      1. You can wear it to something that is a regular part of your life
      2. It goes with at least 3 things you already have
      3. It’s decent quality and will hold up for multiple wearings
      4. You can wash it

      She picked up the rules quickly after I explained them to her and we spent some time discussing how you identify quality (e.g., seam finish, fabric weight & composition), and as she picked up things she liked, she would either rule them out – I like this top, but my school dress code doesn’t allow cutouts – or rule them it – I can wear this top with my jeans, my red skirt, or my black leggings. We had a really successful trip, and she’s still using the rules now.

    • Thanks for all the helpful suggestions. She has asked for a Pinterest board, so I need to figure out how to do that and let her use that to put together some looks, but that would be a great first step. And my concern about the lack of coordination of the pieces has more to do with her wailing and not wearing any of it later than what she looks like to me (she’s 9, she can look weird, that’s cool by me). Lots of good ideas to work with here.

      • I don’t understand your coordination concern — isn’t she wearing jeans mostly — I mean isn’t that what most kids wear 5 days/wk? Doesn’t everything in the world go with denim? Get a few pairs of cool jeans from Old Navy and then whatever tops she likes and they’ll match.

        • No – she doesn’t wear jeans. Astounding, because that’s all I wore when I was 9, and that’s all I’d wear now if I didn’t have to dress for work. She doesn’t think they’re comfortable.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        A pinterest board is a great first step!

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I would suggest you commit to a few shopping trips, rather than getting like a wardrobe all at once — tell her she can get 2 or 3 pieces this time, and then you can go back in 2 weeks and get 2 or 3 more. That way if she’s making a mistake and getting stuff she won’t actually like to wear, at least she won’t be fully locked in.

    • Has school started? It’s always better to shop AFTER the kids have been back to school for a week or 2 bc they see what other kids are wearing and whether they’d like similar things or not. It ends up being a waste of money when they decide in the summer – omg this is the coolest, I totally want this – you buy it; they wear it once and realize no one else is dressing like that and never want to touch it again and instead want to go shopping again. You can always buy a neutral outfit or 2 for the first few days of school – new jeans, t shirts etc. – but wait on anything more than that until the first weekend.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        YES this is so true.

      • Anonalamadingdong :

        YES. How do I know? Let’s talk about the summer of 1995 when I spent all my fall clothing allowance on Cher Horowitz mini kilts and thigh high stockings, only to get to my new high school to find everyone wearing giant JNCO jeans, oversized “No Fear” t shirts, and Airwalk sneakers. Everyone laughed at me and a gross teacher told me he liked my thigh-highs. But I was out of money and did not own even one pair of jeans! It was rough times until I got money at Christmas.

        • We are the same person. It’s official.

        • Wanderlust :

          Yesssss. I had both of these outfits in my closet. Also a Cher Horowitz-inspired lavender sweater vest from Wet Seal that i LOVED.

          After those phased out, I joined cbackson in an Ani DiFranco phase interspersed with a Tori Amos phase (red hair dye, fairy wings, and face glitter, anyone?)

          • Anonymous :

            My best friend went through that Tori Amos phase. She still has her fairy wings; she gave them to her daughter for dress up.

    • +1 to shopping after school has started and she’s seen what the other kids are wearing, and to breaking it up into multiple trips instead of buying a whole wardrobe at once.

      I have a 10-year-old who is entering middle school and whose fashion preferences change faster than her clothing size. For this school year I asked her to describe the various categories of “looks” she would like to create. These turned out to be:

      -T-shirt dress, with leggings and/or vest and/or jacket when it gets cooler
      -Jean shorts or comfy stretchy skinny jeans with graphic t-shirt. Graphic t-shirt must be slightly weird but not too weird (e.g., Hamilton, odd animal that is popular at school, pictures of tacos, slightly funny sayings in block letters) and definitely not little-girl cutesy. Add a drapey sweatshirt cardigan thing for cold weather.
      -Leggings with baggy sports t-shirt or athleisure top.

      We then went through her closet, donated everything that was too little-girly (bye-bye, cat print t-shirt dress), identified the outfits in each category that she could make with what she already had, and identified the missing pieces. We got by with purchasing three dresses and a couple of t-shirts. I am purposely limiting the size of her wardrobe because she tends to wear the same favorite outfits over and over and I always end up donating tons of things that were only worn once or twice.

      The right shoes and outerwear go a long way towards establishing trendiness.

    • Anonymous :

      I think Old Navy is a good place to start. You might also check Justice, JC Penny’s, and Target. I have my kids (elementary age) pick outfits as opposed to a stack of shirts and random pants. My daughter also does not like to wear jeans. So we pick shorts, skirts, and leggings that go with her shirts and a couple dresses. This way each shirt has a bottom that goes with it which makes it much easier to get dressed in the morning.

  4. Anonalamadingdong :

    If you wanted your look to be inspired by stylish villains (i.e. Disney or comic book) in your more formal end of business casual office, what would you wear?

    • Anonymous :

      A dalmatian coat?

    • I’d get two eels, a plunging black strapless gown, cut my hair off, and steal the voices of the young pretty interns. Because Ursula rocks.

      • Anonymous :

        I’ll admit that in the past I’ve been a nasty…

        • I mean, really. The lyrics to this song are just amazing, and make me love her more (…she was my favorite in the movie even as a kid. Twisted.)

          • Did you know there are Disney villain stamps, including Ursula? I’ve been using them when I write my Congressional reps and senators.


          • I’ve never wanted to visit the USPS more than I do right now.

          • Linda from HR :

            WHAAAAT I want those! I don’t need stamps right now, but I need those stamps. I need them because of reasons!

    • Shape your eyebrows at a threatening angle and pencil them a little darker. (My eyebrows are naturally villainous and I let ’em be!)

    • Jewel tones. High heels. Solid colors. Red/dark tone, lipstick. Half joking, but a cape as a coat. I have one that I wear occasionally and I get so many compliments.

    • Flats Only :

      Shoulder pads. In everything.

    • Honestly? I’d take some inspiration from the costumes that ABC’s “Once Upon a Time” show dresses their villains in. They had an arc of episodes all about some female villains. But to echo anon above, it did involve high heels, solid colors and lipstick.

    • Linda from HR :

      Probably black dresses like the evil queen in Once Upon a Time. Or maybe something purple like Ursula? Oh, maybe I’d look at Emma Frost’s wardrobe for inspiration, something ice blue or white . . . If I was gonna go the Cruella route, red heels, black dress, faux fur coat or cape, or maybe a blazer in the same color her cape is?

      Unique Vintage has a villain-inspired page for Disneybounding, not specifically intended for workwear obviously but you could check that out, see if that gives you any ideas or if they have anything that could work.

    • I’d look at the outfits of the Lana Parrilla’s character on Once Upon a Time.

    • Pretty Primadonna :

      Sky-high heels. Severe hair styles (e.g. a blunt-cut bob or hair pulled tighly into a bun).

    • Aquae Sulis :

      I’d definitely take tips from Once Upon A Time’s Regina; lots of sharp tailoring, black and red.

    • Miranda Priestly, business casual be [email protected] That would mean fabulous coat, shoes, bag, hair, and sunglasses everyday.

      • …I think Miranda Priestly is the human embodiment of Ursula…! The hair! The raised eyebrows! The eels! The stealing voices from younger prettier things in a world where she used to rule! Stanley Tucci is her…Flounder?

        • Haha I love this.

          I do remember two things from my childhood about the female Disney villains: I thought even then that Cruella looked fabulous and thought Ursula seemed cool – with a distinct memory of her applying her ‘lipstick’. I mean, Ursula was a Boss!

        • Anonymous :

          Flotsam and Jetsam!

      • Marshmallow :

        THIS. Miranda Priestly forever and always.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Pinterest has this covered.


      • Baconpancakes :




    • It’s really all about the shoes.

    • Google or Pinterest “Disneybounding” – dressing as a character while not really dressing as a character is a real thing. Lots of people do it to go to the parks; you could find inspiration in a lot of those outfits.

      • For example, here’s a super-wearable Gaston Disneybound:

        The outfits work as an inside joke – a few people will know exactly what you’re doing but it should look more or less normal to most people.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      For a while my brother (infinitely cooler than me, obviously) had Cruella DeVille hair. Like full on, 1/2 bright white, the other 1/2 black, chin length. Gosh he was punk rock.

      • I totally would have dated your brother!

        Wait… did I?

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Doubtful, he’s been dating the same girl since 8th grade (and they’re finally getting married! now that they’re 30+!) — but he is definitely the coolest.

    • Anonalamadingdong :

      I love all of these replies and never knew Disney bounding was a thing. Thank you!

  5. Linda from HR :

    I like the cut of this dress, and I love the color, price is a bit more than I’d normally pay but I could splurge . . . but I’m a little uneasy about the lace. I’ll admit, I used to wear stuff with lacey details to work when I was younger, got inspired by Downton Abbey and such, but I learned that lace was inappropriate for work because it was either too girly and dressy, or made people think of lingerie, depending on the context, so I’ve been staying away from it for years.

    • I’d think my slip was showing all day.

      • fellow hussy here :

        you hussy!

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Since today is all about remembering teenage style…

          I had a really pretty, black, lace-trimmed skirt that I wore on Free Dress Day in high school. I felt fancy and goth in it. My very old, Eastern European, math teacher, came up to me with her thick accent and said:

          “This morning, I was getting into my car and I thought – ‘something is wrong! what am I forgetting?!’ and I looked down and realized I had forgotten to put on my skirt! I was only wearing a slip! And when I came to school and I saw you today, I thought, ‘ah, RainbowHair has made the same mistake!'”

          • Linda from HR :

            How rude!

            I loved goth style as a teen, although I don’t think I ever identified as a “goth kid.” I was super political and into punk stuff, but I also had a feminine side and was slowly getting into old school looks (the Phantom of the Opera movie had just come out, I was drooling over the dresses) so gothic clothing was a good way to be “different” but still elegant.

    • I haven’t seen the dress in person, but I’ll bet there’s a good chance that lace would come off easily.

    • Me too. At first I thought it was fringe, which might be ok, but I’m not a fan of the lace hem. I really like the two pinstriped dresses under the “gaah” and “love” links though.

  6. I like this dress – but I’d need it to be about 4-6 inches longer. That’s my one complaint with the Red Fleece line – no tall sizes. That’s my one complaint with several retailers, actually.

    • I was feeling really tempted by this one, so that’s good to know. I’m 5’8 and often find I need tall sizes for something to be work appropriate. Do you mind sharing how tall you are that you’ve found Red Fleece too short?

      • I’m just a smidge taller than 5’8, but like a more conservative cut in my dresses/skirts. So, take that into account.

        I haven’t actually ordered anything from Red Fleece, but have found that looking at pictures and if the picture doesn’t show the dress/skirt actually going to the model’s knee, it’s not going to hit me where I want it too. So, I don’t waste the time/effort of returning on clothes i’m not confident will hit me at the knee.

        Like Anonymous at 11:41, I will buy tall sizes to ensure that they end up with my more conservative fit.

    • Preach. Between the number of us who are legit too tall for normal clothes and the number of more normal-heighted people who buy tall lengths anyway to make an item more work appropriate/modest, it’s ridiculous that more retailers don’t make tall sizes.

      • givemyregards :

        +1,000 I was looking at J. Crew’s offerings this morning (why do I torture myself?) and found, per usual, that all of their straight leg/skinny pants are cropped. A bunch of my friends who are not as tall as I am buy the tall lengths to make them full length and appropriate for work – but what is a 5’10 gal to do?? I don’t understand what workplace they are envisioning that requires you to wear a full suit, but cropped trousers are appropriate?? I still really like their suits, so I always end up buying the long full length trousers and having them heavily tailored but it’s such a PITA.

      • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

        Buying clothes is a nightmare when you are 5’11” I have given up on pants. Luckily I live in a warm climate.

  7. Recs for affordable therapist in the DMV? :

    I have a close friend who suffers from depression. The past week has been particularly worrying. She said she hasn’t been able to see her therapist as often because of the cost of the sessions even with insurance. I’m looking for suggestions for either affordable therapists or something, anything else. Alternatively, any suggestions how I can gracefully offer to pay for a few sessions? I won’t be able to do it long-term. Just a few to get her to see someone now. But I know her well enough to know that she may take it as if I think she’s a charity case, which I don’t. I’ve just never been so worried about her as I am now. I don’t have a lot of experience in dealing with this issue so TIA for any suggestions.

    • Does she have a doctor/psychiatrist? This is really your biggest bang for the buck. Sounds like she needs to be seen ASAP and needs a medication increase/change/addition. Sometimes simply stating you are really worried about her, and encouraging her to see her doctor.

      Therapy can be shockingly expensive. Since my deductible is $6000 per year (and my premiums cost $6000 per year), I honestly cannot afford therapy either. Medications have been my salvation.

      Also, maybe a local support group/online support group? This can be free, and very effective. Maybe you can scour around to see if there is anything available.

      I would look into local classes on mindfulness/meditation, and perhaps gift her that as an alternative? In my major city, the large local hospitals all have classes.

      I don’t think gifting a couple of sessions with a therapist is probably appropriate, and honestly isn’t the solution. Lovely thought though.

      • Going to the doctor for medication is probably her best bet. If it’s true depression, there very much is a chemical element to her depression that needs a chemical fix. There are times when you can do all the talk therapy in the world, but that can only go so far with brain chemistry that’s not cooperating. Once the chemistry is stabilized, she can work on finding ways to get therapy.

        In the DMV, Medics USA is open nights and weekends and I know from experience that they take Aetna and UnitedHealthcare. I’ve always been able to get an appointment within a couple days. If she can’t afford an office visit, tell her to tell the receptionist that she’d like her annual Affordable Care Act free physical. That’ll get her in there for free (or nearly free after lab testing).

    • I have a suggestion! Is there a grad school around that trains therapists? My family got really cheap, really good therapy for a couple years from this type of program – sliding scale for payments but it topped out at $60 per week for us to have 3 individual and joint sesions per week. The therapists used the latest techniques and were supervised.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        My memory is totally failing me but I saw a therapist at a place like this. It was in NoVA – I think the Springfield area. I’ll do some more searching later today and see if I can figure it out.

        • Haha, I missed that you are actually looking in the DMV. Try Virginia Tech’s grad school program – Center for Family Services – in Falls Church.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      My local Jewish Family Services has therapists on staff. You don’t have to be Jewish and they offer a sliding cake.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      My local Jewish Family Services has therapists on staff. You don’t have to be of the same religion (it went into mod before) and they offer a sliding scale.

    • Recs for affordable therapist in the DMV? :

      Thank you everyone for these suggestions. I’m going to look into all of these ideas. I know she does take medication to help her manage and I’ll talk to her about getting her dosage reevaluated.

  8. Marshmallow :

    How does the sizing on Red Fleece run? I love the linked dress/jacket combo but I’m exactly between two sizes. Size up, right?

  9. what is cosplay, exactly? :

    I want a costume for Halloween. I am seeing some on etsy that are billed as “for cosplay.” B/c I live under a rock and am having flashbacks to the CSI episode with the plushies, it is a PG-rated hobby or something much more adult? I don’t want to show up to an elementary school with a wildly inappropriate costume (I had an issue with a cowboy costume once, I will leave the exact problem to your imaginations).

    • Baconpancakes :

      Cosplay is basically just a more serious costume. A “cosplayer” generally puts a lot of effort and thought into portraying a character, sometimes very faithfully to the original character, sometimes mixing genders, genres, or even characters (so a steampunk female batman who is also the hulk). Cosplayers usually wear their outfits to conventions, where lots of other people who are also into comics, cartoons, and games go, so that they have an excuse to wear their awesome costumes, and so that other people who will “get it” will be able to appreciate their costumes.

      TL;DR it’s not inappropriate. Just maybe expensive.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      Cosplay is dressing up as a character. It’s not X-rated, at least not usually. Speaking of, DragonCon is about to descend on ATL, which will be cosplay-central this weekend.

    • what is cosplay, exactly? :

      OK, this sounds good.

      So you’d have no concerns about wearing a “for cosplay” Wonderwoman costume to an elementary school?

      What I like about the new WW movie is that the costume isn’t a bathing suit (I love that old one on Lynda Carter, but I couldn’t wear that out and about; would wear it to the pool though) AND it has a skirt. Here’s hoping there are no surprises (like strategically missing parts).

    • Linda from HR :

      Cosplay is certainly something adults do, but it’s not necessarily some sort of f*tish activity if that’s what you’re asking. It can be, but most of the time it’s just for fun.

      You could also look into stuff for “disneybounding” which is a way for people to sort of dress up like Disney characters at the parks without actually being in costume, which isn’t allowed because they have actual costume characters and don’t want people getting confused.

      If you wanna do Wonder Woman, I’d look into her super old school outfit from the 1940’s, that has an actual skirt, probably more appropriate for a school than her newer outfit.

      • Baconpancakes :

        This is my feeling as well – maybe just a blue skirt or pants, red top, and then get the belt, crown, a lasso, and bracers.


    • I would assume that “for cosplay” meant nicer and more expensive than your typical cheapo Halloween costume, not anything inappropriate. I have used a lot of cosplay s!tes as references for making my daughter’s Halloween costumes, and they are all about the details of costume construction and how to make your costume look as accurate as possible.

  10. Can I just vent about a MIL? help! :

    Trying to plan my wedding and so far have received nothing but negative feedback from MIL. Future husband is embarrassed by her actions. First, calling me ‘catty’ when I said I asked friends how much they spent on certain aspects of the wedding (I explained that I wanted to know what is ‘reasonable’ and what is the average cost for a photog in our area, for example- one of my friends even sent me her detailed budget breakdown- no one found it offensive). Then bashing (yes, aggressively telling us how wrong we were) when we said we wanted to do ‘first look’ photos. My way to deal has been to just keep quiet when she says ridiculous things because anything I say will not be nice. Now claiming we are not receptive to her ideas. I can’t imagine why? Final straw is trying to add everyone and anyone to the guest list. They are not contributing financially, and have expressed zero intention to (not that I expect it). Crying that when we get married she worries her son won’t visit her anymore. Sounds like she is afraid of losing her identity/her son, but this is not the mature way to handle it. I’ve been nothing but kind and helpful whenever I visit, but I do not think it’s fair that I get attacked in this manner.

    HELP. I really feel attacked by her for NO REASON.

    • weddings.... ugh. :

      Why are you having all of these discussions with her?

      Let your husband have the wedding discussions. Stay out of it. Walk out of the room if necessary. Cut down on the visits together. Whatever you need to do. He should let her know your budget, the number of spaces she can expect for friends/family etc… He should be telling her she is being inappropriate. He should be calming her down.

    • My question to you, gently, is why are you telling her these things? MIL doesn’t need to know what you are planning for photos, what questions you are asking your friends, and any plans that don’t directly involve her (unless she is paying for it). Information should be distributed on a need to know basis.

      As far as being receptive to ideas, if she makes a suggestion you don’t like, say, “that’s a great idea, thanks.” You do not report to her, you don’t need to give her updates on which ideas you have chosen to use and which you are not. If she insists on something, determine whether it’s a hill you are willing to die on before you reject it.

      • I think there’s this idea from wedding blogs and such that a wedding is supposed to be this glorious time and that you should include All The Family in the process to make them feel welcome. Except don’t. Your FH may not have opinions on table linens or centerpieces – don’t make him – don’t start that needless fight over something trivial. Likewise, don’t cede power to your FMIL by inviting comment on things. The best way to handle wedding planning is to make the decisions and announce them – “I’ve decided on burgundy bridesmaids and blush flowers,” NOT “what color flowers do you think I should do?” Use your best girlfriends as a sounding board, not your FH, FMIL, or mom, if she’s a problem too.

        • OP- Can I just vent about a MIL? help! :

          Yes she keeps saying over and over that the wedding should be about family and ‘our generation’ makes it too much about showing off- then my fiancé points out that I have a family too, that is invited, and is a part of this. I feel like she treats me like an outsider, and anything we do that isn’t all about her and her family is selfish.

          My mother and father have surprisingly been okay! Also, I know how to handle them- i.e., I have no problem telling them no ha!

          • Welcome to the family, future sil! Our shared MIL is a real peach.

            Sorry. My MIL is just like this, and my DH has set up some great boundaries with her over the years. I wish you the same!

    • Your fiance needs to stand up to her. Don’t visit her if she’s being unpleasant (let your soon-to-be-husband go as much as he wants though). If she’s emailing or calling you directly, delete/ignore.

      Also, fwiw, trying to add people to the guest when she’s not contributing financially is a real issue you and your fiance have to deal with and at least respond to her enough to tell her “no, these people are not on the list.” But calling you ‘catty’ is kind of the thing that’s best ignored and not engaged with. Yes, it’s rude, but it’s also not that shocking that she would think talking about money with friends is tacky (I think it’s way more common among 20- and 30-somethings than it was among our parents’ generation) so I would just chalk that up to “She doesn’t know me or my friends, my friends weren’t offended, so I’m going to ignore that comment.” Life will be a lot more pleasant if you don’t engage with every passive-aggressive dig from your MIL.

    • The wedding thing is irrelevant. If she directly insults you, you can respond in the normal healthy way for an adult to respond to a family member who insults you. For example, when she called you catty, you calmly say “That’s hurtful, to hear you say that.” And then stop, and wait for her response. If it becomes a pattern of insults, or she escalates and doesn’t apologize, then it’s time for your fiance to step in (not in the moment, but when they are alone in a calm moment) and ask her to stop (and talk through any issues she may be having). If both of those steps fail, then you may need to start inserting some distance in the relationship.

    • Oh honey, the reason is clear: she thinks she is losing her son and is an immature, manipulative brat. This is where you and your fiance must get on the same page ASAP about what you both want and can afford for your wedding and then stop talking to MIL about it, outside of clearly telling her how things will be. Let her rant, let her rave, let her whine – and make your FH deal with her by calmly telling her, “Mom, that’s what WE want and WE can afford.” He must repeat as often as necessary. It’s his battle to wage. If she starts going off on you, HE must be the one to say “Mom – that’s inappropriate and I won’t let you talk like this. We are leaving (or hanging up the phone or whatever is required).” Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. Either your FH needs to develop those now, or this will be your life.

      • All of this! There was a different wedding/MIL thread earlier this week (or possibly over the weekend) and I’d strongly advise you to go back and read the advice given. Basically…you and your future husband both need to be on the same page re setting boundaries, and you need to set them now, otherwise chances are good her behavior will permeate other aspects of your marriage.

        • OP- Can I just vent about a MIL? help! :

          Ah I have been busy so I haven’t been reading- I will look at it! Thanks

    • Your fiance needs to step up majorly and handle his mother here. I think you should probably limit contact with her and have him do most of the communication with her. And obviously, if she says you’re terrible, he should not be passing along that message.

    • Stop talking to her about the wedding details. Do not tell her before you send out invites. Just mail them. Treat her as you would an distant aunt. She is invited to the wedding and that is the extent of her involvement.

    • OP- Can I just vent about a MIL? help! :

      Thanks everyone- I honestly had just been ignoring all of the inane comments but when I add them up it really does sound bad. I’m glad people think I’m not being unreasonable for setting boundaries on guest lists and that I shouldn’t feel obliged to listen to their opinions. I needed a gut check.

      She asked us how wedding planning was going so that’s how photos came up- it was more just, someone asked so we are going to tell them a few things that we are working on, I wasn’t really ‘running it by’ her. Awhile ago I included her in floral ideas and said she can help with flowers, so I thought that was kind of me. I don’t feel like I should be keeping the planning a secret, it will only make it worse because then she has another thing to complain about. She balked because we sent save the dates (without their consultation) and that’s how she started to want to add people to the list.

      A lot of this happened quite recently so fiancé has handled it well thus far. I think maybe a few more firm conversations about budget and guest lists and she can cry all she wants but I’m not budging. I have seen her dynamic in their family and now I understand it better. She’s a bully but plays the victim- complains her family-in law (i.e., my fiancé’s dad’s family) isn’t inclusive and not communicative- among other constant complaints about people she knows. Really, when you’re the one complaining about everyone around you, the problem is probably YOU, not them.

      • She sounds really terrible. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. If my mother in law called me “catty” to my face and was bemoaning our wedding decisions, I would probably stop talking to her, shut her out, and avoid her as much as possible. She’s not even being passive aggressive. She is being rude and insulting.

      • Anonymous :

        You’re not keeping wedding planning a secret, you just don’t need to tell her stuff that doesn’t involve her. When she asks how it’s going, you say fine. When she asks if you need help/advice, you say no thanks.

        What you allow WILL continue.

      • Anonymous :

        And to provide some more tough love – this conversation with your finace about boundaries and talking with his mom? that needs to happen TONIGHT. do not wait a second longer.

  11. italian honeymoon :

    I’ll be spending two weeks in Italy in September, in Amalfi and in Florence. Can anyone help me think about what to pack? I was thinking floral sundresses and flat sandals for Amalfi, and then slim black pants, cool sneakers, and blazers in Florence? What’s cool, what travels well, and what do I need to leave at home?

    • I was very happy wearing floral and other maxi dresses and light cardigans with (comfortable) flat sandals in Amalfi in April. Bring sandals you can walk in if you plan to do anything other than lounge around. There are hills and old roads. You will specifically be able to buy lovely, handmade, flat leather sandals with no support in many wonderful shops there.

      • Also, you are very likely to want to get on a boat during your stay in Amalfi. You will want shoes you can wear on the boat (I wore rubber-soled sandals), a long dress or pants you can comfortable move around in, a cover-up for sun and wind, and maybe a hat.

  12. Philadelphia Bound! :

    Going on a girls weekend to Philadelphia – looking for recommendations on where to stay, what to do and where to eat. Will probably be getting in Saturday morning and leaving Sunday evening. TIA!!!

    • What time of year?

      • Asked because there are certain seasonal events that would be good for things to do (ie. summer beer gardens and pop-up parks, fall festivals, etc.).

      • Philadelphia Bound! :


      • Great time of year to visit!
        You said you are going for Girls’ weekend, so I’m making recommendations that are lighter on the history/tourist attraction/etc. and heavier on the eating/drinking/wandering/being merry side. Here are some recommendations for things to do/to eat:
        * Spruce Street Harbor Park – There are food and drink options available when you are there.
        * PHS Pop-up Beer Gardens (I’m partial to the location at 15th and South) There are food and drink options here. The Jamaican Jerk Hut (which was featured in the movie In Her Shoes) is next door and you can also grab food there and bring it into the garden.
        * Check out the site for upcoming events. On the Thursday of the week you are visiting, there will be a post highlighting the top things going on in the city that weekend. In September there are a number of fall festivals, Oktoberfests, etc. It also has overviews of various neighborhoods and highlights events in a given neighborhood (
        * Reading Terminal Market –
        * Walk around and enjoy the Rittenhouse Square. Try to nab an outside table at Parc Restaurant for a bite to eat and to people watch. Parc is also a great place for Sunday brunch!
        * Go to Fishtown and check out bars and restaurants along Frankford Avenue. There are a lot of options. Busier hotspots include Garage, Johnny Brenda’s, and Frankford Hall. Quieter places for nice drinks and food like Fishtown Social, WM Muhlerin & Son (which is also a boutique hotel – just off Frankford), Root, and (also not on Frankford Avenue, but close) Front Street Café.
        To stay:
        I live here so don’t have a lot of knowledge when it comes to hotels. If you’re planning to mostly be out and about, I’d suggest something in the vicinity of the Convention Center because it will be convenient to get to and from most other areas of the city. Prior to moving here I stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott and it was nice. I’ve had friends stay at the Loews and they enjoyed their stays. They are both short walks from Reading Terminal Market and from 13th Street where there are a number of great restaurants (Barbuzzo, Bud and Marilyn’s, Nomad Roman Pizza) and cute little shops.

        • There was some discussion about convention center area hotels yesterday. I would not recommend any of them for a girls weekend. The area is for business travelers, not tourists. Other than a Maggianos and a Melting Pot, the only food options are the Reading Terminal (unless the Gallery reno is done, but as I understand it that will be a food hall, not restaurants). There are no bars other than hotel bars on the immediate block, and no shopping.

          I’d stay west of Broad if you can. Palomar, Westin, Sofitel, etc. A little pricier but assuming you are sharing rooms so that will lower cost and put you in a much better neighborhood (i.e. more shopping and restaurants). Lots of cute shops, restaurants, bars, etc. in that area. Old City is also nice and there is a newish Marriott there (it was an Omni until recently). I do not recommend the Sheraton.

    • stay: Hotel Monaco, Hotel Palomar, the Warwick

      eat: Anything on 13th street between Locust & Chestnut (e.g. Little Nonna’s, Tredici, Sampan); Harp & Crown is a trendy new place with great ambiance; most Steven Starr restaurants are a good bet (I like Dandelion and Talula’s Garden); lots of good places up in Fishtown/Kensington/Northern Liberties (Philly’s “up and coming” neighborhoods); for great sushi check out Royal Izakaya in Queen Village.

      do: self-guided walking tour of historic sights in Old City; beer gardens (Spruce Street Harbor, South Street Beer Garden, Independence Beer Garden, Frankford Hall); shopping at Old City Boutiques; Art Museum, Rodin Museum, & Barnes Foundation (all three in walking distance of one another on the Parkway); if you want a bird’s eye view of the city, you can go to the Liberty Place observation tower.

      • +1 to most of these recs, although I’m not a big Harp & Crown fan. Would also add SkyGarden to the recommended “do” list because it combines the bird’s eye view of the city with a beer garden!

        • Triangle Pose :

          Really? I love Harp and Crown (unlimited brunch with delicious drinks!) but I’d skip Skygarten, those people are terrible. Terrible service, and they have no idea what they are doing. I went there for the eclipsce and was floored by the terrible service and management – they didn’t have the glasses ready, had no idea who was on the list for entrance, no one knew the answer to any question about the event they planned and publicized everywhere. Also the worse place for Sips. You can go to the logan rooftop bar for views.

      • antsmarching :

        +1 to Anonymous with the following thoughts:

        I’d skip Talula’s Garden – I think its overrated for the price
        If you like Japanese (or Sushi in particular) Morimoto’s is fantastic – but pricey.

        The Barnes Foundation is unique and not to be missed. You do, however, often need to reserve tickets in advance.

      • +1 Talulah’s is incredible, but expensive.

      • Triangle Pose :

        Agree with this for hotels. Also great airbnb options here.

        Yes to 13th street – go to Barbuzzo and get amazing dishes and the budino for dessert.

    • just typed out a whole response and it’s in moderation. so annoying!

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        trying to figure out if ” Jewish ” places me in purgatory. Ignore this if it shows up.

        • remove your email address (the letters ette land you in moderation)

          • Marshmallow :

            By the way– what is the rationale for those letters landing people in mod? And s i t e? I’ve gotten used to people working around this but I’m really curious.

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            But they don’t always. That’s the thing. Some comments are fine with my email. Some put me in mod.

    • Philadelphia Bound! :

      Thanks to everyone for all these great recommendations!

      • I’m a little late to the Philly party here but Vintage on 13th Street is my absolute favorite restaurant in the city! Wine bar with excellent food. It’s right next to the more popular El Vez (which I find overrated). Second the idea of staying more toward Rittenhouse Square as opposed to the convention center

      • Late to the game, but my fave Philly restuarant is Tinto. Also, if you like art, the Barnes Foundation is not to be missed (definitely my first choice museum in Philly)

    • Zahav in Philly :

      This may be too late, but I had one of the best meals of my life at Zahav. A res is really tough to get; if you decide to sit at the bar, get there 15 minutes (at least?) before it opens for dinner. My friend and I got there 7 minutes after the hour, and had to wait out the first seating.

  13. Santorini Recs :

    Anyone have recs for Santorini? Traveling with two kiddos under 10. Thanks in advance!

    • If your kids are pretty close to 10, I think they could do the hike from Fira to Oia. We really enjoyed that. (You can do it one way because there are buses you can take the other way). A catamaran cruise around the island would also be a great family activity.

      • Yes, if your kids can do the walk, definitely. The beaches are volcanic (red and black) and can get very hot depending on what time of year you are there. If your kids can swim in the ocean, you may want to bring water shoes for them (also the non volcanic ones are pebbly). Definitely do dinner on the cliffside or a cruise at sunset, it’s one of the most beautiful sights in the world. The best things to do in all of Greece are to enjoy leisurely strolls and meals, so take part!

        As for nearby stuff, Delos is an amazing island that is a historical s*te, but I am guessing that will be too much for your kids (boring, too much walking, too hot, no food, no ‘kids center’, etc.) Paros and Naxos are really beautiful islands for more casual beach days, if you decide to venture out, depending on the length of your trip. Patmos is cool, too, if you are religious.

    • I recomend you have your kid’s watch the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie before you go b/c it has alot of scenes of Santorini, so that when they get there they can RECOGNIZE places they’ve seen in the movie. Personaly, I have been told I look a bit like a shorter version of Blake Liveley (in my dreams), so that is another reason you should watch the movie. She is alot taller then me, but Dad calls me his very own Blake Lively with a tuchus, for what that is worth. Anyway, have fun in Santorini!!!! YAY!!!!!

  14. On the afternoon thread someone suggested a DC meetup. Is there a group that has started for this? Would love to join!

  15. Private clubs? :

    Piggybacking off the DC conversation yesterday – does anyone belong to private clubs in their city? Having recently moved to Chicago, I’m curious about all the private clubs that have rooftop terraces, etc. downtown but am not sure who actually belongs to them. They used to seem like such an outdated concept, but having moved I can now see some of the appeal of joining a community that hosts events and offers certain benefits.

    • I’ve recently moved to Chicago too, and I’d love to know more about this!

    • I live in Chicago and am not a member of a private club but am friends with someone who runs in those circles – my impression is that it’s a lot of old money/people who have been in Chicago forever, at least in the super high-end clubs. My sense is that they’re also very waspy – from what my friend has said, many of them didn’t allow Jews to join until the relatively recent past.

      • Not in Chicago, so YMMV.

        In my city, clubs did not look like America in the past but very much want to do so now. I am a first generation lawyer, so I have no older relatives to really show me the ropes. You bet that I took the first invitation to a city club that I got and never looked back. I have lots of first generation club member female friends (and many who have parents / grandparents there) and have never felt unwelcome. It has been good to have older members take a parental / grandparental interest in me when I was a newbit in BigLaw and bought my shiny polyester suits at Potomac Mills (yikes). It was sort of like the mentorship that firms promise but never delivery on.

        I don’t golf but got a lot of good exposure and rounding out and professional / personal networking.

        I recommend at least checking it out.

        • I agree that the clubs are trying to change – I think many of them in Chicago are loosening dress codes etc. to make them more appealing to young people, and there are lots of benefits to being a member. I just think that a lot of old Chicago families have long memories about the clubs’ past; my friend is Jewish, and his grandfather was not allowed to join a fancy Chicago club despite being a prominent architect who otherwise would have fit in. It still rankles my friend, and he and his friends in similar positions feel like the clubs aren’t welcoming spaces for them, even in a more tolerant era.

        • So are you in the DC area (based on your Pot Mills comment)? I’m lifelong and didn’t know that people joined clubs like this here. Is this a thing?

          • Legally Brunette :

            For anyone in DC in a private club, please let us know which one. Looks like there are several and I would imagine that they might differ in culture, membership, etc.

          • FWIW, I used to be in DC and my college alumni did a lot at the University Club and my law school alumni did a lot at the Metropolitan Club. I worked at Farragut West (by both) and went to a lot of University Club events (they have a great book signing and several wine dinners for different countries) and would have looked at joining had I not moved away. Now that I have kids it doesn’t make sense in my new city but before / many years from now I would love something like that again.

    • I stayed at the Union League Club in Chicago years ago. Its gym had a fantastic view of Lake Michigan. Best workout ever!

      I don’t know anything more about it or other clubs in Chicago though.

      The admissions people at clubs are usually very friendly and want new members, so they may hook you up with friendly alumni, club members, etc. or at least get you a tour and an invite to any potential new member receptions.

    • I don’t currently, but I have in the past. I was a member of the Princeton Club in NYC for many years, though I didn’t graduate from Princeton. They opened membership to a number of affiliate schools, one of which I had graduated from.
      They had a ton of events – everything from cocktail hours to formal parties to book readings. I never really went though because they were heavily oriented to Princeton grads.
      We used the dining room and bar a decent amount…mostly bc my ex liked to show off to friends. Also it was in a great location (midtown) to meet up with people after work Or before events being held elsewhere.
      When we moved to the suburbs we used their hotel rooms a fair amount due to the “discounted” price (i.e. Much cheaper than getting a room at a regular NYC hotel during the holiday season).
      We never really met anyone through the Princeton Club bc we didn’t take advantage of the events. Bar and dining clientele skewed much older. But I think this is very much club dependent. For example, a know a ton of people 20s-40s who are members of the NY Athletic Club and met people at the various (and varied) social events.
      I guess my advice is to do your research and think about what you really want from a club. Some clubs will offer trial memberships, especially if they are not in a great place financially (though that is something to be wary of as well when signing up). Many clubs will require you to have a sponsor (or several sponsors) in order to join. Some have a trial period for you. I know someone who tried to join the Union Club, had a sponsor, made obligatory appearances at a ton of events (and spent a lot of money to attend) and then when it was time for the board to vote on membership they rejected her.
      This may be very NY-centric, but that’s all I’ve experienced. Honestly, I only joined Princeton Club bc my ex husband really, really wanted to. In hindsight, not worth the money. I’d have to be really sure a club was a good fit for me before I joined another one.

      • I’ve stayed at NYAC a lot on travel and really love it. If I were in NYC, I’d look at that.

      • I’m a former NYAC member. I played water polo for them for many years (so my experience there focused around that sport and the men’s and women’s teams). They paid for us to play all over the country and it was really social after each practice too. I loved it. It has THE GREATEST BAR in all of NYC besides, perhaps McSorley’s. The club on Travers Island is exquisite (giant saltwater pool on the Sound, accessible via public transportation) Lots of history and super-friendly. I’d rejoin in a heartbeat if I moved back to NYC. They have a ton of activities and clubs to join and if you’re cool with fending off friendly olds, it’s the place. Separately, if you would like to be a cougar, some of the athletes are smoking hot and just out of college. Take your pick!

    • I have friends who belong to the Cliff Dwellers, which has a beautiful space at Michigan and Adams.

      They host free events sometimes, so take a look at the calendar to see if there is a book-signing or something and you can check out the room.

    • weddings.... ugh. :


      Lifelong Chicago gal, and I don’t really recommend this. Wouldn’t you rather have something more in common that trying to be exclusive? Yes, it is mostly midwestern old money, and society climbers. Kinda sad in my opinion.

      I would recommend looking into your local alumni association, professional organizations, or volunteer organizations you favor. Meet-up groups are often more fun.

      • IDK, those Cliff Dwellers look fun

      • Rainbow Hair :

        You could join the Skee League. It’s like a ~club~ except everyone just plays skeeball in bars. Highly recommended :)

      • yeah, lifelong midwesterner/in Chicago since law school, and I socialize with a lot of young professionals/lawyers/finance people. Honestly, i can only think of one person belonging to a club, and she was significantly older and – while she seemed to see it as a status symbol – i don’t think anyone else i knew did.

        One exception is the East Bank Club, which is more like a fancy gym plus social club. That is something that well-off young professionals do definitely join.

    • I joined a club in NY about a year ago. I really like the events they have (lectures, themed parties, etc.) and the great library. I also use it for the gym, which I like because it’s very private and impeccably clean. Also use it for hotel rooms sometimes if prices are high at other hotels nearby. All in all, I’ve really enjoyed it. I’m starting to make friends, but it takes a lot of effort to make sure you go to all the events to meet people and keep following up, etc.

  16. I usually live by the rule that if I wore something last time it was in style, I shouldn’t wear it the next time around. Despite that, I am unreasonably excited that loafer pumps are back. I need some new work shoes for Fall, and am picturing the perfect black loafer pumps in my life. Anyone wanna do my shopping?

    – Black leather (not suede)
    – No or minimal embellishment
    – Block heel, probably ~3″
    – No platforms or lug soles
    – Sleek, architectural shape
    – Price negotiable for love, but definitely under $300, and preferable under $200

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Oh no, I think fashion is cycling too fast for that rule to apply! I mean, the nineties were NOT that long ago and damned if I’m not gonna wear spagetti-strapped sundresses in muted flower prints again. (And maybe a choker.)

      TBH, last night I found a picture of myself in this exact outfit when I was in high school, and it’s strikingly similar to an outfit I’ve been rocking this summer. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      P.S. Pumped to see the shoes people suggest!

    • I think that rule is silly. I mean sure, make sure it’s age appropriate if you want to revisit a trend, but why not wear something that’s come back?

      As an example – when I was in high school, neon was huge. I couldn’t partake as much as I might have wanted, because I was 16 and had no money. When it rolled around again a few years ago, you bet I bought myself a highlighter yellow skirt and a green neon cardigan. I did buy these items from adult shops (J Crew, if I recall) and paired them in modern ways, like with gray or navy, and did not feel out of place or mutton-dressed-as-lamb at all.

      I mean, don’t wear the original trend items, but updates of those trends? Why the heck not??

    • I’m obsessed with loafer pumps. I was a bit too young for them the first time around (I was 10-12 years old in the mid-late nineties) but my feet were huge so I often begged to wear my mom’s to church. I also have heeled oxfords that I looove.

      These are suede, so they don’t match your criteria, but I really want them!

      • Those are adorable!

        I had multiple pairs of loafer pumps in the 90’s, including my perfect waitressing shoes. They were black leather, with a 3 1/2 inch sturdy block heel and a lug sole. The best part was that the heel and sole were made of rubber, so they were totally non-slip in the kitchen, and made being on my feet for a 6-7 hour shift absolutely painless. And they were cute! I got them on sale at a random shoe store for about $40, and spent more than that each time I had them resoled, since I could never find them again. They were magic.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        I LOVE those.

  17. I need some advice on dialing some lifestyle creep things back. I took a job that is good for my family/lifestyle a year and a half ago but didn’t cut back my expenses and now I’m finding myself 1. broke (still saving the same amount, just not budgeting well) 2. a little embarrassed by our choices when they come up around coworkers.

    We have a nanny who we probably don’t need full time, we have a not yet driving teen and a 10 year old who could care for themselves more. This summer she’s basically just been a chauffeur. We also have a once a week housecleaner, I really appreciate this but I could do more around the house now, I work from my house about 2 days a week. Eating out and prepared foods are another area I should cut, we live in the suburbs in a MCOL area but own too many cars. They each serve a purpose and my husband and I are probably too emotionally attached to the status/functionality of them but seriously, who needs five vehicles for two drivers?

    Any other suggestions?

    • I can’t comment on some of the other things, but I will say if your teen is going to start driving within the next few years and at least three of the cars are paid off, I would keep one for the teen (who can then also drive younger sibling around). Maybe not an issue so much in the suburbs (or with a two parent household), but I went to high school in a rural community and my mom was considering selling an extra car about six months before I got my permit. I was able to convince her to keep it for when I started driving because it meant a) she didn’t have to worry about getting me (or my brother) home from our activities (though I had significantly more than my brother) and b) I was also able to help out a lot more around the house (I did the majority of the grocery shopping in my house my senior year).

    • Genuinely curious about the perceived functionality benefits of five cars for two drivers.

      It could be hard to keep the same nanny if you dial back her hours to part-time. If you want to keep her but she wants to stay on at full time, could she take on some of the house keeping duties? Then you don’t have to do it, but you could get rid of the house cleaner.

    • weddings.... ugh. :

      5 vehicles? Was that a typo.


      Well, points to you for acknowledging this is a problem. Remember, you are role modeling behavior for your kids, and as you are not wealthy enough to support them in this sort of lifestyle long term (!), it is time you start making them more self sufficient. They are learning very bad behaviors if you are struggling financially with this sort of lifestyle.

      I recommend starting chores for your kids, getting rid of cars, getting rid of full time nanny (?!?!?) and starting to make lunch and cook a bit more. Maybe one day a week, each family member is responsible for dinner. One day take out or eating out. Left overs one day. One weekend day cooking something in bulk to heat up during the week.

      Good luck.

      • Legally Brunette :

        + 1 getting rid of full-time nanny. What does she do for the 7 + hours your kids are in school?? Could she use that time to clean the house, cook meals for all of you, etc? If she’s not that kind of nanny, I would reduce her to part-time or look for someone who can handle many roles.

        And yes, get rid of some cars!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Would a service like Blue Apron help cut expense and maybe even get the older kid into preparing meals? I also think the older teen can do more to supervise the younger kid. A ten year old + teenager don’t need a nanny.

      I’m gonna real-talk you for a second – you do not need 5 cars for 2 drivers. I could maybe maybe see you justifying 4: one for you to drive to work, one for husband to drive for work, one you’re hanging onto for teen when they learn to drive, and one assuming it’s like, a truck to tow a boat or something? But… yeah you don’t need that. Think of just the insurance savings you might get by ditching one or two or three!

    • It’s wonderful for your family that you have a comfortable enough lifestyle to afford all this! Remember that financial security isn’t just about the now, it’s also about your family’s future – instead of spending this money now, you could cut back and save for retirement, kids’ college, even a down payment on their first homes.

      As an outsider, I’d say the extra cars absolutely have to go – maybe keep one until your oldest is driving, if that’s reasonably soon. As for eating out, my favorite thing to do is take a lazy Sunday afternoon and batch cook for the week. That way everyone has healthy, easy meals to choose from. Days you WFH are also good for more batch cooking – soup or pot roast can be cooking while you’re in the other room. The housekeeper you’ll never hear me say a word about – I’m single with a reasonable 45 hour workweek and have had a housekeeper for 10 years now.

    • None of this really seems that excessive to me except five cars for two people. I understand saving one for the teen, but I would prioritize selling two of them. If your older kid is already 13, s/he’ll be out of the house by the time the younger one is driving and the younger one can inherit the same car.
      Fwiw, I work ~40 hours/week in a relatively low-paying job and we have a biweekly house cleaner. We can afford it and I hate cleaning. A house cleaner isn’t necessary for a 40 hour/week job the way it is for a 70 hour/week job, but if you can afford it and would rather spend your non-work time doing other things, I don’t see what’s wrong with it. Ignore the judgy co-workers (and try to downplay/not bring up your fancier lifestyle).

      • weddings.... ugh. :

        But I think she mentioned she is struggling financially, so obviously she needs to change something… big…

        • Struggling is how I feel, but in the actual sense of the word we’re still saving at the same rate as we were, I just never made a budget when my disposable income got cut in half. I took the kids school shopping and signed up for activities last week and now have zero disposable income until next payday. Yep, I’m wrong, this sounds like struggling.

    • Writing this out I completely realize how stupid it all is.

      I wasn’t thinking about the future driver. That’s a good point. All but one car is paid off and we don’t owe much on it >$6000. Functionality; I drive an SUV, it seats 7 when I go to work I drive 40 miles a day but the kids often do things with groups and I’ve loved being able to fit everyone. I also have a convertible that was my dream car as a teenager that my husband surprised me with for my 40th birthday. I love it but it is so impractical. He has a daily driver car that we should keep for the future driver. He also has a truck for hauling stuff and towing the boat and a ridiculous sports car that he’ll never get rid of and isn’t driveable in winter.

      • Senior Attorney :

        HAHA I want to thank you for making me feel reasonable for having four cars for two drivers!

        1953 MG he’s had since college and is for fun
        His fancy sports car he drives to work
        SUV with bike rack on the back for hauling stuff
        My Audi A3 because I don’t like to drive big cars

      • Anon in NYC :

        My biggest piece of advice is to put down on paper your net income and all of your monthly expenses. Be realistic about take out, car insurance, clothes, kid stuff (clothes, sports), and eating out (go through credit card statements). See if there are any obvious shockers, and if so, that would be the area I would target first.

        I also agree that the family as a whole needs to take on more individual responsibility for maintaining your life. So I think that means the kids (and parents!) have to do more chores. I think you and your husband need to have a few financial discussions and get on the same page, and then have some family meetings with the kids. They’re old enough now that they probably will 1) understand, and 2) probably not really want to do more chores. I think this is a great opportunity to talk to them about money, budgeting, your family’s values about money, etc.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        OP, I think what you have to look at is… yeah there are ‘reasons’ for each of the cars, but if you want to cut expenses/stuff, you have to make changes, even if the things you were doing weren’t unreasonable to being with. Fewer cars, less staff… that’s how it’s got to go. I think you should teach kid to drive in the truck — I think it’s great to learn to drive in big cars because then parking a regular-size car is a dream!

        • Senior Attorney :

          Yup and then they won’t end up like me with four cars for two drivers because Driver Number Two doesn’t like to drive big vehicles!

        • +1 If you’re serious and you really want to make changes, you can’t make excuses for everything in your current lifestyle.

        • My first cars were a truck and a station wagon. And not the cool station wagons of today; we’re talking 1987 Oldsmobile with woodgrain paneling. Let’s just say I’ve taken well to minivan mom life. ;)

      • Do you want to be broke or not? Do you save for retirement? What’s your plan for paying for college? There’s nothing wrong with 5 cars if you can actually afford them. But can you?

        • We do have a financial planner and follow his advice.

          • So you’re not struggling? You just want a pat on the back? And yet you don’t have any money left this month. Okay.

          • weddings.... ugh. :

            Whoops! So now I say, fire the financial planner. He/She hasn’t been giving you great advice.

      • Anonymous :

        Get rid of the truck. The SUV is perfectly capable of hauling stuff.

        And if you’re driving an SUV 40 miles a day by yourself, you really should be carbon offsetting that –

        So embarrassed for you.

    • Make a budget and plan where ALL your income is going to go. That will mean you look at everything in your lifestyle, not just the nanny and the food and the cars. Basically, a budget is just a plan for how you’re going to spend your money, which means you need to make decisions about your priorities.

    • Nanny we currently pay a set amount weekly, it doesn’t change in the summer when she has more hours. During school she does the after school activities and homework and is available to stay overnights if we’re travelling or need a date night. She does do grocery and kid shopping for us if we need it and keeps everything tidy but doesn’t do actual cleaning. She’s been with us 4 years, it seems like I could talk to her about reducing her hours or maybe transitioning her to another family. We also belong to a country club where she takes the kids when I WFH and lots of the other families want recommendations from her where they can get a nanny like her.

      • weddings.... ugh. :

        Country club? And you are running out of money every month?!?!

        Time for a budget….

        Who’s paying for college? What is your retirement savings like? If you or your husband loses your job, how long can you cover your costs?

        • I think retirement is on track. Six months of income accessible. Just spending too much. Kids both have college savings accounts but partially funded by grandparents.

          • I mean you’re spending too much but belong to a country club and can’t part with any of your five cars so?

          • Haha. Sorry. This is funny. Rich people problems.

          • weddings.... ugh. :

            Ok, so you’re not in terrible shape. This is the perfect time to get everything out on the table and re-assess.

            I really like the idea of figuring our your current expenses, thinking about a basic budget, talking it out with your husband, and then sitting down with your kids for a family teaching/planning discussion. You and your husband need to get on the same page.

            You just need to rearrange a few priorities, and you will be ok.

            If you are not planning to pay for all of their college, letting the teen know while they are in high school is a good idea. They might also favor cutting back on the country club membership if it means more money for college, you know? And starting summer jobs while in high school is a great thing to do for your kids long term. Discipline, work-ethic, adulting are among the most important things you can teach your kids.

          • Anonymous :

            OMG please do not saddle your kids with college loans because you had to keep 5 cars, a full time nanny for teens/tweens and a country club. Fine to do all that if you can afford to pay for college, otherwise, WTF? I had a former boss who drove a Mercedes convertible ($50K car 20 plus years ago) but sent his kid to a not great but cheap public college due to “financial concerns” and had zero respect for him. Buy a cheaper car and invest in your kid’s education

      • I know nannies can seem like part of the family when they’ve been there for so much. It may be time to transition her to other young families. Pay it forward by recommending her.

      • I actually was hoping to come away from a list of how other successful mid-career couples have done this. In my circle we aren’t even close to the most extravagant but this isn’t something that people discuss openly, so I was hoping that on a forum of anonymous strangers, who also are high achievers I would find some support. I realize this is a first world problem.

        • I mean, we only have two cars and zero boats and only hire nannies as necessary.

          • Anonymous :

            Yes, this. We live comfortably within our means, which means having disposable income left over.

        • I guess I don’t understand quite what you’re looking for. You recognize what the problem is, so . . . change your behavior? What kind of advice are looking for? Do you just want people to tell you you’re fine?

        • Look OP, there’s only one way to spend less money. Look at what you’re spending it on now, and then decide which of those things matters least to you/adds the least to your life. It seems like you should get rid of multiple cars/boats/whatever, and the nanny since you have school aged children. That said, I don’t know anything about your life or your values. What matters most to you? What matters least? Cut the things that fall at the bottom of your priority list. It really is that simple. It’s just not always easy.

        • We don’t own multiple boats.

        • Anonymous :

          The advice isn’t that that you don’t own an excessive amounts of cars and boats if you want to spend less. Seems pretty straightforward. Not sure what you’re missing?

        • How does this mid-career couple do it? We cut the fat.

          Country club? Boats? Cars? Nanny? Weekly house cleaner?

          Pick one. Pick MAYBE two. Pocket the rest of the cash. It’s pretty simple but you’ve got to want to do it, and candidly I don’t get the sense that you actually want to. Also, stop comparing yourself to others and keeping up with the Joneses. Who cares what others are doing. You cannot sustain this lifestyle. FULL. STOP.

          • Anon in NYC :

            Yep. This mid-career couple has literally none of those things.

          • Yep, this mid-career couple also has none of these things. You need to seriously look at your life – it sounds like you have these things as a status symbol. Why do those children, who are old enough to look after themselves, even have a nanny?

        • We don’t spend more than we can afford? OK, that’s snarky, but as a two-income, mid-career couple, this is our strategy:
          – Willing to pay more for a good daycare because that’s important to us
          – Willing to pay for a housecleaner to come monthly. We (okay, mostly I) maintain it in between.
          – Own exactly two cars that we’ll drive into the ground
          – Own a home that we love but doesn’t max us out every month
          – Outsource only when it makes sense – we’ll buy the lawn care package for fertilizing and weed control, but we mow, pull weeds, and do everything else
          – No boats
          – No country club memberships
          – We cook at home most of the time
          – Kids’ needs are completely taken care of, but we don’t do nearly as many extra activities or travel as most families. That’s a lifestyle choice we’ve made for now.

          • Oh, yay! Someone else who lives exactly like us (kid is in utero, but we’ll take the same approach as you). Keep it up, anon – sometimes I feel like DH and I are alone in our approach (esp. on this board).

          • Anonymous :

            Same, except we travel quite a bit. But that’s our big splurge, besides high-quality daycare and a housecleaner. We don’t do country clubs/boats/fancy cars/fancy clothes. Our home is on the small side for our suburban area (~2000 sq feet in an area where many homes are 4,000-5,000) and mostly paid off and we have no plans to ever upgrade.

        • Others are more extravagant? But maybe they earn more and don’t have a cash flow problem. It’s not extravagant if they can afford it.

        • Sorry you are getting piled on. We are two successful mid-career professionals and we have a full-time nanny, a country club membership and a once a week housecleaner.

          BUT, I have to admit some of this seems silly and I think you answered your own questions. our kids are still young enough they don’t go to school – we will absolutely be finding our nanny a new family when that is the case and hiring someone to do more driving/cleaning/management for less hours a day at that time. That’s what most people I know have done.

          And you definitely don’t need five cars!

          Can you cut back on vacations? I find that’s another place where lifestyle creep happens. Travel domestically!

          • Anonymous :

            I can’t imagine just traveling domestically but maintaining a country club membership. DH and I try to visit a different country every year with our kids to expose them to lots of different cultures and languages. Just traveling domestically would make me feel like I was financially struggling.

            This shows how much budgeting is an individual process and OP will have to figure out her priorities and where she is prepared to cut back.

          • My husband is too busy with work to do much vacationing. Domestic only and not much of it.

          • I really do appreciate the suggestions!

        • anon for this :

          To give you another perspective, DH and I have a net worth of $5 million and earn about $450 K a year. We spend money on:

          – excellent private preschool
          – cleaner who comes twice a month
          – nice rental in a neighborhood with a great public school, but not in a luxury building
          – a very nice vacation once every year or once every 2 years
          – afterschool sitter who comes 3 hours a day

          We have 1 car that is 10 years old (we’re finally thinking of buying a SUV this year), we almost always pack our lunch and eat dinners at home (exceptions are pizza twice a month), and I spent maybe $2500 on clothes/shoes a year. We don’t have a lot of stuff. No boat, no summer home, etc. It’s freeing.

          You know that you can’t continue to live the way you do. Reduce. You’ll feel so much happier. Best of luck.

        • Anonymous :

          We are a mid-career couple as well with three kids, one high-school age and two in elementary school. We have three paid off older cars. One is an SUV because we also like to be able to take friends with us. It has a hitch and can haul things if we need it to. One is a hand-me-down car for our teenager. She is also responsible for picking the two younger ones up from school sometimes. She works in the summer and saves her money for gas/fun stuff with friends for the school year. We purposely bought a home in a good school district so the kids can go to public school. We all bring our lunch everyday. We do not have a nanny or housekeeper. We prioritize vacationing and take multiple trips per year. We also prioritize retirement savings and college savings. I also like having enough disposable income to be able to do whatever I want with the kids on the weekend. (We lived in a HCOL area when the kids were little and I hated that almost all our income was consumed by housing costs that it felt irresponsible to spend money on lunch out and a trip to the local, yet kind of expensive museum on a Saturday.)

    • You have five cars?! Where do you keep them all???

    • You have five cars?!? You are insane. You are broke with five cars.

      • And a giant house and four wheelers and more than one boat. Yep.

        • God, I wish taxes were higher in this country.

        • Srsly. Just stop OP. You know what? I just don’t care about your problems. You feel broke while consuming at an absurdly extravagant level. You don’t need anyone’s help to figure out that owning multiple boats is not reasonable. Come back for advice when you actually are interested.

          • Jealous much!

          • Not at all. Relieved actually. My lifestyle is way less extravagant and I feel wealthy because I spend less than I earn, save money, am never struggling, and lead a fun and fancy lifestyle. I can’t fathom complaining about finances whilst owning multiple boats.

        • Anonymous :

          You should be embarrassed about that. ‘four wheelers’? Sarah Palin style ‘new money’ much? ugh – at least have the class not to brag even if you don’t have the class to engage in philanthropic support instead of ‘four wheeling’

          • OP’s giant humblebragging post aside, I’m not sure what issue you take with four wheelers as if they’re tied to just new money. They’re a popular outdoor toy for the sub-rural and rural lifestyle for new money and old money alike. Heck, four wheelers are popular with the no-money, too… Definitely don’t know what it has to do with philanthropy.

          • Truth. My very not wealthy extended family in the middle of Alabama has three four-wheelers. No clue about quality/age/etc, but they’re a staple.

    • Marshmallow :

      This whole thread is a giant humblebrag.

      • It started with me actually asking for advice. Then I got pi$$ed.

        • Because people were giving you actual advice? And then because you got mad you decided to brag to . . . make us all jealous?

        • Pi$$ed at what? People giving you the obviously correct advice that if you feel broke you should maybe not own 5 cars?

        • anon associate :

          You “got pi$$ed”? What are you, 13? So you decided to shove your wealth into everyone’s face? I mean, we all know that money can’t buy class….

        • You can get pi$$ed all the way to BK court in 10 years.

      • I think it’s mostly just a regular brag. I literally have no idea what advice she was expecting.

        • +1. I started a response right after OP posted, and then deleted it because I didn’t understand what OP wanted.

          OP, think big. Move to a smaller house where you don’t have to commute 40 miles. Sell cars, boats, and other vehicles. Fire staff. Quit the country club. Divide up chores and cook for yourself. With your level of spending, cutting out your morning lattes isn’t going to make much of a dent.

          Or don’t. If you’re on track for retirement and meeting goals like paying for your kids’ college, then keep doing what you’re doing. If your bills are paid and you ran out of discretionary money toward the end of the month, stop spending on discretionary things until the next month, which is only in two days anyways.

          • Senior Attorney :


            I kind of get it, I think. My husband and I have a fairly extravagant lifestyle and I sometimes feel like it’s a bit much. We could certainly cut back if we needed/wanted to. But at this point we don’t need to and he doesn’t want to, so… we’re not. And the trade-off is that sometimes I feel a little hinky about it.

            Maybe the price you’re going to have to pay is feeling a little hinky from time to time, and maybe that’s going to be easier for you than actually implementing any of the very good ideas that people have suggested in this thread.

    • Anonymous :

      Haven’t read all the comments. Quick and easy changes:

      1. sell at least two cars. Car for you, car for DH, car for nanny if you keep nanny or if nanny can use one of your cars.
      2. switch housecleaning to every second week
      3. cut full time nanny and get part time nanny or if you insist on this nanny, have her help out around the house more to offset cutting cleaning service to biweekly (e.g. have her change sheets on beds).

      You are teach your kids to be wasteful with money. Stop. Honestly, the whole thing reads like a new money humblebrag. Old money doesn’t treat waste money like this.

    • It seems like you are aware of your problems. What do you need help with? Prioritizing what needs to go? Take it step by step. Talk to your husband and make a game plan.

    • Anonymous :

      1. What are your goals? Like what is the feeling that inspired you to write this post? What do you want out of your money or your life that you aren’t getting right now? It sounds like you don’t want to feel stressed at the end of the month anymore, or having an unexpected expense like kid activities pop up. Great. That can be bullet point number one.
      2. Start tracking everything you spend. YNAB is a wonderful resource; so is a notebook or excel sheet. Alternatively, pull up the last few months of your credit card statements. do the real, hard dollars that you’re spending support your values? Are you happy with what you see, when you take an unvarnished look at the realities of where your money is going?
      3. spend some time reading a frugality blog like Mr. Money Mustache or Frugalwoods. No, you do not need to start cutting your own hair or making your own dish soap, but they’re helpful as examples of how other human beings are living fulfilled lives without five cars, boats, and a country club membership. (And to be clear, I’m not anti cars, boats, or clubs. You get to decide what your values are, not me or a bunch of internet strangers.) They will also have some great tips for cutting out low-hanging fruit from your spending.
      4. Decide what in your life needs to change to get your money supporting your values and your goals.

      Good luck.

      • Anonymous :

        PS. This should not be a comfortable exercise. you should consider ideas that challenge you and take you outside your comfort zone. You don’t need to enact all of them–but you need to reflect on them. I see a lot of defensiveness up thread, which is understandable. Feel that feeling. Live with it for a bit. And move past it to a mind frame where you can critically engage with the process.

    • astonished :

      I do not live in the US and have only visited a few times. I realize OP’s situation is not the norm but I am genuinely shocked that there are people in this world owning 5 cars and more than 1 boat (not including the super rich like celebrities).

  18. Love this red dress! It would definitely be perfect for office wear. Its a statement piece but it’s still very classy. I’m a sucker for a sheath dress so I may be a little biased!

  19. MarryMePlease :

    Most days I’m on the side of being an independent woman who don’t need no man (it’s a front) but, how long is too long a time for him to propose? Bf and I have been together since my senior year of college, and it’s been 3 years of law school and 3 years of practising law since then. While I feel as settled as I can be in Biglaw life (bf has a year of practice on me), it feels like we’re falling into a routine of frazzled days and long nights; the days / months / years keep passing and it’s been trial after hearing after trial and I’ve been yearning for something more.

    I’ve also always pictured myself married, and it’s scary to think of the possibility of it not panning out – we’ve spoke about the topic before and bf insists he intends on marrying me someday when things are more “settled”, and we have enough savings for a downpayment on a mortgage (in NYC? when would that be, even), to afford a wedding on our own, when we’ll be senior enough in the firm to take time off for a wedding, and if we have kids etc. I insist that there’ll never be a “perfect time” to do it and many other fellow associates have pulled it off, even when they were younger / poorer but well, still no ring in sight. I’m also worried that we’ll have fertility issues because my sisters / cousins have had a history of it in their 30s.

    I don’t want to seem pushy about it to him but I realise I have the potential to. Any advice would be appreciated!

    TL,DR: Bf hasn’t proposed after 7 years together yet insists we are on the same page with respect to life goals.

    • It takes very little money to get married. People who earn far, far less than you guys manage to get married all the time. So, take money off the table as a consideration. If money isn’t an issue, what else is keeping him from taking that step?

      • +1 getting married at the courthouse wouldn’t cost all that much. Weddings are as expensive as you want them to be.

      • Anonymous :

        As third/fourth year associates in BigLaw, you must earn $400k combined, excluding bonuses. You are without a doubt in the top 1-2% of earners in the US. Literally every second of every day people who are (much, much) poorer than you are getting married, and most of them don’t just go to the courthouse (although that’s certainly an option). Money is a BS excuse, as is saying you need to be more senior in the firm. I think there’s actually an argument that it’s easier when you’re junior and not responsible for your own clients and cases. I took three weeks off for my wedding and honeymoon at the end of my first year in Big Law and nobody batted an eyelash. And you don’t HAVE to take several weeks off. You can get married locally and take a one-week honeymoon. Surely no firm would be upset about that.

        It sounds to me like your BF doesn’t want to marry you, certainly not anytime soon. You need to have a frank conversation about that.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      You’re a grown-*ss woman! You do *not* need to sit around and wait for him to make a move. If you want to get married soon say, “I want to get married soon — if that’s not on the table for you, you should tell me that now.”

      • Senior Attorney :

        This times a million. You are a person who wants things and that is perfectly okay. More than okay.

        Go home tonight and have a conversation.

        • “You are a person who wants things and that is perfectly okay. More than okay.” All wise SA delivers once again.

          It took me a long time in one relationship to realize this. It’s ok to want marriage and a family and to want it sooner rather than later.

      • Anon in NYC :

        Yep. Get really direct.

      • Marshmallow :

        +1 Just have the conversation.

    • I tend to think that “waiting for a proposal” is best left to sorority girls in 1961. Speak the eff up! Sit down with your dude and calmly explain that marriage is a priority for you, as is having children. Explain that you want to talk seriously about time frames. I know that can feel like “pushing” or “nagging” or whatever. But, really, take back your power. It’s your life, and you have an absolute right to be involved in making decisions about it. If you’re afraid of turning into some teary mess, practice before you go in to the conversation. You can do this! If this dude puts you off or says you’re “pushing him into marriage” or whatever, you really need to think seriously about why he’s unwilling to take your needs into account. Don’t let sunk cost fallacy keep you with a guy who doesn’t respect what you want.

      • thisthisthis

        “Darling, I love you and I can’t imagine being married to anyone else. And I don’t wait another minute to be married to you. Let’s just do it.”

        And you will know where you stand.

        But never buy a house with this guy until you are actually married to him — a guy who hasn’t yet made a commitment to you (when you want him to) is not a guy you want to make a 30-year commitment to a bank with.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Right! Don’t give him all the power in this situation, for Pete’s sake!

    • New Job Who Dis :

      talk. to. him. about. this.

      do not ask the internet. Do not read articles about it. Do not ask your friends about it. Sit down, have a glass of wine together, and have an adult conversation about your feelings. (and do it honestly)

      (sidenote: everything you typed out as his-side sounds like pretenses. maybe he’s scared? but you will never know until you talk. to. each. other.)

      • This. If you can’t have this conversation with him directly, you are not ready for marriage with him. Having a life together with someone is about being able to have the really hard awkward conversations in life and working through it together.

    • anon for this :

      I told my husband at the time that when I was ready to get married, if he didn’t ask me, then I was going to ask him — and if the answer was NO, fine, we’d part ways.

      This basically served as an ultimatum to him — “ask me before I ask you or else!” but I also felt like it was my right as, you know, 50% of the relationship and an equal partner. It also seemed like if the answer was “no I don’t want to marry you,” knowing sooner rather than later was helpful.

      He proposed before we got to that point. But sounds like you’re already there… would you ever seriously consider proposing to him? Maybe that’s the conversation — what would he want a proposal to look like if you did it for him.

    • He’s a 4th yr associate, you’re 3rd – is that right? Respectfully – what are your goals post marriage? Will you stay in biglaw or like 99% of women, will you decide that post babies you are out? For guys a lot of this does come down to $. Right now you both are earning really really well. You get married, a yr later pregnant, take a 1 yr (9 month? whatever it is in biglaw right now) maternity leave, and suddenly express all kinds of reservations about going back. Meanwhile he’s thinking — WTH had we not married until we were 7th-8th yrs, we would both have earned senior associate salaries for a LONG time making it much much easier to buy a place in Manhattan and generally have a nice nest egg. For many guys in biglaw these days, they see that partnership isn’t anywhere near a sure shot — so they want to focus on making as much money as they can as associates and having a wife doing the same bc then when/if they need to downsize to a 150k in house job, life won’t be as hard bc of the huge build up of savings. It puts a lot more pressure on the guy to make partner/find a comparable job/keep slogging as an associate when their otherwise highly qualified wife decides to sit home with the babies and bc they’re good guys who earn enough, they can’t say no. I’ve seen it happen time and time again and the way guys deal is to postpone marriage so as to keep earnings from both parties high as many yrs as possible. Any chance this is your scenario?

      • Anonymous :

        99% of women are out of biglaw post babies? Umm, no. If that is what your argument is premised on, then it makes no sense.

      • Anonymous :

        But why on earth does getting married mean you try for a baby a year later? Lots of people get married and don’t have kids, lots of people get married and wait years to have kids. DH and I waited 3 years before we started trying. Marriage and babies are unrelated.

        • Anonymous :

          DH and I waited 6 years after getting married to try for a baby, so I definitely agree that marriage doesn’t have to be immediately followed by babies. But it sounds like OP wants to start trying soon-ish, which isn’t unreasonable since she’s 28 or thereabouts and her sister and cousins had fertility issues in their 30s.

        • Well babies come after marriage. If and when after marriage is negotiable depending on factors such as the mother’s age.

          • Anonymous :

            Or not.

            They can come before marriage, after marriage or not at all. Babies have nothing to do with marriage.

          • nasty woman :

            “Well babies come after marriage. If and when after marriage is negotiable depending on factors such as the mother’s age”

            Right, on your wedding night the Unplanned Pregnancy Fairy floats into your hotel room in Bora Bora and tosses away your birth control pills, pokes holes in all your cond0ms, and, if necessary, yanks out your IUD. (Sounds sorta scary, right, so that’s why people tell kids babies come from a flying stork.)

            Oh, and sure it’s well known that women never get pregnant BEFORE marriage. Come on, can you please can it with the s*xist garbage?

            The only threat OP really faces is that she’ll work for a partner who is like you and Anonmyous at 12:24 and believes that she’ll quit right after she gets married and therefore stops giving her good work and mentorship.

          • For many people babies have a lot to do with marriage and marriages age has a lot to do with babies. when possible, a child should have two parents, and those two parents provide stability through the social institution known as marriage. By the way, I say this as a child of a single parent who realizes when the ideal is not met, things can still turn out fine.

          • Nasty woman,

            May I ask, did you choose to have a child or children before getting married? If yes, best of luck I am sure it will be very challenging and rewarding. If no, I think your actions speak loudly enough to demonstrate that you didn’t think children before marriage was the way to go.

    • I had good luck talking through a timeline with my now DH, though in a longer conversation than I’ve detailed below. This was the gist: I have fertility problems in my family. I’d like to start trying for kids before I’m X years old. I’d really like to own a house before then and be settled. So I’d envision buying a house a year or two before that–after all we’re in biglaw and have limited time to do kid and house planning at the same time. To top off our downpayment after a wedding, we’d probably need 1-2 years. This puts a wedding roughly around X date. I’d really love a longer engagement so I can get good deals with vendors and not have wedding planning interfere with work schedules. What do you think about getting engaged by X date?

      Of course we’d discussed each part of the plan individually prior to this chat. This was just the first time that we explicitly put it on a timeline.

      • Yup. For my now-husband, who had made very clear he wanted marriage and kids with me years earlier, it was that he didn’t do the mental math of counting backwards from when we wanted kids. He wasn’t in a rush to get married because he wanted to feel more financially stable and we already had each other and shared ideas of the future. You just need to make sure you’ve got that common idea of the future, but be open minded about his financial concerns. He might objectively be fine and people get married with less, but at least show you understand how this feels to him.

    • Longer post in mod. Shorter thought – he’s worried that the moment you all marry, you’ll be pregnant in a yr and then want to stay home. So bye bye biglaw salaries — which increases the pressure on him to make partner/stick it out as a senior associate; make all the money to buy a place in Manhattan etc.; send the kid to the private school you’ll obviously want etc. It’s financial.

      • MarryMePlease :

        I’ve never had to rely on him financially so this is a very distant thought. He knows I don’t think that way because I still have student loans to pay as if now (or at least, I’m not going to quit working entirely – perhaps an in-house role) but you do have a point.

    • You aren’t on the same page at all.

      • I suspect that this is the case, esp if he otherwise seems to be the marrying type.

        After this long together, you deserve to know where you stand. Propose and if he’s not game, you know it’s time to cut your losses and move on.

        • This. Propose and set the date. With no wedding date, the proposal has done nothing but bought time for the partner not willing to commit to marriage.

          • Senior Attorney :

            This is true. An engagement without a date isn’t really a commitment to marry, in my view.

    • My story isn’t exactly the greatest but I just went through this. I had finished my degree and was in the final round of interviews for a big girl job. So I sat him down to say goodbye and explained since he didn’t intend to marry me I was going to take my newly minted earning potential and start my life without him. At this point we had been together 8 years and I had really given up on him, then he proposed. I was about 3 days from moving out and he proposed. It was a crappy way to do it and the cries weren’t happy cries. I was frustrated because I had already started moving on. Things are good now but it was s rocky few months

    • MarryMePlease :

      Wow, thank you all so much for the candour in your responses. I’m going to read through every comment at lunch (which is hopefully sometime soon)!

      • I know it’s late enough in the day that you might not see this, but I wanted you to know that I attended the wedding this weekend of two Biglaw associates, who have each been practicing five years or more, and who have been together for seven years total. We (their mutual friends) haven’t had a reason to doubt his commitment, but he certainly dragged his feet about proposing and then setting a date. I don’t know if I would have been as patient as she was – for a long time, she was skeptical about marriage, and they seem to agree about not having kids – but they did ultimately get married. And hopefully their marriage will be long-lasting and happy.

        • Anonymous :

          You said she was skeptical about marriage, so maybe she was the one postponing marriage (or maybe it was genuinely mutual). Some women aren’t in a huge rush to get married, you shouldn’t assume it’s always the woman sitting around waiting anxiously for a proposal. My husband was much more eager to get married than I was.

    • Being married and not just living together was important to me. Where DH is from it is common to live together for many years, have kids, buy a house but never get married. We had talked vaguely about the long term and considering the other person as a possible marriage partner after about 6 months of dating (mid 20s). He would have waited until we were ready to have kids and probably get married shortly before or after having kids. I wasn’t interested in that timeline. After 3 years together including one year of living together I told that I was ready to get married and that if he wasn’t in the next 6 months or so, I thought that was a sign that we weren’t right for each other in terms of what marriage meant to each of us. He proposed after about 3 months when we were on a visit to my parents. We got married the next year. We waited 2 years to after that to buy a house and another 4 years after that to have kids. This was right for us. You have to figure out what’s right for you.

      You don’t have to do any of getting married, having a wedding, having kids or buying a house. But if any of those things are important to you, it is complete fair for you to express that to a long term partner. If they are uninterested and do not have the same goal on close to the same timeline then that may be an indication they are not the right partner for you.

    • He seems to be viewing marriage as a “capstone,” once you have achieved a certain level/goal (and this is giving him the benefit of the doubt that he does want to get married and isn’t just making excuses). This seems to be becoming a more pervasive view these days.

      My husband and I viewed marriage more as a “cornerstone”, a foundation for building your life and working towards shared dreams. We started dating senior year of college and were married at 25/26, also in NYC, and didn’t let money derail us.

      Decide what you want marriage to be for you, then act on that decision.

      • Marshmallow :

        I like this way of putting it! H and I have been together since high school, got married at 27/30, two and a half years later no kids yet. We talked about our timeline and had a certain place in our lives we wanted to be, but marriage for us was definitely more of a foundation than a capstone.

        Our wedding was really fun but modest when measured against our “circle” (lol), and we did it at the right time for us. If we’d waited until we could afford a top shelf wedding or until we were mid-career high earners, we’d have been dating for 15-20 years. If we’d gotten engaged right out of college just because it was “the thing to do,” we wouldn’t have been ready.

  20. Our Kind of Town, Chicago Is :

    Really looking forward to a long weekend in Chicago in mid-September with two best friends. I’ve been several times but for work-related things. Any budget-friendly, off-the-beaten track recommendations?

    • My favorite girls’ weekend events in Chicago:

      Lincoln Park Zoo + Lincoln Park Conservatory — free entry and just great wandering, talking, bonding over cute animals and cool plants! There’s a good place for brunch just across from the zoo (Mon Ami Gabi — full disclosure I’ve never waited for a table there but I’m sure you could actually make a reservation) or you could venture further to Clark or Halsted for tons of great dining choices.

      Chinatown or Devon Street (Little India) are both wonderful for wandering, food, poking around in tiny shops. If you do go to Chinatown, make sure to see both sides, and get Korean fried chicken at Bonchon or hotpot at Little Sheep.

      Field Museum does charge for entry but it’s great, particularly if you spring for the Jurassic World exhibit. :) Also just wandering along the lakefront — you can walk from the Museum Campus up to Navy Pier, or take the water taxi.

      And if you do spring for anything, do the architecture cruise down the river! (Architecture Foundation only, don’t settle for less).

    • Chicagoan :

      Take a walk on the 606 (Chicago’s answer to NYC’s Highline), and also a walk along the river walk. Along the 606 there’s a few stops to make for food and drinks (Ipsento on Milwaukee for coffee, Small Chevaul for burgers). Tour the Graceland cemetery- it’s absolutely beautiful in September, I would find a walking tour if you can because there are so many things to see there, but it’s worth going on your own for an hour or two. Rooftop drinks at the J.Parker is fun, especially during daylight so you have a view of Lincoln Park and the lake. Speaking of Lincoln Park, the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings is fun to go to, there’s so many food stands you can walk around and eat a meal there. If the weather is foul and you want to be indoors, check out the Allis (first floor of the Soho House) for coffee, tea(they have a fantastic tea service w/ high tea), or drinks.

      • Chicago Bean Accounter :

        Seconding the Green City Market! Plus, it’s right next to the Lincoln Park Zoo, and you can take whatever you buy into the zoo. The park itself is also huge, so you could picnic with your purchases in the park for lunch (they sell so much stuff there – you’ll be able to get a meal).

        As Hazel mentioned, Architecture Tour on the River is amazing, but be sure to get the Architecture Foundation one (there are a few). The Riverwalk also has a couple places to eat and drink (City Winery, Top Hatt), and then you can follow the riverwalk east and walk all the way to the lake.

        Don’t be afraid to grab a Ventra card or use a contactless card you already have to get on the L – there are so many great places surrounding L stops on all the lines. The neighborhoods in Chicago are amazing.

        The one thing I generally don’t recommend is Navy Pier (unless you are there for a specific thing) – it’s always insanely crowded.

        • Chicagoan :

          +1 skip Navy Pier. If you go to Millennium Park be sure to check out the Lurie Garden. I took my SO there the other weekend and despite living in Chicago for the past 5 years he never knew it existed…

    • Anonymous :

      Free things to visit in Chicago (some off the beaten path): Garfield Park Conservatory (pretty indoor garden) and accessible via green line of the El; Lincoln Park Zoo, which is very centrally located; Millennium Park has and evidently has a free live world music festival during most of September; window shopping on the Magnificent Mile

      I love brunch/breakfast food. I think m.Henry in Andersonville is delicious and affordable. The main street in Andersonville is very cute with little shops. If you like doughnuts, Do Rite Donuts is probably my favorite in Chicago, and they serve Dark Matter Coffee (well liked Chicago roasted coffee). The locations are in Streeterville and the Loop. If you are interested in hanging out in Lakeview, Bittersweet is a great place to get an affordable “ladies brunch”. Then, you can walk over to Broadway Street for cute shops.

  21. Sloan Sabbith :

    I know we’ve discussed this, but I’ve tried to post twice now something that I cannot see as possibly mod-worthy except for that it involves the words “J*wish” twice and/or “religion.” If those are putting me into mod, that’s problematic.

    • I cannot figure out wtf is making so much go into mod lately. I get that anons with new IP addresses, etc sometimes go into mod, but if you’re consistently posting from a username with an email address and a consistent IP address…why all the mod lately? Kat, really, can you explain this so we can avoid it?

      • Thank you for reading! You can read about our commenting policy and moderation queue here and here.

        Kate’s been on vacation for a week and a half and I’ve had a zillion kid-related appointments of late — when she gets back the modQ should get back to its usual turnaround time. Thank you for your patience!

        • Thanks, Kat! I thought I had all the tricks and rules committed to memory after reading for 8+ years, and I was confused! I know there’s a lot that must change/go on behind the scenes, it just seemed like more moderation more recently, so this totally makes sense.

      • There were some I noticed from the travel recs in the past few days that had flag words within them like St3 ll 3nbosch or the Marion 3 tt 3 theater having a flag word in it. (with the 3s as Es.) another common one is oppos^te or excel -l3nt.

    • FWIW I used the word Jewish in a comment earlier today and did not get put into moderation, so I don’t think it’s that.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Sloan, I think some moderators will flag words that are often used in hate speech so they are reviewed before being posted. Unfortunately the first word you used is hurled as an insult sometimes instead of to represent a relig!on. :(

    • I think Kat responded up-thread that it’s your email address.

      • Correct. Also, it’s getting old to complain about moderation — and then also complain that the trolls are being let through because mod’s not stringent enough. Just be patient. Moderated posts always seem to get through eventually, and none of these comments are so earth-shattering that they must appear immediately.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Ok, sure. But sometimes it goes into mod and sometimes it doesn’t. Even if my email is in both. Minor issue but it’s so weird.

    • No it’s actually you.

  22. Long flight anxiety :

    I have a couple of 9+ hour flights coming up. Tips on staying sane, or at least minimizing the unpleasantness?
    Nervous flyer, I do ok on frequent short hops for work, but dread long-haul/ international flights. I usually do podcasts, reading, music….I guess I’m looking more for physical and mental comfort tips rather than entertainment ideas (or just commiseration!) I have Ativan, a Turtl wrap….

    • Change into pjs after food service, whether you plan to sleep or not. I also take slippers for the bathroom.

    • Senior Attorney :

      For realsies, if you can swing it, springing for Premium Economy mitigates the unpleasantness quite a bit. You get priority check in and more space and you’re not jammed in quite a tightly. Also for international flights I always book international carriers because they are much more comfortable than US carriers. I particularly like Air France and Lufthansa if you’re going to Europe. Alitalia, notsomuch.

    • What’s the primary focus of the dread/anxiety? Fear about safety, physical discomfort, concern about getting bored? Do you like to sleep on flights or no?

      • Long flight anxiety :

        Moderate to severe turbulence, safety, being confined in a small space, spinning off into worst-case scenarios – those are the main sources. I would love to sleep but can only doze unless sick or exhausted (conditions I’m looking to avoid by reducing anxiety of course ;)

        • So I have fairly severe anxiety under certain circumstances, and CBT exercises are my best on-the-spot means of stopping the wost-case-scenario-spiral (in my case, something like, “I know that this tower was built by highly trained engineers and has withstood hurricanes, but WHAT IF IT SPONTANEOUSLY COLLAPSES AND I FALL FOREVER???????). I don’t know if you’ve ever tried any CBT, but I used a workbook that was really effective for me (When Panic Attacks – it’s on Amazon).

          Beyond that, my best suggestion would be to save up various small indulgences for during the flight, because sometimes those are good ways of distracting yourself and letting the anxiety-spiral reset. For me, that would be a bunch of Kindle books that I desperately want to read.

    • Anonymous :

      Things I also bring: Ear plugs, sleeping mask, face wipes, tooth brush, Benadryl/melatonin, water. I put on a baggy sweatshirt and take off my bra. When you sleep, it’s like a much shorter flight.

    • cat socks :

      I always bring one of those u-shaped neck pillows to help me sleep so I don’t wake up when I start to nod off. I dress comfortably and for warmth – knits and a sports bra. I take off my shoes and put on warm socks.

      Are you able to take any type of sleep aid?

    • I really like the Headspace app and I think it has a couple of meditations specifically for fear of flying that you’re supposed to listen to while you’re on the plane. That said, my best way to deal with long flights = ambien.

    • Long flight anxiety :

      Thank you, these are all helpful! I will be trying several of them.

  23. I am looking at the Classic Leather Tote and the Classic Structured Tote. Thoughts on which is better? I am leaning toward the Classic Structured Tote (caramel/navy).

    • I have the classic leather zip tote and I’m obsessed. Posted a longer comment about a month ago about it

  24. Any tips for helping older relatives who don’t quite understand the internet/reputable journalism/fake news?

    My 71 year old mother frequently falls down a well of fake news, sharing crazy memes on Facebook, forwarding nutty screeds…all of which are easily refuted with a quick google to any number of reputable sources. For example, when I discussed Charlottesville with her, she gave me some insane answer about how George Soros had planned it all to make Trump look bad (!!!).

    My mother doesn’t actually harbor all these beliefs, but she doesn’t quite have the analytical skills to think, “Hm, maybe this is completely made up. Maybe this is nonsense.” She doesn’t seem to understand that these sites she’s visiting aren’t legitimate.

    She asked me to clean up her inbox the other day, so I took the liberty of unsubscribing her from the really out-there, fringe-y stuff. (After seeing her inbox, I’d be overjoyed if she just stayed with Fox News all day, it was that bad.) I’ve tried to teach her how to google…not so much. I calmly explain to her why George Soros didn’t tell the Nazi to run down the protester. I suggest she watch mainstream media. But this has been going on for a couple years now and seems to not be abating. Anything else I can do to help guide her?

    • Anonymous :

      I use the comparison to online shopping. If you’re not online savvy, it’s best to stick to the online shops that are associated with a brick and mortar store. Explain that there are lots of scams and cheats online so it’s best to stick to things that have a ‘real world’ version. Basically explain how anyone can put information online and call it ‘news’ and it’s really hard to tell what is a real newspaper and what is the online equivalent of a flyer on a telephone pole. Explain that if she gets her news from sources that have a real world equivalent – print newspaper or television channel, then she never has to worry about scams and cheats.

    • Marshmallow :

      Oh gosh, I struggle with this with both grandmothers and some younger family members with minimal education/reading/thinking abilities. People who believe that Dearborn, MI is actually under Sharia law and all women in Dearborn are *required* to wear the hijab. (Well did you Google that? … No, of course everything on Google and the NYT is fake news… okay.) Or that Charlottesville was a false flag attack designed to somehow funnel money to the UN? Really crazy stuff.

      I have had just a little success with linking my grandmother to stuff like WSJ or the National Review, outlets that are conservative but still have high journalistic standards. Asking her where she gets her information, can she back it up, etc. I really like the suggestion of sticking to outlets with either TV or print options, which should funnel out some of the worst offenders.

    • Anonymous :

      I had some luck introducing an aunt to, but that doesn’t cover everything.

    • How about Snopes or another fact checking website to cull at least some of the really zany ideas?

    • There really isn’t any hope for this kind of thing. My grandparents do it, too, but I and practically everyone else with any kind of 21st-century mind just ignores the junk she shares and sighs while thinking “Oh grandmaaa…”

  25. Joan Wilder :

    This dress reads teenager-y to me for reasons I can’t explain. But TJ question: has anyone ever tried Platejoy as a meal planning service for a special diet? I’m thinking of trying it for a low FODMAP diet but would love thoughts or other recommendations.

  26. Anonymous :

    Has anyone rented a car/driven around Central Europe in the winter (specifically, December)? We’re thinking about driving from Venice to Munich, stopping in Innsbruck (or somewhere else in Austria) and a few towns in Bavaria on the way. Does this sound like a good plan? Not sure if the roads are likely to be snowy/icy or otherwise difficult to navigate.


    • Anonymous :

      There will probably be snow, but it’s beautiful and the roads are generally well plowed and salted.

      Christmas Market in Innsbruck is lovely.

      • Anonymous :

        thanks! we’ll likely be doing this drive in the middle of December – do Christmas-y things get going by that time?

        • Anonymous :

          Yes – the market is open mid- November to Three Kings Day (January 6)

          • Anonymous :

            sorry – I meant the Christmas lights are until January 6, the Christmas markets all close December 23 or by noon on the 24th (Christmas is December 24th in Austria/Germany)

    • I don’t know about driving, but I took a train from Munich to Venice this summer and it was stunningly beautiful and really relaxing. It was honestly one of the highlights of my trip!

  27. Product Recommendation - Arch Support :

    I love wearing ballet flats, but most don’t have enough arch support. I wear orthotic inserts with tennis shoes and loafers, but those don’t work for flats. These inserts have been great:

  28. Anonymous :

    Any good tips for keeping track of emails you’ve sent to which you’re awaiting a response?

    • Anonymous :

      In outlook you can flag them so they show up in your task list, just as if they were incoming emails. But you have to remember to flag them.

    • CrowTRobot :

      Maybe not the best method, but I just pull the email from my “sent” folder into my Inbox. It will trigger a reminder in my head when I see it.

    • Coach Laura :

      Flagging in outlook does add it to your tasks list but to keep it more visible, put yourself as CC or BCC and then flag the incoming message. Or forward it to yourself from sent and flag. Much more front and center that way.

    • I have a folder labeled “follow-up” that I move sent emails to where I’m waiting for a response. I look through it once a day usually as a reminder to myself of what is still up in the air.

    • I put a reminder date/time on the sent email in Outlook. So if I send out a request for something that should be turned around in 5 days, I set a reminder for day 6. When I click on the reminder, the sent email opens. If I’ve gotten a response, I can dismiss it, and if I haven’t, I can send a follow-up email.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I keep a physical checklist. Old school!

    • Flats Only :

      Add the “To” column to your inbox. BCC yourself on each email you send. Move down thread messages to folders. Use the categories to color code things – clients, action required, awaiting response, etc. Ideally the inbox will contain only the latest email in each chain, color coded. With to and from you can easily see that you sent an email to Joe, and are awaiting his response.

  29. I add an ‘all day event’ (aka flag at the top of each day) in my outlook calendar on the date by which I hope to have a response. For example, I sent an email today to a client looking for updated information. Holiday weekend upcoming, small family shop – I added a flag to next Thursday that says “has Bob replied to 8/30 email with updated numbers?” That’s enough of a reminder for me to stay on top of it.

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