Tuesday’s Workwear Report: Risbana New Stretch Wool Dress

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

Happy Tuesday, ladies! I’ve been curious if Theory is phasing out its classic sheath dress — it’s getting harder and harder to find, and seems to be available in less and less colors (although Amazon still has lucky sizes). This stretch wool dress is possibly their replacement for it — and while I like the slight A-line shape, the asymmetrical slit gives me pause. Hmmn. What are your thoughts, readers? The pictured dress is available in black and navy for $268 (down from $335!) at Nordstrom.  Risbana New Stretch Wool Dress

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  1. If knee-high boots are passe, what’s a good replacement for days when it’s too cold for booties? Will OTK boots still be a thing this season, or should I go for a midcalf height that was never really trendy so it won’t look outdated?

    • Anonymous :


      • <3 Still team fleece tights over here.

      • While we’re on the subject: can someone rec’d a brand of fleece tights for a cusp size (14/16)?

        • I’m a cusp sizer and for something like this, I’d go up a size to avoid a bunchy droopy fleece crotch. I’ve had good luck with Lane Bryant tights in the past, but I haven’t tried the fleece ones (too hot for me!).

        • And if you’re tall, Spanx has fleece tights (that are just normal control top, not too crazy Spanx-y) on their website. I just ordered a pair. Haven’t tried them on (they arrived last week), but Spanx is great for Tall cusp-sizers like me!

      • Men do not respect us when we wear fleece tights. My ex thought I looked cheap wearing these.

    • I’m old enough to not wear trends if they don’t flatter me, so take my advice with a grain of salt: Knee high boots are classic, and you can always wear them. There may be details that date your boots, such as heel shape/height, leather finish, or embellishments such as straps or buckles, so you may want to keep a critical eye on that and replace every few years.

      I would never look askance at someone wearing simple knee high heeled boots or riding boots. Or, honestly, at less simple but fabulous knee high boots. Do your thing.

      • +1

        The pirate boots of yore (aka 2008-2011) are dead and I hope they don’t come back, though.

        • Anonymous :

          So what makes boots “pirate boots”? Like, the flat boots with straps across the ankle?

          FWIW I have a great pair of Born leather knee-high boots with a 2-inch sculpted heel and no embellishments that I am going to wear on cold days, simply because they keep my legs warm. I’m as big a fan of fun shoes as anyone, but ultimately, footwear is meant to serve a purpose.

          • Whenever I think of “pirate boots” I always think those slouchy faux leather ones that have no heel. I went through a good amount of them in college.

          • I was picturing those convertible over the knee boots where you could fold a flap up or down in the front. Ahoy!

          • Baconpancakes :

            Y’all I have legit pirate boots from my marauding days. They have a 6-inch bucket foldover top that can be pulled up to make them OTK boots, and lace up the back. Nothing in popular fashion in the past 10 years has looked like pirate boots.

          • Anonattorney :

            Slouchy foldover knee high boots were definitely a thing a few years ago, and definitely look like pirate boots.

        • Anon and NYNY, that’s what I’m thinking of. Straps across the ankle usually indicate a moto boot. Long live the moto boot!

      • +1 It’s cold in Boston. I/my friends/my sisters all of whom live here will likely never not wear knee-high boots.

        • Cookbooks :

          +1 I like when my shins are warm!

        • I love Boston. We tend to err on function over fashion. You’ll see me in duck boots (which I’ve had since my feet stopped growing in 1997), knee high boots in the fall, and a coat that looks like I’m wearing a down comforter. But I will be warm.

          **crosses fingers for another mild winter**

      • Pretty Primadonna :

        This right here!

    • Mid-calf boots have always been a good option for short-legged petites like me. I also have knee-high wool socks to wear under pants with any shoe.

      For skirts I agree it’s probably a job for FLEECE TIGHTS.

      • Mid-calf boots are also good for long-legged people like me – I can’t get the knee high boots (even wide-calf) to hit on my leg correctly, so I said screw it, and embraced the mid-calf.

        I lived in my Sorel Joan of Arctic wedges (not a snow boot) last fall/winter.

        • Check out som of Blondo’s styles this year. Taller for tall people. Available at Nordy’s. I am very excited about by knee-high (almost) boots for my long legs.

      • What are your favorite mid calf boots? I’m always looking for these because they’re perfect under pants in the winter.

    • I live in the midwest. When it is cold, I wear knee high booties and a long enough coat. Mid-calf boots are…. hard to pull off. I do have a pair that are essentially booties, but have a high shaft. Honestly, I don’t grab them when I need more warmth.

      OTK are too trendy for my workplace.

      Sometimes I just wear fleece tights, pants and a full length coat. Usually this is when it is below zero.

    • Aquae Sulis :

      I’m about to buy a pair of knee-high boots, whether they are passe or not… I quite like the idea of being a fashion rebel!

      • I think the rules are also a little different when what you’re wearing is practical. So I agree that on a cold day a simple, classic pair of knee high boots with tights will look fine. i think you look dated when you start wearing them with e.g., bare legs or jeans, etc.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I just got a pair of knee high boots (usually like $120, marked down to $25! real leather!) for work travel to cold places and just to wear this winter. It might not be super chic, but they’re so easy to wear (and lbh, I’m not super chic)!

    • I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that the next trend will be true to-the-ankle lace-up boots with defined, perhaps even padded, cuffs. Like old-fashioned men’s work boots, but re-done. Then again, I am biased by my vehement dislike of Chelsea boots.

    • Ymmv, but for me, fashionable boots (or fashionable outfits) remain in the realm of mild weather, which is spring or fall where I live. For temperatures that are extreme cold and hot, practicality reigns. For snow, and rain I wear knee high and mid calf boots (my feet run super cold if I don’t) for summer I wear breezy sandals I can walk 10km in(city dweller here). Having said this, I hope to add a pair of higher ankle shaft booties in black suede or a jewel tone, just to spice up the footwear– if I don’t find them, I will happily wear one of my five knee high, or mid calfs and stay warm:)

  2. Hobbies with SO :

    Last week there was a thread about hobbies, which I really enjoyed reading. Following up on that, what are your favorite hobbies to do with your SO? We work out together and explore our city, and are starting to get into playing around with photo editing.

    • My husband and I used to love going to antique stores together. We were both history majors and just love looking at old and vintage stuff. We have a grabby toddler now, so our antiques hobby is on temporary hiatus.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Oh man, so did we. On a weekend day we’d get coffee and wander around the antique/junk stores in our old ‘hood. I miss that!

    • My SO and I play video games. Or at least play different video games in the same room so we can decompress from the day together.

      • CherryScary :

        My SO and I do this as well. We’re starting to stream games when we’re playing together, but most of the time its us playing different things in the same room, or watching each other play something.

        We also like to cook together, and are working on running as a hobby.

    • City stuff.

      Going to the theater for plays… especially new/modern playwrights.
      Concerts, dance, opera.

    • Yay Kat! I love this Sheathe dress, and at $268, I can try it on at Nordstrom this weekend.

      As for the OP, there are alot of things you can do with your boyfreind. When I was dateing Sheketovits, we liked to go out to eat at the 2nd Avenue Deli, and then come home and play Twister. We had to stop playing Twister b/c he got to much gas from the deli, tended to drink to much and then he would flop all over the place b/c of his balance issues. FOOEY! b/c I did like playing Twister. Now I play Twister onley with Myrna, who is VERY atheletic, so she usueally wins! FOOEY!

    • We play tennis together and enjoy cooking. We alternate picking a “more complicated than usual” recipe and make a weekend day out of it.

      • We play tennis, but it is an act of charity. He is a novice with no serve who is too embarrassed to take group clinics and won’t schedule private lessons with the pros. So I will play with him, but I don’t honk I’ve ever broken a sweat. And he doesn’t get how I still need to play tennis after that. It would be like me running with Meb.

        • Haha, I’m the charity case in my relationship. SO is a tennis pro and I’m a former JV high school player!! But, I get lots of useful tips for improvement. :)

    • Does brunch count? We really love brunch. We also go on walks on our own and with a local group. Working in the garden garden as well.

      • Trixie Belden :

        Walking clubs are things that I wish existed in America

        • They exist where I live in America! I know of two walking/running clubs (you can either walk or run, as I understand it) that meet on Saturdays. Midwest rural area.

        • Triangle Pose :

          They exist! Have you looked at meetup dot com in your area?

        • It is lovely, there are younger, family, and more mature groups and do walks at a range of levels. We ended up accidentally attending a senior walk which was actually super pleasant, nice stroll and ended with tea and cake.

      • I sure hope it does, because that’s one of ours!

    • We like to build/refurbish furniture together and do house projects

    • We do the crossword together!

    • We hike together at least once a week.
      Workout together probably about that often as well.
      We play board/card games together – he just got Oregon Trail (the card game) and that’s currently what we’re doing every night.
      I didn’t think of it as a hobby, but we also like to go to antique malls together.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      We like exploring little towns together.

      But our favorite hobby is what I call “barstool time”, which is exactly what it sounds like.

      • Can we be friends? This sounds like me and my DH.

      • Frozen Peach :

        Yes to little towns! We take vacations in places that completely baffle other people, like Harmony, MN.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        There is something so great about sitting on a barstool in particular. There were times when we lived somewhere where there weren’t really bars, and now with a kid… the fact that we can sit at a bar next to each other means things — it’s just us, we’re somewhere familiar, we’re about to drink beer :) It’s the best.

      • We enjoy sitting at the bar too. Expecially at busy places like tapas bars where we can eat, drink, people watch all at the same time.

    • We’re learning to sail together!

    • Bike rides (both MTB and road)!

    • We take random classes online together. Right now we’re taking an Intro to Coding class through our local community college, in the past we’ve done other subjects like World Music and Intro to Photography that we found on places like Coursera or EdX.

      We both like trivia nights and knowing obscure things, so learning about Haitian Vodou or Python tuples is really fun. Life sometimes gets in the way, so thank goodness none of this is graded, but our dinner table conversations are so much more fun now.

    • Baconpancakes :

      We eat and drink fabulous things.

      Also hiking, traveling, gardening, gaming, but mostly eating.

    • Triangle Pose :

      This actually took a lot for us to figure out because we don’t have very many intertests in common. I like trying fancy or new restaurants and am willing to travel out of my comfort zone and the usual neighborhoods to try a hole in the wall or pop up place or whatever. SO does not love this and would rather go somewhere where he can count on the portion size/value/taste. SO likes NBA games and I think being a spectator + watching other people play sports is SO BORING. I love musical theather and love seeing broadway and smaller performances. SO think almost all theater is boring. SO does 100 mile bike races (5 hours on a bike!!!) and runs half marathons and marathons. I am not a fast runner and instead I like vinyasa yoga classes. So, this is what we have settled on:

      – Our dog. This is the number one joint activity, once again. We adore our dog, we take him on walks together, to the dog park, for long fetch sessions, to the doggy pool, to the dog beach. We got our dog together and have plans to adopt more dogs and this will probably always be how we spend the most time together.
      – Live comedy shows (there are 4 comedy clubs and we try to see comedians we like when they come to town, as well as local comics who are just getting started. SO and I have similar sense of humor and this is the only live hting we like to do together. He goes to see NBA games with other friends and I do the same for Book of Mormon/How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying etc.).
      – Cycling along the River Trail/Park together. I bought a bike and try really hard to get better at it. He will go much slower at my pace and we go on really pretty rides
      – I bike, SO runs. I bike at my slower 12 mph speed and SO runs at 8mph along the river trail. We meet up at certain points for water/views.

      We will make exceptions to do the other persons “thing” together. SO will do a free outdoor yoga class with me if I ask. I will attend an NBA game if he asks and plans a group hang. SO will dress up and attend fancy gala for my sake. I will go on bike rides or do short road races with SO so long as it’s a viable distance for me. It took us some time to realize we like each other a lot but we really don’t have much in common in terms of hobbies and interests. We make it work and enjoy all the time we spend together but this realization came pretty slowly …we sort of just assumed the other person liked the things we liked. In reality, we just liked spending time with each other, not the activity specifically. I think this was slow for us because we were long distance for awhile and when you have what is essentially a vacation-relationship, every activity is fun! When we moved in together we were like…oh…. :)

    • So we have managed to spin what was a huge rift between us into a hobby. My husband used to never, ever cook – he would either eat take out or a frozen meal every night. I was the opposite extreme – I am very health-conscious but after living frugally for years in I was super budget-conscious as well, so I was used to having like a salad with a fried egg or beans, rice and greens for dinner every night. We realized together that he would be more motivated to cook if he had something delicious at the end to look forward to instead of my frugal and rather bare-bones meals. So now we spend time together finding really delicious and creative recipes and making them, and we both really enjoy cooking together now. We only get to do it like twice a week now that we have a kid, but it’s still really fun.

    • Puddlejumper :

      Exploring our city
      Hosting gatherings – we love having big groups over – especially for Passover. We enjoy planning the whole event together.
      Board games/card games
      Eating out.
      2 person book club – we will read the same book and discuss
      Walking to work together
      Go see a movie at one of the movie places with drinks
      Volunteering together!

      My favorite thing though is having breakfast together somewhere delicious and then going off to do our own adventures all Saturday and then meeting up for dinner to discuss what we did. We both come back so recharged doing our own favorite things and its fun to hear what he was up to.

      We also love grabbing things for a huge cheese plate with meat and pickles and crackers and fruit making some cocktails and each reading our own book or I do a puzzle and he plays on his ukulele.

      We don’t really watch TV people – we maybe watch an hour or two a month total so I also have a jar of activities we could do together that if we get really bored /plans canceled and are sitting at each other starring. This typically only happens mid winter on a random week night, when its pouring/snowing out and gets dark at like 4 pm. And we will grab an activity out the jar and do whatever it says.

    • I’m the poster whose hobby is volunteering with a dog rescue. My SO and I do this together, although certain parts like processing applications, only I do. Fostering is a team effort for obvious reasons, but we often get a sitter and go to rescue events together. I joked to him the other day that they are our “date nights.” We also like traveling and trying new restaurants.

    • We watch a lot of TV together – shows upon shows upon shows. Probably 3 hours worth of it a night. Plus side is that we are catching up to GoT at breakneck speed. Downside is that nobody else seems to admit watching that much TV so it feels like a shameful hobby.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Oh yeah! We watch Adventure Time, Steven Universe, American Gods, and Star Trek a lot.

      • Anonymous :

        Meh. I think a lot of people watch a lot more TV than they confess to.
        My favorite is the Millenial who says “I don’t watch TV” with a tone of moral superiority and then talks about streaming hours of media every day.

    • Having parties or doing things with friends
      Book club
      Long rambles around the city
      Going to the movies

    • We love politics and protests! We go to ACLU meetings together, get petitions signed, etc.

    • Going to rock concerts — in our city, in nearby cities, and flying to other cities to see bands we love. And wine — we’re in SF so heading up to wine country for weekends/overnights/day trips/tastings/vineyard visits/pickup parties. And reading food and wine magazines on the couch at home while planning/ordering/drinking . . . .

    • Now I feel very boring!
      We cycle, and pause for snacks (read: wine and cheese) along the path.
      House projects
      Board games, usually with friends
      Live music
      Lazy days are for records, books/the internet and being quiet together.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      Mostly athletic/outdoor pursuits. Surfing, cycling, swimming, running, hiking, basketball. Going to the beach or pool and laying out. Going out for ice cream and shave ice. And doing all of those things with our kids. (And sometimes without of course. :) )

    • Not that Anne, the other Anne :

      We do yoga together. We also go to events at the performing arts center and go on little day trip adventures. We also try to vacation once a year to somewhere we’ve never been. This year it was Seattle. Last year was Badlands National Park and Mt. Rushmore.

    • Anonymous :

      Hiking and camping; board games (with friends); chilling out side by side on the sofa with this week’s Economist or New Yorker or a book. (I love the notion of a ‘2 person book club’!) We also like trying new restaurants for date nights or lunches.
      One of our son’s daycare classmates has parents who are into orienteering, and who somehow manage to do this with a toddler and an infant!

  3. This is one of those dresses that looks kinda weird in the picture, but would probably look normal and work appropriate on a real person in my office.

  4. Clementine :

    So husband and I are taking the wee human on a 2 week trip to Europe and it’s kind of crept up on me. I realized that we haven’t 100% thought through our luggage logistics. Pre-kids, we were very much ‘just travel carry-on’ people, but now we’ve accepted that bringing more stuff is easier. I’m specifically posting over here vs. the moms page because I’m hoping to get a broader perspective on ‘is this the best baggage setup I can do’?

    Situation: a couple European cities, a few smaller towns, mostly train transport with a car hire for the small town portions. Kid is 1 1/2.

    Bags: Both my husband and I have backpacks (like big hiking backpacks) which are expandable. We’re going to use compression packing cubes to keep everything organized in our backpacks. We’re bringing a Fjallraven Kanken to use as a diaper bag/day trip bag, plus a packable tote bag to use as a picnic bag/whatever bag. I know I will bring a crossbody bag which I’ll also use as a wallet. Does this sound reasonable to you all? Right now I have ordered 6 packing cubes- should I get more?

    Kid Carrying: We’re going to bring a stroller (City Mini GT) that folds flat but has more rugged tires. We plan on mostly using this for kid to nap in while we hang out at a cafe/drinking beers in a park. For public transit/getting around in actual cities, we plan on using a Tula carrier (aka one of those streamlined baby pack things).

    Okay, so: Does that sound reasonable to you? Would we be better off using one giant duffel bag with backpack straps and putting our whole family’s stuff in there? What kind of a purse should I be bringing?? Is it ridiculous for me to bring 4 pair of shoes for myself (sneakers, Birkenstocks, Merrell walkable flats, shoes with a wedge)?

    Forgiveness and thank you! Also, any tips for Frankfurt/Munich/Salzberg/the Black Forest are welcome!!!

    • For Salzburg – go to Augustiner Braustubl, a huge beer garden/brewery run by monks. The city is staggeringly pretty; Hellbrunn Palace is sort of far from the city center but has a lot of green space/nice gardens.

    • Anonshmanon :

      Are you planning to use the baby carrier while carrying a backpack? If so, test how to deal with all the straps.

      Frankfurt wasn’t super-exciting to us when visiting last fall, the botanical garden is lovely and we enjoyed the Museum Angewandte Kunst (reminded me a bit of the V&A in London).

    • Anonymous :

      Nope not at all. I think you’ll be miserable. If you want to go back packing through Europe with a toddler you gotta lean into it. One back pack that you and husband share. No compression packing cubes, they let you bring too much. Two pairs of shoes max.

      I’d actually not do a backpack at all. One standard size rolling suitcase, one diaper bag, one day pack style bag, stroller, carrier.

      • Anonymous :

        Agreed. At least one parent needs to be backpack free to deal with the kid. Imagine climbing on a train with a kid strapped to your front and a huge backpack on your back — you can’t take off your pack to sit/not whack people in the face. Either pack super light or go with wheeled luggage.

    • Anonymous :

      Totally sounds reasonable. Definitely check if any products you may need are available and bring at least 24 hours worth of diapers onto the plane in case of a delay. My babies always pooped on take off and landing (pressure change I expect) so you may need more diapers than you think. Just take a diaper, wipes and change pad to the toliet instead of lugging the whole bag – even if baby has a blow-out you can put on new clothes at the seat.

      I went to visit my in-laws and discovered that you can’t buy playtex drop in bottle liners in Europe. Toddler wouldn’t take milk in a sippy cup or other type of bottle (tried 3). So I had to nurse toddler to sleep instead of MIL giving a bottle while we went out to dinner. Not a huge deal but definitely changed our plans a bit. I amazon overnighted some from the UK for the second week so I could have a social life.

      • Dumb question from someone with no kids. If they didn’t have bottle liners, couldn’t you still use the bottle without the liner? Is the liner so you don’t have to wash the bottle as often?

        • Not with that type of bottle. The liner pretty much is the “bottle”. it just goes into a hollow tube like holder.

          • sweet knee is right. For the Playtex drop in liners, the outer part is just a cylindrical holder with no bottom. They are pretty common here even though non-existent in Europe as many BF babies like them over other bottles.

    • No personal experience with this but I live in a hilly european city with uneven pavements and while I’m only a few weeks in, I’m finding the city mini GT to be pretty manageable. I swear half of Edinburgh has this buggy.

    • How do you carry the kid and a backpack at the same time? I’m counting 2 adult backs and 3 items to go on them during train travel. Or is the kid in the stroller when you’re traveling?

      Also, I would lose one pair of shoes, either the sneakers or the Merrells, and maybe ditch the wedges, as well.

      • Clementine :

        Ugh, yeah. I’ll probably go with just sneakers and Birks.

        A detail I should add is that I’m actually a chronic under-packer. My classic move is only bringing two shirts (both black, obvs.) for like a 10 day trip… and then being frustrated that I only have two shirts.

    • No kids, but I will heartily endorse 4 pairs of shoes (if not more). When traveling in Europe, I rarely can wear the same pair 2 days in a row due to sweat/ the shoes needing time to dry out and recover. I’d take a 5th pair of extra shoes myself. I’ve always regretted not packing shoes. On the family luggage idea, personally that would drive me nuts. I like my things in their own bag, where I know where things are.

      • Packing cubes in different colors, i.e. one for each family member (well, I do it with two different colors for me and my partner).

      • NYC biglaw :


        Shoes are one thing that you do need a variety of. your list looked good.

    • Puddlejumper :

      I guess my question is how will you carry all of that? I find things will wheels are handy because I can have a backpack, pull something with wheels, and if I need I still have a free hand. I guess picture yourself walking through the airport and one of you pushing the baby in the stroller, or wearing the baby and then pushing the stroller with stuff in it, with a back pack on your back. And the other wearing a backpack and carrying the Fjallraven Kanken. I think it might be easier to just have the two expandable backpack stuff in one wheeling duffle and not have so much stuff to have to wear on your body.

      Some thoughts – Are you bringing a traveling baby cot? Most of the parents I from London traveled with one despite the size because they would practice having their kid sleep in it at home, and then it made it super easy when on the road – being a familiar space.

      Bring extra clothes for all of you on the airplane. All my friends with kids have gotten thrown up on, had their kid have a diaper blow out, food spilled etc.

      I always say the more shoes the better! My feet do better if I rotate, and that way if I get a blister with one pair, I can switch to another pair.

      I have a google doc with munich + salzburg recs if you want it – just leave an email and I can send it to you!

      • Clementine :

        So when walking with all our gear, we will each have one backpack on (hiking backpack) and have the kid in the stroller. The benefit of the backpacks vs. the roller bag is that they expand to fit our daypacks/diaper bag/etc., but leave two hands free.

        And we aren’t bringing the travel cot. Kid is a pretty good sleeper who has been known to nap on the floor when he’s tired.

    • Puddlejumper :

      made a post – its stuck in mod.

    • I think it depends to a degree on the logistics of how you’ll be getting around but I find it easier to have one big wheeled suitcase with a kid so that one parent can deal with it and the other can deal with the kid, and you’re not both trying to deal with a bunch of bags.

      • Clementine :

        Mmm. I get that and that’s what we’ve done when we’ve travelled domestically. That’s why we were trying to go with basically one (big) backpack each. both hands free.

        The bonus of our hiking packs is that they’re expandable, so it’s easy to make them bigger to fit more snacks or whatever.

    • So we just did a 10-day trip to Europe, including Munich, Salzburg, and Bavaria with our toddler (16 mos at the time). We opted for an umbrella stroller (Summer Infant 3D Lite) rather than our City Mini, and it was a great choice. There were many, many times when we had to take kiddo out and climb stairs while holding the stroller, and we were very glad to have a light/foldable one. If you’re both going to have giant backpacks on, I think having to fold up a stroller in the train stations, up the escalators, etc. could get really taxing. We were very surprised by how much lugging/hefting we had to do in between places.

      We had one carry on and one full size suitcase, plus two regular backpacks and a foldable tote. (And a stroller and car seat.) One of the backpacks served as the diaper bag. I wish both had been full size because the suitcase was tight (even with packing cubes), but it was enough space. Weather was chilly so we didn’t end up wearing half the things we packed, which made me realize I had overpacked :) I brought a cross body bag/wallet too, and never took it out. My stuff always ended up in the diaper backpack.

      Six packing cubes sounds great. I used one in our day bag to corral all the snacks (omg so many snacks) and other feeding implements and one on the plane for all the toys and books. I’d lose a pair of shoes (maybe choose between the Birks and the flats).

      And it may be too late for this, but we ended our 10-day multi-city trip wishing we had just picked 1 or 2 locations and stayed there. The packing/unpacking/traveling every 2 days was EXHAUSTING. Probably 8 hours of our vacation was eaten up by packing/unpacking alone. Transit time seemingly doubles when you have to account for a toddler. Munich and Salzburg were, in our opinion…unexciting. Just meh. But we live in a large walkable city, so we tend to prefer vacations in more rural areas. Bavaria was amazing and felt like a real vacation in another culture. We wished we had just stayed there for a week, rather than 2.5 days.

      Hope some of this is helpful. Happy traveling! No matter how tiring it is, taking little trips with our kiddo is SO joyful.

    • Salzburg! I studied abroad there and it will always hold a dear place in my heart. Here are some recommendations:
      * Augustinerbrau (on Lindenstrasse) – a traditional Austrian/ German beer garden. If the weather is nice it is delightful to sit outside with a stein of beer. If the weather is not so nice the inside is also quite nice. There are some food options within the beer hall, but mostly things like pretzels not full meals.
      * Bosna Stand (Getreidegasse 33 – Geitreidegasse is the main street that runs in front of Mozarts Birthhouse. 33 is the entrance to a little alleyway and if you go down the alleyway there is a Bosna stand). Bosnas are these incredible seasoned sausages – whenever I run into people who have been to Salzburg they often ask if I ever tried the Bosna stand. They are also incredibly cheap – 3 Euros or less.
      * Schloss Hellbrunn – This is a castle on the outskirts of Salzburg. There is a bus you can take or it would be a short bikeride or taxi ride away (it may also already be on a group tour if you are doing one). The castle grounds are gorgeous and the main attraction is the “Wasserspiel” which is an entire garden filled with unique water features.
      * Kapuzinerberg – this is the “mountain” on the Neustadt side of the river (Salzburg is divided by the Salzach river into Altstadt (“old city”) and Neustadt (“new city”). Climbing the stairs up the mountain leads to some incredible views of the city and the Festung (Fortress/castle that sits atop the Monchsberg). There are two sides that you can climb up – one is off Linzergasse (a main strip in Neustadt) and is a windy climb/road without so many stairs. The other is off Steingasse and the stairs are directly next to the house where the man who wrote Silent Night was born. There is just a sign that indicates his birthplace, no attraction.
      * St. Peter Stiftskeller is a delicious restaurant for some typical Austrian fare – it is not expensive. You would pass the restaurant when hiking down the Monchsberg from the Festung(Fortress). It’s within the plaza where St. Peter’s Bezirk (church) and Petersfriedhof (Cemetery) is located.
      *A word about the Sound of Music Tour – it’s a good way to see a lot of Salzburg, however, if you are going to most of the other tourist attractions already it’s not worth it.
      * If you have time I recommend getting tickets for a Marrionettentheater (marionette theater) performance. Salzburg’s symphony is also quite good. You are going to be there well before Mozartfest, but there may be some excellent performances going on at the Mozarteum.
      *Mozartswohnhaus: Where Mozart lived as a teenager. It’s much nicer than his birthplace (and is interesting to compare how his family’s standard of living changed).
      * Mozartsgeburthaus: The birthplace of Mozart. Both the Wohnhaus and the Geburtshaus provide a good overview of Mozarts life.
      *Festung: The Festung is the fortress that overlooks Salzburg. There is a great view from the top and there is interesting history. Salzburg was ruled by the Catholic church (archbishops). There are torture chambers and other interesting things at the Festung.
      * Mirabell Gardens: This is not the best time to visit the gardens, but they are still pretty. There is also an incredible view of the Festung from inside the gardens.
      * Dom: The Salzburg Cathedral. It’s beautiful, but it’s a cathedral. If you have time and fancy having a look it is there, but I wouldn’t necessarily say your life was incomplete if you didn’t visit it.
      * If you like beer, the Stiegl Brauwelt is also a fun experience.
      * I don’t know how long you will be in Salzburg, but if you have time for day trips outside the city, I’d recommend heading to the Salzkammergut. It is a beautiful lakeside resort area. You can also tour the salt mines while you are there (although I’m not sure how touring the salt mines would be with a 1 1/2 year old!).

    • I have a long comment with Salzburg recommendations stuck in moderation. Check back later, or I can PM you the recs if you want.

    • Posted a very long comment re: a Munich/Salzburg/Bavaria trip taken with toddler this summer. I presume it’s stuck in moderation, so check back!

      • Clementine :

        Maybe it’s something with one of the city names? Does something go into mod if there are too many words that the system doesn’t recognize as English?

    • I just did two weeks in two cities with a 19 month old.

      It sounds like you are more streamlined packers than we were, but just make sure you can physically carry everything you want to bring, bag-wise: We left our Lotus pack and play in the car at the airport because we realized we were out of hands/backs. You can’t both pull a suitcase and push a stroller, so we checked one big roller board for all three of us. DH had a backpack as a personal item with his work stuff on it for the plane and I had a camera bag as my personal item. If you bought your toddler a seat, remember s/he also gets his own carry on and personal item, although of course you will be the one stuck carrying it.

      We also had a big canvas tote for all of our stuff necessary for the first couple days in case of lost bags (change of clothes for all of us and a plastic bag in case of an accident, enough diapers to last a day or two because the grocery store near our apartment was closed on Sundays, our arrival day, Motrin in case of teething, toothbrushes, etc.). Within that, I put a smaller bag with things I knew we’d need during the flight (pacifiers, a couple books and small toys, two diapers, wipes, books, a couple small toys, iPad etc.). It was nice to not have to dig through the big bag for those things.

      I brought one big tote as a purse but really just used it for my camera and extra lens on days I brought it with us. For most of our outings, I was fine just sticking my wallet, tour book and phone in the stroller organizer or the zip pocket on the back of the stroller. I’d cut down to two or three pairs if you can since the first three pairs seem relatively interchangeable unless your sneakers are for workout purposes and not just walking around. I did one pair of walking around shoes and one pair of nice shoes for the fancy date night we had, and that was fine. I had brought two other pairs of sneakers (one cute for walking around, one for working out (HA)), and neither were ever worn.

      We gate checked the umbrella stroller we brought. Carrier sounds great if you’re used to using it and strong enough to do that all day long. We didn’t bring one and were fine with just the stroller, despite horror stories we’d heard about using one on public transportation (easy fold, light to carry up and down stairs).

      Packing cubes were KEY. If your different cities have different wardrobe requirements, buy enough cubes that you can put all your clothes for each city and each person in a different cube (e.g. Mom City A cube, Mom City B cube, Coparent City A cube, etc.). Saves so much work in packing and unpacking just to deal with one cube per person at a time. We also had a separate cube for toiletries.

      • Clementine :

        Thank you! This is hugely helpful.

        And yeah… I find it hard to push a stroller while pulling a suitcase which is why I’m leaning towards the backpacks.

        • We don’t have duffel backpacks, or we likely would have gone this route as well. I already had purchased so.much.stuff for this trip, couldn’t justify extra luggage. Have an awesome time!

    • blueberries :

      Consider stairs in subways/train stations when getting to your lodging. If you can manage stairs with everything, power to you. If not, maybe ditch the stroller? Stick with your underpacking tendency for the grownups.

      • Clementine :

        Thank you, we seriously considered just bringing a Tula carrier, but my kid still takes a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoons. He will nap in the Tula for short stints, but if you sit down he wakes up. He’ll easily nap for two plus hours in the stroller.

        I’m basically bringing the stroller so we’re not chained to our room from 12:30-3 every day.

    • Clementine :

      Thank you all very, very much for your opinions and recommendations- they are much appreciated.

      My big takeaway is that we should make sure one parent is more mobile to deal with kid-related issues. I think that the way I will tweak my plan is to basically not split weight up evenly. As I said, both packs are expandable, depending on how you arrange them. I will pack mine so it is the size of a large daypack. Husband will expand his so he has his stuff + kid’s stuff. His pack also allows for the straps to be zipped inside and to use a side handle, so it prettymuch becomes a duffel (useful on transit).

      We do have multiple colors of packing cubes, so we can just pull out what is needed. We’re going to do laundry while there so clothes can be minimal. Listening to everyone’s comments, I also feel like for us- it would be a decision of either a big wheeled suitcase OR a stroller and we’ve decided we are bringing the stroller.

    • Anonymous :

      So we did 10 days in Madrid with a 15 month old, no car, just did subway to and from the airport. Also took trains to small towns nearby for daytrips. Your list looks good, but I would suggest an umbrella stroller over a regular stroller as you will probably need to carry it up stairs at some point. We took the umbrella stroller on the subway all the time (folded it up if it was crowded so as to not annoy others) Also – KidCo makes a great tent for kids to sleep in that is slightly padded and SO small. Meant we had a safe place for kid to sleep every night. Also added to consistency (he was a fussy sleeper).

      Also – see if you have laundry options. We made sure we would be able to do laundry at least once which meant we could bring so much less stuff. We didn’t use packing cubes, but I’m a pretty minimal packer – plus a good excuse to buy stuff if you need more of something!

      For what it’s worth, here was our general list of bags and essentials. Have fun!
      2 big backpacks for adults
      One BECO carrier (carried on plane)
      umbrella stroller (checked)
      One day trip back pack (carried on plane)
      One messenger bag/diaper bag (allowed one parent to have kid on front or back without having a backpack) (carried on plane)
      two Muslin blankets to provide shade/lower stimulation when napping in stroller/wipe up general kid mess
      KidCo sleeping tent (we brought this in our airport carry on)
      Travel high chair (SO worth it)
      All eating stuff for kid (plastic bowl, plate, cup, utensils etc)
      Black garbage bags and tape in case the curtains in your room let in too much light for kid to sleep

  5. Clementine :

    Ugh. Stuck in mod. Does this even work?

  6. Looking for advice on non-food “rewards”. My weight has crept up over the last year and I’m looking to drop about 15 pounds. I’ve been diligent with MyFitnessPal and getting a reasonable amount of exercise and while it’s going slowly, the weight loss is going. One thing I’m struggling with is I’ve realized the extent to which I was using food to reward myself (“You’ve been at the office since 6am – you’ve earned a fancy coffee beverage!”; “That meeting was stressful, but you survived – let’s celebrate with a donut”).

    While this habit of self-recognition and self-indulgence has been great for my mental health, it is the top problem area in my diet. I’ve pretty much stopped “rewarding” myself with unhealthy foods, but struggling to replace it with something else (“You deserve a Greek yogurt” just doesn’t have the same appeal yet haha). Any other ideas for small rewards that ideally are free or cost the same as a fancy coffee?

    • Do you typically go outside/talk walks during the work day? Could you reframe it as “let’s celebrate with five minutes of fresh air/sunshine/a walk around the building”?

      • I do, but thinking of it as a reward might help. My building has a gym and I’ve thought about getting a membership so that I could upgrade to 10 minute stints on a bike, but I worry about getting too sweaty. I’m so much more active on weekends and the sedentary nature of my job hits hard on Mondays/Tuesdays.

        • My office has a small gym too and if I just walk on the treadmill at a brisk pace (like 2.5-3.0 mph for me), even for a full hour, I don’t get sweaty. A fan and cold water after I’m done in the office helps keep me from looking gross.

    • For me, it doesn’t work to try to trick myself into thinking that something I should do anyway is somehow a reward (even if it’s something I enjoy, like a walk outside). It just doesn’t trigger those reward pathways in my brain unless it’s a complete indulgence that has no other purpose than making me feel good. One non-food treat that works for me is a set period of time playing a mobile phone game (something addictive, engaging, and a little brainless, like a puzzle game).

    • anon a mouse :

      Sheet masks from Sephora (for face, hands and/or feet)

      Nail polish

      a 99c Kindle book

      Does your city have any free museums? Take yourself on a short date to see some art.

      I know you said non-food, but sometimes when I am working on losing weight I will reward myself with “treat” fruit — like a tropical fruit salad with starfruit, mango, kiwi and papaya. Still healthy but out of my normal eating patterns.

      • Anonymous :

        Yeah my big treat food is lobster. It has partially no calories, is on special for 5.99/lb, and feels so indulgent. Also smoked salmon.

        • Ahhhh…. but the butter! Isn’t that the whole point of lobster?!?

          And of course, the perfect french fries on the side.

          I used to spend summers on the coast of Maine, with lobster shacks in walking distance.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Well, the end result isn’t free, but what about a sticker chart of sorts. Each “sticker” is one point or the dollar value of the fancy coffee. When you get a certain number of points, treat yourself to something (ideas below). So lets say your fancy coffee is $5. Well, a manicure might cost $20. So 4 stickers and you can get a manicure.

      Ideas: Manicures, pedicures, facials, new exercise clothes, a new book, a fancy candle, a new thing from Sephora. None of those are things that I *need* but that I would always like.

    • Do you like tea? I treat myself with an herbal tea with lemon and a tablespoon of honey (64 calories) and read a fun article for 10 minutes with my door closed. I buy different flavors every few weeks, so I have a nice assortment in my office. I find it to be very relaxing and a good mid-afternoon workday reward.

    • Reward ideas (some involve food, but avoid the “I’ve been ‘good’ so I can eat something ‘bad’ mentality):
      – New office supplies! like cute pens and notebooks
      – Fun workout accessories like bright shoelaces, cute socks, etc
      – Going to World Market or a gourmet grocery and finding unique food you wouldn’t usually get. I like World Market because they have tiny sizes of stuff.
      – Romance novels, vampire novels, silly dystopian YA novels… whatever your guilty reading pleasure is
      – Going to Target and browsing the dollar bins and travel toiletries bins (also the dollar bins at Micheals)

    • I just signed up for the Sephora monthly subscription box. Maybe something like that?

    • Puddlejumper :

      – burning a delicious candle
      – special teas
      – nice hand lotion for your desk
      – I really love dusk and dawn so scheduling my day to take a walk during those times is a treat
      – a bath with a book
      – Time to chat on the phone with my sister

      Agree with ideas to have a sticker chart. I love sticker charts to earn things that I have been eyeing that aren’t necessities.

    • Something that has resonated with me is trying to figure out what it is that I’m actually craving when I go get a treat and then using that as my reward. So maybe I’m leaving the building to go get a fancy coffee, but turns out what I was really wanting was to see some daylight and to stretch my legs. Or maybe there’s a socialization aspect that is the thing that is really fueling you – not the donut. I’ll post a link to a video that explains this better than I can.

    • Ideas for mid-morning while at work —
      Replace fancy coffee drink with zero calorie special hot or iced tea bought outside the office. I like Tazo Passion iced or hot — make sure to specify no sweetener (Starbucks).
      Pour-over coffee is much smoother and less acidic and therefore (to me, at least) needs less milk and sugar. Maybe a special single-origin cup at a special coffee place?
      Walking to the farmer’s market (days it’s downtown) and getting fruit that’s special, as someone mentioned above. For me it would be eating an entire basket of fresh raspberries or strawberries myself. Or cherries for their short season. Maybe an Asian apple pear in fall.
      Meeting a friend who also works downtown for a 20-min. walk break.
      Doing the daily NYT or other crossword/an acrostic.
      Listening to a specific song or piece of music on headphones while sitting outside in the sun.

  7. I want to wear lip color more often, but I have trouble getting it to stay on and not smear. Does anyone have any secrets or product recommendations? I was looking at some of the brands with long wear lines, but a lot of those colors seemed a little neon when actually applied, which gave me pause. I prefer a more natural type of color. Someone had recommended Chanel, but most of their colors were surprisingly glittery in person, which seems outdated.

    • Aquae Sulis :

      I wear matte colours if I want them to last.

    • I am in the same boat!

      I am a big fan of Tarte’s Creamy Matte Lip Paint. The color “Birthday Suit” is perfect for me. I also have a coral color. It’s not as dry as other Matte lip paints and I find the application forgiving.

    • Anonymous :

      You need to look for a matte stain. Those stay on forever.

    • Anonymous :

      YSL pur couture glossy stain (they have matte too). This stuff is incredible.

    • Try a stain, matte lipstick, or liquid lipstick. Also, try adding lipliner (in a matching color or just nude).

      I like Revlon’s Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Honey

      • Love that line of stains. I wear a few different colors, but those are the best. Basically crayons for your mouth.

        I was turned onto invisible lip liner here; skin tone, acts as a barrier so your lip color doesn’t bleed over your actual lipline. The best one I’ve found is wet n wild (or was it NYX? either way, mega cheap drugstore brand).

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      NYX Epic Ink lip stain. This does NOT move once it has dried. I do need to reapply after eating, but I’m okay with that. Bonus – it’s only $8, so if you hate it you aren’t out it much.

    • anon a mouse :

      Smashbox Always On Liquid Lipstick.

    • joan wilder :

      I’ve had good luck with the Clinique POP primer plus lipstick. Stays on for ages, doesn’t smear, and is the one lipstick I found that doesn’t dry out my lips. The colors are all fairly bright though I think so it may not be natural enough for what you are looking for.

    • Marshmallow :

      Sephora lip tint (it’s actually a liquid stain and the longest-lasting of the bunch)
      Sephora cream matte lip stain
      Smashbox “always on” mentioned above
      Bite multistick, blotted, lasts a surprisingly long time

      But honestly, sometimes I just want a creamy lip color and I deal with the reapplication. Everything listed above can get kind of dry and dry lips are no fun.

    • Linda from HR :

      I have a longwear liquid lipstick from Stila (can’t remember the name) that I wear nearly every day. It does fade a little, and it you get it “wet” by applying lip balm or eating certain foods it might smudge a little bit, but in general it’s a pretty hardy lipstick. Kinda tough to remove sometimes, actually.

      My sister told me that lip liner can also keep lipstick in its place, but I’ll be honest, I haven’t tried it yet.

    • cake batter :

      I asked this question recently, and someone recommended Rimmel Provocalips. It’s one of those matte liquid lip colors that you follow with a glossy balm. You put the color on first and let it dry for 60 seconds, then apply the balm. I kid you not, that stuff does. not. move. I got mine at Ulta, but I think they have it at drugstores also.

    • Shu Uemura laque supreme. It’s a liquid gloss but it’s very pigmented and it stays on even when I eat and drink.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      Have you tried putting foundation on before lipstick? I find it works better than primers.

      For matte, I use foundation + lipstick. For non-matte, I do foundation, loose powder, + lipstick.

      Lipsticks I have found really good at staying put at the NARS lip pencils (esp. matte ones)-my favorite lipstick is the velvet matte lip pencil in cruella. NARS glosses are really good at staying, esp. for a gloss.

    • NARS. And make sure it’s matte.

  8. Aging Parent :

    I’m hoping for resources or words of wisdom: My mother is fiercely independent (retired Army officer and was a single parent). My sibling and I have begun to notice slips in her memory that, thus far have not but, could affect major areas of her life. I can see that she has developed means of coping, but I am beginning to become very concerned. We are not at a point that this is a crisis or that dramatic action needs to be taken. We do need to start the conversation, and I’m unsure of how to do that in a respectful and productive way. My sibling lives 12 hours away, so I am the one who sees what is going on most acutely and has the most face to face contact with my mother.

    • How old is she?

      How “serious” are the memory slips?

      Does she realize that she has them, and has she taken any steps to address them? For example, always keeping her keys in the same place so she doesn’t lose them, or making more lists to keep track of plans. Awareness of issues is a positive sign.

      I would not start with the big conversations, because I worry she will get defensive and I worry you are jumping the gun. In this situation, I would start with general health…… Have you seen your primary care doctor this year? I just went myself, go my flu shot etc…. Is it time for you to go? Has there been anything concerning you this year that you want to talk about? ……. Can I go with you? ……

      FYI – sleep issues, depression, B12 deficiency, thyroid issues are all common with aging and are common causes of memory issues.

      Always start with a basic check in with your doctor.

      And then some day, it would be wonderful if you could initiate the conversation about how she sees her life as she ages. It is really great for you to start these conversations. Sometimes it can begin with saying what YOU would like to have done if an emergency happens, or in retirement etc…

      And you and your sister need to talk separately about the support that each is willing to give, when the time comes.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Last paragraph is so important. My mom is the only one of her four siblings that lives near my grandparents. My grandma has pretty bad dementia and it’s been very stressful for my grandpa and parents- my aunts and uncles flutter in and out a few times a year, often create a ton of stress, and leave. My mom’s brother sees what’s going on but is too f-ed up himself to do anything or be trusted to do anything. The youngest sister ignores it all and pretends everything is just fine- she’s usually the one making it stressful because she assumes my grandma can cook for her entire family and manage all of them (and their kids’ friends and on and on) to visit for weeks at a time. The middle sister is, other than my mom, the best. She visits often, has my grandma to Seattle twice a year for a few days to give my mom and grandpa a break, and is a huge emotional support for my mom. But it’s taken a long time to get there because she wasn’t seeing the day to day issues like my mom was and didn’t understand how bad it was for a long time.

      • Yes, this. My parents are young (just turned 60) and healthy but divorced and in different financial health. I have two siblings and we are all in our early/mid 30s. It’s been talked about already.

        DH and I have money, but a young family and two careers. We plan to financially contribute to my moms care when the time comes (she doesn’t know this, she thinks she’s fine. She’s not.). I am my dad’s executrix and will be the de-facto care coordinator/spouse for my dad.

        My (single) brother and dad just bought a 3 family house in which they both live. My dad rents to my brother and the third unit. My brother will be the daily [email protected] do-er and task master, ride-giver etc. for both parents (mom doesn’t live too far away).

        My married sister with no kids and very litttle money (but a huge heart) has agreed that my mom can live with them if necessary. DH and I will supplement financially. My mom might move in with them anyway if my sister has kids (!!).

        This will of course change as we all age and family dynamics change. But if something happened today, that’s the plan.

    • Do you have a will or end-of-life plan? If so, tell your mom you want to talk through yours with her, so she knows what your wishes are. If not, tell your mom your goal is to have one in place by the end of the year, and would she help you work through it?

      Either way, you’re starting a conversation about those types of situations, which makes it easier to slip in things like “Hmmmm. Mom, what would YOU want if you were in a coma?” “Nursing homes seem okay if X or Y is happening, do you think that’s right? What would you be concerned about?” etc. You can start to get a sense for what her plans and preferences are, even if she isn’t ready to formally talk about them yet.

      And then your plans/preferences are set too, so you don’t have to repeat this situation with your kids or sister.

    • A good friend of mine learned too late that his single mother who lived halfway across the country had early-onset Alzheimer’s. She had run up huge debts and destroyed her credit by the time he intervened. If your mother will agree to let you keep tabs on her finances, that might be a good first step. Maybe get her approval to let you run quarterly credit checks? If you know her Social Security number, I don’t think anyone would stop you from running the checks without her approval, but that is the less respectful way to proceed.

      • OfCounsel :

        Caution: My understanding is that it is illegal to check someone’s credit without their permission (and the check will show up). Not to mention, if a parent finds out you did that, it could seriously backfire, especially for someone “fiercely independent.” Taking that step for someone with “memory slips” that have not actually impacted her life in a substantive way might be going a bit far. (Can you imagine if your parents checked your credit without your permission because they were concerned you were making poor financial decisions?)

        Age-related memory loss is common and not necessarily the first step in dementia or Alzheimer’s. In your shoes, and depending on her age and how serious these lapses are, I would suggest she talk to her doctor and let them evaluate her. I would also suggest that she check her own credit regularly simply because older people can be at high risk for identity theft. Unless it starts to get worse, I would leave it there. She is an adult who is competent to handle her own affairs.

    • I have been discussing with my far-away parents for years. Like what happens if there is just one of them? How do I know you are ok? What happens if I think you aren’t: first call neighbors, then call police for a well-check. One is because they have gone dark for no pre-announced reason before and then piped up (hurricane had them at a neighbor with a generator). The other is that at some point they will die and I don’t want to find thyme two weeks later. use the storm in Houston as a gateway to talk about safety and make sure you know neighbors and neighbors know who you are so that manga people have eyes on your mom.

  9. Gail the Goldfish :

    Does anyone have a good pie recipe? I need to make one for a work contest and I am not really a fan of pie, so I have no recipes other than key lime (which seems boring compared to the usual competition at this thing). Pies with chocolate and/or liquor seem to be big hits every year, so bonus points if it uses one of those things.

    • Anonymous :

      Margarita pie. It’s key lime pie with tequila in it.

    • Bumblebee :

      To me the secret to a pie that impresses others is to make my own crust. I grew up watching all my older female relatives do this, so it is not a big deal to me, but for some reason it always evokes reaction in others. My tips – I use a basic recipe, I think from Joy of Cooking, but do NOT use a food processor. Use a pastry cutter for best flakiness. Also, and this is kind of repulsive if you think about it too much, but butter-flavor crisco makes the best pie crusts!

    • Anonymous :

      The peach and creme fraiche pie from Smitten Kitchen. It only has a few ingredients, is super easy to make, and is extraordinarily delicious.

    • Anon in NYC :

      I made this last year and I thought it was very good. I think I underbaked it a little (followed the directions), but that is oven specific. https://smittenkitchen.com/2015/03/black-bottom-oatmeal-pie/

      I’m sure you can find other versions of this recipe online too, if you want a comparison!

    • If you want chocolate + booze, Baked’s chocolate whiskey tart:


    • I can’t find the exact recipe I used, but I made a chai pear pie a few years ago. The chai spices are seasonally appropriate and might give you an edge with any PSL lovers in your office.

    • Check out Four and Twenty Blackbirds pie cookbook. They are a women-owned shop in Brooklyn that use their grandmother’s pie recipes from Idaho, but add modern twists.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Similar to key lime in its difficulty level, but weirdly more impressive for some reason? Even though the crust is actually easier than normal?

      The only thing I’ll note is that you do really have to make fresh whipped cream. Canned stuff doesn’t work because it melts at room temperature.


    • Apple pie with a bacon lattice or bacon crumble. I don’t have a good recipe, because I’ve never made it myself but have enjoyed a few different ones made by friends. It looks like there are quite a few varieties online (including a bacon bourbon apple pie).

    • Another SK fan :

      I made this blackberry – blueberry crumb pie recently and it was delicious! Good use of the late summer fruits

    • Minnie Beebe :

      Maple Pecan Pie. I use the recipe for Pecan Pie from Smitten Kitchen (do a search for this), but instead of corn syrup, I use dark amber maple syrup.

      OMG, it is so, so good. Like I want a slice right now.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I made this for the party we had over the weekend to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. My mom used to make Grasshopper Pie when I was a kid and I thought it was about the fanciest thing there could ever possibly be. And everybody at my party loved it!


    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Thanks, everybody!

  10. Anonymous :

    PhD question: Do most people study the same field as they did for their bachelor’s?

    • Anecdata: my husband did not. Think soft-science undergrad (psych) and hard-science phd (engineering field w/crazy math).

      • Appreciate this. I’m debating between my original field and making a switch. Did he take classes math classes after he finished his bachelor’s and before applying to the PhD?

        • Yes. He took math classes at the local Big State U before applying to his hard science masters at a top school, where he then went on to do his phd and second masters.

      • That’s very unusual though. It’s not that uncommon to switch from math to physics or CS to EE but doing a PhD in a STEM field without a science or engineering undergrad degree is practically unheard of. More anecdata: my husband has a math PhD and all his grad school classmates had undergrad degrees in math. Double majors in econ, stats, CS or physics were common but everyone had a math degree.

    • Not necessarily, but you’ll need a deep background in whatever you want to study for your PhD, so if it wasn’t your major, it probably needs to have been your almost-major. For example, I think you could get into a good polisci program with an econ undergrad, but you’d likely need to have taken polisci courses up through the most advanced level your college offered to undergrads. Part of this is because you need to know the field well enough to have some sense of your research interests, because that’s important in getting into a PhD program.

      • This. It’s pretty hard to get into a PhD program that is not significantly related to your bachelor degree. Modern history or poli sci majors got into my local international affairs PhD program without trouble. Even biology/nursing etc might be fine if you could show the connection – e.g. international nursing placement in developing country, interest in international public health issues via coursework specialization in those areas.

    • Anony Mouse :

      It really depends on the field. In the humanities, it’s often true, unless you go into something highly specialized like History of Science, which requires a more science-heavy background.

    • My PhD is in exactly same field as my BS major. I had a friend in college who was a speech and hearing major and then entered a psychology PhD.

    • In interdisciplinary fields like Earth Science, Marine Science, or Environmental Science, you definitely get a mix of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, and other undergrad majors. The most important things are to have a strong enough quantitative background for the field you’re interested in and to be able to make the case how your background has led you to and prepared you for the topic you want to study.

    • Thanks to everyone for the input. Just to clarify, I would either do my original field or something related. (I wouldn’t be making a switch as large as english to engineering.) I studied a technology field and will do a technology field. However, certain switches would require additional classes, and I’m not sure if I should consider those.

      Follow up: I don’t have someone to guide me through this process. I’m making a list of about a dozen schools I’m interested in (not saying I’d apply to that many), and will next study for an entrance exam. I’m thinking about assessing myself at that point to see if I’d be competitive for the level of school I’m interested in. Does this sound like a good plan? Or, any advice for someone who’s kind of on their own during this process?

      • Definitely make a list of schools you are listed in and review each of their minimum requirements and find out their average acceptances which can be much higher than the minimum requirements. For a Phd program, depending on the field, you may want to contact potential supervisors at each school and explain why you are interested in working with them.

        And prepare for some randomness in acceptances. I got offered big scholarship money at prestige school but I really wanted joint degree program at less prestigious school in neighboring city – one of the faculty’s took forever to offer admission. I wanted to shake them and be like ”seriously?’ – X is offering Y money and you won’t even let me in’;. Sigh. Got in eventually and it was 100% the right fit in the long term.

      • Anony Mouse :

        If you don’t already have a strong background in statistical analysis/research methods, those are probably a very good place to start.

    • My brother studied Computer Science for undergrad and then Industrial Engineering for his MS and PhD. But he has really strong math and analytical skills so the switch isn’t completely strange or difficult.

  11. Philadelphia hotels?? :

    I am going to a conference in Philadelphia next spring. The conference hasn’t released its hotel list yet, but it will most likely include all the major hotels around the Philly convention center, site of the conference. Does anyone have a favorite or tips on which is the most convenient? I looked at a map and there are so many hotels! Cost is not particularly a concern right now as many will have convention rates that are steeply discounted; I want to be able to make a good decision when the list is released. Thanks for helping me get inspired; work is not inspiring me at present so I need something good to think about.

    • Depends on what you want — if nearly all your time will be taken up by convention activities, the choices south of the Convention Center (Marriott, Le Meridian a bit further away) are perfectly fine, if boring and not in particularly scenic blocks. North of the Convention Center is Chinatown. If you want something a little more interesting a 10- minute walk away, check out the Palomar (Kimpton property). The Ritz is a classic for a reason and also maybe a 5-minute walk.

    • Philadelphian here – both the Marriott Courtyard and the Marriott Downtown are within 1 block of the Convention Center. I stayed at the Marriott Courtyard when I took the bar earlier this year, and it was very nice, but if money was no concern, I’d spring for a room at the Downtown.

      There are plenty of restaurants nearby on 13th Street (Barbuzzo and Charlie is A Sinner come to mind), and you won’t have to worry about commuting to/from the Convention Center every day.

    • It depends on what you are looking for in a hotel. Are you looking for luxury because you’ll spend a lot of time in the hotel/your hotel room? Or are you more interested in spending time out of the hotel exploring when you are not at the conference? When I was interviewing for my job and deciding whether I could live in Philly, I stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott that is right across the street from City Hall and enjoyed it. It was convenient and comfortable and has a cool view if you face City Hall. Some friends have stayed at the Loews hotel on Market street and they enjoyed their stay there.

    • If cost is no object, stay at the Ritz! I love the beds at the Sofitel and I had a great stay at the Loews.

    • Go for the Courtyard. It’s recently renovated and is away from the yuckier blocks around the convention center. I hate that Marriott and always opt for the Courtyard. There also is a Residence Inn right next to the Courtyard that is decent and I think may have done some recent renovations as well. Just skip that Marriott. Ick.

      • +1 from a platinum Marriott member. That’s a bad Marriott. The Courtyard is nicer (not usually the case)

    • In House Lobbyist :

      I just stayed at the downtown Marriott attached to the convention center just a few weeks ago. It was definitely dated and needed some updating. I like to stay in the conference host hotel though for convenience but I wasn’t impressed. The only good thing about it was that it was such a close walk to Reading Terminal.

      • Thanks everyone! (And I wish cost was no object, more just like anything feasible will probably be discounted to roughly the same rate.). I appreciate the varied viewpoints!

  12. Minimalist :

    Can we talk about color-minimal wardrobes?

    Now that I’m well into my 30s, I decided that I’m just done trying to make color a thing that works for me. I really enjoy wearing all neutrals, all the time, and I haven’t gotten bored yet. I wanted to see if there’s anyone else who dresses the same, and if you have any tips or ideas.

    A couple of specific questions:
    -Do you wear navy in the fall/winter? What do you pair it with? I love navy with white/cream in the summer.
    -Do you wear camel? What pieces? With what other neutrals? I’m in the mood for a camel sweater this fall but I’m not sure how to incorporate it into a suits all the time office. Weekends only?

    • – mustard, orange, burgundy, olive, camel all look great with navy
      – 3/4 camel sweater with navy suit pants and navy suit jacket with sleeves rolled up

    • Baconpancakes :

      So everything you’ve described is the bulk of my base wardrobe. My foundational wardrobe is navy, white, black, and camel, with occasional grey and olive pieces. I do add in other colors as the seasons change, but my foundation colors work with basically everything. In spring, I add yellow, turquoise, and/or pink, in summer I focus on light blue and add more white, this fall I’m adding maroon and red pieces, and keeping my 2 burnt orange pieces that I love on rotation as well.

      A camel sweater is also on my list. A fine gauge sweater could easily pair with suit trousers or a pencil skirt in navy or black, but you might have a bit of difficulty adding a suit jacket on top. Perhaps a very lightweight short-sleeved sweater under a heavier jacket might work, but it might be a bit tricky. Camel also looks great with red and maroon. I have a structured camel leather purse I wear year-round pretty much whenever I don’t want to use a black purse. In general, it’s very neutral in accessories.

    • I wear navy year round, but I find it difficult to match with anything other than black for work. Casually I match it with olive, white, coral, light blue, black, and denim.

      Camel I’d wear with black.

    • Trixie Belden :

      I enjoy navy with black. So that is a frequent pairing for me.

      Camel is not a flattering color on me (and i don’t like it enough to try to make it work) so I don’t wear it.

      I think camel colored wool winter coats are really classic though. I would suggest looking at one of those

    • Leopard is a neutral in my world, and I live in camel and navy. I love a calfhair leopard belt, shoes, or other accent (…fitbit bracelet? sure!), with otherwise sober navy and camel.

    • I do a lot of navy in the summer- some in winter -but my main winter pants are grays- it seems like an easier neutral that goes with every neutral and colored top, and goes with black shoes. I’m in the SEUS so all black can be too somber.

    • I have a pretty color minimal wardrobe with black, grey, and navy being the central colors. I also have a few statement pieces in royal/ cobalt blue. Since a majority of my wardrobe is black, it pairs very nicely and makes people forget that I wear black basically all the time.

      With navy, I usually go monochromatic (sheath dresses) or burgundy, regardless of season. I’ve been called out before for looking “too fall” during the summer.

      I don’t do camel, because it is too close to my skin tone, but I can picture a nice quality sweater going well with a navy skirt or slacks.

    • Camel + burgundy, even a charcoal, even forest green.

    • Annony Moose :

      The base of my wardrobe is navy and gray. Then accent colors of white, light blues, lilac/lavender/orchid and when I can find it, very, very, very pale blue-sh pink, all of which go with navy and gray. Frequently, I’ll wear navy trousers with a gray cardigan, or gray trousers with a navy cardigan.

      I don’t wear camel because it isn’t very flattering to me, but I have seen lovely camel and gray outfits.

    • This is me — mostly black for my base. But I do navy and white in summer (cognac accessories) and navy and burgundy/oxblood in fall. What makes that fall option work is having a pair of patent burgundy wedges.

      I like camel and think it works really well in fall/winter paired with black, charcoal, navy *or* burgundy. This year I’m going to try a camel/oatmeal heather/charcoal/light grey capsule partly inspired by this post on Wardrobe Oxygen:

    • Anonymous :

      This is me! I never really enjoyed wearing color as a young person, and the older I got, the more I transitioned away from it. I wear exclusively neutrals now (black, white, gray, and metallics…I don’t go for camel because I never found it to be very flattering against my skin tone, but it’s a beautiful warm addition to a neutral palette if it works on you.) I don’t wear navy anymore, but it was the last color I gave up and I still adore the look of black and navy together.

      Some things that have helped me transition into all neutrals:
      -Fit. If you’re interested in going truly minimal–no colors and not too many pieces–then you should definitely optimize for fit, always. Don’t settle for the black sheath dress with the hem that’s just a bit too long or the shoulders that are a bit too loose. It’ll take more time, but unlike, say, a pale blue sheath dress, you CAN find a black sheath dress that is perfect, and you’ll feel amazing every time you put it on.
      -Texture. I’m a sucker for interesting texture and love going after leather, velvet, suede, silk, brocade, etc to add interest to an otherwise neutral palette.
      -Shine. Don’t forget about metallics! A little bit of shine goes a long way to adding interest and it doesn’t have to be over the top to work.
      -Understanding your general style. One thing it took me a long time to learn was that “no color” isn’t really a style in and of itself. I used to get frustrated when my neutral separates didn’t seem to look right together, but the reason they didn’t was because they were all over the style map (some were classic, some were edgy, some were vintage-inspired, etc.) YMMV, but I starting liking (and mixing and matching) my neutral wardrobe much more when I committed to a modern, slightly edgy aesthetic and stopped trying to cram in other styles just because they fit me and weren’t colorful.

      Have fun with it!

  13. Does anyone have the Everlane Modern Loafers? Is there any arch support?

    • I had them. Past tense. I didn’t think they had much arch support. They also ran small and narrow.

    • Wearing them today. No arch support, but I find them very comfortable. Toe box does run small, especially at first, but if you can tough it out through the break-in period, they are great. Further, they wear like iron. I have had them for several years and wear them all the time, and they have held up phenomenally well. FWIW, my feet are on the narrow side of normal and I have pretty flat feet, if that helps you calibrate.

      • Thanks! Did you size up? I would probably have to account for some additional insoles for arch support.

  14. Today’s fashion faux pas–I’m wearing a navy skirt, which I thought was a black skirt, with a black top and black jacket. It was dark in my house due to the tropical storm this morning, and I couldn’t tell the difference until I was under the fluorescent lights of the office.

  15. ankle boots :

    Ahat are the most comfortable flat or low heeled ankle boots? Not a shootie, should have a short shaft. The Petty style is good but I’m leery that it’s not super comfortable.

    • I bought the Franco Sarto Linden when I hurt my knee and needed a comfortable block heel boot. The heel is covered rubber, so very comfortable. I wore them out and now have them in 3 colors.

    • I can’t tell if you’ve actually tried the Petty, but I find it super comfortable.

      • I’m not the OP, but I am similarly looking for comfy flat ankle boots and do not find the Petty particularly works for my foot.

        • Anony Mouse :

          Same for me, which is a bummer because the Petty is super cute. I don’t think SE shoes work for me at all, actually.

          • Me too–they’re too narrow and and weirdly long for my wide size 5 feet.

    • Aquatalia

    • I have two pairs of Earthies Sintra boots. There are spangles involved in one pair, but those are easily camouflaged. So super comfortable.

  16. Camel coat :

    Spinoff of color thread above. I am a Winter and have been paring my wardrobe down to mainly black, gray, white, and icy colors. Right before I started thinking much about color, I acquired a beautiful camel-colored wool wrap coat. Is this classic enough that I can get away with it as outerwear with my black and gray wardrobe? What about for evening (theatre and symphony)? I still have a black wool coat that I use for these occasions, but it’s getting old and I’d like to retire it.

    • Yes definitely. Camel is a neutral in my book.

    • Classic enough for black and gray? Yes.
      For evening? Yes, but keep your black one, too.
      For your coloring, what about a scarf or hat that is more your coloring?

    • My coloring is similar to you.

      I also have a beautiful camel colored coat that I have kept, but honestly…. I rarely wear it. The shade of camel/tan/beige is critical here. I realized it makes me look very washed out. The only way it works is when I am wearing a dark navy or black inside the coat and close to my face …. so either a very high neck top, scarf, turtleneck. It works best with a dark monochromatic look inside of it.

      You definitely need a black dark dressier coat long term, regardless. A camel coat is not a full replacement of a black coat, particularly for our coloring.

      Sometimes mixtures of neutrals (tan/grey) can be very nice, but it takes a lot of skill and the correct shades to work. It is risky.

  17. Lately I’ve been looking around the courtroom and wondering, “where are all the woman litigators in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s?”. In my city all of the women who appear in court are in their 20’s (including me). I think I know the answer, and it sent me into an existential crisis over my career. Is a litigation career not sustainable for the majority of women, including myself? If I have the opportunity (I do), should I switch to transactional, despite my lack of interest in it? The feminist in me wants to say of course I can do whatever career I please, and have children and a marriage, but the realist in me looks around the courtroom and sees only 20-somethings in the room.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      What are you in court for and what area of law? If it’s a function of lower-level attorneys getting sent for not as important hearings, it makes sense that they’re younger. I have also noticed that in certain fields, there seem to be more women. I used to do medical malpractice–a lot of the older trial attorneys were women (I mean, not a ton, but more than I have noticed in other areas of law). Not sure why there were more in that particular field, but it seemed to be the case.

      • I agree in part but also found it telling that when I went for non-important hearings or motions, it was nearly always a middle aged man on the other side of me. Why are there men of all ages but pretty much only younger women? I suspect part of this is that there just are fewer women lawyers the older you get in all of law (reasons explained below) and then the pool narrows in active litigation further (they go in-house like I did, or to government, to teach, etc.). It’s the same reason why the number of women partners in litigation was abysmal at my firm despite litigation being the largest department and firmwide only buoyed by the number of women partners in other departments (transaction, T&E, RE, etc.)

      • Gail the Goldish, can I ask what area of law you transitioned to? :)

    • I’m a 30-something with a toddler and am a litigator (government, aka low pay but not 9-5). I’ve noticed the same thing- most women in my field take a step back once they have a child (which is usually mid-30s around here). It makes me sad. It makes me rage-y. I know that each individual woman is doing the right thing for herself and her family, and I love that we have these choices available to us, but the overall message it sends is 1. this path is not sustainable for moms and 2. any mom that stays on this path is not prioritizing her family aka is a bad mom. Both of these things have been said to me indirectly, e.g. “I love this work but I just can’t do it because I have a child and I have to prioritize my family first.” I don’t usually point out that they are implying that I am not prioritizing my family. I am, but in a different way. I am prioritizing not being the bitter, sad mom who has regrets about how she lived her life (which is what would happen if *I* left my field), and I am prioritizing showing my daughter that sometimes you have to work very, very hard to have what you want.

      It’s hard and it’s lonely, but it’s not impossible. Read Laura Vanderkam. Research childcare options. Make sure your partner is an equal partner – not just in theory when you’re talking about it, but in actuality when the child is born. And post here!

      You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. Sometimes how you feel about work changes over time, regardless of whether you have kids, and you shouldn’t stick with it if you hate it. But you CAN do it if you want to. And then maybe the next 20-something will see you doing it and say, hey you know what, I could do that.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        +1M to the above. I am 40ish with a six year old and a civil litigator. It *can* be done if you want it!

      • 40ish with 3 kids and a civil litigator. It can be done, although sometimes I’m not sure I want to.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I don’t know what court you’re in, but here is LA there are a ton of well-respected older women litigators. I tend to agree that if you’re only seeing 20-somethings then you’re doing a lot of relatively low-level law and motion. At least that would be the answer here.

    • Don’t leave before you leave.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I noticed that when I was litigating in Chicago, especially since I frequently had (women) interns and when I took them to court it was striking to be in packed elevators where we were the only women. I agree that part of it was probably that I was doing the motion practice stuff, and the partners would sweep in for anything fun. (Though in my time in Chicago, all the partners were men too.) But honestly, I got sick of being in a room full of men, and I knew that having a kid wouldn’t be compatible with that life, and a lot of that is why I vamoosed. (I never really loved being in court anyway though.)

    • Late 40s, gov litigator w/2 kids in high school — I’m back in the office, supervising the junior attorneys. I only go to court when I absolutely have to. This is easier in some courts than others (I’m looking at you, Chicago, with your ridiculous cattle calls for every single motion).

    • Also late 40s, midlaw partner w/one kid, one husband, and a side hustle (joint with the hubs and our business partners). I spend a lot of my time in bankruptcy and commercial litigation and often am the only woman in the room, which has not changed much in all the years (almost 25!) that I have been practicing. Court is the highlight of my practice; for me the law always has meant a courtroom, a judge, and the battle of mind on mind.

      That said, there is a lot more to litigation than the courtroom and there is a lot of unpleasantness — for both men and women. But there is real progress occurring – slowly, but truly. We now have a meaningful number of female judges and clerks of court, women are leading some of the big cases that I see, clients are being run by women who actually will consider other women as counsel and invite women to pitch business in their names (because it matters who gets the origination credit — ALWAYS), women are becoming heads of their firms and departments and G.Cs.

      Progress is slow, but it will not happen if some of us do not stick with the practice of law. I often remind myself that when I applied to college, West Point only had been taking women for a couple years, and when I applied to law schools, Washington & Lee only had just started accepting women. The law has been a male enclave for hundreds of years, so changing it is going to take more work and more time. It is not easy, but nothing really worth accomplishing ever is.

      And that is (besides the money) why I keep doing it. I may never be president of the United States, but I can help to make the law a place where these conversations can become unnecessary. I can raise a kid who understands that Mom works to make money and keep a roof over his head and tells his preschool teacher that mom has to drop off fast because she has to go see a judge today. I do not guilt myself over that — what I do is worthwhile if I make change one small person at a time.

  18. Cape Town? :

    My husband and I are heading to Cape Town, South Africa at the last minute. We’ll be there 4 days. Any tips or recommendations? TIA.

    • I wrote a long set of recommendations maybe a year ago? It might come up in search. I don’t have time to spell it all out now, but I would focus on eating and hiking. Go to Franschhoek, Cape Point, climb Table Mountain from the Kirstenbosch side and take the cable car down. It’s been a few years since I lived there, but Test Kitchen was the of-the-moment place then, and I’m sure it’s still good. In Franschhoek, Quartier Francais is classic and great.

    • Anonymous :

      Seconding Sarabeth. I also chimed in on a Cape town thread awhile ago. If weather permits, you can also take the cable car up Table mountain, especially if you are short on time. Visit the V&A waterfront, there’s restaurants and shopping. If you have access to a car you can also take a drive along the coast. Can’t remember how much of a drive this was but we went to Muizenburg, it’s called Boulder’s beach to see the penguins. For wine tasting there are vineyards in the Stellenbosch area, Fairview estates(Goats do Roam) is one of the popular ones. You can also check online guides for more suggestions.

  19. joan wilder :

    It may be hard to get tickets to visit Robben Island at the last minute as they sell out in advance, but try if you can. I recommend the District 6 museum, a visit to the Bo Kaap district, and eating/drinking all the food and wine. A day trip to Stellenbosch of Franschoek for wine tasting. If you feel like a splurge while you are out there and can get a reservation, maybe lunch at Bablyonstoren but there a lot of great restaurants in the wine area.

  20. joan wilder :

    I posted but it seems to be in moderation. Do you know where you plan to stay?

  21. Pre-Baby Discussions :

    The plan is to TTC soon, but I have been all over the internet reading about things to know/discuss/decide with DH and I am feeling a little overwhelmed by the magnitude of it all. I know we don’t have to decide All The Things right now, but *which* things are important to address now (vs. during pregnancy or after kiddo arrives)?

    • Uhhh…. nothing? I think my husband and I were in a good place financially and career wise when we decided to go for it, so we just sort of did without having any Grand Discussions.

      The only thing I would have done differently is to get term life insurance in place prior to becoming pregnant.

      It’s not really something you can prepare for. Every kid is different and if you have multiple kids, what works with one may not work for another. Sleeping, feeding, discipline, etc… it’s all very personality dependent. Don’t be afraid to be flexible. I had certain things I thought I would do a certain way– some of them I have, some of them I haven’t, some of them I wish I could do but for my own mental health had to let go of.

      • Oh, get on all the daycare waiting lists the second you pee on a stick. That you do have to do when you’re pregnant.

      • I would second getting life insurance now! New motherhood is stressful enough without the added pressure to lose the weight really fast so the insurance company doesn’t ding you for being “obese” and having a recent hospital stay because they don’t care that you had a baby last week. The daycare waiting lists depend on where you live. We were fine getting on them around 12 weeks, and I was actually mocked at one place for doing it “so early,” but we are in a LCOL place with a decent number of daycares.

      • Anonymous :

        The daycare waiting list ASAP thing is assuming the baby is starting daycare at 12 weeks old, right? My husband has a long paternity leave, so we’re looking at baby starting daycare when she’s ~11 months old, or approximately 16 months from now. I haven’t called any daycares yet (I plan to do it soon though) and I’m 16 weeks pregnant now.

        • OfCounsel :

          Not necessarily. My daughter’s preschool had an infant program and the waiting list for non-siblings was over a year long! It does not hurt to put yourself on the list immediately and just let them know when you anticipate needing a spot.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I think the only huge things are going to be like, morality/religious things, if you didn’t cover them before marriage or in the course of your relationship.

      One you might not have thought of: I was super anti circumcision (not trying to start a fight, I was opposed to it for *my* child) and that never came up before we got pregnant.

      If I had wanted to baptize a kid that would’ve been a problem for my husband (but I didn’t want to — and also that was covered in pre-marriage talking… and just generally knowing one another). General religious questions should be covered (but again, probably should already be covered).

      We also talked about, and agreed on, situations where we might terminate a pregnancy. Awful to think about, but how much worse if we didn’t agree?

    • Take your vitamins. Have sex. That’s all you *need* to do. Quit reading the internet.

    • blueberries :

      Discuss with partner tentantive plans for leaves and how you each envision sharing early parenting duties.

      • +1 Discuss what you will do if you have an important thing at work AND he has an important thing at work AND your baby is too sick to go to daycare. This is more to understand how your spouse will approach such scenarios rather and not because you need s solution right this second.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m only just now pregnant with #1 so take this with a grain of salt, but here are things we discussed (some before marriage, some while married but before TTC):
      1. What religion/non-religion will the child be raised in
      2. How involved will families be/how often do you expect to visit each family after having kids?
      3. Who would you ask to raise the child in the event you both die at the same time
      4. Do you both expect to be equal parents or does one of you expect a certain parent to do more childcare? I think it’s really hard to discuss details of childcare logistics, like who will do daycare drop-offs/pick-ups or who will wake up in the middle of the night when the baby cries, because these things are very dependent on your particular kid and childcare arrangements, which can’t be made until later on down the line. But I think it’s important to establish that you are both on the same page about sharing 50-50 or 80-20 with the mother doing most of the work or whatever.

      Agree with the advice that discussing circumstances in which you would terminate a pregnancy and whether or not you would circumcise a male child are also good things to talk about. We didn’t specifically discuss these things, although I kind of knew we would be on the same page about when to terminate a pregnancy, and our mutual religion dictates circumcision.

    • Go see a genetic counselor and get genetic testing done (even if you’re not aware of a family history of any genetic disease). This can be done with a simple blood test that is sometimes covered by insurance or can be paid for out of pocket with a few hundred dollars. It’s pretty rare for both partners to carry the same disease, but it does happen and it is not a level of stress that you want to deal with during pregnancy (ask me how I know).

  22. Sloan Sabbith :

    What are your “secrets of Adulthood,” a la Gretchen Rubin? Mine are:

    1. Take ibuprofen when I have a headache.
    2. Track what I want to do more of.
    3. Take care of myself when my body needs it.
    4. Long days. Short months.
    5. To be a leader, don’t make yourself indispensable.
    6. Go. Because you want to. Because wanting to leave is enough.
    7. When in doubt, drink a glass of water.
    8. Talk less. Smile more.
    9. Do the thing instead of worrying about not having done the thing.
    10. Leave earlier than you think you have to.
    11. Gold stars are adulting.
    12. Pet the dog.
    13. Schedule things that need to happen.
    14. Set aside time to work.

    Also, I saw my psychiatrist yesterday and we doubled my Zoloft dose to 50mg and added Klonopin in the interim. My anxiety and depression were both the highest they’ve ever been on the screeners.

    • #12 has been huge for me. Not just because my dog massively improves my life, but because it’s a good reminder to stop do little things that are pleasurable, even if they don’t serve any particular goal. I’m never going to be sorry I stopped to pet the dog, you know?

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Exactly. And it takes so little time and just makes him so happy that I get happy, too (plus because I love him and would pet him all day if I could). The look of bliss on his face when I’m petting him makes my entire day better. And it takes so little time that I can always, always do it.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Glad you’re taking care of yourself, Sloan! And OMG #9 is so wise!

      Some of my secrets of adulthood are:

      1. It’s never too late to start over.
      2. Don’t eat anything that isn’t delicious.
      3. “No” is a complete sentence.
      4. People are not improvement projects.

    • Never buy unframed art.
      Assume good intentions.
      Never go empty handed.
      If it takes less than 2 minutes, do it now.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Sloan I was thinking of you — glad you’re taking steps to feel better <3

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Oh also can you explain your #5?

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          It’s a slight shift from what it actually says in my list, but I didn’t want to out my old boss, who wrote the essay I’m thinking of. I can email you the actual essay if you’d like, it’s very powerful.

          Essentially, and I’m going to do no justice to his essay: We all exist within organizations. We, as individuals, are a part of that organization, but if we are to act as effective leaders, our subordinates must be able to make their own decisions, and be trusted and trained to do so. Seeing ourselves as indispensable only hurts the organization as a whole.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            Oh interesting! I would totally read the article if you send a link!

    • I’m sorry you’re struggling right now and hope you get feeling better!

      Seriously having a hard time with #9 right now. Ugh.

    • You should re-post this on the afternoon thread because I’ve love to see more responses.

      Some of mine are:
      1. Showing up is 90% (of friendships, networking, all sort of relationships).
      2. Have a water before your 2nd drink.
      3. Ask questions.
      4. Seek forgiveness, not permission.
      5. People notice less than you think they do.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I’ll do that!

        Added another one to my list: “I don’t know, but I’ll find out” is a good answer.

      • Senior Attorney :

        These are all great.

        I’d say showing up is 90% of pretty much everything!

    • I’m hung up on #8 being from Hamilton.

    • 1. Dress for the weather
      2. Work smarter, not harder (automate, have routines)
      3. Doing things as they come up may seem more inefficient than waiting to do several things at once, but it’ll save you mental energy and stress in the long run.
      4. Fill up the gas tank every Saturday morning (i.e. don’t wait til something is a crisis)
      5. Done is better than perfect

      I’m a terrible perfectionist procrastinator, so most of mine are related to just getting stuff done.

    • So glad to hear you’re feeling a little better, Sloan! Woo!

      I suck at #1, like, a lot, but I am a pro at #12. If I could do #12 at work, I’d be a much happier, nicer human.

    • Grilled Cheese :

      #1. Always bring a sweater.
      #2. Pee before you leave.

      Working on the rest!

    • Cookbooks :

      1. Don’t be afraid to put yourself first; self care is important.
      2. Ask for clarification
      3. Splurge on mattresses and shoes. If you’re not in one, you’re in the other.
      4. Take 60 seconds to call/text/email/whatever and keep in touch.
      5. Senior Attorney’s rules for life are always a good reference.

    • 1. Worry less about how you look and more about what you see.
      2. No one is keeping score. If you want the cookie, have the cookie.
      3. Do good in the world.
      4. Know and honor your limitations.
      5. If you don’t want to do it, but you want it done, either grit your teeth and do it or outsource.

  23. Keratin in NYC? :

    I finally caved and decided it’s time to try keratin on my hair. Right now I blow dry it almost every day and it takes up too much of my time. But there are so many different brands of keratin I am overwhelmed! Do any of the less chemically ones work? And anyone have a suggestion of a place to get it done in NYC? I have thick, wavy, frizzy, shoulder length hair. TIA!

  24. NewRecruit :

    How familiar is the hive with Healthy Wage? I just found out about them yesterday. Has anyone on here placed a bet? If so, was your experience positive?

  25. Texans for Harvey :

    Any fellow Texans come across ways to volunteer for Harvey? I live in Fort Worth and evacuees may be coming as early as today.

    Here is what I have found thus far. Please share any additions!

    I have a friend organizing a truck to Houston with baby/mom supplies. Would love to know more ways to physically donate along with monetary donations.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m in the Dallas area and wonder this too. I posted about the pets yesterday, so I think will donate to Austin Pets Alive, Houston SPCA, maybe even Louisiana SPCA; any I’m missing?

      My question is – for the people, how do they even get up to DFW or Bell County or the others that offered space? Maybe from the north side of town, but in the southern areas they are pretty stuck unless airlifted?

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I read something about shelters needing gluten free non-perishables for evacuees with Celiac disease. For those with real Celiac, eating GF isn’t a preference. The alternative is diarrhea and vomiting which is not good normally and extra dangerous in a disaster without proper plumbing. Lara bars are a good option as are tuna packets.

  26. Today is Day 3 of Intermittent Fasting. I’m following Jason Fung’s book, The Obesity Code. Anybody have experience or encouragement on IF to share with me? I could use some inspiration to get through a long work-day without my usual lunch break and late afternoon treat break! (Trying to break the afternoon treat break habit is part of the reason I’m doing this, BTW.)

    • Drink lots of tea because it helps with the urge to snack. Plan a balanced meal when you get home that can be ready in 30 minutes. Before a fast day, eat whole grains and protein to tide you over longer.

    • In the middle of a fast day myself. I think I’ll be okay here at work, but going home and not standing in the pantry and eating all the things is going to be a challenge. Just getting started on IF: I’m trying the 5-2 method, where you eat only 500 calories two days a week. I’ve been sort of easing into it, and have been having probably 800-900 calories on fast days, but I’m starting tracking and being much more diligent about hitting the 500 mark. I have discovered that distraction and staying away from the kitchen is the key, at least for me, of hitting my mark.

    • Anonymous :

      1. Coffee. Black, iced, all of it. Also plain iced tea (plain being relative — I like making it with mint tea!), diet soda, crystal light, water….. all the beverages.
      2. Still take lunch, just use it to grab a water bottle and go for a walk (or hit the gym, but it’s much easier for me to walk out the door and walk) – even if it’s just around the parking lot! Mentally take that break and reset.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve been doing it for a few months now — the 5:2 diet. I’ve had good results so far.

      I don’t eat until dinner on fast days. During the day I chew sugar-free gum, drink lots of fizzy no-calorie beverages like diet ginger ale and sparkling water, and coffee/tea. Caffeine is an appetite suppressant. For dinner I always have soup, because it takes a long time to eat and is hot, so you feel more full even though its not high calorie. I also eat fiber one as a snack since it’s dense and relatively low calorie. It’s hard at first, but it gets easier with time. Now I sometimes look forward to a fast day after a weekend with a lot of eating out/drinks. I think it helps to reset your thinking in that it’s okay to feel hungry sometimes, smaller portions can be satisfying, etc.

    • Frozen Peach :

      Been doing IF for almost a year. Herbal tea with stevia, all day, every day. A cold diet soda is my special treat at lunch instead of lunch. I feel much better when I eat a lot of fat during my “on” days. Like extra tablespoons of butter.

  27. I don’t hate it, but I think we could have done without the little slit on the side. It’s still very classy though. I would probably rock the black version of the dress.

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