Frugal Friday’s Workwear Report: Scalloped Cami Top

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

To be 100% clear, this is a camisole — this is not a blouse. It’s really meant to be another layer — to raise the neckline or, for a desk-to-dinner kind of thing, to wear it off to dinner. You should not wear a camisole like this by itself to the office (and frankly, I don’t even like to wear this kind of thing under a suit jacket because of the extra dry cleaning — the camisole itself is machine washable, though). Under cardigans or under a semi-sheer blouse like the one we featured on Tuesday, this would be lovely. The scalloped neckline is interesting and cool and kind of reminiscent of Selina Meyer on Veep. It’s well rated and it’s a bestseller, and it’s on sale for $24.50-$34.50 at J.Crew Factory. The camisole comes in sizes 00-16 in seven colors. Scalloped Cami Top

This top, also at J.Crew Factory, has also been a reader favorite for years now and is $24.50-$24.99.

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  1. so many bags :

    What is your go-to bag for carrying to work events? Hoping to hold a few papers, iPad, wallet, water bottle, a snack, and potentially a MacBook.

    Also, any suggestions for a business card holder? I keep mine in my wallet, but I don’t love pulling out my wallet all the time.

    • Here’s one option. I’ve had this bag for over two yeas now and I use it daily for my commute to work. Solid construction. Not too expensive, considering the ranges out there. I have received many compliments on it. I had to have the interior pockets re-sewn after a year or so, but other than that, great bag. It’s not the most stylish bag ever, but it’s held up well and it’s a nice neutral look.

    • Anonymous :

      Tumi Tegan business tote. It’s the medium size tote in the Sinclair collection. It easily fits a laptop and a redweld (as long as the redweld isn’t very full) along with other incidentals – wallet, keys, sunglasses, etc.

    • I really like my Dagne Dover Charlie if I need my laptop (we have the 15′ thinkpads). It is gorgeous, and I’ve gotten tons of compliments on it, but it can be a bit heavy.

      • all about eevee :

        What color did you get? How tall are you? Does the weird shape overwhelm you? I think it is a gorgeous bag, but I am only 5’1″ and petite, and the 15″ Dagne overwhelmed me.

        • I’m 5’5, and have it in Oxblood (most of my accessories are red). I actually really like the rectangular shape a lot, the legend tote (only other one able to fit my laptop) was almost comically wide on me and very bulky when carried under the arm. I also prefer that the handles fold over easily. I travel a decent amount and have shoved the Charlie under airplane seats (even small commuter jets) no problem – I couldn’t do that with the legend.

      • PrettyPrimadonna :

        I want The Simone sooooooooooo bad!

    • I know this board loves designer bags, but this bag is an absolute workhorse for me. It’ll fit standard folders (not legal), easily fits a small laptop, plus shoes, a snack, a wallet…basically everything you’re asking for. I’m in sales, so I’m on the go all day long – in and out of cabs and offices – and I’ve had this bag for 3 months and it still looks absolutely brand new with no signs of wear at all.

      • AnonMidwest :

        Thanks! My fossil laptop bag is on it’s last legs and I’ve only just begun the hunt. I’m far too hard on my stuff to think of dropping designer money.

      • Tech Comm Geek :

        Oh this has potential for me! I’m also pretty hard on bags, so I prefer to avoid anything more than about $100.

      • I like how the REED products hold up, I have the tote above and a wallet, they look great 6 months later

    • I’ve had a Lodis Audrey mini card case for several years and it works well for me. I actually use it for cards, plus ID for when I go to the gym without my full purse. Mine is turquoise with a hot pink lining so easy to spot in my purse or gym bag. I’ve also given them as grad gifts.

    • I have a Knomo Curzon and think it’s perfect. Fits so much (laptop, files, power cord, lunch, odds and ends), has tons of pockets and easy to keep organized, lightweight, and easy to zip closed or keep open.

    • Anon for This :

      I keep my business cards in two things: business card case I got from a job (it is law themed, but quite nice) and a cigarette case a friend got me in Turkey. I especially love the cigarette case because it’s pretty but completely professionally appropriate.

    • I like Lodis bags because they seem to be the only decent work bags that come with a business card holder. I have the Audrey tote and the Brera (I think that’s the name). The Audrey tote has a separate holder for a laptop. I love the front pocket, which has pen holders, a pocket for my phone, and a business card holder. I go to court regularly and I love knowing that everything I need is already in my bag.

    • Knomo Grosvenor in black is the best business bag out there – look chic, has well-thought interior design and pockets. I carry my laptop, notepads, ipad, water bottle, snack, umbrella, sunglasses, phones in it everyday and it does not look bulky.

      • This one?

        I do look for a nylon bag, as my back needs them as light as possible…

    • Lo & Sons’ OG for the overall bag. Although I don’t stuff it to the gills, so that helps me gracefully navigate the room at work/industry events.

      T. Anthony has some lovely leather business card cases.

    • Mama on the access road :

      This was recently sale for $49, but the current price of ~$62 isn’t bad either.

      • Mama on the access road :

        Possible replacement for the webbing strap $16

    • There’s this vertical Michael Kors tote that I use that I don’t have a URL for… not sure if they sell it anymore. I got mine at DSW but I know they had a macbook one at the actual store before.

      • I have a classic one in the horizontal shape (OK, actually I’ve just got one more so I have two). I know lots of people don’t like Michael Kors, but it holds well (no visible wear after 1,5 year of almost daily use), has a lot of smart organization inside and a zipper (not only for the laptop compartment, but also to close the whole bag). I stopped using any other bag for work, though I own a few nice designer bags.

  2. Question for the hive! Have you heard about Ivy (the “social university”). Any personal experience or stories to share? Just wondering how much of a scam it might be. A person there keeps emailing me asking me to join. Thanks!

    • Anonymous :

      Never heard of it.

    • all about eevee :

      It seems like a total scam based just on the website. I would never join something like this, but I prefer to spend my time volunteering on boards or being part of local social clubs.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      I am not sure if it is a scam, but I had a few former colleagues who were members and they convinced me to apply for it. Seemed too stuffy for me, but no risk in applying (not required to pay at that point). After you fill out an online app, there is a phone interview. I expected it to be about what I do professionally for the most part, and perhaps my interests. There was a little bit of that, but they the conversation turned to things like what my parents do and where they live. Where my husband works, where he went to school, and what my inlaws do and where they live. When I was like, yo we’re both immigrants, the conversation turned to what foreign businesses my family runs. When I explained the circumstances of our immigration (i.e., fleeing as refugees), I was met with silence. After a few dumb questions about my interests outside of work, they said I was not a good fit right on the phone.

      It really felt like they were interested in adding people of “high society” to their organization, not professionals who didn’t have prior high-level connections.

      • Wow I’m surprised they said you weren’t a good fit to your face. That seems like a really awkward conversation too. Who asks what your parents do? Why would that be relevant at all, unless they are just trying to identify a certain kind of rich person.

    • I’m a member of Ivy, and despite hating the snobby name and concept, I actually love, love, love the events. I sort of think of them as just curating fun and educational cultural events I wouldn’t necessarily have the time to find and get myself to on my own–lectures, film screenings, private museum tours, meditation with the Dalai Lama’s right-hand man, cocktail parties, art shows, dance classes, theater, sports outings, all kinds of things. They’ve been organizing Cuba, Iceland, and other trips lately, as well, though I haven’t gone to any of those. It’s totally worth it for me, and I have made really kind, down-to-earth friends through the organization.

      FWIW, I’m a member in LA, which is decidedly less concerned with “high society” and actual Ivy degrees than the east coast, IMO, so it may be that I’m not experiencing as much of the snobbery as those in other locales. I also was certainly never asked anything about what my parents do (and my parents were public school teachers, so I have had zero social status my whole life), but I joined a long time ago, so I have no idea what the vetting process is now. I’m appalled that Anonymous BigLaw Associate went through what she did. :-(

  3. Anon for this :

    Help! DH and I and I have been married for 8 years now, and since I’m 33 I think he was starting to make his peace with the fact that I wasn’t ever going to be ready to have a baby. I don’t know what suddenly changed, but I feel ready now. What preparations did you all make before TTC?

    • 1. Started taking prenatal vitamins a couple months before we started trying.
      2. Read “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” to get a better understanding of my body.

      That’s the entirety of what I did.

      I would recommend also getting a bunch of term life insurance if you don’t already have it. Mine is 10x my annual income.

      Honestly, there’s not really a lot you can DO. What happens when you’re TTC is mostly out of your control.

      • +1 – Taking Charge of your Fertility confirmed for me that my cycles are slightly longer than normal, but very regular. If I had gone with the 28-day cycle and timed around that it would have taken me much, much longer to get pregnant. With that knowledge, we got pregnant in our 2nd month of trying.

        Other than that – check your leave policy and health insurance programs for pregnant/new moms to determine if you should be saving up for unpaid leave for one of you, or if you need to meet a certain deductible before your coverage kicks in (there are looooots of doctor visits during pregnancy).
        I’d also get term life insurance and discuss your will/medical care preferences with your partner at least. It may be morbid, but I explicitly told my husband NOT to take me to a catholic hospital if something went wrong during pregnancy – I wanted doctors to try to save us both, and not prioritize the baby’s life over mine if necessary (god forbid).

    • Anonymous :

      I think the only things you really need to do are start taking prenatal vitamins and, if you’re not already exercising, start getting in shape. I agree buying term life insurance is a good idea. We didn’t do this until after having a kid, but better to do it before being pregnant.

    • lawsuited :

      I travelled a ton in the year before TTC as I expect I will not be taking vacations like that for quite a few years. I ended up having severe morning sickness for the first 20 weeks of my pregnancy, such that I cancelled a planned vacation, so my pregnancy wasn’t the 9-month grace period I thought it might be.

      Beyond that, nothing. I didn’t start taking vitamins or reading books until I was pregnant. For me, preparing for a baby when I wasn’t yet pregnant put too much pressure on TTC. As soon as I found out, suddenly taking folic acid became the most exciting thing ever and I happily began devoting all my energy to growing and preparing for my little one.

      • Anonymous :

        I do think there are studies showing benefits from starting to take folic acid supplements (so you might as well take the whole prenatal vitamin) prior to conceiving.

        • I do think that a good multivitamin for now is good.

          Prenatals have extra iron, which you may not need right now and can upset your stomach.

      • Yeah, you should take vitamins. Folic acid takes quite a while to build up to sufficient levels and your body, and the most crucial time for baby to get folic acid is in the two weeks between conception and the missed period (i.e., when you’re pregnant but don’t know it yet). I understand not wanting to fall into a rabbit hole of nursery design and baby books when the baby is still hypothetical, but you’re ignoring well-established medical advice if you don’t take vitamins in advance.

    • Anonymous :

      Call your senators and urge them to keep the Affordable Care Act.

      • Clementine :

        Yes. This is important. For so many reasons, but I’ll just share one.

        I am someone who did ‘everything right’. I run marathons, eat organic kale, and floss. I had a very low risk pregnancy, until I didn’t. Between my son and I, we spent almost 10 weeks in the hospital, including 6 weeks in the NICU and 24 hours in the ICU for me. My husband and I both have good insurance that covers 90% of inpatient hospital costs. Well, when you have hospital bills in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, we would have been out approximately 50-70,000. The ACA caps out of pocket maximums for a family. Keep in mind that the #1 cause of Bankruptcy in the US pre-ACA was Medical Catastrophe.

        No family should lose their savings because their child was born early.

        • Anon for this :

          +1 I’ve posted this before, but I would be medically bankrupt if not for the ACA. Because I worked for a very small company and was stuck in the individual market, it was impossible for me to get maternity coverage pre-ACA. Like Clementine, I have always been healthy and in shape (and always worked “BIG JOBS” but not for big companies), but nearly died in childbirth and had an ICU stay. Thank god I had coverage through the ACA

          I’ve shared my story with all of my representatives (who are all solidly pro-ACA), and am so angry about yesterday’s vote.

        • Just wanted to say thank you for sharing your story. And I totally agree.

      • Definitely. The House move yesterday was just so sickening.

    • Prenatal vitamins is the only thing you should do from a medical perspective (that’s advice straight from my doctor). Other advice that’s been thrown around here: develop healthy diet and exercise habits, read some books about pregnancy/babies, take a big bucket list vacation, really apply yourself at work so you will have a stellar reputation by the time first trimester exhaustion hits, enjoy your dwindling days of boozy brunches and mid-day LGPs.
      I pretty much only did the vacation and the vitamins.

    • If you are on the pill, go off of it ASAP, and use barrier methods until you are 100% ready. It can take some women (not most, but a sizable minority) a long time to have regular cycles again after coming off it.

    • Can you share more about your feelings and how/why they changed if you know? I’m 32, soon to be 33, and every birthday I feel more panic because I don’t feel at all ready yet. DH is absolutely committed to having kids, but is totally fine postponing (his mother had him at 40) but I really, really don’t want to be 60 when my kids head off to college and I’m already quite a bit older than the average first time mom in my city. We’re “ready” by just about every objective metric (finances in good shape, plenty of space in our house for baby, we’re both well-established in stable jobs, been dog parents for a few years) but my internal voice is just screaming “no not yet, I like my life the way it is!” ahhhhh.

      • tIf you do decide to delay, I’d do a $500 diagnostic visit with an RE now to do the testing for FSH, AMH, and AFC and see what your baseline is. I delayed an egg freezing plan to age 38 and found out that despite having no gyn issues to date, I have diminished ovarian reserve and may not be able to get pregnant at a late age. I wish this was standard testing that I’d done 4 years ago.

      • I’m not the OP, but I went through 7 years of marriage and all of my 20s completely ambivalent about ever having kids. Reading Bringing Up Bebe and also deciding to have an only child was what tipped me over the edge. Now I have an only child and it’s great. Yes my life has changed. But I’m still myself and I still have a lot of the most important aspects of my old life. Bringing Up Bebe helped me realized the hyper obsessive style of american parenting was not mandatory. Honestly, that was what I was afraid of, more than anything.

      • I wish I could give you a clear reason for the change, because I was in the same boat – I didn’t want my life to change even though we were objectively in the right place.

        I *THINK* it has been a combination of finally being able to let go of my body hang ups since I started exercising regularly, which in turn helped me focus on what my body can DO rather than just what it looks like. I figure if I can run a marathon, I can deliver a baby, you know?

        The other thing is that DH and I have been helping out my sister quite a bit recently – her husband walked out on her a few weeks ago. Watching DH with my 5-year-old nephew has been really eye-opening for me. He’s just so patient with the little boy… I want to see him with our own child.

        I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m still scared … but a lot less than I was. And I think we can handle the scary stuff.

      • Mama on the access road :

        How do you and he picture your lives as parents? If you’re both assuming that you’ll be in charge at home and of remembering everything for everybody and will get the call when jr is sick/has a pebble stuck in a nostril/broke somebody’s pencil, whether you work or not, I can see why he’d be much more enthusiastic. Lean In is the only thing I can think of right now that talks about lead parents, but I’m sure there are others. Is he willing/ready to take on that role?

        Note that the tasks can be divided, but the exec function really can’t be–can’t pack jr’s diaper bag without knowing what the day will entail, must get the shirt clean for parent’s soccer game, season schedule must be checked for conflict with medical appointments made in advance, are there lab tests to be done before medical spots? Does that interfere with the routine schedule for Jr’s care? All of these can have an impact on others, so they all need to be in one head. A calendar can help, but unless you schedule things as minute as washing a jersey, a calendar can’t do it all. For me and some other moms, this is the hardest part.

    • Anon for This :

      If your periods are irregular (or even if they’re not?), start tracking now. I have an app called P Tracker Deluxe. It was so handy to have that info when I was newly pregnant, and it’s not the kind of thing I remember unless I write it down.

    • Honestly? I didn’t do anything aside from going off the pill. I already knew I had short term disability through my company (some make you pay into for at least a year before getting pregnant so I would check that). I started taking prenatals as soon as I found out I was pregnant. Baby was/toddler is totally healthy.

      I would recommend taking a nice vacation, with activities you can’t do with a young child (backpacking, water sports, spa days, going out on the town at night, fancy restaurants, etc).

      • Plenty of unvaccinated kids turn out fine too. Not saying not taking prenatals is equivalent to not vaccinating because you’re obviously affecting a much greater number of people by choosing not to vaccinate, but the anecdotal “and my kid turned out fine!” is not really a reason to ignore solid medical advice.

  4. lawsuited :

    Have any curvy folks tried and liked this dress? Returns are a pain from Canada so I want to have a reasonably good idea that it’ll work before I buy. I’m a size 18, and a moderate pear (large of bust, slightly larger of hip, and smallish of waist) but I’m also dealing with a bit of a post-partum belly.

    • lawsuited :

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      I’m also interested – I’ve been contemplating this one myself.

    • Anonymous :

      I haven’t because I don’t personally care for that style of dress on me – although it’s usually very flattering. BUT I have your same figure and LE fits me like a glove. I’d consider it worth the risk.

      If you haven’t ordered from LE before, I do find that I can go down a size with almost everything.

      Are there Sears stores in CA? Because in US you can also do free returns at Sears stores.

  5. Anonymous :

    I am part of a team that is dealing with this project at work. I hate the project, the work is tedious, annoying and confusing, and the head of the other department I have to coordinate with for this project is someone who I find extremely difficult to work with. We have completely different working/communication styles, she is so poorly organized that she is constantly springing last minute surprise changes on me, and does not respond well to any of my suggestions or pushback. Basically this whole project is a mess and I kind of wish I was sick right now so I didn’t have to come to work to deal with it. A nice bout of mono would be great.

    Any suggestions? I just keep thinking to myself, this too shall pass…but the work days are LOOOONG.

    • No suggestion on how to slog through it but I would document her inadequacies so if everything goes south, you have coverage. Can you ask help from a supervisor, focusing on how the other person is jeopardizing the project?

  6. Blister advice?

    Most new work shoes give me blisters in my heel. Heels, flats, loafers….. What are your methods for preventing blisters? Also curious what you do once you have them….. Sometimes just a bandaid isn’t enough.

    • Anonymous :

      Moleskine is great. If I have shoes that I’m wearing in, I try to not wear them for too long at a time.

      • Thanks. So you put the moleskin on your heel or the shoe as a preventative, or after the blister has started to protect?

        • Not the OP, but I put it on the shoes. Also, those no-show footies are a life changer.

          • Really? As I have never found one that is truly no show and I really do not like the look when they show. I’d rather wear boots!

          • Then TONS of moleskin on the inside where the hotspots are. And carry bandaids.

            NONE of this happened when I wore hose and I do miss it for that (and that only).

        • I put it on my heel and also do not wear the new shoes everyday until they have broken in.

        • Anonymous :

          You use moleskine as a preventative. It goes on your foot directly.

    • Anonymous :

      Shoes that are comfortable and fit you correctly shouldn’t give you blisters, imo.

      • Anonymous :

        So…how do you tell that in the store? Or when you try them on and the feel fine, but 2 hours in your know you are in trouble?

        • Exactly.

          And I have realized over time that I just need everything to be custom made because my extreme pear body with shirt waist and narrow shoulders fits nothing off the rack, and my shoes also have an atypical shape.

          I think this is also why I have loved mules all my life.

          • I only get blisters in the front — I broke a toe and now most shoes offend my feet in some manner. Usually it’s OK, but most shoes aren’t good for hours of walking except for sneakers.

            no-show footies are very helpful. If you look inside your shoe, you can see where you also need to pre-place moleskin. If you have a work trip that requires a lot of walking, I bring hose along just to save my feet. I don’t otherwise wear hose (but love tights in the winter in part for saving my feet).

          • Do you have recommendations for places to get things custom made?

      • Not true for me.

        Friction gives me blisters. When I wear tights in the winter, no blisters. When I don’t, I’m usually fine with light walking and car commuting. Throw in NYC subway or commuter on foot walking or all day in airports and I need no-show footies or it’s not pretty if you’re walking more than an hour at a clip.

        • Link to no-show footies you are using?

          Otherwise, I may consider going back to hose, at a minimum wearing them when I wear pants.

      • This isn’t the case for me, unfortunately. So I put these heel liners in literally every single pair of shoes I buy, and I don’t ever get heel blisters anymore:

    • Blister block and moleskin in new shoes until I break them in (and sometimes I just leave the moleskin in the shoes due to a weird seam or something). The band aid blister guard and activ-flex band aids (only apply on clean, DRY skin) are amazing – they last up to 3 days of all day wear including through showers. I’ve got them stashed in every work purse/travel toiletry bag I own.

    • Do you get a lot of pedicures or frequently use a foot scrub or anything? If you’re getting blisters that chronically, you might be scrubbing your useful calluses off.

      I used to get terrible blisters when I wore Nike running shoes (turns out they’re just too narrow for me; haven’t had any blisters since I switched brands). I used to put a bandaid on first and then cover everything with athletic tape for the really bad ones.

      • Something like Body Glide is a lifesaver when I’m wearing new shoes for the first time. I have narrow heels that occasionally get tender if my shoes start slipping (and I agree, you don’t always know in the store that a few hours in, they’ll start to hurt), so I apply to my usual trouble spots, and it helps tremendously. If I have room in my purse that day, I may carry it with me to reapply or if I notice any new hot spots.

        • New Tampanian :

          +1 – bandaid also has a blister protector type product. It’s a tiny little deodorant-looking container.

        • S in Chicago :

          Spraying or painting on nu-skin also helps for prevention. I do this before working conferences when I know I’ll be doing a ton of walking for days straight.

          True story: Once while parking at the hotel before a conference the valet went to grab my bag from the trunk. I had stopped at CVS to pick up Body Glide for my feet at the last minute. The empty packaging blew out of the trunk and landed at our feet and he gave me this creepy nod with eyebrows raised and gave a little grunt like I had just dropped a thing of lube.

          Cracks me up thinking about it every time that I’m readying my sad-looking feet.

    • I just discovered blister Band-Aids that are life-changing. You put them on and within 24 hours, they have formed a gel-like pad over your blister. You then leave them on for a couple of days. It’s a custom protection for your blister. My daughter got a blister from cross country ski shoes and we were worried her skiing was over for the trip but she put one of these on and never complained once the rest of the trip. IMHO, much better than moleskin.

    • I use Scholl blister plasters as a prevention when I wear new shoes for the first few days. I also use leaher heel shields in most of my shoes.

    • I just tried pre-heels which is like a barrier spray. It worked really well for me. I little bit pricey (like $14 for a small bottle on amazon) but I’ve used it for multiple applications and there still seems to be a lot left. I had the most horrific blisters and no change of shoes at work, and I sprayed it right over the blisters (you aren’t supposed to do that, but I did). Several layers and I no longer felt any pain and it didn’t move at all throughout the day. I was very happy with it.

  7. Flying Personal Item Recs :

    Recommendations for a good under the seat/personal item luggage piece for flying? I want something that I can hook onto my rolling suitcase and looks nice.

    I’d like to get the Lo & Sons Catalina Deluxe Small, but I can’t tell if it will fit. Am I better off getting the OG/ OMG/ something else entirely?

    • Anonymous :

      My Tumi nylon tote can fit onto a rolling bag. I love that bag so much.

    • I am an ENORMOUS fan of the Victorinox Divine tote. You can certainly get them on sale for $100-130. It has a fantastic amount of well-thought out pockets – tablet, laptop, fuzzy-lined glasses, makeup, pens, etc. It has padded areas for both a laptop and tablet. It has a sleeve-pocket to go over a suitcase. The straps are sturdy and comfy, even though they are thin. It’s my nirvana tote. I like it way better than my Tumi bags for travel because it’s slightly more structured, so it holds its shape. It’s a workhorse too–I have had two over the past two years (one in orchid, one in black) and both still look brand new despite going round the world, daily commute, etc. This is seriously the world’ greatest work travel bag. Swears.

    • anon a mouse :

      FYI the OG barely fits under a seat, and only by smushing the top down. If you have it all the way full, it won’t fit. I love it for travel, but I am short and don’t mind sacrificing the extra leg room in front of me for it.

  8. How much can you push back on internal customers/clients sending you things last minute? I have one internal customer who regularly sends me things late in the afternoon and tells me he needs them the next day. Sometimes the next day is pretty much already filled with meetings and other deadlines and our (government) org is a very 9-5 culture – people don’t work nights and weekends (although I have occasionally brought work home with me because of these last minute requests). I really want to politely address this and ask if he could give me more lead time in the future or at least a head’s up that an urgent project is coming my way, so I could block off time to handle it. Is this a reasonable thing or do I just have to s*ck it up because this guy is my customer? And if it is reasonable to say something, any suggested language?

    • ETA: If it matters, these requests are not really things that popped up at the last minute. They are things that have been on the guy’s radar for weeks and he didn’t get around to asking me to do it until the night before. I would have a lot more sympathy if it were a surprise for him too.

      • Is there a reason why you haven’t said something already? Is this person very high up? Or do you have a position where you are expected to do things off hours?

        If not, I would simply say “unfortunately, I won’t be able to complete it by X but can by Y. I’m already booked up for the next 24 hours.” Then say how you would appreciate a little more lead time next time.

        • No, not a higher up, and no, I’m not expected to do things off hours. I think I’m just a pushover. I’ve been meaning to discuss with my boss and ask if I can simply decline, but the last couple of times it happened he was out of town and I felt like I couldn’t say no without clearing it with him.

          • anonshmanon :

            you can do this! Don’t wait for it to happen again, but talk to your boss now.
            “In the last three months, I’ve had to take home work x times, because client y sent me a last-minute request that he wanted to be done by next day. From the looks of it, these tasks are known ahead of time and client should be able to give me a heads up. Would you be ok with me pushing back on the overnight completion next time this happens?”

    • It really depends on each of your roles and your org’s culture. But I’m in a similar work culture and when this happens to me I usually immediately respond with when I expect to be able to get to it. “Thanks, due to meetings I’ll be able to start working on this tomorrow afternoon and I hope I’ll be able to get it back to you by COB.” I don’t let internal customers dictate my schedule. If that’s a problem I let them know they’ll have to go through my supervisor (we’re big on chain of command here…) and we can sort out together how to prioritize my time. That usually makes it stop. I don’t coach them on how to send work to me, they’re grown adults. I do coach them on not thinking they control my schedule.

      • I do this, but in a slightly different way. My boss doesn’t set my priorities because I need input from a totally different management set than he does, it sounds weird, but he is really hands off which works great for me. Anywho, I give the internal customer the timeline on which I can address it. If that’s a problem, I then tell them to reach out to the VP and/or director who I work with to see if he wants me to reset my priorities. If something else gets delayed because of the last minute request, the VP/director needs to handle that within their chain of command.

      • Agree that laying out a timeline is key. I would also give some estimate of the likelihood that you’ll get it done on time beyond “hopefully”. I would just add in a sentence that says, “Since my time tomorrow is already somewhat constrained, there is a [slight/significant] chance I won’t be able to turn this around by COB.” Some people will interpret “I hope I can get it done” as “I’ll get it done.”

      • Yep, and as someone else working in government who is a “client” to groups like legal, comms, procurement, etc, we totally understand that you have other stuff happening. If you need to push back, just push back (but be clear about actual expected timeline).

    • I don’t think you have to suck it up — tell him you need more lead time on deadlines. Just say exactly those words.

    • these are all great responses. If the person is not high up and I feel comfortable in my role, I will straight up tell them, “A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”

      This is a much more direct and harsher way to say it, but it works.

    • Definitely don’t just s*ck it up. I would send an email stating: in order to ensure that all deadlines are met, X needs to be submitted … before, Y needs to be submitted…. before. I cannot guarantee that items submitted outside of these deadlines, will be processed in time. Make it look like this is the policy for everyone, not just this client.

    • Anonymous :

      There should be some type of agreement about how your work relationship goes — turnaround time, scheduling, formal dates, etc. If this does not exist, you should certainly see if you can get it in writing and have it signed by both your company and the client company.

  9. Talk me down. I recently started working with a totally unreasonable partner who makes every interaction needlessly unpleasant. I’m going through a rough time in my personal life and I’ve been seeing a therapist for my depression and anxiety. Working with this partner has caused me to suffer measurable setbacks in my treatment. But I shouldn’t request an ADA accommodation to not work with this partner anymore, right? That’s not a thing I can do? Or should do from a firm politics perspective? I don’t think it’d hurt my career to never work with this partner again, but I don’t want to get a reputation for being a special snowflake who’s too thin skinned to deal with someone difficult.

    • Yeah. It’s not legal, but if you asked for an ADA accommodation of not working with this partner anymore, I think it would pretty much be the end of your career at that firm. Any partners or senior associates you have a good working relationship? Confide in them and get their assistance in filling your plate with other work so that when this guy asks for something you can truthfully tell him you don’t have capacity. This will require you to work a lot, at least in the short term, since at most firms you can’t turn down work unless you’re billing 200-250 a month, but it should be better than working with someone miserable.

      • anon for this :

        Cosign all of Anonymous at 10:12.

        “It’s not legal, but if you asked for an ADA accommodation of not working with this partner anymore, I think it would pretty much be the end of your career at that firm. ”

        Accurate. Not legal, but this is what will happen to you. Source: personal experience (I didn’t request an accommodation, but I was forced to disclose anxiety which everyone knew (quite reasonably) stemmed from a partner).

        • anon for this :

          Let me add that my partner was verbally abusive and routinely told clients that I was responsible for his various failures, routinely dumped last minute work on me and then said he didn’t need it and wrote off my time, trashed my reputation to the rest of the firm, and repeatedly threatened to fire me. He wasn’t just a big old jerk.

          OP, use this as an opportunity for growth. That’s the best hope I can offer you and only way to frame this so that you’re not focused on how your mental health is getting shat on. Good luck.

      • It’s just one matter with this partner for now. I tried to shuffle it to another associate for a legitimate reason but the partner threw a fit and insists on working with me for reasons that are unknown to me. I’ve been billing over 250 for the last several months (yes, including December), though that wasn’t the only reason I was trying to turn down this matter.

        • senior associate :

          If you’re billing that high, there’s got to be someone else in your group who can run some interference for you. You could to the most senior/powerful partner you work with a lot, who presumably likes you, explain that you’re having some issues working with this person, and that you’re at capacity already (so working on this person’s stuff is taking your focus from senior/powerful partner’s stuff) and your attempts to push back on your own have not been successful so far. Partners I work for LOVE being territorial over their favorite associates- just give them the opportunity.

    • OMG. No. What year are you? How long have you worked at this firm? How many people have you worked for – any difficult ones? I think it’s fine if you’ve been there for 10 yrs, have a great rep, and worked with all shades of difficult people on all kinds of ridiculous deadlines and then run into one that you just WILL NOT DEAL WITH. That’s fine – frankly I think you gain some respect from people if you stand up for yourself once every so often. And in that case it wouldn’t be something “official” like ADA – it’d be you giving an ultimatum. But if you’re a junior or mid, you’re being a snowflake and you will ruin you reputation — not just with that partner but with your department.

      • Idk why my responses aren’t showing up elsewhere – but yeah I’m a senior associate, worked with plenty of objectively difficult people (partners, clients, opposing counsel, judges, you name it) but I’ve been hit with some pretty tough things personally and right now I just… can’t with this partner. I’ve tried to get a mid level or junior to cover for me but the partner just refuses. I guess she’s heard I’m good and insists on working with me. But she’s so, so awful.

    • Everyone at every firm has, at some point, had to work with someone like this. You don’t get to ask for an ADA accommodation. If you have to ask whether that’s reasonable (although at least it sounds like you already know that is not a good idea), it’s possible that you actually are, as you described, “a special snowflake who’s too thin skinned to deal with someone difficult.”

      • I’ve dealt with plenty of difficult people in the past, some that are probably more difficult than this person. I’m struggling with my mental health right now, which is why I’m in treatment. Mental health is still health.

        • then get a LOA

          Mean Partner will have to move on and you can save your sanity.

        • Defend it all you like, and I’m not saying you’re wrong… But I am saying your firm will think you are a special snowflake and you should not do this. You asked a question, and that is the answer.

      • I think this is a little too tough but the right idea. Literally every firm has one (or many) partners like this. The firm will look the other way on how difficult the partner is to work for because the partner brings more value in some other way (expertise, clients, etc). You have to decide if you can get more work from other partners to not have to work for him anymore, or if you must work for him, whether it’s worth staying in that job.

        I left my last firm job at a wonderful firm that I loved because I ended up working primarily for a very very very difficult partner. She had been there for years, she’s still there making associates miserable, and I’m incredibly happy in my new job.

    • Don’t ask for an ADA accommodation. However, ask around among more senior people to get a sense of whether this person treats everyone the same way, and/or if any workarounds have been established. If you can, try to approach it as, “I’m having difficulty working with X – do you have any suggestions as to how to improve that?”

      I know of one firm where a particular partner was recognized as extremely difficult, and the workaround was that associates asked the department head to be removed from her workload when they’d had enough. That was admittedly a remarkably dysfunctional way to deal with it, but it seemed to work in the short term?

    • Anon for this :

      There may be ways to address what is triggering you with this partner without asking not to work for him but it might involve sharing more than you want to. I have PTSD and had an office with a built in desk such that my back was to the door. One jerk junior partner liked to slam my door open and jump in yelling to see me jump. It would trigger my anxiety really bad and I’d have a hard time getting work done the rest of day. My PTSD is likely not from something hugely personal like an assault so I was okay being fairly open about it. (It was due to a pretty public event). So I initially said something like (made up event for this example): as you know, I was at the mall shooting and I still have some PTSD from that event. When you unexpectedly slam my door or yell at me it makes me very anxious and I have a hard time calming down the rest of the day. Please do not sneak up on me in the future.

      Unfortunately, since he was a total jerk, he found this hysterical and tried to trigger me as often as possible. I felt I couldn’t ask for an accommodation because law firms are suck it up buttercup environments. I finally told a mentor who was also a partner and he was incredulous. He went to the president of the firm and HR on my behalf. The junior partner was told in no uncertain terms that if he continued to sneak up on me and intentionally startle me he would be fired. He listened and it stopped. He continued to give me work and I continued to do good work for him. I expected a Jerry Maguire moment where he would totally flip out and retaliate that I complained. He didn’t. He listened because his job was on the line.

      So, if the issue is something like him yelling at you, you might be able to approach him when he’s calm someday and say something like “hey, I’ve got some medical stuff going on and it’s hard for me to stay focused on the conversation when you raise your voice.” If he doesn’t, you can escalate it.

      I agree with others that this is a very hard situation but I thought you might want to hear of one time where a similar complaint went okay.

      • Anon for this :

        Ugh, I tried to write “luckily” not “likely.” It’s only “lucky” because it makes it more socially acceptable to talk about when I have to and that a lot of people already know about it from the news and try not to be a jerk to me about it.

      • TorontoNewbie :

        … that is truly horrible. I’m sorry that happened.

        • Anon for this :

          Thank you. To this day it creeps me out how sadistic he was, taking actual pleasure in causing me pain. it makes me wonder how he treats his wife and kids. It was scary. Over time I ended up at a different firm and we ended up having cases the same day, mine after his. When mine was called he said (loudly enough to hear) I need to stay for this, and took a seat in an odd spot that could only be an attempt to intimidate me. You would think he’d have better things to do with his time all these years later.

          It also took a lot of emotional energy to keep my husband from beating him up or slashing his tires! While I understand the intent, it certainly would not have helped the situation for my husband to lose his job or go to jail.

          • “Over time I ended up at a different firm and we ended up having cases the same day, mine after his. When mine was called he said (loudly enough to hear) I need to stay for this, and took a seat in an odd spot that could only be an attempt to intimidate me. You would think he’d have better things to do with his time all these years later.”

            Whoa. That is straight-up crazy town. I am so sorry you had to deal with this.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I have seen this request being made, and denied. I think a better approach would be to take some medically mandated time off, if your doctor thinks you should. Then you don’t have to tell anyone (don’t tell anyone — everyone is so gossipy!) why you are out, you get to a place where you can handle things, and you come back fully charged.

      • Sorry, but unexplained medical leave in a law firm setting is a complete career killer too. I had to have (gyn) surgery two weeks ago, and I had to tell EVERYONE that was what was happening bc people are so GD nosy. ‘Lady probs surgery’ shut them up. Didn’t stop them from making me work before and after and come in the next day, but…there you go.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          UGH well that stinks!!! I guess I’ve been out of that culture long enough to not know that particular crappy aspect.

        • If you read AAM, apparently unexplained medical leave is the straight train to gossip town in all workplaces. Which, to me…if it’s unexplained, obviously the person doesn’t want to talk about it! Just assume it is serious and move on (expressing sympathy/concern if appropriate given your work relationship, but NOT in a prying way!).

          • Rainbow Hair :

            People are such bums. I always assume medical leaves are about poop/reproductive stuff if the person doesn’t volunteer info, and hey, I don’t care to know anything about your stuff down there, and def don’t want you thinking about mine if/when it becomes a problem, so I just move right on.

  10. Eyeliner question :

    Any recommendations on an eyeliner that is good for those who wear contacts and/or have sensitive eyes? I look really good when I line both my upper and lower lid (I know some people have strong feelings about lining the lower lid, but I use a light touch and always get compliments when I do). But by mid-afternoon, my eyes are blood shot and look terrible. Also, the lower lid sometimes doesn’t stay and I have a bit of the raccoon eye look.

    When I don’t wear eye makeup this does not happen. Any ideas? Also, I currently use an eyeliner pencil (something from CVS, probably Loreal brand). Would switching to liquid help, at least for the upper lid?

    • I have sensitive eyes and I like Clinique. I have a hard time no matter what brand I use when I wear contacts, though.

    • JuniorMinion :

      If you wear contacts my optometrist told me its an absolute no to tightlining as you put yourself at risk for serious eye infections. In terms of eyeliner to use normally though – I like the almay line (the mascaras / eyeliners) which are white with colored caps and in the drugstore. I wear contacts and have sensitive eyes + a history of a pretty severe eye infection.

      One key culprit – make sure your mascara does not contain fibers. This will make your eyes really unhappy if you are a contact wearer (or at least it does to me / my eye doc recommends against it). I use the almay hypoallergenic mascara and have also had good luck with the classic maybelline greatlash. If you are also using loreal mascara – the butterfly effect one (silver tube with black) did a number on me – think tears streaming down my face by 2 PM – as its got lengthening fibers in it.

      • I actually find regular old classic mascaras much better for my sensitive eyes. I have no idea why. I have tried all the special hypo-natural-whatever mascaras, and the only one that doesn’t irritate my eyes is Diorshow.

        • JuniorMinion :

          Yeah – I’ve had the best luck with the basic almay and the basic maybelline both of which have been around since the 40s. I noticed almay at some point started labeling their stuff hypoallergenic but I think its the same makeup they’ve always had and someone from marketing thought this was a good selling point…

          I’ve also been fine with Diorshow but I’m cheap.

      • I know I’m really late on this but I’ve worn contacts for 17 years and tightlined for 15 years and never had a problem. Kind of seems like overkill to say an “absolute no”

        • Anonymous :

          It doesn’t mean you will have a problem, it simply increases the risk. After struggling with ocular rosacea and dry eyes for the last ten years, I wouldn’t do anything to risk my eyesight. Certainly nothing as as pointless as tightlining.

    • Liquid for upper can help, or even a gel (the kind in a little pot you put on with a brush) – Loreal makes a good one of these. But they can have a learning curve if you’re used to pencil – my holy grail pencil eyeliner is from Colourpop. They are online only, but they are the only thing that doesn’t smudge for me, and I even wear them in my waterline all day.

      Also, try an eyelid primer, even on days you just wear liner. I like the Lorac one.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      I can’t wear waterproof eyeliner with my sensitive eyes.

    • I have contacts and use a Lancome liquid eyeliner. It’s easy to apply and stays in place. I don’t tightline except on very special occasions, and when I do, I make sure I take my contacts out and do a really good job of removing makeup.

      Also, this wasn’t your question, but I wear daily contacts so the makeup (and other stuff) doesn’t have time to build up. They’re more expensive, but they were a life changer.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Seconded. My eyes get really dry, and daily contacts are a huge help. I switch out contacts and glasses fairly regularly, so that helps keep the cost down.

        • Eyeliner question :

          I posted below, but I wear rigid hard lenses so not the disposable type, and I can’t switch over. The awesome thing about hard lenses is that they allow oxygen through (unlike soft lenses) so fortunately dryness isn’t an issue.

    • Delta Dawn :

      I get itchy eyes very frequently and have switched to Almay mascara and eyeliner. They are hypoallergenic, and I haven’t had any issues in the six months since I switched.

    • At CVS, I like the almay liner- but have switched to mostly using clinique liners. They feel similar to me- both a medium soft crayon- and last for 3+ months, although I’m careful to toss and rebuy everything about every 90 days.

    • You might try using powder eyeshadow instead. If you wet the brush (any eyeliner brush works–I think mine is from Target’s Sonia Kashuk line), you’ll get a look similar to a softened pencil.

    • Eyeliner question :

      Thanks all! I had to look up what tightlining even was — I don’t do that. I also wear hard lenses, so unfortunately not the disposable ones which would be a lot easier. And I don’t wear mascara either so that’s not an issue. I was just hoping to wear eyeliner more, because I really like the way it looks.

    • I wear hard lenses and have no problem with mascara or eyeliner from Eyeko.

      In general contact wearers have slightly more watery eyes and so tight lining isnt really practical. But if your eyes are that irritated then either you are allergic to the brand or your application technique needs to be changed. I can’t do cheaper brands at all as it irritates my skin terribly.

    • applesauce :

      I have contacts and extremely oily skin and eyelids so I get raccoon eyes really quickly – I alternate between Revlon ColorStay pencil liners, Tarte gel liner and Stila Stay All Day liquid eyeliner and none of them budge until I remove them at night. I don’t tightline so I can’t speak to sensitivity.

  11. I finally added an actual sunscreen to my daily skincare routine (I used to rely on the sunscreen in my moisturizer and foundation). I put my sunscreen, moisturizer, and foundation on at 6 am, but aside from the two minutes spent walking to and from my car (and maybe the 14 minutes in my car commuting), the only significant time I spend outside each day is when I go for a walk at 6 pm. The sunscreen has worn off by this point, yes? Do I need to reapply it when I get home from work (I loathe putting sunscreen on over make up)? Any chance the sun weak enough at 6 pm that it doesn’t matter?

    • Theoretically, yes sunscreen will have worn off by then. But I was also told years ago by a dermatologist that evening sun isn’t really that worrisome, so, I don’t worry about it. I put sunscreen on in the morning and don’t reapply before getting on my bike when I bike home at 5 PM.

    • They also make face sunscreen mists exactly for this purpose! Basically a makeup setting/refreshing spray with high SPF. Not enough protection to be your only SPF all day, but perfect for a touch up. Supergoop and Coola both make one I believe.

      • Have you tried either of these? I’ve been thinking about buying one or the other and the reviews seem a bit mixed.

        • Yup! Had to check which one, but I have tried a small size of the Supergoop. It worked fine for me – I have dry skin, wear makeup everyday. Looks like there is a sample kit available on Sephora right now called ‘Supergoop!
          Perfect Finish Duo’

      • This sounds perfect! Thanks!

        • The Supergoop makeup setting/sunscreen spray actually works really well at setting my makeup.

    • I wouldn’t really worry about a walk at 6, but why not add a hat instead?

    • SPF superstar :

      I keep those little baby sunscreen gluestick things in all my bags. Neutrogena makes them, as do others. I’m mostly worried about the back of my hands, so those are really easy to swipe over quickly without having that gross sunscreen-y feeling on the palm of my hands. I do occasionally use them on my face if I feel I need more protection, but fair warning, they do take a min to rub in and can feel thicker.

    • Powder sunscreen is perfect for this. I keep it in my purse and car and use it whenever I need touch ups. It’s fantastic for hot sunny days when I’ve sweated off sunscreen. I’ve used Peter Thomas Roth and a two-pack that I ordered from Costco and can’t tell the difference.

    • Don’t forget your hands and arms!

  12. Charcoal tops :

    I don’t know why it has taken me my whole life to discover that I look good in charcoal gray, but now that I have, I can’t seem to find any tops/sweaters/tees. Have you found anything lately? No cold shoulder, and I’m short-waisted so availability in petite is a plus.

    • Garnet Hill has a ton of gray tops right now, and always. I like their stuff. (Not sure if you were asking for work or play, but their stuff runs the gamut.)

    • BR has some gray suiting that I like. Uniqlo has gray cashmere sweaters.

      It’s hard to find this time of year or it’s often a lighter gray. You may have much better luck in the fall.

    • More of a fall color so you may not see much charcoal now. Try Lord & Taylor, they have a good selection of sweaters and tops.

    • Ignore the weird styling, I swear its a super cute top IRL and very work appropriate (the stripes are much more muted).,default,pd.html?dwvar_SV00040_Color=GREY&contentpos=28&cgid=0318
      Two of MM LaFleur’s summer knits are also in charcoal grey.

    • Charcoal tops :

      Thanks for these!

  13. I just finished reading The Handmaid’s Tale this week, and it left me really frightened and…shell-shocked? I think part of this is the power of the book in any context, and part of this is my own personal circumstances right now — a liberal woman, a member of a visible minority, and especially a mother to two young kids, one of them a girl. I’m wondering whether I should now proceed to watch the TV show, which was the whole reason I read the book, or whether I should avoid that given that I am already having trouble sleeping. Meaning, is the TV show a little easier to swallow than the book, or is it equally harsh/realistic? (And yes, I see a therapist and will definitely bring this up at my next visit.)

    • Moving blues :

      It’s been a long time since I read the book. I’m watching the show and find I can’t watch it too close to bed. I need a pallet cleanser after — something like Friends. It’s very well done but you may want to avoid if you are having reactions to reading the book.

    • I haven’t seen the show, but I have heard it’s more jarring than the book. Pantsuit Politics talked about the show at the end of their death penalty episode and their review aligns with what I’ve heard. I’m not sure when I will watch it, but I hope to soon.

    • There’s no reason to subject yourself to something that is making you miserable. Just don’t watch the show.

      • Margaret Atwood is my favorite author. I read the Handmaid’s Tale twice. I won’t be watching the show. I just can’t, and sleep at night. But I hope it does get watched by a lot of people, women in particular, who have not woken up yet and realized that the dystopian future of the story is not farfetched any more. Maybe those women will get woke enough to do something about our current political situation.

      • +10000000000000000 It’s not like you’re going to lose feminist cred or something by not watching it.

    • AnonMidwest :

      IMO, the TV is a little more frightening/alarming because they bring the timeline closer to us now. So, we go from out running, grabbing a coffee using Uber, to Gilead. The descent is all a little too real.

      That being said, I think it’s important to watch, since one of the messages in the show is that we let this happen slowly, and without realizing it, our rights were gone.

      • Agreed. I think it’s important for every person to read/watch. Hiding from these problems doesn’t solve them.

        • Eh, I respectfully disagree with your first sentence. It isn’t hiding from a problem to choose to learn about it in one way versus another. E.g., reading Fahrenheit 451 isn’t the only way to understand the danger of censorship.

          • Completely agree. I read the book. I don’t need graphic nightmares to resist.

        • No, you’re wrong. Living through our actual, real-life politics is enough. A woman doesn’t have to spend her free time reading dystopian fiction to know or care about how effed up the world is.

      • It’s important to recognize that the “future” outlined in the Handmaid’s Tale is already happening to poor women in different parts of the world. Google “India surrogacy clinics” to learn more. It isn’t just a distant, unlikely fantasy.

        • Vice did a great story on this phenomenon on their HBO show! It was insane and depressing but really informative.

        • Anon for this :

          I’m not familiar with the India surrogacy issue but I have such mixed feelings on this, like selling plasma, blood, eggs, sperm, even organs or prostitution. Also, see paid medical studies.

          Part of me feels like we should be free to do what we want with our bodies. If a man wants to sell his sperm to women happy to use it, why should he be prevented from doing so. On the flip side, it seems inhumane for the poor to feel like they have no choice but to take part in these activities. Like medical studies – few rich people would take the risk of trying an experimental drug for a paycheck. People with no other option will.

          I’d like to see it legal but with some protections somehow to prevent coercion. If you want to pay for law school by donating your eggs you should be allowed to but your father shouldn’t be able to force you to sell your eggs for the family to keep their house. How to we make sure people enter into these arrangements willingly?

          I remember an ethics class was grappling with some of this and we had to deal with the ethical dilemma of whether it should be legal to essentially sell babies. I don’t remember exactly what was on it but here are some guesses. It started with a break down of different scenarios with should this be legal? Is it ethical? And then it was open to discussion. Started with Jane is pregnant and wants to give her baby to a loving home. Couple 1 will pay Jane $10k for her troubles. Couple 2 will pay Jane $20k. Is it legal/ethical for Jane to choose based on money. Next, Jane is not pregnant. Couple 1 approaches Jane and says they will pay her $40k to get pregnant and give them the baby. Legal/ethical/should it be? Why or why not? Couple 2 approaches Jane and asks her to serve as a surrogate for them to host the couple’s embryo for $20k. Same questions.

          • I recommend getting familiar with the India surrogacy issue – it may highlight for you that “choice” is irrelevant when it’s a choice between poverty and risking your life to have a baby for rich people. If paid surrogacy is just a choice, why aren’t affluent Harvard law school grads lining up to do it? Why is it only poor women in low-income countries, most of whom are brown or black, who are being targeted to make this “choice”? Legal systems don’t recognize the right for me to sell my kidney on the black market or sell myself into slavery (although of course it still happens); why should they recognize the “right” for women to take on huge physical and mental health risks for paid pregnancy? Being a sperm donor is not analogous; donating sperm is even less risky than donating blood. It’s quick, could be done daily or even more often, and can’t kill you, while even a pregnancy with the highest standard of medical care could, and even if it doesn’t, it’s 9 months of intense physical demands on your body.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I have purposefully avoided the tv show as I think I still have residual feelings from reading the book in high school. That book has terrified me ever since and even more so now, since I recall how the rights of women were just slowly stripped away and everyone kept adjusting until… and, well, I see little bits of that happening in the world right now. I get that it is very timely, but that is what makes it even more scary.

      TL,DR – I empathize with your feelings.

    • The show is just as powerful, disturbing, and engaging as the book. Maybe even more so, since you’re actually watching Offred be raped, etc, rather than just reading about it. I absolutely love the show, I think it’s a masterpiece.

    • I’m re-reading it now. It’s a free book on Amazon Prime.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I watched the first episode and am, for the time being, opting out of watching any more. When I read the book in high school it made a big impression, but that has faded. And at the time I didn’t have a daughter, hadn’t experienced some of the traumas I have since experienced, etc. Watching the tv show this week was really, really unpleasant. (I felt the same way about Game of Thrones — the first/only episode I watched had a child being killed in a horrific way with her parents’ consent and like… NOPE don’t need that in my life.)

    • So, I re-read Handmaid’s Tale about a month ago, along with everyone else. I had read it before when I was in middle school (smuggled it from my parents’ bookshelf with the thrill of the illicit).

      Re-reading it, I was struck by how it seemed almost completely current and entirely, wretchedly plausible — and I was disturbed, like so many. It was more of a slow creeping horror, though.

      As for the show, I have been watching (first three episodes) and the nature of my reaction has been on a whole other level, emotionally speaking — especially as someone who is spending a significant portion of her time these days in fertility clinics desperately trying to get pregnant.

      That is to say, I think the show is profoundly troubling on a visceral level, while my reaction to the book was more ill ease and political discontent. I also find it easier to empathize with, or at least entertain the viewpoints of other characters on the show. I don’t think you “have” to experience the show but it is truly powerful art and is not duplicative.

  14. Anon for This :

    Any advice on how to live your life and accept the fact that you may not find a partner? I’m in my early 30s and have not had any luck with dating/meeting men in the last couple years. After a string of terrible dates, I want to stop hoping that I’ll find a partner because I’m really demoralized but I’m having a hard time giving up completely because I do eventually want a partner.

    I just think I’d be happier overall if I could just do my own thing and stop hoping I’ll eventually find a man. But I’m having a hard time letting it all go.

    • This is my situation too. I’m 32, no luck with men, and I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m probably going to be alone. I’m actually quite happy on my own – I’m an introvert and I need a lot of me time, so I don’t feel lonely. The only thing that bothers me is feeling abnormal compared to my friends. But this is something I’m working on. I feel really strongly that I don’t need a man to complete my life, and I have to find happiness on my own terms.

      • +1

        This is me. I’m 45 now. There are a lot of us. I have 6 friends, most very close, who are all similar. 3 of them have kids they had themselves with sperm donors. All are extremely successful in their careers.

        To the OP though, you are still extremely young. I would take a little dating break, and start focusing on things you really enjoy doing for awhile.

      • Yay! Fruegel Friday’s! I love Fruegel Fridays and this cami, tho it is very low and potentially revealing, which is NOT what a cami should be.

        As for the OP’s, ME TOO! I have been so busy as a legal profesional that I have NOT had time to properley develop a personal life. I made the mistake of dateing one guy, my Mr. Alan, and he turned out to be a complete dud. But all during that time, there were other men literaly trying to beat a path to my heart (well more like to my VJ), but I was loyal to Sheketovits, b/c he was there early. But after wasteing years with him, he got worse and worse, and now I have no one and am over 35 with no prospects. FOOEY!

        I still am hopful that a man will materialize and be interested in more then s-x. Most men just want me to take my clotheing off and get on top of me and start their huffeing and puffeing. I do NOT need that after year’s with Sheketovits and his bad breathe on top of me. DOUBEL FOOEY!

        If anyone in the HIVE has any tips on how to snare a DECENT man under 60, I am all ear’s!

    • Why? Like, why on earth would you think at 30 or 32 that because you haven’t found someone you never will? Why would you want to embrace such a negative outlook on life?

      • Because actively looking is f-ing hard. Emotionally, logistically. And the act of trying to find that person is inflicting negativity on her.

        I don’t think OP is thinking it will never happen, I think she’s looking to make it less of a focus of her life and prepare for the fact that it might never happen, and learn how to be happy with that.

        • Anon for This :

          Thank you – this is how I’m feeling. Maybe it’ll happen, maybe it won’t but I’m tired of looking. I’ve been very actively dating for a few years now. I have all the apps. But it’s not good for me anymore.

          Honestly, I cried yesterday after another lackluster date because it seems like my only chance at finding someone is to compromise on a lot of things that are not necessarily dealbreakers but are probably not what I want.

          I just need to find a way to not care for a while so I can focus on myself. But every time I try to take a break, I feel guilty, like I’m not doing enough so the break doesn’t last long.

          • To quote Charlotte, “I’ve been dating since I was 15, WHERE IS HE?”

            I’m done.

          • Anon at 10:58 :

            I go in waves on the dating. Right now, all my apps/website subscriptions are deleted. Now that summer is here and I’m more interested in being social (seriously, I hibernate in the winter), I’m might sign up for one again. But, eh – I’d much rather meet someone doing things I like than starting from scratch thru an app.

            Now I just have to find social hobbies where I actually meet people. Crocheting on my couch doesn’t seem conducive.

      • It is a common way of thinking in areas where people marry in their 20s and divorce is rare. When I moved from a big city to a small one, it felt like aging several years because the difference in the life stage of people my age.

        • My city is not that small, but people here tend to meet their SOs in high school or university, couple up, and stay coupled up. The pool of single thirtysomethings is astonishingly small.

    • So, I am right in the area of life and frame of mind that you are, as a matter of fact I think I might have written this about 6 months ago.

      I don’t really look at it as much as giving up, as much as leaning out on dating. I have a demanding job, and lets not lie dating is demanding. I can’t do both anymore. So I deleted the dating apps, and have put myself in the frame of mind that I am going to live my life, do things I enjoy and if I meet someone, great. If not, I’m living my life in a way that makes me happy. I started taking a pottery class, I bought a house I am fixing up, and I go out and do things I want to do on the weekends. I don’t know that I will ever give up on the idea that I might meet someone awesome, but I’m tire of working at it. I’m happy by myself 90% of the time. Why make myself miserable trying to find someone to fill the 10% of the time I truly wish I had a partner.

      • “… I am going to live my life, do things I enjoy and if I meet someone, great. If not, I’m living my life in a way that makes me happy.”

        I’m 44 and this is how I feel. I also often reflect on the freedom that I have as a single woman. I’m ordering some new things for my house and don’t have to negotiate with anyone on the style or cost. If I want to run away to NYC for the weekend, I can just go. I don’t have to consider anyone else’s schedule or plans. As the person above said, live your life and be happy.

        • Yes! I was married for 16 years, had an amicable divorce and have enjoyed the single life for 7 years. Don’t see myself ever marrying again. I like my freedom too much.

      • +1 This is the attitude I try to embrace.

      • The NYTimes advice columnist has advice on this (see the third question):

        (Short version: go on vacation!)

    • Oh, I’m with you. I’ve done online dating in spurts, off and on. Last year, I met two guys I liked (out of maybe 10 first dates?), but it didn’t stick with either one. I’ve gone on a handful of first dates since then, but most of them were first dates only (and, truthfully, I think the not-liking-each-other was mutual). I’ve been on a break since March. It’s been nice, and I’m weighing whether the anxiety of dating is better or worse than the sadness of not finding someone.

      I’d be more okay with it if I wasn’t the only one in my (local) friend group not currently engaged. And if I didn’t want kids. But still, for all of the advice I hear about letting go of the outcome and enjoying the process, I feel like that’s totally the opposite of what online dating even is, and I don’t meet available guys otherwise.

      • January, you are alot like me. I am so tired of men that just want a 1 night stand, and then they stop calling. I have gotten to the point that I know a guy only wants me for s-x when they stare at my boobies all the time we are in a restruaunt, and immediately want to come see my apartement b/c they know I have a 2BR 2Bath with a balcony in a decent neighborhood, and they take their shoes and jacket off as soon as they come in. FOOEY!

    • I think it can be freeing untie your idea of happiness from finding a man.

      But do it because it’s a good thing to do.

      I want you to be happy.
      I want you to be happy (i.e., find a man).
      I want you to be happy and find a man.
      I want you to be happy.

      See how these sentences are similar and yet different?

    • Gotta be anon here :

      I’m 37 and I have three friends in my group who are either newly engaged or just married. To exactly the right person for them. They each dated for about 1 year before. At that age, you know who you are and what (who) you want. One is pregnant. Please don’t give up hope. If you don’t feel like dating for a while because you’re frustrated and want to focus on yourself, nothing wrong with that. But the mindset that you’re “resigned” (which suggest you do want to be partnered) is way, way premature!

      To be perfectly candid, I am not sure I would have married my husband at age 30 if I had it to do over again. He is a good partner, but I think I could have found a better match if I didn’t feel the social pressure to marry (it felt like I had been to 1 million weddings in the previous 3 years). Also, I didn’t have a baby for another 5 years anyway, and that had been one of the driving forces behind marrying when I did. So, please keep this in mind before you despair. And please don’t let your desire to be partnered override the decision to partner with the RIGHT person for you.

      And, hugs. It’s hard.

    • You don’t have to give up!

      I hope this doesn’t come across as insensitive – I don’t mean for it to. I got divorced when I was 32, and after a reasonable recovery period, got back out there. I dated some, had a quasi-boyfriend or two, but as I closed in on 35, I decided I was really serious about finding someone. I signed up for all the apps – Match, eHarmony, Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, OkCupid – and I went on 3-4 dates per week every week. Grueling, yes. But I was really committed to finding the right person for me. Dating is a numbers game. I knew what I wanted and knew I’d have to go on lots of bad (so, so, epically, hilariously bad) dates to get there. I met my man around the 75th date mark. (On Tinder, no less. Put yourself out everywhere – you never know where you’ll find someone.)

      I realize I was fortunate to live in a major metropolitan area where there were enough single men around to go on 3-4 dates per week. But wherever you live, you don’t need to give up and accept anything! The more dates you go on, the less pressure you’ll put on any one date and the less demoralizing bad dates will be.

      • If OP is anything like me, she HAS done all the legwork, all the grueling dates, all the apps. She’s put herself out there over and over and over and OVER again. And she’s had enough. Hearing the same old cliches from married people like “You never know where you’ll find someone!” is not helpful at this point.

        • The best advice I got was to assume I would not find someone. It’s harsh, and I was really angry at the person who said it to me. But there’s good reason behind the advice: you have to live your life for you, and figure out what makes you happy. Yes, continue to do the things that you would otherwise do to date and etc. But if it never happens for you, how will you find fulfillment? Start there. And if/when you find someone, you will be happier and a better partner for it.

          • PrettyPrimadonna :

            I agree with a variation of this. Getting comfortable with the idea that I might never get married or find a life partner freed me in many ways, and made dating much easier.

        • The fact is, “you never know” goes in every direction! You never know when you’ll meet someone, when you won’t meet someone, when you will meet someone but then break up, when you’ll have a longterm partner but be unhappy with the compromises involved, when you will get married but then get divorced, when you’ll find the perfect person but then they die, and so on.

          I think we all see logic in the rearview mirror in our own lives, but it doesn’t apply to anyone else’s situations. It doesn’t even apply to us for the future! Now that I’m divorced against my wishes, I’m more committed than ever to liking myself and my life with no contingencies.

        • Anon for This :

          OP here – I appreciate all the comments but honestly, advice like this makes me feel worse. I am doing everything I can. I know it’s a numbers game. I’ve been out on good dates, mediocre dates, terrible dates, absolutely horrifying dates. I lost count a long time ago. It’s not working. So it makes me wonder what’s wrong with me. And I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole.

          • Senior Attorney :

            There’s nothing wrong with you. You’ve had bad luck. There is absolutely such a thing as luck. I’ve had good luck and I just experience it as a miracle but I could be in your shoes just as easily. All I have to say is don’t settle. Being alone is so much better than being with the wrong person. I wish you well!!

          • Seconding Senior Attorney here. There’s nothing wrong with you. And you’re not alone. I’m 34 and feel exactly as you do, and am in what sounds like the same position playing the numbers game and trying everything, including breaks and hobbies and apps and blah blah blah all the things. I WANT to find a way to feel comfortable with the idea that I may never find anyone, but I don’t. I don’t know how, no matter how happy and fulfilled I am in other aspects of life. I do not have any answers, just commiseration.

      • anon for this :

        “Dating is a numbers game.”

        No it isn’t. It’s just not. There’s no way it can be a numbers game if some people find love on their first or second date (in their lives) and it takes some people 100+ dates. It doesn’t make logical sense. What about someone like me? I’ve been in lots of relationships and gone on probably 75 dates since my last serious relationship. Am I just not working hard enough? This is one area of life where effort in doesn’t always equal output, which most of us are used to.

        I hate the advice to just KEEP TRYING. It’s exhausting, time wise, and emotionally. For me, the more bad dates I’ve been on, the more demoralizing each one is. Last date I had, we really got along and I was excited. He texted me the next day to “be upfront with me” and let me know he had 2 kids, 1 and 3 years old. Not listed on his profile. Result? Demoralizing. The date before that? We got along great until his ego got SO BRUISED because I won a debate we were having. Result? Demoralizing. For me, it’s so much worse to look at a string of time wasted and bad experiences….that’s why people want to stop dating.

        The biggest difficulty is the cognitive dissonance created by wanting to feel Very Happy and Free by yourself (which most of us do, most of the time) and wanting to become and believe we are TOTALLY happy with out a man, and simultaneously forcing yourself to go on dates all the time. If I’m so happy being single, why torment myself dating? That’s where it gets sticky.

        • Anon for this :


          The biggest difficulty is the cognitive dissonance created by wanting to feel Very Happy and Free by yourself (which most of us do, most of the time) and wanting to become and believe we are TOTALLY happy with out a man, and simultaneously forcing yourself to go on dates all the time. If I’m so happy being single, why torment myself dating? That’s where it gets sticky.

          These lines were a total lightbulb moment on my 1.5 year struggle TTC. I don’t want to be all smug married turning your problem into mine but thank you. There is an analogy there and it really helped.

        • I totally agree. Effort does not equal output.

          After I got dumped several years ago, I joined some dating websites and went on a different first date almost every night for 2 weeks straight. Didn’t like any of them. Realized it probably wasn’t the right technique for me- I strongly prefer type A, outgoing, ambitious men, and in my experience anyway, online dating was full of introverted bookish types. I abandoned the whole thing after 2 weeks.

          After that all I did was make efforts to look my best and be out in places where I would meet those kinds of men (the gym, bars in the financial district) and to smile at attractive men, be friendly, look approachable, etc. However, the fact that my wonderful boyfriend hit on me at a bar was just me being in the right place at the right time.

          I really believe that, although online dating works well for some people, some of us just don’t do well with it. If it’s not working for you, I wouldn’t hesitate to cut my losses. It makes sense to me to stop using a technique that’s not working for you!

      • I just have to say, I cannot imagine how grueling it must be to go on 3-4 dates a week, with different people each time. And work a full-time job, and deal with the rest of regular life? I don’t think I could do it. I can totally understand why someone would be burned out on dating, if that’s what it takes.
        I think 33 is way too young to give up entirely, but I understand feeling that way.

      • As an introvert, can I just say that 3-4 dates/week sounds like a fate worse than death? I love my friends dearly but after spending an evening with one of them, I need several quiet nights in to recover. I can’t even imagine what I’d be feeling like if I were trying to force myself to go out with strangers every week, let alone multiple times per week.

      • I disagree with that it’s a numbers game, at least to the extent we’re talking about actively dating vs being social generally. I’ve never met anyone on a blind/online date that’s led to a relationship; all of my boyfriends, including my current one, I either met in school or through friends of friends. Online dating doesn’t work for me and it makes me sad, and that’s ok. Maybe it doesn’t work for you either and that’s ok too– don’t take it as a failure of trying.

        THAT SAID.

        I’m with my current boyfriend because I said, well, why not, to someone I initially felt like I didn’t have much in common with and who through two years of dating I’ve come to Be crazy about. So for me it wasn’t a numbers game so much as picking a “good enough” guy and investing in our relationship.

    • “I want to stop hoping that I’ll find a partner because I’m really demoralized but I’m having a hard time giving up completely because I do eventually want a partner.”

      I could have written those exact words when I was 32. What I realized around that time was that I could not get rid of my desire for a partner. I had tried and tried and damnit I still just really wanted to share my life with someone. Once I completely embraced that about myself, instead of trying to change it, I felt much more at peace. Why not try to celebrate and honor your desire for a partner? It’s a wonderful thing about you, that you want to love and want to be loved.

      Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t take a break from dating if you’re sick of it right now. I took breaks and then would throw myself back into the ring with renewed interest. But the difference was I stopped trying to convince myself that I didn’t care about the outcome. Because I care, and I couldn’t stop caring.

      I did meet my husband at age 33 during a blitz of online dating. Married at 35, now 40 with two young kids.

      Don’t give up if it’s what you really want.

      • (I’ve been on a break for a couple of months and just starting to feel ready to try online dating again, so thanks – this was helpful to me and did not come across as #smugmarried).

      • And conversely, consider that it’s okay not to want that and that’s okay too. I had a similar crisis around 32 and figured out that it wasn’t clicking because I’m not really cut out for a relationship.

  15. How to style this dress :

    How would you style this dress? I’m wearing it for a wedding this weekend and need some inspiration. Thanks!

    • With gold or fun colored shoes. I feel like peach pumps would look awesome with this or maybe turquoise? Throw in some fun complimentary jewelry (I’d do long earrings and a big bracelet, no necklace) & a nice clutch.

  16. Any tips on getting smooth legs for the summer, without leaving yourself covered in small nicks?

    • So, I don’t usually have this problem, but are you pressing too hard with your razor?

    • Slow down when you shave, dry out your razor between uses to prolong blade life, use a good shaving cream, t the end of your bath/shower when your skin has warmed up. I also do light exfoliation on my legs on a non-shave day.

    • I also rarely nick myself – and usually only at difficult spots like ankle or occasionally knee. Are you using a good and new razor? dull razors are more likely to cut you.

      • Spend the money on a good new razor and shave gel/cream so you don’t have to press very hard. I rarely have trouble unless my razor is old or if I’ve forgotten it on a trip and have to use a cheap one. Dorco sells really high quality razors online for much less than drugstores (they make the same razors that Dollar Shave Club sells), you just have to order a bunch at a time. Makes it way more affordable than the Venus cartridge refills that my CVS always keep locked up.

        • I tried those Dorco razors and I honestly did not love them for my legs. I wanted so badly to like them too because they were way cheaper and quite nice quality. I found them too small (right word?) and I felt like they did not glide across curves like my knees ankles or the back of my knees without getting snagged in my leg fat (…awful imagery but hey). I ended up switching back to the target brand of Venus razors. I wanted so badly to like them too because they were way cheaper and quite nice quality.

    • Have you considered waxing? Literally it is the only thing that has worked for me. I have coarse hair that grows super fast combined with sensitive skin and I usually have stubble by the end of the day. I switched to waxing and life changed. I still deal with the random ingrown hair, but they are minimal compared to the pain I dealt with while shaving.

      • How long does it take to get your legs waxed? And how often do you have to go? I have coarse, fast-growing hair too, and always write off a leg wax because I feel like I’ll be there for an hour every week, which just isn’t practical for me.

        • Anonymous :

          I wax my own legs actually. Mostly because the cost of waxing seems so high at this point in my life. I have a fairly high pain tolerance, so that wasn’t a problem for me. The first time took me a while, but now I spend about an hour or hour and a half every 4 weeks.

          • The longer you wax, the finer the hair grows back. I used to shave my underarms until I cut myself kind of badly. Switched to waxing, and it’s totally different. The hair grows back much slower and finer, so that I can wear sleeveless tops for several weeks after each session. I won’t get regular manicures, but by golly I will pay for waxing!

    • Good quality razors. If I cheap out and get the cheap disposables, I cut myself constantly. I never cut myself with the fancy Venus ones.

    • Make sure you’re not using dull razors.

    • I got great advice for this on this website a couple years ago.

      Start using hair conditioner instead of soap/shaving cream/whatever you are using. Use a decent razor. And after, I slather on some baby oil.

      Can I just say I HATE SUMMER and shorts and bare legs and bathing suits.

    • Ekaterin Nile :

      I use a men’s razor. Specifically, the Gillette Mach 3. I rarely nick myself with that razor, and when I do, it’s because I was going way too fast in the ankle area.

    • Anonymous :

      have you considered an epilator? it looks a little like a torture device and hurts the first couple of times – but the results are amazing to me

    • Relatedly, is there anything that minimizes leg pores well? My legs are so splotchy…

  17. bag suggestions needed :

    My work involves a lot of events like cocktail parties and dinners where I need to work the room and also, typically, need to have two cell phones, a pen/small notebook, and often a few folded pages of paper. I don’t like to use anything like a clutch, because I like to have a free hand for holding a glass of wine or whatever and be free to shake hands. A crossbody bag doesn’t feel right for this. A huge tote is too big. I want something that easily tucks under my arm and doesn’t constantly fall off my shoulder. Any recommendations of style/size/brand – or specific recs – that could work?

    • What about a wristlet?

    • Calling all vicarious interior decorators! :

      I’d go with a cross-body. I think it is a little different, but not inappropriate. If you need to have a free hand for wine, etc., and a free hand for shaking hands (and presumably looking at your phones and papers), I don’t see a better alternative. I’d do something small, delicate and not attention-drawing, like this:

    • Rebecca Minkoff Mini MAC bag? Its a crossbody but you can shorten the straps to make it a shoulder bag. It comes in a ton of colors. I have the bigger version, the MAC, and where it as a shoulder bag and it stays put on me.

    • I have a “baguette” style purse that I really like for things like this. Unfortunately, the one I have is a decade old, and I think this type of purse is not currently in style, because I haven’t been able to find a replacement I like, but maybe you’ll have better luck finding something you like.

      For me, the key is the size of the bag (big enough to hold what I need, but small/flexible enough that it tucks under my arm, and straps that stay up on my shoulder without having to be held.

      • Oh yes, I had a baguette style purse in college that I loved and would be perfect for this. I got rid of it because it was faux leather and showing its age. A quick Nordstrom search didn’t bring anything in this style but I’ll keep an eye out.

    • What about pockets? I always make sure any blazer I buy has big enough pockets for my phone for this reason. You can also find some that have multiple pockets, as in one on each side for hands, and one higher up for pen and s small notepad. When I need to network I leave my purse in the car and put everything I need in my blazer pockets.

    • I think what you want is a small-ish shoulder bag. It shouldn’t fall off and you should be able to wear it more of less tucked under your elbow. Something like this:

      I’m sure there are cheaper versions, but just a point of reference.

    • I use the Lo&Sons Pearl for this! Can be a crossbody, shoulder bag, or wristlet/clutch – the strap has multiple options.

      • Oh, that looks great. I know that’s a popular brand on here – any specific days of the year where they do big sales or anything like that?

  18. Calling all vicarious interior decorators! :

    Anyone want to help me decorate my home? Specifically, couch colors and a rug for the living room. We’ve been living with hand-me-down couches and a rug in our living room since we bought our house two years ago (#blessed), and we’re ready to take the plunge to buy new ones. We have a 1920s bungalow, with sort of pastel yellow walls in the living room and pastel greenish walls in the dining room, which you see from the living room. The floors are the traditional kind of oak (red oak is maybe what it’s called?) that you see everywhere. We have a small living room that gets average light, so prefer lighter colors. On the other hand, we have little kids, which don’t tend to mix well with delicate or light-colored furniture.

    For couches, we’re planning to buy 2 of the same couch, which will face each other (the 77″ Cara couch from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, if your interested). I’m at a bit of a loss for how to upholster them. We can choose our own upholstery, so we have all the flexibility we want, but I’m suffering from decision paralysis. I’m thinking some kind of high-quality polyester fabric that doesn’t stain. (I can’t remember quite what it is called, but it looks better than it sounds.) I think my options are some kind of taupe, grey, bluish-grey, or greenish-grey. Any thoughts or sources for inspiration here?

    I’m sort of trying to think of the couches and rug together, because one influences the other. I’m sort of all over the place when it comes to what I’d like in a rug. In any event, probably something with enough of a pattern so eventual stains don’t show. I’m looking for something not synthetic, and probably wool pile, so it is nice for the kids to play around on. There are some craftsman-style rugs I’ve had my eye on, but I’m all over the place.

    Finally, if you’re still reading, any good ideas for a coffee table or upholstered bench or similar to go in between the two couches? We’ve abandoned coffee tables since our kids started walking, and we have another baby on the way so don’t want anything glass, pointy etc, but maybe we could do something oval shaped?

    • My longer reply just got eaten. If you veer towards cooler tones, I’d go with the gray or taupe if you like warmer tones. I like Pottery Barn rugs and something like this would hide stains well:

      A table like this is kid safe and extra seating and storage is always a plus:

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I think a grey/taupe that leans toward green upholstery would probably look good in your house. See if you can get some texture on the cushions, so that little marks don’t show as quickly.

      I got a lovely oval coffee table (toddler!) in a warm wood at the local thrift shop… so that’s not terribly helpful. On Wayfair there’s something I quite like called the Marceline.

      Rug-wise, what about… if you search the Lowes webs*te for “Item # 845787” there’s a rug that I think could look good in the house I’m imagining… (I realize it might not be the quality you’re looking for, but kids… kids are a mess!)

      • Rainbow Hair :

        There’s also a table called the Mara coffee table from a s*te I know nothing about called “article dot com” but … it’s real pretty.

    • Turqoise or petrol for the couch? Then echo the yellow wall or reddish floor with the rug color.

      Pinterest can be helpful for color schemes.

  19. Dog hair woes :

    Women with dogs that shed, do you have any strategies for handling this? With the warmer weather I’m going crazy trying to handle it. A few minutes on google suggested special vacuums or diet supplements for dogs–is any of this worthwhile? Would bathing him more regularly help? Every time I bathe him there’s hair everywhere so I know it causes him to shed, but I’m not sure if this will reduce shedding overall. If it matters, our dog is a mutt with a short coat. His hairs are really thin, too, so you definitely have to vacuum–sweeping just makes them float around in the air.

    And a related question about linens– when he lays on our white sheets, you can see an outline of where he’s been due to all the little hairs. I’ve been lint rolling/washing sheets, but the last few times I pulled them from the dryer there were still little hairs. There’s a ton of hair in the lint trap but I guess some still sneak through. Any way I can beef up my laundry routine to remove these? Or should I just get sheets to match his hair? Not sure if I’m a black sheets kind of person, but maybe I could work with a grey…

    • Have you tried brushing him more? A shedding blade or a furminator makes a difference, just don’t use too often or press too hard to avoid damaging his skin. A few times a week should clear out the loose hair. Fish oil capsules help IME. I buy the small ones at the drugstore and just toss into their food.

      • Dog hair woes :

        Can you brush a short-haired dog? His coat is so short and thin that there’s nothing for the bristles to go through. I’ll try the fish oil capsules, thanks for the rec!

        • YES!! Our dog had such short hair that she had a bald belly. The Furminator is amazing. Basically it just pulls out all the loose hairs. I swear it will change your life.

          • TorontoNewbie :

            +1 to the Furminator

          • Baconpancakes :

            Does the furminator for cats work? Our hand-me-down white couch will eventually get a new slipcover in a color that matches our cat, but right now, there’s a permanent cat-shaped oval of fur on the corner he sleeps on. It’s kind of gross.

          • The Furminatot is well worth it’s high price.

          • leopard is a neutral :

            To Baconpancakes – yes on the furminator for cats! I have a Maine Coon cat and use it regularly. I need to bribe him a bit and use it more often for shorter periods before he gets fed up with it but it is so worth it!

        • Dog hair woes :

          Ah wonderful! I will go grab one after work. Thanks so much for the rec. This just made my day! Which goes to show you how much this has been annoying me :)

    • Very familiar with this problem. ;-) Our short haired mutt is shedding like crazy now too. We give her fish oil supplements for her joints but have noticed that it also makes her hair softer. Bathing regularly will get rid of a lot of loose hair and dander but you don’t want to bathe too much because it can make the skin dry. We bathe our dog about once a month. In between, I regularly rub her down with a damp washcloth outside. For bedding, we put a cheap sheet over our bed during the day. Shaking out the sheets outside before washing should loosen up the hair.

    • I feel you. My dog shedded (is that the past tense of shed? or is it just shed?) terribly and had short, stiff hairs that literally wove themselves into fibers like the couch and the carseats. We really liked the Dyson Animal vaccuum. And have you tried the Furminator? That made a huge difference. (Brush with it outside!)

      Regarding the sheets, have you tried dryer balls? Having everything get knocked around seemed to help. Also, snapping and shaking the sheets outside before washing if possible.

    • We use an Oster undercoat rake. It’s available on Amazon and very helpful with our long haired dog.

    • I have a lab/Great Pyrenees mix and his hair is EVERYWHERE when he sheds his winter coat. Like, if I wanted to, I could vacuum daily and it would be full every day. Our Roomba stops every day because it’s bin is full of dog hair.

      I guess I’ve just accepted that for a few months out of the year, my house will be covered in dog hair. He’s got white hair and I have dark hardwood floors, so it’s very visible. I sweep/vacuum when people come over in between housekeeper visits and just call it a day.

      The furminator works, but I’ve literally spent 30 minutes using it on him and had a pile of hair that filled an entire paper grocery sack. And there was an equal amount on me. Sigh.

      • My lab just turned one and shed his winter coat. I could not believe the amount of hair! I almost took him to the vet because I thought something was wrong.

        I have a white dog who sheds and a black cat who sheds. I didn’t not think this through properly!

        • did not*

        • I’ll raise you one…our last dog was white. I wear mostly black so I declared my next dog would be black. We adopted a mostly-black mutt with a white patch on her chest and I am not even kidding, the bottom 1/3 of every single one of her black hairs is white as the driven snow. It was one of the funniest F Yous the universe has ever sent me.

        • PatsyStone :

          Yeah. I have a giant yellow lab and I wear 60% black. There’s no perfect solution. I have resigned myself to being furry. I use a ShopVac to vacuum, it’s honestly the most pet-hair effective vacuum I’ve ever had.

    • Yes to all the previous suggestions. Brush weekly (there are multi step suggestions for shedding seasons), Roomba daily, lint rollers, etc.

      At a certain point you have to just accept that you’re going to have dog hair everywhere and adjust to it and buy things that won’t show it as much. Can you use a coverlet or blanket over your sheets? I have multiple throws in dark colors (for my black lab) to contain the fur. They get thrown in the wash regularly and I don’t have to vacuum my furniture or launder my duvet as frequently. And when guests are over, I can remove the throws from the sofa and they don’t have black fur all over when they stand up.

    • Roomba! Runs every day while we’re at work and has made a HUGE difference in the amount of dog hair. We usually only do the main floor but it seems to help reduce the amount of hair that migrates upstairs or downstairs, too.

    • Anonymous :


  20. Blog recommendation I never see on here: Kim France and “Girls of a Certain Age”

    I also love Emily Henderson, check out cup of jo regularly, and those tend to be my standbys. Anyone have some other good ones for a Friday?

    • Love Girls of a Certain Age. Also a fan of the Hairpin and, for a quick distraction, GoFugYourself. Thehairpin has fun advice columns. I especially like Ask a Clean Person.

      • espresso bean :

        Another fan of GOACA! Kim France is the best.

        Also enjoy Hitha on the Go, Blue Collar Red Lipstick (both were recs from this s i t e!), I Want to Be Her (from Kim’s BFF and former Lucky colleague Andrea Linett), Hither and Thither, and Dinner: A Love Story.

    • Old golden loafers :

      I like GOACA by Kim France too! Other blogs I like: youlookfab dot com and that’s not my age.

  21. Paging EB0220: PUNE :


    I grew up in Mumbai which is a 15 min flight from Pune, 2-3 hrs drive by car. I’m not sure what info you’d like about Pune, but if you’d like to post a list of questions, I can answer.

    It’s a busy city (second largest in the state after Mumbai), reasonably safe and also conservative. As a foreigner, you’ll stick out for sure but that is not an issue in itself.

    Dresses to the knee, pants, sleeveless are all OK.

    When are you visiting? Pune gets very very hot in summers. Be warned!

  22. Ive been on a kick to read trashy romance novels lately. I tend to prefer historical but open to whatever. Looking for recommendations. Anyone want to share their favorites?

    I’ll go first: The Magic of You by Johanna Lindsay. It’s perhaps the only book of that genre I have ever reread. Spunky heroine, reluctant love interest, lots of witty banter. Swoon!

    • Everything that Penny Reid has written. Seriously, such good books. Not historical, but fantastic.

      • Lorelai Gilmore :

        I love Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Great romances, super-readable. I like the Chicago Stars books, but they’re all pretty good. Also, if you haven’t read Susan Isaacs, then that’s a must – I love Shining Through.

        RR: I just bought a Penny Reid book! Thanks for the rec.

        • Lorelai Gilmore :

          For historicals, I went through an Eloisa James phase which was pretty great. I also recommend the Lauren Willig books – Secret of the Pink Carnation is the first. She wrote the first book while she was an associate at Cravath, which makes me like her even more.

    • So I read a ton of romance, in all genres – if you’re new to romance, first, you MUST check out Smart B*tches, Trashy Books. They have great romance reviews and coverage for smart ladies.

      My romance starter kit for newer romance readers who lean historical – it’s not all historical but it’s heavy that direction:
      -Lord of Scoundrels, Loretta Chase – historical.
      -The Iron Duke, Meljean Brook – steampunk.
      -Any Courtney Milan historical, but I’d start with The Duchess War.
      -Angel’s Blood, Nalini Singh – paranormal.
      -Magic Bites, Ilona Andres – paranormal.
      – Any Julie James contemporary.
      -Mary Balogh’s Bedwyn series (she has written a ton of books and almost all of them are good; the Bedwyns are a good example of her work) – historical
      – Devils’ Bride, Stephanie Laurens – historical. Warning with Stephanie Laurens: they’re all the same after a while, but this is, in my view, her best and so I’d start with it.

      • Thanks!! What a fantastic list! I’m not quite new but not a regular reader. I’d say I go through spells where I read a bunch and then I don’t ready any for a year. Been this way since junior high. I’ve read some Mary Balough and Stephanie Laurens, but not too much so will check these out first.

        My latest batch has been heavy on Julia Quinn but I’m getting a little bored by the quickly resolved conflicts, which is funny because my other frustration in romance novels is the convoluted never ending conflicts….

        • Oh, yeah, Julia Quinn is good but I have to take her in small doses. OH! I can’t believe I forgot this, but I am currently reading An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole. It is a civil war historical. The heroine is a freedwoman who is now a Union spy, undercover as a slave. The hero is a Pinkerton who is undercover as a Confederate officer. They are working together to break a Confederate plot, but they kind of hate each other/have the hots for each other. I get tired of the low-stakes conflicts in Regency novels (generally all about someone’s reputation), and the stakes here are enormously high – she faces constant risk because she’s undercover as a slave, both of them will be killed if they’re found out, and even if they survive, their relationship is either illegal or socially unacceptable in many states. Right now, I don’t know how Cole is going to pull it off, but it is the best romance I have read in *years.* SO GOOD.

          Alyssa Cole is from Barbados and she mostly writes contemporaries, I think, but I heard a great interview about all the research she did about this book – because she wanted to be very real about the risks and obstacles but she also wanted a happily ever after that could really have happened. It is a truly awesome book so far and I’m trusting her to pull off an ending that I can believe in.

          • Ooh, this does sound good! Agree on JQ – I like the humor and the Jane Austen-esque aspects but it can get dull fast.

    • Judith McNaught and Jude Deveraux are both great for historical (and modern) romances, but I will offer up that some of them are very “men in control” and could be offensive. Reading them in 2017 is a different experience than when I read them in the late 90s/early 00s. The more modern ones (love Sweet Liar by Jude Deveraux and Paradise and Perfect by Judith McNaught) aren’t as bad as the historical ones, which might be accurate as far as male/female roles, but still problematic. Like, I still love them, but I feel guilty as a feminist for reading them these days.

    • I’m a fan of Georgette Heyer for this kind of thing. Her books have no smut at all, which is less fun, but they are actually well written and edited (if, after awhile, a little repetitive), which is more than I can say for a lot of more recent books of the genre.

      Definitely making a note of cbackson’s recs though!

    • Not historical, but smart, well-written and fun: Julie James.

    • Absolutely any book by Penny Vincenzi. They’re full of characters and often based in wartime England. Honestly, do yourself a favour and grab any of her books. After reading all of her books, I simply can’t be bothered to read anything because nothing seems as good.

  23. Anonymous :

    What do you all think about moving for a job – when you don’t have to and when your track record of job happiness isn’t great? Here’s the details – started biglaw in a major city; went to another legal job in another major city. Both jobs were meh. I actually LOVE the law and am very happy when I’m left alone to do the work – in both cases it was the politics (law firm esp); environment; fit etc. Basically dealing with miserable people + also feeling like I can’t get ahead has brought me down.

    So I saw an in house job at a company I find fascinating. But it’s in an east coast secondary market, where I’d be living alone (upper 30s and single). Part of me feels like – why bother – it’ll probably turn out to be something bad anyway and then I’m stuck alone in a smaller city where I know no one and am off the Acela corridor (the previous/current job have me living within 1/5-2 hrs of my family). And then part of me is like – this is corporate HQ and I’ve been interested in jobs there before so if I want it, there is no choice but to move out there alone – they aren’t going to move their corporate HQ anytime soon. Thoughts?

    • Mama on the access road :

      If you’re ever going to take a leap like that, this is your time. Company HQ sounds like it could have lots of politicking; is there any way to find out?

    • I think you need to unpack the “politics” and “feeling like I can’t get ahead” parts that make you unhappy, because those are present to some extent in any job you do.

      Politics is literally working with people – trying to get them to do something in a way that isn’t annoying to you, and them doing the same back to you. You’re going to have to work with people in any job, ever, except maybe a lighthouse keeper. So you need to figure out what part of that is bad.

      Feeling like you can’t get ahead happens in every job. You will never be constantly praised and rewarded, and you will never work on Important Work every single minute, so there will always be days where you feel like you’re dead-ending. You’ll need to figure out what kind of recognition/ accomplishment you need, how often it needs to happen, etc, so you can then find ways to ask about the culture and see if you’re likely to get that.

  24. Anonymous :

    I really love this cami. The color, the scallop detail.

  25. FreckledKitKat :

    Just a comment about wearing a cami or sleeveless shirt/dress under a blazer, I’ve found that if you layer a 3/4 sleeve or short sleeve bolero between the shirt and the blazer that you don’t have to dry clean your blazers as often. I am allergic to regular deodorant so I have to use natural deodorant that doesn’t always work in the summer heat or during Board presentations, adding the machine washable layer has helped with my dry cleaning bill and febreze usage tremendously!

    • Have you tried Native deodorant? I recently switched to natural deodorant and really like it!

      Good idea on the bolero. I recently got some sleeveless shirts that looks great with my blazers, so I’ll have to pick a bolero up too.

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