Thursday’s Workwear Report: Schoolboy Blazer

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

This schoolboy blazer from J.Crew was a beloved favorite, but I don’t think it’s been at the main site for a few years (except the girls’ version). It’s currently at J.Crew Factory — it was $158 full price but regularly comes down below $100 with sales — so if you were a fan of the sort of shrunken schoolboy blazer basic in wool, do check it out. It comes in navy, camel, and black (plus several other colors and patterns) in regular sizes 00–20 and petite sizes 00–12, and it’s $110. Schoolboy Blazer

Two plus-size options are here and here.

Psst: Early Access to the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale has started for cardholders! If you’re unfamiliar with the sale you can check out our guide here; we’ll try to have a roundup of our workwear picks asap.

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  1. There have been some good posts about hobbies lately. I’m curious – do you and your spouse (if you have one) have a specific hobby budget? How do you handle it if one person’s hobbies are much more expensive? My husband and I have a completely shared pool of money, but my hobbies are more expensive than his (especially skiing) and I want to be conscious about not blowing our entire leisure budget for my own interests. He hasn’t mentioned being upset or anything like that, but I think it would be good for me to be sensitive to the fact that any stress on the budget is probably coming from me…

    • To me stress on the budget would come from putting the expensive hobby ahead of other agreed upon goals and responsibilities like bills, retirement, etc. But if you both agree that you can take the bigger share of the hobby money, I don’t see the issue so long as lines of communication remain open. If he decides that he wants to pursue a more expensive hobby, then you can sit down and reallocate the budget.

    • My mom’s “hobby” is reading, mostly books from the library. My dad’s is flying–he’s a pilot who is looking to buy a new airplane. Maybe make one himself. Buy a retirement house with a runway.

      Conclusion: there is a definite difference in expense, but Mom’s just happy he’s occupied so that she can read in peace.

    • We look at it as we both get a certain amount of “discretionary” spending each month. It’s really each year, because I tend to use mine biweekly on nights out with friends, and he tends to use his in big chunks to say, go on a brewery trip with a buddy or attend a conference for his hobby. If that amount starts to strain our budget, then we reduce our discretionary amounts and both have to make small sacrifices. (Maybe I skip my girls trip that year, maybe he does a local brewery tour.)

      • Anon for this :

        This is what we do too. Our budget includes clothes, social event, and hobbies (not individual travel, though). I spend mine mostly on clothes, drinks with friends, and yoga classes. He spends his on coffee out and tools/supplies for woodworking and electronics tinkering. His hobby costs more money than mine, but he spends a lot less on clothes and social stuff, so it works out fine.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Ugh, this is us in reverse. My SO’s hobby is flying airplanes. I know how much it costs, but it’s still a nasty shock every time I look at the budget and see that his hobby costs more than my student loans every month, and can go up to the cost of our mortgage depending on the cost of gas.

      But since he makes significantly more than I do, and I spend more in other areas, like clothing, I try to shrug it off.

      • Would you mind sharing the cost of getting a pilot’s license? My SO is considering doing it and I’ve heard it can be at least $12,000, which I think (hope?) might be one of the largest costs involved in the sport. Does your spouse have his own plane?

        • To get your private license is roughly $8-10K. But you really need to get your instrument rating, which is an additional $5-8K. The instrument rating lets you fly at night, in clouds, or other bad weather, which you don’t want to do on purpose but is a good skill to have, especially if you fly with family or friends in the airplane. (JFK Jr did not have his instrument rating, and ended up in a borderline instrument situation.)

          Unless he buys his own plane (which is expensive to house and maintain), he’ll have to rent flight time even after he gets his license. That cost depends heavily on your geographic area and the price of fuel, but is usually around $150-200/hour.

        • Baconpancakes :

          We budget about $500 a month for fuel and overnight parking costs for when we travel, as well as paying into a “flying club” for access to a shared plane. Not sure on the training costs – he got his license in high school and did instrument training before we were serious enough to talk about finances.

      • Ugh, hobbies :

        We have a boat, and it is somewhat reassuring that I could potentially convince DH to give up the boat and fly and actually save money. (Yes, “save money” and hobbies like boats and planes is absurd).

        Boat- $85k + maintenance ($5k/year on a good year). Boat isn’t massive and isn’t new.
        Slip fees- $3-5k/season for where we keep our boat, more when we travel
        Gas- ~$100/weekend, can be way more
        Misc startup costs: all the fishing gear, captains license (not required and not super expensive), life jackets, cute boat shoes, etc.

        • How much could you sell the boat for now? Sailing is definitely one of the most expensive sports, but I have family members who sail and they LOVE everything about it. It has always struck me as one of those “worth it” sports as long as you’re not in debt or something.

          • Ugh, hobbies :

            Oh yeah, I mean unless we sink the thing it’s got resale value. And we’re not in debt and we can afford the hobby. I’m only saying it ain’t a cheap one.

            We definitely take fewer non-boat vacations due to the boat- which is sort of the point.

        • This doesn’t sound much more expensive than our airplane, in fact it’s pretty comparable or even slightly cheaper. The difference is in owning vs renting, and the entry costs for flying are much higher.

      • Wow, BaconPancake’s boyfreind is a PILOT! That is SOOOO cool! BaconPancakes, you should be so happy you are dateing a pilot!!!! I remember when I took a flight to Pitsburg, the pilot told me he thought I was beautiful, and ever since then I wanted to date a pilot. It is so cool that pilot’s fly all over the place with peeople like us entrusteing their lives to them. I consider them all heroe’s for bringing the plane up and down all the time. It is VERY impresive to me. YAY!!!!

    • My husband is a triathlete, so we have some big expenses that pop up occasionally (new bike/workout gear/etc.) As long as he communicates about it in advance and it seems like he’s thought thru the expense, it doesn’t bother me.

      • I am a new triathlete, and who would have know…the costs of this sport is no joke.

        • I am also a new triathlete and I feel like people swear you need all this gear but lots of it isn’t essential. Like the person who swore I needed a tri watch just to get started. Nope, got a $45 Ironman and a super cheap bike computer, and I’m good… and it was $300 cheaper than a tri watch. Someone else tried to convince me a tri-specific bike was essential…I already have a really nice racing bike, and that’s fine for the foreseeable future.

          Of course, if you don’t have a bike at all, that’s the big first cost. I was lucky on that front. But I’ve actively had to resist people who claim I can’t even do my first sprint without tons of specialized gear!

        • Semi-new triathlete as well (I’ve done 3 sprints). I was lucky to be able to borrow a decent bike from my cousin that I’ve used for training and racing, but it is insane the costs that you can spend on a more aerodynamic bike and gear. At my last race this past weekend, an older guy in the transition area was talking to my friends and I about how we HAVE to get better bikes, better helmets, better wheels, etc if we want to continue in the sport. We are all having fun with it and intend to continue racing, but we are far from wanting to spend $5k to shave a couple minutes off our bike times.

    • My husband and I share a hobby (rescuing dogs) that is virtually cost free unless we decide to donate something or foster fail, both of which have happened. We have other more minor hobbies which we pay for out of our individual slush/fun money funds so there has rarely been much discussion about it, other than the occasional times he has taken a larger fishing trip.

      • GirlFriday :

        I’d like to know more about this. Do you mean you foster dogs or your physically rescue dogs off the street? Or maybe you do a combination of both? Fostering dogs is the job I would do if money were no object (since I haven’t figured out how to monetize rescuing/fostering).

        • We foster both short and long-term, transport dogs getting into rescue or going out to adopters, attend events to recruit volunteers and adopters for the rescue, process applications for the rescue, and we have physically rescued dogs before, although it is driving to wherever they are and pulling them from horrible situations such as a puppy mill rather than pulling them off the street. Fostering doesn’t cost any money with most rescues. The one we currently volunteer with pays for all food and vet bills. Also, any money you put into a foster dog for a 501(c)(3) rescue organization is tax deductible (this includes supplies such as leashes or collars, treats for the dogs, mileage to-and-from vet appointments, etc.), as is mileage spent on transports.

    • My hobby is exercise classes (yoga and barre) and his is online video games. Luckily neither one is terribly expensive but we try to negotiate the time and money so that we both get our me time but not at the expense of the other person. There’s no harm in checking in to make sure he’s still on board with how much you’re spending. Though I wouldn’t ask unless you’re willing to make a change if he asks or believe him if he says he doesn’t mind.

    • My husband’s hobby is buying old cars and fixing them up and completely obsessing about them and then selling them at a loss. It’s the source of quite a bit of marital discord to be honest, especially when another clunker shows up in our driveway with no heads-up.

      He would tell you my hobby is shopping but that’s not really true. I work so much I don’t really have time for my actual hobbies, which are playing the piano and guitar, knitting, gardening, cooking and reading.

    • As far as individual hobbies go, DH’s hobby is video games, and mine is reading. DH spends about $65-70 on a new game every 6 months or so. We also have a fancier-than-otherwise-necessary computer to run the games. When we need to replace a part, we usually spend 50% from our “slush fund” for repairs and 50% from his discretionary money, since he always wants something more advanced than what it would take to run Netflix or check email. I mostly check books out from the library, but I spend much more on clothes and eat lunch out more often.

      Our joint hobby is food, for those that consider “food” a hobby. We cook almost every night and like trying new and interesting recipes. We used to go out to eat pretty often, but now that we have a kid, that’s not in our budget and not as easy to do.

  2. Just a vote for this pick, Kat. I have it in navy from Factory and in a great deep purple from J Crew proper (maybe 2 years ago?). You can guess at the price differential…but the quality is almost *exactly* equal. Factory (increasingly) FTW.

    • Anonymous :

      Agreed! I have it in a bright blue and got it on sale for ~$60, and it looks way more expensive than that. The J Crew factory store can be a hit or miss, but this blazer was definitely a hit for me.

    • Agree that Factory quality is hit or miss, but it’s been way more hit than miss for me lately as compared to JCrew proper (and at the price difference, even more so). I ordered some tshirts from both and was super disappointed to find that the ones from the regular store were scratchy and the fit was off, whereas the factory version was soft and very flattering. Go figure.
      (sidenote: the factory men’s vneck shirts are the best, period).

      • Which Factory t-shirts did you get that fit well? I’m in the market for a few replacements!

    • Yeah, this is an excellent blazer for the price. It took me like 6 months to pull the trigger because it seemed too good to be true.

    • Can anyone say how long the blazer is? I’m 5’4″, and fairly shortwaisted, so I swing between regular and petites in blazers. Also, does anyone have the linen? Looks like a great summer topper for dresses! (I can live with some wrinkles.)

  3. I am going to Boston this weekend. Does anyone have a replacement for the defunct Filene’s Basement, and have suggestions for high-end skincare shopping?

    • Linda from HR :

      There’s a Nordstrom Rack near Copley, and TJ Maxx and Marshall’s downtown not far from where the old Filene’s Basement was located.

    • Not in Boston itself, but I used to have co-workers who made pilgrimages to Frugal Fannie’s in Norwood/Westwood (on the line, I think?). Never been but these were hard core bargain shopping, Filene’s Basement-loving women.

      • Family members of mine looooove Frugal Fannie’s. They always seem to find something nice.

    • Skincare: Blumercury or Follain.

    • Anonymous :

      There is a new TJ Maxx at the end of Newbury Street that is huge as well (walkable from the Nordstrom Rack / Marshall’s on Boylston).

  4. If the early access offerings are any indications of what fall collections will be like, it is going to be way more fun to shop this fall than it has been this spring/summer with all the awful collections the major workwear brands have been putting out.

    • Seriously. I am in the market for some new easy work dresses and there is NOTHING. Hey, Banana Republic- a skin tight halter top dress is not work appropriate. (Side note: can we really blame the summer associates!?)

      • Depending on how formal your job is, try Boden. I picked up some great lined jersey dresses (with sleeves!) for around $50 each in their July 4th sale.

    • I think that’s going to be true all around. I went into Ann Taylor yesterday and most of their new arrivals were actually…normal. Lots of black and white, decent shapes, fairly low on ruffles.

  5. Thank you notes :

    I missed the other day’s discussion about thank-you notes, but the fact that the OP never got notes from somewhat younger kids makes me think the parents were negligent here. Maybe it’s generational, but my family ALWAYS drilled the importance of thank you notes into me. Is that not common anymore? Are those of you with young kids teaching your kids this basic courtesy?

    • Mrs. Jones :

      My 6-year-old son and I send written thank-you notes for gifts.

    • Thank you notes :

      And to be clear, I think thank-you emails could be okay too – just SOME kind of genuine thank-you (although a texted “thx” might not suffice).

    • I was taught that you have to say thank you. If you’re able to say it in person or over the phone, then you don’t have to necessarily also send a thank you note. So if my child opens a gift in front of someone, they have to look them in the eyes and say thank you. If they are sent a card with a check or gift card, we call on the phone and say thank you (so the sender knows it was received). If they open on Facetime, they say thank you right then. Etc. Otherwise, yes we write thank you notes.

      I think sometimes people expect a note IN ADDITION to the verbal thank you, so I’m probably seen as rude by those people. But this is the etiquette I follow.

      • Baconpancakes :

        I think it depends on the gift. Book on your birthday? A verbal thank you is fine. A fat check for your graduation? Doesn’t matter if you opened the card in front of them, you write a note.

        • I wrote hand-written thank yous for my bridal and baby showers, even though I technically opened those in person and already said thank you. I would probably insist on the same for graduation gifts for my kids. I think there’s something about a “major life milestone” that requires a more formal acknowledgement, and maybe it’s something about thanking them for supporting you through the milestone, the gift is really secondary in that instance.

        • Linda from HR :

          Right, I think nowadays they should be expected for big gifts given at major life events. I wouldn’t send one for a toaster if it was a Christmas present, but if anyone’s ever crazy enough to marry me, I’ll probably adhere to the tradition of sending notes for every wedding gift I receive, especially since you don’t open them in front of guests.

      • Same. And husband was raised with the understanding that you don’t have to do thank you notes for Christmas, regardless of whether you are thanking in person or not.
        IME there is so much variation in family norms, so while it is good to have some acknowledgement (email/call/text/note) I don’t judge how it’s delivered. Bummer that the original poster’s family doesn’t seem to be doing that!

    • I’m trying to instill this in my kids, but I’m not perfect and I know we’ve inadvertently forgotten to send a note a few times. Or I’ve defaulted to email instead of a handwritten note, which would be my preference. Life happens, especially with kids. My 7-year-old is just now getting to the point where he can actually write a thank-you note, and I think that will make things easier. I will still have to oversee the process, but at least he can contribute. Before that, every part falls on the parents.

      With my DH’s out-of-state aunt and uncle, who are always good about sending my kids stuff, I try to shoot a video of the kids actually opening the gift.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Email note is fine – I think today, an emailed Thank You isn’t quite as formal but gets the job done.

    • Anonymous :

      Our kid writes thank-you notes for gifts and also for special experiences (e.g., trips to the theatre with her grandparents). The grandparents on both sides as well as a few aunts and uncles do the same, so our daughter receives thank-you notes for the handmade gifts she sends her relatives. This is very helpful in encouraging our daughter to send her own notes–she sees. Ideas of what they should look like and experiences firsthand how good it feels to receive one.

      • Anonymous :

        Adding–my husband and I also write thank-you notes.

        I am still clutching my pearls over the fact that a niece and a nephew never sent thank-yous for their wedding gifts, especially because we had spent a ton of money and time to travel to both weddings.

        • I am 30 and I have not received a single thank you note for any wedding gift, wedding shower gift or baby shower gift I have ever given (and I have given many of each).

        • Senior Attorney :

          OMG I think it’s horrendous to not send thank you notes for wedding gifts. Seriously. Pearls clutched to the max!

          Once I sent an expensive wedding gift and got back a pre-printed card that said “thank you for the [unspecified] wedding gift” with nothing else, not even an handwritten signature. Uh, no. That will not do.

          I also think it’s a nice custom to send a handwritten thank-you when you are invited to dinner at somebody’s home.

    • Distracted :

      I think that teaching kids to show gratitude is what’s important here. If that means a handwritten note, so be it. Sometimes it means having them call grandma and have a good conversation with her instead, since she’ll appreciate that more than a card, or taking them along to deliver a little “thank you” gift for something someone did for the family. It matters that kids learn to be grateful for things other people do for them or give them, but how they learn that depends on your exact situation.

    • Anonattorney :

      I get that it’s a social rule, and it makes sense, but I’m just so sick of the thank you note thing. Whenever I get one after a baby shower or wedding, I just immediately recycle it. The whole cycle of obligatory gift giving and obligatory thank you notes is ridiculous. I have never been offended by not receiving a note under those circumstances.

      With family and close friends, I’d much prefer a text with a photo of the kid/person enjoying the gift over a handwritten note. But I agree that some acknowledgment is probably necessary in those circumstances.

      • annnnnnon :

        I feel like I am a weird bird – I always write a thank you note, but I do not expect one and I would never be offended not to receive one. If I am giving you a gift, I am giving it to you because I want to, not because I want some validating response. The OP from the other day rubbed me the wrong way on that point, especially with the follow-up yesterday that was a not so humble brag about how awesome at gift giving she thinks she is and ohmygosh look at how much time and effort I put into this!!! Either you want to give gifts because you enjoy doing it or you don’t. No one is required to give anyone anything. I certainly don’t need additional stuff and neither do most people TBH.

        • I don’t disagree with the point that you should give gifts without expectations, but I feel for the OP to have repeatedly sent gifts and then watched them basically disappear into the void. She wasn’t complaining that they didn’t write a handwritten note – she was bummed because she didn’t get so much as a one-word text acknowledging it arrived. That’s just plain rude, and frankly, that’s on the parents. Maybe you can’t get your kid to write a note, but you can spend 15 seconds snapping a photo and texting it. It’s not always as easy as “just stop sending gifts” because in all likelihood, the kids love the gift – they’re just not adults who get that you are supposed to send proper thank yous.

          • I understand what you’re saying, but a forced thank you is even worse than no thank you at all IMO. If the kid is only saying thank you because the parents’ are making them, what good is that really? And what is that teaching them?

            If the kids aren’t grateful for the gifts, forcing them to write a thank you note/send a thank you email won’t change it. If it were me, in that situation, I would stop giving gifts.

          • I don’t see it as a “forced thank you” – I see it as the parents setting the standard for courtesy until the children are old enough to recognize the importance themselves (especially for young kids). My parents made us write thank-yous and I do it now as an adult, even though no one is forcing me. I’m glad they made me do it until I was old enough to get that gratitude and gratefulness help make the gift process more joyful for everyone involved.

          • To add, if the kids ARE enjoying the gifts and are grateful, then I would suck it up and realize that my brother is the rude one and let the kids off the hook.

          • Um what? It’s teaching them to be decent human beings. If parents didn’t make their kids do things we’d be overrun by savages.

          • I think all manners are “forced” until children have the maturity to become empathetic.

          • I have never gotten a thank you note from nieces and nephews (except maybe spontaneous ones written on craft paper when they were still learning to write things like “thank you” and “I love you”?). They say thank you sincerely when I see them, and I’ve noticed that my sister usually reports back to me on how they ended up using whatever it was I got them (sometimes with an amusing story). If it’s the sort of gift they own for years, the kids will sometimes thank me again (“Didn’t you get me this? Thank you!”).

            In comparison, a formal, handwritten thank you note seems like a poor substitute to me. There are simply better ways to communicate with family these days? On the other hand, I was taught to send thank you notes and still do–sometimes to people’s amusement.

          • The response to ungratefulness/rude behavior should be no more gifts. One would think that would teach them to learn to be thankful.

            In what will seem like hypocrisy, I was required to write thank you notes, but my parents also wouldn’t let me use the gift until I did. They also would have happily sent the gifts back to their senders with a note saying how I was not appreciative of such gift and didn’t deserve it. That’s what they told me anyway, and I believed them. I still write thank you notes to this day, but I also am truly grateful whenever someone gives me something because I know they certainly do not have to. YMMV

        • Anonattorney :

          Yep, agree completely. Overall, it’s important to learn sincerity and kindness. Handwritten thank you notes aren’t always the most sincere form of communication with friends, especially when they are expected or required by the receiving party.

          • Anonymous :

            If doing something expected makes it insincere, then I am going to stop sending gifts that are expected.

    • Right now I take a video of my two year old saying “thank you aunt susie!” or whatever, and text it to the person who gave her something. Once she can actually write, she’s going to write thank you notes.

      • My niece and nephew do this with my SIL/BIL and we LOVE it. It’s such a treat. As they get older, we get emailed notes from my SIL, dictated from the kids. We appreciate it, because it is fun to hear from the kids themselves (we live far away).

      • Anon in NYC :

        Yep. Or I write notes on my kid’s behalf.

        • We talk about Aunt Susie while kiddo scribbles on a pretty piece of paper and I write a brief note to translate “Maxine loves her new stuffed animal”

          Or for older kid, I write “Thank for for my new book; I had a great [birthday][Christmas]” and kiddo tries to write “Love, Petra” below it.

          I am still all in for the addressing of the note, but the kids do like to do the return address stamp and put the stamp on and then walk to the mailbox. USUALLY we get a note or postcard back, which they are thrilled with and then we try to keep it going.

    • Anonymous :

      Saying thank you is common courtesy, but I think we need to accept modern methods. A text or email is fine IMO. It’s 2017. I don’t even own stamps.

      • Linda from HR :

        I do, but they’re pretty much just for rent checks at this point. They’re mostly comic book characters and I’m not ashamed! However, the Adulting blog (contentious word, I know, but super useful tips) had an entry about having a correspondence drawer, where you keep all your envelopes, stamps, nice pens, address book, labels, and personal stationary together in one place, and I’m like “dang, I should set this up,” so I’m going to in my next apartment. And that means getting stationary, even if I hardly ever use it.

        • I have a correspondence drawer of sorts, and it is an excellent solution! Then again, I collect vintage copies of Emily Post…but I’m never at a loss (at home) for a stamp, some nice stationery, quality pens, and the ability to express my gratitude in a way that feels right to me.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Vintage etiquette books for the win! And I thought everybody had a correspondence drawer…

          • Linda from HR :

            Well, maybe everybody here . . . I kinda suck at being all proper and stuff, but I’m trying.

        • Oh, and late in the day to add this but don’t feel like you have to get personalized stationery (…unless you’re me and you simply must have it because dork). Check out Homegoods and TJ Maxx etc for different styles of boxed notecards. They are totally affordable and can show personality or style or whatever you’d like.

          If personalized notecards are your thing, I suggest minted and tinyprints. All styles of card and look there!

    • Agree, 100%. Sometimes the best I can do is a pic of my kids (4 and 2) opening the box/playing with the new toy, sent via text with a “thanks so much for thinking of us!” Sometimes at a call just to say hi/thanks. Sometimes the kids actually make a note.

      My 4 y/o colors/writes (her name/the gift gover’s name) thank yous for all her birthday party gifts. It’s overkill and I know it, but she likes art and we value saying thank-you. sometimes it can take a few weeks to get them out but they eventually go.

      • ETA- the pic is for misc boxes that show up from distant friends/relatives. Birthdays and Christmas gifts sent from out of town, and other Big Gifts always get a thank you coloring picture. We’ve done it for a few ears now and it’s just The Deal now. Like, not an issue for her and she loves doing it. Maybe that’ll wear off but the concept of sending and getting mail is pretty exciting.

    • Linda from HR :

      When I was a kid, my mom made me write notes for every single gift I received. As I got older, she eased off on them, and I took my cues from my peers who didn’t bother with handwritten notes for stuff like makeup, CDs, accessories, etc.

      However, it was definitely expected that I send notes for the large ($100+) checks I received for graduation, and my mom was not happy with me for putting them off.

    • From the number of these posts complaining about nieces and nephews it sounds like statistically at least half the population of siblings no longer does. Or everyone here shares a brother or sister.

    • Brunette Elle Woods :

      I think thank you notes are outdated except for specific occasions i.e.:baby/wedding showers, weddings, etc. I don’t send thank you notes for birthday gifts. For my friend’s children, I would absolutely love a video of them saying thank you way more than a forced thank you card.

    • I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a thank you note from my nephews for birthdays. I mostly send them money in a card and I usually get a very sweet and appreciate text from them (they are now 19 and almost 21). I did get thank you notes for the substantial check I gave each of them for their high school graduations. If I remember, the older one typed out the note, printed it and glued it into the card, then signed it. I don’t think he was comfortable writing. I’m pretty sure his mom helped him with the notes, but I just don’t think he had done anything like that before and they both got very generous checks from family members.

      I have recently received thank you notes for expressions of sympathy, with note cards that were personalized from the family of the deceased. One was a family whom I generally don’t know (one of my closest friends is the stepson of the deceased) and we sent flowers to the funeral. It was nice to hear from the family, although I got a thank you and photo from my friend. Just yesterday, I received a handwritten note from my cousin after I sent her flowers at home the week her mom passed away. Even though she had messaged me a photo and a thank you at the time, it was lovely to get her note. So I guess, even though I’m not great at sending thank you notes, they really do make a difference!

  6. ManagementConsultant :

    Any tips on styling the schoolboy blazer? I picked one up on sale a few years ago and it’s still hanging in my closet unworn! I’m just not quite sure what to do with it…

    • maybe: (assuming navy, for some reason)
      – grey sheath
      – breton stripe shirt, boyfriend jeans, loafers
      – white sheath
      – white shell, grey pencil skirt

    • For casual, I do mine with a solid blouse, jeans, and pointy toe ballet flats. For work, I do it with a printed shell, neutral non-matching pencil skirt, and heels.

    • Maybe I’m a weirdo, but I really like wearing blazers as my ‘jacket’ when running around town on weekends or if I have to do something moderately dressy (say, meet up with parent friends?). Navy is a neutral, so I would wear it over just about any kind of top, with jeans, and either flats or ankle boots.

      • ManagementConsultant :

        Cute idea! I never know what to wear as a spring / fall jacket when it’s not cold enough for something warmer but I am still cold.

  7. Anonymous :

    Does anyone want to shop for me? I love fun prints, but not quite the Boden/Modcloth/twee kind of fun print — rather, abstract (no florals), and in more muted colors. Where can I find a casual weekend dress in such a print?

    Links follow to two dresses I’m looking at: Nic + Zoe, Mata Traders.

    • Anonymous :

      Nic + Zoe (more than I’d like to spend)

      Mata Traders (worried it would show white/gray cat hair)

    • Fellow cat lover :

      Buy a lint roller


  8. Distracted :

    Anyone else spent the morning browsing the Nordstrom sale? I have a quarterly review at work later today and I’m too nervous about it to focus on anything, so I’m shopping and entering blogger giveaways for Nordstrom gift cards instead. Probably not the best thing to do prior to a review, but that’s where I’m at today.

  9. Overthinking :

    Dress code help . . .

    I am going to the Formula E race in NYC this weekend as part of a company sponsored event. There is a possibility that company “leaders” will be part of the group (FWIW, I am not trying to climb the corporate ladder and there will be a significant number of younger employees there who want to make an impression more than I do). We were told that the dress code is smart casual/informal and to wear comfortable walking shoes. My plan was to wear a pair of chino shorts in a fun color with a blouse type top. I want to wear my Converse as well. Good?

    • Anonymous :

      I think the Converse are too casual for that dress code if it trends more smart casual than informal.

      • Overthinking :

        Thanks. I think my only other options are my Target flats, which will kill my feet if I am on them throughout the day (no support) or wedges (same problem). I am against buying new shoes for this purpose. What shoes would you wear?

    • Anonymous :

      I would not wear shorts to a professional event, regardless of how casual the official dress code is. What about a casual dress and sandals?

      • Overthinking :

        Hmmmm. All of my casual dresses are too short and the only sandals I own are wedges or flip flops (the latter obviously not appropriate). I really don’t want to kill my feet for this. I work in an office where cold-shoulder tops appear on managers so take that for what it’s worth, I guess?

        This sucks because I know that the younger guys will be in shorts and polos or tees and boat shoes- 100%.

        Oh wait, I have Sperrys!

    • Overthinking :

      I am all over the place today, sorry.

      I just looked at pics from other races where our company had groups and everyone is in jeans, company t-shirts/polos, and tennis shoes (including SVPs, GMs, and directors). Those pictures are all being touted on our intranet, so I think I am very much overthinking this. I am not wearing a company t-shirt because no way am I buying one.

      Thanks all!

      • Flats Only :

        In that case I would wear navy ankle pants, a tailored polo shirt untucked, and the converse (with orthotics because I got fat and my feet hurt!). I would not wear a dress of any kind to a motor race unless I was one of the driver’s wives, or wanted to look like I was.

        • Overthinking :

          Thanks! I was able to find out that there will not be one single exec on this trip. It’s going to be a whole bunch of interns, executive assistants, and a whole crew from our young professionals resource group. I am going to skew to the informal side of the smart casual/informal code as I most certainly will be one of the oldest people on the trip.

  10. Anonymous :

    I need some advice on making my life less…blah. I’m in a miserable job I hate. I’m looking for other jobs, but in the meantime I’m stuck here. I’m single and in my 30s. Most of my friends are married and busy with their married lives. I don’t see them as often as I’d like. Dating has been a disaster and I’m probably going to be single for the rest of my life. I don’t have a lot of money to travel or do fun things. I’m at the highest weight I’ve ever been and it feels very out of control. I have a lot of family problems I’m dealing with.

    Basically, I feel like everything sucks. I know counseling is the obvious answer. I’ve tried several therapists before and never liked it or found it helpful.

    How do you find satisfaction? Maybe I need a hobby or something. I wish I could just hit restart on my life and make it better.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m in a similar boat with some different details. I am in counseling and on meds, and still feel this way. What about accpeting that you may not find satisfaction right now? Lowering your expectations.

    • I go through this cycle every so often. My biggest pick-me-up is to volunteer. I think it helps to accomplish something tangible and know that I’m doing good in at least one area of my life.

      I spent a summer cuddling/ walking cats and dogs at a local rescue org and it totally pulled me out of my funk. I spent another summer working with a local org to deliver backpacks to low-income kids – seeing their shock and gratitude was amazing. Another year I assisted chefs who taught food and cooking skills to at-risk youth – I couldn’t believe these 8 year olds had no idea what a tomato looks like.

      So pick something and start volunteering. Bonus points if you can find something that addresses a second area you’re unhappy in (so an activity that is physical if you’re also down about your body, or an activity with elderly if you’re dealing with aging relatives, etc) but don’t let that hold you back from starting something.

      • These are great suggestions, thank you.

        • Anonymous :

          I started volunteering for my local hospital. It had a major positive impact on my mental health. It’s just handing out tea, coffee, towels, and blankets but it really puts my life into perspective and humbles me.

          FWIW, I had previously done professionally-related volunteer work like being a section leader for a networking organization or mentoring young people entering my career path. Those types of volunteering didn’t ever give me the same mental health boost as working in the hospital does.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m in a similar place too. One thing that really helps me is working out. Aside from the physical benefits, it gives me an activity/something to put on my calendar and also helps emotionally. I like to work out in the morning and I find I have more energy and a better attitude when I’ve exercised before work. I recognize that’s not for everyone, though, so my main advice is just to make an exercise plan and stick to it.

      Sending hugs!

      • I was in a really similar place a couple years ago, and my route was to pick one thing that I was unhappy with and had a fair amount of control over and to try to fix that, then move on to the next thing. First it was job happiness, I changed careers. Once I did that, it was my weight, so I started working out regularly. Etc./repeat, and a few years later I’m finally in a much happier place in my life.

    • I’d echo volunteering. I threw myself into my church board. (We’re already planning our Christmas tree sale! So fun!)

      I also used to feel like that when I had low levels of depression. I cannot describe the difference 10 mg of Paxil has made in my life. Think about talking to your GP.

    • Could you be a bit depressed? Sometimes a low dose of lexapro is your friend. If therapy hasn’t helped/clicked, even more so.

      • I’ve been on anti depressants for more than 10 years, actually. I should have mentioned that. Maybe I need an adjustment, but I feel like the circumstances of my life will suck regardless of my mental health!

        • Ah… definitely see a doctor about an adjustment. Your exact same circumstances can look much different when this dark blanket covering you lightens up a little.

    • Just throwing this out there, but if you’re in the DC-area and looking to make more friends, I’d be happy to meet up with you. I’m a single woman in my 30s, no kids, and I’m looking to expand my circle of friends. I love my current ones, but sometimes I feel as if I’ve completely stopped expanding my social circle in any way. I hope this post doesn’t come off as creepy, but I’ve been thinking more and more about how I can meet more people platonically and realize that I have no idea how to do so. Might as well give this a shot.

    • There was a good post about hobbies last week or so from someone who said they pulled her out of a funk. Try searching for that and maybe looking into counseling? There are plenty of hobbies that don’t have high start-up costs.

    • A few years ago I felt like you. I didn’t comment on the hobby thread last week but I agree whole heartedly with what everyone said there- it is AMAZING what a difference it’s made in my life. I always had a bunch of hobbies growing up/in college (including one talent that I considered pursuing instead of professional school, but had basically completely lost touch with) but was just completely unable to pull myself together to actually *do* them after the exhaustion of a work day and my general malaise. It was a positive feedback loop- I’d be on the couch, tired, thinking I should do X, beating myself up for NOT doing X, whining that I didn’t have time to do X, and then going to work the next day and thinking “surely today I’ll do X!” Ugh. The difference was scheduled hobbies, preferably where you can also develop a community. So I go to hobby X on Mondays and Weds, hobby Y on Saturdays, and I just got a membership to an expensive gym where I can do hobby Z. At first I’d say “oh no, you don’t have time for this so don’t schedule the class or don’t get the membership…what if I have to cancel!?! The HORROR!” Turns out that I DO have time! Once in a while I have to cancel but it really isn’t that bad. And once you get back into it and feel yourself loving it and being happy, you’ll be motivated to make time. Once it’s a routine it’s easy to schedule around, you look forward to it, and it becomes a part of your life. And if it turns out that the hobby isn’t a good fit after you’ve tried it for a few months? Abandon ship. So what. You tried! I am so so so happy that I got over the hurdle of getting started a few years ago-the awkward showing up and being new, not knowing anyone, flailing around with my out-of-shape body, forcing myself to leave work early. 100% worth it.

      I’m still over 30, single, childless while all my friends have kids, doing work I’m not totally satisfied with, dating is an unmitigated disaster (I am basically not even trying anymore) and working all the time, but I am so. much. happier.

    • This is so so me last year. I went back to a hobby that I love. It has the added bonus of many new friends, exactly zero of whom have young children (which I admittedly am a bit bitter about these days, as a childless mid-30s whose friends with children have almost entirely disappeared from my life).

    • Triangle Pose :

      Are there meetup dot com groups in your country? Free exercise classes or groups like November Project? This would be a good way to hit 2 birds with one stone – exercise to boost your mood and new friends to expand your social circle.

      I recently went to airbnb meetups in my city it was so NICE to meet folks outside of my profession and existing friend group. I also joined a neighborhood book club and now I get to socialize (for free!) with ladies outside my age group – many retirees and grandmas in my group – it’s a great way to widen the net.

    • Start meditating. Make a list of things you wish you were doing and do them. Leave work at 5 p.m. every day and make time for things you enjoy. Reach out to friends you haven’t seen in a while just to say hi. Make plans with friends and plan a visit to see someone if you can. Join a local club – Junior League, book club, meetup, anything with people your age or who share an interest with you. Leave your office for lunch. Read a great book. These are all things that have made me feel better when I was feeling overwhelmed/isolated/fun bankrupt/in need of more friends.

    • Have you read Option B by Sheryl Sandberg? Lots of (clinically proven) suggestions on how to find joy and resilience and build happiness despite unhappy circumstances.

    • Aunt Jamesina :

      I’m sorry, I definitely know that feeling of there being nothing to look forward to and being stuck in an awful job. For me, the biggest things that help are therapy, meds, and getting outside (which may or may not involve exercise). I think it’s very easy to feel depressed when you go from work to home and back again. Sitting outside at least once a day in the sun having a coffee, going for a walk, or reading a good book does wonders for my mental state. There’s something about being outside and getting a change of scenery that makes such a difference. I agree with others that hobbies can help, but when I feel worn out from work and life it’s really hard to mentally gear myself up for something new and interacting with new people.

      • Yes, I try to get outside during the work day and I’ve found it does make a difference in my mood! Thank you.

    • I’m so sorry you’re feeling that way. I can relate. What helps me is spending time alone in nature. Going for quiet walks heals my soul. Sometimes it helps to listen to a podcast as I’m going for a walk. It can redirect my thinking and give me new ideas or just get me laughing. Good luck!

  11. How do you handle email guilt/anxiety? The constant feeling of needing to reply during the evening or weekend just because you received it on your phone, not because you actually need to answer it right.that.minute?

    (My job is M-F 9-5 working with government clients in a non-crisis-prone industry, but many of my coworkers/bosses work 12-16 hours a day because they have very different roles at the company than I do. They’re emailing me at 10 pm just because they’re simply working, not because they need a response from me at 10 pm.)

    • Is it a work phone, or have you downloaded your email to your own phone? If it’s the latter, delete the app and remind yourself that if they truly expected a response at all hours, you’d have been (a) told to do so (or, maybe ask); and (b) given a work phone. If it’s a work phone, just get really good about triage: respond to the true emergencies in the moment, and defer everything else to the first thing the next day. Enough 10pm emails responded to by you at 9:05am the next day and they’ll get the idea, and know when to pipe up about needs. Manage the expectation of how you plan to respond and enforce the boundaries. It’s hard and it feels like you’re endangering your reputation when you do this, but you’re not if you’re doing it respectfully, consistently, and with an understanding of your office’s culture.

    • Don’t look at your phone outside of business hours. Then, remind yourself that you don’t save lives, the company existed before you, and it will exist after you, and the work will get done during the next business day.

      Even if you did respond, what would that do? It would irritate you, take time away from enjoying your life, and validate that your coworkers should expect a response from you outside of normal business hours. It would not, however, actually accomplish anything that couldn’t be done on the next business day with the same end result, right?

    • Turn off the alerts and don’t check your email in the evening! If you don’t have the type of job that requires that kind of responsiveness, stop torturing yourself.

      • +1

        I have my email account on my phone in case I need to check it, but the alerts are turned off.

        • +1, no alerts, and if it is an app as opposed to integrated into your mailbox, move it to the very last screen of your phone (if an iPhone, the one furthest to the right) so you barely ever see it. Having, for example, the Outlook app as opposed to having the emails delivered to my iPhone’s main mail box has been excellent and an easy way to tune it out. You can move it to a less visible place, you don’t see the notifications, and you aren’t comingling your life with your business.

    • lawsuited :

      One (clever, lovely) boss told me that he thought sending emails/responses to emails in the middle of the night or on weekends showed poor self-control and often poor judgment. Since then, I read the email, flag it if it requires a response later, and continue on with my weekend patting myself on the back for my excellent self-control.

  12. I sit on an executive team of 12 people who run a fairly large business. We all work in different locations and meet quarterly. During these meetings, the men wear slacks, sport coats, collared shirts and dress shoes. The women wear things like wedge flip flops, colored denim, maxi dresses, etc. I don’t get it. I’m frustrated because I just heard someone remark that women don’t dress professionally in this company…which is not fair (or generally true) but hard to argue when the women in the most senior positions are not dressing appropriately for business meetings. I just keep my head down and my comments to myself, but [email protected] – common sense is not common.

    • I’d be bugged by this, too. I hate to be that person who is policing what other women wear, but that’s weekend wear, not work attire. All it does is contribute to the image problem that you’re hearing about.

  13. Help! I’m looking for a basic black sheath dress (preferably sleeveless) that I can wear in federal court. Budget is $200. Has anyone had any luck with the MMLaFleur dresses?

    • I love MMLaFleur.

      ALso, though, everything sucks right now for sheaths. BR, JC and AT are fails. AT has one navy and that’s IT.

    • I have an inexpensive black sheath dress that is sleeveless from Lands End that I got for under $30 that I love more than my Classiques and Theory sheath if you can believe it.

    • Talbots has a basic “seasonless wool A-line sheath” that’s well within your price range and looks like a classic piece.

      • I have 3 of these. Quality basic; completely professional. I had them all lengthened, a bit unusual for my 5-6 height, but a longer length suits me.
        Red hanger sale ends tomorrow— get while you can!

    • Delta Dawn :

      Late response but I have worn the MML Lydia and the Annie in federal court with a jacket. I would not do that for a jury trial, but for a hearing, you would be good, at least in my district.

  14. Gift for Nana :

    My husband’s grandmother is turning 90 and we would like to get her a nice gift. The problem is that she doesn’t seem to want anything. She doesn’t want more sentimental “stuff” to take care of or add to the clutter of her house, she doesn’t seem to take much enjoyment in eating special treats anymore, and she already has everything she really needs.

    Our budget is pretty flexible. Do you have any ideas?

    • How mobile is she? What about tickets to a show or event going on in her town?

    • Go visit her. She doesn’t want you to get her things. Spend time with her. Write her a beautiful card and send photos.

      • +1 to spending time with her. If you do an experience gift, do it with her. Do a bunch of research ahead of time to make it as seamless as possible. I took my 80 year old limited-mobility grandmother to an art museum because she had never been to one before. I paid for a limo to drive us door to door, I arranged for a wheelchair to be available so we could spend as much time in one spot as we wanted, I planned for a lunch that she would like at a park next door (and made sure a friend had set up a folding table so she could easily sit), etc. Basically treated it like a first date. She was thrilled and talked about it for the next 7 years.

      • This. She really, really doesn’t want things. My grandmother loves visits and half the fun is the anticipation. Think about it – when you’re 90, you’re honestly just waiting to die (it doesn’t have to be gruesome, but it’s not like you’re getting up and going to work every day and filled with purpose), so having something to look forward to is such a joy.

      • +1 When my grandma moved to a retirement community and had to downsize from a house full of a lifetime of stuff, my standard Christmas gift for her became taking her out for a nice dinner. She loves it.

    • Give her an experience as a gift! Theatre or symphony tickets? A trip to museum + nice lunch?

    • Anon in NYC :

      My husband’s go-to for his grandmother was always flowers and fancy chocolates (she had a big sweet tooth).

      I agree with the visit – she’d probably appreciate that. Or more regular phone calls.

    • Gift for Nana :

      We’re going to visit– the gift is in addition to the family visit. She lives a couple hours away in a fairly rural area, so there’s not much in the way of museums. Thanks for the ideas, though. I’m doing some searching to see if there are any shows in her area that she might be interested in.

      In response to the question from Anonymous above, her mobility is pretty low, but probably average for someone who’s 90.

      • I’m the one who take my grandma on a date above – she lives 3 hours away from me in a rural area. I drove down to her, and the limo drove us to a larger city museum 2 hours away (and back). Then I drove home the next day. Don’t let geography stop you. And there’s probably a local limo service within an hour or two of her town that will be cheaper than you think.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        A botanic garden or historic home visit would be nice if she’s physically up for it.

    • My 90 yo nana sounds like your DH’s nana. She wanted TIME with us and real *printed* photos of her loved ones in an album so she could reduce clutter in her small apartment and have things to sit and look at (“Everybody is living on Spaceface, I don’t have spaceface, I’m 90!” was her reasoning…space face being facebook, of course). Take her on a date, as suggested–somewhere you can talk and spend quality time connecting–and supply some printed recent photos of yourselves. See if the whole family can collect real photos and put them in an album.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Can you have a party for her? Get the family and any surviving friends together?

      My late father in law threw himself a 90th birthday party and it was great. Everybody had name tags with their names and how they knew the birthday boy. Like “Ann (Lady Friend)” or “Bud (College Friend)” or “Senior Attorney (Daughter in Law).” It wasn’t fancy — just lunch at a modest restaurant for about 20-30 people. But he had a blast and enjoyed looking forward to it and reminiscing about it afterwards. He had photo albums available for everybody to browse through and it was great.

      It’s not no-effort but it doesn’t have to be a huge deal, either.

    • I’ve stitched small blankets for both of my husband’s grandmothers. They absolutely love it because they can use them all the time, being sedentary and always cold.

      I’m no seamstress–sticking batting between fabric that they cut for me at the fabric store is my one and only trick. But if you aren’t up for even that much, there are cheater methods with polar fleece that don’t even require needles. Or, if you have kids, trace their hands, have them write their names, and take it to someone who can embroider it for you.

    • lawsuited :

      I got my husband’s nana a subscription to a weekly gossip magazine focused on the British Royal family. She’s one of the few people I know that would have time to read a weekly magazine, and oh man, does she love it. She thanks me pretty well every time I saw her, and comments on it to other people in my absence!

      • lawsuited :

        YMMV on the British Royal family thing – the rec was really a weekly magazine that would interest your nana.

        • If it is about the royal fam, or british gossip, my Nana is alllll about it. From England, misses it.

  15. I want to have a makeup lesson – someone to show me colors/technique/whatever to update my look. Focus is on professional appearance and upping my executive presence. Would the Hive recommend Ulta or Sephora for this? Or someplace else?

    • Sephora between the two – but actually I would go with something like Bobbi Brown or Chanel at Nordstrom’s.

      • I had a terrible experience at Sephora. I am 40 and wanted help with look update. Is a 22 year old really going to be helpful? Not at my Sephora. I mad an appointment at Bobbie Brown at Nordstrom’s. Classic work make-up.

    • Bobbi Brown counter somewhere. Changed my makeup routine completely. Their sales people are excellent.

    • Maybe try an executive image consultant?

  16. Concealer recs :

    This has been discussed before, but I can’t for the life of me find the thread. Does anyone have recommendations for good under-eye concealer for (very) fair skin? Under the florescent lights in our office bathroom today, I realized I look like I haven’t slept in a week….

    • I use Glossier in the lightest color. It blends and matches well. I’m very, very fair.

    • I like the Tarte Shape Tape concealer. Nars creamy concealer is good too.

    • I use Nars creamy concealer in vanilla for my very fair skin and it’s perfect.

    • I use Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer in ivory. It’s a great dupe for the YSL touche eclat pen and really brightens up my eyes. Apply in an upside down triangle under your eyes.

    • I use Tarte Shape Tape in fair and the Maybelline Age Rewind in their lightest shade, depending on how crazy my circles are that day. Shape tape is FULL coverage.

    • I am white as the driven snow (I’m a winter if you’re into that sort of thing) and I really like First Aid Beauty (FAB) Eye Duty Triple Remedy in Fair/Medium. I thought it was spendy at first but I’ve had my current tube for almost a year now – I use it at least 5 days per week and I’ve yet to run out. It also works like magic. Don’t use too much! You just need a tiny dab. Actually use the metal applicator for days when you’re feeling puffy – it works!

    • Maybelline Instant Age Rewind!

    • RMS un-cover up. MAGIC

    • Baconpancakes :

      Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer works great for my extremely pale coloring with yellowish undertones (but somehow I am a cool???).

    • I’m very fair and use Shape Tape in “light.” I think it comes in at least one (maybe two) shades lighter, so you should be able to find a shade that works.

  17. Any recs for a nice ($150-200) baby gift for a close friend? Her registry is small and filled with inexpensive, practical items like diapers and wipes. I’ll get her something off that for her shower but would also like to get a more fun, unique gift that will last. Something like the Pottery Barn Kids rocker but more applicable to newborns, maybe? Any brilliant ideas?

    • Yes! My mom got each of my kids a sterling silver cake knife (each with a different pattern) when they were born, engraved on the blade with their full name and birth date. We pull them out on each birthday and use them to cut the birthday cake. I thought that was a great keepsake idea for something that actually gets some use and a special memory every year.

    • Anonattorney :

      Does she have a baby carrier? If not, look at Baby Bjorn, Ergo, etc. Get one with lots of good back support. Other options are a diaper bag; a bassinest or arms reach co-sleeper (check to see if she’s into that first); a 4moms mamaroo (why not?); a stylish highchair.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        I feel like baby carriers and diaper bags are so personal that it would be hard to pick one out for someone else. Be sure it’s easily returnable if you go this route.

      • lawsuited :

        If she has not registered for a baby carrier, get her an ErgoBaby 360 (I’ve read all the reviews of all the carriers before getting my ErgoBaby and I am so in love with it) and a gift receipt.

    • For a close friend (SIL type) I’ve packed them their hospital bag. Basically I got a big LL Bean boat and tote bag that zipped, monogrammed it, and filled it with the following: button down soft pjs, slippers, a towel, a comb/brush/hair ties/toothpaste/toothbrush/brush/soap/shampoo/conditioner/hard candies/magazines/boppy, lanisoh n*pple covers, n*pple cream, gel soothers (if she plans to nurse), phone charger, baby outfit, baby hat, baby socks, granola bars, water bottle, maxipads, etc.) It went over incredibly well and the bag turned into a great baby bag to have.

      • This is very sweet. I would just advise anyone doing it to switch PJs to a nightgown b/c you will be checked a LOT down below during your stay and nightgown is so much easier to deal with and to get a long phone charger cord b/c you may have a stretch to the nearest plug.

    • You can’t use it for awhile but the Learning Tower makes an amazing special gift that they’ll use daily when the child is old enough (and the box it comes in is flat and can be shoved in a closet until then).

    • Aunt Jamesina :

      Gift certificates for a restaurant she enjoys that delivers or for housekeeping services when the baby is born.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        Obviously these won’t last, but other ideas are your favorite childhood book with a note inside to the baby, something handmade from Etsy (baby blanket?), or a handmade stuffed animal.

        • lawsuited :

          A book with an inscription is an awesome, awesome gift! Please no more blankets and stuffed animals, though.

          • Aunt Jamesina :

            Good point! It’s just hard to think of *any* baby gifts that will last since it’s such a fleeting stage.

            OP, perhaps your friend only registered for basics because she doesn’t want stuff?

    • I’ve been giving a small monogrammed duffel and backpack with kids name on it. They aren’t able to use them yet (the kid) but they are great for the parents! If there’s something like a monogram shop in your area they probably carry this. Company whose things I like is “Mint” or maybe “Mint Pink”? They have a fun camo for boys.

      • +1. I was going to suggest a three-piece kids suitcase set. Like a weekender bag, a rollerboard, and a tote. A duffel and/or backpack would work in the mix too. Don’t get a character or an obnoxiously-gendered print, just get a generic kid-friendly print with maybe some mild gendering if you need to.

        They can mix and match the pieces based on whether they’re just going to grandma’s for the night or taking a week-long family vacation or whatever. And if you stay away from characters and say, pink ruffle butterflies or blue denim sportsballs, they’ll probably use it until they’re old enough for a grown up set, so it’s a long-use item.

        PBKids has some good sets, but they’re way too gendered for my taste. I’ve had good luck at eBags, Amazon, Target, and Overstock.

        • Anonymous :

          I feel like Lands End has something to – or at least used to. They definitely do monogramming.

    • Not sure if this is what you have in mind, but for my brother’s two kids’ baptisms, I got them personalized Christmas ornaments – sentimental, but not too much clutter (since you only take it out once a year).

  18. Had my first hearing today and lost. I have so much to do, but now I’m in a funk. Help.

    • Lots to Learn :

      As one of my law school profs pointed out our first week of law school, in every case (and every hearing), one side loses and the other wins. Sounds basic, but it means that a batting average of .50 isn’t bad. I generally try to look at whether I lost because my client just didn’t have a good case or good facts or because I messed up. If it’s the latter, I make sure I learn from any mistakes and give myself a period of time to grieve, and then try to put it behind me as a career lesson learned.

    • I also try to remember the unfortunate reality that all lawyers lose some hearings they should win and win some that they should lose.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I hope you come back to read this, LadyB.

      The very first decision my name was on as a lawyer was a loss. At the Court of Appeal. I was bummed, of course. But then I realized…MY NAME is on a decision from the freaking Court of Appeal. I am a *lawyer*. You are going to lose some, for sure. But you are in the fight. Making an argument. Representing your client. You.

      The losses are just part of your war chest of stories.

      As there is always a West Wing quote for everything, Amy Gardner once said, possible paraphrased slightly “I fought. I lost. I had a drink. I took a shower. Know what I do when I win? Two drinks.”

      You are DOING IT, LadyB.

      • Thank you so much for these kind words. Really helps to put things in perspective. You rock!

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yes! And the facts and the law are what they are, and if they’re the losing facts and law there’s not a whole lot you can do about that. Congratulations on your first hearing!

        • Sweetknee :

          I remember a partner consoling me after my first loss…. he told me that I did my best to make chicken salad out of chicken sh!t….. took a little of the sting out of it…..

    • My dad (a litigator) told me (a prosecutor) after I lost my first case: If you’re not sometimes losing, you’re not trying enough cases. Every seasoned litigator loses cases. And I learn infinitely more from the cases I lose than the cases I win. Take it easy on yourself, have a drink (if you drink), and when you’re feeling a little better — shake it off.

  19. I found two pairs of shoes I like in the NAS early access and cannot decide on color:

    Sam Edelman Raisa Bow Flat: Classic nude could be a perfect choice to replace something similar that wore out, but I love the cranberry suede and the rose velvet is calling me. Go fun or classic?

    Cole Haan Lacey Ankle Strap Wedge Pump: could go with black and would probably wear them a ton, in place of the wedge sandals I’ve been wearing all summer. I feel like I’m always looking for blue, though. I have a pair of dark blue pumps with a black grosgrain bow, so maybe that’s overkill? I don’t think I need tan or mushroom.


    • lawsuited :

      Go classic. The “fun” colours will be on sale at the end of the season.

      • Yeah, I’m thinking that about the pink velvet. They could totally wait. I put both the cranberry (gunmetal studs) and the classic nude in my shopping cart. I may buy both and see how they fit. The nude comes in wide width, so it may work a lot better. Ordering the Cole Haan in black. I’ll see how the strap fits. If they don’t have some give, straps like that don’t always work on my very high instep.

  20. Antidepressant :

    If you think your antidepressant has stopped working it’s time to call your doctor, right?

    • Yep. Totally normal. This happens. Bodies are weird.

    • I would guess that it’s time. If you and your doctor decide to try something new, you may have to taper off of your current meds before starting the new one. And new medication usually takes about 2 weeks, or so I think, before you can tell whether its working.

    • Absolutely, yes.

    • Yes.

    • Anonymous :

      this isn’t really an appropriate response, but i read too quickly sometimes, and i read the question as “if you think your antiperspirant has stopped working, it is time to call your doctor, right?” and i just thought, man, people are really quick to go to the doctor these days. I would just try another brand.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes, it has happened to me before. I basically had a mental breakdown. Go to your doctor!

  21. Seeking hive recommendations for setting up an IRA. What provider do you use and why?

    Did you choose Roth or traditional? I’m leaning toward traditional. After commissions, I should be in the 100k range this year, and plan to max it out.

    After reading yesterday’s emergency fund post, I opened a new account and transferred some money over to earmark as my emergency fund only account. It was also the kick in the rear I needed to refocus on getting something set up for retirement. My current company doesn’t have 401(k) for the moment (small company, don’t get me started). I do have a 401(k) account from previous job that I’ve decided to just leave be for now.

    • Vanguard Roth

    • Anonymous :

      Make sure you understand the rules/limitations for leaving your 401K with a former employers. Some employer plans have rules about how long former employees can stay on their plan, especially if the account amounts are small, before the funds get paid out (and employee incurs a penalty for early distribution). Your fees in the employer plan may also be higher than if you were to transfer into an account you manage.

      If you can swing it, I’d do Roth. Because you’ve put in after-tax dollars, the gains on the account are also tax-free when you get distributions. And, if absolutely necessary, you can pull the funds you contributed (but not the gains) out with few/no penalties.

    • Assuming there is no other retirement plan at work, I’d contribute it to a traditional IRA (I like to save taxes now). If there is some sort of retirement plan at work, then you make too much money to deduct a traditional IRA, so you should do a Roth IRA. Open up an account at Fidelity or Vanguard and put it in index funds. Even though you said you’d rather just leave your 401(k) from your prior job, I’d also open a rollover account wherever you open your IRA and roll it in there so your money is in one place. Also this depends on your prior company’s plan, but you would probably have better investment options.

    • Ellevest Fan :

      I highly recommend Ellevest. I started an emergency fund money market account + another investing account with them last year and have been really impressed with their service, transparency, and the returns on my accounts. I just recently transferred my IRA from Fidelity to Ellevest because my experience has been so great and I feel like the move was a great decision – no regrets.

  22. Apparently there is a giant noise cancelling helmet. It looks ridiculous, but I want it. Unfortunately, the WB Mason catalog does not have it because it’s only a prototype. One my coworkers asked.

  23. What to wear for a weekend in Vegas? :

    I’m at a loss. A group of friends (both men and women) are going to Vegas for a birthday celebration. What do I wear during the day? I’m a size 16, and I try to avoid sleeveless. Shapewise, I’m an hourglass. I’m comfortable doing skirts or shorts, but I prefer dresses. I am open to making a few purchases, but probably don’t want to spend more than $200 total. I would love some specific recommendations. We’ll be going out to a few nice dinners, but I’m happy with dresses I already own for those evenings.

    • Foolish Fox :

      It mostly depends on what the rest of your group wears and if you want to fit in with them. Vegas overall has no dress code. You will see everything from the most overly casual to ball gowns at all times of day.

    • Not sure if you will see this, but the reality is you can wear whatever you want in Vegas. Seriously, anything goes, from black tie to sweats. Wear what you could normally wear on the weekends. Just make sure you have comfortable shoes because there will be 2x as much walking as you think there will be.

    • If you’re going soon, you may want to prepare for it to be hot as h3ll.

  24. Is it ever ok to ask one assistant to tidy up another assistant’s work? Or do I need to keep hammering with the not-awesome assistant?

    I divided a task between two assistants – I put them both on the same email (so they received the same instructions) – and one finished the project within the hour and it was perfect, the other called me with half a dozen questions and turned in really lousy work with lots of typos at the end of the day.

    I’m on a tight deadline and don’t have time to coach not-awesome assistant on the basics of turning in professional work right this minute. Would it be bad form to ask Awesome to correct Not Awesome’s work?

    • Ask one to tell the other how she did it. It’s not a bad thing for them to team up and learn from each other, so I would encourage that to happen more often if I were you.

    • Anonymous :

      As long as you address it sometime, and thank the awesome one. When I was on a team of assistants, I got tired of fixing everyone’s work because my boss just didn’t want to deal with the annoying/less talented ones. I was pleased to be the go-to but I felt like the others were getting away with half-assed-ness.

    • Anonymous :

      Yeah, I think that’s bad form. You’re their superior and responsible for their job training and performance. You could put Awesome Assistant in a really awkward position.

  25. Quality Warning :

    I bought the silk Brook Bro tee recommended here a week or two ago, and after two wears/washes about an inch of fabric shredded along the seam running up the front. Grr… My chest is big but not that big, and it wasn’t straining the shirt.

    • givemyregards :

      That’s obnoxious – I had a similar issue with a J. Crew shirt recently and took it back and asked them to swap it out because that’s usually considered a defect since they didn’t leave enough fabric for the seam allowance. Maybe BBros will do the same?

  26. Off to NYC :

    Ladies, my company is moving my office from TX to NJ, 30 minutes north of Newark. I’m single and in my 30s and would like to take this as an opportunity to focus on my social/love life for a while, so I’m planning to reverse commute from NYC. Thinking about Hell’s Kitchen/Chelsea/Hudson Yards due to proximity to NJ and reviews on the neighborhoods. Thoughts or suggestions? I haven’t even been to NYC in more than a decade, so I’m mostly working off friend’s suggestions and the internet right now!

    • Chelsea and the surrounding areas are really nice. One piece of advice: as much as you can, be really clear on your plan for commuting. Currently, NJ transit and anything operating out of Penn Station is A. MESS. and likely will be for years to come. Recent derailments are requiring major track work. That said, a lot of young people have been moving to Hoboken and Jersey City — close enough to NYC for a social life, but may be easier on your commute (you could probably get a car and drive).

      • Anon in NYC :

        Agreed. NJ transit has been a mess. Also map out a commute based on the Path or the bus (you can get the bus from Port Authority, which is convenient to the locations you named) to figure out which is the best option for you. Second the recommendation to consider Hoboken/Jersey City.

        • Off to NYC :

          Thanks ladies. A lot of people have suggested Hoboken, but some of my friends who live in NYC said that people move to Hoboken from NYC, oftentimes when they already have an established life and social life. As a new person, the thought is that it would be easier to meet people in NYC than NJ. Would you still recommend Hoboken over NYC?

    • What city in NJ will your office actually be in? If it’s along the Hudson, you may be able to commute by ferry from the west side of Manhattan. If not, it’s a train or bus. The trains will be terrible for some time, as others have mentioned. Still, I’m sure you can make it work.

      I expect that there are Jersey people here, so no offense meant, but NYC>NJ.

      • Off to NYC :

        Thanks! My office will be in Wood-Ridge, so it looks like train or bus are my best options. A lot of people are on the Hoboken bandwagon, but I still feel like I’d have more of the life that I want in NYC than NJ…

        • Anonymous :

          how about jersey city? I don’t live in hoboken or jersey city but spend time there every weekend and single friends have found a social life and dates there! it seems like a lot to pay rent in NYC and then commute to NJ when your job is in NJ. OTOH, it may be worth it to spend the money to focus on the social/love life. The path trains work well.

      • Ha I’m the anon from above and I agree with your NYC vs Jersey sentiments, but I always worked in NYC (and lived in BK). I miiight change my tune if there was a long commute in play, though, esp since cost of living would also be a bit less in Jersey. I also had a very hard time meeting new people in NYC outside of my job — most of my friends were from college (including my roommate and boyfriend/fiance/husband), who also moved to the city. I guess I am unsure whether living in NYC would make it easier to meet people, or just make a person feel potentially more isolated. OP, if you are outgoing and interested in getting involved in specific activities/groups to meet people, you would probably love it, but just be aware it takes some work. NYCers are pretty closed off…

        • Off to NYC :

          So what’s interesting is that based on where my office is located, Jersey City is farther than NYC in terms of commuting. Hoboken is about a 20 minute commute and Hell’s Kitchen is a 40 minute commute, so I don’t know that the extra 20 minutes makes much of a difference.

          I’m also so excited about getting to walk places again and ditching my car, so that’s also part of the equation. I’m also looking at some of the new mega-apartment buildings that have gyms and pools and weekly socials in the hopes that’ll make it a little easier to meet people!

  27. Ellevest Fan :

    Is your job a 9-5 or is there a likelihood that you’ll have to work longer hours? As somebody who moved for a job and does a reverse commute from a city out to the suburbs, work time + a long commute might not leave you much time to actually enjoy the city (at least during the week) or to even regularly fit in workouts, hobbies, or other life. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I made a poor choice by living in the city and reverse commuting, there are times where I’m frustrated by my lack of time and where I have major FOMO because my friends are able to go to a happy hour or otherwise be social in the evenings. I’d thoroughly consider whether you will actually be able to live the life that you want in NYC given the commute and your schedule. If you will likely only really have time to enjoy it on the weekends, then Hoboken or Jersey City might be better bets.

    • Ellevest Fan :

      Sorry – that was meant as a reply to Off to NYC and not as a new topic!

      • Off to NYC :

        Good points – Jersey City would be over an hour commute, so that’s out. Hoboken would be a 20 minute commute and NYC would be 40 minutes, so I don’t know that the added 20 minutes drastically affects my life. But I may need to actually get up there and see if that 40 minute estimate is realistic or not…

        • formerlyPhilly :

          I live in Jersey City (Paulus Hook neighborhood) and commute by car out to the suburbs Morristown (west of Newark). Spouse works in Chelsea; love that neighborhood. Jersey City is fine – plenty of good restaurants and bars, active and friendly crowd, proximity to NYC, access to outdoorsy stuff, and lots of new apartment buildings. I have a “reverse commute” and while it should only take 35 minutes to drive it ends up usually 50 – 65 minutes each way (traffic en-route, accidents, volume). Some of my colleagues commute from Manhattan and even though they live on the west side of the city, getting through the Holland Tunnel or Lincoln Tunnel via bus or car can vary greatly (an accident can cause significant delay of 30 mins – 1 hour on top of an already long commute). NJ Transit is unreliable right now, as others have mentioned. Definitely test it from Hoboken, Jersey City and/or a NYC neighborhood – try the rush hour commute both ways using whatever form of transportation you’re inclined to use before deciding where to live. Everyone’s threshold is different…

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