Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Seam Detail Stretch Sheath Dress

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

Readers were talking about wanting to see a plus-size pick one day every week, and I think it’s a great idea because we don’t always get our plus-size newsletter out as often as we should. We’ll try it for a couple weeks and see how it goes! To start off, this dress from Adrianna Papell is really lovely. I love that it has sleeves, and I love the jewel neck and interesting slash at the top (and you can still wear a bra with it, which is always the key to something being work-appropriate). It’s only $140, which is nice, and it’s available in sizes 14W-20W (runs large). Seam Detail Stretch Sheath Dress

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  1. This is a great pick! Love the color and shape; I’d have to see the slash in person to be convinced, but interesting detail!

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I also love this.

    • Nylon girl :

      A beautiful dress! Thanks for sharing, Kat!

    • I love everything about that gorgeous dress right up to the cutout. Why why why does every plus-size piece with potential have some obscene cutout/flutter sleeve/ruffle/cold shoulder/shark hem that takes the garment from triumph to trash? I guess I’m lucky to typically be a straight-size 16 proportionally but sometimes I want to buy a piece in plus size piece and have it altered to fit – particularly in sheath dresses and suiting separates, I like a little extra room in the hip. So close, but yet so far.

      • Amen. It’s as if they think that if you are a bit larger you want to decorate yourself with flounces and doodahs.

        • Or use them as distractions…ay ay ay

        • I think that the special flounces and doodahs are nice. It does provide peeople with a choice on what to focus on. I had a dress in college with a big bow in the back. Dad said it was good to have that there b/c it took attention AWAY from my tuchus. I think it was right b/c when men looked at me when I turned around, they saw the big bow, which was just above my tuchus, so they looked at the bow, but not my tuchus. In the long run, men aren’t totally clueless, b/c I am still NOT married, but I think it is b/c I am more selective, as a law partner, and will not marry just any schmuck just to have a man. I hope I find a decent one soon, as the holidays are comeing up soon, and I must go out to LI to spend time with Mom & Dad. YAY!!!!

      • Agree. Although I think it’s a problem with a lot of clothes right now, plus size or not. A lot of strange ruffles, cutouts, off the shoulder craziness that is apparently in style at the moment. But perhaps it’s particularly a problem with plus size clothing.

        • I think it’s just more noticeable with plus sizes because there aren’t as many options to choose from in general, so it’s harder to say “well, apparently Brand X has gotten really into ruffles this year, but at least Brand Y is still an option.” I think it’s also a lot harder to make some of those features work well in plus sizes, especially if the plus sizes are more an extension of straight sizes than a separate range of sizes actually sized to fit plus size bodies. Like cap sleeves a few years ago – you can’t just add a 1/2″ of fabric every couple of sizes, you actually have to re-shape the sleeve to properly fit a larger arm. Otherwise you end up with this tiny little jut of fabric on your shoulder and an exposed armpit.

      • Amen! And though I’m a fan of several plus-size bloggers, the collections they collaborate on are often so bizarre, I can’t imagine wearing the clothes in my day-to-day life, much less make them work appropriate for my casual office. It’s like everything is a statement piece, but it’s impossible to find well-made, well-fitting staple pieces to go with them. Not everything needs:
        –sequins and glitter
        –a sassy saying across the front
        –mesh where my bra straps will inevitably show (who wants to wear a strapless bra all the time?)
        –impossible-too-coordinate-with-anything color

    • I love this idea Kat (and this dress), for these posts can you also include a straight-size alternative for the pick like you do for plus-size picks on other posts?

    • Yay!! Thank you Kat!!

    • I think if the slash could be sewn shut, it could be an interesting detail to the dress. But not if the slash is open.

  2. I like the color of this dress and the fact that it has short sleeves, but I am not a fan of the cut-out. As for featuring plus sized picks in the main post, I’m all for it, but it would be great to get a similar straight-sized pick mentioned at the end of the post (like you normally do for plus-sized picks when you feature a straight sized piece).

    • Anonymous :

      I was just going to say the same thing–please feature straight-size alternatives on days when the featured item is plus-sized. Even better, once in a while offer petite and tall alternatives as well.

      • Seconding the request for petite and tall alternatives on occasion! Thank you for adding this new series.

    • Anonymous :

      Omg srsly? Chill straight sized people.

      • +1 This is the first time in weeks she has posted a plus size pick and this is the reaction? lol.

        • Anonymous :

          it’s not the first time because pretty much whenever she posts a straight sized pick, she posts a plus sized alternative, the only difference is which one is pictured.

          • Actually the thread last week started because there hadn’t been any plus size alternatives offered all week. So it’s not an “always” situation.

      • I know. I’m not plus size but I can handle one day without my needs catered to.

    • Anonymous :

      Oh look you’re finally trying to be more inclusive of a marginalized group!

      Don’t forget us privileged people though!

      Literally first time she’s done this and you’re all but think of the size 8s?!? Come on. Try harder.

      • I just liked the dress and wanted to see if there was something similar that Kat came across that I might buy… She normally adds a few similar options at the end of her posts and I was suggesting she do the same on these. I’ve been plus sized and straight sized in my life and I like seeing both options. Chill.

        • Adrianna Papell makes a nice variety of both size ranges, and this one doesn’t have the slit!

        • Anonymous :

          If Kat wants to maximize her affiliate-link revenue she ought to be including links for all size ranges on every post.

      • Anonymous :

        How are plus sized people a marginalized group? The vast majority of Americans are either overweight or obese. They are the norm.

        • Anonymous :

          This. As a not-large person I am marginalized in fashion and every time I get on an airplane.

          • I’m sorry- how are you marginalized in fashion? (also major eye-roll at your airplane comment).

            signed, another “not-large” person

          • Never too many shoes... :

            I *think* (hope?) that was sarcasm.

          • The stores/websites are absolutely full of size 14s. Sizes 0 and 2 sell out immediately, because nobody could possibly be that size so the retailers don’t order sufficient stock.

          • PlussesUnited :

            NOPENOPENOPE Size 14 is only plus-sized if you shop at certain retailers.

            Guess what, small person–you can tailor almost anything that’s a size too big to remove extra fabric. It’s well nigh impossible to add missing fabric to make too-small garments fit larger sizes.

            Cry me a river and go shop at BR or JCrew where there’s o, 00 and 000 available for you. Or the kids department. SORRY NOT SORRY.

            Everyone has body issues–yours are not “more important” than others’. And if you truly believe there is more fashion for plus-sized people, take a look at the square footage devoted to straight sizes versus plus in any mall, any department store and the equivalent pages dedicated in any retail catalog you get in the mail. NOPENOPENOPE.

          • fake coffee snob :

            hah, no, I am also a small size so I also look for them and they are PLENTIFUL. Yes, sometimes stores don’t have my size in stock. But every store (other than literally the 1-2 plus size stores that may exist in an entire shopping area) always has *plenty* of styles in stock in my size, which is a massive privilege. And when it comes to airplanes – the design is the problem. Not the existence of other people in other shapes. That’s terrible.

          • fake coffee snob :

            sorry, to clarify – sometimes stores might not have my size in stock *for a particular item*.

            Plus size folks, I’m so sorry on behalf of the tone-deafness on display here today and I know you have to deal with it a lot and please know at least one thin person isn’t here for it. Sorry for all the BS. I hope you find some amazing clothes (and I hope more brands start making them).

          • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

            I agree it is harder to find good-looking plus sized stuff. My best friend is plus-sized and on the shorter side, and she has many complaints about things being like pillowcases, having weird details, etc. I go shopping with her, and it is not a pleasant experience for her.

            I am the opposite-a small size but very very tall. It is also quite difficult for me to find clothes. Retailed who carry tall sizes like to carry them only in sizes otherwise too big for me. I have found that some brands that are “regular” length work better than tall-specific lengths, but those brands tend to be very expensive. I would love to see tall options in a wide variety of sizes featured here as well, to the extent that exists.

        • And yet most clothing is not designed for them.

          • But doesn’t like every major clothing line have a plus size section? Maybe not high end designer lines but even most high end department stores carry a number of plus sized lines. I don’t see how finding plus sized fashion is harder than finding well priced, well made clothes in straight sizes. I say this as someone who shops regularly with my plus sized sister and mom. All clothes is more expensive and less well finished than it was even 5-10 years ago.

          • You clearly haven’t earnestly shopped plus. Most stores have a smallish plus department with an uninspiring assortment of drapey, polyester clothing and one or two nice items. Try finding a decent plus sized suit in a store next time you’re shopping. I’ll wait.

          • That’s the key point, Batgirl. Clothing is DESIGNED for a size 6 or so. What works on a 6 doesn’t necessarily work on a 16. Larger sizes generally need better construction and fabrics to look good. Designers for the most part don’t seem to put a lot of effort into designing clothing that fits well and looks good in larger sizes. There are a lot of shapeless garments in bad fabrics on those plus-size racks shoved in the back of the store.

        • SA-litagor :

          Are you kidding me? There are so so so many brands and department stores who do not make closing past a size 14. What rock are you living under? If you “don’t see” how finding plus size closing is harder than regular size clothing, its probably because you have not looked to do so. Finding well made stylish clothing in a size past Womens 14 is very hard, and usually very expensive. So yes, given these facts, people who wear plus sizes are marginalized by the fashion industry.

          • Really? Name one department store of the ‘so so many’ that doesn’t carry plus sized clothing.

          • Just for grins, I searched Nordstrom for work dresses and filtered for a size 2x/18. 190 items in 36 brands showed up. Then I filtered for work dresses in a size S/4-6. There were 992 items available in 152 brands.

          • Lots of department stores in LA don’t have plus sizes in the stores, or there’s like 5 articles of clothing in a corner somewhere. I once asked where the plus sizes were at Macy’s and the saleswoman haughtily informed me that they don’t carry it in that store, as if.

          • SA-litagor :

            I’m 5’4 (the average American woman height), let’s say for the purposes of this argument that I’m also a size 20. Find me a courtroom appropriate petite size 20 dress or a suit at Ann Taylor, JCrew, Zara, etc. Something that is not a shapeless bag of polyester, a mumu, etc. There is literally nothing! They don’t carry size 20, much less size 20 petite. And of the stores that do, the selection is much much more limited, and it’s usually dowdy and out of style. In my experience as a petite woman, most stores stop carrying petite at size 12, 14 if you’re lucky. Right now Ann Taylor has only one top in petite size 16, just one.

          • +100. Among the many countless stores that don’t offer plus size are Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, and Brooks Brothers – three stores that are often recommended here.

          • I tried shopping in downtown Chicago and failed. Even the stores that have plus sizes in my town (Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, Bloomingdales, etc.) did not have plus sizes in the stores in Chicago.

          • Hey Anon at 11:03, while I totally agree that clothing choices for plus-sized women are limited, the selection in-store is a separate issue. I am in Chicago and yet almost all J.Crews have stopped carrying their suits in-store. Also almost all of them no longer have separate petite and tall sections. The Downtown Nordstrom, which I think is the second largest in the nation, no longer carries any long-line [email protected] in store, which are one of those items you really need to try on. When I got married, I walked in to try some on for size (I can be anywhere from a 32C to a 36A depending on the brand) and was told they no longer carry them in-store. I had to order 19(!!!!) in various sizes and brands just to try them on for the right fit. Same goes for shoe sizes at both ends of the spectrum.

            The truth is, brick-and-mortars are dying and so to hold on to whatever market they have, they are constantly re-structuring what goes in-store (and at which location) vs. what is online exclusively.

          • I think straight sizes are more likely to fit the person when ordered online, plus sizes seem to have a greater margin of error and return rate. Most plus sized people I know return most of what they buy online. It is at a minimum, frustrating, but also expensive for people who live outside the “free return” areas.

          • I’m a size four and I return the large majority of online purchases for fit issues. Being smaller doesn’t mean that everything magically fits, there is still great variation in body shape between size fours.

        • I was plus sized briefly a couple of years ago. There was no greater incentive to stick to my diet than shopping. Have y’all who are saying it’s a perfectly fine clothing option ever gone in the plus sized section and really looked? First, it’s a small section relative to the straight size clothing. Next, it’s generally cheaply made stuff and a really outstanding collection of printed polyester with, as C2 noted in an earlier comment, weird added details. Lafayette 148 and Eileen Fisher are the exception, but good luck finding them in a store to try on, and if you do, there’s not much selection. When I was a 14P, you know what I wore? What I could find. That’s it. If I found it and it fit and it wasn’t printed cheap polyester , I bought it. I didn’t choose my wardrobe, I just got what I could find that would do, and considered myself lucky when I did find classic, business conservative, not entirely cheap looking stuff. Rant over.

          • SA-litagor :

            This. Best diet motivation ever, as every time I approach anything above a size 12, I know I’m about to step-off the side of a cliff. Aghhhh!

          • Yep. I hover in the 10-12 range and have occasionally been heavier. I often see advice along the lines of “if you gain weight, buy some clothes that fit your new size so you feel more comfortable rather than wearing ill-fitting clothes!”. When I have attempted to follow that advice and look for clothing I like above a size 12, things quickly get… dismal. I also have Rent the Runway Unlimited, and I more or less have to stay below a size 12 for it to be worth it – they have a mediocre plus size selection but nothing compared to what you can get in straight sizes.

        • I think this is true. We women must join together to protest this kind of marginializaiton. FOOEY!

      • Pretty sure it’s not the first time, and I’m not referring to the plus size alternatives. But agree that it’s not typical and I’m all for more of it. That said, if you actually want to encourage acceptance of all sizes why in the world would you object to the exact same treatment for plus sizes as for non-plus sizes with a “here’re are alt. size versions”? I understand if someone posted something offensive up top about how they don’t want to see this kind of clothing featured, but literally you got “awesome, can we also post alternatives” and this bothered you enough to get snarky with internet friends/strangers?

      • Not sure I’ve ever felt this guilty for thinking a dress was cute and wanting to find a version I could buy. *hides under rock*

      • + 1. Yep!

    • Anonymous :

      Adriana Papel has the usual ladies sizes — on nordstrom their stuff should be easy to find. I’m sure that there is something equivalent.

    • No, don’t do this. You can easily find straight sizes in every other post and everywhere else in the world and there is no need to get defensive now that a plus size pick will be a recurring feature.

      • I don’t think this s*te has ever been about hard to find things. I can easily find a blazer that costs $2500, that’s not an argument for getting rid of Splurge Mondays. I’d say most things here are easy to find. To the extent they’re useful it’s because we’re all busy and it’s a way of quickly highlighting something that someone may want to buy. I am 100% for plus size picks, and petite picks and tall picks, too, but this really seems like an absurd issue to me – to be bothered by a request for more alternatives, however they come. I would seriously love to know your definition of defensive.

        • fake coffee snob :

          this request for alternatives isn’t happening in a vacuum. This person is asking for a thing that is literally available every. single. other. day. ever. Plus size choices in clothing are limited, expensive, crappy, and hard-to-find. It’s *fine* if there’s no straight-size pick one day – straight-size clothes don’t have those same challenges. Plus there are plenty of days without plus size picks.

    • fake coffee snob :

      What’s that saying? “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.” I think that might be relevant here. This is literally other people’s every single day. Lots of picks aren’t for me, including this one.

    • I think that the special flounces and doodahs are nice. It does provide peeople with a choice on what to focus on. I had a dress in college with a big bow in the back. Dad said it was good to have that there b/c it took attention AWAY from my tuchus. I think it was right b/c when men looked at me when I turned around, they saw the big bow, which was just above my tuchus, so they looked at the bow, but not my tuchus. In the long run, men aren’t totally clueless, b/c I am still NOT married, but I think it is b/c I am more selective, as a law partner, and will not marry just any schmuck just to have a man. I hope I find a decent one soon, as the holidays are comeing up soon, and I must go out to LI to spend time with Mom & Dad. YAY!!!!

  3. Is the newsletter mentioned accessible on the site? I’m not interested in having another item in my inbox, but I would likely read it if I could access here.

  4. Baconpancakes :

    If there are any ‘rettes in the path of Irma, I’m thinking of you. Hope you’re all ok.

    • Agreed, Baconpancakes! It’s a scary one and I am so afraid for my friends in Florida and terrified at the same time that it won’t turn and will end up in the Gulf. My friends in Florida are gearing up. I hope they are all safe.

      • Baconpancakes :

        I just checked in with my friend from the Virgin Islands, and so far everyone seems to be ok. No power, but not a ton of damage, either. Hope it stays that way.

    • New Tampanian :

      We are attempting to prep as best as we can here. Gas stations are out of gas, stores are out of water already, but at least people are taking it seriously. Next 48 hours will really tell us where it’s headed.

  5. TJs of Interest Not Working :

    Kat – three of the five links in “recent TJs of interest” go to a posting about LinkedIn and the remaining two links are broken.

  6. Travel Insurance :

    Trying again, since I got out of mod too late for any responses yesterday:

    I’m traveling to SE Asia for vacation next month and want to buy travel insurance to cover expenses in case I need to be transported to a first-world hospital. No underlying health conditions, just in the event of an emergency or accident. Any recommendations for policies that aren’t full of exclusions to the point that they’re useless and a rip-off?

    • Anonymous :

      My biglaw firm has this as an automatic benefit. I imagine it’s easy to crowd-price b/c over hundreds of people it’s not likely that we’d use it (or be able to call benefits for them to figure out logistics; in a foreign country, I might call the embassy first).

    • I usually get TravelGuard insurance before going on a trip like that. They offer several levels (and prices) of coverage, and usually if you go up at least one level there’s pretty solid medical insurance. Evacuation coverage is its own category, and you can choose to be covered for up to $250k of evacuation expenses, or something like that. I’ve never had to use it, though, so I don’t know how well it works in practice, but you could look for reviews.

      The other reason I get travel insurance is because if your bags are lost, or if your flights are super delayed, or whatever, they cover your extra expenses. For every $1k you spend on your trip the insurance is usually in the $40-$90 range, and that’s worth it to me for my peace of mind.

    • I usually use World Nomads. It’s recommended by Lonely Planet and Nomadic Matt, both of which I trust. I haven’t had to use it yet, so can’t speak to that side. Like anything, read the policy and make sure you’re comfortable with what you’re getting before you buy.

    • Your credit card may offer evac insurance if you used the card to pay for your tickets.

      • +1

        And it is great advice to get travel insurance.

        a family member of someone who was hit by a car while on vacation in NYC and was hospitalized for months and had to pay out of pocket for an air ambulance to get back home. Thousands of dollars. Health insurance does not cover this.

    • Travel Insurance :

      Thanks everyone! I will give my benefits reps, cc company, and health insurance a call first, then look into the couple mentioned here.

      And anon, I hope your family member is ok, what a terrible vacation outcome!

      • I’ve used TravelGuard in the past as well, although I have never had to file a claim. Make sure you read the fine print about when you made your first travel-related purchase, as some parts of the policy don’t apply unless you buy it within 7-14 days of booking the trip.

      • Late reply. DAN (Divers Alert Network) has evacuation insurance for pretty cheap. The organization is dedicated to improving SCUBA safety but their insurance covers all kinds of accidents more than 50 miles from home. DAN has an extensive network in areas where diving is common (including SE Asia), is a recognized and familiar expert in travel medicine, and coordinates care for you.

  7. Botox wrinkles :

    I got Botox last week for my debilitating migraines. Injections went into my forehead, scalp, neck and shoulders. Today, I noticed I have a new deep horizontal wrinkle over one of my eyebrows. It’s a deep line, almost like a dent, and remains even when I try to relax my face. Has anyone experienced this after Botox? I don’t know if I should call my doctor – she’s a neurologist (w extensive Botox-for-migraine usage), and cosmetic issues were one of the potential side effects. I am only 27, I don’t want to have a deep forehead crease!

    • Go back! The first few times you get Botox they’re just figuring out where to inject for your particular issues and anatomy. Any doctor I’ve ever used would have you come right back in and would give you a quick poke to deaden whatever muscle is causing that. And then next time she/he will have more information about where to inject.

    • I’ve gotten botox for migraines for YEARS and this has never happened to me. Definitely go back asap.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m 26 and have just gotten my third round of botox for migraines and nothing like this happened. No specific advice but I hope the Botox helps your migraines! Mine did tremendously, but not until about 3 weeks after injections.

    • Was this your first injection with this doctor? Call them and go back.

      Many neurologists are not experts at Botox injections. Unfortunately, this can lead to cosmetic issues. Happened to my mother. They made a mess of her forehead etc.. and for a few months she had people staring/asking her what ?happened…. at work. Ugh. She never did it again. Didn’t help her migraines either.

  8. book recommendations :

    I’m heading on a much-needed vacation next week – yay! I will be doing loads of hiking, and in the evenings kicking back and reading. Does anyone have suggestions for some good books? I have a variety of interests, but really like historical fiction and nonfiction (though maybe I should let my brain melt for once!)

    • sweetknee :

      If you have not read the Outlander series, I can’t recommend them highly enough, especially the first two or three of the series. The books are also being made into a series on Starz.. the first two seasons are already online. Set mostly in Scotland around the 1745 Jacobite rebellion. Lots more interesting than it sounds. .. .also lots of pretty well written love scenes.

      • +1000

        I describe this series to people as historical-action-adventure-sci-fi-comedy-romance. You can’t really put it into one bucket, and there’s something for everyone. If you like to listen to audio books, the narrator has a beautiful voice. The Starz series is binge-worthy and gorgeously produced, and the third season starts again this weekend!

      • Outlander would be the right mix of historical fiction and ‘brain melting’ – it’s an easy read. That said, I didn’t love it past the first three books because I like reading European historical fiction vs. American historical fiction.

        Any recommendations for an Outlander ‘ish’ book (including the romance) but set in Europe/UK?

        • Nudibranch :

          You might try Suzanne Frank (aka J. Suzanne Frank) if you can find them. This is a 4 volume time travel set with some really nice historical info in each. Time periods are mixed: Ancient Egypt (2 eras), Minoa/Crete/Atlantis, ancient Babylon/Sumer, and Jerusalem and environs (time of David).

          I really enjoyed them. They are the closest I’ve found to Diana Gabaldon’s nerdy history + adventure + romance.

          You don’t need to read them in order necessarily. I found the first one to be the weakest–but it will set you up with the main characters.

        • Nudibranch :

          If you can find them, Suzanne Frank’s time travel series is the closest I’ve found to Diana Gabaldon. They have wonderful historical information, a strong romance running throughout and lots of suspense. They are set in a variety of historical times including Egypt, Minoa/Crete, Babylon/Sumer, Jerusalem at the time of David, etc.

          I’ve really enjoyed them. You can find more info here:

          They don’t necessarily need to be read in order, although that will set you up with the main characters. (I’ve found the first one to by the weakest.)

      • Another +1 for the Outlander series. It’s perfect for a vacation. It’s not something I would usually read but they are awesome.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I’m reading it right now and although it’s long, I love it. Such a nice, easy read for when I get home at night.

        Anonat 10:21, what do you mean? It’s set in Scotland.

        • Anonymous :

          I’m not a ‘fandom’ person so I’m useless at the spoilers warning things. There are 8 books and the first book is in Scotland. The other books move around to different locations – all 8 are not entirely in Scotland. I stopped after book 3.

    • Gentleman in Moscow.
      Wolfhall, if you haven’t read it already.
      For non-fiction, any Eric Larson book, but especially Devil in the White City.

      • +1 on Eric Larson books. Devil in the White City is my favorite, but Thunderstruck is super interesting too.
        All the Light We Cannot See (WWII)
        Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking
        The Secret History of Wonder Woman

        • Tech Comm Geek :

          I second both Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking and The Secret History of Wonder Woman.

          • I’ve never wanted a multilayer pie of salmon and everything so much as I did reading Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking!

            If you’re into it, Stephen King’s 11/22/63 could work. Long, easy to get into even if you’re not into time travel (…which is an element of this; I usually dislike King 99% of the time), a little brain melty, and historical fiction!

          • Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking was actually really fun. Full confession: I bought it for a friend, started reading it and then totally kept it.

            A similarly random book that I really enjoyed recently is Every Frenchman Has One by Olivia De Havelland (sp.?). It’s her account of her move to France in the late 50s/early 60s, and is so charming I found myself giggling out loud during more than one chapter. A few dated referenced to Clark Gable aside, it’s one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read in while.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          Seconding All the Light We Cannot See. I also really liked Nightingale.

      • +2 to Erik Larsen. In the Garden of Beasts is also great

      • Not that Anne, the other Anne :

        I’m working my way through everything Erik Larsen has ever written after the library algorithm recommended him.

    • Hild, by Nicola Griffith – long, leisurely, gorgeously written book set in Anglo-Saxon England
      Anything by Gillian Bradshaw, particularly The Beacon at Alexandria (female doctor in Roman Mediterranean) and Island of Ghosts (Sarmatian cavalry in Roman Britain)
      Under Heaven, by Guy Gavriel Kay – fictionalized version of the An Lushan rebellion in Tang Dynasty China

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Connie Willis’s Blackout & All Clear are sort of historical fiction/sci-fi–it’s about time-traveling historians “studying” WWII.

    • I loved Killers of the Flower Moon. It’s a nonfiction book about murders of Osage Indians and the history of the FBI. Extremely well written and thought provoking.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Historical fiction:
      All The Light We Cannot See
      Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
      Moloka’i (all-time favorite book- also liked Honolulu by Alan Brennert)
      People of the Book (and also March)
      Underground Railroad

      Tell Me How It Ends (very, very short, but very appropriate with DACA)
      Born a Crime
      Evicted (not a light read, at all)
      Anything by Mary Roach
      The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down
      What It Is Like to Go to War
      Anything by Atul Gawande

  9. Phone rec? :

    I’m not very good at keeping up with tech trends, but now I need something to replace my Samsung S5 (or maybe it’s an S6…not totally sure :)). What’s generally considered the best Android phone these days? I heard the Google Pixel was highly rated last year – is that still true? Anyone have one can comment on whether it comes loaded with a bunch of useless apps or not? Samsung comes with SO MANY and it’s annoying.

    And any thoughts on whether it’s got any pros/cons as a work phone?

    • Mrs. Jones :

      The Samsung S8 is the most highly rated, per my research. I just got one last week and like it so far.

    • I just got a Pixel to replace the Samsung S6, and so far it’s been fine as a work phone. It works faster and better than the S6 did, but that phone was getting old and tired. Haven’t noticed too much of a difference, really. It did come loaded with some random apps, but I deleted most of them, and it wasn’t as many as the Samsung had if I recall.

    • BabyAssociate :

      I have a Google Pixel, it’s my third Google phone and I’ve been really happy with it. It comes preloaded with some Google apps, but you can delete them if you want.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        Do the Pixels have a slot for a micro SD card? It looks like no from the Internet, but just wanted to make sure. I hate phones that won’t let you add an SD card so you’re forced to buy the higher storage or use the company’s cloud storage (looking at you, Apple), but phones seem to be trending in that direction.

        • BabyAssociate :

          It does not

        • I got a Moto X (Pure? 3rd gen?) that had an extra slot and would support a micro card with up to 128 Gb. I’ve been generally happy with mine – relatively little bloatware and a close to pure version of Android. It was…big though. But I had been happy with the 1st gen Moto X I had, so I went with it. It’s still big, but I deal.

          I bought it unlocked from Motorola directly, so you might see what Motorola has available.

        • If most of your data is in the form of photos, Google lets you back photos taken by the Pixel onto their cloud for free.

    • I’ve had an S5, S7, and now an S8, and the bloatware on the S7 and S8 is WAY decreased from the S5.

  10. Help me find this year’s holy grail ponte pants?

    I want to buy 2 pairs of thick, super opaque black ponte pants to wear 4-5X per week through next March. Recommendations? TIA!

    • SA-litagor :

      NYDJ makes some awesome ponte pants. I can’t find the ones I purchased a year ago, but here are the current selections:


      I have a straight leg trouser version that looks similar to these (in material) in black and gray from 5 years ago that I *still* wear. They are washable. I wash and hang to dry and iron a teeny bit.

      • I tried the ones you linked to and returned them, even at the super-cheap sales price. On me (short but not petite Kardashian-proportioned hourglass) they were high rise, not mid, and in a very awkward way. The ponte was also not nearly as substantial or opaque as I’d hoped. I think the version a few years ago was far superior.

        I’ve been wearing these DKNY ponte pants (from Costco of all places) and love them, but would also appreciate other suggestions, as these are five pocket, so pretty casual.

        • Costco has fantastic ponte pants and I don’t really see the need to spend more for casual clothes. I’ve bought the five pocket ponte pants that they’ve carried for several years now and they hold up well and haven’t stretched out.

      • I love those ponte pants from Lands End. I usually don’t have a problem with rises (as long as it’s not too low, I’m good) and for me those pants were almost like getting to wear pajamas to work – they’re that comfortable – without looking sloppy. (My office is casual, though – not business casual; just casual.) The “ankle length” was perfect for me (I’m 5’5″). Really can’t recommend the pants highly enough. I bought four pairs for this winter.

        • Last time I asked this question I was directed to Lord and Taylor’s house brand ponte pants as well as White House Black Market’s. Both are quite good. The L&T are better. Sorry don’t have time to search extensively but L&T has lots of options. The cr*tch is pilling I guess from rubbing together but you can’t see it. Have been able to wash and combo of air/machine dry. Ponte is thick! The WHBM ones have thinner ponte and stretch out a little more when wearing.

  11. Anon for This :

    Anyone else feeling stuck in their career lately? I am looking for a new job, but the amount of patience this requires is draining. Tips for staying motivated?

  12. I love the ponte pants by Brass.

    • Meant to be a response to C2 above!

      • I may or may not have just ordered those! The waist band! Thanks!!

        • cake batter :

          Woah I might be ordering, too – these look fab!

        • Yay! Hope you love them as much as I do!!

          • New Job Who Dis :

            I’ve been eyeing these babies for a while now!

            how long have you owned yours?
            have you found that either the knees – or buns – sections have stretched a little bit?

            I’m seated most of my day at work and I worry about the ponte stretch out

          • Anonymous :

            I’ve had them for about 6 months and have worn them up to 2-3 times a week. I’ve found they hold their shape pretty well. The knees do stretch a bit after multiple wearings but it’s pretty minor and they return to normal after a wash. I machine wash cold and hang dry. I haven’t noticed any stretching in the behind.

    • anon a mouse :

      Those look a lot like the NYDJ ponte leggings, which I got at the NAS. Hasn’t been cool enough to wear them yet though.

  13. Any recs for a comfortable rocker/recliner for a nursery? I’m kind of tempted to just get a la-z-boy and call it a day because they are SO comfortable, but I’m hoping to find something a little more feminine and modern that will fit in better with the nursery decor. Something that resembles this: but I’m hoping to get a personal recommendation with respect to comfort (I don’t have PB Kids, West Elm, Land of Nod, etc. near me so I can’t try these out in person).

    • anon a mouse :

      Do you have a Buy Buy Baby? They have a great selection of furniture, at much lower prices than PBK.
      I found that it was really important to have something that cushioned my neck. Many weren’t tall enough for my liking or if they were, then the arms were too tall too.

      • +1 we went to the Buy Buy Baby store and sat in every single chair. The most comfortable for me ended up being a glider. We were able to customize wood color and cushion color, and they accept their 20% off coupons on furniture.

    • I had a rocking recliner from Best Home Furnishings Storytime line and it was great. Is there a furniture store in your area that sells recliners and lift chairs? You can at least get a sense of measurements from sitting in the different styles of chairs- I’m short so I didn’t want a really deep seat.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      How committed are you to the rocking aspect? I really love the small sofa that’s in our kid’s room. Would’ve worked fine for nursing, and now the family can curl up on it together for story time.

    • We bought a Dutalier. They come in different styles, and you customize color and fabric. We tried it out at a baby store near us. The quality and durability was very good. Almost 10 years later–3 kids in–and that thing is still a workhorse.

      • Amen… They have a wide variety of price/quality levels. We one of the higher quality levels that locks and looks like an armchair. It and the ottoman both rock. I am on my third baby, and it is one of the most comfortable chairs in my house. I like that it is wide, and so, you can easily fit an adult and two small children for stories.

    • Not Legal Counsel :

      We bought a glider from Ethan Allen , and it’s great. I think it’s the “mod motion” model. It’s not a recliner, but it’s comfortable and the gliding motion is great.

    • We used The Hub’s old no-name rocker recliner for that purpose so that we did not have any angst when The Kid vomited on it (which is inevitable at some point). Also, the big recliners usually have leg supports which were key on those nights when one of us fell asleep in the chair (also inevitable) and it is big enough that we still can sit in it to read to The (now six year old) Kid. That said, it goes out to the trash next fall when we redecorate the room.

    • It’s late in the day but I hope you see this! I actually have that exact recliner in my nursery (also ordered without trying it in person because the PB Kids near me didn’t have it in stock). I can vouch for the fact that it is VERY comfortable. It has two “levels” of recline, with the second putting you almost completely horizontal.

  14. Cornellian :

    This is pretty off topic, but was wondering how other folks make their small, city-sized apartments function both as family places and as work-from-home offices. I work from home probably 10 hours a week on average (I’m 85% time in BigLaw), but can’t figure out how to configure my apartment.

    Currently I have a monitor on our tiny high dining table and dock my laptop there to work. This sort of works, but now we have nowhere to dine. When it was me and my husband we could eat at the counter, but our 7 month old can’t eat with us there. I’ve been playing with the idea of wallmounting my monitor on an arm and getting a normal or counter-height dining table, so I can swing the monitor down to work, but baby can sit in a highchair with us and eat. What do you do?

    • I live in a 400sqft 1-br apartment and work mostly from home. Our normal-height dining table doubles as workspace most of the day while toddler is in daycare. (It’s a mess. I clean it of food but have given up tidying it, basically.)

      Which pieces can you shunt out of the way when they’re not needed? The monitor is one, like you said. Do you do a lot of work that requires a full-sized screen, or can you just work on the laptop? My husband works a lot with data and occasionally needs a large screen, but for that he goes to the office. When he’s home, he just uses the laptop.

      Also, we got a little art table/ kid-sized table and chair when kid was about 1.5. It doubles as a coffee table in front of our couch. He often sits there to eat (and we sit on the couch and eat with him, so it’s kind of like a family meal…just in a different spot.)

      • Cornellian :

        Wow, 400 sq ft with a baby! We’re in about 650 with the baby (and a 100 lb dog). But it’s a super awkward 650… it’s nearly 90 feet long, and never wider than 9 feet, so there is LOTS of wasted space.

        I do a fair amount of work requiring a large-ish monitor (not a monster, but not my laptop screen). The arms can hold keyboards, and I think you can find additions that allow you to dock the laptop against the wall out of the way. I think my real issue will be with paper. I am a very visual person who tends to work a lot with paper, and leave stacks of them everywhere, especially if I’m halfway through a document when I need to go to bed or switch gears somehow. Maybe I need an out of the way shelf nearby where I can stash them when it’s dinner time.

        • What kind of table do you have? Not sure if the solution is to buy a new table, but there are some with storage options (check Ikea). I’m in a similar boat with Mr. AIMS’s work stuff – he sometimes needs a printer and fax and etc. (otherwise we’ve both managed with laptops, mostly) and I am considering getting a small secretary to put in the bedroom instead of a nightstand.

        • You need to become not a person who uses lots of paper.

        • This is just a fantasy so far, but my husband works from our bedroom, and we are planning on getting an Ikea Pax wardrobe and modifying it to hold all his stuff. He has a stand with arms for his laptop, keyboard, and monitor – maybe Ergotron? – and the plan is to wall mount it all, and have whiteboards on the inside of the wardrobe doors. He mostly stands, but we’ll also have a folding chair that he can use when he wants to sit, and that will fit inside the wardrobe when not in use.

    • Veronica Mars :

      I’d get a small glass desk and find a little corner to tuck it into (both of mine have been in front of windows–the glass doesn’t stop the light from coming it)(Also, I tried setting up my monitors to a wall and found it really depressing). Mine is in my living room. Is it ideal? No, but it works great. The other idea I played around with was getting a drop-leaf table and storing the monitors on the main part, and only pulling the leaf out when I’m using it. You’d really be surprised how little space is needed. In my old apartment, I had a VITTSJÖ from Ikea in the hallway to my bathroom! (The window ledge held my monitor because the ikea desk is super narrow). You could also look into replacing a dresser with a secretary.

      • When I was working from home earlier this year, I had the same desk in front of a window! Laptop here, so I didn’t need to have something set up permanently, but it was a nice solution. Now that I’m out of the house again, the desk has gone back to being a great spot for plants to soak up some sun, serve as a console table, and generally gather dust…!

      • Cornellian :

        the drop leaf idea is probably worth considering…. I could mount it high enough that baby can’t yank on it, etc. The dining table has adjustable height piston chairs so I could turn one around to work if I don’t want to stand…

    • How large is your bedroom? Can you set up a corner to work in there? Or would you happen to have a closet? My now-husband used to work in a walk-in closet in his Haight Ashbury apartment (clearly no woman lived with him at the time, I would have taken over that closet in a heartbeat)

      Short of that I’d just put your monitor on the floor during family dinner time and then back up on the table when you clear dishes.

    • I’m not in your situation but a friend was and she worked from home exclusively. She got a very small writers desk and put it against the wall across from the foot of her bed. She mounted her monitor to the wall like a flat screen tv and also used that for watching things on Hulu from bed. She kept her laptop dock/keyboard and mouse on the top of the writers desk. She also frequently worked from her couch during the day w/ just the laptop. Her setup looked great and stylish but for me it would not have worked because it really wasn’t ergonomic at all. It would work for the occasional work from home but not regular work from home.

      • Forgot to mention, the key to this set up working is she had a little wooden chair that matched the writer’s desk (something you would see in a farmer’s kitchen basically) that tucked right into the desk, flush. A desk chair would have been too big and blocked the space to walk between the foot of the bed and the desk.

    • I actually bought a small desk at Ikea (Apt size – 300 sq feet). I know its not the best furniture but they make a bunch of smaller size stuff and I found one that fit in a weird cutout / indent in the wall. I think they also make triangle desks that fit in a corner of the room that might work for your purposes. I think the one I had was called the Micke desk but I’m not sure if its now formulated the same.

      You also might want to look into a secretary type item (this was another thing I considered, but I ended up not getting a home monitor because at the time my ibank’s remote access was horrendous / the limiting factor to my work not the lack of monitor) where you could store the monitor and just fold the actual desk portion down to use it – depending on the size of your monitor this could work.

      • seconding Ikea — I have a secretary desk from there with a small footprint. It looks fine and doesn’t attract attention, and I really like being able to close it up and have my work out of sight (and out of baby’s grabby little hands!). I have it in the living room — mine is white but I think they have an orange one, too, if you want a “pop of color” desk (ha!). It’s the Ikea PS line.

      • IP Associate :

        +1 – also have a small Ikea desk that fits perfectly in a nook in our small Boston apartment. With a baby on the way, a dog, a cat, and a husband, I couldn’t work in the living room or kitchen. Having a small space in our room allows me to close the door for conference calls, etc. without bothering (or being bothered by) anyone else.

    • I only use a laptop at home (2 hours a day in the evening, sometimes a morning if I have to let a worker in to fix something). I work on a cushion of my couch b/c it forces me to take home only task-specific items AND to clean it all up when I am done working (habits that don’t follow me to the office, sadly, but I want my house to look nice and not to have an office in it).

      It has been working for me for the past 10 years.

    • We tore out a closet at the back of the living room. Installed a desk (covering the whole closet footprint) and a sliding door. Work on the desk in the day, and at night, hide the chair under the desk and close the sliding door (which is the same color as the wall, so the whole office is totally hidden). This would also work in a hallway or bedroom. Well worth the loss of closet space, which can be made up with buying some dresser/armoire combo from Ikea.

    • I just dug through my email trash to get the link for this standing desk with wheels that Meg Biram recommended in her newsletter this week. If you have a place you could roll it out of the way, I would think something like this could work. I work 50% of the time from home and work takes over the dining room table, but I don’t have a family to consider, it’s not a big deal to throw everything in the closet once or twice a week when company is coming.

    • I don’t use a monitor at home.

    • Have you considered getting a laptop with a large screen? I work an equivalent amount from home on the weekends and I have an extra large laptop that works well for most lawyer-related work without a monitor. Just be careful with high-end gaming laptops because the graphics cards in them will overload Citrix because they think too fast.

      • Cornellian :

        I asked IT (need a firm computer) and have the largest size already, unfortunately. But I can function with one screen so can dock my laptop and get a medium screen, I think.

    • I live in a tiny one bedroom. I have a small slim desk against one wall in the living room, and my domestic partner has his desk against one wall in the tiny dining area next to the kitchen. We have a small dining table and he just swivels his desk chair around at mealtime.

      If we ever want to have people over we have to rearrange the furniture, but it works day-to-day for the two of us.

    • I’ve lived in several small apartments and have always found a place for a small desk– I can’t imagine living without one! I’ve had my desk either in the living room or the bedroom depending on where I could spare a few feet of space. I had to get a dresser with a smaller footprint so that I could fit a small desk in the bedroom of one of the places I lived. If I were you I’d try to get creative and make a desk fit somewhere!

    • Marshmallow :

      I have the CB2 “Helix Acacia” desk against a tiny spot of wall in my kitchen. My 27″ monitor and vertical computer dock fit on it, and I love the attached bookshelf. You can’t fit paper AND a monitor on it, though– I’ve learned not to use paper.

      • Marshmallow :

    • We are doing a desk in a closet for my husband- do you have a space you could tuck a desk into?

  15. Hearing Loss? :

    DH and I just found out that our unborn daughter will have some degree of hearing loss at birth (ranging from mild to profoundly deaf), thanks to a genetic disorder that he and I are both carriers of. We’re both reeling a bit from this news, as we both come from completely hearing families and don’t have any frame of reference for what it means to be deaf or hard of hearing. I’ve been doing a ton of research since we found out and it seems like there are lots of things we can do to support her once she’s here (speech therapy, ASL, hearing aids, etc.), especially since we know about it early on. We’re also feeling a little isolated, because other than family and very close friends, we’re not telling people about her diagnosis before she’s born (I want her to be viewed as a normal baby, rather than the baby who can’t hear well).

    However, I wanted to see if the thoughtful and supportive community of overachieving ladies here has any personal experience with hearing loss, either your own hearing loss or with family/friends. Personal anecdotes mean just as much to me as all of the medical research I’m doing right now.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      An anecdote: one of my high school classmates was born with significant hearing loss, and got a cochlear implant when she was a pre-teen. She works in design, is very confident, and is dating a cuuuute dude. She basically seems to be rocking life.

      It might be helpful to look at Deaf culture, just to absorb some of that confidence and perspective.

      <3 <3 <3 I'm sure it's a lot to process. You're doing a great job already in planning how you will take care of your daughter.

    • I work with someone who is deaf. I don’t know him very well (different job function) but he clearly leads a full and happy life. He’s married with a daughter, a rabid baseball fan, and writes some of the best emails you’ll ever read. Technical conversation with him is challenging (I rely on a combination of his lip-reading and writing notes) but he’s made it work. He’s working in a 500 person company and is (I believe) the only deaf person here.

    • I’m sorry your dealing with this. I also have this genetic marker and my partner had to get tested for it when we found out, though he turned out not to have it. On an aside, why they do these tests after you’re pregnant I will never understand…
      My understanding when we did this – and it may be completely incorrect – is that if both parents have it, there is still a fair chance the baby will be born able to hear normally. But either way, my doctor said that cochlear implants and other therapies have really come a remarkably long way and if you know ahead of time you can really prepare to deal with it. I think there are organizations that can assist. Just FYI, implants are somewhat controversial in the deaf communities and there is a bit of debate, so just something to be aware of.

      In purely anecdotal news, I have two. One, while we were waiting for the results, my doctor related a story of a patient who ended up being born with full hearing loss and thrived with early intervention (both parents came from completely hearing families). Two, more personal, we had an legal intern with complete hearing loss who was one of the best interns we ever had, did phenomenally well in school, was an all around charming person, and then went on to a very prestigious and competitive fellowship in disability law. Her disability was the last thing you ever thought of when you talked with her. Similarly, a friend in school had a hearing implant and aside from a slight accent in her speech, it just never came up as a thing. It’s not something anyone wants to deal with, to be sure, but I really found comfort in knowing that this is the absolute best time in history to be born with this issue.

    • Hi! I only have partial hearing loss and that happened around the time I turned 18, so I am not sure how on point my information will be. My loss is full in my right ear, so everything has to be conducted to my left. I do want to tell you that if your daughter ends up being able to utilize hearing aids, the technology has come SO FAR. My bone anchored hearing aid is Bluetooth enabled. Bluetooth!! My first set of hearing aids that I got in 1998 were dreadful compared to these.

      Also, I taught myself how to read lips and it is very useful. I also had a friend in college who was fully deaf and he only read lips, no signing, and we communicated (silently) just fine. FWIW, people are mostly very understanding of my hearing loss in the sense that they will repeat themselves when I need them to or allow me to sit wherever I need to in order to accomodate my hearing loss. While I cannot speak to grade school options, I know that my college had a pretty robust student disabilities office which enabled me to sign up for classes early (totally unnecessary for me, but still nice), receive testing accommodations, etc.

      Like I said, I may not be super helpful, but based on my limited experience, technology has come so far and there are many more resources out there to assist your daughter with whatever she (and you) need when the time comes. There will be frustrating times, to be sure, but I am 100% confident that your daughter will have a wonderful and fulfilling life.

      • anonymous :

        One of my good college friends is also deaf in his right ear and you would *never* know it if he didn’t tell you and point out certain ‘tricks’ he has: sitting to the right of you so he can hear better, turning his head slightly toward his ‘good’ ear, and looking at you straight on as you speak. I’m sure many coworkers and friends don’t know about it; I forgot until your thread. In fact, I don’t think my husband even knows because I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it. He is a doctor and exceedingly successful and kind, loves concerts, married and expecting a baby. Obviously, there is a spectrum of hearing and some have total loss in both ears, but it is not something that will stop your child from having a full and happy and healthy and successful life and your family will learn. As an aside, his was a result of meningitis as an infant, not genetic, so it could really happen to anyone! He considers himself lucky to be alive.

        Also, a few summers ago, I was in Madison visiting a friend in grad school there and was at a bar and we laughed that it was one bachelor(e++3) party after another going on bar crawls. At one point, another bride bedecked in a tiny tiara with veil and a sash came in with her gaggle of friends and they were all deaf and signing to each other and just having the best time- doing shots, dancing, taking selfies, laughing at each other, the works! They were no different than any other group of friends.

        If you are interested, Marlee Matlin did an interview with the West Wing Weekly and it was wonderful. She discusses what it is like being an actress with hearing loss and playing characters who are deaf as well. Her interpreter was also interviewed and was fascinating.

        I know it is hard to imagine any kind of obstacle for your child, which is why this feels so devastating and blindsiding, but you and your family will adapt together.

        • Most of my friends, my parents, almost everyone forgets . . . but that is much easier I think because I learned to talk with full hearing and have no audible clues as to my hearing loss. There also aren’t that many obvious visual clues, and even when there are (my processor sticks out a bit and you can see some hearing aids), a good number of people don’t register it immediately or even ever in the sense that they change their behavior. Also, hearing aids are commonly accepted for people who have lost hearing due to age, so I think without an audible clue that someone may be hard of hearing, it’s genuinely not something most people notice.

          All of that said, people still stay stupid $hit, but that happens in regard to all sorts of things. I have had people tell me I speak very well for someone who is deaf, after clearly telling them I only have hearing loss in one ear. Sigh.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Hi – I’m so sorry that you are now carrying this weight around and presumably have a lot of concerns about her future. I don’t have personal experience with this, but a family friend married a deaf man and she has a lovely family. She learned sign language and their kids use sign language. I’m sure it’s not without its challenges, but it sounds like you will have a lot of professional help in the early years. I think what is going to be crucial for you is to build up a support network of other families who are having/will have similar issues. Perhaps there is a local parenting network that could connect you to other parents with a hearing impaired child (maybe Galludet has information?).


    • Wildkitten :

      Not personal experience, but the show “Switched at Birth” has a great depiction of the deaf community in a fun ABC-Family format, if you want to feel supported by something fun and fiction.

    • Minnie Beebe :

      My older brother is deaf. He was born with profound hearing loss. This was pre-implant availability. He was mainstreamed, so attended public schools (though never the same schools as I attended- all of the hearing-impaired kids attended one district in the county, so they were all together)

      The deaf community strongly shuns implants. I agree with them in some respects, but I also am not at all sure what I would have done had my own child been born deaf. If I’d chosen implants for my child, I’m fairly certain my brother (and his wife) would have chosen to never speak to me again. Thankfully that was not a decision that needed to be made, but I know my brother has really struggled, in school, with work; as a parent, I think it’s natural to want to give your child all that you can. I would not want my child to struggle as my brother did (and still does.)

      But, technology has really made it easier to be a deaf person in the world. Text and email are legitimate methods of communication, even at work. All televisions have built-in closed-captioning. And I think (despite how it sometimes feels right now) people are generally more accepting of differences in others. It’s not nearly as isolating as it was, even very recently, to be deaf.

      My brother went to extensive speech therapy classes as a child, and wore hearing aids daily, until he went to university (Gallaudet, in DC.) The therapy was extremely helpful for him (he can speak fluently, though the speech does not sound 100% “normal”), and I’d say you were doing your child an extreme disservice by not starting similar therapies as early as possible. My SIL did not ever learn to speak, and it’s hard to have any sort of relationship with her, and it’s not easy for her to function in the hearing world.

      Definitely take some ASL classes (during pregnancy and after), and really commit to baby sign language for you, DH, and your family. My brother’s kids (3, all hearing) were *fluent* signers at a remarkably young age. ASL was their first language, essentially. Kids can learn to sign much earlier than they can learn to speak, and fluency occurs earlier.

      Deafness is not terrible, and if there’s a scale of disability, it’s on the more benign end of that scale. Not to say that it’s not a big deal– it is! But early intervention, therapy, and technology have made it so much more manageable than it was when my brother was born, in the olden times of 1972. My parents didn’t even know he was deaf until he was 2. You’re informed, and your daughter will be able to hit the ground running as a result of your proactivity! I’m happy to share more– let me know if you want to get in touch over email.

      • SF in Housr :

        I also have a deaf sibling. She was born hearing, lost her hearing as an infant. She went to school at a time when deaf kids went away to school. i agree that the deaf community can be insular.

        Fast forward decades and my sister’s (hearing) daughter has a hearing impaired son. The options for him are significantly greater. She has chosen to supplement his hearing with hearing aids and may do implants.

        FWIW, my sister has lived a very full life — education, family, career, etc.

    • This is somewhat tangential in terms of advice/support, but “Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity” by Andrew Solomon is one of the best books I’ve ever read and the chapter on the deaf community was stunning … the entire book is gorgeous and heartbreaking and hopeful and just unbelievably good. (And child-free ladies, don’t let the title put you off … it’s much more about being a child and a person in our society than it is about being a parent).

      At any rate! It might be a helpful entry point into exploring what this might mean for your family. Solomon also spends some time talking about language acquisition and education issues for deaf children that would be worth considering.

      • Far From The Tree is a fantastic book and the section in the book about Deaf children born to hearing parents would be tremendously helpful to the OP.

      • Much of the chapter on deafness is also available in an NYTimes article:

    • Minnie Beebe :

      I typed a very long reply that’s stuck in moderation. My older brother was born with profound hearing loss– check back later for the comment. But I’m happy to talk/email about my family’s experience. Send an email to altocinco — gmail

    • My good friend’s baby was born prematurely and deaf. He is now 4 and has cochlear implants. For some dark humor, his parents love that they can turn his ears off at night. He wouldn’t sleep with the implants on either way. They have moved so that he can go to one of the best schools for deaf children in the country. If you would like me to put you two in touch, post an anon email and I will pass it along!

    • My 3 yr old was born with a partial hearing loss. He has none of the risk factors so we are unsure of the cause but it was caught when he didn’t pass the newborn screening
      I understand how hard it all is to process, but the good news is there’s a ton of support from technology and also through early intervention. My son has been receiving speech therapy since 6 months old and is pretty much at age level. He wears a hearing aid in one ear and tolerates it well.
      He does have some additional delays and it’s hard to get a sense of how it’s all connected (if at all).
      Best of luck and be gentle with yourself

    • Anonymous :

      My nephew was born deaf. He is now 13 years old and wears hearing aids. (Without them, he can only hear something as loud as a jackhammer.) He uses sign language and also speaks and reads lips well. His speech is not completely clear, but is understandable. He plays sports and is doing well academically and socially. My sister has always made sure he had access to resources to help him. For example, our city has a sign language pre-school, so he went there. He also had a “deaf role model” come to their house once a week to both teach sign language and help with any questions or anything about deaf culture. He also did speech therapy for many years starting when he was about 6 months old. I can tell at times my sister struggled with wanting to just do things for him because it would be easier, but has forced him to learn and ask for clarification. For example, if he can’t hear what someone is saying she won’t always sign it to him, she will have him ask the person to repeat it slower so he can understand. I think this has helped him to be more confident. He does go to a deaf school and receives instruction in both sign language and spoken language. When he went to regular public school my sister had to really push for adequate accommodations. She is a special education teacher and understood the IEP process, and even for her it was overwhelming and difficult. That could have just been her local school district, however.

      I will also tell you about their deaf role model. She is now (at the time she was in grad school) a teacher with a master’s degree. She moved away at 18 and went to college in New York by herself. She is completely self-sufficient, travels alone, works, drives, etc. She uses some accommodations in her house such as her alarm clock vibrates the bed and her doorbell makes a light blink. She even trained her dog to follow sign language! She also reads lips well. She hardly ever speaks but will whisper and sign slowly so we can understand her. (If you can’t tell, she has become a cherished member of our extended family!) Her writing is also excellent and her mom said she really worked with her on that because sign language does not use the same grammar as English so English writing and grammar needs to be taught in addition to sign language.

      Anyway, I’m sure it is overwhelming for you, but the deaf community really seems to be an inclusive group and enjoy helping to take care of each other and provide support and resources. Tap into that in your local community and reach out and see what resources are available. Also look into the Signing Time DVDs and books. My kids who are not deaf LOVED these and picked up a lot of sign language to use with their cousin.

    • Anonymous :

      My sister’s friend’s daughter was born with some hearing loss (but not complete). They jumped on it right away, and she was talking by age 1 because of all the intervention. Another friend of a friend of mine is deaf and is an elementary school teacher. She got cochlear implants in her 20s and is doing great.

    • Anchors Aweigh :

      I’ve had a cochlear implant for 20 years — lost my hearing as an adult, but I’m so amazed at the changes & technology of cochlear implants. Did you know your inner ear (cochlea) is fully formed at birth? It doesn’t change size, so babies get the same implant as adults. There are support groups on Facebook and other places for parents of kids with hearing loss; if you need to research or just want to see what other parents are up to, that’s a good place to start. I’m a courtroom trial attorney and recently had a case where the courtroom deputy also had a cochlear implant. It’s so much more common now. And it’s ok to be sad. I was sad when I lost my hearing, too. Then I went to the doctor and he said, “Congratulations! You picked the best time in human history to lose your hearing — we can help you!” Such a great attitude, and he was right.

    • Watch the tv show “Switched At Birth” the premise is kind of junk food tv but it deals with deafness, deaf culture, and a deaf person in the hearing world. <3

    • I had a past life as a speech pathologist before returning to school to become a doctor and now practice in primary care. I worked quite a bit as a SLP with children with varying degrees of hearing loss/speech delay (ranging from delayed/distorted speech due to chronic ear infections to completely nonverbal with newly-placed cochlear implants). I hope I can offer some encouragement.

      I would familiarize yourself with pediatric audiologists in your area. Since you won’t know if the loss is mild
      or profound – perhaps not even for a bit of time after your baby is born – it will be helpful to develop a rapport with the audiologist who will be working with your baby. They will be able to explain how they test the baby’s hearing at birth and can hook you up with other parents for support. They can help prepare you for the testing (the ABR is a lengthy one and it helps to breastfeed or bottle feed and hopefully schedule it into a nap… you know, because newborn babies are sooo predictable :)) – but knowing how the audiologist will work with you and your comfort level with them is so important now and into the future.

      You may consider taking some baby sign language classes – you’ve got plenty of time for this, but it will help you and hubby focus on something together that is great for baby no matter what the degree of hearing loss is (or isn’t!)

      I think you are wise to not announce the hearing loss right away to friends/family. Wait to see what happens, have your support system and professionals in place, and work out an informed plan together with those closest to you.

      My son did not pass his hearing test at birth. Even as a speech path/MD, and supposedly prepared and educated about all of this, it was so hard and emotional. I was told by friends/colleagues stuff like “oh, you’re the perfect person to have this happen to… it’s a “good” disability to have” —– and it made me want to scream. I went through a period of so much grief and guilt and constant worrying. Postpartum hormones didn’t help, either. We are working our way through it, now 15 months later. Usually I just spend a lot of time modeling good communication habits (make eye contact, using body language, using varied intonation but not made up babyish words, reminding others to speak clearly but no need to shout). I offer this bit of information with some hesitation – I am trying to say that I understand the range of emotions you are experiencing and the fear/worry component… and to let you know it’s ok.

      Thinking of you and your family. If you would like to
      connect offline, reply and I will make up some kind of email address :)

      • Hearing Loss? :

        Thank you so much for this incredibly thoughtful and reassuring response. I would love to connect via email – please let me know how I can best contact you. Thanks again!

    • Anonymous :

      I’m not deaf, but I’m blind. If your child has some hearing loss or is Deaf, it would be helpful if you have contact with some deaf adults. When I was little, my mother joined an organization for the blind, so I had peers, teens, and adult role models. It was helpful for me when I had a blindness-specific question, problem, or whatever, and I had a community of people who could encourage, advise, push me to succeed, and support in a way that you don’t understand because you don’t have the disability. It takes a village, and I’m glad I had supportive parents and my blind mentors as I grew up.

  16. Can we talk about how everyone takes notes? I realize this is so basic, but I’m caught in a system that isn’t quite working. I tend to jot down day-to-day tasks and stuff from our small team meetings in a Moleskine notebook, but often take my laptop to higher-level meetings and just take notes in Word. The problem is there is enough overlap that having a dual system is starting to get confusing. I tend to retain information much better when I physically write it down, but it also makes it harder to track things over time, find old information that suddenly becomes relevant, etc. I also do not enjoy using OneNote because our enterprise system requires so many #*(& sign-ins and it seems really slow and clunky. It’s also possible that I don’t know how to use OneNote very efficiently. ;)

    What do you guys use? Evernote? Google docs? Or do you go low-tech?

    • 100% handwritten. I have a notebook that I take everywhere with me and then have a separate steno pad for my running to do list. I date the notebooks on the front cover so I know which one to look in for a specific meeting/time period. I keep them in a drawer for reference when they are full. Typing notes leads to low retention for me – hand writing helps me remember things.

      • Same. I need to hand write to remember things as well. I date the top of each page and write the meeting or subject to make things easier to find later.

      • +1. I’ve found that the way I use the space on the page is a very important part of my notetaking, brainstormin, and memory processes. It’s not something I can really explain, or that I do consciously, but looking back, graphic layout matters to me as well as the physical act of writing.

      • Cookbooks: Paging Pompom :

        Ditto. I need to hand write things to really retain the information. Since I have two regular meetings, each one has its own dedicated notepad.

    • I use a combo of handwritten and google docs. My office is google, so it’s linked to me mail, contacts and calendar, which is very useful. Also, I can get google docs on my phone. The most useful habit I picked up was to double enter important things.

      If I take notes in my notebook (always one big notebook, never multiple small ones) I take a minute afterwards to check if anything overlaps with a digital file. If it does, I type the note there and make a note in my book that this entry is related to a specific digital document. I do the same if I type my notes. I reference the page numbers of notes in my book. The notebook helps with keeping things chronological.

      It’s actually not that much extra work. I try to wrap it into my end of day prep for the next day. Sometimes I go a few days then take a little time to wrap everything back up at once.

    • Anonymous :

      I hand write all notes in meetings (I have a similar memory mechanism – I need to write things down to remember). I use generic notebooks provided by the firm and the pages detach easily. The scan-to-PDF machine is on the way back to my desk so I just detach, scan the notes in with the client matter /date of meeting in the subject line, and file it with my emails when I get back. If there are any tasks or to do’s, I email them to myself so I can flag them as tasks.

      I spend <5 minutes scanning in my notes every day (it takes <30 seconds) each time. Totally worth it.

  17. How do you deal on days where you feel like if one more person asks you for something, you’re going to start screaming? Because the asks aren’t going to stop. There’s not one person in my life right now – husband, child, co-worker, parent, friend – who doesn’t need or want something from me. I feel totally tapped out, and yet tapping out of my own life isn’t an option. Help.

    • Oh brother, no advice, just complete and total commiseration. I feel the same way and have been feeling really crabby/resentful about it. The only thing that’s keeping me sane is going running before work and being militant about my lunch breaks (meaning I will either leave the office entirely — ALONE — or shut my door and not touch my phone/email).

    • I feel you. I was thinking on the way in today that I just want a whole day off and want to be left ALONE. While I can’t have that right now, I have started waking up an hour early to cater to my own needs. Depending on my mood, I’ll do yoga, read a novel, or just take an extra long shower and then drink a cup of coffee in silence. Of course, that means less sleep, so I’ve also started going to bed earlier.

    • Need a Handle...Not Creative Tho :

      You are me. At a certain point I (sadly) lose my $hit. If it’s with my kids, I apologize and talk about what caused it and how we can all work together. If it’s with DH, he correctly grasps that I’m doing too much and generally tries to figure out some way to be more useful.

      My bestie and I went on a weekend trip and it was amazing. No one needed a thing. I was only responsible for ONE BODY (mine). It was so lovely. Is this what retirement is like?

      I also (often) wonder why this stuff just rolls off DH’s back and why I’m the default parent. But that’s a whole separate (flammable) ball of wax.

      So. I don’t know? But take more vacations – by yourself or with close friends? I’ll follow this thread so I can glean any advice there is out there.

    • I would do something like a solo hike or solo day trip somewhere. Bring your phone in case of emergency, but don’t use it to communicate with family or anyone else otherwise. If you are not there, they will figure out how to do it without you. Sorry you’re going through this – I know the feeling and it freaking sucks.

    • I hear you. My job involves folks asking me for things, my team asking me to help them figure out things, and when I get home my kids and inlaws asking me or telling me things nonstop.
      Things I do:
      – “cheat” by using work time to go do something for myself like a pedicure or read a book at lunch
      – also cheat by stopping on my commute home at a scenic point and getting out of the car to take deep breaths
      – listening to something good on the way home or calling a friend to just joke and laugh a bit
      – occasionally, I really get a headache and get in bed and let DH manage dinner/bedtime though it’s usually my responsibility (he does other stuff like mornings)

  18. I’m pretty sure there are some cat owners in the hive based on previous discussions. My one year old kitty constantly bats toys under my stove. I can give him a dozen toys and all of them will be stuck under the stove when I get home from work. I feel bad he goes without toys when he’s alone and also don’t want them under my stove in case they create a fire hazard. Has anyone had this problem and successfully solved it? I need something heat proof that can safely go under the stove in the front to prevent him from batting them under there. We have hardwood floors ans I’ve tried a rug in front but it doesn’t help.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Ahahahahah I remember those days. There were 8 sparkle balls under the stove or fridge on the regular. He also loved to hit the toys under the stove while we were home, then cry and cry until my husband would retrieve them for him. What a fun game! We are garbage people and just blocked it off by wedging a piece of cardboard in front (to be removed before cooking).

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I gave up on trying to prevent it and just retrieve them on a regular basis using my cat toy retrieval device (ie, a yardstick). Mostly what ends up under there are plastic bottle caps, since my cats shun the toys I buy in favor of random free items. I’ve never really worried about a fire risk. The stove shouldn’t get hot on the underside, I don’t think. Honestly, the layer of dust under there is more likely to catch fire than the bottle caps.

      • CatLadyInTraining :

        I’m glad my cats aren’t the only ones who ignore their toys to play with bottle caps and (their favorite) sweet gumballs.

      • IP Associate :

        Same. Our cat actually thinks its a game when my husband retrieves the toys every few weeks or so. He will sit there watching my husband kick the toys out and starts playing with them again.

    • What about a draft stopper? It may not be the best idea to use it with an over on, but you can certainly leave it in place when you’re not home? They also have tape/magnetic versions. Search for “Door Bottom Draft Stoppers” on amazon (although warning, a gross picture of roaches comes with).

    • Our nine-year-old kitty loves to bat her toys (and bottlecaps, tinfoil balls, etc) under the TV and meow until we retrieve them. I don’t think she’ll ever grow out of it! Because it’s not a hazard, we don’t do much to try to block her… we just leave her with enough toys in her little toybox that there are always enough for her to play with. Or nestle in to her food bowl.

    • Squiggles :

      I had a foster cat that did that. Constantly. Then when he ran out of toys, started finding random items.

      Blocked one side with a garbage can. The other side was a cupboard. For the front, I made certain the warming drawer was cat proof (aka just pots) and had it slightly out/ on an angle to make certain it touched the floor.

      Stopped it shortly thereafter until the little brat started sending them under the couch. But he was all better and adopted 5 months later!

      And to stop him from scratching the sofa: a cover was put on. Changed the texture so it didn’t feel right to him.

    • New Tampanian :

      I’m not sure what you can do. Every time I move I find about 49 hair ties, 13 qtips, 6170 pens, and various other items under my couch and bed. Silly kitties.

  19. givemyregards :

    Does anybody here shop the Barneys Love Yourself event? I switched to the Space NK event last year because I felt like the gift bag was better, but I’ve been really wanting some le labo perfume, one bottle of which will fulfill the minimum purchase basically. Anyway, if you are shopping, what are you buying?

  20. Fabletics? :

    Has anyone tried Fabletics before? I’ve been regularly doing yoga and I want to get some new, fun workout tops but I can’t bring myself to buy anything over $30. Any rec is welcome!!

    • I have! The salar style leggings were basically made for my legs. My 2015 pair is just beginning to show age (probably wear 1-2/week), so I just ordered another pair. I also have some shorts, jeggings, and a couple tops. The tops aren’t my absolute favorites, but all the bottoms have been spot on and favorites for me.

      • Seconding the Salar leggings/capris. I have 9 pairs, and I do moderate/intense exercise 6 days a week and they’ve held up beautifully for a couple of years. I prefer them to my Lululemon leggings actually, and I toss them in the washer and dryer.

        Fabletics tops are hit or miss. I have a couple of tops with the built-in bra, and they are good for low-intensity or low-impact work like your yoga classes, not so much for running or HIIT style workouts. I’ve been happy with my slim-fit Old Navy tops too. You may like Spiritual Gangster if you want more yoga-centric cute tops or like tops with sayings on them.

        • Fabletics? :

          Good to know. I’m not one for sayings but I own almost exclusively solid tanks and am looking to branch out a bit.

    • Wildkitten :


    • Are they still a subscription service? I would make sure you’re not unwittingly going to get stuck in that, I think when they started they had a bit of a bad reputation for that.

    • Need a Handle...Not Creative Tho :

      Old Navy for bottoms (sometimes tops) – their compression capris and full-length leggings have a higher waist option and they keep everything put and looking pretty ok. I have some Lululemon and they are just ok and certainly no better than the ON ones.

      For tops – oddly the Danceskin line at Walmart is pretty solid. So inexpensive, reasonably attractive and flattering. It runs small though, which is odd for Walmart. I’m usually a size 4-6 in their stuff but I need a M (8-10) in Danceskin (or however it’s spelled)

    • Linda from HR :

      I signed up years ago to get some free pants. I gotta say, I like the pants, they’re flattering and comfortable and don’t show VPL, but I’ve skipped the month every month since then because I don’t actually need that much activewear right now.

      But if the quality is anything like JustFab, you’ll get what you pay for – something cute that lasts a season or two and then falls apart. Which is fine if your tastes change, but it could be wasteful unless you can recycle the old stuff.


    (see: the Lula “Irma” shirt spectacle).

    sorry, had to throw that in. :)

    • New Tampanian :

      Someone wrote on twitter that Irma is breaking records and making history etc and I almost quote tweeted – Well, yeah, welcome to 2017. #FutureisFemale

      • Anonymous :

        I feel like for how 2017 has gone so far ‘worst hurricane ever’ is in keeping with the general tone of this year.

    • Link?

  22. Booties + sheath dress? :

    Maybe a stupid question, but can I wear booties with a sheath dress and no tights? I found a lovely pair of wine-colored booties (link to follow), and I think they’re perfect for fall/winter with tights and/or skinny jeans. But I’m hoping it wouldn’t be weird to wear them year-round with sheath dresses or midi skirts. I’m in a casual office in the Bay Area. My very fashionable sister says you can wear booties all the time, and Pinterest has lots of cute outfits with booties and no tights, but very few are office-appropriate sheath dresses… it’s all shorter jersey sheaths or flowy skirts and slouchy sweaters, so it either gives a very edgy look or a very whimsical look.

    • Booties + sheath dress? :

      Mine are very similar to these:

      Basically, no ruching around the ankle, but color/heel/toe shape/vamp are the same.

      • Very cute. Anyone have ideas where to find a version of these in leather (maybe even with a stacked heel as opposed to a covered heel) for a spring trip to France?

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Wow I would love to see a link to the actual shoes — those without ruching might be my ideal shoe.

      I think that with the lower vamp you’re basically wearing shoes-that-skew-boot-like, not booties-booties. And I think they’d be totally fine with a sheath dress. A tiny tiny bit edgy, but not in an inappropriate way at all.

      • Shopaholic :

        Ya I think these are totally fine to wear with a sheath dress – in fact, I think they’re more of a shootie than a bootie so they work really well with work clothes!

        • Booties + sheath? :

          YAY, I couldn’t remember if shootie was open-toe or just a vamp below the ankle. Fashion terminology is not my forte, lol. Well if the hive says they’re good and my trendy sister says they’re good, I’ve got all the cute outfits planned for months!

          I just bought a black and white leopard print scarf, and I’m thinking black skinny jeans + white 3/4 sleeve tee or black sheath with the scarf and these shoes as my pop of color will be perfect to transition to fall.

      • Booties + sheath? :

        I bought the actual shoe at Marshall’s, but it’s the same Aerosoles brand. And yes, I’m pretty sure they are the ideal shoe! They’re a really flexible suede on the top, and the heel is thick enough to not teeter about but not so chunky to make the shoe look heavy. The store near me had a bunch of different sizes, so I don’t think it’s a unicorn find. I bought the size 8 and it’s true to size for me.

  23. How about a plus size with a regular size alternative?

  24. I love that dress.
    I love the fabric, I love that it has neckline interest and It has sleeves and It isn’t out of the budget of possibilities.
    Thank you.

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