Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Seasonless Wool Extended-Shoulder Sheath Dress

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

Seasonless Wool Extended-Shoulder Sheath DressWhat a fabulous basic sheath dress — and I don’t remember seeing this one before at Talbots. I like the V-neck, the invisible zip in the back (off topic, but I kind of blame the death of Classiques Entier on that exposed zipper they started putting in the back of all of their dresses!), the set in waistband, and the extended shoulder style which is a great way to test the waters of sleeveless if you’re unsure whether it’s appropriate for your office or the situation — your shoulders are covered but you don’t have the bulk of sleeves beneath a layer like a cardigan or blazer. The dress is $169-$189, available in navy, black and gray, and available in regular (2-20), petite, plus, and plus size petites. (Note that the store’s big Red Hanger sale continues — you can check out our How to Build a Work Wardrobe at Talbots post if you want to know the store’s best sellers and classic pieces.) Pictured: Seasonless Wool Extended-Shoulder Sheath Dress

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  1. This DACA thing is so stressful to me. Someone very dear to me, a young lady I met when she was a teenager, was a DACA kid. She and her younger siblings were brought to this country from Venezuela by an American aunt when they were 12, 10 and 5. By the time my friend was 13, the aunt had left, leaving my friend to get her younger siblings to school and to feed and clothe and raise them. The aunt paid the rent and deposited living expenses from afar and visited them a few times a year.

    My friend and her siblings, now adults, do not know where their parents are exactly, but have heard through family that they are no longer in Venezuela.

    When the Dreamers legislation came along, my friend wa able to apply for and get a green card to work legally in this country. Before then, she was working for “under the table” pay and had essentially no rights as an employee. Now she is able to support herself and she still cares for her younger brother, who is in junior college.

    If DACA protections are no longer in place, will my friend not be able to keep her green card? If they were to deport her and her siblings, would they send them to Venezuela, where they know no one and would basically he homeless?

    It’s a very stressful situation for her.

    Anyone who tosses out blithe soundbites like “illegal is illegal” should consider that there are human beings involved here.

    • No. She has a green card! Any changes to DACA do not effect her because she no longer has DACA status. If her siblings also have green cards, they too will not be impacted.

    • This sounds to me like maybe she doesn’t have a green card, but has work authorization? If she actually has permanent resident status then she’s fine. if she just has work authorization then yes she is in the same boat as the other DACA recipients and would be subject to deportation to their country of citizenship. I’m optimistic that D.C. will actually figure this one out though!

      • This must be her situation. She has work authorization and not a green card. Because she is very worried about this.

    • I also have a client that I mentioned on here before that did not know she was here illegally. She was brought here as a baby, given a birth date and a social security number that were not really hers. She used it her whole life until in her 30’s some employer got back an error that the info wasn’t really hers. She thought HER identity had been stolen. Her parents then confessed that she was born in Mexico and that the whole family had come here illegally and had purchased documents to use as their own. At this point, she had children of her own that were US citizens. She had no role in anything that had happened to her up to that point.

      • It’s awful. I’m a rich white immigrant from an English speaking country and I frequently remind people that little old American accented my who came here legally when I was 4 could have been deported at 18 for committing a misdemeanor. And I had the cushiest possible situation. Immigrants are people just like native born citizens!

      • I once represented a client who had immigrated here legally with her parents as a young child, but her parents failed to apply for citizenship for her. Many years later, she was briefly homeless due to drug addiction and was arrested for trespassing and possession. She pleaded guilty and spent something like 5 days in jail. Many years after that, after she’d completed rehab, gone to college, become an AA sponsor for others and built a successful career running a small business with her husband, she was arrested by ICE agents in the middle of a PTA meeting. Yes. Literally pulled out of a PTA meeting and arrested. Because the by-then-10-year-old drug conviction finally came to ICE’s attention (this happens more often than you’d think, btw – there can be decades-long delays between an arrest and ICE taking action on that). Only then, when she was, as a 40-year-old mother of three, facing deportation to a country she’d left at a 4-year-old, did she learn that she was not actually a US citizen, but rather a a lawful permanent resident and thus subject to deportation for that long-ago drug possession charge. ICE also threatened to have her charged with a variety of crimes because she had registered to vote, obtained a driver’s license, etc. under the belief that she was a USC.

        We were able to keep her in the country only because of some complex court precedent and an enormous amount of pro bono legal work. These stories are awful, and far more common than people think.

        • That’s awful. It is so scary to think that we only know our names, socials, DOB from documents our parents gave us. We have to trust that they are true.

        • I’m sorry but how could you not know if you’re a citizen or not? No passport? Never seen a birth certificate which lists your town of birth? How is this possible at age 40?? I realize how it happens at age 20. And sorry but our voting system is ridiculous. ID laws are soooooo discriminatory so we don’t even check if people are citizens and just let them vote??!

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            A good portion of the US never leaves the country and thus, never needs a passport. International travel is a serious luxury. I have no idea what my birth certificate looks like. I probably saw it at 16 when I got my driver’s license but I’m fairly certain I haven’t seen it since.

          • Right but you saw it once? How are these people claiming never to have seen it – not for a license or college enrollment or anything? And as for passports – don’t these people ever go back and visit relatives??

          • Pilates Princess :

            My father was in his early 60s before he saw his actual birth certificate (he was born in the US but not to the man he has believed was his father). Until then, he had been able to use a “Certified Record of Birth” for everything. It wasn’t until he applied for a passport post 9-11 that he needed the other document.

            So, slow your roll, Anonymous.

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            You don’t know “these people”’s situation. Maybe their parents immigrated because they had no family left and wanted to start over. Maybe it is too dangerous to travel back to their home country. Maybe they couldn’t afford to visit their country of origin.

            Let’s not blame our completely broken immigration system on the people who immigrated.

          • Anonymous :

            You don’t need to be a US citizen to get a driver’s license. A birth certificate is not required.

            I did not show my birth certificate for any of my 3 degree programs.

            I needed it when I got married, and I couldn’t find it. My mom couldn’t either. I had got a passport at 19, so I must have had it then, and I lost it.

            I had to send away to the city clerk where I was born to procure one. I was 27 and had no need of it until that point. If I were like the majority of Americans without a passport, I wouldn’t have ever needed it until I got married.

          • Anonymous :

            Thank you Sloan Sabbith.

            I’m not an immigrant, but I tend to think people leave their country and all they know behind for serious reasons. Violence, conflict, poverty. They may have no family back to visit. Perfectly reasonble that people have no reason, or no ability, to procure a passport and visit the country they left for a better life.

          • So not that I need to justify the circumstances of my former client, who had come from incredibly difficult circumstances and a life of poverty to become someone that many of us would be honored to have as a friend, but you seem to be laboring under a few significant misunderstandings:

            -My client knew where she was born. She immigrated to this country legally and was never illegally present here – she was a lawful permanent resident (green card holder). The only mistake this family made was in getting immigration advice from a bad lawyer who told her parents that if they applied for and received citizenship, my minor client would automatically receive it as well without any additional paperwork. That wasn’t the case. If the mistake had been discovered while my client was a minor, it could have been fixed, but it wasn’t.

            -If you have a green card, you can obtain a driver’s license, enroll in school, etc. without issues. In fact, in many if not most states, you’re affirmatively not required to prove citizenship to enroll in school.

            -Pre-9/11, it was rare to be required to show evidence of citizenship. Whatever the state’s requirements were at the time that my client registered to vote, she met them. At the time, frankly, it’s entirely possible that all she had to do was show her legally obtained driver’s license, and possibly offer an affidavit that she was a US citizen, which she believed herself to be. In fact, because the law on how citizenship is granted to minor children of naturalized immigrants has changed a great deal, it’s entirely possible that the state in which she registered to vote would have accepted her parents’ citizenship paperwork as proof of her citizenship since she was a minor when they were naturalized.

            And finally:

            -International travel is expensive. Two-thirds of Americans don’t have passports.

            -When you come to the US as an asylum-seeker from a country in the middle of a genocide, the last thing on your mind is returning to your home country for family vacay.

          • Anonymous :

            @cbackson – I’m not the same anon as others in this thread, but thank you for all of that information. I always appreciate when I am forced outside of my little bubble – I honestly had no idea that 2/3 of Americans do not have passports.

          • I don’t have a passport, and never have. And I’m a lawyer. I didn’t grow up with money. I went to Canada twice but both times were before 9/11 and all you had to do was show them your DL at the border. Other than that I’ve never left the country.

        • High Five cbackson. Thank you for sharing so articulately and sincerely.

        • High Five cbackson. Thank you for enlightening so articulately and sincerely.

    • I like the phrase “undocumented Americans” (from Jon Favreau, Pod Save America) for Dreamers. They are American in every sense except their papers. Hugs and hope for your friend. I will be calling my senator daily to ask for DACA protection.

    • anon a mouse :

      The slapdash immigration policy emerging is so infuriating. A dear friend’s nanny has been here for a decade with TPS status. This woman and her husband left a ravaged country and came here with almost no possessions. They own a home and are active in their church and community. They have two children who were born here and are American citizens. And now their parents have 18 months to figure out where the hell they are going to live, since there’s no path for them to stay legally.

      • I represent a family with Haitian TPS, and they are really terrified. The kids have been here since they were small, and are now successfully completing high school with excellent grades and considering college. The whole family has made a life here, and the Trump administration’s contention that conditions in Haiti have improved is deeply disingenuous. The country has been plagued by a cholera epidemic for years. Infrastructure is still deeply impaired from the earthquake.

    • My niece and nephew are US teenagers. Mom is from El Salvador with TPS. Dad is from Mexico. Neither speak Spanish fluently, let alone know how to read or write at a high level. My nephew is taking French in school…if their family has to leave, two really smart, talented US citizens will be de facto deported to El Salvador with Mom. Who knows if Dad would even be allowed to live in El Salvador as he’s a Mexican national, but Salvadorans can’t even visit Mexico without a difficult to obtain visa. The sad part is I have no doubt this situation will happen to many kids, who will then return to their home country of the US at age 18. Their education will have been disrupted, their English skills will have deteriorated, and they won’t have a US HS diploma, thus creating an underclass of US citizens. As we know from birth tourism…once US citizens are 21, they can petition their parents for permanent residency.

      Therefore deporting/revoking TPS for immigrant parents of US citizens really serves no point. The kids and parents alike will be back after causing a decade or two of real disruption in their lives not to mention sending them to countries plagued by violence and human trafficking.

    • The thing I don’t like about DACA is that for people who come here legally, it is a difficult process that is very onerous and many very qualified people are denied the ability to come to the US. I understand that DACA kids were brought by their parents, but why don’t the rules apply to them? Many have had to remain in their home countries and have not been allowed to enter the US and have had to get jobs elsewhere.

      • The general thought is that we don’t punish kids for the sins of their parents.

      • If you really don’t understand why the situation is different for kids who were brought here by their parents -many before they could consciously know or consent – and people trying to get into the country through their own choice and volition, I feel deeply sorry for you. Your entire life must be really difficult.

      • I agree with your view overall. Why are we bending over backwards to find ways to let adult illegals stay and/or making it so easy on them here with ESL in schools, Spanish everything? Many of us have immigrant parents – they weren’t allowed to come until they had secured a job or grad school admissions here and they haven’t gone thru life pushing 2 for their language. So why do Hispanics get s break? BUT as for DACA — I’m not interested in punishing people who were brought here as kids and had no say in the matter just because their parents are idiots who won’t learn English.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I’d also note that I have never, ever heard a story of a family that came here illegally that is simple or where the journey was easy or where the decision was not very difficult for them. Families understand the major risks- death, r*pe, kidnapping, extortion, and on and on- of crossing the border. They do it anyway.

        “No one puts their children on a boat unless the water is safer than the land.” Warsan Shire, Home.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I recently read The Sun is Also a Star and highly recommend it. It’s a YA novel, but it is a really, really well-written book on the immigration crisis from the POV of an undocumented American teenager.

      Also, Tell Me How It Ends.

  2. I can be a little oblivious. Walking down the street, I get completely wrapped up in my thoughts, and if I run into a friend, they have to basically poke me/wave like crazy to get me to see them. I’m not thinking about anything so special at these times, just my day (what’s to come, things that have already happened, whatever’s bothering me).

    I want to be able to keep my focus more on the outside world, at least at times of my choosing. But when I make an effort, my thoughts tend to drift back inward quickly. Have any of you ever successfully changed something like this and become more aware/attentive to the outside world? My coworkers are always “amused” when they have to, like, startle me out of my reverie, and I don’t like them thinking I’m an adorable weirdo.

    • I’ve sort of just embraced it. If I’m walking, I tend to focus on the external mostly for safety reasons: “that woman is walking with her child”, “the clouds are pretty today”, “this sidewalk is gross – why don’t people put their trash in the trash can?” but my mind still tends to wander. Where I get in trouble is when DH is talking to me and it sets off a chain of thoughts in my head and I stop listening to him. So I try to focus on active listening: asking followup questions, not allowing my thoughts to wander and not focusing on what I’m going to say in response. Hope this helps!

      • yes, I do this too (mind wandering when talking to SO). Thanks, will try to work on active listening.

        • Yeah I think that’s really different. Drifting off when you’re walking around- fine. Ignoring a conversation you are in? Not. That’s not active listening you’re not listening at all.

          • Okay, to me it feels like they come from exactly the same place…my mind wanders when I don’t really want it to…and am still hoping to figure out a way to do better at not being like that.

          • Do you care about what people are saying to you? If so, then I think it comes down to actively trying to listen. Respond, even with mmm or a head tilt. Ask questions.

          • I am not a doctor, so I really don’t know, but is there any chance this is an ADHD thing? I’m also a mind-wanderer.

          • Anonymous :

            +1. Also, do some research on sluggish cognitive tempo.

          • I have no idea! Always had very good performance in school so was never tested.

          • I’m the Anon at 10:24 who said my mind sometimes wanders when talking to DH. I thought I made it clear that I don’t like that it happens and I want to be a better listener. I was trying to encourage the OP that she’s not a weirdo (or at least we’re weirdos together who want to improve at listening). Maybe don’t tell the OP that her mind wandering is “not listening at all”? You make it sound like we think about ponies while our SOs talk about our finances and that’s not what’s happening. OP said she wants to be better about active listening. So maybe give some advice or be quiet.

            OP – my best advice is to stop what you’re doing and make eye contact. That helps me be a more active listener and then recall the conversation later. Ask followup questions. Ask the other person to repeat information that you need to remember, or repeat it out loud to yourself. People at work think I’m crazy when I say “meeting Thursday at 4. Thursday at 4.” then write it down, but it works for me.

          • Thanks Anon 10:24/fellow weirdo. I appreciate the suggestions and will definitely try that.

    • Honestly, why do you think this is a problem? Actually, the way you are seems kind of nice to me.

      Is your issue only with regard to recognizing the faces of your friends/co-workers when they walk by you?

      Maybe you actually have trouble with face recognition, and this has nothing to do with your “focus”. It’s called prosopagnosia.

      • Well, thanks. It’s not recognizing people that’s an issue, it’s that I’m spaced out/unaware of what’s going on in the world because I’m just in my head.

        I don’t know, I guess it’s not an enormous problem but I wish I could pay better attention to people without my mind wandering.

        • Sorry – I wasn’t meaning to insult you at all. Face recognition issues are actually more common than we used to think and most people who have it have absolutely no idea. You didn’t mention attention difficulties in other situations so this came to my mind.

          I guess I envy someone who is able to wrap their mind in deep thought while otherwise wasting time… walking to and fro is kind of dead time, right? ……. Do you really want to start instead force your brain to focus on every detail of the environment just to be able to say “hi” more quickly to people when they walk by? Seems a waste to me, if you can actually use that time for some deep thought.

          • I wasn’t feeling insulted, sorry if my comment seemed like I was! And it’s a good question…

      • I have the same issue as OP and I definitely don’t have problems with face recognition. For me, it’s really about ‘tuning out’ because, for example, if I’m actively looking for someone I have no problem finding them. I’ve basically just accepted this about myself and try not to worry about it. My boss apparently once walked right past me in CVS and I had no idea– he said he thought it looked like I was deep in thought about our case, so I didn’t worry about it too much (though I was more likely deep in thought about moisturizer, haha).

      • I used to think I might have facial recognition problems. I recognize my friends, but if I run into one of them unexpectedly without place/time cues, it can take me a split second to figure it out. I also have trouble keeping certain coworkers apart – older men with gray or greying hair and glasses. They’re basically all the same guy to me, unless I know them well.

        But I took online tests for face blindness, and they are pictures of celebrities and historical figures and asking if you know who they are, and I got 100%. so I don’t know.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Oh man, when I first learned about faceblindness I was like “OMG! There’s a name for what I have!” … it was in the same year as I had sat down with a friend to get instructions on how to recognize people’s faces.

      • I read the Wikipedia article about prosopagnosia with interest. I can eventually recognize faces, but it takes several encounters and more after that to associate a name with a face. And seeing people in different situations compounds the difficulty. Like Anon at 11:22, I recognize celebrities and can identify what movies and TV shows I’ve seen them in. My husband is envious of that, but I envy his ability to recognize people we’ve only met once, even when we encounter them in different situations. Is there a way to get better? The Wikipedia article held out no hope for prosopagnosia.

        • True prosopagnosia doesn’t seem to change much with time/practice. But there are things you can do to help.

          Most people with prosopagnosia use characteristics other than the face alone to identify who someone is. Their voice/clothing/hairstyle/method of walking/body language/smell etc…

          What I do is when I meet someone new that I really want to remember, I literally write down their name quickly after meeting them and a couple of distinctive characteristics about them. It really helps.

    • Anonymous :

      I recommend meditation. It’s helped me be more tuned into my environment and not to give into my mind chatter.

    • As someone else mentioned, this sounds a lot like ADHD. Girls with “ADD” or “ADHD inattentive” often aren’t diagnosed because they aren’t disruptive in class settings, and while their thoughts can drift away from the task at hand, they can compensate with an ability to “hyperfocus” (which is generally rewarded in school).

      But to be clear, if it’s not causing any real difficulty, then it’s not considered ADHD–the labels only come in when someone is struggling in some way. But if this really bothers you, it’s not hard to be evaluated to see if you are a candidate for treatments (not all of which involve medication).

  3. I am thinking about buying some Eileen Fisher pants for work and I’m wondering which are your favorites. I’m 32, work in a business casual environment, and wear booties or oxfords almost daily, although I do own two pair of heels. My “work uniform” is: booties or oxfords, black skinny jeans, and a sweater or blue oxford shirt or white crewneck short sleeve shirt, depending on the weather. What would the H!ve recommend? TIA!

    • The magical pants everyone talks about are the crepe slim ankle pants. I have them in black, ink and gray and they are pretty much the only pants I wear to work.

      • Thank you! These are the ones I was thinking about getting, but then I read CapHillStyle and she seemed to be referring to a different style, so I wanted to check with my trusty H!ve source.

      • What figure shape are these best suited for?

        What shoes work well with them?


        • Others may have to chime in. I’m tall so these show quite a bit of ankle on me. I tend to wear mine with ankle strap shoes for that reason but I’m in California so not concerned with cold and snow.

          In terms of figures, they seem to work for everyone

          • Here’s a link to the pants. I’d read the reviews – there are lots.


            I didn’t size down in mine. I am hippy and didn’t want them clingy on the thigh.

          • Yes, they look like ankle pants on me too. For that reason I don’t wear booties with them and don’t wear in winter.

    • Note that the Crepe Slim Pant and the Crepe Pant are two different products. I own them both and I would describe the Crepe Slim Pant almost as enhanced leggings. They are indeed a “Slim” fit. The regular Crepe Pant is probably more office appropriate. Whichever you get, they seem very pricey for what they are, but they wear well for years being run through the washer and dryer on delicate, and are very comfortable.

      • This is helpful, thanks! I’m not a fan of leggings in the office (no matter how casual it is) but I’ve been seeing more of them lately. TBH I’m thinking about just buying some EF pants off ThredUP whose fabric description matches the crepe pants and then have them taken in if I need to/feel like it.

        • I do wear my Slim pants to the office on days with no court and no meetings, but with a slightly long boxy wool EF top that hits at low hip area, some low wedge shoes and a great scarf. It’s fairly polished looking but feels like I’m getting away with wearing pajamas to work.

    • Anonymous :

      The slim black ankle pants are amazing. I wear them a couple times per week.

      • Anonymous :

        I wear the slim black crepe ankle pant all the time, I definitely don’t consider them like a legging. Yes they hug the toosh, but not like a legging. I wear just a slightly longer top with them.

  4. Humidifier :

    Can anyone recommend a cool-mist humidifier that would work well in a medium-sized office? It would need to have an auto-shut off.

    • I just got the Honey Well Germ Free Cool Mist one and it is so great, I ordered another one for my bedroom. I think it’d be great in a medium sized room and it is easy to clean/fill in a small sink. I believe it turns off by itself if it runs out of water.

      • This is the exact model I have and it does nothing in my (fairly large) bedroom. A coworker has the same model in her office and is returning it for the same reason.

        I just ordered a PureGuardian one from Costco on the recommendation of a friend. It’s expensive but I’m hoping it is worth it?

    • Beware–cool mist humidifiers can spread mold all around. That’s why warm mist ones exist–to kill germs. if you do get a cool mist one, make sure it’s ultrasonic.

      • I don’t think that’s quite right or that simple. There are lots of cons to warm mist humidifiers and they may be toxic, too, if not maintained properly. Scroll down for “general words of caution about warm mist humidifiers” –

  5. Cuyana question :

    I need a giant work tote to schlep my laptop, makeup, snacks, etc. I keep hearing great things about Cuyana. Should I get the zipper top tote, the open top tote, or the crossbody tote? I’m leaning toward the zipper top, but I’d love thoughts from anyone who has any of the others. The only thing I don’t like is that they have no showrooms so I can’t see it IRL!

    Also, what color should I get? I’m partial to the stone grey, but I worry it will show dirt.

    • By the crossbody tote are you referring to the Oversized Carryall Tote? I have that one and I have the Classic Structured Leather Tote and I love them both. The Carryall is HUGE. I find it too big for me to use as an every day bag – I use it as a weekender bag/airport carry-on. Also – the top straps don’t fit on my shoulders. The Structured tote is still big enough to carry a ton of stuff, but the size doesn’t feel as overwhelming to use day to day. The straps fit over my shoulder no problem. I like the Structured tote as opposed to the Classic open-top one because it stands up nicely on its own. I don’t have the zipper top tote – but would imagine it would be similar in size to the Structured tote.

    • BabyAssociate :

      I have the “classic leather zipper tote” in oxblood and I love it. It’s been really durable and holds a ton.

    • I have all the cuyana things. My everyday bag is the zip top tote. Quality of the leather is amazing – looks new despite daily use and regular floor tossing. Cons are no organization inside (but I got a cool felt insert on Amazon that solves that issue) and when it’s new, the inside leather bits rub off a bit, which can be annoying but resolved itself pretty fast. I didn’t have that issue with the open top bag, so it could have just been the zip. I find the zip easiest for a work bag (fits tons of stuff, the bag itself is really light, great carryon for travel) and the open top is my more casual weekend bag. I’d buy both again, fwiw

      • Ps – I also have the more structured bag, which looks great but is too heavy for me for every day and doesn’t hold nearly as much

  6. Tools of the Trade :

    One of my goals for the new year is to become more efficient (either faster or better) at completing tasks by using the right tools. I’d love your advice about these two areas in particular, plus any other tools/techniques you’d like to highlight.

    First, kitchen prep. Any recommendations on speeding up mise en place? I have a nice fancy food processor…and am terrified of it. How do you outsource your chopping/dicing/shredding that makes veggie heavy meals an extra step?

    Second, makeup brushes. I feel like I never really learned how to use them beyond the “head on” approach (apply brush directly to forhead) but they must exist for a reason and require some finesse. What are your favorite brands? Any particular videos you recommend on basic use? Can you just clean them with regular hand wash dish detergent or does it need to be fancy?

    Any other tips you want to share? Thanks!

    • RealTechniques are great and are usually on BOGO at Ulta. If you haven’t tried a beauty blender (face sponge) for your face makeup that’s the biggest time saver for me. Try the RealTechniques miracle complexion sponge (make sure the wet it and wring it out to use!).

      A good fluffy eyeshadow brush does wonders for just running a matte color for the crease every day. I love the RealTechniques one again. Morphe is also available at Ulta now and makes a few good ones.

    • For no. 1 – get a simple kitchenaid mini processor. You can leave it out, it’s super easy to use and it’s good for most dinner tasks. But with that said – also get some good knives and a large, stable chopping board (I have two: one for meat and one for veggies). Many times, you can do things faster with just a knife.

      For no. 2 – I think youtube can come in handy here, but I don’t use these a lot. Regular gentle soap is fine.

      For other – I find a good hand steamer saves me a lot of time ironing and makes my clothes look better longer. I’ve also started leaving my stain spray next to the laundry hamper b/c I’m more likely to remember to use it when I throw clothes in the hamper than when I get around doing laundry.

    • Baconpancakes :

      After owning it for three years, I just discovered the slicing and grating blades on my food processor and I am kicking myself for not using it earlier. The slicing blade works just like a mandolin, albeit you can’t adjust the thinness of the slices, so anything you want in thin slices (eg potatoes for au gratin) you can put in the food processor. The grating blade is literally the same as using a box grater, but it takes five seconds instead of five minutes. Then I throw the processor cup and lid in the dishwasher. It’s annoying to heave it onto the countertop, but overall I think it’s worth it and saves time.

      Alternately, you can buy things pre-chopped and pre-sliced, riced, noodled, etc from Wegmans and Trader Joe’s.

      Another tack would be to take a knife course at a local cooking school. Knowing how to efficiently chop things and take care of your tools might be what you’re missing. I’m taking a class in March and I’m really excited about it!

      • SFAttorney :

        You can “adjust” the thinness of the slices if you have different slicing discs. My Cuisinart came with 3 and 4 millimeter slicing discs and I bought a 2 millimeter disc that I use a lot for Brussels sprouts and other shaved vegetables. The metal blade is good for getting finely chopped onion, garlic, peppers, etc. for sauteeing. Try pulsing so they don’t get too finely chopped and become more like a puree.

    • My grocery store carries a decent selection of pre-chopped and pre-spiralized veggies in the produce section. You can also buy bags of frozen chopped onions -just thaw and remove excess water.

      • + 1 million

      • Pre-peeled garlic (whole cloves, not the crushed stuff that tastes processed), the julienne carrots in the bag, preshredded cabbage, prechopped butternut squash, and prewashed lettuce and spinach are my big time-savers. For fresh ginger, I peel it ahead of time, keep it in the freezer, and grate it frozen. I almost never use the food processor because it’s such a pain to wash. Learning good knife skills is key–I can chop a whole onion or julienne a bunch of basil in a couple of minutes. Get a chef’s knife and find some tutorials on line or take a class.

        The thing that gets me is rinsing and picking the leaves off of cilantro, parsley, and especially thyme and dill. I use dried thyme and dill a lot (sub 1 teaspoon dried for 1 tablespoon fresh), even though dried has less flavor.

    • On the mise en place, I don’t find a food processor really helps. It may be faster than chopping an onion, but you don’t get the even dice, and then you have to clean the food processor. Just keep chopping your onion, celery, carrots etc and you will find your knife skills increase quite a bit over time. It’s just not worth it to drag that thing out, for me.

      • Also, you don’t have to cook like a cooking show. Chop your onion first and get that started sautéeing, then chop the next hardest vegetable while that’s going, and add things sequentially to the pan. So it’s not really mise en place as much as it is mise along the way.

        • Yeah, I did not know that people pre-cut, pre-measure and layout everything before they start cooking, I thought that was a tv show thing. I agree with using a sharp knife and becoming good with cutting. I use a large cutting board so that I can cut a bunch of things and just them to one side before they go into the pan. I also do things in steps, cut garlic/onions first and saute, then while they are going, cut/wash subsequent ingredients. I like hand-powered food choppers rather than a food processor (easier to clean imo). On makeup brushes, try the Real Techniques starter kits for face/eyes and youtube tutorials to learn the basics. Or, try creamier products, such as ColourPop eyeshadows that you can blend with your fingers. For washing brushes, I use shampoo, which I think does a good job of removing the oils and waxes of makeup.

          • It depends on the recipe. Sometimes you really do need to have everything ready to go before you start.

          • This is not just a TV show thing. I took a series of classes at a culinary school last year and we always chopped everything prior to cooking, unless there was a very good/specific reason not to. It has made me a much better and more efficient cook – there is no chance that I won’t have something ready to go in the pan when it needs to, nothing gets overcooked because my attention was elsewhere, I never get partway through a recipe before discovering that I don’t have the ingredients I thought I had, etc. I use the downtime while things are cooking to clean up, so by the time we are ready to eat, I’ve usually cleaned up most of the prep.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            My (cooking) life is a series of “OH CRAP I have to add the ____ but I haven’t cut it up yet!!!!” …which I why I barely ever cook.

      • Oh, and make sure your knife is sharp! I get mine sharpened about twice a year.

      • +1

        Chopping doesn’t take me that long, I feel, because I do it often, so I’m reasonably skilled and it, and I keep my knife sharp.

        For thin slicing I use a regular adjustable mandolin, which dispenses with, say, a pound of carrots quite efficiently and with pretty low effort. In fact I use it way more often than my food processor.

        • Senior Attorney :

          +1 for the mandolin. I got an Oxo version from Amazon with a V-shaped blade for about $40 and I love it.

    • This gadget is your chopping answer. We have one and it makes cooking so much easier. Just quarter veggies and fruits and off you go!

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Embrace the food processor, and/or get a mini one. I will still use a knife for things like tomatoes, but onions? Food processor (and bonus, my hands don’t smell like onions as much) Nuts? Food processor. Riced cauliflower? Food processor. Basically anything I need chopped in to tiny pieces is going in the food processor.

      Re makeup brushes, regular soap (or I’ve used baby shampoo) is fine, but I have found the Sephora Daily Brush Cleaner is actually easier/quicker because it dries quick and doesn’t need water, making me much more likely to actually use it than soap that I have to rinse out.

    • For food prep: I use a really high quality knife and chop the food. I find it easiest to prep on Sunday. I just chop everything that I need for the week and store it in the fridge. I used to use the food processor, but I really hate cleaning it.

    • I use a mini food processor for chopping veggies. I leave it out on the counter. I have a regular food processor too, but I don’t use it as often. If a recipe calls for half an onion, I’ll chop the full onion and freeze the other half for later use. I will cut chunks of ginger and put them in the freezer. I grate it directly from the freezer without peeling. If a recipe calls for shredded cabbage, I buy the bags of coleslaw mix

      I like Eco Tools and Sonia Kashuk brushes. I can’t think of specific videos, but you can search on YouTube for tutorials. I just wash mine with regular hand soap.

    • anon a mouse :

      I take a bag of onions and dice them in a food processor one by one, wrap in freezer paper and freeze it. That way I’m only pulling out the food processor every so often. For soups etc, I just put the frozen diced onion in the pot with oil and let it thaw as the pot heats up. There’s a minor degradation in flavor intensity but it’s worth it to me to not have to chop an onion every time I want to cook.

      • I get frozen diced onions at Whole Foods and use them the same way. I hate chopping onions!

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          I get the bag at TJ’s. Same with apples. Yes, there’s an upcharge, but having ingredients readily available makes me more likely to cook.

  7. I’m having the hardest time getting back in the swing of things at work following the holidays this year! I’m fighting a lingering sinus infection, the weather is horrible, and a few unexpected pre-holiday departures have left us understaffed. This combination means I end up sipping cups of coffee at my desk for hours at a time while staring blankly at the growing pile of work and wishing I was back in bed. Advice for giving myself a kick in the pants?

    • No advice, but commiseration. I’ve spent more time putting clip art into my ppt than I’ve spent on the actual meat of the presentation. Which is for my boss, who gets to go overseas to headquarters and take all the credit for the work I did last year. So I’m not super motivated. Hence posting to this s!te. Is it Friday yet?

    • anon a mouse :

      Someone here recommended the Forest app and that’s been a big help for me. Even in 10- or 15-minute increments.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Yes! I love the Forest app because when I’m really not feeling a 30 minute chunk, or I only have 10 minutes before a meeting, I can still feel motivated to focus for those 10 minutes and get a little bush for my forest.

    • Same, as my teenager says. And I have tons to do at work. Yesterday, I set a timer for 22 minute intervals and forced myself to work on projects in small, non-scattered segments. It actually helped a lot. We can do this!

  8. Just a Vent? :

    I work in an established, small firm (there’s 4 of us) and I’m the newest attorney going on my first year, but not totally fresh to practice. My Boomer boss is ‘da boss’ and all work comes from him. And I spend much of my days waiting for work. I don’t believe there’s anything sinister behind it; I’ve put out good work and haven’t had fatal criticism. I’ve never feared being fired because I’m useless, it just feels like he’s content to have me kicking around.

    I wonder maybe if he gets so wrapped up in his own day-to-day, etc. that he struggles to find time to delegate? Maybe he’s secretly an inefficient worker and hangs out on the internet all day and then uses late nights to work? I don’t know….

    I ask week on week for work, or to help out on discrete projects, and I’ve gone so far as to creep around cases I’ve touched to anticipate if I can offer help on upcoming elements of the case. I’m still just kicking around…

    He’s obviously aware that I’m here, getting paid, and asking for work. The other attorneys appear to have decent work loads, so maybe it’s a matter of biding my time and waiting out a slow first years (?) until I’m fully into the fold? I don’t know. Blerg. Is this just the small/micro firm life? Has anyone experienced this before? Is anyone a boss who struggles delegating work to juniors? (sorry, it felt good to write it all out)

    • This isn’t normal. Do you have a billable hour requirement? If so, falling short of it is a big deal and will give the firm an obvious reason to terminate you. I think you need to ask him point blank why you have no work and what you should be doing. Perhaps he expects you to generate your own work or ask other attorneys in the firm for work. You can’t just keep doing nothing all day every day.

      • Just a Vent? :

        I was never quoted a hard requirement, though I pushed in the interview to understand before I jumped in. I got a fluffy, “yes there will be enough work for you and we don’t have problems getting you work.”

        and I should be clear I’m not doing totally nothing; I usually bill 80-100hrs per month. It just feels wildly inconsistent and the downtimes feel extreme

    • I would spend your free time looking for a job. Regardless of whether this is “normal”, it’s not good for you. It could lead to you getting asked to leave. You are not developing your skillsets as much as someone who is “working” everyday. It also just doesn’t feel good to have to beg for work!

      Take some of your spare time to start looking for jobs. Now is a good time of year for other positions to come up. Admit it–you’d like to be somewhere that you are busy and valued! That’s a nice feeling. The uncertainly and waiting you deal with is not a nice feeling. Take the bull by the horns and work to make a change. Where you are has decided that the status quo is OK (for now), but you know in your guy that it doesn’t feel good. Control your destiny! You got this. You are competent, so take that competency elsewhere!

    • A junior associate (guessing 2nd yr attorney) for the most part isn’t really expected to bring in new clients or drum up your own work, you wouldn’t do it correctly anyway (not enough experience). It is probably inefficiency on his own part.

      But you should definitely speak with your box and the other associate on their expectations (and experiences with this in the case of the other associates). Twiddling your thumbs does not help their bottom line or your development, but it is perfectly normal for a junior associate – just maybe not weeks on end.

    • Been There, Man... :

      I really sympathize with this, OP!

      I’m in BigLaw, but my group has a *huge* issue with delegating to junior associates, especially those that are new to the group. The work does eventually start coming, but there’s this weird holding pattern for the first 6 months where you’re basically starved (and of course your billables for the year are shot). It’s frustrating because it of course has some long term impact, but generally associates that are bright and enterprising have been able to make up for lost time and go on to do well. I 100% think that some partners/groups are just bad at delegating and training, and as a junior associate you want to figure out if this is something you can deal with if it passes or if you’d prefer a more supportive environment.

      Do you feel comfortable talking about this with one of the other attorneys? They might have some insight as to whether this is a perpetual problem. Were the other associates in the group hired on as first years or were they all laterals? In my experience, groups that are comprised fully of associates hired on as 4-6 years (or even later) with no one in the group that started as a junior is a telling sign that there is a training problem, but that’s in the context of Biglaw, so that might not really be a big deal with smaller firms (I honestly don’t know). And this may just be my personality, but I don’t think that it’s crazy to raise it (of course diplomatically) with the partner if things don’t change.

      I’m curious to see what others will say, but I personally think that when it comes to not getting enough work, many lawyers err on the side of waiting too long before speaking up or not saying enough. This is your career. You’ve invested a lot of time and money into being able to do this for a living, and those junior years where people are willing to forgive greenness and make an investment in you go by faster than you think. Certainly not trying to say that your situations isn’t workable, but it sounds like your gut is telling you something is off, and I would trust yourself. Good luck!!

      • Just a Vent? :

        thanks for the advice re: gut feelings! which could be a bummer. Again, I’m not actually worried about getting fired, but it’s more of a “Is this all the work we have?” feeling

        I’m conditioned to higher volume – work and hours – and I’ve been wondering if this is an adjustment year I need to ride out and see how/if it picks up (because the money is actually great for me) – or if I’m still internally struggling.

        (and then a lizard part of my brain says: you dummy, take the time at this ‘work life balance’ place to have your first kid and then you can hightail it later. lols)

    • anonforthis :

      Have you asked the other attorneys for work? it isn’t just the partner that should have the ability to delegate. If their plates are full, maybe they could use some help.

      FYI-I lateraled as a midlevel from a firm with a huge group in my practice area and tons of work to a firm with a small practice and not nearly enough work. After trying for months to get more work and understanding it would not happen, I left. If you cannot get work, you cannot develop as an attorney.

  9. Anyone else read that NYT article about face exercises? Has anyone actually tried it?

    • Interesting idea but I definitely don’t have 30 minutes a day to devote to these exercises just to look 3 years younger? If my math is right, that’s like spending a week each year massaging your face 24/7.

    • I don’t know what the Happy Face Yoga program entails, the one the study references. However, from the other ‘facial yoga’ developed by this and that person, I see they are using traditional Indian Yoga movements that are for the face. This link gives a good example, and you can do them at your computer as a break.

    • My nana used to torture her children with her Jack Lalane facial exercises!

  10. Q for employment lawyers :

    Hi all. I’m about to start a new job, and on my first day I am supposed to bring in a completed “health assessment form” which includes many questions about medical conditions and what prescription meds I am taking. I don’t have any job functions that necessitate this information according to what I see online, i.e. I am not operating heavy machinery or anything of that kind. There’s no info on the form about their legal basis for asking this, nor does it say it will be kept confidential. It does say that false statements could be grounds for termination.

    I don’t see why they need this info from me. Can they require it? What should I do? (I have also submitted this to Ask A Manager, but want to make sure I get some input since this is happening on Monday.)

    • Not a lawyer, but start by asking “what is this form for?” “why do you need this info?” and “will it be confidential?”

      My best guess is they have a corporate wellness program and this is part of your insurance. If so, they should easily be able to explain that to you.

      • This seems like a lot of info for a corporate wellness program. We have one, and I just have to certify I don’t smoke, tell them how much I exercise and provide info about my doctor. I would be very reluctant to hand over info about health conditions and prescription medicines.

        • We have a corporette wellness program that asks this kind of personal information. Personally, I don’t feel obliged to fill out the form honestly.


      See if this helps.

      • Q for employment lawyers :

        Thank you, it does help. Thanks to all others who weighed in too. Glad to know I am not unreasonable to be displeased with this.

    • What?! That is crazy. I 100% would NOT be comfortable giving my employer that information. If it’s for insurance purposes it should be sent directly to the insurance company.

    • I would just “forget” that page and see if they ask about it. If they do then ask what it’s for, why they need it, where will this information be kept, who will have access to it, etc.

    • If no one says this is required, don’t fill it out and see what happens. Some employers do things like this as part of a corporate wellness program so they can get lower premiums on the company insurance – but this is a lot of info to ask for, and I wouldn’t provide it without knowing how it will be used. If someone insists you fill out the form, ask hard questions about why they need the info and what they’re going to do with it. They should be able to give you satisfactory answers. If they can’t, I would decline to give them a completed form.

    • I just got back from being weighed, blood-pressure-checked, stuck for blood, and having my (bloated, 1 day post period) waist measured in a conference room with 5 colleagues. I feel ya. And the otherwise lovely young docs/medical folks doing the assessments were not great at using hushed tones, so yeah.

      Pita because I just had a physical MONDAY. No form to bring to my actual doctor…that’s getting a complaint.

      • Q for employment lawyers :

        That’s terrible. I would have no problem saying “This is very personal stuff. I understand that we can’t have a private room, but would you mind lowering your voice?”

        • Yeah, I in turn was speaking essentially in a whisper to her (and I am a LOUD person), but was not trying to raise my bp any more….I may make a comment to the coordinator when I see her.

  11. Croatia tips? I’m thinking of going in August, so obviously high season. Has anyone gone recently?

    • Ohhh, I would love to hear these also.

    • I have many. August is a perfect time to go:

      – walk the walls
      – Mt Srdj (cable car or tiring hike)
      – Lokrum (close island with nice beaches)
      – Buza Rock Bar – near beach, you can swim right below

      Rent car and drive to Mostar
      – do not think you can take a day trip to Bay of Kotor on the way…major border traffic
      – check out Stari Most bridge and old town
      – great view of bridge from nearby mosque
      – swim at Kravice waterfalls nearby

      Krka National Park
      – amazing waterfalls where you can swim

      Split and nearby
      – Diocletian’s Palace
      – riva area with lots of restaurants
      – Trogir nearby

      Korcula or another island
      – Moreska sword dance on Thursdays
      – can do a day trip where you go to a bunch of islands and swim/snorkel

      • PS this was about a 2 week trip and we had the best time.

      • So helpful. I was indeed thinking of a quick jaunt to Montenegro!

        • Glad to help. I soooo regretted trying to squeeze in Montenegro! But if you budget more time for it (like an overnight), it would probably be nice.

      • I loved, loved, loved Zagreb, too. Totally worth a few days if you don’t want to do an all-beach trip. Plitvice Lakes national park remains the most beautiful place I have ever been. If you are a wine person, there is a wine region as well (sort of the top left of the country, I forget the name of the region) that is fun. You can base in Porec, a truly beautiful world heritage site city, and drive around to vineyards. If you are a Roman history nerd (I am) one of the largest and best preserved Roman amphitheaters in the world is in Pula.

        • Anonymous :

          Istria is the wine and olive oil region and because it’s all small batch, the olive oils are AMAZING. I literally haven’t had fresher or better olive oil.

          If you add istria, stay in Rovinj, hotel Lone, which is simply amazing. So relaxing. I may just elope and get married in rovinj at hotel lone. Monte is the restaurant in town and it’s a treat. So is Weinvault (sp?). There’s an Anthony bourdin episode.

          The local wine, Malvasia is pretty great too!

    • Anonymous :

      I went last year in the first week of September and had an amazing time! You will have so much fun! I split 8 days between Split, Hvar, and Dubrovnik, taking the ferry between cities. I also ate a lot of boreks (sp?) and seafood, and fresh fruit from the markets. The local wine is pretty good too.

      In Split, Diocletian’s Palace is very cool, and be sure to eat at Villa Spiza early enough in the evening that they haven’t run out of half the menu options, since the food is amazing. I also did a day trip to go “extreme canyoning” (basically whitewater rafting without the raft, you just jump in the rapids in your lifejacket and helmet and ride it down, plus some rappelling down waterfalls), which was SO. FUN.

      Hvar was super relaxing. There are lots of nice (rocky) beaches, and good swimming. One day I did a boat trip that went to a bunch of different places on other little islands where we could go swimming, which was a nice way to discover things. Another day I rented an electric bike (because I don’t know how to drive a motoscooter, and the hills were too steep for a regular bike) and went up the road up the middle of the island. It was just me and the lavender fields, and the amazing scenery, and when I went the other direction it was all lemon and olive trees. There’s also some fun nightlife there, but if you’re not into that just don’t stay right on the harbor.

      Dubrovnik I really enjoyed walking the walls–I made a whole afternoon of it, and took my time, though if you just walked you could probably do it in two hours. I also did a kayaking trip, out in the harbor and around a little island, which was cool because the city walls look WAY more impressive from the water. I also took the cable car up the mountain to the fort, which has amazing views. But mostly I just walked around, poking into some of the tiny museums in the old town and going on a walking tour about the war and its impact on the city.

  12. Can someone recommend a (dressy business casual) work appropriate pointy or almond toe black flat with good arch support? Basically, I want a comfort shoe that does not look like a comfort shoe. No big clunky rubber sole. I’m headed toward plantar fasciitis and really need to start taking better care of my feet…

    • They didn’t work for me, but Vionics have excellent arch support. Lots of choices.

    • You might find that a 1 to 1.5″ heel is better for your plantar fasciitis than a true flat.

      I am a fan of buying good shoes and wearing an orthotic insole, rather than trying to find a shoe with built in support. That way you can move the orthotic from shoe to shoe.

    • I’ve been living in the rockport total motion zuly luxe cross strap flat – Nordstrom had them (just google, links put me in mod) – comfortable and dressy looking

      • +1 to Rockport total motion. I have struggled with plantar fasciitis in the past, though haven’t had a flare up in quite awhile. I bought these recently and have fallen in love and will never buy another brand, until they inevitably quit making them or change them in some way, and then I shall fall into a crisis.

    • I like Rockport’s. I think it’s called the Adelyn Dress Flat. Comes in a zillion colors, and patent/leather/suede.

    • I battled plantar fasciitis a few years ago. OUCH! What works best for me are Spenco green full length orthotic inserts. They are soft on top with a hard three quarter insole on the bottom. You can actually heat it with boiling water to mold as appropriate for your foot, although I didn’t. I buy half a size up or wide width in my size and add inserts. Much cheaper and easier! I have several Vionics that don’t require inserts, but I’ve found that they tend to trap foot odor. Maybe its just me…but they got pretty stinky!

  13. Boden sizing :

    How does Boden sizing compare to JCrew? I don’t have great luck with JCrew skirts but for some reason their work dresses fit great in a size 6 whereas the same size at BR is consistently too big in the bust. What size should I be ordering from Boden?

    • anon a mouse :

      Boden puts the garment measurements on their site (click on the size chart for each item). Measure a garment you have and compare. I’ve found that shirts tend to run TTS but dresses tend to run maybe 1 size bigger than JCrew. But it varies by garment. I wish more companies made garment measurements available, it would ease a lot of confusion.

    • I find Boden’s size measurements to be extremely accurate. I go off of that when ordering and I haven’t had to return anything yet.

  14. Tips on how to be supportive of an LGP friend who’s losing a lot of weight? My friend keeps saying things like, I look so much better now, don’t I??? You’re the only one who would really know. I told him I thought he looked great before and I think he looks great now, but I’m super happy for him that his hard work is producing the results he wants. I think he was a little disappointed. I want to give him the enthusiastic support he’s looking for but not undermine the fact that I think he’s hot at any size. Help?

    • Yeah you look great!

      You are way overthinking this. The way to be supportive is to give him the support he is clearly asking for.

    • LGP?

    • I think this will be a good thing for YOU, if he is truly getting lighter, b/c with rare exception, most of the men I’ve known always want be the one on top, and if your LGP freind is getting svelter, that should prevent you from becoming a pancake while he is focused on his huffeing and puffeing. He should be happy you are giving him access to garden at all, so you don’t have to complement him on whether his is hotter svelte rather then what he was. Just tell him that he MUST continue to satisfy YOU during your garden parties if he wishes to continue, top or bottom. YAY!!!

    • Just tell him, “You look so hot.” Don’t think about the past size, or worry if he gains in the future. Do it before he asks. Text him compliments too.

      • I think you’re doing this right. My long-term partner feels better about his body some times more than others, but even if I do notice a difference (I honestly rarely do) I think he looks great either way. I feel like it’s nice to compliment his hard work rather than strictly focusing on the outcome – since sometimes hard work produces results, and sometimes it doesn’t. Something like “I’m so impressed with (or proud of) how hard you’ve been working” rather than “Look at how loose your pants are now”. Either way, yes, it’s overthinking it, but as women whose bodies are constantly policed, of course we’re going to overthink it!

    • Senior Attorney :

      “You look amazing!” “Look at those abs!” “OMG you are so hot now!” “Wow I can really see a lot of muscle definition right here!” “Bring that skinny hard body over here so I can grab it!” And so on.

      “I’m happy you’re getting the result you want” is a super downer. Don’t say that.

  15. Can anyone recommend flat(ish) black riding boots they love? I need something to wear with tights and skirts in the winter. Under $150. Thanks!

    • I have a pair black suede Franco Sarto boots from a few years ago that I really like. Maybe check that brand out and see if anything strikes your fancy. They have lots of flat or nearly flat options on 6pm and Zappos.

    • The Sam Edelman Penny boot is my go-to.

    • This is my hunt that will never end.

    • Yes! My absolute fave now are the Rockport Tristina Gore Boot. Waterproof, cute, and they come in both regular and wide calf sizes. I walked and even did some hikes in Scotland in them.

    • Anonymous :

      The Cole Haan Katrina boot is $159 at Nordstrom. Can’t speak to that boot in particular but pleased with other CH footwear.

  16. Have we discussed kitchen sponges or their alternatives before? Has anyone figured this out? I like the way a sponge cleans (we use the two-sided with the scrubby side) but they just gross me out after a short time. I hate throwing them away every few weeks and while I do microwave them, I don’t know that they are really clean.

    What do you use? Is there some secret alternative out there that I haven’t discovered?

    (Cross-posted on moms board.)

    • A sponge. I toss it every few weeks.

    • Buy a bunch of small facecloths at Costco. Use one a day, instead of a sponge, then toss in the wash. Wash weekly.

    • I use a long-handled dish brush with plastic bristles and only use the scrubby sponges on things the dish brush doesn’t get clean. I run my sponge and brush through the dishwasher every few days.

      My sink is really deep so the long handled dish brush is more ergonomic anyway.

      I don’t clean counters with a sponge. it’s for dishes only. Counters are cleaned with older kitchen towels from the scrap pile and spray cleaner – I like the green stuff..

      • here’s a dish brush. I get mine at the grocery store

    • A brush? Then they can go in the dishwasher whenever you run it.

    • I buy a 4-pack of sponges and cut each into 3 mini-sponges. I don’t miss the other 2/3 of the sponge, it cleans as quickly, and I throw them away with no guilt.

      I also throw them in the microwave if I think it’s still fine but a little germ-y.

    • AttiredAttorney :

      I love the peach silicone sponges you can find on amazon. They never smell, and I find that brand “scrubs” better than other silicone brands.

    • I use the same sort of sponge, and keep it clean by soaking with boiling water & detergent in an empty sink. Good housekeeping recommends diluted bleach and second best is microwaving

    • Former Retail :

      microfiber dishclothes with nylon webbing on the back side for scrubbing. I buy the cheap ones at the supermarket.

    • I put the sponge in the dishwasher periodically.

    • Buy a giant pack of sponges at Costco, throw them away when they get gross. They are not meant to stick around for very long so don’t try to make them last forever.

  17. Pretty Primadonna :

    Random report: I’ve been wanting Sorel boots for months (for the fashion. I live in Florida). I am going away to a cold climate this weekend for a girls’ trip and decided to bite the bullet and order them. Zappos has them for 30% off! With express shipping, I still paid less than what they would have cost at regular price.

    • Which ones did you get? I have 3 pairs of non-snowboot boots from them that I live in during the winter.

      • Pretty Primadonna :

        I got the Winter Fancy Lace II. I was willing to splurge for Bean Boots, but my size is backordered and I need them this weekend.

    • If they fit right you will be so happy! I express-ordered some North Face boots from 6pm just before a trip to Michigan in December and was so glad I did. I was perfectly toasty tromping all around town in a snowstorm while my bootless colleagues complained incessantly of the cold.

      • Pretty Primadonna :

        Ha to your bootless colleagues! I am so excited to receive them. I actually just ordered a half-size up after reading more reviews (doh!) so I do hope they fit and are comfy.

    • I love my Sorels (but I live in a place where I actually need winter boots). I think sizing up was a good call. Mine are a half size bigger than I usually take IIRC.

  18. Unsolicited review: Betabrand yoga pants dress pants are really great. They’re definitely a skinny pant, but not inappropriate IMO. They really do feel like yoga pants.

    • Tell me more!

    • Sorry that was vague: What undies do you wear with them? What tops do they pair best with? What’s the rise like? Which cut did you choose? What shoes do you wear?

    • What body shape do you have (ex. straight, pear, apple etc..)?

      Do you ?expose your butt or wear a long top with them?

      They are a bit figure hugging for me. I have a lot of rear end to control…. But tell us more!

      • I’m a pear and wearing a regular length top. Leggings wouldn’t be completely inappropriate in my office so YMMV. Maybe they actually look like leggings and I’m not realizing it…

    • I wish they worked for me! Super comfortable but they fit way too tight on my butt to be appropriate at work (for reference, I’m usually a size 4, and do have curvy butt/hips for my size)

    • Hmm, I have a pretty small butt so judging by these other comments maybe they would work for me.

  19. Gail the Goldfish :

    Took a work trip up north and totally forgot that it was not a good idea to take suede booties after a snowstorm. How do I get the salt stains out? Booties are supposedly waterproof suede, for what it’s worth.

    • White vinegar diluted with water. Sponge it on.

      • BabyAssociate :

        +1 I believe it’s a 1:1 ratio, works so well

        • +1


          Don’t use a tissue or you will leave behind bits of debris. I use a cotton rag, or a paper towel in a pinch.

          Try to do it soon after you have the stains. Don’t soak the suede!

          When they dry, use a suede brush to even out the nap. Even a coarse fiber sponge will do the trick.

          • And every year, and the beginning of the season, I retreat them with a suede waterproof protectant spray. You can bring them to your cobbler to clean up/retreat, or do it yourself.

            I have many pairs of suede La Canadienne and Aquatalia boots/booties that last for many years with this care.

            And I live in snowy/salty Chicago.

    • I’d take them to a cobbler.

      • IIRC, Gail, you’re in the Triangle? If so, the cobbler at Cameron Village is fantastic and very skilled (and a woman owned business!), but pricey (but worth it).

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          I am! I’ve used that cobbler before and yes, pricey. I’ll try the vinegar/water first and if that fails, to Cameron Village I go. Thanks, everyone!

          • If you have any recommendations for less expensive (but still really solid) cobblers, I’m all ears! Feet?

          • Gail the Goldfish :

            Sadly, I do not. There used to be one downtown I used, but he died a year or so ago and I have not found a new option.

          • My co-worker recommended the one in downtown Cary, but I haven’t used them personally. Oliver’s Shoe Repair. I’ve gotten many recommendations from this person and she’s never steered me wrong!

          • Super helpful, thank you! I have a recc for someone in Chapel Hill (closer to where I live), so I may try that, too.

          • Anonymous :

            Can you share your Chapel Hill rec? :)

          • Lac0ck’s Shoe Store & Shoe Repair, next to the Whole Foods (well, for now it is…a ton of tenants there like Grimballs and Twig have just closed shop after being asked to vacate their spaces and offered different spaces in the development–I assume on the Clothes Mentor side?–but with rent hikes neither could afford).

            The yelp reviews on Lac0ck’s don’t look great, but the person who recommended it was pleased and has nice and well-cared-for shoes. I may test them with a low risk tips/taps replacement…

          • Anonymous :

            The last time I went to Lacock’s, they botched a simple resoling job (the soles fell off in short order, and it was immediately clear that they did a hack job; I’d had the same shoes successfully resoled before). That was ~2 years ago, so maybe something has changed, but be careful with them and save your receipt.

          • Yikes! Good to know! Might just stick w/ the Cameron Village woman.

  20. I really like this dress, but what is the sizing difference between misses and petites at Talbots?

  21. Stretch Role :

    I’m about to start a stretch role at a new company. Any advice? Success stories if you’ve made a similar move to a stretch position?

    • You’re gonna be super excited to start and get lots of congratulations from friends and colleagues, and then you will actually start the job and the newness will wear off and you will think you made a huge mistake and you can’t do this job.

      That phase will last about 6 months and is part of the process, so expect it and don’t get discouraged or throw in the towel. Then at some point you will hit your stride. You can do this!

      • Yup, I always go through an “Oh my god, what have I done??” phase when I start a new job.

      • Baconpancakes :

        I wish someone had said exactly that to me 8 months ago. I FINALLY feel like I almost know what I’m doing in my job.

    • The First 90 Days is a great read if you want some pointers for getting settled in quickly.

    • anon a mouse :

      The people at the new company don’t know it’s a stretch role for you. You were hired for a reason. Make sure that you own the role and project confidence in your actions, even if you are still learning as you go. First impressions count!

  22. Grandparents Life Story :

    Does anyone have recommendations on a journal or service so that grandparents can tell their life story? My son is very interested in hearing what life was like for his relatives, and my FIL seems happy to tell his stories. There are services like StoryWorth that email a couple questions at a time, then compile the questions and responses into a book. Or, you can buy a book that has prompts and room to write a response (i.e. ‘My Life Story – So Far’). I think I need a hybrid, though. My FIL said he’d prefer to only get a couple questions at a time, but, would prefer to hand write his stories instead of typing. I’d love to hear your experience with this type of project!

    • Not exactly what you asked, but I found when chronicling my grandpa’s stories (which happened naturally when I drove him to and from holidays once he was too old to drive safely), that audio recording was very helpful sort of like StoryCorps on NPR. It allowed me (or anyone else there) to ask follow-up questions, and it was a very natural format, which meant my grandpa did not “choose” his words as carefully as he might have if he were typing. Instead, all sorts of fun stories came out. My grandpa dated Judy Garland! He drove us by the house he was born in! Several stories about WWII came out that even my father had never heard (but my friendly, kind inquisitive friend Liz just extracted these stories so smoothly! So perhaps audio and move it over to paper, after? Also, when my grandparents were really old, paperwork and spelling and the like got frustrating for them, so even having someone else transcribe what they say would have been in order. Super-cool that you are doing this though!

    • Is just sitting and talking with a note pad not an option? On days when my grandfather was feeling particularly chipper, he’d talk for an hour or so about his childhood as we all sat around the dinner table after our meal. (Complete with “uphill both ways in the snow” tales.) I’ve had an interest in genealogy ever since a 4th grade family tree project, and as Grandpa and I both grew older, I’d take notes during his tales. I typed up the stories and put them on Ancestry, tagging the ancestors mentioned, so that anyone who finds our tree can read the stories. Some of my favorite memories are of summers spent at my grandparents’ house (it was in suburban Florida, so nothing idyllic) – maybe see if your son would like an overnight trip to his grandparents’ to catch up on stories.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I have books that I bought my parents where they answer a question a day about their life. The same series also makes grandparents books. I forget the brand. I’ll look tonight and post back tomorrow.

    • We used both the “Grandmother/Grandfather Remembers” book and the “A Grandparent’s Legacy” book.

      Grandmother Remembers is very methodical, so you’ll get the important basic stuff like family tree and where they were born and how did they meet their spouse, how did they feel when they were pregnant, that kind of thing. There are some open pages for stories, but it’s not quite as open-ended prompts as I was hoping. But it IS very nice to have, and it’s much simpler, so a little less intimidating for an older person.

      Grandparent’s Legacy is laid out like a yearly calendar, with something like 10 questions or prompts each month, so a question every few days. It takes them a year to fill out, and it seems a little intimidating to me, let alone an older person. But the prompts were really impressive in the stories that they would evoke.

      A friend of mine had her kid call the grandparent on Facetime and ask a question, then the parent would write down the answer in a book while the kid listened and asked questions. I think that might be the best method – I would maybe get 2-3 books like these, then have the kids ask the question on FaceTime or speaker phone, and have myself or DH just transcribe the conversation into our own Shutterfly book or something. More time consuming, but much more interactive and fun.

    • Annonymous :

      OP here! Using audio recordings sounds like a great option! My FIL lives seven hours from us, so we don’t see him frequently enough to do this in person. But, I could mail him a recorder, a couple questions, and a return envelope. When he sends the recorder back, I can transcribe the recording, then send it back with another batch of questions.

      Would love to hear any additional ideas, or if anyone has a recommendation for an easy-to-use recorder. Thanks all!

      • I have a family friend that does “living histories” for a living. She basically does a long interview (over the phone, I think over multiple days), records it and then has it transcribed into a book. If you are interested let me know and I can send you her contact info.

  23. How should I clean a white scuff mark off a black leather bag? I never treated it (oops). I waterproof leather shoes, but I’m not sure what to do with my bag. I assume there some way to clean and then protect it?

    • I use this leather cleaner on my shoes, bags etc..

      And if that doesn’t work, just bring it to your local cobbler. It will take him 2 seconds, and he may not even charge you….

  24. The death of Classiques Entier? Granted, I haven’t been shopping in over a year and only try on what my Nordstrom’s personal shopper brings out, but they’re gone? I LOVED them :(

  25. Question: do you think it looks “bad” to take two weeks vacation from work for a trip abroad? I was thinking about taking one this summer. I just started working at a new job in September.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Totally depends on your office culture. Less than a year in is probably bordering on too soon for most places.

    • Anonymous :

      Are you in the US? Taking two weeks off at once (except over the winter holidays) is pretty unusual in most workplaces in this country. My workplace is very much a 9-5 place. We have a ton of PTO and people use all of it, but it’s still rare to be on vacation for more than one week at a time. An exception is made for people who have family abroad, but they usually time their trips to coincide with all the holidays over Christmas/New Year’s or they do some remote work while they’re away, so it’s not really a two week vacation. I would not take two weeks off at once for vacation, especially in your first year, unless you know that this is common in your workplace.
      I wouldn’t hesitate to take a one week vacation after I’ve been working for ~6 months or more.

    • I’d advising planning around memorial day, labor day, july 4th etc. take the full week before the holiday and then maybe a couple of days the week prior to that, so you can end up with a decent chunk of time without being gone for a full two weeks.

      but really know your company. where i work i dont think anyone would care

    • Linda from HR :

      It may depend on the trip, why you’re going and when. If you had the chance to book a really nice trip at a great deal, or won a trip, especially if this was before you changed jobs, that would be one thing. If you were going on a honeymoon there might be some leniency. Going on a 2-week trip just because you feel like it might look bad, depending on when you take it and how often people take vacations like that.

      Even if your supervisor let me do something like that, I might worry about getting some snark from my colleagues. A lot of the people I work with have to prep a bunch of people for their absence any time they go away for a day or two during the week, if I went away for 2 weeks they might think “well gee, must be nice” and I might come back to some nasty vibes.

    • Anonymous :

      depends on the nature of your work too. In my field, everyone has their own projects, largely self-paced, and deadlines are known months in advance, so you can plan your vacation around that easily. Luckily, it’s part of the culture here to use all one’s PTO and work-life-balance is valued from up top. So it’s not unusual to go on a two week vacation or longer even.
      If your team has to cover your work in your absence, you don’t want to make your absences too long.

    • Since you haven’t been there that long, can you do a week- plus vacation by leaving on a Thursday or Friday, taking the whole week, and coming back Monday? That’s 12 days, including weekends, but won’t draw as much attention as a full two weeks in a row. (Which, granted, will give you a lot more time traveling.)

      That said, I think if you’re otherwise doing well and on top of your game, go for it! Anyone who rolls their eyes is probably just jealous anyway, and life is short.

    • In my office this would be totally normal, and towards the end of your first year would be fine. Can you ask a colleague what people usually do?

    • Anonymous :

      Why wouldn’t you?
      Leave is an entitlement, not a privilege.

      I work in Asia, though!

  26. Can anyone recommend a dating coach/counselor for women, preferably in NYC?

    • Bela Gandi, who runs the Smart Dating Academy. She’s based in Chicago but has many NY clients and travels there regularly. Expensive, but very effective. Signed, spent a decade single and am now married with a baby.

  27. I really dislike this dress and the empire waist. Unless you’re stick thin I suspect it will make most of us look pregnant.

  28. Horse Crazy :

    I just stumbled upon a $50 H&M gift card in an old wallet I haven’t used in a few years, and it’s not expired! What would you buy? Probably looking for workwear. Thanks!

    • I’ve had good luck with blazers at H&M. I also like their purses.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I would put it towards a linen duvet cover, but that’s just what I’m in the market for right now.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      This won’t nearly spend it all, but I just picked up a pretty tiny cross-body purse from H&M – with my wallet, two phones, and keys it’s full – and I have used it so so so so much since I got it. Enough that when it bites the dust I’ll get one with a similar profile but maybe made of real leather.

  29. Wardrobe redo :

    Okay, so I have been trying to redo my wardrobe in classic, well-made, and somewhat higher-priced items. I really like this idea and I love the items I have purchased since starting this effort. The look, feel and fit better. However, I am running into an issue with things that I like to be fitted to look right, specifically sheaths and pants. While I’ve maintained about the same weight for the last five years, my muscle/mass ratio has varied significantly depending on exercise. I gain all my weight in my seat when I don’t exercise and I gain all of my muscle in my arms when I do. I pretty much don’t exercise in the winter (different subject I’d rather skip for now) – so how do I manage the different body shapes throughout the seasons? My hip size will increase by 5+ inches over the winter and pants that looked totally office appropriate a couple of months ago make me look like a Kardashian this time of year. The part I hate is I don’t always remember which pants have what shape so sometimes mornings turn into a frustrating exercise of trying on several pairs. Same with cap sleeves or elbow sleeves on dresses – when I exercise these can get uncomfortably tight. I don’t want to just buy bigger because I am petite and any extra fabric makes me look short and sloppy. What do others do about this? Buy two pairs and tailor the bigger one? And does this mean I can never buy on off-season sale since my body probably won’t look the same by the time that season rolls around? I can’t be the only one with this problem – thanks for your help!

  30. Need a break :

    Hi all,

    I was thinking of posting this on the moms site but thought I’d get better diversity of opinion here. I am in a middle management position in a fairly niche field. I have 2 kids, I returned to work after mat leave about 4 months ago. I am feeling just done and tired. I was hoping to feel re-energized after a long holiday break but I feel the exact opposite. I seriously want to quit. Nothing wrong with my job at all, great workplace, boss, salary, team etc. I am just tired of balancing all the demands on my time and energy and want to take a break for a year? Or more? Not sure how long but would plan to return to work in the future.

    The fact that my current job is so nice is whats holding me back. If I didnt like it I would quit, take a break and job search. But since I have a great thing going I am fearful of finding anything like this again if I leave the work force. I am not sure what my real question is…anyone ever take a break and come back? My husband is supportive either way but things I have potential to go very far and thinks a break will limit my ability to climb the ladder. I think so too but right now I am just tired and feel like I dont even know if its worth it.

    • In my experience, it’s good to give yourself a year after returning to work before you make any big career decisions. The transition is really hard and if you otherwise like your job, you don’t want to make any rash decisions while you are still dealing with new baby, hormones, lack of sleep, other adjustments, etc. Are there other ways you can manage your feelings about all this? An exercise class or yoga videos at home? Meditation? Counselor or potentially medication? Could you cut back to 80% hours? You should do what works best for you, but I caution you to think through some other creative ideas as well.

      • Two Cents :


        I received the same advice that you should wait a year after having a baby before making any big changes (whether that’s changing jobs, renovating your home, moving, etc.). There’s just too much in your life going on right now. Also, if you have been following on here for a while you’ve probably read stories about how hard it is to return to the workplace after a break. It’s also really really hard to have a job that you enjoy — that’s sadly unusual. I would give it a year and then reassess.

        In the meantime, though, I would outsource outsource outsource as much as you can. Hire a night nurse and give her a bottle so you can sleep through the night. Hire a weekly cleaning lady. Use Galley or the equivalent for meal delivery. Use a fold and wash laundry service. Yes all of this is expensive but you’re already doing so much, and just think about it as a short window of time where all of this help is critical. If you’re nursing and pumping, give yourself permission to stop if it’s too much. Best of luck.

      • Pretty Primadonna :

        I agree. I didn’t realize how much the postpartum hormones and interrupted sleep and then the Mirena affected my energy levels until months later. I look back and wonder how I made it. I was like a completely different person. At just about nine months of being back at work, I feel “myself” again. I wish you the best, OP.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I know (from experience) that having a new baby is exhausting. And work is exhausting in a different way. And the combination can be a LOT.

      But also, gently, you sound depressed. “Done and tired.” “I am jut tired.” “Tired of balancing.” There’s that depression-sounding exhaustion in your tone. I know I’m embodying a cliche, but I would talk to a professional — maybe just start with your PCP or OB if you’re still seeing her. I felt a lot of what you’re describing about 6 months postpartum, and really, the right combo of meds and therapy have worked wonders.

      I’m not saying taking a break isn’t a good idea. It might be. But I would recommend making sure you’re going into it with clear eyes — and therapy really truly helps with that.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Maybe too late, but as someone who’s dealt with depression a lot, I agree. When I start thinking “I’m just done with being,” I know I’m super depressed.

    • Some things to think about:

      1. You say you’re in a niche field. That could be good, if you have unique skills. Have you seen any other women leave and come back to your field? If not, could you negotiate an 80% schedule?

      2. Have you ever been financially dependent on your husband before? My husband and I took turns being financially dependent on each other while getting additional education, and we were horrible at it. Money is power and we were both petty, resentful, and immature about it in different ways even though we both went into it being “supportive”. What’s going to happen when a major expense comes up and he’s the only one making money and he wants to do something one way and you want to do it another? Stuff like that can really damage a relationship (ask me how I know). It was a huge relief when we both had full time jobs again. Maybe yall are more mature than we were though! Just something to think about.

      3. Is there anything you could automate to make your life easier? Or give up on completely? Just go into triage mode– get pre-prepared food that is delivered to your house, a cleaning lady, quit every single “extra” thing you do besides go to work and go home.

      4. Do you want to spend all day every day doing childcare and taking care of your house? Like, you really WANT to do that because it sounds fun and awesome? Or is it just less bad than doing what you’re doing now and you could use it as an escape?

      5. Do you tie your identity at all to your professional success? Because I took a lean out job after I had my kid and it took me a solid year and a half to stop questioning myself and feeling sad. Its so hard to have a story in your head about yourself “achieving” and “having potential” and all of a sudden not. [That said, I love it and I’m very happy now… it just took a long time to get here.]

      • Pretty Primadonna :

        Number 4. is a huge consideration. I’d love the option to not have to work and maintain our lifestyle, but I also wouldn’t want to spend the day doing childcare and housework.

        • Seriously. Childcare is effing grueling. I was looking forward to going back to work I was so exhausted after being off for a week and a half over xmas. I could never be a SAHM…. they really never get a break.

    • I’ve also heard the don’t make any big decisions for the first 12-18 months. Granted that can be easier said than done. Are there any additional things you can outsource for the time being to help make your day by day easier? Echoing maybe therapy, finding time for exercise. I’m sure you just used a lot of PTO for having the kids, but maybe take a day off or call in sick and use it for you on occasion. Even doing this twice a year can be helpful

    • You might also want to feel out your boss/company for a more flexible role. Could you WFH? Could you do a part time schedule? I didn’t work Mondays when I went back with my first for a while- I had her in FT daycare at 3 months and was so burned out. I did 4 days/week (and nonpaycut, because my boss is a saint and also, I busted my @ss) from the time she was 6 mos to 1 year and that one day a week was so, so amazing.

      I work officially part time now (15 hrs/week) as a consultant to my old company and do childcare except for the 12 hours/week they are in daycare/Preschool. That part can really be a slog. I do dinner and all the family stuff, but we hire a housecleaner biweekly.

    • Other posters have covered this nicely, but I would add this: I am a fellow mom of 2 and middle manager. I find it pretty exhausting as an introvert. I spend all day in meetings and working on “people” problems and then I come home to more people. I love all of those people, but it’s tiring. I’ve found a few ways to “recover” during my day and it’s helpful – spend a few minutes at lunch reading a book, spend 5 min when I get home to change my clothes and breathe a bit. Another option is to consider a different type of job with that’s less people-y.

  31. Need a break :

    Wow, I had not considered depression at all. I will think about therapy though, it might be helpful either way.

    I like the advice about waitinv a year too. I was planning to wait until atleast March to collect my bonus (is it terrible to quit shortly after?). Maybe I should wait a little longer than that to decide.

    • Anon in NYC :

      PPD can sneak up on you – it’s not just something you get immediately after having a kid. Definitely call your OB.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I’m late to this but yes! A terrible receptionist told me ‘if it’s more than six months out it’s not PPD’ and it’s like (1) how do you know how long i’ve been depressed BEFORE I called? and (2) what a trash thing to say to someone seeking help. But anyway… she was wrong. I was definitely depressed. And I can tell I was because I’m not nearly as depressed now. It doesn’t always manifest itself in tears. Hope you figure something out to feel better soon. <3

    • Anonymous :

      I vividly remember when, 9 months and then 12 months after my first child, I started feeling better. It was like a switch went off and I just got back to being me. I think it took a full nine months to recover from the pregnancy, and an additional three months on top of that to get back to feeling like myself. I also definitely recall posting similar messages on this exact message board — things like, “I’m so miserable and I can’t quit and I want to and this is so hard.” In retrospect, it was a little bit of a cry for help and I wish someone had gently put me on antidepressants or Lexapro at that point. It was also just the total exhaustion of a new mom. Seven years and a second kid later, I am so, so grateful that I stuck it out in my job. I would have been really unhappy as a stay at home mom and I am grateful that I paid the dues and am now in a really terrific position at work and at home. Bottom line: hang in there. It is really hard to balance everything with very young children, but it does get better and if you like your job, it will get easier as your children get a little older.

  32. Need a break :

    Sorry this is very late in the day but thank you all so much for your replies and messages of support. I really appreciate it and you’ve given me much to consider.

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