Tuesday’s Workwear Report: Side-Knot Skirt

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

This side-knot skirt from Diane von Furstenberg is gorgeous. I love the stretch suiting fabric, the decorative knot at the waist, and the front overlay. I also love that it actually has pockets (and it’s a hidden side zip so I don’t think it’s exactly a wrap). It’s styled in an interesting way with these loafer mules, although I think it would look like a classic, sophisticated skirt with just normal pumps — but that’s me. It’s $248 at Shopbop and comes in sizes 0–14. Side Knot Skirt

Two lower-priced options are at Last Call and Amazon, and ASOS has one in sizes 12–24.

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  1. Guys, life is like a really bad country song right now. Our dog keeps getting sick, poop everywhere. (DH is making appointment with vet right now.) We’re trying to sell our house in a stagnant, over saturated market. (And house smells like dog sh*t.) And almost 2yo is going through an extreme daddy phase, so really mom, if you’d kindly just go away…

    • lawsuited :

      Perhaps kindly just go away to the spa for a pedicure (to cleanse feet of dog sh!t underfoot)?

    • Sorry you’re going through this but glad you haven’t lost your sense of humor!
      Dog might have allergies – we had a similar problem and switching to a fish-based food cured her overnight.

    • Well…. You didn’t loose your husband to a flooze-y, just get out of prison, get fired, or are spiraling down with addiction…so on the country music scale ….your life is pretty good.

      Take advantage….toss the baby to your husband (you have a baby and a husband…. jealous….), take your house off the market for a bit (you have a house!….jealous…), and have glass of wine tonight. Get some advice on some curbside appeal suggestions for your house, and if your price point is too high.

      Agree with the pedicure, but I’d do it at home, with Netflix and wine.

  2. That’s super cute but those shoes….eeks.

  3. I’m the angsty person who can’t do anything with herself from yesterday.

    If I do not act like an objective f up today, I’m buying myself the Bobeau twist hem shirt popular with the fashion bloggers right now.

    LOL–this was the deal yesterday, too, but perhaps today is the day. :)

    • Good luck! I’ve been struggling with feeling a bit listless during my mat leave and have started making a short to do list for each day.

  4. Emmy fashion Q :

    This is a formal black tie event. All of the people going to it have stylists.

    Is there a rule that only some people get A+ looks (Nicole Kidman) and everyone else / their stylist dials it back a bit? Some of what I’ve seen is just so . . . C- of a look (for people who are gorgeous and have $ / time to focus on this). Are only some people trying to shine? Or is it bad form to have the equivalent of a George Mason-level celebrity make it to the Final Four (to use a basketball reference)?

    I am insanely curious.

    Now back to LIBOR . . .

    • [deleted]

    • Anonymous :

      I think sometimes it just works better than others.

    • Some interesting inside baseball comments on the fashion blogs I read have to do with the message the stars are trying to send. Ie – those who are heavily favored to win go with ‘classic’ dresses that will photograph and be remembered well. Those who don’t expect to win but are newer go with more interesting/risky choices to try to brand themselves as ‘fashion’ girls (btw – it is VERY interesting to me how much fashion, and sponsorships are a huge, though not acknowledged, part of most movie stars revenue streams). I heard Reese’s choice described as ‘dressing like a producer, not a movie star’ which a)she was, and b)interesting as she moves into the next stage of her career as producing so many more projects.

      • Emmy fashion Q :

        I thought Reese’s dress was awful. It was not black tie. It did not seem to suit her frame. And she has a fashion line. I grade on a curve that is made harsh by expecting better from her and getting worse and gave it an F (and it was so “notice me” and I did and not in a good way). Come on, Reese. It’s like when the A student phones it in at the end of senior year.

        Maybe people are just surrounded by Yes men (and women) and no one will be “I’m not feeling this.”

    • Shopaholic :

      I think there are two aspects to this: One is what anne-on said – if you’re not favoured to win, you would take more risks to be talked about the day after.

      Also not everyone gets stylists/access to borrowed dresses. Did you hear the interview with Rachel Bloom where she said that she has a hard time being loaned dresses because she’s not a sample size?

      And I think there is not necessarily one way to succeed – I was reading some fashion coverage and I highly disagree with some of the coverage about best/worst dress so I think a lot of it is highly subjective.

      • Emmy fashion Q :

        She needs to call Project Runway alum Austin Scarlett — I think he owns the market for non-sample-sized women and they all have looked lovely in the past.

        • Christian Siriano I think is the one you’re thinking of. He makes gorgeous dresses for women of all shapes, sizes, etc.

          But thank you for reminding me of Austin Scarlett…ahh I loved that man.

          • Emmy fashion Q :

            I think you may be right. Austin Scarlett does wedding dresses (I think).

        • Yeah, it’s definitely Cristian Siriano. He very famously dressed Leslie Jones when she couldn’t get dresses loaned to her because she’s not a sample size. And he knocked it out of the park.

    • Who do you think was phoning it in? I thought there were a lot of interesting looks on display – I didn’t love all of them, but I can believe that the wearer chose it because she did.

      • Emmy fashion Q :

        IDK — I’d have to look up names — minor celebs (who you think would try to knock everything out of the park to get more noticed).

        There were some really not-great outfits that I believe that wearers loved and they looked happy in and that’s great. But there was so much meh — like a bad prom. At least with prom, no one is rich / has a stylist / and you can’t find great stuff in all parts of the country on your budget (or have the shoes fit when you try them on, etc.).

        It’s really fascinating to watch the telegraphing.

    • anonlawyer :

      i just went and looked at dresses on line. i didnt see any i hated and saw quite a few that were lovely. some of the hair/make-up seemed a little understated (elizabeth moss), but other than that, i thought it was much better than most years.

    • do you read the Fug Girls/Go Fug Yourself? They have great commentary on things like this!

      • Emmy fashion Q :

        Yes — they are fantastic.

        Sad/true story: that blog was a major help in getting over my first miscarriage.

    • Bear in mind that some celebrities really embrace the whole, “I am a famous actor and therefore also a fashion, diet, and exercise guru!” thing, and others just don’t care that much. Yes, they may have the time and money to look A+ at big events, but they still might not have the inclination. Also, sometimes people like Sofia Vergara get criticized for wearing very similar dresses to most events, but I don’t get the impression she cares that much about the criticism, she just likes the way she looks in the dress.

      It’s just like, in the non-celeb world, some people who are rich and successful use some of that money to make sure they always look polished and fashionable, and others don’t. It just depends on your priorities.

      • Emmy fashion Q :

        If I were Sofia Vergara, I would just have that sort of dress as my uniform. It’s like MMLaFleur — just have a uniform.

        NAH — I’d experiment. I’d show up in sensible shoes (like Gal Gadot) and a long caftan just to mess with people. But I’d have a killer turban.

    • I certainly agree with the factors mentioned above. In addition to some wanting a ‘timeless’ look if you are expecting to win or certain actors getting the free dresses (and picture that some designers are all clamoring to dress the same few and with limited time, can only really make a couple, so a lot of the non-superstar celebrities don’t get the same ‘FREE! DESIGNER!!’ access as the rest of them do… consider that maybeeeee they just want to dress how they want to dress! There is a spectrum of celebrity status and a spectrum of budget and a spectrum of body types and a spectrum of interest in fashion — all of which factor into the different looks. I just don’t think it’s fair to expect that Ann Dowd and Lena Waithe get the same attention and free designer duds as Nicole Kidman does just because “they are rich / have a stylist.” After all, it’s an acting awards show, not NYFW.

      • I totally totally get that.

        BUT it is a WORK EVENT in their line of work. If I have work events, I can’t just wear what want. If I had to wear scrubs at work, I’d wear scrubs. If I have to wear a suit or digital camo, then that is what you wear. But they are actors at an acting event and . . . maybe they need a how-to blog just like we do.

        Celebs — just like us?

        • OhTheHumanity :

          Hey! While you’re going around being extremely emotionally invested in what celebrities (i.e., people you don’t even know) are wearing to an awards show, some pretty important stuff is happening in the country and the world. There are things happening that really affect real people and that could actually be changed or helped by your positive action. So maybe save your outrage and painstaking analysis for something that actually matters? Just a suggestion.

          • OMG — really? I had no idea.

          • That’s no way to live! Part of livinga full life (to me) is observing and analyzing the world around you, enjoying the details of the food you eat, the clothes you wear, and reading about how industries or societies far from your own life do things. Thanks no how many awesome inventions and discoveries and works of art would have never been if people edited their interests and discussions solely on what someone else deemed “important”, rather than what sparked curiosity.

        • I think that your expectations are way, way too high.

        • But celebrities don’t have a uniform or dress code. Some of their roles require them to be [email protected] Some roles require them to gain weight, wear wigs, or even be CGI’d into different creatures. Some are voice actors and their appearance is entirely irrelevant. Some are in period piece costumes or in scrubs or in camo for their roles. I just don’t understand the hate on actors not dressing how you want them to and wanted to point out that not every actor appearing at the Emmys has the same budget, body type, celebrity status, or interest in fashion.

          • I think that is the pass that we give DC people for the White House Correspondents’ Ball (which is totally fascinating) and why we call it the Nerd Prom. But Hollywood is the real thing! [As real as totally fake things can get anyway.] And like work events for me, it’s sort of not personal dressing, it’s dressing for the job and the job-related event.

            It’s like when I argue before the Supreme Court, I am not going to wear anything but what is the uniform for that (for non-judges). I get that Rehnquist added stripes to his robe (which was a total boss move for him and I thought it was awesome). And I love what Ginsburg does with her collar.

      • Lena Waithe’s outfit rocked.

  5. paging hemorrhoids poster from yesterday :

    What my doctor suggested was trying horse chestnut extract. He did suggest to wait until I was done nursing. I’m just starting it now as I only weaned a couple of weeks ago. Hope you feel better soon!

  6. Chilly in Canada :

    Considering getting a winter coat or parka for the first time this year. I usually wear wool peacoats but I find that they can get abit damp when it’s also raining on my walk to work. So ideally looking for something that’s a bit more water repellent/resistant. I’m in Canada and have been looking online, many brands cost over $500, is it possible to get a decent quality coat/parka for less than this? Or should I just accept that this kind of stuff is pricey? If you have recommendations, please list them below. Thanks!

    • If you’re not too picky about color, you can score a good deal at Lands End or in the markdowns at LL Bean or Eddie Bauer.

    • If you’ve held out more than a month on a parka, I’m assuming you are in Vancouver, not Montreal. I suspect what you are really looking for is a Burberry trench with the winter lining which will be fine up for Vancouver winter.

      If you don’t want to spend that kind of money, my advice is to go to the Bay or any number of stores at the mall (or even consider Costco). The advent of the $500 winter coat (looking at you Canada Goose) is fairly new and most of us have survived harsh Canadian winters with cheap coats from Zellers. The ubiquitous Columbia ski jacket does great against rain.

      • I wouldn’t do a lined Burberry trench even if that was within your price range. There are few places in Canada where this will be adequate in the dead of winter (and in those few places you probably would be fine in your wool peacoat).

        Go to MEC. Lots of cozy warm options at reasonable prices!

    • Try LLBean or Lands End or Mountain Equipment Co-op. You can get something good quality usually under $300 Canadian if you watch for sales.

    • +2 to LL Bean or Lands End. I have a great waterproof LL Bean winter coat with a removable liner. I also have a waterproof parker from Lands End. Both were about $150.

    • I love my Patagonia parkas, usually at the $300 mark, last me 2-3 years.

    • I really like my MEC parka. It is really light cost maybe $120 and down filled. I live in a cold northern city and I find it’s warm enough layered with sweaters, light enough that you are not roasting when going into stores can be washed/dried shoved in a shopping cart, etc. I’ve had mine going on 5 years now.

    • Anonymous :

      Uniqlo down coats are warm and not that expensive.

  7. Following up on yesterday’s post about whether or not to continue dating people… I’m so curious about this. Someone posted something about how if there were no red flags, she kept going out with the guy. I can think of dozens of guys with no red flags that I just never clicked with. Like we legit ran out of things to talk about after two dates. Should I have kept going out with them? I’m genuinely asking, not being snarky.

    Is there anyone on here who married or is in a long-term relationship with someone who kind of had to force herself to go out with the guy at the beginning?

    • I’m sure there are, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Giving up the opportunity to have a deep, soulful relationship with someone amazing for the sake of just having a relationship was never a trade I was willing to make. Glad I waited.

    • For what it’s worth, I don’t think waiting to see if something develops means “giving up the opportunity to have a deep soulful relationship with someone amazing.” People are typically not their best, most authentic selves during an hour or two over a drink with somebody they just met. I’m marrying a man who I was interested in learning more about, but didn’t immediately fall in love with on our first date. I’d just broken up with someone else after a long-term relationship, and I was mostly dating to get out of the house. I certainly considered canceling before our first date, but I sucked it up and went. We had a good conversation, I was interested to learn more but couldn’t tell exactly what he was thinking, so we went on a few more dates. Every time we went out, he became warmer, less shy, more insightful. But it wasn’t instantaneous, and I think there are a lot of great guys who don’t relax into it on the first couple of dates.

    • Linda from HR :

      You don’t need red flags to break up. Dating should be exciting – sure, once you’re in a long-term relationship the excitement and passion might ebb and flow a bit, but the first few months should be the honeymoon phase, and if you have a date planned with someone and you’re not excited about it because you feel nothing at all, and you think you’d have way more fun with your friends or by yourself, you might as well break it off now before they get too attached.

    • isn’t running out of things to talk about after two dates a red flag for ‘we don’t have anything to talk about’?

    • Yes, I married that guy. No red flags, but I didn’t feel like we had a lot in common or a ton to talk about, and only moderate attraction initially (this grew within a few months). I didn’t feel like we clicked but kept going out with him because I wasn’t dating anyone else. We have been together for 7 1/2 years, married for 3 1/2, and have a kid, and he is my favorite person to spend time with no matter what we are doing. We have a handful of mutual interests, but also really enjoy doing everyday stuff together (grocery shopping, making dinner, etc.).

    • I think one date is probably not enough time to figure out if there is a spark. But I think by date three or four, there should be something happening that indicates this is not just a pleasant friendship. I also don’t think there’s any need to go beyond one date with guys who are rude, offensive, or boring, or who put forth zero effort.

      I was crazy in love with my husband when we got married and I’ve told people, I can’t imagine what it would be like to marry someone I was just lukewarm about. That initial spark has carried us through a lot of tough times.

    • Deep Velvet :

      I into my husband when we first started dating. In fact, I only agreed to a first date with him to be polite, and sort of felt obliged to keep saying yes to subsequent dates because there was not strong reason to say no. Part of my apathy was caused by the fact I had recently been into someone who had played me a bit, so I was off men at the time. But then we kept going on dates and after a couple of months I was head over heels for him, and I still am. So these feelings can grow!

    • Diana Barry :

      Nope. I didn’t reply yesterday, but I quickly learned that ‘forcing’ without sparks didn’t work for me at all. I had to feel chemistry or ix-nay after a couple dates, if that.

    • Due in December :

      I legit ran out of things to talk about on my first dates (like, going out for dinner or coffee) with my husband because, to be honest, he’s not that great at bringing up things to talk about in conversation. He’s not that great of a conversationalist, to be honest, without someone else bringing up topics and kind of moving the conversation along. He’s very forthcoming, though.

      Luckily, we met doing a specific activity, and we had a great banter/rapport while doing that activity, so we became comfortable enough that way to get to the point where we did have good conversations.

      What I mean to say is, I think sometimes typical dates where the entire focus is on conversation can make this difficult based on personality type. Something to think about.

    • I am also wondering about this. I went out with this guy who is really nice and is adorable and we have lots to talk about in person. He pays attention and wants to see me at least once a week, which I feel like is too much. I only see my coworkers, roommates, and family every week. And he hasn’t paid for anything or even offered to pay for anything, which is leading me to wonder about my internalized s8x1sm. I have paid for dates and my share of dates with other men but something about this situation feels off to me, especially since he seems to like me a lot and keeps asking me out. I don’t know if I’m attracted to him. And I really need to focus on my cosplay and don’t have time for boys and I JUST DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO.

      • So some people will say this is game-playing, but try it.

        The next time he wants to go out, say “I’d love to, but I had a huge vet bill/cell phone bill/utility bill/etc. this month, and I’m broke.”

        If he then offers to take you out and pay, I think he’s invested.

        If he’s like “oh that’s cool, maybe some other time” I agree things are off somewhere and I wouldn’t go too much further without some investigating.

        Another thing you can try is treating him on a date – pay for everything – and then see if he treats you back.

        I’m a feminist and very proud of making my own money but I would have a problem with it if someone I was dating never wanted to treat me. It’s more about courtesy and emotional investment than stereotypes. My friends and I treat each other all the time, especially if one of us is short on money but we still want to go out.

      • Pretty Primadonna :

        I would not go out with someone again who continually invited me out and never paid. Dead that situation.

      • Pays for nothing means you pay for both of you, or pays for nothing means he pays only his share and not yours? Big difference. First is a deal breaker for sure!

    • I think part of the answer to this depends on your expectations of a relationship. There was a really great NYT article about Love Hacks yesterday that made the point that one of the reasons people have a harder time staying happy in a marriage these days has to do with the fact that your spouse is expected to be your lover, best friend, soulmate, family, and everything. Before, people were happier with less and had friends and family to supplement other emotional needs. I think, in general, if you define a good relationship as being very passionate, you need more than just ‘no red flags.’ If you want someone to be your best friend, you need someone you don’t run out of conversation with after 2 dates. But I also think it’s possible to have a perfectly fulfilling relationship if your goal is to have a partner to raise kids with, buy a house with and who will offer you companionship at social events.

    • As someone who married someone found online, I might encourage you to make your goals smaller. My goal for a first date was to just enjoy it (it doesn’t need to be SPARKS IM GONNA MARRY HIM but just enjoyable) enough to want to finish my drink. By the end of the first date, my goal was knowing if I wanted to go on a second date or not. Same goes for the goal of the second date, did I want to see him again? That was all I needed to know. If I walked away from date 1 thinking “eh, that wasn’t bad, but I don’t really need to see him again” then simply move on to another first date. Expecting someone to be in their most perfect form that will perfectly attract you to know you want to marry this person in a matter of 2 hours is not realistic. It also decreases your frustration because you are only looking at one date so if it was an OK date, then that’s overall pretty good because it could have been horrible! Whereas if you walk away thinking why didn’t I know this guy was the one based on one date, you’re going to be disappointed.

      Best of luck- take breaks when you need them and remember you don’t owe your time to anyone so if you don’t want to date for a few weeks, then take a break!

    • Senior Attorney :

      I’ll bite. My husband is on the shy and quiet side until he gets to know you, and the first few dates were… fine. But I definitely wondered whether there was long-term potential there and whether it was worth continuing to see him. I am SO SO SO HAPPY that I kept dating him long enough to discover that he is, in fact, the kindest, smartest, funniest, best best best sexiest and most amazing person in the whole wide world.

      I have extremely high expectations of a relationship and Lovely Husband has blown past each and every one of them. But it took a while for that all to reveal itself.

    • That might have been me. Ironically (paging Monday!), after having declared yesterday’s two-date “relationship” all but dead following a mutual flake-out, he’s texted me again this afternoon. I think some of these guys have radar for when you might have moved on.

      • Kat/Kate – everything I’ve posted has gone to moderation since yesterday afternoon. Did I get myself put on a watch list?

  8. Chilly in Canada :

    Looking for recommendations for decent quality winter coats/parkas ideally something that’s water resistant and won’t get soaked through if it also happens to rain while walking outdoors. Not sure if this makes a difference I’m in the maritimes in Canada.

    • lawsuited :

      I will keep recommending this coat until I die, but I have the Commuter Down Coat from Lands End and love, love, love it. I used to replace my parka almost every season because I would get frustrated or tired of it, but I’ve had my Commuter for 5 years and am still in love. It comes in tons of sizes (Tall, Petite, Plus) so you can get your perfect fit, it has a drawstring in the waist, it has a hood, it has wrist cuffs to keep cold air out, it has vents to open if you get hot, it has tons of pockets, it’s reasonably sleek looking, and it is WARM.

    • I bought a Marmot last year and it was a gamechanger. They make a full length and a hip length, the Montreaux and Montreal

    • Anonymous :

      I have had luck with Lands End coats. Good quality/value ratio – when you you catch a sale.
      Two options that might work: Waterproof Primaloft City Coat, Expedition Down Parka.
      You can search on the website attributes (like waterproof) and how warm.
      Good luck finding winter coat.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      If you want something Canadian made, Ookpik from Montreal make amazing and sleek down coats. They are about the price of Canada Goose.

    • Also in Canada, but the other side, I have the tres-in-one parka from Patagonia, I’ve had it for 5 years, it hasn’t shown any wear, and it’s good to -20C or so (lower if you layer properly), and definitely waterproof.

      My favourite part is that the down layer can be zipped out and worn separately, so you can wear just the outer part, just the down, or the whole thing.

      It’s the only coat I wear all year round, and if anything happened to it, I would buy it again absolutely- the cost per wear is basically nothing, when I think about 5 years of wearing it probably 200 days a year in some form or another.

  9. Restless Baby Associate :

    Technically a “second” year (first full calendar year though) associate and struggling a bit with motivation.

    I love my firm and my practice group (this was “dream” job and has been since I got here–lots of support, interesting work, fair amount of autonomy). For a while earlier this year (around mid-year review time), I was going non-stop, lots of work and huge drive to make my hours. Things slowed down a bit (for everyone; nature of the practice) and my hours took a little dip, but my reviews were great and my practice leader said he was less concerned with first years making hours and more about us doing good work, so to continue what I was doing. Went on a long weekend vacay (so overdue!) and it was glorious (slow times = great vacations). Now I’m back and things have picked up a bit, but I feel like I have ZERO motivation to do anything. I’m procrastinating horribly (I always get it done, but I could be so much more efficient) and I just feel very meh about meeting my hours.

    Is this burnout (from earlier in the year)? Feeling too comfortable since everyone says I’m doing a great job? Any tips for getting back on track?

    • Anonymous :

      No this is just adult life. Think about how you’d be panicking if you got fired

    • It could be a residue of weariness from the push of the year. Also, this may be the first time in your life (well, since a kid) that you weren’t driving toward something (the next grade, the next semester, the next degree, the next accolade). It’s like the dog chasing the car, catching it, and saying, “But now what?”

      • +1000. Especially after a big push on hours or projects, this is always how I feel. I think after a while you get comfortable that it will subside eventually, and you’ll get your motivation back. It’s just the nature of a practice with variable hours. Try to take it as easy as you can and don’t force it (unless work absolutely requires otherwise).

    • Is it possible you actually need more to do (could be work, could be other stuff)? I’m more of a 110% or 10% person. When I try to operate at 80%, I also have a lot of procrastination and general blahness. When it’s 110% I don’t have that option.

      • I am like this too. I need to feel a deadline and be swamped to really be in go time mode and be super productive. I get everything done regardless, but I do it with malaise.

      • This is me and my endless struggle.

    • Management consultant here – I know the exact feeling. I find it really hard to get re-motivated when I come back from vacations / time “on the beach” between cases. But I’ve gone through this enough now that I just recognize it, accept it, and know I get back in the groove by the time the fire drills start becoming a regular occurrence again and I need to be 110% focused and efficient.

  10. Anonymous :

    Went through a recent breakup. We went back and forth on whether this was the right decision. Ultimately decided not to be a couple again for a few specific reasons. (Some out of our control – think being in different countries.) But this was pretty drawn out.

    He wants to stay close friends and keep the door open if those specific reasons change in the future. I’m not sure if this is possible. He became my best friend. Thoughts / advice? (Fwiw – no cheating, yelling, etc.)

    • Anonymous :

      It seems like it would be very hard to move on. Reconnect if you can date in person, there’s no point if you can’t. You can’t realistically be best friends long term if either or both of you get into a serious relationship with another person. It sounds like you know this already. Cut it off.

    • Anonymous :

      Nope nope nope. You need to move on. Let’s go through a few rules for that:

      1- don’t pick up the phone

      2- don’t let him in

      3- don’t be his friend

      As Dua Lipa knows, if you’re under him you ain’t getting over him.

    • Veronica Mars :

      I wouldn’t. He wants to put you on the back burner as Plan B. You’ll be cheating yourself out of finding someone who will make you his Plan A if you go along with this. I would advise you cut contact and get emotional closure.

      • +1

      • Senior Attorney :


      • Can you give a little more detail on why you all think this? I’d obviously want to be someone’s Plan A.

        • Senior Attorney :

          My feeling is that somebody who wants to be with you will move heaven and earth to be with you. If you are in different countries that is not outside of his control if he really really REALLY wants to be with you.

          Cut him off and look for the guy who will make you a priority.

          • Thank you! It’s just tough to know if I’ll find that person, but I think you’re right.

        • lawsuited :

          Asking you to “keep the door open” means that you will remain emotionally invested in the relationship without him having any commitment or obligations to you in the mean time. If he ever needs or wants you again, he can call on you easily and have you come because you are still emotionally invested (versus having moved on to seriously pursue other romantic relationships where you are Plan A), which is the definition of a Plan B.

    • If there are logistical reasons (such as being in different countries), I think it’s a little different than your normal break-up and that long term you can be friends, but not best friends. But you first need a break with no/extremly limited contact in order to get over him – that may be 6 months, it may be 2 years.

  11. Anonymous :

    Does anyone have suggestions for coats/jackets (with a hood) that are great for when it’s 42 and raining? I have a 15 minute walk to daycare with my kid and it’s really hard to hold and umbrella and push a stroller at the same time. TIA!

    • https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/82606?feat=504728-GN2&page=h2off-raincoat-primaloft-lined&csp=f

      I love this coat. I got it in a pinkish purple, which doesn’t appear to be in stock, and it was on sale for about $120. It has a removable liner. I LOVE the hood, which is sturdy and doesn’t blow off. The sleeves also have velcro to adjust so the rain doesn’t blow in. Its knee length, which is perfect to protect your behind if you sit on a rainy bench or whatever.

      I wrote it in Iceland in late April and stayed warm with the jacket, liner, and a fleece underneath. It was high 30s, low 40s. I wear it in Boston basically year round, with or without the liner. It has a bungee to adjust the waist, and a back kick vent, so it looks great on my hourglass figure. I frequently get compliments on it.

      I really can’t recommend it highly enough.

      • Thank you! This sounds perfect for me! LL Bean generally runs too large to fit me but I see that the reviews say it runs slim so fingers crossed!

        I would appreciate more suggestions too, so please keep them coming :)

    • This is my all time favorite coat. I run hot so with the lining in this is my winter coat for all but the coldest days. At 42 degrees I would wear it with the lining out but most people would want the lining in. In any event, flexibility. My dog is terrified of umbrellas so it is my walk the dog in the pouring rain coat and 5 years on I still stay dry. In full disclosure I am going to replace it this year.


    • I find that a baseball hat is the best thing for keeping my head dry / water off my face. Hoods don’t cut it for me.

    • Anonymous :

      For stroller pushing, I often resorted to using a poncho and wearing it over whatever level of warmth coat I wanted/needed. It’s a cheap fix and you can switch to an umbrella after you drop off if you need to dress things up.

  12. Winter boots? :

    Suggestions for snow boots please? Light weight and relatively easy to put on so I can commute in them, but warm if I’m out in the snow for a while with the kids. Are the Bean Boots with shearling warm enough?

    • I really love my UGG Adirondack boots!

    • The Bean boots are not the easiest to put on and the treads are slippery in the snow.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Sorel, all the way.

      • Diana Barry :

        Yup. Bean boots are not for snow. My Sorel Joan of Arctic (I think) are GREAT.

        • Anonymous :

          Second the Joan of Arctic from Sorel. They were super comfy after about a month. And warm. I wore them regularly in minus 12 celcius weather(and I typically run cold). BUT they’re not exactly lightweight…

      • lawsuited :

        I had Sorels and while they are very good snow boots in a lot of ways, I got rid of them because I felt like I was wearing ankle weights when I walked in them.

    • I have Bean Boots, Sorels and Hunters, all for different purposes. I have the thinsulate bean boots, and wear them in fall/winter/spring, fine when it’s slushy, great when it’s wet and mucky. I wear them when I need to run around town or am traveling out in the rural part of the state for work. I don’t mind driving in them. I have the 8″, and I personally don’t have any problems putting them on. Sorels are for snow. I have the Joan of Arcadia tall boots, and they’re amazing, but more than I want to put on every day, and I feel like they’re too bulky to drive any sort of distance in. Finally, I have black short classic Hunters as my go-to rain boot for summer and rain. I also use the fleece liners when I want to wear a nicer-looking boot in cold-weather months (think into the office, or weekend brunch, etc).

    • I have Bean Boots, which are more for being out in the yard or walking the dog in the rain. They are thinsulate lined and warm, but they are slippery in snow.

      I have cheap Totes snowboots for deep snow. They come up mid-calf. They are super comfy with great traction and waterproof.

      I lust after Sorel knee high snow boots, but I haven’t pulled the trigger. I bought these knock off ones on Amazon, and they are cute to wear with leggings. They don’t have a rubber bottom, but they are waterproof and comfy. They are also lighter weight than Sorels.

      • Oh, I also have Bearpaw shearling lined snow boots (like Uggs). I waterproofed them, and they are super warm, but I would not wear them in slush.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      I’ve got a pair of waterproof boots with wrap-around closures from Propet that I love. I live in Minnesota, and I’ll wear these until it gets to -10

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      I’ve got a pair of waterproof boots with wrap-around closures from Propet that I love. I live in Minnesota, and I’ll wear these until it gets to -10. They have wide and even extra wide sizes too.

  13. I’m tagging along on a business trip over Veterans’ Day in Denver. Can anyone recommend some good things to do and eat in the area? Are we too late to see fall colors? We like hiking and other outdoorsy activities, but not in super crowded areas with tons of people. Also interested in beer/brew pubs, especially ones with good food, and we are willing to rent a car and drive up to 1.5-2 hours from Denver. At the end of this, we are also looking at Denver as a future potential city to move to. TIA!

    • We enjoyed Bistro Vendome (French) in Denver when we visited in mid-August. We also enjoyed Boulder, but not sure if you are interested in those recs too.

    • Restaurants: Linger (http://lingerdenver.com/); Sol (really great happy hour and fabulous margaritas – http://www.solcocina.com/menu/); Snooze (for brunch – http://snoozeeatery.com/co-menu/)

      Hikes: a little over an hour to Garden of the Gods. It was fairly busy when I visited in August, but the crowds were mostly near the visitor center and near the Central Gardens Trails – the remaining trails were all fairly quiet. I would imagine that in the fall it is less busy. As a bonus, there are some great breweries nearby so you can get some after-hiking refreshments.

    • Might be too late, but to answer your question, yes, probably too late for fall colors. Restaurants- Bistro Vendome; ChoLon; Osteria Marco; Russell’s; Sushi Den; Sushi Sasa; Linger; Avanti; any of the restaurants at Union Station. Golden Gate State Canyon; walk around Sloan’s Lake. Breweries (Great Divide, Breckenridge, Wynkoop). Go the the Brown Palace and have a drink at the Ship’s Tavern.

  14. Any ideas for a waterproof jacket for an October trip to London? Seems like the average high is 50*

    • I SWEAR the above nearly identical questions wasn’t here when I posted this. Please disregard!

      • Anonymous :

        I’m the OP on the above question – mine was stuck in moderation for a bit and both of ours appeared around the same time!

  15. Questioning my stable, but boring, relationship :

    Having a relationship hurdle that I’d appreciate insight on. My boyfriend and I have been together for almost five years, living together for two. We’re best friends and get along well; we never get in fights and our arguments are respectful and calm (really only ever about apartment cleaning). We got a dog together a year ago and have been in mutual agreement about wanting to get engaged soon. We picked out a ring together and planned a wonderful romantic vacation.

    We got back from our vacation three weeks ago. On the trip he had the ring and was planning to propose. On one of the first nights of the trip we talked about the reasons we wanted to marry one another. I listed all of my reasons (you make me a better person, you challenge me, inspire me, etc.) and he commented that no where in my list was passion. That sent us down a horrible rabbit hole where we both realized that our safe, stable relationship is pretty un-exciting. We both realized this, but we’ve reacted differently to how to solve it. He thinks we fulfill a couple of his *rotic fantasies; I feel like a light has been turned on and this is breakup worthy.

    I’m initially terrified of the overnight nature of this realization. Is this just commitment jitters? Or was I blind to it all along because I wanted us to be this happy, stable couple that was approved by friends and family? How did we get so far into this without realizing it?

    But even if I try to tell myself that this is all jitters, I can’t help but realize that our relationship is pretty passion-free. I don’t look at him with desire the way I’ve looked at former flames. I look at him and think, “that’s my best friend,” not “take me to the bedroom!” Gardening, which used to be a fun activity we both enjoyed equally (though in all honesty, it was never “rock your world gardening,”), has now turned into an activity I enjoy maybe a quarter of the time. I’m just not into it. And on our two-week romantic trip together, I was BORED. I only had him to talk to and every night after dinner was spent either watching tv or gardening. I loathe the idea of a honeymoon with him–I think it would put us in a vacuum where all of our passionless/boredom issues rise to the surface and rip us further apart. In terms of whether this issue is fixable, I think he could become fully satisfied with me again, but I don’t think I could. But I’m not sure how I should prioritize passion in a life partner when everything else is great.

    Much of that above was a crazy emotion-dump. But has anyone gone through something similar, either getting cold feet right before or questioning the passion in an otherwise-great relationship. I haven’t told any of my friends given how private this topic is so I’m just stewing in my head and likely making things worse.

    • So, I don’t think passion is an essential. But I also don’t think lack of passion is really the problem here. He bores you! You went on a fabulous trip together and you were bored.

      Five years is a long time. Personally I’d want to see if I could fix it. Which, yes, I would try his fantasies, and mine, they might be fun. I’d also trying doing something new together. And therapy.

      • Maudie Atkinson :

        Seconding this. Passion, in the way you’ve described it, is not essential for me. I’ve been with my DH for almost 9 years, married for 6. Passion wanes, and then surges back again, but that’s ok with me. It is something my partner values, so there’s a little fake-it-til-you-make-it, because I love him and value our partnership, but for me (and for us as a unit), it is more about the deep commitment, quiet happiness, and comfortable stability CPA Lady mentions below.
        Maybe passion in the way you’ve described is essential for you, in which case you should really interrogate this feeling, your needs, and whether this relationship fulfills them. But I do think this passionate feeling you’ve described may be unrealistic. I’m reminded of a C.S. Lewis quote, in which he says, “Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships?” He contrasts that with “quieter love,” which sounds like what you feel for your partner, where the quieter love is that which runs “the engine of marriage.” “It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit ….” Lewis, of course, is talking about what he calls “Christian marriage,” but I don’t think it’s a principle isolated to people of a certain (or any) faith.
        In sum, I think this feeling is mostly normal, but your reaction to it may be a little different. That doesn’t mean your feelings are wrong or bad, just that you need to interrogate whether and how to best meet those needs in any relationship.

        • These points are great (and I’m a CS Lewis fan, too). Real life relationships aren’t driven by passion…because there’s no way we could survive it all the time. Quieter love is simply what happens after years together. It doesn’t mean anything is broken.

          But having gotten divorced myself (over city mouse/country mouse incompatibilities, not passion) I understand the horror at being unable to put the break-up genie back in the bottle. It’s scary. Do you want to live your life without your partner? When I was first having thoughts, my answer was, “Sure. He’s nice and all, but…” I met someone amazing two years after getting divorced, and we settled into a quiet love very quickly, but it’s a million times better than it ever was with my first husband.

      • Maudie Atkinson :

        Also, what I meant to add above in relation to Anon at 10:09’s comment is that it sounds like maybe it isn’t about “passion” exactly, but whether this person still interests you. A long term relationship is, in my experience, a bit like trying to untangle endless mystery. If this absence of “passion” means you aren’t interested in unlocking the mystery of what makes this man tick anymore, a step back seems especially wise.

        • I’m in awe–these are all such thoughtful comments. I’m immensely appreciative! I think there’s a lot for me to think about in the next few days. While I’ve always valued a quiet love over something tumultuous (my parents and my sister’s relationships), I’m wondering now if I skewed too far in the stable and safe direction. I often don’t have the urge to “unlock the mystery” of my partner, but sometimes it would be nice to have more interest in him, whether that be figuring him out, surprising him, exciting him, etc.

          • Wait … your parents’ relationship was full of tumult? How much? If you grew up in the middle of drama and chaos — especially if there was anger, shouting, or something bordering on abuse — recognize that you may not have a grid for what a normal, healthy relationship is like.

            Think back to when you first began dating your partner — why were you attracted to him? Was it mostly because he was safe and stable? What else drew you to him?

      • Yes — I totally agree, and I was going to suggest all of this until OP said this:

        “And on our two-week romantic trip together, I was BORED. I only had him to talk to and every night after dinner was spent either watching tv or gardening. I loathe the idea of a honeymoon with him.”

        That seems more significant than just a concern that s8x isn’t as passionate as it used to be. My H and I have been married for 10 yrs, together for like 15, and we have not always been the most passionate. It ebbs and flows. Neither of us have huge s*x drives, and so thankfully we are well matched. BUT. My H is my favorite person to be with, even if s8x isn’t our favorite activity. Even in the throes of little kids and full time jobs, I can’t imagine loathing the idea of spending a week with him. I agree that OP shouldn’t throw away the relationship, but she should make sure the passion concern isn’t masking something deeper.

        • +1. I know I really love my husband because even after a two week vacation with it being just the two of us 24/7, I miss him when we have to go back to work and real life (and I’m an introvert!). For me, traveling together is what really solidified that I wanted to marry him. He is 100% my favorite person to be with and I’m never really bored when we’re together, even if we’re just channel surfing on the couch or scrolling through our phones in bed. I would rather hang out with him than anyone else.

          The passion thing ebbs and flows and I don’t think it’s that big a deal, as long as you still find yourself attracted to the person over a long period of time. But the boredom thing? That would be a much bigger deal to me.

      • Anonattorney :

        Yeah, I would be more concerned about the boredom issue than the lack of passion. I’ve been with my husband 11 years and our relationship isn’t full of passion. But he doesn’t bore me. He really is my best friend – as in, he’s the person that I have the most fun with and pretty much always enjoy being around.

    • Ultimately you are the only one who knows what is best for you, but I would be wary of throwing away a best-friend partner for the elusive “passion.” Passion is important, but over time, most couples have s*x less and it becomes more routine/familiar. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a wonderful marriage between equals. I would be a lot more worried about the fact that you are bored around him.

    • I’ve been married for 10 years and my husband and I were together for 4 years before that. Passion is not really our thing. Deep commitment, quiet happiness, comfortable stability is. It works for us. You have to decide what works for you. I think lots of roller coaster, romantic, passionate stuff tends to wear off after a while. That’s why “keeping things fresh” or “spicing things up” is a thing that people do. Because settling into a quiet routine is just what happens. Unless you’re with someone unstable. Which doesn’t sound that great to me, anyway. Actually, my most passionate relationship was also my most unhappy one.

      • This. A passionate relationship can be fun. It’s not enough to found a marriage and a life.

        Romantic relationships ebb and flow. Sometimes you’re going at it 3 times a day and sometimes you’ve had a difficult birth and you don’t fully ‘garden’ for over a year. I’ve had both in my ten year marriage. Marriage is a lifelong commitment, a passionate gardening relationship is important but only one of many important things that you need for a successful marriage.

      • All of this. So well said.

    • First, you are entitled to decide what you want in a life partner. There are happy and unhappy marriages filled with passion. There are happy and unhappy passion-less marriages.

      But I personally find it weird to expect one person to entertain and inspire you endlessly. If I spent 2 weeks doing every single thing with any one person I would be bored. Luckily, that’s not real life, and that’s not what’s required of a life partner. The wonderful thing about have a stable relationship with your life partner is that you can go out and do different things, spend time with different people, explore different sides of yourself and then come back to the comfort of your relationship where all parts of you are known and accepted.

      There is a strong undercurrent in your post of concern that s*x is not as interesting as it used to be. Based on my experience and anecdata from my peers, that is normal and natural. I have a friend who begins to complain about this about 3 years into every relationship, so she breaks up with him and starts dating someone else just to have the same experience again. There are things that you can do to change it, but ultimately once of the prices you pay for the benefit of knowing someone inside and out is….already knowing the person inside and out.

    • Oh, gosh… I’ve never been in your shoes, and I am not married, but just reading this, I think you’re maybe panicking at the thought of a lifelong commitment. It’s certainly possible this guy isn’t the guy for you, but it also just sounds like you’re freaking out right now. Do you think you’re having an “IS THIS ALL THERE IS?” moment?

      • Anonymous :

        I had one of those “is this all there is” moment’s when I accepted my ex-fiancé’s proposal. Several years after breaking it off, I’ve realized that breaking it off was one of the best things I ever did. In retrospect, my relationship was much less happy than I wanted to pretend it was, we were a poor fit for each other, and he didn’t treat me especially well. I’m much happier being thirty-whatever and single than I ever was with that guy.

    • BeenThatGuy :

      Passion isn’t always about physical intimacy. For me, it’s about excitement in conversations, activities, day to day mundane things that you make fresh.

      My marriage was a lot like what you describe. And the marriage didn’t survive. I’m only getting married again if my soul is set on fire. You don’t want to be sitting on your front porch in 30 years saying to yourself “I married the wrong man”. Life is too short.

      Hugs to you!

    • Frozen Peach :

      I’ll bite. First, hugs. These questions aren’t easy and there aren’t easy answers. Passion is not usually a great basis for a long term relationship or marriage, especially if you want kids. My DH and I have been together for about a decade, and we’ve had intense periods of waxing and intense periods of waning re passion. Keeping passion alive isn’t just a cliché for women’s magazines, it’s something that most married couples I know invest energy and time in at various points. This is really normal, especially if you and your SO haven’t given it much attention before.

      I’ve had a lot of passionate flames that have turned into truly horrible people or relationships. Sometimes really intense passion can be a red flag, I’ve learned. But it’s important to feel passion, and feel alive. It’s just important to recognize that it’s not some ephemeral magic that can only be found in chemistry sparkles between two specific individuals. Sure, lightning striking is one way to get a fire going, but so is building a roaring campfire and tending to it when it needs fuel.

      There’s never going to be a better person to explore passion with, and find your own passionate side, than your best friend who you trust and feel safe with. I highly recommend reading some Susie Bright. Full Exposure has been really game changing for me. I am also gently asking you whether you are being open and honest regarding gardening and your feelings. Now that you’re aware of them, give your SO the respect to let him into those feelings and experiences in ways that feel safe to you. Maybe he needs to work on some skills in the garden, or do other things to make gardening better and more enjoyable for you. For example, playing music from my teenage years has been a huge discovery for me.

      Anyway, I urge you not to break your own heart, at least without giving some of these other things a go. What would make you enjoy a honeymoon with him? And that said, you’re not married, and if you know where you are, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with ending a relationship, especially before you get married or have kids.

    • Also, if you are going on boring vacations, that is partially on you. Of course it’s going to be lame if you go on a trip and just sit around. Why not go sailing, surfing, on a wine tour, or something else that’s out of the norm for you? I’ve read articles claiming that couples who adventure together stay together and I think it’s true in my experience. I can get bored or irritated around my husband if we’re going on day 5 of nothing exciting, but throw in a weekend ski trip and the rest of the quiet week afterward feels pretty darn nice.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I feel like I went on this emotional roller coaster with you through this post. “Ah, you’re anxious to get engaged,” “It’s ok, passion has to be flamed up, that’s normal!” “Wait, you didn’t enjoy gardening most of the time?” “Wait, you can’t stomach spending a vacation with him?? Ok, not good.”

      The passion and the boredom issues are separate, but possibly related. Was he bored? Is he as unenthusiastic about your gardening as you are?

      I think stepping back for a bit is not a bad idea, but I wouldn’t throw away a 5-year relationship with plenty of great history without a precipitating incident. You call him your best friend – is he? Do you still feel like he’s the person you want to spend time with? Have you just gotten into a serious rut, both in bed and out of it? That happens. Can you learn something new together, like a new hobby, and see if that makes your time together more fun, and try to do something different in bed?

      If you are truly bored with someone, that’s probably not going to be a good recipe for a long and happy marriage. But I would definitely try, to see if it’s just a rut.

      • I mean, regarding the boredom part–is it that he bores you, or you’d be bored in those circumstances with other friends? I think if my BFF and I just hung out in a hotel room and watched tv we’d entertain ourselves great for a few days…but then we’d both want to go DO something? Are you bored picturing a honeymoon on a beach and need to envision a trip to museums and restaurants? Or would you be fine with some other friend on the beach? Separate from the passion.

        • Word. Go on a not-relaxing honeymoon where there’s lots to do. Morocco, Thailand, etc. Don’t go on a beach and sit there for two weeks because that’s what honeymoons are “supposed to be”.

      • Re: the emotional rollercoaster–I hear you. I think keeping this to myself for so long and stewing on it has definitely had the snowball effect.

        He wasn’t bored, but he does recognize that I’m not as attracted to him. He wants me to be more attracted to him and he’s willing to do anything to make that happen, but he doesn’t think the day-to-day needs to change. As I’m typing this out, I’m realizing that it might be how he’s reacted since the trip that’s making me increasingly fatalistic. We’ve talked about it at length and had several long, tearful, emotional conversations. And he’s trying so hard to make it work, but the more he tries the more I feel suffocated and like this is a bigger incompatibility sign. For example, he thinks the boredom means that I want him to be more social and hang out with my friends more, so he’s asked to come along to every happy hour/brunch I’ve had with my girlfriends these past three weeks. Or last night he asked me to meet him for drinks after work (which we never do during the week) and at dinner he told me I was beautiful at least 20 times. And he kept staring at me in a different way than he normally does. I asked him why he was staring at one point and he said “I’m trying to decide which eye of yours is more beautiful but I’m having a hard time choosing.” I know to some people that is amazingly sweet but it came out of nowhere (I thought we were having a conversation about what to order) and kind of made me cringe. I think it was moreso that he wanted me to react from all the compliments and when I wasn’t giving him the reaction he wanted, he just kept trying over and over and watching intensely. But he’s putting in a lot more effort and though it’s well intentioned, it’s totally not working for me.

        We haven’t gardened since we’ve gotten back and he thinks we just need to garden again and he’ll wow me and all will be right. But I’m not so sure seeing as he hasn’t wowed me in at least a year or two. Is that from lack of trying or ambivalence or what? I feel like all of his attempts at fixing us are contrived and are just going to lead to awkward, forced gardening where we’re both so in our heads trying to save our relationship with suave moves that it pushes us further apart.

        I think the hobby idea is a good suggestion, especially to redirect his intensity in trying to “fix” us. Maybe something new to both of us will force us to drop our guards and just be ourselves. I’m much more attracted to him when he’s himself, rather than someone trying to impress me in every interaction.

        • Good grief, that would turn me off SO FAST. Tell him to be himself and that you need time to think things through but you’re not going to break up with him tomorrow (you’re not going to break up with him tomorrow, right?).

        • My heart goes out to your BF. That is not an indictment of you in any way; you can’t help what you feel and you are doing the right thing by being honest about it. I think this guy is crazy about you.

          The “let me fix us” thing would drive me crazy too. I think doing something brand-new and exciting might really work. Go skydiving or river rafting or bungee jumping. Plan to spend time doing something together that won’t leave you a lot of time to continue picking at the relationship.

          Alternatively, this could be a good time to take a solo trip to visit friends or family. Get some distance and give yourself space to miss him a little. That helps sometimes, with me.

        • Baconpancakes :

          Yeah, definitely tell him all these things – that contrived efforts aren’t going to work, that when he’s himself he’s much more interesting, etc. He’s absolutely freaking out because you’re pulling away from him and he’s desperately trying to draw you back, and instead of him feeling like he’s losing you, you both need to be on the same page of “we are going to try to see if this works,” but together. Open, and honest. But biologically, some women do become less interested in gardening the less they do it, and more interested the more the do it (I know I react that way), so scheduling gardening (but not phoning it in) might be good.

          Good luck, whatever ends up happening.

        • lawsuited :

          I really feel for you reading this. I wanted to chime in to say that I had a crisis like this starting about a week after I got married, like “OMG I am married to this man forever and I think everything about him is dumb and irritating!” I will never know what it was that made me feel that way – I assume the pressure of commitment – but it got better over the course of a year and a half as we redefined our relationship. We have now been married for 8 years, welcomed a son earlier this year, and I feel incredibly happy and lucky in my life in general and in my marriage specifically.

          I am NOT endorsing getting married anyway despite your doubts, I am only suggesting that you give it some time before ending an otherwise happy relationship.

    • It doesn’t sound like a passion problem so much as a you don’t actually like him problem. Passion can wax and wane, but you should at least really love being together to marry this guy. Personally, I think great gardening is really important with the realization that sometimes life gets in the way, and it won’t always be amazing. But you should at least want to with your partner when you’re in a space where life isn’t in the way (romantic vacation, honeymoon, etc.). I think it’s easy to confuse time together with “the one” and I’d personally rethink your plan to marry this guy. Doesn’t sound like you like him or want to be with him romantically.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yep. (How is it I always agree with Scarlett?)

        You lost me at “I loathe the idea of going on a honeymoon with him.”

        I feel like he deserves somebody who is crazy about him. I also feel, from my own experience at least, that once somebody starts having serious breakup thoughts it is very hard to put the genie back in the bottle.

      • Maudie Atkinson :

        Oooof, yup. OP’s other responses confirm for me this isn’t about passion in the way I think about that term. It’s about boredom and perhaps some degree of contempt.
        OP, it sounds like your intuition is right; you need some time and distance from this relationship before you decide whether this is the person whose life you want to knit together with yours.

      • Pretty Primadonna :

        I agree with this. As I read the comment above, all I could think of was, does OP even like this guy? You are not doing either of you a favor by staying.

    • If it were 100 years ago and you were in an arranged marriage, you’d have hit the jackpot.

      If you were an old married couple of 30 years, you’d have hit the jackpot (and as 50+ aged people, you’d have a lot more sugar than spice in your lives, probably).

      If you are happy with the sugar now, are you on the same page as to what spice you want and trying a bit of it?

    • anon for this :

      Honestly, I’d be less worried about “lack of passion,” which didn’t bother you before you started discussing it, to being bored on a romantic vacation with him and dreading a honeymoon with him. DH and I don’t have a marriage filled with passion, and I don’t have much of a s*x drive. But I’m never bored, and I love spending time with DH.

      I wouldn’t necessarily throw away a 5-year relationship. But I’d take a step back, put the brakes on an engagement, and go to some individual (and perhaps couples) therapy.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 to this. I love DH and we had a great gardening life in the beginning, but it does wear off over time for most people. And after 15 years, I really just don’t have much interest in it anymore. But he’s my favorite person on the planet and I can’t imagine getting to go somewhere alone with him and being bored. I mean, sure if we went to France for a week and he didn’t want leave the hotel room I’d be frustrated about all the wine & food & sights we were missing out on, but I wouldn’t be thinking “Gah, I can’t wait to get away from DH, he’s so boring.” In fact right now we’re both super busy at work, and a week at a beach doing nothing but hanging out together and going for the occasional swim/snorkel/paddleboard sounds like heaven. Your reaction to the vacation is a huge red flag to me.

    • I agree with anon at 11:03. I was onboard with maybe trying to up the passion, etc – but saying you “loathe” the idea of a honeymoon with him? That’s more a red flag for me than the lack of passion. Sounds like you’re bored. This internet stranger thinks you can do better.

      • Deep Velvet :

        I agree. Boredom and dreading spending time with him are the bigger issue. My husband and I do not always have a lot of “passion” because he is less into gardening that I am (although I deeply hope he enjoys it more than 25% of the time we do it). But the absolute constant in our relationship is that we love each other’s company, and I would always happily sack off the rest of my family and friends for two weeks one-on-one with him. I am aware that many married couples are not like this, and they may be fine with that. But if your question is “do long-term relationships exist where people do not dread spending intense periods of time together”, then the answer is “yes”!

        • Doubly agree. My husband is my favorite, favorite person in the world. And the person I would hands-down choose to be on a desert island with. We love doing fun things together, but sometimes not everything in life is fun and even that, sitting in traffic with him or going to the DMV with him is better because we are doing it together. We can’t wait to retire so that we can travel together and enjoy more of life together and were bummed our honeymoon couldn’t be a full month/6 months/year haha. We are newlyweds and still young, so I can’t give you the perspective that others have given, but remember passion as others have said waxes and wanes, so I don’t think that is the issue here. Read a little more on Gottman’s theory of contempt. Is that how you feel? I was more concerned about the same red flags others have raised- that you “loathe” the idea of a honeymoon and that his moves aren’t working for you. I agree, though, that you should try to put yourselves in a position where you can be normal and yourself but maybe in response to new situations or activities. Therapy might help, especially if you may not have the most accurate picture of a happy and healthy relationship. Finally, although this stinks – whether it’s a hiccup or the end of the relationship – better to sort through these questions now than after you two have become legally bound to each other and possibly parents together.

          • Senior Attorney :

            All of this times a million.

            On Labor Day Lovely Husband and I were stuck by the side of the road for more than an hour in the exact geographical center of nowhere, in the hot sun, waiting for the Auto Club. And we had fun together while doing that.

            Loathing and boredom are not good.

          • +1. DH and I have a small child, and (like most parents, I assume) we can’t get a babysitter all that often. Most of our evenings involve being at home together doing not-objectively-interesting things. Sure, we have some hobbies, enjoy cooking together, and have friends over sometime, but most evenings involve some form of sitting on the couch and being together. OP, if you dread a honeymoon with this man, you both deserve something better for the rest of your lives.

      • +1 It all sounded fixable to me, up until you said “loathe”. That’s just not a sentiment that’s compatible with a long, happy marriage. Even if your relationship isn’t passionate, if he really were your best friend, you would be excited to go hang out together on vacation.

    • I’m sure this is super-scary for you, my heart goes out to you.

      There’s a lot to unpack in your post, but let me parse out a couple of things I see:

      -You talk about a lack of passion, and that your gardening life isn’t all that.

      -You also say you are bored a lot of the time when you’re with him.

      In regards to the first thing – I’m sure women here on this s*te realize that life is not a Disney movie, and that the kind of passion that makes for excellent movies and romance novels rarely exists in real life (or is sustainable in real life). You don’t say how old you are, but if you are in your thirties, and he is as well, passion is probably not going to be the central focus of your life together. And that’s probably a good thing. My most passionate relationships have also been my most dysfunctional.

      The other thing – being bored when you’re with him – is more serious. I can honestly say that over the two decades I’ve spent with my husband, I’ve never felt like he bored me. He’s my favorite person to spend time with and we always find something to do together, or talk about. If you’re finding a lack of common interests with your BF, that may be fixable – or it might not. It will take both of you working to find a solution.

      From the perspective of being in my forties, I can absolutely say that having a loving, calm, stable relationship is worth a lot. But marrying someone who bores you is a risk. What happens if in two or five or ten years you meet someone who really fascinates you? Who is also calm and stable and loving but who shares more of your interests? What do you do then? What if your BF meets someone like that?

      I’m not a fan of the “never settle, hold out for the fairy tale” belief a lot of women have about romance. But I also don’t believe in settling because things are okay, and why rock the boat? I think a therapist could be a huge help to you right now – you need to work through your motivations and what you want out of life, and a relationship. Hugs.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      I was feeling “this is normal” until you said you didn’t enjoy time with him and are dreading a honeymoon. If by passion, you mean physical attraction and desire to garden all the time, pretty normal for that to wane/become less frequent over time and when you live with someone. But the fact you don’t want to spend time with your fiance and find him boring to spend time with, that is more of a problem than lack of physical passion.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I had the same reaction. Sometimes I want to rip my H’s clothes off (and sometimes I want to throw him in the nearest garbage can) but usually I just love hanging out with him. Like he’s my favorite because being with him is awesome. Doing fun stuff with him (whether it’s ~ahem~ or just playing a card game or exploring a new neighborhood) is the best. I wouldn’t want to commit to spending my life with someone I wasn’t psyched to be with.

      • lawsuited :

        +1 I didn’t notice that the first time I read it. Loathing spending time with him is definitely the biggest problem

    • What really stands out to me is that you loathe the idea of going on a honeymoon with him. As many others have pointed out, passion tends to ebb and flow in most long term relationships. But it seems like you really don’t enjoy spending time with him. That’s different. I have ebb and flow with my husband but I would jump at the chance to do our honeymoon over again – or really go anywhere fun with him, just the two of us. I think you have to enjoy the other person’s company, and enjoy sharing experiences together. If you don’t have that, then I can see why you’re questioning the relationship.

    • Been There :

      I went through this exact situation, but 5 years into our marriage (we dated for 2 years). H and I are fantastic friends, but suddenly I decided that there was no passion and there never had been passion and this was a huge problem for me. I told him that and that I was thinking about ending the relationship, and he freaked out. He did a lot of what you describe–sad eyes constantly, weirdly complimentary out of nowhere, trying desperately to plan “romantic stuff” so that I would have the passion. We worked through it, and we are now 12 years married and super happy (but also still not really passionate). Here’s what worked for us:

      1. We found a really good counselor who really helped us through, and we were both super committed to getting a lot out of the counseling.

      2. I realized that it wasn’t the passion that I missed, but that I was bored with our lives, generally. He never really had a lot of friends before this whole incident, and I seemed to be his entire social support system. I told him that made me feel suffocated. He made a bigger effort to be social and make new friends by joining a new gym and strengthening friendships with the people he already hung out with sometimes. This helped IMMENSELY for us.

      3. Our counselor said something that resonated with both of us (very cheesy) at the time that we revisit now. He said that a relationship should make us feel safe and comfortable like a nest, where we can retreat from all the craziness on the outside and just feel loved and safe. I don’t know why, but that helped me work through the “passion” thing pretty well.

      4. I told him I couldn’t deal with the sad eyes and weirdness and that if he couldn’t just act normal when I’m in the room, I’d have to not be around him to figure it all out. He did much much better after that, but I tried to be understanding if he was weird every now and then because it was upsetting to him, too. And he made an effort to understand that I couldn’t deal with both our pain at the same time.

      5. We took up an active hobby together (cycling) that gave us something new to do together, helped us meet new people, helped us get out of the house, etc. We don’t even ride much anymore, but I do feel like it helped save the marriage.

      6. I realized that I don’t have to get every aspect of excitement in my life from him. I have friends that I like to talk with about books that I know he’ll never read or other ideas that I’m very interested in that he’s not.

      I know this is super long, but that was our journey. It took probably 6 months or so to right the relationship, and there were times both of us thought the relationship would be over. I’m so glad it all worked out.

      • Been There :

        Also, I can’t tell from your original post whether you really don’t like spending time with him, or whether you’re freaked out about the passion part and questioning everything. Or whether you just don’t like hanging our right now because he’s acting weird. If you really don’t like him for some reason, that’s one thing. But if you are just questioning everything and that’s clouding whether you even like him, it might be a good idea to disentangle all those thoughts if you can before making a final decision either way.

    • Anonymous :

      Been married 15 years. From the outside: perfect life. We do triathlons together, run a successful business together, have a beautiful home, are on all the right volunteer boards, etc. (Don’t want kids.)

      The reality: Haven’t gardened in at least 8 years. Don’t know the last time a kiss was passionate (definitely more than a year.) Have gone to therapy, etc., but just aren’t physically attracted to each other. Used to be. Normally it’s all just fine, except in arguments where sometimes it comes up. (Often he accuses me of being gay. I’m not.)

      Is what you’re experiencing just jitters? Maybe. But trust your gut and put the brakes on things. Talk to a therapist. Because when you’re at my stage, sad for yourself that a stranger on the internet has the chance to pick a different life and you don’t, you will regret it.

      • Honey, you too can pick a different life. I’m not implying it would be easy, but you have a choice. Hugs.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        1:11 – please do not say that. Of course you have a chance to pick a different life.

        You say that you are not attracted to your husband, but not that you are not interested in physical intimacy at all. I am just sad for you because it sounds like you have determined that you are stuck when you are not.

        Life is short. So short. If you think there is passion out there for you, go look for it.

      • Senior Attorney :

        You completely have a change to pick a different life. I ran away from a bad marriage at 54 and three years later I married the man of every single dream I ever had, plus some I’d never have dared to dream.

        The magic can’t happen until you find the courage to leave. It’s hard and scary and sad but life on the other side can be amazing.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve been married 10 years. We have young kids. Our relationship is safe, stable and for the most part un-exciting. Prior to marriage I was in a few long term relationships with much more “passion.” I cannot imagine dealing with all the craziness that comes with kids in anything but a safe, stable and largely un-exciting relationship. Do I occasionally wistfully recall aspects of past relationships? Yes! Would I trade what I have for some more excitement? Nope, I just don’t think that would be sustainable. Maybe kids aren’t in your future, maybe you could sustain passion. But please consider that safe and stable is a good foundation and that honeymoons can be active and fun, you don’t have to lock yourselves in a room and do nothing but garden 24/7.

  16. pugsnbourbon :

    I just want to bless your Tuesday with this suit featured in my Banana email:


    Ridiculous but also amazing.

    • the jean jacket under the blazer is really what pulls the whole thing together

    • What the what? And I am amazed/baffled that the pants are nearly all sold out!

      • Had the same thought. Where are the hordes buying blue, leopard print, cropped, shiny(?) BR pants?

    • This looks like a pair of pajamas I have…

      Q about Banana – Are the Logan fit pants the replacement for the Martin fit pants of 5ish years ago?

    • I loved that the subject of the email was “this suit is easier to wear than you think.” FAIL.

    • I would love to give Banana all of my money because their tall pants fit like a dream, but they keep doing crap like this to their “workwear.” I work in a law firm, not a 1970s cigar lounge.

    • I really like the jacket and kind of want to buy it to wear with jeans or black pants. Am I crazy?!

  17. I work in house for an insurance company. I don’t make a ton of money. I went to a decent law school but was a spectacular failure as a first year at a midsize firm so eventually ended up here. My husband’s career ,through luck and hard work ended up much more successful and he’s making about 3x what I do. We have a little one, so I do the daycare hustle and I feel really stuck. I’ll probably never get fired or promoted but I can’t really leave. I’d be scared I’d just end up working crazy hard for less money and benefits.

    Any ideas about feeling better about what you do? I’m trying to take on more projects, just to bolster my own sense of worth, but it just makes me increasingly frustrated with the poor management here. And it makes me stressed to have all this on my plate. It occurred to me today that my awful boss will give me the same mediocre review and raise no matter what, every year, until one of us dies. Ok that was morbid. Anyone ever feel this way?

    • Girl. Whoa. What? No. No no no.

      You are not doomed to work here until you die. You’re in a great position actually. You have some financial freedom, job security, and the baby years don’t last forever. There are other good jobs out there, and you have the luxury of holding out until you find one.

    • The daycare hustle is HARD. I promise though it does get easier. Eventually they even get themselves dressed, fed and out of the house. Thinking of you.

      • Thank you. Love the little bugger and my husband is a true partner but I feel shackled to that 630 pickup time.

    • I think you need to look for satisfaction outside of work. What are your hobbies or interests?

      It doesn’t have to be high achieving or complicated. I love baking muffins with my kids, running marathon relays with other overworked and undertrained moms, and yoga on Sundays when DH takes the kids to the park. Those give me more satisfaction that my job.

      • I’m sure you didn’t mean it this way, but telling me that baking muffins with my kid is the solution to my career struggles is kinda cringeworthy. I ran a 10k Saturday and I’m in a golf tournament this weekend. It’s fun stuff, but it doesn’t make my career frustrations any less real.

        • She didn’t tell you this. And no, it’s not some sort of s3xist tripe. I faced a problem similar to yours and this is the exact advice my therapist has given me.

          I suspect that this is what she meant: one way to increase your happiness overall is to increase your satisfaction outside of work. Sometimes our jobs just don’t provide us much satisfaction or fulfillment. Lots of times, they do. For women who are used to getting a lot fulfillment out of their careers, a crappy job can leave a void. Having many other things in your life that fulfill lets you rely on your job less for that. Thus, the fact that your job is not as satisfying as you’d like becomes less important and easier to bear.

        • Oh stop. The suggestion was to try to find things outside of work that satisfy you so that you aren’t relying on your job to define who you are. She was using her own examples to assist with her suggestion – now you are trying to one-up her on hobbies.

          Either work to find a new job or go to therapy so you can explore your feelings about your career in more depth.

        • Never too many shoes... :

          OP, I totally hear you. Not every woman is over the moon fulfilled with their children. For some of us, career satisfaction cannot be replaced.

          I think that the above posters are suggesting that fulfillment is like a set of scales – if the career side is light, putting more on the life side will still create a balance. But that doesn’t work for everyone – for some of us, it is a separate vessel – your life cup can runneth over while your career side remains unfilled. And taking extra walks with your baby and the dog, no matter how lovely, will not replace outsmarting another lawyer across the table (or whatever).

          I got your back on this, OP.

          • Thank you. I appreciate this.

          • Sure, but it’s more the exception than the rule that people are always fulfilled by their jobs. I think what people are suggesting is that you have to find something else, be it a new job, CLEs, writing articles, whatever, when the career side isn’t doing it for you.

          • Anonymous :

            Most posters, myself included, took OP at her word when she wrote “but I can’t really leave”. When it sounds like, based on her responses, what she wanted was reassurance that she CAN leave, not what she actually asked for in her original post which “Any advice about feeling better about what you do?” To which most people responded, don’t define yourself by what you do.

          • Oh good grief. No one is saying that having a more fulfilling personal life will *solve* the career issues or totally replace career fulfillment. It’s not about balance-it’s about giving work less power over you so you can a) not be as affected by the negative aspects and b) feel less stuck and free to look for other stuff. Also, no one’s arguing that taking a walk with your dog (that’s not a hobby) is going to be that out-of-work fulfillment. Try doing something like volunteering with a refugee services organization or really getting devoted to a hobby (join a choir if you used to sing, start riding horses again, start an etsy store making pottery that you always wanted to do- whatever).

            Believe me, my work was the primary source of fulfillment in my life and I know nothing can ever totally replace it. No one is saying that. OP, if your job blows, which it sounds like it does, leaning into it harder but complaining that that’s just more of the stuff you hate isn’t going to make it better. Find a new job. You hate this one. What’s the question.

          • “OP, if your job blows, which it sounds like it does, leaning into it harder but complaining that that’s just more of the stuff you hate isn’t going to make it better. Find a new job. You hate this one.”

            Thank you. I think you answered the question I was struggling with.

        • Anonymous :

          Thanks for calling my favorite activity with my kids ‘cringeworthy’. Super nice. Glad I took time out of my day to share what’s worked for me when I’m stuck in a job I don’t love.

          • +1

          • lawsuited :

            I think baking muffins with your kids is an awesome way to spend time :)

          • Yes!

            Also, OP, feeling stuck is not the same as being stuck, so baking with your kids, or whatever enjoyable activity a person chooses can increase total happiness, making it easier to see possibilities.

            The difference between feeling stuck and being able to think of alternatives can be dependent on your mental state.

        • Ah, I think you need to stop being ungrateful. You asked for advice, this was some (and she wasn’t saying you had to do this). Plus, baking muffins with my kids sounds fabulous!

    • Wait, what? Start looking for a new job! And take your time, enjoy the security, and keep at it slowly until you find something amazing. You’re not desperate, you are in the perfect scenario for lining up something great because you don’t need it. Also, the daycare years suck so bad, but I promise it gets so much better if you hang in there.

    • You are feel stuck, but there are definitely places to go, even while having a young one. Law firms and regulators who want to hire someone with industry knowledge. That is you – you are not your latest review, or your paycheck; you are the knowledge and working ethos that’s inside you. So many employers never even call your boss – don’t let any of that hold you back.

      And second the daycare hustle is draining. Check out ‘rettemoms; many of them have faced something like this.

    • I was in a similar scenario – not in law, but my first year in investment banking everything went wrong, then I had to step down into a different industry to get in the same city with my (previously LDR) husband, then didn’t do too well at that intense (consulting, travel) job either. Then there was a kid and the burden of the two prior jobs “failing” was heavy on me. Kiddo was in daycare, getting sick all the time, had asthma… these are little things but I had to work from home from time to time and wasn’t making progress at my third job when DH was doing fine. The resentment built up and I felt I was doomed. Fast forward a few years. All it took was one good break. I networked and networked and somehow got a referral that led to a job and exit from the consulting industry. Ended up in a stable role and managing 10 people in 3 locations around the globe. My prior job I had managed nobody! Just an intern. I was shocked that the person who extended me my job offer felt I could segue into this suddenly cross-continental role. That one person taking a chance on me is all it took and I now (10 years into my career) have a pretty senior role in an amazing brandname company, had a second kid and feel so much better.
      Lessons learned: keep networking and keep trying until you find the role that is a good fit. Also leaning in or leaning out is not a one-time hit to your career that you can never bounce back from. It felt that way when I left i-banking and I’ll never make that kind of money but I wouldn’t have wanted to have that lifestyle anyway with kids. There are many paths to the top. Also the networking is really important because you never know how you get your next referral to a dream job.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Here is a more light-hearted suggestion: listen to Kesha’s new album. Seriously! In different tones and in different ways she talks about how life is short but we own our own lives. You are not doomed! You are strong and you can chase satisfaction.

  18. Paging Paris Question :

    From yesterday, I don’t know if anyone answered your question about a hotel in Paris for one night, but when I was there, I stayed at the Hotel de la Cite Rougemont on a recommendation from here and it was great. Very affordable when I booked and very friendly staff. It’s on Metro Lines 8 and 9 and is on the edge of 2nd and 9th arr.

  19. Any books, blogs, forum recs for a first time home buyer? I’m single and for various reasons can’t talk to family about this until the process is basically over. I’m finding the experience a bit more lonely than I expected (exciting, but lonely). Any one else feel that way? (Note, I have zero problem living and moving alone, in fact, I prefer it that way).

    • I had the same feelings when I bought a home on my own. My parents were very supportive, and my dad even went with me to the closing for emotional support, which was very sweet but also made me feel even lonelier in some ways!

      This forum was a great resource for me. Several posters talked about the first-time buying experience from a solo perspective and made me realize that these feelings were normal.

    • I don’t have any specific resources to point you to except anecdotal data: I bought 4 years ago in a similar situation (I was single, mid-twenties). I did have my family’s support, although aside from using my dad’s finance savvy to help me get pre-approved, none of them saw my house in-person until after I’d closed on it (proximity, they live a few hours away). If you want to tackle the loneliness, I’d recruit a friend to share your house-hunting finds with, and maybe even to go with you on your second walk-through. You know what you’re looking for, but having affirmation is really nice. Practically, I recommend a couple things:
      1) Get a great realtor who is extra communicative/responsive, is very detail oriented and respects that you make your own financial decisions. I had a fantastic relator, and my first time home-buying experience in a multiple-offer situation was stellar, with not a single hiccup. I was very specific with where I wanted to live and stuck to my guns (it’s possible I handed the realtor a map with a box drawn around about 20 square blocks, then proceeded to refuse to look at anything outside of my zone) and made it clear that part of working with me was that I was willing to wait for the right place. Lo and behold, less than a month later, the perfect home at the right price popped up.
      2) Underbuy if possible. I underbought by about 1/3 what I could get approved for, plus my house has increased in value, and I have great peace of mind about not being stretched too thin on the house. I also put down 20%, and while I realize that’s not possible for everyone, I think it’s served me well interest rate and mortgage payment-wise.
      3) Do some long-term strategic planning for your finances, and perhaps see a financial coach or advisor if you need help in this regard. Aside from helping you pinpoint the ideal price for your home, with one income, you want to make sure you know your game plan for unexpected unemployment or another emergency. Also, don’t be surprised by closing costs, costs for inspections, etc – and set some funds aside for after you move in. Whether or not you plan to remodel, you will find things to spend money on, or your furniture won’t fit right in a room, you may need to buy lawn care or snow removal equipment, the list goes on.

      • Oh, I definitely won’t have enough furniture for a house! Haha, hazards of tiny apartment living through all of my 20s. Thank you for all the advice! Shockingly, despite being in our 30s, I have exactly one friend who has a bought a house that I can ask for advice and such.

    • I have purchased a home on my own as a first-time buyer and also served as a real estate agent for several first-time buyers. I don’t have any book or blog recommendations, but I am more than happy to email with you if you’re interested. lizzyhicken01 at gmail dot com

    • I am in moderation. I was both a first time solo home buyer and a Realtor who worked with quite a few first-time home buyers.

      Emaile me at lizzyhicken01 at g m a i l dot c o m if you are interested in chatting/talking through the generalities of it off-line!

    • Anon for this :

      “Finding Home”, by Michael Trickey, walks you through a lot of the basics. It’s a bit pedantic but a solid intro guide.

  20. Flying and Pumping :

    I’m flying to Hawaii from Boston in a few weeks and will be staying for a week and a half without my 9 month old baby. How do you pump on the plane? Do you go into the bathroom? If I pump while I’m away, is there a way to bring back all the milk on my return flight if I’m traveling without my baby? I was thinking of getting some kind of cooler (I’ve heard the packit is good) and freezing everything at my hotel so I have a cooler full of frozen milk that will hopefully stay frozen on the flight. Will they make me check the cooler?

    Ugh so many logistics!

    • Post over on the moms site. Lots of experience with this over there.

    • I post on the moms site too, so I’ll see it if you post there, but also feel free to email me at lsw r e t t e (at) g male

      I traveled for a week to Mexico when my baby was about 8 months, and have also flown a few times for work. Happy to help.

    • Disclaimer–I’m not a mom, but I recently traveled with two who were still pumping and neither baby was on the trip. So, basically I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night, and here’s what I observed:

      Mom 1 (who is on her second baby) pumped and dumped on the plane using her hand pump, on the theory that it’s just too hard to get properly set up on the plane. It was only a 3 hour flight though, so she wasn’t sacrificing as much milk as you might be on your much longer flight. Mom 2 did the full pumping setup in her seat, and ended up dousing herself in milk because she didn’t get everything situated properly.

      Based on this, if you want to pump and keep it, I’d say go in the bathroom for the start and finish, and possibly even see if the flight attendants will let you sit in the jumpseat in the back for a little more space. Don’t just hang out in the bathroom the whole time though–people will be in line waiting for it on such a long flight and that’s a long time to camp out in there.

      Once we arrived, they arranged for a fridge in the room to store all the milk the pumped throughout the weekend, and kept it in the freezer. They brought soft coolers with ice packs for the travel home (and Mom 2 used this to also transport the milk she pumped on the first flight before arriving at the hotel). It was my understanding that as long as the ice was still frozen, it was fine to get through security (they of course declared the cooler as milk). TSA may make you open the cooler and open up a few packets of milk to test, or they may not. It really depends on who you get, so you want to give yourself time going through security just in case.

      Have fun in Hawaii!

    • Someone just posted a whole long thing about this in the last week or two based on her experience on the mom s*te.

    • I had to travel suddenly without my baby when a family member passed and I was nursing. The airport was rough because there are virtually no private spots with plugs. So my biggest suggestion is bring a battery powered pump and a nursing cover and be prepared to either be in the restroom or in public.

      It’s also almost impossible to get privacy on the plane. I managed to a get a window seat and hung up an airline blanket as a bit of a divider. I agree with the above poster – do not monopolize the bathroom for this.

      Dry ice is the longest lasting option. When we moved internationally I packed milk dry ice transport kit (I think I got it on amazon or something) in my checked luggage and it was fine.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Ooh I’ve done this! Thinking about it was harder than doing it. I mean, it will be the worrrrst but it’s totally doable.

      Pumping on the plane is fine. My strategy was: when I board, tell the flight attendant, “after we take off I’m going to go to the bathroom to pump milk for my baby” (the ‘milk for my baby’ part is important because sometimes people don’t put it together) “I wanted to make sure you didn’t think anything was wrong if I was in there a little while!” Then pretty soon after take off I go to the first class bathroom (gets less traffic) and set up. I wiped everything down and made a little table cloth of paper towels. There’s an outlet or you can run your pump on batteries (bring lots!). I brought my kindle because pumping is boring and took me forever. Bottle up, rearrange clothes, milk goes in cooler and cooler goes under seat.

      Pumping in airport bathrooms was worse than on the plane for me, though now so many places have that momava (???) thing. Or just sit on the floor in the hallway crying, which was a strategy I employed once.

      Anyway, as long as you freeze your milk you should be able to get it home with you cold no problem. I had a cooler full of frozen milk and brought it in my carry on. I told the guy at security “I’m bringing BREAST MILK through here, FYI.” He still somehow missed it and was like, “uh, where’s the party?” and I had to be like…. opposite of a party, dude.

      You might need to ask your hotel to freeze your milk for you — put it in some kind of layered bag system and mark with your room number. I did that on my last day because I was flying out in the evening but checking out in the AM. I am sure I wasn’t the first person who made the request.

      You’ve got this!

    • Pretty Primadonna :

      Check the airports you will be in for Momova nursing pods. Also, the Milk Stork service is good and easy to use. They ship the container to your hotel, you keep your pumped milk in the hotel room fridge until time for your flight, then, you can ship the container to your home OR take the cooler on your flight back. I did the latter and it wasn’t a problem. Be prepared to tell the TSA folks you have breast milk.

    • Blueberries :

      I’ve pumped in my seat (Freemies hooked up to Medela PISA plugged into seat outlet–I also had a battery pack just in case).

      I really like Packits day-to-day, but I’d recommend a regular cooler–Packits don’t last forever and once they’re not frozen, TSA might give you trouble with them. Better to have ice you can dump if it melts. I got an IceMule bag that worked fine and was collapsible.

      Some airports have nursing mothers’ rooms for pumping (sometimes called a nursery). You can find the locations on the airports’ website.

      There are services that will provide a cooler and dry ice for shipping back–that might be convenient for a week + of milk.

    • lawsuited :

      I pumped in my seat, but if going to the bathroom is your comfort level then that’s fine too. To bring the milk back, I did exactly what you suggested – froze it all and then put it in a cooler with freezer packs. I was allowed to take it with me as carry-on luggage (I travelled Air Canada).

  21. Stainless flatware :

    Best brands? Need something that will stand up to the dishwasher. Saw a pretty Gingko set but know nothing about that brand and reviews seem mixed.

    • The better quality will be listed as 18/8 or 18/10. I think any type can stand up to the dishwasher, though.

    • Check out Liberty flatware. Made in the USA, reasonably priced, really excellent customer service. You can order six pieces from different patterns for not much money and try them out. I did that, picked one and then placed a big order.

      I ordered the Pearl pattern. I love my flatware so much. The shipping is really fast too.

  22. I wrote a while ago about struggling to support a coworker who was in a review-driven ‘death spiral’ at work. The advice I got was to respect that person’s wishes for space and understand that it’s not about me.

    Well, coworker abruptly left while I was on vacation. Coworker had some ongoing health issues and basically gave 2 weeks notice saying ‘and I will not be coming back into the office’. I’m trying to help sort out coworker’s portfolio and make sure their team has someone backing them up.

    Main question is… how do I handle someone who I like personally and care about, but has gone out of their way to make sure that they burned every bridge on their way out? Right now the plan is space and polite text messages wishing them the best. I almost feel like I want to send flowers or something… it’s just not sitting well with me how abruptly this person left (cleaned their desk out over the weekend).

    • We told you this the first time. This is not about you. Let this person be. They have shown you that they don’t want to contact you or be contacted. You need to respect that.

    • I’d send one text message along the lines of, “I’m sorry to see you go. Keep in touch.” I was pushed out of a mid-size law firm that didn’t have a culture of sending good-bye emails. I told people in my practice group I was leaving, and word got around in general, but not everyone knew exactly when, and naturally there wasn’t a happy send-off. I appreciated the short texts leaving the door open to stay in touch. About a year later, I’m in a better place mentally, in a job that’s a better fit for me, and have started reaching back out.

    • Definitely do not send flowers or any kind of gift. This person needs mental space and getting flowers from a work “friend” (colleague? – not sure how close you are) is not a way to accomplish that. Honestly I’d send a polite email saying whatever you want to say — keep it short and the point of it is – here is more personal contact info, let’s stay in touch. If/when the person moves past this job mentally (and takes care of their health), they’ll reach out if they wish. You shouldn’t be broken hearted if they don’t reach out ever – it isn’t about you; some experiences are so rough that all you can do is shut the door and never think of them again – even if there were a few nice people there who’d like to keep in touch.

      I personally go with email over text for this kind of thing bc people tend to keep their emails in gmail forever. So even if he/she isn’t interested now, if they are interested 6 months from now – they can pull it up and read it and contact you. Texts – they get the new iphone in October and that text you sent will be gone and forgotten.

      • Thanks.

        6 months ago, I would have described this person as a pretty close friend- we had worked closely together for 5 years and had gone through buying houses, having kids, and quite a significant season of life together. To go from that to zero makes me sad even though I fully get that it’s not about me.

        (Just to clarify on the flowers: it’s not uncommon for me to send a friend flowers if I know they’ve been dealing with health issues like this person has. Thank you for the context that it would be especially unwelcome as I would provide a reminder of Workplace.)

        • I get what you’re saying and I’m not sure why people are ragging on you. I’m from biglaw and you work such long hours with the same associates that life events get shared with them as well and you feel bonded and connected from that. In some cases, really strong outside of work friendships come out of that. In other cases though – such as when one person has to leave unwillingly/doesn’t get promoted etc. and the other gets to stay – it is up to the person pushed out and their mental state how much they keep in touch.

          I was the person pushed out — didn’t make partner even though I slogged for it and wanted it with all my heart — my favorite friend at the firm did make partner (she’s 4 yrs ahead of me so she didn’t take my spot or anything); awkwardly she was in the partnership meeting where it was decided that not only was I not in, but I was also going to be told to leave asap rather than allowing me to stay another 1-2 yrs as is standard (huge cost cutting measure back then). I know she walked on eggshells around me bc she knew I was broken at not making it, not being given a 2nd shot, AND being told to leave a job that I genuinely loved. She was kind and supportive but left the ball in my court — bc she didn’t know if I could stand to look at someone who had made partner, whether I blamed her bc she didn’t do anything to change her partners’ mind (like a 2nd yr partner has that kind of say). 4 yrs later that friendship is as strong as ever – but honestly it was my choice to stay engaged, not hers. And there are many many other firm friendships that are just LinkedIn friends that I see at reunions — bc it does hurt to deal with people from that firm who got to stay, I made the exception for my closest friend, but not for everyone bc talking to them just pulls me back into that sad place.

    • This. Is. Not. About. You.

      • Yep. I get that.

        • You don’t, though. If you did, you would stop asking what you can do and rejecting the idea that you should do nothing. Sure YOU would want this stuff if you were on the other side, this person clearly doesn’t! If you were a person they wanted to stay in touch with after they left, they would have reached out to you.

          You can be sad, there’s nothing wrong with that, but leave this person alone!

    • Anonymous :

      Is the coworker a man or a woman? Is this about something more than friendship?

      • This is funny to me- not in the slightest!

        Nope. Boils down to ‘I am in a situation that makes me sad and there’s no way for me to do something make it better for other person and I do not like either part of this.’

        • Anonymous :

          So be sad!!! That’s completely fine. Mourn the death of the friendship! Grieve! Feel your feelings!

          Just don’t reach out to the coworker.

  23. Can people just stop congratulating me on my non-existent baby? Certainly not making me feel better about weight gain.

  24. Maudie Atkinson :

    If you like this pick (and I do), this skirt reminds me of the Cuyana wrap skirt, which, at some point, was also available in leather. The non-leather one is a lower price point than this one, and the leather one is dreamy.

  25. A friend invited me to go to a book signing this weekend. The author is this dude she’s kind of flirting with, and she wants a wingwoman. I am happy to serve. HOWEVER, I am 0% interested in the book, and I’m kind of cheap. Does book signing etiquette mean I obligated to buy it anyway?

    • I think it kinda does. Do you know anyone who would be interested and you can tuck it away for holiday gifting?

      • Eh, just don’t ask him for an autograph/inscription. If you are hovering around as a wing-woman and have no interest in the book, make it clear to everyone else in the line that you are not getting a signature and then peel off when your friend gets to the table.

    • I think so. But I also kinda think your friend should buy your copy, since you’re only going as a favor to her.

    • I think that’s the price for your wingwoman services.

    • Baconpancakes :

      What? No. You don’t have to buy the book to be at the book signing. Most book signings are readings/signings, so you can just “come for the reading” and hang out with her. Just don’t get into line to get your non-existent book signed.

      • This. It’s perfectly ok to go just to go. No purchase necessary.

      • +1. Many moons ago, I worked at a bookstore. Plenty of people would come and see the author and not buy the book; it was never a big deal. Hardbacks are expensive! Especially because you’re there with a friend and you’re not interested in the book – don’t feel obligated to buy. Just casually wander away when she gets close to the signing table; I doubt anyone will even notice.

  26. What makes an academic poster not-boring? :

    For the first time ever, I’m writing up interim results from my research project, and presenting a poster at a conference. My boss has given me more freedom than guidance, but he specifically requested that the poster be attention-grabbing and unusual, even if that means breaking some of the norms for content and style. But, y’know, in a good way, not a gimmicky way. We’re on the interdisciplinary fringes of the field, (presenting IT info at an environmental conference), so we do have some leeway.

    But after years of formulaic lab excercises, I’m struggling to step back to just plain good communication. For those of you who attend a lot of these conferences: what qualities stood out about memorable posters you’ve seen? What makes you glance at a poster and immediately keep walking? When you do stop to read, what makes you roll your eyes and move on?

    • There is no gimmick or weird presentation that will make me stop. It’s all business to me. If a poster has horrible design/layout (hard to read, messy, garbled), I’m walking by. If it’s a clearly written poster that follows normal guidelines for font size, white space, graphics, etc., and I’m interested in the topic, then I’ll stop. If I don’t care about the topic, I won’t stop no matter what. Too many posters, and conferences are too tiring. So I’d say just make the best quality poster you can (lots of resources on the web about that) and forget the gimmicks.

      • What makes an academic poster not-boring? :

        I’m actually specifically avoiding gimmicks–we were looking at options like omitting less relevant software/hardware details to allow more white space. I am actually finding relatively few web resources dealing with quality poster design compared to writing a resume or a research article, which is why I’m asking here.

    • Not that Anne, the other Anne :

      Check out the Better Posters Blog by Dr. Zen Faulkes (yes, that is actually his name). Lots of good advice about poster design and before/after critiques. There’s a balance between attention grabbing and gimmicky, as you know, and you can cross the line into hot mess easily.

      • What makes an academic poster not-boring? :

        Awesome! Just the sort of resources I’ve been looking for. Thanks.

    • Patricia Gardiner :

      Features that make me more likely to stop and read a poster: Interesting graphics, and more charts or graphics than blocks of text. Font large enough to read without standing super close. Bullet points rather than blocks of text when possible. An interesting title!

      • Anonymous :

        Yes to all this- anything that makes it easier to see and understand after a busy day of listening to lectures and looking at other posters. Make it easy for people to see your point and how it relates to them and to their work. Yes – agree a good title can help direct people to your poster.

        • Anonymous :

          And when you’re there- don’t be shy about talking people through the highlights- have your short description of what you did, why, and the results- you can point your way through with viewers using your good graphics to aid in this. Thinking of it this way may even help in the flow and layout.

  27. For those of you who have dealt with anxiety, when do you decide “good enough”? I talked with my psychiatrist this morning and we’re trying switching one of the drugs I am on because she’s had a lot of people have better results with no increase in side effects. So it seems like a no brained. But part of me feels like I’m trying to chase some elusive ideal. Things aren’t bad now. There are days where I’m randomly anxious for no reason, but isn’t that bound to happen? Anyone dealt with these feelings?

    • I notice my anxiety meds are starting to work when I can see the anxiety and not react to it. I understand my anxiety meds are at the proper dosages when I don’t have the anxiety. Your anxiety is telling you that change is too scary. Your anxiety — like depression — is lying. Trust your doctor, change the meds.

    • I just had this discussion with a new psychiatrist last week. I said for me that my goal is not to get my anxiety and depression down to zero , because they are very normal reactions to the life situations I’m dealing with. They are my warning lights. I just want to take the edge off.

      My use of antidepressants will follow from that – I’m on a low to middle dose instead of maxing it out to make the anxiety and depression go away.

    • No, most people are not randomly anxious for no reason, and the goal of treatment for anxiety is to avoid this. To be reasonably anxious when there is a reason to be anxious, is the goal.

      So I agree that your doctor has likely concluded you can be in a better place, and has a good option to try. I’d trust them, and go for it.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      Are you happy with your level of functionality? Is your anxiety still having a negative impact on how you want to live your life? For me, it is all about how I want to live my life. I try to make sure I’m expressing what the negative impact is as clearly as I can, so my psychiatrist can help me determine what is realistic.

  28. Probably a dumb question, but how do you announce a pregnancy at work beyond your direct supervisor and close colleagues? I work in a large organization and there are probably about 50 or more people whose names I know, who I say hi to in the hall and who I work with very tangentially (sometimes we’ll be in the same meeting, etc). But I don’t know these people well on a personal level and I don’t work with them closely enough for them to care that I’ll be out on leave for a few months. I’m a pretty shy person in general who doesn’t volunteer a lot of info about myself unless asked directly (e.g., if someone says “How was your weekend?” I’ll normally just say “Good! How was yours?” rather than offering up information about what I did) and I feel weird going up to them and saying “GUESS WHAT I’M PREGNANT” but my husband says it’s super weird and secretive to just get very visibly pregnant without saying anything and I definitely don’t want to seem like I’m trying to hide anything, because I’m not.

    • Cornellian :

      I would not tell them. Word will get around from the group you do tell, and if it’s not going to affect them directly, it’s not really their business.

    • I work in a company of 80 people, and someone I never work with but say hi to in the hallways walked by my office this morning and I noticed she was pregnant. My exact thought was, “Huh, Jill must be having another child”…aaand I went back to what I was doing. Your pregnancy is a big deal to you (and congrats!), but not so much for others, who may not even notice you’ll be out for months :)

    • It’s not weird or secretive. You just mention it as it comes up. With some people that will be never and they’ll probably say something around the 8th month when it’s painfully obvious you’re not just eating too many sandwiches. I told anyone who needed to know and anyone who I thought might be offended if I didn’t tell them. I didn’t worry about the rest.

    • Do you not send an organization wide announcement, just tell the people you feel comfortable telling and trust me, it will get around.

    • It is kind of weird if you don’t tell ANYONE, but you mentioned there are a handful of people you are planning to tell. Tell the people you’re comfortable with and the news will likely spread.

    • Anonymous :

      I just saw a woman in a meeting that I’m acquainted with, and have had a few conversations with, and I noticed that she must be pregnant. I’m not in the “Oh my goodness — congratulations!!!!!” circle for her, I’m just in the pleasant-wishes-when-it-comes-up circle for her. Totally fine.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Discuss it when it impacts your work, i.e. when you are working on a project that will overlap your projected maternity leave and need to delegate or turn over tasks. I wouldn’t pretend it’s not happening, but I wouldn’t make an announcement, either. You wouldn’t announce an engagement company-wide, you would just tell your work friends and supervisor to schedule the honeymoon vacation time. Someone might notice a ring and congratulate you, and you can chat about it, but you wouldn’t bring it up. Same thing here, just the leave is longer.

    • Pregnant right now and I never officially announced to anyone outside of my direct team or to anyone I didn’t also have a personal/friendly relationship with outside of work, even though I work with lots of other colleagues on a regular basis. The grapevine took care of it for me and I’m really glad it worked out that way.

  29. So had posted a long time ago (last yr probably) about how I was intimidated by a certain dr. — I’m someone who gets nervous and needs doctors to be chatty (all drs. – not just women), but then I’m also not someone who is ok going to someone just bc they have a nice bedside manner — they must be w an academic health system, thorough, experienced, and an MD. And I had just moved to a city where there’s a doctor shortage and it’s impossible to find an experienced MD taking new patients so I had to stick with the 1 person I found fulfilling all the criteria. I found her to be too direct (not hesitant at all to say scary things), not chatty but very thorough – but not unkind or anything.

    So went in yesterday for a minor issue (possible strep) and I have to say, in the last yr, I’ve grown to like her “understated” approach. The same person who has firing rapid fire questions at me initially (did the same yesterday), encouraged me to go straight home from her office instead of back to work, and took my blood pressure 3 separate times to make sure my heart rate was coming down thru the visit bc she wasn’t comfortable with how fast it was. And of course now that I’m sold on her — she’s leaving the practice to go to a nearby regional health system — I am strongly considering following her . . . .

    • Glad you found a good fit, and gave the doctor time. I remember your post, and the anxiety provoking questioning of your first visit. But that is the sign of a good doctor in my book, even though it may feel a bit …… invasive.

      Yes, you should follow her. And she can still give you recs of who to see in the old place for specialists etc.. if they are in your network and finances become an issue by following her.

      Do you think you may also have a mild anxiety issue that she can help you address? Your high heart rate etc..

    • Flats Only :

      Not sure what your question is – are you concerned that since she’s heading to a regional system and not an academic one that the care won’t be as good? Honestly, I think most good nurse practitioners could diagnose strep, and unless you have some other very serious underlying issue you will be fine seeing her if she’s at a regional system. Maybe my HMO has me duped, but I think for most routine stuff you can rely on nurse practitioners and other lower level folks, who are usually more available, and save the M.D.s time for the big issues.

      • Anonymous :

        Nope -no question. Just posted as a follow up bc a BUNCH of people had responded to me last yr. I agree you don’t NEED an MD for strep — but given an underlying cardiac issue (dealt w by a cardiologist), I tend to prefer MDs for everything. To the poster above – I’m sure there is some anxiety, but also a cardiac issue causing the heart rate too. I will look into following her to the new place.

  30. Rehab/detox :

    So I’ve decided I prob need to go into medically supervised alcohol detox. Looking st some one to two week programs. I’m going to tell my coworkers im going in vacation but I’ll need to tell my boss something else because I need to use sick time for this ( i don’t have enough vacay saved up, but coworkers are unlikely to notice because if a bunch of reasons unique to our organization). If possible I’d like to tell him some medical reason that isn’t the real reason. Assuming he doesn’t request a dr note, what would you tell him?

    Also, I understand some of you might have opinions about whether lying to my boss/coworkers is the right choice here and also on whether 1 to 2 week programs are a good idea.. I respect that but that’s not my question… I’m hoping for some helpful responses and would be truly grateful for any suggestions. thanks everyone.

    PS: also welcome suggestions for *non12step* detox places. looking for more of a compassionate/healing environment as opposed to boot camp/tough love approach.

    • I would tell him that you have a medical condition that requires treatment for X number of days and you will be out of the office between Y and Z dates. Or something vague like that.

    • I probably wouldn’t be specific. “inpatient procedure that requires 7-14 days recovery on average” or something like that. Both because I prefer not to lie (no judgement, it’s just easier to keep life straight that way), and because I prefer not to set the precedent that I’m going to go into details about the medical stuff. This way it’s clear from the start that I want some privacy. Probably would have some other responses lined up like “Yeah, it’s something I’ve needed to take care of for a while and I can’t put off any longer” or “Ugh I’d rather not get into the gory details but no need to worry, it’s all going to be fine”. etc. (And it’s my understanding that a doctor’s note shouldn’t require disclosing the condition – I could be wrong here though)

      • +1

        I wouldn’t tell your coworkers it’s a vacation- you don’t need them asking about it or accidentally saying in a few months that you’re so ready for a vacation and someone saying “didn’t you just take two weeks?” This is what would happen to me, for sure.

        I totally respect your right to lie to them, but I think it be easier if you just relied on “medical issue” where people won’t pry.

        Good luck :)

    • (Oh and I forgot to say – good luck, and it’s wonderful that you’re taking the steps to start healing. Lots of warm, compassionate, healing vibes headed your way, I’ll keep you in thoughts/prayers as you prefer over the next few weekds).

    • You may want to tell your boss that you’re going to lie to your coworkers, because the boss may get confused if he hears your coworkers talking about your vacation when you claim to be out on sick time.

    • Anon addiction therapist :

      Good on you for being willing to go. I agree that generally saying you need a prolonged medical treatment, emphasis on medical, is the way to go.

      As for treatment centers, the division between boot camp vs. healing approach does not track with the division between 12-step and not. Caron and Hazelden-Betty ford are both 12-step informed but also known as the most professional and compassionate, including for aftercare, which you may need. They’re very used to working with professionals.

      That said, if you insist on not having 12-step models around you The Retreat may suit you. They have locations in PA and FL.

    • Rehab/detox :

      Thanks for all the replies so far. I forgot to mention, I want to tell him something specific so he *doesnt* speculate.

      • Anon addiction therapist :

        A routine but time-sensitive surgery?

      • Just know,… he won’t wonder as much as you think. I promise.

        Good luck, and …. We’re all very proud of you today. Your posting here is going to push several people who read here to look carefully at their lives.

        • +100 I had a very sensitive women’s health related surgery a year ago and was out for 14 days. I told my male boss it was a surgery and I would be 100% unavailable for X days, and would work from home for days 12-14, and will be back in the office thereafter. Full stop.

          Frankly, I think my lack of offering details made him get the hint to not ask for them. I’m not an oversharer on personal stuff, but if it were like a hip replacement I would have simply said it was a hip replacement…ya know? I work in a 30-person office where EVERYONE is up in one another’s business. I’ve never had so many people NOT ask me what was up. Lack of detail was sufficient to make even the most obnoxious shut up and mind their own business.

        • Flats Only :

          You are right. In my experience many men are pretty squeamish, so if the reason you give will “check the box on the form” they won’t pry because they’re afraid of getting a half hour of gross details that will make them feel icky.

      • Wisdom tooth extraction? Removal of or donation of a kidney? Removal of a gall bladder due to gallstones (my mom had this done so it is a thing)? Hysterectomy?

    • This may vary by state and employer, but in places I’ve worked, this would have to be taken as a medical leave/short-term disability. Which means paperwork with the real reason for the leave. If you work for a large organization, there should be HR people who handle it, and your reason for the leave would remain confidential. I would advise you review any HR intranet/handbook you have to see if this applies for you.

      Also, good on you for making what must be a very difficult decision. You’re doing the right thing to take care of yourself. Tons of support from an internet stranger/friend!

    • For recommendations, a relative had a successful experience at Warrior Lodge Bradford. They have a program for licensed professionals (MDs, pharmacists, RNs, lawyers) and the approach is to ensure that the participants can maintain/resume their careers. So if you’re an attorney that might be better than going in a general population where concerns might be different.

      Good luck to you and here’s to recovery.

    • Anonymous :

      Good luck. Detox places generally don’t hit you over the head with the steps. The point of detox is not to treat the alcoholism but to make sure that you do not get hurt during detox. Delirium tremens can be deadly.

    • Anonymous :

      Proud of you. A good friend has been sober nearly 3 months, and it took 2 hospitalizations for him to get there. Please be kind to yourself.

      This friend did an IOP (intensive outpatient program) the 2nd time. You go daily for several hours to individual and group therapy, yoga, nutrition, etc. That may be something to support your recovery after the inpatient treatment.

      As for work, I wouldn’t tell your coworkers its vacation in case your boss overhears and is confused. Just say, you need to take 2 weeks off for a medical procedure and recovery. I would be vague and say, I’ll have a doctor’s note for the time off and a release for when I may return to work.

    • Maudie Atkinson :

      No suggestions, but there’s a stranger rooting for you in Atlanta. Good on you for taking care of yourself, and good luck. .

  31. Any tips on choosing a wedding photographer?

    When I got married the first time in 2006, photographers were just making the transition from film to digital, photojournalism was the hot new thing, and technology was laughable. While I really clicked with my photographer as a person (which was why I hired her over a chilly photographer from the local newspaper whose style I slightly preferred), most of my photos turned out grainy (early technology), way too many were stiff and posed, and I got almost none of the shots I wanted.

    These days with Pinterest broadcasting trends overnight and better technology, all the photographers I’m looking at seem about equal. What should I be looking for?

    • Most wedding photographers have a blog, and when you meet with them in person they will show you portfolios including lots of pictures from weddings.

      • Ha, um, yes, I got that part ;) I meant, is there some secret to differentiating them when they all seem equal in skill and practically identical in style and all have great reviews? Some “tell” I can look for on their blogs or websites. They just all seem the same.

        • Mostly what you see in their portfolio is what you get. Many photographers will be similar and some will work with each other as second shooters, so there will be little friend groups of people with similar styles. I would see who is available for your dates and meet a couple to talk about how they do their job to see if it matches what you’re looking for. You could also just do engagement photos and see how they turn out first, if you’re really nervous about selecting someone.

        • No, I don’t think there’s some “secret” to wedding photographers. If you’re choosing between equal skill/value/reviews, I’d go with the one you like the most as a person.

        • If style looks to be the same to you, consider the following factors:
          (1) personality fit – you spend the whole day with them and don’t want to be looking annoyed at them in pictures
          (2) cost and what package includes – does it have what matters to you?
          (3) responsiveness, availability, flexibility and other details that will matter in de/increasing your stress. Yelp might give you a good idea of others’ previous experiences.
          (4) creativity – do they have ideas for locations or shots to include? Does that matter to you? For us, we only cared that they could think on their feet and didn’t want them asking us on our wedding day “what next?” like we had seen in other people’s weddings.

          Then once you pick one, if you want specific shots, tell them that. If you want photos of specific people, give them a list of those names. Plan a timeline and then move on to the next to-do.

          • Senior Attorney :

            +1 to everything nutella said, especially #1. Your photographer is at your side all day long and it needs to be somebody you like. Also, it is SUPER important to give the list of shots you want.

    • Veronica Mars :

      Pick someone in budget with nice photos and book an engagement shoot with them. You’ll have the engagement photos early and you can review if you want to do a full wedding contract with them. You can then see if you click in person and if you feel comfortable being photographed. Most will take the cost of the engagement shoot off the wedding package.

      • So, I had maybe kind of an atypical experience, but we did an engagement shoot and absolutely loved the photos and then were really disappointed with our wedding photos. The engagement shoot was so relaxed, and the photographer took time to put us in all kinds of different poses and locations so we have a great diversity of photos. The wedding photos are mostly fine from a technical perspective, but the ceremony ones were all shot from the same location (seriously – she planted her feet on the ground and did not move for the entire ~1 hour ceremony) and then in the reception she only photographed people on the dance floor – which means we have lots of photos of us and our college buddies, but none of our extended families. Even my husband’s parents aren’t in our wedding photos except for the formal portraits. And our formal portraits were rushed and all shot from the exact same angle and the same poses. You can go through them like a flipbook and DH and I don’t move, it’s just different people swapped in and out. I’ve seen formal portraits from other weddings that are a lot more creative and have one family in one location or pose and another family in a different location or pose, etc. Even my mom, who almost never has a bad word to say about anything, “I could see [the photographer’s] creative eye a lot more in your engagement photos.”
        So I guess I would say doing an engagement shoot is a good test run, but make sure you look at their wedding portfolios and talk about what to expect with the actual wedding photography as well, because an engagement shoot is done under very different conditions.

        • Veronica Mars :

          I don’t think you can control for that though–although I think it’s generally recommended to hire at least 2 photographers (photographer + assistant) for large events.

    • Ask to see full albums- we saw lots of people with pretty instagrams and one-of pics, but then when I saw a full album I realized those were the best 10 photos they ever took and the rest of the photos in the albums were kind of blah.

      Also some photogs tend to take more bright photos, and some more dark/moody- identify which style you prefer. Ask if they need to be front and centre to take pics or if they value being more discreet. Second shooters if necessary. I judge people based on response time and how professional they appear as well. Ask if they’re willing to take certain shots if you request them, or if they want to run with their own style. Do you get high res copies of all pics? only some?

    • Personal recommendations are always good. If you don’t have local friends/acquaintances in a position to make any, post your location here.

      Our wedding photographers were a married couple doing beautiful photojournalism-style work in 2005. An ex-boyfriend’s sister had used them, and we contacted them, met with them, and clicked. (Wedding was in Santa Fe, in case that’s relevant for you!)

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      I’d recommend looking closest at reviews for how they work.

    • Read reviews and recommendations, speak with them via phone or meet in person to see if their personalities mesh with yours (you’re going to be spending A LOT of time with them on an important day) and ask to see a few full albums with weddings from start to finish. Also, someone who ran their business like a business was important to me (did they promptly respond to my emails/calls? were they professional and courteous?).

      Also, compare not only prices, but packages and what you get included in your “base fee” (engagement session, prints, digital rights, album, etc.). There were lots of photogs who seemed to be within the same price range, but once you added in all of the extras or other things you might want, the fees for certain photographers increased dramatically.

  32. I’m helping with a conference at my law school. We’re having about 20 local professionals (some lawyers, some industry folk, a few professors, etc) speak on panels, moderate panels, and give speeches. I’ve been put in charge of deciding on gifts for these professionals. I have about $25/person. Last year’s conference gave university mugs filled with candy. I’d like to do something different. Any great ideas?

    • I’m a frequent speaker at my alma mater and the university coffee mug with candy is my favorite gift. I did not enjoy the university-branded-stick-on pouch/slot-for-cards-on-the-back-of-your-phone thing and university post-its and pens the next year. Maybe a university travel mug with candy and/or a Starbucks GC?

    • Clementine :

      University Tervis tumblers with hot and cold lids.
      Nice stainless alma mater travel mugs.

      I like travel mugs for this type of thing and a nice cold cup is always appreciated. With $25, you could actually get nicer (I’m thinking brand name Tervis) ones which I’m sure would be more appreciated than candy.

    • If you want to do something that isn’t a mug, I’ve gotten umbrellas w/school logo and enjoyed that because, hey, you can always use an extra umbrella.

      • Anonymous :

        I was just coming here to suggest an umbrella; that was the most useful thank-you I ever got from doing a CLE.

        • +1 I went to law school, and have worked at two, and the umbrellas from all three are my favorite!

    • Anonymous :

      Look into portable chargers with the logo on it. It will get used and be desired as a gift.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      All of these suggestions are good! I love a solid travel mug or umbrella!

      In case you were considering it, don’t do a tote bag/reusable grocery bag. Pretty sure I’m getting divorced if I bring home one more.

  33. Veronica Mars :

    Pick someone in budget with nice photos and book an engagement shoot with them. You’ll have the engagement photos early and you can review if you want to do a full wedding contract with them. You can then see if you click in person and if you feel comfortable being photographed. Most will take the cost of the engagement shoot off the wedding package.

  34. Lost outfit mojo :

    Right now I like my clothing, but am having trouble putting outfits together. Not sure why this is happening, except that for the past six months, I have been steadily purging, and perpetually have a bag for good will on the office/ second bedroom floor (so maybe I am not replacing key bridge elements of an outfit)

    I have replaced some cardigans, and some black jeans, as well as bought a few new pieces, but I am still struggling putting outfits together that look good. My husband (aka fashion stylist) will tell me if something looks good or off on me, but at times, I just cannot figure out what I could be doing to look more out together. This is disheartening, as I used to think of myself as having a great eye for mixing colour combos, and accessories. I favour dresses and skirts, but even with dresses, I am struggling to find the right shoes/ boots, and toppers. I’m not sure what I should do when I stare into my closet trying to come up with outfits.

    • Look up capsule wardrobes on Pinterest for inspiration. Lots of ways to mix and match pieces.

  35. Weight Watchers? :

    Weight Watchers, convince me that I should give it another go. I have 70ish lbs to lose, and I want to do it right. I have been successful on the program exactly once (in law school, so 15 years ago). Years went by where I paid monthly, went to meetings, had sporadic and short-lived smallish losses. Quit WW. Had 2 babies. breastfeeding and a couple of successful Whole30s helped me maintain the status quo and get to pre-baby weight but not the weight/range/size that is healthy for me. I’m now feeling like I need to do something structured but perhaps not as dogmatic as Whole30 again. I’ve tried just tracking on MyFitnessPal but I think I need more accountablity. Hoping the hive has perspective on Weight Watchers and how the current iteration compares to years past. The Whole30s have me pretty solidly on the “whole food” bandwagon so I don’t foresee that I’d be leaning on SmartOnes and 2-point bars, etc., like I have in the past. Though I do exercise and strength train, my metabolism at 40 isn’t what it was and I’m well aware that any success I have will be primarily from diet, rather than exercise. Thoughts?

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve done it. I think it’s a solid program. I like that it focuses on an overall healthy lifestyle, encouraging more physical activity and positive self image no matter what your size. A few cautions:

      1) You are changing the way you eat basically for the rest of your life. I found it depressing to accept that I wasn’t going to lose the weight, be able to eat tons of chips/pizza again like when I was young and not regain. But this is the reality of any long term sustainable weight loss, not just WW. I miss being 16.

      2) I didn’t use artificial sweetener containing products or very many (if any) of the WW foods. I followed their points system but only cooked/ate whole foods. I strongly believe that artificial sweetener (for me) messes with my taste buds and my sense of sweet which leads me to crave sweets. I didn’t make a big deal out of this at meetings, I just avoided recipes or suggestions with artificial sweetener

    • Do it. Do it. Do it. You know it works for you. Tell yourself you’ll commit for a month – that’s it. Take advantage of the promos they’re always running (upon signing up initially, I got 3 free months after I lost 10 lbs in 2 months… or something like that? Mid year they were offering free fitbits for ‘new members’).

      I’m going to use “I statements” here so not to project on you, but I hope some of this resonates: I have to lose weight the way I intend to maintain weight. IE: elimination diets/whole30s/cleanses do not work for me. Quick fixes are not what I need, not what my body wants, and not a healthy, sustainable solution. I was successful online 5 years ago (49 lbs lost) and put nearly all of it back on after tossing the plan aside post wedding. In January I signed back up and, in search for higher accountability, went to meetings. I was unapologetic about shopping for a leader and a group that I liked. I was limited to weekend meetings, but am fortunate to have 4 locations within a reasonable driving distance (<20 mins) on a Saturday morning. When I found one I clicked with and felt a greater sense of community and accountability, the weight started melting off. I lost 35 in 7 months. I also became active on Connect (WW's "Facebook") and I found that hugely helpful. I used hashtags to search for fellow WW'ers with decent followings and excellent recipe ideas on Instagram (read: a community of real people, not people who have been churned through the WW PR training).

      I very, very reluctantly had to cancel my WW subscription when I found out i was pregnant in August. I had dreams of tracking while pregnant using the 'maintenance plan', but at least during this god awful first trimester where carbs are the only thing that keeps me from puking, it wasn't sustainable. However, so help me god, I'll be right back on it as soon as I can.

      It's not for everyone, but it sounds like at one point in your life it was for you. You can do it again – I did, and you can. Make it about small, digestible pieces – set a goal for next week, and the week after. Full stop. Hit those, feel successful, and then set the next goal thereafter. You can do this!!

      PS: I lost weight 5 years ago on PointsPlus. I find SmartPoints a lot…better? I can't really articulate why, but I had no issues converting from PP to SP, and with 5 years in between it wasn't like I had to do a hard reset in my brain. I had forgotten actual point values. I also very much latched onto this iteration's concept of 'move more' – fitpoints/strong arming to go to the gym. Just Move.More. I used to think to 'workout' you had to go to the gym and hate yourself on a stairmaster or in a class for an hour per day 5x/week. Turns out, walking more is exactly what 'move more' means. I actually cancelled my gym membership in January and have simply focused on moving more.

      • Thank you (and thanks to the other commenter who replied too)! I think I’m going to bite the bullet and sign up. Congrats on your pregnancy, I hope you feel better soon! Follow-up question: did either of you do the personal coaching? That wasn’t an option before and I’m sure I can always add it in if I decide I need it. Just curious.

        • I am not one of the previous posters, but I do WWer’s. I don’t do personal coaching and doubt it is really necessary. I do online only because I never have time for the meetings. The new phone app is really great and you can get a lot of accountability through the social aspect of the app.

          Regarding not relying on SmartOnes and 2 point bars– that is much easier to avoid on this iteration of the plan. Sugar (other than fresh fruit) is HIGHLY restricted on this version of the plan. Those fiber one bars that used to be 2 points– they’re now 6. But you can now eat as much fresh fruit as you want for 0 points. In other words, it’s definitely now much more geared toward whole, fresh foods.

    • anon a mouse :

      I did it about 12 years ago and lost 40 pounds. Slowly they crept back on (married, baby, life, wine, etc.). I restarted the program in August. I expect that next week I will hit the 10 pound mark.

      I don’t follow a strict plan like W30 but I’ve noticed how much more I crave/need protein, and how many more fresh fruits and vegetables I incorporate. With only a few exceptions (wine) I haven’t had a hard time incorporating it into my life. I’m far better about portion control and mindfulness. The first time around I was so clever with the points, like if I eat a Hershey bar for breakfast can I only eat baby carrots for the rest of the day and not go crazy? But this time around I’m a lot wiser about what I need to be a functioning human being.

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