Splurge Monday’s Workwear Report: Single-Breasted Velvet Tailored Jacket

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

Now that we’re moving into the holiday season, we’re seeing festive blazers coming out, and as always, I’m especially a fan of velvet blazers for work holiday parties when you don’t quite know what to wear and it’s not full-on cocktail attire. This pretty blue blazer from Self-Portrait looks great, and I like that it’s a skimming fit — not overly fitted but not oversized, either. I also like the inner chest pockets. It’s $545 at Neiman Marcus. Single-Breasted Velvet Tailored Jacket

A couple of more affordable options are from J.Crew ($168) and Kensie (on sale for $74); for plus sizes, here’s one from Tahari ASL (on sale for $96).

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  1. I think I like the Jcrew blazer better than the expensive pick, it looks more daytime appropriate whereas the Self Portrait one looks a bit too much like a tuxedo jacket.

    • I love that the Self Portrait option isn’t daytime appropriate! In my fantasy lifestyle where I go to glittery cocktail parties, I would wear the hell out of that blazer.

      • It’s beautiful! But yes, not work appropriate, especially as styled. Ha.

        • SO Anon for This :

          Although obviously not work appropriate as styled, I’ve always had a secret desire to be able to wear a blazer like that. Alas, I am not Victoria Beckham and do not want to show that much chest in any photo ever that anyone in my professional life could conceivably come across.

          That being said, I’ve absolutely tried it at home with one of my blazers and a good bra and it looks pretty freaking good on me, especially with super skinny pants.

    • Really hate the way the J Crew one is styled on the model though. Yikes.

    • The J Crew one is pretty “meh” imo.

  2. Birthday Gifts for a 1 yo :

    What do you get a 1 year old for her birthday? I’ve been invited to my cousin’s kid’s birthday this weekend and would like to bring a gift, ideally less than $20, but I have no idea what to get. Clothes? A stuffed animal? A blanket? At this age, do you even get something for the kid or is a gift for the parents more common?

    • Delta Dawn :

      A couple of board books: Goodnight Moon, Hungry Caterpillar, Brown Bear Brown Bear, or any books made of cardboard that you can find at Target, TJ Maxx, etc. You can ask your cousin if she already has those titles. Other ideas: box of plastic play food, lego Duplo sets (my little boy has a train Duplo set that he LOVES), small bubble machine and bottle of bubble solution. Think more “toddler” than “baby” for a one year old. A small gift for the kid is common; probably not a gift for the parents.

      • +1 a small board book or two. Totally fine to stay around $10-15. Nothing for the parents.

      • Anon in NYC :

        Agreed. Board books, bubbles, and duplos are all good ideas!

        You could also ask your cousin what s/he needs – once I got my friend a nice bath towel for her son, because he had outgrown his infant ones! Not at all exciting, but that’s what she wanted.

      • Get the First 100 Board Book Box Set (link in reply). It is $14 on Amazon Prime and those books are like baby/toddler crack. My son was obsessed with them. I got them for my nephew and my sister was skeptical about their greatness and then called me to tell me he wouldn’t put them down. They are also a great size for throwing in a bag to take to church or a restaurant and keep them entertained for way longer than most books.

        • https://www.amazon.com/First-100-Board-Book-books/dp/0312521065/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1510589432&sr=8-2&keywords=first+100+words&dpID=514CZz2fN-L&preST=_SX218_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch

      • +1 on board books. My kid loved the touch-and-feel books. This one was his favorite–he read it so much, it fell apart (and not because there was anything wrong with the quality of the book). https://www.amazon.com/ABC-Alphabet-First-Touch-Feel/dp/1589255925/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1510592611&sr=8-6&keywords=touch+and+feel+alphabet+book

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Board books, for sure. Barnes and Noble often has a buy-two-get-one-free on board books.

    • Pull toys are good for 1 year olds. Like those puppies or whatever on a string that kid pulls while walking. That’s usually $25 or under.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Gifts for kids are most common at first birthday parties. My daughter was given a cash register that she loved (though I had to hide the toy coins for a long time – choking hazard) because BUTTONS! At that age she was really into books that did something — like there is a book called “Waddle” by Rufus Butler Seder, or the classic “Dear Zoo” lift the flap type books. Also fun are musical instruments (but stick to the more pleasant sounding ones, like a toy piano or xylophone).

    • Board books. I like having a theme and getting a few by one author. Ideas for 1 YOs – Todd Parr, Jane Foster, or Sandra Boynton.

      • You could also do a theme around a subject. I like to give ‘going to bed’ books – you could do Goodnight, Moon, The Going to Bed Book and Hush Little Polar Bear. They’re great for nighttime routines.

    • Anything by Green Toys.

    • Birthday Gifts for a 1 yo :

      Thank you all for the suggestions! The board books are a brilliant idea!

  3. Paris, I don't love you :

    Hive, I need a hug and a pep talk. My boyfriend and I flew to Paris on Friday for a vacation before I speak at a conference here on Thursday. We broke up last night (long-simmering issues came to a head), and he flew back to the US this morning. I’m so sad and I just wish I was home, but I can’t leave because I have to be here Thursday for the conference. The time change makes it hard to talk with friends and family and I feel super lonely. Holing up in the hotel isn’t helping, but neither is getting out and walking around because it seems like the whole city is people in love.

    I feel like I should go eat all the pastries and drink all the wine and rock it as a solo trip, but I just can’t get the energy for it. Thoughts? Motivations?

    • Can you embrace the cliche of aloof French melancholy? I think I’d put on all black, grab a book, and head to a cafe where I’d sit, broodily sipping a cappuccino and pretending to be mysterious.
      Ok, that sounds more depressing than I meant it to. But think of it as a way to get out of the hotel and enjoy a little bit of Paris without the pressure to have the Single Girl in Paris Trip of a Lifetime.

      • +1.
        Maybe this is personality dependent, but Paris is a wonderful place to nurse a broken heart. It’s pretty much a genre onto itself. Embrace every cliche! Drink wine, walk along the Seine, let yourself feel all the feelings. It sucks to have a relationship end, especially on vacation in a world famous city of romance, but with any luck you will look back on this trip fondly one day. It may not seem that way now but it’s true. Don’t force yourself to do anything other than leave your hotel. All the hugs!

      • Rainbow Hair :

        There’s a Magnetic Fields song called “I Don’t Wanna Get Over You”* and there’s a verse that goes “I could make a career of being blue / I could dress in black and read Camus / Smoke clove cigarettes and drink vermouth / Like I was 17 / That would be a scream / But I don’t want to get over you…” and that’s pretty much 100% what I would do in your shoes. Black, reading at a cafe, drinking, smoking.

        <3 I'm sorry for this awful timing.

        *not suggesting this as a long term strategy, just a wallowing song.

    • Puddlejumper :

      Aww I am so sorry.

      My favorite thing I did in Paris was this:

      Check the hours and the times because they can be odd. And know that the tour is done in French (but our guide spoke english so he would translate a bit on the side). But when else do you get to ride carousels from the 1800s?Including the bike one from Midnight in Paris! Its a magical day where you will go feel like a child and its sure to distract you from thinking about life.

    • Anonymous :

      Seriously F that guy, he couldn’t hold himself together and act like a normal human being long enough to enjoy a trip to freaking Paris?? Who even is he? You are so much better off without that jerk. And btw that’s what like 70% of those cute couples are doing – they’re secretly resenting their SO for some stupid BS but it’s Paris so they’re faking it.

      You’re going to stop feeling sorry for yourself and enjoy this amazing city. Look at how awesome you are – you’re speaking at a conference in PARIS. Not attending, SPEAKING. That’s incredible. You’re clearly at the top of your game professionally. So stop wallowing in a hotel room and do all the things you wanted to do in Paris without that stupid boy holding you back. Thank god all these awesome memories you’re about to make won’t have him in them. Future you will be so happy that you made the most of this time.

      • Not even the OP, but i want you to be my friend.

      • I didn’t break up with a boyfriend in Paris,

        but you’ve just motivated me with this speech !

      • That is a really good point about him not being in the Paris memories. You have the chance to make some good Paris memories and if he had stayed and broken up with you after the trip, all your Paris memories would have been tainted by him being in them.

      • YES YES YES! Go totally SJP in Paris and make it an amazing trip – push yourself to explore, make memories. Dress up and take photos and feel good about yourself. You’ll look back on this trip and be amazed at yourself for how you didn’t allow him to take this experience from you. I second the people that said it may be hard – but do your best to enjoy your trip and relish the fact that you will get stronger for this because you didnt have anyone else to lean on for the time being.

      • My favorite alone in Paris memory: going to the Lourve during evening hours and getting lost in the 14th century church art while a thunderstorm raged outside. Take care of yourself.

      • Anonymous :


      • Sloan Sabbith :

        You may also read/listen to “Paris for One” by Jojo Moyes, which is kinda in the same realm. Go to cafes! Drink wine! Sip a latte on the sidewalk. Walk along the Seine and cry if you need to. Go to a museum and walk around. Take a boat tour!

        • Nudibranch :

          Yes! This story would be a fun read since nearly the same thing happens to the main character.

      • All of this! Plus, you may find that while you don’t have the energy, if you just force yourself to get out in that amazing city, the energy will come. A friend took some pastry making classes in Paris a couple months ago–maybe something like that that gives you a task, stimulates your brain, but isn’t in the mob of tourist crowds might be a way to start?

    • Oh My, your experience is bringing back so many memories. My ex broke up with me on a big trip too and I had to stay for another week after.

      Make the best playlist to express how you feel/ pick up a good book, some Joan Didion or something and force yourself to walk, sit in a park and listen/read. totally cool to cry, totally ok not to be your best self right now.

      Lots of hugs and support. Breakups are hard even for She-Ra.

      • Anonymous :

        I find anything by Ellen Gilchrist great to read after a break up. Her characters make me feel powerful. Thinking of you – you’ve got this!

    • I’m so sorry that you’re going through this–that sounds so, so difficult. Please be kind to yourself and don’t feel like you have to adhere to someone else’s standards for rocking a solo trip. Feel what you feel. Do a combination of what feels right to you in the moment, and what You in Five Years Time, Looking Back would think is right. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do or see in Paris? Try and do those things. But give yourself a pass on the small stuff if all you want to do is curl up in your hotel room with baguettes, pate, and seven different varieties of cheese.

    • Aquae Sulis :

      I’m so sorry to hear this.

      Trust your gut on the best thing to do, but wine and pastries can’t hurt, even if they are in your hotel room.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m so sorry, that sounds miserable. I guess I would say it’s fine to just wallow. Don’t feel like you have to have an amazing solo trip to Paris. This isn’t really a vacation, it’s a business trip, and business trips – even ones to places like Paris – are often lonely and not that fun. Just get through the work related stuff and in your free time, feel free to do whatever makes you happy in the moment, even if it’s just hanging out in your hotel room watching Netflix.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      If your conference isn’t until Thursday, could you do a short jaunt to somewhere nearby and return for your conference? Malaga, Spain is only a 2 1/2 hour flight away. Sorry you are dealing with this. I’m glad he at least had the means to get himself home early and you aren’t stuck together for the duration of the trip. I flew back from Asia a few days ago and there was a couple fighting in the airport who had clearly broken up mid vacation and were still arguing who should have sucked up the change fees to be on a different flight. They did successfully change their seats at least.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Maybe this will help: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CMfJY-ZzkKY

    • Sending hugs and a stiff upper lip :

      What a complete jerk. I’m sorry, but I can’t fathom someone just upping and leaving like that. Stop a sec and look at the bigger picture: You’re only in Paris for a few days. There will be plenty of time to mope and reflect later. Get out there and force yourself to go to a museum. Force yourself to go on a guided tour. Force yourself to walk from point A to point B and stop and shop and eat along the way if anything looks interesting. There will be time to for wallowing later (or even tonight). Right now you’ve got a host of distractions. Try to pretend to be happy and let yourself be distracted. You’ll find by the time you’re ready to reflect that you’re in a much better headspace.

      I’m sorry, but sitting and wallowing like some of the other suggestions? No way! Do that after your speech is done and your on the way home. Now put on some comfy shoes and go find something to divert your attention for a bit.

      You’ve got this.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Do a tour or a class with Paris by Mouth. We did the cheese/wine tasting and it was just a bunch of fun Americans sitting around a table eating 12 cheeses and tasting 6 wines and although yes, it was couples, everybody was super nice and it was really fun.

      And All The Hugs and +1,000,000 to Anonymous at 9:02 a.m!!

    • I suggest doing something that your ex wouldn’t have wanted to do with you, something quirky or that fits with one of your particular hobbies or interests. It could be shopping or hearing choral music or seeing a particular niche art museum, etc. (For instance, on a get-over-him trip to/around London, I went to the Bath fashion museum and saw a so-bad-it-was-good musical, among other more mainstream tourist activities.)

      Also, my favorite place to brood in Paris is the Rodin museum. Something about those gardens is so peaceful and pensive and melancholy, particularly in late fall/early spring.

      If you don’t need to be in Paris between now and Thursday, you could always take the train to London or Bruges or Frankfurt or Luxembourg or pretty much anywhere in France. That might feel less like city-of-romance or like you’re missing out on a vacation you planned with your ex.

    • Hug’s to you. I can NOT believe he broke up with you on Foreign Soil! FOOEY! Doesn’t he know that you would feel lost in any event? If you paid for his flight, demand he pay you back! And to make up for it, go out and have a great time in the city of Light’s! Dad says some of his best rememberances was on the LEFT Bank, rubbing shoulders with the locals (and If I know my dad, other places too — and with women that could be the mothers of my step brothers / sisters! — DOUBEL FOOEY!).

      But to be serius, go out, mingle and meet other peeople. It is better then sitting in your hotel room mopeing about loseing a schmoe like him. Men are so fickel. One day, they can’t wait for you to have s-x with them, and the next day, we are getting dumped b/c they are haveing s-x with another women. TRIPEL FOOEY!

    • I’m the anon above who found out her best friend of five years is really a j*rk in a breakup. I’m not even in Paris, but I seriously bought a (small) wheel of really nice brie. You should do the same (if you like brie) because you’re in Paris and you can get some really good cheese. So I give you permission to eat a wheel of brie, with some really nice baguette. And give yourself permission to wallow a little.

  4. Slow Down :

    Can someone remind me to slow down and enjoy my relationship how it is right now? BF and I had a serious conversation about things moving forward/our 5-10 year plans a few weeks ago, and we’re both on the same page (yay!), except that my ideal timeline towards a wedding is shorter than his by a couple of years. Logically, his timeline makes more sense in light of our career goals and some other personal factors. However, I want everything to happen Right Now, which makes me feel like a rom-com cliche. There’s no good reason to speed anything up, but I’m just naturally an impatient person. I want to be able to keep enjoying the dating part of my relationship and not rush towards marriage, but I keep forgetting that and end up with 8 tabs of wedding dresses open on my lunch break. Does anyone have tips or mantras or ways of looking at things to keep my cool?

    • If everything happened super quickly, it would become pretty boring pretty quickly! Marriage, new house, kids, and then what?? You find yourself longing for your carefree dating days and wondering what now?

      That said, part of the fun in now is day dreaming. As long as it isn’t actually upsetting you, I say enjoy looking at all the wedding dresses you want; it’s all part of the experience.

      • As a new mum, it’s hard to imagine having enough time to myself to think longingly about anything!

        OP, there is a season for everything. As long as you are actually in agreement about the timeline for marriage (if you aren’t then keeping talking until you both agree), then this is the season for carefree love and daydreaming about wedding dresses! There will be a season for hurt feelings as you try to meld 2 families together, and compromises as you try to accommodate 2 careers, but you will need to foundation of fun, passion, love and communication that you build now to get you through those times.

    • Anonymous :

      Someone can not make you enjoy the relationship. If it’s not on your timeline it’s a problem not to be brushed under the rug. You’re feelings matter. Your timeline matters. Some men will push commitment out as long as possible to avoid conflict and avoid commitment. How often do you see a couple who dated for years with the women hoping for a ring and then within 6 months of breaking up the man is engaged to someone new. Not saying this is your BF but it does happen. My point is to listen to your feelings.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m pretty tired of women being told they should just be patient, eventually their man will come around. It’s OK to want what you want. It’s OK to not want to wait around until we’ve both finished our zillionth post-grad degree and completely paid off our student loans and whatever other seemingly-impossible goals he’s putting in the way. At some point it comes down to what you think marriage is and how you view your relationship today. Does he not want to get married because he doesn’t want to put the relationship above an educational or career opportunity? Does he think he should be a “provider”? What is the actual reason for the disconnect between what each of you wants?

      • Anonymous :


      • +1

        “A couple of years” is a long time, especially when you are talking about the next 5-10 years! What is the substantive issue? Waiting to get married for the sake of feeling like you dated “long enough” is not a real reason IMHO. And marriage doesn’t mean you have to go straight to kids (or ever!).

      • Anonymous :

        +1 My now-husband said I love you first, but when we started talking about marriage, he initially wanted to wait four years, since that’s how long his previous relationship lasted. I was interested in something much sooner. We continued to talk about it and ended up getting engaged at 1.5 years and married at 3. You’re allowed to have and express your feelings too. Pay attention to how he responds to your feelings (is he open to talking about it? does he dismiss them?).

      • Slow Down :

        I’m with you on thinking it’s dumb that women are told to “just be patient!” But in this case he’s not putting “seemingly-impossible goals” in my way. We both want to get married and we both have pretty long timelines for that to happen. My thought is that it would work in 3-4 years, his thought is 4-5 years, so there’s definitely a good compromise in there. My problem is that even though the timeline that I actually want is 3-4 years, some part of me keeps wanting to just get married ASAP. I have a lot of friends getting married right now, so I think that’s getting to me a little. I know it’s not a good idea to get married until I’m ready, and I’m definitely not ready! But I’m just struggling a little with my internal conflict between logical steps and dreamy wedding festivities :)

        • Wow. 4-5 years??? Maybe it’s because I’m anciently old (33), but if someone told me he wanted to marry me but not for half a decade, I would not be okay with that. It’s one thing if you are 22 years old and think you’re just getting caught up in a swirl of “everyone else is doing it”. But if you’re in your late 20s or older, especially if you want to have kids, it’s not unreasonable to want to get married sooner rather than later.

        • So, I’m super single and have had a lot of friends get married in the past year, and I think being surrounded by wedding stuff makes it easy to fantasize about weddings and dresses and rings and whatnot. I do it, too (and I am also anciently old, and will not be having my own wedding any time soon, or maybe ever). I think that part’s normal. But it may be worth it to you to figure out what marriage means to you, and why you want or don’t want it now.

        • Maybe get engaged sooner and leave the wedding for later?

        • Wow why? Why wait 4-5 years? Are you 22 or something?

          And if you do want to wait that long you need to quit with anything wedding related. Give it up like bad drugs.

        • Sounds like you don’t actually want to wait that long. Which is fine. You can want to get married or engaged now. There’s nothing wrong with that. Own your feelings on this!

      • All of this, plus – I’m sorry to say this, but everyone I’ve known who’s waited 4-5 years to get married because “I need to get my money right,” “I have to wait till my sibling gets married,” “my horoscope says 5 years from now is the right time,” or whatever other reason eventually broke up. Usually because the partner pushing for the delay was really just on the fence about the relationship and was keeping their options open for something better. If someone genuinely wants to get married, that is very doable at basically any time. I frankly don’t see the point in waiting 5 years to get married when you both know you want to get married. My husband and I built everything we had together, after getting married when we had nothing. If this guy doesn’t want to build together, he may be shining you on. Be honest about what you want, OP, and don’t be fast to let go of it.

        • Yup. They all break up. If you want to get married then you get married.

        • SO true. +1million.

        • Anonymous :

          I agree! My husband and I got married when we were young, broke graduate students and have built a solid life together in the last 12 years. We were (and still are) so in love that we didn’t see any reason to wait!

        • Anonymous :

          I have some friends who married their high school sweethearts and are very happy, so the 5 years they dated wasn’t an indicator of the weakness of their relationships.

          But you’re probably at least 25. Translate “4-5 years” as “He isn’t sure he wants to be with you but would quite like you to give him the best dating years of your life.”

          Every couple (but one) I know who dated for years as adults either broke up (with the woman wondering if she would ever have kids), unhappily married, or divorced.

          Wait for the weddings to die down; stop dreaming about dresses and think about the day to day life of marriage; and keep your eyes open towards how he acts re: commitment.

          Men who are in love don’t wait to commit.

        • I don’t precisely agree with what people are saying here. I do think that it doesn’t take 4-5 years to decide that you want to be with someone long-term, and there are pretty much always serious problems if it’s been a couple years and your partner still is on the fence as to whether you’re their person. I don’t see any issue with waiting 4-5 years to get married though, if that’s what you both decide you want to do (and I don’t see any meaningful difference between you thinking 4 years is a good time to get married and him thinking 5 years; that’s just a matter of logistics to be worked out).

          My husband and I moved in together after about a year and a half of dating and had decided at that point that we wanted to be together long-term. We didn’t actually get married until 4 years after we met, largely because of the logistics involved in planning a wedding (and me wanting to pay off my student loans first). We got married when I was 32. Just want to provide a counterpoint that you can be committed to someone without getting married in a 2 year timeframe or whatever. On the other hand, if it’s been 2 years and one of you is still not sure that the other person is it… that’s a different situation.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Sing it! I push back SO HARD on the patriarchal idea that it’s the man who gets to decide when to pull the trigger on marriage! You are a person who wants things and that is SO OKAY! Go out there and want what you want, and if your current SO doesn’t want those things, then he’s not the right one for you!

    • Anonymous :

      I know your pain! I am so, so, so Charlotte York from SATC. Exhausted from dating and just wanting to be DONE.

      FWIW, I know a bunch of couples who married before finishing their educations. I think it made them grow up a lot and work on what worked as a couple (so if you are so into careers that you have to to X and if spouse doesn’t have a path that includes X, you do X and ditch the spouse, that won’t work) first while jugging couple and two career goals. It’s not for everyone, but they are among the strongest couple units that I know.

      OTOH, if he is great, dating is great and not the thing that makes you OMG so exhausted, so maybe there is no need to rush until you are done (and his view may change to OMG can’t let this one get away (or to “so not fair to string this great girl along that I’ll propose when my residency is over”)). Dating ought to be a varsity sport.

    • Anonymous :

      How old are you both and are you done with school? School can be a big relationship wild card. But if you are both done, both timelines seem to be really long. There’s “when I want to be married by” and then there is “how long until I know if you are the one.” Those to me are really different. The second question shouldn’t take that long to figure out (and once you know, and he knows, I’m not sure that the first timeline should matter anymore).

    • Ok, realistically, what do you expect to change when you get married? Are you waiting to move in together? Do you want kids sooner? The relationship itself shouldn’t change once you have a ring on your finger.

    • Any chance that the wedding-dress-browsing is more about having a pleasant “project”/milestone to look forward to, rather than about actually getting married-right-now? I’ve found myself daydreaming about future things as a symptom that there wasn’t enough good going on “today”, usually remedied by tackling something like a new home decorating project or planning a vacation or (over)planning an elaborate new gym routine or whatever… That seems to occupy those spare brain cycles and give the satisfaction that was otherwise missing.

    • As an impatient person myself – I have found there is usually a deep seeded reason for the impatience. For me, many times the impatience was due to fear of losing something, fear of failure or fear of the unknown. Therefore I wanted to grasp the thing I wanted quickly and firmly. This may not be the case for you at all, but it worth thinking about. Is your impatience possibly linked to feelings you want to cover up or push away? Also, I have found when you rush from one season to the next, it goes so fast that you look back and you tell yourself “I wish I hadn’t rushed that, that place in hindsight was a very good, comfortable spot.” Because every new season has its positives and negatives. If I rush I remind myself to savor the moment because every second and every day is a gift. Not to be taken for granted because nothing is promised.

  5. I posted a while ago about how a close friend of 5 years told me he is in love with me (while I was in the process of breaking up with guy who was not over his divorce). I decided to give it a try with friend since I cared for him so much and I really wanted something to work out (and, as many of you pointed out, our friendship was already irretrievably changed after him telling me of his feelings for me). I wish I had a happy update – but it turns out that the poster (I think it was Rainbow Hair?) who warned me that this guy might have a weird sense of entitlement to me was completely right. (Unfortunately.) After less than two months of dating I knew that it just wasn’t there for me, and I decided to end it (in as kind and respectful of a way I could – it’s never easy to break up with someone, in particular when that someone is your best friend too). Well, things took a really bad turn – he went on long rants about what my feelings and fears are (without actually asking me), telling me I was making a huge mistake, and then sending me f-bomb laced, horrible texts while I was sleeping.

    It really hurts because this guy was the good guy in my life. He was always there for me, and we did everything together, and he has treated me with such kindness over the last 5 years. But, as I’ve been told, you only really know who someone is when things are not going well. (I think someone told me you should find a guy who wouldn’t just be good to be married to, but who would also be good to you in a divorce – so true.)

    I am feeling so ragey on behalf of myself and womankind. Any woman has the right to say no to a relationship without being subject to texts saying “f*ck you” etc.

    Please share your stories of kindness from your significant other, so I can stop feeling so bleak about the world this morning?

    • Triangle Pose :

      I’m sorry you are going through this. I remember your first post. It’s unfortunately. Get away from him. You have better friends and girlfriends who will treat you well.

    • I’m so sorry. This seems like the year of the horrible, entitled manbeast, and it’s terrible that you had to experience that kind of behavior from someone you trusted and loved. That makes the betrayal doubly difficult.

      I don’t know if this fits exactly with what you were asking for, but last night my SO and I had a long, difficult conversation about emotional labor and me feeling like my needs aren’t being met. We have things to resolve and I think it will be an ongoing conversation for a while, but we were still kind to each other throughout the conversation. I dropped a lot on him that I don’t think he was prepared to hear, but he listened and it seemed like he was doing his best to meet me where I was. That’s the minimum that anyone should ask for. I’m still feeling emotionally raw this morning, but I appreciate that we can have hard conversations from a place of respect and caring.

      • I’m so sorry to go off topic (OP that sounds horrible and I’m so glad you’re out of it)

        but how did you initiate this convo emeralds?

        I don’t like to nag, and I personally hate to feel like a nag, so I feel like I’m always struggling with the words to begin/have this particular convo. I always try to ask for help in the moment, but we all know that doesn’t always work.

        • I waited until I felt like I was going to explode, used the classic entry line “Hey, can we talk about something?”, started sobbing, and then monologued for a bit. I have a tough time being articulate in the moment, and he does better with time to process things, so I gave him a homework assignment to read 5 articles about emotional labor (starting with Gemma Hartley’s “Women Aren’t Nags” piece from Harpers in September, which I think someone linked here?) and we agreed that he would initiate a follow-up conversation by Wednesday. I had the Hartley piece bookmarked on my phone but told him he had to find the other four.

          IDK if that model is helpful for anyone else. I just hit my limit on doing the emotional labor around the emotional labor and felt like I needed to outsource.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      I’m so sorry, but glad you rid yourself of this creep. Good for you! My kindness story is that my husband knows I have trouble being around my older sister since she bullied me when we were children, so he asks how I’m holding up when we come home from family gatherings, and reassures me that it’s not just in my head when I feel like she’s picking on me.

    • I’m so sorry. :(

      I had an ugly break up fight (same fight as always, but we were both finally done done), but we still managed to send pleasant texts to each other things morning about exchanging personal belongings ending with both of us wishing the other well. Some men don’t act like entitled a$$holes even after a gross breakup fight.

    • I was in a past relationship with a guy who clearly felt super entitled in a similar way. My self-esteem was ridiculously low, and he thought I should be grateful for being with him. This was long enough ago that I can laugh about it, so think the song “You’re Welcome” from Moana about how this guy perceived our relationship.
      My current partner made me realize just how terrible that guy was. Even after I broke up with him, I still considered myself “lucky” to have had a boyfriend for so long (stupid, stupid, stupid low self-esteem). When I started dating again, I kept thanking my partner and telling him how awesome and amazing he was for doing pretty basic non-a$$hole stuff like making sure I liked what we were doing in bed. He was confused why I thought that was so exceptional as opposed to a natural part of a healthy relationship, and I started to realize how much I had sold myself short before.
      There are good guys. There are also a lot of jerks. Look for the good ones, and let this experience help you recognize the jerks for what they are!

    • I’m so sorry to hear this, and wish there had been a better outcome…but it is what it is, and it’s definitely not okay for someone to tell you how you are supposed to feel. Two months is barely a blip in the scheme of things, so hopefully he will move on quickly. But please be mindful of your safety. I know this guy is/was your friend, but don’t let that lead you into a sense of complacency. Hugs.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Oh I’m so sorry this was your outcome. I was in a similar situation but let it go on much, much longer. And it ended a lot like yours, it sounds. <3 <3 <3

    • Senior Attorney :

      I’m so sorry it turned out this way!

      But don’t lose heart! Every day with my Lovely Husband is a story of kindness! Right now I have some challenging family stuff and he is just lovely and supportive and positive, plus he has the magical ability to not be infected by any of the angst or drama, which is a real gift!

      • I usually love you, SA, but this reads as tone deaf and braggy here. I know I’m going to get jumped on for this, but when I read it I just thought “Great for you, can we talk about her?” I say this as kindly as I possibly can and I know you meant to be encouraging but I don’t feel like it came off that way. Others may feel differently.

        • +1 no, I agree.

        • Anonattorney :

          OP specifically asked people to: “share your stories of kindness from your significant other, so I can stop feeling so bleak about the world this morning”

          So, not jumping on you, but I think SA was just trying to give her an example of a story of kindness.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Sheesh. I answered the question that was asked. Sorry it offended.

      • I’m the OP and I really wanted to hear stories like this – it made me smile. I specifically asked for it.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I am so sorry. Block that mf like, yesterday. He’s not a good person, or a good friend. You are so much better off without such a cruel, toxic individual in your life.

    • I’m so very sorry, as I remember your original post. For whatever it’s worth, believe it or not I’m in a very similar situation right now and feeling like your story may help me to just end it – instead of feeling like maybe I should stick with it because of our longtime friendship. So while I don’t have a story of male kindness, please know sharing your story truly helped this internet stranger today.

  6. I would love birthday shopping help! My very good friend is turning 40 and is having a party on Saturday. She has had a tough year (family stuff) so I want to get her something fun, but also something that she can use. My idea was things related to 1977 – so far I’ve got:
    – Carrie Fisher’s last book (Star Wars came out in 1977)
    – A gourmet banana peanut butter spread (Elvis died in 1977)
    – Chia Pet
    – Soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever and an Essie nail polish called “Saturday night disco”
    – A pair of socks related to our local baseball team which played its first season in 1977
    – Classic UNO card game

    Would love other suggestions!! Nothing too sentimental/family because of events of the last year. Also no clothes because we’re very different sizes and I would have a hard time guessing her size.
    My friend loves books, movies, manicures, wine/coffee/restaurants, her dog and cat, visiting her parents’ cottage
    Probably looking to spend another $50-$100


    • Anonymous :

      The Carrie Fisher book is so terrible that I was embarrassed to read it. It is basically just a self-indulgent wallow with no charm, humor, or fun Star Wars anecdotes. And after I downloaded it onto my Kindle, I started getting ads for some pretty weird books on Amazon and other places. I would give her a copy of Episode IV or some other Star Wars book instead.

    • Anonymous :

      What a fun idea! Something punk rock?
      Not 1977, but what about stuff that she might’ve loved while growing up in the late 80s/ early 90s? A classy mood ring (probably available on Etsy). Lisa Frank stickers.

    • How about a bottle of Champagne and some nice cheese with a card saying to open the Champagne is to celebrate something wonderful in the next year. A matter of personal preference, but I prefer to look forward at milestone birthdays.

    • Yeah maybe make it a “child of the 80s” thing. She’s right in that Generation Oregon Trail – I bet you could find a print or item related to that game on Etsy.

      • There’s an Oregon Trail card game that came out a few years ago. I haven’t played it, but it might be fun to add to the gift!

        • I have the card game for Oregon Trail and it’s hilarious. I’m not sure we’ve ever made it to the end. My nephew really likes it even though he’s way too young to have played the computer program.

    • my face feels tight :

      The Clapper

    • bottle of wine or port vintage 1977?

    • I’d get a 70s fun facts card to keep with your theme, but if you’re up for spending $100, I’d get a nice accessory she might like – pretty necklace, earrings, evening bag, etc. I think you’d find something in that price range. Personally, I’d rather get that than some 70s thing I’d probably just throw away.

  7. Anyone have any suggestions as to what I can make to impress the crowd at Friendsgiving this Wednesday? I’m looking for something that’s a cut above the standard side dishes, but is relatively fail-proof. I also will need to carry the ingredients home from work on the train, so I would like to avoid potatoes.

    • Maybe this white chocolate raspberry cheesecake? I’ve made it a dozen times – it’s not difficult and it always impresses people.
      Or a terrific salad, like this one:

    • If you can make it ahead of time: the smitten kitchen pumpkin cheesecake. Gets better the longer it sits in fridge.

      Semi-ahead or not: the Ina Garten portobello mushroom lasagna. You can use regular mushrooms, too (see Smitten Kitchen variation) or you can add some butternut squash to make it more seasonally appropriate. Always a hit, easy, fool proof and even with just mushrooms, the nutmeg makes it pretty fall-appropriate.

    • This fig-cranberry (+ bourbon) sauce is delicious, and I like that it needs to be made in advance.

    • Anonattorney :

      Bon Appetit has a great recipe for pumpkin spice cake with caramel cream cheese frosting. If you want to make it really easy, skip the caramel and just make cinnamon cream cheese frosting.

      Or try a super savory stuffing: andouille sausage and corn bread stuffing is delish.

      I always make a chicken liver mousse, which is surprisingly REALLY REALLY easy. I don’t follow a recipe anymore, but you can look around. The general gist is cook the livers with some shallots and thyme, add some cognac, stop cooking the livers when they are pink, then puree the mixture in a blender. Fold into heavy cream that’s been whipped into medium peaks. Refrigerate overnight. Serve with crackers.

    • Real Food Whole Life’s sweet potato hash (I substitute butternut squash because it comes pre-cut and I hate chopping). It tastes amazing and is very very easy to make! You basically roast a bunch of stuff and put it in a bowl .

    • Bacon-wrapped green beans, topped with either brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup. Easy and so yummy!

  8. Riding boots (like the LaCanadienne Passion) :

    I have a pair of LaCanadienne Passion boots. They are great — warm, waterproof, no-slip bottoms. They are 6 years old and still going strong. They are sort of like the Frye Melissa Button but with (IIRC) a chunky 1″ (or 1.5″) heel and maybe not as slim of a shaft.

    But . . . how can I wear them for 2017? B/c what I did in 2011 looks so so wrong now.

    With a more boho / midi-length floral dress? Nothing (pencil skirt, sheath dresses) looks right. Even the idea of wearing with jeggings makes me seem like some sort of land pirate / extra from Hamilton.

    I’d like some ideas for the office (bus-casual which is 100% denim-OK at year end).

    • Anonymous :

      The boot looks like a classic style to me. If wearing with a dress, keep it at the knee max and wear with tights. You could go above the knee slightly for weekends. With denim, I think skinny or straight style would work. Or even bootcut if you don’t mind covering the boot. With denim outfits that include a blazer would look nice IMO for business casual.

    • Anonymama :

      I think a midi-length skirt, that goes to the top of the boot or longer, would look more modern, though it can also be stumpifying. I’ve been contemplating the same conundrum. I’d do a straight or A-line skirt, in wintry fabric, although I saw some fuller skirts, or with narrow pleats, on pinterest that looked good. With a big cozy sweater.

  9. Fountain pens and roller balls :

    I’m thinking of getting my dad a fountain pen or roller ball pen as a gift. Not looking for anything high end but something that is more of an everyday pen, looking to spend $50 max on the pen, any accessories would be extra. He already uses fountain pens exclusively for writing as well as roller ball pens. Sheaffer is one of the brands I’m checking out for both, some of their new stuff looks appealing. I had a Lamy fountain pen at one point and I’m considering that brand too. However while browsing online I also saw some nice looking options from Pilot and Pentel, anyone have experience with these brands? Would love some recommendations for pens that are good writing instruments for everyday use.

    • My husband’s uncle really likes Acme fountain pens, but those look to be a bit out of your price range. The roller versions land at $70 to $80 on amazon. An example:

    • I LOVE my Pilot fountain pens. I actually like them better than my Pelikan/Lamy ones. Pilots tend to run thinner and “softer” than Lamy. I have tried a decent range too, from $20 Metropolitans to $150 Vanishing Points. I probably wouldn’t highly recommend that $20 ones (although still not bad for the price), but Pilot higher-end pens are wonderful.

    • Something like a TWSBI demonstrator might be nice: https://www.gouletpens.com/twsbi-diamond-580-fountain-pen-clear-extra-fine/p/TW-M7443110

      Also, Goulet Pens is my source for all information fountain pen.

  10. Someone please tell me that NYT accidentally posted an Onion article.


    I feel like the entire article is insane, but here are some choice quotes:

    “Cancel the holiday party,” said Mr. Cunningham, 37, adding that he means just until it has been figured out how men and women should interact. He said he considered himself progressive on gender issues but was thinking more about the behavior he had seen in the past: “What flirting is O.K.? Was I ever taking advantage of any meager power I had? You start to wonder.”

    In response, some men are forming all-male text groups at companies or in their industries to brainstorm on harassment issues. Some said they planned to be a lot more careful in interacting with women because they felt that the line between friendliness and sexual harassment was too easy to cross. Others are struggling to reconcile how these behaviors could happen even among men who believe in equal rights.

    Mr. Segal, who runs anti-harassment training, is now expanding part of the program called Safe Mentoring, which teaches men how to mentor younger women without harassing them. At a recent session, a male supervisor talked about having an extra ticket to a sporting event and feeling he could invite only a male colleague; Mr. Segal went over how to invite a female colleague without sexually harassing her. “The answer to harassment cannot be avoiding women,” he said.

    • Alert the NYT! I think someone has already figured out the solution to this issue: https://medium.com/@annevictoriaclark/the-rock-test-a-hack-for-men-who-dont-want-to-be-accused-of-sexual-harassment-73c45e0b49af

    • I couldn’t get through the article but I feel like I’m missing something here? Men’s careers are not being dismantled over casual flirting or risqué jokes. Is it really that confusing to not pleasure yourself in front women you work with?

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        It is confusing if you’re such an entitled jerk if you think that pleasuring yourself in front of coworkers is normal. If you spent the last thirty years thinking that all kinds of horrible behavior was perfectly fine, and you suddenly found out that it’s not, you realize you don’t have any reliable criteria for figuring out which things you always thought were okay actually aren’t.

        Or they’re just playing dumb and hoping that the whole idea of consequences for their asshattery will just magically go away.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Last week I was traveling for work and most of the time my boss (a man about my age) was there too. We like a lot of the same things (and like avoiding a lot of the same things) and ended up going out for drinks/dinner together nearly every night. We found a magically perfect bar and kept being like, “ok yeah, we can go there one more time.” I did worry about jerks thinking something was amiss, but I never ever ever for one second worried that he would be creepy toward me. Because he’s a decent effing person. If you understand that women are people, I don’t think it’s that hard to have a harassment-free holiday party. Sigh.

    • I had an argument with one of my male college friends on Facebook this weekend about this. He jokingly posted something about not knowing what’s okay to say to women any more (he is/was a huge Louis C.K. fan) and I replied back, as long as you’re not pulling out your d*** in front of them you’re on the right track. That evolved into this whole discussion involving several people about what is “ok” and “not ok” to say in front of women. I pointed out that Louis C.K., Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey are not being publicly shamed because they told someone “you look nice today” and the person didn’t like it. Don’t grope people. Don’t take any part of your clothes off during a business meeting. Don’t talk about s** during a business meeting. I really feel like this is not that difficult to understand but some men are really getting a lot of mileage out of pretending they don’t get it.

    • This was the only moderately logical sentence in that article.

      “Mr. Segal said he had explained to the men that the context mattered and that pretending there was a gray zone between collegial friendliness and sexual assault was absurd”.

      I guess I am just so frustrated that this fact isn’t abundantly clear…gah!

    • Senior Attorney :

      OMG I thought I couldn’t get any more ragey but the POS jerks in this article have managed to nudge the rage needle up even further into the red.

      Dudes. Don’t j e r k o f f in front of subordinates. And no, the answer is not “If you women are going to be all upset when we do that, then fine. We just won’t mentor you any more. Happy now?”

    • Mary Ann Singleton :

      Oh poor men. So confused. *barf*

      I really thought this read like an Onion article. Just be decent human beings, OK?

  11. Financial advisors NOVA? :

    DH and I have come to the conclusion that we need to see a financial advisor before we buy a house. We’re trying to figure out where we can buy plus what the next 5 years of our lives can/will look like. Have another kid? Me stay home? Etc….Background – early 30s, household income of 175K/year, both working FT, one baby in daycare, I have student loans refinanced through SOFI (about $900/month yikes! but will be paid off in 5yrs), live in Northern VA (nice suburb but not Arlington). It’s insane to me how much money we make but still don’t feel wealthy due to daycare and my student loans, but I think that’s a pretty common sentiment. Our rent is less than most people pay for our location, we eat at home 90% of the time, and neither of us has expensive hobbies or a shopping problem. We have significant retirement and savings (emergency and downpayment for a home).

    My questions: Any recommendations for a financial advisor in Northern VA? And – how do financial advisors work? Do we pay them a fee? And what can we expect that to be? We don’t need much help on the investing side of the equation right now…

    • I’m not saying don’t consult a financial advisor, but you sound like you’re doing very well, given your incomes, cost of where you live and necessary expenses (daycare, student loans, etc.). I’m not sure what you mean by “feel wealthy” but if you interpret that as being able to buy whatever you want without thinking about money or budgets, that’s really hard to achieve on $175k, especially in a higher cost of living area. You are comfortably upper middle class and it sounds like you have savings and expenses commensurate with that.

      • Flats Only :

        I agree. This sounds like a totally standard Nova situation. Keep in mind that once the kid(s) are in Kindergarten and your student loans are paid off you’ll have a lot more income to play around with. And don’t succumb to the pressure to BUY A HOME RIGHT NOW OMG WE HAVE TO BUY! Your rental is affordable, and when it’s time for Kindergarten you can stay where you are or rent in a better school district while you get your ducks in a row to buy. Kids notice a safe, stable, happy home, not whether or not their parents own it. My only hint would be that if you really want a second kid, have it soon so that daycare costs are done ASAP rather than spread out for a decade.

    • Howard Pressman at Egan Berger & Weiner is who we use. His office is in Tysons. He does flat-fee plans as well as plans where the fee is a percentage of assets under management. It sounds like you might need the first option. He’s one of the more senior guys, but the company has more junior CFPs who might be more cost effective.

    • anon a mouse :

      A financial adviser will work best if you tell them what your goals are — so it sounds like you need to think more about what those are. Not “what is possible” but “what do you want?” If you want to have another kid and stay home for a few years, an adviser can help you run the numbers and map that out. Of course they can help you work through multiple options — just saying you will get more specific advice if you have a goal.

      That said, you probably don’t need one. You’re doing well and you may just need to sit down and run the numbers yourself. You can also call a lender to figure out what type of house you could get approved for (though it will always, always be more than you are comfortable with, especially if you have daycare!).

      • Financial advisors NOVA? :

        Thanks – Yes I think we need someone to map out the two options for us. Option A – I keep working and we probably buy a more expensive house, but it eliminates the possibility of me staying home with kid #2. Or Option B- I stop working and we buy a less expensive house. And yup – I warned my husband that we will get pre-approved for a loan that is way more than we want to (or should) spend.

        • I’m a big fan of keeping your options open. Why not go with the less expensive house? I wasn’t sure what I was going to do after having a baby and when I found out there were actually two babies I was super glad we hadn’t upgraded our house and expenses. My babies were super sick their first year of life and I worked when I could. Knowing that if my work decided they didn’t want to deal with my unreliability and let me go we’d totally fine financially helped me sleep better at night. Being stressed our with two super sick infants was hard enough….I can’t imagine money problems on top of it.

        • Option C- you keep working and buy a less expensive house.

          • my face feels tight :


          • So we’re not allowed to have anything we want anymore even when we can afford it? The OP seems to be able to choose one or the other — and wants to do so — so why not?

          • Financial advisors NOVA? :

            The issue is that a less expensive house will most likely be too far from my workplace for a feasible commute. So that’s why there are two options. Less expensive house = far out suburb. DH has a little more flexibility with his commuting situation. Yes, I could conceivably get a new job after buying the house, but I’m kind of in a niche industry/position where jobs don’t fall from the sky. Plus I have great benefits and don’t really want to leave for anything other than staying home with kiddos. Anyways – now that I’ve written a novel, please trust that I actually know my life better than a stranger on the internet and have considered all the options.

    • Look for a financial planner who is “fee-only” and a fiduciary. That means they won’t make commissions off anything they recommend to you and they will be making recommendations that are in your best interest. People who call themselves financial planners are typically doing more of this type of work than a run-of-the-mill ‘financial advisor’. A CFP is a good credential to look for.

  12. Lark & Ro :

    Has anyone bought anything from this brand? I think they are exclusive to Amazon. I’m tempted to order a few dresses but was wondering if anyone had firsthand info about the quality before I do.

    • I think there were a few threads about them a couple of months ago (fwiw, I’m not necc suggesting you go find them, I’m just noting that they get asked about every once in a while). IIRC, The consensus seemed to be that the quality was fine, if a bit meh, and the sizing ran a bit small. The upside was that it is Amazon, and you could easily and cheaply return.

      Let us know if you end up with anything. I’ve got a few in my cart that I just watch to see if the price moves…haven’t pulled the trigger.

    • I bought a fit-n-flare dress in a gorgeous blue over the summer but I haven’t worn it yet. I feel like it hugs my belly too much. I probably should have returned it.

      • +1 I bought a beautiful black fit and flare that also was a bit tight in the tummy, but didn’t return b/c I otherwise liked it. Sizing was very difficult to pin-point down and everything ran small.

    • I bought from this brand a few months ago when it was a deal of the day and was deeply discounted. I bought a lot of things and only kept one due to a mix of quality and fit issues. That said, I love the item i kept and wear it all the time. Quality is on par with h&m or macys i thought. I would size up one size and be aware that the fabric will feel synthetic.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Same, exactly. Everything was weirdly tight in the shoulders, for me. But I do really like the one dress I kept.

  13. Anonymous :

    Currently 30 weeks pregnant and my boots don’t fit comfortably any more. For my first kid, I just switched over to flip flops at this point (it was summer), but not sure what to do for the cold? Cheap flats and socks? Booties one size up? I’m sure my feet will continue to expand due to swelling but need a solution for this cold weather!

    • Anonymous :

      I found roper-style boots to be good with swollen feet. They looked better with boot-cut pants than faux Uggs.

    • Anonymous :

      If it’s a bit tight, have them stretched by a cobbler this only works if they are leather. If it’s worse than that buy a pair of inexpensive/affordable boots for the season

    • Anonymous :

      Yeah, this strikes me as a long timeline too unless you are in college or younger. If you are post-college and sure you want to spend the rest of your lives together, I’m not sure why you’d wait 5 years.

    • I bought a pair of loafers in a wide width. They can be dressed up some and go with casual clothes as well. And they’re reasonably comfy.
      I also have a pair of Birkenstock slides (not sandals, closed toe) that are getting a lot of use. Ugly, but whatever.
      I recommend buying something slip on because as your pregnancy progresses, it may become more difficult to bend over to tie shoes or wrangle shoes on. Like opening up the zipper on my ankle boots and shoving my foot in is way too much effort compared to slip ons :)

      • Metallica :

        +1 to the slip-ones—signed, the lady who collapsed in a heap sobbing because it took a minimum of five minutes to get her sneakers on during the third trimester :). I vaguely remember my husband approaching me like a zookeeper trying to capture an escaped tiger and then tying my shoes.

        Honestly, Crocs makes slip on ballet-style flats that are super comfy and I wore them constantly through pregnancy.

    • What about a chelsea boot or other ankle bootie with a wide opening in case your ankles are swollen.



    • These payless flats: size up from your regular size and get a wide if needed – http://www.payless.com/womens-dexflex-comfort-claire-scrunch-flat-shoe/70092.html?dwvar_70092_color=greyflannel_black#start=12&cgid=women-flats.

    • If not for work, what about converse or superga-like sneakers? You could get a half size up if need be and they aren’t too expensive.

    • lawsuited :

      Just buy some boots that fit and will go with most things. 10 weeks is a long time to wear too-small shoes, and some women’s feet don’t go back to their pre-pregnancy size (mine didn’t) so you might get more wear out of them than you think.

  14. Perspective :

    When you have both amazing and bad/sad things going on in your life, how do you guys work on finding perspective? Is it just something that comes with time, do you read daily affirmations, constantly focus on the positive (i.e. gratitude journals), etc? This is something I’ve been struggling with for the past few months as some relationship/job-related things have been going fantastically well but some have been dwindling and depressing me a bit.

    • New Tampanian :

      This is something that I have been dealing with for the last week in particular. Some really great things happening and then also a death in the family. For me, I didn’t process the death part and kind of shook it off until it hit me when I slowed down. There’s nothing wrong with focusing on the positive unless the bad consists of things that you really need to focus on/process. Take a day or two to figure out what direction you need to take. Make sure you are taking time to relish the positive and really be in the moment of them.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Oh, I can relate. A few years ago my elderly parents totally melted down right when I was falling in love with my now-husband. It was Very Confusing. I don’t know that I handled it very well, honestly. It was kind of a roller coaster. I enjoyed the heck out of the great part and bitterly resented the bad part and somehow I got through it.

      Hugs to you! I guess one thing that helped me was to realize that this is what life is… good parts and bad parts. The good parts should be savored and the bad parts gotten through, and neither the good parts nor the bad parts last forever.

  15. Dentist Rec -Edgewater, NJ or West New York, NJ :

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a dentist in Edgewater, NJ or West New York, NJ? I just need a few fillings but had a bad experience at my last dentist. Thanks in advance.

  16. trying again :

    I apologize for the multiple posts.

    Bay Area ladies, talk to me about moving to the Peninsula. Husband has an opportunity in South San Francisco. Top priorities are great public schools and a place that has a cute downtown where we could walk to restaurants, the library. We have lived in large east coast cities for the last several years and the move to the burbs is a bit daunting. A high walking score is very important to us.

    I’m likely going to be working in SF, so nothing too far south. I hate to drive so I need to be able to take the Caltrain. Based on my Google searches it seems like Burlingame, San Mateo, and San Carlos are all good options. Thoughts? Any other cities I should consider?

    More generally, what should I be aware of about moving to the Bay Area? I’m originally from there but haven’t lived there in 15 years. Thanks!

    • my face feels tight :

      So, so, so expensive. Are finances an issue? What can you (comfortably) afford? What are you looking for?

      Good weather that made me happy every day.

      So, so, so expensive….

      • trying again :

        Finances are not a big issue, fortunately. We’re looking for top public schools and a downtown that we can walk to and not feel as though we’re in a bland suburb.

        Based on further research it looks like San Mateo is going to be too far for a commute to SF. So Burlingame the best option? Other cities to consider? Is it crazy to think of living in actual SF with small children?

        • Burlingame is expensive but if you can afford it has everything you’re looking for.

        • And it’s not crazy to think of living in SF with small kids – people do it all the time – but you’re not going to find top public schools in the city.

        • Honestly, I think you’d be best off living in the city. It would be optimal for your commutes. Burlingame and San Mateo feel very suburban and aren’t going to give you what you’re looking for, I don’t think. I know plenty of people in SF with kids. Most of them do pay for private school, but the public schools in the northern Peninsula are not great either and you may want to go the private school route in the other cities you’re considering too.

      • Thanks all for the responses! No shuttle for husband (he will be at a start up in SSF). We also HATE long commutes so I can’t imagine living as far south as Palo Alto or Los Gatos. I never considered Glen or Balboa Park, we’ll check it out. At this point it seems like Burlingame might be the best option in terms of schools and a cute downtown. But I have no expectations it will be like our big city life now, but maybe that’s not so bad. :)

        • +1 on considering SF proper for what you want, but possibly planning to send kids to private school. Glen Park and West Portal would be great neighborhoods to consider — both walkable, both on Muni for you to get to SF Financial District easily, and both close to 280 for your husband to drive to his job.

    • You might want to consider Belmont too, and although it’s not small Redwood City has some beautiful neighborhoods. The commute to SF can be painful, so taking the train is the way to go.
      I’m assuming you’ve looked at prices so you know that you’re going to pay at least $1.5 million for a 1300-1400 square foot house. With that being said, we love life on the Peninsula. The weather is great ( warmer than SF but cooler than the East Bay or South Bay), you have access to SF, wonderful hiking trails and other outdoor activities.
      If you can get past the incredibly high entrance cost it is a great place to live.

    • I don’t know a lot about the public schools in the cities you named, but my sense is they’re not that great. The best public schools on the peninsula can generally be found in places like Palo Alto, Cupertino and Los Gatos (e.g., the most expensive areas). I have friends who just bought in San Mateo. They are childless and hopeful that by the time they have a school-age child, the schools will have improved a lot, but if you currently have school-age kids you may need to go to the private school route. Those cities do have little downtown areas with some shops and restaurants, but they don’t really resemble city living and you will find that most people will get in their cars and drive whenever they want to do anything.

      Will your work in SF be near the Caltrain? There is only one Caltrain station in the city and it’s not that convenient to the financial/downtown district. My guess is that you’ll need to commute on BART, in which case you may want to look at places like Daly City, South San Francisco and San Bruno, which are on BART. The Caltrain + BART combo commute is brutal, although people do it.

      I think the biggest cons about the living on the Peninsula are the cost of living and traffic (and related to cost of living, how the good public school districts are even more exorbitantly priced than everything else). Big pluses are great weather year-round (much warmer and sunnier than the city of SF, without being too terribly hot most of the time), SO much to do within a 1-2 hour drive (SF, Napa Valley, Monterey/Carmel, Half Moon Bay, etc.) and much more within 3-4 hours (Yosemite, Big Sur, Mendocino, etc.) and a great food scene (not compared to SF and Napa, perhaps, but certainly a much better food scene than the suburbs of any other US city).

      • How about Marin? Still close to downtown and good schools. One friend of mine take the ferry to work.

        • Nonononono her husband will be working in south city, not the city. That commute is impossible from Marin

          • Hmm, I disagree on that – you just keep going south on 280 & it’s not as bad as a 101 commute, or even crossing SF once you get off the bridge. I think it would take about the same time to get to SSF as certain locations south of Market.

          • Peninsula resident :

            Except park presidio/19th ave between the bridge and 280 is also terrible. The ferry is lovely as long as your work schedule works with the ferry schedule.

            Key question is whether husband’s job offers shuttles from various pickup points.

            I grew up in the city and went to public school. If I had unlimited money, including private school tuition, in OP’s situation with her goals, I’d live in glen park.

            Also look at the Chariot routes. They go a lot of places Muni doesn’t, so that may expand your commute to downtown options. Maybe west portal… not a terrible drive to SSF and cute shopping area and the K L M subway options mean you’ll get downtown.

          • Just an anecdote but one of my good friends lives in Mill Valley. She commutes to the city and her husband used to commute to that office park just north of the airport and he “retired” at age 50 because the commute was killing him. It may look good on paper but that route regularly took him 1.5 to 2 hours one way, depending on traffic getting over the bridge and through the city. His “retirement” has been miserable all around for them. Do not recommend.

          • Ahh, Peninsula resident makes a really good point about Park Presidio/19th (although I’d recommend cutting over to Sunset – that still gets backed up with school traffic depending on what time you’re going).

            Looking at Chariot or even Lyft/Group rides is a good way to get downtown SF. In addition to Glen Park (great location, super expensive), look on the other side of SF closer to Park Presidio/Sunset – like the Richmond, Sunset, West Portal – all of those aren’t terrible for getting downtown (although if you do the Sunset/West Portal, I’d try to stay close to one of the muni lines like the N or the J as they’re pretty remote otherwise)

            One thing I will say, is a long commute is just a fact of life in the Bay Area these days. I live 3 miles from my office & it takes me close to an hour to get in. The upside is companies here get that it’s hard & a lot are open to more flexible working arrangements, so you might want to factor in having some space at home for a home office into what you look for.

      • Many of the really good public schools (especially further down the Peninsula, like PA) have a reputation for being hyper competitive, so that’s something to be aware of as well. Also, the traffic really is terrible, and Caltrain is OK but not as consistent as East Coast public transit.

    • Peninsula resident :

      I live on the southern part of the peninsula and take Caltrain to sf every day, then transfer to Muni to go downtown. BART transfer would slightly shorten my commute but Caltrain is pleasant and quiet and clean and I can work (both because clean and quiet and above ground means WiFi hotspot) the whole way.

      Is your husband going to work for tech/biotech (Genentech, YouTube, etc) I.e. there’s a shuttle from ssf Bart, or does he need to drive?

      Peninsula public schools that are good are Burlingame (ideally hillsborough but that’s not walkable to anything), Portola Valley, Woodside, Palo Alto, Los Altos… San Carlos and Belmont are pretty good at the younger grades. San Mateo’s is not. Foster City has good elementary schools but is far from Caltrain so you would need to drive to hillsdale caltrain station, which has heavy traffic. Basically 101 is a nightmare.

      Emerald Hills area of Redwood City has good elementary and middle schools but is walkable to nothing.

      Brisbane has a good elementary school but no downtown and no public transit access.

      Of the above, Burlingame, Los Altos, and Palo Alto have downtowns.

      The commute would be awful but if you’re both on BART, maybe consider Lafayette, orinda, Walnut Creek – excellent schools. Walnut Creek has a real downtown.

    • Agree with all the comments above & just adding my thoughts:
      – SF is a great place to live; it’s actually pretty kid friendly in the way that a lot of cities are, but the schools can be an issue. My friends have either – won the “school lottery” & gotten theirs into ones of their choice; gone private or Catholic; or moved to the burbs for better schools.
      – You can go as far south as Belmont/San Carlos & still have about the same-ish commute to SF, but it’s going to be a pain (even from Burlingame, it’s a pain). The schools in Burlingame & PA are the best on the Peninsula; San Mateo is okay depending on where you are (you need to know your district); SSF and Daly City aren’t great; Belmont/San Carlos – okay, depends on where. There is a robust Catholic school alternative to private, which keeps costs lower but the religion angle may or may not be an issue for you.
      – Marin is also a good suggestion since your H only needs to go as far south as SSF & you’re going to SF. If you do that, prepare to drive a bit (even taking the ferry to SF requires you to drive to the ferry station), but the public schools in Marin are good

    • foster city? im younger and in the city, but have two coworkers who grew up together in foster city and whose families still live there. they both attended public k-12 and stanford. tbh ive never been to the area but here’s a anecdata point!

  17. Casual button downs :

    I hate formal button downs for work with a passion. But I’ve seen more casual ones (softer, thinner) cropping up on tv recently (American Housewife, Joanna Gaines). Any ideas? They look lighter than flannel but not bulky like the boyfriend shirts of Madewell and J. Crew.

    • These ones from Garnet Hill are well made and light weight

      • https://www.garnethill.com/organic-cotton-button-down-shirt/468783?intlShippingCtx=US%7CUSD&locale=en-US&utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=GH+Network+PLA&utm_content=GH+Network+PLA&SourceCode=K7W42B1&gclid=CjwKCAiAoqXQBRA8EiwAIIOWsg_IE4iPUq8WZOd9ZIB5Eg3iT1tNe48WRy2nwWLPf4_xqNJXnWyjeRoC7aUQAvD_BwE

    • Uniqlo has lovely soft flattering button downs that are work appropriate

  18. Baconpancakes :

    Help me not kill my technologically-impaired boss/lose my job because I can’t make Microsoft Office do impossible things.

    My boss has come to rely on me to fix her PowerPoint presentations, because if I didn’t, she would legitimately be incapable of figuring it out. My predecessor also did this for her, and her predecessor before that. But now she’s asking me to do things I legitimately cannot do for her presentation tomorrow, and getting really upset when I can’t do them. I tried to head this off by getting all the changes by Thursday, and doing workarounds (like using my own personal Adobe software at home to make image changes) but she got feedback this morning that she wants to incorporate. When I say “this cannot be done with the tools I have at hand” she points to other changes I was able to do and wants to know why I can’t do them (editing a single straight line on a white background in Paint vs. removing an arrow from a jpg of a forested view).

    Scripts for helping her hear “You are being unreasonable and if you paid for the software I asked for I could do this” instead of “Baconpancakes is incapable of doing the task you asked her for”?

    • Can you fill out a PO for the software you need and give it to her to sign off on…while explaining to her (again) you don’t have the tools you need?

      Is this PowerPoint stuff part of your job description? Do you want to be doing it? Sounds like it’s pretty annoying. Maybe the “I don’t have the tools” conversation should really be “This is taking time away from x,y,z” ?

      • Baconpancakes :

        We’re local government, so a $400/year subscription to Adobe is a pretty big deal, and POs aren’t taken lightly. Even a $0.15 more expensive pen order has to be vetted. We’ve applied for an internal grant for the software, but no traction so far.

        It isn’t in the job description, and it is taking me away from doing the substantive research I am supposed to be doing right now, but as my exact position won’t fully ramp up for another few months, this falls under my “Other as needed” duties.

    • Sounds like you just need to give her more details – “I can’t do X because Y program doesn’t have that function. I was able to do Z because I took it home and used Adobe __, but I don’t have that program here at the office.” I guess if she’s being unreasonable, logic won’t help much, but I don’t see how you could argue with that.

      • Baconpancakes :

        I’ll try adding more details – these are things I have explained before, but maybe it will help if I repeat the reasons multiple times – thanks!

    • Or if you can’t do a particular thing, is there another solution that gives her the same feel, even if it doesn’t have the same look? Giving an alternate solution up front if the ask is impossible.

    • Can you do it at home? If yes, can you say ‘I was only able to do X at home so if you want me to do this now I will need to leave at lunch.’ Or something along these lines…

    • I’ve been there. “Hey Linda, if I wanted to _____ how would I do that?” “You can’t on that platform, I’ve tried but there’s really no efficient, direct way to accomplish that. Best I’ve managed to do is ___, then ___, and then ____.” Then they explain why they wanna do the thing, as though by emphasizing its importance I’m gonna be like “oh in that case just click this thing over here.” When you tell someone they’re the go-to expert on a platform, don’t get mad when they tell you “it doesn’t work that way unfortunately.”

    • Have her look at Upwork–you can find a freelancer to do that for a very *very* reasonable price and within 24 hours.

  19. Freeze and Appeaae :

    I was reading some of the commentary about Louis CK’s s3xual abuse and one point struck me. When people ask why the women didn’t just leave one writer explained that while men have the fight or flight response, women in addition to that have “freeze and appease.” We are socially conditioned to smile and try to make light of things and not make anyone uncomfortable. Part of it is self-preservation – maybe if he just continues what he’s doing he won’t attack us – but a lot of it is just conditioning. Women aren’t supposed to make scenes, we are supposed to make everyone happy and cause no offense.

    It was the one thing I’ve read where I really recognized myself. In the inappropriate encounters I’ve had over the years (some social, some at work) I did tend to freeze, and smile or laugh, and then get really upset with myself later.

    I talked to my daughter yesterday about freeze and appease so that she will recognize the behavior in herself, because i can completely see her doing the same.

    • Freeze and Appease :

      I should add that episode 5, season 2 of One Mississippi on amazon prime depicts this really well, when the character Kate is trying to have a meeting with her boss and he is wanking away under the desk. How she froze in the moment, and then was enraged later.

      Apparently Tig Notaro wrote that episode about Louis C.K. before the scandal hit.

    • +1. I’ve also noticed my 4 year old does this. Someone else throws a fit, and she offers to give up something she wanted. She gets praised by others for this behavior – “Oh you’re such a sweet big cousin!” “Look at you, being a good girl!” – so she continues to do it. Her 4 year old boy cousin has stopped offering, because the one time he did it (at least the only time when I was around) he heard “Oh don’t worry J, you know these girls. They just cry when they don’t get their way.”

      (I had some choice words, but not sure it made an impact. We just limit interactions with that side of the family for my daughter’s sake.)

      Anyway my point is that “freeze and appease” is socialized at a very very young age.

      • Boys also won’t offer up the toy more than once bc the one time they do — their offer is accepted and the toy is taken and given to the crier. Boys then say (or think to themselves) — hey I wanted to play with that and go get it back or at least learn not to give it up again the next time; and no one says anything about it or they may even say “good for you for standing up for yourself.” With a girl — people give SO much positive praise for giving up the toy that they are taught from day one that that’s what they are supposed to do. Martyr syndrome is taught young.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      I have a personal theory that training girls in martial arts and self-defense from a young age would really help. I started karate in high school, and one of the things that was hardest for me to learn was sparring, because it took me a long time to get used to the idea that it was okay for me to hit people, and even to block–I had to learn not to assume that I was basically helpless and going to get hit no matter what, so why even try.

      I mentioned this in front of my little sister, who started karate when she was five. She looked at me like I had two heads and said “I never had to learn that. I just knew it.”

    • “Fight or flight” is a misnomer entirely. “Freeze” is a common physiological response to fear, and not just in people. Think of all the animals who respond to threats by playing dead.

      • I definitely have fight or flight in terms of adrenaline rush, but mostly I freeze and just feel panic when I’m doing it. Fight or flight doesn’t mean you actually fight or flee, it just means your heart races and your body gets ready to do one of the two things – sort of a caveman response.

    • A friend linked to a great article on Facebook, (I’ll post the link in a follow-up) and one of the paragraphs that really resonated with me was: “If you found yourself in a tiger habitat at the zoo, and the animal was looking at you from the corner, huge, and resting, do you think you’d just… leave? No, babe. No. Your brain doesn’t let you “just leave” when you’re in a room with a toothy beast, I don’t care if there’s a door or not.”

      I don’t think it’s just women who have a “freeze and appease” response. Everyone has it when confronted with something they are afraid of. (Think of the cliche in movies where a character is confronted with a large, snarling dog, and they hold still and say, “Nice doggy… good doggy…” — freeze and appease.)

    • Flats Only :

      I wonder if more women would have the “flight” response if they were financially able to. Early on in my career I vowed that I would always keep six months worth of expenses in a “f**k this job fund” after I was able to quickly leave a bad situation (not sexual – client threw a large file folder at me in a meeting and my boss didn’t seem to care) because I happened to have a few grand in the bank and realized I could just leave instead of having to put up with it for financial reasons. I felt at the time like I had probably ruined my career, but guess what – it didn’t, and sticking around would probably have ruined my mental health.

    • Anonymous :

      I agree with this being a phenomenon but at what point do we have to take responsibility for it in some part? I’ve really been thinking about this sincerely, not trying to blame the victim at all, just something I notice in myself too and wonder about. If someone does or says something objectionable, they’re obviously a jerk (if not worse) but if I go along with it for whatever reasons I may have, do I not play a role in this? Like in the Louis CK article the one woman who said ‘no’ – he just got embarrassed and left. I am not giving him a pass, this wasn’t something to ask in the first place, but I do think that we need to be more comfortable saying not appropriate if this problem is to be resolved (to be clear I’m not talking about assault allegations as in the cake of Weinstein etc.)

      • “not trying to blame the victim at all”

        I’m not sure you understand that phrase, given the rest of your post.

      • No, you don’t play a role in it, and that is victim blaming.

      • I think about related things sometimes. You/the victim don’t play a role in it, and we shouldn’t have to go to extreme lengths (or really any lengths at all) to not find ourselves in situations like this. But I wonder if it’s possible to condition women (and myself) out of the freeze and appease response and if that would be better for us. That’s how I felt after my harassment. I don’t feel like it was my fault at all or that I played a role. but I do wish I had done some things differently in response that I think would have been better for me. It’s not reasonable to expect me/women to have to handle these things and/or to not freeze. But I feel like I would have been better off if I had. I don’t think it’s necessarily victim blaming to feel like maybe there is something we can do to make things a little less shitty. Doesn’t mean it’s our fault or should be our responsibility to fix. It isn’t/shouldn’t.

  20. my face feels tight :

    Any tips for changing up your skin care regimen as winter approaches? Especially if for more mature skin?

    I’m looking for recs for ?different moisturizer or how to change my routine since my skin now feels dry and flakes more than I’d like.

    I’m in my late 40’s and still a novice at this. I have had lifelong acne, well controlled on spironolactone and a retinoid. My Routine is below. All products recommended by my Dermatologist (except I added the serum a few years ago when I felt I was too dry).

    Morning: Wipe face with water/facecloth in AM or Cetaphil soap.
    Oil of Olay Regenerist serum
    CeraVe lotion with SPF.

    Evening: Wash face with Cetaphil soap. Remove eye make-up with baby oil.
    Atralin (retinoid)
    CeraVe lotion

    Sometimes I put some Aquafor around my eyes at night. Sometimes I use Dove eye cream during the day.

    Things I have been debating….. doing this ?double cleanse you kids keep talking about. Do I need an oil in there, and if so…what? My lifelong acne and prior oily skin have always scared me away from that, but now my skin is drier. Or changing the serum to something different? Or ?stronger moisturizer at night?

    I will never do some crazy expensive 10 step Korean routine. I need relatively simple and reasonably priced… ideally. But if Drunk Elephant vit C serum will change my life forever…I would consider.


    • Double cleansing in the evening helps my face stay hydrated (I have normal/oily skin). I like the Banila Purity Zero as my oil cleanser and then I use CeraVe cleanser. Also, maybe ease up on the retinoid to use it a couple of times a week instead of nightly?

      • my face feels tight :

        Thanks for this. I just started spacing the retinoid this week. I have never had to do that before, but I wondered….

        Looking into skin care is kind of overwhelming. So many brands I have never heard of.

    • A tip I learned here was to wash with cold cream. I use regular Pond’s cold cream at night with a warm washcloth. It gets all my makeup off and leaves my skin moisturized. After years of paying a lot for skin cleansers I’m pretty psyched that the $5 drugstore buy us The One. No more chapped, dry winter skin. And my face breaks out less.

      In terms of retin-a being drying, have you given azaleic acid (finacea) a try? Depending on what you’re using retin-a for, the finacea May do the same thing but cause less drying. Talk to your derm next time you’re there. Also ask if you might have mild rosacea. That was my situation and why I can’t tolerate the retin-a anymore.

      I’m early 50s, lifelong acne sufferer, under control with spironolactone and retin-a in my 40s, just like you.

      • Cat Lady In Training :

        Yes! I’m in my thirties, but switching to cold cream as my oil based cleanser has made SUCH a difference to my skin. As someone who struggled with acne forever it was a weird switch, but worked really for me.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Honestly, oil based cleansing will make a big difference. I too have had lifelong acne / prior oily skin so I was skeptical for a while, but it’s been great! I have not noticed any increase in acne. FWIW, I’ve noticed that I need to change products in the winter vs. summer — I need much more hydration in the winter.

      I’ve just started using the Marie Veronique Replenishing Cleanser in the AM/PM (love it, would recommend), but I think probably any decent oil based cleanser that you could find at Sephora would be fine. For the cleanser, I massage it into dry skin, wet my hands, and then lightly scrub (it sort of turns milky). In the morning, I do this before I hop in the shower. I also started using a heavier moisturizer in the morning.

    • Korean skincare seems to be a bit more advanced on the oil cleansing than western brands. Right now Amazon has a set of The Face Shop Rice Water Oil Cleaner & then the second foaming cleanser for about $14? Super highly reviewed and will help with moisturizer. I’ll post a link in a reply.

      • https://www.amazon.com/Water-Bright-Cleansing-Moisturizing-Brightening/dp/B00SUZWGHM/ref=sr_1_2_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1510592003&sr=8-2-spons&keywords=face+shop+rice+water+cleansing+oil&psc=1

      • Anonymous :

        +1 it’s amazing for winter skin and very affordable. It will last you all winter

    • Anonymous :

      Highly recommend switching from Cetaphil to Cerave Hydrating Cleanser. Cetaphil cleanser is a high pH which is very drying. Cerave is lower pH. Your skin should never feel tight.

  21. Dealing w/harassment :

    Anyone else read Rebecca Traister in NYMag today?


    She hits on how I’ve felt re: being harassed and “outing” my harassers, to a tee. I’ve been harassed and said something and I’ve been harassed and not said anything and they are both awful. Neither option felt good or better or helped.

    “And yet, we are still the protectors on some level. Despite the talk of witch hunts, and the satisfaction of finally seeing a few men penalized in any way whatsoever for their wrongdoing, most women I know feel torn about both the vague prospect and the observed reality of these men losing their jobs. We think of their feelings and their families, fret that the disclosure of their misdeeds might cost them future employment, or even provoke them to harm themselves. But this is something else we’re now being compelled to notice: how we’re still conditioned to worry for the men, but somehow to not afford the same compassion for women — their families, their feelings, their future prospects — even in a reckoning that is supposed to be about them, about us.”

    • Yes! I feel all the rage but I also feel complicit. I don’t worry about men losing their jobs really, but the man 20 years older than me who pursued me relentlessly in the office might have thought I was at least partially receptive to it based on my responses. Not wanting to make waves, smiling, “stop that” but in a friendly way.

      It started in the late 90s and continued for at least a decade. He was married, so was I. Everything he said to me was suggestive, every look a leer, and every time we were alone together he made a move. Corporate culture didn’t help – we had black tie holiday events including dancing for employees only (no dates/spouses) That was a normal thing to do back then! Lots of people hooked up at those things. I wonder now how much of it was truly consensual.

      In terms of me and my pursuer, i let him kiss me hoping that would be enough (it wasn’t). He danced with me and held me too close. He put my hand on his erection. He tried to get his hand up my shirt. His arm around me always hovered too low.

      This man is retired now, thankfully. Friends are friends with him on Facebook and i see his photo through their posts, and feel nauseated. But I also wonder whether if someone came forward and accused him now, would it come out how far I let him get with me?

    • Rainbow Hair :

      This paragraph rang out to me: “The anxiety of this — how to speak to guys who seek feminist absolution but whom I suspect to be compromised — is real. Some of my friends have no patience for men’s sudden penchant for introspection, but I’m a sucker; I feel for them. When they reach out, my impulse is to comfort. But reason — and a determination not to placate, not now — drives me to be direct, colder than usual: Yes, this is a problem. In fact, it’s your problem. Seek to address it.”

      I work with a guy who voted for Trump, so he’s been on my “not sure I can trust you” list for a year-ish. Last week we were both at a meeting where a non-employee told a joke from the podium that danced around some racism and concluded with a woman unknowingly touching someone else’s genitalia. Not particularly work appropriate. And before and after the joke itself there was a lot of “not sure I can say this with the ladies in the room” and literally, the sentence “that’s why people get all this harassment stuff” was used as a laugh line. There were probably 150 men in the room and there were 5 women including me. I was accutely aware of the new hire, a woman I am just getting to know, and how this was her first experience with this group. I gritted my teeth.

      Later at the meeting TrumpColleague and I were chatting and NonEmployeeHumorist came up and said a few words to us. TrumpColleague said something weirdly placatory like “now I have a joke to take home to my wife!” When NonEmployeeHumorist left, TrumpColleague asked me explicitly how I felt about NonEmployeeHumorist’s joke. I told him the truth: that I have heard cruder jokes and I was less offended by the content than the context: it made it very clear that I was an outsider here, that my comfort was not important, that I cannot belong. I told him that this organization worries about its ability to attract young people, but sabotages itself with stuff like this. Afterward, I told my (non-scumbag) male boss how impressed I was with TrumpColleague for asking the question, and I summarized my answer for him. Saying all of that felt like a huge risk.

      I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place: I really do want to change the culture for a lot of reasons (What organization will thrive in the next century when this is it now? I want women to feel safe here. I want everyone to feel safe here!) but I already stand out just by being a woman, and I am not sure my career could survive also being seen as a stick in the mud/angry feminist/etc.

      Anyway, I’m very proud of myself for not doing the “hehe nothing I haven’t heard before” thing and leaving it at that, especially since I’m not sure how much I can trust TrumpColleague. But I still feel bad for not doing more.

      • Did TrumpColleague seem to actually care about your response to his question? I’m curious, because I’ve had a few older male colleagues who would make a huge show about trying to consult me about gender inclusivity issues but then obviously did not listen to my answers, or didn’t even really let me answer, and just wanted the conversation as a venue for defending their sexist behavior (which they obviously had no intention to change).

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Oh no, he did it really pretty well: his preface was something like “I know I have thoughts on this, but it’s more important to me to hear from you and NewHire.” And then he agreed with me pretty heartily, like “It’s just inappropriate and unprofessional! This is a business meeting!” though… I doubt any change are pending.

  22. My office recently switched to an email client that allows us to put a profile picture that appears next to our names. Not everyone has chosen to use this feature, but there’s a weird variety of photo types among those who have. Some people put their professional headshot that appears on our website. Others put a different professional photo that (I assume) they like better than their headshot. But then there are people who put photos of themselves with snapchat filters, making weird “pouty” faces, or even pictures of their pets. Am I just old, or does that seem really not ok? No one in admin has said anything about how we should or shouldn’t be using profile pictures, but it’s driving me a little crazy to get emails with pics of coworkers with digital flower crowns, or club makeup, or their dog.

    • That is really not ok.

      We used to have an admin who had set up her email to default to a colored background (which colored all subsequent replies) and had multiple Jesus quotes in animation in her sig line. Someone finally talked to her about it but in a vey copped-out way, by saying that her formatting was making her emails large and running Ho against size limits on our email inboxes.

    • We have something similar in my office. I added a photo of me when I first started and yes, it included my dog. It’s a 5+ year-old picture and … I can’t change it. None of us can. I don’t look like that anymore, I now have better, more professional photos … and I can’t change it.

      So yeah go with a professional photo if you can!

    • Baconpancakes :

      It might be automatically linking their photos to their personal accounts (if you’re using the client I think you might be). I had to change my personal email picture to a professional one in graduate school since logging into both the school-provided and personal accounts on my computer linked them. If that’s the case, see if IT can fix this so that it defaults to no photo.

    • Not okay, but happens A LOT where I work now. One of the field service engineers has a very suggestive lean back, hand behind head pose going on in his and while he is good looking it’s entirely inappropriate for the workplace!

      One of my good friends here has her senior year HS photo up and it is HILARIOUS. I mean probably also not the most professional look, but it’s hysterical and I love it.

    • We can add photos as well – and there is a real variety of what people think is appropriate.
      I chatted with a few coworkers and I found out that most of them do not have a professional photo (hence strange FB-worthy pictures).
      I have proposed to organize a professional photo shooting session in the office for all employees (optional, not mandatory) and provide each person with at least 2 nice shots. All paid by the company.

      • We have something similar (photo that shows up with email and internal IM system). We have a serious of fundraisers the beginning of the year for a non-profit associated with our industry (we are not a non-profit) and one of the departments does a headshot session as their fundraiser ($20 to get your pic taken). Pro photog comes in, takes a bunch of shots/options, sends them to you and you get to pic one to be touched up.

        I mean we also have the options of just not uploading a photo as well, which lots of people do.

    • Flats Only :

      Ours is like that. For newer folks they just use your badge picture (not great sometimes!) but the folks who’ve been here a while have made some odd and unprofessional choices!

    • You’re old and it doesn’t matter.

      • Anonymama :

        Well, usually the people making hiring and promotion decisions are old too, so it may matter more than you think…

      • Metallica :

        That one struck a nerve for you, didn’t it, 1:26 Anon? Can we assume then that your own profile pic is professionally questionable?

  23. Many cooks in the kitchen :

    This year we have at least four people making food for Thanksgiving in my parents’ small kitchen, and there’s only so much pre-prep we can each do in advance. It’s great that we’re all doing something to make Thanksgiving delicious from the appetizers to the dessert, but I’m worried about chaos (and squabbles over who has the oven next) causing unnecessary stress. Does anyone have tips on keeping the peace in the kitchen during the holidays? I’ve thought of a pre-Thanksgiving family “meeting,” an oven schedule, and arrows suggesting a one-way flow of traffic around the center island like a roundabout.

    • Have you seen this floating around? https://lifehacker.com/plan-thanksgiving-dinner-for-a-crowd-with-this-spreadsh-1743520534

      • Many cooks in the kitchen :

        Aha, I was hoping Lifehacker would have something, thank you!

      • Yep – this! This is what I do when I’m cooking Thanksgiving. I work backwards from eating time and figure out when everything has to be started, where it is, and if there’s actually going to be room.

    • We do an oven plan in advance, at minimum. Everyone says their required oven temp and time and how far in advance of dinner the dish can come out of the oven. Then we schedule accordingly. Dishes should be completed and moved to the oven staging area (counter directly beside the oven) before their scheduled time to go in the oven.
      We’ve also had good luck moving tasks outside the kitchen. For example, potato peeling frequently takes place on the couch with bowls to catch the peels and finished potatoes. Last year I piped filling into tarts on the coffee table. It sounds weird, but makes the whole house feel busy and happy!

    • If people are traveling from somewhat near, have them bake at home and then bring in a warmer. Set up a table in the living room or dining room with those warmer trays, and keep the food there to preserve counter space and oven/stove real estate.

      Usually the turkey needs to rest for an hour before carving/ eating. Decide on one temperature you need, and calibrate the dishes to that temp. Keep in mind that the more in the oven, the longer everything will take.

    • In addition to the above, look into what items can be accomplished in small electrics like a crock pot or an instant pot. I made mashed potatoes in the crock pot year before last and they were pretty good. (Recipes all over the Internet)

    • BeenThatGuy :

      I’ve used my grill to warm up side dishes in past years when there wasn’t enough oven space. The idea is to have your guests bring fully cooked side-dishes in glass containers. Depending on the size of your grill, it’s possible to fit three 9X11 dishes in there to heat up.

      • Not sure if the grill will be necessary, but I am prepared to bake my brie in the toaster oven. I did it last night, although admittedly I overdid it, but better last night than next Thursday!

    • make a schedule using a google doc! i’m a planner and do not like the wait & see who needs the oven when approach. figure out what can be prepped beforehand, how long each dish needs to cook, etc.

  24. I’m going to start trying to conceive in march. There are sound reasons for waiting a few months but I’m not sure I can mentally take it. My thoughts are badicLly an endless string of “baby baby baby what if I can’t get pregnant baby I can’t wait to tell people baby baby baby.” Will I really have to go through four more months of this? Then what if it takes a while to get pregnant? Anyone have strategies for refocusing?

    • No real strategies, just lots of sympathy. This was me about 7 months ago. We started TTC 3 months ago and are still trying. It’s mentally exhausting and only getting worse. It sucks. I’ve been giving myself mini rewards for each month that I don’t conceive and that has helped my sanity. So far that’s been the best strategy for me, but it’s really only a short term distraction. I think the worst part for me is that I can’t talk to anyone about all of this stress because everyone’s response is “pfft 3 months is nothing!” So, *hugs* from and Internet stranger who knows how hard this is!

    • After a miscarriage, I decided to wait four months to try again, sort of your timing. I was sad about the MC and really wanted a baby and to be pregnant so how I got around it was to get really into wine. I don’t mean I drank a bottle a night but I mean that I spent four months really learning about my favorite kind of wine (French Burgundy) and buying wine and trying different bottles.

      I knew I wouldn’t be able to drink wine when pregnant so i really enjoyed the heck out of it when I wasn’t.

      My subsequent daughter is 16 now, I still like Burgundy, and my wine skills come in handy when ordering at restaurants.

    • Distract yourself with a really awesome vacation (to a non-Zika place, of course)? I was ready to try in late spring but for job-related reasons we had to wait until September or so. We booked a trip to Italy for September, so I spent four months thinking about all the wine and espresso I would consume there and all the hiking we would do that wouldn’t be possible if I were pregnant or if we had a baby. Anticipating that vacation took my mind off wanting a baby, then we went and had an amazing time, and started trying when we got back. I was lucky and got pregnant ASAP so I can’t comment on that part but there’s lots of places online where you can commiserate with other women who are TTC and not getting pregnant.

    • Treat your anxiety! Whether that means therapy, meds, yoga, long walks, meditation, coloring books. You have to figure out a way to not do this.

      • Huh. I hadn’t thought of this as an anxiety symptom but I have dealt with anxiety in the past and am on meds (haven’t yet discussed with my psychiatrist why TTC will mean for that). Maybe therapy again would be helpful with this.

    • anon a mouse :

      Stay off baby/TTC/pregnancy message boards. They are not your friend.

      Fill your time with the things that will be hard if not impossible in a year. Spontaneous trip to see a friend! Long spa day! See all the movies! Drink all the wine!

    • In the same boat...kind of :

      That’s my plan too! We have a trip to Paris booked (hoping it doesn’t get cancelled due to various visa/legality issues) when we want to start TTC. Although my thoughts are more like “Will i have to leave work? Research re: discussing wfh options with my boss? How long can I take off realistically? Can I WFH successfully?
      How long? Reading articles about how hard it has been for various women to conceive? Thinking about how it may be a blessing in disguise because am I really ready? Feeling extremely guilty about thinking previous thought…babybaby…Research re: talking to your husband about why daycare for young babies is a good option”

      Research always helps me keep my mind off things. If you are worried about conceiving, I suggest the various blogs on here re: what to know/do before you get pregnant. There’s a great checklist/thread on here that has suggestions like getting your dental exams, eating all the sushi etc. You could also read blogs like ewg.org which has a number of studies/results regarding pregnancy and healthy mothers e.g. “study found women who ate low-pesticide food could increase possibility of pregnancy by 88%”

      Good luck

    • this was me about a year ago. we were waiting to TTC – actually waited like a year due to moving/starting a new job and wanting to make sure i’d be covered by FMLA. Then it took us 4 months to get pregnant and then i miscarried! We were getting frustrated (even though physically we hadn’t been trying for that that long, emotionally it felt like forever), so consulted a fertility specialist. nothing was wrong with us, but we were tired of waiting, so tried an IUI which worked on the first try!

      anyway – back when we were waiting to TTC, every time i saw a baby, heard about another friend who was pregnant, etc. i felt like someone was pulling at my heart strings. it was torture. that being said, you can start to educate yourself on the things you can/can’t do while pregnant. have you told your doc your timeline? some docs will recommend you make sure you are immunized for chicken pox, etc. before you TTC, start taking prenatal vitamins, etc. You can also look at your finances to plan. One obgyn told me it is becoming more common for people to do infertility testing pre-TTC because it is covered by most insurance companies, so if that is something you are at all nervous about, you could do some of that now.

      your time to TTC will come and then you will begin obsessing over your sushi consumption and wine drinking! in those months pre- TTC i also tried really hard to focus on all the things we could do sans kids – travel, sleep late on the weekends, and even wake up later for work during the week, be more spontaneous, etc. I think I did such a good job of this, that now that i’m pregnant i am starting to freak out about whether we should actually be having kids. hang in there and good luck!!!

  25. Any ideas on how to explain the time demands of a BigLaw job to your mom who was a SAHM her entire life? My parents are in town, and a deal I’m working on went completely sideways this weekend and included calls at 9:00 Friday night, 8:30 AM Saturday morning, and a call that started at 9:00 last night and didn’t end until 1:00 in the morning (it’s not our deal per se, the partner I work for and I were brought in as the “experts” on a critical piece of the deal, so we needed to be available to advise the client about certain risks, etc.).

    This is not how I wanted to be spending the weekend, not what was planned for the weekend, and I worked from home rather than coming into the office so I was still around. It just does not help with my stress level when I’m on a call and my mom is coming in to my closed door home office every 15 minutes asking me how much longer I’m going to be (I legitimately didn’t know, as there was no agenda for the calls and I wasn’t running any of them to control when they ended) and saying that I look cold and keep putting blankets on me (also not helpful when I am trying to take notes on my computer). I mean, this is part of the job, and thankfully, it doesn’t come up that often. While I occasionally have to work on weekends, I haven’t encountered the level of insanity that this weekend brought. I tried telling her, while I’m on mute on a call, that I simply don’t know how long it’s going to take, and she’s encouraging me to to just hang up. She also says, “why is everyone on a call on a Sunday night? don’t the know Sundays are a sacred day? Don’t these people have families?”

    I actually have a completely wonderful boss, who understands and encourages spending time with family and apologized profusely for the fact this deal went to heck in a hand basket. Normally, everyone I work with is working their butts off all week so that we can avoid stuff like a crazy weekend to happen.

    But now my mom is p*ssed at me that I didn’t spend any quality time with her this weekend and she keeps asking me why all of this came up this weekend and why it couldn’t wait until Monday.

    Any advice on how to apologize to her or how to explain to her that this is the job and it just stunk that it happened this weekend? TIA!

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      No advice, just commiseration. My mom also can’t figure out why I can’t seem to get everything done she thinks I should be able to get done in terms of life chores. I don’t know, because I’m at a job all day, mom?

      • Thank you for the commiseration. It is very helpful this morning. It doesn’t help that my parents also saw my husband hanging out at home all weekend just watching TV and relaxing. He has a relatively cushy in house job with next to no work outside of the office, and the nature of his work (regulatory matters for a bank) doesn’t often necessitate any sort of emergency or even urgency. My mom doesn’t seem to understand that while we are both lawyers, we have extremely different jobs doing wildly different things.

      • The chores thing is the worst. I finally implemented the nuclear option – my mom is no longer welcome in my home. She was warned many times, if you continue to criticize my housekeeping/lawn maintenance/how many empty water bottles are in my car then you will not be invited back. It doesn’t fix her hysterics when I have a long business trip – but how will you do laundry??? you can’t trust the hotel to do it!!! – but it immensely reduces my anxiety leading up to our visits.

    • Veronica Mars :

      Mom, doctors are called in for weekend surgeries all the time. People get sick every day of the week. With my job, businesses have million dollar problems that can’t wait until Monday. It’s just part of my job. Please respect that it was unavoidable this weekend and I would like your support instead of being upset about something I had no control over except to try and resolve as quickly and efficiently as possible.

      • Triangle Pose :

        This is a great script.

      • in regards to this and you and your husband both being lawyers but having different schedules – it is just like how some doctors (dermatologists, ophthalmologists, etc.) have fewer emergencies than transplant surgeons or cardiologists.

    • Can you talk to her about it in terms of family contribution? I had a SAHM and she contributed to my family in countless ways. She taught me to cook and helped me with calculus homework (really, Mom was a total rockstar). But for me, and especially for folks in Big Law, the financial contribution from working can make a huge difference in children’s lives and in a family’s life.

      • I like this. And, as someone who spent 6 months unemployed/being a SAHM, it’s also true that you work really hard, you’re rarely “off,” and emergencies come up all the time. It’s not the same, but maybe your mom could relate.

    • Also no advice, but I can relate. My mom taught school and was off all summer and laments that I can’t take off, like, a month or more in the summertime to take my son on epic road trips or to the library every day. I’ve tried explaining lots of things – including that I didn’t find my summers off with her and my brother all that wonderful, and would much rather have gone to fun day camp – but to no avail. My best friend has the same struggle you’re having – her mom was a SAHM; she’s an executive and gets continual grief about all the things she doesn’t do at home. I think letting this stuff go in one ear and out the other is the only legit coping mechanism.

    • Anon for this :

      This will probably be a controversial response but if your mom is good with keeping confidential things confidential, explain what really happened to her. Discuss your case. Leave out the client name and maybe change a few details in case she does blab.

      This is what I did when my in-laws were in town and a case went to he!! on me. My mother-in-law went from pissed to really interested in thinking what I was doing was super important and asking me follow up questions about it after she went home. Mine was a bit more relateable than a business transaction though. It was a family law case where the parent with custody was suddenly in the ICU and we had to make emergency plans with the court to determine where the kids went in the meantime because non-custodial parent wanted them back.

      Even a big business deal can be explained in a way that makes sense though. Explain why there are deadlines that can’t be moved and how much money is at stake and what issue cropped up causing the need for the call.

      • Thank you. I did this, but she is still p*ssed. She just keeps asking why everyone is working on the weekend, and why everyone can’t just wait until Monday to do this? The answer is that I’m pretty sure no one wants to be working on the weekend doing this, and the timing was all about the deal announcement.

        • “Mom, I get paid to occasionally be available on the weekend. I’m sorry it interfered with your expectations for this weekend; it was definitely some lousy timing but I’m glad I was still able to make some (most?) of the events that we had planned. Pushing this until Monday was not an acceptable option based on lots of things that you didn’t see happening. Nobody was a fan of giving up their weekend, but sometimes that’s the way it goes. And now I need you to stop harping on it. This is the reality of having a job in my industry.”

          • Anon @ 12:35 :

            I’m wondering if it’s less about her being a SAHM and more about her having expectations about how the weekend was going to go, and having those foiled, but not feeling like she could plan something to do in the meantime because she didn’t know when you’d be done.

            How good is your mom at dealing with uncertainty or a last minute change in plans? Could she/they have gone off to do something without you?

          • Not great. My mom needs a lot of activities and is not good about sitting down or being silent. Even we we all were watching a football game Saturday night, she was asking questions (not about the game) but about everything else. Normally in these situations, I am able to go do something else with her where talking is acceptable, but I had to be on calls and editing documents, so I couldn’t do this.

    • Accept that she’s going to be unhappy. The worst thing about biglaw is disappointing people you care about. It gets better, in part because you develop a thicker skin and in part because people learn (a little). But she’s never going to be as understanding as you’d like her to be.

      Don’t apologize for doing your job. It is what it is. Unfortunately there are no magic words that will make her cool with you having to blow her off to work. She’s reacting from a place of disappointment, the fact that there’s a logical explanation for it misses the point. All you can do is make it up to her when it’s slow. And in the future, if you’re transactional, don’t plan stuff with family toward the end of the year/quarter.

      • Thank you. I needed to hear someone say “don’t apologize for doing your job.” I’m very, very lucky in that this doesn’t come up all that often.

        And there were several family birthday celebrations this weekend, which is why they were in town. And I left work early Friday to spend time with them, and we had a big family dinner Saturday night, etc. I just didn’t spend every waking moment with her, which appears to be unacceptable.

    • Mom I’m sorry I wasn’t able to spend as much time with you as I wanted. This doesn’t happen often but when ur does I️ can’t do much about it. Can we set up another visit?

    • Anonymous :

      SO much commiseration. I’m a prosecutor. “But why would you want to deal with child p-rn??”

  26. Cornellian :

    Cross-posting from moms’ site.

    Talk to me about divorce with a baby.

    I’d like to give it a bit more time (and couples’ therapy), but there is a real chance I will want to file for divorce in, say, a half year. My husband affirmatively does NOT want a divorce, but after a series of events (including him leaving marks on me and me having him removed by the police), even if I am certain he will never be physical again, I don’t think I will ever love him or respect him.

    I’m particularly thinking about geography. We are struggling financially in Manhattan, and have talked about moving to another (smaller) city. Realistically, it will be next to impossible to maintain two households and split custody in the city. I’ve considered (being transparent about my motives) seeing if he wants to move while we’re still married, knowing that I am still leaning strongly towards divorce. It seems harder to divorce here and then fight about where we’ll live. FWIW, I’m in BigLaw, and he works in a low-medium level IT job (which exist in more places than jobs like mine, but also pay less).

    • Diana Barry :

      So sorry. Big hugs! FWIW, after having him removed by the police I would be filing for divorce now and not waiting until after you move.

      Will you have to pay *more* in alimony/child support if you move because of lower costs of living, than if you stay put? Have you talked to a lawyer? Sometimes divorce agreements have moving restrictions, so I would also consider that, but talk to a lawyer first and get his/her take on it.

      • Cornellian :

        I sound like I have stockholm syndrome to myself, typing this out, but he is not generally an aggressive man. He was drunk and shoving, not punching or using any weapon. Which I say (hopefully) not as a defense of the man, but as an explanation for the choices I’ve made.

        We have a prenup that says no support. A lawyer I talked to said that would probably hold water, but I”d probably be on the hook paying for husband’s lawyer under NYS law. I also am towards the tail end of my time in BigLaw, so the income disparity should get smaller soon.

        • Get out now.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          This time your baby wasn’t involved. Next time, what if he’s drunk and shoving you while you hold your LO? What if he hurts them without meaning to? Please, get out. Leave. File now. He hurt you. You do not want your kiddo having their formative years in an environment where mom is worried about dad getting drunk- trust me. I remember some of my earliest memories being my dad screaming at my mom. To this day, I feel responsible for men’s feelings because it was always about “not upsetting Dad.” Both you and your baby deserve better.

    • I’m so sorry for all you’re going through. Will you trust this man alone with your child?

      If so you might try one of the newer models, where the child doesnt change households, the parents do. I have friends who had a very amicable breakup and they do this. They kept the family home they had already bought, but they also shared an apartment each of them used when it was the other parent’s turn with the kids. Now they have their own “away” apartments because one of them has remarried, but the kids still have the family house.

      Not my direct friends but friends of friend share a duplex, mom upstairs, dad downstairs, and their kid goes freely between the two.

      I would be open to all of the situations like that to figure out what works best for you. And remember, nothing is permanent. You can figure this out through trial and error too.

      • Cornellian :

        That’s an interesting idea. I don’t think he’s likely to be a physical threat to the baby, although I very much worry about the temper he’s modelling for him.

        I actually bought an apartment before I met him, and the one lawyer I spoke to said he would 99.5% expect me to be staying there. I’m open to having a real shared custody relationship (maybe he gets one weeknight and one weekend day and half the holidays) but I really don’t want to continue to subsidize this man’s lifestyle. It’s hard to reconcile that urge with, obviously, wanting my son to be safe and taken care of. I think if we stayed in the city my husband would need to live outside the city to not have roommates, which is a nightmare for the baby. Maybe I should be okay with throwing 500 a month his way so he can get a studio nearby and come by for bedtime a couple times a week.

        • It’s not a nightmare for him to live in weehawken or queens. It just isn’t. Make sure your custody arrangement spells out where the pick up drop off exchange happens so it’s convenient for you.

      • Stupid plan. No. Your child is fine swapping houses. You need to get your abusive loser husband out of your house and move on.

    • Anon for this :

      Sorry you are dealing with this. Look into the requirements for divorce in any state you want to move to. Some require you to be a resident a certain amount of time before you can access their divorce courts presumably to avoid forum shopping.

    • Call a lawyer today. You’re married to the guy who works for like minimum wage right? And he hit you? Call a lawyer today. You need to not get stuck with years of alimony. Your marriage is over. Fight for yourself. It is not your problem where he can afford to live and you can afford to stay where you are even if you need to move to a cheaper apt. Call a lawyer. Right now. Stop wasting time and move on with your life.

    • I’m sorry you are going through this. I agree with the advice to call a lawyer to see what your options are.

  27. I need help finding a warm, stylish coat. I realize nothing is going to be as warm as my beloved puffy coat, but I’m trying to find something that is fairly sleek but also warm to wear on days when the puffy coat isn’t quite called for. I’m looking at the J.Crew thinsulate coat – is it really warmer than your average wool coat? Anybody have any other recommendations?

    • Anon in NYC :

      J Crew w/ thinsulate is warmer than your average wool coat.

    • Cornellian :

      Lands End has lined wool coats. They’re warmer than pea coats, for sure, although obviously a bit clunkier as well.

    • Anonymous :

      Babaton Darwin Coat from Artizia

    • I feel like if you want warmth you need to do a wool/cashmere blend. Much warmer than my regular wool coats.

  28. How do you handle salary history? I’m in nonprofit fundraising, at a director level, and need to move into a higher paying job. I’m recently divorced and need to pay my bills. I saw that some larger nonprofits and universities pay significantly more for similar (or even a step below) work.

    While my 8 years’ of experience has been in the field in progressively higher paying jobs, I’m worried about representing my salary history. Universities post pay scales, so I know a pay range. Are they more likely to pay me at the bottom end of the range because my nonprofit history is less?

    I know some states are doing away with salary history. I always feel it lowballs people. Suggestions?

    • I can only speak for universities, but in my experience where you’re placed within the pay range has more to do with your experience than your salary history. I am not a big fan of salary history either, because I feel like it’s so random (I moved from a really HCOL area to a really LCOL area so my salary history looked artificially inflated, and the reverse could be true for someone making a move in the opposite direction) but I feel like you have to be honest. Don’t bring up your divorce, it has nothing to do with your job.

    • No experience with recruitment in the US, but I do not see why you should share your current salary with your future employer. You offer your expertise and experience for certain value. I do not see any reason why the value should be tied to your previous position. Maybe you agreed to take a temporary pay cut in exchange for more vacation days or working less than full-time or many other reasons (e.g. relocation package, company car, other perks & benefits).
      Stand your ground and demand what you see is fair remuneration for the new job.

    • At least in the case of universities, they are more likely to pay you at the bottom of the salary range because that is where most people start. The idea being that you can stay in that position for many many years and go up in salary, but not exceed the top of the band. It is very difficult to move pay bands within positions. That being said, I have heard of scenarios where people negotiate for salaries more towards the middle. Apply, and negotiate negotiate negotiate.

    • I just hired for a position at my university. The HR department decided on the salary range. Where our offer landed in that range depended more on the candidate’s experience than their salary history. HR did talk about the range we had in mind with each candidate to see if it was lower than they expected. I think you can dance around the question of your salary history, especially if you know the range, and focus on how you exceed the requirements. And if they do offer, negotiate!

  29. MIL Ughhhh :

    Sometimes I hate my MIL. She’s been single most of DH’s life, always plays the mommy martyr card, deliberately isolates herself and then complains about being lonely, ignores boundaries, and is needy in an emotionally exhausting way. Most of the time I can make myself by generous by reminding myself that she’s a lonely old lady and we have the ability to make her happy. But now we have kids of our own and I am just SO over it.

    We’ve invited her to thanksgiving. She’s not sure she can come because she doesn’t want to leave her dog alone for the holiday (????) and her normal dog sitter is traveling for thanksgiving. We have two kids and two dogs of our own and I refuse to add a third to the mix. Her dog is untrained, destructive, and unpredictable and We have an untrained, unpredictable and destructive toddler (who gets itchy around other non shedding dogs) and a 3 month old baby.

    DH has delivered the message that she can bring dog and stay at a hotel, not bring dog and stay with us, or not come to our holiday. She’s throwing a hissy fit about the one option she can’t have, which is bringing her dog to stay with us. DH is putting on a united front, but I know that without me being the driving force, he’d cave.

    Literally everything she touches gets more complicated

    • “we have the ability to make her happy”

      You actually don’t though. She’s in charge of her own happiness. You have the ability to give her reasonable options for the holidays, but you don’t have the ability to make her happy.

      You’re being completely reasonable. I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. Holidays bring out the worst in people sometimes.

    • “She’s not sure she can come because she doesn’t want to leave her dog alone for the holiday (????) and her normal dog sitter is traveling for thanksgiving.”
      If you don’t want her to bring her dog to your house, I can understand that and I think it’s perfectly reasonable to say she can stay alone at your house or she and the dog can stay in a hotel. But I have to admit I balked at this part of your question. Part being a responsible dog owner is not just dumping your dog with a stranger. If her usual dog sitter is unavailable and her dog is not welcome at your house, I think that’s a perfectly good reason for her to stay home and I’m not sure why you think that’s so odd.

      • Aiyiyi. Put it in a kennel. No one is suggesting letting it fend for yourself.

        OR decline and don’t be a dramatic crybaby about it.

      • Not OP – bc it’s a DOG not a person. It can stay with a stranger – who cares if its feelings are hurt? Isn’t this why kennels were invented??

      • MIL Ughhhh :

        Lol what? She’s more than welcome to stay home. She’s not welcome to have a meltdown over not being allowed to bring her dog to stay at my home.

        Part of being a normal dog owner is having options that you’re comfortable with if you’re unavailable. There are kennels, local vet techs who do this on the side, and plenty of people who do this as a business. It is not normal to stay home with your dog instead of celebrating with your grandchildren, particularly when you complain about being lonely.

        Also, part of me being a good dog owner is not expecting too much of my dogs. They have a toddler all up in their business, a new baby, and potential out of town guests. They don’t need a strange rowdy dog in their home as well. It’s a recipe for disaster

      • I’m guessing that OP’s phrase “alone for the holiday (????)” was not referencing that she doesn’t understand that dogs can’t stay by themselves for several days, but that her MIL somehow thinks the dog will be upset that it was left alone on a holiday… as if it will lay in its doggie bed thinking, “Can’t believe she did this to me on Thanksgiving!”

        She does not have to “dump the dog with a stranger”. She can bring it with her, and spend as much time as she wants with it at the hotel.

    • Commiseration here for you. I would commend you for trying to compromise because many people wouldn’t even invite her to come, which you did so kudos to you. You have a right to not let her run your life or reek chaos in your household.

      • Also, if you give people like this an inch, they will take a mile. You cave to the unreasonable requests and they will just keep coming.

    • Ok you have to be firm with her but you know that. I don’t know if DH is doing this, but the worst thing you can do is try to help her figure out how to work option A, B or C – as in , what if you boarded your dog?, or how about this dog friendly b&b? She’s an adult and she needs to figure out how to live within the three reasonable choices she has. The only thing for you and DH to do is repeat the choices and let her figure it out.

      The reason I mention this is because I have a relative just like this and I’ve tried too hard to help her figure out solutions to the point that her problems become my problems, and choices A,B and C morph into additional choices D and E, and I’m losing ground every time.

      Manipulative people are masterful at getting their way, and experts at the game. Just don’t play the game.

      • +1

        You gave her the options. Let her choose. If she pouts and decides not to come, you tell her to have a nice holiday, bye.

    • Don’t let her have the conversation with you any more. Have DH tell her “We’ve laid out the three options. You get to choose which one works for you. We need to know your decision by X date, otherwise we’re assuming you’re not coming to the holiday.” Then every time she brings it up, he repeats “Oh did you make a decision? Ok well let me know when you did. Bean dip?” and either change the subject or get off the phone.

      I know that sounds aggressive, but he needs to reframe his thinking – SHE is being aggressive by having a conversation that he doesn’t want to participate in. It’s hard to do, but definitely worth him (and you) working on now, so you don’t repeat the manipulative behavior with your kids, or let them grow up thinking that’s normal. Otherwise, your kids and their spouses will be the ones complaining about their awful parents who are emotionally exhausting. Don’t be that in-law.

    • Anonymous :

      She sounds like a miserable human being. That said, I’m a dog owner, and I would not put my dog in a kennel. Dogs can get sick there, and they need certain, extra shots to even stay in a kennel. I have chosen to not attend events when I can’t get a pet sitter.

      • Anonymous :

        Do you cry and whine about it though?

      • Anonymama :

        This is why you have to let her figure out her own options beyond the limitations you set out; otherwise she’s just going to keep bringing up excuses for why this that or the other one isn’t going to work. If she really wants to come she can figure it out. And there are plenty of options beyond kennels, if she took the dog for a walk and asked a couple dog-walking neighbors what they do she could probably find a solution pretty easily.

  30. Eek! I have a phone interview for a job tomorrow! I’ve been really unhappy at my current job and wanting to leave, and potential job has more money and responsibility, so I’m excited. But I’m slightly underqualified for this potential job, and I don’t want to embarrass myself on the phone. It’s a job I know I can do because I’m smart and motivated, but there would definitely be a learning curve. How to broach this with potential boss?

    • I would focus on your transferable skill sets and personality traits (smart and motivated). Be sure to have some concrete stories to share as examples. Don’t just tell what you did; explain the impact and “so what” (saved the company money, expanded a program, etc) to show you are indeed smart and motivated. Best of luck!


    • New Tampanian :

      Prepare, prepare, prepare. The more information you know about the job, company, and interviewer, the more confident you will feel. Do not broach the topic of how “unqualified” you are. Just give great answers to the questions they have. Be prepared to answer to the fact that you may not check one of the boxes and how your skills and experience lead you to know that you can do it. Think about all of the things you’ll bring to the company and how that will impact them. YOU GOT THIS!!

  31. stretchy washable sleeved dresses :

    I have a dress from the Limited that is a stretchy polyester blend – obviously not the finest quality but it is comfortable and washable and has held up for years. I’m looking for some more similar types of easy long-sleeve one and done dresses, but non wrap if possible (although that is an option). Any recommendations?

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Maggy London and it’s cheaper sister, London Times. They frequently have knee or just-below-the-knee length stretchy dresses with sleeves. The trick is that some (a lot?) come in dumb patterns, and the more tasteful patterns don’t go on sale as much as I would like. But they’re pretty reliable, pack wonderfully, and are easyAF.

      I also have a few Ellen Tracy dresses that meet that bill. They’re a tad more formal than the London family ones, but oh so nice. I’ll try to track down some links for you.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        There are a ton like this, but I’ve given up on looking for a pattern that doesn’t annoy me. (How much of that is me?)


    • Check out Donna Morgan jersey dresses

    • Talbots. Lands End.

    • stretchy washable sleeved dresses :

      thanks all for the recommendations!

  32. Any Floridians want to advise me in packing for a meeting Wednesday north of Miami? Bare legs still ok?

  33. Second Class :

    Hubby and I recently made a major move and are renting a home inside an upscale gated golf community. We decided to rent here before buying because it’s a new area and we weren’t sure about the demographic here (seemed to lean a little older with fewer young families).

    After a couple of months, we’ve made quite a few friends here and are liking the area. We are now comfortable with the idea of buying here in the next 12-15 months. Homes are expensive here, and it would be a big investment for us.

    I would like some thoughts from those of you in sales / marketing, or who just may have a different perspective, about something that left my husband and I feeling a little weird:
    If you buy a home here and are under 40, there is a ~$20k one time, full membership fee that allows you to use the clubhouse, golf, tennis, playgrounds, etc. Because we decided to rent rather than buy, we asked the sales and marketing person here if a leased membership was an option.
    She said yes, so we’re paying somewhere in the ballpark of $1500/mo (or 18k a year) for the whole family to participate in this stuff. There’s a cap of 24 months on a leased membership, with a 12 month minimum commitment. Our lease is 18 months.
    If we buy, the lease goes toward the full membership.
    The problem is, we were never told when we signed up for the leased membership that we were basically “second class club members”. We have been excluded from many of the social events (presumably because the club comps them for “full” members and views offering them to leased members as a loss?).
    It’s created a lot of awkwardness with other new members who we are friendly with who a) weren’t told about a leased option and are also renting (and thus, feel kind of screwed) or b) we constantly are getting emails or texts from our new friends to the tune of “did you get invited to this? do you want to come?” and about 40% of the time, we didn’t get the invite. Recently we were very embarrassed to have shown up to a club event with our friends, who RSVP’d for us and another couple – and had a manager pull us aside and say it was not an event intended for leased members (although we paid out of pocket for it). I could not understand or see why the membership type was relevant – nothing was given out to anyone for free at that event. It was just so offensive and infuriating.
    We took our concerns to the sales and marketing person, who told us our situation was unique; that most people who did a leased option weren’t interested in being social with other members and just wanted to golf, etc.
    We explained to her how it feels to us; that there’s basically stratification in the club, it gives the impression that somehow we’re on a “budget” plan when over the long run we could actually be paying more than other members, etc.
    This experience has also given me pause about buying here. I don’t want to live in a place where this kind of discrimination of “full member” vs “leased member” happens, and it makes me wonder how financially solvent the club is if they have to exclude leased members from events that include a $50 comp’ed dinner.
    I see this situation as very penny-wise and pound-foolish.
    I see lots of opportunities for improvement here – better communication about membership types, what membership options include, how to market the club, etc. Anyone have any ideas as to who to bring this up to or how to broach the subject? Club manager? Board? Or just let the sales/marketing person take it up the chain?

    • Anonymous :

      Girl what. You’re buying in a gated golf community and crying crocodile tears about discrimination? Exclusion? Literally the entire point of this place is discriminatory exclusion. You want full access pay full price. You don’t like it, live somewhere else.

      • Anonymous :

        I work as a golf pro in a private club. Offering a leased membership suggests to me that they’re hungry for members and revenue. Golf clubs are generally having a very difficult time recruiting and keeping younger membership. At our club there’s also subset of older members who resent any incentive offered to get more traffic in the door. The lease option sounds like a half baked compromise to keep the old guard happy and keep money rolling in. You should use the narrative you wrote above to negotiate getting a cut rate on the full membership. Make sure you know the initiation fees of the other private clubs in the area when setting your offer. Take it to the club manager, forget the sales/marketing person. And do it before the end of the year.

      • Anonymous :


        That’s like saying “I’m mad because other people paid $1,000 and got a much nicer coat than the coat I bought for $50.00”

    • I love that you’re talking about a gated community and five figure membership fees and then worried about discrimination against YOU. Hahhahaa

    • Another Anon :

      I’m sorry people are being such trolls about this. You have a valid complaint- you paid for a service understanding that it would be one way, and it turns out that your payment didn’t get the access that was advertised. Yeah, the service is a luxury, but just because you’re paying for a luxury expense doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a fair deal. I’d issue a complaint to the board or manager about the marketing person not explaining clearly what the rental member ship did or did not entail and include within that your request for a compensating arrangement to be made with your full membership.

      • Seconded. They should have been up front with you about what the “leased” membership entailed. And pulling you aside at an event to tell you you’re not welcome there is abominable.

        I think you are correct to be concerned about the future of country club neighborhoods — I don’t know where you’re located, but where I live (mid-South) more than one of these neighborhoods has had the golf course razed and covered up with new housing when the country club didn’t perform as expected (probably at least in part for the reasons you and the golf pro above mentioned).

        • This is happening to my parents right now. They bought a lovely home on a golf course, their dream home! Everything was great! Then the country club/golf course went bankrupt and now the options are, watch as the golf course turns back into wild country and gets taken over by coyotes and hawks that love to eat people’s little lap dogs, or agree to a rezoning that will mean 60 new homes built on what was the golf course. My parents’ lovely view of the hills will be gone, along with the open space behind the house that they loved so much. But it’s agree to this or see their property value decrease by half, because in their area open spaces become magnets for vagrants and people cooking meth in vans.

  34. Anonymous :

    Solve a fight for me. BF is moving into a house I’ve owned for 5+ years. We’ve both made a lot of compromises but I think we may have reached a hill to die on: he insists that his parents must have a key to the house. I don’t want that.

    His side: his parents have always had a key to his house, he has a key to theirs, that’s what family does. They should be able to check on the house in case of emergency and it’s convenient if we’re away. His parents are very hurt and think I don’t trust them. He’s hurt because this is supposed to be his home too but I’m treating it like it’s only mine by vetoing his parents having a key.

    My side: His parents are nice people but they have pretty much zero personal boundaries. “In case of emergency” means “helping” with random stuff, like yard work or cleaning or dropping off food. They don’t give any warning or even knock on the door when they come by; they actually walked in on BF’s then-roommate and his GF. I’m also a very private person and don’t want people randomly in my house. I don’t want them monitoring my lawn and housekeeping to make sure it’s good enough and “helping” if it’s not. Also, my parents don’t have a key to the house (because they also have no boundaries), so giving his parents a key would cause a lot of friction with my parents if they found out.

    My suggested compromises that have all been shot down: 1. His parents can have a key when we’re going to be out of town. 2. I’ll leave a lock box with a key in it when I don’t mind them stopping by (i.e. when we’re out of town). 3. We can give a key to a mutual friend who also knows his parents. 4. His parents can have a spare garage door opener but not a key to the house, and we have to start locking the door between the house and garage. There’s a fridge and tools/law mower in the garage so they could drop off food or mow the lawn (grr… but in the spirit of compromise…). This was still unacceptable. I’m at a loss and I’m about ready to tell him he needs to not move in if we can’t come to a resolution. Is there another option I’m not seeing?

    • Shots. Shots. Shots. :

      Hi! Join me and the girl from the top of the comments who is in Paris and dumped and Cornellian who def needs to leave her husband at the bar. Thank your lucky stars you’re finding out now, dump him, and get wasted with us. You f-ing own the house, to bad so sad his mommy doesn’t get a key, and you get an opportunity to go through life without ever ever seeing his ridiculous parents again

      • Mrs. Jones :

        +another shot from me

      • <3 you Shots, Shots, Shots!

      • Paris, I don't love you :

        Yesssss join me and Shots Shots Shots! It’s evening here and I’m ready to switch from classy French wine to whatever the French drink in shot glasses.

        • If you were ever going to pick up a hot French guy for a brief but memorable fling, now would absolutely be the perfect time to do it and no one on Earth would judge you, just saying.

          • Hell yes! (but also one should never judge if this is what one does – we don’t need to be shaming anyone, and the brief flings I have had have always been memorable for one reason or another).

      • Shots Shots Shots, always a friend in times of need.

    • I think the reason that compromise is difficult here is that this is about everyone’s feelings, not practical considerations like access to the refrigerator and lawn mower and the house “in case of emergency.” Unfortunately, that means you and your BF are going to have to sit down and talk about how each of you feel about who should have access to your (shared) house. The keys here are, “He’s hurt because this is supposed to be his home too but I’m treating it like it’s only mine by vetoing his parents having a key,” and “I’m also a very private person and don’t want people randomly in my house. I don’t want them monitoring my lawn and housekeeping to make sure it’s good enough and “helping” if it’s not.” Whatever compromise you come to, it will have to take into account the validity of both your feelings. I’m also willing to bet that conversation will dredge up a lot more issues on the “yours” vs” his” house issue and how his boundaries with his parents affect your relationship.

      The parents’ feelings are irrelevant–his parents don’t get a key because their feelings are hurt, and they don’t not get a key because your parents’ feelings might be hurt.

      • Hmmm… I’m not sure I agree with Shots Shots Shots here (definitely agree wrt Paris girl and Cornellian), but there’s something appealing about her approach. And I’m not going to deny that that’s where you may end up.

    • anon a mouse :

      One of those keypad-entry locks. If there is an emergency, you can give them the code. Otherwise they don’t have access.

      A friend went through something similar – she ultimately gave in and let her in-laws have a key. She spent the next 2 months basically walking around the house without clothes on. By the second time they popped over and found her in her skivvies, they stopped popping in. YMMV, of course.

    • Anonymous :

      Don’t move into together until you work this out in a way you’re both satisfied with, and I’d recommend counseling to work on the larger parental boundary issues. This will only get worse once you’re married and much, much worse once you have kids (if that’s something you plan to do).

    • Equestrian lawyer :

      Oh man, as someone with invasive in-laws, you have my sympathy. Giving them a key would be a huge no for me and I don’t think you are being unreasonable at all. Your compromises all seem very reasonable to me. I don’t have any other great ideas for compromises, unfortunately.

      I can tell you that the only way I solved my struggle with my in-laws (which was randomly buying stuff. Like, I would come home one day and I had a new couch, which they had picked. With no notice whatsoever. It happened several times and it drove me INSANE. And DH was all like “but you said we could use a new couch!” and truly did not see what the problem was), was to have a serious talk with my DH about limits and personal space and intimacy. Different families do things differently but as some point, you are allowed to say “this is where I draw the line” and, barring exceptional circumstances or completely unreasonable demands, your SO should respect that. Mine ultimately saw the light after several fights and has now started to stand up to his well-meaning but incredibly controlling parents. But it’s a struggle.

      • My in laws bring *theor old junk* to our house assuming we would want these treasures. They live 2000 miles away so sometimes it comes hidden in luggage, sometimes they drive to us with a trailer of junk. I cannot imagine them living closer.

        We toss what we don’t want, and/or let it sit untouched in a corner of the garage for 5 years then toss.

    • Veronica Mars :

      He’s not getting the “leaving and cleaving” that needs to happen between kids and their parents when they transition to adulthood. I’d hold your ground on this one. I reached my near breaking point with my Fiance over his wanting to make his parents happy at the expense of us making decisions together. I told him pre-martial counseling, stat, and emphasized this was a BIG DEAL. The counselor was great in telling him which expectations were and weren’t OK, and what was normal and what wasn’t. It was good for him to hear it from another person, and he really had to decide if he wanted to “leave” his parents and “cleave” to me. He’s been great since the session and the counselor is helping us set reasonable boundaries that he must enforce.

    • I just think this is a symptom of a bigger problem with BF. He is way way to acquiescent to his parents and chooses them over you. If you two get to the point of marriage and children this will be a HUGE issue.

      It’s a dealbreaker for me. Sorry.

      • Triangle Pose :

        Great point. I agree with this. When it comes down to it, if you two are a unit, your reasonable expectations to privacy (in your own house!) trump his parents feelings.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      “I’m about ready to tell him he needs to not move in if we can’t come to a resolution.”

      This is the correct solution! Congratulate yourself on having thought of it, execute it, treat yourself to a sundae.

    • Pretty Primadonna :

      Absolutely not. WTEF.

    • Metallica :

      I also have In-Laws from Hell and one thing that I totally screwed up in the beginning before I married their son was being waaaay too nice to them and not insisting upon my own boundaries. They’ve only gotten worse with time and exposure, so my recommendation would be to stand your ground now, since people like this don’t improve with time.

    • So I was you about 10 years ago, except I let my MIL have a key to the house. Imagine my surprise one day when the slow cooker I had left on before I went to work was turned off, raw chicken and all, sitting on the kitchen counter. I found out the MIL considered slow cookers fire hazards and when son declined her invitation to dinner that night (and mentioned we had something in the slow cooker), she helped herself in and “did us a favor”.

      Our marriage lasted 9 months.

      Establish and enforce boundaries now. If it doesn’t go well, you’ll have your answer.

  35. First world problem: I just booked a 2 week trip to Australia. I’m going to a friends wedding and I’m psyched. I’m going by myself, as everyone I would want to travel with is unavailable for one reason or another and I don’t have a significant other to bring along. I decided I would make it an eat pray love trip and just go alone. I just called my mom and told her that I was going and she basically freaked out and yelled at me that I couldn’t go alone blah blah danger and then suggested I ask people to go with me (as if I didn’t think to do this!). I’m really upset. First, because I would have liked to go with someone and second because it made me feel like I’m going to die alone. I’m now crying in my glass walled office and feeling bad about how much the ticket cost. Ugh. End of rant.

    • Anonymous :

      Commiseration. My mom does the same thing every time I travel alone. Australia is on my list but I haven’t been yet, I’m so excited for you! Fwiw, I now prefer traveling alone. I’m a pretty motivated, active traveler and most people… aren’t. It’s so tedious to wait for friends who are dilly dallying. I got stuff to do! Get out of bed! Stop taking selfies! We have 6 more waterfalls to see today!

      Anyway back to mom – I tell her some variation of the following: “Mom, I am over 30 and I will no longer put my life on hold to find a friend or SO willing to do the exact same things I want to do. I have to live my life. I’m asking you to support me and not feed into my anxieties about this.”

      • Feel like your mother is over reacting, you are going to a fairly safe place where they speak English. To me, it’s equivalent of your mother saying you can’t travel alone somewhere in the U.S., just seems ridiculous. Go have fun.

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          This. It’s got to be on of the safest/easiest countries to travel to as an American, save for Canada or maybe New Zealand, right? Just tell her you’ll email her every day or two so she knows you’re not dead.

      • This is a great response applicable to so many mom issues. Thanks!

    • Shots. Shots. Shots. :

      Girl I am busy today. And so will you be. Busy that is. Aussie guys are hot, friendly, and English speaking. It’s safer than America with way better accents. We’ll have a great time together. Ignore her. She’s just jealous she’s not hooking up with Bruce, Graeme, and Craig.

    • Ekaterin Nile :

      Don’t feel bad about the ticket cost! You’re going to have a fabulous time in Australia. It’s so cool that you’ll get to see your friend get married and get to travel around such an interesting location. It won’t be dangerous and I bet you’ll meet some really interesting people. Be proud of yourself for not putting your life on hold or turning down this opportunity because you don’t have a significant other or your friends can’t take two weeks off (which seems pretty normal to me).

      Any chance your mom thinks you should have asked her? That would have been the vibe from my mother…

      • Thanks! Yeah 2 weeks off is a ton. I structured it around New Years so it isn’t too many work days but it is a long time. If i asked her she would have said no, but I’m 30 and I do want I want (kind of).

    • Flats Only :

      Don’t worry – you’re crying because your mother yelled at you, not because of the ridiculousness of her reaction. Your reaction is visceral and natural and hard to control. Once you feel a little better (insert standard self care suggestions about cups of coffee, walks, etc.) you’ll be able to laugh at her ridiculousness and enjoy planning your trip!

    • Solo travels :

      I’ve spent quite a bit of my 30s traveling alone, including a 2.5 week trip up the east coast of Australia. I struggled for years trying to find friends to travel with/lamenting being single before I bit the bullet and started traveling alone. Let me let you in on a secret: Traveling alone is the BEST. You get to decide what you want to do every day, without worrying about what anyone else wants or needs, and if you do want to be around other people, there are plenty of opportunities to meet them.

      Australia in particular is super safe, and there are ton of solo female travelers I met heading up the coast. Your mom is just wrong. Everything is in English and it’s actually much safer than the U.S. in terms of random violence. Actually my biggest annoyance in Australia was how many solo 18/19 year olds there were everywhere I stayed, because it’s so safe that lots of Brits and Europeans go there alone on their gap year before college. Not sure if you want recommendations, but I highly recommend stops in Byron Bay and Noosa, and if you like boats, a sailing trip around the Whitsundays (where you’ll definitely meet other people). I also did a camping trip on Fraser Island that was amazing. If you want to chat about it, post an email address and I’d be happy to make more specific recommendations.

    • Uh I just got back from 11 days in Hawaii, solo, and it was epic. My mom had a similar reaction to yours and I told her I wasn’t putting my life on hold waiting for some magical guy so that I could travel wherever I wanted to go… You will be fine, and so will your mom!

    • Thank you all! <3 <3 This is exactly what I needed to hear. I'm back to looking forward to this trip. I will post for recommendations soon and I'm glad to hear about you other bad*ss ladies setting an example. Happy Monday! :)

    • Being an Aussie, you are coming to one of the safest countries and you will find plenty to do travelling solo. You will also have an absolute blast and see things you won’t see anywhere else. Also, I may be biased but Aussies are a friendly bunch and will talk to anyone!

  36. DH and I have opposing views on this. My family is exactly like your boyfriends, he hates having them up in his business and my mom truly cannot comprehend how having groceries dropped off is a bad thing. It has been such a source of friction and stress in our relationship. I resent DH for making me run interference and rejecting help, he resents the fact that it wasn’t obvious that adults shouldn’t have their parents come by.

    This issue won’t go away, solve it before you go further into the relationship or save your time and get out!

    • I don’t think he is making you run interference here. The general rule is you deal with your family and he deals with his. It sounds like your family has some boundary problems and he wants you to deal with them. Running interference would be if you had to deal with his parents’ boundary issues because he wouldn’t get involved.

  37. What do you do to help re-energize you when life feels bleh? It’s not depression, I mean when you have the blues for a bit or feel stuck in a rut. What are some things you ladies to as a pick me up or to get you out of a ditch?

    • I try something new and different. Sometimes it’s just a walk in a park I haven’t been to before or going to a new restaurant. I look up events and see if there’s something new that might be fun, like a jazz group performing or a lecture by an author. It helps me get out of the same old, same old lifestyle rut when I start actively searching for new things.

    • Puddlejumper :

      Things that work for me:
      – Walk around a museum and take pictures of things that spark interest
      – Bring a book to a coffee shop and sit and read while sipping tea and leave your phone at home
      – plan a weekend trip out of town
      – cook a new recipe
      – go on a walk at dawn or dusk
      – Call an old friend
      – Get an extra hour of sleep
      – add in some exercise to your week

    • Triangle Pose :

      Spa day. Massage and facial and self pampering does wonders foe me. I need to book something soon. That, or…a truly good show that makes me think and feel feelings or laugh.

      Taking my dog to the dog park. I somethings thing he is so happy that it makes me refocus and laugh and get excited making faces at him. It’s great.

  38. The MIL post got me thinking, and DH and I were discussing this over the weekend. Is it my responsibility to make sure my mother has plans for the holidays? She is single. My brother is leaving town for thanksgiving. DH and I are planning on going to his parents’ house. Of course the easy answer is, bring mom to inlaws! (We are all in the same city.) But for whatever reason, I’m not a fan of mixing groups. Plus, my mom is very introverted and very clingy (on me) in situations where she doesn’t know others.

    I don’t feel like it is my job to ensure she has plans, but she’s not keen to make plans for herself. I don’t think she’s expecting me to do anything, but I still feel a tad guilty that she’ll be alone. She has friends. Is this my responsibility?

    • Anonymous :

      Yeah, I think it’s a little mean to not invite your mother to your in-laws’ house, assuming your in-laws are fine with it. If your mother were nasty or rude, it would be a different story, but being introverted and clingy really isn’t the worst thing in the world and it doesn’t sound like she’ll disrupt the gathering in any way. Tell her in advance that you won’t be able to entertain her the entire time because you need to socialize with your in-laws and other guests, and then stick to it. She may not want to come knowing that, but if she does, I think it’s mean to exclude her.
      I think you are being too hard on her for not making her own plans. Thanksgiving is not a day when people typically socialize with their friends. If she is single, one child is out of town and one child is at her in-laws and hasn’t invited her, then I don’t really see how she has any other option other than being alone. I mean, sure it would be great if she had a friend group of single, childless ladies who all wanted to hang out together on Thanksgiving, but I don’t think it’s realistic to expect that.

      • I disagree. My family and my in-laws do not mix and I can’t imagine inviting someone to my in-laws for a holiday, especially if they were clingy and would not socialize with anyone else. But my husband and I actually stay home and do our own personal Thanksgiving for just the two of us so YMMV.

    • No.

    • Anonymous :

      Nope not at all.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      It is not your job. If you think she’s assuming you’re going to be doing something with her, it’s kind to let her know you’re not. And if thinking about it makes you sad, there are lots of other fun things that can be done. “Mom, want to go for a walk on Friday to look at the fall colors?” etc. Doing something together-ish without changing your plans or making plans for her.

    • No

    • Senior Attorney :

      Nope. But if you take it on, it may well become your responsibility in the future. So don’t.

      • It’s not so much about what any of us would do for our mothers. We all have our individual and complicated relationships with our parents. I can’t imagine letting my mother spend Thanksgiving day alone if it was within my power to easily include in her in my plans. She would be very clingy and I would probably enjoy the day a little less, but she’s also the person in the world who loves me most and unconditionally. If I needed her, she would drop everything and everyone to get to me. So, maybe I would be inviting her out of some sense guilt, but I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing. I’m of the opinion that guilt that inspires us to exercise extra kindness isn’t always something we should let go of or process. That’s a very modern idea. We talk a lot about supporting others and helping the less fortunate. Sometimes those that need support are our family members. So, yeah, it sounds a little cruel to me to leave your mother along Thanksgiving, but maybe your relationship with your mother is different from mine. That’s okay too. I have to live with my choices (certainly many you would disagree with or find callous) and you have to live with yours.

        • Pretty Primadonna :

          I agree with this. My mom woudl at least be invited, though I wouldn’t force her to attend.

    • Ugh this reminds me that Thanksgiving plans are still not made for my family since I haven’t made them yet. Despite having a perfectly capable mother, father, and two sisters who seem unable to make any family plans whatsoever without my input.

      To the point, I say no…but probably wouldn’t be able to follow my own advice.

      • Anonymous :

        Make your own plans at your house and tell them they can come if they want but you need to know by X date. Don’t plan for everyone!

    • blueberries :

      Not your responsibility, but it’d be a kindness to her if your in laws would be happy to have her.

  39. thanksgiving :

    Any favorite Thanksgiving shortcuts? I am hosting my 20-member family and will have less help this year than usual (one sister just had a baby, another is having surgery 4 days before). I’m also not able to spend days cooking and prepping in advance, like I have in the past. So, I need to scale back a lot and accept that a simpler meal is better than none. I need fewer dishes and simpler prep (for example, I am not brining the bird this year. I’m throwing it in the roaster and calling it good.)

    • Anonymous :

      Order the sides- grocery store, deli, caterer. You don’t need to do it all from scratch.

      • Or the opposite–order the turkey and gravy at the grocery store, make a few sides, and ask family members to bring some stuff. The ones who are unable to help much might be able to bring things like beverages or bread.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Wegmans caters holiday foods!

    • buy some stuff and do not do fancy appetizers.

      appetizers: veggies & dip, chips & dip

      main meal: turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, some kind of vegetable, stuffing and cornbread (that you purchase and don’t make). you do not need to have 15 different dishes

      dessert: purchase some pies (have someone bring them!)

      • +1 to purchasing pies. I’m a heathen who actually thinks that store-bought pies are better than homemade pies, despite having grown up with homemade pies at all the holidays.

    • The New York Times has a good guide to a basic Thanksgiving this year – you’d need to look at scaling it up for that many people, but it might be helpful.

    • When I do Thanksgiving, it’s from scratch because of dietary restrictions, but really it isn’t that difficult if you use recipes you’re familiar with. Also, your sisters may be out for helping, but men are super capable of chopping, which is the bulk of the prep. Have someone else bring dessert. Drink coffee or wine liberally and assign someone to bring a non filling appetizer so people aren’t whining for dinner before the turkey is done (raw veggies with a dip is perfect for this).

      Buy pre chopped foods or have the men do those jobs. I cut the bread for stuffing the night before, put the turkey in the oven in the morning and get to work chopping potatoes, running sweet potatoes through the food processor (I don’t like the classic marshmallow casserole and so a savory hash instead), prep Brussels sprouts, and make salad dressing. If you’re making dessert, you can prep it now and bake it while you’re eating dinner. Make the cranberry sauce (basically washing cranberries and putting it in a pan with water and sugar and any other flavorings). Sauté the additions for the stuffing and stir it together then put it in the oven. Boil the potatoes. Sauté the sweet potatoes and do the Brussels sprouts (I switch between roasting in the toaster oven and doing a raw salad). Put the salad in a bowl (I use the baby greens premix and usually add cranberries and other things). Take out the turkey and make the gravy. Assign someone else to carve the turkey and set the table. Make someone else mash the potatoes if you haven’t done it already. Put the dessert in the oven if it needs to be baked. Put everything on the table and force people to give you lavish compliments about how amazing everything looks and smells before they dig in. Enjoy and don’t cook for the rest of the month.

    • Dandelion :

      Freeze stuff now. Ask someone else to bring dessert.
      Good choices to freeze and then toss in the oven or on the stove day of: stuffing, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes.
      Cheese and crackers for appetizers. Ask people to bring wine.

  40. I’m 35 weeks pregnant. I spent the weekend in the hospital from a GI bug. Without consulting me, my super thoughtful husband just invited the neighbors over for cake and coffee at 5:45 (?! Dinner time for our 15 month old).

    There’s no way I can get out of this, right?

    • Are you kidding?? OF COURSE you can get out of this!! You stay in the bedroom, don’t even come out to say hi. Your husband graciously excuses you with a migraine/exhaustion/whatever it takes. He manages the 15 month old and the cake and the neighbors without ever once bothering you, and learns his lesson for next time. In return, he gets you not being mad at him for doing something so thoughtless.

      • Inspired by your post, I told him he was responsible for all activities related to this get together and that I would not be participating. And if he didn’t like it, he could take the cake to their house and eat it there.

        He canceled. :)

        Thank you!!

    • Senior Attorney :

      Of course you can! Have hubby call them back right this minute and say “Oh my gosh so sorry but wife just called and she’s having a recurrence of the GI bug that had her in the hospital all weekend! Gonna have to issue a rain check!”

      • Senior Attorney :

        Of if you don’t want to flat-out lie, change it to “…she’s not quite over the GI bug…”

      • I have to respectfully disagree with putting the excuse on the wife. It’s not her fault he did this without asking and, as such, he should take full responsibility.

    • Anonymous :

      Don’t even go home. Literally be somewhere else.

    • 100 percent. Tell him you’re not feeling up to it and beg off with illness. He should know better. If that would disappoint him, maybe the three of them and kiddo can meet up at a casual restaurant or coffee shop instead? As a guest, I wouldn’t want to intrude like that–it would be horrible to find out. And on a practical level, I wouldn’t be too keen on eating at a family’s where someone had just come back from the hospital with a GI bug either.

    • 5:45 seems like an odd time for cake and coffee anyway? and i would not want to go to someone’s house if they were just sick

  41. Senior Attorney :

    Wowzers, you guys. Mitch McConnell is saying Roy Moore should step aside because “I believe the women.”

    It shouldn’t be such a big deal, I know, but… wowzers.

    • I heard that on the radio over lunch and had the same reaction. It shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is!

    • Right?? I’m glad that he said it, frustrated that it’s even news, and continue to be mindblown at how low the Republicans have set the bar for themselves.

    • Anonymama :

      My cynical take is that Moore was the anti-establishment candidate anyway, and McConnell is hoping Strange (the primary candidate he supported) will get to be a write-in candidate in Moore’s place if he steps down. And McConnell knows the whole party will get tagged with all Moore’s ridiculousness if he wins the seat. But glad he’s saying the right thing, for whatever reason he may have.

  42. Money Question :

    I need to pay off $100k on a $65k salary. I am feeling overwhelmed. I cut out any sort of needless spending, cook my meals at home and watch every penny. Have tried to make more money and get a better paying job for the last year no luck yet. Any tips or success stories and please share what you did and how you did it?

    • Anonymous :

      check mrmoneymustache.com and frugalwoods.com for ideas. And you can post your question to the mr money mustache forums.

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