Thursday’s Workwear Report: Sleeveless Fluted Skirt Dress

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

This dress is a great deal, and it’s a nice sheath dress for someone with the right body type or who likes a high neckline. The fluted skirt is a classic and kind of sophisticated look right now, and this has features you usually don’t find in a $60 dress: wool crepe and a full stretch lining. With all these darts and seams, it would be easy to get tailored, as well. The dress is available in sizes 0-16 in black and deep sapphire at Lands’ End for $59.99. Sleeveless Fluted Skirt Dress

There seem to be no good plus-size options that are similar, but here’s an alternative.

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  1. Associate at biglaw :

    Hi All,

    I am a mid-level associate (4th-5th year) at a big law firm. I am currently expecting a baby this summer. My hours are very low this month because of the lack of work. I will most likely not hit my hours this year (even though my hours will be prorated). The other offices have a lot of work but it is hard for associates in my office to get work from the other offices. So now I am thinking about my career and wondering whether next year I should try to lateral to a different firm? Ideally, eventually, I want to go in-house but I know those opportunities are rare. I have been at my firm since I was a summer associate.

    Any advice would be helpful. Thanks in advance!

    • A lot depends on how pregnant you are; transitioning could mean extra stress, even though people certainly do it. I would be most concerned about whether you could take advantage of the new firm’s maternity leave after a very short tenure. seems to me you should probably ride things out until taking leave at your current firm. then you could reassess the work level and decide then.

      • Associate at biglaw :

        Thanks. I am thinking about lateraling next year, not currently as I am in my last trimester.

    • senior associate :

      In my experience, your hours basically don’t matter the year you’re on leave. They always suck. Proration is a joke, given how ramping down and then ramping back up works. If people like you where you are (which you should be honest with yourself about) then you’re far far better off staying where you’re a known quantity and you’ve built up enough goodwill that you can take off when your kid is sick and needs to go to the doctor in the first couple of years, rather than trying to prove yourself somewhere new. However, if there’s a substantive reason to go elsewhere (e.g., you want to do a different kind of work, or a certain specialty your firm doesn’t have will be more attractive in house) then look. But I wouldn’t look just because of low hours.

      • Associate at biglaw :

        They do like me where I am. However, my office has very little work now because of a client acquisition. My boss is working on making pitches and getting more work. He really likes me and has a lot of pull in the firm. However, I am worried about him not getting more work and me becoming too senior to lateral.

        • nasty woman :

          “He really likes me and has a lot of pull in the firm”

          This combo matters SO much and cannot be taken for granted. How long have you been low on work? Is your boss a person you can have a candid talk with about whether he thinks work will increase? While mat leave sort of makes this calculus less straight forward, I don’t think you’ll become too senior to lateral until you know whether the lack of work is permanent or will be remedied. Plus, loved associate leaving for lack of work due to client acquisition (even if later in the game) = better story than decent associate scrambling at the last minute, knowing she’s not making partner. Ideally, you can go through mat leave, and things will pick up. If things don’t pick up after your back for a while and more on your feet, then maybe consider looking. But use your capital at the firm to get through the first bit of life with a baby.

          • senior associate :

            I think this is right, but I also wouldn’t borrow trouble. How long is your mat leave? A lot can change in 3-6 months. I’d ride it out and then be thinking about what your next move is this time next year. I also think being a low hours, loved mid-level associate is an easier way to interview and go in house. If that’s the ultimate goal, I wouldn’t be looking at other firms next year, I’d be looking at in house or other jobs.

          • I have the same thoughts as senior associate. See how it plays out when you get back from maternity leave, and don’t stress before then. You’ll still be in the sweet spot for being whisked away for an in-house job or another law firm if that doesn’t work out.

          • Anon from 10:07 here. I would also add: The work of pregnancy itself is no joke, and I’m low on hours because all I want to do is puke and sleep. I wouldn’t beat yourself up about it if you’re not on track to make a bonus this year — I probably won’t but I think I’m still well respected around here (I’m a 5th year).

    • I was in a similar situation a few years ago and co-sign what everyone above said, including
      (1) proration is a joke; (2) your hours are expected to s*ck your maternity leave year (even leaving proration aside); and (3) your last trimester + maternity leave is a really long time.

      I’d advocate setting this all aside for now and address it again when you come back from leave and can evaluate what your post-leave life & workload looks like. You also may find that you enjoy your work more when you return, or that things have picked up considerably.

      That being said, I ended up leaving about 4 mos after returning from my first maternity leave — but for reasons entirely unrelated to leave (e.g., not enough work in my dept, better opportunity at a higher profile firm, unclear path to partnership at then-current firm). So leaving post-return may make sense for you, but I’d leave that decision and analysis until after you return from your leave.

  2. Candidate :

    I did my first round of door knocking last night. It was surprisingly fun! I started with neighbors I know well and worked my way around the neighborhood. I went with “Hi my name is Candidate, I’m your neighbor from 123 Main Street, and I’m running for city council. Would you be willing to support me by signing my ballot access petition?” Everyone I talked to said yes, most with some variation of “good for you!” One neighbor even said he knows the incumbent personally, and “it’ll be good to have a real race” – Incumbent has been unopposed for the last three cycles.

    Thanks everyone here for being positive and for your good advice. And if you are thinking of running, I’d say go for it. People keep asking if I’m ready – I don’t think I’ll ever be ready, but I’m not going to let that hold me back.

    • Anonymous :

      Congratulations and thanks for this update! I needed some cheerful news this morning.

    • That’s fantastic – well done! It’s so, so important to have women running for office.

      We’ve got local elections here today. I gave side eye to the canvassers who asked me if I knew how my husband voted (I’m not eligible to vote) and the ones who tell me about national level politics in the context of the local election campaign (I’m a political scientist working on these issues)

      • Never too many shoes... :

        Seriously? Ugh.

        I have a ton of friends from my university days working on campaigns so my FB has been hopping between this and the upcoming general.

    • Anonymous :

      That’s awesome! You’re Leslie Knope!

      • Candidate :


        This may sound dumb, but despite being fictional Leslie Knope is a huge inspiration for me. It was influential to see a young woman taking part in city government – in my town it’s dominated by men, and the two (out of fifteen total councilors) women are both 60+. She made me believe I could run for office, too, even without the kind of credentials we see for women at the national level. (IANAL!)

    • Great! So glad to hear from you!

      Important question ;) What’d you wear?

      • Candidate :

        I wore wool trousers in a subtle but fun plaid – black/grey as the main color with blue/green stripes. Then a coordinating plum blazer over a cream colored shell, and added a orangey-yellow scarf because it was cool and overcast. I’m getting buttons very soon! And I carried a file folder with voter registration forms and my petition, with extra pens. I’ll probably pack up a leather bag when I range farther, this time I was close to home so I didn’t take water or anything. :-)

        • That sounds great and very sophisticated. Much better than the red/white/blue polo shirt type of outfit you see on a lot of candidates. You rock!

    • Way to go! I’m so glad to hear it went well and your outfit sounds lovely :)

    • Baconpancakes :

      Yeah, you go, girl!

    • Good for you!! I’ve done that (supporting a friend who was a candidate) and it is HARD.

    • I ran for judge and found it to be a wonderful, although grueling experience. Winning was terrific, but so was the experience of connecting with the community. Good for you!

    • New Tampanian :


    • KS IT Chick :


      Something that we found was a great fundraising tool was fridge magnets. Just a fundraising letter didn’t net much, but the magnet tucked in with the letter netted about twice as much. We used an online printer, and my husband did the graphic design with our state flag, the candidate’s picture, and our campaign slogan. I paid for the printing, which wasn’t to bad (about $275 for 500). We didn’t win, so the candidate still has a box of magnets in his office.

      We also bought pens (blue with silver imprint). The candidate went to every bar in town and gave them a couple handfuls. They loved it, because everyone steals pens when they sign the credit card slips for their tabs. They were able to help us distribute our message without any real investment on their part. It was really funny to see the opponent carrying & using one of our pens!

    • Senior Attorney :

      Fantastic! Congratulations and please keep us posted!

    • Congrats! Let us know how things go!

  3. Who uses IFTTT to help them throughout their week? Any favorites?

    • Following!

    • Anonymous :

      Oh gosh that’s “If This Then That” right? I signed up so long ago. I just get a daily weather report sent to my texts every morning. Makes me feel like I have a personal assistant :)

  4. Anonomnom :

    How many hours do you read for fun a week?
    How many hours of TV do you watch during the week? During the weekend?
    How many hours of podcasts do you listen to?
    What are the answers for your kids if you have them (ages)?
    Do you wish you did more or less of any of the things above?
    Does your house have screen free time?
    Is your house ever silent? Or do you prefer music or radio playing in the background?

    • Reading: Maybe 3 or 4 although these days I’ve been falling asleep with book in hand
      TV: Maybe 2 episodes of something, and the nightly news 3-4 days per week.
      Podcasts: None
      Kid: currently cooking

      I’d like to have more time to read novels but find that sleep is winning out lately. We don’t have formal screen free time but are strict about no phones at the table. I often leave my phone in my bag when I get home and don’t look at it until the next am but will read things on the ipad or aimlessly websurf. I should be better about picking up a novel when my husband is playing video games.

    • Quiz:
      How many hours do you read for fun a week? 0 if you mean books. ~5 if you mean Forbes/WSJ.
      How many hours of TV do you watch during the week? During the weekend? Actual watching – 2 hrs/wk; 1-2 hrs/weekend. But the TV is often on in the background with news/CNBC.
      How many hours of podcasts do you listen to? 0
      What are the answers for your kids if you have them (ages)? N/A
      Do you wish you did more or less of any of the things above? No.
      Does your house have screen free time? No bc I’m not a child.
      Is your house ever silent? Or do you prefer music or radio playing in the background? Music or CNBC in the background usually.

    • Yay Kat! A quiz!!!! This is fun!!!
      How many hours do you read for fun a week?
      — 2 hours for Marie Claire and the Internet

      How many hours of TV do you watch during the week? During the weekend?
      – 2 hours a nite during the week, and mabye 5 hours on the weekend

      How many hours of podcasts do you listen to?
      — none I do NOT like PODCAST’s. FOOEY!

      What are the answers for your kids if you have them (ages)?
      — NO kid’s, yet. I need to find a boyfreind and have him MARRY me first. FOOEY!

      Do you wish you did more or less of any of the things above?
      — I want to get MARRIED to have kids already!

      Does your house have screen free time?
      — What does this mean?

      Is your house ever silent? Or do you prefer music or radio playing in the background?
      — It is silent when I go to sleep. I do play music, but NOT when I sleep. Otherwise I wake up.

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      How many hours do you read for fun a week? 7-10. I read before bed and read on public transport and read if I have a flight somewhere. It ends up being about 50 books a year.
      How many hours of TV do you watch during the week? During the weekend? 1 hour a week.
      How many hours of podcasts do you listen to? Too many. 10- 15 hours? I follow 20 podcasts but don’t listen to all of them every week. I do this while cleaning and cooking and walking.
      What are the answers for your kids if you have them (ages)? No kids.
      Do you wish you did more or less of any of the things above? I wish I read more.
      Does your house have screen free time? We both don’t watch a lot of TV but we need better rules for cell phones/laptops.
      Is your house ever silent? Or do you prefer music or radio playing in the background? Yes. We have podcasts playing and play music but need to be better about remembering to turn on music.

      • No Problem :

        That is an impressive number to read in a year. How do you decide what to read? Any books you’ve read recently that you recommend?

        • LondonLeisureYear :

          I started a few years ago making a list of books the first week in January to read for the next year so I don’t waste time deciding what to read or looking for a book. It also makes me a little more varied in what I am reading which is good.

          I make a list of things I want to learn more about. This year that included finance books, some self help books, books about the history of Israel, books about the intersection of technology and education, and books about adoption. (ends up being around 10 books)

          I find some books that would help me be more knowledgeable in my field or helpful for my career. (usually about 5 books)

          I pick some non fiction books. (about 5 books)

          Lastly I pick some fiction, making sure I include some really good beach reads (10 books)

          12 are book club books – so those are undecided when the year starts
          8 I leave to be discovered throughout the year – when someone suggests a good book to read.

          • LondonLeisureYear :

            Yes! I can suggest good books – but give me some direction. What are you looking to read?

          • No Problem :

            I honestly read a little of everything. Fiction tends to be historical fiction (seems I have read a lot set during WWII lately), mystery/thriller, or just good ole literature. Very occasionally a romance novel for the pool or vacation. They are all good for different reasons. Not really into sci-fi or fantasy, though I love everything by Margaret Atwood and her novels bleed into alternate reality/future a la The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake.

            Nonfiction also runs the gamut: in the last two years I have read Diane von Furstenberg’s autobiography, Hillbilly Elegy, and Ron Chernow’s biographies of Alexander Hamilton and George Washington, and have a book about Teddy Roosevelt’s trip to the Amazon waiting for me on my Kindle. My field is environmental science and policy and I also love archaeology and anthropology. I have not read many finance or business books.

            I like your strategy of picking most of the books in January. Best books of the year lists must be a gold mine for ideas.

          • LondonLeisureYear :

            Here are some you might enjoy:
            American Gods by Neil Gaiman (yes this gets thrown into Sci-fi/fantasy but really its a category all of its own and its really enjoyable)
            A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – very sad but so good
            The Opposite of Loneliness
            On the Move by Oliver Sacks
            Elena Ferrante Series
            Being Mortal by Atul Gawande
            If you have children I enjoyed – The Secrets of Happy Families
            The Boys in the Boat
            11.22.63 Stephen King
            A Man Called Ove
            Under the Banner of Heaven
            We the Animals
            All Who Go Do Not Return by Shulem Deen
            Ms Marvel (yes this is a graphic novel1)
            How we got to Now

            Beach Reads: Crazy Rich Asians series (3rd comes out end of May), The Summer Before the War, Why Not Me? Mindy Kaling, The Art of Racing in the Rain, Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty, Eligible..

            If you are into mystery I have been enjoying the Tana French Dublin Murder Squad Books.

          • No Problem :

            Thanks for the awesome list! This will keep me busy for awhile since I have only read one of them :(

          • ponte python's flying circus :

            LondonLeisureYear – I second most of your list! Except I could barely get through Crazy Rich Asians – while it was a wildly entertaining sketch, the actual protagonists’ character development was practically nil. I hear they’re making a movie though – THAT should be fun!

            Authors I’ve enjoyed:
            Claire Messud
            Elizabeth Strout
            Tom Perotta

            Nonfiction: I’m reading psychologist Cordelia Fine’s ‘Testosterone Rex’, which debunks many of the sex-hormone-as-destiny studies.

        • Not the person you’re replying to, although I read the same amount (I shoot for 52 books/year). I subscribe to Book of the Month, follow a few reviewers with whom I largely agree on their ratings on Goodreads, and do the Read Harder challenge (Bookriot). All are helpful for finding new books. I have a constant juggle of wait lists at the library, which is a challenge in and of itself to make sure I always have a free book ready to go in the queue, although I’m not above downloading a few and turning the wifi off my kindle so they’re not really returned when my 3 weeks are up.

          • No Problem :

            I totally know what you mean about the waitlist juggle! I can only put 10 books on hold at my local library and it can be hard to predict how long it will take for a book to become available if there’s a long waitlist. And yes, I have also turned off the wifi on my Kindle.

          • Turning off WiFi is genius! I’ll have to remember that!

        • For help in bringing some direction to my book reading I find the web site for delancey place useful.. Each day an e-mail suggest a title, author, and a short snippet from the book itself. I cut-and-paste the author and title to a list I keep. Even when I am overloaded the list reminds me of what pleasures await whenever I have more time.

    • Anonymous :

      How many hours do you read for fun a week? 4-5, but much more on vacation; I strive to average a book per week over the course of a year.
      How many hours of TV do you watch during the week? During the weekend? Max 2 hours, but usually 0.
      How many hours of podcasts do you listen to? 0
      What are the answers for your kids if you have them (ages)? DS (18 months) is read to 8-10 hours a week.
      Do you wish you did more or less of any of the things above? Always wish I had more time to read!
      Does your house have screen free time? Not officially. DH or I check our phones pretty often (work email for him, Two Dots for me).
      Is your house ever silent? Or do you prefer music or radio playing in the background? Usually silent.

    • Anonymous :

      I read every single day, for at least an hour or two. It’s my favourite thing in the world and my main hobby. Some weekends I’ll stay in bed and read all day. So, anywhere from 7-20?

      I also love TV. Some weeknights I don’t watch any, but I’ll spend like 10 hours on a Saturday binge watching a show or movies.

      I listen to podcasts on my 30 min commute, so about an hour a day.

      No kids. I love screens. No screen free time for me. I read almost exclusively ebooks, so even if I’m just reading, I’m still using a screen.

      My house is silent unless I’m watching TV. I don’t really like background music. I love quiet.

    • How many hours do you read for fun a week? 6-10 (I read on the cardio machine, so that’s 6 hrs a week alone)
      How many hours of TV do you watch during the week? During the weekend?The TV is often on in the background when I’m in my bedroom in the evenings. Sometimes I just turn it off and read. But if I’m in the kitchen or elsewhere, I don’t have a TV on.
      How many hours of podcasts do you listen to? 0
      What are the answers for your kids if you have them (ages)?don’t have kids
      Do you wish you did more or less of any of the things above?Not really. I live alone, so the TV is often background noise and I’m not paying much attention to it.
      Does your house have screen free time? Not by design.
      Is your house ever silent? Or do you prefer music or radio playing in the background?

    • How many hours do you read for fun a week? Anywhere from 5-15. I have a Goodreads goal every year to read an average of a book per week.
      How many hours of TV do you watch during the week? Probably about 3 – I have certain shows I watch but I never just turn on the TV to flip through channels. During the weekend? Probably an additional 3-4 hours if we include Netflix.
      How many hours of podcasts do you listen to? Zero! Everyone seems to be very into podcasts; I get lots of recommendations for them but just haven’t made them part of my media consumption.
      What are the answers for your kids if you have them (ages)? No kids!
      Do you wish you did more or less of any of the things above? I keep meaning to get into some podcasts to listen to on my commute because I hate my commute and people always recommend podcasts.
      Does your house have screen free time? Not officially.
      Is your house ever silent? Or do you prefer music or radio playing in the background? It is silent a lot, but I turn on music to have in the background if I’m cooking something time consuming or dedicating some time to cleaning.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Replying for normal life; this month is not normal.

      Read for fun: 3-5 hours, as SO and I almost always read for a half hour at night and I try to read on the weekend. If you include books on audible it adds 4+ hours due to commute listening.
      TV: (Netflix) 4 hours, although this waxes and wanes with the seasons. In the summer I watch much less TV.
      Podcasts: Sometimes switch out the 4 hours audible for podcasts
      No kids, but growing up, I was allowed to watch one hour of tv a day, until I was old enough to come home after school by myself and watch whatever I wanted until my mother came home.
      Wish I did more: Podcasts, but they require more attention than audio books so it’s just harder to find time.
      Silent: Yes, and I love it. I grew up in a fairly quiet house, and while I prefer music or NPR (those Tappet brothers!) while cooking or cleaning, for just relaxing I much prefer silence.

    • I read on the train every day on my way to/from work, so maybe 1 hr/day or 5 hrs/week. That’s my me time. I love it!
      TV — too many. Maybe 30 minutes while I get ready to go to sleep every weeknight (2.5 hrs for the week) and then a lot on the weekend (8-10 hrs?).
      I don’t listen to podcasts, and I don’t have kids so can’t answer those.
      As far as screen free time, not much. Sometimes I’ll read a magazine or work on a craft project or something and will be screen-free and sound-free then.

    • ponte python's flying circus :

      I’ll play.

      How many hours do you read for fun a week? 2-3. Sometimes husband has to peel me off the couch with book in hand at bedtime.

      How many hours of TV do you watch during the week? During the weekend? 2-3 across entire week, depends on how many Daniel Tiger episodes kid has been glued to. That plus John Oliver is the sum total of my TV-watching.

      How many hours of podcasts do you listen to? 2-3, typically while running.

      What are the answers for your kids if you have them (ages)? Kid is 2 years old and gets maybe 2 hours of TV across the week. Atypical week is 3-4 including half a movie. He is read to…an hour a day (this includes much squirming, snack break, bedtime)? plus whatever they get at daycare.

      Do you wish you did more or less of any of the things above? Read. Always read.

      Does your house have screen free time? All the time! And the house is silent – I work from home and can’t concentrate on writing work if there’s background music with lyrics.

    • How many hours do you read for fun a week? I read a lot of articles online every week (longform, etc.) and love reading books, but it doesn’t happen much while in grad school. Otherwise, probably 2-4 hours a week, more if I’m traveling.
      How many hours of TV do you watch during the week? During the weekend? 30 mins to an hour actually watching, but I will often put on a show I’ve already seen while cooking or cleaning to have in the background
      How many hours of podcasts do you listen to? 0; keep trying to get into podcasts and failing
      What are the answers for your kids if you have them (ages)? no kids
      Do you wish you did more or less of any of the things above? I wish I spent less time watching TV and on my phone. My phone showed that I spent 4 hours texting one day and I was shocked. It wasn’t even a super high day in my estimation.
      Does your house have screen free time? No
      Is your house ever silent? Or do you prefer music or radio playing in the background? It’s often silent, but I enjoy music. Never play radio. Silence is what I crave after coming in from the bustling city outside.

    • How many hours do you read for fun a week? ~ 2 in books, ~1 in longform online (not enough!)
      How many hours of TV do you watch during the week? 0 – 1 (only when bf and I are together and we stream)
      During the weekend? 0 – 1 (only when bf and I are together and we stream)
      How many hours of podcasts do you listen to? 4 – 5
      What are the answers for your kids if you have them (ages)? N/A
      Do you wish you did more or less of any of the things above? Yes, more reading for fun time and more time for podcasts.
      Does your house have screen free time? Not really, although it’s mostly phone vs. TV/computer. I should make myself do this and block out time where I do not look at my phone.
      Is your house ever silent? Yes, silent while reading.
      Or do you prefer music or radio playing in the background? I play music while I am cleaning and cooking, hometown sports talk radio in the morning while I am getting ready, and the occasional podcast if I am vegging.

    • No Problem :

      How many hours do you read for fun a week? variable, probably 10 per week of news/other articles, plus 10 or more hours per week if I’m reading a good book.
      How many hours of TV do you watch during the week? During the weekend?Zero! I don’t have cable. Best thing I have done for myself this year was cut the cord. I do watch Netflix/Amazon sometimes, but I often go weeks without watching anything.
      How many hours of podcasts do you listen to? probably 10-20. Usually while cooking, cleaning, or eating (I live alone).
      What are the answers for your kids if you have them (ages)? n/a
      Do you wish you did more or less of any of the things above? wish I read more books.
      Does your house have screen free time? no
      Is your house ever silent? Or do you prefer music or radio playing in the background? It is silent all the time if I’m not listening to a podcast. I’m not much of a music buff and only listen to the radio in the car.

    • How many hours do you read for fun a week? 1, maybe? sigh.
      How many hours of TV do you watch during the week? During the weekend? 30 minutes of Netflix/Amazon/Hulu at night if I’m not working too late, so maybe 2 hours/week? Usually I fold laundry or do some other menial task while watching TV. Or eat :)
      How many hours of podcasts do you listen to? I listen to NPR One–mostly news, some podcasts–while jogging and commuting, getting ready for work and cleaning up after bedtime, so maybe 1.5 hours/weekday, maybe 7 hours/week.
      What are the answers for your kids if you have them (ages)? 2-year-old: none of the above; 4-year-old: 1 hour of TV on Saturday and Sunday while little brother naps. Sometimes, kids and I look up videos or wikipedia something on my phone.
      Do you wish you did more or less of any of the things above? Reading!
      Does your house have screen free time? All the time, except as mentioned above.
      Is your house ever silent? Or do you prefer music or radio playing in the background? See above re: 2-yo and 4-yo kids! It is silent if I am working after they are in bed. Otherwise, it is silent for the period when they are falling asleep before I start listening to NPR

      Fun to answer and see what others do. So jealous of all the reading time :)

    • How many hours do you read for fun a week?
      * not counting things on the internet like this s*te, probably 8 or 9
      How many hours of TV do you watch during the week? During the weekend?
      * 1 or 2
      How many hours of podcasts do you listen to?
      * 3ish, mostly during my commute or while exercising
      What are the answers for your kids if you have them (ages)?
      * no kids
      Do you wish you did more or less of any of the things above?
      * I would read during all my waking hours if that were possible… not really, but if I didn’t have a job I’d probably read 3-4 hours a day
      Does your house have screen free time?
      * no, but we do go on long walks most evenings that don’t include our phones
      Is your house ever silent? Or do you prefer music or radio playing in the background?
      * I prefer silence sometimes, but usually one or the other of us has music or the radio on while we cook, etc

    • How many hours do you read for fun a week? 3-5
      How many hours of TV do you watch during the week? During the weekend? Maybe 2 hours, but usually 0.
      How many hours of podcasts do you listen to? 0
      What are the answers for your kids if you have them (ages)? Daughter is 2. We read multiple books to her multiple times a day. She watches 0-1 hours of TV/youTube during the week, and a few more hours on the weekends.
      Do you wish you did more or less of any of the things above? I would love to have more time to read, and I really miss watching TV. But I choose to sleep instead.
      Does your house have screen free time? No. We try to ignore our phones during family meal time, unless our daughter decides to stretch out dinner for an hour. We don’t have an official time limit for her screen time, if we feel she’s had enough we just say “last video” and turn it off.
      Is your house ever silent? Or do you prefer music or radio playing in the background? I don’t mind silence, but my husband needs music in the background.

      • My husband does listen to several podcasts as well as music, so if we’re cooking or cleaning he will put on one that he knows I like. So I technically do listen to about 1-4 hours of podcasts a week.

    • Read: 5-10. I like to read during lunch if I don’t have plans to meet someone, and during downtime in the evenings and on the weekends if I’m not doing something else. Weekends where I don’t get a few hours to read are not awesome.

      TV: 1-3? Just don’t have a ton of shows I follow at the moment.

      Podcasts: 7-10. I listen during my ~30 minute commute and while walking the dog/doing chores on the weekends.

      No kids.

      More or less: Not really? On a given week if I’m too busy to read or listen to a podcast I was looking forward to maybe it’s disappointing, but in general not really. Recently I deleted social media from my phone and I found that the consequence of that is that when I’m lounging on the couch I read instead of scr*wing around on my phone. I am extremely pleased with that result.

      Screen free time: Not really. But see above re social media disconnection.

      Silence: Frequently. I only really listen to music if I’m working out. When the weather is nice I like to open the windows and listen to the birds in my backyard but I don’t mind silence.

    • Midwest Mama :

      Question for those of you with kids… When do you read? At night after they go to bed? Or do you just make time while they are playing independently? I love to read and try to do it as often as possible, but I struggle with making time for it. It doesn’t help that my 5 yo hates sleeping and usually doesn’t go to sleep until after 10. By that time, I’m ready to go to sleep too!

    • Quiz:
      How many hours do you read for fun a week? Varies– I either read my kindle or listen to podcasts on my commute (subway, ~45min each way), so I have a total of 7 1/2 hours per week, usually split pretty evenly between the two. So around 3 or 4 hours a week from that. I also read maybe an hour or two on the weekend, if I can.
      How many hours of TV do you watch during the week? During the weekend? I have 3 or 4 shows I keep up with, and then maybe watch another 2 hours on Netflix.
      How many hours of podcasts do you listen to? I listen at work and am binging a bunch of shows right now. So, uh, maybe 30 hours lately? Making me realize I ought to get back on reading during my commute because I have other time I can listen to the podcasts.
      What are the answers for your kids if you have them (ages)? no kids
      Do you wish you did more or less of any of the things above? More reading. But I’m ok with my podcast and tv consumption.
      Does your house have screen free time? not explicitly
      Is your house ever silent? Or do you prefer music or radio playing in the background? My husband frequently turns on music when he’s home, but I never do. I don’t mind it playing, but I just never think of it.

      • Oh, also, we don’t own a TV, so watching tv a) takes place on the computer and b) is more deliberate, at least compared to my childhood, where the tv was usually on and if you didn’t like the show that was on, you changed the channel instead of turning it off.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      This is fun!

      – Read for fun / self help (does that count?) = prob 1-2 hours
      – TV during week = less than 3 hours total
      – TV on weekend = almost none unless watching sports with husband
      – Podcasts = none
      – Daughter (2 yr old) gets to watch “tv” (videos on laptop) only on weekends, only educational stuff, so basically Daniel Tiger and lately she’s been really into youtube videos of people reading children’s books (does not seem fun to me but she’s obsessed). She can have it on all weekend if she wants, but she can really only focus for ~5 minutes at a time, max. So sometimes it plays in the background.
      – Wish I read more or subbed in reading for my unwinding tv more often. I wish we had a real TV instead of laptops, to enable better sports watching.
      – We are screen-free basically all the time on weekdays when my daughter is awake. If ~important sports~ are happening my husband might turn on the laptop and watch before she’s asleep.
      – UGH my house is not silent enough. Husband loves to have music on so sometimes on weekends there will be Daniel Tiger playing on a laptop, the Dead playing on the stereo, and then my daughter wants me to read a book, and I am like [head exploding emoji!]

    • How many hours do you read for fun a week? – Almost 0 but wish it were more
      How many hours of TV do you watch during the week? During the weekend? Too much, less on weekends. Probably 2-3 hours a night.
      How many hours of podcasts do you listen to? 2-3 hours a week
      What are the answers for your kids if you have them (ages)? 0 kids
      Do you wish you did more or less of any of the things above? For a while I had a no-tv on weeknights policy. In that time I was able to start a masters degree and get on a board of a charity. Then all the stuff got to be too much and for the last year or so I watch TV at night to shut off my brain.
      Does your house have screen free time? No
      Is your house ever silent? Or do you prefer music or radio playing in the background? Sometimes. My husband likes music, I like podcasts or talk radio. Sometimes silent is good though and I’ve been thinking about bringing no-tv nights back.

    • It varies. During the first half of April I was in intense reading mode and I read an hour or two every day. In the last couple of weeks I’ve just wanted to sit down in front of the TV as soon as I get home, so it’s been a few hours of TV after work every night. I don’t really listen to podcasts, except occasionally on the weekends while I’m cleaning. I don’t like having silence — I usually have the radio on or music. No kids.

    • How many hours do you read for fun a week? 1-2, though I’m making an effort this year to increase that since I feel like I’m finally getting my groove back from grad school
      How many hours of TV do you watch during the week? During the weekend? I would say usually 10-15 hours – morning/evening news and then occasionally a movie or Netflix
      How many hours of podcasts do you listen to? Usually 3-4 in a week (my podcasts average an hour an episode, so it’ll increase if for some reason, I’ve got a big backlog of episodes)
      What are the answers for your kids if you have them (ages)? No kids
      Do you wish you did more or less of any of the things above? I’m working on having screen free evenings and just sitting and reading. When I decide to do it, I’m good about keeping the TV or computer off, but the problem is looking at my phone.
      Does your house have screen free time? No
      Is your house ever silent? Or do you prefer music or radio playing in the background? I’ll sometimes have the news on in the background or put on spotify, but not usually.

      Has anyone started a Goodreads group for the community? I know it’s usually attached to names/Facebook profiles, so if you want to remain completely anonymous.

    • Marshmallow :

      Love this thread!

      How many hours do you read for fun a week? ~5-7. I read on my commute and usually for at least an hour a few nights per week, more if I’m devouring a great book.
      How many hours of TV do you watch during the week? During the weekend? Depends on if we’re counting stuff my husband just has on in the house but I’m not really watching (usually I read on the couch and he watches TV). That would probably be a total of 10 hours or so. If we’re talking actually putting on something I want to watch and pay attention to, maybe two episodes of something per week.
      How many hours of podcasts do you listen to? None.
      Do you wish you did more or less of any of the things above? More TV! There are so many good shows but finding a solid 40 minutes or hour to sit down and pay attention on a regular basis is really hard for me. I keep meaning to go back and catch up on The Handmaid’s Tale.
      Does your house have screen free time? Not really, in fact the TV is usually on while we eat (if Husband is home).
      Is your house ever silent? Or do you prefer music or radio playing in the background? Definitely prefer music. I really like Spotify’s jazz playlists in the background if we don’t have the TV on.

    • Anonymous :

      Reading: If counting articles, easily 15 hrs/week. If limited to books, highly variable because I obsessively read until finished then take a break.
      TV: ~8 hrs/week.
      Podcasts: none.
      On a typical day, the kids have 0.5-1 hr of reading and 1-2 hrs of screen time. My only independent reader will ready up to 3 hrs/day on weekends if she’s in the mood.

      It would be nice to have more time in general ;)

      Screen-free time, yes.

      With three kids, it’s hard to say it’s ever silent. But we don’t usually have music or tv on just for background noise.

  5. Anonymous :

    Read for fun – 5 – 10 (any spare time that I have)
    Hours of TV – 0
    Hours of podcasts – 0

    Kids, ages 4 – 7
    Read for fun – older kid reads for 5 or 6 hours/week, we read to the younger about 4 hours/week
    Hours of TV – 1-4 (they get 1 hour/weekend morning and sometimes we have a family movie night)
    Hours of podcasts – 0

  6. You all read 10 hours a week? For fun? WHY??? I pretty much stopped doing that when I got to middle school; and then it was required reading through high school and that was the last time I touched a novel thank goodness.

    • Anonymous :

      Umm, because it’s fun?

    • Anonymous :

      Ummm because it’s fun? What is wrong with you?

    • Anonymous :

      Because reading is fun and good for you.

    • nasty woman :

      i dunno, like, sometimes i forget to TiVo the Kardashians or my phone dies and i can’t get on my #insta or tweet to my #squad and i don’t have a single independent thought in my head so i have to do SOMETHING

      but reading is rly rly hard so i usually just give up THANK GOODNESS i don’t have to read anymore lol


    • Eyeroll – because the required reading in middle/high school is the only type of book out there? Please. Pick up a romance, or a mystery, or a sci-fi/fantasy book. Those are the books that keep me turning the page and thinking “one more chapter, then I’ll put it down” for 10 chapters in a row. And were never going to be a book that was taught in school – made them more fun to read, since I wasn’t going to quizzed on it later.

    • Because it promotes empathy for the human condition. You should try it.

    • I love to read. I read mostly non-fiction. It’s a great way to learn.

      • +1,000

        It’s fun and interesting. You do you.

      • Random nonfiction recommendation: Dreamland (about the Opiod Crisis) — 20% in and can’t put it down. Fascinating stuff.

      • My nonfiction book club recently read John Krakauer’s Missoula and it was uniformly loved. It was a seriously can’t-put-down book (how often do you hear that about a nonfiction book?) and one we all are now recommending like crazy to our coworkers, friends, and appropriately aged kids. Must read.

        • I love all John Krakauer books! They are super addictive. I have re-read “Into Thin Air” and “Into the Wild” multiple times, even though I know exactly what happens.

          Erik Larson books are similarly thrilling – loved Isaac’s Storm, Devil in the White City, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, etc.

          • Agreed, except that I am stuck in the middle of DitWC and it’s slow going, despite my fascination with serial killers.

            I will add to this that Scott Carney’s books are very interesting!

    • Tomi, is that you?

    • Are you the same person that follows the stock market for fun?

    • You’re missing out.

    • I had a similar reaction but for a very different reason. I love to read but I barely read anymore, unless I’m on vacation. I try to read before bed but some days I’m too tired and just end up falling asleep to Netflix instead. I joined a book club in hopes of encouraging myself to read at least one book a month but I’ve had a hard time making it to the meetings. I’m so impressed with everyone who makes so much time to read.

      • Maddie Ross :

        Haha – I have the opposite problem, which it why I never read – if I try to read before bed, I cannot put it down and will stay up until 2 or 3am. This is just not tenable when the baby wakes at 5am. TV doesn’t hold my interest at all, so I’m out like a light if it’s on.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        Exactly this, TO Lawyer.

      • I have always loved to read too, but after reading all day long at work (I’m an appellate lawyer) I can’t read for fun anymore. I am too tired by the time I get my kids into bed. Now that they are getting a little older I am going to start trying again.

      • Honestly, I think it takes practice when you’ve not been reading recreationally in a long time. Looking at my Goodreads lists from the past couple of years, I started out pretty darn slowly.

      • I have been an avid reader all my life, but then after Hurricane Katrina and my mind was cluttered and I was getting divorced, I felt like I lost the ability to concentrate on a book and I was doing more mindless activities (playing free cell, looking at a magazine). Then, when I switched to Kindle and to exercise where I could get engrossed in reading (I use an adaptive motion trainer), I started reading again and haven’t looked back.

      • not many books :

        Same here! I love to read, but I have rehearsals for my hobby 4-5 nights per week. So, technically, I’m reading music and scripts A LOT, but I still feel bad about the fact that I hardly ever read books anymore. When I got on vacation, I’ll rip through a book every 2 days. Literally, just sit there and read on the beach for 4-5 hours or in the car for hours on end. I read blogs and articles during the week as well, but nothing beats a good book. I’ve just chosen to spend most of my “escape” time doing arts. I’m the same way about trying to read before bed… I always want to read just one more chapter. So, I’ve given up on reading before bed because I’ll just finish the book :)

      • Yes, TO Lawyer, all of this, exactly.

      • Anonymous :

        Ditto TO Lawyer. It doesn’t help when I have to read a lot for work.

        I double down on vacations, but I don’t get a lot of time on a typical day. I also can’t read before bed – I just don’t put it down and stay up way too late. Agree with others that carrying around a small kindle has made a big difference. I can read while waiting for appointments, etc.

        My husband is a bedtime reader and devours books. He easily gets in 10 hrs a week, so I can see how people do it.

  7. LondonLeisureYear :

    I am dreaming of summer so help me look for a beach tote! I want it to be able to zip up. Any favorite shops on etsy?

    • I got a great one at Uniqlo last year (structured, giant) but sadly no zip on it.

    • I actually really like the Lo & Sons Catalina as a beach bag. It stands up to the elements well and then is machine washable. Plus, it’s huge, has separate compartments, and zips up!

    • LL Bean Boat & Tote with the zip top. Or the Lands End knock-off. Not Etsy of course but I’d search for a similar style there.

      • +1. LL Bean Boat & Tote all the way. I zip it up and use the top as a mini table for my phone/kindle. Get the extra long straps. Sand doesn’t work its way in, and while I don’t think it is waterproof, it’s pretty darn close. We took it on a boat and the wet deck didn’t seep into the stuff inside the bag.

        Also, LL Bean beach towels are the bomb.

      • +2. I’ve had mine for years and countless beach/pool/travel trips and they still look pristine.

    • Hoist Away Bags. Made from recycled sails.

  8. Anonymous :

    Anyone leave the hard charging job for a lower intensity one (not voluntarily – life circumstances, moving etc.) and desperately miss the harder charging one? I’ve tried to convince myself otherwise but really am not happy in my civil servant role. Everyone is nice enough and it was a tough to get spot – and I can feel myself getting dumber by the week. And no offense – but I’m sure it will be taken – I’m just not interested in being surrounded by people talking about marriage and parenting and cooking and the like; there are all professionals and this is the stuff they talk about which would NEVER have happened in my old job — you were friends with your colleagues but no one really had the life of a 50 yr old at age 30.

    • Anonymous :

      I get you. I eventually ended up moving back to NYC and picking up another hard charging job – even though cost of living wise, I could have made out better in my other city and worked WAY fewer hours. Some of this is just about who you are and how you’re wired. I know people didn’t get my decision – but they didn’t need to. For me it was people talking about their DOGS — OMG drove me NUTS.

    • My (now ex-)husband was relocated to a small city in the middle of the country and I’m an East Coast girl at heart. I took a local gov’t job because it’s all I could find in my specialty. Everyone was married at 23 with kids by 25. People hadn’t really traveled much (going to the state school 3 hours away was most people’s biggest move) and just lived a very simple life.

      At the time, I haaaaated it and couldn’t wait to escape. Now I’m back in my East Coast city and missing some aspects of that local gov’t job – the congeniality, the manageable workload, the easy lifestyle (home by 5:30 – plenty of time for activities).

      As much as you can, try to appreciate the good things while trying to feed your go-getter side in other ways – women’s bar events? local trade association? community leadership position?

      • Anonymous :

        I guess the reality is — I’ve never done any professional thing unless it got me ahead (or had the potential to in some way). What would I gain via women’s bar events or community leadership while being stuck in a dead end job? I know the response is always networking – but honestly when was the last time anyone hired anyone bc they seemed nice at the women’s bar event happy hr? Sure maybe you get hired bc you run the committee and people see you as a go getter – but that could take YEARS of doing some activity that ultimately has no yield if no one notices.

        • Taking on a community leadership position isn’t always about networking or business generation. I’m in a leadership position on a board of a local non-profit. It requires a different skill set than what I do in my professional life, I’ve learned a lot about leadership and non-profits, and I know that our work makes a very real difference for people in our community. For me, these are all net positive gains even if they don’t have an immediate impact on me professionally. IMO, your job shouldn’t be your sole source of self-worth and challenges. If you have the time and willingness to do hard-charging work or even an intense hobby, there are plenty of other avenues for that.

        • nasty woman :

          Is there anything about your work that you find intrinsically valuable? I.E., that you would enjoy or find fulfilling without it leading to self-advancement?

        • I totally get the place of frustration you’re speaking from because I was SO there…but you know you ultimately need to accept this chapter of your life instead of fighting it :) You have the job you have, and it sounds like there’s nothing you can do to change it for now. So your only option is to make the best of it. How you define “best of it” is up to you (bar association, community involvement, become a yoga teacher, etc), but while it may feel good to rail against your crappy circumstances, it ultimately doesn’t help anything. But it sure does put you in a funk and keep you there. So try to reframe your circumstances in your mind and find something positive – a new workout routine, whatever – to help you through this chapter.

          And just because you may not get a job offer from some outside activity, it doesn’t mean you can’t throw yourself into something big enough that you put it on your resume. When I was in your shoes, I became president of the local chapter of a trade organization. I loved that I was raising my profile in my industry and staying busy professionally (and it kept me occupied during slow days at work ;) ).

    • As a 50 year old hard charging female, I’m offended. :)

    • I get you. Went from litigation to an in-house position with cushy hours and found myself bored a lot at work.

      My advice: Find a challenging hobby. Work is not the only place you are surrounded by people, and if you find a challenging hobby and meet friends that way you’ll find that you can choose to be around people who talk about things that interest you. I have almost nothing in common with my perfectly-nice coworkers and don’t expect to at any future job either. I’m there to make money not friends. I go elsewhere for friends. And realistically if you want a mental challenge you can find one; you don’t have to find it at work.

      • I’m so happy to see other people in my same situation. I also left litigation for in-house and am really surprised by how bored I am. It’s kind of comforting to know I’m not the only one.

        Out of curiosity, what is the “challenging hobby” you developed? I’ve got a few things on my plate, but nothing that really challenges me mentally like I’m craving.

        • Rock climbing. I started climbing in the gym and found the mental puzzle of figuring out how a route is achievable for me personally (super flexible, not particularly tall or strong, though definitely stronger than I used to be before I started climbing) enjoyable. Lately I’ve been climbing more outdoors. And here’s a few sentences that won’t make sense if you don’t know anything about climbing: Once you start trad climbing, the mental game is intense. Particularly for me, because I don’t have any kind of engineering or STEM background. I have to have most things about building anchors and placing gear explained to me more than once before I understand how the forces at play can be expected to work with this set up and on this type of rock. People withe STEM backgrounds get it a lot faster.

        • But as an alternative example, my old boss from my litigation days took a job with the city attorney’s office where she works 40-50 hours a week. She has been learning French with her newfound free time. She goes to adult learning classes two nights a week and they assign homework, which she diligently does. Learning a language is a pretty big mental challenge, if that’s more your speed.

        • I’m the same poster from the books thread above, and I do musicals. I’m currently VERY bored in my job and searching for a better one, but I’m enjoying the mental space to grow in my hobby. I’ve been singing/acting for years, but I’m not a great dancer. I’ve done 2 shows that require a lot of dancing, and having a little extra time to review the videos before rehearsal has been helpful. I’m sure I could’ve been successful in those two shows if my job was more challenging. If there’s something you loved doing when you were younger, but couldn’t make time due to your career, pick it back up! I’ve had friends try tap dancing, ukelele lessons, learning another language ahead of a big trip to another country, cooking classes, and cello lessons. There’s adult ballet classes and art classes, and your local community college probably has courses if you want to take something with a little more rigor.

          • Edit: I’m NOT sure I could’ve been successful without the extra time to practice on my own.

          • Ooh, that’s actually really interesting. I used to do musicals. It feels like ages ago. I know I could get my skills up to speed again but not sure I’m prepared to deal with the ego hits I remember from back in the day.

    • No Problem :

      I could start another whole thread on this, but I’m in the opposite boat right now. I’ve been in consulting for 10 years and I’m just done with the rat race. I hate billing my hours (and getting side eye for being below my target when I’m not the one responsible for bringing in the business), hate having to ensure junior staff have enough hours so they don’t get side eye, hate always having to be planning for the next thing (big project, promotion, lofty goal, big proposal), etc. I’d love to have a chill job for awhile so I can get over being burned out. And my job isn’t even all that hard charging compared to many women here. How do all you hard chargers do it for years on end?

      But I’ve also always been a high achiever, so maybe I’ll be bored if I go do something else and will feel like you in a few years!

      • OP here – I felt like that when I was leaving law firm life. I felt the same way re billing, pressure etc. and thought that like almost everyone I knew – it would be good to leave the world behind. Now I’ve left it behind and realize that I thrived on it.

      • Brunette Elle Woods :

        This is very timely for me. I’m currently, slowly making my way out of private practice and into compliance. I don’t want to deal with difficult clients, unreasonable opposing counsel, liability, pressure of billable hours, etc for the next 30 years. I need a little less stress and more money!

        • PrettyPrimadonna :

          What type of compliance. Health care compliance is my dream job. I think.

          • Brunette Elle Woods :

            I’m considering financial compliance, maybe something related to FinCEN. I’ve been going full speed for the past few years with a lot of personal drama and need a break. Private practice will not fit my lifestyle in a few years if all goes a planned.

    • I had a low-intensity job during the crash (crazy job became a lot less intense). I threw myself into everything and just loved it. Committee work, house projects, hobbies, travel. It was awesome! I got to give some big presentations (and had time to really fully prepare for once).

      I really miss those days. Find the upside — what does this free you to do (binge watch TV is an acceptable answer).

      • OP here — TV is great for a while, but the thought of a life spent at a boring job and then coming home binge watching 6 hrs of tv a night makes me cry.

        • So find a different hobby. I don’t think she was saying that you have to watch TV, just that if that’s something you want to do, it’s fine. It sounds like you want to do something that requires more mental or physical energy – so take up a sport or write a novel or learn or a foreign language. Or if you feel these things aren’t worthwhile, volunteer for a cause you care or take a leadership position in an organization. I find it hard to believe there’s nothing you can do on the side that would fulfill you.

        • Then do something about it. Get more challenging hobbies or a more challenging job.

    • I’d just chime in that I’m a 30-year-old biglaw associate, so pretty “hard-charging”, if you will. My colleagues and I often discuss our kids and cooking and our spouses — because these are pretty normal parts of life for many people in their 30s. So maybe this is just part of growing up, not necessarily the new job.

      Do you see yourself transitioning to something bigger and better once circumstances change? I’d take the opportunity to write articles and read up to become better educated about areas I want to be known for.

      Agreed with the previous poster that if every activity you undertake is assessed by how it relates to how you are going to “get ahead”, you ought to examine what it means to you to have a fulfilling life. Again, I say this as a person with a pretty ambitious mindset.

      • OP here – food for thought. I guess I’ve really never done anything unless it somehow got me ahead in school, at work, or monetarily . . . . I guess people would say that’s sad but I only had so much time and brain space and had to use it advantageously.

        • Yeah, I hear you. I think life starts to transition a bit when you are in–roughly–your 30s. Like, you’ve been preparing this whole time to be good at your job and a useful member of society, and now you can put your skills to work? And, somehow, life just keeps getting bigger (if you let it), whether it be more responsibility at work, more responsibility at home, or a bigger and more fulfilling role in some organization in your community. I think this is a good thing for us as people and for society and part of growing up, but I do sort of miss the days when I felt I could focus more single-mindedly on myself — i.e., my academic or career advancement.

        • So there’s a certain type of student that I mentally refer to as a “badge collector.” That’s someone whose every activity, from high school onward, was chosen for strategic advantage. So high school classes and extracurriculars were picked because they’d help with college applications, college activities were selected because they would be good resume-builders for law school (debate, yes! hiking club, no!), and law school was a numbers game of good grades+law reviewt+2L summer associateship=biglaw job on graduation.

          Most people who ended up in biglaw are badge collectors to some degree, but it sounds like you’re on the extreme end. The problem is that once you start working, there are no more badges (yes, in biglaw, partnership is a marker of achievement, but it’s a long way away for most associates). Sure, you can try to find a job that will put you back on a path where you’ll regularly get validation that you’re progressing, but it’s never going to be like it was when you were a student.

          Is that scary? Yes. It’s a hard transition. But it’s also a critical developmental step, in my view, to start reorienting your life toward internal validation rather than external validation, because that’s how you develop a clear understanding of who you are in your most essential self. Our educational system, especially if you’re going to enter the professions, pushes you to think that only what’s on your resume matters. But you’re more than what’s on your resume, and now is the time when you figure that out.

          • OP here – you nailed it. High school was perfectly scripted to get me into a particular ivy. Got in. That was perfectly scripted for a particular ivy law school; got that – biglaw; fed clerkship etc. And then life changed and there was a move that required a job switch — and here we are. I know wallowing in it isn’t helpful but that’s what I’m doing – bc I am one of those rare people who would just rather work, than worry about “regular” life. Part of why I’m having a hard time connecting with people — they talk about cooking and I’m thinking — just eat whatever’s faster or just throw money at that particular problem; I don’t say that of course but obv I’m not engaging bc I just don’t care.

          • A couple thoughts, OP, which may be easier to operationalize than the general advice to think about what makes for a fulfilling life. (I’m Anonymous at 10:35 and 10:45, and I’ve got a pretty similar resume to you. )

            Is there a nearby law school that may want to hire you as an adjunct? This would certainly be stimulating, not to mention fill time. Could be a good way to transition to a full-time teaching job if you change locations or if that is of interest to you.

            With or without a teaching job, I’d definitely start thinking seriously about setting yourself a program to build your expertise and your name in your area of practice (or area of interest). I’m mostly thinking about writing articles and doing the research and studying necessary to write with authority. Maybe some partners at your old firm have tips on this. Hard to be specific without knowing your location or field, but worth thinking about. I bet it would be useful whether you stay where you are or whether you move. There are respected experts, etc. in all kinds of random places. This is not necessarily something a “badge collector” (I will use this term going forward!) may be thinking about, as it requires some entrepreneurship. You can set goals: e.g., I want to publish one article per quarter. I took a less extreme sidestep in my career also due to a move related to personal circumstances, and my new firm is less of a brand name than my old one, and it has been really enlightening to see how some people focus on building up their own brand and expertise, be it in conjunction or in addition to their practice.

          • So I’m hearing two things – first, you’ve had a lot of upheaval, which might have been somewhat out of your control. Maybe some of your challenge in adjusting to your new job situation and difficulty connecting to co-workers is related to that – I can especially see that being the case if the move/job change weren’t necessarily something you would have chosen on your own. If that sounds accurate, you might want to investigate those feelings.

            The other things I’m hearing isn’t just disinterest in your co-workers and new job – it’s a little bit of disdain. Maybe that’s inaccurate (and I know you’re venting here), but I’d think about where that’s coming from. Because what I’m hearing is a fairly extreme inability to empathize with people who sound, frankly, pretty normal, and that suggests to me that you’re maybe in a place that isn’t great from a mental health perspective (when I feel that way – and I do sometimes – it’s usually my depression/anxiety kicking up a bit).

            And I’d also think about this question: what if you lost your job tomorrow? Who would you be? Do you know? If you don’t, I think you probably want to think about that a bit, because that will help you find your way to a stable sense of self that isn’t wholly dependent on your job. It’s fine to be super-into your career – I am. But it sounds like you don’t know who you are apart from your career, and that’s a different kind of thing.

          • nasty woman :

            Honestly, OP, I started therapy to deal with things and realized that I was experiencing exactly what cbackson described. That wasn’t the source of all my issues, but definitely some. And it was the product of some issues. I was a badge collector because I thought it would make me happy and was necessary for safety. That’s totally true to some extent. Until I realized that that didn’t always work and wasn’t sufficient. Now I understand new ways to make myself happy, but more importantly, I understand what actually makes me happy- hint, it’s not badge collecting, but badge collecting is a close proxy. Therefore, badge collecting seemed like the answer for a while, but it was a false flag. But therapy has allowed me to rewire how I look at my life, learn how to identify what’s valuable to me, learn how to look for new ways of fulfillment, engagement, and finding meaning. For example, when I say “figure out what makes you happy” I don’t mean “do I like billing or gardening or playing soccer.” I mean: I am happy when I am feeling intellectually engaged and therefore I will write nonfiction in my spare time rather than work at a firm that’s killing the rest of my life. Or, I am happy when I feel worthy and valued at work, which can be achieved through forming strong relationships with my team rather than simply collecting wins/billing the most hours. I’d give it a shot, if you can find a therapist who is equipped to help guide you though this. Therapy (esp. CBT) doesn’t always have to be about “I am sad or anxious please help.”

            My super challenging hobbies include artistic pursuits (there is endless potential for grown in creativity), and a sport that one can do for a life time and still keep learning, among others. I also make it my mission to know everything about reproductive rights issues because I care and find it fascinating intellectually (to which I have subjected you all multiple times on this board).

          • This is me as well. I had my 10-year plan all mapped out, and once I finally checked off all my boxes, I was like, “Now what? Is this it? Is this success?” I’ve found it helpful to actually focus less on setting new goals, because otherwise, I get into the mode of checking boxes instead of actually enjoying life. I figured I could just shift my badge collecting to weightlifting or musicals or publishing articles or whatever, but that mentality is not the healthiest. Sometimes you do something just because it’s fun… and fun is an actual end, not a side benefit. I’ve found more balance now (I’m 31, so still figuring it out, obviously!), and I do set some goals now for both my career and my life. But the linear progression is never going to be the same, and so it’s up to me do define what I want my life to look like and how to get there.

        • So start a side hustle. Consult, teach yoga, teach yourself how to program apps, do technical writing, make jewelry, whatever. I am doing consulting on the side of my boring job (with their knowledge and permission) and it’s helping a lot with my feelings of being stuck. You’re only as stuck as you think you are. Who knows, you might love the side hustle so much that you decide to make that your full-time job. Self-employment is definitely challenging and some folks I’ve met who are fully self-employed found it really met their needs for challenge and excitement.

          • Never too many shoes... :

            I say this with respect but come on. The OP is a woman who navigated her entire life towards the Big Law Things (including two Ivies and a federal clerkship) and your suggestion is to teach yoga or make jewellery… that comes off as just a bit clueless as to the kind of personality type we are talking about.

          • It sounds to me like the OP could use some balance in her life, so that she’s not just moving through her prime years “collecting badges,” as other people have said. I know several very hard-charging people who got certified to teach yoga, including someone with a Ph.D. from Stanford. So maybe it’s you who are clueless about the “personality type we’re talking about.” Maybe try to be more open-minded and not put people into teeny little boxes that fit your extremely limited preconceived notions. Unless…of course…you are also a “badge collector,” like the OP, and all this talk is making you nervous about challenging your own life goals and what meaning your life really has, beyond earning money and spending it. Based on your username, I don’t think that may be too far off the mark.

      • What you said about every activity being assessed about how it relates to getting ahead and what that means for a fulfilling life really resonated with me. I’m not OP, but I’m in the same boat. I moved in house
        to what I thought was the job of my dreams and now, having achieved everything I set out to achieve, I’m floundering and struggling mentally. It’s tough for me not having the measurable landmarks of progress and I’m struggling with what it even means to have a meaningful, fulfilling life.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          This is hard, not having external markers to strive for… Honestly it’s something I’m working on in therapy (though I think there could be some spiritual/philosophical introspection that would also address these things). Like “how do I know I’m ‘good’ or ‘worthwhile’ or ‘OK’ if I’m not ___” (whatever that may be, getting As or billing hours or doing high profile work or making tons of money or winning cases or getting compliments) … but when I think about it, I really *want* to have the kind of security in myself that would say “I know I am valuable just because I am.” I’m working on it.

        • Won’t there always be one quantitative marker? Money?

          • Rainbow Hair :

            I guess, but I know that it doesn’t work for me… I don’t think I could feel “fulfilled” by looking at a bank account balance — and that comes from someone who previously felt at least moderately fulfilled by looking at a report card full of A’s and all the “badges” that cbackson talks about. I’m trying to find self confidence and fulfillment in my humanity I guess. I am not sure — it’s a work in progress and I need more coffee.

          • Anonymous :

            No. If you think money is the measure of a successful life, you are failing badly.

        • musicals! :

          You might enjoy the book “The Conquest of Happiness” by Bertrand Russell. He does a deep-dive into what it means to live a fulfilling life and the sources of angst for most people in society. I really like Russell’s work in general, as it’s practical but also introspective. I don’t align with him on spiritual beliefs (he’s an atheist, I’m a Christian), but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s got some really interesting food for thought!

          • Thank you for the recommendation. I will check it out.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            I’m also going to check this out. I have general, positive memories of reading his stuff a billion years ago in college.

    • Have you posted about this before? Someone posted basically the same thing previously – about how she missed the biglaw days when office talk was all deeply intellectual debates about the spirit of the law. Which I found funny because I work in biglaw, and love it, and while we do occasionally get into intellectual debates (particularly about politics), most of what we talk about that isn’t about work is (i) my dog/people’s kids; (ii) our hobbies; and (iii) sports/the local news/etc.

      • Two Cents :

        Yes, I feel like the same person has posted about this numerous times.

        • anon associate :


          We’ve been hearing iterations of this complaint for a long time now. OP obviously attaches her self worth to how intellectually stimulating her life is/how hard she’s working/how successful she is. Personally, I think that’s a recipe for failure. Her biggest issue is that this limits her from exploring other things that could make her happy. See a year of whining and no progress. That includes engaging with her co-workers, whom she has clearly deemed unworthy- and why wouldn’t she, because she defines worthiness by intellectual stimulation/how hard people work/how successful they are.

    • I think you’ve posted before – you were in BigLaw and loved talking about The Law/SCOTUS with your colleagues, but you got pushed out and were whining that your coworkers liked to talk about making their own salsa or something?

      You’ve been complaining for at least a year. If you hate your life so much, polish up your resume and look for a more intense in-house position.

      • Seriously. I understand venting about something, but when it’s been that long and you haven’t done anything about the problem, I don’t have much sympathy. And I particularly don’t have much sympathy for somebody who is so judgmental and condescending about how their coworkers spend their free time.

    • I did this move (litigation to gov’t) and it’s helped to find a few side-hustles in my old field. I ghost write federal briefs for my old firm and have a third gig as a contact attorney and do limited rep hearings a couple of times a month. I find that keeping up my litigation skills part-time makes me better at my current full-time job – I also aggressively seek promotions and I’ve worked myself into a director-level position that has most of the intellectual challenge of my original litigation job, but with hours that allow me to spend time with my DH and 3-year old.

      I know other colleagues who do pro-bono work or who take up hobbies like marathon running or the like.

      I like that I *can* return to the insanity of litigation as often as I want to (I turn down work all of the time) but on days or weeks when I need to lean out by just doing my daytime, low stress, government job I can do that without fearing a termination or massive career repercussions. Also nice to know I can, for example, take off for a week when my mom is moving into a nursing home or when my kid gets the flu.

      • Your old firm lets you do work for them? While you work for the gov’t?? Mine would never even consider this. And I can’t imagine any situation in which the conflicts dept at my current job would approve me to be an attorney on the side. I assume you’re just doing this stuff on the DL?

        • Nope, they’re aware and we did a conflict review before I accepted either job. I work for the state in a specialized area, and the side gigs related to particular federal law (no state overlap) in a separate specialized area. Some jobs preclude outside employment, my position does not. I use vacation hours when I do my court appearances.

    • Yep. This is my #currentstruggle (hashtagged for the poor soul up there who hasn’t read anything since middle school, bless her heart). I thought I was burned out but it turns out, I prefer burnout conditions to being bored out of my skull. My last job was a lot of frustrating things, but it was never boring. Thankfully, this is a contract position that will probably end in December and I can go do something else. I took the job anticipating I would go contract-to-perm – that’s what usually happens here – but the permanent people aren’t any busier (or happier – everyone is counting the days till retirement or desperately trying to make their side hustle turn into a job), so I’ll do this as long as it lasts and then move on.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Ha. “Marriage and parenting and parenting and cooking and the like.” You mean, like, life?

      • Rainbow Hair :

        What always strikes me about this poster is her thinly veiled disdain for her coworkers/people like me who find (or strive to find) value and meaning in things that are not high status markers. I am not super into cooking, but marriage and parenting are two of the main pillars of my life right now! God forbid she knew I also cared about my friends, crafting (noooo!), my parents, and my siblings and their families. What a boring waste of breath I am!

      • Anonymous :

        She literally does. OP replied above: “bc I am one of those rare people who would just rather work, than worry about “regular” life. Part of why I’m having a hard time connecting with people — they talk about cooking and I’m thinking — just eat whatever’s faster or just throw money at that particular problem”

        I hate to use the term ‘workaholic’ but it does not sound like you have an identity outside of your job. Generally speaking , that is not a healthy balances. Certainly, a job can be huge part of who you are, but if you literally have no outside interests/hobbies/activities, that does not sound like a situation that will be healthy in the long term. Maybe consider trying new activities to see what will appeal to you. I never thought I would like skiing (I hate bulky clothes and cold), but my husband encouraged me to ski with him and I actually really love it.

        Work can be a huge important part of your life. But if you have no interests at all outside of work, that will generally not be a healthy balance for most people.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I work with a bunch of people like the OP. OMG from my perspective they are the most boring people in the whole world! We go to lunch and they just talk about their cases and petty office politics and I just want to scream. No hobbies, no family talk, just work. Gah. And they wonder why some of us want to sneak off and have lunch without them from time to time and talk about other things…

    • Not a lawyer, but in finance and at a fancy/prestigious firm for my field. I just switched to a 50-60% work arrangement following a big move and some life/family changes. I simultaneously love it and hate it. My stress level (which has been high for the last 10+ years) is at an all-time low, which is nice. I have time to cook real dinners, spend time with my husband, read books, and exercise. I watch daytime TV occasionally. I no longer wake up in the middle of night worrying about work.

      However, I am used to being The Person on my team. I still am, to an extent, but not being around every day means that others are rightfully vying for that spot (and I can’t blame them for it). I’m not as in the know as I once was. I will probably never get promoted again, unless I want to go back to full time, which probably won’t happen for at least the next 5 years. Sometimes, I actually miss the pace and the stress and the challenge and the accolades of working full time. I know that I made the right move for my family for right now, but I honestly wish I could clone myself and have “home me” and “work me” and not miss anything at all.

  9. Gail the Goldfish :

    I have this dress in black and it’s great. I get compliments pretty much every time I wear it. I didn’t know it came in blue and may get another one…

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Oh, and note it’s a Land’s End Canvas item, so it doesn’t run as large as regular Land’s End. I got my normal size (ie, what I usually wear at Ann Taylor, for example) as opposed to one size down like I would in Land’s End.

      • Maddie Ross :

        I don’t have this dress, but I just want to give a shout out to LE Canvas items. I was so sad when it looked like they had done away with the line, as the quality was mostly better than J.Crew, but the styles were younger than normal LE. I will specifically say that their sweaters and jackets have worn really well for multiple years.

        • newbinlaw :

          I’ve also found that LE Canvas fits me off the rack! (although I do size up sort of – I am between a 2 and 4 usually and order size 4). I have a very small waist but substantial butt and thighs so get most things tailored. My new LE Canvas pencil skirts fits perfectly!

    • Ditto. I ordered it and was pleased with the quality, but I’ve put on a pound or two and it definitely didn’t fit in my usual LE size, so order your mall size.

      • I was all set to order it (43 inches! Tall women delight!) but then i saw the exposed zipper whyyyyy?

        • I have this dress and it’s a small zipper (at the top, not all the way down the way some are). I’m in a cold office, so it’s always hidden under a jacket, but I don’t mind it by itself (and I’m not an exposed zipper fan in general).

          • Gail the Goldfish :

            Same. It’s not so much an exposed zipper as a “not hidden zipper.” I usually hate exposed zippers, but this one doesn’t bother me that much. Though SO commented it was a “very shiny zipper”

          • Wait, what? It looks like it comes all the way down the back.

          • Anonymous :

            Yes — i guess I meant all the way to the lower hem. The exposed zipper is hidden by my usual jackets (and mine tend to be cropped). The exposed zipper is also lined on the inside, so you don’t feel metal against your skin. I really give them props for that.

            I hate exposed zippers and this dress was so good I kept it anyway.

    • I have this dress (in an eggplant color) and love it. I am a pear, so I got the sides of the top taken in and felt like the item was of such high quality as to justify the alteration expense.

    • Frozen Peach :

      I also have this dress in the eggplant and it fits perfectly. The fluted skirt is just a lovely detail. Thanks for the post, Kat, at this price point I may pick up another color!

    • anon in SV :

      I just bought it too. It’s been years since I ordered a pick from this blog.

      • We can all have divergent opinions around style. Why are people so hard on Kat for her picks lately? She’s trying to cater to all kinds of bodies and styles

        I would like to see some more edgy looks sometimes, but I get that I am in the minority.

    • Anonymous :

      Good to know about the sizing!

      I love this dress. It’s also been a long time since I bought an item featured.

  10. A very dear friend of mine with a chronic illness is hospitalized and probably will be for several weeks. I would love to help her family, as her husband is exhausted and the kids are stressed. I’m calling, and hope to come visit to help soon, but need to help now.

    I want to send her husband a gift certificate for a healthy food service. And maybe pay for someone to help them with a cleaning visit in a few weeks.

    They are in the Bay Area in Sunnyvale, which is closer to San Jose than San Francisco.

    What food delivery place to you guys recommend?
    And is there a cleaning service that you have worked with before that you trust?

    I would also love to do something for her kids, even just send a little ?care package… so any recs appreciated. Daughter is in 6th grade, son is in Kindergarten.


    • LondonLeisureYear :

      Door Dash

      Double check that they serve their neighborhood but those are all bay area food things. InstaCart is groceries.

      • anonshmanon :

        Seeing that you are such close friends, I’d go the extra mile of picking one of these delivery services, registering an account, picking out some basic groceries (yoghurt, banana, granola, bread, peanut butter, some veggies, some household items). And then you can tell the husband, here is your login and a basic basket, just select the delivery time and don’t forget to apply this voucher code: …)
        My partner would for sure appreciate that!

      • Many thanks!!

        Any favorites? They are not vegan/vegetarian, but eat mostly fish/veg/organic and a lot of Asian flavors.

        • LondonLeisureYear :

          Munchery is a daily menu that you sign up for what you want. It changes but you can go online to see kinda what they offer. It has a gifting option. Munchery makes the food and delivers.

          DoorDash delivers take out from other restaurants. so they could choose anything that delivers in their area.

          Sprig is like Munchery where they have a set menu and you can choose those things to be made and arrive.

          Postmates is delivery from restaurants and stores. Basically they can pick up from anywhere.

          Thistle – is a salad delivery from a daily switching menu.

          All will follow their eating style because its the bay area.

          • anon in SV :

            I live near them. Munchery is the best one. Food shows up at your door, ready to microwave, and it’s pretty darn tasty. Order a bunch of meals that you think they’ll like, and have it delivered to their doorstep.

            I will try Sprig – never heard of it. I’ve also tried Freshly and really didn’t like it. DoorDash takes FOREVER and has hidden markup charges. Yes to instacart, my favorite thing.

            If you’re really feeling like splashing out, maybe register them for Town & Country Resources (high quality childcare referral service) and get one of their nannies to take the kids to do something fun a few times. It’s the only place where I will allow strangers to take care of my kid.

          • You’re the best.

    • anon a mouse :

      When I had a very sick parent as a child, I clearly remember a babysitter taking my sibling and I to a movie. It was such a treat (we rarely went to the movies anyway) and it was a great chance to enjoy a fantasy world for a couple of hours. If the family has a babysitter they trust and it’s in your budget, springing for a little movie adventure (babysitter + tickets) would be a nice gesture. Or something similar that their dad probably doesn’t have time for — splash park, climbing gym, etc.

      • Thanks for this. Really nice idea. They never leave their daughter with a sitter, and had thought trying to find a babysitter from afar would be the hardest thing. No? But when I go I will try to do this.

        • If they are in an afterschool program, the staff there might be interested in picking up some babysitting work on the side.

          • +1 This is a really good idea. We have never used anyone but family as babysitters with my 15 months old, but I would have no issue leaving him with most of his teachers at daycare.

        • Mama on the access road :

          Finding a sitter from afar is terribly difficult! If aftercare staff turns you down, stop there.

          Would dad like a massage? Some massage therapists take their table to clients’ homes.

          If they usually do their own yard work, you could have someone mow the lawn and give him the tickets to take the kids on a brief outing. If they’re for a splash park/water park, you could mail them with a care package for the day–sunscreen, goggles for the kids, snacks, a waterproof container for the phone, the kind of stuff he’d have to pack up otherwise.

          Mighty Girl has lists of books on various themes. Even if none of the themes interest you, that might be a way to come up with titles that aren’t on their radar.

    • Gifts for kids: something quiet and independent. Legos, puzzles, books, coloring books or art stuff, I Spy books….

      • Yes, good recs. She reads a lot, but has read everything which makes it hard to buy books for her.

        • Then maybe mad libs? Or choose-your-own adventure books?

        • Mama on the access road :

          You could go the opposite direction and give them activity toys to run off their stress. I like the stuff at Hearthsong, because it’s often a little different. My son had a skip-bo (one of those things you put on one leg and swing it to skip over with the other leg) when he was in first grade and loved it.

          • Never too many shoes... :

            I had one of those as a kid with a lemon on the end…ahhhhh.

          • I do like the stress release idea. Their daughter was talking about the school trends of “making slime” and finger spinners (!?!?) and to my eye, these both look like meditative stress release toys!

    • blueberries :

      food: Munchery or DoorDash
      cleaning: TeamWorks

      • blueberries :

        for groceries, Good Eggs. In my experience, more reliable than Instacart and slightly better value (they pay their workers a fair wage and so there’s no tipping and there’s no delivery charge for orders over $60).

    • Anonymous :

      My husband had a major medical event recently (I have three kids and a FT job), so I’m chiming in to say that I would have LOVED if someone had gifted me a house cleaning. A friend came by to vacuum and it was so much better than a frozen dinner (although I appreciated those, too!).

      My kids did really appreciate being recognized during that time, so in a way I wouldn’t stress too much over the exact item. Their favorite gifts were grab bags with small, misc stuff. The surprise aspect was a great flip of the insecurity and stress of the time. I love the idea of including some stress relieving items, like fidget toys (google it) and silly putty. For the 6th grade girl, I’m also thinking friendship bracelet supplies and book (klutz probably has one, and their stuff is reliable) and/or a “Plush Craft” (brand name) kit. Both are portable (ie, hospital visits) and quiet but fidgety. For the kindergarten boy, lego sets (I like the creator line), slinky, and stomp rockets. If they have a convenient outdoor space, a fossil egg (time consuming and addictive/rewarding for the age).

  11. Baconpancakes :

    Ugh accidentally posted on yesterday’s post. Clearly not enough coffee in my life.

    Yesterday’s suit made me start lusting after a white blazer again, after giving it up as a lost cause two years ago and settling on a pink ponte blazer that has served me quite well.

    I’ve had bad luck with cotton blazers looking extremely wrinkled quickly, so I’m leaning towards an ivory linen blazer since it’s already rumpled and supposed to look like it. Thoughts?

    • First Year Anon :

      I have a cotton j crew blazer in white that doesn’t wrinkle a lot. it is very thick. I’m sure if you look on their site you’ll find it- believe it is the Campbell blazer.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Is it warm? I’m hoping for something very cool – I live in a place with the humidity equivalent of an armpit.

        • First Year Anon :

          Hmm I guess that is relative. It is warm as are all blazers, but I think it would be good for over-ACed warm climates. It’s not as warm as my wool wintery blazers for sure.

    • I responded on the other post!

    • I got the Eliza J three quarter length sleeve blazer (I think featured on here?) last year and I really like it. I don’t even iron it out of the wash, and it doesn’t wrinkle terribly. It is NOT natural fibers, which I would love, but it IS machine washable, so I wash it every time I wear it.

    • Mama on the access road :

      J Crew has the reagent in white linen for about $125.

    • I don’t like the rumpled look so got a white tweed jacket that is very versatile.

  12. Mama on the access road :

    I’d love this dress, but it’s out of my reach.

    Do any of you shop at Anthropologie? I just checked them out for the first time two days ago, then last night. Both times they had some great items for $10 and $20 that went quickly, but only a couple, and one night it was a matter of hours. Is that typical of them? Do they ever do a big sale with a bunch of stuff at once?

    • Anthro is crazy expensive if you’re looking for stuff in the $10-$20 range. Most of their decent items are $70++

    • Do you mean $10-20 items in store, or online?
      Anthropologie online has some “pop-backs” – one-off items that pop-back on their website at very low prices. These are often returns.

      Yes, they do have big sales several times during the year – usually 25% off sale price, or something along those lines. Most anthropologie stores have a sale room year-round.

      • Mama on the access road :

        Yes! Online at those prices. I’ve seen a couple items at that price, and then a jump to beyond my budget (even on sale), the prices the two anons here mention.

        • I live near an anthropologie and they have a sales section in store year round, with items in the range you mentioned most of the time. There may not always be many items at that price, but maybe one or two. I always find things on sale there.
          The quality at anthro varies widely, and there are very few items I would pay full price for– I would really have to desperately want the item to pay in full and it would have to look super flattering on me (which is not always the case) Love the style at anthro, though it does not always flatter my hourglass shape. Still, there is something so relaxing about going to the store– it has the most flattering lighting in the fitting room, and I keep imagining myself wearing their dresses on my deck and sipping on a gin and tonic — not something that happens often!

    • Steer clear of Anthropologie — cute stuff but way outside your budget from what it sounds like. It sounds like you are in more of an Old Navy budget. If you’re looking for work clothes that are decent but cheap, I recommend certain Uniqlo pieces (they do weekly specials) and J Crew Factory (prices bump around a lot with “sales”, so wait until you think they are at their cheapest).

    • If $60 is out of reach, than Anthropologie is definitely not for you. (Not for me, either! I’m not judging your budget, I just know that Anthro is super spendy.)

  13. Pen and Pencil :

    Can I just say I am in LOVE with the plus size pick. Does anyone have this dress or could speak to where the waist hits?

  14. Quitting without a new job :

    Any lawyers out there quit a firm without something new lined up? Did it effect your ability to get another job? How did you handle questions about your departure?

    I am very strongly considering leaving my job and doing whatever contact work I can while I continue to look for something else. Money is not a problem. My primary concern is the optics.

    • I did, but I was in a unique circumstance of moving while on maternity leave to a location where my firm didn’t have an office. The partners I had worked with were instrumental in me getting a new job. I would be pretty concerned about quitting under different circumstances — I don’t see how the pros outweigh the cons.

    • I did and it work out well. I think it’s important to know what you are looking for in your next job and a reasonable explanation for why you quit without a job lined up. For me, I moved from a rural area to a city where I had roots (but no contacts). I was surprised to find that no one even asked me or thought it was odd that I had quit before securing another job. The gap was 6 months and I am pretty certain that they were paying attention to my previous work experience and didn’t even notice the gap (because when I talked about it with my boss months later, he had no idea what I meant).

    • I did. 14.5 month gap. Worked out fine as I got a “hard to get” govt job. The optics aren’t great of course — and there are certain places that won’t even talk to you if you’re not working; but there are others that will. Just make sure money is no object bc you don’t realistically know how long the search could take.

    • It’s very likely to affect your ability to get another job. I had a friend leave an associate attorney position that she hated to do contract doc review. She spent years job-searching for an associate position without success (despite sterling academic credentials and good references from the previous job). She eventually ended up as a staff attorney at a big firm still doing mostly doc review. She’s happy, the pay is decent and it’s a big step up in terms of both pay and lifestyle from the contract positions she was doing, but it is not a partner-track position and not terribly interesting work. If you are currently working in a firm in a partner-track position, quitting to do contract work is effectively stepping off this track and I would think of it as such.

    • For better or worse (probably worse) people will likely assume you were forced out/fired, and that will impact your ability to get hired in some cases. When I’ve been involved in hiring and people left jobs for non-geographic reasons but without something lined up, I was definitely looking for a good explanation as to why.

    • Anonymous :

      I did as a single lawyer, but had interviewed where I had several soft offers and told them I’d be making a decision / move in a few months. I took those months off, but I had bugeted for that. I didn’t accept / move until into my vacation. I was maybe a fifth year? It can be done, but only in a good economy.

    • My company was acquired, and I didn’t like my new role. I quit, intending ~3 months at home with my kids before launching a job search with the goal of being in a new job ~6-9 months after quitting. I was 10+ into my legal career and knew going in that I would be comfortable telling interviewers that I had kids and that I’d been ready for a break after the acquisition. Even so, I underestimated how much being unemployed would affect interviewers’ impressions of me and how long it would take me to find a new position. I’m happy where I ended up, but it was complete luck that I got the job (referral from a former colleague for an unposted role) and it took me almost a year of hunting.

    • OfCounsel :

      I am going to be the voice of dissent here. I had a job that was causing me endless stress and impacting my health and my family. I quit after less than a year in a down market, spent 8 months doing contract work and then got another job in a big regional firm without real difficulty. It probably helped that I had been at the job before the bad one for 11 years and my boss from that job gave me a strong recommendation.

      When asked I just said that I had left because of a now-resolved personal family matter. At least one of the partners at my new job knew about evil-boss and may have passed that information along (she was fairly infamous in some circles).

  15. Moving blues :

    Relocating several states away for a job. My new institution will pay for moving costs but not packing costs. This is a busy time of year in my field, I’m stressed with the move and other factors so I’m tempted to just pay the cost of packing out of pocket. Those of you who had professional packing done, was it worth it?

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      yes. 100% yes. You will not look back. Just make sure you take out the trash or sometimes they will pack it up!

    • Yes, worth every dime. They will pack everything where they find it so do yourself a favor and try to corral all items to their proper home. Some culling and organization ahead of time makes the process go much better.

    • Yes, definitely worth it. Also unless the new job is very explicit that packing cant be reimbursed, I think it might be possible since it’s included on the bill from the movers. Unless they want you to submit something itemized you should be able to just submit a moving bill that including the packing costs.

    • My only caveat is to remove anything valuable. My parents had professional packing done by a major company and realized only about six months later that they couldn’t locate my grand-fathers WWI medals. We have never been able to locate the medals and suspect they might have been stolen. My mom couldn’t prove anything and so she never pursued any recourse with the company.

      • And this is why I would never have anyone pack for me. Complete strangers going through literally everything I own? No thanks.

        Plus, I’m too type A to let someone else do the packing. I need an itemized list (per-room) of what is in each numbered, color coded box. How else do I know what to unpack/in what order on the other end?

        My most recent move was SE US to New England. 95 boxes. It took me about two weeks of a few hours of packing each night after work and most of the weekends, and about $500 in supplies from UHaul (boxes, tape, etc).

      • Co-signed. I almost always use packers, but after the time they stole my prescription pain medication, I’m very careful to remove valuables and similar items first (and to make sure that someone is present while they’re packing).

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          That’s the worst. I hope your docs were understanding and gave you a new rx.

          • Fortunately, it was for an injury (not a chronic condition), so they were willing to write new prescriptions without any hassle, although I hate the knowledge that my oxycodone went out to the street.

    • Yes, yes, yes.

      Also worth it, depending on your moving style: professional UNpackers. They’ll unbox everything and just set it on the floor/counter/table. They haul away the boxes and paper, so all you’re left with is your belongings. (The extra clutter of moving boxes and paper stresses me out more than anything else during unpacking.) Yes, it means your stuff is everywhere for a couple days, BUT 1) tripping over everything is a super incentive to get the house set up and 2) no living out of boxes for weeks or months.

      • Legally Brunette :

        I had a terrible experience with unpackers. They literally took everything out and just put it on the floor, and then took the boxes away. It was a complete nightmare and took 10 times longer than if we had just unpacked ourselves.

        • Ha, that’s exactly what Anon @ 11:08 said they’d do and I totally get that it depends on your moving preferences. I also find that the clutter of moving debris makes me more anxious than anything else, so having somebody get rid of all that would be great for me.

    • Mama on the access road :

      As long as the moving company does it, and you are planning to unpack everything at the new place right away (because some things won’t be packed with what you expect), you should be fine.
      I tried to go cut rate two different times, and really regretted it–nice people, just did not have a system. One said she’d finish within two days after I left the country, and didn’t have the shed cleared out when the lease expired a week later. The landlord tossed everything (‘d stored there (all the stuff I didn’t want in the house with a toddler) :(

    • Definitely. If you can, use the same company for moving and packing so you don’t have a fight about responsibility if something arrives broken.

  16. I have a mortgage with USAA and was surprised to see everyone saying they wouldn’t sell or outsource your mortgage servicing. Because USAA outsourced my mortgage servicing to Nationstar. It’s not been a great experience, honestly. I have USAA for everything else– car insurance, house insurance, life insurance, banking, investments, credit card, Coverdell, Roth accounts, etc and I love it for all that stuff.

    But the mortgage has been annoying. When we bought our house we didn’t put 20% down, so we had PMI, which we tried to have removed when we got to 20%, but they said our house value had dropped (it hadn’t). Then when we got to five years, when the PMI was supposed to come off automatically, they said just kidding, it wasn’t automatic, they needed to do another valuation, despite the fact that we’ve now paid off about 40% of the mortgage. Of course we have to pay hundreds of dollars to get this valuation done. So annoying.

    • I have USAA for everything but not the mortgage – they don’t do co-ops, and they don’t do loans over a certain amount, so our NYC apartment purchase was totally out of the question for them. And getting them to fill out forms we needed for co-op board approval was kind of a nightmare.

    • I have USAA for everything in the world except mortgages. Their loan department was always a hot mess and their rates were always high, so I’ve never gone with them, even though I’ve had plenty of opportunities to.

      And FWIW, I needed a tow truck last week and was greatly displeased to discover they’ve outsourced that now, too. That was a hot mess of crossed wires and I was none too pleased. (Thank goodness my tire had gone flat in my driveway and not on the side of the road!) For all the time I spent on the phone trying to get them to come, I could have just had the repair shop come tow me for $35 and gotten on with my life.

    • I don’t know specifics, but my mom went through USAA for her mortgage as well and had all sorts of issues too when she was trying to get some assistance with things when she got laid off about 8 years ago since it wasn’t through USAA.

    • Yup, we specifically asked when we were shopping around recently, and USAA confirmed that they would sell on our mortgage. Glad I asked! We are willing to pay a small premium to keep our insurance with them because I’ve had great customer service, but the mortgage was way overpriced for something that’s going to get serviced by Nationstar/Ocwen/whatever anyway.

    • In House Lobbyist :

      I have USAA for everything and just got a mortgage through them for a second home. Almost everyone sells mortgages so I just assumed it would happen. So far it has been good and I haven’t had any problems. I also use them exclusively for insurance, banking, investments, life insurance. But I would definitely complain – they really respond to complaints. I think a letter/call/email to the CEO would be better than posting here. I can’t say enough good things about USAA.

  17. No More Sheath Dresses :

    Wanted to drop a quick thanks to Oil in Houston and the anons who helped me out last week. I found some dresses on 6pm , and one of them actually works for me, the rest are going back.

    I know that Kat/everyone recommends not buying anything when newly pregnant – for me, between pulling the IUD, plus some dental work and a bad cold, led to a fast drop of 10+ lbs over several months, did a major clothing purge to get rid of things that were getting old/worn with the assumption that I’d get new summer-season clothes in whatever size I was at by that point. Then – BFP! Clothes in current size aren’t tight yet, clothes in former size still tent-life/falling-off big on me.

  18. What necklace would you wear with this neckline? It’s high with an interesting oragami-like twist. It seems too plain to wear without a scarf or necklace. (link to follow)


      • I’d go for statement earrings or bracelet instead or something at the neck. But then, I’m not a necklace type person.

    • I’d wear a long very simple pendant. I practically live in my Stella and Dot rebel pendant so I probably wear that. Whenever I’m stumped for what to wear, that is what I grab.

  19. White Knees :

    All of my dark jeans have faded white knees- I would hate to turf them as the rest of the pant are perfectly fine. Anyone have any experience with dying their jeans- does this work well and is it long lasting?

    Any suggestions for a type od dye/solution for this?

    Thank you

  20. MIL: “I’d like to come visit for Memorial Day weekend – is that okay? Do you have other plans for that weekend?”

    Us: “No other plans – please visit, it would be great to see you!”

    MIL today: “Okay I booked my ticket and here is the itinerary. I decided to make it a week-long visit.”

    Um, what? Who does that? Also, good that she’s not worried about getting picked up from the airport since I will actually be in a different country the day she arrives (which i didn’t bother telling her because I didn’t think she’d be arriving until, you know, the weekend!)

    This should be interesting.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Ha, are you my SIL? Because that sure sounds familiar. Except I get the information through my husband. “MIL might be coming out for Kiddo’s birthday” –> “MIL will be here from January 15 – February 3.” Noooooo.

    • I don’t know, this sounds like a pretty innocent miscommunication. It’s common to travel on MDW so it makes sense she’d just ask if you have plans for that weekend even if she was planning a longer visit. She should have confirmed exact arrival/departure dates before booking but I can see how this happens more easily with a holiday weekend then with a normal weekend. Anyway, plane tickets can normally be cancelled without penalty within 24 hours so if you really can’t accommodate her on those dates, tell her ASAP so she can rebook. Although couldn’t your spouse pick her up at the airport and entertain her even if you’re out of the country?

    • This cracks me up because when my MIL visits she stays for one month, MINIMUM. 1 week sounds like heaven. :)

    • That is my in-laws. No trip is less than 10 days. (We both live in the continental US, but it requires air travel.) When my first was born, they scheduled a three week trip. My mother-in-law lies to us and says that she got the first available flight back to their hometown, which is obviously not true. It actually makes me laugh because it presumes that we do not know how air travel works. I have just accepted that trips will be long, but now that we have kids it is nice to have an extra set of hands. (I just have to keep my mother-in-law out of the kitchen for the trip. She is a terrible cook.)

    • That’s my inlaws too. They just automatically come for days on either side…

    • Awe, try not to be hard on her. She just wants to be with you. Maybe one day you will have a child that lives a plane ride away and understand how she is feeling. It can be hard.

      • Thank you for this perspective. I needed to hear it. I do like her, and i know she misses her son (the only one of her children who moved away from their hometown), but we both work full time (me from home!) so we’ll need to do a bit of shuffling to keep everyone happy / not losing their minds.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Sigh, I should acknowledge this point. If/when my baby moves far away, it’s hard to imagine that I wouldn’t want to visit too much. (Though on the other hand, I do hereby solemnly swear that if/when I am a MIL/grandma I will *help* around the house when I visit, and never be critical of my kiddo’s SO.)

      • Yeah, but you can feel like this and still ask if it’s ok to visit.

    • Anonymous :

      A friend of mine got an email from her MIL that essentially said: “I’m coming X weekend. I booked my plane ticket. See you then!”

      Both she and her husband are going to be out of the country. MIL still expects to stay at their house of course.

  21. Aging parents :

    Have any of you had to have a conversation with an aging parent about leaving the workforce?

    My FIL has been underemployed for years (was a high-performing professional for decades but that position was eliminated, and for a variety of reasons, he will never be able to regain that type of position). He and MIL are/were terrible with money, and so now, despite decades of mid-6 figure earnings, they’re pretty much left with social security benefits and nothing else. He still wants to work, but he can’t find much, and it’s clear that the stress of driving for work and searching for work (to say nothing of a day of work) is taking a toll. But, he’s a man who has always been defined by his job.

    I know it’s on my husband, not me, to take the lead here – but would really appreciate any and all advice. They could live on SS (inexpensive area of country) but see above re: terrible with money and so i think part of the panic is thinking that they can’t.

    • I guess I’m confused by this question. If they’re tight on money, retiring is the last thing FIL should do. Holding off on drawing SS can lead to significantly higher benefits, which sounds like may be necessary for them. Being downsized, etc, often happens later in life, so FIL may need to shift his mindset out of Career Executive and into Paying Bills, ie, accept what’s happened, that he’s no longer building a resume, and take that “lesser,” easier pre-retirement job.

    • I think if they’re not asking you and DH for money (or indicating that they will in the future), it’s really not your circus not your monkeys (by ‘your’ I mean you and your husband collectively, not just you).

    • I agree that it’s not really your circus/monkeys, but what type of job is he looking for? I find it hard to believe he can’t find an hourly job at a box store or some sort to keep busy. This is what so many of the retirees in my area do!

    • Is he currently working or merely searching for work? If he’s searching and doesn’t find anything – doesn’t this problem work itself out? If he is working, honestly I’d encourage you to NOT encourage him to stop. As long as he can physically and mentally handle it — it’s better to stay in the workforce as long as you can to stay engaged. No one is saying he needs to be working 40 hrs a week anymore – but there is a LOT to be said for getting out of the house, having some conversations, and doing something productive even a few hrs a week as you age. Often times in our economy though, once you stop, you stop and there’s no re entering.

    • Honestly, if they think they cannot live on SS (and haven’t been good with money in the past), they probably can’t live on SS (even in an inexpensive area), and short of him, I don’t know, checking himself out of the hospital against doctor’s orders to go on a job interview, I’d say let him keep looking and keep working. (a) it’s probably a point of pride, not just necessary, (b) it will probably help him more in the long run to work, and (c) in the long run, they likely will look to you all (or credit cards, etc.) if he’s not working. People don’t just become frugal. I have similar issues with my in-laws…

    • Does FIL’s career area of expertise line up with ad hoc consulting needs through platforms like fiverr? Maybe he could do some work from home that way instead of trying to land a new full time job. It might be more personally rewarding for him than a “lesser” job. DH might be able to mention the idea as a lower stress way to create ‘fun’ money for their [bad with/waste of money] activities while SS handles the [LCOL] basic bills.

  22. Stella Link :

    Has anyone here either had a baby on their own (sperm bank) without a partner or considered it? I am 39 and single. Occasionally dating but no serious relationship for several years. I moved to my current city 3 years ago after finishing my residency/fellowship. My job is stable although demanding. I have a great relationship with my family but they live about 6 hours away. I never thought I would have kids and I was ok with that until the last 6 months. Now I find myself really wanting a baby. The clock is ticking. I don’t see myself in a serious relationship any time soon, and frankly, I’ve never been very good at romance anyway. I’m thinking of having a baby on my own via a sperm donor. I just keep wondering if this is fair to the kid. I know there are so many great single moms out there who make this work. Often the kids have some relationship with their fathers. Those people I know who didn’t have a relationship with their dads have struggled with that to varying extents. Thoughts?

  23. Any recs for thong, high waisted spanx or other shape wear?

    • Anonymous :

      I strongly prefer maidenform vs spanx. More comfortable, less rolling, etc. I’ve had their light, medium, and high suction items, mainly boycut and brief high waist. I buy at Target.

    • PrettyPrimadonna :

      I purchased a “light suction” thong shaper from H+M one from DSW that sucks it all in a little more. Both pieces have done well.

  24. Chicago marriage Counselor :

    Hi all, does anyone in Chicago have a recommendation for a marriage counselor? My husband and I have been seeming a counselor for a few years (we used to go once every few weeks and now we go once every few months to check in) but we feel like we need a change. Obviously it’s not the same thing but to give you an analogy, if we had a personal trainer we’d want a boot camp style guy who yells at us and kicks our asses so we want the equivalent style for a marriage counselor!

    • I recommend David Taussig, who has seen me & husband for stints over the years. He can give you a good evaluation and roadmap within about 6 weeks and then see where you want / should go from there. He is at the Family Institute (offices in the Loop and various burbs). He is a little bit of a butt-kicker but in a perfectly appropriate way (very direct but sensitive too).

      If he isn’t specifically available, I highly recommend the Family Institute (Northwestern Affiliated) generally; you can go through a short intake interview and get matched with a therapist that way.
      Good luck.

  25. Anonymous :

    Do any of you work out with resistance bands ever? Have you seen any improvement in strength/muscle tone? I’d like to be a bit stronger, see a bit more defined muscle (not crazy bulking up or anything) — but don’t want to join a gym just to lift weights (bc I know myself – I would go 1x month and it would be a waste of money). Are resistance bands a good alternative?

    • I don’t think it can hurt! You could also do body weight exercises. Check out r/bodyweightfitness on reddit. Also, depending on your aesthetic goals and what your body is like now, you may need to lose weight to start to see visible muscle definition, but even if you don’t you’ll benefit from being stronger.

    • Anonymous :

      They are cheap, so why not try it? If you decide you do need actual weights, PowerBlocks allow you to have a wide range of dumbbell weights in the space of one set – I love them. has great strength workouts, including a lot that are body weight only.

    • I hate this “bulky” myth. You won’t get bulky unless you drastically change your diet and start taking steroids. Full stop. Working out will just make you stronger and more toned.

      If you’re trying to get stronger and don’t know where to start, Fitnessblender dot com has great workouts, some of which are bodyweight only. The ones that do require weights, you can get a set of these:

      • I think “bulky” is subjective, though. After three years of lifting pretty heavily, I gained 15 lbs of muscle and my naturally tall and scrawny body looked “bulky” and none of my clothes fit anymore. It wasn’t unattractive or masculine, but my biceps, traps, and quads were large for my frame. I didn’t change my diet or take steroids. So it can be a concern depending on your body type and how you want to look.

    • Yes, my trainer uses them with me sometimes, and I used them a lot in PT for a shoulder issue and ongoing until it fully resolves. I don’t know if they alone are responsible for increased muscle definition because I also go to the gym and have a trainer and do lots of body weight/free weight/machine exercises, so it’s a big combo I can’t parse out. But I don’t know why they wouldn’t work.

  26. Anyone here tried the Ministry of Supply “Luxe Touch” t-shirts? I’m thinking about picking up a few to wear under blazers and am wondering about the sizing (their button-downs really didn’t work for me) and also the quality.

    • I have also been eyeing these! Interested if anyone has one.

      Why did you not like the button-downs exactly?

      • I’m both broad-shouldered and busty, and they were not cut with either of those things in mind (the shoulders in particular).

        • Disappointing — I am also broad-shouldered. Flat-chested, but if the shoulders in particular didn’t work, this doesn’t bode well for their stuff fitting me.

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