Splurge Tuesday’s Workwear Report: Sleeveless Wool-Cotton Crepe Dress with Contrast Piping

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

I think this dress from Marni is really interesting — I like it because it has a very feminine shape while the contrast piping has sort of a comic book, witty vibe to it. The dress is totally acceptable for work, and I really like how fun and flattering it is — and a little bit different, too. Unfortunately, the dress is priced accordingly — it’s $2,095 at Neiman Marcus (and one size has already sold out). Sleeveless Wool-Cotton Crepe Dress with Contrast Piping

Amazon has more affordable options from Calvin Klein and Adrianna Papell, and Macy’s also has a Calvin Klein option, but in plus sizes.

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  1. Shop for me :

    Looking for an ankle pant in burgundy maroon. 6 petite (though regular may work depending on the style) and NOT stretch.

  2. I’m looking at making a career change (currently a paralegal). Any insight on choosing between accounting and law? I’m in a mid-size East Coast city, for what it’s worth, working on a bachelors in accounting (originally for the purpose of attending law school, but now I’m thinking accounting may be a safer career choice with more options).

    • Law school is generally too expensive now to be worthwhile unless you actually want to be a lawyer. It sounds like you just want a ‘safe’ profession, so I’d say that accounting is a better choice. But that said, it may not hurt to study for and take the LSAT and see how you do – if you do well enough to attend a great school with a good financial package, that may change the calculus.

    • Do you want to be a lawyer? You’re probably right that accounting is lower risk in general, but if you want to be a lawyer even after working as a paralegal in a law firm you have a better idea than most law students what you’re getting into. If your firm is interested in hiring you post-law school that also makes it a safer bet for you than for others.

    • Please consider MBA! A great way to springboard your accounting experience into something better and use those critical thinking skills that you have as a wannabe-lawyer. I was a paralegal with a liberal arts degree at one time, thinking that I had to go to law school because I didn’t know what else to do with my life. Luckily I met some great MBA students that also had liberal arts backgrounds and were not so sure about what was next. MBA is 2 years, no exam or thesis at the end (maybe a project, depending on where you go) and it definitely prepares you for next steps. You will probably need at least 2 years work experience under your belt before you apply to most programs. Some programs are evening, so maybe 3 years of school of that. When you switch careers, you can sell being a paralegal as “project management” (if it was more than task management, that is).

    • Anonymous :

      The primary value of an MBA, and most of the value of a law degree, is in 1) signaling and 2) the career services office. Unless your employer is paying your way, an MBA only makes sense if you go to the full-time day program at a top-ranked school. Unless you really want to practice law locally in the state where you went to school and can get a scholarship so you don’t come out with a ton of debt, only an H/Y/S law degree (preferably with law review and a top 10% class ranking) is worthwhile, and even then it’s better if your parents are paying.

      • Ok sure. I mean, this is an opinion. But there are more options than this.

        • Eager Beaver :

          I’m not trying to sell anyone on law school, but please don’t believe that these are the only two scenarios under which a law degree is “worthwhile.”

      • There are plenty of non-HYS law schools that have a national reputation, especially if you do well there. I mean, sure, maybe don’t go to a third tier school unless you want to practice in the local area. But I went to Boston University and had no problem getting a job in California. And I did well but was not top 10%. If you aspire to be on the Supreme Court you have to go to Harvard or similar. But going to a lower-ranked school (especially if you have a scholarship) often makes sense if you just want to practice law.

        • This. If you actually want to practice law (and as a paralegal looking at the law, she’s in a WAY better position to actually decide this than most aspiring law students) than getting a degree at any tier one school or the top state school in the state you want to practice can well be worth it. Particularly with a scholarship. If only H/Y/S degrees were worth it we’d only have 400 or so new lawyers each year. And I know the profession is over-subscribed, but we still need more than that…

      • She’s not wrong though about the worthlessness of an evening MBA if it’s not part of an employer-sponsored program that will make you eligible for a level up.

      • I went to HYS and think this is pretty laughable. At my current, fairly prestigious fed gov’t job, the vast majority of folks went to local top 20 schools. While I am glad that i was able to attend my law school, and I realize it has opened many doors for me, I’m under no illusion that I could have done just as well going to a top-ranked school in my geographic area.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Ha I mean, I often discourage people from going to law school (it’s expensive and unpleasant and at the end you just get to be a lawyer, womp womp), but I went to a non HYS school (think NYU) and am doing fine? And worked in prestigious Big Law in NYC with plenty of non HYS lawyers? And that was right after 2008.

        Weirdly, I got the most pushback on my degree when I worked in Chicago and they were like, “sorry, we want people from *really good* schools, like Northwestern.” Northwestern is great! But so is my school! Anyway, would’ve done better in Chicago if I’d gone to a local school, but otherwise my non-HYS thing did not hold me back.

      • Anonymous :

        Wait, but what’s wrong with practicing law locally in the state where you went to school? That’s what I’ve done and I totally love it. You say that like it’s a bad thing …

        • Anonymous :

          Nothing wrong with that if it is what you want to do and you can get a scholarship to law school!

    • I’m a CPA and I work as a paralegal in the tax dept of a law firm.

      100% get your CPA license. Accounting is incredibly flexible in a way that law is not. You can come and go from public accounting, industry, whatever. You can get a job immediately anywhere. You can get an education without taking on a bunch of debt.

      • Eeertmeert :

        Absolutely the CPA route. I ended up with a Masters in Tax, and It’s been a great career so far. Spend a few years innpublic accounting and transition to industry. Every industry (from manufacturing to retail to professional services) needs accountants. It’s an interesting career with lots of options.
        Tax is a fine entry point that has worked well for me, but audit or consulting are great options, too.
        With accounting there is more hours flexibility (outside of busy seasons in public accounting).

      • +1 to being a CPA. Tons of flexibility and options. I spent 12 years in public accounting, ran my own firm for 3, and now I do Risk Management for a tax software company. All of it have been fun and/or interesting and at least reasonable well paid.

      • All of these are exactly my reasons for leaning that direction. Thanks so much!

    • Yay Kat! I love this dress, but more then $2000 is to much! FOOEY!

      As for the OP, if you have quantitave skills, go for accounting. (I don’t). If you are interested in following the law through, then law school is for you.

      The onley reservation you should keep in mind is the men. Men law school students (and professors) think they are smarter then you are, and you do NOT rate, in their books. Men think you are in law school JUST to find a guy to marry and be supported by. That is dumb, but that is how they think.

      In practice, men never outgrow this. They continue to think we are there for visual purposes only, and are there to service their needs, even tho we are ADMITTED TO THE BAR ourselves! DOUBEL FOOEY on them!

      So good luck as you decide. Remember this website, as we all stick together here in the HIVE! YAY!!!!!

  3. Muffin pan recipes :

    What are your favorite recipes to make in a muffin pan? Bonus points for recipes that freeze well and can be scaled down easily (I can’t eat 40 muffins or 40 egg bakes by myself!).

    • Anonymous :

      Superhero muffins. They freeze well.

      • I tried these muffins per a recommendation here and didn’t care for them at all. My kids wouldn’t touch them either.

    • I read this as “puffin recipes” and was both intrigued and a teensy bit horrified at the same time. I’m going to get another cup of coffee now….

    • Egg bakes freeze okay, in my opinion. Meatloaf works well and freeze well too.

    • These egg muffins are so easy and scale really well to make less/more


      Also these oat muffins were recommended on this s!te and they freeze and reheat in the microwave very well. I have been adding 1-2 mashed bananas to the oats and milk.


    • Not super healthy, but these are delicious and freeze great (and are healthier and still taste good if you omit the chips): https://www.justataste.com/best-pumpkin-chocolate-chip-muffins-recipe/

    • wendalette :

      I’m a big fan of muffin pan mac and cheese, especially with peas or chopped spinach mixed in. They’re also a perfect size for my five-year-old. I eat two.

  4. Marrakech :

    Any tips on choosing and booking a guide for a long weekend in Marrakech ahead of time?

    • Flats Only :

      Do you have your hotel picked out? Morocco sounds like one of those places where your hotel can set up guide and tours.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I have had great luck with toursbylocals dot com in several countries. The great thing is they have reviews from travelers so you can pick somebody who will be a good fit for you.

    • As a (very) proud Moroccan, I am glad you are visiting but will not want you to have a bad experience.
      Please keep in mind that Marrakesh has changed over the year to cater to tourists’ expectations/fantasies and some scammers like to mislead visitors in a very un-moroccan way.
      Whomever you end up getting, make sure they are on the list of accredited guides/. The government published one in 2015. Link to follow

      • http://www.data.gov.ma/data/fr/dataset/annuaire-des-guides-touristiques/resource/9ef2560d-0e93-4a1a-ab10-1747d3ae2338

      • stuck in mod obviously. let me try again: type these keywords in a search engine
        “annuaire des guides touristiques data gov ma”
        the list is a csv file and you can search by city and know what languages they speak

      • Marrakech :

        Houda, thank you!!! Will check this out.

  5. Casual catering in dc? :

    Anyone have ideas for affordable but delicious catering (like sandwich trays, etc.) for a casual gathering in he DC area? I’m happy to make the sides dishes but I’m having a hard time finding something that isn’t too fancy or expensive…

    • Are you far away from a Wegman’s? If not, that would be my go-to for more affordable catering (and even if you are sort-of-far-away, that would be my first choice). I’ve seen good things come out of Safeway as well, but it depends on which one you go to.

    • Away Game :

      Costco. Lots of options in the refrigerated section, as well as a ton of yummy things in the frozen aisle that you can bake in the over directly from the freezer. Meatballs to dumplings to spanikopita to mini quiches.

    • Legally Brunette :

      I don’t know how cheap it would be, but I went to a party that catered from Cava and it was awesome. Falafel plates, hummus and other spreads, etc.

      I catered from Whole Foods for tea sandwiches and while it was fine, I could have easily made them at home.

      I have had good luck catering from Safeway for veggie and fruit platters (VERY cheap and generous quantity) but have never tried anything else.

    • Is there a buca di beppo near you? I think they have good sandwich trays.

    • Bub and Pop’s–the best!–caters, or you could do big sandwiches from A. Literi or The Italian Store, depending on where you are.

    • Bullfrog Bagels on H St caters. But most of the non-corporate big-sandwich-tray things I’ve had recently have just been from Panera. I have no idea how much it cost, but it was very convenient.

      • Anonymous :

        Yep- love Bullfrog platters. I do them for most of the non-dinner parties I host. Bagels, spreads, whitefish, smoked salmon, capers, tomatoes…

    • We had Sweet Fire Donna’s (in Alexandria) cater a party and it was delicious/not terribly expensive.

    • Anonymous :


    • Thumbtack! Its basically an event service craigslist. You enter in your details and get proposals from caterers/bartenders etc. I sued a thumbtack caterer for a Christmas party this year and got more food than I could handle for around $400 for 40-50 people.

  6. Gail the Goldfish :

    Favorite moisturizers without sunscreen for oily/combination, acne-prone skin? I’m using Clinique’s moisturizing gel at the moment, but I don’t love it and thought I’d try something new when it runs out.

    • Anonymous :

      Neutrogena Oil Free Moisture for Sensitive Skin.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        This is what I use as another oily/combination/acne-prone person.

        • This Biore sunscreen: https://www.amazon.com/Biore-Aqua-Watery-Essence-SPF50/dp/B01MTDFFQ5/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1519139899&sr=8-1&keywords=biore+aqua+rich

          I like the high SPF, and it’s very lightweight.

    • I like Cerave PM Moisturizing Lotion. I also have your skin type. Its like $12 at most drugstores/Target and works really well for me.

    • I have the same skin type and I really like the Proactiv green tea moisturizer. I feel like a teenager recommending proactiv, but I still have that teenager problem known as acne. The big myth is that it is just a teenager problem.

    • Mizon snail serum.

    • Ren ClearCalm hydrating lotion or Garnier hydrating gel. There’s something in Neutrogena that makes me break out _instantly_.

    • Anonymous :

      Caudalie sorbet

    • This is what I use right now, and I love it: https://thefaceshop.ca/en/chia-seed-no-shine-intense-hydrating-cream

      Best to buy it at a retail thefaceshop near you, if there is one.

    • biglawanon :

      I use a hydrating toner from Lancome. I am so oily that it is moisturizing enough for me.

  7. Anyone feel like helping me shop? I’m looking for a mother of the bride dress for my mom that’s more Easter dress than traditional MOB dress. (It’s a second wedding, outdoors on a weekday afternoon in April, immediate family only.)

    My mom is a size 18 and wants something feminine and tea length with a flowy skirt. Not picky about color – something spring-y – no beige. She doesn’t want one of those traditional grandmother of the bride ensembles with the chiffon dress with the little jacket. (And she didn’t like the pretty blue and white lace-look dress at Talbots.)

    Thank you for any help! She doesn’t like what I send her and what she sends me doesn’t work (special order, would need significant alterations, etc), so maybe you ladies can help :)

    • Anonymous :

      I was going to suggest BHLDN, but it looks like they only go up to size 16.

    • Anonymous :

      Try ModCloth. Maybe the Motivated to Amaze Midi Dress in Floral?

    • anon a mouse :

      Is there a David’s Bridal near you? I feel like they have a huge assortment of dresses that would fit the bill, plus they carry her size. Not sure if there’s enough time to order before the date, though.

      • I don’t think David’s has much in the way of dresses that skew floral/Easter vs traditional MOH. Could just be my store, though!

        • https://m.shop.nordstrom.com/s/soprano-lace-skater-dress/4825544?origin=topnav&cm_sp=Top%20Navigation-_-Clothing-_-Dresses&top=24&flexi=60202460_60202464&flexi=60197317_60197319&page=4

          Not sure if that’s too stuffy/formal, but maybe a light colored shawl would work?

          Too casual? https://www.landsend.com/products/womens-sleeveless-scoopneck-ponte-knit-sheath-dress/id_321468_57?sku_0=::7OL


          Too short? https://www.landsend.com/products/womens-sleeveless-linen-a-line-dress/id_321461_57?sku_0=::YU8

    • Ouch That Hurts! :

      Try FullBeauty … a friend of mine found five options there … we had fun choosing afterwards.

    • I feel like all I’m seeing is boho? That might not work for your mom (maybe it does?! Maybe your mom is Stevie Nicks?)

      https://www.softsurroundings.com/p/uma-dress/ (with not-boots and different styling, i think)

      https://www.catherines.com/showstopper-lace-dress-with-cape/prd-311893#color/0000083781 (too white?)

      • There’s a lot at Dress Barn (ugh, terrible name), too. Not majorly expensive, of course, so you could maybe buy and try and get her over the hump of not wanting to order. It could convince her of some options in real time?

    • A few suggestions from Nordstrom:

      • these are lovely!

      • Great finds! I especially like the blue floral Rachel Roy wrap dress.

        • Try a few other Rachel Roy dresses too – she uses a lot of black backgrounds, even for florals, but here are a few that are more Easter-adjacent:






    • Also an 18W in dresses, and I recently discovered Simply Be. Its a British company, but if you spend $60 shipping is free, and returns are free. I got my items in about a week. There are many beautiful dresses there! They also had great bras, but make sure to measure yourself and check their size chart as the sizing is different than in the US.

    • Are sleeves required? This seems pretty: https://m.macys.com/shop/product/lauren-ralph-lauren-floral-print-fit-flare-dress-regular-petite-sizes?ID=5519857&CategoryID=5449&Size_type=18,%20XXL

    • Tea length dresses are really hard to find! Who knew?

      I found this at Macy’s:

      And this color is beautiful, but it’s knee length and lace:

      Maybe this one?

    • My mom is about the same size and we recently shopped for MOB dresses. Is she an 18 or an 18W? Apparently they are very different sizes. If she is 18W, regular 18 will not work. Best selection we saw was at Nordstrom, L&T, and David’s.

      This one is very springy: https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/vince-camuto-mixed-stitch-pointelle-fit-flare-dress-plus-size/4861332

      So is this: https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/adrianna-papell-fit-flare-dress-plus-size/4609894

      Love this: https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/gabby-skye-print-fit-flare-dress-plus-size/4523632

      Love this but it was too s3xy for my mom: https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/eliza-j-handkerchief-hem-fit-flare-dress-plus-size/4807259

      Kiyonna has a great selection especially if she’s into lace. Stuff like this, there are less formal options on their website but I had these on a pinterest board: https://www.kiyonna.com/plus-size-clothing/Cocktail/12150901 or non-lace: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01AOI555C/

      Eliza J and Adrianna Pappell had nice options but they were too short for my mom. Also might be a little formal, just posting them because I already picked them out :) : https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KPUI7XQ/ , https://www.amazon.com/Eliza-Womens-Bodice-Twofer-Dress/dp/B01LY5Y06P/ , https://www.amazon.com/Eliza-Womens-Plus-Size-Sleeve-Flare/dp/B018YFQ2YU/ , https://www.amazon.com/Adrianna-Papell-Womens-Ruffle-Sleeve/dp/B074PVFK6Y/ , https://www.amazon.com/Adrianna-Papell-Womens-Plus-Size-Cocktail/dp/B016ALP1LA/

    • Tadashi Shoji has lovely dresses, and plenty of plus size dresses. There are a few tea length dresses, and they are generally flattering. Plus, according to my mom, their biggest feature is the lack of foundation garments needed.

    • Occasionally Land End’s fit and flare dresses come in amazing florals – my mom wore one to my wedding with a cardigan in case she got chilly – she looked great, was comfy, and didnt involve any chiffon.

  8. Anonymous :

    I have a date tonight for the first time in like…a year. It’s like I’ve forgotten how to interact with adult males in a social setting. Please help me be interesting and charming.

    • Anonymous :

      You’ll do great! I think I tend to come off a bit ice princessy so I make a point to smile big and make eye contact immediately and keep it up. Ask questions and really listen to the answers.

    • Have a few non-controversial, pop culture things in your back pocket…Black Panther? Extreme weather? New restaurants in your area?

    • You ARE interesting and charming! Talk about your amazing job, why you love it, what you want to work towards professionally if you don’t love it, things you like to do outdoors, how you like to spend your free time, groups you may be a part of, movies and shows you like, books you’ve read recently, how much you like activity X. Be positive! Think about how you would interact if you were beginning any friendship and if there’s a spark then there’s a spark. Don’t put pressure on yourself to be anything but you. Ask him about his job, his interests, etc.

    • I recently went on my first date in 15 years (I was married for 12 years) and had the same anxiety. But then I got there, and it was great! I had a few questions that I’d thought of before we got there, and I threw those out if our conversation was ebbing a bit. They were mostly things from our conversations before the date — Why did he move to my city? What did he like about it? What was some stuff he’d been meaning to do here but hadn’t? What tv shows does he like? Stuff like that.

      It also helped a lot for me to tell myself (1) I’m trying to figure out if he’s cool even more than showing him that I’m cool, and (2) if I get there and it’s awful, I can leave after just one drink. I even thought of a reason to leave if I wanted to do that.

  9. Someone here posted about really liking LK Bennett shoes for their feet but not the price. 6 pm has a bunch of cute styles for about 60 percent off, FYI.

  10. this dress for less :

    there’s a dress somewhat like this one (but also reversible) on Betabrand right now. Jersey I think, but a similar look in blue and black.

    • Have you tried those reversible Betabrand dresses? I’ve been curious about them but haven’t actually ordered one yet. I’m curious how they fit and what the quality seems like.

      • Anon Lawyer :

        I have one. I like it and always get compliments on it. Fit is pretty solid, and quality doesn’t seem to be a problem so far. I bought it for travel and it’s ideal for that.

        • Do you wear it both ways? I’d be worried that the inevitable antiperspirant rub-off inside my dress would just be shown on the outside!

          • Anon Lawyer :

            Yeah, washing seems to take care of that okay.

          • Good to know. I have some ponte dresses–a denser fabric weave for sure–that are just white-ish, always, despite washing/cleaning. I’d imagine these travel fabrics would be better!

            I tried to post this three times, and all three times, I hit that obnoxious ad, even though I was visually miles away from it. (adblock not allowed on my work computer…ironically)

      • I assume they’re not good because they look like reversible dresses in the product pictures – only one side looks good. It seems like you can see the other fabric around the edges when they’re worn the other way.

  11. I have a dark purple Nisa dress from MM LaFleur that I bought off Poshmark, and it just seems to attract a ton more lint than the other Nisa that I bought new from MM. Is this just because it’s got more wear, or is there some other reason that it’s turned into a lint magnet? How do I make it stop? A lint roller only helps for a couple of hours.

    • Maybe the used one was machine-washed and the fabric got rougher? I have my MMLFs dry cleaned because the fabric doesn’t seem sturdy enough to withstand washing. I have never had any lint issues, including with my purple Annie that is the same fabric as the Nisa. Try having it dry cleaned, rubbing it with a dryer sheet, or spraying it with static guard?

  12. Shopping bans :

    A lot of us had New Years resolutions related to reducing shopping (including some outright yearly bans). How is everyone doing? I’m surprised at how quickly February has gone – for me, not browsing = not shopping (I’m an abstainer, not a moderator).

    • I did really well in January and did not shop at all. I slipped up at the beginning of February, as I was going on a trip and very specifically needed a new coat for it (as in, when I took out my old coat to go, it was damaged). That one purchase threw me off and I made a couple more. I’m back on the wagon now, but it’s funny how easy it is to justify “one more purchase” after you’ve slipped up once. Clearly I am more of an abstainer than I thought…

    • I did a lot of pseudo shopping where i put everything in my cart then x. It worked like a charm so far but I did cave in twice: one at Uniqlo and one at Purdey’s sale so both did not break the bank. If I can keep my monthly spending at this level I will be very pleased.

    • So far so good. I just delete all of the clothing emails without looking at them. If I see something I think I want, I add it to my online cart to save for later. I haven’t seen anything I can’t leave behind.

    • Anonymous :

      So far I haven’t bought any clothes, which was the goal. There are a couple things I might cave on, because I’ve realized that I really do want/need them (a new pair of casual flats, work pants that actually fit). Would love to hold out, but I think the ban will still have fulfilled its purpose if I stick to a couple things that would really fill a wardrobe gap.

    • I did awesome in January. But then I had probably the most stressful few weeks of my life and at the end of that turned to retail therapy, which I guess at least is better than booze? Hoping to get back on the no shopping train now!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I was going to Not Buy Any Things in February, but there was a good sale at Macy’s *and* I had time to go in, in person, and try suits, so… I bought a BUNCH of stuff. But because I think I got what I actually truly need, I’m feeling pretty zen about never buying anything again.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I’m doing ok. I went to Goodwill at the beginning of the month and got two cardigans, a sweater, and a blazer, but I love every one of them and have worn them all at least once if not twice since.

      I’m also cleaning out my closet- rather than putting something back because it’s “always too tight” or “too short” or “ugh I just…ugh” I’m tossing it in the donate pile. I have a pretty good pile right now. If I get any $ from selling this stuff on Poshmark I’ll let myself pick up a few things.

    • Yeah! So I’m trying a year-long mostly ban (I bought new running shoes, which I planned on and had to, and new bras, which I also had to). It has been easier than I expected to say no to things that intrigue me – I am realizing I don’t LOVE the piece or feel like I have to have it. There have been a few where I was tempted to break it because I found something I really really loved, but I put those links or descriptions into a google doc and figured I could always revisit it later. Not browsing has really helped. And I am definitely an abstainer, not a moderator, so it’s easier for me to say no.

      I did buy some clothes for my toddler recently, and it was funny how that so easily turned to, “Well, I’ll just toss a little something in the car for myself” – nope! Nope nope. That experience helped me realize it’s really about habit for me and I can just shop without thinking. Hopefully this year will help me be more intentional and thoughtful about my clothes purchasing.

      On a related note, I’ve started a savings account because after the end of this year I will either be pregnant or have decided we aren’t going to have another, and if it’s the latter, I’m going to buy new clothes, and if it’s the former, I’m treating myself to some Isabella Oliver this time around.

    • Pretty Primadonna :

      I am doing a no-spend February which involves no spending on clothes or beauty products for yourself or children. I bought DD an outfit, both of us head wraps, and hair products. So, somewhat successful, but not completely. I’m continuing the no spending on clothes for me for an additional two months.

  13. Good morning to all!
    Any suggestions of apps, that can be used on Kindle or Samsung Tablet, for music that can be played offline? I have a special needs, non-verbal son, and his care center does not have internet access. He likes listening to music and I am trying to find apps that would allow us to play music offline. I have not had much success with paid apps so far.

    • Is there a Spotify app available for Kindle/Samsung? If yes, I love Spotify premium and you can download any songs/playlists/albums to play offline.

    • Have you tried Spotify? It’s a paid subscription, but works well across various devices in my experience.

    • I love my Google Play music app. You can purchase songs or opt for the monthly streaming service which allows offline use. It should play nicely with a samsung device.
      Also, Amazon music may be another option if you have Prime.

      • AnonInfinity :

        I love Google Play and use this feature all the time!

      • Tech Comm Geek :

        The Google Play option also has a $15/month family plan which gives all the privileges for multiple accounts and multiple devices. It also comes with YouTube Red, so all of YouTube is commercial free.

    • What about getting a cheap ipod?

      • Thanks. He does not like to use ear buds though – so trying to find alternatives.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          What about over the ear headphones? Or, an iPod Touch? It’s got external speakers and could have a kid’s case put on it for protection.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      Doesn’t Pandora have a new feature where you can download the music/channel? You could set it up at home and then send it in to the center.

    • If I had a Samsung tablet and wanted to play music offline, I would move the songs from my computer into the storage of the tablet (or download them from the cloud; wherever you have them saved) and play them directly from the tablet using the default music app. This works well if you already have the songs you want to play. I have a friend who does this with videos for the kids so they can be played even if there is no internet. You could also buy songs from Google Play Music, which can be downloaded to the tablet to play offline.

      If you want to have offline access to songs that you have not purchased, Pandora Premium and Spotify Premium are decent options but are subscription-style and can be limited in selection of songs.

      If you want to use an iPod but do not want to use earphones, you could get a small speaker that you can connect to the iPod via an aux cable.

  14. I adore all of Duchess Kate’s Jenny Packham gowns, but the brand is way out of my budget. I would love to find “the look for less” in a c-tail length for regular usage in my real life (theatre, symphony, etc.). Any suggestions for brands with a similar aesthetic in the $200 – $400 range for short dresses? The Nordstrom site is overwhelming.

    • Curious…any links of these gowns? I do love her style and occasionally read What Kate Wore.

      • Here is an example, except I’d want it sleeveless or short-sleeved and knee length. https://whatkatewore.com/2017/11/24/kate-shines-shimmering-jenny-packham-gown-royal-variety-performance/

        But really everything on What Kate Wore.

    • Adriana Pappel, sometimes.

      Her diffusion line for Debenhams is good


    • KateMiddletown :

      Agreed – I am obsessed with the forest green maternity look she was rocking this past week.

  15. Talk to me about long term care insurance. Is it worth it? At what point in life is it worth signing up? DH and I are in our 30s pregnant with our first. We have a good life insurance policy, and both get disability through work. We wanted to get supplemental LTD insurance for DH, but are having trouble since he sees a therapist for anxiety. My understanding is that long term care insurance is really meant to help older people pay for care as they age, and I realize that this will only cover actual care whereas supplemental LTD is essentially like receiving cash, but if we are unable to get supplemental LTD insurance, could this be a good safeguard?

    • We have had LTC insurance since our early 30s and I believe it’s a total waste of money. We only keep it because it’s pretty cheap since we initially bought it young, and because it makes my anxious husband feel better. There are limits on the daily and total benefits, and as you note it’s only for actual care. I think we would be better off just saving the money we are throwing away on premiums. We also had to go through underwriting to get it, even though it’s an employee benefit, so you might have the same difficulty with LTC that you had with LTD.

      In my personal, non-professional opinion, a nice fat emergency fund, a budget that doesn’t consume your entire combined income so you can easily adjust to live on one income + LTD, and strong retirement savings are the best supplement to regular LTD.

    • I just talked to my grandparents about this over the weekend and we all concluded it wasn’t worth it because the rates go up so much (over 1,000/month for them in 70s-80s – and they’re healthy) and there are so many restrictions and exclusions. You might be better off saving up your own money.

    • After my grandmother was hospitalized for several weeks in her early 80s, and then had several months of recovery in a rehab center, my mom and her siblings, all in their late 40s/early 50s, bought LTC insurance. My uncle was diagnosed with ALS a few years later at age 55. Thanks to the LTC insurance, they were able to afford to keep him at home (rather than a nursing home), even though it required round-the-clock care by RNs (not LPNs or CNAs, who are much cheaper), for five years. I don’t know if it makes sense to get it in your 30s because I don’t know how much it costs, but I know that it made an enormous impact on my uncle’s quality of life to have it. The insurance didn’t cover everything, of course, and my aunt is still fighting for some reimbursements now, four months after his passing, but staying at home wouldn’t even have been an option without it.

      • This is the scenario to buy it for – the catastrophic disease (ALS, advanced MS, parkinson’s, Early Onset alzheimers, dementia) where a relatively young person will need care for a period of years and saving for it will decimate the spouse’s financial situation forever. If you have a family history of these diseases, I’d get it while you’re young.

        • Housecounsel :

          My parents bought LTC insurance when they were young and healthy. When my father became ill with cancer in his 50s, the LTC insurance allowed for him to receive round-the-clock nursing care at home. Worth every penny. My husband and I bought it soon after. It’s a gift to your family.

    • Unless you expect to actually need long-term care at a facility in your old age and will not have the funds accessible to pay for it yourself, it’s generally not worth it. As others have noted, it’s very expensive and the benefits are somewhat limited.

    • My grandfather bought a LTC policy in his 60s through a company called Bankers Life. His policy, unfortunately, had so many exclusions that it provided very little coverage and filing against it was a GIANT pain. They only paid for a few hours of nursing care a day when he really needed full-time care at the end, and because he was fortunate to decline quickly in his own home, he actually never met the 90 day threshold for round-the-clock care to get it to really pay out. It’s been a couple years since he passed away, so I forget what his (expensive) monthly premiums were, but like PP, he would have been better off just saving his money.

      If you do go for a policy, think of what you really want it to cover and what your loved ones will expect it to cover (and how that might differ from reality and cause headaches).

    • I agree with the other posters that it doesn’t really make good financial sense for most of us.

      Often there are many exclusions for coverage, difficulties trying to get it to pay, and the premiums can often increase exorbitantly without your control. And it usually doesn’t cover what we really want/need in the case of catastrophe – 24 hour care.

      Insurance companies are dropping these policies, and there is a risk your company may not even be around when you need it.

      So I decided not to purchase it, and save my $$ like crazy. I am single/no kids and approaching 50, and will likely need end of life care/assistance.

      You’ve posted about this before. Is there a reason you/your husband is so concerned re: his anxiety? It is very, very common to have this diagnosis (especially among posters/family members of posters on this site in this high achieving demographic), and treatment options are quite good when you pursue treatment. It is extremely rare to become permanently disabled due to anxiety. Are there other diagnoses you are anticipating?

      • OP here. Not worried about disability being caused due to his anxiety. More like if he gets cancer or develops a terrible disease or is in a car accident and has to stop working. He is the primary breadwinner (earns 5x what I make and gets a hefty bonus each year) and while we would get the money from the LTD through his employer, that is only 60% of his salary. Obviously our life would change a lot of something like that were to happen and it would be nice not to have to worry as much about money, which is why we would ideally protect ourselves through supplemental LTD. If we can’t we will bulk up our savings as much as possible, but that is not the same as receiving a monthly check.

        • 60% of an enormous salary is still a lot of money.

          • But sometimes, a LTD will cap the amount. So you can have up to 60% of your salary, but that 60% amount is never more than $60k or $80k (or whatever). So someone making $150k and $600k get the same amount a year. You’d need to read your policy.

    • This came up during a recent discussion with my financial advisor. He told me that at 38, I’m too young to really start considering it yet, so he didn’t go into a lot of detail. However, he did tell me that there are 2 models available – one sounds not very appealing (expensive premiums, if you don’t end up needing it, all that money goes down the drain) and the other sounds a little bit better (you can cancel and get your money back, and if you die, the money can pass to an heir). I figure with the rapidly aging population, there are bound to be significant changes in both the provision and funding of long-term care, so I’m putting the whole issue on the back burner for at least a few more years.

    • I think there’s no getting around reading the policy to find out if the insurance would be more helpful than saving/investing the premiums. In the one policy I’ve seen, it’s possible to need round the clock care, but not be disabled enough to qualify for the benefit. That said, it could be of really great help if you do end up being disabled enough, particularly in the near future, where you couldn’t have saved enough to replicate the policy.

  16. Good morning, anyone had a cortisone shot for a large cyst? A quarter sized acne cyst appeared on my chin late last week, and its itchy, hot, and painful today. Does insurance cover this? I’m considering a call to my derm, but I’m also paranoid it will leave an indentation.

    • I got a cortisone shot in my hip that left a large dent. I think they are rare but I don’t think I would risk getting a shot on my face, all the same.

    • Honestly,I would go buy a topical steroid cream and use it sparingly myself on the cyst for a couple of days. This is to be used for emergency acne like this only, as steroids sure very bad for the skin long term.

      But it takes months to get in to see my derm.

      Yes you can call your your derm, but you may not be able to get in, unless it’s your wedding day or something!

      • Def not wedding, but I do have an important presentation tomorrow. I’ll hop over to the pharmacy at lunch to get a cream. Thanks for the suggestion!

        • In situations like this I use the Mario Badescu drying lotion overnight. It won’t eliminate the blemish, but it will shrink it. There is a sticky dot product, I think by Dr. Jart, that is popular for the same purpose. Green concealer under regular concealer helps a lot too.

    • Austin Anon :

      I’ve had a cortisone shot for acne cysts several times over many years and the shots work great. The cyst clears up by the next day. Insurance didn’t cover it.

    • I have had the injections and have never gotten a dent.

    • I had this injection and had a small dent (that has now disappeared). It was only noticeable to me anyways, so I much preferred that over the discomfort of the large cyst! My derm was able to squeeze me in that same morning.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      When I was at the derm for something else I got a free sample of epi-duo which is a rx strength acne cream that I use whenever I get a real nasty zit. Your derm might be able to give you that.

    • I’ve had several shots in cysts on my cheeks. Some left dents, some didn’t. Just my observation but I think they were more likely to leave a dent the longer I’d had the cyst (some persisted for months and I was too passive to call to get in for a shot in between my quarterly checkups). Insurance doesn’t cover it and it comes out to around $70 at my derm. They squeeze me in same day.

    • I occasionally will get a large cystic zit. The lady who I used to go to for facials instructed me to use a lancet for testing blood sugar (they are cheap at the pharmacy) and poke the zit right in the middle. Then make a paste with an aspirin and cover the zit and it will suck out all the stuff. I have found that if I poke a zit, then cover it overnight with a NexCare acne cover, 90% of the time, the zit is gone the next day. I repeat every night until it is gone. Works great.
      Best of luck!

      • Anonymous :

        I do this too, although every derm will tell you to never, never, ever do this. But it works. I got a cyst on my chin that blew up to the diameter of a dime, and used a lancet to drain it. I piled on some antibiotic ointment and some benzoyl peroxide and left it on overnight. It was basically gone the next day. What bothers me about cysts isn’t the appearance so much as the pain – I was in pain every time I moved my jaw, with that one.

        The thing I can say about the lancet technique is – if you poke, and do a gentle squeeze and nothing happens, don’t squeeze hard or dig for it, that is a recipe for scarring and infection.

    • I have to get this done a few times a year. One or two have left a pinpoint size indent. That said, the ones I didn’t get injected left far larger scars. Plus it usually eliminates weeks of suffering. It’s worth it to me, ymmv. Insurance did not cover.

  17. Bay area rents :

    My husband and I are planning to move to Walnut Creek from Oakland this summer, but I have heard rumors that prices are going up for apartments (rentals) in the suburbs and that they might actually decrease in SF and Berkeley/Oakland. Have any other Bay Area people heard this? Our goal in moving to Walnut Creek is to find a more affordable place, so we definitely want to keep abreast of any trends. I’m having trouble finding evidence of prices online beyond Craigslist, but at least so far, WC looks way cheaper for nicer apartments.

    • Lol no rents in SF aren’t going down as long as y’all want your quaint falling down wooden city

    • Prices are not going down in SF, Berkeley or Oakland. The *growth* in price may be slowing down slightly but the prices themselves are definitely not going down.

      • And they never will.

        The area will always be extremely desirable, and there are a lot of wealthy people who can afford to live there and international investors buying up property. It will never go down to anywhere close to affordable for the majority of us.

        • Bay area rents :

          Oh, I know they’re never going to be affordable – I meant that I heard they’ll go down from their astronomical rates to a slightly less insane level. I’m operating under the assumption that no matter where I go in the Bay Area, I will not find a mediocre one-bedroom for under 2K.

          • Yeah, I don’t think so. It’s not like they can build more housing in tiny SF or Berkeley (Oakland still has some room to grow) so supply is never going to go up, and I don’t see demand going down absent a complete crash of the Silicon Valley economy.

          • They could. They just refuse to.

    • Haha rents in the bay area going down? what a funny joke!

  18. Belt problems :

    Bought this skirt and I like the fit but I cannot for the life of me tie the belt. I’ve tried to make it look like the pictures and it just does NOT work. Does anyone have tips for belts like this, or ideas for different belts I could use? I think it would look awkward to wear without a belt given the belt loops. Considering cutting the belt and stitching it to the skirt so it looks like a belt from the front but I wanted to see if there are easier solutions first. TIA!

    • Belt problems :


    • Maybe one of these knots will be similar?


    • Elegant Giraffe :

      Can you tie it and it falls out later? Or you can’t tie it at all? If it’s the first, I would think a tailor could sew in a snap to hold it.

      Pretty skirt, btw.

      • Belt problems :

        I can tie it but it looks like a huge bow on my abdomen. It doesn’t look flat and chic like the pictures. The only way I can get a flat knot is if it’s loose, and that doesn’t look good either.

    • I always think ties look better tied to the side. Can you tie it so that the ends hang down one leg? Also, no bows. Tie a simple square knot.

    • What about doing a simple Windsor knot (like a man’s tie)? it wouldn’t have the side loop like the picture, but may lay flatter.

    • KateMiddletown :

      I had a similar one from Classiques and I had the tailor shorten the belt. Might work?

  19. I am trying to remember a blog I used to see linked on here – it was blogger from Minnesota, she did shots of her various outfits, she was Caucasian with medium-brown curly-ish hair, not extremely thin, I think, and I don’t think she’s blogging anymore.

    I know it’s not YouLookFab or the Vivienne FIles, but I can’t remember what it was — can anyone help me? I’d like to look at some of the outfits she put together for inspiration.

    Thank you!

    • Legally Brunette :

      Already Pretty?

    • Already Pretty?

      I think I learned about that here; not my personal style at all, but an outfits-based blog from MN.

    • Already Pretty, but I do not recommend her “fashion” sense.

      • I remember the Already Pretty snarkfests of yesteryear, and was wondering how long it would take someone to say something snide. Anonymous at 10:44 coming in strong at 18 minutes after RKT’s post!

      • Triangle Pose :

        Oof. Yeah it’s not my personal taste at all. Also not really work appropriate for this crowd.

        • Well, I appreciate the information. Thank you for the constructive responses.

        • Anonymous :

          Not appropriate for a formal work dress code. There’s more than that here, FYI. It would be fine for a business casual/less restrictive environment.

    • ladies 1 2 3 :

      I didn’t like her style, but I did love her ideas around “shopping your closet”, picking things that will accentuate your beauty and that I am ALREADY PRETTY. Snark aside, her posts were thoughtful. I miss her voice.

    • Lorelai Gilmore :

      Was her name Jenny something? I don’t remember her blog title but I loved her blog while she still had it.

  20. Frozen Tortillas :

    I put some corn tortillas into the freezer the day before they expired because I hadn’t gotten to them. This was about early Jan. Are they still okay to use?

  21. I have recently moved away from having a pretty small capsule wardrobe for work.

    I had a 75% travel role for four years and had basically two and a half complete capsules that all coordinated – Black, charcoal and some pieces in navy that could coordinate with the gray. I became a big fan of knits due to ease of packing so my items were largely ponte skirts, knit tops and blazers or structured cardigans.

    Then my role changed to a few days of travel per month and I just got bored with my nice but sedate wardrobe. Also, my sister made fun of me for never wearing color – funny how that motivated me to venture into a little more color.

    So first I got a couple of dresses in colors – one saturated blue dress recommended here, then a mmlafleur dress in a vivid plum color.

    Since then I have been on the lookout for items in Blue, plum and teal/green families and have done pretty well. I kind of stuck to my capsule rules and wouldn’t buy items unless I knew I had something to go with them.

    I’m a lot happier wearing more color now. What i liked about the capsule wardrobe approach was that I never felt like I had nothing to wear (which, pre-capsule, I often felt with my odds and ends plucked from clearance racks), but by being careful about which colors I added, I really only have one or two pieces that are more difficult to pair now.

    Have you moved away from the capsule wardrobe? I feel like maybe I am just following a general trend. I don’t see bloggers touting a 333 or minimal wardrobe as much lately.

    • I have a tiny, tiny wardrobe now that I’m back at work post-maternity leave, 6 or 7 outfits? I really like having a tiny wardrobe but miss the color. I find having too much grey and black makes it more difficult to match (3 shades of grey). My ideal work wardrobe would be 7-8 dresses with color or patterns and a few skirt outfits.

      • I don’t know if you’re open to it but I’ve found really great deals on lands end and Talbots ponte dresses in solid colors on eBay. They’re new with tags. I believe some ebayers make a little money off picking these up from the outlets at rock bottom prices and then selling them on eBay, still a lot cheaper than new in the store.

    • I have a pretty small/capsule-ish wardrobe with navy and gray bases (blazers, cardigans, pants) but all of the shells are colorful as long as they go with navy and/or gray so I feel like I get plenty of color.

    • Legally Brunette :

      I’ve never done a capsule wardrobe but I wear a ton of color and feel so much better when I do. If I’m leading a meeting or presenting I will always wear jewel tones. Wearing just black or gray all of the time would bum me out, personally.

      • +1. I really love wearing seasonal colors. I have several neutral base colors that I build from, but I also couldn’t go the all-black route, even though I like it on others!

  22. Low-stakes question for Tuesday morning: I just joined a gym for like, the first time in my life, and I get a complimentary personal training session as a new member. What should I be expecting? I asked the trainer and he kind of blew me off with a non-answer. (If it affects anyone’s answer, I’m in decent shape, just have never been a gym person.)

    • I got a complimentary personal training session when I joined American Family Fitness a million years ago. It was mostly baseline testing–body composition, a timed treadmill run, etc.–designed to get you to sign up for more personal training sessions to see progress. I was disappointed because I wanted the trainer to provide some feedback on what I was already doing, show me some new exercises, and show me how to use any equipment I hadn’t seen before.

      • I’m concerned that this is what’s going to happen. I told them explicitly that I wasn’t going to sign up for more personal training sessions, and they were kind of like “[shrug] come check us out anyway!”

        If they want me to do body composition testing or if someone says the phrase “weight loss” at me, I might legit flounce out though.

        • I’ve done this a few times, and they usually do offer the body composition things – I say “No thanks” and that’s the end of it. Most of them ask what my goals are at the beginning, and if they don’t hear “weight loss” then they leave that subject alone. This is at a gym with at least a decent level of training and standardization for their trainers though, so that might not be your experience everywhere. Just remember that you’re the client, so you have control of the situation. Get what you want out of it, politely turn down unwanted services, and redirect the conversation from what you don’t want to hear.

    • When I joined, I specifically requested a female trainer. YMMV, but I felt way more comfortable with her and we actually ended up becoming gym friends. She has been my source for questions since then. She gave me a tour of the gym and did a demo of most of the machines. She had me hop on and try if I was unsure. It was very casual.

      • That’s good to hear, thanks! It didn’t even occur to me to ask for a female trainer. Probably should have, curses. I’m meeting with a dude and I’m hoping that he isn’t a super gym bro. (See: not a gym person.)

        • It’s not too late to switch! I was scheduled with a male trainer and asked for a woman after that. They didn’t have a problem changing it.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I used my free trainer session to have them show me how to use all the machines I was unfamiliar with, so if you’re not that familiar with anything, you could ask for that.

      • It’s been a pretty long time since I lifted regularly, so I guess it couldn’t hurt to get a refresher.

    • Expect a sales pitch. The complimentary sessions are really a gimmick to get you to sign up longer term.

      • Yeah…braced for this. There is a 0% chance that I’ll be buying more sessions. Hopefully I do at least get a good workout in today.

    • Horse Crazy :

      I got two complimentary sessions when I joined my gym. The first one consisted of her asking me about my fitness goals, and then she had me do some fitness tests (height, weight, a one minute wall sit, step-ups, etc.), and then the second one was what a “normal” training session would be – she had a workout prepared, and she helped me through it. I ended up signing up for 3 more sessions because they had a deal at the time, and I really feel like I got a lot out of them. I’m terrible at coming up with my own workout plans, so it was super helpful to have someone making them for me. I definitely second the people above saying you should have them show you how to use the machines – that was very helpful for me as someone who had never regularly used a gym.

      • Is it a Gold’s, by any chance? That’s where I joined and I also actually have the two sessions with my membership. I really, really hope session #1 today isn’t like you described but I bet it will be.

  23. Dealing with Asperger's :

    My husband is seeing a psychiatrist for ADD and depression, and the doctor thinks he may in fact have some form of Asperger’s or other high-functioning autism spectrum situation, as well as some form of narcolepsy or other sleep impairment (he is constantly exhausted, even after a full night’s sleep). I’m grateful that he finally has a doctor who is taking this seriously but am feeling pretty overwhelmed – anyone have experience with this?

    • My brother has Asperger’s and wasn’t diagnosed till his mid-20s. He also has depression, which was diagnosed long before that. I think getting the Asperger’s diagnosis was helpful for him and actually improved with some of the depression symptoms – it’s like he finally unlocked the reason why he had such a tough time with social situations. To the extent that the Asperger’s has caused communication issues between you and your husband, I have found that it’s helpful when I communicate with my brother to think of him as being from a different culture or speaking a different dialect. I get frustrated sometimes when he doesn’t understand social cues, but then I try to imagine myself in a foreign country where I speak the language but don’t get the nuances of culture, and I understand a little better what he is going through.

    • My friend was similarly always tired and while she wasn’t diagnosed with narcolepsy, she was diagnosed with some type of unknown sleep disorder by undergoing a sleep study. On medication she feels completely fine. I forget her exact diagnoses but it is something generic like unclassified sleep disorder, which was kind of annoying with insurance coverage of medications. She was on a medication that worked well and had to switch when she changed jobs and insurance, since it was off-label usage. Totally treatable, though.

    • Hugs. No personal experience with this diagnosis specifically, but DH suffers from anxiety that can be pretty severe from time to time and it is hard. Sometimes it affects our weekend plans or a vacation. I know it is not his fault, but in the moment I do forget that sometimes and become frustrated/annoyed that his anxiety is affecting our lives. Especially because while mental health issues are becoming more talked about in our society, there is still a stigma associated and DH (nor I) really want to share this with all of our family and friends, nor does DH want word to get back to his employer. (yes i realize if we shared this more freely we might be able to help reduce the stigma, but we are not ready for that) Whereas if g-d forbid, DH had cancer or a more visible illness everyone would know and would probably be offering to help, bring meals, etc.. It can be very isolating so make sure you are taking care of yourself. If you think it would be helpful, seek therapy for yourself to help you deal with the diagnosis and make time for self care.

    • Pen and Pencil :

      He’s your husband. Just because he’s now possibly diagnosed with Asperger’s doesn’t mean anything has changed. As far as the sleep thing goes, most forms of narcolepsy that take this long (assuming you arent 18-25, he’s probably been functioning with it for years) to be diagnosed are fairly easy to get a handle on with good sleep hygiene and medication. Don’t sweat this, it’s realistically a small thing.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Check out the book “The Journal of Best Practices” by David Finch. He’s the husband with Asperger’s and it’s a great, inspiring read.

  24. Can anyone recommend a book to send to my stepdad as he recovers from back surgery? He’s 80 and an avid reader. Fiction or non-fiction. He likes history and likes to read biographies of U.S. presidents.

    • The Boys in the Boat
      Chernow, Alexander Hamilton

      • Of Counsel :

        The other Chernow books are also very good if he has already read Alexander Hamilton. The one on Grant is new so he probably does not have it yet.

    • Has he read most of the big Teddy Roosevelt biographies? Because the Edmund Morris ones are fantastic. I also really enjoyed David McCullogh’s Mornings on Horseback, which covers a lesser-known side of TR.

      • Interesting. I know he has read David McCullogh on Truman but I don’t know about Mornings on Horseback. I will send him that one for sure.

      • Horse Crazy :

        I was going to suggest the David McCullough books – my dad has the same taste and he loves these.

    • Anon Book Worm :

      Alexander Hamilton – Chernow
      Dead Wake – about the Lusitania, but reads like fiction. I really enjoyed it.

    • This is less intense than the biographies that have been recommended, but I loved Whistlestop by John Dickerson. It’s campaign history, and there’s a podcast too.

    • Home, by Bill Bryson. Funny, well researched, and a gorgeous book if you get the hardcover (lots of pictures).

  25. I feel blah. What do you do when you need a pick me up? Usually alochol and coffee (not together) puts me in a good mood, but obviously not good to rely heavily on those. Ideas?

    • A walk outside in the fresh air. Even if I don’t want to go out, I always feel so much better afterwards.

    • cake batter :

      One idea that works for me: grab a fancy coffee from your favorite coffee shop, go putter around Target for a while, and buy something pretty and wholly unnecessary, like a fun scented candle or pretty pie plate or sparkly shoes.

      • cake batter :

        Oh one more in my rotation for blah days – a pedicure, massage, face mask, or something indulgent to make me physically feel better. Maybe on that Target run, grab a really nice scented body scrub and lotion and go to town. And some chocolate. That helps, too.

    • Being active gives me by far the best pick me up. So, if I’m on my own, I work out in a HIIT class, or run with great music on my ipod, or go to a hot yoga class. When I’m with my kids, and feeling frustrated and stuck, I know that the second I get them and me out of the house and “playing”, all will be well. This can mean foot races, playing at the park, shooting hoops, kicking a soccer ball, going for a bike ride, kayaking or, in the winter, going to an open gym and running/playing ball sports, playing in the snow or just having a dance party in our basement.

      Alcohol relaxes me, but doesnt really pick me up.

    • I shop. Maybe not the healthiest response but whatever, I love it. My favourite store is Anthro so I usually browse around there and get something small like a candle or beauty product.

      • I enjoy Anthro browsing – I treat it like it’s a museum full of pretty things I can’t buy, though. Then I exit through the gift shop and yeah, maybe pick up something small. I do like their bowls and mugs.

    • This weekend I got my hair did, plus a gel mani. Helped a lot.

      • Oh. I should also add that I cleaned and reorganized my closets – both my clothes closet and the family coat closet. Being organized always makes me feel better.

        My clothing closet is organized from left to right like this: everyday jackets, cardigans and tops on the left side of the middle divider. Dresses, Skirts, pants, full suits and special occasion items to the harder-to-reach right, in that order. The left side (top pieces) are organized by color. So black cardigans, black long sleeve, black sleeveless, then the same for gray, same for blue, same for plum etc moving from darker to lighter and ending in cream colors. My closet is small and just has one regular size door so I have to be organized to really see what I have.

        This lifts my mood so much. Getting dressed this morning was a pleasure.

    • My barre class always puts me in a better mood. Failing that, my go-to is taking a hot shower, putting on my big comfy robe and a face mask, making myself some tea, and watching a good tv show. Does the trick every time.

    • I watch “try not to laugh” videos on youtube… along with disney “try not to sing” videos..

  26. Clementine :

    A lovely friend of mine eloped with her long-time partner this weekend. I’m so so happy for them and would like to send a wedding gift?

    What would you suggest? They’re fun, quirky people who like board games, roller derby, bike riding, their cats, and travelling to Major League baseball parks around the country. They own a house together.

    Bottle of champagne and champagne flutes (my general go to)? Funky art print from the city where they met? His and hers bike jerseys?

    Normally, I’d just send the champagne but I’ve known this couple since they met in college a decade ago and we’ve stayed good friends.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I might go with the bike jerseys. I’d personally love to receive funky art, but that’s only if you really know their taste or know that they’ll appreciate whatever you give (which it sounds like you might).

      For people I know well, I always like to give something different from my standard wedding gift because it’s just so much more thoughtful.

    • This might be a bit out there, but are they semi-serious board gamers? The best game I’ve ever played is Pandemic Legacy Season 1 (we just did season 2, also amazing!). I recommend it because you play with the same team of 2-4 players until you finish the game, so it’s awesome to play with your partner. Maybe an out there suggestion but thought I’d make it!

      • Following a board game and fun/nerdy theme: Love Letter (small card game) is great to play (2-4 ppl) and kind of fits into the theme. Lego has a small wedding set, where you can customize the look of figurines.
        Both of these items are around ten dollars. Maybe you’d like the idea of a board/card game that is designed to be played by two people only, such as 7 Wonders Duel, Jaipur, Hanamikoji or Patchwork.

    • Bike jerseys sounds great! Small. Useful. Fun.

    • Uncommon Goods has some neat customizable map gifts and baseball gifts too.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Team Bike Jerseys. When my husband and I got married we did a bike ride on the morning of the wedding, and we got bike jerseys that were imprinted with a bridal gown for me and a tailcoat for him. We wear them on a ride every year on our anniversary!

    • Restoration Hardware (and maybe some others) have really nice fancy versions of classic board games like scrabble – beautiful board, velvet tile bag, etc. I would love to receive one myself!

      Also, Grandin Road has beautiful Checkers, Backgammon, etc. board trays that you can either play or hang on the wall as decor (they’re that cute). Their Presidents’ Day sale is extended thru today, too, so free shipping and 25 percent off, too. https://www.grandinroad.com/game-board-trays/wall-art/indoor-wall-art/994920

      That said, I’m always happy with champagne. Maybe you can switch the flutes to a nice ice bucket? Crate and Barrel has some nice ones.

    • One of the coolest wedding gifts we got were matching bike bags from this shop: http://snootsie.bigcartel.com/

    • When I eloped, we got a lot of champagne. It was lovely, but we’re still working through it 3+ years later. My favorite gifts were: open table gift certificates (good at any restaurant that takes reservations on OT), nice his & hers bathrobes, “of the month” club stuff (we got cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery, random foods from Zingermans & a wine club of the month from K&L wines).

    • anonforthis :

      I would make sure they want physical gifts. We went to the courthouse and invited no one, and once of the many reasons was that we didn’t physical gifts.

  27. Vent about a boy. I thought this guy was really promising. I could go on and on about how great he is. But he’s been a touch flaky – enthusiastic about getting together but a little hard to pin down on plans, and he’s habitually 10-15 mins late. Not a huge deal but a bit of a yellow flag, if that’s a thing.

    Well this weekend he stood me up. He was supposed to pick me up at my house to go to an event around lunchtime. I texted the evening before and the morning of, no response. I moved on with my day assuming that he wasn’t coming. He texted mid-afternoon to apologize; he left his phone at a friend’s and just got it back. Notably didn’t offer to come right away or make it up to me somehow. Plus that’s just… not an excuse. He’s been to my house many times, he could figure out how to get there without his phone if he really wanted to – and I say this as a person who uses Waze to go to work every day. I guess kids these days can’t be without their phone for a few hours? If you don’t like me enough to spend time with me without your phone for a couple hours then why are you spending time with me at all? Harumph, bah humbug, get off my lawn.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Oh, that’s a shame! Dang!

      But you are right — guys who want to be with you will find a way to make it happen. JSFAMO!

    • he’s showing you who he is. believe him. you deserve someone that will put forth the effort to see you. frankly, I question whether he actually left his phone at his friend’s house. people rarely “forget” their phones.

      • I totally agree with your first couple of sentences. He’s a flake, that’s who he is, and I’m not the cool girl who will just go along with whatever the man feels like doing or not doing.

        Idk if he’s lying. If it’s a lie then it’s not a very good one. Did he think my reaction would be, ohhhh of course if you lost your phone you were totally helpless and unable to leave your house without it! Um no. People sailed across oceans without phone. You can manage a short car ride to a place you’ve been many times.

        • Pranayama :

          He probably thought or hoped you would simply accept that and let him off the hook from having to provide any further explanation.

    • Why was this in moderation for 40 minutes?

    • People are rude. I had this happen to me once or twice. I told them if they weren’t interested in someone, the least they can do is communicate that instead of ghosting because they were too embarrassed and afraid to admit it.

    • Sorry, that sucks. Those kinds of things (flaky, late, forgetful) REALLY bother me. I would say he’s just not that into you and it’s time to move on.

    • Anonymous :

      That is so rude and lame. Bullet dodged?

    • Linda from HR :

      ” He texted mid-afternoon to apologize; he left his phone at a friend’s and just got it back.”

      I’d probably start with ” . . . and?” and try to clarify, did he not come pick me up because he was phoneless, or did he intend to cancel, and it was just unfortunate he didn’t have his phone to do so? “Kids these days” would probably use Facebook to message you and cancel if they needed to. Then I’d ask if he wants to reschedule to make it up, and assure him he’s free to back out if he’s having second thoughts but I expect him to be an adult and tell me that’s what he wants to do, because you don’t have time or energy for games.

    • Senior Attorney :

      My response is in moderation for some unfathomable reason. I’m sorry this happened but you are right to see it as a sign that it’s time to just say fooey and move on!

  28. moderation

  29. Anyone have any insight on living in Miami? What’s the professional scene like? We’re considering a move to the Brickell area specifically (no kids)— I won’t be looking for a job because I work remotely, but curious to hear any impressions from a fellow ‘rette. Coming from a city of a similar city, though probably not quite so expensive.

  30. Housecounsel :

    I’d like to send out a belated thank you to this group. A year ago, I asked for advice on how to comfort my high school senior daughter, who was devastated after she was rejected from her dream school. Many of you shared stories about how you had experienced something similar, but ended up doing incredibly well at another university and told me that everything would work out as it was supposed to work out. I told my daughter about all of you and I think these stories from successful women helped her pick herself up. Fast forward one year. The girl is a freshman at a great university, different in many ways from the dream school. She is thriving, loves her classes, professors, friends, and life in general and cannot imagine herself anywhere else. She was meant to be where she is. Thank you, Hive!

    • I remember your post! Much love and many congrats to your daughter!

    • Senior Attorney :

      I remember it, too! Thank you so much for reporting back and hugs to you and your daughter!

    • Legally Brunette :

      This makes me so happy! Thank you for the update. I know how thrilled you must feel that your daughter is thriving.

    • Architect :

      I remember that post too. My senior is anxiously waiting to hear back from schools as well. I know it will all work out. But the waiting is killing all of us!

    • Anonymous :

      I remember that post and am so happy for her!

  31. Housecounsel :

    P.S. I really love this dress but it’s not in the budget . . . I have a kid in college.

  32. Cleaning products :

    Are there any companies out there making alternative cleaning products that people here recommend? I like the concept of Norwex but I’m wary of supporting anything MLM.

    • Norwex cloths are just microfiber cloths…they don’t kill germs or do anything that a normal microfiber cloth from Target can’t.

    • If you want to be super natural you can use water and vinegar for just about anything.

      I like Method and Mrs Meyers as well. They’re more mainstream I guess, but at least you’re not supporting a scam artist.

      • +1 I use water and vinegar for everything. If I am feeling really fancy and I have been on a citrus kick, I let the vinegar soak with citrus peels for a week or so before I dump it into my spray bottle. It’s crazy cheap and it works great.

        • And you use less plastic because you are using refillable spray bottles and the giant vinegar bottle lasts for a while.

      • I’ve heard you’re not supposed to use anything vinegar based for granite though. (Haven’t actually researched this)

        • Anonymous :

          I tend to just use a little of my free and clear dish soap and water to clean my counters.

    • I use Method brand. I don’t understand how Norwex actually kills bacteria.

      • Are Norwex the ones with silver embedded in the cloth? I mean, there are silver compounds that can create an effect on bacteria, but it’s not going to be like bleach.

        Also – it’s still a “chemical” – silver compounds are as much a chemical as bleach.

      • Anonymous :

        It doesn’t kill bacteria– the microfiber just picks the bacteria up off the surface and traps it in the cloth. The cloth can transfer some of the bacteria back onto surfaces, so best not to rely on it (or any microfiber) for more than one use if you’re cleaning up something particularly germy like raw meat. The only way to truly disinfect the cloth is to boil it for roughly 10 min. The stuff about silver in the Norwex being “self-cleaning” is silly pseudo-science at best and a recipe for giving your family salmonella.

        • Anonymous :

          I mean, silver is a known antimicrobial agent (so that’s not the pseudoscience), but I will agree that it probably isn’t in the form being presented here. And would agree that there’s no such thing as a “self-cleaning” cloth.

    • KateMiddletown :

      I subscribed to the grove recently and I’m liking the free trial of the VIP membership so far. Poke around the internet and you can get a really good gift for starting up – mrs. meyers spray, hand soap, dish soap, and sponges for free. They offer pretty much all the “green” brands, plus they have a house brand w/ concentrates that you mix in glass bottles. I *kind of* get excited to clean when it arrives.

  33. Workwear Basics :

    My old standbys for work have always been J.Crew tops (blythe blouse, other blouses, sweaters) and Theory pants. Unfortunately everything J. Crew has these days seems to be way too weird or too girly/frilly for my taste/workplace. I am contemplating just buying three more of the Tippi sweaters even though they have become too thin, but are there any other suggestions for other places to try? In the past I swore off banana (I used to shop there more, but got fed up of how fast things wore out), and Ann Taylor doesn’t call to me. Club Monaco shirts don’t fit right for my body (top heavy), and I am not pristine enough for silk blouses every day. Are there any other retailers that make good workwear basics for ~no more than 50-60 ish a shirt?

    • Housecounsel :

      Maybe the Halogen brand at Nordstrom?

    • Anonymous :

      I like the Portofino blouses from Express. They are in your price range (or even lower, on sale/clearance) and I found they wash well, but I hang to dry. Some of the lighter colors require an undershirt.

    • Work shirts :

      No advice but I’m having trouble with work shirts lately, too. I thought about returning to the classic BB no iron tailored fit blouses but they have terrible reviews recently. ( lots of “Bring back the old version!” comments). Ugh.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Talbots! I’ll say it again, their clearance section is a treasure trove. (In store, never shopped them online.)

      • Anonymous :

        I have a fair number of Talbots tops as well. I find their patterned polyester blouses are wash and wear. Their plain ones not so much. I like to wash my tops after each wear, so I don’t wear silk on a daily basis. Having said all of that, I haven’t seen anything that I like in their new spring collection. Their is such a big gap in the market for someone to fill — nice blouses with no ruffles or big sleeves in good quality wash and wear fabric.

  34. Performance/supervisor issues :

    I know it’s pretty late to post but I’m hoping for some resources for my professional situation. I am mid-level in a regional office of a consulting firm that was restructured a couple years ago to be somewhat flatter hierarchically. I report directly to a person outside my particular expertise, which is relevant because we typically report through project teams and technical areas. My relationship with my supervisor is strained at best, poisonous at worst, and he has fought against every suggestion or request for me to transfer to a better fit of a supervisor. He has also rated me on a judgment, drive and influence (JDI) matrix very low for the years I have reported to him, which belies other ratings and reviews. My frustration stems from the lack of engagement he has with both me and my work, paying lip service to providing coaching and opportunity and then ignoring overtures and regularly scheduled touchpoints. I could write a novel about the problems inherent in this relationship, including actions he’s taken to sabotage my career, though I’ve been doing the best I know to shore it up since it seems that only leaving the firm will escape this. Even basic communication has devolved past the point of sanity, where he will actually lie about things I have communicated to him multiple times, in writing, and as requested, which is damaging the reputation I’ve built with my project teams. I’m really at a loss. I have never been considered a low performer and I’ve been in this industry many years (almost 3 at this firm).

    Regardless of the problems inherent in this person, I won’t discount the possibility that I simply do have lower judgment, drive and influence than I can or should at my level and I want to find ways to both improve the reality and the appearance of those things. Can anyone recommend some resources or behaviors to work on? Communication, managing up, time management, client management….. anything, really.

    • Anonymous :

      Can you find a mentor?

    • So, unfortunately, you have to leave this company ASAP. A situation like this means that you cannot salvage it without transferring who you report to, which you have attempted and failed (through no fault of your own). The problem is that if this continues to devolve, which it will by all accounts, you will eventually be fired and at that point you will have no recourse. He will have a full arsenal of lie-laden emails that will be added to your HR file and treated as truth. At the point you are fired, your direct reports and parallel managers will have trouble standing behind you to give you references. Upper management will want to have absolutely nothing to do with you and will only confirm your employment. It’s like starting a job search in a different industry with no connections.

      Right now, you need to meticulously document all lies in writing and send this to HR or to yourself to timestamp if you cannot trust HR. You also need to document missed meetings, lack of progress on mentorship etc – any promises that have been made, then broken. Make this a larger all-encompassing file and send either to your boss’s boss or HR. You also need to keep a printed copy for your records. Now, all of this is worthless if you are fired unless you file a lawsuit but it can keep you from being fired (yes, your boss will hate you even more but you would have gotten there anyway). Basically, right now you need to document to prolong your employment and look for a new job.

      • This. I got similar advice here in the past, didn’t want to believe it, and was fired 3 months later in a very public and horrible way. I now make less than 1/2 as much as I did at my old job, and went from an employer who put in $1,500/month(ish) into my 401(k) to one where they put in $400/month.

    • I’m really sorry you are going through this. It’s hard to succeed if your boss is not on your side and doesn’t see your strengths.

      I know people jump to the conclusion of “get a new job” all too easily, but it seems like that should be your focus. Get coaching if you can or therapy to keep your spirits up and help you identify good coping skills. But I think you may need an out soon.

      Another route is to talk to other people in your organization and be frank and ask for advice. Talk to people you would consider friends. Sometimes people in your organization can see things clearly, and it also just helps to be understood. I was in a tough situation in a job and told no one what was happening, because I didn’t want to increase the drama. But then I was laid off, and no one knew my side of the story. When things are this bad, sometimes it’s better to speak up and try to find some allies.

  35. Sloan Sabbith :

    After the first challenge, which I liked overall (some days not so much, but I found a lot of new ways to wear stuff), I’m doing it again, but I’ve set aside anything I wore last time (except black pants and tees/tanks/camis). I decided that if I didn’t wear something last time or this time, it’s out. Seasonal items are exempt, as are special occasion items, but otherwise, if I don’t wear it in 40 days, I’m not wearing it. I’m excited! This stuff is stuff I have a harder time wearing but that I really like. I got rid of a lot of stuff the first time- if I always think about it and then decide no for some reason, I put it in the donate pile.

    Did the challenge help you find new clothing combos? Get rid of stuff? What was your favorite day? Mine was everything in different shades of one color.

    • Senior Attorney :

      That was my favorite, too. I also had a hilarious time wearing a necktie on Menswear Day. And of course mixed prints and animal prints are right in my wheelhouse so I loved those days, too.

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