Thursday’s Workwear Report: Split-Neck Pleated Blouse

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

I noted last week that The Limited is back up and running — and this split-neck pleated blouse looks nice. It’s not too voluminous but is still very loose and comfortable. I think the neckline would look really great under a blazer, too. It comes in the pictured red as well as olive green, black, and coral in XS–XL, and it’s on sale for $29 from $69. It’s also available in sizes 0X–3X for $39 (from $79), but in a different set of colors: coral, off-white, black, and red (although the red shade is “merlot” instead of … “goji berry”). Split Neck Pleated Blouse

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]


  1. Dependent care FSA :

    DH and I file our taxes separately, and I will be claiming our daughter on my taxes. I enrolled in a dependent care FSA for next year and will put $2,500 in it. Even though DH can’t claim our daughter as a dependent next year, he can still open a separate FSA and put $2500 in it, right?

    • I am not sure but you could if you file a joint return with him. Your marginal rate should be less if you file jointly. If you were married on DECEMBER 31 you can go for it.

    • I hope the answer to this is yes because this is what my husband and I have been doing since our daughter was born five years ago.

    • Correct. He can claim her as a dependent but he can’t claim her as a deduction if you do.

  2. wills and trusts :

    For estate planning, have you ever run into situations where the wife is the high earner / person who brought assets into the marriage and the guy is more in the traditional wife position of low earner / no assets? I know that rich men typically leave stuff in trust for a more dependent spouse with the remainder to their kids. And those spouses are usually OK with it. [I am thinking that the roles are reversed, the men might not be so OK with it and I do see why you’d leave a smalll sum outright if you didn’t die with a lot of $ / life insurance but if you get a big insurance policy / assets and had kids (esp. non-joint kids) you’d want to make sure that the widower’s next spouse / girlfriend didn’t get the assets instead of one’s kids or one’s relatives or a favored charity.]

    Now that things are changing and people are marrying later / remarrying (perhaps with assets and/or non-joint kids), are there any estate planners who do well when it is the wife who has the $ and assets?

    Or are couples getting separate counsel and making their will/trust for their stuff and not jointly?

    It’s not an area I practice in even though I’m a lawyer.

    • Please don’t feed this one.

      • Right? I love the “I’m a lawyer” on the end. Sure, Jan.

      • This doesn’t seem like a tr0ll at all to me.

      • I’m not sure why you’d think this was a troll. Seemed like a reasonable question on my first read.

        • I think so too. If I die, I’d want my partner to find a companion again. I can’t bring myself to feel jealousy towards this hypothetical next partner, because I am not there anymore. Also, should I ever have kids, I want to provide for them to grow up safe, get an education and be self-reliant humans. They are not entitled to an inheritance. I’ll probably give most to charity anyway.

    • My dad made alot of money in his career’s, so he set up trust’s for all of his kid’s and his grandkid’s. Mom is being taken care of through a life estate in all of the income and the property, and then afterward’s we get it in a GRAT Trust (whatever that stand’s for). Ed set it up through Merillynch for all of us, b/c he has financial ability. All I know is that I have a good job and makeing good money so I do NOT have to rely on the trust and would perfer that it NEVER be given to me, but I know it is inveteible b/c we all have to go sometime. FOOEY!

    • I’ll give it a go. I’m an estate planner and the conversation is the same when you have one spouse with assets, and one without, or a blended family. Conversation/planning doesn’t change just because the woman is the one with the assets. If anything, women tend to be slightly more protective of their kids (huge generalization right there) and more likely to lock everything down instead of giving surviving spouse an outright gift. Note that I only work with taxable clients ($11M+).

    • If you’re a lawyer, you would be aware that the gender of the earner does not really affect estate planning.

      The situation that anyone worries about is this:
      High earning Spouse A is married to low earning Spouse B. They have children together.
      High earning Spouse A dies. Low earning Spouse B remarries Spouse C, who has children from a previous marriage.
      Spouse B dies, bequeaths everything to Spouse C, who then disinherits the children from the first marriage.

      • lawsuited :

        +1 million

        • + million million. This person is either a troll or hopelessly mired in the cultures worst misogynistic views. I make 3x my DH (who makes an above average salary) OP, are you shocked!?! Also please get off this board bc it’s forwoman who value financial independence of either gender.

      • Anonymous :

        Yup, happening right now in my family. Parents delayed estate planning too long. Were in process of doing exactly the trust process described here with a lawyer. Sudden illness in one spouse and death – mom who was higher earner. She died without touching her retirement assets, and with inheritance from her parents. All assets went to husband with no will/trust. Kids fine with that of course. Secret mistress from past appeared, quick remarriage. Now father is ill and declining. Mom would not be pleased to know how things are ending up with her retirement $. Kids are all self-reliant and ok, but know Mom would not be.

        • Anonymous :

          Right. A parent might not care if their kids get a cushy inheritance, but there’s no reason that has to mean that someone else’s kids get it all while their kids get nothing.

  3. Shopping help :

    Shopping help. Where can I find a basic, not-too-short miniskirt in a tweedy gray and a v-neck sweater with some sparkle or flair of some kind for the holidays? I especially like those sweaters with an oversized stitch. Any ideas?

    • Anonymous :

      This might work?

    • loft always has a bunch of these around the holidays. or check ebay for prev years’ versions.

      • I was thinking the same. There’s this charcoal skirt:
        and also a paler grey one

    • Shopping help :

      Thanks for the recommendations!

  4. Dressing modestly :

    There were some posts some time ago about dressing modestly (forgot the original topic, but there were several follow-up comments from posters who said they like to dress modestly). Where do you shop and/or what are you go-to pieces for both work and weekend? I prefer a fairly modest/preppy style myself, but am having trouble finding items of decent quality.

    • I think it depends on how you define “modest.” What in particular are you wanting? Shoulder covered? Dresses and skirts below the knee? Looser fit overall?

    • Could be helpful to know how you define “modestly.” I think I dress modestly just because that is how I’m most comfortable, but I don’t have much trouble finding clothes. I shop at a lot of the places mentioned on this s!te.

    • Try Talbots, Brooks Brothers, Ann Taylor.

      • +1. I dress modestly as I’m still in the lifting/bending/carrying stage of my child’s life s0 longer skirts/shirts and shorts that aren’t too short are big. Brooks brothers red fleece, lands end a-line dresses for summer, and bermuda type shorts with sleeveless button downs are all staples for me (swapped with high waisted skinny jeans from Madewell and button downs in flannel for winter).

      • Miz Swizz :

        I prefer knee-length skirts and high necklines and have had good luck at Talbot’s. Ann Taylor is a bit more hit or miss for me since they seem to skew more trendy than classic/preppy.

    • Depends on your definition of modest (did not see prior discussion), but perhaps:
      J. McLaughlin

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      I like Lands’ End a lot, especially since my biggest modesty issue is skirt length, so I appreciate their slightly longer dresses and their tall sizes.

      Also (mostly for dresses) you can customize sleeves, necklines, and skirt lengths on eShakti.

    • Wait, there are “slut” brands? Wearing something too tight or too low cut for your body can be immodest. Some articles of clothing are designed with sex appeal and a few brands specialize is this (and sadly more teen brands), but I don’t there are very many adult women brands that are categorically “slutty”.

      • Anonymous :

        The very idea of ¨modesty¨in women´s dress makes me filed with rage at the pervasiveness of sexism in all aspects of all cultures, especially the internalized misogyny.

        • Agreed I hate the idea of “modesty.” At the same time, I actually prefer to be more covered up most of the time. It’s annoying that “modest” has become shorthand for “more covered up.”

        • Never too many shoes... :

          Yes to the above. The word actually makes me cringe. There is nothing inherently immodest about my body or the curves it possesses.

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        I’m really confused–who said anything about “slutty”? Did a comment get deleted?

        • I’m the PP who introduced the word “slutty” to which you are responding. My point is you can’t ask about a category of “modest” brands without positing the existence of non-modest aka “slutty” brands. The OP must believe “slutty” brands exist to ask her question.

          • Lana Del Raygun :

            Huh, I disagree with that. To me, “modest brands” just mean brands that carry more things that aren’t “too tight or too low cut for your body” like you said. So it will mean different things for different people, but there can be general rules of thumb, like some companies tend to design longer skirts, for instance. Less-modest clothing doesn’t have to be slutty, though–it might just be less comfortable for some people to wear, or better suited for particular situations. Like I have dresses that I don’t think are “modest” enough to be professional for work, but I wear them for parties and dates.

  5. Dermatologist in NYC? :

    Doctor help please! I’m looking for a good dermatologist in NYC. I’ve been to two so far and both of them definitely seemed more interested in selling their own products than helping me. If anyone knows a reliable, caring dermatologist, please let me know!!

    • Dermatologist in NYC? :

      Oh and edit to add – primarily need a derm for acne and rosacea issues.

      • Dr. Mary Buchness. She’s in Soho. Definitely a real doctor and not just someone pushing botox on patients. Helped me when I was suddenly breaking out at 30.

    • dermatologist :

      I used Dr. Roy Seidenberg (mainly for my kids) when he practiced in New Jersey and we really liked him. Looks like he’s in Murray Hill now.

    • Anonnymommy :

      I FREAKING LOVE my dermatologist: Dr. Jane Schneider. She’s at Broadway and 55th Street.

    • Dr. Gilberto Alvarez Del Manzano – LOVE him and his whole staff. Booked him on ZocDoc. Helped me with a really bad breakout in my late 20s.

    • I see Dr. Heller at Schweiger Dermatology (someone on here recommended him). He talks really fast but is very good.

    • Meg March :

      Love Dr. Cybele Fishman. She’s near Wall Street. I got a rec for her from someone on here, probably 5 years ago.

    • Claire Wolinsky on UWS.

  6. Shopaholic :

    Any reviews of the Dagne Dover totes? Dare I say, it seems like the perfect work tote. Am I missing something? Is it as good as it looks?

    • Yep, it’s as good as it looks. I *love* mine, give it a lot of abuse, and it’s holding up really well.

    • No personal experience but have heard that they are very heavy.

      • +1

        • fake coffee snob :

          +2. I’m looking to offload a cork 15″ one because of said issue, but it’s a great bag otherwise – reply if you’re interested and I’ll make an email or something.

      • I find that mine gets heavy only because it is big and I put a lot of stuff in it. The bag itself is lighter than a comparable size leather bag.

    • KateMiddletown :

      I love mine (I have the original one which doesn’t have fold-down handles.) I use it on the week days and my longchamp gets my wallet/keys/phone on the weekends. I agree it is very heavy, and I’ve thought twice about bringing it if I know I’m going to be lugging it through the airport. Considering purchasing one of the leather versions, too, just to mix it up. Don’t hesitate!

    • I have one too. The newer ones are lighter than the original models but still on the heavier side. Mine has held up well and customer service has been great when I’ve had issues (the handles were coming unstitched from the bag and they sent a new one no questions asked)

    • I have had one for about two or three years now and I love it! The coated canvas wears so well. I have the model where the handles fold down, and am starting to see some cracking around where the handles fold.
      One peeve is that the handle material (I think a synthetic leather) is really slippery, so I have trouble keeping the bag on my shoulder sometimes, especially when I’m wearing a coat.
      I have never had a problem with the weight of the bag, but most of mine are leather and probably on the heavy side too. It’s comparable to other bags I have.
      Definitely second the recommendation to not hesitate! I’m thinking of buying another one myself. There is a smaller model now that has metal rings where the handles fold down, which might resolve my cracking problem.

    • Shopaholic :

      I may be sold… I’m not too worried about it being heavy because I tend to carry a lot of very heavy leather bags so I suspect it’ll be lighter than what I’m used to.

      Thanks all!

    • I had one and found it too heavy to actually use. I may just have low tolerance for heavy bags. I’ve been using a Cuyana work satchel and I find it suits my needs better (less organized though). I did like that water bottle pocket.

    • Maudie Atkinson :

      I love mine. I don’t find that it’s any heavier than other of my work bags. I find that it is very intelligently designed, which is my favorite part. The pockets are great, I love that there’s a zippered top, and I love that it doesn’t look at all like a diaper bag (ahem, Lo & Sons).
      I got the blush color, which I find is incredibly versatile.

    • anonypotamus :

      I ADORE mine. I got my first one when they first released it and used it daily, subjecting it to fairly heavy/significant use/abuse. I love the way it is designed, that it zips up, and the material. The handles are very comfy. It can be heavy when packed full of papers/my laptop, but I feel like so would any other bag with the same amount of stuff. I also want to give a plug to their fabulous customer service. After about 3 years of heavy use (see above), the stitching on one of the handles started to come undone. Nothing that actually impacted the function of the handle, but it was noticeable. I sent a short email with a photo of the handle to their customer service asking if they did repairs, and they just sent me a brand new bag (and didn’t even make me return the old one…) I was very impressed and will be giving them allllllll the repeat business (and recommendations!)

  7. Why didn't anyone tell me? :

    Some friends were chatting about things we wished someone older than we are had told us about aging, but instead we were (generally negatively) surprised by. Items included: (1) your pub1c hair also turns grey; (2) a [email protected] screen gets added to your annual after turning 40; and (3) your s3x drive drops to zero after having a baby. What are some of the things on your lists?

    • #3 is not true.

      • I have a much higher drive after baby, and after 40, and it’s significantly more intense.

      • Maybe not for some, but for me and for every friend I have who has ever had a baby, it is.

        • True for me, sadly. Does it come back?

          • Never too many shoes... :

            Given the number of people out there with more than one child… I think that it does for most people (if it goes away at all).

          • You know that desire and conceiving a child aren’t really that linked, right? A lot of friends got back to business right away because they wanted two kids in quick succession, not because they wanted their husbands.

          • I’ve heard it comes back a few months after you stop br-ast feeding. When ovulation is suppressed, your sex drive is also suppressed.

          • All I can say is that it definitely did for my 50 years married parents. (cringeworthy when I would overhear it as a kid, now I just think it’s awesome that they’re still hot for each other, although I prefer not to hear it!)

          • I think it’s as person specific as other hormonal experiences (whether you have bad PMS, whether you bleed heavy, your pre-kid sex drive, when you hit menopause, whether you tolerate hormonal BC). Having a baby is just as varied as these other experiences of hormones. I was HOT! for it after giving birth notwithstanding breastfeeding.

    • To not lose hope after (3). At three years post-partum things have completed rebounded. At 2 years I was sure it wasn’t coming back but it can.

    • Doesn’t everyone know #3? It’s a huge cliche. I also knew #1 thanks to SATC.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      4. Getting acne at age 45.
      5. Losing my near vision.
      2. hasn’t happened for me.

      • Also #2 hasn’t happened.

        6. Reading glasses. Presbyobia is real.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Oh, man! Presbyopia is, by far, the very worst thing about aging for me!

          Also as you get in your late 50s, your skin just gets looser all over. It’s horrible…

      • In-House in Houston :

        Mrs. Jones…thank you! I’m so glad I’m not the only one. In high school…I had perfect skin. I’m not exaggerating. But now in my 40s, I get these nasty pimples that take weeks to go away. I wouldn’t call it acne because it’s only one at a time, but UGHH!!!!! Hate this. And I now carry cheater glasses with me all the time. What happened??

      • Ugh, my adolescent acne hasn’t gone away and I’m 34.

        • Korean skin care routine. Changed. My. Life.

        • Anonymous :

          I’m still on spironolactone and topical rx and am almost 50. Since my father still has acne in his 70’s, my dermatologist isn’t optimistic…..


    • Why didn’t anyone tell me the s3x gets so much better?

      That having retirement savings is a thrill?

    • I wish someone drilled into me the importance of taking care of your skin and teeth when you’re young so you can just have the good habits pay dividends forever. I recently had lunch with a bunch of high school friends and the only one of us who has never had a hint of a tan looked remarkably smoother than everyone else.

      But I really believe that youth is largely wasted on the young, so to speak. My mom and my grandma used to always say how they would love to be 16 again or whatever and I always though “duh, of course you would,” but only now do I realize that it wasn’t so much that they wished to be young again as that they would do so many things differently with the wisdom that they had accumulated.

      • I’m that friend who’s never had a tan, always wore SPF 10,000 PLUS a giant hat and a coverup with sleeves. I got teased mercilessly for being super pale. I’m in my mid-30s now. Yes, I am absolutely cackling to myself that my golden goddess friends are starting to get that wrinkled, dry, papery textured skin that my grandmother (also pale) didn’t get til she was 95.

        • +1 Agree

          My only friends who look “worse” skin wise are the ones who smoke.

        • Thanks to my pageant princess college roommate and her mom, I started wearing SPF every day when I was about 19. That stuff works!

        • I mean, I’m you, but I’m not delighting in my friends getting wrinkles.

        • Can I cackle right back at you for missing decades of joyous and fulfilling outdoor sports? Sheesh.

          • Anonymous :

            This. I take better care of my skin now but my sun spots remind me of some truly awesome times when I was young and carefree.

          • Erm, some of us did years and years of outdoor activities and ALSO wore sunscreen in our youth!

    • 1) Hair in places you did not expect. I have a nice long hair that grows out of my breast.
      2) Recovery from injuries is much harder and longer. I’m terrified of falling.
      3) Adult acne

      • I’ve had multiple long hairs on each n*pple since at least college.

      • My husband has a crazy long hair. In the middle of his forehead.

        7. Realization that if I am in a coma, someone needs a health care proxy to come in the tweeze so I don’t wake up a wookie.

        • Unicorns Unite :

          LOL. I also have a long hair that repeatedly grows from the center of my forehead and it is translucent. I have a friend who has the exact same thing. We like to say we are unicorns that it’s our horn starting to grow.

          Also have the nipple hair

      • I thought everyone had at least a few n!pple hairs… at least all my (6) roommates in college did. Totally normal even at a young age.

        • I think it’s fair to say that, wherever you had hair growing while you were in college, after age 40 you will have hair in new places.

          (For the record, I was unsurprised by this, but my husband continues to freak out about how much hairier he is now than he was when we first met.)

        • I am not a very hairy person and haven’t had weird hairs before so it was a surprise to me!

      • Senior Attorney :

        Oh big yes on the recovery from injuries! I broke my ankle — what? Two years ago? Three? And it’s still fatter than the other ankle and it still aches a lot of the time.

      • Longer recovery from injuries is so true. Also applies to hangovers. Getting truly stinking drunk isn’t worth it anymore.

        • pugsnbourbon :

          +1 to hangovers. I would have welcomed death the morning after my baby sister’s bachelorette.

    • Pros: – around 40 you may find that you don’t especially care about the opinions of others with regard to yourself, excepting a few treasured family and friends and work people as necessary. Everyone else can go jump in a lake. You know who you are, you know wants your values are, you know what you believe is okay and what isn’t, you’re about as sure as a person can be about these things, and there is great comfort in this.
      -At around 50 you may find that you are willing to be vocal about the above noted state of being, becaus eyou now don’t give a flying you know what about what anyone thinks about you.
      -The other side of perimenopause is great.
      Cons: when body parts or systems start to malfunction or fail, you may find that you feel distress, not about the problem itself, but because your body has betrayed you.
      -Perimenopause truly sucks. .

      • The sooner you can get to the first pro the better. I’m 35 and around 33 I realized that the opinions of most other people don’t matter. It was incredibly liberating and as a plus made me so much better at my job.

        • I’m 33. I’ve almost completely achieved #1 in my personal life. My professional life is so much harder for some reason.

          As an aside, it’s my theory that this is why you see so many divorces at this age. Women develop a g*d d * m n backbone. They realize that they don’t, in fact, need to mommy the useless men in their lives. And the thought of actually being a mommy to a tiny human AND taking care of a useless grown man is just too unpalatable.

    • anon a mouse :

      Don’t neglect dental work.

    • Oh gosh so many things about relationships with men. Like what s e x u a l assault is. No, it is not cute or normal or to-be-expected that random men will occasionally grab your a s s or b o o b s in a bar. No, it isn’t romantic for a man to continue to pursue you after you turned him down. No, he didn’t put it in without a c o n d o m when you asked him not to because he was just so hot for you he couldn’t help it. No, it is not s e x y for him to throw you against a wall and grope you after you tell him sorry but you really need to get back to studying. No, you are not a b i t c h or drama queen or whatever other word he (and your friends) will call you when you threaten to call the police if he won’t leave and then you don’t want to have dinner with him and the friendgroup the next day like nothing happened.

      And no, men are not too stupid to know that they get off easy on household tasks – that handling car maintenance does not equal meal planning and prep, doing all the laundry, cleaning, and all the other daily tasks you do that maybe he offers to “help” with. Actually just eliminate that word “help” from your vocabulary. Right along with “babysit” as something that fathers do for their own children. Men who refuse to be adults know exactly what they’re doing. Don’t combine your life with someone who makes your life harder. You can have a wonderful, fulfilling, single life free from the frustration of trying to force a manchild to see you as a human being.

    • As you approached menopause your period will get very heavy, become more frequent, and last longer. All my friends were alarmed when this started happening to them. We always thought menopause = no period not more period but not the case at the start.

      • This can be true, but not for everyone. It did not happen to me at all, but the thing that got me was the hot flashes! Oh my gosh, the hot flashes.

        • Hot flashes are a misnomer. When I was younger, I thought it was just about heat and thought “how bad can that be?” 1) Bad and 2) “hot flashes” doesn’t cover the mild nausea, disorientation, and generally feeling awful in an out of body experience way that a “hot flash” can include.

          Also, you may have to fight a lot with your OB/GYN to get adequate HRT if you need it. Switch doctors if you have to. An older relative told me that your quality of life now is more important than theoretical risks in the future, and if you are miserable due to long-term estrogen withdrawal, you should find a doctor who will consider your risk factors for HRT along with your total holistic quality of life. There are all kinds of conditions that get worse after menopause, and all kinds of peer reviewed research linking those to lower estrogen levels. That includes GERD, dry eye, sleeplessness and mental fog, gout, etc. etc. etc. Find a doctor that is willing to discuss how your body handles menopause and doesn’t treat you as a statistic if you find you need HRT.

    • No one told me anything about perimenopause! My experience of it so far:
      – Really unpredictable periods, but generally more frequent than they used to be, like every 25-26 days
      – Horrible cramps, like I haven’t had since I was 22
      – Mood swings due to PMS, which I never had before
      – Heavy bleeding for at least the first full day – in my 38 years of periods (I started young), I never needed a super plus tampon until this past year

      Everyone talks about symptoms like hot flashes and brain fog, but I haven’t experienced those (knock wood). I’m looking forward to being done with the whole thing, but have no idea how long a ride I’m in for. My mother and maternal grandmother both had radical hysterectomies in their early- to mid-40’s, so I have no one to tell me what to expect.

    • The skin on my eyelids has turned red. I always looked tired, no matter how much sleep I get. Also, the feeling of my upper eyelids now drooping onto the lower drives me nuts.

      • BeenThatGuy :

        Me too! Believe it or not, Botox has helped with the upper eyelid droop for me. If they position it correctly, it lifts the brow just enough to give that upper lid a pull up.

      • brokentoe :

        Try the Smashbox eyelid primer – total game changer for me with this issue. It’s more like makeup for my eyelids and it wears like iron.

    • #2: Heck, some docs add it in earlier…ask me how I know! To say it was a shocker…well, no pun intended, but there ya have it.

  8. Between miserable stressful family stuff and being overworked/underpaid at a job I’m actively trying to leave, I’m barely hanging in there. How do you cope in times like this? I know all the stuff you’re supposed to do….I get a lot of sleep, I drink a lot of water, I get a lot of me time, I count my blessings, blah blah. I still want to just hide under the covers and ignore all my problems and/or self-medicate by stuffing my face.


    • I repeat Senior Attorney’s mantra that ‘the only way out is through’ a lot. Keep looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. Focus on where you are going not where you are.

      • Along the same lines: “when you’re going through hell, keep going.” I think it was Churchill?

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yeah, when I was going through my divorce I kept thinking about how much better things were going to be this time next year. It’s silly and simplistic but it got me through. (And I was right — things WERE so much better a year later!)

    • Flats Only :

      The weekend is coming soon. Regardless of what you’re supposed to do on Saturday or Sunday, hide under the covers all morning, then watch something soothing on TV all afternoon (I like the various BBC nature documentaries with David Attenborough on NetFlix), order dinner in and have some ice cream for dessert. If anyone gives your grief tell them you are not feeling well and can’t do whatever it is they want. I find that hopeless feeling of wanting to hide sometimes recedes if I make plans to actually hide on a day when I can get away with it.

    • This might not be a really great answer, but in times of crisis, I let myself be at peace with having some unhealthy coping mechanisms. I’m such a perfectionist that it actually makes a crisis harder to try to have perfect coping mechanisms on top of all the other garbage I’m dealing with. In a bad situation I drink two glasses of wine a night and buy myself lots and lots of presents. I also let myself wallow in foul weepy moods from time to time, though I try not to do that too often.

      Also, in the healthy coping realm, I try to get together with my fun girlfriends. I do not mention my problems during these get-togethers, and instead focus on having fun with them. That really helps too.

      • I agree with this. In moderation, letting yourself lose from some of the daily discipline we all impose can be a really important means of self-care.

      • Baconpancakes :

        It’s a rough couple of weeks, and I’ve been doing both of these without realizing it, so yay me. This week: gym 2x, hiking and camping 1x, going out for cocktails 2x, buying Stila liquid lipstick and UD eyeshadow, buying galaxy-printed workout leggings, converting my couch-shaped pile of laundry into a couch, setting up a weekly lunch date.

      • Thank you. I do have fun plans tomorrow night, and I think I might swing by the mall tonight and buy the new perfume I want.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Same. I have eaten a LOT of pizza and drank a LOT of caramel macchiatos these past two months. Sure I also do the good stuff (most of the time), but sometimes it’s helpful to just let myself cope the way my body is saying it needs.

    • Force yourself to make time for exercise. I’m always surprised by how much better I feel when I run for 20 minutes in the morning. Also makes me feel less guilty about my face-stuffing coping mechanism.

    • I try and compartmentalize as much as I can. When I am at work I try to completely focus on work. If there is stressful family stuff, I will deal with it later. Then at home, I deal with whatever can be dealt with in a productive way and then stop. For me, it was when my mother had cancer. There were so many decisions to make and people to contact, but I could only do so much at one time. I prioritized each thing and tried to deal only with that thing at that moment. It is hard though and requires some control over the catastrophizing my brain likes to do.

  9. When you feel that you’re on the verge of getting sick, what remedies do you recommend to stave it off? I’m drinking water with lemon like crazy and getting more sleep. What else?

    • Okay, I have a friend who claims you can just “decide” not to get sick. I don’t believe her, but she says the trick is water with lemon AND local honey. And apparently willpower.

      • Yeah, I’m also this person – I can typically “decide” not to get sick for a period of time (if I have a big deadline, massive project or event I’m hosting, vacation coming up, etc).

        In college one time I was the only person on my 50+ girl dorm floor to not get an epic stomach flu the week before finals when I had a band concert and several major papers due. Willpower and oddly I think stress helps me not get sick – but I pay it back in that sometimes after I’m through the thing I can’t be sick for, I get walloped.

        • Same here! I can usually put off being sick by using willpower and reminding myself that I do not have time to be sick right now and I just refuse. I can buy myself about a week that way and then I’m down for the count. My grandmother was the same way.

      • Clementine :

        Okay, I might be your friend. Muscling through and faking it until you make it gets me like 90% of the way there.

        However, learn from me. If you have a wicked cough and are brutally sick for 8 weeks, see someone. I dragged myself in to the doc, telling her ‘I know it’s probably viral and will just blow over.’ She laughed, said that if a cold lasts longer than 2 weeks you should get it looked at because it’s likely a a sinus infection.

        I walked out with prescriptions for Flonase and an antibiotic. Within 24 hours, I was a new woman. Seriously, don’t be me.

      • Ha, I wish!

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        My eyes are rolling out of my head. That’s stupid. You can pretend you’re not sick but you can’t not get sick. Ugh. That shows, gently, a lot of able bodied privilege.

      • lawsuited :

        I get that deciding not to get sick seems impossible, but it is a fact that I never get sick when I have important work events (although I get sick a lot in general). How? Why? It’s a mystery.

      • I’m generally healthy and have almost always managed to hold off on getting really sick until something big has passed (major deadline, trial, finals, etc.). That said, I then completely crash and am very sick afterwards. In law school, I was never sick until the week after finals, when I always had a brutal cold. So yeah, I think I can somehow hold off experiencing the full symptoms of an illness for a few days, but then it hits me all at once and I’m down for the count.

      • Anonymous :

        The honey just has to be raw, not necessarily local. The big plastic bottle from Costco won’t help.

    • Tons of sleep and Vitamin C. Water with lemon might soothe your throat but it won’t stave off illness like lots of OJ will.

    • Baconpancakes :

      For me, nasal wash and humidifier. I felt the scratchy sinuses that usually turns into a full-blown death spiral, but this time, it’s stopped at a tiny sniffle and I feel fine.

      Also sleeping apart from my SO for a few days. 7 hours of full-on, undisturbed restful sleep is worth so much more than 8 hours of being slightly awakened when he tosses and turns.

      • I forgot about the nasal wash! Thanks. Trying that tonight.

        • Flats Only :

          And for extra oomph get some FloNase and use it after the nasal wash.

          • Baconpancakes :

            Wait at least 10 minutes after the nasal wash (per my doc since your sinuses will be a little tender after the wash).

            Also always always always spray Flonase into the side of your nose, not the back. Point the nozzle towards the outer corner of your eye. Otherwise you increase the risk of nosebleeds.

    • Acupuncture.

    • Depends on the type of sick. When I feel a sore throat coming on I gargle with salt water a few times a day and it helps tremendously. For just about anything I up my hand-washing game like crazy.

    • Zinc tablets or lozenges, probiotic, double up on allergy meds, vitamin C, reduce caffeine intake, eat kale. Idk if the kale actually helps but it makes me feel like I’m doing something healthy.

    • (1) Zinc tablet.
      (2) Chamomile with honey. The honey is important because it is antibiotic and coats your throat.
      (3) Washing hands before touching my face in any way.

    • Eating healthier – cut the dairy, wheat, and sugar (that’s advice I’ve gotten from a friend who tries not to take medicine, but I have a hard time with it). Rest a lot.

      • I don’t know about this. Dairy and wheat aren’t inherently unhealthy.

      • Wheat and dairy are not unhealthy. At all. In fact, I would argue that wheat is plain healthy and that dairy that has not been produced industrially (meaning, with the antibiotics and added hormones, all that sad stuff) is also quite healthy. And it´s not unhealthy to eat dessert.

        Not directed at you, OP, but sometimes I wonder why I hear this kind of stuff so much lately. It is so unhealthy to live like this.

        • The insulin response to wheat (as to sugar) is very strong, and the immune system is weak when insulin levels are high.

          Dairy can help produce mucus, which few people want more of when they are sick.

          There’s also research that the majority of people with celiac disease and many, many people with prediabetes don’t know that they have these conditions. So that could be one reason why you hear this stuff so much lately. And yes, it is indeed unhealthy to have prediabetes or celiac disease.

    • If possible, I take a day of leave and stay in bed.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Oh yeah also this. I started feeling the start of getting sick on Saturday, and did nothing all day on Sunday. Didn’t even leave the house, just did laundry and read the entirety of Into the Wilderness and drank coffee and tea. Haven’t read an entire (700 page!) book in one day in a looooong time. It was great.

    • Vitamin C and garlic soup.

      Chicken soup with ginger and cilantro also helps.

      • I’m down with this soup except the egg part. I love eggs, but hate eating them when I’m sick. Love garlic though.

        Thanks everyone!!

    • Emergen-C, tons of water, sleep and a prayer.

    • The only thing that works for me is getting a TON of sleep. Like, an obscene amount of sleep. Stay home if you can, sleep all day, day some nighttime cold meds, and sleep all night.

      • +1. Lots of sleep. And chicken noodle soup (Noodles & Co for me, since they’re close and I don’t want to cook when sick)

    • Pho with extra hot sauce.

    • New Tampanian :

      Zicam nasal swabs

    • Zinc tablets
      Garlic soup (I make Julia Child’s recipe)
      Cut out all added sugar
      Exercise as normal
      lemon zinger tea

    • Pen and Pencil :

      Currently in this predicament, was out with the office stomach bug two days last week and currently feel the office cough thing coming on. I get as much sleep as possible, eat as many healthy things as I can, drink warm drinks all day, take a multivitamin (I usually do not do this), gargle with salt water if it involves anything throat/cough/ sinus related, and get even more sleep. I also try to back off on dairy and carbs, but let’s be real, when I even get half a sniffle all I want to eat are warm carbs like rice and noodles.

    • Anonymous :

      Oh, this is totally me with respect to colds and general winter sicknesses. I pretend to myself that I’m not sick, but I also make sure I get 9-10 hours of sleep, exercise (boosts immune system), and drink tons of water and tea. I don’t think “pretending” kills the germs per se, but I do think the brain has a hefty interaction with the immune system, and my approach works pretty well for me.

      I also don’t take general cold medicine. I buy the one-ingredient pills rather than the ones that are a cocktail of multiple ingredients. That way I can take medicine to specifically target the issue I’m having, and I can control the dosage of each constituent ingredient rather than having it all bundled into one pill. Because sometime I need more decongestant but not a cough suppressant or something for pain. I buy phenylephrine as a decongestant, guaifenesin to loosen up thick mucus, and ibuprofen for inflammation as needed. I take acetaminophen only if I have a fever. I try not to take pseudoephedrine as a decongestant unless I get really desperate because it totally acts as an upper, makes me jittery and can’t sleep as well, etc.

    • Min Donner :

      -Cut out alcohol (though depending on the ailment, I may have a hot toddy before bed, especially if there is a cough)
      -Cut out dairy (I know it creates more mucus for me – my body manages if I’m healthy, but when I’m not it really exacerbates symptoms)
      -Neti pot or nasal irrigation if there’s any congestion
      -Salt water or apple cider vinegar water gargle if there is any soreness in the throat
      -Cut out sugar as much as you can
      -Lots of fluids (including tea and soup); I typically lose the taste for coffee (too acidic?) and know that I’m on the mend once it starts to sound good again
      -Fire Cider (homemade or purchased, lots of Etsy sellers, also called Fyre Cider, Spicy Cider, etc.)
      -Elderberry (commercial versions like Umcka or homemade or Etsy/apothecary)
      -Other herbal supplements/remedies depending on the symptoms
      And… this is not mainstream, and I’ve read lots of pro/cons, but I’ve found it effective if I utilize it at the very outset of symptoms (like when I know I was exposed, and I know how sick they got, and I start to get the same symptoms, this has invariably reduced the duration and severity I experience) — Hydrogen peroxide in your ears )a few drops in each ear – one at a time obviously and let it bubble and fizz and then drain onto a tissue and do the other ear)

  10. Mid Life Rut :

    I’m going to lay this out here and then quietly sip my coffee and just absorb what everyone has to say. Kay?

    37. Married. Two kids (12 and 7). Work at job I don’t *really* like but can’t seem to find anything better for the past 5 years. Have been on over 15 interviews in the last 3 years (most were multiple interviews at the same companies) and never received a job offer. Anyway–I’m feeling so stuck and restless and full of hatred for my life, and in my head I know I have no reason to feel that way. Healthy kids! Healthy marriage! Decent job! This should be good enough!!!!

    I’m planning to go back to school and finish up my accounting degree in January. Night school. Paperwork is all turned in, I just need to meet the counselor and register next week. Husband is supportive, kids are aware. I should be excited, but I’m just looking at it like, “Hmph. More work. So that maybe it pays off and I get a slightly better job where I continue to sit on my @ss chained to a desk for 50 hours per week.”

    I’m one day late for my period. The math could work for a pregnancy if you squint hard enough. (More than likely I’m not pregnant.) I took a test in a Target bathroom before picking up the kids yesterday, weirdly hopeful that it would tell me I’m pregnant. (It was negative.) At work I kept clicking on Craig’s List looking at used cribs–because of course all of our baby stuff is gone–and running through how this COULD work. We could do another baby! S/he could have X bedroom and the older girls could share Y! I was more excited about the Maybe Baby than going back to school for accounting–meanwhile I don’t want to plan FOR a baby. I think I was excited that God would drop a gift or a direction in my lap, like HERE! GO BE A MOM! ACCOUNTING IS BORING! I’m weirdly disappointed today, even though I know I’m old and my husband is 45 and my oldest daughter would be mistaken for this baby’s mother out in public and I would just have to work even harder and longer to pay for everything.

    NOTHING sounds good. Should I start yoga? Meh. Paint the kitchen? Who cares? Sell our house and start over with a new house project? Blech–too much work. Last night I was tempted to buy the book Un-F Your Life. WHO AM I BECOMING?!?!?

    • I don’t have advice for all of your problems, but I think feeling stuck in a job you don’t really like for years on end is enough reason to feel frustrated and discouraged with your life. Also, you could totally buy that book. There’s no harm in that.

    • You talked about your kids, your job and your DH. What about you? What are your hobbies or interests? Are you a bookworm or an outdoor sport enthusiast or both?

      If your job is ‘adequate’ – like not trying to leave because of crazy boss or stress, try refocusing your energy that you put into your job search towards building your life outside of work. Who are you outside of a mom/wife/employee? You don’t have to have a clear answer but the process of discovering that might be what you are looking for.

      • I agree. You need to do something that is fun for YOU. For me, that is making dinner plans with girlfriends and trying to do some type of girls night out every few weeks. Maybe for you it’s that or something else.

        On the work front, have you considered hiring a career coach or using your college alumni services for help? Maybe it’s time to get an outside person to help you figure out your career and perhaps interview strategies.

      • Agree. OP what I’m hearing in your post is: I need something to look forward to. To me, this is where hobbies come in. There should be something you love doing with your time that’s only about you. I rock climb. I have friends who paint. Someone below mentioned music. You might be interested in none of those things, but I would encourage you to find something that does interest you and spend a couple of hours a week doing it if you can.

    • Go buy a motorcycle and joyride every weekend. That’s what I do.

      Seriously though, I’m 28 and had a similar version of that feeling until recently. I realized that it’s because I wasn’t doing enough that excited me. Mostly because I had too many other things to do, but regardless of the reason, a happy marriage, great job and great little family is simply not everything I will ever need it life. I talked with a few friends about this feeling, and everyone’s got different things they need in order to feel like themselves. For me, it’s a little (or a lot) of adrenaline and excitement. I think the point here is that this is pretty normal, and it’s important to figure out what sustains you and do more of that.

    • Go to therapy. You need to figure out if you feel so “blah” about everything because 1) you’re over-stretched as it is, 2) you are missing some kind of spark/passion in your life, 3) you’re depressed, 4) you’re going through a normal midlife crisis and everyone feels this way, or 5), 6), 7)…..

      Figure out the cause of the blah so you can take appropriate action.

    • Why not buy the book? It sounds like you’re feeling super worn out and enervated – I’d say grab at what sparks your interest right now, and see where that spark takes you.

    • Clementine :

      By BFF was in this place about 5 months ago. Everything is fine, I should be happy, why am I not feeling fulfilled?

      She and her husband sat down and decided to each do one thing they really liked. Her husband got a movie pass thing and now goes to random movies alone at like 9PM on a Tuesday. He LOVES it. She joined a local musical ensemble that practices once a week and performs a couple times a year. They have both told me just how much happier they are as a couple since they’re pursuing individual interests.

    • It sounds like you’re lacking a purpose and maybe that’s why the idea of a baby excited you: like, hey, something to do/rally around!

      I feel sort of similar. Mid thirties and a lot of the goals I’ve had for the last few years have been semi-accomplished, but rather than be happy I find myself floundering at times. My routines have been disrupted. Not that I want to spend all my free time looking at listings and going to open houses but now that I don’t need to do that, I sort of don’t know what else to do with my time. And I like my job but it’s gotten dull recently and I can’t really change it at this time so I feel a little stuck. I don’t have a solution, per se. Mostly I feel bad that I’m not happier. I think it’s just something to work through. But I think a purpose helps. That’s my goal. I’m thinking maybe I’ll volunteer somewhere; that always makes me feel better and your kids are actually old enough to volunteer with you. I’m also thinking I’ll sign up for some weekly activity by myself. I had an eye appointment a few weekends ago and it was really nice to just be out and about by myself for an hour. Maybe you can find an activity that’s just for you.

      • Mid Life Rut :

        You sparked a thought process with your comment about the kids being old enough to volunteer with me…

        I re-joined choir at church after a 7 year hiatus and made my 12 year old join with me. (The goal for her is to learn to sing, and I figured it would be good Mom/Daughter bonding time.) I HATE GOING TO CHOIR WITH HER. Choir used to be fun and kind of relaxing, laughing at the old ladies bickering over who is singing 1st or 2nd soprano, listening to the old men blow their parts and not even care while the choir director got mad. It was fun!

        Now I have to drag her there while she moans about not wanting to go, and she barely sings. Every second we’re not singing she’s talking to me about or making fun of what we’re singing. I frequently want to snap at her, “Stop being an idiot!” It’s become yet another duty I have to set my teeth and endure–choir practice with my oldest. BLECK. We’re so not the Judds.

        Your comment made me realize that I don’t do ANYTHING alone, or just for me. My husband horns in on my Jane Austen/PBS movie time. Even grocery shopping is wrapped up with time with someone else (kids, husband) and the only time I’m alone is in my car before daycare pick up. God, that’s bleak.

        • Just a thought – Does she have to learn to sing? Singing is not a life skill. Maybe seeing her mom doing something for herself and enjoying herself will teach her more about life/happiness than being forced into doing something that neither you nor her enjoy. I’m not a mom, but having observed my mom/others – I think sometimes moms get too wrapped up in doing all the things for other people, that it’s difficult for them to just do something for themselves.

        • Stop taking your daughter to choir practice! She doesn’t like it, you don’t like it, and singing isn’t really a necessary skill for life.

        • Anonymous :

          Um why you torturing the poor child with choir? Leave her home in peace and enjoy yourself.

        • Grocery shopping with kids is no fun. I would keep the kids at home with husband while you do that (or have him do it). I really enjoy grocery shopping when it’s just me. And then I get to drive and listen to a podcast along the way. Heaven!

    • Do you have any close friends? Plan a fun trip with a couple pals. Go somewhere unexpected for a long weekend. This will give you something to look forward to and it’s not the biggest commitment in the world, so it’s a good first step without having to overhaul your whole life. I’ve been amazed at how awesome it is to take a trip with girlfriends, especially because you don’t have to worry about keeping your spouse or kids happy and you get to have deeper conversations that you might never have otherwise. Getting a change of scene really peps people up, and the energy is contagious.

      Also, you seem to be focusing a lot on accomplishments, being a mom, having a career milestone. Maybe you just need more fun in your life. Go on Groupon even, and plan a wacky event with friends you might not usually consider, like a cooking class, concert, spa day, or something like that. Get out of the routine and bond with people.

    • Are you me? Also 37 with two kids and having similar feelings. I’ve been going to therapy recently for a work-related crisis, and a theme that has come up in every session is that I need to find a way to incorporate more fun and enjoyment in my life. Right now, life is work, parenting … and not much else. I feel overextended as it is, and now my therapist wants me to go off and have fun?! But, point taken. I do need something to look forward to, and you might, too.

    • Don’t have a baby bc you don’t know what to to. Don’t go to school if you don’t know why. The answer is something else. (No not an affair either)

  11. Left out in conversations :

    I’ve been noticing that when I’m in a conversation of three or more people that I often get overlooked in the conversation, i.e. when the other individuals are talking they make eye contact with each other but not with me. This happens even if I’m the one who asks a question or brings something up. And it happens both professionally and personally, men and women. It’s not as if I’m a wallflower who doesn’t contribute or speak up. Most people who know me would call me outspoken and I can carry one-on-one conversations fairly easily with almost anyone. I’m also of average height and stature and have decent posture, in case that matters. Any idea of what gives and what I could do to change this?

    • People make eye contact with the person they are most comfortable with in the room. Your outspokenness might mean you are not that person.

    • Ask a friend of yours. A work friend, and a non-work friend.

      Also, make note of how you look at people during conversation. Do you stare too much/too long? Take breaks?
      Nod intermittently to indicate you are listening/supporting/interested?

  12. Childcare FSA :

    Yesterday’s discussion on FSAs made me think of this question. Is there a limit on how much FSA money DH and I can use on childcare? We have separate employers and separate insurance policies/companies, if that is relevant.

    I think we can each put $2500 in FSA (is that standard for everyone or might it vary?), and last year (our first year to use daycare) DH used the whole total to pay for daycare. We spend about $10K/year on daycare, so could I also use my $2500 towards it?

    To complicate matters, after we have our second baby this year, will that change the answer? And, after we have the second baby, we will put the whole family on DH’s insurance (it saves several hundred dollars rather than me maintaining my own policy). HR tells me I will still have my own FSA through my work even if I move over to my husband’s insurance. I don’t have a lot of faith in HR here, though.

    I guess my bottom line question is this: how can DH and I best utilize our FSAs to pay for childcare for two children? Does this answer change if I am at my own separate employer (and ostensibly have an FSA there) but if I am on DH’s insurance policy?

    • I think you can use the $5K total towards child care, so half of that from each of you. I don’t think it matters if you have insurance through your work or not. I don’t believe you get any increase for two kids or 10. It’s basically a $5K max.

      • +1. $5k max per couple, regardless of how many children you have and how your insurance is set up.

    • Anon in NYC :

      I believe the maximum any couple (married filing jointly) can contribute to an FSA is $5,000. How it shakes out in terms of who contributes how much to their respective FSA doesn’t matter. The max contribution amount is 5k, regardless of how many kids you have.

  13. KateMiddletown :

    Two pre-winter related skin woes – my hands and arms are already super itchy. Can anyone recommend a good winter lotion that helps that? I used cortisone and my usual vaseline bottle lotion yesterday because it was bothering me so much.

    Also, I have been having such a terrible time shaving my legs. I use Jason’s body wash as a shaving lube, and a Venus wobbly head razor. I have not been getting a close shave recently, with lots of bumps leftover, and when the hair grows back it’s almost like little scabs on each of the follicles. I have to wait like three days between shaves to let it go away. (Does that make sense?) It’s also itchy and annoying that I spend an extra 10 minutes in the shower and my legs are no smoother.

    • Use a cream over a lotion right after you get out of the shower- I like the CeraVe cream in a tub. You may also need to switch to a more moisturizing body wash. For shaving cream, I like the Kiss My Face or Aveeno Postively Smooth. Have you tried a post-shave product? Shea Moisture makes a spray that helps when I am getting a lot of ingrowns. Or, try any of the 100 mens aftershave products and see if that helps?

      • Can you like to the Shea Moisture product? I really like that brand and also struggle with ingrowns.

    • Try a men’s razor– one with at least four blades. Also use a real shave gel instead of body wash. Before shaving, use an exfoliating scrub on your legs to get rid of any accumulated dead skin.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I use the super-duper four-blade razor from Dollar Shave Club (so great! blades show up in the mail!) and Cremo Shave Cream (I get it at Target — they have a women’s version now, too). It’s a great combination for me.

        • KateMiddletown :

          I think you just made me cave – I’ve been thinking about trying that out! (Feel free to post a referral code if you get some freebies for the reco…)

      • Trader Joe’s has a shaving cream (mango something I think) that is really rich and moisturizing. I highly recommend trying it, especially if you have dry skin.

        Also I use Nivea in shower moisturizer and think it helps with dry skin.

    • on the inexpensive side, Eucerin makes a lotion specifically for itchy winter skin that helped me a lot. On the slightly pricier end, First Aid Beauty makes an ultra repair cream that saved me last winter. It’s awesome.

      The second is probably related to the first – I feel like when my skin is super dry I don’t get as close a shave!

    • For no. 2 I make a scrub of sugar and olive oil that I’ll use once a week or as needed before shaving. Lots of lotion after. Agree with the Eucerin cream rec. Or anything with shea butter. Also get a moisturizing soap that won’t strip your skin too much and don’t use soap on your legs when you shower (I just do feet and other parts but in the winter soap is too drying). Finally, not sure if it’s just me, but the venus razor always leaves my skin irritated. I find the schick Quattro much gentler and use it with Olay Shea Butter body wash as shave soap.

    • Cerave makes a body lotion for itchy skin and my husband swears by it.

    • Try baby oil instead of lotion. I put a little bit on my skin every day when it’s still damp from the shower. Works way better than lotion for me. I find it absorbs better and lasts longer. I still have a good goat’s milk lotion I like when needed but I almost never need it if I’m using the baby oil. Also baby oil is like 3 bucks for a huge bottle.

    • I don’t shave my legs in the winter. It’s not worth it to me to be uncomfortable all winter long.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Winter shaving is a large part of my decision to devote this winter to having my entire lower body lasered. I am very excited for next summer.

    • Use a humidifier. It will keep your skin from getting really dry. Also put on lotion right after washing your hands and wear gloves outside. I like this lotion

      • Whoaaaa wearing gloves outside – how did I never think of this? I bet that will make a huge difference for me this winter. I’m already dealing with super dry hands…

      • KateMiddletown :

        Good call. it feels a little early to get the humidifier out, but I think in our master bedroom we could use it at night. Thanks!

    • I get itchy like that, especially in winter. I use a moisturizing soap or body wash in the shower (oil of Olay, shea etc). and when I have a very bad bout of itchiness, in shower lotion (Nivea makes one, so does oil of Olay). I use Palmers cocoa butter lotion, gold bond medicated body lotion, extra strength(in the weird green bottle-it smells a bit like menthol but it helps a lot with the itching!) or coconut oil for moisturizing.

  14. I’m going to a wedding this weekend where I won’t know anyone. Any tips?

    • Shots. Shots. Shots. :

      Hello. Would you like to make new friends? And by friends I mean hook up with the groom’s 22 year old cousin? If so, I’ll be your date.

    • I have found it effective to be express about not knowing anyone – like, I’ll walk up to a group of people (if their body language suggests they’re open to being joined by others) and say “Hi! I’m cbackson – a friend of the groom. I don’t know a soul here – mind if I join you all? How do you know the couple?”

      Fortunately, at weddings you always have the wedding to talk about.

    • Ok, obviously you know someone because you’re invited to the wedding. If you’re going as a date, ask your date to introduce you to a few people before the night really gets going and groups form or people take too much advantage of the open bar. If you know the bride/groom, perhaps shoot a text (it’s getting a little late but you could do this today, not tomorrow when they’re in wedding event mode) and ask who they think you might connect with. If all else fails, talk to the people at your table. Or, find someone your age who looks cool and introduce yourself, tell them you don’t know anyone, and ask them who you should meet. Just be curious.

      I had a great conversation recently at a wedding where I was seated next to the parents of the groom’s HS best friends, and I said I didn’t really know the extended family or folks from their childhood, could they give me some color on who was who – they were so happy to share and we chatted all through dinner and for a while after. And this was at a wedding where I knew at least 30% of the attendees.

      Just be curious.

    • Get bombed early, dance a little, then Irish goodbye out of there. Mischief managed.

    • I normally try to get in and out pretty quickly. Stay just through dinner, wish the couple well, then peace out.

    • I find “old people” to be much easier to talk to than people my age. I feel like when you’re younger you tend to just hang out with the people you already know and want to catch up with them (exception being if you’re single and there is someone else single that you have a spark with, but mostly I’ve found weddings involve couples and the female half of the couple has always been hostile to me when I’ve been at a wedding on my own and tried to make friends). Anyway, I just look for friendly older folks. I feel like they’re much more receptive to getting to know new people at social events.

      • Senior Attorney :


        I’m a friendly older person and I would love to get to know you!

      • +1

        Completely agree.

        Grandma would LOVE to have someone younger come over and introduce themselves, ask about how the bride/groom was back in the day, and to hear about how you know the bride/groom.

        I also look for people who seem uncomfortable/alone/bored and walk up to them and smile and try to seem friendly and approachable and ask how they know the bride/groom? Any good stories? Often these folks are just as uncomfortable as you and are so grateful for your friendliness.

      • +1

        I don’t know if times have changed, if practice makes perfect, or if they are just more at home in their skins, but many friendly “older people” have better social skills than younger guests, so they are a haven if you are feeling awkward or stranded, and there’s a good chance you’ll genuinely enjoy the conversation.

  15. Cat Lady In Training :

    Last night I got home, went to wash my face and realized we had very little water pressure. Called the city water department-we live in a city with a notoriously old system that sometimes depressurizes. City came out and nope, it’s not them. We excellent pressure to our outside faucets and no pressure to any bathroom/the kitchen. Anyone experienced this?

    Then this morning I went to put on my favorite pearl necklace and realized it had come unthreaded. And and and and. I’m truly tired of adulthood at the moment.

    • Linda from HR :

      Haven’t experienced that, but you have my sympathies. Sometimes everything seems to go wrong at once and you can’t help but wonder “gahh, why me?”

    • Do you have a water filter for the water going into the house that needs changed? If not I would call a plumber right away. We had a huge issue with a blockage in our water line into the house due to a tree root outside and ended up with a flooded basement. Don’t mess around with plumbing!

    • Anonymous :

      I love your username! Hang in there–you have anonymous fans and friends!

    • Sounds like a blocked or frozen pipe.

  16. Am I being sensitive? :

    It seems to me that my girlfriend and I are on different emotional wavelengths. Not regarding big issues, but small stuff. For example, today’s my birthday. I’ve heard from all my friends, my family, even former coworkers from years back…but not a peep from her. I assume she thinks that she’ll see me tonight and that there’s no need to say anything before then, but it really hurts me that she can’t just take a half second to send me a message. Her behavior isn’t wrong, it just makes me upset and doesn’t feel right to ME. The small stuff is starting to add up. Am I being too sensitive?

    • Can I buy you Five Love Languages as a bday present? And maybe you read it together?

      Y’all may just be on different (but OK) pages — gifts of presence (what I love) vs gifts of presents (husband).

    • I don’t like saying you are too sensitive. You are who you are, she is who she is. Personally, I think a HBD text is meaningless and wouldn’t send it or expect to receive one when we are hanging out in person later to actually celebrate. If it matters to you, do something about it! Text her “hey hey it’s my birthday, can you send emoji love?” Or decide it’s a deal breaker. But don’t waste your time trying to figure out who is right. Right doesn’t matter.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        It can be so hard to ask for what you want, emotionally. Sometimes it seems harder on the small things — like “why can’t I just be ok with not getting it?” but if it bugs you, ask. It’s not hard for her to send you some happy texts, and if it would make you feel good, of course she should be happy to do it!

        P.S. Happy birthday!

    • If it is important to you, then you need to let her know. Today, I would send her a text like “Today is my birthday!! :)” Then she will hopefully pick up on that fact that you are excited about it and want to share the celebration with her. As for other stuff like this, just tell her you really like it when she does x, it makes you happy.

      • +1 Although I would phrase it along the lines of, “Can’t wait to see you tonight for my birthday!”

        I am not a birthday person and TBH I just don’t get it once you are past being a kid, but that’s me. I am TERRIBLE about remembering birthdays/anniversaries, etc. I try, I really do, but I just am not good at it. There is no way it would occur to me to send a text if I knew I was going to see you on the day of your birthday. To me, wishing in person and spending time with someone (I am a QT love language) is so much more meaningful than a text that requires zero thought or effort. But I realize everyone is different!

        All of that said, if a friend told me it was important to her/him, I would put it in my calendar and try to send an e-card or something. I am not a mind reader though!

    • Senior Attorney :

      I agree with everybody else that “am I too sensitive?” is not the relevant inquiry. The relevant inquiry is “are we a good match?”

      Again, three kinds of undesirable behaviors/characteristics in a partner: (1) dealbreakers. You get to decide what they are, but they should be few. For me they include yelling and The Silent Treatment. (2) things that are not dealbreakers and are, therefore, the price of admission to the relationship. You don’t like ’em, but you live with ’em because you love the person. My husband isn’t as big on birthdays as I’d like, but that is a price of admission I am happy to pay because he is the best man in the world. (3) Things that you really really don’t like and your partner doesn’t want to/isn’t able to change, but if you explain often enough and passionately enough why you don’t like them, the person will magically change anyway. Except there is no (3).

    • I think you’re being a little sensitive, yeah. It would never occur to me to text someone “Happy birthday” if I was going to see them and celebrate together later that day. A friend not acknowledging your birthday at all is totally different, of course.

    • Is this a friend girlfriend or an SO girlfriend? If the latter, she should definitely acknowledge your birthday somehow, but if you are not in the habit of communicating constantly during the day then waiting until she sees you tonight is totally fine.

      If it’s just a friend, I don’t think she owes you a happy birthday message especially if you are seeing her in person later.

  17. Rainbow Hair :

    Why is this Thursday acting like such a Monday?! Why are husbands and why are toddlers? Why do I have to work and why isn’t this coffee working?

    Anyone else wishing we could skip today?

    • “why isn’t this coffee working?” – I end up checking the package to make sure I didn’t make decaf by accident at least once a day

    • OMG, yes. Maybe it’s just that we’ve reached the tipping point for sunshine and it’s now totally obvious that it’s winter and will just be dark and cold? (We had a warm fall here and I’ve been in denial.)

      But, yes, I wish I could skip clear through to the weekend…

    • Monday -Wed I was normal. This morning hit me and I could barely get out of bed . Maybe something about it being November now, maybe the cooler weather, who the heck knows. I’m also wondering if my coffee has been replaced with decaf and my daily vitamin with a crazy pill.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        SAME. I’ve been a morning exerciser for three years now and these last two weeks it just has not happened.

    • Calibrachoa :

      *raises hand*

      My housemate is being an absolute donkey perforation, i forgot to buy two out of three things I went to the shops for before work, and I ripped the collar of my favourite blazer.

    • Aquae Sulis :

      “Why is this Thursday acting like such a Monday?!” I love this phrase, and might have to borrow it!

      Hope your day gets better.

    • Senior Attorney :

      And why was it so dark when the alarm went off???

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I am glad I’m not alone, but also sad that lots of people are having A Day.

    • "wow, you look tired" :

      I completely forgot to put makeup on this morning. Just, totally forgot. Don’t know how since I never leave the house without makeup. I look like a sad pale ghost with no eyelashes. And, because YES Thursday is being such a Monday, I have a meeting with a bunch of fashion-industry people this afternoon. At least my outfit is cute and I have nice lipstick in my purse.

    • I cannot wait for daylight savings time to end this Sunday. I’m hoping that it will help mornings a least a little bit. Even my typically active happy three year old golden retriever just did not even want to do this morning. He went out (in the rain, completely dark) for about five minutes to pee, came back in, and was just sitting in the bedroom while I got ready, totally zoned out looking ahead. Like eyes glazed over, half asleep. If the dark rainy morning sucked the energy out of that dog, there’s zero hope for the rest of us.

    • givemeabreak :

      YES! I’ve had to triage no fewer than tree totally unnecessary dramatic feuds in my office today.

  18. Question for all the wise ladies out there (hello Senior Attorney!). I have a vague sense that people don’t like me. How do you know if people actually dislike you or you just think they don’t like you.I’m not sure if I need therapy for low self-esteem or if I come off as arrogant or selfish or something that I need to fix. I generally have a great life and am otherwise happy. Thanks.

    • This is me too – I look forward to insight on this! I do try to think “objectively, could they really not like me?” and the answer is no, so I think it must be vibes. I think I am just awkward and make others feel awkward.

    • I don’t think you can ever know how someone truly feels about you. Just try to be a good person who is generally likable and assume that their problems with you are *their* problems, not yours.

    • I talked to a well known life coach about this once, and she said to me flat out, Who cares, and I was like umm, I do! And her response was kind of harsh, but is growing on me. She said, there will be people who you think like you, but actually don’t. There will be people who you think don’t like you, but actually do. Just live your life.

      • I like this. Thank you.

      • Yep.

        Sometimes people don’t like each other. It’s a thing that’s completely unavoidable. If you think people in your personal life don’t like you, don’t hang out with them. If you they’re in your professional life, stay friendly and professional but just stop caring. You can’t turn yourself into an emotional pretzel trying to figure out why people don’t like you and how to fix it because, even if it were possible to fix all the things person A didn’t like about you, inevitably some of the things you changed now mean person B doesn’t like you instead. Changing yourself to please other people is a losing game. You have to just decide to not care.

      • Senior Attorney :

        This! And honestly, what does it matter? If people interact with you appropriately, who cares if they like you?

        Sometimes I turn it around as a thought experiment. There are people I like and people I don’t like, but generally whether I like them or don’t like them doesn’t really much matter to me, and doesn’t much affect how I treat them (because of course I try to be as nice and polite and kind as I can to everybody).

        There’s a saying “what you think of me is none of my business,” and I think that’s right. Everybody is entitled to their innermost thoughts. Just be a good person and let it go.

        • pugsnbourbon :

          +1. There’s only so much you can do. It used to gut me when someone didn’t like me – I placed a lot of value on that external validation. It took some therapy but I feel much more secure now. I try to be self-aware but also genuine and true to myself (which I figured out how to do in therapy).

    • whether they actually don’t like you or you’re getting bad vibes off of them, maybe these aren’t your people? And that’s OK!

      • Adding to this – know that there are your people out there. Sometimes we spend so much energy worrying about the people who we think don’t like us that we forget to look for and nurture relationships with the people who do like us – our people! You absolutely do have your people; you just have to quit focusing on the ones who aren’t and let yourself be open to the ones that are.

    • BeenThatGuy :

      I have been told, in many instances, that I have a polarizing personality. People either love me or hate me. There is almost no in-between. I struggled for years to accept it, especially professionally. I worked on it in therapy and came to realize that I’m okay with that. I am who I am.

    • I have struggled with this my whole life, even with people who are objectively my very close friends. I had some good CBT once and found that thinking about very objective measures of being liked is somewhat helpful. Like, would X still invite me to travel with her for New Years every year if she didn’t like me? Would Y have shown up and helped me DIY decorations for my wedding if she thought I was annoying? My rational brain says “no, probably not” and that quiets my anxieties for a bit. It’s definitely not a cure-all though, and I still struggle with these feelings.

      • Senior Attorney :

        OMG I am (irrationally? maybe?) convinced that I am the most annoying person on the planet (my mom taught me that I was annoying from the cradle). I tell my husband that his super power is the ability not to be annoyed by me…

    • Why does it matter what people think of you? My thought is as long as you are respectful and honest, people will respect you. I don’t need people to like me (I have enough of that with my family and close friends).

  19. SF in House :

    Why did they add that embellishment around the cuffs? Without it, I’m “meh” on the blouse. With it, it is h3ll no.

    • Unicorns Unite :

      Not just that, but if you look closely at the picture, it looks pretty sheer. You can see the waistband of the pants and it looks like the chest has been blurred due to the sheerness.

    • Yeah.

      Also, was browsing on there and saw this description on another blouse, which made me LOL:

      “Donned with a design element that’s constructed for ease of movement and a breezy on-and-off experience, this ever-so elegant blouse boasts a basic simplicity to stand out in style. Its placket cut and figure-friendly silhouette exude an enduring symbol of a product of women’s proprietary, understated glam.”

      “an enduring symbol of a product of women’s proprietary, understated glam”!!!!

      • KateMiddletown :

        Yeah the new website copy is… interesting.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        I wasn’t sure if it was just me that was eye rolling at the random words they have thrown together….
        The sleek simplicity of perennially polished style defines this anything-but-basic top. Refined by pretty pleats and luxe vibes with the twist of retro bell sleeves, this fresh wardrobe staple sets the bar for sartorial yet totally sensible glam.

    • The poofyness gives me a big-bird vibe…

  20. Tel Aviv hotels? :

    I’m going to Tel Aviv for a few days in December. Anyone have a good hotel recommendation? Looking for a reasonably comfortable hotel that won’t break the bank. TIA!

    • Senior Attorney :

      This was years ago and I don’t really remember the price but I stayed at the Dan Panorama, right on the water, and it was fab.

  21. I’m in my 40’s, never had contacts/glasses before, but now need reading glasses. And I really need them…..

    I have a life/job where I am not seated in one place for most of the day. Moving a lot. And I don’t typically wear clothes that have large pockets for carrying glasses. What do people do? Do you get bifocals, where half is nothing and half are reading glasses?

    I already feel like I am not aging gracefully, and can’t afford to keep up with dying my greying hair, and the idea of having reading glasses on a chain around my neck like my elderly aunt is making me a little depressed.

    Ideas? What do you do?

    • Around a chain on your neck, set atop your hair, or folded into your blouse neck are pretty much your only options for reading glasses. You could get bifocal contact lenses with no prescription on main part of the contact lenses and reading prescription on the bottom but don’t know why you would…

    • How about wear your glasses on top of your head? I just buy the walmart readers, so I am not worried about stretching them out.

      (Also, I dye my gray roots w/ the boxed stuff from the grocery store. It’s about 8 bucks every 6 weeks and takes about an hour total time, including shower, at home. I’m sure it would look better from a salon, but I definitely like it better than the grays on me.)

    • SuziStockbroker :

      Hi, I am 50, wear glasses (but need to take them off to look at the computer or read documents so they are on an off a lot even though they are “progressives”).

      About 2.5 years ago I decided to stop dying my hair. It was a hard slog to get through it, I had mid back length hair and cut it to an inverted bob. The last of the dye was cut off in May and I have done nothing since then. I should probably go get it cut now, but it is so freeing (and so inexpensive). I only get 2 hair cuts a year now! That’s it, I spend no other money (except shampoo and conditioner) on my hair. It is fabulous.

      And I get SO MANY compliments on my hair now and I think I look younger than with the brown, orangey mom-colour.

      For my glasses, I have a necklace that has an open oval pendant, and I stick my glasses though that. It looks less old lady-ish than the “granny chains”. Or, I just fold them into the neckline of my blouse or dress.

    • Perhaps not the most professional look, but I put them on top of my head like I do with sunglasses or I fold them and hook them into the middle top of my shirt (hope that makes sense) assuming it won’t create inappropriate cleavage.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I do these things, too.

        And I buy them by the half-dozen at Amazon and leave them sitting around in every spot where I could possibly need them. (Although that’s not foolproof because they tend to cluster together in herds…)

        • I have a family member that does this, and there are a pair of readers hanging from every lamp switch, hidden inside the shade, all around the house…it’s pretty funny.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Oh, the lamp switch! I hadn’t thought about that! Ha! Great idea!

      • I fold them and hook them in the neckline of my shirt, then forget they’re there and ask if anyone’s seen my glasses. Multiples are key. I have one pair that are optician quality lenses for needlework, sewing, or anything else that requires fine focus, and a ton of drugstore ones scattered throughout my personal and professional life. I even keep a pair in the clerks office of the court I frequent the most, because I cannot read without them any more.

    • No advice on the hair color (I plan to keep coloring until I die), but I deal with this problem in a couple ways:

      1. Fun readers. Skip the tortoise shell or Buddy Holly frames; I prefer the frameless half glasses because they take up less real estate on my face. My readers are purple, orange, red, and assorted neons. I am in the market for leopard ones. I do not spend more than about $25 on them (I have found lots of glasses on Black Friday sales and at The Rack), so no guilt if they get lost or broken.

      2. For accessibility, multiple pairs of readers. They live in my purse, on my nightstand, by my kitchen charger, and on my computer stand at work. I am considering keeping spares in my car. That lets me avoid toting them around to a degree. Also, The Husband and The Kid are trained to put readers that show up in random places by the charger.

      3. La Loop or an Etsy equivalent to hold them. It’s a thing. Many cute options. Also, I finally have found a use for the boutonierre slits that are on the lapel of some of my work jackets.

      4. I put the glasses on top of my head often, but keep cleaning cloths with all of my pairs (they generally fit nicely into the cases).

    • Can’t help with the readers, but for the color: investigate beauty-supply shop options instead of box color. I make my own color using Wella Color Charm that I get at Sally. I do a blend of like 4 different colors that is richer than the box color, which always looks a little flat to me. The cost of the color is essentially the same, though you have to buy developer as well. Still way cheaper than one salon visit.

      The manual is easy to navigate and the salespeople are pretty helpful. I’ve been thinking about trying to do my own highlights too, but haven’t quite gotten there yet. I love that I can touch up my roots at home whenever I need to – and I just make the amount of color that I need, so there’s very little waste.

    • I’m 27 and technically I need bifocals! (Although I wear contacts for distance and layer on the reading glasses as necessary because I refuse to go full bifocal.) It doesn’t necessarily mean you’re old–according to my optometrist it would be better if a lot more people who spend a lot of time reading/doing computer work would wear reading glasses. I just keep one pair in my purse and wear as needed.

      Check out Warby Parker for cuter options. You can get almost any of their styles made up as reading glasses without a prescription.

  22. Black and white checkered kitchen floor :

    Is this still a classic look, or would it turn off future buyers?

    • I still love it. But it depends on the rest of your kitchen.

    • Classic for quirky neighborhood with colorful houses and “restored” homes, outdated and possibly plain ugly in a more modern or classically decorated neighborhood.

      • Black and white checkered kitchen floor :

        Oh man. I have to interpret the decor scheme of my neighborhood? I don’t know how to do that. And what if it changes?

        Picture a standard suburban-looking street where most of the homes were built in the 40s-50s.

        • That sounds like a fit to me.

        • Whenever a house in my neighborhood goes on the market, I look at the listing to get an idea of what other houses in the area look like on the inside. I do this both out of curiosity (I’m obsessed with HGTV and that sort of thing) and to think about how my house looks in comparison when I’m doing mental calculations of how much could we list it for if we needed to move– e.g. is my house the only one with laminate counter tops? has everyone redone their bathrooms?, is the neighborhood getting fancy enough that I want to look into getting the front yard landscaped? etc.

          My neighborhood was also mostly built in the 40s and 50s, and I don’t see a lot of checkered floors. I don’t think a checkered floor would necessarily look out of place, but it’s a lot of look. Could you do a checkered pattern in other colors? Like gray and white? That seems fresher.

          • Oh, and yeah, I feel like I need to add that if you are doing this for you and you’re planning on being in the house for a long time, do whatever you want. I have a crimson entry hallway, a butter yellow living room, and an avocado green kitchen. Would a realtor tell me to paint my house this way? Nope. But I love it and we plan on being there for a long time.

          • Black and white checkered kitchen floor :

            I like your idea of checkering with a different color. I don’t have to go full-out Clue, I suppose! I’ll think about that.

            I do plan to be here for the foreseeable future, and it’s a small floor space with no wall dividing it from the dining room. It’s also a climate with short days and a long cold season, so lightening things up is usually a good idea.

          • Commented below and just saw this – if there’s no definition between rooms, your space will feel noticeably bigger and flow better if you maintain the same flooring throughout, and run it the longest direction possible. It will feel smaller if you place emphasis on the boundary with flooring – I try to use light fixtures to define the space.

          • Black and white checkered kitchen floor :

            Thanks, C2! My other idea was to remove the tile and see if there’s hardwood underneath. That may be the obvious choice since the rest of the floor is hardwood.

          • YES, YES! Try it, anyways! But have a backup plan, just in case :)

    • Personally I would hate it. I find it so busy.

    • It’s polarizing, so probably not the best if you’re trying to sell.

      • +1. I’m in the “oh no that doesn’t fit my style AT ALL” camp, but others love it.

      • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

        This. We almost didn’t buy our place because we didn’t want to do renovations and one bathroom had the checkerboard floor. Tore it out and replaced it with calm, tan tiling before we even moved in.

        If you plan on staying and really like it, go for it though. It was honestly an easy renovation that you could do before selling if you were worried about being able to sell.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I love it so much! We had it in my childhood home and it was imprinted on me at a young age, I think.

      It’s a great 40s-50s look so will probably be very nice in your house. And if you’re not planning to sell immediately, do what you like!

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      In my opinion, it only works as part of a crisp, stylish type of kitchen. So yes with sleek marble and streamlined appliances, but no with heavy wooden chairs and farmhousey curtains.

    • I’ve worked in the flooring industry within the past 2 years: If you think you’ll sell within, say, 4-5 years, please, no. If you’re planning to live in the house indefinitely, do what makes you happy. I think the look is fun to visit, especially if the rest of the house is charmingly retro, but I wouldn’t want to live there. It is out of place in today’s kitchen trends and while it’s a vintage/retro look, it is not considered “classic” or “timeless”. Particularly if it’s not actually vintage to your home.

      Quality flooring material is expensive and flooring installation and removal are separate expenses. If you plan to sell in the foreseeable future, you will have these expenses twice. Paint is one thing – paint is cheap. Paint whatever colors you love, and plan to re-paint before selling (even if you choose neutrals, you’ll probably want to freshen paint up before you sell). If you love a retro look, there is so much you can do with paint, furniture, rugs, small appliances, and decor.

      Lastly – real-estate wise, if your market is not particularly hot, you do the checkered floor and don’t touch it before selling AND buyers feel your flooring choice is dated, they will weigh that against your asking price as they calculate the cost to replace. If your market is always hot, it wouldn’t matter – but that’s probably not predictable so far out.

    • We have a mid-century modern home, with a vintage stove in the kitchen. The look works but it is a [email protected]&% to clean.

  23. I keep getting pulled in by acquaintances who sell MLM products, but I was happily surprised by some of the Rodin + Fields. Anyone have experience with Monat products, specifically their dry shampoo? Also looking for any recommendations on a fantastic dry shampoo.

    • Klorane oat shampoo.

    • Also interested in Monat reviews. I avoid MLM like the plague but my hair (thin/curly) is awful at the moment and I’m getting desperate.

    • I loathe MLM companies. There are tons of dry shampoos out there that you can buy without supporting a MLM. Batiste is a drugstore classic. I also like the one by Dry Bar.

    • Bumble and Bumble pret a powder. It’s expensive but it lasts forever, so for the value may even be cheaper than spray can stuff.

      • +1. I’ve tried a bunch and keep coming back to pret a powder. It’s the best. Sephora usually has the little mini ones at the register so you can try it for cheap, and they’re also just nice to keep in your bag or the car.

    • R and Co dry shampoo paste. I have a friend who is a prolific Monat rep. I liked the first set enough to buy it again but this time I don’t like it at all – seems to make my hair limp. It’s pretty expensive too. I also got their version of the R&F lash growth stuff but I keep forgetting I have it.

    • Klorane is great but expensive, I think Batiste works about as well and is cheaper.

  24. Anon for This :

    Can anyone share a success story of finally kicking a bad habit? I have a disgusting habit of scratching the skin on my legs until they are flaking or bleeding, and it becomes a bad cycle because those patches get super itchy when they are in the healing process. This is how I cope with stress. I’m trying to find some strategies other than wearing tights or nylons everyday. Thanks.

    • I had an unconscious habit of pressing the sides of my tongue into my teeth when I was stressed, which was causing my dentist concern. One trick that helped was to put a little post-it flag over the Outlook icon on my computer. It was annoying (intentionally) and every time I went to click on my email icon at work I would be reminded to stop doing my bad habit. It helped!

    • How about a moisturizer that is intended for eczema? They can act like normal moisturizers but also have anti-itching effects. I have eczema, and my compulsion to itch is so bad sometimes that I just decided to pack a mini bottle of the stuff in my bag to bring everywhere. Otherwise I can end up at the bleeding point too.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I’m doing a new habit thing! Where I get to put check marks in my journal when I do the habit I want (or don’t do the habit I’m trying to break) — almost dumb how motivating it is! — but it makes me exercise and I hate exercising (but feel much better when I do it).

      Also how short can you keep your nails?
      Also can you do another thing instead? The inside of my mind is very talk-y, so it helps me to have actual words to say to myself inside my head: “not scratching! deep breaths!” …something like that?

    • Are you sure this is actually a habit and you don’t have eczema?

      • Or OCD? I just read an article about a woman who picked at her ingrown hairs til she was bleeding. And it was not a habit, it was a compulsion. She ended up going on a low dose of some antidepressant and it really helped her be able to stop the picking.

        • Yep, this is what I was thinking. This sounds like a compulsive habit that might benefit from treatment.

          • Sorry, sent before editing. I meant to say *compulsive behavior* not habit, duh!

          • What is the difference between a compulsive behavior and a bad habit?

    • So I have/had the same habit, and it comes in several forms. Skin scratching, scab picking (gross, I know… :( ), teeth clenching, brushing/pulling out hair. It’s all related to anxiety and stress. I was able to kick the skin scratching habit by getting a humidifier, lowering the temperature in my house, and using Aveeno shower oil on my skin before getting out of the shower. It helped my skin stay moisturized and hence, no urge to scratch. Addressed the teeth clenching by getting a night guard, that I actually wear sometimes during the day if I’m stressed and no one is around. I do yoga as often as I can and listen to music I like in the car to lower stress. I used to be a smoker and nail biter too, and with those I quit cold turkey. Now that I’m reading this list, I probably sound like a mess lol.

      • I have the hair thing. I pull out my hair when stressed. Did you have any luck kicking this particular habit?

        • Anonymous :

          You know, I haven’t actually tried to stop this habit. I guess it was lower on the list and also, I don’t do it to the extent of noticeable hair volume loss and mostly only do it in private. The only real victim may be my husband who notices a bunch of hair on his shirt or something and just shakes his head is dismay. What has your experience been?

    • I’ve only been successful when I either eliminated the problem that led to the bad habit or found a substitute.

      I used to scratch my scalp a lot. Especially when I was bored or stressed. I’d eventually get sores and it was just not a great habit to have. I tried for years to just not do it, but it never worked. Finally I switched to a gentle shampoo and started shampooing daily. Turned out my habit was due to my scalp being uncomfortable because my shampoo was drying out my scalp the day I washed it and then getting oily the second day. Now my scalp doesn’t bother me and I don’t scratch.

      I used to always chew gum. Always. And it wasn’t great because I’m in court a lot and I’d forget to spit it out before a hearing or I’d start reaching for a piece of gum multiple times during a hearing and would have to stop myself. I switched to bringing a bottle of water with me everywhere. I don’t bring it to court of course, but in the rest of my life, it replaced gum, so now I no longer think about gum.

      So maybe for you, try creams to help with your dry skin. Wear tights until your skin heals. Then apply lotion every time you have the urge to itch.

      • Triangle Pose :

        Yeesh, I’m so guilty of picking at my scalp… this is probably a good reminder to go to the derm about this. I’ve had sores, dry and flaky scalp for years now and no amount of medicated shampoo, oils, apple cider vinegar seems to help.

    • My brother did something similar and his therapist told him it was a symptom of anxiety/mild OCD. You might find medication (antidepressants probably) helpful.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      I FINALLY quit biting my nails, after pretty much my entire life spent biting them down to the quick, ripping off my cuticles, bleeding and hurting whenever I touched anything–it was kinda pathological tbh. What finally worked is that I totally shifted my focus from “quit biting your nails, loser!” (and then biting them to punish myself for biting them) to “hon, take care of your nails and cuticles, okay, hon?” I bought myself some nice hand cream and started doing gel manicures, and I constantly compliment myself on how nice they look, how smooth my cuticles are, how strong my nails are getting, etc.

      So I feel less stress and anxiety connected to my hands generally, and also “taking care of X” is something that admits of gradations better than “don’t do Y.” Either you did scratch your legs or you didn’t, but if it’s “take care of the skin on your legs,” then some days you take care of them better or not so well, but it’s not such a black-and-white failure if you slip up.

      • The same shift in thinking seemed to help me finally quit, too. Beating myself up and telling myself to stop never worked, but using hand cream and keeping them painted and neat did the trick. It’s been over a year, which is by far the longest I’ve ever gone without biting my nails in my entire life, and I think I really am over it. I feel good about caring for them properly.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        Absolutely. I used to pick at my toenails and cuticles until I started with regular pedicures. Somehow the combination of “don’t ruin the pretty” and “you just spent $40 on those toes” managed to get me to stop.

    • Anonymous :

      The ONLY way I was able to quit my lifelong habit of biting my nails was getting medicated for my anxiety and depression (turns out I’ve had an anixety problem since I was a little kid).

    • Are you hurting yourself to the point where you think you might be getting a dopamine rush from it? You might want to find another habit that does the same thing without hurting yourself like pinching the flap of skin between your thumb and pointer finger or digging your finger nail into the palm of your hand or clenching your hands together as tightly as you can. Something that keeps your hands busy so they can’t scratch that might offer that same dopamine rush that you get from the pain from scratching.

      Are your legs ever actually itchy? Or do you scratch out of habit?

    • Keep track of whether or not you have given in to your habit and reward yourself when you pass milestones (X days/weeks/months without scratching)?

  25. I specifically wore (subtle) eyeshadow and mascara today (I don’t wear eye makeup a lot) and a coworker just asked me “are you OK? your eyes look puffy.” They don’t look or feel puffy to me. I thought I looked good!! Crud. Maybe wrong color or not used to seeing makeup on me? It is sort of a pink shimmer eyeshadow off the Nars palette so maybe it makes my eyelids look reddish. I give up!

    • I don’t think I’m good enough at makeup to pull off applying pink eye shadow. Maybe it’s the color?

    • You have to layer pink with something else. I like using a shimmery pink as a highlighter just under my brow line and in the middle of my eyelid. Use a brown or gray on the rest of the eyelid.

    • +1 pink eyeshadow makes me look like I lost a fight.

    • Definitely no pink eyeshadow. I learned this the hard way — I put some blush on my eyes thinking I was clever and multiple people told me that I looked ill . Doh.

    • It’s the pink color. You can make pink or red eyeshadow work, but you need to treat it as a special highlight of the overall eye make-up (and not as an all-over-lid color).
      Monika Blunder has a great Youtube video tutorial using dark red eyeshadow (which could be also applied to pink shadow as well).
      That said, I haven’t seen the eyeshadow you mentioned in person,so take my reco with a grain of salt.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Might have to do with your blending technique. In general, the most intense part of the color should be your eyelid crease, blending out both ways. If your pink is REALLY light, you might need a darker shade in the crease And when all else fails, black eyeliner looks great with pink shadow and basically makes any eyeshadow look purposeful.

  26. Smart Home Buying :

    Husband and I recently moved to a gated, very family friendly community in the South from New Hampshire. It was a blind move for us – no family, no friends, new jobs for both of us – so we decided to rent rather than buy. Luckily, it has been amazing and we love the community we’re in. We’d like to buy here after our lease ends in March 2019.

    In New Hampshire, we owned two different houses. Both times we felt like we got scr3wed at some point in the process – either paying a liiiitttle too much for the house, or feeling kind of desperate to sell and made more concessions than we would have liked when selling.

    I’d like to be much smarter this time around. I’ve been keeping track of houses that sell in the neighborhood and for what price, how long they were on the market, etc. I know this is stuff your realtor is supposed to give you, but I feel like we always got a selected data set in the past.

    Does anyone know of any good resources for learning how to more strategically plan/pick a house to buy? We have the money for the down payment, this is more about making sure we pick the right house (not too big, at the right price point, whatever else…)?

    • Senior Attorney :

      I think you’re doing the right thing by following the market closely. Also, when you’re ready to buy, choose a realtor who specializes in the exact neighborhood in which you want to buy. He/she will know the inventory and will be in the best position to find you the house you want.

      • Senior Attorney :

        But also? It’s super normal to come out of a real estate deal feeling a little screwed…

        • Yeah, I was gonna say, I don’t know if it’s possible to feel otherwise?

          • Smart Home Buying :

            I need more friends like you guys —
            I feel like all we hear about is everyone’s major victories with house buying/selling. We, on the other hand, are something more like “Wow, we walked away at closing without owing anything, and after the closing attorney takes his cut, we’re hoping to get $1-2k back.” womp womp.

        • yup I fired my first agent because she gave me hella bad advice to overpay for a property – that was being sold by her colleague. interviewed a few agents and eventually I was happy with where I ended up but at the same time I kind of regret paying that much in commission (in a HCOL area so that % works out to quite a sum).

          not sure whether this is the type of thing you’re thinking of but I did a lot of legwork myself in terms of visiting and discussing prospective homes with my bestie – who was super helpful. is there a friend or two in the new area who’s savvy about this kind of thing?

    • the frugalwoods have some posts on this:

      • Smart Home Buying :

        Wow, thanks – the open house post is particularly good. Comments by other posters are helpful, too. Good rec!

    • anon a mouse :

      I made two documents. The first was a list of our desired qualities in a house — must-haves and nice-to-haves. The second was a list of all of the houses that sold in our target neighborhood over a 2-year period (we were house-hunting for a long time). That list included list price, sold price, number of bed/bathrooms, lot size, $/SF, how quickly they went under contract and notes about any special features. After 6 months or so I had a pretty good idea of the market and how quickly we’d need to move.

      We looked at A LOT of houses that were close. After each one, we’d review our list of must-haves and decide whether or not they merited a second viewing. I was surprised at how easy it was, standing in someone else’s shiny new kitchen, to forget about things I had decided were dealbreakers.

      Also, in your situation, put the word out via neighbors that you’d like to stay and want to buy! You never know if someone is thinking about putting their house on the market.

      • Smart Home Buying :

        This is great, thanks! Did you end up finding a home that met all your must-haves for what you expected to / wanted to spend? Any buyer’s regret or things you wish you would have put on that list?

        • anon a mouse :

          We compromised on one thing: our home doesn’t have a coat closet. (Old house, not uncommon, but also sort of a PITA.) It also has a smaller yard than we had hoped for, but it is beautifully, professionally landscaped, which we hadn’t expected but is nice to have. Other than that, we got everything on our list, at a price under what we were prepared to spend.

          One of our biggest priorities was layout — we have in-laws who come frequently so it was important that the layout worked for that in a way to give them their own space with a separate full bath. It was also a dealbreaker to have a family room on a different floor — so many houses in our area have a basement rec/family room and that was a nonstarter. We knew we could work with a lot of cosmetic issues if the right layout was there.

          • What do you do to make up for the coat closet? I’m moving into a house soon (my very own! I’m so excited!) and it doesn’t have a coat closet. It’s something I’d like ideally, but my only dealbreakers were that my new home be detached so I don’t have to share walls with neighbors, in my desired neighborhood, and, of course, in my price range.

          • anon a mouse :

            Coat rack for now. Longer term we might actually build something in, or possibly add on a mudroom at the back of the house.

            Congratulations on your new home Anon!

  27. Sloan Sabbith :

    My little brother is a senior in college. He’s stayed pretty close to his high school friends, and one of them committed s**cide a few days ago. Bro says he’s OK, but he’s pretty stoic/won’t share feelings. What do I say? I just feel so horrible for him. How do I help?

    • Anonymous :

      at this point, just acknowledge the pain/ loss and let him know that you are there for him if/ when he wants to talk about it (or anything else). Just offer him a safe place (which as his sister you undoubtedly are).

    • Linda from HR :

      Some people react that way to death, they’re stoic about it and either don’t have a lot of feelings, or want to process it privately and don’t really want people rushing to comfort them. Let him know you’re there if he wants someone to talk to, that’s really all you can do. If you pressure him to open up to you, he’ll just pull away.

    • New Tampanian :

      Just let him know you’re there for him. And he’ll come to you if he needs/wants. It’s still fresh and probably doesn’t feel real to him yet. Maybe go to the funeral with him just to be there. Otherwise, I agree on not pushing.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Unfortunately it’s this weekend and me (and my parents, gah) are across the country.

  28. Amazon price list hack :

    I posted this late to whoever asked the question about how to find the lowest prices for all colors of something (like shoes) on Amazon. Here is what I do:

    1. Bring up the product page
    2. Click on the “new and used available from $__” link
    3. There will be boxes at the top of the list with all sizes and “lowest offer for each.” You can choose your size or see all sizes
    4. There will be boxes below the sizes for all colors/styles and “lowest offer for each”

    If you choose your size, then lowest offer for each, you can see a list of the prices for your size.

    For unknown reasons this feature doesn’t seem to be available on my phone, but can be used on my iPad or computer. I use it all the time because I hate clicking around and trying to remember what the black was versus the purple. And I’m typically unwilling to pay 20% more for my preferred color.

    I hope this helps!

  29. Under eye circles :

    Best regimen for treating/covering dark and puffy under-eye circles? I would be OK with either one miracle product that does all or several products. Or, is this something I need to see a dermatologist for?

    • Anonymous :

      I have genetic dark circles and have tried about a million different products. Nothing really works except for concealer. My favorite is the Benefit Boing concealer, but I also have liked the Maybelline Age Rewind that people here have recommended. The Nars creamy concealer is another good one. For me, Boing is the most user-friendly and has the most staying power.

    • In-House in Houston :

      Rodan & Fields just came out with a new product for this.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m still experimenting with eye creams, but I find The Ordinary’s caffeine serum for under eye does work on puffy eyes. For dark circles here are the products I use: Make Up Forever Color Corrector in an orangey color, followed by Nars radiant creamy concealer in one shade lighter than my skin tone, and then finish it off with Laura Mercier secret brightening finishing powder. I use a beauty blender for all of it and its really easy. I swear the brightening powder makes a surprisingly big difference.

    • When I wake up and my eyes feel puffy, I will put a tablespoon in the refrigerator. After about 10 minutes, when it gets cold, I press the rounded side against my eye lids and under my eyes and I can feel the puffiness going down. I then use my usual clinique under eye concealer. I find this method great for “waking up” my eyes on days when they need some extra help. Good luck!

  30. Anonymous :

    Shop for me! I’m looking for a plus size navy suit, ideally with each piece under $100. I don’t like pocket flaps. I am curvy and don’t need those silly pocket flaps sticking out and further emphasizing my hips.

    • Macys and Lord&Taylor both sell separates by Kasper, Calvin Klein and Anne Klein.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      What about this one?

  31. For the in house lawyers here – how does your in house legal team handle paying for CLEs? Is there a separate budget for it? Do you need to expense it every time you attend something? Or is there a policy to only get free CLEs through firms you work with? I’m trying to figure out what’s “normal”.

    Thank you!!

    • In-House in Houston :

      We have a budget per attorney, but basically we charge it to our corporate credit card and submit it as an expense.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      We are members of the ACC, so get a ton of (almost all of) our annual CLEs through their annual meeting. Other CLEs of interest are often free (outside firms targeting clients like us) or I put them on my corporate card if they’re not. But it’s very ad hoc — I forward an email saying, “I’d like to attend this. What do you think?” and Boss says, “sure.”

    • When I was in-house (F500) each attorney had a modest annual budget for both practice area/non-mandatory bar association memberships and local CLEs ($500), plus the company did periodic practice group and company wide conferences/roundtables where you could pick up at least some hours without drawing down your budget. Spend up to the budget was pre-authorized through expense accounts; spend over the budget and non-company CLEs out of town had to be pre-approved by immediate supervisor + associate g.c. and were unlikely to be approved.

    • Triangle Pose :

      F50 company – we have a department training budget. Each year, we all submit the registration fees for any conferences we want to attend that year. Travel for those come out of a different budget so we don’t have to allocate for that.

      We have a departmental membership to ACC so all of those CLEs are included and already covered. We also have a departmental membership to PLI so all of those CLEs are included and already covered (though those are more for subject area, not tailored for in-house practice like ACC). We also have our BigLaw outside counsel come and do free CLEs at our offices for us twice a quarter (usually 1.5 hours over lunch with catered lunch to get people to come). Outside counsel wants facetime with us so they come and present on a subject we choose/they work on so it’s a win-win. We are doing a new thing where we invite NAMWOLF, smaller firms or non-NAMWOLF minority/women owned law firms to come and present CLE to us and get in front of us as a chance to raise their profiles and get an opportunity for us to hire them, and a way for us to meet our diversity spend.

      Logistically – I put it on my corporate credit card.

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