Splurge Monday’s Workwear Report: Luxe Wool Cashmere Flannel Cap-Sleeve Dress

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

Luxe Wool Cashmere Flannel Cap-Sleeve DressLove this green sleeved dress from Talbots — the cap sleeves, the V-neckline, the darts and set-in waist — fabulous! I only wish it came in navy or black. It’s $299, available in regular and petite sizes 4-20, but take 25% off today (and get free shipping on $175+). (There is a matching jacket and pants if you like it.) Luxe Wool Cashmere Flannel Cap-Sleeve Dress

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  1. Gail the Goldfish :

    Anyone have any suggestions for good yoga videos (be it youtube, a website, or an app)? I’m looking for some shorter (20-30 minute) videos for beginner yoga to do after my cardio.

    • Love Yoga with Adriene on Youtube. She has a bunch of different playlists, including some videos for beginners.

    • Triangle Pose :

      Yoga Studio App, you can customize your own once you’ve done a few. You can choose 30, 60 or 90 minutes, you can choose intensity level and whether you are focusing on flexbility, strength, etc. It’s PERFECT for hotel yoga or when you’re traveling for work.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        I spend a lot of time in hotels, so that is exactly what I need. Thanks!

        • Triangle Pose :

          Also wanted to add, can download for offline viewing, adjust all videos with or without background music, with or without instructor audio (if you just want to watch her do the poses and do it along with her instead of hearing the audio instructions) and with just pose name only instead of the entire audio (“trikonasa right” instead of “straighten your right leg, reach your right arm out and follow it down to the flooe, breathe in, out,” etc.)

    • Do yoga with me is really great & available on YouTube – they have different styles of yoga, levels of difficulty and types. Super high quality.

    • I like Five Parks Yoga on YouTube. Second yoga with Adriene as well.

    • Anony Mouse :

      I like Yogamazing: most videos are around 20 minutes and focus on specific topics (e.g. Yoga for Runners, Yoga for Lower Back Pain).

    • Down Dog is awesome. It’s an app (free) that creates a unique routine every time – you can customize by level/length. It’s a series of stills with audio, but I far prefer it to videos that get old after a few times.

    • joan wilder :

      I really like YogoGlo (dot com). It is around $18 or so per month, but it has a library of some 4,000 videos sortable by focus and time from 5 to 90 minutes, and also has an app with the ability to download some classes. I use the app with work travel and when I’m home I stream it on my Roku.

  2. I’d call these short sleeves, not cap. Also, for $299, I’m buying a sale dress from a higher quality line, not shopping at Talbots.

    • You might be surprised by the quality (in a good way) and everything is 25% off today.

    • This is probably better made than your “quality” lines. Talbots wool suiting items are fully lined, with generous seam allowances and meant to be tailored.

    • Yea, you’d be hard pressed to find a wool cashmere dress anywhere at any price point. It’s real high quality stuff.

    • Did you wake up on the wrong side of bed this morning?

      • Nope. I just don’t like Talbots and don’t find their garments to be particularly high quality (presence of a lining isn’t dispositive IMHO – if the lining doesn’t breathe well or provide the same amount of “give” that the garment itself does, I find it to be hot and annoying). Apparently others disagree, which is fine.

  3. This dress. Drool. The matching pants and jacket also look beautiful. Great pick!

    • +1

    • Anonattorney :

      Does anyone know if Talbots runs high-waisted (like Boden)? Also, do they really not carry any tall sizes? I love this dress, but I’m 6 feet tall, so I’m worried it’s just not going to work.

      • I don’t find their clothes to be high-waisted. I am on the cusp of petite sizing at 5’4″, so I often buy a regular size, but I start with petite sizing at Talbot’s precisely because I am high-waisted.

      • They do not! (Thank goodness!) I’m an hourglass and cannot wear Boden because of their high waists. Talbots always hits my waist properly.

        I’m 5’7 and have had to have every Talbots dress and skirt except one hemmed. (The remnant of their being a store for mature women.) Worth a shot!

      • A handful of their pants come in tall lengths, but that’s it. I’m 6 feet tall also, and Talbots skirts are pretty much always long enough because they tend to cut modest. Except for the tall pants though, all of the dresses and regular-length pants have been too short for me.

      • Anonymous :

        So, who carries short-waisted dresses?

    • I am short-waisted 5’11” and agree that they carry only a few pants in tall; they cut for “regular” waists and their skirts are often long enough. If you are at all on the higher end of the size range, consider ordering their dresses in OX or 1X–they tend to be about 2-3 inches longer and then are perfect on me!

    • Ann Taylor has a very similar-looking dress this season (with matching pants, skirt, and jacket), which I bought two of on sale for under $100. Sadly now lucky sizes only because they are 50% off. But in case it re-stocks, search for “Seasonless Stretch Cap Sleeve Sheath Dress.” Not as nice fabric, but that’s actually a plus for me because I’m allergic to wool/cashmere.

  4. I need some new work pants to fit my postpartum shape. I’m closer to a pear than an hourglass, and my hips and thighs are curvy. For those with a similar shape, what are your favorite pants?

    • I’ve never had kids, but I’m a similar shape and Ann Taylor/Loft fit me well. Try the Julie fit at Loft and the Kate fit at Ann Taylor.

    • Loft Julie pants — I take a 4 or 6

      Levis curvy cut jeans (on website) — I size up to a 10 but these are the best (and least expensive) jeans I’ve ever had.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Yes! I love the Levis curvy cut. When I put them on I was astonished – I had never had jeans NOT gap at the waistband before.

        Also, lower quality but similar cut/fit – Target’s curvy jeans.

    • Honestly? I don’t wear pants. It’s impossible to get something that will fit and flatter every time I go to put them on. (My thighs are such that if I go out to dinner and indulge, you can visibly tell the next day. It’s kinda nuts.) The only pants I wear are Old Navy Pixies and jeans with stretch.

    • Another vote for Loft Julie and AT Kate.

    • Vince Camuto skinny ponte or trousers postpartum have been a lifesaver for me. also like the loft Julie. VC runs large like loft.

  5. Love this pick. Wish I had $300 to drop on it!

  6. Who is off from work today? My office is technically closed but I feel weird not going in!

  7. Harvey Weinstein / Miramax :

    Has anyone else been following this?

    I somehow knew about the Rose McGowan thing going back several years (don’t ask me how — I am a minivan driver in a flyover state). But all of the sudden, law and even science (and the trading floor) seem to be so much less totally awful places to work.

    Still, I am really shocked that the Miramax board found all of these rumors to be stunning / shocking / something new. I mean, this has been going on for decades, the whispers have always been there, and it seems so totally business as usual.

    Ugh. Just ugh.

    I’m no big Reese Witherspoon fan (maybe I think that she is Tracy Flick???), but I applaud her having her own company and hope it crushes competition like Miramax.

    • I have been following over the weekend, was not aware of it before. I think the shock the board members have expressed is akin to the guy in casablanca who is *shocked* that gambling is going on.

    • I don’t think the board was shocked by any means. It’s been the worst kept secret in Hollywood for decades. I have a friend who interned at his company over a decade ago and she was warned by the more senior interns not to ever be alone with him. It just became a huge PR disaster after the NY Times story and the board felt like they had to do something about it to save face.

      • Yeah totally shocking to me as like a casual media consumer but clearly not need to many many people.

    • I love how the story being told is of “harassment.”

      I think that the six-figure settlements are for way more than harassment. Can people not call a spade a spade? Is a felony not a felony when it comes with a settlement payment and a NDA?

    • Anonattorney :

      I’m pretty sure that the board knew about this for a long time, and the timing is due to the fact that Bob Weinstein staged a coup to get Harvey out of the company.

    • They only got rid of Weinstein once it became public. Really doesn’t make me see the good in people when they only behave correctly when someone is watching.

      • I guess it’s better that the board feel like they have to fire him once it became public rather than feel like they can keep him on. However, I’m disappointed that they didn’t fire him when they were (presumably) signing off on the first sexual harassment settlement (or the second, or the third, or the fourth…).

        • Or like: hey, this guy is a walking financial and headline risk liability. Fire, fire.

          From what I understand, the brother is not a bad guy but was stuck with co-owning a company with him.

          And Marchesa makes lovely dresses (which I would not buy now; too bad Georgina).

  8. Does anyone have advice/anecdata for moving in with a partner with a drastically different income? He makes roughly 3x what I do, so we’ve decided to pro-rate rent and utilities according to that, but we haven’t figured out a good way to divide daily expenses since we aren’t combining our finances at this point. We share similar values about spending and saving money and he’s conscious that my spending budget is way less than his, but we’ll need a more concrete system to make this work long-term. Thanks for the wisdom!

    • For daily expenses, how about whatever is joint you put on Splitwise and then use the same ratio to divide up?

    • Former Retail :

      I would still consider a joint household account. My husband and I did that years before we were married – and I’ve always made 2-3x his salary . Each of us direct deposits an appropriate amount each pay period and all home-related bills and groceries come out of that account. The amounts need to be adjusted occasionally as you figure out a budget (we’re still adjusting now for teenage boy eating habits) but has worked for us.

      • I second this. Create a joint household account. You contribute x% and he contributes y%. Pay all of your fixed and variable expenses out of this. Designate a separate credit card to joint expenses like groceries and meals out. Also pay that card out of the joint account. You just have to remember to use the designated card on joint expenses and also agree on what qualifies as “joint”. Generally we said meals out together and groceries and items for the house.

      • +1 to this. My husband and I still use this method, and our salaries have changed over the course of our relationship. Currently, I make 2x what he does, so I contribute 2x what he does to the joint account, and when I was unemployed, we shifted stuff around to change contributions at that time.

        But, (and I know you didn’t ask this) I wasn’t comfortable combining all of my accounts with his before we were married (they’re still not all combined 3+ years into marriage)) and I was not comfortable having a joint credit card with him until we were married. To each their own, but that was just me. I felt that should crap hit the fan, there was only a limited amount of damage that could be done with a joint account to which not all of my income was contributed.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Same — before we were ready to merge finances we had a “house account.” Let’s say my share was always 3 to his 1, and rent was going to be 4X, instead of 3X from me and 1X from him, we’d contribute like 3(X+1) and 1(X+1) to the house account, so there was always extra to cover utilities, shared purchases, dinners out… Then we could just throw down the house account card at a restaurant/whatever.

        Unlike Anon at 11:01, we fully merged finances a few years before we got married (for legit reasons it was the appropriate thing to do) and in fact we just shuttered our other accounts and the “house account” became just the everything account. Now we’re 100% communistic with $… I guess I bring that up because it shows that starting with a joint account can lead to a bunch of different outcomes.

        • Diana Barry :

          +1. We opened a joint account right when we moved in together and then gradually we closed all the individual accounts over the next 2 years so that by the time we got married everything was joint that could be (except for our retirement accounts).

    • billie jean king :

      This suggestion works best for a partner that you are very serious with, instead of a moving in to save rent scenario.

      What my partner and I did in a similar situation was open up a credit cards (with good travel points) and open up a joint checking and joint savings account.

      We then sat down together and figured out a budget for all of our shared expenses (rent, utilities, car insurance, food, dinner out, VET bills, etc.) and then figured out what each person’s pro-rated share would be.

      We put all of our shared purchases on the joint credit card and then paid it off via the joint checking account every month. We paid all of our non-credit card expenses with checks/ACH from that joint account.

      • We much preferred this to using splitwise and venmo-ing money back and forth. It takes way less time to administer which has the benefit in my mind of not forcing you to think about money all the time.

        I’m a huge believer in budgeting and frugality but I don’t want to spend a ton of time thinking about who owes who what money in the relationship.

        As the person in the partnership who makes less money having this tally running all the of the money i owed my higher earning partner just made me feel icky and made this partnership to be somehow less equal.

        This way, we set the terms of our financial partnership (and re-evaluate from time to time) and then go forward and spend together in partnership.

        We also used the joint checking account to save for very large events together, like our wedding, baby, etc.

        I think one thing that also helps our/my feelings about this imbalance is that I am the “money person” in our relationship. I am something like the CFO of a large non-profit and my spouse is a surgeon. So while she makes the majority of the money in the relationship, I do our taxes, budget, shop for insurance and mortgage rates, set up our retirement plans, etc. I think both spouses (but particularly the lower earning spouse) really needs to know where their money is going as a couple, why its going their, what their financial goals are, etc. This will make you feel like a more equal partner in the relationship and also prevent you from being caught out if the relationship breaks up.

        Congrats on moving in together!

    • fake coffee snob :

      If you’re amenable to keeping an ongoing ledger, I recently tried splitwise.com and it worked great for a larger group, so maybe it would also be suitable for a couple. It allows you to split different expenses on different formulas (if needed – say, if he paid for something that was 100% “yours” or vice versa) and keep track of who owes who what so you can “clear your tab” anytime you want to.

    • I was reading a news article about the whole thing this weekend and I shouldn’t have read the comments, but I did. Men and women, but mostly men, were saying things like, “These women are accusing him just to get fame for themselves,” and, “this is how feminists take down a powerful man”, etc.

      I was confused because he has all but admitted this in his statement – then I realized the article had been written before his statement and only updated with his statement later. I wonder how they defend him now.

      I found the whole thing depressing. I know I shouldn’t read the comments but I always wonder if I’m seeing what average people really think. Sometimes I just feel hopeless about our culture.

    • DH and I lived together for years before getting engaged and did not combine any finances until getting married. He paid for rent, utilities, and internet and I wrote him a check every month. Neither of us made a ton and we were renting pretty mediocre places so we weren’t interested in decorating or buying nice furniture. We each bought our own groceries. It wasn’t that hard.

    • We have a spreadsheet for household expenses, with calculated columns to divide each expense by our predetermined ratio. He makes roughly double what I do, although with every raise I am narrowing the gap :)

      Yes, we recalculate the ratio every time one of us gets a raise because we’re nerds. I got a small raise at the start of this month and my share of the rent went up by $6.

      So if I buy groceries, I enter the amount into a line, it splits it out in to his share and my share and totals everything up. At the bottom it says “Parfait owes Rocket Scientist $X” and I write him a check at the end of the month if it’s worth it. If it’s a small amount we usually just roll it over into the next month.

      The spreadsheet also has a section for a 50/50 split, which is where we put things like concert tickets and our cell phone family plan, which feeds into the grand total as well.

      Also he always pays when we have meals out because he likes to.

    • Anonymous :

      Percentage of income. Get a joint credit card for shared expenses then you pay 25%, he pays 75% of the bills.

    • Financial Industry Anon :

      Yeah, I made significantly more than my now-husband when we first moved in together. We rented a place that he could comfortably afford to pay half of, and then we split the bills. Generally, I paid the housing-related bills and then he wrote me a check or sent me a paypal payment once a month. The only other joint expense is groceries and I ended up buying most of the groceries because I like a lot of expensive things and didn’t want to ask him to pay for half of my $15 cheese.

      I don’t necessarily think it’s a great idea for him to start subsidizing you at this point when you’re first moving in together. If you have similar financial values, I’d think he’d be okay with setting a baseline standard of living for now that you are able to contribute equally to, and then he can add on fun stuff for both of you to whatever extent he is comfortable with. Given the income discrepancy, he’ll probably end up treating you to dinner or buying concert tickets for both of you or paying for travel expenses you couldn’t otherwise afford, etc., but that’s different than paying the lion’s share of your fixed monthly expenses.

  9. Harvey Weinstein. I just can’t stop thinking about it, and about one comment in particular that women knew. Women always know. We find ways to tell each other. And yet these claims are hard to “prove.” It just has me thinking radical thoughts about who came up with the rules of proof (men) who decided how women should respond (men) and who has the most to lose (men). In short, today I am not feeling men.

    • Is it like there is so much $ to be made that people stop caring? Or that we can all be bought, the question is at what price?

      Looking at you, Harvey’s Oscar People. Looking at you and your silence.

      • Anonymous :

        Of course, even the women themselves were paid off to shut up and “go away”.
        This is why I’m against allowing monetary payouts – I’m for criminal proceedings with little monetary incentives. Sexual harassment is a criminal offense and should be treated as such. He shouldn’t have been able to pay everyone off, have them sign NDAs, and make all of this go away. He should have served time for what he did.

    • Right there with you. So over the patriarchy at the moment.

      I’ll raise you some reflection on emotional labor. I love my SO. He wants to be a supportive, equal partner, and I think he thinks he’s doing his best. But sometimes I’m just like, pick up your f*cking beer cans, put away your g*ddamned clothes, and realize that “deep cleaning the living room” means more than vacuuming.

      • Female here and I will be d*mned if I spend what little free time I have cleaning the living room. Domesticity (or lack thereof) does not have a gender.

        • Anonattorney :

          Yeah, I agree with that. I don’t think household chores are emotional labor. My husband does more of the cleaning around the house (dishes, taking out trash, organizing clutter) because he likes it cleaner than I do. I pay for the housekeeper.

          I do handle, however, ALL of the emotional labor. I get birthday and christmas presents for EVERYONE’s family members; plan our family vacations; schedule doctors appointments for the kids; schedule our social life; etc. This stuff can’t be outsourced, and is pretty tiring after a while.

          • Could have been clearer–he does all that stuff, but only if I tell him to. Which is the emotional labor piece.

        • +1 I hate cleaning and I am lucky enough to afford an occasional maid service. There is nothing else I will do barring putting away toys. Deep cleaning is not vaccumming? I don’t really care.

    • There’s a good Buzzfeed article about this and a not-so-funny Onion article about it too. Basically, both say it’s a male privilege to ignore this stuff.


      And I thought about it in terms of a party I was at this weekend. Sports are somehow acceptable gossip for guys – substitute Bickell’s one day contract with the Blackhawks for Gweneth “baking cookies” to steal the Shakespeare in Love part – and the conversation sounds almost the same. But sports stats truly are mindless, while celebrity gossip often serves as modern folk tales, with cautionary themes and morals to the story. Funny which one is seen as “higher brow.”

      • I’m with you.

        I’m in BigLaw and don’t want my daughters in that. But there is no way in h*ll that my daughters would ever do anything remotely in the entertainment space (including as accountants or anything not on the “talent” side). If anything, music is worse. But entertainment and music are so, so, so bad that it’s amazing to me what a L&E attorney in those markets must deal with. Ladies — start speaking out. Spill your annecdata. Not breaking confidences, just what you understand to be the case.

        For once, I am all With Gloria Allred.

        • Uh your daughters are gonna do what they do actually. Just like all the rest of us working the jobs we can.

        • Anonymous :

          My mom didn’t allow me to play sports involving arms (volleyball) or at an icecream store growing up. I’m actually glad about the ice cream store…

          but biglaw was allowed.

    • Given that I had to explain to one of my associates at happy hour why exactly much of the Weinstein behavior was wrong, I’m feeling fairly over men as well. He was receptive when I explained it, but the fact that he even had a question was just exhausting to me. (FWIW, he was hung up on the fact that these actresses weren’t Weinstein’s/Miramax’s employees and so these weren’t legally s*xual harassment claims. I was like…it is entirely possible for something to be wrong and violative and creepy and not be legally actionable. The ability to sue is not the only determinant of whether something is right or wrong).

    • super anon for this :

      Yep, all of this. I’ve been troubled by the emotional labor piece for a long time, but the 2016 election just brought up a whole new level of awful. Attitudes that I thought were getting better — well, they’re really not. Trump got elected and people like Weinstein are still way too prevalent (and prominent). It seems like most men use women on some level, and we’re called crazy when we speak up.

      I love my DH a lot and he’s a good partner. He’s more woke than most men. But if something happened between us, I’m not sure I’d ever want to date or get involved with a man again. That’s how much I distrust men right now. I despise how they get to call the shots and not even recognize that privilege.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        word. word.

        election week of 2016 was brutal for me in a lot of intertwined ways: i got a text from a guy who assaulted me way back when (and i responded, telling him off for it), then there was the election, i got those not-quite-explicit-enough-to-make-a-complaint type ‘compliments’ from men I work with (unfortunately (fortunately?) not employees of my company), and some drunk guy tried to break down the door to my hotel room. it was like, if it was a movie we’d be rolling our eyes like, “we get it, men are trash, you don’t have to be so over the top” but instead it was just a week in my real life.

      • I am divorced, and I do notice that while I used to think I had “one of the good ones,” I now look back and see some pretty classic gender imbalances in our marriage that I didn’t notice, or needed to deny, while we were together. The potential feeling you describe is where I have landed now: no goal to date or have a relationship, not willing to do anything I don’t feel like doing in an effort to get a partner. It’s absolutely a radical position for a straight woman to take, and it’s super uncomfortable and sometimes lonely. But for the first time I find no contradiction between my feminism and my personal life. If some amazingly woke, gorgeous and well-adjusted man comes along to court me, I’ll hear him out, but I certainly don’t expect that so I assume I will be staying single.

        • Or you could date another woman.

          Not joking.

          • I wish I was interested in that, but alas I’m not.

          • Extra anon for this :

            I’d say my attraction physically sways 80/20 towards men, but if I’m ever divorced I’m going for a woman next. The logistics of having a truly equal partner excite me so much

          • Ditto. If only I were.

          • Umm. Not every woman’s sexuality is so flexible.

          • Lordy, no. I used to work on a DV hotline and with a social service agency. No orientation has cornered the marekt on bad relationships (or is immune from them).

          • super anon for this :

            I get that this advice comes from a good place, but I am 100% not interested in having a s3xual relationship with a woman.

          • I was once told “There’s no such thing as a lesbian utopia”

          • Thistledown :

            Apparently it’s becoming more common for women to hook-up as platonic life partners to share child care and provide mutual support. Sort of a live with your best friend as your primary partner and date on the side when you feel like it situation. I think it makes a lot of sense.

          • interesting... :

            Honestly, that is what I am planning on doing! We have even debated getting married for the financial benefits (eg. inheritance issues/pensions/benefits)

            Why should only people lucky enough to find a partner in life who matches their sexual orientation benefit? Honestly, marriage that helps provides life-long stability and support perhaps should be even more broadly defined.

            If you can believe it, my elderly father came up with this idea!

      • Preach. I feel exactly the same way.

      • The other problem is that so many women were complicit in this.

        How many fashion magazines willingly plugged Marchesa.
        How many celebrities wore Marchesa and talked it up on the red carpet.
        How many celebrities took as long as they were getting.
        How many people turned a blind eye and a deaf ear.

        People high enough to speak up were silent and stuck by his side and are silent now. Lots of women are in that group. Shame on all of you.

      • Agree

    • Wouldn’t these settlements have to be approved by the board over the years?

      I don’t understand how they are now suddenly shocked by this.

      • Of course, unless he paid them out of his own cash which I suppose he could afford. But either way the board was not shocked.

        • Shocked by people not really following the NDAs that they signed?

          In a town where even the nanny signs a NDA, maybe people are just used to shutting up. But clearly everyone needs to whisper more.

      • I have yet to see a set of articles or bylaws that give boards authority over . . . payments for hushmoney? What would you even call it?

        But whatever the policy is, officially, it is clearly not followed. Pretty sure any insurance coverage they have, and D&O insurance, would likely balk.

        I mean, I knew this. I can’t imagine that anyone cared when they were making bank and winning oscars. But now that they have seen earnings plummet (b/c they are bad at their jobs, not b/c of a boycott or any principled stand by those in the know), it’s not so hard to cut Harvey, is it?

      • It looks to me like he’d been settling personally rather than via his company. But I agree that the board has known all along.

        • I’m confused by that—wouldn’t the board have wanted protection they’d get as a party to the settlements? Unless I’m missingn something, any decent plaintiff’s lawyer would have copied the company on a demand letter.

          • Not a whole lot of industries let you meet people at meetings in the nude. And yet he did. And kept on trucking.

            The whole industry is beyond messed up.

  10. Any car accident advice with regards to repairs while liability is being determined? Filed on the other drivers policy and my car is drivable, but all the threats of “if you damage it any more while driving we won’t repair it” have me all kinds of freaked out

    • Genuinely asking – can you not just rent a car? Many insurance policies will cover it or economy cars are often $20/day on the Priceline and Hotwire apps.

      • Definitely can – it would just mean opening a claim on my policy as well to get the repairs started now, and I was advised to hold off on that if I could. Not sure if that’s still the case since the decision is taking awhile

    • Anon insurance co atty :

      A few things: your insurance may only pay for a rental IF you car isn’t drivable. Depends on your policy. Also, there is generally a duty not to make things worse, but unless parts are almost falling off and you driving the car causes them to fall off, this isn’t as huge of an issue as they’re making it out to be.

    • Bewitched :

      I would just open a claim with your own company and get the car fixed. If you are not at fault, your claim won’t count against you. If you are at fault (partially or wholly) are you really not going to get it fixed? I realized a little while ago (two teenage drivers, my husband and myself) that it’s not worth it to just wait out the other company. FWIW, my son was T-boned and the other company said it was partially his fault! My company was great at pushing back, and even though the case eventually went to arbitration, he was found not to be at fault and we got our deductible back and the claim closed in our favor.

  11. national parking :

    Hopefully this is a fun one for Monday morning! My SO and I want to do a National Parks-focused trip out West this summer, since we did Yellowstone in 2015 and had a blast. But we can’t decide what direction we want to go in! I’d love to do deserts–maybe Arches, Canyonlands, that kind of thing–but I’m worried about it being too hot in mid-June to mid-July. SO, on the other hand, would prefer trees and mountains (probably not Glaciers since we spent a lot of time in MT on the Yellowstone trip, but we also really loved it and going back isn’t off the table)–but it looks like some big chunks of what we’d like to do would still be iced in that early.

    Where would you go? The mid-June/mid-July time frame is not flexible, unfortunately. We would want to do a combination of car camping and backpacking. Thanks in advance!

    • Yosemite if you haven’t been.

    • Yosemite is incredible that time of year. It’s also one of my favorite places on earth, so I’m biased. But really… Yosemite!

    • I haven’t been, but my best friend’s sister used to live just outside of Arcadia National in Maine and the pictures from when she would visit are incredible.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I’ve only been to Yosemite out West, but it is amazing and not to be missed. The Valley is crowded in the summer, but start hikes early and you can beat the crowds, or drive up to the hikes along Tioga Road, which will be far less crowded.

    • Zion is my very, very favorite. We hiked the Virgin River trail over 4th of July weekend a few years ago and had a great time.

    • How about the Pacific Northwest? Mt. Rainier, the Olympic Peninsula, and Northern Cascades are all beautiful and offer something unique.

      • +1 to the PNW suggestion – those are all great destinations

      • +1

        North Cascades is one of the least visited National Parks, it’s really lovely.

        I’ll add in a rec for Crater Lake if you want to drive down to Oregon.

      • Yes but in June a lot will still be snowed in. I don’t find the PNW parks nearly as breathtaking as those in CA and Utah.

    • Road Tripping :

      This past summer in July we rented an RV and did Lake Powell, Zion Canyon, Bryce Canyon and north rim of the Grand Canyon. It was awesome! If you go mid-June to mid-July, it won’t be too hot. You can car camp at any of those locations. And you get the desert and the forest, as the north rim of the GC is all forest.

    • Anonymous :

      Arches is the most spectacular desert national park I’ve seen. Great thing about it is that it is one of the most compact national parks in US, and is totally doable in 4 days. On top of that, you can interact with the landscape. You can walk under the arches, you can walk around them. There are some fantastic trails where you can search for them, walk towards and get different perspective, and sit in them.

    • Anonymous :

      If you’re open to it, we did a trip to Drumheller (one day) to see and walk around the hoodoo area, then spent four days in Banff/Lake Louise, then four days in Jasper. More mountains/gorgeous lakes in the Banff/Lake Louise/Jasper areas, but Drumheller gives you some badlands. You could spend more time in the Canadian badlands if you wanted. It was a great trip. I also loved Acadia in Maine and the PNW is stunning. All good choices.

    • Yosemite. But the valley is crazy. Stay at tuolomne and hike the John Muir trail thru Lyell valley. Life changing.

  12. window treatments :

    I live on a fairly busy corner and one of the rooms we use most often runs front-to-back along the street. It’s our tv/family room and has 4 windows that can be visible from the street. We have shrubs etc planted most of the way around the perimeter but you can definitely still see in a few of them at night.

    What kind of window treatments could work well to keep light in during the day but visibility minimal at night, wihtout having to open/close blinds every single day/night? It’s a fairly small room so the window treatments can’t overwhelm it. I’d been thinking a valence + sheer but this look seems dated somehow– or at least, I can’t find any good pictures of it working in a more casual room like a family room vs a more formal living room.

    • What’s wrong with blinds? We just installed honeycomb blackout blinds that go up and down really easily with a push or pull. Then we have lightweight curtains over that which let the light in but keep people from peeping.

      • window treatments :

        Because we don’t like having to open and shut them every day since there are 4 windows and we use the room at both morning and night every day.

    • Anonymous :

      Duettes? I think they mount from the bottom so you just pull up high enough, but let in enough light that you could leave them up all the time.

    • There is something–kind of like wallpaper for windows–that you can apply that is clear, lets you see out normally but limits visibility from outside viewers. There are different brands but google one way privacy film and/or chat with your local hardware/window installer for more details.

      • givemyregards :

        I installed these in an old apartment I used to live in – it was on the ground floor so during the day we kept having to sit with the blinds closed because people walked directly in front of the windows and would sometimes peep in or knock on the windows trying to talk to us. It made the bottom pane of the windows appear frosted and actually looked a lot nicer than I would have thought (particularly because I ordered the stuff from amazon and installed it myself). I was worried it would look like a terrible dorm room or something, but we actually got a lot of compliments on it. But I definitely don’t think this solution is for everyone. We had pretty modern decor, so it matched. If your stuff is pretty traditional it may look out of place. And, obviously, it prevents you from seeing out of the windows, if you have a nice view you’re trying to preserve.

        • Sam - not the OP :

          Interesting, I’d never heard of one way privacy film but now I think I need some!

    • Aunt Jamesina :

      I have white linen curtains that don’t allow you to see in at night, but let lots of light in during the day since I have a ton of windows in our living area. Mine are from Ikea, but it looks like they no longer sell them. As a budget option, I also have white Farrah curtains from Target in our guest room, and they’re nice and substantial but still let light in.

    • Might be posting too late, but there are semi-sheer curtains now with grommets and they look more modern than old-school sheer curtains (and take 2 seconds to move to the side). Valences are unnecessary in my opinion.

  13. Second Date Advice :

    In a rare occurrence I’m actually going on a second date. Any tips? I always feel conflicted between relaxing and enjoying and assessing future potential.

    • I find that I’m better served by focusing solely on whether I am having fun and wanting to see that person again. It’s hard for me to stay in this mindset, for sure, but anything else is too much pressure, unless there’s an obvious red flag (moving in 1 month, children, still married, literally always high, whatever).

    • I would recommend a Friday night hockey game. It will be impossible for it not have lighthearted fun. Good second date event.

    • Not mutually exclusive. Relax and enjoy- that’s what you want to be doing in the future, right? Don’t assess future potential while on the date, just enjoy your time. You have plenty of time afterwards to decide if you want a third date after that. You should not be deciding if you want to invite him for Thanksgiving or marry him yet. Just enjoy your date and then after you can decide on the next one.

      • +1 – try not to think about anything other than whether you would like a third date with this person. I think my personal tendency to overthink and start worrying about the future contributes to me often not having a good time on second dates.

    • I’m sure some posters will disagree with me, but I had a pretty serious mindset about dating. I was mid-30s, wanted to get married again and have a family, and in DC with a large pool, so I went on 3-4 first dates per week and got really good at evaluating the person in front of me. I’m a direct person, and I wouldn’t have wanted a partner who wasn’t also direct, so this worked for me. YMMV.

      I believe things are going to work out how they’re meant to, so that went a long way toward taking away dating stress. I knew there was someone out there for me, so I didn’t think of dates as a potential for rejection, but more like a scavenger hunt. That mindset – that he’s out there and I’m just working on finding him – helped take away a lot of the self-doubt that can make dating so hard. I was always just true to myself – I knew I was worthy of someone great, and I was going to keep looking until I found him. I was looking for someone who fit into my life, not merely that I fit into his.

      Since I was looking for marriage, it was important to me (and fair, I felt, to the other party) to get down to brass tacks somewhat quickly. I tried to progressively (and tactfully) dig a little deeper on hot button issues on each date. Because I’m in politics in DC, I’d try to steer the conversation toward current events. I’m a moderate politically, so I wasn’t looking for a political answer so much as getting an assessment of their 1) reasoning skills (partisan nonsense or common sense? how careful are they in framing their answer? charge ahead or be cautious around someone new?) and 2) compassion/morality. Politics may be a bit much for other parts of the country, so choose other issues that work for you.

      Nothing, though, beat my now-husband on our second date: just as I came back from washing my hands before dinner, he came right out with, “So what are your deal-breakers in a relationship?” ha! He took direct to a new level. We talked about religion, children, spouse roles, all on that second date.

      While confessing, “Oh my gosh, I really like you!” on the second date isn’t a great idea, I didn’t subscribe to the idea that dating needed to be some aloof game. Be yourself. You want the right person for YOU, not some altered version of you you think someone might want. Good luck tonight!

  14. Shoes with jeans :

    I wear slim straight (not skinny) jeans, usually with sneakers or loafers. As the weather gets cold, I’m interested in a pair of boots or booties. But I’m worried that looks strange since the jeans aren’t skinny. Any specific recommendations?

    • Chelsea boots and cuff them?

    • I think cuffed with booties would be cute

      • Anony Mouse :

        It depends on how wide the leg openings actually are. I have a couple pairs of Madewell Rail Straight jeans from a few years ago, and they look weird cuffed.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t wear skinnies, and I don’t roll jeans as I think it looks ridiculous, so I just wear very classic, simple booties and jeans over.

    • I wear these: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/kork-ease-natalya-wedge-bootie-women/4602486 in tan (goes with everything) and cuff my skinnies. I don’t normally wear heels but these are comfy! I have walked up to two miles in them. I think they would look fine with slim pants too. I’m short (5’3″), so I usually have to cuff my pants anyway. If you’re average height you might not need to cuff them.

  15. Paging Trefoil! :

    Pumpkin pie recipe as promised.
    I don’t make my own crust I either buy the shortening kind or my grandma makes it for me with crisco.
    For the filling:
    2 c pumpkin
    Coconut cream from one can of milk
    1/2c sugar
    1T molasses
    1/2t vanilla extract
    1/4c binding agent (I like corn starch)
    1t nutmeg
    1t allspice
    1t ginger
    2t cinnamon
    1/8 t salt (or a crack of a salt grinder)
    The important details are 1 water is the enemy and 2 use a food processor.
    If you make your own pumpkin like I do make sure you squeeze out the extra water using cheese cloth, otherwise 2c of pumpkin is basically one can. Refrigerate your can of coconut milk over night preferably about 2-3 days this will allow the cream and water to separate, very carefully scoop off the cream, use the water for a smoothie or something or just drink it. Make sure your can of coconut milk is only coconut and water, don’t get one with any binding agents or thickeners.
    Now we begin. Run sugar through food processor, this will make it basically a diy icing sugar but most importantly it will help absorb moisture. Then mix in pumpkin and coconut cream and pulse until smooth. Then mix in corn starch, spices and salt pulse until smooth. Pour into crust. Bake on bottom shelf at 325 for an hour. Let cool on counter, refrigerate overnight. This makes a creamy, spicy and mildly sweet pie. You can add more sugar for a sweeter pie or less spices according to taste.

    • Very Anon For This :

      Tell me about making your own pumpkin. I’ve seen a few methods online and tried one a few years ago and it didn’t seem “right”…but maybe that’s because I shouldn’t be comparing it to canned?

      • Get a pie pumpkin (not a carving pumpkin), cut off the stem, scoop out the seeds, cut it into quarters. Put the quarters flesh down on a baking sheet for 1 hour at 350. Let it cool completely. I personally like squeezing out the excess water when pumpkin is in chunks in cheese cloth pre-pureeing. Then put the squeezed pumpkin in a food processor and blend. Having a good food processor is key here, then it will be silky smooth.

      • Canned pumpkin is actually some other squash entirely.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        I make most things from scratch (including all of our bread, yogurt, and pie crust), and I don’t think puréeing pumpkin is worth the time. It’s not that it’s difficult, but the canned variety is just as nice and requires far less cleanup.

    • Ahh, this is amazing. I’m off dairy at the moment and was wondering what we’d do for thanksgiving.

    • Thank you!! I’m so excited to try this.

  16. I got a Ferragamo Amy bag as a gift for law school graduation and just started using it since I started as an associate last week. I love it and I’ve never had a bag this nice! After a week of normal use the leather strap is fraying a bit. It’s not noticeable to anyone but me, but I’m bummed since it’s already showing wear. Is this normal for bags at that price point? It was a gift so I do not have proof of purchase but I do have the card proving authenticity in case an exchange is needed.

    • No, not normal – I have two Ferragamo bags that I’ve carried for years and they look brand-new. I would contact a local Ferragamo boutique.

    • I have had that same bag for a year (and am not very careful with it) and it looks pretty much brand new — I would take it to the boutique as well.

  17. Fond farewell :

    I need advice on how to gently break up with someone you care about and don’t want to hurt, who has done nothing to hurt you. After a year with my kind, gentle boyfriend, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t want to spend my life with him for personality/compatibility reasons that I don’t see changing. I know that he does not feel the same way and will be hurt, but I want to minimize cruelty. I’ve never done this before, and I’ve never been on the receiving end of a surprise breakup. Anything in particular that makes it less or more painful?

    • It’s awful and painful. Make it clear, make it kind, make it easy logistically. Do it face to face.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        Yup, and don’t give in to any requests from him to meet up later, text, call, or see each other as “just friends”. It’ll just make it harder on him in the long run.

    • Having JUST went through this on the receiving end, it’s never going to be easy on them. I was so stunned by it, that I ended up walking away from the conversation the first time he started (also because he tried to do it on a public bench, so don’t do that.) I honestly don’t know that there could have been anything he did to make it less painful, especially because it was a surprise to me.

      Agree with Anonymous at 11:13a about making it easy logistically. If you have things at each other’s location, find a way to get it back to them/from them without having to see them. I know that made it easier for me that the weekend after we broke up, I could just drop a box on his front porch and walk away. Didn’t have to wait for him to answer the door or see him and try to listen to him apologize or whatever. I had a sweatshirt at his place, but that was it, so I just left it – it wasn’t worth the emotional baggage of trying to talk to him.

    • Baconpancakes :

      If you can do it at his house, so you can just leave afterwards and he doesn’t have to go anywhere, that’s best. Make it clear that you won’t contact each other for at least x weeks/months, so there’s no feeding his hope of getting back together or winning you back. Don’t let the conversation get dragged out – he might want to talk to process, but if you feel like you’re going in circles after a while, cut it off.

      The best thing is to just be honest and direct, and make it a clean break.

    • I surprise-broke-up with a boyfriend once. He was a great guy and we had lots of shared experiences, he was just not at all the guy for me. I knew I needed to do it, but didn’t want to do it, if that makes sense. I did it at his house on the Sunday night of a long weekend because I knew it was going to be a long and painful conversation and because I also wanted the chance for us to take all the time we needed to say what needed to be said. I just came right out with it and said, “We need to break up. [Reasons]” He was genuinely stunned and just kind of sat there for a minute.

      I started the conversation around 5 pm, and it went on for hours. Not in an angry way, but in a sad “Can’t we fix this?” “I wish we could, but we can’t.” “You’re right, we can’t.” way. By 9 pm, we were both emotionally exhausted, but needed a bit longer to say goodbye, so I stayed the night and left in the morning. That morning was a clean break – no texting, no talking, no seeing each other.

    • You can’t really make it suck any less for him, so don’t let yourself get all wishy-washy thinking it will make things better. Just be direct and keep it relatively short.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I’m far from an expert on how to do relationship things, but a friend once pointed out to me — you can’t be the support person for the person you just dumped (nor vice versa). It is hard because you’re used to helping one another through hard stuff, and you might have an instinct to go back to that, but it ultimately just makes the breakup that much harder/worse.

      • Baconpancakes :

        This was a contributing factor to breaking up with an ex. If you’re still going to be taking weepy midnight calls from the girl you dated before me, maybe I shouldn’t be here…?

  18. Ecru Style Ponte Pants :

    Has anyone bought pants from this company? I’m looking at the Madison. Thanks – it’s hard to find any external reviews of their clothes. (And yes I know they are $$$ but I only need one pair of black work pants – my office is fairly casual)

  19. Fancy Salad :

    Anyone have a “recipe” for a slightly fancy and amazing salad I can take to a party?

    • Spinach or spring mix, dried cranberries, goat cheese, slivered almonds, some kind of vinaigrette if you want to keep things simple

      • Anonymous :

        +1 yum.

      • I make the same, but with sliced strawberries and some sesame seeds. The vinaigrette should include balsamic vinegar. Try looking up Strawberries and spinach salad on allrecipes and there are some good ones.

    • Bodywashes :

      I am looking for a bodywash/shower gel that both my husband and I can use in the shower. Preferably a citrus or mint scent. Would love if it was sulfate free. Not looking for a lotiony one or one with the beads. Just a simple clear one that lathers up and cleans without drying out your skin too much.

      • Bodywashes :

        Sorry about that!

        Here is a favorite salad since I posted in the wrong spot:

      • fake coffee snob :

        Kirkland Signature (costco) citrus body wash – great (light) scent, nondrying, paraben/sulfate free, can’t beat the price. I’ve tried lots of fancier stuff but honestly this is my favorite body wash bar none.

      • My husband and I both use the Aveeno fragrance free body wash that’s made for sensitive skin. It is not clear– more of a creamy look– but it does not dry our skin out and we both tend to get dry skin.

      • aveda!! rosemary-mint and it smells amazing!

      • trader joe’s has a citrus body wash that smells nice.

    • This is always a huge hit:

      I skip the parsley and don’t put in hemp seeds, I just put in more of the other seeds to get the same volume. For a party I double the recipe and triple the dressing. I pack the onions, seeds, and dressing in their own containers and assemble/dress at the party. It goes with everything. I’ve even served it at Thanksgiving.

    • I do a spinach salad with strawberries and candied pecans. Similar to this one

    • Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette from Barefoot Contessa — it’s over arugula and has toasted walnuts and dried cranberries along with the title ingredients. Beautiful presentation and very festive for fall: https://barefootcontessa.com/recipes/roasted-butternut-squash-salad-with-warm-cider-vinaigrette

    • AnonLondon :

      My go to is: Spinach, candied pecans, blue cheese, sliced pears, basic vinaigrette.

  20. Felling crappy about myself this morning. I sent a draft document to a customer who has absolutely raved about my work in the past and she not only revised it heavily, but she sent me an email back (with my boss cc-ed) telling me what a terrible job I did. I didn’t make any technical errors but she says she feels like I didn’t “get” the project and didn’t capture the essence of it in my draft. My boss seems to be taking an “eh you can’t please everybody 100% of the time” attitude about it but I feel awful. Miserable way to start the week :/

    • Sorry about that. Try not to be too hard on yourself! You really can’t please everyone all the time, but I know it’s hard to keep that in perspective. What I try to do is spend a specific amount of time reflecting on what I might do differently next time, then try not to think about it after the time is up. <3

    • I agree it’s not a big deal – no one is 100% all the time and it very most likely is a reflection of their mood not your performance

  21. Bodywashes :

    I am looking for a bodywash/shower gel that both my husband and I can use in the shower. Preferably a citrus or mint scent. Would love if it was sulfate free. Not looking for a lotiony one or one with the beads. Just a simple clear one that lathers up and cleans without drying out your skin too much.

    • fake coffee snob :

      sorry I replied to your mistaken post above! I’ll repeat my suggestion for the costco one because I honestly love it that much. I think I actually tried it because of a previous corporette suggestion. The full name is “Kirkland Signature Natural Citrus Body Wash” and if you’re not a member, I’m pretty sure you can still buy it from their website with a pretty reasonable surcharge.

    • I replied above… but what is the deal with sulfates? What are they and why are people trying to avoid them?

      • fake coffee snob :

        As I understand it, they’re basically a really harsh detergent that can be drying and can wash away the beneficial stuff on hair and skin while cleaning, which can cause stress and irritation to hair and skin. They’re not the end of the world – but they’re pretty unnecessary.

        • Bodywashes :

          My husband has a lot of skin problems so we just like to avoid it if possible to attempt to keep his skin calm and not dried out.

          • In that case try this:


    • Body wash mandarin is lovely

    • I love Nourish Organic Moisturizing Cream Body Wash in Lavender Mint.

      But I’ve recently been using Kirkland. I don’t like the scent as well but it’s cheaper.

    • Anonymous :

      Amazon subscribe and save kiss my face citrus mint.

  22. Priorities :

    How much of my current (and very strong) distaste for my grind-it-out, male dominated, investment bank job/working environment is a function of (a) fact; or (b) first trimester pregnancy hormones completely taking over my brain? I’m 12 weeks. I was getting down on this place pre-pregnancy, but it’s now mega amplified.

    It’s not even burn out – I just don’t like this place any more. We were a boutique, highly regarded, sophisticated firm. In the last 12-18 months we’ve shifted away from being highly skilled to “sell, sell, sell!” at any cost – including in the quality of people we hire and assignments we take on. I feel like this brand has been cheapened, and I’m over it.

    I’ll ride it out through maternity leave at least, but is it possible this is all just mind f-ery a la unborn child? I also went through 18 months of infertility hell – I wonder if my priorities are just simply shifting now that I’m actually going to have a family (something that never seemed real/possible until recently).

    • No your brobank is just the worst.

    • “Sell sell sell at any cost” finance bros is why I went into accounting rather than finance. I have no patience for that garbage and felt the same way before having a kid. My priorities changed somewhat, but my values didn’t. This is a values issue.

      • My firm didn’t have that culture AT ALL when I joined 7+year ago. We didn’t take on just any assignment or client – we were selective and highly successful as a firm. It’s shifted to “sell sell sell” as there’s more focus on growth/capturing market share from competitors. There is still a contingent of ‘old guard’ who do the sophisticated stuff, but I’m among the first of the ‘young guns’ who are charged with this new born mantra.

        • Did any of the “old guard” go somewhere else? If so, I’d start putting feelers out to them. It sounds like the firm has changed in such a way that it’s no longer a good fit for you.

    • Could be fetus-induced, could be because the culture sounds awful, could be a combination. But even if it is your priorities shifting, that’s okay! As someone who used to resist making changes to The Plan even when I had the inkling that The Plan wasn’t matching up with What I Wanted, I think it’s a net positive that you can identify when your priorities are shifting and, hopefully, decide whether you want to shift your life with them. I guess what I’m saying is, even if it is baby induced, that reason is just as valid as sh*tty culture. Unsolicited perspective, I know.

  23. tl/dr What are the consequences if I refuse to fill out FMLA paperwork?

    My husband was in the hospital for most of last week with an alcohol-induced issue that required medical intervention. It was eye-opening for both of us, and thankfully he’s now enrolled in an inpatient program and (hopefully) on the road to sobriety. I was with him at the hospital because he was not in a position to make medical decisions for himself, and at home with him for a few days after to bridge the gap between getting out of the hospital and being admitted into an inpatient program.

    I used sick leave at work for this time – and now HR is asking for me to complete FMLA paperwork since I was out for five days. I’m uncomfortable with this because of the nature of the underlying medical condition – my husband doesn’t work for my company but has occasion to interact with them from time to time for his job, and I don’t want HR maintaining a record of his need for this kind of treatment. (I am aware that all of this information is supposed to be kept private but I have reasons to be concerned that my particular HR department doesn’t always treat these matters with the care and sensitivity that they should.)

    So – can I just refuse to fill it out? What potential consequences are there to me if I don’t? Even if I were inclined to provide them with this sort of paperwork, I assume I would be required to get my husband’s consent to release his medical records to my employer and he is not all inclined to do so.

    Any advice welcome. Related, any advice on dealing with a newly-sober loved one would also be welcome.

    • Do you have vacation days to use instead? If not, ultimately, they can just fire you if you refuse to use job protected leave for 5 days off. They probably won’t but this is how FMLA works. Is there anyway you can be truthful and vague?

      • I can be vague, but I can’t control what a doctor will put on any forms (assuming I can get my husband to consent to release his records, which is unlikely and will require a big fight.) All of his discharge paperwork says, “Etoh-induced __.”

        I hadn’t thought of the vacation angle – thank you. It would mean giving up a planned trip to see relatives over Thanksgiving, but in the long run that might be better than the alternative.

        • You can ask the doctor to do a certification of a serious medical condition and not mention alcohol. Like “I certify that Jane’s husband Jim suffered from a serious medical condition requiring his hospitalization on xyz dates.”

          • +10000

            No one is actually entitled to a hard diagnosis for the initial FMLA paperwork; the doctor will understand and basically write exactly this.

        • Then fight with him. What part of you could get fired is complicated?

        • Engineer Girl :

          Yes. The doctor does not need to put specific info on the form. Just certify that there is a medical issue that required you to care for him. I don’t see why they would need to provide medical records. I was never asked to give them for the handful of times I had to take FMLA leave (for myself and for my child).

    • You could ask to take vacation/PTO instead of sick time. If you do not fill out the paperwork for FMLA after being out for that long you might only get in trouble for violating time and attendance policies. It really depends on how heavy handed they want to be and what you said. This is the type of thing that intermittent FMLA is for though, and could protect your job in the event that they take more drastic personnel action. I would just fill out the paperwork. Your FMLA records (that reference his records) should not ever be used where it could affect his job, and someone from HR should be fired for that. Good luck.

    • I think they’re entitled to make you use FMLA whenever you’re out for a medical issue, even if you take sick leave. I know that when I have a baby, I’ll take 6 weeks of sick leave and 6 weeks of parental leave (all paid) but I also have to use up my 12 weeks of FMLA leave concurrently – the idea being of course that I cna’t take my 12 weeks of paid leave and then turn around and take 12 weeks of unpaid FMLA leave. You don’t need to specify that the issue was alcohol-related, but I think you have to fill out the FMLA paperwork.

    • Also just no. You needed FMLA because of his screw up and now he’s balking at you applying for it because of consequences for him. Too bad so sad bro. There are consequences to you for not doing it. He needs to take responsibility here and be grateful he has a partner with a job.

    • Also: you do not need his consent, because he is your spouse which is covered.

      • Are you saying that I can obtain his medical records against his consent and vice-versa? That’ different than what I understood was required by medical privacy laws.

        I can certainly fill out my portion of the paperwork however I like, but the portion that goes to the hospital to prove the existence of the condition includes a blank his signature to consent to release. Is our paperwork just wrong, and his consent isn’t required?

        • They don’t get all his medical records. Ask the doctor for a certification he suffered from a serious medical condition and that the doctor not mention alcohol. Submit that and see.

        • You don’t need to release medical records. At all. Your husband also does not need to sign but his medical professional will have fill it out. They can be somewhat vague in regards to diagnosis.

          Ie on-going problems with internal organs instead of cirrhosis of the liver.

          See the DOL form.


          • Annoy Mouse :

            Your employer’s form may request medical records, but I do not think that FMLA itself requires the release of medical records. What other posters have said–that your doctor can provide certification that does not state the actual cause of the hospitalization–usually is good enough. I’d at least try that, and if they come back demanding the actual medical records, I’d then ask HR for proof that medical records are legally required for FMLA.

            There’s what the law requires, and what employers do, and the two don’t always match up correctly.

    • Generally, Al Anon.

    • Have you looked at the paperwork? Mine was super brief. You may be able to be vague and ask the doctor to be vague as well. So maybe just putting down husband was in hospital or husband has x condition but not the cause. There’re really shouldn’t be too much fuss over 1 week.

      • Mine was pretty long (like 15 pages total but I just attached the one paragraph letter from my doctor saying I had surgery and was required to be out X dates and wrote “see attached” on the like 10 pages the dr was supposed to fill out.

        Worked fine.

    • Look at your company HR policy.

      At mine, we can refuse to let you use vacation/un-justified sick days.

      For instance, even if you have the time you can’t just come in one day and say “I’m using 60 vacation days consecutively starting tomorrow.”

      But you can do that to take care of a family member’s real medical issue, confirmed via the FMLA rubric.

      If you think that you are going to have to take additional time off, I’d do the FMLA paperwork. I would also be up front with the doctor who is completing it in regards to the information concerns. They should accommodate you.

    • blueberries :

      If you live in a jurisdiction with mandatory paid sick leave (like California, NYC, DC, etc.) you might want to check the regs/call the relevant agency to ask for advice on this point.

    • This isn’t necessarily the best advice, but if you have solid standing at your job, can you just “forget” to turn the stuff in and see what happens? If you don’t otherwise use your sick days this year, maybe it won’t be a big deal. Or explain the situation to the doctor’s office and ask for as generic a note as they can give you. I guarantee you won’t be the first.

    • Does HR/your boss know it was an issue with a family member and not you? Some companies I have worked for do not allow sick time to be used for family members and require instead that PTO be taken. FMLA may be an exception to that.

      Agree to everything above w/r/t vague letter from dr or hospital confirming hospitalization. My dad had open heart surgery and a complicated recovery. I didn’t have to put any of that on the FMLA form; just a note from the physician that my father was hospitalized and I was one of his primary caregivers.

    • Anonymous :

      Does “an alcohol-induced issue” actually mean, “My husband is an alcoholic and his addiction put him into the hospital for five days”? There’s real freedom in just saying the plain truth.

      And, Al anon, stat. You’ll need to learn how to let him deal with the own consequences of his behaviors (including any dings to his career or reputation). It will be hard; you will feel guilty. You’ll feel terrible for him. But you need to do it.

    • I’m so confused. If you used sick time to take 5 days off why is your work demanding Fmla? Why didn’t you just have the flu or something??

      • It’s pretty common for workplaces to run FMLA concurrently with any extended sick leave, and often “extended” is considered anything more than the 24-48 hours that people with a cold or strep throat or stomach flu will be out. It would be some flu to be out for five business days (9 days off total, counting the weekends), and requiring an employee to use FMLA for a weeklong medical leave is definitely not unheard of. You have 12 weeks of FMLA, so if you use one week it just deducts from your FMLA balance, it doesn’t mean you can’t take FMLA again in a few months for a separate issue.

  24. Last minute request – anyone have a sitter they can recommend in the Alexandria, VA area? We need someone this Friday night. It is my brother’s wedding, and the child care that was arranged fell through. It would be for one 15mo in our hotel room. If you have any leads, I would be really grateful! You can email me at the following address.

  25. Cover Letter Advice :

    Any tips on how to write a cover letter? I’m a 2nd year attorney starting a job search, and the last time I drafted a cover letter I was a law student. I never really felt like I knew what to write then either, but with sooo many things I could touch on in my letter now I feel really lost.

    • This book is a gold mine. My law school had it, and I liked it so much, I bought myself a copy. It’s specifically the 2001 edition that’s so good – later editions aren’t as great – so you’ll have to look past a bit of late ’90s cheese (it talks about job hunting on the internet as being new). The thing that makes it amazing is that the book is full of cover letters that the author grades (B+, C-, etc) and explains why they earned those grades and how they could have earned better grades. Inspiration and critique, all in one place. Link to follow.

      • https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1580082270/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_32?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A3FP10PKWU9WWW

        • Oh gosh, I just checked and it looks like they don’t have any of the 2001 edition in stock. I’m sorry! But bookmark it for later or check your local library.

          • Looks like they have used copies in stock, for cheap enough that even if it’s not the right edition you wouldn’t be out a lot of money.

    • No advice on style or specifics, because you probably have that down. But overall, think of it this way:
      Your cover letter is a civil complaint.

      Cause of action (you get job), elements(skills and things they need you to have, not just stuff you want to highlight), just enough evidence to satisfy notice pleading (dynamic examples in support of your proffered skills, don’t repeat resume). Go skill by skill, just like you go element by element in a complaint, and make the majority of the letter focus on why you are valuable to them, not just why you’re fancy generally.

      If you leave out important skills (elements), or list the wrong ones, or don’t give enough evidence (think notice pleading), then you get a motion to dismiss, aka you don’t proceed.

    • I’d browse through the Ask A Manager archives on writing a good cover letter.

    • Triangle Pose :

      Lookup cover letter archives in askamanager.org.

  26. Very Anon For This :

    I need some positive thoughts, ladies. After getting lots of bug bites, I discovered I had fleas in my house courtesy of a foster kitten I had for 6 weeks (the shelter forgot to give her flea meds before giving her to me…ugh). While prepping my house for the exterminators last night, I discovered a bed bug on my couch. That’s right. I have fleas AND bed bugs right now.

    • If it’s any consolation at least you discovered before you did all your flea stuff and will still only have to go thru this once? Good luck!

  27. I think it’s finally time for me to set up a LinkedIn profile. Attorney, ~12 years practicing, not looking for a new position but figure i should be better about maintaining my network. Also somewhat concerned that it is now “weird” not to have a profile (true?).

    Anyway, two questions:

    1) If i worked at Firm A when it was called Firm A, then left, and subsequently it was merged into Firm B and Firm B is the surviving name, how do I list that accurately?
    Is Firm A (now know as Firm B) acceptable?

    2) I was laid off in the Summer 08 crash and had a few temporary gigs until landing my current permanent role ~ a year later. All were short lived and I’m not planning on listing them. Okay plan? Is it bad to have that much of a gap showing, or should i just do year – 2008 for old gig and 2009 – present for the following gig, leaving off the months?

    • 1. Depending on the size of the firm, they will be included in the LinkedIn DB and will list the new name. Under the description you can say “Formerly Firm A.” You can also see how your former colleagues have done it.

      2. You could list “Contract Attorney” (or whatever your title is) as “Various Firms.” It shows you were working. LinkedIn can be a little funky and I am not sure you can leave off the months

    • Triangle Pose :

      1) Firm B (former Firm A)
      2) That’s fine but if I were you I’d keep the months in and just leave the gap. If you’ve been practicing 21 years, a gap from 9 years ago is fine. I think it’s weirder to have months in all other employment stints but not those two.

      Yes, it’s now a little bit weird not to have a LinkedIn at all. If you give CLE, attend conferences, present pubicly, maintain bar association memberships, network in any way, really, it’s weird to not have ANY LinkedIn presence. These days all of the conference mobile apps and digital CLE programs link directly to LinkedIn to provide your bio. It’s the easiest way to keep track of people and makes all of it much smoother. I think people resist because they think it has to be super fullsome and you have to post all the time but it does not, a bare bones one is fine – just something that tells me what practice are you are in, your current employer and some context of previous employers and what law school and undergrad you attended. I’d find it slightly odd if I looked up my outside counsel and they didn’t have ANYTHING on LinkedIn.

    • Also remember that a resume (or LinkedIn) is not a laundry list. You get to list what you want. You do not need to tell the whole world your whole history from the beginning of time. Be selective. Put up what helps market the best, most current version of “you.” Leave off the rest. You’re not lying. You have a lot of work experience and are happy to fill in the blanks otherwise. GL!

  28. Big Brothers Big Sisters :

    Going anon for this. I am considering signing on as a Big Sister, and my husband as a Big Brother, but I’m having some second thoughts. Has anyone volunteered with this organization and have experience to share?

    I initially filled out a volunteer form shortly after the election last November. I started receiving the newsletter but nobody reached out to me regarding volunteering, so I let it go. A few weeks ago I finally received a form email inviting me to apply and interview. I didn’t respond right away because it was a busy week at work and so much time had passed, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to volunteer. Then a week later, I received the same form email from a different staffer, and a voicemail from that staffer. I emailed the second staffer back and we engaged in a short exchange about my work demands, expectations of the program, etc. We tentatively have an interview scheduled next week, for both my husband and me. The idea is we’d mentor a brother/sister pair so that if either of us has an urgent work thing come up, the other one can cover.

    This may sound snotty, but I’m having second thoughts because this organization seems really disorganized. The year-long gap between filling out the form and first contact is a problem; I mentioned this to the staffer but she did not respond to that aspect of my email. Every email I receive from them is riddled with typos. I just got three emails from this staffer in rapid succession, including one that misspelled my (very common) name and said it was “nice to speak with” me, even though we’ve never spoken on the phone or in person. The most recent email also requested that my husband and I each bring a check for $50 to our interview, with no explanation of what that money is for. I assume it’s to cover a background check but it’s odd they wouldn’t explain it.

    I’m excited about the possibility of volunteering in a concrete way. I love working with teenagers and I want to be more involved in my community. But the cons are stacking up, not least of which is that I’m a Biglaw associate and I’m a little concerned about the time commitment, especially if the organization doesn’t have their ish together and the whole thing doesn’t run smoothly.

    • They aren’t paid to live up to your big law standards.

      Are you listening to yourself right now? They said speak to you even though you only emailed? SRSLY?!?

      • Big Brothers Big Sisters :

        Cool your jets. I still want to volunteer but my concern is this might spiral into problems scheduling, not following up, etc. They took 10 months to reach out to an initial inquiry, spelled my name wrong, and want money from me with no explanation. I’m not saying I’m going to back out, but I want to make sure this isn’t a chronic issue.

        • They aren’t typically doing the scheduling. You are more likely to flake than the kids. If you don’t want to do it then don’t. But they haven’t behaved badly.

        • I work with a similar org and they usually pair up at the beginning of a calendar year, not midway though. If you signed up after the election, they probably didn’t need you then, esp. for girls.

        • You’re not going to have an answer to this question until you do it, although I understand the impulse to want to save yourself the headache. Truly. But you’ll just have to dig in and see what it’s like. An internet board can’t answer this question for you.

          The con’s aren’t “stacking up”- you haven’t even done anything yet. Nothing has happened. You’re just annoyed by typos and making assumptions about how the experience will go. The staffer who is working for free or paid $10/hr isn’t there to make sure every aspect of your email is responded to and that your ego is soothed- you’re there to help.

    • It’s my understanding that they can be wildly oversubscribed with Big Sisters and wildly undersubscribed for Big Brothers, relative to their needs.

      And they are probably understaffed and underfunded. The person who wrote your letter is probably a high school graduate. And probably didn’t go to the same sort of high school you did. She or he may be trying to do the best they can.

      If you want to reach back with a heart of empathy, maybe your volunteering can be more in the clerical/training department? Helping with records, understanding their needs, etc.

    • BBBS is one of those organizations where I would worry a little less about where your money is going and the administrative staff because it’s more hands-on for the volunteer. Remember why you probably signed up for this – to be a continuing positive influence in a young person’s life. While typos and not-total-professionalism are annoying, the ultimate goal is to be a mentor and role model for a young person. Focus on that and get involved as soon as you can and make an effort to meet with these kids often. You need to be the person that shows up for them and is dependable. That means scheduling your time to prioritize them. The most important component of the program is not bailing on these kids – don’t bail before you’ve even started.

      • Big Brothers Big Sisters :

        So really, once I get started I am scheduling with the Little and their parent/guardian directly, right? If I’m not going to have to deal with the admin office on a regular basis, I agree it’s far less of an issue.

        • This would be a question for the coordinator – better on the phone or in person. I don’t volunteer with them but am very familiar with the organization. I think some may coordinate with their little but that some of them it is sort of a set-it-and-forget-it where it’s like “we meet every other Saturday at 2pm.”

          BBBS really is a great organization, though, and I highly encourage you and your husband to join but please really commit to it. That will be difficult with a biglaw schedule but will be so important for them.

        • Most likely, yes. Once I was matched, the only time I spoke with the office was when they checked in to see how things were going. I too had a gap between when I expressed interest and when they reached out to me. Generally, they have way more big sisters than little sisters, so they don’t need everyone that expresses interest immediately. They can’t do anything for/with you unless there is a little sister match who makes sense for you.

          They are overworked, underpaid, and as your post points out, unappreciated. If you don’t want to volunteer because of some nits, then don’t, but IMO that shows me that you aren’t really interested in this particular volunteer opportunity. My little’s mom was hardly the best speller on the planet, rarely used proper grammar, and almost exclusively used text speak, but IDGAF because I wasn’t there to correct her spelling or grammar.

    • Disorganization is a significant turn-off for me for the same reasons that you’re describing; my schedule is so crammed that I sort of can only work with organizations where I don’t have to deal with major logistical issues.

      Also, you may want to take a look at this Freaknomics episode on mentoring: http://freakonomics.com/podcast/when-helping-hurts/ .

    • I think those are valid concerns. I’ve volunteered with disorganized organizations and it’s frustrating. That said, I’m very sure that the people who work for BB/BS are either volunteers themselves or are just high school graduates like another person said. Perhaps another volunteering opportunity would be a better fit for you right now in this stage of life where your every hour really is at a premium? If you’re interested in youth, maybe pro bono for a family court? And maybe you can return to BB/BS later when life isn’t so hectic.

    • As a lawyer who has volunteered for a similar org, you sound terrible and like you don’t actually want to do this. So don’t. You’ll just be pi$$ed off at every minor thing you deem unprofessional.

      • I agree. This doesn’t seem like the right fit for this person. Find another way to give back.

    • Kindly, most nonprofits don’t have their ish together.

      I might assume that there’s a lot of turnover, (around here, the match agents start at $25K), and maybe some delays with doing a husband-wife/siblings match. (although I think you’ll have to be a “big couple” because they probably won’t let opposite-gender people be paired together).

      The interview is fairly intense (there’s a lot of liability in matching people to be unsupervised with children), and I assume that the $50 is for the background check and the man/womanpower to do the reference checks. I run a small nonprofit, and also require my volunteers to pay for their background checks (because there’s about 60% who don’t end up committing….when you work with volunteers, “definitely” means “it’s possible.”)

      After you’re matched, there’s not much more contact with the agency, so you’ll be working directly with the children’s families (altho if typos in an email bother you, communicating with often inner-city parents might also be eye opening)

      • Co-sign your last sentence.

        I used to have to move heaven and earth to get to my lunch-with-a-lawyer kid only to show up to the school (which had its own background check) and find out that they had just gotten in trouble for mouthing off and were in the assistant principal’s office / suspended / cut lunch that day.

        Another year, I had a fantastic kid who had no shortage of challenged who always moved me to tears with how motivated and hardworking she was. She totally inspired me and still does.

        We offer to people as they are, where they are. They are not here to serve us.

    • This may not work for you since you want to do this with your husband, but does your firm participate in any corporate in-school mentoring programs through Big Brothers, Big Sisters or another similar organization? I do this, and while I suspect it doesn’t have the same impact on the kid as a more full-time mentoring commitment, it puts a cap on the demands on your time. Logistics and scheduling can be easier, too, since it’s often coordinated by a particular person at your firm and a particular person at the school.

      • Big Brothers Big Sisters :

        So, I did actually participate in a firm-sponsored school mentoring program like you described. Actually two programs: one with a school and one with a public housing project. Both programs petered out (on the side of the partner org, not my firm), but they were enjoyable while they lasted. I’m also a former high school teacher and I just genuinely miss being around teenagers and young adults. One reason I’m pursuing BBBS is that the mentoring programs through my firm don’t seem to be panning out.

    • I did it and have been with my Little for 14 years now. I have littles-by-birth now but I hope to be able to be a “Big” again when they’re older. It’s a great program but it takes a LOT out of you.

      It’s a large time commitment. If you’re coming from any place of empathy, you’ll want to spend much more time with your Littles than the minimum. You’ll probably want to unofficially be a “big” to their siblings too. You’ll spend a lot of time and money and it still won’t feel like enough.

      When we started, my Little would never have eaten for the day, not even one meal, if her parents knew I was coming, so it always involved a stop for food. And then I started just bringing a meal for the whole family, and trying to come at lunch (while bringing enough for leftovers) so they wouldn’t have to go so long without eating.

      I gave presents to the whole family for birthdays and Christmas. I worked really hard to help my Little with basics like talking to cashiers and working on homework and how to ask a teacher for help. I paid her school fees and bought her uniform so she could play a sport, and made sure she got to practices and games. We read books and I subscribed both of us to American Girl magazine and I watched the Disney channel in my free time so I could talk to her about her favorite show.

      As she got older, I helped her study for tests. We talked a lot about bodies and boys and consent and autonomy. I took her to doctors appointments. I helped her write papers in her community college program. I supported her in her decision to drop out, and then reapply two years later.

      All of that pales in comparison to what she taught me about resolve and resilience and The Suite Life of Zach and Cody. I’m such a better person because of her. She’s a smart awesome young woman now and I’m so proud to say I know her.

      • Big Brothers Big Sisters :

        Thank you for sharing your experience! This is really helpful and gets at a lot of the reasons I’m interested in becoming a mentor in the first place. I used to teach high school in a high-need area and felt like there was a lot going on outside the classroom that as a teacher, it was impossible to do for every student. I like the idea of being able to be there consistently to fill in the gaps for at least one kid.

        • I’ll give you my experience as a counter . . . my little ended up being more interested in what I could buy her than doing things with me or talking to me. She got pregnant right before we matched, so was most likely a bit more overwhelmed/distracted and had different priorities when her mom/she expressed interest in being matched. I tried hard to connect with her, but for whatever reason, we didn’t end up being a good match. It happens.

          After our year was over, we drifted apart as she would continue to cancel on me after we made plans. It was sad, but you can’t force anyone to want to be mentored or part of this type of program. Maybe I sucked, who knows, but it became clear that for whatever reasons, she wasn’t really interested in it and there wasn’t much I could do at that point. Unfortunately, I found out that years later she stabbed her boyfriend with her mom as her accomplice.

      • Triangle Pose :

        This is interesting. When I worked with BBBS I was told that we were not allowed to buy gifts for our Little or Little’s family and that if the program found out this was happening we could be dropped as a Big. Has this ever come up in all your time with BBBS? Maybe it was just my local chapter?

        • Same with my chapter. We were told to do our best to engage in activities that did not cost anything and to not buy gifts, etc. My chapter was concerned that some families would look at the relationship as a financial benefit when that is not at all the idea.

        • Interesting. At least when I did it 14 years ago, my chapter didn’t have a rule against gifting or buying things, but they did encourage us to do mostly free activities. It sounds like a lot above, but that was over the course of 11 years of school. The majority of our interactions were low cost, other than Christmas/ birthday presents (which were fine in our program).

          I had multiple conversations with my contact at BBBS about the food issue – I really resented the parents refusing to feed her, but I could not in good conscious take a 7 year old to play at the park for a few hours if she hadn’t eaten anything in 18 hours. And what consequence does BBBS have? Drop a struggling girl from a program because her parents won’t feed her beforehand? We worked through it, but in the end, I just wasn’t willing to drop her over it.

          Along those same lines, she really took to a sport clinic that we attended together as a BBBS event, and while her parents did try to budget to let her play through the school, the fees/ uniforms were about twice what they were able to save. Several Bigs and I paid for those through the school “anonymously” so all the kids could play. She was growing so much, and part of a positive friend group, through the sport. I didn’t want that influence to end. Again, my BBBS contact knew about our plan and if he/his bosses cared, they didn’t say anything to us about it.

    • I am guessing that you are a white woman.

      From my friends that work for BB/BS, I hear that this is frequently the largest demographic that applies to volunteer but the smaller demand in terms of mentorship needs. There is some care involved in taking the time to match the student to the mentor. It’s not just a first one off the list type thing.

      So, no, I am not surprised at all that it took a year for the organization to need you as a mentor. I’m actually surprised that you were contacted at all. I’ve applied at 2 major cities that i lived in in the last five years and each time I was rejected.

      I think BB/BS is a major time committment and it’s not something where its cool to cancel on your little sister last minute. So, unless you feel very confident that you have both the amount of free time on a predictable basis, this is not a good match for you.

      • I highly encourage you to check out Y Achievers program through the YMCA. It connects high school students to adults that had careers in the fields that they were interested in and generally provides scholastic/college admittance assistance.

        My branch of it met saturday mornings from 10 am to noon, which no matter how crazy work was I could usually hold free.

        The professional mentoring session was two hours a week and then the kids stayed longer for sat prep/general study assistance. The program also took juniors on college tours and helped seniors write their college applications. Additionally, the program provided transit fare there and back and breakfast and lunch.

        In general, I found it incredibly worthwhile. They were all incredibly bright and driven kids that were not being well served by their large urban school system they were in. This program helped fill in the gaps.

      • I highly encourage you to check out Y Achievers program through the YMCA. It connects high school students to adults that had careers in the fields that they were interested in and generally provides scholastic/college admittance assistance.

        My branch of it met saturday mornings from 10 am to noon, which no matter how crazy work was I could usually hold free.

        The professional mentoring session was two hours a week and then the kids stayed longer for sat prep/general study assistance. The program also took juniors on college tours and helped seniors write their college applications. Additionally, the program provided transit fare there and back and breakfast and lunch.

        In general, I found it incredibly worthwhile. They were all incredibly bright and driven kids that were not being well served by their large urban school system they were in. This program helped fill in the gaps.

      • Big Brothers Big Sisters :

        Yeah, white woman here. It was actually BBBS who suggested partnering up with my husband and my guess is it’s because they need Big Brothers pretty badly.

        I went into some detail with the staffer regarding my unpredictable schedule and she said they need mentors badly enough they would rather pair me up with my husband (whose schedule is very predictable) and deal with any scheduling issues that arise later. It’s unlikely I’d have to cancel truly last-minute– if I have travel or some other Big Thing occur, I usually have at least a week’s notice. But I think I’m concerned that I wouldn’t be able to find more than one day a month or so to be with my Little, and I don’t want to short-change a kid if the expectation is higher.

        • You don’t have the time to make this commitment. Step away now before you have to step away when there’s a kid already assigned to you.

          – Former BBBS-er

        • Yeah please rethink if there’s another way you can support BBBS. It doesn’t sound like you’re in the right place to be a Big right now.

          I’m the person who shared my 14 year experience above. As Kelly said below, I planned all my vacations, errands, chores around my Little. I traveled about 50% for work, but still prioritized spending 3 hefty chunks of time with her each month no matter my schedule. I sent postcards from every single place I went for work, so she’d know I was thinking about her even if it had been a week since we’d last spoken. We were matched through the program for 5 years (when she was 7-12), and then continued outside of the program to this day. I don’t think it would have been such a successful match if either of us treated it as a once-a-month thing. I was truly her one stable influence, and I knew she was counting on me to always be there. I literally factored her into taking a new job – I had to make sure I could still be there to take her to games, because no one else in her life could do it.

    • I’ve been a big sister for 5 years now. Once a month is not enough, our minimum commitment is 3-5 hours, twice a month, for at least a year. It is a big commitment. Basically I spend every other Saturday, 1130-4ish when you count picking her up and bringing her home, with my little. I plan vacations, time with friends and family, errands, chores, everything else in my life around her because I am one of the only stable things in her life.

      Sounds like it might not be the right fit for you.

      • Is there a similar program that I (late 30s with kids) can do with my kid in tow?
        Like, my 7 year old and I go and pick up another (7yo or younger) and take them places and do things with them? Not sure if Big Sister really covers it but maybe kindly aunt?
        My heart goes out to these kids but short of being a foster mom, I’m not sure how I can help.

  29. Totally fluffy question. For those of you with common names, how have you created your gmail or similar online handle? I’m getting married and taking a very common last name, and I’ve discovered that every gmail combination I can think of has already been taken. Right now, my name is first.m.last and it’s professional and easy for job applications/alumni associations/nonprofits/friends. My new initials will be DAM, which isn’t awful, but not great either, so I’d prefer to not use them. Ideas? Is my only option adding random numbers?

    • Just keep your maiden name e-mail handle. I know tons of people who do this. And when you’re working, your work e-mail address will reflect your changed last name.

      • Also, if you use Outlook, you can customize how your name comes to people’s inboxes. So your e-mail address may be [email protected], but in the “From” column, you can set it to show up as Susie Smith Williams, or Susie S. Williams, or however you want people to see it.

      • Maddie Ross :

        +1. I use my maiden name handle. I actually created a super long one with my ultra-common last name (I’ve been married nearly 15 years, so the mail of the g o o gle was in its infancy and easier to get handles back then), but the shorter handle of my maiden name is just easier. It really doesn’t impact things at all.

    • Anonymous :

      My first name is pretty unique but my married last name is super common and the only gmail address I could get with my married name (when I got married in 2010) had random numbers in it. First.Married. and First.MiddleInitial.Married etc were all taken and First.Maiden.Married was wayyyy too long and cumbersome.
      I use my married email (FirstInitial.MarriedLast.Numbers) for social stuff and use my original gmail address (First.Maiden) for anything remotely professional or important (i.e., communicating with our lawyer about documents).

    • I kept my maiden, original email address from 1995. I don’t want to be [email protected]

    • Senior Attorney :

      Somebody here, a while ago, suggested taking the first two letters of your first, middle, and last names to make an email name. I did that when I changed my name due to divorce, and it made a nice and easy-to remember address that wasn’t already taken.

  30. Internal Networking :

    Hello Over-Achieving Ladies.
    Internal Question:
    I’m in-house compliance. Global HQ is in Europe. My Dotted-Line Boss (in Global HQ) and I have a great relationship; I believe he wants to see me succeed. My Direct-Line Boss and I have a fine relationship; I just do more work for Dotted than for Direct. D&Ds’ boss (“Grand-Boss” or “GB”) sits in Global HQ. Dotted & Grand-Boss are coming to US HQ next week, and I’m going to Global HQ for meetings next month. At a minimum, I want to work more for Dotted; pie-in-the-sky outcome would be to move to Global HQ, because that’s where I think I add the most value. GB and Direct have the most power over that decision. Currently, I have virtually no relationship with GB. Also, company is down-sizing.
    1. I want to network with GB before his visit here and before my visit there. I plan to email him this week, along the lines of, “I am looking forward to meeting you next week. In light of the ongoing restructuring of the company, and that I now have a reporting relationship with you, I want your thoughts on what I should do to achieve my career development goals.” Ugh. I don’t know – Is that the way to go?
    2. In my 1:1 with Grand-boss next week, I plan to say, “I have been working on Dotted’s projects for the past year. The U.S. team is well-covered, and has the work well in hand. I believe that working on the Global team leverages the experience I gained before taking this role and is where I would add the most value.” Should I say this differently? Should I say something else instead/in addition to this?
    3. [Somewhat facetiously, but not really]: What would a White Guy do in this situation?

    • I wouldn’t do number 1. Just meet with him whenever that’s scheduled and have that conversation then. An email out of the blue from someone a couple rungs down the ladder could come off as strange.

      Instead, I think I’d simply put it out there when you’re chatting with him. “I love working for Company and I’ve really enjoyed the work I’ve been able to do for Dotted, so if you’re ever looking to hire for Global HQ, please consider me.” That way it’s a suggestion, not a plea, and makes you look committed to advancing the company’s needs, not your own. Moving to Europe is a big change, so a company might think of hiring locally vs uprooting US workers.

      • Anonymous :

        I agree. The other thing you should do is try to get invited to lunch/dinner/happy hour with the team, including him. That in my experience is the best way to network – you’ve already shown you’re good at your job, now you want them to like you as a person and fit in.

    • You know your company. I wouldn’t do Number 1. What you could maybe do is ask GB for 30 minutes for a sort of informational interview.

      Something like “I know your schedule is packed during your visit to US HQ, but if you have 30 minutes open, I’d love to pick your brain on career paths. My goal is do X for Global HQ within the next few years, so I’d love to hear your insights on what steps I could take in between, and what skills you’d like to see someday if I were to go down that path. If you don’t have time for a chat this trip, perhaps when I visit Global HQ in November.”

  31. Reporting back to the hive on two purchases I made based on rave reviews from others on this site. I bought two sizes of the Calvin Klein Women’s Sleeveless Pleat Neck Cami from Amazon and I was sorely disappointed. The size was fine, and the front was opaque because there are 2 layers of fabric, but for some reason (to save $$ I’m sure), only the very top of the back is 2 layered and the part that should be covering the back of your bra is noticeably only 1 layer and therefore sheer. Why?!? This might not be an issue in a different color, but I needed a white or off-white, so it’s going back. I also tried (because Amazon suggested – thanks for enabling!) the Anne Klein Women’s Solid Triple Pleat Top and I liked the styling better (V-neck), but with a nude bra on, you can totally see the outline of my bra. The fabric is just too thin, so it’s going back as well.

    So, if anyone has a recommendation for a truly opaque off-white or ivory shell that works great under cardigans or jackets for work, please share them. Thanks!

    • I have this in white (I think Kat recommended it months ago) and it’s genuinely opaque.


    • I wear boden tops (size up) in cream.

  32. I rear-ended a woman last Monday. I hit her going literally 10 mph. The screw holding on my front license plate left a scratch on her bumper – that’s it. She got out of the car rubbing her neck and talking about calling the police, so I gave her my insurance information rather than offer to take care of it myself. Does anyone have first-hand experience of how much their insurance premiums increased after something minor like this? (I know I just need to wait and see…)

    • Maddie Ross :

      Is this your first accident or claim with this insurance? Are you the only one on the policy and have they had any claims? How new is your car? All of these things will matter. I just had something like this happen (no personal injury claim at all, but minor property damage). Mine went up about 20% (about $33 a month). H on policy too, but hasn’t had any recent claims. My most recent claim before that had just dropped off about 6 months ago.

      • My car is 10 years old. I’ve been with this insurance company since 2004 and I don’t think I’ve ever had a claim. (I have had a couple speeding tickets over the years.) I’m the only one on the policy. Maybe I’ll be ok?

    • I think you’ll be ok! I was in a similar situation a few years ago – no visible damage to my car or the other persons’ car but she said she needed her bumper replaced at a cost of several thousand dollars so I reported it to my insurance company and let them handle it. I was 28 or so and had been driving for 10+ years without a reported claim but I had only been on my own insurance as opposed to my parents’ policy for a couple of years. My premiums increased not at all.

  33. What are your go-to work appropriate tops that go well under a suit? I feel like I’m on a never-ending search for basic machine washable tops with sleeves that are long enough to avoid armpit-to-jacket contact.

    • I like the Ann Taylor Piped Tee under suits. https://www.anntaylor.com/piped-tee/428604

      I also really like collarless silk button-up blouses under suits like this: https://www.everlane.com/products/womens-relax-silk-collarless-offwhite?collection=womens-tops

      • Missed the machine-washable part… the AT piped tee definitely is. For my second rec, you’d have to find another fabric.

    • I haven’t tried them, but others here have recommended the Portofino blouse from Express. Everything is 40% off there right now.

  34. Anonymous :

    I’m the most boring forgettable person in the world and just got looked at like a sick weirdo for the first time ever – on a flight had fallen sleep leaning at an angle in my seat, woke up and went to sit up straight while -ahem touching my personal area to make sure a hygene product hasn’t shifted – right as my female 20 something seatmate looked down. She then went to the crew and fussed about switching seats which she was able to do bc it was an empty flight. And then glared at me as we were leaving the plane. I get it – it’s not cool to do that but did she think I was coming onto her or does she never have menstrual issues?

    • Flats Only :

      What! Touching one’s cr*tch, BRIEFLY, does not make you a weirdo! Even if you were a guy, I would have allowed a quick scratch / shift before I wondered what was up. Come people are just nuts.

    • Yeah that seems like overkill. It’s not you, it’s her.

    • Not a big deal. We women need to stick together. I would have laughed and commiserated with you. You never know when that tampon gets full….

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