Thursday’s Workwear Report: The Relaxed Silk Shirt

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

This relaxed silk shirt from Everlane comes in seven colors and has long been on everyone’s radar as a great option for work. I don’t think we’ve ever done a Workwear Report on it, although we’ve featured the sleeveless version and the rounded collar version (and we definitely included it in our roundup of the best silk blouses for work). It’s $88 and gets rave reviews, and it’s available in sizes 00-12. Readers, what’s your favorite silk shirt? Do tell! The Relaxed Silk Shirt

Here’s a plus-size option.

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  1. Job Search Help :

    I am in house in a small southern city. I’m ready to start thinking about moving on and there aren’t a lot of opportunities here so my husband and I have identified a few areas we would want to move (Austin, Charlotte, Denver, Seattle, California). I’ve been applying for a few months but haven’t even gotten so much as a phone screen. What am I doing wrong? Do I need to find a recruiter in each city? How would I do that? I read Ask a Manager but I feel like a lot of her advice doesn’t apply as well to law.

    • Are you admitted in any of these states? Do you have any geographic connections? I feel like an out of state address and no admission are probably what’s causing you to be weeded out.

      • Triangle Pose :

        Do you have any connections to the companies you are applying? Have you done work for them in the past as outside counsel, is the company in the same industry you are in at your current in-house job? Did you attend undergrad or law school in any of these places? Just cold applying to a ton of companies in desired geographic markets probably isn’t going to do it.

        • Job Search Help :

          No, I don’t. I would love to have those connections but don’t know how given that I’m across the country.

          • What about your law school? Does it have a national network of alumni you could tap into?

          • Triangle Pose :

            Are you a member of Association of Corporate Counsel? It’s an org for in-house lawyers. If so, tap the membership list – you can see contact info and roles for every member regardless of chapter location. Reach out, introduce yourself, post on the ACC boards for any postings and read the posts for any ISO that you can fulfill. If not, join your local chapter immediately, attend the annual meeting coming up in DC and network, network, network. Are you giving CLEs? Are you attending them? Can you following up with the [fellow] panelists at companies you are interested in? Use the CLE material as a lead in. At bottom, these are very in demand jobs and you need to do a lot more than cold apply. Even then, you need a good dose of luck and timing to be on your side. Good luck!

        • +1 – I’m in CA and there are just tons of local candidates for all the standard in-house roles. Also, CA is a unique state legally, so we’d be reluctant to hire someone without CA specific experience. Your best bet would be developing a niche practice – those are the only ones we’ve relocated people for.

          • Job Search Help :

            Good to know. I do have experience in a niche field but I was trying to get it of it. Maybe I need to stick with it to relocate. The one job I applied to in the niche field I actually got a personal rejection, compared to the rest of them going into black holes, so perhaps that’s why.

          • What’s your niche? Try posting it here – you never know who’s looking for what :)

          • Job Search Help :

            Niche is government contracting. But I have general corporate experience as well. And I know I picked terrible cities for that!

          • You might want to broaden your search to target companies that do a lot of government contracting & also look at OFCCP roles (sometimes in procurement rather than legal).

        • You mention your husband. Does HE have any connections in any of these places? Are you planning on having HIM support you and your kid’s? These are important issue’s to decide BEFORE you decide to move to Podunk or Peduka. I would never move my family unless I knew where the buckaroos were comeing from! Personaly, I would NOT go anywhere I could not be an equity partner, and I am therfore limited to NY State since I am a WC expert under NY law. I’ve NOT even looked beyond NYC b/c who knows what kind of practices there are up-state or on Long Island. I know there are alot of sleezy contractors on LI that mistreat their workers, so I would NOT want to have to represent them. I also don’t think there’s alot of WC work in Chapaqua, so if I marry, my HUSBAND would have to support us, b/c I would NOT comute from Chapaqua. FOOEY on that!

    • Anonymous :

      For me, at least for California, law firms were suspicious of why I wanted to move there until I could explain that I had personal reasons for doing so (which were not apparent from my resume). You may need to hint at having personal connections to the regions in your cover letters.

    • Anonymous :

      What you’re doing wrong is that in house jobs are incredibly difficult to get and companies are suspicious of people just wanting to relocate there. Which is to say you’re doing nothing wrong you’ve just chosen to try something really difficult.

      • Job Search Help :

        This is a little bit disheartening but I’m sure you’re right. I dont really want to have to do something this difficult but the thought at staying at my current job until I retire is downright depressing. When I say small city, I mean small. There are maybe five companies here who have a legal department of more than 1 lawyer. And I work for one of them.

      • Not in law, but we had an applicant from another city and state apply and we flew him out to interview with us. After a while he dropped out of the running with a phone call saying “due to personal reasons he wont be able to move after all.” This, or a worse scenario (accepts then quits, joins then quits) is what companies are afraid of.

    • I think the problem is that you’re looking at very in-demand legal markets for a very in-demand job, and you don’t have a hook. Applying cold to in-house jobs is tough; doing it in competitive markets where you don’t have connections is well-nigh-impossible. If you’re already in the south, Charlotte is probably your best bet of the cities you’ve listed, especially if you have experience in banking.

      • +1

        These are some of the most desirable places to live in the country right now. In house jobs are some of the most difficult to get. If you’re not even barred…

        I know there was another poster a few weeks ago who was looking at Seattle. I actually got a job offer out there about a year ago at a boutique firm (but didn’t accept) and the number 1 topic of conversation throughout the interview process was whether I was *really* willing to relocate. I was able to get that offer, as well as interviews in other states where I wasn’t licensed because I had a good recruiter who advocated for me, but mostly because I had experience in a niche practice area. So, it’s not impossible.
        (None of these were in house- the in house spot I applied for at the same time was in the city I was living in, I had a connection there, and I still didn’t get a screener because they were “inundated with great resumes from people with 10+ years of experience” when they’d asked for 0-2 years. :( )

        • Job Search Help :

          How did you find a recruiter?

        • It was a bit of a fluke- she works independently rather than for a large search firm, and I applied to a position she had posted. She saw my resume and decided she wanted to work with me to look for something better/ a better fit for me. (This was years before the Seattle job; we’ve worked together on and off.) I’m a firm believer in word of mouth, so if you know of any colleagues that have used recruiters, I’d reach out to them. I also didn’t have the typical biglaw credentials at the time I met her, so I wasn’t getting cold calls from recruiters at big search firms every other day.

    • In-House in Houston :

      I’m in-house in Houston. I really think the only reason I got my position is because I knew someone in-house who recommended me. Plus a lot of companies (mine included) doesn’t want to pay to relocate someone, so they prefer local candidates. And in Houston, there’s plenty of them. Austin is incredibly competitive. Maybe if yo add to your cover letter that you’re willing to relocate at your own expense, you’ll get some traction? Good luck.

    • The Austin legal market is extremely restricted and heavily sought after. Consider adding Houston to your list. While it gets a bad rap because it is a terrible city to visit, the city is about as blue as Austin and depending on where you live can be a walkable city. Plus, Houston is more accepting and less suspicious of relocations.

      • JuniorMinion :

        Not in law but in Houston and I would agree with this. Houston and Dallas are the big corporate markets here in Texas . Also worth noting that Austin and Denver are both not big corporate HQ cities – I know a bunch of people in both markets as I’m in O&G and I’d say about 20% of them have good jobs they like and the other 80% (especially in Austin) have just taken whatever job they can get that allows them to live in Austin.

      • Pen and Pencil :

        I would like to add that I personally don’t understand why people would want to live in Austin. It’s traffic is oftentimes worse than Dallas and Houston. If you know where to look you can find just as many one-off restaurants, cutesy shops, etc. in either Houston or Dallas plus the added bonus of having large museums/cultural institutions/ all the other trappings that come with living in a large city, which Austin frankly cannot offer. The only reason I would suggest people moving to Austin is if they plan to do a lot of hiking/outdoorsy activities or they specifically want to work at a tech startup (the later reason being the most valid reason to move there IMO). I visit Austin a couple of times a year from Houston, and cannot ever imagine actually moving there unless my brother started having babies that I was obsessed with.

        Same thing I would say for Denver. I know a ton of people who relocated to Houston from Denver and Colorado Springs because they just didn’t have the job opportunities there. At least in Denver the weather is nicer, but Austin has pretty much the same weather Dallas gets. You say you want to move for more opportunities, but these are not places with opportunities abound. They are both really tight competitive job markets compared to Houston or Dallas.

      • I moved to Austin in 2014 as a trailing spouse. I have fantastic friends who are still there in the legal field. The answer is that THERE ARE NO LEGAL JOBS IN AUSTIN. The end. Yes, yes, I know what the articles say – it’s a booming economy, yadda yadda, but there simply aren’t the legal openings to support the number of people who want to live there. There’s very much a home field advantage in that market, too – UT Law is right there in town, and Saint Mary’s in San Antonio (which I had never even heard of before arriving) is a beloved local law school.

        Great friends of mine had to take some less desirable jobs (skeevy divorce firms, etc) for years to make it work. It took me six months of aggressive networking after arriving to land a JD-preferred job. So sorry to say it, but unless you know someone who’s going to offer you a job, cross Austin off your list.

        • Cornellian :

          Agreed. I have only lived in Austin (spent considerable time in Houston) and while I adore Austin, I think Houston can offer you basically everything you’re going to get out of Austin at this point (with less ridiculous housing and traffic as far as I can tell).

          I will slightly disagree with the idea there are no legal jobs in Austin. I got a fair amount of interest when I considered lateralling from BigLaw in NYC there two years ago (but I went to UT Austin so had a more compelling case).

    • Job Search Help :

      I write in my cover letters that I am already planning to relocate to that area, but I guess I could make it more clear that I am willing to pay my own relocation expenses. How do people ever relocate? There are no opportunities where I am now, so if I can’t find a job in a different city, I’m kind of stuck.

      • In-House in Houston :

        Have you tried legal search firms? I worked with Gibson Arnold and they were great. While they didn’t place me, they were very receptive and really tried, even though I didn’t have the pedigree they were used to dealing with. Good luck.

        • Job Search Help :

          Thank you. I will look into this. I used to be contacted by recruiters when I was at a firm but now I don’t even know where to begin to find one.

          • Is your LinkedIn up to date and clear you’re open to relocating/ using key words, descriptive, etc? That’s where recruiters are looking these days.

      • Most people don’t relocate unless they have a specific tie to an area that makes them an attractive candidate, have already moved because they can afford to without a job, or are a trailing spouse of someone who is not in as competitive a market. IME, most people don’t relocate just because they want a change of scenery unless they are young, are entry-level, and can easily uproot themselves.

        • Job Search Help :

          I’m not doing this because I want a change of scenery. There are very few, if any, opportunities for me or my husband in our small city except for the jobs we currently have. If I ever want to get more out of my career, I am not sure I can without moving to a larger city.

      • So I’ve relocated twice. Cold moves (to cities where you have no personal or professional connections) are rare and very, very hard. Most people who relocate have some tie to the place that they intend to go. I moved from NYC to SEA, which is a hyper-competitive market – I was able to do that because (i) my ex-husband was from SEA and (ii) I had a niche practice and they had a need. I then moved from SEA to ATL (which is an easier market for a variety of reasons), and was able to do that largely because I’m originally from here.

        By contrast, a dear friend tried to do a CHI to SEA relocation with no personal or professional connections and it took years before she even had a single interview.

        In this situation, you have to laser-focus on making the business case for yourself. Offering to pay your own relocation is part of it, but the real factor is going to be providing an incredibly compelling answer to the question “why you?” You’re in-house now, right? I’d advise focusing on opportunities in the same industry and selling your experience hard. Also, focus on the market where you’re most likely to be successful – which probably means not CA, not SEA, and not Austin, given how competitive they are. Get to know that market well. Visit. This probably goes without saying, but when I phone screen someone, if their first trip to my city will be the interview…I’m not interested. It’s just too hard for them to know if they’ll be happy here.

        I’d also suggest telling them you’re going to be in town in X dates and would love the opportunity to meet with them during that time – that is you telling them that they don’t have to foot your interview expenses, which will make them more likely to take a flyer on you. That’s part of how I got my SEA job.

        It’s not impossible, but it’s very, very hard. Good luck!

        • I should add that my CHI-SEA friend ultimately took the plunge and took the WA bar on her own dime…if you can commit to a single city, that is an option that will make you more competitive.

          • Job Search Help :

            Thank you, this was all very helpful. Most of the jobs I’ve applied for just wanted you to be able to get reciprocity or be eligible for in-house status that some states do, so I think on that front I’m okay.

          • I think you’re not hearing cbackson on this. If you want to _signal_ that you’re serious about a market, work on getting that reciprocity. Start the process. Be able to show that you are really in it. Meeting minimum quals is not enough. You must go above and beyond to demonstrate commitment. Pick a city our two and throw down to get this done.

            I understand that you can’t really do “in house status” in advance though.

        • Triangle Pose :

          Also not Denver. Very insular legal market. Hard to get into if you didn’t go to law school there or otherwise have energy or oil and gas experience.

      • I saved as much money as possible, had husband get a new (non-law) job, and hussled on networking once we moved to re-locate. You probably are going to need more contacts and a bigger commitment than saying you are willing to re-locate.

    • Part of the problem here besides the in house market being so tight is that you are trying for some of the most desirable and competitive cities in the nation + Cali which isn’t about to hire someone without the Cali bar/Cali firm experience. As of a few yrs ago Seattle and Denver ranked among the top 5 most competitive legal markets (with Portland; Miami; and Hawaii being the other 3). I have friends who tried to move to both for YEARS before it worked out despite having the top 10/NYC biglaw pedigree.

      For Denver — both friends trying to move there told me that recruiters were directly telling them that employers would much rather hire a U Colorado grad who has lived there all their lives than an NYU grad who only skis there 1x/yr bc they fear the NYU grad just wants a “different” life experience for a few yrs and then 3 yrs from now they’ll return to NYC. Ultimately everyone landed — the 2 Denver people both went to firms there — one was the very tiny branch office of a national firm and the other was a regional mountain west firm. Both did that for 3 or so yrs and then the national firm guy went to an AUSA position in Denver and the regional firm guy went in house at a big healthcare company. So maybe consider firms as well bc they’ll “establish” you in a market and make you more viable for an in house position in that market in a few yrs once you have some contacts in that city. The Seattle guy looked for a long time but ultimately ended up being an easy move bc he was from a top corporate firm in NYC (a v5) and Amazon was on a hiring spree for corporate in house, so while the process dragged for yrs, when it clicked it was quick and they were out there in like 2 months.

      • Job Search Help :

        I would love to do Amazon, but since I don’t know anyone there and I’m not coming from a top firm, I imagine that’s not a possibility. I have applied but no luck.

      • Not to go too far off subject, but when I lived in Seattle, Amazon had a reputation for being a really demanding place to work (lots of hours, relatively little pay). Is that also true for their legal side?

        • My understanding is that if you’ve been in biglaw, you will not find Amazon to be a uniquely demanding place to work, but nor will you find it to be a step down in terms of stress and time commitments.

    • Long post which went to mod. Check back in a while.

    • How much corporate experience do you really have (as opposed to government contracting)? I feel like the only place you’ve listed that’s viable is Charlotte — if you can play up your corporate experience. Denver, Austin and Seattle are impossibly competitive bc everyone and their brother wants to move there now and I know in Denver and Austin there are serious home field advantages that take outsiders out of the running. Cali – if you’re not Cali barred, I don’t see how that’s even a possibility; I’ve seen in house job postings in Cali that still require the Cali bar – not the bar of another state + corporate counsel certificate. You realize a huge # of gov’t contracting jobs are in the DC/Virginia area right? Is that a possibility?

      • Job Search Help :

        I have equal experience in both areas. I realize that DC is the place for Government contracting but have zero desire to live there or in Virginia. I am trying to get out of the southeast.

        • You might look at where primes have large locations for gov’t contracting (outside of the obvious). I can’t say they are all super desirable locations either, but if you really want to move you may have to suck it up for a while.

        • Eager Beaver :

          It’s obviously in the SEUS, but have you thought about Atlanta?

    • What does your H do? Is he in law too? Or another area? Could he be the one to make the first move and you be the trailing spouse? As everyone has said, it’s easier to find a job once you have an official tie to a community. And I think it’s often easier for other industries, without the barrier to entry of a state license), to move.

    • I tried for about a year and a half to find a job in a different state than the one I lived in. I got one interview (and I did make it to the final round and was their second choice, but lost out to somebody with more experience — c’est la vie). It’s just super freaking hard. I put in all of my cover letters that I was moving to the area within a couple of months (even though that wasn’t true). The one place I got an interview was in the city I went to college in so I also mentioned how excited I was to move back there to show that I had connections, etc. I’m also in government/non-profit, so I mentioned that I was willing and able to cover the costs of traveling for interviews and moving, but that might not be necessary for you.

      • Oh, and I was ultimately unsuccessful. Almost two years of being rejected really took a toll on me mentally and I decided to double down on the city I live in and start to love it. Which has worked. But there are career opportunities for me here, so I don’t feel that stuck.

        • Yeah, I didn’t want to be too much of a downer, but my friend trying to move from CHI to SEA never found a job in SEA, even after passing the bar, applying for jobs for two years, etc. And she had a degree from Columbia and experience at a V10 firm.

    • I’m a partner at firm in Seattle, and the in-house market here is incredibly difficult to break into. Could you consider going to a firm where there’s a need, or even a government position, or are you set on in-house? With so many company headquarters out here – Amazon, Costco, Starbucks, Microsoft, Nordstrom, etc. – you’d think there would be some opportunities, but to be honest, there are tons of applicants for each position, and tons of people who know someone there and has some type of insider advantage, and people who are in-house never leave their jobs, so there aren’t that many openings. At my firm, we look for lateral candidate all the time because we serve a national market and we need to fill-in gaps created by people who move away, go in-house, quit, etc.

    • Coach Laura :

      Have you researched on LinkedIn? First, join any alumni groups for undergrad, law school and former employers if possible. Join any groups directed to your specialties. Add former colleagues, classmates and former coworkers to broaden your network. Then type “legal recruiter” into the search function. My results show tons of legal recruiters including search firms and in-house recruiters for Amazon, T-mobile, Microsoft, Kaiser…just in my network. You can also search by location: For example, the legal recruiter for Bank of America in Charlotte comes up in my search.

      You’ll still have to get noticed and connect but this at least helps you get names, company ideas and location intelligence that you don’t have now.

      • Coach Laura :

        I should add that I’m in Seattle and have tons of LinkedIn contacts but even without those parameters, this strategy should get names and ideas for you.

      • Job Search Help :

        Thanks this is really good info. Should I connect with them? I know I seem totally clueless but LinkedIn want really as prevalent when I started working for my current company and I knew people there.

        • Coach Laura :

          Here’s what I would suggest. Go into LinkedIn and turn off the feature that notifies your contacts of your activities. This will keep your boss/coworkers from seeing that you are suddenly active and adding recruiters to your account.

          Then yes, I’d reach out to people. Connect then send messages to recruiters. Recruiters are looking to connect and I’ve never had one turn down a request. I have about 25 recruiters in my connections.

          For people who are not recruiters, if they are connected with your friends then call or email your friends and ask for a referral.

  2. I’m fashion-challenged so bear that in mind, but … how do you style this for the office, especially with pants? I’ve had a hard time pulling off the relaxed-fit button down look. Tucked, they can look really frumpy. Leaving them untucked looks marginally better, but also looks sloppier, especially compared to the very buttoned-up men in my office. It could be a body type thing. I’m tall but short-waisted.

    • I think it works better in a business casual environment, or on a more dressed down day, but perhaps over a skinny ankle trouser with skimmers, or belted over a pencil skirt and layered with a great necklace or big wrap scarf (maybe tucked into the belt? that look may be a touch 2013? do you.)

      Essentially, I’d play it as the one voluminous piece in an otherwise sleek, essentials-only outfit. I tend to avoid these blouses on my shape (…I could be a stand in for Ina Garten in this look. How easy is that?) but I wish I could wear it!

      • +1 This is how I do it. A loose item paired with a structured item.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        When I wear Express Portofino shirts (same relaxed fit), that’s what I do- skinny pants, untucked on top. I try to make sure everything else is neat, too- wear jewelry, shirt underneath blends in or matches my pants, professional shoes, etc.

        • You mention your husband. Does HE have any connections in any of these places? Are you planning on having HIM support you and your kid’s? These are important issue’s to decide BEFORE you decide to move to Podunk or Peduka. I would never move my family unless I knew where the buckaroos were comeing from! Personaly, I would NOT go anywhere I could not be an equity partner, and I am therfore limited to NY State since I am a WC expert under NY law. I’ve NOT even looked beyond NYC b/c who knows what kind of practices there are up-state or on Long Island. I know there are alot of sleezy contractors on LI that mistreat their workers, so I would NOT want to have to represent them. I also don’t think there’s alot of WC work in Chapaqua, so if I marry, my HUSBAND would have to support us, b/c I would NOT comute from Chapaqua. FOOEY on that!

    • Anonymous :

      No real ideas, just commiseration — I have the same body type and often wonder about this question. I find: 1) if it’s drapey like this, it can be tucked very loosely into the pants, so that it hangs down about 2 inches over and below the waistband. That looks ok. 2) this particular shirt is not quite the right style — something similar without back pleats looks better.

    • Anonymous :

      I have a similar body shape, and I have given up on trying to make this style of shirt work for me.

    • I think this shirt is difficult because of the white buttons, which make it look a little too casual. Also her sleeves are rolled in a sort of frumpy style, rather than folded up, then rolled (Jenna Lyons showed how to do this in a Man Repeller video). I’d choose a shirt with less visible buttons, then tuck into black or gray pants with a heeled loafer and roll up the sleeves. Maybe a sleek belt.

    • I find that you can make a loose collared shirt fancier by wearing a tank under it, leaving several top buttons open, and wearing multiple strands of pearls in the open space at the neck. It’s kind of a Chanel look.

      If less fancy, I agree, this is meant to be worn with a narrow pencil skirt or cigarette pants.

    • Marshmallow :

      I have a couple of silk blouses from Everlane but I think they are the slimmer kind, not “relaxed” like this. I think they look great tucked into pants, although I’m an average-height hourglass so this may be a body type thing. Untucked, loose shirts just kind of look like tents on me.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I work for a woman whose work uniform is an oversized, long shirt and skinnyskinnyskinny pants. She travels a lot in Southern Asia and about 50% of her tops seem to be from there (she praises them for really working in the heat). On her it’s a great look — professional but stylish and distinct. But I don’t think I (shorty and curvyAF) could pull it off.

  3. For a lower price alternative, I really like the Loft Utility Blouse. Not silk but you can usually pick them up for about $25 on sale and they are machine washable. I wear mine tucked in with pencil skirts or untucked with skinny pants.

    • +1000.

      One of the greatest shirts available in the mall! There are a few similar variations every year, too, that I’ve loved (there was a v-neck popover with roll up tab sleeves, no front buttons, last year that I grabbed in a pale peachy pink and it was a workhorse)

    • Me too! I have 3 and wear them constantly.

    • Do they have a version without the pocket flaps? They seem a little distracting to me.

    • Another low-priced alternative is Uniqlo. I have both the silk version from there, which I love, and the rayon version, which I frankly love more because they are indestructible.

  4. cake batter :

    Morning, ladies! Any recs of things to do or see on Maui? I’m thinking a catamaran cruise and a luau but would love other suggestions also. If anyone has recs for a luau with really good food, I’d love that – I’m doing some research this morning to get ideas. This is a family trip with three couples.


    • Anonymous :

      Sunrise at Haleakala (volcano) if you’re early birds!

      • cake batter :

        I was thinking of trying sunset instead of sunrise. I just can’t imagine setting an alarm for 2am or some ungodly hour on vacation!

        • How have I never thought of sunset for this?! I’ve wanted to do this for years but rejected the idea over the 2AM start. If you find a company that does sunset rides, would you mind posting a link I can file away?

        • But since you’re on vacation you can just take a nap afterwards!

        • Anonymous :

          Do it early in your trip, before you’re time adjusted! We did it on the first or second day, when 2 a.m. felt like 8 a.m.

      • Sunrise at Haleakala and the bike tour down! It was such an early rise, but one of the highlights of our trip earlier this year.

      • where are you coming from? If you are east coast, believe me, your first day on Maui you will be up anyway at the time you need to go to Haleakala. If you’re from California, maybe not…but i’d think original time zone of Central or East Coast…you’ll be up. Trust me!

    • some recs :

      I went to Maui 15 years ago and the most memorable part was going to Kanapaali (sp?) beach, considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

      Assuming you are doing the volcano, I also highly recommend downloading the Shaka guide app. I didn’t use it in Maui but I recently used in Kauai and it’s an amazing tour that gives you a detailed description of what you’re seeing, based on your GPS coordinates. It’s only $5 and felt like having my own private tour guide in the car. I can’t recommend it enough!

      Enjoy! We’re thinking of going to Maui next summer. :)

      • I highly recommend going snorkeling/sailing with Trilogy tours and the Feast at Lele luau. I agree that Haleakala is a must-do (and we did it mid-day for logistical reasons). Eat all of the shaved ice at Ululani’s. Book an early dinner at Merriman’s so you can watch the sunset.

        • I second all of this (but be forewarned that the luau includes SO MUCH FOOD that pacing yourself is key!). Merriman’s is such a wonderful setting and really delicious food.

    • cat socks :

      The Road to Hana is a must do. Check out the website hawaiirevealed dot com. The book Maui Revealed has a lot of suggestions for luaus and other activities.

      • +1 to Maui Revealed. We did the road to Hana the “opposite” way, which every guidebook and person will tell you probably will violate your rental car contract, but that is what we did (not encouraging you to do same, just informing :)). Anyhow, I found the road along the southern end of the island to be way more interesting than the rainforest part. And Kaupo, well, that is…something. But interesting!

        • We did this too! If you want to go the “opposite way” make sure you get a jeep– it involves driving over lava fields. Very beautiful and not a part of the island most visitors see.

          • cake batter :

            Ha! Sadly I had to reserve a minivan because we have 6 people. A topless jeep would’ve been far more fun!!

      • Two Cents :

        +1 The Revealed guide books are by far the best guide books for the various islands in Hawaii

    • maui: stay in a resort on the beach and order mai tais from your beach chair. I don’t really understand the question. :)

      • +1 – I just realized by my above comment I looked like I was withholding recommendations. I don’t have any. Maui has been one of my favorite places to go, but I’m a lounge by he pool by day, wander into town a few times kind of vacationer. I don’t try that hard to find great restaurants there – food is expensive in the islands and I’m spoiled by SF, so I usually just look for something in the moment.

      • cake batter :

        Heh that’s definitely a large part of our plan! We’re staying 10 days, so I’m trying to find maybe 4 excursions or larger activities. Most of the agenda involves pooling and exploring the different beaches.

    • Stay at Kapalua Beach resort area
      Hiking along trail in Kapalua
      Lahaina Luau
      Road to Hana
      Upcountry day trip (lavender farm and winery visit)
      Snorkeling at Honolulu Bay
      Watching the surfers at Hookipa beach park and then day trip to Paia town
      Shopping/eating in Lahiana
      Glass bottom kayaking

      I could go on and on… sigh

      Maui is my favorite place.

      • cake batter :

        The lavender farm looks fabulous! Any particular winery you’d recommend?

        I was also looking at the Surfing Goat Dairy – any excuse to eat goat cheese, right? :)

    • Thanks for asking this, I’m heading to Maui in 9 days for a trip we booked yesterday.

      BTW, I second the Hawaii Revealed guidebook, we used the one for the Big Island when we went a few years ago, and it was the best guide book.

    • Legally Brunette :

      More generally, go to TripAdvisor and look at the top “Things to Do” for Maui. Those attractions and the thousands of reviews about each one are really a wealth of helpful information. TripAdvisor has never steered me wrong, I use them for finding out the best attractions and restaurants (I also find Yelp very helpful for restaurants).

      Also, the TripAdvisor forums are excellent if you have specific questions.

      • cake batter :

        Oh I’ve spent hours there already! Makes me wish I were staying on Maui for a month to do everything!

    • FWIW I went to Maui a few months ago and really didn’t love the Road to Hana. Everyone says you ‘have’ to do it, but DH and I weren’t thrilled. It’s long and windy – I got carsick. Yes, there are pretty stops and the rain forests are very cool. But if you don’t want to spend hours in a car on your vacation, don’t get talked into it! And if that’s your thing, then that’s great too, but just wanted to give my two cents on that.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      EAT AT MAMA’S FISH HOUSE. It is so good.

      • Anonymous :

        I thought Merriman’s was so much better. Mama’s was a cool atmosphere, but Merriman’s was the best dinner we had on our trip (including a Michelin-starred dinner in LA).

    • second the Feast at Lele. Really great dancing and music… food was good not GREAT. totally worth the money though. also second Mama’s Fish House! i would also add that my husband and i LOVED ziplining and we did it through Piiholo Ranch Zipline. so fun. we also went up to haleakala during the day by driving, you don’t have to do it at sunrise. it was still beautiful and the hiking trails are nice.

    • Hike the Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku falls. This is the hiking trail above the Seven Sacred Pools (not the little walk down to the pools). It is INCREDIBLE. hello, bamboo forest. It takes a while, so budget the time for this.

  5. Lonely and unloved :

    Anyone here been disowned by their own mother? My other is rather unhinged and selfish, and she’ll interpret something I’ve said or done as a slight against her. She’ll then proclaim that I’m nasty and demand that I stay out of her life. This has happened before, but that was before kids. Now I have 2 and she decided that I question I asked about a picture she posted of my brother was offensive and I’m to stay out of her life. I’m done playing these games with her, but it also hurts because I would like my kids to have some access to their grandparents (they live 12 hour drive away. they rarely visit as it is despite being fairly well off retirees). My father, who is still married to my mother, has also become un apologetically racist and hateful since he’s retired. Frankly, my parents are not good people, and I know that I’m better off not having them in my life. But it still hurts, especially as my brothers have a relationship with them.

    I’m not interested in maintaining a relationship with them anymore. I think that ship has sailed (although I would consider it if they offered a genuine apology, but I doubt that wuld ever happen). It just really stings that my own parents think I’m awful. I have few close friends as it is, and I’ve always been self conscious about my lack of “likeability.” Any tips on how to get over this?

    • Therapy. My dad was a terrible person and an alcoholic. I haven’t been in contact with him in years. It sucks, but it would suck worse to have to deal with his brand of crazy on a regular basis. I had to do it out of self preservation. It sounds like you’re in the same spot.

      You probably think you’re unlikable because you grew up being told that constantly. It’s almost definitely not true, and therapy would help you work through that.

      Therapy helped me accept that it was okay to not have a relationship with my dad and it also helped me decide what to do to help myself heal. In my case, it was building strong friendships with some older adults who sort of serve as surrogate parents. I also have come to believe that the family you make for yourself is more important than your actual blood ties. If your children grow up with positive supportive adults in their life, that is much more important that having awful relationships with an unhinged woman and a racist man who happen to be blood relatives.

      • Lonely and unloved :

        Thanks, CPA. That’s all helpful to hear. My “mom friends” have stepped up in ways that my parents never have and likely never will. I have been focusing on building those relationships. It stings, but I’m sure it will get better over time. My kids are very young and while I have my moments with them (3 year olds, man…), I couldn’t imagine saying to them the things that my parents have said to me. I’ll have to accept that it is more a reflection of them then it is of me.

        • +1 to CPA Lady. This is absolutely about who they are and not who you are. I mean sure, we can all work on personal growth and bettering ourselves, but assuming you aren’t a truly horrible human being (and the fact that you are thinking about this makes me think you are not), how people treat you is a function of whatever they have going on and who they are. It can be hard to wrap your head around at first, but with therapy plus reminding yourself of it over, and over, and over, again it gets much easier.

          In re: your kids, even though they are your kids grandparents, I wouldn’t want my kids exposed to people like this, blood relatives or not. I don’t know how to approach it with your kids, as I am not a parent, but I think you are doing the right thing in not exposing your kids to this kind of negativity, racism, etc.

        • Your kids love you, your friends love you, your SO loves you. Please get help for these feelings. You are loved and should feel as such. Heck, I love you and I don’t even know you – sending hugs to you.

    • Posted a long comment but its’s stuck in mod. Long story short: therapy.

    • As you tell it, you parents are unlikable. They have bad and wrong opinions. Why wouldn’t that apply to how they think of you?

      I’m sorry you’re going through this. I’ve been through something similar, and I decided that I don’t want my kids to have access to their grandparents because they’re bad people. There are plenty of other kind and loving people in our lives who can be a positive influence in their lives.

    • No advice, but gosh that sounds awful. Sorry OP.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      Give yourself permission to grieve. It is less mourning the actual loss, more mourning the loss of the relationship you wanted to have. This isn’t something that you can just “get over.” It’s a process.

      Another take on this – you are protecting your kids from unhealthy attitudes and behaviors. Yes, it would be great if they had fabulous grandparents. Unfortunately, their grandparents aren’t a good thing.

      This sucks. It isn’t how it should work. But having the strength to set the boundaries and stay away is a very good thing.

      • Lonely and unloved :

        Thank you all for the kind words. Your insight is much appreciated. This has been at least 25 years in the making.

    • I’m so sorry, this is so tough but I agree with others that having them around in your life and your kids’ lives is not a good thing. This doesn’t mean it’s forever. If they decide in a year that they want a relationship with their grandkids, they can make the first step. And if they don’t, that is their loss.

      In the meantime, I would try to cultivate your existing friendships as much as possible. More playdates, simple takeout dinners at home, maybe go on a weekend trip with these friends, etc.

      Also, if you want to open up your friends circle, figure out how to make that happen (joining your local alumni association, Junior League, meetups, etc.).

    • You’ve described my MIL almost to a T, here. I am really sorry. I’ve seen my siblings in law, and now my husband, go through this with her, and she seems to cycle in phases (like, 2 years of not talking to you, then 6 months on, repeat). The only thing that has worked in our situation has been essentially setting up boundaries about what we will and won’t tolerate, respond to, etc. A lot of “well, the ball is in her court, and I’m not trying any more on this issue” lately.

    • Given that your dad is racist and hateful, I would take their view of your ‘awfulness’ as an indication that you are a good person because clearly he has poor judgement.

      Parents are just people. Some are nice and kind, some are mean and awful. You didn’t make them this way and you can’t unmake them.

    • Frozen Peach :

      OP, we just had to go to very low contact with my narcissistic mom and enabling dad for the second time this decade. This time, among other things, it was because we were tired of their judgment of our parenting choices and insistence on substituting their own judgment for ours. (No, mom, teaching the baby that a whipped cream can is a fun toy is NOT okay.) This is way more normal than you’d think, and it is NOT about you. Moms with these issues usually have a much harder time with daughter relationships than with sons (and by that I mean harder time being a decent person to their kid), because of the whole “you are a reflection of me, same gender kid” issue.

      CPA Lady is someone who’s made me feel less alone here as I’ve navigated this while working in Big Jobs for many years. It can really take a toll on your physical, mental, emotional health. I highly recommend a few books that I will post separately to avoid mod. And I’m here too. Sometimes I think we need to start a club of daughters with mothers who are alive but not “real mothers” to us. It’s so important to allow yourself to grieve. And it comes in stages. It’s been a gift, because I’ve been able to let go of guilt around finding substitute moms to give me the mothering I need and am not going to get from my own mother. Sending you love and would be happy to connect if you’d like a friend walking this path. Therapy is a great start. Finding others with similar moms has been the most sustaining thing for me. Having someone to call and say, “okay, here’s the latest crazy” and then laugh at the ridiculous really helps take the sting out and has allowed me to have some relationship while still protecting my heart, my family, and my kid.

      • SuziStockbroker :

        I also have an NPD mom and an enabler father.

        I’ve had to go no or low contact several times, for my own sanity, and then later because she started scapegoating one of my kids (while one of the others could do no wrong). Such a classic NPD pattern.

        We are in an OK spot right now (we see them a bit when they visit my sister and her kids) but they never stay with us, and I think she realizes that I will protect my kids (given that we went very low contact the one time she tried it with my son), so she won’t go there.

        They’ve been living on the other side of the country for 13 years, and are about to move back here. Mostly so me and my “golden child” sister can look after them when they get old (mid 70s now) I think. I anticipate I will be the one that gets the gears for not doing enough to “help” when the time comes, when it will actually be more me than my sister (who I have no beef with)that gets stuff done.

        It took me a long time and a lot of introspection to get to the point where I can see that this is absolutely not me, it is her. Therapy would probably have been faster.

        I had to give up on the idea of her being a “grandmother” to my kids.

        My heart goes out to where you are in this process. It is tough.

    • Frozen Peach :

      I’m in mod too (or I got eaten, crossing fingers) but here are the books I reference in my initial post. My husband and I each have a parent like this and the second one, especially, has been revolutionary for us.

      • Lonely and unloved :

        Thank you for everyone else who has chimed in. It’s so helpful to hear your stories. It seems like the default is that most women have close, strong relationships with their mothers. While I’m sorry that it isn’t the case for some of you, hearing your stories did help me realize that the relationship I have (or don’t have) with my mother is not unlike what others have gone through. I haven’t given much thought about whether my mother is narcisstic, but reading those materials might give me some clarity on the subject. Thanks.

        • Frozen Peach :

          Sending you a big hug. Prepare for reading about narcissism to blow your mind a bit and explain a lot of things. I was in therapy for many years about my mom relationship and childhood before I even heard of the term in connection with my family. Then I started reading and fell over at how textbook my mom is. Lots of wisdom and support out there, including here. Experts say that daughters usually either become very, very high-achieving to “prove” that they are actually worth something, or give up entirely on proving it and get into drugs or other similar destructive behaviors. Guessing most of the ladies here fall into the former category, but they’re definitely not mutually exclusive. Have gotten and given a lot of good advice about this issue here, and I really encourage you to use this community for support. It’s good for those of us supporting too.

        • Anonymous :

          I am not sure this is helpful, but even though my mother is not a narcissist or a terrible person in any way, we are not close. It just isn’t our relationship.

    • lost academic :

      It’s about them, not about you.

      Ask yourself critically: why do you want to insist upon a relationship with your kids when they aren’t good people? You can’t create decent grandparents from these people.

  6. Shopping challenge: find a dupe of this gorgeous Tory Burch dress


    • SouthernAssoc :

      For all that’s good and holy, I need that dress.

    • Triangle Pose :

      Just curious, where would you wear this? I have a hard time imagining it. Beautiful piece though!

      • SouthernAssoc :

        I’m picturing it for a spring/summer wedding, a bridal shower, a rehearsal dinner, Easter Sunday…okay maybe not very practical.

      • In my alternate life as an ex-pat in a tropical location, in my villa, on a Tuesday morning, while I leisurely drink coffee and mango juice and read the newspaper?

        Pretty please? Waaannnnt.

      • givemyregards :

        It depends on where you live, I suppose. I’m from Kentucky, where a lot of women wear gorgeous expensive dresses like this to sh!!ty bars, or to backyard bbqs. There, this would be perfect to wear to the horse races.

      • A wedding?

      • Wine tasting, gender reveal parties, showers, lunch dates, dates with husband, school plays, junior league events, brunch…

    • Wow, I’m 52 years old and this dress is something my mom would have worn. It’s funny how fashion comes back around.

      For where to wear, I’d say brunch, a wedding, or church.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I was thinking the same thing! I wore a dress almost identical to that to my first bridal shower in 1983 and felt Very Grown Up.

      • I’m 52 and I’m pretty sure my grandmother had a dress like this in the 70s.

      • Former Retail :

        I’m 45 and ditto – my Mom wore that look to church, and I still remember one mortifying Christmas eve around 7th grade when I had to wear something similar.

    • I’ve been obsessing over this similar one:

      I have this one – it’s a little shiny but it’s pretty and TTS

    • Delta Dawn :

      I saw a similar one on Lulu’s for about $80– you might search there for floral long sleeve maxi!

    • Reformation has similar vintage looks in prints for around a quarter of that price

  7. Please help me pick a goodbye gift for my employee of a few years who’s leaving for grad school in a new city. I’d just do a gift card but he’s very warm-hearted and that seems a bit impersonal. Maybe $100 or a bit more.

    He’s in his late 20s…a foodie and a well-equipped tech nerd.

    • Chicaganon :

      What kind of grad school?

      Honestly, even though gift cards seem impersonal, they are so wonderful to have when you’re back on a student budget (assuming that even with stipend/scholarship he’d have some living expenses to cover). My work friends pooled together for an Amazon gift card when I went back to school and I really appreciated it for the miscellaneous moving and new school supplies expenses.

      Maybe you could add a small personal gift to a gift card?

      • Computer science PhD!

        Thanks, I’d be up for giving a small personal gift + gift card.

        • Maybe one of Cal Newport’s books + gift card? I’d suggest So Good They Can’t Ignore You, which he wrote while finishing his computer science phd.

    • Why not do some kind of a book that is personal and then a gift card to a book store for grad school books? You can find out what bookstore his school uses. I got something similar before law school and really appreciated it.

      • I’ve been giving HS grads a gift card to their college bookstore, and it has been much appreciated. For a new seminarian (who was flush and didn’t need cash) I gave a devotional book and a gift card (in a token amount) to the cool cafe near campus so he could find it early.

    • Figure out a top restaurant in his new city and get him a gift certificate so he can enjoy, even on his student budget!

  8. Anonymous :

    Has anyone ordered to the US from the UK department store John Lewis? They have some beautiful abstract-print blouses and dresses just now. I’m especially interested if you’ve tried to *return* something!

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve ordered many times and it’s worked great but never clothes, haven’t wanted to deal with returns.

    • In-House in Houston :

      Ooh…they do have some nice stuff!! And prices seem okay when I convert to US dollars.

  9. Hive, please give me your Aruba recommendations. Anything and everything! We’re looking to go mid-February.

    • Papiamento for dinner. Fabulous food, great setting. Make a reservation and request an outdoor table (it’s mostly outdoors).

      • Just as a counter point, we recently went there and were really disappointed with our experience there. The food was so-so at best and the service was not good – mono-syllabic communications, never refilled water glasses, dropped a utensil and couldn’t flag someone down to get a replacement, never asked if we wanted a second glass of wine or dessert – the check just dropped off rudely, etc.

        We saw that other nearby tables received excellent service from our waiter and we unfortunately came to the conclusion that he gave such pointedly bad service to us because we were a gay couple. It was intended to be a romantic evening so I didn’t want to address it in the moment with the manager since I was not confident about how it would be received.

        That was a experience was an aberration though and the rest of our trip to the island was awesome.

        I would suggest that you also check out passions on the beach and two fools for fancy dinners. We also really enjoyed Bugaloe for a low key cocktail/dinner while watching the sun set.

        I would use your hotel to make dinner reservations. We didn’t book anything before we went down and they were able to get us reservations at all of the places we wanted to try.

        There’s a lot of snorkeling/diving places so I would also book that via your hotel too. We also spent an afternoon walking around downtown Oranjestad which was just ok – lots of cruise ship style stores. I would not call it a must do.

        Have a blast. There’s a reason why Aruba is called “One Happy Island”

    • Dinner at the Flying Fishbone where you eat with your feet in the water! We stayed at the Bucuti, which is in the low-rise area (but we loved it). Aruba is fantastic…I’d go back in a heartbeat.

  10. BabyAssociate :

    Button downs don’t usually work on me, but I have 2 of this shirt and love it.

    Anyone else trying Everlane’s new denim? I just ordered 2 pairs.

  11. Excel Geek :

    Recommendations for good earplugs for drowning out my husband’s snoring and general noisiness? I am a super light sleeper plus have so much stress on my mind lately that when he wakes me it is HOURS before I can fall back asleep.
    Wondering if anyone has used earplugs with success and what brand.

    • Flats Only :

      Mack’s brand silicone ones. I get them at the drugstore. I have small ears so I split each plug in two. Make sure your ear is not too greasy inside, and they adhere nicely and do a great job at keeping out the snores. Good luck.

      • Delta Dawn :

        I have used Mack’s too, with success. They don’t block out all sound, but I am a light sleeper, and they keep me asleep during small noises that would otherwise wake me up (DH getting out of bed, kids playing in another room, etc). There is a Walgreens brand that makes earplugs “for women” that I think means they are smaller, if you find you need to cut them in half. (They’re also pink, because all women’s products must be pink, of course, ugh. But maybe worth a try if the others are too big.)

      • I also use Mack’s, the child-size pink silicone earplugs. I only put one in on one side so I can still hear if my kid or dog gets up in the night. My husband has been to the doctor multiple times about the snoring and the verdict was he needs a septoplasty to correct a deviated septum. He won’t get the surgery. So.

        Couple of caveats:
        -The earplugs will need to get thrown out after a couple uses because stuff gets stuck to them.
        -If you have dogs, keep your used earplugs out of their reach. My dog loves to eat my earplugs; the vet said it’s because they smell like me. But they can cause major gastrointestinal problems if they don’t move through.
        -I find the child size earplugs eliminate the need for me to cut the earplugs in half. They’re also not as sticky.

        Be careful with foam earplugs. I tried those first and ended up with dermatitis, and then an infection from scratching, in my ear canal. I am not usually allergic to latex, so not sure what happened there, but it was *really* uncomfortable.

    • Not an ear plug rec, but from my own experience, it may be worthwhile for him to get checked for sleep apnea.

      My husband snored loudly for years. It was so bad that I woke up nightly, for hours. He also slept poorly and was frequently in a terrible mood or sick. Turns out he had sleep apnea and needed a CPAP machine. Now everyone sleeps better.

      • +1 virtually every adult I know who has snored loudly for a prolonged period of time (vs a cold, etc) has ended up having sleep apnea. It is not something to mess around with — increases risk of heart attack, stroke, etc. by quite a bit.

    • I use the extra soft ones from CVS (I think it’s just the CVS brand). They are bright orange. Don’t get the teal colored ones, those are too rough and hurt my ears. Made a HUGE improvement in my sleep because my husband is a snorer as well. I also use a Dohm sound machine.

      • +1 to the Dohm sound machine. My husband snores and while this doesn’t completely drown it out, it helps a lot.

    • Hearoes Xtreme work pretty well for me.

    • Anonymous :

      LaserLites — the bright yellow & pink ones made of super soft foam.
      Super noise reduction. Downside is I can’t hear my alarm clock (loud buzzer) when wearing. But the clock scares the cat into bolting off the bed & that wakes me up!

  12. I’m looking for a wardrobe workhorse that should be easier to find than it is: a plain, crew neck, short or 3/4 sleeve, a-line, knee-length dress, preferably in ponte, for $65 or less. Bonus points if it’s available in multiple colors. The a-line part is the most important – I have plenty of sheaths already.

    Stores I’ve already checked: LE, Loft, Amazon’s Lark & Ro, Target, Macy’s.

    • Anonymous :

      I haven’t tried it, just ran across it online, but this?

      • Marshmallow :

        Super random but I had never checked out Brass’s website– I LOVE the variety of models with their heights and sizes posted. Genius.

    • I just bought two t shirt dresses from Gap. Not ponte but one is modal and one is ribbed with 2 layers so it’s substantial. I am wearing the ribbed one today with flats, a belt and cardigan. I can see them becoming staples and am sad because I know Gap isn’t likely to keep them perennially.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I got a short sleeve ponte dress with cap sleeves from Gap. It’s short, but not too short for work (I’m 5’3″). They have it in a couple colors.

    • Have you tried eShakti? I know they can be hit and miss, but I have had success. They are particularly good for this type of search because you can customize neckline, sleeve length, hem length.

      • eShakti will be your best bet at that price point. Customize your measurements (and remember to add 1-2″ for ease — you can measure a dress you currently own and like for measurements).

        Old Navy might have something as well. Or Boden on sale.

    • Land’s End is the brand you want:

      They have this dress in various styles and cuts.

    • Here is a link to A-line sleeved dresses:

    • Marshmallow :

      It’s $69 but you can usually find sales or promo codes for J Crew Factory.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I think this is your answer: (you can find this dress on sale at Nordstrom Rack, Macys, etc., but you have to search)

    • The brand Tahari may make one

    • I just bought one from Talbots. It was on clearance so I don’t know what the selection is like now, but I think they had quite a few similar dresses.

    • Tahari seamed a-line dress–over budget, but you’ll wear it twice as much!

    • check out nordstrom rack, too.

    • Anonymous :

      Smidge over your price point, but the Eliza J Knit A-Line is $74.25 (at Lord and Taylor) and wears like a dream.

  13. I’ve got my eye on the oft-recommended Sam Edelman Petty booties. Do they work with skirts? I am thinking they would be good commuting (by which I mean driving & a 2-block walk) in the fall/spring and good weekend shoes. How do you wear them with skinny jeans, specifically, talk to me about socks.

    • I wear the Petty booties pretty much every day of the winter with all outfits – skirts, dresses, skinny jeans, etc. I wear short socks (the converse ones are great – you really can’t see them) but I also wear black, general sporty ankle socks. I have the black suede with the wood bottom and get compliments all of the time (for some reason, the black leather ones aren’t as appealing, but that may just be me!). I highly recommend!

      • Anon in NYC :

        Same – I wear them with everything. Also, it’s on sale at Nordstrom right now! Not a huge savings, but a percentage off. I just picked up another pair.

      • Thanks! You talked me into ordering them. They’ve been in my cart for ages. Amazon has some sizes/colors for $69.99.

    • How long can you wear them? I live in Chicago and would wear them daily in the fall/ winter – are they going to hold up more than one season? I drive to work so it’s not a tough outdoor commute, but still. I’m sick of the DSW-level boots that fall apart after one season.

      • I do buy new ones each year because the suede gets a little faded. The heel and sole are fine but they look a little tired. I don’t take particularly good care of them and again, wear them almost every day, so I find my cost-per-wear is pretty minimal.

  14. Emergency Kit :

    I live alone in the southeast and have decided to put together an emergency kit in case we are affected by the hurricane, but also because I feel like they are good to have and I should have one. I’ve browsed disaster readiness sites and put obvious items like canned food, water, cat food, and batteries on my list. What is in your kit? Anything helpful that isn’t on the list of obvious items?

    • First aid kit, scissors, knife, duct tape, flashlights/headlamps, glasses and/or contacts if you wear them, those portable cell phone chargers (freshly charged), sharpies, paper (in case you need to leave notes somewhere), extra warm clothes/blanket/towels, a hat, gloves (rubber and work gloves), rubber boots. Obviously some of this might not be necessary in all situations, but I can think of situations where each could come in handy.

    • I’m medium obsessed with emergency preparedness measures. It sounds like you’ve got the “survive for three days” basics here. I’ve added some comfort items like Hot Hands and those cooling towels golfers use to manage as comfortably as possible without heat/air conditioning. I’ve also added some glow sticks to create ambient lighting in the house at night and some trashy paperbacks and crossword puzzle books to keep me entertained without the internet or my e-reader. I also have baby wipes and hand sanitizer for cleanup and duct tape and contractor trashbags.

    • A few other recommendations: candles, matches, snack food, and first aid supplies.

    • Also lived in the SE. Everyone here has major items covered and sounds like you do too. A few things we have added to our emergency tupperware box:

      Ordered about $20 worth of new flashlights that are super bright and small. So much better than older ones.
      Bought a first aid kit for 2 people. Don’t try to put together your own. Just keep a little kit with your emergency supplies.
      Scissors, can opener
      Deet wipes (or some kind of bug spray – as you know it can get buggy without AC here)

      Also, we added a list of things to do around the house in case we lose power. That’s obviously specific to you, but one I found very helpful was to turn the refrigerator to a very low temp to try to save whatever food you can.

      Finally, make sure you have a extra pet food if you have pets.

      • anon a mouse :

        Can you say more about turning the refrigerator down? Like, when the storm first hits?

        • If you evacuate, obviously do it just before you leave. We now do it when the rain starts. The idea of course is that if the power goes out, your food stays good for longer.

          Another idea along these lines is to get a cooler out and put milk, cheese, yogurt, etc. in the cooler so you don’t have to keep opening the refrigerator… ask me how we figured this one out.

    • Headlamps rather than flashlights, space blankets, water purification (either a bottle like the Grayl or iodine tablets, probably both), petty cash, spare eyeglasses, medications for your family and pets, a zip drive containing important documents and identification, and plenty of other stuff I can’t remember right now but that you could definitely find on a website.

      I keep my emergency kit in a backpack rather than a Rubbermaid crate or trash can so I could leave with it on my back right away. I live in an earthquake zone.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      In addition to flashlights, I have a couple of battery-operated lanterns, because you can just set it in the room instead of having to hold it. Useful for showering when the power is out, and if I camped, they’d also work for camping trips:-) I haven’t done this yet, but I think I’m going to also add a copy of insurance policies/important phone numbers I may need and can’t look up if there is no power/internet (power company, insurance company, etc) to the waterproof emergency supply box.

      • Oh! We scanned all of these types of docs into Google Drive in a folder before this hurricane season. It’s been a mental load off to not have to wonder where everything is if we have to leave. (P.S. – I know you said you live alone but if someone else is reading this, we also scanned in kids’ birth certificates which could be necessary)

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        Oh, and lots of portable phone chargers.

        • A few days before a storm comes we plug all of these in to make sure they’re charged. Nothing worse than the portable charger being out of juice!

        • I just bought a new external phone battery that will charge my phone multiple times. After Isaac, my power was out for 4 days and I spent a lot of time sitting in my car charging the phone (and cooling off).

          I also have a flashlight that, depending on how you click it or use it, it can become a small lantern. A lifesaver when you are stuck in a dark house with nothing to do and just want to read a book.

      • I love the battery operated lantern idea! Where did you get yours?

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          Just picked up a new one at Walmart. You can get them pretty much anywhere that has camping supplies, with varying levels of quality. My new one is replacing a Coleman that I loved and lasted years until the plastic latch on the battery cover broke-I bought it when I was in college, so it probably came from Target or Walmart. If you want fancier, I’d check REI or Bass Pro or the like. This seems to be the current iteration of my old Coleman:

        • Mine is a flashlight that becomes a small lantern in a different configuration. I bought it at Target on clearance. But search Amazon for flashlight/lantern combo and there are a ton of choices.

    • Veronica Mars :

      Bag of apples a few days before the storm hits. People ignore fresh fruit but apples keep well and you’ll enjoy having fresh fruit in a sea of canned goods. Spices, hot sauces and jarred salsa– get stuff like taco seasoning, chicken seasoning, etc. This makes plain rice and beans much more palatable. Crackers break up all the soup/stew textures and keep better than bread. Things like tortilla chips (great snack with the salsa). I’d also get some different varieties of shelf-stable foods. Tasty Bites makes some great indian lentil pouches. Also think about canned protein (tuna, chicken, chili). Then the other thing is to decide if you want to go all out for a portable propane-based room heater, generator or camping stove. If you don’t already– an enameled cast iron dutch oven (lodge makes some in the $50 range) is great for cooking on heating sources that are hot or uneven. Or even a full-on cast iron pot with legs that could go onto coals directly.

      • I saw pics of people shopping for Irma and many of the carts had fruit — I saw a crate of apples and a crate of mangoes (this was Costco) and I was thinking – WTH!? Who wants to be chopping up a mango which drips juice everywhere esp. if you don’t have running water to wash your hands after? Though I guess people will be indoor for days and power/water won’t be lost immediately. Apples make sense; as do something like baby carrots. I’d wash everything in advance though – to the extent you care about that – as you may lost water and/or if water isn’t clean you don’t want to waste your bottled water washing fruit.

        • Veronica Mars :

          That’s a good point! Washing and storing the apples ahead of time is a good idea. I’ve also heard good things about stocking up on freeze dried fruit to avoid the mess, but I don’t normally eat that, so I didn’t get any. Baby carrots are a good idea too.

      • Anon in NYC :

        Adding to the food list: peanut butter, cereal, canned or boxed milk.

    • Water. I think everyone should have a 24-pack of bottled water ready to go at all times. I live in earthquake country and we keep one on hand… sometimes someone needs a bottle of water so we get into it, but try to remember to get another 24-pack as soon as we break into the one pack.

      If I lived in the south, I’d make a point of filling up my gas tank when half full during hurricane season. Unfortunately, we don’t get any warnings for earthquakes so I’m usually driving around on fumes, which is a bad habit all around.

      I have a wind-up radio/flashlight in my car that can also be used to charge a cell phone. I’ve never had to use it but it gives me peace of mind.

    • BeenThatGuy :

      Headlamps changed my life after Hurricane Sandy.

      • yes! headlamp! also, a tube of red lipstick so you can write a message on any surface (at least this was recommended to me for earthquake prep). emergency cash in small denominations. all your regular medicine. tampons (also useful for first aid to staunch bleeding). One of those water purifying straws (life straw?). hmm, I sound like a prepper.

    • Bottled water is great for easier storage, but you can always fill containers with tap water leading up to a weather event. We fill our (clean) bathtubs as well. Put extra ice in the freezer. You can also freeze a cup of water and set a penny on top so you can monitor whether your food stayed frozen during a power outage. Keep some emergency cash in the house and a weather radio.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        We fill up the bathtub not for drinking water necessarily, but to have water to flush the toilet with if need be. (When I was a kid, my town had a bad flood and we had no running water for weeks. I’ve learned).

        • Yes this is also an earthquake tip. If you’re home when the quake hits, turn off your gas and fill up your tub first thing.

          Our water tastes fine out of the tap but it pretty chlorine-y out of a container after a couple of days. I wouldn’t store tap water for drinking. I don’t love the waste of plastic bottles but for an emergency they’re what we need.

      • anon a mouse :


      • Yes! We have one of these, because tub cleaning is one of my least favorite tasks.

    • Marshmallow :

      We don’t have a specific KIT but we always keep around water, a first aid kit, candles, etc. We also have this which gives me peace of mind, although we haven’t had to use it yet:

      I recall rationing our phone batteries after Sandy and being so worried we’d be unable to reach our loved ones, so a hand-crank phone charger is great to have.

    • PatsyStone :

      Here in Houston we are legitimately considering purchasing a kayak and a home backup generator as part of our “kit”

    • I have a list of things to do if I have to evacuate, like turn off gas, put family photo albums in fireproof/waterproof safe, and grab cell phone chargers, eyeglasses, even my pillow. I don’t want to run around panicking if the evacuation order comes out, I want to have a plan in place. I’m trying to come up with a list of places to go, but all my friends live in this same city, and my family lives states away from me. I have a deck of cards in my bag, because shelters can be boring places. I have an app on my phone where I downloaded my city’s maps to use offline, in case roads are closed and I can’t get a signal.

    • Thank you all so much for the tips! Went on my lunch break to grab a few things and plan to hit one more store on my way home. I’m actually excited to put my kit together tonight. Workers were laughing at patrons in the store but they can laugh all they want – kitty and I are going to be prepared!

      • Oh, you have a kitty? We packed collapsible bowls to use for her food and water, to save space in the bag. We also got travel litter boxes online, basically a cardboard box and litter all in one handy package. We have a leash, too, although we plan to keep kitty in the carrier, we don’t want her to panic and run when we open the carrier to feed her.

    • How could I forget baby wipes. You need those. Lots of them, not a travel pack.

  15. Anonymous :

    I have really gotten on the Hamilton bandwagon (sort of the way that some people get when they get religion). I read a book about the play that practically moved me to tears, especially in its description of the play’s outreach to schools in NYC. I’d like to get the book for my children’s middle-school library (it’s a city public school, the school is majority minority with a small immigrant population (primarily spanish speakers from central america and Mexico)).

    My hesitation is . . . I feel a bit like a future entry in Stuff White People Like.

    • I’m going to have to second your hesitation. You want to get a book about a play that those children probably have not seen (assuming low to middle income since city public school) because the tickets are ridiculously priced, that they may not have heard of, and probably won’t understand due to either language or lack of a frame of reference (ie won’t know about the details that Hamilton centers around unless parents are history buffs). It would probably be a waste.

      • Hamilton is HUGE among all the fifth-grade and middle-school kids I know. They hear about it from each other.

        • Adding: The play also gets kids interested in history, even if they never heard of Alexander Hamilton before. My daughter did a school project on Alexander Hamilton after listening to the cast recording approximately 1,000 times. Now she is excited about history class because they will be studying the founding fathers.

        • SMCSanDiego :

          Second this. My high-schooler and all of her friends and all of her friends’ middle-school aged siblings are obsessed with Hamilton and none of them have seen the play.

    • +1 it’s a book about a play…no kid will read that

      • It’s not a book about a play. The book predates the play and LMM used it for research/inspiration when writing the play.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        If it’s the one I’m thinking of, it’s a book about the making of the play- photos, notes about the songs, cast photos, etc. It’s totally something I would have looked at as a 5th/6th grader. It’s NOT the biography.

    • Does the book move your middle school children to tears – are THEY into it? Does the librarian want it?

      • My kids really like the soundtrack but they deliberately skip songs on it now b/c they are “so sad.” They liked the book b/c they had heard the songs first.

        Maybe the teachers would like it more.

    • Is this the book with the annotated libretto? My 6th-grader and her friends all love that book, and would be thrilled to find it in the school library. If your kids say that other kids at school are Hamilton fans, I’d find out whether the school library would accept the book (I don’t know if our school library would allow it because of the language) and then donate a copy along with a variety of other books (I would choose A Wrinkle In Time and The Thing About Jellyfish).

      • Yes — that’s the one.

        I’m not sure at what age you get to waive in books with bad words but we originally checked it out of our local kids library. Then we kept fighting over it and had to buy our own copy.

    • As someone who works in a school, I would ask the Librarian if s/he wants that book or if there are other items that are of greater need.

      • +100000 Why don’t you just give the library some cash? Then the librarians can buy what books they know kids will want/need.

    • Librarian here :

      I’m a librarian. I love (and share) your enthusiasm for Hamilton, but donations are always tricky because they might not match what their collection needs. I suggest emailing your middle school’s librarian and see what s/he thinks. She may have another suggestion about Hamilton that’s better suited, or they might already have similar resources (our HS library has a bunch on Hamilton already).

      I’ve received so many donations over the years that have gone out with our weeded books because they didn’t fit. Books that were too mature or too young for our high schoolers, self-published garbage written by community members, people trying to pawn off their old reference books and National Geographic issues… librarians know their collection needs best!

  16. Is anyone else obsessed with Insecure on HBO?

    I love the imperfect characters.

    • Shopaholic :

      YES! I love Insecure and I’m sad that this week is the finale.

      • what is it with all the short seasons for my favorite shows

        • I assume it’s quality over quantity. Generally shows with really long seasons are pulpier, the characters are less consistent, the dialog is less realistic etc.

    • Yes, it’s so good!

    • Love it. It’s so smart and funny. Seriously my perfect 30 minute comedy. Cannot recommend highly enough.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      It took me too long to start watching it and I am obsessed.

    • I think I might watch it all again when the season is over. I don’t always understand what Molly is saying. I think watching on my iPad with earbuds might help.

    • I like the show also. I tend to think of it as like Girls, if it took place in LA and everyone was black. The flaws in the characters are similar, but they do face some more substantive challenges than are seen on Girls, mainly due to race (Issa’s and Lawrence’s workplace dynamics, Molly’s compensation).

    • Triangle Pose :

      YES! I love their friendship.

    • yes!!!!!

  17. I have a sister who was in an oxygen deprived state as a toddler (a near drowning accident) and is now an adult with the intellectual and emotional state of a 5 year old. I am wondering what’s the best way to describe her condition to friends/colleagues who meet her and/or know i need to take time off to help her with stuff. I have referred to her as developmentally delayed, but is that accurate when there’s a permanent delay?

    • Special needs? I work with a mom who describes her son that way.

    • I don’t know if it’s accurate from a science/medical perspective, but as an outsider, it would be a perfectly reasonable description and provide adequate background for me. If you are dealing with reasonable people, I think it also stops them from asking any additional questions if that’s an additional goal.

      • Idk if this is where OP is coming from, but the “reasonable people” thing might be a sticking point. Yes, if a colleague tells you they have to leave early to help their developmentally ___ family member, you take them at their word and don’t question it. We’ve all had terrible bosses and coworkers, though. I can imagine someone getting snippy at always having to cover for you because, what, your sister can’t drive? Can’t she just get an Uber? I think “disabled” or “special needs” more effectively communicates that sister needs a lot of hands on assistance.

        • Oh and always should’ve been in quotes. Not trying to suggest that OP is actually burdening her colleagues.

    • I use “mentally disabled” for my sister in law who is both intellectually and physically disabled and has been since birth. Her diagnosis in a foreign country doesn’t seem to translate to anything here exactly and she has never once had quality medical care. I do feel like “mentally disabled” doesn’t capture it perfectly, but it’s better than “mind of a child/epilepsy/possible cerebral palsy” or whatever else I could string together.

    • Is developmentally disabled more accurate? I agree with CountC though, developmentally delayed would get the message across. I think most people understand that adults aren’t likely to continue to progress developmentally in the way that a child might.

    • In my field, “Intellectual Disability” is the preferred term for a permanent cognitive limitations.

    • An attorney recently told me that he couldn’t hit a deadline we’d discussed because his client had been in the emergency room with his “special needs daughter.” I later realized that the daughter had been brain-damaged in an infamous, widely reported car accident involving several other teenage girls, some of whom died. Before I knew the specifics, it would not have mattered whether he’d said “developmentally delayed” (although technically she was fine until the accident and there’s no guarantee she will ever recover further) or “special needs” or anything else. After I knew the specifics, same deal.

      I don’t think you need strict accuracy. You just need to convey that this is a periodic constraint on your time. Say whatever phrase rolls off your tongue. If that’s developmentally delayed, so be it.

    • I always understood ‘developmentally delayed’ to include people who were in a permanent state. Special needs or intellectual disability are also terms that work well.

      • I think I don’t understand “developmentally delayed” then. I think that it means you get there slower, mentally. But I think that I see “developmentally disabled” as more what is the case here. I’m a layman, so words often have their literal meaning even when it’s a term of art within a treatment or medical or parent community.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I work in the personal injury world, so I think “suffered a brain injury in childhood” would do.

      • Oh so anon :

        This describes one of my siblings as well. I just refer to them as “having a brain injury”. No one pushes the issue.

  18. Flagship State U question :

    I have a cousin with a child who should get into Flagship State U. The child is getting a lot of pressure to go to Local State U Campus (or many community college for two years and then Local U to finish). I think that the kid is pretty bright and should go to Flagship if he gets in (and if $ isn’t a problem). The pressure not to go is that maybe since he’s from a small town (no AP classes, from a depressed area of the state), that he’d be a token admit (to keep state legislators happy about letting in kids from all over the state) and unable to compete with kids from wealthy suburban schools of the state’s big cities. I get that the student population of schools isn’t completely fungible. But is it that likely that they’d let him in if he weren’t qualified? I get that the competition from Rural County A isn’t what it is elsewhere, but the school probably wouldn’t let him in if he were truly unqualified.


    I live in the same state, but didn’t grow up here or go to school here. My co-workers who did think that rural county admissions can be a big more generous, but they did OK and didn’t struggle overly.

    The only people I know who failed out of school or did poorly did so b/c of partying mainly or just having bad judgment (not withdrawing from classes).

    • Schools generally don’t admit students that they think can’t succeed (generally…see student athletes for other side). The child may have to work harder and/or get more support in some classes, but the fact that the school will be harder shouldn’t deter him from going to a school that will grant him better opportunity. He will adjust.

    • I went to Flagship State U, but came from one of the counties with good public schools and a billion AP classes. I did not struggle at all in college (due to rigor of my highschool and also due to good choices I made). I did watch some kids from the less competitive areas struggle- my freshman year roommate, for example, was 5th in her class in high school and just struggled despite spending a lot of time working. She wound up getting Ds and Cs in chemistry, calculus.. and she wanted to be a doctor. Ultimately, though, I think that the success depends on the student and can’t be predicted based on geographic region to the degree of certainty that would justify NOT going. Flagship State U will have resources for any struggling student.

      There are also a lot of kids from the competitive areas who will not be particularly successful because of choices they make, or because, even though they went to more competitive high schools, they didn’t develop the study habits the need to succeed in college. The reality is that most kids face an adjustment when they enter college- few are prepared to seamlessly adjust to the increased rigor and requirement to manage one’s own time.

      • This was my experience as well. And I agree that at some point, it falls on the student’s shoulders to make the right choices. Cousin’s child may have to work a little harder, but if he recognizes this possibility and is prepared to do what he needs to do to succeed, I think he’ll be fine. The Flagship State U I attended would not admit those they feel were not up to par or were not yet ready and would offer admission to one of the branch campuses, instead. If they did well, they could transfer to the main campus later. So if he gets in, then it’s because they think he’ll be okay.

      • Those also tend to be harder classes, where (at least at my U) the class average really was a C. I would think that a med school would prefer an applicant that went to Flagship U and got ok grades over a person who went to community college/local U and got better grades. For example, I got into a lot of law schools were I was at or below the 75% (or 25%, which ever was lower – it’s been a while) gpa average, which I assume is because they knew to look and see that I had taken a lot of hard science classes. Maybe that doesn’t help so much with med school, since everyone has to take those classes.

    • I think the “if money isn’t a problem” is a pretty big issue, actually. If I had my academic life to live over I would absolutely choose less debt even if it meant a slightly lower profile school.

      • Flagship State U question :

        IMO that is the only legitimate issue here.

        The pressure is “you’re from a rural country and per se can’t compete.” I think that sells him short where he is smart (good ACT scores) and a very hard worker (probably just as important).

      • Rainbow Hair :

        There are a lot of programs now that promote going to community college for the first two years — it can make a lot of financial sense. I also think that depending on the kind of kid, it can be a good transition/introduction to college.

        • BeenThatGuy :

          This is exactly what I talk about with my son (in elementary school). It would allow him to get the basics, at a steep discount, and grow up a bit before he goes to “Flagship State U”. It would also allow me to pay for 100% of his education without him, or I, having debt.

    • I say this with love, but how much influence do you really have in this family’s decision? Yes, your cousin can succeed at Flagship U. I would not let being from a rural area be a deterrent. But it’s possibly going to take a whole lot of self-motivation on his/her part, and the right support at school and home. The culture shock might be real, but again, shouldn’t be a deterrent if the kid really wants to be there and isn’t going to be a sponge for the “you should’ve stayed close to home” messages he might be getting from parents.

      • If the cousin is ultimately headed towards life as an urban professional the culture shock, and achievement gap, will hit at some point. It may as well hit when the cousin is 18 and in a fairly protected setting.

      • Flagship State U question :

        I have a good bit actually, as the one who actually went to Flagship State U in a different state and is now a BigLaw partner (but not an engineer) in their state.

        The problem is that they think I’m a fluke. And neither of them went to college, so they see it as so hard for him that he’ll fail out and this will be crushing / ruin him / he will flame out of everything forever.

        I think that the story isn’t about the 1% of smart kids who are truly brilliant but that 50% of Flagship State U kids are in the bottom half of their class and do just fine. If the kid has any hustle, he’ll probably be in the top 50% anyway.

        I think they are scared for him. But they don’t know what they don’t know. [And they don’t really get how some places only recruit from some schools and don’t go to every State U campus if they can fill their needs at one or maybe two schools.]

        • If he wants to be an engineer, I recommend going straight to Flagship State U. I studied engineering, and the intro level “weeder” courses (calculus, chemistry, etc) at my Big Ten university where harder than at a lot of the other schools in the area, but they prepared me really well for the upper level engineering classes. The point of failure for a lot of new college kids is working hard, not being smart, so if he already has some good study skills down he should be fine.

    • They don’t want him to go away so the “you won’t be able to handle it” is the excuse. They’re the parents, that’s their choice. Let’s be real. It’s flagship state u — not MIT — how hard would it be really?? Sure a rural kid who is less prepared may choose an easier major or may spend more time in office hours for a harder major, but I know kids who made the jump from rural Nebraska to Wharton and graduated with respectable 3.5s — at a school which has a 20% curve so 80% do not get As. Pretty sure your cousin could handle Penn State or Missouri or wherever if he wanted to. But prior poster is right — he better be internally motivated and really want this bc if he gets there and is calling home worried/complaining — sounds like his support base (parents) won’t say — they admitted you, you can handle it. Sounds like they’d say — told you you shouldn’t have gone there.

      • Diana Barry :

        +1. Parents/others may also not want him to go get “uppity” or think he’s “better than” the parents. He will probably do really well. I would encourage him to go!

      • “Let’s be real. It’s flagship state u — not MIT — how hard would it be really?? ”

        Really? What a stupid and pointlessly rude thing to say.

        • Come on. You know it’s true. You can’t tell me that you didn’t have kids at state u party their 4 yrs away and graduate with perfectly fine grades. Certain majors are hard everywhere — engineering, premed/chemistry etc. But there are a TON of joke majors — history; sociology; criminal justice — anyone? A kid who feels under prepared can always take on an easier major or a medium type of major; or he can take on a harder one knowing that maybe he only graduates with a 3.2 instead of a 3.8. This isn’t the Naval Academy where your choices are engineering or economics. And for the record, a TON of rural kids go to the academies and do perfectly well even though they come from high schools that may offer 1 AP class.

          • USNA question :

            Seriously — they have two options?

            I have friends who went there and this never came up (some are in law/medicine now). Is West Point / Air Force Academy like that?

            IIRC, RE Lee had to study art at West Point b/c that was back when you had to draw your own maps based on recognaissance. I guess times have changed.

          • Overstating it but the VAST majority of majors at all the academies are engineering/science based. For those who really really can’t handle that — I’ve seen them go into economics and I have seen a few English majors as well. This is true of USNA, West Point, Air Force. And I’m not sure that there’s 100% choice the way there is at a regular university — your grades can get you in/keep you out of majors and there are hard caps — 500 people can’t decide to major in English in the same yr bc the military is thinking of what types of officers it needs. I think bc the jobs in the field will be more engineering based (flying jets; supporting operations for those flying jets; navigating ships), there is a huge preference and a huge # of officers needed in every facet of engineering, computer science, math. Much more so than history or English.

          • USNA question :

            That makes sense. Most of my college friends are medical and in the service, so their relevant training was either nursing or going to medical or PT school (only nursing is an undergrad major). Biology / chemistry / etc. were undergrad majors otherwise.

            I was thinking that it would be weird to have no history classes at all, but maybe you need a Spanish / Urdu / Farsi major also, along with engineering and health professions. I get that they probably don’t have a lot of comp lit courses (let alone a major).

            I think that Cooper Union used to offer only 3-4 majors.

          • I’m responding to your assertion that a flagship state u is just gonna be easy peasy because, pshhhhhhhhhh state schools, amirte? I don’t know its true- I’m not at all convinced that it’s substantially easier to do well in a chemistry major at flagship u rather than MIT. BTW, there are flagship u’s that are quite comparable to fancy private schools. Hello- UVA, UNC, Michigan, Berkeley?

            “You can’t tell me that you didn’t have kids at state u party their 4 yrs away and graduate with perfectly fine grades.”

            First of all, graduating with a 3.2 if that only puts you in the top 50% of the class isn’t perfectly fine. Second, you think no one parties their way through ‘prestigious’ private schools and gets decent grades? Come on. You do know that they have “easy” majors at Harvard, Columbia, Stanford, Duke, etc, right? If you’re trying to distinguish between easy and difficult majors, do that. But your comment reads as if you’re implying that state schools are inherently less challenging than ‘prestigious’ private schools.

      • Thinking big picture – the parents want him to go to school locally. Do they also want him to settle locally? Are there enough jobs to be able to do that and make it a good life for the next 40-50 yrs until the kid’s retirement? Bc as much as parents may mean well by not wanting their kid to leave or fearing their kid will become “too good for’ his family/friends and they’ll rarely see him, he will likely just be more “competitive” professionally if he goes to flagship state u. Sure he could come back to rural life if he doesn’t look down on it after 4 yrs, but if he can’t bc there’s no jobs there or he comes back and 5 yrs later there’s a lack of jobs — he’ll always have that flagship state degree that will give him connections to another part of the state, a bigger alumni network etc.

        Did the parents go to college/do they realize this? I know a bunch of people in rural central Pa. who feel the same way — they want their kids going to the local schools within 45 min or at most Penn State and then moving back after college asap to grab whatever job is available. And then they go slogging through life in that job which often does not pay much, gets outsourced, so then they scramble (along with everyone else at that company) to get something else in the area etc. It’s an unnecessarily hard life esp. given that University of Pennsylvania is 3 hours away and University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon are 3.5 hrs away and these are kids who could get in (and in some instances HAVE gotten in and then their friends/family have convinced them it isn’t worth it) AND can get significant non-loan aid/close to a full ride bc their parents make under 100k and more often even under 50k. But it’s the fear of the kid leaving, becoming “too good” etc. — they’d rather have their kid be mediocre but living in the same town, sending his kids to his old high school etc.

    • I was admitted to both the Flagship and the Rural campus. I chose the Rural campus (which was actually well-ranked). It was a good place for me because it was small. I would have been lost at Flagship U. I got to know my professors well (no grad students) and didn’t have the stress about a 20 minute bus ride in order to get to class.

      Additionally, Rural was 4 hours from my parents and I didn’t have a car for some of those years, so I had to hang out on campus, make friends, and figure stuff out on my own, instead of running home to my parents. That’s been the one recommendation I’ve made to my college-age cousins – move away for college – at least a few hours. I think it makes for a better college experience.

    • If your cousin is a bright kid and a hard worker, he will probably be fine at any school that admits him. Anecdotally, most of the kids I see fail out of school do so either because of emotional transition struggles or due to spending too much time having fun and not enough studying. I work in public higher ed, and I believe really strongly that students are better off attending the flagship university than the smaller rural ones. In my state, the student support services between the flagship and the secondary schools are absolutely night and day. Career services have an especially huge gap, but really I think it’s true of all student services. Financial resources are completely different as well. While the sticker price looks a lot higher at the flagship, the financial aid is so much better that it ultimately will cost less for a typical bright student with moderate to high financial need.

      I’m sad for your cousin that he’s getting this pressure. It sounds like it could be really easy for him to interpret what he’s being told to mean that he isn’t good enough, that where he grew up will always hold him back, that he should make safe decisions instead of pushing his limits. It sounds like you may be the voice of reason, I’m glad he has you!

      • Just some anecdata: DH could have gone to UGA (20 mins from home) but went to Tiny State School With Zero Name Recognition At All (3 hours away). He swears the best part of his college experience/education was the sheer distance. It showed him there is life away from moderately controlling parents and that he could hack it ‘on his own’. He insists if he went to UGA he would have never left the ATL-to-Athens corridor, which was not what he ultimately wanted for himself.

    • Depends on the cost of each. Much better to stay local if he can live at home and significantly reduce his education costs vs. Flagship where he has to spend money on accommodations in addition. Lower costs may mean he doesn’t need to work as much to pay for school which means he can focus on his grades. Better grades will help him win scholarships, get into better grad schools etc.

      • If this is the goal, I agree with you — save money now and then you can go wherever you want. But OP says $ is not a problem and the vibe I’m getting is that in 4 yrs — his parents will say grad school, WHY, we didn’t go to grad school nor did any of your siblings or aunts/uncles and we’re doing fine, get on with life, you’re done school. OR they’ll say — well that’s great that you got into Harvard Law but will you REALLY be able to handle it, everyone at Harvard Law is a Princeton undergrad (not true) and you only went to Delaware State U, how will you keep up, I say don’t risk it.

        Feel bad for this kid. 18 is a time you can take risks with little downside — I mean the downside is what, a bad grade or 2? And instead of his family saying — try it, you can do anything, and if it doesn’t work out you can always transfer back to Local U. They are saying — oh no way you’ll make it, you’re not good enough, what are you thinking!? 18 is one of those times where someone believing in you goes a LONG way.

        • But OP didn’t say $$ isn’t an issue -she said IF it wasn’t an issue and I don’t think it’s that straight forward. You cannot exclude the financial realities when you attend college. Taking on a whole bunch of extra debt to attend slightly better school is not going to make sense in most cases. Graduating debt free or close to debt free opens a whole other world of opportunity.

    • The overarching question here is how is this your business at all?

      • Flagship State U question :

        It’s my family and I get a ton of questions sometimes b/c I’m the one who went to fancy schools and lives in a big city. But then they see that as being such a unicorn type of occurrence that it couldn’t possibly end well for anyone else, which I think happens when you don’t see the tons of people faking it until they make it (and tons of other good hardworking people toiling away that they don’t know). I wish they could see the people I went to school with who didn’t work particularly hard and ended up just fine. Their kid will probably work harder and do well at a school that they thought was way too hard for them growing up (if my cousins went past high school, it was maybe for a certificate at a community college or an RN that didn’t also have a BA component) and they still seem intimidated by it.

    • One option is for your cousin to start at Local State U and try to transfer so s/he can graduate from Flagship State U. How easy that is depends a lot on the state. But it might give your cousin the support from home he needs while developing skills necessary for university and keep costs down, while ultimately providing the opportunities of Flagship State U after graduation.

      • That’s a good point. My understanding is that’s not hard to do, but I have to see if anyone knows of anyone who did it in engineering (where sequencing classes might be a thing). In BigLaw, I know of a few community college people who were transfers but it’s not like that there’s a big history curriculum to do in sequence.

        • Cookbooks :

          Does Flagship State U have a local/branch campus nearby? I went to a Big Ten school, and I knew engineering majors who started at a branch campus (for various reasons) and ultimately graduated from Flagship State U main campus.

      • Anonymous :

        Be wary of this option…a lot of college dreams die on the local campus because it’s too easy to get distracted from school. This is especially true if the family/ support system is less than 100% on board with get a college degree. There is a reason why kids “go away” to college and your cousin sounds like one of those kids who this reasoning applies to.

    • The local campus will handicap him. He’ll be with students who likely haven’t done as well in school, whether through ability or effort, and the classes may be easy to cater to these students. The branch campus kids who later transferred to our main campus often struggled – most of their lower level classes were on the easy side and didn’t always cover exactly what the main campus classes did, so there was stuff they missed. They also missed out on a lot of the perks of the bigger campus. I don’t know which university he wants to attend, but I would definitely encourage the main branch if it was anything like mine.

    • He should apply to both, and see what his financial aid package is at both. Putting finances aside, I think there are huge benefits to going to (and starting at) Flagship U – more name recognition, likely harder classes, likely more class choices, further way from home, chance to make friends for 4 years (vs. transferring and trying to make friends after everyone already has their groups from the first 2 years).

      On the financial side, people are assuming that it will cost more to go to Flagship U. I wouldn’t assume that. If his parents didn’t go to college (which it sounds like), it is likely they have a lower income and he may qualify for great need-based aid. In addition, many Flagship U’s have scholarships for first-generation college students, people from rural communities, people at the top of their class, etc.

      I grew up right by Flagship U, and had no desire to go there. But I applied anyways, and ended up attending because they gave me numerous scholarships that amounted to a full ride.

    • My younger brother and I BOTH went to Flagship U, one year apart. I worked my tail off and graduated summa; he barely graduated. I went to a top 3 law school; he probably could not get into any grad school.

      I am a successful corporate lawyer BUT my little wayward bro outearns me now. He didn’t have to take on 200k of debt to do it either. Oh and he takes vacations all the time and generally has a super fun life with plenty of leisure and autonomy.

      He should just get the Flagship degree.

    • I think you should probably stay out of it since it’s not your kid.

    • Anon for this :

      I teach at a top tier private institution (so, neither of those choices, but academically rigorous and hard to get into). How does the kid’s ACT score compare to the average for the university? GPA is a useless comparison, but if he is within normal range for entering students, I would take that as a sign that he is likely to do ok academically. It will, indeed, probably be an adjustment. And there are real issues with class differentiation within those kind of schools, that can have negative effects on more working-class students (not clear from your post if there are class issues here or just rural/urban divide). Read “Paying for the Party” if you want to get a depressing look at those. But if he is a hard worker and has family support, he’ll probably be fine. Keep in touch with him, though – as you know, these are huge institutions and kids can and do fall through the cracks. It REALLY helps to have a family member to explain that getting a C in his first premed course (or whatever) is not a sign of failure; or, on the other hand, to cue him into the fact that “Sports Management” is not a real career plan for most students, and he should think about majoring in something more practical.

    • Anonymous :

      My cousin was in an identical situation and ultimately did 2 years at community college and then 2 years at Flagship U. Not sure if that’s an option here. Community college was less challenging for her, so she was able to get stellar grades while also doing multiple internships/getting good work experience. She transitioned seamlessly to Flagship U, made great friends in her 2 years there and graduated with a 4.0 and a job in a competitive field during the recession.

      She has no regrets. She minimized her loans, got great work experience while at community college that really helped her get a job, and now has the Flagship name on her resume.

  19. Galway recs :

    I am going to Galway for a conference next week, any recommendations on dress, climate, and stuff to do? If my friend/colleague from another university is not able to join me due to her injured back I’d have a free day. For a typical conference I wear a slightly nicer and better accessorized version of my business casual uniform–pencil skirt and knit shirt or a dress plus a sweater or soft jacket. I need to freshen up my wardrobe, should I do some shopping there for fun new pieces?

    • How nice to have a conference there! I love Galway. Plan on it being cloudy and cool, but occasionally the weather surprises and gives you sun. I don’t know about shopping for work clothes in Galway but you can buy All The Knits (aran sweaters, cabled throws, etc) and some pretty nice Irish linens there. And of course, the night life is pretty fun too.

      Have a great time – I’m envious!

    • Every woman I saw in Ireland (last fall) had on black “skinny” pants (or just like regular pants – not flared, not leggings) and black ankle boots. I’d def spring for some pretty, waterproof ankle/chelsea boots. Most also wore a nice coat – not waterproof outdoor gear.

      • Galway recs :

        Thank you! I was wondering about a coat in particular since I have a gorgeous raincoat I could bring. I don’t know that I want to carry it all day at the conference though.

    • The shopping is terrible in ireland unless you are looking for a knit sweater or some crystal. Galway is fun and beautiful though, enjoy.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I agree with all of the above regarding fashion. Galway is so lovely – literally everyone who has ever been there likes it. Eat all the oysters and, if you have time, go to a pub at night and listen to music.

  20. NYC dinner recommendations? Staying at the Andaz (wall street) for work. Would like something with great food, the ability to do gluten free, and a good people watching scene from the bar

    • El Vez might be fun.

    • Augustine is a new-ish hip restaurant in the financial district. Good people watching and the food is good too – check the menu re gluten free.

    • givemyregards :

      The Battery Gardens food is whatever, but the people watching is really great. I used to work right next to the Andaz and actually used to go there for lunch occasionally – this was a few years ago but the food was delicious, in case you happen to need a lunch spot while you’re there, too.

  21. I have a bad case of “is it me, or is it my job?” The stress is really getting to me and I can’t stop thinking about work away from work, no matter how hard I try. I exercise regularly, journal when I remember, and can’t stand meditation. (Sorry, I know it’s the thing right now but it just makes me more anxious.) At least 2-3 days a week, I nearly cry on my way to work. I’m a crabby wife and mom when I’m at home, and I’m just low-level miserable all the time. If I had more personal time to decompress and practice self-care, it might be manageable. But I have two young kids and I’m trying to be realistic about how much stress I can take.

    The kicker is that I was promoted two months ago. I had misgivings about the position to begin with, but there was basically nobody else to do the job and external searches weren’t successful. I have no idea what to do next, other than going back to therapy and/or begging for zoloft. Even if I asked for my old job back, I’m pretty sure it would destroy my reputation.

    • Anon in NYC :

      I think you need therapy and zoloft as a short-term solution. You need to be not-miserable so that you can make the decision of whether it’s you or your job. Hugs!

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      1. Go back to therapy. I’ve run this cycle several times in my life. It happens, and therapy will likely help.
      2. Discuss medium-term medication with your doctor or a psychiatrist (if possible – wait times are insane sometimes).

      Now some options – I’d suggest picking a couple to at least try.
      * Try a bullet journal to keep track of all the stuff you are juggling. You’ve got a new job and two small kids. The odds are high that a good chunk of your stress is worrying that you’ll forget something. DO NOT fall down the artistic bullet journal rabbit hole. I actually suggest going to the original bulletjournal*com site. You need the basics right now.
      * Look for things you can delegate to someone else. Grocery delivery? Once a month housecleaning? A regularly scheduled babysitter even if you stay home and get stuff done? One of those meal delivery services so you don’t have to decide or shop?
      * Talk to your doctor about checking for vitamin D deficiency or vitamin B deficiency. According to my doctor, over 70% of white people in the northern half of the US have a vitamin D deficiency. This made a HUGE difference for me.
      * Find one of those calming breathing gifs. Schedule yourself 5 minutes to just breathe with the gif. I thought this was a bunch of hooey until I was having a terrible day and tried it. It’s not meditation (that’s WORK).
      * Look up mindfulness techniques and try a couple. These are less intensive than meditation, but they help me to get out of my anxiously negative brain rut.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Everything Tech Comm Geek said.

      Zoloft plus a maintenance dose of Klonopin has helped- the Klonopin is because my anxiety about EVERYTHING was so bad that I couldn’t really function. The Zoloft has helped, seemingly, after I started on 50mg.

      Also, figure out what you don’t care about. For me, it’s a perfectly clean apartment. Livable? Fine for me for now.

    • Anon for this :

      I third therapy and medication. I also have medication-related anxiety, so I try to only take meds that I have taken before (if you’ve ever been on anti-depressants/anti-anxiety medication). For me, it really helps to know the potential side effects, and that a medication is not going to kill me before I take it. (Hello, anxiety talking).

      Also: hiring a babysitter one night a week for some scheduled self-care-time is legit. Whatever you like – dinner with friends, yoga, wine, mani/pedi, relaxing with a book, exercise, driving around… Take some time for you.

    • I agree with the general comments from the previous posters but I will also suggest two additional things:

      1. Take a mental health day to truly unwind. Keep your kids in daycare/nanny/school and do not do anything on your to do list. Spend the day doing things that will actually make you happy. Treat yourself to an amazing lunch with a glass of wine! Buy that book you’ve been wanting to read! Nap in the sun with your dog!

      2. Take stock of your personal and professional life and find ten things that you can stop doing, the world will not end and frankly people will likely not even really notice. Delegate making an agenda for a meeting that you hate. Have someone else answer your phone more. Feed your kids TJs frozen meals a couple times a week. Keep your house less tidy or outsource this entirely.

      Hang in there.

    • Lexapro. I am not joking when I say that this was a lifesaver for me. I felt like I was completely drowning in my job post-promotion. Lexapro helped me get some perspective.

  22. How open are you with friends about money? Made the switch from biglaw associate (almost 9 yrs) to fed gov’t about 2 yrs ago. Many friends are in the gov’t as well though made the moves after 3-4 yrs in biglaw (though I don’t know that timing matters). I feel like there’s this constant — oh but now you’re on a gov’t salary; you need to adjust to that — kind of refrain. Even when I am not talking about money AT ALL. Thing is I went to a financial agency where I obviously took a cut but have a salary akin to a junior associate salary. I’m not sure that junior associate comp is anything to complain about given that it’s 3-4x median US income. Plus I moved from NYC to DC (these friends have always lived in DC) so to me that cost of living difference is a HUGE positive bc DC is no where near as expensive as NYC. Yet when I shrug it off or say “it’s fine” (bc I do not want to discuss it), people act suspect — i.e. what do you have a trust fund (um – not at all). The closest thing to “other” income that I have is an investment account where I saved every $ of my bonuses for 9 yrs; and this isn’t something I’m willing to bring up as these people aren’t particularly investment savvy so it’d just look like bragging. So anyone else deal with this? How do I cut of these comments bc shrugging it off isn’t working as they keep coming up again and again.

    • Tell your friends to knock it off and that your financial situation is none of your concern?

    • I’m super open about money with my friends, but these people sound like acquaintances more than friends. My good friends would never act like this. My personality is to turn these things into a joke with acquaintances/casual friends who won’t take a hint. I would probably respond with a few sarcastic, “Thanks, mom/dad!” or “I’m planning to die early so who needs to save!” I am a jerk though and don’t care if I offend people who are nosy and rude.

    • I would just say, ‘thanks, I have a budget and I’m sticking to it,’ and then use the budget as your excuse for getting out of going to lunch with these “friends.”

    • Sorry to react in the exact way you are complaining about but … You work for the fed gov’t and your salary is 180k+?? I’ve never heard of such a thing. Kudos.

      • Lol. It is doable — at the financial agencies specifically bc they aren’t on a GS scale. There are even some agencies where you can start at 200k if you’re coming out with a decade of biglaw (I’m not at those ones – FDIC and CFPB are reputationally like that, not sure if there are others).

        • Yup. And the work is interesting, the hours are totally reasonable and the retirement is baller. I’m never leaving.

    • Maybe it’s just me but I’ve run into many gov’t attorneys in DC who are comparative about money. Many were never in the private sector and are “curious” and even mildly envious of the money, while others are like your friends – did it for 2-3 yrs with the goal of getting out ASAP. They accomplish that goal, then look at ppl who stayed 3x as long and at some level thing – wow if I had stayed for even 2 more bonus cycles, I’d have a bigger down payment or whatever. Reality for many people with student debt who also want out of biglaw is that they spend those 2-3 yrs paying down debt – so often they don’t save any bonuses etc and then they leave and realize it would’ve been “easier” to build a nest egg if they had dealt with their 220k job for 2 more yrs than it is with their 130k doj job. Not excusing your friends AT ALL but I’ve run into thsee comments from people.

    • Isn’t this just a way of being nosy — i.e. they say something about “oh you’re on a gov’t salary now, I’m not sure about a house in x neighborhood or y car or z vacation” and they’re saying it specifically for your response? i.e. they WANT you to say — I make junior associate money still; or whatever my investment account supplements my salary so I still take 10k vacations. I feel like they keep saying it to see if you’ll give away something re status. I’d go the direct routes suggested above or keep shrugging it off until they realize it isn’t going to happen.

    • I am super open with my friends about money, but these don’t sound like friends.

      Regardless, I would reevaluate your view that it is the same financial to leave biglaw after 3-5 years and after 9 years. I’m a seventh year. My first 3 years was all about paying off my student loans. Years 4 and 5 were about saving for a downpayment. It’s only over the past year/2 years that I really started to feel like I have something financial to show for my time in biglaw. A few years ago, I had a negative net worth. Now, I have a home, 6 figures in non-retirement investments, 6 figures in retirement investments, and almost half a million in net worth. I would have had nothing like that if I left after 3 or 4 years.

    • I wonder whether it would work to say something like, “Yeah, good thing I never got into the golden handcuffs — it would have made this transition a lot harder!” That keeps it vague but also implies you have exercised good judgment/lived below your means so it’s not some huge upheaval.

  23. What outfit do you feel most confident in and why?

    • black pencil skirt, black top, blazer and pointy-toe ankle strap heels. It’s my presentations outfit. It looks super business but is comfortable (the skirt and top are stretchy, the heels are more comfortable than they look) and I feel most confident in it because I’ve already had several successful presentations in it. I change out the jacket (I have a few in similar styles) and I have the shoes in two colors.

      • Mary Ann Singleton :

        This sounds like a great outfit. What color blazer with the black top/skirt combo?

        • I wear mostly neutrals. I have similar jackets in medium gray, taupe and a mixed woven fabric that reads somewhere between gray and brown.

    • Wearing long pants with heels and a button-down makes me feel like the Queen Boss Lady of the World. I have no idea why.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      Teal blue tailored sheath dress, black blazer, black pumps. The dress is the most expensive dress I’ve owned and it fits beautifully. I love the color, I get compliments on it every time I wear it. This is the outfit that makes me feel like I’m not faking it.

    • A navy Boden dress – sleeved, high neck, nipped in waist, lined, good thick fabric and knee length.

  24. Small vent:

    My partner has been underemployed/unemployed for the better part of a year, which is thankfully coming to an end very soon! I am so excited for him to start his new position.

    I am also excited for myself, because I feel as if I can return to doing a lot of the little things that make me happy on a day to day basis. For example, my partner doesn’t have a lot of close friends, and without the outlet of getting out of the house every day to go to work, almost always wants to leave the house in the evening to ‘do something’, whether it be go for a stroll, go and see family, or something else. This generally means that at least three nights a week, we are out until 9, 10, or 11 pm. He’s also a night owl and has trouble sleeping, and without a regular work routine, will stay up into the early hours of the morning. Unfortunately, I’m a light sleeper, and in a small condo, I’ve been operating in a state of near permanent exhaustion for the last year.

    He is also seemingly resentful of time that I spend without him. For example, I love going to the gym. He knows this, and even bought me a gym membership for my birthday earlier in the year. I’ve used it exactly once, because when I get home from work and then he immediately wants to go ‘do something’, there’s no time to exercise. There isn’t any time in the morning for me either, because I’m so tired that I can’t get up early like I used to. His only solution was to go late at night, at 11 or 11;30, after our evening plans have ended. He says things like he “would never tell me to not go to the gym”, or that he “never wants to stand in the way of my going to the gym”, or whatever other plans I have, but he gets quiet and withdraws and makes comments about how I don’t want to spend time with him when I do.

    To a certain extent, I’ve just given up on trying to keep up with my hobbies/interests, or snatched time for myself in other ways. It’s been incredibly hard for him to go through this period, and I knew that it was only temporary as when he’s working full-time, he will be exhausted in the evenings (like normal working people) and won’t want to go out all the time. We go to bed at regular times and I can fit in the gym or other hobbies easily, and we still spend time together. So now that it’s looking that we can return to normality, I’m so excited! The problem is that I’ve voiced it a couple of times to him – not trying to blame him, but literally just saying that I’m looking forward to getting back into exercise, or going to bed/getting up on time, and he’s taken this as a personal insult. I guess I just need to be more sensitive and find other friends to confide this to, but – I feel a little resentful. Has anyone else experienced this when supporting a partner through unemployment? I feel guilty for feeling any resentment at all.

    • Sorry but I agree with him. He’s gone thru a hard year. Much harder than you — the person going thru it and being turned down for jobs/interviews has it much harder than the person providing a few hours of support and then skipping off to their regular routine. So yeah to say or even suggest — I’m so glad you’re going back to work, so that you’ll be tired when you get home and I won’t have to go out with you as much and then I can go to the gym — yes it’s rude.

      • But why does being supportive = giving up everything that makes you happy because your partner is having a hard time? I don’t get the sense that her partner would be willing to give up all his autonomy if she were to become unemployed.

        I’ve been unemployed not by choice and I would have felt like a class A needy jerk if my partner felt like they had to give up everything that made them happy because I was struggling to find a job.

      • I disagree, to an extent. Sounds like the OP has been generally supportive and I don’t get why she has to upend her life because her partner was unemployed. I would have set some limits – x nights per week are for me to do what I want, x nights per week we’ll go out. And sleep is prioritized for the employed person; if her partner wants to stay up until the wee hours, fine, but he should be quiet and do his best not to wake her.

        He’s an unemployed grown man, not a teenager in need of a babysitter. I don’t know that I’d voice my resentments of the past year to him, but I think it’s perfectly fine to feel quietly relieved and jubilant that things are going to be different.

      • Senior Attorney :

        No, it’s not. OP has gone above and beyond and her partner has been manipulative and selfish. I think “Class A needy jerk” pretty well covers it.

      • Triangle Pose :

        Hard disagree. Her being a supportive partner does not mean he gets to walk all over her. He withdraws and makes comments about how I don’t want to spend time with him when OP goes to the GYM. He’s causing her to operate in a state of near permanent exhaustion for the last year when they are relying on her to function and succeed at work since he is under or unemployed!

        OP, if anything, you were being too accomodating and bending over backwards on eggshells for him. You two should have a talk soon about expectations for free time and down time in the evenings now that he has a better job and how to work together so you are not exhausted all the time. Have this conversation at a time when neither of you are cranky and you’re both well fed and in a good mood. What you are describing is not the attitude of a well adjusted grown ass man.

      • TO Junior :

        Yeah, I guess that’s why I’ve made the conscious decision to give up those things, because even though they make me happy, I know how hard it’s been for him so I’ve tried my best to make what I can easier for him. It was insensitive of me, thanks for the reality check. I’ll keep my vents to myself going forward.

        I suppose I also just feel a bit tired, because I’ve put a lot of my own needs and wants on hold for the better part of a year (and would do it again in a heartbeat to support him), and I was struggling with how to communicate to him that these things are important to me going forward. I’ve only very recently expressed interest in them again and it also seemed like a surprise to him that I wanted to get back to those things, because I guess I’ve become very good at not giving any hint that I’m rearranging my priorities lest I do exactly what you said above and make him feel bad.

        • Senior Attorney :

          No, no, no.


          It is not your job to put all your feelings and interests on the back burner to prop up his ego. I know this gets tossed around a lot here, but I feel like some individual therapy for both of you wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.

          • Legally Brunette :

            + 1

            OP, you have been extremely accommodating (too much so). You deserve to have some autonomy and a life and interests without feeling like you have to be a constant social companion to your husband. It’s not fair to you (and it would be much more healthy if your husband developed friendships with other people).

        • Anonymous :

          I think the lesson here is that you can’t put your own needs and wants on hold for an extended period of time. If you really wanted to be a good partner, you would have brought this up sooner. It is always easier to just say Yes vs. actually trying to have a difficult conversation. You are at a point where you took the easy way out for a while (let’s say, for the last 6 months, because for the first 6, you might have been willing to do it without it feeling like such a sacrifice). So, i would say that you need to stop taking the easy way out and have the tough conversation. you need some gym time to feel good about yourself. period. he should find ways to feel energized that don’t revolve around you. period. also, on a side note, two adults in a small condo is a rough combination.

          • Senior Attorney :

            This is not phrased super diplomatically, but I think it’s absolutely right on.

        • Anonymous :

          I can tell you from experience that walking on eggshells like this around your partner to protect his fragile mental state will eventually destroy you.

        • That’s the thing about giving too much. If you treat your needs as unimportant then your partner will see them as unimportant too. Now you’re trying to take back ground that you’ve already ceded. Talk to SO about what you’ve said here – you prioritized supporting him through this difficult time and now that he’s back on his feet it’s time to find a balance that works for both of you. For you, that means spending a couple nights a week doing stuff you like and actually getting enough sleep.

    • I have a similar issue with my (employed) husband. On the weekends he resents any time I spend not doing fun things with him, even though I’m busy cleaning the house, running errands, helping the kid with homework, etc. He finishes his chores much sooner than I do, then sits on the couch watching TV or playing with his iPad and complaining that he has to spend his whole weekend slaving over the laundry and the lawn while I am having fun by myself. (Apparently scrubbing the bathroom is a recreational activity.) During the week, he complains that he is lonely when I go to the gym, but he refuses to come with me because he “doesn’t feel like working out after a long hard day.” And he gets mad when I sleep on the couch because he snores. I think this type of clinginess tends to result from depression, so hopefully when your husband gets into the swing of things with his new job his outlook will improve and he’ll stop being so needy.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this in a partner. It sounds as perhaps also a maturity issue, not merely a depression one.

      • TO Junior :

        Anon at 12:44, a lot of this sounds really familiar! I agree with you on the depression thing. I have gently broached the idea that he is suffering from it (having experienced it myself and recognizing a lot of the hallmarks in him), but he hasn’t been to receptive to the idea.

        Yes, I’m really hoping that it will be easier when he’s working. And thank you to everyone else who commented after the first reply – I think we do need to talk about it, because ups and downs are inevitable in life and I don’t want to be dealing with a similar issue in the future.

      • Beenthere :

        Sounds like depression to me too. I’m now making a conscious effort to do things I enjoy, which means living him at home on the couch. I don’t love it but I’m much happier than when I felt I was trapped on the couch too.

    • My husband was similar when he was unemployed and he could also not manage to put dinner together. I think he was depressed in hindsight. I found it very frustrating, and I understand your need to vent. Vent away.

      In my experience, once he found a job he was also super stressed out and it was like he invented work. Like complaining about the commute, which was also my commute and I had been doing it the whole time. It took a serious come-to-jaysus slap down talk to make that stop, and it needed to stop because it was destroying any good feelings I had for him.

    • I had a sort of similar situation. My husband was in a job he hated for a couple years and I am so happy for him to finally be in a job that he likes. He was spending a lot of time at the gym, staying out late with friends, going to bed really late, etc. I never bugged him about it and he never asked me to go out when I didn’t feel like it, and was really quiet when he was staying up late. In my mind, me asking him not to go to the gym, or him trying to coerce me to go out with him on a weeknight when I wasn’t feeling it, or him being disruptive when I’m trying to sleep — none of those things are okay.

      I know it’s a slightly different scenario because you’re the one who wants to go to the gym, but IMO your husband doesn’t get to use passive aggressive controlling behavior to manipulate you into doing what he wants just because he’s unemployed/underemployed. If this comes up again when you try to pick up an exercise routine again, just brush it off and say something like “oh we’ll both be a lot happier if I’m getting regular exercise” and then just go to the gym without further discussion. If you do this several times, he will either get used to it or it will trigger a larger conversation about him not being supportive of you being healthy, whether he realizes that’s what he’s doing, and why it isn’t okay. When you cater to his sulking though, you’re telling him that it’s justified and you’re training him that it’s okay for his needs to come first without consideration of yours. Same thing for him wanting to go out all the time and needing you to go too. Just tell him when you don’t feel like it and let him go out without you. If he complains he doesn’t want to go out by himself, tell him he needs to find a hobby or a group to join so that he isn’t leaning on you for all his socializing.

      What I’m trying to say is that I’m totally in your camp and I think what your husband’s been doing is actually pretty crappy, controlling behavior that you’ve let happen because you know he’s been having a rough time and you’ve been worried that pushing back will make him feel worse. Although I think you might be best off not voicing your relief at getting your life back unless you’re prepared to have a more serious conversation about how much you resented feeling like your life wasn’t your own over the past year. You might be happier just blowing off some steam with some friends and resolving not to cater to any unreasonable behavior next time it happens. Or maybe the serious conversation needs to happen so that you’re not carrying around any lingering resentment. You sound pretty resentful (and I don’t blame you — I would be too).

  25. Anyone want to do some vicarious shopping for me? I got an unexpected $250 gift card to bloomingdale’s as a gift and not sure what to spend it on. Normally I would just let it sit and then use it for random odds and ends I needed (still might), and I am considering maybe getting some makeup as I am out of BB Cream and need lipstick (but that will add up to maybe $90)…. The other caveat is I am pregnant so most clothes are out. What would you buy if you were me?

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      Good quality shoes. Being pregnant is tough on your feet, and most women hate to buy quality shoes for their pregnant size.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      A hole I recently noticed in my wardrobe is a bag to carry to ~fancy~ things — like cocktail/formal/black tie things. I like to spend (at least part of) gift cards on A Thing so that I can treat it like the person who gave me the card gave me the thing. Next time you have to go to a party and you grab the purse, you can be like, “aw, this is the purse I got from Aunt Joan’s gift card.” (Unless you like won it for taking a survey, I guess.)

    • I’d save it for when I returned to work after pregnancy/leave. Your bra size, clothing size, and shoe size may all be different by then.

    • A really comfortable robe for the first couple of weeks after baby arrives.

    • I would buy nice bedding or towels, but that’s me!

    • I’d buy a nice piece of jewelry in silver. Probably not a ring because your ring size may change over the course of pregnancy and postpartum, but maybe a necklace. How about your expected child’s birthstone?

      I have a necklace from Lagos that cost about that much. It’s an elephant on a long chain. I love it.

  26. Refinancing my house- should I go with the higher interest rate (+.125% higher) with 900 more in closing costs? or the lower interest rate with +900 in closing costs?

    • How many payments would you need to make before you recouped the extra $900?

    • G O o g l e Brett whistle amortization calculator. Enter your principal, interest rate, etc and be sure to check the box for “show amortization schedule”. This will show you how much you pay in interest over time and thus help you decide whether to spend more on closing in short term. Good luck. Also, how much more is the higher closing cost?

    • Senior Attorney :

      Yeah, this is a math problem. If you are going to be in the house (or keep the loan) long enough to recoup the closing costs, it makes sense to take the lower rate.

    • Generally, banks want income today (time value of money, and all) so the deal for them to get $900 up front in exchange for a slightly lower rate is probably sweeter for them based on how they underwrite you. They are likely profiling you – probably saying that because you’re X age, X income, X home value, X location, the loan is likely to be outstanding for only 3-5 years… so they’d rather get $900 today versus have you pay a higher rate that they won’t actually get the long-term benefit of since you’ll sell and pay them off.

      But, yes, it’s a math problem and you need an amortization calculator online to see how the $900 amortizes out.

  27. Midwest Mama :

    Help. Going to NYC this weekend and need outfit assistance. What should I bring/wear? Will be a low-key girls’ weekend (no bars or theaters or fancy restaurants) to catch up with two friends, but I’m a midwestern mom of three and don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb. Recs?

    • Jeans, cute sneakers, pretty tops, a light jacket.

    • I mostly wear loose hippie-esque dresses with comfy sandals. Jeans also work (I tend to stick to white tees at the moment). A light weight scarf never hurts. Some fun jewelry if you have.

    • Marshmallow :

      Jeans, dark tee shirts or blouses, a bomber or denim jacket. This week I’ve noticed women breaking out the ankle boots because it’s in the mid sixties. Slide on sneakers are also good.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I was there recently and it was all jeans, all the time. The more distressed, the better.

    • I’d say: No shorts, khakis, sweatpants, T-shirts with words on them, floral patterns, or sneakers that are meant for actual sport. Yes to dark jeans, skirts/sundresses, layers (e.g., a t-shirt with a light linen jacket provides the same warmth as a single sweater while looking much more chic), and fashion sneakers (no socks or invisible socks).

      • Ha! I wear floral patterns in NYC all the time and have never once felt like I stick out… To each their own.

      • (I posted about the floral patterns). Me too! Floral patterns can be great! It’s just that they can be a bit tricky to pull off if you’re trying to blend in with NYC style and that’s not your everyday jam. So in my personal opinion, grabbing a few dark-ish/neutral solid pieces, layering them, etc is the fastest and easiest way to “blend in” in the city (which is what the OP requested).

    • There are 8.5 million people there, most of whom are likely not wearing the latest fashions. I bet there’s nothing you own that would make you “stick out like a sore thumb.”

      • Anonymous :

        lol do not listen to this ^^. it’s fashion week! anon at 1:17 and marshmallow have good ideas.

        • OMG what an outsized view of yourself and your importance you must have to think anybody is going to GAF about what you’re wearing.

          • Unnecessary sna rk. OP wants to look fashionable and that’s why she asked. She did not ask, can I wear my sweatshirt and shorts and white sneakers and tell haters to suck it?

          • Anonymous :

            OMG you need to chill. Some of us care about clothes and like looking fashionable, or at least don’t want to feel uncomfortable because our clothes are very different from what other people are wearing. If you don’t care, good for you! But don’t be mean to others who feel differently.

          • Look, no one accosted OP and demanded that she conform to our fashion standards before entering the city. She asked for advice because presumably she cares! (Some people like fashion, or like trying new styles, or whatever). It’s a fun thought experiment, and everyone from NYC who answered, answered nicely.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          ahahah fashion week.

          but seriously, one of the glorious things about NYC is that there will always be someone more ___ than you. more outlandishly dressed, crying more noticeably on the subway, more beautiful, more schlubby, more fancy, higher heels, wilder hair, better makeup, schlepping more…

  28. I have tried twice with free trials getting into YNAB and I just get super frustrated because I can’t figure out how to get started, then I quit. Yet I have several friends who swear up and down it’s the best, and I know some women on here really like it. I’ve poked around on their site but I am, I guess, an idiot, because their tutorials don’t work for me. Is there somewhere that has totally broken it down? Is there one resource (or a few) that helped you get started? I seriously feel like I would pay someone to set this up for me. I have more money than time right now and I just want to get set up for budget tracking, etc.

    • I’m one of the YNAB lovers but I’ll definitely acknowledge that it has a steeper learning curve than other budgeting software I’ve tried. It is SO worth it, though! I had to try three times, I think, before I really got the hang of it. Have you tried starting on the first of the month? I think that’s what got me hung up the first few times. Credit cards can also be tricky. Long story short, you are not an idiot–YNAB works differently than other budgeting apps, which is both its strength (because I find it more powerful, forward-looking, and useful) and its downside (because you have to turn everything that you think you know about how to set up a budgeting app on its head).

      I’ve found r/ynab on reddit handy for basic troubleshooting. The YNAB support people are also useful and helpful, if you email them directly. And I’d be happy to talk you through any questions, show you screenshots, etc. if that would be helpful! anona r e t t e at gmail

      • I’ll be honest, I don’t use the credit card functionality correctly. I have mine listed as bank accounts, in part because I pay them off each month, but also because the credit card approach never really “clicked” with me. I do really love YNAB though, and we’ve had great success in improving our spending and our financial planning.

        • I use the credit card function correctly in nYNAB, but in old YNAB I hated it so much that I just ran everything through my checking account with the credit card name in the memo line…in nYNAB they work a lot more like a bank account.

      • The credit card thing is driving me nuts, especially because I put 90% of my personal expenses on a single card that I pay off each month (everything but my mortgage payment, basically). I don’t quite know how to explain it, but the way that YNAB wants to budget for the credit card payment doesn’t work to me – like it double-counts each month because it both the payment and your current month spending count against your budget…but my current month spending will be next month’s payment. I feel like I’m not doing it right, but I can’t quite figure out how…

        • Anonymous :

          Is the credit card trickiness because YNAB thinks you are only trying to pay off old credit card debts and not using the card as a way to pay for current expenses?

        • I have conquered credits cards in nYNAB so I think I can help you! I also do all of my spending on a card for points. First thing I learned, you should never put anything in the budget line under “credit card payments” unless you’re coming in with a balance or need to enter a reconciliation balance.

          Instead, let’s say you want to make all of your purchases with your Chase Visa, which you have set up as a credit card in nYNAB. You go to buy $50 in groceries. Create a transaction for $50 in your grocery category, and then make sure that under Account, you have Chase Visa selected. (I don’t F with Payee for outgoing transactions and nYNAB support said that was fine.) That will take $50 out of your Grocery category, and you will see $50 populate into the green “available” category for the Chase Visa line on your budget. The goal should always be for the number that’s available in the budget line for your card, to match the card balance listed in your account on the left-hand bar.

          That’s all you do until it’s time to pay off the card. When you want to pay the card, you create a balance transfer between your checking account and your credit card for the amount that you’re paying (which should be the full balance because we’re all aiming to be responsible adults who pay our bills).

          Again, happy to help if you shoot me an email!

    • I love YNAB! I think the videos are a big time suck and are more about teaching you the philosophy rather than the program. I think the best way to learn is to just use it. It may use up more time in the beginning, but I think you will quickly catch on. I think setting up a budget is a “spend time now to save time later” type of task.

      I agree with starting on the 1st of the month. Also a big believer in automatic importing. The thing to remember is you can start over. You can create a whole new budget, or you can “fresh start.” If you chose a fresh start, it keeps the structure of your budget but deletes transactions. I would start now, but consider this month as a practice run and do a fresh start Oct 1.

      If you want a simpler interface, you could check out Everydollar. It doesn’t have the functionality of YNAB. But it does automatic import and basic budgeting. I used ED until YNAB finally started using auto import. Everydollar is associated with Dave Ramsey – but like YNAB you can use the app without buying into the philosophy behind it.

    • Anonymous :

      Can someone explain the pros of YNAB over Mint? I know there are YNAB devotees here who have made a conscious choice to go that direction.

      • The most basic philosophical difference is that YNAB looks forward to plan future spending, and Mint looks backward to analyze past spending.

  29. I have tried twice with free trials getting into YNAB and I just get super frustrated because I can’t figure out how to get started, then I quit. Yet I have several friends who swear up and down it’s the best, and I know some women on here really like it. I’ve poked around on their s!te but I am, I guess, an idiot, because their tutorials don’t work for me. Is there somewhere that has totally broken it down? Is there one resource (or a few) that helped you get started? I seriously feel like I would pay someone to set this up for me. I have more money than time right now and I just want to get set up for budget tracking, etc.

    • I’ve had good luck with the online webinar things they have.

      • Anonymous :

        +100. If you have not tried the webinars, do that.

        Full disclaimer – I started with and still use the old version. Possible the webinars are not as good for the new

    • Interested to see the answers, because I find that the tutorials often seem to be for an older version of the product. I’ve wanted it to work for me, but have found the learning curve to be more than I want. For me at least, it’s not intuitive at all.

    • Anonymous :

      I signed up for it and tried like heck to make it work for three solid months (with the new auto import version) and am in the same boat as you. I figure that if YNAB is that complicated to learn, even after constantly checking the guide book and watching videos, it’s not worth the time. YNAB is supposed to make your life easier, not be a frustrating time suck.

      I downloaded an excel sheet with proper budget categories, tracking mechanisms, and pre-installed formula that works better after two days than YNAB did for the entirety of the time I used it. Not every program is for everyone.

  30. Interior decorating: runners :

    WWYD- I have a “grand entrance” type front entry hall, with a center staircase that leads to an upstairs “U” shaped hallway that overlooks the entry hall. I need to put something over the wood floor on the stairs as well as the hallway (for warmth, also for muting noise). The downstairs entry is stone.

    What would you do? Runner on the stairs + throw rugs/area rugs upstairs? “installed” runner upstairs and all the way down the stairs?

    Our house is typical colonial style. Are there colors or styles that are more interesting than what i’m imagining (standard flowery oriental rug style)?

    • Anonymous :

      There is a ton of stuff out there these days and any can be made into a runner or installed carpet. I’ve seen modern patterns and animal prints and more traditional grid patterns.

    • Not sure if you’re still reading but definitely do a runner. I wouldn’t do floral, and if you want to go outside of oriental I would look at a sisal runner or if you want to go very on-trend…antelope pattern. I know that sounds weird, but they *the* thing, but also classic, and gorgeous. I’ll reply to this with some links!

      • In a gray shade

        Lots of examples in typical coloring:

        • There are also lots of stripes and patterns you can get, from subtle to bold and in between. Take a look at Dash & Albert rugs and put “stair runner” into Pinterest or even Google Images.

  31. Mentor-in-Training :

    I signed up to be a mentor to a student at my college alma mater and I am meeting my mentee for the first time for coffee today. I’m not quite sure what to expect. Does the hive have any advice for being a good mentor?

  32. I tried the Everlane silk shirt in black and felt that the black was very faded, so I returned it. Have been very happy with silk shirts from Grana!

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