Thursday’s Workwear Report: Bishop Sleeve Top

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

banana republic bishop sleeve blouse for workWe featured a Tibi blouse like this a while ago, so I took note when I saw a much more affordable version at Banana Republic — and it’s among Olivia Palermo’s picks, which are usually pretty good. Not only is this one about a fifth of the price, though, today you can take 40% off everything, bringing it down to even less. It’s available in white, olive, and navy for $68 full price. Cinched-Waist Bishop-Sleeve Top

Psst: just realized there are major new markdowns at Brooks Brothers, including this gorgeous black cotton/silk cardigan for $59.

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  1. No more minimalism :

    Has anyone else favored minimalism, but realized it’s not for them? I recently got back into a few outdoor hobbies I had neglected and I have accumulated new gear (even though I live in a tiny apartment). I have found that in the short time since I got the new gear, I have gotten out for new adventures MUCH more often than before. I think not having my own equipment was a big barrier to getting outside. For example, I rock climb, but you can’t really boulder outside without a crash pad, climbing shoes, a chalk bag, etc. – all things I had gotten rid of because minimalism had convinced me that I “didn’t use it that much” and that it was “junk lying around.” I thought I would post this here because getting back into climbing and being able to head out at a moment’s notice without the need to borrow or rent gear has really increased my happiness. In this age of downsizing everything, I’ve found that maintaining or even increasing purchases that facilitate experiences has made a big difference. I still work to declutter other areas, like the kitchen or my closet, but I don’t use any of those items for fun. Curious if others who HAVE wholeheartedly minimalized have managed to do a better job maintaining their hobbies than I have.

    • We aren’t strict minimalists, but I think a lot of minimalism is not buying into the compulsive consumption that is so prevalent in American society. There’s nothing wrong with having stuff you actually use and that brings you joy. We don’t have a lot of “dust collectors” in our home and we always ask “do we really need that” before getting something.

      • This. Minimalism isn’t about having a set amount of ‘stuff’. It’s about being thoughtful about what you own and not buying things that just clutter your house.

      • +1


      • +2

      • +3 I have the things I need for my activities and hobbies, but I don’t indulge every whim when it comes to shopping.

      • No more minimalism :

        I agree, but I found that people were saying things like “if you haven’t used it in six months, get rid of it” and that totally didn’t work for my seasonal hobbies. It would suck to get rid of ski gear in August and then not be able to go on an impromptu trip in December.

        • If you’re trying to follow the “rules” that literally and can’t see the obvious exceptions then I don’t know what to tell you.

    • Clementine :

      To some degree, yes. We have our camping stuff and our winter sports stuff and our Christmas decorations and those are all things that we stored even in our 1BR apartment.

      I tend to dislike ‘stuff’, to the point where I got my work wardrobe down to basically 2 skirts, 2 dresses, 2 pair of pants, 4 shirts (2 long sleeve, 1 short sleeve, 1 sleeveless), 2 blazers, and 3 pair of shoes (black heels, nude heels, and flats). Honestly? It didn’t work for me. I realized that my work requires me to maintain a business casual to business professional wardrobe and that I was doing a LOT of laundry in order to make that system work.

      Also, I wore black constantly and it made me sad. I also had no weekend clothes so I’d end up wearing either work clothes or workout clothes. I still have a pretty streamlined and easy wardrobe (up to 5 pair of work shoes!) but I am not as ruthless about making sure I only have X number of things anymore.

      • I totally think that “minimalism” in terms of having a set number of things isn’t going to work for everyone depending on who you are, what you like, what your lifestyle is like, etc. I personally could never have less than a month and a half of clothing, workout clothes, and underpinnings — I work 12+ hour days most of the time and either work or travel for 2-3 weekends every month, so I basically only have one weekend a month where I have any time to do laundry. Trying to force myself into a lesser number of clothing items would cause huge headaches in my life that I would rather avoid by just having a little more stuff.

    • Maybe I’m just used to being in an apartment and using my car as my garage, but if I can keep stuff in my trunk / store in a rubbermaid tub if I need the trunk space back, I’m OK with activity / hobby clutter. [FWIW, I tend to underequip b/c I’m never convinced I will really stick to anything / be good enough to invest / don’t want to be “all hat no cattle”.]

      Contrast that with my husband who I want to move into a 3K foot house with 5 car garage on an adjoining lot: “might be in a band again” so needs all sorts of giant stereo equipment / amps / giant black things; multiple cars; ham radio (needs to build some sort of antenna tower???); immense DVD collection; woodworking stuff and tools (n.b., anyone who fixes or builds anything is me or the people I hire); all the d*mn camping gear, tents enough to Occupy Wall Street, and backpacks for an army. GAAH.

      • LOL at “giant black things”! DH is a musician by profession, and there are so many giant black things involved.

      • Ha, my car is basically my Bike Stuff Storage Locker. The back is just a sea of pumps/extra helmets/spare socks (I swear, only clean ones)/sunscreen/bidons/etc.

    • I attempted to become more minimalistic and realized it is definitely not for me, for some of the same reasons you describe. I read “The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up” and attempted to start the process but realized it just wouldn’t work for me, I think mostly because I don’t find it stressful to have “stuff”.

      For example, I love to do various craft projects. I have a lot of crafting supplies that I haven’t used in ages… but a couple weekends ago, I decided I wanted to do some soap making (which I haven’t done in probably 2 years), and I was so glad I had most of what I needed to make some cute soaps as a weekend project. I got a lot of enjoyment out of my project, although if I had come across the soap making supplies in a minimalistic purge, I probably would have tossed them.

      I buy lots of toiletries (soap, deodorant, etc) in bulk from Costco. It is so convenient to know I can always just grab another from my seemingly infinite supply. Having all this stuff doesn’t “spark joy” but relieves me from having to think about it very often – freeing up my mental energy for things that do spark joy!

      I love all my books. You can pry my books out of my cold, dead hands. I love living in a house surrounded by books.

      I can understand how some people feel overwhelmed by their possessions or don’t have storage space and want to minimize. But I don’t think minimalism for the sake of minimalism is the key to happiness that some people seem to think it is.

      • I have a family member who read “The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up” and “followed” the rules. She came across a hammer, and decided the hammer did NOT give her joy, and that when she had used the hammer in the past, it had not been a joyful experience.

        So, she got rid of the hammer.

        About two weeks later, she needed a hammer. So, she had to go out and get another hammer.

        (This family member may have missed some important details when reading the book.)

        • Rainbow Hair :

          But there is this class element to minimalism-as-virtue. I basically feel like this, but less so:
          “The only people who can ‘practice’ minimalism in any meaningful way are people upon whom it isn’t forced by financial or logistical circumstances.”

          I have reached a place where I can, maybe, sometimes, “invest” in a pair of boots that will “last forever” but the trick they don’t tell you is that if those “investment boots” are your only footwear and you wear them every day of the winter… they’ll last about a season. Kind of like the Payless boots.

        • Utility and joy are very different (but important) things. You know what brings me joy? Eating take out pizza every day, but I have a kitchen so I can make well balanced meals and I like being able to poo.

          • SFAttorney :

            Yes! Your comment reminds me of a favorite quote on the subject: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” William Morris. I think that is a more helpful rule than “sparking joy” although I liked “The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up” and got a lot out of it.

          • Anonymous :

            I read Life Changing and I took ‘sparking joy’ to basically mean the same thing as the Morris quote.

        • Well, tossing a hammer is on the silly end of examples, but that struggle is why I haven’t kondo’d my condo. A hammer is obviously utilitarian. But what about stuff that isn’t super useful but you still don’t want to have to run out and buy if you need? Like a whisk when I don’t cook that much, or old sheets (useful for when you’re going to a chili festival and need to toss something on a table), or an almost full box of resume paper (DOES NOT SPARK JOY) or business-like thank you notes, or a perfectly good 3 ring binder, or wrapping paper, or a 1 piece swim suit for lap swimming, or a vase that is perfectly functional but not been used recently….. (clearly, I dug around my closet for a while this weekend.)

          Basically, things that are perfectly good that I could see myself using. As someone who grew up in a family where you couldn’t just run out to target to buy xyz thing (or maybe ‘could’ but really, really shouldn’t), it just feels extremely wasteful and makes me uncomfortable to throw perfectly good things away. Would gladly accept suggestions if anyone has them.

          • I liked Marie Kondo’s book for this reason- it helped me get rid of stuff like this. I, too, suffer from “just in case” syndrome, but you end up drowning in stuff that you don’t really love.

            Whisk that’s used once a year? Get rid of it and use a fork. 1 old sheet for picnic purposes- fine. The rest? Donate to an animal shelter. Get rid of the resume paper- everything’s online now. Donate the three ring binder- they’re like 99 cents and you haven’t used it (and I’m sure you’ve had it in the closet for years). Wrapping paper- do you enjoy picking and wrapping presents? Does it make you happy to look at it? Yes- keep, no- throw away/donate and pay a few bucks for gift wrapping on Amazon/at store instead. Vase- do you like looking at it, or is it just meh? Just meh- donate. Put flowers in a water pitcher, drinking glass, mug, whatever you like. Strangely attached to vase for some reason? Pull it out of the closet every few months and get/pick yourself flowers.

        • I love that book/method and took a lot of valuable things away from it, but Marie will never be satisfied until we’re all living in empty white boxes.

        • I “purged” a bunch of my stuff that I used for parties, because we don’t have very many parties these days. Then realized this is my year to host Thanksgiving for my 25+ member family, and we have guests coming for Christmas also and we’ll be having a Christmas party to celebrate. Whoops. It’s not a tragedy, but I am going to try to be a little more restrained with my KonMari purges in the future.

          I really don’t feel guilty about having “stuff” as my house is nowhere near full (we actually have an empty closet in our guest bedroom) and what we have, we use, even if it’s not often. We may only go camping once a year, but it’s good to have the gear ready and waiting when we do want to go. We can go when the urge strikes by just loading up the car; we don’t have to plan out getting gear together or buying things we don’t have.

          • Depending on what you need to “host” the party, I have found that it is usually pretty economical to rent stuff for large gatherings. My husband and I will host several 20+ person dinner parties a year (like 5 or 6) and I find that renting table cloths, napkins, and dishes usually only runs me about $50-$75 and I don’t need to worry about cleaning them or storing them. Plus, I get to use different colors to go with the “theme” of the meal.

        • lawsuited :

          +1 My FIL read Marie Kondo’s book and said he was going to start throwing bills away immediately upon receiving them in the mail because they did not bring him joy.

          • Anonymous :

            Did he read the book or just hear about the book? Because that makes no sense in the context of what she actually says in the book. She addresses stuff you can’t eliminate – obviously one needs to pay the bills. She addresses issues like people holding onto paper copies of paid bills for like decades.

          • @lawsuited: I got the joke. It was funny.

    • Aren’t places in Japan really ultra small and expensive? Like beyond NYC/Paris small? And even more expensive?

      I think that drives extreme purging. There is no room for a third LBD or a russet one that you wear maybe once a year.

      But in the SEUS, houses are large and not so expensive and clothes / stuff is relatively inexpensive. So it’s easy to buy too much, but shouldn’t be too hard to keep tidy. But with rubbermaid tubs, it’s easy to box up and put away and then you have stuff that you’ve forgotten about that maybe should have a new home.

      As I get older and haven’t moved in 8 years, I find that I have to go through stuff b/c the natural assessment that comes with moving / changing size / moving from school to the working world just isnt’ happening.

      TL;DR: for many of us, we don’t really need to be so extreme until we go to a nursing home / need to radically downsize. But it’s good b/c if I died tomorrow, I wouldn’t want to leave a ton of stuff for my next of kin to sort though, either.

    • To me, there’s something to moving more towards a sharing economy that works hand in hand with more minimalistic tendencies. The hammer? It could be borrowed from a neighbor for the 1-2 times a year it’s needed. Luggage? Depending on how often you travel, it could also be borrowed from a friend or family member. Ride-sharing is a trend, but it’s also a push in getting away from highways filled with people driving alone in their cars that can comfortably seat 4-6 people. Airbnb takes this much further, but is the same idea…the idea of turning the guest room that sits empty for 48 weeks a year into something that can be used by someone else –
      whether for revenue or not – falls into this same camp for me.

      • I am all in favor of owning less stuff, and we are considering downsizing our home, but I cannot get behind the sharing economy. I am happy to rent giant ladders, power tools, etc. when I need them instead of owning them, but I need my own space to feel safe. I will never stay in an Air B n B or allow some random stranger to ride in my car. Not happening.

        • Why the Airbnb hate? It’s not all “guest room in someone’s occupied house.” A ton of listings are realtor-managed and never occupied by the owner at all.

        • Anonymous :

          I’m with you on the sharing economy. I find that some aspects of the sharing economy are impractical. Uber/Lyft – many times, these people don’t know where they’re going and don’t take the most efficient route there. Air B n B – I’ve stayed in one (when I rented the entire apartment) and it was fine, but extremely not well managed (had to wait an hour for the person with the key (which was a neighbor) to be available to bring it to us, even though we got in when we said we would be getting there). I have a hammer because occasionally I need to use a hammer around my house. I would be happy to share with a friend if they needed it, but I also had this request before and it took us longer to coordinate the picking up/dropping off of the hammer than they needed it for.

          I’m fine with a sharing economy like zip car, or renting one time only tools (power washer, etc), or a one time use dress from rent the runway, but these are all professional run businesses, and not people who only maybe know what they’re doing. (rant over)

          • re uber and lyft, if you happen to know the better route or can anticipate traffic/issues/quirks, don’t you just tell your driver that? You can talk to the drivers and let them know; I’ve never once had an issue doing this (was carless for 3.5 years and relied pretty heavily on uber/lyft for social transportation).

      • Anonymous :

        Our small city just started a Tool Library for exactly this purpose. It’s a non-profit where you can take classes in how to use the power tools and you can lend hand tools and power tools. Lots of people decluttering donated power tools that were barely used.

      • lawsuited :

        This plan still requires your neighbours to keep the hammer, and your friends and family to keep the luggage in their homes. We are those people for our friends – everyone wants to borrow our car, our ladder, our drill, our slowcooker, our Kitchenaid mixer, our tent, our folding chairs, our sewing machine, our fairy lights and on and on and on because we have figured out how to store all this stuff in our tiny apartment while our friends are enjoying a minimalist lifestyles.

        • Anonymous :

          Yeah – that type of minimalism requires you to have friends who aren’t, or who’s interests are opposite of yours so they use the stuff a lot that you don’t need. But then, what if they are using the thing you need when you need it?

          • Wildkitten :

            Nobody hammers that much.

          • Wildkitten :

            Or if they do, they own many hammers.

          • Anonymous :

            yeah, but if I own a hammer/Kitchen-Aid/whatever and need to use it, I want to be able to use it now, instead of waiting for my friend to get it back to me. It’s not just the time involved in actually using the thing, but the coordination to borrow and return – which is significantly longer than time needed for use.

            I mean, that’s why I bought the thing – to use it, not to loan it out to people.

        • Anonymous :

          This reminds me of the part of the KonMari book where she explains how her clients used to ship boxes of stuff off to clutter up their mothers’ houses.

    • Linda from HR :

      I’m never going to achieve “real” minimalism, but reading about it has inspired me to seriously pair down my own belongings, and get rid of all the junk I’ve been holding onto. Having less stuff makes it easier to keep my room neat and organized, and makes moving easier, and once I’m able to toss, recycle, and donate all the stuff I don’t need, I’m hoping to get in the habit of periodically decluttering.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      Like many others have said, its not limiting the absolute amount of stuff, it is eliminating unnecessary stuff you don’t use. I have focused on doing that with clothes and makeup-only buying what I actually need and use. A metric I use is that if I don’t have enough of X to get me through until I can conveniently do laundry again, I buy more. I am fine wearing the same stuff all the time until it wears out, but I just make sure to buy things I like and are classicly styled.

      We have what some would consider an excessive amount of sports equipment. Surfboards, skis, snowboards, bikes (both mountain and road), weight lifting accessories, snorkels, rash guards, wetsuits, hiking boots, running shoes, and all the other clothes to go with those activites. For a lot of people that would be nuts.
      Except it is not excessive to us because we use it all on a fairly regular basis and lets us have the experiences we enjoy as a family.

      • Anonymous :

        Exactly. To each her own. Some people love minimalism and bare shelves. They might find it calming and that’s great for them. I’d feel depressed if my house was like that. I like not having to run to the store to buy something in an emergency and I like options. It makes me happy to be able to kayak or camp in the summer and ski or snowshoe in the winter or have several options of blankets and throws. On the other hand, I also liked Marie Kondo and got rid of a bunch of clothes that didn’t really work for me anymore. And it convinced me to finally upgrade the chairs I’ve never been happy with. There’s a big difference between following rules blindly and taking away what works for you.

  2. Vicarious Shopping :

    Anyone feel like some vicarious shopping? I have a presentation in October at an industry conference populated by lawyers and want to buy something new. Or at least am contemplating buying something new. I thought that purple suit yesterday from BR would be perfect but it’s sold out in my size. Anyone have suggestions for a similarly vibed suit or dress and blazer that might fit the bill? The conference is in New Orleans. I’m a size 16 and top heavy; 5’3″. I favor skirts over pants. Thanks!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Are you looking for a skirt suit, or would a dress work too?

      • Vicarious Shopping :

        A dress would totally work too.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          I’ve had my eye on this forever:

          Tahari dresses fit me pretty well, and it sounds like we have similar figures.

          • Vicarious Shopping :

            Thank you, that’s adorable. Do you think it’s ok not to wear a jacket?

          • Rainbow Hair :

            I guess it depends, but with a dress like that, because it’s so structured, I would wear it instead of a simple dress+jacket combo. Like, not to court (unless it was something really informal) but to present I think it would probably look great.

          • Ekaterin Nile :

            I have this dress in navy and I adore it. Super flattering, super comfortable! Cannot recommend enough.

          • Vicarious Shopping :

            Thanks and I love your user name. I’m rereading a civil campaign right now.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          This is so preeeeeetty.

          The fit would have to be exact though, I think, on a busty person.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        OK in the purple family, it looks like there’s a blazer that matches this skirt:

    • You are me. I don’t typically do suits because they just don’t flatter me (us?) – too much tailoring required. I do a lot of separates – black skirt and a jacket in a color or pattern (i.e. herringbone, boucle, etc.). Jackets at Loft have worked well for me, and Banana has some cute ones right now. Boden also often has nice jackets that run a little large for us busty gals. Check the size charts, Banana runs small on top, Boden runs big.,12413545,brproduct2_rr_2&clink=12413545

    • Eager Beaver :

  3. HR training :

    Can anyone recommend an online-based training in HR management or skills? This would be for someone tasked with HR duties in a small startup who does not already have a background in HR.

    • Putting aside that it’s a terrible idea to put someone in charge of HR without a background in it (I would hire a consultant until you need a department), SHRM is the place to start. Some resources are free, but you can also join and have access to a lot of information and classes, etc.

      • HR training :

        Thanks. Do you have any pointers on hiring the consultant–i.e. what kind of background to look for?

        • HR… Sorry to be facetious. Maybe someone who has worked with start-ups before, but someone that implement processes for a small office that probably won’t be focused on this area. Ex-lawyer turned HR consultant might be a good skill set and can set you up with the essentials.

          • +1, especially in the start up environment. You’ll need folks who can maybe do double duty to remain lean but effective.

        • If you’re in CA, I know people who do this work & would be happy to give you referrals – post an anon email & I’ll follow up.

  4. Puffy shirt!

  5. Veronica Mars :

    Horse people — help! I’m volunteering at a therapeutic riding program and I need new boots. I haven’t ridden for many years so my old boots are too small. I’m considering buying a pair of paddock boots or a pair of LL bean shearling duck boots (I already have a pair of non-shearling ones, but they’re not great in super cold weather, even with wool socks). I can only get one or the other right now, and I’m leaning towards the shearling ones since I could also walk the dog in them, etc. I know a few other volunteers said that the duck boots are pretty popular and easy to ride in. I’d only be riding maybe 15-30 minutes as a warm up before the program began with the actual participants. I did some online research and everyone seemed OK with duck boots as riding boots, but I saw a few posts about being dragged, which is scary. I didn’t look closely at the stirrups during orientation but I saw a few western saddles so I’m not sure if the boots are OK for all stirrup types. Although I also reason that the chances of getting thrown or falling off a therapy horse are less than the average ride.

    • I’m sure there are a lot of people who ride in duck boots, but I personally would not. The rubber is the sort of thing that can get caught/grip in a stirrup. Even if you are not worried about falling off or getting thrown (which, we all know, no horse is 100% safe), things like your boot getting jammed while you dismount can create a dangerous situation. Ride in riding boots; they exist for a reason.

      • Equestrian lawyer :

        Yeah, I honestly would not ride in duck boots, ever, for the reasons above, but it’s up to you to decide what your tolerance to risk is (also, my horse is pretty frisky so being dragged is a real possibility to me, even if I am just walking around. But I have seen even the gentlest horse freak out occasionally at loud noises, aggressive dogs or whatnot). There are great winter riding boots at decent prices, although I’m in Canada and they might be more common around here.

        • Veronica Mars :

          Thanks, that’s what I was fearing. Maybe I can find some secondhand paddock boots that aren’t too expensive.

      • One other thought: if your volunteer role is mostly walking alongside the riders and helping them mount and dismount, consider wearing paddock boots because they typically will offer slightly more protection if a horse accidentally steps on your foot. Soft rubber or tennis shoes aren’t going to do much. I had a horse break my two littlest toes while stomping at a fly and it was such a dumb, inconvenient injury.

        • +1 on toe protection. A horse stepped on my foot when I was a kid wearing rubber riding boots and it was not fun.

    • So we don’t do warm-up riding at the program I volunteer with (and YAY, TR is the BEST!), but frankly, you could probably just wear old sneakers. Not sure about your program, but many of our students ride in sneakers and for a quick warm-up, I think it would probably be fine.

      FYI, if your program is like ours, the stirrups will be breakaway/safety stirrups, regardless of whether the tack is English or western. Western tack is more common for our TR students, but we do use English as well.

      • One thing I learned from my horsey days is you NEVER wear sneakers riding. It is very unsafe.

        • lost academic :

          You CAN do so safely and they do make stirrups for that kind of thing but I wouldn’t encourage it.

          OP – I would get some used paddock boots. The local secondhand tack store will have some, Facebook groups always have stuff like that, Craigslist – even ebay.

          • Interesting, I had no idea! I guess for our students the fact that there’s such an extensive safety infrastructure (horse leader + two side walkers who in physical contact with the rider at all times for most riders + breakaway stirrups) is why they allow it. (It may be that it’s not recommended but is still allowed because many of our students are extremely low-income and buying special shoes would be challenging.)

          • lost academic :

            Right. You can also use the inserts for Western stirrups that prevent rider in sneakers from having their feet slide through the stirrups. Of course the standard safety stirrups are the best for English saddles and I generally think everyone should be riding in them no matter what.

            Cbackson, it’s not about the leader and sidewalkers (sounds like you’re probably at a PATH International center) because none of that would entirely prevent getting a foot trapped when falling and being dragged even a little – it’s that you can have stirrups that prevent getting trapped in the first place. Side note – most of your students require two sidewalkers?

  6. Need career advice! I’m currently at job A. Been there seven years, know all the key personalities, make good money and have tons of time off. I genuinely like it most of the time, but the industry burns people out and I feel like because I’m the overachieving type, I keep climbing the ladder without really thinking about what it means. Like now I’m at a point where my next promotion would mean much more managing people and managing workstreams instead of actually doing the work.

    Job B pays 30% more. The work would be more in line with my interests. Different industry but similar type of work. However, time off would be significantly reduced and most of the work is remote, so I would lose the office camaraderie and friendly coworkers that I like.

    What would you do? I am so torn. Both jobs have the opportunity to work with smart, talented people. I’m scared if I don’t go with job B I’ll regret it, but I’m also scared I’ll feel really isolated in a mostly remote job. While more money would always be nice, that isn’t the deciding factor. I make a good salary already. It’s more the remote thing.

    Remote or mostly remote workers, any stories about how you battle isolation? And thoughts on which job you’d pursue?

    • Veronica Mars :

      I love being remote. Love it, love it, love it. My dog is sleeping at my feet as I type.

      • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

        Yeah, I love it too. But I am very much an introvert. I really enjoy solitude.

        Commuting/getting ready is also a time sink. I save hours a day by working at home, meaning I have more time to do things I want to do (spend time with family, hobbies, work out, cook, etc.).

    • Stay at the job you like. Keep looking for job c if you want to make a move.

    • A. Can’t stand remote work. So this is really a know yourself situation. Why not wait until you burn out at A and then go for B? Or is there a window of opportunity that closes with B?

    • I’m a people person, so being home alone all day is like prison for me. And no, going to a coffee shop or whatever with my laptop doesn’t make it better – I need face-to-face interaction.

      It doesn’t sound like you’re unhappy with your current job. Just because an opportunity knocked, it doesn’t mean you have to take it.

    • The remote factor might balance the time off issue because you’ll have more flexibility, but I would be cautious about taking a remote position if you’re upwardly ambitious. Remote jobs lack FaceTime, which I’d argue shouldn’t be necessary for success, but still is. I’d also think about your political capital at your current job and whether you want to give that up. All that said, I had a remote job for a few years and it had pros and cons – I loved working out whenever I wanted in the day because I didn’t have to dress for work, but the lack of coworkers around killed me. I’d go to Starbucks to say hi to someone in person.

    • I’ve slowly dis covered that while I could happily live my life as a hermit, and I can happily WFH on other kinds of work, I can’t happily do my niche work without people around. I don’t know why, but it makes me a horribly grouchy bear. I might never have noticed this on my own, if my family hadn’t pointed it out (repeatedly).
      Just anecdata, I don’t really have a point.

    • Remote work from a coworking space, assuming you’ll still come out ahead financially. Although, how much less time off? Vacation is pretty important to me.

  7. Personal finance books? :

    I’d like to look at a few introductory books on personal finance, and I was wondering if anyone on this board had a recommendation. I’m mostly interested in basic retirement/tax planning. I’m not looking for books that focus on paying back debt (that’s not my situation) or investment strategies. I have some background in finance, just not personal finance, so I’m hoping for a book that is not really dumbed down. Thanks for any recs!

    • I thought bogleheads was pretty good for an overview.

    • Kobliner’s Get a Financial Life.

      • ah, reading comp fail. This may be too dumbed down for you; I misread that as wanting something dumbed down. Sorry!

        Still a great place to start for those of you interested.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m making my way through the index card book and like it so far. It’s just my speed. Focusing on preparing for the future, not crazy investment strategies or complicated finances.

  8. I met a woman at a group event. We were clearly both looking for new friends and hung out a few times-on-one. That was a couple months ago and we haven’t seen each other since. Things got busy (we were both traveling a lot over the summer, and I was dealing with some time-consuming stuff at both home and work) and I was also a little hesitant to initiate contact after our last hangout since it was technically her ‘turn” to initiate. Anyway we randomly ran into each other a few days ago and after exchanging pleasantries, she said something like “Let’s get together soon, I really want to catch up!” I texted her to see if she could do lunch, and no response. That was three days ago and she’s always replied really promptly in the past, so I guess I’m being ghosted. I just don’t understand why she said the thing about catching up. I guess she felt awkward, but I wouldn’t have been offended at all if she’d just ended the conversation with “Well, it was great to see you” or something like that and it would have been a lot more honest and not set up the expectation for a follow-up hangout that she clearly doesn’t want. Ugh, I know I should be grateful I met my husband young and skipped dating as an adult, but this whole making friends as an adult thing is HARD.

    • One of the bad things about texting is that people read too much into it.

      If you want to ask her to lunch, give her a call.

      • I kind of disagree. Although it’s silly, people now see calling as a much bigger deal than texting, and so if someone hasn’t replied to your text I think calling them puts on more pressure. I would say the same in a dating situation. If someone called me because I hadn’t replied to their text, I’d be put off unless it was someone close to me and the request was time-sensitive.

        Either she will reply to your text belatedly, or just let it go. I’m sorry it’s disappointing, and yes, making friends as an adult can be very hard.

        • Honestly, I expect good intentions with most folks. I am always totally behind on my communications. I forget to respond to social texts all the time….

          This isn’t a dating situation either.

      • +1 – I get a million texts a day and it’s really easy to miss them especially since there’s no way to mark as unread. I am firmly in the camp of reach out, don’t count turns, if you like someone and want to hang out try to get it on calendar. Realize that people are busy, have lots going on and missing a text or cancelling isn’t about you or their desire to be friends with you. It’s about life.

      • I think calling is an age-related culture thing. If you’re younger, it could weird people out. I never talk on the phone with friends, ever, and I’m 33.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Same — I wouldn’t call an I-want-to-be-friends person to set up a meeting, ever. If someone like that called me, I’d let it go to voicemail and text them back. I would certainly call if it was like, “wait am I at the right restaurant? where are you?!” but generally phone calls are reserved for situations that need to be addressed immediately, or people with whom I already have a good amount of closeness/comfort (or, y’know, doctors offices).

          • I really disagree with Rainbow Hair on this. I’m a millennial, too. I think it’s a preference thing. I also work in a job where we’re on the phone all the time. Maybe that plays into my comfort with being on the phone?

        • Sad.

          How dysfunctional.

          • Sad.

            How out of touch, Anonymous at 11:20.

          • Not more dysfunctional than someone who anonymously insults other people on the internet without reason. What’s your damage?

          • I was suggesting that it is sad that people no longer feel comfortable talking on the phone. That’s kind of basic for human interaction.

            I’m 25.

          • Oh get over yourself. Talking on the phone isn’t some end all and be all of communication.

        • I’m an old, as in I remember using rotary dial telephones as a child, and I never talk on the phone with friends unless there is a major life crisis. We text, sometimes in epically large text conversations. My 85 year old father and his 89 year old sister text and Facebook message each other unless it’s a crisis. It’s not disfunctional, it’s the new normal. I think we all stay in touch better than we used to when it was phone calls.

        • Yeah the only person who calls me is my mom when something is wrong. I’m 32.

        • I think this is really interesting – I’m 37, which I wouldn’t think would be a significant generational gap from Rainbow Hair (I had a cell in high school and ever since) I regularly talk on the phone to my close friends, and my SO. I wouldn’t think twice about calling to follow up in this situation.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            Yeah we’re almost the same age. I wonder what it is that determines things like this — like is it just that I gravitate toward non-phonecall-people as friends? Because the way I approach it totally seems to be the norm in my social circle. We all have a few people we talk to regularly on the phone (for me it’s my mom) but mostly we text. I talked on the phone a ton in middle school, but even toward high school it kind of dropped off…

        • It’s also a cultural thing. In some cultures, all ‘scheduling’-type stuff, business or personal, happens over the phone. Even if you email to set something up or text, the phone call is what makes it real. I’m 30 and am from the east coast USA, but work in Europe where this is more common. I’m certainly more comfortable never speaking over the phone, and I hate answering it (unless its my mom).

    • People are really flaky.

      I send a lot of “let’s catch up and have lunch or drinks!” emails and texts, and sometimes don’t hear a response for a week or so. Sometimes never, and then a month or so later I get a text from them along the lines of “oops, sorry I never responded! but let’s try to get together next week!”

      It’s annoying, yes, but I figure I can either create principles that I will not hang out with people who are difficult to schedule with (and have no friends) or just accept that it’s the way some people are and make plans when possible. My limit is probably 2-3 invites over a couple months, and if I got no response to any of them, concluding that the person doesn’t want to spend time with me.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I agree with this. And sometimes I’m the one who misses the text and sends the “oops” text later.

    • eh. it sucks, but, . . . oh well? I mean you werent looking to marry her, just hang out. I find in my working mom to 4 little kids life that adult friendships are not super consistent. I, and my friends, are just too busy. Also, sometimes if people are on a diet, or low on disposable income, they may just not want to go out to lunch. I personally hate going out to lunch because it winds up consuming my whole day. Even if she’s not that into you, who cares. You will fare better with a lower-pressure I DGAF attitude towards making friends thanappearing over-eager and potentially needy.

    • You’re reading too much into this. First, this “technically it’s her turn” thing is just an excuse to let yourself off the hook for not reaching out or you giving yourself permission to read into her motives. Most people don’t keep tabs like that, and it’s not technically anyone’s turn because there are no actual rules. Second, the fact that she hasn’t responded truly could just mean she’s busy. Some people are busy. At the end of the day, a woman she hung out with once or twice is going to be low on her priority list- but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t think you’re cool or want to hang out or get to know you. For example, I’m slammed at work right now and have a backlog of non-urgent texts, emails, and missives to respond to. There’s no reason to conclude that she’s “ghosting” you. You’ve created a whole story in your head based on her past conduct and the idea that it’s ‘her turn’ and invited yourself to a pity party. Making friends as an adult IS hard, but you’re making it much more difficult than it needs to be.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I agree that it’s hard!

      I would say, in her defense (jk this is in my defense) that sometimes I return texts like that after a big delay because I’m trying to figure my sh*t out. Like I don’t want to say, “yes! but first i have to see if breakfast with my family is still on for sunday, and there’s a chance we’re getting tickets to the baseball game on friday night, and ugh did my husband ever confirm the playdate for this weekend?!” … I just sit on it until that is all resolved, *then* text back like “yeah! how about sunday!?”

      • YES. This is how my life works. It drives me bananas but I can’t figure out a better way around it.

        • Same. And this is why calling me probably won’t get you further, because I’ll just run through a list like that and then promise to get back to you later. Or, I’ll send you to VM because I don’t have time to pick up the phone.

          OP, it’s also easier if you propose a time- easier for someone to say yes or no too. A “hey! let’s get dinner! when are you free?” is basically just like saying “hey we should schedule dinner” but doesn’t actually get the ball rolling any more than running into someone and saying “hey, let’s catch up.” Like she did.

      • Anonymous :

        Well, you could just say “Yes, I want to do this! I’m thinking Saturday, but need to check my schedule and get back to you” And then follow up with a date. Or a “Hey, I’m crazy busy the next couple weeks. would next month work for you?”

        Separate the Yes from the scheduling.

  9. Diana Barry :

    Ha! I actually ordered this shirt and promptly returned it. It made me look like a giant puffball – the proportions are all off. I had a “poet shirt” from Vicky’s in the 90s that was much better. ;)

  10. Best store for comfortable undergarments?

  11. Thisperson1 :

    Please dress me. I have a dark navy blue dress with light tan accents. My trusty old brown knee high boots died last winter and I haven’t found new ones yet (side note: looking for brown knee high boots). In the meantime, what color tights and shoes would you recommend? Dress hits at the knee. (It’s a dark enough navy that I’m afraid pairing it with black will make it look like I thought it was black and dressed in the dark…)

    • Tights–go monochrome with navy tights and the brown boots. Or have some contrast with deep burgundy and the dark brown boots. I think certain shades of gray might also work.

    • Is this a fall/winter dress?

      In summer I would wear it with bare legs and nude for me heels, or even better – grey, burgundy or navy heels. I love a monochromatic look.

      In winter, with tights, I would wear it with navy tights and any complimentary color boots (or suede grey, burgundy, navy heels), or black tights and black boots with a sweater or scarf that brings in some navy and black and another color.

  12. I’m flying into Logan, landing a little before 8pm on a weeknight. I will need a taxi/car service/Uber to take me directly to Wellesley. I will have a toddler in tow and a car seat for said toddler, which obviously I will have to install at the airport, while the driver waits. Usually when I travel with my kids I rent a car and/or am with my husband. This is the first time I’m doing it solo and the first time I’ll need to install a seat on the fly so I want to have a game plan in advance.

    What service should I use? Any other advice? TIA!

    • I don’t have any advice on which car service to use, but when I have to install a carseat alone, I always put my toddler in the other backseat so I can keep an eye on her. Re-read your carseat manual and practice installing it in your car. I think the seatbelt installation is easier for me than the Latch, but you do you (and your carseat). There are also lots of youtube videos on carseat installation tips.

    • After a google search I found that Uber X vehicles can come equipped with a car seat already. Search for “Uber Car Seat.” I’m not sure how comfortable you would feel with this, but it is an option!

    • Why not just rent a car?

    • How old is the toddler you are traveling with? Can toddler still rear face in the seat? I find it easier to install car seats rear facing so you don’t have to find the latch in a car service. I always end up having to like climb into the trunk to do the latch in an SUV which is annoying. I have been known to make kids rear face on a trip when they don’t normally as long as they still fit in the limits of the seat. An Uber with a car seat option is good too, but you will probably wait longer for one and you will just be waiting for the driver to install the immi go and if you are good at installing your own seat you can probably do it faster, but that would be less hands on for you because you can just depend on the driver to do it while you deal with toddler.

    • Either taxi or uber will be fine. Taxi line will be right outside and Uber you have to go walk a bit and go to a different area. You won’t hold up the taxi line as the other drivers can go around you pretty easily. The uber lot looks like a parking lot, so no problem taking a few extra minutes there either.

  13. Are square toed shoes back? I am seeing them on-line (and remembering how comfy a couple pairs I had from Ann Taylor were), but wondering if they are dated before taking the plunge.

    • Like these (which seem perfect for work to me):,default,pd.html?dwvar_WF00424_Color=BLCK&contentpos=66&cgid=womens_accessories_sale

    • I just can’t do square-toed shoes. I think the only way to pull them off is to make sure that the rest of your outfit is *super* stylish, well-fitting, and current. That way, it’s clear that it’s an intentional look.

    • BabyAssociate :

      To me, square toed shoes = pilgrim

    • Square toes are totally coming back. I’ve seen them on fashiony shoes for 3-4 months, and now they’re trickling down to more standard brands. I say go for it!

      • Ugh. Really? Add this to the list of things that are “in style” that I am sooo not feeling. I guess I need to wait a couple of years for the things that I like and are flattering for me to come back in style.

        • I feel you. I am still waiting for cold shoulders and peep toe boots to die.

          Apparently I don’t understand random cutouts in my clothing lol.

          I noticed a few years ago I suddenly don’t like ANYTHING for sale as far as clothing. This councided with reaching around 40 years old, so I’m thinking I’ve aged out of retailers’ target demo or something.

  14. NoVa Divorce :

    Any recommendations for affordable divorce attorneys in Northern Virginia? Relatedly, any recommendations for PIs or other entities that can track down hidden accounts?

    • Divorce attorney :

      What court system would you be in – what county? That matters A LOT – it’s super important that your divorce attorney knows the judges.

      -former nova divorce attorney

    • A friend used someone from the Geller Law Group in FFx recently for some child custody/support stuff post divorce. Was pleased!

      • Divorce attorney :

        I like Donna Dougherty, in Manassas. She’s probably not THE cheapest, but she’s worth it.

      • Another vote for Geller Law Group — a friend used them for a difficult divorce, and they are excellent.

  15. I was offered a promotion yesterday (yay) but even though I was tempted to sign off right away, I took the time to ask to negotiate a higher salary. I’ve always been too hesitant to do that before, so I’m really proud of myself. It probably won’t amount to anything because budget is tight, but I’m glad I took initiative!

  16. I’m 6 weeks pregnant. I’m in the middle of the slowest week of work in recent history in an otherwise high stress/intense job and industry.

    What to do with my free time….!? I feel like there should be something baby-centric I could be reading/doing/planning for, but I’m at a loss. Some of these baby blogs/threads make me want to gouge my eyes out. Ideas for something productive?

    (Also, I’m extremely aware six weeks is very early. I’ve been in fertility treatments for about two years, so my head is squarely on my shoulders about this. But, we did see a heartbeat this week. yay!)

    • Thisperson1 :

      No advice, but congrats!

    • Congratulations! I mostly stayed away from blogs and started reading Expecting Better. I also confirmed I was comfortable delivering at the hospital I planned (in case I needed to switch OBs). So just check out some hospitals websites. My DH read The Expectant Father which was really useful. We started cleaning out/getting rid of stuff to make room for baby. We kind of kept this up my entire pregnancy. Oh and maybe stock up on snacks for any potential morning sickness – saltines, ginger ale, graham crackers. I found I could eat boxed Mac and cheese even with my all day everyday nausea.

    • 6 weeks is very early to do any active preparations, but you could review your health plan to be sure you know what is/isn’t covered, and depending on what daycare is like in your area (the waitlists in Toronto are insane) you could compile a list of daycares in your area that you want to call once you’re a bit farther along.

    • Congrats! I was too nervous to do any real planning that early, but if you feel comfortable, go for it! You could read a book about pregnancy? I like the Mayo Clinic guide, and that didn’t feel like “jinxing it” the same way that buying nursery furniture did. Also you could call daycares and get on waiting lists, since you’re supposed to do that ASAP?

    • Congrats! I would stay clear of crazy people on forums (this does not include C o r p o r e t t e Moms, which is great!). I thought Expecting Better was a helpful read, along with something a little more encyclopedic like the Mayo Center guide. Other than that, I’d spend time resting and keeping up your exercise. There’s no trick to pregnancy other than trying to keep yourself healthy and sane :)

      • Oh yes, and I definitely second the rec above — get yourself on daycare waitlists asap. Waitlists can be nuts. I’ve been on one for literally two and a half years.

      • +1 on Expecting Better! I also really enjoyed Bringing Up Bebe but I would look at it as more of a fun reality-check memoir vs. a parenting/pregnancy guide.

    • Don’t do anything baby related. Read a good long book. Dive into outlander.

    • Research potential options for hospitals and OBGYN or midwife practices if you haven’t already.

      And, sorry to be morbid, but either create or update a will for you and your partner if you have one. We put off doing this till after baby and it’s been hard to make time to get it done.

      • +1 on both of these.

      • On the other hand, if you’re fine with the default laws of succession in your state, making a will is not that urgent. Having a will makes it easier and cheaper for your survivors to probate your estate and is definitely a nice thing to do for your survivors, but not having a will is not going to prevent the intended person from eventually getting the money. I know in my state, if one spouse dies, the other spouse gets everything and if both spouses die simultaneously the child(ren) gets everything. That’s what we would want and I assume what most people would want.
        I think a document stating who you want to have custody of your child is more important, since that’s likely to be much more contentious than distribution of your assets.

        • Senior Attorney :

          In my state, the only way you can assign custody of your child upon your death is by a will. So yes, making a will may be urgent.

    • Lucy’s List is a good resource if you are into researching and comparing products. Definitely stay off all forums, and I second that CorporetteMoms is hands down the best parenting resource if you have specific questions (better even than all of my friends/family I know with kids and babies).

    • If you are interested in saving money/buying used, you can spend a lot of time trying to track down used maternity clothes and baby gear online. Research hospitals, pediatricians and childcare. Explore pinterest for baby room decor ideas.

      • This is a great idea.

        One of my friends got all of her baby stuff…. for free. Just called up friends and borrowed.

    • Anonattorney :

      Yayyy! Congrats! I liked PregnantChicken for blogs. Funny and informative. If you want to start thinking about stuff, buy the book Baby Bargains – they do a good job of rating different strollers/carriers/bottles/etc. and guiding you through what you might need or want to buy.

      Otherwise, if you start getting tired, take advantage of a slow time at work and sleeeep. Sleep in your car, come in late, leave early, whatever you need to do.

    • I liked the Baby Bargains book for early vicarious shopping and then the Baby Bargains Board when we were choosing the big things and registering (the Moms board did not exist back then). The Hubs and I both read Eat Sleep Poop (I found it much more helpful and less preachy than What to Expect) and Hungry Monkey (entertaining book by food critic about getting child to eat things other than “kid” food because that’s what The Hubs and I obsessed about) early on, just to get our mindset together; the BBB board also was helpful as we evaluated different choices. Consider where you might want to do parenting classes (if that is your thing), as well as the questions like doula or not, episiotomy or not, and hospital and change OBs if necessary to accommodate your preferences.

      Otherwise, read all the books, see all the movies and get all the sleep, none of which you will get to do after the new person arrives.

    • This sounds crazy and is crazy, but depending on where you live and what you think your childcare arrangements might be, get on daycare waiting lists now. In many cases, you can get on the list and then take a tour later. This is the #1 thing I wish I had done very early in my pregnancy. I felt fine at 6 weeks and then had horrible morning sickness from about 8 weeks until about 18 weeks. We didn’t start looking at daycares until I was 4 or 5 months pregnant, and we didn’t get into any before I went back to work. Silver lining–we hired an incredible nanny (whom we couldn’t really afford long-term), and we got into a great daycare when Kiddo was about 1.

  17. Fluffy voice question :

    If, in your car, you can sing all of the guy parts of Les Mis but struggle with Fantine / Eponine, are you maybe a tenor?

    But for Hamilton, you can sing all of Burr, Hamilton, Jefferson, Eliza and your only issue with Angelica is that it’s too fast, are you just really bad in all ranges? I do struggle with Hurcules Mulligan (but I do adore that name and can’t believe that it’s real).

    • now i’m listening to les mis at work… can’t sing here!

    • I’m Hercules Mulligan, I need no introduction. When you knock me down, I get the f–k back up again!

      That is my second favorite line in all of Hamilton, after the Pirates of Penzance reference.

      And no, you are probably not a tenor.

    • So you’re an alto?

    • The issue may not be range (e.g. tenor vs contralto vs mezzo etc.), but rather placement (head vs mix vs belt vs chest). Without training, you may just naturally be putting things wherever they land and that may not be the right place to allow you to reach the notes you want in any particular song.

      PS – Yes, Hercules Mulligan is an awesome name. I would give our next dog that name, but The Hubs already is at his musical theater limit with The Kid singing “The Room Where It Happens” in the house and that might put him over the edge.

      • +1 to the first paragraph. I remember my choir director placed us based on the break where we switched from chest to head voice. I used to be a mezzo soprano, but now that I’m way out of practice with anything but shower singing, I’m a solid Eponine alto.

    • Anonattorney :

      I’m a solid Eponine, but Fantine is a bit high, and I’m an alto. Maybe you’re a contralto?

      I love this post, by the way.

      • I had a high school chorus teacher who said that being able to sing “On My Own” means you’re an alto. Does that help?

    • Fluffy cast recording question: Which of the many Les Mis recordings is your favorite?

      • 10th anniversary CD, no contest. 17 Valjeans!

        Least favorite = film soundtrack. I have no idea who thought letting Russell Crowe sing was a good idea, but it clearly was NOT.

  18. very anon for this :

    I would appreciate hearing from anyone who has to deal with caring for a parent/in-law whom you do not get along with well, especially when there is a strong cultural obligation to house them in own’s home.

    My mother in law lives across the world and is a widow. She is not on speaking terms with her daughter and I don’t really see that changing anytime in the near future. She has had a VERY fraught relationship with my husband, and my husband cannot be around her longer than a few weeks without a lot of arguments. She has stayed with us numerous times for visits lasting a few months along, and those visits have been incredibly stressful and difficult. She loves our kids but is not the helpful type when it comes to childcare, so that’s been tough too.

    On the other hand, we recognize that MIL lives alone, is getting older, and we are concerned what will happen if she has a serious health issue. We can’t simply drop everything in an instant to travel across the world to be with her, at a moment’s notice. She is also very lonely and has expressed numerous times that she wants to move permanently to the US to spend more time with her grandchildren (we have three kids).

    In our culture, it is the norm to have your parents live with you in their old age and care for them until they pass. Given my MIL’s personality and the rift between her and my husband, I cannot imagine how she can live with us without serious conflict. Husband and I are also having our own issues, and having her live with us would only exacerbate them.

    So I see two options:

    1. Move her into a retirement home in her home country (there are phenomenal homes that are super clean, luxurious, lots of activities for seniors, etc.). She is VERY adverse to this idea, she thinks people will think her children are abandoning her. But, doing this would give her a lot of freedom and mobility in a city she knows well. But this option is not going to work if she falls seriously ill and needs care.

    2. Move her into a separate apartment within walking distance to our home. I know that she will also be VERY adverse to this idea and I do understand her view. I would think it would be very hard for a 65 year old woman who has never lived in the US to suddenly move to a new country and manage on her own. She does not drive (although we live in the city, and subway/bus is right outside our door). Fortunately, her English is quite good.
    If she were close, she would still have lots of meals with us and spend time with us, but at least this way we would have our own personal space and so would she.

    Is there another option I am missing? Moving her close to her daughter is a non-starter given that daughter refuses to speak to her. Fortunately, finances are not an issue and we are able to afford the various options for her.

    What should we do? I am torn between a strong sense of duty and obligation to care for an elder, but I am also feeling selfish and would like privacy for me and my family.

    • Option A

    • Is there an option for an apartment at your home? Like building an apt over a garage or in your basement? That way there is privacy but you can be close.

    • This is really, really difficult. I am impressed you are being so thoughtful about it.

      And I am relieved you realize she cannot live you with. She cannot. No question.

      Your husband must be firm on this, and I recommend he has all communication with his mother about the plan, regardless of what it is. Stay out of it.

      I think it is reasonable to give her the options….. she stays where she is, and Assisted living etc… options in her country are there if she needs them vs. living near you but not with you. Honestly, living near you will also be very hard on your family.

    • You should do nothing. Nothing needs to be done right now. 65 is not old (at least by American standards – I’m not sure how her health is and what the life expectancy is in her culture). Let this issue wait until she’s 70 or 75 or 80, then examine it. Maybe by then she will have mellowed into someone who’s easier to get along with and you and your husband will be past this difficult place.

      • Completely agree. There’s no problem to solve now. If she needs more care, get it then.

        • Thistledown :

          I think it would be much better to move now, if she’s going to move. At 65 she can still get out and explore the new city, join groups, and make friends. If she moves much later when she’s unwell, she will be entirely dependent on her family. I think moving her into a retirement community nearby would be the best thing, to make it easier for her to establish a social circle here. But definitely think that presenting her with options would be the best thing.

      • MIL’s age cuts both ways. As you point out, nothing needs to be done urgently today. OTOH, if MIL is going to move to the US then it might be better to do so while she’s still relatively young and healthy. Yes, moving to a new country is a big adjustment at 65, but it’s a bigger adjustment at 75 or 80.

        • This is the OP, thank you all so much for the thoughtful replies. MIL is actually closer to 70, not 65 as I had written, although the point about her potentially living for another 30 years is well taken. As tribble writes, her age cuts both ways — she is youngish and healthy now and we feel that as she gets older it will be harder for her to acclimate to life in the US (as it is, it will be VERY hard now but at least she has good health at this point). And it’s so much harder to make a big life transition after you’ve had a serious health crisis.

          We have looked into retirement communities near us, they are about 5-6K a month. Technically we could afford that (it was stretch us for sure), but I also see a retirement community as being overwhelming for her too. I doubt there would be many (if any) people from our country and she is not accustomed to interacting with Americans. But of course the retirement community offers more activities and resources that would be more helpful.

          There is a decent sized cultural community and a place of worship, but in the suburbs (we live in the city). But I agree with others that having her connect with this community is essential for her happiness and socialization, even if it means that we drive her to and from the church.

          The other major option which I didn’t mention is that we could move across the country to live near MIL’s brother (husband’s uncle). Uncle is very eager to help MIL (but doesn’t want her to live with them) and would take a lot of responsibility for taking her places, socializing with her, etc, which would help ease our responsibility. MIL knows that area of the US the best and has some friends there already (and a place of worship). Husband and I have been thinking of relocating to this area for a long time anyways, as my parents live there as well. We feel reasonably confident we could get good jobs in that area too. This is obviously a huge change, but it is a potential option so I wanted to put it out there.

          Keep the comments coming, thanks.

          • Anonymous :

            If you want to live in that area. This might actually be your solution. Move MIL there first, so she has to have her own apt. Get her used to a life without you and build a social circle with Uncle. Explain that you are settling her there so she doesn’t have to move twice.

            Buy a house without room for her to live with you. You can use the fact that your parents live in the area as a reason that she can’t live with you – because it wouldn’t be fair to them because then they would want to live with you too and you can’t afford a house large enough for everyone together.

          • Anonymous :

            You shouldn’t have to completely disrupt your life and relocate just to make her happy. If Uncle is happy to take care of her, let him.

          • Anonymous :

            This sounds like the best option all around. It’s a place you’d like to live, you’d have family and support nearby (on both sides) and it’s a place she is familiar with and has immediate connections.

            I’m sorry you’re going through this and wish you much success in working things out. We’re facing something similar, but not, in that my inlaws would like to move closer to us as they age, after spending most of their more energetic years near the grandkids and their daughter (1 of 2) and I know helping them navigate a new city, new friends and their health (and they are mid-70’s) will be a challenge, especially as my culture (black American) tends to put most of the responsibility on the wife/daughter (even for inlaws).

    • Move her into a retirement community near you. I don’t think you can expect her to live independently in the US for the first time at age 65, without knowing how to drive, but living in a retirement home is very different than living independently. She’ll be able to get meals on-site and they’ll organize excursions to the library, movies, etc. as well as lots of games and activities there at the center. Choose a community that has both independent and assisted living, so she can start out living independently and enjoying activities with other active seniors, but she doesn’t have to move far when she needs more care.

      • FYI, those are shockingly expensive. My grandmother pays $4k/month for her one bedroom unit at a retirement home in Florida. Paying $48k/year for decades is inconceivable for most people.

        • Yeah but she said money was not a concern.

        • I disagree that paying $48k/year for decades is “inconceivable” for most people. People here talk all the time about wanting retirement savings in the $2M+ range. Those kind of assets are going to generate an annual income well above $48k/year.
          Anyway, there’s a huge range of retirement home costs, based on how nice the home is, how much care you need, and how cheap real estate is in the area. I live in a LCOL area and there’s a really nice place near me with one bedrooms starting at a little over $2,000/month. You can’t compare it to just rent, because it includes a large number of meals, all utilities, weekly maid service, laundry, parking, snow removal/lawn mowing, etc. Even people who own their homes outright are probably looking at spending close to that much on utilities and services, especially as you get older and it’s hard to get down on your hands and knees to clean toilets or shovel snow.

          • But people do that have those income producing assets now…. in their 30’s

            Assisted living is crazy expensive where I live. Especially for the good places. It depends upon where the OP lives. $2000/month is not typical for most areas where those on this board live.

            And if mother comes…. she wont be a citizen, right? So is she even eligible for Medicare here? No….. So will they be paying out of pocket for healthcare?!?!? That is terrifying to me.

          • If you have assisted living near you that’s $2k a month, you’re in an exceptionally low-cost of living area. I’m writing a check for $9k per month right now. This is not within reach for most people.

          • She doesn’t need assisted living. She’s 65 and healthy. She needs an apartment, and I don’t think it’s crazy to pay a little extra per month so that apartment is located inside a retirement community with a lot of services. Having the retirement community staff around to help MIL get to appointments and such is really going to ease the burden on OP, and might be well worth the extra money if she can afford it. Obviously, she knows her finances best, and if she can’t afford it, she can disregard the advice.
            MIL/OP can buy health insurance through the Obamacare exchanges, it won’t be free like Medicare or as cheap as an employer-sponsored plan but it’s not like she’s going to have to pay for a $100,000 hospital stay out of pocket.

          • Independent retirement community living is in the neighborhood of $2k/month, not assisted living. OP’s MIL does not need assisted living.

          • I hadn’t thought about the health insurance issue. Obamacare is not straightforward…. it depends upon your status, and she may not be eligible. And it is quite expensive when you are older. Honestly, this is a big issue. I have known families that haven’t been able to bring elderly relatives over because there wasn’t an option for health insurance and they couldn’t afford to pay out of pocket.

            OP, what would her be status? What does your uncle do?


          • On the healthcare issue, she has a greencard which makes her eligible for certain health insurance (I don’t know the details, as husband deals with that). So she would be eligible for health insurance and we would pay out of pocket but it wouldn’t be crazy expensive.

    • I am pushing #2 for my parents and we all get along quite well.

    • Is a retirement community near you an option? Many of them have independent living wings which is basically an apartment where the resident can live independently, but with someone available to check in if needed and cleaning services/meals/activities/hair salons on-site, as well as transportation to doctors appointments or the grocery store. The one my grandmother is in also has a separate assisted living wing where residents can be moved when they need more support. This would allow her to maintain her independence and would provide a built-in community for socialization. It would also take a significant proportion of the burden off of you because there are resources on-site that you would otherwise need to provide if she was in your home or in her own apartment. My grandmother was extremely opposed to it initially but ended up loving it once she moved in (which she should, the place is insanely nice, has maid service, and fantastic food – I want to go live there).

      • Yes, if she comes to the US, this is the answer. If there is a substantial home-culture community in your city, you may be able to find one that has other people who share her culture. I know you said that the cultural expectation is that she will live with her kids, but you are definitely not the only people who are in a similar position and can’t face actually doing that.

    • I so empathize with your dilemma. I would vote for staring with option 1 (if/when she can no longer stay where she is now – honestly I think it is hard to do this kind of move proactively before there is a serious health issue that forces the issue, at least in my experience) and then moving on to option 2 or another plan (more skilled nursing care in your community or hers) if/when her health deteriorates further. I think maintaining her relationships and community as long as possible is in her best interest. Moving her closer to you is going to be a much bigger adjustment for her and will leave her much more dependent on you for all her social contact and many of her other needs.

      • Sorry rereading your post I see your MIL is already lonely where she is, which makes the choice less clear. (I’m projecting my situation with my FIL!) I think you should give her both choices since it sounds like you can live with either of them, and let her pick. However, staying where she is now is probably a third choice that it is going to be hard for you to take off the table until she has a serious health problem that makes it impossible for her to care for herself. I realize it would be easier to make a move not in the midst of a crisis.

    • Wow, I am in a very similar situation and offer my sympathies, this is so hard! In my case, my (South Asian) MIL has a lot of conflict with her daughter (my SIL) and so we cannot count on SIL to take part in the care of MIL. FIL passed last year. Fortunately, MIL has lived in the US for almost 40 years but never has lived alone. MIL has stayed with me (non-South Asian so I cannot understand all the cultural intricacies) and my husband for the past 10 months but this cannot go on much longer, I need my own space and am tired of being treated like a 32 year old child in my own home. For now, husband and I have been honest with MIL about the difficulty in having her live with us permanently, and we are willing to pay for an apt for her not so far away from us, so we can each have our own space/independence but continue to see each other often. At this point I am erring on the side of selfishness (but again, I am not part of this culture so I am not so guilty about it.) What does your husband think/feel? I do believe that even seeing in-laws daily but having separate apt/homes is a good thing in the long run, to keep sane!

    • If she’s living within walking distance of your home, she may as well be living with you. She will be there all the time up in your business. Set her up somewhere comfortable in her home country.

      • Also, if she’s healthy at 65, stop treating her like an infant who is incapable of caring for herself. 65 is not elderly or infirm.

        • I’m not treating her as an infant. We’re trying to figure out how best to respond to her request to live with us permanently in the US. As that is not a realistic option, we’re trying to figure out the next best option for her (and us). It’s not treating someone as an infant to recognize that moving to a new country as an older person with no understanding of public transportation, driving, etc. is going to be overwhelming and intimidating for her, at least initially.

          • Anonymous :

            How is it that she’s 65 and has no understanding of public transportation or driving??

          • This is the norm in my home country. Older women of a certain economic status do not drive and get driven around by their husbands/kids or they take a taxi. She’s smart and I’m sure she could navigate the subway if she wanted to — I’m just saying that there would be a learning curve.

          • Anonymous :

            It sounds like you’re kind of okay with either option, but she objects to both. What about consistently just stating “you cannot live with us. We are happy to help you move into a retirement community near you or one near us. Up to you. But you can’t live here.”

      • Senior Attorney :

        Both of these.

    • Definitely don’t have her move into your residence – it’s a formula for disaster generally and especially if you and DH are having some difficulties already.

      Does your city have a strong community of older/multi-generational people from your MIL’s home country (or country region for big places like India)? Is there a local house of worship that dovetails with her current lifestyle?

      Those factors may make option 2 more viable, because MIL would be able to meet a larger group of people with a similar background and hopefully be able to make friends easily. This way she wouldn’t be completely dependent on your immediate family for any social interaction. In these circumstances, the move would likely be more effective while MIL is still healthy and able to get out/about in the new city. If she ends up in your city once she’s feeble/home-bound, your family will be her only socialization and I’d expect your/DH’s patience to wear thin in short order.

      • I totally understand and empathize as I am in a similar situation. I think the idea of everyone relocating to where her brother and your parents are could work, but that’s a lot. We have similar situations in my family and we’re all just ignoring it and hoping it will go away which is totally not helpful!

        • It would be a huge move for sure, but there are some clear benefits. Putting my MIL’s situation aside, it would help us too — my parents would be able to help us out a lot with our kids (they are already helpful) and I love the idea of my kids growing up with family nearby (which we lack now) and hanging out on a more regular basis. On the other hand, moving close to family has its own set of issues too and it wouldn’t be perfect, but in the long-term it may make the most sense for everyone involved.

  19. So I have seen several threads about Chicago recs lately. Looks like it’s a tourist boom! Here’s my specific recommendation ask: Are there any ethnic foods that are particularly good in Chicago I should go seek out? I know Polish and Italian are big. Are there other ones?

    • Where are you coming from? Everything is relative.

      There are many new American/higher end/trendy restaurants that make Chicago on par with the best in the country/world. Maybe you could try a higher end Mexican fusion restaurant of Rick Bayless…

      But ethnic food…. eh? You can get a decent hot dog, deep dish pizza, Italian beef…. if that is your sort of things. Yes, Polish, but…. do you really want that? Italian is….. ok? But you can get that anywhere. I don’t strongly recommend anything Asian. It could be nice to go to the Pilsen neighborhood and have some more traditional/authentic Mexican food. Maybe go to Pleasant House Bakery and have a savory pie in Bridgeport.

      I guess I really miss the ethnic food options in other big cities I have lived in. If you are from a smaller metropolis, then you could probably find everything in Chicago and would be less critical than I am.

      • Thanks! I’m from Boston so lots of good ethnic options. Good to at least hear that I’m not missing anything in Chicago. I was just wondering if there was anything I should search for outside of the fancy American restaurants (which all look awesome).

    • So I think Carrie is being too pessimistic – there is actually great ethnic dining in Chicago. Pilsen comes to the top of my mind as having amazing authentic Mexican food. Great Ethiopian in Uptown too. I’m not a huge fan of Polish food but you can find a lot of it near Midway airport if that’s your thing. I’ve been to great Cuban, Afghan, Korean, Chinese, Indian, and Filipino restaurants all over the city.

      All that said, though, I’d only tell a local to spend a lot of time exploring the authentic ethnic restaurants in Chicago. if you’re just coming as a tourist I think I would steer you more towards fine dining/hipster restaurants, just because there are SO many and they are very unique compared to other cities.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Hmm I disagree with Carrie – there are lots of immigrant communities in Chicago, and the great food that comes with! If you get off the red line at Argyle, there’s good Asian food — particularly Chinese and Vietnamese. Go a bit further north and there’s a row of good Ethiopian places on Broadway. A little further north still and you’ll hit Devon Ave., which is great to walk down and eat! Good Nepalese food there, in particular. Also some good European bakeries. I hear there’s decent hotpot in Chinatown, but I’ve never been.

      • I strongly recommend choosing one of Rainbow Hair’s suggestions above–choose one neighborhood for your trip and go! Argyle is where I take people–tons of options, all of which are great, and you’re a short walk/uber from the Andersonville area of Clark where you can go to Hopleaf and get a drink after, or Hamburger Mary’s and get a boozy milkshake. There’s a woman who does tours of Argyle where you pay an upfront fee and she takes you everywhere and it’s great, if that’s your jam.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Sticky Rice on Western Ave. just north of Irving Park serves great Northern Thai food. And then after you can walk to my favorite brewery, Begyle!

        We had our “rehearsal dinner” or whatever at Demera Ethiopian Restaurant on Lawrence in Uptown. It was one of our special date-night places, too.

        Gogi, on California just south of Devon, is fun for KBBQ.

        Interested in Jewish delis? Because Manny’s is classic – just off Roosevelt at Jefferson.

        Svea Restaurant on Clark is popular for their Swedish breakfasts.

      • Awesome! Many things to explore! There’s only so much “downtown” stuff I think we’re going to want to do and will totally grab an Uber and go further afield. Honestly, coming from another big city, I only need to go to 1 or 2 modern/hipster place and I’m good. The food is tasty but I can find it at home or NYC or SF. I think the diaspora foods are much more interesting. Like most people don’t know that Boston has amazing Peruvian or Vietnamese food if you go to the burbs.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          You could definitely spend a great day walking/bussing/training/ubering around from like, Lawrence to Devon, on Broadway and Clark. There’s more great stuff to eat there than you’d have room for! And I realized I neglected to mention the Middle Eastern Bakery on Clark at Foster — maybe get some pickled things and dips and pita to take back to your hotel for a midnight snack!

          :'( I wish I were eating my way through Chicago right now.

  20. She’s 65. That is young. You could be looking at living the next forty years with her. I would not even consider having her move into your home in light of her relationship with her son. Non-starter. Let her decide between nearby apartment or retirement home in home country. Serious illness could happen at any age, of course. But, personally, at 65, I would not make decisions based on the possibility. But, ymmv.

  21. Nashville or NOLA? :

    I’m leaving my firm for an in-house role I’m super excited about (yay!), and I’ll have some but not a lot of time in between the two jobs. I’m thinking of taking a solo mini vacation to decompress and celebrate — splurge a bit on a nicer hotel, preferably with a pool for lounging and a spa, do a few historic / touristy things but mainly just walk around, browse, and — maybe most importantly — eat and drink :)

    I’ve narrowed it down to Nashville or New Orleans, so wanted to take a straw poll. Which city would you choose or recommend for this kind of solo trip? Thanks!

    • NOLA! Nashville is kinda basic at this point.

      • I agree. I live near Nashville and love the city, but high demand has resulted in hotel room prices that are very high priced for what they are. If your budget for this trip is in the Splurge category, I recommend the Audubon Cottages, if peace and quiet at your hotel and hotel pool are what you’re wanting. Great location in the French Quarter. Even if hotel price/value were comparable between Nashville and NOLA, I’d say NOLA for the history, good food and drink, the antique stores on Royal between Iberville and St Louis, and the fact that just walking around is interesting.

        • Nashville or NOLA? :

          Thank you, the Audobon Cottages look gorgeous! I’m learning that re Nashville hotels — if I’m going to pay high prices, I’d rather stay somewhere gorgeous than a standard-issue Marriott.

          • They are a peaceful oasis in the charming madness that is the French Quarter.

    • Both are phenomenal cities for eating and drinking and have nice hotels with spas. NOLA definitely has more in the way of history/tourism, especially if you aren’t into country music. (fwiw, I am into country music, and even I kind of had country music fatigue after three days in Nashville).

    • Liquid Crystal :

      New Orleans! I was there last spring and enjoyed it so thoroughly I told my husband we could skip planning vacations half the time and just take a week there, and I would be happy.

    • New Orleans, hands down, times a million. There is so much to see and do and it feels like you’ve traveled to another world completely. There was another post about NOLA, last week or week before maybe.

      Nashville isn’t really a tourist town. It’s your standard southeastern city of 4-5 streets of neat stuff + thousands of acres of cookie cutter homes + malls and shopping centers. (I used to live there.)

      • Really? I was hoping that that was not the case. Have a kid exploring Vandy and for a moment it was “hey, I wonder if I could ever get a teaching gig there to coincide with kid’s college.” It may just be an SEC football interest (forgive me if I get the conferences wrong, I’m a CAA conference girl and am still mixing that up with the ACC).

        • I think Anon at 10:49 is too harsh to Nashville. It is true there is not a whole lot of classic “tourist” stuff to do there besides eat and drink, but it’s a charming city and I would be thrilled if my daughter went to college there. If nothing else, it would take me more than 4 years worth of visits to work my way through all the incredible restaurants.

        • I had to chuckle for a second. I’m an SEC girl and Vandy is only SEC by geography. They aren’t by culture or performance. Bless their hearts, they’re genuinely bad at football most years. Good academics though! The area around the school is nice – older homes and shady trees, but nothing you can’t find in dozens of other cities.

        • Vandy grad :

          While I recognize that some of Nashville’s charm faded since the city exploded as a national destination, I wholeheartedly recommend Vandy and Nashville. It was a delightful, safe place to live for 4 years and explore a hodge podge of cultures and characters.

    • When is this going to be? New Orleans is getting a bunch of rainstorms from Harvey now. Not like Houston, but maybe not the best time to visit.

      • Nashville or NOLA? :

        Good point! This’ll be towards the end of the week of September 12.

        • Another note on this re: weather. There is another hurricane – Hurricane Irma – possibly entering the Gulf that week (of Sept. 12). Keep an eye on it.

      • Why not Asheville? Should be lovely now.

        • Nashville or NOLA? :

          Asheville’s definitely on my list! I’m trying to time this trip around seeing my favorite band on tour though, and they’re not playing Asheville.

          • Nashville or NOLA? :

            Hahaha and as a follow up, on the off off off chance any other ‘rettes are seeing Hanson in NOLA, let me know — I’d love to grab a drink beforehand or meet up at the show!

          • Nashvillian :

            Oh, that might change my answer a bit (see below). Where are they playing in Nashville? If it’s the Ryman, there is really nothing like seeing a show there.

          • Nashville or NOLA? :

            They’re playing Wildhorse Saloon.

          • Nashvillian :

            Given that, I vote NOLA. Nothing too special about that venue.

          • Nashville or NOLA? :

            Super helpful, thank you!

          • I’m in NOLA! Not seeing the show, but I’m always down for a drink!

          • +1 to being in NOLA and down (or up) for a drink, albeit without the show.

    • I haven’t been to Nashville so can’t help much there. I loved NOLA but I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as a solo traveler (and I say this as somebody who travels a lot – both solo and with others – and who is generally comfortable doing things alone).

      • I agree. I spent a day solo in NOLA after a girls trip and I was pretty uncomfortable. It was alright for a day, but for a trip that was entirely solo, I think I’d be more comfortable in Nashville.

        • Huh. I was in NOLA for a meeting in April a couple of years ago and did not feel uncomfortable at all walking by myself from the convention center over to the French Quarter in the day time. Even in the evening, I wouldn’t have felt too uncomfortable, I don’t think.

          I loved NOLA and agreed with the poster above about not needing to plan any vacations – just head back there from time to time! The food was excellent, the drinks were excellent, and the people were friendly enough for me. It also seems pretty compact, so easy to walk or Uber around. And there’s so much history and interesting things to see. Spent several hours at the WWII museum and I could easily go back and spend some more hours there.

          We also did a bike tour + cocktails with a group called Confederacy of Cruisers. I’m not going to try to link, but just google them. Very nice, very fun, and a great way to see the city.

          The same year I went to NOLA (twice actually – for work in April, for fun in July, and yes, it was hot, but get some sundresses and a hat and stop liberally for cocktails), I went to Nashville in September. Also very, very hot, and honestly, I didn’t love it. There’s a kind of boring downtown area, unless you are into honky tonk bars and boot shops, and the rest of it is scattered. We went to the neighborhood where Reese Witherspoon has her store (named something preppy) and it was just… eh. A few cutesy shops, but we were done within an hour. And then you have to Uber somewhere else, because the neighborhoods are so disconnected.

          There were also a lot of very annoying bachelorette parties there. They didn’t really interfere with our plans much, but they are just kind of off-putting to me. But I’m old.

      • Nashville or NOLA? :

        Interesting — was it a safety issue? I haven’t done much solo travelling, though am super comfortable doing things and dining alone, so I haven’t thought of what might make one city or another better or worse for solo trips, other than safety.

      • Agree. New Orleans is so much fun and there’s a great energy and a lot going on there. However, I was recently there for a work conference and was mostly on my own and I did not feel comfortable walking around Canal/French Quarter by myself. When I’ve gone with friends in the past, I felt much better (and had a blast! It really is a fun city). The uptown/Audobon Park area is much safer.

    • New Orleans is going to be hot as balls in early/mid September. I don’t know how you feel about that. But for me? Eh, I’d go Nashville. Otherwise I’d be 100% NOLA. But, ugh, enough with summer already.

    • Nashvillian :

      I’d definitely pick NOLA. Nashville is definitely having a moment and has some interesting stuff (and I do disagree with the Anon who said it’s 4 streets + cookie cutter homes). The restaurants are pretty much all super new (like last 5 years really) but yummy. That said, Nashville is not really walkable. NOLA is so much better for browsing. Plus the whole outdoor drinking thing. And Nashville is still stupidly hot in September generally, so you’re not getting much there over NOLA.

  22. Has anyone used Sumissura? Thoughts?

    • Marshmallow :

      Yes and it was my worst shopping experience ever, culminating in a prolonged credit card fraud and eventually a refund from my credit card company. Do. not. use. them.

      I ordered a custom suit and measured myself very carefully according to their guide, and all my measurements made sense with my typical clothing size as a “gut check.” The suit arrived and it was really, really wrong– mostly too big everywhere, but also a little too short, and the skirt was clearly irregular (one side more curved than the other). I immediately wrote to them about it and they offered to pay for $20 of tailoring. Well, my very competent dry cleaner/ seamstress took one look at me in the suit and said there was no way to correct it without spending the cost of the suit all over again to remake the whole thing.

      I wrote back to Sumisurra explaining the situation. They demanded a signed letter from the tailor, which I provided within a few days, and then kept going back and forth with me on the refund. They wanted me to ship the suit back to China at my own expense, and at that point offered me only a merchandise credit because it had been more than 14 days since my purchase.

      I contacted my credit card company, and they said this is something they see a lot: the customer service purposely drags out the communication to push you over the return window, so they can then refuse you a return because your time has run out. It’s a known s c a m. I doubt that my suit was ever custom measured– it seems like they took a glance at the measurements, guessed a standard size, and then did everything in their power to refuse a refund.

      I did get my money back at the end of a months-long battle. It was exhausting.

    • Marshmallow :

      Stuck in mod but the short answer is yes I have and it was awful. Don’t do it.

  23. Need Planning Help :

    related to parental care issues:
    Can you confirm what kind of help I need?

    I’m looking to help get a parent’s finances in order. As far as I know, he hasn’t filed taxes in years, so I know that needs to be dealt with. I’d also like to look to the future (we’ve had ‘the conversation’, but he’s lazy) to figure out estate/will stuff. (he has one written down on a piece of scrap paper in his house LOL)

    I need an attorney right? One who can help with both the tax + estate issues?
    Should I look for a firm that has a CPA?

    • Following. My mother is a financial train wreck, but I’ve always taken a “not my circus, not my monkeys” approach to it. I know she hasn’t filed taxes since she retired 15 years ago. While she does have an obligation to file, I’m not worried about any tax debt she may have after she passes since she literally has ZERO assets….blood from a turnip and all that.

      The handwritten will, called a holographic will, is valid in some states. But a will doesn’t have to be complex. Google for the rules for your state, but if your father doesn’t have many assets, it can be simple.

      • Anonymous :

        If she is retired and has no money, I don’t understand why you think she has an obligation to file taxes. You only have to file taxes if you earn money and even then, only if it is over a certain (not insignificant for a non-worker) limit.

    • You may want an eldercare attorney or accountant. CPA for the taxes.

    • Senior Attorney :

      For the taxes, try an IRS Enrolled Agent. We used one many many years ago when my then-husband hadn’t filed taxes for years and he was able to get the taxes filed and arrange a favorable payment plan. And less expensive than a CPA.

    • I work at a law firm and I’m a CPA. Some law firms with estate/trust departments have CPAs on staff to assist with tax issues. Where are you located?

      • Need Planning Help :

        central Maryland/Balmore/DC

        I figured that a CPA would help so I’m scooting around the internet looking. He has a lot of assets and always overpays in taxes over the year so I don’t anticipate a totally nuclear issue, I would just love a one-stop-shop to take care of all his needs.

        I wanted to make sure that was a real thing :)

  24. Allowance questions. DH and I earn over 100K and have one child. I worked in high school but my grades suffered for it. Our son is on scholarship track with AP classics and he does chores, activities, and sports. We give him 40 dollars a week for going out to eat, entertainment, gas, and whatever else he wants, such as LAX equipment and the like. Is that extravagant? MIL is outraged that we are spoiling him.

    • How old is he?

      Does he work in the summers?

      Have you guys taught basic values about money, saving etc..?

      How much does he need to drive for his activities? So we know how much of that needs to go to gas.

    • OMG no

      If your kid is a good kid, $40 won’t ruin him.

    • I think you’re right not to expect him to work during the academic year. Since you can afford it, his primary focus should be school.
      My parents paid for all my sports equipment and let me put gas on their credit card, with the understanding that the majority of my gas was used commuting to and from school/sports/activities, and that me driving myself saved them a whole lot of time. I went out with friends maybe once a week and never went far from home, so none of us really considered gas an “entertainment expense”. Then they gave me a $100/month “fun budget” that I could use for meals and movies out with friends, clothing shopping, etc. I don’t think giving a kid that kind of budget is “spoiling” but I also don’t think it would be unreasonable to expect him to work during the summers and make him use up some or all of that money before you start giving him money for fun spending.

    • Flats Only :

      In fact, if he’s using that money for gas and sports equipment, I think you might want to raise it so there’s some leftover for fun with his friends. I did better with money (and was less whiny) when my parents gave me more of it coupled with more responsibility for budgeting it for the things I needed.

    • Don’t think it is extravagant at all, especially if you live in an expensive area.

      Think of it this way, if you son gets a scholarship, then you are saving significantly more than what you are giving him.

      • M, that is my thought. He can’t make up the price of a scholarship with a mimimum wage job.

        • Anonymous :

          This is our theory also. I would rather have our kids get great grades, participate in extracurriculars, and do community service and then be able to get better scholarships than work at McDonald’s and have their grades suffer. I expect them to work in the summer, but during the school year, their job is school. Focusing on academics will pay off more in the long run.

    • Good news is this: MIL doesn’t get a say!
      This sounds fair. Go you.

    • Given his age, I’d make him responsible for all of his expenses (cell phone, clothing, toiletries, entertainment, gas, eating out, etc.). I would determine the amount of the allowance based on my idea of a reasonable budget, then give him the total amount and let him determine exactly how to spend it. This could easily be more than $40 a week. I would require him to maintain some minimal level of cell phone service (always able to text/call in an emergency) and to make sure he never ran out of gas money.

    • $2000/yr when you all make 100k-199k? Yeah I wouldn’t do it. But your kid and your call. And BTW don’t set yourself up for the idea that he’ll get a scholarship bc he takes AP classes, most kids do and do not see any kind of full ride or 1/2 ride to any decent school; I mean maybe you’re thinking he’ll get some merit aid along with some financial aid that will be grants and that’s fine but it’s overdoing it to think – oh my kid will def get a scholarship, unless he has signed scholarship papers and the $ has been wired over.

      • Um, I guess you don’t have kids. They’re super expensive\. Spending $2,000 a year on a kid is nothing. I’m currently paying $25,000 a year for daycare on a salary that is significantly less than $100,000.

      • Maybe it depends on what he’s expected to use that money for, though – like if some of what he is now expected to budget for is stuff that has to be bought either way? That’s what my parents did, and I think it was effective in terms of teaching us to manage money (so for example, we had to pay for our own school clothes and supplies, whether out of our allowances, which were like $20/week, or out of money we had earned through work) – then it becomes less “adding an expense” and more “now we are handing over to you the work of managing/budgeting for certain expense we previously managed/budgeted for.”

        I always wanted to be financially independent (i.e., free to spend what I wanted) so I worked during the summers and to a limited extent during the school year, but I can see that having kids do some of the work of that kind of management could be useful.

      • Anonymous :

        Are you saying 2k is too much to spend on a child when OP makes six figures? lololol.

      • To an extent, this is state dependent. In my state, students with a certain GPA are guaranteed full tuition at in-state public institutions.

    • To me, this is more about lifestyle questions than the amount of money itself. Think about what kind of lifestyle you want to train your kid to expect, and how you want to train him about handling money. (I’d probably give him a much larger chunk of money and make him responsible for his basic expenses: clothes, entertainment, activity fees, eating out, school lunches, transportation, his portion of car insurance, etc. Then, even if he’s not actively earning the money, he can learn how to respect and handle it: pay necessary bills first, then choose among your options for what’s left.)

    • Is he learning to be responsible with money? If yes, then that points to “not spoiled.”

      Does he have nicer things than you and visit Starbucks several times a week while you pack your lunch and bring coffee from home every day? If yes, that points to “spoiled.”

    • Totally reasonable. Great way to teach him to manage money. In high school I got $100/month (1990s) and had to pay for clothes and lunch. I could make lunch at home if I was saving for a shirt or I could eat out at the mall every lunch. I’ve never had CRedit card debt b/c I learned to manage money early

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Depending on the kid (and their maturity level), I like the idea of giving them this autonomy: “here’s what you’re getting from me for this week/month, spend it wisely.”

    • Do you think he’s spoiled? If not stop talking to MIL about this. That seems completely reasonable to me.

    • No you are perfect. MIL should not even know about this. Kindly, this is none of her business and you shouldn’t be sharing things like this with her.

      • You are probably right. I think I told her during a discussion about value of working during school vs. making good grades. It came out later that she thought we were giving him too much.

        • Sense of scale :

          I wonder if she’s lost her sense of scale regarding money. For example, my own mother is lucky to have a nice retirement pension as a result of working 22 years after raising children (had children early and went to work full-time in her early 40’s). However, she often talks about things she cannot afford (travel – i.e. a $300 airfare) while she spends the majority of her discretionary income on boutique clothes and beauty treatments (i.e. her haircuts are $175 which is a lot in her LCOL city). It’s possible your MIL just does not understand what running around costs.

          FWIW, $40 per week seems very reasonable to me.

    • Linda from HR :

      My parents didn’t want me working during the school year either, and didn’t really push me to work during the summer until I was in my late teens. I got a dollar amount equal to what grade I was in, but considering how much more expensive activities have gotten these days, I think more is fair as well. $40 seems like plenty, depending on how much you expect him to pay for himself.

      • Yeah, I kind of wonder if MIL is not accounting for inflation in whatever number she feels is appropriate. Maybe $40 would have been outrageous when she was parenting, but it’s pretty appropriate now.

    • lawsuited :

      Assuming your son works during the summers (and if not, he should be. You learn a work ethic working in your minimum-wage high school job that you don’t learn anywhere else), then I think this is fine. I’d add personal care items to the list of things that are his responsibility, so that there’s a mix of need-to-have items (gas, personal care items) and nice-to-have items (meals out, hobby equipment) that he has to balance and budget for.

      • Not only that, but if you never work through high school or college so you can focus on good grades, you’re at a severe disadvantage when you finish college and need to find a job.

    • Spirograph :

      I’m not sure I’ll take this approach with my kids, but it certainly seems reasonable. I had a job (McDonald’s, maybe 10 hours/week during the school year), took a bunch of AP classes, and was active in various extracurricular activities. According to my mom, the extracurricular activities were what was optional; she told me I needed to have a job, and to manage my time appropriately and decide what to cut out if it got to be too much. I didn’t need any external direction to take challenging classes and get good grades. I did make some choices about what to cut that I’ve subsequently come to regret, but that’s life.

      Agree that MIL doesn’t get a say. This is well within the range of acceptable parenting decisions, so you do what you think is best!

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Not extravagant. My parents rarely gave me money, but only because I rarely asked/needed it- I babysat probably 5-10 hours a week in high school, often at night and studied after the kids had gone to bed. I was taking college classes in high school, did debate, etc., so working is possible as long as it’s something flexible. My parents paid for gas in my car, with the understanding that if I was driving all over just to “hang out,” it was my responsibility to refill it. Sometimes my mom would give me $20 on my way out the door, but not always. Sometimes I bought clothes. Sometimes my parents did, if I was out with them. My parents paid for my cell phone/car insurance.

      I’m pretty good with money now.

  25. For those of you who would like to donate funds to Harvey victims, below are some of the organizations and links that are local and provide direct aid to victims. As a local, I know these are reputable and impactful organizations that change the lives of Houstonians daily. Also, even if you are not religious, don’t hesitate to the below religious affiliated charities because they are non-religious specific in the provision of aid and typically spearhead interfaith charity missions:

    Greater Houston Community Foundation
    Food Bank of Corpus Christi
    Houston Food Bank
    Houston SPCA
    United Way of Greater Houston
    Catholic Charities of Houston of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
    Start of Hope Mission

    • Also a non-profit I just learned about yesterday but that is addressing a need that doesn’t get much attention: They typically serve mostly kids (people donate used clothes but used undies are not an option) but my understanding is that they are collecting underwear and donations to buy underwear in bulk in order to provide underwear to both adults and children in light of the hurricane.

    • Thistledown :

      I was also looking for a way to help with the floods in South Asia. Does anyone have suggestions? My understanding for international emergencies is that the IRC is generally the best option.

      • another anon :

        Penny Appeal USA and Islamic Relief are good for htat purpose

      • Lutheran World Relief. They have a solid reputation worldwide and help is not determined by religion. You can also use Charity Navigator to determine how much of your donation goes directly to relief vs. overhead/salary.

  26. KS IT Chick :

    I’m really excited for my DH. He has a phone screen this afternoon for a job with one of the heavy hitters in his industry. He’s been a customer of theirs for years, and now they came to him and asked him to apply. If this all works out, he’ll move from a lowish paying position in higher education where no one really respects his knowledge & skills to almost double the money and a whole group of people who believe he is really good and knows his stuff. He’s been unhappy for a long time, so this would be such a huge boost for him to get it.

    I can’t talk about this to anyone in Real Life. But everyone here understands what something like this means.

  27. I am in Houston and have a question about rental law. My mom’s house flooded. She is disabled and I am trying to salvage her things while finding her oxygen tanks (none available) and boxes (none available) and a rental (none available). The landlady is ripping out the floors and drywall and is requiring me to have all her things out today. She has only given us 2 days. We were only able to evacuate on Tuesday evening. Is this legal? She is allowing us to store things in the garage and she is giving my mom back her September rent check. I know I should ask a TX lawyer directly, but wanted to see if I am thinking correctly. She has said she is throwing out anything we don’t salvage from the house.

    • Anonymous :

      You might try calling the State Bar’s Harvey hotline. I don’t do landlord-tenant law, but this seems like one of the lower-complexity questions that the hotline could answer.

      Best of luck.

      (800) 504-7030

    • Google Texas landlord-tenant laws. My gut says Texas offers precious little in the way of protections for tenants. Texas is anti-regulation to the point of absurdity.

    • I’m so sorry and hope that you get some assistance for needed supplies. First of all, what does the lease say? Most have a provision about emergency repairs and access. This is assuming you even have access to the lease so it may not help.
      There’s a link for disaster situations- not sure how much it will help. My guess is that the landlord is trying to prevent mold so she’s having to move really quickly since the place sounds like a mess. That’s little comfort I know.

    • Liquid Crystal :

      I don’t know the answer to your question but as a landlord in Texas, I have always had an obligation to move really quickly when water damage and mold is involved. My property manager handled the specifics, though. I would be glad to hear a landlord was moving so quickly and was able to get a demolition/ repair crew in there already.

    • Texas Property Code allows a landlord to remove personal property to perform a bona fide repair or replacement to the occupied property. Perhaps talk to the landlord about the ability to continue to remove items as the crew works over the next few days so that you don’t have to get everything out immediately.
      Did your mother have renter’s insurance? The insurance companies that I have talked to thus far have instructed me not to throw anything away so that it can be processed as a personal property loss. The landlord should be sensitive to those ideas.
      Another bargain you may be able to strike is to ask the crew that shows up to move the items to the garage instead of taking them all the way to the curb.
      Good luck – hopefully the landlord will find a middle ground to work with you.

  28. Food ideas! :

    Looking for some food ideas! I’m cooking for myself this weekend, just for fun and because I have time, and would like to know:
    1. What is your favorite recipe that uses sundried tomatoes? (Bonus points if it’s not sundried tomato pesto sauce or a pasta dish – although I love both, I’m looking for ideas I haven’t thought of yet)
    2. What is your favorite filling for empanadas, or recipe for empanadas using store-bought dough?

    Thanks all! Hope you eat something delicious over the long weekend, whether homemade or out at a restaurant!

    • …I haven’t done this, but I think a sundried tomato granola would be out of this world.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      A jar of the shredded sundried tomatoes in oil, stir in several cloves of pressed garlic and let sit for several hours at room temp. Dump over a ball/log of warmed goat cheese, pour some wine and sit down with a pile of crostini….

    • This is a favorite of ours from Cooking Light – good enough for company!

    • Tuscan Garlic Skillet Chicken is my favorite recipe with sun-dried tomatoes. Just google and it should come up (I found it on Recipe Critic.) I also like them on homemade pizza with basil pesto as the sauce, topped with sundried tomatoes, artichokes, pine nuts, and fresh mozzarella.

      My favorite empanada filling is peaches. I cook them down with some sugar and lemon juice. My grandma always made savory empanadas too, usually filled with shredded pork spiced with allspice, cinnamon, and raisins. We would sometimes top with picked onions and jalepenos.

    • A place by me does a Spanish tart with sliced potatoes and eggs, kind of like quiche, topped with sundried tomatoes. So good.

    • I haven’t made it myself, but sometimes the office cafeteria does a sundried tomato/caramelized onion/goat cheese/cream sauce kind of pasta dish. If you don’t want pasta, that sauce would probably be really good on some hearty veggies like zucchini or eggplant.

      • Anon in NYC :

        In a similar vein, make crostini with goat cheese, topped with sun dried tomatoes and chives. So good.

    • I made this the other week and plan on making it again this weekend! Such a great summer recipe.

    • Anonymous :

      Love this recipe!

    • I purée equal parts sundried tomatoes and vegannaise (or whatever mayo you prefer) to make a thick spread. Toast a few thick slices of crusty sourdough, lavish with the spread. I then layer on top a few sardines (the schmancy Potuguese kind) and some tender greens (watercress is a fave) or shaved fennel. Inspired by an amazing appetizer from The Whale Wins, a Seattle restaurant.

  29. Paging Senior Attorney :

    I recall you singing the praises of your wedding planner. Would you mind sharing the service/person you used? If anyone else has recommendations for a wedding planner/coordinator in the LA area I’m all ears!

    Thanks in advance!

    • Senior Attorney :

      Peggy Kelley at

      Tell her the bride with the green dress and the parade sent you!

      • Baconpancakes :

        You had a PARADE?!? That’s amazing.

        This is encouraging, as I want fireworks but felt it might be too attention-grabby.

        • Parades and fireworks are both too attention-grabby. Especially when it’s your third wedding.

          • Anonymous :

            This comment is rude and unnecessary.

          • nasty woman :

            OMG it’s almost like guests might notice that they’re at a wedding. Saints *preserve* us.

          • Spirograph :

            Counterpoint: I did not see Senior Attorney’s parade, but I do remember reading a comment from someone here who happened to be passing by and recognized her from posts about her green dress. It sounded DELIGHTFUL and it makes me, random internet stranger, smile thinking about what an awesome wedding that must have been.

            I’d be totally tickled to attend a wedding with fireworks.

          • Senior Attorney :

            So it was totally the right decision to scratch Anon at 12:36 off the guest list! ;)

          • You’re confused. Fireworks are the default option. You need an excuse to cancel fireworks, not to have them. :)

        • My ex-H and I had fireworks! It was his hobby to do them at his family’s July 4th cookout every year, so he did them for our reception. I never thought about it being attention-grabby…the reception had sort of a casual cookout vibe, so it just sort of fit in my mind.

          • Baconpancakes :

            Yes, we go to a family-and-friends mini music festival every year where someone brings a box of big fireworks and we enjoy it a lot.

            Also the birthday party scene in LOTR. Always seemed perfect for a wedding.

        • Senior Attorney :

          It was beyond amazing. We had a New Orleans-style second line band and we all (250 or so of us) walked two blocks from the church to the reception. And we had off-duty police officers to stop traffic so we could cross the street in the middle of the block. It was all Lovely Husband’s idea. Including the stilt walkers. And, you know, the mime…

          The only reason we didn’t have fireworks is because it was in the daytime! ;)

          • Never too many shoes... :

            Love it. For my best friend’s wedding we walked from her mom’s house to the church led by a bagpiper. It was so awesome, apart from it being August and like a million degrees with equal humidity in these skin tight corset tops…

          • I know you probably don’t want to out yourself, but is there any chance your planner or photographer posted photos on Instagram or similar?

          • Senior Attorney :

            Send me an email at seniorattorney1 at gmail and I will send you a link.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            Is your husband from New Orleans?!?

          • Senior Attorney :

            No, but we went to New Orleans shortly before we got engaged, and one thing led to another…

    • Not sure if you’re still reading, but Shannon G’s Flowers in Whittier was great to work with! I think she may also do wedding planning, but not 100% sure. For florists, she’s amazing. Also, not sure of your budget, but Hummingbird Nest Ranch in Simi Valley is my dream venue!

      • Thank you much Senior Attorney and LA Recs! LA Recs, Hummingbird Nest Ranch is amaaaaazing, but we wanted something in LA proper so we went with the Culver Hotel.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Oh, I love the Culver Hotel!

          Funny story: One night we were at this very avant garde play at the Kirk Douglas Theatre, and my husband and the husband of the other couple left at intermission and retreated to the bar in the Culver Hotel to wait for the other wife and I to finish the performance. While they were there a guy at the bar said to my husband, “I like your bow tie! Can I buy you a drink?” And Hubby smiled and said, “Thanks. But I’m with this guy!”

  30. Ok all, I need help with clothes. My work wardrobe is pretty solid, and work had been the promary focus of my life the last few years. I’m making an effort at getting back in the dating pool again and getting out with friends, and realized I have only work appropriate clothes. I am 35 a curvy/busty size 14. I wear primarily dresses to work (no sheaths, I have way too much junk in the trunk for that to be work appropriate) and leggings/long sweaters/dresses on the weekends. I cannot wear heels for health reasons, so I am in flats, or very short heeled booties. I have finally found a couple pair of dark washed jeans I love and fit well, but have no idea what to wera with them anymore. I am not in a major city ala NYC or DC, so I feel like a lot of what I see online is too overdressed for my area. Help?! What does a fashionable 30something single person wear when they aren’t at work?

    • My first date go-to in the winter was a relaxed off-white tunic top (flowy, I think AT or Loft) with black jeans and black flats and pearl studs. In summer, I wore white jeans with a colored top of some kind and casual shoes. The general formula is skinny bottoms + longer, less form-fitting top.

      I’m 35, in DC, and met my guy last Christmas. I’d still wear those outfits if I were on the market!

    • I’m the same size and shape. I wanted to get a couple of inexpensive fun shirts. I love wearing this top out on the weekends, if you’re open to the cold shoulder: I have it in red, size large.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Dark jeans + booties are a great start! I like the top linked above — a nice deep color + a cute detail. I think a shirt with a sort of silky texture, something that’s a step up from a teeshirt, that’ll be your sweet spot.

      I’m also #TeamDress4Lyfe so I would advocate a cute fit’n’flare edged up with a leather jacket (fake?) + booties.

  31. Anyone do web design? I’m working on a new website for my (small and under-funded, but really wanting to grow) church. I’m not a web designer, I’m simply under the age of 70 and therefore qualified to do “those computer things” haha.

    What are the design elements that make a website look polished and professional and not made by an amateur during her slow time at work? haha The minister has specified blue and gold for the colors, and it SO reminds me of a middle school, so I’m really struggling to make it look sophisticated. (I’m using Wix to build it, if that matters.) ANY advice that comes to mind is very much appreciated!

    • Thistledown :

      I think having a lot of white space on the page is one of the most important things. I’d also choose your typeface carefully, as that can really date a site. Finally, you probably want to pair things back rather than add stuff in, but make sure the pages are still visually balanced.

      You might try visiting a lot of websites for different churches – you’ll probably have a gut feeling for which are better or worse. You can then try to reverse-engineer what makes them good or bad and go from there. No need to reinvent the wheel! If you find an especially good site, you could reach-out to the church and see if you could talk to the person responsible.

    • layered bob :

      I would honestly use square space rather than Wix. Their templates are sophisticated and it really is so easy, you don’t really have to make design decisions. I had to do this last year for our church (also as the only person on the committee under 70, not because I had web skills) and just paid for the first year of square space out of pocket and considered it a charitable contribution, and then asked that the ongoing cost be worked into the church budget.

    • Also look at Outreach Websites. They do church themes and make it easy.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I used Weebly for a work project and it’s REALLY simple and, I think,, looks nice.

  32. Speaking of wills, how many times should you need to meet with a lawyer to have a simple will (that includes guardianship of a child) drawn up? For various reasons that are too complicated to go into, I’m not comfortable using any of the wills and trusts attorneys in our very small town and would strongly prefer to use an attorney in the city an hour away. But going to that city for an appointment during the business day requires taking at least a half day off work, so I’d prefer not to do have to do that more than once or twice. I plan to ask this question when I call attorneys in the city, but just thought I’d ask here as well.

    • In my experience (a simple estate), we met once with an attorney for about an hour to go over what we needed and answer her questions, and then once to sign the documents.

    • In our scenario…. 2? One to discuss needs. Then a couple questions over email. Then one to sign the documents. The cost was not hourly, but one price for the whole thing.

    • My experience was one meeting roughly 30-60 minutes long to discuss the options, my concerns. Then about a week later I was emailed a draft to review. Then about a week after that, I went into the office to sign (total time was ~15 minutes to re-read and then sign). I did change my mind after reading the draft and signing on a somewhat major component and it was no big deal and did not add extra meetings or extend the schedule.

      If you have a lawyer you already have a relationship with you might be able to get away with doing the first meeting over the phone (but I’m not a lawyer so definitely defer to others’ judgement). In my experience the signing had to be done during business hours so they could get another firm employee in the room to serve as witness.

    • Anonymous :

      Thanks all! I figured I couldn’t get away with less than two meetings (one to discuss what I want, one to sign the paperwork) but was hoping it wouldn’t be more than that.

  33. IAmPreggers :

    Would it be too much if I said I’m secretly hoping my unborn baby is a girl? I know I will love my baby dearly no matter the sex, but I would very much prefer raising a girl than a boy. Quite apart from the fact that I grew up in a family of girls, (and this view is purely my own) I feel like girls have so much room to grow up to be who they want to me nowadays – want to dance ballet? Sure. Want to play soccer? Sure. Want to be an engineer? By all means, and it’s not a far-fetched ambition either. Want to wear a shirt and jeans all the time? No one will bat an eyelid. I know sexism definitely exists though – and perhaps I have an idealized view based on my own upbringing.

    I feel like bringing up a boy, on the other hand, will always make me feel pressured to steer him to develop traditional “masculine” traits. Coupled by the fact that I didn’t have brothers growing up, it just seems daunting to me.

    Still. DH and I are going for the detailed scan this weekend and boy are we excited to know the sex of the baby!

    • Anonymous :

      Fine to have secret hopes — it doesn’t really change anything nature has already decided for you, and you’ll get used to — and excited about — whatever ends up coming your way! — signed, mom of 3 boys, always secretly wanted a girl but pretty psyched regardless to have feminist little dudes

      • Anonymous :


        mom of twin boys who is excited to raise feminist men and married to a wonderful DH who is happy for them to be whatever and whoever they want.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t think it is wrong to have a preference. I will say that it is possible to raise boys to be whatever they want to be also and you don’t have to steer them towards “masculine” traits. I have two girls and a boy and am trying to teach them all to be kind, strong, helpful, curious, etc. My boy is a little bookworm and one girl loves dance while the other is into soccer. We have always encouraged all three to try whatever activities they want to see what they end up enjoying. They all have always played with both dolls and cars, the play kitchen as well as a baseball and bat. Teenage girls are a whole other thing though haha!

      • Anonymous :

        Not the OP – but what you’re saying is only applicable to little kids – and its fine for any boy or girl to be a bookworm or play kitchen at age 5. But honestly if your son is say 14 and is dancing ballet crying at the drop of a hat and has no sports interests at all, you better believe people will wonder about orientation. I suspect most on this board would be fine with that but to me – sorry I couldn’t and wouldn’t accept a son that turned out g– (not sure if the word goes into mod).

        • So is your plan to not have any children, since you can’t control their s*xual orientation?

          • Anonymous :

            First of all – activities that make people wonder are a choice. No son of mine is taking ballet no matter how much he wants to; nor will there be any tolerance for being an emotional type beyond baby/toddler yrs. Beyond that they’ll be raised in a religious home where they’ll know we view that life choice (yes I believe it’s a choice) as a major sin. If they want to go that way/think they’re born that way or whatever, they’ll be seeing us like 1x/yr in adulthood and in no way will a “boyfriend” of any son be welcome in my home. Generations of my family haven’t made these kinds of choices and there’s no reason the next gen needs to live that way either.

          • Yowza. I am assuming you are a troll, because my heart just got even sadder and that’s the only thing that makes me feel a little better. All I can say is, get used to living and dying alone. By “religion” you mean “denomination” because there are religious people who are open and accepting. I know, I’m one of them.

          • Anonymous :

            I hope you have a trans poly Muslim child who turns out to be a more loving, caring person than you will ever be.

          • Easy fella. Not everyone shares your view.

          • I hope my brother marries a man from a family like yours so we’ll never have to share them on holidays!

          • I’ll be the person who’s on the other end of the suicide hotline talking to your gay son or daughter.

            When you lose your children because of your homophobia, be grateful that at least there’s a world of loving people – including loving religious people – who are ready into the gap you’ll leave.

          • Anonymous :

            @ Anon 1:43

            Well while you are busy being ungodly by judging your child for being as God made them, I and many fellow Christians will be waiting with open arms at the mainstream Protestant denominations which embrace people as God made them and allow religious marriages of LGBT couples.

            I will pray that one day you come to understand the true light of God’s love and no longer suffer in the darkness of hatred which currently afflicts you.

        • Anonymous :

          Please don’t have children. And if you do, please don’t make assumptions about your football playing jeans wearing tough guy son.

        • Huh. I hope you don’t already have children or grandchildren before you come to terms with this. Your comment just makes me really sad.

        • Anonymous :

          It would not matter to me if my son was gay. I would worry about how to help him navigate what I would imagine would be confusing feelings since our culture is so hetero-normative but I would want to make sure he knew that I loved him and accepted him no matter what. If he wanted to dance ballet, was emotionally sensitive, and not interested in sports that would be perfectly fine with me. I would hope to help him find a group of friends to share these interests with, since I know teenagers can be cruel to each other, but I would never try to change him or shame him into being something he is not. And I would love him regardless of his sexual orientation.

        • Never too many shoes... :

          Please don’t ever, ever have children and dump your despicable views onto their innocent shoulders.

        • Anonymous :

          You sound like a lot of fun at parties.

        • That’s really sad.

          I would prefer my kids to be straight because I think that life is just easier for straight people, and they’re my heart–seeing them hurt is devastating. I could not add to that. I’m sure all kids–gay and straight–make sexual choices their parents aren’t super excited about.

          I would stand by them all the time, though. Do you have kids of your own?

          • Anonymous :

            I know your comment was totally different than the troll who said “I hope my kids aren’t gay” but I just want to point out that the LGBT people I know who have experienced the most “hurt” are the people who felt like their families weren’t supportive. The people I know of my generation (late 20s) who have completely supportive families have not really experienced more pain than the average straight person (of course everyone goes through heartbreaks, crappy job situations, etc.) I believe there are scientific studies that back this up. If one of your kids does turn out to be LGBT, the best thing you can do for their happiness is express unconditional support and not let on that you have (had?) any preference for their sexuality, even in the context of “I wish you were straight just so life would be easier.”

        • Are you the same person who made a comment a few weeks ago where you pretty clearly wanted to refer to gay men using the f-word but had to use ellipses because incredibly offensive slurs go to moderation?

          Just wondering.

          • Anonymous :

            Doubtful as I don’t read here daily. Does it shock you that there could be 2 ppl here who aren’t on board with the gay thing??

          • Not shocked, just sad that there are two people who post in this community who are willing to bravely Anonymously declare their homophobia, particularly in terms that are so grounded in sexism.

            I’m sorry for you, and for your children.

          • nasty woman :

            Why yes, brave Anonymous, I *am* shocked to see two people as hateful as you two (who incidentally share similar writing styles and other s3xist ideas). Others have said it more articulately than I will, but your ideas are foul and have no place in a civilized community. Add my name to the tally of folks who support the LGBT persons as equal members of our community.

            I certainly hope you don’t think that your “religion” is going to reward you for being so hurtful to those you are supposed to love the most in the world. If you were taught that shaming, judging, and excluding others is the path to acceptance in your family and/or community, or by god, then I am sorry for you. If you were taught that you were not worthy of love and belonging unless you rejected someone else, then I am sorry for you.

            We’re all just walking each other home. Be kind.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Everyone has covered it, but I think I should chime in to vehemently disagree with the poster above, just in case a kid or anyone feeling vulnerable stumbles into this post and feels rejected.

          This poster is wrong and she represents a regressive way of thinking, and there are a bajillion people out there who love boys who love ballet, love boys who love boys, and generally don’t give a rat’s *ss about gender roles and s*xual orientation — and we’ve got your back.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            (well i mean, i care about gender/s*xuality stuff to the extent it’s important to you, but i care zero % about enforcing rigid rules about it)

          • Agreed. And also to affirm my support for our LGBT community members, of which there are many. I’m sorry you have to see comments like this here.

    • Anonymous :

      Totally fair to hope for one or the other. But adjust your expectations. Ultrasounds are not 100%. When I had my twins and I said I didn’t know the gender, the nurse said she thought it was better that way because there was a mom a couple rooms down who had a nursery all done up for a girl and had a boy. It’s uncommon that it happens but I know of at least one other case in addition to that one (cousin of a co-worker). It is most common to be told girl and then it’s a boy because they generally won’t say boy unless they see something but it can be missed.

      Also, all the stuff that you mention being able to do with a girl is also stuff that you can do with a boy.

      • Anonymous :

        Um – how old are you? Technology has gotten really really good and these kinds of mistakes are rare nowadays.

        • Anonymous :

          Different Anon. My friend had a baby four years ago. Told she was having a girl, turned out to be a boy!

        • Anonymous :

          37. This was in 2014.

        • Anonymous :

          They’re rare but they happen in about 5% of cases, still.

        • Anonymous :

          My doctor said the ultrasound is wrong about 5% of the time. Way more than I would have guessed, since I don’t personally know anyone who was told the wrong gender. I guess most people have more than one ultrasound in the second half of pregnancy, so even if the big 20 week anatomy scan is wrong, you’ll still likely find out the correct gender at some point before birth.

      • Anonymous :

        We found out via blood test (they read the baby’s DNA and determine if it’s XX or XY) at 12 weeks and we were told it’s a girl, but they said that the test is only ~98% accurate. I know someone who had this test done in the last couple of years and it was wrong (told girl, had boy) so while I’m excited to have a girl I am also prepared for the possibility it’s a boy.

        My doctor said both tests are more definitive if they tell you it’s a boy. The girl “diagnosis” is basically the absence of something (a Y chromosome on the blood test, a p*nis on the ultrasound) and it is always more of a sure thing when they see the presence of something as opposed to the absence of it.

        I agree with all the advice above that it’s totally normal to hope for one or the other as long as you are prepared for a child of either sex. For me, it was less about what life would look like with a small child (I know plenty of boys who do ballet and girls who love sports and trucks, and don’t plan to push my daughter into stereotypically “girly” activities), but I do think the adult relationship tends to be pretty different and I was hoping for the possibility of a close mother-daughter adult relationship (which I realize is not guaranteed for many reasons).

    • Awww congrats!!! Totally normal to wish for a little girl(or boy). Just as a change of perspective, I felt totally relieved when I had a son, bc I felt like he wouldn’t have to deal with a lot of the anti-women bs I’ve had to deal with. I realize this is just another side of the patriarchal coin, but that was my honest feeling at the time, maybe something you’ll think of if you find out you’re having a boy. (Hope it’s a girl though!)

      • Never too many shoes... :

        I hear you, Suburban. The flip side is that I truly believe that the way to changing the world for women is to change the men that we raise and I am really excited to do that by raising my son.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I had my baby way back in the day when it was still usual to not know the sex until the baby was born. I had my heart set on a girl and was surprised-in-a-bad-way when it turned out to be a boy. But then, of course, there he was and he was so sweet and cuddly and adorable that it took less than a day for me to be head-over-heels in love with him, and asking myself “why did I think I wanted a girl?”

      I feel like when you find out it’s the “wrong” sex in advance, and you don’t have the actual sweet baby in your arms, it’s harder to get over the disappointment. But I promise that if you have a boy, you will love him to pieces!

    • lawsuited :

      I’m also from a family of all girls, and I totally understand where you’re coming from. I definitely wanted a girl because I could totally imagine raising a girl (just like I was raised to feel smart and strong and equal!) but was also sad about the world I would be bringing her into because as far as we’ve come we’re not equal yet. I think a lot of it was fear of the unknown for me, because I had no idea what to expect raising a boy.

      DH was like “Meh, we’re going to raise a feminist either way.”

      I ended up having a boy. When it’s your kid, it makes no difference whether it’s a boy or girl, it’s just a little blob of love that you would do anything for. I try to avoid buying him “boy” things, but they’re impossible to avoid especially from other people. I balance it out by dressing him in a rose gold polka dot onesie every now and again and making sure he has all kinds of toys (not just trucks) and all kinds of books (not just ones about trucks).

    • Boston Legal Eagle :

      I think this is a common feeling among moms – we’re women so of course we’re more familiar with the female experience! A few things: Even if you have a girl, she may not turn out how you expect. Learn to let go of expectations. Your kid(s) will have his/her own personality, regardless of gender. I agree with those above who say that you can make the world a better place by raising both feminist girls and boys! Possibly more important to raise boys this way, as there is still unfortunately a lot of sexism being passed down from generation to generation. The best of both worlds IMHO is to have 1 boy, 1 girl and to raise them exactly the same. This is my dream, but that is not up to me :)

      • Lorelai Gilmore :

        I am an introvert reader and dreamed of having a daughter so we could read The Secret Garden and Betsy-Tacy together, and I could dress her in the beautiful clothes of my own childhood dreams, and play piano duets with her. My daughter is a jock who loves soccer and swim team and baseball and is only willing to read graphic novels, and emphatically makes her own clothing choices (hello, high top sequined sneakers) and quit piano after one year in favor of more sports.

        I adore her more than I could ever say and am constantly delighted and amazed by the unique person she is. One of the great miracles of parenting is that no matter what your hopes and dreams are, your children are who they are and it is a joyous adventure to discover them. Finding out your child’s gender is a great surprise, but it’s just the first of many, many surprises along the journey.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          <3 This is so sweetly put! I vaguely wanted a boy, and now I have a girl and she is perfect and delightful in ways I couldn't have fathomed. (And she makes poop jokes all the time, to my husband's delight and my horror.)

    • Eager Beaver :

      I’m late to the party, but had to chime in to say that it’s totally normal. Much like another poster, I had dreams of reading Anne of Green Gables with my daughter. God had other plans. My five-year-old son is just the coolest. I can’t imagine having a different child now. Plus, we just started listening to Little House in the Big Woods on Audible and he loves it. My dream of Anne of Green Gables lives on. Let me tell you it doesn’t matter one iota to me if that little boy ends up loving men, or women, or both. Who he loves won’t change the fact that I’m his mama and he’s my boy.

      • Lorelai Gilmore :

        I think the appeal of Little House is gender neutral! Who wouldn’t like a detailed explanation of how to butcher a pig or how to survive a blizzard?

  34. Help Me Figure Out My Career Path... :

    I’m stuck with what I want to do for a career/want to know what options are out there…need some advice/input/anything ya got!

    Background: bachelors is in fashion merchandising, worked for 3 years for a jewelry company and basically created their ecommerce division from scratch/did all analytics, accounting, etc. I’m good with analytics and numbers and also have a design background, so ideally I’d like something that’s a mix of the two. I know I would be good at buying, but have had zero luck at getting a job doing that. I’m currently doing admin work for a finance company and it’s…fine. Not a rest-of-my-life job, but something fine for now while I figure out what I would want to do.

    What I’d really love in a job: thinking creatively, a job/industry that values intellectual ability, something that challenges me intellectually (I am not being challenged in my current role or in previous roles and it’s super frustrating to not be using my brain to its full potential…), something that pays decently (~$50k+). I’m totally okay going back to school for a MBA or masters in..something. I just *really* want to be thinking and challenged intellectually on a daily basis and that’s just not happening to me right now.

    Any thoughts/ideas on potential paths to look into? I’ve thought about something like business analyst roles at McKinsey for example, but I feel like a lot of places like that see a BS in fashion and automatically rule me out as an Elle Woods type…

    • See if Estée Lauder is hiring. They sound like a good fit.

    • Anonymous :

      Think about why you’re not getting buying opportunities. Are you not getting interviews, not getting offers, or something else? (You don’t have to answer these questions here.) These situations stem from different issues and need different solutions.

      A note on consulting: Are you actually interested in this lifestyle, or are you just unsure of what you want to do?

    • Anonymous :

      I would identify 2-3 roles in fashion that interest you, figure out who you know that does anything remotely related to those areas and talk to them. Honestly I would NOT seek out an McK kind of job. You’ve said you want a combo of analytics + design — that’s certainly not happening at McK. In addition to the concern you have about them discounting your resume (which is likely unless you’re from a top 10 school – which I doubt you are given the major), once you get into the consulting vortex, your life is that. You’re not going to be focused on an industry and instead will be living your life in the — once I get more business experience, THEN I’ll transition over and take my skills into fashion. Problem is the whole time you wont’ be developing a network in fashion — and from the outside looking in that strikes me as a networked kind of industry where people start from day 1. Doesn’t seem like something you can hop into 4 yrs from now bc you think they’ll care that you’re an McK person.

      • I’m actually not wanting to go back into the fashion industry. I want to transition into a completely different industry that actually values intelligence and thinking outside the box. I am fine not doing anything design-related, what’s most important to me is actually being challenged at work. I have never felt challenged intellectually in fashion.

    • Where are you located? Because if you’re in NY, there’s a ton of brands that have their HQ there are they want people who are good with numbers to work in their finance departments, and if you like numbers/analytics and design, marketing might be a good fit for you too. Add more details and we can brainstorm for you.

      • I’m in Atlanta. I’ve applied and interviewed for analyst jobs at non-fashion retail companies (Home Depot, for instance) and I have too much experience for an entry-level job but not enough for the next level up. I’m lacking experience in things like Salesforce, since I’ve never had to use that and don’t think I can find any non-job way of learning that (if I’m wrong, please correct!).

        I just feel very pigeonholed based on my bachelors :(

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t know if this is helpful or if I am way off…but if you are good with numbers, data analytics and have work experience in those, maybe you could look into jobs that require data analysis in companies in the fashion industry. I know that leaves out the design aspect of your ideal job but if you think there is merit in my suggestion, start talking to people in your industry that are in areas that you consider more analytical or data driven.

    • My spouse was in a similar situation – arts related BA in a dying industry. He ended up going back to school for a 1-year professional masters degree. Basically, he picked up a bunch of technical skills and (with the help of the the school’s placement department) found a job in his chosen industry.

  35. Wildkitten :

    Do you guys still love your instawaves and think that I should get one with my relatively short (shoulder length) thick wavy hair?

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