Thursday’s Workwear Report: Pique Knit Jacquard Draped Sheath Dress

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

I’ve always liked pique knits as a lightweight summer fabric. I’ve mostly seen summer pants and blazers out of pique (and mostly cotton pique, although this is a poly blend) — so this dress is a first for me. Still, I like the sleeves, the flattering ruching, the interesting neckline, and the price: $69-$119 (mostly $119) at Amazon, Bloomingdale’s, Bluefly, and Zappos, available in sizes   Pique Knit Jacquard Draped Sheath Dress

Looking for a similar option in plus sizes? This cowl neck sheath from the same brand is great and available at Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom.

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  1. A distant relative of my husband’s is getting married. Her parents are paying for hotel rooms for the entire extended family which saves us approx. $400. I should give more than I normally would in this situation, right? I normally do $100 for two of us attending a wedding, unless one of us is in the wedding party and then I normally do $200. What would you give in this situation? I’m thinking maybe $300, i.e., putting half of our hotel room savings towards the gift? If it matters, we’re roughly the same age and in the same stage of life as the bride & groom, and they’re getting married in a resort area on a holiday weekend, so our plane tickets are insanely expensive for domestic flights (almost $700 per person). Even without paying for a hotel we’ll be spending quite a bit more than we normally do to attend an out-of-town wedding.
    I know people will say “give what you can afford” but I never really know what that means. We could ‘afford’ to give a huge amount in the sense that we are very responsible with money and save thousands every month, but of course if we started giving out thousands at every wedding we attended, we wouldn’t have such great savings (and almost no one in our age group gives anywhere near that much).

    • I would give $200.

    • I would not give more. I’m assuming the parents paid for the hotels to help offset the insane plane tickets. Stick with your current rules and you’ll be fine.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        Yes, this. I know when I got married I was grateful for those who came in from a long distance and only wanted a card from them since it cost so much just to attend.

    • Linda from HR :

      It’s always messy when deciding how much to give at each wedding. I think most people have their standard (the guideline I’ve heard was $200 for close friends and family, less if you don’t know them as well, but no less than $50 if you can afford it) and no couple should balk at an amount for being too low. I also don’t like the expectation to pay for one’s “plate” like a fancy wedding has a higher cost of admission. For this, give what you normally do since you’re paying a lot to travel.

      Also, it’s your husband’s family, so the decision of what to give shouldn’t fall solely to you. I’m not assuming he hasn’t given input, but the way you wrote your comment suggested that he’s not all that involved in the decision.

    • I suspect they’re covering the hotel precisely because the flights are so expensive, so I don’t think I’d give that much weight. It would be nice to give $200 if it’s not a financial hardship for you, which it sounds like it’s not, but $100 would also be perfectly ok.

    • lawsuited :

      I give less if there is a significant cost to attend the wedding, so I’d stick with your usual$100. The only times I’ve not given a gift is for destination weddings where the couple said “no gifts” and after spending $2000 just to get there I decided to take them at their word.

  2. What do you do outside of work for intellectual stimulation and challenge? I chose a field that won’t provide this, and I feel like I’m moving backward. Hoping for some inspiration! (And yes, I am considering a career change long-term. It won’t happen for a few years.)

    • I minored in Spanish, but don’t use it much in my day-to-day life anymore. I challenge myself to watch movies and shows in Spanish, or in English with Spanish subtitles.

    • I’m in a similar situation (complete with some days in full zombie mode because I’ve got work to do but I’m just so bored) and here’s what I do to fix it. 1. Exercise: I’ve been so much happier since I started a fairly intensive (1 hour/day, 6-days/week) video workout program every morning. 2. Go back to school: I’m actively working toward a degree in the field I want to switch to and the mental stimulation of classes after being out of school for a while is helping tremendously! 3. Volunteer: Or garden. Or focus on building friendships. Basically, use this time to build and maintain the life you want outside of work. It’s more satisfying on a deeper level anyway, and you’ll have a full, happy life ready to fit your new career into whenever you get there.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I make an effort to read more nonfiction books and longform journalism. I’m also trying to expand the podcasts I listen to – Hidden Brain and This Podcast will Kill You are two of the more intellectual ones I like.

      • +1

        Also, I find that trail running and rock climbing force me to use my brain more than regular exercising.

    • Reading and podcasts directed towards new areas within my field (medicine – continuing med education)
      Reading in depth articles online on a variety of topics. New Yorker etc..
      Learning Spanish
      Playing musical instruments
      Occasional crossword puzzles

      Doing some of these things while exercising

    • I’ve recently rediscovered that Arthur (Read…the aardvark…cartoon) was totally correct when he so eloquently sang “having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card.”

      I read non-fiction almost exclusively, and check out audiobooks on CD for my 1hr long commute. My brain is happier since.

    • I always have a book club. We select meaty books and recruit members who like to talk about close reading, political subtexts, cultural context etc.

    • S in Chicago :

      Does your field offer any speaking or writing opportunities through an association or other grop? Have you attended an outside conference in awhile? Sometimes sharing what you’ve learned with those outside of your organization can make you more excited about what you do. And attending industry events (at least goods ones) as a speaker or even just an attendee can make you more open to recognizing advancements in the field or new applications others are doing elsewhere that can stir up and energize what’s going on back at the office.

    • I read, a lot. I always have. It’s not always high brow literature, but it’s something.

      • Same. I realized recently that the OP’s issue is why I do this. I don’t really have the discipline to take a class (I don’t want the pressure and responsibility of deadlines. Or a commute if it’s not online) but I love learning new things so I read a lot, watch documentaries, and listen to podcasts.

    • Dance. I take different dance classes, not to perform but I enjoy the intellectual stimulation and challenge of learning new steps. Have taken tap, belly dance, African, and various dance-fitness classes.

    • I have a side businesses that requires a different set of skills and learning, I write a weekly newsletter for a group of friends, listen to podcasts, go to Live tapings of podcasts and NPR broadcasts, I read a bunch too.

      • I’m curious about this weekly newsletter. Would you share more about it?

        • It’s really a collection of articles I found interesting in areas I’m into (politics, feminism, fashion, cooking, travel) with a little bit of commentary. It started w a few friends and grew a litttle so now I run it off mailchimp. It’s nothing major, but I have fun putting it together and like the conversations that come out of it.

    • Not Legal Counsel :

      I was feeling the same way about my work, so I took a six month non-profit leadership/board training, and I absolutely loved it. I felt challenged intellectually while learning a lot about my local community and meeting local leaders. I am also on the Governing Board of my city’s Junior League. I feel like putting my brain to use outside of work has made me happier and more successful at work, too. Try volunteering for an organization you feel passionate about.

    • When I was in grad school and felt that way (because honestly lab work in molecular biology just isn’t that intellectually stimulating), I listened to NPR and podcasts, read better literature (than I do now) as well as more non-fiction, and watched more challenging movies. Crosswords are fantastic for mental stimulation, too.

    • anon a mouse :

      I took up sewing a number of years ago. It’s surprisingly (to me) heavy on math and geometry, and there are a bunch of creative choices to make — pattern, color, execution. It uses totally different parts of my brain than my day job. I also listen to audiobooks while I sew.

    • Learning piano

    • I play D&D. Having to learn and apply a complex set of rules, imagining a host of extraordinary situations and how to deal with them, and developing worlds and campaigns when running a game uses parts of brain I didn’t need even in 15 years of challenging accounting jobs.

      Playing other sorts of fairly complex strategic games would do the job as well.

    • I learned French on my commute (Pimsleur) and then I finally went to France. Only for a short time, and only to see Paris, but it was tres bonne!

      I had my doubts about whether my Pimsleur 1 & 2 were sufficient but it was assez suffisant!

    • I read a lot (about a book a week). I like doing reading challenges because it forces me to broaden my horizons. I check out e-books from my local public library, so it’s free. It’s also nice that I can read at home after my kid goes to bed.

      I listen to semi-educational podcasts in the car and when I’m straightening my hair and putting on makeup in the morning.

    • I got involved in local politics. Not running for office because I love my full time job, but sitting on various party committees, donating time and money to candidates (especially really good ones who are not supported by our local party machinery), and general activism. I find the strategy and legal parts to be intellectually fulfilling, and the whole idea of trying to make the world a better place to be personally fulfilling (though change is agonizingly slow and incremental).

    • I sing in a community choir that’s very musically challenging. It’s a lot of work (mostly learning the music outside of rehearsals), but a lot of fun, meeting new people, and making music with people who have a lot more training than my church choir. I also read (a lot), knit (sometimes complex patterns for fun), and do puzzles.

    • 1) Learn another language, with a very different alphabet, apply it through volunteering, and 2) be physically active.
      1) I’m learning the Russian language, with it’s Cyrillic alphabet, and then immediately apply it through volunteer education work. It’s mentally challenging and rewarding. Great group of people to befriend.
      2) trail running. Great group of people to meet.

    • lawsuited :

      I do find my work stimulating, but I also volunteer to honour other interests/aspects of my personality that don’t get much play at my day job.

  3. I take classes in subjects that interest me but are tough and don’t necessarily come naturally. I work at a university, so it’s free, aside from textbooks. Maybe I’ll commit to a grad program someday, but not any time in the very near future.

    It’s basically a workout for my brain.

    • Anonymous :

      Same! I’ve taken intro programming, several biology classes and this fall I’m going to take intro statistics. None of them have any real relevance to my job but I really like learning and I find that taking college courses is so much more fun when you’re not actually in college, because I have an appreciation of how easy school is compared to working and I’m not sweating bullets about my grade.

      • And I like to think I’m in some tiny, tiny way normalizing non-traditional students at my huge state U that for the most part has no use for any student who isn’t a fresh out of high school full time student with no job or other obligations.

        I’m sure that’s wishful thinking, but a girl can dream.

  4. My friends are celebrating a joint milestone birthday by treating several couple friends (all have kids, but this is an adults only party) to dinner and bowling. What can I send them as a gift? They don’t drink so wine or champagne is out. They like tennis and seafood, not necessarily together, and they have particular house decor so I don’t want to buy any house stuff. Coffee is out as one of them works for a coffee company.

    • This seems like the moment when a delivered bouquet/arrangement of flowers is appropriate.

    • Or a bowling ball. They are not to expensive and you can buy them undrilled with a gift card for free drilling (that you pay for), to fit either Hubby or Wife.

      Myrna suggested this to me when I asked b/c I did NOT know how to respond. You can go to the local Sport’s Authority or other places that sell bowling balls. YAY!!!

  5. Anonymous :

    Good pick!

  6. I’m mentoring a mid level associate who is struggling with low billable hours. The feedback Im getting from other partners (im a very new partner) is that they were unimpressed by her work for one reason or other (all normal stuff – not fast enough, research not thorough enough, etc) and they don’t want to work with her again. Also, she is very nervous and unsure of her conclusions. How do I help her as her mentor? Do I give her tips and advice on changing peoples’ impressions of her? I don’t think she understands that people were unimpressed by her work; she thinks people just don’t have enough work to give to her and that’s why they are not giving her the work. I want to help her – just not sure how.

    • Veronica Mars :

      I’d be matter-of-fact about it. Share their feedback in a very factual way and then recommend things she can do to improve//repair those relationships.

    • I think you need to tell her that people have concerns and what they are and how to fix if.

    • Once you have worked with her on improving results, try to convince the other partners to give her a second chance. All the improvement in the world won’t matter if she can’t showcase it to someone.

      Help her find other things to do that add value to the firm when she’s slow. I survived two rounds of layoffs this way. My old firm really was short on work but I found lots of other things that helped the firm. I attended networking events, I wrote blog posts, I helped come up with some new internal policies, etc.

    • Tell her exactly what their feedback is. In my 7th year as an associate, I came across partner evaluations of me at 4 or 5 years. I was surprised by the negative comments I read. No one had told me. So while I was generally trying to improve my practice, I was not specifically focusing on the things in the comments. I was so disappointed that the partner had not said something to me. As her mentor, tell her, and then help her work on a method to improve.

      • Same — I got this type of feedback in my last review at my old firm, basically for the first time. I wish law firms wouldn’t just write someone off without giving them an explanation or an opportunity to improve. My hours had been high until a few months before my last review, and when I expressed concern, I was just told not to worry about it. I’m still haunted by their comments.

        If you can, help her figure out how to perform better and more efficiently. And then try to get the partners in her group to give her another chance. If you can’t address both of those issues, then you should probably start preparing her for a future outside of your current firm.

        • I agree with January. She got shafted by her firm so my advise is to always be up front, even if the news is not good. Not everyone is cut out to be a great litigaeator, and the sooner we all get the word, the better. I was lucky b/c I am a word processing speed expert and can copy and paste as well as any one admitted to the NYS Bar. So with my expertise and typing skills, I can crank out 3 briefs an hour! YAY!!

          Once the partners know this, you will be a lot better off! YAY!!!!!

      • +1 to this. Just saying that you need “to improve” helps no one. To the extent you can get any sort of specifics about them, that’s the only way anyone can actually improve.

      • Ugh, yes, I was shocked at how passive-aggressive/non-confrontational law firm partners were. Never give you any feedback (even when you ask) and you find out at year-end that they were not happy with a memo you wrote 10 months before. It seems so childish! Why not just tell me at the time why it’s not working so I can do a better job instead of icing me out?

        Look up Adam Grant’s 19 words to give feedback that actually works and tell her what feedback you’ve heard- stuff that she can actually improve on. She may have no idea! Then once she has improved, it would go a LONG way to then tell the partners that she has addressed those lacking areas. And good on you for looking out for her and actually mentoring her!

        • Another anon :

          Not the OP but I looked up Adam Grant’s 19 words to give feedback and it is really helpful! Thanks for the recommendation.

    • Have these other partners told her that her work product was not good enough? Ideally, that’s the first step here. If they are unwilling to provide that feedback, I think it would be very kind of you to do so. Can you get a copy of some of her writing or research and offer some feedback? Or offer to take a look at her next assignment before she hands it in? Do you work in the same dept – can you give her some work to assess her capabilities?

      I would also talk to her about how she is managing her workload. As a midlevel, there is no reason a partner should think you are too slow because you should have (1) obtained a clear deadline for your work; and (2) met it. If she’s failing to obtain deadlines or failing to meet deadlines, that should be an easy fix.

    • Adding to what others have said—it’s hard to know how to advise her without knowing what the root of her issues are. Why is she slow- because she’s worrying too much about turning in her stuff so she frets and puts it off or over does it? Is she not putting in the hours/staying late if needed? Is she not getting clear deadlines? Why she unsure of herself? Is she not getting constructive positive feedback so she can learn what she’s doing correctly? Is she getting berated by some partner or senior associate? Is it justified? Are her research (westlaw/lexis) skills poor, or does she not understand the expectations of an associate to do research (hunt down every trail, provide a clear analysis, don’t expect that the partners are going to check behind you..A midlevel should understand these things by now but you never know) Letting her know what the partners say and really helping her figure out the root of the issues will help her improve. Simply saying hey, turn your work around faster or research better won’t.

      • This. Your biggest value as a mentor is helping her think critically about the feedback. Walk through this process WITH her, and explain that this is how the brightest people work through feedback – look for the root causes, explore it from different angles, and then come up with a plan of attack to address it. You can absolutely be part of the plan of attack (advocating for a second chance if you think it’s justified) but don’t skip the important step of helping her realize everyone gets feedback at some point in their career, and the even more important step of figuring out what to do with it.

    • I’m going to be the dissenting voice here–tell her the feedback, but also tell her to look for another job. It’s very hard to undo impressions in a law firm setting. If people won’t pick up the phone to staff her…she’s going to languish with low hours and not get experience commensurate with her year. She’d be better off elsewhere! So coach her, but coach her to take her awesomesauce somewhere less passive aggressive.

      I also don’t think it’d put you in good stead with the other partners to second-guess their impressions or their handling of personnel matters. I am not sure this is a fight you want to have. Help this girl help herself by getting out of there. And also…watch your back bc it sounds like you work with passive-aggressive snakes.

      • Unfortunately, I agree with this. I wouldn’t agree with this if she were a junior associate, but if she’s a mid-level and she’s not getting work bc people are unhappy with the product – that’s very hard to turn around.

        It is incredibly common for partners to do this, and it’s often simply because they’re busy, they don’t feel like they have time to spend teaching a mid-level (or they are concerned about major write-offs at a mid-level’s billing rate), and so they would just rather send the work to someone they know can do it well. In an ideal world, they would be giving feedback, both on assignments and in evaluations, to indicate their concerns. Unfortunately, because of law firm structure – where no one is really the boss of a given associate – a lot of partners assume someone else will deal with the problem.


      • I agree with this, too. (See my previous comment).

      • I commented above and I also agree with this, and cbackson. Sad but true. Especially if she’s been there for several years, rather than a brand new associate where her struggles can be chalked up to being brand new.

      • Yep. All of this.

  7. paging home deco experts! :

    We moved recently and I need a rug for our new bedroom. I’d like to put it at the foot of the bed because the hardwood floor is rough there. Our furniture is cherry, the wood floor is a warm reddish brown, and our colors are white, sage, and dark blue (a step up from navy, I guess). What color rug would you do?

    • Veronica Mars :

      What color are the walls?

      • three sage (a fairly grey green) and one navy. white trim – which is a pretty high wooden trim as it’s an old house.

        • Veronica Mars :

          You didn’t specify a budget and wool rugs are stupid expensive, but here are my picks:

          Ballard Abby Rug:
          Ballard Abella:
          PB Adeline:
          PB Eva:

        • Recs in mod

    • Panda Bear :

      I’d look for a rug that incorporates white, blue and green – something in a classic Persian style, perhaps.

    • Linking to a rug separately on Overstock that goes with everything and I have in my bedroom (it’s soft and lovely)


    • lawsuited :

      I think I’d do a navy and white rug with a large pattern. Look at Wayfair – the filters allow you to search by colour which is really helpful.

  8. I have been asked to moderate a panel discussion, open to the public, on a major topic of interest to my professional area. This feels like a Big Deal for me (~115 people in attendance) and I want to look polished! I’m thinking a navy dress from Boden and nude heels, although I am somewhat concerned about the possibility of flashing people — which isn’t a concern if I’m wearing pants, but I feel as though pants and a top won’t necessarily lay as nicely. Thoughts?

    • Here’s the dress I’m thinking of in navy:

      • Veronica Mars :

        This looks a little casual to me–the silhouette of the top is almost like a t-shirt. I would either add a cropped blazer to this dress OR do a pants + silk blouse combination. Congrats on the opportunity! Sounds like a great way to present yourself in the industry.

        • Agree that this dress is quite casual.

        • It depends on OP’s field. I believe you that the dress may be too casual for law/finance, etc., but many fields are more casual (for example tech or academia).

        • Veronica Mars :

          I agree, it depends on the field. My other concern is that if she’s sitting at a table, from the waist up it may look like a dressy t shirt.

      • I love that.

      • I have that dress, it is very cute and a very 50’s/60’s ‘mod’ silhouette in person, but absolutely what I’d consider more of a ‘day’ or casual dress. I’m a touch under 5’5 and it is about an inch above my knees, I’d be a bit concerned about the amount of leg I’d be showing if I sat in it.
        If you are committed to it, perhaps try adding a silk scarf and some low heels to make it a touch more formal?

      • Could you order the dress in a long length, so it might just cover the tops of your knees when sitting, and you won’t worry about flashing anyone?

    • I’m in D.C. and panelists and moderators frequently wear dresses like that to talk policy. I’d wear it if it was something I felt confident and polished in!

      Are you sure that you won’t be sitting at a skirted table or at a podium as the moderator? The panels I’ve spoken on have (thankfully) not had arm chairs, but conference tables with those elastic skirts around them and the moderator either stands at a podium or sits at an end of the table.

      • The worst trend in panel set ups, by far, for women?


        Prepare for the worst.

        • Once I was on a panel that had tall chairs – like bar chairs – except they were on wheels! I tried to climb into mine as carefully and elegantly as possible but it still rolled away and the moderator had to help wheel all the panelists back into position. Organizers really don’t think things through sometimes.

          Also, I agree with the other commenters that your dress choice looks too practical. Especially as the moderator, you are the “authority figure” of the panel. I would wear something more structured (like the kinds of dresses that Sheryl Sandberg favors) or a blazer over a dress like the one you suggested.

          • Anonymous :

            I’m sorry you had to deal with the rolling chairs but thank you for the laugh!

        • Oh god, yes …. that literally made me shudder.

      • Just published this week:

    • Definitely find out what the set up is before you buy anything. I moderated a panel and the panelists (and me) all sat in chairs with no table in front of it. I contacted the females to let them know that since a shorter (knee length) skirt would have made me nervous. I wore a pantsuit.

    • Assistant Professor :

      I’m not quite sure what you mean by a top and pants not “laying” as nicely, so I wouldn’t rule out such an outfit based on that concern. If I’ve learned anything about clothing choices for public speaking, it’s to go with whatever outfit you will want to “adjust” the least while you are presenting, even if it’s not as chic an outfit. You don’t want a skirt or dress that you’ll feel the need to tug down every time you shift in your seat, sleeves that you need to mess with, shoes that are slightly uncomfortable, etc… You fidgeting with your clothes will be super distracting to the audience. Basically, you want an outfit that you can just wear and *not think about at all* during the day. That may not be your most stylish outfit, but a slightly boring pants and top outfit that you can wear confidently is going to make you appear much more professional than a dress you are self-conscious about (and thus constantly tugging at) due to your flashing concern.

  9. New Job Jitters :

    I’m about to start a new job on Monday (for context, I used to be a litigator at a big firm and am going to an in house position). I haven’t started a new job in years! Any advice on those first few weeks at a new place?

    • Panda Bear :

      Following! I’m starting a new job Monday too – first time in a while as well. I have some on-boarding reading material to go through this weekend. I already did a lot of research on the company for interview prep, but I’ll spend some time going even deeper – reading more of their reports, checking out LinkedIn profiles. I’ll buy myself a fun new notebook and some of my favorite pens, and stock up on office snacks. Plan my outfits for the first few days and set them up in my closet. Curious to see what others suggest!

    • Maybe this goes without saying, but make sure to get good sleep and eat well! Seriously, it makes such a difference in terms of how interactions go.

    • Know that it will be awkward for awhile. You’re probably leaving a job where you were on top and knew most things. That won’t be the case right off the bat at the new place and that’s ok.

    • Learn people’s names as soon as possible, and use them daily. This includes all staff.

      When I am introduced to someone, I look them straight in the eye, smile and say “nice to meet you President Obama”, shaking their hand if appropriate. I say their name out loud to help memorize it. I also introduce myself freely to everyone.

      Then I keep a little notepad. I write down their name, and an identifying feature or two. And the next time I see them, I make sure to use their name when saying hello.

      It can really help your transition to be friendly and professional, and to treat everyone with the respect they deserve, at all levels of the organization. Help then materializes in mysterious ways….

    • I think the important thing is to have patience with the process and maintain a positive attitude. Things can be weird when you start a new job. At my last job, my new co-worker who trained me put in her resignation a week after I started, and her job responsibilities were shuffled around. One of the executives brought me into a meeting where he openly berated my boss. There seemed to be red flags everywhere and I was stressed. But fortunately things improved and I do like my job now and feel comfortable here. Try to ride out the bumps and keep an open mind.

      Also, focus on being friendly. Try to identify a couple people you could befriend overtime. Once you get to know a few people better, they can give you a lot of helpful information that can reassure you or help you steer clear of problems.

  10. Visiting NYC soon and planning on spending a day around the Upper East Side visiting the Met, walking around Central Park, etc. Any good lunch recs?

    • If you want something a little formal/special/$$$, you could hit up the Neue Gallery- I believe they have an award winning restaurant inside.

    • Depends on how much you want to spend/what you want to eat.
      On the fancier/pricier side, there is Flora Bar, the restaurant in the old Whitney building that’s now the Met’s modern art annex.
      For a more casual but yummy and still pricey lunch, try Via Quadronno on E 73rd.
      For other options, I really like Beyoglu (Turkish) on 3rd and 81st(ish) – sit outside, order a glass of wine and a all the apps. If you want a classic NYC burger experience – try either JG Melon or Lexington Avenue Candyshop (JG Mellon has outside seating); if you’re there on a weekend and like mussels, Flex Mussels is delicious and open (they don’t do lunch on weekdays).
      The café at the Neue Gallery is fantastic. I’d go there for coffee and dessert at the end of the day and lunch somewhere else to maximize the fun. Also: the Met rooftop is open in the summer and has drinks and a special exhibit.

      • That is fantastic to know, thank you!

      • These are all great UES suggestions!

        I also like Quality Eats on 78th and 2nd, and for super casual, Bluestone Lane on 90th and 5th is also a good option. It is right across from the reservoir at Central Park, which you shouldn’t miss!

    • Anonymous :

      Antonucci Cafe is very local and just so wonderful. A few blocks from the met. Perfect at lunchtime on a weekend. Make a reservation if you want dinner.

  11. Love this pick.

    Had an interesting conversation with my brother in law recently about the gender pay gap. Basically, his theory is that the gender pay gap doesn’t exist (!) and that any disparity in wages between men and women can be solely explained by women’s “choices” to have children and lean out/take lower paying jobs. I was caught off guard without any actual data and was only able to discuss what often happens in my field (biglaw) and the lack of equality at the partner and especially equity partner level (and that men also “choose” to have children yet it doesn’t seem to affect their pay). Does anyone have reliable data or sources about this issue? Actual studies would be great but articles would be helpful too (note he doesn’t trust the NY Times).

    • He has a point. Read Hannah Rosen’s article (she’s not exactly conservative). I don’t think that explains all of it, but it is a lot of it. Also, men are way more likely to do jobs where they could die or get seriously injured, and those should and d o pay better.

      • This. This is a really multifaceted issue. Yes, there are definitely still places where walking in the door, being a white man, gives you an automatic bump, which is then carried through for the rest of their career, but I don’t think it’s a simple as saying women are paid less because they are women.

        • +1

          Absolutely agree.

          It is also true that many men with stay at home wives can thrive at work even more due to the additional support.

          I’m in medicine/science and there was a very controversial article written in the NYT several years ago talking about the loss of women as we move up the tiers in academic science. A very famous male professor/chairman/textbook author was interviewed and said, “Let’s face it…. to be successful in science, it helps to have a (stay at home) wife!” I was shocked when I read it, but then I thought about it and realized…. he’s right! In many ways, I would love to have a (stay at home) wife!! Of course, I want a husband too, so there might be some issues there…. maybe not…

          It’s complex.

    • How does he feel about kids generally? I’ll admit, when I was younger, naive, and had zero interest in having kids, I felt the same way. I felt that having kids was a choice for both the woman and the man and if she didn’t want it to effect her career, she could just not have kids. I even said this out loud in a law school class. My (female) professor looked at me like I was hopeless. Other women told me after that they agreed with me but were to afraid to speak up.

      That said I was completely missing the giant issue that men have kids without it impacting their career and the other giant issue that I was an outlier for not wanting kids and most people do, it’s a basic human right, and you shouldn’t get penalized for it.

    • Does data really matter? I think that is it is a perception problem that creates the actual problem and his perception helps you more than it hurts you:

      Assume that he is right, could he go another step that if you assume that women will lean out and won’t really be a serious main breadwinner, why even hire them for some jobs and why rush to give them the best assignments, most travel, most development opportunities, and best bonuses? And why reward and try to keep someone you view as likely to lean out? Hire, retain, promote the rock stars, the men, right?

      I mean, if this is where some women wind up, the problem is that is spills over to all women, regardless of age/stage and regardless of whether single/married and parent/nonparent. [It’s the same situation encoutered by military spouses: why hire/train this person when she (usually a she) will move in 2 years anyway?]

    • Look for Claudia Goldin’s research on flexible work – there’s short and long form versions around.

    • There is actually a lot of evidence supporting the idea that much of the measured wage gap is a result of women reducing their paid labor to take on more unpaid labor (eg, child care) and not the result of discrimination by corporations. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t a wage gap, but it means that to fix it we have to address the disparity between men and women and housework, not address covert discrimination by managers.

    • I believe it’s correct that much of the gender pay gap (not all of it) stems from choices made by women who have children. But he shouldn’t be thinking of these as free choices.

      If he prides himself on his free thinking (apparently he’s above the New York Times, for example), he needs to take a few steps back and think about how we ended up here. Why is the domestic work traditionally done by women unpaid anyway? Why have work schedules been designed not to leave room for care taking responsibilities? Why did educating children become a paid profession, while other responsibilities of child raising did not?

      • Seriously. In my city, school starts at 8:30am and lets out at 2pm. Unless your HHI allows you to hire someone to cart the kids around at these times that intersect with normal work schedules, one of the parents will have to take a hit to their normal work schedule. It’s usually the woman, but it should be equal.

        Another point is simply that in many companies women get much more parental leave than men. What this does is 1. make the woman the defacto caretaker from day 1, perpetuating the issue above, 2. unevenly distribute absence from work among genders, 3. make men cheaper to hire and less risky to promote. And let’s also remember that men can continue to reproduce well into their 40s, 50s and 60s, etc so in a high-pressure environment promoting a childless man in his mid 30s is less risky than promoting a childless woman since (perhaps completely unconsciously) managers expect her to be out for 3-4 months in the next few years and then potentially lose focus as she starts to care for her child.

        Total BS but I can’t say that in my management career these thoughts haven’t crossed my mind. And I have seen it: a risky pregnancy with months of hospitalization, difficult birth that, once again, let to months of on-and-off hospitalization, child born with health issues – and who takes the brunt of all these “choices” connected with children? My female employees.

    • nasty woman :

      Ugh, gag. I’m not going to get into statistics/research but will just toss out a counterargument that does not depend on statistics: women’s choices aren’t made in vacuum. They are tremendously influenced by external factors they do not control. For example, I know that it is very difficult to make partner as woman in biglaw because of s*xist ideas/policies; that is part of the reason I moved to a smaller firm. All the sudden I’m making a lower salary because I ***chose*** to go to a smaller firm- but if everything else was equal, would I have chosen to move? It is impossible to attribute the pay gap simply to independent “choices” because those “choices” cannot be separated from the realities of how the business world operates. Co-sign what anonymous at 10:31 said.

      Also, I just love the way men talk about women “choosing” to have kids, as if each couple sat down and decided that the woman was going to be the one to gestate and give birth. Men “choose” to have kids, too. Rather than punishing women for having to bear the burden of gestation, they should just kiss the ground in thanks that choosing fatherhood doesn’t also come with the “choice” to give birth.

      • Senior Attorney :

        This. Good lord, when men choose to have children they have so, so many fewer consequences in every way.

        • Anonymous :

          Yes, but this is known ahead of time. Everyone knows that if kids come along, the woman will be expected to bear the burden, cut back hours, be available for drop-off and pick up. So if the woman knows those factors and still decides to go ahead with having kids, why is this an employer issue? It is still a choice on the part of the woman to move forward with this course of action.

          • You’re saying that women should instead choose not to have children. If a woman knows her career will suffer, hey, just don’t have kids. (But men still can.) You realize that is also problematic?

          • nasty woman :

            You treat it as if it’s a choice like going to the movies or staying in and watching netflix. Most women have a strong biological urge to have children, as do many men. As a society, it’s necessary that women have children. Most couples want to have children. Having children is recognized as a fundamental human right; no one can reasonably deny that it’s an essential part of the human experience. It is patently unequal to construct a society so that women have to take hits to their careers when they have children, while men do not. You know very well that most women won’t set aside their lifelong dream of having kids with their partner so that they don’t take hit to their careers, but that does not mean that it is *right* that women have to take career hits.

            It’s also an employer issue because we will never have a society where no female employees have children unless you exclude women from the work place. Society MUST address how it will treat working parents, including mothers. We have to accept that some women will have children, even if we do not have to accept that each individual woman will have children. How do we treat the women who are providing this service? Do we force them to bear all the burden biology places on their shoulders? Or do we accommodate it? Which is equitable?

          • Anonymous :

            Okay, you have an opinion about children, but keep in mind that women do most familial care taking in general. Even if somebody has no kids, which of the siblings is going to look after aging parents? The brother or the sister? If the sister opts out to put her career first, what’s the cost? You need to compare the choice faced by women to the choice faced by men; you can’t just say, “women have a choice.”

      • Exactly.

        I have some fun and unique work experience that paid peanuts but helped me build skills after the crash. It is shocking how many MEN insist during interviews that I should ditch my corporate life and be a manic pixie dream girl.

        If I can’t get my food in the door because people can’t understand that I need to support myself, what kind of “choice” is that?

        Would that ever be said to a man with kids?

      • +1

    • Linda from HR :

      It’s definitely one of the reasons why our wages are collectively lower, but those choices weren’t made in a vacuum! How many of us, at some point in our adolescent years, talked about their ambitious career goals only to be asked “but what about your husband?” People would remind me that my husband (WHAT HUSBAND? I ask in hindsight, as I did not have a husband nor was I on the cusp of marriage at age 15) might not want me to have a serious career and might need me to stay home with the children (also WHAT CHILDREN?).

      There may also be something to be said for men being encouraged to see work as a source of money, since they will most likely be sole or primary breadwinners, and therefore pursue careers that paid well, whereas women are encouraged to seek careers that were emotionally fulfulling. I’m generalizing though, and I’m just speculating, I don’t have data to back this up and I’m sure there are women here who did not experience that at all. All I know for sure is that I was encouraged to follow my passion and find a career that didn’t feel like work, and the friends who told me to ditch that plan and follow the money instead were all men.

      But overall, I do think we’re still raising boys and girls to see work differently (source of money versus source of fulfillment), and preparing them for slightly different roles in their future families and partnerships, and that is continuing to result in a pay gap which can justify pay discrepancies between men and women in the same jobs.

      • Anonymous :

        Yes, there are two separate issues that people are talking about here. The wage gap, which I do believe is real (even after taking into account that many women elect to have kids which reduces working years, availability, and so on) is one. The second issue is a societal one, which is why do women who have kids shoulder the responsibilities (and are therefore required to reduce hours, etc). I honestly believe that corporate polices can help to address the actual wage gap (which may be caused by perception, by lack of risk taking on the part of women, by being conditioned into less lucrative roles, etc) by actively supporting and promoting women and pushing to address large scale salary inequalities. But corporate polices can’t change societal perceptions. I feel like if the issues could be separated in discussions, more traction could occur with the wage gap.

    • Thanks, all. OP here. I appreciate all the responses and agree this is a nuanced issue. Two things jump out to me – first, that much of the gap may in fact be attributed to women doing less work in favor of home/childcare duties in which case it’s not so much a discrimination issue but a societal one of valuing certain activities over others, and second, the difference in perception in the workforce of working fathers vs. working mothers (great article here about this – Anonymous at 10:31 makes the point that the perception of mothers leaning out may spill over into all women. Brings to mind the resume studies where employers were less likely to call working mothers vs. more likely to call in a working father for an interview.

      Anyway, thanks again, great food for thought. Also an FYI my bro-in-law is father to 2 daughters but their household is set up that he’s the breadwinner (just how it worked out – he would be supportive of my sister either way).

    • Anon Wall Streeter :

      “Research” isn’t the answer that this guy needs. The prior commenter’s post about perceptions and biases is really what needs to be addressed. You can’t fix systemic bias by pointing out previous issues with data, if the people holding the biases think they’re right.

      Here’s my beef with all the data–no researchers were around in my Wall Street analyst class when they men were overwhelmingly promoted to continue on to associate. No researchers were there when I would go out to dinner with my colleagues, and they’d leave when I went to the restroom to go to a strip club. No researchers were there when my EDs said they’d never take a woman to a pitch, because certain clients don’t want women running their numbers. No researchers were there when women with kids were mommy-tracked out or frozen out of co-generation credit. Research can’t fully capture all of the microbiases that lead to eventual different outcomes. Did some of those women leave to have kids–sure they did. But they did so because they saw that the outcomes were not even close to equal, and they were working with a stacked deck.

      I also completely agree that a wage gap is such an amorphous construct across industries, age bands, etc. This is when the data you do have is so generalized as to become hard to extrapolate to any one situation (e.g. Wall Street is not the same as, say, the restaurant industry or education).

      Men should promote good women! #endrant

      • nasty woman :

        Ding ding ding.

        I think this is an inherent issue with framing gender disparities in the work place simply as a “wage gap,” and the hyper focus on whether the wage gap is real and if so, what it is. It’s quantifiable, that’s nice, it makes it easier to study, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture or even come close. S*xism rampant in biglaw firm –> woman leaves. But what will the data show? Who made the choice? It’s such a clever little system– The Patriarchy is going to continue to make working difficult for women, and then when they quit, it’ll just blame them for their choices and then use their choices to justify continuing to make things difficult for them. Bonus- women continue to be underrepresented and therefore less able to effect change.

    • I once saved this comment from a random article online about how women’s careers “just happen” to take a back seat to their husband’s. So yes, I think a lot of the wage gap is tied to having children, but it’s a more insidious issue than he implied.

      (not my own words, credit to whoever wrote this)

      Here’s the catch, though: maybe when you have the conversation you’re both in the same position (or similar) career wise. Then you (the wife) get pregnant and have awful morning sickness, so you need to take a few sick days. The baby is born and you take maternity leave, which means a couple months at home. You return to work but are pumping, so you’re having to get special accommodation for that.

      Meanwhile, your husband takes no sick leave. He takes a couple weeks off once the baby comes, and is patted on the back for it, nothing like your co-workers’ annoyance at having to cover for you for 2-3 months. He doesn’t have to make any special requests after that, either.

      So after a year of pregnancy and postpartum adjustment, your husband gets a raise and/or promotion. You don’t, because your “constant” (ie, 5 days in a year) calling out and three months away meant you weren’t able to take on the extra duties and hours that would have allowed you to “prove yourself. ” So now your husband’s a step ahead, but that means more money for the family so that’s good, right?

      Except now that your husband is paid more or at a higher level, he’s expected to work longer hours, so you’re the one leaving 5pm on the dot to pick up the baby from daycare, while he can stay late for projects and meetings. He’s got more pressing deadlines and more frequent meetings, so when the kid is sick and has to stay home, you can spare the day off more easily than he can. So again, when time for promotions/raises roll around, he’s the one who seems more dedicated – not to mention, maybe your boss is kinda sexist and has seen so many women cut back their hours after having kids that he thinks, consciously or not, that it’s only a matter of time before you do the same. So again, your husband’s career takes a leap forward, while yours just takes a step.

      Now you’re pregnant again, and you and your husband have to talk about work – life balance. His job is the one with greater earning potential now, and he has more responsibilities anyway. So you decide to go part-time, or stay at home, which you insist is just because it makes more financial sense. It has no bearing on whose career is “priority” or gender at all. Except it does.

      • Yes. I think I read this here a long time ago. It’s the way it plays out, practically speaking, and it begins before the baby is even born.

      • Coach Laura :

        Anon at 11:59 – that’s a great article.

        The other thing that’s come up recently is that potential employers ask for your current salary, and then they base your new salary on the old in many cases, thus perpetuating a lower salary. It keeps women (and minorities) at a lower rate, and since raises are based as a percent of pay, the inequity of pay goes on into infinity. Some states and municipalities are banning the question. This would make employers pay based on perceived talent, their overall job pool and on salary bands, if the organization has salary bands and should – in theory – keep potential employees from being disadvantaged over previous low salary.

      • I don’t disagree that there are a lot of external factors that tend to lead to this situation, but at the same time there are also choices involved. I was very clear with my husband from the beginning that I was not having children unless he was an equal partner – and that equal partner didn’t mean that he changed a bunch of diapers and played with the kiddo on weekends, it meant that he took time away from his job and hobbies at the exact same rate that I did. He took a 3 month paternity leave, which was the same length as my maternity leave (he works for a great company so it was paid, but any man who works for a FMLA-eligible employer should be able to take 12 weeks unpaid). We cover sick days and stuff like that equally. We alternate drop-offs/pick-ups. etc. I earn less than him (because of choices we made long before the baby was born, my chosen profession is lower-paying than his) but I have never felt like my career is ‘less than’ and I don’t feel like my career has suffered at all since having a child. My raises have been very similar to what they were before having kids. I like my job a lot and have never considered staying home or going part-time even though we could easily afford it. I know I’m probably an exception, but I think if more women insisted on this kind of thing (and more men were willing to do it) we could get to a more equal place.

        • Anonymous :

          +1,000 By no means am I ignoring the societal construct, but a good start to not being penalized in the work place for the child bearing and rearing consequences is to have a partner that bears those consequences equally (in the sense of responsibilities in your personal lives).

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yep. This.

    • Avoiding mid-career maternity issues entirely, the way women are perceived if they negotiate “too aggressively” on salary kicks-off wage gaps that follow women throughout their careers. My husband and I both work in a field where we often take after-hours phone interviews for various contracts, so we often overhear each others’ interviews. He kept giving me feedback that I needed to be more assertive about salary demands and I finally admitted that as a woman, I was too worried about being perceived as b*tchy or difficult and not selected based on that. (I prefer a quietly firm approach where I’ll walk away if they don’t meet my requirements. He’ll be very blunt if he’s offered a bs underbid. He jokes he wishes he could be my anger translator like Key and Peele’s Obama sketch.)

      We leapfrog each other salary-wise, and currently I’m up. But, I also have considerably more education and a sought after foreign language. I attribute some of the closeness of our salaries to his being able to aggressively negotiate and be viewed as a “straight-shooter” not a b*tch.

      • Anonymous :

        No longer caring about being viewed as a bitch landed me a promotion with a 43% salary and 4% bonus increase.

  12. Recommendations for music lessons in DC? I’ve always wanted to try guitar and/or piano.

  13. Kitchen reno / resale :

    Kitchen reno / resale question. I’m doing a kitchen renovation and will be replacing all of the kitchen cabinets and installing an island. I’m planning on painting the cabinets, and was originally planning on all white cabinets, but now I’m wondering if I should do darker lower cabinets/island and white upper cabinets. And if I go with a darker color, how dramatic can I get (navy blue?). The intention is to sell this place in 5-10 years, so I don’t want something that will look horribly dated or overly personal when it comes time to sell. Thanks!

    • It is likely that no matter what paint you choose, the cabinets will need repainting in 5-10 years (especially if you have little kids). So I say pick what you like!

      • This. We now have dark lower cabinets thanks to my son’s sharpie masterpiece.

        I initially loved the all white cabinet look, however I quickly realized kitchens are dirty. Lower cabinets take a ton of abuse: scuffs, bumps, spills, etc. I chose a charcoal gray but was heavily leaning towards navy. Cabinets are easy to repaint so I would not worry too much about resale.

    • We just went through this recently and I didn’t pick navy and white because I thought it would read a bit dated quickly. I chose a light gray, almost taupe/mushroom color and very happy with how it turned out. It’s neutral but still interesting, easier to upkeep, and not quite like all the gray I see everywhere else right now.

      • In my parents’ old house, they had that grayish taupe/mushroom color and it was GORGEOUS. Especially with light walls.

    • They’ll probably need to be repainted in 5-10 years anyway. Do want you want.

    • I think all white is classic, but for color variations on a gray or taupey mushroom gray are pretty uncontroversial. If you don’t have impeccable taste navy and white can look a little cheesy, but you can always repaint. For what it’s worth, my painted solid wood cabinets have held up perfectly for five years. Just make sure you do it the right way. I’m house shopping and I’ve seen multiple houses where they went at their cabinets with rollers meant for walls and it looks awful.

    • Kitchen reno / resale :

      Thanks, all. I hadn’t considered that the cabinets would need to be repainted, but that certainly gives us the flexibility to do whatever we want!

  14. For a 5 to 10 year resale timeline, I would do what you want and not worry about resale. Most things will look dated to some extent in that timeframe

  15. I wrote a few weeks ago asking about Rye, and several of you gave me some warnings that it might not have the feel I was looking for. Well, I visited and it really felt off to me, so it’s off the table for a variety of reasons (felt incredibly insular, very club-oriented and clique-ish, stay-at-home moms seemed to be more the norm than other burbs).

    I’m now looking at Old Greenwich and the part of Riverside right near OG. We love the beach and walkability to town/the train, and the idea of great public schools. I’ve heard that the size of Greenwich means that there is more diversity / a less intense social scene (basically, be involved as much as you want in whatever you want vs. YOU MUST JOIN A CLUB or PTA), but also a neighborhoody feel where kids run around to play in each other’s yards (at least in OG). I would so appreciate hearing any impressions of either of these areas from this crowd!

    • Think very carefully about living in CT vs NY from a tax and other misc legislation standpoint. Unless you’re working in Greenwich anyway.

      Greenwich is Greenwich. OG or not, it’s still loaded with stereotypes. I grew up there and went to (gasp) public school. I moved to Darien and that’s where I went to (gasp) public high school.

      If you are trying to avoid the stereotypes/scene, have you looked at Bedford at all?

      • CT Resident-let me note that (gasp) Darien and (gasp) Greenwich have some of the top public schools in the state.

        • Of course. I’m a lifelong Fairfield County resident and I’m raising my kids here. I got a great education and my schools were among the top publics in the country at the time I went.

          But there is a very present feel about public schools among parents in the area. For someone just looking, it’s worth nothing.

    • I think that Greenwich will be very similar to Rye honestly, especially as far as diversity, country club scene, stay at home moms, etc. I also would be very surprised if you find Greenwich to be more diverse than Rye.

      (Full disclosure, I live in the city, but like both Greenwich and Rye and have friends/colleagues who live in both cities.)

    • Um, maybe I’m an outlier but I think A LOT of the lower Fairfield County CT suburbs (Greenwich, New Caanan, Darien, etc.) have the same sort of issues you mentioned in Rye, with the benefit of lower taxes than most of Westchester. If you’re really that firmly against clubs/stay at home moms/private schools/lots of similar high earning folks you’re probably in the wrong area.
      One point about Greenwich specifically – ask around about power issues before you buy. Greenwich has toooons of trees and loses power at the drop of a hat in a storm, plenty of people I know in those towns now consider a generator of some sort a non-negotiable.

      • I’m not sure if you want something kind of like Rye but slightly “less so,” or if you’re looking for a different feel entirely (more diverse, less focus on country clubs and private schools, etc.). If it’s the latter, there are plenty of other towns that are better alternatives to Greenwich. I would think of Rye and Greenwich as among the worst places to be in Westchester/Fairfield counties if that’s what you’re seeking. With the caveat that I grew up in Westchester but haven’t lived there since high school (over 15 years ago) so my knowledge is a little old… the places I remember having great public schools and being less snobby were the Hudson River towns (Irvington, Tarrytown, etc.) and upper Westchester (Bedford, Armonk, etc.). Scarsdale of course has amazing schools… it’s pretty wealthy but I think there is less focus on the country club scene, more homes where both parents work, etc. Check out Larchmont and Pelham, too.

    • Anonymous :

      Greenwich is actually much more economically diverse than most people realize, especially on the western side of town near Port Chester. Riverside and OG are generally well-off and more similar to Rye, but I encourage you to look in Pemberwick, Glenville, or Byram for more diversity. The elementary schools on the western side of town are not as highly rated as those in Riverside or OG, but that is largely due to students who are non-native speakers scoring lower on the standardized tests. The curriculum and teacher quality is the same in all of the Greenwich public schools. There’s also a smaller beach in Byram and a brand new town pool opening there this summer. Plus it’s nice to have easy access to Port Chester for quality restaurants and ample daily train parking. The waiting lists for a resident spot in Greenwich are years long!

  16. Anon Lawyer :

    I’ve really been having trouble concentrating at work and being motivated enough to do my job. I like my job and my work and my firm so I don’t think it’s just that I am unhappy at work but I’m actually just having a tough time motivating myself to do anything.

    Any advice/tips/commiseration?

    • I deal with this all the time. I’m medicated and all of that for ADD, but get desparate:

      -Put my assistant in the admittedly awkward position of having my cell phone on her desk, and telling her, “if someone calls more than once in a row, please get me. Otherwise, give me a stern look if I come out here before x time. to get it.” (we have the type of relationship and it works for us)

      – bought a really interesting sand timer/hour glass (vintage, from etsy), and say I have to work until it runs out, then I can do something else. Kind of interesting. :)

      -in desparation, essential oils on my feet (don’t buy from an MLM, get Eden’s garden roll on). IDK if it worked, but placebo. ( And no, you anti-fragrance loons, you can’t smell it, it’s under your shoes, chill. )

      -in really desparate times, I’ve given my sister has a blank check of mine and instructions to donate to a MAGA fund if I don’t get my work done.

    • long reply in mod. :)

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I hate that I’m going to say this but… are you getting enough exercise? I get spacey and fidgety when I don’t do something physical most days (and I hate exercising). I guess I’m like a toddler/puppy that way. Gotta take care of my body to get the ol’ brain to work.

    • I just read an article advising to write slowly but with no distractions. So turn off all the stuff, and just slowly write. Take a long time. Do not rush at all.

      You could set your email to auto respond that you will be unable to check email immediately and to call (you or your assistant) with an urgent matter; otherwise, you will check it by the end of the day.

      Also, I like to go ahead and schedule a meeting about something I’ve been putting off. That way I am forced to take action before the meeting instead of dreading it for longer.

    • When I really don’t want to do something, I convince myself just to work on the project for a doable amount of time (maybe an hour) and even if my work isn’t that great, it’s still okay, I did what I needed to do, and I can move on to something less annoying or intimidating. Sometimes the hardest part is starting. Once you get into it, you’ll pick up the pace and hopefully gain some momentum and make some good headway and maybe do even more than you intended.

      Other things like listening to upbeat music can help with boring tasks, or giving yourself a change of scene – go for a walk outside to re-energize. Getting up from your desk to talk to a co-worker can help boost your mood too. I know these aren’t a cure-all, but they can help.

    • Anonymous :

      I get like this if I don’t have anything to look forward to. Could you put things on calendar that you like to do and then work towards them? For me that’s lunch with colleagues I like, or a conference I genuinely enjoy attending. Then. I can focus on getting everything on my plate done so I can attend.

  17. Does anyone have a color of grey paint that they recommend for painting rooms? Moving into a condo and previous owners made some questionable color choices. I love grey interiors and want to do grey with white trim in most of the rooms, but it has to be the perfect grey- not too light to look white, not to dark (depressing), and without any green or yellow undertones. There are too many paint swatches to choose from. Do you have any greys you’ve painted with and love?

    • Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter + 10% white

      • SuziStockbroker :

        I love Revere Pewter and most of my house has been painted and re-painted in it for the last 10 years. However, I just painted the kids bathroom (no natural light) in it and it looked way to “beige” to me because of the lighting.
        Benjamin Moore has a lot of beautiful greys.

        • Anonymous :

          Yes, BM Revere Pewter is a “true” gray. I like it for kitchens and bathrooms but not for bedrooms or living areas. In those rooms, I prefer BM Edgecomb Gray, which has some beige undertones and looks softer.

    • Michel’s Ennui. It’s grey but barely, like it just can’t be bothered to exist. :)

      • This is delightful. I really want to paint a room Ennui. I really wish my job was naming paint colors.

    • I love Benjamin Moore’s Gray Owl. In my house it reads as a true neutral gray with no funky undertones. Another one you may like (if you like it more on the blue/lavender side vs green/yellow) is Revere Pewter.

    • I really like BM Edgecomb gray and it works beautifully with white. Doesn’t feel cold like some other shades.

    • Sherwin Williams Big Chill, Crushed Ice (one shade lighter than Big Chill), Light French Gray, Passive. I love all of these colors but I STRONGLY recommend you pick out a bunch and put them on the walls for a few days (weeks) before committing to anything. What looks great in my house with the lighting I have may look totally different in your condo.

      • This! We spent weeks with a variety of white to grey colours on the wall in various positions. Ended up with a colour that’s a dupe of CIL Winter Bird (the behr equivalent) which was way lighter than what I had expected to pick.

    • Minnie Beebe :

      Most of my house is painted Sherwin Williams Repose Grey. I like it!

      • Seconded! Repose Grey in the rooms I want lighter and SW Dorian Grey in rooms that can take a little more Drama. And yes, paint lots of swatches. When my friend was picking a grey paint we joked that the room looked like a literal interpretation of 50 shades of grey.

      • Our whole house is Mindful Grey, which is in between Repose and Dorian. We have Dorian in our dining room for a slightly more dramatic look (that room also has a lot of white wainscoting and natural light, so a darker paint color isn’t depressing there).

        • Legally Brunette :

          I posted this same question a few years ago and went with the majority view, which was Mindful Grey. It meets all of your criteria. Personally, I would have gone a bit darker (so maybe Dorian Grey) but that’s my own preference.

    • Sherwin Williams Agreeable Gray.
      Glidden Smooth Stone

      • anon a mouse :

        +1 Agreeable Gray

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        We have Agreeable Gray upstairs in our house and it’s a very nice neutral, but reads more greige than straight gray in our house. It’s not exciting, but it does go with everything and doesn’t have any of that weird purple undertone that a lot of grays seem to have.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      My local city data forum recently had a hotly debated thread on gray paint (it was actually about alternatives to gray when painting a house to sell, but apparently people have lots of opinions on the topic of gray paint) that had some suggestions you might find interesting. I have no personal experience but did spend some time looking at all the mentioned colors–so many options!:

    • Without knowing what the lighting situation is in your room and the surrounding furniture, decor, etc. we really can’t help you. For example, Grey Owl can read quite green and Edgecomb Grey can look quite yellow. It all depends. I know a few people who painted Revere Pewter recently at the advice of their builder and hate how dark brown it reads in hallways and are repainting.

      Check out Laurel Bern’s bl 0g and search “Gray paint” for her recommendations of warm or cool ones along with advice (for rooms that are north-facing, etc.) Buy a couple of samples and paint boards that you can move around the house and on different walls. You really have to test it in your space. My favorite gray (Shoreline) in our old condo now reads too blue/purple in our new house because of the different light.

    • I’ve used Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter, which is kind of a greige, so maybe not quite what you want, Benjamin Moore Stonington Gray, which is that soft classic blogger gray you see on lots of home design blogs (I think it is similar to Gray Owl but less green/blue), and then Sherwin Williams pewter, which is similar but a little darker. If I were you, I’d buy a quart of Stonington and paint a wall with it.

      • Sherwin Williams Mindful Grey. No matter the light, it does not have blue or green or purple tones. Can maybe look a little “greige” in dark light but I think it’s the most neutral grey out there.

        • +1. I have this in my kitchen and like it a lot. No weird undertones. I have another room that’s painted with a grayish-green color, and 7 years later, I’m kind of tired of it. Not so with the Mindful Gray.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      My kitchen is a combination of white and Benjamin Moore Wolf Grey, which is a pretty neutral, medium grey.

    • Farrow & Ball Ammonite. Do not go by the swatch on the website … on my monitor, it looks beige! It’s the perfect neutral grey … get an actual swatch. F&B paint is a bit spendy, but worth it.

      • If you go on Pinterest and search Farrow and Ball matches, there’s a designer who took their whole catalogue and matched up the colors to Benjamin Moore. It’s not perfect, but worked for me when I had a big paint job.

    • My living room and hall are Behr “Double Click,” a soft, neutral gray; I love it. Behr is available at Home Depot (a plus for me, the local Benjamin Moore store is inconvenient).

    • Smoke Embers from Benjamin Moore – loved it so much in our condo, we did our house in it when we moved.

    • We loved Behr Dolphin Fin in a home office (and in our friend’s living room).

  18. I’ve got a free drink at Starbucks for my birthday and would like to do something a little different than my usual cold brew or americano. I’m not a big fan of their flavored (too sweet), so what would you do to mix it up?

    • I really like their new blonde espresso roast, so I’d do an iced blonde latte.

    • I’d try the new cascara thing. Looks intriguing, but I hate spending $$ to try something I might not love so I use my free drinks for stuff like that

      • It is delicious and I recommend asking for half the vanilla syrup. Also any of the flavored drinks you can ask for fewer pumps. I do that because I don’t like super sweet things, but occasionally like something a little different than black coffee. Happy birthday!

      • Yes, I love the new cold foam cascara cold brew!

  19. When two old marrieds of opposite genders chat on social media and the guy essentially admits to the girl he had a crush on her in high school, that’s flirting right? I’m having trouble gauging how much of this conversation is innocent catching up and how much is him putting out test balloons to see if I’m interested in something. I’m not usually this suspicious of people and I figure I should trust my instincts. I’ve since changed subjects and greatly reducing the time between responses. For context, I brought up a nice thing he did for my parents back in the day when they were in a jam that was above and beyond and he responded with confessing that he had ulterior motives back then.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      The fact that he didn’t bring it up out of the blue makes it less suspicious to me. “You did a great thing all those years ago!” “Aw, I was probably just trying to get you to pay attention to me!” … it doesn’t immediately set off huge alarm bells, and could just be self deprecation.

      BUT trust your gut. Slower responses and changing the subject should give him the feedback to drop it. If he does, great. If not, well, there’s your answer :-/

      • Agree. I would balk if he just said out of the blue “Btw, I liked you in high school” but the context makes it a lot less sketchy imo.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I don’t actually think it is flirting.

      But consider this – it could be flirting and still not be a “test balloon” for anything more. Friendly flirting is just that sometimes.

    • The context you mention sounds pretty harmless – I’ve mentioned having crushes on people in high school as nothing more than reminiscing about the past or as part of a story. For example, the topic of playing paintball came up in a group setting and I said to a longtime friend/former crush, “The only time I’ve ever been was when I went with you in high school! And I mostly pretended I was into it because I really wanted to impress you!” I definitely have been over my crush for years and didn’t have other intentions – it just seemed like a funny thing to mention/confess to.

      If that’s the only thing that’s giving you pause, I wouldn’t worry about it. If there’s other things as well, then trust your gut.

  20. The advice that I give to newcomers is always: “Wait a few months.” In the beginning, you might see things that appear to be nonsensical or wrong — and they might be! Or, it might be that there was a reason for it. But you won’t know immediately. Wait a few months to better understand the company, its approach, its culture, and its risk tolerance.

  21. Sorry, that was for New Job Jitters…

  22. How Mad Should I Be? :

    Just discovered last night that the contractor who replaced our siding after a storm put the siding over the external dryer vent, so it is venting into the back of the siding. Work has been done for two months.

    This is a serious fire hazard no? My dryer is full of lint. Got what I could see out but can’t see below the drum. Funnily enough the bill just came yesterday too.

    • Minnie Beebe :

      Fire and mold, I’d think. The damp air from the dryer has been venting behind your siding. I’d be very angry. i’d have the guy come back out immediately, but would also consider having another individual take a look at it before the work is redone. Maybe your home inspector?

    • Yes I think that is a fire hazard, and is also probably bad for the siding. If you haven’t paid in full yet make him come fix it before you pay.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Who stop do not pass go do not collect $200 and do NOT use your dryer! That is a serious fire hazard and you’re lucky your house hasn’t burned down!

      You should be really mad. Like call the contractor, they drop whatever they’re doing to do all the work to fix it absolutely zero charge mad.

    • How Mad Should I Be? :

      OK, we are pretty irate and I just wanted to make sure we are not completely off base. We are definitely not using the dryer until this is resolved.

      Hadn’t thought of the mold issue behind the siding. Should they be replacing that whole side? Paying for an independent inspector? My husband thinks we should try to make them pay for an inspection on/new dryer as well as someone to come clean out and inspect the ducts that vent to the outside, in case they are backed up now too. Does this sound reasonable or are we too emotional about being put in danger like this?

      • You don’t need a new dryer

      • Not at all unreasonable and this would 100% not pass inspection. An apartment building in my city caught on fire because of dryer vents and as a result our former condo building (and many others) then started a mandatory dryer duct/vent clean out. And this was not because of negligent behavior like yours – it can just happen sometimes, and is more prone in a high-rise where lots of dryer ducts combine into one and neighbors are not always diligent about cleaning out the lint trap.

        I would call an inspector and tell him about the issue and see what he says and get a quote for his cost to inspect and off the top of his head what he thinks the remedy for this would entail (the ducts can be cleaned out, and the siding covering it needs to be replaced, but he will tell you if the surrounding siding has been affected, too, and what needs to happen). Then you have two options: to either have the contractor pay for the inspector’s cost as well as the cost for a new contractor to do it or have them pay for the inspector, re-do it, and then have it inspected again to ensure it passes code.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        You are the exact right shade of mad, I think.

        They should fix the issue, pay for the cleaning of the dryer, and if necessary a new dryer, an inspection and, if necessary, and further remediation required from the inspector’s report.

  23. I got a Madewell coupon code that I am not going to use.

    $25 off $75. Expires June 18.

    Code: ITOGBXTH5

  24. Gail the Goldfish :

    Another paint color question. We bought a house last year and I’m just getting around to considering repainting.
    The kitchen in our house is currently a light sage greenish color with warm tones (it’s Sherwin Williams Martha Stewart Signature Bobbin, but this is a retired color and I can’t find a good picture). Our countertops are marble with brownish tones and fixtures are oil-rubbed bronze. This is not what I would pick if I were designing a kitchen (I like cooler colors and silver tones). What color will go with the countertop/fixtures but have a cooler undertone than what I have, or are cool colors just not going to work with brown/bronze? Could I do some sort of light blue? I am hopeless at color coordination.

    • What finish are the cabinets?

      • Gail the Goldfish :


        • I would do Sherwin Williams sea salt, if you like a slightly bluish color. It’s so pretty in person. I think it works well with brownish tones. Sherwin Williams comfort gray is a sagey gray that could also work.

          • Looks like this:

          • I painted my home office this color. Loved it so much that I painted our laundry room this color, too! We have tan floors in our laundry room and I was worried that Sea Salt would be too cool-toned, but it works.

    • Aunt Jamesina :

      Broken record here, but Agreeable Gray would probably work nicely. I think a light blue could work, but it could take a fair amount of swatching to get it just right.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        A pale robin’s egg blue could look nice… seems to go well with browns. I know my mom had her bathroom painted Whipped Mint by Behr recently and she has tan/brown granite in there.

    • anon a mouse :

      Are you opposed to new fixtures? You could replace faucets fairly inexpensively, and spray paint cabinet hardware to get the silver tone you prefer. Then you could do a pale greige (like BM Gray Owl) to tie into the cabinets.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        My eventual plan is to replace all the fixtures in the house (which, except for the bathrooms, are all the same oil rubbed bronze), but I think that’s further down the road. Though I suppose I could go one room at a time and start with the kitchen… I’m not sure how well a silver tone would go with the marble though.

    • Do a gray with green undertones. SW Ethereal Mood would likely work for this.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Thanks, everyone!

    • Anonymous :

      I’m obsessed with Benjamin Moore’s Wythe Blue. It’s a perfect gray/blue/green that goes with pretty much everything.

  25. Custody Attorney :

    Any recommendations for a great attorney in the DC area (preferable Montgomery or Prince George’s County, MD) strong with custody issues? My friend has an ugly custody battle on her hands and her attorney is not up for the challenge.

  26. I think I want to start making healthy (but tasty) green smoothies in the morning to drink on my commute (bus+train). I’m overwhelmed with recipes and by add-ins. There are so many options! Sprirulina? Collagen? Protein? Adaptogens? Any favorites recipes to share? Any favorite to-go containers?

    • What’s the goal? Just a healthy breakfast? Super filling til a late lunch? Getting more greens and vitamins?

    • There are some good recipes on simple green smoothies dot com.

    • Anonymous :

      I use handfuls of the “Power Greens” mix from Costco – we actually buy multiple bags and freeze it so we don’t have to worry about it getting slimy. I find it to be nearly flavorless, so just add to whatever smoothie we happen to be making – I like carrot juice with frozen strawberries, a banana, and half a block of silken tofu (this blend ends up a gross color with the greens), or frozen blueberries, banana, almond milk, and half a block of silken tofu.

    • Frozen banana, frozen pineapple, spinach and coconut water.

    • Anonymous :

      I just made a good one this morning. 1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I think it’s Garden of Life brand), 1 tbsp chia seeds, 2 cups coconut water, 1/3 of an avocado, and a huge handful of baby spinach (maybe 2 cups). It was lightly sweet from the coconut water, but not overly sugar-y. If you hate coconut water, I’m sure you could use unsweetened almond milk.

    • JuniorMinion :

      I’m busy and also not spending tons of $$$ on extra ingredients so I just do costco cytosport protein powder + spinach + costco 3 berry blend+ whole milk + water or banana + spinach + water + protein powder + costco berries depending on how many carbs I need.

      Pro tip: freeze your banana. I like the banana one way better but it lacks the extra protein from the whole milk and adds additional carbs. Also worth noting that each of these is only ~200 – 350 calories so it does mean that I need another snack before lunch.

      • JuniorMinion :

        Couple more things – I don’t use / consume any coconut water due to its “natural laxative” properties + my IBS but I know other people who do. If you’ve never had before I wouldn’t make my first time when I was headed for public transit….

        Be careful with fruits other than berries (ie mango, pineapple, peach etc) as they can add a huge amount of sugar / calories to your smoothie while not adding a lot of volume.

  27. Wedding Venue Contract :

    Did any of you have a lawyer look over it? If you are a lawyer and don’t think a non-lawyer needs to do that – any thing specific to look out for?

    Already checked that tax is included, what type and how much insurance we need to get, and that we are the only event that day.

    • Senior Attorney :

      See if gratuities are included and if as a practical matter you will be required to tip on top of that. Any additional fees for cutting a cake from an outside vendor, or corkage if you bring your own champagne? Cancellation fees? Timeline for setup and breakdown? Those are a few thoughts off the top of my head.

      Honestly I’m a lawyer and I relied on my wedding planner for this stuff.

      • Gratuities are not included (we have that budgeted in to add), food is an outside vendor so all of those fees will go with the caterer.

        Thankfully the venue allows us to buy alcohol as long as it is served by the caterer (who also allows this).

        Setup and breakdown are specified and we can buy extra hours up to the day before the event.

        Cancellation by us is loss of deposit. Cancellation by venue for breaking the agreement is a little unclear whether we lose what is already paid, or will owe them the rest of the venue fee: “Cancellation by *Venue* for any of the foregoing will result in the loss of the entire Rental Fee and any additional sums paid.”

        I’m actually kind of loving digging into these details myself since we gave ourselved ~two years to plan!

    • What about deposits? Refunds? When is money due?

      Is this a full-service venue (food, beverage, and venue), or just the venue? If it’s the former, what are the rules on telling them the final headcount and food choices, cost for open bar, ability to restrict beverage choices, whether kids pay adult prices, cake cutting fees, etc. Food and beverage minimums are important.

      For just the venue, look into when you can set up and take down, damages (how assessed), any cleaning fees, requirements for vendors (some require you to pick from a list), what time you can come in, what time you need to have it cleaned up by, audio/visual equipment rental, etc.

    • Flats Only :

      Look for unreasonably early final “guarantee” count deadlines. You should not have to tell them your final number of guests more than 1 week in advance.

      • Thankfully this is just a venue, no food. So the catering contract will get that deadline check!

      • Worked for a caterer :

        To elaborate on your catering guarantee, it’s really just a minimum count. So if you have a few people that are iffy, don’t include them in your guarantee. You can likely go up by up to 10% of your headcount within a week of the wedding, though be prepared to get charged a premium for your additions (potentially, not always). Caterers order food about a week out and try to have all staffing settled about the same time. Adding people means that they may have to shop retail for the food and potentially hire staff via a service that may charge more than the caterer’s own rate.

        Of course, this is all dependent on the specific caterer, but that’s the general reasoning behind the guarantee and how adding people affects it. You just can’t go down (and not pay for it) after giving your guaranteed number.

  28. Holding my tongue :

    How have you handled a disrespectful boss? Our office is small and generally very relaxed/friendly. Usually my work product receives very high reviews, but there have been several instances lately when our managing partner has been unhappy with something she assigned to me at the last minute before it was due. In one instance, she threw my work away without even reading it (I had cleared my day to get it done and wasted several hours of nonbillable time to get it done). Several times she has laughed at me when I seek clarification or try to push back on her expectations for what can be accomplished in the time given (no, it probably isn’t possible to sort out your months-long dispute with opposing counsel in 2 hours with no background information). I feel defensive and offended and am afraid it’s making it hard to objectively evaluate my own performance. I don’t want to be a doormat to a bad boss but also don’t want to miss the opportunity to improve by assuming it’s just her personality that is the issue. Any tips for gently pushing back on her unreasonable expectations or passive-aggressive “feedback?”

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