Workwear Hall of Fame: Sleeveless Ponté Sheath Dress

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

washable ponte sheath dress for workWe’ve featured this dress in a million roundups for sheath dresses, but I don’t think we’ve ever featured it for our morning workwear reports — at least not in its most basic version, pictured.  If you’re not familiar: this is the Lands’ End ponte sheath dress.  It has pockets. It’s washable. It’s $69-$79 full price (but on sale today!). It comes in petite, tall, and plus sizes. It is so wildly popular that it comes out in a zillion new patterns and colors every season, as well as an offshoot of dresses that are very similar but for some additional design element, like a keyhole neckline or sleeves.  Today, regular, petite, and tall sizes are on sale for $40-$45. Nice! Sleeveless Ponté Sheath Dress

(There’s free shipping on $50+ — if you’re looking for something else to add to your cart, consider their shaped scoopneck tees, or the reader favorite supima cardigans. If you happen to be busty they have a great selection of DD/DDD swimsuits.)

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



  1. Portsmouth, NH :

    I can’t bring myself to purchase LE dresses. The material just isn’t on point for me. I love the shape of the dresses, but really struggle with the rest of the dress.

    TJ: A shot in the dark here, but does anyone have familiarity with Portsmouth, NH area? We are looking for a winery to visit for a tasting and tour this weekend. I found one (Flag Hill) but wondered if anyone had specific recommendations!

    • Clementine :

      Portsmouth is lovely!!

      There’s a new Hampton inn and suites downtown that I highly recommend, if you need a place to stay. Conveniently located, great service, and just a nice place.

      Food: for breakfast The Friendly Toast, French pastries and macaroons at Maison Navarre, District kitchen is great for dinner.

      Touristy and on the water with great views and really tasty seafood chowder is The River House.

      If you’re by the outlets in kittery, bob’s clam hut has great fried food.

      • Clementine :

        …I just realized you were asking for a winery. Pre-coffee fail.

        I have no idea.

        • No worries! Open to other suggestions, too. We have a hotel and dinner reservations. Anything else you’d recommend other than window shopping (which is also just fine by me!) would be great. Any favorite spots to jump in for a Saturday afternoon drink with DH? We’re celebrating an anniversary with this low-key overnight getaway.

          • Clementine :

            For a great selection of beer on tap, Thirsty Moose taproom.

            It’s a really nice town to walk around in. Walk to Maine over the bridge.

          • Clementine :

            Note: it’s a bar, nothing fancy, but has amazing variety

      • I stayed at that Hampton Inn about a year and a half ago, and it was super nice. Great location, walking distance from the shops and restaurants, parking wasn’t an issue, and the price was reasonable. I’d stay there again if I went back to the area.

        Only issue was that it was so new that Google Maps didn’t know about it and kept trying to take me to the one outside of town. I finally had to plug in the short street it was on to get the right directions. I’m sure that’s changed by now.

    • My friend got married at Flag Hill and it was beautiful. Didn’t try a ton of the wines but I think they tended more towards the sweet side. But if nothing else you get to sip in a pretty place… Also if you like beer, Portsmouth Brewery is a good local microbrewery with tasty food, we always stop there on our way through Portsmouth.

  2. If I love Theory suits, do you think I will like BOSS? Any other brand suggestions? Thanks in advance!

    • Hi! I LOVE Theory suits and I just tried on a Hugo Boss suit that I really liked. Unfortunately they didn’t have my size.

      I also really like Helmut Lang and Max Mara…

      Hope that helps!

    • Following! I love the fit and look of theory suits, but dont love how quickly they wrinkle. Would love to hear comparisons to Boss. for what its worth, I also love Reiss suits and find they are slightly less wrinkly than Theory.

    • Lafayette 148. I love their dresses. Size down 1-2 sizes from Theory.

    • I would second the recommendation of Reiss. Helmut Lang owns Theory.

    • Boss suits work very well for me, as does Theory.

  3. LE tunic dress :

    LE has tunic dresses made of their rashguard / sun shirt fabric. Cannot recomment highly enough. I have 2 that I live in. Washable / dryable (I drip dry) / no wrinkling / easy to dress up with nicer shoes (but OK to wear with my Natives also).

    • I’m confused…why would you want to wear a dress made of rashguard material unless you were at the beach or something?

      • hey macaroni :

        Comfy weekend dresses that protect you from the sun? I’m in.

        • LE tunic dress :

          Yes — I wear mine everwhere but the office. Nice patterns. Looks fancier than the price / very low maintenance clothing item.

        • LE tunic dress :

          There are also non-V necks. I liked last year’s patterns better, but they didn’t have the v-neck style last year.

    • Thanks for the rec – that is what I never knew I needed for all of the spray grounds and parks with water features we visit in the summer, where I don’t really want to be the only adult in a swim suit, but there’s a good chance I’ll get a little wet corralling my toddler.

  4. Yesterday I received a response I sent to my Senator (John Cornyn) about how disappointed I was with the Republican’s lack of action to even hold a hearing for the appointment of Merrick Garland. The response I got was a form letter about GMOs and agricultural policy, something which I actually am fine with the senator’s stance on and did not include anything about it in my letter. Did they just count my letter as an angry constituent about GMOs so that it would look like less people were angry about the Supreme Court position? I am interested if any former staffers know what I should do, or how to address this. How likely was it that this was an innocent mistake? I am tempted to call the office, but does that even matter that I was given a letter on a completely different matter?

    • Former staffer here- I’d presume it was an honest mistake. Typically letters are entered in to a system that identifies key words, assigns to staffers, and when appropriate, generates a form letter response if one is already on file. (at least this is how it used to be!) I’d resubmit your original letter- my guess is they have a form letter on Garland that they will respond with.

      • Agreed, although if it’s easier you can also just call the office. They should still log your call and get back to you.

      • Former Staffer :

        Agree with anonymous above– most likely an honest mistake. You could resubmit your original letter as suggested. You could also call and explain what happened, and they should be at least a little apologetic and might respond more quickly.

      • GMOs and Garland could even be next to each other in the dropdown menu for form letters.

    • Current staffer :

      Just want to chime in and say that even though it probably feels like you aren’t making a difference, every drop in the bucket helps. Even if your Senator isn’t going to change his/her mind, you can at least make them feel uncomfortable about their position and make sure that they know that people disagree. If you can show up at a town hall event in person, even better. But if you do call the office, please be nice! The person answering the phone is likely an unpaid intern.

    • And, FYI, Cornyn has pledged to vote on Obama’s judicial appointees (especially for open Texas positions).

      • Actually, Cornyn has ridden the party line in relation to the Garland vote, and every other Texas judicial appointee. I don’t know where you are getting your information, but if you must know I addresses the issue in my letter not only as a constituent who disagrees with his own choice, but also as a party wide issue. Considering he is regarded as the #2 GOP, he has a lot of power within the party to change minds.

        • I’ll correct myself as to Garland (sigh…even as a conservative, I think he deserves a vote). But Cornyn is working to seat Texas judges.

          • Thanks for the correction. I’m glad he is working with Obama to seat Texas Judges. The backlog is a huge problem. He should get a vote. I disagree with, but respect the right of Republicans to vote no. Just have the [email protected] vote though.

    • I’m jealous that you at least received a response. I emailed both of my senators early last week and haven’t heard a darned thing back. I’m giving them until next week and then will contact them again.

  5. Kat, do you feel comfortable continuing to recommend Lands End in light of their recent anti-woman stance?

    • Really?

    • hey macaroni :

      LOL @ U boo.

      I don’t shop at LE for their politics. Featuring Steinem actually made me less likely to shop there.

      • Why do you find Gloria Steinem so offensive?

        • I’m not the above poster, but many people are pro-life. Gallup’s most recent polling shows that 50% of Americans identify as pro-choice. So that leaves a lot of people who do not.

          • I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the hurt feelings of misogynists.

          • hey macaroni :

            I am anti-abortion and pro-choice, Anon @ 1049. It’s possible to do both. The former does not make one a misogynist.

        • I read that as “them featuring political actors makes me less likely to shop there” not “I hate Gloria I [email protected]

          • hey macaroni :

            Yes, this. (Anon @ 1053). Unless your business is politics (or suchlike), then I don’t want to hear about it. If you decide to up your brand with a lobbyist/politician/etc, you’re getting out of your business and into that mess. It’s kind of the same with CFA: I’m in it for the sweet tea and fries. Not your stance on homosexuality. So please shut up. Yours is not a political-statement business.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Explain. I was flipping through their catalog last night and there was an interview with Gloria Steinem.

      • Misogynists got all up in arms because Gloria is a baby killer or whatever. Catholic schools threatened to stop ordering their uniforms from LE, and they caved and apologized for featuring her. It was a PR nightmare. I won’t buy anything from them anymore.

        The worst part is that they haven’t commented on it since or responded to the thousands of people on their Facebook page calling them out.

        • They replied to my complaint email about how they never intended to get involved in anything political. I responded that I didn’t consider equal rights for women to be a political issue. Didn’t hear back again.

        • You can also disagree with Gloria Steinem for a lot of other reasons and not be a misogynist. Name calling isn’t productive on either side of politics.

          • True, but you can’t stage a boycott of LE over it and not be a misogynist.

      • Hey macaroni, I have no idea what you’re talking about; LE has never been very political as far as I could see and certainly not lefty. However, when they featured Steinem as part of a series of interviews with notable women the Christian right went bonkers, called for a boycott (no more school uniforms for Christian schools!) and LE apologized and scrubbed all references to Steinem from its webs*te. One commenter – maybe here, I can’t remember — described them as doing everything but going door to door asking for their catalogs back.

        I buy from LE pretty regularly, and really am liking one of the ponte dresses but can’t bring myself to buy from them right now.

        • They were also offering the logo of Steinem’s charity that you could get embroidered on a tote bag or whatever (forgetting the name the organization at the moment, it’s dedicated to female empowerment) with the proceeds going towards her charity, and they scrubbed that from their website as well.

        • hey macaroni :

          “that they are becoming a political entity with this move” rather than “left/right/upside down”.

    • Kat would have nothing to feature if she took the social justice warrior position in regard to every company that makes apparel.

      • Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with taking a stand on issues that are important to me. If it means that I am taking a stand on many issues or against many entities, so be it.

        • Anon at 10:28 here – I have no issue with you taking a stand on whatever the hell you want and you can certainly do so on your own blog. The inference from the OP’s question is that Kat now needs to evaluate the social justice implications of each of her picks. Come ON, this is a FASHION blog. If you want to get all social justicy in the comments, fine, but Kat shouldn’t have to.

          • I don’t disagree with your opinion. I do disagree with your tone.

          • Anonymous :

            Raising my eyebrow at the “social justicey” part, as if you are rolling your eyes at the very idea of social justice. It’s not a bad word, and it saddens me that it’s thrown around by so many with such a sarcastic, snarky tone (and usually by really obnoxious/troll-y internet commenters, which I don’t think you are). Like oh, civil rights, what a joke. I think you actually mean “political”. And I agree that it’s not necessary for Kat to evaluate the ethical and political implications of everything she depicts.

      • Totally agree. I think Kat should post whatever the h3ll she wants, we purchase what we want. Also, I have no f0cks to give re: LE’s stance on Gloria Steinem or whatever, I love their clothing.

        • Mrs. Jones :


        • lucky for me, I think all of the LE clothes is Fugly (with a capital F). Now that I disagree with their politicizing as well, its even easier not to shop there. If I was a suburban soccer mom with no style, I might find it a little harder ….

          • +1!

          • meow

          • +1

          • +1

          • Anonymous :

            Hey now, I resemble, um, resent, that description! (Jk about the resenting part) But hey, at least I’m not a virgin who can’t drive. (Yes that is the tone of voice I read your comment in)

            No really, I can’t even get mad because I know there is a segment of commenters who skew a little bit towards frump/comfort/washableness, and I recognize it and also embrace it. I’m like, eh, I look probably 85% as good as the person who really put some effort into it, it’s just not worth the extra time to me.

    • Century 21 is another one, I think! The manageing partner wanted me to shop there b/c it was inexpensive, but I said I have principals. FOOEY! I think they do NOT respect us as WOMEN! DOUBEL FOOEY!

    • No LE for this feminist :

      Agreed that I am not even considering buying from Land’s End given the Gloria Steinem debacle. She is an icon of the second wave feminist movement. You (LE) can’t just disavow her and think you’ll still get my business. It’s a big problem in this country if everyone who is pro-life is also anti-feminism (although it increasingly appears to be true).

    • I didn’t have strong views about LE before the kerfluffle — have occasionally purchased from them, but not regularly — but don’t like how they mishandled the Gloria Steinem issue. So while it’s a cute dress, I’m boycotting them for now. I

      • Anonymous :

        I actually think it sort of reflects well on their general politics, if not their mental acuity, that they originally chose to feature Steinem and it never occurred to them that it would cause a political kerfuffle. And they didn’t actually disavow Steinem, they basically just said sorry we didn’t mean to cause controversy. On the grand scale of Things That Matter it ranks way down there, to me at least.

    • I’ve been waiting to pull the trigger on more of these dresses – thrilled Kat featured them on sale! I already have in two colors and wear all of the time.

  6. Has anyone read How to Win Friends and Influence People? Is it worth reading in full, or if I just read about it online will that be just as good?

    • I’ve read it. You could probably get it used online for a buck. It’s a quick read – doesn’t take long. It’s worthwhile.

      • Minnie Beebe :

        This book is available for free online – I downloaded a PDF version of it years ago.

    • As always, this s!te is so timely! I just picked this up to read this weekend. Glad to see some helpful reviews.

  7. New job and vacation :

    After a year of striking out and two offers that didn’t pan out, I received an offer yesterday for a job I am excited about accepting! It is a federal government job and there isn’t really much to negotiate (they will not flex on vacation-earning, which is the one thing I was interested in – I am being started at a more than fair salary and grade.) The only thing I am worried about is an upcoming vacation. This summer, I’m scheduled to be abroad for 8 days (of leave. The trip would touch 3 weeks, starting on a Friday and returning to work on a Wednesday.) The plane tickets are booked, prepaid hotel arrangements have been made, we have tickets for a cruise, etc. and this has been in the works since last year.

    Usually I would negotiate this at the offer stage. But the HR rep just kind of shrugged it off and said I’ll have to talk to the hiring manager about it, but that HR could send over my paperwork to get started on the onboarding process.

    When should I reach out to the hiring manager? I have to pass a background check (just a check, not a clearance) before I’ll be given the official offer, but I obviously want her to know ASAP, but don’t want to seem like I am jumping the gun or trying to get out of work. I’m planning to note that I’m fine taking this time as LWOP since I understand I’ll have just come on board and not have any leave accrued.

    • I’d do it now. “Spoke with HR, really excited about the opportunity. I do have a scheduling issue I was advised by HR to clear with you prior to accepting….” Then lay it out.

      Also decide what it is “worth” to you if they won’t approve it, just in case. If you are fine without pay, it should really be an FYI at this point unless there is a major conflict with your new role.

    • You should be able to take advanced leave, so I don’t think LWOP will be an issue.

    • In my experience (agency dependent) HR has a knack for being way too literal with rules and ALWAYS finding the “no.” Hopefully your boss will find the “yes.”
      If you’re starting immediately-ish, you should have *some* vacation accrued for the summer–it should be accrued each pay period. You just won’t have enough. After you start, ask around to see if there are any other solutions that you could use before taking LWOP. In my agency, we can earn “credit” while on certain work schedules, work extra hours and “redeem” them later. You could also choose to be on an alternative work schedule, where over the course of 2 weeks you work enough to eliminate working one day. You could do that, and ask to “save” the AWS days for your vacation. You can even ask to take leave in advance of accruing it, it’s not granted often, but this may be the situation where it would be.
      Get creative. You may get denied each option, but ask around and see what you can do AFTER you start. You’ll be new so it’ll be hard to push back if you’re given an unreasonable denial. But hopefully there’s a solution to not have to take all 8 days as LWOP. Congrats! And, have fun on vacation!

      • So, would you recommend I let the manager know now, or wait until I am on board and then address it? No clearance required, so I’m hoping to be on board soon!

        • Using Anon at 10:26’s example as a base, but not ask permission–just a friendly new-employee-on-top-of-sh!t FYI. I would call your manager, not email. “Really excited about the job and I can’t wait to start. As a heads up, I have travel planned June 10-18. I understand my vacation won’t be accrued enough by then and I might have to take the balance as LWOP. But I wanted to let you know just in case my absence affects any schedules you’re trying to put together.” Then your manager can respond. If she’s a decent human being she’ll say something about figuring out a way to reduce the LWOP but that it will be handled after you start.

          After you start, take a look at the time and attendance policy as well as the vacation policies and see what you can do. Ask a co-worker if credit hours are a thing (if they are, go that route). Go back to your boss and ask if there’s a possibility to reduce the LWOP by taking an alternative schedule and banking those days off, for example. Start that conversation by knowing how much vacation will be accrued and how much time you’d be taking LWOP. Even reducing that by 8 hours would be awesome for you.

          Don’t make it a big deal–it’s not. You’re planning on taking LWOP but would rather not. That’s a completely reasonable point of view. And I can’t imagine anyone viewing it other wise.

          • You can use this spreadsheet to help you figure out your hours:

          • Anonymous :

            +1. Also suggest adding the word “pre-paid” before “travel planned June 10-28.”

    • This is my motto. Unemployed? Job searching? Plan a trip, and that will be your interview/start date.

  8. I really wanted to like this dress and it would have been perfect for my office, but it didn’t flatter my hips or stomach. Idk if I had the wrong size or something, but it was really too bad. Can anyone recommend a similar dress with perhaps more of an A-line shape? I like the ponte and the pockets.

    • I have this dress and it’s A-line on me and very flattering, especially on my thighs. (I’m a pear, and it’s my go-to dress when I’ve put a couple lbs on my thighs and my usual sheaths are too snug.)

      When you say you want more of an A-line, do you really mean you want something with a full skirt? In seasons past, they’ve had jersey dresses with full skirts that were flattering.

    • It’s probably where the middle seam is placed. Just looking at it on the website, I could tell immediately that it would not flatter me because the seam wouldn’t hit at my natural waist but instead much lower, making me look larger overall (though particularly in the stomach) because it wouldn’t define the smallest part of my torso. No specific dress to recommend, but look for one with a higher-placed seam.

  9. KateMiddletown :

    I’m looking for weekend shoes. Not a ballet flat, not a workout sneaker, not Uggs (yes I said it.) Does anyone have a great stylish but comfy semi-sneaker recommendation?

    • If you like the preppy casual look, I love my Sperry boat shoes. Good support and comfortable to wear without socks. I live on a southern coast so you see them year-round.

      • +1 I live in New England and wear them year round when snow boots aren’t required.

      • Are Sperrys still in? I bought my first pair in 2011 and haven’t seen them as much lately and was wondering whether to break them out this year.

        I was thinking of going with something like Supergas (plain European sneaker) or generic equivalent for this summer.

    • Try Keens and J-41/Jambu.

    • slip-on vans; keds; toms.

      • My keds have been so unsupportive and uncomfortable for even a little bit of walking. Not worth the money to me.

      • +1 Toms. They are borderline too hipster/trendy for me, but they are comfortable and do give some arch support. I also like that I can slip them on pretty easily and they generally look moderately cute with whatever.

      • BeenThatGuy :

        I wear my Vans all weekend long.

      • anon-oh-no :

        slip-on vans for the win!

    • I like my black slip-on Vince sneakers. Although, vans makes the same style much cheaper and I wish I got those. I think they have them at madewell.

      • if it makes you feel better, I have a pair of the Vans slipons and they are wildly uncomfortable. They’re heavy and have zero arch or ankle support, and when I first wore them the lip at the top rubbed my feet to the point I was bleeding. I wish I had paid the extra to get the Vince ones, which I assume are more comfortable.

      • +1. I am obsessed with my slip-on Vince sneakers. They are super comfortable. I don’t think I would have initially tried them at full price (I bought them at Last Chance for $40), but now that I own them I would definitely pay full price for a new pair if I ever wear them out.

        • Awww thanks! I paid full price and felt like a sucker, but I do wear them all the time.

    • I live in my Bensimons. Not a lot of arch support, if you’re looking for that, but easy to slip on and off and they go with just about everything.

    • Bzees shoes. They come in a variety of styles. I have a pair similar to the “Lady” style that are cute but also feel like I’m walking on clouds.

    • Golden Goose trainers! expensive but worth it

    • KateMiddletown :

      Does anyone have experience with Brooks? I saw someone wearing these adorable gold/coffee colored ones the other day and I wonder if they’re comfy.

      • KateMiddletown :

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        Yes. I picked up a pair of what I think they labelled “walking shoes” at DSW and they’re comfy.

      • Yes, I have a blue and white pair that I picked up at their outlet sale (if you’re in the Seattle area, that’s the place to get them). I wear them all the time, they’re great.

      • Not with those specifically, but I’ve been wearing Brooks as running shoes for two decades now. They are great, at least for my feet (narrow heels, wide toes, higher arches, some overpronation).

    • Shopaholic :

      I like the look of these types of shoes (especially the Vince slip-on) sneakers but what do you wear them with? My primary casual wardrobe is skinny jeans, or casual skirts/dresses when it’s nice out (sometimes shorts) and I’m just not sure they’ll go.


      • I wear Superga slip-ons with everything – skinny jeans/pants, bermuda shorts, and casual dresses. I can walk miles in complete comfort.

      • Right now, with maternity pants that look like leggings. I like them with ankle length black pants and skinny jeans too. My mom has cute printed pairs in this style that she wears with casual colored cotton pants, walking shorts and above the knee casual skirts. Thats probably more vesitile for spring if you’re not always in black like me.

      • I think slip-on sneakers look really cute with skinny jeans. That’s basically my springtime uniform.

        • +1. And yoga pants. For dresses, I think it depends on the dress, but I wear mine with those cotton James Perse dresses and they look really cute.

      • anon-oh-no :

        I wear mine with leggings, skinny jeans, boyfriend jeans (ie, cuffed/rolled), ankle length casual pants, casual skirts or dresses, and shorts. so, pretty much anything.

    • lucy stone :

      I wear Sebago boat shoes or Superga slipons most of the time in spring/summer.

    • Cross between a sneaker and a ballet flat – Puma Zandy Ballet Flat. You can get them on Amazon. They are awesome.

  10. inspiration? :

    Piggybacking off of a post yesterday… how do you find inspiration in your work, especially if the day-to-day is not particularly inspiring? I’m thinking that I need to bribe myself with a treat or something to get through an especially boring project.

    • I get inspired when I think about being unemployed and how terrifying that has been in the past. I think about my bills and my life goals. I think about the fact that the sooner I get cr_ppy project done, the sooner I can move on to something better.

      I also bribe myself liberally with hot chocolate at intervals.

    • I regularly bribe myself to get through the morning with buying lunch (instead of bringing from home).

    • Your situation may not be as bad as mine, but I get through my day by 1) looking for other jobs, 2) telling myself this is only temporary, and 3) telling myself I’m here to learn and experience a few things and move on.

      I also avoid the coworkers I can’t stand and seek out the coworkers I enjoy.


      Woman who realized in her first week she’d made a mistake and now has 6 months left on her “sentence” (the polite 1 year) with Soulless Corporation haha ;)

      • Good advice. Can I ask why the 1 year purgatory? Did you sign a contract? Because I think these days people leave in less than a year’s time. The last 2 people who had my position left within 6 months to go chase their dream jobs. Their loss, my gain.

        • Well, people here flipped.out. when I asked about leaving in less than a year haha. That said, I haven’t had any interviews yet, so it’s a bit of a moot point ;) I’d definitely leave for the right job! I do work in a niche field, so it’s best not to burn any bridges.

    • A few of my coping tactics when I’m feeling particularly burned out or “over” my job:
      -Treats (whether a mid-day hot chocolate or the pair of shoes I’ve been eyeing). I’ll also treat a friend or my mom to happy hour or dinner out or something (doing something nice for someone else with the fruits of my labor makes me feel happier about how I obtained said fruits of my labor)
      -Watching my retirement and savings accounts grow (it makes me feel like I’m suffering for a reason)
      -Focusing on all of my other fun, non-work related plans (barre class, brunch with friends, a date with my husband)
      -Reminding myself that this isn’t permanent and nothing stays the same forever (I’ll either eventually leave or my role/the company will change)

  11. So anon for this :

    Anyone have experience with a (false) failed drug test? My husband was offered his dream gig, subject to a drug test. He does no drugs, prescription or otherwise, yet the urine test came back positive for codeine. We don’t know whether they’ll give him a chance for a re-test, but I’m encouraging him to take a hair test in the meanwhile, hoping it could exonerate him as I understand it would cover a longer period of time. We’re trying not to freak out, but I’m wondering if we should call a lawyer and maybe sue the lab? This all seems so crazy and unfair. Any advice? Also, before its asked, I have thought long and hard about whether he’s a secret pill-popper but it doesn’t make sense for a variety of reasons.

    • Poppy seeds? You need to get the lab protocols and all the underlying paperwork for the test.

      • KateMiddletown :


      • Thanks- no poppy seeds. He’d been specifically avoiding them (because Seinfeld!) and doesn’t eat them anyway. We double checked the salad dressing he ate too. Also, per the tests results guy, that wouldn’t have triggered the synthetic codeine reading. We will follow up for lab protocol and tests.

    • I have little knowledge about how these things work, but is codeine so bad? Would they refuse to hire him over it? It’s not like it’s cocaine. I mean, you can get Tylenol with codeine OTC here in Canada!

    • KateMiddletown :

      Isn’t codeine in cough syrup? That strikes me as an odd thing to have on the banned substances list.

    • In most states, an employee can challenge a positive drug test and the employer may need to re-test with a more reliable method. The employer/lab might give him information on how to challenge it. False positives are more common than you think.

    • Delta Dawn :

      I’m sure you thought about this, but did he take any cold or allergy medication prior to the screen? Did he eat anything with poppy seeds?

    • False positives aren’t unheard of. Can he take a confirmation test at his own expense at a lab of the company’s choice? I’d ask for a different testing method too. Honestly, I’d spend your efforts trying to get this done now and worry a little less about setting up for potential litigation.

      • Thanks. Yes we’re exploring a hair test for both purposes. Ideally, he’d much rather have the job than the lawsuit. I dont like to think of us as lawsuit-happy people, but this has been really scary and makes me feel so powerless. It’s hard to think that his reputation and career could be so negatively affected by what we’re certain is a mistake.

        • Drug testing records are confidential, so I’m not sure how his entire career or reputation would be jettisoned by this. He wouldn’t get the job just like anyone else that didn’t and everyone would move on. I understand this is not the result you expected to get, but I think you are overreacting a bit.

          • I say that as someone who went through a whole unnecessary medical procedure because someone read a lab test wrong, so . . .

          • Maybe, except for he interviewed eight times with people he will work with again, all of whom were aware he was made an incredibly generous offer contingent on the testing. It’s also a potentially career changing gig that would have paid at least $100k over his current gig in the next year alone. I know this is all somewhat speculative, but it’s hard for me to brush off.

          • I’m not suggesting you brush it off, but calling lawyers and suing the lab will not help his reputation or career either IMO.

            I would go get another drug test done by legit lab and then present the employer with the results. Don’t monkey around with asking them if that’s okay, just do it.

          • Thanks that was my plan too.

            Fwiw, he agrees with you regarding how his career and reputation would suffer if he sues. I’m angry enough to feel like someone’s mistake has cost him huge amounts of money and he should be made whole. But I realize I’m jumping the gun to a worst- case scenario. His offer hasn’t been rescinded as of yet.

    • I think you’re jumping the gun a little with thoughts of lawyers and lawsuits. Your husband should go back to the lab first, tell them that the result has to be wrong and ask them to retest.

      • Thanks. He has, but that may not be an option with the employer. (Just hearing a lot a vague things.). He’s also worked with a recruiter who doesn’t seem to have a helpful answer. I guess my concern is that since we’re sure the test was messed up , I’d like to be in a position to prove that with negative testing that’s as contemporaneous as possible.

        • Would he otherwise be subject to drug testing during employment with this company? Because that seems like a big red flag if they wouldn’t allow confirmatory testing for their employees in the event of a positive screen.

          • Good point and I don’t know the answer. One would suspect that an employee would have better recourse than a potential employee in this situation. However, nothing in their lengthy policies and procedures handbook indicated testing of employees.

          • Not necessarily. My employer has a zero tolerance policy and the policy does not provide for any employee recourse in the event of a false positive.

          • Terrifying! This whole experience has really changed my view on drug testing. I always thought that people who don’t do drugs (prescription or otherwise) have nothing to hide or worry about.

  12. After 4 years and two masters degrees I just got a job offer with a 5 year visa to stay in London. I’m so excited but getting incredibly nervous about returning to the corporate world. It’s a financial consulting job and the office isn’t too conservative. But I’m really stressing out about what to wear and re-entering the corporate world.

    Does anyone have any tips?! They’re greatly appreciated!

    • Congratulations. It will not be as hard as you think. My tip is to read Kat’s posts. That’s what this site is all about!

    • Yes! I’ve been an expat in London and it’s awesome. First, I highly recommend you contact the Junior League of London and order their “Living in London” guide. It’s so, so helpful! Definitely worth the money. I also recommend you consider joining the League–I made some really cool friends (who I never would have met at my banking job) and they were great travel buddies.

      Second, pare down your possessions to just a few suitcases. Many apartments in London are furnished so you don’t need to ship your stuff unless you love it. Shipping is really expensive. If your employer is not relocating you, use Crown Relocation–they do a ton of international moves. You can bring extra suitcases as excess baggage on your flight and that’s the cheapest way to get stuff there besides very slow parcel services.

      Third, make a Europe bucket list of places you’d love to go. You’ll have plenty of leave to travel. You will find out more about budget travel and whatnot once you get there and see ads and can speak with coworkers. This is the time in your life to take that crazy weekend trip to wherever you and your friends haven’t been, on a whim!

      Fourth, tell all your friends that you’d love for them to come visit, but you may not be able to hang out during the workweek (but they can sightsee in London).


      • Also, re fashion, London is pretty dressy if you are in the City, and their fashion is usually a few season ahead of what is cool in the US. Thus, I would not do too much shopping here, but rather hit the sales there in July…there will be tons of great deals. I like Hobbs for really lovely workwear. Zara Woman (their highest line) also has great suits and the like. Then there’s also Austin Reed too. Have fun.

      • Thanks for your reply! I’ve actually lived here for 4 years but could never get a full time job without visa sponsorship so I was a professional student. I’m just getting really nervous about wearing suits again and working in a a British corporate environment since the cultures are different.

    • For what to wear, I’m a big fan of the Jigsaw Paris fit suiting line – I’ve got both dresses and love them. Also check out the Fold London – their stuff is really well made. LK Bennett dresses are also pretty popular where I work (city law firm). In terms of the British corporate environment, I think if you’ve been studying with Brits for four years then you will be just fine :)

  13. I work for a female director and am the only other woman on her team. There are about ten men on the team, and the broader department (and industry) is very male-dominated.

    The director, who is much more senior than me, frequently refers to us as “the girls.” Ex: “the girls will work together on this,” “girls club,” etc. She has even refers to our collective success as “girl power.”

    I don’t think there’s anything I can do, but it drives me crazy. I am young and look young, but am doing my very best to seem professional. Being frequently called a “girl” in front of my colleagues makes me feel like an embarrassed child. Am I overreacting?

    • I think you’re overreacting. It sounds like she’s just trying to be friendly and include you and raise you up. It’s great she considers you part of her team! If she likes you and wants to empower you, it could do great things for your career.

    • This would irk me, but not enough to make a thing about it – especially because she’s senior to you. I think she’s probably just really excited to have a successful woman on her team for once. Unless you feel like it’s actually negatively affecting others’ perceptions of you, I’d let it go.

    • If she wasn’t including herself in that, it would bother me. Yes, it’s cringe-worthy, but I wouldn’t take it as a slight or her trying to undermine you (not that you said you were doing either of those things). Just be as professional as possible and do the best job you can, and that will speak for itself.

    • I think it depends on the directors reputation and overal personality. I once had a female boss who gave me a very childish nickname (think like, K-dawg). She was 40+ and I was 25. She’d use it mainly in our 1:1s and sometimes in big meetings. I was so embarrassed, however, she’s just a woman with a BF smile and gregarious personality. She hugs strangers and high-fives the maintenance crew, which she knows by name.

      It didn’t ruin my rep; everyone just thought “oh that’s (boss) being (boss).”

      That was years ago, but just an example of why you *may* be overreacting. But you may also have a legit concern, this is know-your-office/boss.

  14. No women pastors? :

    My husband and I come from vastly different religious backgrounds (same religion, just really really different interpretations of it). We’d like to go back to church and are looking for a good compromise. We thought we’d found one — not 100% aligned with either of our beliefs, but good enough overall. Then I found out that this denomination doesn’t ordain women. I know some of you are members of or attend places of worship that exclude women from the highest leadership roles (the Catholics among you at a minimum). I’m curious how you feel about that and how you make your peace with it. This denomination has a movement within it to ordain women and if we joined this church I would certainly join that movement, but since I don’t have a history with this church I wonder if it would be like going to couples counseling when you’re not even engaged — just not worth the investment when it’s already going wrong (I realize some people have effective couples counseling before marriage, but there are also those couples where you’re like “why are you fighting so hard to make it work when you can both just walk away?”).

    • For me, ordination of women is a fundamental part of my faith and isn’t an issue I can compromise on. And there is no way I’d sign up for a church to raise my family in that actively officially teaches my children that girls aren’t as good as boys.

      It’s a big part of the reason why I would never be able to convert to Catholicism.

    • Veronica Mars :

      I think when it comes to finding your church in general, you have to decide what the core things you stand on, and which are less important to you. (Kind of a “eat the fish and spit out the bones” type of deal). Some people will only go to a church if they are in 100% in agreement on everything the church stands for, but I personally disagree with my church’s stance on a few key issues, and I’m pretty vocal when those arise. A church for me is as much about the community of people as it is the pastors and the official doctrine. I’ll also say, a healthy church environment shouldn’t be “this is the exact way we interpret the gospel, and if you don’t agree you’re wrong.” My church’s motto is about accepting everyone and asking them to dive more deeply into faith. So if that acceptance wasn’t a big part of it, I absolutely wouldn’t go.

      I’ll also say too, that there are kind of two different ways to look at disagreeing with the church 1) there’s more of a philosophical disagreement, as you have here, and 2) the kind of disagreements that will cause you to be ineligible for leadership or volunteering within the church (and participation in some other activities). So you might want to call the church and ask about what they require for volunteering/leadership, and if your disagreement on women being ordained would preclude you from that. (If you’re not familiar with what I’m talking about here, an example is that if you think that doing heroin is totally biblical and kosher, for example, and they ask that all volunteers pledge that they are drug-free, you couldn’t in good conscious lie to them and they would preclude you from service. Or some churches preclude unmarried couples from co-habitating and ask that you pledge that you’re not engaged in that, etc. )

      • My husband and I have a meeting with the pastor next week and I think that conversation will be very important. I see a big difference between “this is what our national organization does and while I don’t agree with it, I feel it’s more important to stay together and stay in the conversation than to leave” and “God doesn’t want women pastors” or even “St. Paul said women should be silent in church and even though we might not agree with that today, that’s what the Bible says.” (I have a million issues with Paul’s power within the church/Bible, but that’s another theological conversation altogether.)

        • Anon for this :

          I’m laughing and almost crying at the same time right now. Paul. Ugh.

          I was #dumpedforJesus last summer (many might remember the crazy story). I feel everyone is entitled to follow whatever religion/denomination they choose. But when your denomination believes, rather enforces, the literal interpretation of the bible, trouble ensues.

          I hope you both find your way with this issue. It’s a difficult one with long term effects if you choose to raise a family in the church.

          • Oh I remember you!! So glad you are not with that dude any more.

          • Anon for this :

            My life is so much more calm and better without him. I was so appreciative of everyone’s advice here during that time.

            P.S. dating an agnostic now (can’t make this stuff up)

          • Paul — dude never met Jesus IRL and yet he makes the rules. Never understood that. (Or understood why a bunch of letters written to specific congregations dealing with specific problems in a specific time and place got extrapolated out to apply broadly to everything everywhere always.) But as I said, a different question altogether.

          • Haha, I feel your pain. I was also summarily #dumpedforJesus! He was more like “I want to work on my relationship with God” (rather than me).

        • I think in this context you also need to think about the possibility of a new pastor coming into the church and what you will do if the new pastor is a more rigid adherent to the national organization.

          It is generally better to join a church because you are in agreement with all or the majority of the official views vs thinking that a specific pastor doesn’t support the national organization on some points as the pastor of a church can leave

        • Veronica Mars :

          OP I was away from my desk all day but it looks like you received some very good food for thought from other commenters. Post again if you’re still unsure after the meeting–although I will say that I think you should have a strong gut feeling.

    • lucy stone :

      I think people who are born and raised in a religion sometimes have an easier time dealing with some of the policies we don’t like in the same way that lifers at a company just stop expecting things to change.

      I am a cradle Catholic, and am married to someone who is part of a fringy-Protestant denomination. I’m trying not to out myself too much here, but you’ve heard of my husband’s church, just not his particular synod. He has a lot of family who are clergy and will probably never leave for that reason. I’ve become much more tolerant of Catholicism not ordaining women because we let women vote, and be altar attendants, and do readings, and serve as ushers, and SPEAK IN CHURCH, none of which are things his church allows. His church also doesn’t believe in lawsuits. For those reasons, we’ll be raising our daughter Catholic.

      I struggle a lot with whether or not there is a scriptural basis for ordaining women. Personally, I think there is, but I think it’s like the 2nd Amendment: some of us believe that you can have some guns, and some of us believe it means everybody gets an Uzi with no background checks.

      • WTF?!?!?!!!! You’re srsly likening ordaining women to the risk of giving nut jobs guns?

        • No, she’s saying that the scriptural basis for ordaining women is subject to different interpretations from different camps.

        • lucy stone :

          No, I’m not. I think women should be ordained. There are people on the other side of the issue who literally don’t believe women should talk in church. To me, that is as fractious as the gun debate, where people have a sincerely held belief that they have the right to any gun at any time. Do I agree with that? Nope.

      • It seems this denomination lets women do everything up to being ordained (I don’t think it’s explicitly the apostolic succession, but there is some sort of chain of command piece — the stuff that doesn’t explicitly go Jesus to Peter to …. is cool for women, including serving at communion, doing the readings, etc.) But wow, I was emailing with my husband about this and he was like “but it’s because of what the Bible says and you’re okay with things the church does because of the Bible that you don’t agree with” and I was like “yeah, but Paul said women should be silent and no one actually follows that.” But guess I was wrong — there are apparently churches that adhere to the silent part as really silent.

        • lucy stone :

          There are, it seems crazy to me. I try hard to be respectful about it, because hey, in-laws are bad enough without starting that fight, but about half the people where I live belong to this church and believe that.

        • Yeah, this gets me about a lot of religions.
          Like, hardly anyone uses religious books (Torah, New Testament, Qu’ran) to justify keeping slaves anymore, even though all those books (written by Gd and/or prophets) justify keeping slaves.

          But people use those books to keep down women, etc.

    • Anon for this – my H and I joined a church a few years ago that didn’t ordain women, really over both of our discomfort about it. We joined because we had lots of social and community reasons for doing so, but it just never sat right with me. Ultimately, we left and joined another more “liberal” church recently and I am so much more comfortable. Honestly, if it’s an issue for you before you join, I would say do NOT do it. It won’t get more comfortable and I found it was exemplified in all sorts of hidden ways once we got into it in how Hs and Ws at the church interacted, their views on family-raising, etc. Just no. Find another place.

      • This is my concern — the hidden influence it might have. Ugh. Religion is a huge sticking point for my husband and me. Neither of us was super religious when we got together and we were both Protestant so it seemed like it wouldn’t be an issue and we never really discussed it. But I’m Episcopalian and he grew up in a mix of conservative Calvinist Presbyterian/Southern Baptist and then chucked it all thinking it’s all [email protected] So I still have my belief, but it tends to be flexible, and he has almost no belief but what he has is incredibly inflexible. Hence the problem with finding a church that works (and no, going to separate churches wouldn’t work — we’re looking for the community piece as much as anything and we strongly feel we need to go to the same place).

        • What beliefs is he inflexible about? What church options do you have?

          • He just tends to feel that if you’re going to do Christian you need to do Christian. Which he interprets to mean biblical inerrancy and all that. If you’re saying your this religion, then that means accepting the religion’s book, full stop. I feel that there’s a truth in the background that humans have been imperfectly glimpsing through all history and so everything people have written (including the Bible) needs to be examined through the right lens.

          • I find his kind of logic really confusing. There are many many practices outlined in the Bible that the vast majority of modern Christians to not adopt and are rightly interpreted by modern Christians to be historical practice and not religiously relevant – does he wear clothes made of two different materials? Support the owing of slaves or the stoning of adulterers? I expect not – so why does he have such a problem with the church evolving on other issues?

            I would really encourage you both to read “The Year of Living Biblically”

        • I would encourage you to explore different Episcopalian churches within your city – some are more conservative than others and you might find one that’s a good fit.

          Does he have any specific concerns about Episcopalian or is it just about not wanting to adopt your church as the family church?

          • He has a problem with what he sees as wishy-washy statements about the truth of Christianity by Katherine Jefferts Schori.

          • So he’s writing off Episcopalians entirely because of one individual’s writings? I think that’s a narrow approach if your family goal is to find a church that works for both of you.

          • Fuck him. Srsly. Go to the church you want. He isn’t a believer, except as to the worst most intolerant parts of the church that focus on hate. Why compromise who you are to satisfy his controlling need to be the head of the household and exploit his male privilege?

          • Is the issue that this church doesn’t ordinate women or that your husband likes that it doesn’t? That’s a much bigger problem. Convenient for him that he doesn’t really believe any more except in the most intolerant hateful parts isn’t it.

          • No need for snark, or for disparaging my husband. He dislikes the fact that it doesn’t ordain women.

      • Liberal and Christian :

        I started going to church again when I had kids. I switched from the conservative Missouri synod Lutheran church to the progressive ELCA Lutheran church because they ordain women and have women in leadership. There was no way I was going to raise my boys in an institution that makes women second-class citizens.

    • I would not join a church that did not allow women to be full ordained.

      I was raised in a church – Anglican Church of Canada (Episcopalians in USA equivalent)- that allowed female ordination and it is important to me to raise both my daughter and son to know that girls can chose to be anything they want including ministers.

    • I’m not christian, but no I wouldn’t do it. I somewhat recently decided to stop going to family events that involve sitting in a gender segregated synagogue because I find it nauseating (my immediate family is secular but we have some relatives who are fairly orthodox – but you don’t have to go that far into it to find the gender segregated seating). I don’t attend synagogue regularly but honestly at this point I wouldn’t even consider setting foot in one that doesn’t ordain women/allow them to lead part of services and read from the torah. Maybe a bit strict, honestly I just lost my mind at a family event a few years ago and walked out of synagogue (it was really bad) and haven’t backed off since.

    • For me, some of it is that I do not expect any human institution to be perfect. Perhaps the Church is wrong to not ordain women, and the lack of ordination was a result of the (flawed) times. Perhaps there is a reason to not ordain women – the Church has proved to be remarkably prescient about a great many matters. I do not hold it against the Church for moving slowly; one of the great assets of the Church is an unwillingness to be fashionable at the expense of eternal Truth. If women priests are good, the Church will eventually have them, but it will be after a tremendous amount of consideration.

      Ultimately, it does not (much?) bother me because of the other ways in which women are encouraged to participate in the Mass, and the enormous contributions that women saints and theologians have made to Catholicism. If part of the sermon is informed by Saint Edith Stein, I do not much care about the gender of the person delivering said sermon.

      • Just as a counterpoint, I’d say that I frankly don’t mind if just by coincidence, or because the ministers are just older, it works out that that all the ministers in a church are male. I grew up with that and am cool with that. If women aren’t seen as equal or on the same footing as men in the eyes of a church as a whole though, it just sets up an insidious situation in my experience. It carries over to how many (not necessarily all, but IME the majority) of the members of the congregation view things in their life and relationships. It is an unequal view overall. And as a progressive modern woman, it rankles me.

        • Exactly. I don’t care about the gender of any individual pastor. I care greatly that my church believes I was made in the image of God, just like men, and that I am equally susceptible to a call to serve in the ministry, as a leader instead of a subordinate helper.

      • It’s been 2000 years. You haven’t figured out that women are competent yet? Even after your penis having priests engaged in rampant inappropriate sexual behavior all over the world?

        • Bigoted, much?

          Seriously, if that were used against ANY other group, people would (rightly) scream that you had a problem. Just remove your mental “Catholic,” replace “sexual abuse” with “bombings” or “crime waves,” and you’ll understand how disgusting you sound.

          • Anonymous :

            Wait I don’t even get it. Your male priesthood had a serious problem with raping children and then hiding it to protect adult male priests. That’s not bigoted. Nor is suggesting that maybe, men having proved an abject failure (#yesallmen- this isn’t a couple rogue priests, it’s cardinals covering up for them) perhaps try women.

            Are you really likening bombings committed by Muslims and denounced by their fellow faithful to cardinals are archbishops all the way up to the Vatican pursuing an explicit policy of putting more children in harm’s way to protect the Church? Of course you are, because as usual you can’t hide that you are racist and ignorant.

          • Good for you, Bridget. It’s against the Church to molest children. Humans fail, however, but don’t you dare blame that failing on the Church. The Koran touts killing non-believers. See the difference, or was that too racisty for you? Honestly, wake up.

    • In the Pink :

      There just has been some discussion in an Italian newspaper about considering allowing women to “preach” during Masses. It’s just that; raising the issue. You can read about it in “America” magazine on line.

    • I grew up Catholic and refused to be married by Catholics because of the female thing. I got an Episcopal woman to do it.

      I’m not particularly religious, but my family really wanted a church wedding.

    • Bluestocking :

      I was raised Catholic and left the church over many issues that I disagreed with, the biggest being refusal to ordain women and views on homosexuality. So no, I would not rejoin another church that refused to ordain women or holds that homosexuality is a sin. Although, in the years since I left the church, I have become an atheist, so I’m not looking to join a church at all.

    • church goer :

      Long post ahead. So many feelings. A decade’s worth of feelings. Cliff’s notes:

      Background: I was born and raised in a church that doesn’t ordain women, but women participate at all levels in other ways. In my adult life, there’s been a growing movement to change that and allow women to be ordained. Many have left over this issue. As I’ve digested this issue over the past decade (which interestingly corresponded with my own feminist awakening and my college and graduate educations), I’ve gone back and forth about whether I stay or not.

      Honestly, as a feminist alone, I don’t think you stay in any church that doesn’t have equal rights, whatever that means to you. If you can’t stomach it, you should leave for your own health and well-being. Please not that’s not me saying I would want you to leave–I would love you to stay and be my friend and help make change from within! But I’ve seen too many women struggle with this to ever, ever advocate for “sucking it up” just for its own sake.

      I believe the only reason to stay in a church is because you actually believe its tenants. For me, that means rethinking the basics. How do I feel when I’m there versus when I’m other churches? Do I believe G*d is at the head of this organization? I believe that not ordaining women is a mistake, am I ok with the flawed, mortal men leading it, is there possibility for change, and are there more important things that the ordaining issue? If the answer to one of those last three questions is NO, and you can’t live with it, you shouldn’t force yourself to stay in misery. It will drive you bonkers. (In case you’re interested, my own answers are “I feel like this is a good place and I feel better than I do when at other churches, I believe in G*d, I’m not sure if it’s a mistake or not, but if it is, I’m okay with the flawed mortals because we’re all learning line upon line, I see a possibility for change, and there are definitely more important things to me that I for SURE believe than the ordaining issue. …so I stay, even though it is sooooo frustrating sometimes.) What helps: my husband and many members of my family are feminists and see the need for institutional change, so we often have productive conversations about it; I feel supported and validated. Also, we happen to attend a congregation that feels the same way–we live in a very progressive area of the country. Finally, I think it’s okay if you vacillate on this issue. There are some Sundays that I cannot go to church because of something that’s happened, and I feel like it’s never going to be okay, but I keep coming back around. It works for me, but it’s not for everyone.

      Finally, while I 100% advocate you doing whatever works to make it work for YOU, I would be hesitant to jump on the bandwagon of ordaining women in your new church. I was part of my church’s movement for a while before I realized that it’s kind of like politics: most of us are in the middle and can find common ground, but the most outspoken/vocal ones are really polarizing and say really terrible things on both sides and kind of bring everyone else down. If this is where you want to carve your space, GREAT, but I just ended up feeling way worse about everything.

      I hope you can tell that this is something I’ve thought about a lot, and even though this is pretty anonymous, this is a huge, raw part of who I am. So please be kind in the comments. I realize how uncool it is on this website to be a member of a church that some see as discriminating to women.

      • Anon for this :

        Churchgoer, your note resonated with me. I’m in nearly the same boat and have been struggling with this for years. I am a cradle Catholic and a feminist, and it is hard to reconcile these things. My Catholicism is a cultural identity as well as being a source of spiritual comfort (really uncool to say here, probably!), but I am furious about the church’s treatment of women, from the lack of ordination to birth control policy. But… I feel very very conflicted. And raw, to use your excellent word for it. A few months ago, I learned of a Catholic group that meets every month at a mass headed by a woman Roman Catholic priest (see, and although it felt totally renegade at first, now I attend that mass once a month and my regular parish the rest of the time and it is really working for me. I know the church’s official stance on accepting communion from a woman priest, and I also know that this is one of the only ways that I can make it work for me and my conscience. I don’t have the emotional energy or time (or inclination for controversy) to be a loud voice demanding that this change in the larger church, even though it is necessary and I welcome others who do, but I am acting as an agent of change. And it is spiritually nourishing to me. Good luck going forward–this isn’t an easy road.

        • church goer :

          Your comment is so lovely. Thank you. I love that you’ve found a way to make it work and keep your faith–stories of surviving feminist cognitive dissonance are so inspiring to me.

    • Life is complicated :

      I go to the Church of Beethoven.

      I love it, and love my community.

      Can’t wait to take my kids!

      • anon54321 :

        What an awesome idea! There’s one not too far from me. I’ll have to check it out sometime soon!

    • Listening :

      AS a Reform Jewish person in an interfaith marriage, this has been a really interesting thread to me. Thanks.

  15. I went from being a public defender to a position in policy. That means most days I am in an office but I am also traveling around the state meeting with elected officials, attending networking events, and giving presentations. I have some fairly worn name-brand totes (Fossil, Cole Hann) and I can’t afford an expensive brand like Michael Kors or Coach. Should I stick with my older black cole hann or buy a cheaper bag that I only use when I am out of the office. I was looking at this might it might be too casual. I want something big and structures. Please help!

    • Nobody is going to care about the brand or your tote. They are much more likely to notice if it is extremely worn and not presentable. I like the bag you posted though the brown/red color combo may be a bit limiting.

    • Anon in NYC :

      That bag is a little too casual for me, personally. What about something like this?

      • Anon in NYC :

        I also like this one, but it’s slightly more expensive:

      • Oh, that is nice, big and simple. I had no idea about Amazon fashion! Thank you.

    • I wanted to recommend the Nordstrom Halogen brand and a quick search found this:
      It’s single-color, which makes it more professional, and the price is the same.

      To be fair, I had a Tignanello purse before and was happy with its quality and durability.

    • I saw this posted on caphillstyle yesterday (I know I know): If you want a cheaper/faux leather option. It is more casual. I’ve seen this brand’s bags in person at nordstrom and they are really nice looking, I usually hate fake leather but I am very tempted to get one of their totes.

  16. I have and love this dress in several colors.

  17. A good friend adopted a little girl almost a year ago. I made a note of the anniversary in my phone, and was going to send the family a little treat in celebration. Should I send it as an explicit adoption celebration, or just a thinking of you kind of thing — which I have been for other reasons, too?

    • As a congrats on your one year adoptiversary.

    • I am friends with a number of adoptees and adopters, and nearly all of them celebrate their “gotcha day” as a mini birthday. Were it me, I’d send the gift and card with well wishes and a “Happy Gotcha Day!”

      • BeenThatGuy :

        +1 to the “gotcha day”. Very popular catch phrase for this celebration.

        • Adoptive Mom :

          NO NO NO! I’m an adoptive parent, and ‘gotcha day’ is very controversial (and, I think, inappropriate). For many children, it represents the loss of their birth family and it is not something to be celebrated or treated lightly. This isn’t to say that a present noting the adoption anniversary isn’t appropriate, just please don’t use that specific phrase – it makes light of something very important.

    • Thanks!

    • I was adopted and we call that day my “chosen day.” My parents still send me flowers on that day every year.

    • Family Day! Thinking of you and your whole family, especially today!

  18. Serious question (not trying to snark): there is a lot of judgment here of women who quit their jobs to stay at home (especially those without kids), yet there are constantly “what would you do if you won the lottery?” threads, and many people say they would quit their jobs to volunteer, travel, pursue hobbies, learn a foreign language, spend more time with their kids, etc. Why have lottery winners earned the right to do that stuff more than anyone else? The lottery is just luck. I get that there are practical considerations about an ordinary person staying home, like what happens in the event of death or divorce, that might not be present if someone wins $10 million in the lottery and is theoretically set for life (although don’t most lottery winners die broke?), but it seems like there is also a lot of judgment about perceived laziness and “but what will you do when you kids go to college!?” comments that would be equally applicable to lottery winners. How do you reconcile it?

    • For me, it’s more because I have known women who were SAHW or SAHM, their kids went off to college, and their husbands left them or died and they were left completely destitute with no way to get a job. Being a SAHM is an awesome thing and a very personal choice, but I don’t think it’s something anyone should do without planning for the worst possible scenario. Being 100% dependent one someone else for 10+ years can put you in a precarious situation if anything goes wrong.

      As for the lottery thing–assuming someone knows money management and investing and can limit spending money ON ALL THE THINGS, that money could last for a lifetime. Many die broke, but because of poor decisions, like buying million dollar homes and expensive cars and not saving any of it.

      As for the laziness–I think that depends on someone’s definition of SAHM/SAHW. I have known many a mom who was perfectly fulfilled staying home with the kids, but once they went off to school, DID feel helpless and lost. Their whole worlds have revolved around their kids’ needs, and when their kids didn’t need them anymore, they felt like they had no purpose. That can resolved by having more ties outside the home, from volunteering to a strong social network, but being home with the kids can make it tough to workt hat into the schedule.

    • It’s easily reconcilable because as you note, lottery winners have the financial resources to address death/divorce/permanent disabled in primary income earner.

      And there have been many supportive comments around stepping back to some degree but leaving the workforce entirely is rarely a financially prudent strategy.

    • Apples and oranges.

    • I’m surprised as well. I’m in camp “do what works for you but be responsible.” That means having insurance, a prenup, and/or a career to fall back on in a worst-case scenario like divorce, death, long term job loss, or extreme illness. It also means having a solid plan for retirement.

      That would apply to anyone – families looking for a SAHD, SAHM, or SAH spouse.

      If my DH or I brought in 2x what either of us do now, we’d be having this exact discussion and someone could focus on home / family vs career.

    • I reconcile it by saying that as a lottery winner, I am independently wealthy and secure and no one can diminish my power by means of economic inequality. As a SAHW (I cannot believe this is even a thing!) or SAHM, I am a dependent, full stop. No matter how much the WOH partner respects the SAH partner in the abstract, there is a fundamental power disparity that women in particular should not be content to live with. I believe every able-bodied, able-minded person should thing very, very hard about becoming dependent on someone else for money, healthcare, retirement savings, etc. I also think it is possible but exceedingly difficult to be a well rounded person who contributes the world at large when one’s primary occupation is creating a comfortable home life.

      • Anonymous :

        Ok, but there are women who stay at home who are independently wealthy too. And it’s also pretty common among educated women who choose to stay home that they have been the breadwinner at some point, or saved enough over their years of work so that they’re not truly “dependent” on their partner. There are many reasons why staying home is not that attractive an option for me personally, but even though my H makes more now, I paid my dues for five years in Big Law while he was in grad school earning a stipend of less than $30K a year. I would have to stay home with no salary for 10 or 15 years at least for our lifetime earnings to equalize. And I’ve saved enough over the course of my career that I could probably live in a very minimal way on my own savings if I had to, but wouldn’t want to “retire” without my husband’s income, which allows us to travel, eat out, etc. If I did stay home, I wouldn’t be dependent on him for food or housing or basic essentials. I know that’s not the case with every woman who chooses to stay home, but I do think it’s becoming more common as more and more highly educated, high-achieving women stay home.
        There are certainly power dynamics that cause problems for some couples, but I think much moreso for women who went straight from home to college to SAHM, with no (or a brief, low-earning) career in between than for someone who worked at a highly paid job for the better part of a decade and has achieved a lot of career success and saved a lot of money before they opted out.

        • Anonymous :

          I don’t actually know any “highly educated, high achieving women” who have opted out entirely – sometimes I feel like it’s a bit of a myth. Some women I know have dialed back hours/changed jobs or moved to smaller cities where the pace is slower (me) after families but I don’t actually know anyone that more than a BA/BSc that has decided to stay home full time.

          • Anonymous :

            Really? I know a ton – PhDs, JDs, MBAs…plus lots of very smart, successful women who “only” have a BS but were working in demanding fields like finance.

          • Anon in NYC :

            I know of at least a handful who have opted out entirely, and a bunch with reduced hours, and I am sure it will happen to more people as they have more kids.

          • I have a JD and was a very successful senior associate in biglaw with a guaranteed future (as of counsel) at my firm, and quit when I had a baby because I was just not that into it and burned out. I’m now two years in and really happy as a SAHM (though I still feel weird applying that label to myself). Plan is for me to go back at some undetermined point in the future, but to a more flexible/lower paying job.

        • Anonymous :

          Regarding your last point, I still think there are dynamics problems, just of a different form. Many of my friends who are “power couples” didn’t just end up that way by accident because they happened to run in the same circles–they were attracted to each other specifically because of their perceived power/success, determination, and could relate to the lifestyle. When that common bond disappears, it is a major change in the relationship dynamic, even if the “retired” one was able to do so because they were so successful that they can support themselves without working.

        • I’ll bite. If I had enough money to live comfortably for the rest of my life, I’d be a sahm if I wanted to. As others have pointed out, you’re confusing financial independance (whether through savings or lottery winnings or an inheritence) with financial dependence ( where your partner earns money but you don’t. ) even if you’ve out earned and supported your partner for years, and thus feel the dependant relationship is equitable long-term, you’re not financially independant if you’d need support from the partner or to go back to work if the arrangement ceases. What’s (rightfully, in my mind) pointed out here over and over again is that getting another job after staying home is not easy, and that the gap often results in a loss of career-long earnings that is larger than one might expect.

          • Very well said Suburban. I tried to respond to this but couldn’t have expressed the same points as eloquently as you just did.

      • Agree completely. Money is power, especially in a relationship.

      • Anonymous :

        I don’t disagree with your point about dependency, but I vehemently disagree with this sentence: “I also think it is possible but exceedingly difficult to be a well rounded person who contributes the world at large when one’s primary occupation is creating a comfortable home life.”
        I would be a far more well-rounded, better-read, better-educated person who contributed to the world MUCH more if I didn’t spend 50 hours a week in an office. Every person I know who stays home does way more volunteer work than me…because they have time.

    • I like how you brush the practical consideration aside. They are the main issue for me.

      • Anonymous :

        I wasn’t trying to brush it aside; it’s a big concern for me and many others. My point was that my question was aimed more at the people who say to potential SAH women “How can you just sit around and watch Netflix all day?” or “Won’t you lose your identity when your kids leave home?” and not the people who point out that your spouse might become disabled or divorce you.

    • False analogy :

      I’m usually nonviolent, but I still want Harry Potter to kill Voldemort.
      FANTASY =/= real advice.

  19. St. Martin restaurant recommendations?

    Husband and I will be there for a long weekend and staying on Grand Case beach, which I know is walking distance to a lot of good restaurant options. Attempting to sift through TripAdvisor reviews to pick breakfast pastries / beachy lunches / nice Caribbean-French dinners is getting exhausting. Any recommendations from the Hive?

    • i just got back from st. barth’s and st. martin in february and I recommend checking out the french side of the island. it’s not as touristy as the dutch side.

      have fun!

      • Thanks — we are staying on the French side on Grand Case. We stayed on the Dutch side previously and agree with your opinion, hence the change in location for this getaway.

        • ah right. We stayed at the petit hotel on grand case and found a lot really good french seafood restaurants.

          if you can i suggest going to st barth’s for the day on the ferry or the commuter plane and having a really nice dinner or lunch at Eden Rock

          • Thanks — this place looks great! At risk of outing myself, our weekend in St. Martin comes at the end of a 1.5 week Caribbean stay, mostly on Anguilla, so we’ll have time to ferry to St. Barth’s for a day if we’d like. (We’re flying through SXM, so rather than have one really long rushed day of car-ferry-taxi-plane to end our vacation, we’re heading back to St. Martin “early”.)

        • Anonymous :

          ah that makes sense. definitely go to st. barth’s!! that place is amazing. can’t recommend it enough!!

    • LE Sheath for Curves? In the Pink :

      How does the sheath handle curves? I’m an hourglass. I take 8 and talbos and then either 3 or 10 in the eliza j and donna morgans at nordies and last call…

      I find the seaming over the bust on the LE aline too much of a highlight to the girls and on their othe r aline, there’s a square panel right over the navel.

      You’ve all spoken so highly, I’m ready to take the plunge … but sheaths for hourglass shapes? TIA

      Happy Holy Thursday gals!

    • I love St. Martin. Honestly, for breakfast and lunch, I’d just wing it. You’re on island time! Just stroll around when you get hungry and find something that looks good.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      My in laws go to St Martin frequently and are all about a restaurant called Ethnic. To the point that we know all about the owner, chef, etc and get updates on them every time my in laws return. So if you wind up near Orient Beach, I’d recommend checking it out. If the same pastry chef is there I’ve heard the profiteroles are amazing but not served every day.

  20. Croatia itineraries? :

    If you had 10 days in Slovenia/Croatia/Montenegro with a car, how would you structure your itinerary? Trying to figure this out with friends and we’re really torn about what to do.

    Obviously we want to see Dubrovnik and Split. But here’s what we’re torn about:

    Hvar: best island to go to if we only see one?
    Plitvice Lakes: sound like a must-see, but do we need a full day?
    Istrian peninsula: out of the way, but looks stunning
    Montenegro: worth a day trip from Dubrovnik?
    Zadar: I’ve heard mixed things. Worth a visit?
    Slovenia: Worth an add-on to this itinerary or does it merit its own separate trip?

    We don’t want to be running around too much, but we also want to see as much as possible. Ideally, we would only switch hotels a few times and drive around a lot from our base cities.

    Any other tips would be amazing. TIA!

    • Zadar is lovely but very quiet. It can be a good base for Plitvice Lakes though, as the hotels around the national park are pretty basic. It’s like a 1.5 hour drive.

    • I think Slovenia merits its own trip. I really loved it there. I liked Korcula a lot, if that appeals. Very chill.

      • CapHillAnon :

        Slovenia is *amazing* and totally deserves its own trip. Have a great time!

    • R in Boston :

      Lakes are an absolute must-do. I would leave most of a day so you can relax, hang out, and not worry about the time. Split I was meh on (unless you like shopping – plenty of that); it was more of a stopover for us. The major amphitheater in Pula is worth a stop if you are into the Roman ruins circuit and Porec (sort of at the top left corner of Croatia) is a beautiful, relaxing town on the coast. I think Porec is also a world heritage site, if I remember correctly. Why isn’t Zagreb on your list? It’s a fabulous city. I would trade Slovenia (do it as a separate trip) for a couple of days in Zagreb. With 10 days I would probably do 2-3 in Dubrovnik (using one to take a trip to an island and/or Montenegro), 2-3 in Zadar (using as a base for day trips to Split and/or Plitvice Lakes) and then the rest of the time in Zagreb (if you’ve done 3 days each in the prior places) or maybe 2 days in Porec and 2 days in Zagreb (if you’ve done 2 days in the prior places). Moving around a lot, but there’s not a lot of good central places to stay to see all the stuff it sounds like you want to see.

      • Croatia OP :

        Thanks! Zagreb is not on our list because we will be driving in from Italy, so we planned to hug the coast as much as possible. I have heard great things and would love to see it on a future trip, but I don’t think it makes sense for this one given where we’re coming from.

        I really like your Zadar suggestion as a base for Plitvice and Split. Sounds like we can experience Split without an overnight, which is good to hear. I’ve heard such mixed things (most people I’ve talked to don’t love it, but all the guidebooks make it seem like a crown jewel).

        Yes, we’ll do Slovenia as a separate trip. It sounds like it deserves a week of its own. Next time!

        Is Hvar worth it if we don’t like to club?

        • Hvar depends on when you will go. May-early September, avoid if you don’t want the club scene. April and late September-October, Hvar has beautiful beaches and is very low key.

  21. Are there any legal jobs that are truly part-time? I have been in litigation for the past 6-7 years. Last year, before my second child was born, I went on a reduced hours schedule at my firm. Unfortunately, I still have to bill 32.5 hours per week (on average), which means I am in the office almost 40 hours per week. So the position is not really “part-time.” My husband and I are both so exhausted and frustrated that he has been encouraging me to quit my job to be a stay-at-home mom (more because he thinks that will make me happy). I think I owe it to myself (and my family) to try a step down before I quit the workforce completely. Unfortunately, it seems like true part-time legal positions are almost non-existent. Any ideas?

    • 32.5 billed a week is on the higher end for part time – that’s more than 1500 a year even factoring in holidays and vacations. There are some firms that let you cut down to as low as 60%, which for a 2000 billable hour expectation would be only 1200 hours a year, or about 25 billed a week. Whether or not you can implement that in practice (especially as a litigator) is a whole other story, but you could certainly find a firm with a lower official hours expectation for part-time attorneys.

    • I’m in a part time legal job. It’s 21 hrs a week, and it’s for the gov’t so it’s 21 actual hours in the office, not 21 hours billed. I make like zero dollars but I do make enough to cover my loan payments (almost exactly the same amount), I get free health insurance for the family, and I get to keep my career alive.

      FWIW, I don’t have a ton of free time on my off days. I get 2-3 hours in the middle of the day when my kid naps, but I’m trapped at home during that time so I’m relegated to household errands I can do from home, or watching TV. Usually by the time I eat lunch, watch TV, and catch up on the internet, she’s up again. And my kid is at an age where I can’t bring her to stores because she wants to run around and touch all the things while we’re there. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a babysitter 1-2 times a month just so I can do outside chores.

    • There are also tons of PT paralegal jobs at larger firms, but I doubt you want to step down to that pay grade (although in some parts of the country, paralegals make much more than small-mid lawyers).

      • Seriously, there are many days where I’d rather be a secretary at my small firm. Pay for even junior, inexperienced ones who spend all day on the internet and on personal calls is in the $60s in a LCOL area, hours are 9-5, they get what seems like 3-4 weeks of vacation every year.

    • Many legal aid offices do offer true part time positions (I was just sent a listing for a 0.6 FTE legal aid position). Particularly if you are a member of the bargaining unit, that’s going to be absolutely true part time. Not going to make much money, but if the alternative is to not work…

    • The other thing you can do is to get off track altogether and be an “of counsel” that gets paid a percentage of collections, but I don’t know if you would get the same quality of work. Can you work from home 1 day a week so that, even while you are billing the same hours, you can save on the commute time and get laundry done on that day?

      As someone who once had 3 kids under 3, I have been there. Your kids are still really young, which makes things way harder and exhausting, but this, too, will pass and the kids will be way easier once they are all in school. So, keep in mind that this is a temporary time.

    • Thanks for the replies!

  22. Any fellow gardeners want to talk spring plants? I mean those words literally, not a euphemism :)

    I have a yard this year for the first time ever and I am SO. EXCITED to plant a million flowers!! There’s a nursery right near my office and I have a really hard time it stopping every day and buying everything g in stock.

    I manGed to ant a couple hundred bulbs last fall and it’s so great seeing them come up. But for spring anted thing I’m having such a hard time narrowing down what colors and specific plants I want. What are you most excited to grow?

    • We are pretty excited to see the return of our azaleas, hydrangeas and hibiscus. We added some canna lilies this year. I’m trying to focus more on perennials with color that we can see each year instead of spending a ton on annuals.
      For trees, we planted a Japanese maple, a cocktail citrus tree, a vitex, and some crepe myrtles over the past few years and all are doing well.
      Be sure you read the tags on the plants/ask the garden center so that you will have the right plants for your zone.

    • @Dulcinea:

      My Julia Child and Mr. Lincoln roses are in full bloom. However I’m most excited about my little army of blueberry bushes. I’ll probably get about 2 lbs per bush, and the blueberries are clustered like GRAPES on each branch.

      • Nice! I want raspberries but we don’t really have enough room. We have a rosebush but I don’t know what kind it is, I am going to take photos/clipping and bring to garden center to see if they can ID it.

        @Mascot, so many trees and shrubs! I love azaleas, we had a ton where I grew up. Sadly not much room where I am living now but maybe someday!

        Do you guys start from seed? I have a small greenhouse shelving thing (shelves covered in plastic, with grow lights) and it’s fun to come home and see new little sprouts all the time.

        • I have a raspberry bush in a container and it has done well. It doesn’t produce a ton, but it’s fun. It’s mounding, bred for containers, and I think it was a Proven Winner brand…I’ll look to see if I wrote the name down anywhere.

    • lucy stone :

      We are buried in snow right now, but I am ridiculously excited for our plants to make their appearance. I have some hostas that were originally from my mom’s childhood home and I’m excited to split them and keep planting them around our house.

      • I have some hostas from my childhood home and it really is special. I have a cousin who has irises that have been passed down for over 100 years!

    • Yes!!!!!! I love gardening! My favorite place for bulbs is Old House Gardens. I love, love their stuff – especially their dahlias. And their glads.

      Every year I buy way more stuff than I can reasonably plant and get stressed. This year I’m trying to tone it way down (in part because I’m pregnant and it’s getting harder to bend down, etc.), but I’m still doing some spring planted bulbs and of course a few tomato plants. I also always grow herbs.

      I do a ton of container gardening and I love filling our patio and steps with tons of flowers and greens. I ripped out all our grass about three years ago (our yard is tiny – 20 feet by 12 feet, maybe) and put in a brick patio and a few large flower beds. I kept ivy/mulch in one corner to put up a hammock. It is just paradise and I love it. It’s very shaded so I mostly have to plant heuchera/hosta/phlox and other shade-lovers, but I’ve really enjoyed building it up year by year since I started.

      I’m zone 6, so we can’t do much yet, but it’s still fun!

      • I am also in zone 6! We have a very sunny front yard and a very shady back yard (both small though) so I do get the best of both worlds.

        • Very same for us! Our (urban) front yard is on an extreme slope – runs down beside a flight and a half of stairs – so we built a few raised beds on it and I do a combo of flowers and veggies out front. I do get a tiny patch of sun in the back so that’s my flowering corner.

          Do you have any shade faves? I’m always looking for something new.

          • At the moment I am obsessed with caladiums and hellebores, It wil be my first year growing either so I can’t say how easy it is but they are all so pretty.

    • Edna Mazur :

      I’m having fun leafing through the catalogs. Too early for anything but pansies here, but I hope to plant a cutting/herb garden this spring. We also have plans to overhaul the front yard landscaping but that is more my husbands thing.

      Any thoughts on how young is too young for kids to have their own garden? So tempted to give my two year old a little plot but I think he would just like to dig…

      • I met my stepdaughter when she was 4 (now 9) and she had great fun getting involved in gardening. I think giving him a corner to dig would be a lot of fun! And you can help him plant his own plants and help water them or pull weeds, and then talk throughout the summer about how big it’s growing, etc etc. I vote for now!

      • Anonymous :

        My 2.5 year old and I just started seedlings this weekend. We won’t transplant til may but she’ll have “mine own” spot.

      • My 2 yo nephwe LOVED helping his grandmother with her tomatoes a couple summers ago and we have the most adorable picture of him grinning and holding up a tomato in each hand, with his arms stretched up above his head. Even if your kid just digs he will have fun and in general I think it is good to give kids a sense of ownership/independence over things to make them want to take responsibility. I don’t have any kids myself, just remembering from my experience growing up that I really liked the sense of having my own project or space and I would be more responsible and proactive (thus learn more, gain more from the experience) about it if I felt like it was “mine.”

    • Anonymous :

      YES! I overhauled my yard last year and took out lots of grass, so I’m so excited to see the plants fill out this year after establishing roots last year. Hydrangeas and lilacs in the backyard, ninebark, butterfly bushes, roses, and perennials in the front. And I have raised beds where I’m doing square foot gardening. I’m in zone 5 and have peas and spinach planted and coming up.

    • Can I jump on this thread for some gardening advice? (I am also cracking up that this is a legit GARDENING thread!)

      This will be my first spring/summer having my own small patio (located in Philly). Looking for tips on starting a container garden — the space in question is relatively hot (it’s an enclosed-by-fence area amidst a block of 3 story rowhomes). It’s on the north side of our house, so doesn’t get a ton of direct sun, but the herbs we tried late last summer promptly wilted.

      Any favorite herbs (or other plants) that don’t mind some heat?

      • Anonymous :

        Peppers, esp jalepeno. For herbs mine do OK in direct heat with ample watering. This may get tricky in a container garden depending on how you organize.

      • One recommendation is to use self-watering planters. I love Lechuza. If you don’t, lift your pots off the ground with pot feet or bricks so air can move underneath. (Less important with self watering planters because the design has a reservoir at the bottom preventing the roots from being at the bottom of the pot.)

        Also you could totally do a cherry tomato plant – there are several cherry and non-cherry tomatoes that do well in containers. I’d probably pick something determinate vs non determinate if you’re doing a smaller pot.

    • I am so excited for gardening this year! I, too, have my first yard and I am working on reigning myself in. My primary focus this year will be on establishing a vegetable garden in my lovely, sunny backyard. I’ve picked a pretty ambitious plan that I’m planning on putting in over the course of a few years that will be really beautiful as well as functional. I’m also working on getting some wildflowers established in a sunny area with long grass in between the edge of my yard and the woods. I’m hoping to get a lot of lupines growing in that area, I love them. In the future I’ll be working on filling in the established perennial beds, but I’m trying to take this first year to see what is already there before I add more. The one big change I’ll making in those beds is pulling out the hideous red mulch!

    • Can I plug my favorite flowers? Dinner plate dahlias in cafe au lait and fleural. They are super easy and I cut them in zone six from mid July until October. I buy a ton of mason jars and leave them on the doorsteps of my favorite people.

    • I’m in Mississippi, so if you are in a much colder area, these flowers may not work. Flowers easily grown from seed are (1) zinnias, (2) cosmos, and (3) cleome. They come in numerous colors, single and double flowered, and various heights. I harvest and save seed from year to year. All of these are fairly warm weather flowers, so they need to be planted when the soil is a bit warmer than now. The cosmos also self-seed and come back up every year. For mass effect, these work very well and, of course, the cost of seed is much less than plants.

      I tried marigolds from seed last year and they worked well, too.

      I’ve also found petunias (bought as plants) to do well earlier in the season than the above-mentioned flowers. Petunias don’t like the 95 degree, 95 percent humidity days we have here later in the summer.

      For flowering shrubs, camellias are one of my new favorites and, of course, knock-out roses. Viburnums are great for wildlife, and they come in all sorts of bloom-types as well. The “snowball” type are particularly nice.

      Finally, I love my oak-leaf hydrangeas. They need good soil and partial shade.

      Good luck. I’ve found that gardening is one of those things that gives so much more immediate gratification than does litigation!

  23. So random question:

    If you see someone at the beach/community pool/etc wearing swim leggings and a swim tunic, do you think to yourself, “that’s weird”? or do you not notice at all?

    I have serious modesty issues at the beach. I have not the slightest care if someone wears a bikini, but they idea of wearing something that covers less than underwear in public makes me want to breathe into a brown paper bag. Add to it that I am seriously pale, I usually prefer to wear the swim leggings (with attached skirt!) and matching tunic.

    Is that totally weird? I know I should just say sc*ew it and wear what I want, but I feel like it’s an oddball choice :(

    • I would think it was a little odd, but you do you. Btw, there are lots of swimsuits that cover more than underwear. Swim skirts are also more common than swim leggings, IMO, and cover more than a standard bathing suit. I’m not especially modest, but I’m also very pale and normally wear a wetsuit in the ocean for sun protection (both because it is better protection for me than any amount of SPF and because it considerably reduces the amount of SPF I have to use, which is good for the coral reefs). Obviously a wetsuit looks odd in a pool though.

      • Eggghhh I’ve done the whole swim skirt thing, and I still feels like that’s a lot of skin for me to show (I’m weird). Also, I have enormous thighs that rub together, so after ten minutes of walking I’ll have such bad chub-rub they actually bleed, so swim leggings are double the fun!

    • First, you do you. Some people have some very serious skin cancer risk factors. (For instance, my SIL gets a ton of pre-cancers excised every single year and just does not go in the sun.) I think it’d be a lot of clothing that’d have to dry when you get out. But I believe everyone should be comfortable at the beach or the pool and you should wear what you want!

    • Who cares whether other people notice or think it’s weird? what they think really doesn’t matter at all!

    • I would be like, “oh, that person is wearing swim leggings and a swim tunic. Moving on…” in much the same way I’d notice a blue bikini or how inviting the water looks or something like that.

    • I’d probably notice — as I don’t think I’ve ever seen swim leggings before — but assume it’s someone super-vigilant about sun protection. But I wear a rashguard and board shorts all the time that I’m not actively swimming at the beach/ pool.

    • I do think you would stand out, as in, you would be wearing something different than most other people. So I would observe you and notice you were dressed differently than anyone else, I might briefly ponder why that might be, but I can’t see myself forming any opinions on it, positive or negative.

    • Thanks all. I know I’m being silly. I’ll wear my wacko-leggings/tunic combo with pride :) and be gleeful i don’t need to reapply enormous amounts of sunscreen every 5 minutes on my pasti-ness

      • Yes! I would be jealous that you weren’t having to reapply sunscreen all the time and then would probably ask you where you got them. Ain’t nobody got time for skin cancer.

        – Signed Pasty-White CountC

      • P.S. Lands End has some super comfy ones–just search for skirted swim leggings, though they have normal swim leggings that don’t have the skirt too. Amazon has a bunch as well in different lengths.

        I wear skirted leggings for working out and walking the dog. Just as comfortable as regular leggings without me feeling like my whole butt is out.

    • I think they are like me, and don’t want their pale skin to be burnt bright red in less than 10 minutes

    • I would assume it was for religious reasons or skin cancer reasons and not dwell on it at all. You do you!

    • espresso bean :

      I wouldn’t dwell on it. Do whatever makes you feel comfortable! For what it’s worth, there are a lot of nice maxi-type cover-up dresses (tons at Target right now) that feel more beach-y but still provide full leg coverage. Could be another alternative if you want to add to your beach wardrobe. But wear what makes you feel good!

    • BeenThatGuy :

      Wear whatever you want but maybe take some time and address the “modesty issues” you suffer from (don’t want to sound harsh but it sounds like self-loathing). Are you covered almost head to toe at work everyday? Or in your personal life?

      I went through many, many years of hating my body. Now I embrace it. It’s no way to live. Our bodies are all shapes and sizes and every one of them is beautiful.

      • Nope, I love my body! I just don’t like showing oodles of flesh :)

        I just dress on the modest side, but nothing super conservative. Normal scoop neck shells, ankle pants, jackets, dresses, etc. I prefer things aren’t sleeveless, but that’s just my pet peeve.

    • Anonymous :

      I wear swim leggings and a swim shirt for religious reasons, but I really like them any ways and don’t really care what anyone else thinks. No one has ever said anything or given me anything more than a passing look (but even that wouldn’t change my mind).

    • I’d probably think it was a religious thing, note ‘that’s interesting’ and go back to my day. Do what makes you comfortable.

  24. Yeti coolers :

    Anyone have one? Thoughts pro/con? Am thinking of buying for a good friends wedding. We are not big campers/outdoor people but he and his fiancé are, and I know this isn’t something they’d splure on for themselves. I’m also thinking of getting it at a mainstream store they shop at like REI in case they want to return it…

    • I have a family member in the sporting goods business, so I’ve quizzed him on this – he says yes, they are good for their truly intended purpose – keeping carcasses or fish on ice while hunting/fishing until you return to camp – but as a backyard cooler, well their really only nominally better. When they are opened and closed continually to get out beers and drinks, a lot of the long-lasting cold component is lost.

      That said, they are totally hipster cool right now and I wouldn’t stare a gift Yeti in the mouth.

      • Anonymous :

        Yeah they fish a ton, so they’d likely use it for both. Neither is a big beer drinker so it won’t have a primary purpose as a beer chest.

        And like you, they’d never buy one but I’m hoping they won’t look a gift Yeti in the mouth.

        They are a pain to shop for because of their outdoorsy low maintenance lifestyle…their registry has various outdoor gear, and like 4 blankets :-)

    • We have 2, purchased 3 years ago and have used a ton. I honestly wasn’t on board with my husband buying them initially, but they work really well. If your friends really are into the outdoors I think they’d like it.

    • Anonymous :

      My husband received one from a business associate. I can say it proved its worth during the hot Texas summers when we are out all day on the weekends at my son’s baseball tournaments. However, they are extremely heavy when full and not easy to carry because it does not have wheels. It pretty much just stays in the back of the SUV.

      We both got the Yeti tumblers too and they keep my drink cold all day long.

      • Anonymous :

        digression! Get a wagon for the baseball tournaments. We throw everything in it (including the 5 gallon water container for the team and at least one bucket of gear). Quite possibly my favorite mothers day present I’ve ever received

  25. Ran across these while looking for slip-on sneakers:

    • Anonymous :

      These in the “people also viewed” sidebar are even worse:

    • Red Velvet :

      It looks like a a busy parent accidentally left their shoe and some craft materials near their toddler, turned their back for five mintues, and on returning cried “what have I done??!”

    • I thought this one was a long-haired guinea pig

      • Anonymous :

        I saw that one and thought it was the pile that’s left over when they sweep the floor after a haircut. I’m going to ask my stylist for the contents of the dustpan next time, glue it all to a pair of plain slippers and charge $2,000.

      • oh my god the Donald Trump hair shoe

        Five positive reviews!!

      • Anonymous :

        My immediate thought was The Lorax.

      • I have had a very hectic, not entirely pleasant day. I clicked on your link and burst out laughing. Thank you

    • Anon in NYC :

      Hahaha, so awful.