Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Stretch Crepe Trumpet Dress

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

This Betsey Johnson dress seems like an update on a style that was available last year that everyone really loved. I like the trumpet flounce at the bottom — I think it’s kicky and fun while still being a traditional shape for work — and I like the little poufy sleeves. It looks like a fun dress for work and dates and beyond (if, of course, the bright pink color is ok with you). It’s $128 at Nordstrom — lucky sizes only. Stretch Crepe Trumpet Dress

Two plus-size options are here and here.

Psst: If you’ve liked the brand Hobbs in the past but haven’t wanted to buy directly from the store, note that Bloomingdale’s has a ton of deep discounts on lucky sizes on the brands’ stuff — this linen blazer is down to $182 and this washable ribbed navy dress is down to $101. (There may be an additional 25% off at checkout on select items, too!)

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  1. Cute dress, but for me, too much cute happening at once. I’d like this in a less…girly? color.

    And while I’m happy to see sleeves, those look like the cut of sleeves that would prevent you from raising your arms up at all.

  2. Baptism Q :

    New adult here – What do you bring to the baptism of a friend’s baby? Savings bonds? Baby-related gift? Hostess gift? Cash? Just a card? Nothing? TIA!

    • I’m a Northeast Catholic and the most common gift is money, usually a $50 check in a card, from a close friend or relative.

    • Card with cash. Nicer gifts, like silver, are usually given by the godparents.

    • Clementine :

      I didn’t know baptism gifts were a thing until my kid got baptized.

      Cards with cash are pretty awesome, we also got some nice religious-y books, and an AWESOME Noah’s ark (link below). That was pretty cool and the kid plays with it often.

    • Card with a some cash ($20-50 depending on how close you are), and/or a small white stuffed lamb are my go-to presents.

    • At our son’s baptism last summer we got a few baby blankets, a keepsake pewter baptism cup, lots of cash/checks, and two donations to our local Catholic Charities in our baby’s name.

    • I don’t think you need to bring anything. A friend gave us a children’s illustrated Old Testament for the lad’s baptism (which he loved), and when I am giving a book I tend to give the Desmond Tutu storybook bible:

      It has great illustrations and each story ends with a lovely prayer.

    • I always bring a card that says, “Congratulations on your innocent baby no longer going straight to h*ll if tragedy strikes! G*d bless.”

    • For people I know well, I have created a “busy bag” for them to use with their babies/toddlers at church. I get a small personalized bag with the baby’s name on it (zippered LL Bean tote) and fill it with religious board books, teethers (without rattles), pureed fruit pouches, etc. You can find all sorts of religious-themed toys/books on Amazon that are age-appropriate. However, idea is best if you know the parents regularly attend services.

      Otherwise, I just give a card and money.

      • As a church-going regular, I would love this gift beyond words, and am going to shamelessly steal the idea for all future baptism presents.

  3. Weight lifting anon :

    After hearing about the benefits of weightlifting from almost every corner of the internet, I’ve started lifting weights a few times a week using the weight machines at my gym. I like the results so far, and find weight lifting strangely relaxing. Just one thing gets me though – I am often the only woman in the weightlifting area, surrounded by 6ft+, super buff guys (I don’t even go to a particularly intense gym!), and it makes me feel super intimidated. Any tips for feeling less awkward? I have no problem being the only woman in the room at work, but something about this gets to me!

    • Online dating insecurity :

      Ha, OP, you and I should be friends. No advice, but commiseration.

    • Waltham homeowner :

      I’m often the only woman in the weight room too. I wear headphones and mostly ignore the dudes, unless we’re working in or I need a spot. I can guarantee that most of them are more interested in themselves than you. I’ve also gotten real good at the sarcastic “k great” if somebody tries to tell me how to lift or start a convo. I’m at the gym to work out, not to make friends.

      Headphones is the easiest change though!

      • I like listening to music while I lift, but I can never figure out where to set my phone. Sometimes the machines have a small ledge somewhere or it can sit on my leg, but a lot of times I ended up just taking my headphones off midway through.

        • Arm band and bluetooth headphones are the solution.

        • lost academic :

          I love my Sansa Clip+ for this. Or an armband type phone holder.

        • I’ve said this so many times people will think I work for them (I don’t), but Athleta has a ton of leggings/capris/shorts with pockets. Big enough for my iphone 6+. They’re life changing.

        • Spirograph :

          I tuck mine in my sports bra. Yeah, there’s a weird flat, phone-shaped spot on my chest, but it keeps the cord out of the way better than having it on my arm.

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          Arm band. I don’t have cordless head phones, so I thread them through my arm hole/sports bra band. Works well to keep them out of the way.

        • If you don’t like the arm bands (I don’t; I find them awkward and uncomfortable) I have a FlipBelt.

          It was cheaper than replacing all my leggings and shorts with new ones with bigger pockets when I got a bigger phone a couple years ago (old iPhone fit in my leggings, new android does not).

      • They’re usually too busy flexing in front of the mirror to care about anyone else. I find it less intimidating if I laugh at them internally for their grunts and poor form.

    • Are there “regulars” who you see consistently and could say hi to? I think the gym is inherently sort of a weird place because you tend to be in very close quarters with a lot of strangers, doing something somewhat personal. (More personal than, say, sitting on the subway.) So, just being able to say hi and feel like more of the group may help.

      Otherwise, stick with the tried and true method of listening to music that makes you feel so pumped that you, too, feel like a big buff dude!

    • Things that get my attention in gyms: bad gym etiquette like lounging on equipment in between sets or leaving things a mess, body odor, super loud grunts or noises. Otherwise, I don’t pay much attention to other people and prefer not to talk or interact because I am focused on what I am doing. My experience is that guys are the same way. They want to get their workout done and then leave. Kepp doing what you are doing and this feeling will pass.

      • +1

        I notice bad form, bad etiquette, and really impressive strength. I don’t notice people who are just doing their thing like I am. I assume others don’t notice me either.

    • Don’t try to diminish your space, go in with a solid lifting plan, and practice good gym etiquette. Being deliberate and carving out your space should help with the intimidation if you don’t do that already. I find that most people like to keep to themselves and focus when lifting, so they probably don’t notice you as much as you think by being the only woman in that section.

      And when I first got serious about working out again, I had to remember that everyone is here to get fit, not to judge. Although the grunting and dropping weights I could do without – save the dropping for Crossfit/olympic lifting guys/girls.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Headphones and a book on tape are my weightlifting buddies. (Get an arm band to hold your phone. Life changing.) When I’m deep in a narrative I have a hard time noticing anyone else in the room. And watch your form in the mirrors! You should be focusing on what you’re doing to keep from getting hurt, and when you’re really focusing, you won’t even notice the intimidating dudes. They’re probably focusing too much on their own form to notice you!

    • Anonymous :

      I usually do free weights, and post up in a corner of the free weight area with my headphones on and ignore everyone else. After doing it enough times, it got less weird/intimidating.

    • I used to be like that – could barely lift 5 lb weights. I eventually competed in bodybuilding competitions years later and still love to lift. It is really empowering, so stick with it. It is slow going at first, but try to make small incremental additions in weight, and you will gain muscle. Don’t forget to eat enough protein (approx. 25 g) and some carbs and good fats within 30 mins of your workout so you can actually help your muscles repair. Once you get more comfortable and confident in how you are lifting, you will slowly care less and less about those dudes. I second someone’s comment about striking up a convo with these guys. Many of them will yes, give you unsolicited advice, which you should feel free to ignore, but I met a lot of great guy friends at the gym. They will likely be psyched that you are lifting and will be more than happy to spot you if you need it. Just be careful who you ask to spot – ask the guy who looks like he knows what he is doing who spots other guys, not the one grunting and flexing at himself in the mirror. Also, muscle shirts are not just for showing off – you will see your form better and getting the added boost of seeing your muscles work and improve as you go! Yay for women lifters!

    • I work out on a military base, so…. I hear you. Still though, men (even super burly ones) are people like anyone else. Just be a normal person and thing will probably be fine. I strike up conversations with them regularly. Also, I used to think that they gave unsolicited advice because I was the only woman there, but the more I paid attention to the guys’ interactions with each other, the more I realized that they do that with each other too. I get unsolicited advice sometimes, but I also have other people point to me and say to their buddy “her form is really good, so try to do it like that”

  4. Online dating insecurity :

    Hi hive, could use some guidance about online dating, which I’m trying for the first time. I think my profile accurately describes me, and I’ve gotten a bunch of messages from guys that seem great. I can’t help looking at the profiles of the people that messaged me and feeling like there’s no way they would actually like me in person on the basis of them being too cool or too athletic or something. (Probably this says something important about my self-esteem, but anyway.) How do I get past this?

    • Anonymous :

      Remember that everyone is presenting the best possible version of themselves on these apps/sites. Unfortunately, you’ll find that many people are less interesting in person than they seem online. They are probably not as “cool” as you think they are :)

      But also, you’re probably awesome – so it makes sense that awesome people would message you!

    • Remind yourself that there is a reason they are messaging you and it’s not your job to tell them it’s not a good reason! Something about you caught their eye and you have to trust that they think it’s a good reason.

      • Joan Wilder :

        I like both this and the advice below about meeting soon. I also struggle with my self confidence but it plays out in a different way. I’m often approached by people who I’m not interested in so I’m trying out being the first to initiate messaging but it feels unnatural for me (kind of confidence-related) and I don’t hear back much when I message first.

        • Re: not hearing back – don’t let it discourage you. A lot of people are pretty idle with online dating. They might log in and look around but they don’t actually try to set up dates. You want someone who is tuned into dating, so it’s good that these guys weed themselves out.

          This is also why I don’t invest a lot of time in crafting the perfect first message. I want to know whether he’ll respond, then I can get into why does every picture have the same fish in it.

          • Joan Wilder :

            Haha. I don’t see many fish but I see a lot of mirrored selfies. That’s a head scratcher for me.. no one looks good in mirrored selfies, even celebrities! (I saw a guy the other day who asked while women all have pics of themselves at Macchu Pichu, so there is that).

    • Clementine :

      I would really suggest the book (or I did the book on tape!) of Modern Romance. It’s by the comedian Aziz Ansari, but he worked with some really stellar researchers on it and it’s fascinating!

      Their takeaway re: online dating: meet someone in person as soon as possible.

      • Anony Mouse :

        +1 One of the conclusions Aziz comes to is that we should think of online dating more as online meeting. There’s only so much you can learn about a person online, and the sooner you’re able to meet in person, the better, so as to avoid forming too many preconceptions, which may or may not be accurate.
        Also, while you’re starting to explore online dating, be sure to take some time to focus on yourself and building your self-esteem. Try writing down a few positive affirmations and repeating them to yourself several times a day. Sounds cheesy, but it helped me a lot.
        Good luck!

        • +1 to “online meeting,” not “online dating.” There are more than a few guys out there who seem to think that the relationship should be carried out almost entirely over text.

          And OP, I hear you about feeling unworthy, but be glad you’ve got cool, interesting guys messaging you!

      • +1 Modern Romance is a fantastic read with a lot of good advice and research about online dating.

    • Just go out and see what happens. It’s normal to be nervous, but make yourself do it. FWIW I’m now married to someone I almost didn’t message because I thought he would be too cool for me.

      • +1. This is a “fake it til you make it” sort of thing. The first few will feel SO AWKWARD, but over time and with experience, you’ll feel a lot more confident. And feel free to post updates as you go along–many of us here are online dating/meeting, so we all know what you’re going through.

  5. Estate Lawyers? :

    Elderly family member with severe memory issues and confusion is being coerced into changing his will by a nefarious family member that stands to benefit (unknown if changes have been made). Elderly FM almost certainly lacks capacity to do so, though proving so in the future after his passing may be difficult. Nefarious FM is assisted by counsel, whom I know is very junior and whom I suspect is acting unethically or at least negligently. I have advice from my counsel that there isn’t much to be done now – the only real option is to wait until Elderly FM passes and dispute any new will then. My instinct is that these issues should SOMEHOW be addressed NOW while it is easier to show current lack of competency. Will get opinion from another lawyer in real life, but any opinions from the Hive with experience here?

    • Anonattorney :

      Check if your state has an elder abuse division. Many states have mandatory elder abuse reporting (including financial abuse) and a division that investigates. You could also file a bar complaint against the lawyer.

    • My first thought is that if you are planning on contesting the will is to get the elderly relative to a doctor ASAP to get his cognitive functions tested. Otherwise it’s basically impossible to prove after the fact.

    • If elderly family member is incompetent enough, could you petition for guardianship or conservatorship? That should get a GAL appointed AND counsel for elderly FM.

      • Estate Lawyers? :

        Elderly FM was recently given a guardian and conservator by the court – but we have not had much luck getting them to actually DO anything. They also can’t necessarily watch Elderly FM all the time, so as to stop Nefarious FM from sweeping him off to a lawyer to make changes to the will. It is unclear whether by being granted a conservator and guardian in and of itself is definitive of Elderly FM’s lack of capacity. I would like to report the attorney to the bar, but as a lawyer myself that feels like a very extreme step and I could just be flat wrong about what might be happening behind the scenes… It is all very frustrating and just wrong.

        • Also, it’s hard to defeat capacity to marry. A few really bad people have figured out that marriage / surviving spouse elective share rules > provisions in a will. So, y’all: watch out for that.

        • I could be wrong because this is not my area of law but if there is now a guardian/conservator wouldn’t that person have to sign off on any changes to the will?

        • Diana Barry :

          Check the statute on guardianship, it might say something about capacity – if not, the statute dealing with wills should. If the guardian and conservator has already been appointed, does he/she know about the lawyer and the attempt to put a new will in place? You could also try calling the elder affairs/abuse dept in your state to see if they have any suggestions.

          • EP lawyer :

            This is a complicated area of the law. Different definitions of “capacity” apply depending on the context (“testamentary” capacity vs. “contractual” capacity”, etc.). It is possible for a guardian/conservator to have been appointed for the person, but the person still has testamentary capacity to change a will and trust (without involvement of the conservator). Depends on state law, but usually testamentary capacity is a low standard. IMO, hire an experienced estate planning lawyer to see what action can be taken now to protect your case in a post-death challenge. Worry about reporting the lawyer and elder abuse later (unless there is actual physical or mental abuse occurring). Please be sure of your facts before you file a complaint against the other lawyer.

          • Estate Lawyers? :

            Thank you!

  6. Does anyone have privacy concerns about smart devices like the Echo? A lot of people talked about getting them yesterday but I just don’t like the idea of having one (much less two) in my home. I realize my iPhone, computer and gmail can also all pose privacy risks, but I feel like I need those things a lot more than I need an echo so am reluctant to further compromise my privacy.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Yes. I won’t get an Echo / Google Home, etc. for precisely this reason.

    • Cranky Dinosaur :

      I don’t have any background in privacy issues — but there is no way in heck I will let my husband get one. Like you said, our phones are already snooping on us enough, why add Amazon snooping to the mix? I’ll be interested to hear if anyone has real tech knowledge to share here as to pros/cons of these devices

      …also, this is just me being a crotchety old millennial, but why in the heck do you need an echo/alexa when your phone already does all the functions? feels so wasteful to me, but I also loathe technology consumption in general.

    • Yeah, I was at a friend’s house once who had one and felt very creeped out when it misheard something from our humans-only conversation and suddenly started executing a command. I also have a work contact named Alexa and really don’t like the idea that I’d be activating it every time I said her name. Things like this just make me feel like I’m never not being monitored by Google or Amazon.

      One more thing- I’m tired of all digital assistants being cast as female.

    • I’m kind of creeped out by them, but I’m more creeped out by all these “smart” appliances and devices in our houses. Yeah, it’s convenient to be able to set your thermostat with your phone, but I was at a continuing education thing where the guy was talking about IT security and told a story about someone’s smart thermostat getting hacked, and the hacker turned the thermostat up all the way and wouldn’t turn it off until the person paid them money. Anything “smart” like that can be hacked. (see also: all electronic voting machines? maybe we should go back to paper.)

      • I am anti other smart devices too. We have a relative who is always raving about how smart his house is. Every visit, he’s got a new gadget – fridge that knows when he’s out of milk, thermostat, lights, a camera for his dog. And he can control it all from his phone. It’s too much. We had to housesit for a few days and I was afraid to scratch my nose lest it look gross on whatever camera was recording me.

        • I read a story a while back about a man who complained online about the smart garage door opener he bought, and the company owner disabled it remotely in revenge.

          I’m smart, my husband is smart, and our phones are smart (with privacy controls). That’s all for me.

      • Maybe I’m stupid about these things, but our smart thermostat can just be unplugged/unwired. Replace with a normal thermostat and go back to doing things old school.

        I haven’t heard of these hackings but even if you can’t DIY the wiring you can call an electrician for like $100 and maybe the price of an old style thermostat ($20) and that’s got to be less than laying off a hacker. Now, a great hacker would be in cahoots with the electrician!! ;)

        • At least with the garage door example above, almost ALL garage doors have manual overrides in case the electricity goes out. There’s some simple mechanism–truly, a simple machine from 7th grade science-type thing!–that you pull, then you lift the door manually. So, revenge away, garage door inventor…Gallileo had that hack published in 1600.

      • Cybersecurity :

        I haven’t heard of this actually happening, but it’s certainly theoretically possible. Also a problem — if you have all your smart devices on your home wifi, and you haven’t done a good job setting them up securely, hackers could leverage your smart devices to get into your network and your computer. Purely as a matter of reducing attack surface, I like everything in my house to be “dumb.” The added convenience in no way makes up for the risk.

        Not to mention the big, unsecure “internet of things” is so much botnet power, and I have zero interest in contributing to it.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        Yup, the Internet of Things comes with a lot of compromises to our privacy and security.

        • Aunt Jamesina :

          …And NPR had a crazy bit about video baby monitors being hacked into and streamed online maybe a year ago. Scary stuff!

    • Minnie Beebe :

      They creep me out as well. I can’t help but think of them as a modern version of the Telescreens from 1984. No thank you!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      If anyone in your house games with the newest xbox, make sure they check that their controller mic is off. We had no idea that it even came with a mic. My husband was playing a group game with strangers while we were discussing some financial stuff. We could hear them talking but since my husband wasn’t using a headset or other mic (he rarely interacts with the people he plays with) we didn’t think anyone could hear us. We had been having all kinds of personal conversations in the basement while I surfed the net and he played games for years. All of a sudden, one of the players repeated everything I had just said. We were so confused and looking all around to see how this could happen. Then the player said, hey, just want to let you know your mics on. He replied, my mic’s not plugged in! They responded, check your controller mic. That’s the day we learned there was a controller mic and turned it off! Who knows what conversations strangers heard before that day.

      We also had the connect for awhile and disabled it when not using it. It creeped me out when I walked into a room, if he was playing, (even a non connect game) it would say “Hi Blonde Lawyer!” No thanks.

      I do use “hey Siri” though so I’m a hypocrite. I bought my parents an Echo Dot because my mom doesn’t know how to use the computer and can easily use the Dot for all sorts of stuff when my dad isn’t around to look it up for her.

    • Anonymous :

      Internet privacy is already extinct, I don’t really see how getting how getting an Echo is going to make the problem worse. If you use the internet or a smartphone, you’re already being monitored.

      • But your private conversations in your own home aren’t being monitored by your phone. I get that phones know a huge amount of info about what you do online, but monitoring offline conversations takes it to a whole new level.

        • Your phone knows a lot more than what you do online.

          Like where you are, at all times.

          I’m not particularly privacy-sensitive, frankly (I work with these issues and am comfortable with the trade-offs I’ve made in terms of exchanging my data for services that are provided to me free or at low cost), but I view that as a lot more potentially concerning than your conversations in the home. It’s much harder for a company like Amazon to monetize your everyday chit chat, but your location is very monetizable (and thus very likely to be sold).

          • I care far more about the knowledge of where I am than the knowledge of what I am saying. I never post where I am on social media and I only post vacation pics and the like after I have returned.

            Admittedly, I have two Dots, but they are unplugged 90% of the time and I only use them when I want to play music while cooking. It’s a waste, but I got sucked in by NEW SHINY SALE consumerism of it all. I’ll probably sell them on Craigslist because they mostly collect dust and I can play music to my BT speakers with my phone.

        • Google Home only reacts if you say “Hey Google” or “Ok Google”…. I mean I suppose someone could hack it to listen to my conversations the same way someone could hack my iPhone or the lens on my lap top to watch me…. but I’d rather expend energy worrying about other things.

          • Yeah, but it has to be listening to everything you say in order to only respond to Hey Google. No thanks.

          • I hope you at least cover your webcam when you’re not using it, though. Because that is a real thing that happens more often than you think, and it literally only takes a sticker to prevent it.

        • But aren’t Siri and Google (and Cortana, for that matter) always listening from your phone? I have this functionality completely disabled on my Android phone and Windows computer (though I don’t entirely trust either), but my spouse uses voice commands in the car, so his is turned on. I know it’s only supposed to be listening for “Ok Google,” but we’ve both noticed that when he asks it to Google something very obscure or ambiguous, it gets the query right on the first try. There’s no way it’s not establishing conversational context, and that’s a lot of listening in.

      • I feel this way about my data in general. It’s already being collected, aggregated, sold. I might as well get access to it and personally benefit from it.

      • I find this to be so disturbing as an argument. So because google already monitors your searches so that it can market shoes to you, we should just not bother? There are so many ways to make technology be more consumer responsive. You could make people opt in to turn off their privacy settings vs. having to opt out as the default; you could prevent companies from gathering information about your searches…

        Do you also believe that it’s okay that your computer camera can be remotely turned on because you have nothing to hide? Or that because both parties “lie” and take corporate money, there is really no difference between who is president? Thinking that none of it matters is exactly what the people who make money off of this want you to think. I just don’t think it’s true.

        • Dude, slow your roll. I agree with you, but OP wasn’t looking to get into a debate about internet security laws.

    • While I think there is reason to be paranoid about Amazon/Google aggregating and analyzing your search history, I think a lot of people are TOO paranoid because they don’t really understand how voice technology works. The companies are not collecting and storing everything you say. Here’s a good primer on the technology, written from what I think it’s a pretty conservative but reasonable perspective:

    • I don’t worry. I’m really not that interesting.

      As a parent with young kids, it’s sort of weird that they hear me requesting alexa play songs or set a timer, but that’s two times I’m not looking down at my phone screen. I love that I can check the weather without pulling out my phone. I think it’s really oddly beneficial that way.

      • Ditto. If someone is listening in on the conversations in my kitchen, they will be extremely bored. Much more likely to hear “did you wipe your butt?” than anything compromising. The data is not stored and google gets more info on us from our browsing history.

      • Senior Attorney :


        What I do on my phone and computer is important to keep private — bank records, emails, purchases, etc.

        Sounds in my home? Eh. We have sex, just like pretty much everybody else on the planet. We cook, we drink, we laugh, we watch TV, we do projects, we have friends over, and yeah we talk in general terms about finances but in much less detail than the actual records would show. Super boring and way less important if it gets hacked than what we do on our screens.

        • I’m giggling at the idea of some technicians in a dark operations room somewhere sighing “how is it possible that anon’s kids can’t find their shoes AGAIN?”

          • Cornellian :

            “Why won’t he just put the dirty towels in the hamper?!”

          • “How is emeralds asking her boyfriend where she left her phone for the THIRD TIME IN THREE DAYS? My god, did she just email him from another state to call her phone because she lost in an 8×8 bedroom? Does she think he’s her personal Find iPhone app?!”

          • emeralds LOL. I frequently use the Find iPhone app to find my iPhone. I lose it so frequently that our 3 year old now knows to look for my phone in the mornings.

    • Fun fact because this is my life at work right now: There’s a huge new data privacy/protection regulation about to take effect in the EU next year. It’s more focused on protecting personal data and allows for data aggregation as long as it’s dissociated from the identity of a natural person, but I’m interested to see what it means for Google and others.

      Basically, privacy is a much bigger deal in the EU than the US. It’s fascinating to me that lack of privacy has so quickly become normalized as a price of admission to the wonders of the Internet.

      • I’m in this field too, though more on the US side. It’s a fascinating time, and much more interesting than when I first started at the beginning of this decade.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      We got the Echo Dot for that exact reason. It has a button to turn off the microphone. It takes 5 seconds to hit the button when I think I will want to use the thing.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Thank you for this news! Yesterday my husband set up the Dot that I accidentally won at a silent auction and I’ve been so anxious about it. So far it’s basically been, “Alexa, play Grateful Dead. Alexa, play Beethoven.” But he can rant in revolutionary tones and I don’t need anyone picking up on that.

    • What exactly are you people talking about that is SO secret and SO high level that it would be the end of the world for an inanimate object to hear/record it – or even god forbid – a stranger to hear if the object got hacked??

      • I don’t think people are worried about having their secrets revealed; it’s more of a fear of having their conversations used as fodder to create profiles about them, which can in turn be bought and sold to random third parties. Amazon and Google aren’t actually mining your real-world conversations to do this, so I wouldn’t be too worried about the Echo, but they do mine and analyze your searches. Most often this data is used to create more personalized advertisements for you, but sometimes it can be used in a way that may harm you. The FTC has a good report on it if you’re interested:

      • I’m going to guess it’s far less about the content and more about the principle.

        I am not really fussed either way as I assume if someone wants my information or wants to hack me, it’s going to happen regardless of what protections I put into place. I mean I get the arguments about why I should care, I just can’t be bothered to add it to the list of things I actually do care about on a day-to-day basis.

        • Yep. This. I’m sure I should care . . . but I just don’t. I don’t even get why it’s a big deal if retailers use searches, email or conversations to create files about you. Ok so now you know I buy Colgate toothpaste and am big into investing and are customizing my ads. Great. I’ll ignore ads no matter what you’re selling so who cares.

      • I think the what is really besides the point. That’s like saying “what do you care if a stranger sees you naked, you have a nice body.” I’m sure there are people who genuinely mean both sentiments, but I’m not one of them.
        Also – and I really don’t think this matters – but there are MANY times when we talk about things that I really wouldn’t want someone to hear it, whether it’s work or personal info.

      • Anonymous :

        Deal lawyer here- I randomly work from home and definitely take calls from home. Serious implications if word of a deal got out before it was announced.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        The “but you have nothing to hide” is a really dangerous argument for companies being entitled to your private life. You might not have anything to hide, but shouldn’t you also care about people who might do sensitive work, or who would like to maintain their privacy? Companies collecting your personal information for profit might feel okay until it’s suddenly not. And there’s no guarantee that they (or the government!) will always play by the rules. I think the pervasiveness of this technology has slowly eroded our personal discomfort with access to our private information and we really need to be vigilant.

        This article is a good read about the “nothing to hide” argument:

      • Former biglawyer :

        I used to think my life was boring and I didn’t care if anyone listened to me, but check out this video. It’s pretty scary:

      • KS IT Chick :

        I often have phone conversations with people at work, troubleshooting problems. I’m dealing with the health information of seriously ill people. I don’t need something that could potentially be feeding sensitive information about unrelated those people to unrelated third parties. That constitutes a breach under the US health care privacy & information security regulations, and I have to notify patients if we (accidentally or otherwise) breach their information.

        What do I have to hide? Just the information of every patient whose doctor has trouble documenting their condition or whose nurse has difficulties pulling up their CT report.

    • I am freaked out enough that Siri listens on my phone constantly (I know I can turn it off but its handy when I want to use it). The other day I was at my therapist and I know I didn’t say “hey Siri” but my phone thought I did, chirped and started talking. It was in my bag mind you.

  7. Anonymous :

    Advice for getting through the day when you hate your job? Obviously I’m job searching, but every day I dread getting out of bed and going to work. I’m bored and frustrated during the day. I just took some vacation but if anything that made things worse because I was so happy when I was away, and extra miserable when I had to come back.


    • Anonymous :

      Wish I had something useful to tell you. I’m in a similar place. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night crying because I dread going to work so much.

      • I’m so sorry. Take care of your mental health. It’s so important! Hang in there. I believe things will get better…someday.

    • lost academic :

      Create situations where you can have small, incremental wins – a sense of accomplishment in a task, or helping someone at work.

      • Or if that is not possible, small rewards for getting through the day/week. If you’re bored, it can be tough to motivate yourself to complete your work so maybe you can give yourself an hour off to do something like read a magazine if you finish X and Y tasks.

        • Unfortunately I’m watched like a hawk by micromanagers so I can’t do anything like that at work, but my credit card will tell you I’m all about treating myself. :) Thank you.

    • Set a goal :

      It sounds odd but everything seems better to me when I exercise. Is there something you can do to up your physical activity, like train for a 5 or 10k? Barre classes are another favorite of mine and make me feel satisfied with life even when things are not perfect. I hope you find another position soon!

      • I’m in the same boat as the OP, and have a limited capacity to exercise right now because of an injury, but yeah. Try to find something else fun to do, for the times when you’re not working.

      • Anony Mouse :

        +1 I’ve found a direct correlation between my mood and how frequently I exercise. (Granted, I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety my whole life, so I may be more sensitive to such things.) Even just taking a 10 minute walk break while I’m at work helps me to recharge and refocus.

    • My mom sent me this article when I was in the same position –

      Not sure how much you can implement but thought they seemed like good ideas

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      I’m very happy in my job these days, but this might help. I use a bullet journal with my own twist – instead of tracking things to do, I track accomplishments. I’m easily overwhelmed by a to do list, but tracking what I have accomplished gives me a boost to keep going.

    • You have to be MINDFUL, Do not have your Mind Full! There is a differnce. I did NOT like my old job, so I took myself serious and lived in the moment. By doeing that, I was abel to ignore the stupidity of the guys stareing at my boobies and grabbeing my tuchus as i walked by. I viduealized myself in a peaceful place where all I had to do is focus on my long term career goals. If you do this, you can get past the fact that your current job stinks and your boss may be an a-wipe! FOOEY!

  8. Woods-comma-Elle :

    I’m finally getting into the wedding planning properly for my upcoming nuptials (7 months away – eek!) We have all the big stuff (venue, dress, photographer etc) but I thought it might be both useful and fun to ask: what are your top tips for brides? Anything goes – serious, hilarious, lessons learned etc?

    • Mrs. Jones :

      Make sure the wedding party has all their tasks/times in writing.
      If you can, eat before the reception starts.
      Good luck and have fun!

      • Even better- don’t give the wedding party tasks.

        • +1 haha

        • +1 just don’t. MOH and Best Man maybe, but otherwise don’t.

          It skews melodramatic, but some users on r/weddingplanning have good tips and guest reviews of weddings that are worthwhile to read.

          • I’m planning my wedding (367 days away!) and I’ve found it helpful to think about improving guest experience and deciding if any extras are worth the $ (like photobooth, llama drink servers, etc)

          • I need to know more about llama drink servers, please.

          • Rainbow Hair :

            I am no longer attending any weddings where drinks are not served by llamas. I guess I’ll attend *family* weddings if there are only alpacas.

          • Never too many shoes... :

            Seriously, whatever llama drink servers cost, pay it. Immediately.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Wow, I thought we had everything but we missed out on the llamas!

            I want to give a big thumbs up on the photobooths. They are super cheap because there’s a lot of competition, and people LOVE them. We had two for 250 guests and it was great.

            And totally agree on “no tasks for wedding party.”

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        Yes, please give the wedding party a timeline of the day so they know where to go and when to be there (and I agree that the fewer tasks, the better!).

      • CherryScary :

        +1 to this. I had a google doc agenda of who had to be where, when, and sent it out to the bridal party and our parents. Include the addresses of any important locations. It was also helpful for us to plan out the timeline of the day.

        Our photographer had us sneak out of the reception for about 15 minutes to do some extra photos outside of our venue. It was a great moment for us to get away from everyone (we are both introverts) and have a quiet moment to ourselves.

      • Mrs. Jones :

        By “tasks,” I meant where to be/what’s going on, not actual chores to be done. I should have more coffee before commenting in the morning.
        +1 to a day-of coordinator. Ours kept all the little things in order. For example, we toasted with my late grandmother’s champagne glasses, and she packed those up afterward and stowed them in my bag.

        • +1 on telling the wedding party where to be/what’s going on. DH and I have been in probably 20 weddings between us, and it’s always SO nice to know, “Rehearsal is Here at 5:00, and Rehearsal Dinner is There at 6:00.” Or “Groomsmen need to be Here at 2:00, fully dressed,” or “Bridesmaids need to be There at 11:00 for hair and makeup.” We’ve been in weddings where we had NO clue about any of that for the entire weekend–it’s frustrating and confusing, and people end up asking the bride.

    • To keep everything in perspective, remember that nobody else cares about your wedding as much as you do. To the average guest, it’s an afternoon/evening celebration.

      Tablescapes and flowers arrangements are pretty, but as soon as the meal is served and everyone sits down that table becomes an ugly dumping ground for trash and purses and junk. Don’t overthink it or go overly wild here unless you just really love flowers.

      Finally, only spend the money if 1) you have it AND 2) you want to spend it. If you don’t agree with BOTH, then don’t spend it.

      • This s very wise advice. Also, speaking as a wedding guest, I do not need a party favor. Save yourself the money and the time deciding about those.

        • +1 I also don’t want to feel like I have to take a vase of flowers or centerpiece at the end of the day when you ask me if I want one with the look on your face that says I don’t want to carry these to my car but I didn’t think about this until right this second.

      • Seventh Sister :

        I don’t know, I felt like my husband and our mothers cared A LOT more about the wedding than I did. I’d never been the sort that wanted a big white wedding, so I wasn’t really into a lot of the tiny (and some of the big) decisions.

    • Try to budget for a day of wedding planner – someone who’s job it is to coordinate with the vendors, tip people, handle all the small stuff that comes up, direct family members, etc. is a GODSEND. You want to just hand off your phone and enjoy the day, not try to direct great-aunt candace on the proper route from the hotel to the venue.
      Beyond that – eat! and either put snacks in your purse or put someone else in charge of it- I gave granola bars and water bottles out to all my bridesmaids in their gift bags and the groomsmen were super jealous ;)

      • Yes. I was a fairly laid back bride with a casual wedding and the wedding planner made our wedding 1,000 times more enjoyable. She did everything from get us discounts with vendors, deal with our really difficult venue (it was on a farm that doubled as an event venue so the venue coordinator was literally the farmer who didn’t care if lights were burnt out, never returned our phone calls, etc.), to wrangling my MIL who thought she needed to invite the entire town and didn’t see why anyone needed to RSVP.

      • Day-of coordinator, absolutely. 100%.
        If you need to cut the chair decorations to budget for it, do it!
        (Using chair decorations as an example, lol)

      • +1

        My sister got married a few weeks back and on the day of the venue handed her a $7k bill. She looked at it for about 30 seconds and immediately knew it was wrong. She handed it to her wedding planner and said “please handle this — it’s not right”. The wedding planner took it, talked to the venue, and the amount owed was actually $0. Everything had already been paid. It was just one example of 1,000 ways the wedding planner reduced my sister’s stress and allowed her to have a good time at her wedding on the actual day.

        I think everything else is you-do-you, but having someone there to just HANDLE. IT. on the day seems very worth it to me.

      • Senior Attorney :

        + 1,000,000 to day-of coordinator (at a minimum).

        I had a whole-deal planner and it was amazing. Instead of me having to choose from the entire universe of vendors, I told her what I wanted and she brought me maybe two options for each thing. Best money I spent by far.

      • Meg March :

        Plus SOOOOOO MANY

        I had a month-of coordinator who was the most amazing godsend of all time.

    • More of a general tip for photos being taken: really stand up straight! I’m always shocked by how much better I look in pictures when I feel like I am arching the hell out of my back in a ridiculous way and how much worse when I slouch as “normal.”

      • +1 to stand up straight and stick your head out a little more (turtle). made a big difference in my pictures since I have a really round face.

      • One that I was SO glad I was told: hold your bouquet lower than you think you need to. If you hold your arm at a 90 degree angle (which is what feels right), it’ll totally conceal your dress in every photo.

    • Give your photog a list of shots – do you want a group shot of every table? group photos of certain friend groups? shots of the bride and groom with certain family members? Tell him or her.
      We didn’t specify any of this (except a list for formal portraits) and as a result our photog only took photos of the guests on the dance floor and half of our guests – including most of my husband’s extended family – literally weren’t photographed.

      • Senior Attorney :

        +1 to this

        Also it’s nice to have a photo of each table at the reception so you have at least one photo of each guest.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Towards the end of your reception, someone is going to come up to you and ask you if you want to extend the time. You will more than likely want to say yes. Do the math on how much that’s going to cost you – the extra fees for the venue, the extra payment for the band, extending the time on any transportation you may have rented, etc. Know exactly what that will cost you (and if you’re willing to spend it) before you say yes or no!

      • +1 — along these lines, have a plan for what you all will do when the reception is over. If you want to do an after-party event, make a plan for it, and if you’d rather not, know that (and tell your wedding party) ahead of time too. Ask your day-of coordinator or someone else you trust to help you make sure all your gifts, extra food/cake, and decorations you own get back to you safely at the end of the night. It helps to specifically designate someone to look after the card box.

    • I think my top lesson learned from planning my wedding and seeing my friends plan theirs is that it can drive otherwise totally normal people a bit insane.

      People will have surprisingly strong opinions about things you would have never predicted — my mother had a real hard time with the location of my wedding, for instance, and my MIL seemed to take my choice of dress personally (because I didn’t like the one she liked). I know someone who got their feelings really hurt by the wording of my brother’s wedding invitation (step parent versus bio parent, etc). And my family is usually very drama free and functional!

      I don’t say this to scare you — in the end, everything was fine and everyone behaved like grownups. The day was as perfect as it could be. But I found it helpful to frame it as a situation where much larger hopes and fears were being played out on a symbolic level — my mother’s worry that I’ll stay on the East Coast and will be closer to my in-laws, for instance. That viewpoint gave me additional patience and compassion when I might have been tempted to react otherwise. Lots of deep breathing exercises and “does this really matter to me/my husband to be?”

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Someone told me to get comfortable saying “no” to people. I was lucky (???) in that I got all the big disappointments out of the way up front – “I’m not getting married under a chuppa, by a rabbi, in a big white dress, etc., and your friends can’t come.” – so then all the smaller disappointments were easier to dish out.

        • Seventh Sister :

          I think that’s great advice – I wish I’d been comfortable saying “no” more often during the process. And my relatives are usually a pretty low-conflict bunch, so I didn’t expect the bratty behavior, the tearful conversations about NOT changing my name, the relative who was appalled I’d spend the money, etc. etc.

          Also, I definitely thought I was better at handling difficult people than I was at the time. For instance, if you are having your hair and makeup done beforehand, and you think you can include and “handle” your very overbearing mother-in-law (or other relative), know that she will probably insist you buy her lunch and throw a tantrum when you try to get her to leave the hair and makeup location (in my case, our hotel room). She didn’t manage to ruin my wedding, but it was pretty touch-and-go there for a little bit.

    • Remember it! :

      I married pretty young – at 24 – and honestly remember so little about how it felt. Our wedding was a flurry of activity that produced photos. I had a baby at 33 after a couple of years of disappointments in that arena and promised myself that I would truly pay attention to having a child. She’s a teenager now but I clearly recall how happy it felt to have her in my arms and how things looked and felt and even smelled. My advice is to be present and soak it all in. It would be fun to have paid attention to my wedding. :)

      • Senior Attorney :

        Oh, yes. Soak it in. Pay attention. Be present with your spouse!

      • +1 to be present

      • Write it down! :

        This is always my advice as well. With the addition of journaling every memory of your day as soon as possible. Perfect honeymoon activity if you are able to take one right away. And ask your spouse their favorite memories or have them journal too. I never did and always wish I would!

    • Not about planning per se, but here was something that I wouldn’t have known had a friend of mine (already married) had not passed on: after the ceremony is done, you are likely to feel much lighter and less concerned about every little detail. His experience (and mine) was that after the ceremony the thought process was something like “I’m married to this awesome person! Yay; everything that matters about today has happened!” So while details like what lettuce goes in the salad might seem important now (no joke, I had an argument about lettuce with my mom in the planning stages) it will melt away and you will be able to just enjoy the party afterward.

    • Remember that it’s just one day and the most important part is being married to your spouse. I’ve been to tons of weddings, from very low budget shindigs in church banquet halls with no flowers or live music and very cheap food to incredibly extravagant black tie affairs at the Four Seasons with a live band and more flowers than a botanical garden. The only weddings that stand out in a negative way are the ones where the bride (and sometimes groom) were so panicked about details or trivial things going wrong that they were visibly freaking out or ignoring the guests or each other. Do your best in advance to plan a nice wedding, but on the actual day of just relax and enjoy your family and friends and your new spouse. Nobody will care (or even know, probably) if the flowers aren’t the kind you ordered or the favors don’t arrive or whatever.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      DO take five minutes in the middle of the reception to sit with your new spouse in a quiet corner and just have a breather. Get your wedding party to enforce the space if needed. Otherwise your entire wedding will go by without you really *sharing* it as you will be so busy ensuring that you speak to everyone.

      DO NOT, under any circumstances, get suckered by Pinterest/Martha Stewart ideas and make your own cookie placecards with icing in your wedding colours and everyone’s nicknames on them. Ask me how I know.

    • The honeymoon is much better than the wedding!
      Practice your first dance
      Practice/get advice on cutting the cake, it is so awkward
      Determine when you want to STOP making decisions and delegate (week of, Thursday before, etc)
      Stop checking the weather, it’s not going to help
      Go over picture locations with photographer
      Decide when you are done “hosting” at the wedding and have fun. For example: At 10PM my husband and I stopped mingling and partied with our friends.

    • It’s a party! Have fun and don’t take anything too seriously.

      Going anon because this could out me, but a huge storm rolled through right as my wedding was about to begin, and a tree fell over and collapsed our tent, and all of the glassware and centerpieces blew away and many of them broke. The vendors and guests all came together to literally put things back together, and it was actually a really fun bonding experience. I embraced the craziness and we had the time of our lives. If I had cared more about the “vision” of the day, I would have been devastated. Nobody will remember your centerpieces.

      My other thing I always recommend is to tier your registry (for lack of a better expression) if you have one. Basically, decide which items you REALLY want first from your registry, and add that in (be sure that you always have gifts at all price points, though!). Then, as gifts are purchased, add the things you want a bit less as guests buy through the list. It requires babysitting, but it meant that I got all place settings of my china. I’ve seen so many weddings where the couple gets two place settings even though all of their towels all get purchased, or other categories get ignored.

    • Anon lawyer :

      You won’t remember all the little pinterest-y details years later — you’ll remember the people who showed up for you and the moments you had with them. I paid for lodging for a few very close friends and and some family members who wouldn’t have been able to make it otherwise, and that was the best thing I could have done with that money. I have some wonderful, wonderful wedding memories and they are all about the people, not the stuff. As someone else said, at the end of the day you’re hosting a big party in honor of your marriage and you want to be a good host (which involves delicious food, drink, and fun, however you define those things). Yes, it’s a day about you and your marriage, but it’s also a day about your community and the people who love you.

      Don’t bother with favors (no one cares) and spend as little money/effort on centerpieces and floral arrangements as you can. They’re expensive and have very little value-add. And I say this as someone who LOVES flowers and constantly has them around my house.

      Also, buy a wedding dress you feel great in, even if it’s not white, strapless, or otherwise a traditional “wedding” dress. I wore the most fabulous evening gown that was a bit unconventional and it made me feel absolutely amazing.

      • lawsuited :

        I’d say your wedding is MOSTLY a day about your community and the people who love you. If it wasn’t, you and your partner could get married alone at city hall (which I think is a lovely option for couples who feel that getting married is mostly about the two of them).

    • Don’t sweat the small on the day of. Some things might go wrong. Assign someone to fix it and forget it. The day will fly by so you don’t want to waste time being upset.

      Have a morning plan that will calm you. I got married in a castle and has my own suite where only my stylist, my mom, my sister and my bestie were allowed. I had to gentle kick out my godmother bc she started criticizing my veil for not being long enough. I wasn’t having any negative energy. I put on a black and white movie (its calms me), had breakfast and just relaxed. My bridal party joined me to put on the dress.

      My rule was don’t tell me about problems. Just fix it. If the building is on fire, don’t tell me lol just fix it.

    • I have a million dress shopping appointments this weekend, I can’t pick a florist, and I can’t find a hair/makeup person who doesn’t charge $500 for a bride. I’m trying to be zen about my wedding, but right now it seems like a lot of work!

      • Former biglawyer :

        If you post where your wedding will be (what city) the hive might be able to provide some suggestions.

      • lawsuited :

        Remind yourself that picking a dress from the first dress shop, not having flowers and having a friend do your hair/makeup are all reasonable options if you want to forego the fuss!

    • One of our vendors gave this advice, and I’m glad we took it — stay together with your SO during the reception as much as possible. Mingle at cocktail hour together, visit tables together, say hi/bye to guests together, dance together (for at least some songs). This way, you 1) get to actually spend your wedding day with your partner, and 2) feel as though you attended the same event and experienced the same things. Plus, all the guests are there for both of you (there’s not a his side and a her side) and it’s nice to talk to them together.

  9. Doctor confusion :

    I’ve been experiencing hormonal acne as a result of several things and I’m so confused about which kind of doctor to consult. I go to an endocrinologist to treat my thyroid disease, however when I mention that I think it’s making my acne worse she just sympathizes but doesn’t offer treatment. I also have an iud and I know that my acne has also gotten worse since I went off birth control. Do I still go to a dermatologist? Should I push my endo harder? Or go to my gyn and ask about birth control again? My GP was also fairly useless the last time I asked for his opinion.

    • givemyregards :

      Definitely a dermatologist – it’s their area of specialty and they are experienced at taking the other factors your mentioned into consideration.

    • Definitely a dermatologist, but I’d also encourage you to start trying OTC stuff in the interim – differin gel is now OTC, and that’s been a huge game changer for me along with using more gentle asian skincare products instead of trying to go all scorched earth on my skin.

    • Dermatologist. Absolutely.

      Most other doctors do not see acne as a medical problem. They are therefore not inclined to treat it. If only they knew how great an impact it can play ….. Dermatologists know.

    • Agree that you should see a dermatologist. I had fairly bad hormonal acne, though possibly due to different reasons than you, and a prescription for spironolactone helped quite a bit. My dermatologist first recommended the pill, but I have an IUD as well, so she suggested the spironolactone and it was great.

  10. Does anybody use a delivery service for groceries bought at Costco? We are in the Chicago area. Do you know any grocery stores in the Chicago area where they deliver the groceries or get them ready for you for pick-up? Thanks!

    • Does Chicago have Instacart? That’s what i use in Boston for Costco shopping.

    • Minnie Beebe :

      Yes, Chicago has Instacart. Costco and Whole Foods are both available. Not sure if it’s available outside the city, though.

      • You may be able to go to the website, plug in the zip code you’d get the delivery to, and see what stores are shoppable.

    • It’s been awhile since I was staying in Chicago, but I think Instacart did at the time.

    • Google Express delivers Costco in D.C. though they’ve started shipping the items instead of delivering them directly.

    • anonlawyer :

      i just got an email from costco the other day saying they now deliver and cater. didnt read it, but i’d check their website or call the store.

    • Peapod delivers to you and sets them on your counter.

  11. Any advice as to how to complete a job application after the deadline? I found out about openings at my federal agency on a Friday with a deadline of Monday. However, the application required a form that I did not have access to because I could not find or remember the most recent password change. Even if I asked for a password reset on Friday, it usually takes a few business days for a response. Should I call, email, or give up? What is the best way to handle this?

    • You found out last Friday, it was due Monday, and it’s now Wednesday? Give up. The time to do anything was Friday.

    • Why didn’t you ask about the PW reset Friday? That might help guide next steps.

      • I did not ask about the PW reset on Friday because I read the email at the end of the work day and the gov’t has strict rules about working past your set hours without permission.

    • I hate to say this, but most likely give up. You *could* try contacting the hiring authority and simply saying that if it gets reposted, you’d be interested–leave out any explanation or story of missing it this time–(ie, hope for someone to care, try to get a courtesy heads up and nothing more, and don’t hold your breath), but abandon hope of catching this application train this time. The process is just so complicated and moves quickly that they stick to the posted deadlines most often.

      I think you know this based on your comment, but this is a good reminder to make sure *today* that you have everything you need should another posting come up without having to wait or rely on other folks/agencies/processes.

    • There isn’t a best way, you’re SOL on this one.

    • Strongly disagree if you’re otherwise a highly qualified candidate. I get applications after the deadline through various channels and I absolutely DGAF about the ‘deadline’ if the person coming to me is the person I need to hire.

      • Are you hiring through USAJobs at a federal agency? My answer is based on the OP’s specific example. Although I admit that I made the assumption that USAJobs was the portal the OP was applying for. That short of a window also makes it appear that they know who they are going to hire already, but had to post the job publicly before they could move forward.

  12. Any recommendations for a hair care product to take care of flyaways and frizzies, especially for second/third day hair? I typically use Batiste dry shampoo to take for oily and adding some body back in, but it still gets a bunch of flyaways. TIA!

    • I use L’Oreal Sleek It Frizz Vanisher Cream. Just put a tiny bit on your finger, rub it between your hands, and very lightly run your hands over your styled hair. It tucks the frizzies away into the rest of the style. When my hair is wet, I rub a larger dollop into towel-dried hair, and then when it dries it stays in the style, and never gets frizzies in the first place.

    • I like Living Proof. I live in Houston- humidity central. Check out some reviews online.

  13. ParisinAugust :

    I’m going to Paris in August to celebrate a milestone birthday. I’d like to make a few once in a lifetime meal reservations. Any recommendations? I have easily cancelled reservations in the 4th Arr. in La Marais, and would welcome any thoughts about the location as well.

    Also, I’ve tried to make online reservations at Jules Verne, Epicurre, and Lasserre, and all are booked already. Am I too late?

    • ParisinAugust :

      That was unclear — I have reservations at a HOTEL in the 4th Arr. (La Marais area) at La Pavillon de la Reine. Is that a nice area to stay for a first time visitor?

    • I was there in April. J’ami Louis – it was out.stan.ding. It’ll cost you an arm and a leg, but it was insanely memorable.

      • Also, Le Timbre is also a small neighborhood place, but incredible. We did a lunch at Tour d’Argent. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but we had the absolute greatest time.

      • ParisinAugust :

        Thank you! Writing these down.

    • I just got back from a week in Paris and stayed about a block from that hotel. Amazing location, can’t recommend enough. It was quiet (not touristy busy) but so close to restaurants, nightlife, and shopping.

      We had dinner at La Scene and enjoyed it immensely. There were only two other tables there mid-week, so lots of attention from the service, and food was amazing.

      • ParisinAugust :

        Thank you!! So happy to hear. Also, especially since you stayed in that area, how did you get around? Did you rely mostly on public transportation, or taxis? Or do I need to do anything in advance to set up our visit?Ideally, we’ll be able to walk to dinner in the area, and either use public transportation or taxis to get to the tourist spots.

        • That’s perfect! You can certainly walk to dinner and the metro is really easy. Buy or borrow Rick Steves’ guide book. It’s perfect for a first time visitor.

        • 10:24 here– we did a combination of those things. We walked A LOT– on our first day, we walked from our apartment to Luxembourg Garden, all over the left bank, and back. That was kind of insane, in retrospect, and we did a lot more Metroing after that. Metro was very easy to figure out and cleaner and faster than I was used to (DC). We were lucky to have data service on our phones which helped (Google Maps could give metro instructions). Others in our group used the bike share quite a bit. We did take Uber as well for getting to the airport with lots of stuff and to dinner when we were dressed up and didn’t want to metro. Taxis seemed hard to find just driving around, so definitely recommend the Uber route (or maybe since you’re in a hotel, not apartment, you’ll have more luck with taxis). We didn’t have to do anything beyond having our existing Uber accounts (but you will need data service or wifi to use it).
          Seconding the Rick Steven rec. We had his 2017 Paris book and used it constantly, which I didn’t expect (I’m usually more of a “wing it” person).

          • And, should add– the “insane” reference to walking was complicated by the fact that we had a toddler with us and I was 6 months pregnant. Likely would have been totally fine to keep walking even to the tourist spots otherwise, as walking around Paris is a whole experience in itself that I truly loved.

          • ParisinAugust :

            This is so helpful, thanks to all. I also typically “wing it,” and husband and I are traveling without kids. I ordered the book, and am realizing Ishould do some prep work for this milestone trip.

          • I did a TON of planning, since we traveled with kiddo, and was glad I did, mostly so we didn’t waste time with the “So what should we do today?” debate every morning. I kept a spreadsheet of each day and our target destinations, and loosely stuck to it. We got more rain than I expected and was forecast, which was tricky with a toddler who wouldn’t enjoy museums, so keep that in mind when you’re planning too.

    • I’m sure you’ve already heard this, but know that a lot of places will be closed or have limited hours due to August being vacation month.

  14. Shopaholic :

    I recall suggestions here before about intermittent fasting – how does that work exactly? How many meals/snacks are you having if you’re only eating between 12-8pm? And coffee in the morning? Allowed or a cheat?

    I want to try this but I’m not entirely sure how it all works.

    • It’s really variable – MyFitnessPal is a good resource for this. IFers I know drink black coffee and have no issues. I’d eat your normal about of calories/macros in that window, and adjust accordingly based on your experience and goals.

      • JuniorMinion :

        No experience with IF (just not for me / have struggled with gastro issues my whole life and do better with measured out periodic eating) but MyFitnessPal is great. It’s a little bit harder if you cook more complicated items as opposed to just eating whole plain / packaged foods, but you can log recipes from the internet as well as just enter your own recipes.

      • MyFitnessPal also has a forum for IF – check it out.

    • It’s really simple. You eat from 12 – 8 pm (some people eat from only 2 – 8 pm, but don’t start out doing that). If you consume greater than 50 calories during the time you’re supposed to be fasting, you’re breaking your fast. So that means ideally you want to consume 0 calories outside of your eating window. So black coffee or tea is ok but don’t add milk or sugar.

      When I first started doing it I was very strict and only had black tea in the morning, no sugar or milk. Now that I am back at my target weight I have started to cheat and have added some milk and sugar. My recommendation is that you start out strictly, then ease up later on.

      Once you break your fast, you can have lunch and then dinner later on, and if you want you can have snacks in between. There isn’t really a limit on how many meals you should have. Obviously you want to eat well and not binge on pizza and nachos every day. But I definitely have wine and chocolate and chips if I want to, just in moderation. I don’t count calories but if I guessed I would say that I’m probably eating 1700 calories a day or so. Some people who do intermittent fasting combine it with keto (low carb) for more rapid weight loss, but I definitely do not do that.

      The intermittent fasting reddit page is a really great resource.

      I absolutely love eating this way and I don’t even really think about it anymore. I tried various diets and exercising like crazy and nothing worked. I managed to shed my post-partum 10 pounds within 3 weeks and I have kept it off easily months later, even with indulgences like ice cream and wine and what not. Best of luck!

      • +1 to the IF reddit page! Tons of info. DH is currently doing a long fast, planning to resume IF after (he’s been doing IF for about six months). I have watched him struggle with his weight for years and it is SO. JOYFUL. to see this work for him. It requires so little effort too. I’m a huge fan.

      • Shopaholic :

        This is amazing thank you. I am very excited about the idea of seeing progress with very little effort… I have seen very little progress over the last 6 months with a lot of effort so I thought I needed to try mixing it up.

        • Well, let me make a slight adjustment: it’s very little prep/physical effort. The mental effort can be tough, at least at first. Be sure to tell someone you’re doing this at least for accountability, if not support and commiseration (esp if you have a roommate/significant other/someone who’s bringing food into your house). Tell your friends if you think they’ll be supportive. I’ve watched hubs turn down beer (he decided not to tell our friends he’s doing IF) and they are all like “whoa dude that’s weird are you ok?” and I understand his reasons for wanting privacy, but it’s hard to be nonchalant about it. I don’t love our food obsessed culture. Also, if you have an avocado or bone broth when you have a headache or are starving or tired or just can’t take it anymore – don’t beat yourself up. You’re still in ketosis, which is part of fasting. This is a process, not a quest for perfection. Hugs to you – You can do this! Keep us posted on your progress.

      • How do you have a life? How do you go out to dinner?

        • Easy! In general I try to finish up dinner by 9:30 pm at the latest if I’m going out with friends. That has nothing to do with IF, just that I don’t personally like eating any later than that. I’ll then just adjust my eating window the following day (I’ll have my first meal at 1 pm or 2 pm the next day).

          What I love about it is that you can adjust the schedule depending on what you have going on that day. And of course if you’re on vacation and want to stop IF altogether there’s that option too. Others only do it 5 days a week and then eat normally on weekends. There’s a lot of flexibility with IF.

    • Check out Martin Berkhan’s leangains site. I fast for 14 hours and eat within 10 every day, but some people do a 16/8 split. I’ve lost about 10 lbs since May. I found it really helped me lose stubborn belly fat, but YMMV.

      I eat two meals per day, with my first meal being the largest. I will sometimes have a snack mid-day, but I’m almost never hungry if I eat enough at my first meal.

    • I sort of accidentally started to doing this a few months ago and didn’t realize it was a thing until I read about it here. Not sure if I do it “right” necessarily but probably pretty close. I eat lunch around noon, dinner around 7-8 and nothing more than a piece of fruit in the morning (like a single apple). I only do this on weekdays though and have more normal breakfasts on the weekends. So far, it’s been decent – I probably lose about 1-2 lbs a week, but sort of backslid during a vacation :(

    • Wait, so we are calling skipping breakfast “intermittent fasting” now? Is that all there is to it? When did this become a thing?

      • This is my question as well.

        • Joan Wilder :

          Same. I often don’t eat anything until 2 or 3 PM (though I eat dinner later and sometimes a late snack) because that’s when I am hungry. I am pretty sure years of it have messed with my metabolism since I am gaining and not losing weight. I also feel really unhealthy when I log my food because it’s all snacks and dinner.

          • Anonymous :

            Snacks and dinner isn’t unhealthy. There is a lot of benefit to eating several smaller “meals” rather than big ones. So you skip breakfast, have several small meals instead of lunch, and have dinner. Sounds good to me, and is close to what I do. I usually log at least one snack as a lunch.

      • Haha! I have the same thought. See my comment above – I basically started skipping breakfast and was delighted to find out that it was actually supposed to be helpful.

      • Anonymous :

        Intermittant fasting is not necessarily skipping breakfast, it is any eating pattern where you restrict eating into specific times.

    • Frozen Peach :

      I backed into this way of eating after practicing it accidentally for years. Mine is different from those described above but it is showing dramatic results. Essentially, I follow a one day off, one day on fasting pattern. Sometimes two days off, two days on.

      During fasting days, I drink coffee or tea with milk and sugar in the morning, then nothing until dinner at 8:30 or 9 pm. Eat a reasonably large, but not crazy dinner. The next day I make a point of eating at least three balanced meals and frontload good fats and protein (I eat so. much. fat.). This works particularly well because I often fast on Thurs/Fri and then eat whatever I want all weekend. I find that, not only does it balance out over the days into a reduced overall calorie intake, it has really jumpstarted my metabolism.

      One major caution: on fasting days, be very careful about blood sugar dips and effects on mood/migraine triggers. I am very careful to hydrate well (lots of herbal tea with stevia) and drink a cup of juice or a protein shake if I feel like I’m getting lightheaded or haingry or I start to feel a migraine coming on.

      I was extremely relieved when I found out there was a name for this!

    • You might check out a book called the Obesity Code. It recommends IF, but not on the schedule described here. Instead, it recommends basically a one day on, one day off.

  15. SF Bay Area Help? :

    Later this month we’re flying to California for a wedding. We land around noon at SFO and don’t need to be in San Jose until late in the evening (we’ll have a car). We’ve been to SF recently and would like to get out of town and do something else for a half day. Thoughts/ suggestions from the northern Cal experts on here? We like adventure and would love to be outside just exploring, maybe a small town or an easy day hike. I was thinking about Half Moon Bay but don’t really know exactly where. Is there somewhere else on the way or otherwise nearby you’d like to spend 5-6 hours? Thanks!

    • Berkley?

    • Muir Woods is really nice and would be on the way, I believe. Not on the way but not too far out of the way would be Sausalito, which is beautiful. You could also combine one of these with walking around the Stanford campus, which is also beautiful (they have lots of Rodin sculptures and a stellar art museum, plus the church is gorgeous)

      I wouldn’t do Berkeley or the East Bay, you’re going in the other direction and traffic can be terrible.

      • Muir Woods is really nice, but is definitely not on the way. Same for Sausalito. Both will require driving either through the city or through the East Bay (which, as you say, are in the opposite direction from SFO > SJ).

        OP’s idea of Half Moon Bay is good geographically, but I don’t know enough about it to make recommendations. Santa Cruz is another option, though it would require essentially driving past San Jose and then doubling back later on (traffic likely unpleasant but not terrible if not during rush hour).

      • Muir Woods is not on the way, but there are nice walks in the mountains on the Peninsula. You might be thinking of Big Basin, which also has redwoods. I also like Castle Rock park, which is easier to get to from the eastern side of the mountains.

    • Ferry to Sausalito?

    • Big Basin Redwoods State Park has some lovely hikes if you want to see some big trees!

      • +1. Also Windy Hill, or the dish hike on Stanford’s campus would be lovely and on your way. Combine with some authentic tacos in Redwood City.

        Another option I love is the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve in Moss Beach (just north of half moon bay). Great place for finding sea life in tidepools, viewing sea lions resting on the beach, and doing some short hikes.

    • Bay Area Native :

      Half Moon bay is a nice destination geographically given your parameters. I’d have a late leisurely lunch in HMB then meander down highway 1 and check out the various beaches along the way. Pescadero is my favorite. And that drive is gorgeous. I sometimes do it for fun – leave myself an extra hour to get to San Jose or Santa Cruz so that I can take 1. (I live in Berkeley now, used to live in the city)

      • Another Bay Area Native :

        +1 also a bay area native, seconding this!

        Muir Woods is out of the way, if you want to see redwoods you can do Big Basin, but it’s at least a 2 hour detour minimum. I would have lunch in Half Moon Bay and just drive the one down the one for a leisurely and scenic drive.

      • Lorelai Gilmore :

        Totally agree with this. We like Sam’s Chowder House in HMB for oceanfront dining, or there’s a brewery in HMB that does beer flights – lots of fun.

    • I would head south and spend the day in Santa Cruz or capitola

  16. Can anyone tell me about their experiences getting started with prescription retinol? I just started with tretinoin (a low dose) and I’m only using it twice a week and my formerly nice and even skin is all red and blotchy. I’ve been washing my face, waiting 15 minutes, applying a pea sized amount and then waiting a few minutes and slathering on moisturizer.

    It’s only been a couple weeks. Is this just something I’ll need to continue to adjust to? Anyone have tips/different routines they can share?

    • Wonder Woman :

      Are you using it for acne? Or for anti-aging?

      I’ve been on it off and on since my teens and I don’t put it all over, just to spot treat and just in problem areas. I have really oily skin but in winter I can overdo it. So maybe cut back to weekly?

      Also, in the summer I rarely use it b/c I’m in the sun enough that even with sunscreen I worry that I will ruin my skin. I break out a lot by after Labor Day I start up again slowly.

      • So this is a really good point about using retin-a in the summer and one that I haven’t given enough thought to. I use it somewhat sporadically (maybe 1 or 2 a week) and I do use it during the summer. Should I not? What do you mean about it ruining the skin? I do wear sunscreen every day (SPF 40).

        • Wonder Woman :

          By ruin, I mean fry to the point of causing skin damange b/c of underlying retinol sensitivity. So I only use Retin-A at night before bed and before I go out in the sun I put on heavy, heavy sunscreen and often I will wear a hat also.

          Nights and weekends I’m outdoors a lot from May – September.

      • anti-aging – i’m 33 and it just felt like a good time!

        Oh, I do wear sunscreen every day!

        • Wonder Woman :

          I’m in my late 40s and for years just used stri-dex pads as a cleaner. I think it’s like a mild retinoid, but it is usually sufficient. I’m back on retin-a for about 1.5 years after some large pea-sized painful things began forming beneath the skin on my chin and cheeks (WTF hormones) starting about two years ago. I use the stuff sparingly (so far: a pump container has lasted since last October).

          For someone my age, oily skin + low-test retinols + sunscreen probably has give me the skin of someone younger, but it’s probably all 3 things combined and not any one thing. But the acne is the worst thing — I will be in a walker and dealing with whiteheads, blackheads, and cysts.

      • Hi, I have previously posted under Wonder Woman before. Just as an FYI, previous posts were me, this is not. Carry on.

    • Your skin should adjust but I do a few things to help combat redness/irritaion with differin gel:
      use a hydrating mist or toner first, and then put the gel on right after – the moisture from the mist/toner helps the gel spread better with less tugging, and also provides a slight barrier.
      You can repeat this step after your retinol dries.
      I’d then start to layer on moisturizers – serum, then a thicker moisturizer, then a sleeping pack. Adding in toner/mist in between will also give you waay more moisture.
      If you’re really irritated, I’d also try a nice sheet mask as well.
      And for the love of pete – a SEPARATE SUNSCREEN! (not what’s in your BB cream) Every day! No matter what!

      I’d read the blog fiftyshadesofsnail – I have oily/acne prone skin, but she’s got dry skin that tends to be flaky with retinoids and suggest some great products.

      • so helpful – thanks!

      • Disagree. If your BB cream has 5% zinc oxide, that’s a whole lot better than an SPF50 with a chemical sunscreen that does nothing for UVA rays.

        • This argument makes no sense. Most chemical sunscreens have broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and are labeled as such. A lot of people think zinc oxide is healthier because it’s more “natural” or whatever, but I haven’t seen any legitimate evidence that it offers better sun protection.

          • Chemical sunscreen does not provide UVA protection that’s equivalent to a mineral (zinc or titanium dioxide) sunscreen with equal SPF. Lots of info out there if you do a bit of googling.

      • I would NOT use a hydrating anything beforehand–the point of waiting 15 minutes is that retinol is extremely reactive to water molecules. Slathering anything on before would exacerbate that, if there is any water at all in the product. My derm told me to wait 15 minutes minimum, but often half an hour post-face wash, and also to “cut” the retinol with a very basic, no sunscreen, super-gently lotion beforehand.

    • It definitely takes a while for your skin to adjust, but it gets better. In the meanwhile, you could try spacing out the nights when you’re using it even more. I also started out mixing the retinol with my moisturizer – just putting some of both on my hand, rubbing it together, and then putting the mixture on my face so it was sort of diluted. Make sure you’re using sun screen during the day, too!

    • Your derm gives me a “blender” cream to mix the tretinoin with. Paula’s Choice has an oil that you can mix with retinol to decrease sensitivity. It worked great when I was using retinol and might be worth trying.

    • I’m also using tretinoin and per my dermatologist, that requires using a SPF 50 mineral sunscreen whenever you’re going to be out in the sun. SPF 30 mineral sunscreen is okay for just sitting in your office, commuting, etc.

      After much experimentation, I use the Kiehl’s SPF 50 tinted mineral sunscreen (active ingredient: titanium dioxide) when I’m going to be walking around out in the sun. For normal days at the office, I use Keys SPF 30 moisturizer (active ingredient: zinc oxide). This has seemed to work pretty well for my skin, which is somewhat dry and doesn’t do well with many other mineral sunscreens that are a bit white and chalky.

  17. Wonder Woman :

    I finally saw this.

    I usually hate superhero movies and summer blockbuster things.

    I adored it. And, oddly, it has made me want to go to the gym again. Must be able to battle evil! And to get my General Antiope style back :)

    • Granted I love superhero movies, but have you watched Captain America? It’s also set in WWII and it’s my favourite superhero movie. I think the period setting makes it unique and more enjoyable for me because I love historical things.

    • +1 to Wonder Woman being great inspiration to go to the gym! That movie made me want to work out and get stronger so I can do awesome stuff, not just infinite salads + treadmill in futile attempts to be as skinny as the typical token female in superhero movies (looking at you, Gwyneth Paltrow/Pepper Potts).

    • This! It was so refreshing and inspiring to see a woman in a film celebrated for being strong.

    • Linda from HR :

      I saw it again last night and loved it! I am a huge nerd and I really like superhero movies, but this is definitely one of my favorites and everything I’d been hoping for. I actually cried the first time I saw it because it just made me so happy.

      And did you know that the actress who played Antiope was Princess Buttercup? How awesome is that?

      • It was good to see her play a good guy after House of Cards.

        I remember her as Eden Capwell from . . . Passions? Or some other cheesy-named daytime soap.

        • O M G I miss Passions. So terrible. Such an excellent guilty pleasure.

        • KS IT Chick :

          Santa Barbara. I was shocked when I saw her playing Princess Buttercup all those years ago! I was a devoted fan of SB my senior year of high school & freshman year of college.

  18. Refinancing Car? :

    Another new adult here (ha – hilarious) with a question about refinancing a car. Where would you recommend looking to refinance a car if (1) you have a good credit score – mid 700s; and (2) you have about $11k left on the loan? Also, if you have a fully funded rainy day fund, but six figure student loans at 6-7% interest, does it make sense to throw my $5k bonus toward the refinancing or just to the loans?

    I’m overloaded with information, have never refinanced anything, don’t know where to start and am just desperately turning to the wisdom of the hive. Thanks all.

    p.s. it’s hump day!

    • What’s the interest rate on your car loan and how many months are left?

    • Sell it! You have six figure student loan debt, you can’t afford that car.

      • Having a car is often a necessity for things like jobs so one can pay off their student loans…

        • So true! Having one you still owe $11,000 on presumably after some time period of paying it off isn’t.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      What’s the point of the refinance? Is it to get lower interest rate or to get someone else off the loan?

      • +1 – How is the refinance going to benefit you.

        If it’s to extend the payment period of the loan, hell no. Do not refinance. the assest you are financing is depreciating as you speak. Continue paying off the loan.

        If the interest rate on the car is more than the student loans, prioritize the car loan and throw extra there. Personally I’d throw the the bonus money at the car, since it’s going to help get that loan off your books faster than the student loan. Probably not the super optimized way of doing things, but I think it will feel better to not have 2 loans hanging over your head.

    • To refinance the car, I would look at local credit unions.

      In this case, I’d probably put an extra $5000 toward the car, whether or not you refinance. It technically is better to put any additional money toward a higher-interest loan. But even assuming the student loan has a higher interest rate, in this case, being closer to a paid-off car (and then actually paying it off soon) will feel really good and allow you to focus on those loans.

      Some posters have suggested selling the car. Check KBB for how much you’d get for your current car. Can you get a solid, reliable car for less than the sell price? If so, selling may be a good option, but I think it depends on a lot of factors.

    • Eeeeh. It’s probably not worth the trouble of a refi. Paperwork. Insurance. Gross.

      However, as a first test: what is your current interest rate and what rate would you get via the refinance? If you have a loan from the last 2-4 years, odds are today’s available rates are not better than what you already have. Don’t forget to factor in transaction costs of a refi. Also, de very careful that you are not lured by advertised interest rates which are 99/100 times just teaser rates to get you in the door and engaged in a conversation. Even with credit scores in the 800s and <10% total debt, DH and I got a rate that was about 50 bps greater than the teaser rates we saw.

      I'd be inclined to put that money at the higher interest bearing student loans (again, assuming you have a lower rate on your car than loans).

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Also consider refinancing your student loans. Here is a blog post about my refinance. There are a lot of other players in the game now too so my data might be a bit outdated.

    • Thanks for all the advice – very helpful and appreciated! :)

  19. Raise Help? :

    Does anyone have any idea on how I should approach the topic of a raise with the owner of my company. We’re a small company so he has final say and is not constrained by the bureacracies.

    Here is my dilemma, I am well paid and market rate is hard to really calculate because I wear so many hats due to the size of the company. My concern is that some of my colleagues in our small leadership group are making a fair amount more than me simply due to them being closer to the money stream. I am in a more back office role while they are in a client facing role (though not sales). We are held out as equals but given my position I know exactly what the spread is in our compensation.

    I’ve broached this with the owner a few months ago and he asked what my market rate would be and pointed to that. He said he was not totally shutting it down but we could discuss it again in a few months. The few months have passed and I’d like to broach the subject again.

    I really believe I contribute on an equal level to my colleagues (the ones making more than me) but feel pigeonholed by what my “market rate” is even though I don’t think this is an apt comparison. I should also add that my colleagues “market rate” is also ambiguous but probably less ambiguous than mine. Our company is a unicorn so it makes all these market comparisons very difficult.

    I know it’s advised to not compare yourself to others in raise discussions. I do have a lot of other compensating factors to boost the ask (more responsibility, new subordinates, etc.) but I don’t know if that on it’s own is enough to make a compelling argument.

    Or is the real answer to stop comparing myself to them? I know money is not the end all be all. I am very happy with my position overall but the fact that we are held out as equals in all respects except compensation weighs on me.

    • You aren’t equal because they make the company money and you cost it money.

      • Raise Help? :

        This is fair and something I have considered a lot. I guess I just am constantly reconciling my work to support them making the money. Again this is not a sales vs non sales of conversation. I know pure sales can command a substantial amount more because they are literally bringing in the business. This other position is more of serving the business brought in by sales. Regardless, I get the point.

        • I get it, I just think you ask for a raise based on your performance and your value added, not theirs.

    • Agree that you need to ask for a raise based on your performance. I would build my case as follows:

      – My current role is [Title] and my responsibilities include X, Y, and Z.
      – At our last meeting, we discussed market compensation for my role. As you know, my role as [Title] encompasses more responsibilities than the traditional [Title.] The market compensation for [Title] is [$], but the market compensation for individuals who do X is [$], Y is [$] and Z is [$].
      – Putting aside market compensation, I have accomplished A, B and C since my last raise and I add value to the company by [describe your value adds.]

      If you are competing with those in sales/client facing roles it can be helpful to frame what you are doing in some sort of numbers metric or explain how you are helping those in the sales/client facing roles do their job better.

      I’m currently making $[X] for my role doing [responsibilities 1, 2 and 3.]
      Over the past [period since your last raise], I have done [list of accomplishments], and I believe that I [describe value add to the business.]
      In addition, the market compensation for individuals who do [responsibility 1] is $[market comp], the market compensation for individuals who [responsibility 2] is $[market comp].

    • I have been in this position, so I sympathize with the challenge. I do think you have to stop comparing your salary to theirs (on a personal note, I make it a point not to know what my colleagues make now: that knowledge ate me up inside because I put such a value on “fairness.” I realize you can’t un-know this information so I guess the point of this aside is: this situation sucks and I’m sorry). However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask for more compensation. Just realize that “they make more money, so I should too” is not a valid argument with the boss and could backfire – especially in a small place. Build your case based on all the stellar work you’re doing. If you have a good boss and make a good case, I think the odds are in your favor. Best of luck to you!

    • As a small business owner – I like anonymous’s approach above of breaking down the market value of the positions you fulfill. If you can estimate % of time spent in those positions and come up with a reasonable salary based on that mix, your performance and accomplishments, I’d go to your boss with that information. Small business owners likely aren’t an expert in these figures and probably don’t have time to spend tracking the industry averages. The owner wants to know what’s fair and seems to be fair-minded about it. Let me tell you, if you do good work and enjoy working there, don’t be scared to talk to the owner. I can guarantee that if you come to them with data/evidence and positive attitude, they will listen and consider it. From a boss’s perspective, if it’s possible for them to do so, it’s far less expensive to boost someone’s pay based on solid, reasonable information and make sure you retain that employee than it is to experience turnover. If they aren’t able to give you a raise at the moment, ask them in a non-combative way what the reason they aren’t is and/or what you can do to work toward the salary you desire. If the determination is that additional monetary compensation isn’t in the cards, are there any benefits that you’d be interested in, and could you negotiate a better benefits package?

      Be fair with them, too – I always hope to treat my employees as having an equal voice and value to my company, but not everyone at the company can make the same salary, and salaries can be influenced by a lot of factors, including experience and the negotiation when bringing that employee on.

  20. A closet full of clothes including several suits and yet the only blouse I that I thought would be best for my job interview today (after first choice suit with dress was unexpectedly too snug) is pinned with a binder clip at the back to make sure the neckline doesn’t slip down too far. #winning

  21. I need a new television stand, but I’m between price-points for lack of a better description. I don’t want to build it myself like most of the stuff on amazon and [email protected] (because I’d like the drawers and doors to actually close properly) but I can’t afford pottery barn quality just yet. Suggestions for some kind of middle ground? Preferably around $300? I’m know I’m overthinking it at this point, but honestly, my tv is the most used appliance in my house :)

    • Look on Craig’s List for Pottery Barn, West Elm, etc

    • Same issue here – the ones I’m looking at at furniture stores easily cost $700+ and often $1000 plus; I do like them though bc they are solid wood, will last forever, and provide much needed storage in my apartment. Like you I don’t want to build it myself -that’s what I have now from when I was just starting out at age 25 and it’s good enough but not good quality/drawer doesn’t shut properly/angles aren’t tight. And don’t want to be a snob but I’m not into used furniture.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Something from the Ikea Hemnes line (solid wood) might fit the bill… or

    • Try Etsy! I purchased a gorgeous riddling rack to hold wine from a craftsman at less than 1/2 the price of the identical Pottery Barn rack. Read reviews, the piece I got used quality materials and was incredibly well constructed. I’m sure you can find a TV stand you like – and if one is close, but not perfect, don’t be afraid to ask if they could customize or modify it slightly! The guy who made my wine rack actually produced a custom coffee table top to my specs, as well.

    • Goodwill or other second hand stores. Antique stores (not snobby ones – the fun ones in old grocery stores) are fantastic, too. I got a console table last month at Goodwill for $12. After $7 of paint, it looks like anything Joanna Gaines would use.

    • Wayfair

    • We got one at a local furniture store (not a chain) for $350. Solid wood, made in North Carolina, and we really like it. I think usually big name furniture stores are a rip off. We have bought the rest of our wood furniture at consignment/antique stores. All solid wood and in really good shape. Maple foyer cabinet – $70, Hutch/Bookcase – $50 and my husband just had to repair one of the hinges. The most expensive thing we bought was an antique mahogeny dresser for DD’s room to use as a dresser/changing table. It was $250. You can get NICE dining room table sets for $400-700, and I’m in a HCOL area. It can be hit or miss, but we find that it’s worth it.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Eh, depends on the style you like. It’s really hard to find MCM or even Shaker style second hand without paying a fortune for it. Most things available second hand are made of “warm oak” or mahogany or cherry stained wood, with beveling on every single edge, and/or are heavy “country” style. I hate all of these things. (If you like them good for you! But it is not my thing at all.)

    • You could always buy whatever you like that’s cheaper, and then hire a handyman to put it together. My roommate went through a phase where she wanted to redecorate, but didn’t want to put together furniture…so she bought the furniture online, had it delivered, and then had the handyman come over when we were there together. Might increase your costs, but beats doors that don’t close or furniture that falls apart.

    • If you have a Costco membership, there’s a great one there that’s around $200-300. I don’t see it online, but it was at Costco last time I was there. They update it slightly every year, we have the version from a couple years ago. It holds up really well, has an arm to mount your TV, and has held up really well.

  22. Dress for 4-year old? :

    Can anyone help me with a shopping challenge–a dress for a girl who just turned 4? I usually get her Legos and other educational-type toys, but I’d love to get her a fun dress for a change. She’s in the 98th percentile for height (which I think puts her at about 40 inches) and thin. Blond hair, blue eyes, very smart, very cute, very affectionate. I don’t have children and am at a loss for size, quality, brands, etc. Doesn’t have to be super expensive or super cheap.

    • Maybe Tea Collection or MiniBoden for something special? My mom shops a lot at Tea for my son and assorted family members, and it’s a step up style and quality wise from my usual Old Navy and Gap.

    • A friend’s young daughter loves her Hanna Anderson dresses. The mom says she can almost always get them on sale and they’re very high quality.

      • Lands End has some play dresses that are in the Hanna vein (but easier on the wallet). And cute leggings, too.

        Hanna wins for cotton sweater dresses though — I’ve bought some for me. Wrong season for that though.

      • Hanna is also good for tall kids

    • Anon in NYC :

      I agree Mini Boden is very cute. Also check out Hanna Andersson. Quality is very good, and they also have a “twirl” dress with a skirt that really flies out that could be fun. Also, I’ve found their height/weight ratios work well for tall/skinny kids.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I like to order from Lake and Ramona. They have lots of really cool prints, and the dresses are very high quality. For a while, they had a Hungry Hungry Hippos print, but I’m not seeing that on the website right now.

      • Anonymous :

        I got excited about a Hungry Hungry Hippos dress until I realized you were talking about children’s clothes…

    • Thinkgeek! I think a Ms. Frizzell type dress or something superhero adjacent would be fun.

    • Princess Awesome

    • Svaha makes STEM-themed clothing for girls and women. I like their glow-in-the-dark jellyfish and space dresses.

      If you search “science dresses for girls” on google lots of shops will come up.

  23. When it comes to pregnancy dating, is it normal for doctor’s offices to take your last period as the gospel even if you know when you ovulated? I was keeping track of ovulation and my due date based on when I ovukard is 3 days after my due date based on my LMP, which makes perfect sense since I have 31 day cycles instead of the textbook 28 days. But the doctor is insisting my “due date” is the earlier LMP date. 3 days might not seem like a huge deal, but my doctor’s office has a policy of inducing at 41 weeks, which I’m unhappy about to begin with, and I *really* do not want to be induced as a matter of course when I’m actually only 40 weeks 4 days. (And going well past my due date is very likely based on family history.)

    • *ovukard = ovulated, obviously. What a weird autocorrect!

    • Never too many shoes... :

      My one-time anecdata is that it is pretty normal. My doctor used my LMP for dating even though I was undergoing cycle monitoring and timed intercourse, so I knew *exactly* when I conceived (24 hour window).

      • Same. Unplanned pregnancy and I knew date of conception (and didn’t LMP) and was still asked about LMP every visit for a while. How far along are you, OP? My provider adjusted due date after the 8 week US with the goal of making due date estimate as late as possible (precisely to avoid inductions for the reason you fear– they’re a very anti-intervention-when-not-medically-necessary practice).

    • Yes, but they only use LMP until you get your first scan anyway.

      • Hmm. My doctors office doesn’t do an ultrasound until 20 weeks unless you have evidence of a complication. My understanding is that by 20 weeks there’s a huge variation in growth and my family tends to make big babies so I hope they don’t use that scan to date the pregnancy.

        • lawsuited :

          Are you living in the States where most insurance companies only cover one ultrasound? I’m in Canada, and the practice here is to do a first scan at 12 weeks to date the pregnancy.

          • Yes I’m in the US, although I think no ultrasound until 20 weeks is fairly unusual even here. Most of my friends had a scan in the first trimester.

    • Change doctors. Now.

    • When i read “When it comes to pregnancy dating…” – i thought that this post was going in a very different direction!

    • Can you find a new doctor? If you’re not comfortable with the policy, which I absolutely get, this might not be the doctor for you.

      • Unfortunately, no. Small town and this is the only practice affiliated with the only secular hospital (delivering at a Catholic hospital is a non-starter for me). I could switch to a different doc within the practice but this is a practice-wide policy.

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Sorry just saw this. Ugh. Can you just do the math so your fake LMP date gets you the right date of conception?

          • I told them the real LMP already and I’m not really comfortable lying anyway. I guess I will just cross the bridge when I get to 41 weeks and tell them I don’t want an induction then unless they can give me an explanation why it’s medically necessary. But they really made it sound like I had no choice and I would have to be induced then if the baby hasn’t come on its own.

          • You have to consent to an induction so if it really comes down to it (which pregnancy involves one billion variables so there is a good chance it won’t), let them schedule it and don’t show up. They cannot induce you without your consent.

        • Ugh, I’m sorry. This sounds very stressful. It sounds like you have already told them when your last period was, so fudging the date of that isn’t an option?

          I think refusing to consent to the inducing if/when you get to that point is still an option to you. It might be their policy that they want to do it that way, but it’s still a medical procedure you have to consent to.

          • “It might be their policy that they want to do it that way, but it’s still a medical procedure you have to consent to.”

            And, you know, show up for. They won’t come knocking on your door and drag you to the hospital. :)

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I agree with this — change doctors while you can, if you can.

        Otherwise, maybe ask for a scan to determine age? They adjusted my due date based on that.

    • 1. If you don’t want to consent to a medical procedure, don’t consent to it. Period.

      2. If you think that these people are nuts, you can “be unclear” and have your LMP adjust up by a few days, but I think that #1 (and being clear that your cycles are longer if needed) is just the better way to do things.

      People will ask about LMP forever, even up to when you’re in the hospital to deliver. But some people don’t know (I got pregnant when nursing and periods were very erratic (45 days?), so I can see how people are fuzzy or it’s “maybe some time before my current child was born”).

    • TrustMeImaDoc :

      The convention is to use LMP for dating purposes. Even if you know the second you ovulated. It’s just the language/convention docs use.

      The doctor will measure you at most of your visits to make sure you’re growing at the right rate, so don’t stress.

      The 20 week ultrasound is the big anatomy scan, not for dating purposes. Ultrasounds are super unreliable for estimating a baby’s size anyway. Case in point: I had an ultrasound at 37 weeks, 4 days and was told I was having a 7.5lb baby… I delivered at 37 weeks 6 days to a 10 lb, 12 oz baby. So….yeah. Off a little bit, huh?

      At 40 weeks, you are not going to care about a 3 day difference. Trust me on this! By that point, you’re probably going to be wishing your LMP was way earlier… taking long walks, eating lots of spicy foods…

      • TrustMeImaDoc :

        Misleading the doctor is a bad idea. Why? Google some of the complications of going past your due date.

        You and the doctor should be on the same team: you both want to deliver a healthy, full term baby.

        I would just have an honest conversation with your doctor – “Hey, I’m worried about x because of y” and see how your doctor responds. If you feel like you don’t agree with their answer, express that too, so they can give you the reasoning behind the protocol and their decision making. If you don’t like that, then you can seek out a second opinion or transfer your care.

        Everything that you’ve included in the post sounds like your doctors are following the standard of care. But you should feel good about the care you’re getting, so ask questions and make decisions and do what you need to do – but don’t try to manipulate your care.

      • Also a doctor :

        I agree with the advice not to lie to medical providers, although I think you can absolutely refuse a procedure you don’t want.
        Most women are pretty miserable by 40 weeks, that’s true – but there are a lot of women who would take the misery in exchange for not being induced. Going past your due date has risks, but induction also has many risks (including a vastly increased risk of needing a C-section and an increased risk of uterine rupture and fetal death) and the ACOG guidelines don’t recommend routine induction until 42 weeks, i.e., they see 42 weeks as the point where the risks of being overdue outweigh the risks of induction.
        Something like 30% of first time pregnancies will go past 41 weeks without medical intervention but only 1/1000 will go past 42 weeks so that extra week makes a big difference for a lot of people.
        Long walks and spicy foods are ways of encouraging your body to go into labor on its own and can’t be compared to induction since they don’t carry the same risks. And they’re mostly old wives tales anyway.

    • I think the date will be adjusted based on the scan. Mine was adjusted at 12 weeks and then again at 20, and I got sent for one later in my pregnancy where they basically determined that I could go a bit longer than was the practice due to size/water/etc. If this bothers you though and switching doctors isn’t an option, I would just say you miscounted and give them the date you want them to have. I’m in the opposite boat now based on early scans (doc thinks I am miscounting because they do lots of scans and baby looks bigger to her than I say it should be) and I am just going to let the detailed scan work out the details; the only thing it really matters for now is the blood test they give you after 35 and I’m just making them wait an extra week as a precaution.

    • Currently pregnant, and my doctor’s due date is 1 week earlier than my own personal due date based on when I ovulated. It is very, very annoying that doctors don’t believe women who know their cycles. (With my first preg, I ovulated on day 40, but luckily my doc did a scan to confirm my due date and it was only 2 days off.)

      I am nervous about the whole induction thing, but so far my baby has been measuring in between the two due dates. There are huge variations in full-term/healthy deliveries — my first came naturally at 37 weeks, while some babies go to 42! — so take comfort that the 3 extra days would likely not confer any additional benefits.

  24. Loving this dress! Very form fitting yet very office appropriate! Love checking your blog for office attire ideas!

  25. What to Wear to NYC Biglaw Interview :

    Biglaw Sr. Associate here. Currently in DC, going to NYC for a biglaw interview soon. I know some of the people I’ll be interviewing and they want to hire me. Others I will meet with have never met me.

    Should I wear (1) a traditional black wool suit (skirt + jacket), (2) a grey wool sheath dress with matching grey wool suit jacket, or (3) a poly-blend navy suit that’s lightweight (skirt + jacket). I do have some lighter weight grey pant suits, but I think they are just too informal. I’m leaning toward the grey wool dress with watching grey wool suit jacket. Black suit just seems oppressively hot for July. Or am I breaking a cardinal rule of interviewing if I don’t go with the black suit?

    • Grey is totally fine.

    • Related question: I am a rising 2L, about to do OCI. I look atrocious in black suits with my coloring and do not own one for that reason. I do own navy and charcoal gray suits (much better colors for me) with very conservative cuts and fabrics, which I have always worn for interviews, and never felt out of place or gotten any weird looks from interviewers (FWIW, I worked for 5 years before law school, and did a lot of interviews for my 1L summer job search, so this isn’t just based on college interview experiences). Is it important that I get a black suit for OCI?

      • Triangle Pose :

        Navy is fine.

      • Nope, black suits are NOT required. Don’t buy one if you don’t want one. They aren’t bad to have in the long run, but not necc here.

        A navy suit or a charcoal suit–darker than a light gray–would be great.

      • No! Grey and navy are just fine. Go with what you like & feel good in.

      • Thanks, all!

      • Black suits actually weren’t that common for business until fairly recently (and a lot of men still view black suits as inappropriate for the office). You definitely don’t need one.

        • This shocked me and I just finished reading into this, the idea that black suits aren’t thought to be office appropriate. I don’t work in a business formal setting, so I can’t refute this, but I was surprised to hear this!

  26. I have pink eye, which I haven’t had since maybe middle school? How does this happen?! Yes, I know it’s not limited to kids but wasn’t even on my radar as something that could trip me up in adulthood. At least I got the drops and am working from home today.

    • Hugs! I recently got it from my 4 m/o who got it from Day Care (yay, day care!). At least it’s not foot and mouth? I used the unplanned day off as an excuse to shop for nursery decor (yes, he’s 4 m/o and I still haven’t finished the nursery lol) and clean and sanitize the whole house.

    • The one and only time I got pink eye was in college. Sorority rush somehow got infested with it, and lucky me, my roommate brought it back to the dorm with her…

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Once I got it when my husband had a cold. The doctor was like, “what, did he sneeze in your face?” from which I concluded that it can be the same virus as the cold (some colds? SO not a medical professional here) that just happened to get in your eye? If that makes you feel any better?

    • I got this several times in my office because it was goind around–doorknobs, copier handles, etc. Too many coworkers with rugrats with super-daycare germs!

      Wash your hands often. Use a warm compress washcloth (only once, and never switch between eyes).

      It will be gone soon, but it’s really uncomfy. GL!

    • Ugh. Commiseration! I’ve only had this once, and I was a fully fledged adult. I’m pretty sure I got it from a plane flight (not sure how this doesn’t happen more often honestly). It actually left scars in my corneas.

  27. anonlawyer :

    i got it when my oldest was 3 weeks old, presumably from the pediatrician’s office. been to a dr’s office recently? or around kids at all? those are the most likely culprit.

  28. Paging the Bride Who Baked Her Wedding Cake :

    Senior Attorney asking! Have we had the report back? How did it go? Was it fun or a nightmare?

    Inquiring minds want to know…

  29. Anonymous :

    Lawyers vs non-lawyers working from home?
    I am an in-house attorney, report to an attorney and supervise two non-attorneys. My supervising attorney comes and goes as he pleases. I rarely work from home, but am right now because of a high risk pregnancy. My employees have been sending me a lot of requests to work from home. One sent me two this week. There’s a general culture in my company (and it was like this at the firm I worked at as well) that attorneys could work wherever, and come and go, and the staff had to be in the office for set hours. I know my employees feel this is unfair, but (I’m prepared to take heat on this comment) frankly, they’re not workaholics like the attorneys are. Official company policy is that work from home is allowed in specific circumstances with manager approval. Does anyone else have this cultural/policy split? Am I being unfair by asking that my team work from the office?

    • Anonymous :

      Depends on their role. At my firm, the staff have to work from the office, but they are also all non-exempt (and may have jobs that relate to supporting others (for example, IT can’t fix someone’s computer from home)). I think it is pretty common that only exempt can work from home.

      If these people are non-exempt, they I don’t see why they can’t work from home so long as they get all of there work done.

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