Weekend Open Thread

the best winter boots for snowSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

After my ACL tear and knee surgery a year or two ago, one of my main goals has become “not falling.” (Yes, I’m like a 80 year old, thankyouverymuch — two multi-week stints on crutches will do that to you!) In any event, I bought Sorels that first winter after my surgery, and am very glad I did because I’m so happy to pull them out whenever the weather is lousy. To be clear: my Winter Carnival boots (pictured) are HEAVY mo-fos, both in terms of weight and warmth, and not super ideal for a lot of walking in lighter temperatures — but when you’re looking at snow, slush and ice for days, these are the shoes you’re going to want. I just checked the weight on the product description at Zappos – 1 pound 5 ounces. The Caribou Slim is slightly lighter (1#2oz); the Caribou is even heavier (2#5oz!). I originally wanted the best-sellers, the higher Joan of Arctics (not quite knee high boots, but close) but worried I could only wear them with leggings, skinny jeans or tights — but in reality that’s all I wear my boots with so if you prefer the taller style, go for it. (Those are 2 lbs.)  I’ve pictured the black Winter Carnivals, but they come in a TON of color options: another bonus. (ACK and I just saw that there’s a royal blue version too! I don’t need multiples, I don’t need multiples…) You can find Winter Carnivals as low as $68 at Amazon, Zappos, and occasionally I hear tell of them at Costco as well (though I’m not sure which model you may find, so do note the weight issue); at full price they’re $150. Readers, do you LOVE your snow boots? Which ones do you have? Pictured: Winter Carnival Boots.

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  1. I have a nice pair of boot’s line these that dad gave me in December, so I wear them every day even though they look very clunky, but the saveing grace is that they are VERY warm and I must walk 10,000 step’s a day and when the temperature is 10 degrees with a WIND CHILL factor, that is why I like them, Kat!

    I think all women in NYC should wear these b/c if we do then we will not compare who has more styelish boot’s. We will just say these are all WARM boot’s and we wont freeze our t’oes off. FOOEY on that!

    To the HIVE, go out and spend the $129.95 for the boot’s and if you don’t like them, you can return them, but I would KEEP them b/c it is so cold outside!!! Plus, if you step in poopie, who care’s? Just get your cleaneing lady to scrape them off for you and you can go out again with clean b’oots! YAY!!!

  2. Anonymous :

    For those of you that use weight watchers – has the web site improved? I tried to use it about a year ago and the website was horrible! I cancelled after about 2 days of trying (and failing) to get anything to work. I’m considering it again, but I don’t want to sign up for another round of frustration.

    • Anonymous :

      The app works really well for me now.

    • I use the app 99% of the time, but yes the website is better than it was 2 yrs ago (don’t know about exactly a year ago).

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      The site is adequate. The app is a bit better than that. They are both buggy and have been for years, in my experience. It’s like they spend zero money on a smooth tech experience – perhaps because so many members still attend meetings, track on paper, etc.

    • I really like the app and I LOVE their Connect (WW FB that you can easily access on the app) for days when you feel like quitting – it’s so inspirational!

    • I like the app, too; haven’t used the website really except to sign up.

  3. I have the Sorel Cate the Great snowboots (taller than the Joan of Arctics) for the really cold days – like the past 2 weeks in MN.

    I have the Sorel Joan of Arctic Wedges, Toronto Lace-up, and Farrahs, for your more run of the mill cold winter days. All tolerate snow well, but don’t look like snow boots. But I work in a pretty casual office.

    • Is there anything as high as the Cate the Great boots but has all the form/function of the Joan of Arctics? I have the Tofinos, which are awesome, but they’re too short if I want to go through deep snow.

      • I mean the Cates are snowboots, so I’m not sure how you’re differentiating between the Cates and the Joans in terms of function? Problem is I don’t think Sorel sells the tall Cate Snowboots anymore – all I see are the Cate the Great wedges (which are different).

        • Ah, the wedges are definitely what I’m seeing and they look more like cute boots vs. waterproof + insulated snowboots. That’s too bad they don’t have those anymore.

          • You might be able to find the snowboots on ebay or resale, but it’s going to be hit and miss and sizing. They’re also kind of heavy, so I wouldn’t want to commute in them for long distances. They’re really best for standing/sitting around in the cold.

    • I have the Emilie chelsea boots which are a great and stylish option for up to 4 inches of snow- they’re cute enough to wear most of the time without WEARING SNOW BOOTS.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve had two pairs of Sorel Tofinos which I love because they’re warm and lighter weight than other styles, but I find the traction on them quite poor.

    • SuziStockbroker :

      My 15 year old daughter has the Joan of Artics from Sorel. She loves them and her feet have stopped growing so I scooped them up at an end of season sale last year.

      I have La Canadienne shearling lined suede boots (Vale) that I wear to commute in to work.

      And then I have a pair of Merrell winter boots that I wear outside, to the hockey rink, on the weekends etc. I don’t see the model this year, but it is closest to the Tremblant Tall.

      We get a lot of winter here, so it is reasonable to have mutiple pairs of boots, right? ;)

      I often just end up wearing my Blundstone chelsea boots if I am just running and won’t be outside much.

      By contrast I only have 2 pairs of “winter” office shoes (more like shooties). One black and one gray because I have to wear tights, which I find look odd with coloured shoes.

  4. Let's Play A Game! :

    What is something you just recently found out that might be helpful for others to know?

    For example, I recently learned that, in many/most places, the length of a yellow light on a traffic light is 1 second per 10mph of the speed limit where the light is. So it’s a 5 second yellow for 50 mph, 3.5 second yellow in a 35mph zone. Knowing this helps me to judge when to brake vs drive through and when to expect others to brake/drive through.

    Your turn!

    • Similarly, for certain lights in my city at least, the cross walk timers expire at the same time as the light turns yellow. So I can just look and see how many seconds I have left… if it’s about to hit zero and too I’m far away, I don’t speed up because I know it’s about to be yellow.

      • Traffic Engineer :

        These are really cute. There is a science to how signal timings are developed. Feel free to peruse the MUTCD (Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices) – it’s an FHWA publication that must be followed on public right of way.

    • I like this game!

      I read about how children respond better when given a choice between things because they like to have control over themselves (FWIW I have no children) – e.g. would you like carrots or peas with your chicken

      Also, imagining yourself in real-life situations helps you be better prepared for emergencies.

      • Anonymous :

        +1, that’s how my mom did it for us kids. Limited options (this shirt or that shirt?) prevent chaos, but give the child autonomy.

      • Peas or carrots :

        I try this with my kids and the answer is usually neither. Or silence. Boo… But it’s definitely the recommended approach.

    • I learned about the Medical ID function on the iPhone. Press “emergency” on the home screen, then push the red “medical ID” in the lower left. Shows all provided medical info to anyone that checks it (eg. a first responder).

      You can update it from the health app (the white box with a pink heart) on your phone.

      I highly recommend listing any allergies, medications and doses. a sibling of mine was hospitalized recently and it took HOURS to sort out her meds and doses because we didn’t have her bag or her prescriptions with us.

      Also you can provide an emergency contact, which can be useful even for a situation where someone simply finds your phone.

      • Similarly I learned that if you push the power button five times on your iPhone you get the option to access the medical ID or do an emergency sos.

    • Keeping with the driving theme, when you’re on the highway and you see the sign for your exit, look what side of the sign the little exit number sign on the top is placed on — it appears on either the right or left hand side of the exit sign, depending on what side of the highway the exit itself is on. Maybe lots of folks know this already, but I had no idea up until recently and it’s really helped when driving in unfamiliar areas!

      • I had no idea!

        Thank you!

      • Traffic Engineer :

        If the exit is on the left, it MUST have a “LEFT” exit plaque. If it doesn’t, complain to your county/elected official/DOT!

      • S in Chicago :

        When an emergency vehicle is coming to your intersection, you can tell whether it is approaching from the cross street or the street you’re on by whether the little light on the traffic signal remains solid or flashes. I can never remember which one it is though. :P

        • Traffic Engineer :

          This is NOT true everywhere. If the traffic signal owner (usually a DOT/County/City) has installed emergency vehicle traffic signal preemption, the presence of an emergency vehicle can override the preexisting traffic signal programming. Please do not expect this to be the case everywhere.

    • Anonymous :

      The dashboard in your car has a little arrow by the fuel icon. It tells you what side your flap is on, so you know how to position your car at the gas station.

      • Baconpancakes :

        I tell my SO this literally every time he drives my car and he still asks what side the gas tank is on.

      • SuziStockbroker :

        I learned this when I rented a lot of cars last year. But not until I’d pulled into the gas station on the wrong side a few times!

      • Anonymous :

        +1 i saw this through fb clickbait but it’s soooo useful!

      • DS learned this in driver’s ed and taught it to me, so I finally learned this at age 50. :/

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          If it helps, I think it’s only recently on most cars. My car’s a 1997 and doesn’t have an arrow. I only learned this a few years ago when traveling with a coworker in a rental car.

          • The arrow is new, but the concept is not. Take a look at the gas icon relative to the gas gage- if it’s on the right or left of the gage, that will tell you which side the gas cap is on.

          • Edna Mazur :

            Nope. I had a car that was the opposite. But there was an arrow right next to it. The care was a 2001

      • Just do not rely on this in Europe. My Volvo has gas meter on he left, while the gas tank entry is on the right.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I learned the word “precacity” — it means precariousness! It’s one I’d seen in articles and “huh”ed at but now I know! And now you know too!

  5. London/Paris :

    I’m going to London and Paris the week after next. Booked it rather last minute, but am struggling with what to pack. I’ve been to both before but will be doing a mix of touristy stuff (going w a friend who’s never been) and nicer restaurants. I want to look stylish but be comfortable and be able to walk a lot. Any advice for packing for this difficult time of year?! Also, would appreciate any off-the-beaten path recs. Thanks!!

    • Anonymous :

      Jeans, booties, rain boots, coat, scarf, tops, black tops for evening, one black dress to wear with tights and booties, hat scarf gloves, camisoles, extra socks.

      • Dont bring rainboots- too bulky! Bring chelsea boots- waterproof if you have them (blondo, aquitalia, etc) and black jeans so that you’re comfortable but a little dressier than regular jeans.

        My winter travel uniorm is black jeans and chelsea boots, a big drapey thin cashmere sweater, a trenchcoat or other thin, warm coat (patagonia fiona is good for this!) and a big thin, warm scarf (cashmere or merino) with the lo and sons pearl bag.

        • Anonymous :

          I brought these. Not bulky at all.


          • Senior Attorney :

            Those are great! If it ever rained here I would totally be buying them!

          • Anonymous :

            Those are cute but I primarily wear rainboots so my calves don’t get soaked. I hate wet legs.

    • I live in London and it’s kind of mild right now (well… by my Boston standards) and a bit rainy. I’d pack good walking shoes because it’s really nice to explore on foot. I’ve been wearing some very chunky Clarks loafers for damn near every occasion and work (+ mile walking commute) lately and have found them more than adequate without needing boots and without being too out of place.
      For off-the-beaten path recommendations, I’m not sure this counts but Borough market is cool to walk through, particularly for lunch. Actually, it doesn’t count because it’s really packed – but there are tables and tables of cheese and pastries so…the path is beaten for a reason.
      Here’s something cool off the beaten path if you like cool looking venues: http://mirthmarvelandmaud.com/

    • Jackalope :

      We did a London/Paris trip this summer! In London we ate at the Ledbury – if you can get a reservation it was incredible (fancy Michelin starred place). Otherwise we schlepped around to the usual museums. In Paris, we really like to eat at Le Petit Pontoise. They do reservations online and it isn’t too hard to get in. I would also recommend Le Grand Bain – it’s a bit off the beaten path, but filled with Parisians (i.e. not tourists) and really delicious. On Saturdays there is a long market that runs the length of Avenue du President Wilson and we loved wandering through it. It’s mostly food but we also found textiles there. If you’re staying at an AirBNB I would definitely recommend getting some of your food there!

    • Puddlejumper :

      I have a pretty good London recs google drive from living there for 3 years if you want restaurant recs. Post your email and I can send it to you!

    • Focus on good footwear, good outerwear, and then layers!

      I spent a week in Germany before Christmas, mostly outside at Christmas markets, and having those things in order was perfectly comfortable (and I even packed carry-on only!). I brought warm-ish waterproof ankle boots (Uggs Simmens – which do NOT look like the ugly Uggs!), a good warm and waterproof coat (North Face Arctic Down), and wore wool baselayers (shirt and leggings) each day (Some good brands are Ibex, Icebreaker, and Smartwool – check amazon, REI, and other outdoors-wear stores), then a thicker wool sweater (I only brought 3 big sweaters for the week, and just alternated over a clean base layer). Make sure that your baselayers are also acceptable tops on their own. I had 2 thin wool turtlenecks I also used as baselayers but which are meant as just sweaters – I got one from the Gap a while back, and one from Uniqlo – their thin wool sweaters are a great value. Uniqlo also makes some good (cheap!) synthetic baselayers if wool isn’t your thing – although note that the regular Heattech shirts are really only meant to be baselayers, and I wouldn’t wear one as a regular shirt – the Heattech Extra can be worn on its own. I run cold and was planning to spend the majority of my time outdoors, so if you’ll be indoors more than out then you might need fewer or less warm baselayers.

      I think dark or black skinny jeans, black ankle boots, and then casual and fancier tops should cover you from touristy activities to most nice restaurants. If you really want to dress up, then bring leggings/tights and a (sweater)dress, but I think some sparkly jewelry with a nice top will make jeans and boots dressier enough for most places, while minimizing how much you have to pack.

  6. Let's Play A Game! :

    Have been working to lose weight since mid-October and am doing so mostly by making more intentional choices when eating and by tracking calories to teach my brain enough so that someday I can go without tracking and still be more aware of my choices/portion sizes/etc.

    The wife of a long-time male friend whom I am in the newer stages of building my own friendship with already has low self-esteem (which can also lead to jealousy issues) and once had an eating disorder in high school (now in mid/late 30s). She is overweight (so it’s not all in her mind) but not nearly as much as she thinks she is (figure she’s about 50ish lbs overweight, she figures she’s 80+). She talks about trying to lose but does nothing about it and the friendship isn’t the sort where I can encourage/motivate/etc. her without offending her or without her becoming worried I might not be someone her husband should be such close friends with. I’m going to visit soon and will likely be 30+ lbs down from the last time I saw her. I’m afraid to upset her or make her feel worse about herself, any advice?

    I considered just wearing oversized clothes around her so she doesn’t notice but I lost in my face too, which changed shape, so it might not be so easy to hide. I live out of town and typically stay in their guest room when I visit, so it’s not a “just a lunch” sort of situation and I can’t afford to stay elsewhere.

    • Anonymous :

      Just be normal. Dress normal.

      • Yes, holy crap, this.

      • +1 This is a her problem and not a you problem. Be yourself and normal. That’s it.

        • Be normal. If she compliments your new look say, “thank you,” and do not offer unsolicited weight loss/food choice/exercise etc. help/suggestions.

          • Anonymous :

            And if she doesn’t say anything, don’t be offended. My BFF lost 20lbs and honestly I didn’t really notice because she lost it over like 6 months. I see her twice a month. If you haven’t seen her since October, she may barely notice.

          • Other people are not thinking about your weight loss as much as you are thinking about it. Let it go. Don’t dress oddly and don’t mention it to her or try to tell her how she should lose weight. In fact, stop thinking about the fact that she should lose weight altogether.

          • +1 I lost ~25 lbs and my bff didn’t notice (and we live on opposite sides of the country, and hadn’t seen each other in a year).

    • I think you have to be fairly self-centered to think that your own weight loss is somehow going to trigger an acquaintance.

      • Anonymous :

        This. She knows lots of other people. Some may have lost or gained weight recently. If she compliments you thank her. If she asks you what you have changed, tell her briefly. Don’t act weird about it by wearing oversized clothes and you will be fine.

      • Anonymous :

        Seriously. It’s January 5th. Literally half the people in America are currently trying to lose weight, and a reasonable number of them will accomplish it. She knows other people who have lost weight or are skinny, I promise.

    • Anon Lawyer :

      Ick to this post. You think people should be motivating someone with an eating disorder to lose weight and whine that she’s doing nothing about it? Effed up.

      • I didn’t read it this way, I read it that her friend is more aware of the weight on her body than many might be and she worries that her own weight loss might trigger negative feelings in her friend, whom she was pointing out could afford to lose (so friend isn’t just making up a problem) but that it’s not nearly what the friend thinks (so friend might be catastrophizing).

    • You are so over-thinking this. Wear what you’d normally wear and don’t say anything to her about it unless she asks.

      Congrats on your weight loss.

    • Anonymous :

      Life Lesson: you cannot control how other people feel. Live your life, don’t be a jerk, and let people be who they are. Dressing normally is not being a jerk.

    • Anonymous :

      Be normal. Wear the clothes you want. Do not flirt with her husband.

    • Is something else going on here? Your thinking on this issue is really bizarre.

    • The fact that you have a number in mind for how much weight she needs to lose seems super odd. It’s great that you’ve lost weight over the past couple months, but you really shouldn’t be spending any time thinking about her weight and whether she needs to lose any – let alone how much.

      Also, how do you know whether she’s trying to lose weight or not? Not everyone is comfortable sharing their efforts publicly, and it sounds like you don’t see her much anyway.

      Just be a friend and don’t assume she has jealousy issues. She may just be uncomfortable with you generally.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Word. I could give two f^cks about my friends losing weight (I mean, if it’s a goal and they accomplished it, good for them I guess?) but the thought that a friend would be doing the math on how many lbs they thought I should lose made me feel queasy.

        Don’t talk about bodies with someone you’re not very close to. Don’t talk with her husband about her body or body issues or your body if you know/think there are “jealousy issues.”

        • +1. Also, I don’t know the specific circumstances, but I do wonder if going to stay at male friend’s house when you know his wife is jealous is the best idea.

          it wasn’t entirely clear whether the “jealousy issues” were of OP’s relationship with her male friend, but if that’s the case I’d stick to an Airbnb or something.

        • Oh come on. It’s pretty easy to give a rough estimate – that someone would benefit from losing 20 pounds, versus someone who would benefit from losing 100 pounds. It doesn’t mean that they’re scrutinizing anyone’s bodies or weighing anybody – it’s just that we can all tell the difference between a few extra pounds in the middle and a more serious obesity issue.

          • Nope. Not everyone does this. I really could not tell you how much weight people I know need to lose (nor do I care.)

            To me it’s pretty much the definition of what is none of my business.

          • Most people are more observant than that though.

    • How to handle :

      Congratulations! I think you should wear your normal clothes and address your weight loss only if she mentions it. Hopefully you will inspire her to lose weight, too, if she has not already.

      It is very difficult to lose weight but people can actually do it, except for those with certain medication interactions, endocrine disorders, etc.

      Does anyone else wonder if some people simply want things more than others? I have spent most of my life with very driven, goal oriented people and now work with people who seem to be satisfied with their status quo. For example, they talk about the “lucky” who appear to be thinner/fitter but they definitely do not want to change eating habits or join the 5 AM exercise circuit.

      Motivation is very interesting.

      • Anonymous :

        Wow pls don’t say this out loud you sound super smug and unpleasant.

      • Anon Lawyer :

        You sound like the worst.

      • I don’t think you’re very informed about weight loss. A lot of it has very little to do with discipline/motivation, contrary to popular belief.

      • Not at all motivated, not at all overweight. Some people are just lucky. I’d be a fat blob if I had different genes.

      • Motivation thoughts, putting aside weight loss :

        I think weight loss/weight maintenance in general is way to tricky to be reduced to the motivation question.

        However, putting weight loss as the example, I do agree with your general premise on motivation. I do think some people just want things more, are more driven/goal orientated than other people. If you’ve ever really went after a big goal, you’ll start to realize it when you talk to people in your life. I say that based on recent experience – DH and I just made a major cross country move from the area we’ve lived our whole lives and whole family is there (like this week), left our jobs and are opening up our own business. The reactions from people in our lives have been all over the place and really telling. Supportive, dismissive, jealous, excited, annoyed – we’ve gotten a lot of reactions. Friends and coworkers who were more “settled” into their lives – they have a mediocre job/house/life that they complain a lot about but never leave – tended to be more dismissive or outright jealous of our plans to go after something big and chase a dream. It was a surprising learning experience in humans.

        It’s hard to do big goals and be driven. This move has been probably been equal parts exciting and terrifying, and I think the fear of doing a big thing/goal would really stop a lot of people. I really hope that doesn’t come off as condescending; I just mean that the fear pounding in your chest and anxiety/uncertainty a lot to overcome and isn’t for everyone. It doesn’t have to be for everyone. But if you can’t overcome the fear of putting yourself out there – for whatever goal – you’re going to end up in the same place you’ve always been.

        • Fair enough, but also not everyone wants the life that you want. It’s great that you’re happy with the changes you’ve made, but that doesn’t mean everyone around you should be doing what you’ve done.

      • Anonymous :

        Sadly, I am already up at 5am with my kid so if I were motivated I guess I’d be up at 4am exercising? After going to bed at 11pm because I can’t get all my work done by 5pm when I have to leave to office for my hour long commute and daycare pickup, and after getting up 1-2 times between 11pm and 4am because my kid is crying.

        Assumptions are interesting.

    • The fact that you’re so worried about this makes me wonder if you’re generally uncomfortable with how she feels about your friendship with her husband. I could be totally wrong about this, but I just can’t help but wonder if this is really about something other than just your recent weight loss.

  7. Fav things of 2017 :

    I know that this has been discussed before on various threads, but I love the “favorite things” lists. What did you find/buy in 2017 that you can’t live without? HG products, apps, clothes. Or a particular memorable book or experience? Would love to know!

    • The “dressy sweat pant” at Encircled. It was recommended to me here. They are glorified leggings, in modal, with pockets, that can be worn to work unless it’s a suit-type setting. I wore them to interview for my current job, with a matching blazer and heels.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        This sounds like heaven.

      • https://www.encircled.co/products/the-dressy-sweatpant

        these?? I don’t understand how you could wear these to work.

        • Lolol, these even less professional than something like Lululemon leggings. These are straight up pajamas.

        • cake batter :

          Wut? Did you mind me asking your general location and industry, where you can wear these to an interview? I recall wearing more formal clothes to my retail interviews in high school and college.

          • That might get too specific, but if you google styling options with them you will see them “dressed up” (rather than barefoot with a t-shirt as on the website. Of course they look like pajamas that way.)

            I do not usually wear drapey items, but they’re along the lines of unstructured Eileen Fisher-type stuff.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            There’s a look book on the website that show it with a blazer towards the bottom of the “dressy” section. I’m not sure I could pull it off but I’m intrigued. I think the key is pumps. I prefer more comfortable shoes so I try to step up the formal everywhere else.


          • Blonde Lawyer :

            I will also add that men can be oblivious to women’s fashion. I had a minor surgery awhile back and needed machine washable elastic waist pants. I wore fleece lined straight leg / slight boot cut black sweatpants with business attire on top. They weren’t cotton but rather a water resistant outer meant to wear under ski pants or something. When I mentioned in casual small talk that I’d be back in biz attire Monday, the men claimed to be shocked I was wearing lounge pants and not biz pants all week. They had no clue.

          • yeah I cannot just not see this working at all. maybe for some artsy internship or something but I would be shocked if someone came to an interview in those. but it obviously worked for you!

    • Anonattorney :

      Lilac Clothing skinny maternity jeans from Nordstrom. Perfect.

      • I love the maternity leggings at uniqlo. They’re always selling out of various sizes and colors but so comfy. I’m going to try the regular leggings for post-baby. Also their maternity underwear. Strictly speaking, I didn’t need to buy maternity underwear but these are just very soft and comfortable.

        • Anonattorney :

          Ooh, I’ll look at uniqlo. I didn’t even think of them for maternity clothes. Thanks!

    • Anonymous :

      This year our family (me + husband + tween daughter) went on vacation over Christmas. It was so much fun and so stress-free in comparison with Christmas at home–no cooking, no tree to put up and take down, fewer gifts, no worrying about whether relatives would be able to come. We went to a new city, walked around, saw pretty decorations, and ate a ton of great food. I highly recommend it.

      • BeenThatGuy :

        I desperately want to do this!

      • Senior Attorney :

        We did this, too, and loved it!

        Except we have a small “traveling Christmas tree” with its own decorations. It takes, like, 15 minutes to put up and take down and it was a very fun part of the holiday! This was its second trip so now it’s a tradition.

      • Anonymous :

        This is my dream!

      • We have done this for Thanksgiving, and will continue to do so. Me and DH, a city (or our favorite all inclusive), and whatever WE want to do (or not do!).

      • We did this in 2016 and it was awesome. Didn’t do it in 2017, and everyone – including my 11 yo – kept saying “wasn’t it great last year when we were in Hawaii?” Christmas is a stressful and emotionally-fraught holiday for me and I desperately missed just getting away and opting out of most of the B S that accompanies the holiday. I mainly stayed home for 2017 because I wanted my son to experience our traditions of Christmas – but it turned out he didn’t even care that much! I could barely get him involved in putting up the tree and making cookies, things I wouldn’t have even bothered doing if he wasn’t around. We’re already making plans to travel for Christmas 2018.

    • Anonymous :

      10 foot iphone cord

    • The Fabulous app – (there goes the broken record again)
      Reduce water bottle
      Extra long charging cable
      Google Home (mostly for simple things like definitions of words while I am reading, weather in the morning, time, play music, getting the next step in a recipe, getting the oven setting for a recipe etc)

      • Anonymous :

        What is the “Fabulous App”? (besides fabulous) – when I search in the iOS store a few things come up. Thanks!

    • pugsnbourbon :

      Finally bought an electric toothbrush and boy are my teeth clean.

      My popsocket is pretty life-changing, too … things are quiet around here.

    • Anonymous :

      I bought a spacious, grown-up purse. It has two main pockets and three or four small internal pockets. It does not look like one of those purses that’s really a giant tote bag pretending to be a purse, but it holds—at one time!—my phone, keys, calendar, notebook, other notebook, pens, checkbook, sunglasses, and a HARDBACK BOOK. It’s been about two weeks since Purse Day, and I can no longer imagine my life without this thing.

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        Oops this is me.

      • Anonymous :

        What kind of purse??

        • In-House in Houston :

          Yes, please post a link!

          • Lana Del Raygun :

            I got it at Marshall’s and it has no brand markings on it that I can find! I will describe it though and maybe someone has an idea? It said the original price was $80, to give you an idea of the range of brands it could be. There’s a tag but it just says MADE IN CHINA/ POLYESTER/PU

            It’s dark blue (not quite navy) “vegan leather” with gold-colored hardware. It’s quite structured–the bottom is flat (with little gold-colored feet) and the whole thing would be a rectangular prism except that it’s crimped/pleated at the top where the divider between the two main segments attaches. It has handbag-handles on little hinges that have dark gray metallic rhinestoney things on the half that’s attached to the bag. The bag-half of the hinge also seems to be attached on the inside with little phillips-head screws. It also has a detachable shoulder strap with a buckle in it. The zippers are blue plastic with gold pulls. The lining is a blue-and-white fabric of alternating diagonal stripes, like it would be chevrons but the columns are offset so a white stripe in one column goes down and meets a blue stripe in the next column going up. (The white stripes are wider.) The edges of the fabric are whatever that black goop is that you get on the edges of fake leather.

            Are there other kinds of details that might help? I’ll look at home in case I didn’t throw away the tag.

          • It might be Madison West. I bought almost the same purse in brown at Marshalls in December, and that’s what is stamped on an inside pocket. I love mine!

          • Lana Del Raygun :

            Ooh, I think you’re right (or it might be another MMS Brands line). They don’t have this particular one on their website now but the styling on the pocket and the zippers look the same, and the price range is definitely right. I wonder why mine didn’t get the label (maybe that’s how it ended up at Marshall’s, lol). Thank you!

    • Blue Apron. I thought I knew how to cook before it – I didn’t. Also the popsocket and a purse that can also be worn as a backback (but otherwise looks like a normal leather purse).

    • Anonymous :

      America’s Test Kitchen Website subscription. I know others are good about looking items up on all recipes or reading food blogs, but I have never had success with recipes sourced from these locations. Every recipe I make from ATK is incredible and just works. Also, the website subscription points me towards taste tests (what is the best supermarket version of X food?) and kitchen equipment. They’ve put everything through its paces, so I’m confident that I’m buying the best version of something.

      • anon a mouse :


        I have several of their cookbooks and they are so trusty! The 30-minute meals one is so so good especially.

    • The Dark Sky app; it gives the weather in my exact location and sends alerts when rain or snow will be starting or stopping

      Nimbus toothbrushes; they’re soft and don’t feel so much like they’re doing the job but my dental assistant said my teeth and gums are in amazing shape after using them for a year

      The Overdrive app for downloading audiobooks from the library to my phone and e-books to my Kindle

      A straightening heated hairbrush; it took the “bumps” out of my long, otherwise straight hair in two minutes. (But then I lopped off six inches and don’t use it so much now.)

      Eminence organic skin care, the “bright skin” line; it has gotten rid of some ugly brown sun damage and evened out my complexion after using for less than three months

      A smart thermostat – I use the Sensi brand from Emerson, not Nest.

    • I installed a programmable light switch for my front lights (porch and garage) and it is one of the best things I’ve ever purchased. No more coming home to a dark front door and fumbling with my keys! I live alone and now it always looks like someone is home at night. I feel much safer and it’s one less thing to worry about.

    • Anonymous :

      Dr. Tung’s smart floss – works better and tastes like cardamom

    • Amelia Bedelia :

      I bought this (https://shop.nordstrom.com/s/nordstrom-collection-plaid-cashmere-wrap/4350220) cashmere wrap in black and grey. It’s a game changer. I use it as a scarf, shawl, blanket, seat cover, pillow cover (when traveling). I LOVE it. it is the softest thing ever.

  8. Lunch ideas? :

    Anyone have lunch ideas for an office that doesn’t have an easily accessible refrigerator or microwave? None of my new coworkers seem to eat out, and I hate paying for food I’m just going to eat at my desk alone anyway. I’m at a total loss for things I can bring that don’t have to be refrigerated and/or heated up.

    • Anonymous :

      Sandwiches, salads. Throw them in an insulated bag with a cold pack. Thermos full of hot soup or stew.

      • anonshmanon :

        I have this helpful little guy, holds a good amount of soup and keeps it scalding hot until lunchtime. No leaking issues. I love to bring either chili, or tomato soup and a grilled cheese on the side.

    • I like grain salads for this. They taste best at room temp anyway so you can make a big batch and refrigerate at home and by the time you’re ready to eat they’ll be good.

    • How about getting an insulated lunch box? That’s what my husband does, and then he just packs whatever he wants (along with an ice pack) without worrying about using the office refrigerator. Some combination of sandwiches, fruit, veggies & hummus, yogurt and popcorn are our go-to’s for lunches. They all hold up well in the insulated lunch box between packing and eating.

    • Cheese + crackers + fruit + nuts plate if that will be enough for you. Non-cream cheeses are fine for a few hours at room temp.

    • Anonattorney :

      Can you get a mini-fridge? They’re not that expensive and have a tiny footprint. It doesn’t solve the heating up problem, but at least you can pack in cold items.

    • Anonymous :

      Insulated lunch bag + ice pack.

      If you want hot food, get a Thermos brand container and fill it with boiling water to preheat for several minutes before pouring out the water and filling it with the hot food all the way to the top.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      I eat most leftovers cold or at room temperature. Partly because I prefer it, and partly because I get to avoid the busy office kitchen at noon with the dirty microwaves. Pasta salads are particularly good at any temp – if I want it to be a bit warmer, I take it out of my lunchbox (where there is an ice pack) and let it sit on my desk for an hour or so before I eat. Probably not great food safety, but…oh well. Oh, quiche is good too!

      • Senior Attorney :

        This. Plus I’ve been carrying my lunch to work for years and most of that time I haven’t bothered to put it in the fridge or use an ice pack or similar.

        • Same.

        • I’m so glad I’m not alone! I get (lovingly) chastised by my coworkers and mother for this practice all the time. Knock wood, no issues yet.

        • Anonymous :

          Same. I just bring my lunch to work and keep it in my bag in my office. It drives my husband crazy, but I really dislike ice cold salads. I have sensitive teeth, so I don’t like super cold stuff anyway, but eating ice cold lettuce or an ice cold tomato doesn’t taste good to me – it just tastes “cold”.

        • I do this all the time, especially with sandwiches. I don’t put meat in most of my sandwiches and I don’t like it when they’re ice-cold, so I just leave them in the lunchbag in my office. My office is generally like a refrigerator though, so…

    • Lunch ideas? :

      I forgot to add that I’m pregnant and paranoid so lunch meats are unfortunately a no go.

      A mini fridge is an option. I’ve noticed a few people have them. I even thought about a tiny microwave, but I’m still relatively new so not sure if it’d be weird if I start bringing in appliances.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Have you thought about asking the other people if they want to chip in for a shared microwave? They are super cheap so it would be a small amount per person.

        • Asking never hurts. We even crowd-sourced an extra large fridge/freezer combo for our office at $10-20 per person.

    • If you live in a cold place and drive to work, for now, just leave it in the car.

    • Check out the Lunch Crock. It’s life altering. You can fill the liner at home, pop in in the dock on your desk, and it’s hot for lunch. You can start with frozen cooked food, too, and it will be quite hot within three hours. (It heats but doesn’t cook. Trader Joe’s has a lot of freezer food that works well in here, or you can do any kind of soup or leftovers.) Be sure to get the deluxe, not basic, model. Better, bigger container and on-off switch.

      • That looks awesome, thanks! I had no idea anything like that existed.

        • Similar to this, I use the HotLogic Mini Personal Portable Oven. Plug it in about 10am, and my leftovers are warm for lunchtime.

    • I have been wanting one of the mini crock pots. . .may be time to pull the trigger.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m the OP on the Lunch Crock. I highly recommend this one instead. One of my co-workers got the other one and is less happy with it. Highly recommend! Don’t have stock in it, wish I did before I gifted and recommended so many. :-)


        There is a 30% off code showing now too.

  9. Anonymous :

    How often do you find that you have to get new credit cards because of fraud? I’m on my third incident since 2014 of having a fraudulent transaction appear on my card (or be blocked by the credit card company). Each time our credit card company (Chase) has reversed the charge (if it got through) and issued us new cards immediately and our autopays are all tied to our bank accounts not our credit cards, so it hasn’t been that big an ordeal…but I feel like this is happening more frequently than it should and I’m wondering if I’m doing something wrong. Our cards have never been physically lost or stolen, and I only shop online at popular ‘name brand’ places like Amazon, Nordstrom, Etsy, etc.

    • I have Chase too. Probably happens every 18-24 months. I can think of 3 separate times over the past 5 years easily. Doesn’t happen with my other cards, but this is the card we charge *everything* on.

    • Anonymous :

      Almost never, but I honestly think it’s somewhat of a crapshoot. FWIW, I have an AMEX (main card), a Wells Fargo VISA, and a credit union VISA. I shop online almost exclusively (non-grocery items). I assume that if I use the internet, I am susceptible to fraud. I truly think all you can do is monitor your accounts and hope it doesn’t happen.

      • Anonymous :

        I’ll rephrase that. The only time I can remember needing to replace a card due to fraud was when it fell out of my card case and someone used it. That’s not really the fraud you are thinking of though – I lost it and someone used it before I realized I had lost it/cancelled it.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Only 1 credit card in the past few years (last few months actually). But I did have a debit card number stolen like 3x in a 6-9 month window (without losing the card), and I realized it was from a deli across the street from my old office. It always happened after I bought something there in person. So, consider that possibility too.

    • I had the same credit card number for about 10 years without issue. Then I moved to a new city and it got hacked. In the next couple of years I had to get a new credit card several times a year. I think it was a gas station. I now only go to one gas station in town and since then, it hasn’t been hacked. It’s been a year and a half, so far, knock on wood.

    • Anonomatopoeia :

      I was thinking the same thing recently, except I’ve had the same card replaced twice in the past 60 days. I would estimate at least 6 new cards in 2 years. We do have enough autopaid accounts tied to our credit card that it’s incredibly frustrating. We have Bank of America.

    • Anonymous :

      We have had maybe 3 in the past year or so. This was on debit cards though, so I stopped using it at fast food places since I read those are the biggest offenders.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Twice, both times with a Citi card. They were good about catching it and sending new cards. It has not happened since I moved out of NYC. I’m pretty sure somewhere in my old neighborhood either had a skimmer or someone at a restaurant was stealing numbers.

    • Never. I think my husband had one replaced 7-8 years ago (before he was my husband) and we were pretty sure it was a gas station or a restaurant where it was compromised. I think you’re far more likely to get it “stolen” in person than online.

    • Maybe like 4 times in the past 15-20 years. And I shop plenty so I don’t know why it doesn’t happen more often.

    • Anonymous :

      I had it happen every other month for 6 mos ~ 1 year and then it stopped. ditto the above about skimmers or restaurants or something.

    • Never? Though I think it’s a Canadian thing. Skimmers just aren’t popular here.

  10. BeenThatGuy :

    I’m glad we are talking about snow boots today. I wore a new pair today, Land’s End, warm, dry, furry, perfect. But the bottom of my pants got soaked. Then came the dreaded white stain from the salt. I can’t tuck them into the boot because the boot wouldn’t zip and the bottom would be wrinkled.

    What does the Hive do about this?

    • Anonymous :

      I tuck them into my boot. Maybe not all the pant leg that could fit, but at least the hem, so it stays out of the wet. I’d live with the wrinkle, since it would be less noticeable than the wet/salt.

      And I’d consider getting a different boot that allows tucking in pants. Because, if I’m wearing snow boots, I want to be tucking in whatever pants I’m wearing so they don’t get wet. Pants aren’t meant to go over snow boots (in my book). Unless they are snow pants.

    • Anonymous :

      Uh we wedge our pants in there. They get wrinkled. This is how snow boots work.

    • I just try to avoid pants in winter because it’s too much of a mess. I have slip on furry boots from Baffin that I could tuck pants into, but I only wear them when it’s ankle height or deeper snow, and I typically wear them with thick tights and a skirt or dress (I find that warmer than pants, and I can’t stand tights or anything else under pants).

      FWIW, I wear Assets tights from Target or fleece lined tights from TJ Maxx. I am a car commuter so my time outside is short.

      • I always wear a skirt/dress in bad weather with thick tights, sometimes with a pair of fleece leggings over the tights if it’s very cold. I find that this works better b/c I can have taller boots which keep me warmer, and there is no wrinkling or mess to contain. Generally, close to knee high winter boots plus long puffy coat is plenty for keeping me toasty.

    • Anonymous :

      What about turning them up a few times? Would that work? I have the same problem re large calves and I only wear pants. Have moved to lace up boots.

    • My solutions (also have large calves):
      1. Wear skirts/dresses, tights are much easier to fit into snow boots!
      2. Hunter wide calf rain boots + fleece liner–accommodates most of my pants. I tend to wear skinnier pants styles though.

    • Anonymous :

      I have big calves and chose shorter snow boots that do not engage my calves so that I can tuck my pants.

  11. Pet Insurance Recs? :

    Can’t find a recent thread on this, but I know it comes up periodically.

    My 55 lb lab mix rescue dog is about 3.5 years old. We want to get pet insurance. Where do we start? Are there discounts available through things like Costco, AAA or credit cards? She’s (so far) been super healthy, fully vaccinated, regular check ups, etc. She ate a sock once but puked it back up before medical intervention, and besides a case of kennel cough, nothing else of remote significance.

    Looking for a little more direction that just the standard google search. Advice appreciated!

    • anonypotamus :

      I used Trupanion when I had a (health-issues-potential breed) dog and had a very good experience with them. The premiums were reasonable (maybe slighter higher than other quotes) but I picked a $0 deductible and they covered almost everything (and were prompt with claims payout). At the time, it was much easier to budget a monthly amount for the premium knowing everything would be taken care of, although I haven’t run the numbers to see if I would have been better off just saving up the premiums in a separate account to cover future vet expenses.

    • Anonymous :

      Sometimes workplaces offer a plan, you might check there. I have heard good things about Trupanion also. I got a quote – 5 year old lab $50/month, medium size dog 8 years old is $42, 10 year old cat $32. It seems high to me but our neighbors paid about $1700 on a $12,000 claim.

      Lucky on the sock! Ours had to have surgery as it got stuck in a sphincter or something between the stomach and intestines.

    • Anonymous :

      Healthy Paws or Trupanion. Both offer a lot of options in terms of what is covered what the percentage reimbursement is which allows you to choose between higher premiums and higher out of pocket costs as you see fit. They have fewer exclusions than other coverages.

      Also I’m sure people will start chiming in to say let insurance is unnecessary but ours has been worth it. Ours costs about $350/year. Our dog is prone to ear infections and probably goes to the vet 3x a year (in addition to preventive care which isn’t covered by insurance). We live in a HCOL so it’s about $350/visit. Without insurance that would be $1050 a year. With insurance we pay $560 total (350 + 20% of each visit cost). And we’ve never had a claim contested or issues getting reimbursement.

      • Cosign on this. We have a basset hound mix and she is prone to ear infections, so after we adopted her I got Trupanion insurance. After we paid our deductible, all her ear cytology tests and treatments have been covered. We also chose to get insurance after spending probably $15k out of pocket on our elderly dog in the last 3 years of his life – lots of tests, lots of treatments that didn’t prolong his life but made the quality of it better. I made sure to read the policy to make sure those kinds of things are covered. Bassets are prone to arthritis and back problems as they get older and I wanted some kind of backup in case she ends up with a problem that causes her pain.

    • I’ve heard very good things about Nationwide (the whole health plan). This is what most of the members of the rescue I’m involved in use, and the rescue is for a type of dog that is prone to very expensive health issues.

      • I use Nationwide for my 10 month old golden retriever who eats everything he sees. We thought he had a bowel blockage recently and between our regular vet and the emergency vet, his bill was $1400 and we were reimbursed for every cent.

    • I’ve been using Petplan for my two cats for years. They have various levels of coverage you can choose from, and they’ve always paid promptly without a problem. One cat did have some chronic and expensive problems, and they raised his premium on renewal that year, but it’s still a better deal than going without insurance.

  12. Sweater Season :

    Do any of you have suggestions for where to find a good cotton sweater? My skin cannot handle wool/cashmere at all. Preferably it would be thick and cozy, but still work-appropriate and without cabling. Does this exist?

    • Anonymous :

      I love cotton sweaters too, I’m allergic to wool. Unfortunately they’re getting hard to find these days (at least at my regular mall stores; Gap, Banana, J Crew etc is big on wool sweaters). I’m pretty sure Lands End makes cotton sweaters.

    • Talbots has a good selection of cotton sweaters. I think every sweater I have gotten from them is cotton or a blend.

    • Anonymous :

      I am incredibly allergic to all animal fibers and have resorted to wearing a thin cashmere sweater with a long-sleeved t-shirt underneath. It’s kind of a bulky look but it’s the best I can come up with. Nobody makes cotton sweaters that don’t have like 5% cashmere or wool or alpaca in them.

    • I’m glad other people want these too. I’m too the point where I wish I could wear only 100% cotton shirts/sweaters. They feel so much better on my skin. No advice for finding them, unfortunately.

    • Woolovers has 100% cotton sweaters.

      • Hildegarde :

        I second this, and I have to thank whomever on here recommended Woolovers months ago. I just bought my first order from them, which was three sweaters, and they are all fabulous – great fit, quality seems very good, and they were surprisingly I expensive. I didn’t get any cotton sweaters, but they group sweaters by fabric type, so it’s very easy to search. I might never buy sweaters anywhere else. I will say they’re mostly basic shapes – nothing terribly fashion-forward – but for sweaters that’s what I want anyway.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      Loft has their Signature Cotton Cardigans – I have a couple and they’ve held up well, but they’re thinner.

      Kohl’s has a line called Croft and Barrow, and their “Essential Cardigans” are cotton/nylon. Maybe not the softest, but not itchy, inexpensive, and they wear like iron.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        Not sure if you’re still reading, but I did put on a sweater I bought from Loft in 2016, checked the label and it’s 100% cotton. It looks like they have similar in the “pullovers” category. Good luck!

    • Eddie Bauer has nice cotton cardigans, not sure about other styles.

    • Check out LL Bean. I have a few 100% cotton sweaters from them.

    • I’m in the same boat. I buy multiples whenever I find them. While not thick and cozy, I love the Massimo Dutti cotton silk sweaters. They are supremely soft and have not pilled.

    • Anonymous :

      LL Bean has a lot.

  13. Banish dark circles :

    Posting again from this morning’s thread:

    I need all the grandma’s wisdom, creams, moisturizers, concealers, makeup recommendations and tips to get rid of or at least hide my dark circles/hollow under-eye problems.

    I am 27 FWIW and it’s become a concern over the past year or so. It may have something to do with sleep but I’m looking to attack it on all ends


    • I missed the earlier thread so I hope I’m not repeating but I love Benefit Bo-Ing Brightening Concealer. It’s not as good as Erase Paste, which I think they discontinued, but I still love it.

      I also recommend Clinique’s anti-puff eye roller. It’s kind of pricey but worth it.

    • NARS Radiant creamy concealer is the holy grail of concealer for me. It covers darkness really well but not the actual circle. I also like IT Cosmetics concealer but it’s super thick and sticky so I don’t use it every day like I do the NARS. I don’t know what to do about my (hereditary) circles so following this thread for advice on that! I’m in my twenties too.

      • I had been using the Bobby Brown color corrector followed by the NARS creamy concealer almost daily and it works fairly well.

        Trying to see if there are better options out there

    • Raccoon Eyes :

      Bobbi Brown corrector and Bobbi Brown concealer. Have been using this combo for 10+ years. Works like magic in covering up my hereditary dark circles.

      • Jackalope :

        +1 I really like the Bobbi Brown corrector and concealer. I also am obsessed with Chantecaille concealer – it is extremely expensive but one stick lasts me the whole year, and it makes me look awake without fail, so I deal. Try applying your concealer with different types of brushes too – you may find that wider vs narrower flat brushes make a difference in how the concealer applies. I like a wide flat brush but lots of people prefer a narrow one, which I think you can get from Laura Mercier.

    • I was born with dark circles – they’re hereditary for me. I started wearing undereye concealer when I was 12, and the best product out there I’ve found is the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind concealer. On days when I need it (looking esp tired or it’s hot and humid out), I’ll layer a bit of ELF primer under it to help it stay on longer.

    • Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer. I never should have waited so long to try it. It’s the only thing that completely covers my under eye circles and it doesn’t budge. You need a very small amount and it doesn’t crease for me. It comes in a range of undertones (peach undertone works best for concealing my circles).

      Use YSL touché eclat or Laura Mercier secret brightening powder on top if you need more brightening.

      I’ve tried practically every concealer and this is the holy grail. I wish I’d bought it earlier. It’s expensive but you need such a small amount, the cost per use is lower than other concealers.

    • I like origins eye zing cream – before and a bit on top of concealer- it has light deflecting particles in it that seem to help.

  14. I’m having a jealousy problem and it is so unusual for me that I feel completely disoriented. I could use a gut check. My partner is a woman that I was friends with for a year before dating. During the time that we were friends, she talked to me a lot about a woman that she really wanted to date. It didn’t work out and then we started dating later.

    The other woman has a partner now too, but I feel like the emotional intimacy between my partner and that woman is still off and it’s making me a person I don’t even recognize.

    I talked to her last week about my observation that she will hesitate to share certain parts of her life with me, then turn around and volunteer that openness to this woman. For example, my partner will never openly talk to me about her work, even though I ask and show interest. But a week ago she offered a site tour to this woman. This weekend I asked my partner if she would like to sign up for some classes. She told me that she does not like weekly scheduled hobbies. Then just texted me to say that she signed up for a weekly scheduled hobby with this other woman.

    I am so hurt and she doesn’t seem to understand why or be willing to change this dynamic. I genuinely don’t care that they are friends. But if she’s offering intimacy there first it’s problematic for me. We have said “i love you” and also talked about marriage and kids.

    Where to from here? And would this bother you?

    • Anonymous :

      I would talk to her again, and really tell the truth about my feelings. And I’d consider leaving because she’s not into me in the way I need.

    • Anonymous :

      Uh, yeah, it would be bother me. It sounds like your partner is more interested in this other woman than you.

    • Anonymous :

      This would absolutely bother me and I would be hurt. This is not a dynamic that would work for me in a romantic relationship, so if my partner was not interested in changing, I would not stay in the relationship.

      To me, this is less jealousy and more my needs in a relationship not being met. You need to feel a certain level of intimacy with your partner and that need is not being met here. It’s your partner’s prerogative as to whether they want to work to meet that need ; however, it doesn’t sound like she is willing to right now.

      Would she be open to seeing a counselor with you? It may be helpful to have a third party walk both of you through it.

      • Second the above. I’m in a hetero relationship, but we had the same issue a few years ago. It took a lot of energy and time to fix, and I considered leaving multiple times. It ended up working out, but before I decided to work it out with my SO, I gave myself a personal deadline and decided that I would end the relationship if it was better by then.

        Part of the cause for this with my SO was that he knew that I was a very independent person so things sort of swung too far to that side, where he felt that he was respecting my independence but letting me initiate any mutual interests. That may or may not be the case with your partner, but the most important thing is that she’s willing to hear you out and commit to rethinking how she’s been doing things. My SO was open and not defensive, and I think that’s why it worth working out rather than cutting our losses.

    • new job who dis :

      “never openly talk to me about her work”
      — is weird to me. If you’re looking for validation of your feels, you totally get it from me. I spend the vast majority of my week at work and I enjoy discussing my worklife stories and experiences with my partner. What’s up with the secrecy?

      double on the ‘oh I don’t like X activities’ but diving into them with someone else? That would bother the hell out of me and I’d also encourage you to lay this all out there for her to respond & communicate. tough situation and internet hugs from a stranger.

    • anonshmanon :

      The two examples you describe would be serious deal breakers for me. I would try again to discuss this with partner, and use the wording you used here. The discrepancy of what your partner shares with the friend vs. you is compelling and is conveyed well by what you wrote. Then ask if there is some additional information that can help you understand what’s going on. Then listen carefully. The only half-redeeming explanation imo would be if your relationship is very fresh and their friendship is decades old. But even then, it doesn’t look like your partner is very interested in strengthening the relationship.

    • Betterandbetter :

      Yeah, this strikes me as odd at the very least and I am one of the least jealous people anyone I know knows (not a humble brag or anything, I honestly find sexual jealousy kind of confusing). The first thing I thought after I found out that my ex of several years was dating again was a genuinely”Oh good! She’s has always liked blondes!” I am continually surprised that people find this an unusual reaction.

      I will say that there is a difference between jealously and envy though. Is the issue that you think she should only be behaving that way towards you (intimacy, openness) or that she isn’t doing those things with you enough? Would you feel the same way about her behavior towards this other woman if you didn’t know that your partner had been interested in dating her? Would her level of openness and intimacy be enough for you to consider marriage and kids if you didn’t know her to be capable of something different?

      The posters above are right. The only way to get clarity on this is to talk to her about it but I would leave the other woman out of it unless you determine from self examination that the other person is really the problem.

      I can however think of hypothetical innocent explanation for all of the above or at least mitigate the appearance of a double standard. Can you? Relationships with and among women are often kind of muddy. It’s up to you to set your own boundaries. But Oof, this is tricky. *Hugs*

    • Anonymous :

      This would really bother me. Talk to her about it honestly. Don’t let her minimize that it’s right for you to be upset about this.

    • Yes, I’ve been there.

      I also date women. When I first got together with my now wife we had a huge issue with this.

      Slightly different but she was still incredibly close and emotionally intimate with her ex. They had broken up many years ago and had both since dated other people but the intimacy of their connection was just too much.

      I quickly realized that this was a deal breaker for me and expressed that to her. My partner expressed desire that we work on things rather than break up. Beyond this one thing, we got along great so I too was willing to work on it if she would genuinely commit to improving this issue.

      We then went to couples therapy with an awesome therapist (a gay woman who was about our age but not at all in our circle of friends) who facilitated good changes.

      The therapist was really helpful because it stopped the conversation from being “oh you just don’t like this other woman” or “you want to control me” to lets discuss what you each what your primary relationship to be in terms of emotional intimacy and what you want your other family/friends relationships to be in terms of emotional intimacy. Then the therapist gave my now wife some awesome tips for setting up good boundaries in her friendship with her ex. She also gave me tools on how to genuinely turn the page so i could treat their new healthy friendship fairly.

      It was a real process and we both genuinely committed to working on this issue.

      I know this s!te is always quick to suggest therapy but it really worked for us in this situation. It’s well over 5 years now and my wife and I are very happy. We now are both good friends with her ex and things are in a healthy place all around. We have not been to therapy since.

      I will say that I think finding a therapist that was another gay woman and got all of the cultural dynamics at play and did not in anyway leer at us.

      We found her online on psychology today.

  15. What are your favorite eye creams?

    • Clinique All About Eyes Rich formula :


      • Also, my mom once gave me a jar of Chanel Eye Cream she did not like, and it was HEAVENLY. Just not worth the investment.
        The last one I tried was Aveda, but it was not rich enough for me.

      • +1 to the Clinique

        But I’m also a believer that you don’t need a different moisturizer for the eyes

    • I love Origins Ginzing depuffing cream in the morning. I’ve been using it for years and it’s the one product I’ve bought over and over and over again.

      • +1

      • Amelia Pond :

        This. I didn’t use it regularly and didn’t really notice a difference at first, but I ran out of foundation have been just using concealer and CC cream, and realized that the Eye-zing or whatever its called from Origins really made a difference later in the day – I forgot to start with it yesterday, and I looked so tired!

  16. Creating Flow Chart :

    Anyone know of a website or software where I can enter the data points and it will create the flow chart for me? I am trying to make the flow chart myself but there are arrows everywhere. Need help streamlining the flow chart so that it is easier to understand.

    • Honestly, I’ve never found a great tool or program for this. Most of the time I do a lot of preliminary work on a whiteboard, often with sticky notes that I rearrange and arrows drawn between them. I think it’s an area where design intersects with documentation, and IMHO programs aren’t as good at design as real humans are.

      But if someone has a good resource/tool for this, I’d love to be proven wrong!

    • Anonymous :


      Has changed my life – I am a project manager with multiple clients/teams so rely heavily on visuals to show everyone where the handoff of certain projects happens. It costs money, but not much if I remember correctly. They have templates and suggestions or you can freehand it. There’s also a cult-like following of the Omni group of programs, so lots of content out there by 3rd parties showing how they used it.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Mind Map. I think there is a similar free version but it has been years since I used either, the original paid version or the free knock off.

    • S in Chicago :

      Lucid chart. Believe there are no or low subscriptions.

  17. I’m doing self-study for a finance certification and have found it hard to motivate myself to study after a long day at work in a fairly switched-on role… But I need to study basically every day and weekends to keep up.
    Today I picked up a few small treats (nail polish, new hairbrush, chocolate) to incentivise my own progress – I can unwrap one each time I hit a particular progress milestone, hopefully one every 1-2 days.
    Does anyone have good ideas for other small treats (mainly looking for non-food) that will help with this? Any other protips?

    • Anonymous :

      When I was studying for the CFA, it helped a lot to make ‘appointments’ to study with other people. If none of your friends are studying for anything, plan differenr locations outside your home to study at (new coffee shop, library or even the bar of a quiet restaurant). Change of scenery helped me keep it seem fresh even when I hated studying

    • A scented candle that you love to burn while studying.
      A favorite study playlist for background music.
      Studying in a warm, cozy set-up if possible.

    • Sheet masks?

    • Thanks, I like these recs – things I wouldn’t normally get + consumable are perfect.

    • I would go to starbucks and treat myself to a starbucks drink while studying but require a time-frame for myself (e.g. study for two hours there).

      • Also – if it’s after work, find a restaurant where it’s comfortable to study and eat and treat myself to a dinner while studying (this only works if you can really study there).

        • I attempted to study at a pub and that… did not work. But I had beer and learned British ska band trivia so… win?

  18. Hi all, I have an elective surgery that’s coming up and I’m starting to get really, really anxious about it, to the point that I’m having trouble sleeping and I’m thinking about canceling it. It’s something that I’ve saved up for for a while, and I know that it’s the right decision to do it, but I keep getting worried about the (very minimal, but still existent) risks. I’ve also never had surgery before, of any kind, so that’s probably part of my anxiety. The surgery is outpatient and will be very short, but it does require anesthesia and I’m nervous about going under. For those of you who’ve been anxious about surgery, how did you get over it? FWIW I do currently see a therapist for general anxiety issues, but my next appointment is at the end of the week, and if I want to back out of the surgery I would have to decide before that. I’m also not sure how helpful one therapy session would be? Any advice for me?

    • Anonymous :

      You don’t want to back out. You aren’t going to. This is your anxiety + reasonable worry. How do you usually treat anxiety symptoms?

    • Anonymous :

      Not sure if you want to say what it is as people here could have direct knowledge. Have you/did you talk to your dr (not therapist – the surgeon) about it — your anxiety, the real risks etc? Sometimes things are listed as risk in the interest of disclosure but given your circumstances may have no risk for you personally. Do you feel like the MD/their nurse has been willing to answer your questions or are you getting the – it’s minor NBD – brush off?

      • Anonymous :

        The procedure is for egg freezing and I am worried about the whole process — shots, plus hormonal side effects from the shots, plus the procedure itself. I’ve never had to self-administer shots before, have never had any procedure of any kind, and am very anxious about the whole thing. If anyone has had any direct experience with this process, please let me know. Thanks!

        • If you know anyone who has done IVF, this is the same procedure – basically the first half of IVF. It’s not nearly as bad/scary as you might think. You might post again on a new thread because I bet a lot of people on here have done this!

    • Senior Attorney :

      Can you call your therapist for an emergency appointment or at least a pep talk?

      • +1

        And yes, a single appointment is appropriate and helpful.

        And you can cancel ANY surgery up to the minute before you start the anesthesia. And I’ve seen people do exactly that.

        Time to work on your breathing/mindfulness, daily exercise, happy light every morning, possibly ask a touch of additional anti-anxiety medication to get you through the week.

        You will be find. I promise you.

    • I’ve had several surgeries over the past year. I was incredibly anxious about going under the first time, but now I’m so used to it it’s almost like – hey, free relaxation time! (Kidding, sort of.)

      I don’t know what procedure you’re having, but the risks of general anesthesia these days are really low – especially if you’re young (as in not elderly) and relatively healthy. Everything in life has risks – there are risks to driving into work each morning, risks to staying home, etc. Reminding myself of that was helpful for me.

      The good thing is you don’t have to actually DO anything other than show up. Once you start getting the meds, you won’t feel any anxiety and won’t be aware it’s even happening. So while anxiety is stressful, in a way it’s okay if you’re super nervous – it’s not like a speech where you have to appear calm and perform.

      You can do this!!!

      • Minallmine :

        +1 to the ‘relaxation time’ (even if it’s not exactly free). I’ve had a number of surgeries and endoscopies, to the point that I actually look forward to the anaesthesia. Not so much the post-op, but it’s always been manageable so far.

    • My longer response is in mod but – don’t back out! You can do this! The good thing about anesthesia is all you have to do is show up – you don’t have to DO anything so it’s okay if you’re super nervous, even slightly panicky. Once they give you the meds, you’ll be asleep and everything will be fine. You’ll be waking up in recovery literally before you know it. You’ve got this!!

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      I had a major surgery about a decade ago. I don’t get particularly nervous about medical things (and have had literally dozens of other surgeries), but this was a biggie. In one of my pre-op appointments, my surgeon noticed that I was nervous. He picked up a huge binder off his bookshelf (that was filled with more huge binders). He flipped through the pages; each page was a patient/case file. Then he looked at me and said, “you’re just one page in my binder.” His point was – while this surgery was a big deal for me, it was totally routine for him. And if he’s not nervous, I certainly shouldn’t be! Though I get that nerves aren’t necessarily rational, I found this really helpful and maybe you will too.

    • I think you should call the doctor(s) who will be performing the surgery!! I’m sure they’ve dealt with this before and can help you. Plus, I’m guessing they’d want to know you’re feeling this way before you show up or cancel.

    • I had a major surgery a few years ago and about 10 days before couldn’t sleep. I asked my GP to prescribe a sleeping pill and that helped. I think the combination of stress contributing to not sleeping created more stress. A vicious circle. There are also some guided meditations for surgery anxiety. Look up Bellaruth Naparstek. I used one of hers and I think it helped.

    • I had a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy a number of years ago, and there is no way to describe the anxiety I had pre-surgery. I actually cancelled with one surgeon who dodged answering my question about how many of these surgeries she had done. What calmed me more than anything was finding a doctor who had done multiple surgeries and, of course, knowing that I was doing something that although elective, really was not, given my BRCA1+ status. Call your doctor and talk to his nurse. I am betting that they can help you. They do this every day.

    • Anonymous :

      I had two major surgeries 2 and 2.5 years ago, respectively. Going in I was fine but the recovery made me totally, irrationally anxious (I asked my partner, every day, “What if this is as far as I recover and I never get any better?” and he’d say, every day, “But you can do X and Y and Z that you couldn’t one week ago, and your doctor thinks you’re doing fine…”) Spoiler: I am fine and recovered completely.

      My insight about anxiety generally, which may help here or not, is that for you (or me, or other anxious people) the advice to “trust your gut” is not useful. Your “gut” is telling you some things that aren’t true – it’s like having a broken thermometer. Do your research, choose your surgeon carefully, know the risks and the recovery, and realize that even if you feel anxious, that is not a sign that things are going to go badly. It’s just your anxiety.

      Keep the scheduled appointment for surgery. Double down with your therapist. You’ve got this. It will be ok.

  19. Linda from HR :

    Today I heard of these wine lip tints. They look pretty awesome, and don’t seem to contain anything I’m allergic to, plus the price is good and they’re on Amazon Prime, but before I order, I’m curious if anyone here has tried them.

    • What exactly are you referring to?

    • If you’re talking about the Chateau Labiotte ones (that look like little wine bottles), I have them in 4 different colors and give them as gifts frequently. They’re a mixed bag — packaging is ADORABLE and the colors are nice. The color stays more on top of your lips than say, a stain would. Some folks find them drying. I prefer the lighter color (the coral and baby pink) over the darker (which can get patchy or fade oddly) and regularly throw them on for a “my lips but better” look. They don’t last all day but are longer lasting than a normal lipstick or gloss, while being less dramatic than a liquid lipstick, so I find them a good buy.

  20. Let's Play A Game! :

    Seeing multiple posts from clearly different people with this title, is this a thing or a new game I haven’t heard of? It is sure tough to keep up with the internet lingo after age 50!

    • I figured this is all the same person today. Are you sure it’s different people?

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      I think the “game” is the “What is something you just recently found out that might be helpful for others to know?” post further up, and then the other posts are just the same person talking about other things.

    • Yeah, it’s very clearly the same person.

  21. Gift Idea? :

    A friend was just published for the first time in a peer reviewed journal (she is 2nd author of 2). Publishing in this format has been a goal of hers for more than a decade. Is there a gift to get to commemorate this for her? I live too far to take her out but want to honor this (not just because it is a big deal but because it’s a decade-long big deal to her).

    • What about a framed copy of the article (or author page)?

      • My boss did this for me when our project landed on the front page of the NYT. Super awesome.

        • That’s so cool! I’m sure individual preferences vary, but I would absolutely love receiving this.

    • You are so lovely. A card would be great and delivered flowers.

    • Sending a bottle of champagne.

    • SF in House :

      When my law review article was published a zillion years ago, a friend had it bound (hardcover). That is still one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received.

    • Publishing worker :

      I work in scholarly publishing (working with authors regularly) and I find this adorable. I love the idea of commemorating the first page by framing it, but any recognition is super sweet.

    • S in Chicago :

      that’sgreatnews.com will plaque the article. (I was contacted by them through a publisher after an interview with me ran somewhere . I had them develop one for me–it’s gorgeous!)

  22. Anonymous :

    Yet another friend is pregnant and here I am single and forever alone. I don’t even want babies that much, it’s just hard to watch good things happen to everyone around me while I feel left behind. Sigh.

    • Anonymous :

      Right there with you at 37 and single. For me it’s not about babies either but I feel super left behind bc everyone I know has bought a house (I could too but by myself – why bother); has people waiting at said house for them to come home too while I return to my empty 1 bedroom; and takes regular vacations (again I could too and I know people travel alone but by myself I don’t have the motivation and it feels like a hassle).

      • Anonymous :

        Girl. I’m single and miserable about it but it sucks enough without actively making your life worse. Take regular vacations. Why not? You alone are worth the hassle. Buy a house if you want to. Why not? You are worth it.

        • Anonymous :


          Vacation with other single (or not single) friends. Spouses aren’t always the best traveling companion.

          This single girl is totally buying a house because I want the space that is mine and the yard and whatever. Sure I have to make all the decisions myself, but that also means I GET to make all the decisions myself.

          You mostly sound like you just don’t want the complications or planning that comes with vacation or house – which is fine. But neither of those are issues related to being single.

          • +1. If none of this appeals to you at all or feels not “worth it,” it’s also possible that you’re depressed. Just a gentle suggestion from someone in the same boat.

      • I bought a house alone (with no romantic prospects at the time) and loved it so much. Making all the decisions about layout and furniture and how many thousands of giant floor pillows is the right amount of giant floor pillows – it was such a luxury and I love that I experienced it.
        Also, I travel a lot alone and enjoy it very much. I am a museum loiterer, so it is really nice to be able to potter along at my own pace and see what I wanted – or just have a day in bed reading and not feel guilty/self-conscious that I should be Out Seeing Tourist Things. Plus you can just quietly observe things, so I feel I see new places better alone sometimes.
        And not that I think this happens for everyone, but I met my spouse while on a solo backpacking trip. He was also solo travelling (which men seem to do more than women) and we spent a couple days just hanging out and exploring together. Later I sold the house and we moved into a new place together, but I’m still really glad I bought that place alone and got to experience it, and still enjoy doing some things alone that I enjoyed alone while single.

      • Hey, I’m more or less in this boat, too, but I bought a house 3 years ago when I turned 30 and (mostly) have not regretted it. It feels more like home to me than any of my apartments ever did.

        (My regrets are not related to my love life, for what it’s worth).

      • Anonymous :

        Probably am depressed (not the OP – I posted about houses and vacations) as there’s been a lot of disappointment thru my 30s, not only with being single but also professional dreams falling apart. But TBH I’m not willing to go sit in therapy with a stranger to “work on” why I’m disappointed – i’m disappointed because I’m not living the life I wanted and I don’t see how anyone can convince me otherwise.

        • shrugs…

          Only you can change things. I suspect your depression is keeping you from living the life you want… ever think that is part of the problem?

          And aren’t you mature enough by now to appreciate the value of “therapy with a stranger”? Just the immaturity of that remark alone for a 37 year old tells me you need a kick in the pants.

          • Anonymous :

            You’re right. I’m an immature moron and it’s all my fault that things didn’t go as planned. Feel better? I’m glad kicking an internet stranger is fun for you.

          • I think it’s ok to not want to go to therapy; I don’t think that’s immature at all. Therapy isn’t for everyone, and I’m not sure it’s a cure-all.

            Have you thought about telling your GP you think you might be depressed?

            I hope you’ll try either meds or therapy because depression – even when it’s tied to legitimate, completely 100% justified disappointment – is really rough.

          • +1

            If you want to wallow, then wallow. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

          • Anonymous :

            It is so easy to be snarky when you aren’t in this position. For the record, I am 40, single, never been married, no kids. I own a condo, but I also yearn to own a single family home, with someone waiting for me when I come home from work trips. I am not depressed–but I am upset that my life turned out this way. I do feel left behind, like everyone else is experiencing Advanced Relationship Issues (kids, spouse’s parents, large joint financial decisions) and I am stuck in the emotional state of a college kid. It is ok to be upset and angry about how life turned out without being depressed. We single people should be able to talk about our fears, emotions, concerns without the married people slapping the “depressed! therapy!” label on everything right away. That sometimes feels like…”hey, I am married and I don’t have time for your moping about Non-Advanced Relationship Issues, so please get therapy and waste someone else’s time.” Married people get to talk about their kid problems, and their problems with their spouse’s parents all the time, without being told “Depressed! Therapy.” Every time a single person mentions that she is unhappy about being single, and tries to quantify that emotion, the response is “Depressed! Therapy!” We want to be able to talk through what worries us too, and we want as much valuable input as the married people get when they have kid or MIL issues.

          • But I’m not posting as a snarky married. I’m a 48 year old single woman, never married, no kids. So I’ve got some perspective here.

            It’s fine to vent and even to wallow. But when you basically admit you at depressed, but don’t believe in treating your depression well….. Maybe you do need a kick in the butt. You are not going to attract a mate or be a good friend to anyone in this state. No prince is coming to rescue you. And let’s be frank…. no friend wants to be your therapist. This not the same as sharing in-law frustrations. It just isn’t.

            Life is not a storybook. Life is not the same for everyone. We don’t get everything we want. Life isn’t fair. We can sit around and be depressed. Or realize no one’s life is picture perfect, that life has other paths, that you can still have a baby/foster/adopt as a single woman, that we make our own families, that we have incredible freedom and choices, that everyone’s needs change over time, that people will disappoint and hurt us, but we are smart and driven and will survive, but we need to ask for help when we hit a brick wall. And that’s ok.

            And yes, almost all of us would benefit from therapy at some point in our lives. Usually the people who balk about the suggestion need it the most in my experience.

            There are worse things in life than being single. If you don’t know that, you don’t realize how fortunate you are. You are so, so, so, so lucky in so many ways and don’t even realize it.

          • Anonymous :

            Anonymous at 11:33, I just want to say that I believe in your philosophy and that is how I choose to live my life. A few years ago, I looked around at my life and said, “I don’t like this, I am not happy.” I could choose to change it, or I could choose to learn to live with it. In the end, I did a little bit of both things. People are the architects of their own lives – when someone comes to understand that, really internalize it, usually things change for them. But if someone is unhappy and doesn’t like their life and still also does not want to change and instead wants to wallow in misery, well – not much you can say or do about that. FWIW counseling changed and saved my life when I was struggling with what I needed to do to change my life for the better. Don’t know if I would be here if I hadn’t gone. Many people here have reported that it was a transformative experience for them. So it is not just a default suggestion made to sad single people.

        • You know, I’m a little younger than you but in a similar situation as far as things not panning out personally or professionally. I do have a therapist. She does not try to convince me it’s not disappointing that I didn’t get what I wanted. Quite the opposite, really. But she does encourage me to stay focused on the present and not to marinate in my disappointment so that it becomes depression. That still might not be your style, but I personally find it helpful to have a person to go to vent about my many disappointments who is not invested in the outcome of my life, not tired of listening to me complain, and not an anonymous commenter on a bl*g.

        • Anonymous :

          Yeah but there’s more than this. I’m really not happy to be single at all. But I’m not overall depressed. I take care of myself and get a lot of enjoyment out of life even with that big sadness. I don’t think people are trying to kick you when you’re down, just reminding me life doesn’t have to be this, and you’re worth trying to make it better.

        • Therapy is not about “convincing you otherwise.” That’s the kind of thing that well-meaning friends try to do, for free, and the fact that it’s so unhelpful is why therapy is a professional field. A therapist worth their salt will have perspectives and ideas you are not thinking of. That’s what you pay them for.

          I have been in your exact position, saying very similar things, and I needed to go to therapy. My life is no closer now to what I had wanted it to be, but I’ve changed so much that I rarely even think about it that way anymore.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          I try not to keep track of people who are trying to stay anon and I also try not to internet diagnose because I’m not a doctor and you aren’t my patient. That said, if you are the anon that was pushed out of big law and ended up in a gov’t job she hates, your posts have become more and more despondent and I’ve been worried about you. If you were my real life friend, I’d suggest talking about it with your doctor because a short course of meds might help. I get they aren’t a fix-all and nothing will immediately change your situation. But I know other people that have used them as a stop gap while in a miserable job and kept them from spiraling deeper out of control. Take care of yourself. You only have one life. Even if you aren’t living the one that you wanted, try to live the next best thing instead of an all or nothing lifestyle.

      • Honestly I have a hard time motivating myself to take a solo vacation too, but I bought a house and adopted a dog who greets me way more enthusiastically than any person would. Sure it would be nice to have a partner, but I never have to compromise in my life and that makes home ownership so much easier. Live your life!

    • Totally feel this. My coworker is luminous and pregnant and sometimes it hurts me to look at her because I’m afraid I’ll never be there. I have planned so many showers and attended even more… the hardest part is that these big life events require so much engagement and celebration on my part only to have the friend become much less available (understandably) when she settles into marriage or motherhood. Again, I know it’s not at ALL about me. But that’s how it feels. It’s hard.

      • Yes, that is a huge part of it!! I’m super excited, asking questions, etc etc…but nobody is throwing me a party any time soon or really caring about the things in my life that I consider a big deal.

        • Anonymous :

          It sucks so much. I’ve started throwing parties just cause, but it’s 100% not the same and sucks.

        • anon 4:20 :

          Hugs to you, OP, and the others in this thread. What helped me was focusing on myself and treating myself when those moments really hurt. Had to summon up the energy to plan another shower or squeal about another pregnancy? I get a massage, or a new book, or i plan a trip or whatever. I also try to channel this energy into dating. I feel better when I’m actively trying to change my situation, and I’ve found that even the promise of a second date is enough to take my mind off of why everyone else is seemingly so far ahead of me in life.

        • Anonymous :

          It got easier for me in time because I stopped being interested or excited for them or asking questions. Maybe it’s jaded, but when people don’t ask much about my life because they perceive it as the same old-same old, then I consider your 2nd pregnancy to be old news as well.

          • Anonymous :

            Yikes. This is pessimistic. How do you friends react when you offer up news from your life? Maybe they don’t know what to ask about because your news items aren’t as obvious as a pregnancy. Sharing information might make them more engaged.

          • No, sounds totally reasonable to me. If your friends don’t know what to ask about, they are not truly your friends and it is fine to let them go.

      • I’ve started to see showers as going away parties for my friends. It’s a weird combo of feelings… I’m so happy they’re happy, but I’m also mourning the inevitable change in our friendship in a way that they likely will not. Because they have a baby. And a partner.

    • ((hugs)) i feel your pain. It’s so hard.

    • I get this. Single and no kids here. Can be hard at times, but I try to focus on the positives, like being able to just jump on a plane and visit somewhere fun for the weekend. Look for the positives.

    • Yep, I understand how you feel. I’m in my mid-30s and in the same boat… single, renting.

    • Someone told me once that “either things will change, or the way you feel about them will change,” and while it sounds cheesy, I’ve largely found it to be true. It also is a comfort to me to remind myself that even when it’s hard/impossible to hope for different circumstances, I won’t feel the way I do now forever.

  23. New Couch :

    Hopefully its not too late in the thread, but does anyone have a couch from Article?

    Love the look, but hate that there are no showrooms. If you have an Article couch, what do you think? How is the quality? Bonus if you have a leather couch.

    • Anonymous :

      I like ours for looks and comfort. The fabric got pilly fast, like within a few months, which I have never experienced with a couch before and wasn’t expecting at this price. I need one of those fabric shavers. We’ve had it a little over a year and are otherwise satisfied.

    • My friend bought one (I think the Sven Charme in Tan). It’s SUPER comfortable to sit and sleep on. That said, the seat cushions completely changed their color about 6 months after she bought it (it looked like a totally different dye color). But she complained and they sent her an entirely new couch with no problems (so I assume they knew they had some dye lot issues). It’s been a few more months and the new couch is still looking new. If I was in the market, I would buy one.

    • I have an Article couch. It’s about 1.5 years old. It is a good combination of design, sturdiness and value in Canada. I’m not sure how it compares to options in the States.

      I agree with the person who said the fabric has gotten pillier than expected, and that’s coming from someone who has dealt with cheap fabric couches in the past.

    • Puddlejumper :

      We returned ours. It was a great waiting room couch. Looked nice, had style but seriously uncomfortable to sit on. HOWEVER the return process was really easy!

    • Yes, I have a green velvet one and love it. Super comfortable, wearing well.

  24. Anonymous :

    Has anyone planned a trip to Tanzania? We’re planning to do a honeymoon in Tanzania (2-2.5 weeks in June/July) later this year, but I’m overwhelmed by the options. Any suggestions on where to start? Travel agents who are skilled at this?

    • Anonymous :

      Me! Even my friends who lived in Tanzania recommended finding a local travel agent. 100% worth it.

      • Anonymous :

        I meant – local to you with experience setting up trips in Tanzania. Also, I bought flights to/from Tanzania, but finally figured out I needed help in-country a month or so before my trip, and at that time, it was a big time crunch. Plan sooner rather than later.

    • We leave for Tanzania in 2 weeks. We did not use a travel agent, but are using a safari company – Cheli Peacock. We looked at several, but liked the itinerary and price of this one the best. They were very accommodating and responsive to our requests. You do have to plan this trip way in advance. We’ve been planning this since September. Feel free to email me directly – [email protected]

    • Yes- planned a 10 day safari and relaxing beach week in Zanzibar using Easy Travel (who as someone who is a super Type A planner was easy- haha- to work with!) our safari guide Ombeni was awesome. Highly recommend them!

    • Tanzania Trip :

      Go2Africa is phenomenal! Local African operator and gave great recs.

  25. Have been drinking 1 soda per day and decided to stop since it’s unnecessary calories. However, my brain wants the caffeine. I’ve looked for tablets or something else with the same small amount but everything has more than a soda, which makes me think that replacing it would mean a stronger dependence for caffeine, whereas I want something similar or an ability to taper down and off. Ideas? (I thought of cutting pills but they turn to powder even with a splitter.)

    • I assume you’ve considered tea and/or coffee?

    • Iced tea?

    • Anonymous :

      Coffee or tea.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Bai is my current caffeine replacement for soda. It’s kind of expensive, though.

      • S in Chicago :

        Gah! I didn’t realize that had caffeine. No wonder I suddenly love it so much now that I’ve cut my diet coke out. The coconut and pineapple is seriously heaven.

    • Linda from HR :

      5 Hour Energy FTW! Been running on that stuff for seven years or so. Start with half of a regular strength bottle and go from there. And maybe eat something first.

    • Anonymous :

      are you ok with unsweetend black or green tea or coffee? you can decrease the caffeine over a little time to the point where you are off.

      OR, you can go cold turkey and deal with the headache for a day or two (i did this with diet coke in college–I realized my 5pm diet coke habit was giving me headaches and sluggishness on days when I didn’t have it and I didn’t want that addiction)

      my morning coffee habit, however, I haven’t given up….

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      My husband splits caffeine pills without the powder issue – maybe try another brand.

    • Crystal Light makes individual servings that have flavor + caffeine. I think they’re called Crystal Light Energy – I keep a supply of those in my desk drawer for when I need a little caffeine boost. I think they have about the same amount of caffeine as a soda.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 there are Walmart generics of theses too (I think they taste better). I used these to wean off a 24 pack a week diet dew habit.

    • Caffeine pills are great, but people who use them as a supplement who I know have to cycle (usually 3 weeks with, 1 without) to help the dependency.

      Alternatively chai tea has a ton of caffeine

    • Doesn’t help with the caffeine aspect, but I switched from diet coke to seltzer water several months ago. Now I’m so used to bubbly water and don’t care for soda.

    • I would honestly go cold turkey and take aspirin (not excedrin, which has caffeine) or ibuprofen for the few days of headaches. I’ve done it more than once to get off coffee but I think I’ve quit for good this time. (It has been a few years)

    • Coffee or tea please :

      This is how I started drinking coffee and tea! I’m ok with caffeine – I just limit myself to one caffeinated drink/day (otherwise I sleep like crap). So coffee, or tea, or kombucha.

    • Anonymous :

      There are Nuun tablets (electrolyte drink tabs) that have caffeine in them. I use them when I need caffeine (like I NEED IT) but I don’t want to drink coffee or tea.

    • diet coke..?

  26. Anonymous :

    Just got back from the doctor and looking for anyone who is going through something similar to what I’m experiencing. I’m 40, and after a lifetime of my blood pressure being right at or around 120/80, in the last few months (since August) I’ve been seeing some crazy-high blood pressure readings at the dentist and at specialist visits – like 160/100. At first everyone told me to wrote it off as white-coat hypertension, but I thought it was strange that I would have developed that all of a sudden. After I got another high reading at the dentist earlier this week, I made an appointment with my GP. He seems as flummoxed as I am. I haven’t gained weight (by his scale, I’m actually 7 lbs lighter than I was at my last appointment). The only dietary changes I’ve made – trying to eat more potassium and less sodium – should have helped my BP. I don’t smoke and I barely drink. I have a Mirena IUD. No medication changes (I take a couple of meds for migraine twice a month or so when those happen, and I take ibuprofen when I have muscle aches or strains). I do have a family history of high blood pressure; my grandmother had it, but hers didn’t show up until she was postmenopausal, in her 60s. My doctor is sending me for blood testing because apparently there can be a rare type of adrenal tumor that causes blood pressure fluctuations – but mine isn’t fluctuating, it’s consistently been high. He also told me to get a home blood-pressure monitor and showed me how to take my own BP, which I will do. But I’m pretty freaked out – I feel like I either have a tumor or I’m going to die of a stroke, yay me.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      I’m not a medical professional, but my understanding is 1) high BP is often hereditary and lifestyle will only compensate for so much (sounds like you are in this boat), and 2) that there are many, many BP medications so you will have lots of options. I’m also under the impression (from dr visits with family members with high BP) that while it’s definitely something you want to address, there’s no immediate, urgent concern. Your body can tolerate for a time while you figure out what’s going on and select a medication.

    • It’s scary, but you’re on it, you’re doctor’s involved and you’ll be okay. I have hypertension, it doesn’t seem to be related to diet, I don’t smoke, it didn’t get better when I lost almost 20 pounds a few years ago. (On the other hand, I probably should sleep more and start meditation. But still.) My father and mother both have high BP, I do, too. Another friend – very slender and an athlete (so the opposite of me) – also has hypertension, it’s just heredity.

      It took some tinkering for me to get the right combination of meds and dosage, but my BP is now very well controlled. I take a single pill twice a day (of the valsartan/losartan type) plus a diuretic in the morning. I don’t take the diuretic every day; I can’t use it if I have a hearing or a travel day when I just can’t stop to pee every 40-50 minutes. With that, my numbers are excellent.

      Sending hugs and calming vibes.

    • I started getting the white coat hypertension a year or so ago. I can get a more reliable blood pressure reading by having it done at the pharmacy. I would have to take my own BP at home for a while before it became as boring and mundane as having it taken at the local Walgreens.

    • My husband got “white coat” hypertension bent turned out to be work! He was checking his email on his phone in the waiting rooms and without fail his BO would be super high when checked. He now (1) avoids his work whenever possible in advance of the Doc and (2) asks them to check both at the beginning and end of the visit. It’s always back to normal by the end of the visit, when his phone has been away for 30 min.

    • Thanks for the replies, everyone. I got a home monitor at the pharmacy yesterday and last night, I was reading 138/78 – still high, but not as high. My doctor explained that the way blood pressure is taken in office-visit situations is pretty much all wrong, and he wants to see a full two weeks of home readings, done the “right” way, before we decide on medication…in my reading I am also wondering if either the migraine meds I take or the ibuprofen might be causing high readings. I also drink, you know, coffee…sometimes I drink a lot of coffee. Especially on busy days when I have a lot of meetings and deadlines and I have to go to the dentist/doctor. So that might be contributing as well. Thanks so much for the reassurance and good thoughts!

      • Your blood pressure is excellent. Only one year ago doctors would say it is perfect! We are just getting more aggressive these days because evidence shows at over decades/lifetime, some of us might do better with even slightly lower numbers. You are not going to have a stroke or heart attack because of his. You are no where near that danger zone.

        You are going to be fine. This is just genetic, most likely.

        Are you able to get a little bit of exercise? Some people with migraines may have problems with this.

        • Anonymous :

          I work out pretty intensely on the weekends (an hour bike ride Saturdays, an hour and a half in the gym on Sundays) but all I get during the week is a 20-minute walk outside my office IF I can actually leave my office. Which happens maybe three days out of the five. So that part could definitely be better. Doc is interested to see what my BP is on Sunday in the afternoon after the long workout. I might be able to get better weekday numbers if I can get better exercise during the week.

          • Anonymous :

            You are doing quite well with exercise. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re much better than me!

            Remember, this isn’t your fault. It’s just the luck of the genes.

            You are going to be fine.

      • Beet juice :

        My husband is in a similar situation. He’s thin and runs 25-30 miles a week but has a high pressure job and genetic predisposition to high blood pressure. After hitting 50, his readings were similar to yours – about 158/90. Medication disagreed with him (his limbs felt heavy and he felt odd) so he lost about ten pounds and starting drinking beet juice, about 1/3 cup per day. He’s consistently down to your reading from today – mid 130’s over 70/80. The beet juice is effective. If he runs out, his bp will go up. Good luck!

    • I’ve had similar issues, and my doctor thinks that some is hereditary and some, I think, is stress. I am a 40+ year dedicated runner, vegetarian, and a good weight (60 years old). However, my mom, dad, and grandparents who lived long enough all have/had high blood pressure. There are multiple medications that can help you with no noticeable side effects. When mine suddenly jumped up this fall, one thing that has made a noticeable difference is taking the BP med in the morning instead of at night. Also, I think that holiday stress plays a role in all this.

  27. Paging the Canadians :

    Need recommendations for a unique-foods gift basket delivery in Vancouver, BC.

    I got so excited creating a box for my hard-to-shop-for SIL on MOUTH (link forthcoming). Turns out I am not as excited about paying 30$ in delivery charges for 60$ worth of snacks.

    TIA and please stay warm

  28. Anybody make a bucket list, or a goal list, to accomplish before turning 40? I’m in my late 30’s and thinking about this. Curious ideas to put on the list?

    • wildkitten :

      pay off student loans. save for a downpayment. get married. obtain babies. (that’s mine. obviously nt entirely within my control.)

    • Visit all seven continents.

    • Coffee or tea please :

      Here’s some ideas that I’ve done or have on my list: skydiving (and then after becoming addicted to the rush add skydiving license), yoga teacher training, multiway mountain hike, whitewater rafting, brew homemade kombucha, specific fitness goal like forearm stand or lifting xx amount of weight, start a dinner club, join toastmaster club, learn to fishtail braid, attend a TED conference, watch oral arguments at the Supreme Court, plant a vegetable garden.

  29. How do you respond when someone says “you are going to be a great mom someday!” as a well-intentioned compliment? In my case, I don’t want to be a mother, but this would also be terrible for someone like the anonymous above who hasn’t found a worthy partner or someone with infertility. I answered “I actually don’t want to be a mom” and got the inevitable “why not?!” Saying thanks to just let it slide lets the person continue thinking this is an appropriate “compliment”.

    • Anonymous :

      I think you’re overreacting. I see what you mean about how it might not be the best thing to say to someone because some people struggle with infertility, but I still think it’s generally a kind and well-intentioned comment and I think the “if you want to be” part of the comment is implied. And if you’ve chosen not to have kids, is it really that big a deal? I have no plans to have kids, but if someone told me I’d be a great mom, it wouldn’t occur to me to say anything but “Thanks!” People say so many rude and passive-aggressive things to each other, that I would just appreciate a genuine compliment, even if it’s not one that has any real applicability to my life. (Obviously if this is someone who knows you’re not planning to have kids and is trying to change your mind with this “compliment” that’s totally different.)

    • wildkitten :

      Infertile people without partners can still become moms. (It’s f*cking hard, but not impossible.)

      • Not even that hard if you define “becoming a mom” as being a parent as opposed to carrying and birthing a child.

    • Anonymous :

      I just say, “Geez, I hope not!” and move on. They may mean it as a compliment but it is a pretty tone deaf thing to say to a random person, so I don’t feel bad about rejecting that kind of compliment. People rarely follow up, in my experience.

    • Assume good things :

      I get this sometimes and I’m childfree by choice. I usually just say it’s more fun to be a good aunt instead!

      I used to be way more sensitive to comments like this a few years ago, and I think I got them more then. Now I don’t let them bother me too much – just use the variation of being a good aunt with a laugh – and it’s no big deal. I’m only 30, so it’s not like I’ve “aged out” yet.

      It helped to remind myself that while being child-free is a totally valid choice to make, it’s not the status quo or “normal”. I assume people have good intentions and don’t fault them for assuming that I’ll be participating in this very normal life thing. It’s like how we ask all 18 year olds where they’re going to go to university. That’s probably really annoying for the kid who just wants to open up his own business or go into the trades – doesn’t make their choice any less valid, but we’re not trying to judge him for asking the question about university.

      • Minallmine :

        +1000 I used to get this a fair amount, but thankfully it’s mostly stopped now that I’m in my mid-40s (I look younger, so I still get it sometimes). Mostly I just say thanks, I’m great with other people’s kids, which usually gets a laugh. I like challenging the norm of all women want to be mothers, but I do it with humor. It probably helps that I’m ok with not having kids, even if it’s not what I originally expected. Where I end up getting annoyed is when people assume I got dogs to replace kids, or that I treat my 2 dogs like kids. Um, no. My dogs are awesome, but they’re pets, not kids. Just because I don’t have kids doesn’t mean I’m acting out all my repressed maternal fantasies on a.furry friend! I just like dogs and would have them regardless of kid or marital status.

    • You say thanks.

      They are giving you a compliment about your interpersonal skills. That’s all.

      Going down a different road /response… Just, why?

      You will probably just make them feel a little bad. And make them wish they hadn’t said anything.

    • This happens to me all the time. My sister has 3 kid’s and I have none, but whenever people see me with HER kid’s they think they are mine. When I tell them I do NOT even have a boyfreind, they say, “don’t worry, you will, and you will be a great mom.” I know their right, but I still want a boyfreind who will impregnate and marry me so that I do NOT have to do my 7900 hours this year. I think that is a littel to much for 1 person, and it leave’s me with virually no time to find a date, let alone a mate who will impregenate me this year. I am getting to the end of the line in the fertility department so need to find a guy soon who shoot’s more then blank’s! FOOEY!

  30. I’ve been battling a cold and subsequent sinus infection for weeks, and my skin near my nose and upper lip is red and raw. What kinds of moisturizing skin care options do you use to combat this, without triggering acne in the area?

    • Old school vaseline before bed. Too thick and shiny for daytime, but will moisturize chapped skin at night while you sleep.

      • Aquaphor is great for this also.

        OP, if you prefer something more natural – go into the baby aisles and look for the nursing section, and pick up some nipple cream for nursing mothers from Lansinoh or Burt’s Bees. Seriously. I have never had anything that healed cracked, chapped skin like Lansinoh did – but, it is made from lanolin so if you are allergic to wool, you can’t use it. Great for cracked cuticles also.

  31. Cats + Hardwood Floors = Mess :

    I have two cats and hardwood floors in my entire condo. I *love* my cats but they are SO messy and get litter everywhere in the house. I have multiple “no track” mats around their box, the box is covered, and they still manage to get litter everywhere and then track it through the house. I’m so tired of vacuuming every single day, but walking on litter is gross.

    Any suggestions???

    • wildkitten :


    • Top entry cat litter box or change the type of litter. I think the crystal stuff tracks less.

    • It seems you are already doing all there is. The only thing I can suggest is check the length of their claws – if they are too long or not regularly trimmed, the crystals can get trapped and may be transfered elsewhere.
      When my mom feels our cat wants to run from his litter box without cleaning his paws properly, she calls his name and orders him to clean his paws. It is a naive thing to do, but it seems the cat understands here is something wrong and is startled for a second and then cleans his paws. IDK – I would give it a try.
      And of course, get a robo vacuum cleaner.

    • New Tampanian :

      I have two cats and this would happen until I got the Tidy Cats breeze system with pellets. I’ll find one every now and again but it got rid of that tracking problem. Plus, there’s no dust.

  32. Hive, I need some sisterly reassurance. I was doing some mild insta-stalking and I accidentally clicked on the Instagram story of an old ex that I’m not in touch with. It’s my understanding that you can see who’s viewed your stories, so I quickly blocked him and then disabled my account for good measure.

    Do you think that did the trick?

    I’m so embarrassed….I don’t have anything left for this guy after all these years, I was just bored, curious, and stupid!! I don’t want him to know I was poking around because there is nothing worth stirring up!!

    • cake batter :

      If you immediately blocked him, then he likely didn’t see that you viewed it unless he happened to look at his story “metrics” in the seconds before you hit block.

  33. It’s been about 16 days since the start of my last period and I’m having my period again. I thought it was just spotting, but it’s a full-blown period. I’m 40, definitely not pregnant (DH got snipped) and I have an appointment to see my PCP in about a week, but am wondering whether anyone in the hive has experienced such a short cycle before and whether there’s a reason for concern. Google is making me worried about the worst case scenarios.

    • Anonymous :

      39. Something like this happens to me every few months ince I was 37 or so. Usually the next cycle is 5-6 weeks. It’s really annoying, but seems to be typical age-related irregularity.

    • Anonymous :

      Menopause works in mysterious ways.

    • I have an IUD and so don’t have periods any more at all (thank you, Lord) but all my 40+ friends started complaining about this right after they turned 40. One friend had crazy-irregular cycles for five years and finally got endometrial ablation to just get rid of the issue entirely. It’s perimenopause, most likely. It’s worth a visit to the GYN if it keeps up – just to make sure nothing’s wrong, and also to see if they would recommend low-dose BCP or something else to help you even out.

      • Minallmine :

        I could be one of your friends. After a lifetime of blissfully easy periods, at age 41ish, all heck broke loose. after trying hormonal methods that gave me migraines and an IUD that made me feel worse, I finally went with an ablation, and it was the best thing ever. Honestly, if you’re not going to have kids, get an ablation – no more hormones, no more periods (or very light, infrequent ones), and it’s easy.

    • That happened to me randomly (in my early 30s). It was just a one off occurrence. It freaked me out but hasn’t happened since.

    • I’m near your age and this has happened to me recently. I’d always been very, very regular. I’m chalking it up to age for now and will look into it more if it happens again or at other strange intervals.

  34. Are you doing Paleo at all? This can cause shorter cycles.

    Do you take vitamin D? Sounds like estrogen dominance and making sure you get enough D3, B6, C, and magnesium helps.

  35. I have a history of PCOS (or what I thought) but now have regular periods. The only thing is that my DHEAS is very high…like 565 or something. I went off of birth control a year ago and that probably has something to do with it but they want me to test for LCAH and scan my adrenals for growths. Has anyone gone through this? I see people have lowered their DHEAS with diet and exercise. I don’t have a poor diet, but maybe I should REALLY reign in the carbs to below 25 g a meal…

  36. Anonymous :

    I grew up in a family with some health, mental health and significant financial issues, ended up moving to the opposite end of the country and have escaped seemingly the problems in my youth.

    I find my siblings and other family members still continue to run into difficulties largely of their own causing and expect both sympathy and bailouts. When I send money it is usually immediately spent on things and not on what it was intended for (new furnace).

    Ive put a lot of time and cash and energy into this but as I’ve gotten older I find I basically don’t care anymore. They also do not ever contact me unless they want something or want to make me feel guilty about not helping enough. Anyone else in this situation? I basically would like to finally sever the ties and move on with my life.

    • This used to happen with an aunt of mine. I finally just told her I would not give her more money or financial support. I was willing to listed to her tales or woe for a few minutes, then I’d have to run or had another appointment or another call coming in….my patience was pretty limited but I wasn’t willing to totally cut her out of my life. It meant we were estranged for a few years, but she did finally manage to get herself together, including finding a job after many years of depending on others to bail her out/support her. I guess that’s the best case scenario. We’re now just down to an exchange of holiday cards and sometimes – but not always – I will have a quick visit with her if I’m in that same town.

      • Thank you that helped.

        I definitely feel like a bad person here (and no one needs toads me feel better) but I am really sick of being used as a punching bag and a piggy bank and ignored 99% of the rest of the time. And for my own health I doubt I can do any more. As I have a family of my own the financial thing is starting to also just amount to a lot and while I would always help with a new roof or fridge or whatever of use they are doing completely stupid things with the money I send and it’s hard seeing money I worked hard for squandered.

        • Minallmine :

          First of all, it is completely okay to sever ties if you need to for your own well-being. I had to with my own family. However, I did eventually end up helping a little more here and there but ONLY by paying for goods/service directly to the vendors, and I did it for my own peace of mind. Specifically, for my aging parents I paid for some home health aid and cleaning services, directly to the services. And when my dad would get in a rage and fire them or they’d quit because of his racist abuse, I didn’t let him suck me back into the drama. Limits are good and necessary, do not feel guilty for protecting yourself.

    • I would tell them exactly what you wrote here – you have your own family and when you kindly agree to help your relatives out financially, it means you are limiting yourself and your own family. You do not feel comfortable anymore to continue covering for projects that were caused by their ignorance/etc and from now on, they should not count automatically with your money and support. IF you will decide to help them out, it will be a loan with a contract saying that the money can be used only for a given purpose, otherwise, they have to repay you the loan.
      I would also tell your family how you feel when they only call for money. Btw, do you initiate any of the contact?

    • Anonymous :

      Stop giving them money. Just stop.

  37. Anon for This :

    Will repost in a.m. but in case anyone is still listening…decided my big goal for 2018 was to find, and use, a great therapist in 2018, to help me deal with career, marriage, family and personal issues (a lot, I know). Looking for recommendations in Twin Cities area – if you can recommend a therapist who is kind, but challenging, please include their details. This is my self-care for 2018, and not a moment too soon.

    I was really stressing over this; checking yelp, wondering who I could trust, and then I thought ” Da**, just ask the hive. These are the strongest most amazing women ever.:

  38. Penny London :

    I’m looking for a winter white wool suit for upcoming job interviews. I haven’t had much luck finding anything. Does anyone have any recommendations? I’ve already hit the usual (Ann Taylor, Talbots, Nordstrom, Banana Republic, Bloomingdales). Also, any other suggestions for how to stand out? I don’t want to wear my usual go-to black suit. I want to look put together and maybe even a bit stylish (by DC standards).

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