Splurge Monday’s Workwear Report: Wool Peplum Cardigan

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

This peplum cardigan looks kind of amazing to me — and it’s definitely a statement piece. I really like the ribbed texture and the fact that you can easily wear it either dressed down with a pair of jeans as shown here, or with a sheath dress or pencil skirt, or a regular pair of trousers. The cardigan also comes in black (available at Farfetch). I think it’s gorgeous, and a great style inspiration. It’s $1,195 at Saks. Wool Peplum Cardigan

Two lower-priced options are from Rebecca Taylor and sister line La Vie Rebecca Taylor. A plus-size option is at ASOS.

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Comments

  1. Paging JuniorMinion :

    This is pugsnbourbon –

    I was inspired by your 200lb squat achievement – I’ve been chasing it for a long time – so on Friday I went for it. I got it! It was ugly but I got it. Thank you for sharing your feat.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Phew, it’s a little intimidating to even think about at this point. I think I’m going to make that one of my two 2018 fitness goals – run a 5k (difficult because of knee issues) and squat 200 lbs.

    • Senior Attorney :

      What a fun post for first thing on a Monday morning! Thanks for sharing!

    • JuniorMinion :

      YEEAHH get it!!! Way to go. Congratulations! (Sorry for the delayed response – West Coast time).

      Ugly still counts – if you never embrace ugly, you never try to hit that next PR. I’m counting the dumpster fire power cleans I did this morning :)

      Sending you good vibes for continued progress.

    • Shenandoah :

      Congrats!! That’s an impressive milestone, and you should be proud!

  2. Anonymous :

    Getting rid of some old electronics. Any recommendations for places to have them wiped? And places to recycle/donate?

    • Anonymous :

      Check with your city or town’s waste management department. They will usually be able to tell you how to dispose of it if they don’t it for recycling.

    • Anonymous :

      Places like Staples and Best Buy will take computers, phones etc.

    • I was just looking into this after I saw your question because I also have some old cell phones to donate (I’m going to wipe them myself using the manuals), and the local Coalition Against Domestic Violence takes them. I’m sure similar organizations in your area would appreciate the donation.

    • First I check to see if I can do a trade-in at Amazon, which means I get paid and someone else gets to keep using the device. If not, then I assume it’s unlikely that anyone wants it and I take it to the county hazardous waste site. All of the cities I’ve lived in have had free disposal for residential use, but I’m sure this varies. They take pretty much everything, whereas Best Buy, etc. are usually limited to certain types of products. For phones, I manually delete everything and then reinstall the OS, which should wipe pretty much everything (I’m sure it might be possible to still recover some data if you really knew what you were doing, but I don’t have anything THAT sensitive on there). For a laptop, I delete everything and then pull the hard drive and smash it up with a hammer. Again, it might technically be possible to still pull something from it, but I’m not paranoid enough to worry beyond that.

      • +1 to checking Amazon trade-in first. If they don’t resell it, I assume they cannibalize it for parts to refurbish another phone or something. There’s also an electronics recycling center in Houston I’ve taken other things to (broken vacuum, lamp, other random stuff).

        • Meant to add — you should check to see if there’s a similar dedicated electronics recycling center in your city. Hit post too soon!

        • If you are in Houston, the Houston Zoo takes them as well!

    • nerfmobile :

      In my area, Goodwill takes things like TVs and monitors and funnels them to the recycling places.

      • +1 to this. Also, my goodwill in law school (unclear about my current city) specifically outlined their procedures for wiping devices free of personal information.

      • Wow our Goodwill will not take old TVs! It’s actually hard to dispose of an old tube TV in my area.

    • In my area, the local environmental coalition runs a drive every Earth Day where they accept electronics of all types. They run it like an assembly line where you pull your car up, throw your doors open, and they whisk everything out of your car in under a minute. A search on the interwebz on the G should help you find one in your area.

  3. Not sure if this news has been shared yet, but Loft is launching a plus-size collection! Looks like there will be pop-up parties in NY, DC, ATL, and a few other places starting next week. From what I read on Facebook, it looks like it will be online only for now, but they hope to try piloting it in some stores soon.

    Link to follow!

  4. Punching avove her weight :

    Following up on my post a couple weeks ago, in which I was asking for advice for a presentation for a Board of Directors committee meeting – I didn’t actually get to present. The presentation was changed around at the last minute by people above our team. However, I still got to present at the pre-meeting, and that was a great experience. The committee head was listening and I got to meet a lot of people on our side. Everyone said that I did a great job. So thanks for all the great advice – especially the tip about reducing the acronyms and overly technical information.

  5. Baconpancakes :

    Does anyone else find that nail polish remover (non-acetone!) dries out their skin like whoa? It might be because I bought the store brand, but it’s been 18 hours and my hands are still crepey and dry. Usually it doesn’t last this long, but remover is never particularly nice for my hands.

    Anyone have a nail polish remover brand that works well and doesn’t kill your skin?

    • Anonymous :

      https://www.google.com/amp/www.byrdie.com/amp/jardin-rhone-nail-polish-remover-review

    • Clementine :

      I’ve found that washing my hands immediately after I take off my polish helps. We’re talking the second I’m done with polish removal, not ‘after I’m done with x I will”.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Hmm, that might be what I did differently this time. I had to stop to let the cat in and feed him halfway through, so I didn’t wash my hands like normal. Thanks!

    • I started using it to avoid dark polish creep during removal, but applying cuticle oil (or any oil) around the nail bed has helped me with dryness.

    • biglawanon :

      I have found that just using acetone dried my nails/skin out much less. I think it could be because the removal is MUCH faster – just a few swipes and it is gone.

      • +1. I used to buy non-acetone, then one day it caused my finger pads to blister where I had been holding the cotton ball. So much extra time being exposed to the stuff as you struggle. Much better to use acetone so you can get the job done faster.

  6. Anxiety Rec :

    Hi Hive,

    A while back, a few people posted about a workbook that helped them deal with anxiety. Please re-share the title–a friend of mine desperately wants help and tools to combat anxiety that’s gotten severe lately. Thanks.

    • https://www.amazon.com/Anxiety-Phobia-Workbook-Edmund-Bourne/dp/1626252157/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1517237332&sr=8-4&keywords=anxiety+workbook

    • DC Politico :

      I love the aaptive app. It has audio cued workouts with great music. Some are for running/treadmill/spinning, but they also have strength training/yoga/stretching.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      My therapist recommends The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety.

  7. What’s your favorite home workout? I am trying to get into a routine of working out at home with minimal equipment after cutting out my gym membership. I usually go for light weightlifting and calisthenics/yoga type exercise Any suggestions for videos or free or inexpensive programs? I prefer not to have to think too much about it, and have found that it always works better for me if I have a system or program to rely on. Thanks!

    • My favorite Youtube exercise folks are Yoga with Adrienne and Pop Pilates. Adrienne has a 30-day yoga challenge and Pop Pilates will send out workout calendars, if you like having some structure.

      • +1 to pop pilates. I did a challenge last February with some friends to do the assigned workouts on their calendar every day, and I saw real results. I need to incorporate it back into my gym routine a couple times a week. It’s hard in that you really work for it, but none of the movements are that complicated, and her instructions are very clear.

    • For weights, I use Jari Love’s older dvds (Ripped, or Slim and Lean). It uses dumbbells in the 5-15lb range Cardio, I use Jillian Michaels (Banish Fat dvd). And yoga is either Shive Rea or Jenni Rawlings. I tried others, but so many dvds/YouTube/etc have too much downtime. I always come back to these.

    • hobby jogger :

      I do the “BBG” program by Kayla Itsines. I’m not an instagram fangirl of hers, but I’m not good with exercising and it’s a super easy way to get in 28 solid minutes of activity. nothing ground-breaking, but it’s all basic movements I can do without equipment in my basement.

      It’s quite easy to find online for free – google noholita bbg free pdf (I don’t feel bad for pirating)

      • I’ve been wondering about this one! Don’t love the insta fangirl element you mentioned but the program seemed good. Thanks, I’ll look it up!

    • I like barre3 online. It’s $19/month for the basic subscription (and I think $29 for the upgraded one, which includes more workouts and a planning tool). It’s a nice mix of barre, yoga, and pilates with some cardio. They have 10, 30, 40, and 60 minute barre workouts with and without props (light weights, core ball, and band), and each video is categorized by how you want your workout to feel (energizing, calming, challenging, etc.).

    • Anonymous :

      I used to have my hotel workout when I was on travel a lot:

      About five hundreds (from pilates).
      Squats (bonus if you can do with dumbells) to standing with arms raised about 20s.
      Plank / pushups.
      Child’s pose.
      Some sort of roll down.
      Some sort of downward dog.
      Jumping jacks.
      Repeat if time permits. Or for a quick pick-me-up.

    • cat socks :

      Fitness Blender
      PopSugar Fitness

    • I use Tone It Up. They put together daily free workouts on their website (there’s also an app for iPhones) that are generally about 45 minutes long and require minimal equipment. You can also purchase extra videos or their meal plan, but I’ve been using the free materials for almost a year and never felt the need to purchase anything. Their videos are also available on YouTube.

    • The fitness marshall on youtube has some silly and literal dance moves that are great for when you have a quick 5 minutes to get your heart rate up- I like to do 3-5 songs worth of dancing in my hotel room before meetings in the morning, if I can’t get a whole workout in.

      Try google “fitness marshall cake” – Its totally cheesy but I love it.

    • Fitness blender. Their video library is thoroughly tagged and highly searchable, and their videos are super approachable while also being a great workout.

      • Legally Brunette :

        + Love, love, love Fitness Blender. One of the best suggestions I’ve received from you ladies!

    • For strength routines, the NY Times has a couple of free ones, and SELF Magazine also has some that I’ve used.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      DDR on the PS2

    • For yoga, I like the Down Dog app. I use the free version and find that it is varied enough / flexible enough for me. There are five levels from beginner to advanced, four types of practice (full, short, flow only, and relaxation or something), and you can choose how long the practice is (from 10 to 90 min). The app creates a random practice for you on the free version and on the paid version you can choose to focus on a certain area of the body (hip openers, legs, etc.).

    • I love Jillian Michaels 30 day shred. For me, it is very effective. I also continue to do it even after the 30 days and just rotate through the exercises. I add in a couple days of running and do Pilates or a Barre workout on youtube also. Last time I checked, Jillian Michael’s stuff was not on youtube, but I just use the DVD.

  8. All the Animal Prints, All the Time :

    I have decided that I LOVELOVELOVE leopard print. If you only wear one leopard thing “per outfit” once or twice a week, is that too much? Is leopard print a neutral? Does it scream “crazy old lady” to you or “crazy awesome”? Because it’s been trendy the past season, do you think it’ll be dated in a year? Or leopard is classic? I ask all this because I am trying to decide how much to incorporate into my wardrobe. Thanks!

    • I love leopard and have been using it as a neutral since 2011, so if that’s wrong, I don’t want to be right :) I can usually be counted on to wear something leopard-y at least once a week, more when I had leopard flats (still need to find a replacement pair). As long as you’re not wearing like, full-on leopard dresses twice a week, I think you’re fine.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Live your best life, yo.

      If leopard makes you happy, go for it. It’s a classic enough print that it’ll never really go out of style. If you’re worried about it being too much, look for subtle leopard print, like a grey on white or tan on cream print. And you can definitely have two different pairs of leopard shoes (one flat, one heel maybe) and switch them out, and it wouldn’t overwhelm any outfit. I think people might notice you like leopard print, but if you’re limiting it to one or two times a week, certainly wouldn’t come across as crazy old lady, just “stylish professional woman with a signature pattern.”

      • Baconpancakes :

        Subtle leopard print scarf similar to one I have, which is very versatile: https://www.macys.com/shop/product/calvin-klein-leopard-print-chiffon-scarf?ID=5057033&cm_mmc=Polyvore-_-Polyvore_Handbags_PLA-_-n-_-scarves

    • Different anon :

      I’m recently intrigued by leopard print and want to low-key incorporate it. Do you have favorite shoes in leopard print?

    • Leopard is a neutral in my world. I’m kicking off this dreary Monday with leopard print cigarette pants. I’ve been known to slip two leopard prints into one outfit, as long as they are tiny (like, a belt and my fitbit bracelet, or a shoe and maybe a tortoise hair clip). I am picky about leopard shoes–they have to look natural and not just printed on–but I have a great pair of Nine West Rasquel flats from a few years ago that are my go-tos right now.

      • Legally Brunette :

        Please post a link to your pants!

        • Ahh, they are so old! I think they are ON Pixies from….4 years ago? They are pretty magic though.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        You have a leopard print Fitbit band? I am very intrigued.

        • I do! I have an older fitbit one, and I hated wearing it as a clip, so I found these bands on amazon and bought a whole bunch. I just swap out depending on my outfit, mood, time of year, etc. Today I have a b+w geometric pattern on (…forgot where I put my leopard one!); I also have aforementioned leopard, a solid navy, a solid gray, a blue and purpley pink cosmos pattern, a floral…I had a blue and white toile one but can’t find it.

    • S in Chicago :

      I’d do shoes (flat and heel) and a bag. It’s subtle so less likely to look dated/too Vegas/etc.

    • Anonymous :

      +1 to leopard print as a neutral. I’ve had two or three pairs of shoes, a blazer that I wear with black pants/shirt, and a couple dresses. I have a black, white, and grey leopard print dress (maybe its some other animal print?) that I wear with black tights and a black cardigan. It looks awesome.

    • Get your wild animal on, sister.

    • I just bought some leopard shoes: Botkier New York Olive Calf Hair Pumps. They are sort of loafer style (will put a link in subsequent post). Hoping they fit, because I think they are just the sort of shoe I need, although I realize some will find them kind of ugly – I say jolie-laide.

      • Link to Botkier shoes:
        http://www.lordandtaylor.com/main/ProductDetail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524442409810&site_refer=CSE_GGLPRADS001_LT&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIysbJ3cL92AIV1TaBCh15cQxIEAQYCiABEgLlwvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

        • OMG. Insert long role of heart-eye emojis here. Love them. Equally sad that they are not available in my size.

          • *row. ARGH.

          • +1000. Totes would wear these with black pants suit with tapered pants and black on black print shell to almost anything professional.

          • PSA: I hit the interwebz with the G. This shoe is available in many sizes from Nordstrom . . . in the leopard, plus black patent and pewter patent and on sale. Just ordered the pewter to go with all the black, gray and navy suits.

        • I feel strangely chuffed that the good ladies of this place approve of my shoe choice.

          Yeah, I think if you google the name and brand you could find this shoe elsewhere. I somehow managed to get it from Lord & Taylor for $45 last week. I will weep if they don’t fit.

    • Legally Brunette :

      Right there with you. I’m sort of obsessed with leopard print. I bought this jacket over the weekend — what do you all think? When my 4 year old saw me wearing it, he blurted out, “yeah, you bought that because you love animal print”. :)

      I would only wear it on the weekends, with skinny jeans probably.

      https://www.nordstromrack.com/shop/product/2261887/abound-leopard-print-faux-fur-jacket?color=IVORY%20SPTD%20LEOP

    • Senior Attorney :

      Team Leopard is a Neutral here! I’ve been wearing it for years and am happy it’s having a moment because there is so much available right now. I have a leopard pencil skirt, leopard pumps, a couple of leopard scarves (Kate Spade has a cute one this season with black fringe), a leopard bag, and a full-on faux fur leopard coat. Oh, and a leopard shirt.

      So, yeah.

    • I accidentally wore leopard print every day last week, so I hope the answer is that it screams “crazy awesome”!

    • Anonymous :

      I’m wearing a black and grey animal print Michael Kors skirt, black tights, black knee high boots for warmth, and a jade cardigan.

    • Leopard, and all other animal prints are a classic in my mind. I’d still do only one piece per outfit, but why not wear it every day and make it your signature!

  9. One of the most common topics of conversation in my office is traffic. We’re just outside a big city, many of us have long commutes, and it’s part of the city’s culture to talk about traffic patterns more than is probably normal. From my apartment, I have a 1.5 hour commute. I’ve started spending several nights a week at my SO’s apartment, which shortens my commute to 45 mins. When this happens, I get stuck in awkward situations in office conversations because I didn’t experience the traffic along my usual commute so I can’t comment on it. Does anyone have a helpful script to avoid having to explain my sleeping arrangements to my colleagues? I’m generally pretty awkward and have caught myself saying weird stuff like no, I didn’t even notice the 5 car pileup blocking 3 lanes of the highway!

    • Maybe just reframe bad traffic / long commute in your head to anything over 30 minutes, and you can still commiserate. 45 minutes honestly is still a terrible commute for many areas of the country.

    • What’s wrong with the truth? “I was at Joe’s house last night so didn’t have the long commute – sounds like I picked a good day to avoid I495!”

      • I don’t want my coworkers to know that much about my personal life. It’s a pretty conservative office and I know that some of my superiors would look down on me for that.

        • Honestly, unless you work for Fox News or something (and even then…) I’m having real trouble picturing an adult workplace where you could not mention this without being “looked down on.” And if such a place exists, I’d worry more about finding a new job and less about what to say when commenting on traffic.

          • You must not be from the south :)

          • Nope, I am. Still an adult though. No need to clutch ones pearls.

          • I’m in Atlanta, and this would not be controversial here; that said, I think that if the OP doesn’t want to share this with her office (whether as a personal preference or because she feels it wouldn’t go over well), that’s her choice.

    • “I’m staying at a friend’s house a couple nights a week”

    • I would just smile, nod, and go, “Yes, that’s awful!” You can still commiserate on how awful a bad accident is without having witnessed the aftermath!

      • Yeah, I think you can be pretty bland in your response. And a 45-minute commute is still substantial.

    • “Actually I missed that! I was out earlier to (do an errand/go to the gym/pet sit/whatever) so I didn’t have as far to go by rush hour.” You can establish that you do various things before work in the morning and hopefully there won’t be too much interest after that.

    • “I missed it this morning, lucky me!” followed by absolutely no explanation whatsoever. You don’t owe anyone an explanation and you don’t owe them contorting yourself into a conversational pretzel trying to come up with convincing lies about your personal life either. Just don’t talk about it.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      I would take advantage of the situation and try to change the subject! Talking about traffic on end sounds boring. Though surely your 45 minute commute still allows you to chime in. There’s got to be other coworkers who live equally “close” to the office.

  10. Anyone doing the challenge? I am wearing black pants (ankle, Black and White Market), pink satin top (Emerson Fry) and a pink blazer (Calson, a huge Nordies steal last year), I love this whoel concept, Kat. Can you extend beyond the four weeks?

    • Anonymous :

      I signed up too late, and got emailed last week’s challenge for this week. Could somebody forward me this week’s email? e t t e travel at outlook. Thank you!

      • Baconpancakes :

        I’m just doing last week’s. I think the idea is you start from the first week whenever you sign up, not that everyone does it at the same time. (Which is less fun than everyone doing it together, I think.)

        I’m wearing a navy Elsa Ottoman sheath from Boden, a shrunken black blazer, and a station pearl necklace with black tights and flats. The navy is blue enough to look intentional under fluorescent, but under dim lighting might look weird.

        • Minnie Beebe :

          I love the idea of everyone doing the same thing every day of the challenge, just for the possibility of bumping into a random person the street, noticing her awesome outfit, and wondering what name she goes by here…

          • Baconpancakes :

            Ha! Yes that would be fun!

            There used to be a thing about a single nail painted blue, and a hair tie on your wrist, but I forget the context…

          • Baconpancakes – I had totally forgotten about that! It was a nod to some of the sillier controversies we’ve had around here about whether an “accent nail” and a hair tie on your wrist is “professional” or not. People used to say they would wear them to the meet-ups.

    • Wardrobe tracking :

      Your outfit sounds awesome. I would love to find a pink blazer. I saw one on the BR website, but I think it’s too bubble-gum pink for my complexion.

    • Not Legal Counsel :

      I am loving the challenge! Green top MK top (bought from shopgoodwill . com), green cardigan (from stitch fix and not the same color green), navy pants, and leopard Rothy’s. I like the challenge, because it is reinspiring me to wear things in my wardrobe that had just sat, and I am combining things that I never did previously. I will have to say that I signed up for the challenge, but I am not getting the e-mails, so my friend has to forward them to me.

    • Yes! I have a black t-shirt and black long cardigan, khaki pencil skirt, black tights and black flat knee-high boots. I added a black and gold belt and gold long necklace.

    • Maybe there’s an obvious answer to this… but is there a reason the challenge is through an email list instead of posted on the s i t e? Every day there are a bunch of c o m m e n t s asking for the list. Seems like it’d be a lot more streamlined to just post it.

    • Legally Brunette :

      I’m wearing the MMLF black jardigan, silky black/white top, and The Skirt in magenta. I’m really loving these challenges and would love to extend it beyond a month. Also, I actually thought the whole point was to do the challenges all together on the same days, esp. since Kat wants us to use hashtags and such when posting on social media (I’m not doing this, but I think others are).

    • I was so in love with the monochrome challenge last week that i want to do it every day but this one is close enough for me. I am wearing a blue-violet matching shell and cardi with my gray skirt. This is a pretty normal outfit for me.

      • Me too, the monochromatic challenge has been a game changer! I felt really bold but fabulous when I wore all green last week. Next up is all magenta. :) And then all red.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      I didn’t really like the prompt for today, so I didn’t really follow it, or maybe only sort of did? Wearing a navy tie-neck blouse with a horse print on it, with a navy tweed dress and navy tweed jacket, both with leather accents (part of a set, from Theory).

    • nerfmobile :

      On the second week, here. I have an olive knit top and olive cardigan (Nic + Zoe 4-way, I love these sweaters), over a deep teal skirt and somewhat brighter teal tights. I am finding the base level of these challenges fairly mundane (eg, I have worn this top and cardigan before with black pants), so I find myself looking for ways to push the concepts a little, with more unusual colors and combos.

    • I kind of did today and tomorrow by accident! I’m wearing a silk maroon top, maroon cardigan, tweed pants that have blue, purple and maroon in the fabric, maroon velvet heels and pink jewelry (pink mother-of-pearl pendant and ring). This is really fun – normally I’d wear this top with black pants and a cream-colored blazer. (Also, wow, I just typed the word “maroon” so many times it looks really weird …)

    • Senior Attorney :

      Loving the challenge!

      Today is navy BR lightweight silk sweater, navy double-bre*a*sted blazer with brass buttons, white tweedy skirt with navy trim around the hem from J Crew last year. Easy peasy! Punched it up a bit with a cobalt bag.

    • This is a great challenge. Second week here. This one was easy. Wearing Talbots navy narrow pants, t-shirt, and cardigan, and non-Talbots bright blue, beige, black and white scarf anchored with tie-clip like pin.

    • Maybe if someone starts this thread on a given day…. you could say what the challenge actually is? So since these threads are becoming long and most of us are not getting the emails, at least we know what the point is?

      It is kind of funny how many of you posted, but no one bothered to say what the challenge was.

      I feel like I’m back in high school and not in the “cool girls” club. But I don’t want anymore emails so….

      • Seriously Kat :

        +1

      • Senior Attorney :

        Haha! Here’s today’s prompt:

        DAY 6: TOP TOP + BOTTOM

        The super easy way to do this look is wear a matching twinset with a skirt or pants. But if that feels too mumsy or stodgy to you, note that you can get the same polished, sleek look by wearing ANY color that matches on the top, along with a contrasting bottom. You can easily do this with neutrals like black, white, navy, or gray — or you can do this with a more fun color.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I’m out sick so I’m wearing my pajamas. They’re great pajamas but I’d prefer to be wearing real clothes.

  11. Cat anxiety? :

    My cat spends a lot of time beating on the walls of her litterbox. She’ll go in, dig around for a while, and then beat the walls with her front paws. Half the time, she also uses it, but the other half, she doesn’t. She eats and drinks normally and we haven’t seen any signs of urinary problems, so any clue what is going on? She tends to be somewhat anxious/shy, especially with visitors, but we have a quiet house with no kids or other cats to bother her. I also haven’t seen any signs that she’s in pain.

    • My cat did this his whole life (14 years). He was perfectly healthy, just a bit weird. “Yep, there he goes again, playing in his litter box.”

    • Yep. My cat does this too. I’m pretty sure it’s only when she uses it, but honestly, I haven’t checked before so she might be going in there just to play around too. If there’s no other signs and she’s using it normally, I’d just say cats are weird. My friend had a cat who would go in and ROLL AROUND in litter whenever they changed the litter.

    • As long as she’s not peeing/pooping outside the box or seems to be crying in pain when she’s going she should be fine.

      If you have a box with a lid, maybe she would prefer something more open?

      Does she get enough playtime? My kitties love Da Bird and Da Purr Peller. Or just a random piece of string – for supervised play only.

    • My cat has done this since she was a kitten. We just assume she likes playing in the enclosed area, since she does a similar “beating the walls” thing when she hops into a cardboard boxes or other small spaces.

    • Cat anxiety? :

      OK, I’m relieved to hear that this is probably normal (weird-normal) behavior. She does get a lot of playtime (with ribbons in particular), but maybe we need to step it up even more.

    • Cats have an instinct to bury their poop. It’s an instinct that carried over from the wide because it provides protection in nature. For many cats, this translates to scratching the walls of their litter box, especially if there is not enough litter to bury it. If that is what she is doing, I wouldn’t worry

  12. Oh god, my company is falling apart. It’s just so dysfunctional that it’s nearly impossible to execute on anything, and the Powers That Be are panicking and pointing fingers at every underling. I’ve been here less than a year and my resume is already pretty jumpy (a few one-year jobs in a row) in part because I’m in an incredibly unstable field, and in part because I’ve made some risky and/or poor decisions.
    Any advice or words of support would be greatly appreciated.

    • I recently jumped ship on this situation, and I feel amazing now that I’m on the other side. Management at my last job was completely disorganized and capricious, and nobody was secure. They made one awful decision after another and wouldn’t listen to any advisers, even the ones they paid specifically to consult on what could be done better. The finances were also a mess and I wouldn’t be surprised if they fold soon.

      Ask A Manager has great job-hunting advice, and she does emphasize that when you’ve had several short job stints in a row you should be picky about what you take next, because you’ll want to stay a good long time. It’s counter-intuitive, but it means don’t act on desperation and just take the first offer you get.

      I don’t know that I can give any more advice without knowing your field and its hiring dynamics, but consider this support! My closest colleagues and I all left within a few months of each other, we’ve all landed in much better positions, and now we just look back and laugh. You will get through this.

    • This is know your company…and will certainly depend on your role, but “finger pointing at the underlings” usually means whoever manages those underlings is a bad leader and out the door. If you are manager level or lower, I’d get your resume out together but not freak out yet. Build allies with the leadership level 1-2 tiers above you. Do favors.

      • Anonymous :

        This would usually be good advice, except it’s not a very large company and the only people pointing fingers are the CEO and his appointed universally loathed sycophant; everyone else, at all levels, has banded together and is trying to make the most of an impossible situation. My immediate supervisor is an ally who protects me.

  13. Chicago gal :

    After 18 months of looking and 5 offers that fell through or were rejected – we finally got a house this weekend!

    Which brings me to my question – there are some home decor pieces (like wallpaper) that I love. I have identified the brand but they are designer – how do you buy them without being an interior decorator? Chicagoans, is this something the people at the Mart take care of for you, or can it only be bought through a decorator?

    • Minnie Beebe :

      Since you’re in Chicago, check out Urban Source!! It’s a fantastic wallpaper (and drapery) shop on Chicago Ave in West Town. I’ve never bought from them, but I’ve browsed their extensive collection. Give them a call and see if they carry the designer you’re looking for. They sell direct to consumer, and also have installation services.

      • Chicago gal :

        Wow, thank you, I somehow have never heard of this!

        • Minnie Beebe :

          It’s a fabulous store, and in my ‘hood! If I wasn’t so terrified of having prints in my house, I’m sure I would have bought All The Wallpaper years ago. I just can’t quit solids, but I really wish I was a print person!

    • Congratulations!

  14. Happy Monday! I’m tasked with bringing an app/snack to a Super Bowl party. I’m a vegetarian, and I am looking for something a little more creative/interesting than the usual hummus/veggies or guac/chips. My initial thought was a big ol pan of cheesy artichoke dip, but that seems a little boring. I’m ok if it’s time or ingredient intensive. Any ideas for a fun vegetarian app (ideally finger food)? TIA!

    • Exact same situation. I’m taking some sort of cheesy pasta, baked in a mini muffin tins instead of a big dish, so they will be “bites”.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      Spanakopita, five-layer bean dip, cheese ball, mini-quiche?

    • I’ve been thinking of trying the Puff Pastry Baked Brie bites from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.

    • https://www.google.com/amp/www.seriouseats.com/amp/recipes/2015/01/fried-jalapeno-poppers-cheese-recipe.html

      • Baconpancakes :

        Oh man these are so good.

        I would also say maybe something lighter, to counteract all the fried thing, cheese, chips and dips you get at Super Bowl parties. Bruschetta, caprese skewers, veggie sushi rolls with lightly pickled carrot, marinated mushroom, and cucumber, butternut squash and feta tartlets, curried cauliflower bites, deviled eggs (these always go over surprisingly well at our parties!), or scallion pancake!

      • Linda from HR :

        And you can make those with Philadelphia cream cheese!

        Or maybe something with Boston baked beans.

    • My favorite, very easy party app is trader joe’s feta-puff pastry bites. They are in the freezer section. Make at home and just take a basketful. They are delish cold or semi-warm.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      Google hot onion dip (or parmesan onion dip). It’s really just chips (or veggies) with dip but it’s not a common offering and it is DELICIOUS.

    • If you are near a Trader Joe’s, find their cheddar cheese with onions.

      Get some pretzel rolls or big, squishy pretzel sticks. Warm them up and cut them up. Spread some nice, spicy mustard on them, then add a big chunk of cheese on the top.

      My meat-eating friends demolished it.

    • Hot soft pretzels and cheese dip? fwiw I’d be all over your hot artichoke dip! It’s the Super Bowl, I like comfort food :-).

    • I make buffalo cauliflower “wings” for the Super Bowl. Easy and delish. Hot for Food’s recipe is my favorite.

      https://www.hotforfoodblog.com/recipes/2014/2/11/cauliflower-buffalo-wings

    • The Serious Eats jalapeno popper dip is ridiculously good. The other thing I like a lot for parties is gougeres – use the Ina Garten recipe, freeze in advance and bake when you arrive (assuming your host has an oven and the space).

    • I always make a vegetarian buffalo dip that even the most carnivorous of my friends love! Search for hungrygirl buffalo dip and sub cannelini beans for the chicken. I also sub crumbled blue cheese for the ranch. Super easy to make, and dead simple to double if you’re watching with a big crowd!

    • Artichoke dip is never boring. Even if it is, that is always the dish that is emptied first so why not bring it? (You can bring me some anytime!)

    • http://joythebaker.com/2013/11/french-onion-pastry-puffs/

    • Or this;

      http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/salsa-baked-goat-cheese-84811

      • Thanks everyone! OMG I’m glad I read through these after lunch, everything looks amazing.

    • Marillenbaum :

      Cheesy artichoke dip is not boring–it is CLASSIC and if you brought it to a party I was at, I would love you forever and probably propose to you.

    • Queso in a fondue pot and chips.

  15. What do you do when drama seems to be overtaking your life? I’ve had a particularly dramatic couple of weeks with various friends and now there’s drama going down in my office too. Usually I hunker down at work when the friends are dramatic, and spend more time with friends when work is dramatic, but now they’re both dramatic and I just want to hibernate. I’m already staying far away from social media. Any other tips?

    And as an aside, it’s times like this that I am thankful for being single. Those of you who deal with SO/kid drama on top of friend and work drama, my hat is off to you. And if any of this makes me sound young… everyone involved is well over 30, many are over 40. Adulthood is a myth, we’re all just large children.

    • In situations like this, I stock up on books from the library, turn my phone off, and hermit in my house with the animals and read :)

    • I don’t understand friend drama.

      • Another Anon. :

        Yep. I cut these people out of my life in my early 30s. I don’t want drama in my life and “friends” that are dramatic serve no benefit to me. I still have friends, albeit a much smaller group, but hells to the no on wasting my time with this BS.

        • I’m always so confused by comments like this. Friendships don’t exist in a vacuum and no one is perfect. Sometimes good people have conflicts with other good people. Usually they’re both a little right and a little wrong. That’s sort of human nature.

          And then sometimes there’s one or two bad apples in a larger friendgroup. Those people who are always stirring up drama. You can distance yourself from them, but they’re always going to be around because they’re so-and-so’s brother or spouse or friend since they were 5. It would take an awful lot of BS to justify cutting off like 20 people because of 1 person’s bad behavior.

          • Another Anon. :

            I suppose all friend groups are different? I never said my friends were perfect, and I certainly am not. That said, none of us create drama. If someone is upset, we talk to each other about it. If someone needs support, we ask for it (not go on social media to vague book about it, etc.). I have three close groups of girlfriends. None of them, nor their spouses, have ever caused drama in my life. Have we experienced times that have been hard together? Sure, but nothing that I would consider drama. My close girlfriends also don’t put up with drama, at least as far as I can see. One of my dear friend’s brother is a mess and used to create drama in her life. She stopped interacting with him regularly. I have at very small family, so my family doesn’t cause drama because we just don’t. I mean, I don’t know what to say other than this is my experience IRL.

          • I don’t have a friendgoup and I think it’s a toxic concept. I have lots of friends, sometimes we all get together, sometimes not. But there is never any drama.

          • I think a lot of people transition out of having a friend group in their late 20s/early 30s – it becomes more of a hub and spoke model than a web. I have lots of friends, but they aren’t generally friends with each other – they come from different parts of my life. If that’s your friendship model, then friend group drama becomes an alien concept as you move into adulthood.

            (Of course, some people still have friend groups without having friend group drama – just thinking that some of the disconnect comes from the fact that for some people the friendship model shifts fairly definitively post-college.)

      • biglawanon :

        This.

    • Lots of Netflix

  16. Media Fast Recs :

    Went on a media fast (this site included-sigh!) to start off the year and still have a little more than a week on it. Needless to say, it was amazing! I am a young professional, so Instagram and social media sites are really fun for me. I like sharing my life and documenting cool things I get to do. However, it’s clear I am a little too addicted to it. I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with using social media, but it really affects my workflow, my attention span, etc. I also do it with more “highbrow” things–like longreads from the New Yorker and the New York Times comment section–I just love reading and taking in information.

    I hoped back on here to ask what you do to prevent media from taking over your life entirely! I have done these fasts before and when I come back, I go way too hard at once. I am trying to think of realistic boundaries that I can keep this year to ensure I can still share fun things, catch-up with friends, and stop being compulsive/wasting time.

    • I took a lot of the apps off my phone (facebook etc) which prevents mindless scrolling. At home now I need to be at my laptop to check facebook so I spend way less time on it. I still check it once a day and sometimes more and I never miss anything. I spend way less time on it.

    • This is basic, but I deleted the Facebook app off of my phone. So if I want to use it, I have to open a browser window in Safari and log myself in. Somehow having that one extra step keeps me from scrolling mindlessly. Once I wasn’t accustomed to looking at it on my phone frequently, it became easier to stay off it on my computer at work. I don’t really miss it, TBH, even though I still check in once or twice a week to make sure I haven’t missed any tangential friend group engagements or new babies.

      I also did a purge on Instagram so I’m following a smaller number of other accounts, and after a while I run out of new content.

      Good luck! It’s hard to re-set those habits.

      • +1 I have done this also. The other thing that helps is resetting your mindset/expectations around it and being okay with missing some things. At the end of the day, does it really matter if I missed the vacation pictures from the person I went to HS with but don’t speak to anymore? Absolutely, not. It takes a little while, but once you stop checking it becomes the new normal and you have far less FOMO.

    • Most of my use was on my phone, so I changed my phone screen to grayscale. Removes a lot of the appeal of just scrolling and looking – I use my phone predominantly for checking specific things now. Also removed fb app, but that was never the culprit: insta was, which I didn’t have the strength to delete but lack of color helps a ton.

    • I unfollowed a zillion people recently. Takes a lot less time to get through the feed, and the people I kept are the ones I find most interesting.

      I tried uninstalling FB from my phone but wound up putting it back, just cos it makes it so easy to post a photo.

    • Forest!!! Its an app, and the only thing that’s worked for me- I’ve very visual, and the motivation of working up enough focus points to buy prettier trees and bushes to plant my february forest so it’s all cool looking is enough to keep me from touching my phone for hours at a time (formerly minutes)- just because i want to unlock that make-believe mushroom to ‘plant’ in my imaginary app space LOLOLOL you should definitely try it its free

  17. Mom on unexpected trip :

    I have a larger rolling carry-on that I take for week-long trips, but need a small one that I can carry on most any plane (realizing that some puddlejumpers are so tiny nothing fits), and I need it quickly (by thursday of this week!). I don’t need anything fancy – just something that will last and will hold a change of clothes for me, a kid, and other carry-on odds and ends.

    I know there are a lot of super travelers reading Corporette. Can anyone recommend something? Am I stuck with Amazon? And if so, what you recommend? Thank you!

    • TJ Maxx

    • If you are near a Costco, I highly recommend their Kirkland brand carry-on. I’ve had mine for years and it still looks new. I think it’s usually in stock in the store for about $100.

    • Ebags Weekender Convertible Junior. Available on Amazon prime.

      It’s a backpack and fits into the overhead or under the seat. Not for lugging around on hikes, but okay for airport/train station connections.

    • A backpack and a gym bag/tote bag or similar. The puddle jumpers make you put rollerboards in cargo so if that’s what you are trying to avoid you need a soft bag.

    • I use my Longchamps expandable duffel on some trips like these. You might also look for an “underseat” rollaboard- most major luggage brands have them, and there’s a few available on prime.

      • Mom on unexpected trip :

        Thanks for the suggestions. I have joint issues, which I should have mentioned, so I do need the roller-board ability; I can’t carry much on my shoulder. The backpack/roller looks to be a good size, as does the idea of the other underseat rollaboards. Any other recommendations also welcome – I’ll keep checking back!

        • Anonymous :

          The Samsonite large underseater https://shop.samsonite.com/mothers-day/samsonite-large-rolling-underseater/55478XXXX.html
          or the Samsonite small underseater https://www.amazon.com/Samsonite-55476-Wheeled-Underseater-Small/dp/B00I2KNDI6

    • Briggs and Riley, available on Amazon.

  18. I have googled this question, but thought I’d put it to the hive. Has anyone gotten botox within a few weeks/couple months of getting pregnant? There aren’t any studies of the effect of botox on pregnancy, but I know doctors won’t do botox on someone who’s already pregnant. I’m getting it for the first time this week, but about to start TTC. I feel like it’s fine but…

    • to clarify — has anyone gotten botox and then gotten pregnant *afterwards* (within a few weeks)?

    • This is not me but my dermatologist says that while they don’t do it when you are pregnant and they won’t tell you it’s absolutely safe to do so (because this is not something that has been tested), she told me anecdotally that both she and many other derm peers of hers have become pregnant within a few weeks of having it done.

  19. Heartbreak :

    It’s okay to just give up on men and get a cat right? Feeling very much like if I’m going to die alone a cat would be good to have around.

    • I’m all for getting a cat. But do it because you want a cat, not as a sad backup options

    • It’s also ok to give up on men and foster kittens/volunteer at an animal shelter/do something to help out the cats and get your mind off the men.

    • Mhmm it’s okay. If you happen to have a crazy cat lady friend I’m sure they will be willing to go to the spca with you to find your new fur friend.

    • In this situation, I actually recommend a dog. I can’t tell you how many people I meet daily on the street because my dog is super-adorable. She’s a man and chick magnet. Cats don’t get out so much, and so they are great for wallowing at home, but less great for meeting people. I know that some cat people are not dog people, but…if you are at all flexible, dog!

      • This. I’m a dog person in part because they need to be walked everyday which gets me out of the house and interacting with new people.

      • Second Anon :

        I have both cats and a dog and while I love my cats, the dog is always WAYYYYY more excited to see me when I get home. If you can swing it from a commitment (time and financial) go for a dog! I also am very partial to senior pups. They are the best!

      • Haha thanks but I am so not a dog person!

      • Eh I think this is a little like saying having a kid is good for your social life. Really depends what kind of social life you’re looking for. A dog is great for getting out of the house during the day on weekends to do something not drinking-related. But my friends with dogs miss out on happy hour, after work yoga classes, and pretty much anything spontaneous that’s after work because they have to go home to let the dog out. And really, you’re not meeting anyone while walking the dog during the week. Most people I know have pretty hectic morning routines and by the time they get home it’s close to dark, so it’s not like their day-to-day is having long relaxing walks with the pup.

        • Ha, I am totally having a little romantic flirtation with a guy who walks his dog on my block. My pooch seems to have an instinct for detecting single gentlemen…

        • Anonymous :

          I don’t have any of these problems and I have a dog. I can go home over lunch to let my dog out if I am not going to be home right after work. I absolutely meet people while walking my door in my neighborhood and around town. So YMMV.

    • Where’s Shots, Shots, Shots when you need her?

      My advice, from someone who found “the one” in my mid/late 30s after some gruesome relationships: yes, it’s okay to give up. Get a super-snuggly cat, make a good reading list, train for a marathon, and focus on living your life. The worst that happens is you stop dating men who are bad for your psyche and build a life you can enjoy; the best that happens is that you’re single and not a mess when the right man comes along.

      • Marillenbaum :

        THANK GOD for this reminder. I just had to dump a man who thought he had standing to voice “concerns” about my weight (we’ve gone out four times, and you’re neither my doctor nor my personal trainer). Men are straight up cancelled for the duration.

    • My cat helps me meet all kinds of people. He is an escape artist so has become indoor/outdoor and is super friendly to people but super unfriendly to other cats. So I meet the unhappy owners of the other cats! Probably not what you’re looking for. The joys of adopting a feral kitten.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I met everyone on my street when my cat decided to sneak out years ago. He was gone for several days and I was heartbroken. I went door to door pleading for information. He finally came back on his own but I certainly got to know my neighborhood.

        • Same! I actually hired a pet detective when my cat went missing for 9 days. It was interesting to say the least, and we did finally find her! My neighbors still ask me how she’s doing.

  20. I’m curious – did biglaw money (or fields like investment banking) make a sizeable difference in your net worth/lifestyle etc now – esp if you got out of those industries and got “regular” jobs?

    Had brunch with a number of ladies I’ve known since the biglaw days. All of us left and do other things now – mid law, in house, govt, small business owners etc. We stayed for a varied number of years – some wanted out ASAP and left as 3rd-4th yrs, others contemplated/wanted partnership and left around yrs 8 or 9.

    So the amount of biglaw bashing at brunch was nuts. I mean I agree it’s nice to be at a place in life where you’re not working 24-7 and I don’t have the energy now that I did as a 25 year old first year. But to have that type of start financially to me was priceless. I said that and almost everyone was like – nah – NBD. 1-2 people came from wealth (like their parents bought them Manhattan apartments as first yrs) so I get why they didn’t think it was a lot of money. The rest grew up middle class like me and I was like – uh my net worth, retirement etc would be no where near what they were now if I hadn’t done biglaw for 8 years? Sure in house/govt etc is fine but I think it’s fine after you’ve pulled together sizeable savings/investments etc while my friends think – nah you’d save in other jobs too. What do you all think?

    • I think a bit of both. Yeah my 401k is nice but also I don’t really talk finances with friends.

    • Growing my nest egg is a HUGE motivation for staying in big law for another 4-5 years (or as long as I can). Even in NYC, I get the sense that there aren’t a lot of other jobs that will pay as well. I also view biglaw as a means to acquire subject matter expertise/skills that will hopefully help me land a solid exit gig.

      • Good planning! I did the same and left as a 9th year and by then I was really ready to move cities too.

        Op – have had this convo with my friends to the same reaction – and no no one expected anyone to say my net worth/401k stands at x. From my friend group — the people who left in 4 years were often the ones who did not want be there for one extra moment but had loans. So they spent 4 years paying bank loans, maybe paying for a wedding as fast as possible so they could go. So they didn’t stay to build up savings/401ks and so they look at those things from that time and say – what did I really gain from that job? OTOH those leaving at year 10 are often leaving with sizeable 401ks, investments etc because they’ve invested steadily, had 4-5 extra years of salary and bonuses abc they weren’t focused on putting every extra $ into loans ASAP so they could go.

    • Big law is a balance of more money than you’d make elsewhere vs. the fact that you can never get those years of your life back. So whether it was worth it financially depends a lot on a) where you started off financially b) how much you hated it and c) what you were missing out on by working all the time.

      It’s different for everyone. For some people it’s worth it, at least temporarily, but I do think a lot of people reasonably conclude there isn’t enough money in the world to make it worthwhile.

      • I guess I just didn’t hate it day to day that much and I guess I like money more than the average person because I really don’t get the – there isn’t enough money in the world stance – unless you have a trust fund or your parents are buying you a Manhattan apartment in cash, which isn’t the case for more than 2-3% of biglaw associates.

        • Don’t underestimate the value of not hating the day-to-day of it.

          • This. At my firm the experience varies a ton even in the same department. There are people who early on were staffed with the nicer partners on litigations that went on for a year at a time, so while there was lots of work they were with a nice team for years at a time with a steady pace of work – ie let’s start working on that motion to dismiss, please get me a draft in 3 weeks. Great – you can work hard but plan your life. Not so much if you were working for the drug addict screamer who’d assign you a task for 2 days for bod and then call you 2 hrs later screaming at you insisting he needed it tonight. And then there were the associates who proved themselves to be great under pressure – meaning it was one emergency brief to the next TRO rinse and repeat. It gets old really fast if everytime anyone in the dept needs a brief tomorrow, they call you to pitch hit for their associate because they know you’ll get it done overnight. Once people got painted into that corner, they were out of there regardless of money.

          • I temper that with the fact that I have hated minimum wage jobs that left me dirty, sore, and physically tired. So BigLaw at least pays and the physical toll is much less.

        • If you weren’t that miserable and weren’t missing out on major life events, it probably was worth it for you. But the balance comes out differently if you had been unhappy, especially to the point of affecting your personality and self-perception. Having kids, family members who are older or in bad health, wanting time to date seriously, and many other personal circumstances also can change the math for people.

          Money is really nice but it isn’t everything. Your position is a reasonable one, but so are your friends’ positions.

    • I worked in biglaw as staff for many years (senior transactional paralegal). It was hard because I was getting great experience, but I did sell my life, and I didn’t get a sizeable nest egg. I am now an attorney in biglaw, and it’s still really hard. At the junior level, as a relatively recent graduate, I am not banking a lot of money–I am just trying to get out of debt.

      What has made the biggest difference to me has been consistent saving in retirement vehicles, and watching those vehicles grow. (I pulled my money into cash during the downturn, so I didn’t see a big dip then.) I have friends from when I was a baby paralegal who became lawyers well before I did, and their net worth is probably $1-2MM now. So yeah, that money made a difference. But I’d also argue that they were in sane situations, without sexual harassment or absolutely nuts bosses (things I’ve experienced). I wish that I took an elevator ride straight up and went into biglaw as an attorney right away, but that’s not how it worked out.

      Honestly, I think this is a personal question, but I am much happier having been happy (and gotten away from bad situations job-wise) than staying in jobs I just could not stand due to really crap work situations. Sure, I don’t have a big fancy house, but I also feel strangely free–I live in a really nice apartment and may not be building a RE nest egg, but I am saving and doing fine.

      Also cosign that I do not talk money in a large group. I have a few girlfriends and we talk about stuff privately (really, there’s not too many financial secrets in biglaw), but I would never have a conversation like this at a group brunch. No good can come from that.

      And in terms of biglaw bashing–I think there are so many different experiences. Some of my friends had very sane work environments, with great mentors and training. Other people had abusive situations like mine. So the rosy glow of biglaw is different for everyone. I’ve seen it all–chairs and staplers thrown, affairs, partners banging the copy girl, people working through their sister’s suicide attempt because there was a closing, fraud, drug abuse…biglaw can be a very rough place. I’m glad you had the opportunity to stay for 8-9 years, but know that you are the exception, truly. It’s a pyramid. Most people leave or are asked to leave long before then!

      • To be clear – did NOT mean I or anyone said – well my net worth is $2mil bc oh biglaw (ha – I wish). I just mean a vague comment was made along the lines of — well the money from back then has certainly helped. And most people jumped in with – nah; it was NBD; hasn’t helped that much. I was surprised but said nothing and moved on.

        • biglaw thoughts :

          I haven’t been in biglaw but from what I read here, it sounds like you can spend lots of money on conveniences because you have no time, including living close to work etc. So maybe for some the amount left over to save is not that great?

          • Yeah this has been my experience. Paying off debt at a high interest rate (at least before SoFi was around) combined with the added expenses of living close, not having a roommate (because I just couldn’t deal with roommate issues anymore), therapy, house cleaning, dog sitting… it’s a lot. My student loans are almost gone, I have a nice 401k, good credit, and I own my home (well, I own like 40% of it). But I don’t have big investment accounts. Then again I don’t get the bonuses that some in biglaw get, and it’s my impression that that makes a huge difference, especially in terms of debt repayment.

          • This. Lots of apartments close to work – often fancy because of location. Cleaning services. Eating out when not at work. Top notch wardrobe. And in my circle, at least 2 fabulous 5 star vacations per year – to blow off steam and keep people motivated to keep at it. Between that and loans, I don’t think people are walking away with a 1/2 million in hand.

          • The cash burn rate is staggering, esp. in NYC where there is a city income tax on top of everything else. I liken it to waking up in the morning and lighting a $1000 bill (is there a such thing) on fire. A bit of an exaggeration (but when I used to use $100 in the saying, I realized it was more than that).

            And then there is the sorrow of trying to work on your LLM, taking a night class, going to the PATH and realizing that there is some sort of issue where the next train won’t be for an hour and you’ve got to walk to the garage in Hoboken and then drive home after that. Do you tough it out? Try to stay over? Buy a PowerBall ticket b/c maybe that’s a legit way out? I have no good answers, but having had this night has been what justifies my moving now very close to work b/c it is the cost of sanity in an otherwise insane world.

    • AnonBiglaw :

      BigLaw has 100% made a difference in my net worth, although I largely keep my lifestyle very non-BigLaw (having a spouse and friends who don’t work in Big Money Jobs helps with this). I don’t know if I’d think it was worth it if I’d missed out on truly important life things, but as it is, I’ve had a pretty comparatively easy run of it. Some real rough patches over the years, but generally I don’t hate it and have managed to carve out a life for myself reasonably well. And I’ve paid off my 200k in student loans, paid for our wedding in cash and hit 500k in net worth (between house equity and investments/cash) at 30, which is frankly completely amazing to me as someone who originally expected to be paying off loans forever.

      • Anonymous :

        AnonBiglaw – I have mad respect for your saving skills! I’m 3.5 years in and have around 350k. Granted I didn’t have student debt and I haven’t been the best saver over the last few years. Hoping to double down and increase my savings for the coming years.

        • As another datapoint, I’m 33 and not biglaw. DH and I have a combined net worth of $1.2M. We both work “normal” corporate jobs in terms of hours and always have. We had $100k of student loans between us- which isn’t big law loan level, but it’s still a lot!

    • I completely agree with you, and know that most of my friends feel differently. I think there are two big reasons:

      First, so much of the money for the first 3-5 years goes to paying off student loans. I think that is a huge benefit, cause it means I don’t have to pay off those loans at a lower paying job. But for most people, they don’t see it that way. It’s not money in the banks, so it’s not a positive of the experience. (basically, they are just thinking “I didn’t have any saving when I left”, and not thinking “but at least I got rid of that $200k+ debt”)

      Second, a lot of associates in biglaw spend way too much money so don’t actually save that much. I lived nicer then when I was a student, but not by much for my first few years. That is not true for most. So, since they are spending $3K a month on a high end apt, eating every meal out, paying a cleaning person, buying expensive clothing, taking very expensive vacations, etc., they don’t save much. Maybe by those standards, there quality of life goes down when they leave biglaw but they don’t think about it that way.

      On the other hand, I am 8 years out, have a net worth of over $500k, and have no debt. I know that there is no way I would be in this financial position without my time in biglaw. And since I grew up poor, I think I appreciate it more than those who grew up middle/upper middle class.

      • Anonymous :

        I have had a 3K / mo housing payment for years now and try to pay more than that for my loans. So I don’t feel like I have any $ just to blow (so in my fancy apartment, I wear BR suits bought on sale and have never bought additional or upgraded furniture.

        Living close = sanity. You pay in $ or you pay in time and I am out of time. Not yet out of $.

    • biglawanon :

      I grew up extremely poor, and having a Biglaw salary has changed my life. I have looked for other jobs, but nothing pays nearly as much so I admit I stay for the money. I don’t hate it though like a lot of people. I just don’t love it.

  21. Can someone help me figure out what search terms to use for this? I need a rack of sorts to corral all my food storage lids. I don’t want a rack where each lid needs its own slot like a CD rack. I literally want a single “u shape” where the bottom of the U is maybe 2-3 inches in width so I can stack the lids vertically in it.

    Any ideas for what I search for? Like is it really a magazine rack or something like that I’m looking for?

  22. Motivation help :

    I’m discouraged and frustrated by recent strategic decisions by my company’s leadership, and in the span of two months gone from a job I love to a job I’m mentally checked out of. Changing jobs isn’t an option because I’m applying for grad school in the fall and worry about how that would look on my application (not to mention I don’t want the stress of applying and also a job search/new job!). Life outside of works is amazing, but I struggle to get anything done at work for 40 hours a week because mentally I’m just not here.

    How do I refocus/rediscover my motivation?

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      I am in the same situation (right down to the grad school plans). Maybe someone else will have excellent advice for us :) I used to find my job very satisfying and in fact usually enjoyed it. Now I definitely don’t. I’ve tried to re-frame work in my mind as “something I happen to do for part of the day” rather than the defining part of my life. And while I still try to focus and get stuff done, I guess I’ve given myself permission to…kind of give up? I think I used to be an above average performer. I don’t mind if I’m middle of the pack for the next few months.

      • Pale Girl Snorkeling :

        I had the same situation the year before I went to grad school. In that year I saw my job as just something I did during the day and if I had free time I had no qualms about working on applications, researching programs, reading recent articles in my areas of interest. When I was working on my job I focused on doing things that I could finish within the year, not taking on any long term commitments and overall focusing on what was best for my plans, not best for the workplace. I also let a few people know about my grad school plans (they weren’t unusual in my field) and it made for a decent year.

    • Grad school actually helped me with this. Your field my be different, but when I started grad school I was in classes with people trying really hard to get a foot in the door at the kind of place I was already working. It reminded me why I wanted to pursue this job in the first place and inspired me to get my sh!t together at work. Grad school also forced me to look towards the future- if I’m going to the trouble of getting this degree, where do I want to end up as a result? I then had a natural timeline along which to start job searching if Current Job wasn’t where I wanted to end up.

    • Marillenbaum :

      I’ve been there! I was at the point where I felt like I could either set my desk on fire or leave, and my GRE scores would no longer be valid after that admissions cycle. I turned it into “GTFO Bootcamp”: every Saturday, I would go to a coffeeshop downtown to work on my applications, essays, etc. It made work so much easier because I could remind myself that now it was just about maintaining my professional reputation as a good colleague, and not because I liked or even cared about the work itself. And once I was admitted to my program, it was about just wrapping things up well.

  23. Need a pick-me-up :

    Wow I am feeling so down. I stopped anti-depressants about a month ago because we’re TTC and am still feeling the after effects. Last week I fell and dislocated my shoulder, so am in a sling and can’t do most basic tasks. I can’t put on makeup. My husband did something that really hurt me about a week ago and while we’re doing better (and he has been a prince taking care of me), I’m still a bit hurt. we have construction going on in our house that is incredibly chaotic. Because of my injury I feel exhausted and can’t sleep. Miserable / stressed at work because I can hardly type! What can I do to feel better?

    Can’t exercise because of arm. Ditto on a long walk because I can’t zip a coat. Ditto on getting a manicure or massage or trying on clothes. I just want to curl up in a ball and cry.

    What a negative self-pity post. Sigh.

    • Not at all self-pity! That sounds like a ton to deal with at once.

      I say this was someone for whom anti-depressants are life-changing: I’d go back on anti-depressants. Everything I’ve heard suggests it’s better for the mom to be happy on anti-depressants while pregnant than dealing with untreated depression while pregnant. Plus, there’s no telling how long it will take to get pregnant – if it takes a while, I’d rather have been on anti-depressants in the interim.

    • Why did you go off anti depressants? Talk to your doctors about options.

      • This. Sometimes medication is necessary and the benefits to mom (and thus baby through a healthy mom) mean that continued medication is recommended.

        Depression isn’t good for moms or babies. Depression during pregnancy is a risk factor for post-partum depression. There are lots of good options.

    • I recommend a blowout at Drybar or similar. You probably can’t do your hair either, so it gets some pampering in, plus you’ll feel like you look better for a couple days. I broke my arm last summer and did weekly blowouts until I got the cast off. Not a luxury I would normally pay for, but perfect in this situation.

    • It’s OK to feel bad when bad things are happening! Can you check out of the house and into a hotel for a night or two to get away from the chaos, get some sleep, and generally calm your mind? Maybe combine with a foot massage at the hotel spa? Go with or without your husband, depending on which would feel better at this point.

    • Marillenbaum :

      I’m going to tell you what my therapist told me: sometimes, feeling bad isn’t a problem to be solved. Of course you feel bad! It sounds like it’s been a bad few weeks. Maybe you can let yourself feel bad for a day, and then talk to your doctor about ways to mitigate the impact of going off your medication, and get a blowout (my personal face), and things.

      • No opinion on the antidepressants, and second the suggestion to get a blowout or a facial, but –
        My wise grandma from an Asian country says it’s not normal to want to be happy all the time. Just like it’s not normal to eat sweet foods all the time. There’s actually a traditional new year celebration where you are supposed to eat – one spicy, one savory, one bitter, one sour, one sweet food and so on. It’s strange to the western mindset of “why would anyone willingly eat some bitter food?”. But the idea is that life is a mix of different kinds of feelings and that you can’t expect to feel only some of them and not others. If bad things happen, you feel bad. Let yourself rest and take care of yourself through these feelings and know that something else is around the corner.

  24. Can anyone help me with thoughts on how to support a friend who has lost an (infant) child? It just happened, and I think they are overwhelmed with calls, etc. so I’m trying to not intrude on their privacy. But the last thing I want to do is be someone who just disappears. So I’m torn, and just so very sad for them.

    • You might want to read the archives on Pinch of Yum. They had a similar personal tragedy last year and wrote about dealing with it. Have tissues nearby.

    • Are you local to them? Do they have a schedule for food? If so, take them dinner. Is your friend on maternity leave? If yes, she might want company during the day, if you can swing it. If there is a memorial service, attend it, assuming local. If you aren’t local, I’d wait a couple weeks and reach out and ask how they are doing. And/or send a sweet, hand written card. And continue to ask throughout their lives. They won’t ever want to forget their child and won’t want others to either. Acknowledge this child’s birthday next year; that’s going to be a very hard day for them. And don’t hesitate to reach out to them for things you would normally reach out to them for. Even though they are grieving (and the pain will never go away), they’ll want to resume normalcy as much as they can.

    • Text regularly to let them know you are thinking of them. Also, send food (preferably something with cheese). Later on, you can make contributions in the name of the child to the March of Dimes.

    • Lyra Silvertongue :

      So many +1000000 to Pinch of Yum. A dear friend recommended it to me when I miscarried last year and the author’s voice is amazing. I cannot express how helpful that blog was/is. The podcast Motherbirth (recommended by the same friend) also had some episodes on this.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      In my experience, people really really appreciate hand-written sympathy cards, even if it’s literally just a card with flowers on the front and “I’m so sorry for your loss” (and/or “I’m keeping you all in my prayers” if applicable) written inside. It doesn’t demand a response, but they can hang on to as a tangible token that people are thinking of them.

  25. Maternity leave and email :

    Ladies, how often did you check work email on maternity leave? My associate has been out on leave for about 12 weeks and I emailed her about a week ago to check on her and to let her know that I wanted to talk about when she’s planning to start back. We have a somewhat flexible approach to returning to work (people take anywhere from 12-16 weeks paid, and often people return part-time at first), so it is truly something that requires a conversation – I can’t just pull out a calendar and know when she’ll be back – and we need to figure out some staffing issues.

    I haven’t heard back from her yet. I wouldn’t expect her to be checking frequently at all since she is, you know, on leave, but I’m wondering how long it makes sense to wait before following up. Never having taken maternity leave, I don’t have a sense of how often people check, and I’m sensitive to not being the bad boss who bothers associates during leave, but when she’s coming back is important for us to know…

    • I think it’s fine to give her a call if you don’t hear back. Truthfully, though, if you haven’t heard from her you can probably assume she’s planning to take the full 16 weeks.

    • Never. Call her.

      • Anon in NYC :

        +1. It’s not insensitive to call to ask.

      • That’s so interesting to me – I’ve never been on maternity leave, but I would be worried about missing administrative type emails (like open enrollment, renewing my bar license, etc.). How do people handle stuff like that?

        • I kept my work email account on my phone and checked it pretty regularly, probably everyday. That said, I had the type of office where people knew I was out and didn’t bother me for client-related stuff. I forwarded the (very few) requests from clients or opposing counsel to the appropriate people and handled administrative and HR stuff. I was also involved in the hiring process for my new secretary, which was a major benefit to my work environment when I returned and definitely worth a couple of hours of time in the office during maternity leave.

          • Same anon. I’ll clarify that I probably didn’t check email much in the first couple of weeks. In fact, my boss was worried because I emailed him that I was going into labor (4-5 weeks early) and wouldn’t be able to complete a research project and then didn’t email him to announce the birth/let him know everyone was healthy.

        • My email was handled by an admin who would forward these to my personal email. She also handled distributing my routine email to others on the team.

          • When I went out on maternity leave, I had an assistant who fell somewhere between extreme neglect and actively trying to sabotage me. I would never have trusted her with my email. During my maternity leave, she was transferred to another office (at her request), and I got to help pick our new assistant. It was the best work thing that happened to me that year.

            The transferred admin was fired by the partner she transferred to several months later. (In our office, the partners had just foisted her on several associates, who didn’t have the power to fire assistants and got dinged on reviews for being difficult to work with if we complained about the ones we had or requested different ones.)

    • Maternity Leave Countdown :

      Never. Email ain’t happening while I’m on [unpaid] maternity leave and I’ve made my team aware of that. They should call or send an email to my personal email address for questions about return arrangements. You should call.

      • re calling :

        As soon as I got home from the hospital I put all possible ringers on mute. And I put a ring tone on my phone for each key relative/friend. So I don’t recommend calling. E-mail again.

    • Did you email her work or her personal email? I never checked my work email while on leave after having a baby. When my boss needed to get in touch with me about something, she emailed my personal email.

      • Maternity leave and email :

        Her work email – I was worried that emailing her personal email would seem like overstepping. I’ll try that if I haven’t heard back in a few more days.

    • biglawanon :

      I checked mine about once a day, but it seems like others may not do that. Second calling her.

    • I guess I’m in the minority because I checked work email daily. I didn’t respond to anything but I wanted to know what was going on and it’s on my phone anyway so it’s not like it took any additional time out of my day to check it. And I would have found an email much less intrusive than a phone call. But I agree that if she’s gone a week without responding to email it’s fine to call.

    • I’ve not been on maternity leave yet. But based on my friends, it varies from once a week or every two weeks to never. I don’t know anyone who check more than once a week, and the only people I know who checked that often were senior associates or income partners. Most junior or midlevel associates either never checked or did so over 2-4 weeks.

    • blueberries :

      I removed firm software and email from my home after the first few weeks of leave. I emailed my return date and plan (from my personal email address) to the partners I worked for. Totally fine to email her personal email address to ask about the return date nicely.

    • I’ve never gone on maternity leave myself, but I know that when colleagues of mine have done so, they did not check work email at all for the duration of their leave. And I think that their return dates were settled before they left, although with the understanding that if anything changed, they would reach out.

    • At my previous workplace we had strict rules in place about communication while someone was on leave. The employee on leave was prohibited from accessing the company system, including Email. People from the company were prohibited from contacting the person on leave unless the leav-ee requested a call.

      The company was a fortune 50 and obviously quite large. I assume these rules were in place due to prior legal issues, so tread carefully.

      I would just wait for the employee to contact you.

      • Of Counsel :

        Me too! My firm literally cut off my access. Anything personal or HR related was sent to my personal email.

        I am actually surprised at how many people (many of whom are presumably attorneys given the demographics of this site) are routinely checking work email while on leave. However, I suppose that if your firm is paying your salary while on leave (mine did not) it would not have the same Labor Code implications as if the leave is unpaid.

    • Anonymous :

      I’d talk to your HR dept. She’ll need to be coordinating with them on return timing anyway, so they should be on top of it. I told everyone to text me if they needed something – less intrusive than a phone call and stood out more than an email. I’d go that route before calling, and would make it clear that you don’t need a response asap. But, know your office – as prior posted noted, there may be rules in place. And if HR doesn’t know her return timing, they should at least know rules regarding contact.

    • I checked daily for the first week or so simply because I was up all hours anyway! Then I took my work email off my phone and checked in maybe weekly at most?

      My boss texted me on the rare occasion she needed something (“any idea where the X file might be? We’ve looked for an hour” and “I need another pic of your baby when you have the chance!!” type stuff, not actual work).

      I’d text and let her know to please check her work email when she has a moment.

  26. Roadtripping in March with Mr. Fish, and planning a 1 night stopover at either National Harbor or Alexandria. We’ve been to D.C. a zillion times and are looking for the following: 1) a nice dinner, 2) a place to have some drinks after dinner, and 3) something fun to do all within walking distance of our hotel. We’ll def. be staying at a Marriott, but need advice between Alexandria (haven’t been there in about 20 years) or National Harbor (never been).

    Which one would you choose, where would you eat/drink, and what would you do for fun (we’ll have a morning on a weekday for shopping/sightseeing/other fun stuff in the area).

    TIA!

    • Alexandria for sure. Lots of charming restaurants and bars and just fun to stroll around and absorb all the history. I think the National Harbor’s only worth it if you want to gamble or see one of the shows. You could take the water taxi and check out both, actually.

      These suggestions are good: https://www.washingtonian.com/2017/10/05/neighborhood-guide-what-to-do-where-to-eat-shop-alexandria/

      And a roud-up of live music options: http://blog.visitalexandriava.com/ask-insider-best-places-live-music-alexandria/#_ga=2.213387156.1822938351.1517244466-1618357358.1517244466

    • National Harbor has all the things you listed but is relatively small and very food-focused, though that might be fine for only one night. There’s an outlet mall nearby and the new MGM casino, but if you are looking for other kinds of activities I’d suggest staying in Alexandria (it’s also easier to get into DC from Alexandria if you want to do something in the city).

    • Alexandria. There’s not much to do in National Harbor except the Casino (unless that is your scene). I’ve heard mixed reviews about Fish at National Harbor if you stay there. Alexandria has a ton of really great little shops along King Street. My favorite is the store that specializes in mid-century barware; they have really cool stuff.

      I know you said not D.C., but floating another option: there is a bunch of new-ish stuff near the Courtyard in SW/Navy Yard. I’d do dinner at Osteria Morini or Salt Line and then drinks at the new winery or at Whaley’s, or if the new Dacha beer garden is open, there.

    • Alexandria a thousand times. Quaint streets, lots of little stores to peek into, good food options, fun little ice cream places if the weather’s warm. The haunted history walking tours are fun if you’re into that. George Washington’s masonic temple is also nearby and his church is in the heart of Old Town.

      National Harbor is 1) a casino with 2) the exact.same. mixed use development you have wherever it is you’re from (offbeat boutique + pricey cooking store + nail salon + eh restaurants) with 3) a small outlet mall that’s a slog up a humongous hill. Seriously, some version of National Harbor exists in every relatively affluent town in America. It does have a Ferris Wheel…

    • anon a mouse :

      Alexandria hands down. National Harbor is fine but it feels like every other group of chain restaurants, plus a casino. (If you are big gamblers, my answer would change.)

      Stay at the Morrison House. Dinner either there or Restaurant Eve. Drinks at PX (email/call to reserve seats ahead of time.) There are a ton of cute shops all in walking distance. If you’re into history, there are walking tours around the area.

      • Yes, these recommendations are spot on.

        National Harbor has zero sense of place. It’s basically a pop-up complex around a casino/conference center.

    • Anonymous :

      +1 for Alexandria. Like what everyone already said, there’s a charming historic area in Old Town, plus the Torpedo Art Factory. National Harbor is… sterile in comparison. (Although if you want something brand new shiny and yet doesn’t feel quite so sterile, the Wharf in DC just opened a couple months ago.)

  27. Shoe help! :

    I need new commuting shoes. I walk about 3/4 mi each way to and from the Metro, plus walking to meetings, lunch, etc. around the city. My ideal shoes are something I could potentially wear to a meeting if someone wasn’t looking too closely, but that are still very comfortable. (So not necessarily “work” shoes, but nothing too noticeable.) I can’t do completely flat shoes. A slight wedge or block heel is best. For some reason I’ve had a horrible time finding shoes this time around. What do other people wear?

    • Dansko professional clogs in black box leather.

      • Shoe help! :

        I should have said, for work I wear skirts/dresses almost exclusively. And where I work the dress code is still very formal (federal government in DC). So I think these shoes would look odd with my work clothes.

        • Clark’s verdara wedges

        • Maybe. I don’t think they look bad with tights although they might look weird with sheer hose and a suit skirt or dress.

          Also, I keep all my work shoes (3 pairs, all black) under my desk and change when I arrive. I don’t wear the clogs all day.

          • Shoe help! :

            Yeah, I wear suits or a sheath dress with blazer every day. Mostly with pantyhose. It would not be a great look.

          • Agreed. They’re pretty clompy. Not super cute with pantyhose!

        • Anonymous :

          I have a Dansko wedge that looks like a regular shoe. Not like a super stylish shoe or anything, but good enough while still being super comfy.

      • Eeertmeert :

        Dansko Maria booties. Same rocking sole, super cute boots. A few colors each season. Wear like workhorses.

    • Check out Rockport’s Total Motion line.

    • nerfmobile :

      I find Clarks usually has a range of options that look decent and are very walkable. The Clarks “Vendra Bloom” looks like it might fit your needs. https://www.zappos.com/p/clarks-vendra-bloom-black-suede/product/8711355/color/106

    • Anonymous :

      I just wear my very comfortable and very broken in ankle boots for my walk. Mine are Sam Edelman Petty, but there are a million similar styles out there. I usually wear dresses and skirts to work and I think they look alright during my commute and could pass at work if they had to, but I almost always change into something else as soon as I get in.

  28. Easy ways to get iron thru food – go! Besides burgers/roast beef sandwich — either of which may end up being lunch today. Any snack foods I can keep handy?

    • Doesn’t help today, but cook in a cast iron skillet. Apparently the food absorbs a nutritionally significant amount of iron.

      • There are also those iron fish you can buy. And if I remember correctly, when you buy one another one is donated to people in areas with nutritional deficiencies. https://luckyironfish.com/

    • Pumpkin seeds have about 10% of your RDA of iron and are great for snacking. Some frosted/flavored shredded wheat has around 40%, but that varies a lot, so read labels. They’re good for a sweet snack.

      More generally, there’re lots of cereal options with iron including Cheerios (45%) and Cream of Wheat (40%). Quinoa, wheat berries, and whole grains more generally are good sources, as are leafy greens, lentils, tofu, and sesame seeds.

      • Anonymous :

        +1

        I have a family member who needs it, but we don’t really eat much beef. Adding a cereal daily with iron helps (he likes cream of wheat) and we eat two vegetables every night for dinner and one is almost always I leafy green or other higher iron food. It’s not so hard.

        And the best supplement we have found is Vitron-C. Best in terms of minimal GI side effects (upset stomach or constipation), and very well absorbed so 1 tablet is plenty for due to the type of iron metabolite in the product and the inclusion of some vitamin C.

    • Betterandbetter :

      I’m anemic pretty frequently (yay endometriosis) so have done this research before. Easy shelf stable stuff to keep around are pistachio nuts and sunflower seeds. Its never going to be as high gram for gram as an animal source but not bad. Try not to have them at the same time as dairy because it complicates absorption. Some brands of jerky can be pretty good too.

    • I’m borderline iron deficient, which gets worse during my period. I make sure that every meal has a source of iron. Sample day: breakfast is oatmeal with pepitas, lunch is spinach salad topped with grilled chicken, dinner is quinoa with turkey sausage, kale, black beans, peppers, and corn (think tex-mex quinoa bowl). I keep beef jerky and clementines at my desk for snacks because at some point I heard that vitamin c helps with iron absorption. If I remember to buy it, I’ll drink a glass of orange juice with breakfast.

    • Leafy greens. We keep a big container of spinach on hand to throw in meals.

    • Minnie Beebe :

      Not a food, per se, but I’m a huge fan of Floradix (liquid supplement.) It is magic! I always feel so much better when I start taking it 2x/day after a hiatus (usually just because I run out and keep forgetting to buy a new bottle.) Not inexpensive, but it does wonders for me.

      • Anonymous :

        Saw it at Whole Foods. How does your stomach feel with it – any issues? Take it with food/without?

        • Anonymous :

          Different poster, but Floradix is truly gentle on the stomach (and, er, elimination system). Drink it through a straw because it can stain teeth. Also good is Megafood Blood Builder.

    • Smoked oysters in a can.

  29. Shopaholic :

    Any reviews of the Row Hotel in NYC? I was looking at Airbnbs but it actually seems like some hotels may be cheaper (the cleaning fees can really get up there).

    It has decent reviews online but I’m just worried maybe it’s too good to be true?

    Thanks all!

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      I have not, but depending on your tolerance level for the subway, my suggestion for cheap hotels in NYC is the cluster of hotels around Queensboro Plaza in Long Island City. It’s one or three stops from Manhattan (depending on which subway line you’re on) but usually a good deal cheaper than Manhattan hotels. I’ve stayed at the ALoft and Hilton Garden Inn and they’re both good. There’s also a Courtyard by Marriott and a Hyatt Place. There are some other hotels closer to the river, but those aren’t as nice and the area along the river just to the north of the bridge is a little sketchy–just stick to the ones to the east of 21st St and west of Northern Blvd. I used to live in the neighborhood and it’s undergoing rapid development, so there’s a lot more there now than there was even a few years ago.

    • I stayed there last year when DH and I went to the city for an overnight. It was fine. It’s nothing luxurious, but was clean and comfortable and was a great price. The only tip is to make sure you put the Do Not Disturb sign on the door before you go to bed because they start cleaning early. I’d definitely stay there again.

  30. Recommendations for clothes shaver on Amazon? I have a gift card, so I’m looking for something from there. TIA!

    • I have this one. Cheap and easy and does the job. https://www.amazon.com/Conair-Fabric-Defuzzer-Battery-Operated/dp/B008I25368

    • I like the Gleener – it’s not battery operated so I’m less worried about accidental hole creation, and has worked on a variety of fabrics.

  31. laid back brunch? :

    My husband and I are having a couple of friends over for brunch on Saturday and I always have a tendency to over do everything. Since it’s only two people, I want to do something special but not super fancy. I do love to cook so I’m thinking of making kolaches (yeast pastry with apricot filling), a fruit bowl, but what third item should I have? I thought of keeping it Texas themed (former Texan here) and making breakfast tacos, but then I also thought about making Scotch eggs. Which doesn’t go at all…or does it? Again, over thinking and doing here.

    • I think you need something more substantial. A strata, eggs (not scotch eggs they aren’t a crowd pleaser), something with protein. I’d skip making your own pastry if you’re trying not to over do things.

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        Wait, scotch eggs aren’t a crowd pleaser? The only person I’ve ever seen turn down scotch eggs kept kosher.

        • A lot of people who aren’t Kosher eat eggs but not meat (I know whether or not they’re technically vegetarian is up for debate, but I have several friends who identify as vegetarian who eat eggs…). I also know a couple people who eat chicken and fish but not beef or pork. An eggs-only dish can be consumed by a much wider audience than something with sausage in it.

    • For a small number of people, I’d make eggs benedict. I consider them a special/fancy breakfast but they can’t be made ahead so I can never make them for a huge crowd.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Could even do hollendaise sauce over beef tips, spinach, and an egg on Texas toast to keep it with the Texas theme!

        Ok, it’s finally time for lunch. These threads are killing me today.

    • I’d do one of Smitten Kitchen’s breakfast bakes, stratas or fritattas. Something with protein/eggs and vegetables, cheese, or meat, depending on your group’s preferences. You need something heartier to anchor the meal. Then add mixed berries or other fruit and a nice lightly dressed green salad to round things out. Have fun!

    • Don’t Scotch eggs take a LOT of work? If you have a simple recipe please share!

      Others may disagree, but imo if you’re having pastries then don’t have any other bread or bread-like item. So tacos are out.

      Honestly for 4 people I’d just do scrambled eggs. Put a little creme fraiche or whole milk ricotta in them if you want to make them extra creamy. Top with some chopped chives.

      • Or if you really want to do something more complicated, you’ll get leftovers from this make-ahead breakfast casserole, though it sort of breaks my bread rule. I couldn’t find the recipe online but I make it pretty often; apologies for any unclear directions.

        8 eggs
        3 cups milk (almond milk works too)
        1 lb sausage (or turkey sausage)
        shredded cheese of your choice, enough to lightly cover everything else
        2-3 slices white bread
        ~1 tsp mustard powder

        Coat a 9×13 casserole dish (or whatever you have) with cooking spray. Remove the crust from the bread and chop into small (~1 inch) squares. Cover the bottom of the dish evenly with the bread; it doesn’t have to cover the whole thing.

        Cook the sausage in a pan. Drain. Place the sausage over the bread in the dish.

        Cover with shredded cheese.

        Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl. Add mustard powder and salt and pepper to taste. Whisk. Add milk. Whisk. Pour mixture over the sausage/cheese in the dish.

        Refrigerate overnight. Bake at 375 for about 40 minutes or until solid in the middle.

    • I make quiche pretty frequently. I buy prepared pie crust, and the rest of the quiche is pretty easy, although it takes a while to cook. I like that it can be made the day before and warmed up (or not) for serving. To me, a simple quiche doesn’t feel like “overdoing” it.

      Omelettes or frittatas are also good breakfast foods. It’s easy to prepare all the toppings ahead of time and just cook up the eggs right before serving.

    • Shakshuka is my go to brunch dish and it’s always a hit. Healthy and hearty.

      https://toriavey.com/toris-kitchen/shakshuka/

    • There are recipes you make the night before called egg and bread casseroles – you put slices of bread in the bottom of a casserole dish – in your case I guess I’d do 9×13 – and top with crumbled fried bacon, a wet egg and milk mixture, and top with shredded cheese. Let it sit in the fridge overnight so that the bread soaks up some of the egg mixture, then in the morning bake it.

      This is my go-to Christmas morning breakfast and my husband and kids go so nuts over it I wonder why we don’t have it more often, because it really is easy.

      • http://www.geniuskitchen.com/recipe/bacon-egg-casserole-83634

      • Also, I made this fritatta (using sour cream and white cheddar rather than cream fraiche and fontina) this weekend and it was really good. And it’s vegetarian

        https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/mushroom-leek-and-fontina-frittata

    • Bobby Flay’s salmon spinach salad with everything bagel croutons. I like this with the addition of chopped scallions, 1/2 watercress substituted for 1/2 the spinach and a poached egg on the side.

  32. Can anyone recommend a specific au pair company that they have worked with? Or went down the road with, and didn’t use? We’re looking for someone to help with the baby.

    • Where are you located? I have a great Canadian company but many Au Pairs come without an agency to North America, in which case, aupairworld.com is a great matching website (no value added, just profiles).

  33. Greensleeves :

    We are likely heading to Salt Lake City this summer for kids to participate in a sports competition. I want to see ALL the national parks while we’re there, but I just don’t think we’re going to have enough time and we can’t extend the trip for various reasons. So if we only have 2-3 days to spend on sightseeing outside of SLC, does anyone have recommendations? I’ve been looking at Arches and Canyonlands, but then there’s also Zion and Bryce Canyon, or Capitol Reef, or Yellowstone is a few hours north . . . I’m overwhelmed, have never been to any of them, and can’t make up my mind!! (Kids are older elementary through high school and perfectly capable of handling lots of walking, hiking, etc.)

    • If you actually want to be out hiking, I’d give Yellowstone a pass.

      • Torin, just curious, but why do you say that? I spent an amazing week hiking in Yellowstone! It was absolutely incredible and while I’m a reasonably experienced hiker, I’m certainly not some kind of uber-adventurer-backpacker-mountain-woman.

        For the OP, I haven’t been to the Utah parks yet, but I cosign the posters below saying that Yellowstone is worth its own trip.

        • It’s gorgeous, but crowded, traffic-y, and too far from SLC to actually do any real hiking over a 2-3 day weekend. Realistically you’d only have one day there with that amount of time and distance to cover, and the bulk of your time on that 2-3 days would actually be in the car.

    • Do Arches.
      Zion, Arches and Bryce are the best parks in Utah, but in 2-3 days you can only do one, especially considering they are all ~3-5 hours away from SLC. Arches in the closest and you should be able to do it well in a couple of days.

      • We were in Zion in 2016. It was beautiful but so, so crowded. I did not enjoy it and would not recommend going during peak tourist season.

    • I’d save Yellowstone for another trip. It’s about 6 hours from SLC and you could spend a week there.

      You can’t go wrong with any of those. Maybe look at photos and determine what you’d most like to see? Zion and Bryce are also about a 6 hour drive. Arches and Canyonlands are about 4 hours away. If I were in your scenario, this would be my choice. Both have neat trails and the landscape is amazing. And Moab is kind of a cool town with lots of amenities.

    • LoveeeeUtah :

      If you only have 2-3 days, you’re not going to see them all even if you only hit the highlights. They’re just too far away from SLC and from each other, so pick a direction and hit the parks with the most zing. I’m most familiar with the southern parks, so I would recommend a day at Zion (again, you’re only going to get the highlights and not have time for anything more than the simple hikes), a half day at Bryce and a half day at Capitol Reef to take their scenic drives and a very simple hike or two. Then I would see if you can build in a half day or more for a drive through Valley of the Gods, the Mokee Dugway, and Muley Point near to Mexican Hat, but such a trip took me 4-5 days. I’d skip Canyonlands altogether. Arches is nice, but you’re not going to be able to do it all with that timeline.

    • I am not exactly sure the distance from SLC, but check out the Lag Liv blog (oft recommended here for other reasons). They did Arches and some other national parks last summer and the itinerary she posted is fabulously detailed.

    • Bryce and Zion are two of the prettiest places i’ve ever visited. I’ve also been to Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, etc.

    • Greensleeves :

      Thanks so much! Off to look at pictures…

    • Anonymous :

      I know nothing of Yellowstone, so with that one aside, I would choose Zion over the others if you are visiting in mid-summer because all are going to be really hot, like too hot to enjoy for me, and Zion has a creek/river you can swim in and hike in.

      • I hiked the Narrows in Zion over 4th of July weekend a few years back. It’s the perfect hike for a hot day in Utah. Highly suggest renting shoes/walking sticks from one of the many outfitters so you don’t end up with wet hiking footware the rest of your trip and drive home.

  34. Has anyone been to the Grand Caymans? Any recommendations? I’m looking at an adults only trip in the early Summer. Has anyone gotten scuba certified while on vacation? Is it better to get certified beforehand?

    • A couple we befriended on our honeymoon got certified on vacation — it did NOT look like fun. They had guidebooks to study and I think had to take a written test in addition to the practical lessons. Haven’t been to the Caymans but highly recommend getting certified at home.

    • Anonymous :

      It takes two full days of classroom and pool time before you can do your first open water dive, so unless you have a ton of vacation time I would recommend getting certified beforehand. Also your first few dives as part of the certification are sort of boring. It’s a lot more fun to have the warm water and coral to look forward to while you’re sitting around underwater waiting for everyone else to take their turn floating up and down for the buoyancy test, etc. than to be in a cool place and not able to look around because you’re in the certification, I think. (I got certified in upstate New York in order to dive on vacation in Hawaii.)

    • Anonymous :

      We’ve been to Grand Cayman multiple times — LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT! We don’t dive, so I can offer no help there, but it’s such an easy trip and the beaches and water are amazing! I’m already trying to figure out how to get back again. . .

    • My sister and her husband got certified before the honeymoon trip to scuba dive. It took quite a while to get certified but they did it over a few weekend half-days and made sort-of dates of it – mainly going out to a boozy late brunch after class.

    • Anonymous :

      Do the coursework at home and the open water certification dives on vacation

    • Just went to Grand Cayman in December. Stayed at the new Kimpton and liked it. I’d go back. They had very reliable internet, so we were able to work in the morning and play all afternoon/evening. We had great service and our room was upgraded and fantastic. It is further from town, but we didn’t hesitate to walk or jump in a cab. We did not stay on property for all meals. Grand Cayman is relaxing and pretty beach focused.

      I got scuba certified on vacation years ago. As folks said, it takes time out from your relaxing vacation, but I didn’t have time to get certified at home, so I think it just depends on whether you have the time to do it beforehand or not.

  35. uno spumoni :

    Hi, long-time lurker, first-time poster.
    I’m looking for smartphone recommendations based on voice clarity and loudness over calls (on phone mode, rather than speaker mode) as I have late-onset hearing loss. My trusty Lumia is out of production and I have not had luck with the usual suspects like Samsung Galaxy series, HTC, OnePlus, Moto etc. I can’t afford an iPhone.
    Are there any specific phones that stood out to you for their remarkable in-call sound clarity? I’m hoping for dumbphone levels of clarity or anything close to it. My last resort is to get a Nokia dumb phone and use a tablet for all emails/texting (will use Whatsapp wherever possible).
    Thanks all!

    • I would try and do a search for a hearing loss forum. There are so many niche forums out there it is amazing.

      Wishing you all the best,

    • I don’t have suggestions for a phone but I do find using headphones with a microphone to make phone convos much easier. I have standard hearing but I find when outside or if I need to make notes or on a group chat it’s very useful. I think most headphones come with a microphone, like the ones that usually come in the smartphone box.

  36. Who do I call?? :

    Homeowners, can you give me advice as to who to call?

    We have a house built in the 1920s, bought a year ago. Our spare bedroom closet has a very distinct smell. I don’t know how to classify it…damp? Mold? Mildew? I didn’t know it was there when we bought the house, but I do know the inspector didn’t note any mold or mildew issues there and I can’t SEE anything growing or anything.

    We’re planning on getting the entire interior, including closets, painted next year and I really want to determine the source of the smell before then. I’d like to throw money at this problem, but who would I call about this?

    • I also have a 1920s house and every closet had a whiffy scent. I removed all of the shelving and replaced with new shelves from Lowes. I also added baking soda moisture absorbers to the top of each closet. It took care of 95% of the smell.

    • Anonymous :

      I keep a box of damp rid in mine.

    • We have an ozone generator that we use for problems like this; we live in a warm, humid climate. It has taken care of: smoke smells (from one burned dinner to a room that had been smoked in for years), gross gym clothes smells, and mildew problems. Ours is super old but I think the Alpine brand is good? You can also rent them but we use ours so often we just bought it. They say not to hang out in the room where you’re ozonating, but I think for a closet it would be fine. It might need multiple treatments.

    • If you definitely don’t have visible mold/mildew dampness on the walls, it’s just old house funk. Scrub the walls with straight vinegar. If that doesn’t help, Paint the entire closet with Kilz paint. That will seal off the smells.

    • I’d wash all the walls thoroughly.

      Replace/or really scrub the flooring and then repaint the walls.

      This should do the trick.

      I bought a house from an older couple that had a really distinct smell and it completely went away after doing the steps above.

      I am also generally a fan of having windows open as much as possible.

    • You can also buy mold testing kits at the hardware store if you want to see if there may be a problem that’s causing the smell.

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