Tuesday’s Workwear Report: Wool Sheath Dress

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

This wool sheath dress from Brooks Brothers looks like a great basic for the office. I love the subtle diamond jacquard fabric as well as all of the darts and other seaming that elevates this a bit from the basic black sheath dress. It comes in both black and navy in regular and petite sizes 0–16 and is $298. (Don’t forget to check out our recent roundup of how to build a work wardrobe at Brooks Brothers!) Wool Sheath Dress

Here’s a lower-priced option that comes in misses, petites, woman, and woman petites at Talbots — also in both black and navy.

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  1. Kat, this is a LOVELY dress from Brook’s Brothers and it is reasonably priced also! I just hope it is NOT itchey, even if it is lined b/c I do NOT like to scratch in public, and especialy NOT in court where the Judge always watches me. I hope someone in the HIVE has bought it and comments today, b/c I will walk over to BB and buy it today anyway! YAY!!!!!

  2. East coast beach? :

    Advice needed. I am looking for an East Coast beach destination for my family (kids and adults) in August. It must have a warm, swimmable beach with pretty sand and warm water and nice hotels. I would like it to be relatively close to a major airport and have some fun restaurants available. I don’t like the beaches in Fire Island very much and want a place with more amenities than that. I’m considering Miami and Hilton Head. What else? Anyone have experience with those?

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve been to Hilton Head in August and it was one of the best vacations of my life. The water was like a bathtub! Lots of restaurants, beautiful beach, and although I wasn’t there with kids there were lots of families and family-friendly stuff.

      • Ditto. If you stay at a hotel or house on the beach it’s the most relaxing thing ever. Riding bikes on the beach, watching dolphins swim, exploring the island by bike and foot, and enjoying the low tide at sunrise and sunset (n addition to the beach during the day) were highlights and fun for all ages. Tons of restaurants that you can walk or bike to. We flew into HHI but you can also fly into Savannah for cheaper flights.

        • Former Retail :

          Agree. I would make every family vacation to Hilton Head Island if it was up to me. Renting bikes and riding to the beach and back, or out to eat, is one of my favorite things to do with my family.

      • the yellow one is the sun :

        We LOVE Hilton Head.

        • Legally Brunette :

          Piggybacking on this, would Hilton Head work as a destination over Thanksgiving? I’m trying to plan a family reunion beach vacation during that time. Will the water be warm?

          • I wouldn’t count on the water being warm at Thanksgiving.

          • Yeah, the weather can be nice (like 60s), but probably way too cold to swim.

          • Gail the Goldfish :

            It won’t be warm enough to swim, but we do Thanksgiving every year on the Georgia coast not too far South from Hilton Head, and (except for this year, which actually felt like fall), it’s usually 60s-70s. For reliably warm water in winter, you really need to head to south florida. Unless you’re one of the people who is ok with 60 degree water, in which case, go for it. I think my ocean more bathwater temperature.

          • Gail the Goldfish :

            *like, not think.

          • Legally Brunette :

            Thanks guys! South Florida it is. :)

      • HH in August :

        Ugh, the humidity!

        • +1 to this. My in laws live on Hilton Head full time, and they escape every August and go to Michigan, both to avoid the tourists and the humidity. I don’t find it all that terrible, but OP, just be prepared!

      • Just be mindful of jellyfish. I went to Hilton Head in August 2 summers ago and avoided the water because the jellyfish were so bad. People were getting stung all around us, and I spotted a few lying on the waters edge. My kids were terrified of getting stung (and quite honestly, so was I) and it put a huge damper on the beach.

        That was a bad jelly fish year, and even Myrtle Beach had jellyfish problems, so YMMV.

        As a northerner, the alligators freaked me out. They are big, and they are everywhere. They tend to stay in the water when it’s hot, but they get out and walk around. And they can run (although I did not see any take off and run–it was pretty hot). So you’re riding your bike (or walking your dog) and find yourself peering into the brush all around you, really hoping you don’t come across a gator. The closest I came was riding my bike in Sea Pines and spotting one lumbering out of a pond a few streets back from my rental house and just standing there, right by the road. I whizzed by thinking *dear God don’t let me fall off this bike!* and *thank God I’m not walking!!!!*

        Hilton Head’s wildlife set off all kinds of anxiety for me. It was a good vacation and nothing happened to any of us, but as a mom with young kids, I would have preferred to go to a “safer” area where I could relax more.

        • Once, in Sea Pines, I was sitting in a stationary golf cart, looked to my side and gasped loudly, and my mom said “What?” Sure enough, there was an alligator close by.

          Also, Palm*tto bugs is a euphemism.

    • Spring Lake, New Jersey

      • +1. There are lovely beaches in New Jersey. Water isn’t tropical but definitely swimmable by Aug.

      • Anonymous :

        Meh. Spring Lake is cute but it’s a small town, no great hotels, mediocre amenities and restaurants. And the water is usually warm but not always.

        It’s my favorite local beach but I wouldn’t fly there.

    • What about St. Pete Beach? It is near a major airport (Tampa International), has pretty sand and clear warm water, and plenty of good restaurants. You could also venture to downtown St. Pete for some cool shops and restaurants.

    • Kiawah Island (though the hotel is expensive, renting a condo in one of the communities is almost as easy); Marco Island or Sanibel Island (though the Gulf gets almost too warm to be refreshing!)

      • Kiawah is lovely but be prepared for high temps and major humidity! Also, be aware that not all amenities are open to everyone (for example, pool X is restricted to residents/owners, and pool Y is only open to members of Z club), so be sure your rental guarantees you access to everything that you want.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      Amelia Island is close to Jacksonville, and there are lots of great restaurants nearby. My favorite is Le Clos in Fernandina Beach.

      • I haven’t been there in >10 years, but I loved Amelia Island. I also know people who have been there more recently and felt the same way.

      • Eager Beaver :

        Was just about to recommend Amelia Island. So so many good restaurants. I like staying at the Omni.

    • I love to read all of this as we are going on a vacation with the in-laws to HH in June! Thanks for all the recs!

      • If you can swing it, I’d highly, highly, highly recommend a boat tour with Live Oac while in HH. You can do one of the dolphin tours and you’ll get to see dolphins jumping in and out of the water (which is pretty cool), and then you can also go tubing off the back of the boat. The last time I went, it was like $280 (plus tip) to charter the boat for 2 hours. The boats I’ve been on (done the tours several times) hold 6 people.

    • In House Lobbyist :

      Have you looked at Florida’s Gulf Coast? We have a house there and I think it is so beautiful. The white sand feels like powder and the water is crystal blue. August is still hot and you will be want to be in the water for sure. This place is the perfect beach town without much to do besides eat oysters and play in the water. We are on a little peninsula that has the Gulf on one side and the Bay on the other. You can find high rises in Destin, Rosemary Beach, Seaside but where we are is much more deserted and only has beach houses. I think the Gulf Coast beaches are the best. We are an hour from Panama City airport and there are lots of beach towns close to there. But don’t stay in PCB unless you are looking for high rises and frat boys.

      • Is this the port st joe or appalach area? It’s really beautiful there.

      • Second this! We usually stay between Seaside and Destin. We’ve done both beach houses and a beautiful condo with a great pool (4 story complex, not quite a high-rise).

    • East coast beach? :

      Thank you everyone! I think HH it is. We live in A place with a big food scene and I don’t need my vacation food stops to be hip or high end, so long as there are places I can get a cocktail while my kids color at the table I am happy.

      Any recs re favorite beach hotels?

  3. How close to an airport? I’d suggest the Delaware coast, but it’s several hours from BWI. Folly Beach seems to meet your criteria. Hilton Head is fine but it depends on what you mean by “fun restaurants.” I think the restaurant scene there is pretty basic, in the pumpkin spice latte sense of things. Which is not a critique, per se, but may or may not be what you are looking for.

    • Delaware beaches are great for families. We got to Dewey every Summer and love it. Close to Rehoboth for a small Boardwalk experience, and only about 1/2 hour from Ocean City MD for big Boardwalk experience. You can set up on the beach all day and never be cold or bored.

    • I mean there aren’t Michelin-starred restaurants there, but there’s a lot of really great food, especially seafood and Southern food. I wouldn’t really call the restaurant scene “basic.”

    • Curious what makes a restaurant basic in the pumpkin spice latte sense.

      • I didn’t leave that comment, but I agree. Hilton Head is very “strip mall by the beach.” I can certainly see its appeal, but not funky/offbeat at all. Standard nice beaches, standard seafood bars and restaurants, preppy, good for families or multigenerational groups. Major grocery store chains all there, etc.

        • My favorite restaurant was Kenny B’s French Quarter Café, which was in a strip mall, so I’m chuckling at this. Your description of the commercial side of Hilton Head is spot on.

        • Yes, this. Lots of options for decent-to-good food, mostly of the standard seafood restaurant variety. Totally fine! But not inventive/creative, not much that would hold its own against food in Charleston, Savannah, Miami, etc. Sounds like OP doesn’t need to hit that bar, in which case HH is a great option, but if she were looking for a foodie beach vacation, I would not recommend it.

    • Delaware beaches would be about a 2.5-3 hour drive from PHL, if that’s more convenient.

  4. This dress is stunning, but I refuse to buy anything from Brooks Brothers. Every time I have gone in the store, the employees turn up their noses at me. It doesn’t matter how I’m dressed or what location I go to. It is ridiculous.

    • Yes!! Same experience. The Boston location on Bolyston is so ridiculously snooty.

      • Anonymous :

        Same. Never again.

      • Boston State Street is really good. Boylston St is the worst.

        • or Newbury… whatever street it’s on – that Back Bay location. Woof.

        • +1 Hate the Newbury one, but the State Street one has great service. Bonus if you go on Saturdays it’s pretty much empty as I assume it’s more busy during the work week.

      • Yes – granted, I haven’t gone in for several years because of the rudeness I experienced on two separate visits– but the sales associates in the women’s section of the Newbury St location are incredibly obnoxious. Just down the street, you can walk into Akris or Max Mara and the associates are welcoming, and this mall store thinks it’s something special??

        • Anonymous :

          And this is why physical retail is dying. Why pay someone for the “privilege” of being condescended to?

      • Same (for me and my husband)! And if we’re not their target customers, I really don’t know who is.

    • Note that the dress does not go up to size 16 in petite, only in regular. That makes for a grumpy petite cusp size . . .

    • I’ve posted about this before, but the combination of (a) horrible webs!te – slow, hard to browse, small images –
      and (b) snooty salespeople in-person, means that despite really liking a lot of the clothes, my Brooks Brothers purchases have been few and far between in the last year or so.

    • I made a return once at the store and the woman raised her eyebrow at me and said, “Did you keep ANYTHING from this order?” (I did, and said so, then felt stupid for defending myself.)

      • “No. It was ugly and poor quality. You guys have really gone downhill.” Bonus point for a well-timed wrinkled nose.

    • I’ve had the opposite experience in NY. I don’t shop there much but I’ve never had an issue outside of one of the sales people asking me if I was there with my dad in my hippie early 20s period (I said, no, with my boyfriend,and pointed to some random old man), but even that was more funny than rude. I recently bought an umbrella there as a gift and the store associate who helped me sent me a thank you note. I’ve also returned many items without issue (when I do shop, it’s mostly online), but if you have shoprunner you can get free shipping and returns to avoid the whole thing.

    • They are very nice at the Chicago mag mile store.

      • They were super helpful at a suburban Chicago location as well. I brought my recent college graduates (boy and girl) in because I wanted to set them up with professional wardrobes and they delivered — and gave us a nice discount, too.

      • Yeah, I’ve only had good experiences at the stores I’ve been to in the Detroit area.

    • biglawanon :

      Very nice in various CA locations I have gone to.

      • Out of the Box :

        D.C., Chicago and California store teams have all been great. The website doesn’t work very well on my ancient iPad, but otherwise seems fine.

  5. Does anyone have a recommendation for great Marriott/Starwood properties, maybe in the US or Europe? I have a ton of points and am trying to set up a vacation for this spring/summer, but I have no idea where I want to go.

    • For a Spring trip, see if the Ritz Carlton in Grand Cayman is available. I have friends who use their points at that location.

    • Portugal via SPG!
      St. Regis Deer Valley or in Colorado w points. The SPG choices are a lot more limited geographically but I’m eagerly following this thread

    • Google for best point redemptions for those chains — check ThePointsGuy, OneMileAtATime, and the “awardtravel” subreddit. Nothing specific to recommend (I’m a Hilton/Hyatt girl), but if you had any destinations in mind I’d be happy to take a little look around the internets for you :-)

    • The Ritz Carlton in Dana Point, CA or Half Moon Bay. The Westin in Napa (skip the new Luxury Collection property there, it’s awful). The St. Regis in Princeville, Kauai. In Europe, I like the Prince des Galled in Paris (it’s a Luxury Collection property) or the St. Regis in Florence or Rome.

      • The Ritz Carlton in Dana Point hasn’t been great the past few times we’ve been there. It’s on the chilly side at the beach in all but the late months of summer due to the location. The service has been awful – at the bar, for example, the waitress delivered our cocktail, walked away, turned around, walked back and grabbed the drink and the took a sip as she was walking away and made a face before dumping it out at the bar.

        The food was slow and not great at the pool and the main restaurant.

        At the best weather times, it is overcrowded and the staff is overwhelmed.

        We paid the extra fees ($100? $50/night?) to bring our dog and housekeeping let him out while cleaning (they said that the front desk didn’t tell them there was a dog in the room) – luckily we were just coming back to our room and saw our dog running the halls so nothing happened to him.

        I could go on but I won’t. But I wouldn’t spend time in Dana Point if you have other choices.

    • Scrub Island, BVI!

    • St. Regis in Kaui! There is also a Westin in Whistler, which is beautiful in the summer if you like outdoorsy stuff. We also stayed in an SPG property in Athens and I think they have some on the Greek Islands as well.

    • The Ritz Carlton near Sintra, Portugal

    • The Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens (I think the St. George next door is a Starwood property too, and there’s a Westin, I believe near the coast. I don’t recommend the Westin Costa Navarino – gorgeous but could be anywhere in the world so not terribly Greek), Le Meridien in Piccadilly London, and the Westin in Paris – all of these places we have had awesome points vacations. In Paris we redeemed our points for an Ambassador Suite for ourselves and our two kids and we had a BUTLER – she was amazing.

    • biglawanon :

      Not best for the summer, but I got amazing rates on using SPG points at hotels/resorts in UAE/Oman. Much lower rates than I have experienced in the US.

  6. Anonymous :

    I posted last week about needing shampoo/conditioner recs for my dry curly hair and I want to thank those who suggested Aussie 3 Minute Miracle. I got it on sale for $2.99 which has to be the least amount of money I have ever spent on haircare in my life. It made my hair SO soft and shiny! It did weigh my curls down quite a bit (not surprising considering the ingredients), so I won’t use it every time I wash, but it really helped!

    • I feel the same way! I use Carol’s Daughter sacred tiare conditioner in between, I like the ingredients much better

  7. Two Cents :

    Who is doing the workwear challenge today?

    From Kat:

    In my experience, I find that there are two kinds of women: those who LOVE animal prints, and those who HATE animal prints. I tend to be in the “love” camp, but for very different reasons, depending on the piece, because animal prints can act as both STATEMENTS and neutrals. For the statement pieces, they tend to be big prints or big pieces (coats, bags, dresses, pants) — and there’s an element of fun, of cheekiness, as if you and the designer are winking at everyone else. On the flip side, for smaller prints and smaller pieces like shoes and belts, there’s almost a sedate, slightly preppy vibe of “textured neutral.” If you tend to be in the “hate” camp, you’re going to want to focus on smaller pieces for this challenge. Note that an animal print belt can be a great topper for a red dress, as Selina Meyer often does in Veep and Diana Trout does in Younger — and that if worn with a neutral like gray or black (like here) it can almost serve as a pop of color.

    If you’re buying something new I think leopard print is one of the most neutral of animal prints, with its tiny dots of beige and brown; snake print can also be more sedate. Bigger prints like giraffe and cow really amp up the cheeky/fun vibe — but are less neutral if you’re concerned about being appropriate in a conservative office.

    On the flip side, if you love animal prints — let’s mix them with a second print to have a bit more fun. Stripes, checks, and florals all go with leopard print, and you can have fun with them in a big way by wearing them right next to each other — or in a little way by splitting up your prints throughout your outfit, such as by wearing a striped tee with leopard flats or otherwise separating them with a solid.

    I am wearing my favorite Calvin Klein leopard tank, MMLF black jardigan, green pencil skirt, black heels and black tights with a shorter infinity necklace and dangly earrings.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I have nothing beyond shoes that are animal print. So. I’m wearing a bright coral crewneck sweater, a burgundy ponte blazer, pants yet-undecided but probably either bootcut jeans or ponte pants, and leopard print flats or booties depending on how cold it is. Kinda boring today but I like the top color combo a lot. I was wearing it even before our complementary color challenge. 😝

    • Accidentally doing the challenge! I finally replaced my ancient and much-beloved leopard flats (RIP) with a pair of leopard booties. I’m taking them out for their first stroll today. Couldn’t be bothered to think beyond monochrome for the rest of the outfit: black sweater, black pencil skirt, black tights, black-on-black print scarf.

      My college roommate has gotten really into color theory recently, and she gave me a long lecture a few weeks ago about how I should be wearing navy instead of black with my skin tone/eyes/hair/whatever. I do wear a fair amount of navy (and blavy), but black is just so EASY.

    • I’m a week behind (Kat, FWIW, I started late but my preference would be to have skipped the first week so that we are all doing the same challenge at the same time) so I am on “color clash” day. That’s tough for me since I basically wear black on the bottom and jewel tones on top with little variation. So I’m wearing black Boden Hampshire ponte pants, a navy Boden long sleeve Ravello blouse, a mustard yellow cotton cardigan from Target, and gray flannel booties. Loved the inspirations for the color clash but I just don’t have that many weird colors in my wardrobe.

      Next Tuesday I guess I’ll be wearing my leopard print belt since that’s the only animal print I own.

      Funny, I get a lot of compliments on my outfits but this challenge is making me feel pretty boring!

      • Panda Bear :

        I agree on the timing – I signed up one day late, and now I’m always a week behind :(

      • christineispink :

        I’m a week behind but I’m on texture day … wearing a semi-chunky light grey cashmere sweater and tweed-ish dark grey ankle pants.

    • I love leopard print (I’m the anon who accidentally wore it every day the week of the first challenge). Today I’m wearing a dark cranberry sweater and floral print pants with a leopard print belt and heels. And my back-of-the-chair black blazer because I’m freezing!

      • That’s a lot of print…. pants belt and heels all together? What makes it work?

        • I tend to treat leopard as a neutral and do a lot of pattern mixing with it, especially with something as small as a belt and heels. Polka dots, stripes and florals are all good to mix with leopard. When you’re starting out, the key is to keep the colors and scale of the patterns pretty similar – in this case the pants have a black background that pick up the black in the heels and belt.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I’m in! This is like falling off a log for me! I’m wearing my fave, if ancient, knit Nic + Zoe knit leopard pencil skirt, black turtleneck sweater, black tights and pumps, and new red jacket from the Cabi sample sale I attended a couple of weeks ago. I love red with leopard. I might look a little Grande Dame today but I’m okay with that…

    • nerfmobile :

      My animal print accent is an infinity scarf in a leopard-inspired print – the background is white, and the spots are black and grey with pink accents – it’s definitely “fun”. I’m wearing it with a grey/silver metallic sweater (heaver, crewneck) over a pink tee, with black slacks and black Mary Janes with 2 inch heels.

      As a side note, I stole this scarf out of my 6 year old daughter’s closet. It was from Gymboree, of all places – they sometimes have some very interesting accessories

    • I took the very lazy way out and am wearing my leopard-print flats, so there’s nothing very challenging about this effort. I’m also wearing gray ankle pants, a gray cardigan, and a black-and-white, striped top. Doing this challenge has at least made me realize that my wardrobe is at least 70% gray.

      Not enthused about tomorrow’s outfit and am probably going to skip. I have highly specific hangups about jumpers, and that look is too jumper-adjacent for me.

  8. Talbots Suit Fit? :

    Do Talbots clothes usually run true to size, and are better suited toward curvier body types? I recently ordered a skirt suit in my usual department store size (6) am surprised how poorly they fit me: on the skirt there’s a good half inch of fabric on either side of my hips, and the jacket is a couple inches too large around the waist and has sleeves that are borderline too short. Because of my height and straight build, sizing down didn’t work. Not sure whether it’s worth having the suit tailored. J. Crew (size 4) is usually a good bet for me, and Banana Republic sometimes works, but neither has a gray wool skirt suit in stock right now, and I need it for a conference next month.

    • Anonymous :

      This is a lot of analysis. It doesn’t fit you.

    • Talbots Suit Fit? :

      To clarify: not sure if it’s worth having it tailored because of the cost. I’m on a budget and got the Talbots suit at a deep discount.

      • Anonymous :

        No it isn’t. Sorry!

      • Anonymous :

        Only you can make that decision. Sounds like it would need a lot of alteration.

        Yes, Talbots is a bit generous in sizing and I don’t shop ther regularly for that reason.

    • I think Talbots is cut more for apple shapes. Think older women. If you like the tailored look of Banana and Jcrew you won’t get that at Talbots.

    • Talbots does tend to fit curvier body types better. I do have a suit from there that I had tailored and now it is my favorite suit, so if you otherwise like it I would take it to your tailor and see what they say. Mine is always very straightforward about what can be done AND still look good.

    • I posted about buying what I think is the same suit a few weeks ago. I’m 5’5″, slim/hourglass-ish. I ordered my normal Ann Taylor jacket/skirt/dress size (2) but sized down in the pants (normally a 4 in Ann Taylor, got a 2). I found the jacket to be too wide/boxy so I got the sides taken in, and now it fits great – totally worth getting it tailored considering that I only spent $70 on the jacket. The skirt is a smidge too big around the waist, but not enough that it bothers me to get it taken in at this point. Dress and pants both fit great.

    • Nope, Talbots runs big and curvy. As a smallish curve-less person I have given up on Talbots.

      • Ouch that hurts! :

        Just glad there’s something still out there for us hourglasses!

        To each their own, indeed.

      • I feel like Talbots is for the narrow-hipped! I regularly wear a 14 in pants/jeans (sometimes a 16), and cannot squeeze into the Talbots 16 to save my life.

      • I think it runs big, but it’s always boxy/waists too big on me.

      • I’m hourglass, normally size 8, and buy 6 jackets, usually 10 skirts, sometimes 8 pants, 8 dresses. Sweaters and tops I can usually do a SP so it’s properly fitted.

  9. Anonymous :

    New Yorkers, tell me what you’re wearing these days. I’m flying in later this week and trying to figure out my packing. I checked the weather app, of course, but I feel like that only gets you so far. Do I need waterproof boots? Or just my regular shoes? Am I going to want my very warm black puffy coat? Or would my wool knee-length coat suffice? I don’t plan on being outside too much – most of my activities are indoors, but of course I’ll be walking outside some. Help?

    • Anonymous :

      I’m wearing leather booties and my wool coat with a scarf and gloves.

    • Anonymous :

      I’d go for wool coat and have layers that you can wear underneath as needed.

    • Marshmallow :

      I’ve been wearing waterproof suede booties– we’ve had some rain this week. Wool coat and scarf should be plenty.

      • +1

        Waterproof suede booties are my winter staple.

      • Just got a pair of suede heels. Do you have a product you like for waterproofing suede?

        • hmmmmm…… I would never wear suede heels that were not waterproofed prior to purchase in winter weather. That being said, I spray waterproofing chemicals (bleh…) on all of my suede heels yearly.
          Honestly, I purchase whatever is on sale at my local hardware store/walgreens. They are basically all the same.

          • Thanks! In the South and wouldn’t wear them in bad weather regardless, just more to keep them clean.

    • The weather is all over the place this week. It will be in the 60’s on Wednesday, and back to the 20’s by Friday night. You don’t need waterproof boots, but you do want a boot or shoe that covers your foot. It’s not really puffer cold, more wool coat weather. Make sure you have a scarf and gloves, hat if you roll that way, and an umbrella.

  10. Shoe Repair? :

    I have a stupid question about shoe repair. My favorite heels got stretched out when I unexpectedly had to walk six miles in them. They stayed comfortable, amazingly, but my feet swelled and stretched out the leather. Now they’re slightly too big. Is there anyway to save them?

    • You could try putting in an insert/insole from the drug store, and maybe a heel non-slip pad.

  11. Okay, stupid question. I moved a few years ago and had to leave my primary care doctor. Since then, I haven’t really needed to go to the doctor. I usually only go if I get really sick. So every time I have thought to go, I just don’t go because no office will take a patient for a “sick” appointment if they are not already an established patient. My question is, how to you become an established patient if you have no need for an appointment?

    • Schedule a routne physical.

    • You make an appt for a checkup, or to “establish care”. But I do think it’s bs that they wont see you when you’re sick.

      • She should go to an urgent care place if she is suddenly sick, and doesn’t have a doctor.

        But it’s always better to have a physical exam once a year with a doctor who gets to know you. This is especially true if you are s3xually active and need regular pelvic exams etc… I’m sure many of us know someone who had breast cancer diagnosed at an early age, and your doc should do a breast exam yearly. Sometimes having a doctor check in on how you are eating, excising, stressing/mental health is a good thing. Young women sometimes need iron, vitamin D, and these early years are when we should be getting enough calcium to stave off osteoporosis, and it’s good to hav someone remind you to get a flu shot.

        In a normal doctor’s appointment there isn’t time to do a full new patient assessment and treatment for new problem. Often new patient physicals are a longer time slot and aren’t available as soon as someone who is sick would need.. Some docs also have problems with drug seeking folks doing drop in appointments only when sick. Becomes a liability issue. Also some folks who come only when sick and don’t return for follow-up are a problem if you start a treatment plan that could have side effects / risks.

        Urgent care places ar becoming more common in big cities. But a good primary care doctor is a good hing to have.

        I admit, I didn’t have one until I was in a bad car accident at 27(!). I needed a follow-up appointment with a PCP before they would let me put of the hospital.

        • I get all that stuff from my gyn. Except then when I get the flu she can’t help.

          • Yes my gyn told me they consider themselves a PCP for women for routine stuff. I get my blood work/cholesterol done with my yearly gyn physical.

    • It’s worth it to make a well-adult appointment to establish care. They will probably run some bloodwork to establish your baseline and do some other screenings. Call and tell the office that you are looking to establish care with a new doctor and they can take it from there.

    • You make an appointment for a physical.

    • This is a situation for the old-fashioned “annual checkup” or “physical.” You find a practice that is “accepting new patients” and schedule a “new patient” appointment. You’ll fill out a medical history form, they’ll ask some basic questions and run some basic labs. They’ll take your height and weight, and they may do a brief physical exam (i.e., listen to things with a stethoscope, take your temperature, hammer your knee–the usual).

    • Also when you’re sick go to urgent care

      • Depends on insurance. I’m charged an $18 co-pay if I go to my primary care doctor when I’m sick, but $100 if I go to urgent care. Not surprisingly, I only go to Urgent Care if my primary care office is closed and I can’t wait until they’re open.

        • I also have better coverage for my primary care than for Urgent Care. If I can’t get in with my doctor, I’ve gone to cash-pay clinics (“Family Doctor” practices with one MD and a bunch of PAs) where I can expect to pay $30-$50 over Urgent Care. (They sometimes have long waits, but so does Urgent Care.) Usually all I want is a strep culture and some symptom relief.

        • Before you meet your deductible, the cost for urgent care vs. an office visit is usually similar. And most healthy people don’t meet their deductible unless they have a plan with a super low one (and those are usually really expensive).

          • Unless you have an HDHP, a visit to your PCP is usually covered by your copay, and even with an HDHP, that “well visit” is usually preventative and covered at 100%

          • This just isn’t true for me. Before my deductible is met PCP is $18, Urgent Care is $100. This is clearly spelled out in my insurance plan, but I learned the hard way. I get that this is not the case for most plans, but there are many other legitimate reasons to prefer PCP over Urgent Care anyway.

      • Or a CVS Minute Clinic. I prefer seeing a Nurse Practitioner for primary care, and can’t find a practice in my current city with an NP that I like, but I really, really like the two NPs I’ve seen at my local Minute Clinic. It’s in-network for me and at least on my insurance, I don’t get slapped with an upcharge like for urgent care.

        Not everyone’s cup of tea, but you could also try Planned Parenthood. I started going to them for my annual lady-checkups for political reasons after the election, but I’ve really liked my experience with my local clinic. They do online scheduling and have abundant weekend availability. Taking patients with insurance helps them subsidize the costs of providing care to those who don’t, and the more people they see for routine care, the more they’re able to prove that they aren’t abortion factories. Plus, non-shamey woman-focused practice = A++ in my book. (not looking to start a debate here about PP, by the way. please disregard this advice if it doesn’t work for you!)

        My PCP is technically at Planned Parenthood at this point, even though I usually default to the Minute Clinic since it’s closer and I really like the two NPs that staff it.

        • great idea. thanks!

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          I love my local Minute Clinic and go there for all illness related stuff rather than trying to get in with my primary.

        • PP Supporter :

          Second going to PP if your insurance covers it or if you can/want to pay out of pocket and support their cause of comprehensive healthcare for all women. Having moved around a lot, I’ve been to a few of their clinics over the years for the other 97% of services they provide and have always been treated by caring, competent and professional staff at every point.

    • To establish a relationship with a PCP, you have to make an appointment for an annual physical when you’re healthy. Or you can do what I and a lot of other women do and just see an OBGYN annually and go to an urgent care when you’re sick with something else. I (knock on wood) haven’t needed a doctor except for my annual female exams in over a decade. But if you get seriously sick more frequently it’s probably worth getting a PCP.

      • This is exactly what I have been doing, but was wondering if there was a better way. Luckily I don’t get sick very often!

      • You should really get a PCP…..

        It’s always better to have all your records / visits in one place.

        • My urgent care is part of the same healthcare system as my gyn – all the records are visible to any doctor in their network. I basically never go to the PCP anymore (the urgent care has better hours, lower wait times, and is much easier to get into). That said, the fact that the medical records are available to my more advanced care providers is the reason I’m comfortable doing that.

        • Anon at 10:09 :

          Yeah like cbackson said, my current place is all one health care system and everything is visible to every doctor in that system. I haven’t yet needed to go to their urgent care, but I had to go to the ER once (not something that having a PCP would have avoided, I was taken there after a car accident) and I’ve gone to the travel clinic for immunizations and then I see my OBGYN annually, and I can see all my records in one place using the hospital network’s online system and my OB can see everything too.

          • I see the point about wanting to simplify, but OB’s just aren’t trained on up to date cholesterol recommendations, thyroid issues, diabetes screening, depression/anxiety, vitamin D recs etc… I certainly understand the need to minimize care. But definitely in your 30’s get a general doc. They really ask you different questions than an OB/GYN does, and look for different things.

            I actually see a PCP for all of my care – pelvics too. If I was pregnant, I would definitely want an OB of course. And when I go through menopause, I will see OB/GYN to evaluate hormone replacement issues (pros/cons).

          • Anonymous :

            My experience has not been that PCPs are more knowledgeable than OBs about depression or diabetes or things like that. PCPs are trained as first level screeners – they can identify what is wrong and can refer to you a specialist. An OB can do this too, and a lot of people also feel they can pretty much do it themselves. If I’m depressed, I really need a pyschiatrist. If I’m having an issue with my foot, I need an orthopedic doctor. Etc. A PCP specializes in nothing, not everything.

            PCPs also do not perform pelvic exams or other women’s health care as well as trained OBs. For me, paps and pelvic exams have been painless with every OB I’ve seen, but uncomfortable-bordering-on-painful with many PCPs. My main health need at this stage in my life is women’s health care, so it makes sense for my OB to be my main doctor and refer me to other specialists as needed.

          • I do the same thing as Anonymous at 11:44 a.m. I use my PCP for everything, including pelvic. I go for my annual physical and pelvic each year (although separate appointments for billing purposes). Unfortunately, my experience with urgent care locations hasn’t been positive to date. Luckily, I don’t really get sick (knocks on all wood nearby). I tend to go big or go home (broken bones, severed tendons, that sort of thing)!

  12. Capsule Wardrobe :

    Who has successfully created a capsule wardrobe and what is in it? I’m so over stressing about what clothes to wear, that I’m determined to create one. I work in a business casual place and currently usually like to wear skirts and dresses over pants.

    • Clementine :

      I have twice – once for life and once for maternity. Honestly, it’s not for me long-term as I like a little more variety than what was in my true capsule wardrobe. For work, it looked something like this (all clothing was black or grey with jewel toned tops sprinkled in. I think I had 3 suits (black, grey, black textured), two other pencil skirts, two sheaths that went with the suits, then I limited it to 5 tops, 3 cardigans. I hated it after a month and was doing laundry all the time.

      Maternity capsule was time limited and I was all about it. 4 knit dresses, t shirts in black and white stripes, black skirt, black ponte skinny pants, white tank, black leggings, one pair of jeans and two printed tops. It worked because it was time limited and the knit dresses were almost excessively comfortable.

      I now have a still streamlined wardrobe but allow myself to have more variety. I live in a place with seasons and enjoy having a wider array of clothing to match my need to feel ‘cozy’ or to rock a ‘I’m just casually going out to buy a fabulous baguette and some tulips in Paris, definitely not just walking to a meeting’ vibe.

      • Similarly to this – I don’t think I have a capsule wardrobe in the fashion-blogger sense, but my neutrals are black and gray, accent items are typically jewel tones, and anything I buy has to be wearable with everything else. I have enough variety that I can put some extra thought into my outfit if I want, but I I can also look put-together without a lot of work. Shoes and bags are all black and gray except for my lucky purple pumps.

        As a rough estimate, I have three pairs of black and one pair of gray ankle pants; one gray pencil skirt, a gray sheath dress and a black sheath dress. Maybe five cardigans, six polyester shells, a couple long-sleeve crepe shirts, a couple lightweight sweaters. A black jacket and a gray jacket that I can swap in for dressier days.

    • I have. My capsule changes depending on which client I’m serving, some tend to be more formal than others but overall I am a no suit person:
      -Dresses: navy – gray – Cobalt blue – purple (all of them had some sort of sleeve so no blazers)
      – 2 pencil skirts: black – gray
      – 2 silk blouses: off-white – chartreuse
      – 3 cashmere turtlenecks: Black – burgundy – gray
      I wear any of these items 90% of the year.

    • Someone suggest the Vivienne files on here a while ago. I don’t have a truly capsule wardrobe yet but the site has inspired me and made me think differently about how I shop. Link to follow:

      • http://www.theviviennefiles.com/p/start-here.html

      • I like the Vivienne Files. Even if you don’t do a typical, limited, capsule wardrobe, there is a lot of good information there about creating a wardrobe where most of the pieces work well with each other. Lots of ideas for color combinations. Also she has a 16 piece wardrobe chart/grid thing that helps you determine if you are top-heavy in one type of garment and too light in another type–for example, too many t shirts, not enough skirts.

    • Anonymous :

      I went capsule after weight loss (had to replace a lot all at once), and here is what I went with (business formal workplace):

      1- Machine washable black suit from Lands End (with pants & skirt)
      2- Machine washable black suit from Banana Republic Factory (with pants & skirt)
      3- Grey tweed pant suit from Banana Republic Factory
      4- Light gray pant suit from Banana Republic Factory
      5- Grey blazer from Target
      6- Pixie pants from Old Navy in black and burgundy
      7- 6 shell tops from BR Factory (blue, olive, black, white, white with black pin-dots, plum)
      8- 3 dresses from MM La Fleur (Etsuko in black, Sarah in black, and Annie in olive)
      9- Colorblock dress from The Limited (I don’t think they make it anymore, I ordered it in the wrong size years ago, missed the return window, and hung on to it “in case I lose weight”).

      I would like to add a navy suit, and possibly one more MM LaFleur dress in more of a spring/summer color, but other than that it’s pretty complete and I don’t plan on shopping again for a while.

    • I have a super boring capsule wardrobe, which works for me because I also have two young kids and no time to think about my clothes. Winter version includes:
      3 pairs pants (navy, black, tan)
      2 dresses (navy, dark red)
      8 tops – five are light sweaters, the other two are drapey blouses. (navy, teal, two shades of purple, two blue patterns, cream, khaki)
      3 cardigans (black, navy, grey). Two of these have a jardigan-style cut, which makes them slightly more professional.

      Summer version swaps sweaters for short sleeve linen knit tops, and adds in a few skirts.

      It works with a pretty small number of items because it’s all cool colors, mostly blues/purples. Almost everything goes with everything else. Mostly solids, and the patterns are small and discreet. It’s exactly enough clothes to get me through two weeks, but nothing is so memorable that I can’t wear it once a week if necessary.

  13. Does anyone have any stories or advice about dating and finding a (male) partner for someone with a lower libido? I want to be in a loving long term relationship and to at some point start a family, but getting there seems impossible. Sometimes it just feels so hard and lonely.

    • Dating is hard enough without telling yourself no one will want me because X. There are so many things that have to click. If you focus on just one thing, you’ll think someone is a good match for you just because they check that box (because no one else will ever want X!) even if they don’t check a lot of other (more) important ones.

    • I don’t really have stories or advice, except that more men have lower libidos than they let on. They are under a lot of cultural pressure to pretend otherwise!

    • No real advice, but I wish you luck on this. There are tons of men out there with lower libidos and I think there is too much societal pressure to admit it upfront in a relationship, which makes scoping things out challenging. I think getting to know someone well first before sleeping with them might be the trick – find out how well he respects your boundaries, whether he takes the time to get to know you, and whether you feel comfortable having a discussion about this stuff with him.

    • Flats Only :

      This may sound a little weird, but consider someone older? Wasn’t there a commenter a while back who had just married a 47 year old and was surprised he wasn’t interested more than once a week?

      • Anonymous :

        IME this is a reasonable expectation. Among the upsides: greater appreciation for the opportunity, as ain’t nobody 20 anymore.

    • I have found that my libido is low when I am with someone who is not right for me, no matter how much I am trying to convince myself otherwise. When I am with someone who is a good match, it goes up. It makes me feel silly typing it out because, duh, but it’s a bit more nuanced than this in practice.

      But I also agree with what others have said – there are definitely men out there whose drive will better align with yours!

      • Yes, I am similar.

        I was thinking this, but was hesitant to post.

      • So much this. Totally worth examining whether your low libido is just your natural desire (which is fine!), or whether it’s that way because you either weren’t previously with the right partner or because you’re currently single and not getting/using/indulging/interested in opportunities to test out whether it might be higher with the right partner.

  14. NOLA fashion :

    Tagging onto the discussion above…what does one pack for New Orleans? Going with my boyfriend for the long weekend and I have no clue what to bring!

    • I would dress for whatever activities you have planned. When I go, I spend a lot of time walking outdoors so I usually wear comfortable shoes (usually flats), jeans, some kind of patterned top and a cardigan. If it’s going to be really warm you could even wear shorts and dresses. If you’re planning on eating at a nicer restaurant, you might want to bring something dressy. I think Commander’s Palace and Arnaud’s have dress codes and your boyfriend might need to bring a jacket.

    • Alkaseltzer and pepto tablets, because if you’re like me, you’ll imbibe and indulge in too much rich delicious food and beverage and your system won’t know what to do, but you’re stubbornly not giving up a chance for another bourbon milk punch…

      Just me? Oh well!

      Have fun!

    • It’s supposed to be in the 70s all week. Our weather has been so up and down. The humidity can be killer. If I’m playing tourist, I wear fun sneaks (not flats – they would probably get destroyed), jeans or lighter weight pants, tank with a light cardigan or maybe layers? Dresses aren’t a bad idea. Keep in mind that the week after Mardi Gras, the city will be very quiet and subdued!

  15. Any attorneys work for Progressive? I’m interrested in a staff attorney position and want to know how culture is? I currently work on defense side in property insurance in the SoFL and looking to make a change from law firms and billables. Also interested in jd preferred/compliance jobs. Any suggestions welcome for fields or areas I could transition into. Sadly, I don’t speak Spanish.

    • No, but I have worked for other large insurance carriers in that position. PHX 85260 at the mail of g. (I have meetings this am, but will write back.)

  16. consulting on resume :

    I took a short-term (several month) job working as a consultant for a firm that has had me sign an NDA requiring that I not disclose their name. How should I add this to my resume? The work is quite impressive, and I can describe the type of firm by size/industry.

    Thank you!!!

    • “Confidential Client – Consulting” or something along those lines. You’ll probably get questions and can explain the NDAA.

    • Put “independent consultant” along with the dates of the project, and then describe the project and company. As long as your description of the company is vague enough that it could be one of multiple firms, you should be fine. Don’t get cute by giving enough identifying information to give away the company without *technically* violating the NDA. (I.e., you did work for “an industry-leading multinational confectionery company”, not “an international chocolate company headquartered in Hershey, Pennsylvania”.)

      • Oh, and if the nature of the project itself was confidential, i.e. you were helping them develop a product in stealth mode that has not yet gone to market, try to describe the nature of what you did without giving away any critical information, and work “confidential” into the description: “Provided market sizing and competitive landscape analysis for confidential new product development.”

    • cake batter :

      This isn’t what the OP asked, but out of curiosity, how does a prospective employer verify a “confidential” employer? Could a shady person mask a few months of unemployment on a resume using this kind of explanation?

  17. 3 Things I Wish Women Knew :

    I found this article recently and it really spoke to me: http://www.thehappytalent.com/blog/3-things-i-wish-all-girls-and-women-knew

    I’ve read some of the author’s other stuff and liked it, but this resonated because I feel like I’ve seen (in the wake of #metoo) more discussion than ever about how women felt like they owned a man s*x or that it was easier or that they didn’t want to lead him on. I’m a little ashamed to admit that it almost feels personally revolutionary to read an article telling me “hey, you’re a person worth spending time with,” but then I remember just how many teen girls aren’t getting that message either…

    • Oh man. This made me get a little choked up!

    • I’m genuinely curious. Do women find it difficult to have male friends in a strictly platonic sense? I’ve had several throughout the years and never once did any of them try to coerce me into anything.

      • Yeah. Especially when I was younger (in my early and mid 20s) I had a lot of male friends. In fact, most of my friend group was men, that I felt strictly platonic about, but deep down I knew some of them were attracted to me.

        In some cases, once I became single they pursued a relationship, and when I wasn’t interested they ended the friendship. In other cases, they made their move on drunken nights (to varying degrees of aggressiveness) which usually made me feel uncomfortable and ended the friendship.

        In my 30s now, only a few lone soldiers are left standing from my large group of male friends, and most of those are couple friends where I am close with their wives/girlfriends as well.

        No one tried to coerce me in the sense of true physical restraint (or actually, only one) but there were definitely people who insinuated that I had been leading them on with my friendship.

  18. HanaleiDreaming :

    I think I heard about Ann Taylor Infinite Style on this s*te though can’t find the post.

    Anyone do this and recommend?

    Any ideas on coupon codes/intro offers?

    Was not a fan of the RtR unlimited options, but definitely interested in this.

    • Here’s the thread I think you’re referring to:


    • That was me. I love it. I haven’t seen an intro offer before and there isn’t a referral code I can give you. I would highly recommend it if you like Ann Taylor clothing in general. My only complaint is that the shipping times can vary and they ship through USPS so the tracking isn’t as up-to-date. Usually I receive my next box pretty quickly after “return notifying” though, so it’s not like it’s an ongoing problem.

  19. I don’t know if Liz from With Wonder and Whimsy has been recommended before, but I just ran across her blog looking for Eshakti reviews and really like it. She’s a self described plus-sized fashion blogger with a “romantic, whimsical, and playful” style. I swear I’m not her or shilling for her. I was just taken by her style and blog. Some of the styles are not work appropriate, but some are and she’s lovely regardless.

    • She’s so cute! I’m scrolling through now…

      I need some inspiration on how to wear casual clothes. I’ve got my work uniform down but I’m clueless on weekends or date wear.

  20. Day Cream Recs :

    I need a new day cream. I use Lancôme Renergie lift and since starting retinol it’s just not moisturizing enough. SPF preferred. Recommendations?

    • Try layering a face oil underneath/mixing a few drops in — I swear by the 100% marula oil from The Ordinary.

      • Min Donner :

        I haven’t tried their Marula — what is your skin type Anonymous at 11:00?

        I love almost everything I’ve tried from The Ordinary and Deciem , but I hated the Argan oil. The texture was lovely and effect was fine, but it smelled like decomposing fruit or garbage or something nd I just can’t put it on my face. However, I LOVE the Rosehip oil. I have mostly oily congested skin with some blackheads and very occasional whiteheads/pimples. I was very acne-prone in teens and early 20s, including cystic acne, but that cleared up by my 30s, and since then I’ve only had occasional breakouts. I was worried b/c I read somewhere that Rosehip oil could cause breakouts, but I haven’t experienced that.

        OP, you might also want to try an hyaluronic acid serum or booster after the retinol but before your Lancome. 10 years ago I had a great one from Whole Foods (can’t remember the name), and I think The Ordinary has one, and Deciem or Hylamide definitely does (other companies in that family). Might be worht a try in conjunction with an oil. For my body moisturizer I’ve been very happy mixing a squirt of some oil with a pump or two of the Hylamide (I think?) big tub of hyaluronic acid. Super effective during this cold/dry winter and much nicer than lotion in my opinion.

    • I use Lancome Bienfait with SPF and find it works well in the summer and with a drop or two of oil in the winter. I have pretty dry skin. I also use a serum underneath some days.

    • biglawanon :

      Kiehl’s SPF 30 works great for me, and I use Retin A.

  21. Midwestern "Nice"? :

    Nearly a year ago my husband and I moved back to my home state in the Midwest. I moved away after college and am in my mid-30s now, so while it’s technically home, it doesn’t feel like it. I am having a terrible time adjusting to the Midwestern culture. While I know people are supposedly “nice” in the Midwest, it feels more like an overly outgoing politeness – and doesn’t translate into what I would call actual friendliness. I feel like people are talkative in the checkout line at the grocery store, and put on a show about being able to hold a conversation professionally, but no one wants to go to lunch or is actually interested in getting beyond pleasantries.

    Am I crazy here? Maybe I’m giving off some unfriendly vibe without realizing it? I didn’t get this feeling in the places I lived previously (which are not traditionally known for their “niceness”, whatever that means). But I’m open to the idea that it’s not them, it’s me. Any midwesterners have insight here? (Fwiw, while Chicago is technically Midwest I get a totally different vibe there.)

    • LongIslandTransplant :

      I come at it from the opposite perspective – I moved from a small town in the Midwest to Long Island many years ago. It was a super-tough adjustment from me – and I also felt like no one wanted to be my friend. I think a lot of it is that, in our mid-30s, many people have full social networks, kids and other responsibilities. They may enjoy your company but just not have the bandwidth for new friends. It definitely takes time to build a new network. I read “MWF seeks BFF” at that time, and found it very helpful, both in terms of strategy and in not feeling like I was alone in this problem.

      • I agree with this.

        I also just personally am not particularly social at work. I know some people have work places where they form really tight friendships but I’ve never worked at one of those and it’s a somewhat foreign concept to me. I get along great with my coworkers but we have never once gone for drinks and we rarely get lunch together, in large part because I haven’t pursued the idea. Your new coworkers may be like me.

        I would suggest trying a new, social hobby. Are there any meet up groups that get together on the weekends? To bike, rock climb, run, discuss books, whatever? Starting with an activity you have in common is an easier way to make friends IME.

        • Agreed. Many adults are so busy we barely have time for our own families and existing friends, let alone adding new friends. But a hobby or club would be a good way to meet people you have something in common and a built-in way to spend time with them.

    • This is my limited experience with southern/midwestern nice. They’ll chat with you at the grocery store or high school event. They act like northerners are rude for not doing that. But that chatting does not mean you’re establishing friendships – it’s what they do bc it’s socially required – then they go back to their BFFs they’ve had since age 5 who incidentally are the kids of their parents’ childhood BFFs.

      • Agree 100%. It is all fake and if you didn’t grow up here you are an outsider. My daughter knows two girls who are best friends with each other, whose mothers were also childhood best friends. Her school counselor thought it was hilarious that she wanted to attend college out of state. It is weird.

        Signed, A native Californian who has lived in Boston and now lives in the South and is sick of having to make polite chitchat with fake nice people

        • Midwestern "Nice"? :

          This is exactly it. I can relate 100% to the college issue too – there was recently an article in my local paper about students with perfect SAT scores, and the many of them were attending or planning to attend the solid but certainly not prestigious state university. I’m not being critical – that may well be the best choice for them – but it’s a different attitude for sure.

          • it’s the same in TX. I’m an east coast transplant and I really really miss the east coast mentality about certain things. Like it might be worth leaving the state for an educational or job opportunity!

          • There are kids with stellar SAT scores/grades/whatever all over the country who choose a college based on something other than prestige. Maybe they can’t afford tuition and aren’t getting scholarships. Maybe their chosen school has a fantastic, nationally-recognized program in widget engineering. Maybe they didn’t get into a “better” school! It just doesn’t make the news in large cities.

          • I think the point is that in some communities, the only “options” presented are in-state. Nothing wrong with state school. But I don’t think in Maryland you’d find that the majority of perfect SATs went to U Maryland (or any one school, for that matter.)

          • Midwestern "Nice"? :

            Unfortunate typo. I did NOT mean that I was surprised the majority were attending a state school. I meant that I was surprised that the majority of students with perfect SATs were attending the same in-state school. What surprised me was the lack of diversity in their choices, and the fact that not one of them chose an Ivy. (I realize I said “state” not “in-state” — but I meant they were nearly all going to one single college that, for many of them, is in the town they grew up in.). I’m not criticizing them for that, I just find it surprising.

          • Mineallmine :

            Not everyone is particularly impressed with Ivy league or want to go into massive debt, as not even a perfect score necessarily gets you a full ride. And not everyone wants to move a plane ride away at 18 and first time on their own. There are lots of great schools and programs better geared to indivual goals. My state school undergrad that i turned down better ranked schools to go to was a million times better at actual education including work opportunities in my field than my fancy graduate and law schools. Prestige only matters to a certain percentage of people a lot of the rest of the population don’t actually like or want to be. And whoever mocked Texas has no idea what a great, cheap, and dare I say respected school system it has. Part of me still regrets going east coast instead of to Austin for grad school. Geez.

        • Polite Southerner :

          As a Southerner, I am going to take issue with this. Please do not dismiss us as rude, parochial and superficial because we were raised to be polite.

          I like to chat with people. I find where they are from, what they think of the XYZ product they are buying, etc. interesting. I realize that can come across as odd to people from other places but it is not fake. I really am interested in other people. That does not mean we are going to be lifelong friends. And honestly if you think of the people around you as fake and weird it is not a surprise you are not making friends. One of the reasons that people in the South are often suspicious of outsiders is because we are painfully familiar with that attitude.

          To the OP: It can be hard to break into any smaller community as an adult, regardless of where that community is. If you are at all inclined toward religion, it can be a great place to make connections. Alternatively (if Church is not an option for you) service projects can accomplish the same thing. Try flat out telling people that you just moved back and are feeling lonely and want to make friends.

          • Ditto!

          • Mineallmine :

            100% agree. I’ve lived pretty much everywhere, and it’s tough making friends as adults, but dismissing entire cultures as fake because it’s different is condescending. Maybe some people don’t need to be BFFs to chat with them. It’s chit-chat, not sex. Maybe you don’t like chatting, but that’s your preference, not a sign of superiority. I’m curious about people and will happily chat with someone I’ll never see again and feel richer for it, even though I’m not really a talkative person generally.

      • Triangle Pose :

        Agree 100%. Ugh.

      • This makes total sense to me (always lived big cities in northeast) and explains my experiences visiting DH’s family/friends in TX. Wives are super friendly when we do double date/ two family kinda things. Go to an event with multiple families and after the first 30 min of small talk with the wives, I am on my own while they all talk amongst themselves about local stuff.

    • Yeah, it’s a thing.

      In Minnesota, I chalk it up to the fact that most people don’t venture to far for college and work, so are still friends with the people they met in elementary school. A combination of it not occurring to them to make new friends (because they already have enough) or not knowing how to make friends as adults.

      1. Look for other transplants -they’ll be having the same connection issues.
      2. Winter is a really hard time to make friends in the cold states. It’s dark early, it’s cold out, snow making parking complicates, and people just want to go home and hibernate. It’ll get a bit better when it warms up.
      3. Keep asking about lunch/HH. It’s only been a year, it takes us a while to get used to new people :)

      • Midwestern "Nice"? :

        Thanks – I think this is exactly what it is, and the advice is helpful.

        • I mean – if the Twin Cities happens to be your particular Midwest area, let me know and we can have a drink to talk about it some more in person :) I’m someone who moved to MN in elementary school and was kind of behind the ball at that point, but have really found my group in the past few years.

          mpls,corpore t t e @ the google mail

          • Midwestern "Nice"? :

            Not Twin Cities, unfortunately, but thank you!!!

          • Anonymous :

            I agree; it’s hard to make friends as an adult. As an introvert who’s exhausted from work and the Minnesota nice culture, it can be difficult, especially when it’s -10 outside.

    • Ex-Midwestern :

      Not a sociologist or anthropologist or marketer or whoever studies this, but I am from the Midwest! Could you say more about what is “nice” where you are from or what your hopes are? From your post, it sounds like you want to go to lunch and go beyond pleasantries. Definitely there is a lot of chatty friendliness in the Midwest that doesn’t lead to anything more. I always imagine the town in Edward Scissorhands as Midwestern–the “overly outgoing politeness” as you describe it extends to everyone (and often specifically the scenesters and the goths, etc.), but it doesn’t mean that everyone is taken into the fold as really belonging?

      Fortunately, outward signs of belonging go really far. If you are willing to conform in superficial, external ways, you can get away with almost any idiosyncrasy privately. I think of the Midwest as the home of passionate hobbies and offbeat skills. You could know someone for a year or more without knowing that they do independent research in an obscure topic or collect fossils or weave baskets or have some nerdy TV show memorized by heart, etc.

      The culture is also a bit clubbish, such that one way to fit in is to actually join clubs (or committees or volunteer groups or churches, etc.). For me this was the intersection of the nature preserve/conservation community and the arts community, but for many who can afford it it’s still an actual country club. I feel like just showing up isn’t the same as joining, and the Midwest likes joiners.

      • Ex-Midwestern :

        (Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting that you aren’t fitting in because you are too serious about a porcelain doll collection or whatever! But if the Midwest can absorb those things, it can absorb someone who simply isn’t from “around here.”)

        • I think this explanation proves OP’s point. She doesn’t want to “fit in” in the Midwestern sense of “having people be superficially polite without knowing or caring about your real interests.” She wants to form real friendships that are not superficial.

      • You think of the Midwest “as the home of passionate hobbies and offbeat skills”? I’m blown away by that. That’s sort of the opposite of a culture of joiners, isn’t it?

    • Native Midwesterner :

      Yeah, that’s pretty much what “Midwestern nice” means. People are really big on pleasantries, and I would argue it also extends to helping people out when they’re in a jam (like one of our neighbors will shovel all the elderly folks’ sidewalks every time it snows), but they tend to have tough exteriors and it’s hard to form intimate friendships.

      In the South it might be fake (“bless your heart” and all that)…in the Midwest, I don’t really think people are fake. I think most people are genuinely friendly, but they are very reserved and they are definitely hard to get to know. It’s also true that people tend not to move away as much, so even in major cities, and especially in smaller towns, most people will have a lot of friends they’ve known since primary school. It’s hard to have a lot of incentive to form new friendships when you already have such a strong local network.

      • I agree with all of this. Some strong local networks have a kind of gravity to them, so you can get pulled into their orbit without actually having gone to the same school or even without actually belonging to the family. (I feel like it’s much easier to end up at someone else’s family event, for better or worse, in the Midwest than anywhere else I’ve lived.) Getting yourself invited to a 4th of July barbecue can go far!

    • From other commenters on this blog, it seems that it’s hard everywhere to make friends as a new person in town because adults tend to have defined social circles and are often not looking to expand them. To me it doesn’t seem rude/unfriendly to be willing to chat with someone in the checkout line but not want to have lunch with them. Who wants to have lunch with a random person they just met unless they are specifically looking for new friends? We are all busy people who barely have enough time for our families and existing friends.

      • Midwestern "Nice"? :

        I think I worded that oddly – to clarify, I’m not trying to have lunch with people in the checkout line. I agree that would be weird. I’m just trying to reconcile a culture (that I grew up in and should probably understand better) where I feel like many people are superficially nice but not actually friendly.

      • Yeah, I’ve seen this same question raised previously about the south and the Pacific Northwest, and now about the Midwest. I think a lot of people have this experience in different parts of the country, and I think that in addition to (or rather than, in some cases) local culture, it may be a combination of age (people are more likely to have established social circles by their early 30s, and the urge to connect with new people becomes less), family/career status (once people are busy with work and family, there’s less time for making new friends), and our increasingly inward-looking culture (civic participation has declined in many parts of the country – people who would have once belonged to a local tennis league may now be more likely just to socialize privately).

        I could have written the OP’s comment with respect to my experience living in Seattle, but I know people who’ve moved to Seattle and not had that experience. The key difference between me and them was that they were younger than I was (post-college/first job), and thus their peers weren’t in a “settled” phase of life, generally.

        • Midwestern "Nice"? :

          You may be right. I agree that making friends as an adult is just hard. But for me, this experience was specific to moving to the Midwest. I’ve moved other places also in this stage of life and while it was difficult in other ways, I didn’t experience this tension there, which is what made me think it may be regional. (Also, people in my new city are extremely proud of how “nice” they are supposedly known for being, which is a layer I didn’t experience elsewhere – being told that it must be a relief to be away from the evil coast and back among “nice people” gets old when you’re feeling isolated.)

        • +1. I’ve found it hard to make close friends in every city I’ve lived in since finishing school. I’ve thought people were cliquish on the east coast, in DC, in the South, and now in a city in the Midwest that I didn’t grow up in/go to school in. You really do have to make an effort as an adult – join clubs, church groups, nonprofit boards, professional orgs, whatever you’re interested in. Are you asking people if they want to grab lunch, or are you waiting for an invitation?

          And honestly, they’re probably sensing an unfriendly vibe if you’re lumping an entire region of the country into one group (there are some serious rivalries between states for various reasons) and expressing surprise that smart kids are going to a state school.

          • Midwestern "Nice"? :

            Not surprised that smart kids are going to a state school. I went to this exact state school, in fact. I am surprised that the majority of kids with perfect SATs all chose to attend the same in-state school. I’m not saying that’s bad or wrong, I just think it’s surprising.

          • Midwestern "Nice"? :

            I take your point about lumping an entire region into one stereotype – and in a way, that is exactly what I’ve been doing. I’ve basically been blaming my entire state for the actions of what amounts to a few people being cold and judgmental. It’s not helpful or productive, and I need an attitude shift there.

        • Late to reply but I’ll chime in to say that I have lived in the PNW and the Midwest and there is a special thing going on in the Midwest that is very difficult to reconcile if you want meaningful connections with people. I feel like people are conditioned to prize superficial friendliness and that takes over a lot of things. I have struggled with it but also have discussed at length this part of the culture with friends who are from here and not, which has helped. Also, as others have pointed out, finding other transplants is key. Also so as not to be too bleak, my first many friends were transplants but the two woman who I’ve more recently become closest with are locals. Finally, I don’t know anything about the rest of the Midwest so I’m not trying to assign this notion to the entire region, but this has been my experience in MN.

      • I was going to say something similar. Depending where you are in life, it’s just really difficult to make friends as an adult. And especially difficult to break into established friend groups. I’ve been back in my home city for about 5.5 years now and just now have a solid friend group.

    • Anonymous :

      I moved to the US (in a small town in a rural area) from the UK decades ago, after having lived on several continents. This has been the hardest by far country to make real friends. I have only on the last year or so made a few limited friendships. People were polite and pleasant but that was all. I have no children and believe that this compounded the problem. I came to terms with it but it is still lonely.

  22. I just bought my wedding dress and 2 days later am completely panicking. Convinced I made the wrong decision or was swept up/duped by the wedding industry into deciding too soon/picking an extravagant dress I don’t deserve (which is untrue, it’s in budget but I was convinced I would shop around/bargain hunt). Is this normal? FH is convinced this is normal but I have legitimately had nightmares about this.

    • If you like it, and its within your budget, you did not make the wrong decision. :)

    • How does someone deserve/not deserve a dress within their budget? If you like it and it’s in the budget, then great, check the box off and be relieved it’s done rather than stressed about it.

    • Senior Attorney :

      A couple of years ago I was remodeling/redecorating my house, and I was getting into a tizzy with all the decisions, some of which were quite expensive. My therapist at the time kept saying, “Whatever you decide will be right.” And he was right. If you like it, and it’s within your budget, it’s right!

      And if you don’t like it and/or it’s not in your budget, go back now and pull the plug.

    • Sure, it’s normal. If you’re that concerned call the salon right away and see if you can come in for another appointment.

    • My mom made me keep shopping when I wanted the second dress I tried on. It wasted my time and the time of another bridal shop. Do you like the dress? Can you afford the dress? Then you picked a good dress.

    • i have a friend who had buyers remorse. she went back and managed to convince the store to give her most of the refund and ended up getting her dress some place else. i never had buyer’s remorse really, but i had a lot of time so i shopped around a lot and i was ultimately deciding between 3 dresses – i liked all of them, and ultimately picked one, but i don’t believe in that concept of there being THE dress. I think anyone can be happy and look amazing in multiple dresses. At the end of the day it is an article of clothing – yes you want to feel beautiful and special in it, but there is probably more than one dress out there that will make you feel that way.

    • Thanks all, these were all what I needed to hear. I do love the dress, very much, and even thinking of trying to cancel the order gives me feelings of “but what if I want to go back to it in the end,” which makes me feel better. I will try to take your advice and be happy I have one less decision to make!

      • michele a :

        Another good tip: Stop looking at other dresses so you don’t keep thinking “What if?”

        I went through the same thing this summer, but now that I have my dress, I’m in love and totally confident with my decision.

        And congrats!!

    • Dealtwiththis :

      It is totally normal! I did the same thing after purchasing my dress. I actually got into a weird obsession where I watched the tv show Say Yes to the Dress EVERY day after work. My rationale? “I have to make sure that there isn’t a better dress out there that I missed!”. There never was. I loved my dress. After the wedding, I’ve never watched another episode.

  23. As a twist to the conversation regarding having children. DH wants another child. I do not. The first wreaked havoc on my body (1.5 years of physical therapy for pelvic pain, most severe while walking – yes, walking) and I’ve barely just recovered. I just CAN’T. I want to enjoy my life with my existing kid pain-free. But even beside health issues, there are so many reasons. Our daycare is 2K and doubling that means we’ll never ever save for a vacation home that we’ve been wanting to buy. He needs to find a new job but I’m sure he would not because his current has flex schedule (which does not mean that he does tons around the house, just means he can fill in when kid is sick).

    Has anyone been in a similar situation?

    • Well unless he’s figured out how to give birth or wants a child with another woman, the decision has been made. What’s to discuss?

    • I don’t have kids, so take my opinion here with all of the grains of salt you like: The only consideration you’ve listed here that matters is your physical limitations. If you don’t think you can physically have more kids, none of the rest of it is even a point for discussion, unless the discussion is “what about adoption.”

      • Yeah… really curious whether he’s talking about adoption, not a biological child. Adopting not-an-infant would reduce some of the financial burden of daycare.

    • No advice other than I think you need to talk, talk, talk. I think you have to both be on board with the idea and honestly, he needs to defer to you if the reason is pain for you. The money situation is something you can plan for and that reasonable people can disagree over.

    • Presumably he knows how much childbirth affected you physically. Does he still want a bio kid despite that? What does he say about the impact on you? Because if he’s dismissing it like it’s nbd and you should go through it again because that’s what women are for then you have bigger issues.

      • Exactly.

        I know plenty of men who wanted more kids but loved their wives more than future children, and have not wanted to risk their wives’ lives, physical well-being, or mental health with more children.

    • It’s clear from what you wrote that the answer is no to having another kid (unless, as someone else mentioned, you would want to adopt). It’s your body that has to go through this, so if you say no, the answer is no. If he doesn’t like that, he’s free to leave, but he’s not free to order you to go through pregnancy.

    • Native Midwesterner :

      The daycare costs seem like something that should be really be investigated, discussed and negotiated (I doubt they would really double & maybe he wants a second kid more than he wants a vacation home?) but I don’t really see a way around your health issues. Even if you hadn’t had such a traumatic birth experience I think the woman pretty much always gets to say she’s not willing to give birth again. Are you (and he) interested in adoption at all? If not, it seems like the end of the discussion to me…

      • Legally Brunette :

        I’m curious why you think the cost wouldn’t double. When I had kid #1, it was $2500 a month. Now with two kids, it’s $5000 a month. No sibling discount and that is the norm in the various HCOL cities I’ve lived in.

        • Many people switch to a nanny with two because two with a nanny is cheaper than two in daycare plus less logistics with keeping tracking of what activities are happening in each classroom.

        • Anonymous :

          Yeah, a nanny for two is maybe 30% more than daycare for one in my area so most people who have more than one kid go to a nanny and the costs go up somewhat but don’t double. Daycares do give a sibling discount, but it’s usually not more than 10% so that’s pretty trivial.

      • I would say either parent should be able to veto another kid.

    • I have been in a similar position. My sincere belief is that no child should be created unless it is truly wanted by all parents who will be involved in its life, so a “no” from one potential parent is binding. A “no” from the person whose bodily integrity will be compromised carries even more weight.

      I had a terrible pregnancy and was sure I was done before our kid was even born. My husband wanted at least one more, preferably two or three more, and it took him about two and a half years to get to the point where he would let me get rid of the baby stuff with the promise that “if we change our minds and decide to have another we can buy more stuff.” He held out hope that I would change my mind until our daughter was about 7. A couple of years later, she went away to summer camp and her absence made him realize just how much work a kid really is. Now, sadly, he can’t wait for her to go off to college so it’s just the two of us again.

    • Can you table it for a year or two? You might feel differently when your kid is older- more healed, the end of daycare on the horizon, and maybe you *will* want another. Or maybe you won’t. But I think it’s fair for you to talk it through with DH and at minimum agree to have the discussion again in X months/years.

      If you are, say, 43 and it’s “now or never,” it’s OK to say never.

      • And I am obviously not your doctor, but if you are in fact healed now, are there medical interventions you could have to avoid this impact to your body again (if the pelvic issues were from a v-birth, would a c-section be a totally different ballgame)? I’d at least talk through options/concerns with a doc *if* you’d be open to the idea without the traumatic pain.

        What about a non bio kid? What are DH’s thoughts on that?

    • “The first wreaked havoc on my body (1.5 years of physical therapy for pelvic pain, most severe while walking – yes, walking) and I’ve barely just recovered. I just CAN’T.”

      That’s the end of it. If you won the lottery tomorrow and didn’t have to work or could pay for childcare, it wouldn’t matter. You’re done, and done means done.

      Advice: do not bring up costs, because you’re telling your husband that more money solves this impasse. It doesn’t. What would solve this is someone who isn’t you gestating this baby (i.e., adoption).

  24. Baconpancakes :

    Signed up for the 3 month WW plan yesterday, and I’m already skeptical. I’m willing to limit foods, and track them, but dang they are not making it easy for me. The way the points database is set up, they seem to be actively trying to make it so hard to even decide whether I’ll eat anything I don’t cook or buy in a box with calories printed on it, instead of just giving me a general idea of how many points they are so I can balance my eating for it, e.g. figuring out how many points are in dolsot bibimbap. The guidelines WW gives you is “make your best guess!” Many foods I would consider pretty common, like a cortado or a (non-starbucks) macchiato are missing as well, and when I put them into the calculator, I come out with more points than a large size. I think they would be encouraged, since surely 4 oz of milk is better than 12.

    I’m going to give it a real boyscout try for the 3 months, but I am already dreading the hours I’m going to spend figuring out my meals. Maybe once I create a bunch of recipes in my profile it’ll get easier, but my life philosophy around food is avoiding boredom from repetition, and trying new and exotic foods at restaurants, where it’s seriously unacceptable to grill the waiter about every single tablespoon of oil that goes into preparation. Looking through the “tips” from success stories, it seems like the answer is, “don’t love food, repetition is safety, avoid the unknown.” As a foodie, this is really depressing.

    • Creating your receipes in there makes all the difference. Then you just click on what you ate that day. I kept breakfast the same, used one of three different lunches and varied my dinner at the beginning until I had all my receipes in and got the hang of tracking.

      Many restaurants are included, so look it up before you go out or if your restaurant is not included, use a similar dish at another place to estimate. It would never have occurred to me to ask the waiter about how much oil is in something. Just estimate. Being slightly off on your points on a meal here or there doesn’t affect the overall validity of the system which focuses on eating lots of lean protein and vegetables and fruit.

    • This is why I stopped WW. But then again I haven’t lost weight.

    • also, just search for the foods in the receipe section. I just g++gled WW bibimap and there was receipes available. If you search within the WW site itself you should get even better results.

      Skinnytaste and drizzle me skinny often have receipes with WW points posted so that gives you another way to get a rough idea.

      But mostly you need to use the receipe builder.

      • Baconpancakes :

        This is game changing. Using other people’s recipes makes this so. much. easier. Thank you so much.

        • Emily Bites is outstanding!! I find SkinnyTaste to be good enough, but I’ve made a zillion of EmilyBites’ recipes.

          Apart from her blog/recipes, I’ve had great success searching instagram with hashtags like “wwfoodideas” “wwdinner” or “wwfreestyle”… or whatever, and I’ve been able to find some really helpful accounts to follow. Most of them are independent/non-sponsored people just tracking their own journeys for accountability. Those are the most relateable for me, not the perfectly photographed, cookbook-publishing super bloggers.

    • Thanks for reporting. I’m currently using cronometer, but I’d been considering WW “freestyle” for some food tracking relief. Quality over quantity is one of my more successful weight loss strategies (I eat less when I pay attention than when I’m just fueling up, and I eat less when foods are strongly flavored and, well, delicious), so I would not want to be discouraged from new and exotic foods.

    • The Macchiato is probably missing because it depends how you make it.

      If you want to lose weight, you are going to have to spend time tracking what you eat. WW just provides a system to do that. Put all your receipes in the receipe builder and give yourself some time to learn about the nutritional values of different foods. That will help you to make choices in restaurants. WW is also about planning your eating – if you want to indulge in a big fancy multicourse dinner on Saturday night, you can do it but you’ll need to adjust your eating earlier in the week to account for that. Planning is a huge part of weight loss regardless of the system you chose.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Eh, I think it’s more because I’m not actually the target audience. A macchiato is actually a very strict recipe. 2 oz espresso, 2 oz milk. Full stop.

        I’m on board with the planning, the balancing, all that. That’s why I signed up. But it is discouraging to find that the foods I actually can’t live without (ie a real, traditional, 6 oz cappuccino) aren’t even considered by WW.

        • What is your problem? Just track your 2 ounces of milk. That’s easy. Look up nutrition info on your favorite beverage once. Idk how spoon fed you want this but mopeing doesn’t burn calories.

        • Espresso is free. Just track 2 ounces of milk and call it a day on the macchiato. No biggie.

        • But the milk points will vary depending on if you use whole, 2% or skim. Obviously skim isn’t preferred but some people will do that if they are trying to save points for another indulgence.

          • I use skim. It’s amazing what you can train yourself to get used to.

            Sugar replacements too, or sugar-free vanilla shot.

          • Eeertmeert :

            So you track the skim, or 2%, or regular. Or coconut, or almond, or vanilla soy, or unsweetened soy , etc etc.
            I get a soy latte daily, and just track the soy milk. #oz of cup, less 1 oz per espresso shot. Done!

        • No, I don’t think it has anything to do with you/target audience. Just track the milk (ounces and type). It’s truly that simple.

    • As a foodie get over yourself. It is not that hard. The recipe builder is fantastic. Estimating honestly actually works. I eat out constantly. It is not that hard. Assume everything in a restaurant is cooked in 4 points of oil, track the other stuff, don’t eat a full plate.

      It’s day one. No one is holding a gun to your head. Quit whining and figure it out or don’t. Up to you.

    • Not Legal Counsel :

      I’ve been back on WW since November, and I didn’t love the new Freestyle program at first, but it’s working out well for me (down 12 pounds!). Now that I have used it for a couple of months, I’m perfectly fine with it. It takes time, trail, and patience, but the results are there.

      I don’t find the Connect feature particularly helpful – sure, there are some inspiring posts, but there are a lot more whining and TMI posts than my FB feed. I do like the “help” feature to talk to experts.

      I did WW previously, and I’m better at it now, then I was on previous programs. I would really suggest paying for a meeting or two and talking through the program with a meeting leader before getting too far into it or giving up. Even one or two meetings will help you go a lot farther than just by yourself.

    • It’s not that bad; you will get used to it. There’s a learning curve, sure, but it usually takes me ~5 min to put in the ingredients to a complicated recipe to figure out points. If I want a ballpark, I search for e.g. lasagna and see the range of the pre-coded options that come up. Try to be as accurate as you can, but don’t get tripped up on getting it perfect. I get a cup of tomato soup from a deli in my building occasionally and put it in as tomato soup of ABP because that’s already in the database– is it perfect? no, but it’s fine.

      Also, once you get comfortable with the list of 0 point foods, it will feel much easier to estimate recipes. There’s a soup that I make that have a list of ingredients a mile long, but the only ones with points are oil and potatoes, so I just put those in and divide by the number of servings I think I’ll get out of it. (By the way, buy a food scale if you don’t already have one. It makes WW a lot easier/more accurate.)

      If you give it a good college try for 3 months I think you will be surprised and happy with your progress!

      • Baconpancakes :

        This is really encouraging, thank you, y’all. The meetings are out for me, because the only ones nearby are attended by my boss, and I’m just not ok with that, but it’s reassuring to hear actual strategies instead of just “you’ll get used to [what seems like living a life devoid of joy]!”

        • It’s really not that joy depriving. You can eat all the same foods you do now and still try new ones. But you will have to adjust portion sizes and indulgence frequency. I found that there were also a lot of good ideas of non-food ways to treat myself or destress which reduced my emotional eating.

          • Eeertmeert :

            Exactly. No deprivation. Just portion control/attention.
            I eat 1/4 chocolate bar instead of 2/3. I have popcorn instead of tortilla chips. I skip rice and pasta except for a few times a month. I have nonfat Greek yogurt with jam and fresh berries (1 point for 1 1/2 tsp jam!) instead of ice cream.
            Seafood, chicken breast, eggs, tofu, fruits, veggies, beans, nonfat yogurt, all 0 points.
            There are plenty, plenty of ways to explore new foods and enjoy yourself. Maybe you skip the second glass of wine, or have a small sundae for dessert instead of cheesecake. Maybe you choose the red sauce instead of the cheese one, or only eat half the dish and save the rest for another meal.
            I have cheeseburgers and tater tots when I meet up with a friend, and creamy risotto on a fancy date night. At home I roast veggies in Olive oil and seasoning with rotisserie chicken. I replace pasta with polenta or quinoa. It’s doable.
            It feels extra good when your pants start sagging from the lost inches…non-scale victory!

    • Some tips from a WW alum (10lbs down this round, woot!)

      1) Once you start using the app, your most consumed foods will autosave as a favorite, so entering food gets easier with time.
      2) Make your life easier and don’t even try to enter in zero point foods, it’s a waste of time.
      3) Guesstimate best you can on items you are not sure on. The WW system is forgiving to a certain extent on that point. But when in doubt, overguess points than under, as a favor to yourself.

      Also, as a foodie, you will have to either 1) put your foodie tendencies on hold while you reach your goal weight because, let’s be honest, being a foodie and eating out (where restaurant food generally has far more calories than similar items cooked at home) probably is a good reason you want to join WW, or 2) adjust your food expectations. Being a foodie doesn’t have to equal eating whatever you want. You mentioned you want quality over quantity, and the lean protein and healthy veggies, etc. that are low or no points are higher quality nutrition wise than whatever concoction the new chef on the block has made up.

      • Anonymous :

        Yes, frequent restaurant meals just aren’t compatible with any weight loss plan. That doesn’t mean you have to stop being a foodie, just that you have to cook at home and pack your lunch most of the time. You can cook a lot of delicious healthy things at home, but trying to cut calories at a restaurant leaves you with tiny portions or a plate of limp, flavorless steamed veggies.

        • Anonymous :

          I enjoy eating out, especially cusines that I am not adept at cooking at home. But since WW I have cut back the frequency and made much more conscious choices – it’s no longer, app + entree + dessert + cocktail + 2 glasses of wine, it’s more like App + 2nd app as entree + glass of wine. I still enjoy the food and atmosphere though. You can still do the big meal on WW but for me it’s just not worth saving the points all week just to blow them on one meal.

          • Anonymous :

            I still blow up like a balloon whenever I eat out frequently even if I just order app as entree + one glass of wine. :(

    • Just do it...or don't :

      I mean, I’m no diet expert but it’s really not rocket science and it’s not joy-depriving. Eat all the same foods, just watch your portions and track honestly. Estimating works as does breaking down the ingredients to track rather than just trying to put in “machiatto.” If this doesn’t work for you, find another nutrition plan to follow, but between your post worrying about losing muscle on this and then this one, it seems like you’re needlessly throwing up obstacles and overthinking things. Just do it.

    • JuniorMinion :

      So I love food and love to bake. I’m not on WW but tracking for different purposes / through a different system.

      What I have done is give myself 1-2 restaurant meals / week where I order to my hearts content. That being said I have to not let it snowball into 1-2 DAYS / week (ie I eat my normal tracked breakfast and lunch and eat dinner out etc.)

      The baking is harder, but I’ve been doing some high protein / whole grain baking experiments.

      The reality of this is if you want to achieve a food related goal you need to know what you are eating 85 – 90% of the time which means meal prepping or really simple food out where you know exactly what you are getting (salads, basic soups / sandwiches). I ultimately decided that my strength training / health goals were more important to me than the kind of baking / eating I often used to do, but it is definitely hard. I binge watch a lot of the great british baking show.

      • JuniorMinion :

        One more thing. I’d urge you to try to seek joy in other endeavors to replace the joy you used to find in restaurant food.

        I now look for those feelings of satisfaction in walks and hikes and meeting my strength training goals. Also experimenting with healthier recipes and getting creative like this in the kitchen taps into the same portion of my brain that used to love eating out at all the new restaurants.

        I’ve also picked my “things” so to speak. I like dark chocolate, but could totally live without most dessert / chips / pretzels / snacky things. On the other hand, they will pry the craft beer / delicious wine out of my cold dead hands. Any plan that requires me to give up my beer sampling ways is a nonstarter.

        • Baconpancakes :

          I know you mean well, but I am frustrated with the idea that simply because I love food, I must not find joy in other things. I would gently caution you (and others) to avoid making this assumption. I find joy in a LOT. I adore hiking, just tried bouldering for the first time on Sunday and am definitely hooked, am doing strength training and hoping to hit a 200# squat goal this year, am training for a 5k using the Zombies 5k app while battling shin splints, arrange flowers for fun and subscribe to a flower CSA in the spring and winter, enjoy yoga with my friends, throw parties constantly, and travel as much as I’m able. This narrative – that if you are overweight, you must have your priorities wrong, that there must be something broken about you – is what frustrates me. But the truth is, we have to eat. Every day. If we’re going to eat every day, shouldn’t it be something celebrated instead of shameful? Shouldn’t going out to eat be a joyful event instead of a battlefield to navigate? I don’t hear any dialogue about this, only about “cheating” and “clean food” and tricking ourselves into thinking that healthy food is good. Shouldn’t we be able to figure out a way to readjust without creating a completely unnatural relationship with our food?

          I’m rambling here, but I think the fundamental assumptions behind diet plans – that they are lifestyles, that you can’t have a “normal” lifestyle and still lose weight – are what frustrates me, and what causes the WW points database to omit things like 6 oz whole milk cappuccinos.

          • Yes! This.

          • I have a “normal” lifestyle and I’m on WW, losing weight (down 40 lbs in under a year) – so, your comment frustrates ME.

            And, forget “normal”. It’s about choices. Do you want to choose foods (either type or quantity) that won’t lead to weight loss because those foods give you a sense of joy you don’t want to give up? If the answer is yes, have at it and enjoy. But don’t be surprised if WW doesn’t work for you.

            Do I derive joy from eating out at a nice place? Absolutely. But I plan accordingly. Do I get joy from my skim chai latte at Starbucks? Heck yea. But I budget my points accordingly (and sometimes that means there’s no room in the budget on a given day or week). I’ve been attending meetings for over a year. I wish you lots of luck – this program has changed my life and given me my health back – but I strongly urge you to think about your mindset going into this (“I’m not their target audience because they don’t have a 6 ox whole milk cappuccino”… what?? have you seen everything they DO have?? what are the strengths or positives of the program that drew you in to begin with?) before the minutiae of tracking.

          • Anonymous :

            It can absolutely be joyful but it still needs to be reasonable. Portion sizes at the vast majority of restaurants are easily 2-3 times larger than necessary.

            WW showed me how much I was out of control on my portions. I was regularly serving myself two cups of pasta instead of one and I was wolfing down my food instead of putting one piece of pasta in my mouth at a time, putting down my fork and truly savoring each bite like my European food loving DH does.

            I actually enjoy my food much more since I’ve done WW and become much more conscious in my choices about when, what and how much I am eating.

          • Anonymous :

            You created the narrative on this thread by saying that WW was a life devoid of joy at 12:15.

            WW is just a way of tracking actual food that you consume. If you want to lose weight, you will have to consume less of those foods. WW can help you succeed at that by providing different receipe ideas and by making you conscioius of what foods are ‘worth it’ to you and what foods are a high calorie indulguence that is not ‘worth it’ to you.

            The beauty of the system is that you decide what to indulge on. I hate chips so I think it’s crazy that other people save up points for them. But I have switched to drinking espresso because the whole milk in my coffee wasn’t ‘worth it’ to me. It can totally be worthwhile to someone else and still be within the plan. But you can’t go into it expecting to continue to eat as you have been and lose weight. That’s not realistic.

          • Eeertmeert :

            This exactly.

          • Lorelai Gilmore :

            1) I agree with everything that you’ve said. Everything!

            2) I struggled a lot with WW. Whole30 has been a helpful switch for me. For me, counting calories in my food was making it really brutally hard – my brain just hated every minute of it. For whatever reason, I do better when I eat a more limited set of foods, but don’t worry about counting any of it. I think everyone is different on this topic and I don’t think there’s a one size fits all plan. But if your brain is rebelling against WW, then consider whether something like Whole30 or paleo or whatever would be easier.

            3) When I was on WW, one thing that helped was really applying mindfulness to my eating – paying attention, savoring, really engaging all of my senses – in what I ate. There is a way to approach it with joy and exploration. It takes a while, though.

          • Just do it...or don't :

            You can find “joy” in food without eating 3 servings of something. It’s completely possible.

          • JuniorMinion :

            I’m sorry. I didn’t mean my comment to come across as accusing you of having no joy in the rest of your life or denigrating your love of food.

            More just in my own personal experience – I am a person to whom two glasses of wine and a cupcake a night + long elaborate brunches bring joy. However, to meet my other goals, I’ve had to only indulge in this 1x every two weeks, or have a glass of wine on Saturday but skip the cupcake so I’ve had to find other things / rituals to replace these (fun seltzer / interesting tea / active things have been my go tos).

          • Eeertmeert :

            If your desired food/beverage isn’t in the database, it means you get the opportunity to add it to the database. I’ve probably added 5-10 items to the database since Aug when I joined (27 lbs ago)
            Adding is quick and easy using the app, and once it is there it is there for everyone to find.

          • You literally said that it sounds like getting used to a life devoid of joy. Nobody is making assumptions about people who are overweight

        • Rainbow Hair :

          BP, it seems to me like you’re reading into JM’s comments some judgments that aren’t there. A lot of women on here discuss replacing their evening glass of wine with a different joy, a cup of tea or sparkling water, a book, etc. Not because wine is the only joy in their life, but because it’s *hard* to give up something that you enjoy! Even if you enjoy lots of other things! (In fact, isn’t that the whole reason for this thread?)

          • Baconpancakes :

            Not judgement, per say, but an assumption that is widespread. Junior Minion’s comment was overall helpful and benign – but got to the heart of my frustrations – that it feels to me that the narrative around losing weight involves separating yourself from the general populace. For some people that may not be true, and that’s great for them. But for me, yes, that’s what it feels like, when I find something that seems so normal to me and my circle (many of whom are quite skinny and healthy) is not considered a healthy choice by WW.

            I don’t think this discussion is going to be productive any more, but I did want to say I really appreciated the encouraging and kind comments that made it seem less like an impossible perfectionist life of only hard-boiled eggs and prepackaged low-fat brownies (which is the impression I got from the website) and more an accountability tool, which is what I wanted in the first place.

          • Anonymous :

            One more ww comment. I’m in week 4 and loving it. My advice is get to know what are zero point foods and track the rest. Think of the components vs. the final product. E.g. search whole milk and change the portion size to 6 ounces. Will take you 10-20 seconds.

            If you are eating anything prepared that has a UPC code, you can scan and find or enter it. Just remember when you are scanning that a food will zero points will come up with points because the app calculates point for UPC codes based on calories.

            It really does get easier. I’m down 8.4 lbs and feeling the difference in my clothes, which makes it worthwhile to stick to it for me.

    • Tracking macronutrients (you can get coaching and templates online) is a better way to do this if you’re doing homemade foods.

  25. My wavy hair is so dry that I wake up with lint stuck in my hair. I tried a Shea Moisture masque over the weekend. I slathered on a copious amount, wrapped my hair up, and stuck a shower cap on for 30 min. That didn’t particularly help. Any suggestions?

    • My favorite conditioner has always been Terax crema. I think it has tallow in it, so it feels a little different than vegetable oils. Otherwise, have you tried a leave in like “It’s a 10”?

    • Never too many shoes... :

      A small jar of full fat mayo with a plastic bag and then shower cap overnight. Do it on a Friday and wash twice over weekend.

    • Are you using a leave in conditioner while hair is wet (helping to lock in some of the moisture)? That could help. Or a very small amount (or large amount, depending on the thickness and oiliness of your hair) of a light hair oil while wet (jojoba, grape seed, or argan) have helped me tremendously.

    • I really like DryBar’s Mud Mask (I think that’s what it’s called – it comes in a tub with a pink label). I use it about once a week – put it on my wet hair while I’m in the shower, leave it on while washing, shaving my legs, and then rinse and use a little shampoo on the roots so I don’t look greasy.

      It’s in the $40 neighborhood for a tub that lasts me 6-9 months. I think they also sell a travel size if you wanted to test it. Honestly, it’s the only expensive hair product I buy, I really like it.

    • Coconut oil. Slather on, leave in for 10 minutes, then wash off with your regular shampoo (but don’t over shampoo). Leaves a little moisture in.

    • Anonymous :

      My favorite on my super dry, wavy hair is Aussie’s 3 minute miracle after normal conditioner, and then making sure to rinse my hair with cold water instead of warm/hot. For some reason, the cold water seems to keep the moisture from the conditioner in my hair better and keep my hair softer than if I rinse it out with the temperature of water I would shower in.

  26. I didn’t think this site could get worse ad/distraction wise…. But now I have the bottom half cut off by the ad bar that has an embedded video in spanish (that I can’t keep closed… keeps reappearing)…. and now today, corporette has cut off the top inch with an unnecessary link bar. And the worst…. now on the right edge I have an ad box that is constantly changing/moving/distracting me.

    Please, Kat…. save us. You are shrinking the screen more and more, and driving us a little crazy….

  27. Sloan Sabbith :

    There are Oreos dropping from the bottom of my sceeej right now due to my current ad and it’s both incredibly distracting and makes it difficult to post because I keep tapping on the GD Oreo. I hate these bottom of the screen ads and I don’t understand why Kat hasn’t removed them- half of us hate them but can’t use ad blockers and half of us are using ad blockers. I’m sure as h311 not going to buy something off of them.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Screen. Idk.

      • This, and the side one, and what is this now with the top header that you can’t X out of? I mean, it makes it harder to read at work.

        • Seriously. I just posted about this too and my post is in moderation.

          Why Kat is shrinking our screen by borders/ads now on top and on the bottom and with alternating/moving ads on the side. It is really overboard and so so annoying and yes – makes other people glance at your screen. Almost as bad has having a movie playing.

          All these changes in one month?!?! What’s going on… is she broke? Is she trying to drive us away?

    • I wish there were real Oreos dropping off the bottom of my screen right now.

      • Same. I have a very large ad for Abreva, which, if anyone is unaware, is a medication to treat oral herpes. (Not that there is any shame in that, but still. Especially because we all know your ads often track your browsing history.) Oreos instead, please.

        • Heh, I did some opting out of ad service companies and now I’m getting ads for subway, specifically with barbie and hotwheels toys in kids’ meals. Rather than oreos dripping off my screen, it’s meatball marinara. Great.

    • I installed AdBlocker on my computer specifically because of this s!te (and only because of this s!te). I am not against ads in general and I understand bloggers need to get paid but it’s ridiculous. When I use my phone in mobile version I sometimes get this weird virus-y looking message (doesn’t happen on any other s!te) and then I switch to desktop version I get all the ads again.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I love this community. I love the comments I get on what I post. I love all of the information I read and the recommendations I get and the professional development tips and the amazing outfit ideas. I don’t plan on leaving, and so it’s not like I have any leverage here to do anything but complain, but yes to everything that’s been said. They make reading it frustrating and unenjoyable. I have adblocker on my work and home computer, but I do most of my reading of here on my phone and I like having Chrome on every device, so I don’t want to download another browser.

      • +1, happy for you to make money Kat but the freaking ads at the bottom and the right sides are REALLY REALLY discouraging me from coming here.

    • Anonymous :

      Also, as long as we’re at it, not a fan of the V*gisil ads. A little too personal for the workplace…

    • 1) I would like some screen oreos, but real ones not advertising ones.
      2) Kat, I think we all understand that this is a business for you, but it when it comes to the user experience, it doesn’t seem like you’re there to hear us. Starting to feel a little like this has become a “set it and forget it” project, which is a bummer.

    • Agree! At a minimum I’d like this complaint acknowledged…Kat…are you considering this?

  28. Happy Mardi Gras, everyone!

    I’m paraded out (Sunday is my big day) so I’m watching Zulu on TV in my jammies.

  29. MIL problems :

    My MIL’s most annoying habit is that she is often critical of womens’ appearance. She comments about women who aren’t in the room, about women on TV…The comments are about their clothes, their weight, whether or not they are attractive, etc. I try to spin the comments into something positive, especially when my niece is in the room. What are some ways I can point out this habit to her? Or should I let it go, because it’s not hurting anyone?

    • Let it go and do not engage because it’s not your problem to solve and you will not be effective. Unless it’s about you, your mom, your daughter, etc. Then shut that ish down.

    • I think like a lot of women that age, they haven’t thought a lot about feminism so I think you should pull her aside and educate her. Once, and if she can’t grasp it, keep doing what you’re doing. If you’re close with your niece maybe help her understand and be a good role model.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      Yes, let it go. I would stop the spinning you’re doing too. Completely ignore the statement. Not worth your energy. She’s been like this for 60 years, right? It’s not changing.

      • Anonymous :

        I agreed until you said stop spinning. If there is a younger person in the room (girl or boy) 100% keep spinning/countering her as much as you can to show this is not the normal/only way to think about and talk about women. I really think we each have to do whatever we can in each scenario we face to make this cultural change. I doubt your MIL will change at this point, but I believe the younger folks can/will.

    • My mother does this and I’ve started pushing back a bit. In the moment, I’m like “oh, she and I are actually the same size [blank face].” or “Does it matter?”

      She has a lot of internalized self confidence issues, I think, and there is some lack of awareness of the soup of issues many women/people face that are just not like her. It’s not malicious, but it’s annoying, and I’ve signaled to her that I’m not going to be her audience.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      My MIL is super critical of everyone’s appearance, and it’s like “…you know I can extrapolate from what you’re saying about those women to what you think about me, right?”

      If it’s just me, I add it to the list of things I resent about her, and enjoy the 10.5 months of the year I don’t see her. If my daughter is there, I counter it with something, because “it’s not hurting anyone” isn’t true when my kid is hearing those comments. No point in trying to educate my MIL, though, because she’s just not that type.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m the anon above-
        I am saying “educate” because it’s something I’ve had to do myself, and I never saw how wrong it was. I grew up hearing “if she’d just put on a little lipstick and blush, she’d be so pretty” or “she shouldn’t wear that” or “she needs to do something with her hair.” I’m old enough to know better but it didn’t occur to me – I felt like we should all strive for our best physical selves, but now I defend any woman when I hear these things.

    • Anonymous :

      I use “Oh, I didn’t notice what she was wearing, I was listening to her talk about the olympic results/how the senate voted/what kind of wallpaper to pick etc, and I was thinking that it’s such an interesting point about XYZ.”

      MIL isn’t going to change but I hope this sends the message that what she’s saying isn’t important. And it allows for a change in conversation topic via referencing what the woman is saying/doing.

      As a child, I was able to distinguish that my grandma was a ‘negative nelly’ about everything and just tuned her out.

  30. Are there any legitimate, effective charities providing aid/food in Venezuela? Or can no one really get in there?

    • JuniorMinion :

      The Venezuelan government is refusing all foreign aid / food is my understanding.

    • Spinach Pies :

      A former diplomat recommended this charity to me, but its website is in Spanish.


  31. Is JCrew Factory and JCrew sizing consistent for sheath dresses?

    • Anonymous :

      I think JCrew Factory runs about a half-size larger than J Crew, from my experience. If you’re between sizes in J Crew, I would pick the smaller one for a JCrew Factory sheath dress.

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