Thursday’s Workwear Report: Zip Detail Blazer

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

This stylish zip blazer from Mango has been on my radar for a little while now. I think it’s such an interesting look, whether the blazer is zipped up like on the model, or open. I like the nipped-in waist and the peplum — and as it’s styled here, it’s also a great example of wearing black and navy together. (It also comes in a bright red.) The blazer is available in sizes XXS–L and is on sale for $79.99 (from $99.99) with free shipping and free returns. Zip Detail Blazer

Speaking of red, here’s a plus-size option at Macy’s from Tahari ASL.

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  1. Interviewing :

    I’m interviewing first-year law students for an internship at my government agency. I’ve never done interviews before. Any ideas for questions? They’re all qualified based on their resumes and writing samples, so I’d like to find ways to let their personalities or interest in the work shine.

    • Panda Bear :

      When I interviewed interns I liked asking for examples of times when they did or experienced x – a failure, a success, a big team project, dealing with a difficult co-worker. It helped me get a sense of how they would think, plan, and interact with others in similar situations during the internship.

    • I approach it this way for interviewing summer associates – by they time I am meeting them, they are clearly qualified to work at my office (having gone through a resume screen and first round interview), and I’m mostly looking to see how well they can hold a conversation and how well I think they’d fit with our small office.

      If there is something interesting on their resume or in their writing sample, I always ask about that. One, I’m usually genuinely curious about whatever that item is. Two, the interviewee should be able to talk about that item/some key points from that item in a cohesive way with very few pauses or stumbling over words – In my opinion, that’s just how well they should know their resume/materials provided to a potential employer. And three, there’s the benefit that if that conversation ends up well, it helps me distinguish that person from the rest that I’m interviewing when I have to go and rank my choices later.

      Otherwise, I ask “why this [name of government agency/name of law firm]?” and see where that goes.

    • Depends on your field, but I like to ask “What’s the most interesting article you’ve read lately or talk you’ve heard in field X?” This question helps differentiate people whose interest is genuine enough that they follow the field (even just reading something relevant in the newspaper) versus people who would show up for any job interview.

    • sweetknee :

      I usually do the law clerk interview for my firm. After I talk to them about what classes they like best and what drew them to the law, I do a “speed round” set of questions that are fun.. .things like Waffles or Pancakes?, bacon or sausage? who is your favorite Kardashian ( correct answer: none of them ), dogs or cats ? rap or heavy metal? … it kind of makes the end of the interview fun and lets you see how they answer things. None of them have “right” answers, but it’s a nice way to break the ice.

      • As a recent applicant, this does not sound fun at all. How does it “break the ice” if you do it at the end of the interview – icebreakers are for beginning.

        • I worded that poorly. It’s a fun way to end the interview after all of the serious questions have been done. We are a small/mid size firm with a pretty fun firm culture. It’s a nice way to see how the person interacts socially.

          • I understand what you are saying, but those questions would make me feel awkward and unwelcome.

            Bacon or sausage? Vegan… and no, I don’t want to bring up my eating habits in an interview.

            Who is your favourite Kardashian? I don’t watch them… and now I feel dumb for not watching stupid TV (regardless of what your response is).

            You do understand that this is fun for you but creates the impression of the cool kids club, right?

          • You should read the AAM letters about these kinds of questions. They really don’t belong in job interviews.

          • Equestrian attorney :

            I have to say I really dislike those random questions. I got a few when I was doing OCIs (if you were a cheese, what would you be?) and always made a mental note not to work there. It feels like using some sort of weird psycho-pop test to see what it reveals about my personality or just shooting random questions to destabilize the candidate, which feels kind of passive aggressive. If you want to know how I interact socially, ask me what I do for fun, or better still, just focus on my ability to do the job.

          • Anonymous :

            +1 from another person who thinks these questions sound awful. As small talk at a dinner party or something, it might be perfectly harmless. But a job candidate (especially an early 20-something who doesn’t have much experience in the workforce) is going to worry that there’s a “right” answer and they’re being judged based on what they choose. And I think if you’re doing this, you really have to put a lot of thought into the questions to make sure they’re as accessible as possible to everyone. Waffles or pancakes might be ok, but bacon or sausage is a really awkward question for vegetarians or observant Muslims or Jews who might not want to go into their dietary habits or religious beliefs in an interview.

      • Honestly, this would stress me out more than anything else. You’ll either get awkward, people-pleasing responses “I love all breakfast food!” or candidates reading too much into the question “I like dogs because dogs are team players and I’m a team player which is why I would be a great fit!” Neither one tells you how they actually interact with others under normal circumstances. Please don’t do this.

      • These are bad questions.

        • In which case you would probably be a bad match for a job where they want someone who can participate in something like this without getting flustered and/or defensive.

          Honestly, as long as the questions are not illegal then an interviewer gets to ask whatever they want. The person who posted this did not ask for input on her questions. She just provided an example.

      • A potentially less awkward way to “get to know” candidates is simply to ask “We’ve talked a lot about your work and your studies, but when you’re not at school, and you’re not working, what do you do to have fun or de-stress?” (or, “If you had the time and resources to spend your spare time any way you wanted, how would you spend it?”) and then just listen. Allow the applicant to get out of interview mode in a way that everyone can access with an open-ended question.

        If you truly don’t care, don’t ask.

        • OCI Interviewer :

          Yes! I loved this one when I was being interviewed and now use it when I interview!

      • I’m also vegetarian and have never watched the Kardashians, but I like these questions (MUCH more than the “tell me about a time you…” that I think often heavily favor candidates with a previous career). As long as you make it clear that there isn’t a right or wrong answer (and with that assortment of questions you will inevitably find something to connect over) I think this would be as good a way to make sure the candidate can make conversation and think on their feet as any.

        My standard questions in interviewing summer associates are 1 – tell me about X hobby or interest on your resume (or, if they don’t have any, “what do you like to do for fun?”), 2 – how have you liked law school so far?, 3 – if it’s clear from their resume they’ve lived somewhere else, asking them about living in that city, what they’d recommend to me if I were to visit as a tourist, 4 – what kind of lawyer would you like to be when you “grow up” (interesting because some people answer with practice areas, other people with characteristics and attributes). Because you are here interviewing I know you’re smart and qualified, now I want to figure out whether you get along with others, whether you will be a “good citizen” of the firm (willing to pitch in, especially when you won’t necessarily get credit for it), whether you can connect with others (like clients), and whether I will regret voting to hire you if we are ever stuck in an airport together.

    • Ask about their time management – a time they had to balance competing projects or deadlines, how do they decide what to do first/second/last, what do they do when they get behind, etc. Very important skills, and the answers give insight into work habits and common sense.

    • I ask them to tell me about the first job they’ve ever had. Sometimes the answer is, “I’ve never had a job.”
      I used to have that as a disqualifier, because I didn’t want to be on the hook for teaching someone about basic work norms (show up on time, don’t take other people’s office supplies, see me (and not the managing partner) with questions, etc.) while I was also teaching them how to practice law. I had a few bad experiences with hiring (male) associates from privileged backgrounds for their First Job Ever who were massive d*cks to support staff.

      I’ve since softened my stance as I’ve come to know some excellent, kind, hardworking employees with no previous work experience, but I still like to ask the question so I’ll know whether to anticipate some additional time on the front end to make sure they’re not inadvertently p*ssing off their co-workers just by virtue of not knowing what is / is not appropriate to do at work.

      This question provides a good entry to a more organic discussion. “Wow, you were in the circus? What was that like?”

      • Senior Attorney :

        This is a great question and I can’t believe I haven’t been asking it all along. Thanks.

      • Along these lines, my candidates nearly always have some sort of previous job experience. So I will ask who their boss was at their last position and write the name down. I then ask what that boss would tell me about the candidate if I were to call them up. This usually invites some VERY interesting responses.

    • I work in grad admissions – something I ask during the interview is their college choice story (or in your case, law school choice). It’s interesting to see what is a priority – some people want a social atmosphere, some people take a second choice school because of cost, some people want a specific major… it just allows for more questions to learn about their prior experiences.

    • Ask for a time they got constructive feedback and how they reacted/Incorporated to it.

      You get a sense for how easy it is coach them, which is an important quality for a summer intern.

    • First figure out what characteristics you’re looking for in an intern, and then work backwards from there to the questions.

  2. Lands End coat? :

    Does anyone own either the Women’s Commuter Long Coat or the Woman’s Chalet Long Down Coat? Opinions? TIA!

    • Anonymous :

      My mom has the Chalet coat and loves it. We’re in Canada with hardcore brutal winter, and it passes the test.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Looking at the photos I think I have the Chalet, although it’s way longer in person than it looks on screen so it may be the Shimmer? (It’s not sparkly at all so IDK.) I ordered a tall M (I’m 5’10) and it comes down past my knees. It has a zipper that goes up from the bottom as well as one that comes down from the top. Mine has the fleece cuffs inside, which I highly recommend. It leaves white feathers on my dark clothing, but I love it so much I don’t even care.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I have the Shimmer Down coat, and it’s so warm I can’t wear it all the way zipped unless it’s 40 or below. It’s held up beautifully over the year I’ve owned it, though, and I love the snaps over the zipper, the hood, the inner pocket, and the fleece wrists. I think it’s pretty similar to the Chalet.

      • Just curious why you are wearing this coat (and not something lighter) when it’s more than 40F out. It’s a lot of coat for above freezing temps.

      • Anonymous :

        I also have the Shimmer Down coat, and its not for 40+. I have a lighter coat I wear then. I love this coat! I’ve had it for 4 years, and its still in great shape. I love the fleece wrist.

    • Hey! So I was literally coming here to post this question. I have one of the super warm coats from Lands End for commuting. I wore it often three years ago. Then two winters ago I didn’t (pregnant) and last winter I didn’t (wasn’t waiting for the bus). I pulled it out this year and the zipper doesn’t work. I see that it’s a plastic-like zipper, not the sturdy metal one on my other Lands End coat. This seems like a rip off because it was a pretty expensive coat. Does anyone have experience with their customer service? I’d just take it to a tailor, but I hear zipper replacement is really tough.

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        I’ve never dealt with a manufacturing defect, but when I’ve had questions about different products they’ve been very helpful. (They pulled some swim separates from the warehouse for my sister to see if they’d match, and they’ve measured things for me on request). So I’d be optimistic.

      • KateMiddletown :

        LE has the best return policy ever – call them and tell them it broke and they’ll replace no questions asked. (Okay, not best ever bc Nordstrom is amazing as well, but they will make it right.)

    • I have the Commuter long coat in black and I looooove it. For context, I own nothing else from Land’s End and the LE aesthetic is not generally in line with my personal style. I needed something warm, waterproof, windproof, with a hood, that looks professional enough that I don’t mind wearing it in my business dress code workplace. This checks all the boxes and has held up well for 3 winters.

    • lawsuited :

      I have the Commuter Coat, and I really can’t recommend it enough. I just ordered my second one (because I’m a different size – my first one is still going strong after 4 years). I live in Canada, and I didn’t understand what it was to be truly warm during winter until I got this coat.

  3. I have an interview coming up next week, it’s a video conference. This is the first interview I will have after losing my job a month ago. I’m struggling with lack of confidence.I know preparation is key in terms of making sure that technology is working and looking polished. But still how do I lift my spirits? Any other tips on moving forward in this kind of situation are welcome.

    • Anonymous :

      For one thing, it’s a well-known fact that all women on this site, including you, are brilliant badasses. Do remember that. :)

      • Anonymous :

        +1 OP, you are awesome. You have an interview! They clearly see at least a tiny sliver of how amazing you are. You are going to do an incredible job.

    • Anonymous :

      Read everything on Ask a Manager. Prepare, prepare, prepare.

      Remember that interviews are a two way street. I think a lot of nerves come from feeling like an interview is a huge power imbalance – the employers have something you want and you’re trying desperately to prove you’re worthy. That’s all wrong. You don’t even know if you want to work for this company yet! For all you know they could be crazy or the job could be crappy. You have to think about interviewing them in return. That gives me confidence.

    • For my last interview, I played my female empowerment playlist in the car on the way there and sang along the whole time so I arrived pumped up and enthusiastic about the job and me as the best person for it. You could try doing this for 10-15 mins before the interview to help kill any nerves and bring your energy up!

      • Anonymous :

        Love this idea! I’m going to start doing this before big meetings.

      • +10000

        The Karate Kid song (you’re the best around!) was suggested here back in June, and I adopted it as a power jam (part of my own list, which includes M.I.A.’s Bad Girls and Lil Wayne’s Right Above It (theme song for Ballers). I was playing it on loop to console my under-almost-un-employed self (contract was running out), and BAM, boss called in the middle of the song to offer me my job.

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        I really like Lorde’s “Glory and Gore.” It’s kind of a weird song but the way she says “We’re at home in the ring and we’re coming for blood” makes me feel like I can do literally anything in the world.

    • Skype with a friend or loved one for fun a few days in advance to get comfortable with the setting. You don’t have to tell anyone you’re interviewing if you don’t want to; just facetime or whatever to gain some confidence in that forum.

    • Anonymous :

      Have a good explanation of what you have been doing since you lost your job. If you spent two weeks with the covers over your head, tell them that you took time to decompress and now have a lot more energy. If you hit the gym every day, tell them about the 5k you are doing next week (or whatever it happens to be). Talk about any volunteer work. Just be ready with an answer, because answering that with confidence and humour is important.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Get a blowout! Seriously, you’ll feel more put together especially for a video conference.

    • Make a list of your successes. This was a good confidence-booster for me.

    • You are not an applicant, you are a participant in the process.

    • Remember that video interviews are awkward in general. So if you feel awkward, its okay – it doesn’t mean that you are doing poorly. Also, make sure you look at the camera, not your screen.

  4. How do you make sure you’re incorporating enough vegetables into your diet? I struggled for years with disordered eating and vegetables were a way I punished myself “you ate the croutons on your salad at lunch so now you can only eat green things for the next 3 days to make up for it.” Now, I have a much healthier relationship with food and try to eat a balanced diet, pay attention to how my body reacts to what I eat, and make sure I’m getting enough of all nutrients.
    But vegetables are a hangup. I enjoy vegetables sometimes, but usually not in the healthiest preparations (green bean casserole, for example) and definitely not as frequently as I should. What are some of your favorite easy ways to include vegetables in your regular diet? Thanks!

    • Anonymous :

      It’s wonderful you’re making strides to treat your body kindly and feed it healthy food. I’m lazy so I like veggies that can be eaten raw with my hands with minimal to no prep – baby carrots and bell peppers, for example. I snack on those with every lunch and dinner. I’ll stand at the stove cooking dinner and eating baby carrots while I wait for the pasta to boil or whatever. Find a dip that you like to accompany them.

      • +1
        I keep cherry tomatoes on hand constantly

      • Linda from HR :

        I’ve become a big fan of sugar snap peas for this reason, all I need to do is rinse and eat! Then again, I eat most of my veggies raw, I’m weird like that.

    • I like vegetables roasted with lots of olive oil and lots of salt. Roast at 450 on a baking sheet until dark brown all over (makes everything taste a little bit like popcorn). Especially good this way: brussel sprouts (cut in half), butternut squash, cauliflower, baby carrots straight from the bag, kohlrabi.

      • Anonymous :

        +1. This is pretty much the only way I eat veggies. Broccoli is also good this way.

        • Although I’m sure there are veggies that aren’t good roasted at high heat, I have yet to find ’em. If you have a Costco membership, ours has been carrying some really lovely “baby portabella’ mushrooms that are fantastic roasted. Green beans are good this way, too.

          • About how long does this take? I imagine it varies by vegetable but how long for “soft vegetables” like green beans/mushrooms and how long for “hard/dense vegetables” like cauliflower/carrots?

          • 15 minutes for mushrooms, 15-30 for denser veggies, depending on how dark you like them roasted.

          • The size of the veg pieces and how many there are make a difference, too – I basically cook them at 425F (tossed with a little olive oil) and check them after 20 minutes. Some are done at that point, particularly if I haven’t crowded lots on the baking sheet (green beans and quartered mushrooms, and also that ‘cauliflower rice’ stuff).

            My routine, when I have time, is to go to costco and get the big bag of organic broccoli (3 lbs), cut up squash or sweet potato (sometimes 2-3 packages), green beans or the cauliflower rice, 1-2 packages mushrooms, and a bag of that pre-mixed kale salad they carry. Then I spend the afternoon with the oven on, cycling through all of the above – for prep, I generally need to break up the broccoli a bit more (and check for bad spots) and I usually quarter the mushrooms, plus tossing everything with olive oil, salt, and pepper. At the end of all that, I have lots of roasted veg for the week, plus the bag of kale salad. I sometimes also buy the ‘power greens’ they sell (pre-washed baby kale and chard and spinach, I think).

            During the week, I eat some of the veggies as-is (the kale salad or power greens are good mixed with the roasted veg, particularly if I’ve been REALLY on my game and pre-cooked some farro or another grain, but I also eat both the fresh greens and the roasted stuff as side dishes). Other uses: pizza toppings; tossed with pasta; pureed into soup; mushrooms mixed into pasta sauce.

            Overall, the surprise benefit of the costco membership for me has been that I eat a LOT more vegetables.

      • +1, except it’s olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder for me. Last night I did this with asparagus and roasted it until it was really really crispy. Almost like eating french fries!

        You can play with adding other spices (cumin, curry powder, chili powder) or vinegar of your choosing. Balsamic is yummy. I also like this method for carrots and cauliflower both

      • +1 also with lemon. Yum.

      • Horse Crazy :

        I do this exactly, but I usually use garlic salt (and pepper and olive oil) – it’s been a game-changer for me. Salty and garlicky – what else do you need???

    • Anonymous :

      I pay attention to this mostly because I want to my kids to be exposed to different vegetables. Summertime I generally make a side salad with supper in the evening. Wintertime I roast vegetables with olive oil and salt because it really brings out the flavour. For supper, I usually try to include two vegetables. I aim for a carb/starch, protein and two vegetables at supper. So last night was grilled steak, roast potatoes and carrots, with pineapple for dessert. The night before was pasta with tomato sauce (celery, onion, garlic, tomatoes)

      From my DH I have really learned to focus on in season fruits and vegetables. They are so much more flavourful and enjoyable. Like a couple fresh tomatoes chopped up and drizzles with great olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Or microwave some frozen broccoli and grate a small bit of fresh parmesan over it.

      Don’t use food as a punishment or reward. It is delicious fuel for your body.

    • I have come to terms with the fact that I hate traditional salads, and in general, don’t like raw vegetables except cauliflower. I usually just go with eating vegetable-heavy entrees – for example, I’ll chop up tomatoes and sautee them in olive oil until they’re soft and then toss that with pasta; last night I made an awesome veggie chili that was full of bell peppers, tomatoes, and onion (that one was a HelloFresh recipe).

      What is your entree, typically? If you tend to eat a cooked piece of meat as an entree, then vegetables always end up as a side dish that has to be managed in some way, but if you branch out into different types of entrees that have vegetable components, it’s a lot easier.

      (Also, I’m a recovered anorexic, and just want to send some solidarity and love your way – rebooting the relationship with food is *hard*, but you deserve to give yourself a healthy, delicious diet that nourishes your body and your heart.)

    • I try to get veggies in my breakfast. Typically this looks like throwing the Trader Joe’s cruciferous crunch mix in a non-stick pan for a few minutes over medium-high, cracking two eggs in the pan and cooking them on the side, and adding a few halved cherry tomates at the end. I’ll drizzle this mess with Briannas french vinaigrette and top with seeds and a few toasted panko crumbs. Other ideas: roast veggies at the beginning of the week and add some to every meal. Find interesting dressings and make chopped salads (heavy on robust veggies, light on greens). Get a frozen mix you like that’s easy to add to lots of meals.

    • This is also a work in progress for me. So I’ve found it helpful to have veggies be the “easy” option, with perfection be darned. (e.g. aspirations of only local, seasonal, organic, from-the-farmer yadda yadda. just not going to happen Right Now For Me)

      A few specific strategies that work for me:
      – steam-in-bag frozen ones that go in to the microwave for <5 minutes and get dumped on a plate
      – buying my favorite raw veggies ready-to-eat (pre cut! pre washed! whatever!) and keeping them ready-at-hand for lazy snacking
      – zero pressure to eat veggies I don't like no matter their theoretical popularity or health benefits (though I'll occasionally try something different/new if I'm feeling adventurous)
      – guiltless use of butter/sauces/seasoning (broccoli with a spoonful of cheese sauce is better than no vegetable)

      • +1. Steam-in-bag, buying pre-chopped, and using sauces/seasoning. I figured eating them is better than aiming for perfection and not eating at all.

        I also treat myself to kale smoothies from my local grocery store chain. They are delicious and have a handful of kale plus fruits in there, so it feels decadent AND healthy. (Yes I know I could make my own. I also could buy a bunch of kale, make one smoothie, and then let the rest of the kale wither in the fridge until I throw it out. I know which one is more likely for me.)

    • Rather Be Painting :

      Use a spiralizer! We do “zoodles” instead of pasta and even the picky 15 year old likes this. You can spiralize so many different veggies and they’re fun, easy to cook quickly, use where you’d use pasta, or in salads. One favorite is spiralized sweet potatoes pan sautéed and topped with oven baked meatballs.

      Also +1 to the roasting. Winter veggies are delicious roasted. Leftover roasted veggies make great soups. Veggies a tad past their prime also can go into soups or stews.

    • Anonymous :

      Veggies + hummus or smoothies!

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      I really like to eat veggies in stir-fries. They’re pretty easy to make, and you can vary the spices a lot. I find it sort of soothing to pick out fresh veggies that will look nice together (asparagus or green beans + red peppers + yellow peppers is one of my favorites) and then chop them neatly. I guess it’s like how putting on makeup makes me feel good, but for my plate.

      It might also help you to eat them as an ingredient in your main dish–like, “dinner is this stir-fry (or casserole, or whatever) that includes meat, veggies, nuts, tofu, egg, etc” instead of “dinner is this Meat Dish and this Veggie Dish”–so there’s less of a divide between your veggies and your not-veggies.

      • Yes to all of this. I am a vegetarian, so vegetables are often the center of my meal, not a side dish. This sounds intimidating or too “alternative” if you are used to having a piece of meat as your entree, but I promise you there are plenty of delicious meals that incorporate vegetables and are also very satisfying. In addition to stir fry, I recommend:
        – Vegetable curries
        – Eggplant parm
        – Pizza or pasta with homemade, veggie-loaded sauce and toppings
        – Grilled veggie + meat kebabs
        – Chili with roasted veggies
        – Look on pinterest for creative uses of cauliflower – cauliflower rice, pizza crust, alfredo sauce, imitation mashed potatoes….the list is endless.

    • No Problem :

      When eating in a restaurant, make an effort to order a vegetable side or appetizer if one doesn’t come with your meal. Bonus points for a preparation you haven’t tried before. I discovered recently that beets and goat cheese together are delicious.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      We buy the frozen veggies that come in the steam in bags. You just toss them in the microwave for five minutes. They come out perfect and with some light seasoning.

    • Do you have a convenient farmer’s market near you? I go to mine every Saturday and pick up the prettiest seasonal produce, buying enough for the whole week. When I come home, I take a picture my haul and share on a group text with some family members who are into that sort of thing. During the week, my meal planning is based on what I bought at the market. I keep a running list on my phone to make sure I don’t forget anything.

      This week, I got:
      – Broccoli
      – 2 cauliflowers the size of softballs
      – Candy cane beets (they’re striped pink and yellow inside!)
      – Watermelon radishes
      – Carrots
      – Parsnips
      – Napa cabbage
      – Pea shoots
      – Sweet potato
      – Apples

      Yesterday, I roasted the brussels sprouts, a carrot, and the parsnips together with olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper to go with some turkey breast. Tonight, I’m making a quick stir fry or coconut curry with shrimp and the napa cabbage and carrots. I use the first few minutes of my daily subway commute to meal plan and write a grocery list, but it’s way easier to cook regularly if I have the veggies on hand and I’m excited about them.

    • I prefer soups and stews over salads. Eating a vegetable soup or chili is such an easy and delicious way of getting your veggies. I make a lot of homemade stuff now, but I used to eat a lot of Dr McDougall’s or Pacific Foods soups (the kind that comes in a box) – very convenient.

      • Homemade soups are so easy and so easy to throw a million veggies into! I make a big pot on the weekends and divide it into individual servings and freeze for easy weekday lunches.

    • Have you tried making a smoothie or juice? I use spinach in my fruit smoothies and barely taste it.

    • i keep frozen spinach on hand and often mix it into whatever i’m having for dinner. pasta & meat sauce, mix in some spinach, chicken curry, mix in some spinach, etc. This kind of lets the spinach take on the flavor of whatever i’m eating and is an easy way for me to bulk up a meal

    • One thing you can do is hit the salad bar at the grocery store, if yours has it. You don’t have to get salad greens. Load up on the veggie toppings like peas and corn and broccoli florets, shredded carrots etc. You can throw these into whatever you’re cooking or eat them as a side. It saves on prep time.

    • I have a general rule that there needs to be a veg included in every meal, except for breakfast. Here are some of the ways I get them in:
      – Veggie chili
      – broccoli quiche
      – quinoa salads or bakes with broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, or edamame
      – stir frys
      – frozen pizzas topped with fresh spinach
      – roasted edamame snacks
      – a side of sauteed spinach and lemon

      • anonshmanon :

        I also aim for this and since I am a sweet breakfast person, I try to include a fruit here.

        • I know it’s late so this may not get seen, but in our household, we’re all about crockpot curries. They’re a GREAT way to get a lot of vegetables into an entree. At restaurants, it seems to be mostly meat and sauce, but we do a small amount of meat and whatever vegetables we have around, and let it simmer in a jarred curry sauce on low all day. Works with just about any veggie! It’s a goal of mine to learn how to make a homemade curry sauce, but with a scoop of brown rice or lentils on the side, this makes a super easy and comforting meal with some good nutrition (and fabulous for leftovers)..

    • Frozen kale, frozen spinach, and one or two pieces of frozen broccoli plus frozen fruit and a banana for shakes every morning

      I like the roasted veggies method. I’ve also taken to having a number of veggies mixes in freezer which I can throw in pasta sauces, soups, or fried rice. I heard someone’s quick method of savory oatmeal with sauted veggies and a fried egg as a quick dinner and I eat that a lot.

      I also make a lot of stirfrys which are quick dinners. I love this chart by cooksmart:

      I read somewhere that you should fill your dinner plate with veggies first so you end up taking more of the veggies rather than a small spoonful on the little bit of plate left after the starch and protein.

      I’m going to incorporate more of the raw veggie snacking so thanks to all who suggested that

      • p.s. you have to click on the preview of the picture in the link to get the full beautiful infographic

  5. Baconpancakes :

    Need managing up advice – after I had been here six months and attended a helpful seminar, I overhauled our weekly team meetings with agendas, timelines, and stricter adherence to keeping us on task, and took the meetings from 1 hour to 30 minutes. My boss now assumes I’ll be writing an agenda for every meeting I attend, even though the majority of them are a) not my meeting, and b) mostly attended by directors and department heads. The last time I distributed an unasked-for agenda, one of the directors rolled his eyes and glared, and no one paid any attention to it.

    Can someone write me a script to say “why are you being crazy and asking me to do a thing that’s making everyone mad and makes me look like a pretentious jerk when I already brought up that I don’t have ownership over these meetings?” without getting me fired?

    • Anonymous :

      “It is my understanding that the directors do not want me to manage their meetings.” If your boss pushes and ask a why you think that, just flip it around and ask why he is making this request – “Have the directors indicated that they want me, two levels below them, to run their meetings?”

      Alternatively, give them to your boss to distribute at the meetings. Let him look like the fool.

      There is a larger issue here, which is that you aren’t the team secretary and Girl Friday. Also, doing other people’s work is a great way to keep you running in circles and not advancing. Maybe this is a one off thing, but keep an eye on it.

    • Do you have a good relationship with at least one of the directors? Swing by her office. “Hey, Boss asked me to write agendas for the X meeting. Do you know who is usually in charge of that, or who might give me insights on what to include?” Either that director will advise you against doing it, or the person she refers you to will. And then you can go back to your boss. “Hey, I met with Y about preparing agendas for the X meetings. She said she prefers not to have agendas, but she’ll let me know if she needs one.”

      Basically, reframe your Boss’s request to something like “Check in with Leader of X Meetings and if she needs agendas, work with her to prepare them.” and then use that request to get face time with the leader. If the meetings are related to work you find interesting or want to learn some day, you can also offer (directly to the Leader) to manage some other part of the meeting instead of the agenda. “Hey Boss, I met with Y about preparing agendas for the X meeting. He changed his mind and wanted me to provide updates on the Z committee instead, so I’ll be working with that team. Thanks for connecting me!”

      • Baconpancakes :

        This is excellent advice and very empowering/proactive, and even having these options presented to me makes me feel like I can turn this into a win. Thanks, y’all.

    • can you come to my office and overhaul our team meetings? they are a mess.

    • This is a tough spot because you are being punished for your competence. One solution is for you to be specifically empowered by “Boss” with this authority–and then address eye-rolling B.S. directly. Another solution is to accept the fact that you are more competent than others and start looking elsewhere for a more senior position. Remember “Officespace” is more truth than jokes…and that’s not a good thing. You’re the good person here.

  6. (Former) Clueless Summer :

    Another holiday tip/gift threadjack.

    1. I tip my cleaners when they come every two weeks (they usually have the same team leader but the other cleaners vary, it’s always 2 or 3 women) somewhere between $10-$20 a person (whatever cash I have, tbh). Do I also do a Christmas tip? If so, cost of a full clean ~$150? HCOL Canadian city with reasonable minimum wage.

    2. Now the hard one! We love our daily dog walker. She is 100% trustworthy, sweet and loves our dog like our own. We text a lot (about stuff not related to the dog) and have hung out once without the dog (lol). She is an older former SAHM who walks dogs and does cat visits more to get her out of the house than anything else. She also happens to have an i-banker husband who makes more than my husband and I do, and they live in a nicer house in a better neighbourhood than we do. All of that makes cash seem weird. She also has pets and last year I gave her a gift card to a pet store so she could get her dog something. But we’ve gotten closer this year and I’d like to do something more substantive. I was thinking $100~ gc to lululemon (we have a shared hobby so I know she likes lulus) plus a heartfelt card. That would be equivalent to the cost of walks for one week, which I think is standard. Is that a good idea???

    • Anonymous :

      I think you should probably do cash regardless of her financial circumstances. It seems unfair to penalize her for having an i-banker husband and a nice house.

    • Anonymous :

      1- yes, the cost of a service

      2- lulu card sounds nice!

    • Anonymous :

      1 – Double your normal tip. You don’t need to tip the cost of the service when you tip throughout the year.

      2 – GC sounds nice but cash is better.

      • For people who tip cash for the holidays, do you make an effort to get newer bills for this? I tipped my dog walker with a card and felt weird about the crumpled bills (I had just gotten them from the bank, but when I was growing up my grandma always gave us crisp 20s). Am I overthinking this?

      • Senior Attorney :

        You’re not overthinking it. I think nice bills are nicer than crumpled bills.

        That said, crumpled bills are way better than no bills at all!

        • Yes, totally overthinking, but I definitely try to do nice bills and one large bill when possible (like a crisp 50 or 100 instead of five 20s or two 20s and a 10). Confession: I’ve even ironed money once in a while (yes, crazy, whatever)! But I don’t think I’m alone in this because when I go to the bank at holiday time for cash, they always tell me they’ve run out of new bills because everyone asks for them.

    • To hijack this one – for those of you that use a doggy daycare, do you do any holiday gifts/tips for them? My dog goes to a relatively small one so there is just the owner of the business and her son. I got her son a graduation gift when he graduated high school.

    • Give cash! There’s no way you know her preferences well enough to decide on a gift card. Also giving a gift card is just an unnecessary middle step to make yourself feel less weird.

  7. Help with Jewelry Terms :

    My big gift this year is that my husband and I are going to design a piece of jewelry together and have it made. I am pretty sure I want a right hand/cocktail ring with diamonds (for neutrality), but I’m having trouble coming up with the vocabulary to describe what I want to the jeweler or to look up reference photos. For instance, I want the ring design/stones to run along the length of my finger (so, more elongating than just a horizontal band or design). What is that called? I also want the ring to be open on the top (as in, not a complete circle; more like it wraps 2/3 or 3/4 of the way around the finger but there is still a gap). What is that called? Thanks!

    • Flats Only :

      Browse around on Etsy. Search based on what you think something might be called and then read descriptions of what comes up that looks close-ish to what you want. You’ll pick up the words the makers use to describe their stuff and, and you can favorite things or use Pinterest to save things that are good inspiration.

    • check out lang antiques for beautiful ideas

    • Like this?

    • I think they actually are called open bands. Check Noemie – this might not be what you want ultimately, but I’m pretty sure they have some open-band styles.

    • A cuff ring, perhaps?

  8. Paging Motivation :

    I didn’t have time to answer yesterday, but wanted to share my tip for avoiding a bad start to the day. I have the same problem of feeling like I deserve a break by the time I get to work and then letting that spiral into way too much wasted time. Pomodoro method by itself doesn’t work very well for me, as I’m very willing to stop a timer to do what I want. I’m a visual person and I’ve found an app called Forest that is more effective for me. You set a timer and it “grows” a tree for however long you’ve set. If you interrupt it, the tree dies. The visual component is helpful to me, so if I pick up my phone and see the tree growing, I don’t want to kill it just to play a game or check Facebook. If I set it for 45 minutes as I get out of my car, it keeps me from starting the day off on my phone. By the time the timer goes off, I’m usually into a project and it’s easier to keep working.

    • Anonymous :

      Thanks so much for this suggestion! I have a ton of stuff to get done before the end of the year but this is also the time of year I have the most trouble focusing.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Whoa definitely checking this out. Thanks!

    • Ooh, I love this idea! I also struggle to stay focused when I don’t have a deadline looming over me.

    • Motivation :

      THIS IS AN AMAZING TIP. Thank you! downloading this now (and then back to work!)

    • An actual old fashioned hourglass works great for the visual and analog among us. (Or just the romantics!) Mine is gorgeous and was all of $10 on Amazon

    • No Problem :

      AND THERE’S A CHROME EXTENSION. You have just changed my life.

    • I’ve used this for awhile!

      Cross between “Farmville” and “doing something with my life.”

      if you focus for longer, you can grow bigger trees! :)

    • This is great! Thank you for the advice. Going off to start my forest now…

    • The only thing that would make this better was if they actually planted a tree for every 10 you were able to grow…Sigh

  9. Anonymous :

    What is there to do, if anything, about a spouse who won’t go to the dentist? My DH is starting to have some really serious problems with his teeth – he lost one this year and has serious gum recession issues and accompanying pain. He had a legit bad experience as a kid with the dentist (dentist drilled one of his teeth when he wasn’t numb and refused to stop even though my husband was screaming that it hurt – my MIL told me this story). Previous dental appointments have required Valium, which requires someone to drive him there, which I’m willing to do if he’ll make the appointment when I can be available. I’ve talked to him about sedation dentistry, hypnosis, Xanax, etc. but he rejects all suggestions and just won’t go. Eventually, this will stop being a problem when they have to pull all of his teeth – something he says he understands will happen and says he doesn’t want. But I’m at a loss here. He normally takes very good care of himself – this dentistry thing is like a blind spot or something.

    • Anonymous :

      Make an appointment for him, take the day off, baby him about it. It’s really hard

    • Does he go at all now? How often?

      How well does he care for his teeth on his own? Does he brush/floss?

      I like to remind my family member that the mouth is very close to the brain, and as a doctor I have taken care of multiple folks who ignored mouth pain/gum issues and developed abscesses and the infection spread to their brain. Devastating.

      Does anxiety creep into any other aspects of his life?

      • This! I’m not a doctor but I do dental malpractice cases and untreated dental infections become major health emergencies very quickly. I’ve had a client that lost all of the bone in his jaw and was disfigured. Many of these clients have required awake intubations because of the seriousness of their infection. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy. It’s a lot scarier than a dentist visit.

        • BeenThatGuy :

          +1000! A ex-boyfriend contracted a deadly strand of Strep-A after ignoring much needed dental work. And guess what? He passed it right to me through his saliva (he didn’t finish his antibiotics and neglected to tell me). I spent 12 weeks fighting for my LIFE. No exaggeration. And I’ve now have life long health issues because of this infectious disease.

          Get him to the dentist at any cost.

      • Srsly — if dude isn’t going to the dentist, he’d better floss religiously (i.e., daily) or he will be in for a world of hurt when he does finally go in (which will make it worse, in his eyes).

        PLS start him on a flossing program at least a month before he goes in

    • Anonymous :

      I was married to this guy. I never got him to go to the dentist but I got him to stop complaining to me about his teeth. I told him if he refused to do anything to fix it then I refused to listen. His breath was also terrible – no amount of brushing or mouth wash will disguise rot – so all intimacy stopped too. He resented me for rejecting him and took zero responsibility. Needless to say the marriage didn’t last. I have no advice for you really, but if at some point you decide it’s too much, don’t feel guilty for letting a “little thing” destroy your marriage. This isn’t a little thing, and it’s his doing, not yours.

    • Anonymous :

      Omg why is my post in moderation? I’m really starting to feel like commenting on this s i t e isn’t even worth it anymore.

    • Flats Only :

      Scare tactics? If they pull all his teeth he can get dentures, but point out that the cr*p festering under his teeth will also leak down his throat into the rest of his system, causing other problems. Heart disease is a common one. I had a friend and mentor who went through this scenario, and died of a massive heart attack four days after his baby was born, at the age of 58.

    • Anonymous :

      Gum disease is associated with heart disease. I forget exactly how but the point is that taking care of your teeth is actually important for whole body health.

      There are dentists that specialize in patients with issues. Check if there is one in your area. Would he be open to seeing a therapist to discuss coping strategies? Depending on how much dental surgery he requires, some dentists will use general anesthesia (have an anesthesiologist) on patients with issues like this. Knowing that being out cold is an option might make him feel better.

      Just like you wouldn’t accept that he wouldn’t go to a cardiologist if he had heart issues, he needs to see the dentist if he has serious teeth issues.

    • Following with interest. My SO isn’t phobic about the dentist, but refuses to go because he says they’ll just tell him he needs to get [number of fillings] and that he needs to pay [obscene amount of money]. I keep trying to convince him to schedule a cleaning and just ignore whatever else they say if he doesn’t want to get the fillings…but he won’t listen. He doesn’t floss, either. No pain or any issues, but I know that’s in his future without dental care.

      But then this is a guy who cracked two ribs on the first run of the first day of a ski vacation, continued to ski for the next three days, lugged all his crap back home through the airport, and waited three more days to go to the doctor, so obviously health care is for wimps.

      • lol, this is also my SO. He has shoulder problems I am convinced would be improved if he would go see a freaking PT, but “it’s fine it only hurts when I use it” and “that sounds expensive”. ARGH! It’s almost as though he’s as stubborn as I am.

        OP, it sounds though like your guy’s issue is more of a phobia than a sense of stubbornness. In that case I agree with the advice of anon at 9:28 to hold his hand and make him. With your support and the support of anxiety medication as needed he can do this! Hopefully it will get easier in the future if you can drag him once or twice.

    • Do we have the same husband? Unfortunately, what got my DH to the dentist regularly was needing some very painful, expensive dentistry work to repair old damage and problems that accumulated when he wasn’t going at all. Now he goes every six months, religiously.

      I wouldn’t hesitate to resort to scare tactics in this case. I wouldn’t advocate doing this forever, but maybe you could set up the first appointment and go with him.

    • New Tampanian :

      So I may have been this person once. Kind of. I found a really, really nice dentist that had a calming office, and offered nitrous. I was very close to needing valium. Do you think he would do better with a female dentist than a male? Assuming that the childhood experience was with a male dentist. Maybe before having anything major done, bring him in for a cleaning and something simple. Finding the right place to go made me 100% more comfortable.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yes, there are dentists who specialize in people with phobias and you (you, not him, because he won’t do it — see my post earlier in this thread about mommying him) need to find one.

    • Do you mean he won’t go ever and the last time he went was that incident as a kid? Or he’ll go like once in 5-10 years? I tend to think going to the dentist every 6 months or 1 year is very much an American thing — I don’t recall my family in Asia ever mentioning the dentist BUT they do go when things start to get achy just to be checked and have issues fixed so they don’t worsen for years.

    • Thank you all, so much, for the helpful responses. He only goes to the dentist when he has an issue, so like maybe once every two years. They set up a treatment plan for more-frequent visits, and he doesn’t go. He is religious about brushing and flossing, but his problems have advanced to a point that regular hygiene doesn’t fix the issues. I haven’t noticed bad breath, but his teeth look awful and I’m noticing he’s holding his jaw set in a certain way that I think is due to pain. I am worried about heart disease and about disfigurement if he loses bone in his gums. It hit me on the way to work that he probably will go if I offer to go with him, which I haven’t done for awhile because I have gotten so frustrated about this. But I know it is legitimate fear issue and not just male recalcitrance about health care.

      There’s a sedation dentist in town and I will give them a call today and see when we can get an appointment. I have time off over the holidays and some vacation I can take in January. I think this really is probably only going to get solved through some intensive hand-holding, which he has done for me when I had to undergo some scary OB/GYN stuff.

      • Would it be reasonable to suggest therapy over this? Would he be open to it? It seems more like a legit phobia.

        • We actually talked about that yesterday. He has an old-school view of therapy, where it’s laying on a couch talking about your childhood. I explained CBT to him and he seemed at least mildly interested. I did CBT for disordered eating a number of years ago and still use the techniques, but I don’t know if CBT is appropriate for a very limited issue like this? His life works pretty well other than this phobia (you’re right) of the dentist.

          • Lana Del Raygun :

            CBT is perfect for phobias! I don’t think it matters if it’s a limited issue.

          • Anonymous :

            I did CBT for a phobia of traveling for >~30 minutes away from home, which seems specific enough. No problems now; will road trip for hours. Highly recommended.

    • anon a mouse :

      Find a dentist that does sedation dentistry. If he’s not even awake, he might be more open to it.

      My DH has a phobia (not as serious as yours) and we always make our appointments together. If I’m going too, I can make sure he goes.

  10. Any non-bra recommendations from Soma? I have a bunch of gift cards to spend but their bras don’t work for me. Open to pretty much anything else.

    • Cool nights pjs, their stretchy lace undies that are much more affordable than hanky panky, and their natori stuff.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 Love the lace panties, and the supersoft hipsters and boyshorts.

        • +2

          The stretchy lace ones last forever too. I have some I’ve had for 5 or 6 years and some I’ve had for 1 or 2. I can’t remember when I bought which ones and I can’t tell the difference in their ages by looking at them.

    • Embraceable super soft brief – as comfy as granny panties but pretty, and last really well. 6 for $36. I buy 12 at a time and throw out my old ones and I’m like NEW UNDIES NEW ME

    • Senior Attorney :

      Vanishing edge panties. No lines, ever.

  11. Blepharitis :

    I’ve heard it mentioned a couple times here. I can usually soothe my eyes quickly with cleansing and drops, but my eyelids and undereye stay sandpapery for days. Exfoliating irritates it more and concealer seems to accentuate it. Any tips for treatment, and for covering up for professional situations?

    • TheraLid wash has helped me, as has using the Neutrogena makeup remover wipes that are somewhat oily feeling. And not wearing any eyeliner. I’ve had to eliminate any waterproof mascara from my arsenal, too.

      Definitely don’t exfoliate there–the skin is too delicate, even without blepharitis–but try to incorporate some eye-safe antifungal treatments into your life. I wash my face with tea tree oil wash (trader joe’s), and as long as you’re really careful, you can use that around your eyes generally. Just don’t douse your eyelids in it, or you’ll regret it…!

    • Do you have blepharitis diagnosed by your eye doc / PCP?

      Do you do the warm facecloth to the eyes a few times a day? There are some great (pricey) wipes too that we use in the morning when in a bad spell.

      Use oils to remove make-up at night. I use baby oil for eye make-up removal and ponds to wash my face/eye area.


      The Dove eye cream works well for me.

    • My dad had blepharitis and his doctor said to wash the eyelid/eyelashes with johnson’s baby shampoo (the yellow stuff you use on babies) twice a day. I think there was an antibiotic ointment in the mix, too…

    • givemyregards :

      You can use baby shampoo, but I prefer the ocusoft wipes b/c they’re sterile and I don’t have to wash a million washcloths. Don’t use any mascara or makeup on the area. When I have a flareup I wear my glasses instead of contacts – I find that makes it clear up faster and when I have glasses on I don’t feel like people can tell I’m not wear mascara or concealer as easily.

    • Warm compresses and fish oil supplements are an absolute must. I was a skeptic about the compresses but it has made a huge difference.

    • Anonymous :

      it’s expensive, btu the ocusoft wash (either the liquid or the pads soaked with liquid) has really cleared up my blepharitis. i use it in the morning and also at night and usually will make one pad last the whole day. $$ but worth the comfort imo – i spend more on hair care products each month so eh

    • I had struggled with oily eyelids/blepharitis for a long time, but one of the weird things I tried that has helped a ton was a tea tree eyelid wipe – cliradex (they sell it on amazon). It honestly has helped my dry eyes a lot, though I do not think it was because of demodex, I think i just have very oily eyelids which clog my eyelash follicles. It did sting a tiny bit but that stopped after the first day or two.

    • I do hot cottonwool rounds on my eyelids when it gets bad – they loosen up the oil and then I wipe with a second set of hot cottonwool rounds. (I just heat them up by holding them under hot water)

  12. Vicarious RTR Shopping Help Needed! :

    Posted this late last night so posting again :)

    I have a black tie work function in January to attend and am struggling to find a dress on Rent The Runway. It’s a work Awards party, so it can be a little more fun/not super conservative, but not WHOA.

    Budget is $100 or less, I have gold shoes and jewelry (earrings, cuff) that I’m planning to wear, so would prefer a color that would coordinate with that and not something like gold sequins. I’m late 20s and have an athletic/slightly hourglass figure, on the busty side. I’ll need a size 4 most likely but could need either a 2 or a 6 depending on how the dress itself runs.

    I’m overwhelmed by options on RTR and feel like everything is either matronly or way too sexy. Help plz!

    • Someone posted this dress a while back, and I have been wishing it were in my size (…it’s not), and it would probably work pretty well!

      • Macy’s has something similar. I did buy it in black a few years ago but felt it was a little matronly on me – hourglass 40s. Maybe size down.

    • What about something like this?

    • Here are a few options that don’t scream either inappropriate for work or matronly to me. (depending on how deep the v is)

    • Mrs. Jones :

      There’s an awesome red and black dress that I wanted but wasn’t available when I need it: Cynthia Rowley off shoulder red floral dress.

    • I’ve been in a similar situation, for a black tie work awards party. Essentially there are 6 things that make a black tie dress ‘snazzy’:
      1. Cleavage (or otherwise lots of upper chest skin showing, like a strapless dress)
      2. Bold Color
      3. Slits
      4. Open back/back cutouts
      5. Shape (level of bodycon)
      6. Patterns, Ruffles, sequins, brooches, other adornments.
      For my personal life, I’d pick two – maybe three- of these, in a given dress. Like, I’d wear a bright magenta, body con tank dress with a slit.
      For work, I think you get one, maybe two. For me, #1 is off the table for work, so I’d pick a dress with a slit, or a more modest dress in a bright pattern. If you’re already going with gold shoes, you should pick a dress with a slit and a more covered up top- like one of these:

      Also, keep an eye on the designers and look at pics of women wearing each gown- something that looks matronly on the model might be much less so on real people (the theia mermaid gown is much lower cut than it appears on the model!)

  13. Anonymous :

    Does anyone have a recruiter in Charlotte, NC for finance or accounting jobs? Specifically for private equity funds or hedge funds for a senior level position.

  14. Anonymous :

    Has anyone purchased Polartec leggings? Are they worth the hefty price tag? I saw them at Athleta and I’m considering pulling the trigger.

    • Yes, they are ridiculously amazing, and I highly recommend. Every time I put them on I marvel at how cozy they are.

    • I got the Polartec power stretch tights – and they are ridiculously soft on the inside. And warm. I tried both those and the polartec sculptek tights and kept the power stretch – they weren’t as tight and therefor more comfortable. they do shed fuzz balls though when taking them off or in the wash. I got them with a 20% coupon, which helped with the sticker shock.

    • YES. They are my favorite comfy snow day pants.

    • I bought two pairs of these pants last year for winter running and love them. They are so warm I have to wait for the outdoor temperature to drop below 40 to wear them.

  15. International mail :

    I’m trying to make a good impression on DH’s godmother by sending presents to her grandkids (who I met while visiting). I thought books would be appropriate, and I love choosing books for kids.

    But I didn’t consider the shipping costs from US to UK. I missed the easy deadline, so now getting them there by Christmas would be about $50. Does that make it an inappropriately expensive present? I’m not sure how much it would cost to ship them more slowly.

    • …send new year’s gifts? Start the new year on a new page, kids! Here are some books!

      (ps you are very generous!)

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t think it’s inappropriate but the easier/cheaper option might be to return them and reorder from Amazon UK.

      • Anony Mouse :

        Book Depository is also a good UK option (though I think maybe Amazon UK bought them out?).

    • You’re sending presents to your husband’s godmother’s grandchildren???

      • This. Have you met these children? Did you have a fantastic rapport with them? Because if not, this seems borderline inappropriate. Why is a stranger sending gifts? Send a gift to the godmother if you must (like a fruit basket), but not to her grandkids unless you’ve met them and they love you like Mary Poppins.

        • Omg, I look like a fool. Sorry! This is what I get for posting while half-paying attention to this seminar I’m sitting in.

          But, I still agree that this gift is a stretch.

        • +1

        • I’m definitely not Mary Poppins, but I think I did connect pretty well with the girl, who spent significant time with us. And the book for the boy is filling a very specific hard-to-find request for something his family wanted in the library (see above re:bibliophile).

          Obviously they will be delivered through grandma, and labeled from me and DH. There is a history of him giving them gifts (which I’m sure were actually from my MIL) because apparently the only gift godmother ever wants is ‘something for the kids’.

  16. Sorry for another present idea request, but I’m looking for a good birthday gift for a friend who sends great gifts to me every year. She is in her 40s, a mother and a lawyer in NYC. She likes beauty products, accessories, clothes, books, everything really. Budget is in the $50 to 150 range. I live on the opposite coast so it needs to be a gift I can have sent to her. Thanks.

    • In-House in Houston :

      What about the Sephora perfume sampler? It has 10 sample bottles with a gift cert. to get a full size of the one she wants. I gave this to my sister last year and she LOVED IT!

    • I doubt you could go wrong with a small size of Creme de la Mer ($85 at sephora).

    • Puddlejumper :

      – Cuyana Leather Travel case set
      – French Bonne Maison Socks
      – Sleepy Jones PJ Pants
      – A massage at Great Jones Spa
      – A bunch of the different beauty products from Of A Kind
      – Alpaca Hat from Apiece apart

      • +1 to the Cuyana makeup/travel case set – the quality is amazing (I did a one for you/one for me gift of that to the lovely women in my life a few years ago & it still looks new)

    • The Biossance gift set from Sephora – it’s $54.

  17. Hair Donation :

    Does anyone know of organizations that will accept hair donations of hair that has been color treated (specifically, highlighted)? My hair is crazy long and I’d like to chop it off but I’d love to give it to a good cause if possible.

    • For Wigs:

      For cleaning oil spills:

  18. Gifts for myself :

    My family wants my christmas list. I am overwhelmed with work and personal stuff and don’t have time to put one together. Suggestions for me? I’m late 30s, married, secretly ttc (as in husband knows but no one else), like to cook and sail and all kinds of outdoor pursuits, like reading.

    • Cookbooks, fancy candles you wouldn’t buy yourself, travel books, any sort of home goods you’ve been toying with getting, but just haven’t pulled the trigger on for whatever reason

    • wildkitten :

      Check out the wirecutter kitchen section and pick what you might want from their list.

    • As someone else who likes to cook, what about:
      Le Creuset pieces
      Kits with instructions and supplies to make something a bit outside your comfort zone (hot sauce, pickles, jam, yogurt, cheese, etc.)
      New cookbooks (Smitten Kitchen came out with a new one recently that’s pretty great) or books about food (I really love the Flavor Thesaurus if you’re more of a come-up-with-your-own-recipes kind of cook)
      New cookie sheets (mine always get beat up looking after just a few years)
      An interesting salt assortment
      Assuming you have space in your kitchen, an appliance like an ice cream machine or a Kitchenaid mixer (or, if you already have a mixer, new attachments for it like the pasta roller)

    • Instant Pot
      Good quality knives (I’m lusting for Japanese knives this year)
      Cuisinart handheld blender with attachments (I’m not sure what this is called but mind has a food processor and whisk too)
      Hydroflask or Swell bottles
      Snow shoes (if you live somewhere snowy)

  19. Meghan Markle style :

    I love Meghan’s casual style and want to use her as inspiration for my chicago winter wardrobe. Any thoughts on what pieces to get for my winter capsule? I am not slender, tall, or gorgeous, but I am hoping I can still borrow some elements of her style.

    • I was just reading an article about this, I’m sure you could search and find a ton. She goes for monochromatic neutrals in fitted, classic silhouettes. Think Audrey Hepburn, Caroline Bessette Kennedy, etc.

      Do a google image search for Meghan and look for repeating pieces. Fitted black pants, blazers, and simple patterns seem to recur. Figure out a way to incorporate those in a way that works for your body – what silhouette works for you? Try for an all-black look with a long trench coat, or some fitted dark wash jeans with a gray tshirt and dark blazer, or a tan skirt with a crisp white button down.

      Minimal accessories – one bracelet, or a pair of dangling earrings, or one statement bag in a jewel tone. Pick one.

    • Meghan’s Mirror is a great blog — often providing links to exact or similar styles.

    • I’m weird, and love following the royals….so may I point you to the madaboutmeghan at blogspot period com or meghan’s mirror (also a blog).

      There’s also a great one for Kate….

      Both include discussion of style, and where you can find look-a-likes or where you can buy things she’s worn.

  20. anon-for-this :

    Philadelphia area ‘rettes –

    I am an experienced government litigator trying desperately to get out. Ideally, I’d like to go in-house, but am flexible. I’m having very little luck even getting past the cover letter & resume stage. Does anyone know of a head hunter I could hire myself for assistance?

    • If you want to work with a regular legal recruiter, I’d suggest calling Kruza Legal Search to see what their suggestions for you might be. From the sounds of things, you might want a career coach, though.

      • How would a career coach help?

        • I think they would be more useful in giving feedback on your resume, cover letters, interview prep, and (if necessary) helping you think through a strategy for getting out of govt litigation and into an in-house position (or a firm, if that makes more sense as an interim step). I’m not sure I know of one offhand that you could hire yourself, though.

    • Apply to Pepper Hamilton. We’ll take almost anyone. Truly. But we won’t ever pay a bonus and pay below-market.

  21. Baby in a restaurant? :

    How do you decide whether it’s ok to bring a (not yet mobile) infant into a particular restaurant? My husband and I love eating out but also want to balance being considerate of those around me. I

    • Anon in NYC :

      Timing is everything. We’ve found that brunch/lunch works best for us. We usually aim to sit down and have food on the table at a time when she normally eats lunch (so, by noon). Don’t sit for too long otherwise they’ll get antsy. Leisurely enjoying your meal doesn’t really happen with a kid.

      Eating dinner on the early side (like as soon as a place opens) is a good option too. Although, I’ve found that my kid can be a real bear post-nap, so while an early dinner is a possibility, it’s less enjoyable overall.

      Also, take them to kid-appropriate places. I have no problem taking my toddler into nicer restaurants, but I’m also not going to take her to a 4-star place (at least, not until she’s much older).

    • in mod and it was not threaded well…whoops!

      • Anon in NYC :

        Yeah – my comment seems to have disappeared too. Hopefully it appears soon!

        In short, timing is everything. Pick times where you know your kid is least likely to be disruptive (for us, that’s brunch/lunch). Be prepared to eat quickly/leave before your kid gets too antsy. Choose kid-appropriate places. I’m happy to take my now-toddler to slightly nicer restaurants, but I’m certainly not taking her to 4-star places.

    • I used to take our not-yet-mobile baby to restaurants. He was a preemie, so he slept all the time anyways. We went to restaurants that tend to be loud and that have tables spaced far enough apart that we could put the infant carrier on the floor without causing a tripping hazard. We also went at off-peak times (9:30 brunch or 5:30 dinner), partly because of the baby’s schedule. You have to be willing to take the baby out if s/he gets fussy. Other than that, I say go for it–we had lots of lovely dining out experiences before Kiddo started crawling. Now we rarely take him to restaurants (in part because we go out to eat far less often than we used to, in part because he’s still kindof a disaster at restaurants).

      • Cornellian. :

        Yeah, being willing/able to have someone walk the baby outside is key.

      • I think loud restaurants are the key. They always lulled my babies to sleep.

        One of my favorite memories is taking my 3 month old daughter to lunch at Boulevard in SF the week I went back to work. My husband took a couple of weeks paternity leave and brought her into the city in her little car seat. She slept through lunch and we had a nice celebratory lunch (a lot nicer than we usually do!) and the wait staff was so sweet about her being there. She didn’t make a peep.

    • During the newborn stage, our kid was great in restaraunts and generally slept in his carrier so we were cool going almost anywhere. Once he got a bit older, we generally limited it to places that had high chairs or where we could sit outside. We also tried to go early when we knew it wouldn’t be so crowded and he wouldn’t be tired. The trick is being prepared that your meal could be interupted or even end based on kid’s behavior. There came a time where it wasn’t worth going out because one of us would always be away from the table with a fussy/spririted/loud kid. I also didn’t want to be that table that left a mess. Yes, kids are people who get to appear in public and need to learn how to behave, etc. But, there’s lots of time to learn that and setting everyone up in a failing situtation isn’t fair either. During those toddler years, we did a lot of entertaining at home.

    • Is it a particularly fancy restaurant? Does the baby cry a lot? I know when I’m at a fancy restaurant, the last thing I want is to hear a crying baby.

    • Cornellian. :

      I brought my baby basically everywhere my husband and I went to dinner or lunch when he was a newborn. These were pretty casual places in our neighborhood, and not in the fancy/business area of town. He mostly just sat in his car seat, so it wasn’t a big deal.

      Now that he’s mobile and in a high chair, he’s in some ways more challenging because he can grab everything on the table and throw it on the ground. Now we are limited to places that have room for us to spread out, so we can sit at a four-top. It’s obviously easier at off times.

    • I would go out to eat early. Decide on appetizer or dessert, but not both. Don’t plan on lingering over dinner. Also, choose a restaurant on the casual side. That worked when our kids were babies.

    • Is everyone else there celebrating a special occasion? Is there room for a baby? Will you leave immediately if baby cries? Can they box up a meal for you? What time of day is it?

    • We take our 3 month old pretty much everywhere we want to go (in her infant carrier), with the caveat that our city doesn’t have any true “fine dining” (multi-course tasting menu offered for a set price) places. We do take her to restaurants where the average entree price is in the $30s, which is definitely a higher-end place for our MCOL city. We like to eat on the early side, 5:30-6 (and did before baby) and immediately take her out of the restaurant if she starts crying, although it hasn’t ever really been an issue. An infant is basically only disruptive if they’re crying. I agree it seems much more daunting once the baby is a bit older and is eating solid food, crawling and babbling. I can see how people would find babbling disruptive, especially in a nicer restaurant, even if the baby’s not crying. But newborns really don’t make any noise unless they’re crying and it’s pretty easy to remove them if they start crying.

    • It’s not really a matter of how fancy or casual the place is; it’s about whether it’s a family-friendly atmosphere. If the place is frequented by families with kids under 12, it’s cool to take your baby there. If it’s primarily a bar that maybe has some food, no, it’s not a family place. Same for brunch spots where the Bloody Mary and mimosa bar are the clear draws… even if you get there at 10 a.m.

      The exception, I think, is around family holidays when people are traveling and it’s just too hard to pick a restaurant that checks off all the boxes. If you want to hit up the best Bloody Mary bar in town and take your baby with you, this is the time of year to do it.

    • As a single parent, my son went/goes everywhere with me. Don’t overthink this. Go out. Be flexible if things go south. Enjoy yourself.

      • I think this is sort of true, but also no don’t bring your toddler to Per Se.

        • Anonymous :

          I wouldn’t bring my child to Per Se because I assume they would charge full price and it would be an enormous waste of money, but I agree with someone who said below that nobody is entitled to a child-free environment. You’re entitled to not have your fellow guests disturbing you, but as long as the child is sitting quietly at the table and the parents are prepared to leave if the child starts acting up, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with children in fancy restaurants.

          • SingleMom :

            Adding, if you don’t take your child to fancy restaurants, or church, or some place where there are “rules”, they are never going to learn how to behave in those situations.

            Obviously, know your child. If they climb the chandeliers at home, it’s best to dine in.

          • Anonymous :

            It’s idiotic because no toddler sits through a Per Se tasting menu without causing a disturbance.

          • Anonymous :

            Ok, you have a point about the length of the tasting menu at that specific restaurant. But there are comparably fancy places where you can have a meal in about an hour, and I see nothing wrong with bringing a toddler or young child there as long as you’re prepared to leave if the child causes a scene.

    • BringTheBaby :

      Any type of mid-range “family” restaurant is fair game to me. Anything super spendy or a quiet, date-type place is a gamble. FWIW, we recently brought our four-year-old to an upscale steakhouse and she was totally fine, and a couple next to us definitely had a baby with them. I think the hardest age range is about 18 months to 24 months when they are into everything.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      It’s fine. I thought it was easier to eat out with baby than with toddler. But be prepared to leave if there’s a poop blowout or the like.

    • We took our baby everywhere before she was crawling, and we kind of still do. I breastfed in a restaurant in Boston because she was crying and hungry, and I was like “yes…this is happening”. We haven’t been to a SUPER fancy restaurant with her, but honestly, the whole attitude of “I should get to live in a child-free world” is ridiculous. Children are a part of life. We were literally all children once. So take the baby out and just see how it goes! We tended to go around 5:30 just so we could put her to bed by 7. But that’s about it. Now that she’s mobile I always make sure to clean up if she’s made any mess on the floor.

    • I ate out a lot in a wide variety of places when my daughter was young – from baby, through toddler and into childhood. I have zero tolerance for disruption of other people’s dinners and my best tip is to arrive early and to order everything at once and ask for (and pay) the check up front with a generous tip. When the waiter said: “Can I take your drink order”? I would order everything from drinks to dessert and say “And can you bring my check now so that I can leave if this one (indicating with my chin) starts to act up?” That had the dual advantage of getting me great service without the attitude you sometimes get when you bring a small child into a nice restaurant and making is possible to get up and leave at any time. (I once had them box my entire meal up without me even asking and bring it to me while I was strapping her into her baby seat.)

      Also, maybe I just had a really well-behaved toddler, but by 18-months my daughter was very, very clear on appropriate behavior for a restaurant. Even small children can sit in a highchair for an hour with food and entertainment and can learn that acting up gets them removed immediately and without dessert. (This was the one time she routinely got dessert – even if it was just a tiny packet of mini M&Ms from home; I can also recall letting her play under the large table at a resort in Vermont we visited at 18 months as long as she stayed under the table cloth. I can still remember how exciting she was because she got to GET OUR OF HER SEAT (!!??!!) Of course, I can also remember the nasty looks I got from the waitstaff when we walked in, even though it was 5:00, they had just opened, we were literally the only people there, and my child did not make a peep or a mess.)

    • One consideration that hasn’t been mentioned is other people’s germs in places that are too crowded at peak times. This was something our pediatrician mentioned for the totally newborn period (esp. as our kid was a winter baby). Otherwise, I agree that it’s easy enough to go as long as you don’t pick places that are not intended for kids at all and you go at non peak hours and are willing to be flexible.

  22. Call the restaurant! Seriously. Ask for suggestions about the best time to dine, or where you should be seated to have the best experience for you. You’ll know from the convo with the host/whomever whether it is a good place to go. Something simple “My DH and I want to come for dinner, but we’re planning to bring our x month old with us. Is there a better time of the evening/day of the week to dine with you? Do you have a place to stow a stroller, or should we plan to carry her in? I just want to be sure we *all* have the best experience!”

    A friend of mine does/did this a lot in DC when her kids were younger, and she reports that only a few places were overtly weird to her, so she didn’t go. The ones she called ahead were the best experiences, and everyone was prepared. Those places built a nice rep for themselves and became go-tos for her family.

  23. How to thank the black women voters of Alabama :

    The Cut had a piece on where to donate to materially help black women voters for their work in electing reasonable people. Link to follow.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m sure this is well intentioned but it’s a bit patronizing, no? They didn’t vote for your sake. I find this whole line of thinking a little much. Anyone else?

      • wildkitten :

        I think that to show appreciation for the vital role of black women in the electorate it is appropriate to support black women as candidates, which is the gist of the Cut list.

        • Anonymous :

          That’s a little different but some of this thank you stuff is borderline obnoxious. Maybe I’m over sensitive.

      • anonymous :

        I’m a black woman. I just had a long conversation with a very close (white) friend about this last night. I find it patronizing and a lot of the commentary in the blogosphere about this from very well intentioned people I just find so problematic on a number of levels.


    • Anonymous :

  24. Linda from HR :

    I’m currently struggling with my relationship with food and with my body. I don’t know what happened, over the summer I knew I was a little overweight and needed to make changes, but I didn’t hate myself. Then, after some isolated comments and totally unwanted conversations about how I should eat, I’m spiraling.

    Diet talk is the worst. People talking about “being bad” for eating this, “being good” for eating this other thing and *not too much* of course, and constant talk about what they should or shouldn’t eat versus how they wanna eat. I know it’s a struggle for a lot of us and many women bond over it, but hearing it is irritating at best, and detrimental to my mental state and self esteem at worst. And unsolicited advice about portion control and nutrition may be well intentioned but it just makes me feel worse about myself.

    I’m going into the holiday season, and I want to make good choices when I can but ultimately I want to enjoy the season, but I have family members who talk incessantly about diet and what they should and shouldn’t eat, and the easily grossed out cousin who always talks about how overeating or eating “too much” meat (as in, eating more than a small portion of meat once a day) is disgusting. I feel like being around all this is gonna seriously dampen my holiday spirit, and I know the best things to do are remove myself from the conversation when I can, and fortify myself for when that’s not possible (like at the dinner table) – any tips on how to do that? Other than remind myself that the whole “Ewww, everything I don’t like is sooooo gross!” mentality is juvenile as hell, that is.

    • Change the subject!

    • No advice except for I’m 100% sure it’s not rude to excuse yourself from the table when folks are being rude. And referring to there people’s food as gross is the height of rudeness. Hugs.

    • I’m sorry you’re struggling with this right now. I hate this topic too; I hate the moralizing tone, I hate the body shaming juxtaposed with the holiday gluttony. It’s seriously unfun.

      I suggest searching through Captain Awkward’s archives for some of her articles on this type of thing. It comes up fairly regularly on there I think. I also suggest when cousin says something is disgusting respond with “wow, that was rude” or similar. It’s a pretty rude to say that the way other people eat is disgusting and I think it is 100% fair to point that out.

      • This topic actually comes up a lot on Ask A Manager as well, with food issues/comments in the workplace. So that’s another place to look.

    • Another interviewing question :

      I have to do a series of interviews for a receptionist/administrative assistant position. (I just joined a start-up org that’s small enough for everyone to interview everyone else). I’ve done plenty of technical interviews for high level scientific or technical positions, but never for a position like this, and I don’t feel like most of my standard interviewing technique applies. What do we talk about for 30-45 minutes? The position is pretty typical stuff – answering the phone, greeting visitors, booking travel for the CEO, scheduling meetings, and I imagine our candidates are pre-screened well enough that they should all be more than able to handle the tasks.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      “It’s a cupcake, not genocide” when people say that they’re being ‘so bad.’

      • Rainbow Hair :

        Are there kids (particularly girls) around? I’ve had some luck turning things like, someone says something shamey about food, and I say “yeah, totally, sometimes I totally feel like I should feel guilty when I [whatever]. But I think about all the time I spent so f*cked up about food and my body (and how in some ways I still am) and I look at Kiddo and I just want, so badly, for her to feel good and strong and empowered and loved in her body… so for now the most important thing for me is to model that self acceptance and love.”

        • Rainbow Hair :

          (Ideally I don’t say “totally” twice in one sentence, but it depends on how much wine I’ve had.)

        • Linda from HR :

          At this point, no, the oldest “girl” at Christmas is a cousin in college, but she’s still susceptible as any of us! I do worry about younger girls overhearing this stuff though, in other families.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Good one, Rainbow Hair!

    • This is so hard, and this is why I really have a negative reaction when people describe food as “bad” (or say they’re “being bad” for eating something). I also hate the term “clean eating” for the same reason. The degree of really disordered thinking reflected in the way that some many women talk about food and eating is super upsetting.

      In all candor, I tend to try to shut these conversations down pretty hard (to the degree that some people may feel like I’m overly harsh), because I hate how accepted they are. So when someone talks about “being bad,” I’ll say “It really bothers me when people say that, because I don’t think it’s healthy to think about food in those terms.” I know it’s not always possible to be that confrontational – my softer version is something like “Hey, I’m trying to enjoy my delicious holiday treat here, and I don’t feel bad about it at all. Why should you?”

      • Linda from HR :

        I don’t know how well that’d go over. For one thing, my family is generally of the mind that people can say whatever they want, and if I don’t like it, I’m the one with the problem. Second, a lot of their obsession with eating and weight comes from a desire to be healthy, so if I say “that’s an unhealthy way to think about things” they may counter it with “but we are trying to be healthy!”

        I dunno, I know nothing good comes from having these imaginary conversations in my head, but I just don’t want to say the wrong thing and have everyone mad at me at Christmas because I tried to control what people say.

        • Well, if “people can say whatever they want” then maybe you don’t ask them to stop saying XYZ, but you counter it every time. After all, people can say whatever they want! You could take the broken record approach, which might annoy them enough to stop. I agree with cbackson that it’s worth causing discomfort in order to confront just how dysfunctional these comments are.

        • Orthorexia – obsession with eating healthy foods. Obviously, you don’t need to diagnosis your relatives, but it’s you could always point out that you can be mentally unhealthy about trying to be physically healthy. And what good is physical health if you’ve wrecked your mental health

          And the only bad foods are the ones that poison you acutely (kill you right away). So unless it’s laced with cynaide, it’s not actually bad for you. And tell them to quit yuck-ing your yum.

          • Linda from HR :

            Ha, I might use that last bit actually! I’m aware of orthorexia which I’m pretty sure explains a lot of the diet talk.

            “Food woo” is another term I love. Any time someone says “[totally safe food] is poison, it’ll give you cancer!” that’s food woo. Any time someone talks about a fad diet or some ridiculous article in Cosmo about how your favorite food is secretly making you fat, it’s probably food woo. Knowing there’s a silly term for it does help me dismiss it . . . sometimes.

        • Senior Attorney :

          You can’t control what people say but you can absolutely control what you listen to. I think it’s fine to say “whoops, that is a hot button for me so I’m going to excuse myself!”

        • So I think the tough thing is that there may not be a way to protect yourself from these conversations that *doesn’t* require pushing back on people in a way that is uncomfortable for them. (And I say “protecting yourself” because I do believe this kind of talk is so damaging.) Let me ask you this: is there a method you’ve seen be effective in your family in shutting down other kinds of difficult conversations? Like, if politics is a hot-button topic, is there a way you’ve seen others deflect political conversations effectively?

    • Tell the cousin, as nicely as possible, something like: “Cousin, we don’t criticise you when we feel like you aren’t eating enough meat to really enjoy the holiday. We don’t tell you that you aren’t eating enough sweets, or that this is the season for enjoying food. We respect your food choices, so please, put a lid on it and respect ours.”

    • Instead of looking at it as a negative…this is bad for me, I’m overweight. Change it in your mind to a positive. For example–instead of I need to lose weight, try I want to eat healthier and I have a goal of 20 pushups without a break, or I want to run 2 miles without stopping. Or I want to eat carrots 3 times a week. If you approach it negatively–you are making it very hard to succeed. If you are positive for you, particularly if you tie it to a goal that you want to achieve–you are more likely to be successful. The other key is moderation. A cookie is not bad…10 cookies–uh oh–a whole package of chewy chips ahoy…yikes. Too many carrots is bad for you–moderation is your mantra–combine moderation and a positive goal for yourself and you will be successful! I believe in you.

      • Linda from HR :

        Did you read the whole comment or just the first paragraph? That was a “here’s some context” paragraph not the “here’s what I need help with” bit. I’m not looking for diet/weight loss/fitness advice.

    • Ugh, I hate this kind of talk so much! It’s counterproductive and depressing, and makes me want to eat a whole box of doughnuts just to prove to the person that they don’t control me. (which is I realize isn’t exactly a healthy mentality itself). No advice, just commiseration.

      • Linda from HR :

        I wish that was my reaction, but instead it makes me wanna eat less because I’m suddenly worried that if anyone notices me eating like a normal human being they’ll think I’m “soooo gross.” Or “gress,” which is how super dainty ladies pronounce it because even the normal pronunciation of “gross” is too gross for them.

        • That’s very sad to hear. In that case I might just eat on my own, in peace, before or after I saw them. I hope you can remember that they, not you, are the problem.

        • …and this is exactly why I’m on Team Stamp Out “Bad Food” Talk. Aside from dealing with the food talk, do you have other strategies to care for yourself during this intense family time? If not, maybe think about that too? What else can you do to make yourself feel super-awesome so you have some self-esteem armor against this?

    • Family dynamics can be so hard. I am not sure what you can do besides let it go in one ear & out the other and deliberately not engage. Perhaps you could pretend to mishear and redirect the conversation? Glennon Doyle had a great post just before Thanksgiving on how hard it is to be our authentic, vulnerable selves with our families at the holidays (and how thinking we should be places more burdens on ourselves). Her post has a lot of great lines. One suggestion in particular is that “(w)e stop trying to be the director of the family show and we just become an amused audience member.”

    • Check out the blog Real Life Rd. Tons of good tips.

    • I have no advice, but I absolutely can’t stand it when people talk about what they should and shouldn’t be eating, the current diet program they are on, calorie counting, etc. I get really defensive about it when I really should just walk away.

  25. Anon for This :

    Hoping not to out myself with this, but needed to rant. I’m in higher ed and the university president is supposed to announce today if he’ll be staying on or resigning. There’s been a lot of controversy around him since he got here and he hasn’t done much that contradicts the negative commentary. I’m no fan of his, but it’ll be a lot of bad press and other stuff to deal with either way. All I want to do is lean waaaaay out until Christmas, but this is making it harder.

    • Good luck! I hope this does not make a lot of work and stress for you.

    • I’m pretty sure i know what institution you’re at. If I’m right, I’m in higher ed at another instutuion in the state. My thought are with you! I can’t imagine how stressful that must be.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m also in higher ed and can imagine how stressful this would be. Sending good vibes!

  26. I thought I would share two things I recently read about etiquette for posting on mom’s sites, just as a friendly reminder. Yes, I realize this is not a mom’s site, but I think this can also apply to any site people post on. Like the other day, someone posted about not sleeping well when they sleep over at their SO and someone suggested to “get a bigger bed.” Well, you don’t know where they live, whether that is an option, etc. Just two things to keep in mind:

    “Don’t Mommyjack: If someone asks a specific question—I want to sleep-train; what technique worked for you?—answer the damn question. As my friend Emily says, “This is not the right place for someone to say why they think sleep training is harmful. And if someone says ‘I’ve chosen not to sleep train, what advice do you have for me to get more sleep?,’ that’s not the place to share sleep-training tips. But if someone says ‘What do you think about sleep training?’ then that’s the moment for people to share the whole range of advice!” This I’m-not-answering-your-question can also be called mommyjacking.”

    “Try to Be Mindful of People in Different Circumstances – One friend told me that the posts saying things like “let your kid be a kid this summer!” drive her crazy because of the clueless privilege behind the statement: Not everyone has a parent at home to allow kids to roam the neighborhood or splash in the wading pool. Summer is financially rough for a lot of people; all year long is financially rough for a lot of people. If you have household help, exotic vacations, or 17 grandmothers who love to babysit, that’s great, but don’t assume that everyone does.”

    • Oh my gosh no pls stop. Get a bigger bed was perfectly reasonable. If it doesn’t work for her life she can just roll right past the suggestion.

      This entire comment section is built on threadjacking!!! It’s what makes it interesting and worthwhile.

      If I wanted sprinkles and baby dust and a bunch of women wasting their time on being superficially nice I’d read a mommy blog.

      • That’s cute that you think they’re nice on mommy blogs.

        But I get your point.

        If you want to read really sycophantic comments, check out youlookfab

        • Oh yes indeed. Which is fine! I’m all for different communities having different standards. But I like this one. It feels full of smart women who genuinely want to help each other and aren’t going to be bothered sugar coating everything.

        • (PS I’m a different Anon, not OP)

    • Yes, bigger bed was definitely a reasonable suggestion. Because no, I don’t know all the circumstances of the person’s life, because it’s the internet and I don’t actually know this person. And i’m not going to spend 15 minutes trying to qualify my statement so it considers all possible circumstances.

      My god – stop trying to give me more mental labor to do. This is how conversations works – you ask a question and it ends up someplace other than where it started. Know your audience: If you just want your question answered without commentary, don’t come here.

    • Let’s not do this here.

      We can all read the advice and take away what we want and ignore what doesn’t apply. The reason most mommy blogs are awful is because of this kind of over policing/sensitivity about perfectly reasonable responses.

      Suggestion to get a different/bigger/whatever bed is completely reasonable in response to a question on sleep.

      Suggestion to let kids have unscheduled time isn’t a judgment on anyone’s parenting (if they are in daycamp all week then don’t schedule their weekends, or maybe your kid loves scheduled time so just ignore that post)

      • +1000.

        I quit participating in some sites’ commenting because “let’s be respectful of other people’s choices” turned into “no one can disagree with anyone or say anything negative about anything, ever.” After that, discussions might have been low-conflict but they sure weren’t interesting or helpful. Call me crazy, but sometimes I come here and post because I know I’ll get my a$$ kicked into seeing the real situation or making a real choice. Sometimes I need that.

    • Totally agree on your middle comment. On your first and last one though I think you’re quite off the mark. If you ask for advice people will give advice based on their own experience. The poster can choose to ignore advice that doesn’t work for their circumstances. The “check your privilege” stuff is appropriate in some circumstances but you can’t go around shouting (for example on your last item) “oh my gosh, you’re so privileged, how can you even suggest a summer camp” when that is a legitimate suggestion. Unless someone specifically mentions their limited circumstance and people suggest something outrageous, don’t get ragey because you can’t afford or your lifestyle doesn’t fit a suggestion.

    • I frequently wonder why it seems to be so common among women to get super offended by little things. Obviously there are things that aren’t ok, but generally people speak from their experiences and a comment doesn’t amount to judgment. (and even if judgment occurs, it may not be very nice, but no one is entitled to live a life free of anyone judging them. That’s just not how life is, unfortunately)

      Anyway, why are we so sensitive about mundane things? It gets ridiculous pretty quickly. And it seems like a pretty big handicap to go through life that way where everything has to be to your liking otherwise you’re going to be upset and feel judged.

      • Anonymous :

        This is a great point . Sometimes I feel like part of it is a fear of getting something wrong. It’s ok to make a suggestion that gets shot down, you know? Like suggest getting a bigger bed and someone says that it won’t fit, then ok, no big deal, right? You can’t always say the perfect thing and you can’t jump on other people for not saying perfect things either.

      • anonshmanon :

        I don’t agree that this is a thing that only women do.

        • anonymous :

          Oh I don’t think only women do it. I just see it a TON among the women I know and it tends to be more isolated among the men I know.

    • Actually I think this is a valid post. I have definitely noticed an upswing in people offering unsolicited opinions. If someone asks for advice about staying in touch with a husband is working a lot of hours and mentions the future possibility of children, they are not asking for people to offer opinions about whether they should have children and/or whether their spouse should switch jobs and/or whether he can be a good spouse.

      If someone asks for advice on a specific question, then fair game to tell them things they don’t want to hear. If someone asks something specific, they are not necessarily asking you to give them completely unsolicited advice regarding something else.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m the get a bigger bed commenter and I think it’s hilarious that you zeroed in on that. As I recall, my post asked something like, what is the specific issue you’re dealing with? And then suggested solutions for some possible issues – like are you bumping into each other? stealing covers? snoring? It’s not like I wrote get a bigger bed and that was the totality of the comment. It was a genuine attempt to provide helpful advice in response to a kind of vague post.

      We need to stop telling women that they should over-analyze everything that comes out of their mouth (or fingertips). This is part of the reason men speak up more often than women – women are too busy rethinking every word before they open their mouths the conversations has completely moved past what they were going to say before they assert themselves.

    • What if the person could afford it and that was in fact the best suggestion for her situation? Why should she have to miss out on viable options because someone else may be too sensitive to ignore a well-meaning but perhaps privileged response from an internet stranger?

      I love that the different women on this blog and their unique viewpoints often open my eyes to a suggestion, idea, concept that I was completely blind to. I often ask for advice on here because I want all possible options present and I think I am capable of weeding out the ones that don’t apply to my life and use the ones that do.

  27. I love the look of tights but I hate putting them on.

    I love the feel of leggings and don’t mind putting them on at all, but they’re not sleek enough to wear with my work clothes.

    I’m looking for the unicorn of leggings / footless opaque tights that go on as easily as leggings but have the look of tights. Since I’m wearing short boots, no one will know the tight/legging doesn’t actually have a foot.

    Does such a thing exist?

    • Search the term ‘footless tights’. I think Hue will have what you are looking for.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Some of my friends swear by something called teggings from “redress nyc dot com” … I’m not sure if it’s plus size only or not, but it sounds like exactly what you want.

    • Danskin leggings are awesome and last forever

    • There are some great options–Commando has them, spanx, hue. Danskin offers convertible options. And they come in all sorts of options from sheer to opaque. You def don’t have to sacrifice comfort in this space.

    • I like buying tights in the biggest size. Then they go on very easily.

      • No elephant ankles?

        The next size bigger than my size is plus size, and they often are cut for someone wider and shorter than me, so the cr0tch doesn’t go all the way up but the waist is rolling down

  28. First Time Homebuyer :

    The home buying process is super stressful and frustrating! Who would’ve thunk??

    (I obviously knew this was coming, I’ve just had a stressful week and feel the need to yell into the void about it. Ugh.)

    • Senior Attorney :

      Isn’t it crazy?

      What stage are you in? Searching? Bidding? Escrow? Every part has its own special stress!

      Hang in there!

      • As someone who just closed and moved last weekend into her first home, all I can say is WORTH EVERY MINUTE OF STRESS! And I was a nervous wreck the whole damn time.

      • So very close to closing, except every day it seems like there’s one more giant task to do. But I’ll get there soon enough! Thanks for the encouragement :)

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Yay! It’s gonna feel great when you get it! I hate paying for it every month, blah, but it’s SO cool that it’s *our* house.

        • Senior Attorney :

          You got this!! Can’t think of a better holiday gift than a new house!

    • thisperson1 :

      We bid on five houses, and now there is nothing on the market we even want to look at… Hoping after the holidays, our magic unicorn house appears. But right there with you on the stress…

  29. Has anyone tried a Thred Up Goody Box? I’ve had limited success with Stitch Fix and Trunk Club, but things like this always sound so good in theory that I’m finding myself tempted again by the Thred Up version.

    • I love ThredUp but have not tried their Goody Box yet. Honestly, none of their goody box offerings appeal to me ATM. I wish they would look through my past purchases and send me stuff that’s similar or exactly the same. But I’m boring.

  30. thisperson1 :

    Fashion questions: I’m moving from a fairly casual law firm to an in-house legal department that is much more formal. As in, skirts no higher than 3” above knee, hosiery required etc. So, two questions: How to move a casual wardrobe over to more formal without buying a whole new wardrobe; and, can you wear open toed (peep toe) shoes with nylons?

    • Anonymous :

      a) Never wear open toed shoes with nylons
      b) Never wear open toed shoes to a formal office

      • Anonymous :

        Yeah if your office is so formal nylons are required, open toed shoes are not appropriate.

        To transition, blazers, boring repetition

    • Yep – buy some closed toed shoes and save the peep toes for the weekends

      By the way, not to start another tall boots war, but i think peep toes are not a current trend so your shoes are probably a few years old, well worn, and at the point of needing replacing anyway.

      • That seems like *quite* the stretch there, Anon.

        • thisperson1 :

          Well, to be fair, I just moved from a pretty rural state to a Big City, so that’s likely helpful advice.

          Of course, tell me that boot cut jeans are dead and I’ll just ignore that and cling to my hick roots :)

        • I hear what you’re saying other Anon, but I come to this place to try to stay current (too many family members of mine permanently stuck in the seventies during the very opposite eighties) so I like tips like this for myself. I wasn’t feeling cool in my tall boots so that discussion helped me understand why. And as far as peep toes, the Elle magazine at my dentists office said they were out, and that made me realize I hadn’t seen any in the stores for quite a while so…

  31. Pen and Pencil :

    What are good $20 white elephant gifts that are useful? Part of me is considering the game Codenames which I find fun, but idk if anyone else in my office plays games. My other thought was a decent spiralizer, but is that too old? Does everyone have one already? Office is 90% women and almost everyone is under 40.

    • anonshmanon :

      The game sounds great, would work for people with or without kids, doesn’t require a specific demographic (like exploding kittens would). If they still don’t like it, it’s very regiftable.

    • Anonymous :

      Friends brought us that game when they visited a few weeks ago, and we love it despite not really being “game people.” I think it’s a perfect choice for a $20 white elephant exchange.

    • Nice water bottle/ thermos.

    • I love a desk calendar for office white elephants. Page a day Dilbert or Non Sequitur would probably go over well.

    • Anonymous :


  32. Pen and Pencil :

    What are good $20 white elephant gifts that are useful? Part of me is considering the game Codenames which I find fun, but idk if anyone else in my office plays family board games. My other thought was a decent spiralizer, but is that too old? Does everyone have one already? Office is 90% women and almost everyone is under 40.

  33. Anonymous :

    I think you’re mostly out of luck and will need to buy new things. Sorry.

    I’d probably invest in solid skirts and jackets and/or blazers. Some of your existing casual tops *may* be ok when paired with a skirt or your existing more casual pants and tops *may* be ok when paired with a jacket/blazer. Also you can mix and match skirt and blazer for a not-suit-formal but still more formal look. If you have been wearing dresses, they are probably fine if you wear tights/nylons; consider whether you need to layer blazer or sweater on top as well.

    Scarves, subdued jewelry and nicer footwear can also help an outfit look more formal.

    Agree with anonymous above re open toes and nylons BTW.

    I’d also wait until you get to work and see what people at your job level are actually wearing because sometimes the dress code says one thing but in reality there is a broader range of options depending on the position.

  34. Gail the Goldfish :

    Help me shop. I need to replace a coat that has gotten a little to small. It’s from Boden and a very similar style to this one in a lighter navy: except the outer is 100% wool. Nothing Boden has now seems to be higher than 70-80% wool, which isn’t going to be as warm. Any suggestions where I can get something similar with a higher wool content?

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