Ask Me Anything: Leap Day

Mar 4, 2024

Today is Leap Day, a quirk of the Gregorian Calendar where every four years, we get an extra day. And thank goodness, because in the craziness of February (which flew by whereas January slogged) I forgot to post this month’s Ask Me Anything.

This originally published last Thursday.  But I’m told it never made it to the main page, so only email subscribers saw it.  So I decided to repost it today.  Back tomorrow with fresh content.

Are you doing anything special with your extra day?

Leap Day is my legal wedding anniversary.  We had hoped to take a trip, but it’s hard to plan around a busy toddler, two careers, and a diabetic dog.  So instead, we’ll just go to dinner and celebrate again in four years.

Any advice for under-eye puffiness?  I’m traveling for work and gonna miss Zoom filters.

These.  They work.  Also, just a couple of used tea bags in the hotel room fridge will help too.

Any recommendations on luxury hotels in Washington, D.C.?

I love a nice hotel.  It’s one of my great joys, especially when traveling solo.  There’s nothing quite as wonderful as playing Eloise at the Plaza for a few days.

I almost always stay at the Conrad on New York Ave.  Even though it’s a business hotel, I love the location and the vibe.  I book a room on the Sakura floor so that I can eat breakfast and dinner for free.  I also get snacks and coffee all day.  It makes life easier, and the food is surprisingly great.

My next visit, I will probably stay at the Salamander, so I can stay at their newly renovated spa (coming May 2024).  And the Four Seasons is always a great spot if you like Georgetown, but that’s a bit far from things for my taste.

Need a more affordable hotel?  Yours Truly and Riggs are really beautiful hotels, but the price trends lower.  I’m sure other readers have lots of great suggestions, so I’ll let them fill in the blanks in the comments.

What are women doing for shoes? I’m 41, I can’t do ballet flats again.

As proof that I am getting older, I saw an ad for a pair of Aerosoles yesterday (these ones) and clicked on it without ever thinking, “Ugh, old lady shoes.”  This is how it begins.

My feet are also not ready for a thin soled ballet flat.  I thought I could handle it until I walked around in an old pair last week when it warmed up.  For a thicker sole, I like these Geox ones that don’t hurt my feet.

Beyond ballet flats, I will be wearing a Rothy’s driver with my casual summer attire.  I will be adding to that these cool, low profile, white sneakers.  And also these open-toe low wedges, for more professional looks.

Can you help me find suits?  I must be the only female attorney who still wants suits with lined pants.

Suiting is tough right now.  Most retailers are taking the liner out so the pieces can be machine washed.  Argent and Theory are the only retailers I know of that are consistently lining suit pants.  Another year of return to office will probably help this, but I don’t think we’re ever going back entirely (just like the J.Crew cashmere will never be exactly the same).

Also, Poshmark.  I’m buying suits and work clothes on Poshmark.  I just hunt for older MM LaFleur, Hobbs, Fold London, Boss, etc.  You need to know your sizes, but they’re there.

Biggest piece of advice for early postpartum?

Get a therapist.  Just do it.  Don’t wait.  Maybe you have postpartum depression or anxiety, maybe you don’t, but your life will change so much that you may need the additional emotional support.  

Also, don’t be afraid to tell people you need a break and just schedule breaks even when you don’t think you need them. There was such pressure to be doing more in the early days — washing bottles, cleaning, etc. — and bonding with the baby, that I got sucked into a spinning vortex.  By the time I asked for a break, it had been weeks, and I was already burnt.  I wish I had asked friends to contribute to a baby-sitter fund instead of sending meals.  I didn’t need food, I needed an hour to drink a coffee and scroll my phone or go for a walk without racing to get back before nap ended.

Maybe niche, but I’m a non-attorney expert witness. What should I wear for deposition?

Something professional but comfortable.  You’re going to be sitting for a long time.  I recommend a ponte suit.  This one is my favorite.  Also, think about whether your shoes will get tight or you’ll be too hot or cold in something.  Depositions are a marathon.

For trial, wear blue.  There have been hundreds of studies done about witness attire, and blue is generally deemed the most “trustworthy” color.

My son was born two months ago, and I’m headed back to the office. I need jeans that don’t hurt my body or my mind.  Suggestions?

Spanx makes jeans.  I own these wide legs, and they’re really incredible.  It isn’t the shaping part that a postpartum body needs, it’s the stretch that holds its shape.  Where things are this month will not be where they are next month.  It will be a year before you see your new, post-baby body settle in.  Until then, be kind to yourself, as much as you can, and avoid rigid waist bands.

Also, don’t be afraid to size up.  I’m up two sizes in jeans, and I don’t worry about spending money on nice ones because jeans are easy to tailor.  They also hold resale value well for an item of clothing.  These Paige jeans are on heavy rotation right now.

Do you have saved embryos?  Do you mind sharing what your plans are now that IVF is in the news so much?

Last week, I shared about my experience doing IVF on Instagram.  As I mentioned there, we have two more embryos.  I wanted to have two babies back to back, but after nearly bleeding to death after Sloane was born, that plan was no longer viable.  I am neither mentally nor physically ready to have another child.  I may never be.  Until those decisions are made, I can’t make any decision about the fate of the two remaining embryos.

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  1. Kara says:

    On flats — BIRDIES. Worth every penny. I have about 5 pairs of different styles and always get a compliment when I wear them.

  2. Meredith says:

    The Rothy’s Driver is a really great option for both in and out of work; I have navy, latte and raspberry and love them all.

  3. Leigh says:

    On DC hotels, +1 to the Conrad (my favorite staycation), which has a great modern vibe. If you’re looking for a more old-school feeling, go to the Hay Adams. I’d avoid staying in G’town or at the Wharf unless you have a compelling reason to be in those neighborhoods.

  4. BN says:

    Please share tips for keeping white sneakers clean! I see them everywhere but whenever I get a pair, they are dirty and grey after a few wears 🙁

  5. DC says:

    On the more affordable side, I like the Line hotel in AdMo. Cool building, good vibes, close proximity to great food.

  6. Taryn says:

    Hi Belle – would love for you to do an updated hair post. You posted about Ouai Volume Spray back in 2020, and I’m wondering if you still use it or what are your preferred products. I have incredibly fine hair (but not thin) aka I struggle with oil control and volume – my hair does NOT hold a curl at all (only exception is sleeping in rags) – and cutting off 8 inches didn’t magically give me the perfect hair I imagined!

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