It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past. Here are five updates from past letter-writers.
Thank you for publishing my question. Your advice was spot on and I actually have an update since I wrote back in December.
Our company finally hired a part-time HR consultant after the first of the year, which has helped us deal with some of the issues stemming from John and Jane. After the holidays John started showing up to work clearly inebriated and missed several client meetings and nearly cost us our largest client partner. Subsequently, John was fired from the company in March and immediately went into a rehab facility out of state. He has been barred from ever dealing with our company again or our clients. Meanwhile, Jane got a new job at a competitor of ours and has been trying to poach employees to come work with her. This was in violation of her severance agreement and has had a cease and desist issued to her and her new company which apparently has caused a rift at her new job. We know this because she texted several co-workers asking for references(!)
I really appreciated the sensitivity in your answer and the kindness shown by your commenters. I wound up talking to my boss right away. I explained that I hadn’t prioritized learning this task and ran out of time before I could get back to it. My boss was super understanding; he said he wants me to focus on the tasks that will do the most to drive the business forward, and this wasn’t one of them. It was more of an infrequent, “when you have time” kind of housekeeping task. That was a huge relief to hear! After we spoke, I did go back to the freelancers to learn how to do it properly and I definitely won’t forget again.
In the meantime, thank you for encouraging me to think hard about why my instinct was to not be upfront about the situation. Some of your commenters pointed out that this kind of instinctive lying is common among people who grew up with strict parents. I think that’s true in my case. Growing up, I got in the habit of using white lies to deflect abuse from my abusive mom. I’m still working this through in therapy, but before this incident I hadn’t thought about how my lingering anxiety about the consequences of small mistakes might be bleeding into my work life. It’s not an excuse for lying, but it’s helpful context that I hope will enable me to cut out this behavior in the future.
Thanks again for answering this question, and a really sincere thanks to the commenters who helped with it.
There was an unexpected resolution to the issue. My supervisor and I joined a social organization that this person is an active member of, and ended up on her “team” for a bunch of recreational activities. As soon as we started really becoming friends, she stopped showing up at our office the way that she used to. Now she just comes over to talk about this club. Everything went better than expected!
4. I’m sick of having to do my slacker coworker’s projects (#2 at the link)
I wish I had a better update to the coworker who cried openly about too much work while she painted and goofed off, but I don’t. After talking to the manager about not being able to do her work and my own, she did a little better. For about two weeks.
I stayed later than usual, and caught her whipping out a coloring book when she thought we all had left (we have flexible scheduling and most people leave before 4pm). After that she stopped trying to hide it and went right back to arts and crafts at her desk. She also spent a lot of company time creating and organizing an office based Clue game that she had the department play for prizes (including typing out several pages of typo-filled “clues” everyday, creating wax sealed envelopes and physical crime scenes through out the office).
At this point in time, the department is running out of work to do, so I’m forced to help her out to stay busy. Combine that with a boss who appears to hate confrontation, it isn’t looking hopeful that something will be done about this.
First, thank you to everyone for your kind, supportive comments and advice. Even though I didn’t do anything wrong there’s still a tendency to think “what did I do to cause this?” and y’all really helped put in perspective that this was NOT about anything I did.
Despite the general consensus that I should elevate it to my manager, I decided not to. After a couple of weeks I got over the feeling of anxiety every time he talked to me and things were pretty normal.
However, this week I got a call from HR asking me to come and do an interview with them. I guess some accusations had been made against my coworker and they asked me about our working relationship and any interactions I had with him. I said pretty much what was in my original post. I think this all came to a head because he’s gunning for a promotion that would give him significantly more power than he has now. Apparently it wasn’t just me that had an issue with his behavior. Anyway, it feels nice to finally have all of that off my chest and on the record, and the way it worked out feels really appropriate. HR said that I probably won’t know the outcome of the investigation, but that I was allowed to inquire about it (with the caveat that the most likely response will be that the company “took appropriate action”). Thanks again to everyone!
Update to the update:
After interviewing quite a few more people, HR placed my coworker on administrative leave and then after a few weeks his name was deleted from our email/IM address book. His personal things were also being gathered from his office so there’s no other conclusion to make than that he was fired. There was a lot more going on than just the way he was treating me, which I gathered from the questions HR asked and the ensuing work gossip. He was incredibly rude, disrespectful, and downright mean and nasty to a lot of the shift workers (in contrast, he was generally pleasant to the salaried employees). The mood has shifted a lot here in the past few weeks – in a very positive way.
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updates: the affair causing work drama, I lied to my boss, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.
Click here to go see the bonus panel!
On the plus side, every time there's a cryptography advance I can do a version of this comic.
Pd(II)‐Catalyzed Enantioselective C(sp3)–H Activation/Cross‐Coupling Reactions of Free Carboxylic Acids
Pd(II)‐catalyzed enantioselective C(sp3)−H cross‐coupling of free carboxylic acids with organoborons has been realized using either mono‐protected amino acid (MPAA) ligands or mono‐protected aminoethyl amine (MPAAM) ligands. A diverse range of aryl‐ and vinyl‐boron reagents can be used as coupling partners to provide chiral carboxylic acids. This reaction provides an alternative approach to the enantioselective synthesis of cyclopropanecarboxylic acids and cyclobutanecarboxylic acids containing α‐chiral tertiary and quaternary stereocenters. The utility of this reaction was further demonstrated by converting the carboxylic acid into cyclopropyl amine without loss of optical activity.
We’re living smack dab in the middle of a construction zone this holiday season, so the halls we’re decking are cramped and quite a bit more dusty than they were last year, but I’m still loving it. For the last few years we’ve focused on a experiences during the holidays rather than a ton of gifts. We told the girls on Christmas morning last year about our Scandinavian trip with a big book about the area. It was magical to look at it together by the Christmas tree and talk about all the places we wanted to see! This year we’ll tell them about our next trip (any guesses where we’re off to this summer?!)
In the gift department, we have been giving the girls each five presents that they get to suggest to us. 1. Something they want, 2. something they need 3. something to wear 4. something to read and then 5. one present from Santa. It’s still a lot, but it really helps keep a lid on gifts and they somehow all feel more special! It’s worked really well for us the last few years. I’d love to hear what you all do for your gifting traditions this season
And now for the 2018 JUNIPER GIFT GUIDE! These are all items I have (or would love to own) and that I think would make really wonderful gifts this season. Happy shopping!
1. Flowers By Color Book – This specific encyclopedia of flowers is stunning, but coffee table books in general are a GREAT gift idea. Because they’re usually slightly more expensive than an item you’d buy for yourself on the regular without a good reason ($40+), coffee table books feel more luxurious than maybe they even are! Also, it gives the receiver something to look at while they thank you for the gift, thereby avoiding the super awkward minute of explaining why you bought them the gift after its opened. It’s basically like you have given two gifts with this gorgeous book! Look at you. You are a gift-giving genius.
2. Leather and Brass Bag – I’ve been carrying this bag for the last two months and I love it! Want to know why? It has COMPARTMENTS. I love different sections for receipts, keys, wallet, phone, etc. The bag is just big enough to fit a full-sized wallet (I have this one) but not so roomy that you accidentally tote around a five pound tape measure for two weeks until your shoulder starts aching at nights.
3. Le Labo Travel Rollers – Le Labo products feel expensive and special. These rollers are a great price though! There are two in this pack, so if you are feeling sassy, open the box, keep one for yourself and give the other to your bestie! Make it a gift topper on an amazing coffee table book!
4. Statement Earrings – It’s only been the last year or two that I started tiptoeing into the world of statement earrings. Simple clothes and bold jewelry feels really chic to me right now. Also, earrings feel a little more giftable than rings or necklaces!
5. Jade Roller – Yup, they live up to the hype. I like to pop mine in the fridge or freezer before rolling the puffiness out of my face in the morning or the headache out after a long day. Which reminds me of another great gift idea that I forgot to include in this round up graphic but will mention here. These blue-light blocking glasses are game changing! If I am good about wearing them all day I notice a huge difference in my eyes and the frequency/intensity of my headaches. Worth the $20 and they look cute too! :) I think a combo gift of the jade roller and these glasses would be a super thoughtful gift for friends that work long hours behind a screen!
6. Hair Refresher Spray – I use this powder dry shampoo religiously. I’ve found aerosol dry shampoo just doesn’t cut it for me, not to mention I get like five uses out of a bottle? Not cool. I’ll stick with my $12 powder dry shampoo that lasts me two months. And lately, I’ve been using a little of this Hair Refresher spray if I haven’t washed my hair in a couple of days. It smells AMAZING (like, really) and you only need a little bit.
7. Black Boots – I needed new black boots, snagged these a few weeks ago and they make me feel cool. They are often on sale and they are surprisingly affordable for the construction, style and brand! Recommend!
8. Striped Bow Hair Tie – I LOVE these bow hair ties! They’re cute in my girls’ hair for sure, but I also like wearing them in a loose half up style or just with a low pony and a hat. Super cute especially for just a few dollars.
9. Personalized Luggage Tag – Gorgeous color and material? Check. Personalized? Check. Travel-focused? Check! The perfect gift to give to your wife along with plane tickets to Paris or Tokyo! (Hint, hint, Michael!)
10. Dyson Hair Dryer – Have you tried it yet? I stayed at a fancy hotel recently that had one of these Dyson Hair Dryers in my room and I LOVED it. My current hair dryer is on its last leg, and I’ve got this one in my cart ready for when it finally kicks the bucket! :)
11. Classic Sunglasses – I’ll probably include these classic sunnies in every gift guide from here on because they’re just that good. I’ve managed to keep these ones safe for the past year, but even if I lost them I’d buy the exact same pair the same day. That is how much I love these sunglasses. I feel no need to have multiples in rotation. It’s a committed relationship.
12. Josef Albers in Mexico Book – If a friend gave me this art book, their cool factor would instantly jump up quite a few notches. Right?! Look at that cover. The color is even better in person and the inside is just as amazing and inspiring.
13. Instax Square Polaroid – It’s about time that Instax came out with a square polaroid photo size! The camera is supposed have a lot more features on this one too! I’m asking Santa for one of these.
14. Wide Brim Hat – You’ve probably seen me link to this affordable and gorgeous hat a couple times. It’s on sale so I snagged a couple more colors! I’m working on the design of our new master closet and I’m thinking I should try to incorporate some hat storage somewhere. Have you seen any cool ideas?
15. Black Levi’s 501s – I’ve been on a Madewell jeans kick for the last three or four years (just like the rest of the world), and I still really love them, but I grabbed a couple pairs of these Levi’s 501 jeans in the cropped 28″ inseam over Black Friday weekend and I have found a new favorite. They do wonders for the booty just like Madewell jeans, but they feel a lot more classic. Warning though, unlike Madewell who is VERY generous with their sizing, you’ll want to size up in Levi’s. There’s not a lot of stretch in these, but they REALLY hold their shape because of it! I’m about to order a pair of the vintage wash lighter blue while they’re 20% off!
16. Gold Rings Stack – I have recently been leaving my engagement ring at home and just wearing my wedding band, especially if I’m wearing a fun ring on my right hand. I have a collection of vintage turquoise rings that I love to wear but I also love these gold rings that come in a stack of five! It’s a statement but it’s still a simple look.
17. Lip Mask – Yup, still using it every night, and still LOVING it. I’m only about halfway through my little tub too. High fives for affordable, good products!
18. Rosehip Oil – Here’s another affordable, good product I’m still using every day and loving. I got my husband hooked on it too and the bottles are so affordable we each have our own. I choose it over coconut oil any day of the week!
19. Rosewater Spray – I love this spray, in every season it helps with dryness and gives a natural, dewy glow all day. Plus it makes you smell like a rose garden and who doesn’t want that?
20. Dusty Rose Knit Tennies – Just like how I’m branching outside my Madewell jeans, I’m also looking outside my Nike tunnel vision with running shoes. I like the fit of these Stella McCartney for Adidas tennies and that gorgeous dusty rose color gives me life, even when I’m dying on the treadmill.
21. Milk Bar Life Book – We all love Milk Bar. And after watching her on Chef’s Table, I love Christina Tosi and her approach to life and food. Really looking forward to checking out her new book and trying her recipes!
22. Homebody Sweatshirt – I’ve taken the Meyers Briggs Test a dozen times and each time the first letter in my results switch between I and E, depending on the year and my headspace while taking the test. Either way though, I’m obsessed with being home, snuggling with my kiddos and shutting out the world for at least a few hours of the day. It fills me up for sure. Needless to say, I love this cute Homebody sweatshirt and I love the lady that makes them.
23. High-waisted leggings – Thanks to the Buy Guide, I have fallen in LOVE with these $20 Lululemon dupes. They are high-waisted and flattering, but not so thick that you get overheated at the gym. My favorite part is the double phone pockets in the leg! I am not a fan of belt pockets or arm bands, but these are the perfect size that make my phone easily accessible but keep it in place. I have them in black and navy and can’t wait to get more! Never again will I pay $100+ for leggings!!
24. Sports Bras Value Pack – Same story with this sports bra! I used to run 30 miles a week and I miss being in that kind of shape. Running was the best therapy and stress reliever for me. I’ve been doing the Couch to 10k app for the past month or two and I’m starting to feel the switch over happen in my fitness, where it’s not as painful and where my body is starting to crave the activity! Finally! This bra has been great for running (because I should know better by now that sports bras that are great for yoga are NOT great for running!!!).
25. Rust Suede Moto Jacket – This suede jacket has been my favorite fashion purchase this year. I love it, I feel put together when I wear it and I know I’ll love it for years to come. I went up a size and was glad I did when it arrived!
26. 30oz Tumbler with Metal Straw – I read Girl, Wash Your Face earlier this year and I really liked it then, but I’ve especially enjoyed following Rachel Hollis on Insta since then. She does a program at the end of the year called the last 90 days where you try to end the year with a bang, so you’re in a good spot for the New Year before it actually starts. Every day you do just a few things to help you thrive in your day and drinking water is one of them. Half your weight in ounces. It sounds worse than it is. I’ve been using my metal tumbler with lots of ice and some fresh lemon or lime to mix it up and I’m feeling great! Right now just might be the most stressful month of my life/career and I’m not really feeling it the way I know I would have in years past. I think its the 5 To Thrive tips I’m taking from Rachel’s advice. You should join in if you haven’t started following her!
27. Wideleg Crop Pant -The cut and color of these wideleg pants is great on everyone! Every woman on my team has a pair and we all love them! I think they are pretty true to size, but I’d maybe go a size smaller if you’re slightly between sizes.
28. Impress Nails – Okay, this might stir up some controversy, but my friends at Classy Clutter told me about these press-on nails that are only a few dollars per set and that last about 10 days (which is about as long as I can get my gel nails to stay on). I’ve been using them for the past few months and I am blown away at how much healthier my nails have gotten after giving them a break from the constant gel manicures! You just stick them on clean nails and trim to your liking! I’m HOOKED.
29. Month’s Supply of Face Masks – These sheet masks are truly awesome, affordable and have become a favorite ritual I do a few times a week before bed, scrolling insta and watching The Office. It’s the small things, friends.
30. Hand Warmer + Portable Charger – Okay, I know I live in Arizona, but our 130 yr old brick building is CHILLY in the winter! We just started keeping these hand warmers around the studio to keep our typing fingers toasty and limber. Bonus points for it also being a portable phone charger! I would have used this thing to death when we lived in NYC!
31. Marie Kondo – I Marie-Kondoed my house up and down before we started this reno. I still have to work on the studio, but it was amazing to revisit the wonderful little book that so beautifully and simply describes the importance of using what we have and keeping only what we really love and use. I just bought this book called The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning and I’m excited to dive in.
32. Braided Leather Booties – The weather is mild enough here for these booties to be considered winter footwear and I love them! They’re flattering on the foot and super comfortable, though I’d definitely go up a size!
1. Record Player – I got Michael a record player for Christmas a couple years ago and I’m surprised at how much we all love and use it! We buy new records often and Michael and I love to go to used record stores on date nights.
2. Sigur Ros Album – This is one of my favorite bands (even more so after going to Iceland!) and it feels like all of their albums were meant to be listened to on vinyl!
3. Apple Earbuds – Michael is getting a pair of these for Christmas because I bought myself a pair at the airport recently and haven’t stopped raving about them since. They are so great for my runs too! There’s nothing worse than yanking out the cord accidentally.
4. Hilarious Adult Award Ribbons – Guys, these adult ribbon awards are so funny. I want to frame them for our home office because they make me giggle. :)
5. Leather iPhone Case + Wallet – Just the necessities! The slightly pebbled finish on this leather helps the color stay true and finish can be more easily cleaned than the leather cases from the Apple store.
6. Schrute Farms Sweatshirt – Michael and I started re-watching The Office before bed and I forgot just how funny that show is. It really holds up and warms the heart. I love this inexpensive sweatshirt that I’m planning to order for Michael (and then borrow for myself) :)
7. Beard Kit – Michael grew a beard last year and he really likes this kit! It comes with a balm and oil and a brush and comb.
8. Peeps Glasses Cleaner – Glasses are hard to keep clean, but Michael keeps one of these in his work bag and one in his car and they work really well! I might get one for myself to keep my sunglasses and blue-blockers fingerprint free! :)
9. Post Secret Book – Do you remember this book? I stumbled on it again recently and I loved it. The author left blank postcards in random places and asked people to anonymously share a secret they’ve never shared before. The submissions are raw and funny and often so heartfelt. I found myself tearing up several times while quickly browsing the book in my local used bookshop. I think it would make a wonderful gift.
10. 23 and Me – Michael and I got each other 23 and me DNA kits last year. It was SO exciting (and slightly terrifying) to get the reports back. We bought the upgraded version where they test you for some common genetic diseases and disorders. Thankfully we didn’t have any big surprises there! The ancestry report though was FASCINATING! I’m mostly Scandinavian (which I knew) but there were some big surprises, like I have some ancestors from Senegal! Wow! I also am 3% Native American! I’m looking forward to doing more family history and learning more about my family history. Our trip to see my great grandmother’s home in Sweden this summer lit a fire in me and I’m excited to keep learning and I know Michael feels the same after seeing his family history report. It was a very special gift!
11. Wireless Charger – Once you go wireless, it feels like such a burden to have to actually plug in your phone! ;)
12. Compression Eye Mask – We’ve got a couple of migraine sufferers in my extended family and I’ve heard really really good things about this compression mask!
13. Shiatsu Massager – This might be me imposing my own wishlist on to Michael, but I will definitely borrow this neck massager if he got one for Christmas! It has several thousand five star reviews, so I think it’s a safe gift purchase!
14. Tile Keyfinder -Not saying that my husband occasionally misplaces his keys (he does), but if he did, the Tile would be a miracle for us (it is).
15. Leather Key Ring – (To make the said keys even easier to find.)
16. Credit Card Survival Tool – Isn’t this cool?! All the guys I know would be VERY into this survival tool. And if the end of the world is actually as close as it has been feeling lately, maybe I’ll want one for myself. (because nothing says Merry Christmas like apocalypse planning!)
1. Wooden Zoo Puzzle – I’m really trying to limit the number of plastic toys we bring in the house and so I’m trying to only buy wood toys and books for Christmas. I love this wooden puzzle set of safari animals.
2. Balance Blocks Game – Another wooden toy that the whole family loves to play with. We had these sitting in a pretty bowl on a sideboard by our dining table because they’re fun to tinker with after meals while we’re all still talking.
3. Checkerboard Skateboard – All my girls are very into skating right now and they fight over the one board we have. I like the checkerboard pattern on this one (and that it’s so affordable, in case this is really just a passing phase!).
4. Scratch Off Travel Map – We’ve made it a goal to visit a new continent every year and I love the idea of hanging this Scratch Off travel map in our playroom. It starts out black and white and the countries under the scratch off material are all in color. Such a cute idea, right?
5. Wooden Doctor Kit Toy – In case you can’t bring yourself to buy plastic character toys but your three year-old daughter loves watching Doc McStuffins.
6. Bloxels – My girls are in a coding club at our local library and one of the parents suggested this game! It combines tech and arts and crafts and I’m excited to try it with my kids!
7. Mustard Kids Suitcase – I mean, I really just want one for myself. This little suitcase would make weekend trips up to my parents house all the more exciting!
8. Giant Maps Book – This book is STUNNING. It’s been a favorite of ours and has really fueled the girls’ desires to see the world. It’s also sparked a lot of important conversations about the rest of the world and how truly, truly lucky we are.
9. Today Book – Margot is almost four and she is the perfect age for this beautiful, interactive book. It’s almost like a Choose Your Own Adventure book for toddlers and younger children, but with everyday objects and tasks. It’s a really well done book!
10. One Thousand Things Book – Another perfect Margot-aged book that helps with those budding vocabularies! There are a thousand unique items hidden in the pages that your child can search for and find and share with you. It’s cute and fun to do if you’re sick of reciting the same bedtime books for the seven millionth time.
11. Wooden Tool Box Toy – Boys and girls alike would love this beautifully made wooden toy! I love that it comes with a pretty box where every toy tool has a designated spot!
12. Moon Nightlight – This is hands down the prettiest nightlight I’ve ever stumbled across. It’s like a little sculpture for your child’s nightstand or dresser. I love it and would totally put one in my room if I didn’t need like the blackest darkness to fall asleep every night. :)
13. Kid Bath Bombs with Surprise Toys – Bath bombs are trendy, yes, but they are also the answer to many of life’s problems, even for kids. A good bath or shower and early bedtime fixes 90% of life’s problems, am I right? What I love about these bath bombs is they are colorful but don’t stain my tub and they DON’T HAVE GLITTER (how and why is that a thing!?). But most importantly they have little toys inside that make the bath time ritual like opening one giant LOL surprise doll without the expense, mess and confusing messaging about sexualized babies? I don’t know how long the novelty of these bath bombs will last with my two youngest daughters, but I’ll take any help I can get these days and will be stuffing their stockings with bath bombs!
14. Jotblock Watercolor Set – I love that this watercolor set is semi-portable! Perfect for road trips and for keeping on bedside tables. My 11 year-old will LOVE getting this on Christmas morning.
15. Caboodles Organizer – Did you die like I did seeing Caboodles on the end cap of your local Target?! I literally gasped out loud and yelled at my girls OH MY GOSH THIS WAS SUCH AN IMPORTANT PART OF MY CHILDHOOD!!!! I worked so hard babysitting to save enough money for my own Caboodles organizer. It was peach and teal and perfect all over. I filled it with velvet scrunchies and green and pink tubes of mascara, Dr. Pepper lip smackers and a super heavy hairbrush with the world’s stiffest bristles that were all missing the little plastic bead things on the end so it felt like you were basically brushing your hair with razor blades. A treasure box I tell you and my girls should all want one!
16. Harry Potter Gift Set – Okay, so, yes, this is an expensive gift to give a kid, but this collector’s edition of the Harry Potter series is REALLY cool too. I’d even go out on a limb here and call it an heirloom collection. Your kid’s kids will cherish this set so if you can afford it and your child is old enough to respect and appreciate how nice they are, I’d totally go for it.
17. Christmas Jammies – Do you give your kids Christmas jammies every year? We used to wrap them up and let the girls open them and wear them on Christmas Eve, but this year I think I’m going to give them their Christmas jammies NOW so they can get some good use out of them before the big night! I love these old school button down separates!
18. Wooden Dollhouse – We bought an old dollhouse on Craigslist last year with the plan to fix it up. It’s not in terrible shape so the girls have been playing with it and it’s fine. Maybe someday I’ll have enough time to really fix it up! If I had it to do over again though, I would have bought something beautiful and easy and toddler proof like this wooden dollhouse! It comes with a ton of furniture and accessory options!
19. Fuzzy Socks and Eye Mask – These would make the cutest stocking stuffers. There are a couple of different variations too – like a panda and a unicorn. I like to buy extras of cute and cheap gifts like these to have on hand that go on a high shelf in my closet where I stash small gifts for last minute birthday parties. It comes in handy so often but whatever you do, guard the secret of the shelf with your life!
20. Red Polka Dot Tea Set – You know what’s a really terrible idea? A ceramic play tea set. The pieces shatter or even just chip and you’ve got a problem on your hands! With four daughters, I’ve bought a play tea set or ten in my day, and this metal one has become a family favorite. It’s tiny (which is actually perfect for minimizing spills/mess) and adorable and indestructible.
21. The Little Prince Pop-Up Book – Okay, this book is a serious masterpiece. The illustrations and pop-ups are next level and they help tell the story so beautifully! My kids love it and I do too. We try to read to whole book together once or twice a year over a few nights.
1. Black Bread Board with Double Handles – The double handle here makes this super affordable bread board feel much more expensive than it is. The two handles make it a great layering piece on a larger more traditional round board (or like #20 below!).
2. Round Bamboo Tray – Perfect for any coffee table or console top, wrap a book and a candle or the towels below and set it in this tray with a big bow around it and you’ve just taken simple gifts to the next level!
3. Black and White Turkish Towels – No one would guess these towels are from Amazon!
4. Match Striker – I love getting candles for gifts, but adding candle accessories takes the gift to the next level! I love this handmade match striker!
5. Wick Trimmer & Candle Snuffer – Same as above! This makes a great addition to a fancy candle! The snuffer especially is the best. Who wants to ruin all the great smell you got from the candle with a bunch of smoke?
6. Cinderose Candle – I’m really impressed with this candle! Like with a super expensive candle brand (like Byredo or Dyptique), the scent lingers for days. This woodsy, smoky rose scent is my very favorite!
7. Rust Runner – We love this rug! I used the 8×10 version in the Gentry Project living room and the runner in this kitchen project. It’s affordable and gorgeous!
8. Super Affordable Trestle Dining Table – About $600 is a CRAZY GOOD price for a table this pretty and that’s made from solid wood. Click through the listing photos to see a close up of the wood grain. It’s so much more expensive looking – like a Restoration Hardware table. And I love that you could get it in just a few days, so you have time to spruce up your dining room before hosting Christmas dinner!
9. Juniper Home Collection Lumbar Pillow – Still my favorite way to dress a bed without a million pillows! As part of the Last 90 Days program thing I was just talking about I have been trying to make my bed every morning consistently. This lumbar pillow makes it a quick and easy process and I feel like I have started my day right.
10. Favorite Planter – We use this planter a lot too and always get a million questions about where to buy it! It’s just from Amazon! Easy and so cute!
11. Leather and Brass Wall Frame – featuring “Huddle” by Jenny’s Print Shop – I love this frame and HUDDLE has become one of my favorite prints in the shop. Did you know we also offer gift cards for the holidays?!
12. Cream Chunky Knit Throw – I am OBSESSED with this throw. It is chunky and soft and well-made and absolutely gorgeous. If you’re over your sofa but want a stop gap before buying a new one, this throw would be a great neutral addition!
13. West Elm Knock-Off Leather Office Chair – I’m not sure what is happening here, but somehow this Amazon chair is an EXACT replica of the West Elm Slope chair that is twice the price! We have a few of these from West Elm at the studio and will be ordering more from the Amazon seller as our team is growing.
14. Mother of Pearl Bottle Opener – I don’t drink, but a bottle opener is handy to have in any home and makes a great gift for friends that do! I love mother of pearl together with brass!
15. Copper Pepper Mill – This copper pepper mill is the perfect gift for moms (me included)!! It feels so luxe!
16. Mustard Mudcloth Pillow – My local friend owns Sew + Cloth and her pillows are my FAVORITE. I love so many of her pillows and this gold mudcloth she recently added to her shop is at the top of my list.
17. Best Brass Box – I’m a sucker for little trinkets to layer on top of desks or on stacks of coffee table books and this little brass box is amazing. The BEST engraving is the name of brand, but I love it as a gift that makes a general sweet statement – Best Mom/Dad/Aunt/Uncle. Best Boss. Best Friend.
18. Firewood Holder – This is another item that looks way more expensive than it actually is! I love the matte black finish and modern shape.
19. Faux Ficus Branches – Faux branches are a great way to step into the world of faux plants without committing to a 8′ fiddle leaf for hundreds of dollars. These branches are only $20 and look super realistic! For an even fuller look, I’d order two bundles and put them in a HUGE vase for a console table or a center hall table.
20. Wood and Marble Bread Board – Bread boards make a great hostess gift, just be sure to bring a little (or a lot of) cheese with you! Try the honey goat cheese at Trader Joe’s! Or some camembert with fig jam. Yum!
21. Sonos – Our cute Tivoli at the studio has been acting up the past couple of months so I think we’re going to switch over to Sonos system. I’ve only heard amazing reviews about this speaker and the one I linked to here is gift-appropriate and on the affordable side!
22. Dyson Vacuum – I got my Dyson stick vacuum last year for Christmas and I can’t believe I lived in a world with corded vacuums for so much of my life before that! If you haven’t jumped ship yet, NOW IS THE TIME. Life is too short for vacuum bags and cords.
23. White Fluted Vase – Another favorite hostess gift? Fresh flowers in a pretty vase. This one looks incredible with literally any flower you can find even at the grocery store.
24. Hygge & West Home Book – I love the people from Hygge & West and their first design book did not disappoint! Beautiful images of real homes that look lived in and so cozy!
25. Rust Waffle Throw – Rust is my favorite accent color to use in rooms these days! This super inexpensive throw looks great on a sofa or chair or thrown at the end of the bed. It’s lightweight and delicate but still so soft.
26. Striped Planter – This little planter (that could also work as a vase) is SO pretty and so unique with the loose, organic blue stripes! And it’s on super sale right now. Win-win.
27. String Shopping Bags – I love having these bags around my house and in my car! They work great in a pinch for toting snacks to the soccer field or to use as grocery bags!
28. Velvet Hangers – I have these hangers in the beige color for our closet and you just can’t beat the 50 for $20 price! They make our small master closet actually usable and I love that all of my tops and dresses stay put!
29. Portable Steamer – I’ve bought a few fancy steamers in my day and none of have worked as long and as well as this little steamer that fits perfectly in a cabinet in your laundry room or closet!
30. Terrazzo Coasters – This is an affordable, non-committal way to get on the terrazzo train!
31. – Pressed Glass Frames – I love little brass frames for pressed flowers. I love the idea of collecting little flowers and leaves from a special place, pressing them and framing for a gift.
Amidyl Radical Directed Remote Allylation of Unactivated sp3 C‐H Bonds via Organic Photoredox Catalysis
The development of visible‐light‐mediated allylation of unactivated sp3 C‐H bonds is reported. The remote allylation was directed by the amidyl radical, which was generated by photocatalytic fragmentation of a pre‐functionalized amide precursor. Both aromatic and aliphatic amide derivatives could successfully deliver the remote C‐H allylation products in good yields. A variety of electron deficient allyl sulfone systems could be used as δ‐carbon radical acceptor.
An article at The Hill notes that "North Korea's nuclear threat is nothing compared to its cyber warfare capabiities." "Cyber warfare levels the global playing field in a way nuclear weapons can’t for North Korea. The risk-return calculation for hacking versus nukes is exponentially different."
"A new study, published in the British Medical Journal, says there's "strong evidence" that the longer we spend in education the more likely we are to need glasses."
Photo dramatically illustrates the importance of a firedoor.
"Why All Baking Instructions Want Us To Heat Ovens To 350°F"
"The Chief Executive of children’s charity Barnardo's has claimed that as many as 15,000 children could have been illegally adopted in Ireland."
Video of a perpetual motion machine.
The Apollo 13 astronauts never said “Houston we have a problem.”
Just for fun, explore the subReddit "What is this thing?"
"...in many cases, the medicines your doctor prescribes are cheaper than the co-pay your health insurance charges, which means that if you just buy the meds instead of charging them to insurance, you save money. "
"An Indonesian woman has been found in the belly of a giant [23-foot] python after the swollen snake was captured near where she vanished while tending her vegetable garden, police said on Saturday."
If a service dog without a person approaches you, it means the person is down and in need of help.
Medieval monasteries branded their books (pix at the link).
In the game of petanque, "to fanny" is to shut out the opponent. "When a player loses 13 to 0, he is said to fanny ("il est fanny", he's fanny, or "il a fait fanny", he made fanny) and must kiss the bottom of a girl named Fanny. Virtually everywhere in Provence where pétanque is played, you will find a picture, woodcarving, or pottery figure of a bare-bottomed lass named Fanny."
"Gaslighting" in the modern era: "People who help domestic abuse survivors say that they are facing an epidemic of women whose abusers are torturing them by breaking into their home smart devices, gaslighting them by changing their thermostat settings, locking them out of their homes, spying on them through their cameras."
"Fierce yet adorable, Humboldt martens have been described as the west coast’s own Tasmanian devils.... But there are some dangers that the marten cannot withstand – such as marijuana cultivation."
"Using data collected by NASA’s late-great Cassini space probe, scientists have detected traces of complex organic molecules seeping out from Enceladus’ ice-covered ocean. It’s yet another sign that this intriguing Saturnian moon has what it takes to sustain life."
"When you stay in a hotel room and there is a Bible, open the Bible and flip through the pages, sometimes Christians leave cash for each other as a 'pay-it-forward', but you get free money whatever your beliefs."
How to save a wet book.
Romansh is one of Switzerland’s four national languages.
The outcome of the "marshmellow test" is probably strongly influenced by the household income of the child being tested.
"Most of our mainstream political discourse on “fighting inequality” has revolved – for years now – around the more narrow goal of eliminating extreme poverty. Few of our elected leaders ever dare suggest that maybe we ought to think about eliminating extreme wealth as well."
Irony of a pair of signs next to a self-checkout machine.
Water-rich minerals exist between 410 and 660 kilometers below the surface of the earth, in a region called the transition zone, sandwiched between the upper and lower mantles. " If we consider all of the planet’s surface water as one ocean, and there turn out to be even a few oceans underground, it would change how scientists think of Earth’s interior. But it also raises another question: Where could it have all come from?"
"An Oregon woman who disappeared a week ago has been rescued after surviving at the bottom of a Californian coastal cliff by drinking water using the hose from the radiator of her car which had veered off the road."
"More Movies Should Show Teen Acne."
Video of every Minnesota Vikings touchdown in the 2017-2018 season (15-minute video).
"...the oldest direct evidence of bread found to date, predating the advent of agriculture by at least 4,000 years."
"When a young Birmingham college student's car broke down the night before he was supposed to start a new job, he didn't panic. At least not for long. Instead, Walter Carr walked. From Homewood to Pelham. All night. In the dark. 20 miles or more." His employer rewarded him by giving him a car.
3-minute video of a company in China that makes talking sex dolls. A lot of Westworld vibes here.
"Within the space of a week, two women were impaled by giant umbrellas while enjoying a trip to the beach."
"The largest surviving chained library in the world is at Hereford Cathedral in the UK, where all the books are still kept under lock and key in their original chains. It has been rebuilt in its original arrangement, exactly as it had been from 1611 to 1841." (video at the link)
Take a look at this: the global seismic network shows worldwide earthquake tremors in real time (toggle for day/week/month). The area around Anchorage Alaska is lit up like a Christmas tree.
A 6-minute study of the "visual footprint" of Darth Vader in the three original Star Wars movies. Some interesting info.
"Suicides may be greatly underreported in skydivers." A report in a forensic science journal.
A man and his mother both became infected with rat lungworms after eating raw centipedes.
Embedded images from this book:
Today’s post is one for my fellow organic chemists to wonder over. This new paper from a group at the University of Bari describes a palladium-catalyzed coupling reaction of alkyllithiums and aryl halides. And that in itself is not that remarkable – it’s not easy to get that combination to go, not least because you might end up with an alkyl halide and an aryllithium instead, but (as the paper itself takes care to note, the Feringa group has published a series of reactions in this category.
What makes this one unusual is the way the reaction is run: you take your aryl halide and palladium bis(tributylphosphine) catalyst and stir them in water with sodium chloride added. Then you run the speed up to a vigorous vortex, in the open air, and quickly add a solution of the alkyllithium in a nonpolar solvent (such as cyclohexane). In about 20 seconds you’re done, coupling in up to 98% yield. Yes, you’re adding an alkyllithium to water, and what’s more, you want to be sure to do it in the open air (deoxygenating the system lowers the yields). You need the chloride salt additive, too.
Now that’s a surprise. Most organic chemists picture the quenching of a reactive reagent like an organolithium as pretty much a diffusion-controlled process – the first water atom it sees gets reacted with. But apparently you can get this coupling to go, in water, but get it to go in a Pd-catalyzed manner, which means that some of those organolithiums are having to wait their turn to react. The main way I can picture this happening is inside small droplets of the organic solvent. The relative concentrations of the reactants must be pretty high inside those and there’s a high surface area to aid in diffusion – you certainly can’t rule out some effect at the solvent interfaces as well, and if the droplets are small enough, they’re basically all interface. Meanwhile, the oxygen present is helping in some sort of oxidation process to keep an active catalyst, and the chloride is having an effect on the active catalyst structure as well (a phenomenon that’s been noted in more conventional reactions).
But it’s not a reaction that I would have thought to try! If you switch to methanol, all you get is dehalogenation of the aryl compound. If you try other Pd catalysts, the whole conversion breaks down. Secondary organolithiums work, as do heteroaryl halides. So if you’ve got a quick substitution to do and you have the lithium reagent on hand, give it a try – and come back here to the comments to tell everyone how it worked (!)
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Thanks to all the awful people on twitter who told me about the bags and bags of crap we've left on the moon.