Another 10 Sales to Check Out…

The sales just keep getting better… in addition to the ones I rounded up yesterday, here are some other ones going on:

-------Sponsored Links--------

Piperlime: 40% off at the Twice-Yearly Lime Tag sale
Rent the Runway: Up to 90% off dresses (with delivery by NYE)
ShopBop: Amazing sales, including Alexander Wang, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch, Diane von Furstenberg, and more
J.Crew: An extra 20% off the final sale with code MUSTSHOP
LOFT: 40% off + free shipping with code SHOP40
Madewell: 40% off sale + free shipping on orders over $100
Smart Bargains – 75% off at the Year End Clearance Sale
Amazon: Great year-end deals – up to 70% off
ASOS: Up to 50% off


  1. is there a website that will help me figure out whether making a $2500 tax deductible payment on something will make a financial difference? Not sure whether to scrape together the $ before the new year or if it won’t make a difference if I pay it after.

    • You have to know youre margeinal tax rate, and then see if taking it down by $2.5K will take you down to the lower margeinal rate, but even if it does not, you will still pay tax on $2500 less income, and if you are in NYC and you have any meaneingful income, that should translate into at least a cash flow saveings of about $10K, or 40% after Fed, State and NYC taxes are considered.

      I was NOT the #1 person in Corporete Tax for NOTHING! and I Dated Fooey man Alan, a CPA. As he used to say, go for it, woman, you have the POWER!!!!!!

      • I made about 45k this year, donated approx. 5k to charities (have receipts), put 5k into a Roth IRA (if that matters), 1k in interest in student loans. I think that might be it that matters for taxes… not sure how to figure out if the 2.5k will make a difference for me.

        Coming up with 2.k would be a hardship for sure so I don’t want to do it if it makes no difference but if it’ll really make a difference on my taxes, I’ll figure out how.

        • It sounds like you are trying to figure out whether you should itemize or go with the standard deduction for your taxes.

          I think Turbo Tax and H&R block both of have refund estimators (I googled “tax return estimator 2012″) that me be a good place to start. Or a tax calculator. Efile seems to have one that looks helpful (no endorsements – just a quick google search).

          • The standard deduction for 2011 for a single person is $5,800. Is this $2,500 another Sch. A deduction (i.e., more charitable contributions, taxes, etc?) Or is it something else? If you only have $5,000 of Sch. A deductions, you are not getting any tax benefit for your charitable contributions.

          • will try those, thanks…

            (The $2500 for school is a specific deduction for NY state residents)

  2. (separating questions so it’s easier to respond)

    Anyone have tips on finding side work I can do from home? I have experience as a professional writer, editor, researcher, and read very fast. Am going to be staying home with the pup for a while but a bit of side income would sure be nice.

    • another anon :

      My mother does typing at home, but it’s a PITA. She’s always chasing people around for money.

    • Craigslist? Also I seem to recall you are a social worker – if you worked with kids, is a site where people look for nannies/babysitters, which would earn you some cash.

      For your other question, try Mint or LearnVest.

      • good memory… my business cards list me as “licensed social worker, writer, educator, public speaker, activist” all of which I’ve done professionally (why choose just one thing, right?! lol) Will try those sites, thanks, E!

        • I’ve heard of people using with some sucess. No personal experience.

          • I’ve heard good things about E-lance as well, but when I tried, I could never really figure out how to make it work in any way that would be worth it. But it’s probably still worth checking out. Good luck.

            Kat, if you’re reading, this would make a really good post topic.

    • my ex-husband did a fair amount of consulting when he was between jobs. He did writing and editing for a fairly large foundation. They didn’t have a large staff so they needed extra people when they had projects going on. It also led to referrals for other things.

    • Yo K, I have about 150 or so novels I always meant to sell but never got around to doing it (I’m guessing they’d fetch around $1-$2 each). Wanna sell them? You get to keep 100% of the profit. I just feel insanely guilty holding on to them and stupid for giving them away for free when really, I’m the moron holding on to hundreds of novels I’m never gonna read again.

    • My dad builds websites for small businesses. He finds his clients via Basically, you bid on projects.

    • I think there are boards (other than Craigslist) where people post small projects they need help with (often I think involving research & writing), and contractors can bid on them. Sorry, I forget what they’re called, but googling around might lead you to them. It’s part of the general out-sourcing movement…

      Also, maybe you could be a ‘personal assistant’ via a website that offers the same? Again, I think many of the tasks require research/ writing/ collecting quotes for service X/ staying on hold with Comcast or whatever, so you wouldn’t have to leave your pup.

    • Try Google > About Google > Jobs > US > Multiple Locations > Customer Support > Ads Quality Rater (especially if you read a foreign language and know much about the culture). I did this on the side for about a year to make extra cash. It’s through a temp agency – there was no interview or anything just an offer, some paperwork and then assignments. It’s sort of mindless; you are really just checking out potential Google ads and their links. It was easy to do while watching TV or a movie, but it did require a bit of grammar/editing knowledge to catch mistakes. Good luck!

    • I did editing (primarily for ESL students) and some tutoring/presentation prep while I was in med school. I set up a tutoring-related gmail account and posted flyers with services offered and contact info on local college campuses (sometimes included rates, never my name). It worked out well – charged ~$35/hr and never had an issue getting paid. Could have set it up via PayPal and then never have had to meet editing clients in person.

    • WorkingGirl :

      Check out TaskRabbit.

  3. If you have editing experience using APA format, you may be able to edit for dissertations / theses. Might contact local universities for more information or to get on a list. I have heard editing can pay $6-10 a page, depending on your skill set.

  4. There’s an article in today’s WSJ regarding the Clarisonic and other similar products. My dad actually found it and brought it out for the family to read.

    • I just got my mia! So freaking excited. Not even sure why. It’s charging as we speak (or, rather, type). Instructions say to charge full 24 hours before first use, so trying to contain my anticipation. Will attempt to gratify my excitement by reading the WSJ article in the meantime. Thanks, Bunkster and Bunkster’s dad :)

      • Anonymous :

        Mine came on Christmas eve! Not sure if I’m imagining it but I swear I’m seeing/feeling results already!!!

        • Its not your imagination. I noticed results after one day of use. Its amazing. My skin is remarkably clearer, cleaner and brighter.

        • Ballerina Girl :

          Ooh which one? The Clarisonic? Or the Olay Pro-x?

          • Anonymous :

            I want one but need to figure out the outlet situation. They are so much cheaper in the US but I am afraid I will blow the charger if I try and use it with an adapter in the UK. Anyone have advice?

          • As long as you have the proper adaptor you should be fine.

          • Anon, it will work with an adaptor but it’s simple enough to change the plug.

          • Anonymous :

            I went w the Mia – cashed in some birchbox points and used their $20 off a $75+ purchase coupon code (bblove – good through the end of the month) with free shipping so it was actually a decent price – totally worth it!

  5. if I can’t brag here, where can I brag… thanks to yesterday morning’s excellent discounts at NM (50% off sale price), I came home with $2700-worth of merchandise for $790. Excited to wear my new outfits but with the limited population in the office this week I think they’ll have to wait to make a debut :)

  6. AnonInfinity :

    Does anyone here subscribe to the Harvard Business Review?

    The online version is $20 more than the print version. Does anyone know what the “online only” content is and whether it’s worth the extra?

    • Alan had a supscription to this magazine, and I NEVER looked at it, so I would VOTE that it is NOT worth it. FOOEY!

      Mabye if you get it ONLINE, you can access it from an IPHONE, then it would be better, b/c you would not have to wait for it to come in the MAIL.

      Otherwise, I say just get PEOPLE magazine. I will read that.

    • phillygirlruns :

      my husband gets the HBR. no idea on the additional content, but for me, the extra $20/yr is worth it just to not have to throw out four thousand paper magazines after he’s done reading them.

    • This was a marketing case study, to encourage people to sign up for both print and online.

  7. Anonamouse :

    I posted a while back about balancing work and a potential baby – thank you all for your advice. Last Wednesday, we got a (somewhat unexpected) positive pregnancy test! We had decided to TTC in January but were careless during a time I did not think was in my ovulation window early this month, and viola! Baby time!
    My husband is absolutely over the moon, but, despite really wanting kids, I’ve been on a spectrum of freaked out, excited, happy, and cranky over all the things I’ll miss over the next nine months. Is this normal?? I feel so terribly guilty for feeling anything less than 100% thrilled at this time.

    • Congratulations! I’m not there yet, but when I think about what it will be like, I’m pretty sure that that freaked out thing and feeling down about what you’ll miss is normal. I know that I would/will feel that way!

    • Don’t feel guilty! Its a time of huge change, and I think its completely okay not to be 100% thrilled – there’s a lot of things to get use to. It always takes me a little bit of time to get used to big changes in plans. It sounds like this was something you were open to, but a bit surprised by the timing, so I think you’ll even out emotionally (as much as you can with the hormones) with a little bit of time. I think its okay to let yourself grieve a bit for all those things you won’t be doing – just as long as you acknowledge the good things that are happening too.


    • When pregnancy and children are concerned, it’s always normal to freak out a little bit. My big freak-outs came later on during my first pregnancy, when I realized- Holy, CRAP, this baby has to come out of me and it is going to hurt. Like a lot! But, as they say, it really is all worth it.


    • Congratulations!! I absolutely think that’s normal. My baby is now 3 1/2 months old and when I first found out I was pregnant (the first month we were TTC) I felt the same mix of emotions you did. I think my very first thought was “OMG we’re not ready!” It’s scary because everything is so new and you have no idea what’s going to happen and how your pregnancy/labor are going to go. As nona said, it may take some time to get used to all the changes that are going to come, but I have no doubt you’ll get more excited the farther along into your pregnancy you get, especially when you first hear the baby’s heartbeat or see the first ultrasound pictures. And, as elz said, it is all absolutely worth it! Here’s to a healthy, uneventful pregnancy.

    • Look at it this way: you don’t have to miss alcohol for a single holiday season! Nice timing:)

    • Congratulations!

      Don’t drink the Stepford wife-mother Kool-Aid that says you have to be insanely, rictus-grin-wearing, happy 100% of the time. Interesting how there’s a whole dogma out there that’s basically: Woman must let everyone and everything take precedence over it, and do it with a smile or else, she’s evil. Cue Rebecca West quote…

      There are huge impending changes, it’s natural to feel some trepidation, and concern. It just means you’re thoughtful and responsible, and that your baby will be very lucky to have a Mom like you! Cheers!!

      • “take precedence over her” – I mean. Oof. This is what happens when you’re at the near ghost-town offices despite being exhausted from all the Christmas stuff.

    • Congrats!! No worries – it’s totally normal! It’s a natural reaction and that reaction is also probably intensified by your pregnancy hormones going haywire. Husband and I tried for a long time and when we finally did get pregnant, I was so excited. But, I was also terrified and a little sad at giving up alcohol (wine) and so many foods that I love for 10 months. Being pregnant and having a baby has a profound, immediate impact on a woman’s life.

      (I was also a little sad about all the fun events and trips that I had planned in the near future where I wouldn’t be able to drink. Maybe it’s rationalization on my part, but I think it’s completely normal.)

    • I think this is normal. Not having conceived yet (but seriously planning for it), I will occasionally get moments where I question the decision to have kids, “do I want to give up scuba diving for 9 months? What about the ~18 years of not sleeping in?” and all sorts of other questions. But, then I remember that I truly want children more than any of those other concerns. I think if you didn’t have concerns and worries, then you aren’t being “real” to yourself.

      Congratulations on your pregnancy, and all the life changes it will entail.

      • karenpadi :

        Giving up scuba diving for 9 months is a big worry for me too. :) Alcohol, fine. Certain cheeses, fine. Deli meats, fine. Sushi, not fine, but I can deal. Scuba? Real hesitation.

        The kicker is that I only get to dive about once a year anyway.

        • Anonymous :

          Why can’t you dive while pregnant? I’ve seen pregnant women run marathons and do all kinds of other athletic stuff – is it because scuba is more dangerous?

          • I would guess its the pressure?

          • It’s not really about the pressure, but more about the toxicity of the gases you breathe while you dive. Short answer is, we can “offgas” any toxicity (oxygen, nitrogen, etc) when they are too high in our blood streams, but baby doesn’t have the ability to offgas, because they can’t exhale.

          • Anonymous :

            You can snorkle. I was terrified when I got pregnant and I was 33 years old. Twelve years later and he is the best thing that ever happened to me. I would not trade one day, even the bad days (yes, we have them and wow, he has been moody and bratty lately) for not having my son in my life.

        • I am 4 months now. Your reaction sounds normal. I was trying to glad on the one hand it happened, but honestly the past 4 months have been mostly miserable. I just haven’t felt well at all for a parade of reasons/symptoms, and balancing work + work travel made it especially hard. But now over the holidays, while still feeling uncomfortable, i can at least appreciate how great my situation is (husband, jobs, etc.) and we are excited about having the baby. The workdays are about getting through the day for me. I accepted early on it wasn’t fun, and I miss my old life a lot, and it isn’t possible to do the physical things I truly enjoy. But I trust the collective wisdom of the world that it’ll be worth it, it was my choice, we have a good set up, and hey, it is what it is: I am preganant and it isn’t coming out til it’s ready. I had a bad miscarriage scare so was relieved when it continued and got well on track, despite feeling crappy and exhausted. Good luck to you, keep us posted how it goes!

          • Anonamouse :

            Thanks, everyone, for the reassurance. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone! I think I was a bit brainwashed by other women I know who were really aching for a baby, whereas I felt more…I don’t know how to put it, but balanced? I’ve always felt that I would really enjoy being a parent, that I would relish the interaction with my child, and that I would love seeing my husband be a father, but I’ve never felt that I HAD to have a baby or that I would be unhappy if things worked out that we were not able to have children, for one reason or another. I feel like we are in a good spot right now for a child (and one month one way or another makes no real difference) but I guess I was never “baby crazy”.

            I just got back from having my second blood draw to test how my betas are multiplying, so my fingers are crossed that the news will be good!

        • My obgyn swears that sushi is generally not any riskier than chicken. I’ve successfully tested her theory through 2 pregnancies.

          • 2 plus two mom :

            My kids are 22, 20, 6 and 4. For the first two, we had little of the dietary warnings that we do now. For the second two, I was pickier about the sushi, and ate salmon more regularly than I do in non-pregnant life. If you eat food from more reliable sources/more pasteurization in play, you risk is lower. Nothing is guaranteed, ever, even before you were pregnant, so don’t let the variance in risk kill your joy.

            And for margaritas, the lime popsicles that Edy’s makes are “almost” as good as the drink.

    • This could so be me right now. I found out in early Dec. that #2 was on the way and am also not excited. Same situation – was careless late in my cycle, thinking I was in the clear, but nope! Part of me feels really dumb for being careless and I’m mad at myself because I let something “out of my control” happen, that I should have been able to control. We’re married, were going to stop preventing sometime in the next 2-4 months, etc., so it’s not the worst thing, the timing is just a bit off and I’m disappointed.
      Like yours, my husband is super excited and is starting to be bothered by the fact that I’m not excited at all. I didn’t want to tell our family at Christmas because I didn’t want to have to pretend I’m excited about it. I know in the long run, everything will be fine. But in the short term, I’m not happy about it and am, like you, feeling so guilty about my feelings.
      So no, you’re not alone.

    • Bursting out :

      Heck yeah! Even though we were TTC for 2+ years, when it finally happened, all the fun things in my life flashed before my eyes, and all I could focus on was not getting to do some of my favorite things: hottubbing, drinking, eating sushi, adventure sports, etc.

      Being pregnant is a HUGE emotional rollercoaster, even when the pregnancy is wanted, planned, and desired. It changes your plans, your body, your relationships… no way to be 100% psyched 100% of the time.

      Now, with just 8 weeks to go, I am downright panicked!!!

    • CP in Seattle :

      Congrats! It is a scary time but it’s also wonderful and exciting (this coming from someone who absolutely HATES pregnancy). The end result will totally blow your mind. You can’t even fathom how wonderful it is to have a child until you have one.

      That said, I feel that women are guilted into giving up too many things while pregnant. You can follow the “books” to a T and be paranoid about every little thing you do or eat or you can just relax and enjoy your pregnancy. Babies are tougher than you think and people have been having healthy pregnancies without all the crazy “do’s” and “don’ts.”

      I am six months pregnant with my second and haven’t felt that I’ve had to give up much of anything. Maybe I’m just boring to begin…. Most soft cheeses are pastuerized now and, therefore, totally safe. Instead of giving up deli meat, jsut nuke it in the microwave to kill any bacteria (the .0000001 percent chance that it actually is problematic). I occassionally drink half a glass of beer/wine- I know this is controversial but, personally, I’m fine with a tiny bit now and then. I run and exercise regularly. I take hot baths (no hot tubs though!). My baby and I are both very healthy and I’m happy that I still get to do most of the things I enjoy!

      • I am so happy to hear these sentiments. I am not knocking anyone that takes every possible precaution, but it exhausts me to think about having to constantly monitor every little thing I do, when I know that my mom and many other mothers before her had perfectly healthy, intelligent, strong children despite all the “no-nos” they didn’t know about back then.

        • well… this poster was lucky all went well for her so far. My mother said similar things to me, and I reminded her that in the past, there were also MUCH higher rates of women dying or having complications during the childbirth + lost babies and babies with problems.

          I tried to act ‘normal’ at first.. when I tried dancing at 8 weeks (my most beloved activity and release) my spotting from a hemorrhage increased. When I rested per doc’s suggestion, it went away. So, being 35 and having a tough pregnancy and not wanting to lose this baby or restart this process another year older or be sad, I am all for being careful this time around. No, every tiny little thing won’t necessarily make a difference, but my thinking is you do what you can, since there’s so much not in your control. That said I still eat a lot of chocolate:) I respect others if they want to bend the rules, but for me no thanks, it has a deadline and is also recommended not to be a pain, but so that the baby develops as best it can healthily.

          • CP in Seattle :

            obviously if you are experiencing hemorraging or another serious condition during pregnancy, you would want to take all possible precautions. My comment was obviously (0r I guess not so obviously) geared for people with uneventful pregnancies. With my first pregnancy, I ran 6-8 miles a day. Obviously, someone with bleeding would have to take extra precautions. But also, I’ve noticed among friends and family that complications in pregnancy come whether or not you are following all the “rules” and being extra careful. If people want to take all precautions, then good for them. I’m not knocking it or trying to encourage people to be risky.

          • Well, here’s the thing: there is a lot they don’t know about complications. A hemorrhage may or may not be caused by external factors under your control- no one knows. So, being careful may not help, but it might. So it’s a personal call. I could feel that things weren’t right and that I shouldn’t have pushed myself at all. My guess is those that have had problems are more sensitive to what the woman can do to aid the process. Anyway, it’s time limited, so not a big deal to me to follow the ‘rules.’
            ps I’m also in Seattle:) except going to Vancouver tomorrow for a 2-day mini preggars get away. So rainy this week huh!

  8. Snarky In House :

    A while back (prior to Turkey day) I posted about a possible new job… it was with a company in a different industry, would be a 30% increase in pay but there were some drawbacks such as high turn-over etc. My current position is very underpaid and there’s a small bit of sex. harass. going on here and there… anywho…

    I’m happy to say I FINALLY have a 2nd interview with them today!!

    I’m pretty excited that I’m still in the running. The last week or so has been hell with no bonus and a very low increase in my pay (after waiting 9 months for my anual review). Here’s hoping for good news for the new year!!

  9. I’m interested in people’s thoughts about “paring down”–wardrobe and accessories, but also maybe beauty products and more. Lately I have been on a strong kick of not wanting to replace or throw away anything, and just generally wanting less stuff in my space and in my life. So I’ve been trying to have fewer things, but for them to be more durable or versatile. However, encountering some questions…see below.

    Examples of what I have done so far:

    –Consolidated to one year-round bag rather than one for warm weather and another for cold;
    –Doing same for perfume;
    –Got rid of tons of blah scarves, shoes and jewelry;
    –Got a nice pair of durable slippers rather than having to replace my junky $10 pair every year when they get too grimy;
    –Bought a set of machine washable nylon totes for grocery shopping, as well as mesh produce bags, so I no longer have any plastic bags in my life;
    –Line all of my trash cans, except the one in the kitchen, with said nylon bags, and just wash them every time I empty trash;
    –Got a washable set of makeup bags so I no longer deal with a series of dirty or disposable ones;
    –Decided to wear my hair curly (natural for me) every single day rather than straighten even some of the time;
    –Got rid of all makeup that wasn’t perfect on me;
    –Got a big bottle of fairly expensive moisturizer so I am not continually replacing a smaller bottle, even if cheaper;
    –Trying to use fewer beauty products overall and just replace them as I run out.

    I feel like the pared down wardrobe, and so on, are often idealized, but something wasn’t sitting right for me about it. Below is a link to the only writing I have ever seen that acknowledges it’s actually very hard and, moreover, very expensive! (The main topic here is color, but check the first couple of paragraphs for her take on the larger issue)

    Thus far, I feel like all of the above has been costing me a lot of money. In theory, the spending will slow down once I have completed the transition. But does anyone have thoughts on this? Even if it is more expensive, is it worth it for the sanity and the lessened environmental impact? I actually make a better salary now than I have in the past, so for me it was not a budgeting issue so much as a general wish to simplify. Thoughts?

    • I have a fairly pared-down wardrobe.

      To pare down and simplify, one thing you have to do, which you reference, is spend more on each item. I think most of us end up with disjointed wardrobes because we’re looking for the best deal. You have to avoid clearance sales, flash sites, thrift shopping (if you do that – I don’t.) When I was in my twenties and early thirties I had stuffed-full closets but still had nothing to wear, and I finally realized this was mainly due to my discovery of the Nordstrom Rack.

      You have to make a list and really concentrate on shopping for ONLY items you really need. And sometimes these items won’t be very exciting. Finding the perfect plain black skirt, for instance, will not be exciting to someone who craves color or sparkles or ruffles or asymmetrical hems.

      I do not get rid of everything that turns out not to be “perfect.” I just store a lot of iffy items. I find my own definition of what’s perfect changes over time, and there are often a few formerly rejected items that I’ve gone back to. My closet tends to get fuller over the course of a season due to me pulling things out of storage, and also buying a few new things but not culling any of the old.

      A pared down wardrobe is going to be pretty basic and neutral, by definition. You can wear the perfect black skirt two or three times a week, but you probably can’t do the same with the fuschia boucle skirt with the pouf hem. So if you crave excitement and uniqueness in your look, the pared down thing is going to feel very limiting.

      I find it best to express uniqueness through accessories, like a lot of other people. I am not much of a scarf-wearer, except for warmth. But I do love unusual shoes and have quite a collection that I refuse to pare down.

      Hope this helps.

      • Anonymous Poser :

        Hmmm. I’m paring down my wardrobe in general, but I’m beefing up the professional section. I disagree that one “has to” avoid clearance sales and thrift stores, though I’m sure I’m biased because I have almost no money to work with. I picked up a good black Ann Taylor blazer that I need to find a couple of replacement buttons for, for $11 on sale at a consignment shop, recently.

        I believe it’s more of an attitude adjustment that’s required. For me, that meant that my standard for clothing that “will do” (since what I’d really like is incredibly difficult to find–anyone have good recommendations for women with small shoulders, a large bust, a low waist, and a bit of a pooch to hide?) had to move up considerably. It must be decent quality, it must fit well, and it’s got to be a lot closer to the “perfect piece” in my imagination than my, “I’ll get this: It’ll do for NOW” pieces used to be. Which means I’ll be getting a lot more use out of what I do buy, and not filling my closet up with pieces that really are nowhere near making the grade.


    • Anonymous :

      I aspire to much the same thing, and have given this a lot of thought, but also have trouble in the implementation. I have always felt that the pared down lifestyle was probably easiest to accomplish with a lot of money. Certainly there are people who live sparely because they don’t have any money and just do without. But I think we are not really talking about doing without, but more talking about doing without multiples. In that case, there is certainly some investment involved, plus organization and a shift in priorities/values.
      A pared down wardrobe for someone who cares about clothes, I think, means buying for occasions, and being willing to wear the same thing repeatedly. For example, having one perfect outfit for a holiday event, or as a guest at a wedding, and being willing to wear the same thing year in and year out. Even day-to-day, having specific outfits for “the big meeting”/day in the country/night out with the girls/first date/sporting event, etc., plus a work capsule that you wear over and over, has to be something you are comfortable with. You will not be the woman who has other women compliment your new outfit or shoes once a week if that suit or party dress or pair of pumps is very familiar to everyone because you’ve been wearing it for months or years. This also means that your clotheskeeping needs to be impeccable. If you are investing in the piece, and you need to have it available at all times, you can’t afford to be lazy about hanging up/spot cleaning/dry cleaning/repairing your clothes.
      I do think you can take two routes to the pared-down wardrobe: (1) huge up-front investment for timeless classics that last and are kept for years with small seasonal updates; or (2) plan to shop twice a year for the required, but disposable, “occasion outfits” plus work capsule and toss nearly everything at the end of the year because it will be worn/spotted/etc. Your attraction to trends, plus whether you tend to maintain your weight, will probably dictate which route is best.
      I am heading in this direction for beauty items. I am just kicking myself for buying 6 shades of nail polish this season, when I really only needed one, just because I like the idea of having someone notice the new color. And the cheap and ineffective makeup will be history in the new year. I’m looking forward to a cleaner, neater bathroom and a simplified beauty routine.
      I’ve better implemented this with housewares. I will never regret spending nearly $500 on cookware before I started law school (and had no money). Fifteen years later, I have every piece I bought, and very little else.

      • Agreed. In my fantasy life I have a tiny, perfect, well though-out wardrobe and life that takes me everywhere. (I think it’s a control thing.)
        The reality is that I do gross chores, crawl around on the floor, present to clients, meet friends, go to bars, do various athletic-type things and this means I needs lots of clothes, bags, etc.
        My guiding principles are: Realize the things I buy over and over again and question why I bought them and what I was feeling at the time.
        Question buying anything I won’t use 3 times.
        Keep the closet and drawers tidy.
        Be practical (if I need something I need it).
        Don’t waste money on junk, ever.
        Figure out how much I want something, really.
        HTH, good luck.

      • I agree with you, but on multiples I diverge a little. I wear a lot of black knit tops under my jackets. If I find one I like I buy multiples, and then I get rid of them at the end of the season. I believe in a pared-down wardrobe and classic pieces, but there are items like tights and tees and panties that need to be replaced regularly.

        re: repetition. This year I bought a few boiled wool jackets (which I’ve posted about – my office is cold this year) and I was lucky enough to find them at Marshall’s. I was willing to pay more, but this was where I found them. I bought a black and a charcoal, which I know I’ll wear all the time.

        Then I found a red ruffled wrap style. I know I only wear red around this time of year. So I had to consider how many times I’d wear it. I have worn it to four things – an office holiday party, a holiday lunch with friends, a holiday dinner out with husband and kids, and my department’s holiday lunch. I might wear it once more for something New Year’s related. So, it was my only holiday look (worn with one of my black skirts, of course) and I wore it to every holiday themed event. Some people couldn’t handle that level of repetition and would want a new dress for each. But I don’t want four new dresses hanging in my closet. In years past, I would have gone the four new dresses route, and I probably would have ended up never wearing a couple of the dresses again, and that would make me feel bad.

        • Anonymous Poser :

          Yay multiples! If I find something I really like, I’ve been known to buy it in multiple colors of the same piece. Why not, if the style works for you, and isn’t trendy?

    • I probably have too many clothes but I do skirts, pants, and tanks in basic colors then add variety with shoes, scarves and more interesting sweaters or jackets. One of my friends (who loved to shop) had a deal with one of her friends. The friend came to visit twice a year and they would go through her closet. Anything that she hadn’t worn in a year or didn’t love would go to the giveaway closet at the friend’s church. I do a version of the myself now. I don’t have room in my closet for more than a season’s clothes, so when I swap them, I think carefully before putting them on the other rack. If I didn’t wear them all through that season and I don’t think I will again, I give it away. I gave myself leeway after having knee surgery because there were certain items I couldn’t wear with a brace or without heels, but otherwise, I am pretty good about parting with things.

      • I’ve always kept my wardrobe fairly small…I’m trying now to be less strict with myself and expand a little. I like neutrals, often worn with brights, but it’s just as important to have a cohesive style. You want your pieces to work together in style as well as color.

    • I think that when uncluttering/paring down, a great deal of stress comes from other people’s set ideas of what constitutes “paring down”. Take the idea of a well-edited wardrobe. What’s “well-edited”? For some it’s 30 pieces of clothing in neutral colours. For others it’s 300 pieces of clothing, accessories and whatnot, but everything well used, loved and properly sorted and stored. Maybe the right gauge isn’t scale/size/numbers, but the amount of use you get out of the stuff you do have.

      Personally, I start with the question, “What do I really use and love?” to differentiate between the core stash of stuff (makeup, clothing, shoes etc) that I use often and will repurchase if possible, and the non-essential “fun” stuff which I use occasionally. When uncluttering, I keep the best of the non-essentials and give / throw away the rest. When shopping, I try to focus on replacing the essential stuff or filling gaps in essentials and avoid adding non-essentials. That’s about it.

      Looking at other people’s stashes and how they are organised is inspiring for me – a couple of favourites:-

    • I’m a list person. About 2 years ago I decided to list every item of clothing, jewelry, and shoes I owned, so that I could see duplicates and missing pieces. Something like:

      Black Jones New York wool knee length pencil skirt
      Black Carlisle wool knee length pencil skirt
      Brown Liz Claiborne polyester sueded stretch skirt

      and so on for 11 pages. (Yes, I have OCD.) This has been helpful in making a list of pieces that will complement what I already own, but even more helpful in not buying more stuff. If I find a pair of brown leather pumps that I’m tempted to buy, I have to consider if I like them more than the brown Jimmy Choos already in my closet (so far, no). If I do like them more, in comes the new and out goes the old.

      Now, I have found some amazing and creative justifications for a few items not on my “buy” list, but in the end it is my wardrobe and this list is a tool for mindfully managing it.

    • I’m a little late to reply here, but thought I’d post in case it helps anyone out. I have been attempting a version of paring down my wardrobe, though I’ve thought of it more as building a better wardrobe. I’ve found inspiration from the Kendi Everyday blog and her series of posts on that subject. Google “Kendi Everyday working closet” and you’ll come up with it. I’ve liked it because it offers a step by step process for going through the closet purge and future buying. I’m a spell it out for me kind of gal, and Kendi’s series was just what I needed. I’ll post the link separately to avoid moderation.

    • I like having one reliable outfit for dressy parties/weddings (well, one summer outfit and one winter outfit) and also have somewhat of a uniform for work. The downside is that I have a closet full of neutral basics and very, very few statement pieces, which tend to be what make outfits more interesting. So I go back and forth. All of your changes undertaken sound like good steps.

      Just wanted to recommend a blog on this — the author of “Small Notebook” has, to my mind, a very pared-down clothes closet. (I do not think she works outside the home, though, so her system may need serious adjustments for someone who does.) I thought her posts on paring down one’s wardrobe and how to have style within a small wardrobe were interesting and useful:

      If you click on the “Clothes” link under “Real Solutions” (on the home page) you’ll get to a list of all clothes-related articles. Also, I think her most current post is about simplifying one’s skincare routine, so that might be worth checking out as well.

    • I don’t have any advice, but congratulations! I think this time of year, a lot of people are thinking of expanding their closets, not vice versa.

  10. That link to the alreadypretty website is a questionable choice for a “pared down” wardrobe. That blogger collects tons of thrift store junk that is often dirty and ill fitting. She is a notoriously bad shopper who was unable to stick to a shopping ban (all documented on her website) and “collects” quantity clothing over quality.

    • I linked to it precisely because she doesn’t believe in paring down. I do, but was interested to hear this as my first reading from someone who comes out saying she prefers quantity over quality.

      • Oh, I misunderstood. Shouldn’t have skimmed ;)

        I agree with the philosophy behind paring down and I think you are going about it correctly (quality over quantity, deciding what is important/what is not (straight hair v. curly hair).

        One way I would think that would help is just to be mindful of when you purchase something: Do I really need this? Is there something else that I already have that will so what I need this to do? Where will I keep this? How many times will I use it? Is there something(s) that this will replace that I can throw away/give away if I do purchase this?

        • Anne Shirley :

          Wait can we pause a sec? You wash and reuse your trash bags? This has never occurred to me. You seem to be not entirely happy with your transition? And I wOnder if it hasn’t been a bit dogmatic/rushed. I mean, sticking to quality bags that won’t wear out is great, but literally only one bag? For winter and summer? Surely that will make it wear out quicker?

          • 1) Yep, I have reusable, washable trash bags lining my cans (again, minus the one in the kitchen–too gross and also too large). I also shop with fabric bags so I don’t accumulate plastic ones. I was just so sick of them.

            2) We’ll see whether it wears out much faster. But as mamabear mentioned, I spent more on this bag with the understanding that I won’t need another one as soon as I would otherwise.

          • I think doing something like this requires a lot of discipline and meticulousness in terms of care/upkeep. I can tell you that sometimes I buy things like tights just because I don’t have time to launder the dirty ones. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it is what it is.

            In terms of clothes, I do think this can be an expensive proposition to do well. When I first started working, I was so desperate to just get enough work clothes that I wasn’t thinking about the perfect black skirt or the ideal pair of gray pants. Now that I have been at it for a while, I do look for “perfect” items that I will be able to keep for a v. long time and get more wear out of on per wear basis. In terms of getting bored, I don’t think that it really bothers me to wear something once or even twice a week if I love the item. As I have started to do this a bit, there are a few items I wear once a week (e.g., perfect black sheath dress) and I love those days because I know exactly what I am wearing and that I will feel great in it.

          • I think your list of actions taken so far is great, yay you! Just keep doing what feels right in your home, your way. It’s different for everyone. Your post is timely: today on rainy vacation day in Seattle husband and I are cleaning out spare closets to make room for baby coming in summer, and it is amazing what crap we have, even though we are city condo dwellers. E-waste… stuff from high school (I’m 35…) etc. We are going to Goodwill before COB today, it will feel GOOD. Of course the space will just be soon filled with baby stuff. But my feeling is : limit your space, live within it, if you can’t, time to cull stuff. Otherwise I’d feel like a ‘wasteful American’ or something. Some people like to collect and all and have huge homes, fine for them, but I”ve moved around too much and like living downtown too much to be that way. That said, I am all for keeping things you like: the red shirt you don’t wear often, the old bag with meaning, cute kitchen dishes, etc. Husband had to laugh after getting annoyed with things I insisted on keeping but overall- they don’t take up that much space:) Good luck with your continued process!

  11. Yay sales! Anyone have any hints for sites that would have Frye boots on sale, and/or wouldn’t exempt them from site-wide sales (e.g., 15% off any single item) — and if so, when those sales might come?

    In keeping with the idea of buying good quality items of clothing once instead of inexpensive ones multiple times, I’ve been eyeing Fryes for a while — specifically, the Carson and the Taylor pull-ons (though would more likely go for the Carsons given the lower heel) — but can’t pay full price right now.

  12. If by chance DC anon is reading today – if you live in the VA burbs and would like some suggestions on car free transportation let me know! I used to slug/bus for years and would be glad to explain the “system” to you.

  13. To clarify the reference to Rent the Runway, their whole deal is that the rental fee is always 90% off (or close to that) the cost of purchasing the designer dress. They do run some specials, though, from time to time that make it even more affordable. Now there is 15% off w/ this code: NYE2012. Also, if a friend you recommend signing up for RTR not only signs up, but also rents a dress, I think you get $20 toward your next rental. I’ve done this a few times and am a huge fan. One time when they didn’t have one of the dresses I ordered, they gave me the option of selecting any other dress (at any price!) to rent in place of my originally requested dress.

    • Another vote for RTR – I’ve used them multiple times and have always been pleased with my dresses.

      Plus, the customer service is amazing! I once ordered a dress for a wedding and asked that it be delivered to the hotel where the wedding was. Long story short, the hotel ended up rejecting the delivery for some reason and RTR was great! They gave me a full refund, no questions asked. They even offered to overnight me another dress, free of charge, but it wouldn’t have made it in time. Fortunately, I brought a backup!

  14. Polite or Too Much? :

    Could use the wisdom of the hive: The background is that I am in-house counsel, but only spent about 3 years in a law firm, so am considerably more “junior” than the outside counsel I work with. I got along well with one partner at a large firm and wanted to send him a New Year’s card. My husband and I send them out each year, rather than the generic “season’s greetings,” because we figure everyone celebrates the new year. But, the pre-printing signs off from “Corporette & H-of-Corporette Lastname”. Since I only worked with this guy on one deal, and he certainly does not know my husband (or even his name the way other professional contacts, like colleagues, etc, might), is it a nice gesture or totally awkward to send the card?

    • Personally, I don’t like pre-printed signatures at all. Maybe for this guy you can get a special card just for him and sign it just from you.

      • Anonymous :

        I think preprinted greetings with no personal message are a bit rude, and all of the etiquette columns I’ve seen on the subject agree with me.

        For the outside counsel, I’d just get a separate card, handwrite a short message, and send it to him.

    • It may be regional (I’m in the South), but I’ve gotten a number of holiday cards that were signed (and I mean actually signed, not just pre-printed) by the person who I know professionally and his or her spouse, even if I’d never really met the spouse. I think it’s kind of nice, and comes off as warmer than just a “I only sent you this card because we worked together and I had to” sort of greeting.

      • Agreed– it is nice! I am really amused by all the cards received that had the family photo, but everything, from the holiday/Xmas message to everybody’s names pre-printed. Nothing personalized at all. Not writing a word at all seems to negate some of the effort of assembling your family to make a personalized (non-Cranes/Hallmark/etc. ) card.

        • I agree. This especially drives me nuts when it’s addressed on the envelope to only one family member (e.g., just me or my s.o.), which would be fine if the inside said, “Dear AIMS and Mr. AIMS,” but reads as kind of rude when it’s just blank photo sheet/card. Since I am not the take his last name sort, it’s not the kind of problem that an address label to the “Blanks” would solve…. Just needless confusion. Ok. Rant over :)

    • Vegas Baby :

      I’ll voice the dissent here. I don’t mind the pre-printed cards. In fact, I would rather receive a pre-printed photo card with no “real” signature or personalization than a standard Hallmark card with a quickly scribbled signature. The cards say the same thing: I’m thinking of you and your family at this time of year enough to spend .45 on a stamp. At least with the photo card, it’s more interesting.

  15. Ugh, today is dragging! Anyone else stuck at work today?

  16. So very sleepy. Am about 15 weeks pregnant and husband and I did a whirlwind trip to see my family for christmas. Got home late last night and would have paid good money to stay home today (not that we have much money right now). Luckily our office is sparsley populated and I’m enjoying slowly reviewing discovery and drafting requests for admissions. Sigh.

    • Ugh hope you get rest. I am home all week but spend whole first trimester traveling for work. 18 weeks now. Funny even though I could sleep all day, I’m mostly putzing around organizing things. Hugs to you though, I have dragged self in so many days past 4 months when it almost didn’t feel possible. Hope the day passes fast.

    • 9 wks here. After a few days of rest, which I am so thankful for!, I took a horrendous 6:00 a.m. flight through some really bad east coast weather and then grabbed a cab straight to the office to finish an appellate brief. My eyes won’t stay open, and I’m queasy as can be. Having spent the non-restful part of the holiday fielding inappropriate questions from the in-laws (is your chest bigger? do you intend to br*ast feed? are you going to use a nanny because I think that it’s not fair to bring a child into this world that you aren’t going to raise? are you going to quit your job because I quit mine so I wouldn’t miss a minute of my child’s development?, and so on.), I’m ready for another break. Or at least a long night of sleep in my own bed.

      • Thanks, Anon and Similar. This is my first pregnancy and I didn’t anticipate the tiredness. Putzing around organizing sounds great. Similar, good luck with your brief. My family wasn’t quite that bad, but I did appreciate “Wow, this will really complicate your life” and a chorus of “It’s the best thing you’ll EVER do.”

  17. Sorry this was in response to L.

  18. BR has 30% off all sale items today. I just scored a gray wool pea coat, a casual weekend dress, and a replacement for my favorite sweater for $150. N

  19. Please comment on an appropriate vacation budget for a family of four. Should this be a percentage of our income, or should we just say, “Here is how much we want to spend each year on vacations,” and go for it.

    • As a child, my family never had vacation budget annually. we went on one maybe every 3 years. Only one was out of state. So I think its going to completely depend on what you feel you can afford. It can’t be a percentage of your income, because each person/family is going to have wide variations of where their money is tied up. It is something that is appropriate for your family, depending on much you make, how much you have saved, etc.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I think it depends. My husband and I will take a lavish vacation one year and then no vacation for a couple years. Sometimes we will use windfall money to up the vacation pool and sometimes we will scrimp in other areas to pay for it.

      I think a lot depends on your other spending habits. We are pretty thrifty through we do have some debt. Vacationing is our joint vice. Neither of us have really expensive hobbies or anything like that. I think vacations are extremely individual. Also, our friends and family are scattered around the world so trips are more of a necessity for us than some of our friends who live 5 minutes from their whole family.

      I have a great story about this. While I was in law school and really short on cash, my husband had an issue transferring his 401k from a public job that was partly pension to a private sector job. It had been kicked back 5 times or so and we were going to end up eating the penalties and taxes b/c we couldn’t seem to get the issue fixed before the end of the tax year. He said “screw it” if I can’t roll it over without penalties let’s have fun with it. He grew up overseas and I had never seen his home country. He took me there and to an exotic resort in a neighboring country on my law school spring break.

      Our families were shocked and lecturing us on the imp0rtance of retirement savings. A few months later, the markets crashed and we would have lost almost all that money if our roll over plans had gone through as intended. We had a blast, have lifelong memories but know that is something we can’t do repeatedly. You don’t know how long you will live. While it is responsible to save for retirement, it is also important to enjoy life while you can. I don’t use that as an excuse for fancy cars and clothes but I do think it is worth considering when it comes to family vacations.

    • In my opinion, it really depends on how you prioritize. My extended family has always spent more on vacations, and less on their homes, clothing, and cars. Others might take the viewpoint of vacations are luxuries, and should never exceed x percentage of your budget.

      As for my husband and I, it varies every year. We see what we have left over after our expenses, and determine if we want to take a “nice” vacation or a “really nice” vacation. That said, really nice for us is ~$1,500, so, we’re on the cheaper side.

      • Oh, and we never do back to back expensive vacations. So, if we go, for instance, on a cruise one year, the next year will be renting an inexpensive cabin in the mountains 3 hours from our city, or at the beach 3 hours in the opposite direction, with a total cost around $400.

    • Agree with CSF that it all depends on your priorities. Husband and I are both professionals and rarely see each other during the week (maybe we’ll have dinner together 2-3 nights during a work week, but then either one or both of us needs to work again after that). So, a yearly week-long vacation where we basically have to do nothing and actually “get away” from home is a priority for us because it gives us a chance to reconnect and spend some quality time together.

      We’re spoiled, though, because husband used to travel every week for work and so many (if not all) of our vacations were partially paid for through airline miles/hotel points/etc. We would spend the money we saved on airfare, for example, to splurge on a nicer hotel. We’re fairly thrifty in our everyday lives, so vacations have never been a hardship for us, other than actually committing to being gone for a week from work.

      As for a family of four: it all depends on where you want to go, how often you want to go on vacations, and what you want to do while you’re there. If you’ll be flying/staying in hotels, I’d highly recommend using a credit card in your everyday life that rewards you with airline miles or hotel points (pay it off every month in full, obviously). Those rewards add up quickly and can be a huge savings.

  20. Instead of finding them daycare, a woman is bringing her children to work this week. Appropriate?

    • Hmmm… interesting. How old are the kids? Has she asked anyone at work to entertain/take care of them? While not entirely appropriate, I’m sympathetic and think its ok if (1) it happens rarely (once a year) and (2) having the kids in the office does not disrupt or interfere with anyone else.

      • They are elementary age children and they sit in her office most of the day. This happens a few times a year, but usually just a day here or there. They’re not really bothering me, but I certainly know that they’re here. Maybe it’s because I don’t have children, but I just feel like the office shouldn’t be your substitute babysitter.

        • Always a NYer :

          If her kids are well-behaved and the only reason you know they’re at the office is because you saw them, let it go. That being said, if they’re being disruptive I don’t see any problem asking her if they can keep it down as you have work that needs to be done. Otherwise let her be, it’s only a few days a year and you aren’t being asked to keep an eye on them.

        • Is the office babysitting them?

        • Good grief :

          Ugh, you’re an awful person. Honestly, you just are. I don’t have kids, don’t know if I ever will, but I can’t imagine being so unsympathetic as you.

        • I think it’s a fair question. I feel bad for people without options, but especially if you don’t have a door that closes to have them there all day is a clear distraction to others. Too bad the USA has such crap leave policies.

    • A lot of daycare facilities are closed this time of year, and it can put a strain on parents if they don’t have enough vacation time to take off. As long as it’s not a regular occurrence and the children are not disruptive, I don’t think it’s that much of a problem.

    • Totally Anon for this one :

      I worked for a while in an office where a woman would stash her children (5 and 3 with a developmental disability) in a conference room on a different floor for 3-4 hours a day a couple of days a week. No one seemed to bat an eyelash at that, so I wouldn’t be concerned about kids sitting in an office supervised by their mother.

    • Most daycares are closed this week. I’m pretty sure that woman’s first choice isn’t bringing her kids to work. She probably has to save her vacation time for when they are sick, so she can’t use that this week.

    • If they are quiet and well-behaved, and she can get her work done, I’d rather she do that as opposed to not coming in. We have a lady who stays home every time her day care is closed. She’s used up all her leave and now just takes unpaid time off. It’s getting to be a problem.

    • Seventh Sister :

      My daycare is open three days this week, but plenty are not. It’s a real drag to have to take all of your annual leave based on daycare being closed.

      My kids are too little and too rambunctious for that kind of thing, but it’s (usually) not anyone’s first choice for child care. Some people with kids are jerks, but not most people (maybe a plurality of people with kids? I know, I’m mean).

      As a working mom, please, please tell your coworker if the kids are actually bugging you. I would *so* much rather know than not know.

    • If all of you ladies think it’s fine, then I won’t worry too much. I guess I’ve just never worked in an office where this happened before.

      • Happens in my office. Older children are occasionally in the office, always equipped with enough to keep them busy and quiet.

      • Good grief :

        Why are you even worrying about it at all? I’m genuinely baffled, and I suppose a little fascinated – you’re just so mean! It’s very likely that it’s not the poor lady’s first choice to bring the kids in — why are you letting it bother you so much you actually had to write in about it?

        • I think you’re really overreacting here. She posted a question, and asked if it was normal. She’s not being mean, or judgmental. I think you are. This is a blog asking for feedback on many subjects, to include how to interact in an office. Just because it seems like a common-sense answer in your office culture, it may not be in hers. Back off.

          • another anon :

            She was being sort of judgey with her whole “instead of finding daycare” and “the office shouldn’t be the substitute babysitter” thing.

        • To the OP: It’s the holidays, MYOB. If they’re not in your space, then don’t worry about!

      • My employer actually has a policy against this. There have been times when it would be nice to bend the rules a bit, but HR insists that it’s a liability issue to have children in the workplace. One former coworker brought his 3 young sons for a few days during every break until someone finally had to let him know that it wasn’t fair to others who couldn’t do the same. I personally can see both sides, but this sounds harmless to me, even as someone who supervises people.

        • Yeah, mine has a policy against it too. But, mine is also pretty generous with allowing people to work from home when needed.

        • My old office used to allow dogs. Same thing – if they were in your office, well-behaved, and not bothering anyone else, then it was ok.

          I assume it would be the same for kids.

          My parents both worked, and I was brought into the office many times. I was bored. Sometimes my dad would have me stuff envelopes at his non-profit.

    • She probably doesn’t have any other options. I doubt she really wants to bring her kids to the office, but most daycares and schools are closed this week, she may not be able to find or afford a babysitter, and she may not be able to use vacation days. I wouldn’t be happy about having kids around the office, but I wouldn’t put my judgey pants on over it, either.

      My high school history teacher used to bring her daughter in when she was sick and have her sleep on an air mattress on the floor. Of course, the daughter grew up to actually go to high school there, and she got ribbed over it more than once.

    • Jane Fairfax :

      Are you her supervisor? Are the kids disrupting your ability to work? If the answers are no and no, then it is really not your place to consider whether it is appropriate or not. I am guessing that this woman has enough to deal without her coworkers posting about her on a public forum for others to judge.

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