Coffee Break – Vintage Valise Novelty Kendra E/W Tote

Vintage Valise Novelty Kendra E/W ToteI’m always a fan of a colorful bag, and this “beet” Cole Haan tote fits the bill perfectly. (I would call this more of a satchel, but that’s me — I always think of totes as being something bigger!) It’s part of the winter clearance sale going on now at eBags, where almost everything is 20% off plus free shipping, bringing the price from $398 to $318.40. Nice! It’s also available in a more sedate black, as well as a brown. Vintage Valise Novelty Kendra E/W Tote

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Update on Tech Troubles, 4:41 PM ET: I’ve removed yet more code… who’s still getting the stack overflow pop-up? Sigh. Thanks, you guys.

Comments

  1. I didn’t get the error this time (IE8), sweet!

  2. I love the color of this bag!

    Kat – I don’t know if this is the stack overflow problem, but I’ve been getting the “posting too quickly” message periodically.

  3. Love this bag.

    I wanted to follow up on the earlier thread – I think I posted my response to Totes and CB a little late and I love to drone on and on about personal finance, so why not post again.

    Totes asked about blogs – Get Rich Slowly is my favorite, especially if you are trying to get out of debt. I used to like I Will Teach You to Be Rich, and I do think that blog still has good advice, but I feel like the author really focuses on shilling for his products rather than on blogging now (which is fine, everyone needs to make a living, but his products don’t really seem worth buying to me). The NYT Bucks Blog is also good. Sometimes Lifehacker has good tips, too. For books, I like Suze Orman (especially 9 Steps for Financial Freedom), and I also found Personal Finance for Dummies and Investing for Dummies to be moderately helpful. I’m not really into frugality blogs or trying to make extreme cutbacks, but I know there are a lot of blogs focused on frugality. The Simple Dollar is the only one I read with any regularity.

    I think the most valuable thing I learned from blogs is that you don’t have to set and follow a budget in order to get your finances in order. What you need to do is track your income, mandatory expenses, and spending. I HATE HATE HATE budgeting and I feel so deprived if I have to tell myself I can’t, say, go out to dinner because I’ve already spent my eating-out money for the month. So I make a chart of all of my monthly expenses, making sure to include any non-monthly but regular expenses at a prorated monthly amount (for example, my cleaning lady comes every 4 weeks for $90. That means she comes 13 times per year. 13 times 90 is 1170, so the average monthly cost is $97.50 and that’s what I include in my monthly expense chart. My bar dues are 300, which means I need to set aside $25 a month for them even though I only pay them once a year). I put my monthly expenses in a separate sub-account of my bank account (not all banks offer this), and I use that account to pay all my bills. Then whatever money is left in my checking account is mine all mine to spend how I please, and if it pleases me to spend more of it on eating out than on groceries, so be it.

    If you go this route, make sure you really figure out what expenses you have. Do you tip your service providers at the holidays? Prorate that and include it. Do you take a pet to the vet annually? Include it. Do you get an annual bill for homeowner’s insurance? Include it. The main area where I used to struggle is when I had “surprise” expenses that weren’t surprises at all, but I had forgotten about them or failed to plan for them. If you get paid biweekly instead of semimonthly, there are two months per year where you get a third paycheck; I used to spend my third paycheck, but I figured out that one extra paycheck equals the cost of all of my “surprise” expenses and so I put that one in my bill-pay account instead and spend the second one however I want.

    I also think that a lot of people don’t take advantage of places where they can save or cut corners. For example (I posted about this in detail on the earlier thread), a lot of people at my workplace select a PPO health plan because the deductible is lower. What they don’t realize, and I do realize because I did the math, is that the high-deductible plan is cheaper overall because of lower premiums and better prescription coverage, even if you end up having to pay the entire deductible. There are also just a lot of little places where you can save money that might add up to $50 or $100 per month – I buy household and personal items on Amazon subscribe and save and get 15% off and free shipping; I consolidated my credit card debt and cut my payment by 1/3 (full disclosure – I had to get a cosigner because I couldn’t qualify for the best deals on my own); I own a modem ($30) instead of renting one from the cable company ($6 per month); I autodeduct my student loans and get an interest rate deduction; my only vacations are tacked on to business trips to save on airfare; etc.

    Having said all that, I think that getting your finances in order is part craftiness/diligence in finding where you can cut an expense or take advantage of an opportunity for savings, but it’s honestly mostly drudgery. You have to make responsible decisions day in and day out for years on end. Using an HSA, autodeducting my savings from my paycheck, getting an interest rate deduction, and consolidating my credit card debt really help, but the most important thing is distinguishing wants from needs and being careful with my money every single day. I *have* to bring my lunch to work, because I cannot afford to buy lunch every day and also be responsible with my credit card, and it gets tedious. I have to look for free activities to do, invite people over for dinner because it’s cheaper to cook for two than pay for my own dinner at a restaurant, and order club soda while my friends have martinis at happy hour. When I was in my early to mid-20s, I thought that if I was frugal for a week I deserved to reward myself with something, and so I racked up credit card debt and spent more of my student loan money on frivolous things than I really should have. Now that I’m older, I realize that the peace of mind that comes from being able to pay my own bills and save for the future is a lot more rewarding than a manicure, new dress, or even a vacation.

    OK, sorry so long. I love talking about personal finance. And I really am quite comfortable on less than $70K in DC, even with my student loan payments.

    • Cosign Totes McGotes – please run my life for me. PUHLEEZ!

      • Haha. I have a hard enough time running my own! But I do think that people with full-time employment in a professional field can get their financial life in order. I really do.

        • Totes McGotes :

          For some reason, though I’m an organized person, I have a lot of trouble with things like this. Your system looks amazing though. I’ll try it and let you know how it goes!

          • I can’t take credit for the system – My dad told me to implement this system for years before I finally broke down and tried it. It has improved my life in every way. Now I always know exactly how much money I can spend, because it’s whatever is in my checking account, and I never have the problem of overspending like I used to. Should have listened to Dad sooner.

            Suze Orman also recommends this method, IIRC.

    • Jacqueline :

      I do exactly what you described. I don’t budget, exactly, but I do track where every cent goes. In a weird way, being hyper-aware of where my money goes is so, so empowering and freeing. I know that I’m saving X percent and investing X percent — after that, I can enjoy the rest knowing my nest egg is accounted for. Once savings, rent, utilities, and other necessities are taken care of, I have fun with the rest guilt-free.

      Also, My Open Wallet is another great personal finance blog. She doesn’t post as often as she used to, but her posts are always informative, intelligent, and interesting. I once spent a day getting lost in her archives.

    • I want to second Bluejay’s comments – I implemented a similar system a few years ago when my husband and I decided we wanted to do some major renovations to our house, but had no idea whether we could afford them and really just had no idea as to where our money went every month. I started tracking all of our spending in a spread sheet and created a bunch of ING sub accounts for large ticket savings goals and expenses. That led me to set up and excel chart to show how much each of our depbts was costing, and how much interest we could save by paying them off early. And that was a huge motivation. In the past three years we have set aside an emergency fund, paid off our car loans, paid off private student loan debt, started making double mortgage payments each month, and fully fund our 401ks. And we did this without changing our lifestyle very much. It’s just a lot easier to control things and make good decisions when you know what is coming in and what is going out. Once you tackle one debt, it frees up money to throw and the next one and it just snowballs from there. The last payment for my private student loan debt was the most thrilling payment I have ever made. I was giddy. So, I just want to encourage people who feel like their finances are a mess to start writing down what comes in and what goes out because it is a big step toward getting everything on track so that you can “tell your money where to go” rather than wondering where it went.

      • I’m sure you know this, but for people who are making extra paychecks on student loans or mortgages, make sure that you tell them your payment should go to principal. Some lenders will credit your extra payment as an advance payment if you don’t tell them otherwise.

    • While we’re on the topic of finances, I have a question/request for advice. I noticed that Kat recently linked a post called “When to Save and When to Pay Down Debt” from a year ago. I’ve been struggling with this question for a while now, because after starting in BigLaw I have eliminated all of my credit card debt, so I now am starting to build up savings every month. I have pretty substantial law school loans (well over $100K). Until now I had only been paying the minimum on my loans each month, because I wanted to first (1) eliminate my credit card debt and (2) build up a savings account of a few months emergency living expenses. I have now done both of those, and am trying to figure out where to put my extra each month: paying down loans more quickly? Investing in retirement account? Mutual fund? All of the above in some combination? I have an IRA from working before law school, but have not signed up for a 401(k) at work yet (my firm does not match). It seems like paying down loans as fast as possible makes the most sense because the interest rates (6.5% and 8.5%) seem to be higher than whatever I could make through investing, even with the tax benefits of a retirement account. Thoughts? TIA.

      Also, on a related note, has anyone here ever talked to a financial planner, and did you find it useful/worth it?

      • I favored my 401k over my student loans because you can’t “make up” for past years when you didn’t fully fund it and I didn’t trust myself to get together a seperate retirement account. For example, leaving aside loan interest and 401k gains/losses (which is admittedly a big secondary issue), if you have an extra $27K each year and you fund your 401k with the max $17K and put the other $10K toward your loans each year, then after 1o years you have $170K in your 401k and your $100K loan debt is paid off. But if you pay the loans first ($27K for 3 years and $19K the fourth year) and only then start funding your 401k ($8K in year 4, and the max of $17K thereafter), by year 10 your loans are paid off, but there is only $110K in your 401k and you will never be able to add the extra $60K that could have been in there. If you are going to invest the other $60K in a mutual fund or some other account for retirement, then it make sense to work through the interest and tax details, but I just couldn’t see myself getting another account, so I stuck with the 401k and max it out every year.

      • Most personal finance writers will tell you to establish an emergency fund first. Having an emergency fund prevents you from racking up new debt if you have unexpected expenses. If you ever have to use your emergency fund, stop making extra payments on debt and use that money to build up your emergency fund again.

        Once you have the emergency fund, it will almost always make sense to pay off high-interest debts first. The interest rate you pay your credit card is always going to be higher than the interest you earn saving. Where it gets complicated is with low-interest debts like student loans, and saving for retirement. I agree with V that I would always fund my 401K first because the more money you can put it in when you’re young, the more it will grow before retirement. Depending on your savings goals, it may make more sense to save before paying off your loans; most loans are at a fixed rate and the payment will never change, and it’s pretty easy to defer them should you find yourself in extreme financial hardship. So long as the loan payments are manageable for you, if you really want to buy a house, pay for a wedding, or pay for some other major expense, IMO it makes sense to save for it rather than pay off the loans early.

        • Littlest Attorney :

          I’ve struggled with the balance question a lot. I think its just a hard question and I lot of it comes down to personal preferences and priorities. V makes a really good point about not being able to put the “lost” 401K contribution in (or at least not until you’re over 55 and even then there’s a limit on catch-up contributions).

          That said, I didn’t do what V suggested. I graduated with about $190K in student loan debt and it really, really bothered me. So in my first year in biglaw I saved very little towards retirement and threw all my extra money at my loans (and saving for a car – since I knew I was going to clerk in a town with no public transit and I didn’t have a car). It made me really much less worried to have the loans under $150K. And while I realize that’s still a huge number somehow it doesn’t bother me quite so much. Perhaps its because I know that if I put lots of money towards the loans, the balance does go down!

          Now I’m clerking and not covered by a 401K. And my significant other and I have decided we want to buy a condo once we’re both back in DC full-time, so now any extra money I have (not much while clerking!) is going towards the house down payment fund. I figure I’ll restart my 401K contributions in Jan 2013, by which time the house down payment fund should be fully funded. I’m sure some people will disagree that this is the right plan, but it feels right for me and what is important to me. There may well be a better way out there from the perspective of maximizing net wealth, but I know I’m not being irresponsible with my money and try to be content with that.

          If I were in your shoes I’d probably pay off loans aggressively for 6 months to a year and then switch to a more balanced approach contributing some to retirement and making some extra payments on the higher interest debt. I like this because it makes you feel good to see the student loan debt go down fast. Also as you pay off the principal the proportional share of interest you pay decreases so if you can jump-start your loan payments in the years where you aren’t paying off loans so quickly more of your money will be going to principal rather than interest. (I hope this makes sense — but if not find a student loan calculator that shows you the loan amortization and see how the amount of principal versus interest changes over time – I like the ones at finaid[dot]org/calculators)

          • I think you make a good point. The “debt snowball” technique advocates paying off the lowest-balance debt first instead of the highest-interest one, because of the psychological effect of seeing an entire debt gone. I think the same applies to student loans – if it’s taking a mental toll on you, do what you need to do for your mental satisfaction even if it’s not what financial planners say would make most sense.

      • Original Anon :

        Thanks for the helpful advice, everyone. It makes me feel a bit better to see that different people have different answers to this; it means there isn’t necessarily a “best” thing to do. I like the idea of aggressively attacking the loans for a little while just to get the number down, and then shifting the balance and starting to save more for retirement/other major expenses. I already have about $20K in retirement accounts from working before law school, so it does make me feel a bit more secure to know that money is already there and growing. Although in the long run I suppose it’s not much.

      • My husband and I found out the hard way very recently that jobs aren’t as secure as you might think they are. That said, I’d save an emergency fund with 6 months of your fixed expenses (minus your student loans, which could be deferred, but including your rent, health insurance premium, and any credit card payments). Then start aggressively paying down debt and contributing to your 401(k).

  4. I love this bag. I wish it came in grey. I want a grey bag.

    No longer getting the overflow message :)

  5. Shed a Tear :

    Repost from very late in this morning’s TPS

    So for all of you that have been embarrassed about crying at work, I think I take the cake. This morning after oral argument in court, my eyes welled up with tears and my voice cracked. I then excused myself and hid in the bathroom for a long time. I thought long enough that all parties would be gone. I was wrong. After I had been crying (silently) in the bathroom from the sheer embarrassment, I managed to compose myself and make my way out. Well, an attorney stayed behind and tried to talk to me and console me, which only made me tear up again!!! And, this time an actual tear came down. I am absolutely mortified!!! FWIW, I am super emotional right now since I just put in my resignation at my firm yesterday and am starting a new job shortly. I have been at my firm for multiple years and while I want to go and am looking very much forward to my new job that will put me on my dream track job, I was just flooded with emotion.

    Hive: What do I do now? Do, I reach out to the attorney that tried to console me and apologize for my behavior? I feel like the biggest idiot in the world!!!

    BTW the oral argument was according to the Partner supposed to go very smoothly and in our favor. None of this happened. Instead, it took a turn for the worst and now I will have to explain to my client and the Partner how this happened. It was nothing I did, I assure you. However, that does not really matter.

    • I don’t think you have anything to apologize for. I’d thank the other attorney for trying to help you out, and mention that you were overwhelmed with the emotion of knowing it would be your last oral argument at the firm and also with it not going well. That’s totally understandable.

      A couple of my coworkers have cried in front of me, and never once did I put on my judgy pants because of it. I just passed them a box of Kleenex.

      • This, seriously. It’s okay.

        If it makes you feel better, I was going through a lot of really crazy stuff with my family last year. One absolutely awful week, I got a call mid-morning that the crazy had escalated to a point where I wasn’t comfortable not being physically present. I went to ask my boss (so like, the person who hired me, whose respect I very much want, etc.) if I could leave early…and started flat-out bawling. Red face, snot, tears rolling down the cheeks, the whole nine yards.

        I was mortified, especially since I’m not even a crier by nature, but I survived, and she was extremely kind in that moment and afterwards. I do not at all think that her professional opinion of me was lessened by the fact that she happened to see me in a moment of profound weakness. I seriously doubt that the other attorney thinks less of you, either.

    • I cried at work today too. Luckily for me I had a friend to cry on rather than a stranger, but it totally happens. I had the whole big, gulping, uncontrollable sobs thing going for several minutes.

      Good times!

    • Gooseberry :

      I’m late in the response here, but I agree with everyone that said you have nothing to be sorry for. You were overwhelmed (by any number of things). That happens. You excused yourself and handled your own emotions in the proper place (the ladies room counts as the best place, I think, in a public building). I think it was nice of that other attny to wait around to try to console you. In some ways I don’t think you should rob him or her of that kindness. Just say thank you, or say nothing more if that makes you more comfortable. But, someone that waited around to try to help or be comforting was likely being very genuine — and let’s face it, it feels good to be able to offer someone help or comfort sometimes. I think an apology might make that person feel like they made the wrong choice, and made you feel worse instead of better.

      Of course, if you *want* to let them know that (i.e., if it’s someone you particularly do not want to comfort you, or to feel like they forged a connection with you), then that’s one thing, but if it’s just because you are feeling a bit embarrassed, it’s likely that this person knows that and stuck around specifically to show you that he or she was a friendly ally.

      And, congrats on the new gig!

  6. SV in House :

    I have this bag in two colors — kelly green and a deep teal. Obviously I love it!

  7. hellskitchen :

    Threadjack! Any recommendations for driving schools in NYC? I don’t have a driver’s license and want to find a driving school that can give me a refresher and more importantly help with the DMV process. Are there schools do that?

    • There definitely are. I’m sorry I don’t have the actual name of one, but I had a friend about three years ago who used one to get his driver’s license in Manhattan so I know they exist! Maybe try a Yelp search or something like that to find ratings and reviews for them.

  8. Let’s get into some TMI discussions – does anybody have a rec for a good dermatologist in NYC, especially one that deals with scar removal? I have some keloids that have formed from cystic acne that I’m done cultivating and I want to get them removed. Any war stories the class would like to share?

    • Dr. Kiersten Rickenbach (Brooklyn Hospital). I went to her for the first time this fall, upon the recommendation of a friend (who didn’t earn much money but had bad acne, and this doctor apparently gave her a lot of samples because she knew the friend couldn’t afford the products that would really clear things up). However, let me temper this rec with: I didn’t undergo any procedures, and I don’t have scar issues; I just have a lot of birthmarks and need to go for annual checkups. Dr. R. was very down-to-earth and honest. Unlike my previous derm (at Mt. Sinai), she didn’t insist on removing moles that seemed fine, unchanged, non-ABCD, etc., which I think Bad Derm did just to bill me for it; similarly, she didn’t push fillers, botox, skin lighteners, etc., unlike Bad Derm, who offered them to me unsolicited.

    • Dr. Mary Buchness. Fantastic. Very knowledge and thorough. Friendly office. Not one of those derms that just shills botox and can barely blink. She’s in Soho. You can treat yourself to a pastry from Dean and Deluca after (she’s on the same block).

    • I really love Sam Kim (W57th).

    • MeliaraofTlanth :

      I like my dermatologist–Dr. Palep at Spring Street Derm-though I’ve never had any actual major procedures. But she’s great and all the doctors in the office (there are 4) have really reat reviews.

      • I used to see Dr. Kling in Park Slope. Busy office, had to wait sometimes, but that was all of NYC healthcare from what I saw. He seemed competent and nice- mostly I had skin cancer checks/mole removals. I liked how it was convenient to where I lived.

    • Thank you!!!

  9. I need a recommendation for a cheap gift card that I can add money to online. Something like what people use for their kids in college, but this is for a disabled adult and for small sums of money so I don’t want to be big money. Thanks!

    • Don’t know of any where you can add money to the same card, but you can give amazon cards (e-cards are sent right away, the other options have free 1-day shipping), in small amounts.

  10. DC Kolchitongi :

    Following up on the discussion the other day about preventive Botox and retinol, does anyone have recommendations for places to get this done in DC or Arlington?

    I’m seeing fine lines around the eyes and forehead at 27, and would very much like to keep them from getting any worse!

  11. MaggieLizer :

    Repost from earlier thread –

    Advice/encouragement on how to maintain a healthy(ish) lifestyle on a business trip? We’re pulling 14 hour plus days so I barely have time to sleep, but most of the group still wants to go out and have drinks all across the city after work some days. I’m trying my best to continue to work out, so grabbing even one drink means that I either lose the sleep or lose my workout time. It’s also difficult to resist the bad food that seems to be ever-present and the peer pressure to eat it. I really don’t want to let this week derail my efforts to lead a healthier lifestyle, but I also don’t want to seem like a prude. TIA!

    • I’m all over Corporette today… but I travel a lot for work for long, intense trips. Instead of a drink, I order club soda, often with lime and mint so it feels and tastes fancier. I also try to eat foods that are high in fiber and lean proteins that will give me sustained energy, instead of sugary or fatty foods that may give me a burst of energy but will leave me tired later. And honestly – it’s hard to go to the gym when you’re working 14+ hours a day. You don’t have to be perfect. If you can make it once or twice a week, or only make it for 15 minutes, that’s fine. Be nice to yourself.

    • Can you talk short-ish walking breaks during the day? 14+ hour work days are all about being nice to yourself, IMHO. You could stroll a mile in 15 minutes (fast-walk it in even less time) and come back unsweaty and refreshed.

      Even if you try to eat well, it’s still hard b/c portions are going to be huge. So like I said, be kind to yourself. Drink water (or a fun version thereof, like flavored seltzer) and don’t expect miracles. Hopefully these long days will pass soon!

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Ooof, that’s tough. First, don’t feel bad about not going to the gym. 14 hours is brutal, especially if it’s every day. If you can do a few walking lunges, jumping jacks, or even some stretching for 15 minutes during the day, that’s a win. Second, no table bread (bread baskets, etc) and no crap desserts from the catering trays (cookies, brownies, lemon bars, etc). They’re not that tasty, and they’re empty calories. Buy an awesome chocolate bar if you have a sweets craving.

      Start your morning right. No sugar breakfasts. No to donuts, no to muffins, no to bagels. Get oatmeal at the local starbucks or Peet’s, have them make it with soy milk, and get a banana. No to the sugar packet, the (sugar) dried fruit packet, and the nuts packet offered with the oatmeal. That’s a much better breakfast choice. I ended up buying a box of high-fiber cereal, and those individual shelf-stable tetra-paks of (soy)milk that people stick in kids’ lunches, and just eating breakfast in my hotel room before work.

      No liquid calories. Drink water, black coffee with fake sugar sweetener as needed, tonic water, or simple drinks if you are out. No juice, no smoothies, no deluxe latte, no “enhanced” water. Those things are fine when one is living a normal life and gets to exercise occasionally, but unfortunately, that’s not you right now.

      Try to cut out white carbs entirely after lunch – no bread, no pasta, no rice. Eat the middle out of the sandwiches; order entree salads and soups instead of pastas.

      As for peer pressure, what helped me was saying that I am very lactose intolerant, which is true. A few veiled references to how no one would want me to eat dairy when we’re stuck in conference rooms together all night and I stopped getting hassled about the food :). Conveniently, many of the heavy foods had dairy in them, so I was saved from having to eat those. So, consider claiming lactose intolerance, celiac, or just “my stomach has been out of sorts recently, so I’m trying to eat simple things” will help. My colleage played along with the peer pressure for a while, and then she stopped eating all the heavy foods one day. She got hassled and was like, “my suits are getting tight, and I don’t have time to buy new clothes” and she smiled. People kept ribbing her a little bit, but she stuck with her line.

      Good luck to you. Hang in there!

      • I answered this on the other post.
        One thing I forgot there: I always travel with a baggie of dry oats with raisins and cinnamon mixed in. I use the coffee maker to make it and the mug each morning. Bottled water in bad water countries. If no coffee maker, I make them bring me one. It easily avoids the unhealthy breakfast problem and works well for me. Also it can be a late night snack upon flight arrival or such.

        I also hate dealing with people before I’ve woken up.. nothing worse than seeing everyone at the breakfast buffet wanting to talk business before you’ve had a bite and coffee.

    • This is really difficult, especially when you are working long hours. I do think it’s valuable to go out with the group for drinks occasionally, too. If the trip is just one week, I wouldn’t worry *too* much. Just try to rest/exercise/eat healthy when you can. If you are looking at regular travel, you do have to develop a system. I traveled often for work and felt really unhealthy, so I made a couple of changes. First, breakfast has to be filling but healthy. I have 2 pieces of whole wheat toast, yogurt, water and coffee. Oatmeal with fruit is also a good choice, and these options can usually be found anywhere (even the worst hotel breakfasts). Next, bring snacks. The single-serving packets of nuts or mini luna bars are good. Have one in the morning and one in the afternoon. This will hopefully keep you from being ravenous for lunch and dinner. It helped me to keep in mind that eating the unhealthy stuff (very sugary or very heavy) makes me sleepy, and I would usually make a joke about that if someone pressured me to eat something. At dinner, definitely no bread (as someone else mentioned) and also limit your drink to just one glass of wine. If the opportunity ever arises, try breaking away from the group and eating a low-key dinner on your own. If you need an excuse, just say that you feel a cold coming on or something. I try not to do this too often, but sometimes I just can’t handle another dinner/night out with the group. Finally, I always always work out in the morning. I know it’s hard to make yourself do it, but you will feel more energetic for the rest of the day. Even if it’s just 15 minutes on the elliptical or treadmill, it will make you feel better. If I do an easy workout, I try to skip washing my hair to save 30 min+ in the morning.

      • Anonymous Poser :

        You know, I’m reading these, and they’re all good advice. After my first time putting on a conference, I learned to shop and stock food in my mini fridge–I was vegetarian at the time and didn’t usually want to go out late and eat heavy food with the crowd when I knew I had an early morning. Snacks are also key.

        What I’m wondering, though, is why in the world do so many people feel like it’s fine to comment on other people’s food choices? And what motivates them to do so in the first place–WHY are they even that interested in(and it does not seem to typically be motivated by simple interest)/offended by what someone else eats or doesn’t eat? It is very strange. Certainly I’ve had people comment on my food or eating habits before. Maybe the next time it happens I should ask them why they care?

  12. AnonInfinity :

    Two professional victories today:

    1. Called another lawyer that I’ve never met or heard of before to ask a mundane question (Should I send this letter to you and your client or just you when we’re opposing, but no lawsuit has been filed yet?) This is a victory because I hate talking on the phone to strangers. It was preceded by about 20 minutes of practicing and hand-wringing, but I got through it without sounding like a little girl.

    2. Successfully found a case that Partner did not think would exist in an area of law that I know nothing about. I still don’t understand anything about the area and am shocked that the case worked because I haven’t felt so lost reading a case since the first day of law school.

    Now I shall wine with friends.

    • Former MidLevel :

      Congrats!

      • AnonInfinity :

        Thanks! I’d also like to add that I had no idea being a lawyer involved so many phone calls to strangers. Eesh.

        • Equity's Darling :

          Yeah, I didn’t know that either, it was a somewhat unpleasant surprise.

          This comment is timely, as I’m helping with a commercial real estate deal that has 80+ investors, and as the articling student, I’ve been tasked with contact them all over the next week to find out some details regarding the transaction.

          Yes, the girl who also hates talking to strangers on the phone will spend all next week doing it.

        • Talking to strangers on the phone, eek. The 0.0005% of me that would still have considered becoming a lawyer just died.

          Also, yay for wine as verb.

        • Amen. That has been unexpected.

        • aww, anoninfin, when I was younger (like middle school) i was afraid to call the movie theatre to listen to the recording to for movie times! I have no problem calling strangers now professionally, except when my boss had to me do it to make really odd requests. And I really hate when said stranger asks all these questions that I have no idea what the answer is!

    • AnotherLadyLawyer :

      Congrats! As to #1, I’m in the same boat (it gets a little easier every time). Now go celebrate — you deserve it!

    • Totally feel you on the not liking to talk on the phone! I’m so bad that I write scripts formyself before I pick up the phone. ;-p
      Congrats!

      • AnonInfinity :

        Dude! I did write a script. It went something like this:

        – Introduce yourself!!
        – Firm name!
        – [Question]
        – It was nice to talk to you. Thanks for your time.

  13. There was talk of a Portland (OR) meetup. Did anything ever come of that? Anyone interested?

  14. I’m super annoyed at my boyfriend right now and can’t decide if I should be. For Christmas, I got him tickets to his favorite sports team in really amazing (very expensive, for me) seats for this weekend. I thought it’d be a fun, unique experience because we can’t exactly afford seats like this all the time, and I don’t think he’s ever been to a game with seats this good. This was our first Christmas and I was really proud of myself for getting him a fantastic gift.

    Tonight he got invited last minute to a party for a minor vendor that he did not have any obligation (politically or otherwise) to attend. The party is a game at the same team, same seats we’re going to, which he didn’t tell me until he was already there.

    I feel like this really detracts from my gift – it’s not going to be unique or special because he was just there. It’s just… the same. I’m not really sure how to articulate to him why I’m upset about him going, or if I even have a right to be upset about it. Thoughts? TIA.

    • I don’t understand why you are upset. This first event is work related? If that’s the case, it will be a totally different experience for him than it will be to go with you- sort of like going on a business trip vs a true vacation. Just because I’ve been to place X as a business traveler doesn’t mean it’ll somehow make visiting as a tourist a few weeks later any less special.

    • Why are you annoyed at his boyfriend? You think he should have turned down this party so that your gift would be more special? Really?

    • I understand you feel upset that it won’t feel as special to him, but think – if he’s this willing to drop everything and go with a minor vendor, that tells you that your gift was really the perfect choice for him.

      Besides, he’ll probably spend the entire event bragging about how his amazing girlfriend got him the same seats for Christmas, and he’ll be back this weekend.

      • Contrarian :

        I would be upset too. He should have declined the offer and waited for the special occassion with you. That being said, he is probably clueless that he should have done that, and there is pretty much nothing you can do about that except for understand that that is what he is like.

        • I disagree that he should have declined the offer so that it would be more special when he went with her. Of course it’s normal that she’s bummed, but being annoyed at the boyfriend is kind of silly.

        • Honestly? This is crazy to me. I can kinda understand why your bummed but this is one of those things you tell to your friends not your bf, because this is one of those things that would be in a sitcom talking about how crazy women are.

        • locomotive :

          I disagree as well. Turn the situation around – would you have turned down an opportunity to go to your favorite (musical artist, sports team, fashion icon, I don’t know)’s event with free tickets with a work event just so it could be more special with your SO? I think it is equally exciting for him to go with you even though he goes with this vendor – it’s completely different. This is a work thing where he gets to go for free – but it’s still a work thing. I doubt he can be as relaxed or have as much fun as he could with you.

    • DC Kolchitongi :

      I can somewhat understand why you’re bummed, but I can’t understand why you’re directing it at your boyfriend. It was a work event. It’s not lIke he bought the tickets himself and went with someone else just to spite you.

      We all get upset over irrational things sometimes. It’s okay to acknowledge that even though your anger isn’t rational, you can’t help feeling it.

      Does your bf know you’re bummed out over this?

      • Contrarian :

        I don’t think her being upset is at all irrational. I don’t think it does any good to tell the boyfriend you are bummed. This should just give you some insight into his personality. Men are not that perfect sometimes.

        • What do you think it tells her about her boyfriend’s personality?

          • Contrarian :

            That would be for the poster to judge. I obviously don’t know him and don’t know all of the facts. She could compare his behavior on this with his behavior in other areas of their relationship. Maybe it will provide clues. We also all seek out mates for different reasons and with different qualties. There is no cookie cutter here.

          • I am 100% positive that my fiance, in a situation like this, would not go with the vendor in order to wait and make my gift more “special.” I am also 100% positive that while I would find it endearing and touching, I would tell him it was kind of crazy not to go. This makes me think that I understand why the OP might be upset, but also that it is irrational. My general tactic, which I sometimes find hard to follow successfully, is to not share with him the things that I’m upset about but to which I objectively know I am reacting irrationally. Just my two cents.

      • I haven’t mentioned it yet. He’s still there so I don’t want to dampen his night by bringing it up now, and I think it’s a discussion better had in person. We’ve been fighting a lot lately anyway, so 1) it adds insult to injury that he’s going out with his friends to do the same special thing that I planned for us months ago, and 2) it’s hard for me to have a healthy perspective because I’m feeling kind of raw emotionally (hence the post here). I don’t think he’s doing it to be spiteful, it was just a cool thing he had an opportunity to do, but the timing really sucks.

        • Sorry, should have mentioned this is OP.

        • Ok Anon, if you were my sister or bff, this is what I’d say: I understand why you are upset, but I honestly think you are overreacting and he hasn’t done anything wrong. Please, whatever you do, DO NOT talk to him about this when he gets home tonight. Wait at least 24 hrs, maybe 48. Reconsider it once you get some distance and are thinking more clearly (i.e. not compounding this hurt with any residual hurt from the other fights).

        • DC Kolchitongi :

          I agree, the timing does suck! Again, I think it’s totally understandable that you’re bummed out. I mean, ideally, BF would’ve recognized that it would be a bummer for you and gone out of his way to make sure you knew how much he appreciated your gift and was still looking forward to it. And then you’d give him your blessing to go with his work buddies. But it sounds like the first part didn’t happen, so now you’re less-than-thrilled about it.

          Is he often thoughtless/insensitive/oblivious in other situations? Do you feel like he’s generally a supportive partner?

          My husband, bless his heart, is thoroughly oblivious to the world around him to the point that I have to point out giant orange road signs, stop him from walking out into traffic, read the directions on his microwave dinner out loud, etc. But he always, always notices if I’m upset about anything. So I might be biased b/c if even my super-oblivious husband can notice when I’m upset, then other guys have no excuse. But obviously YMMV. Is this team one of his blind spots, or is it his general personality?

          • Our fighting has actually been about him being generally unsupportive. He doesn’t really get that being in a relationship with someone involves give and take, and means that their life affects you. I think he wants to improve and wants to have a supportive relationship, but isn’t really sure how to make that happen. I know I need to pick my battles, but also point out – in a constructive way – instances in which these larger problems come out.

          • OP again – I forgot to mention I really like your explanation, I think it describes pretty well what my problem is. I wouldn’t expect him to not go to the game – it’s free and they’re amazing seats and he should have fun. It would’ve been nice if he had done what you said – recognize that it kind of sucks for me, tell me about his plans BEFORE he goes, and of course I would tell him to have a great time. A text when he’s already there telling me “hey our seats are gonna be great, I’m there right now!” just leaves me feeling let down.

        • Do you think you’re overreacting because you’ve been fighting a lot?

    • I mean this in the gentlest way possible, but you need to be a lot less invested in the gifts you give to other people. While it’s warm hearted to want to give something nice, setting yourself (and your BF) up to expect magical unicorns pooping rainbows special out of this event is a fast track to disappointment.

      He liked the tickets when he opened them for Xmas, right? He’ll have a good time this weekend. Or maybe not. All sorts of unpleasant things could intervene, from bad weather to failed transportation to a jerk sitting in the seats behind you. You just can’t control it.

      I understand wanting it to be perfect and the first time and yada yada etc. I tend to do it myself every time I get all dressed up for a date night dinner and my husband gets an overcooked steak and sends it back. I find myself getting angry that he’s “ruining” the evening by not making it as special as *I* wanted it to be. Don’t make yourself miserable like I do!

      Breathe. Let it go. And then go have a great time at the game!

      • I just read your comment upthread about feeling really raw right now. It’s good to recognize how that colors how you react to everything. I agree with the poster who said to give it quite a bit of time before talking to him about it. I would say to even wait until after you go with him this weekend. Let the actual gift play out. You might be surprised at how you feel a week from today.

    • Sweetie, this is honestly, in my opinion, an absurd thing to be annoyed at. Every game is different, because different things happen and different teams play. Its why people have season tickets and don’t get bored. Go to the game and have an awesome time with this weekend. It sounds like there must be other things going on with this relationship. Focus on those and not this game, because no sports person in the world would have any idea this would be something youd get mad about. The gift should be about the gift, not about how it makes him feel towards you. You seem to be using the gift as emotional leverage. He will enjoy the game not an iota less because he went to this one. It sounds like you want him to be really grateful to you or almost indebted to you, and thats not the most healthy way to look at gift giving. If you truly gave it in the spirit of joy and hoping he would enjoy it, dont worry because as a sports fan, he will like the second time just as much if not more than the first time, and it will be more special because he is with you.

      • This is what I was going to say, too. It’s not like you got him tickets for Book of Mormon and he is going to see it now with his work buddies. The game you go to together will be a totally different game!

        Also, I agree that you shouldn’t talk to him about this tonight.

        As to your other issues, I would just pick a moment when you are both relaxed and say something like, “listen, maybe it’s me, but sometimes I just need you to be a little bit more supportive or there for me. I think you might not realize or intend it, but when you do X, I feel Y. Can we try to head that off by doing Z?”

      • for some perspective, think ‘what would happen if he got hurt in a car accident tonight’ or something… might realize it isn’t a big deal… not trying to be grim, but life has enough challenges and if you are on a good team, go with it and try to let go of things like this. do something for you- a yoga class, eat some cake, i don’t know- something to lift your spirits and stop dwelling on this.

        • You want him to not go to the game (sacrafice his happiness) to make your present more special? That seems selfish and not in the spirit of gift-giving (the gift seems like its more for you than for him).

  15. Question for you Target devotees –

    I have a $75 gift card from Christmas that the gift-giver keeps following up about. She wants to know what I bought or will buy. I usually buy toilet paper at Target and stuff for my kids, but she of course wants me to buy one special item for myself.

    What would you buy? I would not buy shoes there (fussy feet) but I think I’m open to just about anything else.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      How about yoga accessories (strap, blocks, bag) and/or a set of hand weights? Or, a few good quality board games for family game night? Or maybe a nice big plant? Plants can be so darn expensive. Or, an e-reader, though that blows the whole $75 and then some.

      • Anonymous :

        Flat iron for my hair + oodles of red lipstick and some creams. Oh, and “fancy” chocolate.

        • Yes, fun makeup you wouldn’t normally buy, fancy chocolate (there’s a target brand that does all sorts of cool combos, choxie maybe?), a new fun sheet set or bedding item, some decorative house item, photo frame… but I’d legit use a portion of the gift card for practical stuff.

          Oh, work0ut clothes, or fun pajamas, I love the nick and nora line!

          • I love love love their v-neck cotton tshirts. ALso they just got in comfort flats with nice arch support- worth a try on.
            sorry, if she thinks target is where you need to get your ‘fancy’ self gift- she’s just off. it’s a place for basics. their sunglasses aren’t bad. or a fancy bra if you must make her feel good- but that is annoying, she gave the certificate not a set item.

    • Vegas Baby :

      Books/movies/music are always good. So are small appliances and home decor accessories. Or, video games (if you play) or other small electronics.

    • http://www.target.com/p/14Kt-Yellow-Gold-Diamond-Accent-Oval-Hoop-Earrings-Yellow/-/A-12271490

      thoughts? They’re buy one, get one 50% off, so I guess I could get two… hmmm….

      • PS Target’s website is killing me by suggesting I buy Breaking Dawn items on every page.

      • I like the idea of those earrings, but I’d be hesitant to buy jewelry at Target online.
        I am pretty hesitant to buy jewelry online period – I feel like I can never tell what it’ll actually look like.

        If I had a $75 gift card to Target, I’d buy a lot of books and not feel bad that I could have gotten them at the library or should have looked for ‘em at a used bookstore. Or, if I had a place to put it, I’d get a hammock. My whole life, that’s been a dream.

    • I got a Target gift card, and split it about 25/75 between fun stuff I’d never spend my own money on (pretty candles!) and necessities. If the giver had followed up, I would have told him about the fun stuff.

      If you’re feeling frivolous, I think Target is good for accessories, like the earrings you posted, or scarves/hats/cute socks/tights/etc., and home goods-y stuff like picture frames and the aforesaid owl-shaped candles.

      …but if you want to buy toilet paper, buy toilet paper.

    • jason wu for target just dropped this past sunday. if there’s anything left, you could pick up something from that line. it looked really cute online.

    • They’re $99, but the Bose in-ear headphones?

    • or a ton of iTunes giftcards…I would go to town on some e-books, music, and apps…..

    • A bunch of Boots 7 cosmetics. I love the Protect and Perfect serum, but creams are excellent, too.
      Target also has fun home decor.

    • I just bought several Jason Wu pieces. But, you could go with a lamp, home decor, blanket, bedding. Or, heck, but 27 packages of popcorn, it’s YOUR gift!! Have fun!

    • We used a Target gift card to buy fitness accessories. Bike locks, water bottles, water bottle holder for the bikes, sport socks, padlocks for the gym, swim goggles, yoga mats, etc. I told the giver that she had essentially funded our fitness for the year.

    • Is it common for a gifter to follow up on how the giftee uses a certificate? I’ve never heard of such a thing!

    • V. late to the game here, but sheesh, isn’t one of the cardinal rules of gift-giving (which includes gift-cards) to not hound people about what they’re using the gift for?

      And, in the case of the gift card, it’s up to the givee whether she wants to tell the giver how she used the gift card. If someone did this to me, I’d give her $75 cash just to STFU and stop being a pest.

  16. I find the idea of a special item at Target kind of funny. It’s more of a basics place than a special item place to me. That being said, what about some fancy electronic gadget or some books or music?

  17. SV in House :

    Does anyone have any suggestions for ski stuff storage/transport? We go to the snow, rather than live in it, so I need to transport ski clothes and boots, helmets, goggles, gloves, and snow boots. There are 4 of us and one bag/box per person would be fine. Thanks!

    • I have a ski bag, and then I have boot bag, which is in backpack form. there’s 2 outer pockets (one for each boot). I put googles, gloves etc in the middle pocket.

    • soulfusion :

      I’m a snowboarder so I have a board bag that fits my board, boots, helmet and still has plenty of room to stuff my hats, gloves, pants, coat, socks and fleece in. A skier friend of mine has a great boot bag that has room for his helmet/goggles and clothing, I believe he got it at REI. I suggest looking at REI, campmor.com or even Zappos. Mine board bag is Dakine and I have seen a wide variety of their bags at various outdoor retailers that would work for you. Also, if you don’t care if it is ski-specific I love my North Face duffel bags. I have two different sizes and they are extremely durable and great for packing up all kinds of gear. I’ll post a link in a separate post.

  18. Rural Juror :

    BR Gemma dress – love or hate? I am reading the reviews on the BR website but I would feel more comfortable with the opinion of someone who is wearing this to work. I usually wear a 2 or 4 at BR, size small or x-small?

  19. Phoenix Suns :

    I’m visiting Phoenix in a few weeks and going to a Suns game… are there any good places near the arena to get supper before hand?

    • I like Bistro 202/Ghost Lounge in the historic San Carlos hotel. The bar is classic, with dark woodwork, deep comfy chairs and photos on the wall of celeb who stayed at the hotel in the 30s, 40s and 50s. Supposedly the place is haunted, but I just think it is a cool old hotel.

      Bistro 202 is across the lobby, and you can order their food from the bar. Or, you can sit out on the sidewalk and enjoy why people go to Phoenix in the winter. The food is light and fresh, with burgers, salads, paninis, etc. Their Lobster Mac n Cheese won some sort of award on the Cooking Channel; I haven’t had it, but hear people rave about it.

      It is an easy hop between all the restaurants and the arena on the light rail.

  20. For Francesca in Cinci :

    Hey Francesca in Cincinnati-

    I read your post from a few nights ago. I live in Columbus and always get bummed out because all the other Corporettes live in fabulous big cities… Maybe we should meet up sometime! I actually plan to be in Cinci within the next few weeks to celebrate a friends’ birthday. Perhaps we can make plans.

    Or I’d love to meet other gals around here too :)

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