Thursday’s TPS Report: Sleeveless Felicity Blouse

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

ELIE TAHARI Sleeveless Felicity BlouseOooh: I’m not normally one for sleeveless white blouses, but this one has such cute architectural details (and, yes, it’s on sale) that it’s hard to pass by. I blame the styling (or, um, lack thereof) — it’s sold out at Neiman Marcus but you can at least see how it looked. I’d wear it with structured bottom like a pencil skirt or trousers with a sharp pleat, and a bright, fitted cardigan on top. It was $198, then marked to $71, but it comes to $57 after you add code TWENTY. ELIE TAHARI Sleeveless Felicity Blouse

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  1. You’re totally right, Kat, the styling makes a huge difference. I was thinking “meh” until I clicked on the Neiman’s link, and now I really like it.

    Question: We’re planning on refinancing our mortgage soon (like in the next couple of weeks) and then want to get a construction loan to add onto our house shortly thereafter (like in the next two to three months). Will those two things have any impact on each other? Is there any reason not to do it? Has anyone gotten a construction loan before? Are banks hesitant to give them? Do you need to put down the normal 10-20%?

    We’ve been paying about double our mortgage every month, with the extra going to principle, so we’ll be able to afford it easily, and the bank should be able to use that as a track record for our financial soundness, I would think.

    • Or should we try to do both transactions in one?

    • We are looking at a major home remodel soon, with an addition. I would just wait and do a construction to permanent loan rather than paying the costs (appraisal, etc.) twice in just a few months. The larger the final loan amount will be, the more they want down. But, the norm right now seems to be 20% on a construction loan. Before you do anything, go ahead and talk to your bank or mortgage broker.

    • I’d do them at the same time. You’ll probably get a better rate on the construction loan if you roll it into the refinance, plus you’ll save yourself the refinance. (We actually closed on our house refi this morning. Rates are quite low right now, but they don’t seem like they’re going to do a major jump in the next month or two.)

      • I think it’s better to do it at once and that way you save on fees/paperwork, etc. On a related note, I am trying to refinance right now. I’m interested if anyone else is doing this and what kind of rates they are getting. My best offer thus far, 3.5% for 20 years.

        • just Karen :

          I’m waiting for approval on our refinance at a 3.75 for 30 years – we wanted to have the longer term so that we have enough cashflow for improvements over time.

        • working mama :

          3.375 @ 30 yrs

        • Left Coaster :

          Would anyone mind sharing what the refinancing fees are? I bought last year and have a 30-year at 4.375%. Trying to decide whether re-fi’ing would be worth it — I estimate we’ll be in this home for at least 10 years, but not sure beyond that.

          • Anony from earlier, we refinanced down from 4.75% to 4.00% over 30 years. We just bought last year. No fees, it was free to us…actually, since the escrow we paid on this transaction is less than our old escrow, we’ll be getting money back.

          • associate :

            Spoke with a broker yesterday who said to expect 1% of the amount of loan in fees. There are “free” refis, but you end up paying more over the life of the loan, generally, than just paying fees up front. I work with a small, local broker who has charges lower fees, but offers the same rates. So it may be worth looking local too.

    • Good for you – a great time to refi. I really wish I could refi right now – the interest rates are amazing.

    • Diana Barry :

      Could you refinance and get a higher mortgage amount, or would that make the LTV ratio
      too high? We did that in order to do a bunch of work on our house when we moved into it – put down 20% and we had about 60K in cash (gain from last house sold) to do construction on the house right away.

    • TOO funny – we are doing this right now!! It depends on your equity. Do you have 20% right now, and a 700+ credit score? If yes, you MAY be able to get a construction loan later, but it will be based on your current equity.

      The only construction loans that are really out there right now are the 203k FHA backed “renovation loans.” You can get up to whatever the max loan limit is for your zip code, but that includes whatever your mortgage balance is. It is a complete refi with the construction loan amount added onto the back. You have to hire a general contractor, and he is paid through draws which he applies for as work is completed. Pay out takes 7-10 days, not too bad! We are being offered 3.85% on ours. The only bummer is the PMI – you basically have to pay it for either 5 years or until you refinance into a traditional loan. If you have the finances to pay it doesn after the renovation, you could probably get to 20% equity and a refi pretty quickly after the renovation is complete.

      What is nice about the 203k is there is very little money that you have to put down. Maybe $5k? They will also finance up to 110% of the new apprasied value – that is what it will be worth after the construction.

      Construction to perm loans are almost non-existent right now. Wells Fargo (I hate big banks…but they are the go-to) is one of the only banks that has a department that specializes in these types of loans. I have a busy work schedule, so they actually sent the regional asst. mgr. out to my house for an evening meeting to talk about it and bring me worked out options. My only problem now is that, with the loan limit being $723 here and my balance at $395, I’m not sure $330k is enough to do the remodel – we’re talking complete tear down and rebuild, and there is a basement to contend with (which is exactly what is putting me over budget!). Right now we’re assessing whether we can come up with cash for the overage, because our savings was depleted from my year of unemployment so there isn’t much knocking around in there right now.

      • Regarding the PMI – it is high. $500 a month almost. BUT – my theory is that either things continue to improve financially for us, we pay the mortgage down, get our credit scores up and refinance….or if we don’t, we pay the PMI for 5 years and it goes away, and we still have our dream house, and we still have a crazy sub-4% 30 year fixed mortgage. For me it is win-win.

        • Wow, thanks for the great responses! I need to work on this a bit more before deciding, I guess. I’ll contact Wells Fargo. The guy from Compass who I originally talked to and thought was so helpful has suddenly stopped answering my calls or responding to my emails. What is up with people???

          • I think I remember you saying that you are in Houston. We originally had our mortgage through Compass also. When we refinanced last year, we approached Compass for a quote, but ended up going through an online broker (RoundPoint) because Compass’s rates were not at all competitive with rates we were able to get elsewhere (we got quotes from RoundPoint as well as other lenders). Not sure if that was a random fluke, but just wanted to mention it!

          • Thanks, and great memory!

          • Wow, just realized I wasn’t very clear– should have said that I’m in Houston as well and we were going through a Compass rep located here. Clearly have not had enough coffee today!

  2. momentsofabsurdity :

    My posts are disappearing into the ether! Anyone else?

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      In any case I was just venting — I didn’t bring a host/ess gift to my boss’s house, where we are working from because he is sick this week. I figured I was there for work purposes. (His kids and wife are here). However, my coworker brought a gift this morning which makes me feel really rude. Sigh.

      • On the flip side, maybe your boss should be giving his wife a little gift (maybe the gift is getting better – ha!).

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          He should! She has made us sandwiches, kept the kids/dog/cats out of the way and come in to offer us coffee several times. I’m thinking I really should have brought something…sigh.

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            You could send her a thank you note for her hospitality while you were there.

      • Maddie Ross :

        Sorry I steered you wrong! I still feel though that you should not have to bring a hospitality gift to someone that you are doing a huge favor for!

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          No it’s okay! You confirmed my instincts and you even suggested getting baked goods, which I didn’t do, haha.

      • I really don’t think you need to bring a hostess gift. I mean – you’re doing your boss a HUGE favor by working out of his house while he’s sick. It strikes me a little odd that your coworker brought something. I think all you need to do is thank his wife for being such a great hostess and express some sympathy that her husband isn’t well and has to work.

      • D Train South :

        I don’t think you need to bring a hostess gift. Such a gift is to acknowledge someone’s generosity for catering to you in some way — preparing a meal, throwing a party, etc. Here, you are catering to your boss by working from his home. His wife is also catering to him, not to you. (I know she is bringing you sandwiches, etc., but that is to thank you for accommodating the needs of her husband.) You shouldn’t feel badly. At the same time, your co-worker has put you in an awkward spot, so perhaps you could bring something like muffins for the group, including the entire family, one day. Or follow the advice to send a thank you note. Or send her some nice handsoap or coffee after this is over to “replace” whatever the group has used this week.

      • powerfish :

        You went to your boss’s house to work because he is sick this week? Does anyone else think that is strange? Was he contageous? Too sick to make it in to work but not too sick to work from home? Do you not have remote access? To me, this just sends a terrible message. If you’re sick, keep working, no matter what. I would not even know how to ask my staff or associates to come to my house to work when I’m sick.

        • momentsofabsurdity :

          He is sick but not contagious. We have remote access but he’s one of those that if he can’t see you working, he doesn’t believe you are working (face time is huge here even though it’s not always strictly necessary). We tend to get more done when we are all in the same room, however (we are working collaboratively on a major project) and I offered to meet via WebEx, but he preferred working at his house. I agree it was a little odd but it’s not (really) like I can say no.

          The sickness was more major major fatigue when trying to get up/walk around – so sitting at a table all day was/is fine.

          • powerfish :

            Got it, thanks. But maybe he wouldn’t have major major fatigue if, in general, he rested when sick. Thankfully, I have seen a real shift at my firm from those who used to brag about working when sick (or on maternity leave, or at the hospital or whatever) to those who think those people are nuts.

        • She said in her original question yesterday that it’s not the contagious kind of sick. I’m picturing recovery from surgery or something more along those lines.

    • This happens to me sometimes when I’ve done something so horrible that I’m not even fit for moderation, like put three links in a post or described a peac@ck-colored c@cktail dress.

    • Migraine Sufferer :

      Mine did yesterday *poof* and I wrote nice long post about divorce trends too. FOOEY.

  3. I utterly fail to the appeal of this. Mind boggling.

  4. I utterly fail to see the appeal of this… Sorry!

  5. Not to be all over this thread, but I have another question for you lady lawyers out there: When you’re waiting around to get something finalized, do you bill for that time? I’m in litigation, if it matters. Last night, I was up soooo late waiting for people to finish their parts of a project before I could do my part. I understand that in transactional practices, people usually bill for that sort of thing, but I’m not sure if that applies to litigation also. Does it matter that the client asked for the project to be finished in less than 24 hours, so it was just our own procrastination that resulted in the late night?

    My instinct is no, but I don’t want to cut myself short.

    • I would bill. But for the client’s project I would not be sitting around waiting on other people to work on said client’s project.

    • If I don’t have other work to do while I’m waiting, I’ll bill for it. If it turns out to be a long wait (perhaps because the person I’m waiting on is doing work for another client), I’ll cut that time by half. I think of it this way: would I be at the office but for this project? If not, I bill.

      For reference, I’ve had great reviews and no partner has ever questioned my efficiency or whether my bills look “padded.” And my realization rate is great.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I would not bill for that unless I was actually doing something for the project, like researching so I could execute my part quickly. If I was just sitting in my office waiting for the partner to proofread or something else, though, I would not bill.

      If I wanted to bill for something in that situation, I would have done something for a different matter that could be put down quickly.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      If I am stuck in the office outside of normal business hours because, and only because, I am participating in a filing that we’re finalizing before we ECF it at 11:55 pm, I bill all of that time. If I can work on something else, I bill to that instead, and if I can go home, I don’t bill the idle time even if I need to stay awake to bill .5 at the end because I could be doing something on my personal time while I wait. The way I see it, I’m physically stuck in the office late at night because of the client, then the client (partner) is taking up all of my time and the partners are welcome to write off that time if they want, but I need to get credit for it on my billables gosh darn it. This is what I was told to do by a senior associate years ago.

      • Former MidLevel :

        This. I was specifically told my a partner to always bill for my time if I was stuck late at the office for a case, even if I was just waiting for a partner to do something.

      • The way I see it, I’m physically stuck in the office late at night because of the client, then the client (partner) is taking up all of my time and the partners are welcome to write off that time if they want, but I need to get credit for it on my billables gosh darn it.

        Yep, this is my reasoning too. I don’t care if it actually gets billed, but I deserve the credit.

      • Former litigator here. I would not bill that to the client. I’d usually find other stuff to do, including organizing my office or doing time sheets (in which case I’d bill the time to some admin charge). Alternatively I might also hang out at a coffee place and read a book or newspaper, go out for a semi-nice dinner near the office, etc (in which case I wouldn’t bill for my time). It’s not as nice as complete time off, but you can still make the most of it!

        You may want to ask a senior associate / partner, though. At the end of the day, they decide what gets cut when the bill goes to the client. Making their life easier may be better for you in the long term than having a certain number of billable hours show up in your time sheets. (Note that this is from the perspective of a big law associate who meets whatever requirements exist for bonuses and advancement.)

        • SF Bay Associate :

          If I can leave the office, I do not bill that time. In my experience, these filing nights are a lot of .4, then wait a half hour, then .3, then wait 20 minutes, then .6, etc, which means I’m chained to my desk the whole evening. And they never remember to order dinner, so my dinner is granola bars.

        • Talking to someone above you in the food chain is good advice.

          Different attorneys can have wildly different billing practices and preferences, and you’ll never know what those are until you ask. The last thing you want is to have someone think you padded your hours, then write down/off your time and never tell you about it, and have that bias follow you around.

      • D Train South :

        This. We are not talking about long windows of time during the workday when you are not working on the project because someone else has it. We’re talking about turning a document here, and you are on call during that time. As SF said, if you can find something else to do that is productive, including further revising the document or chasing the sticky legal issue down every rabbit hole with a little more research, you’ll be giving the client more bang for the buck. If you can do your timesheets, do them and don’t bill. If you can take care of paying your personal bills, which you would have needed to spend your own time doing that night anyway, do that and perhaps don’t bill for it. But bill for the time if you can’t do anything but sit at your desk and wait for someone to consult with you or return the document to you. You’re working, and you’re necessary to the project at that point.

      • Amelia Bedelia :

        I agree. I bill it every time and have never had pushback or complaints.

    • If I have to be in the office, damn straight I do. If I’m free to leave, get dinner, whatever, and they’ll call/email when I need to be back, I don’t.

      • I’m really surprised at these answers. If your own procrastination means you are in the office late you bill that?

        • Well, I left out the *not* in my question. In my case, our procrastination didn’t lead to the problem. The client wanted a really complicated analysis of liability done in less than 24 hours, so that obviously meant we were going to be up at the office all hours of the night.

        • As a client, I’m a tiny bit horrified, I’ll admit.

          • I understand the horror, but think of it this way. I prepare a document; my boss needs to approve/sign it. I’m only staffed on one matter so I don’t have any other matters I can bill to. I finish the document and give it to my boss to review. It must be submitted by midnight. My boss takes an hour to read it; I cannot leave the office because I don’t know how long it will take him. He gives it back to me with some edits. I incorporate the edits; he takes another 30 minutes to review it again then approves it. I cannot leave the office until he approves it, in case there are further edits. So should I just eat that hour and 30 minutes and not get credit for it toward my billables? Not a chance. Of course I’m recording that time. I can understand why the client wouldn’t be thrilled with it, but even if my boss had just prepared the document himself (at a higher hourly rate), someone would still have had to review it because everything gets seen by a second set of eyes before it goes out. Clients are even less thrilled when something goes out with errors in it.

          • I definitely understand from your side, Bluejay. Makes total sense. It would be great if there was a way (besides unspecified discounts) to decouple what is charged to the client from your billables.

          • MaggieLizer :

            Banker, this is one of the many problems with billable hours. Associates are stuck between participating in institutionalized dishonesty or getting criticized for having comparatively low hours. There really should be a billable code for “Sitting on my a$$ waiting for people to get sh!t done” so associates can get billable credit and partners know to write off those hours.

          • You probably know this, but just because an associate records her time, that doesn’t necessarily mean the client gets billed for all of it.

          • For sure, Kanye (those are the unspecified discounts I mentioned).

          • Amelia Bedelia :

            MaggieLizer, I do not agree that associates are “participating in institutionalized dishonesty.” As lawyers, our time is money. Clients pay for the full devotion of my time. If I am at the office on that client’s project, I am devoting my time to the client. As long as I am not working on another matter but still billing it to the client, there is no dishonesty. We charge by the minute, not by the document. This is why billable hours are structured the way they are, to incorporate down time. otherwise, we would charge a flat fee for projects.

        • No. (well, I don’t bill the time I spent procrastinating, anyway. If a project takes a total of 8 hours, I bill 8 hours, even if I actually spent 12 hours in the office for it because I was goofing off.) But if I finish X stage and my boss tells me I need to be there for Z stage of the project and it’s going to take them three hours to complete Y stage, and so I’m trapped in the office for those 3 hours, yes, I bill those three hours.

        • Former MidLevel :

          No, the situation we’re talking about is where the partner says something along the lines of “I need you to get this on file tonight,” but they won’t get you edits/do their part until 10:30 p.m. or later.

          • D Train South :

            Actually, I read it as a situation where the client says “get this on file tonight”, associate spends all day putting it together, and it takes the rest of the evening for the multiple lawyers involved to finalize it to ensure the client gets a great product.

        • AnonInfinity :

          I’m surprised at the answers, too, even when procrastination doesn’t figure into it.

          I just don’t agree with the idea that I can bill a client for time just because I have to be at the office. I have to be here from 9-6 during the day, but I wouldn’t bill a random 3 hours during those hours if I was waiting to hear back from a partner. I don’t understand why it’s different just because it’s different hours. I figure I’m getting paid a lot of money to sometimes have to be inconvenienced (it doesn’t sound from the OP like this is a once-a-week thing).

          • I wonder if this is a “know your office/client” thing — I’ve been told to bill that time, with the understanding that the partner may or may not write it off. Same for travel time where I’m not working while traveling.

            I have mixed feelings about it. I’m not doing what I want to be doing after ‘normal’ business hours, therefore I should be getting credit for it, but then, that’s why they pay us the Big Law Bucks, but on the other hand, we’re measured by our billables and it doesn’t seem ‘fair’ to have 7-8 hours of billable hours when you’re in the office for 12-14 hours and not because you procrastinated and spent hours surfing the web.

          • Former MidLevel :

            “I wonder if this is a “know your office/client” thing — I’ve been told to bill that time, with the understanding that the partner may or may not write it off. Same for travel time where I’m not working while traveling.”

            I think it is. For example, we didn’t bill for travel time.

          • AnonInfinity :

            That’s true, especially if the partner is going to write off the time.

            My firm does not have an especially high hours target, so sitting around here for an evening would not affect my ability to meet my goal. Partners will often tell me to write down certain time that is on the line, but to override my rate to $0. That might be what I’d do in a situation like this if it was extreme.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Can you bill it with the no charge code? That is what I do for anything where I need to show what I did with my time but I don’t think a client should be paying for it. I also think there are plenty of things you can do while “sitting on your butt waiting for the revision.” You can read this site, catch up on the news, Facebook, read a professional journal, email your friends, call a friend, etc.” Not all office time = billable time.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I always thought there should be a billing code “WW” for “worry and wait.”

    • Praxidike :

      Normally I wouldn’t have billed for it when I was in private practice; I would, instead, work on some other project while I waited. Now that I am in-house, if I found out one of our outside attorneys did that, I would cut the time and they would also get a phone call about our billing guidelines.

    • I agree that you should defer to your firm/group/partner’s billing practices, but what would you actually put on your timesheet description for that if not something along the lines of “Wait time”?

      It is NOT your client’s fault that you are only staffed on their matter. Why are they paying for you when, say, you could be doing CLE, timesheets, other legal research or working for another client? Yes, they might be the reason you’re at the office, but they should only pay when you’re _working_ for them. Read your engagement letter–I doubt it talks about billing for idleness.

      While your firm might ask that you bill for this, I find it really, really shady from an ethics standpoint if they are paying for you to be completely idle. There’s nothing else for the same client that you could review or prepare or research while waiting? I find that really hard to believe unless you are very junior and haven’t learned how to anticipate next steps in a case or transaction.

      I am kind of surprised at the responses here too. I’ve worked in biglaw for nearly six years, in NY, London and Silicon Valley. In NY/London, I was often turning merger agmts or ancillaries overnight, and was given the green light to “bill” overnight; however, that was because we often charged flat fees per transaction, so the billing was not passed through to the client–it was internal recordkeeping, if that makes sense. So it was expected, but did not cost clients a penny. They saw how much we worked, but did not pay by the hour.

      In Silicon Valley, where I have, no joke, fifty-plus clients and we only have flat-fee arrangements for our larger public companies (e.g. everyone else pays for our time), and I always have oodles of things to do, I can’t even really imagine myself being in this situation.

  6. it must have popped back on NM, because I just ordered in S from them – only M-XL are available at L&T. LOVE shells like this for under my “I have a problem” collection of cardis.

  7. What is the best Nordstrom to visit in the Boston suburbs? I bought some stuff online at the Anniversary Sale but it looks like there is a lot in the store that is not online. I went to the Natick store a month ago and was surprised at how small the selection was. Is the Burlington one any better?

    • I like the one at the South Shore Plaza, but that may just be because it’s the one closest to me.

    • I feel the same way about the one in Burlington — I like it because its the one closest to me and the staff is very nice (its also very close to a Nordies Rack, so it can be a double trouble kind of day.)

    • Thanks guys. If anyone has been to the pre-sale at one of the local Nordie’s stores and can comment on the selection, that would be much appreciated. I tend to shop in the Individualist Dept.

      • You can also just buy the stuff online and return ones that don’t fit/work since they have free shipping and returns. You can also return in store. I almost never end up buying something in stock in the store at Nordstrom – usually my size/color is out and the salesperson just orders it shipped from some other store.

        • Thanks. That’s what I did but evidently there is a ton of stuff in the store that is not available online.

          • My shopper said there wasn’t, and I didn’t really see stuff that didn’t show up in my pre-shop online.

          • LilacWine :

            I agree with Circe. From my experience, pretty much their entire stock is online, at least for the designer lines.

  8. Derm needed :

    Can anyone recommend a dermatologist in DC who does cyst removal (surgically)? I’m waiting to get an appointment at GW, which is where I’d normally go, but they have a long wait for new patients. Must be on Metro; preferably downtown. Thanks!

    • I can’t recommend anyone in DC, but if you have trouble getting in somewhere, have your PCP call the doctor’s office directly. I have found that appointments can magically open up when one doctor calls up and explains the situation.

      • Derm needed :

        Thanks, but I’m trying to do this without having to pay for a visit to my PCP because this is a recurring cyst and I know what needs to be done (last time it recurred they told me if it came back surgery would be the best option). So the PCP won’t be helpful, and my insurance doesn’t require a referral.

        • Hmmm. Do you know your PCP well? This is the sort of thing I could call them and say “hey this thing recurred and you told me to see a derm for it, but I’m having trouble getting in anywhere. Do you have someone you could recommend and help me get in sooner with?”

          Something like that. Not necessarily a visit. They may even have someone like a nurse on staff who handles this sort of thing.

          • Derm needed :

            I don’t have a PCP per se (I did, but I really disliked her and so I “broke up with her”), but rather go to a primary care clinic with a rotating staff. And it was a derm in another state who told me to follow up if it recurred. So sadly, no, couldn’t get the referral without an actual visit. Thanks, though, for the suggestions.

    • Dr. Stolar at Metroderm DC. He’s over near Farragut. Good luck!

      • I also go to Dr. Stolar — I’d recommend him.

        • Derm needed :

          Thanks! They seem to take my insurance, so I am calling his office now.

          • One other tip (I’m only following up because a lot of derms office can be hard to get appointments at because of the surplus of cosmetic procedures they do), ask if you can get in sooner with a PA or a nurse practitioner. Or get on the cancellation list. This way you may get seen sooner. Then they can assess you and once you’re in the door, you’ll usually get seen by a doctor when that’s what you need.

            Good luck! (Can you tell I spend too much time on the phone with dr.’s offices?)

  9. Jewelry Help :

    I am looking to buy a good quality necklace or bracelet, but would like to spend under $250 or $300. Specifically, I would love a very simple, subtle ruby in a bezel -like setting to commemorate the birth of my son this July (and my husband, who was also born in July).

    The thing is – I don’t ever buy nice jewelry. I have only ever purchased the things at Ann Taylor, etc. and I’m not sure where to buy nicer pieces, without the mark-up of say Tiffany’s or similar. I”m a little anxious about Etsy, because it’s so hard to tell if you are getting good quality or if the pieces will fall apart within a year of use.

    Also, since I never buy “real” jewelry, I’m not sure if my price range is completely unrealistic. Any help would be very much appreciated!

    • I think you should go to a good old-fashioned small jewelry shop. I went it to one to get my watch fixed about a month ago, and they have beautiful jewelry at great prices. They are also usually more willing to negotiate. Bonus points if it is not in a shopping mall with high overheads. More like a family-owned one that’s been in business for a while in some random strip center.

    • Jewelry Help :

      Also, I’m in DC – if anyone has recommendations for a brick and mortar store, rather than something online.

      • Try Solovey jewelers in McLean (their website will show up if you google them). Small family-owned shop, very nice and good reputation. A friend of mine has been going there for years and is very pleased with their work. I had some stones set in earrings by them and was happy with what I got. I don’t know how their prices compare to other places and am not familiar with what they stock, but if you want a b&m store, check them out.

      • I can personally recommend Boone and Sons, and my friend got her custom-designed engagement ring from I Gorman and was extremely happy with them.

        • Oh, and if you haven’t already, check out Blue Nile. They sell jewelry at wholesale prices, and I know some friends of mine have gotten some nice pieces from them.

      • Have you ever been to the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria? I had my wedding ring made by a jeweler there–it was unique and at a pretty reasonable price. Of course, some of the stuff there can veer into overly artsy territory…

    • babyweight :

      Google Levy’s Fine Jewelry

      Independent store in Birmingham Alabama that specializes in estate pieces. Website shows many of their items AND has pricing. This may be helpful to you. I’ve gotten a lot of nice things from them over the years.

    • I think for simple nice jewelry, big box stores have the best prices. The Lord and Taylor at Friendship Heights and the Macy’s at Metro Center have decent jewelry departments. Here are a few simple options: (additional discount with code TWENTY)

      • I have gotten some nice jewelry in L&T and they’re sales associates are great at steering you to sales/friends & family days. I am less a fan of Macy’s which I have been gifted in the past. None of it was cheap, but it didn’t feel terribly elegant. L&T is great though!

    • I’m stuck in moderation because of links. There are nice ruby necklaces in your price range online at lord and taylor and macy’s.

    • MaggieLizer :

      Antique stores or shows. All of my real/not costume jewelry is estate or vintage because it’s generally much better quality for much less money, and I really love the look of it. You might also consider a brooch; many of them have hooks on the back so you can make it into a necklace, or you could get a hook put on pretty inexpensively.

    • Shaesby (designer) pendant at Clay Pot Brooklyn (shop/website.) Utmost simplicity, wear with all.

      You’d need a chain but might already have one or could get that cheaper elsewhere. I have the sapphire in wg, bought a cheap chain on Amazon. Very similar design aalso vailable from James Avery (designer/shop/site).

      You can special-order the Acrostic pendant in “R” for ruby from Doyle & Doyle (antique jewelry shop with its own new-made line.) Stunning, truly an heirloom. Good special-order experience.

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      Check out Ross Simmons’ website – I don’t want to post for fear of getting stuck in moderation. I really like their stuff, they have a great selection of jewelry, and their customer service is good.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Believe it or not, I have gotten some lovely jewelry (including our wedding rings) at Costco. Good quality, good prices.

  10. Sydney Bristow :

    I love architectural detailing on clothes. I’d be all over this top if it had short sleeves.

    Random question, but does anyone have any advice on trying to move while working 70+ hours per week? I’ll be hiring movers, I’m only moving from one borough to another in NYC, and luckily I don’t have a ton of stuff. It just seems completely overwhelming to try and get everything done that I need to and that to-do list is growing exponentially.

    • Do one room/section at a time. Don’t try to do it all at once. Say “Tonight I’m going to pack all the serving dishes.” and then just do that. How long do you have? You might be able to break it up into smaller pieces to make it more manageable.

      Kat also posted about moving here:

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Thanks Merabella. I’m moving in one month. I’m trying to break it down and tackle it one thing at a time. My plan for tonight is to purge stuff from my big bookcase. There are just so many little things that seem to get added to my list like changing my address. Seriously, there are so many companies that I need to change it for! I’ll check out that post too.

    • If you work 70+ hours and have the salary you should get for working this hard (not a given, I know), leave the packing to the movers. Seriously, this is the best $500 (or whatever it was) we ever spent. Our apartment was all packed up in less than 2 hours, and the movers didn’t break anything. Also: hire one or two housekeepers to do any cleaning in the old / new apartment.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I forgot that movers will pack for you. I’ve never hired them before. Do you know if it’s possible to have them pack certain things but not others? I’ve been renting a room in a furnished apartment and my roommate is staying. The majority of stuff is in my bedroom and I could pull what isn’t in there from the other rooms, but the majority of the furniture isn’t being moved.

        Unfortunately, the cleaning thing will be the biggest pain because my roommate wants to start showing my room as soon as possible since it can take awhile to find a new roommate. we are going to clean the apartment together, but I’m primarily responsible for my bedroom. Luckily, I’m moving in with someone else so I don’t really have to do the preemptive cleaning there.

        • Yes, you can definitely have movers pack some things and not others, you just have to make it clear what should be packed. I had this done when I moved from my parents’ house to DC for work and my agency paid for my move… made things so easy.

        • Can’t you hire someone just to clean your room? For like $40?

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Awesome, thanks R! Nancy P, now that you mention it I might actually know someone who would do it for me for a little cash. Can’t believe I didn’t think of that before. I’ve moved so many times in my life, but this one just seems a little crazier to deal with.

        • We moved recently (borough to borough in NYC) and used Schleppers. I was packing right up until they showed up, so whatever was left they just packed for me. So you can always pack whatever you want to pack yourself, then leave the rest to them. Anything that’s not moving with you, just let them know. They even helped me haul furniture i wasn’t taking down to the trash room in my building. The price was by the hour, so it just shortens the time if you’re already partially packed. I moved on the 31st, though, so there was a bit of a mark-up for the end of the month.

  11. I keep getting the “posting too quickly” message. It’s driving me crazy!!

    • Oh, of course that one actually works, but not my substantive questions/comments!

    • If you hit refresh when you get that message, rather than going back, your message will eventually post (you may have to refresh repeatedly). I wish someone had told me that two years ago!

  12. Following up on my questioning yesterday, has anyone seen the Suzi Chin by Maggy dress (Nordie’s 352549) in Hematite? What’s the color like? Alternately, do you know if it’s possible to find out if a local store has it in more colors than what’s available online in my size?

    • ugh – pick up in store service is temporarily unavailable (but think that only works if the online color is available). I’d do a web chat, call them, or go to a store and ask them to look it up for you. If you want I can give you the name/number of the lady that always calls me from Pentagon City Nordstrom.

      • I’ll try the web chat because it seems easier than calling all of the local Nordstroms. I am hoping to find a size 16 in the maroon color.

        • No need to call a bunch of stores; any Nordies SA will be able to pull up a detailed listing of items by store at their register.

        • I have that dress in the maroon color and I love it.

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      Piggybacking off of Bluejay’s question: Can any cardholders tell me if item #541476 is included in the sale?

      Thanks in advance, got to get back to evidence.

  13. Ironing Challenged :

    I need some advice. I bought a really cute silk Talbots blouse. I washed it and hung to dry. Now it needs to be ironed but it has ruffles around the buttons. I fear me attempting to iron it will ruin the shirt. Is this something I can take to the dry cleaners to be pressed/steamed?

    • use your iron on the lowest setting, no steam, with a presscloth between the iron and the blouse. (I use an old pillowcase as a presscloth.)

    • Harriet Vane :

      Is “ruffles around the buttons” ruflles down the placket? If so, I have a Talbots ivory silk blouse that has a 3/4″ slight – as in not gathered a lot – ruffle that runs down the side of the button placket and around the neckline. I iron the ruffle first, then the rest of the blouse. I use fairly high heat and iron directly on the blouse. I have ironed good quality silk blouses and shells this way for a couple of decades without any problems. The key is that it is good quality, 1oo% silk, and that there is no interfacing of a non-silk material. If there were that sort of interfacing I would dry clean. Good quality pure silk is a very tough material. Parachutes used to be made of silk.

  14. need some advice from the ‘rettes…

    Because of all the factors that we have discussed on here before I made a deal with myself that I will only leave my job to go to law school if I get a scholarship or gain admission to a T14 school.

    This is really the only way I feel like it is worth the gamble – I don’t want to go into the specifics of why law school is or isn’t a good idea in this post but this little deal with myself has caused me some grief. Mostly because I am now putting a ton of pressure on myself to do something that I realize is extraordinarily difficult and I feel like if I can’t accomplish this incredible feat that I am giving up the career I truly want and I am stuck where I am at.

    Between these constant thoughts of “There is no way I can do this, I’m not smart enough” two of my coworkers were laid off and I am now responsible for their work. I feel like I can’t find time to study for the LSAT, put an application together, and keep it together at work. I find myself putting off studying because I am working late all the time and just mentally exhausted at the end of the day. I think part of me puts off studying because of this little voice in my head tells me I can’t get a high enough score anyway so why bother.

    I am so frustrated with myself and I don’t want to stay in this job because I don’t have enough confidence/courage to find a way to do what I really want. I feel confused, defeated, frustrated all the time. This is something I have wanted for FIVE years and haven’t been able to do anything about it. I have constantly questioned my ability or have looked to others to tell me what to do in my career. I don’t know what I expect anyone to say but maybe someone has been is a similar situation and made it through? I really believe my lack of self confidence is keeping me from pursuing what I want in life. I don’t know how to change that.

    • Just a quick thought, but have you considered the possibility that maybe this isn’t something you want badly enough? I know that if I really truly want something, I will make it a priority in my life. Perhaps it’s your current job bumming you out and the visions of grandeur you might be having about a prestigious law career (which more likely than that, is not realistic).

      If I’m wrong, I would suggest enrolling in an LSAT prep class like Kaplan, so that you are ‘forced’ to go at least x number of times per week or hire a tutor, so that the financial impact or the strict scheduling will force you into making that first leap.

    • SAlit-a-gator :

      I don’t think you don’t want it badly enough, I think you just have no figured out how to go about making your dream a reality. I second the recommendation for classes, the structure would benefit you. Also, get a study buddy, and dedicate 80% of your weekend time to studying, admission essary writting, etc. Study at least one hour a night. Make a schedule so you’re in control. Then stick to it. If you seriously cannot handle it, then start applying for another job that will allow you to more easily transition to law school. Talk to your boss about hiring someone else because you’re doing the job of three people. If they refuse to, I would start looking somewhere else.

    • Have you ever taken a practice LSAT? Just totally cold? If not, I would recommend that you do so and see what score you get. After all, the LSAT is an aptitude test, and while it’s totally reasonable for people to pick up maybe 20ish points with practice and/or courses, the only person I’ve ever seen jump 50 points was Elle Woods and that was scripted! If you’re sure that you’re limiting yourself to the T-14, then try this and see if it’s even reasonable for you before trying to find the time to study. If you can’t reasonably think you’d get, at the very least (IMO), in the low 160s **after** studying, it’s probably not worth it trying (ie if you get a 130 cold, you’re likely not in T-14 range). Sorry if this is harsh but it’s honest.

      • I appreciate your honesty. I took a few practice LSATs about a year ago and scored 162-163 on each. So I while I feel like my goal is doable (LSAT score-wise) I know it is going to take a lot of work to move up a few points so that I am more competitive. Part of me is worried that I will invest a lot of time and energy into studying and I won’t see any return. That scares the heck out of me.

        • Oh! Congrats! That’s a great cold score!! In that case, you definitely have it in you. I never took a course (couldn’t afford it), just got a few of the practice books and took a practice test a week for a few weeks and did some extra logic games, etc. on the side. If you can pick up 10 points, you’re easily in T-14 range (of course I know nothing of your GPA, etc.). Sounds like this is mental and a case of putting your mind to it :) If this is really something you want, go for it! You definitely have the tools to get there. Your call on whether you use them :)

      • 179! 179!

  15. Reposting because my previous comment is in moderation..

    need some advice from the ‘r*ttes…

    Because of all the factors that we have discussed on here before I made a deal with myself that I will only leave my job to go to law school if I get a scholarship or gain admission to a T14 school.

    This is really the only way I feel like it is worth the gamble – I don’t want to go into the specifics of why law school is or isn’t a good idea in this post but this little deal with myself has caused me some grief. Mostly because I am now putting a ton of pressure on myself to do something that I realize is extraordinarily difficult and I feel like if I can’t accomplish this incredible feat that I am giving up the career I truly want and I am stuck where I am at.

    Between these constant thoughts of “There is no way I can do this, I’m not smart enough” two of my coworkers were laid off and I am now responsible for their work. I feel like I can’t find time to study for the LSAT, put an application together, and keep it together at work. I find myself putting off studying because I am working late all the time and just mentally exhausted at the end of the day. I think part of me puts off studying because of this little voice in my head tells me I can’t get a high enough score anyway so why bother.

    I am so frustrated with myself and I don’t want to stay in this job because I don’t have enough confidence/courage to find a way to do what I really want. I feel confused, defeated, frustrated all the time. This is something I have wanted for FIVE years and haven’t been able to do anything about it. I have constantly questioned my ability or have looked to others to tell me what to do in my career. I don’t know what I expect anyone to say but maybe someone has been is a similar situation and made it through? I really believe my lack of self confidence is keeping me from pursuing what I want in life. I don’t know how to change that.

    • Former MidLevel :

      I think in some ways confidence is like bravery – you know the saying, bravery isn’t the absence of fear, it’s acting despite fear. It think confidence is like that, too. It’s not that you act because you are not concerned about your ability to meet your goals – you act despite your concerns. In other words, confidence can be faked. :)

      If you really want to go to law school (and it seems like you do), break the project into pieces and just do them. The LSAT takes preparation, but applications aren’t that hard (or unduly time-consuming) when you get the hang of it. As for the little voice telling you that you won’t score high enough – you have to put it out of your mind. You never know until you get the score–although scored practice tests will give you a rough idea.

      Law school may or may not be the right choice for you, but how will you feel in five more years if you don’t even try?

    • Oh dear. Hugs. This is a tough one to answer — I really struggle with self-doubt, too. I had a major crisis of confidence my senior year of undergrad which led to my postponing law school applications for a year. I think the time “off” was good for me, and I think I submitted a stronger application because of what I did during that time, and the law school admissions process turned out really well for me. I don’t mean to humble-brag – my point is actually that you have to go DO things that challenge you and force you to stretch yourself in order to gain confidence, and not just think about them. So, there’s probably not a great pep talk that you can give yourself that is magically going to resolve these issues for you – but at the same time, don’t psych yourself out, either. Thousands of people are admitted to T14 law schools each year, and without knowing your credentials, you could be one of them – but you won’t know unless you try. Hope that helps. Good luck!

    • Would it make you feel better to know there are TONS of people in this profession who struggle with self-doubt? Because it’s true. You are definitely not alone.

      • Yup. First year associate, here. I’m a big puddle of self-doubt almost constantly.

        • Crosssfit :

          1st year here too. You’d be amazed how many times I’ve filed things reviewed them and found typos and wanted to bash my head in with shame. Fortunately nothing has cost a client money.

      • That is amazing to me. I feel like I am the only one who feels this way and everyone who goes to a T14 school, has a biglaw job, prestigious clerkship, etc. feels like they belong there and know what they are doing. I always feel like I am never good enough and don’t belong in any distinguished program or job. Or that if I somehow made my way into one, people would soon discover their mistake in letting me in.

        Yes, I have read about imposter syndrom but I don’t know what to do about it!

        • Nope. I’m a 2010 graduate of a T14. No biglaw job and a non-prestigious clerkship (the former is due to economic circumstances, the latter is because it is what I tried for and therefore what I got). What I have learned is that there’s no end to the insecurity – the competition and the pressure to distinguish yourself only intensifies as you go up the ladder. Someone is always going to be better than you, unless you were the editor in chief of the Harvard Law Review and the Yale Law Journal, and you clerked for every justice on the Supreme Court, and made partner at a Wall Street firm before you were 30. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go after what you want. By definition, most of us don’t get to be extraordinary.

    • Would it help if you had a plan B that doesn’t involve staying at your current job? When I was applying to law schools I applied at my top 5 choices and told myself that if I didn’t get in, I would take the year to go work at a ski resort, dye my hair blue, get a nose piercing, and re-assess the following year. (I had jobs that limited my ability to do crazy things appearence-wise since I was 15, so I still had that urge at that point in my life.) It was still a stressful process, but I felt better knowing that if I didn’t get in, I had a better option than just staying at my horrible job for the rest of my life.

  16. Getting pregnant threadjack.

    I was re-reading the post on “when to get pregnant” yesterday when Kat posted it, and I have a question for you ladies. How much do you consider your current job’s maternity leave policy in deciding when to start trying? My current job has fantastic leave, but there are many other aspects of it that do not make it conducive to new motherhood. Ideally, my husband and I would like to wait another year or so before we start trying, but factoring in time for TTC plus actually being pregnant plus maternity leave plus returning to my job for a little while after (I wouldn’t just take the leave and then quit at the last minute), that would mean I’m at this job for nearly another three years. If a baby weren’t in the picture, I would probably be in this job in about another year and a half, at most. But it seems crazy to give up the incredible maternity leave at this job right around the time we’ll be thinking about getting pregnant. Any thoughts?

    • I have a job with very generous maternity leave, and am very seriously considering leaving it for a position with pretty minimal leave, even as I am TTC. In some ways, what I’m contemplating doing is totally irrational. But I don’t want to be at my current job forever, and I have no idea how much longer it will take to actually get pregnant (we’ve been trying for over a year), not to mention — as you point out — the time you’d spend actually being pregnant/being on leave. So I’m trying to take the potential pregnancy out of the equation — i.e., “what would I do if there wasn’t a baby in the picture?” — and make my decision accordingly. And because I think I will enjoy the new position a whole lot more than my current one, and because I want to have a job that I actually want to return to post-maternity leave, I think I’m going to do the “irrational” thing and give up my awesome maternity leave.

      But it’s not an easy decision, by any stretch….. And I’d love to hear other perspectives….

      • Judy Jetson :

        I did exactly this. Left my horrible biglaw position that offered fantastic maternity leave (18 weeks paid and the option to take another 12 unpaid) while 4 months pregnant, and started my current much-more family friendly position that had no maternity leave (because I was there less than 1 year) the next day. When baby arrived, took about 8 weeks paid via STD, used 2 weeks vacation/sick time, and took 2 weeks unpaid to get to a total of 12 weeks leave. Have never regretted it for a second.

    • I’m looking forward to hearing thoughts from the hive. I’m in a similar position and leaning towards taking advantage of the great maternity policy and if I’m finding the work too awful after maternity leave, I can quit then (which I have minor concerns about because I feel badly “using” my employer). Several friends have had terrible maternity leave policies, and the financial and stress consequences of not being able to take/get paid for leave makes me lean towards staying put.

    • SugarMagnolia :

      I didn’t consider it at all. I thought about how it would be to work there AFTER I had the baby. And both the position I was at when I conceived and the dream job I got right before I found out I was pregnant are great places for new moms to work.

      I would NOT base TTC on maternity leave at all. Save up some money for a couple months of expenses and work on getting pregnant. The longer you wait, the harder it is!

      • SugarMagnolia :

        I am also assuming here that your employer will give you SOME leave at least. If they wouldn’t give you ANY leave, then of course you can’t get pregnant while you are working there.

        Secondarily, keep in mind that FMLA doesn’t apply to you until you have been at a job for 52 weeks. (And they have more than 50 employees)

    • I’m not sure a generous policy would be enough for me to stay if my industry had a fairly typical decent maternity leave range.

      But I am currently delaying TTC b/c my employer is too small for FMLA and and I’m 90% sure I would get “laid off” if my boss found out I was pregnant. Hoping to get a new job sooner rather than later for these reasons.

    • I would advise not to worry too much about the “right” time. My husband and I waited a long time (5 years) to try for our second. My job has a basically no leave policy, and my husband was not feeling secure enough about his job and industry. We finally decided to go for it (partly because I was over 35.) Then, when I was 7 months pregnant he lost his job. He was out of work until my son was 6 months old. I took a little less leave than I had planned, and he stayed home with the baby while he was job searching. It was far from ideal, and stressful, but I have 2 beautiful boys now and would do it again. Oh, and when I had my first after waiting years for “the right time” I lost my job while on maternity leave (company was acquired.) In the end that was for the best because my new job was significantly more flexible with far less travel. So again, there is no right time. Follow your heart.

    • Don’t discount the benefits of good leave and a job you already how to negotiate. I started a new BigLaw job after kiddo 1, and it was pretty stressful to have the burden of feeling like I needed to prove myself (all the more so because it was during the darkest days of the recession, and people were just disappearing without explanation every week) on top of the burden of trying to figure out how to do the whole working parent thing. And I was not someone who had qualms about returning to work; I was fairly chomping at the bit to get into the office. I did it, and it worked out fine, but man, those were some anxiety-filled times.

      Plus, and this is my own bias, the more leave the better. Maybe I was just bad at getting it together post-baby, but I needed a long time after the kiddo was born and was thankfully in a situation where I could take an extended maternity leave. And this was with uneventful pregnancy and birth; I can only imagine if I had a harder go that I would have needed more time. Having the time to fully dwell in the new baby/recovery sphere, I was mentally and physically much better prepared to go back to work. I got to really know the kiddo, adjust to life with a child, etc., and had so much less working parent guilt that I saw in other people who had less leave.

    • not to draw ire, but... :

      Can I share a related frustration?

      I am an attorney in a pretty large town, and very few employers here have paid maternity leave or qualify for FMLA.

      I feel like there are two separate issues – (1) how much time off can I take and still have a job to return to, and (2) how can I take off 2-6 months without a paycheck?

      The first one is rough but exists, I know of small employers in this town who only allow an employee to use sick leave and then discriminate across the board if you medically have to be out longer than your 10 days or whatnot. That’s a tough situation.

      But with the second situation – as someone who is TTC for about 8 months, and who will have no paid maternity leave (and has saved up for it just like I would an appliance or a car), I get frustrated and think if saving up 2-3 months of living expenses is such a hurdle that you either cannot pay the bills or you would rather not lose that income, then maybe you ought to not be planning to have a baby right now, anyway.

      I’m not sure I’m stating this as clear as it is in my head, but it frustrates me. If you are working for a someone who offers paid maternity leave, you are not in the bottom 10% of income-earners. Reports suggest that only 11-16% of employers offer any paid maternity leave. And if you are in such a “good” job, and yet still living so paycheck to paycheck that you absolutely cannot live without a paycheck for 3 months, with at least 9 months advance notice, then you need to seriously cut back on your expenses before you are having a baby.

      • Interesting comment. I have no real opinion on the matter, but your comment is thought-provoking. Will be interested to see what others think.

        Incidentally, I know a woman who decided she wanted to be a mom, but no man was in the picture. She went the sperm donor route and had a little boy. She is not a high earner – I think she’s an office manager for a small company. When she decided to do this, she started putting away each month the amount she would spend on daycare. That way, she got used to that payment and built up a nice nest egg. She has a lot of family support in the area, but I thought this was a really smart way to plan. She seems to be doing fine financially.

      • Yeah, but you might be young and not have had more than a year or two to save since finishing grad school, and you might have massive loans. I’m pretty damn responsible and there’s no way I could live without a paycheck for 3 months, in large part because 1/3 of my take-home goes directly to student loans.

    • anonymous mom :

      For me, maternity leave mattered a lot. I felt like if I didn’t take my maternity leave while I was working in BigLaw, I was leaving money on the table. And I’m sticking around in BigLaw longer than I otherwise might have because I want to take another BigLaw maternity leave. However, it helps that I really like my job and have come up with a schedule that works for me. That’s something to consider: can your job be modified after your maternity leave to make it more conducive to being a mom?

    • Diana Barry :

      I would try sooner rather than later, but that’s just me. :) If you get pregnant right away, you could take full advantage of the long leave, then use your time back in the office after leave to find another job (in a few months or whatever).

      BUT, if your job is miserable, disregard everything I said. :)

    • I posted something similar yesterday. (To answer those questions, the only thing my construction project has to do with TTC is that I’d like to get the remodel to “start” phase if we are going to do it, becuase I don’t want to be giving birth in the middle of a construction project, and I want to know what we are actually doing – garage only, garage and whole house, whatever. The biggest project is an 8 month timeline, and we’d get a studio to stay in during, so that is fine but I just need about 30 more days for peace of mind. Also, I will try and get more than 6 weeks, and I will probably be able to work from home some. I’m in tiny law, 2 partners and me, so I’m sure that can be done. We can financially handle probably 3 months unpaid.)

      Anyway, no help except for commiseration. I’m really struggling with this. At my small firm, (under 5 employees) I don’t think we have any kind of FMLA protections, but then again, when I interviewed I was clear that kids were coming soon and both partners said they had kids and that was more than fine. So it is a weird grey area.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Not sure if I will want/have kids but maternity leave and health care benefits ABSOLUTELY plays into my plans. A baby needs a roof over its head. I need a job to return to in order to keep the rough over its head. My office is small so no FMLA. If I was a position where I’d be fired for having a kid, I would look for another job or not have the kid. That is the crappy position our society leaves us in. Also, I need healthcare to live. If my job provided my healthcare and I would lose that healthcare by going on leave (or no longer be able to afford it) I wouldn’t have the kid. I know there is no “perfect” time to have a child but there are certainly times where it would be a HUGE financial burden – and potentially financial suicide. For those of you thinking I’m dramatic, it would go like this:

      1.) go on leave and lose job
      2.) Be unable to continue paying mortgage on home we can’t sell and rent. Chose rent.
      3.) Stop paying student loans. They go into default.
      4.) Husband loses job that requires maintaining good credit and no defaults.
      5.) We stop being able to pay rent.
      6.) Live in cardboard box?

    • Lorelai the Third :

      It’s smart to be aware of maternity leave policies, but you cannot anticipate so many aspects of TTC, pregnancy, and the job market that I think a maternity leave policy should only be a piece of your decision. I tried to plan TTC around a maternity leave policy (stopped job hunting when we started TTC because I was eligible for 10 weeks paid leave), and I would up getting a good job offer when I was 4 months pregnant. I took the new job, negotiated 8 weeks leave, wound up getting about 5 of it partially paid through STD, and budgeted for the rest. Although I wish I had a longer maternity leave, I am so much happier overall at my new job that it has been totally, completely worth it. Maternity leave (even the most generous leave) is a relatively short periods of time in the long run and therefore I think it should only be one factor, appropriately weighted, in your overall decision making.

  17. Going to Chicago! :

    Hi All,
    I’m looking for some traveling advice…DH and I are doing a driving trip from the Balto/Washington area to Chicago and back around the first week of August. Any suggestions of things to see/do along the way, or in Chicago?

    • Going to Chicago! :

      …and we’ll be there for a week total, basically.
      Thanks again!

    • Graduate student help :

      I’m originally from Chicago. Don’t miss the art institute!

      I’ve also driven from Baltimore (where I went to college) to Chicago. There is very little en route. I have, however, done it all in one (very long) day.

      • There really isn’t much en route, unless you want to get off an exit or something. Take your E-ZPass, if you have one.

    • I’ve done the trip the opposite direction a number of times, and there really isn’t a lot on the way. You could detour to Hershey, PA, or Cleveland, OH (Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), if you’re feeling adventurous. In Chicago, I love the Museum of Science and Industry, but I’m something of a nerd.

    • There’s not much on the way. If you want to detour, you could hit up Charleston, WV, Lexington and Louisville, KY, and Nashville and Bloomington, IN.

      • The Charleston area has some good whitewater rafting, if you’re interested in that kind of thing.

      • Kontraktor :

        There is some really yummy funky food in Louisville.

    • In Chicago I really really enjoyed the following:

      The Field Museum
      The Aquarium
      Second City
      Shopping the Magnificent Mile (just a bit)
      Breakfast at Lou Mitchells
      Dinner at a mexican restaurant called Salpicon in Old Town (with drinks before hand at a nearby bar which was also very cool).
      Daygame at Wrigley
      Going to the top of one of the buildings
      The lake.
      And if you’re getting out of the city one day and feel like going for a drive, we did about an hour and a half drive to Ottawa, IL to Starving Rock State Park where both the hiking is beautiful but the town of Ottawa is also kind of nice as well.

    • We just got back from 6 days in Chicago and loved all of the following:

      Art Institute
      Observatory at the John Hancock building
      Free evening concert at Pritzker Pavilion in Millenium Park
      Dinner at the restaurant under Pritzker Pavilion (Grill at the Park?) — the nicer one inside, not the casual one outside
      Frank Llyod Wright walking tour of The Loop
      River boat tour of architecture
      Second City show (highly recommend)
      Old main library building (at Michigan and Washington), beautiful Tiffany glass dome
      Walking the Miracle Mile

      Second others’ recs for Shedd and Field.

    • I was in Chicago a few months back and had fabulous dinner/drinks at Gilt Bar. I also went to Girl and the Goat and Purple Pig, both of which were really tasty. I caught a showing of Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me because I’m a big dorks – totally awesome and worth going to if you’re a fan of the show.

    • SpaceMountain :

      Civil War battlefields
      Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater house near Pittsburgh
      If you want to break up the trip, spend the night in Ann Arbor, MI — nice college town, good restaurants, etc.

    • Used to live in Chicago– not to be missed are Hot Doug’s and Rainbow Cone.

    • Going to Chicago :

      Thank you for all your replies! I’ll check them out!

  18. Graduate student help :

    I just got measured for new bras and I am a 32G (!!!!!). Everything I’ve found in that size is ridiculously expensive, and I am but a poor graduate student. Does anyone have any ideas about cheaper places for sizes like mine (small back, large bust?) thanks!

    • Nordstrom Rack.

    • Good question. I’m a 32F, and they’re impossible to find for cheap, so I’d be happy to see some good responses. I’m sure a 32G is even harder.

      • I have the same issue–a 28″ band if I’m honest. Getting the right size, thus far, appears necessarily to mean paying full price (and much higher than I’m used to) and ordering online. When I posted about this a few weeks ago I got some interesting reading/shopping recs, but definitely no bargains!

        • It is totally worth it, though!

          • I keep telling myself “Cost per wear…cost per wear…” Plus they won’t need to be replaced as early due to stretching out.

      • MaggieLizer :

        b23 – Nordie’s 240862. I just ordered the one included in the sale so I’m not sure how it fits, but the blue one is less (and prettier!) than the anniversary sale versions.

      • we’re size twins!

        I have found an occasional deal on barenecessities(dot)com, but it’s tough ordering bras online since the fit can be so hit or miss. May be worth a look, though…

    • There are quite a few on sale online at regular Nordie’s too.

    • I love Soma. My best friend is a 32G and she got a strapless bra there. Seriously. They have reasonably priced bras and they are always having sales. I would check out the store or the website.

    • Bravissimo isn’t cheap, per se, since it’s in pounds and you have to pay shipping from Britain (I assume you’re in the U.S.). However, their sales are better than anything I’ve found in the U.S. and it has much more variety than Nordstroms.

    • Figleaves dot com has good sales on Freya bras which come in larger sizes. I’m a 32 DDD (or, E, depending on labeling) and I’ve had some luck with Freya. Although, truth be told, I usually splurge on my favorite Waccol bra and wear the heck out of it.

    • I’ve also had the best luck at Nordstrom Rack. It helps to spend some time at Nordstrom figuring out which brands and styles work best for you and then you know what to look for at Nordstrom Rack. I’ve also come across the occasional bra at Marshall’s but I’m a 34F, which might be marginally easier to find there.

    • Marie Curie :

      brastop dot com. They are UK-based, but the US shipping isn’t too bad and the bras are really cheap. And they often do discount codes.

    • Bravissimo . It is life changing , honestly.

  19. Good morning, y’all,

    Are there any Corporettes in Charlotte who can recommend some local shopping options for someone who needs some good post-baby office attire? Am vowing to spend some $ on this if I can get investment pieces that fit well (so no more size M from Target and hoping a jacket will make it office wear). There are so many local boutiques and I haven’t had time to peruse, so I want to take a long lunch where I can shop sans children, hopefully with a sales person/shopper who gets professional dressing and what an office-appropriate fit is.

    And, sadly, bonus for anyone who has ideas about putting in top-darts or snaps into a DVF wrap dress that is larger up top than I need it to be.

    Many thanks!

    • Highly recommend Christie’s alterations on South Blvd for darts/snaps. Unsure about the shopping options and very interested in the responses myself!

    I think my subconscious mind is trying to tell me something.