Thursday’s TPS Report: Print Twist Jersey Dress

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

Chaus Print Twist Jersey DressOf course I love the color combo here, but I also think this is a great dress for the office. The high neckline, the ladylike length, the figure-flattering ruching (which both nips you in and seems kind of forgiving if you’ve had a big lunch)… love it all.  The dress was $79, but is now marked to $52.90. (The dress is also available in a floral print, but it’s almost sold out.) Chaus Print Twist Jersey Dress

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  1. Reporting back on that awesome red/pink houndstooth jacket: It is, in fact, awesome. I have to send it back for a bigger size, though, so I would recommend going two sizes up (really it was one and a half for me, because I’m between a four and a six, and I need an eight).

    The shape is so fabulous. I can’t wait to get the bigger size.

    • So glad to know that you will soon be lookin’ fab in that jacket :)

    • They now have it in all 7 colors. Previously they only had that on their UK site. There is an awesome burgundy, a plum and a pine colored one now, too.

      • They also have a floral print in the petites and some of the solid colors are coming in both plus (their CURVE line) and petite sizing. I wrote a post on that for tomorrow and when I found out they had the colors in the US, too I went ahead an ordered. My experience with Asos validates the recommendation to size up.

      • recent grad :

        HELP! I can’t find the jacket in the other colors. Any chance you could please post a link? Thanks.

    • I just got it too and really do not like it. The material is really stiff and feels almost like a rain coat.

      • Yeah, the material is stiff, but I don’t mind that. For one thing, it helps the peplum keep its shape. It’s also stretchy, so I don’t think it would be too restrictive.

      • This was what I was worried about. What does the material feel like? Is it like a smooth, stiff cotton, or is there some texture to it, almost like a tweed? I really do like the design but haven’t ordered it because of concerns about the viscose fabric.

        • It’s smooth. They have free shipping and returns, so there’s really no harm.

      • Anonymous :

        Same here… Looked cute, but the fabric felt very stiff to me too. It’s going back… I got another cute peplum top though! I’d definitely shop there again.

    • In the Pink :

      Ditto, b23. Mine came yesterday. I wisely sized up as I have arm muscles (thanks, gym) and chest (thanks hormones – not really). So my usual 10 became a 12 in the jacket. Just need to shorten the sleeves. However, the very plasticy sound of the fabric is killing me. Almost like those old plastic tablecloths that were red and white? So it’s off to the dry cleaners first, and if not better, I will bite the bullet and try to wash it in the washing machine. It’s cute and all, but the loud stiff fabric is an issue for me…extends to the way the peplum lays or does not (and I”m wearing a black peplum suit from Nipon that I got on sale at NM today … and that peplum lies flat!) … that’s the rest of my story with this purchase.

  2. (former) Clueless Summer :

    Lipstick recommendations for a pale (pink-toned – I always forget if that’s warm or cool) brown eyed brunette? (Drugstore brands preferably) I’m starting to realize lipstick makes me feel insta-professional but the only colors I wear currently are very natural ones.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’m also a brunette with pale, pink-toned skin (although I have blue eyes) and I love Maybeline’s Super Stay 24 Hour in All Day Cherry if you are up for rocking a red lip. It’s a stain, so it stays on forever and I have to remove it with makeup remover. I also have one in a more everyday color in a that is a pink, but I don’t have it with me and can’t remember the color name. I can try to check for you tonight if you’d like.

    • I’m a pale pink, blue-eyed light brunette, so not an exact match, but pretty close. I love L’oreal Infallible lipstick in Blazing Sangria so much that I have a tube for home and a tube for the office. It’s a nice red that looks professional.

    • I have a true red Sephora brand lipstick and like it a lot (but I have different coloring). It is $12 which is slightly higher than drugstore, but you can try it in store before buying and return at any time if you still find that the color is wrong for you.

    • I have your coloring and MAC lipstick in Twig has been my go-to for years. It’s neutral-ish in that it goes with everything except a true red, but it’s definitely there.

    • It sounds like we have the same colouring. I just bought Revlon ColouStay Lipbutter in (in order of intensity) Red Velvet, Raspberry Pie, Candy Apple, Sweet Tart, Berry Smoothie and Creamsicle. I love, love, love all of them!

    • I saw recently that Aerin Lauder is releasing a new line of makeup that focuses on pinky-browns. Maybe that line?

    • I have the same coloring. I’ve been enjoying the Revlon Lip Butter in Pink Truffle (almost the same color as my natural lip) and Red Velvet.

    • Same coloring here. If you want to splurge a bit at some point, I love Dior Kiss lipsticks (think that’s the name) in Taffetas and Rose Deshabille from Sephora. Taffetas is sort of a hot pink that’s not too crazy for work and Rose Deshabille is a more natural rose, MLBB color.

    • Same coloring, too, and I’ve found I do best in purpley-toned hues (I came to this conclusion after watching a lot of brunettes on TV and trying to work out what they did!). Revlon Colorstay Ultimate Liquid Lipstick in Premier Plum makes me look instantly pulled-together and lasts for-ev-ah. I’ve picked up some great pinks for more fun daytime looks (Revlon’s Just Bitten stain in Victorian is nice), but Premier Plum is my go-to “serious professional who knows how to wear makeup like a grownup” color.

    • I have similar coloring but with hazel eyes. I like Clinique’s Black Honey Almost Lipstick. It’s a nice weight and the color is sheer enough that I can see why it’s flattering on so many people. I also like Maybelline SuperStay in Rose, which seems to last longer than normal lipstick on me. However, I just looked at their website and it looks like they may have changed the formula to a 24-hour one that isn’t getting great reviews.

      • Ditto on the Black Honey — that was my go-to lipstick for years until they changed the formula. Clinique has a very similar shade of one of their glosses (Superbalm moisturizing gloss — currant) that I like a lot, and it lasts pretty well for a gloss.

  3. Cornellian :

    TJ 1: I just thought this was funny: Over the past two weeks I’ve been having recurring dreams where I, through some improbable turn of events, end up performing with rock bands in front of partners at my BigLaw firm. It most of the dreams I sing, or play mandolin or guitar, but occasionally I play drums. I have some ideas what these dreams might reveal, but funny nonetheless.

    TJ 2: I knew I had gained weight since starting this spring, but it turns out I have gained weight to the tune of about 11 lbs over this time last year! I did get up this morning and get a workout in, but wow! No wonder nothing fits. now I”m working on a work out/eating plan.

    • Cornellian :

      or 14 if you count from the marathon! 119 to 133. ouch.

      • AnonInfinity :

        Dude. I am right there with you.

        • Cornellian :

          Misery loves company, I suppose. Must make time for gym, and cut seamlessweb orders in half for lunch the next day. I doubt my puppy would mind more strolls/jogs around the park, either.

      • I’ve heard that women often gain weight after a marathon because they are used to eating so many calories while training and don’t cut back enough when their activity level goes down. One thing that helps me eat less is using really small plates for meals. Second and third servings are allowed, but DH and I are usually full after eating our one tiny plate.

    • Merabella :

      I often have very bizarre dreams, and I rarely know what the mean. They do make for great conversation starters.

      • Cornellian :

        In the dreams, everyone is incredibly impressed by my ability to balance my big law job with my other job as a rock goddess. Given my general inability to impress recently, I imagine it’s my brain somehow working that out. I’m not sure partners would like to hear about these dreams, however.

        • Haha, well I would be impressed too if you could handle both biglaw and rockin’ out. It’s like your brain wants you to be in an Ally McBeal episode.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      My bar actually has lawyer battle of the bands contests at a local bar. Your dreams could come true!

    • Me too. I am 8 lbs overweight now, and the manageing partner is commenteing that the dreses I am wearing are a little to tight. He is NOT compleaing, tho, just stareing alot more at my tush. FOOEY on him for lookeing so much!

      I just got back from the CHAMBER’S hearing on my 3 cases. I did NOT have to go back on the same line with Jim b/c he had to go on the 4 line and I do NOT take that line back here. The judge like’s me and Jim was very impresed the way I handled issues with the judge. Yay!!!!

      One of the plaintiff’s DID show up so I could NOT win my motion to disemiss. Insted, the JUDGE ordered the plaintiff submit to an EBT that he asked ME to schedule with the plaintiff! Jim said I should schedule it soon, but since Jim would have to pay eventueally, I said there is NOT to much of a rush. I will ask the manageing partner today.

      I also told Jim I asked Frank to do the math on the HSR form with the “data” that Jim gave me. So far nothing back from Frank. Frank says this form should be given to the company, but they gave it to US to fill out and I now have 20 billeable hours that I have to submit tomorow to the manageing partner.

      Fineally, Jim asked if I wanted to go with him to a MET’S game. I told him I do NOT like sport’s unless it is air conditoned. FOOEY on swetting in the hot sun!

      • Was Jim upset that the judge was not in his judiceial robes? Also, swetting is good for your pores and it might help you lose some weight — it’s like a steam room!

    • First Year Law Student :

      There’s supposedly a Judge (district appellate maybe? I’m forgetting, but I was told he was important) who, after giving a talk at my law school, will be performing with a band. Apparently it’s the most amazing thing ever. So maybe that’s what you’re destined to do?

    • There is a band mad up of D.C. judges called Deaf Dog and the Indictments:

  4. Diana Barry :

    Dude, Kat, you’re killing me here with all the blue!
    /color rant

    PSA for all the new moms/pregnant ladies: I just got the Boden wrap top (link to follow) which looks FABULOUS (camouflage for postpartum tummies!) and is also great for nursing! Woohoo!

    • I love teals and grey blue but there is something about this bright blue that bothers me.

    • Research, Not Law :

      Thanks, I’ve had my eye on this top. I also love wrap tops for nursing.

      Did you get one of the patterned tops? That’s been my hesitation. I can’t decide if I like the pattern or not.

  5. Diana Barry :
  6. Salary question :

    Anyone familiar with the Western NY market for lawyers? My cousin just graduated from law school in the SUNY system and has a job interview with a 5-person firm. He has no idea what a reasonable starting salary would be for the location and firm size. Glassdoor was not much help. He is thrilled to get any job, but also has significant loans to pay from undergrad in addition to law school. He has two years of experience as a law clerk in Big Law prior to law school, if that makes any difference.

    • Cornellian :

      I have two friends who work out there… one in Buffalo and one in Ithaca, if you count that as western NY. I think they both earn in the 50-65K range, and they’re a couple years in with Cornell JDs.

    • Anonymous :

      I would think in the 45-50k area depending on what type of practice.

  7. I got scolded by a sales assistant for slipping on a sweater to check the fit in the corner of the store. (I was in the kids section and the “dressing room” was a pop up tent that I was too tall for. Yes, I realize this situation could have been remedied by NOT SHOPPING IN THE CHILDREN’S SECTION but cheap sweaters!!!)

    Combined with a questionable haircut and I’m just about ready to call it.

    • Scolded? On what basis? I totally try to wear tanks under things when I go shopping so I can do that! People may look at me funny sometimes, but no one has ever said anything.

    • Eh, it’s one of those things that you aren’t really supposed to do but most people do. I mean, I’m not going to go into the dressing room to try on a jacket, especially with stores that have mirrors all over or have lines for the dressing room. Add that you are too tall for the doors (which has happened to me in adult stores, too… stores need larger doors) and I see no problem.


      • What?! Why aren’t you “supposed” to try on things like jackets and sweaters out on the floor, and if you’re not supposed to, why on earth do they have all those mirrors?

        • I agree. I assume the scolding was more for shopping in the kids’ section (either general disapproval or thinking you might stretch out clothes). Not that I would scold you for it, but that might have been the salesperson’s perspective.

          • Probably. But I’m wearing my lovely sweater now so I’m a happy camper. Sadly they are meant to be school uniform sweaters so colors are limited but it is the 10x better than the similar and much more expensive one in the women’s section.

        • Remember, Cb is not in the US. The etiquette for this kind of thing may be different where she is.

    • Also: I totally buy kids clothes whenever I can. I’d be super annoyed if someone tried to tell me I shouldn’t. Because maybe then they should make adult sized clothes that fit me.

  8. This came up a few weeks ago– about how much Fox news anchors are made up to look like pageant-competitors.

    New York Magazine now has its take on why:

    • Former Partner, Now In-House :

      I was the one who originally posted about Fox a few weeks ago. The Atlantic Monthly article confirms the phenomenon, and explains a little bit about why it happens. But it strangely is lacking any mention of my supposition that the Fox Pageant look is designed to delegitimize female journalists. Maybe I am just paranoid.

      • I think you might just be paranoid. I think it’s simpler than that: men like to look at good-looking women. I don’t think there’s any sinister motive; they’re just trying to be successful. Of course, I’m not saying there’s not a problem with the whole schematic of women’s beauty, but I don’t think Fox News would be delegitimizing its own newscasters on purpose.

        I’m not sure that even makes sense.

        • My comment, I mean. I’m not sure if my comment even makes sense.

        • Research, Not Law :

          I was just reading the Atlantic article yesterday in the office breakroom and was thinking that I should post here! I must have missed the previous discussion.

          I do agree with b23 that Fox likely does it simply to appeal to male viewers, but I think it does delegitimize female journalists and other women who appear on the show. In other words, I think Fox is aiming to get the market of men who think women are only for looking at.

          Mostly, I appreciated the article because it validated that it wasn’t all in my head. I had thought the Fox women seemed… odd. But I thought I was just going crazy. B23, it really is noticeably different.

    • Nothing substantive to add, but I just have to say that I laughed out loud at this line from the Atlantic piece:

      “There you are, a renowned expert on nuclear proliferation/immigration policy/­the Middle East, obliged to regard yourself in the mirror and ask: Will I really go on national television looking like a cross between Captain Jack Sparrow and a waitress from Hooters?”

      • That’s funny. It certainly is a shame that they have to get all dolled up. Question: Do you really think it’s *that* much worse than other cable news channels? I don’t have cable so I obviously don’t watch cable news much, but when I do catch CNN and the likes, it seems like their women reports are also wearing sleevless, bright sheeth dresses and a lot of makeup.

        Thoughts from those of you who actually watch cable news?

        • Cable news is often on in the physicians lounge and there is an intense passive aggressive battle between Fox and CNN:

          Anesthesiologist comes in from 15 minute eye case, sees Fox on, switches it to CNN, watches three minutes, leaves to do second eye case. GI doc comes in from 10 minute upper endoscopy, sees CNN on, changes to Fox, watches 2 minutes, leaves. Repeat x 15 throughout the day.

          Anyways, that is to explain why I’ve actually seen a fair amount of FOX news despite my politics. People, men and women, dress crazy on FOX. There’s some guy with a lazy eye who talks a lot about criminal cases who always wears thick chalk striped suits, with weird long gelled hair. Another guy clearly has a ton of makeup on, so that he’s weird orange color. The women look pretty crazy too, but I noticed how intense the guys look.

    • eastbaybanker :

      I think a lot of us might be doing a scaled down version of this, having read that women who wear makeup are paid more and better liked in a corporate work environment. I would be a lot more likely to go au naturel occasionally if it weren’t for feeling a certain pressure to wear makeup if I want to go places. Granted, my Benefit blush doesn’t leave me looking like a waitress from Hooters. But I feel like the Wear Makeup mandate for us c o r p o r e t t e s isn’t so far removed from Look Like A Wh*re mandate for Fox newscasters.

  9. Threadjack: What are your favorite iPad apps? Also, what do you do with your iPad when you’re offline so you can use it? Recs for adults and toddlers (like for the plane) would be appreciated! Thanks :)

    • Fruit Ninja (adults and kids, not sure if it would work for toddlers), Scrabble, Chicktionary, Flight Control… you can load books and videos onto it, too.

    • My 3 year old loves matching games (there is a Disney Cars one and a fruit one that he likes), coloring/drawing games, connect the dots, kaleidoscope, paper toss, and a letter and number recognition game.

    • Diana Barry :

      Our kids have I write words and also like angry birds.

    • Carcassonne. Its a German board game app that I downloaded because I am a Settler of Cataan fan (which is also a German board game). We play it at night before going to sleep, plus there is a solitaire version. Whenever family visits, someone always snatches the iPad to start up a Carcassonne game.

      • Oh man, iPad is my new wishlist item for maternity leave. 2 am games resembling Settlers of Cataan while nursing? Yes, please.

        • The game is not exactly like Settlers, but it is really fun! For some reason, the format just seems to work really well on the iPad. Zombies versus Plants is also fun, but mindless.

        • Also, just to clarify, but I don’t have Settlers on the iPad (we just have the regular board game). I think Settlers is available on the iPad, but I heard it didn’t translate as well. I stand by my Carcassonne recommendation for iPad, but totally recommend Settlers as a physical board game.

        • Sounds like we have similar taste in mindless games. I played an embarrassing amount of Starcraft with baby #1.

          Also I love your screen name.

          • Thanks! I don’t watch much anymore, but I used to be a big Homestar Runner & friends fan.

            Would it be rude to put the iPad on your baby registry? Seems like a necessary item.

          • I might put it on my private, for-my-husband-to-see wishlist. :-)

      • MissJackson :

        I love both those games IRL and had no idea that there were iPad apps! Do you play against the computer? Are expansions available, too, or just the base games??? I cannot believe that I did not know this.

        • Awesome! For Carcassonne, you can play against several computer players or IRL players on the same iPad. I’m not sure why, but I always play better against the computer “boy” players and DH always beats the computer “girl” players. They must have different strategies baked in. Carcassonne on iPad also has “Solitaire” game where you just place the board tiles and get points for how efficiently you build cities and roads.

          The app was kinda expensive ($10 or so), but totally worth it.

    • Sugar Magnolia :

      I love the app for managing finances.
      I use Notability for note taking. It also can record simultaneously while you take notes, so it is easy to listen to what a speaker was saying at the time you typed your note.
      I am mildly addicted to the Sims Freeplay game. It is mindless.

      I want Settlers of Catan as posted by Homestar, but I don’t want to add another game to my Ipad.

      I consider Dropbox indispensable.

    • My son and daughter are not toddlers (9 and 11) but they steal my iPad whenever they can to play Fruit Ninja and any of the Angry Birds games. My son also likes Pocket God but that’s one of those games that is constantly conning the player into in-app purchases (the dance pack! the something costumes!)

      I always have to tell my son, we are only occasionally willing to spend money buying toys for you. What makes you think we will spend any money buying toys for your toys?

      My daughter likes to play Draw Something with me. She has an iPod touch with WiFi so we can play back and forth remotely.

      • For my own use, I like Hanging with Friends, Drop 7 and Words With Friends. I just downloaded Night Sky and it looks pretty darn cool, though we’re not usually in a place where we can actually, you know, see the stars (foggy SF Bay Area.)

        I use my iPad constantly for email, Facebook, and the Kindle app. I honestly prefer reading on my old original Kindle but I more enjoy only having to lug one device around.

        For kids, I forgot to mention, my kids had an absolute ball with Photo Booth the other day. I found some, uh, interesting photos on my iPad on my flight from NY last Friday.

    • Sky Burger! I steal my husband’s iphone just so I can play it (on planes). It’s not available on Andriod.

      • On my iPad I check email, surf the web, go onto Facebook and Pinterest, take notes on Evernote, read books on the Kindle app, retrieve from and place work stuff into Drop Box, and, like right now, read this blog. Entertain the toddler with Talking Tom and his friends, stream the Disney Jr. Channel, and draw (I forget the app.). Love the iPads portability and end up using it more than the laptop…

  10. this print just reminds me too much of a dress my mom had in the early 80s.

  11. Work TJ:
    Things are really hectic at work but going well. I have been pretty candid with new boss and he seems to not mind.

    Here’s the question – my direct colleague (the only other person in our organization at my level) was interim head of our organization for two years. That means she’s eligible for and taking a one year sabbatical in 2013. I’ve been asked to take on a lot of her supervisory responsibilities and I think I’ll be okay with it. I may ask one of my very capable faculty to take on an even stronger mentoring role with our newest person because I may not have as much time for her. I have asked for a monetary stipend and some professional time off throughout the year because my direct colleague is also my writing partner so I’m sure we’ll be working on some publications together. Am I missing anything? It’s an exciting opportunity but also potentially exhausting but I think I’m up for it!

    • Former Partner, Now In-House :

      * interim title change
      * for stipend to be base-building (if you have a pension or other similar system)
      * professional training budget
      * opportunities when this gig is over

      • Great thoughts, thanks!

        *no interim title change is necessary – she and I have the same base title. I’ll just be the only one!
        *there are opportunities for the stipend to become permanent if I keep some of the responsibilities when this is over. We discussed yesterday that it’s pretty common, when someone comes back from sabbatical, for people to keep some of the responsibilities they’ve taken on so we may do some reorganizing when she gets back, depending on how things go. That said, I had a boost in salary this year to bring me up to be where I should be so I can’t get greedy.
        *not sure training is needed. I’m pretty well integrated into her side of the organization already.
        *already discussed above.

        Again, thanks! Food for thought.

        • It’s not greedy to ask for more money for more responsibilities! You got a bump to get you where you should be given your base set of responsibilities.

          • I guess I meant that if I went back to my old responsibilities at the end of that year, I shouldn’t expect to be paid more unless I kept some of the new responsibilities. Even then, as an administrator, I try to be careful about asking for more money each time a new responsibility is added. It’s my job and I also have to keep in mind that there are finite resources and extra money that I get is not available for staff, who are woefully underpaid.

  12. transition :

    Still waiting to hear whether aforementioned jobs A and/or B offer me positions. Also interviewed by phone yesterday with the VA. They’d probably offer me double job B and about 150% of job A, which would be awesome. The interview was with the regional person, who said he’s going to try to help me to get seen by local people for jobs as there are 4 in my area. No clue how long the VA’s hiring process typically takes. Now I worry that A or B will make an offer and need an answer before the VA decides whether to make an offer.

    Arg, I can’t wait til I’m done job hunting!

    • Diana Barry :

      Good luck! That VA job sounds great!

    • I assume VA is Veteran’s Administration? Given my own experience with government jobs, it could take a really, really long time to get the hiring finalized. It’s also almost the end of the fiscal year and given likely budget/sequestration shenanigans, hiring could take even longer. VA might be different than a regular federal job, I don’t know, but be aware that government hiring processes can move really slowly.

      I know some people here might disagree with me, but if I were you I’d take the offer from A or B if it comes, and if that means quitting A or B to take the VA job just a few months after starting, oh well. I feel it’s sort of every-woman-for-herself now, and you know that if A or B lost funding for your position a few months after you were hired, they’d have no compunction about laying you off. It sounds like you really need a job, so I wouldn’t turn down a solid offer in hopes of a better one.

      • transition :

        Thank you so so much! Hoping others chime in with thoughts on your last comment, I’ve been wondering the consensus on that too…

      • I agree with Polly about not turning down a solid job offer in hope of a potential one, and quitting if you do get offered the VA one.

      • I agree with Polly’s comment too. Government everywhere is sloooooow and unpredictable in hiring. If you get an offer now, take it; if you get a better offer later, go for it then, but don’t gamble.

      • I completely agree with PollyD. My friend accepted an offer from company A because he didn’t know how long company B would take with their hiring process. The day before he was to start at A, he received an offer from B and took it! He realizes that he burned a bridge with A, but B was a dream job. I think people understand how difficult the market is right now.

      • I agree with PollyD. Take Job A or B if one or both positions are offered, continue with the VA hiring process, and quit Job A/B if the VA job comes through. Loyalty to an employer that has just hired you and invested no time in you besides a couple of hours for interviews is misplaced. There is nothing wrong with looking out for number 1 and doing what’s best for you, you can be sure that’s what employers are doing too!

      • eastbaybanker :

        Agreed. I was once called in for a interview six months (!) after applying for a federal job. It took them that long to shuffle through resumes and call people in for first rounds.

    • My step-mother is a psychologist with the VA. She started in April. From interview to start date was one year. They are so slow. Just sayin’.

  13. TJ, but I bet you knew that ;)

    I have lost about 25 lbs over the past year and I aim to lose about 25 more. I have tons of really lovely, basically brand new things that are huge on me now (great problem to have). On things like suiting (jackets and pencil skirts mostly) how much can I have these tailored down (1) and keep their shape etc and (2) not blow the bank?

    Fwiw, they are mostly sizes 16 (some 18s) that would need to go to a 12.

    • Diana Barry :

      Congrats on your weight loss!

      I think on jackets the max to go down is 2 sizes, but it tends to be expensive to rework a jacket that much – it might be more cost-effective to sell or donate those and then buy new ones in your current size. (Maybe they still have the same fabric for the suits, if the store carries your current size??)

      For skirts, they can be cut down more, so you should be fine there.

      I think we have talked about taking in things on [this site] before, but my google site search is not working right (I had to go search manually for a coupon code yesterday). Extrapetite also talks about taking things in on her blog.

    • MissJackson :

      Unfortunately jackets are the worst, although it will depend at least a little bit on where you’ve lost inches. If you are going to need to tailor the shoulders, that’s an extremely challenging and costly endeavor — and the end result may not be all that great. You could take them to a tailor to let them make a professional decision, but usually going 2 sizes down is the best they can do, and even that will be quite expensive. You’re probably better off buying new (since this is an interim size, try consignment stores and even ebay — I gave away a blazer that I absolutely loved when I lost 50 lbs years ago, and just this week, I found the same one on ebay in my current size for $10)!

      Pencil skirts are about the easiest thing to tailor — those you should be able to take from a 16/18 to a 12 with no problem and without it being cost prohibitive.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I’ve been losing weight myself and have to keep buying interim pieces. Can you stalk some suit sales to get seething to hold you over until you lose the rest of the weight you are working on? If you don’t have to wear suits often, I might buy 1 or 2 inexpensive suits to get by and get the pencil skirts altered or buy new ones on deep discount.

        • I actually was able to reclaim 5 suits, so I’m not short on suits. I just really love some of these things I outgrew and would love to bring them with me down the size scale.

          My bff is going to adopt some of the stuff.

    • I have lost about 20 pounds recently and just took a suit in to the tailor. For the jacket and skirt, it is about $100 (which included shortening the skirt and the jacket sleeves as well as taking everything in and it was all lined so that added extra cost). But considering it is a $500 suit, I thought it was worth it to not have to buy another one yet.

  14. Has anyone read about “Baby Veronica”‘s return from her adoptive family to the reservation? I wonder what the r e t t e s in the legal field have to say about this.
    Link to follow.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I’ll add it to my “to read later” list and get back to you. If it is days from now, I’ll start a new post.

    • I read that Slate article. When I have time, I am going to read the court opinion (I guess the SC supreme court, right?). I am curious how the best interests of the child were evaluated.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      I haven’t read the SCOTUS decision yet, but it seems like exactly the right outcome to me. As I understand it, there’s a law that says Native American children up for adoption must be first offered to 1) extended family, 2) their tribe, and 3) all Native tribes before the child can be adopted by a white family. This law is necessary because the US Government tried to systematically destroy Native cultures by taking Native children away from their families and tribes, and placing them with white families, who forbid them from observing their Native culture in any way and forced assimilation into white culture. Or they sent the kids to boarding schools which did the same thing. Australia did the same thing to Aboriginal children for decades.

      Here, we have a white couple and a Native birth mother. Both Native birth mother and white couple knew about this law, as did the adoption agency. They all knew the child was Native, they all knew there was a procedure to follow in order for a white family to adopt the child (offering to the three groups in a prescribed way before a white couple can adopt), and they all consciously ignored the law so that the white couple could adopt the Native child. So, basically, it’s like they kidnapped the child. The white couple knew better and did it anyway. It’s their own damn fault. They should have observed the procedures, and because they chose to ignore them, that poor child is getting ripped away from the only parents she’s ever known. The only victims in this mess are the child and possibly her father.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Now reading. Westlaw summary:
        Holdings: The Supreme Court, Toal, C.J., held that:
        1 unwed, adjudicated father of child was a “parent” under the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA);
        2 father did not voluntarily consent to the relinquishment of his parental rights under the ICWA;
        3 emotional bonding that occurred between prospective adoptive parents and child during contested adoption proceedings did not establish that father’s prospective custody of child was likely to result in serious emotional or physical damage to child; and
        4 child’s best interests would be served by transferring custody from prospective adoptive parents to adjudicated father.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Father and Mother are the biological parents of a child born in Oklahoma on September 15, 2009 (“Baby Girl”). Father and Mother became engaged to be married in December 2008, and Mother informed Father that she was pregnant in January 2009.1 At the time Mother became pregnant, Father was actively serving in the United States Army and stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, approximately four hours away from his hometown of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, where his parents and Mother resided.2 Upon learning Mother was pregnant, Father began pressing Mother to get married sooner.3 The couple continued to speak by phone daily, but by April 2009, the relationship had become strained. Mother testified she ultimately broke off the engagement in May via text message because Father was pressuring her to get married. At this point, Mother cut off all contact with Father.

        [ . . . ]

        In June 2009, Mother sent a text message to Father asking if he would rather pay child support or surrender his parental rights. Father responded via text message that he would relinquish his rights, but testified that he believed he was relinquishing his rights to Mother. Father explained: “In my mind I thought that if I would do that I’d be able to give her time to think about this and possibly maybe we would get back together and continue what we had started.” However, under cross-examination Father admitted that his behavior was not conducive to being a father. Mother never informed Father that she intended to place the baby up for adoption. Father insists that, had he known this, he would have never considered relinquishing his rights.

        Mother testified she chose the adoption route because she already had two children by another father, and she was struggling financially. In June 2009, Mother connected with Appellants (or “Adoptive Mother” or “Adoptive Father”) through the Nightlight Christian Adoption Agency (the “Nightlight Agency”).

      • Migraine Sufferer :

        ICWA: Indian Child Welfare Act.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        [ . . . ]
        Mother reported Father’s Indian heritage on the Nightlight Agency’s adoption form and testified she made Father’s Indian heritage known to Appellants and every agency involved in the adoption. However, it appears that there were some efforts to conceal his Indian status. In fact, the pre-placement form reflects Mother’s reluctance to share this information:
        Initially the birth mother did not wish to identify the father, said she wanted to keep things low-key as possible for the [Appellants], because he’s registered in the Cherokee tribe. It was determined that naming him would be detrimental to the adoption.

        [Adoptive Couple] Appellants hired an attorney to represent Mother’s interests during the adoption. Mother told her attorney that Father had Cherokee Indian heritage. Based on this information, Mother’s attorney wrote a letter, dated August 21, 2009, to the Child Welfare Division of the Cherokee Nation to inquire about Father’s status as an enrolled Cherokee Indian. The letter stated that Father was “1/8 Cherokee, supposedly enrolled,” but misspelled Father’s first name as “Dustin ” instead of “Dusten ” and misrepresented his birthdate. (emphasis added).

        Because of these inaccuracies, the Cherokee Nation responded with a letter stating that the tribe could not verify Father’s membership in the tribal records, but that “[a]ny incorrect or omitted family documentation could invalidate this determination.”

        [Birth mother took pains to hide the baby from the applicable state agencies, told hospital to not admit to her presence, listed the baby as “Hispanic,” adoptive couple were in the delivery room, filed papers with state agency to take “Hispanic” baby out of Oklahoma.]

        Appellants [Adoptive couple] filed the adoption action in South Carolina on September 18, 2009, three days after Baby Girl’s birth, but did not serve or otherwise notify Father of the adoption action until January 6, 2010, approximately four months after Baby Girl was born and days before Father was scheduled to deploy to Iraq. On that date outside of a mall near his base, a process server presented Father with legal papers entitled “Acceptance of Service and Answer of Defendant,” which stated he was not contesting the adoption of Baby Girl and that he waived the thirty day waiting period and notice of the hearing. Father testified he believed he was relinquishing his rights to Mother and did not realize he consented to Baby Girl’s adoption by another family until after he signed the papers. Upon realizing that Mother had relinquished her rights to Appellants, Father testified, “I then tried to grab the paper up. [The process server] told me that I could not grab that [sic] because … I would be going to jail if I was to do any harm to the paper.”

        [ . . . ]

        The evidence presented to Congress during the 1974 hearings revealed that “25 to 35% of all Indian children had been separated from their families and placed in adoptive families, foster care, or institutions.” Id. (citation omitted). Moreover, “[t]he adoption rate of Indian children was eight times that of non-Indian children” and “[a]pproximately 90% of the Indian placements were in non-Indian homes.” Id. at 33 (citation omitted).

      • Not having read the article or knowing about this case, shouldn’t the birth mother have the right to do a private (non-agency) adoption and choose any couple she darn well pleases? If not, this law essentially is the government telling a native birth mother that she doesn’t have the same rights a non-native birth mother has, which is pretty f-ed up and strikes me as a violation of equal protection.

        • My thoughts exactly, Bluejay.

        • I’m fairly familiar with ICWA, and in the caselaw, the counterargument to this is generally that (a) the child has a right to preservation of his/her Native American identity and that right is best served by placement within the tribe and (b) that the tribe itself has an interest in its own continued existence that must be considered by the court. The best interests of the child are weighed, but the child’s Native American identity is considered to be a key part of that calculus. I can’t recall if this has been analyzed from an equal protection angle, but the argument would be that the mother’s rights and the child’s rights could be in conflict, and that the child’s rights prevail.

          Also, FWIW, my recollection is that the caselaw treats tribal membership as a political identity, not a racial one, which affects the application of various constitutional doctrines.

          • Agree with cbackson. Also, in this case at least, what about the rights of the father?

          • @rosie – I just read the article, and I agree that it makes a difference that the father is the one suing for custody. Wouldn’t the mother have needed his consent for the adoption? If not, she should have.

          • Yes, IRR (law school days note on the topic), some of the impetus behind the ICWA was a finding that something like 35% of Native American children were being removed from Native custody through child welfare systems, thus jeopardizing the future of tribes. The Act was seen as necessary to counter institutional bias against Native custody. Some even saw it as a reparations measure.

          • @Bluejay–It sounds like there may have been an issue with the state law regarding termination of parental rights, and ICWA provides more protection for “Indian parents” in any case. (Note, father was also enlisted at the relevant time.) Your point would be illustrated in the one SCOTUS case on ICWA, which is mentioned in the Slate article, I believe, because in that case both parents were trying to get their child adopted away from the tribe. I do still agree with cbackson in that case (or another case where both parents have properly had their rights terminated), though.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        [ . . . ]
        Absent any evidence to the contrary, we hold that Appellants’ reliance on bonding, without more, cannot satisfy their high burden of proving that Father’s custody of Baby Girl would result in serious emotional or physical damage to her. While we are conscious that any separation will cause some degree of pain, we can only conclude from the evidence presented at trial that Father desires to be a parent to Baby Girl, and that he and his family have created a safe, loving, and appropriate home for her. Furthermore, Father instituted child custody proceedings when Baby Girl was four months old. [ . . . ] Three years’ development of family ties cannot be undone, and a separation at this point would doubtless cause considerable pain…. Had the mandate of the ICWA been followed [three years ago], of course, much potential anguish might have been avoided, and in any case the law cannot be applied so as automatically to ‘reward those who obtain custody, whether lawfully or otherwise, and maintain it during any ensuing (and protracted) litigation.’ “ (citation omitted)). Thus, the bonding that occurred during litigation, without more, cannot form the basis for terminating Father’s parental rights.

        [ . . . ]

        From the outset, rather than seek to place Baby Girl within a statutorily preferred home, Mother sought placement in a non-Indian home.31 In our view, the ensuing bond that has formed in the wake of this wrongful placement cannot be relied on by Appellants and the dissent to deviate from the ICWA’s placement preferences.

        [ . . . ]

        We do not take lightly the grave interests at stake in this case. However, we are constrained by the law and convinced by the facts that the transfer of custody to Father was required under the law. Adoptive Couple are ideal parents who have exhibited the ability to provide a loving family environment for Baby Girl. Thus, it is with a heavy heart that we affirm the family court order.
        Because this case involves an Indian child, the ICWA applies and confers conclusive custodial preference to the Indian parent. All of the rest of our determinations flow from this reality. While we have the highest respect for the deeply felt opinions expressed by the dissent, we simply see this case as one in which the dictates of federal Indian law supersede state law where the adoption and custody of an Indian child is at issue. Father did not consent to Baby Girl’s adoption, and we cannot say beyond a reasonable doubt that custody by him would result in serious emotional or physical harm to Baby Girl. Thus, under the federal standard we cannot terminate Father’s parental rights. For these reasons, we affirm the family court’s denial of the adoption decree and transfer of custody to Father.

        [There is a long dissent as well.]

        [ . . . ]

      • What about the adoption agency? Still reading, but it sounds like they are seriously to blame here.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          I agree, but there’s almost no mention of it in the opinion.

          • Also, wondering if the attorneys that participated in the adoption are going to be looked at here? It looks like the birth mother’s attorney inquired about the bio dad’s tribal membership but spelled his name wrong and gave the wrong birth date–don’t know if that was totally an accident.

          • SF Bay Associate :

            My guess is that birth mother told her attorney, who was paid for by the adoptive couple, the wrong name and wrong birthdate because she didn’t want the kid to be labeled as Native American because she KNEW that the child could not be adopted by the adoptive couple if the child was so labeled. I imagine the adoptive couple was very kind and generous to her, so birth mother did not want that to stop because of some silly little thing like federal law.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        2012 WL 3042287
        ADOPTIVE COUPLE, Appellants,
        BABY GIRL, a minor child under the age of fourteen years, Birth Father, and the Cherokee Nation, Respondents.
        No. 27148.Heard April 17, 2012.Decided July 26, 2012.

    • I thought about this and the Elizabeth Warren Cherokee drama and my region’s history of one-drop laws and shuddered. I feel for the little girl — her little shoulders should not have to bear the weight of history.

      • I think that is what makes this case so hard. You have the little girl and her family on one side, and enormous social concerns, history and ICWA on the other. What a mess. Hopefully the attorneys and the adoption agencies will face appropriate repercussions here.

      • Divaliscious11 :

        But saying this is like wishing the history didn’t exist. We aren’t talking about 150 years ago, we are talking about the 1970’s. Things don’t just get better once an offensive action stop. There are generational implications. I feel sorry for the little girl, but not because of the history, but because she had a birth mother and adoptive parents who tried to circumvent the law and got caught….

    • I also suspect that the women who try to give their children away to non-Native American parents may do so to escape the guilt and shame they would have had the kids stayed on the reservation with bio father or an adoptive family. The kid would basically know her birth mother and know that she’d given her up.
      Or do they select outside adoption because life with the tribe is so awful and they want the child to escape even if they themselves could not?

      • I take this back – from the documents it is clear that the mother was not Native American.

    • This just reminds me of the Baby Jessica case in the 90s where the biological father contested the adoption 5 days after birth but the adoptive parents fought it out in courts for 2 1/2 years and ultimately had to give the baby back. I felt so sorry for the little girl.

      • I was living in Ann Arbor at the time – what a circus. But based on a few follow-ups they did, things seemed to have worked out for the girl. It was sad, but same situation – the adoptive parents ignored the rules/procedures and they lost.

      • It’s a mess all around — I am sure this helps explain why the adoptive parents that I know have largely gone overseas. I really feel for the children in all of this. Their needs seem to be drowned out. It just seems to be all about the grownups.

        • I’m not sure that going overseas really helps situations like this. Didn’t Madonna have issues with adopting a Malawi child? I would think that most countries have laws to protect the country’s interest throughout the adoption process, which is exactly what ICWA seems designed to do.

          • Yeah, I can see that. You think that either Madonna would have had people do more homework on the child’s situation or if it hadn’t been Madonna, things would not have bubbled up.

            I wonder if more of these questionable-circumstances adoption people wouldn’t be open to IIED claims by everyone involved. It’s really tugging at me today. So sad.

        • Another Voice :

          It is always about the grown-ups. They make the law, they interpret the law, they carry out the law. This case illustrates one reason I urge commenters to really think through divorce decisions when they have children. Getting divorced hands over a ton of decisions about your children to a court. The court may not make the decision that you think is best, but the court decision is what stands. There was no divorce in the case here, but the family issues are sadly familiar. A bunch of grown-ups fighting over what is best for the child, what the law requires for the child, etc. I completely agree that it seems that the child’s needs can be easily drowned out.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      I think that while it is unfortunate for the couple, I think it is pretty offensive to try and get the law amended. It inherently says that my non-indigenous person personal desires are more important that the right of indigenous people to protect their very existence, even if that is not what the couple intends. The problem is not the law, its that failure to take the law into consideration during the course of the adoption process.

  15. Can any of you lovely ladies provide a recommendation for a hairspray that is fragrance-free? I am very sensitive to smells and find most hairsprays unpleasant. FWIW, if products are scented, I tend to prefer a more chemical smell vs. something perfume-y. I’m looking for an aerosol spray that doesn’t have to be super strong (light hold/control is fine) and hoping to spend under $15. TIA!

    • I use Salon Grafix mousse and it has no scent. I think they have unscented hairspray as well. Got it at CVS.

    • I use John Freida Frizz-Ease hairspray in firm hold. It has a light scent (not perfumy) and provides excellent hold. It comes in a silver can with a purple lid.

    • Alberto! I love it!

  16. Cornellian :

    TJ 3: I’m apparently interviewing someone for the first time in Big Law, as part of a callback. In twenty minutes!!!!!!!

    Help? Question ideas? I’d like to ask her about her ties to our city, as it doesn’t look like she’s from here or has gone to school here, but am not sure what else to ask in 20-25 minutes.

    • darjeeling :

      I usually just ask getting-to-know-you type stuff, figuring that if they’ve gotten to the callback stage they meet the firm’s hiring criteria and it’s just a question of fit.

    • MissJackson :

      You’re relatively junior, right? Is this a lateral or a law student?

      As a junior associate, I always assumed (correctly, I think) that the more senior folks would deal with the “are you smart enough” type stuff, while I was more valuable in helping to determine if the candidate was a good personality “fit” for the firm. For starters, candidates may be more candid with junior associate interviewers, so you might get the best feel for who this person really is.

      I think you’re on the right track in asking the geography questions. I would also ask about her interests (anything on her resume that caught your eye, or just ask her and see where it goes). Basically, I suggest just talking to her. Also, you might see if there is an evaluation form that you have to fill out. There are probably categories like “fit” and “interest in the firm” — that will give you some guidance on what to ask her.

      • Cornellian :

        Thanks, guys. it’s a law student, and I’m the youngest and most junior person she’ll be interviewing with, so I think I’ll make a point of seeing if she has questions about summer/young associate life…

    • In case you’re surreptitiously refreshing during the interview, don’t be afraid to ask things like “why are you looking to move,” “what haven’t you had answered yet / what questions do you have about associate life” etc.

    • In case anyone wonders why law firm interviews are so wacky, here you go. Firms don’t give much/any guidance to lawyers on how to be interviewers. :)

  17. Blonde Lawyer :

    I want to thank all our readers who post about the heavy things going on in their lives – divorce, health issues, deaths in the family, family feuds, etc.

    I’ve had some craziness at work, craziness with family and craziness with friends and your posts really help me keep my emotions in check. I’ve lived a pretty drama free life until recently so I’m not used to balancing emotional turmoils with work. When I read your posts, I go into “how can I help, what can I say” modes and stop thinking about my own crap.

    When I find myself up sniffling over some stupid drama with old college friends and wishing I didn’t have to go to work the next day, I remember there are strong, tough, awesome women powering through family deaths and personal health crisis while going to work each day.

    I certainly don’t with bad things on any of you but reading your struggles really put my “crap” in perspective and made me feel a whole ton better. In the end, very few things actually matter that much. So – don’t feel bad about a “debby downer” post because for me, they really helped.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      with = wish. Proofread fail.

    • I’m always really thankful for this community of smart, strong women.

    • Jacqueline :

      Agreed — while I never like to see that anyone in this community is having a hard time, I love how everyone comes together to help. And it’s especially great when the OP comes back with a positive update.

    • Oh no. Well, know that you can e-mail this ‘rette off-line if you want some moral support not on here!

  18. Threadjack – am heading to Stavanger Norway in late September on business; any recommendations on restaurants/what kind of weather to expect? Would a lined trench be okay for a coat or do I need something heavy? I’ll be wearing suits all day. Thanks for any advice.

    • No restaurant recs but I think a lined trench and a wool sweater would be fine. Bring a scarf.

    • In the Pink :

      Bring gloves too! Enjoy the seafood; very fresh, obviously.

    • TurtleWexler :

      Restaurants in Norway are EXTREMELY expensive. Like $17 for a Panera-type sandwich, $40 for a plate of spaghetti expensive. So prepare for sticker shock! The daylight hours in Stavanger will probably be getting shorter by then, but I recommend doing a fjord tour if there’s any way you can fit it in. I was in the vicinity (but not Stavanger itself) in early August last year and it was pretty chilly then, so it depends on your tolerance for cold, but I think nice thick layers should be good. Have a great time, I love Norway!

  19. Public Servant :

    Vague Lawyer Q: I’ve heard a lot of talk on this blog about people who have made the move from firms to in house, or who want to make that type of move. What are the benefits of moving in house? The draw backs?

    I have been in government for the entirety of my short career, but I am being recruited for an in house position, and I don’t even know where to start with evaluating whether it would be a good fit.

    • The things I liked most about moving in-house:
      * My hours are really predictable. No nights and weekends for the most part.
      * The business problem-solving aspect. It’s nice to occasionally take off my legal nerd hat and brainstorm about pragmatic business solutions.

      Things I miss about being in private practice:
      * Outright pwning someone in a deposition or filing that slam-dunk brief. I just manage cases now.
      * My firm was much more social.
      * My schedule felt more flexible. Bill 80 hours last week and you filing ddl has passed? Sure, come in at 10 and leave at 4!

      Anyway, I’d suggest the biggest question is cultural fit. I don’t think it’s so much where you work as who you work with, even though the nature of what you fill your days with might change. I generally like the culture at my company; if I didn’t, I’d be unhappy regardless of my predictable hours and getting to put on my bidniz hat.

  20. Mortgage question threadjack:
    C*rpor3ttes with mortgages, what is your plan for paying it?
    (A) Stick to the payment schedule (whatever it might be for your mortgage)
    (B) Do the cost-benefit of taxes saved from the mortgage interest deduction to assess whether early payoff makes sense
    (C) Do the early payoff, because you have (or will have) the money to do so, and it’s one less thing to tether us to our employers.
    (D) Other ________.

    I did B, and it still makes sense to do A. But I admit that C is really appealing, although if you live in a high-tax area, I’d still have to have enough to be able to pay the property taxes and whatever costs needed to do maintenance/repairs. A bit deflating, really.

    • Ugh. Grammar-mess. “although if one lives in a high-tax area, one would still have to have enough….” Granted, taxes + maintenance are a constant no matter where, but many of us are in places where they’re a non-trivial expense.

    • Diana Barry :

      A. COL is really high where we are. We pay extra sometimes when we can afford it, but otherwise stick to the schedule (our mortgage is over 4K/month).

    • We didn’t have much of a down payment, so we’ve been paying almost double our mortgage (which is really low) to get to where we would have been with a down payment. Now that we’re up to about 20% equity, I think we may stop making extra payments after we refinance. We may just pay a little extra a month. I’m not sure.

      • Actually, now that I think about it, we’ll probably keep making some extra payments, but not as much. We’re refinancing to a 30-year fixed, and I want to pay it like it’s a 15-year mortgage. I like the flexibility of making automatic monthly extra payments and then cancelling them for a month or two if we’ve had some extra expenses pop up.

    • Former Partner, Now In-House :

      Refinanced 30 year fixed to 20 year fixed, paying on schedule. Last payment will be the month I turn 65.

    • I live in a LCOLA. I’m on a 15 year mortgage in a super affordable home. This house is 7 minutes from my employer, in an awesome neighborhood and barring major life changes (like oops triplets) it is more than sufficient.

      I intend to pay the house off in about 4.5 years by increasing my gradually increasing my monthly payment each year around raise time and building a sinking fund with regular savings.

    • A, as a result of B. High COLA area, but we bought our home 12 years ago and our mortgage is pretty affordable.

    • MissJackson :

      I’m 4 years into a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. For the time-being, we have not made substantial extra payments (I just “round up” to the nearest hundred). Mr. Jackson and I are making very aggressive payments on our student loan debt — which at this point is roughly the same interest rate as our mortgage (we’ve paid off all the really high interest rate stuff already, thankfully, so we’re left with ~4% and lower), but without the tax benefit of the mortgage interest. The rationale that you describe in (C) is the reason that we continue to pay off the student loans aggressively despite the relatively low interest rates — it gives us more options in the future.

      After we pay off the student loans (in hopefully about 2 years), we will probably either re-fi to a 15 year fixed (if interest rates remain very low), or aggressively pay off the current mortgage. We have some specific plans, though — namely, if we ever decide to upgrade, our current house is in the perfect neighborhood to hold on to it as a rental property (based on current rents, we could collect substantially more than our mortgage/property taxes/insurance). Meaning we basically hope to not sell this house for 30 years, regardless. If you don’t intend to stay in your current home for the full mortgage term, paying off early may not make as much sense.

      Also, (C) is very emotionally appealing even if it doesn’t necessarily make “financial sense.”

      • Re: refinancing to a 15yr fixed

        Just saw this offer:
        For NJ and PA folks. Looks too good to be true. Is it?

        Their rates for 15yr fixed look a lot better than my current rate, but I like the flexibility of a 30yr mortgage, which I can choose to pay off earlier anyways. So, this Valley National thing, I’ll call them maybe…

    • We round up to the next hundred and add $100 every month. We don’t feel that small difference in our daily lives yet will pay off the mortgage years earlier.

      • How do you ensure that the extra money goes to principal? If I rounded up my automatic payment, they would apply it to interest. I have to send extra payments to a special address.

        • That’s a pain. I was able to set automatic payments through my mortgage, Wells Fargo, that included extra principal payments.

        • In the Pink :

          There’s a spot on my monthly paper statement, so I pay that way to ensure…

          • TurtleWexler :

            My bank’s online payment system has different boxes for “additional to principal,” “additional to escrow,” etc. It’s actually very convenient, and as soon as the payment processes the line-item amounts will show so it’s easy to double-check.

    • We did A for the first several years, then as our incomes grew we did C. We had maxed our tax-advantaged savings and wanted to pay off the mortgage before doing taxable investments. Eventually this resulted in my DH being able to leave his job and start his own business.

    • BF and I are just completing on a new house next Tuesday. Biggest mortgage I have ever had and I am terrified! Our plan is to throw everything possible at the dangnabbit mortgage, apart from our regular monthly deposits into our savings. The quicker we pay off the mortgage, the more fun things we will be able to do later.

    • long-time lurker :

      I tend to do C to varying levels. I pay $100 extra principal each month and then quarterly I throw a couple thousand (sometimes 1K, sometimes 3K, it varies) at principal. I like to see the principal go down faster after these payment. I live in a high COL area and have a large (for me) mortgage. The property taxes are not too bad however.

    • If you’ve been able to take advantage of the crazy-low mortgage interest rates currently out there, A makes a lot of sense. Any debts (school, consumer, etc.) with higher interest rates get higher payoff priority, and really, if you can find an investment that dishes out more than about 3% return, you may be better off putting your money there instead of paying off your mortgage early. For my 2 cents, I’d make sure I have life insurance and 401k’s in order before making mortgage payoff a big push.

    • karenpadi :

      I started off with C (paying ahead of schedule) to the tune of more than doubling my payments in a 30-year mortgage because I was panicked about having to pay for 30 years. After a year, I refi-ed to a 15-year at a lower rate (because it made sense when I was planning to pay it off in 10 years anyway) and expected to pay it off in 8 years.

      Then I started sleeping better at night and have switched to A (paying according to schedule). I am building up savings and investments now (slower than before with the higher 15-year payments) until I feel the urge to throw money at the mortgage again.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Unless you make so much that you don’t get the benefit of the mortgage tax deduction or you are in the house you intend to live in forever, it almost never makes sense to pay off a mortgage early (there are exceptions). Particularly in the current housing market, it makes much more sense to bank the extra payment and keep it liquid rather than sinking it into an illiquid asset like real estate. If you have a loss of income, you won’t be able to tap into that equity (because you are unemployed) and you don’t get any credit for having paid it down, but not off, if you lose your job. finally if you pay it off, and lose your job, you are still responsible for taxes/insurance/upkeep. Again, there are exceptions, but they are few and far in between, from a purely financial perspective. Mortgages are a fairly cheap use of money. If there is any chance you may need to move or relocate for professional or family reasons, its better to bank the extra money…

      • I’m the latter (“the forever* house”), so (C) is even more tenuous financially.

        *Not the same as final residence. I expect that’ll be an old folks’ home, if I live long enough that I’m decrepit old machine, and some major piece of equipment has completely worn out.