Wednesday’s TPS Report: ‘Luisa’ Silk Jersey Sheath Dress

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

Diane von Furstenberg 'Luisa' Silk Jersey Sheath DressHappy Wednesday!  I mentioned the new Nordstrom markdowns yesterday — this chic Diane von Furstenberg silk jersey sheath dress is among them.  I like the diagonal pattern, as well as the bright yellow throughout the pattern.  For the office, I would keep the rest of my outfit extremely neural with this — black classic pumps, maybe a bangle (or two) worn high on my forearm.  The dress was $375, but is now marked to $149.98. Diane von Furstenberg ‘Luisa’ Silk Jersey Sheath Dress

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Comments

  1. Ladies, I have a question for you…

    My new boss started about 3 weeks ago. He moved here from Texas with his wife and kids. Apparently, he foolishly thought he could find a house right away, but no dice. That’s the condensed version of the story. The wife and kids went back to Texas last weekend.

    Instead, he has decided to move into the basement of a woman on my team. He’s her boss, too. Am I right in thinking this is completely inappropriate? He’s not even paying rent.

    • That is really weird. Even in the best case scenario, which is that the woman’s basement is a legit apartment.

      It’s Boston, right? We have a huge rental market. I don’t understand this. Why not just 1. camp in a hotel or 2. sublet for a few months? I even understand taking the wife/kid back to TX because of school…but no reason HE can’t be in a sublet!

      • Yup. It’s Boston.

        • I agree. I would NOT want the Manageing partner downstairs. Of course I live in a COOP so it could NOT happen! Yay!

          The Manageing partner was thrilled with my breif on the statue of lomitation’s! He thinks I am very creative and hopes the judges agrees. The judge likes me and makes me stand when I argue my case b/c he likes me to show my leg’s the Manageing partner says. He does not get a long with the judge I think b/c they were on the same law review. Now he thinks he’s smarter. FOOEY! I do not want to play favorites, as long as I WIN! YAY!

      • This was my first thought. So many unanswered questions…

      • Because of school? That seems to me like a reason not to keep the kid(s) in the same place. The school year is almost half over–moving back is confusing and not helpful (though I’m sure they’re ready for a visit)

        Whether she’s hoping for good reviews just so she won’t evict him or she’s providing extra comforts at home, this is very strange. Can’t wait to hear what the HR types on here say about it

      • That is very very weird, but I disagree that Boston has a huge rental market. There is very little inventory in the city, especially now. We were looking for a large 2 bedroom, 2 bath (large like over 1300 square feet) and we found that pretty much impossible. If your boss is coming from Texas and has kids, I can imagine that the boss is looking for a place that is pretty big. Not condoning his actions, but Boston is a hard place to find a home, especially if you’re picky and used to living in nice places.

    • Super duper weird. Has he heard of craigslist? Perhaps he should look into it. Or any number of corporate buildings with 3 month lease options.

    • What? I agree that’s insane and I’ve worked in an office with very few boundaries.

    • Is it like a separate apartment or something? I agree, this is creepy. Isn’t this the exact situation that corporate housing is for?

      • Or even a long-term stay hotel!

        • Ah, but none of these other options is free! :/

          • It wouldn’t NEED to be free if he weren’t paying for housing in Texas. Odd that his wife is apparently OK with it

          • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

            They could have a very strong, trust-filled relationship.

            Or, wife might be OK with it because she’s stopped loving him. The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s indifference!

    • So weird!!

    • That is bizarre. And what is your coworker thinking?

    • Inappropriate, weird, and possibly putting both the boss AND your colleague into sticky legal standings (your colleague becoming a landlord AND violating possible zoning codes and your Boss violating possible institutional rules or even employment laws).

      Ew.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      That is weird. I presume that since he is your boss, he is presumably making a living wage (enough to afford at least a crappy sublet)? My guess is money problems, though it doesn’t make a ton of sense.

      It is a crappy time to find an apartment in Boston, but heck, even perusing Craigslist at a glance, there are sublets available. Is it possible he just needed a couch to crash on til Christmas, then he plans on spending the holidays with his family and moving into a place Jan 1?

      • This was my first guess, that they may not have anticipated the different costs from one city to another

        • Or their house didn’t sell.

          • It’s also possible that he, wife and/or kids have found they hate Boston and he isn’t planning to stay in the job at all. This still doesn’t explain his digs, though! Even for a few weeks!

            Relative costs of living and housing are easy to look up and I’d be very surprised if he didn’t know and prepare for how expensive it would be.

      • Sorry. Almost ANYBODY’s boss can afford a cheap hotel or 1-month sublet to get the “couch to crash on.” It’s like, a thousand dollars MAX. Presumably all of this would have been factored into the move up here in terms of salary. Unless OP works at a mom & pop shop, and New Boss is somebody’s uncle, this is truly strange.

        Then again, we’re just cold hearted Yankees up here. Don’t know much about southern hospitality!

        • Nope. I work for a big university. I make good money and I’m sure he makes a lot more. They originally planned to rent a house in the suburbs and had even moved into one, but there were some problems and the kids couldn’t take the classes they wanted. Hello, middle of the school year!

          So he sent them back to Texas.

          I think he took my co-worker’s offer because it was free. She’s married with grown children and is also from another country so I’m not sure if she understands the impropriety. But he should certainly know better.

          He’s planning to look at houses while he lives in her basement.

          • Bunkster, you seem to have boss karma that just won’t quit. I hope this one turns out to be nothing worse than weird, in contrast to his predecessor. This site doesn’t have room for another legend.

          • I’d question his ability to lead and manage people if this is how he is; aren’t these things you should’ve thought about before you move? I don’t even want to know the costs associated with breaking a lease, moving family back home, etc. Plus everyone knows all his business at work – weird.

          • Diana Barry :

            That is SO WEIRD. Ugh.

            I know someone else who moved back to another state because “the kids didn’t like it in Boston”, but that was bc they got a house in a cr*ppy neighborhood and a cr*ppy school district. And no way was he living in his supervisee’s basement!!!

          • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

            I’m with eek here.

            I also question his ability to thoroughly research options, and I question his judgment and decision-making ability. It’s all looking pretty bad here.

          • Um, yes, Weird. SO. Weird.

            I am crossing my fingers that this weirdness means he’s not planning to stick with the job, and not that he will keep the job but subject you to a boss with horrible judgment and an inability to think through things. :o(

          • It’s beyond weird! The usual protocol in these situations is for the wife and kids to stay behind to sell the house/finish the school term, while the hubby crashes in an extended stay place/corporate housing, or even crashes at the office the way Congressmen do, while looking for permanent housing.

        • AdviceNeeded :

          $1000 max in Boston? Please, stop. My sides hurt from laughing.

          • Meg Murry :

            That was my thought too – I just paid more than that for a week in Boston. In a nice hotel, but even still there really are no “cheap” hotels in Boston that won’t take hours to drive in from during rush hour. Still poor planning on his part though to not secure temporary housing before he started his job, and part of the cost of relocating.

          • I meant for a cr@ppy ( like in Revere, where you take the Blue line in) hotel, or a sublet (ie rent a room in an apt).

    • You are right and it’s weird, but what are you going to do about it?

    • That is weird. I once had a boss that lived in another state, so when he wasn’t teleworking he lived in his office and slept on the crappy gov’t purchased couch. Sometimes his teenage son would spend a few days in the office and it was mega-awkward to have a meeting with his bed-headed son sitting on the couch. He only teleoworked one day a week, so this happened all the time.

      • Double Boo :

        WHAT?!? I thought the Boston boss was weird. I think that just officially upped the ante.

      • Members of Congress make a point of doing this so they seem “in touch with their constituency.” Weird.

        • Gail the Goldfish :

          My old boss slept on his couch in his office for years, which occasionally made for interesting stories. In his last term he upgraded to sleeping on his boat (It was not a house boat, or a yacht, or anything. Just a boat. It didn’t have a shower. He showered in the Members’ Gym). Once he lost and got a new job in D.C. he finally got a real apartment (though it’s still a basement apartment, so I don’t think it’s anything fancy)

    • This is very strange, but why would he relocate his family before securing long term housing? Why not just let the family stay in Texas until they found a home and then have the entire family relocate? Strange.

    • This has reached Manageing Partner Level weirdness.

    • It all seems very meh to me. Unusual? A little. But I’m not sure I’d really bat an eyelash over it.

  2. I like this!

    PSA: It needs a slip. I zoomed in to see the pattern up-close and you can see straight through it. Slips FTW!

  3. Finishing up my charleston/savannah trip and i had to log on to say how freaking stylish you southern girls are! Where the heck do you shop. Feeling woefully frumpy!

    • I will say that Charleston has much better shopping options than Savannah. I think the ladies down here have a couple of things going for us : 1) women are big on always wearing makeup, jewelry and having their hair somewhat done. So even in yoga pants at volunteer events, people look pretty put together and 2) the weather is mild. It’s much easier to dress when you don’t have to worry about freezing and ruining your shoes. Hope you enjoyed your visit.

    • Copper Penny is lovely (in both cities). Also, agree with everything mascot says, even though I am a Florida girl and thus not properly “Southern” ;).

  4. I own this dress and it’s great! And no, it doesn’t need a slip. I have given up on DVf wrap dresses but love the sheath dresses.

    • I’m not trying to be rude, but given that the dress is see-through if you zoom in on the model photo (you can clearly see the model’s legs through the fabric), you might want to reconsider the slip.

      • I don’t think so. Studio lighting is different from everyday lighting so it may not appear that way in real life. Even more than that, I wouldn’t call the dress “see through”, maybe “more transparent than wool;” but definitely not “see through.”

      • I wouldn’t call her legs “clearly” visible through the fabric – I didn’t really see it the first time I looked. If you like it otherwise, it’s probably worth checking it out in person.

        • Oh, I like it – I ordered it. I just plan to wear a slip with it.

          I’ve also found that studio lighting and harsh office building lighting (esp in the halls and entryway) tend to be very similar. I’ve walked behind numerous women who probably did not see in their home lighting that their legs and/or undergarments were visible. It’s your dress and your body, and you don’t have to wear a slip if you don’t want to. I just wouldn’t want to be the girl in the slightly sheer dress at work, but that is me.

          • On the subject of slips — any recommendations from the hive for everyday wear? My usual business wardrobe is mostly pants, but I’ve recently gotten a pencil skirt and a few dresses that I want to put into my rotation. They’re thick enough that I don’t need the slip for coverage, but static + tights = yikes!

      • I always err on the side of caution when it comes to slips. I’ve seen way too many wardrobe malfunctions where the people seemed to be completely unaware that their bright yellow underwear was showing through their full white skirt, or their bright blue underwear was showing through the floral print on their skirt to risk it. I’d rather be safe than sorry!

    • Slip debate aside (I wear them anyway because I think they make the fabric lay better), how would this dress look with a suit jacket over it?

  5. Almost There :

    Hi you guise! Tell me… what are the top 3 things I should do in NYC? Tourist stuff, since, ya know, I’m a tourist. Thanks!

    • Anonymous :

      1. Walk the highline then grab a snack at Chelsea Market
      2. Central Park (including the Zoo!)
      3. MoMa

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I second the Highline although its not necessarily a touristy thing.

        I always take my friends who come to visit to the top of the Empire State Building if they haven’t been before. If you go later at night (10:30 or 11pm) the line is much shorter, although that is always in the summer and I’m not sure how late you can go up in the winter, so double check.

    • The museum on Ellis Island is fantastic

    • Always a NYer :

      1. The Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center (Fifth Avenue and 49th Street) – also checking out the window displays would be great fun.
      2. The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Fifth Avenue @ 82nd Street) – I get lost in the Egyptian wing each time I go and enjoy the Impressionist paintings as well as the sculptures
      3. Broadway show with tickets bought at TKTS booth in Times Square (Seventh Avenue and 47th Street) – the discounts vary but your seats are pretty close to the stage (when I saw 9 to 5, the tickets were ~$90 and we were in Orchestra Row D on the left). Olive Garden is across the street and a good option for a quick meal.

      Bonus – 230 Fifth (Fifth @ 27th Street) – Located at the top of an office building, it is a great bar/lounge with a rooftop terrace that offers amazing views of the city. If you want to get up to the roof, get there earlier than later.

      Have fun in NYC!!!

      • SF Bay Associate :

        While I can imagine it being the best option in a small town, Olive Garden simply cannot be a good option given the glorious plethora of amazing food at all price levels available in NYC.

        • well, there’s not that much good food right in Times Square, it’s all chains :oP

          But, if you just head west a few blocks, there is much better food on 7th/8th ave/up toward the 50s. Don’t have any names off the top of my head, but if you are in Times Sq and starving, you might want some suggestions from current new yorkers here so you don’t get stuck eating in Times Sq.

          • There’s a row of fairly decent restaurants on Ninth Ave, from about 45th st to 50th. I like Hell’s Kitchen (updated Mexican), on 9th b/t 46/47.

        • Paralegal :

          Olive Garden generally isn’t a quick option either, given how crowded TS always is. The last time I tried to go I was told the wait was 2+ hours.

          I concur with Anonymous. Walk a few blocks west to 9th and there are a ton of restaurants (I’m a huge fan of Kodama for Japanese – 45th between 8th and 9th).

          • If you’re in Hell’s Kitchen and craving sushi, go halfway down 45th (b/w 8th and 9th) and go to Rio & You instead. It’s a mom&pop place with really nice owners– and, in my opinion, much better food than Kodama.

            Empanada Mama on 9th and 49th(?) has great empanadas and other Latin American food, and Bocca di Baco on 44th & 9th is nice for more upscale date-y Italian.

          • OMG please don’t have all the NYC restaurants available and go to Olive Garden

      • From a New Yorker: please, please do not choose Olive Garden over one of our awesome restaurants!

    • For me, my three favorite things (I think…hard to choose three) are;

      (1) Top of the Hub
      (2) Central Park (if its not too cold this weekend, which it shouldn’t be).
      (3) And wandering from Midtown down to Tribeca through the backstreets and side streets (it’s a longish walk, but worth it) — we got pizza at Lombardi’s in Soho for lunch.

    • 1. rockettes christmas show — you should be able to get inexpensive tickets relative to a broadway show
      2. go for a walk in little italy (lots of lights & decorations) + have some pizza at Lombardi’s
      3. guggenheim museum — always the one I reccommend to tourists…beautiful architecture & smaller, more managable collection

      • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

        Second the Guggenheim. Fun to walk up (or elevator up and then walk down) the spiral structure. There’s an excellent Picasso “black & white” exhibit on right now there and I really enjoyed it. Great way to walk n’ talk, too.

    • Touristy:
      1. Circle Line – you won’t get to stop off at Ellis Island, but you get to see Ms. Liberty close up and see the entire island, which is cool.
      2. the Met!
      3. Broadway

      But it’s really about what YOU want to do in NYC, what you’ve wanted to eat, what you like to do when you visit a place..

      Eg. If I had been away for awhile and was visiting, I’d wander the city and eat some cheesecake at Venieros in the East Village (and look at the stores), get lost in the West Village (Bleeker street?), get pizza, run along the west side, etc.

      • If you want to do it on the cheap, just take the Staten Island ferry round trip. It’s free, it’ll save you a couple hours (vs. the Circle Line), and you get a great view of the Statue of Liberty.

    • K...in transition :

      if you’re a museum person, I’m partial to Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria… it’s pretty cheap to get into, it’s doable in about 2 hrs (so it’s not so overwhelming as the bigger museums), and it’s in a gorgeous area… hit the museum (free on Fridays after 4pm, btw), pick up cheap NYC logo’d gifts on the next block (Broadway), also on Broadway is the bakery that made Big Fat Greek Wedding’s cake that is incredibly yummy (Omonia Cafe) and an incredible pizza place (Sac’s) so you can certainly make an afternoon of the visit…

      from Manhattan, you want to take the N or Q train toward Queens (Astoria) and get off at the Broadway stop.

      Just an idea of a very NYer thing to do that’s not full of tourists or tourist prices :)

    • Definitely see the Tree at Rockefeller Center.
      I would also go ice skating at Bryant Park (short walk to 42nd and 5th) if you have the time and walk through Central Park.
      Between Empire State and Top of the Rock, I’d recommend Top of the Rock, but some people like Empire State just because it’s more iconic (and more crowded with tourists as a result).
      Of museums, if I was seeing only one I’d go see the Met. Specifically, to see the impressionists and the Egyptian Temple, with a walk through the Greek statue galleries. Make sure to stop at the gift shop. MOMA is great and all but ONLY if you are into modern art, which not everyone is, in my experience of taking people there. Guggenheim can be great too – but for me it’s very dependent on the exhibition. Same with the Whitney. The nice thing with both Guggenheim & MOMA is that they are small, whereas the Met can be overwhelming (but this is why you should just limit yourself to a few things in the Met, you can check out floorplans online ahead of time). FYI – MOMA is free on Friday nights and Guggenheim is pay what you wish Saturday nights. Met is always suggested admission, so you can always pay what you think is appropriate. ALSO – and this is why I would go to the Met above all others now – they have an amazing xmas tree for the holidays with beautiful antique ornaments. It’s worth a visit all by itself.
      You’re already going to see a show so not going to mention Broadway. But don’t eat at chain restaurants. Your best bet is to go a bit west to 9th avenue for good food.

    • If you will be there this month, I would highly recommend the Union Square Christmas Market. We were so impressed! The artists and vendors were great. Much much better than Bryant Park, which surprised me.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      The Met, a Broadway show (or Sleep No More, which is, for lack of a better term, an interactive play), and eating. Lots of eating. But not at chain restaurants. Favorites for snacks include Waffles & Dinges (aka, Waffle Truck. Believe they have a stand at the Union Square christmas fair right now) and Doughnut Plant. In terms of meals, there are so many options, it kind of depends on what you want.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        Oh, and if you’re willing to come to Queens, Dutch Kills has the best drinks in the city, imo. Friends are always super impressed. If you’re in front of a place with a flashing sign that just says “bar,” you are in fact in the right place. Can be combined with a trip to Malu, which has amazing homemade ice cream.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Where in Queens is that? I’ll have to try it out :-)

          • Gail the Goldfish :

            Go to Queens Plaza or Queensborough Plaza, walk south on Jackson Avenue a couple of blocks until you see the bar sign. They have a drink menu, but the charm is in just telling the bartender what type of liquor you want and some adjectives to describe what you’re looking for and they’ll make you something. I usually go with “something citrusy with gin.”

  6. Merabella :

    Follow up on the Limited Dress I bought. I got it in the mail yesterday, and while it is cute, the weight of the lace & the texture of the imitation leather just aren’t doing it for me. I’m taking it back tonight.

    I did however go to Macy’s last night with the hubs and we got him a GORGEOUS light blue/gray/slate? pinstripe Michael Kors suit that was extremely marked down.

    Is it sad that I’m jealous of men’s suits? They just always seem to have better deals and textiles then anything I’ve ever seen for women in that price range.

  7. Does anyone have suggestions on learning how to run a phone meeting? I was tasked to run a large update call every other week with very senior executives (quite a few levels above my pay grade). We have an agenda, and every week I follow it and ask each person to give updates. Its super awkward, I’m not sure anyone finds it helpful (but not negotiable to not have it), and some of the execs seem annoyed that someone so junior is asking them for updates. Thoughts?

    • Email an agenda to everyone on the list, 3 days before. Stick to the agenda. In, out, done.

    • Be quick about it. Ask for updates in advance so they know what is expected of them. Perhaps even have them shoot you slides in advance, then you can assemble and they can speak to them. If it’s an update call, you can bet that most of the attendees are multitasking. THe issue I’ve always had with these meetings (when I was running exec level sales calls) was that everybody loves hearing their own voice and would.not.shut.up.

    • I have one of these every morning. Basically there is a big list of all the people on the call, and the “administrator” of the meeting says good morning, then calls on each of them in turn. If he has nothing to say, they he says that, and then the administrator calls on the next person. If there are slides involved, give everyone a deadline a day or two in advance so you can collate and format correctly, but otherwise…. sounds like you’re doing OK.

      Standing meetings for updates that take place regardless of whether there’s anything to talk about are just awkward; there’s only so much you can do. Really, it’s probably not you who is asking for the updates, it’s just as important that the execs all know about what’s going on everywhere else. Maybe if you (and everyone) think about it that way, it won’t seem so much like a weird power balance?

    • I do this twice per week, some weeks more. There is no way to make them less awkward. The best thing to do is make them efficient. If the meeting stalls, it’s bad.

      If someone is so annoyed that a “junior” person is administering the meeting, tough. That’s a reflection on them and their unprofessional attitude. If they wanted the job, they could have volunteered.

      I think you might be misinterpreting their annoyance as being directed at you. They are probably more annoyed at having to dial in and give the status. I’d bet you lunch that the annoyance is directed at the situation, not you.

      • emcsquared :

        Would generally agree with a couple caveats – they may be annoyed at the OP if the calls are either unproductive or way too long. If the purpose of the call is to move everything forward, and things aren’t moving forward, then OP needs to do some work between the calls to make sure there is progress between calls. If the calls are going on forever because someone likes to hear himself/herself talk, then OP needs to learn to cut them off respectfully (or preempt the talking by doing a check-in herself before the call and then presenting that person’s report). I’ve found that higher-ups don’t care who runs the call as long as it’s run efficiently.

        • I’m commenting late but only to provide an alternative perspective that OP should take it on herself to ‘do work between calls to make sure there is progress’. Bad idea – the pushing should be done by the laggard’s boss or peers on the call, not by the hapless junior administering the call who is already anxious about causing annoyance. At most, OP should note absence of progress for the record, and let it go at that.

  8. You guys, I’m in an over excited mood today. I woke up at 6 and had too much energy to go back to bed, so I did an hour of cleaning and household tasks before getting ready and heading to work.

    I think it may slightly have to do with the fact my BF and I had a really good future-us talk last night. Excuse me while I go squee some more ;)

  9. I’m looking to refresh my winter wardrobe basics — cashmere sweaters specifically — and I’m wondering if anyone can comment on the quality of cashmere cardis and pullovers from:

    Uniqlo
    Ann Taylor
    Talbots
    JCrew
    Lands End

    I’d like to spend under $125 per sweater, preferably less. I’m curious about Uniqlo cashmere but reviews are all over the map — H&M quality? Better or worse? Its very cheap and I’m curious.

    • I have a Talbots cashmere cardi and recommend it. It is well-made, the weight is substantial, and it does not pill too much.
      There will be tons of deals on cashmere at the end of the season, if you can wait.

    • I don’t know about Uniqlo cashmere specifically, but in general I find Uniqlo to be better quality than H&M. Perhaps equivalent to the quality level of the Gap.

      • I love Uniqlo sweaters. Their merino is always great quality, and I’m not a fan of cashmere myself (too hot, too itchy) but they have some great (& cheap) cashmere crew and v-necks right now.

    • I have posted before that I have been pleased with some AT pullover sweaters I’ve gotten this year, although mine have been cashmere-wool blends. They have a lot on sale right now, and they always have new promos. You might want to sign up for their emails and monitor for a week or two to get a sense of their promos before you buy, if you’re not familiar with buying from them. Not on your list, but I have two cashmere cardigans from Patagonia that are extremely high quality. I got one when it was included in a 50% off sale on their website, and I think it came out to about $75.

      • FWIW, my AT Loft Outlet cashmere sweaters that I bought last year are pilling horribly. They were good for a year but I wouldn’t call them investment-grade.

        This year, I’m trying Lands End.

        • I have a couple of Lands End Canvas cashmere cardigans, t shirts, and one long sleeve sweater from the last couple of winters. They are hardly pilling at all.

        • I think AT and AT Loft are pretty different in quality, though. I feel like I just waste time and money with Loft stuff, but I’m actually generally pleased with my AT purchases and like the clothes that I try on there.

    • I’ve been very happy with Lord & Taylor cashmere and they almost always have some kind of sale/coupon/deal going this time of year, putting the cost easily under $125. Things get even cheaper after the holidays, if you are willing to take a chance on sizes. I find they run trueish to size – many of the sweaters also come in a petite version.

    • J Crew cashmere of the past few years sucks for the price. My sweater from last year has started pilling after just a few wears. Don’t be deceived by people who sing its praises, I think they’re talking about other years. My sweater from 2004 is still fine. A few pills, but looks just a little more worn than my last year’s sweater.

    • I’m a Uniqlo fan for a bunch of stuff including cashmere – find it holds up much better than other mass-market vendors. Downside is that the fit for sweaters tends to be a bit boxy/ dowdy.

    • I’ve only ever gotten one cashmere sweater from J. Crew, but it was very thin and pilled pretty quickly. Other posters here have said the same thing. If you look at the product shots of some of the sweaters on their website, you can actually see through the fabric, so you get an idea of how thin it is.

      I’ve never bought any of the other brands you mentioned, but I got a hand-me-down cashmere sweater from my mom that is Pringle of Scotland from the 80′s, and it is fantastic quality. No pilling after all these years, and it’s light but warm.

      • anon fr 10:27 :

        The quality for the thicker ones sucks, too. Mine that I was talking about above is the “collection cashmere cable knit”, the one that’s 3/4 sleeve, and I definitely would not buy it again if I knew it would wear this poorly.

        And, like a.k. below, I can’t speak to Uniqlo cashmere quality, but I loooove their merino. Wears extremely well, no pilling, and I’ve never paid more than $20 per sweater. IDK if the fit is the same year to year, but my v-necks are rather slim-cut, not boxy at all. I tuck them into pencil skirts and wear them over slacks. In sum, OP, I know you’re looking for cashmere, but I’d highly recommend the Uniqlo merino.

    • I can’t speak to Uniqlo cashmere, but I have several merino sweaters from last year that look practically new. Very happy with them.

      Ditto the earlier commenter on JCrew being terrible quality for the price.

      Is there a Lord & Taylor or Bloomingdales near you? I’ve had great luck with store-brand cashmere from both and there are frequent sales.

    • SpaceMountain :

      I’ve had good luck with Lord & Taylor — their cashmere is on sale right now.

      • style advice needed... :

        Agree with Lord & Taylor. I have bought my cardigans from them at their end of the year/post-X-mas sales.

    • I haven’t bought cashmere from Ann Taylor in a few years… mostly because the sweaters I purchased 5+ years ago are holding up beautifully. I’m not sure if that is still the case, but the ones I have are great.

    • I have three Uniqlo cashmere sweaters (they were having a sale) and I like them. The quality is good and they’re insanely soft and comfy. They are very boxy though – I’m fairly petite and sometimes I feel a little frumpy in them. But I love them for weekend errands and that sort of thing.

    • Just got a cashmere L&T sweater on mega-sale, only worn it a couple of times so can’t speak to durability, pilling, etc., but seems to be of a nice weight and quality.

      Nordstrom catalog is showing Halogen cashmere (v-necks, at least) for $79 and they also have another brand whose name escapes me that I bought last year and like.

      I’ve been wearing one from Lands End for 3 or 4 years and it still looks good.

      I do lament the condition of a Land’s End “tissue weight” cashmere I bought about 10 years ago. It was light enough to wear on a summer night and had a nice drape. Anyone seen any tissue cashmere?

      • I bought the Halogen ones last year. If you can hold out until January they go on super sale. I think last year they came down to 40.

        I found them a bit boxy, but then I normally prefer narrow cuts. As for the quality, they’ve pilled a bit but nothing that a sweater comb can’t fix. Plus, for 40, I’m not complaining.

    • I’m a big fan of Uniqlo sweaters. Not top quality, of course, but much better than nowadays H&M. I bought a couple cotton-cashmere sweaters 3 years ago that have hold up very well without any pilling (despite being machine washed).

      For basic neutrals I may try to find higher quality, but for fun trendy colors it would be my choice.

      Not everything is worth it at Uniqlo, but all in all it’s my favorite cheap brand.

    • SoCal Gator :

      I love the Only Me brand cashmere sweaters that they carry at Nordstrom. Just bought a beautiful deep rose one. High quality and reasonably priced.

    • I really like uinqlo cashmere. I’m wearing a two year old cardigan that has held up really well to regular wear

      • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

        Another vote for Uniqlo cashmere at the 2-yr mark. They are regular wear for me, as well, and are still in good shape. No pilling or patinas yet.

        • I have Uniqlo cashmere that’s reached the 4-year mark. I wear my Uniqlo sweaters for casual wear, though, not work. After 4 years, they remain in good shape with some minor pilling. Highly recommended if that is your price point.

    • Agree with everyone about the Uniqlo – they hold up well and you can machine wash cold/delicates. Their cardigans are driving me crazy (not long enough to be a long cardi, too long to be a waist/top of the hip cardi) but their vnecks are great. They are boxy, but it’s great for the oversized comfy sweater look… I also love their price point ($40 right now) because I seem to have a moth and or cat problem.

      I also recommend AT cashmere as they’ve held up really well too. (but accidently hot washed one so it’s a little felted now)

      Jcrew – ugh. I got a hole in one after 4 months or so of wear. (not moths, just a hole from being too thin) and it’s way pillier than the uniqlo.

  10. PWM Interview :

    Hi ladies! Can anyone provide any insight on final round PWM interviews at a big bank? The one caveat is that the interview is for a strategist/specialist role, not a financial advisor / sales position.

    I am coming from a different industry, so have never had an interview in the financial sector. I am meeting with 5 different people at their office. Will they ask technical/situational type questions? Or more behavioral/fit type questions? The screening rounds were primarily fit questions.

    Any thoughts we be appreciated!

    • Am not really sure what you mean by strategist/ specialist – kind of hard to envisage one who hasn’t been in the financial sector before – but will assume you mean someone who formulates a view of investment strategy (‘long equities, short bonds because XYZ’) or products (‘in the macro fund space we like XYZ because …’).

      I’d recommend doing some homework to retrieve strategy/ marketing material put out by the interviewing bank. Google around – many banks in this area generate weekly if not daily client communication and make their folks available for interviews, so it should be easy to find something. It would help to figure out if they have a Chief Investment Officer who heads the strategy effort, if there is a house style, what are some of their current ideas and do you have a view on them ? If there is a strong style, the likelihood is that they will want someone who fits within it. If no, I think you will definitely need to anticipate some technical/ situational questions where the interviewer will probably be looking for your ability to translate a market outlook into an effective script which advisors and sales people can use to recommend client action. A lively communication style would be a plus.

      Good luck and hope this helps.

      • PWM Interview :

        Thank you!

        It is a tax specialist position. I am currently a biglaw tax attorney.

        • Ah understand. I myself wouldn’t see any point to testing the expertise of a practising attorney in an interview but it may still be a good idea to check up if the bank pitches specific areas of expertise (structured products, proprietary vs. 3rd party products, access to alternative assets, planned giving etc) if you’re worried about being surprised by technical questions outside your immediate domain.

  11. anon for this :

    I’m embarrassed that I didn’t mark the post about a month ago that listed many, many Groupon-like websites and, even better, websites that consolidate the first set of sites. I’ve found a great outfit to give as a Christmas gift at Patagonia, but it’s too pricey. Can anyone help?

  12. Can I selfishly complain about something completely not-(the subject matter of this site)-related in a bratty way for a minute?

    I’m expecting my firstborn this month (hopefully in about 2 weeks!). My br0ther, who is 2 years younger than me, and his wife have a toddler, so mine will be the second grandchild on our side, though the first boy. They just announced a few weeks ago that they’re expecting again. Today, we learn that they’re having twins!

    I know that I have no right to be annoyed at this – no need to tell me. But I want MY baby to get all the attention!

    • Your baby will be the center of attention, trust me.

    • My babe was the last grandchild. By then, grandbabies and cousins were no big deal in our family, so I know how you feel.

      Stuff that might make you feel better: if they just announced a few weeks ago, your babe will be half a year old by the time theirs are born–he’ll be sitting up, understanding words, doing all kinds of cool stuff. The twins will be making do with a lot of hand-me-downs. You might even provide some of them, because your kiddo will have outgrown them. Your baby is your first and will rock your world.

      Unrelated silliness: in our family, babies are often photographed next to Thanksgiving turkeys or Christmas hams, amid much discussion of which is bigger. Yours is coming just in time!

      Best wishes to your little family!

      • Tee-Hee. My little boy definitely needs to be photographed next to a Christmas roast beast! And in a stocking, and partially wrapped up like a present . . . I do hope that he doesn’t run late (past Christmas)!

    • Your baby will be here before the twins and can be the center of attention before they’re born. :) Also, it makes for super-cute pictures for the other relatives when a family has babies born around the same time.

    • My sister and cousin, however, are 6 weeks apart and BFFs. My brother and other cousin on that side are within a few years. I’m the odd ball out, so just think about how it’ll be nice that your child will have so many cousins to play with and be close to. (On the other side of my family my two siblings are the youngest, so it balances out that I have cousins closer to my age there)

    • I’m not even expecting (or TTC) and I worry that my inlaws won’t be able to give my kids the same attention they give my niece and nephew (they’re already in their mid-60s and so their playing-on-the-floor-with-the-kids days are numbered). It’s a bummer.

      • In contrast, my daughter was born when my in-laws were 50 and my FIL was still working.

        My niece and nephew (born when my in-laws were 60 & 63) get a lot more attention.

    • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

      You feel what you feel, but good for you for the self-awareness.

      As others have said, your little one will be out and about, being cooed over before the twins arrive, and get plenty of spotlight. :-)

    • Aw, I understand your feelings. My bro & sil were expecting their first 3 days after our first was due. I had 3 m/c before this pregnancy, they had zero. Trust me, my pg in relation to theirs had TONS of bratty moments, especially when sil gave birth 2 weeks early, 1 week before me, even though she was due after me. However, those bratty feelings were short lived, and now I am thankful they have cousins so close in age. Same sil had twins 6 mo before my 2nd was born. He still got plenty of attention, and they are all buddies now!

      Have a (private) tantrum or vent session if you need to, eat cake (my solution to everything), blame the hormones, and focus on your last 2 weeks before your little one arrives! What a wonderful Christmas present!

    • Hey at least your baby won’t be a twin and henceforth and forever referred to as “the twins” rather than by his or her name. Most likely those other babies will get a lot less individual attention in general throughout their lives.

    • style advice needed... :

      How wonderful you are having a child.

      How lucky you are that you have a brother that you care about. How lucky you are that they are having children who will be so close in age to your child. This is a great gift.

      Hoping your kids and your brothers will grow up together as the closest of play friends, as only family can be.

      You are so so so so lucky…..

      • +1. I am 10+ years older than my only first-cousins. I was always jealous of the close relationships my friends had with their similarly-aged cousins.

    • Jacqueline :

      Aw, I totally understand. I know how it is to feel that way. But as everyone else said, your baby will get his/her time to shine, and there’s more than enough love to go around. Plus, the kids will grow up close in age, so your baby will get the benefit of befriending the twins without some of the negatives that can go along with actually BEING a twin (constant comparisons).

      All the best to you and your baby!

    • Try not to worry too much. When we announced that I was pregnant with our first, I figured my husband’s parents would be ho-hum about it — his brother and bro’s wife already had two kids, with their third on the way. MUCH to my surprise, his mom gave us the best, most enthusiastic reaction we got from anyone! It was awesome, and she and our daughter are insanely close, way moreso than the other grandkids — not sure why, but I love it and my kiddo thinks her Grandma walks on water.

      I’m now pregnant with #2 (only 8 weeks to go) and my BIL and SIL have four kids, total. The family is still super-excited for us and my MIL can’t stop buying me baby clothes. All of this is to say that you never can tell how these things will work out.

      (But yes, you are allowed to pout!)

  13. Have your moment, acknowledge the hormones and move on. Grandparents have limitless love and will coo over the baby in front of them. I have the first grandchild, which was immediately followed by my sibling’s child 4 weeks later so I understand the feeling. Your baby will have several months of solo baby time before the twins arrive and become the new babies.

  14. Blonde Lawyer :

    For e-pont . . . I read your post about taking a solo vacation and also being in law school. I just wanted to post a bit from my experience since people seemed to be very “that is your money too!” While I agree with them, sometimes the specifics get bumpy.

    I went to law school as a non-traditional student after several years of both me and my husband working full time, no kids. We funded law school entirely on loans. I got a part time job that covered some of my fun money but I rarely worked more than 10 hours per week. We had already bought the house and the cars when we were both working full time and we couldn’t sell the house to downsize while I was in school. Money was very tight even with his salary because we had been used to living on two salaries. Our money was shared in a joint account but at that point of time, save for some living expense loans I put in there, the money was all his paycheck. I remember us stressing about affording plane tickets to go to a wedding and I was going to go alone because it was a wedding I just couldn’t miss and we both couldn’t afford to go. I know you have funky dynamics in your marriage and that is why everyone is being cautious and telling you to assert yourself. However, I understand that it can be stressful when your husband is bringing in the money and you are shelling out on expenses. While the argument is true that your husband will benefit from your future lawyer salary, he will likely also have the burden of repaying the loans from that joint pot of money. My husband and I found we do best if we have our joint account and then each have a separate checking account into which we deposit a set amount each month that we use as our “fun money.” That doesn’t mean we can’t still dip into joint checking if we need to make another purchase for ourselves but that money we discuss first. Fun money gets spent however. Currently, we put $250 into each of our accounts/month plus any money we receive for birthdays and holidays. If we get a bonus, we usually put a chunk into the fun account and then the rest goes into the joint account. I wish we had done that back in law school so I didn’t have to worry about spending our money when I was barely contributing to it.

    • e_pontellier :

      Thanks Blonde Lawyer!! This is so helpful and reassuring. I’m mostly nervous about offending my DH in asking to do something without him (the friend I would visit lives in our city but her parents don’t, and she visits her parents regularly so I was hoping to tag along). I mostly just need a few nights away from him, which feels horrible to say, and I feel like visiting this friend and her parents would be the cheapest way to do so.

      • Forgive me for asking, but you’ve shared a lot with us already, and your vacation post yesterday made me wonder… are you sticking with your husband because you’re financially dependent on him?

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I didn’t get a chance to jump back in last night, but I just wanted to say that there was a post awhile back about how couples deal with their finances and there was a ton of interesting discussion about the various ways people do it. My question yesterday was mainly about the control, but you might want to go back and find that post to get ideas about structuring finances if that is something you are interested in doing.

        I hope you’re able to make the trip work! It sounds like it would be great for you.

  15. What are some good personal finance books for someone in their mid-’20s? My sister is 24 and in her third year teaching. She is fortunate to not have any student loan debt, but she has mentioned that she is cutting it close most months and doesn’t have much savings yet. Luckily, she has a good head on her shoulders, and to my knowledge, hasn’t accumulated a lot of credit card debt. She does like her purses and shoes, however. Anyway, lately she’s expressed an interest in learning more about “taxes and investing and all that stuff” but doesn’t know where to start. I’m afraid that I’ll come across as the bossy big sister if I try to share what I’ve learned (I’m eight years older, and there is a history of her feeling that way), so I thought a personal finance book for her upcoming master’s degree graduation might be a more subtle way to help. Good idea? Bad idea? I’d also include a fun gift with the book.

    I’m looking for something that has the basics about budgeting, how to build a savings account when you don’t have much money to spare and learning basic investment strategies. The Suze Orman tough-love approach would backfire spectacularly with her. Is there another guide that’s less … preachy?

    • Can you ask her to be more specific when she says she wants to know “that stuff” and share some of what you did 10 years ago when you were just getting started? If she doesn’t know what questions to ask, maybe you could start by looking into what options she’s chosen for her retirement fund at work, how that fund works, and branch off from there. If she’s cutting it really close to the bone, she’ll probably have to make some lifestyle changes, and talking about them is where you might sound “preachy”. Could the “fun” gift be something that helps her cut expenses (like a soda machine or cool coffee maker)?

    • I always recommend Suze Orman’s Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke. Even if she’s not broke, it describes a lot of the basics — not so much investment strategies, but where to put your money. I’m 31 and still reference my copy!

    • When I was in my early 20s (15 years ago), I liked “Get a Financial Life” by Jean Chatzky. I don’t know if it’s been updated to reflect changes in tax laws and changing conventional wisdom re: rate of return, but it certainly wasn’t preachy. You could check on Amazon to see if the author has a new edition or a different book with the same focus.

    • I know you said you didn’t think Suze Orman would be a good fit, but I would encourage you to flip through her book for younng professionals – I think it’s call the Mony book for the youg, fabulous & broke. At a minimum, it has good explanations of 401k, credit card debt, etc and I didn’t find it to be too preachy personally – we got a copy each for my sister & BIL a few years ago.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Dave Ramsey gets on my nerves a bit and I like Suze Orman but I get how that approach can be off putting. Someone I really like is Clark Howard. He has a radio show that you can get on iTunes as well as a few books. I haven’t read his books, but I’ve listened to his show for a long time and I think he has really great suggestions and comes from a down to earth (albeit extremely crazily frugal, although he fully admits that) place that I think is helpful.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Oh, one other suggestion is the Smart ____ Finish Rich books. I read Smart Women Finish Rich and found it helpful on topics that I had no idea about before.

        • Seconded. This was one of the most helpful financial books I read when I didn’t have a clue about what I should be thinking about or how I should think about money.

    • K...in transition :

      Young, Fabulous, and Broke by Suze Orman or Women and Money by Suze Orman… if your sister isn’t as much of a reader, there are DVDs of both :)

    • For a purely basic investment strategies book: A Random Walk Down Wall Street

    • karenpadi :

      FWIW, your sister may want someone to talk to. When I started investing, my Dad took a very hands-off approach, telling me to take a class or hire a planner. I took a class and it was helpful.

      But my grandparents really opened up and talked to me about their strategies and very specific goals and milestones. They introduced me to Vanguard and indexing. My granny is one savvy investor! She takes more time than I do to chose funds and follow her earnings. It’s something we’ve bonded over and I have a much closer relationship to my grandparents now.

      I’ve tried to pay it forward now with my mom. She is the executor of my granny’s will so she was introduced to Vanguard. My mom and I had a real good talk about investing and savings goals. We talk about it from time to time so I think I am being helpful.

      • I would be glad to talk to her — if and when she’s ready. We went through a time not too long ago when she made it clear that she thought I was too much of a bossy know-it-all (despite efforts to say/do things in sensitive way). I don’t want to go down that road again with a subject as sensitive as money.

    • Smart Women Finish Rich is good. Also Learnvest.com might be a helpful resource for her on an ongoing basis.

    • Anonymous :

      Liz Weston, Ten Commandments of Money

  16. Dave Ramsey :

    I know a lot of women here sing his praises, but I saw him this morning on Fox, and I was not impressed. A viewer wrote in asking what to do given that his employer won’t be matching employees’ 401(k) contributions in 2013. Dave Ramsey first noted that many employers are doing this because of “Obamacare.” Then he advised the employee to contribute to a Roth IRA if he qualifies instead of contributing to his 401(k). This is crappy advice in so many ways (and there wasn’t even a disclaimer!).

    1 – the employee should confirm that the employer won’t be making any contributions at all — not matching, not profit-sharing, not discretionary.

    2 – regardless, it makes economic sense to contribute to a 401(k) if you can afford to, even if your employer isn’t making any contributions at all.

    3 – if you can afford to, you should contribute to both a 401(k) and an IRA — not just one or the other.

    4 – many employers offer Roth 401(k) options, so again, a Roth IRA isn’t necessarily a smart replacement for your 401(k).

    5 – even if you don’t qualify to contribute directly to a Roth IRA, you can contribute to a regular IRA and roll it over into a Roth IRA, which gets you to the same place as contributing to a Roth IRA directly.

    I’d never paid much attention to him before either way, but now I want to read his books to see what other “advice” he likes to give.

    • Re: the “Obamacare” comment: Dave Ramsey is very politically conservative — for example, he writes for townhall.com and is on Fox News from time to time.

      • Dave Ramsey :

        Yes, I am aware, but this specific comment was both gratuitous and misleading, which detracts from his authority as a financial advisor, at least to my eyes. I know there are followers of his on [this site] who are not so evangelical or politically conservative as he is but who like his financial advice nonetheless. The Obamacare aside wouldn’t have bothered me as much if the substance of his comment had been accurate.

    • In general, I think Dave Ramsey’s advice is pretty good and straight forward.

      His kids advice is really simple: Divide your money into save (long-term), spend (short-term), and give (charity).

      For adults, it’s hard to argue with his basics.
      * Get some money into an emergency fund.
      * Pay off your debt as soon as you can, snowballing it (pay minimums on all but one debt, putting the extra into paying that one off, then roll all the extra to the next one, etc.)
      * Once you have no debt, fully fund your emergency fund

      He encourages cutting expenses and working extra jobs if necessary to get out from under crippling debt.

    • He is really good for the type of people his advice aimed for–people who need to get out of debt/avoid disaster. He’s overly simplistic, but if you follow his advice you will be debt free and have a little nest egg at the end.

    • Meg Murry :

      It does not make economic sense to contribute to a pre-tax 401(k) with no matching if you believe you will be at a higher tax rate upon retirement age than you are now, or if you have a lot of high interest debt. This is why “one size fits all” advice never works – what makes sense for one person does not for another, and you are right that he really should have had a disclaimer with his advice.
      Overall I think his advice is too extreme for me, but he was the one who introduced me to the debt snowball, which is a concept that worked well for us.

  17. envious anon :

    I just have to vent. I hate that I feel this way, but I do. I have a dear friend from college. For years after school, our lives were comparable — we dealt with career stuff and guys at a pretty similar pace. I felt like we understood each other’s ups and downs. Then about two years ago, she met a guy, they began a long-distance whirlwind romance, and they were engaged in less than a year and married less than a year later. I’ve never seen her so happy, and they are a truly wonderful couple.

    However. He makes a fortune in business, and now she doesn’t have to work. They don’t have kids, they live in a fantastic city, and they dine out and travel constantly. And I feel so, so envious. I have a great job, wonderful friends, and a warm, supportive family. And I travel fairly often, too — although nothing like they do. It’s not like my life is full of problems. But when I hear about their glamorous lives, I feel like I want to scream. I find myself wishing that I could have that life, even though I don’t think it’s really what I want. But I can imagine so many wonderful things I’d do — the classes I’d take! The volunteer work I’d do! The trips I’d plan! — if money were no object and time was plentiful. I know this is not rational, and I hate myself for feeling this way. How can I stop?

    • Girl – accept you won’t be as good friends with this lady for the time being.

    • Well, there are a lot of downsides to being a “high-flyer” in business like that — he probably travels a lot and most likely has to be on-call 24-7 and works constantly. And as he moves up the corporate ladder it won’t get better. Plus, though the appeal of a life of luxury probably sounds nice now, in ten years it might seem less appealing when you have a focus and a career and she’s given that up. I know personally I wouldn’t give that up, even if I married Steve Jobs (who most of us wouldn’t have wanted to marry, since I get the impression he was an egomaniacal crazy-pants for most of his life).

      I don’t know…sure there are lots of trappings that come with wealth — but I think the downsides are fairly well documented in society scandal papers the world over. :-P

      • East Coaster :

        I disagree with this approach – yes it sucks and you may not be able to relate for a while (or maybe ever – agree with S), but I don’t know that it’s any better to console yourself by thinking the wealth may end up bringing bad stuff to your friend in the future.

    • Always a NYer :

      Is it wrong that I’m wondering what he does for a living and how I can get into the same field?

    • There are pros and cons to everything.

      I find myself doing that sometimes too, but then I always stop and ask myself–what do I truly want? (I’m still figuring THAT out).

    • There a few strategies that are usually recommended in these scenarios.

      1) Focus on your own blessings. You probably have a lot more than the vast majority of people in the world.

      2) Fix whatever’s bothering you in your life that might be triggering the jealousy. E.g. is your jealousy about her vacations telling you you need to make travel more of a priority, even if you can’t live as large as your friend.

      3) Accept that there will always be someone richer/better/smart/more successful than you in the world. That’s just life. Of course it’s more difficult when the richer person is right in your face, but if you can get off the comparison treadmill, you will feel so much better.

      4) Realize that the person you are jealous of might not be as happy as you think behind the scenes. (I find this strategy a little distasteful but effective.) Maybe she secretly feels terrible being so dependent on him or maybe she will someday. Also, no one knows what the future will bring and if their money and/or happiness will last.

      5) Realize that you wouldn’t make the same choices as the other person even if you could. Personally, I wouldn’t quit work just because I could. What happens if the whirlwind romance goes south and they get a divorce? What if his company goes under? What if he’s secretly the next Bernie Madoff? What if he becomes disabled and can’t work? Creating a big unnecessary gap in your work history is a huge risk, and not one I’d be willing to take.

      • I like this response – particularly part 1 and 2. Sometimes it seems that when these posts come up we try to think about everything that could possibly be wrong behind the scenes with the other person (He could be with someone else! She is probably lonely! Their life is actually boring, boring, boring!) Meh … Sometimes other people just have it better than you at that time, and all you can do is focus on you.

    • K...in transition :

      Just a thought… I sometimes feel like that here when folks talk about jetting off for a vacation or dropping hundreds on one dress or great anniversary moments with SOs… but then I keep reading and, while those things are happening, there are also divorces and child issues and working zillions of hours and the rest of the things otherwise known as life.

      I wonder if this friend isn’t secretly jealous of your ability to be so independent, working on your career, being so self-sufficient, and all kinds of other ways you’re more amazing than she is… I wonder if perhaps she’s exaggerating her own happiness so you don’t think less of her for giving up her career and such…

      Just a thought!

      • There’s a lot of truth to this – your friend likely is jealous of many aspects of your life as well. She may not talk about her own problems, whether because she’s the sort of person who tries not to focus on them, or she’s ashamed that her perfect life isn’t so perfect, or whatever. Because everyone has a secret unhappiness.

        I was a private equity wife in a former life, and though I was also a law student at the same time, I frequently felt like a mere appendage to his high-flying business career. I was alone for the equivalent of 9-10 months out of the year due to this international travel schedule. I did get to go to cool places, but I usually did everything on my own, because my husband was working. The money was nice, for sure, but particularly given my non-earner status, I felt like it wasn’t mind to spend.

        Now, as a single lady, sometimes I feel crippling jealous when I see my friends with their cute, loving boyfriends, or their babies, or their dogs (or their dogs AND their babies – THE WORST). I try to remind myself that they likely have secret sorrows, as I did. But to be honest, I’ve never found that really to work.

        What really works, for me, is to help myself really enjoy what I love about my own life. I want a husband and a baby and a dog, and I don’t have those things and sometimes I feel am guilty of a self-pity half-drunk shower cry over my woes (BUT WHO ISN’T, OKAY?). But I also have dear friends that I love, a very exciting and interesting job, a cool new city to explore, and stellar purple pumps that I got on half-off at Macy’s, and that I could buy without having to check in with anyone else about our joint budget. I have tons of freedom. It’s so, so natural to feel jealous – but let yourself gloat, a little bit, about the awesomeness of you.

        • Susan (edna_mode_nyc) :

          This is a wonderful post full of kindness and wisdom. Thank you, cbackson.

        • Meg Murry :

          I just want to second cbackson’s thoughts on how she is probably jealous of you in some ways you don’t even realize – or if she isn’t now, she will be in a few years.

          Also wanted to add that very few people air their dirty laundry on Facebook or in Christmas cards – I wasted a few years being jealous of former friends who I had drifted away from whose lives seemed to be falling into place as mine was falling apart, only to discover later that they were actually going through personal crises of a different nature during that time as well. So feel free to through yourself a little pity party, but don’t wallow in it, as she may be jealous of you for reasons you don’t even realize.

        • CBackson–thank you for this post. I loved your line about dogs and babies…so true.

          And to the OP–I have found that my friends from back in the day who are now married, while I am not–0ur friendship changes. These friends have someone very important in their life now that was not there then…but I still love to catch up with these friends via a mani-pedi or a coffee or a shopping date…if we keep our time together “girly”, then we can still have “just the two of us time.” I know it’s hard to imagine, but some of my married friends who were in high-powered careers themselves (but are now married to bankers or whatnot, and do not work)–they fantasize about going to work. They do. They miss it. So, much like some of the posts of late re Facebook and how everyone projects a fabulous outer life–remember, what you see from the outside may not be real at all. Of course you wish your friends every happiness, but know that everyone has their own issues, and, as someone said above, count your blessings.

          For instance, I was having a hard time at work this spring, and was dealing with a terminal illness in the family, and then I took a holiday to Poland, and visited Auschwitz. And then I realized that I was SOSOSOSO blessed….it’s all about perspective, I promise.

        • Aww, cbackson, this: “It’s so, so natural to feel jealous – but let yourself gloat, a little bit, about the awesomeness of you.” is so beautiful!!! <3

          I also second MJ's post about getting perspective. When I'm really wallowing in the self-pity sometimes I just let myself wallow and don't beat myself up over it, but then I read an article about the young woman in Egypt who is being beaten by her own family for joining protests, or talk to my vet friend who has had a really rough time and lots of extreme tragedies in his short life, and I get a little perspective and think of the things I have that others don't and get a little perspective. While at the same time NOT beating myself up or feeling guilt about the jealous feelings, its ok to have them! And then it's ok to let go of them for a while, too!

        • This is so much more authentic to me than forcing myself to focus on how I’m luckier than the third world.

    • Don’t “hate yourself” for feeling this way. As eek said above, you are entitled to your feelings. Try not to be so hard on yourself. :o( I’m jealous of all kinds of people for all kinds of much more mundane things, you are not the only one! ;o)

    • Mr. TBK and I have talked a lot about this type of thing recently. All through school, there’s really just one path and all the milestones/achievements are pretty clearly laid out. Everyone progresses at about the same rate, and it’s really easy to see who’s doing “well” and who isn’t. For those who did well in that part of life — got the good grades, the awards, got into the good schools, aced the standardized tests — it can be really hard when those markers go away. I remember one of my best friends from college feeling frustrated that I was already out making money as a BigLaw associate while she was still slogging away in med school even though she’d started med school before I started law school (she took a semester off to have her son so it took her 4 1/2 yrs to finish). My husband and I are working on our own company right now and it’s a case of pouring in huge amounts of time and resources with no guarantee of a payout (either in money or in anything else) down the road. Meanwhile, we’re at the age when our peers are suddenly becoming Reasonably Important People (i.e., professors, key aides to Very Important People, talking heads, even members of Congress). Every time some classmate or another pops up in an article or on TV, it can feel like a punch in the stomach. But (1) no two careers are the same and as adults, people’s lives are just going to go in different directions and hit different targets at different times — who knows what you’ll be doing in 10 or 20 years? (2) the things that really, really matter — the quality of a person’s relationship with his or her long term partner, raising children, watching parents age or loved ones suffer from illnesses, putting a well-loved pet to sleep — have the same ups and downs no matter what money you have.

      • Saacnmama :

        Ohh, can I ever relate to the punch in the gut feeling! Even though I took a break to take care of my son, who I love incredibly, I still can’t stand to see people who I know aren’t as good as me get tenure, or see them parade their kids’ pix as if they weren’t divorced & having jus a couple weeks with them per year. And hearing profs on the news kills me–I should be doing that!

        And all the I ramping stuff I thought only applied to those silly women really bothers me–can I still do it? How do I start a networking conversation? Do I have to go to the office every day of the week all year? (I’m going back to work, but not as a prof) And then I see another “nobody” doing better than me, or my kid acts up so ill quit writing and focus on him. Or the endocrinologist says I probably have diabetes, or at least a thyroid problem.

        Sorry for the rant. It’s been piling up and I know no one I can unleash it on.

    • “I have a great job, wonderful friends, and a warm, supportive family. And I travel fairly often, too(.)”

      Totally understanding where you are coming from on your feelings but this sentence made ME envious of YOU!

      Signed,
      Horrible job in a new city, no friends or family within 2000 miles, divorced, and zero travel.

    • envious anon :

      Thanks — y’all are the best. Seriously. This helped so much, and your posts brought tears to my eyes because I identified so strongly with them. And to Viv above — I hope you find fabulous work and friends you love in your new city.

      One thing I’ve learned from this site is that it’s never too late to become the person you want to become or to find the things that will bring you happiness. Everyone is at different stages of the journey, but there’s something of value to be found in every stage (at least, I like to look at it that way).

      Thanks again!

    • Saacnmama :

      I have an acquaintance–not a dear friend–who is like that. Her FB is full of the kids skating at Tockafeller ctr, skiing out West, visiting her family in Peru, vineyards in Cali. Then come pix of a girls night out, followed immediately by a night at the beach in St Pete (45 min from home) or at Disney (an hour in the other direction). I mostly laugh, but at one point I did post a snarky comment re what a good home security system they must have to announce when they’re away from home so freely.

  18. Do any of you track your body fat percentage instead of weight? If you do, where do you go to get your body fat measured?

    • I have scale that’s at least 5 years old that tracks it, but my number varies by a few percent from day to day, so its not very accurate. Also, I don’t know your fitness level, but my fat fat percentage between total couch potato mode and lifting 3x a week is 3-4% (may be more now that i’m gettin older, le sigh), so it’s hard to track and more can just tell by how my body looks.

      If you below to a gym they should be able to measure with calipers everyone couple months. At my old gym you could only get this done every 6 months or something or else you had to pay for a health assessment.

      The most accurate way is getting dunked in water like on the biggest loser, and I don’t know where they do this.

      But, if you’re on a serious weight loss journy and being off by a few percent isn’t a big deal an dyou want to track the big picture, you can get a digital scale.

    • Cornellian :

      I don’t trust the scales that measure it, and I think with good reason. I’ve heard the handheld monitors are slightly better. Some doctors have resistance testing that’s much more accurate (I had a CO2/O2 test done to see my base metabolism, and then had little electrodes attached to see my bodyfat). Finally, research universities often have physiology labs that offer dunk tank measurement, which is definitely the most accurate, but I’ve never seen it for less than $100 a pop.

      • Cornellian :

        To be clear, I imagine places other than research universities do the dunking. But I’ve had it done at research universities, and I know it is available at the two I attended.

    • Amelia Pond :

      I track both, mainly because I am trying to put on muscle so the number on the scale might not move but I dropped fat. If you want to be super technical, BodPod is the way to go. It uses air displacement and super science to measure body composition and resting metobolic rate and some other stuff. I know that my gym offers it every quarter or so. Or if you want something to track at home, the Beurer Body Analysis scale works really well. It does weight, body fat, water ratio, muscle mass.

    • Seattle Freeze :

      So body fat tracking scales don’t actually measure your body fat – they determine body density, then use a formula to calculate body fat percentage based on body density. This means the formula just predicts your body fat.

      But whether a body fat scale or other technique measures your actual body fat percentage or not doesn’t matter. All you really need is a way to accurately monitor changes in your body composition over time.

    • Legally Brunette :

      I had my body fat measured at the gym with one of those calipers and was so disheartened that I won’t do it again. They used a caliper on different parts of my body (stomach, thighs, and arms I think). According to the measurement of my thighs, I was in the “obsese” category! Never mind that I’m 5’5, and usually around 125 pounds. But I gain all of my weight in my thighs, so it was natural that they are perhaps bigger than others my size.

      What I am saying is – get the test if you want, but don’t obsess over it. I think a percentage for women in the 20 – 25% is considered normal.

      • Wow. Thanks for this comment. You sound very height/weight proportionate (as I also consider myself to be) so this is a good warning.

  19. Thoughts on living in the Coolidge Corner neighborhood of Brookline? DH and I are considering moving out of the city and buying a condo there. We have always lived in the city so the idea of moving outside Boston is a little scary, but Coolidge is very city-esque and I love how walkable it is. We have a baby, so good schools are also a factor. I’ll be commuting downtown, DH will be driving to Cambridge for work.

    • Hm, I still consider Coolidge Corner part of the “city” even though it’s not in Boston. If I could afford it and still lived in the Boston area, I would definitely live there. There’s a Trader Joe’s and Brookline Booksmith, for Pete’s sake! What else could you possibly need? :)

    • I live there! We could be neighbors.

      Coolidge Corner is excellent! I love it and I’m so happy I moved here. I think it is a nice mix between young professionals, young families and older longtime Brookline residents, and is far enough away from the “undergrad” type feel of Allston-Brighton. The shops are adorable, and there are plenty of good restaurants – but sometimes (as a young professional with no kids) it *does* get frustrating that there are so few easily accessible bars (CC Clubhouse, Regal Beagle are the only ones I can think of at the moment, plus Publick House down in Washington Square).

      The T is pretty easily accessible/not too far (takes me about 20min to get to Park St station, on average) and comes enough, and cabs typically cost ~$15 from the city center back out. Driving to Cambridge might end up being a pain though, especially with the recent construction on Beacon St. Not impossible (I commute further by car) but you would run into a lot of traffic, especially on weekends. Sometimes, I sit on Beacon St for an extra 15-20min just waiting in traffic (especially on Friday nights). It is super walkable, but because of the overnight street parking ban, parking spots are at a premium. I pay $150/mo for the one that comes with my apartment.

    • I’d say the only downside to Coolidge is having to take the Green Line. And I have an irrational (well, I think its rational…but others disagree) hate of the green line and avoid it at all costs. I think Brookline is basically the city with better schools.

      • The Green Line sucks. I’m with you. But luckily Coolidge is close enough in that you’re only above ground for 4-5 stops. The C is *way* better than the B or E (thought still not as good as the D).

      • I have a major hate of the green line. You are fully justified in your hate. We didn’t buy a condo in brookline for this EXACT REASON.

        I’ve lived on the D line as well as the C line. We moved to the south shore and I now take the commuter ferry and/or train and straight up refuse to get anywhere near the T :)

        Then again, if you’ve been living in Boston all these years, you may not have the same aversion to some of the public that can be found on the public transportation that I do :) (example: I used to tell DH he should drive to the red line and take that in…and one day he came home, put his foot down, and said that was the last of his subway commuting days– someone had PEED ON HIS FOOT.)

      • I hate the green line so much, my BF bought me this T-shirt: http://digboston.com/deals/gear/i-hate-the-green-line/

    • Diana Barry :

      Coolidge Corner is nice, very much like the city. The downside = green line. VERY SLOW. We live at the tail end of one of the green line branches and it takes forever to get in. About 40 minutes to an hour on bad days.

    • My sister lives there — she and her husband (no kids yet, academics) love the area. It’s a great walkable neighborhood that’s a great mix of urban convenience and sweet old-school neighborhood. I can’t speak to commute issues though, since I don’t live there myself.

    • I LOVE it! Close enough to downtown that everything is accessible, but far enough away that it isn’t quite as bustling/busy.

  20. You guys have been so good with gift ideas. I wonder if anyone has any gift suggestions for my 14-year old niece (high school freshman)? I’m looking to spend $40-$50, and really don’t want to send her a gift card. Things I’ve given her in the past include: books, stuff from the Body Shop, a necklace, a small purse, a cosmetics case. She lives in Florida so little use for a scarf, gloves, socks, slippers, etc. She doesn’t wear much jewlery or makeup, and prefers to pick out her own clothes. I was thinking of getting her one of the smaller Fresh Sugar lip sets, but then would still need something else in the $20-ish range. But am also open to one nicer item for up to $50.

    • Does she read? There are a ton of fairly cool YA series out there right now, though I’m far from an expert on them. Could you get her the Hunger Games on DVD? What about music, maybe a gift card to Itunes and a poster or something for her favorite band? (Might require asking her mom). Another thing I probably would have liked at that age was a subscription to a couple of magazines I liked, like say one silly one (like Teen Vogue or something) and maybe one about one of her interests (like a sport she plays or a hobby she has?) Then she’d get it the whole year. :-)

      • Throwing this out there– by the time I was a freshman in HS I was way above YA books. I’d check with Mom and see what she is/isn’t reading these days. Magazines like ROlling Stone or Seventeen might be a better hit with a freshman, but def. check with Mom first.

        • That’s true, I wasn’t reading YA when I was 14 either — but my general impression is that some of the YA literature has gotten a bit more advanced. But there are a ton of straight up adult fiction that would be great for a 14 year old (I think we did this last year too…I bet if you searched this site and Island of the Blue Dolphin, it might come up — though that might be a younger girl).

          • Yes, there’s a ton more YA and there’s a bigger diversity in what’s available.

            Here are some of my favorites (some may be classified as adult). Almost all feature strong heroines. All are fantasy.
            * Poison Study (series) by Maria Snyder
            * Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas
            * Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst
            * Graceling, Fire, & Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
            * The Girl of Fire and Thorns & The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
            * Beka Cooper series by Tamora Pierce
            * The Kingkiller Chronicles series by Patrick Rothfuss
            * Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima
            * Green Rider series by Kristen Britain
            * Touch of Power series (book #2 out this month) by Maria Snyder

    • When I was 13, my favorite gifts were gift cards. Short of that, if you do get something you think is a “win,” and you’re okay with it, consider including a gift receipt. I know teens can be so picky…even if she loves it, it might not be *exactly* right.

      how about movie tickets? Even though she doesn’t wear much makeup, she may start wanting to…how about (if you are gifting in person) taking her to a department store for a makeup day and then buying her something nice? My aunt did that for me one year and it was AWESOME- i got a makeup lesson AND makeup I was way too poor to buy.

      You could also take a stab at clothes and make sure to shop somewhere where she can exchange it for something she’d wear (like a dept store).

    • A nice backpack? Computer/iPhone accessories?

    • Mountain Girl :

      Gloves to use with a touchscreen phone
      A fun hat – I bought a sock monkey hat for my niece last year and when she posted pics of her time at summer camp she was constantly wearing her sock monkey hat.
      Itunes gift card (this was on all of the lists I rec’d from teen family members this year)
      A gift certificate to Converse Design Your Own Sneakers

    • What about a fun geared-towards-teens cookbook? Maybe a cupcake cookbook or a cookbook with snack/appetizer type recipes? We got something like this for my neice around that age & it was a big hit, from what I heard.

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