Frugal Friday’s TPS Report: Geometric Print Long Sleeve Dress

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

Lauren Ralph Lauren Geometric Print Long Sleeve DressI’ve been on the fence about this dress for weeks, thinking it was a sweater dress — and now that it’s hit the deepest discount I’ve seen it at yet I notice from the 5-star review that it is, in fact, a matte jersey dress, and a lined one at that, which I think will fix all of the clingy/pattern-distortion problems that made me hesitant about it in the first place. The down side is that there are only a few sizes left, but for those of you lucky size 6, 8 or 10s, the dress is marked to $50.25 at Bloomingdale’s. Lauren Ralph Lauren Geometric Print Long Sleeve Dress

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Comments

  1. 529 for Grad School :

    Good morning ladies! To TJ right off the bat: Does anyone have experience saving for graduate school with a 529 plan?

    When did you contribute? How much of the expense did you expect to cover with this strategy? Are there any pros/cons should I be aware of? I appreciate any and all advice :)

    • for posting this question- I want to know as well! Seems like a smart strategy, if feasible!

    • No idea why my comment got caught.

      I’ve been wondering this too. And there’s no limit to what you can contribute, from what I understand, so I’m a bit per pl exe d about how much to do. With 4 01 k, I R A, etc., I just do the ma xim um. I like rules. :)

      • Oh, wait a minute. I was asking for purposes of kiddo’s college fund. You’re asking for grad school purposes. Still, many of the same considerations would apply. I’d really like a good resource on knowing how much to put in there.

    • FedTaxAtty :

      I used a 529 plan during my graduate program, mostly for the state tax benefit.

      By way of background, 529 plans are generally administered by state governments. There are two basic types of 529 plans – prepaid tuition plans and savings plans. Prepaid tuition plans essentially allow you to purchase college credits at today’s price. If college tuition continues raise at the same astronomical rate, these plans can be very advantage. The drawback is that you don’t earn money on the funds in a prepaid tuition plan and your kid (or yourself) has to go to a school in the state. Not sure whether prepaid tuition plans cover private schools or not. If your kid decides to go to a school out of state, you can use that money to pay tuition but you get the funds you put in without the benefit of interest. Savings plans are more flexible. Each state determines the lifetime contribution limits, which are usually between $100k to $270k (VA’s limit is $350!). You can have multiple savings accounts per person. You can transfer an account from a parent to a child. (There are some strange rules in this area, though, so talk to your financial advisor or do your research before transfering accounts from person to person). Most states offer a variety of portfolios to choose from. And best of all, you do not pay taxes on the income earned in a 529 plan unless you do not use the funds for a qualified purpose. You generally can get a 529 plan from any state, even if you do not live there. When choosing a 529 plan, look to see if your state offers any tax credits for contributions. Otherwise, I would choose based on the plan adminstrator (i.e., Fidelity, Vanguard, etc.).

      Back to grad school – I couldn’t start contributing to a 529 plan until I started grad school. I put the maximum needed to get the full state tax credit and then let it sit until my second year in grad school. It didn’t earn much interest because I put it in an extremely conservative portfolio, but it did earn a several hundred dollars.

      How much expense you will be cover will depend on a number of factors including how much you can contribute, how long before you start graduate school, the fund you choose to invest in, and general market conditions. If you are going to graduate school soon, I would probably suggest investing in a more conservative portfolio – you don’t want to lose money!

      If you are in the amazing position of being able to contribute enough that you will be able to cover all of your grad school expenses – kudos to you! I wouldn’t worry about over contributing. If there is money left in the account after grad school, you can always transfer it to a child (if you have one or expect to have one in the future) or I think you can also transfer it to your spouse (again, if you have one or expect to have one on the future and again, do your research first). Otherwise, you withdraw the money and pay the penalty.

  2. I need to learn everything there is to learn about Stark Anti-Kickback regulations. Can anyone point me to a good resource (preferably online and free)? TIA!

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I used to work for him!

      AAFP has a decent summary to get you started, just google and there is a FAQ section (perhaps not quite enough detail though)

    • Ha, that’s kind of a tall order.
      The American Health Lawyers Association also has a health law wiki that its members have authored, see here http://www.healthlawyers.org/hlresources/Health%20Law%20Wiki/Home.aspx
      For a good side-by-side chart, http://www.bricker.com/services/resource-details.aspx?resourceid=447
      That will get you started on individual provisions, I would encourage you to pull the individual regs that are referenced.

    • That’s a pretty tall order. Health care is one of the most regulated industries today. It would be skin to saying, quick, learn the tax code. sure, you can read the code, but that is only part of the story. The regs and getting familiar with them is just step one. You’ll also need to review all relevant OIG Advisory Opinions on the specific issue you are researching. As a health lawyer, the interpretation of an issue is the crux of the issue (and why we have jobs). The ABA and AHLA are the good sources, but the best materials are members only.
      If you are going to be working in the field, I suggest participating in any CLEs to gain a better working knowledge. Good luck.

      • Oops, typos galore. Stupid phone!
        Anyhow, pull the regs but also review ancillary materials. I think you really need a deep dive and full immersion to really “get” the regs.

      • That sounds good. I will be working in the field soon, and I know that that’s a very big area for them, so I’d like to sort of get an overview of the sorts of things that I need to be looking at to get started (and refresh my memory of it from law school). I may have exaggerated about needing to know everything, though I guess that’s the ultimate goal. :)

        • Oh, one last thing. I highly recommend the in-person AHLA CLEs. There’s a Medicare/Medicaid one in Baltimore this month and then more throughout the year (some on physician organizations, hopistals, etc.); if you don’t have very much familiarity with Fraud & Abuse (stark, anti-kickback, CMP), I’d suggest attending the Fraud & Abuse one in the fall. The in-person CLEs are excellent learning opportunities. Well worth the money and time.

          *Not a paid advertisement. I just think they are the best value in the industry for the range of topics.

          • Agreed. There is a Fundamentals one in late October that provides a great overview of fraud and abuse and many other areas of the law that affect healthcare folks.

    • There will be different resources based on if you’re looking at it from a physician or hospital perspective, but you can start with any of the major medical groups (AHA, AMA, ACP, etc) for a good primer. Also, worth exploring are the changes/exemptions related to Stark under the Affordable Care Act (for example, ACOs).

    • My initial comment is in mod, but look at medical groups. Also, CMS has a lot on the Medicare Learning Network that is publicly available.

    • Agree with all of the above. I’d like to add that this is an area of almost constant change, including some big changes by legislation in 2009 and 2010. Now and when you’re practicing, be sure that any presentation, article, treatise, AHLA materials, etc., that you use is current, and double-check everything. This is also why the CLEs mentioned above are good.

  3. Jupiter Jones :

    Thread jack!

    I am thinking of getting laser hair removal done for the first time. There is a local groupon which will cost me about $99 for three (3) upper lip treatments and $150 for three underarm treatments. Does that sound reasonable?

    Also, if anyone can recommend a derm in Chicago area for sun damage, that would be awesome!

    • That is very reasonable. I’ve done laser hair removal and am very glad I did. Three sessions will not be enough to remove hair 100% but will likely remove most of it. They will pressure you to buy more sessions at full price. I’d suggest picking up other groupons in the future. The sessions are usualy 6-8 weeks apart so something else will come along.

    • phillygirlruns :

      you will need more than three sessions – i’d buy as many as you can at the groupon rate. my upper lip took about 20 sessions total over the course of 2.5 years.

    • Jupiter Jones :

      Thanks ladies! Unfortunately, I think I can buy only one of each. I need to check the details though.
      I see laser removal groupons all the time, so I am hoping I will find something else if I can only buy one.
      I am excited! I have exactly the right kind of coloring/ hair for it to work.

    • PSA – I’m sure you’re doing this already but I would do some research on the spas that are offering the groupons. I have heard of some awful stories of people who bought groupons to less expensive places and ended up with disastrous results. Just make sure they’re reputable and have had good results in the past!

      • +1. I had a terrible issue with a place I went (paid full price, just didn’t do a lot of research). They are no longer in business, but were using technology that wasn’t as effective to get more visits. Worth calling around and asking what type of lasers they use, etc.

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        I agree with this. A friend did LHR from a groupon and ended up with some scarring on her underarms. It’s her underarms, so it doesn’t matter, but it would suck if that happened on your upper lip for example.

    • I’ve been to three different LHR salons using groupon/livingsocial deals. My advice is to look up the laser they use beforehand. My first six underarm sessions were ineffective because of a low-level laser. In my experience the Candella lasers are very effective. Also you should research if you’re a good candidate for LHR. The lighter your skin and darker your hair, the better as the laser targets pigment.

    • Greener Apple :

      A number of people recommended Dr Dayan to me when I was looking for a plastic surgeon–he also does non-surgical at the True Skin Care Center. I haven’t gone there for a non-surgical consultation, but I just looked up his website and they’re offering a special for laser hair removal.

  4. I purchased a similar dress from Ny&Co. It’s a ponte knit, a really thick, beautiful fabric. It’s listed at $64.95, but I purchased it on a 50% off day. Today there is 30% off online and buy one get one 50% off (the codes are on their website). http://www.nyandcompany.com/nyco/prod/Sale/Buy-1-Get-1-50-Off/Dress-Boutique/Black-Colorblock-Three-Quarter-Sleeve-Ponte-Dress

  5. VeryAnonForThis :

    Early TJ – sorry to those these types of posts annoy – but don’t know where else to ask! Any tips on good TTC/pre-baby blogs or online resources you ladies read? I’m so clueless on baby and pregnancy stuff and feel embarrassed to ask some very basic questions to my dr, friends, mom, etc. but don’t want to get sucked into reading that seems like it’s for a 21 year old. Going off bc in 1 month and giving ourselves plenty of “relaxed” time to get pregnant, but I want to feel prepared in some way. I feel like I’m about to take the bar exam and haven’t gone to barbri. If anyone can point me in the right direction, please do!!! Thank you so much!

    • I know that the book “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” gets mentioned as a resource on this site a lot. I would search for past discussions on here about that and see if there have been some previously mentioned sites.

    • Reposting to avoid moderation…

      Highly, highly recommend the book Taking Charge of Your F e r t i l i t y. I was actually shocked at how much I learned about what actually happens in our bodies each month. It also has a very helpful T T C section.

    • Read Taking Charge of Your Fertility and read through some old posts here. It seems this question is asked every other day.

    • goldribbons :

      Also if you’re Type A, The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant should answer a lot of questions for you.

      • goldribbons :

        Just in case you’re not already aware, if you’re on hormonal birth control pills, it can take your body six (or more) months to resume releasing eggs. Don’t be embarrassed to ask your doctor any of your questions – that’s what she’s there for!

        • VeryAnonForThis :

          Thank you! Yes, dr advised ending hormonal birth control and using other contraception for 3 months or so since I wouldn’t be releasing eggs anyway and so I wouldn’t get stressed by the time delay. I should probably follow that advice…. Def type A and definitely will check out your suggestion, thanks so much!

        • On the other hand, it can also NOT take that long to start releasing eggs again. Which is why my children are so close in age. Just sayin’.

          • This is exactly what my doctor said. He mentioned that I should not come off of BC until H and I are comfortable with the idea of conceiving on the first try. Dr. said it’s always possible and you just don’t know how your body will react.

          • Happened to me for both kids. First time shot. Be careful if you’re not really ready!

          • Anonymous :

            I wouldn’t have it any other way now. But it was surprising!

        • Another reason for using contraception for 3 months after going off of hormonal bc, is that if you do conceive right after going off of hormonal bc, you have a higher likelihood of miscarriage and a higher likelihood of conceiving twins. According to my gyno.

          • VeryAnonForThis :

            Interesting!!! Hubby and I would love to conceive right away, but don’t want to be stressed if I’m *not* conceiving quickly. I have a relatively new obgyn and I don’t love her and feel totally comfortable with her yet (my regular for years just moved across the country last fall, sad), so any advice or info like this is so much appreciated!

    • I haven’t taken the bar, but dealing with “baby and pregnancy stuff” is more like a really tough, never ending open-book test than a test requiring lots of memorization for application in a 2 or 3 day period. Grueling, but you have the chance to look up answers as you need to.

      My one bit of advice is to read up on things you don’t think you want. I really wanted natural childbirth, but between water breaking and labor not starting for a couple days, so I needed a Pitosin drip and a babydaddy who was so freaked out at being in the labor room he couldn’t “coach”, I wound up requiring some pain meds, and I was totally unprepared to make choices there. More recently, I’ve faced a similar issue in parenting, something I thought I’d never have to deal with, but now realize I have no choice, so I’m going back and reconsidering, reading in an area I never thought I’d look at–motto is, don’t close off any area of learning out of hand (tho of course you can’t be an expert in everything)

      • goldribbons :

        +1. Research all options for situations in which you won’t be able to think clearly (e.g., childbirth). Figure out how your DH feels about it too, so that if you’re in so much pain you don’t even know your name, he’ll make decisions that you’ll be happy with after the fact. Also, once the baby comes, you won’t have any time to read anything, so read as much as you can about the first few years of baby’s life, too.

    • babycenter has decent articles. and a decent app once you’ve succeeded in TTC. but ignore the comments from users. webmd has decent articles too. FWIW, I got pregnant after 2 abnormal periods after going of bc at age 36. my advice (also FWIW), is that you’re going to stress anyway, so just go off bc and enjoy not having to deal with it. some people may take 6 mos, but others will not.

      • VeryAnonForThis :

        Thank you!! I appreciate the advice. Will check out babycenter!

      • I liked the babycenter one, too – it was really fun to get weekly updates about the baby’s development.

        For TTC apps, though, I really liked using Women’s Log. It appeals to the type A in me – you use it to track dates of your period, which it uses to figure your most fertile days, and you can track when you make attempts and other things, like temp and mucus (sorry for the grossness) and such for serious fertility tracking.

      • I love WebMD for all kinds of health problems!

        For TTC, we never got totally type A, but did notice that my temps, mucous, and cycle all pointed to different days for ovulation. We just “tried” every other day for a couple of weeks that covered all possible dates.

    • 6 mos prego :

      In addition to the reading materials suggested, I recommend buying a basal body temperature thermometer and downloading the kindara app for your smartphone so you can get a good idea of when you ovulate, especially since you’re going to use nonhormonal birth control for a few months. I charted my temperature for 2 months and we got pregnant in the second month. I have another book at home to recommend, but my pregnant brain cannot remember the title.

    • I would caution you not to freak yourself out before you start TTC. You could get pregnant right away or it could take months. While it’s always great to learn about your body and fertility, having too much information might make you feel more pressured than you want to be in the first few months of TTC.

      Here’s my story, feel free to disregard if this doesn’t sound like you.

      I would give anything to go back to the time I was TTC my first kiddo. I didn’t over-think it — just took prenatal vitamins and tried to time garden parties around what’s considered an average ovulation date. And I succeeded on the third try. It was a very low-stress, happy time for DH and me. I initially took the same approach with conceiving baby No. 2 and when it didn’t happen after five months, that’s when I started doing all things the books say you “should” do when TTC. Now I’m 16 months into TTC, I’m still doing all that stuff Taking Charge of Your Fertility recommends, and nothing. The details are just stressing me out and yet I feel like I can’t stop. (Yes, we will be seeing a doctor soon.)

      So. I’d highly recommend giving yourself some fun, stress-free TTC time and if nothing happens after a few months, THEN start tracking every last detail about your body. Because while it can be very empowering — and effective — it also can become exhausting and demoralizing if pregnancy doesn’t happen as soon as you expected.

      • Unsolicited Advice :

        I hope your DH has gotten tested, and I hope you succeed soon. Good luck.

      • I could not agree more with this comment. My type a personality went into overdrive with all the ttc information and needless to say, looking back, it was one of the most unhappy times in my life – which is totally opposite of how it should be!

        • SoCalAtty :

          Because of this, I think for our first try I will just stop taking BC. OB agrees. If nothing happens and I’m worried, then I’ll maybe try something else. My OB also warned me not to go off of BC until I was really serious.

      • VeryAnonForThis :

        This is brilliant advice for me. I really appreciate it. But going back to why I even started this thread….what does DH need to be tested for, his own fertility??! We did some genetic testing last year because I have a serious genetic condition that runs in my family and for which I’m a carrier and we were concerned that he’d be a carrier too and wanted to prepare. Luckily, we’re OK there. But what other tests would we need to get done? DH is approaching 40…

        • Unsolicited Advice :

          DH can have a minor infection in his man parts (hoping to avoid moderation), causing him to be infertile. It can be cleared up quickly with a round of antibiotics, but the only sign of it could be infertility, so yes DH should be tested for fertility (though this test is typically ordered only if you are unable to conceive after 6 months).

        • Unsolicited Advice :

          You can also purchase an ovulation kit, to determine whether you’re ovulating. It sounds like you would benefit from quite a bit more information before you get pregnant (and I would second the recommendations above, both Taking Charge of Your Fertility and The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant – by the way, both of those books have previews on Amazon if you want to start reading now).

          • VeryAnonForThis :

            Yes – I definitely need information, sorely lacking. Downloaded both books onto my kindle already and will start reading tonight!! Thank you again.

    • i like the website hellobee dot com – it is geared toward parenting, babies, etc and has a very active ttc community – have learned lots of info there (and not even trying yet!)

  6. Reposting for moderation:

    Reporting back on my whirlwind NYC trip – it was excellent! I saw Book of Mormon (second row seats!) which was hysterical. It was definitely a long day, but completely worth the time and trip. The bus back was about one hour delayed, which was fine.

    Unfortunately, I got home to find that they hadn’t even started to plow my parking lot, which was buried under a foot of snow, and I couldn’t even back out of my space, let alone get out of the lot and drive to work.

    But I took a sketch bus out of NY 1230am and I’m *going* to work. So I’m getting a ride with my coworker, who is on her way to get me now.

    Thanks for all the advice on transit options!

    • Glad you made it there and back and the show was worth it! I’ve been stalking Book of Mormon tickets for Boston, but they’re so expensive! From what I’ve heard they’re absolutely worth it though.

      • Totally worth it, though definitely a lot of money. I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a long time. That said it was definitely crude and there were parts of the humor that weren’t necessarily up my alley, but I was definitely cracking up for 95% of it.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Yay! I had a suspicion the show in question might have been BOM! Glad you had a great time and it all worked out!

    • Yay! Glad it went well and that BOM was awesome! We’re going in Chicago next weekend and (as a recovering 100% raised Mormon) I am incredibly pumped up for it!

  7. Has anyone tried the Shimera wireless bras from Nordstrom? Thoughts on fit / comfort?

  8. The mind of a cheater :

    First, this is a lovely dress.

    Second, my BIL admits to cheating with a married co-worker, but wants to hang on that relationship b/c it fulfills him, she is his soulmate, etc. 7 young children between them. My heart aches for all of the innocent parties here. Can anyone help me understand how these situations unfold — do the married cheaters come to their senses (or one of them)? Does the glow of cheating burn off? I am a bit concerned that the workplace aspect of it will make it harder to end (and of the possiblity of employment related litigation scorching everyone) and add a downside risk of one of the innocent spouses going to the workplace and getting screamy or causing a scene to the point where they both get sacked (not good — sibling is a stay-at-home spouse who is utterly dependent on my BIL and couldn’t afford daycare for the children who aren’t school-aged yet if she went back to work). FWIW, sibling wants to forgive and move forward, but BIL’s not breaking it off (initially concealed) makes me wonder if anything other than acquiescence is possible. BIL is not really receptive to counselor and pastoral counselors telling him that he is in a state of grave sin and that moving forward with the other woman in tow is not feasible and is hurtful to his family.

    • I have been the outsider looking in. If your sister wants to forgive and move forward, let her. It is her life to live. It is none of your business.

    • your sister should DTMFA and sue for child support and alimony. it’s not like BIL is trying to win her back; why is she holding on? hopefully she can count on you and other family members to get through this tough time, but it’s better she get out of it sooner rather than later so she can get on with her life.

    • I have been the outsider looking in. If your sister wants to forgive and move forward, let her. It is her life to live. It is none of your business.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I have heard the book five love languages recommended on here a ton. I read it recently and really enjoyed it. The idea is that we all express and receive love in different fashions. If we don’t speak the same “love language” as our spouse we will eventually not feel loved and fulfilled, particularly after the “high” of the new marriage wears off. Once I identified a love language that I really care to receive and that my spouse doesn’t naturally give, it helped me see why I have been drawn to particular male friendships throughout the years. We have a very good and stable marriage and I have never cheated. But, at one point I was just spending too much time with one particular guy than either of us were comfortable with. I realized that this friendship bordered on “emotional affair” because he was providing me attention in a love language (a specific form of quality time) that I wasn’t getting at home. I used to be very active in a sport my spouse does not participate in and my time with this male friend was spent doing this sport. I think someone in a less stable relationship would have quickly fallen victim to an affair in this friendship or thought “I’d rather be with him than my spouse” and left the marriage. If the spouses can learn to speak each other’s love languages and see why the affair is so attractive on an emotional level, there may be hope.

      • The mind of a cheater :

        I think that there is a lot of grass-is-greener going on here — there is an age difference and the work setting means that BIL and the GF are in star quarterback / cheerleader roles where GF gives BIL a lot of positive feedback and admiration (definitely a love language, as I recall) and doesn’t ever ask him to help with children’s homework or doctor visits or mow the grass or not leave his underwear on the floor. Which becomes a vicious cycle: choosing work over home because work is has an exciting new friend and constant positive feedback and then home becomes more problematic, so choosing work again, which makes even more home problems.

        Ultimately, if that’s BIL’s choice, it’s his choice. I feel bad that my sister is made to feel like it’s her fault that he cheats.

        • This is why quitting work is often a bad idea.

          Not sure how much the sister wants to forgive just because she feels stuck and can’t do any better.

    • Understand how "these" situations unfold :

      I think every relationship married or otherwise is unique . It also isn’t anyone else’s business. Be a support system to your sibling in whatever way you can, but do try to keep your own opinion out. There is a chance that they may go back and forth and ultimately stay married–and you don’t want to create a situation where you are seen as the enemy or root of any discord in any way.

      I know this sounds a bit jaded. But I have a former friend “Jane” who is married to an absolute jerk. I saw her turn on one of our mutual friends and some of her family when anyone was totally honest about him being an alcoholic. “Jane” also does some awful things in the relationship, too, that I began to see over time–witnessing things like her talking abusively about him and his family in front of the kids, relating to me the details of a massive clean up after she had thrown things at him like it was no big deal, laughing about how she accidentally was screaming at a neighbor because she mistook him for her husband from behind, etc.. All I’m saying is that you never know what is truly going on or how things can shift and suddenly you are at fault in some way for seeing any wrong in the person (even if you are simply agreeing with the person at a moment when they are unhappy). If your sibling wants out of this bad situation, she will take the necessary steps. Be there to assist when those steps are being taken. But butt out in the meantime as much as you can.

    • Sounds like your sibling either needs to leave or come to terms with being in a polyamorous relationship. If he wants to keep seeing the other woman no one can stop him.

      FWIW, it’s stories like these that are why I would never be a SAHM.

      • Anonymous :

        Same. If the family can’t afford childcare now on BIL’s salary, there’s no way she could support them on alimony and child support. Terrible situation.

        • Also why I wouldn’t have that many children.

          Men who are cheaters often want to have lots of kids with their wives. Who they dump all the childcare on anyways. The children become useful hostages. That’s how they get a wife to quit her job, become the primary caregiver, and stay doing all the heavy lifting around the house while he goes off to play with his girlfriend(s).

    • So they’re planning on a not-legally-sanctioned polygamous relationship? That’s not something I could stomach! If she’s chosen to accept it, that’s her choice. But how long does she think the children will not be affected by it? She might want to start preparing for work once they start school, whether she stays with him or not.

      • The mind of a cheater :

        No kidding on that last point — it dawned on me that she wouldn’t have worked enough to get social security when she is older (so child support $ would be gone by then), so the leaving scenario would involve figuring out where she can get a house that she could have paid off in 15 years or so and then getting licensed again so that she could work long enough to get social security and medicare on her own when she is old enough.

        I think he’s acting very manic-ish, in the background, which has me a bit on edge (demanding that she move home and leave all children with him; refusing to pay any $ to her; opting to take an older nephew but not any other children; then wanting to come back home as if none of this had happened; then admitting an affair like it was over; then saying that he’s not going to stop because it makes him happy).

        • To sister of BIL/cheater, if your sister has been married for 10 or more years, she will qualify for social security under his earnings, no matter how long they’ve been divorced. (That’s assuming that there will actually be Social Security in 20+ years, which is not bloody likely.) Use google for ssa dot gov search term “Qualifying for divorced spouse benefits.” So if he has a good record of earnings – now or in the future – she has the option of using his, subect to age restrictions etc.

          But if she’s in her 30s or 40s she has time to rebuild her life. Don’t count her out yet.

    • I am 100% in favor of grown-ups Handling Their Business.

      But this is not your business.

      This is your sibling’s business, and your attempts to psychoanalyze your brother in law are not going to help your sister.

      You need to say FOOEY and move on. Be there for your sibling. That’s all.

    • Anon in NYC :

      My aunt is in a relationship like this. Two young kids in private school (the public schools in their town are not that great), she and her husband go through periods where they seem to like each other but then also hate each other, she has been virtually unemployed throughout the course of their entire marriage (for a variety of reasons) and is now a SAHM, and he’s been having a multi-year affair with a woman that he refuses to end. They may have been other women before his now-gf. She stays with him because if they were to divorce, neither of them could maintain their standard of living, they feel like they should stay together for the kids, and they don’t think the kids would be able to stay in their private school (because they couldn’t afford it). My aunt may have also decided that this gives her free license to (discretely) see other men.

      Will they get divorced when the kids are out of the house? Maybe. But the point is that they have their reasons for staying together right now. I used to be very black-and-white about adultery being a relationship-ender, but I now realize that there are a multitude of factors that come into play when deciding to end a marriage (especially one with kids), and your sister needs to make her own decision about whether she’s willing to move forward in this marriage and on what terms. Your sister needs to see a therapist on her own who will help her figure out what she wants.

    • This just screams mind your business……

    • The mind of a cheater :

      Maybe this will help:

      What are the odds that a workplace affair between two married people with 7 young children between them ends of its own accord in a fairly short (6 months?) time frame?

      I know tons of divorced people, but none of them were affair-driven divorces or divorces with many young children (1 if any; seldom with 2). I know people who’ve had affairs but then made a successful re-start of a marriage after breaking off an affair. I also know people in affairs who’ve had affected people show up at their house drunk, violent, or both. The number of innocent parties here strikes me as very high and that seems to drive up the odds that this gets ugly (and expensive, if it goes the divorce route, which also seems to precipitate craziness).

      If I thought there was a chance that things would be worked out to the parties’ satisfaction in 6 months or so, that would be great for everyone. But knowing that the likelihood that it would in this case (which I think is low, given BIL’s refusal to end things) is say, 50-50 would put my mind at ease. Otherwise, my parents and I are looking at taking my sister and her children in when the school year is over. I really hope that either BIL or the GF breaks it off and that everyone manages to be civil regardless, but I do worry about things getting ultra-horrible if they don’t.

  9. I love this dress! And I love FRUEGEL FRIDAY’s! YAY!!!!!

    My dad made me walk to work this MORNING thru the schlush and snow and wet. FOOEY on him. All b/c he think’s my tuchus is to big and that more men will want to marry me with a smaller tush. I do not even agree b/c Frank and Gonzalo seem to think OTHERWISE (tho I can NOT and/or WILL NOT marry either of them). FOOEY!

    Frank brought in Bagel’s today (like I need them after all the exersize), and everyone is crowdeing into his office to thank him and eat them in there. I LOVE bagel’s but I know my dad would SKEWER me if he found out I was eateing them today after doeing my 2.3 miles on my FIT BIT just to get here in this weather.

    Yesterday I returned Margie’s dress, and got a credit on the manageing partner’s AMEX Card b/c Margie REFUSED to bring it back. I was temted to ask the sales person to sell me something at a discount, but I did NOT b/c my dad would see the charge right away, and he has told me NOT to buy anything until after March 18, when my next paycheck should clear the BANK! YAY!

    In the mean time, I am goeing home tonite and go over my taxe’s. He says their is tax DUE to the IRS and the State, but that HE will cover it for now. YAY! I wonder why I owe so much even tho he is doieng all of these DEDUCTION’s for me? I guess he know’s what’s hapening, so I do not have to sweat over it. He want’s to get me married so some one else can take over my finance’s, and I am all for that as long as my husband is as smart as he is and as hansome as Brad Pit. But I have NOT found anyone like that yet, and all the guy’s I meet are very grabby. FOOEY! Where are the smart good lookeing one’s when I need to get MARRIED? I am not meeting David, even if he is the onley one texting me. He had a chance and blew it. DOUBEL FOOEY!

  10. Housewarming/Birthday/Nashville Gift ideas? :

    My sister is moving to Nashville, just bought a house and has a birthday today. I’m totally late on a gift (and we live in different states) so I was thinking of doing an online gift certificate. My first thought was Crate & Barrel, but they don’t have one in Nashville.

    I could always do Amazon, but maybe there’s something local or more house related? I’d love some ideas!

    • goldribbons :

      You could gift a year of Amazon Prime with an Amazon gift certificate. If she moved from elsewhere in the country to Nashville, she might have trouble finding some of her favorite things at first (whether it’s shampoo or food, and Amazon seems to have everything).

      • Seventh Sister :

        I second the Amazon Prime membership. It’s so handy for buying random items.

        Also, Amazon Prime has a fairly nice streaming service where a lot of movies are free for Prime members. Just finished watching “Blue Steel” (the Kathryn Bigelow movie, not an unauthorized “Zoolander” sequel) which I could not find *anywhere* and boy, that Clancy Brown was a dish as a young gentleman. There’s heaps of other stuff, too.

    • We don’t have Crate & Barrel here in Nashville, but we do have West Elm and Pottery Barn. And there are a ton of cute local stores, but most are very taste specific.

    • Do you know where she lives in Nashville and what her taste is? I’ll try to think of some good local stores here for you.

  11. I’m a Nordstrom newbie, but am converted because of this site. :) I’m thinking of going to Nordstroms next weekend when I’m in Chicago to get a bra fitting. Do I need an appointment for this? About how long should I expect it to take? I’ll have DH with me and I doubt he’ll be patient enough for more than an hour.

    • portlandia :

      You do not generally need an appointment – although if it’s a busier day (like the weekend), I think it wouldn’t be a bad idea as you may have to wait to see a sales associate. It took me about 30 minutes. The SA measured me (~5 mins), and asked me what kind of bra I wanted, and brought me 6-8 options in various sizes to try on. I purchased 2 of them and was on my way!

    • You don’t need an appointment, but if DH is going to be there, tell him to go do something else and meet you in an hour. When I had a fitting done, I was able to see a salesperson right away, but we spent quite a lot of time trying different brands and styles to see what worked best for me. I was there pretty much for a full hour. My BF would not have wanted to be waiting outside for that length of time.

    • I posted yesterday about being (overly) excited to finally get a fitting. Last weekend I just walked in and asked a sales associate if I could get a fitting, though it wasn’t terribly busy. She was extremely helpful. She took measurements, asked to see how I fit the size I was wearing, and then had me try some others and identified what fit best. I explained what styles I was looking for and she brought a whole bunch to the fitting room for me to try. I ended up buying bras in two different sizes depending on the brand/style. It seems like it should be easy to identify what fits right but I found it really helpful to have input from someone who does that all day. I probably spent at least 45 mins but I am indecisive and try the same things on multiple times when I’m deciding between two styles, plus I have to check how every bra looks with a shirt on, etc.

    • layered bob :

      I know others have had different experiences, but I prefer Intimacy in Chicago over Nordstrom. If you’re going to be in Chicago anyway, I’d make an appointment there.

  12. Happy Women’s Day!

    • What is Woman’s Day?

      • In many countries, esp. most former socialist ones, March 8 is a big holiday formally known as International Women’s Day. It’s actually kind of awesome because it is simply meant to celebrate all women – no mother/romantic partner overtone (a la V day and Mother’s day) required.

  13. House Shopping? :

    So DH and I are about to start house shopping again. We’ve bought (and sold) once before so we aren’t completely green, but we aren’t experts. We are using an agent and I like to extensively research. Anyone who has recently gone house hunting have any good tips for organization of the search? Things you wish you had focused on? I am thinking about making a spreadsheet or ever.note type document to keep it all straight.

    • Advice I’ve heard is to think of what you absolutely require, what would be nice additions, and how much extra you’d be willing to pay for each of those extras. A document or spreadsheet with all of that thought out should be helpful when it comes to weighing the place with a good sunny garden spot in one house that’s close to work with the extra garage bay and supernice master bath in another place.

    • H and I are the same, bought and sold once before, now hunting. Your city may be different, but Atlanta has so little inventory that I didn’t even need the spreadsheet. We have very few locations that we can consider since he works outside the city and he must have a basement. So our search was so limited that we only had about 12 options. We decided on new construction, although we haven’t made an offer yet.

    • I like realtor[dot]com. You can sign up for an account and save searches based on different criteria. There is also an app so you can view your account online or via the app on your phone. I think (not 100% sure) that you can also save notes about different listings. If not, then Evernote is a good option for that.

    • Your comment is awaiting moderation. (This is why I never comment. This and the posting too quickly error)

      H and I are the same, bought and sold once before, now hunting. Your city may be different, but Atlanta has so little inventory that I didn’t even need the spreadsheet. We have very few locations that we can consider since he works outside the city and he must have a basement. So our search was so limited that we only had about 12 options. We decided on new construction, although we haven’t made an offer yet.

  14. Panama Trip :

    Ladies-

    Anyone visit Panama? I’m planning a week long trip at the end of April and would love some tips and advice. I’ve only bought my plane ticket, nothing else.

    • Nope, but it’s on my list of places to visit, and my little brother just left this morning for a high school trip there, so….report back! Because I’m certain what you end up doing will be way more relevant than whatever they have planned on his trip.

    • I used to live there, actually! Happy to answer any specific questions that you have. Are you going by yourself? What sorts of things are you interesting in (culture, history, outdoors, etc.) and how much time do you have? And do you speak Spanish?

      I am a huge proponent of Panama, which I think of as an underappreciated, more-authentic Costa Rica. Everyone that I’ve convinced to go there (or to visit me when I lived there) has loved it. You do have to realize that it doesn’t cater to tourists in the way that CR does – CR feels to me like a Latin America theme park for gringos, and Panama is very definitely Not About You (the tourist), but it’s a very unique place with a lot to offer to the visitor who understands that.

      • Panama Trip :

        Cbackson, you rock! This is just the perspective I was looking for.

        My husband will be heading out before me and staying for three weeks, and the first week will be in CR. The purpose of the trip for him is language immersion, neither of us is fluent, though we know a little Spanish. I could only get a week from work and I don’t think that will be long enough to really learn the language, so I’m not going to join him in class everyday.

        My interests: FOOD, beach lounging and other beachy activities, food, outdoorsy activities like hiking or biking, food, shopping (clothes and souvenirs), cultural activities especially those related to film, literature, and food, and I’m not much of a nightlife person, but my husband is so I want to have at least two evenings where we go out and dance and listen to music. Oh, and did I mention that I love food?

        Your personal recommendations would be so so appreciated, as well as any websites or books you can point me to.

        • Okay, I can probably write a novel on this, because your interests are very close to my own. If you would feel comfortable, you can email me at [myname] at [the mail of google] and I can send you my epic list of Panama stuff. If you’d prefer that I just post here, circle back toward the end of the day and I’ll put up a long post. Just let me know!

    • I love Panama. If you can, arrange to visit Barro Colorado, the Smithsonian research island. There is a long wait, so get a reservation now (if they’re available). It’s interesting to go to the canal, but for me a half-trip was enough. Hire tour guides; it’s well worth it. The “Monkey Island” tour is fun — bring bread to feed the monos. The first time we went we (very uncharacteristically) went on a bunch of tours, in addition to hiring a guide to show us around when we weren’t on a tour. Most were good, but I really did not like the one where they take you to see an Indian village. Well, I liked it until we got to the Indian village because at that point I started feeling very awkward. DH and I were the only two people on the tour and the whole village came to greet us, gave us the whole “experience”, tried to involve us in a traditional dance, and then ALL of the village women set up tables with stuff to sell — yikes! I bought a couple of plates, but felt bad. The rest of that tour was interesting — jungle hike, swim by a waterfall, canoe ride — but being the only tourists in the village wasn’t fun.

  15. Question for the Chicago [this site] readers: I will be visiting Chicago next week for a conference downtown. There will be a fair amount of walking in a suit involved. What kind of footwear do I need? I have really bulky snow boots (that don’t really go with a suit), or heels but nothing in between. Do I need to go out and purchase some new footwear? I’m worried about walking in heels (even if low) and accidentally slipping. Recommendations welcome! Thanks!

    • Anon from Chicago :

      There is frozen snow on the ground right now here, so i would bring snow boots. but if you are going to be in a suit, wlaking quite a bit, and not able to change out of your snow boots, then yes, I would buy some new shoes. A few options to consider:

      (1) a wedge heel — this will give you more stability and work with your suits, but also be useful in the future
      (2) a flat, or if that doesnt work for you, what about a low-ish heel boot, but one with some substance. I have a pair of CHs that fit this bill and would not look crazy under a suit under the circumstances. Ill try to post a link below.
      (3) a boot like a la canadian that works for rain/snow, but can be worn professionally in the winter — many of these are knee high and can also be worn with a skirt.

    • If heels are all you own, then you must be comfortable walking in them. We’re not due for more snow (that I know of!), and the sidewalks downtown are clear. I would think that you can manage in your heels as long as you’re good walking and dodging puddles & sidewalk grates in them. However, if you want to protect them from salt, that’s another story. The salt is everywhere.

      If you were *moving* to Chicago, I’d tell you need all the shoes suggested by Anon. And any of them would be handy for a visitor, but maybe not required.

    • Greener Apple :

      I’m wearing flats today. It’s a little too warm for snow boots, and I’m not really risking heels outside yet because the sidewalks are mostly dry but patchy in places and some of the curbs are still messy (I’m in Streeterville). The forecast calls for rain and fairly warm weather next week, too (up to the 40s, last time I checked) so I’d suggest a shoe that won’t get ruined if you can’t dodge a few puddles.

    • Today I saw an attorney wear Tretorns in the NYC slush and bring extra non rubber shoes in a gym bag to a CLE. I was happy that men do that too and sad that I forgot to pack extra shoes (I keep them in my office so I don’t have to carry them most of the time) as my feet were burning up…

      I don’t see why you can’t do this as heels really don’t take up a lot of room in a purse.

  16. Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Question for the Chicago readers: I will be visiting Chicago next week for a conference downtown. There will be a fair amount of walking in a suit involved. What kind of footwear do I need? I have really bulky snow boots (that don’t really go with a suit), or heels but nothing in between. Do I need to go out and purchase some new footwear? I’m worried about walking in heels (even if low) and accidentally slipping. Recommendations welcome! Thanks!

    • layered bob :

      I frequently wear boots under my suit pants in the winter in Chicago. Sleek boots with low-to-medium heel still give me better purchase than regular heels when stepping off icy curbs into slushy streets. Or, if your suits are hemmed for it, you could do a flat or near-flat with a high vamp. I’ve been seeing a lot of oxfords in my office this winter.

  17. Seeking therapist recs :

    I have already browsed the Psychology Today listings and the providers on my insurer’s website but didn’t find anyone who jumped out at me. I’m looking for a therapist in LA to help me address the following issues: (1) figuring out how to improve or cope with my unfulfilling marriage; (2) addressing a relapse into an eating disorder I recovered from 10 years ago; and (3) dealing with situational depression related to job/marital stress. I’m not looking for someone who wants to explore my entire life history in detail (been there, done that during previous ED treatment) or someone who is going to push meds (nothing wrong with them in general but after the horrible withdrawal I experienced when I had to stop taking anti-depressants several years ago for another medical reason, I’m not willing do that again). Basically I know what is wrong and want an unbiased sounding board to suggest changes I can make to resolve issues. Ideally the therapist would have hours outside of the normal business day or do phone appointments at least every other session. Thanks.

  18. saac n mama :

    ?

  19. Claire Hair :

    For reasons I can’t really explain, I am jonesing to get my hair cut like Claire Underwood, the Robin Wright character on House of Cards. Currently have a chin-length bob and have never had hair that short. I like the way that her long fringe hangs over the side of the face for an air of mystery, but the short layers around the side are all business! Can any short-haired ‘rettes give me the lowdown on styling and maintenance demands of that kind of cut?

    As a sidebar, anyone who wants to take up the power, corruption, and alternative marriage topics from the show is most welcome!

    • Diana Barry :

      Dude, me too! I am going to get it done in a couple of weeks.

      Everyone on that show is CRAZY. It makes for great TV!

    • Seventh Sister :

      I used to have Claire-ish hair, and the major issue is being willing and able to get it cut frequently (like every 6-8 weeks) by someone good. Before I had this haircut, I thought my hair grew slowly. I was wrong. If I didn’t get it cut frequently, I had a mini-mullet.

      The styling/maintenance demands were minimal (I have fine, super-straight hair), and my hair was in great condition since I wasn’t curling it or using hot rollers. If I had more time, and I wasn’t as self-conscious about my chin (which is not very sharp), I’d do it again, no question.

      As for House of Cards, why don’t Francis and Claire have any casual clothes? All *I* want to do after a long day being evil is read a coffee-table book in a pencil skirt. /sarcasm

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