Coffee Break: Btalia Satchel

Steve Madden Btalia SatchelIt isn’t surprising that I like this bag: it’s clearly inspired by the Balenciaga bags that I’ve been drooling over for many moons. I normally don’t like things that are so clearly “inspired by,” but for $65-$88, it’s hard to say that it isn’t a great way to at least “try” the style. I like the fun colors it comes in (Zappos has a ton for $88; Macy’s also has a bunch but on sale for $65). Note that it is a pretty big satchel — 14″ wide at the bottom, 11″ tall, and 4″ deep. Steve Madden Btalia Satchel

(L-4)

Comments

  1. Maddie Ross :

    Vicarious shopping help — we are doing family photos in a couple of weeks and I’d like to find a spring dress to wear that is (a) solid colored or understated in print, (b) relatively timeless in style and (c) relatively fitted, but not body con. I am not normally drawn to dresses like that and have a closet full of stripes, bold florals, and t-shirt style shifts that make me look like I’m smuggling a pregnancy (which I normally don’t really care about, but just don’t want memorialized in a fam photo). I’m willing to spend up to $200, but would prefer the $100-150 range.

  2. CLE question :

    CLE presenter question.

    I am in a very dry and technical field. I have a CLE I’m giving that I’ve really tried to make interesting for the listener and/or the reader of my powerpoint slides.

    Do you appreciate this? Or should I just stick to the facts? I know I’m neither an actress or a comic, but I really want to get my audience engaged and to learn a thing or two (and maybe remember it). I have a slightly broader and more corporate audience this time and I don’t want to strike the wrong note. FWIW, I have a hefty enough resume in this area that I usually assume I can do whatever I want (but I’ve never gotten actual feedback from people who aren’t already friends / clients). What do strangers generally think?

    • SV in House :

      This may be somewhat obvious, use examples that would come up in real life for the audience. I always find that engages the audience more than a more theoretical approach. I regularly go to a conference with the top practitioners and it is amazing how academic and dry they usually are.

      • Yes real life examples are much more interesting than forced/canned jokes and random pics and animation in the powerpoint. I like getting an overview of the relevant laws, and then practice tips and maybe case study.

        • Especially real-life examples of things gone horribly wrong. I find those tend to help make what I’m learning stick.

          But maybe I’m just a pessimist.

        • Agree 100%. Also with the real life missteps. These, more than anything, stick with me. It is very rare that a true heavy-hitter in a dry academic field can actually pull off jokes in these presentations. You’ll find your audience far more engaged/entertained if you can talk through real life situations.

    • Honestly, I always appreciate a little breath of fresh air, and try to do the same with my talks/presentations. People do remember it, and remember me because of it.

      I’m in medicine/science. But I do this more in my medicine talks.

      But of course, the talk has to be solid.

    • First-time CLE presenter :

      To piggy-back off of this thread, any tips for first-time CLE presenters? I think I would have a similar approach to CLE question above; I’d really love to make it engaging, entertaining (if at all possible), and of course, substantive. But conversely, I certainly do not have a “hefty enough resume in this field” to go buckwild up there and “do whatever I want.” Any advice would be much appreciated.

      • Can you be on a panel with more senior people (and maybe volunteer to do the slides)? It’s a good way to meet people and also a good way to make sure you’re not too out there / are giving the right talk to the right audience.

      • I’ve been going to a lot seminars and if you can include funny pictures or movie clips that relate back to your material, that helps break it up for the audience. If I knew your topic, I may have a suggestion. One example is I attended a design professionals topic and the presenter had some pics blown up for the big screen of ridiculous construction mistakes. helped make it entertaining.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m in house. There’s a firm in my area that does a lunch CLE once a month and without fail the presenters know their stuff, use relevant examples and keep things light if not occasionally entertaining. I’ve been going so long I forgot how bad dry CLEs can be… then recently went to one and was so annoyed. If you can do it, make it light yet relevant. If not, at least avoid reading your slides word for word.

  3. Cole Haan Wedges :

    Nordstrom has the Cole Haan Milly and Air Tali wedges on sale right now. I’m considering ordering a pair, but wanted to get thoughts from the group. Does anyone have a preference for one over the other? They basically look the same to me, with the only difference being the bow on top. If it matters, I’d be looking at transitioning these shoes into my wardrobe to wear with pencil skirts and dresses.

    • I’d go for the ones without the bow as I think bows are a little cutesy. In my experience, those wedges run a half size big.

    • lucy stone :

      I have two pairs of Millys and two pairs of Air Tali OTs. I like the Milly better than the Air Tali closed-toe because I agree with Bonnie the bow is cutesy. The Air Tali open-toes are definitely more comfortable than the Milly, but they are both comfortable and some of my go-to shoes.

    • Cole Haan Wedges :

      Thanks ladies! I may just have to get one of each.

  4. Spring coats :

    Any recommendations for great spring coats? Looking for something that is work appropriate. I go more for the timeless styles but with a unique/interesting twist, rather than trendy.

    I am also very tiny on top and always appreciate a nip at the waist, or even a belt.

    I feel like I have put off getting a trench my whole life, but honestly I don’t find them very interesting or flattering.

  5. SV in House :

    I have a $350 gift card from Lululemon. I don’t usually buy from them because I am at the top of their size range (12) and run/do a bootcamp rather than yoga. If you had that much to spend at Lulu, what would you buy? I’m a pear, if that matters. Thanks!

    • Maddie Ross :

      Not a specific rec, but I like their running jackets. Lots of pockets, thumb holes in the cuffs, and special places for your iPod and the headphones. They are expensive, but so far mine (I have two) have lasted.

    • Wildkitten :

      If I had to I’d get a gym bag and scuba hoodie. But you might want to trade the gift card for a gift card for something else. They’ve said some mean mean mean things about women our size. I feel bad about wearing their logo these days.

    • Lulu has great running clothes. I like the inspire crops and the swifty tech tops (these come in short and long sleeve with multiple necklines). Cool racerbacks are also good of you want a tank. A lot of it is very cleverly designed for running – functional pockets, compression, etc – but I’ve also worn it for general gym use with success.

      They have some great running jackets too, though those can be very pricey and as we get into spring/summer it’s probably not the right season.

      You can sort their website by activity to pull up just the running stuff. Enjoy the gc!

      • Rural Juror :

        Second most of this. Inspire crops are great for running and they hold up really well. The cool racerback is so soft and comfortable, and you can definitely get away with wearing it around as a non-athletic shirt if you want to. Ditto on pretty much any of the t-shirts.

        I’m also a pear shape and find that all the pants fit great. I would recommend against getting any of the shirts that have a built in bra unless you’re able to try them on – I find they have a tendency to be awkwardly loose around my midsection (where my waist is smallest) and end up making me look bigger than what I am.

      • Anon in NYC :

        I love the cool racerback as well – it’s my go-to workout shirt for anything (strength training, yoga, pilates, running). I love their wunder under crops for pretty much anything. I love their jackets for an easy top layer between the gym and home.

        Also, if you are at all conscious of VPL and/or sweaty underwear while you work out (I am), I do like their Light-As-Air Hipster. No VPL and it does stay more dry than ordinary underwear.

        I am large-of-chest, and their bras just don’t work for me.

        • Anonymous_ :

          I’ve had mixed experiences with their underwear options – I have one pair that is actually 100% invisible under anything, whereas a few other pairs work well enough under their leggings but not under non-athletic wear. Not sure if you’ve tried whichever style you like with non-athletic wear, but I’d be curious what you think?

          • Anon in NYC :

            I haven’t used their underwear with non-athletic wear, sorry!

          • anon-oh-no :

            i love the light as air ones (mostly wear the hipsters, but the thongs are great too) and actually wear them more often under regular clothes. they are not visable at all.

            however, as wildkitten noted above, LuLu has angered me with their comments re women’s sizes (and i am a size 4/6) and such. i had stopped buying all together, but my husband just got me a few things and a gift card, so i picked up some more of the light-as-air undies and a few tanks.

    • My favorites are their running jackets and their SwiftlyTech tops (I have both the long sleeve and tank top versions and love both).

    • I have a pair of their running pants that I love. Honestly, the clever arrangement of pockets which means I never have to hold anything in my hand or in a shoe wallet make them worth the money for me.

    • Anonymous :

      I love the tops made with silverescent for running. I’m a huge fan of the Swiftly style for out and about, but they’re horrible for running if you have wider hips and a small waist. The size top you need for waist up (and to not have a bunch of excess chafe-inducing material under the arms) is snug on bottom–which would be fine if it stayed there, but it ends up riding up to belly button and then bounces with every step. Also, the swiftlys don’t have any pockets–I prefer styles that have the Shuffle/Nano pocket in the back with a cord hole.

      Inspires are great for running, but don’t wear them to bootcamp (or yoga if you later get into it). The material thickness is perfect for runners who are upright and just moving forward, but it is sheer as all get out when you bend over or squat. Way too many women wear these crops to my barre class, and we all get to stare at their ladygardens during round back.

      • Orangerie :

        Haha, I’ve definitely seen more than my fair share of sheer lulu crops in barre. I always wonder if people don’t know their pants are see through, or know and don’t care.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I hate the company but I am completely obsessed with my lined dance studio pants. I have them in blue and wear them all the time. They were a gift but now I really want to buy a gray non-lined pair. Mine are great but I have seen some negative reviews on them lately so the quality may have changed. I also love the light as air hipster panties but find the sizing inconsistent.

      For the dance studio pants, I’m 5’7″ mostly leg and the regulars are the perfect length. I bought the longs at first but they were seriously a foot too long.

      If there really isn’t anything you like there, you could always re-sell the gift card too.

    • SV in House :

      Thanks for all of the recommendations. I’ve been carrying this GC around for almost six months and haven’t used it because of (1) the negative comments from the CEO, (2) the fact that the couple of times I’ve stopped in I have been wowed neither by the merchandise nor the helpfulness of the staff, and (3) I kept thinking I would lose 10-15 pounds and get cute stuff in my new size. It looks like #3 isn’t going to happen soon and I am too cheap to sell it for <$300, so on line purchases as recommended by the hive it is!

    • ExcelNinja :

      Hey! I’m about the same size as you (10-12 on bottom and an 8-10 on top) and I don’t buy Lulu anymore because of their negative comments, and also because the quality has significantly declined over the years. Not just the sheer pants issue, but the scuba hoodies also used to be a wonderful thick, well-built hoodie and now are just thin plain hoodies for $120. All that being said, I love my cycling/running jacket from them (bright orange with fluorescent strips, thumb holes, a special pocket for my phone and secret cable area for earphones) and would buy another 5 if I could find the same model (current jackets seem to not have the awesome phone/headphones feature, and don’t have reflective strips). I also love my raincoat from them. And of course, the scuba hoodies and groove pants I bought in 2010

  6. Financial doc organizing :

    I am organizing financial documents for the past couple years e.g. bank statements, tax documents etc. I have read that one should keep tax return records for at least 7 years. However I am unsure about how to handle other documents such as past paystubs, credit card statements if you still owe the money and bank statements. Advice from the hive? Any recommendations for good resources that can help with this would also be helpful.

    • I keep file folders for all this stuff. I used to keep 3 ring binders, but file folders are easier. One file for each tax year that I dump tax relevant receipts all year and than save with a copy of my final taxes. One file for each credit card, one for each bank/investment company, one file for each utility etc…

      I keep all of the bank statements, credit card statements for at least 7 years. But I keep all tax folders, and I keep all statements from my retirement/investment accounts… indefinitely? I’m 44.

      Things I dump sooner…. pay stubs after 1 year or 2, utility folders after a year or 2.

      And I try to keep a folder for my medical stuff. I keep a copy of all test results and medical records that might be useful. I have started keeping a file on my computer of a simple spread sheet for my yearly labs, and keep track of my meds (when taken and for how long, side effects etc..) and my last PAP/Mammo/immunizations etc.. I am totally healthy with no major medical problems, but I take care of an ill father. I do this for him, and it helps immensely. Realized I should have this for myself.

      I keep a separate file for my health insurance, that gets dumped when my insurance changes.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Personally, I scanned everything and set up a file naming system so everything is easy to find. This was easy to then continue when I switched everything over too line statements. If it’s helpful, my naming system is YYYY.MM(.DD if necessary)_Company_Description, so if I got an Amex statement today I’d save it as 2014.04_Amex_Statement and then when I pay it I’d save my payment confirmation as 2014.04_Amex_Payment. After scanning everything and backing up my computer obsessively, I felt ok getting rid of hard copies of most things (cell phone bills, bank statements, etc but not things like tax documents). It takes very little digital space and I don’t worry about going back to delete old things that I’d otherwise get rid of if they were paper.

      I also make sure to keep the final statements for accounts that I’ve closed because those things seem to pop back up sometimes and having that documentation makes me feel better.

      • Frugal doc.. :

        Very impressive. I could never be so on top of things!

        • Sydney Bristow :

          It happened when I moved across the country and pretty much sold or got rid of all my belongings. Took forever but has been easier to keep up with than do originally!

      • I’m curious, why do you do this? I just assume I can get all of the statements online if I ever need them and haven’t saved anything other than tax returns for years. Why do you guys do this? (No snark intended, really hoping I’m not missing something)

        • Meg Murry :

          Because most credit card companies and banks only save back statements for 12-24 months, but an audit could look back up to 7 years. So if your statements are your documentation for your tax returns (such as how much you deducted for medical expenses) you need the backup.
          Although I’ll admit that I’m sporadic about saving statements at best – I’ll remember to download & file appropriately for a few months, then forget, then start over a few months later. So if I ever get audited I’ll probably wind up owing for not having appropriate backup documentation.

    • Occasionally, through no fault of my own, my bank statements and paystubs end up in a file somewhere in the filing cabinet. I am clearly failing at being a grown up.

    • Anonymous :

      I stick everything in an expandable legal size alphabetical folder (the kind with an elastic strap that goes around it) — one folder for each year. After tax season is over, the folder for the year heads up to the attic. If I ever need to find something I can pull back down the appropriate year and look in the correct alphabetical section. After 10 years, I’ll pull down the folder in question and shred away. Way easier than periodically clearing out files. Less hi-tech/time consuming than scanning everything. Docs that are electronic-only can be saved in a similar yearly folder on the computer and purged when the paper folder goes out.

  7. IT Band Injury? :

    Hi all, looking for some runners advice. I started exercising around Jan 1 (I know I know) as I had slowly gained 15lbs since law school. I started by running 3-4 miles three times a week and also doing light weights once or twice a week. I also cut out a lot of sugar from my diet and tried to focus on eating smaller portions and lots of vegetables. All of that started to work pretty great and by last week I had lost about 8.5lbs.

    Then last week my knee started to hurt while I was running. The next day it was almost impossible to go down stairs. I did some googling and it sounds like an IT band injury – the pain is on the outside of my knee and kind of radiates up toward my hip. Does anyone have any experience with this? I don’t know if it is ok to keep running, just walk instead, or what. I have stopped running since it started to hurt last week but it still hurts off and on. Am I ruined? I really want to keep up my momentum for weight loss. I read some conflicting advice on the web and a lot of it is just going over my head. If anyone has been through something similar I would appreciate your advice!

    • Wildkitten :

      Foam roll.

      • +1 on foam rolling. Ice, also, especially after a run. If you have a localized spot that hurts, ice that. Otherwise, as excruciating as they are, I recommend an ice bath.

        Also consider cross-training options — my IT band problems went away once I started doing more than just running. Weight-lifting and yoga are both very helpful. You might try biking or using an elliptical as a substitute for one of your weekly runs, as well, just to reduce the repetitive stress.

      • +2 foam rollers are a life saver. Also definitely start cross training: swimming, and biking and yoga like Matilda suggested. I would also g o o g l e IT band stretches and do a warm up job then stretch your leg out again. Then also have muscle strengthener exercises online too- like PT for your leg that can help build up the muscles around your leg so you aren’t relying so heavily on that particular muscle.

        Have you drastically increased the amount of miles you run in a week? Sometimes if you go up in mileage too quickly it can aggravate your it band.

        Also be careful about the type of running surfaces you are running on. Treadmills kill my knees and sidewalks do awful things as well. Try to find some grassy areas or some surface with a give to it so the pounding isn’t killing your knees.

        And congrats about the new routine! You’ve got to be feeling amazing and way less stressed!

    • Congratulations on your new, healthy habits! That’s super commendable and awesome. I had a similar situation: I was training for a half marathon, but only running about 3x a week while doing some weight training and yoga each week also. Once I increased my mileage to a certain number, I started to have knee pain as you describe: on the outside of my knee and it killed to go up or down stairs. I kept trying to run, but it was so painful. I finally realized that ruining my knee was not worth it, and I stopped running for probably five months. In the mean time, I continued to do boot camp, weight train, bike, and yoga because my knee felt fine doing those things. I’ve recently started running again, and so far, so good. I would second the rec for foam rolling regularly. But, most importantly, I would recommend taking a break from running for awhile. To keep up your weight loss momentum, this might be a great opportunity to try a new form of exercise. I’m sorry–I know how frustrating this can be! But at least for me, it wasn’t an injury that made it impossible to do every form of exercise, and for that I was very thankful! Good luck!

    • No advice on the injury, since I’m not a runner. But don’t feel that when your start date should require explaining. For me, it’s today because I realized I put on 10 pounds after a breakup and I decide I’m not having any more of that…

      Keep up the good work!

    • Not a doc or physical therapist, but this does sound like an IT band problem, which I’ve had in various degrees. There is no treatment other than rest and physical therapy if it’s acute. I had to do a 6-week course of PT a few years back. Not only did it help for that episode, it taught me a lot of stretches that I incorporate into my exercise— I stop and do IT stretches (which target the hip) about 10 minutes into a run and stretch it thoroughly afterwards.
      A foam roller is a huge help, but I think it’s best to have a physical therapist or trainer show you how to do it correctly & safely first.
      Assuming you’re right that it’s an IT band thing, if you want to get back to top form quickly and safely, I’d recommend seeing an orthopedic doctor and getting an RX for physical therapy. You’re not ruined, but a few days’ rest & ice might not be enough, either.

      • Since I also recommended PT (posted at near-the same time), I would just add to this that you should be able to get an RX from your PCP (I always have), and some states don’t require an RX for PT at all. Not saying don’t see an orthopedic doc, but if that would be an impediment for you (for me it would…time/motivation), you may not have to.

      • Agree with this. You’re not ruined — if you ask around, you will find that many runners have or have had problems with their IT bands. But I had physical therapy for my IT band injury last spring, and I would recommend it for anyone who has problems in that area. Doctors will tell you that there’s actually not that much they can do for this kind of injury, which is true, but appropriate strengthening exercises (which you can get in PT) can help a lot.

      • I put off PT for months for a running injury and ended up really injuring my hip (bursitis, inflamed joints, three torn muscles). I would suck it up and see a physical therapist.

    • Another vote for foam roller. I would also suggest you consider seeing a physical therapist. Not only can s/he teach you how to use the foam roller, but s/he can give you some other good strengthening and balance exercises to add to your routine. As for if you can run right now, I would follow the “if it hurts, don’t do it” line of advice, but that’s another thing that a PT can help you evaluate.

    • Yoga and lots of stretching out the hips. I have a chronic IT band inflammation on my left knee from super tight hip flexors, going on 8 years now (wow, I feel old. and broken).

      If I don’t seriously stretch my hips before and after running (and even on days I don’t run), I know I will pay. Even if you aren’t into yoga, look up half pigeon, crescent moon, and figure 4. Those are my go-to poses for getting into the hips. It should be a “hurts so good” kind of pain when you stretch – at least for me, that’s how I know I’m getting into the part of my hip that’s tight and will cause my knee pain.

      • I also recommend yoga – you can do a short routine with just the poses that help you. I am devoted to my foam roller, but also need to do yoga a few times a week to stay pain-free. Pigeon is my favorite for stretching the hips, but I am going to look up crescent and figure 4 (thanks, snowy)! I also do piriformis stretches pretty often because I find that piriformis tightness can exacerbate the IT band issues. You can do this stretch lying on your back or sitting in a chair (I like the chair) and a quick google search should contain the information.

        You could also try different surfaces and/or shoes to rule those two things out as factors.

        If all else fails, PT would be good – this is not an injury so much as a body care issue. I am lucky that my MIL is a magician of a PT, and she has helped me work through a number of running-related discomforts over the years. Good luck!

    • Stretching, ice and rest will help. Also consider whether you’re wearing appropriate running shoes to prevent future injuries. Here are some stretches to try: http://www.shape.com/fitness/cardio/get-loose-best-it-band-stretches

    • See a massage therapist too. and if all the above fails, get in to see a physical therapist.

    • Hi!
      Yes, for IT band pain you can and should get a massage right away and buy a foam roller and roll on it (for a long time — read or watch an hour long TV show while doing it if you can stand it — and do it every day for a couple weeks until the pain goes away.) I have a foam roller at home and at work. I also find that stretching it (yoga pigeon or cross one leg over the other — foot on opposite knee and then bend standing leg ).
      In the meantime you can still exercise but the pain won’t get better and might get worse so maybe swim or bike for a bit??
      Congrats on the 8 lbs!

    • Anonymous :

      Foam rolling and cross-training and rest are all great, but they will likely not cause a permanent respite from IT band problems. In addition to the above, I highly, highly recommend some strengthening work (for me, this usually takes the form of hip and core work). It’s really easy and simple – searching for “IT band strength exercises” should yield many excellent (and similar) options. It should really work. I was just doing leg raises today as preventative work, and I have not had a sore IT band in at least 2.5 years!

      Also, IT band is one of those running injuries where rest is essential during the early, acute phases of the injury, but, as soon as the pain subsides to an occasional or dull ache, running is just fine, if not preferable. Injuries will heal faster if you keep moving. Keep it easy and do the stretches and strengthening exercises after. (This is unlike a knee problem or an Achilles problem, when you better not do it until fully healed.)

    • Long-time runner and former running coach. +1 to all of the advice listed above about icing, rest, and preventative exercises. Word of caution about the foam rolling: it’s great and I love it! But people can get way over-enthusiastic or do it wrong, and cause some unnecessary injuries. If you have a well-regarded specialty running store in your area, you can probably ask them to show you how to use the roller when you go in and buy one; otherwise, watch some YouTube videos and be verrrry careful when you’re starting out. (I’ve linked my local running company’s tutorial below; not amazing quality for the video, but they know what they’re talking about!)

      One thing I haven’t seen come up…going from zero to 3-4 miles, three times a week, is a big jump in mileage. I know it might not seem like it. But when you get your IT band fixed and start up again, I would really recommend you do more like, 1-2 miles (possibly walk/run) two days a week, and build SLOWLY from there. I’m 25 and I’ve been running at varying levels of competitiveness since I was 13–and if I’ve had a long break, I still start with running like. two miles, every other day, for a couple of weeks. Maybe I’m more cautious than most with building mileage, but I almost never get usage injuries; I can name one in the last four years and that came from, you guessed it, ramping up my mileage too quickly. So…take it slow. There’s a lot more that goes into running successfully than your aerobic capacity!

    • This sounds exactly like an IT band injury. I too experienced this when getting back into running and had no idea what to do. I would suggest going to a sports massage therapist who can loosen up your IT band and also give you very helpful stretches. Stretch, ice, foam roll (gently at first), and don’t push your recovery. Try cross-training instead – swimming, elliptical, yoga, etc.

      Once I got a massage and started stretching, I was back to running in about 3 weeks.

    • FedTaxAtty :

      All good suggestions. Also, the Chopat dual action knee brace is a life saver for me. The tubing above and below the knee keeps the IT band stretched while running. I can’t go more than a mile without mine but have run a marathon with it.

  8. Trade offs :

    Hi all, what financial trade offs did you make to have kids? I’ve run the numbers, and it’s clear that for at least a few years (the infant and toddler daycare years), my spending and saving habits will need to change. I’m not too concerned about my spending habits. I can manage that side of the equation, but I am concerned about reducing my retirement contributions or my savings rate. Did you stop saving for retirement or slow down your savings rate? How did you make it work?

    • Wildkitten :

      My understanding/concern is that the biggest trade off is sleep.

    • No advice, but I’m interested in hearing the comments…I was thinking about the exact same thing today. There is absolutely no way we would be able to keep up out current 15% retirement savings rate AND our “saving for a mortgage” automatic savings (a bit more than that). I can’t decide whether we should stop retirement savings all together (other than 3% each to get matching funds) and cut down on our savings for a mortgage, or basically cut both in half.

      We are already bare bones on spending, but we make $125,000 combined in a high cost of living area and have some student loan payments.

      • ditto- and high HCOLA means daycare is more than most people’s mortgage payments.

        It’s super frustrating to me that the time in your life when you should be having kids (late 20s) you aren’t yet making enough to pay for the crazy expensive daycare. In 5 years when they are in school, we will presumably be making more money, but then we won’t need to shell out the money for daycare.

        I’m so opposed to decreasing our retirement savings (we max out Roth and 401(k)) but sometimes I think that’s the only way we’d be able to do it.

        • Anonymous :

          But even once they are in school you will still need to shell out cash for extended hours at school and lots and lots of summer camps with extended hours or a sitter/nanny/au pair. School doesn’t completely take the childcare expense off the table.

          • Yes, this. My husband thought we’d have so much more money available once school started! Nope. After hours care at home (3-6) is actually more than day care is. Fun.

        • We’re in a very low cost of living area and daycare for one infant is still more than our mortgage. It blows my mind.

          Second the school age child expenses. After school care is usually reasonable if you can use the school’s program, but summer day camp is EXPENSIVE plus you’ll be paying for field trips ($12-50), sports ($85-hundreds depending on the sport), etc.

          We only contribute 5% each to our 401(k)s or equivalent and honestly that stresses me out a lot, but we do both get full matching by doing that. Once student loans are paid off, we do plan to put that money towards retirement.

    • Maddie Ross :

      So far, I’ve not changed our retirement savings rate, though our regular savings rate has changed a bit. Our retirement savings, which comes directly our pretax, pre-seeing it, is still at the max. We’ve always felt like we “could” reduce it if needed, but we’ve also always approached our income as just being the number that is on the check each month. I realize it’s a mental fib, but it helps. With regular savings, things did get rejiggered a bit. Mostly because a portion of our savings now goes to a 529 plan. I’d say that aside from the extra cost of daycare – which came into the budget partly from a reduction in savings and partly from money that used to go to a car payment that is now paid off – most of our costs for our child so far have just been absorbed into the same budget figures. Her food/diapers are part of our grocery budget (and we do eat out less, so that total amount we spend on food each month actually went down) and beyond the initial upfront expense of furniture and outfitting for a baby, her clothing is part of our discretionary line item (which includes our clothing and Target runs, etc.).

    • Hi, are you me? This is how I feel too. Those little kiddos are expen$ive.

    • I am in the same boat..I am not willing to cut down my savings to have children. Myself and my husband have decided to find a new job with better salary to compensate for the increase in expenses.

    • This isn’t super helpful, but husband and I both went after jobs with salary/growth potential and we’ve been lucky that, for example, DH got promoted right before baby number two came along (with a commensurate raise). Again, not helpful but that was one part of it — not just rejiggering savings or putting money elsewhere, but bringing in more $.

      We’ve also reduced or changed how we travel — ex: after big family vacas to the east coast the last two summers, we’re staying local this year. I used to see my best girlfriends 2-4 times annually, but now I fly to see them roughly 1x/year and they come to me a little more.

      If anything, we got more serious about saving after we had kids and simply spent less “fun” money (see earlier comment about travel). We also used to outsource stuff like lawn care, which we now DIY.

      • Yes, easier said than done, but part of making it work for us is bringing in more money. We also have changed the way we vacation, the frequency of eating out (especially with a larger family now, it is expensive even for a casual restaurant!), drive older but paid off cars, and I shop WAY less for clothes, shoes, etc.

    • AnonLawMom :

      Paid off the cars before kids and have not upgraded. Paid down student loans before kids so the monthly payments were significantly lower. Less eating out. No more extra money thrown at student loans. These adjustments account for maybe 50% of our child-care related expenses. Everything else is either (1) making more money due to raises in the last few years or (2) out of fun spending. We also took a one year break from 401K contributions but mostly to prepare for a significant second maternity leave that I took unpaid. Our childcare only costs are currently about $3300/mo between a full time nanny and part time preschool for my older child. Next year they will be closer to $4300/mo because my older child will go to full time Montessori while my younger stays home with the nanny. That will be our worst year. After that, hopefully they will both be in Montessori and it will be around $2800, with further reductions when they start transitioning to elementary. Summer camp/after school care will be expensive, but not $3K (oh god, I hope!).

      • We also backed off our retirement saving but have made it up since through salaries. But almost everything we buy/do goes to them – vacations, food, clothing etc. Having kids is probably the dumbest financial move you could make. But it’s totally worth it!!

        On after-care/camp, I’m budgeting $12-14,000/ year/kid (I have three) out in San Jose. I’m finding the transition to elementary very tough. For example, our kids get all their milk through child care during the week, and now I guess they have to buy it or I have to pack it.

  9. DC real estate :

    So, I’m looking into actually buying a place after my fiance and I get married this summer. We haven’t decided to do this yet, so I need to do some research, and I’d love some advice on resources, etc. FWIW, he’s a little more nervous about the prospect than I am so I want to make sure it’s something I feel confident doing before discussing it more with him.

    Anyway, the thing is, we may need to leave DC for job-related reasons in 2-5 years. Normally I would not consider buying, but rent in the area we live (and want to buy) is extremely expensive. I’m not absolutely set on buying, but I’d like to look into it. We would be looking for a 1 bedroom in the Capitol Hill / H Street / Eastern Market ish areas. As I said, expensive, but it is a great area for us and allows us to have really short commutes and live a car-less existence (transportation costs for us average $50/month).

    So my questions:

    (1) Is it crazy to think we can do this?

    (2) How do I find out if a property has a decent chance of being successfully rented out or sold in the near (2-5 year) future?

    (3) Will all real estate agents laugh at us for coming in with such a small budget ($350k max)?

    and

    (4) Any specific real estate agent recommendations? Or general advice/recommendations?

    Thanks!

    • Wildkitten :

      I’m not an expert but yes that sounds crazy. Why buy a ridiculously expensive apartment when you’re going to move in 2 years? That’s the exact situation renting is perfect for.

    • Wildkitten :

      But if you want to get more information about your options, I think this is a good guy to talk to: http://www.wheredoyoudwell.com/graham-grossman

    • Thanks for the link.

      My reasoning was this: Our monthly payments could be about $500/month cheaper than renting a comparable place. I guess my idea was that if we are spending less (so over 2 years, we’d have an additional $12,000 in savings, half of which I’m sure would go to closing costs etc.), and building equity in a place we could potentially keep (and later rent for the cost of mortgage payments and insurance), that might actually make sense for the long-term, financially. And if we end up staying more like 5 years rather than 2….I just kind of shudder to think of how much we’d be spending on rent total.

      • Also consider that a $350K condo will require condo fees that would eat up that $500 difference.

      • Wildkitten :

        And closing costs, mortgage insurance, homeowners insurance, paying for anything that breaks. I’ve always heard you shouldn’t buy unless you’re planning to stay for at least 5 years.

      • hellskitchen :

        I don’t think it’s crazy. DH and I have been renters for a very long time – we’d come close to buying but 2-3 times, the timing didn’t work (grad school or job offers that required moving out of the area). We are now committed to buying a place this year, come hell or high water. DH’s father has flipped or rented out several properties so we plan to do the same – build equity and then sell for a profit. We are in a major city and likely to buy a nice, ready-to-move in place downtown. We know the price will be somewhat expensive but a) we don’t plan on going way beyond what our incomes dictate we should buy and b) we have done our research and would only buy a place that we feel we won’t be stuck with in a few years.

      • It seems like I hear pretty widely that HCOL areas are much better for renting than buying. I would imagine that property taxes and HOA costs are quite high in that area. Have you factored those costs in? I would be shocked if you actually end up doing better buying than renting.

      • Away Game :

        I think the monthly savings you’re projecting from rent vs. mortgage will be more than eaten by the down payment, which will be significantly more than 12K, and the cost of maintenance will also need to be factored into your equation. And then you don’t have those savings. Also, I agree it will be tough to find something nice in that price range at the moment, and if you do, it is likely to be an older place that needs more frequent maintenance. (Calling the dudes who check our HVAC system every six months is always an annoyance, nevermind the random pipe under the sink that required the plumber on a Saturday, and the dryer that just stopped working…and this in a newly renovated place with all new stuff.) I would argue your tipping point should be 4-5 years; if you think you’ll be there at least that long, it’s worth it to buy. Otherwise, keep saving that down payment money and buy a place where you move to next.

    • Anything in your desired area will sell/rent quickly. However, it would be VERY difficult to find something liveable in those areas in your budget.

    • I believe you’ll have to pay capital gains taxes (if any) if you sell within 5 years. And I would strongly caution against thinking about renting it out until you’ve spoken with some landlords.

    • DC Association :

      I have owned in DC since 2000; I’m in my third property now. Personally I think if you have the $$ for a down payment, it is ridiculous to rent instead of buy. I live in Logan Circle in a 2br, I paid $600k in July of last year. My monthly payment is about $2,100 (including RE tax, insurance). Renting a 2br in my neighborhood would be at least $3,500.

      $350k is not laughable at all for your areas for a 1br. You will be able to sell no problem, and I am sure at a higher price. More and more people want to stay in the city and these areas are growing.

      Do it.

    • FYI, there are not many condo buildings on Cap Hill/Eastern Market. But H Street is doable. Just remember though that the market right now is incredibly competitive – properties tend to stay on the market for less than a week, and many in the hotter areas are going for above asking. It can take months to successfully close on a place.

      For resources, check out the real estate listings and the fourms on popville.com. The commenters tend to be very knowledgeable about DC real estate.

    • I’m not in DC so take this all with a grain of salt. Speaking for a similar “hot” market like NYC — it’s not nec. crazy, but it’s less crazy if you’re staying for closer to 5 years vs. just 2. I’d look at it like this: if you have a down payment that would make your monthly costs (mortgage + whatever carrying charges, taxes and fees you have) equal or lesser than your rent, you should consider buying. But only if you know you have a flexible rental policy in place (make sure you read the fine print re: sublet fees and policies) and the current rent you would get would be equal or greater than your mortgage and CC costs. Keep in mind that along with the purchase price, you will also have a substantial amount of closing costs — inspection, appraisal, application fees, lawyer fees, etc. I’d budget a minimum of $10K to add to your purchase price for all that. These closing costs can make it less worthwhile to you to buy since it’s less likely you would have enough appreciation in a 2-3 year time period vs. 5+. Also, if your plan is to rent it out, consider the fact that you could be looking 1-2 mos. (at least) of an empty apartment before/between tenants (time for you/tenant to move out, time if board needs to approve tenant, etc.) and you need to be able to cover those costs, as well as the cost of painting, any repairs, etc. You will realize some tax savings if you can deduct a certain percentage of your mortgage, but I wouldn’t count on that money as part of your budget. Real estate brokers love to sell you on that but it it’s not exactly “oh, $500 of my $1500 payment is tax deductible so I only need a $1000/mo. for this place”.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Is there are point where you will have more clarity on the likelihood of a move out of DC? For example, is it possible to pun down that if X happens by Y date that you are much more likely to stay for at least 5 years? If so, I’d likely wait until Y date assuming it would only be 1-3 years down the line and just accept the monthly cost differences are the price of flexibility.

  10. a leaving-my-job question,

    Tomorrow is probably my last day here. Our building’s doorman has been amazing and helpful to me. He knows me by name and has always gone above and beyond, and we have hung out and chatted a few times. I kind of want to give him something as a thank you gift on my last day, but I am drawing a complete blank. Any ideas? He is salaried by the building management, so I don’t really want to give a cash tip, I’d rather just give a nice token something.

    Also, close to $20 please, because laid off.. ;o\

    • This sounds like a muffin basket occasion to me.

    • A gift certificate to a local coffee shop and a nice card that way he can tuck it in his jacket pocket and not keep up with it during the day. Our doorman always appreciates “flat gifts” whether it is cash or gift cards because he is constantly keeping track of everyone else’s deliveries throughout the day.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’ve been gone, but so sorry to hear about the layoff! I hope the job search is going well!

    • hellskitchen :

      Whoa! I am sorry to hear that. If I remember correctly, you work in a nonprofit job that you were hoping to leave soon… If so, the timing sucks but I hope this opens up new opportunities for you and you find your next gig doing exactly what you want. As for a gift to the doorman, I agree with the suggestion of a card to a coffee shop. Our apartment building doormen always appreciate residents who bring back an extra hot coffee in the winter for them or an iced tea in the summer since they have to be outdoors most of the time. It’s so thoughtful of you to consider a going away present for your doorman – not many people would think of it.

      • aww, thanks. Yeah, it’s sort of a blessing, actually. As k-padi and cbackson have said, the official motto of this layoff is “Bigger And Better”!!!

        But I do feel a little bit evil that I want to give something to the doorman, but no interest in giving anything to any of my coworkers or even having a going away happy hour. oops!! ;o)

        • TO Lawyer :

          Love the “Bigger and Better” motto!

          Also – at least now you don’t have to deal with people who read everything that’s sitting on the printer ;)

        • Woohoo for Bigger and Better! Now you can concentrate on the job hunt and find something wonderful where they don’t expect slavish devotion for a pittance of a salary.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Bigger and Better, indeed! I’m sorry to hear that your departure wasn’t planned by you, but I wish you the very best in your reinvigorated job hunt!!

    • Nothing to add re doorman gift.
      I got excited to see that it was the last day at your job, though from the last line I see that it wasn’t by choice! But the people sucked and you didn’t like it anyway. Sorry to hear about the layoff but behind you all the way as you go about your job search with renewed determination (and now have so much more time to do it!). As other people have said here before, treat the job search like a full time job! You’ll do fine.

  11. Sorry ladies! I have been remiss. But I have an etiquette emergency!

    My grandfather died recently and I took sometime off to go the funeral. We are a small, three person firm so there are no secrets and I shared the obit with one of the partners.

    The partner sent in a donation in memory of my grandfather. I am so touched. I want to thank him.

    Question: what is appropriate? Handwritten thank you, email thank you, or saying thank you in person? We are a very casual, Silicon Valley firm, and there are only three of us. Thanks!

    • Handwritten “thank you” note/card. And tell him/her how it made you feel.

      It took me awhile to write all of them, but I wrote back to everyone who sent a card or gave a donation when my mother died.

    • Handwritten TY note is definitely appropriate. And sorry for your loss.

    • Sorry for your loss — but it sounds as though you work in an office of kind and thoughtful people. Hopefully that helps. Third the rec for a handwritten TY.

    • Thanks! I couldn’t help blurting out a thank you today (what was with the rain on my face?) but I will write a nice thank you tonight.

  12. Am I the only one who is having trouble concentrating today because YAY MEB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    He has been my favorite pro marathoner since I ran my first one in 2006 and I literally cried when he won today. 38 years old, NYC marathon champ, Olympic silver medalist, and now first American to win the Boston Marathon since 1985.

  13. Hi ladies- I’ve asked this question before but now that I’m actually starting to figure out the details, thought I’d ask for some more input. Planning a September trip for me and my bf. I have a month off between jobs (starting a biglaw job, a little nervous about that) so I really want to go somewhere awesome. He can only take 5 work days off, so the max time we’d have is 7-8 full days (assuming we’d leave Friday night, return to the US Sunday evening, accounting for 1-2 full days of travel).

    Here are a few considerations:

    *Budget: I’m okay with spending up to $3000 for my part of the trip (would prefer to keep it at $2500). But I feel really bad asking my bf to spend that much- he makes less than I do and it’s a lot of money to blow on just 8 days. What really kills the budget is airfare and I can’t seem to find ANY tickets to anywhere in Europe that month for less than $1k.

    *Location: He has only been to Europe twice, both before college, and both times to Scandinavia, so Europe is at the top of his list. I have been to Europe several times and to many different countries. That said, I do love Europe and I’m okay with going there, but I’m torn between going somewhere I’ve been already so he can have that experience (Paris, London, somewhere in Italy, etc) vs. going somewhere new and awesome. One idea I have is to do 3-4 days in Istanbul and 2-3 days on a Greek Island, since I haven’t been to Greece or Turkey, and they both have more of an exotic feel- I want to get my money’s worth.

    *I’d love a mix of urban/cultural and beach/relaxing, with the option to do some kind of bike ride at some point during the trip. That’s why Istanbul/Greek Island appealed to me, but I’m open to other suggestions. Any shout outs for Croatian beaches? Will they be significantly cheaper than Greece?

    *Non-European destinations- we’ve talked about the Caribbean- not thrilled about this option but I’m open to it because of price concerns- but if we’re going to go somewhere solely for the beach I’d really like to stay at a nice-ish hotel. And I’d love somewhere that had at least some sight-seeing.

    I really think it comes down to pure beach (in which case Caribbean since it’s cheaper to get there) vs. Europe… I know he’d love to go to Europe, but I feel guilty about the cost. I know he wants to take this trip as much as I do, but am I being selfish by asking him to come with me? Even if we decide on the Caribbean, I think we’re looking at at least $1500 for this trip. But it’s important to me to feel like I’m taking an awesome trip before I start a job which will probably prevent me from going on any extended vacations for the first few years.

    I know this is a really vague question but any input is welcome. Have any of you ladies seen any awesome deals for the fall that I should be aware of?

    TIA!

    • Anne Shirley :

      Asking him if he wants to come with you is not selfish. If he can’t swing Europe, go by yourself. (You have a month off! Don’t waste it on the Caribbean. You can go there for a long weekend). You’d have enough time to do 2 cheap weeks in Eurooe plus a long beach weekend in the US. It sounds like you’re on the East Coast? The Atlantic in September is still plenty warm for swimming and I prefer the less crowded beaches.

      • Yes, we’re in Philly. He really does want to do Europe and I guess it’s silly of me to feel selfish if he genuinely wants to come. But I also feel like I need to present him with some options that won’t totally break the bank.

        Since I’ll have the entire month off I do plan on taking a couple other smaller trips- probably Chicago for a long weekend to see friends/family, and might try to take my mom somewhere fun for a long weekend as well- maybe Charleston.

        I know it sounds silly but I hate the thought of traveling alone :( I’ve spent days here and there in Europe on my own when my travel dates didn’t match up exactly with those of my friends, but on the whole I love sharing the experience of traveling with other people, and I’m suuuuper excited to go with my bf.

        • Anne Shirley :

          If he really wants to go to Europe, and you really want to go to Europe, your work is done. Go to Europe already!

          For beach/city you could do Lisbon + beach, Barcelona + beach, Paris + ile de re, Dubrovnik, Rome, etc. anywhere on the Mediterranean is going to have great weather in September and in all likelihood be close to a city worth exploring.

    • LeChouette :

      What about argentina? much cheaper than europe and you can do a split buenos aires / wine country or patagonia trip so that it’s part city part someplace relaxing and beautiful…

      I think doing a week anywhere in europe for <5000 including airfare could prove a challenge unless you want to eat and stay pretty cheap (which if you're looking for a more romantic getaway might not be realistic.

      • Love Argentina, forgot to mention I went there 2 years ago so would rather go somewhere new. I’ve thought about doing Peru and Machu Pichu, but not sure about the sightseeing/urban vs. relaxing/beach options.

        • Just got back from 9 delightful days in Peru. Mostly hiking and camping on the Salkantay Route near Cusco and Machu Pichu, but city time in Lima and beach time a couple hours south of there as well. I think you could do sightseeing/urban and relaxing/beach trip. I would definitely recommend looking around for cheep tickets. We were able to find $300 round trip Lima tickets from NYC.

    • Clementine :

      Definite shout out for Croatian beaches from me. We went to Dubrovnik and Hvar for about a week in September 2012. Airfare was roughly 1000/person from NYC. We stayed at nice, but not fancy hotels and it was about 200/night. We loved both places and would go back in a second. I’ve been other places in Europe and Croatia blew me away.

      Husband and I are considering doing a jaunt to Spain/Portugal and staying at hostels in private rooms. Definitely sign up for some cheap airfare alerts.

      Also… totally +1 to what Anne Shirley said. I traveled by myself and LOVED it.

    • You might consider Japan. We went there for our honeymoon and had a great time for the two of us, for two weeks, it came out to about $5,500 total, with most of that being airfare. When we went, we were able to get bundled airfare plus a hotel for the whole trip on expedia for less than the cost of the whole trip. It might be fun if you want something more adventurous. If you do go, be sure to get a bus pass. It’s pricey but so, so worth it.

      • I had not even considered Asia because of the airfare cost, but I will definitely look into Japan- it’s somewhere I’ve been really curious about for a long time.

        • When we went (3 years ago) we got airfare plus hotel for $1,600 a person, which was approximately the same cost as airfare on its own. It’s definitely pricey if you can’t get a combo package.

    • Definitely Turkey! You could do Istanbul combined with one of the beaches; I don’t have specific recommendations on beaches, but I think there are several good beach options in Turkey if you don’t want to go to Greece. I have also heard good things about Croatian beaches. The good thing about staying in Turkey: the lira is much cheaper than the euro against the dollar.

      Also, September is hurricane season in the Caribbean.

      • Glad to hear you liked Istanbul- does anyone have any hotel recs? Do you think it’s possible to get a decent room for $100/night or less?

        • Not sure on hotel recommendations because I was on a study abroad program and living in dorms, but Istanbul is a frequently-suggested travel destination on the comments here, so try searching the archives (google “Istanbul site:[thissite'saddress]” and it should search the comments).

        • Anonymous :

          I liked the Hotel Daphne. I don’t know the cost, but the hotel was adorable and very close to the main tourist areas.

        • Hotel Sphendon. It was ~$40 per night two years ago (in the off season). It’s a walkup – but right in the heart of the city.

    • Just wanted to note that because you have a couple of months to plan, you or your BF could consider a credit card offering miles for at least one leg of the trip. Because I was planning a trip to Europe last year, I signed up for a credit card that offered a chunk of miles if you spent $X in the first 3 months. I cancelled it after a year to avoid paying the annual fee, but ended up getting a one way ticket to Geneva + extra miles. Of course, only if this is a prudent financial decision for you.

    • Just chiming in with a thought re: cost — not sure if you’re splitting it exactly down the middle, but if yes, consider shifting that a bit so that if, e.g., he can spend $2K and you can spend $3K, you set a total budget of $5K and subsidize his share.

      Also, check out farecast dot com and kayak for fare predictions. You may need to wait to get tickets to get a cheaper air fare (actually check out Nate Silver’s 538 for a whole post on this: http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/when-to-hold-out-for-a-lower-airfare/). Also, in the past, I would just wait to see where the tickets were cheap and planned my trips around that. So, for instance, one summer all the cheap Europe flights went through Spain so we just went directly to Spain and ended up having an amazing time. It doesn’t work for everyone (some people are “planners”), but if you stay flexible, you can find some great deals.

    • MaggieLizer :

      Have you considered a west coast trip? Flying to Vegas would probably be your best bet for less expensive tickets, and from there you could fly to San Diego, relax on a beach, stop by LA, drive up coast highway to wine country, see San Francisco, and fly back to Philly. Adjust as appropriate for your interests.

  14. Losing Weight -- Now What? :

    I have a problem related to the many (many) clothes in my closet. I’ve been steadily losing weight since January (yay!). The problem is: what do I do with the clothes that, thankfully, no longer fit. Part of me is terrified I’ll need them again, even though I feel like I’ve finally made the changes I can stick with for life. The other part of me wants to get rid of the clothes (by donating, tossing) that I had to buy because of my size (and I was big).

    What would you do? Save a few nicer things but donate the rest? Get rid of everything? Pack everything away and re-evaluate in 6 months? (I’m transitioning my closet anyway.)

    • Wildkitten :

      Save the nice things, donate the rest, and if you haven’t gained weight in a year tailor the nice stuff.

    • I have heard the advice to get rid of everything so it is an extra motivator to keep it off. Otherwise it gives you the option to regain the weight. I don’t know if I could do that, though. Personally, I kept them for a year and, when the weight was still off, gave them to a friend. At that point I was just sick of them taking up room in my closet.

      • Wildkitten :

        I tried this and it didn’t work – and it’s a lot more fun buying new clothes for your weight loss than buying new clothes for your weight gain. :-(

    • Anonymous :

      I just looked into donating to Dress for Success, and my local chapter’s website said that they have a need for size 16 and up. If your clothes meet that, I’d consider donating there–it sounds like they have more than enough in the lower sizes, which is amazing, but could really use more for size 16 and higher ladies who equally want to look awesome on interviews.

      • +1. I am on the board of my local DFS. Our donors are very generous, but we go through donations so quickly that we recently applied for and received a grant to purchase new clothing in sizes 16 and up.

    • I would keep everything for 6 months, and then I would donate most of it, and see if I could have my nicer dresses tailored. Since there’s extra material now, you could get something that fits perfectly!

      After the 6 months, I think you should be positive and assume you’ll stay at this weight!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      My method has been to keep a couple of transition pieces in the larger size, just in case, and donate the rest. I like to keep a pencil skirt, a couple of tops, and 1-2 neutral cardigans. That works for me in case I gain a little temporarily but is a little extra incentive to keep the weight off.

    • I lost a lot of weight too and totally know what you’re feeling. I kept my fat clothes for a year and a half (long enough to know I wouldn’t likely need them again/I’m able to maintain the lifestyle and loss) and then massively purged. The massive purge felt amazing. Wish I’d done it a little sooner.

  15. Compensation question :

    How much do partners make (average range) in BigLaw in the large markets (NYC, LA, Chicago, DC)? I know it’s a tough question to answer, but I’m very curious what the ballpark is. I know associate compensation and bonus schedules, but I don’t have any idea what happens on the partner level.

    I’m not interested in outliers, and am curious more about litigators than transactional attorneys or very specialized practice areas.

    • robert half publishes a salary guide that covers different regions and is updated each year.

      • Compensation question :

        So, following their guide, a partner at a large law firm in NYC makes $230K-$360K. Is that really correct? That seems pretty low to me.

        • I’ll pass on whether it’s “low,” but at large firms in Chicago, especially those with an income partnership tier, the income partners do not make substantially more money than the most senior associates, so those figures don’t surprise me.
          It is really only the tippy top firms where the equity partners are upwards of $1 million PPP. But there is a lot of room between $360K and $ 1 million+, and I bet there are a lot of equity partners in that room.

    • I doubt you are going to be able to get a good answer to your question. Firms and partners are too opaque about comp arrangements, both because the firm needs to look competitive and because no partner wants his or her peers to know if he is making less than them. You can look up PPP by firm online, but know that numbers are likely inflated, certainly in bad years, and individual partners may or may not be receiving way more or way less than the average, especially at eat-what-you-kill firms. I would think top litigation and corporate partners make comparable amounts, so not sure your distinction will be all that helpful. I would guess that partners in support practices, where business comes primarily through litigation / corporate, will make less, at least in non-lockstep firms.

      • Compensation question :

        What about all the associates currently working in BigLaw? Don’t they know what’s on the other side? In my smaller market city I know the general range for partners at mid-size firms (starts around $160K for new partners, averages around $350K-$400K for partners in successful midlevel practices, can get above $1M for very successful partners at very successful firms). I would have guessed that larger markets have many partners who regularly make over $1M a year, right? Or do people really just not know?

      • I think it is a littel low. I never made this much b/f I got to be a partner, but dad say’s I can expect to make more especialy with my “draw” being dependant on my billeing’s the way he has negotiated it. The tax guy was astounded that I will make so much money, he said pretty girl’s like me just get married and let HUBBY make the money. I told him that there was NO guy in my life and I have to do this on my own, unless I get a guy to give me a baby, which I do NOT want to do w/o the guy in the picture and MARRIED b/c I do NOT want to work forever and drop my kid off in Day care. FOOEY!

        I hope that I will make enough money so that I will NOT have to worry, but I do NOT want a guy like Alan, to drink all day, burp the baby then burp himself b/f throweing up in the sink. FOOEY! I want a steady guy (like Ed) who can get me out of the work world, and let me do the mothering for OUR children, thank you very much. I would NOT mind haveing sex with that kind of guy, but NOT with the guy’s that just want to have sex then go home. DOUBEL FOOEY on men like that. Myrna sees alot of that in her industry, and even lawyer’s will want to have sex and then walk away. Not for me. To many guy’s like Gonzalo who love to put their hand’s where they do NOT belong, and if you say OK, then they put OTHER thing’s there later. NO, not for me. I do NOT want a guy’s weenie either unless I have a ring on my finger. But I hope to find one soon. YAY!

      • Compensation question :

        I did end up finding an article on it from 2012: http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2012/09/19/partner-pay-is-way-up-in-atlanta-seattle-but-new-yorkers-still-make-more/

        My numbers were actually surprisingly close. Average comp for large law firms in NYC was just over $1M, highest rate was from Silicon Valley, averaging $1.2M, and the rest of the markets were somewhere between $500K and $800K. It doesn’t seem like anyone here is particularly interested in partner compensation, but, if you are and just didn’t comment, that Wall Street Journal article is a very quick read.

  16. AIMS – thanks for the tip on the ON dress this morning. I bought it in navy! I was out there anyway going to DSW (where I ordered the Tahari pumps I’ve been wanting). I just tried it on with a strapless bra and a lavender cardigan and it’s so cute! Perfect for summer here. I also bought a black and white polka dot pencil skirt that was marked down to $14.

  17. Tailor for women’s suits in Seattle? I have gotten into weightlifting and lost a few sizes, but my suits have not! Can anyone recommend a good women’s tailor in Seattle? I don’t want to buy new suits, but I don’t object to spending a few more dollars to have someone really good tailor them.

    Thanks.

    • Adam Tailor by Zeitgeist in Pioneer Square. Cheap, good quality, nice. Not good for 24-hour turnaround but I’ve never been anything but completely satisfied with him. Cash or check only, pay in advance. Bring one and see if you like what he does. Once, I took something in and he shook his head “too expensive to fix, get a new jacket.” I like that he turns down money that he could take because it’s not worth it.

  18. Senior Attorney :

    Divorce TJ: Apparently we have a mediation scheduled for next week. I don’t expect the case to settle, but I am unreasonably happy and excited that SOMETHING is happening after all these months.

    Just super not looking forward to actually seeing Mr. S.A. after all this time. Ugh. I’m working on my glacial greeting.

    • WestCoast Lawyer :

      Maybe try a really upbeat friendly greeting. Not because he deserves it but because it might throw him off his game for the mediation (or at least leave him wondering why the heck you are so happy)!

      • Senior Attorney :

        Maybe. I am spending way too much time thinking about it. Really, after what he’s put me through I would love to just never speak to him again. I get that it’s a sign of weakness. But… I really don’t want to be upbeat and friendly because that is what he’ll expect and I. am. over. it. Srsly. He isn’t worth the breath it would take to utter a friendly greeting.

        I dunno. I think I’ll ask my lawyer.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Yay! Glad that some action is being taken. Fingers crossed that it actually does settle.

    • I totally get this feeling. I had to see my ex-h to get a medallion signature guarantee to finalize the transfer of our brokerage account towards the end of our divorce and just thinking about it made me feel this combination of sick and exhausted.

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