Frugal Friday’s TPS Report: Modern Broadcloth Shirt

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

Lands End Modern Broadcloth ShirtI’ve become a bit obsessed with the OTC section of Lands’ End, where they put limited quantities of products “on the counter” on Saturday, reducing the price by 25% Monday, 50% on Wednesday, and 75% on Friday. I’ve gotten a ton of ridiculous discounts there on items for my toddler son (swim shoes for $2!) and plus-sized mother ($84 pants for $5), with the very odd top, blouse, or dress for me. Today, though, there are a number of lucky sizes for work-appropriate blouses, such as this happy pastel (green, blue, pink) broadcloth shirt, available in super petite sizes (00, 0) and larger plus sizes (30, 32, 34). How crazy are the sales? This shirt was $30-$35, and is now marked to $2-$4, for Friday only. Lands End Modern Broadcloth Shirt

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected]
(L-2)

Comments

  1. Whoa, that’s a steal! Love Lands End quality and return policy.

    Enabler alert: select colors of Lo & Sons bags are currently on sale. I just picked up a purple OG for less than $160 with 20% coupon code (either STYLEBYE or STYLEBYEM, can’t remember). This is for everyday work schlepping (laptop + papers, lunch, wallet, toiletries, occasional gym stuff) and an upcoming work trip to the West Coast. VERY excited!

    Current OG/OMG owners: should I be nervous about discoloration of the purple fabric since it’s lighter than the black, navy or brown — stains, etc.?

    • January says:

      I haven’t had a problem with my purple OMG getting stained or otherwise discolored, though I haven’t used it every day, either.

    • OG -- report from the field says:

      Can’t comment on the discoloration issue.

      I have read with interest the MZ Wallace / OG / OMG threads here and wanted to post a report from the field. I travel where I have a small wheelie bag and need a big second bag for my laptop and work stuff. I had been using a backpack (to avoid an unbalanced load on one shoulder). I am really liking the OG because it fits my giant laptop (14.1″ thinkpad) and a redweld full of stuff. But most of all, I like the way you use the sleeve to fit it over the wheelie bag’s handle so it doesn’t topple over (problem w/ totes) and handles walking around with both in airports / city streets (am often luging it round so I can attend one last meeting and then fly out) / hotels.

      I don’t use it as a purse (I bring a tiny clutch just for wallet / phone / etc. when traveling) and don’t really use it when not on travel (car commuter and I keep a home laptop to cut down on the schlepping).

      I would still really love an MZ Wallace bag (all of them, really), but I think I’d have to get one just for a purse and not as a travel / schlepping bag since I’m really liking how well the OG doses for this.

    • AnonInfinity says:

      I’m going to email L&S about my problem, but I’ve had my OG for 6 months, and the bottom is already getting frayed at the corners. I do use it heavily for airline travel (about 4 times per month), but I haven’t snagged it on anything or otherwise abused it. It’s a great size, and I love that I can put it on the handle of my rollaboard, but I’m really disappointed that a bag that cost more than $200 is already fraying. If they won’t or can’t fix it, I might take it to a cobbler to see if I can get a leather pad put on the bottom.

      • Need to Improve says:

        I have an OG and although I agree with posters that the design is very convenient for travel, I was disappointed with the quality the minute I took it out of the box. It looks way cheaper than you would expect for the price. The zippers in particular seem cheap and weak. My first OG got a stuck zipper the day I got it, and their excellent customer service got me a new one right away. The second one has held up ok, but I really only use it for airplane travel once a month or so.

        • Chi Squared says:

          Yes, I returned an OMG b/c of the cheap (non-YKK) zippers and overall cheap feel. It was also a weird shape for me (too tall). I recently got an MZ Wallace Kate, and am very pleased with the quality and looks of the bag.

    • @ANP — I want the OMG in purple but can’t get either discount code to work for me — any idea what else it might be? I have a black OG already, so I need a really good deal to justify the second purchase!

      I think you’ll be fine with the purple — the black wipes off very easily. Maybe be more conscious of not letting it rub against a black leather coat, etc.?

      • Shoot! I used STYLEBYEM to get 20% off. I’ve heard they have wonderful customer service. Maybe call or email them?

      • I don’t think discount codes work if the particular color & style is already discounted. Is that the problem?

        • That’s possible, but it sounds like ANP was able to use a discount code on an-already discounted bag (at least based on the $197 price of the purple OG currently). I’ll have to look further & see what I can find… I’ll post back if I figure it out.

          Thanks, ANP!

    • backgrounder says:

      I have the OG in purple. I use it for travel and everyday schlepping of laptop, gym clothes, lunch, etc. No discoloration although I did get a small stain on the back pocket. It’s not highly visible and I haven’t made a concerted effort to remove (now that I think about it I will try and remove and report back). I think you will be fine – my bag has gone through heavy use for almost a year and still looks pretty good.

    • Lo&Sons are the new FLEECE TIGHTS.

      Pass it on.

  2. emeralds says:

    Family and money TJ right off the bat. I’ll try to keep it brief. And let me preface all of this by saying that I love and respect many things about my dad, despite our often-complicated relationship.

    My dad is older (65+), and owns a business. I’ve made it clear that I have no plans to take it over, because it just does not align with my lifestyle, interests, or professional strengths. In the last couple of years, he’s seemed get this, and that he needs to come up with some sort of plan for winding it down. But he hasn’t done anything—no property has gone on the market, no functions have closed out, nothing.

    He is also very irresponsible with money. He asked me for money to get out of a tax-related jam this winter; I said no—I’m in grad school; I’m not destitute, but I don’t have a lot of spare money at this point. Long story short, he’s asked again. It turns out he owes about 10K of back taxes on a property and the county is serious about getting it out of him. I could come up with 10K if I absolutely, 100% needed to, by cashing out an insurance policy that he gave me, and giving him the money I’m supposed to be getting from a class-action suit. (I do not have anywhere near 10K in cash right now because, grad school; I wouldn’t feel comfortable tapping into my emergency fund for this anyway.)

    But…I can’t really avoid the fact that I’m furious that he’s asking this of me. I think it’s wrong and I think it’s unfair. But then I think that’s a selfish response, because he’s my father and he’s family. At the same time, this is what he does—runs into a serious money problem, throws everything he has at it to paper it over, then rinse and repeat. No meaningful change to the structures that are perpetuating this cycle. I almost feel like it would be enabling him to help him out of this. I don’t know what to do and don’t know who I can talk to about this.

    • Personally, I would cash out the insurance policy he gave me and give him that (but not the class action money). I would tell him it’s a gift, not a loan, but that in the future, you will not be gifting or loaning money to any family members, including him, no matter how dire the situation. I would tell him he needs to figure out ASAP what he is doing about the business, property, etc. and offer to help him find resources to get his finances under control so this doesn’t happen again (but don’t offer to do it yourself).

      • S in Chicago says:

        +1

      • Marilla says:

        I wouldn’t do that, just because I think he would listen to your action (cashing out the policy to give him money) and not your words (Dad, this is not ok and never happening again). It creates a dangerous precedent/expectation. I think you would be much better off with a firm no, as hard as that is.

        I’m sorry you’re in such a tough situation :(

        • Killer Kitten Heels says:

          My dad has similar issues, and I 100% agree with Marilla. My mom told him dozens of times that it was “the last time,” but of course it never was, so of course he never stopped the cycle. You can imagine his utter shock when, the last time around, she divorced him instead of bailing him out. He’s had to learn some tough lessons pretty quickly, and I feel badly that he’s only just learning them at 57, but not badly enough to intervene – his financial security is his own responsibility, not mine, and I’m not willing to jeopardize my own just-finally-falling-into-place security for his. Maybe that makes me cold, or “not a good daughter,” or whatever, but I don’t want to help even “just this one time,” because his pattern is to assume that “just this once” really means “every time ever,” and to behave accordingly.

      • I would do this too. I can see how it might set a precedent, but that’s on him, not you. More than likely he will not change whether you help him this time or not, so I don’t care so much about the precedent.

        Anyway. I know it’s difficult to want to help your parents when they won’t help themselves, but I have to say, I feel like children owe their parents something. My MIL, for example, has done a lot for me. I think if she were to find herself in a jam, no matter the reason, I would help. Even if that reason is because she spends too much on stupid things. I wouldn’t continue to enable her, but for a one-time thing, I would do it. (BTW, just so that there is no misunderstanding, this wouldn’t really happen. She is very responsible with money.)

        • cbackson says:

          You know, I think, though, that sometimes what you owe your family is helping them learn how to live a life that’s sustainable, you know? I would do absolutely anything my parents needed as well, but if they were in financial need it would be the result of an extreme and unexpected circumstance, not bad life choices. And when it’s bad and ongoing life choices, sometimes helping out actually DOESN’T help in the long term.

        • Anonymous says:

          I also think it’s a parent’s responsibility to give their children the best possible future with what the parent has to work with. That does not include guilting children into covering for poor parental financial actions (just a note, if a parent’s need was the result of medical issues, and not bad financial management, that’s a whole different story). To bail out a parent with poor financial habits is just throwing good money after bad–better to let the child have a chance at a clean start. This kind of guilt that the kid “owes” it to their parents is one of the (admittedly many) ways lower-income children get trapped in the cycle of poverty.

          • The guilt is why I personally like the one time payment. It depends on your relationship with your parents and your ability to stick to your guns. In parenting my teen, I typically give a warning when she messes up and explain that next time the consequence will be X. I never feel guilty imposing those consequences the next time because I gave her a chance to clean up her act and she choose not to. Choices have consequences. I do sometimes feel guilty when my husband imposes a punishment right off the bat. So for me, giving him some money now and telling him that’s it, would alleviate my guilt when he inevitably ends up in the same situation the next time the property tax bill is due. Then I’d feel fine being like “we already discussed this, sorry.” But YMMV.

            I do agree about the lower income cycle of poverty. I already know my stepdaughter will be supporting her mother some day out of guilt and it makes me so so angry for my stepdaughter because I do think it’s an unfair burden (it’s her mom’s poor choices and unwillingness to work, not medical issues or disability or anything).

          • Killer Kitten Heels says:

            KLG, I think what you’re describing is perfectly appropriate for a parent interacting with a child (1 bailout + clear warning about next time, with follow-through if there is a next time), but I kind of bristle at the implication that OP (or similarly situated people) should be doing this with a parent – it’s sort of like saying “hey, your dad sucks, so you need to treat him the way you would a naughty child.” It’s just a total warping of the parent-child relationship. If OP can manage this without feeling weird/uncomfortable/unhappy about it, good on her, but I know for me personally that it would really, really bother me to be actively parenting my own parent in response to parent’s bad judgment.

    • It sounds like he has some assets he could sell or has things that he could do to generate that $10k on his own, but he just doesn’t want to. I think you need to hold your position and let him deal with it on his own.

      • emeralds says:

        He does. He just doesn’t want to sell them, thinks it would take too long, etc. He also has a chronic problem of over-valuing his assets, so won’t sell them for what it actually market. (E.g., someone offered him 320k last year for the property with the tax issues, but he wouldn’t take it because he thought it was too low. In reality, based on my own research, 320 would have been about market; maybe a little low, but worth it to have the property no longer causing headaches and incurring expenses. But what do I know. I told him to take the offer and he refused.)

        • Anne Shirley says:

          You’re a grad student, and he’s trying to scam you out of 10k when he’s sitting on a property worth 300k+? I’m changing my no to a hell no.

          • +10000

          • Pretty much. Your dad sounds like he wants to have his cake and eat it too. Not possible and not your problem. I’m with Anne Shirley on this one, hell no.

      • Anonymous says:

        +1

    • Wildkitten says:

      I think it’s completely appropriate for you to say (and stay at) no for this. It sounds like he could solve both problems if he sells his property to pay his tax bill.

    • Anne Shirley says:

      I’d say no. If he needs the cash he can sell the property.

    • Alice says:

      I agree with Wildkitten and Anne Shirley. I think it would be wise not to cash out the insurance policy, but keep it around to bail him out down the road, if he hits the point where he really needs it (for basic living or medical expenses) and doesn’t have other resources to fall back on. This is not that time.

    • Scully says:

      Is the reason he’s not winding down the business because he doesn’t have adequate retirement money?

      • emeralds says:

        Possibly. He has $0 in retirement savings, but should be reasonably well set for a modest retirement lifestyle if he liquidated everything tomorrow. I think it’s more that he still enjoys a lot of what he does, and/or doesn’t know how to go about stepping off the hamster wheel.

    • OG -- report from the field says:

      If he owns a business (and esp. if he owns the land), why doesn’t he just go to a bank and borrow? Businesses do this all the time. They have cash-flow problems and they just deal with it. The good thing with a bank, is that he can’t just ask for money with no plan and no plan for repayment. They can ask harder questions than you can (and maybe put him in touch with a business broker).

      Is this a variant on “outsource to a professional”?

    • I’m so sorry. This is somewhat similar to a situation I’m facing. The hardest part isn’t necessarily that my parent needs money, it’s that they’re irresponsible enough to put me, their kid, into a situation where I feel guilted into helping them.

      I would say no on both counts. Just tell him you can’t at this time. It’s hard, it will hurt, and you might feel guilty, but it’s not your job to bail him out “just because he’s family.” Good luck. Also, I know you didn’t ask about this but my therapist has been amazingly helpful to me in this very situation. I highly recommend finding a professional you can trust to work some of this stuff out.

    • Regular says:

      This is going to be long, but I have been in your situation and I think I can help you by sharing.

      My father is a doctor and a serial entrepreneur who has made more money in his 70+ years than I will ever see. He grew up during the Depression in extremely humble circumstances, and he was happy to spend what he had created on me to make my life better. I am the first child from his first marriage, and he happily paid tuition (private K-8, boarding school, prestigious college – I took out loans for law school and paid them back the first few years in BigLaw) and experience fees (summer school back East + airfare to get there, summer camp in the mountains, horseback riding lessons, gymnastics, junior year abroad etc.) He had it and he was pleased to be able to spend it that way. I am extremely privileged, I know it, and I know that I reap the benefits of that privilege even as I sit here writing this. On the other hand, I left BigLaw for the government years ago and lead a very frugal life now.

      Each time he has successfully created a company over the past 40+ years, he has made a boatload of money. He also has been married 4 times (and divorced 3 times) over the decades. He never had a pre-nup. We live in a community property state. So every time he marries, he creates another life-long dependent (he marries women who cannot support themselves while married to him and who live on the money they get in the divorce after they are married to him). He also has had another 6 children after me. As he has aged, the number of dependents keeps increasing and his ability to hit another business homerun decreases (with age and the economy).

      Nine years ago, he started asking me for money. At the time, he was divorcing Wife 3 and said that he needed to borrow $10K to pay my then-youngest sibling’s private school tuition. He would pay me back as soon as Wife 3 relinquished her hold on his share of his IRA account. I thought about it for less than 24 hours and came up with some conditions (he would name me, not Wife 3 or About-To-Be Wife 4, as his executrix etc.). By the time I got to his house that evening to discuss, he had already “resolved” it some other way and did not want to discuss it. Next, he wanted me to invest $20K in a start-up he and Wife 4 were doing. But it was an initial round to demonstrate to the VC folks that they should invest, so he wanted me to use my money (not part of my comprehensive investment/retirement structure) but put the stock in my fiance’s name (fraud, also causes problems with fiance’s former wife, who is nosy about these things). I demurred. Next, he wanted me to pay him $35K to purchase his share of an office building that he and Wife 3 had built on spec with three other couples. It was worth $200K, but I would have to wait until the others wanted to sell. When I said no, he wanted me to represent him against the others to force a sale (and risk being sued by the other couples, Wife 3 and/or Wife 4!).

      Every time he asked, I felt greedy and horrible for saying no. Had it not been for his investment in me, I would not have my life. I would not be a lawyer. I would not have had the experiences I have had. I would not be secure (relatively – life is a gamble) about my own retirement. I must be a terrible, horrible daughter to even consider saying no. But in the end, my sense of self-preservation would compel me to say no.

      Last year, he and Wife 4 begged for $12K for a deposit on a home. They were moving out of our HCOL area with their two kids to a reasonable COL area and wanted to buy a house. He qualifies for a VA loan (Vietnam era vet), but they did not have the downpayment. He wanted me to lend him the money. VA regulations prohibit loans for downpayments (says so right on their website), and you have to sign under penalty of perjury that you are not using borrowed funds to do it. So, yeah, do I want to risk my bar card to violate federal lending laws? No. But I would give it to them. Because how can I let my father be homeless as an elderly man with a wife and two kindergardeners to support?

      After a very, very uncomfortable lunch meeting during which I recounted all of the above (plus emotional stuff like his agreeing with Wife 3 that I should never see my three half-siblings she bore him) for both him and Wife 4 (who has never spoken to me except to yell at me that I am a horrible daughter based on things that happened between my father and me about which she has no personal knowledge because they happened while she was in grade school on the other side of the country), I wrote them a check and told them that it is a gift. I told them painfully clearly that it would be the last one and that I was taking a risk doing it because “once you give in to a bully, he knows where to come next time.”

      But I did it for myself so that I could stop feeling guilty. That has somewhat worked: I don’t think that I am a terrible daughter all the time now; only sometimes. They have not come back for more. Yet. It has been 15 months.

      I know this is long. Maybe the detail will help you. Maybe not (in which case, sorry for the length!). Bottom line: they make their own life choices. It is your choice to say yes or no each time you are asked. If you say no, they find other ways to deal – because I guarantee you that they are asking lots of other people in addition to you. Perhaps you can create some solace for yourself by acting once. Perhaps not.

      • emeralds says:

        Thanks for taking the time to write such a thoughtful response. The detail definitely helped! I think, after reading over this and all of the other responses, I’m inclined to save the insurance policy in question for a request like the one you said yes to–keeping a roof over his head, if push ever comes to shove. I thought it could maybe be the start of a down payment for my own first house, but it’s probably smarter to let it sit there in case I ever really need to bail him out.

      • carrie says:

        Oh my goodness…. I utterly feel for you guys. This is just an awful, awful position to be placed in.

        You both are wonderful daughters, and are extremely thoughtful. And I’m sure, that’s why these situation are likely creating you a lot of heartache.

    • Emeralds….this sounds like my mom and me several years ago. She owned a small business as well and wasn’t very good with finances. I’m not an expert in finance but I know enough to know what and when to spend. Her system was so bad that she didn’t know how much money her business brought in each day versus how much was spent each day. She would ask me for money and sometimes I would give it to her. What she never did was try to change the way she ran her business. I eventually stopped helping her because I didn’t want to put bandage on a bleeding wound. It will stop the bleeding for a while but its not permanent. What is permanent is identifying the source of the bleed and trying to fix it. My mom never wanted to identify why her business was going down and I can only help her so much. Eventually, she sold her business and lives off what money she has.

  3. Miz Swizz says:

    I own 2 of the LE ponte faux-wrap dresses and I really love them. So I went a little overboard and bought some more pieces that I promptly returned. Do ladies here buy only from the LE website or do you find a participating Sears for trying things on first? Any tips or tricks for figuring out what will be flattering and what will be a little too matronly for one’s body?

    • mascot says:

      I do both. The faux wrap dresses fit beautifully and I ordered them online. But, I ‘ve also struck out with some stuff when trying it on at Sears. I tend to have more luck in tops and dresses than pants at LE. (hourglass, 5’2″, 10-12)

    • I’ve done a little bit of both. I have found the selection at my Sears a little limited but I was able to try on things like bathing suits there (and other things). I’ve also returned items there. I always find it easier to return at the store, especially since the Sears here is in the same shopping center as Target.

    • Baconpancakes says:

      LE’s great return policy makes it pretty easy to just get two of a size and return one. I’ve never bothered to find the closest Sears. I’d suggest sizing down one size for blazers, most tops, and a lot of dresses, and getting two of a pant size. LE is good for classic, simply cut pieces – like the dresses you have, simple teeshirts, basic shorts and tops. I’m also pretty happy with their ankle-cut jeans – not very matrony at all. (Bootylicious, hourglass, 5’6″, 12-14.)

    • LizNYC says:

      I got my favorite summer-weight dress from the LE section at Sears at the end of last season — marked down to $25 (I think it started out at $80 or $90). I’ve also bought from the website. I like being able to try things on for fit so I can order the right size in similar pieces online.

    • Meg Murry says:

      I do a combo as well. I tend to make a giant online order (often with 2 or 3 colors or size combinations), try it all on at home, then return to a nearby Sears with a Lands End section. Then when I’m there making the return, I’ll try on, as sometimes the clearance deals are even better in the store or they have things that aren’t online, like the pile of corduroys I scored for under $10 each in March. I also try on things for size to see if I want to buy the next time I have a big coupon code or they have a 30-40% off deal, which happens pretty regularly. They also give 10% off all Lands End purchases in store on the day you make a Lands End return. You’ll want to check that your local Sears has a Lands End section though – not all do, and the petites and plus size sections are smaller than online, and I don’t know that I’ve ever seen more than a handful of talls.

      As for sizing/fit – my suggestion is to pick something in your closet that fits well, then compare that company’s online size chart to the LE size chart measurements. And definitely pay attention to the size chart when looking at things sized as S-M-L etc, because they aren’t the same ranges as some other companies use – for instance, a LE Medium is a 10-12 by their size chart, which would probably be a large in a lot of other stores.
      https://www.landsend.com/customerservice/size_charts/

      • I heard that Sears was selling LE and thus returns in store would no longer be available, but when I asked at my local Sears, no one knew anything. Has anyone else heard this?

        • Only some Sears stores sell LE. You can return mail-ordered LE to any Sears, but you can only return store-purchased LE to a Sears that sells LE. Confusing!

          • Meg Murry says:

            I’ve returned LE to a Sears that doesn’t sell LE, but its been more than a year so maybe things have changed. According to the website, you have to return it to a “full line Sears store” whatever that means (I’m assuming a department store, not Sears Hardware or similar). I suspect that what it really means at your local store is “no one has trained me how to do LE returns, so I’m just going to say I can’t do them.”

            And yes, Sears spun off LE, but so far they haven’t changed their return policies. I’m going to start making a point to check before I order though, just in case they change it quietly without an announcement. http://www.forbes.com/sites/joecornell/2014/03/14/sears-holdings-to-spin-off-lands-end/

    • I’ve found everything I’ve ever ordered from lands end to be matronly so I just don’t get the love for the line here.

  4. How do you guys keep your pedicures from chipping during the work week in close toed shoes?

    I can’t wait to start open-toed shoe season, but my normal work shoes are pumps, and somehow they always seem to chip my pedicure within a day. Am I using an inferior top coat? Is it avoidable at all? I usually DIY with Sephora by OPI polish and top/bottom coat. I know the Seche Vite stuff is better, but the toxic ingredients kind of turn me off. TIA!

    • Niktaw says:

      I have the same problem and get less chipping when I use Piggy Polish bought a while ago at Ulta. Not sure if Ulta still carries this brand. It is formulated specifically for toes.

    • I can’t (even with Seche Vite), unless I wear pantyhose (or footies, etc) that avoid friction between my toe and the shoe. For this reason, the week after I get a pedicure, I wear peep toes the entire week!

    • Actually, this stumped me. I keep pedicures for about a month without chips, no matter what shoes. My hands are a different matter, though. I use Essie bottom and top coat, but I’m not sure how much of a difference that makes. Maybe try that Deborah Lippman gel stuff?

      • TO Lawyer says:

        I’ve recently tried the Deborah Lippman gel base/top coats and I really like them. I’ve only used them on my hands so far but I’ve been able to maintain a manicure for 5+ days without chips and I’m usually tough on my manicures so they may do the trick for your pedicure. Plus there’s a travel size at Sephora so you can try it out before you pay for the full-size if you’re interested.

      • Bonnie says:

        Me too. My pedicures tend to last until they grow out, despite closed toe shoes and frequent running. I don’t do anything special, just a base coat from Sally Hansen and two coats of nail polish.

      • I was just introduced to CND vinylux and they do not chip (and I am rought on my hands)! I think it’s because it’s less brittle than regular polish + top coat. I had one mani for 2 weeks, at which point my nails had grown out so I had to get them redone.

    • Small Town Attorney says:

      I think you should try a gel pedicure. In my experience they’re not much more expensive than a regular salon pedicure, but if you don’t like getting it professionally done for some reason or another, I’ve had decent success with the Red Carpet Manicure system at Ulta (can’t speak to the super-cheap drugstore gel products they have now).

    • I don’t think a change in top coat or base will help much. Seche Vite, for example, is worth it for the high shine finish and fast drying – but not the the kind of mechanical pressure that’s causing you problems.

      Can you just paint over the spot of the chip with the same color as the week goes along? Not ideal – but I do this on ski trips when my nail polish does not survive…

      • That’s what I usually do, often for weeks on end (sometimes I even touch up the regrowth as it grows out). I know that it doesn’t look great if you get up close to my toes and look, but you really can’t see the bumps from a normal standing distance, especially if I cover it with another coat of polish as well. And who looks more closely than that at my feet?

    • Thanks for all the suggestions! I just ordered 3 pairs of different “no show” type socks, so hopefully those will help. I’m also considering just splurging for the summer and getting professional pedicures. I never do fingernail polish, so it was always my “hey I can save $50 a month by not getting manicures” bonus, but I do like the way pedicure look.

    • DC Wonkette says:

      Keep your toe nails really short, and you may have less of a problem. I hate any length on my toes and haven’t had a problem with chipping.

    • anonsg says:

      A little late, but when I put on the top coat, I seal the open end first, and then deposit the top coat. It might help to do the sealing step twice in case your toenail is rubbing against the insides of your shoe and causing the polish to chip. I keep my toenails rather short but I think this helps. Wearing pantyhose or knee high sheers helps too.

  5. Someone mentioned the Luxlight sweater from Gap on here a while ago – my order I made in the online sale just arrived and it’s lovely! Very soft, thin enough to be a good layer, and most importantly (I ordered the Tall), long enough in the sleeves (even more than long enough in the body).
    So I duplicate this recommendation :)

    • Looks lovely! Can anyone comment on piling? That drives me bonkers on sweaters.

      • Professor says:

        Mine are holding up reasonably well, though I’ve mostly been wearing the crewnecks under cardigans, so a little bit under the arms isn’t noticeable. I’d say they’re definitely worth it at sale price, probably not at regular price.

        • Yeah, I got mine for 20% off in the sale, so it was £18.40 I think.

          Depressingly I have to return almost everything else I got. A skirt and a pair of shorts with the same size label inside fit completely differently – one too big and one too small. How bizarre!

  6. Financial TJ, thanks in advance!

    I just left a position where I had a 403(b) defined contribution plan with TIAACREF, and a separate defined benefit plan (basically a public employer pension program). I just started a position where I now have access to TIAACREF and a decent matching program, but I’m unsure of the exact details because I’m a pretty new hire.

    I’d like to know (1) if I can generally roll my defined benefit monies over into the new TIAACREF, and (2) whether I can easily roll the existing TIAACREF account into the new one. The defined benefit plan I had in my old job allows rolling into qualifying 401ks, etc., and it has a balance of about 15 or 17k (…need to check). I’m not vested to receive a pension (and frankly I don’t trust the plan management…public entity with bad track record), but I am vested in the total amount (therefore I can take it with me).

    I know this is pretty fact specific, so I don’t expect definitive answers. TIA!

    • Professor says:

      I’d say it depends on the investment options available to you in the different accounts. I chose to rollover a retirement account from an old job into an IRA, because the options for the old account were pretty bad and I didn’t really love the options on my new accounts either (mostly high fee target date funds, not enough low fee index funds). With the IRA, I could do whatever I wanted to with it.

      • Professor says:

        I should clarify, the answer to your questions is that, yes, you probably can. You should just think about whether that’s actually desirable.

        • Thanks, Professor! I’ll do some more digging, etc. I may keep the TIAA CREF option and then roll the second account–the defined benefit fund–into an IRA. I have a Roth IRA with my banking/insurance company, and I’m really pleased with their service and performance. Might diversify there and have a second account with them.

    • The outcome also depends on whether the new plan accepts rollovers from db/pension plans and 403b plans. The employer/plan sponsor gets to decide what types of rollovers to accept, and may limit the types of plans from which rollovers can be made.

      You may also want to look at the fees you pay in the new plan – loads, expense ratios, quarterly or annual participant admin fees – you could be better off (with lower costs) if you roll to an IRA. Or maybe two IRAs – if some/all of your pension money is after-tax, you may want to roll the after-tax money to a separate IRA just to keep tax-tracking issues easier.

      • My 2 cents – roll it into an IRA. You have more control about the investments and the fees and the features of the plan than you generally would with the employer. And then you don’t have to worry about having to get the money back out of the new employer’s fund when you leave. I’ve had employers where it can take up to 2 years to get your vested money out (yes, those were the plan rules) and didn’t allow for hardship distributions, so I’m all for controlling your own money.

  7. I need travel suggestions! I’m going to China for a friend’s wedding at the end of August. Friend lives in Hong Kong, wedding is in Guangzhou, so we will probably go to Hong Kong for a few days first. I want to do some touristy things before or after the wedding, because once I’m flying halfway around the world, I might as well see as much as I can. The trip will be 10 days. Anyone have suggestions for places I should go/things I should see? Points to keep in mind: I don’t speak a word of Chinese and I haven’t done a ton of international travel where I don’t speak the language or had someone with me who does (I’m assuming my friend getting married will be too busy with the wedding stuff to show me any tourist sites), so I need things that are fairly Western tourist-friendly. I’m also not opposed to going somewhere outside of China, if there’s somewhere that’s a close flight from Hong Kong that would be worth visiting. Any suggestions?

    • Anne Shirley says:

      This sounds tailor made for a little group tour. You could do a few days in Hong Kong independently, then join a tour group for a few days on the mainland wherever is going to fit in well with the wedding plans.

      • +1 China is not an easy place to travel without knowing Chinese…or even knowing Chinese for that matter.

        • Yea, that was my concern. I’ll look into that. Besides tourbylocals.com, any suggestions for how to find small tour groups?

          • I’ve done a few trips with G Adventures and really like them. They try to hire locals (who speak great English) whenever possible, but I have no idea if the guides in China are locals.

            For me, I would consider flying up to Beijing. But that may be because I’ve always wanted to se the Great Wall.

    • If you don’t speak Chinese I’d recommend spending more time in Hong Kong – you could also consider combining it with Singapore/ Kuala Lumpur to get another place in. I’ve been to both and prefer Singapore because it’s more walkable.

    • Senior Attorney says:

      I haven’t been to China so can’t help with that, but in Japan and Vietnam I had great luck with guides I found through toursbylicals dot com. It was great having a private, native guide to take me around, and not horribly expensive in the scheme of things.

    • For non-China locations, you could do Japan. I have had 2 great trips there without speaking a word of Japanese – not that anyone spoke English exactly, it was more that the infrastructure was good enough that I could get by.

      Singapore/KL would be a great English speaking choice, but you’re looking at a 4 hour flight from HK. Taiwan is awesome, and only ~1 hour flight from HK, but not a lot of English. On the plus side, everyone is super friendly and willing to help.

      Also, don’t underestimate the awesomeness of HK. It’s an amazing city with a lot to do.

      • I forgot to mention I’ve actually been to Japan before, so I probably won’t do that one again (though my BF hasn’t been, so it’s a possibility, but I want to see somewhere new:-) )

    • Visit the terracotta warriors and let me vicariously experience a dreamed-of trip! It looks like they’re about a 2 hour flight from Hong Kong. While I have no direct experience I imagine there would be a pretty well worn path (and tour groups) from Hong Kong.

      • Bonnie says:

        I would love to see the terracotta warriors. I saw the traveling exhibit a couple years ago and would love to see them at “home.”

        • Terracotta warriors was amazing!! Best part of my three-city China trip (along with Beijing and Shanghai). If I did it over and I wasn’t doing a tour,, I would skip Beijing and Shanghai and just do Xian and Hong Kong.

          • Philanthropy Girl says:

            Agreed – the Terracotta Warriors are amazing. I also particularly enjoyed visiting the Shaolin Temple and the Pagoda Forest. My memory is that both are very touristy locations and are navigable if you don’t speak Chinese. Getting to these locations, however, you’d probably want some sort of tourist group.

      • Boned a Diplomat says:

        Xi’an is a bit of a hike from Hong Kong, and a bit underwhelming compared to everything else China has to offer.

        If you want to stay in-country, I highly recommend Beijing and Shanghai. They’re both amazing cities and relatively easy to navigate. Amazing architecture, amazing food; I think if you go to China without visiting the Gu Gong, you’re making a big mistake. If you want a different experience closer to Hong Kong, Lijiang and Dali (in Yunnan province) are great.

    • Sweeter Than Honey says:

      I definitely recommend checking out the silk market in Guangzhao. It’s gorgeous and who knows what you might find!

    • Carine says:

      I traveled pretty extensively throughout China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan for a semester in undergrad. I really loved Hong Kong, and agree with BB that it has a lot to offer. As for the mainland, if I had to pick one area of China to revisit, it would be Yangshuo. It’s a bit of a backpacker mecca–we met a lot of English-speaking travelers there. It’s certainly touristy and accessible but still feels like rural China, because it is! The landscape and scenery is just unbelievably beautiful, everyone is so friendly, and I think it would be pretty easy to travel there and get with a tour group. It doesn’t have an airport but you could fly to nearby Guilin from Guangzhou (from HK it’s a lot more expensive). This website has some good info: http://www.yangers.com/index.php

      As for the cities, Shanghai would probably be a pretty easy trip. I didn’t love it there but I still recommend it for the sights and amenities. Not speaking Chinese is not an issue. In general, I had no problems getting around on my own, and many Chinese/all the younger people speak very good English. You probably will want to arrange a tour guide anywhere you go, but I think that’s fairly easy to do.

      Have an amazing time!

    • The visa for china is expensive, so I would spend all of my time in China while I have the visa.

      Xian is beautiful and you can see the terra cotta warriors (if you’re into seeing it). I would definitely recommend Beijing and the Great Wall. My boyfriend booked tours for all of that so we had an English speaking guide and driver, which wasn’t “cheap” but it was well worth it. We did manage to get around on our non tour day by carrying the hotel’s card and just having taxi drivers read the location from there and from my Lonely Planet. We had 5 days for beijing/xian (daytrip) and it was jam packed!

    • Anon in NYC says:

      You don’t need to speak Cantonese or Mandarin to get by in Hong Kong – many people speak English and a lot of information is in English. Dim sum is a bit challenging if you don’t speak Cantonese, but some guidebooks might be able identify ones that are more accommodating to English speakers.

      If you’re into hiking, I can’t recommend enough the Morning Trail hike (up to Victoria’s Peak) or the Big Buddha hike. Both are really gorgeous, and give you great views of the city. Check out Man Mo temple in Hong Kong – really just gorgeous. And if you can get to some of the islands (like Lamma), they’re worth checking out.

      I’ve been to Taipei before, and the people there are so nice and friendly. It’s not the easiest for English speakers, but it’s also not particularly onerous.

    • I would spend 2-3 days in HK and fly to Beijing to see the wall. You don’t need Chinese in HK and can get by in Beijing for two days. Just get the hotel to arrange the Great Wall trip and carry their address in Mandarin.

      Do get dresses tailored in HK, and maybe a qi pao. Visit the Hong Qiao pearl market in Beijing.
      Enjoy!

      • Becky says:

        Sort of related- Does anyone get tailored dresses in Thailand? I am going there this summer and was wondering if I could get a dress made in 3 days?

    • SD Girl says:

      I would recommend seeing the Great Wall in Beijing. I traveled by myself without knowing one word of Chinese and still got around fine with a tourist map and a subway map. Be careful with people ripping you off. This is after spending only 3 days in Hong Kong. I also liked Halong Bay in Vietnam. It is a short flight from Hong Kong. Great scenic views.

    • Thanks for all the great suggestions, everyone (keep them coming, lunchtime commenters). Looking forward to planning this!

      • What kind of things are you into while travelling? I lived in HK for 3 years, so I can give you recs depending on what you want to do/eat (although the suggestions above are already really great). I could easily spend a week there if I were to go back. I also traveled to China a lot, but honestly have no desire to go back. It was worth it seeing the major sights (terracotta warriors, great wall, guilin), but it’s not an easy place to travel around.

  8. Wildkitten says:

    Does anyone have a recommendation for a renter’s insurance company? I don’t have car insurance.

    • I use State Farm. Fairly cheap and no problems so far, but I’ve never had a claim.

      • Wildkitten says:

        I applied with Progressive through my credit union and they totally screwed up my application – so I don’t even need to have a claim to know they are incompetent! I will check out State Farm. Thank you.

      • Ashley says:

        Second this. They beat everyone else price-wise and while I have never had a claim with them, I have had no problems otherwise, either.

      • Wildkitten says:

        Ordered through State Farm. Thanks ladies!

      • Anonymous says:

        State farm was awful for me. Double billed, then hounded me about not paying. I would respond that I paid – they would say oh yeah thanks! And then 2 weeks later the same woman would be hounding me again.

    • Anonylicious says:

      If you’re USAA eligible, they’re great. If you’re not, I have nothing helpful to say, sorry.

      • pilates princess says:

        I’m a die-hard USAA lover, but they couldn’t match the rates I get through State Farm. (They had a hurricane rider, and I’m so far out of a hurricane zone, it’s not funny.)

        Also, I made a smallish claim on my State Farm policy a few years back, painless.

      • Yes! I love USAA, and despite having slightly higher rates on some things, I would happily choose them over anyone else. Their service and the feeling of security with USAA is unparalleled.

      • Professor says:

        Also a big USAA fan. But speaking of USAA, has anyone gotten a mortgage through them? Their online reviews are pretty bad (even from people who otherwise love USAA), so I’m somewhat hesitant… but then again, online reviews of pretty much every mortgage lender are terrible, so it’s hard to tell what to think.

        • My mom got her mortgage through USAA and while she didn’t necessarily have an issue with USAA, she had issues with the way the company they outsourced it to handled the period she was unemployed. Something about their customer service and the way they handled her payments, she wasn’t very pleased with – I can’t remember the details specifically.

        • usaa mortgage says:

          I got a mortgage from USAA in 12/13. Every step of the process was miserable and unduly stressful. They missed our closing date for no reason, requested the same paperwork multiple times, flat out lied about where they were in the process, etc. I have been with USAA for over 20 years, and was a diehard fan until that experience. We chose them because we moved to a new city; had previously worked with an excellent mortgage broker in old city. I learned my lesson the hard way. Had the sellers not agreed to an extension of the closing date, we would’ve lost the house (and we weren’t on an aggressive timeline, fyi). I would not recommend them.

          • Anonylicious says:

            Is there any place to get a mortgage that’s not horrible? I’m at the point where buying is in my five-year plan, and everyone I know has had an awful experience.

          • Senior Attorney says:

            Believe it or not, I have had two mortgages from Cash Call, of all places, and both times it was fast, low rates, no fees, great customer service. I’m in California so it might be different elsewhere, but it’s worth giving them a call.

          • Meg Murry says:

            to Anonylicious:
            We had a super easy time getting a mortgage in 2006 when it seemed like some companies were handing them out like candy. But our most recent experience was a disaster that almost cost us our house due to a flurry of lost paperwork that we had hand delivered to the mortgage officer at our bank. The main problem seemed to be that a lot of companies have to send records from one location to another, often by fax or scanning, and they tended to lose a page here or a page there. My number one takeaway from our last mortgage was that finally cleared it up was – pdf pdf pdf. Scan EVERYTHING the bank asks for into pdf format and send it all electronically, clearly labeled. Then even if they lose some piece of documentation, its easy to just forward the original attachment. That is the only way we were able to stop the “could you please send us page 3 of your bank statement” (um, which of our 4 accounts? which month?) mess that we spent weeks dealing with.

          • Meg Murry says:

            oh, and for my last comment – that wasn’t with USAA, it was a local bank.

        • Basics says:

          Not a mortgage, but I used them for a car loan last year. Totally painless. Great rate (one half of one percent). No servicing issues in the eight months since.

          Now that I think of it, the fact that they service their own (at least auto) loans is great; I had a nightmare experience with Excel selling my mortgage to Suntrust — or was it the other way around — a couple years ago. One month, they BOTH debited my payment from my checking account and it took the better part of a year to fix it.

        • CPA lady says:

          I have a mortgage through USAA that I got in 2012. It is my first mortgage, so I can’t compare it to other experiences, but I’ve been pleased so far. We didn’t actually comparison shop for mortgages at all because we have our insurance, investments, retirement, and banking all through them, so we thought we’d do a mortgage with them just to make everything easier. The prequalifying process was very easy, but the actual mortgage process was more involved. I was “assigned” to one lady who helped me through the whole process and she was very helpful. They do outsource the mortgage to some other company, which I didn’t know about ahead of time, but that has been fine too.

        • Bette says:

          I got a mortgage with them and they messed it up so many times, in so many ways, they actually gave me $5,000 to stop me from filing complaints. Do not recommend.

    • I have Allstate for auto and rental insurance and have for over a decade. Highly recommend.

  9. Julia says:

    To BB: I get a professional pedicure every four weeks and I never get chips. I wear closed toe shoes to work, ( with hose, I know, I’m a dinosaur) and open toed sandals when I’m off. The $40 is worth it to me! It’s my relaxation and my chance to read all the gossip magazines.

  10. With the exception of a couple of cardigans from LE Canvas, I have been very unhappy with the quality of their clothes for at least 4 years. I almost purchased some basics recently, but the memory of the last time I did that and ended up taking it all back still stings. The quality of the fabrics, the shoddy workman ship and products that I ordered 2 of the same style showed up and two different styles…nothing was as described. YMMV.

    • Ditto. I wish I could pull off the not as expensive fabric/price point that they offer, but something about unlined ponte and all the hems showing through didn’t work for me

      I am happy with my swimwear purchases from them, however, so there is that.

    • Ashley says:

      I bought 4 LE Canvas cardigans based on a review and am more or less happy with them. The good is they are all made well (have held up for 2+ years). The bad: I ordered four different colors of the same size and style and the sizing was off on some. 2 of them are shorter and smaller than the other 2. They are wearable, but I won’t be ordering from them again. I may go into the store to see if there is anything I like, but haven’t been highly motivated to do so.

  11. Medic Maggie says:

    I bought 2 of these shirts just a few weeks ago. They’re both long-sleeve; one is pink, the other is a green/white dot pattern. Had ordered a few other things in the same order, but they had to go back: there was a t-shirt with lace applique at the neckline, and it wasn’t placed carefully, so the lace wasn’t symmetrical at the v-neck. It looked cheap, and it would have driven me crazy forevermore. They were actually super good about returns too–one of the items shipped separately, and couldn’t be returned in a Sears (not that we have one here anyway), so the customer service rep assured me that they wouldn’t deduct the shipping from my refund. It’s a good thing, too, the shipping deduction would have been more than the cost of the things I was returning.

    I do love their stuff, though, esp the clearance. I always forget about OTC. I do try to buy stuff that will get passed down from my oldest son to the youngest, and I don’t mind paying a little more than resale (OUAC/goodwill) for something that will last & get passed down like coats, good play pants & shoes. Jammies, too. Anyone know a good resource for nice-quality kids’ jammies?

    • mascot says:

      Hanna Anderssen pjs are amazing. My friends have circulated the same pairs through 3-4 kids and they just keep getting softer. Costco now makes a kn0ck-off version that hold up pretty well. I hate Carters, they pill. Gymboree hold up and don’t fade. Meh on Gap and ON, cute but they fade.

    • Carine says:

      Agree on Hanna Anderssen. I really like Polarn O. Pyret for basics (which could be used for pjs)–their leggings and t-shirts are great quality, soft, with fun prints and colors. The Gap pj sets are also staples for us. I’m not sure I’ve noticed if they fade but they wear well and are pretty soft. I’ve somehow never bought pajamas from Boden but I love their kids clothes generally.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ditto Hanna Andersson. They are the only brand we have that still look unworn for kid #2.

      Second the recommendation for Costco knock-offs. I’m pretty sure they are made by the same manufacturer. I feel like they fade a smidge more, but fit and quality are identical. Not sure why they are usually so ugly, but by far the best kids pj quality:price out there.

  12. Amelia Pond says:

    I wore this shirt (or one very similar to it) for three summers as a work uniform. It was a nice shirt but I don’t think I’ll every be able to wear a three quarter sleeve blouse like this without feeling like I need to pull out my customer service voice and say “thank you for calling xyz, this is Amelia, how can I help you?”

    On a related note–can you ladies pull off three quarter sleeves under blazers? I inevitably end up getting the sleeves all scrunched up to my shoulders and can’t pull them down and then I just get irritated. I would like to be able to wear three quarter sleeves especially in the summer when the office is freezing but I don’t want to have to wear a jacket but haven’t figured out how to solve the blazer problem.

  13. Help me move to Seattle says:

    Ladies, I’ve visisted Seattle a few times and have fallen in love. I don’t mind rain, I love the laid back vibe of the city, and I’m all about hiking, biking, etc. Plus, my best friend moved out there some years ago and I’d love to be closer to her. I’d want to move in the next 1-3 years.

    I’m a biglaw attorney in transactional real estate practice. I’m still junior, but I spent some time clerking, so I won’t be junior much longer. How can I transition? Our firm has an office in California, but not Washington, so an easy transfer is out. Is looking to go in-house the right way? If so, what skills should I be building?

    • Yay! Fruegel Friday’s. I love Fruegel Friday’s and the Land’s End stuff, tho it is very loose fitteing and I already look hefty enough! FOOEY! As for the OP, I think this is great. Mabye you should investigate company’s like Google Microsoft and Amazon, b/c b/c that is where all the web-head’s are. I have NOT had any luck findeing a guy in NYC, so if you go out there, let us know if they are marrage material also! The guy’s in NYC just want to have sex, but not marrage. The 2 must go hand in hand Grandma Trudy says, and she does NOT want me getting pregnant w/o a ring on my hand. Grandma Leyeh agrees, and is disapointed I have NOT yet found a man yet, now that she has invested $50K in me. I will be goieng to the 2nd Avenue deli tomorrow with Sam and mabye we will walk over to the museum and see the pyramid’s. YAY!!!!!

    • cbackson says:

      The legal market in Seattle is somewhat insular and can be very hard to break into. Start looking early – my most recent friend to try to lateral (white-shoe NYC biglaw, excellent grades at a top-10 law school, admitted to the WA bar, and a University of Washington undergrad alum) needed almost a year to find a job. What city are you in now? I would get in touch with your law school’s alumni office and see if anyone from your year is working in Seattle; when I lived there I helped a couple of people from my school identify jobs and move.

      • Help me move to Seattle says:

        Thanks, cbackson, you’ve confirmed what I have heard. I’m in the Northeast in a large city. My lawschool is well regarded locally, but doesn’t have a large national presence. I’ll try contacting the alumni association. I’ll also look into taking the WA bar.

    • Parfait says:

      I actually know someone who is a lawyer who works at Amazon. They’re hiring. For example
      http://www.amazon.jobs/job/259200/corporate-counsel-real-estate

  14. LE promo code--anyone? says:

    Does anyone have a current lands end promo code that they want to share?? I’ve got $50 in my checkout, and would love to save some more $$.

    • Meg Murry says:

      Retail me not is offering up DRESS25 with PIN 5025 for select dresses, skirts and shorts. Not seeing anything else right now, sorry.

  15. Bonnie says:

    Had to share this article about Detroit’s fight to process thousands of rape kits. I’m really amazed at how the prosecutor managed to find the funding despite the city’s bankruptcy and learned of several organizations that may not be added to my list of charities: http://www.buzzfeed.com/emilyorley/being-raped-in-a-bankrupt-city

  16. [blank] with children says:

    Ladies,

    I am going to ask a tiny question, not to solve all of my problems, but just to address a tiny part. I am married and a FT attorney with two children, one 2, one 8 months. My husband has decided he would like to be married, he just doesn’t actually want to be present in our marriage. We have slept in separate bedrooms for about 6 months. I don’t believe I am willing to “appear married” to a person who doesn’t want to actually be married. He has taken a second job in an area he is passionate about, meaning that he now works 8AM to 9PM M-F and 9AM-6PM Sat and Sunday. Starting this weekend, I learned he’s going to be living with a friend during the weekends – Fri & Sat nights that lives in the town his second job is in (which is an hour away). He’s not having an affair, this is really how he is.

    Obviously, there are a lot of big issues here. I’m not sending out a WTF SOS or asking anyone to “solve the whole issue.” All I’m asking for is this – if you have any recommendations for books on amicably getting out of a marriage, child custody, etc, that I could read in bed at 9PM over the next month or two, I would appreciate it. I need to be focused on billables at work and focused on babies at home and need to compartmentalize this into my 15 minutes of quiet time at night while I process whatever has come apart over the past year.

    Also – please don’t suggest therapy. It has not worked for us, it has not worked for me. Thank you.

    • mascot says:

      No recommendations, but I’m sorry you are going though this. I’d suggest finding a lawyer though to advise you on how to protect yourself going forwards, at least financially and custody wise.

      • I’m sure this varies by locale, but in my experiences, judges are very into signing off on anything the parties agree to themselves. So if you want primary physical custody and you think your husband will agree to it, you can pretty much have an agreed order entered by a judge. The most helpful book I have found was actually a treatise on family law for my specific state. It didn’t really talk about amicable separation or anything but it was very helpful in learning about how custody, visitation, and support get decided.

        I wil say though that there is no substitution for a consult with a good attorney who does this all the time. It doesn’t sound like you have much time for that, but hopefully you’ll get a chance soon.

        Best of luck and I’m sorry.

    • I just want to wish you good luck. I cannot imagine what you’re going through , especially with two babies. Hope you have a support network to rely on.

    • Flying Squirrel says:

      No advice on books, but one suggestion to look into the divorce laws in your state. I have two friends (in two different states), who had to wait a much longer time to finalize their divorce b/c despite the fact that they were separated, sharing an address and doing anything that seemed couple-y (in one friend’s case it was allowing her ex to eat dinner that she prepared with her and their son) more or less nulli-fied the separation. Since you are in a very strange situation where your “husband” isn’t really acting like one but is keeping up the appearances of being one, if your state has any requirements for a trial separation etc this situation might eat into it.

      I’m really, really sorry that you’re going through this. I honestly never know what to say when this happens other than I can bet it sucks…and it’s totally okay to feel sad, angry, self-pity, whatever it is that you’re feeling. I hope you do have some friends nearby that can share a drink or a hug or a piece of cake…and I’m sending you internet hugs.

      • Flying Squirrel says:

        Oh, I should clarify that I mean sharing a legal address. In one case the ex-H was sleeping on a friend’s couch, but his legal address was still the shared one.

      • In addition to reading up on the state laws, it also might help to google Marital Dissolution Agreement (your state) and read a few samples that you can find online. They mostly tend to follow a basic structure, so you can think about how you would fill in your own information. Same with Parenting Plans. You didn’t mention child support, but it also might be helpful to see if your state has a calculator for presumptive support and enter your information into it, just to get an idea of what you are looking at (either to or from).

        • Meg Murry says:

          I am not a lawyer, but I was going to suggest this as well. I know a couple that got a dissolution instead of a divorce in my state – from what he said it was much faster and cheaper than a divorce, but they both had to agree on the terms of the dissolution, so there couldn’t be any contesting of terms from one side or the other.

    • Former Partner, Now In-House says:

      No divorce with which I have ever been engaged has been amicable. So I can’t suggest resources that I have personally used.

      I wonder if some kind of a “Divorce and Custody for Dummies” type book is the place to start?

      I CAN tell you from personal experience that the settlement agreement/divorce order will be the defining document of your and your loved ones’ lives for the next 20 years, so getting it right is critical. That means stuff that matters now (custody and visitation for small children), stuff that matters in a few years (custody and visitation for teens) and stuff that matters in the long run (college tuition). IME very few settlement agreements take that long view.

      I made partner while going through a bad divorce. I found compartmentalization highly productive at work. Maybe that will be one tine silver lining for you.

      • Senior Attorney says:

        On the topic of amicability, I have been divorced twice (well, once and nearly there the second time). First time was amicable, second time was anything but. I believe the major difference is the first time we had no money and the second time I had a house and significant assets. (And also that Husband No. 2 was a major jerk, but the financial issues brought it out.)

    • No idea regarding books – I am sure there are some out there, but because divorce laws vary so much state to state, you might not find anything super on-point. Rather, I’d do some googling for divorce mediators in your state. They might have some resources for you, and mediation is from what I hear can be an amicable process. (Senior Attorney, I am sure, would have much to add here).

    • I’m very sorry you’re in this situation. Good for you for remaining focused on your work and your kids as you approach this problem. I admire you for persevering and not becoming unglued.

      I don’t have specific questions, but this is a list of “top ten” books. Maybe you could read the quick descriptions and see which seems most appropriate for you. Sorry I can’t give you something more specific.

      http://divorcesupport.about.com/od/divorceprocess/tp/divorce_books.htm

    • Senior Attorney says:

      I’m sorry this has happened. That sucks.

      My advice is: Lawyer up, lawyer up, lawyer up. But not just any lawyer. Ask around and find the best lawyer. Interview several until you find one with whom you click. If you have any connections with the family law judges in your town, ask them for recommendations because they see the lawyers and they know who is good.

      If you are in So Cal, email me at seniorattorney1 at gmail and I can help you. Even if you’re not, I have colleagues who are active in the national family law bar and I can ask around.

      But this is not a do-it-yourself thing. Know your legal options before you make any decisions. Also, a good lawyer may be able to point you towards the kinds of non-legal books and resources you’re asking about.

    • tazdevil says:

      DHave you tried to discuss the situation with your husband. If he refuses to discuss or is blowing you off, it time to make some decisions. If he is not willing to change, how long are you going to go on like this. It seems like you are already a de facto single mom, so you might as well sign to paperwork and make it official. The good news is that with hubby being such a now show in your life, it will be easy to discreetly start looking at divorce lawyers, accountants, baby sitters ect what ever you would need for your new single life. Find a couple people in your life who are 100% loyal to you (your familiy members, friends you had long before hubby was in the picture ect.) and confine only in the ones that you trust.

      Divorce/Custody/Child Support/Alimony laws vary form state to state, and most books on divorce are targeted towards civilians (ie non-attorneys), so your best bet is to start discreetly contacting divorce lawyers or look on the state bar site to see if there is any free info for the general public. Lastly, from myu own personal experience with divorce, don’t rule out a therapist. Your previous therapist did not work for you because you were laboring under the false assumption that this marriage was salvagable. Find someone you have good chemistry with who can guide you through the divorce and rebuilding your new life. Do not rule out antidepressants for the short term either.

    • just Karen says:

      I would highly suggest looking into Collaborative Law – a good resource is http://www.collaborativepractice.com or more specifically, https://www.collaborativepractice.com/public/about/about-collaborative-practice/questions-and-answers-(faqs).aspx
      For books, I would suggest:
      Collaborative Divorce, a New Paradigm by Pauline Tessler
      The Collaborative Way to Divorce by Stu Webb
      I don’t know much about NOLO’s Guide to Mediation and Collaborative Divorce, but all of their books I have read so far have been good nuts & bolts guides
      Good luck in a very hard situation.

    • I’m so sorry this is happening to you. I would say that even if you have every intention of it being as amicable as possible, you need to protect yourself and your kids financially and legally. I think hiring a good lawyer and being careful about your assets is a good start. Big internet hugs to you.

    • Silvercurls says:

      The author of the very well-written blog DontBlameTheKids(dot)com has faced and is gracefully transcending similar circumstances. She writes about her life with skill and compassion. (She comments here, which is how I learned of her blog.) Sorry that you’re facing this challenge.

      P.S. Her blog includes a Q & A on Mondays.

    • NWanalyst says:

      No specific books, but a couple of thoughts. I had parents like this (who stayed married) and friends/relatives who went through similar as well. (For your children’s sake, thank you for being ready and willing to get out!). First of all, if you do live in a state that requires a trial separation before divorce (I do), you’ll need to figure out what you need to do to satisfy the terms of that. I imagine the most important issue will be making a realistic budget if you do need to live alone… I say this having no idea what your finances are like. For my friend, though, this was one of the most difficult aspects of the separation. Moving is always difficult, but needing to move *out*, on your own, under these circumstances is a lot of work. Thinking back to my friends’ experiences, it seemed like there were a lot of things that ended up being pushed to last-minute, or otherwise unanticipated. So it’s great that you’re starting with the planning now.

      I’m sure you already know this, but the issue that I see come up over and over, every single time is money. Especially in situations like these… the absent spouse might be really amicable at first, then suddenly it’s “where did that $10K in Account X go?” Anything you can do to track finances and make sure money doesn’t “disappear” is probably a good idea. I’ve seen divorce bring out some pretty egregious behavior in seemingly reasonable people who “would never do that”. Speaking more generally, once you’ve notified your spouse that you’re contemplating divorce, it’s good to be prepared for anything. (So I wouldn’t break the news until you’re definitely ready.)

      Good luck! I’m so sorry you’re going through this. :(

      • Just A Thought says:

        Don’t know what state you’re in but have you thought about filing for legal separation before filing for divorce, if that’s where you’re headed? At least in the state I’m in, it causes certain orders to issue regarding property. And to the extent he doesn’t realize it, it also tells him that you’re serious about not wanting to stay in a marriage for the sake of appearances, and/or it could serve as a buffer for any negative reaction that filing for divorce straight away might trigger.

  17. Flying Squirrel says:

    Ladies, I just want to thank everyone for such warm responses yesterday to my nanny’s quitting (and general job suck-itude). My MIL is going to come out with a one way ticket, so it buys us time to find a new nanny…and take our time to ensure a great fit. Also, while I’m not sure how much the baby remembers of early bonding, I know it helps the relationship from the grandparent’s perspective to spend a lot of time together in infancy. My sister and I are the closest of all the grandkids to my grandmother, because she came out to take care of each of us for over a month when we were born (longer for my sister). So it may be an even better thing.

    I just want to say thanks to all for keeping me from going off the deep end. I think the sleep deprivation was really getting to me.

    • Need to Improve says:

      Glad you are feeling better. As I said yesterday, lack of sleep taints everything. If you can take 2 nights off when your husband is back and sleep in another room with earplugs and a sleeping pill, you will feel even better! I started doing this once I had enough milk saved up to not need night feedings.

  18. Cyclists says:

    Any cyclists out there? I have a hybrid bike but I want to upgrade to a true roadbike for some races. A few questions:

    1. I was thinking of getting a bike on Craig’s list- is this okay, or do I really need to get one fitted to me specifically?
    2. Clipless pedals- necessary evil…scared of trying them, but someone tell me I won’t fall off and horribly injure myself? I would mainly be riding on bike-only paths, not roads.

    • Bonnie says:

      I use clipless pedals with my hybrid bike and adjusted easily. You can have them set looser so they are easier to clip out of when you need to stop. As for Craiglist, a friend recommended getting fitted at a bike shop then looking on craigslist by size. When I was buying my hybrid bike, I found out that buying a bike in a store on sale was the same price as a craigslist purchase. I highly recommend Hudson Trail Outfitters if you have one in your area. Great service and you get free lifetime tuneups.

      • Flying Squirrel says:

        I second the idea of getting fitted at a good bike shop before buying off of craigslist. I would definitely recommend a higher end shop that specializes in bikes over a place like, say, REI or even Performance Bike. They will know a lot more about bike fit and various component options. They are, imho, also less likely to give you the hard sell b/c they know that their bikes are a significant purchase for people…and they do their best business by building customer loyalty.

        This was actually my plan when I bought my first really nice road bike (prior to that I had a used one I bought for less than $100). I went to a local shop that custom built bikes (if by any random chance you’re in Seattle, it’s R&E cycles in the u-district). It turned out that they had a used bike with almost no mileage on it that would have been the exact configuration I would have wanted…and was just within my price range. So, you may also be pleasantly surprised going to a really nice bike shop :)

        I should also add that I actually transferred my clipless pedals from my mountain bike (I know) to the road bike with no issues. Hybrid pedals should be much easier.

        • amberwitch says:

          Caveat: my experience is mainly with mountainbikes, so take my advice with a grain of salt.
          Regarding getting fitted – be aware that the geometry of the frame tend to make an enormous difference regarding the comfort of your sitting position. An 16″ frame is not just an 16″ frame. Specialized hybrid bikes or Treks Mountainbikes for instance are very bad fits for me, whereas Fuji Mountainbikes are perfect.
          And sometimes the geometry is changed, not just from model to model within the same brand, but from year to year for the same model. I’ve experienced this with Ghost bikes.
          So take a ride – preferably more than a few hundred meters – before you buy. And consider how your preferred position is. Are you getting a lot of tension in the shoulders, is the distance from the saddle to the handlebars too long or too short for you to effectively engage your whole body?

    • A Nonny Moose says:

      I would get a bike that fits you, but that’s not mutually exclusive with craigslist. Just be very careful about not buying a stolen bike, especially if you’re in a city. Ask lots of questions about the bike, check with the police or another bike registry site, other tips are online.

      You’ll get used to the clips. You may fall a few times first. Definitely make sure you figure out ahead of time which leg you need to unclip when stopping as it’s not always the same as your dominant foot. And practice clipping and unclipping in a parking lot. Be careful on bike trails if they are crowded. Bikers who are unsure of themselves can change direction or stop much faster than cars on the road– I’d think unless you’re talking constant stoplights you’re more likely to have clip problems on a crowded trail.

    • Casual Biker says:

      1. If you know your size, and have a specific bike in mind, craigslist should be fine. I would try out some bikes at stores to get an idea of what measurements feel most comfortable, and then look for bikes with those measurements. Keep in mind that you can often get significant discounts for last year’s models. Also, different model brakes, etc. really add into the price, so think about what components you want v. what you are willing to sacrifice. I think hydrolic disc brakes are key for saftey, but they are a little spendy.

      2. Clipless pedals are not necessary to race, but I love mine because they let you push AND pull to get power. It takes a quick twist of the foot, and you’re out. They take a few rides to get used to. You will have at least one slow motion stupid fall while you are learning where the only thing bruised is you dignity :) It’s mainly tricky when coming to a stop. I’ve never been trapped in mine in a moving fall.

    • anon in tejas says:

      I went to a local retailer to buy my first bike. They fitted me for my bike, and it’s a dream. It’s a pretty entry level bike/$800. It’s a Raliegh Capri. I’ve put a lot of miles on it training and completing triathlons (done 2 sprints on it, and an olympic). Part of why I love bike riding so much is that I love biking on my bike. The seat fits, the bike fits, and it’s pretty comfortable (even for 20+ miles). I could upgrade to a better/more expensive bike, but I probably wont unless I come across the right deal.

      I got clipless pedals when I was triathlon training this summer. It makes a huge difference in speed. And only fell once (actually a few weeks ago) with my cleats/pedals. So, its possible to be okay and not injure yourself when trying them out. They are not necessary for a race, but they do help out considerably.

      Allegedly the best time to buy a bike is the end of summer.

      I’ve also heard great things about bicycle island, and other discount sites.

      • The end of the summer is when the bicycle companies bring out their new models (usually just new colours or very slight improvements) so you can get great deals on the old ones. I’m looking at getting a Giant City W when I live somewhere less insanely hilly (or, rather, when I don’t have to get to the top of the biggest hill every day) and in the September sales you can cut about 25-30% off the cost at least.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree with all of the advice to at least get fitted at a specialty bike shop first. Personally, I didn’t know enough about bike components to trust that a CL bike I’d be buying was well-maintained and hadn’t been stripped of its original parts and replaced with cheaper ones. So I felt more comfortable with the bike shop experience, and being able to go in for repeated complimentary fittings (my positioning changed as I got more comfortable with it).

      I also agree that clipless pedals are amazing. It does take a bit of time to get used to. I trained with a triathlon group, and my coach made me switch to them because the performance loss with regular pedals was so significant. She then made me spend an entire workout circling the empty parking lot practicing clipping in and out. I fell. A lot. I had a bruise the size of a watermelon on my hip. But I learned, and now even when I’ve gone months or years without riding my bike, I can clip in and out with ease, and I’m grateful to her for making me learn. One thing I will suggest that has been immensely helpful–if you can borrow a bike trainer or use one at a bike shop, do one leg drills. These are where you only pedal with one leg for at least 30 seconds–the other leg is clipped out and just sort of hanging off to the side, out of the way. It builds strength and teaches you to keep the bike moving with only one leg clipped in, which is very helpful, for example, when you first start moving and you miss the pedal. Instead of panicking and falling, you can just keep pedaling with the clipped-in foot and trying to catch with the other foot until it sticks.

    • Welcome to the joys of road biking! My experience with purchasing bikes is that you need to know your size, which may be a S-M-L or may be a 54-56 etc. Then you can start narrowing down options – do you want aluminum, all-carbon, or a mixture? Different components make a huge difference in the ride. What I mean by that the more you spend, the smoother the gears, the longer the durability, etc. Keep in mind, you can change out components, and you can build a bike from scratch. So if you find a good frame for you, in your price range, but the components are not what you want, you can sell them and get different ones, or you can upgrade before the bike leaves the shop. And on the clip-in pedal issue, zero-mph crashes are the most common. I clip out and in with my right foot. I cannot do the opposite. So I used to repeat to myself whenever breaking to unclip and LEAN RIGHT. If you unclip right and lean left, you’re going down! But the embarrassment wears off and you learn pretty quickly not to do that again! I like cleats with a lot of float but others like them stiff – it’s all personal preference. At the end of the day, the most important advice I can give you is to check the expiration date on your helmet, and wear it!! The rest is just fun.

      • Anonymous says:

        Regarding the side that you clip with, to OP: if you don’t have a strong natural preference when you start, try to learn to clip on the right like Sunny does. I know you said you’d mostly be riding on bike paths, but if you later start riding with traffic, it’s much safer for you to be leaning toward the sidewalk/curb than into traffic.

      • Cyclists says:

        Thanks everyone for the thoughtful responses! We do have a great local bike shop that should be good for fit etc, I’m going to go this weekend and see what my option are.

        • I would also add that your torso length is a huge factor for road bikes, especially because you’ll be doubled all the way over when using a road bike. Make sure you’re taking that into account when you’re looking for the right size. It’s not just the height. I have the crazy shortest torso (and long legs), and it took me a long time to find a bike that had the right proportions for me.

          Also, REI is super-great about fittings and not very high pressure.

    • bikes says:

      Look at http://www.bicyclebluebook.com for prices of used bikes so you can tell whether a CL bike is a good deal or not. Lots of people WAY overprice their used bikes. Also read up a little on the different component sets (Shimano, SRAM, Campy, etc.). Each brand makes different components at several different price points. I really think you get what you pay for with components. Cheap components will not last as long as more expensive ones. There are different kinds of clipless pedals too. I prefer Crank Bros Eggbeater pedals and I always clip out with my right foot first.

  19. BankrAtty says:

    How do you handle a co-worker who feels it’s her job to advise you that jeans are “against the office dress code”? My office has a murky dress code, implemented by a manager–who has since left and not been replaced–who had a no jeans policy. I wore a tippi sweater, nice flats, and tailored, dark wash jeans today because, well, I wanted to. I had been in the office for about one minute when co-worker stopped by and said snidely, “nice jeans” and proceeded to ask me whether I was aware the former manager had a no jeans policy. I thanked her for the compliment, told her I was unaware of the policy (lie), and mused that said manager no longer works here. Then I changed into a skirt. What would you have said?

    • Senior Attorney says:

      I would have said what you said, but I wouldn’t have changed.

      • Marilla says:

        Agreed. Snide co-workers don’t get to dictate what you wear. If a manager stopped you, that would be different.

    • I would have said what you said but kept the sarcastic tone throughout and not have changed. If she’s not your superior, she has no right to tell you what to wear.

    • emeralds says:

      I actually would have assumed the no-jeans policy was in effect, until specifically advised otherwise by someone in upper management. Not cool of your coworker to be snide, though. I’d probably casually check with your current supervisor on Monday, to the tune of, “Hey, just had a quick question. Since [old supervisor] is gone I guessed it would be okay to wear jeans last Friday, but now I realize I should have checked with you first.”

    • Michelle says:

      Well, I wouldn’t have had a spare skirt lying around, so I would have kept the jeans on – sounds like a high end of Casual Friday, or a low end Business Casual outfit you have on. Your co worker isn’t your supervisor – that said, it really depends on the politics/environment of your office. If no one else ever wears jeans, and it was the supervisor’s policy, then you’re either changing the culture of the workplace (which may or may not be ok, know your office) or you’re giving an “I don’t care” vibe. But as for the co-worker, I would have done the innocent “Oh, really? I checked the dress code and I think it’s fine” if in fact that’s what you think.

    • hoola hoopa says:

      I wouldn’t have changed, either. Snarky coworkers don’t get to dictate your clothing choices.

      But dress policies do, and I would have assumed the policy was still in place until new manager confirmed that jeans were now okay on Fridays. Sounds like a lovely outfit, but it also sounds like it broke dress code. I’d ask current manager about their policy and ignore coworker regardless.

  20. Senior Attorney says:

    Divorce TJ: We had our mediation yesterday and lo and behold, after a year of litigation we settled the case! Woo-hoo!! I am quite pleased with the terms, which include an irrevocable waiver of both parties’ right to spousal support. And it looks like I will be house hunting in the next several months, but that’s okay because I’ll have a nice sized down payment.

    I’m putting this one in the W column.

Speak Your Mind