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Year in Review: Kat’s Favorite Accessories for Work

accessories to wear to workLike our workwear recommendations, we recommend one accessory appropriate for the office on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. On Mondays I try to pick a budget-friendly piece, and the price rises on Tuesday and Thursday. I generally try to include one shoe and one bag each week, but the third item varies — we’ve done watches, wallets, scarves, hair accessories, office accessories, coats, and more. These were my favorites of 2015 — if you’re curious about older ones, here were my favorites from 20142013, 2012, and 2010.

Ladies, which were your favorite wear-it-to-work accessories of 2015, either featured here, recommended by a fellow reader, or just purchased on your own?

January / February* / March* / April* / May / June / July / August* / September* / October* / November / December

Comments

  1. Anonymous :

    New Year’s resolution talk was fun yesterday. Since obvi working isn’t happening this week, roses and thorns from 2015?

    Roses:
    New job, where I actually like the people and they like me
    Went on an amazing vacation
    Had a really fun summer
    Slept with a hot stranger (never done that before!)

    Thorns:
    Have entirely stopped working out
    Have fallen for an unavailable man

    • Anonymous :

      It’s been a year of pluses and minuses.

      Roses:
      -went on my first trip abroad! (well, outside of the North American continent)
      -booked next trip abroad!
      -had several job interviews, turned down a job that was not the right fit, and negotiated a competitive retention package after a stellar performance review
      -strict pressed 105#
      -regained a friend after she went through a toxic break-up

      Thorns:
      -lost a guy friend who I thought was a solid friend
      -lost a girl friend who I thought was my best friend
      -my mother is still crazy
      -had a job offer rescinded
      -still having mixed/conflicting feelings for my closest guy friend
      -gained back like 20 pounds

    • I’ll play! Mine has been a year of extremes…

      Roses:
      -Amazing trips to Europe and SE Asia
      -3 job offers, ultimately landed job with much better pay
      -Lost 25 lbs
      -Did not die (came close)
      -Found a great therapist and psychiatrist

      Thorns:
      -Was dumped by long-term, live-in about-to-marry boyfriend via note
      -Lost beautiful apartment shared with said boyfriend and moved somewhere a lot less nice
      -Had a suicidal breakdown and had to be briefly hospitalized

      My roses came after my thorns, so I am feeling ok going into this new year!

      • What a challenging year! I’m so glad you’re here to ring in 2016! My 2013 was an evil, evil year (death, job loss, hospitalization, severe health threat to my children’s lives/long term health and abilities). Whether January 1 is an arbitrary time to start fresh, it can feel really good to let go of those bad years! So glad that 2015 will be behind you soon and many wishes for a wonderful 2016!

      • I remember your previous posts and just wanted to say I’m so happy you are doing better, and great job turning things around for yourself! Wishing you a fantastic 2016.

      • hey there. you sound pretty inspirational (seriously). rock on and it sounds like youre on a great trajectory to building a new life sans ex.

    • I like this idea. It’s been a red letter year for me, and I’m spending my holiday week off processing it.

      Roses:
      – living in the same country with my spouse for the first time
      – getting a great job that has become more interesting over the year
      – lots of travel

      Thorns:
      – my best friend died unexpectedly at a young age
      – I’m worried that another friend is in an emotionally abusive relationship
      – watching US politics from the outside makes me feel like a space alien.

    • Roses:
      – got married
      -got a dog
      -started a new job
      -moved into my first ever not-run down apartment
      – awesome trip abroad

      Thorns:
      – my dog died (not the new one)
      – job offer rescinded
      – general fighting with husband/difficult time in that relationship, all caused by external factors. It’s improving now.

    • Roses:
      – adopted a kitten
      – went on vacation with SO and friends to place where I used to live on other side of the country
      – began successful active saving plan with SO

      Thorns:
      – a favorite aunt diagnosed with terminal cancer
      – had surgery to begin treating infertility
      – mixed success at resuming running

    • My year was all roses. I realize that sounds smug, but as I said upthread, 2013 was horrific, 2014 was a re-building year with more downs than ups (but the ups — my sweet, beautiful, healthy twin boys — were major, major ups, especially as one of the worst parts of 2013 was hearing they might be born so prematurely that they would either not survive or survive with severe lifelong disabilities). But 2015 was when it all came together. New, terrific job. Amazing au pair. Finding my marriage had not only survived 2013 (and some seriously dark days in 2014) but was even stronger. My boys getting out of the really challenging little baby phase and into crazy adorable toddler stage. Getting our finances under control after two bouts of long-term unemployment. My husband being in a newish job that’s also terrific. It’s been wonderful to be able to catch our breaths and look around and realize that things have turned out really, really okay.

    • Roses:
      – Took a fun trip
      – Got pregnant
      – Actually feel competent in the job I started at the end of 2014
      – Did a bunch of volunteer work with a few animal rescues
      – Almost paid off student loans (should be fully paid off next month)
      – House we bought at the end of 2014 is 95% decorated

      Thorns:
      – One of our dogs died
      – Some pregnancy issues have made working out difficult/not really an option

      Overall, 2015 was a good year. No complaining here.

    • Year of extremes, for sure.

      Roses:
      Began working out consistently and stuck with it for a year
      Went to the Masters and Kentucky Derby
      Traveled all over the U.S. for fun and work
      Passed the bar

      Thorns:
      Studying for the bar
      Illness and death of last living grandparent
      Ended long term relationship

    • Roses:
      Left old job I couldn’t wait to leave for better job
      Awesome experience living abroad
      Gained more perspective on myself, my life, and what I want/need
      Made it through major health scare
      Made new friends

      Thorns:
      Lost a very close family member
      Broke up with my partner and am still sorting out my emotions
      Made a mistake kissing someone I shouldn’t have (but learned something in the process)
      Not sure what my plan is when current work contract ends in the spring or where I will be living

    • Roses:
      -Adopted the best dog in the whole world – she was the biggest highlight of this year by a factor of at least 10
      -Moved to a LCOL area much closer to my parents (but still far enough away that they’re not dropping in for dinner all the time, thankfully)
      -Bought & remodeled the kitchen of an incredible house thanks to said LCOL area
      -Booked a lot of travel, including a two-week international trip, for 2016

      Thorns:
      -I miss my HCOL area a lot more than I thought I would, even though I was paying more than my current mortgage payment for a one bedroom apartment and my 4 mile commute took 30 minutes
      -Leaving Big Law was not the happy event I had imagined. It turns out, when you do something for 60 or 70 hours a week every week for several years, it becomes a huge part of your identity, no matter how much you claim to hate it. I’m also struggling (psychologically, not financially) with the huge pay cut, even though I consider myself a pretty frugal person, love of international travel aside.
      -I have exactly zero friends in my new area
      -Didn’t get to travel as much as I would like in 2015 (no international vacation)

    • Diana Barry :

      Roses:
      – generally like my job and got a bonus this year and a raise
      – relationship with DH is the awesomest ever!
      – our kids are developing into nice little humans

      Thorns:
      – I am impatient with the kids when they fight or don’t put on their shoes etc., which is almost all the time
      – billable hours are the WORST!
      – had some health issues this year, now luckily resolved.

    • Boston Legal Eagle :

      Roses:
      – Started new job in late 2014 that, for the most part, has gone really well in 2015 – reasonable hours, work I am interested in and great coworkers. This was a big improvement over my last job.
      – Thanks to better hours from the job above, I was able to spend a lot of quality time with SO.
      – Traveled across the country and abroad several times, both for personal vacations and to see good friends get married.
      – Expecting a baby in spring 2016.
      – Was able to pay off my student loans and achieve some other savings goals.

      Thorns:
      – Struggled with anxiety in the beginning of the year because of job uncertainty.
      – Still dealing with some anxiety, mostly related to job security and uncertainty about all of the changes coming in 2016.
      – Political climate is disappointing – again, more uncertainty about 2016.

    • Roses:
      – Really enjoy the stage my kids are at (5 and almost 3) and watching them play together
      – Planned and took a week long vacation for the first time since my honeymoon and it went well! Hoping to convince husband, who generally doesn’t like to take off work for more than a couple days at a time, to do it again
      – Had most productive (in terms of billable hours) year in the last several
      – Some family moved to our city earlier this year, and it’s been very nice to see them on a weekly basis
      – Bonus & positive performance review

      Thorns:
      – Lost vibrant, sharp grandparent to a stroke and death a few years later
      – Burnout from very busy year — and realization that promotion is going to require me to exceed that level of productivity for several years… pretty confident I don’t want to do that.
      – Fruitless job search. I was always under the impression that I wouldn’t have much difficulty moving from BigLaw to an in-house job in my specialty, but… after searching pretty seriously for the last 6 months, including several interviews and too-many-to-count applications, no offers yet. I knew that the biglaw-to-in-house move was tough due to high supply of similar people, but I didn’t think it’d be this hard. Hoping for a change in 2016.

      • argh… months. Grandparent had stroke early in the year and then died a few months later. B/C of the timing, it felt like two separate losses.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Great idea!

      Roses:

      — Gentleman Friend! He’s so lovely, and the relationship is so lovely, that I pinch myself every day to make sure it’s real. I’m still just flabbergasted that I’ve been able to find love again at this stage of the game.
      — My son safely finished his stint in the Marine Corps and is rocking grad school
      — Finished the big house remodel and couldn’t be happier with it
      — Took several fun trips, most notably to Quebec in the fall
      — Finally graduated from therapy after 10 long years

      Thorns:

      — Really only one, but it was a big one: My parents suddenly became unable to live on their own back in May, and I had to find them an assisted-living placement in my town while dealing with a lengthy hospitalization for my dad that included a bout of delirium that included him taking swings at the nurses. And now I find myself the boots-on-the-ground person responsible for everything from their finances to their emotional well-being. It kind of sucks, especially given the fact that I don’t have the best relationship with them.

    • It’s been a mostly good year.

      Roses
      – Healthy, adorable toddler. Newest phrase? “Oh Sh*t.” (Should probably work on my language …)
      – Husband’s new job makes him happier and better able to participate in the family
      – “New” (140 year old) house with huge yard for toddler and 10 minute commute for me
      – Sold old house at big profit after only 2 weeks on the market
      – Progress and growth in my job (big promotion and pay raise coming early 2016)

      Thorns
      – Husband’s health issues, unavailable to family for first 1/2 of 2015
      – Haven’t worked out in months
      – See friends less than I’d like
      – No siblings yet for little TK, still trying.

      • Spirograph :

        Hahaha, My 2 year old also recently started saying “oh sh-t!” But he learned it from my husband. From me, he learned that other drivers are idiots. “Mommy, is that the idiot?”

    • Roses & Thorns :

      Roses:
      Generally enjoyed my job and got a good bonus. Amazingly, didn’t work too hard and hit my billable hours target exactly. (I’m usually always over and feeling burnout this time of year – no upside at my firm to being over the target.)
      Spent lots of time in the mountains.
      Made many new friends, kept in touch with old ones, and felt overall more social this year than previously.
      Reached an achievement level in my sport that I have only dreamed about, and won a big competition.
      Spent lots of time training and learning and improving in said sport.
      Fell in love with a wonderful man and started an easy, drama-free relationship with him (although see thorns below).
      Made good progress on taking control of my life, paying down loans and saving.

      Thorns:
      Very complex health issues that I still haven’t quite figured out. Lots of meds and bouncing around between doctors, and feeling very lonely and scared in the process.
      Had to break up with wonderful man mentioned in roses above, due to complete incompatibility on one major issue – future kids (I want kids, he had a vasectomy). Was a respectful, grown-up breakup and we’re still friends, but man I did not want to end that relationship.
      Difficult issues with brother and parents – health issues and lots of sadness back at home.

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      Roses:
      -Have a job at a law firm I like, got a good bonus
      -Began working from home, which is I really like
      -My two adopted sons are doing well in school/sports and are calling my husband and i mom and dad instead of by our first names or even worse Mr./Mrs. Last Name
      -Went on three awesome week-long vacations this year
      -Joined a pool and learned how to swim

      Thorns:
      -I tried to develop a relationship with my biological mother. This caused a lot of unnecessary stress and was fruitless.
      -I left the good law firm for a few months and had a bad job experience elsewhere, but ended up going back to the first firm so its all good.

    • Basically Splash :

      Roses:
      – kicked butt at work
      – started competing in swing dancing, and traveling to other cities for cool events; significantly improved as a dancer overall
      – ALSO slept with a hot stranger
      – started dating someone awesome, who after 3 months still hasn’t run away screaming
      – made a bunch of new friends and solidified some existing friendships

      Thorns:
      – got dumped
      – have had to work with an irritating coworker who treats me like some intern/secretary
      – didn’t get the job I interviewed for earlier this month
      – one of my best friends moved across the country
      – went on a fabulous date with a really cute guy only to find out he was married

    • Roses:
      – got engaged
      – two potential job offers on the near horizon (fingers crossed)
      -new car
      – good health for family and friends

      Thorns
      – still hate my current job
      – had to spend savings getting a new vehicle ( may my Carl Kia rest in peace)
      – as it turns out, I suck at wedding planning
      – still suffering from some sort of bizarre decision anxiety/paralysis regarding all the upcoming changes
      – still living in my HCOL area

    • Anonattorney :

      Roses:
      – had my first kid! Wonderful wonderful wonderful. I love him so much. He’s funny, loves his parents, sleeps in his own crib through the night without waking up (!), and adds so much depth to my life.

      Thorns:
      – had my first kid! PPD, stress returning to work, stress on my marriage, mourning the end of our childless carefree lifestyle, exhaustion, stretched finances, etc.

      All in all, obviously the roses outweigh the thorns, but there’s a reason why they say having a baby is one of the most stressful life events.

    • Roses:
      – Got pregnant easily, had reasonably healthy pregnancy, and welcomed our son.
      – Feel like I sort of know what I’m doing work-wise (entering 6th year, regional mid-law).

      Thorns:
      – Between morning sickness, pregnancy exhaustion and the newborn phase, feel like I have neglected/missed out on our older child.

    • This is a year I’d like to do over. There have been some roses but also a major thorn: my DH has fallen deep into alcoholism. 3 hospital stays, one stint in rehab and he’s drinking again. I truly hope 2016 is a kinder year.

      • Anonattorney :

        I’m so sorry. Hugs to you.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Oh, dear. Hugs from me, too. Be kind to yourself.

      • Anon for This :

        Hugs. Loving an addict can be lonely. I hope you find whatever support you need to make healthy decisions that are best for you and DH.

        • I hope you go to Al Anon. I do. My DH has been sober all year, as far as I know. Not surprisingly, it’s been a pretty good year. I continually get better at self care and boundaries as well.

    • I feel like I finally have faith that the there will be good things that come after tough times. It was a roller coaster year, but I’m so grateful now for things that wouldn’t have been possible without the thorns.

      – got pregnant for the first time on our first try
      – bought a house because babies!!!
      – had a miscarriage
      – decided to do some renovations because we didn’t have to budget for a baby immediately (spent about $100k, added at least $500k in value)
      – got pregnant again
      – lost the baby again
      – realized we love our house and are glad we moved to our new neighborhood with/without kids
      – got a huge huge promotion at work (I know my company well enough to know it wouldn’t have been possible if I had been pregnant with either of my two possible due dates just because of timing)

      I still wish we weren’t having so much trouble having kids, but the promotion and the successful renovation make it easier to accept that it just wasn’t our time yet.

      • You sound like you’re doing a great job looking on the bright side, but wanted to chime in and say that I’ve been there. I had two miscarriages in a row after trying to get pregnant for two years and now have a wonderful toddler and a baby on the way. It can sometimes feel hopeless, but its way more likely than not that you will be able to have children!

      • Also chiming in to say hang in there. I had three miscarriages and now have a healthy (except for the current double ear infection!) one-year-old.

    • Longtime reader, first time commenter. Just had to respond to this.

      Roses:
      – THIS S!TE. Kat and the commenters have been such a source of professional guidance and inspiration. Two years ago after half a lifetime of partially-successful treatment, I got a new mental health diagnosis that helped me understand why I continually failed at what I was trying to do and what a better career path would be for me. With Kat and the Corporette sisterhood as examples for how [email protected] Women dress and act at work, at the end of 2014 I obtained my…
      – DREAM JOB. Now I do IT and database administration for a prestigious nonprofit. Great benefits, supportive coworkers, and a reputation that makes vendors and networking contacts sit up and notice.
      – Supportive community. When we were most desperate for help, people I’d never even met came out of the woodwork from every corner of the continent and the globe (!) to get us what we needed, when we needed it. No questions asked.
      – Amazing kids. Our older son’s resilience and ability to survive anything with his spirit intact has humbled me this year. And Baby Brother continues to be sweet, fun and easy in spite of so much of our attention necessarily being on Big Brother.

      Thorns:
      – Cancer. A month after I started Dream Job, Older Son was diagnosed with childhood leukemia at 4 years old. It’s been a nightmare that devoured every assumption we made about the future. We’re blessed in that it’s one of the mostly-curable cancers; we’re now nearing the end of the initial treatment and have seen good results thus far. But I am so tired and still so angry. So ready to stuff 2015 in a box and not take it out again for a long, long time.

      Hope this wasn’t too much of a downer. Mostly I wanted to thank Kat and the Corporette community for serving as such great examples to professional women, and for giving me the tools to obtain a great job that would turn out, unexpectedly, to be an essential life raft for our family. Thank you, ladies. Many blessings on your 2016s and please keep up the great work.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Oh, gosh! Hugs to you and your sweet boys!

      • lawsuited :

        I just wanted to chime in to say that my husband had childhood cancer, and we are currently planning a trip with his parents to visit the hospital where he was treated to celebrate 20 years cancer-free in 2016. Talking with his parents during the planning, it’s clear that the year he was diagnosed was the most difficult year of their lives, especially for his mother who was the primary breadwinner and in the middle of one of the biggest building projects of her career. I know it’s anecdata, and it doesn’t count for much, but my husband has gone on to live a perfectly healthy and happy life, so don’t give up on the plans you made for the future.

        Sending all my best wishes to you and your family.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      2015 was a great year for me.

      Roses:
      Got married
      Finally landed a permanent job after 4 years of temping
      Was maid of honor in my best friend’s wedding
      Traveled to Australia
      Got to see my family on the other coast for 2 great vacations
      Moved into a great rent stabilized apartment

      Thorns:
      Discovered we must sue our landlord to enforce terms of our rent stabilized lease
      One of my brothers unexpectedly missed our wedding
      One of my sisters got married (this is the roses part) but only gave us 3 days notice so I couldn’t attend (luckily she’s having a wedding celebration this upcoming summer)
      Cat had health problems following the move (luckily she’s all better now)

    • Veronica Mars :

      Love this idea!

      Roses:
      – Love my job, the company I’m working for and I have great prospects here
      – I’ve finally put together my apartment and it feels like a real home
      – I’ve come out of a 3 year journey from agnosticism to Christianity and my faith is now stronger. I still have a long ways to go, and I’ve stumbled, but I think I’m out of the newborn baby colt phase when I was toppling over constantly.

      Thorns:
      – A trauma that happened many years ago came back and bit me in the butt. It’s also really troubling to have to live with the knowledge that I haven’t really gotten over it, and that I have a long path of healing left ahead of me
      – I recently stopped seeing my therapist after a terrible session and I’m discouraged at having to find a new one
      – During my recent move, I left behind some of my dearest friends and I have to “start over” making friends locally

    • Calibrachoa :

      Oh dear…

      Roses:
      – I took a few amazing trips this year
      – Saw a band live I’d been waiting for 8 years to see
      – Got the best team lead ever
      – Wrote more

      Thorns:
      – Lost the promotion to team lead
      – everything else at my job
      – my health took a nosedive, both physical and mental
      – my housemate is an absolute worst

      Here’s hoping 2016 gets better. I heard of an opening in a different branch and the amazing team lead wrote me a recommendation that legit made me cry when I saw it enquiring about having me go take a look and see if i’d be a good fit. Keeping my fingers crossed.

    • Roses:
      Bought a house!
      A really good year in my marriage
      Started meditating regularly
      After falling off the workout wagon early in the year, I found a great gym class in November that really helped me get back into the workout habit
      I spent the summer building a closer relationship with a dear family member

      Thorns:
      A job change that made my home life happier made my work life pretty terrible – the work is unfulfilling and the people aren’t great

      Overall I am very happy with 2015 and feeling optimistic about 2016!

    • Patricia Gardiner :

      Love this idea!

      Roses:
      – Career has been good this year. Two good job prospects for next year when I finish up current position.
      – Started a book club, which has been awesome
      – Exciting vacation to a new country
      – Family members are all healthy, and no one died (coming out of some very rough years)
      – Attending a new church with members I really like

      Thorns:
      – TTC most of the year (unsuccessfully)
      – DH not interested in going to said church with me
      – Good friend moving away, making me realize I have few real friends in this area (but working on it with book club and church)

    • Love this idea.

      Roses:
      – Got my dream job, thanks in no small part to the cheerleading of this community.
      – Had an adorable baby and spent the summer on maternity leave with my husband (also on parental leave), aforementioned baby and two older kids.
      – Successfully saved close to our savings goal after not being serious about saving money for a long time.
      – Planned/paid for two big trips for 2016.
      – Gave our kitchen a “facelift” that makes our house 1000% more liveable.
      – Got a corporate coach!
      – Graduated from therapy after ~5 years.

      Thorns:
      – Had a baby…and am therefore exhausted all the time by our 3 kids.
      – Dream job is demanding and I feel behind a lot.
      – Gave up on working out and eating right due to crazy new job and trying to be available to my family.
      – New-ish house (we’ve lived there almost 2 years) still not decorated.
      – Declining relations with my sibling and status quo (read: still bad) relations with my mentally ill mother.

      Overall, 2015 was an awesome year for me — 2014 was terrible in terms of financial, job and personal news, so this past year was a major step up and I’m excited to see what 2016 has in store!

    • Anon for This :

      Roses:
      — Big, big research accomplishment (I’m in academia).
      — Promotion because of big, big research accomplishment.
      — Interviewed for a couple of new positions — one I didn’t get, one in process — a good learning experience in both cases no matter the outcome.
      — Two great trips to Europe, both were for work but I tacked on extra time for sight-seeing.
      — Other great trips to see family and friends.

      Thorns:
      — Spent all year in the process of divorcing a husband who’s severely depressed and who has abandoned treatment. Feeling guilty but also knowing that this is the only thing I can do to save myself from a life of sharing his anger and hopelessness.
      — Not being done with divorce despite spending all year on it. Turns out it’s not easy to divorce someone who is unable/unwilling to do anything to advance the process.
      — Had an injury that’s kept me out of commission for running for a few months. But I’ve done regular gym workouts, so that’s a rose, too. As is eating pretty healthily and not drinking too much, even in the face of emotional upset.

      Useful to put this together in one place, given that right now I’m dwelling on the thorns!

    • Canadian Syd :

      Roses of 2015 —

      – two great vacations
      – last reconstruction surgery for cancer
      – started planning a 50th birthday celebration with a few dear high school friends living in different counties
      – recent – two children’s choirs Christmas concerts – I forgot how beautiful their voices could be

      Thorns
      – parental health issues
      – lost 21 pounds and then gained it back
      – struggled with meditating all year and also with my organized religion

    • Roses
      Was success full in my education wrote my thesis and will defend it soon. I like that I found a way to stay in my position at my job but expand knowledge and type of work. Children wonderful and sweet. Marriage good.

      Thorns
      Lot of stress over aging parents, they have been in hospital many times this year. Workload too much. Have hardly seen friends.
      Issues with my feet have made working out difficult and long walks impossible. It is a loss since it was both a big stress relief and keep my back ok. Health issue with one child, ok now.

    • Anonypotamus :

      Roses:
      – Finally found a job after several years of unemployment.
      – New house
      – Kids are healthy, the one entering puberty seems to still be nice

      Thorns:
      – DH lost his job
      – Toddler is going through terrible 1.5-5s (I was soooo over this whole period of kidhood)
      – finances are shaky after unemployment and new house
      – parent’s mental sharpness took a drastic downturn this year. Not looking forward to dealing with the issues of assisted living with very stubborn and independent individuals.

    • Thank you all for posting :

      Thank you all for posting. It’s really helping me to see people who’ve had similar roses & thorns as me:
      Roses:
      Better relationship with my mother-in-law, because I called her and asked her to come and help
      A new son who is happy and healthy
      An older son who is a great big brother
      Some more responsibilities at work

      Thorns:
      Husband’s mental breakdown requiring intensive therapy and quitting of job
      Unemployment stint that overlapped with FMLA
      Financial worries

      2016 will be a big one.

    • Roses:

      Took a couple of great vacations with our family
      Work is steady/stable, I enjoy what I do and my co-workers
      Husband got a new job that pays better and has room for advancement
      Kids are doing great, marriage is solid, house and cars are doing alright.

      Thorns:
      Mother diagnosed with cancer and needed lots of support (both financial and emotional/physical). This was very difficult.
      My anxiety has been out of control this year, probably due to the above. I am hoping to get this under control this year.
      Gained 10 pounds

    • Clementine :

      My roses and thorns were largely linked.

      Roses: got pregnant, discovered I enjoy being pregnant and giving birth.

      Had an awesome kid and motherhood so far is pretty awesome.

      Realized just how good I am at my job.

      Marriage is absolutely stronger than I could have ever imagined.

      Thorns: Medical complications mean I can’t have any more preganancies ever (big bummer).

      Almost died (but didn’t, so…rose?)

      Got passed over for a promotion because of stupid seniority issues.

  2. Boot unicorn :

    I’m looking for some boots with about a 2″ stacked heel and a round toe and a tall shaft in the tan-to-pumpkin range in leather. Everything I see is black or brown or has a high skinny heel or is flat.

    • This in the banana color?

      http://www.zappos.com/frye-campus-14l-dark-brown-leather?zlfid=191&ref=pd_sims_sdp_1

  3. AttiredAttorney :

    I’m headed to Israel for a week in late January and planning to hit all the major tourist destinations – Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Tiberias, Masada, etc. Any thoughts on what to wear that will have me looking the least touristy? Will dark wash/black jeans and plain colored t-shirts and long-sleeve, lightweight sweaters in neutral colors be fine?

    It’ll be in the low 50s in Jerusalen, but up to the 70s in the Dead Sea areas, so I’m thinking lots of layers, which will also help for any religious areas that require modest dress. For shoes, I’m planning on a pair of flat boots, a pair of ballet flats, and a pair of casual wear type running shoes. Any other clothing “must haves” for this time of year in Israel?

    • I don’t have issues with jeans except that they can be of a heavy material that is hard to dry if you have to wash/dry them in your room. Maybe also bring a pair of pants made of something else as well (I have some Athleta ones that are looser pants of some sort of quick-drying synthetic; Lands End also has casual pants that should dry quicker than jeans).

      Signed,
      nothing is worse than sitting, pants-less, in your hotel waiting for your denim to dry

      • Worse than sitting waiting for your denim to dry is going out wearing a pair of jeans that are almost entirely dry but still wet on the back waistband. Especially when it’s cold out.

      • AttiredAttorney :

        I’ll only be there for six full days (plus two days of travel), so unless I get really dirty, I think I’ll be fine with two pairs of pants/jeans without having to wash them.

    • Wildkitten :

      Are there religious areas where women have to wear long skirts instead of pants? (I don’t know)

      • I think pants are fine anywhere. Just don’t wear an above-the-knee skirt, even one that would be considered fairly modest in the US. It has to actually cover your knee.

        • Pants are fine at the religious tourist destinations, but not in orthodox neighborhoods in Jerusalem (its better to just stay away from those). Ballet flats are going to kill your feet in Jerusalem and anywhere else with cobblestones and uneven streets/sidewalks – I would pack flats with more support if you have them. Bring a light rain jacket if you have one! Jeans and sweaters/tshirts is pretty standard over there, if you want to look more “local” wear lots of scarves (the cheap ones they sell at every tourist destination are great).

          I’m a former local and I really advise you to spend at least one day doing some non standard tourist stuff, and especially to go out of your way to see an Arab city (Acre, Nazareth, and Jaffa are all incredible places). Your trip is short but its worth experiencing it! I’m happy to share recommendations about anything you are curious about.

          • ouch my feet :

            I have to agree on the shoes – I ended up buying some ‘sports’ type sandals (merrells) as uncomfortable walking on uneven surfaces – I’d pack tennis shoes or something similar

    • I just got back from a long trip and found I never wore my jeans but reached every day for a comfortable sweater dress with leggings. I only brought a few and wore them all the time. Next trip, that’s all I will bring. Weather ranged from the 50s-60s. For warmer weather, I’d take the same approach and just wear jockey shimmies instead of leggings.

  4. Looking for commiseration or tips: Any other ladies out there feeling run down after the holidays? With Christmas in the rear view mirror, I am noticing how absolutely spent I feel. I have plenty of energy, but I feel emotionally, logistically and in other ways, wiped out. I have two small kiddos who adored Christmas, but I didn’t realize how much work goes into making Christmas “magical.” My DH is coming out of a severe depression, so he helps with kids, logistics and planning sometimes, and at other times is like an additional child that I must care for. His 16-year old car broke down, necessitating an unplanned car purchase, so I feel financially stressed. Plus, I had planned on asking to go part-time, but with the car purchase and some stuff going on at work, that is no longer an option. Oh and I have caught every illness that seems to come within a 10-mile radius this past month (2 GI bugs and a nasty cold) I am at work this week just to get a bit of breathing room and deal with other rational, self-sufficient people.

    • It’s not just you. That truly sucks about the unplanned car purchase, but I sympathize with making Christmas “magical” and how stressful it is. I want to have a wonderful Christmas for my kids, but it just wipes me out. I literally can’t get out of bed in the mornings ever since Christmas, and I spend most of the day at work just relishing some quiet time to myself. I’m planning on taking the kids to daycare on Thursday and staying home from work for a much-needed rest day for me and the husband.

      I also am coming down with a cold or something and just feel run down and achy. And my husband is grumpy, so we’re just snapping at each other when we’re home. I’m ready to just get back into our routine.

    • That sounds rough. Out of curiosity as a non-parent, what do you have to do to make Christmas “magical” and why is it so much work?

      • Fully recognizing this is ridiculous, I think this way because I have such great memories of Christmas as a child. But, my mom was a SAHM (God bless her, but that’s not me) and so I’m trying to cram in all these Christmas activities in the time when I’m not working. And, it’s just really awesome to see your little kids experiencing Christmas happiness with their grandparents and aunts/uncles at the house. That’s why it’s worth having roughly a billion people (we have large extended families) over to your house.

      • You don’t have to do anything but here’s a list of things my family has always done that I would want to do for my kids. It’s work, it’s hard, I still think it’s a non-crazy thing to want to do:
        Decorate the house- buy tree, set up, put light on it, hang ornaments, find stockings, decorate fire place, break out Christmas China, keep poinsettias alive
        Presents- thoughtful gifts for entire family, plus help children select gifts for siblings and extended family as needed
        Church- get everyone there on time every Sunday in advent, attend Christmas pageant, light advent wreath daily
        School- attend two inconveniently scheduled holiday events, cards for teachers
        Food- plan, prepare several festive meals.

        Again, obviously this is optional, but are we no longer permitted to complain about anything that isn’t mandatory?

        • Wildkitten :

          Nobody is saying you aren’t allowed to complain. This s*te would go out of business if we had a no complaining rule.

          • I thought the “as a non-parent what do you even do” and “no need to make Christmas magical” comments were both shutting down a valid complaint.

          • anonymous from 1036 :

            Sorry, I was the “as a non-parent what do you even do” commenter. I didn’t mean to shut down a valid complaint! It’s just not my experience, so I was wondering what it’s like for theirs. That’s all. It’s opening things up for more complaints, if anything.

          • anonymous from 1036 :

            I’m the “as a parent what do you even do” poster. I didn’t intend to shut down a complaint; the things described here are very far outside my personal experience, so I’m genuinely curious about how things are different for others. If anything, it’s opening up the discussion for more complaints.

          • Anon – I didn’t take it as an attempt to shut down conversation.

          • Except that’s not exactly what the questioner said – you added your own snark. I read it as a legitimate ask about what parents do in order to make the holidays magical for their kids. Perhaps the questioner didn’t have anything that made their Christmas/holidays magical as a child and they are genuinely curious. I didn’t jump to the snark conclusion at all when reading it.

          • Great- my bad!

          • No one is trying to shut down a convo. It’s more maybe we should have Christmas in ways that are easy to attain w/o too much effort. Like not lean in so much necessarily. I work FT. My husband works FT. I do X amount for Christmas and not Y. It’s our normal. It someone is getting all stressed out, that’s not Christmas.

            One Williams-Sonoma catalog and I’m all “I want to bake cookies with love in them” and that is crazy — I love to cook but hate to clean and have no time anyway. The nice people at the store make heavenly pizzelles and other cookies — I am happy to outsource to them.

        • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

          I actually really enjoy the holidays, but I don’t think we have a traditional approach. I take off at least one week over Christmas (usually with an awesome vacation baked in) and don’t work all that much the other. My husband and kids and I really enjoy decorating the house together over several weekends in November/December. We don’t really do a lot of gifts. My husband and I don’t get each other anything, and we get a few things for our two kids.

          That being said, I feel like I slack compared to other moms. For example, the four of us went on vacation and returned on Christmas Eve, so we just made a pizza and cookies, watched Christmas movies, and went on a family run/played two-on-two basketball on Christmas day. Not traditional, but my family is happy and that is all that matters to me.

      • Wildkitten :

        Really?! I’m not a parent but I can think of a million things. You have to wrap presents – and wrap Santa’s differently – and hide them, and bake cookies, and decorate the house, and go caroling, and do the elf on the shelf creepiness, and ride the polar express, and find Santa at a mall and wait in line to ask him for crap, and you have to do all of this with a smile on your face and NOT break down and tell your kids that Santa is fake and their presents are in the closet but you’re donating them all to toys for tots if they don’t eat their vegetables RIGHT NOW.

        • Exactly!

        • anonymous from 1036 :

          Yeah, well I guess I also don’t really celebrate Christmas and never really see family.

        • Basically Splash :

          “and you have to do all of this with a smile on your face and NOT break down and tell your kids that Santa is fake and their presents are in the closet but you’re donating them all to toys for tots if they don’t eat their vegetables RIGHT NOW.”

          to me, this seems like it would be the hardest part, doing all that exhausting and stressful stuff while radiating holiday cheer and farting pixie dust.

          anyone see the Big Lots commercial where the women are singing “Christmas doesn’t happen without me”? Seems accurate.

        • Yes, this. My general anxiety had really largely disappeared after leaving biglaw 3 years ago. I really don’t usually have mommy guilt, and recognize my kids have a great thing going on a day to day basis.

          However, I started to feel the sick, nauseous feeling again about a week before Christmas, and cried on Christmas morning. I screamed at everyone yesterday on my way out the door, and I’m definitely bummed that I’m already looking forward to having the holidays behind us. Which is really, really sa.d

          • I absolutely adore the holidays too (and am also a biglaw refugee), but this year I am absolutely looking forward to the holidays being over. Routine? Yes, please.

          • thanks for the commiseration Betty :) It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one who is craving routine and normalcy amid the chaos. Things that haven’t bothered me in years are driving me crazy – must. do. all. dishes. Must clean the kids’ drawers. Must clean kitchen floor, really short with the kids, etc. etc. etc. Exercise is helping, but I don’t miss this old version of me. And I think it’s a wake-up that I tweaked the wrong things this year. I’m happy I recognized the need to peel away some expectations, but I don’t think I picked the right ones this year, as my stress was still through the roof.

        • lawsuited :

          And all this is before you grocery shop for 4 days of food for 12 people because stores might not be open or might be out of stock of that thing you need; defrost the turkey; plan Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas morning breakfast and Christmas dinner taking into account that Clare is gluten-free now and Tim is lactose-intolerant except for whipped cream and Justin’s new girlfriend might be vegan but you meant to call your sister and check that and your toddlers will freak if you make them eat Brussels sprouts and do you want to have to deal with that tantrum at the Christmas dinner table; wash and iron the table cloth and napkins; remember to buy Christmas crackers; get the Christmas dishes from the basement; prepare an intricate schedule so that 10 different dishes all end up hot at the same time; set the table so it’s instragram-ready; cook all the goddamn food; and wash up all the goddamn dishes.

      • Yeah, what we do is voluntary and worth it (similar to the posters above), but it’s hard work even when you are trying to keep the true spirit of the holidays . Example- we adopted an angel tree child to get presents for, but I still spend an incredible amount of time searching for just the right gift to light up some kid’s morning.
        Also, encouraging little people to be kind and gracious and to understand what it’s all about is some challenging parenting during a time where they are in complete sensory overload and running around like crazed spider monkeys.

        • Seriously enjoyed the fact that my kids are still young enough that they have no clue what’s going on most of the time. Next year I fully expect I will have crazed spider monkeys, too.

        • Amen. Crazed spider monkeys amped up on all the candy people give them and presents that have 50 billion different parts for our puppy to chew up. Just me? Sorry.

      • There are a million things to do, as others have said above, and do it all while trying to teach your kids about giving, the true meaning of Christmas, not declaring all out war on PITA family members and, for me, dealing with a depressed spouse. To go back through everything I have done in the last month-plus here would leave me rocking myself in a corner of my office. Yes, I took it all on voluntarily. Yes, I could have done less. But I remember Christmas as being a truly magical time when I was a kid and I hold those memories very dear to me. I want my kids to have similar feelings and memories.

        • Yeah I just want to say I fully fully get this. You did a great job, enjoy the quiet office. Take a breather if you can.

        • Yes — so present for you! Don’t forget yourself — you did a lot this year (esp. lately when life what handing you lemons and EVEN MORE TASKS). Maybe get a sitter and meet up with your girlfriends (or something else that you like, even if is DH minding the kids while you go on a netflix bender and DO NOTHING)?

          I think of how military ribbons are and would like to award several “Christmas Campaign 2015” ones right about now (not me, I got a C+ in Christmas this year, but that’s my grading and I’m tough).

    • No need to make Christmas magical — other people are there to do that (like driving around looking for sparkly lights around town since Mommy is too busy to ever light up more than the tree aka giant air freshener). And they otherwise live in a world of wonder. :)

      And boxes — even at 5, a giant cardboard box is magical. I have thought sometimes about going to uhaul and getting a wardrobe-sized box as a present for little ones.

    • I really struggled with this “magical-ness” this year. Travel for the holidays is just wearing me out. Same as above, it’s worth it to haul my family all over the country so that they can be a part of the big family gatherings that take place a plane ride away. It was much, much easier the last few years – with only one kid, and then with one kid and one tiny baby. I literally feel a pit in my stomach when I think about the plane ride(s) coming up with this weekend.

      In an effort to not make myself crazy, I opted out of sweet personal gifts, and Amazon-ed for everyone on my list, including my kids. On Christmas morning, the gifts stood in stark contrast to the thoughtful and handmade gifts from family members. Ugh. I really don’t usually buy into the guilt thing, but my kids/family members didn’t even register the things I purchased for them. I actually pulled some of the gifts back so we wouldn’t overload the kids and can gift the things for a later holiday. It brought me down more than I’ve admitted out loud. I recognize how lucky we are, and what an incredible problem to have. I totally get it. But still a little bummed.

    • So it sounds like I’m not the only one ready to kiss this season good-bye. What are you ladies doing to get back to a routine or take care of yourselves? (I realize this sounds a bit judge-y. Its not meant that way AT ALL. Its more that I have no clue what to do to get myself out of this funk.)

      • This week, I am rereading Harry Potter. No TV, no internet when I get home, just a book before bed.

        In January, I’m saying no to things. I am not going out with friends, I am not dating, I am not going to do interesting things. I am going to be home. Cooking for myself, because I find it restorative. Walking outside in the cold. Listening to music. Slowing down.

        • Your January plan sounds like heaven. I already have a few things I can’t miss in January, but I may be implementing that for March.

          I’m giving myself this week to back into routine. I’m planning on taking this weekend to meal prep for next week and stock back up on normal, healthy foods. For me, cooking is relaxing, so I’m looking forward to some simple chopping time.

      • I scheduled an extra house cleaning for early next week b/c cleanliness of my space helps me a little and I don’t want to resent spouse, who is home with the kids this week and has a different tolerance level for clutter/cleanliness than me. I scheduled a haircut at 6:30 for Thursday, January 7th so I can get a solo glass of wine before (and maybe after), but skip dinner and bedtime with the kids but still get home early enough to go to bed early. I’ll probably get a babysitter for next Saturday for a break for my husband and I to go out.

      • Rogue Banker :

        My go-to relaxation thing lately is a combination of fancy skincare and crafting. Having a nice mask on while I do cross-stitch is incredibly calming, it gives me slightly-less-grumpy skin, and when I’m done with this piece my niece is getting a gorgeous framed dragon for her birthday. Win-win situation all around.

        Also, books whenever possible (currently devouring The Martian – it’s so good!), and a 20 minute walk at lunch whenever it’s not raining. Which is like never these days, damned Atlanta weather.

    • Spirograph :

      Are you me? After hosting family and dealing with 2 small children for way too many days in a row (I love you, daycare), on top of being sick for the 2nd time this month, I am ready to sleep for a week. Or at least enjoy my quiet office…

    • I don’t have kids and don’t have to worry about magic, but I still managed to stress myself out for Christmas just for adults! I had family in town, including my mother and a few other folks, and I felt the need to have the whole house decorated like a catalog! Festive activities planned! All the gifts bought and wrapped ahead of time! An elegant Christmas dinner! And this was only for like six people and no kids… so you have my sympathy because I’ve been completely burnt out since Christmas, and they were only in town for five days.

    • No kids, but totally burned out and not even looking forward to the rest of the week, which has gone downhill rapidly thanks to the flakiness of other people. I feel you.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I feel you! Honestly, this was the worst Christmas for me in recent memory. My parents moved to assisted living this year and are way more out of it, physically and emotionally, than they were last year, which was unbearably sad. My son went to his dad’s for Christmas Day. Gentleman Friend is lovely but he has been in trial and not very available. And even though I always think I’m not going to do much, I still have to do a surprisingly huge amount of work-related Christmasy stuff (peer lunch! co-host big staff lunch! take small staff to lunch! breakfast for medium-sized staff! gifts for special colleagues!) and there was a lot of running around to events that were fun but kind of exhausting. And the Christmas weekend getaway with GF was fun but the weather was unexpectedly freezing and that was a bit of a drag.

      So. glad. it’s. over.

      What am I doing to recharge? Went to bed at 9 p.m. for the last two nights and plan to do it again tonight. Started a new novel last night. And bought myself a shiny pretty thing with the Christmas check from my parents.

    • I don’t even celebrate Christmas and I’m exhausted. We took advantage of the four day weekend to go visit my parents. I’m glad we did, especially because they’re getting older and both my MIL and best friend’s mother were diagnosed with cancer this year, which was a tough reminder that my parents won’t be around forever, but it’s a seven hour drive, so we basically spent two of the four days driving and it didn’t feel like a vacation at all. And there were a lot of holiday parties and lunches associated with our jobs over the last few weeks that were fun but exhausting. I have a 3.5 day weekend this weekend and am looking forward to doing absolutely nothing except reading, sleeping, eating and watching football and never changing out of my pajamas.

  5. Hildegarde :

    Does anyone have a good recipe for white chicken chili, especially one that is easy to scale up? I have to cook dinner for 20-25 people in a few days, two of whom can’t eat tomatoes, so chicken chili seems like a good option, but I don’t have a great recipe. A little spicy is fine. I plan to round it out with a salad of some kind and brownies. Thanks in advance!

    • I do chicken and Mexi-corn type corn (leaving in water is in the corn can) and pintos (leaving in the watery stuff) and lots and lots of cumin and then some red pepper. I’d do peppers for me (but my people hate peppers, so I’m stuck with the few in Mexi-corn or Rotel). If your people could eat tomatos, I’d throw in some Rotel.

    • I do! I really do. I have actually won two chili cook offs with this recipe (I tweak it) and it is my SO’s favorite soup ever. It’s a little time intensive, but is very easy to scale up. I’ve done 4 batches at once (in two pots).

      http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/keiths-white-chicken-chili-recipe.html

      Tweaks I make:

      – I just use the minced garlic in a jar. It’s faster than chopping garlic, and with this many flavors in the soup, you don’t lose anything.
      – I like spicy. So I add more chipotle in adobo. Also I use hot old bay seasoning and hot green chiles.
      – I leave out the pickled jalapeno. I might add in fresh, depending on how motivated I feel.
      – I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breast for flavor. If I’m in a time crunch, I get rotisserie chickens from Costco and just pick the meat off the bone. I also add more chicken than called for.
      – I use chicken stock instead of water and bouillon.
      – I add in some canned or frozen corn and canned black beans for color.
      – I always use canned beans. I never have the foresight to buy the bagged beans and soak them. Again, time saver. And then I just simmer for however long I have instead of the hour and a half the recipe calls for.

    • Delish recipe :

      This recipe is delicious: http://www.cookingclassy.com/2013/05/white-chicken-chili/

      I made a couple of modifications, so feel free to experiment :) I used black beans (rinsed and drained) instead of cannellini beans, added WAAAAY more chicken (like 4 lbs. because my DH and I love extra protein), garnished with avocado slices, and sauteed the chicken with green onions and yellow onions.

      If you want a delicious side that’s easy to scale, this recipe for Brazilian cheese puffs is wonderful and easy: http://rasamalaysia.com/brazilian-cheese-bread-pao-de-queijo/2/

      I usually sub in some butter for a portion of the olive oil, since the olive oil tastes a bit too strong for my liking, so either use light olive oil or sub in some butter.

      • Delish recipe :

        One more thing…. if you want to add some extra veggies to this, coarsely-chopped carrots and mushrooms go really well. The carrots add a nice hint of flavor, and the mushrooms just soak up the other spices, so I generally add ~1 cup of each, pulsed in the food processor.

    • Hildegarde :

      These look great; thank you all! Problem solved.

    • Min Donner :

      Probably too late for your purposes, but this is my favorite white chicken chili recipe:

      http://www.onceuponachef.com/2014/10/white-chicken-chili.html

      For modifications, I roast my own chicken rather than buying a rotisserie, and I don’t shred it, but just chop the meat into small pieces.

      I can’t get poblano peppers where I live, so I usually use 2-3 (mostly) seeded jalapenos. Once I was out of onions so I used a large carrot and two stalks of celery, which I chopped fairly small in the food processor along with the jalapenos, and then sweated/sauted/softened all of that in the pan with a healthy dose of butter. It was a great addition, so now I do that along with the onions.

      I usually use canned corn, and increase the lime juice ~50%. I think it’s fine without sour cream or tortilla chips, but they are a nice addition – also, sliced avocado.

      It is really tasty and filling, and the step of blending half the beans with stock to make kind of a slurry really gave it a more stew/chili texture as opposed to just being a soup.

  6. I’m presenting a paper at a conference in San Francisco next month and I have no idea what to wear. I’m in DC, in law and in finance. So basically I wear navy and charcoal suits, with some black thrown in for color. I’ve been told the conference is business casual. Here are the contenders for outfits:
    – dark tan pencil skirt, light pink or blue button front cotton shirt, navy blazer, nude heels
    – dark tan pencil skirt, white button front cotton shirt, long lighter tan cardigan, nude heels
    – black sheath dress, light gray cardigan, scarf or statement necklace, either black heels or tights with black boots
    – same as above but with a light gray blazer instead of a cardigan

    Any thoughts? Keep in mind that I do not own any pants that aren’t jeans, “fun” tops or jackets, skirts that aren’t neutral colored pencil skirts.

    • Oh, and the attendees will be a mix of academics and students mostly in law and econ from all over the country.

    • Suit, colorful top. Or the sheath dress with heels. Sorry west coast, I don’t care about fitting in. I’m an east coast lawyer and when I present I dress up.

      • Wildkitten :

        This.

      • Sweet. This is what I really wanted — permission to dress like myself. (And myself does not wear casual to present either.)

        • Anonymous :

          I don’t know about this conference in particular, but people in SF wear suits to work, especially in law and finance. Maybe not all the time, but we do own them. A blazer and sheath won’t look out of place downtown, but do change into something fun for going out…

      • Diana Barry :

        +100.

    • I think you are safe wearing any of the above given the audience. It’s not like you are presenting to a tech crowd.

      My only thought is that given it’s going to be a particularly cold and wet winter in SF, the black dress transition better to outside the conference. I’m not sure it’s going to be nude heel kind of weather. I go with the black heels, and bring the black boots if you need to for walking around.

    • Any of these are great. SF is not a fashion city by any means so even thinking about what you’ll wear puts you ahead of most. It’s chilly here all year, lately quite cold, so add scarves and take a coat. I love heels, but you might want to toss in flats – lots of people wear them to work here and to conferences (esp if just attending) and it’s a walking city despite the hills so you may be in pain in heels quickly. (Or take flats to walk in/ heels in bag/ working girl style). To dress up your look, statement necklaces are a good way to go for some interest when you present.

    • anon prof :

      I go to this conference every year, if it’s the one I think it is. Wear whatever you want. Job candidates are (mostly) in decent suits, some academics are in bad suits while others are business casual, and most Europeans look like they do every day at home. Most economists are poor dressers (myself included, I fear, but this site is helping!)

    • ouch my feet :

      these outfits all sound nice, and very professional, but rather unmemorable – could you add some colour through accessories (a scarf?) so that people find you more memorable? In our company, we often wear accessories in the company’s colours when we speak in public…

      BTW – when I read your comment, I was surprised that your neutrals included both dark tan (which I associate with the old ‘colour me beautiful’ spring & autumn) & black/grey (which are cooler). Do you have a view on one half of the spectrum being your best colours? Also, if you went with either black or brown it halves the accessories needed on a trip if that is a consideration

  7. If anyone else looks on eBay for deals/market inefficiencies… I just found a ton of Neiman Marcus cashmere sweaters, most of which are priced around $20 – $50 dollars.

  8. If you had the opportunity (funds, time, inclination, group of supportive people around you) to run for public office, would you? Why or why not?

    • Absolutely, no question. But I’m considering running for public office at some point in my life anyway. Mostly because the work (other than pandering to dumb voters) seems fun and interesting, and it’s a way to have a real impact. Plus I think our elected representatives should be more……representative of the population, and that’s a gap I can fill.

    • Yes. I would really like being on my local school board, to start, or being mayor or a state level representative. I’m not particularly interested in national office- I’d like something where I don’t have to move and can keep my day job.

      I’m not at a place in my life where I’m ready to go all in on this yet, but I do actively try to make useful connections. I think more women should. I’m smart, I’m a joiner, I’m opinionated, and I like being in charge.

    • No. I have such a negative opinion of all politicians (starting with that they must be narcissists) and am not wired to do any campaigning. And if you win, everyone seems to hate you. No thanks.

      If I want to change the world, I’ll just start changing it (which I already do, in very small ways).

      • That’s cute, but you really think your local zoning board head must be a narcissist? Like, can’t you just do you without armchair diagnosing people contributing to their communities in a different way as pathological?

    • It would be my family’s decision as much, or more than, mine. The issue is what they would feel comfortable seeing about themselves on the evening news, and that’s not my decision.

    • No way. I’m a super sensitive person and get very sad when anyone criticizes me or says something mean, so I know there is no way I could ever be in politics, even something low level like the school board. Also I’m terrible at kissing up to people, so I could never win an election.

    • Nope. Nope nope nope nope nope. This is a conversation my husband and I have honestly had (both about him running and me running). We just can’t get over the idea of what oppo might unearth. Things that seem so benign or have happened so long ago get blown all out of whack. No no no. But if you have a nice cabinet position I’ll take that please. Or if you care to nominate me for something I can do the hearing process so yes send that nomination my way. I’m up for a little power behind the throne, too. A nice senior advisor position would do just fine thank you. But no election and no insane spotlight on my family now or for the rest of their lives.

      • I would like to be an ambassador to somewhere tropical and peaceful. I am not foreign service-y at all, but can relate to Americans living and working and doing business abroad. If I start saving now, what sort of campaign donation would I eventually need to make?

        • Hundreds of thousands of dollars over a long period of time plus private finances to fund the job plus you need to have really solid ties to the appointment.

          Are you independently wealthy? Then no, this is not a job you get if you also aren’t going the career diplomat route.

          • Hee hee — if I have the funds to mount a campaign, wouldn’t they also fund buying an ambassadorship? I think I would like that much better.

      • Killer Kitten Heels :

        This, for sure – there’s no universe in which my H and I would survive oppo. We’re not particularly wild and crazy people, but given what the Internet can unearth (and what trolls can do with what the Internet can unearth), I don’t see us getting through a campaign. I would definitely take an appointed position though, if anyone is offering!

      • Anonymous :

        I worked in politics for a long time and now hold a high-ish profile appointed job on a regional level. Definitely still need the thick skin and appetite for long hours but nothing like being an elected official on the Mayoral/federal level.

        It’s very cool. I highly recommend. I (mostly) love my job.

    • Anon for this :

      Yes, but only because our judges are elected in our state. This is something that is currently in my 10 year plan.

    • I’m going to scratch this itch with non-profit board membership. I like being in leadership, but I want to be a part of a change agent. Politics sometimes seems at odds with change, and while non-profits have their own frustrations, it seems far more rewarding.

    • No. Although I somewhat like the idea of BEING in office, I have worked on political campaigns and I know I don’t have what it takes to do all the appearances, shake all the hands, and appear to take every whacko with a checkbook seriously long enough to get their contribution. Or to be super diplomatic and accommodating all the time. Or to worry about whether I remembered my flag pin. Now, to be fair, this behavior doesn’t seem to be a requirement any more, at least if you look at the presidential race. But I still think I would need to err on the side of caution be be elected and I don’t have the patience. Now, like someone else, said, I’d love a senior cabinet position or one where I can be appointed as, say, a judge.

    • I haven’t considered running for office because I don’t think that I am necessarily representative of my community, but I have served as part of a group that slates candidates for the local school board. It’s a way of being involved locally without the long-term commitment of being in office (and dealing with the electorate).

    • Wildkitten :

      You should do it. I would donate to your campaign. #RosewaterForPublicOffice

    • Nope. I’m a very private person and don’t want people digging up dirt on me or my family….And there’s always dirty laundry somewhere.

  9. I know that there are a few foodies around here – I got a sous vide cooker for Christmas (yay!). Anyone happen to know any good cookbooks for sous vide? I see that Thomas Keller has one, which looks amazing, but not particularly user-friendly (more geared towards recipes from his fancy restaurants, not home cooks), and I want some great normal-day usages first. (I’m definitely more ambitious than the average home cook, but still limited by time, budget, and ingredient availability.) TIA!

    • The Food Lab is new and has some good stuff. Good library thing to check out. It’s not exclusively a sous vide book.

    • Highly recommend checking out Chef Steps. If you can put up with their promotion of their new Sous vide tool, they have a lot of classes and such that has some ideas. They also have some courses that will walk you through the basics (I believe its about $20 for every course they have through Jan 1, not sure what it goes up to after that)

    • AnonInfinity :

      I have no opinion on good sous vide books. BUT! I do love baking. I got the Bouchon Bakery cookbook for Christmas one year, and even though I don’t cook out of it very often (complicated! days-long processes! weird ingredients and equipment!), I’ve read it cover to cover and it’s really improved my baking even when I use simpler recipes. So even if you don’t plan to cook from it very often, or ever, the Thomas Keller sous vide book could be a good investment anyway.

    • Anonymous :

      2015 vs 2014 YOY
      Me, DH, and 1 kid in daycare that costs more than state college (and one on the way!), gross income of about 350 BUT this increased by 80k in the past 6 months (two promotions!).

      – Increased retirement savings by 28% YOY (total contribution in 2015 is only 4% of gross combined income, however)
      – decreased student loan debt by 16% YOU (paid off only about 8k, but our loans are super low interest)
      – bought a house/ sold our old house, and started major renovations
      – net worth increase of 44% YOY (approx 150k)- this does include the market value of our house less mortgage
      – paid off and now own outright both cars

      We put over 100k into our savings in 2015, which subsequently went toward our home purchase so we’ve landed at about a $3k YOY increase in our savings from last year.

  10. 2015 Savings :

    What percentage of your 2015 income did you save (retirement and non retirement combined)? Is this just you, or you plus spouse/partner?

    • I saved about 60%, just me.

    • 12% savings, pre-tax, 18% student loan payments, post-tax. Looking forward to finishing those payments this year and upping the savings.

    • Mary Ann Singleton :

      Around 50%. Just me and a dog and a horse. Can do better.

      Actually with the bonus it’s probably higher. I saved 96% of my bonus (mortgage prepayment and index funds), used the rest to buy a pair of skis. Woohoo!

    • Anonattorney :

      I kind of hate these. But oh well, I’ll throw mine in to offset the super high savings rates.

      10% into 401k, just me because spouse finished grad school this year and was unemployed until recently. Employer contributes about 8%, so I suppose that’s an 18% savings rate.

      Otherwise saved about $1k in slush fund (emergency savings are fully funded, thankfully), and contributed a whopping .4% (that’s right, POINT four percent) to my son’s college savings account.

      14.6% of salary goes to daycare
      28.8% of salary goes to paying off loans, including mortgage, car loan, and student loans

      All of those numbers are pre-tax. I’d say that after taxes, loans and daycare eat up about 60% of income. I could cut down on spending, but we took no vacations this year and didn’t do any extravagant shopping.

      • Anon in NYC :

        You’re not alone. I took a huge pay cut this year (new job) and had a baby, so in rough numbers:

        Currently contributing 11% into a 401k, no match. DH maxes his out. With a new, lower paying job for me plus a baby, we’re basically not saving at all right now beyond that.

        The numbers below are from our net income:
        Almost 25% goes to daycare.
        Almost 36% goes to rent.
        About 5% goes to student loans (should be done very soon – hopefully Jan 2016, but definitely 2016).
        Point 1% goes to my daughter’s college savings account.

        All that is about 66% of our net income. We’re not particularly extravagant people, and our emergency fund is healthy (although I’d like it to be bigger), but ughhh.

        • single here. Also took a pay cut for various, very good reasons, and have child w/ special needs, expenses of which are rarely or barely covered …

          BUT… I’m happy with this b/c it’s progress in the right direction, even with pay cut this year, and hopefully will get better next year

          contributing 6% to 401K (this is up for me, so I’m happy)
          Contributing about 1.5% to college savings (thinking about stopping this b/c likelihood of college not high and could use this percentage to go to other stuff)
          Contributing about 1.5% to savings itself

          of net income…
          about 12% goes to student loans
          about 10% goes to other debt
          about 25% goes to child costs not including daycare
          about 10% to daycare
          about 20% goes to mortgage

      • ALX emily :

        I’m pretty sure paying down loan principal counts toward your saving rate!

    • madrilena :

      24% just for me (single) and no pets. That’s maxing out my 401k and an additional 13k into my emergency fund out of 120k pretax.

      It’s been frustrating mostly because I live in SF and boy this city is expensive. I have 2 roommates and I pay $2400 in rent/month because I live in the city close enough to bike to work in SOMA. I tried living in Redwood City and just hated how long the commute was every day. I’m pretty good about cooking but food costs are high and I suppose I do a fair amount of traveling. But it’s hard every year to clamp down on these costs because I know I won’t be in SF more than 5 years, and feel like I should really enjoy living near so much fun stuff while I can. I take comfort in knowing at least I’m doing some saving and if I move back to the Midwest where my family is from, my living expenses will decrease greatly!

    • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

      I saved about 40% post-tax, my husband saved about the same. Have a goal to buy a larger home in a moderately high COL area.

      About a year ago, our family grew from 2 to 4, and we are still in the same 2 bedroom + den condo. My husband and I both work from home, so the den is my office and my husband works in a nook off the dining room. My two kids are sharing the master bedroom, but they honestly don’t seem to mind not having their own room. It surprisingly works out just fine for us, so I guess I am not complaining. But I would love to get into a 3, preferably 4, bedroom home within the next few years though-so my kids can have their own rooms and my husband can have a more proper workspace.

  11. My office is mostly men, and every single married man in my office has a stay at home wife. I like these people well enough, but this kind of bothers me. I’m married, husband and I work long hours, no kids. There are single women here, but no women with children and only one recently married (like the last couple of months) woman. “It must be nice” to have someone else take care of literally every non career related thing in your life so you can just focus on that, which is what they do, it seems. Plus one of them always brags about how he has three homemade meals every day, and his wife packs him freshly made French toast for breakfast every morning. I’m definitely being a little judgey here, but it’s annoying as hell.

    • I just assume that people making the most noise about how happy they are are compensating for something.

      • Yep. None of the SAHMs I know pack their husbands three meals a day. I would be very surprised if that relationship is as shiny as it seems.

        • There is a big difference between SAHM and stay at home WIFE. Many guys at my former firm had the latter, and yes they did get absolutely doted on and get three home-cooked meals a day.

    • Yay! I am SO glad that Kat and Kate are continueing to p’ost over this week. I am back at work and NEED a littel distraction from all of my year-end cleanup and 2016 set up. You see that if you are a profesional like we are, our work is NEVER done. FOOEY!

      As for the OP, I understand your position but I do NOT agree. If I were MARRIED (and I do wish I were), and my husband did everything for me so that I could concentrate on work (which I do wish I had), I would NOT trumpette it to the world b/c there would be peeople who would NOT like it.

      What you need to do, OP, is the same thing I need to do. Namely find a guy to make you breakfast, wash your clotheing at the laundry, cook your meal’s, and give you what you need in the bedroom, so that when you do come to work, you can concentrate on your job, not others and what they have that you do not have.

      I now have my dad doeing alot of that financeial stuff for me, but I need a man to do the stuff INSIDE the apartement that all of us women crave. I think you need that as much, if NOT more, then I do. Once you get a boyfreind to do this stuff for you (and you can add other item’s to the list), you will be alot calmer at work and will be abel to focus on work. I know that I had a looser with Sheketovits who was NOT abel to be the man I needed in my life. I (and all women) need a stand up guy to do stuff for us. You should go out and find that guy like I am tryeing to. Then, if he also work’s, you can decide if you want to work, or be that stay at home mom. I am rapidley looseing that ability to choose, as no man has materialised to sweep me off my feet, and my day’s of childbeareing are rapidley diminishing. I am NOT worried, tho, b/c I can always become a judge and have the best of both world’s. YAY!!!!

    • Yeah, most of the partners in my law firm have stay at home wives who raise the kids and run the household. We have almost no female partners. The (older) male partners don’t get it.

      • I can attest, they don’t get it. 20+ years ago in my large-Midwest-city small law form a couple of us organized in -office dry cleaning pick-up and delivery. My otherwise awesome male mentor seemed genuinely baffled about why anyone would need this. I said, oh, your wife probably takes your shirts to the cleaners. He said no, and I was amazed. Then he said, “she washes and irons them!”

        • OMG — just laughed my drink up my nose.

        • anonymous :

          sometimes I wash and iron my husband’s shirts when I want to be really, really nice! but that happens like once a year.

        • I mentioned at a dinner with global, senior partners that I had all my Xmas gifts bought and waiting to be wrapped (during the first week of December). They looked at me like I had three heads until I mentioned that ‘I don’t have a wife to handle that stuff’. They were suitably abashed. And these are young(ish) partners, under 50!

    • My old firm was the same way. It was unbelievably annoying. It’s just another way for men to get ahead, because having a stay at home partner (or partner in a low stress job) who cooks, takes care of pets and kids, manages the home, etc. is SUCH a help for people in these high-stress jobs and so many more men have that than women. You can only outsource so much.

      • Yes, but you can totally fire the help. They have to give up 50% when they sack their provider of domestic services.

        If I could, I’m not sure I’d want a sister wife who stayed home.

        But I get it. In law school, one guy’s wife went to buy his textbooks (which is weird — what was he doing?). I was thinking if wifey were smart, she’d have gotten the law degree as well (and I was behind her in line, so I am sure that she wasn’t / hadn’t / wouldn’t).

      • Anonattorney :

        So, kind of playing devil’s advocate here, but if you wanted this sort of arrangement, couldn’t you have dated men who were not career-oriented and who would have welcomed being married to a woman who made all the money? Maybe it’s just unique to my city, but there are a LOT of men here who are willing to go that route.

        • You make a fair point. I wanted a career oriented husband, so that’s on me. That’s why I don’t mind the fact that I have more outside obligations than they do. But they could stop going on and on about it as a way to impress upon me the ways in which they’re far more impressive than me. I realize there’s no option other than to suck it up and do my work. But it is annoying.

        • I do not know a single man who actively desires to be a stay at home parent. I know tons of nice, loving men (including my own) who are very supportive of their wives’ careers and care just as much about their wives’ careers as their own, but they also want their own careers. In contrast, I know about 50 women who are or want to be stay at home moms. I’ve lived in five different states since college so I don’t think I am just in some weird place with no guys who want to stay home. I know there are SAHDs out there, but I really think it’s incredible rare to find a guy who wants to do that. Plus, most women dating are already struggling to find a kind person with similar values that they’re attracted to, and adding in a characteristic that maybe 1% or less of guys have would really narrow down the dating pool.

          • Basically Splash :

            When I was younger I dated guys who said they wanted to stay home with the kids. In hindsight, I wonder if either they were saying that because they thought it was something I wanted to hear, or f they thought feminists want stay-at-home husbands, or if they thought staying home would be an easier alternative to working.

          • Yep. I know of two families with SAHDs. In one family, the husband ran off with the babysitter. In the other, the husband has always had an interest in organic farming and so runs a small-scale farm in addition to being a SAHD (so kind of has a job, it’s just really flexible and they have enough money from the wife’s work so he’s the default parent when she’s working or on call). Meanwhile I know dozens of families with SAHMs, or semi-SAHMs (e.g., wife works part-time or runs a small home business like home decorating or making things to sell on Etsy).

          • Anonymous :

            They guys I know who have stayed at home were ones who burned out after a high-stress career (so they stayed home after 45 or so) but only when the other spouse was at a similar stage and wanted to stay in and a lot of work travel, etc.

            The other side was guys who were downsized, were re-tooling educationally and were working on finishing up a second BA, or something else suggesting that this was making the best of a bad situation and not necessarily something they were doing by choice (not that they weren’t good, but that they would not have volunteered).

          • Anonattorney :

            I agree that these men are hard to find, IF you mean that those “attractive” men with “similar values” are men with decently-paying jobs, some level of career ambition, and who have a high level of education. And then those guys willingly need to want to leave their jobs to stay at home and raise the kids. At least that’s what many of my single friends are looking for.

            But what if you flip the script – what if, instead of looking for a guy with those attributes, you asked out the cute Starbucks barista on a date. Or if you went on OKCupid and accepted dates from all the guys who are currently unemployed or self-employed writers.

          • Anonymous :

            @Anonattorney: In my experience (including third-hand through friends), the unemployed and self-employed guys you describe tend to be very threatened by successful, high-earning women. Not saying that there isn’t some unemployed writer out there who would love a wife in Big Law but I don’t think it’s as common as you think it is, and I think it’s a huge part of why so many high-achieving women also date high-achieving men.

            I can accept the argument that if you’re doing online dating you may be meeting so many men that you can screen for this characteristic. But offline it’s just not practical. As an introvert who was too shy to ask strangers out, I never got pursued by Starbucks baristas or cute guys in the grocery store, only by my college and grad school classmates, who all wanted their own careers.

          • Anonymous :

            I bet lots of guys would like to do it, they just don’t say it because it’s not an impressive thing to say. Heck, I’d like to do it if I were independently wealthy. I’m not, though. And we’ve all grown up in a society where it’s less weird but still seen as weird to aspire to be a stay at home dad (or even mom in some circles, fwiw). My boyfriend wouldn’t mind being a SAHD, but I’d probably resent the heck out of it and be jealous.

        • For a lot of professional women, having a spouse with a career seems to be really important (it doesn’t seem to be important to nearly as many professional men). I guess I get that (though I don’t identify with it), but, at the same time, I think that if that’s important to you, you’ve got to accept that that’s going to come with some downsides, too. Just like having a stay-at-home spouse comes with some downsides and sacrifices. I imagine that a lot of those men have sometimes thought that “it must be nice” to have two incomes coming in, for example (I love my family’s arrangement, but that certainly crosses my mind sometimes). But, hopefully, we can all choose arrangements where we find that the upsides outweigh the downsides.

          Now, I’ve got to call my SAHD husband and yell at him about not making me french toast every morning. (Kidding!)

        • My husband and I have traded off in this role throughout our marriage. First, he was working all the time, both going to grad school and at his job and I was “just” going to law school. Then we both worked for a few years. He had a head start on me and so when we had kids he scaled back and became a stay-at-home dad who did part-time, contract work. During this time I started a new job and he did almost everything at home, including packing me breakfast and lunch and having dinner ready when I got home. Now that our kids are in school, he has gone back to work full-time and found a new, demanding job. My job is more flexible, so I am taking on more of the home duties right now. He definitely still does a lot at home, but not everything like he used to.

        • samesies! :

          This is us. I work in biglaw but fiance works in finance and makes 2x of what I do. Honestly, he would love to stay home now and when we have kids, but I can’t keep working in biglaw with kiddos. I know others can and do but personally I can’t – for health reasons and the fact that I would be pushed out eventually by trying to step back from the pressure. I am looking for something low pressure now (which with law necessarily means fewer hours and therefore less pay), but the fact is that my career will necessarily be affected by being pregnant and the first few months after, and his won’t and he makes 2x of what I do. Yeah, there’s a reason why there is a lower-than-average number of female partners at my firm. It sucks.

        • R in Boston :

          I wouldn’t want to be married to someone who stayed home all the time (nor would I be willing to stay at home) for a variety of reasons. That said, my husband took last week and this week off of work because he had use it or lose it vacation to burn and he has been doing ALL the stuff around the house. Things are clean. Projects that have been in our “we’ll get to that when we get to it” pile are done. He took all the kitchen knives to be professionally sharpened. It’s glorious. I know it wouldn’t be like this if he actually stayed home all the time, but given that we’re in the part of the year where I stay at work until 1 in the morning every day, I am loving not having to do anything at home and I am definitely a little jealous of all the old white guys at my firm with their stay at home wives.

          • Aunt Jamesina :

            My husband has had the past two months off while he’s in between jobs, and it’s been glorious! I love having someone who does the cleaning and errands (and really love having my lunch packed and dinner ready when I get home!). But it would definitely drive me up a wall in the long run– plus we need both incomes.

    • Basically Splash :

      Ughh, I can see how that’s irritating. It’s fine to have a stay-at-home spouse, but to constantly brag about it another thing entirely, and I wonder if these people also assume everyone else has the same situation and might not understand if you, I dunno, need to work from home to wait for a repair tech or delivery one day – “what? you do that? why not your husband?”

      I mean, if you want to respond to their obnoxiousness somehow, you can get more creative than “must be nice.” Maybe brag about how you’re able to do that stuff yourself and don’t need to rely on someone else? Or, if you feel like being super ridiculous, be like Kristen Wiig’s Penelope character from SNL and start one-upping them with ridiculous nonsense like “well I have two wiiiiives, and they both make me home cooked meals so I actually have 6 a dayyyyy, so I have, you know, just little bit more than you do, sooooo . . .”

      I’m kidding, don’t do that, I just found that image too hilarious not to share. If they brag like that, I’d say “that’s nice” and go about my business, maybe they’d stop if it seemed like no one actually cared. Is it possible to tune them out completely? But if they’re not actually *doing* stuff that bothers you and you’re just jealous that they have someone doing all the domestic stuff and you and your husband have to share those duties in addition to your full-time jobs, that’s really your issue to deal with.

      • I mostly ignore them. What irritates me most is that there’s definitely this attitude that there’s something wrong with me that I don’t have a perfect little life with everything all set up perfectly and perfect lunches that are not something I’ve been eating for the past week. And why don’t I take time to cook breakfast every morning? Don’t I know it’s the most important meal of the day, etc? I don’t think these guys realize that they’re largely taking credit for the work of two people. So that’s annoying. It’s also a little annoying that everyone I work with basically has one concern: work. And I’m harried all the time because I can’t just dump my last minute crises on other people, which makes me the odd one out in the office. But like you said that last bit is my problem.

        • Basically Splash :

          Totally. Gotta love when privileged people ask why you don’t do the things they do. It can be tough for some people to realize that a different lifestyle usually means different values and priorities.

        • They’re actually commenting on what you’re having for lunch? And breakfast? That’s just bizarre.

    • Wildkitten :

      If I had french toast for breakfast every day I would be morbidly obese. That part sounds awful.

      • No, that’s the best part of this story! I eat carbs for breakfast almost every day and am a perfectly healthy weight. It’s all about portion control. And homemade food is normally a much more reasonable serving size. It’s not like he’s going to IHOP every day.

        • Wildkitten :

          There’s a portion control option on french toast? I don’t understand.

          • All foods have a portion control option? Not eating very much of it?

            A basic, small portion of French toast could be a single piece of bread, dipped in a single beaten egg with some milk and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. Not sure how one slice of bread for breakfast every morning would make you obese. You could probably even have TWO slices of bread if you were feeling really wild.

          • Anonymous :

            I think think that a portion is like 4 pieces of french toast. 2 pieces and I’d be hungry again right away. One slice would be an appetizer for . . . more french toast?

          • I’m with Wildkitten. I also don’t understand leftover wine.

          • Anonymous :

            It’s called sarcasm.

    • Eh, of course people will mention the nice things in their life. It doesn’t mean that having a stay-at home spouse doesn’t come with its own set of stressors or difficulties. I mean, I hope he’s not going to come in and whine about how he has all this job pressure because his wife doesn’t work, or about how their finances would be screwed if he got laid off. Think of it like Facebook – just because people show a small slice of their life, doesn’t mean that that slice is representative of all aspects of their life. And honestly it sounds like you are jealous that they have someone to take care of those aspects of their lives. Would you actually want a stay at home spouse? If not, why judge that someone else does, and seems to enjoy it? Why is it annoying that someone else has something that they like about their lives, particularly if its not something you would want for yourself? Do you feel like they are sending an underlying message that women should stay home and not work? Or is it just that you wish it would be socially acceptable for you to have a “wife” type person making you French toast in the morning?

      • The issue here is the me being looked down upon because I must be a total failure to not have all these ducks in a row 100% of the time. I really like my set up, so I don’t feel jealous about theirs. I would just appreciate it if my coworkers didn’t harp on my lifestyle choices. Yes, that happens. And I have been called “the weirdest person ever” for it. Can’t I just do my work?

        On an unrelated note, I definitely judge more than I should. Mostly because of the “not getting it factor.”

        • I don’t know how big your office is, but I’m getting the impression you and your co-workers are way too involved in each other’s business. Or maybe they’re just overly involved in yours. Maybe just say something neutral if they comment on your food, like, “Mmm, well, thanks for your input, have a nice day!”

          • Anonymous :

            This is true. They pride themselves on all being friends, so there’s a lot of stuff, some of it crosses the line from weird to inappropriate, that people let go because “we’re all friends.” I don’t like them all that much, but I have to play along to some extent, so that’s been a difficult balance to strike.

    • This is my firm as well, but they don’t brag about it as if it’s something great they have over you. Instead, they act as if everyone has this and don’t understand why the single person who doesn’t even have a spouse to split household chores with can’t eat sleep and breathe billables. And when some of the younger males try to contribute to house and family responsibilities, they get yelled at for not being committed enough and “that’s what your wife is for.”

      It’s disgusting. And then they have the nerve to say “We don’t have any female partners, but it’s just worked out that way! It’s nothing in our culture!”

      • At my firm they really don’t get it. No female partner promotions in the last 5+ years, but since it is “merit based”, it’s clearly the women’s fault for not being good enough or committed enough to make partner. Ugh.

    • So, I have two observations: First, I think being a biglaw partner without a SAH spouse is incredibly difficult. Our firm has a combination of male partners with SAHMs, female partners with SAHDs, and also male partners with spouses with their own careers who hire out a TON of help. (We don’t have any female partners with spouses with their own careers, which may speak to the power of traditional gender roles on the home front.)

      Second, associates rarely have the benefit of a SAH spouse OR the income to hire out lots of help, which makes it that much harder to get to the top. Recently I was away for a 2-week trial with a male partner who has a working spouse. Over dinner our first night, I shared how hectic it had been for me to arrange things to be gone for so long (setting up dog walker to come multiple times a day while gone, getting 2 weeks of suits laundered, etc.) because my husband works insane hours and literally cannot manage the dog or any household tasks. The partner (who left 3 kids and a wife at home) said, “Oh, it was pretty easy for me. The nanny got my things together and she’s got her schedule with the kids down pat, they don’t even notice if I’m gone!” Later, I happened to mention how sick I was of take out, since in the weeks leading up to trial that was all I’d been eating, and he said, “I try to avoid take-out. Our chef has learned all of my wife’s favorite recipes, so we eat pretty healthfully every night.” What got to me wasn’t that he and his wife have all this help (that’s great!), but that he didn’t even acknowledge that it was rare to be able to afford such luxuries, and that many people (even biglaw associates with a working spouse) cannot. He just seemed to think it was normal and expected, and, like the first poster, was almost bragging about it.

      • Seconding D2. DH is a biglaw partner, I work FT (not biglaw hours), and we have 3 kids. I do a lot (LOT) of solo parenting, and handling pretty much everything relating to kids (dr appointments, camp sign-ups, sitter arrangements, apparel, school things, etc.), house, travel, etc.

        I feel like I have two FT jobs, and DH feels like he’s disadvantaged compared to his fellow partners (vast majority of which are men with SAH wives) because of the things he does do, family-obligation-wise. Provided his work allows it, he does mornings, tries not to work on weekends, and occasionally will pinch-hit if he can when we have an emergency (sick kid/no babysitter, for example). To me, that’s a help, but it often doesn’t come close to feeling like a major difference. And there are not infrequently times where he can’t do anything because of work/travel. To say nothing of the corollary consequences of one person working and one not: his coworkers all live in the HCOL suburbs, while we are in the even-higher HCOL city in an apartment because we couldn’t handle two people both doing a long commute and being that far from the kids during the day.

        Needless to say, it feels like we are in a perpetual state of triage. Every six months things get a little easier–our youngest is still a toddler–but man, it’s hard, hard, hard. I’m sure that it would be better in many ways if I just stayed at home, but I know that would likely end our marriage and make me a depressed, bitter, seriously unhappy person. The SAH option was never in the mix for us.

        We talk a lot about how DH’s main partner is basically not responsible for the kids/house stuff because his wife handles it all, and DH feel very anxious/stressed about having to do his own version of the juggle (again: my POV is that his juggle is pish-posh). I think it’s good for him, as a leader to younger partners/associates, to have to deal with this–one of my hobby horses is trying to normalize things (like, I usually tell work that I’m leaving for kid stuff, rather than avoiding that acknowledgment, because that is part of life and we are all have lives outside of work). I also think that giving one parent a pass on parenting–because s/he works so much and the other parent does all the parenting–lays the seeds for a not-great parental relationship with kids. And yes, we outsource a ton but again, there is a limit to that when kids are in the mix.

        No solutions, just commiseration, and hope that over time, there will be more people who have compassion/don’t judge and fewer people around making hurtful comments to others for their life choices. To say nothing of having a little compassion for someone who’s trying to keep all their balls (not just work) in the air.

  12. MAJOR VENT. My (long-distance) SO is dealing with a lot of unrelenting stress and crises related to his kids, his ex-wife, his parents, his ex in-laws, his job, pretty much everything. He internalizes it, can’t sleep, is exhausted, etc. This in turn stresses me out and upsets me because I hate that he is dealing with all of this. Me being stressed out and upset makes him feel worse. It completely disrupts the vibe of the relationship because we both are not ourselves. I also feel as though I can’t discuss things that pop up in my daily life which are not anywhere near as objectively significant as what he is dealing with because, well, perspective, right? I don’t want to add to his stress by complaining about things that seem silly in comparison to what he is dealing with, but then again, if I am upset about something, I want to at least tell him about it at some point because it’s what is happening in my life.

    I want to be supportive, but I am struggling with that because I have not yet been able to NOT get stressed hearing about his stress. He has now decided that it’s not worth it to share with me all of the details of what is going on because it’s not helpful to either of us. This is bad, obviously, because we want to be open and honest and share details of our lives with each other. He says he “loses” me after telling me about distressing things going on in his life in the sense that when I am stressed or upset, I often do not want to participate in $ex, which is one of the things that helps him destress.

    Honestly, his life is a clusterfuck right now. My life is very boring in comparison. I have never had kids, never been married before, and my daily life is easy breezy compared to his. I understand that I don’t fully comprehend the state of his life. He repeatedly tells me that I am the bright spot in his life right now that gets him through the really bad days. But then we will have conversations where he says he second guesses telling me the details because I get upset and time is lost when I get upset. I have a hard time reconciling being the bright spot and the love of his life, while I also am clearly causing him additional stress or angst because of what I view as a normal and reasonable reaction to a loved one going through really bad times. He recognizes that a lot is being asked of me, but then we have the same conversation about how his things affect me in negative ways and it just adds to his stress. Is it unreasonable for me to be getting stressed/upset when he tells me about the crap he is dealing with?

    I don’t know what I am asking for, or if I am asking for anything at all. I suppose I feel as though my life is not as important, my matters are not as important, and that there hasn’t been time for me to talk about even the little things that I have going on because his life is such a disaster. I am willing to wait out the storm (and there will be an end to what is going on right now at some point), but I don’t want to get lost in the storm. I recognize there is a time and a place for everything, and that me complaining about yet another animal I can’t save or whatever pales to the stress the SO is dealing with right now and that I need to be supportive and not complain about piddly things. But it’s exhausting and I feel as though because I can’t talk to him about it due to all the stuff he has going on it’s just piling up and I feel myself pulling away and not being as flirty and lovey as I used to be. The pulling away is also an issue because he feels, perhaps rightfully so, that things have changed and he point blank asked me if I wanted to be in a relationship with him two weeks ago. I absolutely do want to be, but it’s freaking HARD. The crap he is dealing with weighs on me, rightly or wrongly, and it makes it hard to be the happy chipper flirty partner even though that’s what he needs. UGGGGH.

    I am in therapy and will continue to discuss this. Perhaps I just needed to vent!

    • I feel you on this one – it’s actually a very sweet problem to have, that you and your SO care about each other so much that you are compounding each others’ stress by worrying about each others’ worrying. I have gone many rounds of this with my husband, especially early on in our relationship. We had a lot of conversations along the lines of, “Sweetie, it upsets me to see you cry like this…” “I’m s-s-s-sorrryy but I h-h-h-aate to see things be hard for youuuu!!”

      After getting caught frequently in this vicious cycle, we’ve finally basically reached a point where he lends a sympathetic ear to my problems, I lend a sympathetic ear to his problems, but we have to try very very hard not to take on the stress or anxiety of each others’ issues. I have found that this is actually easier when it can be done long distance – for a while, I literally had to distract myself by playing Candy Crush while he was on the phone telling me about his problems so that I didn’t dissolve into a tearful mess. Also, I basically had to repeat over and over to myself, “The thing I can do most to help is be strong. The thing I can do most to help is be strong.”

      I think he might have the right idea about not sharing all the details if it upsets you. Not because he’s trying to keep things from you or have a closed off relationship, but just because it sounds like he needs to do whatever he can to get through this, and talking with you makes things worse for him, not better.

      So, good luck and don’t worry too much. Both of you sound like you’re coming from the right place of caring about each other a lot! It’s a tough time in your relationship. Keep up with the therapy and try to be sensitive to his needs, and maybe see if you can find other add’l sympathetic ears to lean on.

    • First Year Anon :

      Is the situation improving at all, or is he just in a constant state of complaining? If i saw improvement i would stick it out, but if this seems to be his MO, then it might not be a relationship worth investing in. Some people ALWAYS have drama going on, whether it is valid drama or not is not all that relevant- I wouldn’t’ want to be with someone who is always stressed.

      • It’s not a constant state. Things were great for a good long time and there have been bright points even during the recent mess. There are things that will be changing in the next week or so that will greatly alleviate the stress and angst. The last week or so has been the roughest ever. When we are together, he makes it 100% us time and he’s not stressed at all. I do believe that this is a rough patch that will pass.

    • I could have written this except that my long distance SO is refusing to open up about anything except the most basic of details. He cuts himself off when he is about to share something and then says “I’m fine” when I ask him to go ahead and continue.

      I’m doing my best to stay positive, not tell him any of the negative/sad stuff that is going on in MY life right now, and generally give him distance since he doesn’t want to talk and we are in different states so I cannot even hug him. I didn’t even get a card from him for Christmas and he forgot my birthday too. He has called me once in the last 2 weeks. I’m wondering if I should just assume it is over between us.

      • Anonymous :

        Srsly ladies do we need a self-esteem intervention? For starters, dude sounds married. Also no, don’t hang back and assume you are over. Call him and tell him he sucks, has been mean, and you’ve over it and don’t want to hear from him again. Then, block his number.

    • Anonymous :

      Why on EARTH are you dating him?!? Break up!! Like, immediately. He does not have the time or energy to give you the attention you deserve. In therapy, discuss why you feel being in a relationship with someone who is incapable of dealing with his own life is appealing.

      Maybe he’s an awesome guy, but as a boyfriend right now he sucks.

      • Senior Attorney :

        My comment is in moderation, but… this.

        • First Year Anon :

          I agree. People need to present in order to be in a real relationship. Sounds like he doesn’t have the capacity to be in a relationship at this moment in time.

        • the voice of bitter experience :

          + 1000

          It sounds like he is getting both sex and a free place to vent from this relationship, whilst you… get to talk about it with your therapist?

          Unless this relationship is doing a lot more for you than you say in your post, perhaps slow it down with him and look for single men to date in your local area (because, for a start, going on IRL dates is a better way to know someone and a lot more fun than hanging on the end of a phone…)

    • Senior Attorney :

      Oy vey. Why on earth would you volunteer for this kind of relationship? Sad to say, the drama with the ex and the kids will almost certainly never go away. Why would you pick somebody whose life is a clusterfuck?

      You will never be the most important thing in his life. You may well be the brightest spot in his life, but you will never be front and center the way his kids/ex/clusterfuckedness are front and center. Is that what you want?

      You deserve better than to be relegated to the role of “perky supportive person with problems of her own that pale into insignificance and therefore don’t deserve any air time in the relationship.”

      Seriously.

      What does your therapist say?

      • Anonymous :

        Thisssssssss. And he’s long distance so you’re not even getting regular banging. He’s basically a really high drama pen pal not a boyfriend.

      • Totally agree. It seems harsh but really he doesn’t have the headspace or emotional energy for you right now. You’re not a well where he can just dump all his bad feelings. It doesn’t sound like there’s been a time in your relationship when it hasn’t been like this. It’s one thing if you have a long term relationship and one person has a period of total chaos. Then you support, support, support (while also doing what you need to keep yourself going and healthy) with the expectation that you’ll need support down the line somewhere. (The concept of a bank where you have to make deposits to make withdrawals is helpful.) But this seems completely one-way. If time passes and he gets his life in order and is in a place where he can have a girlfriend, and you’re available (not because you were waiting but because it just worked out that way) then you can give it another go. But this does not seem like the time for him to be in a relationship.

      • Thank you all for your input! The relationship certainly has not always been this way and there are things that will occur within the next week or two that will alleviate a good bit of this clusterF. He has said this has been the worst month of his life and it’s only been rocky for us within the last week or two as he kept me separate from a lot of the drama earlier in the month. In fact, when I visited earlier this month, we had an awesome time and there was no stress and he was relaxed. When we are together he is 100% present and he makes a good amount of time for me every day even when I am not physically with him. We speak several times a day, email, text, the whole 9. Now that said, I understand the difference between interacting and being present, and certainly have thought about whether he is capable of truly being in a relationship at the moment.

        All good things to think about. Thank you!

  13. Oh my gosh, I just discovered the drunk j crew tumblr. I’m in stitches here.

    Sherlonk. Homes.

  14. What would you do if a friend said “The bridesmaid dress costs $X, I know it’s high, feel free to give me part or none of that, whatever’s in your budget.” And would it affect how much you give as a gift? If it matters, she’s my best friend and she was in my wedding (and paid for her bridesmaid dress, but it cost about $100 less than this one).

    • Wildkitten :

      I would pay for the dress and buy her a present if I could do so in my budget. I’d buy the dress well before the wedding and buy the present a bit after to spread them out across my budgets.

      • Wildkitten :

        If you can’t afford the dress and she can afford to pay for yours, then do that option. Or something in the middle. I think this is a you-and-your-budget question, not a good survey question.

      • Well, I can literally afford to buy the dress and give the amount (she wants cash) that I was planning to give as a gift, in the sense that my family and I will not go without food or electricity or anything like that. But the combined cost of dress + gift is about 1/2 of our typically monthly discretionary spending, so it would certainly involve cutting a lot of fun things out of our budget for a while. Maybe that’s the price of being a bridesmaid, though. Her parents are paying for the wedding so they would pay for the bridesmaid’s dress, not her, which is why I was kind of wondering if it would be ok to a offer less for the dress so I can give more in the gift (which goes to her and her husband, not her parents, obviously). Her parents are much wealthier than me, so obviously they can afford the dress much better than I can, but I realize it is traditional for bridesmaids to pay for their own dresses.
        I’m not concerned about timing. I know spreading it out makes it better psychologically but it’s the same amount of money regardless.

        • Killer Kitten Heels :

          Personally, I’d give her whatever you would have spent on the dress if you’d been given input into the budget. So basically, if you would’ve been willing to spend $200 on a dress, and she picked one that costs $350, give her $200. (And honestly, I find it a little bit rude on her part to have picked a dress without asking the bridesmaids about budget, but if she’s willing to pay for the dresses – or her parents are – then I guess it’s a little less bad, although it still kind of puts you in the awkward position of having to decide how much to give her.)

    • Ugh, if she was a close friend and there were a number of other bridesmaids, I might point out to her that she’s putting people in a weird spot even if she’s trying to be helpful. Either pay for them and pick what you want, or don’t pay for them and be considerate of people’s budgets. This is like trying to have it all ways, especially since you’re not paying or not paying her, but her parents, which is even a weirder spot to be in.

      • Anonymous :

        I’d tell her she was being weird, say what my dress budget is, and give her less of a gift. I do not need or want her parents charity and don’t care if she gets less of a gift from me because she neglected to ask me my budget. UGH.

      • Anonymous :

        Yeah, it’s just such a weird, awkward position. I wasn’t necessarily expecting her to ask me what my budget was (and now realize I should have done that for my own bridesmaids — oops. To be fair, I was the first of my friends to get married and the dress was on the cheaper side), but this whole “pay what you want” thing just seems so weird. The idea that some other bridesmaids might get their dresses for free or discounted, while I pony up for the whole thing, really annoys me. If it were pro-rated by income or something, that would be fine (although weird) but for all I know some super wealthy bridesmaid isn’t paying because she’s cheap. But at the same time, the bride is a very good friend and this isn’t completely out of the realm of what I figured I might have to pay for the dress, so maybe it’s easier to just pay for 100% and not cause drama.

        It’s also less than two months before the wedding and this is the first she mentioned about paying for the dress. She’s mentioned them a lot but never anything about payment so I assumed that her family was covering them. Ugh.

        • lawsuited :

          I think you ought to contribute at least what she paid for her bridesmaid’s dress in your wedding towards your bridesmaid’s dress in her wedding, and let her cover the difference, seeing as she’s obviously budgeted for that in light of the expensive dress she’s chosen. Then give her the wedding gift you usually would have.

        • anonymama :

          This sounds… a little obnoxious that you’re worried about what other bridesmaids are paying and how much money they have. Would you really rather have it be pro-rated by income? What, like all the bridesmaids submit their tax returns so she can adjust for the poors? It seems like she is trying to do that in an actual tactful, kind way, by letting people know they can pay what they want to. I would assume that the bridesmaids are friends, and in good faith they are giving her whatever they are comfortable paying for a bridesmaids dress. And if not, whatever, that’s really none of your business and I don’t know why you would even be concerned. It sounds like you could pay the entire amount but don’t really want to, so that’s something that you just need to figure out on your own. I don’t think it matters that much either way, why are you making it into such drama?

    • Brunette Elle Woods :

      All I know is I want to be your friend’s friend! An understanding bride is amazing!!! As for paying for the dress and a gift, do what you can! I would definitely give her some sort of meaningful gift that doesn’t have to be expensive.

      • Anonymous :

        Ummmm it’s not actually “understanding” to not ask a budget, pick an expensive dress, and not mention payment until 2 months pre wedding.

        • lawsuited :

          But it is understanding to see that asking for payment 2 months beforehand might put people out and offering to pay the difference (or the entire cost) to mitigate that.

        • Brunette Elle Woods :

          I didn’t see the 2 months pre wedding in the original post so I did not have that information. Regardless, some brides except their bridal party to pay for the entire dress and all other expenses despite their financial situation. A bride that offers to pay for the dress or a portion of the dress is great. The bride gets to have bridesmaids wearing the dress she wants and the bridesmaids are not blowing their entire discretionary income on a dress they likely won’t wear again. Furthermore, she didn’t say just give be half. She said give what you can and I’ll cover the difference.

    • Wildkitten :

      How would you feel about going halfsies on the dress? That seems like a good option.

    • Anonymous :

      Is it really a thing to ask your bridesmaids what their budget is and stay within that? I’ve been in three weddings and it’s always been: “Here’s the dress, please buy it.” But none of the dresses were more than $250, so the brides were all sticking to a fairly modest budget I guess.

      • Killer Kitten Heels :

        I’ve never not been asked budget, at least in some way – either a straight-up “what’s your price range,” or a more roundabout “here are some links to dresses I am considering, what do you think?” Also bridesmaid dress picking seems more collaborative in my circle – the bride goes with a few or most or all of the bridal party to a store and the dress kind of gets picked by committee. I know one bride who did the whole dictator thing, and while her bridesmaids bought the specified dress, there were many and varied grumblings about the lack of input. I wonder if this is regional, or if my social circle happens to have created some kind of “bridesmaid norm” that isn’t actually the norm at all.

  15. I have literally hundreds of dollars of Amazon packages to return (mostly clothing I bought during the pre-holiday sale). Just sorted through some of the labels on my lunch. Somebody remind me to never do this again.

    • I just returned all my business. Ugh.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Oh, man, I feel you.

      I ordered a ton of clothing on Cyber Monday for my son for Christmas. We had a marathon trying-on session a few days before Christmas and then, bless him, he kept me company while I boxed up all the returns. I swear I would have been totally incapable of doing it on my own.

  16. Any advice on what you’d do as far as a Nordstrom Exchange goes?

    I got a Le Pliage tote two Christmases ago, and the zipper broke and the bottom corner tore this past July. It was bought as a gift from Nordstrom, but I don’t have the receipt or gift receipt. Would I be able to exchange it for a new one without a receipt or anything indicating it had been purchased there? I know Nordstrom’s has excellent customer service, but I’m wondering if I’m pushing my luck. I really want it replaced before I get on a flight tomorrow, so I just want to know the likelihood of it being replaced before I go out of my way to get to the store.

    TIA!

    • Wildkitten :

      They can look up the receipt if you know the name of who bought it and you know it came from Nordys.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m not sure they can look up a purchase that old. I think your best bet is to call your local Nordstrom and explain the situation and see what they say.

  17. Cold Feet :

    Winter has finally hit in the South (kind of anyway – it was in the 50’s yesterday and windy). After hoping for some holiday-ish weather for weeks, I’m miserable now that my feet are perpetually cold. Looking for recommendations for some warm socks. Will wear them under boots so don’t have to be business-appropriate. All they seem to sell in our stores is cotton.

    PS. Don’t hate me. It’s sweltering for about 9 months where I live.

  18. About 15 years ago, our families agreed that instead of giving gifts, we would donate the money that we would’ve spent on presents, to a charity. My brother’s family buys goats and chickens for an impoverished community in Africa. The chickens provide the community with eggs and the goats provide milk year-round. His wife grew up in South Africa where poverty was widespread. The rest of us donate money to the local food bank or soup kitchen. We decided to do this to destress the Christmas season and to teach our children the importance of sharing and helping others. To further destress the holidays, my husband and I and our two kids take this opportunity to travel. We returned a couple days ago from an 8-day cruise in the Caribbean. Christmas Day was a sea day and our biggest stress was whether to order the steak, the lobster, or both for Christmas dinner. In previous years, we’ve spent Christmas in Europe, Disney, New York, and laying on a beach in the Caribbean while someone brings me a drink. I recognize this type of Christmas isn’t for everyone since Christmas means different things to different people, but I love the Christmas season because it means vacation!

  19. Manager Gal :

    Hiring question for those of you who are reading:

    I’m ~10 months into a new role and part of my job has been to reformulate and build a team. Some members of the team are current employees, and some folks (seeing the writing on the wall) have left so I have a few hires to make. No firing yet.

    I have an important position to fill on my team and, in the first round of hiring this summer went (against my instincts) with my second choice candidate. He did not work out, and left the organization of his own accord about 8 weeks into his hire. It was a good thing, as I was going to have to institute a performance plan for him if he stuck around.

    So now I’m trying to make this hire again, and in the past — whenever I’ve hired someone who turned out to be an awesome employee — I’ve “known it” in my gut that that person was The One. Just had a good feeling, whatever. We have a candidate who has the skills and experience for the job, and my boss has met him and likes him…but I just do NOT. I know that on paper he can do the work — and in fact he brings many skills/strengths to the table that my team lacks — but he doesn’t have a good sense of self-awareness (i.e. talks a lot) and his self-presentation is…off. He also has a spotty work history — this is in an industry with fairly high turnover, but he’s currently “consulting” for himself and has had 1-2 jobs with a time lag in between due to being let go.

    I’m trying to decide if my picking apart this candidate is because (1) I’m exhausted by this huge new job and all the work I’m doing to reformulate my department, (2) I’m gun-shy because the first hire didn’t work out (although I knew that was going to be the case), or (3) he’s really not the right person for the job. I just keep telling myself to wait until I find The One (as indicated by that great gut feeling). Any advice to sort through this and figure out which way is up?

    • You know the right thing to do. Don’t hire him, and go out and find the right candidate.

    • Basically Splash :

      How hard has it been to fill this role, so far? When you were first looking, was it tough to find people? Is it a really niche skillset, like a Purple Squirrel as recruiters say?

      I work in recruiting, and while I understand why the hiring managers want what they want, it’s very frustrating when someone wants someone with a very specific skill set and there’s a tiny talent pool in the area, and when we finally find an awesome candidate who’s interested, the hiring manager ends up rejecting them for personality reasons AND THEN gets frustrated with *us* when the role still hasn’t been filled 6 months from when it was opened. At some point, you need to re-evaluate your priorities. If personality is important, and you’re looking for that gut feeling that they’re The person you want on your team, you may need to consider lowering the bar in terms of skills or experience and be willing to train someone.

      TL;DR, figure out if it’s more important to find a perfect personality match, or find someone who’s perfectly suited skill-wise and can hit the ground running, because depending on how challenging the role is to hire for, you may not be able to have both.

      • So, thanks to both of you who replied — and this is great advice, to consider skills vs culture. I do think the candidate has the necessary skills but I worry about his employment history demonstrating that he’s not going to be around long (has jumped around some and has resume gaps, all explainable but still…). Personality and cultural fit are also an important part of working in this role — collaborative teamwork and all that jazz.

        I’m looking for someone who’s a great writer with strong attention to detail — things I do not believe are teachable. I do think people can improve on these skill sets but that some of it has to be inherent.

        Sigh. So torn. Going to look at the resume stack one more time.

        • Weird. Just noticed my original question posted under a screen name I’ve never used before! That first question was me…

    • Anonymous :

      Don’t hire. Been there, done that. Also been there and did NOT do that. But as the HR person above mentioned, you’re probably going to have to do a lot of legwork to get your unicorn. I had to wait an extra 6 months and dredge my network 3x to get the candidate I ended up hiring. She’s fabulous and worth the wait.

  20. Feeling frumpy in Boston :

    Guys,

    I am just starting my second trimester of pregnancy and have entered the stage of needing maternity clothes but I am having a lot of difficulty figuring out what basics I really need. I got a good pair of maternity jeans and a few t-shirts but I am at a loss for work clothing. I usually wear a lot suits and sheath dresses but can’t seem to figure out what to do now. I was going to order the Loft scuba maternity dress but just realized it is sold out. Does anyone have any suggestions for things they have recently purchased? I checked out Kat’s list but hate not getting recent product reviews. Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

    • Anon in NYC :

      Going to a physical store (A Pea in the Pod / Destination Maternity) really helped for my conservative business casual biglaw office. I typically wear dresses/skirts to work because pants do not often work for me, and found that maternity pants were a godsend and I preferred them to skirts/dresses. They were so comfortable. I got 2 pairs and a bunch of tops and wore those basically on repeat. I also found a few dresses there that were work appropriate. A plain black skirt (similar to the one Kat featured yesterday) was good in the early days. If you go to the actual store, be sure to also check out the sale racks.

      • Feeling frumpy in Boston :

        Hi Anon in NYC, thank you for the post! Do you recall the brands and style information of these items? I spent over an hour at the Destination Maternity near me and the only pair of work pants I found were incredibly itchy and cheap looking. Not sure if the one near me just has bad stock. Thanks!

        • Anon in NYC :

          I’ve boxed up most of them and they’re at my in-laws place, but based solely on a quick look at their website, I think the brand for pants was either Secret Fit or their eponymous line. The price looks to be around $88-$98, which sounds right to me. I went to a combined A Pea in the Pod and Destination Maternity, and I think that A Pea in the Pod had brands like Seraphine (loved the dresses), Isabella Oliver (same. you can find both body con and non-body con items), BCBG (had a great top from them), etc. So if you can find a Pea in the Pod (or a combined store), that might be helpful. The pants definitely looked cheaper than my normal work pants (and unlined in the winter!) but I figured that they were only going to be worn for a short period of time.

    • I had a lot of luck with Loft maternity pants – they fit for the second half of the second trimester through post-partum. I purchased some staple colors (perhaps something that would coordinate with any blazers you currently have?) and then some basic tops that would be on high rotation. The Loft pants were machine washable and they held up through heavy wear.
      I chose to make a capsule wardrobe in black and white and then just used accessories to work through everything else. It did get boring towards the end, but it was also nice to not have to go through pregnancy fog to figure out what to wear.

    • Third trimester here! I’m on the more petite side (5’2”), and I have had a lot of luck with Seraphine dresses, which I regularly wear to work and am complimented on. They sell some at A Pea in the Pod, but mostly, I shopped online. (From what I recall, Seraphine’s US website offers free shipping/returns, and Amazon Prime carries some of their dresses as well.) Congratulations!

  21. Hi. So I was wondering if there was something about you that annoyed you. Just curious. I’ll start – I really hate that I’m late all the time (I just have no concept of time) and that I’m not self-motivated. Really, these traits of mine drive me up the wall (and through some, SMASH).

    • Anonymous :

      I hate how guarded I am. I don’t like people until I’ve known them at least several months. Which makes dating a challenge.

      • I share this one. I take a while to warm to someone in that way, which is why I’ve typically ended up going out with friends.

      • Brunette Elle Woods :

        Same! My current colleagues have commented that I was very quite at first and it took me a few months to open up. Other than that, I hate how self-conscious I can be and I agonize over situations for far too long.

    • Senior Attorney :

      OMG I feel like I am super annoying! I am often Too Big for the Room. I am an over-sharer. And I sometimes get too busy and things slip through the cracks, which drives me insane.

    • Anonymous :

      I get nervous around new people so I ramble on and on about annoying topics (anything to fill the time!) and I’m sure give off a horrible first impression. Then I beat myself up about it and am too embarrassed to go back to that group or try a new one, so it becomes a self-fulfilling cycle where I don’t get the repetition to not be so weird.

      (To cover my bases, yes, I’m in therapy. There is no one to DTMFA.)

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Interesting question!

      I can be really lazy. For example, if I need to leave the house during the weekend, I’d better make sure that I do anything else I want while I’m out because once I get home and put my sweats on I’m not getting out the door again. Just this past weekend we got home from out of town and were debating what to get to eat. We live near an awesome Thai restaurant but since we had all our stuff with us we didn’t want to stop. But once we got home I didn’t want to leave again so we ordered Seamless.

      Related, I HATE using the phone. Hence, ordering Seamless instead of the awesome Thai because they only take orders by phone. (My husband shares this aversion)

    • (1) I am somehow incapable of running on time (especially when I have kids in tow), and being on time is super important to me. It drives me batty! Maybe I am just overly optimistic about how long it takes to get ready, drive places, get kids into car or whatever?
      (2) I do not ask for help, even when I desperately need it. I think its genetic (raised by a single mom).

    • lawsuited :

      I really dislike that I’m so bossy and overbearing. I try to be reign it in, but if I’m not paying attention pretty soon I’m telling everyone how to live their life. Like, I do it because I care about people and about relatively small things like “you MUST have your birthday dinner at this new restaurant – it’s the absolute best”, or “you have to try this face mask immediately” or “yikes! that car you’re considering buying has had 4 safety recalls in the last 18 months”, but how annoying must it be to know me? Extremely.

    • Anonymous :

      It bothers me that I a) seem to have no will-power and b) am kind of lazy (and they kind of relate to each other). So, I’ll say “yes, I’m going to cook my dinner and work out and really commit to it” but then I get home from work and I feel super worn down, so I say “oh, I’ll just have some of this Wheat Thins” and then suddenly the whole box is gone.

      But that’s something I’m going to try to work on for 2016.

    • It bothers me that I a) seem to have no will-power and b) am kind of lazy (and they kind of relate to each other). So, I’ll say “yes, I’m going to cook my dinner and work out and really commit to it” but then I get home from work and I feel super worn down, so I say “oh, I’ll just have some of this Wheat Thins” and then suddenly the whole box is gone.

      But that’s something I’m going to try to work on for 2016.

    • Oooh, interesting question!

      – Sometimes instead of being a good listener, I play devil’s advocate and try to refocus the person’s sadness and inadvertently make them feel as though I am diminishing their concerns/sadness/feelings. I am getting better about this, but I still do it on occasion and it’s not very nice.

      – I get really gun shy when I upset someone (even if that person 100% forgives me and it’s all good per them) and I never, ever forget it. It’s a problem.

    • I procrastinate (ugh ugh ugh). I overanalyze. The two are completely related.
      I can also be a fuddy duddy. goal for 2016 – LIGHTEN UP and have fun :)

  22. Posting because I need some support. I’ve been trying to find a new job for months in a niche field in which I have several years of experience. My co-workers are very unprofessional and the work is an uphill battle due to firm procedures that are not industry standard. I love this industry but would like to try it in a different environment preferably with more room for advancement but positions rarely open up. I’m so discouraged and depressed and I’m already on an anti-depressant. I look all the time and think that if i could just find one job to apply for I would feel better. How do you stay upbeat? I’m trying to network but my boss won’t let me attend the local group of professionals that meet periodically although I’m part of the LinkedIn group. I’m also not allowed to post or correspond with that group. I feel so stuck in an impossible situation.

  23. 1) if you’re looking for last minute charitable giving opportunities, donors choose DOT org contributions are being matched dollar for dollar by the Gates foundation, up to $500 with code SNOWFLAKE. Many teachers’ requests expire 12/31 if not funded by then. It’s easy to search by zip code or city to find requests in your community.

    2) I’m looking for veggie based finger food suggestions to go with an all-appetizer dinner. Basically something that makes us all feel we’ve had our veggies for the meal, I’m just bored with crudités.

    • AttiredAttorney :

      Caprese Salad Bites
      Proscuitto or phyllo wrapped grilled asparagus spears
      Zucchini “sushi” rolls (check pinterest for directions)
      Roasted brussel sprouts served on a platter with toothpicks and a ranch dipping sauce
      Roasted winter veggies of many kinds (carrots, sweet potatoes, sweet onions) served room temp with toothpicks

      I actually do love a crudite platter, but do an “amped up” version – carrots, celery, brccolli and the usual veggie tray sustpects, but also mini persian cucumbers sliced lengthwie, a handful of french green beans presented upright in a short glass, those mini sweet peppers in bright colors, grape tomatoes in many colors, etc. Served with a big bowl of hummus and homemade ranch (ranch seasoning packet and two small containers plain greek yogurt). Increasing the variety of the veggies helps a lot!

    • Thanks for the tip about the Gates match. I found a project at a low income elementary school in my area and was able, with the Gates match, to complete the full amount the teacher had requested for her project.

  24. Party food :

    Seeking party food tips! I’m having 15-20 people over for NYE, and will be providing snacks. So far I have:
    -prosciutto-wrapped dates (with mascarpone cheese)
    -mozarella/basil/tomato small skewers
    -baked brie
    -meatballs
    -chips and dips

    Any other recommendations? Extra bonus for stuff I can prepare ahead of time.

    • nuts
      chicken liver pate with cornichons, mustard, and toasts
      antipasti platter
      crudite platter

    • AttiredAttorney :

      What about dessert?!

    • I did brie with a sour cherry jam on top and it was delicious. Also, carrots, celery, grape tomatoes, blanched green beans and pita chips with hummus. Buy some frozen mini quiches. Easy peasy. I’ve also bought stuffed grape leaves from a local Middle Eastern restaurant for parties like that.

  25. Fur coat talk: I live in Florida, my mom had a mink coat from when it was in fashion and when we lived in New York, she’s passed away now and it’s been in fur storage.

    Thinking about trying to sell it. I can’t imagine I’d get anything trying to sell it here. Anyone know of a resale shop up north that might take it?

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      I don’t know if you are still reading, but if you send me a picture of your fur coat I might buy it.

  26. Charmed Girl :

    Happy Share!

    I’m recovering from abdominal surgery and expect I’ll get the clearance to go back to work within the next week. I need to limit the weight I lift to under 10 pounds.

    As a way to cheer myself up, I wanted a new lightweight nylon bag. Not too big (have an OMG), and wanted a color other than black (have an ancient Le Pliage). Was looking at a charcoal gray Le Pliage, but decided to get an MZ Wallace Chelsea tote. I’m so happy I did!

    With the after Christmas sale it was the same price as the Le Pliage. But, I love all the pockets, the wristlet, and the additional strap.

    It will be perfect for carrying my laptop and the few other things I’ll need to schlep back and forth.

    • Wildkitten :

      You might also consider getting a rolling bag if you find out your back is over 10 lbs. Then you can pick stuff out of it without having to pick up the bag.

      • Wildkitten :

        But – that is so awesome that you got the MZ Wallace at such a great price. It’s like a push present to yourself :-) (I mean that in the nicest way. You should treat yo’self to acknowledge recovery from something major.

  27. Charmed Girl :

    Ha ha Wildkitten. Not a kiddo, but I’m always happy to treat my (yo) self!

    I considered a rollie bag, but would have to lift it out of my car, etc. and realized that it wouldn’t quite work for that reason.

    Not sure how long the sale is going on, but if anyone is in the market for an MZ Wallace, it’s worth swinging by their website to see if anything strikes your fancy.

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