Another 10 Sales to Check Out…

The sales just keep getting better… in addition to the ones I rounded up yesterday, here are some other ones going on:

– Piperlime: 40% off at the Twice-Yearly Lime Tag sale
– Rent the Runway: Up to 90% off dresses (with delivery by NYE)
– ShopBop: Amazing sales, including Alexander Wang, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch, Diane von Furstenberg, and more
– J.Crew: An extra 20% off the final sale with code MUSTSHOP
– LOFT: 40% off + free shipping with code SHOP40
– Madewell: 40% off sale + free shipping on orders over $100
– Smart Bargains – 75% off at the Year End Clearance Sale
– Amazon: Great year-end deals
– – up to 70% off
– ASOS: Up to 50% off

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  1. is there a website that will help me figure out whether making a $2500 tax deductible payment on something will make a financial difference? Not sure whether to scrape together the $ before the new year or if it won’t make a difference if I pay it after.

    • You have to know youre margeinal tax rate, and then see if taking it down by $2.5K will take you down to the lower margeinal rate, but even if it does not, you will still pay tax on $2500 less income, and if you are in NYC and you have any meaneingful income, that should translate into at least a cash flow saveings of about $10K, or 40% after Fed, State and NYC taxes are considered.

      I was NOT the #1 person in Corporete Tax for NOTHING! and I Dated Fooey man Alan, a CPA. As he used to say, go for it, woman, you have the POWER!!!!!!

      • I made about 45k this year, donated approx. 5k to charities (have receipts), put 5k into a Roth IRA (if that matters), 1k in interest in student loans. I think that might be it that matters for taxes… not sure how to figure out if the 2.5k will make a difference for me.

        Coming up with 2.k would be a hardship for sure so I don’t want to do it if it makes no difference but if it’ll really make a difference on my taxes, I’ll figure out how.

        • It sounds like you are trying to figure out whether you should itemize or go with the standard deduction for your taxes.

          I think Turbo Tax and H&R block both of have refund estimators (I googled “tax return estimator 2012”) that me be a good place to start. Or a tax calculator. Efile seems to have one that looks helpful (no endorsements – just a quick google search).

          • The standard deduction for 2011 for a single person is $5,800. Is this $2,500 another Sch. A deduction (i.e., more charitable contributions, taxes, etc?) Or is it something else? If you only have $5,000 of Sch. A deductions, you are not getting any tax benefit for your charitable contributions.

          • will try those, thanks…

            (The $2500 for school is a specific deduction for NY state residents)

  2. (separating questions so it’s easier to respond)

    Anyone have tips on finding side work I can do from home? I have experience as a professional writer, editor, researcher, and read very fast. Am going to be staying home with the pup for a while but a bit of side income would sure be nice.

    • another anon :

      My mother does typing at home, but it’s a PITA. She’s always chasing people around for money.

      • where does she even find these jobs? why doesn’t she collect before giving them the work?

        • another anon :

          Contacts she made over the years call her when they need a typist or forms prepared. Small law firms she does work for often have cash flow problems so she says it’s OK to pay later (grr! Mom!).

    • Craigslist? Also I seem to recall you are a social worker – if you worked with kids, is a site where people look for nannies/babysitters, which would earn you some cash.

      For your other question, try Mint or LearnVest.

      • good memory… my business cards list me as “licensed social worker, writer, educator, public speaker, activist” all of which I’ve done professionally (why choose just one thing, right?! lol) Will try those sites, thanks, E!

        • I’ve heard of people using with some sucess. No personal experience.

          • I’ve heard good things about E-lance as well, but when I tried, I could never really figure out how to make it work in any way that would be worth it. But it’s probably still worth checking out. Good luck.

            Kat, if you’re reading, this would make a really good post topic.

    • my ex-husband did a fair amount of consulting when he was between jobs. He did writing and editing for a fairly large foundation. They didn’t have a large staff so they needed extra people when they had projects going on. It also led to referrals for other things.

    • Yo K, I have about 150 or so novels I always meant to sell but never got around to doing it (I’m guessing they’d fetch around $1-$2 each). Wanna sell them? You get to keep 100% of the profit. I just feel insanely guilty holding on to them and stupid for giving them away for free when really, I’m the moron holding on to hundreds of novels I’m never gonna read again.

    • My dad builds websites for small businesses. He finds his clients via Basically, you bid on projects.

    • I think there are boards (other than Craigslist) where people post small projects they need help with (often I think involving research & writing), and contractors can bid on them. Sorry, I forget what they’re called, but googling around might lead you to them. It’s part of the general out-sourcing movement…

      Also, maybe you could be a ‘personal assistant’ via a website that offers the same? Again, I think many of the tasks require research/ writing/ collecting quotes for service X/ staying on hold with Comcast or whatever, so you wouldn’t have to leave your pup.

    • Try Google > About Google > Jobs > US > Multiple Locations > Customer Support > Ads Quality Rater (especially if you read a foreign language and know much about the culture). I did this on the side for about a year to make extra cash. It’s through a temp agency – there was no interview or anything just an offer, some paperwork and then assignments. It’s sort of mindless; you are really just checking out potential Google ads and their links. It was easy to do while watching TV or a movie, but it did require a bit of grammar/editing knowledge to catch mistakes. Good luck!

    • I did editing (primarily for ESL students) and some tutoring/presentation prep while I was in med school. I set up a tutoring-related gmail account and posted flyers with services offered and contact info on local college campuses (sometimes included rates, never my name). It worked out well – charged ~$35/hr and never had an issue getting paid. Could have set it up via PayPal and then never have had to meet editing clients in person.

    • WorkingGirl :

      Check out TaskRabbit.

  3. If you have editing experience using APA format, you may be able to edit for dissertations / theses. Might contact local universities for more information or to get on a list. I have heard editing can pay $6-10 a page, depending on your skill set.

  4. There’s an article in today’s WSJ regarding the Clarisonic and other similar products. My dad actually found it and brought it out for the family to read.

    • I just got my mia! So freaking excited. Not even sure why. It’s charging as we speak (or, rather, type). Instructions say to charge full 24 hours before first use, so trying to contain my anticipation. Will attempt to gratify my excitement by reading the WSJ article in the meantime. Thanks, Bunkster and Bunkster’s dad :)

      • Anonymous :

        Mine came on Christmas eve! Not sure if I’m imagining it but I swear I’m seeing/feeling results already!!!

        • Its not your imagination. I noticed results after one day of use. Its amazing. My skin is remarkably clearer, cleaner and brighter.

        • Ballerina Girl :

          Ooh which one? The Clarisonic? Or the Olay Pro-x?

          • Anonymous :

            I want one but need to figure out the outlet situation. They are so much cheaper in the US but I am afraid I will blow the charger if I try and use it with an adapter in the UK. Anyone have advice?

          • As long as you have the proper adaptor you should be fine.

          • Anon, it will work with an adaptor but it’s simple enough to change the plug.

          • Anonymous :

            I went w the Mia – cashed in some birchbox points and used their $20 off a $75+ purchase coupon code (bblove – good through the end of the month) with free shipping so it was actually a decent price – totally worth it!

  5. if I can’t brag here, where can I brag… thanks to yesterday morning’s excellent discounts at NM (50% off sale price), I came home with $2700-worth of merchandise for $790. Excited to wear my new outfits but with the limited population in the office this week I think they’ll have to wait to make a debut :)

  6. AnonInfinity :

    Does anyone here subscribe to the Harvard Business Review?

    The online version is $20 more than the print version. Does anyone know what the “online only” content is and whether it’s worth the extra?

    • Alan had a supscription to this magazine, and I NEVER looked at it, so I would VOTE that it is NOT worth it. FOOEY!

      Mabye if you get it ONLINE, you can access it from an IPHONE, then it would be better, b/c you would not have to wait for it to come in the MAIL.

      Otherwise, I say just get PEOPLE magazine. I will read that.

    • phillygirlruns :

      my husband gets the HBR. no idea on the additional content, but for me, the extra $20/yr is worth it just to not have to throw out four thousand paper magazines after he’s done reading them.

    • This was a marketing case study, to encourage people to sign up for both print and online.

  7. Anonamouse :

    I posted a while back about balancing work and a potential baby – thank you all for your advice. Last Wednesday, we got a (somewhat unexpected) positive pregnancy test! We had decided to TTC in January but were careless during a time I did not think was in my ovulation window early this month, and viola! Baby time!
    My husband is absolutely over the moon, but, despite really wanting kids, I’ve been on a spectrum of freaked out, excited, happy, and cranky over all the things I’ll miss over the next nine months. Is this normal?? I feel so terribly guilty for feeling anything less than 100% thrilled at this time.

    • Congratulations! I’m not there yet, but when I think about what it will be like, I’m pretty sure that that freaked out thing and feeling down about what you’ll miss is normal. I know that I would/will feel that way!

    • Don’t feel guilty! Its a time of huge change, and I think its completely okay not to be 100% thrilled – there’s a lot of things to get use to. It always takes me a little bit of time to get used to big changes in plans. It sounds like this was something you were open to, but a bit surprised by the timing, so I think you’ll even out emotionally (as much as you can with the hormones) with a little bit of time. I think its okay to let yourself grieve a bit for all those things you won’t be doing – just as long as you acknowledge the good things that are happening too.


    • When pregnancy and children are concerned, it’s always normal to freak out a little bit. My big freak-outs came later on during my first pregnancy, when I realized- Holy, CRAP, this baby has to come out of me and it is going to hurt. Like a lot! But, as they say, it really is all worth it.


    • Congratulations!! I absolutely think that’s normal. My baby is now 3 1/2 months old and when I first found out I was pregnant (the first month we were TTC) I felt the same mix of emotions you did. I think my very first thought was “OMG we’re not ready!” It’s scary because everything is so new and you have no idea what’s going to happen and how your pregnancy/labor are going to go. As nona said, it may take some time to get used to all the changes that are going to come, but I have no doubt you’ll get more excited the farther along into your pregnancy you get, especially when you first hear the baby’s heartbeat or see the first ultrasound pictures. And, as elz said, it is all absolutely worth it! Here’s to a healthy, uneventful pregnancy.

    • Look at it this way: you don’t have to miss alcohol for a single holiday season! Nice timing:)

    • Congratulations!

      Don’t drink the Stepford wife-mother Kool-Aid that says you have to be insanely, rictus-grin-wearing, happy 100% of the time. Interesting how there’s a whole dogma out there that’s basically: Woman must let everyone and everything take precedence over it, and do it with a smile or else, she’s evil. Cue Rebecca West quote…

      There are huge impending changes, it’s natural to feel some trepidation, and concern. It just means you’re thoughtful and responsible, and that your baby will be very lucky to have a Mom like you! Cheers!!

      • “take precedence over her” – I mean. Oof. This is what happens when you’re at the near ghost-town offices despite being exhausted from all the Christmas stuff.

    • Congrats!! No worries – it’s totally normal! It’s a natural reaction and that reaction is also probably intensified by your pregnancy hormones going haywire. Husband and I tried for a long time and when we finally did get pregnant, I was so excited. But, I was also terrified and a little sad at giving up alcohol (wine) and so many foods that I love for 10 months. Being pregnant and having a baby has a profound, immediate impact on a woman’s life.

      (I was also a little sad about all the fun events and trips that I had planned in the near future where I wouldn’t be able to drink. Maybe it’s rationalization on my part, but I think it’s completely normal.)

    • I think this is normal. Not having conceived yet (but seriously planning for it), I will occasionally get moments where I question the decision to have kids, “do I want to give up scuba diving for 9 months? What about the ~18 years of not sleeping in?” and all sorts of other questions. But, then I remember that I truly want children more than any of those other concerns. I think if you didn’t have concerns and worries, then you aren’t being “real” to yourself.

      Congratulations on your pregnancy, and all the life changes it will entail.

      • karenpadi :

        Giving up scuba diving for 9 months is a big worry for me too. :) Alcohol, fine. Certain cheeses, fine. Deli meats, fine. Sushi, not fine, but I can deal. Scuba? Real hesitation.

        The kicker is that I only get to dive about once a year anyway.

        • Anonymous :

          Why can’t you dive while pregnant? I’ve seen pregnant women run marathons and do all kinds of other athletic stuff – is it because scuba is more dangerous?

          • I would guess its the pressure?

          • It’s not really about the pressure, but more about the toxicity of the gases you breathe while you dive. Short answer is, we can “offgas” any toxicity (oxygen, nitrogen, etc) when they are too high in our blood streams, but baby doesn’t have the ability to offgas, because they can’t exhale.

          • Anonymous :

            You can snorkle. I was terrified when I got pregnant and I was 33 years old. Twelve years later and he is the best thing that ever happened to me. I would not trade one day, even the bad days (yes, we have them and wow, he has been moody and bratty lately) for not having my son in my life.

        • I am 4 months now. Your reaction sounds normal. I was trying to glad on the one hand it happened, but honestly the past 4 months have been mostly miserable. I just haven’t felt well at all for a parade of reasons/symptoms, and balancing work + work travel made it especially hard. But now over the holidays, while still feeling uncomfortable, i can at least appreciate how great my situation is (husband, jobs, etc.) and we are excited about having the baby. The workdays are about getting through the day for me. I accepted early on it wasn’t fun, and I miss my old life a lot, and it isn’t possible to do the physical things I truly enjoy. But I trust the collective wisdom of the world that it’ll be worth it, it was my choice, we have a good set up, and hey, it is what it is: I am preganant and it isn’t coming out til it’s ready. I had a bad miscarriage scare so was relieved when it continued and got well on track, despite feeling crappy and exhausted. Good luck to you, keep us posted how it goes!

          • Anonamouse :

            Thanks, everyone, for the reassurance. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone! I think I was a bit brainwashed by other women I know who were really aching for a baby, whereas I felt more…I don’t know how to put it, but balanced? I’ve always felt that I would really enjoy being a parent, that I would relish the interaction with my child, and that I would love seeing my husband be a father, but I’ve never felt that I HAD to have a baby or that I would be unhappy if things worked out that we were not able to have children, for one reason or another. I feel like we are in a good spot right now for a child (and one month one way or another makes no real difference) but I guess I was never “baby crazy”.

            I just got back from having my second blood draw to test how my betas are multiplying, so my fingers are crossed that the news will be good!

        • My obgyn swears that sushi is generally not any riskier than chicken. I’ve successfully tested her theory through 2 pregnancies.

          • 2 plus two mom :

            My kids are 22, 20, 6 and 4. For the first two, we had little of the dietary warnings that we do now. For the second two, I was pickier about the sushi, and ate salmon more regularly than I do in non-pregnant life. If you eat food from more reliable sources/more pasteurization in play, you risk is lower. Nothing is guaranteed, ever, even before you were pregnant, so don’t let the variance in risk kill your joy.

            And for margaritas, the lime popsicles that Edy’s makes are “almost” as good as the drink.

    • This could so be me right now. I found out in early Dec. that #2 was on the way and am also not excited. Same situation – was careless late in my cycle, thinking I was in the clear, but nope! Part of me feels really dumb for being careless and I’m mad at myself because I let something “out of my control” happen, that I should have been able to control. We’re married, were going to stop preventing sometime in the next 2-4 months, etc., so it’s not the worst thing, the timing is just a bit off and I’m disappointed.
      Like yours, my husband is super excited and is starting to be bothered by the fact that I’m not excited at all. I didn’t want to tell our family at Christmas because I didn’t want to have to pretend I’m excited about it. I know in the long run, everything will be fine. But in the short term, I’m not happy about it and am, like you, feeling so guilty about my feelings.
      So no, you’re not alone.

    • Bursting out :

      Heck yeah! Even though we were TTC for 2+ years, when it finally happened, all the fun things in my life flashed before my eyes, and all I could focus on was not getting to do some of my favorite things: hottubbing, drinking, eating sushi, adventure sports, etc.

      Being pregnant is a HUGE emotional rollercoaster, even when the pregnancy is wanted, planned, and desired. It changes your plans, your body, your relationships… no way to be 100% psyched 100% of the time.

      Now, with just 8 weeks to go, I am downright panicked!!!

      • We’re in the exact same boat. 9 weeks to go and it’s getting a little more “real” now. The panic has definitely set in.

    • CP in Seattle :

      Congrats! It is a scary time but it’s also wonderful and exciting (this coming from someone who absolutely HATES pregnancy). The end result will totally blow your mind. You can’t even fathom how wonderful it is to have a child until you have one.

      That said, I feel that women are guilted into giving up too many things while pregnant. You can follow the “books” to a T and be paranoid about every little thing you do or eat or you can just relax and enjoy your pregnancy. Babies are tougher than you think and people have been having healthy pregnancies without all the crazy “do’s” and “don’ts.”

      I am six months pregnant with my second and haven’t felt that I’ve had to give up much of anything. Maybe I’m just boring to begin…. Most soft cheeses are pastuerized now and, therefore, totally safe. Instead of giving up deli meat, jsut nuke it in the microwave to kill any bacteria (the .0000001 percent chance that it actually is problematic). I occassionally drink half a glass of beer/wine- I know this is controversial but, personally, I’m fine with a tiny bit now and then. I run and exercise regularly. I take hot baths (no hot tubs though!). My baby and I are both very healthy and I’m happy that I still get to do most of the things I enjoy!

      • I am so happy to hear these sentiments. I am not knocking anyone that takes every possible precaution, but it exhausts me to think about having to constantly monitor every little thing I do, when I know that my mom and many other mothers before her had perfectly healthy, intelligent, strong children despite all the “no-nos” they didn’t know about back then.

        • well… this poster was lucky all went well for her so far. My mother said similar things to me, and I reminded her that in the past, there were also MUCH higher rates of women dying or having complications during the childbirth + lost babies and babies with problems.

          I tried to act ‘normal’ at first.. when I tried dancing at 8 weeks (my most beloved activity and release) my spotting from a hemorrhage increased. When I rested per doc’s suggestion, it went away. So, being 35 and having a tough pregnancy and not wanting to lose this baby or restart this process another year older or be sad, I am all for being careful this time around. No, every tiny little thing won’t necessarily make a difference, but my thinking is you do what you can, since there’s so much not in your control. That said I still eat a lot of chocolate:) I respect others if they want to bend the rules, but for me no thanks, it has a deadline and is also recommended not to be a pain, but so that the baby develops as best it can healthily.

          • CP in Seattle :

            obviously if you are experiencing hemorraging or another serious condition during pregnancy, you would want to take all possible precautions. My comment was obviously (0r I guess not so obviously) geared for people with uneventful pregnancies. With my first pregnancy, I ran 6-8 miles a day. Obviously, someone with bleeding would have to take extra precautions. But also, I’ve noticed among friends and family that complications in pregnancy come whether or not you are following all the “rules” and being extra careful. If people want to take all precautions, then good for them. I’m not knocking it or trying to encourage people to be risky.

          • Well, here’s the thing: there is a lot they don’t know about complications. A hemorrhage may or may not be caused by external factors under your control- no one knows. So, being careful may not help, but it might. So it’s a personal call. I could feel that things weren’t right and that I shouldn’t have pushed myself at all. My guess is those that have had problems are more sensitive to what the woman can do to aid the process. Anyway, it’s time limited, so not a big deal to me to follow the ‘rules.’
            ps I’m also in Seattle:) except going to Vancouver tomorrow for a 2-day mini preggars get away. So rainy this week huh!

  8. Snarky In House :

    A while back (prior to Turkey day) I posted about a possible new job… it was with a company in a different industry, would be a 30% increase in pay but there were some drawbacks such as high turn-over etc. My current position is very underpaid and there’s a small bit of sex. harass. going on here and there… anywho…

    I’m happy to say I FINALLY have a 2nd interview with them today!!

    I’m pretty excited that I’m still in the running. The last week or so has been hell with no bonus and a very low increase in my pay (after waiting 9 months for my anual review). Here’s hoping for good news for the new year!!

    • AnonInfinity :

      GOOD LUCK TODAY!!!!!!!!

    • Good luck! Knock their socks off!

    • Keep us posted – so excited for your progress – and I’ve got a current (10 yr) job that resembles yours and would love to hear about how a second interview goes!

  9. I’m interested in people’s thoughts about “paring down”–wardrobe and accessories, but also maybe beauty products and more. Lately I have been on a strong kick of not wanting to replace or throw away anything, and just generally wanting less stuff in my space and in my life. So I’ve been trying to have fewer things, but for them to be more durable or versatile. However, encountering some questions…see below.

    Examples of what I have done so far:

    –Consolidated to one year-round bag rather than one for warm weather and another for cold;
    –Doing same for perfume;
    –Got rid of tons of blah scarves, shoes and jewelry;
    –Got a nice pair of durable slippers rather than having to replace my junky $10 pair every year when they get too grimy;
    –Bought a set of machine washable nylon totes for grocery shopping, as well as mesh produce bags, so I no longer have any plastic bags in my life;
    –Line all of my trash cans, except the one in the kitchen, with said nylon bags, and just wash them every time I empty trash;
    –Got a washable set of makeup bags so I no longer deal with a series of dirty or disposable ones;
    –Decided to wear my hair curly (natural for me) every single day rather than straighten even some of the time;
    –Got rid of all makeup that wasn’t perfect on me;
    –Got a big bottle of fairly expensive moisturizer so I am not continually replacing a smaller bottle, even if cheaper;
    –Trying to use fewer beauty products overall and just replace them as I run out.

    I feel like the pared down wardrobe, and so on, are often idealized, but something wasn’t sitting right for me about it. Below is a link to the only writing I have ever seen that acknowledges it’s actually very hard and, moreover, very expensive! (The main topic here is color, but check the first couple of paragraphs for her take on the larger issue)

    Thus far, I feel like all of the above has been costing me a lot of money. In theory, the spending will slow down once I have completed the transition. But does anyone have thoughts on this? Even if it is more expensive, is it worth it for the sanity and the lessened environmental impact? I actually make a better salary now than I have in the past, so for me it was not a budgeting issue so much as a general wish to simplify. Thoughts?

    • I have a fairly pared-down wardrobe.

      To pare down and simplify, one thing you have to do, which you reference, is spend more on each item. I think most of us end up with disjointed wardrobes because we’re looking for the best deal. You have to avoid clearance sales, flash sites, thrift shopping (if you do that – I don’t.) When I was in my twenties and early thirties I had stuffed-full closets but still had nothing to wear, and I finally realized this was mainly due to my discovery of the Nordstrom Rack.

      You have to make a list and really concentrate on shopping for ONLY items you really need. And sometimes these items won’t be very exciting. Finding the perfect plain black skirt, for instance, will not be exciting to someone who craves color or sparkles or ruffles or asymmetrical hems.

      I do not get rid of everything that turns out not to be “perfect.” I just store a lot of iffy items. I find my own definition of what’s perfect changes over time, and there are often a few formerly rejected items that I’ve gone back to. My closet tends to get fuller over the course of a season due to me pulling things out of storage, and also buying a few new things but not culling any of the old.

      A pared down wardrobe is going to be pretty basic and neutral, by definition. You can wear the perfect black skirt two or three times a week, but you probably can’t do the same with the fuschia boucle skirt with the pouf hem. So if you crave excitement and uniqueness in your look, the pared down thing is going to feel very limiting.

      I find it best to express uniqueness through accessories, like a lot of other people. I am not much of a scarf-wearer, except for warmth. But I do love unusual shoes and have quite a collection that I refuse to pare down.

      Hope this helps.

      • Anonymous Poser :

        Hmmm. I’m paring down my wardrobe in general, but I’m beefing up the professional section. I disagree that one “has to” avoid clearance sales and thrift stores, though I’m sure I’m biased because I have almost no money to work with. I picked up a good black Ann Taylor blazer that I need to find a couple of replacement buttons for, for $11 on sale at a consignment shop, recently.

        I believe it’s more of an attitude adjustment that’s required. For me, that meant that my standard for clothing that “will do” (since what I’d really like is incredibly difficult to find–anyone have good recommendations for women with small shoulders, a large bust, a low waist, and a bit of a pooch to hide?) had to move up considerably. It must be decent quality, it must fit well, and it’s got to be a lot closer to the “perfect piece” in my imagination than my, “I’ll get this: It’ll do for NOW” pieces used to be. Which means I’ll be getting a lot more use out of what I do buy, and not filling my closet up with pieces that really are nowhere near making the grade.


    • Anonymous :

      I aspire to much the same thing, and have given this a lot of thought, but also have trouble in the implementation. I have always felt that the pared down lifestyle was probably easiest to accomplish with a lot of money. Certainly there are people who live sparely because they don’t have any money and just do without. But I think we are not really talking about doing without, but more talking about doing without multiples. In that case, there is certainly some investment involved, plus organization and a shift in priorities/values.
      A pared down wardrobe for someone who cares about clothes, I think, means buying for occasions, and being willing to wear the same thing repeatedly. For example, having one perfect outfit for a holiday event, or as a guest at a wedding, and being willing to wear the same thing year in and year out. Even day-to-day, having specific outfits for “the big meeting”/day in the country/night out with the girls/first date/sporting event, etc., plus a work capsule that you wear over and over, has to be something you are comfortable with. You will not be the woman who has other women compliment your new outfit or shoes once a week if that suit or party dress or pair of pumps is very familiar to everyone because you’ve been wearing it for months or years. This also means that your clotheskeeping needs to be impeccable. If you are investing in the piece, and you need to have it available at all times, you can’t afford to be lazy about hanging up/spot cleaning/dry cleaning/repairing your clothes.
      I do think you can take two routes to the pared-down wardrobe: (1) huge up-front investment for timeless classics that last and are kept for years with small seasonal updates; or (2) plan to shop twice a year for the required, but disposable, “occasion outfits” plus work capsule and toss nearly everything at the end of the year because it will be worn/spotted/etc. Your attraction to trends, plus whether you tend to maintain your weight, will probably dictate which route is best.
      I am heading in this direction for beauty items. I am just kicking myself for buying 6 shades of nail polish this season, when I really only needed one, just because I like the idea of having someone notice the new color. And the cheap and ineffective makeup will be history in the new year. I’m looking forward to a cleaner, neater bathroom and a simplified beauty routine.
      I’ve better implemented this with housewares. I will never regret spending nearly $500 on cookware before I started law school (and had no money). Fifteen years later, I have every piece I bought, and very little else.

      • Agreed. In my fantasy life I have a tiny, perfect, well though-out wardrobe and life that takes me everywhere. (I think it’s a control thing.)
        The reality is that I do gross chores, crawl around on the floor, present to clients, meet friends, go to bars, do various athletic-type things and this means I needs lots of clothes, bags, etc.
        My guiding principles are: Realize the things I buy over and over again and question why I bought them and what I was feeling at the time.
        Question buying anything I won’t use 3 times.
        Keep the closet and drawers tidy.
        Be practical (if I need something I need it).
        Don’t waste money on junk, ever.
        Figure out how much I want something, really.
        HTH, good luck.

      • I agree with you, but on multiples I diverge a little. I wear a lot of black knit tops under my jackets. If I find one I like I buy multiples, and then I get rid of them at the end of the season. I believe in a pared-down wardrobe and classic pieces, but there are items like tights and tees and panties that need to be replaced regularly.

        re: repetition. This year I bought a few boiled wool jackets (which I’ve posted about – my office is cold this year) and I was lucky enough to find them at Marshall’s. I was willing to pay more, but this was where I found them. I bought a black and a charcoal, which I know I’ll wear all the time.

        Then I found a red ruffled wrap style. I know I only wear red around this time of year. So I had to consider how many times I’d wear it. I have worn it to four things – an office holiday party, a holiday lunch with friends, a holiday dinner out with husband and kids, and my department’s holiday lunch. I might wear it once more for something New Year’s related. So, it was my only holiday look (worn with one of my black skirts, of course) and I wore it to every holiday themed event. Some people couldn’t handle that level of repetition and would want a new dress for each. But I don’t want four new dresses hanging in my closet. In years past, I would have gone the four new dresses route, and I probably would have ended up never wearing a couple of the dresses again, and that would make me feel bad.

        • Anonymous Poser :

          Yay multiples! If I find something I really like, I’ve been known to buy it in multiple colors of the same piece. Why not, if the style works for you, and isn’t trendy?

    • I probably have too many clothes but I do skirts, pants, and tanks in basic colors then add variety with shoes, scarves and more interesting sweaters or jackets. One of my friends (who loved to shop) had a deal with one of her friends. The friend came to visit twice a year and they would go through her closet. Anything that she hadn’t worn in a year or didn’t love would go to the giveaway closet at the friend’s church. I do a version of the myself now. I don’t have room in my closet for more than a season’s clothes, so when I swap them, I think carefully before putting them on the other rack. If I didn’t wear them all through that season and I don’t think I will again, I give it away. I gave myself leeway after having knee surgery because there were certain items I couldn’t wear with a brace or without heels, but otherwise, I am pretty good about parting with things.

      • I’ve always kept my wardrobe fairly small…I’m trying now to be less strict with myself and expand a little. I like neutrals, often worn with brights, but it’s just as important to have a cohesive style. You want your pieces to work together in style as well as color.

    • I think that when uncluttering/paring down, a great deal of stress comes from other people’s set ideas of what constitutes “paring down”. Take the idea of a well-edited wardrobe. What’s “well-edited”? For some it’s 30 pieces of clothing in neutral colours. For others it’s 300 pieces of clothing, accessories and whatnot, but everything well used, loved and properly sorted and stored. Maybe the right gauge isn’t scale/size/numbers, but the amount of use you get out of the stuff you do have.

      Personally, I start with the question, “What do I really use and love?” to differentiate between the core stash of stuff (makeup, clothing, shoes etc) that I use often and will repurchase if possible, and the non-essential “fun” stuff which I use occasionally. When uncluttering, I keep the best of the non-essentials and give / throw away the rest. When shopping, I try to focus on replacing the essential stuff or filling gaps in essentials and avoid adding non-essentials. That’s about it.

      Looking at other people’s stashes and how they are organised is inspiring for me – a couple of favourites:-

    • I’m a list person. About 2 years ago I decided to list every item of clothing, jewelry, and shoes I owned, so that I could see duplicates and missing pieces. Something like:

      Black Jones New York wool knee length pencil skirt
      Black Carlisle wool knee length pencil skirt
      Brown Liz Claiborne polyester sueded stretch skirt

      and so on for 11 pages. (Yes, I have OCD.) This has been helpful in making a list of pieces that will complement what I already own, but even more helpful in not buying more stuff. If I find a pair of brown leather pumps that I’m tempted to buy, I have to consider if I like them more than the brown Jimmy Choos already in my closet (so far, no). If I do like them more, in comes the new and out goes the old.

      Now, I have found some amazing and creative justifications for a few items not on my “buy” list, but in the end it is my wardrobe and this list is a tool for mindfully managing it.

    • I’m a little late to reply here, but thought I’d post in case it helps anyone out. I have been attempting a version of paring down my wardrobe, though I’ve thought of it more as building a better wardrobe. I’ve found inspiration from the Kendi Everyday blog and her series of posts on that subject. Google “Kendi Everyday working closet” and you’ll come up with it. I’ve liked it because it offers a step by step process for going through the closet purge and future buying. I’m a spell it out for me kind of gal, and Kendi’s series was just what I needed. I’ll post the link separately to avoid moderation.

    • I like having one reliable outfit for dressy parties/weddings (well, one summer outfit and one winter outfit) and also have somewhat of a uniform for work. The downside is that I have a closet full of neutral basics and very, very few statement pieces, which tend to be what make outfits more interesting. So I go back and forth. All of your changes undertaken sound like good steps.

      Just wanted to recommend a blog on this — the author of “Small Notebook” has, to my mind, a very pared-down clothes closet. (I do not think she works outside the home, though, so her system may need serious adjustments for someone who does.) I thought her posts on paring down one’s wardrobe and how to have style within a small wardrobe were interesting and useful:

      If you click on the “Clothes” link under “Real Solutions” (on the home page) you’ll get to a list of all clothes-related articles. Also, I think her most current post is about simplifying one’s skincare routine, so that might be worth checking out as well.

    • I don’t have any advice, but congratulations! I think this time of year, a lot of people are thinking of expanding their closets, not vice versa.

  10. That link to the alreadypretty website is a questionable choice for a “pared down” wardrobe. That blogger collects tons of thrift store junk that is often dirty and ill fitting. She is a notoriously bad shopper who was unable to stick to a shopping ban (all documented on her website) and “collects” quantity clothing over quality.

    • I linked to it precisely because she doesn’t believe in paring down. I do, but was interested to hear this as my first reading from someone who comes out saying she prefers quantity over quality.

      • Oh, I misunderstood. Shouldn’t have skimmed ;)

        I agree with the philosophy behind paring down and I think you are going about it correctly (quality over quantity, deciding what is important/what is not (straight hair v. curly hair).

        One way I would think that would help is just to be mindful of when you purchase something: Do I really need this? Is there something else that I already have that will so what I need this to do? Where will I keep this? How many times will I use it? Is there something(s) that this will replace that I can throw away/give away if I do purchase this?

        • Anne Shirley :

          Wait can we pause a sec? You wash and reuse your trash bags? This has never occurred to me. You seem to be not entirely happy with your transition? And I wOnder if it hasn’t been a bit dogmatic/rushed. I mean, sticking to quality bags that won’t wear out is great, but literally only one bag? For winter and summer? Surely that will make it wear out quicker?

          • 1) Yep, I have reusable, washable trash bags lining my cans (again, minus the one in the kitchen–too gross and also too large). I also shop with fabric bags so I don’t accumulate plastic ones. I was just so sick of them.

            2) We’ll see whether it wears out much faster. But as mamabear mentioned, I spent more on this bag with the understanding that I won’t need another one as soon as I would otherwise.

          • I think doing something like this requires a lot of discipline and meticulousness in terms of care/upkeep. I can tell you that sometimes I buy things like tights just because I don’t have time to launder the dirty ones. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it is what it is.

            In terms of clothes, I do think this can be an expensive proposition to do well. When I first started working, I was so desperate to just get enough work clothes that I wasn’t thinking about the perfect black skirt or the ideal pair of gray pants. Now that I have been at it for a while, I do look for “perfect” items that I will be able to keep for a v. long time and get more wear out of on per wear basis. In terms of getting bored, I don’t think that it really bothers me to wear something once or even twice a week if I love the item. As I have started to do this a bit, there are a few items I wear once a week (e.g., perfect black sheath dress) and I love those days because I know exactly what I am wearing and that I will feel great in it.

          • I think your list of actions taken so far is great, yay you! Just keep doing what feels right in your home, your way. It’s different for everyone. Your post is timely: today on rainy vacation day in Seattle husband and I are cleaning out spare closets to make room for baby coming in summer, and it is amazing what crap we have, even though we are city condo dwellers. E-waste… stuff from high school (I’m 35…) etc. We are going to Goodwill before COB today, it will feel GOOD. Of course the space will just be soon filled with baby stuff. But my feeling is : limit your space, live within it, if you can’t, time to cull stuff. Otherwise I’d feel like a ‘wasteful American’ or something. Some people like to collect and all and have huge homes, fine for them, but I”ve moved around too much and like living downtown too much to be that way. That said, I am all for keeping things you like: the red shirt you don’t wear often, the old bag with meaning, cute kitchen dishes, etc. Husband had to laugh after getting annoyed with things I insisted on keeping but overall- they don’t take up that much space:) Good luck with your continued process!

  11. Yay sales! Anyone have any hints for sites that would have Frye boots on sale, and/or wouldn’t exempt them from site-wide sales (e.g., 15% off any single item) — and if so, when those sales might come?

    In keeping with the idea of buying good quality items of clothing once instead of inexpensive ones multiple times, I’ve been eyeing Fryes for a while — specifically, the Carson and the Taylor pull-ons (though would more likely go for the Carsons given the lower heel) — but can’t pay full price right now.

    • You can sign up for a service like shop it to me, which will alert you when and where fryes go on sale. (not that I’ve done that or anything. ahem.)

    • Anonymous :

      6pm sometimes has them on pretty steep discount – limited selection but sometimes you get lucky

    • Anonymous :

      I second 6pm, and also search for them using Google Shopping, which will display results from a number of sites and let you sort by price.

  12. If by chance DC anon is reading today – if you live in the VA burbs and would like some suggestions on car free transportation let me know! I used to slug/bus for years and would be glad to explain the “system” to you.

  13. To clarify the reference to Rent the Runway, their whole deal is that the rental fee is always 90% off (or close to that) the cost of purchasing the designer dress. They do run some specials, though, from time to time that make it even more affordable. Now there is 15% off w/ this code: NYE2012. Also, if a friend you recommend signing up for RTR not only signs up, but also rents a dress, I think you get $20 toward your next rental. I’ve done this a few times and am a huge fan. One time when they didn’t have one of the dresses I ordered, they gave me the option of selecting any other dress (at any price!) to rent in place of my originally requested dress.

    • Another vote for RTR – I’ve used them multiple times and have always been pleased with my dresses.

      Plus, the customer service is amazing! I once ordered a dress for a wedding and asked that it be delivered to the hotel where the wedding was. Long story short, the hotel ended up rejecting the delivery for some reason and RTR was great! They gave me a full refund, no questions asked. They even offered to overnight me another dress, free of charge, but it wouldn’t have made it in time. Fortunately, I brought a backup!

  14. Polite or Too Much? :

    Could use the wisdom of the hive: The background is that I am in-house counsel, but only spent about 3 years in a law firm, so am considerably more “junior” than the outside counsel I work with. I got along well with one partner at a large firm and wanted to send him a New Year’s card. My husband and I send them out each year, rather than the generic “season’s greetings,” because we figure everyone celebrates the new year. But, the pre-printing signs off from “Corporette & H-of-Corporette Lastname”. Since I only worked with this guy on one deal, and he certainly does not know my husband (or even his name the way other professional contacts, like colleagues, etc, might), is it a nice gesture or totally awkward to send the card?

    • Personally, I don’t like pre-printed signatures at all. Maybe for this guy you can get a special card just for him and sign it just from you.

      • Anonymous :

        I think preprinted greetings with no personal message are a bit rude, and all of the etiquette columns I’ve seen on the subject agree with me.

        For the outside counsel, I’d just get a separate card, handwrite a short message, and send it to him.

    • It may be regional (I’m in the South), but I’ve gotten a number of holiday cards that were signed (and I mean actually signed, not just pre-printed) by the person who I know professionally and his or her spouse, even if I’d never really met the spouse. I think it’s kind of nice, and comes off as warmer than just a “I only sent you this card because we worked together and I had to” sort of greeting.

      • Agreed– it is nice! I am really amused by all the cards received that had the family photo, but everything, from the holiday/Xmas message to everybody’s names pre-printed. Nothing personalized at all. Not writing a word at all seems to negate some of the effort of assembling your family to make a personalized (non-Cranes/Hallmark/etc. ) card.

        • I agree. This especially drives me nuts when it’s addressed on the envelope to only one family member (e.g., just me or my s.o.), which would be fine if the inside said, “Dear AIMS and Mr. AIMS,” but reads as kind of rude when it’s just blank photo sheet/card. Since I am not the take his last name sort, it’s not the kind of problem that an address label to the “Blanks” would solve…. Just needless confusion. Ok. Rant over :)

    • Vegas Baby :

      I’ll voice the dissent here. I don’t mind the pre-printed cards. In fact, I would rather receive a pre-printed photo card with no “real” signature or personalization than a standard Hallmark card with a quickly scribbled signature. The cards say the same thing: I’m thinking of you and your family at this time of year enough to spend .45 on a stamp. At least with the photo card, it’s more interesting.

      • I agree with you. People are busy and some don’t even send cards so I don’t mind at all if people don’t sign them.

  15. Ugh, today is dragging! Anyone else stuck at work today?

    • Yes! Have to bill 30 more hours by Jan. 1 to make my hours for the year. Totally doable and I have enough work, but nothing that I’m working on is actually due until mid-January. So ask me how much motivation I have…

      • We’re in the exact same boat. I only have 29.9 hrs. left to bill for the year but have zero motivation. At least there’s other bodies here today. It was a ghost town yesterday.

      • I don’t work in a billable hour firm, and none of my deadlines are until next Friday, I am the only attorney in office, and I have no appointments at all this week. ZERO motivation!

      • Me too me too! Uuuuugh.

    • here at big finance. day is just dragging – still have another 30 minutes….

  16. So very sleepy. Am about 15 weeks pregnant and husband and I did a whirlwind trip to see my family for christmas. Got home late last night and would have paid good money to stay home today (not that we have much money right now). Luckily our office is sparsley populated and I’m enjoying slowly reviewing discovery and drafting requests for admissions. Sigh.

    • Ugh hope you get rest. I am home all week but spend whole first trimester traveling for work. 18 weeks now. Funny even though I could sleep all day, I’m mostly putzing around organizing things. Hugs to you though, I have dragged self in so many days past 4 months when it almost didn’t feel possible. Hope the day passes fast.

    • 9 wks here. After a few days of rest, which I am so thankful for!, I took a horrendous 6:00 a.m. flight through some really bad east coast weather and then grabbed a cab straight to the office to finish an appellate brief. My eyes won’t stay open, and I’m queasy as can be. Having spent the non-restful part of the holiday fielding inappropriate questions from the in-laws (is your chest bigger? do you intend to br*ast feed? are you going to use a nanny because I think that it’s not fair to bring a child into this world that you aren’t going to raise? are you going to quit your job because I quit mine so I wouldn’t miss a minute of my child’s development?, and so on.), I’m ready for another break. Or at least a long night of sleep in my own bed.

      • Thanks, Anon and Similar. This is my first pregnancy and I didn’t anticipate the tiredness. Putzing around organizing sounds great. Similar, good luck with your brief. My family wasn’t quite that bad, but I did appreciate “Wow, this will really complicate your life” and a chorus of “It’s the best thing you’ll EVER do.”

  17. Sorry this was in response to L.

  18. BR has 30% off all sale items today. I just scored a gray wool pea coat, a casual weekend dress, and a replacement for my favorite sweater for $150. N

  19. Please comment on an appropriate vacation budget for a family of four. Should this be a percentage of our income, or should we just say, “Here is how much we want to spend each year on vacations,” and go for it.

    • As a child, my family never had vacation budget annually. we went on one maybe every 3 years. Only one was out of state. So I think its going to completely depend on what you feel you can afford. It can’t be a percentage of your income, because each person/family is going to have wide variations of where their money is tied up. It is something that is appropriate for your family, depending on much you make, how much you have saved, etc.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I think it depends. My husband and I will take a lavish vacation one year and then no vacation for a couple years. Sometimes we will use windfall money to up the vacation pool and sometimes we will scrimp in other areas to pay for it.

      I think a lot depends on your other spending habits. We are pretty thrifty through we do have some debt. Vacationing is our joint vice. Neither of us have really expensive hobbies or anything like that. I think vacations are extremely individual. Also, our friends and family are scattered around the world so trips are more of a necessity for us than some of our friends who live 5 minutes from their whole family.

      I have a great story about this. While I was in law school and really short on cash, my husband had an issue transferring his 401k from a public job that was partly pension to a private sector job. It had been kicked back 5 times or so and we were going to end up eating the penalties and taxes b/c we couldn’t seem to get the issue fixed before the end of the tax year. He said “screw it” if I can’t roll it over without penalties let’s have fun with it. He grew up overseas and I had never seen his home country. He took me there and to an exotic resort in a neighboring country on my law school spring break.

      Our families were shocked and lecturing us on the imp0rtance of retirement savings. A few months later, the markets crashed and we would have lost almost all that money if our roll over plans had gone through as intended. We had a blast, have lifelong memories but know that is something we can’t do repeatedly. You don’t know how long you will live. While it is responsible to save for retirement, it is also important to enjoy life while you can. I don’t use that as an excuse for fancy cars and clothes but I do think it is worth considering when it comes to family vacations.

    • In my opinion, it really depends on how you prioritize. My extended family has always spent more on vacations, and less on their homes, clothing, and cars. Others might take the viewpoint of vacations are luxuries, and should never exceed x percentage of your budget.

      As for my husband and I, it varies every year. We see what we have left over after our expenses, and determine if we want to take a “nice” vacation or a “really nice” vacation. That said, really nice for us is ~$1,500, so, we’re on the cheaper side.

      • Oh, and we never do back to back expensive vacations. So, if we go, for instance, on a cruise one year, the next year will be renting an inexpensive cabin in the mountains 3 hours from our city, or at the beach 3 hours in the opposite direction, with a total cost around $400.

    • Agree with CSF that it all depends on your priorities. Husband and I are both professionals and rarely see each other during the week (maybe we’ll have dinner together 2-3 nights during a work week, but then either one or both of us needs to work again after that). So, a yearly week-long vacation where we basically have to do nothing and actually “get away” from home is a priority for us because it gives us a chance to reconnect and spend some quality time together.

      We’re spoiled, though, because husband used to travel every week for work and so many (if not all) of our vacations were partially paid for through airline miles/hotel points/etc. We would spend the money we saved on airfare, for example, to splurge on a nicer hotel. We’re fairly thrifty in our everyday lives, so vacations have never been a hardship for us, other than actually committing to being gone for a week from work.

      As for a family of four: it all depends on where you want to go, how often you want to go on vacations, and what you want to do while you’re there. If you’ll be flying/staying in hotels, I’d highly recommend using a credit card in your everyday life that rewards you with airline miles or hotel points (pay it off every month in full, obviously). Those rewards add up quickly and can be a huge savings.

  20. Instead of finding them daycare, a woman is bringing her children to work this week. Appropriate?

    • Hmmm… interesting. How old are the kids? Has she asked anyone at work to entertain/take care of them? While not entirely appropriate, I’m sympathetic and think its ok if (1) it happens rarely (once a year) and (2) having the kids in the office does not disrupt or interfere with anyone else.

      • They are elementary age children and they sit in her office most of the day. This happens a few times a year, but usually just a day here or there. They’re not really bothering me, but I certainly know that they’re here. Maybe it’s because I don’t have children, but I just feel like the office shouldn’t be your substitute babysitter.

        • Always a NYer :

          If her kids are well-behaved and the only reason you know they’re at the office is because you saw them, let it go. That being said, if they’re being disruptive I don’t see any problem asking her if they can keep it down as you have work that needs to be done. Otherwise let her be, it’s only a few days a year and you aren’t being asked to keep an eye on them.

        • Is the office babysitting them?

        • Good grief :

          Ugh, you’re an awful person. Honestly, you just are. I don’t have kids, don’t know if I ever will, but I can’t imagine being so unsympathetic as you.

        • I think it’s a fair question. I feel bad for people without options, but especially if you don’t have a door that closes to have them there all day is a clear distraction to others. Too bad the USA has such crap leave policies.

    • A lot of daycare facilities are closed this time of year, and it can put a strain on parents if they don’t have enough vacation time to take off. As long as it’s not a regular occurrence and the children are not disruptive, I don’t think it’s that much of a problem.

    • Totally Anon for this one :

      I worked for a while in an office where a woman would stash her children (5 and 3 with a developmental disability) in a conference room on a different floor for 3-4 hours a day a couple of days a week. No one seemed to bat an eyelash at that, so I wouldn’t be concerned about kids sitting in an office supervised by their mother.

    • Most daycares are closed this week. I’m pretty sure that woman’s first choice isn’t bringing her kids to work. She probably has to save her vacation time for when they are sick, so she can’t use that this week.

    • If they are quiet and well-behaved, and she can get her work done, I’d rather she do that as opposed to not coming in. We have a lady who stays home every time her day care is closed. She’s used up all her leave and now just takes unpaid time off. It’s getting to be a problem.

    • Seventh Sister :

      My daycare is open three days this week, but plenty are not. It’s a real drag to have to take all of your annual leave based on daycare being closed.

      My kids are too little and too rambunctious for that kind of thing, but it’s (usually) not anyone’s first choice for child care. Some people with kids are jerks, but not most people (maybe a plurality of people with kids? I know, I’m mean).

      As a working mom, please, please tell your coworker if the kids are actually bugging you. I would *so* much rather know than not know.

    • If all of you ladies think it’s fine, then I won’t worry too much. I guess I’ve just never worked in an office where this happened before.

      • Happens in my office. Older children are occasionally in the office, always equipped with enough to keep them busy and quiet.

      • Good grief :

        Why are you even worrying about it at all? I’m genuinely baffled, and I suppose a little fascinated – you’re just so mean! It’s very likely that it’s not the poor lady’s first choice to bring the kids in — why are you letting it bother you so much you actually had to write in about it?

        • I think you’re really overreacting here. She posted a question, and asked if it was normal. She’s not being mean, or judgmental. I think you are. This is a blog asking for feedback on many subjects, to include how to interact in an office. Just because it seems like a common-sense answer in your office culture, it may not be in hers. Back off.

          • another anon :

            She was being sort of judgey with her whole “instead of finding daycare” and “the office shouldn’t be the substitute babysitter” thing.

        • To the OP: It’s the holidays, MYOB. If they’re not in your space, then don’t worry about!

      • My employer actually has a policy against this. There have been times when it would be nice to bend the rules a bit, but HR insists that it’s a liability issue to have children in the workplace. One former coworker brought his 3 young sons for a few days during every break until someone finally had to let him know that it wasn’t fair to others who couldn’t do the same. I personally can see both sides, but this sounds harmless to me, even as someone who supervises people.

        • Yeah, mine has a policy against it too. But, mine is also pretty generous with allowing people to work from home when needed.

        • My old office used to allow dogs. Same thing – if they were in your office, well-behaved, and not bothering anyone else, then it was ok.

          I assume it would be the same for kids.

          My parents both worked, and I was brought into the office many times. I was bored. Sometimes my dad would have me stuff envelopes at his non-profit.

    • She probably doesn’t have any other options. I doubt she really wants to bring her kids to the office, but most daycares and schools are closed this week, she may not be able to find or afford a babysitter, and she may not be able to use vacation days. I wouldn’t be happy about having kids around the office, but I wouldn’t put my judgey pants on over it, either.

      My high school history teacher used to bring her daughter in when she was sick and have her sleep on an air mattress on the floor. Of course, the daughter grew up to actually go to high school there, and she got ribbed over it more than once.

    • Jane Fairfax :

      Are you her supervisor? Are the kids disrupting your ability to work? If the answers are no and no, then it is really not your place to consider whether it is appropriate or not. I am guessing that this woman has enough to deal without her coworkers posting about her on a public forum for others to judge.

  21. phillygirlruns :

    i am flabbergasted at this, even though i know i shouldn’t be. for christmas, i bought my 10 y/o niece a juicy couture sweatsuit from tj maxx. it was cute and age-appropriate (puffed sleeves on the jacket, little bow, that kind of thing) and also about $40. unfortunately, the jacket doesn’t fit her, so i now need to exchange.

    she was so.excited. about having the fancy designer sweatsuit that i checked nordstrom to see what a regular price one would run…and about choked. $98 for a jacket?? $78 for the pants?? for a kid who grows like a weed as it is and probably won’t be able to fit in the pants for 20 minutes? what the ever-loving crap. sorry kid, you’re not getting your juicy sweats. you’ll have to learn to be jersey on someone else’s dime.

    • You’re confused. You got the gift. You can tell the family where you purchased it. Then THEY can exchange it. It’s not your problem. Not your problem at all…Your responsibility ended when you handed the gift over.

      • Not seeing the issue here. You bought your niece a discounted designer sweatsuit and are surprised that she likes it and was excited about your gift? If you don’t think it’s worth buying her clothes because she grows out of stuff quickly, why did you buy her clothes as a gift?

        Like MJ said, you don’t need to exchange the gift, tell your niece and her parents where you got it, and they can deal with it.

        • Guessing the issue is that TJ Maxx no longer has the inexpensive version of the sweatsuit, so in order to not disappoint the niece, phillygirl would have needed to go buy a full price one.

          $40 for something to be grown out of in 6 mos is one thing – $180 is a lot more!

          • phillygirlruns :

            cat is right – i was shocked at how much the sweatsuit was at full price, and feel bad that i won’t be able to get her another one in the right size. trust me, both she and i will get over it fast – but holy cow, that’s a ton of cash for kids’ clothes.

            oh, and while i picked out the clothes, husband was the one to stand in line and pay while i ran to another store, and he did not think to get gift receipts – otherwise, yes, they’d be getting a receipt and dealing with the exchange at their own tj maxx!

    • Learn to be Jersey??? Come on. You should be smart enough to know that people from New Jersey are not like Jersey Shore or Real Housewives.

      • phillygirlruns :

        i am from (south) jersey and wore plenty of juicy (and similar) sweats through college and law school. tongue in cheek – it doesn’t offend me so i suppose i made the mistake of assuming it wouldn’t offend others.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Yikes. Poor kid…

    • You probably can find a discounted one in the correct size at another discount store like Nordstrom Rack, or online somewhere like eBay, 6pm, etc. And a lot of regular department stores are having after-Christmas sales. No need to pay full price! I agree that the price is ridiculous.

    • This is why gift receipts are a good idea. Unless you don’t want her to know you went to TJ Maxx!

    • If you act quickly, kid’s Juicy Coutoure is on ideeli tonight. You might be able to make both of you happy!

  22. I dont think these sales are that good at all.

  23. Young and Feeling Dumb :

    I know it’s a little late in the day, but hopefully there are still some ‘rettes out there! A friend and former co-worker will probably be in my area in the near-ish future for temporary duty. He’s complained about having to live on take-out while on these assignments, so I’d like to invite him over for some real food.
    However, I don’t want to run any risk of being mis-interpreted or acting inappropriately. (If you can’t tell, I’m still pretty new to the professional world.)
    We no longer work together, and he is significantly senior to me (both in terms of age and position). We have hung out socially before. Do I have anything to worry about, or should I stop running these questions by my mother first?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Don’t invite him over unless it’s a dinner party with others present. Inviting a man you don’t know well to your house can easily, easily be misinterpreted, and much awkwardness would result. Instead, offer to meet him for lunch or dinner after work so that he can have a real “sit-down” meal instead of room service. That’s much less likely to be misinterpreted as a date.

      • Agreed. I can’t think of any men I know professionally, who are older and more senior than I, whom I’d feel comfortable inviting to my home on their own. You have other options for reaching out to him–home cooking would have been great, but the situation just isn’t amenable.

      • Maybe I feel this way because most of my friends are guys and we’re nothing but platonic, I wouldn’t bat an eye at inviting a friend over for dinner, male or female. I love to cook and will often invite my guy friends over to share a meal with, sometimes as a group, sometimes one on one. Not once has it been interpreted as a date or me coming on to him.

        It’s only weird if you let it get weird. I’d advise against saying things like, “This isn’t a date or anything,” because that will bring you to awkward very fast.

        Do whatever you are comfortable with. A few questions to ask yourself in figuring out if you are:
        Am I the least bit threatened by him?
        Does he have a wife/gf who would would object to this?
        Would I be asking myself this if it were a female? (probably not, but still, why is it so impossible to believe men and women can be platonic?)

        At the end of your day, go with your gut.

        • I think this would all make sense if he were her peer, but he isn’t. He’s older and more senior, and they are not friends per se. I think this means different boundaries.

          • Anonymous @ 12:31 :

            The OP calls him “a friend and former co-worker” so I don’t think the age difference matters.

    • Yes, I agree. You do NOT want to have a man in your house, EVEN if he is older, b/c he will think you are wanting to have SEX with him.

      Do something like eating at the WHOLE FOOD market, where it is PUBLIC. YOU do NOT want him where you can NOT get rid of him.

      The manageing partner is MARRIED and I keep him away for that reason. FOOEY on this!

    • This is late, so don’t know if you’ll see it. Check to see if your friend is staying in one of those extended stay places w/ a kitchenette. If so, you could always prepare him some dishes that he could heat himself. Then also join him for a meal out, per above.

    • Yeah, I would only invite him over if you have other family members there. If you don’t, then other friends. (Not a couple.)

      How much older are we talking about? If you’re 32 and he’s 35, might not be as big a deal as you’re 28 and he’s 50.

  24. Vent– Ugh, my boss has seriously cracked.

    I am so annoyed and frustrated with her. She is the biggest micro manager that I have ever even heard of in my life. She continuously corrects me on stupid little things due to her own confusion and poor business management. I wish that I could quote or describe some of it here, but alas, the anonymity…

    Her emails are so horrible and irritating; I will come in in the morning and see 20 stream-of-consciousness emails from her, many of which are full of gibberish (e.g., tkfad– any guesses as to what that word might be? If you ask, you will get yelled at, and when there are a string of them in a row, it is difficult to decipher it with context).

    She has no system in place; the “system” is to refuse to give me direction and then correct me as if I am an idiot for not guessing her system (or lack thereof).

    She does all this to everyone, not just me. Others in my position have gotten into screaming matches with her, sent rude emails back, etc.

    I am so sick of her that I could scream! I haven’t been here that long, and I won’t be here that much longer (3L/ law clerk/ moving far far far away soon), which means that while I could just look for a new job, it would only be for a few months, so I’m trying to stick it out for the sake of my resume. I wish I could mention some of the other absolutely nuts things that she has done/wears/etc., but I don’t want to void my anonymity- she is quite unique.

    • Hugs to you. I had a boss that was nuts also.

      She always was jelous of me b/c I wore nice clotheing and had men calling me.

      She did not like it that I was also in law school but she was not.

      Now I only have 1 boss–the manageing partner. He just stares at me all day. I think that is creepy. He is STAREING at me right now! FOOEY on him!

    • sorry but just suck it up. I’ve had similar and worse bosses and had to keep going in miserable day after day til I could find another job or in one case, quit and was unemployed for 9 months which was awful too. The great news here is that you have an end date from her which is huge- none of this will matter to you soon. Try not to show your frustration to her so that you’ll have a good reference. Sadly there are a lot of people like this in law (I left traditional practice).

      Remember.. people only pay you for what they want you to do, not what you want. It isn’t right or fun that many act this way, but it is within their purview, sadly. And if you need the experience/money, your job is to take it for the time being.

    • Lawyer Bird :

      Can you turn it into a game? Like Bingo – every time she uses an unintelligible acronym you fill in a square, if she yells at you you fill in another square, if you get more than 10 emails before 9am you get another square, and when you fill up a whole row you go to Starbucks?

      • I love this.

        You could also try blowing bubbles. I once had a boss who pulled me into her office whenever she saw I was really stressed out, gave me a container of bubble solution and a wand, and told me to blow bubbles until I felt better. I miss her!

        • I love this too. I really might have to start doing this. The Starbucks reward is a great idea, and I think that the game would keep me happy and remind me that she is the one who is nuts.

          Anon13- I don’t even know what she would do with herself if I started blowing bubbles in the office. She has already cracked, but I think that she might just explode. Blowing bubbles is a definite violation of procedure. Trying it would be a good way to get a Bingo square filled in though.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I had a boss that micromanaged everything, down to the format of emails I sent to her. Although there were a few things with clear procedures, a lot of times I was left guessing how to do what she wanted. I found 2 things to be helpful. First, I kept notes on everything I did. What files I put where, which documents I worked with, where I saved things on the computer system, who I had emailed, etc. If something happened twice, I was then able to write it down as my own “procedure” to follow the next time I was given that assignment. It didn’t always work, but sometimes she was happy with what I gave her because it worked the same way as the previous time that I saw she was satisfied. I was also able to tell myself that I wasn’t the one who messed up because she had wanted something in a specific form each time previous and there was no indication that she wanted it done differently when she would inevitably hate the format out of the blue Second, I was looking for another job at the time. You at least have clear light at the end of the tunnel. Focus on that and try to keep it clear in your mind that you are doing your best with what you are given and you’ll be able to make it through. Hang in there.

      • Thanks! I have actually been doing something similar (even looking at past emails from before I worked here for hints on procedure). It is great affirmation to hear that it worked (at least somewhat) for you, and that I’m not just wasting my time or going crazy myself making a list of procedures. You’re right; part of the benefit of doing that is knowing that it isn’t you who is messing up. Thanks for the encouragement!

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Your successor may greatly appreciate your procedures too. I never met mine, but left the lists on the computer desktop knowing that he or she will be using the same computer login information. I also went through old emails to pull ideas as well. That can be super helpful.

  25. Any cat owners out there?
    I’ve finally decided to make the jump into pet-ownership. I’ve never had a pet (well, I’ve had fish, but definitely nothing in the warm and furry category). I have a friend who’s a volunteer at one of the local shelters who has kindly offered to be there to help walk me through the process of adopting a cat.
    My first instinct, naturally, was to get a kitten (seriously, who doesn’t love a kitten?). But the more I think about it, the more I think I might be better suited to getting an adult cat. I work alot (10 hour days are more or less the norm for me) and I travel a bit for work (a few one or two night trips a month), so I think I need an animal that is a bit more independent and won’t freak out if I’m gone for a night or two. Am I on the right track with this thinking?
    Also, any other advise or product recommendations would be greatly appreciated. I am a bit concerned about scratching and would prefer to not declaw.

    Thanks ladies!!

    • Hi Jess – I can’t really answer about kittens. I have only adopted adult cats. I have a feeling you will have a lot less control over scratching with an adult cat. My cat scratches on my couch and I haven’t been able to stop her, no matter what I do (including using the spray). I even have a scratching post up against one of the arms of the couch. She loves it but also scratches the other arm of the couch. My previous cat was declawed before I got him so I don’t know what he would have done. I try to keep her claws trimmed but she doesn’t take that well. I’ve heard that if you start clipping when they’re kittens, they deal with it better.

      I’m thinking you’re right that an adult cat would be better being left alone and not getting as much attention, especially at first. If you adopt an adult cat I’d suggest going to a shelter where they allow you to go to a room with the cat and socialize with it awhile before you make a decision. Cats have their own personalities! My little princess is adorable and cuddly and makes my day. She’s worth the scratching!

      • Anonymous :

        We’ve had cats for years – best way for us to trim their claws is wrapping the cat in a towel. We’ve always adopted adults, however we spent a lot of time with them pre-adoption to test compatibility. One of ours was the only one of a roomful that knew some cues for feeding – wickedly smart cat, not sure that was a great insight :) Fun cat and good stories, though!Some pretty ones hissed unexpectedly, etc. Don’t rush, is all. For the two cats, well, there is no guarantee they’ll like each other at first, so two very separate litter boxes, etc. makes life simpler.

    • Adult cats are more independent and, more importantly, are litter trained. Your best bet is probably to get an adult but young cat, no older than 2 years old. We’ve been able to minimize scratching of furniture by spraying them with water if they try to scratch, covering arm rests with blankets and providing an alternative place to scatch. Our cats like this one the best:
      It may seem counterintuitive, but look into getting a pair of cats. In our experience, cats are happier and less likely to destroy things when they have each other to play with. Once you get a cat, wag dot com makes life much easier. We use it to order cat food and litter and it usually shows up on our porch the next day.

      • Kittens are also litter trained! Once at the adoptable age (if you aren’t rescuing baby kittens <6 weeks old), then all kittens instinctively know to go for the litter box. I've never had to train any of our kittens to use one.

      • I hadn’t thought to say that but yes, two would be better. Mine hates other cats (including her sister, who left with my ex-husband) so I haven’t wanted to rock her little world. She needs a lot of attention from me because she’s an only cat. They are more interactive with each other and keep each other company when there are two.

      • Yes, get two cats. Then they will not be as prone to destroying your items when you work long days.

        You can try double-sided tape on areas you find the cats scratching, but sadly I think there is no preventing it altogether. Cats like to scratch on fabrics that are bumpy, and are less attracted to smooth surfaces, so that should give you some idea of what items you’ll need to protect.

        My cats are brothers we adopted as kittens. They are best pals and have never once used anything other than their litter box. They are huge guys now (14 and 16 lbs) and they still sleep piled on top of each other. It is pretty cute.

        • Definitely support the get two cats comments! I work very long hours and feel far less awful leaving them alone knowing that the two cats play with each other. They also do all the wrestling with each other instead of me and my furniture! My two were from the same litter so I adopted at the same time, they get along great and they are pretty much inseparable.

      • I’ve never had a kitten that didn’t immediately “get” the litter box. If you’re going to let him have the run of the place, however, best to keep an eye on him so that if he looks like he needs to go, you can put him in the box. If he’s in a small, confined area, he’ll make it to the box by himself.

    • I have adopted both cats and kittens, and had success with both. Our cat, we lucked out, was incredibly well behaved. He has always been sociable and good. But he had sooo much energy, we went to get a second cat to keep him company. Well, we returned home with two kittens instead. They are more difficult at first, because you do have to make sure they’re eating well, and give them lots of attention, and make them feel secure.

      The caution about not being able to change scratching habits is a big one, and very important. If you go the kitten route, it is always an option to ask someone to stop in and check on your kitten while you’re away for a night or two. But really, they won’t be kittens for long, and after 6 months or so, I think it would be perfectly fine to leave alone for longer periods of time. If you get two kittens, they will keep each other company!

    • Congratulations! Cats are awesome. If you decide to adopt one from a shelter (or a vet), the shelter (or vet) will probably do a pretty good job of letting you know if a cat you see is better suited for an experienced owner or is good for a newbie.

      I don’t think you need to necessarily get an adult cat – it really depends on the cat’s temperament. Some cats don’t mind being left alone, others do. Some cats that are older may actually be pretty set in their ways, so a cat on the younger side may be better for you. If you anticipate not being around much early on, consider getting an older kitten. The upside with an older kitten (6 – 1 yr. or so) is it’s not as needy as something that’s 6 weeks old but still easily trainable.

      Cats are generally pretty self sufficient so they are relatively easy to care for, assuming no health issues. Female cats may be a little easier to manage. They also tend to have fewer health problems and their liter smells less. The thing you have to also consider with male cats is that if they are fixed, which yours most certainly will be, they can sometimes have health problems from an all dry-food diet. In general, you should give your cat some wet food regularly, even though dry food is so much easier. But this is esp. key with male cats so they don’t have kidney stones, etc. (getting fixed + regular dry food = bad things as far as that is concerned).

      I would not recommend getting your cat declawed. It’s cruel and a lot of vets nowadays won’t even do it. It’s also very dangerous if your cat may accidentally get outside. If you’re concerned about your furniture, getting your cat a scratching post or two will take care of the problem. My cat actually loves an old steisel doormat, we leave it in a corner for her and she doesn’t go after anything else in the house. You can also get sprays that magically prevent the cat from scratching whatever you spraye (there is a natural one that has no scent but does a great job. White & purple bottle, at petco and petland). Cats mainly scratch to file their nails, not to be malicious. So as long as your cat has an outlet, you should be fine.

      PS: Not sure where you are, but in NYC the ASPCA shelter on E 94th is a great place to adopt a pet and they are very helpful vis a vis resources. In fact, even if you’re not getting yours there, their website has a ton of great resources.

    • An adult cat would be perfect for you! Kittens and young cats can be fairly time intensive, but are of course adorable. One thing to consider is how much temperament information you’ll be able to get about the animal – not every animal is right for each person. This is why sometimes a rescue league that has adult cats who are currently being fostered may be a better choice for you to adopt from. Also certain breeds (I’m thinking of Maine coons in particular) are beautiful, but have a lot of personality issues, that may not be best for a first time fuzzy animal owner!

      With regard to the scratching, a little is inevitable. You can work on it with kind discipline and a few tricks. I’ve never tried any sprays but cats HATE duct tape and tin foil. Lay some near your furniture and after awhile it will discourage them. I wouldn’t recommend declawing (beyond the cruel/pain factor) because it can also cause other behavioral issues (biting/peeing) which imo are worse to deal with. If you’re REALLY concerned about scratching damage, you could look for an animal that has already been declawed.

      Good luck!! Just remember, ask questions and go with your gut. Cats are awesome (says the crazy cat lady :))

    • Lawyer Bird :

      I agree with your assessment that you would do better with an adult cat. Actually, I think you would do better with two adult cats, but more on that in a minute.

      It is really important to assess the cat’s personality prior to adopting her (or him) in order to make sure that the cat will mesh with your lifestyle. The Washington Animal Rescue League, where I used to volunteer, does this for all their animals and they have the test available online at WARL dot org, mouse over adopt at the top left, and click on meet your match). It’s basically impossible to do a personality profile on a kitten because all kittens behave like hyperactive maniacs, and all kittens will need a lot of attention, so I don’t think you should get a kitten.

      One important thing that many new cat owners don’t realize is that cats need a lot of stimulation. Otherwise, they get bored and may engage in destructive activity, biting, scratching, etc. This doesn’t mean that they need constant human company, but rather that they need activities: scratching posts, tunnels, cat condos, jungle gyms, etc. And most cats do better in a bonded pair or threesome than on their own, because they can play with and snuggle with each other. So I suggest you look to adopt a pair of adult cats who are already bonded and whose personalities suit your lifestyle. This shouldn’t be hard – shelters usually have bonded adult pairs available.

      As far as product recommendations go, get several cat condos that also serve as scratching posts. My cats love their crinkle tunnel. When I used to have a bigger space, they had a little jungle gym made out of the same crinkly material and they loved that too. They love toy mousies made out of real fur. (All of these are available at any pet store.) My cats also love to sit on soft blankets, so I have some fleece blankets scattered around my apartment on the floor and couch. As an added bonus, the fleece keeps

      Other tips: make sure to trim your cat’s nails regularly if you’re concerned about scratching. When they scratch they are actually sharpening and filing down their nails. If your cat is used to having her paws touched, it’s not hard to trip the nails yourself using regular nail clippers.

      Brush your cat at least once a week if she has longish fur. That’ll help maintain healthy fur and reduce (but not eliminate) hairballs.

      Make sure you don’t drop small items on the floor or where the cat will reach them. Some cats will eat anything, especially anything shiny or bright (like, say, a bright pink Benadryl – I learned that the hard way, poor kitty).

      Check out the ASPCA’s database of toxic plants and flowers and make sure you don’t keep any in your home.

      I also suggest feeding your cat an all-natural, “fancy” cat food. My cats eat Innova and all of the foods from Innova’s parent company, Naturapet, are good. Regular cat food brands have a lot of filler, including ash, that is not healthy for the cat. Since I switched to natural food I’ve noticed that they have healthier, shiny fur; they behave better and are less moody; and they have maintained healthy weights. For treats, my cats love Greenies, and when they need to take a pill I give it to them inside the Greenies’ Pill Pockets and they gobble it right up.

      The DC-area NPR station has a show called The Animal House, wamuanimalhouse dot org, that I really like. You might browse their old episodes for discussions of adopting cats.

      Good luck! Let me know if you have any other questions. My cat has been my best buddy for almost 10 years now, with the little cat joining us almost 7 years ago, and I couldn’t imagine my life without them.

      • Lawyer Bird :

        Forgot to mention: make sure you keep the litter area clean. Some cats won’t use a dirty litterbox, and they’ll find another one instead. Those automatic litterboxes work when you’re away, IF your cat isn’t terrified of them. So I find it better to just have two litterboxes available if you’re going to be gone for a couple days.

      • These suggestions are excellent – but before you drop a wad of cash on cat condos, etc., consider just putting out a cardboard box which they will probably adore just as much. I don’t have much experience with the carpet-covered tower style, but we tried the crinkle tunnels and the Kitty City with our cats and they ignored them. Any time someone receives a package though, they are all over the box.

        Also, someone posted below about automatic litter boxes. We tried that, and the cats were fascinated by it, but for some reason they would only go on one side of the box, so it got backed up and wound up burning out. Very nice after dropping a couple hundred dollars. Perhaps my cats are bizarre, but I don’t want you to wind up resenting the trial-and-error that inveitably takes place. We have been using the Litter Kwitter (toilet training kit), though, with some success.

        • Marie Curie :

          Or try bubble wrap. I’ve never seen anyone get as excited about bubble wrap as my cat.

        • Second the cardboard box. My cats *love* shredding cardboard. Only downside is that if I have a cardboard box that needs to look presentable and kept from being torn apart, I have to find some place to keep it out of cat-reach.

      • I love WARL. They were great in helping us select our two cats.

      • Anonymous :

        Seconding the recc on the “fancier” cat food – my little girl eats Merrick Before Grain – it does wonders for her coat and general health!!!

    • I would recommend adopting an older cat rather than a kitten because of the time away from home. My cat is 4 years old and handles being alone during the day just fine. What has also saved me is an automatic litter box: Littermaid makes a few different models. It helps after a long day at work that the litterbox isn’t the first thing I smell after walking in the door and only needs my attention a couple times a week. I also have an automatic feeder that dispenses dry food every day at noon.
      If you get a scratcher, you can try Soft Paws. They are plastic caps you glue onto the cat’s front claws. My last cat ripped up my couch until I found these. While it was 20 minutes of wrestling with him every two weeks to apply the caps, it was worth it to save my furniture. Once they are on, the cat forgets about them.
      Good luck!

      • Re automatic litter boxes… I have the Litter Robot. LOVE IT. Definitely required an adjustment period, but it’s so nice not having to clean the litter box every day.

    • I would recommend either a pair of kittens or an adult cat who already prefers to live alone. I used to adopt kittens one at a time but will never do it again ~ adopting them in a pair is SO much better. They play with each other, keep each other company, teach each other kitty social skills . . . the pair I have now is about 2 years old and they are the happiest, healthiest, most well-adjusted cats ever. I also have an older female who I adopted solo several years ago and, while she loves people, she is a little neurotic, very territorial, and totally hates other animals.

      I’ve also had better luck with males than females – they seem more mellow for some reason.

      As far as declawing goes, I used to do it but that’s something else I won’t ever do again. My husband and I use the SoftPaws claw caps and have great fun giving the cats sparkly rainbow manicures. We also have some dedicated cat furniture – a three-tiered perch, a window sill perch, and several scratching/stretching posts. The cats did a little damage to our couch before we started using the claw caps, but all is well now. And I’ll trade the occasional snagged thread for a happy, healthy kitty any day.

      • HUGE second on the SoftPaws! This is an amazing, cheap, non-cruel, effective product. They should be given out free with every adopted cat.

    • Seattleite :

      Second the poster who mentioned that you can’t tell what a kitten’s personality will be like. They are hilarious and engaging, but a cuddly kitten may well grow up to be standoffish, and an independent kitten may develop separation anxiety. Additionally, many shelters simply will not adopt out a single kitten to a (formerly) cat-free home.

      I’ve owned many many cats over the last 30 years, and with only one exception, the cats I adopted as adults were the best ‘fit’ for our household – simply because we knew what we were getting. (And, as with boys, don’t ‘settle’ on a cat. Hold out until you feel a connection.)

      For the scratching, pet stores sell a heavy-duty double-sided tape. I’ve got it on the ‘hot spots’ my cats favor. It’s translucent, so is not readily apparent to guests, and leaves absolutely no residue when peeled off.

    • Everyone’s given you great advice. I’ve had a single adult cat and a pair of kittens, there are pros and cons to both. The biggest con of kittens is when they grow up you will resent them for not being nearly as cute as they used to be. I’m only partly joking :)

      Make sure you clip their nails and brush yiur cat weekly. Get the furminator brush, it is amazing.

      I get the “worlds best cat litter” which is corn based, biodegradable and flush able. So I just keep the litter boxes next to the toilet, scoop straight into to the bowl and flush. Very very easy.

      Good luck! Having pets is amazing.

      • I love the Furminator! And we use the corn-based litter, too. It’s a little more expensive, but we don’t go through it nearly as quickly as we did the regular clumping litter. It’s also not as dusty.

    • Please consider adopting two cats. Although society in general paints cats as aloof, they are very social and need companionship. Leaving one isolated for long periods of time isn’t fair or kind. Your cat will be happier with a buddy (although if you adopt adults, research how to introduce them online and give them plenty of time–and I mean potentially months– to adjust. They’ll come around eventually.).

      Also, please please don’t declaw. It is so very inhumane. If you’re considering it, please research thoroughly to make sure you understand exactly what you’re doing to your cat (the equivalent of removing your finger tips to the first knuckle) and potential side effects, risks, etc.

      Also, I guess I’m wondering why you want a cat? You’re gone most of the time and out of town frequently. Pets are for life, not until they’re inconvenient. Is this really a commitment you can make?

    • I second the two-cat advice from the previous posters. They do need companionship. If you go with adult cats, though, try to get two that have already been paired up. I adopted a mom-and-son pair who were 8 weeks and 1 year old at the time of adoption. They get along really well together and entertain each other when we’re gone. But the mom cat, who greets every person who walks in our door and is indiscriminate with laps, hates all other animals except our other one with a vengeance. If you’re adopting adult cats who have spent any amount of time as strays, you may have the same problem.

      • Third (or however many – I’ve lost count) the recommendation to get an adult cat or two at the same time. I have NEVER been successful at introducing a second cat into the mix when a first already is set in his/her ways. Shelters frequently co-house cats and they can get very bonded, so that’s a good option. Another possibility is that shelters will sometimes get cats who have already been declawed – peace of mind for you regarding your couch, but you don’t have the ethical responsibility of having “done it.” You DO have the ethical responsibility to keep in inside at all times though.

        A final – very pragmatic – reason to vote for an adult cat: Cats live a long time and a kitten is a 16 – 17 year commitment. If you might someday “adopt” a two-legged partner, you run the risk of them being allergic or just not cat-friendly. That means a hard choice for you and it is hard to find a new home for an adult cat.

        • 16-17 year commitment… my a*hole cat is probably going to live to 25 just to spite me.

          • Cracks me up that you call your cat an a*hole. My husband always calls our cat that and it always makes me laugh.

        • Note on allergies – I adopted a wonderful two-legged partner halfway through law school and he was initially too allergic to spend more than an hour or two at my house. My vet gave me a solution comprised of diluted Aceprom (an antidepressant, apparently) and I added a few drops to my cat’s food every morning. Within weeks, my now-husband’s allergy symptoms vanished. The solution works by breaking down the enzyme in a cat’s saliva that triggers allergic reactions in people. Now I have three cats AND a formerly allergic husband. :)

    • Prospective cat owner :

      Interesting discussion. We are thinking of getting a cat/cats as pets for our children. I grew up with indoor/outdoor cats. I like the idea of letting the cats do cat things outside and going to the bathroom outside occassionally as opposed to a strictly indoor cat. What are the various experiences of cat owners with indoor vs. outdoor vs. indoor/outdoor cats, and how does this translate, in your experience, into introducing a cat to the outdoors?

      • Lawyer Bird :

        Cats don’t need to go outside. Cats can be perfectly happy even in a quite small space, like a 350 sq. ft. apartment, so long as it’s their domain and they have enough stimulation. It is much safer for cats to live indoors, where they aren’t susceptible to insect-borne diseases, getting hit by cars, eaten by birds of prey or coyotes, getting lost, etc. So I would never consider putting my cats outside.

        But, cats also like what they are accustomed to. If you adopt an adult cat and she’s used to going outside, she’s going to want to go outside and you’re going to have a hard time keeping her in. (Similarly, if you have an indoor cat, she’d be terrified if you put her outside.) So if you really want an indoor/outdoor cat, get one that is already used to being outside.

        If you get kittens, you could go either way, but I suggest you don’t raise them as indoor/outdoor cats for the reasons stated above.

        • Can't wait to quit :

          I grew up with cats that went in and out as often as they could persuade someone to open the door. They were fine. We lived in a large-lot suburban area and the cats enjoyed hunting birds, etc. Yes, one did get hit by a car, but that’s just one of life’s lessons for kids. My MIL has an excellent strategy for deciding when kittens are ready to be allowed out – keep them in until they force their way out. That way you know they’re ready for the change of scene.

          • Yikes, an animal getting hit by a car because the owner wasn’t responsible enough to keep it indoors (or in the case of a dog, leashed) = “just one of life’s lessons for kids” ??? This makes pets sound so… disposable. Pet owners like you make me sad.

          • Hell, let them all outside :

            Cats have about the same sense of traffic safety as 3-year old children. They won’t knowingly walk in front of a car, but will easily dart into traffic when distracted and don’t know enough to “look both ways” first.

            But hey, having your toddler get hit by a car is one of life’s lessons, too. A rather heartless one, but a lesson nonetheless.

          • CP in Seattle :

            Since they are so similar, I guess it’s time I enroll my cat in school and carry it around with me in a stroller. Shame on me for not hiring a cat nanny while I’m at work! Poor cat can’t take care of himself for 8 hours a day. Someone call Cat Protection Services!!!

          • Having grown up in mostly rural environment, I always thought of pets as an outdoor thing. Even cats – their job (because every animal on a farm has a purpose) is to find and catch mice, usually in the barn or feed storage, and they can’t really do that inside the house.

            Frankly, it always seemed a bit cruel to keep an animal cooped up in a house if they wanted to be outside.

          • Can't wait to quit :

            I guess I’m cold-hearted, but somehow the death of a pet at age 9 didn’t leave me scarred forever. I had a hampster that died too. Didn’t seem like that big of a deal at the time.

          • The point isn’t that all animals die eventually. I had pets that died when I was a kid, and I wasn’t “scarred forever” either. The point is that an animal getting hit by a car is probably completely avoidable by a minimum of care on your part. It bothers me that you don’t or can’t distinguish between the two. Oh well. *shrug* Obviously we have different attitudes when it comes to animals.

        • MeliaraofTlanth :

          My cats growing up were indoor/outdoor on demand in our suburban neighborhood. They lived to be 12 and 18. They learned to avoid the road and the yards with dogs, and for the most part just hung out near the house. This is more than I can say for my brother, who ran in front of a car when he was 3 (he was fine). I always knew that cats were smarter…

      • I would think long and hard about the indoor/outdoor thing. As mentioned by Lawyer Bird, you are putting your cat at risk by letting him/her outdoors. If this is a family pet, your kids will not react well if some day the cat doesn’t come back. Outdoor cats don’t live as long as indoor cats, get fleas, are dirtier, bring rodents in, etc. As for a cat getting used to being outdoors, my cat was outdoors for awhile, after a fire at her original home and when her previous owner put her out, but now I could open the front door and she’d walk the other way. She doesn’t want to go out at all.

      • Please do not let your cats outside. Lettings cats outside exposes them to predators, cars, toxins and diseases like feline leukemia which is contagious between cats. We unknowingly adopted cats with feline leujemia and it broke my heart to see the kitties suffer and die.

        • Anonymous :

          Cats are also predators, so if you enjoy birds at your feeders and nearby nests in the landscaping, go for indoors and watch the doorways. We dubbed the picture window with the feeders “cat TV”, as in: Salome wouldn’t come away from the cat TV when I set out her bowl.

      • Chiming in to say don’t let your cat go outside. Outdoor cats have shockingly shorter lifespans compared to their indoor-only counterparts. Something like an avg of 6 years versus 10-15. Being outdoors is dangerous for a cat: cars, other animals, disease, eating things they shouldn’t, malicious human beings, getting lost…

        Even if you adopt a cat that someone previously let out, he’ll eventually adjust to indoor-only life. Plus, even if he wanted to go out– so what? It’s for his own good to keep him in.

        • I suggest that you keep your children inside as well. When they go outside they can get hit by a car, or get germs from the other gross kids. They tend to run and jump and can break their legs. Plus, there are sexual predators everywhere who want to kidnap them. Yes, keep the cats and the children inside!

          • This is a ridiculous analogy. A cat has the mental capacity and impulse control of a young toddler. Would you let your young toddler roam around the neighborhood unsupervised?

          • You mean I can’t just push a toddler out the front door and let him go on his merry way?? #goodthingstoknowbeforehavingchildren #learnsomethingneweveryday

            (I also thought the comment was ridiculous)

          • CP in Seattle :

            LOL to the people who think cats are like toddlers. Sorry but cats are not like toddlers at all. Cats are litter box trained. Cats clean themselves. Cats can catch their own food (if outside). Cats have claws that can be used as a weapon and cats don’t get lost in their own neighborhoods. Cats have instincts that toddlers do not have.

            Cats can be outdoors unsupervised. In fact, cats are instinctively outdoor creatures and usually do just fine outdoors.

            I’ve had indoor/outdoor cats since I was six and I’ve lived everywhere from a 1.5 acres property to a teeny tiny city lot. I prefer that my cats stay indoors so they don’t bring fleas in but, they long to be outside in their natural habitat and I feel horrible confining them when they are clearly not happy being solely indoors. Cats are predators and hunters (oh yeah, that’s a lot like a toddler- lol!). If you declaw your cat, do NOT let it outside. But, if not, cats are tough and independent and don’t need a “helicopter” owner. I’ve owned 5 cats in the past 20 years.

          • The fact that you’ve had 5 cats in 20 years, shows the fallacy of your thinking. The average life span of an indoor cat is 14 years compared with 4 years for an outdoor cat. Humans initially were hunters as well, are you still living in a cave?

          • CP in Seattle :

            You know the saying about people who ASSume things. 4 of my 5 cats are still alive. 2 live with my parents since that was the environment they grew up in. The one that died had leukemia. Geezus!!!!

      • Funny story, but not applicable to most of the posters here but interesting. We adopted our current cat in 1999 after having lost two outdoor cats. We live in a horse-community suburb and coyotes are a big problem for cats and small dogs. So the cat we adopted was over five years old, needed a home desperately and was advertised as a declawed, short-haired indoor cat. The funny thing is that she refuses to be an indoor cat, climbs trees as often as she can and walks on our roof all the time – declawed. She goes in and out of all our neighbors’ houses and they all know her. And she likes to hang out with the various horses in the neighborhood. She is fearless and has stared down many a dog. Over 12 years later, she has survived longer than any cat we’ve ever had. Oh, and she’s a round fluff-ball, not a short-haired cat at all!

      • Domestic cats are essentially an invasive species vis a vis the native bird population. They do not belong outside as part of our natural environment. Enough has been said about the potential harms that can befall outdoor cats themselves. People should also consider the harms to non-pets like butterflies, songbirds and small mammals. I’ve had to rescue baby bunnies and birds from the neighborhood strays more times than I care to count.

        • CP in Seattle :

          Butterflies? You’re kidding right? Are butterflies endangered? What about regular flies? Should we protect them from our cats too? My cats eat what they kill. So I have no problem as long as they don’t kill my neighbor’s pets.

          • Also – some people consider rabbits to be pests (like anyone with a garden). I don’t think they are endangered either. Cat eating bunny is the food chain.

          • “Are butterflies endangered?”
            Yes, they can be:

            We’re in the middle of a global mass extinction. Any type of animal can be endangered, and any group you can think of probably has at least one endangered or extinct species.

          • But, are cats having a significant impact on the populations of those endangered butterflies? I kind of doubt it.

          • To be honest, I’m not sure how cat predation affects butterfly populations. Cats do, however, have significant impacts on bird and mammal populations and are considered a contributor to declining songbird populations. Cats in the UK were estimated to kill 57 million mammals, 27 million birds, and 5 million reptiles/amphibians (which also can be endangered, if anyone was wondering) in a 4 month period. From a conservation standpoint, those are worrying numbers.

            I don’t really buy the “food chain” argument, either. My dog would love to shake the neighbourhood cats like chew toys, but despite it being “the circle of life” I’m sure my neighbours would protest, therefore I prevent him from following his instincts, even if they are natural.

        • I think the point is that cats are not native to the US. They may outrank birds, butterflies and rabbits on the food chain, but they really don’t belong here. They were introduced by people and set loose just like the house sparrow and several other species that have wrought havoc on our native animal populations. The fact that many people are used to thinking of cats as a natural part of the outdoor environment doesn’t make it so.

      • If you are going to have an indoor/outdoor cat, I strongly recommend the Purrfect Fence. Google it. It is used at the Hemingway House in the Keys to keep the descendants of Hemingway’s cats safely inside the fence.

        Years ago, I had a cat killed by a dog. A few years ago, a pack of dogs got hold of and killed an outdoor cat that hung around the neighborhood and I had had neutered and vaccinated. A cat does not hava chance against more than one dog.

        My current cats go out only if I am home with them, but nevertheless, in early summer, my largest (about 19 pounds) was attacked by two dogs. I heard it and was out there in about 30 seconds. I had to literally body slam one of the dogs off my cat — I knew not to stick my hand or foot in there. He survived with no serious damage, but the vet kept saying, “he’s very lucky, they would have killed him.”

        I then got the Purrfect Fence and do not have another worry about dogs. The cats only go out when I am home but I know the dogs cannot get to them, and they cannot climb the fence to escape themselves. It’s pricey but worth it to me to keep the cats safe–also protects them from cars, of course, but I’m the last house on a dead-end street so not so much of an issue for me.

    • Also re getting a kitten versus older cat. Kittens do need constant supervision. They’re always getting into stuff, climbing on things, exploring things… when I first got my cats (all as kittens), at night they were always sequestered somewhere I knew they’d be safe from their own curiosity. I’d feel terrible leaving a kitten completely unsupervised for long stretches of time (an overnight trip) with nobody to check in. Adult cats, while still curious, aren’t quite as prone to getting into trouble that could lead to them getting hurt.

    • Agree on two cats – with few exceptions, cats generally like to have another cat around. And if you go through a shelter, you’ll find cats that have bonded with each other (or are litter mates, or were together in a home before being surrendered to the shelter).

      Every cat is different. Rather than going to the shelter thinking “older cat” or “kitten”, think about what you want in a pet. Do you want a cuddler? A cat who likes to be near you but doesn’t need to constantly be in your lap or next to you?

      I have two cats now – one is pure “cat” in that everything is on his terms: when to be picked up, when to cuddle, when to lie in my lap, and so forth. He sometimes wanders off to sleep under the bed because he likes his space. The other cat is a dog in cat fur. He has to be with me. He follows me everywhere. He lies on the floor at my feet when I cook. He has to be touching me with some part of his body when I sit down. He’s friendly as all get out and loves everyone – heck, he purrs through his exams at the vet.

      The shelter workers can help match the cat’s (or cats’) personalities to what you want in a pet.

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