Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Scuba Crepe Jacket with Studes

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

Calvin Klein Scuba Crepe JacketOoh: what a cute little peplum jacket from Calvin Klein. Love the peplum, the simple collar, the bright, happy color and the look of the buttons up the front. It can always be a bit of a question how to accessorize this kind of jacket — for my $.02 I’d avoid necklaces entirely and go for an interesting earring or brooch. The jacket is $139 at Amazon (and note that their very popular starburst sheath dress also comes in the same color, Regatta, if you want a cobalt sheath dress or want a matching look).  Calvin Klein Women’s Scuba Crepe Jacket with Studs

Here’s a similar cobalt blazer in plus sizes.

Psst: Random sale find of the day: there are a ton of Basler sale items in regular and plus sizes at OFF 5TH right now — the brand is usually around $500 for a blazer, but I’m seeing prices as low as $99.

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Comments

  1. Anonymous :

    Poll: Are thicker, more opaque tights more casual?

    • lawsuited :

      I think as long as they don’t have texture, no.

    • Anonymous :

      I only wear thick opaque tights day to day – business attire but leaning toward business casual not business formal at my office. I do think of them as more casual and usually switch to black or nude for me hose if a very formal situation.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes, they’re more casual than hose, but still appropriate for all but the most formal situations. I’m in CA and wear them to the office, client meetings and depositions all the time in the winter. For court I would wear hose or pants (generally pants).

      • Agreed. I don’t think they look right with an actual skirt suit but other than than I think they’re fine– ie if you can wear a ponte dress or knit skirt or the like and it’s appropriate, then tights are fine too.

    • I wear black tights (effectively opaque black hose) every day during the winter in my business attire (leaning business formal) office. They are only a smidge less formal than black hose. I would wear black tights in pretty much every professional scenario. I’d probably lean black hose for a formal cocktail party.

    • Perhaps, but I wear them anyway. I have what many people consider “unsightly” legs, so it’s easier to wear tights than deal with judgement or hostility for what my legs look like.

      • People are actually openly hostile about what your legs look like? That seems a bit…dramatic?

        • Anonymous :

          Well, I can’t shave/wax/get laser treatment due to a skin condition, so my legs are a combination of hairy and discolored. That leads me to the thickest tights I can find. My pant leg rode up once when I crossed my legs and my manager gave me a dressing down about professional grooming standards and other similar things have happened, so now I stick to opague tights.

    • Yes, but so much so that opaque tights are not business attire. When getting dressed for a holiday party recently in a silver velvet dress, I had to swap the opaque for sheer black to look dressy enough. Have never had that thought before walking into a courtroom though.

    • We all wear thick, opaque tights in my business formal law office (formal meaning, we wear suits or separates daily).

      I’ll wear dark sheer pantyhose/nylons to parties because I think that is s*xier.

      We go with bare legs in the summer. I haven’t worn skin tone pantyhose in years.

      • Agree with all of this except the no skin tone. Definitely a fan of nude for you hose and it’s a great way to deal with the freezing summer office. Also great on cold days as an extra slim layer under pants.

  2. Projector recommendations? :

    I’m looking to buy a small, portable projector for my husband for Christmas that we can use to watch movies. Does anyone have a particular model they’d recommend? I’m pretty overwhelmed with all the options online…

    Budget is $250-400. We live in a small condo so I want a small projector that’s easy to move around, and I want it to be reasonably high quality, but I’m not someone who would buy a high-definition TV, if that makes sense. Also needs to be wi-fi and bluetooth compatible, and I’d like to be able to easily connect it to Netflix, either through the projector itself or through being able to easily hook up my laptop or phone.

    • Why do you want a projector instead of a TV? Based on my experience buying for conference rooms and such, the sort of thing you want will be fairly expensive, so you’d have to really need a projector specifically for that to make sense. Many offices have gone to high def TVs in their conference rooms over projectors, since they are a pain and expensive.

      • Not OP, but I have friends who’ve made the deliberate choice of a projector over a TV because they want their screen-watching to be purposeful rather than a mindless sitting-down-after-dinner-ritual. It’s easier when it’s out of sight, out of mind. Also some people just don’t like the aesthetic of a TV, no matter how sleek.

        • Projector recommendations? :

          Yes, this is exactly why. We have one long open space that is kitchen/dining/living, and I don’t want a TV on the wall. I do, however, want to be able to have friends over to watch a movie from time to time, that sort of thing.

          • I think a projector is a great idea. Do you also have to buy a screen to project onto? I don’t like a TV in the living room – I have one in my bedroom but that means no group movie watching – so I like your idea.

          • Projector recommendations? :

            We have a blank white wall that will work for now, and then I’m thinking I could always mount a screen on the ceiling so that it’s unobtrusive and and we can have art on the wall normally but then can pull the screen down for a movie.

    • It doesn’t make sense. Buy a tv.

    • This is a great idea. We’ve had a projector instead of a TV for close to 15 years (technology 15 years ago was terrible!). Our reasoning was exactly this — it allowed us to have a 100 inch screen in our apartment that disappeared when not in use (roll up screen, ceiling mount)

      Few thoughts:
      1. You probably will want a pull-down screen rather than just shining it on a blank wall. A screen will significantly improve the picture quality more than any of the projector specs.

      2. The main specs to look at are:
      * throw (how big will the image be from where you will have the projector)
      * contrast ratio (how black are the blacks)
      * update rate (how quickly can the image change if you are watching an action movie)

      In that price range, I’d pick a known brand (Epson) and ensure it will have the right throw, and let the rest of the specs be what they would be.

      Also take into account how you will play sound etc.

      • Also to add — if you can mount it semi-permanently, you will use it much more often than having to move it around each time you want to use it.

        In our initial setup (before moving into a house where a ceiling mount was viable) — we just mounted an ikea floating shelf on the wall near the ceiling at the back of the room.

      • Projector recommendations? :

        Thanks — this is really helpful!

    • We did the projector instead of a TV thing a few years ago (so I don’t have a recommendation for you) and we are very happy. A TV would be a constant hazard and whining point with our older kid but he’s none the wiser about the projector.

    • Any recs on setups that work outside?

      We are in the SEUS, so would love to host bunches of kids/parents outside for movies most of the year. Have more room outside for this than in plus can justify fire pit :)

    • I’d check the Wirecutter for reviews.

    • lost academic :

      We did this for awhile. Limitations that eventually killed it included the need to have lights dim or off to get the best picture quality, which is not something I usually want: my husband spent more time with it on watching things which meant being in the room meant being in the dark, a problem for my eyes a lot. Bulb quality is tricky. A screen is better than a white wall, even with the right paint, but that’s a pain too. We ended up wanting the newer technology of smart TVs and building a system that worked better that way.

  3. Intuitive eating :

    Has anyone here ever tried intuitive eating and experienced weight loss? I practice it in a general sense, but I seem to be stuck at weight maintenance when I have a solid 15-20 pounds to lose. I don’t want to have a diet mindset and I love the principles of IE in general, but I am also trying to get better at a sport where having extra weight is a drag (literally). Would love to hear any thoughts on this.

    • I had never heard of it. What does intuitive eating mean to you?

      I quickly looked it up, and read the 10 principles, which all sound good to me.

      But I am probably missing something…. it doesn’t address what you eat at all. Or does it, and I found the wrong reference?

      I am a fan of not following strict diets, but there are general principles that I used in changing my diet that definitely helped me lose weight. For example, making sure I have a bit more protein and good fats (ex. more nuts/butters), that help me feel full longer and a few healthier snacks, for example. Are there basic principles like that which might be helpful for you? Did you change what you are eating, at all, or add a few new things to your diet?

    • Try intermittent fasting, no need to count calories or log your food. It’s amazing. Eat from 1 – 8 pm every day, fast the rest of the time.

      • Anon Lawyer :

        Ugh. “Forget listening to your body; try this completely disordered way of eating instead.”

        • This ends up being the way I eat when I do listen to my body. I’m not usually hungry before 10:30-11. I’m not usually hungry after 6ish. But, if I want to actively lose weight, I do need to be more mindful of my calories, so just plain IF doesn’t work for me that way.

      • That’s like the opposite of intuitive eating – it’s ignoring your hunger the rest of the time. I’m glad it works for you but I wouldn’t suggest this to someone that is trying to avoid a diet mindset.

        • Yeah this.

        • I’ve started doing this too because it’s actually closer to my natural hunger pattern. I find it curbs mindless eating and I don’t feel hungry in between. I eat between 12-8pm and make an exception for a small yogurt at breakfast. But it’s basically just eating lunch and dinner. It doesn’t necessarily make you hungry. I ate more and still felt hungrier when I was doing the 3 small meals and 2-3 snacks, I felt like I was constantly eating or thinking about what I was eating next which kept me in a food obsessed/diet mindset. IF makes food a much less significant part of my day in terms of how much I have to think about it.

          • Good for you, not good for the OP.

            Personally, IF sounds a lot like my life when I was anorexic (except that I would also…barely eat lunch or dinner), and would be super, super triggering for me. It may work for a lot of people, but just because it works for you, doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for everyone–especially not someone like the OP who is specifically looking for something that isn’t a diet.

          • Anonymous :

            It isn’t a ‘diet’, it’s eating normal full meals, just not snacking all day long. It’s made me significantly less concerned about eating because I’m not constantly planning my next mini meal.

          • emeralds, you have no idea if it’s going to be good for the OP or not. You’re seriously projecting here.

          • Yeah srsly. She’s not brow beating, just a suggestion. To someone who asked for suggestions.

          • Eh … I don’t know. I agree with emeralds that intermittent fasting seems pretty out of place in a post asking about intuitive eating.

          • The OP said she didn’t want a “diet mindset.” To me, skipping meals = dieting = not what the OP asked for. Feel free to call it whatever you want, though, and for all the IF fans, I’m glad that you’ve found something that works for you.

          • Anonymous :

            Intermittent fasting is the opposite of eating normal, full meals, isn’t it? Normal meals to me = breakfast in the morning (6:30 AM), lunch (11:30 AM), dinner (7 PM). If I ate in the aforementioned window of 1-8 PM, I’d only get one meal.

          • I’ve had the same experience where IF allows me to actually avoid a diet mindset. For me, a diet mindset is when I’m constantly thinking about food — when to eat, what to eat, how much to eat, etc. I’m not someone who’s hungry in the morning, so it’s easy to just have breakfast at noon, lunch at 4:30, and then dinner at 8. This has worked much better for me and is oddly much more intuitive for my schedule. So I do think it’s a legitimate suggestion. It may not be for the OP, but it’s not some sort of horribly out of line suggestion in this context.

      • Anonymous :

        This really works.

    • Yeah that sounds about right. If you’re exercising and eating healthfully and mindfully, and you’re still 15lbs heavier than you want, you can either accept it or diet. I vote accept it. Don’t trash your healthy relationship with food for vanity weight and a hobby.

    • If you think about it, your body will not intuitively starve itself so you will be in maintenance. The first few days after a holiday or big vacation I am always hungry because my stomach has grown used to bigger, richer meals and takes a few days to reset. I would recommend planning/loosely counting calories for some meals at first so your brain and stomach get used to the size of the meal. Then, during the meal, practice intuitive eating – i.e. make sure you are actually hungry and not bored or stressed, have enough water to drink, chew slowly, eat without distractions, take time to savor your food, ask yourself if you are still hungry or just finishing everything on your plate, etc. Take it easy on yourself at first – if you go from eating 2,500 calories to 1,500 in one day, you are going to be miserable and setting your body up to gorge because you will be hungry!!! So take it slowly if you need to in the transition.

      • +1. I think intuitive eating works pretty well once your body gets used to having the actual number of calories and volume of food you need. In fact, Weight Watchers actually preaches most of the principles of intuitive eating if you read the literature and attend meetings. But if you need to cut 500 calories per day to lose weight (that would be about 1 lb a week), your body is likely not going to do that intuitively without some kind of counting.

        There’s probably an exception if you “just” have one or two bad habits that you could cut out almost entirely without missing (mindless or emotional eating, consuming more than a moderate amount of alcohol or other caloric drink, etc.). But habits can be really tough to kick, especially when they stem from underlying feelings, and I’ve found tracking, at least at first, gives me some feedback needed to break the habit. Your brain may work differently though.

    • I guess I eat intuitively, in that I’m only going to eat food that is healthy and/or delicious (ideally both). I’m not interested in some mediocre at best pasta when we go out to lunch at work on Fridays – I’d rather eat something actually delicious later if I’m going to be unhealthy about it and eat the vegetable plate or whatever is on offer. You could also probably eat healthy categories intuitively — like you know that you probably don’t get as many (non-fried, non-starchy) vegetables as you could, so you make sure that you consciously add them into your diet every day. When you focus on adding healthy foods, it’s not about restriction.

    • I’ve been practicing intuitive eating for the last several years. Initially I gained some weight and wasn’t too bothered with it, but I got to a point where I wanted to see if I could lose some of it without losing my newly found sanity around food. I started seeing a nutritionist who specializes in intuitive eating, and she’s been awesome. I don’t know how much weight I’ve lost because I don’t weigh myself, but I’ve definitely seen changes in my body and am fitting into smaller sizes of clothes that I haven’t been able to wear in years. Two things that have helped me:

      – Adding a vegetable to every lunch and dinner. Seems like such a small thing, but it really changed the way I ate at those meals, and helped me fill up on lower calorie foods.

      – Paying really close attention to hunger and fullness. After years of dieting, I am REALLY GOOD at noticing when I am hungry, but less good at noticing when I am full. So I’ve tried to practice eating slowly and mindfully and stopping a bit before I normally would otherwise. I’m able to do this because I know that if I’m truly hungry 20-30 minutes later, I am absolutely allowed to eat something else. But most of the time, I find I’m not even hungry later.

      Losing weight has been a lot slower going this time than ever before, but I feel like I’ve done it in a way that feels really good and is something that I can easily maintain because it doesn’t feel at all like a diet. It’s just been changing the way I eat and the way I think about food. I feel like I’m in a better place with my relationship with food and with my body than I’ve been in years. So it definitely can be done. Good luck!

    • I balance it by following my intuition about when I eat, but being less intuitive about what or how much I eat, because I know my intuition does not always lead me to healthy options in those areas.

      I eat when I’m hungry, although I used to have to stop for a moment and verify that I am, in fact, hungry and not bored or sad or whatever.

      But then I do think carefully about what I’m hungry for and try to think of a reasonably healthy option that will be satisfying. For example, if I’m hungry and my intuition says “Eat a whole bag of Cheetos!!” I can usually deduce that I’m in the mood for something salty and that a handful of salted nuts (and maybe a few cubes of cheese) will probably be a good option. Or maybe I want Cheetos because they’re crunchy and I could have some snap pea crisps instead. Or maybe I just actually want Cheetos!

      That’s what intuitive eating means to me, and it has helped me stay at a low-ish maintenance weight after yo-yo-ing a lot thanks to emotional eating.

    • Intuitive eating :

      Thanks for the helpful posts, everyone. I’m definitely not looking to diet/intermittent fast, but I appreciate hearing a variety of perspectives.

      • Can’t believe I didn’t post this before since I’m such a broken record, but Robyn has tons of great resources on intuitive eating at https://www.thereallife-rd.com

        Fair warning, she is very pro-HAES and anti-diet, but she talks a lot about holistic wellness around food and how to start eating more intuitively.

  4. Move or remodel :

    I bought what I thought was a cosmetic fixer when I was pregnant. It turns out, that the cosmetic fixes were easy but we are boxed in by exterior or load-bearing walls into a footprint (esp for bathrooms) that worked in the 1920s and now with 2 school-aged children and 2 working spouses is just unworkable (e.g., our half-bath, the only bathroom on the first level, is smaller than the ones in coach on airplanes; as family members have gotten older / larger, it is not making our house welcoming, esp for people who can’t easily climb stairs).

    Construction would be long and expensive. Selling in our area, and having to stage a cluttered house that is lived in and needs updating, would probably be a headache and lead to a more expensive (but better house). And work is crazy busy, so it’s not like I really have time for any of this.

    Is this where I need to find a friendly real estate agent and just interrogate them about candid opinions and realistic sale/trading up options (and maybe a couple of contractors)? I hate to waste people’s time in fact-finding missions (and can I really trust them to be candid)?

    I feel stuck and without a game plan. In the meantime, people have started using our bathroom without shutting the door b/c they feel crowded in it (which was OK when they were potty training, so I could verify that wiping occurred, but now is getting a little old).

    Just pour a beer and embrace the s*ck?

    • I can’t solve your house problems, but I can give you a game plan. Look ahead to the next month or so, and block off two periods of time: a 2 hour block on a Saturday evening when your partner will take the kids to a movie, and a full Saturday a month later when your partner will again take the kids away somewhere. The first 2-hour block is your planning time – figure out every option you need to look into (buying a new house, minor remodeling the old house, moving into a rental for 6 months and massive reno of the old house, etc). Then use the rest of that 2-hour block to make an action plan for your full day. The plan for the full day would be a list like (1) I will book appointments with a realtor, an interior architect, and a contractor on that day to go over my options, (2) I will spend 2 hours researching my neighborhood’s real estate market, (3) I will attend 2 open houses in the neighborhood to get a feel for the local market, and (4) the rest of the day, if any time remains, will be organizing and summarizing the day’s research results to share with my partner.

      • Uh why on earth is she doing all the work while her partner enjoys time with the kids?

        • +1 And presumably her partner would want to have some input in this pretty major life decision/plan?

        • Was wondering that as well. Why not find someone else to watch the kids (or send them on play dates or whatever) while you and your partner tackle the house stuff together?

        • Move or remodel :

          It is all in the eye of the beholder, no?

          In our family, husband is the movie-taker b/c the man loves popcorn and sitting in chairs. I am better at #s and quantifying and analyzing / sifting through data / talking to strangers / distilling things down to 3 up or down items to vote on.

          I also to the taxes (while he takes the kids to the movies; the weather is usually not better for anything else).

          I am the hiking parent when I am not being the quant parent :)

          • So you’re better at adulting? Congrats.

          • Move or remodel :

            Le sigh. I am also the zoo parent. I just hate spending more of my life sitting indoors looking at screens.

          • “Better at adulting”?? Wow – way to be snarky, nasty and not helpful.

            I am also the person my family who is better at the tasks OP describes, but I would call a professional for every minor household repair because I do not have a handy bone in my body. My husband is able to fix them, thereby saving us a ton of money. Dividing labor based on abilities and preferences is basic common sense and most couples manage to work out that balance.

            And I agree with scheduling days for research, but I would suggest you probably need more than two since all of those meetings and attending open houses are not something you will be able to do in one day, especially if it is a weekend. My preference would be to buy something new rather than deal with renovations with two children, but that really depends on the market in your specific area. Ask your neighbors for recommendations for good RE agents who know the neighborhood (and check to see if your area has a Facebook group). Don’t worry about wasting their time – that is part of their business and they know it.

      • This isn’t a bad idea but I think your two hour plan will take way more than two hours and your full day plan will take way more than a full day.

      • I love this advice – thx!

    • We have a similar 1920’s house, with a similar tiny 1st floor bathroom.

      Is the bathroom the main issue? Are you talking about elderly family members you can’t access it who live with you? Then I would consider moving if you are taking care of the elderly family members long term, as I suspect there are other housing issues that would make it unaccessible with aging. Look for a ranch, if possible. The alternatives are putting in a staircase lift to make it easier for them to access the upstairs bathroom.

      Honestly, I would not sell a house for this reason alone if you are not caregiving for elderly family members and it is mostly a bathroom issue. I’d modify the bathroom or just deal with it. We just deal with it.

      So young kids are leaving the door open? Tell them to start closing it… most of the way, and then all the way once they are a bit older and feel more secure.

      Your husband is leaving the door open? Tell him to close it. Deal with it.

      Moving is so so awful, and it sounds like you would take a financial hit here since you moved not long ago. But of course you can meet with a realtor and ask those basic questions. That is totally reasonable. Ask the realtor that sold you the house.

      • Move or remodel :

        It’s more that we have people battling for a bathroom upstairs and not enough of a footprint to add a second bathroom without losing a bedroom. And the half bath isn’t much of an outlet for a family of four (and we have an in-law with a walker, so while she can go up stairs, prefers to do it once a day when she sleeps upstairs).

        We bought the house about 8 years ago but didn’t like the agent. And we are in a good ‘hood, but most agents seem to like to focus on luxury houses (which ours is not; for all I know it’s so outdated as to be in the teardown category). And knowing who is a fluffball and who is really good at his/her trade is proving to be much harder than for the construction companies (most of whom are design/build).

        I had an idea a couple of years ago to do a small covered porch, had an architect friend draw up plans, and then had a contractor tell me it was $70K, and sort of threw up my hands. A $70K porch might work on a $1M house, but that’s so not us or our house.

        • There are 4 of you! Take turns.

          • In addition to taking turns, the general rule is to only do things in the bathroom that can’t be done elsewhere. So putting on lotion, changing clothes, styling hair, etc. can happen in bedrooms.

        • I see. Probably adding a second bathroom upstairs is not practical, but maybe modifying the downstairs one slightly might be.

          So, what works for us is that I use the downstairs bathroom for my morning routine… hair drying, make-up. Yes, the upstairs bathroom will be very busy when the kids get older and you negotiate morning showers. But growing up myself, we had the same layout, and we made it work. Showers are short. And honestly, most of us have slightly staggered schedules.

          And you can get 2nd opinions on construction. $70k is clearly very high for the porch.

          We also have an awful, awful time finding reasonable contractors. I feel your pain. Just trying to find people who are honest, do good work, when we are willing to pay a fair price seems impossible. We either find people who only want to work on the multi-million dollar houses, or who see our old house and do crappy work because they assume ?we don’t care?!?! Stinks.

        • I’d look into a smaller toilet, as Diana Berry recommended, and a small pedestal sink. Take $5,000 and a few weekends and remodel it! (I just did my powder room this summer. It took longer than just a few weekends, but I had to repair walls and replace a rotten subfloor. You shouldn’t have to do that!)

          Sticking to one color (like white) but using textures to make it more interesting (black/white tiny hexagon floor tiles, painted bead board on the walls) can make it feel bigger and cleaner. If you have anything on the walls (towel bars?) get rid of them. The kids need room to swing the door, so strip the room down to 1.) toilet, 2.) sink, 3.) small trash can, 4.) small box of disposable paper guest towels and pump hand soap.

          For getting ready in the morning, those plastic shower caddys (like we used in college) could work. Each kid can keep their hair brush, tooth brush, hair gel, make up, etc. in their bin and plan to carry it in and out of the powder room in the morning. I’m also a fan of vanities in the bedroom a la 1930’s Hollywood. My girls and I put on makeup and primp in our bedrooms, using the bathroom just to brush our teeth and dry our hair. Crossing my fingers, but it’s working so far!

          • also to add to this interesting idea of adapting the bathroom – is there any chance you could install a sliding / pocket door?

            those things are great space savers for impossibly small spaces. (I really feel for you on the small bathroom situation!)

          • A pocket door is a brilliant idea!

          • Move or remodel :

            Is it though? Doesn’t that just trap us in the same small space with a door that is more likely to have issues / get stuck when the house settles / still not get shut b/c of feeling closed in?

            Maybe to wall off a room elsewhere and make another bathroom (unfortunately, this half bath was created that way and is in the middle of our kitchen (which is also our laundry area)). #notgoingtobeonthehomestour

          • Ok, OP, I guess I just don’t know what your problems are. The bathroom is too small and the door makes people feel claustrophobic? A pocket door is an excellent solution for that. You just want a different house? Pocket door’s not gonna fix that.

          • It sounds like you’ve already made up your mind that this bathroom (and house) doesn’t work. So your next step is to call a realtor. S/he will be able to give you some advice about how to play up your house to get the most money for it.

            Don’t write it off as “tear down” and worthless. Lots of houses sell every day, including ones I think are gross for multiple reasons. Don’t despair!

          • Anonymous :

            The pocket door works well – we did it for similar reasons. If you are concerned what about a barn door like arrangement on the outside wall, painted the same color as the wall?

        • lawsuited :

          My family of 7 shared a single bathroom most of my life.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Load bearing walls can still come down if they are replaced with pillars or arches or something else that is still load bearing. You could expand your bathroom by building a wall on the other side of the load bearing wall and then turning the load bearing one into pillars in your bathroom. It’s still a weird set up but it would give you more leg room. I’ve seen this in an old farm house and in lofts in an old mill building. I’m not sure if I’m using all the right terminology but I would say this is not a DIY fix but there are workarounds.

      • +1 – I’d consult with an architect before determining that things can’t be done. It might still be a pain or too expensive but it could be less than moving, and it will help you fully understand your options.

      • +1

        My house was remodeled by the previous owner, and they tore down a load bearing wall and added a truss structure in the attic to support the load. Worked beautifully. A friend had a load bearing wall torn out of the first floor of her house, and the contractor added a structural beam across the top and left some pillars. Her house hasn’t fallen down so this appears to have worked.

        I would not only consult with an architect, but possibly also consult with a designer who specializes in maximizing small spaces.

        • Baconpancakes :

          Oooh, now you’re rekindling my dreams of an open floor plan from the kitchen to the living room, which were dashed upon the rocks of reality when I found out that wall was load-bearing.

    • Diana Barry :

      Is it only the 1st fl bathroom that needs work? We had a small bathroom like that and fixed it by getting a smaller sink and a shallower toilet – so the toilet was right back against the wall.. You can also get the ones with the wall mount tank to save even more space. OR make an awkward bump out in front of the bathroom to make it bigger, maybe with a closet next door? Or is it under the stairs? I’d definitely explore other ways to add a bathroom/make it better before moving.

      • This would basically be my strategy. I’d talk to a realtor, and an architect, and most likely reno just the bathroom and de clutter the house.

      • This. Ikea has some great and very inexpensive options for small bathrooms.

    • anon a mouse :

      Don’t fret about taking up a realtor’s time. They play the long game. Good ones will invest in a relationship if it means that you’ll call them when you’re ready to sell, even if it’s a decade or more.

      You have a lot of questions to answer and it’s not an easy decision. Questions to ask the realtors (you should talk to at least two) include:
      – Who’s buying the houses in my neighborhood? (If they are young couples, your issues may not matter as much as if they are families with children)
      – What have other families with similar floor plans done?
      – How long does it take to sell a home like this, generally? (they will lowball you but you’ll get an idea)
      – Which contractors have you seen do good work with challenging issues like we have?

      You may also want to talk to a lender to run your numbers — if getting the house ready to sell is a big obstacle, could you move first, even if it means carrying two mortgages for a few months or getting a bridge loan?

      • Senior Attorney :

        So true about the realtors. There was a guy who farmed my neighborhood for years and I talked to him about various issues over the years and then when I was ready to buy after my divorce, I called him and it was the easiest sale he ever made, after 15 years.

    • You may be able to get some of this done on the phone – I learned a lot from 2 calls to architects when discussing a potential renovation of an apartment we purchased. But yes, you do need to get more information from experts (contractor and/or architect, realtor), and you shouldn’t feel bad about wasting their time – you are considering using their services.

      Unless you decide to live with this as is (which might be the right choice – I live in NYC and have low standards for bathroom roominess), regardless of whether you stay and renovate or move you are going to have to spend a fair amount of money and it is going to be a major hassle. I think you need to make your peace with that or decide to embrace the suck – those are really your only 2 options.

      Actually, speaking of NYC – have you considered into getting smaller fixtures for your tiny bathroom? There is a whole world of teeny tiny sinks, toilets, etc that populate NYC restaurant bathrooms. Changing fixtures is usually not expensive.

    • I think you need a ballpark quote from a contractor on the remodeling you would want in current house. Then, get some thoughts from a realtor on a) what your house needs before putting it on the market b) what your house is likely to get if you sell c) how much you are likely to spend on a new house that has what you want (see zillow or redfin too). Then you have to take a hard look at your finances and preferences. Without knowing the $ it’s hard to say for sure. For example, I would lean strongly toward moving unless it would be cost- or commute-prohibitive to buy a new house. That way you spread the cost of improvements out over your 30 year mortgage rather than paying out of pocket. The cost is the hassle of moving but that isn’t THAT bad.

    • It sounds like you want to do something and that your current set up is no longer working for your family. I think it is worth poking around on real estate and MLS listings to see what is out there in your budget. I think it is also worth it to talk to a contractor about what is possible. No option is a fun one (moving or remodeling) but it sounds like you don’t like your current set up so something needs to change. And neither moving nor remodeling last forever.

    • Your house is too small for you. I was in the same situation with a 2br /1ba first home. We looked into expanding (in my case adding a floor) and we looked into moving and decided that while both were expensive, moving made more sense. Not only for the hassle factor but because I didn’t want to destroy my original-condition 1922 bungalow by trying to make it something that it was not.

      We moved to a much larger house that needed a ton of work (1909 craftsman) and have been doing the work gradually over a period of years. Houses meant to be larger houses are just proportioned differently. We still only have a 1/2 bath downstairs but it is a decent size. The hallways are wider. There is an entryway and a coat closet (something my bungalow didn’t have that drove me crazy). We have a big pantry.

      My advice is to spend a few Sunday afternoons this spring going to open houses. Take the kids. Look at houses one bedroom and two bedrooms bigger than what you have. Look at houses that may be slightly over the top end of your budget, because just about everyone’s budget moves up a little once they start looking. Don’t be afraid of a little deferred maintenance or a kitchen in need of remodel.

      My guess is that your kids will tell you which house they like. That happened with my current house. My three year old daughter climbed the stairs, walked into a bedroom and said “this is my bedroom” – and she was right. It’s still her bedroom to this day.

    • Move or remodel :

      I wish I could submit myself to some house disaster show (but it is not tragic enough and I’m not sure how well that stuff done for the cameras holds up).

      The Canadian one always has some old house innards drama that adds significantly to the bill.

      I trimmed our trees recently and then realized that now they are less likely to fall on the problematic areas of the house, so no more dreams of that happening one non-rainy day when we are out.

      • Ok, you just want a new house. So make it happen!

        • Move or remodel :

          No — I feel like in many areas, I have knowledge, I can get real facts, I can make a plan.

          Here, even the facts are elusive b/c I don’t know what is structurally possible, what things will wind up costings, how long a remodel or sale will take, how competitive the market is, etc., etc. And I don’t trust that many people will give me honest answers (like the remodel goes forever, doesn’t get done right the first time, we sell our house and then can’t find another, we get so annoyed at trying to spruce up and stage a house that we just are crabby). I don’t see a path forward or even a reliable guide. I am just stumbling.

          If I had a dental problem, I have a great dentist, who recommends great other professionals. Or a plumbing problem. Or an accounting problem.

          But with real estate, it just seems to be a lot of “oh, you can fix this,” but I need an army of different people and past results are very . . . overpromise, go over budget b/c of punch items, things take 300% of the time estimated, and . . . I need to go breathe.

          • Anonymous :

            We were in this same situation 2 years ago. Our house was too small for our family of 5 and we were quickly becoming frustrated with the lack of concrete steps to a solution. Moving is expensive. Remolding is expensive and you never know how much it is going to cost.
            We started trolling neighborhoods that we liked and going to all of the open houses we could find. At the same time, we had two contractors come in to speak with us about what we wanted to change about our house. Just informational meetings and we were very upfront about just trying to get our arms around how much it would costs to make the changes we needed to the house. Both were in the same ballpark about how much it would cost and they were more than willing to have that initial conversation.
            In our open house crashing, we walked through a house 2 streets over from our current house and instantly came to the conclusion that remolding didn’t make financial sense. We just needed a bigger house.
            1.5 years after moving into that bigger house 2 streets over, we know that we made the right decision.
            It is hard work getting to the point of action, but you need to start with small steps to gather the data you need. The big steps are going to not seem so big if you tackle them in little steps. Just go to open houses to see what is available in your price range. Just talk to a couple of contractors and discuss what you need to do to the house. Get the data points and then go with which one feels right.

  5. I started a new job (in house) a while ago and have not been challenged. There’s just not enough work and there aren’t good avenues to request it. I’m definitely getting everything done and there have been no complaints about performance except that I got called out for doing some internet surfing (i.e. Christmas shopping – I have dual monitors so was still keeping an eye on email). For those of you with high face time jobs and not enough work, what do you do while you sit at your desk?

    I’ve done professional development activities, taken on special projects, there’s just not a huge amount of opportunity and when I had my own office I would definitely have gotten some Christmas shopping done at work! I guess I’m having trouble adjusting to this culture after four years in biglaw… Would it be terrible if I started listening to podcasts as a subtle way to stay entertained in my downtime moments…?

    • Also, I’ve considered searching for a more challenging position but there are limited opportunities in my industry in my mid-size midwestern town.

      • I’m a little bit jelly. As a new mom of two your job is exactly what I need. I promise I can sleep with my eyes open and hand on the mouse at this point!
        I wouldn’t go for podcasts unless its ok in your company culture to wear headphones at work. At my company it is not. Headset for calls yes, but headphones are sort of a signal that you’re checked out.

    • Move or remodel :

      Have you tried embedding yourself with the departments or people you support? Sometimes just knowing the business better can help give you better insights, especially if you are new.

      And, hey, there’s the new tax act. Even if you aren’t a tax lawyer, it will affect your company (payroll and withholding, if for nothing else). Maybe read that and think of how it affects your company and be proactive about knowledge and implementation.

      • +1

        Great idea.

        I would be so impressed if our counsel did something like this.

      • KateMiddletown :

        LOL @ reading the tax act. Plz report your findings as I have no time to do this before 1/1/18. Thanks!

        • Move or remodel :

          I know! But you can read up on it — blurbs from law firms, WSJ had a lot on it today, etc. Without knowing the industry, it’s hard to guess what matters. But everyone has a payroll, so I’d start there.

    • The best part of an in-house job is that you can often make it what you want it to be. I’d suggest really getting into the business area and see what you can do to help. Find out if there are processes where legal is getting in the way and how you can streamline, if there are things that should go to legal and aren’t, if there are training gaps (if so, develop training and fill them), learn your industry, etc. also, network, people need to know who you are to come to you – spend your downtime getting coffee with internal stakeholders. Become friends, integrate yourself into their work, get to the table at the beginning of projects. Work in-house doesn’t “come” to you in the traditional way it does in a firm – you have to do a bit of rainmaking.

    • Why in the world (since your work is getting done and getting done well) does anyone care that you’re Christmas shopping online? I presume it’s a normal, non offensive site like amazon.

      • Anonymous :

        Probably because Ive literally never heard of in house not having enough to do. in house is partly being a lawyer partly being a business person. starting learning about your business areas and business lines- you will start getting brought into all sorts of things (way more than you want to be)

    • I do CLEs, read materials from seminars and conferences, and do general reading/study in my area. I’m a bit of a packrat when it comes to articles, so I always have a stash somewhere. Boning up on a topic has always served me well. When things get busy, you won’t need to look things up, you already know it and know what to do. I would also look into certifications like project management or records management. You can do the study materials during down time.

    • Write articles, prep CLE’s, brainstorm organizational training opportunities within the company. Make yourself an expert in some things that you find interesting and are relevant to the company. Whenever I have a lull, I write an article on something that interests me–and it always garners positive recognition.

  6. anonymous OP :

    I asked this yesterday but got stuck for a while, so hoping to get more insight.

    Is this just normal or should I look elsewhere?

    I am an in-house lawyer (5 years practicing) in a tiny department with all men. Since I started two years ago, it was discussed that we would probably want to add another lawyer to the team after me. The company keeps growing and expanding but the department has been the same size (3 or 4 attorneys) for the last… 5/6? years. Effectively, it is more like 3 attorneys as our general counsel does more big picture/c-suite stuff. The problem is the volume.

    I generally like my job because I really like the people I work with and have autonomy, but the problem is that I am the only one who does my job and same goes for the other attorneys. This means that if one of us left for another company (or I went on maternity leave or someone got sick), we’d be in big trouble because nobody’s work overlaps. I am the newest, so the others ‘know how’ to do what I do, but we are all overworked so nobody can pick up anybody else’s work. This also means that when I took 2 days off last week, the world fell apart because everybody else is too busy to take on my workload and the 20,000 business people that reach out to me (I review contracts, handle lawsuits, and do the rest that doesn’t fall within the other guys’ purview) can be impatient. It is starting to feel a little bit like when I was in biglaw except that I am paid way less than I used to be in biglaw. I honestly don’t know what will happen if/when I take maternity leave as we hope to start trying next year. I am the *first* woman in the department, so we haven’t dealt with it before. Honeymoons were also not a big deal because we weren’t as big – we just keep getting bigger but our department isn’t and is handling more volume. Is this just normal? We don’t have great benefits (no paid maternity leave for one, which a bunch of other women and I have been advocating) but I do work directly for the GC at a fortune 500 company, know all the C-suite people personally and as I said, like the people I work with. I also wonder if I stick around if that could give me power to either continue to be promoted through the ranks, if I could have the power to advocate for more favorable benefits, or even head up my own department like HR or Compliance. (This has been my hope all this time but lately the volume is just too much.) The benefits are ok, the pay is slightly below expected, and this volume issue is only getting worse. In the two years I have been here, the volume has increased noticeably for all of us but our GC is a bit oblivious. I think he has the philosophy that he is always on-call, but (1) he doesn’t deal with the day-to-day stuff like we do so his being on-call is less demanding and (2) he makes about 20x as much as I do. Should I just start looking elsewhere or face that this is the norm? Another consideration is that while I want to make more money for my own sake, salary isn’t the main motivator as my husband makes enough for us both. But we are so tired from work and really want to take a vacation and I just don’t see how it will work for me. This is a short-term issue, of course, with the longer-term concerns of daycare pickup, flexible arrangements, etc. that I just don’t see how will work in my current setup.

    What kills me, too, is that the company stands to reap a windfall on this tax plan and none of us will see any of it! Bah-humbug.

    For those that ask what happens if I just don’t respond on a day off – the impatient people take it up with my boss who then reaches out to me. I don’t feel that I can just ignore my boss talking to me or asking me a question.

    • Of course you can. You’re on vacation. If it isn’t urgent, deal with it when you get back

      • anonymous OP :

        Perhaps I am young and naive, but I think my boss calling me already annoyed would be even more inflamed if I told him “this is not an emergency, I will deal with it in two days.” When he called last week, he was annoyed. Of course this was because the person who called him was impatient and dropped the ball by not responding to my questions I had asked him days earlier – but the issue is the the volume is so great we are all only addressing the squeaky wheels. He seems to think ‘well, it didn’t take me that long to review, so what’s the big deal’ but the issue is again, the sheer amount of them and that some do take much more time than others and then there are actual emergencies that pop up that derail your schedule for the day. We all have our performance reviews this week and while I know we all feel swamped, I also know that given his pushback I sense the other guys are kind of nervous. I certainly don’t want to get too in the woods on how much time we spend working because it’s not like there is a magic threshhold for 11 hours a day is too much but 10 isn’t. Also, he is not in the office most days and when he is, leaves at 5 promptly to have dinner with his family (if he is not leaving earlier). The real issue is that as of late the department is not equipped to handle a sick day, someone leaving, a court appearance, flight time, or vacation and that’s not sustainable. Our company has grown leaps and bounds and so has the work but our department hasn’t.

        • I would make sure the the next vacation I take is somewhere where I can’t be reached. Preferably something remote, like hiking in the Andes or Himalayas. :)

        • Don’t answer. You are on vacation. If you get an actual emergency deal with it.

        • lawsuited :

          You are correct that once you pick up, it’s difficult to say no to your boss. So, if your boss calls, don’t pick up. Your boss is taking advantage of the fact that you still answer to phone and deal with work while you’re on vacation – it makes his life easier so he will continue to call as long as you continue to answer. If once you’re back in the office he questions you about why you didn’t pick up, you say you were on vacation. That is a full explanation for why you weren’t working. You need to train the people you work with to understand that you are not available when you are on vacation.

    • I wrote this in response to your post yesterday (but just posted it this morning): This is normal for a smaller company. I’ve been in-house at large (legal teams of 100-600 attorneys) and small (legal teams of 3-4 attorneys) companies, and one of the downsides of the smaller company is that there’s just less coverage for your work. There are a lot of upsides (many of which you identified above – autonomy, access to c-suite, getting to “own” your work, etc.), of course. As far as maternity leave, they will probably have to secund someone in to cover your workload while you’re out – and that’s okay. Just give them enough notice and you should be fine. Note that there are many downsides to being at a huge company – I will never ever talk to the CEO, I have to go through a million layers of approval to get anything done, and I work in a silo. It’s all about figuring out what makes you happy, what fits with your personality, and what works in that period of your life.

      • anonymous OP :

        Thanks, I appreciate the insight into the pros/cons. The funny thing is, we are a big company, but the legal department is tiny. For a long time, that’s been ok, but as we grow and acquire new lines of business, one day we suddenly have 500 new people who were used to having a direct line to outside counsel now in queue with me and I can’t prioritize 20,000 people. But yeah, I am thinking this may not be the right fit for me in this stage.

        Would you worry that they would want to replace you with the secundment?

        • I mean I don’t get it. Maybe talk to your boss first? Normal places do not let every rank and file employee escalate directly to legal.

        • Anonymous :

          (I’m the one who wrote above re: working for multiple companies) I wouldn’t worry about being replaced by the secundee. Your job is protected coming back from leave (assuming you qualify for FMLA or similar state protections) and if you’re adding value, there’s no reason to replace you. What I have seen happen is that the GC/leadership realize by having the secundee around how good they are, and they find another role for them (which could help your workload). As others have noted above and below, you need to set boundaries. That could be in setting expectations re: reasonable response times, or limiting who can access you directly. Are all of the questions you’re getting actual legal questions? In my experience, when business people have access to attorneys, they ask a lot of the “tough” questions they’re struggling with, but a lot of those questions aren’t necessarily legal. They may need some pushback and a reminder that only legal questions should come to you.

    • I think you’re where I was a couple years ago. My advice is to start looking – it never hurts to see what other job options are out there. Volume and the neediness of your internal clients is not consistent across all companies. You’ll see the post above yours where the OP says she is in-house and has a lot of downtime.

      And you also need to try to improve things for yourself and set yourself up so you can take real vacations now and again so you don’t burn out. It took me 2 years to get additional resources but it finally happened. Is it possible your GC is a great problem solver, but not a visionary or a planner? Our GC is brilliant and the C-suite loves him. However, he will not be the one to recognize that there are labor planning issues in the legal dept. I had to advocate to my direct supervisor, and finally he agreed and I got two non-attorney resources to help me. We also set up a flat fee arrangement with outside counsel so that they can pitch in now and again. I have done two maternity leaves now, the first for 2 months, the second for 3, and each time, the outside counsel flat fee arrangement helped. The outside counsel then also becomes an obvious candidate to hire should your company decide to add another attorney. Good luck!

    • If you are hoping to TTC soon I would stick it out. Granted I realize you do not know how long it will take you to conceive, and this does vary by company, but legally you would not be covered by FMLA if you are not at your new place for a year prior to needing to go out for having a baby. You say that you generally like your job, which can be hard to find. Some of these HR/Benefits/Size of team issues could end up working themselves out favorably and if they don’t you could leave then. You and your husband should be able to go on vacation for a week without you responding to email. If you get pregnant at this company and go out for maternity leave, which I know you say isn’t paid, but maybe is covered by STD you will most certainly not be responding to emails then and maybe that will be a wake up call for your company/department that they need to add more people to the team. It sounds like you are well respected, so I would keep trying to stand up for yourself, without becoming too much of a complainer. Granted, there is also no harm in poking around and if you see another opportunity that appeals to you there is no harm in applying. I think that unfortunately very few people have the perfect job (I had one of those, but we moved for DH’s job and now I’m someplace else that checks off a lot of the boxes, but is still lacking) and if you generally like your job you will also be taking a risk by leaving.

      • Anonymous :

        I agree with this, FMLA is huge. Also, starting at a new company and then taking maternity leave shortly thereafter would mean that you wouldn’t have had the time to build up your reputation before taking leave–probably not the ideal career situation.

        On a different but somewhat related note, as soon as I read OP’s concerns about daycare pick-ups in the future, etc., I immediately thought of one of Sheryl Sandberg’s big pieces of advice from “Lean In”: “Don’t leave before you leave.” That is, don’t give up your position that is intense but has great career upsides for a family-friendly position when you don’t have a family that requires a flexible position yet! By focusing on flexibility because you fear for the future, you essentially take yourself out of the game way earlier than you need to. Also, the more senior you become, the easier it is to control your own schedule, create policies, etc.–not things you can do as easily if you change companies.

        If you have the ears of the C-level people, why not have a conversation with them about where the company is going and how legal can properly support the company (i.e., set realistic expectations and ask for more help if it is needed!).

    • Some of this sounds like growing pains due to the company expanding, and like other posters have said, you need to advocate for more help. Part of it is also that you need to put up boundaries and “train” these business people. My best lawyer friend works in house and her predecessor created some bad policies that it took her close to a year to fix. For example, one of them was that the business teams could just set up a conference call with her anytime they wanted, sometimes with no advance notice. Then they’d get on the call, and no one had a plan or agenda to guide the call, and my friend had no idea what the call was about, what the purpose of the call was, and why exactly they needed to talk with legal.

      Now, she has a policy, that barring a true emergency (e.g., we were just served with a complaint where someone is suing us), she needs to get an agenda for the call 24 hours in advance. Because of this policy, she has time to research/seek guidance about how the issue has been addressed before or seek approval/guidance from C-suite GC and outside counsel, if needed. It also has caused the business people to think about whether the decision truly requires legal approval. I’m not saying that you need to implement this exact tactic (it’s what worked for her) but you need to let them know that you are not some email responding legal robot.

  7. Thought I would share this post from AAM in light of the sexual misconduct reckoning going on and start a discussion about how people can grow and become better advocates for survivors: http://www.askamanager.org/2017/12/something-personal.html

    • I’ve been thinking about this. I’m assuming the truth is not as bad as the 2010 article but not as good as her Something Personal letter. I do appreciate hearing from one of the “enablers” as I think the public has been pretty harsh on all the people who took actresses to HW’s hotel room, and don’t think about those individual circumstances as well.

      To me, this is part of that larger debate with any toxic workplace: do you stay and try to change a culture from within, or do you leave so you’re not contributing to it? I think one of the commenters put it pretty well – neither option is the right one, so you’re choosing which way it goes bad, but you’ll never make it go well.

      I think people forget that trying to change a culture from within means that you’re going to perpetuate the problem, some of the time. Any type of change involves steps forward and steps back, and negotiations, and conversations you didn’t handle perfectly. It’s not going to be easy or pretty or feel good, and you’re going to constantly feel like you’re letting people down. It’s a hard road to choose, and I don’t think I’d be brave enough to try it. But you have to have those people, even if they fail, or systems will never change.

    • I just read that and think it’s a really powerful piece, one that’s worth reading and reflecting on for a lot of reasons.

      One of the commenters also linked this essay, which is also very important: https://www.thecut.com/2017/12/rebecca-traister-this-moment-isnt-just-about-sex.html

    • I understand why she is not meaning this person, but it fills me with rage to know he still being protected and I am sure continuing to do what he has done all of these years.

    • I have my own story along these lines –

      In 2001 I had an assistant who was a young, strikingly beautiful woman. She complained to me more than once that the man in the office next to mine stared at her all the time. I didn’t think I could tell a person what to do with his eyeballs so I gave her advice about what to do herself (like saying, can I help you? if she caught him looking at her)

      At the time I myself was being harassed by a manager well senior to me, and his harassment included touching me inappropriately, trying to kiss me, and trying to get me to go to offsite lunches with him.

      I guess at the time I thought staring did not amount to s3xual harassment. I feel differently now, and I’m ashamed to have potentially been part of her #metoo

      And the guy who was staring at her did turn out to be a total creep. He was later disciplined (but not fired!) for asking out a woman who worked in his group. She was single. He was married. I was involved in turning him into HR for that, because the woman came to me, the only female manager, to confide what had happened.

      I am so upset when I think about all of this and my role in it.

  8. How would you deal with a supervisor who applies personnel policies inconsistently? I am the only person on her team who does not have children. Others at my level are allowed to work from home when they need to for child care and various household issues (plumber, etc.). Our official corporate policy states that working from home is not intended to cover child care gaps. I have asked to work from home on two occasions over the last year, and been denied both times. Both times I took a PTO day to be able to deal with what I needed to. I don’t want to antagonize her, or “ruin it” for everyone else, I would just like to be afforded the same options as others on the team. It’s like my reasons (once DH was very sick, and once our roof was damaged in a storm while DH was on a business trip) aren’t as good as “little Billy has a stomach ache”, and it’s really beginning to grate.

    • Is it possible that you can discuss why you were denied with your supervisor?

    • I don’t know, caring for a “very sick” person is pretty different than being home with a kid with a stomachache. When my kid is home sick from school, she wants to read, sleep, watch TV and snuggle with the dog. Unless she’s seriously ill, I really do get a lot of work done. If you just wanted to be in the home in case your DH had an emergency or needed a ride to the doctor then it seems comparable to being home with a sick kid, but if you were actually taking care of him I can see why your supervisor would insist you use sick leave. Maybe try pitching it as “I want to be at home in case something happens and he needs me” instead of “I want to be home to take care of him”?

      • lawsuited :

        +1 If my husband is sick enough that I’m staying home it’s because he needs active care which would definitely impact by ability to do a full day of work. And I had a water leak last year that required me to stay home on a coiuple of days to deal with the insurance claim, and touring people around and giving statements and completing paperwork took up way more time than I imagined. I’d tread lightly here, as I think there’s a chance the reason you were denied is because your reasons for staying home are more serious, not less serious, than Billy’s stomachache.

    • Do you know enough about the fact scenarios to know that you are being treated differently?

      Like I’m using 3 hours PTO today and WFH for 5 hours, because my three kids are sick but I’m not actually caring for them. DH is taking PTO to care for them except for a conference call for 2 hours in the middle of the day that he has to take (that’s my PTO time with a bit of prep time for him and an allowance if it runs late). I will also likely WFH tomorrow morning if they are still sick but my aunt will be caring for the kids. I still need to be in the house because one child has food allergies and aunt is not comfortable with meal prep/epipen protocol so I’ll make lunch for the kids on my lunch break and be available for an emergencies. There are zero people at my work that I would have discussed the nitty gritty detail with but someone who didn’t know the details might overhear me venting about sick kids and know that I was WFH and assume I had childcare responsibilities in violation of the policy.

      • I don’t actually think childcare is the brunt of the issue here. Tom and Donna were granted WFH and OP was not. Seems like an unfair application of WFH privileges. Sounds like an HR issue, particularly if a plumber is an acceptable reason to WFH but a roofer is not.

        • Definitely agree an HR issue if plumber vs. roofer. Hard to know if the situations are the same though, I’ve had to take PTO when dealing with our basement flood insurance claim – meeting with adjuster to discuss options etc (thanks MIL for leaving the tap on for 2 hours when the sink plunger was in) but was allowed to WFH when I was just letting in the cable guy.

        • This is it. Child care OK / Sick DH care not OK. Plumber OK / Roofer not OK. At the time I was told “you should take PTO for that” and didn’t argue because my darling supervisor is only darling if you don’t argue with her, and I was new-ish and wanted to be well regarded. I am trying to find a way to raise the issue in a way that gets me equal treatment, but does not result in my supervisor putting me on her sh*t list. I really don’t care if she’s allowing folks to violate corporate policies, I just want to be able to join in the violation!

          • AnonActuary :

            It could be that she is not comfortable with you WFH because you are newish. At my last job with a F50 company, we didn’t let people WFH until they had worked for us for a year. We also didn’t let non-exempt people WFH (people who get paid for overtime.) And if someone had performance issues we definitely didn’t allow WFH. Do you fall into any of these categories?

            I think the only thing you can do is directly ask your supervisor why you can’t WFH but others can. You can do it in an I’m just curious way rather than blazing in all angry and indignant, but with any supervisor/manager you need to be able to ask straightforward questions and get straigjtforward answers.

          • Thankfully I don’t fall into any of those categories. I’ve been here 1.5 years. Supervisor has been here 10 years, and no one has been hired after me, so I think I may still fall into the “new girl” category.

    • I agree that this sounds unfair but here’s where it (maybe) is a bit of a gray area. Does your company have sick days? If so, they can usually be used to take care for sick spouse/children. It may be that these co-workers are taking sick days but WFH as possible. That said, I think this is entirely worth a discussion with your supervisor. Just lay out the situation as you see it in a non-confrontational way and ask if you’re missing something.

      • Thanks. We just have PTO, not sick and vacation separately. I think I’m just going to have to bring this up gently, when she’s having a good day. Thanks for all of your advice.

      • In-House in Houston :

        Could it be that those she lets work from home on occasion are considered “top performers” and you are not? There’s no law that says you have to treat everyone the same. Top performers get perks that others might not. Maybe you have to earn the ability to work from home in your supervisor’s eyes?

  9. Does anyone have any good resources for making fancy PowerPoint charts / infographics? My boss’s boss has gotten really into Ted talks and really wants our charts to be slick and full of graphics, which doesn’t always work that well for the type of data we present. Still, I want to put some effort into seeing what I can come up with and I’m kind of drawing a blank.

    • Prezi is a little slicker than PPT, but following this topic with interest

    • Tableau is excellent for slick graphics – very easy to learn as well

    • There is a book on data visualisation that I like, Edward Tufte maybe?

      • Yes. This guy’s work is really cool. You can also ask this question on reddit on the r/dataisbeautiful subreddit.

      • AnonActuary :

        +1 to Tufte

        Also, if you’re making bar charts, don’t use 3-D bars unless you’re presenting three dimensions of data. If you’re only using two dimensions (for instance, sales per quarter) just use the flat bars. Too many people try to use “fancier” chart types but all it does is make the information harder to read at first glance.

      • +1 Tufte

      • Tufte’s books are fascinating and beautiful but he doesn’t really offer user friendly how to guides does he? (I may only be familiar with older work).

        • That is what I was thinking too–Tufte is not really so much about data visualization as about not abusing PowerPoint.

          • Yeah, I agree. Tufte is great, but probably not the best starting point for OP.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Same – we do a year ahead outlook in January and as the youngest person on the team, they think I know graphic design.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I make a lot of this kind of stuff.

      1. You can make some good looking stuff with SmartArt, especially if you know what kind of graphic works best.
      2. I bought a book called Storytelling with Data. It’s phenomenal at explaining which graphic or graph to use, how to make an impact, and how to highlight important information.
      3. Use a consistent theme. My work has a theme that is recognizable as “our unit’s presentations,” and we use it on every single thing we create for distribution. One pagers, PowerPoints, pamphlets, reports, guides, our website, etc. It creates a brand and continuity. It’s both a theme with particular colors and fonts. If you leave your email I can send you our website- it would out me to post here but I’m willing to send it.
      4. Look through reports and TED talks you like and think about what about it sticks out to you. Fiddle around to recreate that. You’ll get better as you do it more.

    • I find browsing the periodic table of visualization methods to be useful when I’m trying to brainstorm ways to present data.
      http://www.visual-literacy.org/periodic_table/periodic_table.html

  10. Husband Kissing :

    1. How do I tell my husband that I want more kisses, more making out, and a different style of kissing?
    2. I’m in a monogamish marriage. Does this mean I don’t get to ask my husband to change his kissing because he’s already given me permission to be intimate with someone else?

    I am very attracted to my husband, and it makes me sad when I try to kiss him and he literally almost has no reaction – his lips are just there and he doesn’t even open his mouth. Usually it’s just the lightest peck and we go days without kissing.

    I want more kisses. I want more passionate kisses. I want kissed with tongue. I want him to lean over to kiss me instead of me always trying to kiss him. I can count, on one hand, the times he tried to kiss me / initiated kisses in the last 6 months.

    I know in the grand scheme of things this is not a huge deal. Marriage is more about kissing, right? Especially since I have other men that I like kissing. But… but. It chips away a little every time.

    • You use your words! Tell him what you like. And no, you aren’t forbidden to talk to your husband about your needs because you also kiss other men.

    • Just email him what you wrote here. Having a non-monogamous relationship doesn’t impact your ability to express your wishes in your primary relationship.

    • I have no experience with this, but I’ve heard it mentioned that one risk in open relationships (or open-ish) is that the partners stop investing as much in the primary relationship, or stop seeing it as the fun/satisfying/passionate one compared to others. I think just ignoring this problem sounds like it could be a step in that direction, which isn’t ideal assuming you want your husband to remain your primary partner in life.

    • A Practical Wedding has had some good conversations on their blog about how to have these types of conversations in a marriage. Try searching over there.

    • That sounds really sad. Are you sure he’s on board with everything? It sounds like he doesn’t feel intimate with you and is closing himself off defensively.

      In a larger sense, why don’t you feel like you can just tell him? My DH and I engage passionately every day and if I don’t get enough I tell him “That’s not enough of a kiss” or whatever comes to mind. Why can’t you say “That’s not enough!” and go in for more? It sounds like you two don’t really fully trust each other with your emotions.

      • “It sounds like you two don’t really fully trust each other with your emotions.”

        This is a problem I think my SO and I have. And we both recognize it and want to change. But it’s so hard to work through. I don’t know what we should be doing differently.

        • Anonymous :

          It is really hard. It’s hard to accept imperfections and show one’s own imperfections. I think that’s what couple’s retreats and the like are for. But I have no tips for how to go about doing it in your day to day life except take a weekend off and eat some mushrooms ;)

        • Therapy so you can talk it through in a safe space? Sounds cliche, but that’s what it exists for, really.

    • Was it always this way? If not, I think you need to investigate why. And speak up and ask for what you need!

    • Anonymous :

      Are you monogamous or monogamous-ish? What is monogamish?

  11. Ugh, Tax Bill :

    I’m sick that my 4 year old is going to be on the hook to pay off national debt incurred to pay for a tax break for Trump. It’s unconscionable.

    That being said … any general recommendations for prepayment or moving money around or anything similar that I should consider between now and the end of the year based upon the new tax law? I’ve left a voicemail for my accountant but I assume she’s swamped and we are not near her most lucrative clients so I don’t anticipate she’ll be able to respond any time soon.

    Household income ~250,000. 1 child in daycare, small student loan debt remaining, ~250K remaining on mortgage. Medium-tax state in the middle of the country.

    Better yet – good resources to direct me to where I can plug in some numbers and try to muddle through myself?

    • Move or remodel :

      Pay your 2017 state income taxes now.

      • Move or remodel :

        And make charitable contributions. Both of the above if you itemize.

      • How can you pay taxes before the end of the year?

        • In my county (Chicago’s Cook county) you can pay the first half of the taxes due in 2018 online. I don’t know how common this is but it’s worth looking into.

      • Cornellian. :

        You can’t. Or, maybe you can, but you can’t prepay for tax purposes, at least under the bill as it currently stands.

        You can mysteriously prepay property taxes, though.

        • You can prepay your 2017 income taxes. Like if you know you’ll owe in April, you can pay those off. Note your 2018 income taxes.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Yeah, the bill prohibits taking a deduction on 2017’s taxes for prepaying your 2018 state income taxes.

          But you can prepay your property taxes.

    • Will your four year old really be on the hook for the national debt? I thought the national debt could basically just keep growing and growing indefinitely. I disapprove of the tax bill for many reasons but this isn’t something that worries me about it.

      • It can. This is BS that liberals always cry about. As long as the government is servicing its debt – ie paying interest on govt bonds – bonds (which are debt) can be issued indefinitely. Problems happen like in Greece where the govt can’t pay – but those things happen over decades and when govt sees that problem arising, it raises/diverts tax revenue from other things to bonds or does buybacks; or even if it’s an irresponsible govt, it prints more money and then deals with resulting inflation by raising interest rates. This whole – my poor 2 yr old – is nonsense from people who don’t get economics. And fwiw, I’m not defending the tax bill – the income redistribution from poor to rich is staggering.

        • Since you’re talking “liberal BS” I will say the “conservative BS” has always been whining about Democrats increasing the deficit (not true for Obama) and debt, and now look where we are now – this increase is enormous and no one’s saying much about it in conservative/Fox News circles.

        • sorry what? It’s the fake deficit hawks that complain, not liberals. Liberals believe in responsible government spending. Rand Paul and other fools hate the deficit when it’s convenient for them.

        • I think you’re thinking backwards, it’s the Republicans who are so focused on cutting debt that they strip social services from those who most need it (while nakedly not actually giving a crap knowing they are increasing the debt with these cuts). But thanks for the unnecessary swipe at liberals.

        • KateMiddletown :

          The national debt has been a rallying cry for folks on both sides of the aisle based on whoever is objecting to the large expenditures. It’s not “BS that liberals always cry about”, it’s an issue that many people cry about from many political stripes. You really can’t single out one party or political philosophy vs. another.

        • Sure, both sides whine about the deficit depending upon who is responsible for incurring it, and while I didn’t love the enormity of the deficit before, I still think that the government in general does lots of good things and those things take money so reducing the deficit wasn’t ever among my top priorities when we still had people, for example, dying unnecessarily because of lack of access to health insurance.

          But the sheer hypocrisy of the GOP on this issue is astounding. THIS is what you are willing to increase the deficit for? To subsidize tax increase for those who least need the help?? Unf*cking believable.

      • KateMiddletown :

        Who knows. I think the issue here is the flip flop from many members of Congress who were shouting from the rooftops the national debt issues post-2009 stimulus package who are now turning a blind eye to the effect this bill will have on the debt.

    • I’m paying my 2018 property taxes, my January mortgage, and accelerating charitable contributions before 12/31.

    • I won’t be itemizing in the future, so I paid my January mortgage, donated a bunch of stuff to Goodwill, and opened a donor advised fund for the next 4-5 years worth of charitable donations.

      • KateMiddletown :

        +1 to DAFs – this is the biggest impact HNW individuals and families can use for the charitable portion.

        • Do you have to open the DAF in 2017 to benefit from it? I’d like to do it but I can’t see it happening in the next 11 days…

          • KateMiddletown :

            Talk to your financial advisor/accountant. It’s not AS big an issue if you’re still going to itemize, and the costs for opening a DAF may mean that it’s a negligible benefit.

          • It took me less than 15 minutes to set up, though I did spend a while beforehand researching it and I already had a Fidelity account, so I didn’t have to set one up completely from scratch. I made an ACH transfer from my checking account, which took a day or two to go through, but you could easily do it before the end of the year. It’s more complicated if you want to contribute stocks, and it might be too late for that.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Also, consider having another child! This plan incentivizes “traditional family values” aka marriage and babies, as well as private school. (@ my last look, 529s will now be opened up for k-12 expenses including home school expenses.) Also consider opening a 529 for a fetus of your choice.

      • KateMiddletown :

        But don’t open the 529 for a fetus until 1/1/18, to clarify*

        I wish this were funny!

      • No, in a lot of ways the bill disincentivizes large families. They’re getting rid of the personal exemption, which is a per person deduction. The increased child tax credit offsets it somewhat but not entirely. http://buffalonews.com/2017/12/16/gop-tax-bill-penalizes-married-couples-and-larger-families/

      • I think they took the homeschooling provision out, not sure about the rest.

        • KateMiddletown :

          You might be right – I just read that the current version eliminated the “fetus provision” as well. Can’t wait to find out!

    • Can someone explain in more than 1 sentence why you pay state taxes before 12/31 and how you figure out what you owe? Is this only for people with property? Bc as far as I understand, state income tax is withheld from pay if you’re an employee. If you pay now, does that mean you do/don’t deduct in April 2018? Bc I though these changes would hit for the 2018 tax yr – ie April 2019 filing? Explain please?

      • Because there will be a $10k limit on deductions for property taxes in 2018, but there isn’t a limit now. So if your property taxes are higher than $10k (true for a lot of us, not just in blue states) and if your locality allows you to prepay your 2018 property taxes, you should do so in 2017 and take the deduction when you file your taxes before April. Note that you cannot prepay your state and local taxes – the bill specifically prohibits this (but allows it for property taxes).

      • If you are getting your income taxes taken out of your paycheck, then you’re fine, but some people pay taxes in multiple states and don’t always have money for different states taken out of their paycheck. Some of these people make quarterly estimated payments to the state. Some people might owe taxes on investment income that is not paid out of their paycheck. You can also pay your property taxes ahead of time. For our clients who make quarterly payments, their 4th quarter payment is typically due in Jan, but in this situation, if they can pay in December, great.

        If the deductions aren’t going to be beneficial for your 2018 tax year, then you can pay them in 2017 and deduct them in 2017.

        • Cornellian. :

          I hesitate to question you sine you’re a CPA, but I talked to my CPA and the various tax LLMs on my hall, and looked at the text myself (as a non-tax transactional lawyer), and I don’t think you can pay state/local income taxes in advance. Meaning, even if your jurisdiction let you pay in advance, you can’t deduct them.

          • I’ve been talking to people who are having a hard time with this one as well.

          • Anonymous :

            I think the distinction is that you’re not really “pre”-paying if it’s a tax liability related to your 2017 income. Prepaying would be if you tried to make estimate tax payments on your future income in another state that you expect to earn in 2018.

            People are prepaying property taxes that don’t become a liability until 2018 (in my state, the tax liability accrues on Jan 1), but they’re simply paying their 2017 taxes with respect to income.

          • Anonymous :

            You can’t prepay 2018 SALT. It’s specifically prohibited by the tax bill. You can prepay 2018 property taxes though

        • It’s my understanding that it’s not considered a pre-payment if you are paying 4th quarter 2017 taxes early, but it’s a pre-payment to pay 2018 income taxes early.

    • “I’m sick that my 4 year old is going to be on the hook to pay off national debt incurred to pay for a tax break for Trump. It’s unconscionable. ”

      Then you should be really irate about Obama, who added far more to the national debt than this tax plan will.

      • But did he do it so that he could personally profit? Because that’s the part that drives me crazy. Republicans will say we can’t increase the debt to help those who need it, but we can to save Trump and the legislators themselves money.

        • OP, and yes this exactly.

          I’m not wild about Obama, or about some of his choices on how to manage debt and the economy. But to my knowledge he didn’t set out to increase the deficit for his own financial gain.

      • You need to be clear about the difference between deficit and debt. The deficit is an annual amount – how much expenditures exceed revenues. Each year’s deficit gets added to the debt total.

        Obama inherited a huge deficit from Bush II. Over the course of his presidency he reduced the annual deficit quite a bit, so while the debt continued to grow, it grew at a slower rate than it did under Bush.

        Trump is now increasing the deficit again, so that the debt will once again grow at a higher rate.

        So your comparison is completely inapt.

  12. How would you handle it professionally if you knew your spouse was being transferred across the country 3 months after you’re due to come back from maternity leave (so when the baby is 6 months old) and you knew well in advance?

    Would you take maternity leave and just not come back and have the extra time with your baby, knowing that it’ll create a longer resume gap (3 extra months) when you get to the new city and look for work?

    Would you tell your employer in advance that you’ll be taking leave but that you’ll only be back for 3 months because of the upcoming transfer?

    Take leave, come back, and then give notice at the usual time (~one month before leaving, two months after coming back)?

    I’m not terribly important and could be replaced somewhat easily (obscure field but common skills). Our 400+ page HR manual says nothing more than that you’re entitled to 12 weeks’ paid leave after 1 year of service. I work for an upright company that wouldn’t try to do anything shady, and my boss has been my mentor. Your insight appreciated.

    • I’d start looking for a job before maternity leave in the new location and wouldn’t quit until the normal time. You never know.

      • +1. Don’t leave before it happens. Who knows if the transfer for your spouse will come through, let alone on time.

        The exception: can you afford to take a 6 months – 1 year maternity leave? That’s not really a resume gap so much as a “I switched jobs during my maternity leave.” In that case, tell your current employer you’d like to take a longer leave, and then job hunt as normal, and ideally you have a new job by the time your leave is up.

    • Take leave, come back, and give notice at the usual time.

    • Do you need the money for the 3 months you could work post-leave? If not, I’d not come back after maternity leave and use the three months to prep for the move and begin sending out feelers for a new job. Moving sucks and you’ll be glad you have time to do it, even if you have movers, etc etc. I do not think anyone in a interviewing position would blink if you told them you know your DH was getting transferred, so you spent 6 months post-baby on maternity leave and prepping for a move. As with any gap in employment, a good answer goes a long way, and frankly 6 months is not an unreasonable time to just be on maternity leave, either, even if part of that is unpaid.

  13. I’m making a list of goals for 2018. My professional goals are to 1) work harder tending to my network (any suggestions? I have a ton of contacts but very little time or energy to maintain the connections, 2) write an article for publication, 3) do something ‘extra’ and for this I’m interested in figuring out how to join a board. I’m 30, but fairly advanced in role (7 years experience in the field), so I recognize I might be too junior. But I feel I could offer my time and a useful perspective + networks to a smaller org. I have no idea where to start, though. Should I offer to volunteer, with the long term aim of being considered for board membership(yes I recognize this is n&kedly ambitious)? How does it work?

    • Definitely volunteer! The most useful tip I’ve heard – though I’ve not put this into practice myself – is to consider joining the board of a well-run nonprofit you’re passionate about to gain experience. (See link.)
      https://medium.com/womens-forum-for-the-economy-and-society/personal-journal-how-preparing-for-a-board-interview-differs-from-a-job-interview-be93358cc229

    • KateMiddletown :

      Re: network one – I found it helpful to say I need to hit # of meetings/interactions per month. For me it was 15 coffees, lunches, drinks, gallery visits, etc. with people who I wanted to get to know better.

      Re: board work – not sure if you mean non-profit or corporate, but non-profit is a great place to start regardless.
      Your local United Way probably has a YP/ board training program (our local arts funding consortium does as well.)

    • I got my first non-profit board position by taking my law partner’s seat when he stepped off the board. At the time I was just looking to get on any board and my thought process was that once I joined one, I could probably hop to other boards that I was more interested in from the connections I would make on the current board. I’m in a smallish community though. But if any of your coworkers, mentors, or managers are on boards, you may want to inquire of them when their terms of up and see about sliding into their seat.

  14. What are some date-type activities you’d recommend doing before a baby comes because they are impossible with babies or little kids? The only thing that really comes to mind is theater, but there’s nothing on right now that I really want to see, and I don’t think I can convince my husband to go to the ballet or symphony. We live in the outer ring suburbs of a mid-size city, so I’m looking for something to combine with a meal at a nice restaurant as an excuse for a “last hurrah” day trip into the city.

    • Meal at nice restaurant

      Staying out past 7 w/o arranging for a babysitting and a 20-minute pumping break

      Happy hour (even just for the apps – with daycare pick up duty I haven’t been to a work HH in 3 years)

      Any live show – comedy or improve, professional sporting event, author reading …

    • It sounds unexciting, but go see a movie. We’ll shell out for a babysitter for a live show we really want to see. But $30 for movie tickets and $60 for a babysitter just doesn’t make sense to us. We’ve seen exactly one movie since my son was born–The Force Awakens, in December 2015. Friends talked us into that one, but then they had a baby too.

      • Oh, just realized you said you were planning a day trip into the city. In that case, I’d suggest a museum in addition to Anon’s suggestions. But seriously, go see a movie near home.

      • Anon in NYC :

        YES. I haven’t seen a movie in 2.5 years and I really want to go to one but I just can’t justify the expense of babysitter + movie tickets, when I could spend the same amount of money going out to dinner and actually talking to my husband.

      • Eh i say you can probably actually see quite a few movies until 6 months old. Put the kid in a front carrier and carry them into the theater. Plus there are a million mommy and me movie showings these days. After 6 months more tricky. But just like nice dinners….those first few months its actually pretty easy to bring them in. They will sleep right through it.

        • lawsuited :

          Even in my large city of 6 million people, each movie theatre has exactly one mommy-and-me movie a week, so not exactly “millions”.

    • A cooking or art class? There is a studio in my city that does a two day pottery class, and the last day includes a fancy dinner overlooking a lake.

    • Weekend/overnight trips. Even if you can eat away, babysitter coverage is $$$.

      • Anonymous :

        Yes this! And then sleep in, go to a lazy, long brunch. My husband and I hardly ever have nights away now and I miss it. Also, even with a babysitter you trust it is still different once baby comes. There is always a bit of worry/missing baby for me.

  15. Shopaholic :

    I had a really hard time losing weight this past year (eating clean and working out 4-5 times a week did not make a difference). I have an appointment with a naturopath and I’m hoping to get some help in ensuring nothing is wrong that is stopping me from losing weight.

    But I need to seriously overhaul my diet and workout regime. I fell off track pretty significantly over the last 3 months. So I need some advice (and might need to throw some money at this to get back into a routine). What would you suggest I do?

    There are trainers in my city that do online coaching for both diet and exercise but it’s not cheap. Is it worth it? Any other ideas?

    • Weight Watchers. You can really easily eat way too many calories even if you’re eating clean. The new program gives you a lot of flexibility to eat healthier foods while also making you track a lot of things. Honestly I think if you haven’t tried losing weight by religiously tracking every bite, then it’s way too soon to conclude you need a naturopath (eyeroll) to help.

      • Shopaholic :

        I have – I lost 5 pounds over 6 months. I haven’t tried weight watchers, but I’ve been on meal plans, have calorie counted and it hasn’t made a difference. I’m willing to try weight watchers but my blood test showed some levels that were a bit off but not far enough from normal that my doctor was willing to do anything about it.

        Maybe I’ll try weight watchers in the new year.

        • I was not able to loose weight until I dropped my calorie limit lower than I initially thought it should be – I had to set MFP to loosing over 1 pound a week before I really saw movement. It thinks I should be loosing faster than I am. It sucks but I was happy to eventually see movement, and I was surprised at to find I actually could eat that amount and not be hungry all the time.

      • I agree, even MFP and a food scale would work if you don’t want WW.

        • Anonymous :

          Tracking food/calories very carefully with a food scale on MFP is the only thing that really works for me to lose weight. It is a pain, but effective.

      • I had good success with WW as well. I like that it wasn’t a ‘diet’ in that I was able to eat the same foods as my kids/that I prepared for my family. Definitely improved my portion control, reduce my sugar intake and got me snacking on healthier options. Avoid the aspartame filled WW food though.

    • Weight Watchers. I know, I know. But IT WORKS. I lost 30 lbs on it 5 years ago and have kept them off, though I hop back on every now and again when I forget to eat well and put on 5-10 lbs. They encourage you to eat whole foods and not pre-packaged diet foods. Super easy to use with their app.

    • Whole foods plant based! Really just eat vegetables and grains and legumes and cook from scratch.

    • I would see a Registered Dietitian over a naturopath,. It might be helpful to have someone to check in with, if that is your style. Also, I believe especially if you are apple shaped, low carb diets sometimes work better. I am not a low carber, but if you have certain hormonal issues like PCOS, it’s basically the only way you can lose effectively.

    • I was in a similar boat as you and tried everything (eating clean, counting calories, constantly working out) and it was so frustrating to see no change. Then I discovered intermittent fasting through this page. It’s been amazing for me. I eat from 12 – 8 pm most days, the rest of the time I don’t eat. So that just means that I’m skipping breakfast and a morning snack. I used to be the person who would get a headache from skipping a meal, now it’s second nature and I don’t think anything of it. After three weeks I lost 10-12 pounds and I actually eat large lunch and dinners than I otherwise would, so I don’t feel deprived at all. Reddit has a good page and there are other good resources online to find out more. Good luck!

    • For a really extreme, really quick change, read Presto by Penn Jillette, and then follow his diet. 2 weeks of putting NOTHING in your mouth except potatoes, water, coffee, and toothpaste (no salt, no butter, no gum, no mints, no creamer or sugar in your coffee, no seltzer, no seasoning, no other food). Then a number of weeks of just vegetables, low-salt beans, and quinoa. Here’s his diet guide: http://calorielab.com/news/2015/06/12/penn-jillette-diet/

  16. Would you wear the jacket and dress together? Would it be too blue? I like the idea but I don’t want to look foolish or inappropriate. I don’t mind if I stand out. I’m a senior associate in east coast BigLaw (my office is pretty laid back but people gravitate to black because its easy) and I’d be wearing it to client meetings in my city and elsewhere, depositions, but not to court.

    • I feel like a matching outfit of vivid colors is very Lady Candidate. With that said, I do it. I have a deep plum dress and I need a “third piece” with it so I wear a cardigan in an almost identical deep plum shade. I tried gray and black and beige but all of those colors seemed to take away from the dress, so I went with matchy. I now have a similar combo in a teal-ish green. I’m 50 and I think the colors look better with colors and IDGAF if someone think I look like Hillz or Nancy.

  17. How much to retire? :

    How much money do you think you need to retire? And where are you putting it outside of 401ks and Roth IRAs?

    I keep hearing about people who retire really early, and I realized that they must have a million plus in a separate account, since you can’t touch the IRA or 401k until 59.5 (right?). How do people do this? I can *almost* grasp getting to the right amount in my retirement-specific accounts, but if you want to retire earlier than 59, you have to accumulate that amount outside of those accounts? It seems impossible. Am I missing something?

    • They spend dramatically less than they make! No secret.

    • Possible “secrets”:
      -Their parents maybe paid for college, first home etc so they started with no debt
      – They started saving really really young
      – They have an inheritance
      – They are frugal and spend a lot less than they make
      – They got lucky on stock market or with a tech job young

      • +1

        Especially the really frugal part.

        I am essentially retired now… able to live off my investment gains. But I live very simply. One bedroom apartment rental, single, no kids, approaching 50 years old. I still drive the same 20 year old Toyota and it is fine. I can pretty easily live off 30-40k a year. I don’t have expensive hobbies. What is killing me are my healthcare costs. I have zero medical problems and haven’t even seen my PCP this year, but health insurance costs me $550 per month just for the premium, and I have a 7K deductible and no coverage for medications until I pay the deductible.

        Paid for my education with scholarships/working/some loans/parents helped and loans paid off ASAP.

        Started putting money in IRAs when I was in my 20’s. My parents gave me a little bit of money so I could start doing this when I was still in school. They taught me well how to manage $, live simply, and what is important in life. I will probably not buy a condo/house until I am firmly retired in a place I know I want to live “indefinitely”. Otherwise, I love renting and not having to be tied to one place, responsible for repairs etc..

        But most of my $$ is in a brokerage account doing well in this crazy market. Most of my $$ is in Vanguard index funds, but I have a big chunk in a few stocks for companies that I like/respect that do well, and a big chunk in Berkshire-Hathaway and a big chunk in a few Fidelity funds I have been in for 25 years that have also done well. I don’t trade much at all. I let things sit for the long term.

        I will probably start working again in the future to keep my brain sharp and to increase my savings. I now know how hard it is to age without family support, and am fearful re: what will happen to me if I live to an elderly age. But I do realize that no matter how much I save, it might never be enough if I develop Alzheimer’s etc… and eventually I will spend down everything I have for my own care and go on to Medicaid. And I will have a “way out” if I feel I don’t want to live anymore being dependent upon others or if I am suffering or if my dementia is progressive.

        • Reading this makes me so sad for Americans and so glad to be Canadian. Hubs and I are DINKs who want to retire around 40, universal health care will allow us to do this.

          • Don’t be sad. Pretty sure most of us Americans wouldn’t want to be Canadian no matter what govt benefits you all get.

          • Canadian too. Be cautious about your plan. Secondary health insurance costs can be no joke (not US levels but you need a plan). Make sure you have appropriate coverage for the next 40 years.

          • Why do you want to retire at 40? What are you planning to do with the majority of your life?

          • Early retirement lost its luster for me after my parents retired at 55 and 58 and are now bored to death. They were high-achieving “simple lifestyle” people and they literally have no idea what to do with themselves. They’ve done it all – travel, golf (my dad golfs like it’s a job), charity work, making new friends, etc. But without some kind of larger purpose and set of goals, they seem kind of lost. And neither one of them was pushed to retire, they just decided they wanted to (my dad’s company begged him to stay). I dunno – maybe they eventually adjust to it, but it’s been three years. They seem to want us to fill the void in their lives but we’re busy working!

          • Fulfilling things? Volunteer, yoga, garden, swim, etc

          • To Anon at 12:144 – there are a ton of coaches whose total focus is to help retirees create a plan for their future that they will find fulfilling. Lots of people struggle with this transition so if they are willing there are a bunch of programs created for just their type of problems.

          • Anon @ 11:23, you should be lucky to be Canadian.

          • Anonymous :

            Lol. No thanks.

          • Anonymous :

            Canadian health care does not pay for prescription medication. Nor does it pay for dental care. Nor for hearing aids. Also depends where in Canada you are–province & city. I know someone who is in urgent need of an MRI in Montreal and has been on the wait list for over one year because it’s a two tiered system and they can’t afford to pay the private fees to get it done straight away.

            Also Canadian.

          • earlyish retirement :

            @ Anonymous at 12:40pm: If I never worked a minute in my life again, my life would be even more fulfulling that it is now. I would not be “bored.” I want to spend time with family/husband, pursue my hobbies, travel, exercise, volunteer, etc. I get not everyone feels this way, but some of us do.

          • @Anonymous 1:02, that must be a lie. Both my best friend and I have had MRIs for non-life threatening conditions in the past year, his wait was 4 days and mine was about 10. Depending on the province prescriptions are covered and supplemental coverage isn’t expensive. Sure paying for dental care sucks but I can cover a $100 cleaning biannually myself and adequately brush to prevent any further expense.

        • Never too many shoes... :

          I have to ask, Anon, and I am prepared for any backlash, but why? I truly would like to understand why people choose to live so simply so that they can save and then retire so young and just continue to be frugal until they die…

          Saving a ton while working and then travelling all over and enjoying retirement I can understand to a point, but unless you left out a lot in your post, that does not seem to be what you are doing.

          • People enjoy and value different things.

          • Because I have too many shoes?

            Because my friends don’t charge me money to spend time with them, talk to them, eat with them (we cook/have dinner parties), walk with them, play music with them. Neither do my family. I don’t travel a lot. Maybe I will at some point, but high expense travel doesn’t lure me. Maybe if I had some Ne to travel with?

            Because my hobbies are wonderful, challenging, creative and inexpensive.

            Because volunteering is deeply fulfilling, makes a big impact, introduces me to more interesting people.

            And FYI – I have a fabulous, minimalist wardrobe.

          • Triangle Pose :

            I’m with you Never too many shoes…, living that way would not be worth it to me.

          • In my case, I have a health condition (chronic migraine) that makes a job I would otherwise enjoy incredibly painful. Extensive travel isn’t all that enjoyable either, so the idea of living a relatively simply life and not having to worry about being able to keep my job is very appealing. Having all the money in the world couldn’t make me feel better, but I’m trying to make the best of things and freedom from work will give me a lot more pleasure than more stuff.

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            Similar to 12:29 anon, I may have to stop working much, much earlier than I would like due to chronic illness. It’s already going to be difficult, so I’d like to remove the stress of financial stability if I can. In part, although not my primary reason, I’m looking for a local government position now because my current income makes it actually impossible to save for retirement due to the financial impacts of a chronic health condition- which go far beyond the costs of insurance.

          • Wait, where did you read that she’s living “so simply” that she’s basically not spending any money at all or doing anything fun?

            $40k this year paid for everything but my mortgage, including an expensive 10 day vacation overseas and some even more expensive home repairs. What else would I even want to pay for?

          • I’m not the original anon, but I live this way.
            It’s easy for me to live on <$30k per year because I've never lived any other way.
            My needs and wants are simple.
            There are years I've made more than that and socked a ton away, and years where that's not always possible.
            I have what I need and don't feel deprived.

          • Time is a non-renewable resource. Bill Gates and a subsistence farmer both have 24 hours per day to spend.

          • Another vote for chronic illness. With medical needs to attend to every day and very little energy, the days are shorter, so the work/life balance is skewed.

    • My neighbor did this. Both partners worked and they lived off one income. The lived off the smaller income. And put the entire second income into savings starting at age 25. They lived as if they only had 70,000 a year and put the 100,000 income away in savings.

      • This is what DH and I did to pay off my loans. We lived on his $60 000 salary and put my entire $60 000 towards loans. Wasn’t fun living in an apartment when friends were buying houses but life is so much less stressful with no debt except small mortgage and more options to change jobs because we can afford the house on his salary or mine, we don’t need both. We only started spending more of my salary post-kids because we didn’t want to live a totally spare lifestyle with them.

    • Wrong! There are lots of ways to get money out of retirement accounts without penalty… and worst case scenario, you can even pay the 10% penalty and come out ahead if your spending is relatively low compared to your income while working. Roth IRA contributions can always be withdrawn without penalty, plus any other retirement account can be converted into a Roth and then withdrawn penalty free five years later. A quick google search will come up with lots of good blog posts on this and other ways to use your retirement accounts early. Like the poster above said, the only real “secret” is spending less than you make (admittedly, this also requires the good luck to be relatively healthy and have at least a somewhat decent income, but it doesn’t have to be crazy).

      • This isn’t true about Roth withdrawals. There is always a 10% penalty on Roth withdrawals unless you fall into one of the exceptions. You will not have to pay *tax* on what you withdraw because you have already paid the tax (the whole point of a Roth).

      • Also, if you work for a nonprofit/government employer, you may have access to a 457b in addition to a 403b. You can take withdrawals from from a 457 penalty free once you leave your job. For now, I’m just contributing to the 403b, 457b, and a Roth IRA, since my husband and I aren’t maxing out the $72k of pretax contributions yet ($18k x 2 403b plus $18k x 2 457b), but eventually I’ll probably start contributing to a non-tax advantaged brokerage account.

    • AnonActuary :

      What you need to retire varies with where you live, how old you are when you retire (how many years of retirement do you need to fund), your intended lifestyle, and how risk averse you are. I used to think I needed $2mm but now I think I will need more. There is not one number. You need to sit with a financial adviser and run the numbers.

    • Why does it seem impossible to save money outside of retirement accounts? Is there really no room in your budget to spend less?

    • anon for this :

      Is the question how do you save more, or where do you save for long-term/retirement savings outside of retirement accounts? I share your second question.

    • My husband and I are looking to “retire” when we hit 50… but partly we’ve defined retirement as “not having a full time job and no longer contributing to retirement plans” rather than “living entirely off savings/interest.” So for us that’s a big part of it – we’re assuming that one or both of us will still be picking up consulting/contracting work until we’re old enough to access our official retirement accounts and can (we hope! if it still exists!) get onto Medicare.

      But at that point (in 10 years), we’ll have living expenses of less than $30k a year *aside from health insurance*, so it won’t be hard for us to make enough with the occasional contract to have enough income and still be able to travel, etc.

      As for why… well, mostly we enjoy things that aren’t expensive, and we would like to have the freedom to travel when the spirit moves us, instead of when it fits into work things. My husband already is living this lifestyle – he generally has contracts for roughly 30% of the year, and otherwise works on personal projects/does stuff around the house. I’m really looking forward to that as well, but I’m happy enough with my job that I don’t mind waiting to get there myself.

      • Wouldn’t you both be there sooner if he worked more now? Does he pick up a ton of slack around the house?

        • Anonymous :

          We totally would be there sooner if he worked more now! It was initially intended to be a temporary situation, but it’s working so well for us that we don’t have a big reason to change it.

          And, yeah, part of what is working so well is that he does around 90% of stuff around the house (we have a cleaning service twice a month, but otherwise he does pretty much everything, from cooking to snow removal to taking our pets to the vet).

    • Cornellian. :

      I have maxed my tax-sheltered 401K/IRA space (for the six years I’ve been working, although I put a couple grand a year into an IRA before that), but once I paid off my student loans a couple years ago, I started a straight up taxable investment account at Vanguard. Your gains will (presumably) be long term, so it’s not a very bad tax treatment, really. You can just factor taxes in as you’re saving.

      I think for most people trying to retire early, they plan on touching the taxable money first, and letting the tax-sheltered money grow.

    • Anon 4 this :

      If my husband and I stay in our current jobs, which is a BIG if because although they are fine they are exhausting and of course we could be asked to go, for the next 10 years we will have saved about $2mil towards retirement. I also anticipate that I would inherit between $500k and $1mil around that time in addition to the retirement savings. At that point I’d be about 45 and my husband about 50. I could see “retiring” then. The $2mil could continue to grow for another 10-20 years before we touched it but we wouldn’t need to contribute any more towards retirement. I’m sure we would both still work in some capacity, because we’d still have our mortgage and need money to live/travel, but not the 60-80 hour weeks we put in now. I could see having a 20 hour a week government job or doing consulting work. We’d love to have more time for our shared hobby and the ability to actually plan and take planned vacations without having them ruined by work.

      We’ve toyed with taking lower hour, lower stress jobs now, but we’d still need to work full time and that wouldn’t give us much more flexibility than we have now and we’d be taking a 50% pay cut or thereabouts so that means longer working full time.

    • earlyish retirement :

      My husband and I are planning to retire between 50-55. We want to get to a total savings of 3M, even though that probably vastly overestimates what we actually need because we want to be able to help out kids if they really need it. We’re about 35 now and have jobs we’d rather not have (biglaw and ibanking) so we can reach this goal.

      We max out 401ks, but those are really our only official retirement accounts. The rest is in savings/money market and mutual funds. We are able to save a lot because we have high paying jobs and only spend stuff on things we care about. We’re life-long city people, so living in a small condo even with kids and sharing a small car is all we know.

      • Anonymous :

        Similar position and age as you though single – so my goal is more like 2m. I’ve done it by living below my means at all times. It wasn’t for early retirement reasons but more because I feared biglaw wouldn’t last forever and for me it didn’t as I didn’t make partner and had to go in house where I make a junior associate salary. But after that happened, I looked back and realized that by not spending any bonuses for a decade, not keeping a car, and living in a nice but not the nicest I could afford apartment, I could make ER a goal if I wanted.

        If you don’t mind my asking – what % of your net worth is in official retirement accounts like 401ks vs other investments/savings? I’m finding that the 401k isn’t growing as fast as other things in absolute numbers – prob because of the 18k cap and always wonder if I need a (non deductible) IRA but then you’re paying taxes on eventual withdrawals at the ordinary income tax rate not the lower cap gains rate and I have enough rollover 401ks where a backdoor IRA is a hassle.

        • earlyish retirement :

          Not much, perhaps 15%? I don’t get how we could have put more in these sorts of accounts, the limits are low – we save much more than 36k a year in post-tax accounts. We considered other retirement-specific vehicles but didn’t really think they were really going to benefit us any more than just putting the money in regular brokerage accounts. I know a lot of people are fans of backdoor Roth, but backdoor Roth just didn’t seem to offer any great benefit given our timeframe and the limits.

    • It can be done :

      I am 36 years old and I am now worth about $2M. I saved this amount by being extremely frugal (small 1 bed apt, no car for 10 years now), working in a job that I hate hate HATE and giving up all semblance of a personal life. Ten years ago I had $200k of graduate school debt. My parents are blue collar.

      I have a high risk of developing Alzheimer’s, and I am alone. No amount that I save for retirement will ever be enough, so I need to keep doing what I am doing for as long as I can.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Can you switch to a job that offers group long term care insurance? My husband had that when he worked in insurance and I still kick myself for not continuing the coverage when he left. I can’t qualify outside of a group plan with no underwriting.

      • I’m worried about you.

        What are your expenses now? Don’t you realize that with the 2 million you have now, invested reasonably that will grow to an absolute fortune by the time you are elderly?!? At a modest rate of growth, that 2 million will be almost 9 million by the time you are 65, and that is if you don’t even add an additional dollar to it! Compound interest…. gotta love it. So you will have many millions of dollars, and will be able to afford 24 hour care. You are safe.

        Your discipline is incredible. I think you need to step back, and reassess. Perhaps ask if you need tokeep working at a job you hate, just to make money. Your life is passing you by. You don’t have to be alone……

        You also need to talk to someone. A doctor. Unless you have already had genetic testing and are known to carry a gene that ensures you are going to get Alzheimer’s I suspect your fears are disproportionate. How do you know you are high risk? What do you mean by high risk?

        I also worry about your mood…. depression….

        Don’t miss your life. We only get one.

  18. 1) I would decide if I actually need to lose weight. If you aren’t unhealthy and if you are working out that often you might just be at the weight that you are at now. And thats okay.

    2) If you actually do need to lose weight for health reasons, I would see my real doctor. Not a naturopath and see if something like a thyroid imbalance is causing this problem.

    3) What type of exercise are you doing? Have you read the book “Thinner Leaner Stronger: The Simple Science of Building the Ultimate Female Body” It might be a good place to start.

  19. Annual reviews are approaching, and with them comes fear that everything I’m bad at overshadows what I do well. Can we play a game? What have you done *in spite of* a real or perceived weakness?

    I’ll start. I have at best average social intelligence and can be abrupt, but my team and especially my direct reports really like and respect me and work hard for me, including meeting some goals we thought weren’t possible.

    • Ooh really interesting question! Can’t wait to see the other responses.

      I always believed that I was horrible at math. Getting Bs in pre-calc and AP Calc remain two of the most hard-fought academic achievements of my life. In college I took one math-intensive science class where, again, I had to work really, really hard for an A-.

      However! It turns out that I am not actually bad at math. I struggle with conceptual calc-type math that has no practical utility in anything that I’m ever likely to encounter in real life. I can do statistics, I can do personal finance, I’m the Excel calculations wizard of my office, and it turns out that I’m really good at finance-chair type volunteer positions. And compared to the average human being, I am actually not even horrible at calc-type math or advanced algebra/geometry, as I learned during a stint as an SAT tutor. I’m just not AMAZING at math like 95% of the people in my math classes in high school.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Although I feel like I’m terrible at it and it stresses me out to no end, I’ve been told that I’m good at getting results for my clients and interacting with my clients, even when they’re being difficult. I’ve also been told I’m considered an expert in the broader community in my niche area, despite a major case of impostor syndrome.

  20. My friend (who’s white and lives in a very white part of the country) asked me for recommendations of blogs, forums, or other similar sources of POC voices and perspectives. Does anyone have any helpful recommendations?

    • Safety Pin Box. The Root. Black Girl Dangerous. VerySmartBrothas. Ijeoma Oluo. Consider supporting some of them on Patreon to get extra content. And read long form, especially for history and context — read TaNehisi Coates, read Toni Morrison, seek out writers of color, especially women. Finally, there’s a new series called 1491 coming out (not sure if it’s available yet) on the peoples and civilizations in the Americas before Columbus.

      • following black twitter. I particularly love

        Ashley Ford
        Kara R Brown
        Ira Madison
        Roxane Gay

    • Brown Girl Talks

    • This might seem surface but listen to black voices in mainstream – Another Round podcast is a great one

    • Pod Save the People

    • Still Processing from the NY Times

  21. Anxiety sufferers, what techniques do you do in the moment when you’re feeling particularly agitated?

    And bigger picture, how have you helped combat perfectionism?

    • Do a brain dump on paper of every single feeling you’re having, good or bad.

    • I use the Headspace app regularly, and if I’m having a particularly anxious moment, I’ll do one of the shorter meditations (1-3 minutes) that help me focus on my breathing and quiet my mind.

    • In the moment?

      Breathe…… in…. one two three four five… and out…. one two three four five…

      Close my eyes and breathe. The simplest mindfulness activity.

      Headspace app for more extensive mindfulness break.

      Get outside quickly. Walk quickly. It’s a quick form of “exercise”, which can be great for anxiety.

      Stop drinking coffee/caffeine.

      Perfectionism? that’s hard, as it is likely a firmly ingrained personality trait. Best approach…. get treatment for your anxiety. Counseling/CBT/medication. Because letting things go/not being perfect will increase your anxiety. That’s why you are trying to be perfect. Of course, sleep well, exercise more, mindfulness etc… will also help.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I like the Pacifica app.

  22. Ottawa / surrounds - recs? :

    Request for fun stuff to do around Ottawa / restaurant recs?

    Will be there (about 20 mins north of downtown) in February. Planning to be outdoorsy (cross country skiing) a day or two if the weather cooperates, and either spa or city activities for a day or two also.

    • Does that mean you’re staying in Quebec? Because North of Ottawa is a river and then a different province. I’d recommend doing something out doorsy at Gatineau park, attending winterlude, getting a beaver tail, going to Ahora in the market and pure kitchen on Elgin.

    • TorontoNewbie :

      Skiing & snowshoeing in Gatineau park. Go to Le Nordik spa in Chelsea. Eat poutine (my favourite is La Pataterie Hulloise, it’s a complete dive but it’s amazing).

      In Ottawa… If you’re there in February you’ll probably be there for Winterlude, in which case you should go see the ice sculpture contest, the ice dragon boating / bed race, and there’s always a couple outdoor concerts. Eat a beaver tail. Go skating on the Rideau Canal (and/or the Parliament rink if you can get tickets), tour Parliament, there might still be a light show on in February on Parliament hill which is cool.

      The Canadian War Museum is really good, as is the Museum of Civilization (it might be called something else now… Canadian history museum?) The national art gallery is good.

    • lawsuited :

      You have to go skating on the Rideau Canal and eat a beaver tail. The Canadian War Museum is a fun one to visit – especially with kids.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        +1 to all the above. I also used to love visiting the Royal Canadian Mint.

    • Ottawa / surrounds - recs? :

      Thanks all! Copying this into my email for trip planning.

  23. Favorite Conditioner/Detangler :

    Favorite conditioner? Shoulder length, medium thick, slight wave hair – bonus if it detangles. tia!

    • Carol’s Daughter Sacred Tiare Fortifying Conditioner – usually can buy with a coupon at Ulta!

    • Aussie 3 Minute Moist Conditioner. This changed my world.

      • Legally Brunette :

        Yes!!! This is one of the countless suggestions through this page that has changed my life. :)

    • AnonInfinity :

      I have shoulder length, medium thick, curly hair. I just use a lot of my regular conditioner (I use bumble + bumble curly line) and let it sit on my hair while I wash my face. Then comb through with a wide tooth comb before rinsing. I’ve done this with lots of other conditioners, too. For me, that works really well.

    • Terax Crema is the best. It was the only thing that made my overprocessed hair manageable.

    • Anonymous :

      Oribe daily conditioner is great. But my secret is using a moisturizing mask instead of conditioner every day. My current favorites are Oribe and Kerastase. The new Ouai mask is nice too.

  24. Aussie 3 Minute Moist Conditioner

  25. Woke up this morning with a severe allergic reaction/contact dermatitis around my eyes. Everything is bright red and swollen and flakey. It’s so strange because I have been using the same products on my face and around my eyes forever, nothing like this has ever happened. Went to urgent care who prescribed steroids and an antihistamine to treat the symptoms and gave me a referral to a dermatologist to find the underlying cause. Yikes!!!

    • So sorry. I had the same experience. It turned out to be eczema. It flares when I’m really stressed or if I wear eye makeup several days in a row (removing the eye makeup irritates the skin). Other than that it’s not so bad. My dermatologist gave me desonide ointment for the flares. Good luck.

    • Oh no! I hope things clear up quickly!

    • Oh man, this happens to me about once a month. It is the worst. For me, it’s eczema (and is helped significantly by better sleep quality + making sure I get a full 7-8 hours, clean eating, having fresh sheets on my bed, and decreased stress levels). To get my eyes down to a manageable level so I can go to work, I (1) apply a cool, clean washcloth for 5-10 minutes to bring the swelling down, (2) chug a glass of water, (3) take a antihistamine and ibuprofen, and (4) apply topical steroid, with care and using as little as possible, to the irritated skin. I then cover with a foundation that counteracts the redness but doesn’t further irritate the skin; I like Lancome teint idole.

    • That happened to me about a month ago! Still have no idea what caused it, and it’s only happened the one time. Fresh aloe helped, I think.

  26. Do I need to get my direct reports a holiday gift, and if so, what? My predecessor always gave each of us a bottle of wine and a handwritten note that expressed her appreciation. It was really nice, and I feel like I should do something similar … but what? Wine was definitely her thing, as she was super knowledgeable and always had a specific reason for choosing a particular variety and/or a story behind it. That’s a high bar for a bottle of wine! The budget is about $30. We work in state-funded jobs, so this isn’t a holiday bonus situation, but a token of appreciation instead.

    • Wine. Just without all her fuss.

    • Amazon gift cards.

    • Champagne/sparkling wine with a bow. “Looking forward to the new year.” Or just wine!

      I have never met a free bottle of wine I didn’t like.

    • $30 total or $30 per person? I think you can still do wine if you want. Gift cards are also good – Amazon, Target, Starbucks, a nearby restaurant people like to go for lunch. A homemade treat could also be nice if you’re into that sort of thing.

    • givemyregards :

      I did amazon gift cards ($25 a piece) and a little note expressing my gratitude for their work. I’m relatively new to my job and didn’t want to assume everyone was a wine drinker, chocolate eater, etc. so this was the best I could come up with.

    • Not sure where you’re located, but there’s a FANTASTIC wine shop in Brooklyn that has great service, fast shipping, and very detailed tasting notes for every single wine they carry, all of which are sustainably made. It’s called Moore Brothers. If you call them and give them a budget and some guidelines, they can quickly ship you interesting bottles with a print out of the tasting notes and info about the vineyard for each.

    • lawsuited :

      I used to give wine, but 2 years ago started giving coffee shop gift cards for the amount I would usually spend per bottle ($15) and the response has been great. I may not have been hitting the mark with people’s win preferences, and a gift card is easily to carry home if you commute.

  27. French Soles :

    After years of recommendations on this board, I bought a pair of the French Soles passport flats. I love them so much I bought a second. They’re having a 25% off everything online today with code FSNYFLASH (but all sales final).

  28. Tax Question :

    I’m pregnant, due mid 2018 and wondering when I am supposed to update my W-4. Can you do this mid year? Do I do this now for 2018? Do I have to wait until 2019? I did a bit of googling, but particularly with the new tax bill got a bit confused and figured I’d ask the hive.

    • At my company we use an online payroll system and I can login and update my w4 at any time (and have in fact adjusted it mid-year before). Ask HR. Or if your company doesn’t have HR, ask whomever handles payroll.

    • You can do it any time! I guess, depending on your company and how flexible their payroll is. They should do it for you any time.

    • I think payroll companies are going to need to totally revamp the withholding structure with the passage of this bill… plus, the dependent exemptions were just done away with, so having a kid may not matter as much. Basically, I’d prob just wait until this shakes out over the next month(s).

      • Also, as others have said you can probably update at any time. W-4s don’t need to match your actual return – some people intentionally withhold more or less than they are anticipating paying for various reasons (to be sure they get a refund, to not give the govt a “loan”, etc.) So there isn’t any sort of “deadline” for updating to reflect the new child.

  29. What would you do? :

    BF (of 1 year) and I exchanged presents last night. We weren’t going to do it until this weekend but he was so excited to give me my gift we moved it up a little early. I loved his excitement and it was a really sweet gesture (necklace with two hearts). I appreciate the thought behind that (we just did I love yous somewhat recently). The problem is it’s just not really my style necklace. But I love the sentiment and that’s sorta motivating me to wear it anyway. He asked if I liked it / if I would wear it and I said yes.

    I don’t want to hurt his feelings and I really really appreciate the thought / excitement behind the gift. If it were given by anyone else I probably just wouldn’t really wear it, but I think in this case best to just wear it sometimes? Given the emotional component, I feel like I’ll come to like it more and I don’t think I would want him to exchange it. I’m also considering buying a longer chain as I might like this style (it’s a little bulky) if it sat a little lower on my chest.

    What would you do?

    • Cornellian. :

      Buy a longer chain and wear it anyway, at least on weekends/etc, honestly. I guess if you anticipate lots of jewelry gifts in your future maybe you should figure out a way to politely redirect.

    • Anonymous :

      Buy the long chain, wear it occasionally.

    • I feel you! I have extremely particular jewelry taste, and have totally had this issue. I’d do what others have said — buy the long chain and wear it occasionally. If he ever asks you about jewelry, definitely say that you’re super particular and that you have a really hard time finding things you like… And if he buys you jewelry again, you’ll probably just have to say something more direct about how you are sorry you’re so hard to buy jewelry for, you wish you weren’t so picky, etc.

    • What would you do? :

      Thanks all! That’s what I was thinking.

      Ugh, ex-bf was awful but he had good jewelry taste. oh well — price to admission here :)

  30. Moving On :

    After a very disappointing conversation about my raise this year (5% in three years at this company, despite the fact that my boss tells me I’m doing really well), I’ve decided to move on, and not only that but to move states. I can waive in to the CO bar because I’ve been practicing in my home state for 5+ years, but the fee is pretty hefty: $1800. Has anyone else moved states and joined a new bar? Did you think it was important for your job search to be admitted to the new state’s bar before you started your job search? Or were you able to get a job and _then_ get admitted to the new state’s bar (with, hopefully, your new employer footing the bill)?

    • I’d put “admitted in X, eligible to waive into CO” on your resume and leave it at that.

    • Anonymous :

      Colo is flooded with transplant right now and I know about a half dozen nyc biglaw lawyers trying to make that move – 2 have landed jobs there but it was really hard. Both said that firms/in house was just really suspicious of their intentions of staying in Colo (despite the fact that one was moving bc his wife got a tenured faculty position at UC) and some interviewers even said – well a UC Law grad is going to stay with your ivy degree and nyc experience, you may not. So in Colo – yes it helps to do anything you can to show your interest; I honestly don’t think bar waiver is enough so hopefully you have other connections but yeah it’s a decent start.

    • Moved multiple times and found it much better for job-search if you have the target bar already. Of course if you can find a place who will sponsor you that would be ideal, but with what the other posters have said about the influx in CO you may be limiting yourself that way.

  31. Temp kitchen :

    So, worst case scenario, I will have a double oven that is not installed in its cabinet in my kitchen on Christmas. Is it technically possible to use this (electric) oven? Like, plugged in in my garage, say? If it were a freestanding oven/stove I’d think sure.

    If not, fingers crossed DH’s plan to widen our existing cabinet by 1/8” with a belt sander this Friday night works.

    • Temp kitchen :

      I should say even if it needs a higher voltage outlet, we are fine since my dryer can plug in in the garage. It’s whatever that outlet is.

    • I would think so, as long as you make sure it’s supported/stable and ventilated correctly.

  32. So, can anyone tell me how I prepay 2018 property taxes if I have been using a mortgage escrow account to take care of it? Also, I assume I can prepay only the first quarter of 2018 property taxes. Thank you in advance for any helpful suggestions.

    • You can’t, and I would not assume that.

      If your mortgage company pays your taxes from an escrow account they probably write the county a huge check once a year for everyone whose loan they service in that county. I very much doubt they would change this practice for you.

      How and when you can make partial payments is a question of state law and I would not assume you can make quarterly payments.

    • Reply in mod for some unfathomable reason. Check back.

      • Anonymous :

        contact your jurisdiction or your tax professional. We were advised – by our tax professional – that we could and the steps to take. After making the payment we have to provide proof to our mortgage company so that our escrow can be reduced for 2018. It will be work – but will save me money.

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