Tuesday’s Workwear Report: Dyann Denim Blazer

Denim Blazer for Work: Club Monaco Dyann Denim BlazerOur daily workwear reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

I thought I was alone in my renewed desire for a denim blazer, but Club Monaco lists this one among the store’s bestsellers, and it’s easy to see why — all the sleek lines and the fun split-back detail. For a more casual office or a casual day, this would be a great topper with neutral pants and a white top; for those of you at more conservative jobs I encourage you to try the denim jacket for your commute and, in general, as a great way to make a sheath dress less formal for post-work activities. (A corollary to this: if you recently transitioned from a very conservative office to a casual office, the denim blazer can be a great addition to your work wardrobe in general because it “fits” with more formal pieces but also makes them more casual.) This blazer is $229 (was $289) at Club Monaco. Club Monaco Dyann Denim Blazer

Lower-priced options are here and here, and here’s a plus-size alternative.

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

(L-5)

Comments

  1. Meg Murry :

    The split back detail looks interesting, but I’m afraid on me it would read as “oops, did you accidentally split the seam up the back of your jacket?” a la Fat Man in a Little Coat

  2. Emergency Funds! :

    I found this read from The Atlantic interesting, particularly in light of how often the topic of emergency funds comes up in discussions: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/05/my-secret-shame/476415/

    (It begins from a discussion of a Federal Reserve Board study finding that 47% of Americans would have trouble coming up with $400 for an emergency.) Financial fragility is real!

    • United Way came out with something called the ALICE Report not so long ago (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). It profiled people in the country who are working full-time, and sometimes working 2 jobs, but are still struggling to pay for pure essentials: housing, food, clothing, let alone any extras like savings or retirement funds.

      In my area, more than 50% is considered ALICE; they are one small emergency (an unexpected car repair, a medical bill, etc) away from complete financial ruin. And these are the people who have been able to find work and have stayed employed.

      It’s really terrifying and eye-opening from my very privileged world view. I worry about how to retire early or save for vacation, when people are working 60+ hours and can barely afford rent.

    • Interesting read – thanks for sharing!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I was just thinking about this recently. I’ve had some dental and medical bills recently and was able to pay them outright without much stress. Just a few years ago it would have been impossible. Luckily I could have borrowed money from my dad, but the stress would have been awful anyway. I was balancing my accounts and just sat dumbfounded for a minute realizing what I was able to pay and was so grateful I could do so and didn’t even think twice about it when I paid.

      It’s a horrible cycle to be in and can feel impossible to change. This is why step one in Dave Ramsey’s plan is to save a $1000 emergency fund. Once you have that you can better handle true emergencies without digging deeper into the hole.

      • Meg Murry :

        Yes, I feel like the number one thing my job gives me is a sense of financial stability, knowing that I’m no longer one dental bill away from going back to the 30% credit card interest cycle. To me, true freedom is knowing that when my husband falls off a ladder when working on our gutters, my first thought is “uh-oh, better go to the emergency room for an x-ray” not “oh no, he should probably go get x-rays but last time this happened that was a $2000 emergency room bill” and then trying to judge just how bad the situation is.

        I feel like in addition to an emergency fund, what most people don’t even have is “life happens” money. I’ve coached some of my family members through setting up dual emergency funds – a true “if I lost my job or got hit by a bus fund” and a “my car is eventually going to need new tires, my fridge is 10 years old and will die eventually and I typically need $300 in dental work every couple of years” fund.

        Financial insecurity is so hard, and so many people out there are just one tiny mishap (not even disaster) from a major cycle of debt that could take them years to climb out of, while the social safety nets just get cut further and further. Which reminds me, time to go write my annual check to the local food pantry and community service non-profit, because I know that while I didn’t have to use them, there were times after I lost my job when knowing that they existed if one more bad thing happened helped me keep from completely panicking.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I was horrified in college when I had to lend my friend money for an unexpected expense because her dual-income, firmly middle-class, homeowning parents couldn’t lend her the money “until the next payday.” This just flabbergasted me. The terrifying part is that so many people don’t save despite absolutely being financially able to do so!

      • Many people who seem like they should be able to save can’t. Lots of people have the trappings of the middle class but are one catastrophe away from ruin. In some ways, the “middle class” working poor are in worse shape than those who don’t own cars or houses because they have more liability when things break. If you live out in the burbs with no reliable public transit, you have no choice but to take out more debt when the car breaks because otherwise you can’t get to work. If your roof starts to leak, you have to take out tens of thousands of dollars in debt, or take out a loan against the house, because you can’t just let the roof cave in.

    • For the people who are employed, working hard and truly paycheck to paycheck such that a car needing new tires will lead to debt that will take a yr to work out of at 20% interest — I feel for them. But for the dual-income, firmly middle class homeowners, I truly don’t understand. What are they spending their money on? How is it possible that every dollar that comes in also goes out? Don’t they have some months where they worked a lot and thus didn’t have time to shop even if they wanted to and thus that money sat in the bank for a while?

      • They’re spending a lot on child care, medical expenses, a house and two cars they can technically afford but not really, extracurricular activities for their kids, paying off their own student loans, eating out more than they should because they are tired, and helping out family from time to time.

        People aren’t just financially insecure because shopping.

        • It happens so easily :

          We are in the top 5% of income earners in our state. We have a modest mortgage and cars (could afford a lot more). We save every month. We have good (arguably great) health insurance. We have two little kids. Our childcare costs are double our mortgage.

          My husband was recently in the hospital (inpatient) for 3+ weeks and with follow-up appointments multiple times per week. My husband was out of work for 8 weeks (no STD or LTD coverage through his employer). Suddenly, we found ourselves down half our monthly income for 2 months and with medical bills that numbered in the five digits. Yes, we could take that hit. The medical bills are paid and food is still on the table. But for a family who was living on the edge, I have no doubt that our scenario, which is not uncommon, would take them down financially.

        • +1. Not to mention home repairs. We have this social narrative that you’re not a real adult unless you own your home. But no one really warns you how expensive it can be to maintain a house. And I’m not just talking about replacing the roof – little fixes really add up. Fixing the garage door, replacing a window, fixing that light that’s been flickering for a month. There’s always something that needs fixing.

          • No one forces you to buy a home, you choose to do so often bc “how will it look” if we’re still renting. With that comes costs beyond mortgage, taxes, and insurance. Why don’t people take that into account?

          • Oh good grief. People like equity. Homeownership is incentivized in major ways in this country. Why are you so invested in blaming those poors for being vulnerable to financial disaster?

          • People don’t take it into account because our schools teach abstinence rather than life skills.

      • Anonforthis :

        In addition to mortgage & utilities, an average month for us looks something like:

        $2500 for student loans.
        $1900 for childcare (that’s ONE kid). That doesn’t include formula, diapers, new clothes as kid grows, expenses for activities, or any other of the random expenses that come with a kid.
        $400 for car payment + gas (for ONE car).

        Because we also save for medical expenses, retirement, and taxes, we don’t have a lot left over that can be easily liquidated or put into an emergency fund every month. We are fortunate because we have some – but were we to have another kid, need another car if one of us changed jobs, etc.? I don’t know where the money would come from. Is it really that hard to imagine? Must be nice…

        • No need to be snippy — yes it IS hard to imagine bc $400 on a car?? You really can’t get something smaller or older and put yourself in the $200 or $250 range? It’s your choice if you don’t want to, but don’t get snippy with others about it.

          • you said you can’t understand how this happens. Apparently what you meant was I think people who don’t make perfect financial decisions are idiots worthy of derision. Which, fine, but don’t pretend to be all shocked they might get snippy with you.

          • Anonforthis :

            Actually it isn’t our choice – it is a 5-year-old, crappy foreign car (and no, I don’t plan to trade it in for a ten-year-old, unreliable death trap, especially now that we have a kid to drive around). But we were both in grad school when we bought it and hadn’t had car loans before, so our credit was crappy and we got a crappy loan (and we were under the gun to buy because the previous car we shared was TEN years old and we are in an area where the many, many interviews we needed between us to secure two decent jobs were all over the place geographically, and we couldn’t rely on public transit to get to them. Once the loan is paid off (next year!) we will probably keep that one for as long as it lasts as well. We’re not rolling around in a luxury car that takes premium.

          • Anon for this :

            I love my 11 year old car (i bought it new in 2005), and i love my husband’s 1999 car, too. They’re great, reliable, look “young” bc we maintain them well, and i hope to keep driving them for years to come. Nothing wrong with a TEN year old car!!!

          • Sure, I loved my 13 year old car much more than the 4 year old car I traded it in for. But I think there is a big difference to driving a car that is already yours until the car is 10 or 15 years old and buying a 10 year old car without knowing how it’s been treated and how it runs for the 10 years before you bought it.

          • Question on the 10 year old unreliable death trap. I hear people say that they need the latest safety features once they have kids. Understandable. I recently upgraded my 2006 for a 2015 because my 2006 had very high mileage and was starting to cost more to repair than I was willing to spend. However, the only safety feature I can find on my 2015 that wasn’t on my 2006 is a back up camera. Both have airbags, seatbelts, ABS, ESC … what am I missing? What is the new safety feature everyone must have? I’m not being snarky and yes I’ve tried google.

          • Easy example for us: Upgrading in size of vehicle and needing AWD. I’m not going to risk gently sliding off the side of the road (live in a very snowy area) with my kids in the car. Also, rear view cameras are huge with little kids.

          • Re: Blonde Lawyer’s questions about safety improvements, I think you’re correct that the safety improvements in new cars vs. 10 year old cars aren’t as significant as they were in the past, but one major change has been in the increased safety of the frames. In particular, the new small overlap frontal crash test has forced manufacturers to improve safety in those types of crashes. There are some pretty horrifying videos on youtube of what happens to older cars (and some new cars) in these crashes, which appear pretty minor, but can cause a lot of damage because cars weren’t designed to absorb the impact.

        • So glad to hear I am not alone. It seems so crazy to feel like things are tight when I know we make a healthy salary, but it really does go quickly!!

      • “thus that money sat in the bank for a while?”

        And earned what, 2 dollars in interest?

        What anonymous at 10:22 said. Also, private school tuition if public schools suck, clothes for growing kids, cars because there’s no reliable public transit, that new water heater, health insurance for a family of 4, utilities. Retirement, lol. For most people, these basic life expenses eat up the vast majority of their incomes. Wouldn’t matter how much or how little they shopped. Shopping for toys, fancy clothes, trinkets isn’t the biggest hurdle to saving, barring an obvious shopping addiction. Source: childhood.

      • Life is expensive — esp. childcare and medical care. It’s not JUST shopping — though I will say most people I know are a bit too obsessed with Whole Foods and Trader Joe, when Harris Teeter is just fine.

        • Trader Joe’s is waaaay cheaper than Harris Teeter.

          • Trader Joe’s is a good option for singles and couples. It’s less economical for larger families.

          • ??? Cheaper is cheaper. Most everything is cheaper at Trader Joe’s on a per-pound basis. Lunchmeat, fig newton-style cookies, nuts, butter …

          • Trader Joe’s, especially store-brand items, is in line with other pricing at Teeter/Giant/Safeway here in DC. Especially for produce.

      • I go back and read this every once in a while and it always makes me giggle (beware bad language) – http://gawker.com/5885705/the-top-1-must-stop-insisting-theyre-not-rich-right-this-instant

      • We have a very difficult time saving. My husband and I both work full time jobs. I am a lawyer, but don’t make what most people assume lawyers make. He works for the federal government after trying for a long time to find a private sector job in his field. We have one car payment on a used SUV we bought and another very old but reliable Honda Civic that we bought cash a number of years ago. It can’t really fit our whole family in it, so we try not to take it when we all need to be somewhere. We bought the SUV after our paid off minivan with 280,000 miles literally had the engine crack and would need thousands of dollars in repair–more than the car was worth. We live in the suburbs (near good schools so we don’t have to pay for private school) and desperately needed a second car.

        We also pay a lot in health insurance despite working for the government. We have a mortgage and student loans. Our oldest child is also involved in expensive extra-curricular activities. I feel like this is a worthwhile investment because it keeps her out of trouble and teaches lots of great life lessons. She also has braces, which I felt like were a worthwhile investment after not having them when I was growing up.

        We were doing ok, not taking on any more debt, paying everything on time, etc. Then my mom got cancer and had to relocate to another state for life-saving treatment (not offered in our state). Me and my siblings had to get her moved out there, rent an apartment, and coordinate care for her which involved flying out every month for a week. It was pure survival mode for about 4 months, which resulted in credit card debt as our modest savings was quickly depleted. We are, a year later, finally coming out of it though my mother still requires lots of help.

        We eat out once a week on payday, usually pizza. I cook every other meal at home/pack lunches for work and school. I do not have a cleaning person, my husband does our yard care and oil changes/brakes/ other jobs like that on the cars. We take vacations to the beach where we drive and camp and eat most meals at the campsite. (The kids LOVE this by the way. When we have stayed in hotels they thought it was boring.) I buy myself very few clothes and buy most of my 2 younger kids clothes at the resale shop. We don’t have a home phone or cable TV. Most of our free time is spent at the park or the zoo (my parents buy me an annual pass for my birthday), or in the summer the community pool. We don’t have child care expenses anymore because my mother in law helps us and the kids are in school full time. Yet, I still feel like we struggle to save. I will have a pension for retirement and save an additional small amount every month in a deferred compensation account and hope to increase this later. My husband has some retirement savings from previous jobs and now his fed job. But our liquid savings is always going to something–needed a new fridge, car needed tires, water heater, etc. I guess its good the money has been there, but it feels like we can’t ever get ahead.

      • What is “firmly middle class” anymore? My husband and I have been married since 2003. He went to grad school full time (some loans, some gifts) then I did (a lot of loans) and graduated in 2007. Since then, we’ve had 1 year with no unemployment, and even then (2011) there was a job change by choice. Yet our income has remained stagnant and even gone down. The past 2 years, husband was unemployed 6 months and 5 months, and the year before that, I was unemployed 8 months. I was laid off when I was 7 months pregnant, as well.

        Nice to know you’re judging us. I hope you never, ever experience our setbacks and if you do, that you have half the wonderful support network we’ve had.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m not judging the choices/situations of people here bc I understand that life happens and things are not in anyone’s control. BUT I do think there needs to more thought given to finances when just starting out — whether that comes from personal finance education or just parents lecturing — it needs to happen. Young adults need to set up a life where they are living 1/2 to 1 step below their means and thus keeping their fixed costs down bc that results in “automatic” savings — and to the poster above who says that money just sits in savings at .2% and doesn’t grow — lack of growth is not a reason to NOT save. If you can afford a $3000 apartment and you opt for the $2500 one, there’s $500/month or $6000/yr right there. If you are in a city where you need a car and can afford a $500 payment — try to go for something in the $300 range and there’s an extra $2400/yr right there. It can be little things as well — if you’re spending $5/day at Sbux, cut it down to 3 times a week and there’s $10 saved right there; while that isn’t a huge amount, over 50 weeks, that’s $500. I think these types of habits right when you start working allow you to set habits/goals for yourself and start building up for when life happens (and inevitably it will). Yet I’m not sure that most 20/30 somethings have this mindset.

    • Judge judge judge judge judge. Boy it sucks to be not-you, doesn’t it?

      You have no idea what someone else’s financial situation is. You have no idea why they are where they are and what it’s like to walk a mile in their shoes.

      Get a hobby other than judging people you barely know. How miserable it must make you.

      • I like to pretend maybe she inherited a lot of $$$ from a beloved family member so really we should feel badly for her because she lost a loved one.
        Which I can do, because I have compassion.
        Sucks for you, Anonymous Judgey McJudgerson.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Fascinating article. On the one hand, I completely understand how hard it is to get along in this world, and in particular this country, with the severe income inequality, and the lack of subsidies for important things like child care, health care, and education. It makes me ragey that these things are so expensive and access is so unequal. And I totally get that many jobs just don’t pay enough to support a person, much less a family.

      On the other hand, my goodness! The author of the article couldn’t have done things more wrong if he’d tried. Seriously, he seems to have been willfully irresponsible and I find it hard to work up a whole lot of sympathy for him in particular.

      I got in horrible, horrible debt trouble about 20 years ago and it took a real change in attitude to pay it off and turn things around. My main technique is putting money aside every month for things like car repairs, house repairs, property taxes, and so on. The non-monthly expenses that I know are coming, I just don’t know when or exactly how much. And in addition to that I have a true emergency fund for something truly catastrophic, which I have only used once in 20 years, and that was to fund my divorce and related expenses like running away from home and setting up an apartment. At this point, in my late 50s, I feel like I am in pretty good shape but for a long time I felt like it was two steps forward, one step back.

      The only people I judge are those who choose to be unconscious about their finances. If you’re doing your best and making choices on purpose (rather than throwing up your hands and putting your head in the sand and your expenses on the credit card), I’m not gonna give you the side-eye.

      • Just a note... :

        Ah… you may not think they are high enough or reach enough people but there are subsidies for child care (for the poor, at least in my state), health care (ACA subsidies) and eduction (tax-payer provided public schools and subsidized state universities).

        • Senior Attorney :

          Good point. I don’t think they are high enough or reach enough people, but yeah they do exist.

      • Yes, a big problem in America is that luxuries (big screen tvs, etc.) are cheap but necessities (health care, education) are expensive.

    • WestCoast Lawyer :

      Setting aside actual abject poverty, which doesn’t seem to be the point of this article, I think the root of this is the failure in so many cases to teach kids how to manage money when they are growing up. As long as I can remember, I was taught the importance of not buying things unless you can truly afford them (meaning they don’t stretch you so thin you are one unexpected expense away from ruin). All of the money I made from high school jobs was religiously divvied up into envelopes for savings, gas money, potential car maintenance, savings and probably one or two other categories. I am shocked by the number of people I know in their 30s who, whenever they switch jobs, cash out their 401(k)s and take a vacation. As much as I appreciate the increasing focus on STEM in our schools, we also need to teach our kids financial literacy so they can make good choices when they get those jobs.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yep. One of the best things my son ever said to me was “Hey, mom! You were right about that whole ‘put money in savings automatically and you won’t even miss it out of your paycheck’ thing!”

      • Right. I wonder if that mentality– that it’s ok to blow all of your savings– is a holdover from better economic times. Not only are people not financially literate, they integrate money with emotions and make poor choices (I am not immune to this! no one is!). I can’t feel pity for the author of this article after reading that he cashed out his small 401K to pay for his daughter’s wedding. He’s letting emotions get in the way of good judgment, which you’d think he’d have developed by the time his children were adults and he had lived “on the edge” for so many years. It is possible to tell your adult child that you aren’t going to give her thousands of dollars for a wedding. She can go to the courthouse or pay for it herself. Boo hoo.

        Don’t even get me started on his assertion that considering your financial health when you choose a career is unacceptable because that would require you to “be another person.” U.G.H.

      • Anonymous :

        This. True teaching about actual costs, about budgeting, about compounding interest in a practical sense is so important. I sat next to a teacher at a dinner recently from a private school. He was telling me about a class project where each student was given a job title and an accompanying salary (of all ranges) and then told to create a budget. Almost every student left out important expenses like cell phone coverage. When pressed, they all said they expected their parents would still cover it.

        Also, I think parents/adults need to teach their children practical skills. Several times in the past few days people have mentioned the cost of home maintenance including things like replacing bulbs, fixing washer/dryers, fixing cabinets. While I admit my skills aren’t great, I cannot imagine my parents (or even more so my grandparents) hiring that stuff out. My parents make good money, own their home, have their retirement funded., but one night last month my dad took apart their dryer to find a faulty part rather than pay someone to fix it or replace it. It’s that type of ethic we don’t see in the current generation (and I’m lumping myself in this!).

        • Sydney Bristow :

          Teaching is important, as is having good role models for this sort of thing. So many kids grow up in homes where their parents live paycheck to paycheck and learn the good or bad habits their parents have.

          I’m a kid of divorced parents so I grew up with both models. My mom lived beyond our means, some of it due to mental illness, some due to bad decisions. My dad was a much better (but not perfect) role model for me. Neither of them actively made it a point to teach us how to manage our finances.

          Now that my dad is nearing retirement he’s become much more vocal to all us kids about good financial choices. He’ll be well set up to retire but approaching it has made him really start analyzing his past financial choices.

        • Anonforthis :

          This isn’t always a question of work ethic though. New technology limits the efficacy or cost-effectiveness of fixing older items. Cars, household appliances, phones – all of these items now have sophisticated electronics that is impossible or prohibitively expensive to fix oneself.

          • Anonymous :

            Yes, true about cars and fridges, etc., but not about everything. This is the trap that people fall in! You can still fix your own toilet, change out your own faucet or fix it to stop leaking.

          • Little Red :

            You can fix your own toilet if you know how to fix it or are willing to risk damage. In my particular case, I live in a condo so damage in other units that arises from issues in my unit is my liability so no way am I attempting to fix my own toilet. On more than one occasion, a signed receipt from a licensed plumber has saved me.

    • I sympathize with the author’s understanding that he didn’t make good personal finance choices but his head in the sand attitude towards dealing with it and frankly, some of the entitlement that the artice reads of is unbelievable! If you cannot pay your mortgage, you should not finance your kids’ private schools. If they are good enough to get into stanford, they can go to a good state school on a merit scholarship. Why would you drain a 401k to pay for a daughter’s wedding?!?! I would not accept that from a parent. And i grew up in a 80k household in the burbs with loving parents who were very generous with my college (they paid for two years of private hyp) but also very clear about their priorities and situation, and I never felt entitled to that payment but very grateful for it. this author simultaneously TRIES to claim responsibility but also makes the chocies seem inevitable (they are bad. You should not take on a second mortgage if you haven’t sold the first) and it was very infuriating to read as well.

  3. I don’t think I could get away with a denim blazer but even if I could I’m not sure how I feel about the back detail. It’s interesting and looks good in the photo, but I’m afraid it could also look like you split a seam.
    I do like the alternative styling ideas and I’m now totally obsessed with this “soft trench” in pale pink: http://www.clubmonaco.com/product/index.jsp?productId=81979786&size=XS,S,M,L&color=1345738

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I just got a similar trench from Boden. It’s on clearance, so lucky sizes only. I really like it.

    • Shopaholic :

      I tried it on this weekend. I think if you’re tall, it’ll work really well for you. I’m about 5’2 so I found it was too much for my frame.

    • That trench is gorgeous. I’d like the jacket in a different color but don’t get the ulitity of a denim structured blazer. I wish DC still had a Club Monaco.

  4. I just found my first gray hair! And I turn 30 next week! I had no idea gray hair is a totally different texture, it’s all wiry.

    I’m not ready for this.

    • Don’t panic! I’ve been going gray since 17. When they first spring up, they’re wiry and unruly looking, but as they grow in, they’ll match the texture of your hair better.

      Welcome to the world of hair dye (or rocking the grays, you do you).

      I also swear by L’Oreal root cover up spray (doesn’t make your hair sticky or come off on your hands) in between colorings.

      • Here’s a link:
        http://amzn.to/22KFj8X

      • Friendly Anon :

        Thank you for this link to the L’Oreal stuff! I have one stubborn gray patch on my right temple, and it always needs something before anywhere else on my head. This is just what I needed!

        • It’s a magical unicorn product! I’ve tried other root coverups (the mascara type, the powder type) and they were all sticky and gross

    • Found my first at 27. If you’re brunette, you find them earlier since they stand out more. I’m 34 and pluck them now if they’re very obvious (I know I shouldn’t), but there’s still only maybe a dozen of them and it’s been 7 years.

    • Anonymous :

      If it makes you feel better, just because you found one doesn’t mean your whole head will be gray soon. I found my first on my 25th birthday. Now I’m 32 and I still only have that one and one other one.

    • Anonymous :

      I found 2 when I was 27 (second year of law school). They went away and I haven’t seen them since (now 35).

      It was a time when I was particularly stressed out. I have since recovered.

    • anonymous :

      I’m 27 and found my first gray at 18. I think I had 3 at the time, and now I have more like 5 or 6.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I can’t really tell because my hair is so blonde, but I’m 31, and I’m pretty sure I’m getting greys because the texture of my hair is going from flat/slick to bouncy and thick as I age. I’m actually pretty excited about it.

      On the other hand, I noticed some tiny crows feet forming and panicked, and practically sprinted to the store to buy some serious eye cream. Ugh. Gettin old, man. Gettin old.

      • 31? Seriously? As someone once told me, the one person who thinks you look fabulous right now is you, ten years from now.

        • Ha! This, absolutely. Getting older is not for wimps.

          I found my first grey at 14, had a handful for about 20 years (was hoping they would form a cool streak, but no such luck), and now at 46 am about 10-15% grey. I like the contrast to my dark brown – natural highlights! – and the gravitas it gives me. I don’t like when they stand straight up from my part. Such is life.

    • Does anyone else have grays that turn back to dark? I know it’s strange, but I do feel like in stressful seasons of my life my hair turns more gray and then later on it stops being gray. The only reason I know this is because when I pull out gray hairs sometimes they are dark at the roots. So… maybe there is hope? Or am I some kind of freak?

    • imolditshappening :

      I found my first gray at about 31? I only had about 4-5 (that I pluck) until this past week when I’ve noticed at least a dozen! I’m 37 now. Just went through the stress of a 2nd child (now 18 months) and a new job (a month ago), and some health stuff (I’m the author of the “gross” post). I’m guessing all that stress is adding a few grays?

      Also, my crow’s feet are ridiculous.

  5. panic attacks :

    Recently I had a panic attack on the subway on a day when it was running really slowly/jerking to a stop every few feet, it was very crowded, and really overheated. I came close to having another today in the same conditions. I think the problem is that those situations are physically uncomfortable (the crowding and heat) and it’s also scary psychologically because we’re stuck in a tunnel, not moving on schedule, and there is very rarely any truth to the overhead announcements of “we’ll be moving shortly.” Does anyone have any tips for how to deal with this? I’m going to make an effort to avoid crowded trains if I can, but it’s sometimes unavoidable since I do need to get to work somehow. If you have any good suggestions for in-the-moment ways to calm down, that would be great.

    • Do panic attacks happen often for you? If so, you may want to talk to a therapist. She can help you learn coping strategies, or, in some cases, prescribe quick-acting medications to help you get through those in-the moment terrors.

      • panic attacks :

        Good question – I should have added that I have had a panic attack maybe one other time in my entire life. I have NO clue why this is happening now since I’ve done all kinds of crowded travel without issues before.

        • I’m not saying this is what is happening to you but just be mindful…

          some disorders, such as panic disorder, can sprout up later in life. For me, it didn’t kick in until my late 20’s early 30’s, and all of sudden things that were NORMAL for me were suddenly panic-inducing.

          So obviously wants isn’t enough to be concerned–it could have been just an avalanche of factors that happened all at once–but if it happens again, talk to your primary doctor.

          • Same thing happened to me – I thought I was having a heart attack the first time it happened (and OP, in my case, it was also on the subway). Cognitive behavioral therapy and the workbook “When Panic Attacks” helped me get a handle on it.

    • Like you, I find crowded transport hot and uncomfortable. Usually I take as many layers as I can off as soon as I get on the bus in the first place.

    • Breathe in Strength :

      I have had panic attacks since I was in middle/high school. I get them very rarely anymore, but this is what I’ve discovered can help: remembering that they are temporary, they are just a feeling and they will go away eventually. When I feel one coming on, it sometimes helps to consciously distract myself. If I were you I’d have some soothing music or guided meditations or standup comedy routines loaded onto your phone that you can just listen to and close your eyes and take deep breaths.

      I really cannot get into guided meditations but there is one on youtube that helps me a lot– “f*ck that: an honest meditation”. It sounds very soothing but is also funny, both of which help me.

    • I have a close friend that had the same experience and meditating helped. She went from having several panic attacks in the circumstances you describe to none at all for several years now. I think she started with transcendental meditation but now uses an app called headspace. No drugs or therapy, not that there’s anything wrong with that. The change in her is remarkable.

    • I have a similar problem but with fainting on the metro. I fainted from heatstroke after being stuck in a tunnel on an overcrowded train for 25 minutes this April. Even in the winter, I wear a sheath dress, flats, and then cardigan or coat on top, so I can remove the layers before getting on the train in the station – don’t wait until you’re already warm. Second, try to get a seat, so commute slightly off-peak or wait for the next train if one is really crowded- for me the next one is less crowded since everyone packed on the current one. And bring cold water with you each morning, especially if you start to feel overwhelmed. And finally, do what you can so that your morning isn’t rushed so you enter the situation relaxed and aren’t setting yourself up for more panic.

      Best of luck, it can be hard to manage but a little tweaking and it’ll be so much better!

    • I found that learning to breath properly helped stop them escalating and eventually I became able to nip them in the bud just with breath control. Seemed counterintuitive at first and needed a LOT of practice but worked for me.

    • Anonymous :

      A therapist. Panic attacks are not a normal response to a slow subway, they are a sign of mental distress your body is struggling to process.

      • This. Also, you’re going to be encouraged to end up in the exact situations that caused panic – avoidance will actually make the panic and anxiety worse (and likely to spread to other arenas of your life).

        Finally, panic is often not about the situation you’re actively panicking in, but about other stressors in your life. Are you under higher levels of stress than normal that you maybe aren’t acknowledging/working through?

    • lost academic :

      I wonder if it would help to carry one of those instant cold packs you could crack and lay against your neck to help with the panic?

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Can you shift your regular work schedule? I get in early enough to avoid most crowded trains and there aren’t usually issues that early. That only helps one way though because it’s crowded on my way home.

      I found medication super helpful when I was in a period of my life when I started having panic attacks somewhat often. If I felt it coming I was able to take a pill, which helped. Just knowing it was about to kick in was helpful too.

      The past few days I’ve been taking off my coat in the subway. I’ve wanted it while walking outside but get too warm on the subway. Being hot makes everything worse.

      So sorry you’re dealing with this.

    • jumpingjack :

      I second/third/fourth the recommendations for meditation. Even if you don’t have any guided meditation or apps on your phone, just focus on your breathing and nothing else. And pay attention to breathing in a regular, controlled fashion and not rapidly. This helped me get through a recent stuck-in-the-tunnel-for-25-minutes episode.

    • panic attacks :

      Thanks everyone – this is all really helpful. I’m going to look for meditation apps tonight.

    • I used to get panic attacks all the time and eventually overcame them through therapy and some “mind over matter” techniques. I would recommend focusing on your breathing, reminding yourself that you actually are 100% fine and that this is just a stress response, and (at least for me) not changing your daily routine if you can avoid it. For me, changing my behaviors just let my panic attacks spiral. First, I couldn’t go to a restaurant if it was crowded…then it was that I couldn’t go if I didn’t drive myself…then I couldn’t go unless those conditions were met AND I was with people I really trusted AND I could leave at any time AND I didn’t have to eat (swallowing food became hard). I think it can help to take a bit of a stern approach with yourself and say “I’m okay, this is silly, I’m not going to let this take over my life.” One image that helped me for some reason was rooted in the whole “fight or flight response theory” (i.e. that this is just a leftover remnant of our caveman instincts to flee when in danger) and since I thought the idea of me “fleeing” a fancy NYC restaurant was funny, I tried to envision me fleeing a dinosaur whenever I felt them coming on — for some reason, that helped deescalate it for me. Also, therapy is very helpful if you get to that point (which I don’t think 1-2 panic attacks necessarily calls for). Good luck!

      • +1. My panic attacks started when my crohns was bad. I was the living embodiment of that commercial “where will you be when diarrhea strikes?” The thing that helped me the most I actually figured out on my own before I went to therapy. I took a piece of paper and made categories. I can’t remember what they were exactly but this is a close approximation. (1) Times I went somewhere totally anxiety free and everything went fine. (2) Times I was anxious but went anyway and things went fine. (3) Times I was anxious, my anxiety escalated while there, I wish I hadn’t gone, but still, I survived. (4) Times that were a complete and total disaster where my worst fears were realized.

        After I made the list I realized I had ZERO in column 4. I had very few in column 1. I had a TON in column 2. I had a handful in column 3.

        Once you have had a panic attack, you start fearing the panic attack instead of the thing you were initially afraid of. Column 3 were the times I ended up with another panic attack or had to really search/beg my way into a bathroom while sick. Column 4 would have been not making a bathroom and pooping my pants and it never actually happened. Column 2 was when I was anxious about being anxious but didn’t wind up in full blown panic mode and ultimately had fun. After awhile, I started having more events fall into column 1 once I could prove to myself that I could go without panic or that even if I did panic, nothing awful came of it.

        I agree avoidance leads to more avoidance. Mine started with I can go if there are bathrooms on the way/easily accessible at destination. Then it was I can go if I’m driving and there are bathrooms on the way/easily accessible at destination. Then, I can go if I drive alone and there are bathrooms. Then it was I can go if I’m feeling well and can drive alone and there are bathrooms…

        • panic attacks :

          Thanks so much for this – I’m so sorry you had to deal with all of that! I like your strategy, though, and might try it on myself as well.

      • Long reply. Come back for it when it is out of mod. Rawr.

        • What is MOD, Blonde lawyer? RAWR right back to you! YAY!!!!

          Any way, OP, I used to have panic attack’s in high school when guy’s called me fat, but dad told me I am beautiful and other’s agree with him, so I no longer have panic attacks. I therefore recomend that you get a guy to tell you what you want to hear, and your panic attack’s will stop. Mine occasionally crop up, but I just put up a mirror, and poof, it goes away. YAY!!!!

    • I find that when I am taking B vitamin supplements, I am much less prone to emotional swings, including anxiety. It’s an easy baby step that I first took because I was not feeling like myself, even though I was under the kind of stress I previously handled without a problem.

    • I get short of breath when I’m stuck in crowded situations too. For me, it’s related to fear of terrorist attacks and not being able to get away. My therapist recommended the app Virtual Hope Box which has some great breathing and relaxing tools.

    • I can get panicky when I feel like I can’t breathe, especially in hot, crowded spaces. I carry a folding fan in my purse and fan my face when I feel like that, and it helps immensely. The cool, moving air is a huge relief.

  6. Any Atlanta residents here?

    My SO and I are thinking about relocating to the Atlanta area. Both of our companies have offices there – mine in downtown and his in Chamblee.

    Where should we look for housing? I’ve heard traffic is horrific and public transit is a non-starter.

    We’re mid-30s and looking to rent for now. A particular requirement: we’re looking for some place as cheap as safely and respectably possible. We’d like to aggressively pay down SLs and build a nest egg before starting a family. (I very much appreciate the finer things in life, so this criterion may be difficult for me haha.)

    Also, a second question (please forgive me for the nature of this!): what’s the culture like there? We’re coming from fast-paced major cities where everyone works killer hours and you don’t settle down until your 30s. We’re looking at Atlanta because of the cost of living, but I worry about the adjustment and fitting in. Are we going to be looked at strangely for being 35 without kids? Are we going to find friends?

    • I’ve lived in Atlanta for the last three years and can confirm the absolute uselessness of the public transit system and the disgusting traffic. It feels like every major road needs to be about two lanes wider to accommodate the amount of people needing to use it.

      As far as locations, when my SO and I first moved here we lived in a gated apt complex near Lenox Road and Peachtree Street (note: everything, EVERYTHING, is named Peachtree down here. It makes it really hard to find anything) that felt really safe for a pair of twenty somethings, as well as being less than $1k/mo for rent and utilities. In general, the further north of I20 you are, the less dangerous things feel.

      Culture wise… I’m not sure where you’re coming from, but the amount of churches and the general omnipresence of religion in the South was a really big change for me. Where I grew up, nobody talked about what church they went to, at least not with people who weren’t really close friends, but I’ve had people ask me where I worship as part of an introduction. It’s really jarring sometimes.
      I can’t really speak to work culture, I work in finance instead of law, but it seems to be slower paced in general than New England.

    • lost academic :

      You’re going to find friends. No one will look at you weirdly. I just left Atlanta after 12 years and I miss it. People do settle down earlier, but it’s a big city, though not nearly so fast paced as others. The sprawl of the metro area incorporates a lot of other areas that change that vibe a lot. It’s a driving city for sure and people don’t bat an eye at much longer commute times that would stay New Englanders.

      I think you’d like being near Decatur, maybe Virginia Highlands, but I would encourage you to take a visit and drive around a lot. I would try to find something in and around Midtown to cut down on commute and commute stress. Public transit isn’t necessarily a nonstarter but it’s not like a city like DC or NYC where you should expect to use it for regular commuting without really planning for it in terms of where you’ll live.

      I’d also mention that I lived pretty far to the south, OTP (that’s outside of 285) and there’s no safety issue there – you trade commute time for distance, i.e., you’ll drive further but it’ll take less time and be less stressful than people driving in from the cookie-cutter ‘burbs north of 285. If I could do it again I’d live in Decatur, though.

      • +1 for looking around Midtown or something midway between the offices. Depending on where the offices are in Downtown and Chamblee, public transportation (MARTA) could be an option. I haven’t lived there in a few years, but traffic generally moving into town in the morning and heading the other direction in the evening. You might be able to get more of a reverse commute at least for the Chamblee leg if you live south. Decatur is a harder commute into Chamblee because Decatur is a bit further east and it’s mostly surface streets.
        And yes, you will find friends and things to do and other like minded professionals. It’s not crazy NYC hours.

        • Another ATL Anonymous :

          I live in Chamblee. MARTA is absolutely an option if the office is relatively near the station. Or, you could choose to live in Chamblee or Brookhaven, making your drive negligible. We also have great neighborhoods, a tradition of civic involvement, a growing downtown with a knowledgeable Development Authority in charge of it, and some very good restaurants. We also have great proximity to Buford Highway, so every kind of Asian food you could possibly want in restaurant and grocery store forms. In my neighborhood property values are definitely on the rise. I also enjoy that I live in a multigenerational neighborhood where kids sometimes ride their bikes down the street, we throw regular parties, and so forth.

    • Yes, the traffic is a nightmare. What irks me is that it seems so pointless- why run two highways through a city, making them merge in the middle? Why no turn lanes, anywhere? Why do Atlantians think that putting on your flashers means you can just stop in the right hand lane? I digress… We’re experiencing a TON of growth right now- new mixed use developments, new apartment complexes, new restaurants, et al, within the city, which is great for property values and quality of life, but bad for traffic and bad for rents.

      On to Marta…. it is the runt of the country’s train systems. That said, downtown and Chamblee actually are accessible by marta, but whether it’s a good resource for you will depend on where you live and where your offices are. Because any of the locations that are more in the middle of down town and Chamblee will be bad commutes for both of you, you could live where one of you could realistically take Marta to work (probably driving to the station). So if you lived in Chamblee, you could take Marta downtown, and your husband could have a decent commute. Based on where you’ll be working, you’ll probably want to look for places in the north eastern quadrant of the city (think that downtown is the center of the grid). This generally the safest place to live, but in some areas can be more expensive than others. With two people renting a 1br, you’ll be able to get a nice apartment in a safe place. Some neighborhoods in the south east quadrant of the city (east atlanta village, grant park, kirkwood) may be cheaper and cooler, but a commute to Chamblee would probably be awful from there. Plus, those areas are more “up and coming” than places to the north. I’d poke around Briarcliff area, North Druid Hills, and Brookhaven.

      Re; culture. There definitely are people here who will not look askance that you haven’t bred yet- honestly most people won’t care, but you’ll probably find fewer people who are in your position. I’m in my late 20s, went to grad school, and most of my friends are in their late 20’s/early 30’s, have graduate degrees, are married, and are either pregnant with their first kid or thinking of starting within the next 5 years. If you’re running in circles with other professionals you’ll fit in- it’s not like all women here got pregnant at 25 (or even 30) and dropped out of the workforce years ago to host MLM parties.

      People in certain places you’d expect work long hours, but in general, it’s slower paced. Law firms seem to have a very 8:00-6:30, log back in at night if you need to, sort of culture. One thing that really irks me is that even though ATL is very progressive compared with the rest of the south east, I still just feel like a lot of people aren’t *there yet.* A lot of people I meet are nominally feminist but don’t really think about these things on a deep level, a lot of men languish in stereotypical ideas about masculinity, bro-culture is strong. Most people don’t care about recycling. People you expect to be progressive will tell you things like, oh we can’t have Marta coming out here because we don’t want *those people* (wink wink) coming here.

      • I am new to the nuances of the South. By *those people*.. is that a racial one or are you still talking about Caucasian but lower class?

        • Usually it’s code for race but there’s a socioeconomic component to it as well. I know people who are otherwise very lovely who actually believe that extending Marta into Marietta will allow “urban” people from “inner cities” to come and steal their flat screens/ generally cause crime.

          I’ll also add that “those people” and “urban” and “inner city” and all other code-words/dog whistles are not unique to the south. This is not the only region that is home to folks with ingrained racism, it comes up among the people I would otherwise consider liberal/progressive in ATL more than I expected.

    • Frozen Peach :

      Me too!

      Agreed re traffic and public transit. But I’ll put in a plug for “OTP”: Outside the Perimeter. You get a LOT more for your money. We rent a three-bedroom house with a backyard in a really safe neighborhood for under 1K. We love the Smyrna/Marietta/West Cobb area. It’s got good access to major highways and surface roads, and several historic downtown areas with great shopping and restaurants and farmers’ markets and such. Even though you may be able to find a cheap apartment closer in, you will actually be more likely to get robbed in the nicer, trendier parts of the city. And the cost of living OTP can be noticeably different. We’re less than a half hour from downtown, most of the time. On the flip side, the Tucker/unincorporated Dekalb area may be also a good option.

      I grew up here and moved back to be close to aging family, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the incredibly fun culture here– there’s tons to do, and tons of young people. It’s a city that loves being outdoors, great accessible hiking trails, parks, green space, and a city that loves to eat and drink, so lots of amazing food and beverages at all price ranges. Plenty of people over 30 without kids.

      I’m happy to chat more offline if you’re interested– we just made almost exactly this transition a few years ago.

    • So the issue you will have is that downtown and Chamblee are not close together, so one of you is going to have a bad commute. If you live out in Chamblee it will be cheap, but it will not be fun – you’ll be looking at a long drive to good restaurants, music, museums, nightlife, our good public spaces, etc. I’d recommend taking a look at Old Fourth Ward/Inman Park; your husband would have a crappy commute but you would not, and you guys would be convenient to awesome restaurants, parks, the Beltline, our 40 million festivals, etc.

      I love Decatur, but that will be convenient for neither of you, and I think you’ll have trouble from a cost perspective in Virginia Highland. Midtown (where I live) has gone up a ton in price. That said, if you’re coming from a high COL market, it’ll probably still seem cheaper to you.

      I lived overseas, and then in New York and Seattle for 10 years total before moving back to ATL and I’ve never regretted it. Atlanta is not as cheap as it used to be but the cost of living is still significantly lower than many other major cities and the result of that is that a lot of interesting, creative people live here who couldn’t afford to live in, say, New York. The cost of failing in Atlanta is lower than the cost of failing elsewhere, which means people are less fearful of trying in the first place. This is also a highly diverse city in pretty much every way – ethnicity, religion, race, class, political opinion, etc.

      People do settle down earlier, but particularly in the eastern part of the city (O4W, Inman Park, EAV, VaHi, Decatur, etc.) there are tons of childless thirty somethings. Religion definitely plays a more prominent role in society – the lesbian couple down the street from you will be avid churchgoers. You will know Republicans (I will never forget having a Seattle friend tell me that she didn’t know any Republicans…). You will know people who own guns and hunt frequently and enthusiastically. You will meet proudly southern leftist tattoo artists, people who are trying to reclaim African-American heritage farming techniques, professional stand-up paddleboarders, and highly straight-laced professionals who move from office to country club to Buckhead mini-mansion in air-conditioned SUVs and oblivion. You will find the ladies of the Junior League protesting sex trafficking in heels and pearls. You may meet a civil rights legend on a street corner.

      I’ve been just about everywhere, and Atlanta, at this moment, is one of the most interesting cities I’ve ever seen. Y’all come on down. You’ll be welcome.

      • Just an awesome comment. Really love the image you created of the city/culture.

      • You did a great job of describing my hometown. Now I am homesick. Thanks for that.

      • +1, especially to your last full paragraph. Such a lovely and accurate description of our city, and a lot more optimistic than mine ;)

        • FWIW, I see the same stuff that you do as well (especially the comment about stereotypical masculinity – this is definitely a place where what it means to be a man hasn’t evolved much in a long time). The tangled-up mess of the thing is part of what makes me love it, though, and I believe in where we’re going. In some respects, we’ve moved quickly (for example, Atlanta is considered one of the best and most welcoming cities in the US for interracial couples), in others less so (see above), but what I love so much is seeing people take the good things about our culture and heritage – belief in family, community, and hospitality – and using them to underpin a southern-flavored progressive movement. Things about our culture that were once part of our ugly history can and should be remade as tools for a better future. That’s what I see happening here that I love so much.

    • So the issue you will have is that downtown and Chamblee are not close together, so one of you is going to have a bad commute. If you live out in Chamblee it will be cheap, but it will not be fun – you’ll be looking at a long drive to good restaurants, music, museums, nightlife, our good public spaces, etc. I’d recommend taking a look at Old Fourth Ward/Inman Park; your husband would have a crappy commute but you would not, and you guys would be convenient to awesome restaurants, parks, the Beltline, our 40 million festivals, etc.

      I love Decatur, but that will be convenient for neither of you, and I think you’ll have trouble from a cost perspective in Virginia Highland. Midtown (where I live) has gone up a ton in price. That said, if you’re coming from a high COL market, it’ll probably still seem cheaper to you.

      I lived in New York and Seattle for 10 years total before moving back to ATL and I’ve never regretted it. Atlanta is not as cheap as it used to be but the cost of living is still significantly lower than many other major cities and the result of that is that a lot of interesting, creative people live here who couldn’t afford to live in, say, New York. The cost of failing in Atlanta is lower than the cost of failing elsewhere, which means people are less fearful of trying in the first place. This is also a highly diverse city in pretty much every way – ethnicity, religion, race, class, political opinion, etc.

      People do settle down earlier, but particularly in the eastern part of the city (O4W, Inman Park, EAV, VaHi, Decatur, etc.) there are tons of childless thirty somethings. Religion definitely plays a more prominent role in society – the lesbian couple down the street from you will be avid churchgoers. You will know Republicans (I will never forget having a Seattle friend tell me that she didn’t know any Republicans…). You will know people who own guns and hunt frequently and enthusiastically. You will meet proudly southern leftist tattoo artists, people who are trying to reclaim African-American heritage farming techniques, professional stand-up paddleboarders, and highly straight-laced professionals who move from office to country club to Buckhead mini-mansion in air-conditioned SUVs and oblivion. You will find the ladies of the Junior League protesting sex trafficking in heels and pearls. You may meet a civil rights legend on a street corner.

      I’ve been just about everywhere, and Atlanta, at this moment, is one of the most interesting cities I’ve ever seen. Y’all come on down. You’ll be welcome.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      I’ve lived in ATL for 17+ years. I recommend living ITP not OTP. If work is downtown and Chamblee, you might be able to use MARTA, so keep that in mind when looking for a house. Northlake/Tucker area might be ok, but it’s a ways from downtown. Midtown/Westside might be your best bet. The bad traffic is no joke. I didn’t get married till 36 and didn’t have a kid till 38. You won’t be alone in that regard.

    • I just moved away from Atlanta last fall and miss it so much! Everyone has already addressed the traffic/Marta issue, so I won’t discuss that. I highly recommend living ITP versus OTP. If you’re looking for more of a “city” feel with access to great restaurants, culture, nightlife, etc, you can’t beat ITP. Even if you’re not in a “trendy” area, you’ll have much easier access to those areas. In terms of distance, many of the suburbs aren’t that far, but once you factor in traffic most of my OTP friends live a completely different lifestyle than most of my ITP friends.

      I’m in my early 30’s and most of my friends are still unmarried (with some exceptions). You definitely won’t be the only ones. Of my former coworkers (in-house lawyer) most married in their mid to late 30’s and didn’t have kids yet when I left. You will definitely find friends. Explore a variety of options, from meetup groups to junior league (one of my friends is a member and she definitely doesn’t fit the sterotype; according to her its a great way to network with other professionals and give back) until you find your tribe.

      In case you couldn’t tell, I love Atlanta. It has almost all the amenities of a big city (some on a smaller scale) but a reasonable cost of living. I love all the different neighborhoods and the energy and the food scenes and the people. Good luck with your move!

    • We moved to ATL about a year ago from Washington, DC, and we LOVE it here! Neither of us are from the south (DH is from the Northeast and I’m from the Midwest) but we’ve been pleasantly surprised about the culture and and the city. We live in Chamblee (the newly developed part) – my husband works in Dunwoody and I work in Midtown. DO NOT LISTEN to people who tell you that MARTA is worthless – I take it to work everyday and it’s a lifesaver! We’re lucky enough to live close to a MARTA station (and it drops me off under my office in Midtown), but I haven’t had any issues with it thus far (and it’s no less safe or smelly than the NYC or DC transportation systems). Also, DO NOT LISTEN to people who tell you there’s nothing to do in the Brookhaven/Chamblee area! We have tons of good restaurants (independent places, not chains) within a 10 minute drive of our house. I have friends who live in Decatur, and yes it’s an adorable little downtown, but it’s nearly impossible to get to anything useful. By contrast, we have 2 malls and 3 Target stores within a 15 minute drive of our house. And this is coming from someone who was a sworn urban dweller, so it’s not like I’m a huge fan of the suburbs. You’ll find that the “suburbs” here aren’t like they are in other places – as long as you’re ITP (and this is something I highly recommend), you’ll have restaurants, etc. within walking or short driving distance. Finally, if you’re trying to keep costs down, you’re more likely to find cheaper housing closer to the Perimeter – Midtown, Decatur, etc. are expensive areas to live (whether renting or buying). We love it here, and I’m sure you will as well!

      • Maudie Atkinson :

        I’ll join the chorus and second what pretty much everyone else is saying, especially cbackson, whose comment is characteristically thoughtful and so well describes our fair city.
        I am a 30-something childless Decaturite (rare breed), work in Midtown, and generally love living here and being a part of what feels like some really exciting growth. I am a born and bred Southerner, but also a politically and socially liberal feminist, and I find this an imminently livable, lovely city. I plan to make it my forever home. And I have great friends here.
        My one point of disagreement with the chorus–and point of emphatic agreement with Anonymous at 11:15 am–is that I don’t find MARTA to be useless. Nor do I think the traffic is really all that bad compared to other places, if one is (and can afford to be) strategic about where one lives and how one commutes. My husband, who works downtown, bikes to work or takes MARTA (we live 0.25 miles from a stop). I drive to my Midtown office, but my commute is generally around 20 minutes each way. Of course, MARTA could be better, but I’m holding out hope for an effective expansion, or at least one that better connects ITP neighborhoods.

      • …there are two Targets in a 15-minute or less drive from Decatur Square (Edgewood and N. Druid Hills), and they’re currently building a Wal-Mart a mile from the courthouse. My family live in Decatur and all of their “useful” shopping is done within, essentially, a three-mile radius of the square. The only thing they have long drives for is the mall and, well, I’m okay with not being that close to the mall, personally…

      • Agreed that Decatur is so pricey now, though, and wouldn’t be convenient from a commuting perspective for the OP in my view. She could have an easy MARTA commute but I feel like it’s hard to get less convenient than Decatur to Chamblee from a commuting perspective…

        • Anonymous :

          Decatur is SO pricey – we have friends that just bought a house, 1000 square feet smaller than ours (with similar finishes, etc.) and paid $150k more for it – just to be in Decatur (I’m the Chamblee poster above). It makes sense for them, but wow that’s a huge difference!

      • Thank you, everyone, for your replies! We want to go down and explore; you’ve given us lots to consider.

        Anonymous, I had kind of discounted Chamblee and assumed it was so suburban that I wouldn’t be interested. Can you compare it to any of the DC suburbs? I’m somewhat familiar with them.

        There’s a MARTA stop 1000 feet from my office downtown, so that seems like that’d be a viable option…and trains leave every 10 minutes during rush.

        • Does anyone know how long the reverse commute from Midtown to Chamblee would take during rush hour? It looks like it’d be a trek.

          Decatur to Chamblee looks painful on US 23 (aka Clairmont Rd?). Is that a 2 lane road?

          • Clarimont is 4-lane, but I would *not* want to be commuting on that. It’s a true surface road (not meant to swiftly move you long distances).

          • Google maps is pretty accurate. Before I moved, I mapped out all of the places that I was considering, then used google maps to figure out what the commute from there to my office would be like. I checked around 8:30ish and 5:30ish, but you should obviously change that based on your expected time of commute.

            Plugging in the areas that you’re considering around the time of your commute should give you a good approximation.

          • Mrs. Jones :

            I used to live near Northlake/Tucker and work downtown. It took me 45+ minutes to get to work and 30-40 minutes to get home. We finally moved because I couldn’t take it anymore. You do not want to commute down Clairmont.

          • Anonymous :

            I’m the Chamblee Anonymous poster (apparently with too much time on my hands today!) – don’t get too pacified by the thought of a “reverse commute” – as nearly everyone here has noted, ATL traffic is the pits, and it doesn’t really have a lot of rhyme or reason to it (so it’s not just during rush hours, for example). Yes, it can get better at certain times of day, but it only takes one accident (which there are a lot of) to really derail your day. So while it’s helpful to Google map the route, know that bad weather or just a bad accident can really change things. And what I found (compared to DC) is that it’s hard to find alternate routes – ATL is a beautiful city with lots of trees and windy roads – but it makes it hard to shortcut when your normal route is backed up.

        • Atlanta here. :

          Brookhaven is Bethesda, or will be soon.
          Chamblee is not-quite-Rockville, maybe something close-in on the Virginia side of DC, with all the immigrants having businesses there but then McMansions being built in over the 50s and 60s ranch house — so not Alexandria, maybe Arlington or the next ones out on the Orange line? 5 years ago?

        • Anonymous :

          I’m the original 11:15 Anonymous…We lived in Shepherd Park when we lived in DC (just south of Silver Springs) and we like Chamblee a lot better. Now granted we could buy a huge house here with a yard (important since we have a dog), but we also feel like we have better food options in our neighborhood than we did there (of course, DC has better food options overall, especially ethnic foods). But we can bike/long walk to at least 10 restaurants, and while I drive to the MARTA station because I like wearing heels, it’s totally walkable. And I worked in Rockville when we lived in DC, and I will emphatically say that Chamblee is NOT Rockville…everything was really far apart there, and took forever to get anywhere! Plus there were very few independent restaurants. I think Chamblee is a lot more like Bethesda.

          I will note that Chamblee is a very diverse city (i think one of the most diverse in GA, which is saying something), and there is a significant difference between my neighborhood (which is immediately next to Brookhaven) and the Buford Highway area. But as other Chamblee/Brookhaven-dwellers have noted, it’s a really fast developing area, with lots of new apartment buildings and retail coming in (including a Whole Foods opening early next year!). So be thoughtful about what part of Chamblee you rent in, because there are definitely areas that I wouldn’t call safe.

          Ultimately I think you’ll love it here – we were very surprised at how cosmopolitan the city is (DH was living in NYC prior to DC, so he had high standards), the people have been very welcoming, and you can’t argue with the weather. And we’re in our mid-30s, childless (for the time being), and we haven’t had any problems meeting people.

      • Yeah, what do people mean when they say Chamblee doesn’t have good food? There’s always good food if you know where to look, especially Chamblee because Buford Highway is practically Asian/Hispanic center and has tons of international food options.

        Inside the perimeter, you’ll want to look at Midtown and Virgina Highlands which are near Piedmont Park and the Beltline trail, if you can afford it. Next are Brookhaven and Decatur. Cheaper but can still be nice and safe if you’re in a gated community would be Chamblee. Right outside the perimeter, look at Dunwoody.

        I’d say rent in Chamblee now and spend a few months exploring the metropolitan before making a long-term decision.

        Also, I’d just like to say that yes, Marta has bad reps, and there were definitely times when it randomly dropped us off in the middle of nowhere and expected us to figure how to get home on our own because of “technical difficulty,” but I’d also like to point out Marta gets no govt subsidies and very little fundings. They rely on (cheap) fares and local 1% taxes. Yet they are restricted by legislations on how to spend their money to run the system. So I feel they’ve done admirably well.

        • There’s great food in Chamblee, but there’s a difference between great food and a great restaurant scene. If you want to sit out on a patio and drink a glass of wine and then wander on foot to an awesome tapas place, Buford Highway is not that. If you want amazing potato tacos in a strip mall, it is. I eat there all the time, but it wouldn’t be what I’d be looking for on a day-in, day-out basis in terms of a restaurant scene (as a person who really likes food and restaurants).

          • Anonymous :

            True, Buford Highway doesn’t offer “patio dining” but there are lots of restaurants in Chamblee that do, as well as Brookhaven that’s right next door!

      • Another ATL Anonymous :

        So, we are definitely practically neighbors – Chamblee here, and my experiences are very similar to yours! I also forgot to add, the Chamblee/Brookhaven area is seeing real growth in nicer apartment complexes, with several eat/play/dine/live/whatever-they-are-called complexes going up or having gone up recently. Also, I have numerous neighbors who drive the short distance to the Chamblee MARTA stop (it’s maybe 2 miles from the far end of our neighborhood), then MARTA downtown successfully.

    • Atlanta here. :

      What a great thread. Happy to do an Atlanta meetup.
      The culture is great. We love it. Definitely a big city, you can work crazy hours, a lot of fun restaurants. Between downtown and Chamblee and even into the burbs on that strip of Peachtree Industrial/I-85 is a great place to live and work — yes, I live in Brookhaven and we do public transit (train) as much as we can.

      • Yes, a meetup! We should do a meetup!

        • Frozen Peach :

          +1 to a meetup!!

          And I have to chime back in and say that Smyrna, Mableton, and generally that northwestern side of the city are pretty fantastic- and less pricey than many other comparable areas. I found a commute to downtown/midtown really easy because there are so many options for getting in and out of the city from that side of town. That said, the commute to Chamblee might be tough.

          One other extremely specific pointer– if you’re considering Decatur, there are a LOT of properties with Decatur addresses that are not in the city, and are instead in really rough areas of unincorporated Dekalb county. Don’t assume that a Decatur-advertised property is actually in the cool, up-and-coming area.

  7. SunshineMBA :

    Hivers with side gigs or side hustles:

    It’s time for me to up my game and I need to order new business cards with updated information. I need help figuring out how to describe myself on the card.

    My main side hustle is online related work, specifically social media management and consulting, but I’m also expanding to copy writing and editing, and possibly website set up (not design work- using graphics, yes, making graphics no), though I have the resources to outsource that part of the job as well.

    I don’t want to be too vague and I don’t want to be too specific, but I need to be memorable. Any thoughts?

    • Anonymous :

      I was reading this as a layperson, but FWIW, your description sounds like several very different things at once. It reminded me of reading a restaurant menu with mexican, italian and chinese dishes, which usually makes you wonder where their real strengths lie.
      Is this crossover of services typical in the online service industry?

    • Anonymous :

      All of those things to me fall within social media consultant.

    • Would it be worthwhile to have two sets of business cards?

    • Sydney Bristow :

      These seem different enough to me to justify separate cards. One could be Social Media Consultant and the other Copywriter and Editor.

      Is there overlap among your potential clients? If yes, then separate cards wouldn’t necessarily work. It’s worth thinking about though.

    • Social media and editorial services?

    • I use “freelance communications professional” on my resume and cards for these kind of services.

      • SunshineMBA :

        I like this. And for those asking about overlap, there is significant overlap because I really don’t do print work, so all of what I do is relegated to the digital domain.

        Two business cards are an option but I’m trying to avoid that just for organizational purposes and less confusion both on my part and potential clients parts.

  8. Really sorry for the repost. I posted late yesterday and was hoping to get input from Hivers who use alternative non-chemical hairdye. Hairprint keeps coming up in searches but the application looks difficult and random online reviews seem to really vary with results and whether the difficult application is worth it. Has anyone tried Hairprint or have recommendations (NOT henna) for other non-chemical/ non-abrasive hairdyes? (Thanks to the person who responded about the Loreal product!)

    • Anonymous :

      I’m curious, why not henna? The friends I have that use it really like it.

      • I guess I just haven’t liked the results in the past… but happy to hear experiences others have that are positive!

      • I’ve used henna for several years. I love it. It’s time consuming, but when done right it’s great for your hair. In between you can do henna rinses (mixed with conditioner) as a root touch up and can also freeze leftover henna to use later. I highly recommend checking out hennaforhair dot com. They have a section where different people post their mixes and results, which is super helpful. Definitely do a strand test if it’s your first time.

        It will be super bright the first day, then mellow out over a few days to its permanent color. I have dark hair, so it gives me an auburn tint that’s mostly noticeable in the sun.

      • My stylist told me to NEVER use henna unless you are willing to wait years and years for your hair to grow out. If you ever try to use a chemical hair dye again, it won’t take. So then they’ll try to bleach it and the part with henna will turn traffic-cone-orange. I’ve heard this from multiple people that henna can never be removed, so be forewarned…

    • Anonymous :

      All hair dyes use chemicals. All. The lightening power of lemon juice and camomile? Chemicals. Henna? Chemical.

      • This correction is so tiresome.

        • Thanks, Pita. It makes me not want to post here. I think most people know what I meant :)

        • What’s tiresome is people demonizing chemicals. If you mean naturally derived hair dye say that.

          • hmmm, I’m really on board with not fearing “chemicals,” but I really don’t think I detected a note of “demonizing” in OP’s post. OP isn’t stupid. I’m sure she understands the concept of a chemical reaction.

      • I agree with you. Fight for science.

      • Anonforthis :

        Which chemicals are you looking to avoid? I agree with the prior poster – not everything natural is ok and not everything non-natural is bad. For instance I could go into my back yard and chew on some of my organically grown, natural foxgloves, and I would die a natural, organic death. Yay me!

    • If you try the Hairprint, please report back. Given the high effort it may not be worth it unless you really feel strongly about the product. The fact is apart from naturally derived plant colouring (which I assume you will not be happy with) most hair colorings use chemicals. This includes salon hair colouring. While I am Ok with at home hair dyes, I stick to ones that advert as ammonia free.

    • I love the Aveda Clove Conditioner. LOVE it. Worth the money.

    • I also use the henna webs*te recommended above.

      Once I figured out a way to do it that wasn’t insanely annoying, I liked henna a lot better. I buy powdered stuff off amazon (gtfo, lush) — it’s so much easier to use than the block stuff, works better, and you don’t have to go to lush! I just mix it with my fav conditioner until it’s weirdly fluffy, slap that on my head and let it sit for however long (more henna at the roots, more just conditioner at the tips), and rinse it out. The powdered stuff mixed with conditioner rinses out really easily and doesn’t feel weird like the block stuff. Strangers compliment my mermaid hair somewhat regularly, so I feel pretty great about it.

      Also, on the same henna s*te, they talk about indigo and …something else the name of which escapes me. For other colors, I guess.

  9. My husband and I have to live apart for the next year, and we can only afford to make visits about every 1.5-2 months. We’ve done long distance before and handled it fairly well, but I’m looking for ways to stay connected, especially with a 3 hour time difference, very busy schedules, and limited opportunities for visiting.

    • This is why it’s great to live in the age of smartphones. Texting and Snapchat (no it’s not just for teenagers!) were great when my now-husband and I were long-distance for a year on a time difference. Set the expectation that you both have the leeway to respond when convenient for you, but use it for the small talk/interactions that you would typically have if you were together. For example, I’d text funny things I overheard on the street, or send an article, or a pic of myself right when I woke up in the morning. It’s hard, but you can definitely do just one year!

    • Red Velvet :

      My fiancé and I are long-distance for a couple of years, with a 6-hour time difference and see each other every 3-4 months. We speak on Skype every day. I send him a Snapchat every day. I send him a ‘good morning’ message when he wakes up and we message throughout the day. My main advice is to not become sleep-deprived by living in two time zones at once. You should take it in turns to stay up late / get up early to talk.

      As well as general chit-chat about your day, it’s good to have common interests to discuss, like watching films, reading books, politics etc.

      One last thing – think about how your method of disagreeing/ arguing will work long distance. My fiancé and I don’t fight, but when he is worried about something he gets withdrawn. When we’re in the same place it’s no big deal, but long distance I get convinced he’s died or something because he doesn’t reply to my messages for 24 hours. He now checks in with me every day even when he doesn’t feel like talking.

    • Senior Attorney :

      One of the things my former husband and I used to do when he traveled a lot was to watch movies or TV shows together over the phone. It’ll be hard with the time difference, but you can do it on the weekends. Just make a date and cue up the Netflix and chat your way through the movie.

      • My fiancé and I are long distance, and we do this but with a twist – we’ll Skype using our laptops and then watch the shows together (on our respective TVs/devices) with Skype on mute. That way we can still “see” each other, each other’s reactions, etc, and then we’ll chat in between episodes. It’s great.

      • A third way to do this is to screen share through Skype. That way you’re watching the show at exactly the same time, and you have a small window where you can see the other person, and you can hear their reactions. It’s great.

    • Phone s*x. Figure out a way to make it work for you. Even though we now live in the same place, I’m sometimes tempted to call my husband from the other room.

      Also, I would talk every day, even if it’s only for a few minutes when you’re tired or swamped. Make it a priority.

  10. I’ve been at my job in biglaw for nearly a year now, and the stress is crazy. I knew it would be something like this, but I’m still having some trouble adjusting to all of the demands.

    It’s strange how I got used to working 8 am to 9pm six days a week, and never really being caught up. Things keep piling on, and it just makes me want to cry.

    Can someone tell me this is “normal” and will get better?

    The craziest thing may be that I like my job and my group. It’s just all WAYYY TOOO MUCHHH

    • For those of us who have done biglaw (and even summered before joining), you think you know what you are getting into, but nothing quite prepares you for the reality (if your firm is like mine was). The stress is more intense than you knew you could withstand, but you do. You never though working 12+ hours a day would feel normal, but it does. I liked many of my colleagues, the work, and even a few of the partners, but, for me, that didn’t make the sacrifice of my biglaw firm worth it. I spent four years in the belly of the beast, and I am so glad that I did. I am equally glad that that time is behind me.

      As time wore on, I did adjust in certain ways. It became easier as I became more senior (I clerked for 2 years prior to starting), so by the time I was a midlevel, I had a bit more control over my schedule and also knew what required an immediate response (even at 1am) and what could wait until the next morning. If you are interested in sticking it out for a few more years, if at all possible, get away for a week to somewhere fabulous. Take a breath during that break, and start plotting what you want to achieve before leaving biglaw (if that is your goal). You are not going crazy, yes it is that intense.

    • Unless your goal is partnership, you don’t have to kill yourself. You have to work hard and be responsive but 78 hours a week is a LOT on a regular basis. If you’re really working that much, you should be billing 65+ hours a week, which, even accounting for vacations is more than 3000 hours a year. That’s insane, even for Big Law. Take a breather. Take this weekend off. The work will wait. Book a vacation for a couple months out so you have something to look forward to. Stop checking email in the middle of the night if you’re doing that. Start aiming for a 60 hour work week which, yes, is a lot to most people, but is way more manageable than what you’re doing currently. If you’ve worked 10 hours and there’s nothing on your plate that’s due the next morning, go home. I have said it before and will say it again – nobody in Big Law is looking out for you except you. If you never say no, they will literally work you to death. You have to draw boundaries for yourself, but it’s perfectly possible to draw boundaries and still be a successful associate, at least until the partnership push.

    • WestCoast Lawyer :

      Hang in there. I don’t think it ever stops being crazy, but I remember when the new crop of first years started as being really eye opening for me in terms of how far I had come and that made me feel a lot better!

  11. Talked a formerly Bernie supporting ex-boyfriend into voting for Hillary today. Feeling accomplished :)

  12. Anon for this :

    Does anyone live or have experience living in Buffalo? There is potentially a good opportunity for my husband there but I’m very concerned about work for me (mid-level small-to-mid-law litigator, have experience in NYC but don’t live in the state now). I’d also really appreciate hearing anything about what it’s like to live there.

    • Lots of snow! :)

    • I’ve heard through the grapevine that the legal market in Buffalo is not great and the salaries are low, but then again I’m a 2010 grad and the legal market EVERYWHERE was not great when I graduated. I have friends who are from there originally, desperately want to move back to be near family, but still haven’t because they can’t get jobs that pay enough to pay the student loans.

      As far as what it’s like to live there, it seems like a really fun town. I’ve visited twice, once in the summer and once in the fall. The downtown area seems like it’s been revitalized over the past 5-10 years – I had a great experience there but everyone who’s from Buffalo seems to think it’s dangerous. I never felt unsafe and there were tons of young people out and about as long as you didn’t wander off the beaten path. There’s another really fun area of bars and restaurants that’s maybe a mile or two outside of downtown. I walked it during the day but I might not walk it at night. Getting a cab was really easy and I’m sure now with Uber it’s even better.

    • I grew up in a different party of upstate NY and currently live elsewhere in the rust belt (and love it), and unfortunately I have to say – don’t do it! Buffalo is the one of the most depressing places I have ever experienced. I know its “revitalizing” but that is mostly hype (according to the people I know who are going/recently finished grad school there). I don’t think its unsafe at all – just boring and depressing.

      • Anon for this :

        Thanks – my initial reaction was “bad idea” honestly, so this is really helpful.

    • Buffalonian :

      I’m from Buffalo! Live and work here currently and have a very different opinion from MargaretO. If you want to chat about it, you can email me: satrathnona at gmail dot com.

    • If you’re still checking, I’m 25 and grew up in Buffalo. Currently out of state for lawschool and will not be returning (not because I didn’t have opportunity). It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make. I am the only one of my friends who is not in Buffalo, everyone else has gotten jobs in their career in Buffalo. The cost of living is super affordable, great public schools and a 2,500 sq. foot house for 250 k. It is revitalized, there is a ton going on all the time. It is definitely the city of good neighbors, people are extremely friendly. Obviously it is not a huge city but there is a lot of great culture to do.

  13. Are there any runners out there? I’m doing a black light run in June and am looking for fun socks, running tights, and tanks to wear! I’m definitely a cusp size (16/XL) if that matters. Any suggestions?

    • H&M sports gear is often incredibly bright. I have neon-coloured running socks and tops from there.

    • lucy stone :

      I really like the workout stuff at Lands’ End, it’s quite well made. I also just bought some workout gear at Lane Bryant. I haven’t tested the functionality yet, but it is bright as hell which is why I bought it.

    • New Tampanian :

      Anything that is bright neon colored or white will be fun with the blacklights. I have a bunch of socks from Pro compression which are great.

    • Isn’t just plain white the best thing to wear for a black light?

    • I have a real vice for expensive workout gear- I love lululemon and alala in particular, but honestly, if I were you, I’d just put together a bright order from fabletics, they have a TON of bright clothing.

    • Athleta and Zella (at Nordstrom) have size ranges that extend into plus, so if you want cute outfits they should definitely hit the cusp sizes. I am satisfied with the clothing I have from both brands.

    • A vote for JCPenney’s Xersion line — inexpensive, holds up well and some of the colors are pretty bright.

  14. Just looking for e-hugs. Younger siblings having problems in their lives, serious ones and I am states away, feel very burdened and sad for them. Spent all morning weeping, growing up all we had was each other and I moved away partially for a spouse and partially to try to live my life on my own, and for myself. Feeling guilty and also saddened by everything my little family is facing. On top of struggling with trust issues/adjusting to marriage and also not being happy at work… so much going on, crying at my desk and in the bathroom, hoping for a light at the end of this tunnel.

    • That sounds like a lot. I’ll be thinking good thoughts for you. <3

    • Internet hugs. Maybe you can guide your sibs into expanding their community (interest groups? neighbors? members of a congregation if that works for them?) to include older adults / helpful peers / people of any age leading resilient lives. It never hurts to get to know more happy, vibrant people.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Hugs. Sending good thoughts.

  15. Baconpancakes :

    Blech, I tried to start running again (only 1 mile!) and my 8+ year ago, surgery and 2 rounds of PT knee injury reared its ugly head again, and my knee is stiff and angry. So tired of this.

    Anyone else successfully get back into running shape after neglecting an injury for a long time? When I was in PT, I got to the point where I could hike and elliptical and bike with minimal annoyance, but I never tried to run. Now that I have so little time, running would be perfect to squeeze in early mornings, but I’m guessing I should go back to PT before attempting it again? Ugh, mostly just looking for commiseration and encouragement that I shouldn’t just give up and buy bags to wear instead of trying to lose weight and get into cute clothes.

    • Why not elliptical? You don’t need to run to lose weight. It’s mostly lost in the kitchen anyways. If running a mile hurts run less. Try a minute running and three walking. See if you can build gradually. I know it doesn’t feel like it but going from no running at all to running a mile is actually a big leap.

      • Baconpancakes :

        It wasn’t actually a straight mile, even, it was the Couch to 5k Run Zombies app, alternating 15 seconds of running with 1 minute of walking for 10 minutes. I am specifically trying to run because honestly? Elliptical is SO BORING.

        • I had meniscus and ACL surgery and I won’t run again. Yes the elliptical is boring, but TV isn’t!

          Also, really work on quad strength to secure the patella. You may want to consult with a physical therapist before you potentially injure yourself again.

          • Ally McBeal :

            I had ACL surgery 13 years ago and that knee still bothers me from time to time. I occasionally think about trying to run again, feel good for a few bouts, then tweak the knee and remember why I should never run. But walking is fine, elliptical is fine. It’s so frustrating.

            Sorry, that wasn’t very hopeful. I just share your frustration.

    • Yes, I did! Here’s how:

      I got a gym membership, so that when a running injury flared up I can go back to the lower-impact activities of the elliptical and rowing machine (lower impact in the sense that they’re not weight-bearing). If you have time to run in the early morning, and can find a gym that’s between your house and work, it shouldn’t be impossible to gym in the mornings: I actually find it less stressful because it means I’m getting a bus at 7.00 rather than in rush hour when there’s a half-mile queue for the buses…
      Also, being in the gym means that you can really easily add some strength work in without issue.

      I downloaded the Zombies, Run app (hence my username) and cobbled together my own weird interval run type programme, having used Couch to 5k for ages before and taking it as a model. I often did run-for-one-song, walk-for-one-song type intervals. Eventually I boosted it up a bit and could run for 25-30 minutes at a time, still pretty slowly. If anything hurt even a little, I went back to the other cardio options.

      To try to prevent my injuries coming back (recurrent ankle problems here) I almost never run for more than 30 minutes at a time – I ran for 45 minutes on Sunday just to see if I could, but now it’s straight back to 30 minute runs.

    • Go back to PT and specifically see if they can help you strengthen the muscles surrounding the knee. But I agree with Anonymous above – you absolutely don’t have to run to burn calories. If you add enough resistance, biking and the elliptical can get you the same burn.

    • Yeah, go back to PT. I had a bad ankle break, and it took a while, but I can now run without pain and inflammation.

      Also, weight loss is like 70% food- exercise helps, but not as much as you might think.

      • True about the weight loss and food, but the calories burned with exercise really get me over the hump and allow me to lose weight without starving myself. I am having knee issues right now (surgery on Monday) and I have been riding a recumbent bike and doing weights just to do SOMETHING and I’ve lost 10 lbs. I get that elliptical and bikes are boring but I take my Kindle and listen to TV so the time goes by pretty quickly.

        • +1. I know they say you can’t outrun a bad diet but you can certainly mitigate its effects. Between January and March this year I definitely didn’t eat a good diet but I went down a full dress size and increased my fitness with lots of time in the gym.

          • Yeah, Runner5, that’s the thing – my weight is up higher than it should be but since I’m pretty fit, I carry my weight differently than I did at one point at this same weight. It’s deceiving, which is why I let my weight creep up. But now, at 10 lbs down, I went down a jeans size.

    • New Tampanian :

      All great suggestions. Remember, also, that as a woman your hips/glutes/hamstrings are going to be naturally weak/tight. So foam roll and stretch those muscles. Ice your knees after you foam roll and stretch.

      Do some strength training (even if it’s a body weight or at-home with minimal weights type of video) a couple times a week (upper / lower / core). Core is so important for maintaining good form.

      Walk/run until you feel like you don’t need to. This is on your schedule, so listen to your body.

    • If you really want to run, go back to PT. I quit running because of an injury that would flare up every single time I attempted to start. I know that is not encouraging, but you can hopefully find non-boring forms of exercise go sub in that do not aggregate your knee in the meantime. I hate the elliptical and weirdly love the step mill, but probably don’t focus on cardio as much as I should. I bike when the weather is nice. You can start small though, even going for a walk is nice and will help while being kinder to your knee. You don’t have to start running out of the gate and you do not need running to lose weight or be in shape. Whenever I used to run I always had a big internal struggle because honestly I suck at it under the best circumstances and I pressured myself to do better than I probably could. It was so frustrating. Don’t psych yourself out like I did. Just getting your body out there to build a habit is good enough.

    • Yes, you can figure out a way around this (unless a doctor has told you otherwise). Aside from PT, my suggestions:

      Stretch. A lot. Before and after.
      Find a good surface to run/walk on. Hard packed dirt is much easier (albeit a bit slower) for me. Impact injuries do much better on soft surfaces.
      Get a gait analysis done and find footwear that works for you. (I found that racing/training hybrids work best for me, even though shoe specialists want to put me in big, cushy sneakers. Find what works for you.)
      Build up your base with walking, elliptical, biking, etc. The dual benefit is that you will lose some weight (thereby reducing impact when you land) and improve your stride (which reduces injuries).

      Without outing myself too much, yes, this is absolutely doable… But it takes a long, long time. “Ideally,” what happens is that you start by having this very precise regime that enables you to run at all (sneakers, surface, stretching, cross-training), and that running is sort of sad (like, short intervals among a lot of walking). Then you can run a bit longer, and do not need to be as anal rentive about how you run.

      • Baconpancakes :

        This is actually really encouraging. My surgeon originally just shrugged and told me to give up hiking, climbing, and never walk more than 1 hour at a time, and he only wrote me a prescription for PT after 45 days post-op when I demanded it, so it’s been kind of an emotional roller coaster even imagining I could possibly ever be in shape again.

        Thanks for all the advice; I agree with NOLA in that mentally, it just feels better to be exercising than just eating better, and non-gym activities are 5,000% more likely to happen for me. Hadn’t thought about gait analysis -where do I get that done?

        • Baconpancakes, I am a gym rat, so I can’t help with “non gym activities” BUT, when I went to physical therapy for my right knee (meniscus surgery 7 years ago and was suddenly limping and messing up my gait), she gave me a bunch of exercises I could do with weight machines at the gym. Mainly, strengthening the muscles around my knees (quads and glutes). I did a lot of leg curls and leg extensions, hip adductor and abductor, plus I used the functional trainer machine and did exercises where I faced it with knees bent and pulled the handled toward me. It really helped! Until I reinjured my left knee, I was nearly pain free.

    • The PT that my bf had told him this injury happened because the muscles and ligaments holding the knee in place are prone to not do their job in his leg. So to keep the pain from coming back, he is supposed to consistently strengthen that bit. We took up running after PT again and he does weekly strengthening exercises (squats that make you look like a froggy) and bought a balance board. The key is to do at-home exercises that you learned in PT, otherwise the problem comes back.

    • What about walking fast? That’s what I do in the mornings – I get outside, get fresh air & exercise, and it’s a lot easier on the knees than running.

  16. I am seriously fashion disabled. Will you please tell me if this sounds like an okay outfit?

    Black pants with almond toe black pumps. Medium purple v neck sweater with lighter purple soft type button up shirt underneath. Pearl earrings with one single pearl necklace with diamond.

    This is what I’m wearing today and it seems like no matter how hard I try I always feel like I look like an idiot. It doesn’t matter what I’m wearing, I’m extremely self conscious. I think I need to pay an unbiased professional to come to my house and go through my clothes with me to match things and get rid of things.

    • That sounds like a lovely outfit to me. If no matter what you wear you feel like an idiot maybe focus on the self-esteem issues not the fashion?

    • Mrs. Jones :

      That outfit sounds just fine. It’s hard to go wrong with solid color pants and a solid color top, as long as it’s not red plus orange or something like that.

    • Honestly, it depends on how everything is cut and the fit. What you described could be great, could have opportunities for improvement.

    • lucy stone :

      I’d wear that. Are you having fit issues with any of the pieces? I had a button down shirt I loved the print on but it never fit right so I felt like an awkward idiot everytime I wore it. It went to Goodwill to find a new home.

    • Unless everything is insanely large or small on you, or your necklace is like a flashy diamond choker or something, there is no way this outfit makes you look like “an idiot.” It sounds perfectly appropriate for the office. Maybe it’d be more sophisticated with grey pants, or with a print in the mix, but these sound like can’t-go-wrong basics that no one would ever blink at.

    • That outfit sounds fine, though not very exciting. Perhaps lose the layered look of the shirts – I think it reads a bit older and dated. The soft shirt on its own? Great. The V-neck on its own? Also great! And maybe kick up the jewelry a notch? Fun, costume-y jewelry can be a great way to add some sparkly to basics. I love my classic jewelry as much as the next person, but it makes an outfit read “classic” – not fashion forward.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yes, this.

        Also, get thee to Pinterest and just look at some outfits and copy them. You can type in, for example, “purple v-neck sweater” and you will get pictures of how other people have styled pieces you own. I swear, half of what I wear is copied from Pinterest!

    • I have a hard time with the layering. A deep v sweater over a button down that has a collar that won’t lay flat would look absurd (which is what happened to me last time I tried).

    • Anonymous :

      Anon, I’m with you. I’m having a hard time putting together outfits lately. I generally look ok, but when I see what others are wearing, always feel a pang of envy that I don’t have the eye to put together the amazing combos they’ve created. Does this just come with practice or what?

    • pugsnbourbon :

      Are there any outfits you feel particularly great in? My wardrobe was always all over the place – I’m an inveterate bargain shopper and I had too many things I bought just because they were $5. I figured out that I feel best in black or gray slim pants and either a cardigan or soft blouse on top, in gray, black and jewel tones. I used these to create a uniform. Sure, I have a few dresses, but I know I’ll always look and feel good in my base outfit. Wearing the same thing every day is A-OK, if you feel like a million bucks in it.

  17. Resources for Couples :

    Does anyone have any great books that they recommend for rebuilding the relationship with their SO (especially after kids)? Workbooks, websites or general reading material that we could do together (not faith based, please)? Thanks!

    • I don’t have book recs but I’ve seen a lot of research saying that one of the best things you can do to reinvigorate and strengthen a relationship is to do something new together. Take a weekend trip somewhere random, go rock climbing, go to a burlesque show, see a dumb movie…anything that seems intriguing but is a little outside of your usual routine/comfort zone. Good luck!

    • One thing that might be helpful after having kids is talking about/resetting some of your mutual goals.
      http://www.amazon.com/Creating-Your-Best-Life-Ultimate/dp/1402779984/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1461081113&sr=8-1&keywords=creating+your+best+life

      Setting some time aside to just be together can go a long way … this is a low-key way to start a conversation
      http://www.amazon.com/Our-Day-3-Year-Journal-People/dp/0770436684/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1461081136&sr=8-3&keywords=a+question+a+day

      I’d also recommend checking out any of John Gottman’s books. Many have exercises/lessons to work through together.

  18. Shopping help / advice needed.

    First – do people think pumps with a mary-jane style strap are appropriate for depositions / court? I find that pumps are fine for around the office, but inevitably kill my feet if I need to walk a decent ways. The biggest problem I have is that the pumps start to feel like they’re going to come off, that I’ll step out of them as I’m walking. So, I’ve been thinking for awhile that having a strap to secure the shoe to my foot would make a big difference. I just don’t have enough experience to know if this is conservative enough to wear to depositions or court.

    Second – has anyone found a pump (or mary-jane style heel) that they like the best, that’s on Amazon?

    • Yes, I think they’re appropriate for formal work dress. Key to making them look less mumsy is a thinner strap and a more narrow toe – almond or near pointed.

      I just looked in Amazon and saw the Journee Collextoon Women’s Mary Jane. This is a cheap $30 shoe so I don’t necessarily recommend it but I point it out as a Mary Jane that doesn’t look unstylish due to the placement of the narrow straps.

      For a slightly more casual low-heeled look check out the Reiker Mariah on Amazon. I have this one and can (and have) run through the airport wearing them.

    • Can you wear a man’s style shoe instead? I don’t know if that would fly, or look good with the rest of your outfit, but I tend to think that if a smartly polished leather Oxford is smart enough for a man, it ought to be smart enough for a woman.

      Alternatively, if you’re wearing skin-colour hose/ bare legs and have pale-ish skin, I’m a massive fan of G aynor Minden pointe shoe elastic. It really does blend into your skin. I’ve sewn it into multiple pairs of shoes to keep them on my feet.

      • I have narrow heels so my feet always come out of pumps/flats. You can buy little pads at the drugstore that stick to the inside heel of your shoe and help keep your foot inside.

    • I refined my search and found the Cole Haan women’s Chelsea dress pump and it’s a good one.

    • Anyi Lu ‘Georgia’. Saw some on Amazon. Nordstrom carries the brand but don’t know which styles are currently available there. Cost a fortune but wear very well and are probably my most comfortable pumps. Mine are four years old and about to go in for their fourth re-soling. They still look great.

  19. Famouscait :

    I am about to embark on a project with a highly unreliable (nay, sometimes downright untruthful) colleague. I am going to have to pass this person information on a recurring basis for the next 3 months. How can I CYA in this situation? I’d love to have him/her sign or initial something that I can use as proof that the information was transmitted, and then if they f*up after that, well that’s no longer my responsibility.

    Imagine a list of people who need to place orders; I receive the orders, the colleague fills them. Ideas? (We are a pen-and-paper type office – not very high tech.) This person has burned me in the past by claiming to not have received order info, when they simply lost/forgot about it.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      The best option would be sending the info via email with read receipt requested, but if that’s not an option, I’d probably just have him initial a photocopy of the first page of whatever you’re giving him at the time you’re giving it – if you’re concerned he’s going outthink you’re singling him out, maybe implement it with everyone and say you’re doing it for your own file-keeping purposes? It wouldn’t hurt to have some kind of confirmation system in place for everyone you work with, even if the other people you work with are generally reliable.

    • Do as much as possible in writing (hard copy or email). I would also follow-up every conversation with an email, “to confirm.” To the extent that you physically hand over an order, keep a log for yourself of when you hand things over. It is much more convincing to say, “I gave you that order at 11:02 on April 19, 2016” with a professional log of all order than I gave it to you around April 19 with nothing to back it up.

    • My office is in the medium-tech category, but I have one employee that really struggles with computers and uses stamps pretty frequently in her personal order tracking and filing. You can get all sorts of them that say things like “received”, “faxed”, “processed” etc.

  20. Exit interviews :

    What are our thoughts on exit interviews? Better to be forthright about what (and who) needs to change, or say that everything’s great but the new offer is one you can’t refuse?

    • I think you can offer some very vague constructive criticism about what should be changed, but generally you should stay positive, tell them all the things you enjoyed about your experience, and emphasize how good the new opportunity is. I would never name names or call anyone out specifically for bad behavior. It just burns bridges.

    • Say everything’s great. It’s a small world, you gain nothing by being forthright if you are leaving and you might end up seeing these folks again in another capacity.

    • Say nothing :

      There is nothing to be gained for you in an exit interview. Even if the place you are leaving is a cesspool that breeds the worst in people or is a blackhole that eats your sole, there is nothing good that can come from you saying what is wrong and needs to change. If they truly wanted your opinion on how to make it better, they would hire you as a consultant after you left.

    • As per ask a manager, in general it’s better to just say everything is great. It’s rare that companies don’t know what/who needs to change, so the fact that they haven’t done it means that they’re not willing to (or can’t for whatever reason). Regardless of the reason, you pointing out the issues probably won’t change anything and is much more likely to harm you and/or burn bridges. There is very little upside to you being forthright and a much greater potential for downside.

    • I hate to say it but I’ve always gone the everything is great direction. And yet I’m sure places could benefit from real criticism!

    • I’ve managed people exiting and the exit interviews that are the most useful and leave everyone on good terms are those that have broad constructive criticism included. Then we can take action. Examples are things like calling out substantial differences in pay for similar work, benefits, cultural issues, etc.

      We had several developers leave that told us they got offers for the same work and same hours for 40-50% more– and we changed our payscale for development. We also had a flood of people leaving that cited high insurance costs, and we were able to make some changes to slow the tide.

      Things like “Senior management runs like a circus and I think someone in my department has been holding me back” or “Working for so-and-so is a total nightmare because XYZ” do not go over well (and frankly, HR often doesn’t share those because they aren’t that helpful unless it’s a recurring theme). Feedback like “I have been here for 5+ years and trying to grow my role to no avail; new job is doing that for me” IS helpful– it enables us to remind managers to focus on professional development.

  21. So the last time I bought a car, navigation systems and smart phones were just barely a thing. I’ve been car free in the city for years now but I’m car shopping now and wondering if it is worth springing for the extra navigation package, or does everyone just end up using their cell phone apps? Which has really been the most useful to you?

    • I never use a phone app for driving navigation. My phone stays away in my bag the whole time so that I can’t be tempted by it.

    • Diana Barry :

      I looked at cars about a year ago and the best thing that is new is the back-up camera. I found my car’s navigation system to be TERRIBLE and I never use it.

    • I think I want navigation in my next car or at least a way of mounting the phone, because I’m always dropping it and having to hold it in my hand to look at it is a huge distraction.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I love the onboard navigation and agree that your phone should stay in your bag while driving. And +1,000,000 for the back-up camera!

      • Yes, the back-up camera is the best! I also have voice commands with bluetooth. After a minor fenderbender, I put my phone on driving mode and often put it in the back hatch of my car so I’m not even tempted. I did that the other night, then got stuck in traffic on the interstate going to pick up a friend (oddly, parade floats being moved to the West Bank den). I was able to turn on the voice commands and tell it Call [name] mobile and it worked beautifully without having to touch my phone. With my car, the audio package came with the backup camera so I got it and now I love it. I never use navigation.

    • I sprung for the navigation ($400 in a 2015 Mazda) and the back up cam was standard. I prefer to use the navigation, not be fumbling with my phone; my phone stays in my bag or pocket when I drive. Though I know many people think Nav is a waste of money as they exclusively use Waze on their phone.

      • Wow, if it was only an extra $400 this wouldn’t be a question. Most of the cars I looked at add around $2k to get the navigation added.

    • Wait, what?

      People using their phone apps for directions actually LOOK at the map and hold the phone while driving?

      Dude. Dude. Not necessary. Before you start driving, hit “start” or “go” or whatever on the app. Put phone in cupholder with speaker pointed towards you. Drive. Let the voice commands guide you (you know, the way you would in the old days when the person in the passenger seat was holding a paper map and telling you when to turn).

      • This.

      • How is mounting your phone to the dash with an app navigating any different from mounting a Garmen GPS to your dash?

        • Anon for this :

          It isn’t and I think all video/image nav is a terrible idea if the driver is the one looking at it while driving.

      • You glance at it to make sure you’re turning onto the right street or taking the right exit. It’s not like you’re staring at it instead of the road the entire time you’re driving. I honestly don’t know how you WOULDN’T need to occasionally look at the map on the screen.

      • Your town may vary, but mine has lots of patches where the GPS drifts ridiculously, leading to the nice lady barking out “turn right. in 100 feet, turn left. No wait, turn right. continue straight. Make a U turn! take the next exit. no wait! Don’t exit! Head south! North! Ack! what are you doing?!”

        At times like these, it’s nice to turn my head slightly to the right and be able to see the map, without scrabbling for it in the cupholder.

      • Anonymous :

        I need to look at the map occasionally. I’m not, like, glued to it, but I have to glance at it the way I glance at the speedometer. My phone’s voice is not that accurate and there are lots of places where there are two possible lefts or whatever. Looking at from time to time is essential, and I don’t see how it’s any different than looking at a car’s onboard nav system. I’m not texting or playing on the phone while driving.

    • Another vote for the back-up cam! I don’t feel the nav is necessary at all if you have a smartphone. Oh, and to Anonymous at 12:21 – yes, some of us are visual learners and like/need to see the map and lanes, so yes, we have the suction cup thing that goes on the windshield.

      I bought a new car in 2014 and I know it’s pretty standard, but the bluetooth has been the most amazing thing, and not only for phone calls or the fact that it makes the nav instructions from your phone more hearable. I listen to audiobooks exclusively now during my commute. 20 minutes each way = 40 minutes of audiobook per day, which is really sort of perfect. You can get through the entire GoT series in about 6 months :)

      If you live in a super cold-weather area (hi, fellow Minnesotans!), I definitely recommend seat heat. I bought my car in the summer, and I was somewhat conscious of the winter months and upgraded to leather and seat heat. One thing that didn’t come onto my radar, however, was that with a keyless ignition car, it would be costly to get a remote start system installed. I have off-street parking but not a garage at home, and I park outside at work. I haven’t splurged on it yet, but it will cost around $400 for them to rip the dash apart and hardwire a key, and then you have to buy the remote start on top of that ($300-400 for the cheaper ones, but they can run up to and even over $1000). That said, I love the keyless ignition, so it’s definitely a tradeoff.

      • How could I forget my beloved seat heaters. I got them on my last car in 2003 and will never be without them again!!

    • Anonymous :

      The Nav on my car is totally useless. It takes way too long to enter a street name using the dial, and often the address I’ve been given doesn’t match the exact formatting in the Nav system so I get no results. The audio recognition cannot understand me (e.g., giving an address on “Main Street” gets a response of “I’m sorry, I cannot find a route to Spain”–wish I was kidding).

      I probably only use GPS 3 times a year (I prefer to learn how to get around myself so I look up the map beforehand and memorize it, only using maps to reroute if I missed a turn or encounter traffic) so I really only got the Nav because it was the only way to get the backup camera and parking sensors/guides. I have a corner garage that requires backing in on a 90 degree angle so there’s no way I’d be able to get in without the camera. In retrospect, I’d skip the Nav package and just get an aftermarket camera installed–this was my first car purchase and I was overly paranoid on the “you’ll void the warranty!” fearmongering.

      I did at least think the traffic data on Nav would be useful, but the source of that data (Sirius) is pretty terrible. I’ve been parked on a completely stopped freeway for an hour that Sirius showed as green the entire time. The Google/Waze traffic maps are far better–wish there was a way to override the default car map display with the map displayed on my phone so I could quickly glance at it. It’s too distracting to actually pull up the map again and again while driving.

    • I love having the nav after having used my cell phone for years, although I don’t use the audio on it (I need to see where to turn).

      I will dissent on the back-up camera – I hate them!!

  22. Dear intern:
    1. A few typos in an initial draft are excusable. Five or six on a page plus sentence fragments and sentences that make no sense are not. Did you even read this through once before giving to me?
    2. This is a legal brief. I know the trend is toward more natural speech and away from legalese, but that doesn’t mean you write the way you text.
    3. There is a case in our circuit that goes against us. You know that. You cited part of it in support of a statement. YOU HAVE TO DISTINGUISH IT. You really, really do. I’m not joking. Distinguish that s*&t. Now. In the brief.
    4. When I ask you “why didn’t you distinguish this case” and you email me an explanation plus some thoughts on distinguishing it, and I say “okay so write that up,” WRITE IT UP. Send me back some text. Soon. Today.
    5. Citing a concurrence is not the same as citing authority. Please find an actual case to support our position. They exist. I don’t care that the concurrence was by your favorite SCOTUS justice.
    6. A case from 1830? Really?
    7. It helps to have some organization of some kind at all something to your arguments. So someone can follow them. Someone like the judge. Or me.
    My colleague apparently gave you an offer. I don’t know why. Mazel Tov.

    (I hated b—-chy older attorneys when I was a 3L and a new attorney, but maybe now I get it. Seriously. At least read it through once. At least that. So much re-writing to do. SO much.)

  23. Has anyone done the Bikini Body Guides workout program? Any reviews? The results online look amazing but I’m skeptical of all of the seemingly gimmicky endorsements (i.e., “I’m a mom, I have a job, and I transformed”, etc etc).

    • I have not, but the truth is that if you do not exercise at all and then start following any decent plan faithfully, it will transform your body. I can’t speak to the program you’re referring to, but if it sounds like a solid and healthy plan to you and it excites you then maybe it will help you get into better shape. I did the Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis program (though I didn’t do the cardio or the insane eating plan, she really is an awful person in that regard. I liked the strength training workouts even though I am not a fan of hers) and it really did change my body – but I bet a lot of other programs would have, too, since I was out of shape and not exercising.

  24. I posted last week about being newly engaged (yay) but feeling stressed (boo) because it looks like we’ll be paying for the wedding ourselves and my fiancé wants a big party. I’m in a large east coast city and based on the preliminary research I’ve done so far, I do not think it’s possible to have the kind of wedding we would want for ~150 guests for under $50,000, and I don’t even think that includes the honeymoon. I’m sure I’ll get a lot of flak for referring to “the kind of wedding we would want,” but it just seems daunting when we go to so many amazing weddings and it feels like some sort of competition. I don’t even really want a big party necessarily, but I’m worried I’ll regret not having one. The idea of being the center of attention for a day, and of having people celebrate our marriage, and getting all dressed up and having lots of pictures taken, sounds great. But planning this big production and essentially writing a check for $40-50k, when I have student debt and don’t plan on being in big law much longer, seems irresponsible. But it’s important to my fiancé, who is a super social guy and LOVES weddings. Has anyone been in a similar situation? It will be impossible for us to cut the list down to less than 150- and I’m not just being dramatic. Fiance truly has a lot of very close friends and they are basically all married/engaged. Our families aren’t large, but they aren’t small either and both of our parents are divorced which overall increases numbers as well. I just feel overwhelmed!!!

    • Have the big party but outside of the city? We had a 140 person country-club wedding for $25K in Pennsylvania (not rural). Also factor in that about 20% of your guests will RSVP No, even if you don’t expect it.

      • +1 Plus have you run through the list of things you need and (1) decided whether you really need them (e.g., favors, programs, signature beverage); and (2) figured out if there are ways to get the things you really want for cheaper. Things we cut: favors, programs, transportation (got dressed, held the ceremony, and held the reception all at the same place, which was walking distance to hotel), hard liquor. Things we got cheaper: dress from online vendor (same as from bridal boutique, but $700 cheaper); talented photographer just building his portfolio; college aged DJ whose dad is a professional DJ and who was breaking into the business (her dad helped her the whole way, so it was like getting him for free); Ikea lanterns and vases with a few cut flowers for centerpieces; ordered invitations from online retailer (they weren’t as nice as more expensive ones, but they were about 30% of the price of more expensive ones). I’m sure there were more things we did to make it all cheaper, but I can’t remember now. We spent about $20k 6 yrs ago in a suburb of a major northeastern city.

    • Ok. Let’s practice getting a grip. It is not impossible to have a smaller more affordable wedding. Get that right out of your head.

      Do you have the money? Can you afford to spend the money? What will spending the money on this mean you aren’t spending it on?

      Once you’ve decided how much you can spend look at what that gets you. There’s no magic bullet, it comes down to priorities. And yes, this is literally a problem nearly everyone planning a wedding has.

    • I feel your pain. I’m the commenter who’s planning a $20k barn wedding. I’m sure you will get a lot of comments like, “Just have a different kind of wedding, you can save so much money!” Turns out, feeding and liquoring up ~150 people is expensive no matter what. And super awesome very in-demand photographers don’t give you a discount just because your wedding is in a barn.

      It’s a lot of money. It’s a WHOLE lot of money to spend on something you don’t really care about. But for me, at least, it’s a worthwhile sacrifice for my future husband’s happiness. Starting our marriage by depriving him of the opportunity to party with his loved ones strikes me as inimical to marriage. No one will remember the centerpieces, but they will remember that we invited them to celebrate with us. And they certainly would remember if we excluded them. Out of all of the costly decisions we will make in our marriage – what house to buy, whether to take that promotion, private or public school for the kids – the decision to host a big party on the day we get married isn’t all that close to the top of the list. It’s just the first of many.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I am totally in a similar situation. I’ve had two (!) weddings already and have exactly zero need for one this time, but Lovely Fiance is social and has a ton of friends and really wants a church wedding with a big party.

      My advice to you is to do what I did: Sit him down and say “Dearest darling, I love and adore you and I can’t wait to marry you. But I have zero need for a big wedding. Since you are the guy who is driving this train, I hereby appoint you the Bride, who will do the heavy lifting and make the majority of the arrangements, and generally take the laboring oar on this whole thing, both logistically and financially. I will be the Groom, who will be cheerful and enthusiastic and will happily complete whatever discrete, one-off tasks are assigned to me.” Fortunately he is more than capable of planning a wedding and he happily agreed. YMMV. But really, if I didn’t want a big expensive wedding, I just plain wouldn’t do all the work myself just to please my fiance. If he wants it, let him make it happen!

      Oh, and I think the probability of you regretting not having a big expensive wedding is near zero. When you are happily relaxing on the beach after your private destination wedding or elopement or whatever, with $40-50K in the bank you wouldn’t otherwise have had, what’s to regret? And years later it will. not. matter. at. all. Even a little.

      • I’m with you! If I ever get married again, it will be between services on Christmas eve followed by a Christmas day party at my house. The end.

        • Coach Laura :

          I got married on Christmas Eve and wouldn’t do it again because it’s a hard day to have an anniversary dinner and if you have kids (I know NOLA is done with kids) it’s too busy with the holiday. I wish we’d done New Year’s Eve as my brother in law did. Built-in celebration, easy to plan a night out.

      • I generally agree with your sage advice, Senior Attorney, but the crucial difference here is that you and Lovely Fiance are well financially settled into maturity; he can afford to spring for whatever wedding he wants with you, and it doesn’t have to affect you one bit. Our trusty correspondent is starting out, and still has major loan debt (as I’m guessing does her fiancé). So while I encourage off-loading logistical work onto the marrying partner who is geeked about the party, I think you start by having the budget talk right now, and be unafraid of making some tough choices. You’re getting a lot of good suggestions about what to keep and what to toss (we also didn’t do favors or programs; flowers were a bag of rose petals we scattered on tables). It doesn’t need to be perfect, and it’s not a competition. The people who will come will come because they love you.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Yeah, you’re right about that. I guess my comment was assuming they are able to come to terms with the finances.

          Also: I saw something funny online recently — “This wedding would have been so much better with personalized cocktail napkins!” said nobody, ever. ;)

    • Anonymous :

      We found ourselves in a similar situation. No family help, but we agreed we wanted a nice wedding. One thing we did was do the wedding in off-season (February, but not near Valentine’s). Venues do give huge discounts in off-season, seriously. The exact same package we got (4 course dinner, premium full open bar, late night food) was 150% more from May-October, plus they waived the room rental fee. Also, then your friends won’t have wedding fatigue when you’re the 7th wedding of their summer!

      We also prioritized. We chose a premium venue (one that did “all-in” packages with cocktail hour/dinner/full bar) and a premium package and a fantastic photographer. However, we didn’t have a limo/car rented, we did very minimal flowers (gorgeous ones, but bouquets/boutiniers/two large arrangements only) and did non-floral décor for the wedding, most of which we bought off Craigslist and then promptly sold on Craigslist afterwards. We did a band (which btw, made the entire wedding) but we didn’t do a wedding cake.

      Will this make your wedding cost $10,000? No. But $30,000? Yes, possibly. I was very big on having the “kind of wedding we wanted” in that I wanted people to feel that it was a nice, not cheap, wedding, and I prioritized accordingly. Yes, my friends had $5,000 worth of flowers and a $7,000 dress but our venue was beautiful and classy, food was delicious, booze was plentiful and premium and we had a great party.

      • OP here. I am also in favor of nixing the cake, favors, special transportation, and with doing as few flowers as we can get away with. If you don’t mind, what types of decorations did you buy from craigslist?

        I’ve also convinced fiancé that we should do wine/beer and one or two signature cocktails only, which will hopefully cut down on alcohol costs. We both really want a band and a good photographer. I do not care about having an expensive dress, but I do want professional hair/makeup. It just seems like once you account for the big ticket items, it’s hard to make any meaningful impacts to the budget elsewhere.

    • Anon in NYC :

      I think you need to have a conversation (perhaps one of many) with your fiance about how much you are jointly willing to spend on a wedding and what is important to both of you in a wedding. If the important thing is the number of guests and you cannot go lower than 150 people (totally fair and reasonable), figure out what you can do for that many people within your budget constraints. Figure out what is important to you. Food, entertainment, photographer, flowers, etc. You’re going to have to make choices and priorities – you can’t have the “best” of everything unless you’re willing to pay for it.

      And you’re going to have to repeat to yourself over and over again that your wedding is not a competition and just because your friend is having a 200k wedding and her parents are fully funding it and you’re jealous that she doesn’t have your financial constraints, doesn’t mean that your wedding is going to be “worse.” Weddings are weddings! The point is to get married and have all of your friends and family there to celebrate this momentous life occasion with you.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes, you need to look at more rural, lower cost areas if having 150 is important to you. And out of the city doesn’t mean you have to be in a dumpy or unattractive area. We got married in coastal New England (right on the water with a view of the ocean) for about $10K. We only had about 85 guests but could have easily had 150 for under $20K.

      Second Anon above’s comment that some people will RSVP no. In my experience it’s much higher than 20%. We had about a 70% acceptance rate; friends who have had much larger weddings have had acceptance rates of between 50 and 70%.

      Fancy and formal generally equals more expensive, so I don’t think you need to give up on the idea of 150 guests but you need to accept you won’t be having a black tie wedding at the Plaza.

      Consider off-season or non-Saturday weddings for a discount. (But recognize that non-Saturday weddings, unless for religion reasons, annoy a lot of people).

      Choose a couple of things you really care about and prioritize those. Because you care about having 150 guests, catering is going to be a big expense. Maybe pick one other thing you’re willing to splurge on (photography?) and then look for budget solutions for everything else, e.g., you get a cheap DJ rather than large band, you don’t have tons of floral arrangements, etc.

      Look for a venue that’s beautiful as is, so you don’t have to spend a ton of money gussying it up. We saved a lot because our venue was so gorgeous that we didn’t end up spending money on flowers for the tables or other decoration beyond the tablecloths and chair coverings that were included with our venue rental. If you choose a non-standard venue, you may have to pay a ton just to make it look wedding-ready. A friend got married at a museum, and although it was a cool venue, she had to pay a decorator an insane amount of money (WAY more than my whole wedding cost) just to make it presentable and hide the industrial-looking stuff.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yeah, you really have to watch out for the cost of rentals. We were thinking of having our reception at a friend’s house until we realized the cost of renting every. single. thing. we needed from tables to napkins would eat up the savings from the “free” venue.

      • Anonymous :

        Cousin did a lovely 120 guest wedding in Fairfield county CT for 25k. It can be done!

      • Yes! I realize Chicago is not New York, but we had a Saturday night party off season (late fall) at a really lovely brewery in a cool but not ritzy neighborhood, and the food was excellent and abundant, we didn’t need to decorate at all, and needless to say the booze was good. The price was under $7k. One thing that was great was that we didn’t have to rent tables or chairs or table cloths or plates or anything, because it was a brewery/restaurant, so they had those things and included them in the price. It sounds like that might be a little rustic for your tastes, OP (no shade!), but I suspect that a *nice* restaurant’s party room can be had for the price of food and booze.

        I’ve been to a few lovely weddings in the Hudson Valley at places that were all inclusive. The Rhinecliff Inn can be really elegant (outdoor ceremony overlooking the river!), and Beekman Arms is amazing too. Say it’s $150 a head for food and drink (more than the max I’ve seen quoted at either of those places), at 150 people you’ve still got oodles left for all the other things. It can be done!

    • Anonymous :

      We saved money in the DC area by holding the entire wedding at a fancy (food and ambiance) restaurant in the suburbs. The per-guest cost included food and drink, venue, staff, etc. Minimal decor needed. We were also slightly off-season (late summer).

      • Anonforthis :

        YES YES YES to restaurant wedding on an off-month (or better yet, off day). Sit-down is no longer required for a “nice” wedding. Skip the DJ/band and use an ipod. Don’t go nuts on clothes. Or flowers. NO ONE will remember that you didn’t have those things.

    • I got married 6 months ago at a $25k/60 person wedding. Like you, I was in charge of spread sheets.
      o. One thing that worked for me to keep costs down was to talk about tradeoffs: “If we get the $30 thingies instead of the $300 thingies it will give us more room in the budget for xyz”. In a larger discussion about budget talk about how long it will take to pay off debt and about a downpayment on a home or something.
      o. I kind of wish we had rented a small museum and then had wine/beer/apps instead of a sitdown dinner and dancing. There would have been a lot more mingling and a lot less stressing about table placement. I think it would also have been a lot cheaper (don’t get me started on DJs).
      o. Off season is your friend. Also, don’t be afraid to negotiate. Ask your friends who worked their weddings. I had two quotes for flowers that were a factor of 2 different. The less expensive was from a flower warehouse recommended by a friend (and it turned out great) and the pricier was from a small florist recommended on a wedding website who emphasized the green nature of her business.
      o. Have cheap events around the wedding – it may create a better atmosphere and let you get away with a smaller wedding. For many out-of-towners the pizza buffet rehearsal dinner was the highlight of the weekend. I’ll say, our wedding was 80% out-of-towners and this strategy may be limited to that crowd.

      And congratulations! It’s scary and exciting and at the end of the day you’ll be starting on a whole new adventure!

      • Frozen Peach :

        Two things:

        1) The website A Practical Wedding is your new best friend EVER.

        2) Think about a destination wedding, even if it’s stateside. Helps cut costs, and has the added benefit of people RSVPing no who aren’t really committed to you guys. (For example, several of my close friends have rented out NICE NICE summer camps during the off season for a weekend).

    • Married in DC :

      Late to this, but if you’re still reading: as others said it’s all about priorities. When we got engaged, my partner and I each listed the 3 things that were important to us, and spent virtually nothing on anything else. Food and drink will be your larges expense and there’s not much you can do about it, except do beer/wine only (ditch the “signature cocktail”). As a compromise, we discreetly told the bartender that there was a $300 budget for liquor if people were dissatisfied with beer/wine, but did not announce this in order not to encourage our guests to drink liquor instead of the paid-for beer and wine. I think we only had a $100 tab at the end for the liquor. Our splurges were open bar, good food, and a professional photographer (who we actually got for a steal because she’s working on her wedding portfolio). Everything else was done as cheaply as possible.

      Invitations were from VistaPrint. Our decorations were $40 worth of candles I ordered online. I made the bouttonieres, corsages, and my bouquet with flowers from Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Music was on an iPad. My dress was from Anthropologie. I made the cupcakes and icing and set up a DIY cupcake bar instead of a cake, and the “favor” was cute Chinese food boxes to take extra cupcakes home in. No programs or any other printed media (though the restaurant printed menus for us), no planned seating. We did it in a restaurant and had the ceremony and reception in the same place. We had food delivered to our house for the rehearsal dinner and ate off paper plates.

      We did the whole thing (rehearsal dinner and wedding, though I think this doesn’t count his custom suit, which cost way more than my $360 dress) for a little under $20k for 75 people in the heart of DC (I was unwilling to make my guests schlep out to the suburbs). It was not as fancy as others’ weddings with their professional flowers, expensive liquor, DJs/bands, and tchotchke favors, but everyone had fun and we were very happily married at the end of it. 150 people makes it harder simply because a venue large enough to hold that many people will cost more, so you’ll definitely pay more.

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