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Coffee Break – Karmen Pump

The Most Comfortable Heel for $20 | CorporetteSo I was looking through our previous discussion and poll on the most comfortable heels, and found this little gem: a few readers noted that they LOVED the pumps at Payless, particularly those by Comfort Plus by Predictions. And sure enough, online, this thing has 82 glowing reviews. So, ladies, if you’re looking for a comfortable pump under $20, give it a try. The Karmen pump is available in white, black, black patent, red suede, “tan” patent, navy, brown croc, grey croc, and red — all colors just $19.99. (There’s also a brown boot from the same line, on sale from $49 to $20.) Karmen Pump

Readers, have you tried the Comfort Plus by Predictions line at Payless? Do you agree with the readers who loved it? If you’re on the hunt for more comfortable heels, check out our guide!
(L-all)

Affordable Comfortable Heel: Karmen Pump

Comments

  1. I will add to the glowing reviews on the Payless site… These are by far the most comfortable pumps I own, in fact I wear them at least 3 days a week to work.

    • On the subject of the reviews, did anyone else notice that one of the first reviews is by a man (with photos)? That’s kind of awesome. And he has nice legs.

    • Yes! Plus they have wide shoes that aren’t hideous! I have long been a huge fan of payless.

    • I went to Payless tonight, tried them on, and bought them. They do seem really comfortable, and for $20, I should be able to get my money’s worth pretty quick. Thanks for the rec!

    • ExcelNinja :

      Late to the party, but yep, agreed – these shoes are SOOO comfortable and you just can’t beat the price!

      • Has anyone tried Shoedazzle.com for work pumps? You have to be selective as they have a lot of HIGH heels-but their 3-4″ heels are shockingly comfortable and I have gotten some nice pumps for $40 or less when they are on sale. Free shipping and returns, too.

    • Christina :

      I have them in nude, black patent, and black and I love them. Very comfortable and great price.

  2. lawsuited :

    I own 3 pairs of these and love them. I pass over much more expensive shoes and wear these almost every day.

  3. Equity's Darling :

    Two things:

    1) I do not have children, but I wonder what people have to say about this article from the G&M- are girls harder to raise? I swear my sister and I were/are way easier to deal with than my brother.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-hot-button/fashion-diets-and-porn-just-a-few-reasons-why-raising-girls-is-harder-today/article6995375/

    2) I just received the cafe capri pants in red wool from jcrew in the mail. I love them, but…styling tips for shoes/tops/accessories? I thought they’d be more cranberry in colour (I don’t know why I thought that…), but they’re definitely a bright red.

    • I’m pregnant right now and don’t know the sex yet, and I am kind of terrified of having a girl. I think little girls are easier than little boys, but after about age 11, all bets are off. How am I supposed to raise a strong, feminist, confident, nice, compassionate, generous, sex-positive, happy girl in a world full of bras-as-shirts, eating disorders, rape, horrible girls, horrible boys, glass ceilings, Republican Senators… it is terrifying.

      • I don’t have kids, so all of my statements are huge generalizations, but I agree that this is the reason why people think girls are harder. Little girls are easier than little boys, because little girls are quieter and less rambunctious. But tween+ girls are more difficult than boys because there are more emotional issues with girls (in theory).

      • Yup, not even worth trying unless we have a fully Democrat Senate. Ridiculous.

        • I’m not finished, actually. To put Republican Senators in a list with rape and eating disorders is so insulting. You know, Republicans don’t *actually* hate women. I know you may believe that, but it’s just not true. Some of them have said stupid things. But you know what? Some Democrats have too. Stop acting like Republicans hate women. I get so sick of that.

          • different anon :

            Maybe if Republicans stop electing representatives who hate women then Democrats will stop believing that Republicans hate women. Just sayin’….

          • Todd Akin.

          • So now that Todd Akin said his stupid thing, you will always forever be allowed to say that Republicans hate women? That’s just the end of the argument?

            Like I said, some of them have said stupid things, but it’s really one a handful, and (I know you will be shocked) some Democrats say stupid things that you wouldn’t want to be judged by.

          • Actually it is terrifying to have elected officials who believe what Todd Akin said about rape. It’s not a “stupid” thing, it’s a dangerous thing that is not only insulting but horrifying when you consider that the person making the statement has the chance to CHANGE THE LAW to be consistent with those beliefs.

            And while not the original poster, I actually do take our nation’s treatment of women into consideration before pro-creating. And when the bulk of policies coming from one particular party (recently) seem to disenfranchise a whole gender, it is actually something that freaks me out.

          • The bulk of policies from the Republican party disenfranchise women? Gosh, I must have missed that. If you really want to make your point, name more Senators than just Todd Akin, whose statement was criticized by lots of other senators as b23 pointed out. And name these policies. If the “bulk” of their policies disenfranchise women, it shouldn’t be hard to name quite a few.

            If you’re talking about the Catholic church’s right not to provide birth control, I sincerely hope you can at least see the religious freedom aspect. Because I can see your side of it, as a Republican. I would never say based on that policy that you hate religion. But you think I hate women as a result of my side of it.

          • Dead Horse #2 :

            So thinking ahead to Summer 2013 – do you think I can carry my birkin to my internship?

          • long time lurker :

            There was more than one rape comment senator. Mourdock also made rape comments. And they both lost. Which is good.

            About 15 years ago I could see being a fiscally conservative/anti-big government type and being a feminist. I can be sort of a libertarian so back when there was a true conservative party I could reconcile being against the government interfering in my life and being pro choice and gay-rights friendly. Not anymore.

          • Anonymous :

            Paul Ryan . . . Bob McDonnell . . .

          • Question, what did you think of the Democrat Chair that said that Scott Brown was acting like a woman when he did laundry?

            Seems pretty sexist. Is it possible that democrats and republicans can sometimes be sexist?

            For someone who wants to raise a generous, nice, daughter, I think the biggest obstacle will be having a mother who writes off 50% of the population because of their political beliefs.

          • For the record, I actually don’t write off people because of their label “Democrat” or “Republican.” And beyond the whole “akin” debate, I see a number of issues – reproductive rights, equal pay, to block granting Medicaid – as not particularly friendly to women. I would never say all Republicans hate women, but I’d ask you to look at most of the efforts in the House, state legislatures, and on the campaign trail. There seems to be more effort exerted to stop abortion or access to Plan B to holding up domestic violence protection than say I don’t know a jobs package. Also, a stupid off hand comment is one thing; making up policy and science is completely different (to me). Democrats have their fair share, but on different issues – at least right now.

            That’s the beautiful thing about this country. I can worry about whatever I want to and you can think I’m an as* for it. But to each their own.

      • I have friends who are strong, feminist, confident, nice, compassionate, generous, sex-positive, happy Republican women. Many of them are married to feminist Republican men. They do exist and I think they’re more prevalent than the media/Internet makes them out to be. After all, reporting that a member of Congress thinks that “uh, yeah of course I think you should have the same opportunities as men — it’s not 1900” doesn’t sell copy or get you clicks and shares.

        • Thank you!!! And Todd Akin is literally one Senator. Yes, it’s stupid and dangerous, and I wouldn’t have voted for him. But seriously EVERY OTHER REPUBLICAN SENATOR disowned what he said. So to judge the entire party as well as people who identify with that party by his statement is seriously just wrong.

          • I know I’m late to the party, but just want to say that Todd Akin is NOT the only Republican to say hateful things. Try Paul Ryan, who stated in an interview that “rape is just another method of conception”. What about Mourdock, who thinks pregnancies resulting from rape are what God intended? What about the entire Republican House, who let the Violence Against Women Act expire this past week? What about the 170+ Republican House members who tried to legislate a difference between rape and “forcible rape”?

            Seriously? WAKE UP! If you are a woman and you vote Republican, there is seriously something wrong with you.

          • good grief :

            Well, corpor3tt3rs, if what you want is a site where everyone thinks the same, you got it. It sounds like republican senators are sexist, and corpor3ttes are hateful, close minded people. That is what I am taking away from all this generalizing.

        • Its also quite insulting when Democrats make statements that assume they know what my political priorities are because I am female. Many of these Democratic comments assume that women need/want certain things to be provided by the government – that smacks of gilded cage to me.

          Yes, there are certain issues that I wish the Republican party would let go of so that they could better protect the issues that do matter to me, and yes, there have been Republicans who have said idiotic things. There have also been members of both parties who have very publicly betrayed their wives and acted in a lecherous manner towards women (sometimes young women who they were in a position of authority to) and I think that is extremely anti-feminist. The Republican party could improve its image by swiftly disassociating themselves from members who say idiotic things; however, there are a lot of Republicans out there, and there are many that you’d be hard pressed to find making such an ass of themselves. Its also worth mentioning that the major media outlets tend to use harsher language for Republican indiscretions and report them more vigilantly. (There have been a few studies done on it, and had I the means, I’d do a large scale study on it myself, but I do not).

          Defense of the Republicans aside, I’m not a Republican, I’m a libertarian. I want little from the government in the way of either support or hindrance, and when I vote, I have to vote with the goal of seeing constitutional rights upheld. There are a lot of us out there, but the major parties have yet to truly notice. I don’t think I deserve to be shamed for voting with the hope of protecting the money I’ve earned from further taxation or the hope of keeping the government absolutely uninvolved in my healthcare. The negatives of one party should not be totally overlooked because of unfortunate sound bites from some members of the others.

          And if you happen to be someone like me who has political ideals which aren’t fully embraced by either major party, write to your congressmen and representatives – esp. those that you disagree with – and tell them (civilly) what issues you can’t side with them on. They want to be re-elected; treating either party as faceless devils on a website that they will likely never read does not help change party lines.

    • SpaceMountain :

      He’s just trying to sell his new book.

    • I’m wearing the wool cafe trousers today with a camel colored cardigan, black tee shirt (which you can barely see) and bright blue scarf (Madewell storyteller scarf). I like camel + red a lot.

      I agree that red can be tough to style because a lot of color combinations don’t work (Red + white / cream = Santa Clause or Valentines Day, red + green = Christmas, red + navy = 4th of July).

      I think red + grey + another bright color works well, too.

      • lawsuited :

        Red + navy rocks my socks!

      • Equity's Darling :

        That sounds like a great outfit.

        I was leaning towards camel/red (which I also love!) and black/red…. thoughts on navy/red? I have a fair amount of gray in my closet, so I’ll try on outfits tonight with the gray tonight. What about brighter colours? Patterns? Are patterns with red just too much?

        What about shoes with the cafe capris? Am I limited to heels? Can I get away with flats? I’m 5’2, but my legs are long for my height, so the pants seem to hit me at the right length, but my legs look really umm…..short when I have on flats with the cafe capris….

        Also, I was thinking I could really only do black or nude shoes, correct?

        • Equity's Darling :

          We don’t have the navy/red association with 4th of July in my country, so I think I’m safe. Red/white however….I don’t particularly want to look like our flag.

          • lawsuited :

            Haha! I’m Canadian too, and while I think red + navy is great I wouldn’t wear red + white (although I might wear red, white +grey or red, white +orange, etc.)

            In terms of shoes, I think nude would look great, but you could also wear black, grey, navy, cognac, brown…

          • Funny that all countries have this hesitation regarding overly patriotic outfits!

          • Ha! I’m in the UK and have a red, white, and blue dress that I trot out for occasions both American and British. I bought it on a whim and it is a bit ‘queen’s garden party’ so I have to get my money’s worth somehow.

            The irony is that I live in Scotland so I really should be wearing blue and white.

        • KansasAnalyst :

          I saw someone that had a leopard print scarf with a white shirt, a camel sweater and red pants and she looked so cool… it made me want to go buy the whole outfit!

          • Equity's Darling :

            Ohh, I have no leopard in my closet, but maybe I should…..that outfit sounds lovely.

        • Red is a neutral. Just make the other colors non-primary. E.g. red and olive, not bright Christmas Green. Red and eggplant, red and roasty pumpkiny orange, red and mustard yellow. Red and turquoise for blue without the patriotism.

    • lawsuited :

      Interestingly, a few years ago CBC did a week of stories on how difficult it was to socialize boys in our society. I remember reading it and thinking how challenging it would be to raise boys!

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2010/01/08/f-vp-smol.html

      It seems to me that raising children is difficult regardless, although each gender may have their particular challenges.

    • locomotive :

      This is purely anecdotal but..I think girls are easier to raise than boys. In my family at least, the boys have generally turned out to have problems being self sufficient and getting motivated to do ANYTHING. My group of female friends have also generally handled just..growing up better. My younger brothers and I grew up in the same dysfunctional household, and it has affected their behavior (inability to graduate from high school, severe depression, etc.) more than it has for me (once again, all of this is purely my opinion/based on my experiences)

    • Interesting about boys vs girls. I only have boys, and there are many things that I’ve found over the years that I don’t have to worry about because I have boys. Doing hair. Worrying about tights & shoes that match dresses. Having more than 3 pairs of shoes at all (runners, sandals & nice shoes to wear to church). Makeup. Body image issues (so far – I know this can affect boys too). Etc.

      However, nobody can convince me that boys are not emotional – they’ve never parented my 12yo. Also, I find gender stereotypes really hard to deal with sometimes. Or at least they get me really mad. When my oldest was about 3 we wanted to get him a play kitchen. Guess what? The only one that wasn’t pink was $300 – more than twice as much as the pink ones. And he didn’t like pink. We searched & found a purple one. I happened to notice some toy brooms in the toy aisle at Walmart. Cool – he likes to play with the big broom – let’s get him a little one. Again, they were ALL pink! HELLO! Boys cook & clean too, not just girls! And don’t get me started on the mom who asked if I was worried about #2 when he was 3 and loved playing with the girly dress up clothes that included feather boas, sequins, satin, tulle, lace, etc. What was there for the boys to dress up in? Cotton smocks with ‘police’ or ‘construction worker’ type uniforms printed on them. That just didn’t cut it for my creative kid.

      All kids have their challenges, but I’m curious to see how parenting is going to change when our boys become teenagers.

      • Did you hear about the new boy-friendly Easy Bake ovens? A girl (about 14 yo I think) wanted to buy her little brother an Easy Bake oven for Christmas because he loves baking with their parents, but they were all pink. So she wrote the company and they recently announced new non-pink ovens. Her parents must be very proud.

        • I loved that story so much.

        • That’s awesome! I would also rather buy a non-pink one besides just for the useless gender association. Why does *everything* for girls have to be Pepto Bismol pink? Barf.

          :)

          • Anonymous :

            It is to communicate to little girls that this is something “for them” and communicate to little boys it is NOT something “for them.” I am really glad to hear this story. I think kids are subject to so many subliminal messages in their lives it is nearly impossible for even the best-intentioned parents to raise children who do not have deeply-engrained, stereotypical gender identities before they can even read.

          • I did hear about this story & think it is awesome. We might end up with one at our house in the next year or two.

            And I didn’t mention it earlier, but another pet peeve I have is McDonald’s boy & girl toys. My youngest LOVES Build a Bear & several months ago they had little BAB stuffies and some action hero something for their toys. BAB was considered the ‘girl’ toy. That’s what we got him anyway, but I know there are lots of girls out there who like Transformers, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or Star Wars, or whatever the ‘boy’ toy happens to be, just like there are boys who like BAB and other cute animal toys they consider ‘girl’ toys. Why can’t they just say “Build a Bear or Transformers” instead of “girl toy or boy toy”?

            I hate reinforcing those gender stereotypes even when I worked pt at home & dh was the main breadwinner. Now that I’m the main breadwinner & dh is the main caregiver, those stereotypes chafe even more. Dh cook dinner all 5 weeknights, and my boys are sometimes surprised that dads don’t cook. :)

        • Actually they only released blue ones. So now there is blue for boys and pink for girls…

          • Bummer. I was over at a friend’s house who had this really chic red set, but it looked pretty expensive. I would have taken a real one for my kitchen in a second!

          • It is still an improvement I think. But it is still really the pink is for girls mantra. But better that its not “cooking is for girls”

        • a passion for fashion :

          i love this story and my 5 yo son has been begging for an easy bake oven.

      • saacnmama :

        Ikea kids’ kitchens are under $300 and they aren’t pink. We lucked out and brought down the black and white kid oven/stove my sister and I had used for my son to play with. He also played with feather boas from Michaels. It made me really sad when he no longer liked pink because he’d learned it’s “for girls”. He liked nice pink too, not the Pepto Puke stuff.

      • Anonymous :

        Ditto. I have two boys, older one is in kindergarten.

        Funny, girls can play with trucks and do “boy things” but GOD FORBID if boys do “girl things” because that is WRONG. *eyeroll*

        Seriously, I live in the greater NYC area and took my 6 year old son to get a pedicure with me — he loved the massage chair and chose gunmetal gray polish. I GOT SO MUCH CRAP FOR THIS. Idiots.

        • Total idiots. All my boys have gone through stages when they liked having their nails painted, especially my youngest. I don’t do his nails often, though, more because of his inability to sit still while the polish dried than any other reason! And dh doesn’t care at all if they had green nails or whatever. (Only said because I know some dads have issues with this kind of thing).

          • Mary Ellen :

            We bought an Ariel doll for our son when he was three. He LOVED it. My husband was fine with it because he said he played with his sisters Barbie dolls all the time and our son doesn’t have a sister.

        • Anonymous :

          DH loves pedicures. Not sure how he would feel about our son getting color on his nails, but I doubt it would be a real concern. He’s fine with toy kitchens, dolls, etc.

      • I also think that many of the issues people associate with girls are issues that are just as relevant to boys. You do have to teach boys about rape and pregnancy, because you have to teach them how to be partners who will respect s*xual boundaries (not to mention, of course, that boys can be pressured as well), and you have to make them realize that getting a girl pregnant is something that changes (or should, if done correctly) the boy’s life forever as well. You have to raise boys who will respect women who work and women who don’t; boys who will judge women by their character and not by their appearance; boys who will recognize that being physically stronger doesn’t make them in some existential sense superior.

        In short, you have to raise boys who will be the husbands you would want for your daughters.

        Or, you know, the partners you’d want for your own sons, if it’s not girls that are of particular interest to them :).

        • Merabella :

          I really love everything you said.

          I saying that girls are harder to raise puts all the ownership of those tough issues on girls/women, and says that boys/men don’t have to worry about it. But like you said, you have to teach boys those things too because that makes them better people/members of society.

      • Mary Ellen :

        Society is anti-boy. The schools hate boys because they tend to be active and not as willing to sit in their chairs all day. I also have to worry that my son might have sex with a girl and be labeled a sex offender. That said, I tend to like all the boys in the neighborhood because they treat me like another mom. The little girls tend to be disrespectful.

      • Agree. Luckily, we found an awesome Step 2 kitchen for DS that is tan, hunter green and burgundy. We found a cute kid-sized broom for him at an Ace Hardware that has a red handle instead of pink.

        This probably sounds awful, but IF we have a girl someday, I’m sort of happy that we already have tons of great, gender-neutral toys in primary colors instead of pink and purple. Developmentally, bright primary colors are better for young kids, and I just cannot stand the pastel-ification of toys that should be gender-neutral anyway.

    • saacnmama :

      Having gone through half a year of my first-grade son harming himself (usually cutting with glass, but also tearing out teeth that were not loose & other stuff), I say to take all this stuff with a grain of salt and pay attention to the kid you get, not what gender stereotypes say that child “should” be.

      • ((HUGS)) this is so sad and must be so hard as a parent! Absolutely you must parent the child you have. I hope you have lots of support while dealing with this!

      • First grade! I’m so sorry.

        The self-harming thing scares me. We’re having a bit of an epidemic at my local high school of girls who are engaging in self-harming. I can’t even…

      • Saacnmama :

        I’m sorry! I should have mentioned that he is in 4th grade, stopped hurting himself in 2nd, and this past fall really blossomed.

        I am now, for the first time in 3.5 years, focusing in myself–must get off the daddy dole, lose weight, find some friends. Getting out of these doldrums is harder than I imagined, but when I pointed out to him the other day how little I’d accomplished career-wise in 2011, he said, “but you did a lot, parent-wise”. Blessed little guy!

    • Well, I have an 11 year old girl and a 10 year old son. My daughter has been a piece of cake since she was about 3 months old (colicky before that.) The only issue with her is all the drama with her friends, and it’s constant, plus she can be a little manipulative at times.

      My son has been a constant challenge since the toddler years. I love that kid but man, he’s exhausting.

      Everyone tells me this will completely reverse once they hit their teen years and I believe them. I recall how awful I was to my parents at times, and I was a complete goody-two-shoes. (didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, didn’t do anything.) I can’t even imagine how hard it must be with a less than goody teen.

      An example of how my kids are now. My daughter will pick, pick, pick on my son. Nothing major, just lots of little annoying things. When he’s had enough, he’ll slug her. Who gets in trouble? Well, unless we’re really on top of it, my son gets in trouble. That’s why he seems more difficult. And if we challenge my daughter on how the incident came about, she’ll lie like a rug. It wouldn’t even occur to my son to lie.

      So there’s your stereotype. Ask me in five years.

  4. IRA question – I am planning to open an IRA and convert it into a Roth. Can anyone recommend an IRA provider they like? I don’t know where to start.

    • FedTaxAtty :

      Vanguard.

    • locomotive :

      Why does everyone prefer vanguard as opposed to something like fidelity? I already have a fidelity 401k from work and it seems easier to also just do the IRA there… is it worth picking vanguard over that convenience and why?

      • Vanguard has extremely low fees. It was also started by someone who believed in mutual fund investment and whose goal was to get people to invest wisely, rather than to skim off huge fees. (Not that he didn’t do well himself, but I get a better feeling from Vanguard than from some of the other banks and investment places I’ve dealt with.)

      • The low fees are a big part of it. I’ve also found the service at Vanguard to be top-notch. The website is very user-friendly (even with the recent updates) and transparent. They have people you can talk to (free!) about investment decisions–I like to use them as a sounding board. The same people have walked my mother through setting up an IRA–that wasn’t an easy task.

        Vanguard isn’t all that great if you want t o play the market and make lots of money quickly. It’s more for investors who are happy to follow the market over the long term.

    • I like Vanguard as well. I just rolled my 401K over into accounts there and while it took a good hour on the phone, they did everything for me and it was a piece of cake. It just takes a bit of time.

    • Thanks for the recommendations! I just set up an account with Vanguard.

  5. For those who prefer a wedge, I have two pairs of these from Payless, and when I wear heels, I reach for them. Also worth noting, I do add a Dr. Scholl’s insole to help with my high arches and plantar fasciitis (sp?) prone left foot… http://www.payless.com/store/product/detail.jsp?skuId=099634085&productId=70539&subCatId==cat440048&catId=cat10088&lotId=099634&cid=cse_pg_1

    • I really like these!

    • Merabella :

      I have 2 pairs similar to these from Target that are $30 – they are seriously the most comfortable shoes ever. I wore them for 8 hours straight and wasn’t hurting at all at the end of the day. I wore my Aldo terry cloth inserts as usual with them – they keep my sweaty feet from slipping around.

  6. Ok, I am pretty excited about the navy. I can’t explain how friggin’ difficult its been to find clean simple navy pumps recently. I actually think I’m going to stop by payless after work and see if they have them. Those and the brown croc.

    Question? Do they run true to size? If my local store doesn’t have them, I might order online.

    • lawsuited :

      They run a little wide. I usually wear a size 9 to accommodate my wide feet, but I bought these in 8.5M and 8W for a similar fit.

    • CrimsonClover :

      Seeing as how we’re on the topic of comfy shoes I just thought it pertinent to give a shout-out to my new favorite and unbelievably comfortable shoe, the anti-gravity Parnella pump from Easy Spirit!!!

      I never had luck with this brand before, nor my just-a-tad-wider-than-your-average-wide sized feet, but I stopped into the outlet by me last week and got two pairs for $75.00 or so… they are INCREDIBLY COMFORTABLE!!! Can’t receommend them highly enough, though we’ll see how they stand the test of time with my heavy gait…

      They have the same “nitrogen” technology in other styles, but I found this solid 2.5 inche heel with hidden platform to be very practical and stylable.

      • CrimsonClover :

        http://www.easyspirit.com/Parnella-NEW-COLORS%21/52615380,default,pd.html?variantSizeClass=&variantColor=JJE50SU&cgid=50438757&prefn1=catalog-id&prefv1=easyspirit-catalog

      • S in Chicago :

        I own a pair (also an outlet purchase) in black leather , and they have held up really well. I’ve worn them during several all-day conferences that have involved a lot of walking and standing. Total work horses.

        I like a little height, and they are by far the most comfortable in that height range that I’ve found. Prefer them much more than some of my more expensive (and clunky looking) Clarks.

      • Those look great. I’m ordering the nude to see if it works as nude-for-me. I need a chunky heel.

  7. I am going to London for a conference! Question: what does one wear to an IP Law conference in London? Suit? Slacks and blazer?

    More fun question: I have an afternoon and two evenings in London (Feb 28th and Mar 1). Any London women want to meet up for dinner? I’ll be close to the V & A museum/South Kensington underground stop. I might stop by one of the museums in the afternoon but other recommendations are appreciated.

    Thanks!

    • Mary Ann Singleton :

      In my experience the London legal world is relatively formal. I used to work at a big law firm there and wore suits every day. (I do not miss those dry cleaning bills.) A conference may be a bit more relaxed – I’d say you’ll be fine in either a suit or slacks and a blazer.
      Have fun!

    • You lucky duck! Fantastic! Isn’t Woods comma Elle in London? FWIW, when our British counterparts visit, they are always in full conservative color suit, with stockings if applicable. Basically, the most business formal option possible. Judging from their shock at our attire, I don’t think slacks and a blazer would suffice.

    • Thanks! Well, at least I splurged on a suit last year and one more wear would further justify the purchase on a cost-per-wear basis in the Silicon Valley.

    • Lucky K-padi going to London for business!

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Awww no! I will actually be in California for the bar when you are in London! This makes me really sad! :(

      But I’d be happy to dish out tips etc – ellecommawoods at the google. Drop me a line!

    • So Jealous!! I hope you have a fun meetup, i wanna hear all about your trip!! ;o)

    • If you haven’t been, the V&A is fantastic! And for a foodie afternoon, I’m going to plug Borough Market again, because it’s amazing (also within walking distance of the Tate Modern/Globe/Millenium Bridge/Saint Paul’s if you want to justify it with some sightseeing). Have fun :)

    • agirlfromoz :

      all the museums there (V& A , Natural History museum, and Science museum) are free. I’ve only been to the Science Museum…interesting, but more fun I think if you’re there with kids.

      What about the British Museum? Also free, easy to get to from South Kensington (Picadilly Line to Russell Square), and full of amazing exhibits – I think I could spend several days there quite happily!

      Hyde Park is nearby – but that might be weather dependent.

      (can’t comment on what to wear to your conference, I don’t work in law)

    • It’s very easy to take the Tube from South Ken to just about anywhere via the Piccadilly Line. I would suggest taking the Tube to Holborn and visiting Sir John Soane’s House (which is also in Lincoln’s Inn – like a little village in itself), then perhaps having dinner nearby in Covent Garden. A very nice afternoon/evening out, and great shopping in Covent Garden if you are so inclined.

  8. Savannah and Charleston :

    I have to plan a bachelorette party in Savannah for the early spring, but I am not from the area. The bride doesn’t drink very much and there are members of the wedding party under 21. The bride’s a low-key gal who loves outdoor activities, especially biking.

    I was considering a day trip to Hilton Head Island, Little Tybee Island, or Charleston. I’d love any suggestions for food, activities, etc.

    • I took a mini-vacation to Hilton Head Island once, and biked a loop of 16 miles down the shore and then back inland on the bike trail. It’s a beautiful place to see a lot of nature, and bikes were readily available for rent (I stayed at the Westin on the island and rented great cruisers from them, it was a little run down, but service was excellent). I had wanted to take a day trip to Savannah (it didn’t work out, sadly), and all the guides indicated that it’s a very walkable city, so I really wanted to plan a day of walking, antique shopping, and eating. If I were getting married, I would LOVE to do all of the above with my group of girls!!

      • Mary Ellen :

        Why go someplace else? Savannah is perfect. I’d do a ghost tour. It involves walking and I bet a tour guide would have fun with a bachelorette party.

  9. Does anyone have recommendations for a week-long trip to St. Martin (French side of the island). Any dos and don’ts are appreciated.

    Thanks!

    • Jet ski around the island.

    • We spent a week in St Martin 5 years ago and loved it. Don’t limit yourself to one side of the island – it’s so small you can seriously drive all around it in about an hour & a half, and there isn’t any border stopping – just a sign welcoming you to the other side of the island. It’s amazing how different each side of the island feels considering how small it is. I’m going to be terrible about remembering place names, but I remember shopping in Phillipsburg on the Dutch side and shopping at the market on the French side (Marigot, I think?) Beaches are awesome anywhere on the island. The French side are more likely to be nude than the Dutch side. There was also a zipline course at an old farm on the french side we did – can’t remember the name. Oh, and don’t forget to watch the planes come in. There’s a little bar on the beach next to the airport – used to be called the Sunset Beach Bar – but I think it changed hands. It’s amazing how low the planes come in! Dh & I aren’t real foodies, but I’ve heard the french side has some amazing restaurants. And jewelry shopping in Phillipsburg is supposed to be the best in the Carribean. Have fun!

      • Just remembered – Phillipsburg is the cruise ship port, so if you plan on going there, see if you can find a cruise ship calendar or schedule so you can avoid the days that have the most cruise ship patrons. Also, watch out for people trying to get you to buy a condo. They are relentless. Don’t accept any scratch & win type tickets from anyone!

    • I have never spent any time on St. Martin other than at the airport, but I highly recommend a day trip to St. Barths! There is a ferry (about 70 minutes) or a small plane (about 10 minutes) that you can get for $100-200 round trip.

      St. Barths is absolutely lovely. Good beaches, good restaurants, fun very high end shops.

    • Take the short boat ride over to Pinel Island – it’s beautiful and has two great seafood restaurants for lunch. Restaurant recs: La Cigale, Le Cottage, Le pressoir, and Mario’s.

  10. I went to a store this weekend to get a new computer and accessories. The employee that helped me got the computer and accessories and rang me up. I just realized that he did not charge me for one of the accessories which retails for $99. I bought a total of 5 items and he must have just missed that one. I am feeling really guilty and plan to go back to that store to pay for it even though it is a 40 minute out-of-my-way drive to that store. DH agrees that is what we should do but my brother thinks we should just keep it for free. What would you do in this situation?

    • AnonInfinity :

      I would at least offer to pay for it one way or another. Is this a big store like Best Buy? If so, I’d try calling their customer service number before driving back to the store.

    • You should call the store and offer to pay. They may charge you over the phone and prevent you from having to go back to the store. Now that you know that you didn’t pay for the item, keeping the item without permission or paying is dishonest and IMO is stealing, even if your possession was initially inadvertent and totally innocent. Good on you for your instinct to be honest.

      • Yeah I would call the store. I don’t think I’d feel comfortable knowingly keeping something I didn’t pay for. There’s always the chance the store will just tell you to keep it.

        • This. I made a holiday order from ThinkGeekdotCom, and they sent me two of everything. I called immediately, and the rep told me to keep it as an extra gift!

      • Agree. Any chance you can call the store and get that particular employee (the one who checked out your purchases) to handle it?

        I’m just thinking that if you were to get that person’s manager, that might cause that employee to get fired. Retail employees are often blamed for this and punished quite harshly.

      • SoCalAtty :

        I’ll agree with the “Call the store” posts. REI has done this before and shipped me extra things, and I’ve called them and every time they’ve said “keep it, it costs more for us to process the return” BUT then I felt ok keeping it.

        • Yup. Same thing happened to me with a Christmas gift (accidentally got sent two of the same item). When I called customer service they told me to keep it since return shipping would cost as much as the item. If anything, it will help clear your conscience.

    • Anonymous :

      Meh. I would just keep it. It’s the store’s fault for not charging you for it. Have gotten a free reciprocating saw at sears the same way.

      • Legally speaking you aren’t at fault. With that said I’d feel really skeevy about not paying.

    • I would either call the store and explain what happened, or I would keep the item for free and “pay it forward” by donating the $99 I saved (perhaps some random acts of kindness, like buying someone a hot meal and giving out grocery store gift cards). I definitely would not drive all the way back to the store.

    • Thanks for the comments and suggestions! I like the suggestion that I try to talk to that particular employee but his name is not on the receipt – just an employee id number. Like most of you noted, it feels dishonest to keep it without paying. I will call the store rather than drive down there and offer to pay. I appreciate all of the advice!

    • I’d just keep it, especially if it’s a big box store.

      • As someone who used to work at a “big box store,” please don’t assume they can just afford it. Keeping items from disappearing (whether through theft or by accident) was a major part of our job, and that loss isn’t spread out over the whole company, each store is judged individually by their percentage. A higher rate of loss can mean employees’ hours being cut.

  11. Savannah and Charleston :

    Reposted due to moderation

    I have to plan a bachelo r e t t e party in Savannah for the early spring, but I am not from the area. The bride doesn’t drink very much and there are members of the wedding party under 21. The bride’s a low-key gal who loves outdoor activities, especially biking.

    I was considering a day trip to Hilton Head Island, Little Tybee Island, or Charleston. I’d love any suggestions for food, activities, etc.

    • mintberrycrunch :

      I went to a bachelor e t t e party in Savannah last year, and one of the best things we did was a walking ghost tour. It was a ton of fun, and it was BYOB, so people could drink if they wanted to, but it wasn’t a heavy drinking activity by any stretch. Have fun!!

    • We went to Savannah this summer, and I loved Tybee for a day at the beach (if it will be warm enough when you go). Other than that, there wasn’t a lot to do. Hilton Head has more options, like tours and bike rentals, I think (we didn’t go there, but that was my impression when I was looking).

      The biggest issue is going to be filling your evenings, so think about that as you plan. Virtually everything except bars and restaurants closes down by 4:30. Plan a ghost tour, and be sure to hit up a great restaurant — make your reservations early.

      • To clarify, I mean that there wasn’t a lot to do on Tybee other than the beach. There is, of course, tons of stuff to do in Savannah! :)

    • I don’t have really helpful suggestions but I loved Charleston when I was there on a conference a few years ago. I was a very poor grad student at the time so stayed in the residences offered but just walking around, seeing the lovely homes, window shopping, was great. I went out to dinner once at a Southern restaurant (very different from the Great White North!) and loved it. I heard good things about nearby beaches though didn’t get out there.

    • I am assuming early spring does not mean St. Patricks Day wknd. (don’t even try, it’s nuts). Tybee/Little Tybee would be fun and close. Hilton Head is a bit further, although it’s near Bluffton which has some nice outlets and cute shops. I know Charleston look close on the map, but it’s close to a 2 hour drive to get there, so it eats up your day. Savannah proper has plenty of historical tours and sights to see. The historic area can get congested with trolleys/cars/horse-drawn carriages plus street parking so biking there may be tricky.

      • Ooh, good call. Also avoid Mardi Gras.

        • Luckily, we are avoiding both holidays! Thanks for the suggestions- I didn’t think about stuff closing early

  12. AnonInfinity :

    Best travel reward credit cards? I’ve recently started traveling a lot for my job (YAY), and I want to get a credit card that will give good rewards for flying and hotels. Any recommendations? I’m ok with a small annual fee if it will pay off.

    • Southwest Rapid Rewards; I fly them all the time and I love the card. Now I fly a lot for free :)

    • It depends on which airlines and hotels you stay in. The best thing to do is find one with an awesome signing bonus. I got the Southwest Rapid Rewards card in November, and it had a 50k bonus. That’s a lot of free flights! It usually comes around a couple of times a year.

      MommyPoints has a great top 5 credit cards post that I will put below to avoid moderation.

      Good luck!

    • Depending on where you usually stay, I’ve heard that the American Express Starwood card is one of the best for hotel rewards.

      • this is absolutely true. I used to work for Starwood, and I could not believe the difference in SPG and other chains, particularly Hilton. We had frequent guests with 1mil+ points paying with that Amex all the time…

    • SpaceMountain :

      I find I have better luck redeeming points with a hotel card vs. an airline card. The airlines are just such a mess, and even looking for frequent flier tickets on the first day they are available to popular vacation locations never gets me the seats I need. So, I use a hotel card to get upgraded rooms, free rooms, concierge access, etc., and don’t bother with airline cards anymore.

    • Chase Sapphire. Really good points if you book your hotels/flights/rental cars through their site (you just clikc through their site to go to the website for the hotel, etc).

    • Depending on what airline(s) you’ll be using most, the AmEx platinum card could be good for you. It’s pricey ($450 or more, don’t remember exactly), but it gets you into the airport club for several airlines, and a $200 credit for ancillary airline charges (baggage fees, on-board meals, etc.). If you fly a lot club access is very valuable.

    • I fly internationally (between West Coast and Europe) and have found the Delta / KLM / AF AmEx to be great, free extra bag, discounted use of the first class lounge.

  13. TJ- Can anyone recommend a book on accounting that is geared towards lawyers? I know there are some CLE type classes, but I would like a desk reference book/materials so I can look things up. I don’t need highly technical stuff, just enough vocabulary for some corporate work. Sadly, I remember none of my entry level accounting classes from undergrad (of course, I did really poorly in them so there’s that)

    • Ooh, yeah, I’d love a rec on that, too!

    • I don’t have a recommendation, but if you want, I can send you my textbook from the finacnial accounting course my managers made me take. (Lawyer by schooling, corporate superstar now.) If nothing else, it’s got the vocab/basic outlines of how to do things.

    • Somebody here previously recommended Principles of Corporate Finance by Richard Brealey. I’ve been working my way through it (no finance/accounting background). http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0077606787/ref=oh_details_o05_s00_i00

    • The textbook from my law school course that attempted to teach us lawyers about accounting and finance. As I recall, it was pretty elementary. If that’s what you’re looking for.

      http://www.amazon.com/Analytical-Methods-Lawyers-University-Casebook/dp/1587785145

  14. TIcketmaster Sucks :

    I bought tickets to the Book of Mormon in Chicago today for a Sept. show — made the mistake of getting what I thought were good tickets, but now see that have a horrible view and online reviews say should be marked as obstructed. They were really expensive.

    I contacted Ticketmaster requesting they cancel my order or let me switch seats, they would not let me. Any ideas of what to do? Contacted my bank and asked them not to approve the charge – they said to dispute it once it clears.

    Really bummed and starting my lifetime boycott of ticketmaster!! Any ideas of what to do are appreciated.

    • Write a letter to Ticketmaster’s CEO/President demanding a refund. It should get routed to someone who will actually help you.

      You can also write a letter to the Illinois Attorney General and cc Ticketmaster’s legal department complaining about Ticketmaster’s deceptive business practices. That should get you a more substantive response from Ticketmaster.

    • Would it even be proper to dispute the charge? I thought that was only for instances when you were incorrectly charged for something (as in a retailer over-charged you or someone stole your card and made a bunch of charges). In this case, you’re not saying the charge is wrong or incorrect, you just don’t want the tickets anymore. Personally, I think you’re stuck. Maybe try listing them on StubHub?

      • I think it would be appropriate to dispute the charge because she never would have purchased the tickets in the first place had they been described accurately.

      • You can dispute the charge if the purchased item is not as ordered, which, if the seats are actually obstructed, might be an arguable point here.

      • If you have an Amex there are a variety of “disputes” you can lodge with the charge. I have done it several times and it’s always worked out really well. Plus, the card has the advantage of being professional negotiators w/ a big name… much more important than little ‘ol me calling & complaining. Best of all, you can do it all online & they refund you instantly until the issue is sorted.

    • a passion for fashion :

      in the meantime, try tweeting a bad review/the complaint you have here. I’ve had a couple of friends get thigns fixed immediately just from tweeting their frustration.

      • lawsuited :

        Do they have a Facebook page? I’ve had much more success complaining on a company’s Facebook page than through usual channels like email or telephone.

  15. I have to order some girl scout cookies. I don’t get the appeal of mint + chocolate, so thin mints are out and I would prefer to get something without peanut butter so that no one I give them too has any potential allergy issues. What are your favorites? Last time around, I ordered Thank You Berry Much but they weren’t good at all. I’m leaning towards Savannah Smiles. Thoughts?

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I think you can order at check off on the page for them to be donated to soldiers instead. This will save you the hassle of giving them away if you don’t actually want them. While I’m happy for an easy way to do a good thing, I’m a little sad that my gluten free house no longer gets off the hook when it comes to girl scout cookies lol.

      • I like the f/k/a Carmel Delites – caramel chocolate and coconut. I think they’re now known as Samoas? Blonde Lawyer’s idea is way better though. I think I’ll do that this year.

      • SpaceMountain :

        I ordered some this week, and heard from the girl scout leader that the ones that go to the military are a huge hit. They love getting cookies overseas, and apparently they are a hot commodity. A former soldier came to their troop to talk about what a big deal it was to get the cookies when overseas. Another girl scout mom who was in the Navy said that when supplies came it, it was announced to the whole ship when there were girl scout cookies and people went crazy. If you got some, you could use them to barter for things because they were so coveted. So, I say send them to the military!

      • This is usually the easiest thing to do if you don’t actually want the cookies. Part of the proceeds goes to the girl’s troop, and they send a box to a service member. There’s also a “Hometown Heroes” program in many cities that donates boxes to firefighters, etc.

        If you actually like cookies, my money is on Samoas (chocolate, caramel, and coconut) and Trefoils (shortbread). The latter are great with tea.

    • Samoas! Looooooooooove. The shortbread/trefoils are also good.

    • Girl scout cookies are regionally named, so I have no idea what a Savannah Smile is. But I always enjoy the chocolate-dipped shortbread cookies. :)

      • Whaaaaat? Chocolate-dipped shortbread? I don’t know if we get those here (Boston) and now I want them!

        • According to the website, they are now called “Thanks-A-Lot.” You’re welcome. :)

    • Shortbreads! AKA trefoils I think (these are not chocolate-dipped).

    • anon in tejas :

      lemonaids and short bread

    • SoCalAtty :

      Tagalongs or Peanut Butter Patties – they are SO. GOOD. So long as you like PB. I keep them in the freezer the same way I do my reeses…

    • Thank you, thank you, thank you! I love the idea of donating some but I also want to give some as little gifts – they seem to make people so happy. Trying to figure out how to do both (may need to do separate forms) since the form I have doesn’t seem to let me specify. Anyway, I am getting the lemon (savannah smiles), samoas, and the shortbread ones. You guys are awesome, thank you :)

    • Ohhhhhh the lemon ones. Do they still have those?

      • According to google, the current version Savannah Smiles is an “update” of the older “Lemon Coolers.” At this point, I am tempted to order a box of each variety they sell and just have a taste test. Sadly, my order sheet does not have the shortbread dipped in chocolate option.

      • CrimsonClover :

        Mamabear- if you’re looking for a “good lemon cookie” I have a super easy recipe for DIY ones.

        One box lemon cake mix (or yellow, in a pinch)
        One teaspoon lemon extract
        Two eggs
        1/3 cup vegetable oil
        1/3 confectioner’s sugar

        Mix all ingredients aside from sugar to get sticky dough, mold into balls, roll in sugar to dust and place on baking sheets (I use parchement paper for easy removal and clean-up. Bake 3-4 minutes and then switch/swap if doing multiple sheets simultaneously and another 3-4 to finish. Usually makes 2-3 dozen depending on size of balls- delish and easy!

  16. Blonde Lawyer :

    For anyone looking for cute comfortable shoes, I have twice this month loved my mom’s shoes, complimented her, and learned they were from Kmart. I haven’t been to one in ages but might have to stop in. The first pair were black flat to low heel knee high boots and the second were gray fake suede boots with a fake fur lining. They weren’t blatantly fake UGGs but appeared to model a similar idea.

  17. SoCalAtty :

    So I just read the responses to my “yay good news update” – I hate to disappoint you ladies, but it isn’t the amazing race! Although I’ve been invited to come to the Wipe Out casting…and if this good thing pans out they would let me audition for The Amazing Race I’ll bet, and my husband really wants to do that…

    No, it’s a round 3 interview that I am super excited about and is only 9 days away!!

    • AnonInfinity :

      I was totally hoping it was for The Bachelor, but now that I see you have a DH, that’s obviously not it.

      Why do I love that show so much?!

      And, good luck on round 3!!

    • My kids love Wipeout (sad, but funny). If you get on, let us know! Good luck with whatever you’re doing.

  18. Ada Doom Starkadder :

    Catching up on all those spending-tracking posts, and whoah, I spent a ton of $$ in 2012 at Anthropologie. Followed by Massimo Dutti. Because I have schizophrenic clothing tastes.

    Poll: Which retailer did you spend the most money on (clothes, shoes, and acccesories combined) in 2012?

    • Anonymous :

      Talbot’s. I was never a fan before, but either I’ve grown into it, or this was a good year for them, or both. The Italian flannel suiting is my idea of the perfect cool season work attire, and I’ve really liked their dresses and shells this season, too. I bought all of the things — on sale — and I am confident I will wear these items for years.
      Banana Republic is second. I haven’t shopped there in recent years, but I had a coupon that made the prices too good to refuse.

    • Anon for this :

      Hands down, Nordstrom. Same as last year. I have a Nordies credit card and probably do about 80% of my clothes shopping there. Excellent quality, good sales if know when/how to look, and best customer service ever.

    • MaggieLizer :

      Nordie’s absolutely. Funny you should mention this though, I just had this experience with a, ahem, toy store. I got an email today containing a generous store rewards credit because I spent an embarassing amount of money in the store last year. And I thought I’d spent more online… *hangs head in shame.*

    • Amazon. No question!

      • Merabella :

        Seriously, Amazon is my new vice. I got a prime membership for my birthday, and have seriously fell in love with the idea of having face wash sent directly to my house – no grocery trip needed.

    • Jenna Rink :

      Land’s End. I loved their dresses this year.

  19. Shopping challenge!

    I am sick of my winter coats, probably because I have had them for years and because I inherited them (yes, really ) from my grandmother, so they’re starting to show some wear now that they’re probably twenty years old.

    My dream coat would be:
    +cashmere (the two I’m getting sick of are cashmere)
    +knee-length
    +cinched at the waist
    +hooded (and kind of architectural around the collar, so that the hood would look cool even when it wasn’t pulled up over my head)

    Any leads, ladies?

    • Budget?
      Preferred colors?

      • Sorry, Susedna–let’s say under $1000, any color. (We’re dreaming here–eventually I will narrow things into a more realistic zone and take the plunge.)

        • MuttiStacy :

          Try the Max Mara Ruggero cashmere coat at matchesfashion dot com. It is yummy!

    • This one is not hooded but is a beautiful cashmere blend coat at 50% off: http://www.brooksbrothers.com/Wool-Double-Face-Coat/WW00067,default,pd.html?dwvar_WW00067_Color=GREY&contentpos=5&cgid=0246

  20. anon in tejas :

    work out accountability
    — skipped first pre-work work out this morning. but woke up early enough to get to office early, so I’m leaving early and going straight to gym.

    also, I worked out both Saturday and Sunday. Run on Saturday at the gym and 10 mile outdoor bike ride Sunday. Vitamin D fix!

    who’s been doing good and who needs a little push?

    • I went on 3 runs last week (6.5km each) and then again this morning. I’m hoping to make 3 this week as well. Weather is the biggest factor for me, being in Canada and all.

    • I need a big push. It’s been years since I’ve worked out regularly. (Previously on C-rp-r3tt3, it was established that I am a small sleepy bear that’s been awakened prematurely.)

      I will try to work out this weekend, and post that I did (or shirked) on the Weekend Thread.

    • I’ve been back to weights twice since the holiday (the gym was closed on the days I was in town) and I haven’t missed a day on my treadmill since I got back on the 30th. Getting back to the weight room felt so good. I miss it when I’m away! Anon in tejas, there’s no way I could work out in the morning. I’d rather go to work early so I can work out in the evening.

      • It’s funny how different everyone is, because I’m the opposite. If I don’t work out in the morning it doesn’t get done. And when I let myself think about how early I have to get up to get my run in I always think how crazy I am and how it makes me sound hard core when I tell someone, but I’m really not hard core at all! Dh, however, could never work out in the morning. Even when he’s not working he’d rather work out in the evening than during the day.

      • Morning is the only time I *know* a workout will happen. Work can change at the drop of the hat, and I can never say for certain that I’ll be out of the office by a certain time.

        But man… waking up early is no fun in the winter.

      • Merabella :

        I agree. I always think I will get up early and work out, but it NEVER happens. I found out that once I allowed myself to just go straight after work I was more successful in actually showing up. I work on a college campus though, and I go to the gym there directly after work no stops and that is the easiest. If I let myself go home and sit down it will never happen.

    • I’m going to the gym tonight for the first time since just after Christmas – last week I just couldn’t get it together. Can’t wait!

      I am, however, considering getting a second gym membership to facilitate things. I really like my current gym, but it really isn’t in a convenient location for my work week. However, the monthly fee is quite low. So I am starting to think it would be worthwhile to get a second gym membership to a place right across the street from my office – then I could (in theory) duck out for half an hour several times a week….

    • Ran two miles last night, as well as the previous four days. Probably won’t run tonight, but plan to tomorrow night. Also have a wicked headache right now, probably from sugar and caffiene withdrawl. Boo!

    • Paralegal :

      I have been good! Exotic beach vacation in 5 weeks with SO and friends, where the only other female is already very thin and bikini-ready. Holidays were awful (chocolate EVERYWHERE), but since then I have been eating well and going to the gym regularly.

      Also, I just found out that one of my gym locations has TV on Demand on the cardio machines. I have some NCIS to watch while I run!

    • I misses my run tonight but spent 2 hours actively decluttering – that should count for something!

    • Anonymous :

      Another plug for GymPact if you need motivation/accountability AND want to earn coffee money!

    • RookieRette :

      Haven’t missed my every-other-day yet, but it is still early in the year. Trying to concentrate on keeping my cardio steady (that elliptical is my best friend and worst enemy) and bumping my weight training up slowly. So far so good – arms are sore from yesterday, but everything else feels great.

      Now, just have to fix my eating habits… gotta break the “it’s been a loooong effing day, gonna reward myself for not snapping at anyone by getting a burger and fries” habit. -.-

  21. anon pill stopper :

    Hey, all — I posted a few months ago about stopping the pill and my fears about getting used to not being on it. Here’s my update. The pluses:

    *I lost five pounds without even trying
    *My cycle is very long, like six weeks, but cramps are minimal
    *I felt gross for a week or so, but then I felt pretty great

    The minuses (all are superficial, but they’re still annoying):

    *I lost half a cup size (to be expected, but still)
    *My hair got a lot oilier
    *My back, chest and neck started breaking out

    I’m considering going back on it, but going off wasn’t as bad as I thought. Anyone else have any updates?

    • I have had a feeling that the pill is one of the reasons I haven’t been able to lose weight. Unfortunately, because of my age and hormonal ups and downs, my gyn has recommended that I stay on it. Bummer.

      • Anonymous :

        No, it’s not. The pill / weight gain link is unproven. It’s likely that you are underestimating what you are eating and overestimating what you are burning off.

        I’ve permanently lost 10 vanity lbs while on the pill.

        • Yeah, I lost a lot of weight while on the pill, too, but as soon as I went back on over 40, weight started coming back on.

    • TO Lawyer :

      Do you mind if I ask why you decided to stop the pill and why you’re thinking of going back on it?

    • I stopped the pill about a year ago, and have had the most annoying acne on my back and chest, and I think I’ve had more cystic acne on my face (I used to get very little cystic acne but lots of blackheads and bumps). Nothing I do seems to be working, and since DH and I are going to start trying for kids soon, it doesn’t make sense to get started on a regime that I’ll just have to stop.

    • Regular N. :

      I went off Nuva Ring about 2 months ago now. Not much has happened – I’ve noticed my face is a bit oilier, but other than that I just find it scientifically fascinating to see what my body does without hormones. Prior to this I was on some form of hormonal b/c basically my entire adult life so I’m still getting used to what my body does on its own. The first month I was totally freaking out at one point until I realized that, OK, all that was happening was that I was ovulating and it was completely normal.

      • Regular too :

        I had the same experience, especially ovulating the first time. I was on my entire adult life so it has been fascinating/bizarre to get used to what my body does on its own. It feels so earth mother to say, but there it is. I was on bc for a decade, then Nuvaring for a year. I hated Nuvaring: it causes a 24×7 ladygarden drought which I eventually couldn’t stand anymore. Once off hormones, I dropped about 5lbs without changing anything, and my boobs got smaller. I also got a bit of chin and cystic acne, which sucks a lot.

    • Recently stopped the pill. No real changes, but I do think my moods are much more even-keel. That alone is worth the annoyance. I am thinking about the Nuva-Ring for my next act.

      • Regular N. :

        Before quitting altogether, I went from the Pill to the Nuva-Ring, not because I had any particular issues with the Pill, but simply because I wanted to reduce the artificial hormones in my system. FWIW, I did notice a general upswing in my mood on Nuva-Ring, and my mood was more even as well. YMMV.

    • I had the worst experience ever w/ the pill & then w/ depo when I was in my early twenties. I haven’t taken any hormone based contraceptives since & it was amazing how quickly I felt better… but I think I’m just extra-sensitive to all sorts of medications.

    • Merabella :

      I found that my skin/hair oiliness subsided after about 2 months off the pill. Give it time, your body just needs to readjust.

      I now have a non-hormonal IUD and I absolutely love it. I was on the pill for 5 years, and it was just a pain to take it every day at the same time no matter what. Not having to think about it is really nice. It did take a while to adjust to not knowing exactly when I would have my period. I liked that on the pill I knew that if my last pill was on Sunday by Tuesday of the placebo pack I would have my period, now it is kind of a crap shoot – I try to track it, but it gets lost in the shuffle of life. I do know I’m about to start though usually because I constantly want to eat all the chips.

      • I know this is kinda weird– but I google calendar mine. I just put a code that I know so it isn’t weird if someone catches site of my calendar.

        God I feel you on the chips. That and I cry at every story on NPR…. the stories are interesting, but not that interesting.;-p

    • RookieRette :

      I’d like to go off the pill, but I’d need to find some other means of BC. My SO doesn’t like condoms, I don’t think I could get the hang of diaphragms, and I’ve heard horror stories re: NuvaRing. No kids, but want some in five years or so after SO finishes his PhD and I’m solid in my job. Would an IUD be an option for a woman who hasn’t had children yet?

  22. Anyone have go-to purse brands for when you just want a basic bag, but don’t want to spend lots of $$$. Thinking in the $100 range or even less. Just sick of the ones I have.

    • Fossil and Nine West.

    • Wilson Leather (they also carry faux leather).

    • Big Buddha is usually in that $50-$100 sweet spot. The flashier ones aren’t for me, but there are some fairly basic and very presentable ones (Hailey is one). (I’m assuming from your price point that real leather isn’t a must.)

    • I’ve loved a couple Tignanello purses I’ve gotten. I get tons of compliments and they are reasonably priced.

    • I like outlet malls for this (if you have one nearby). I have a black Coach bag and a brown Kate Spade that were both extremely discounted, so I feel less bad about owning multiple everyday bags.

    • I buy about 1 $100-ish purse a year & my pick is Coach outlet stuff– I got a Cole Haan purse last year & I was soooooooooooo happy to go back to Coach this yr.
      Also, check out TJMaxx, they have AMAZING purse sections.

    • Kontraktor :

      Third (or whatever) Coach outlet. They always have a ton of good selection between $100-150. Lots of stuff in real leather, classic colors, and not much of the super weird/obnoxious new stuff that tends to overwhelm the department store selection.

  23. TJ: Seeking your tips for caring for cashmere sweaters (and scarves). Lavender sachets? Cedar? I’ve done pretty well with those so far, but worry that I’m courting disaster by not having more ‘moth proofing’. THANKS!!!

  24. I may repost this tomorrow if it’s too late in the day, but I’m looking for some gift ideas. I am applying to grad school, and now that my apps are completed (and I have officially begun compulsively checking my email every 3 minutes), I’d like to do something nice for the professors who wrote my letters of recommendation, and possibly also something small for a few other folks who have provided some kind mentoring to me. I’ve thought about baking something for them, but that just doesn’t feel “nice” enough, at least not for the three who have given up so much time to upload letters and advise me. One of them is someone I know well enough socially that I could pick up a “gifty gift” she would enjoy (I gave her a Christmas present, for example, but I want this to be a special thank you), but my relationship with the other two is more friendly-professional, so I’m not as sure. One of them is vegan, too, so if I do something edible, I need to keep that in mind.

    Obviously, I will accompany a gift with a nice thank you card, but I really do want to give them something as well. While I’d like to it to be nice, I really can’t afford more than about $50 per person, and I’d like to shoot for closer to $25. Any ideas? What would you like to receive from someone you have mentored?

    • Kontraktor :

      I wrote a nice, longish card and got a small box of chocolates for the few people who wrote my letters for grad school. They were all people who knew me well as a student, but I didn’t have super friendly personal relationships with them. I also did this for a person who referred me into my last job/was basically the cause that set of the chain of events. I think all those people appreciated the heartfelt note. I felt the chocolate was nice to include just as a little something extra. What about getting some nice tea or coffee in addition to a card?

    • As a prof who’s written lots of letters for students, it’s totally fine to go with some small token. The card is really the meaningful part of it all, at least to me. In the past when students have gotten me something else, it’s generally something that I can use in my office, like a small print that has a special meaning (to my field, or it’s a print from their home country), or a vase they made in a pottery class, etc.

    • Thanks, guys. I’m in a kind of unusual position – more like a postdoc than an undergrad, so my relationships are a little less professor/student than they are employee/boss – so I wasn’t sure how to handle it. I was thinking about chocolates, and if I get vegan chocolates for my vegan recommender, that feels to me like I put some thought into it.

      What about for a (young) male professor? I don’t know if he’s a tea or coffee drinker, and chocolates seem not quite right?

    • When I applied to grad school, I just got my recommenders gift cards. My boss got $35 for a mani-pedi and $15 to the movie theater (she never gets alone time, and she likes to go to the movies alone). My ex-boss got a $50 Amazon gift card.

      I know they don’t seem very “thoughtful” in that they aren’t personal, but trust me, very few people wouldn’t be happy seeing a $50 Amazon GC!

      I saved my more thoughtful gifts for the holidays (when I gifted to both of them again). I would’ve given my boss a gift anyway (we aren’t the sort who only gift downward), and I’m close with my ex-boss, so that was fine, too.

      If you want an edible that is outstanding, check out Yoku Moku cookies. They already come in a nice tin. You can get them at Saks or Neimans. They are ridiculously good.

  25. cash strapped :

    Anyone do anything with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk? I am between semesters and trying to earn some bits of cash… (Thanks enablers- I got the J Crew peacoat today! I am addicted ;) … )
    Also, want to get cheap business cards for SO, is vistaprint the way to go? He is hanging a shingle.

    • I like moo cards a lot.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I ordered business cards from zazzle.com.. I think they are more expensive than Vistaprint, but still reasonable and there are so many options. I like the quality and they shipped quickly.

    • I work with MTurk from the other side — as part of my job, I hire people to do stuff there. What do you want to know? Most of the tasks are quite boring, and they don’t pay well (a few cents per task, usually). If you want to do a lot of HITs (as they call the tasks), you’ll need to spend time getting the “certifications” and you’ll need to do lots of the boring tasks (and get your work approved) before you can even see some of the others — requesters can set minimum approval rates and minimum numbers of already-complete HITs as requirements. Be on the look out for people like me — academics doing research. We often pay much better because we feel ethically obligated to (and because our Institutional Review Boards feel ethically obligated to), and the surveys will be much more interesting. Unfortunately, even when I want 500 people to take a survey, it’s only up for about an hour before it’s maxed out — because I pay so much more than the typical HIT.

      Good luck! Let me know if you have any questions!

      • cash strapped :

        BRILLIANT, THANK YOU! That info is right on the nose! I have some language skillz, so I am hoping to do some of those tasks that ask for translations, but also any writing things. Even if it is a few bucks, I write pretty fast and it might make me feel like I was doing something worthwhile. Also, as a former lab rat, I was hoping to do some tasks that involve sciency things, but not sure how much of that is up there. Will change my handle to Mechanical Turkette once I get approved from the amazon gods ;)

      • Hi JessBee — I’m another one of those researchers collecting data on MTurk. *waves*

        Cash strapped: I agree, the behavioral science studies are often the place to find decent money without having the additional skills. Sometimes you might need to get a few approved studies under your belt before qualifying.

    • I get vistaprint cards all the time & they are great. You can usually get them for free//just shipping if you get on their mailing list & wait a few weeks for free ones to be promo-ed.

    • I use tiny prints & love them. They often have promos.

  26. DH and I are planning to discuss money tonight (we have combined finances). We plan to set goals, try to cut spending, and plan for the year. Usually, this ends in arguments and major issues. Any tips from you brilliant ladies on how I can mitigate this? What are your tactics for calming down money related arguments and still getting things done?

    • East Coaster :

      What are the arguments about? Does one of you spend more than the other? Are goals different?

    • Anon for this :

      What is it that you usually fight about? My DH and I usually are on the same page with setting goals, reducing spending, etc., but we both struggle with certain things like overspending in terms of going out. For example, $100 is reasonable for us to spend on dinner on any given night, but NOT every.single.night. So we’ve had to have some discussions about managing our everyday expectations while also not feeling deprived.

      One of the things that we’ve done to cut spending is to set a budget for going out (drinks and dinners/takeout) for every 2 weeks (every pay period). We created a checking account specifically for this budget, and only use the associated debit card when we’re out. For the sake of example, let’s say our budget is $500. For starters, we’re hindered by the fact that we’re actually using cash. We have to be careful not to overspend because we’ll get hit with overdraft charges (although we have overdraft protection specifically for this reason). We’ve also started a bit of a “game” whereby, if we spend $400 or less, we transfer $100 into our savings account. If we spend $401 or more, we transfer the remainder into savings (so we spend $415, we transfer $85 to savings). We can use this extra money (up to $200/mo) for bigger splurges. So there’s slightly greater motivation there.

      • If it was me, I’d want to have the whole conversation via email & spreadsheet, just to slow things down

    • Try not to be defensive, and try not to place any blame. It can be hard to discuss shared finances, especially budgeting and cuts, without “You spent HOW MUCH on shoes/ties/video games?” or “We really need to cut back on X, Y, and Z” – where X, Y, and Z are things one partner spends disproportionately more on (e.g., clothes, beauty, beer, video games, Starbucks). Acknowledge that you both have areas where you are going to want to spend more than your partner. Try to respect each other’s priorities, and make reciprocal sacrifices in those areas. And look for ways to save on things that is a priority for neither of you (or is a lower priority for both of you).

      Finally, don’t feel like you have to work everything out in one go. If you start to feel overwhelmed, take a break.

      • Also, one problem we have had is that DH’s splurge items cost a LOT more than my splurges. So we use a rolling splurge budget. That way, if he wants to save his up to buy something, but I want to spend mine on smaller things, we can both do it without feeling like one of us gets to spend more than the other. Mint.com is great for this.

        • We are totally trying this out this year!– I call it a fun fund. Each yr we get $1500 in the fun fund & an additional $100 a month. We can add to the fun fund when we don’t spend money or take from it if we went something bigger…likeahemanewWii…. it’s only been 7 days of this, but I think it’s going to work out well. Plus it stops me from nagging my SO about his purchases that I have difficulty understanding (I mean, how many ninja turtle dvds can 1 person own!) and gives us clear lines on what we can spend.

          • It works pretty well for us, when we’re not just being bad about the budget generally (which, um, happens. a lot.).

            Also – you want a Wii, and he wants TMNT DVD’s? You guys sound AWESOME. We should be friends. :)

          • Hahaha HE wanted (& got) both– and he is very awesome. :)
            If you live in the bay– we could totally have a tmnt/videogame party!

  27. Today would have been my namesake’s 122nd Birthday! just in the spirit of sharing, I’m posting this article about one of my favorite ‘mis-behaving’ women of all time: Ms. Zora Neale Hurston.

    http://www.clutchmagonline.com/2013/01/celebrating-the-one-and-only-ms-zora/

  28. I just have to vent for a moment….please bear with me. Because of the terrible economy and my ongoing un/der/employment, my SO and I live with two other roommates. They are both drivin me crazy with little minor things. Right now I am feeling irrational fury because:

    A) Roommate 1 finally buys some toilet paper (after the rest of us kept buying it for months on end)….and she buys ONE roll of the cheapest sandpaper you can get on a roll. The rest of us always buy at least an 8 pack of something quilted.

    B) Roommate 2 is constantly “cleaning” by throwing other’s people’s stuff out (but never sweeping or vaccuuming or mopping or scrubbing or taking the garbage out). She has thrown away perfectly clean containers that I set aside in cabinets; most recently, she threw out a ziplock bag I had washed and left to dry on the sprayer. In the grand scheme of things, she’s not throwing away valuable items…but seriously, what does she think gives her the right?? There’s plenty of room in the cabinets and drawers.

    I know I should either just talk to them about it rationally or let it go, but we aren’t really friends and hardly see each other (so it’s awkward to go to someone’s room late at night to discuss something small) and to some extent I really don’t feel I should have to have these conversations with adults. (FWIW, we have discussed the TP issue with roommate #1 in the past and she just makes these meal-mouther excuses and apologizes but never changes her ways).

    ANYWAY. Thank you very much to all for letting me vent. I do feel a bit better having written it out. And if anyone wants to commiserate, please pile on.

    • Ugh, roommates can be really hard, and that sounds totally frustrating! I hope things turn up for you soon, so that you can get out of there and never have to have roommates again!!

    • the TP thing would drive me crazy; it’s so selfish and inconsiderate; does she think no one notices how cheap she is? I would probably be passive-aggressive and keep my own roll of nice TP in my room to take with me when I went to the bathroom; that way she can fend for herself. But obviously that’s a somewhat drastic/immature measure to take and you’d need to get the other roommate on board, who clearly has her own issues…

      • Leslie Knope :

        Co-sign. I would totally do this, and you don’t even need the other roommate’s cooperation. When the one roll in the bathroom runs out, they can fight it out between the two of them while you and SO stay out of it!

      • I knew someone who tried this and the bad roommate started using paper towels. You can imagine how that worked out for everyone, so be careful…

    • Can you guys just create a roommate fund were you each put $20 in an envelope for the apt each month? I had friends that did this & it worked well for them. With my roommates in grad school, @ the end of each month, we’d just write what each person owed us on a marker board attached to our door (for bigger supplies & bills). That way it wasn’t confrontational & it was also a visible reminder to each person to settle tabs @ the beginning of each month.

  29. saacnmama, paging moments of absurdity :

    MoA, you posted an article from the Tampa Bay Times recently. Are you in that area?

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I am not! A friend living in TB sent me that article. Unfortunately, I’m in a much colder clime.

  30. saac n mama :

    ?

  31. des-pairing :

    I’m on my way back home from a 2-week vacation. How do I settle back into work? apart from setting up checkin meetings with managers, what are other things I should do?

    • AnonInfinity :

      I would repost this when today’s TPS report comes up. You probably won’t get many responses here.

  32. $19.99! Worth a shopping trip :)

  33. RookieRette :

    Just picked up two pairs – black and grey croc. Just from trying them on they feel great, and for that price, if they end up not feeling good after all (doubtful, looking at those reviews) than I’m still out less than I’d spend on one pair of shoes from a pricier place. Yay bargains!!