Thursday’s Workwear Report: Open Front Shawl Collar Blazer

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

This blazer is a bestseller at Nordstrom and has a lot of positive reviews. They only have it in three colors right now (the pictured olive plus black and navy) but it’s come in a ton of colors in the past. It’s got sort of a cropped, fitted look in the back with shorter sleeves, so it’s definitely more of a casual blazer. It’s hand wash cold, line dry, and is available in XS-L for $74. ‘Curve’ Open Front Shawl Collar Blazer

Two plus-size options are here and here.

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

(L-all)

Comments

  1. Metro enemy :

    Exit interview question – I’m leaving a “jd helpful’ type position for an associate spot, and am pretty pumped. I have my exit interview today. The staff at current company are miserable – micromanaged, disrespected – we are DC area and for example, when we asked if some people could owrk remotely due to safe track cutting off a whole chunk of line next week, our manager basically told us to deal with it and take uber. on lessthn a 50k a year, daily ubers are not an option. So – do i be honest in my interview? Any point in it? at least half the staff is seriously job hunting,a nd those are only the people that I’m close enough to to discuss.

    • Anonymous :

      No, you have nothing to gain and everything to lose by being honest. They know they’re jerks.

    • There is no need to be honest and nothing good can come of it. It’s like a break up. I’m planning to leave my current firm this year and while I would love to tell my boss all the real reasons I’m leaving, I will simply say the move is for financial reasons. I’m drastically underpaid so there’s no plausible argument they could make.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I would be honest, but I wouldn’t share that others are job hunting- not clear from your post if that’s something you were going to do.

    • I think 99% of the time the rule “Never be honest in an exit interview” is good advice, and I don’t think this is an exception to the rule. They know what’s wrong and they don’t care to fix it. Telling them is just going to burn bridges and not help anyone else.

    • Say that you’re excited to start an associate position that requires a license. Describe what you’ve learned there. Add something like “The company wants BigLaw-level commitment to the job and hours without the corresponding salary.”

    • Always depart on good terms–you never know what the future holds and who you will meet (and where). Thank them for the opportunity, let them know the work was challenging and that you learned a lot. Look forward to working together in the future if the opportunity arises. Positive and to the future!

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I think you can add one cautious suggestion as if you are doing them a favor like they are begging for constructive criticism. Compliment sandwich style.

        “I really learned a lot working here. The mission is so important and the projects were challenging. If you insist I give you a suggestion, it would have been great to be able to work from home occasionally, particularly when public transit wasn’t working. That’s not why I’m leaving though. This is a great opportunity for me to work as a licensed attorney. I hope our paths cross again in the future.”

    • If you might still be reading, how did you do this? I am in-house at a DC based nonprofit and looking to get into more of a litigation role. What type of position did you switch to? Thanks!

  2. Portugal in May/June :

    DH and I are looking at locations for an anniversary trip in May or early June – we only have about 7-8 days though. Is Portugal out if I want some time at the beach? Or will it be warm enough to swim in the far south? Any recommendations for accommodation at the beach or in Lisbon much appreciated! We’ve also toyed with the idea of Morocco – are there companies that will organize a short trip to Morocco from Portugal?

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      I loved Morocco and LOVED LOVED the company that we used: https://opendoorsmorocco.com/

      Nancy was a breeze to work with, listening to what we were interested in and customizing a trip for that including connecting us with a food tour Marrakech Food Tours. Our trip costs (not including tips which can add up to a lot) came to $520 per person for a 5 day, 4 night experience (this included meals, a driver, a guide, experiences such as camels and tours, where we stayed etc). Our guide Said was amazing. So knowledgeable and kind. We stopped by and met his mother and she made us a whole tin of homemade cookies! I have known others who have also used this company and they have all raved about their guides too. A really great way to explore the country.

      I will say its a LOT of time spent in a car -so get ready to bond with whomever you are traveling with. We choose to book standard accommodations But they do have luxury accommodations. Standard is nice – everything you need is available, just know that sometimes our showers weren’t super warm and room layout might be a bit funky. I found all the food delicious but I eat everything. This would be a hard trip if for example you don’t eat bread. There aren’t a lot of options for some meals. CousCous or Tagine or CousCous or more Tagine haha.

      Another thing if you want beauuuuuutiful rugs they will take you places that make them in the countryside for much cheaper than the cities but be prepared by bringing along enough Moroccan dollars to be around 200-500 USA dollars to buy them (price determined by size). Also review the transaction/bargaining process with your guide ahead of time. I wish I had brought more money with me into the country before I was ATM-less and more luggage space.

      • Anonymous :

        Not the OP, but I really want to go to Morocco now!

        • LondonLeisureYear :

          Scott’s cheap flights keeps having deals for traveling to Morocco. Sign up for his emails and seriously go!!! I am typically not a guide trip type person but I love how they have such a focus on sustainable tourism. They provide fair wages to locals and authentic cultural experiences.

      • Portugal in May/June :

        This sounds really amazing and they have some shorter tours. Maybe we could do 4 days Portugal, 4 days Morocco?

        • LondonLeisureYear :

          They do totally custom tours. So tell them what you want, and your time frame and Nancy will sort it out for you! I will say we were pushing it with some of the things we wanted to do in the country with 4 nights/5 days. We had some long driving days.

          • Portugal in May/June :

            where did you go? any particular recommendations? Did you fly into Marrakech?

            We generally do slow travel with the kids so it pains me to even suggest 4 days in one place and 4 days in another but it’s our only shot at a kid-free vacation for a while so I’d like to do more than usual but not so much that it feels hectic.

          • LondonLeisureYear :

            You can btw 100% bring your kids on this trip. My friend did it with 3 kids 2 years old, 8 years, and 10 years old and they had a blast. So you could save it for a family trip.

            We flew into Marrakech and did a food tour there that was amazing. If going with Nancy I would ask if you could spend a day with Mustapha, he is Berber and takes you on a picnic and to see his kasbah etc. That was a highlight. Also, spending a night in the desert was also great. Since we have been there they have opened up their own camp: https://opendoorsmorocco.com/odms-bedouin-bivouac/introducing-open-doors-moroccos-bedouin-bivouac/

      • BabyAssociate :

        This sounds amazing, I’m brainstorming a Christmas trip and this might be it!!

        • LondonLeisureYear :

          Do it! Seriously all my friends who come back are like…I wish I had a Nancy to plan all my trips to every country. It really lets you see a part of the country I wouldn’t have been able to by myself.

          • BabyAssociate :

            Do you think this would be a good solo trip?

          • LondonLeisureYear :

            They do group trips – email Nancy. If you like photography at all they do photo themed ones (GivingLens is the organization they work with for that) and I think they are do a Zumba or yoga themed one. But I am sure they do others to. I think it would be more fun in a group because it would be a lot of one on one time with you and the guide. Which I loved our guide, but it could just be a lot of time with a new person.

          • BabyAssociate :

            Whoops, I meant solo as in going by myself, but joining a group. This sounds perfect! I signed up for Scott’s Cheap Flights emails too, thanks for all the recommendations!

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Not Morocco, but we did something similar on our honeymoon in Australia. We hired a guide to take us around the tablelands for a few days. He was super knowledgeable and knew all sorts of people throughout the area. We got to see a ton of stuff we’d never get to see on our own and met the loveliest locals. I was nervous about hiring a guide like that, but it was 100% worth it.

      • For the time in the car, was it a lot of time because you traveled to different places/cities or was the car time getting around specific places? This sounds so amazing!

        • I just realized that my question didn’t make sense! Was the car time primarily in one city getting around or was it because you visited multiple cities/locations?

          • LondonLeisureYear :

            It was because we were traveling to other cities and places in the country. It was also maybe amplified for me because I was on this trip with my father-in-law and we were not on speaking terms each other so spending hours in the car together was less than ideal. Also note that I still loved the trip despite that I spent it with my father in law who doesn’t talk to me? That should say something.

          • LondonLeisureYear :

            My friend who went with 3 kids didn’t find the car times to be unmanageable. And the guide even without anyone suggesting it brought along a soccer ball for the kids to kick at rest stops to burn up energy.

  3. In-House in Houston :

    Any lawyers out there using the website “Ladders” for legal jobs? I used them in the past and found that most jobs they claimed to have exclusivity on were on other free sites. They have one job posted that I’m interested in, but am reluctant to pay the fee just to find it’s not real or something I already knew about.

    • Anonymous :

      Ask a Manager just addressed them this week. I’m pretty sure she said they weren’t worth the fee, but worth double checking.

    • I used Ladders to post jobs at my last recruitment job, because it was free for recruiters to use and we wanted to give our jobs as much visibility as possible, plus it gave me free access to a resume database for sourcing which was nice, even if it wasn’t the best system. They honestly never told me, or made it clear to me anyway, that the jobs had to be exclusive to the site, and I honestly had no idea candidates had to pay a fee. It never occurred to me to check! I won’t be using it ever again.

    • I’m using LawCrossing. It is paid (maybe $60/quarter?) but I find that it catches *all* the jobs, usually shortly after posting, so it seems worth it. I’m not sure anything is exclusive to LawCrossing.

    • Not the OP but curious about this – any other job sites I might not know about as a lawyer searching?

      • New Tampanian :

        If looking for in-house positions, Goinhouse.com is a good resource as is the job board at acc.com.

      • I really liked indeed dot com. Aggregated jobs across many places. You can create a broad alert (use “attorney” and city where you want to work) and get emails every day with new jobs that match your search criteria.

  4. iPhone7 Plus closed case? :

    I’m looking for a closed case that can hold my iPhone7 Plus … with a thin little transparent/rubbery “case” already on the phone. I’m worried that the screen and phone will be ruined by rattling around in my purse and tote from day to day.

    Short of tossing it into a zippered makeup bag, which seems far than ideal, I’m overwhelmed as most closed cases seem to be for a phone to fit into a grip or plastic thing without wearing the thin “case.”

    Ideally, I’d appreciate one via amazon. Any recommendations appreciated. TIA !

    • Instead of getting a clunky case, you can get a glass protector. Unlike the old vinyl ones, the new ones are made from glass and don’t impact typing.

    • I have an iPhone 7 Plus, and I put it in a nice LEATHER case that opens to the side. It looks like a purse, but alot thinner. I keep my building ID in there so that I can just show the security guy when I come in b/c I useueally am on my phone anyway when I walk in. I recommend you spend the $35-50 for a nice one. Here is one such example.
      https://www.amazon.com/Dreem-Detachable-Fibonacci-Protection-Kickstands/dp/B01LYN90TV/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1486678379&sr=8-5&keywords=leather+case+for+iphone+7+plus

      You look alot more professional with real leather. Stay away from cloth or pleather. They start smelling funny after a while. FOOEY!

  5. It’s been weeks and I’m still using La La Land as background music at work. I’m not ready for this to get old.

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      My husband won’t stop singing it! Non-stop around the clock haha!

    • How have I still not seen La La land?

      Should I spoil it by listening to the music or just wait and be surprised when I finally get around to seeing the movie?

    • Anonattorney :

      I have a knee-jerk dislike of La La Land – and I haven’t seen it yet. Is it really that good? Or is it just another example of Hollywood supporting a movie about Hollywood, starring America’s sweethearts?

      Am I being totally unfair (probably)?

      • No. I enjoyed it but they’re not strong singers or dancers, the characters are a little unlikeable and the music wasn’t memorable. I liked seeing it but it’s nothing I would rave about. It is a really beautiful movie visually though.

        • The SNL skit about La La Land is hilarious.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=abn6cPxrc5w

          • Anglophile :

            Loved it!

          • Anonymous :

            Yes–this skit describes exactly how my whole group felt about it! Decent enough, didn’t feel like we’d wasted our money, but definitely not OMGMOSTAMAZINGMOVIEEVARRRRR status.

            I also felt like they had zero chemistry as a couple–not referring to the actors specifically, but more the characters. They seemed more like buddies or roommates than a romantically involved couple.

    • +1 Both instrumental and with vocals!

  6. Anonymous :

    Hi hive, could use some opinions. Would you take a new job if you only intended to stay for a year? I’ve been approached about a job that would be very cool to do, but my intention is to start grad school in fall 2018. A master’s is necessary to in my field, I’ve risen about as high as I can without one, and it’s not getting any easier to think about leaving the workforce for two years (I’d like to be done with grad school before having kids, etc), so I’m pretty set on sticking to this timeline. I know it takes a while to be fully contributing when you start a new job, but since the new job would basically just be a cooler iteration of what I do now I think I could hit the ground more or less running.

    While I haven’t interviewed yet, my sense is that if I say I’m interested they will give the job to me. It’d be cool to do this job now, but it’s not a role I’d be very excited about returning to post-grad school. I think they’d be happy to do it, but bringing me on board will involve a good amount of work on their side and I’m worried they’ll feel that effort was wasted.

    • Anonymous :

      How long have you been out of undergrad? I think if you’re within 5 years of your graduation this is not at all uncommon – and if it’s in your field, they probably know this as well. At the risk of maybe not getting the job, I’d be upfront about it, especially if you can afford to keep doing what you’re doing right now if you don’t.

      • I’ve been out of undergrad for 3 years, but I’ve managed to “sneak” into a role where most people do have an advanced degree already so most people at this level stay put for 2-3 years at a time.

        I suspect if I told them, I would not get the job, which makes me think I should not take it. On the other hand, I also have the thought that while my plan is to leave in this time frame, who knows what might come up in the meantime that delays things a year so I should just take it and see what happens, especially as I’d still be almost 6 months away from even applying when I started the job.

        • Anonymous :

          Hmm, I guess I misread your intention in the original post so I’m changing my advice – I think if you’re not 100% sure (to the extent where you’d go to your lowest safety school over staying) there’s no reason to tell them. I don’t know if it’d hurt you that much if it came up and you mentioned it though. I was in your position in the last few years and everyone was pretty much like, yup, that sounds right.

    • BabyAssociate :

      I’ve done exactly this. The job was tangentially related to my future career, but the experience was really helpful. I don’t think that their effort would be wasted. If you’re starting school fall 2018, that’s a close to a year and a half away. I’ll also disagree with Anon above, I don’t think you need to tell them.

    • Is it the same company or different one? If the same company that you’re currently at, then do it. Basically no downsides from a personal or resume perspective.

      If you’d move to another company, then just assess how happy you’ll be there if your grad school plans get put off. If say, you get sick or your house has a major emergency or whatever and you put it off for a year or two – would you be happy at the new company? Is there room for advancement if you end up never going to grad school?

      Don’t worry about their efforts being wasted. Unless it’s a 2-person company, they understand that life changes and you don’t always get years out of every hire. This should solely be a calculus about you and your resume, not about the company’s investment.

    • I would take the new job for a year is you think you’ll make good connections for the future. Also, you never know what could happen. Maybe the new company would let you work and go to school part time and help with tuition.

    • Have you explored going to school while working?

  7. Fascism comes in many forms. Pro tip: if you advocate for censoring classic feminist texts, you’re neither progressive nor a feminist. It’s so important for all of us to stay alert to these infringements on women’s rights, no matter what side they appear to originate on.

    http://www.feministcurrent.com/2017/02/07/vancouver-womens-library-opens-amid-anti-feminist-backlash/

    • Thank you for this link. It is a well-written article on a horrible incident I would otherwise have been unaware of. Appreciated!

    • I saw this story in some of the Gender Critical forums that I follow. Attacks on women-only and feminist spaces by the transgender community are so scary.

      The LGB communities work for equal rights in spaces separate from feminist spaces. My hope is that trans-people will create their own spaces too. If anyone knows of a trans-organization dedicated to a trans-dedicated space, please let me know so i can make a donation.

      • Yes, it’s so incredibly, deeply misogynistic to destroy women’s spaces instead of creating your own. You have something to say and you want to fight for a cause? Do it without trampling the rights of an oppressed group. Build your own library, start your own rally, write your own books.

      • Anonattorney :

        I’m confused – was the bookstore excluding trans women?

        • It advertised itself as a “queer friendly” place, but some trans activists found that insufficiently welcoming and demanded that the library remove foundational works of feminism that do not align with current tenets of trans activism.

        • Nope, Anonymous is sounds like one of our resident TERFs. Apparently the protesters had issues with some of the titles included in the library on the grounds that they were exclusionary towards trans* individuals and s*x workers, which is a thing that people can have opinions on (clearly these protesters were a bunch of a**holes and any valid critiques that they may have had got lost in physical intimidation and wine-throwing). The lovely Anonymous is claiming that “the transgender community” is attacking women-only and feminist spaces, and would like to exile transwomen into spaces dedicated solely to trans* individuals, because she doesn’t believe transwomen are women.

          • emeralds, do you think it is acceptable for transgender individuals to demand censorship of feminist works at a library dedicated to women? Ignoring the physical violence that went hand-in-hand with the demands, do you think that is justified? Do you think the library should immediately take the books off the shelf, and perhaps conduct a review of any and all other literature that may offend non-feminists?

          • Resident Terf :

            If this isn’t an attack on a feminist space, what is it?

            https://vimeo.com/202847662
            (Video of a confrontation of the events in the linked article)

            If this is how some members of the trans community behave in a feminist space, they have made themselves unwelcome in those spaces. Transwomen who respect feminist spaces are, of course, welcome.

            You’re wrong, it’s not that I don’t believe transwomen are women, it’s that I know that transwomen are not women. They may or may not be men, but they sure are not women.

          • Anonattorney :

            Whoa. Okay, emeralds – I think your point was just proven.

          • Resident TERF is not alone. Women are adult human females. Transwomen can reject masculinity if they want, but human beings are not among the species that can change their sex. I would ask anyone who disagrees to explain your support for identity-as-reality, and please extend your analysis to Rachel Dolezal.

      • We’ve been over this before, but transwomen are women! I would be happy to personally welcome ALL women into feminist, female-slanted spaces, whether or not they were born with a vagina, because if we can’t all look out for each other and support each other, what’s the f**king point.

        • That didn’t answer my question, and in any case, the library welcomed everyone to join the library.

      • Which gendercrit forums do you follow?

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Oh come. on. I am so sick of this. A list of demands for a tiny, volunteer run community library? Be better, people.

  8. iPhone7 Plus closed case? :

    Looking for a closed case for my new phone … I want to keep the thin “vinyl” case that covers the back and sides on it … but put it into a closed case so it doesn’t get ruined by tumbling around in my purse or tote.

    Any recommendations appreciated. I’m overloaded by searching amazon – most seem to require the phone be put into the closing case without any other protection on the phone.

    Many many thanks. TIA!

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Could you do your current case and a tempered glass screen protector? I dropped my phone onto the metal leg of a table recently and it shattered the screen protector but the actual phone itself was completely untouched. I’m now a firm believer in the benefit of screen protectors.

      • Yes. I do have a tempered glass screen protector on the phone. But it’s my “tower of London” cache of keys, door openers, and all sorts of “stuff” in the purse that I worry about.

        Thanks for the story; I felt that upgrading to the tempered glass was worth it. Now I’m certain!

        • I commented above but wanted to add that I throw my phone in my bag with keys and whatever matchbox cars LO sticks in there and the screen protector is still unmarred.

          • anon anon armani :

            That’s a great testament, Bonnie. Thanks so much! Those matchbox cars are solid. I have those my DH used as a child and they’re still rolling along.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I get you.

        I have had iPhones since 2011 (?) and never had a screen protector. Got this phone, was sold into a screen protector, and I’m SO GRATEFUL for the Sprint salesperson. The $30 screen protector saved me $150 in a new phone screen at the Apple Store, which has happened to me once.

  9. Came into work today, am now only one in office other than boss. I’m fine with that (I have two screens here!) but I’m going to keep nervously refreshing the MTA site… I can pretty much only take one train home and if that goes bust, the prospects for anything on the roads do not look good right now. Hope other tristate ‘rettes are snuggled up at home.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      A fair number of us made it in here. I’m also watching the MTA s1te like a hawk. I haven’t been outside since 7am when it was snowing a lot but hadn’t built up much yet. Not sure what it’s like now.

      • My one glimpse out of boss’ window suggests it’s still going just as strong. Hopefully more sidewalks will be shoveled this evening. I did really enjoy the half-empty train this morning, even with delays.

      • It is barely snowing anymore. Windy though!

        If you live in the city and take the subway, I cannot imagine that you will have any issue getting home at any time this afternoon/evening.

    • Working from home today…. didn’t even bother to try to go into the office we got an email last night telling us that we could work from home as long as we were online.

      Hopefully all the other ‘rettes in the area aren’t too inconvenienced by the snow!

    • Worked from home in Westchester. My roads weren’t plowed so I couldn’t make it to the train station (which was running on time). And even if I made it in, I was particularly nervous about getting home. We already have a good 6″ with no signs of slowing.

    • Coach Laura :

      Stay safe all!

    • I’m at work. A little irritated at one of my team who takes the subway in but stayed home “due to the impact of the snow on my commute.” No problem with the one who commutes by bus from Jersey staying home.

      You can sign up for email alerts from Notify NYC here:
      https://a858-nycnotify.nyc.gov/notifynyc/

      You’ll get emails of transit disruptions, usually before they’re up on the MTA site. Also, NYCT Subway Twitter is the place to see what’s really happening. Select “see tweets and replies” for the up-to-the-minute complaints coming in.

  10. FitBit Recs? :

    I would like a fitbit. I already wear a watch and I am attracted to some of the bangle bracelet style holders you can get. I don’t need it to tell time, and I don’t need a heart rate monitor. Sleep tracking would be cool, but I guess not a requirement.

    Has anyone found a fitbit model + bangle bracelet holder combo that works for them? The Flex 2 seems to check boxes that I’m looking for. Thoughts?

    • BabyAssociate :

      I have the FitBit Alta and also wear a watch no the other wrist. I’ve had it for about a year now and I really like it. I don’t personally have one, but it does have some nice bangle options.

    • Also have the Alta. I had the Flex (1) and got it wet and ruined it. Giving the kids a bath basically was the same as going swimming, apparently.
      The Alta usually is just a black band on my wrist, although if I tilt my wrist (like you would to look at a watch) then the time will pop up.
      I love that it buzzes at :50 if I haven’t gotten at least 250 steps that hour. I have a desk job and before FitBits, I could literally sit for 5 hours at a time and not get up. The buzzing thing is my favorite feature.

      I don’t have a fancy band for it yet. Fitbit itself has some accessories, and there are even more on Etsy. I just can’t decide what I really want yet. I think I no longer want to cover up the display, so I’m glad I didn’t buy one of those charm covers right away.

      • I love the buzzing too, I worry what it says about me that I’m so externally motivated that I’ll listen to my watch but I’ve really found the regular movement helps my back and hip pain.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        You might have just sold me on the Alta. I had a flex, but wanted more features. I’m pretty sure my FSA dollars can be used for a tracker (don’t quote me on that) and I’m going to have….a lot left over here very soon.

      • I’ve owned a variety of fitbits and currently have the Alta. I love it and the buzzing also gets me up and moving every hour.

      • I too have the Alta and love it. The :50 reminder is the best. I got it when my Charge band fell apart within the warranty period (thanks for the upgrade, Fitbit!). I much prefer the Alta to the Charge.

    • I have the flex 2 and wear it with a watch. You can buy lots of different bands for it on Amazon. It is water proof. Sounds to me like the Flex 2 is what you are looking for! I like the Alta but it is a watch so that didn’t make sense for me. I basically wanted exactly what you have described and I’m happy with the Flex 2.

      • Baconpancakes :

        I think when my flex dies I’ll either get the flex 2 or the Alta, but regardless, I’ll get a Bezels and Bytes case for it. They don’t have the Alta or flex 2 cases yet, but I wear my flex bracelet case (black leather, gold basket weave flex box) every day and constantly get compliments on it. It looks like regular, stylish jewelry that coordinates with my mixed metal watch, and I love that it’s not sporty-looking at all. (They’re in production for Flex 2 and in pre-production for Alta, so give it a couple months, probably.)

    • New Tampanian :

      I have the Alta and wear a large MK watch on the same arm. I bought a “leather” (I’m not convinced it’s real leather) blush colored band. My watch is multi-metal (gold, rose gold, silver) so it works.

    • AnotherLadyLawyer :

      I have the Fitbit Flex2 in the rose gold bangle and I love it! I have an analog watch, so wear the FitBit on my non-watch hand with other bracelets or by itself. It definitely doesn’t scream fitness tracker, so it was perfect for what I wanted (tracking, reminder to get out of my office chair every hour and occasional sleep monitoring). It’s also swim/water proof, so no need to remove when doing dishes.

    • Anonymous :

      Not a Fitbit, but I have a Jawbone Up Move that I clip to my waistband and can easily hide behind a cardigan or blazer. Like you, I don’t need a tracker to tell time or monitor heart rate. I’ve been very pleased with the Up Move so far. Also, it’s all of $12-20 on Amazon right now (depending on color). https://www.amazon.com/Jawbone-Activity-Tracker-Discontinued-Manufacturer/dp/B00N3BS1I6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486663974&sr=8-1&keywords=jawbone+up+move

  11. Reporting back on the Lightweight Wool Shoulder Ruffle Dress from Banana that was posted a little while ago. I am sometimes in between sizes, but BR decided for me as the lower-end size was sold out. Nevertheless, I really like the dress! The windowpane-esque stripes are subtle – but be aware that one is light pink. The regular length hits me right above the knees (I am 5’5″) and the sleeves are great!

    I am going to get it taken in slightly from the waist down, but probably would have had to do that anyway as I am relatively straight and the dress does provide room for more hips than I think is standard in BR clothing. I got it for a pretty good sale price IMO, so I don’t mind having to do a small bit of tailoring.

  12. pugsnbourbon :

    Wanted to thank the commenter who suggested using a brush to apply foundation to get a smoother finish. I was amazed at the improvement.

    On a related note – what are some good makeup hacks or shortcuts you use? Buzzfeed listicles only get me so far.

    • anon anon armani :

      Love the new wet/dry foundation brush by trish mcevoy.

      with dry skin, I’m combining her brand’s new “oil” with the moisturizer (after serums) to minimize all the “steps of applications” in the morning.

      not sure if it is a real hack, but feels that way to me, with one less step.

    • Stippling brush – the only thing I used for foundation for the last 7ish years. It makes blending foolproof.

      • SFAttorney :

        Yes to stippling brush for applying foundation. I got mine at Sephora. I was it with diluted shampoo every day and it’s good to go.

    • I use a big brush to apply Dior bb cream. It really does make a difference.

      I gave up eyeshadow. I use an eyelid base (I use Trish mc evoy eye base essentials) and a liquid liner (stila) and I find it good enough. Trying to streamline my products and morning time commitment. These are very quick products to put on.

      • I also use a brush to apply DiorSkin bb cream and it works SO WELL. Really, this product is amazing. I set it with Laura Mercier Smooth Finish foundation powder (it’s a pressed powder compact), using a Sephora Air Brush (just a big stippling brush). It makes my skin look amazing and stays put all day, even through a hard workout.

        Other hacks are using the Stila eyeliner and Diorshow mascara — no other eye makeup. Add a little blush after the bb cream and foundation, and you’re good to go. Applying all 5 products takes 5 minutes, tops.

    • FrankieCat :

      I just got microblading on my eyebrows in two months in, I love it! saves so much time for me in the morning and they are always even.

  13. Anonymous :

    Can one of you explain the ‘my taxes my money’ American thought process. As a European I just don’t get it. Here taxes are the greater good, they are what makes society great.

    • Yea… I think the simple answer is that much of this country does not have a “greater good” mentality. This is mostly what led to Trump winning.

      • This. There is no ‘greater good’ mentality like you see in Europe or Canada. There was a meme going around recently in Canada about how we gladly pay more taxes so a kid gets his cancer surgery or an old guy gets his pacemaker implanted. My sense is that Americans don’t view it as ‘of course I will willingly pay more taxes to help people who have less’. Canadian healthcare system is far from perfect of course.

        My DH is European so I’m confused by the tax statements of the Anon below. Most European countries have VAT + income tax + tax on investments like savings accounts.

        I was surprised that Canadians and Europeans actually don’t spend THAT much more in taxes relatively to what we get. Our countries just spend a lot less on defense and generally speaking wealthy people and corporations pay a bigger share.

    • The tax system in America is vastly different from Europe. Here, taxes are at the federal, state, and local level. The Federal & State taxes (if the States have a tax, some don’t) are income based–so our savings are taxed. In Europe the VAT is a consumption tax. So Americans are penalized for saving and rewarded (if you will) for spending. The local taxes are a percentage of owned property values and largely support the local education system.

      America is, outside of cities, largely…individualistic. We like control over where our money goes and when giants chunks of it disappear to Washington, never to be seen again, people get irritated. (Federal taxes pay for the military and social security…I think they are the largest recipients.) Particularly when reports come out that XYZ billionaire doesn’t pay anything. His toilet is gold plated. How is that possible?

      Cities are the easiest places to feel like you are getting something in return…museums, public transit, etc. But nevertheless, wages have remained largely stagnant over the last several years while health insurance and college tuition has skyrocketed. At least with local taxes you see an immediate benefit in terms of parks, schools, parades, etc.

      I don’t think I answered your question. Hm…. Basically, I think it is the Davy Crockett syndrome…that of the lone frontiersman that we’ve never been able to shake.

      • Can you explain how savings are taxed while spending is rewarded? I understand that some spending is tax favored, like childcare expenses, but there isn’t some “extra” tax for saving money vs. spending it on something that’s not tax favored.

        • We are taxes on income, and that includes interest from savings accounts, dividends from investments, etc. Spending is “rewarded” in the sense that it isn’t taxed, ie, there is no penalty to spend.

          • Sales tax?

          • Spending is taxed in the same way savings are (though I’m not sure I agree with your characterization since there’s an additional sales tax) — it’s post-income tax, isn’t it?

        • Many deductions from federal income tax are based around spending more. IE, if you buy an expensive house on a 30 year mortgage, you’ll have significant mortgage interest deductions. If you buy a modest house and save up money to pay it off, you’re penalized with fewer deductions and higher income tax payments.

          • But I end up paying less overall, so I’m good with my little modest house. :)

      • Our savings are taxed? Aren’t we taxed the same (in income tax) whether we spend or save?

        • See above…we are taxed on interest from savings accounts, dividends, and the like.

          • That’s a tax on income, not savings.

          • anonshmanon :

            I see this attitude a lot and it makes little sense to me. The whole ‘saving is punished while spending is rewarded’ line works under the assumption that you are entitled to earn interest, to have your money’s worth increase over time. When you save 1000$ by putting aside money from your paychecks, a year later, you still have those same 1000$. They are not taxed again, because the paycheck they came out of was taxed before. If you have gained interest on top of that, this is a source of income, and it is taxed just like your paycheck or your investment dividends. As long as the tax rate is not 100% though, you still have more than your original 1000$. That is your reward for saving.

          • Yes, agree with poster anonshmanon.

            It is disingenuous to claim (as many do….) that taxes on capital gains/interest/dividends are taxing their money “twice”. Completely false. Only the gain/increase in value is being taxed. That is fair and right, and in my opinion, should be taxed higher than income from actual physical work.

            If anything, we should be complaining that the interest rate has been so devastatingly low that conservative, lower income folks who feel uncomfortable with investing in a stock market entity and just want to save $$ in a bank have actually lost money. THAT is the lack of benefit for saving that is unfortunate.

    • American, and I don't get it either :

      Ha! I’m American, and I don’t understand this either.

      Anecdote: I grew up in an upper middle class family (physician father). From the time that I was old enough to understand the concept of voting/elections/political parties, I knew that my parents were both Democrats. We lived in the Northeast. We moved to the South when I was in middle school, and I vividly remember classmates (private school) expressing shock and confusion that my father was a physician who voted Democrat because “he has money, why would he want to give it away?”

      I went home and asked my dad. That led to a long, long conversation about how a rising tide lifts all boats, and why the out-for-just-me model is broken and destructive.

      TL;DR – I’m American, and I’ve never understood this either. Please take more of my money and use it for education and healthcare and social infrastructure.

    • I don’t really understand it, either. As American posted above, yes … please take more of my money and make sure everyone has food, clean water and a place to live. Hire more librarians and park rangers! Make museums free!

      I had a very conservative colleague and he just could not understand. “So you’re saying you would be willing to pay more tax?” “If it meant that little children were not homeless? Abso-effin-lutely.” And then he’d just shake his head in disbelief.

      But the thing that *I* couldn’t understand is that because he was Mormon, he gave away more than 10% of his income in tithe! I said, “But you donate your money to the church! What makes that any different?!?”

      To clarify, it’s not that I couldn’t understand him tithing, I just couldn’t understand why he saw the two things (taxes vs tithe) so differently.

      • So the difference is that conservatives think the government wastes a ton, which it does. I also give a ton of money to charity, and I find that it makes a bigger difference in my hometown of ensuring that little children are not homeless.

        • Also, conservatives give a much larger percentage of their income to charity, even among those who make less. They also give more blood and more time to their communities.

          • Cite? I have never heard this before.

          • Newp. Not unless you count churches. Which might be nonprofit but they are NOT charities.

          • they are charities

            big time

          • Still No. Lots of congregations do charitable work like running soup kitchens, but the primary purpose of churches is to promote a particular religious belief. They get huge property tax benefits (i.e., they pay none) and many do not contribute anything to their communities in return.
            Lots of them just line the pockets of the “pastors” who preside. Lots of them are veiled political organizations.
            Tithing is not a charitable contribution. Especially when you believe you’ll go to hell if you don’t do it.

          • I wonder how many rich would donate if the tax advantages (and social cache…) were eliminated?

          • +1 to Nellie.

            But then, I also live in an area where a large local church put the following on their sign: “OUR homeless children should come WAY BEFORE any refugee.”

            This is a church that doesn’t run a soup kitchen, open to the homeless, etc. So, perhaps I’m jaded and don’t believe those “charities” that the churches are engaging in are really full of goodwill.

          • Yeah, y’all need to try a world without churches. Then you would see what they do. Even if it is “just” religion, they offer counseling to people who need it and wouldn’t get it. People on here are the biggest proponents of counseling I’ve ever seen!

          • http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/26/AR2008032602916.html

            It’s a little outdated, but I can’t find the current figures that I saw recently. It remains true.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Nellie took the words right out of my mouth. All that vanted “charitable giving” by conservatives is largely to their own churches, for lovely buildings and social events and Bible studies and the like. Yes, there are soup kitchens but generally it is to promote and support the church itself, which is a social/political organization.

          • http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/03/26/AR2008032602916.html

          • Yep. They counsel women to stay in abusive marriages and “obey” their husbands. They counsel queer children to knock it off. They counsel addicts that they can get better with God’s love. Many counsel women that they are inferior and cannot be priests, ministers, etc. They counsel women to sit in another room during services. They counsel abuse victims to “forgive.” They counsel pedophiles to go to another congregation and try to do better. But mostly, they counsel people to give them money.
            Churches are no better or worse than any other type of club with a mission that occasionally also does charity work. I’m not saying they’re evil. But they are not charities.

          • @ELS

            That’s SO SO awful!

            I’m in Canada where the main churches (Catholic, United, Anglican(Episcopalian)) are all actively involved in sponsoring and resettling Syrian refugees families (like raising money to pay for the living costs of a year) in addition to their work helping the government sponsored refugees. The local Anglican church had a sign after the Quebec City attack that said “God is our God, Muslims and Christians, We are all Brothers and Sisters.” And globally, I’m pretty sure Pope Francis put out a specific call for each Catholic parish to sponsor at least one refugee family.

            I can’t believe those people in your area call themselves Christian and can put up a sign like that. I hate that they can call themselves churches and minister only to those who contribute to their parish. So awful. I will ask our minister about adding an additional prayer for Christians who have lost their way to our prayers of the people this Sunday.

          • Wowza, a lot of hatred for churches. This is just crazy to me.

            They counsel women to sit in another room? Maybe you shouldn’t judge all churches by Westboro.

            My church in Houston is an evangelical, Bible believing church. 30% of its budget goes to international missions. 30% goes to local missions, like sponsoring the homeless shelter and school scholarships for poor kids. They also encourage their members to give back their time, like by serving food at the shelters and playing basketball with homeless people. And my church is NOT unique. 20% goes to salaries, and 20% goes to facilities (which they need, because it’s bursting at the seams with young, educated people!).

          • Yes, I forgot about the refugee crisis! A woman at my church started Houston Welcomes Refugees, which is sponsored heavily by the church. They collect items to furnish apartments, actually send people to go set up the apartments, and ask people to go visit the refugees once a week for an hour to ensure they are settling in well and have what they need. This charity has been supported by all of the major churches in our area. There is nothing secular in Houston that does the same thing.

          • It’s not hate to say they are not charities, and I’m not talking about fringes like Westboro. Many major world religions separate women and men. That’s fine— it’s part of a belief system that’s not my place to question. But I’d rather not subsidize those houses of worship by paying more property taxes myself.

            And again, many religious churchgoers do charitable work, including with refugees. That doesn’t make the core mission of the *church* charitable. Which is why the zoning ordinances etc. characterize them as religious organizations, not charities.

          • The work of churches should be in addition to the basic level provided by government. That way refugees, poor kids and others, are not reliant to remaining in the good graces of the churches to receive assistance.

          • To the Anonymous posting about Houston Welcomes Refugees. There is a secular organization that does the same thing – Refugee Services of Texas. They are affiliates with a number of churches, but the organization itself is secular.

            (Not meant as a criticism, just wanted to share another great organization. I will look into volunteering or donating with Houston Welcomes Refugees now. It seems Refugee Services of Texas has been overwhelmed with volunteers in recent weeks so maybe there are more opportunities with your group).

          • @Anon @11:54:

            It IS awful, and counter to the church upbringing I had (I am now not religious, though I have no problem with churches, generally. I just don’t believe they are “charities”/should be the only safety net).

            I don’t think that most Christians worldwide feel this way — I certainly hope not, as it is absolutely counter to the message of the religion. I know many of my Catholic, Episcopalian and Presbyterian (what this church was) friends are all in favor of refugee programs. I know many churches across the country are/were sponsoring refugees, regardless of their stated religion.

            My point in bringing it up is not to say that churches are bad — it’s to show how easily the message of charity and goodwill can be diluted/thwarted. I don’t attend church, but support my friends who do. I support anything, really, that strives to make someone’s life better and encourages them to love others/do good in the community. But it’s not primarily set up to be a charity — it’s a religious group that does some charity work (for which I applaud them).

            Basically: +1 to Anonymous at 12:13pm.

          • Anonymous :

            @ ELS

            I’m actually anon 12:13 as well so I think we’re pretty much on the same page. churches should be extras but they also shouldn’t have mean signs!

        • Fair enough. But we can’t count on everyone being personally generous enough to house all of the homeless kids, care for everyone in foster care, educate everyone, lifelong care for adults with severe disabilities, care for elderly who can no longer work, etc. etc.

          • Right, and there are certain needy populations who get far less sympathy, like people addicted to drugs or the formerly incarcerated.

      • anon anon armani :

        Maybe it’s a feeling of control over where the money goes and how it is used in terms of tithing vs. taxes? Seems I’ve heard this from those who thithe, somewhere… can’t recall the source.

        • Control is definitely part of it. I’m catholic and I donate generously to my church and its school. There is significant transparency in how the money is distributed and it is very easy to influence change in that space.

          • Baconpancakes :

            This is interesting. My wildly liberal family raised me to give tzekadah to causes we care about, but to regard taxes as payment for being citizens of an amazing country. The two have been completely separate in my mind, and this conversation, that people consider their taxes as charity since it can be used for HUD and education and homeless programs, is illuminating.

          • See, and I don’t mind most of my local and state taxation, because I feel it is very easy for me to be an engaged citizen and influence change in the space. I’m rather fond of transparency and control in all of my spending (control for tax purposes coming in the form of reaching out to my reps and receiving thoughtful responses back). The federal tax system feels like a black hole. There are three people in Washington who represent me and it certainly seems like constituents aren’t much influence in how they vote (See DeVos being confirmed.)

          • @Walnut — Thanks for your thoughts on this. I’m one of those “I feel taxes are my patriotic duty — please use them for infrastructure/to support the poor” people … but I do agree that it’s helpful to understand how and where the money is being used.

            I posted below that I’m a local government attorney. We’re in the middle of our budget process now, and have had public meetings about each phase of setting up the budget for the next year. We allow citizen comment, etc. I’m not saying that’s a tenable solution at the national level, but I understand and hear your frustration.

        • Something about giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s perhaps?

      • My parents see the two as very different as well. They are former Republicans, but retain much of the Republican spending mindset (at least the one that is claimed by Republican politicians, even if they don’t follow it when it comes to defense spending). In their mind, churches and other private organizations should help those that have less, not the federal government. They would rather pay more to these organizations rather than pay the government the same amount.

        It is interesting that we live in an area with massive property taxes and the local taxes aren’t complained about nearly as much as the federal income taxes. Maybe all of this comes out of a preference for more local/state government and less federal? I think they would be happy to pay for defense and social security, but don’t want the federal government doing much other spending and don’t want to pay for it. Unfortunately, we live in a state that claims states’ rights, but then fails at picking up the slack from the federal government when it comes to social needs.

        • State/local is preferred by many wealthy people because they can see it at work near them and it doesn’t have to go the unseen ‘poors’ who are suspected of being poor because they are lazy.

          The problem with letting private organizations provide services instead of government is that then they get to set the rules on who gets help. E.g. Salvation Army and their anti-LGBT families policies.

        • Local government attorney here.

          People TOTALLY complain about property taxes. We advertised a small increase, and people came out of the woodwork to scream about it.

          Very conservative area. All our elected officials are Republicans.

          • lucy stone :

            Yes. People show up at meetings to demand we improve parks or streets or add services, and then when their taxes go up they show up and raise holy Hell about it.

          • 100%, Lucy Stone.

    • I don’t have an issue with my taxes if I can see where they money is going. My local taxes have tremendous visibility into the individual levees (city, schools, community college, natural resources district) and I remain very engaged in the bond issues and voter-approved levee increases at a local level. My state level taxes start to get a little less transparent, but I can see the local road work, universities, etc.

      At the federal level, it all sort of becomes a black hole and it’s a HUGE chunk of cash. Sure there is military spending, but I’ve had insight into the ridiculous, expensive procurement methods used for federal contracting, so I know there is plenty of waste in the military and in the rest of the branches. I also question how much of my federal taxes is just getting re-distributed back to the states. There comes a point where if my federal income tax is getting redistributed, why can’t I just pay that tax at a state level in the first place?

      • “There comes a point where if my federal income tax is getting redistributed, why can’t I just pay that tax at a state level in the first place?”

        This is part of the ‘greater good’ aspect. In Canada and Europe there are mechanism in place for the poorer areas to get back more money so those areas can try to raise their standard of living/provide services (education/healthcare/roads) at a level closer to the average areas.

        • Redistributed to ensure kids are fed and not homeless? Completely fine with that. Redistributed so California can have high speed rail between LA and San Francisco? Not so much. The issue at the federal level is there is very little insight and ability to direct one thing over another. That’s why people get angry.

          • Better public transit reduces car usage which improves the environment.

          • Does that seriously take that many cars off the road???

            It’s not like that’s going to be the new Accela.

          • Baconpancakes :

            So, here’s the thing about transportation spending. Currently, any large infrastructure project is going to be at least partially funded by the federal General Fund. You might feel like you’re getting cheated because a big metropolitan area like LA is getting more money for transportation infrastructure projects, but actually, the state-based equity distribution system currently in place in the US for transportation projects means that areas with smaller populations get proportionally huge amounts of money for projects with few beneficiaries. This is doubly true for the Higheay Trust Fund. For every dollar CA puts in, they get something like $0.30 back, while states like Wyoming get $3 for every $1 they put in.

            TL;DR for the number of taxpayers in California, they’ve earned their expensive high speed rail projects.

      • Right. I think some of the disagreement comes down to the level of state/local control. People want to see how their money is being spent. Then comes the split between what should be the public responsibility and what is private responsibility. You may see your tithe to your church as your contribution to helping others because its funds the food pantry and an afterschool care program. You still believe you have an obligation to help people- you just fund it differently. Now, clearly there are arguments as to why we need a unified approach and should it be micro or macro. But, I think that people get frustrated with the assumption that wanting lower taxes means that you are somehow uncharitable.

    • I’m a tax accountant. I prepare taxes for individuals, trusts, and businesses. I’ve thought about this a lot, so sorry in advance for the novel. FWIW, I personally do not resent paying taxes.

      I think the general resentment you’re talking about comes from a lot of things– us having a very different wealth distribution structure in the US than in many European countries, paired with this really rebellious idea of freedom. “Don’t tell me what to do” is a big thing here. Needing the social safety net is a sign of weakness, like you can’t do it yourself or are too lazy. Plus we have a tax code that rewards certain things — being married, having kids, giving to charity, owning a home. And the richer you are, the more you’re taxed, and the poorer you are the more likely you are to not only pay nothing, but also get a bunch of money back that you never paid in. That causes resentment, whether or not it should. And our tax code is complicated and confusing and people hate things like that.

      There are a lot of tax benefits to being poor and having children. I worked in a low income tax clinic where I’d see single low income women with multiple children. These people lived in poverty. Let’s say they made $15-17,000 per year and were fully supporting three or four of their kids or grandkids. It was not uncommon for them to get full refunds of any tax they had withheld and tax credits adding up to $5-10k. These people pay nothing in. They are “rewarded” for having kids. Some middle class people resent that. Middle class people have kind of been screwed over for years. Expenses have gone up across the board, but wages have remained flat in the middle class. So these middle class people are paying taxes and working hard (in their minds) and they are looking at these poor people having kids and getting all the benefits of things they are paying for. That’s why there is so much anger and resentment between middle and lower class people.

      Then you have people like me. My husband and I make a combined ~ 160k in a LCOL area. We pay ~$25k in federal taxes. I don’t mind paying that much. We’re at kind of this weird spot though. Lots of tax benefits phase out above a certain income level. Our income level prevents us from getting any kind of tax credit for our kid, for example. Daycare where we live is 10k per year for one kid, which is really cheap. Other people pay at least twice that. I didn’t have a paid maternity leave. I don’t get any social safety net. I don’t mind paying for the safety net of others though, because I am comfortable myself. I have no resentment. I get that $160k may not be a lot in NYC, but I’d consider it to be upper middle class where I live, for reference.

      Then there are people who are making $500 million dollars and they are paying the same rate of taxes as someone making $500,000. There is a lot of suspicion about the “rich” here that I’ve heard. People talking about how rich people have these accountants that know about these secret loopholes and do all kinds of shady stuff so the rich people aren’t paying their “fair share” whatever that is. May be true for Donald Trump, but not true for any rich person who goes to a reputable CPA these days. If you’re rich, you pay a ton of taxes. That’s just how it is.

      There are also a bunch of inflammatory politically-motivated stories that go around every year about how corporations are evil and “Had $xxx amount of revenue and paid $0 in taxes!!! HEADS WILL ROLL!!!!!”. But corporations don’t pay taxes on revenue, they pay taxes on net income (revenue less expenses). So there are a lot of people who are angry about other people and businesses not paying their fair share, so they wonder why exactly they are paying so much. But the tax code is so complicated and financial literacy is so low that I’m not terribly surprised. Hopefully this wasn’t too long and rambling. It’s kind of a hot button topic to me.

      • I think your post exposes some of the fundamental differences between America compared to Canada/Europe. When I see: “the poorer you are the more likely you are to not only pay nothing, but also get a bunch of money back that you never paid in” then I think, that’s exactly how it should be. If someone is living on 15K a year, I don’t want them paying any taxes. Their life is hard enough as it is.

        • Their life is not that hard or else presumably they would learn after they had, I don’t know, two kids? But when you have 4+ that’s you making a decision to live the way you live and let the taxpayers support you. I have no sympathy or respect for that.

          • yes, it’s definitely that. It’s not that they didn’t have money to buy birth control or get to a Planned Parenthood office, or that they didn’t have the ability to refuse to LGP with a partner because they were relying on living with that partner to keep their healthcare or their kid in a decent school district.

            lazy poor people sitting around and having or wait, no, I meant greedy unemphatic rich people.

          • wow

          • Ouch, this is myopic.

          • anonshmanon :

            Wait a second, how is the taxpayer supporting that? They are simply getting back taxes that THEY paid, because through the filing process it has been established that in their situation (X$ income, Y people to support from this income, which is measured in a certain tax credit), they have so little taxable income that their tax rate drops to zero. Your tax money isn’t flowing to them. It has simply been established that they are too poor to pay income taxes, so they get back the amount that had been withheld. The people who are too poor shouldn’t have to pay income taxes, that’s the whole idea behind income tax.
            Any middle class family gets those same tax credits for their children (CPA lady, please correct me if I’m wrong here). If they make a decent income, after all these deductions, there will still be a sizeable amount, and so it gets taxed.

            And don’t get me started on this judgy ‘well they should stop having all these children…’. It’s their life, in the land of the free! Don’t tell them what to do.

          • ^ Some people do actually get more back than they put in. The earned income tax credit is a big one in these situations. It is specifically targeted to low and moderate income folks with kids. You can get thousands and thousands of dollars more than you paid in. It is supposed to reward low income people who are at least TRYING to support themselves. Like, yay! you have a job! Way to go! Have $6,000!

            But to the person above who’s like “just stop having kids”, a lot of these people who are taking care of the kids are the grandmothers. The kid’s mom and dad are both gone, either because of drug addiction issues, imprisonment, or just abandoning their child completely. They live in poverty stricken, crime ridden neighborhoods with high unemployment and terrible terrible schools. Lots of people say that education is the way to “escape” places like that, but when the schools are so awful it’s hard to break the cycle.

          • Thank you for your posts on this subject, CPA lady. I worked, before my current job, in the child-welfare realm, and saw first hand how some of our tax money/credits help the very grandmas/kids that you are talking about.

            If I had any problems paying income taxes because of “those people” before that job, I certainly do not now.

          • Anon at 11:07 and 11:10 :

            Of course the poor people should get money beyond not having to pay in. Of course I would want them to get $6000 if their income is only $15 000 and they have 4 kids. That’s literally what we do in Canada. You get a certain amount of money per child depending on your income. It’s called the Canada Child Benefit. They have no money, why wouldn’t we give poor people money? What is the point of being together on this earth if we are not helping others?

          • @anonshmanon – Actually the EITC is a refundable tax credit – so those people that qualify, they get back more money than they paid in. And the amount of EITC grows by the number of dependents under a certain age.

          • I admit to not knowing about the availability and price of long-acting birth control for poor women. However, “reproductive coercion” is a thing. Not all women have agency that is respected. Women are taught they are worth less without a man. In communities with high incarceration rates, women far outnumber men. This means men can set the terms of relationships. If a woman requires a condom, her man will likely leave for someone who won’t.

          • Anonshmanon :

            yep, I had no idea about refundable tax credits. Thanks for clearing that up.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Let’s not forget that poor people pay a disproportionate amount of their income in non-federal taxes. Sales taxes, for example, are incredibly regressive and hit poor people harder. Same with payroll taxes. Auto registration, any government fees like driver’s license fees — they’re the same dollar amount for everyone and it may be negligible for me but for somebody making minimum wage or close to it, it’s a significant expense. So it’s ridiculous to say that low-income people don’t pay any taxes at all.

      • I think this is mainly it, but you’re missing the part where LCOL (middle class) areas feel like they get nothing back.

        In a big city and suburbs, you see the framed stop signs and the museums and the schools. In the inner city, you see programs and child credits. In a small city or rural area, you get none of that. Your “greater good” systems are actually pretty awful – your roads are falling apart and your schools are failing. Your grandparents’ SS check is barely covering their meds, so you’re paying for their rent. You rarely get anything back from your taxes – your mortgage interest isn’t enough to offset anything and it’s not like you have all this money to invest or give to charity.

        So there’s a sense that middle class people are pouring money into this black hole where it benefits everyone else – the country is profiting off their hard work. The rich aren’t paying their fair share, the poor aren’t paying anything. The middle class is funding everything and getting nothing in return. They’d much rather give to their church or schools or whatnot directly, so at least the people in their community are benfitting, not some fatcat bigwig in a city they’ll never visit.

        • But the problem is that the middle class is just kicking those who are down and attacking the poor and voting in rich people like DJT who are only going to help other rich people.

          • FWIW, I’m middle class and some of the aspects of DJT’s tax plan will benefit me. Allowing all of my child care costs to be deductible and increasing the standard deduction will make a substantial impact on my filings. Sure, the tax plan will help the rich, but I do think it has a chance to trickle down to the middle class also.

            (Obligatory comment – not a DJT supporter – just some of what I have read around his campaign tax package.)

          • I’d rather forgo the child care tax benefit and see everyone have healthcare.

        • Senior Attorney :

          Again, the poor pay sales taxes and (often) payroll taxes. To say they pay nothing is just plain wrong.

      • “But the tax code is so complicated and financial literacy is so low that I’m not terribly surprised.”

        Totally. I’m a CPA that doesn’t do taxes, but still have a better-than-your-average-citizen understanding of the tax code. I have plenty of friends and family that don’t understand what it means to have marginal tax brackets, which baffles me. (“My wife’s part-time job put us into the next tax bracket! Anger! Should have kept her at home!”)

        Most people I’ve encountered feel that their tax deductions and credits are their right. They don’t view it as a handout from the government or welfare, although there’s certainly an argument to be made that it is. Take away the mortgage interest deduction, and I think you’d have a lot fewer homeowners, you know?

        • Senior Attorney :

          Yes, that drives me insane. If you make more money, you will always have more money in your pocket. The last dollar may be taxed at a higher rate, but you will always end up ahead. Gah…

      • Anon for this :

        Your comment touched on an important issue. How freaking complicated the tax code is. I’m an attorney. My husband worked for the IRS for 5 years. We have still screwed up our taxes multiple times and are currently being audited. I had a question about my taxes last year. I called 3 CPAs and several attorneys and no one knew the definite answer. It was “it depends” (just like most things in law). The provision at issue was ambiguous and hadn’t yet been litigated. It’s a 50/50 of whether I would do it right. I get extremely annoyed with our taxes simply because the system and the code is a mess. I’m happy to pay taxes but let’s just make it straight forward.

    • I don’t resent paying taxes at all, but I have lived in a country with European style socialized medicine and now in the US and I saw way more benefits from my taxes then. I wish my money went to infrastructure, schools, libraries, public transportation etc. instead of drones, military spending, and bloated bureaucracy that provides minimal service to our citizens. I pay a ton in taxes for my income level because I’m a freelancer and I pay property tax in a cash poor city, and I am 100% fine with the amount I pay, but really unhappy with how it is allocated. I also don’t understand the American individualistic mentality. I’m the daughter of an immigrant and part of a minority group with a pretty non western worldview and I just….do not understand. I ended up with more money in my pocket at the end of the day when I was paying even higher taxes abroad, because I got free healthcare and barely paid anything for prescriptions, I didn’t need to a own car because of state subsidized transport, and staple food prices were gov regulated. And re: the discussion yesterday about dem party leadership – this is why I was such a strong supporter of Bernie in the dem primary – I lived in/am a dual citizen of a country with lots of socialist light policies, Scandinavia style, and it just worked so much better, and made my life starting out right of college as a young person a million times easier (which is why I moved there after finishing a BA in the US). From what I can tell more and more people in my age bracket agree with me after having a really tough time starting out in this economic situation.

    • I don’t understand the “us” “them” mentality because any one of us can become “them.” Fortunes can disappear. Catastrophic health events can end an opportunity to earn income. Drug addiction can take away a family member. Ask any widow who relied upon a spouse who died, or anyone who missed a few mortgage payments during the recession and ended up homeless. We can do what we can to save, and get insurance, and make responsible choices … but at the end of the day you can’t protect against everything.

      If my husband and I get cancer and my house gets blown away in a tornado, I want to know there is a safety net in place for my son. Right now, we don’t need SSDI benefits, or FEMA, or Medicaid, but we’re not immune from possibly needing those things in the future. I’m happy to support that kind of safety net, knowing that any of us might end up in a place where we need it.

    • It’s extremely simple. A lot of Americans are racist and tribal. They don’t want their hard-earned money going to someone who doesn’t look like them and is thus “undeserving.” This is why socialist democracies work in places where most people look the same (Europe- but now that is eroding because of immigration). Canada may be the exception, but seems like they are becoming more conservative as well.

      All of the other stuff is just excuses and BS.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Sadly, that’s my analysis as well.

      • Anon at 11:07 and 11:10 :

        Agree but confused why you think Canada is becoming more conservative. We just elected a Liberal government a year ago. And even our most recent Conservative government previous to that did not rollback healthcare or education in a substantive way (yes, cuts but substance of programs remained). Australia is also diverse with robust social programs.

        European social programs are incredibly strong compared to American programs, and many places do have significant minority populations and have had them for generations.

        • Never too many shoes... :

          As a fellow Canadian, I also reject the characterization that we are becoming more conservative. November 2015 saw the election of a young, unashamedly feminist, socially liberal Prime Minister who supported an influx of refugees, marched in the largest Pride Parade in the country and mandated that all future party candidates must support a woman’s right to choose.

        • +1!

      • To some extent, yes I agree with this. But taking it a step further, European countries are also much smaller and more homogeneous (within themselves, not across Europe) than the US. The US is SO BIG with so many diverse needs. You can’t expect to import a social program from Europe wholesale and have it work. And so I think it is a lot harder to equitably and effectively reallocate tax dollars to meet people’s needs on a government level here in the US.

        • Have you seen the European Union? It’s basically the same size as the United States (based on population), very diverse because of all the countries involved, and redistributes wealth from the richer countries to the poorer ones.

          It’s not harder, you just have to chose not to vote in candidates who run on tax cuts and defense spending.

          • I’m not sure that the EU has been an unmitigated success… the populations of Greece and Spain and England don’t seemed thrilled. And immigrants, refugees and Roma continue to be treated pretty poorly.

          • It’s not an unmitigated success. I never claimed it was. It is however an area of similar population size and even greater diversity than the USA which has nonetheless managed to provide basic healthcare and education to its entire population while at the same time working to redistribute wealth – working together for the greater good which is what OP asked about.

          • @Anonymous — but aren’t healthcare systems, and other social programs, designed and administered at a local level (i.e., each country has its own)? So the analogy would be if each state in the US ran its own healthcare system, designed its own education standards, etc. (which is actually what the repubs are arguing for, a la the latest bill to get rid of the education department). Redistributing wealth alone does nothing.

      • PrettyPrimadonna :

        I agree, unfortunately.

    • nasty woman :

      I’m going to focus on the issue of taxing for the social safety net because this is a complex question. I think a lot of it is the result of a societal preference for the individual v. the greater good. We are a very individualistic nation. We also equate success with merit. We believe in “pulling yourself up by your bootstraps.” That you can get anywhere you want in life with hard work. Working your butt off for success is the American Dream. Google the concept of the “temporarily embarrassed millionaire”- it’s interesting. Basically, the idea is that people who are not wealthy look at those who are and thing that they could be just like the millionaire if they worked harder/were smarter/ got lucky. So not only do the rich deserve to be rich because of either their hard work or their innate qualities or their contributions, but the opportunity to become rich is available to everyone. The flip side of that is that we believe that if you’re poor, it’s your fault. This is why the responses to spending on social problems is “you shouldn’t have had kids if you were poor,” or “you should not have a cell phone if you’re poor” or “you should go to school to ‘better yourself,” or “pay for your health insurance yourself.” I think that the pro/anti-social safety net camps can be boiled down to two ideologies: 1) the people who recognize that there will *always* be people in need: the temporarily disabled, the mentally ill, children, the elderly, etc., and that these people deserve to be caught in a net. They may be in need because of factors within or not within their control, or a combination of both. They believe that, regardless of the cause of their need, a civil society does not abandon its members in need. The anti-social safety net side appears to believe that you do not deserve help even though you are in need because being in need is entirely within your control. This side appears to operate under the assumption that it is possible to achieve a society where (almost) no one is in need, because success/self-sufficiency is available to you if you just work hard enough. I do not think that is realistic (or, it’s just plain old selfishness/meanness and they’d rather be a little richer than watch kids starve). Obviously, this is an over simplification, but it summarizes my observations of these different attitudes.

      Some people think we should rely on private charity or churches to close the gap. They may like the idea of having greater control over their money, or better efficiency. I understand that. However, the trouble I see with that is that private charity discriminates. Private charity also controls. The government does not discriminate with aid. I do not want to create a society where the only place one can get help is a church, where that church can decide it does not want to help you because you are a harlot woman, a minority, transgender, a criminal, whatever. I do not want to live in a society where receiving charity is contingent on you going to church, or repenting for your sins, or whatever conditions a church or private charity may impose. Finally, private charity is an insufficient and inconsistent resource. Let’s use healthcare as an example: Let’s say that you or your kid gets hit with a major cancer. You don’t have enough money in your pocket to pay for treatment. You don’t have health insurance. You hear about chili cook-offs or whatever to raise money for someone’s child’s cancer treatment. That’s great. But is that a sufficient option for everyone? No. Ok, if I have a stroke, am I going to hold a bake sale? If I’m not a cute child, but rather someone who has suffered with drug addiction, or had an abortion, are people going to donate to my cause? Things like health insurance/universal healthcare operate on a societal level by pooling risk and distributing costs. As a result, people aren’t bankrupted by the cost of medical care or forced to simply die. This type of protection can’t be replicated by charitable giving/saving at an individual level.

  14. I’m trying to decide if I should get this dress. I can’t tell if I’m lusting after it or if It’ll really be all that useful, and I generally have terrible decision-making skills when it comes to buying clothes. I’m in consulting. Help?

    https://mmlafleur.com/shop/better-things-2/akiko-3-0-black

    • Beautiful, classic dress. It would work well with a jacket. I don’t think the fit is good on the model in the video. It’s tight across her hips and bunchy in the front. That suggests to me that the cut wouldn’t work well on me (pear shape).

    • It’s lovely and looks like a classic style that could last. But speaking of having legs, it’s a little on the short side, at least on the model.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      If you can afford it, it’s a beautiful, classic dress. I’d say go for it.

    • Ooh, it’s pretty! But it’s so short!

    • It doesn’t look short at all on the non-models at the bottom of the page.

  15. I don’t get it either, but I resent paying taxes for the greater good when I don’t see much good happening. It would be one thing to pay and see the benefits – working infrastructure, health care for all, maternity, free education, effective programs for the needy, etc. As it is, many who pay a lot drive on crumbling roads and get 0 social services and witness millions of others in truly abject poverty. Plus the Donald doesn’t pay income tax.

  16. Anonymous :

    Would you keep a smaller emergency fund if you had the option to stop paying your mortgage? Our loan is through a family member and we are paid way ahead, so no payments are actually due for a long time, although we usually pay $3k/month. I feel like it makes sense to basically have “stop paying the mortgage” be our e-fund, since our mortgage is at 3% interest and an emergency fund would earn way less than that in the bank. I think we should just keep a small e-fund to cover six months of non-mortgage expenses. But my husband disagrees and thinks we should keep a much bigger amount of cash in the bank. (This is not about funding retirement, etc. which we are definitely doing).

    • Anonymous :

      No.

    • Anonymous :

      I hope you are getting receipts!

      What happens if the family member dies and their heirs want you to start paying 3K/month every month? If your family member sends you a 1099, that’s great.

      But I would worry about a different emergency.

      • We have a formal loan agreement that spells out the terms that was drafted by the lawyer, and the family member pays taxes on the interest. If the family member dies the loan is deemed satisfied.

        • Then I’d never have prepaid it and I’d stop paying right now and just save the money.

          Also: if I were that family member, I’d be giving you the side-eye all the time. I’ve definitely watched Double Indemnity too many times.

          • The family member is relatively young (<50 years old) and it's a 15 year loan that began several years ago. We have every expectation that we are going to re-pay every penny of it, and that was the intention of all parties when we entered into the agreement. But you asked "what happens if the family member's heirs want to change the terms" so I mentioned that contingency which is addressed in the loan agreement.

          • I think it was what if the heirs don’t recognize that you have prepaid? And then you want the title to your house and they won’t give it to you? Not that they’d change the terms, but that they’d be suspicious of prepayments and not have any way to prove what you’re saying. Or try to apply prepayments to future payments and not a reduction in principal or try to reamortize? People are funny and honoring a complex financial arrangement isn’t something I’d assume would go smoothly.

            I mean, professional loan servicing companies get this wrong all the time. I’m not sure that amateurs who aren’t the original parties would do better.

            Also: what if you die? We are all a bad traffic accident away from that, sadly.

    • This depends on the family member’s situation and how much equity you have. My dad holds the ‘mortgage’ on our house – we pay slightly above the interest rate we would pay to a bank, we’re current but not ahead on payments. We could ‘re-mortgage’ anytime but it is part of his retirement income so we couldn’t instantly stop or switch to anything below about half of our current payment. But based on the fact that we could halve our monthly payment overnight if needed, we have a smaller emergency fund. We have a lot of equity in the house as well which would allow us to take out a second traditional mortgage at a bank if we needed cash or if my dad’s situation changed and he couldn’t handle us cutting payments short term.

      • Thanks. We have a lot of equity in the house and the family member is very well off and fine with us temporarily stopping payments.

    • Veronica Mars :

      No, because in the event of a catastrophic job loss, where your income goes down to zero dollars/month, not paying the mortgage would just slow your debt accumulation. You’d still need money to pay for groceries/electric/internet/transportation, etc and you’d run through that 6-month buffer pretty quickly if anything else happened (car troubles, medical bills, etc).

      • JuniorMinion :

        Its not even catastrophic – this is a very real possibility in some industries. I am in oil and gas, married to someone affected. 350k people have lost their jobs in the industry over the last 2+ years and only 15% of those have found new jobs.

      • FWIW, we both have jobs that could alone pay our bills. The odds of us both losing our jobs at the same moment seem very small, but it’s not impossible I suppose.

        • Senior Attorney :

          The big issue is if one of you has a catastrophic illness or accident and the other needs/wants to take time off to be a caregiver. It’s not just “oh we won’t both be laid off at the same time.”

    • I don’t think stopping paying a bill is a valid emergency fund. Last year, in the course of 12 months, we had major medical bills for two family members, a childcare emergency, and the plumbing in our house go (we have a farm, are on a well and turned on the faucet and nothing happened). You never anticipate that you are going to get hit with these type of things, but having actual cash in the bank was what saved us. An emergency is not limited to someone losing a job, it is the immediate need to expend cash to fix a problem. Your emergency fund should be enough to handle a significant emergency without needing to forgo paying bills.

      • Just to be clear, I’m proposing we keep six months worth of all our other expenses (groceries, gas, utilities, property tax, car and home insurance, etc.), which would work out to probably $15k, so we would definitely have cash on hand for an unexpected bill. But my husband thinks we need at least double that.

        • With this clarification, I think I agree with you. But if he wants 12 months of cash on hand/$30K, can you instead split the difference and to 9 months/$22.5K?

        • JuniorMinion :

          I tend to agree with your husband. The more money you can save, the better. “I really wish I had saved less” said no one ever. Additionally, I will add the younger you are when you put money in either interest bearing prefs / bonds or stock funds the higher overall return you are likely to see on those dollars.

          Think of it this way. $15k is one roof / central air / major automobile I -need-a-new-one now problem.

          • I don’t think this is really about saving vs. spending. We’re both fully funding our retirement and building our home equity is a form of saving too. We’re on the same page when it comes to buying stuff v. saving and we’re both generally pretty frugal. But this money wouldn’t be in index funds. My husband wants it sitting in cash in the bank, earning essentially no interest but immediately accessible to us, while our mortgage racks up 3% interest.

          • JuniorMinion :

            Ah ok thanks OP for the clarity. The only thing I am personally cautions of (which I have seen first hand in both my own family and people close to me) is leaning heavily on home equity as that is very illiquid. I tend to not count that in my net worth / savings calculation as there are many people learning currently in Houston that home equity isn’t real until you can sell your house at that price.

            Could you talk to him about potentially putting that money in some liquid investments like a Scottrade / personal investment account? Index funds / pref / bond funds are easily sold (I think Scottrade charges me like $7 per trade and it settles within a few days). I agree with you that having $30k in cash in the bank is probably a mistake. For myself we probably have only $5 – $15k at any one time in cash in a bank account but we could easily sell some stocks to cover anything larger pretty simply / cheaply.

          • And his plan makes perfect sense to me.

          • Have you tried to focus the conversation on how you store your emergency fund as opposed to how much your emergency fund needs to be? Sure, you need some money immediately accessible to you in an emergency, but you don’t need something like $50k sitting around losing money (because the interest rate in your savings account is lower than inflation). There are other easily liquidable options to store that kind of cash. Otoh, maybe those options won’t make you enough money to make much of a difference overall. If you put it in an index fund that makes $X/year on average, which do you value more – the $X/year or your husband’s peace of mind that the cash is sitting in savings?

          • $15K is way too little to keep in cash if you have the ability to keep more. One major home repair could wipe that out instantly.

          • Agree that $15K is too small of an emergency fund. Consider whether that would be enough to cover: your out of pocket max for medical coverage for a year (or two), a major house repair and car repair. We easily went through 15K last year. Some years just suck, and that is why you have an emergency fund.

          • You do need double that. I have double that, and I’m a single person who rents.

    • split the difference, by establishing a solid but on the smaller side e-fund then pay off mortgage? You need some emergency fund – I’d keep that amount (3-6 mos expenses) sacred and pay off mortgage after doing so/without touching that amount.

    • We have a mortgage where we do not have to make principal payments for the first 10 years–just interest and escrow. We typically pay some principal with our mortgage payments so that we can make roughly equal payments for 25 years, but we do not include the amount of the principal in our calculation of monthly expenses for the purpose of an emergency fund. And when I was recently unemployed for 6 months, we did not make those principal payments. That means we’re “behind” on principal payments in terms of when we want to pay off the house, and if we do not sell first, we’ll have to make higher principal payments to “make up” for not paying for 6 months. It’s a triplex, where we currently live in one unit, and we’ll probably rent out our unit and be more than able to “make up” 6 months’ worth of principal from the rent, so it made sense to us. Long-term, we would not be able to do that though.

    • Coach Laura :

      If you want to earn more, try “laddering” CDs. Say you want $120,000 in emergency funds for 6 months. Each month put $40,000 in a three month CD until the $120,000 is invested. If you were laid off or had other emergency you would have a maturing CD that month and one would mature each month to cover the whole six months. (on my phone- pretty short explanation) This would also work for medical bills or a new roof. If you needed the money before a CD matured you would only pay the early termination penalty on one smaller CD than if all funds were tied up in big CD.

  17. Life insurance? :

    Now that we’re parents, it’s time for DH and me to increase our life insurance beyond the policies we get through our jobs. How do we do that? I’m thinking we need about $1 million in coverage.

    • Term life insurance for each of you.

    • You buy term life policies. Ask around and see who people recommend. Costs can vary between companies as can how much pressure the sales people push on you for extra products. They can help you with the calculations of how much you need. (pay off house, tuition. child related expenses, etc.)

    • Our life insurance guy (who we knew personally, so maybe he was totally upselling us but we were comfortable with the process) walked us through some calculations of what would need to be paid for (e.g. the mortgage, college tuition, how would we pay for childcare, etc. and since we make pretty different incomes, how much I was worth vs. my husband in that scenario). My husband’s is less than $1 m, mine is more, but you can probably find a calculator on the internet to help.

  18. I know several vegetarians who choose to not eat meat for moral reasons – they are opposed to how the animals are treated and they don’t believe in killing animals for food. Some of these friends are not vegan and as far as I can tell they don’t limit their consumption of animal products to those they know are humanely sourced. I’m hesitant to ask about what appears to be a contradictory position because I don’t want to offend anyone and, in any event, what you eat is none of my business.

    At the same time, though, it’s more than a little annoying when certain of these friends pontificates (at me?) about the evils of mistreating animals that are used for food while munching on mozzarella sticks from Applebees. I’ve bitten my tongue so far but I’d really appreciate some insights that will help me to feel more respectful of her position as opposed to just acting respectful. Fwiw avoiding this person isn’t an option and other than this she’s perfectly pleasant to be around.

    • “I prefer to focus on sustainable humane sourcing and beneficial environmental practices like avoiding non-organic dairy and purchasing organic produce.” then change subject to whatever crazy thing DJT just did

      Or some variation thereof. I’d pick a standard response and use it every single time so it’s clear that you’re not engaging in a debate around this topic but that you have thought about the issue and have a point of view.

      • I hate this BS because over 90% of meat and dairy is not humane/organic/grass fed so someone is eating it but no one will admit it.

        • That’s why I suggested it – because OP gave the example of her friend sitting at Applebee’s eating the mozza sticks and pontificating on her moral superiority.

          • I used to work for a guy who spouted about his moral superiority for being a “vegetarian” (quotes because he seemed to count shrimp as a vegetable) while wearing leather pants.

        • Hi, my name is Walnut and I don’t purchase organic/grass fed food. I do buy most of my meat locally from family, so I know it is humanely risen. I grow vegetables in my garden that are organic because I’m lazy, but those only last part of the year.

        • Anonymous :

          I’m glad you have the time and resources to purchase only grass-fed meat and dairy. I would buy grass-fed meat and dairy if they were available in my local grocery store, but they’re not so I do the best I can. I’m a working mom. I already shop at three grocery stores every week because the grocery stores in our area are so freaking lame that I cannot buy 1% milk at the same store that sells parsley. I am not going to trek an hour out of my way to go to Whole Foods. We don’t have a farmer’s market, and if we did I wouldn’t have time to go there.

    • Some progress is better than none at all, that’s the whole point of trends like meatless Mondays. I am what most would consider pretty extreme? No meat, no dairy, no synthetic fabrics, all vegan locally made body products and locally sourced (with living wages)vegetables and legumes. But only technically a vegetarian because I eat backyard eggs if my friends give them to me (no other eggs ever). That results in a diet that is vegan 99% of the time, because really I only get 6 backyard eggs once a month. Personally I think backyard chickens are perfectly ethical. There are tonnes of people who draw a different line than I do and that’s okay. As everyone on this site says good for you not for me. I don’t think it’s a matter of perfection it’s about doing better and being better.

      • GirlFriday :

        Why no synthetics?

        • They pollute the water table and are very environmentally detrimental through their production, shedding micro fibers while washing and their inability to be properly disposed of. Cotton and Linen on the other hand use less resources and can be biodegraded at the end of their life cycle. Things like polyester are basically impossible to dye and as a result use so much heat and chemicals only to be made into disposable clothing that sits in a landfill forever

          • GirlFriday :

            Interesting, thanks for your reply! I personally dislike synthetics because they make me stink, but this is certainly something to think about.

          • They also make me smell. Which is why I initially started looking into it and realized that I should probably stop buying them.

      • any good food/recipe sites to suggest? I was going more vegetarian then realized I have even more of a moral issue with inhumane treatment of dairy cows and egg laying chickens (don’t ask what happens to the male chicks), than I do with somewhat humanely raised meat animals. DH won’t eat a lot of carbs- so we’re eating a lot more lentils and beans and soymilk. TIA!

        • I like cookie & kate, love & lemons, Naturally Ella, Minimalist Baker, Hot for food, and thug kitchen. My diet really relies on me being an adventurous eater. I make and eat indian, thai, chinese, mexican, spanish, italian etc. I also make lots of american classics like stew, black bean burgers, and chili. I even veganize things like sheppards pie

        • Minimalist Baker is my favorite vegan food blog. Her meals are usually very accessible cooking-skill-wise and she makes a pretty large variety of different kinds of things.

        • Veganomics cookbook!

        • Check out your local farmer’s market. We get all our milk and eggs from farmers that have free-range, pastured chicken and cows.

          • Yes!! Was just going to post this advice. Get to know your local farmers. Ask about their practices. And listen to their responses: they may not be “organic” because it is cost prohibitive to get the organic certification, or because the organic chemical to exterminate Y pest is more caustic than the non-organic version, or their chickens are not totally free range because there is a local pack of coyotes. For small farmers (like us) these things are real considerations, and our animals are lovingly tended with an eye toward betterment of the breed and environment.

          • +1 we started limiting ourselves to only buying meat and eggs from the farmers market. It’s way more expensive, so we’ve started to only eat meat at one meal per week. Once you develop a repertoire of recipes that don’t revolve around meat, you realize that you don’t need to eat it as much as you’re used to.

        • SFAttorney :

          IsaChandra, Healthy Happy Life, Oh She glows

      • Baby Vegan :

        Lilac – Do you have any suggestions for how you accomplished this? Did you take a “one thing at a time” approach or did you jump all in? My diet is 99% vegan right now, and I feel like I have opened a Pandora’s box of other things to address (body care, make up, clothing, cleaning products) and keep getting overwhelmed. Add in the desire to ensure I am buying local, ethically sourced goods from folks being paid a living wage and I feel paralyzed every time I try to just purchase food for the week.

        To further complicate matters, I am trying to shift everything to natural products (I’ve faced cancer twice and am doing everything in my power to reduce my toxic load) and my head keeps spinning.

        • I have a one at a time policy. Just change one thing. Then once you have done your research you can continue to repurchase the same thing. One week it can be shampoo, the next laundry detergent, the next a vegetable farm. My lifestyle has been about 7 years in the making. I know what brand of rice to buy and what brand of non-dairy milk, and what castile soap. Then I just repurchase what I already know is good

    • “Hey, cool it with the food lectures. I don’t want to hear it, especially while we are eating.”

    • JuniorMinion :

      This would annoy me. Not because of their stance – you do you – but because its never ok to make other people feel badly about their non-criminal / dangerous choices. It would go in the same box for me as people who shame others decisions around child having / rearing, other lifestyle items etc.

      • Yeah I mean it’s definitely obnoxious. The group just sort of eye rolls to each other and lets her run out of steam and then someone changes the subject. There’s no shutting her down while she’s mid-rant. Everyone has their annoying habits I suppose. I’m sure I do and say things to annoy others sometimes too.

        • JuniorMinion :

          As long as its not getting to you (some of the baby pushers really get to me so I am phasing them out) and you are able to roll your eyes and just recognize shes obnoxious then it sounds like you are dealing with this the right way.

    • Just tell her to shut up.

      I’m one of those people with a lot of Thoughts about how I personally want to eat–what balance I want to strike between environmentalism, concern for the welfare of animals, and my love of bacon. But unless someone asks, I don’t talk about it. Telling other people how to eat is rude. She’s being rude. You don’t have to bend over backwards to try to be respectful of her position when she’s being rude, in my opinion.

      • Agreed completely. Don’t ask follow up questions about her beliefs. The point is you don’t care about them and she shouldn’t be lecturing you.

      • Once again, I agree with Torin and model the same behavior!

      • GirlFriday :

        THANK YOU 1) for the suggestion of telling her to shut up and 2) for keeping your beliefs to yourself. My boss a workout fanatic, and as a result she eats a ton of protein. Which is totally fine – I eat a lot of junk so I’m not judging. But I get really annoyed with her aggressively trying to get her whole team to eat just like she does! None of us are body builders. We don’t need 400 grams of protein every day (also who has time for that?) Earlier she was pressuring me to eat this “healthy” ice cream she bought. OMIGAH IT’S TEN IN THE MORNING! I finally told her I can’t have dairy before a workout, but that is the only way I could get her to stfu about it! I know it comes from a spirit of “this is so great and I want to share it with you” but it just comes off really pushy and annoying. I’m really struggling with how to bring it up to her without sounding like a b***h. I think the rest of my team just laughs it off, but she seriously drives me bonkers.

        TL;DR
        You do you and then please shut up about it.

    • I think next time you should call her out (nicely?). Say, ‘hey can you please not preach, and I dont want to be rude but the dairy/egg industry is harmful and many cows/chickens die from it and are treated horribly and yet you still eat dairy. I think everyone is trying to do as much as they can to have a positive impact within their budgets, lifestyles, and knowledge.’

      Shaming or pressuring people to believe what you believe rarely works (regardless of the facts), especially when it comes to diet so her strategy is immature. Id give her some version of what i said and stick to it/not engage with her beyond that when she gets preachy.

    • I worked as a teacher’s aide for a few years out of college.

      When I go out to a restaurant and someone starts off on some food rant (vegetarianism, veganism, dieting, etc), I say, “You know, when I worked with first and second graders, we would always have a rule at lunchtime that we don’t make comments about what other people are eating.”

      It is a little condescending but always effective in getting people to stop with the food pontificating; and also usually gives me a transition into a different topic. (I.e. “speaking of work…” or “speaking of kids…”)

      • This is perfect.

        I have a friend with lots of food issues. Once we were grabbing a beer and the waitstaff comped us an order of fries with ranch dressing on the side. I normally try to avoid fried food but am not one to turn down a fortuitous treat, so I had some fries with ranch. She ate the fries but only after judgementally commenting that the ranch was “poison”. “It’s delicious!”, I said.

        I wish I could unhear her judgement. This is a pattern, not a one- off.

    • Anonymous :

      If you live in Virginia or Northern Virginia, we get our meat – beef, lamb, and pork – through Gregory Family Farms, which delivers – otherwise the inconvenience of a farmer’s market turns out to be a hurdle that I can’t sustain. They said they are going to start doing chicken and turkey this year. It’s quarterly and fairly affordable compared to Whole Foods and others. Just putting in a plug for what works for us. Because vegetarianism did not. :)

      I looked it up and it is gregoryfamilyfarms dot c o m

      • Anonymous :

        Thank you for this. I struggle with the ethical implications of eating meat, and appreciate this lead.

  19. Ok so I’m a typical biglaw person and most of my friends are either in biglaw/gov’t doing financial services type work (post biglaw) or in house largely for NYC banks etc. My one close friend started in biglaw – out of obligation/didn’t want to turn down the offer – but hated it since day 1; did it for 3 rs and then moved onto a non profit. It’s been 5+ yrs at the non profit. Can’t exactly explain what the non profit does but it has something to do with employment for ex-prisoners. It seems like EVERY conversation we have relating to work (incl. – how was your day) turns into the injustices that are out there and white privilege (she’s half white herself; I’m not white at all) and how the people she works with just don’t understand and aren’t passionate/compassionate about what her clients are facing. Thing is her colleagues are all fairly wealthy – trust fund types; married to investment banker types etc. — and by the sounds of it, it’s a job to them that allows them to bring home a bit extra money, do something to “help” society, and most importantly not work all that hard -as they come and go as they please, don’t even show up 40 hrs/wk etc. I’m just tired of hearing about how much she cares and how these people SHOULD care. Bc the reality is – if it were me, I wouldn’t care either re the substance of the work; plus these people have all worked there for 10-20 yrs and are used to a workplace that demands no accountability, so why would they suddenly start working so hard when they didn’t need to — just bc my friend is passionate?

    My friend knows I am 100% the corporate type – and don’t necessarily care about prisoner issues – yet while I don’t want to rock the boat on the friendship, I am so tired of hearing about privilege etc. And I’m not doing anything to talk about work – hers or mine – it literally comes up if I ask “how’s everything” – I get 25 min on how her colleagues don’t get it that some 3rd Cir brief is going to be SOO vital re prisoners rights as I’m thinking — I don’t get it either, nor do I care really . . . . WWYD?

    • I’d cut her off.

    • I’m your friend. I have one or two friends who are my designated people to complain to about work. I’ve learned not to complain to other friends because it was having a negative impact on those friendships. They wouldn’t engage in conversation and they started avoiding me. I really wish they’d just told me they didn’t want to hear about work. I’ve managed to rebuild the friendships but it’s taken some work.

      So my first suggestion is to be blunt with her. Tell her it’s exhausting for you to hear about her constant work complaints and you just can’t. If she continues, suggest that it might be time for her to pursue therapy to better cope with her frustration.

      • Good for you for recognizing this. I have a couple of friends who do not get my hints and three years later I am still avoiding them. I wish I could just cut them out, but we work in a mid-size city in the same industry and I worry about burning bridges.

    • Sounds annoying.

      But your response/disdain also makes me a little…. sad.

      • This. If I was the friend I would want to know that you felt this way but I’d probably judge you for it.

        • OP here — she knows I have no/minimal interest. I am sorry for the hard times people go thru – but honestly for criminals – uh maybe you shouldn’t have committed that robbery or whatever you did that now goes on your record permanently and makes you unemployable bc 99% of jobs conduct a basic background check. She knows. She lectures about the communities these young men grow up in and how sometimes they’re young and don’t understand the consequences and get swept up into these crimes — uh yeah great . . . if you’re 18 and don’t understand that you shouldn’t point a gun at someone and take money and you don’t get that bc you don’t have a daddy at home . . . I simply just don’t care what your issues are . . . .

          • omg – you should tell her so she can dump you. you’re awful.

          • Yes…. people who convicted for felony drug possession should definitely be subjected to prison r4pe and be disenfranchised and unemployable for the rest of their lives…

            Also, you should end your relationship with this friend. She will be far, far better off without you in her life.

          • nasty woman :

            “OP here — she knows I have no/minimal interest. I am sorry for the hard times people go thru – but honestly for criminals – uh maybe you shouldn’t have committed that robbery or whatever you did that now goes on your record permanently and makes you unemployable bc 99% of jobs conduct a basic background check.”

            Lol. I’m surprised she talks about her work that she cares about with a friend who has such a simple-minded and myopic opinion on the subject. Also, didn’t you post about this before? Maybe not, but I remember a similar post about from someone who was annoyed with her friend’s annoyances at her job.

          • OP here -nope I haven’t posted before. And sorry I just can’t sit around lamenting about how privileged we all are and how hard others’ lives are and how if we don’t lament that 24-7, we’re horrible people. Reality is — I don’t talk to her about M&A litigation in depth bc I know she doesn’t care. So it’s fine if she doesn’t care about capitalism but I am required to care about prisoners rights?

          • nasty woman :

            OP- I am not asking you to sit around and lament privilege all the time. What I reacted to was NOT your unwillingness to sit around and lament privilege all the time, but your myopic and simple- minded assessment of a complex issue. This is very clear from my post.

          • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

            From another “biglaw person,” how can you not care about the issues prisoners face? They are human beings. It is pretty well-established that there is mass incarceration and over-policing of minorities. Prisoners also face abuses from prison staff, other prisoners, health risks, etc. Many people are incarcerated for non-violent crimes, or otherwise face very long sentences. And when they get out, many want to get on with their life, but find they can’t because they can’t get jobs. And get caught in an endless crime of poverty and crime.

            Get over yourself. Not caring about other human beings is not even comparable to not caring about M&A litigation.

          • Yeah, I’m going to agree with all the people telling you to end this friendship. Sounds like you’ll both be better off. And if you ever decide to come around and view these people as the human beings they are, maybe do a little research into executive functioning and how poverty and stress really impact people. And then re-examine your thoughts on privilege!

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          I work at a nonprofit and my clients are EXCEEDINGLY poor- often far below 200% of the federal poverty line. And your friend is absolutely right- socioeconomic factors lead to making bad decisions. Yeah, don’t point a gun at someone, but if you’re in a gang and you’ve been told your sister is going to be r*ped or your little brother killed if you don’t shoot the rival member of the gang and you KNOW you and your family have no way out of that situation (and often, you’re 100% right- social services suck), you’re between a rock and a hard place and you make decisions those of us with privilege can never understand.

          You should distance yourself from this friend, sounds like you don’t respect her or her work, and you should also read Just Mercy.

          • Anonymous :

            Hahaha. You’re probably the friend.

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            Nah. I don’t associate with people who make it pretty clear they don’t give a da*n about other humans’ lives. :)

    • Your friend’s attitude is common at a non-profit. (Her coworkers’ attitudes are also common.) There is nothing wrong with either of them and all attitudes are necessary to help the non-profit go ’round.

      As for dealing with it, I think you just try to change the subject like anything. So instead of asking “How are you?” (which, especially if you are meeting after work could be top of mind), say something specific like, “How is your family?” or “whatever happened to that guy from that party?” to change the subject or direct her attention elsewhere. Or you can say with a sincere smile, “I think this is stressing you out, dear! I love your hair color!”

      • So I’ve never worked at a non profit – these attitudes are common, really? I imagined there would be a lot of people like OP’s friend – passionate about what they do. I’m kind of surprised there are so many trust fund types who don’t care? Can you explain the culture – obv it differs – but generally? Do people just get “burnt out” from caring so then it becomes a paycheck? Is that something that happens quick or over a 20 yr career?

        • I’ve worked at non-profits my whole life, and the “trust funders who don’t care” types didn’t exist in my experience. Rich people who could afford to pursue these careers? Sometimes, but definitely not all the time. I also don’t find that most non-profit workers work less than any other kind of worker — though there is generally an understanding that work/life balance is a real thing.

        • I don’t think they don’t care, but there are a lot that view it as “in-house-light.” There’s nothing wrong with that, non-profits need both the passionate who will work for little pay because they care deeply about the cause as well as people who show up and do the work but maybe not staying late and crying about it on weekends, as well as the corporate types that feel what we used to call “corporate guilt” so donate their time, money, etc. to the cause. I think all of these types exist in all work environments, but you are more likely to see the deeply passionate for the cause in non-profit or government than in the corporate world.

    • As someone who has worked for non-profits and in general on issues that are super heavy, I feel for your friend. Shes probably stressed and overwhelmed and putting pressure on herself to solve this very real and important issue. She needs to find a way to be at peace and cope with it – talking to you will make things worse. Yes, she sounds like shes not taking the hint that you simply dont care about her lifes work, which is your prerogative, but you are BOTH better off by dropping this friendship.

      Also, its one thing to be annoyed by hearing your friend constantly talk about her work (I know I would be). But it seems like youre dismissing it altogether which sounds extremely insensitive. Not all prisoners are angels by any means but if your life circumstances were different you could have been one of them…

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Yeah, this is where I’m at.

        We’re all more than our worst mistakes. I say this with as much kindness as I can: you may want to consider doing some pro bono work with low income communities, because it sounds like you really don’t have an understanding of how difficult it is to survive and thrive when you grow up or live in extreme poverty, without any sort of privilege. I think that’s something everyone should try to understand. Maybe not with incarcerated persons, that’s not everyone’s jam, but at a DV/SA clinic, or an immigrant clinic.

    • Omg, I work for a non-profit and care very deeply about my work. I do occasionally talk about it with friends who work in other fields, because it’s a big part of who I am. If I knew that my so-called friends thought so little of my work and lacked compassion the way that you seem to, I wouldn’t want to be friends with them anymore.

      In a nutshell, stop being friends with this person, but you’re the problem, not her.

      • Also – you keep saying htat you don’t know why she talks to you about this when she knows that you don’t care about the issue. Umm… because if you are actually a friend of hers, then you care about her well-being, and that extends to hearing about things that are negatively impacting her well-being or are current concerns of hers. Do I personally care very much about the intricacies of a deal that my friend is negotiating right now? No. Do I ask her about it because knowing what’s going on in her life and how it’s affecting her is part of being a good friend, and I want to cheerlead/commiserate/whatever she needs? Yes.

        • I like this approach. Striking a balance between supporting your friend and putting up with nonsense is harder than it should be to navigate though!

  20. I have really dry combination skin. I have some acne still, too. I have no idea where to start. I’ve always had sensitive skin and have used the clinique 3-step system pretty religiously. For a good chunk of the year (aka not winters), it works really well, but right now my skin is just outrageously flaky.

    I haven’t used anything BUT the clinique 3-step. I literally don’t know where or how to start. I thought about going to a nice salon/spa (I do have a gift cert burning a hole in my pocket) but I don’t want to be hard sold on their featured product line. I also don’t like the idea of going to my Clinique (or other) counter at the departments tore – I’m utterly underwhelmed with their hard selling and often lack of knowledge.

    FWIW, I’m 33 and have somewhat sensitive skin and a (weird) fear of trying something new and having a terrible break out and/or seriously hurting my skin somehow.

    Haaaaalp!

    • Keep up with the Clinique routine, but add a good exfoliation with a scrub cream once or twice a week, and switch to a heavier moisturizer for the winter. Or put on a second coat of the Clinique yellow moisture once the first coat is absorbed.

      When my skin is in it’s worst winter mode I like to slather it with Ponds Dry Skin Cream ($4 at the drug store) before a shower, and then use a scrub cream after the shower before my regular routine. Gets rid of the worst of the dry, flaky rough texture.

    • Shenandoah :

      It sounds like you and I have similar skin. When dry, my face gets very flaky – particularly around my chin and nose. The best thing I’ve found is really simplifying my routine. I tended to over-exfoliate before with scrubs and the Clarisonic – I generally only use a scrub now maybe once every two weeks in the summer. I use a gentle cleanser (Cerave) twice a day. And I use Cerave’s daily facial moisturizer and then Burt’s Bees night cream at night after cleansing. That’s it. My mild acne hasn’t cleared up 100% but I expect it will never be perfect. I don’t have issues with flakiness anymore, even in winter.

    • Google oil cleansing method. I have oily but flaky acne prone skin. It’s the best thing I’ve found for my skin. I’ve converted several friends too.

      • Please, if you do this, use a korean oil cleanser -they are made to emulsify and wash off MUCH MUCH easier with water than just slapping some coconut oil on your skin. Low PH cleansers were also life changing for my skin – cosrx low ph cleaners or the glossier milky jelly ones seem to be the best/cheapest.

    • I was having similar issues. I started using Belief (you can get at Sephora) witch hazel toner morning and night, as well as their moisturizer. It’s already gotten so much better and I haven’t broken out.

      • +1 to Belif at Sephora. You can sometimes find a sample sized pack in the travel/mini section to try it first. I also use Laneige – a Korean product available at Target. They also have sample sizes available. I switched a year ago from Clinique to Belif and Laniege and will never go back. The Laniege moisturizer cream is a miracle worker.

  21. Hi hive – question from my husband on how he should handle this.
    At a meeting earlier this week, my husband felt that a junior woman had “bad manners” toward to a very senior foreign government employee (external and working in a collaborative capacity with my husband’s org). He said she was interrupting, pointing, and talking in an “aggressive” tone, and overall it felt hostile. The content of the conversation wasn’t contentious, and he didn’t think she meant to be rude; the man she was talking to was actually being very helpful. He was particularly concerned because of the seniority difference and culture difference, but he did say that he would have been uncomfortable with her talking to an American like that, too.

    He wondered whether he should say something either to the woman herself, or to her supervisor (also a woman), who is his peer, about his concern. Husband’s org values the collaboration with the foreign partner and doesn’t want to jeopardize it, he would frame the discussion as a suggestion to “manage the relationship at a higher level.” I asked him whether he would have felt the way she was talking was “rude” if it had been a man doing the same things, and to consider whether he’s reacting based on unconscious bias about how a woman “should” act. He thought about it and said he still would have found the mannerisms rude and worth correcting. I think there’s a potential pitfall here with a man to complaining about a woman being aggressive, but at the same time I don’t think women should get a pass on unprofessional behavior just because people are scared of being accused of s3x1sm. How would you feel on the receiving end of this message? Do you think there’s anything to be gained by bringing up the interaction, explicitly?

    • Your husband should’ve addressed it in the moment. Take a break, pull aside the woman and say, hey what’s with the tone this guy is important and he’s being super helpful. If your husband thought her behavior was so bad that he’s contemplating going to her boss about it then I really wonder why he didn’t nip it in the bud.

      He can still address it directly with the junior now. He observed the behavior, he knows the person better than she does, it’s fair to give her feedback.

    • My gut feeling is that there’s nothing to be gained by bringing up the woman’s behavior if he is not her direct supervisor, particularly if he does not have evidence that the foreign government employee was offended or that the relationship is at stake.

    • He needs to man up and say it – sorry. It won’t be comfortable. But as much as people on this site want to talk about how all criticisms of women are unconscious bias etc. — reality is there ARE a LOT of junior women who are unprofessional. I cringe when I have to take certain women to client meetings, depos etc. — I have to watch them like I’m their mommy so that they don’t say something to the client, opposing counsel, or co counsel that harms the relationship.

      Look maybe some of it is unconscious bias — maybe deep down he did think the junior woman would quietly sit there and take notes and not participate. But interrupting and pointing – that’s rude no matter who does it. I honestly think he should deliver the feedback himself – he was there; it’ll have more weight than if he talks to her supervisor bc then her supervisor may or may not relay it, may relay it more harshly/mildly, or may relay it in such a way that suggests the supervisor thinks Jon is making a fuss – thus leading the junior to ignore the feedback too. If I were him — I’d have a brief (no more than 5-7 min) conversation with the junior and then talk to her supervisor, let her know the issue and say you’ve addressed it directly but wanted to loop her in.

      As for the convo itself – why not make it open ended? I.e. “Have you attended many of these meetings since you’ve worked here? What did you think of this one? As I was watching you interact with X – I was noticing that you were interrupting him a lot and pointing. He seemed like he handled it well, but we definitely have other clients from other countries who would not be as polite about it. Given that we’re an international org with a lot of foreign interaction, I think it’s mindful for you to think about the expectations for interactions when you go into each meeting and then during the meeting, take the lead of the seniors that are there — i.e. if we’re having a calm, quiet conversation, there’s no need to get heated bc sometimes that causes the other person to shut down etc.”

      I personally wouldn’t talk about how she was aggressive – bc if she is a snowflake – that will cause her to think “microaggression” and just ignore is more valid feedback. So instead of just sticking to adjectives – point to 1-2 things she did that he found unacceptable.

      • He should not do this.

        • Bc?

          • Putting aside that you don’t seem to have equal problems with unprofessional younger male colleagues, suggesting bias yourself, he is not her supervisor and could entangle himself by bringing it up. There is also no word on what the client thought. He may have found her delightful, engaging, and a great team player.

      • Can you tell me more about the problems you see with the junior people(/women?) you take to meetings/depositions/whatever? I am asking because I *am* a junior-ish woman, and go with my supervisor to a number of meetings and the like, and I fear that I err to the side of quiet note-taking rather than assertion, but I am very afraid of coming across as cocky and obnoxious.

        • I’m not the person you’re responding to but I’ll bite. This sort of thing is such a fine line, but at the end of the day it’s better to err on the side of being more assertive. If you get a seat at the table you grab on and don’t let go until they rip it out of your cold dead hands.

          The biggest problems I see with junior women are attire and a lack of confidence, both of which are discussed here extensively.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Was this a one-time thing with this person or is this how she normally speaks? As a junior employee I’ve had more senior folks give me gentle corrections that I wouldn’t have otherwise realized, like that when I am introduced to a client and shake hands that I should say my First and Last name rather than just my First name. I was mildly embarrassed but it was a good thing to learn. I also had a supervisor provide “constructive criticism” that I didn’t suffer fools gladly but that felt more personal and demoralizing because it felt like something that wouldn’t have been said to a man and I felt like I had to become “nicer” and more quiet to fit some idea of what I should be like in the workplace.

      I think your husband is treading a fine line if he chooses to say something. Certain things, like interrupting and pointing, can be corrected and will feel less personal. Tone is more challenging. It might be a good idea for your husband to casually chat with this woman’s supervisor and find out more about her style and manner of speaking – maybe this is how she is or maybe this was a one-off – and then decide if it’s worth saying something.

  22. Beach House :

    Thanks for all the replies yesterday on my beach house question. We have been using VRBO for ten years to book our houses and I also feel weird about the bedspread/comforter issue too. They alsways say to leave on the floor if it’s dirty which leads me to assume they don’t wash them between every guests. Every house I’ve stayed at has said this so I don’t think it’s common to wash the comforters every time so I never use them and bring my own blanket. So how would you feel about more of a bedspread/thin quilt with matching shams that was obvious it was a machine washable fabric? I could buy 2 for each bed in white so there is always one for the cleaning people to put on the bed? So there would be the sheets, thin blanket and thin bedspread/quilt for each bed- what do you think?

    Also we will have a local cleaning service and then handymen/repairmen on a on call as needed contract. We plan to do all the marketing, responding to potential renters and bookings on our own. Property management companies in this area want 30%. We plan on being there every 6 months or so and have started making friends with some locals that live there year round too. We have owned rental property for many years but this is our first short term rental house.

    And I agree about keeping it non-personal and nice. My MIL has already brought me tacky, beach themed prints which I politely declined and returned. And I’m looking to upgrade the living room furniture because the furniture is definitely not as new as the house which is less than a year old.

    Thanks and if anyone wants to vacation in a small, peaceful Gulf town this summer- let me know!

    • I’ve never heard of the ‘leave it on the floor thing’. Use a duvet with a removable cover, remove and wash the cover whenever the sheets are changed. Ikea has tons of inexpensive washable duvet in various thicknesses. I say washable duvets only so that you know you can wash it if something comes through the duvet cover (e.g. coffee spill).

      • Who is going to do this? Your cleaning people? Do they change linens? The reason that bedding is never washed in those houses or washed 1-2x/yr is bc often cleaning people don’t/aren’t contracted to deal with that – they are vacuuming, mopping etc.

        As for leaving it on the floor – I think it’s a take on hotels which have started to do the – we don’t want to ruin the environment with continuous laundry so if you want fresh towels, leave used ones on the floor; if you hang them back up we’ll assume you’re ok using the same ones tomorrow.

        • I presume the sheets are washed/changed between guests? Whoever changes the sheets just changes/washes the duvet cover at the same time. Duvet itself is not washed between guests.

        • Cleaning people have to clean and generally do load of laundry for dish towels, etc. and put away dishes if they are in a done load in the dishwasher. If you will pay for several loads of laundry (which will take hours), they might it. But b/c all beach houses change over at the same time often with people leaving at 8am and arriving 4pm, there probably will not be enough time or bodies to do the work.

          The logistics are maddening.

          I have thought about this. I’d try dipping a toe in and being very hands on (so you rent it every other week, come down and oversee / do laundry in between) b/c you can’t afford bad reviews. Maybe family/friends only and word of mouth as you get started?

          I think it’s easy to do a bad job and very easy to be a mediocre job and so hard to do well.

        • “The reason that bedding is never washed in those houses or washed 1-2x/yr is bc often cleaning people don’t/aren’t contracted to deal with that – they are vacuuming, mopping etc.” —

          This is not true in my experience. Unlike a cleaning service that a homeowner hires for their own house, it is the norm for a cleaning service contract for a rental home to include all laundry (bath towels, beach towels, kitchen towels, sheets, etc.). The issue with heavy bed linens is that the weekly laundry is done at the home, so if a comforter is dry clean only, that is not regularly getting cleaned.

    • I’ve rented quite a few beach houses and have my own rental, and I expect to see a quilt on the bed, and to bring my own sheets and pillowcases. I figure I can fold my sheets over the top of the quilt so that the quilt isn’t touching me. I don’t assume it has been laundered between rentals.

    • I really think you might reconsider managing it yourself. I manage several longterm rentals for our family and it is just so much work. Yes, a rental manager may take 30%, but they are doing real work for that 30%.

      • +1 – an additional piece to consider is if you have someone manage it for you & they can coordinate better cleaning services that will wash duvet covers between visits and leave higher-end touches around, you can charge more for the rental. I’m willing to pay more for those things & if you list your place accordingly, you could probably make up the difference and avoid the headache of dealing with it yourself. I didn’t mention this in my earlier response, but the reason I use One Fine Stay all the time is they leave hotel-grade towels, bedding/sheets/pillows & toiletries and I like the welcome baskets the come with basics for breakfast the next morning. If you can get a property manager like that, it could help you market it at the higher end.

      • Beach House :

        Yes we expect it to be my husband’s job to manage it. Our youngest is doing more preschool now and he has more free time. Would love any tips you have the management or books or website you recommend. Didn’t mean to imply it was easy but that its easier to do it remotely now.

      • Anonymous BigLaw Associate :

        This. Having a professional property manager either on-site or local is invaluable to guests. It is their job to respond to requests and questions from guests and assuming it is a good management company, they can do so more quickly since it is their job. It provides people peace of mind to see the property is professionally managed. You might even be able to charge slightly more anyways.

    • WestCoast Lawyer :

      This wouldn’t even occur to me. I don’t assume that hotels are washing the comforters between each guest, so I don’t know why I would expect more frequent washing from an Air BNB property.

  23. Can anyone help me shop for a suit? I would love to find a suit that is a dress/jacket combo but the difficult part is I’m looking for a dress that is not a sheath. I’ve tried on several sheath dress/jacket combos and I am having a very difficult time finding a dress that fits both my upper/lower body (wider hips). I’m pearish, but not super imbalanced. A lot of times I can find sheath dresses that fit (i.e. Lands End ponte dress, lots of things from Banana or Loft). However, I have had no luck lately. Probably because Ann Taylor tends to be very fitted on the bottom and J. Crew just does not fit me at all. Can anyone thing of anything? I would really love a gray or navy dress/jacket combo. Thank you!

    • I have to buy dresses that are a little big on top and get them tailored.

    • I always have good luck at Talbots for this type of suit. I also always expect to need some tailoring so I just factor that into my time and budget calculations. But I end up with something that fits perfectly.

      • anon anon armani :

        I feel you. I cannot find a matching fit/flare dress and business jacket. Not to save my soul. I ended up getting one with a ponte sheath and having it taken in at the waist. It’s not great, but at least it moves with me due to the stretchy fabric.

        Instead I focus on good jackets (armani and st john consignments) and skirts … but I am not an attorney.

    • anon prof :

      I’ve had good luck with the Tahari ASL line at Macy’s for this. They must be cut for pears, because it is the only sheath dress I’ve ever tried that is a decent fit.

  24. Dagne Dover question :

    Can any owners speak to the 13″ or 15″ tote? The 13″ will fit my laptop and seems sleeker, but I wonder if the 15″ wouldn’t be better for really holding all my stuff (laptop, files, lunch, occasional pair of shoes or wadded up blazer). It seems gigantic, but maybe I need a gigantic bag?

    • New Tampanian :

      You’ll need the 15″ – I have the 13″ and wish I had the 15″. FWIW, mine is pretty packed with just a Microsoft surface (v.2 I think), the cord for that, and 2 notebooks.

      • Anonymous :

        +1. My 13″ will fit my laptop, not in the laptop sleeve (it’s like a 13.3″ or something – maddening) and basically none of the other stuff I actually need for my day.

    • I have the 15″. It can hold my laptop, papers, lunch, and shoes/blazer (one of the two), but just barely. I would say that the 13″ is probably not big enough to put extra stuff in.

      I don’t find it too big and I’m pretty small. I do find it pretty heavy though – heavier than the Lo&Sons Brookline I used to have. It also holds less than the Brookline because the sides are stiffer.

      • New Tampanian :

        They are releasing an updated version of these in the near future, so if weight is of concern, OP, I would wait. They claim that the new ones will be less heavy.

    • I have the 13″ and it’s a great size for my tablet, shoes, notebooks, makeup, phones, etc. I think you would need the 15″ to fit a lunch as well. But I find the 13″ is a really big bag already.

      New Tampanian – thanks for the heads up on the new version. I’ll be watching for it!

    • anonnynonny :

      I just bought the 15″ a couple weeks ago NWT on eBay for a song, and I love it! It carries my 15″ mac work computer no problem. Plus all my other stuff (water bottle! umbrella! so much paper!).

      I don’t find it too heavy at all, even though it is sizable. FWIW I’m 5’6″ size 4.

  25. Baconpancakes :

    I figured out why I hate my new haircut – the lob is supposed to be shorter and layered in the back, and long in the front, and mine is the opposite due to pre-existing face-framing layers. I’ll get this fixed as soon as it grows a little more, but any suggestions for styling in the meantime? It feels wimpy and pathetic in a sad little micro bun, and straightening my entire head feels very 1998. Blow drying leads to a flip that looks very mom-hair, so I curl it, but I can’t do that every day or my fine hair will snap. My old air-drying technique with a little curl cream is… not good.

    • Anonymous :

      Part on the side and pull back a section from the top of the larger side. Secure with a bobby pin high up on the head. This will camouflage the face-framing layers.

      As for straightening, I have wavy-ish hair that just had to be straightened every day when it was that length. It was not wavy enough to look neat or intentional if I air-dried it and left it wavy. I don’t think a lob that is straightened with a round brush looks terribly dated.

      • Baconpancakes :

        I’ll try the half-up thing, thanks. I think the issue is that it’s not a real lob. It’s basically this blogger’s exact haircut, but I have a lot rounder face. https://goo.gl/Sy33xj

    • I’m going through the process of growing my hair out to shoulder length from a much shorter cut. Could you try a stronger product? I’ve had success with Tigi’s “Curls Rock Amplifier,” which is likely stronger than a curl cream describable as a “cream.” I agree with you that straightening everything isn’t the most current look.

      • Baconpancakes :

        What kind of thing is it? Spray, gel, mousse? I’m in moderation for a link, but an xo Jane blogger with the exact haircut wrote about how much she also hates the cut due to miscommunication with her stylist. (I’ll try posting it again.) I’ll definitely be trying the pinned back thing and try some stronger curl products, thanks, ladies!

        • Baconpancakes :

          No dice, probably due to profanity in the link name and shortened links aren’t allowed. But it’s titled ”
          I Freaking HATE My Haircut: How To Prevent Getting a Cut You LOATHE (And What To Do Once the Damage is Done)”

    • Baconpancakes :

      http://www.xojane.com/beauty/i-fucking-hate-my-haircut-how-to-prevent-getting-a-cut-you-loathe-and-what-to-do-once-the-damage-is-done

  26. Anyone think Lo and Sons will have a President’s Day sale? Kicking myself for not buying the Pearl at the holidays and traveling soon and need a new bag that can be day/night. Gah. I always do this – cheap out and not buy something on sale, and then realize I could have really used it when it’s too late.

    • Don’t forget to enter the giveaway if you haven’t already!

      (Following, I’m looking to up my duffel game with a little Catalina Deluxe at some point…)

  27. Senior Attorney :

    Speaking of hair, I’m getting a haircut today and am thinking about going back to an angled bob — very short in back and longer in front. My hair in back is so thick and curly that I just want it GONE! LOL

    Is this a defensible hairstyle for 2017 or will I look like I’m just stuck in a two-thousand-oughts rut?

    • Senior Attorney :

      Must be the E!!en caps that put this one in moderation. Trying again:

      Speaking of hair, I’m getting a haircut today and am thinking about going back to an angled bob — very short in back and longer in front. My hair in back is so thick and curly that I just want it gone!

      Is this a defensible hairstyle for 2017 or will I look like I’m just stuck in a two-thousand-oughts rut?

    • I think it’s still an in-style, last year lobs were all the rage. If you’re going for more contemporary, I might go for a blunt bob instead – I’m seeing that bouncing around my fashion pages more these days.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yeah, I realize that’s what’s au courant but my hair just doesn’t lend itself to that!

        • Yea, I hear your struggle. I’m like little miss muffet or some nursery rhyme character who can’t get my hair length “just right” & I have the eternal “cut bangs again or not” debate every time I get my hair cut.

    • Anonymous :

      In my opinion, short angled bobs are very Jon and Kate plus Eight and scream dated. A longer (shoulder length) bob with a very soft angle is much more youthful and current.

  28. Times Square help :

    I’m in NYC for a conference, staying in hotel in Times Square. Due to the snow, I’m here for an extra night with no plans. What should I do that’s local to Times Square? I’m thinking a show and a nice dinner, but want to avoid touristy spots. Any recs? Thanks in advance!

    • Senior Attorney :

      If you can get in, Esca is an great place to eat before or after the theatre, and about a ten-minute walk from Times Square.

      • Anon in NYC :

        Yes, Esca’s great (heavy on seafood, if you’re not into that). For Italian, you could try Nizza or Bocca di Bacco. For burgers, you could try 5 Napkin Burger. Nizza, Bocca di Bacco, and 5 Napkin Burger are all on 9th Ave in the low 40s. For Greek, you could try Dafni Taverna (on 42nd street).

        For delicious cookies, try Schmackary’s on 45th right by 9th Ave. For pie (and you can get individual slices), check out Little Pie Company on 43rd and 9th.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m due to travel from DC to NYC Sun-Tues for a conference. Can I expect things to be generally back to normal by then – travel, ease of getting around? (In DC, 12 inches would shut us down for days) I’m taking the train up and back, staying in Midtown.

      • Subway is mostly fine so far even today, and we’re supposed to get rain on Sunday. At worst it’ll just be gross, methinks.

      • Lol – spoken like a true DC person. Yes things are fine in NYC even now — they deal with up to 2 ft of snow very easily — as in — a day later, you hardly remember you got 2 ft. And this isn’t even that much.

        • To be fair to Anon, my Office is in DC, and an attorney I was teleconferencing with yesterday told me he was preparing to file everything yesterday before the snow kept his assistant from coming in.

    • Go! Go! Japanese curry is a great little spot for lunch at 38th and 8th. Warm and cozy on a winter day, and something different from the usual.

  29. Tolache (Mexican) is great!

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