Tuesday’s Workwear Report: Amelia Three-Quarter Sleeve Sheath Dress

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

Amelia Three-Quarter Sleeve Sheath DressWhoa: I did not know that Gravitas is now available at Lord & Taylor. We’ve mentioned the line before (both in our roundup of sleeved dresses with pockets as well as our post on workwear with secret shaping properties) — but I always thought you had to go through the brand itself to buy a dress. It looks like that is no longer true — because Lord & Taylor has a number of their clothes, including the basic Amelia, which, like all of their dresses, “has an invisible high-performance lining that lifts, supports and smoothes your figure without any bunching or tugging.”  Even better? Almost everything I’ve clicked on at L&T is available in sizes 0-24. The pictured dress is $275.  Amelia Three-Quarter Sleeve Sheath Dress

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  1. Can anyone comment on the sizing of Nicole Miller dresses? The size guides are all over the place (some say I should be the same size I am in other clothes – 4 up top, 6 through my hips – and others say that I am about a size 10 or 12).

    Looking to order online for an event on Friday and wouldn’t have time to return a wrong size.


    • Anonymous :

      I had a Nicole Miller bridesmaid dress several years ago that was the same size as all my other dresses (so no weird bridal sizing).

      I would not order any dress without time for tailoring unless you already know the brand will fit you without alterations.

      • Thank you, but it’s not a bridesmaid dresses – just a normal sheath dress. I tend to not get those altered.

    • I have sometimes found that customer service is able to answer questions like this, but I don’t know about Nicole Miller in particular. They would rather help you find the right size than have you order a few dresses and return the ones that don’t fit.

    • Size up.

    • Buy two sizes, return the one that doesn’t fit after the event.

    • I wear my regular pant size. Most of her dresses that I’ve worn have had some stretch to them.

  2. Paging Anon re: Tax Returns :

    I read yesterday’s coffeebreak thread late last night, but I saw the question re: amending returns after an honest mistake. I was surprised by the answers. I am a tax attorney in private practice now who was previously with the IRS.
    I would like to note that there is NO legal obligation to correct the past. There is no legal obligation in the US to amend returns after an error has been made and the return has been filed. of course, the IRS could argue you fraudulently failed to correctly file in the first place, but the IRS can argue that EVEN IF you amend your returns! I’ve had this happen to my clients.
    Further, any reasonable cause defense you have now — i.e., reliance on advisor — still exists even if you do not amend your returns! This is because the law does NOT require you to amend your returns.
    whether some people think this is ethical is another question altogether. But I frequently advise clients to just wait and see. This is especially true because often times an amended return draws extra scrutiny from the IRS.

    Anyway — this is not to be construed as legal advice. I’m just observing the law as it stands in the US.

    • A big HOWEVER is penalties and interest (never mind the underpayment itself).

      I’m from NJ and would rather use a loan shark than have interest and penalties piling up / risk playing the audit lottery. If your issue is something that has a 1099 / W-2 in the background, the IRS’s matching program usually eventually catches up with you.

      And a big HOWEVER to that is whether the SOL has run on the year in question (in which case: are you sure? and do you have proof like a certified mail proof of mailing and returned proof-of-receipt?).

    • Thank you. It’s a local return, basically a city tax issue, where local city treats certain business differently from state and fed govt. So it’s not federal returns that are the issue, although certainly we could have deducted the local tax from the federal. Spoke to old accountant and it seems to have been a honest mistake. It seems like our state/city lets you avoid penalties if you amend on your own, i.e., without waiting for them to catch you, and our old CPA has offered to pay the interest, so we are just going to file correctly going forward and pay whatever we should have before. It seems like we can do this on the local returns and then just deduct the amount on our fed return, but have to confirm this with accountant.

      I appreciate your response and the ones yesterday. Although maybe not the ones that assumed I was just looking for permission to be unethical. I wasn’t. I was just trying to figure out if there was anything I was missing from my analysis.

  3. Where do you busty ladies find silk tops? I’m really at a loss. Sometimes Banana will have a silk piece, but not very often. J Crew silk is so thin and such poor quality these days. I’m sized out of Everlane and Joie. Help me brainstorm other brands to try?

    • Equipment. It’s pricey but Nordstrom Rack always carries it (online) and their patterns are awesome. Being busty, I simply have to size up in pretty much every brand.

      • Are the lighter colored silk tops super sheer? I’m looking at the pale blue/pale pink blouse and can’t tell on the model. If they’re pretty thick and opaque, it might be a perfect replacement for an old silk shirt I have. Thanks for the rec!

        • For a solid color ivory shirt, I definitely wear a camisole underneath. For patterns and other colors though you should be ok with a nude bra. In either case, my experience with “super sheer” has been J Crew and Madewell, whereas Equipment can be sort of sheer but never that bad.

          • Senior Attorney :

            +1 I have an ivory silk shirt from Equipment with a pattern and I just wear a nude bra and don’t worry about it.

            I think their shirts can vary in the degree of sheerness among the different styles so there’s that, too.

          • I noticed they have an NYC store, so I’m going to take a look when I’m down there next. Also not sure their sizes will fit me as I’m a 12. Their size chart seems to top out at 10, but then it’s also a UK 14 which I do fit in, so fingers crossed!

    • I buy Ravello tops at Boden, which are a very nice silk blend.

      • I’ve never bought anything at Boden before but this is gorgeous, thank you! And it might actually fit me!!

        • You’re welcome! I probably have 10 of them. It’s super-flattering and comfortable on me – apple shaped, busty, and short/short-waisted. I will warn you that the sizing can be inconsistent among colors, though.

        • It’s a very nice top, but fyi it’s not fitted. If you are busty and like a more fitted look, the Ravello isn’t the best option. I only wear mine underneath suits for this reason.

          • Thanks for the heads up. As an apple I definitely don’t want anything fitted though!

          • The Ravello also comes in a V-neck, which I, as busty, but not apple-shaped, find more flattering than the round neck style.

      • I bought the Ravello and didn’t like it at all. It pulled on my arms in a weird way, wasn’t that flattering, and had these flaps under the neck that needed to be ironed (forgot the name of those).

    • eBay and I size up. I just search size silk blouse or size silk top. I don’t mind buying gently used and the silk used to be better anyway.

    • Plug for Talbots here too–they often have really pretty silk shells. You have to catch them when they have them, and then wait for their 40% one item coupons or 25% off sales. I have a few really classy, rich-colored silk shells that are go-tos for under suits from them.

    • Grana!

    • KateMiddletown :

      Talbots. Bought a washable silk top there to boot.

  4. I got an offer for a new job! But now I’m feeling a bit torn, and was hoping to hear from those of you who have made similar moves or contemplated doing so. I really enjoy my current litigation work in NY big law and very likely would make partner in 5 years if I stay, but the hours are brutal and will always involve a lot of travel. I can’t see myself having kids in a few years and keeping up this pace (as much as I enjoy the work itself). The new job is in a similar but non-litigation field (think government/in house), with a regular 40hr work week.

    I’m very excited to get the new job, but I’m starting to feel sad about leaving the work that I do now, particularly when I’ve done so well. I want to make the move for lifestyle reasons- less stress, actual free time on the weekends and nights- but I’m not 100% certain I’m making the right move. Has anyone been in a similar boat?

    • Anonymous :

      In NYC timelines, does that make you a 4th/5th year? Some consider that to be the ideal time to jump, but don’t ever seem to recommend it for someone who really might not be counseled out anyway.

      Are you actually married or seriously dating someone?

      If you legit might have kids in a couple of years, OK to make the move now.

      If you only theoretically might have kids in a couple of years and aren’t married/seriously dating someone, I’m not so sure I’d jump just b/c having more of a cushion will help so, so much later.

      FWIW, friends who have gone in-house have said that it is often not the lifestyle move it is made out to be, esp as you get more senior. It’s like BigLaw hours/travel with in-house pay and bad IT and no/little secretarial support.

      • OP- yes, mid level associate. I’m married, and we definitely want to have kids in about 2 years.

        I’ve been talking to a friend of a friend who works at the new job now, and she confirmed that you maintain work life balance even in the senior positions (it’s in government). TBH, the new job is the perfect non-litigation place in terms of life balance and doing something similar to what I do now (which is a fairly niche area)- I think my hesitation is in giving up the litigation part, which I know I enjoy, and (rather egotistically) the prestige of being a big law partner. At my review a few months ago, they told me I’m the best associate in our group, and have been giving me significant opportunities to advance. It’s just hard to give that up- even though I really do want a life again!

        I know this is a great problem to have, but I’m so torn over what to do

        • From a non-lawyer with a lot of Biglaw friends, trust me, the biglaw prestige means absolutely nothing to anyone outside of that insular bubble. It’s not egotistical to want it so don’t beat yourself up there, but recognize that it may lose some of its import when the law firm blinders come off.

          • From an attorney who’s spent time in biglaw, the prestige also wears off when you leave the firm and start having time to hang out with people who are not also at large firms.

          • +Infinity to both of the above.

        • I’m not married and I don’t have kids. I was also counseled out of big law at a couple of years senior to you, so take my advice with a grain of salt. If you enjoy litigation, and the prestige of being a big law partner genuinely appeals to you, then you might be one of the rare breed that is actually cut out for being a big law partner. I can’t say either of those things are particularly true for me. I’m surprised at myself for saying this, but in your shoes, I think maybe I would stay with the firm.

      • So much this. I jumped ship to in-house during my fifth year. I’m been in house for 4.5 years and I undoubtedly work as much as I did in Big Law for about half the pay. The only silver lining is that I have semi-control over my schedule (e.g., leave at 4:45 pm sharp for kid pick up) — but I regularly work several hours in the late night plus weekends.

        • This is the reality of being a professional in the US. I moved to the in-house equivalent of Finance and have the same thing – I have a very flexible schedule but still put in time on nights and weekends to stay on top of it all. If you want to make a 6 figure salary, you’re going to work more than 40 hours/week in most corporate jobs.

        • Anon in house :

          It really and truly depends on the in house job and culture of the company. Most people in house I know don’t work a set 40 hours 8 to 5, but don’t pull all nighters or work weekends unless absolutely necessary, and very rarely (including myself, also in house). Plus she’s speaking to government (non-hill I’m assuming) so a fairly standard 40 hr a week is a given.

    • Yes I’m giving my notice tomorrow to jump from litigation to an in house position. I’m definitely conflicted. I wish you could do litigation and not have all of the lifestyle issues that are so common. Now that I’m married with children, I just couldn’t see continuing despite the fact that I really enjoy it and have done well when another very atttractive offer presented itself.

    • Yes, I made a similar move about 3 years ago and now can’t imagine going back to firm hours. I now have evenings and weekends that involve things like working out, having friends over for dinner, being on a non-profit board, hanging out with family, taking random weekend trips, going to book club, attending various events in my city, etc. I didn’t miss having a life when I was at the firm, because I had sort of forgotten what it was like to have a really robust personal life. I really enjoy my job and occasionally work past 6, but I don’t have to spend my evenings and weekends checking my work email and worried that someone might need me to do something. Getting that mental space back turned out to be a huge positive in my life.

      In summary, you’re making the right move and make sure to embrace all the free time you’re going to have! Six months from now, you won’t be able to imagine going back to your old schedule.

    • Leave. I was you. Here’s what I’ve observed in the 10+ years since I made the decision (caveat, I wasn’t married either at the time but never wanted kids but don’t believe that matters with choosing a better lifestyle):
      – years 4-6 are a sweet spot at a big firm. You know what you’re doing, have reasonable autonomy, feel confident and generally get good feedback, and you’ve outlasted a lot of your peers. After that, it gets rough as you move to the up or out years. By this time, it’s often harder to make an in-house move and you’re more likely to desperately wish it was an option. It can still happen, it’s just harder – you’re fighting the bias that you think like a firm lawyer and have too much experience.
      – going in-house now is not the end of your career, and is often the beginning of a better one. By going now, you get yourself positioned to run your practice area by the time you would have been facing your partner decision (or you don’t but you have substantial in-house experience to be viable to do that elsewhere if not st your company).
      – the lifestyle trade is less of a cash trade than you might think. Salaries aren’t that low (my cut was initially 30% ish, but I caught up to a good mid-law partner salary a long time ago). And you have more job stability because you aren’t looking at an up or out date.
      – the lifestyle, for me, has been totally worth it. I don’t work less hour for hour, but I work predictably- it’s rare for my schedule to be different so I can plan my life (dinners with friends, vacations, etc.) that don’t need to be rescheduled
      – if you have kids, I think companies are a better place the than law firms – it’s the norm, not the exception and I think there’s generally more understanding of parental issues. This has been the experience of my friends with kids, but I can’t personally speak to it

      The TL;DR – congrats on the offer, take it, lean into the new gig

    • Happily in-house :

      I switched from being a litigator in a mid-sized city to going in-house to do corporate work and have zero regrets. I have a regular 40-hour workweek, great colleagues, 5-minute commute, and make more than I did at the firm (plus I get a 25% bonus!). I have less support, but I don’t need much given that I am not litigating.

      Opportunities to go in-house or into government are hard to come by, so I think you are making the right move at the right time. The longer you stay, the harder it will be to get out. Plus, there are plenty of opportunities to do pro bono litigation work if you miss the work. I served as pro bono counsel in federal court and got to flex my brief-writing muscles. It was fun!

    • Any chance you’re having break up goggles for this job? Like, right when you’re about to leave you only think back on the good times and gloss over the bad.

      But yeah, I’m planning on moving from my very demanding job where I am regularly expected to be available from 7A-11P, 7 days a week. I work slightly less than Big Law, but I also don’t get paid enough to outsource my life so it’s probably a time-suck wash. I’m considering a jump to a government job with predictable, standard-ish hours, and keep a running list of reasons I am going to switch. I literally have dates: May 2016, I missed my niece’s dance recital even after she begged me to go. December 5, I was literally at the pediatrician with my kid and answering phone calls. When I start questioning my choice, I look back and remember these moments.

      • OP- I have SO many dates as well, and so many vacations and life events that have been trampled by my current job.

        Thank you all for posting, it makes me feel better knowing that so many of you have done a similar change and are happy with the result!

    • I’m not trying to take anything away — I’m sure you’re an awesome 4th-5th year but take any nyc biglaw partner promises with a grain of salt. As a 5th year I too was told I was amazing and very likely to be a partner and they’d promote me now if they could. As a 9th year I was told – partner, you? Why would you think that, we’d never put you up. Nothing changed. Great relationships, reviews stayed great, staffed on the best cases etc. What changed was litigation wasn’t bringing in as much $$ and instead of being honest that the executive committee wouldn’t allow new lit partners until the existing ones started bringing in more $$$, it was easier to blame me. In retrospect they were trying to hold onto a worker bee mid level who’d run all their cases for the next 5 years. I’m not saying to leave biglaw, if that’s what you want, go for it. I’m just saying don’t put anything on hold for biglaw and various promises being made that aren’t enforceable in any way. Btw – my story isn’t unique, I’ve seen it on this board from 3-4 others at least.

      • +1

      • THIS. Actually, take any job-related future promises with a gigantic grain of salt; I’ve been promised sooooo many things in my career (“Oh don’t worry, this title and pay cut is temporary and just to get you up to speed, you’ll advance within 3 – 6 months” or “Trust me, we’ll get you all the resources you need ASAP, we’re in the process of staffing them now”) and it’s never once worked out the way they said it will. Look at things as they are *right now* at this very moment: one actual, concrete job offer compared to a dangling carrot of a hypothetical promotion.

        Take the job. Don’t look back.

    • Pretty Primadonna :

      Girl. Go. Like someone mentioned above, I think you have on break-up goggles. Take the “prestige” out of the equation, and what would you want to do?

      • OP- so true! I think it is the break up goggles. It’s less about the prestige and more about missing the litigation work, which I really enjoy, BUT I do think it’s worth it to have a real life where I’m not constantly glued to the job.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Another litigator moved happily in house. To be honest, sometimes I miss a little bit the thrill of the chase, the opportunity to *win* in litigation, but omg the trade off is so worth it. For me, the inability to control my schedule in litigation was a big stressor.

      Now, for example, I am solely responsible for daycare pickup, every day (like we only have one car and I drive that car to work), and for the two years that has been my duty, I have never come close to not being able to do it. Every now and then (once a month?) I have to get online after Kiddo is in bed to wrap something up, and about once a week I do it because there’s just something I want to wrap up, but generally I don’t have to take work home.

      That being said, this is my third year in this gig and the first year I’m making more than I did one year out of school in Big Law. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I will go against the grain, as usual. If you love being a litigator, why on earth would you chain yourself to a desk for “lifestyle” when you do not even have your hypothetical children yet?

      Stay. Be bada*s. And if and when kids come your way, try it out. You might hate it and leave anyway OR you might be one of the ones for whom it works out. There are women litigators with kids out there. Really. You cannot know until you try and if you truly love it, there is nothing else like it.

      TL;DR – don’t give up something you love because it might be too hard down the road.

      • Marshmallow :

        OP, I’m your same level so this is just peer advice, but I second Never too many shoes. Also married, also want kids in a year or two, also frequently frustrated with Biglaw unpredictability and hours expectations. But I LOVE my job, I love litigation, I love winning. I would not take a government lifestyle job right now. At least for me that’s what makes sense. There’s nothing wrong with making sacrifices because your work is genuinely interesting to you, and it sounds like you love litigation.

      • Anonymous :

        Coming from a biglaw senior associate litigator, this is bad advice. In house/government jobs are incredibly hard to get, and that does not get easier as you get more senior. You have an offer now, don’t rely on an expectation that you will be able to get another offer in the future. I’ve been trying for 3 years …

      • Not sure if anyone will see this, since it is so late, but I will also second this advice. I had an in-house offer a while back and turned it down to stay with my firm. Granted, I’m absolutely not in BigLaw – I am at a mid-size (for my area) defense firm. But I do love litigation and I love my firm, so I decided to stay. For me, though, I was up for partnership and I think I was mostly afraid of the added responsibility. Just like Never Too Many Shoes said, I decided not to give up something I love because I thought it might get harder.

    • Alanna of Trebond :

      Why don’t you stay and make partner and then leave, if you still want to? Your exit options will improve.

    • Anon late to the game :

      Catching up from last week – consider if pro bono is an option or you can start it. More and more businesses are supporting pro bono work by their in-house counsel. How amazing would it be to have one pro bono litigation matter that you could really dedicate time and energy to?!

  5. This dress in petite and at 50% off would be perfection for me. I would wear it with a scarf on Monday, a belt on Wednesday and a brooch for a big workshop.

    • Anonymous :

      I have a really similar dress from Old Navy, of all places, though it doesn’t have the fancy lining.

    • +1. Happy for my plus size sisters to get needed attention. But as a small short person, I’d like more petite options, too!

    • I would buy it at full price and in four colors if it came in a petite cusp size.

  6. The last of DH’s student loans was laid off today! My debt was all undergrad, so it was paid off a couple years ago, but his was grad school. We were down to paying “only” $1000/month. I do not even know what to do with this “windfall” each month!

    Oh yes. Yes I do. Partially pay for childcare for our 3rd child, due this summer. Oh well. ;)

    • Congratulations on the debt-free life and on baby #3! You’re doing great, Go You :)

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      Congratulations!!! (on the baby as well as paying off your loans) Way to go!

    • Woohoo! No-debt showers need to become a thing, what a great milestone!

      Can you take part of one month’s windfall and throw a party? Celebrate the end of loans and the upcoming baby. If you have a backyard, host an open house BBQ (catered) with kids running around the yard. If you don’t, rent a room at a restaurant and toast to your fantastic year. Congrats!

    • Small consolation – at least you aren’t paying down debt AND for day care at the same time. Congrats on the baby and being student loan debt free!

    • Congrats on both the loans and the baby! I’m sure it was a typo or auto correct, but I really like idea of laying off your loans :)

      • “You’ve been with us for many years, but I’m sorry to say that your position is being eliminated. We wish you the best.”

    • anonforthis :

      Yay! Congrats! Student loans are the worst.

      We should have my DH’s student loans paid off by Christmas 2019, and cannot wait. We’re paying $5k a month, and I cannot wait to be able to save that much more a month, or do whatever else we need/want to do with it. Still feels a long way off for us, and I agree – there should be a party or something!

    • Housecleaner – it’s what I did when I paid off the first half of my $85K and I have not regretted it for a minute.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Wonderful news! Congratulations on all counts!

  7. I really enjoyed yesterday afternoon’s pearl discussion. Thanks to all who chimed in!

  8. Looking for dress recs :

    Hoping some people here can help me find a dress! I’ve been looking for ages for a long sleeve black fit and flare dress that I can wear to work. The few options I’ve found have all had the waist hit right under the bust, while my natural waist is a good 4-5 inches lower than that.

    What I’m looking for:
    -Opaque black
    -Long or 3/4 sleeve
    -Light material, not too structured (for example, ponte doesn’t fall the way I want)
    -No colored cuffs or collars or anything, just plain
    -Either small in the waist compared to bust or stretchy enough to accommodate a difference
    -Ideally under $100, but that’s flexible for the right dress.

    My office is business casual, no jeans. I think my waist sits lower than most people my height, so that may be why I’m having fit issues. I’m willing to look at anything, I’ve even ordered a few off a m a z o n to try them out (they’ve all hit too high).


    • Try the long/tall version of dresses from Boden, J. Crew, or Banana Republic.

    • I just ordered this dress and was really pleased with it. It’s just like a stretchy t-shirt, and I haven’t washed it yet, so I can’t speak for that, but for $20, what the heck. And it has pockets! I figured it’d be cute with a necklace.

      Don’t look at the Amazon size chart – scroll down to the manufacturers’ chart. I’m a 10 in mall clothes, but I ordered a large (12-14 on their chart) based on my measurements and it was a great fit.


    • Antonio Melani Courtney knit dress.

    • My waist is just like yours. Boden doesn’t work for me at all, I tend to have amazing luck with Maggy London but not seeing anything that fit your criteria.

      I believe this dress sometimes comes in a 3/4 sleeve but I don’t see it right now. It’s very flattering.


    • Try Karen Kane.

    • J Crew has a brand new dress that fits this description. It is ponte, but a lightweight ponte that falls nicely. And they’re doing 30% off on it today, so it is under $100.

      • Looking for dress recs :

        Is it the same one someone linked below? It’s cute and very close, but I was worried about the neckline (broad shoulders). Thank you for the rec though, and good to know about JC ponte!

        • Minnie Beebe :

          I think I tried this on a couple of months ago– I have very narrow shoulders an the shoulders on this were comically huge on me. If you have broad shoulders, it would be worth a try. Other wise, it was a nice dress!

    • Legally Brunette :

      How about this?


  9. I’m having a rough couple of days dealing with interactions with men. I can’t tell if I’m just more “woke” about things now, after all the strong movements over the past couple of years, or if I’m just overly stressed and I’ve got a short fuse, or if it really just has been especially bad lately.

    I had some mansplaining done to me last week by a coworker who is slightly more highly ranked than me, and I tried a phrase that my male colleague had used just that day in a different meeting, (“I believe we are getting off-topic right now.” It worked!). It didn’t work, and the “helping” continued. I found myself just shutting down, knowing that he wasn’t willing to listen to all the facts, that I didn’t need to do everything he was telling me I should do to fix the problem that I had already decided wasn’t worth the time it would take to fix it. My husband was especially irritated that I had been talked to like that (he understood the issue and the decision I had to make about it), and thought I should have stood up for myself more. Let me just say that I’m pretty outspoken, and I’m usually biting my tongue to pick my battles, but in this case, I just had no “fight” in me.

    I’m also in the final weeks before a big exam that I would like to pass, but wouldn’t affect my employment if I didn’t pass. And not many people really know that I’m taking it.

    I also just had another situation with an IT guy who is trying to help, but keeps answering a question I’m not asking, regardless of how many different ways I ask it.

    I could go on and on. But if my frustration is from being more “aware”, then a part of me wishes I weren’t so aware.

    • Not to say that you aren’t experiencing mansplaining, but I’ve had similar issues with women as well and sometimes it’s just garden variety poor communication. Some people are really annoying and overexplain and condescend or are obtuse, etc. Sometimes it might be because a women or I’m younger than they are or more junior or in a less technical role (or all of the above). I try to just assume that it’s poor communication though unless it’s really obviously happening for other reasons. I’ve also noticed that when I’ve dealt with an obviously sexist situation recently, I then tend to view other, less obvious situations through that lens. Again, I am not trying to undermine your judgment of the situation, but I find it helps me to be less rage-y if I generally try to ascribe someone’s idiocy to their personality, them having a rough day, or other factors, unless it’s obviously sexism.

      • To be fair – I have found myself over-explaining a lot more after my first two years in management. I realized that my subordinates often failed to connect different parts of the same process (i.e. pay an invoice but fail to charge the client for it). I know it is a matter of experience (and poor technology at my company) to keep tabs on all of the interconnected pieces but save doing the work myself all I could do is keep talking bigger picture. It really did work. But these were not lawyers!

    • I’ve been feeling like this a lot for … about two years? I think you are right that we are more conscious of what underlies these interactions now. For years I hated to be interrupted at work, but I would tell myself that I hated it because it was bad manners. But I really hated it because I was being disrespected, my expertise was being dismissed, and I felt like a sucker because the interrupter was gambling that I would be too polite to call him out. Now I am more aware and the conflict feels never-ending, so it’s hard to push into the fray every day. Anyway, I feel ya.

    • It’s exhausting. Sometimes you pick your battles because you want to preserve your mental health, not because you want to be agreeable or nice or whatever it is people say about women.

      I try to channel my frustration into helping others; I find it much less draining to stick up for someone else than to stick up for myself. Days like what you’re describing remind me to be on the lookout for opportunities to do that, especially for WOC who have it much worse than I do.

    • No Problem :

      I had a fabulous man-terruption this morning that I’m actually quite proud of how I handled. I attend weekly meetings as the liaison between my functional area and one of our program divisions. The meetings include liaisons from other functional areas and the leadership from that division. This morning I was explaining how I was using the resources in my functional area to deal with an issue and the two men in the room both started interrupting me in the middle of my summary. Didn’t even wait for me to catch my breath – just straight up started talking over me. I raised my voice over theirs saying “can I finish what I’m saying?” a couple times before they finally yielded back to me. Their boss (a woman) seemed suitably annoyed with them and impressed with me. I’m honestly not sure if I would have taken the same approach a year ago when I was in a different role and they both quite outranked me, but stories like these have taught me to be more assertive whenever I get the chance.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I’ve found that my frustration is from a combination of increased awareness and men actually being sh*tty. As much as I might joke about it, I don’t hate all men (though possibly want to ban them). But I’ve noticed that I get the worst, skin-crawly reactions to this stuff when I’m around a particular group of (sh*tty!) men. And I don’t think it’s just me – I think they’re not so great. I have described some of their actions to people in different fields and the response has been disgust, so… that’s good in proving my sanity?

  10. Paging Baltimore Neighborhoods :

    Missed the post yesterday but wanted to weigh in.

    There are almost no detached home in city limits as another poster mentioned, but there are houses that have fenced in back lots and back up to dog parks in Canton, Federal Hill/Locust Point, and Patterson Park.

    For suburbs, Towson (can be more expensive and college-town-ish), Catonsville (can skew towards families with kids) and Elkridge/Halethorpe (neighborhoods super hit or miss for walkable) are your best bets.

    • I missed this yesterday, but I would look in Hampden. Mostly row houses, but greener than the downtown neighborhoods, and there are a sprinkling of single family homes in the mix, especially up towards Medfield. Many of the rowhouses do have yards as well, some of which are reasonably large. The area around Tudor Arms/Beech between 37th and 40th has tons of mature trees and borders Wyman Park – I think it would fit your bill almost precisely, despite being mostly row houses.

      Also, while your budget is going to be a stretch for Keswick/Evergreen (just north of Hampden), I’ve seen stuff in the low 300s there. There are lots of other charming neighborhoods in the city in your price range, but the mix of walkable and yard/mature trees narrows it down. Also depends on what exactly you mean by walkable. Lots of places with sidewalks where you can walk to a shop or two, but in Hampden you can actually walk to pretty much anything you need. On the flipside, I find that Baltimore suburbs feel super suburban. Not like Boston, for example, where there are genuine town centers in many of the suburban towns; around Bmore you seem to go straight into the land of endless strip malls.

      BTW, I moved here about a year ago, and we are very very happy.

  11. Ladies, this might seem like a tacky question, but I really want to know what you think. I work as an in-house attorney for a Fortune 50 company. I inherited a gorgeous heart-shaped diamond necklace and the diamond is over 3 carats. It’s really gorgeous. I’ve been wearing it to work lately and many women’s eyes divert down to my necklace when we’re talking. Is it tacky to wear such a necklace to work? I work with people who make in excess of $200K a year, plus bonus, so I don’t think it’s out of line…it’s not like I work at Social Services. But if I’m sending the wrong message, I’d like to know. TIA.

    • No, it is not tacky. It sounds beautiful. Wear it!

    • It seems to be more of an evening/party “fancy” piece than a work piece.

      • Yes, to people who care about that sort of thing, diamonds were traditionally for evening. Not sure who actually cares, I sure don’t, but if they’re super waspy maybe that is what they’re thinking.

      • This. Hard to tell without seeing it, but sounds like something I would expect at a gala, not at the 2pm contract review. If you’re sending the wrong message, it might just be that you’re more “fancy” than they were expecting for a Tuesday.

    • Anon in NYC :

      I don’t think it’s tacky. I’m sure they’re just looking at your necklace because it’s eye catching!

    • I bet they are just checking out your beautiful necklace!

    • I thought that got thrown back in the ocean…

      • YES that’s what I automatically thought! OP, diamonds are sparkly and thus meant to catch the eye. They’re gorgeous, that’s the goal! I doubt it’s tacky/ they think you’re showing off, but I agree with others that it might be a bit out of place for a work day.

      • Pretty Primadonna :

        Ha! A-ha-ha! LOL

      • Triangle Pose :

        Well, baby, I went down and got it for you.

        Everyone go to elle and read R Eric Thomas piece on investigating the Titanic Fan Fic in the “Oops!… I Did It Again” video. It’s a gem and made me laugh out loud in the office.

    • Wear it and enjoy it as the person who left it to you intended. There is no point just leaving it in your jewelry box for a special occasion. My mom gave me one of her nicer pieces of jewelry (to wear now rather than wait til she is gone) with the provision that I wear them often and enjoy them. I know she’ll try to take them back if I don’t!

    • Is the diamond heart-shaped? I would probably be distracted by that shape more than others since it’s unusual. Heart-shaped jewelry in general seems to provoke strong reactions — very love-hate — it’s either super romantic OR it’s juvenile and best left to elementary school girls.

      • KateMiddletown :

        Same. Although 3 carats can’t make it that large, so I’m curious about the setting.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Wear it. Wear it everywhere!

    • No not tacky.

      But….. I would hesitate if too many people are staring at it. You don’t want it to be the thing they remember most about you.

      • Anonymous :

        Nah, I’m cool if the thing people most remember about me is my 3 carat diamond pendant.

  12. Kat Do Something :

    Again. The CW ad is taking over. Do you care at all? Do you read any comments? What is wrong? Why haven’t you fixed this?

    • This ad is ridiculous on my ipad. It takes over the entire screen and makes it impossible to close or view any posts. I thought Kat had staff now – why can’t anyone get this fixed?

      • use an adblocking browser :

        I downloaded the Brave browser for my iPad, but I’m sure there are others.

    • There’s an “Admin Update” added to this post in response to multiple complaints about the CW ad (I haven’t seen that one in particular, but do get tons of disruptive ads on this site). Unfortunately, the solution proposed won’t work for me since I don’t seem to have the “report” button described.


      • Some people can't install things :

        WE. CANT.

      • which ad blockers are the best? And are there any that don’t monitor all of your browsing/typing activity, even if you are not on pages with ads? I’m just not cool with handing over my keystrokes to a random company.

        • adblockers :

          I think every adblocker is going to have a sweeping “monitors activity on all websites” permission, since the adblocker has to check whether or not the page has ads. No adblocker should be logging keystrokes, though for all I know some do.

          uBlock Origin is the adblocker that the programmers I know currently use and recommend.

  13. Lash lift or perm? :

    I’m wondering if anyone has had a lash lift or perm? My lashes are very straight and hoping to start a serum soon, and think I would like to pair it with a lift to get more curl. A little wary of the service and just seeking anecdotal experiences. TIA!

    • Trixie Ruby :

      I have had a lash perm and tint–and I love it! It lasts a long time, and makes my eyes brighter without mascara, which I hate to wear. I use a liner with a growth serum in it, and it works slowly but surely, so I think this helps too. Go for it!

  14. anon for this :

    After nearly 3 years post baby, I’m back to a weight that I feel really good about. However, my body fat seems to be pretty consistently between 27 – 28%, even with lifting and other working out. I’m 5’5 and about 127 right now. I don’t think I eat a high fat diet.

    Do you just carry extra fat after having kids? Is this something I can realistically reduce, maybe down to 25 percent? Not interested in taking a bunch of protein shakes.

    • My question is why you’d want to. You’ve said you’re happy with your figure right now, right? Women normally carry body fat in the upper 20s and low 30s. It’s how we’re physically designed.

      FWIW, if it’s persuasive at all, the Army allows 34% body fat for women in their 30s. (Here’s the Army’s height-weight and body fat guide, if anyone’s interested. Go to page 27. https://www.army.mil/e2/downloads/rv7/r2/policydocs/r600_9.pdf)

    • Anon in house :

      Have you asked yourself why you are focused on body fat percentage as opposed to how developed your muscles are and how you look? That number doesn’t mean much and is frequently wrong or different depending on the method you use to calculate it.

      Also keep in mind that yes, bodies change, sometimes permanently after children. You may have to accept that 1) you’re objectively thin, 2) you’re in a healthy weight and bodyweight percentage.

      If you must, you can reduce your body fat percentage and greatly improve toning, but at that point you’d probably have to follow the “bikini competition” diet and lifting regimen which just isn’t really practical for the average person, especially with a child.

    • Why do you care? Do you just want us all to tell you how skinny you are? You’re not fat don’t worry?

    • Congrats on how skinny you are. Why do you care?

    • That does not seem high to me at all (you’re skinnier than me and I have no bio kids). Do you lift weights? Do HIIT? A combo of those helped me get my BF % down a few years ago – I was in my late 20s so YMMV. Lifting is good for your bones, so even if that didn’t result in body fat loss, I’d still recommend it.

    • Cornellian :

      I think maybe my hips or rear end hold a lot more fat now than they used to. I’m sure my home scale is pretty inaccurate, but I am 5’4 and went from ~123 and 22% body fat pre baby to ~115 and 25% post. I’m only running and doing occasional push ups etc, so I know I shouldn’t be jacked, but it seems strange given how much lighter I am.

    • Marshmallow :

      Wow. That is… not high. I have 34% BF at same height as you. Thanks?

      • I had a similar BF last year and if you look at the charts that’s considered obese. I know that I wasn’t obese at the time but for some reason those are the standards.

        • Marshmallow :

          Late comment so unlikely to be seen but that’s ridiculous. My BMI is exactly on the border of normal and overweight.

          • your BMI and body fat have little to do with each other. You could have a BMI of 20 (on the low side of normal) and still have a BF of 34%. That’s what they call skinny fat.

      • Seriously.

        Humble brag.

        • So every not serious thing that we think about and would like thoughts on/pointers for how to improve is a humble brag now?

          • Anonymous :


          • Anonymous :

            Maybe if it involves weight lifting and how skinny and fit you are and complaining since you want to have lower fat numbers than the vast majority of those who read here?


            If she wasn’t trying to get a response, she would have asked her question at on online lifting forum, or at her gym, at wither trainer, or with her doctor. Not on a fashion website.

            Or she would have asked the question generally, without giving her specs.

    • KateMiddletown :

      Yeah, I think my scale is totally warped when it comes to body fat, because I’m at Shannon Beador-like numbers and her trainer said she was putting her body in danger with that % (I think she was 39%). I say if you feel good and you’re within recommended guidelines (which you obviously are), don’t think twice.

    • It sounds to me like a recomp would be great for you, just be patient as it is a slow process. I’m 5’5” 126lbs and 21% body fat. I’m down from 130lbs and 26% body fat by eating at maintenance calories with a higher protein percentage from a year ago. Check out reddit’s xxfitness sub for some success stories and helpful advice. FWIW I do 4 lifting sessions a week, 2 HIIT, and adding in some long walks on the weekend.

    • Anonymous :

      I would ask this question on the r e d d i t x x fitness board if you don’t want to hear from a bunch of chubby people who are upset that someone is thinner than them.

  15. Baconpancakes :

    I just started watching The Good Place on Netflix. Haven’t decided how I feel about it yet, but it’s campy and entertaining enough to keep me occupied while I’m on the elliptical, which I find mind-numbingly boring.

    Anyone else watch it? What did you think?

    • I watched the first season on a plane. A good twist at the end, but overall i thought the ethics lessons, etc, were kinda forced.

    • Love it!

    • Basically my favorite show on TV right now. Loved season 2.

    • Clementine :

      I enjoyed it and also started it as a treadmill show! I have now moved on to Brooklyn 99 and the Great British Bake-Off as my go-to treadmill shows.

    • Anon in house :

      It’s a great binge watch, and one of my favorites on TV right now. The newer seasons add even more twists, but it’s not too forced. I think the ethics lessons aren’t necessarily meant to be bash over the head complicated (seeing as the main character usually paraphrases is in a simplistic manner for the audience) and are really just meant to push the episodes ahead around an idea.

    • I love it. I have loved Kristen Bell since Veronica Mars….

      I like that it’s happy and the focus isn’t murder or s3x and it’s corny and I laugh. The little details (the love of shrimp, the clown paintings) that keep getting brought up make it for me.

    • Triangle Pose :

      Love it. Kristen Bell sells her character so well!

      “I’ve only said ‘I love you’ to two men my entire life. Stone Cold Steve Austin, and a guy in a dark club—who I mistook for Stone Cold Steve Austin.”

    • It is forking brilliant and perfect and I won’t hear otherwise. No one bug me on Thursday evenings when there’s a new episode. :)

    • I really enjoy it, as does my 12 year old.

  16. I shared this on Sunday but at the advise of some ‘rettes, I am hoping to get more insights. Lot’s of thanks to the ladies that replied to the initial post. I already downloaded the aduio book on “Designing your Life”.

    The brief: I turn 31 this April and am only now considering grad school as an avenue to advance my career. At the moment, my preoccupation is on acing the GMATs and getting my applications right for Fall ’19 intake. So much a priority is this, that I have not even thought of dating or considered my single-hood in a while.
    The dilemma: Assuming I get into a two year grad school programme in the fall of 2019, I will graduate at 34. My fear is that it might then be late to start a family, with dating,settling and trying to conceive extending further the time before I can start a family.

    Are there ladies here who had a ‘reset’ at life later in their adulthood? I have no doubt that I am overthinking things, but that is the direction in which my mind wonders. What advice would the high achievers here give?

    • When going back to school later in life, you have to let go of the traditional college + career + married + babies timeline. Maybe you’ll meet someone in your first year of grad school and get married the next summer and take a semester off school to have a baby. Or maybe you’ll meet someone in your first job post-grad school. Timelines seem to move faster in mid-late thirties. It doesn’t take 3 years to get from dating to married like it often does in 20s, plus people seem to start TTC pretty much right after the wedding – or start TTC before getting married. Lots of different ways to do it.

      • Anonymous :

        + 1k to this! I am retired and went back to graduate school. I hope to do a postdoc. next year.

    • Is there a reason you can’t date in grad school? I can’t speak to whatever degree you’re pursuing, but I had tons of free time in law school. And you might even meet somebody in school.

      • One consideration would be the two-body problem if dating someone else in graduation school

        • What does that mean?

          • The two-body problem is a dilemma for life partners (for e.g. spouses or any other couple) in academia, relating to the difficulty of both spouses obtaining jobs at the same university or within a reasonable commuting distance from each other.

            Basically if you are dating someone in grad school, what are the chances you will both find a post-grad school job in the same location.

          • Well, if you’re looking in a big city, pretty good. From what I’ve read on here, academia is pretty awful for the trailing spouse, but a regular grad degree or MBA? You should be able to find two jobs together.

        • Never too many shoes... :

          I’m sorry, what does that even mean?

          • Never too many shoes... :

            Ah, got it now. For whatever reason, the OP’s post did not turn my mind to a career in academia but rather just grad school towards furthering a “regular” career. I can understand how it might make a difference.

      • +1 I met my husband in grad school and was not the only one.

    • My advice is start dating now. In no way should applying for grad school or even attending grad school be this all consuming.

    • There is no reason you can’t pursue your personal life and career life goals at the same time. You’ll just have less free time to hang about with your classmates on non-school items, but it’s okay. There are tons of women that get married, have kids, and go to school all at the same time. My own mother got married young, graduated college pregnant, built a career, and I remember attending her masters and Phd ceremonies. The only thing stopping you is your own time management and obsession with school. Remember, your career is an important part of your life, but it is not your life.

    • I changed careers in my 30s, but I was married so those considerations don’t apply. But I know a lot of people who met their spouse in grad school. If you’re single and hoping to change that, I think going back to grad school is probably a big plus.

    • Grad school is one of the best times to meet men.

      Sure, don’t date the one other male graduate student in your Medieval music history PhD program, as you don’t sh1t where you eat and don’t want to be competing for the same academic jobs. But law/MED/business school class’s are huge and friends of friends…..

      Have a great time.

      Grad school is also one of the best times to have a kid!

    • anononono :

      I’d add that being motivated and happy with where you are in life outside of dating–which presumably you’d be if you pursue graduate work–is the BEST time to meet someone.

  17. I shared this on Sunday but at the advise of some ‘rettes, I am hoping to get more insights. Lot’s of thanks to the ladies that replied to the initial post. I already downloaded the aduio book on “Designing your Life”.

    I turn 31 this year and am only now considering going for grad school as a chance to advance my career. At the moment, my preoccupation is on acing the GMATs and getting my applications right for Fall ’19 intake. So much a priority is this, that I have not even thought of dating or considered my single-hood in a while.
    The dilemma: Assuming I get into a two year grad school programme in the fall of 2019, I will graduate at 34. My fear is that it might then be late to start a family, with dating,settling and trying to conceive extending further the time before I can start a family.

    Are there ladies here who had a ‘reset’ at life later in their adulthood? I have no doubt that I am overthinking things, but that is the direction in which my mind wonders. What advice would the high achievers here give?

    • Go for it – no guarantees regarding when or where you’ll meet Mr. right and whether that is more or less likely if you stay in your job v. going back to school. Maybe you’ll meet said person while you’re in school! And 34 is really not that old unless you want to have 4 kids. Alternatively, maybe you’ll decide to be a solo-mom, in which case you’ll be glad you advanced your career beforehand.

    • No advice but commiseration and very interested to see what advice you get. I’m same age, but contemplating an international move that would last about the time an MBA. It’s possible but unlikely (due to cultural factors/language barriers/the amount I’ll be traveling for work) that I would meet someone in my new country.

      Part of me says that if I stay put to focus on dating, there’s still no guarantee that I’ll meet someone here. I may as well have a cool adventure that helps my career – at least that would be guaranteed. But, still, there’s the timing issues you mentioned…

    • Life events don’t happen in serial. If you are trying to take it one step at a time and want to put off dating until you get a degree, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

    • Anonymous :

      A little off-topic, but I might consider an executive program if you’re worried about putting your life on hold for two years. At 31, you might find full-time programs hopelessly juvenile (I started mine when I was 28 and I still felt like everyone was SO MUCH younger than me).

  18. Gift ideas? :

    A once-close friend just made partner. We drifted apart over the years and we see each other 1-2 times a year on average; we always have a good time and she promises to meet for happy hour or lunch but then is never available. I was hurt (years ago) but I’ve made peace with it and just enjoy the times I see her. I’m going to be up for partner within the next year or two so at a minimum she’s a potential referral source. I’d like to get her a gift to congratulate her for making partner but I’m not sure what strikes the right cord. Something more personal than flowers and a card but not overly personal. I’d prefer to get stuff over a gc. Maybe a few sheet masks and a cashmere wrap? Is that lame? Any other recommendations?

    • champagne and a card, if that.

    • Honestly I think flowers are a great in between. It acknowledges her achievement and puts you in her mind without requiring her to keep some trinket or try some food she may not like. I personally do a small bouquet of flowers and a cookie delivery (if I know the person likes sweets only.

    • I agree that flowers are the way to go. I don’t think you know her well enough anymore to give her something like a cashmere wrap.

    • I agree, flowers or perhaps a bottle of champagne is plenty. Even just a card would be lovely. Anything more would be odd.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I think champagne is the perfect celebratory gift for something like this.

  19. Gift ideas? :

    Mod is killing me. Gift ideas for someone who just made partner? She used to be a close friend but we’ve drifted apart, so I worry about striking the right balance of personal but not too personal.

  20. Any good tips for staying sane when life is hectic? I’m in a busy patch at work and I constantly feel like I’m one a sick child or surprise snowstorm away from dropping all the balls. Do you successful women just plan for more down time in your day/week? Do you lower your expectations? Do you just embrace the chaos?

    • Hoard any bits of free time you get during the busy periods. For me, that means turning down any events I can, outsourcing whatever I can (ex. grocery delivery, getting takeout, etc.), and trying to find a few minutes when I can just bum out and relax my brain.

  21. I’m moving departments within my company. I want to dress more professionally (I have the clothes). My issue is my 1 year old. How do you get from home to day care to work without getting covered in snot and peanut butter?

    • crazy but true–I wear a bathrobe over everything until I walk out the door. It works like you would not believe. Day care is trickier…but a coat/ sweater from car to daycare and then off can help.

      • Yes, robe over clothes until out the door. I make sure the kids hands are wiped down and no food in the car. If they have runny noses I clean them before getting them out. Some snot still ends up on me occasionally.

      • anon for this :

        Yes and also, as soon as I walk in the door after work I head to my room to change into yoga pants.

      • There are lots of long wrap sweaters that I bet could work like this even out of the house, too- like the Morandi, but obviously way cheaper.

      • During that phase I did not put on my last layer (suit coat/cardi/whatever) and put one of The Hub’s old oxfords on over everything. After dropoff, I would remove the oxford and the put it back on in the evening . . . and then drop it in the bag for the cleaners if it needed it. Sometimes I would get lucky and get a few days out of one of the shirts and some days I would have to soak yucky stuff off of it after I got home, but either way I was not the one cleaning it.

        I also have read about people who gift lab coats to their expecting friends for this purpose. Sounds like genius to me!

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        If I saw a woman dropping her sticky kids off in a giant caftan and then shucking it off to reveal a snazzy suit before driving away, my only thought would be “You’re a smart lady and I salute you.”

    • Clementine :

      I generally get dressed right before I walk out the door- hair and makeup are done and I literally throw on the specific clothing items right before we run out the door (and after any food is consumed). I keep a drawer of clean washcloths in the kitchen and feed kiddo breakfast when he’s in his PJ’s, so he is in clean clothes with hands and face washed when I put my professional clothes on.

      I commute in either a coat or a cardigan which is ditched for a jacket when I get to work. Also, Boogie wipes are fantastic at getting yogurt off, but I also keep a leg from an old pair of pantyhose which is ideal for getting off deodorant marks but also works to remove various other debris without leaving lint.

    • Pretty Primadonna :

      Toddler gets dressed first (whether I or Daddy dress her). I put my clothes on at the absolute last minute before leaving the house with toddler. I keep wet wipes in the car. It works for me. Most of the time, lol.

    • My mom always put on one of my dad’s old abandoned undershirts over her work clothes even at handoff, then took it off.

    • I get dressed right before I walk out the door. For daycare drop off, I hold my 8 month old in front of me facing outward so she is less likely to spit up and smear unknown substances all over my clothes.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Yes to all of this. Put on your dress at the very last minute, take it off first thing when you get in the door.

    • I also used to bring casual clothes (jeans or leggings & sweatshirt) and change in the bathroom right before I left work. Added bonus was not needing to put kiddo down right when we walked in the door-in the early days we needed to nurse or cuddle right away and it was easier to already be in my around the house clothes when we got home.

  22. I just saw a pair of rothy’s on a person today and I like them – does anyone know of a current blogger discount code that might work?

  23. Financial Strategy :

    As a DINK mid-30s couple with what would be considered the lower end of spectrum on this $ite (never otherwise thought so) combined HHI (lower 6 figures), we have worked aggressively to pay off our grad school loans and are now focusing on throwing extra money whenever we can, at the principal of our mortgage, with a little bit saved in an easily accessible emergency fund and a little bit in 401k(s). Recent discussions here have made me wonder if that’s not a good idea. Especially as we just bought the house last year in an HCOL suburb, are very new to thinking and planning or finances. I feel like i should know how all this affects our taxes as well but I don’t. Would appreciate any resources/ advice. If it matters, we took a 7/2/2 ARM over 30 years hoping to aggressively pay off the house.

    • What’s your interest rate? Generally speaking you’re much better off investing in the stock market than paying off a mortgage early. I wouldn’t even consider extra mortgage payments until you’re minimum both maxing out your 401ks.

    • A couple of questions: (1) are you maxing out your 401(K)s? (2) Are your grad school loans paid off?

      • 1. No (partly because I’m not a citizen in this country, and am not sure if I’ll retire here) 2. Yes

        • I have no idea then. Normally, the advice would be to max out your 401(K), or other retirement account, before you start making additional payments on your mortgage. Even if you retire in another country, I imagine having an investment account would be beneficial in the future, and there are significant tax benefits for you now (i.e., reducing your taxable income).

        • 1. Doesn’t make any sense. Where are you investing?

          • Equestrian attorney :

            This isn’t a completely unusual concern. I am a foreigner living in Canada, and similarly don’t think I will retire here. I did a lot of research as to whether it was worth it to max my RRSP (similar to a 401(k) in the US). Obviously don’t know what your situation is, but for me, it is worth it because of the immediate tax benefits – I’m in a fairly high income tax bracket, so YMMV. Once I leave the country (assuming I do), I can keep my account but no longer contribute to it. If I withdraw, it’s subject to a 25% withholding tax, not regular income tax. Due to a tax treaty between Canada and the country I expect to be living in at that point, there is a threshold under which I could apparently withdraw tax-free. I’m not sure how it will work out exactly, but I’m young enough that the power of compounding interest and immediate tax benefits seem worth the potential uncertainty in the future. Things could be different in the US/your home country, but I would encourage to look into it and consider maxing your 401 (k)s before you do anything else. Knowing that I am at least saving something for retirement brings me peace of mind no matter where I end up.

    • Dave Ramsey

    • I recommend Mr. Money Mustache blog and his investment order strategy, if you have time to kill. Basically, the school of thought is that you pay down high interest debts (defined as anything over 5% interest) and then you start investing.

      “Investing” can be paying off debt, like your house and student loans. Or, it could be stocks or IRA/401K/Health Savings. People argue about paying off the house early because we’re in the lowest fixed interest rates ever, and they think it’s stupid to pay off a house at 3% when you could have invested with a 7% return in the market. If this is your “forever” house that you want to retire in, then I vote for paying it off aggressively as part of your investment plan. If this isn’t where you want to settle for more than 5-10 years, then pay the minimums and invest your extra money in other areas.

      I’m looking into Vanguard index funds to invest in, rather than maxing out my 401K. I know lots of people on this site use the Maxing Out! as a badge of wealth, but I want money I can touch before 59-1/2. I think of my 401K as my Old Lady Money. I hit the company match, and I sink more into for tax advantages, but I’m not focused only on dumping $18K in there. I want more options that just that.

      My husband and I are also in lower 6 figures. (Like, we just broke into it this year!) I have the house on a 15 year fixed at 3.375% and his student loans are at 2.75%. I throw an extra $50 at the student loan, and extra $25 at the house. I’m letting those debts ride while I focus on upping our 401Ks and breaking into stocks.

      No matter where you invest your extra money, keep in mind that you’re already WINNING just by not taking that extra $100 and blowing it on something stupid. Paying extra on the house or the loans is never a bad move.

      • Just read that you’re not a citizen and don’t plan to retire here. In that case, I wouldn’t lock your money up into your house. Invest.

        • Thank you, this is super comprehensive and helpful! I guess the reason I earlier thought paying off the house would be a good idea, is because I didn’t want to face much higher interests later (we are at 3.25 now) but yeah as you can see I started questioning that. Honestly I didn’t see anything (am clearly uninformed about stock market investing) that was as certainly and as quickly growing at a higher rate (am talking CDs etc). I surely need to read up much more!!

          • Price out refinancing to a regular loan. I got a 3.25% rate on a 15 year conventional loan about 6 months ago – you might not have to go up much to extend the length of your locked rate.

  24. Any experiences with either Smith & Noble or Havenly? Have a new house and was born without decorating sense. Thanks!

  25. Do you use any of the mindfulness apps? Which do you like? IDK if they’ll help but I need to be able to take 5 min here and there to relax and refocus — breathing helps but maybe looking at something would also help?

    • I hear good things about Headspace but it’s not free. I see good reviews for Meditation Studio which is one small up-front fee.
      But personally I’ve started using “Think-ups” for iOS (not the very similar named “Think-up” app). It’s a free “happy” app to encourage positive thinking. It’s supposed to help adjust “cognitive bias “ so that you tune yourself to notice more good than bad. My favorite in-app function is the Happy Tap game, quickly tapping the happy face in a group of frowning faces. That plus I stopped reading political news:) seems to be working for me…

    • Joan wilder :

      I really enjoy Calm. They have some free content including a breathing exercise (but for me the paid content is worth it).

    • I really like Headspace. There is a certain amount you can access for free.

    • +1 to Headspace. There is a “starter pack” that is free. 10 minutes each session (or you can make it 3 min or 5 min) and you get 10 sessions. If you want access to the other packs, you will need to pay.

      I haven’t gone the paid route yet so I can’t comment on the paid stuff. But even after a year, I’m still enjoying the “starter pack”. I also like that I’m able to essentially ‘test drive’ the app without having to pay.

  26. Anyone have recommendations for tights/leggings for the very short? As I’m doing my winter purge I realize that I hate ALL my tights and leggings because I’m only 5′ tall, have short legs even on that height body, and I spend all day pulling them up or having them scrunch around my ankles. I’d like to get some now to be in better shape for next winter. I live in Wisconsin, so bare legs aren’t a possibility 6 months out of the year.

    • I’m also 5’0 and struggle. Ann Taylor tights fit me nicely (but I am a small). I’ve resorted in the past to girl’s XLs as well. For petite leggings, I’ve found it is generally easier to find petite sizes in that. My current favorites are from the Limited (RIP).

    • Athleta sells 7/8 length tights, those might work for you (I’m 5’8, they hit me slightly above the ankle).

    • True leggings – Lululemon 7/8 pants (I like all the right places), or Lululemon will hem anything for you.

      Athleta comes in short length but the styles are hit or miss

    • Can you try crop leggings made for regular people? I am 5’0 and the crop legging-pants from uniqlo fit me perfectly.

    • Christina :

      I get aerie 7/8 lengths, and they hit just below my calves, well short of my ankle. I’m 5’3, so I’d say that should probably put them about ankle length for you. They’re cheap! Come in huge varieties of sizes, colors and if you buy them with any “aerie” or bralette purchase, I think, shipping/returns are free.

  27. Not the Anon above, but also lacking in decorating sense.

    I’m looking for a rug for my living room and would love ideas for the best material. Ideally need an 8′ x 10′ in the $500 range. We bought a Crate and Barrel Sisal rug and we loved it (natural look, texture), but the dog had an accident and despite our best efforts it seemed to permanently alter the color of the fibers (looks like a “stain” but can’t be removed). So it seems that is not the material for us.

    What we need:

    No tassels (need to be able to use the Roomba)
    Can withstand spills and stains (toddler and dog)
    Available in solid colors/textures (as much as I love oriental rugs, we have a small room and it reads too busy)

    Ideas? Sources? TIA!

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Have a look at Costco – they have millions of rugs.

    • FLOR squares!

    • Cornellian :

      We have a “ruggable” rug that is thin and two layers. The top one comes off and goes in to the washing machine! Has worked well for our 13 month old + dog household. We’ve washed several times, but haven’t owned for very long, so can’t comment on longevity yet.

      • We have this too – we wanted something in our entry way that would stand up to winter slush and our dog. Personally, I wouldn’t put it in a living room because it doesn’t look quite as nice or feel as plush underfoot as a real rug. Give me a toddler for a few hours and I might change my tune though :)

    • Naturalarearugs.com. I’ve ordered their seagrass rugs a few times over the years and I’ve always been pleased. And generally speaking, the prices are so reasonable that after 2 years of life on it, I feel ok replacing it.

      Oh, and they often have sales, so sign up for their emails and keep an eye out if you have time to wait.

    • Cornellian :

      r*ggable. I’m in mod.

    • Rugs USA , many discount codes online.

    • Try a Dash & Albert rug. I’m not sure if they specifically have natural fiber rugs, but we have a cotton rug and one of their polypropylene indoor/outdoor rugs and they are great. The indoor/outdoor rugs can be hosed down and scrubbed/washed (we did our 3 x 5 ) in the bathtub and are crazy soft. The cotton one we have needs to be used with a rug pad (its thin and slippy) but has responded great to spot cleaning.

      • +1 – we have their indoor outdoor rugs in our downstairs and it stands up very well to large gross dog (lab) and kid mess. We replaced our cheap wool rug after the dog had an accident and we’re super pleased with the softness of this one over the wool.

    • Ikea. We have replaced our living room rug 4 times in the last 6 years due to dog/child accidents, and the Ikea rug we have now is still going strong. The earlier rugs were all lighter colored shag rugs from Rugs USA.

    • Not an exact recommendation, but my advice is get something in the texture of normal carpet. Don’t get anything that has thick woven “noodle”-like texture or similar (guessing your sisal one was like this). We have one of these noodle-like rugs and it’s great but basically unclean-able, even by a professional. Things get trapped between the noodles.

    • Thanks to everyone who has replied thus far, about to do some lunch break browsing!

    • R u g s u s a dot c o m

      It’s my go to for rugs and the regularly have sales.

  28. Wellbutrin :

    My SO has started a low dose of Wellbutrin and is starting CBT next week. So far they’re dealing with handling their depression/anxiety and just waiting for everything to kick in. I’m just curious for those of you who have gone through this if there’s anything you wish your partner did / didn’t do? He was told that CBT was going to be a tough 8 weeks at first and could get intense.

    Trying to be patient and supportive without overbearing – I’ve been through talk therapy but never medicated or CBT. He went to see someone at my insistence in the first place and otherwise we’ve got a great relationship. I’ve just never experienced this and want to be supportive.

    • CBT isn’t some big scary thing. It’s basically challenging your thoughts. For example, my anxiety ultimately comes from a fear of rejection, so something like a challenging work assignment can make me spiral that I won’t do well and my mentor will lose faith in me and I’ll lose my job. CBT involves saying “so what?” to those fears. So what if I lost my job? Would I still be married to a wonderful guy, would I still have my health, and my degrees? Yes. My husband is great about a) gently pointing out the spiral and b) getting me out of it with gentle “so what?” “and?” questions.

      The difficult comes, IME at least, about 3-4 sessions in when all the crap in your life has come out into the open, but you haven’t yet turned the corner on addressing it, so you feel worse than when you started because it’s all right there at top of mind. About 5 sessions in, you feel like you’re getting somewhere, so things start to look up. Again, just my experience.

      And medication can be a godsend.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Good for him! Good for you! Don’t say what my (usually very great) husband said, “Uh therapy seems to be making you MORE sad?” because sometimes you have to get into it to work through it. It sounds like you know that. To the extent you can refrain from helpful suggestions (unless you’ve been asked to make them, like “please encourage me to go for a run”) that’s probably the best course. When stuff was particularly tough, I found it helpful to take “quiet alone time” after therapy to decompress/journal/not talk to people. I’d hang out at a cafe with my journal. If you can clear out the time so that’s available to him, it might be nice.

      It sounds like you’re sensitive and supportive — you’ll do great! <3

  29. Interview in Chicago :

    I have an interview in Chicago tomorrow, wondering if it’s acceptable to wear a parka? Usually I wear a nice wool coat regardless of weather because I’m not spending much time outdoors, but tomorrow I have at least 20-30 min walking unless I Uber it. Thanks!

    • Wear your parka. People know it’s winter. When you get there, ask if there is somewhere you can hang it and change your snow boots to interview shoes.

      -Canadian, who last interviewed when it was -40.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        Further Canadian support for the parka.

        Although I would not undertake a long walk on the way to an interview due to my nervousness about slipping, falling, spatters and smeared makeup.

    • Anon in Chicago :

      Yes where your parka. They’ll have a space where you can leave it. Feel free to wear boots and bring shoes to change into if you’d like as well.

    • Sure. No problem. Chicagoan here.

      I do admit that for me, I would probably wear my wool coat with layers and a robust cashmere scarf, as walking warms me up and the weather will likely be sunny despite the temp. But if you aren’t an experienced dresser and used to cold weather, definitely be comfortable. No judging here.

      • I find that layers work less well for me when I’m walking. I’m not going to stop after each block to take a layer off, you know? So I prefer just the one warm layer of a parka. I think I get less sweaty.

    • Chicagoan here. Parka is fine. Lots of people are still wearing their parkas for commuting. It’s warm enough that I’ve switched to my wool coat, though, for the rest of the season (I also walk 20 minutes to the train). Not sure what your shoe situation is? Maybe wear keds/foot-covering flats that will fit in a plastic bag in your purse and switch to interview shoes at the building. It’s sleety here, and you won’t want sloppy shoes in the interview.

  30. If you are invited to both a wedding shower and the wedding for a friend who is not-that-close, and you can’t attend the wedding shower, do you send two gifts to the couple (one for the wedding shower, one for the wedding), or do you just send one? I will be going to the wedding, but I’m not about to travel for a wedding shower AND for a wedding if I’m not IN the wedding. I’m just wondering if I’m being cheap in only wanting to get one gift for this couple?

    • Cornellian :

      I would just send one unless it was a very close friend. I don’t think people over 22 need wedding shower gifts.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I would send something small to the shower with a card saying you’re sad not to be there. Caveat, I am Greek and overgifting is a cultural tradition.

    • I only get one gift unless I attend the shower.

    • Anonymous :

      I normally don’t give a shower gift unless I attend the shower.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      You should feel zero guilt about skipping the shower and also not giving a gift for the shower.

    • I would probably send a gift to both (but maybe have them total the same amount of money, if that’s a concern), but I noticed that most people who didn’t attend my bridal shower in person didn’t send a gift so you wouldn’t be far outside of the norm if you opted for just the one gift.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      Nah, you only “have” to give shower gifts if you’re going to the shower. (And in general, if you don’t want to give a shower gift, you can just politely decline that invitation.)

    • I would 100% send a gift for both. If there is nothing in your price range left on the registry for the shower, just send something else from a store where they are registered. Personally I think it is rude not to send a gift when you are invited to an event. You can send something for $20.

  31. F/u after interview :

    I had an interview in January, I thought it went well but I never heard back. They warned me that they move slower than is typical and I should feel free to follow up. I did towards the end of February and they said they’ve narrowed down their top candidates, including me, and they’ll get in touch with me next week. I never heard back. Do I keep following up? Or is that as good as a no. This is very weird to me. Thank you so much.

    • Keep following up. HR processes at many companies are abysmal. We can never hire in less than 8 weeks.

  32. Anonymous :

    Might be a little late in the day for this, but here goes. Any advice or resources on ways to think through a big A or B decision? (think having a kid or not having a kid; there’s no compromise)

    • Imagine yourself following Path A. Play it out in your mind for as many years as it’s realistic to imagine. Do the same with Path B. Which one leaves you feeling more satisfied?

      • Anonymous :

        Also, poll as many people who have gone done Path A and Path B as you can, paying particular attention to comments from people who are most similar to you, so that what you imagine is more realistic.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Counter to the Anon above, it might help to realize that there’s no right answer, you can’t control your future, and (it sounds like) neither choice is wrong, it’s just a choice. Once I’ve taken away the idea that I have to have thought out every detail and planned everything just right, otherwise anything that’s bad in the future is because I didn’t make the ‘right’ choice — once I’ve taken that weight off myself — it’s easier to figure out what I actually want to do.

    • Flip a coin. Heads is A. Tails is B.

      And it’s final.

      Then ask yourself how you feel about that outcome.

      • This is what I do. Tells me what my gut instinct is.

      • Yes! Pay attention to what you are actually hoping for when the coin is in the air. Pay attention to how you feel when you look at the outcome. The purpose is not to actually make a decision this way, but to really hone in on how you feel about both choices. Kind of like what Phoebe did to Rachael on Friends :)

    • Read Dear Sugar’s essay “The Ghost Ship that Didn’t Carry Us.”

    • Anonymous :

      If the decision is about really having a kid, I think you need to be sure you want a kid. If there’s significant doubt don’t have a kid.

    • Think of which mistake you would rather make. Would you rather, for example, regret having kids or regret not having them?

    • Arie Luyendyk Jr. :

      Pick the safer choice that your family prefers, then devastate the safer choice when you decide after two months it’s the other very different one you wanted all along, inexplicably. Break up with choice #1 on national television if poss.

  33. Looking for side hustles to pay off credit card debt. Does anyone know of reputable sites for picking up legal projects? Any other ideas for picking up extra income?

    • Anonymous :

      I didn’t end up following through with the registration process myself, but a friend found a gig through Hire an Esquire doing substantive work and is very happy with the arrangement. She also looked at other sites (not sure what) for doc review projects before choosing this role with a small firm where she has more control than being staffed on a large review.

  34. Anonymous :

    For those without kids, what are your after work evening and weekend hobbies? My partner and I are in a bit of a rut where we get home from work, cook up dinner and eat by 8, then just watch tv. It’s pretty boring! I think part of it may be the cold weather and darkness is really just not inspiring us to get out and do anything, but still looking for ideas. TIA!

    • Before kids, we would take our dog for long walks, go to the gym together (but each do our own thing), eat out (a lot), take our laptops to a coffee shop and mindlessly chat/work/surf the internet.

    • Anonymous :

      Before kids I was super into embroidery!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Are there any silly competitive things you could do together? Like bar trivia, a skeeball league, that kind of thing?

    • Senior Attorney :

      We like to do house stuff, go to the theatre and concerts, ride our bikes, go to the gym (we have a trainer and work out together with him twice a week), take short weekend trips. And we are active in our local Rotary Club so there are a good number of service projects and social events related to that. And we excel at sitting by the fire (outside by the fire pit or inside by the fireplace), drinking wine and chatting.

    • Anonymous :

      Running – DH trail runs at night with a headlamp year round. I run on the treadmill in the basement while watching RHOBH/HGTV or similar.

      We ski on weekends so we use the week to get housework/grocery shopping/laundry done.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      We have fallen into a similar rut, which prompted us to give up TV for Lent. We’ve tentatively taken up listening to audiobooks and reading to each other instead, which means I can also work on craft projects. (Right now I’m working on a quilt for my baby niece.)

    • Anonymous :

      I like to try new activities with a good friend of mine like a cooking class or flower workshop. I love going to the movies too. Other than it’s mostly Netflix, errands, and reading.

    • Anonymous :

      We have friends over for dinner, go on long walks, make a field trip out of running errands, do house stuff, go out to dinner or a movie, go to various cultural events in the city we live in.

    • Aquae Sulis :

      I sing in a choir, and take dancing lessons.

    • Anonymous :

      I have kids but my hobbies have nothing to do with my kids. I do plein air watercolor painting and take a dance class 3x per week. My husband is in an improv comedy murder mystery dinner theatre group and takes voice lessons.

  35. Rainbow Hair :

    Should I let someone pitch me if I’m not going to buy her thing?

    Someone who works at Bloomberg Law keeps emailing to ask if she can meet for 20 minutes and tell me about the platform… I am not the decision maker, though the decision maker would listen to me… but we aren’t going to switch platforms and we don’t need something new. Basically, I’d let her pitch me if it would somehow be useful to her, but if it’s a waste of everyone’s time, I don’t want to. What do you do?

    • KateMiddletown :

      It’s her job to pitch to people, but don’t waste your own time.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I should’ve added that it’s a slow week for me so I can afford the time… but yeah if there’s no free lunch… (:

    • Nah. Though our law librarian accepted such offers when there were free lunches involved for attendees ;)

    • Anonymous :

      No way. If you let her pitch you, she’ll keep “following up” with you forever no matter how clear you make it that you are not in the market for what she’s selling.

    • Anonymous :

      Why would you want to hear that pitch? Seems boring, in addition to being a waste of time.

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