Thursday’s TPS Report: Faux Leather Trim Knit Jacket

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

Isaac Mizrahi Faux Leather Trim Knit JacketHappy Thursday! I’m liking this knit jacket from Isaac Mizrahi with faux leather trim — it looks sophisticated yet modern at the same time. It’s available in three colors (“hunter,black, and leopard print), but for some reason I’m loving the green today — I’d try it with navy, gray, or black neutrals, and add a pop of color with cobalt or purple. It was $139, but is marked to $69.30. Isaac Mizrahi Faux Leather Trim Knit Jacket

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Comments

  1. TJ – I have a phone interview today for a job I really really want. Does anyone have any last-minute tips I could use? I’ve looked around online, of course, but I find that anecdotal examples and tips have been the most useful for me. TIA!

    • Back Home :

      I think I got this advice from this site – stand up during the call. I work from home and I have started standing up during important calls and presentations. Something about standing makes me feel more confident and focused.

      • I stand a lot while talking on the phone. I also wander/pace around my office if necessary. If you are doing the call at home, make sure that you are somewhere that won’t get other household noises such as pets, kids, appliances, etc.
        I agree that you should not try to read a speech word for word, but if you have notes on questions to ask or things you want to mention, I think those are helpful. They can’t see you look down at those and it may keep your nerves in check.

        • This is a good idea — that is to stand up when you are intervieweing on the phone. It also is NOT a bad idea when you are interviewing in Person if the guy intervieweing you is taller then you and standing b/c you do NOT want him to be lookeing down your blouse. FOOEY!

          That is why when I interviewed at the Department of the INTERIOR, I had this big galoop — about 6 foot 6, ask me alot of question’s but he was standing up and walkening around the office when he was interviewing me. A bunch of times he walked behind me and was peekeing down my blouse (which was NOT very open to begin with), so when he would NOT sit down, I got up myself and went to the window and asked about the buildeing and wehether there were lawyer’s office’s that looked out to the OUTSIDE of the mall, not just to another window. He thought about it but did NOT answer me. You will NOT have that probelem if you are interviewing over the phone, but it is still a good idea. YAY!!

          • Ellen – it *was* the Department of the INTERIOR, so I would not have expected windows to look to the OUTSIDE of the mall.

      • As it turns out, I might HAVE to stand up because one of the only convenient places near my office where I don’t think I’ll run into my current co-workers is an atrium without chairs, haha. I wish I could do the call at home, but unfortunately not.

        • I assume that the possibility of doing a call in your (parked) car has been ruled out?

        • Is there a phone room in your office or a conference room where you could take sensitive personal calls? If so, maybe you could consider booking it for this interview call.

    • Dress up anyways. It makes you feel more like you’re there in person and will put you in the right mindset. Also, don’t write anything out first and try to read from it, it sounds staged. Just be yourself and smile while you talk! Good luck!

    • PhoneSkillz :

      I do confess, I can completely rock a phone interview–probably because I worked a legal aid phone line for three years. Pause a little before responding to questions, to avoid talking over the other person. Try to speak a little more directly and concisely than you might in person, because you won’t have physical cues from the interviewer that you have said enough. And remember to smile–it makes a difference in your tone.

      • hellskitchen :

        Great tips!! One more – speak slower than you normally would. In a face to face conversation, the listener grasps what s/he is hearing quickly because they are are also subconsciously reading your lips. In a phone conversation, it’s slower by a few microseconds so you want to give them enough time to understand what you are saying.

    • Drink something warm. 15-20 min before a phone interview, I drink tea or something so that my voice is at its best. I usually have a hard copy of my resume in hand, and even keep some of the reference material open (like list of items I want to talk about etc.). And def stand or walk around as you talk. Also, if your response is going to be longer, pause after some time and ask him/her to stop you if they have questions (this is a problem cause we wouldnt know if they’re trying to ask you something as you speak).

      Good luck! :)

    • This may sound like a small thing, but I swear it works. When you get the call, answer the phone with a formal, neutral-toned “This is so and so.” And then when the interviewer introduces themselves, reply in an enthusiastic, warm voice “Yes, hello! I’m so glad to speak with you.” The point is to switch from a neutral to warm tone in voice once you know who you are speaking to. I read this tip in The Charisma Myth book, and it totally wins people over. I did this in my interview, and my boss has said many times, “From the moment you said ‘hello,” I knew I wanted to hire you.” Of course, you’ll have to be prepared and answer questions well in the rest of the interview, but this can help you build rapport really quickly.

    • OP here – it went really well and I got asked to come in for an in-person interview! I didn’t read the comment about greetings until afterward, but fortunately, that’s exactly how I answered and it was SO MUCH LESS AWKWARD than in the past where I’ve said “Hello?…Oh, hi.” Thanks ladies for the good tips!

  2. Wondering :

    Is there an app or a website that can track when a piece of clothing is back in stock and notify you? I have been eyeing a dress at Nordstrom but it is sold out in my size, and I want to grab it as soon as the dress is back in my size (assuming that someone returns it, for example).

    • Why not contact Nordstrom customer service directly? Aren’t they known for great customer service?

      • Wondering :

        I did, they don’t have any means of notifying you in these circumstances.

        • Killer Kitten Heels :

          Get in touch with one of their personal stylists – I’ve seen one twice now, and she’s offered to text/call me when something I liked but wasn’t available in my size came back into stock.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’d love to know this too. I’m stalking a pair of LL Bean snow boots.

    • amelia earhart :

      Sometimes they have an option on the item to be notified when it comes back in stock in a specific size, I’ve done this with the Zella leggings from Nordies.

      • I’ve done this as well with a dress. The only problem is that I think it sends out all of these e-mails at a specific time in the wee morning hours so you’re finding out at the same time as everyone else who signed up. I’ve missed one restock before because I didn’t see the e-mail early enough.

    • I think that Lyst works this way.

  3. Lo & Sons Sale :

    PSA – Lo & Sons has some colors of the OG/OMG on sale right now. The sky blue OG is 50% off, the espresso and army green OG/OMG are 10% off, and the plum OG/OMG is 15% off.

    • Just saw this. Really thinking about pulling the trigger on the sky blue OG. Do we think this will show dirt easily, though?

    • We went an entire week without talking about these bags. Let’s see how long we go this time.

      • Seriously, why do you care? I don’t want to be too snarky because I generally love your posts and we are all entitled to our little annoyances, but if you don’t want to read about these bags–don’t. I don’t understand engaging further every.single.time rather than just scrolling on by.

        • +1

        • You can snark at me all you want, I won’t mind. For the record, I think I’ve only commented on the commenting of these bags twice, not every time. There are other unimportant things I’d rather read about.

          But now I’m wondering as to how much of L&S’s fiscal success is due to thissite. That would be interesting. They should have a thissite check box in the order form.

          • You were the one being snarky. There’s obviously an interest in them, but you made the OP feel like her post was unnecessary or bad in some way.

          • Yes, I was being snarky. That is kinda my schtick.

          • Anonymous :

            I suspect the company is leaving comments about the bags and the sales, not actual blog readers.

          • I think I just notice you more because you are one of my favorite posters, so fair point about only posting a couple times.

            Even if there success is related to this site, wouldn’t that be cool actually? That this site has the power to drive a company in part?

            Listen, at the end of the day, I like their bags and I like their company. I’m a sucker for the mom and sons starting a company, and, when I’ve emailed them regarding customer service issues, I’ve gotten an email back from a Lo (and great service). I like that. So, personally, I’m going to continue to support their company and recommend their products (which I also really like, after having 3 work totes–both more and less expensive than Lo&Sons–fall apart on me in two years). You are entitled to find that annoying, and quite frankly if you lose your snark I won’t respect you anymore, so I’d prefer you stay snarky.

          • Hey RR, thanks for writing back with an interesting perspective. Let’s be friends. No hard feelings?

          • Oh, we are friends. Whether you knew it or not.

          • That was meant to be funny. Not Single White Female stalkerish. For the record.

      • I personally love that you’re counting the days ;o)

      • Anonymous :

        Agreed. I am so tired of this company,

      • I don’t get the love for the bags either.

        • I don’t get the love for Theory suits. They seem cheap in construction and overpriced. So I don’t read about them. But I certainly get that a line that makes suits that a lot of professional women love is going to be talked about.

          Eh, whatever. It’s not a big deal either way. I just don’t get the push to act like people are stupid for posting about a company that makes nice work bags that may or may not float everyone’s boat.

          • Anonymous :

            Not a single person has said that you or anyone else is “stupid” for posting about a company. People have said they don’t like the bags and are tired of the frequent threads about the bags. There is a difference.

          • Yes, I know. I was being hyperbolic. Even with the distinction, I don’t understand why threads about those bags are treated differently than the many other things we have tons of threads about. I’m sure everyone who reads the comments on this site has at least one topic they get sick of seeing. Scroll on by.

            But, I’ve made my point, and I’m going to let it go. To each her own.

  4. Heavy Tote Bags Taking a Toll on Back/Shoulders :

    I am finding that a 14″ Thinkpad and a prospectus or a pooling agreement is just too much to carry in a one-shoulder tote. I have reverted to a backpack and it is still taking a toll on my upper back and shoulders. This isn’t every day, but I find that I am in pain afterwards. Couple that with being tethered to a computer and I am thinking that I am going to be one of those bent-over little old ladies (except probably before I hit 50).

    Has anyone else dealt with this and conquered it? I went to law school and thought my upper body could handle heavy things, but it seemed that my ability to do this peaked in my 20s.

    • I’d echo the call for suggestions. I’m about half backpack / half shoulder bag but am definitely feeling it.

    • Yes – listen to your body. Seriously. Now is the time or you could end up with a serious back injury. You probably just cannot carry that much on a regular basis – can you switch to a tablet? Get a netbook? Print out only the pages of the document you need? Take cabs on days you need to carry both?

    • I know a woman who uses a small “pull” luggage to bring tons of documents around. She found that looked more professional than a backpack and didn’t hurt her back.

      • Diana Barry :

        +1. Many of the litigators will bring a briefcase-on-wheels to court or to home and back…or regular wheeled luggage would also work.

        For the office, look into getting a standing desk – I have one and love it!

        • STAND. ING. DESK. It’s a life-changer.

        • Can you suggest a model? I’m seriously thinking of investing in this and/or making my own.

          • Diana Barry :

            I have a GeekDesk and there is also one called the Float (I think that one is more expensive though).

          • My SO has been experimenting with various Ikea-DIY options, like this:
            http://iamnotaprogrammer.com/Ikea-Standing-desk-for-22-dollars.html

          • I have this model:
            http://www.engineersupply.com/safco-ergocomfort-sit-stand-articulating-keyboard-mouse-arm-2196.aspx

            It only holds the keyboard/mouse and I have a monitor that I can move up and down off a shelf separately. I love it!

            Before I bought this, I mocked one up with a couple of boxes first to make sure I liked it for a few weeks.

          • Anonymous :

            http://www.ergodesktop.com/

            works on any desk – many configurations

      • Senior Attorney :

        Okay, war story:

        My first trial was in federal district court before a well-respected but curmudgeonly judge. We would start our trial at 8 a.m., then break at 10 and he would hear law and motion matters in other cases for an hour.

        One morning we were finishing up the 8 a.m. session and the judge stopped everything, pointed a finger at a lawyer who had just entered the courtroom with a rolling document case, and said “THAT! THAT is what has RUINED litigation!! You used to only be able to bring what you could carry! But now you are on wheels and you think you should bring EVERYTHING!!!”

        Heh. I think of that story every time I see someone with a briefcase on wheels.

        Carry on…

    • Do you do any sort of resistance training? If you’re looking to minimize the negative impact on your body, even light strength training can go a long way. Lightening your load would be best, of course, but I haven’t found that to be practical for me. Are you open to a rolling bag? I have a decent-looking, easily maneuverable (minimally obtrusive in public places) one that used to be my everyday bag when I had to carry lots of heavy documents. I don’t use it any more, but it saves my back on the days I do use it.

      • Moves like rows and reverse flies can REALLY help with this!

      • Heavy Tote Bags Taking a Toll on Back/Shoulders :

        I was thinking it might be a physical therapy thing (unkink and then someone who knows what to do gives me some exercise homework), but maybe it is a trainer thing (although I always that they are of the make-you-look-better variety as opposed to a make-me-have-better-computer-posture-and-be-stronger-so-I-don’t-get-a-hump variety). I don’t know where to start really (other than I could try my hotel work out — planks, more planks, halfhearted pushups, and my old cheer routines). I play tennis and things aren’t really a problem with that. But the desk job is doing me in!

        I used to work at work (so not much to schlep b/c I really just went home to sleep), but I do about 1/3 of my work from home now (so, lots of lugging back and forth at times).

        I carry a clutch bag in the backpack (and use redwelds when need to carry a short stack around outside of transit) and the backpack is just from home to car, car to office, and in airports.

        • I was thinking physical therapy when you posted. Unkink, get exercises for home, and get tips for work and daily activities (you might be sitting/standing/typing/etc. in some way that if you did differently would make you feel a lot better, but you may need someone to tell you so you’ll start being aware of it).

        • Shoulder Problems :

          Whatever you do, pay attention to the pain and fix things! I didn’t and continued working long hours hunched over and carrying the heavy bags until the pain got so bad I was going crazy and my shoulder blades started tracking wrong. Wound up doing tons of physical therapy for it and having all sorts of problems. Catch it early and start building the muscles back up. PT and tips for home exercises are great. For another random suggestion, I also have found that bar method/dailey method classes (and I’m sure the other types of bar classes would be good too) are fantastic for this. I tell the instructors before starting that I sit hunched over a desk far too long every day and have major shoulder pain. They then cue me during class to fix my posture. Focusing on this for an hour a few days a week has helped dramatically. I also make sure to remember to set down my purse quickly at any sort of networking event or drinks or something where I may be standing. It doesn’t seem that heavy so I don’t think about it until all of the sudden I am in pain that night. Have an ergonomic assessment for your office too, a keyboard tray helped me stop tensing my shoulders up as much. Good luck! Don’t let things get as bad as I did!

        • There are quite a few sets of guidelines online for exercises that counteract carrying heavy bags, in addition to plenty of guidelines for exercises that counteract desk jobs. If you’re in serious pain, you may want to see a physical therapist (obvi. not medical advice), but I agree with your observation about trainers sometimes being focused more on looks than function. There’s a lot you can find on your own about what exercises would be helpful to you, and a lot you can do without serious equipment (especially if you’re new to strength training). Then a trainer can help you to make sure you use the machines properly and motivate you, since you’ll already know your goals and what you need to meet them.

        • In the Pink :

          I have a rolling bag that I use when I have to take my laptop around. It fits underneath airplane seats, in overhead bins, and goes all over conference centers, streets, hotels, meetings with me. I can’t say enough about it. Has changed my life.

          Mine is from gogovoyage which is carried on ebags. Happily I got it on sale when Cambria Cove closed up shop…I have the burgundy patent one.

          Warning, I had to cut the tassels shorter by 50% so they weren’t a hazard in tripping, others stepping on them, or getting caught in escalators. It was preventive.

          link to follow.

          • In the Pink :

            I don’t agree with the storage comments on this review. I have put all my travel stuff and the laptop in it easily.

            http://www.ebags.com/product/go-go-gear/gigi-rolling-laptop-tote/155898

        • I used to think that chiropractors were kind of quacky, but after going to one for a few months, I’m totally sold. He made my lower back pain go away! My chiropractor is also in to posture and exercise, so I get reminded about that every time I see him. Might be worth a try for you.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      I see lots of rolling bags in NYC – I think that’d be the most professional looking option.

    • It’s probably too much weight to carry so frequently. When I have to take a lot of work home, I use a rolling bag.

    • What about a rolling litigation bag? My law firm owns a bunch of them, and we just grab one if we need to go to court, go on a business trip, or take home lots of heavy documents. It’s basically a rolling suitcase but much smaller and specifically meant for carrying papers (they’re also called litigation rolling cases, litigation briefcases, etc.). I’m assuming you’re a lawyer? If you are, check and see if your firm has them available. If not, you could buy one. Based on my googling the leather ones seem to be relatively expensive, but the ones my firm has are canvas, which I am guessing are cheaper.

    • IT Chick in MN :

      A tiny trick that I read on a blog a couple of years ago has really helped me to avoid slouching: When sitting and not doing anything with your hands, turn your palms upward. For me, I have to actively work at slouching when I do this. Even if you can only turn one palm up, it helps.

  5. I have a friend going through a rough divorce, any good ideas for how to cheer her up? She has no kids, early 30s if that makes a difference.

    • No kids means she doesn’t have to schedule around childcare. You could, depending on what she enjoys doing, take her out for weeknight drinks or a late dinner. That might have jammed her before if she was trying to spend time with her husband, but since (1)they’re getting divorced and (2) he’s part of why this divorce is rough, his wishes on how she uses her free time now don’t matter anymore.

    • This may sound crazy, but when I was going through my divorce (particularly at the beginning), it was really hard to be home at night by myself and I couldn’t sleep. It might be fun to have a slumber party – pizza, fun cocktails and a sleepover. Maybe a movie? My favorite times then were when my girlfriend who was away in grad school would come stay with me on her school breaks.

      • This. Weekend nights are especially rough – you feel like everyone is out with someone they love having a great time.

      • Senior Attorney :

        +1

        I’m fine during the day but oh, man. Those wheels turn and turn at night!!

        Also, let her know you are available if she needs to talk Divorce Talk. Most people don’t want to hear it and knowing there is somebody she can talk to without having to censor herself will mean a lot.

    • To piggyback off of this — a newish colleague of mine (we’ve worked together fairly closely for 4-5 months) just confided in me that, over the holidays, she discovered that her husband has been cheating on her with multiple women in their 11 years since high school. Crazy s3x addict kind of stuff — my jaw hit the floor as she was telling me about his shenanigans. She’s divorcing him, but they have two small kids (2 year old and 6 month old). She has family support nearby but I want to do something for her. Short of inviting her over for a playdate (or punching this guy in the throat) with my similarly-aged kiddos, what can I do?

      • Offer to take her kids for an evening or outing so she can do something relaxing for herself (massage, yoga, therapy)?

      • Offering a playdate is a great start. she might enjoying getting out without having to talk about the divorce, especially in front of the kids. Let her know you’re available if she wants to talk. A big challenge may be adapting to single parenting both in terms of time and budget. Maybe share suggestions for things that might help her balance everything (grocery delivery service, slow cooker recipes, great sale you found on diapers etc).

      • Invite her to go out to lunch away from the office once in a while so if she needs to vent, she can. Also, if applicable, let her know that you can cover for her if she needs to get away during the day for a few hours for court or to meet with her lawyer.

        For the OP, I second the slumber party idea. That could be really fun. Also, this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but maybe take her to see a psychic if you think she may enjoy it. I did this with a friend of mine who’s going through a divorce and this woman was quite convincing that all would be well and that my friend had yet to meet her one true love. I think even if you know it’s all a crock of —-, it can be nice to hear someone confidently tell you that your future will be okay yet.

    • IT Chick in MN :

      A friend’s divorce was final just about a year ago. She’s said that quick texts to check, with the openness to talk and just let her talk things through were very helpful to her. I also worked very hard not to put down her ex (who was a ROYAL pain in the patootie) when I was talking to her. It really made her question her own competence because she was with him for so long.

  6. I’m at the HQ office today, using one of the big clunky desktops with the large monitors because I’m doing a lot of spreadsheets today.

    This is probably a very silly question — I don’t have a tablet computer, but how do people do spreadsheets on tablets? I really value being able to “step back” and see the array of numbers, look for trends, etc. across a long line. Zeroing in by touching the screen is not gonna help me with this. Zooming out makes everything tiny.

    This is probably one of the stumbling blocks between me and the tablet computer. (There are a few others, but this would be a big one.) Am I missing something here? Is there a workaround that I don’t know about?

    • Frankly I cannot imagine doing spreadsheets on a tablet. Even with my laptop, when in the office I have it connected to a large monitor. I would find the lack of keyboard and mouse, not to mention size of screen, a deal breaker for working in Excel on a tablet.

      I would think people who have any kind of “real” Excel use and who have tablets also have the peripherals to attach to make life easier.

      • Diana Barry :

        +1. I don’t do spreadsheets or even typing on a tablet – you can put a case with keyboard, but IMO it’s easier to use my chromebook for typing-intensive stuff.

        My DH has a GIANT monitor and only uses that for excel:
        http://www.apple.com/displays/

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I do basic spreadsheets on my iPad using Numbers but for the more complicated ones that I need an overall view of I still use my desktop. I can turn it horizontal and see more columns at once but it depends on the complexity of the spreadsheet.

    • I’m with you. I had work buy me an extra-large monitor and now I can’t even imagine doing spreadsheet work on a regular sized screen! /spoiled/

    • Analysts are still getting the biggest and best monitors and processors where I work, precisely because you want the folks doing the heavy lifting on spreadsheets to have the right tools. They get iPads if they want them but still need full versions of Excel to update and manipulate a spreadsheet of any meaningful size.

    • You don’t.

      Tablets/ipads are for recreational, and not for heavy typing/heavy excel use.

      The moment I started spending a lot of time doing excel work, I ended up going to the imac from a 13″ laptop and I love it!

    • There’s no way I could do heavy excel work on a tablet. I have two giant monitors at my office and rely heavily on my keyboard for quick keys (true excel nerd here: I almost never use my mouse).

  7. I posted on Monday that I’m making an effort to wear everything in my closet to assess whether to keep, donate or alter it. I’m wearing a navy, teal and off-white tweed skirt that I really love but the only top I have that goes with it is navy and I find the combo to be on the boring side. What color top would pop against this combo?

    • Camel, a fun lime, bright pink

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      Yellow? Dove gray? Pale version of the teal version in the tweed? Purple? Pink? I’d try any of those, although it’s hard to say without knowing the brightness of the teal.

    • You can also make the navy sweater less boring by adding a necklace in teal or one of the other colors in the skirt.

    • Thanks for the suggestions. The teal has grey undertones so it’s not TEAL but that was the best description of the color. I should’ve mentioned I’m olive skinned so really saturated colors look best on me.

    • Senior Attorney :

      When I have a similar wardrobe issue, I like to go on Pinterest (or Google Image or whatever you like) and find how other people have styled similar items.

      • A Nonny Moose :

        Polyvore is really great for this. You can clip the specific item of clothing you’re wearing and then see what sets people have used it in. One of my favorite styling tricks.

    • In the Pink :

      Saturated purple.

      • yeah, a deep purple or a brighter purple like the color at the link below.

        Any brighter shade of blue. I also like the idea of a pop of teal-ish color in your accessories.

        http://www.polyvore.com/jennifer_lopez_solid_dolman_top/thing?id=99550662

    • If you like navy and would wear another navy top, maybe look for a top with interesting details to make the combo less boring. Of course, adding more clothes goes against the general spirit of getting clothes out of your closet…

      If the stripe is more grey than teal, I second the recommendations of pink and red. Bright purple or burnt orange would also work.

  8. Guys, I’m the worst. I recently switched departments and the old expectation of getting in around 9:45 or 10 has shifted to getting in around 9. Except that I’m still getting in around 9:45 or 10. For the life of me, I can’t adjust. I hit snooze, I listen to NPR and drink coffee, I take forever getting dressed. I do everything except get my butt out of bed and out the door.

    I know this should be an obvious one but does anyone have any suggestions for shifting things earlier and getting into work like a grown up?

    • There could be a couple of things causing you to not get out the door “on time.”

      1) How many hours of sleep do you need to actually feel pretty good? Are you not getting to bed early enough consistently? If you’re not getting enough sleep, it’s easy to feel tired and slowmoving and drag along in one’s morning routine.

      2) When you say you take forever to get dressed, is it because you’re trying on different outfits? Or you’re just taking your time putting on your outfit because it sucks to be rushed (as most of us are most of the time.) If it’s b.c. you’re not sure what to wear, many of us have taken to pre-selecting outfits that we know will work, and making spreadsheets so we know exactly what to wear each morning instead of trying on stuff that turns out to look weird, causing you to have to waste more time.

    • http://gregsavage.com.au/2010/06/07/no-you-are-not-%E2%80%98running-late%E2%80%99-you-are-rude-and-selfish/

      • +1

        • Senior Attorney :

          Yes! I volunteered at an event last night, arrived on time, and waited 20 minutes for the organizer to arrive and another 30 minutes for the event to start. Can. not. believe. people treat volunteers this way.

          • What?! FYURD!!!
            I am terrible about always running late, but i would NEVER leave volunteers waiting for me, or waiting for an event to start. That is just completely unacceptable. ;oP

      • Orangerie :

        I love this.

      • Totally agree, though to be fair, I’m never late when others are waiting for me (i.e. I’m never late for a meeting), I’m just late getting to my desk. I think part of the problem is that my office is extremely flexible, and I know that I stay much later than most people. It wouldn’t be a problem at all, really, if it weren’t for the fact that I know it creates the perception that I’m lazy/not working as hard.

        To answer other questions, it’s no mystery why I’m having trouble, I just can’t get out of these habits. I go to bed between 12:30-1am most nights, alarm goes off at 7:15, but I hit snooze till 7:30 or 7:40, then I shower, then drink coffee while listening to NPR at my computer…and suddenly it’s 8:30. I rush to get dressed, do hair, put make up on, and rush out around 9. My commute is almost an hour by subway.

        • Try switching just this: get dressed, made up, hair done, shoes on; THEN sit and drink your coffee while listening to NPR. Suddenly it’s 8:30, and you are all ready to go, and you walk out the door.

        • Another idea is to drink your coffee while doing your hair and make-up. A quick check of my email on anything bigger than my phone promotes too much net wandering for me. Could you get your NPR fix in podcasts to listen to on your commute?

        • I’m just like you… I know if I get up at 6:30 or so I have time to have a relaxed morning with coffee and catching up on news, etc., but instead I stay in bed until about 7:30 and have to rush around and don’t get in before 9 AM, as planned. What are you doing when you’re up late at night? Is it anything useful or are you just mindlessly surfing/watching TV, etc.? If it’s the latter, try cutting back on that behavior to go to bed earlier. Find a way to hold yourself accountable for getting to bed on time.

        • IT Chick in MN :

          As a chronic insomniac who just plain doesn’t like mornings either, I feel your pain! Things which have worked for me:
          * Setting a “final alarm” which is physically located in the bathroom. Once I’ve made it in there, I need to pee. Once I’ve done that, I’m up, so I might as well keep going.
          * Having speakers in my bathroom so I can either listen to NPR or my current audio book while I get ready.
          * Setting timers/multiple alarms for milestones while getting ready. Currently, if I’m not done with my hair by 7:20, I’m going to miss the bus.
          * I set an alarm to remind me to take my night-time vitamin/meds and another to remind to actually GO TO BED. I’m still working on having the last be effective.

    • Has anyone talked to you about being late? I know I tend to be more punctual when I know someone’s watching or there’s something at stake. At any rate, some suggestions for getting out the door earlier:

      1. Prep as much as you can the night before. Pack lunch, switch purses, find the shoes and outfit you want etc.

      2. Change your habits so you listen to NPR on your way to work, put your coffee in a to-go mug. Obviously your old habits are making you feel like you have more time than you do.

      3. Set a deadline for walking out the door and force yourself to adhere to it. I have an “out of bed” time, an “out of the shower” time and an “out the door” time. I know if I’m out of the shower by 7:15, I can walk out the door at 7:50 but I have to get out of bed and start the coffee just before 7 to be in and out of the shower by 7:15.

      • +1 to all of this. Leave nothing to surprise and your mornings have a better chance of being productive and peaceful.
        My personal rules are 1) not one sip of coffee until I am out the door and 2) I eat breakfast in the break room instead of at home. Morning television, internet and other distractions can easily add a half hour to my routine. After a while, my office has developed a little breakfast club at around 8:40 every morning, it is far more rewarding than that extra snooze button sleep.

    • Anne Shirley :

      Are you waking up 45 minutes earlier? Do you have a drop dead time for leaving? Making getting to work on time a priority means if you hair is wet and your makeup undone and your stockings have a ladder, you still walk out of your house at that time. Stop turning NPR on. You absolutely can do this, you just don’t want to.

      • “You absolutely can do this, you just don’t want to.” Agreed. Hopefully, the specific tips will help, but maybe the real reason you’re always is because you just don’t want to change your arrival time and there are no external factors “forcing” you to change. So you don’t. It may require more of a mental shift, really believing that you have to be there by 9, and the rest will fall into place.

        Or maybe, depending on your position, perception isn’t that important and you can just keep your later hours, since you are staying later than others and presumably getting all your work done. Send emails after others leave and put work in their inboxes after they’re gone for the day to cement the (accurate) perception that you are there working later in the evenings.

        • I’d also add that if the OP wants to keep her regular schedule, but still curb the perception that she is not working as hard as those who get into the office earlyer, then perhaps the OP can answer a couple of coworkers’ emails while she is still at home. I do this all the time. I’ll answer a select few emails from partners while I’m lying in bed, bracing myself to get out of bed. They get the impression that although I’m not in the office yet, I’m still available for work. Sometimes I’ll give them a call on my drive into the office instead of writing out an email.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I am this way as well. A couple of things that work for me:

      1) Go to bed on time. I know, easier said than done (said the woman who went to sleep at 1:20 this morning. Eep!)
      2) Set the alarm for ten minutes before you need to get to work on time, and try to not use the snooze button by picturing yourself slinking into work late and getting disapproving looks from your coworkers and boss.
      3) If you do use it, don’t turn the snooze button off until you’re actually on your way out the door. It’s super annoying, but having the alarm annoy me every six minutes keeps me on track, while I’m in the shower (I shouldn’t take showers for longer than 6 minutes anyway), while I’m getting dressed, while I’m making coffee. Other than maybe doing hair, there isn’t anything that should take longer than 6 minutes in the morning anyway, and the constant reminder keeps me from getting distracted and wasting time. It’s anxiety provoking, of course, but I’m not looking for relaxation, I’m looking to get to work on time.
      4) Plan to do something at a coffeeshop or at your desk before work, like paying bills or having breakfast or reading. If you have friends who are amenable, schedule breakfast before work. Once you’re out the door and started your day, it’s significantly easier to get to work on time.

      • Woah — love your #3 suggestion!!

        • Baconpancakes :

          It does get incredibly annoying, but it works. It’s best if it’s on your cell, so you can take it in the bathroom with you, and if you go over time in the shower, you have to rush to get done because you can’t turn off the cell phone alarm with wet hands!

          • I do this as well, but I use a morning soundtrack rather than an alarm. I have everything timed so that I know when song X is over I need to be out of the shower and when song Y is over I need to finish my makeup, etc.

      • I do something similar to #3. I have alarms set every 15 minutes on my phone, with names like “You have an 8:00 meeting!” “Don’t forget your lunch!” “Time to GO!!!” Every time one goes off, it’s a little nudge to get unstuck and get moving. Otherwise I would just sit under my full spectrum happy-light drinking tea until noon.

        • Ha!, I love that you’re leaving disapproving messages for your future morning self! Hilarious!! i might have to totally try this: “Get your ass in gear, Zora!!!” “What are you DOING?!? Go to WORK!?”

          • Baconpancakes :

            I legitimately did have an alarm sequence like this to get me to go to bed earlier. 9pm: “Start going to bed” 10pm: “Seriously, brush your teeth and go to bed” 11pm: “GO THE F*** TO SLEEP”

          • wow, seriously, this is exactly what I need. Apparently only gratuitous cursing, ALLCAPS and exclamation points can get me to do anything….

      • GlobalEmily :

        +1 on the suggestions for having everything packed and ready to go in the morning.
        + 1 for the suggestion to plan to go to a coffee shop or elsewhere in order to force yourself out of the house without getting sidetracked.

        I’ve long struggled with getting out the door in the morning and it has less to do with not being able to wake up (although that sometimes plays a role) and more to do with wasting time by drinking coffee, checking email, putzing around the house, etc. I find that when I get up and go to the gym first thing in the morning I’m much better at getting to work early or on time. My get ready routine is much quicker when it is done in the gym locker room (there aren’t distractions at the gym) and since I usually have to have items packed and prepped the night before, I also don’t waste time trying to pack a lunch, pick out clothes, etc.

    • Equity's Darling :

      Go to bed earlier. The general start time in my city is 8am. My office is very flexible, so I usually show up at around 8:15, but I’m in bed by 10:30, if not 10 most nights, and I’m up at 7 or so/out the door at 8. I am a morning person if I’m in bed at 10, but if I’m in bed at 11, I am decidedly not a morning person.

      I pack EVERYTHING the night before (gym, lunch, work bag), and I’ve already decided what to wear and set it out. I sometimes even half make my breakfast to be honest (e.g. setting out the pan for my scrambled egg breakfast and drizzling it with oil before going to bed, if I’m making a smoothie, I’ll put all the ingredients in the blender canister, and put it in the fridge, so it’s easy to just pull it out and throw it on the base in the morning)

      • I’m happy to read that I’m not the only one who needs a ton of sleep! 10pm-7am like you would be ideal for me, but lately I’ve been doing 10:30-5:30 or fewer, and my hubby for whom 5 hours is ample can never understand why I need more.

      • +1 on the importance of sleeping. I’m a morning person generally, but even I struggle to get moving at my standard 7am if I go to bed after 10:30.

        Alternatively, get a dog who will put her nose in your face and harass you until you get out of bed. Much harder to ignore than a snoozed alarm, with the added motivation of avoiding a “special present” on your bedroom floor.

        • Be careful, my dog wakes me up jumping on the bed but then she lies down to cuddle and be generally adorable, making it even harder to get out of bed!

        • Man, this makes me realize what the problem is–I need to go to bed earlier! I get up at 7:30 but I go to bed closer to 1am!

          • Another thought :

            Super late to this party, but…schedule meetings for 9 am for a couple of weeks. Maybe not every day, just enough to reprogram a new routine. I am so much more productive when I schedule early meetings – I get into the rhythm of my day so much faster because I start executing on next steps from that meeting and then move onto the next thing, instead of futzing on the internet until after my 11:00 call.

    • I had hard time adjusting to getting in earlier too and made it happen by preparing everything the night before. Even my smoothie ingredients go in a tupperware container so I don’t even have to peel the banana in the morning. I also found that it was easier to adjust to the earlier wake up time bit by bit so in your case, instead of setting your alarm 45 minutes earlier, work it in 15 minutes at a time.

      BTW, love this jacket. My only hesitation is that the black trim limits its wear.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I think you really need to drill down to what is behind each reason to really figure out what you need to change.

      Why do you hit snooze? Is it just habit or are you really tired? Are you tired because you didn’t get enough sleep or because you’re alarm went off at a bad point in your sleep cycle? Figuring that out could help you determine a better time to go to bed or a different time (either earlier or later) to set your alarm. If its just habit to hit the snooze button 3 times, then back your alarm up 21 minutes so you can still do it.

      Do you like to listen to a particular show on NPR that you are still trying to listen to? Can you shift that to listen in your car, at your desk online, or on a podcast later? Same with coffee. Can you set your coffee maker to automatically brew for your new wake up time? Are you spending longer drinking coffee and listening to NPR than you were before or are you already behind schedule at this point? If you’re already behind then this doesn’t necessarily have to change if you fix the wake up time issue.

      What is taking you so long to get dressed? Are you picking out outfits and accessories in the morning? Try doing that before you go to bed and have it all laid out. Again, if you’re already behind schedule at this point you really either need to do it more quickly through whatever tactic works best or fix the wake up time issue and the problem goes away.

    • I don’t know what to tell you because i am the EXACT same way! :o)

      • Same. If I have to be at work at a certain time, I’m always there on time. But if it’s the type of workplace where you can come in anytime between 8 am and 10 am and no one cares as long as you’re in by 10 am, I’m never going to make it before 9:15 am unless someone schedules an early meeting. I now get to work at the same time I used to get out of bed in the morning and it’s only because I am expected to be at my desk at a specific (early) time.

    • OttLobbyist :

      When I have to be out the door earlier than normal, I set my microwave timer when I get up to give myself the 10 minute warning, having also set my alarm earlier. I also (yes, this is a bit compulsive) timed my various morning activities on a typical day so I knew how long I really needed – feed and walk dogs – 20 minutes, shower, dress, make-up – 20 minutes, breakfast – 7 minutes, make sure I have everything I need – 5 minutes, etc…

    • meeeetooooo :

      “said the girl who rolled in just before 10:00 am, after leaving a meeting at 10:00 pm last night”

      Thatgirl is me. I am TERRIBLE. We do need to go to bed earlier/more consistently, but when my son started KDG, I went to the 0630 workout class, got home around 0730, got showered, dressed and ready to walk out the door before putting him on the bus at 0820. It still doesn’t get me to work when I really *should* be at work, but it’s sure better than my usual 9:00 roll-in.

      I need to get back in the habit of getting to work around 8:30 or so. Part of the problem, of course, is that it is nighttime dark when we wake up anymore. And cold. It’s a little easier to get up out of bed at 6 when it’s bright outside in the summer.

      I dunno, I will be reading these tips with interest too.

    • Get a digital clock for the bathroom if you don’t already have one. Helps keep primping time to a reasonable amount.

    • On weekend mornings, I put my coffee in a travel mug and don’t have any until I am in the car/on the train on the way to work. If I drink my coffee out of a real mug, it’s a cue to relax and hang around but I really don’t have time to do that before work. Plus, when I do get to drink my coffee out of a real mug on the weekends it’s a true pleasure!

      I also pack my lunch, set the coffee, figure out what I am going to wear, and set my purse and work bag near the door. Flylady has some good tips for this.

      Finally, I think it would be helpful to realize that other people are probably noticing that you aren’t at work as early as they are.

      You can do it! Once your new routine is habit rather than brand new, you’ll be golden.

      • Meant to write “I also pack my lunch, set the coffee, figure out what I am going to wear, and set my purse and work bag near the door the night before.”

    • Silvercurls :

      I hear you. I’m both infamous for always being late and sick of running around feeling stressed, guilty, and inadequate.

      Sadly, I can strategize all I want but the most important thing I can do is DECIDE FIRMLY that I am going to do things differently. It’s like losing weight: I just have to keep renewing this decision, over and over and over, every time I’m tempted to get distracted or choose an activity that will not move me towards my goal. Sigh.

      These steps helped me:
      1. Good planning
      – figure out when I need to go to sleep in order to wake up well-rested before the alarm
      – stick to that bedtime no matter what
      – prep everything possible the night before: outfit including shoes & accessories, lunch, purse, phone, tote, special items in tote if needed (umbrella?)
      – make it almost impossible to forget to take my daily meds: I use one of those seven-compartment boxes and have trained myself to grab the box and a drink first thing after my feet hit the kitchen floor.
      – Plan for all of the obvious travel-related activities: exit home; lock door; navigate hallway and stairs or elevator (moving slowly if carrying trash or recycling); put trash and/or recycling into bin; walk to car; unlock anti-theft device on steering wheel and store in trunk; and scrape ice off car if it’s winter.
      – Note: It’s also important to allow time for the “hidden” tasks that otherwise make me late:
      — interacting with DH or DS (or nag DS to get up and get going)
      — waiting for either DH or DS to get out of my way in the bathroom
      2. Setting limits:
      – figure out my Absolute, Drop Dead, MUST Go Out the Door RIGHT NOW time.
      I do like the suggestions to have intermediate deadlines for getting showered, dressed, etc.–may try these!

      • Thanks, all! Your advice is very helpful. I’m going to try to set some new limits — bedtimes and out-the-door times! Now if only I could get my boyfriend to go to bed earlier with me.

  9. AttiredAttorney :

    TJ: Ideas for a thoughtful gift to give a colleague who is getting a promotion? I am being promoted, and a former direct report is being promoted to take on my old/current job. I’d like to get her a “good luck” type of gift. She is mid 20s, and this will be her first management/executive level position. We are a very close/friendly office, and I would count her as a casual friend outside of the workplace as well (maybe meet for drinks outside of work every other month or so).

    • A nice business card holder? I always get excited about new business cards when I get a promotion (because it makes the promotion tangible) and if this is her first management/executive level position she might be getting business cards for the first time.

      • AttiredAttorney :

        Great idea. I’ve given the “let’s do lunch” silver plated Kate Spade business card holder in the past for other friends. I may do that.

      • Also anything nice and beautiful looking but also professional for her desk. A pencil holder, dish for paper clips, picture frame. i find as I’ve gotten older I like for my desk to look more grown up and unique than just using the regular plastic supplies from the supply closet.

    • Clementine :

      Business card case, business card holder for her desk, nice leather portfolio/folder thing.

      A friend got as a ‘congratulations’ gift a small, tasteful monogrammed business card case from a boss and she was very happy.

  10. Just saw that this program was launched to help women re-enter the legal profession after taking time off: http://onrampfellowship.com/. Curious to hear others’ thoughts on it.

    • Really interesting. While I think it’s a good thing, it doesn’t seem like it would benefit most of the women lawyers who have taken years off to raise their children and would like a work/life balance. Definitely a step in the right direction!

  11. Equity's Darling :

    Give me your best/craziest home remedies for a cold!

    I am coming down with a bad cold, but I have way too much going on at work to be sick. To be honest, if half my group didn’t have the flu (it is going around…) it would probably be okay for me to just work at home, but with my assistant gone for the week (with said flu), it’s pretty unfeasable. I’m hiding in my office with my door shut, and agressively hand-washing.

    • No great suggestions, but if you wear contact lenses, switch to glasses. Use Chapstick or something similar like Burt’s Bees – the chapping really bothers me when I have a cold and the sticks really help.

    • I pile on the vitamin C. I know there’s all this business in the news lately about how it won’t actually help, but I am convinced it has at least a placebo effect.

      • girl in the stix :

        It depends on the amount of vitamin C that you take. Studies show that taking less than 3 grams/day (3,000 mgs) doesn’t have much of an effect. Three grams or more tends to decrease the severity and length of time you have the cold.

    • Heavy Tote Bags Taking a Toll on Back/Shoulders :

      Thai food or anything with sriracha on it.

      I find that if I can keep the nose in business, I can handle the other symptoms with cough drops or other OTC meds.

    • Lots of herbal tea with lemon and honey.

    • Salt water gargles. Reduces the inflammation in your throat and may actually flush out bacteria.

      Neti pot to clean the sinuses out.

      And sleep. I feel like if you attack it with sleep early on it’s much better. Just try to get one night of 8+ hours in.

    • Clementine :

      Tea, hot showers and highly diluted gatorade.

      In the rest of my life, I would stay away from something like that unless I’m running on a very hot day, but when I feel a cold coming on, I get a bottle of regular lemon-lime gatorade and dilute 1 part gatorade to probably 7 parts water. It forces me to drink tons of fluids and the little bit of sugar, sodium and potassium really do make you feel pretty good. My grandmother (retired school nurse and sassy old redheaded lady) used to give us diluted gatorade- always lemon/lime- when we were sick as kids and I think it’s probably placebo too, but it genuinely makes me feel better.

      Hot showers also tend to fix 99.9% of things. Also, make sure you have good, soft tissues, chapstick and throat lozenges ready to go.

    • SLEEP. Go home early, come in late, and do nothing but eat, drink water and sleep in the meantime.

    • We swear by hot toddies at night. If you are taking a bunch of medications, you may want to leave out the alcohol and just do the hot water/tea with lemon and honey.

    • A Nonny Moose :

      Go to bed early. This helps me 99% of the time I think I’m coming down with something. An extra hour or two will do wonders. Nyquil optional.

    • I tried this Coldcalm product I found at the drugstore and was surprised to find that it actually worked for me and kept me going until I could get the deep rest I needed.

    • AttiredAttorney :

      Xylitol gum and mints

    • Zicam – zinc is one of the few ingredients shown to be helpful for colds. I always take it when I feel something coming on and even if it’s just the placebo effect, it seems to help. Also, SLEEP is the most important thing.

      • +1 on Zicam even though I know it’s probably placebo effect. I believe it’s best to take early, soon after you show symptoms. If it’s already progressed to a full out bad cold it might not be as effective.

    • This is what works for me: Oscillococcinum (double dose the first day); lots of vitamin C and chicken soup, Yogi Tea Cold Season sampler pack (I tend to do two tea bags at once for maximum strength), lots of water, and Dayquil/Nyquil as needed to get through the day/night.

    • kjoirishlastname :

      I’ve heard a lot of people swear by Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar. I can’t do it, even when mixed as recommended with warm water, lemon and honey. It’s just too icky for me. But, check it out.

      I also slurp Vit C drops (halls makes pretty yummy supplement drops) like they’re going out of style. Usually 300-400% of RDV. Zicam does work too–the melt-away tabs are pretty gross, but it’s better than a cold.

      I do salt water gargles if I feel that it is throaty/lower respiratory. We only ever buy Puffs w/ Lotion tissues, but even then, after constant nose-blowing, chappies get pretty uncomfortable. Try coconut oil around your nose.

      I cannot take any kind of cold meds (except Zyrtec or Claritin) because they make me absolutely sicker–like hung-over/drunk feeling, and it’s awful.

      If you do feel like it is chesty, one of the best cough remedies is Codeine/phenergan syrup. The phenergan will put you out like a light, and the codeine does the same. I find that for me, the only way to combat a cough is to get good sleep without constantly coughing and re-irritating my throat/bronchi. Otherwise, the body-wracking coughs that keep me from falling asleep until 2-3AM just perpetuate the cycle.

      I’m keeping my fingers crossed, because I feel it coming on too. Here’s to your health–hope you feel better.

      • Zyrtec and Claritin aren’t cold meds – they are allergy meds. I don’t think they’ll even do anything for the symptoms.

        • kjoirishlastname :

          That is true. I take Claritin on a daily basis to help with 2 things: persistently runny nose & itchy skin. While they’re not cold meds, they can help to reduce mucus production & watery nose/eyes that are allergies that sometimes form a symbiotic relationship with colds. I do feel that, even with a cold, I find that I am less runny if I take both–claritin in the AM and zyrtec in the PM. But I don’t do that all the time.

          I did notice once when I went off claritin for months, that my skin was just itchy all the time. I went back on, and the itchiness went away. I still have dry skin & some eczema, but it does do a better job than nothing of keeping the itchies away.

          • Interesting…my experience with Claritin was that it only worked to prevent symptoms for showing up. I had to hit the Sudafed in order to get the symptoms under control once they started to manifest. Are you using straight Claritin or Claritin D (the D being the same active ingredient as Sudafed)?

          • kjoirishlastname :

            I use regular, not D. Once you reach a therapeutic dose, it’s pretty manageable, in my experience–and it doesn’t take long, maybe 2 weeks, tops.

            This could just be me, as I am just prone to the runny nose–it gets runny when I am in and out of warm inside/cold outside. I keep tissues in my car, on my work desk, and in 4 different places at my house. YMMV, though.

    • Anonymous :

      Naturemade B-Stress vitamins (vitamin b12 will boost your energy, vitamin c and zinc for immune system), I drink gatorade mixed with seltzer to cut the sugar but keep my hydration up (which helps with congestion). I also drink about 2 cups of chamomile tea a day which helps with inflammation.

      • GlobalEmily :

        Gypsy Cold Care tea by Traditional Medicines. It is incredibly soothing.

        Also, the neti pot is a huge help for sinus congestion.

    • Hope you feel better soon!

      My sister in law sent me this recipe, and I find it really helpful. I also take mega mega doses of vitamin D and some oil of oregano. Salt water gargling and nose rinsing is also useful.

      But I really have found this “tonic” most helpful. And I like the taste. I keep it in a fridge.

      Lindsay’s Terrible Tonic
      3 cloves fresh, raw garlic; chopped, minced or grated
      1/2 C. raw (local if possible) honey
      1 C. raw apple cider vinegar
      1/4+ C. purified water (to dilute)

      Put ingredients in a glass jar, secure with a lid, and shake to mix. Shake before administering as the garlic will tend to settle at the bottom.

      Give 3 T. 6+ times/day – you can’t OD, so go for it!

      Avoid taking on an empty stomach, and dilute if you feel it is too strong. Adding more garlic makes it more potent and effective!

      Credit: http://tinyurl.com/lpww8yl

    • TO Lawyer :

      The same thing is going around my office and I was SO sick last week. Here’s what got me through it:
      -whining to my mom
      -thai food and lots of soup
      -orange juice
      -tons of cold meds (like way more than seem healthy/necessary)
      -hot tea
      -hotter showers (like 3-5 a day when I was really sick)
      -more sleep than you think is reasonable and necessary (yes it’s ridiculous to go to bed at 8pm but do it anyways)

      I also spent a couple days working in shifts (work one hour, nap one hour) and that helped (obviously did it from home)

      • TO Lawyer :

        also ColdFX. I don’t care that it’s super expensive and possibly only giving me the placebo effect – I feel like it works and that’s more than enough for me

    • Vapo-rub everywhere: chest, cheeks (not too close to eyes, please!), under nose, on feet with socks. It really helps get clogged sinuses and lungs to clear up.
      Mucinex is good for lung/chest congestion, and I use a maximum-strength nasal decongestant for sinuses. You might possibly need additional antihistamine if you have those type of allergies anyway, as they can be aggravated by a cold. Check any meds to be sure they fit your symptoms (Nyquil doesn’t clear nasal passages, sinus pills don’t clear chest congestion, etc…) and don’t take what doesn’t match. Sleep – or at least rest – as much as you can. If you like spicy foods, they are great for clearing your head. Good luck and feel better.

  12. Question about La Canadienne suede boots. How do they hold up in rain and moderate snow?

    • I’ve only had mine for about a month, so I’m also curious. So far, they’ve been great. I wore them through some slush/salt after the snowstorms in the last few weeks. There’s some easy to brush/wash-off white salt spots that show up, but definitely no leaking.

    • First Year Anon :

      Wonderfully. I’ve had mine for over 5 years and they are still going strong. Never had an issue with wet feet.

    • In that case, PSA, these are now $100 off http://www.lordandtaylor.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/en/lord-and-taylor/dancer-tall-suede-boots

  13. Bridezilla vent! :

    Sorry just need to vent!! Best friend is getting married in the fall – she’s so not ready for it (and has admitted such to me) but the train is leaving the station (he’s the right guy, it’s just not the right timing, and I’ve suggested her talking to a counselor about working through some of her readiness issues). She’s nuts – and her mother is nuts! Dress shopping is insane – not even worth getting into here. Her bachelore**e planning is insane – she wants to go to different places so is suggesting just ‘having girls weekends’ for all the locations that will not be her official bachelore**e part, and I just want to shake her and be like, NO, you get ONE party. ONE trip. Oh, she’s also having two wedding receptions in two (both non-local) locations for her family and his family, and I have to buy dresses for both. GARGH HOW WILL I MAKE IT TO FALLLLLLL…

    close vent. thank you.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      She expects you to buy two different dresses for the two different receptions. That’s where I’d put my foot down! If she wants or expects multiple parties then I’d just go to whichever one you want to. You are not obligated to spend more money or time than you can or feel is reasonable to prove you’re a good friend. Set your limit and tell her what it is while also telling her you love her and will do your best to support her through everything. If she can’t accept that then that is her problem.

    • Anne Shirley :

      Say no. Do it now. “sorry, I’m only going to be able to make it to one bachelorette/girls weekend”. “actually, it’s not in my budget to buy 2 different bridesmaid dresses.”. You have to start now, or you’ll have already committed to her crazy and be stuck with it.

      Signed, no, I did not super love attending three showers for you, and now we are no longer friends.

      • If your friend is trying to make you go to three different showers, you’re better off.

    • Set your limits. You’re a grown up. If she wants to throw tantrums or have her feelings hurt then by all means you can tell her, “Friend, this is what I’m able to commit to. I love you and am happy for you, but doing X,Y, and Z isn’t feasible for me so I’ll be doing X. I hope you can understand.”

      Simple.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      Agree with the others.

      You should decide (without regard for what Miss Zilla is demanding) what you’re willing and able to provide, then relay that information to her, as kindly as possible. Try to make sure that you’re not making your list based on (a) fear that she’ll be upset with you/guilt over not consenting to her demands; or (b) resentment over the extent of her demands.

    • Echoing everyone else, please figure out what you are comfortable with and tell her how much you can do. I think that going along with everything would create so much resentment it would ruin–or at least significantly change–your friendship with her. If you say something now, best case scenario, she takes off the ‘zilla hat for a minute and realizes what is going on, and your friendship is back on track, and worst case scenario, I don’t see you being any worse off than how you’ll come out in the end if you suck it up and do everything she is demanding.

    • Yes, please set limits now. I hope that if you’re her BF, you’re also the friend who CAN shake her and be like “Yo, you’re acting crazy right now.” And if she must have multiple parties, tell her you will attend exactly one — one ‘r e t t e that’s not insanely expensive and one reception. And that you hope she has a great time with everything else. If she totally flips, then you shouldn’t feel bad. (FWIW, I had (notice past tense) a friend who had outlandish expectations for her wedding and I didn’t set limits. Resentment grew. We almost never speak now.)

  14. I’m completely clueless and confused when it comes to credit cards, but know what I’m doing now is not smart. Currently, I have one card maxed out at $2500. The APR is 20.99% (which is high, right?). I’ve stopped charging anything to it and currently pay the minimum each month (around $70), so the card more or less is just eating my money. In 2013, I paid nearly $600 in interest. It goes without saying that my credit score is pretty mediocre.

    I’m starting to dig out of a financial pit, and I know paying this card off will be a major step in that process. Any tips for the best way to do it? Should I apply for a balance transfer and do you have any suggestions as to how to do that? I’m at a loss.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      29.99% is really high. How much extra money do you have each month that you could throw at it? Can you cut your budget on something to get extra you can pay? Anything over your minimum you pay will help. I wouldn’t do a balance transfer if there is ANY chance you’ll run up any more debt because then you’re just in a worse position. You’ll need to change what led to maxing out the card in the first place.

      I’d recommend reading The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey. If the religious portions bothers you I found it easy to skim past.

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Yes, that is high.

      A couple of ideas:

      A balance transfer is one option, as often you can get one at zero or low interest for a fixed period, but you should then make a concerted effort to pay down the debt in that period to get the most out of the zero-rate. Then, by paying the same amount every month as you are now, you are already paying down the debt much more quickly.

      You could also take out a fixed loan at lower rate, but there will still be interest to pay. I recently refinanced all my debts including law school loans and credit cards and it’s saved me like £150 in interest a month. However, both of the above options assume you have good credit and won’t get rejected.

      All that said, the first step should be to contact your card provider to see if they can do you a better deal. If you’ve had the card for a while or it’s from your bank and you’ve been a customer for a long time, then they may be able to offer you a better rate to stop you from going elsewhere (it never hurts to drop in that you’re looking at other offers with much better rates). They are making money out of you and they want to keep doing that, so you may have a good chance of getting a lower rate.

      Also, is there no way you can pay more than the minimum? As you say, it really is just eating your money. Some people here will tell you to use savings to pay it down and, though that can work for you (savings accrue interest less quickly than your credit card incurs it), you can’t pay rent with your credit card so you may still need a rainy-day fund in case of job loss etc.

      • Woods-comma-Elle :

        Just to clarify, I don’t reject the idea of paying out of your savings to kill the CC debt, just that it is a consideration whether that will put you in a worse position than you are now.

        I also agree with Sydney that you need to figure out why this is happening and change that behaviour. E.g. can you only pay $70 a month because you are paying on your debit card for things you used to charge for but still are, ultimately, not in your budget.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        If you don’t pay off the balance transfer within the 0% interest period, do they go back and charge you interest for that whole period? I’ve never done one so I’m not sure but I have heard that is what happens if you get store financing for something like furniture that is 0% for some period of time and you get screwed if you don’t pay it all off by then.

        • Woods-comma-Elle :

          I don’t think so, but I’ve never done it so I could be totally wrong. Certainly here I suspect that would not fly and the consumer regulators would be on you like a ton of bricks, but I don’t know how it would work in the US.

          • GlobalEmily :

            Generally they do charge you the back interest on the remaining balance. To make a balance transfer work you really should be able to either pay it off within the time period that the 0% offer is valid or be prepared to make another balance transfer before the offer period expires.

            P.S. I’m a huge fan of LearnVest.com and they have a ton of helpful information on this and similar subjects.

    • Apply for 0% interest card for balance transfers. Transfer balance. When card arrives, photocopy it so you have the # and cut it up.

      Budget. You don’t need anything fancy. Get out a pen and paper and write down things you currently pay for each month (fixed and variable). Start figuring out what you can cut. It will suck, but do it. Then figure out what you’ll have left over each month. Take your balance and divide by that amount. Cut more, commit more. Sell stuff.

      It sucks, but it is SO SO worth it. Ellen caps necessary.

    • Call you credit card company and ask them to lower your interest rate. They may do it. If you’ve gotten a credit card offer with a lower rate mention that to them. It’s well worth asking. And, as others have said, really try to figure out how you can pay more than the minimum even if it is just a little bit more. Good luck!

    • It’s just $2500. Pay it off. If you really don’t have that in savings, start saving now. It shouldn’t take long at all to come up with $2500.

      You didn’t mention your current situation (I.e are you in school, working, working part time etc) but I can’t imagine not being able to come up with 2500 in relatively short order.

      • Um, this is a very privileged way of looking at things. Many of the people on this site could likely do so, but many could not.

      • Woah, privileged much? If she had 2,500 to throw at it, do you REALLY think she’s be making the minimum payments. Sometimes, thissite. Ugh.

        • Yes. I now consider myself privileged. I worked really hard to get here. And I come to this site to talk about fashion (and some other things other overachieving chicks deal with) not try to figure out why someone can’t manage to pay off a $2500 credit card bill

    • Don’t feel too bad — the hubs has a card that has a 23.99% — also very high! Just pay down what you can and devote as much money as you can to paying this card first. He also had luck calling the CC company and asking them to lower the rate (which they did for a short period). During that time, we paid down as much as we could.

      If it’s your oldest card, you may want to keep it, but definitely don’t charge more on it. I’d keep my eyes out for a card with a (much) better interest rate. If you must charge, make sure you can pay in full the next month. (Please don’t think I’m preaching from a high tower — DH and I are slowly but surely digging ourselves out from bad choices from our 20s + family debt.)

  15. oh no!!! I loooove this jacket! i reallly want more knit jackety things in my life, even though i really don’t need them, since I’m usually bus cazh, except the rare times i have to wear real suits. Temptation!!!!!!

    • OK let’s start this conversation – how in the WORLD do you spell the abbreviation of “business casual.”

      Bus Cazh?
      Biz Cash?
      Bisz Caschiufh?

      • Biz

        Not sure about Casz?

        • Diana Barry :

          I usually do biz. cas. (kind of like abbreviations in case names) or omit the periods.

      • When in doubt, write it out (ie don’t abbreviate)!

      • HAHA!! The “bus” was a typo, I actually meant to type biz cazh, that’s what i usually do. But only on fashion blogs or on facebook, not in work settings ;o) .. bizzycazh?? Bee Cay?? I got nothin…

      • Platinomad :

        I would probably go with Bis Cas, to be honest

    • I’m with you, Zora – I love the structure of knit jackets and they look so much better on me than cardigans, which never seem to fall quite right and cling to the wrong areas. I think they’re good with jeans too, though. And this one seems like a good deal, if you need enabling!

    • Talk me into a Grownup bag? :

      I like to dress well and wear good jewelry, but I’m not a bag person at all. But I’m about to change departments into a more senior role, and will be leading a team. I carry a worn-to-rags bag that I bought for under $50 and it mayy be time to upgrade into a more professional looking bag that’s halfway decent. I’d like to stay within $100-$150 though.

      Left to myself, I’d probably choose one of the two bags I’ll link to below, from Target.
      But from you guys and advice from friends, I know I need to step it up in this department to command authority and look professional.
      Can you suggest something for me? I’m dimly aware of things like Coach and Kate Spade but have no idea what is within budget and appropriate for a mid-30s professional.

      Criteria are: a hobo bag or small tote, not a cross-body, it must withstand rough-ish and constant use, being placed on the ground, etc. It MUST have a top zip since I often tip my bags over and don’t want things to fall out. I’d like a saturated color like plum, teal, or burgundy. Multiple compartments inside for phone and other necessities. I won’t be carrying a laptop or files in it, but might occasionally carry a sandwich or other snacks.

      Ideally it would have an outside compartment or elastic where I can place a water bottle, but I’ve seen no bags (except backpacks) that have this – I don’t want water to spill and get on my phone if they’re both inside the main pouch. But I can do without this feature.

      • Killer Kitten Heels :

        Oh look! It’s time for my weekly MZWallace plug! :-)

        Seriously, check out MZWallace – it’s a little bit pricier than the budget you’ve set forth, but meets every single one of your other criteria.

        Personally I use the Kate, but it’s larger than you’d probably need. Check out the Jane and Baby Jane (bonus, both are available in plum and on sale right now). I’ll post links below.

        • Killer Kitten Heels :

          The Jane: http://www.mzwallace.com/shop/products/1720401-0000/jane-currant-bedford

          The Baby Jane: http://www.mzwallace.com/shop/products/1840401-0000/baby-jane-currant-bedford

          The Bianca (sounds like it’d fit your requirements, and it’s on sale in teal): http://www.mzwallace.com/shop/products/3510668-0000/bianca-juniper-bedford

        • Seattle Freeze :

          Thank you for this! I’ve been looking for a new bag ever since one of my dogs ate the tassels off my leather Perlina handbag. These are lovely and much less tasty to bad dogs :)

        • new york associate :

          Another plug for MZ Wallace. I don’t own the bag but my best friend does and it always looks amazing. I think that the bags don’t translate well on the screen, but in person, they look great.

          • Killer Kitten Heels :

            Yes this – I should’ve mentioned. I was on the fence about getting mine for months, and then saw another attorney carrying one in court one day, and *had* to have it.

          • Hey, you’re not alone, apparently Secretary Clinton is also a fan!

            http://www.google.com/search?q=mz+wallace+kate&client=safari&rls=en&tbm=isch&source=iu&imgil=HRKbue_-LYBF1M%253A%253Bhttp%253A%252F%252Ft3.gstatic.com%252Fimages%253Fq%253Dtbn%253AANd9GcT4EkYDb0MKUbRfpqpepu1HCQ77iY7jkdJS8Bnu9Nn1rOFV3Fyq%253B525%253B748%253BKzLxp6ko4xiRpM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.handbago.com%25252Ftaxonomy%25252Fterm%25252F40%25252Fall%25253Fpage%2525253D3&sa=X&ei=xTrYUuajMI3xoASyv4KYDw&ved=0CFQQ9QEwBA&biw=1152&bih=584#facrc=_&imgdii=_&imgrc=HRKbue_-LYBF1M%253A%3BKzLxp6ko4xiRpM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.handbago.com%252Fsites%252Fdefault%252Ffiles%252Fimagecache%252F525px-wide%252Fhandbags%252FHillary%252520and%252520Bea.JPG%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.handbago.com%252Ftaxonomy%252Fterm%252F40%252Fall%253Fpage%253D3%3B525%3B748

    • I like the jacket too, but I have come to believe that Isaac Mizrahi hates me personally. Everything I’ve ever tried on looks TERRIBLE on me.

  16. Has anyone ever used Avenuestory to rent a holiday apartment in Paris? Any recommendations for avacation apartment rental company in Pairs ( already checked AirBNB and Homeaway)

    • Rentals in Paris not Pairs. Totally butterfingers this morning.

    • Paris pied a terre dot com (remove spaces)

    • I’ve heard good things about Paris Perfect Apts.

    • Anonymous :

      We just did Airbnb (last week actually) and had a great experience. Highly recommend. Just be sure you read all the reviews of the places you’re considering and do your due diligence before booking.

  17. Anon in Boston :

    Have any of you given your child(ren) your maiden name? I did not take DH’s last name because it is hard to pronounce and he had no problems with me keeping my maiden name. Last night, while discussing baby names for our child due in July, he said our child should have my last name, but something about it feels so off. Yes, my name is easier to pronounce and our child will not spend his/her entire life correcting people, but I am struggling to agree with him. What have you ladies done?

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      I have no kids, but could you give your child both names and then when she/he is old enough, they could choose?

    • Diana Barry :

      We have friends who did exactly this, their kids have the mom’s last name and dad has a different name. Other people I know of (friends of friends) have given the boy dad’s last name and the girl mom’s last name. I say go for it! You could also give the baby your DH’s name as a middle name.

      • Anon in Boston :

        Luckily, we have some time. I will bring up your ideas with DH!

      • Senior Attorney :

        In my alternate perfect do-over universe, I would keep my name, girl children would have my name and boy children would have DH’s last name.

    • I have my mother’s maiden name. My parents were married. It was done for a variety of reasons, similar to yours. No issues or regrets. I never thought it was weird and no one ever treated it as such. Honestly, it’s never really come up.

      • Anon in Boston :

        That makes me feel better! I was worried that people would think it was weird that our child had my name and not my husband’s name.

        • Rest assured I never felt weird about it. For a time, we lived somewhere where my last name was unusual and hard for people to spell/say and I remember having some issues with that as a kid, but the fact that I had my mother’s name was never an issue. Fair or not, I think kids just want to have everything be easy and to fit in – if having your last name makes it easier for them, I’d go with that.

        • can we think for a second about why it’s any weirder for your kids to have your name only than it would be for them to have only your husband’s name (which is the norm)? why do women do this to themselves?

          • I take your point, but it’s not just women.

            People (most people, men, women, children, etc.) have a strong desire to conform with the group. This is why critical mass issues are so important. If you can get a critical mass of people to make change in some issue, only then have you made lasting widespread progress. Until a critical mass of women keep their surnames and give their surnames to children, women will always be pressured (or praised an absurd amount) to change their surnames to their (male) spouse’s surname if they’re heterosexual, and to give their children their (male) spouse’s surnames.

      • wildkitten :

        I have my mom’s too, and my parents were married, and I love my last name, and plan to do the same for my kids.

    • CapHillAnon :

      We didn’t use only my maiden name for the children, but it is developing that way. Our children have each of our last names (I didn’t change mine when we married), and because my husband’s name is more difficult to spell and pronounce correctly, the children frequently just use my last name.

      So I’m Ms. Anon, married to Mr. Foreign-Word, and our school-aged children are both Miss Anon Foreign-Word–but they’ll frequently refer to themselves or introduce themselves as Miss Anon for simplicity. (Although not when his family members are around or when we are in the Old Country. They’ve picked up on the benefits of group identity, I guess, although we’ve never actually talked about it.) Good luck!

    • Anon for this :

      My DH and I are going to create a new last name for our kids, and I’m both psyched about it and also a bit anxious about other people’s reactions.

      His brother and sister-in-law did First Name Dad Last Mom Last, but they framed it as a two last name situation rather than Dad Last as a middle name. BUT they only use Mom Last for their kids on all their daycare stuff and legal forms (like when we contribute to their college funds the only name is Mom Last). I honestly don’t care what their kids are named, but I do feel like they were trying to deceive people – if you’re going to give your kids Mom’s last name, that’s fine, just own it! In their situation it created all sorts of hurt feelings with my in-laws – they felt offended, and then they were hurt because they felt that their son was trying to hide it. Plus, they still sort of aren’t entirely clear what their grandkids’ last name is.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I kind of love the idea of a new last name for the two of you.

        When I was engaged to Mr. Senior Attorney we briefly considered doing that. My BFF suggested calling ourselves “Mr. and Mrs. Fabulous.” It was verra tempting…

        • Senior Attorney :

          Oops, I misread. So you two are going to keep your own names and pick a third for the kids? I seem to remember Jane Fonda and Tom Haden did that, back in the day.

          • Anon for this :

            Right now I think we are each going to keep our own last names. We’re going to create a hybrid name for the kids – our names merged together actually make a fairly straightforward last name and it’s recognizable as both of our last names. DH and I actually go by this last name in a casual way (like, writing The Smiths on return addresses).

      • I had a similar situation to this growing up, and my advice is to BE CONSISTENT about which last name(s) you use on official forms (school, Social Security, doctors, passport, etc.), to save your kids a LOT of trouble later on when records from one location don’t match records from another.

        • I mean, my situation was similar to being named BB Dad Last Mom Last, but we only used one of those last names regularly.

    • I have seen this a couple of times in which the husband’s family name was hard to pronounce. It was new to me back in the early 90s, but I’ve seen it more frequently and I think it is fine.

    • I am an actual person and not property of my father, so last names can be whatever I want. (Yay child of multiple divorces – 9 total between my 2 parents and current stepparents.)

      So I have two rules:
      1 – If I change my name, it is MINE. It is not on loan only while I am married. (1a) If I decide to change my names, I will only go through that hassle once.
      2 – My kids will have the same last name as me. Regardless of their father’s last name.

      This means, in the extreme case, if I decide to take a DH#1’s name but get divorced and have kids with a DH#2, those kids will have the same last name as DH1. But that is moot, because it will also be MY last name. I get to pass my own legacy down through my kids, regardless of where my last name came from. Yes, this is a little odd but I think among Millenials it’s becoming more popular as an option, at least.

    • So I can’t quite comment because my parents did the very common mom kept her maiden name and us kids got dad’s last name, but as a result of that my sisters and I grew up with differing but very strong opinions on our last names. Sister #1 kept her name when she got married, I changed my name immediately, and sister #3 plans to keep her name. My point being, do what works best for you and your husband because you can’t please everyone, including all of your own kids. :)

      That being said, having the same last name as my stepdaughter makes it MUCH easier when I call the school to schedule parent teacher conferences or notify them that my husband will be picking her up early, etc. They’re just so much easier to deal with when Susie Smith calls about Janie Smith than when Susie Jones calls about Janie Smith, even if you’re listed on all of the paperwork as an emergency contact, allowed to pick child up from school, etc. (I tend to be the one calling because my husband’s job is the sort that make it difficult for him to make phone calls during the school day). If you’re the parent who will be contacting the school/doctor/etc. most often, I would definitely vote for giving your kids your last name instead of your husbands.

    • Coach Laura :

      I know plenty of people (including some relatives) whose middle names are the mother’s maiden name.

      In your case, I’d have the dad’s name as the kid’s middle name and your name as the last name. Then the kid could always use both names if desired, or just use your family name to be easier.

      • wildkitten :

        Don’t feel obliged to give your kids your DH’s name as a middle if it s*cks. Nobody needs to be named like Wild Hitler Kitten.

    • I don’t think there is anything wrong with giving your child your last name. You could even choose to give him/her both your last names, one would work as a middle name. I think some spanish/hispanic cultures do this and I personally feel this practice honors both parents’ family backgrounds alot better.

    • It probably feels off because it’s outside the norm. Do you care about being traditional? If so, weigh that into your decision. If not, focus on the specifics of one name versus the other.

      Personally, I’d love to see more couples with different names giving the kids mom’s last name instead of dad’s. If I’m going to go through the hassle of being pregnant and giving birth, you’d better believe that kid is going to have my name, not my partner’s. Not to mention all the families I’ve worked with where the kids all have different names because they live with mom but carry the names of their different dads, who they frequently don’t even have contact with.

    • National_Anthem :

      My first name is my paternal grandmother’s name, my middle name is my mom’s maiden name, and my last name is my father’s last name…. lotta family names. My sister also has my mom’s maiden name as a middle name.
      I’ve always sort of thought it was nice to have a name thing from both sides of the family… that said, my mom’s maiden name was “Kay,” which is a perfectly normal middle name. I might feel differently if it was something that stood out more.

    • We gave our kid a combo. Works best if your names complement each other – ours was something like Jane Goldstone and John Smith, kid is Janet Goldsmith. FWIW, I told my husband he could pick the last name with the single caveat that I was not down with giving her his last name only. So hyphenating was fine, my last name was fine, entirely new name was fine, coming up with a combo was fine. Janet Smith was not on the table.

    • hoola hoopa :

      I’ve known people who pick the first name and then choose the last name (mother or fathers) depending on which fits best with the selected first name.

      I think it make a lot of sense to have your kids have your last name since usually moms do most of the doctor appointments, school volunteering, etc. I’ve known several women who kept their maiden name but who ended up going by Kids/Father-Last-Name socially because it was (for them) so much easier.

      I also know a few families who all changed their last name. So they are all the same name, but not mother’s or father’s maiden. Definitely the most convenient for you. It’s really nice having everyone have the same name, honestly. Major disadvantage is that (in my state, at least) you have to go to court to change the adult names. I don’t think it’s a huge deal, but it’s an extra step.

  18. Talk me into a Grownup bag? :

    Another bag that I like the styling of:
    Target’s Bueno Hobo bag in Coral: http://www.target.com/p/bueno-hobo-handbag-coral/-/A-15054150#prodSlot=large_1_1
    Basically I like clean geometric lines and an unfussy look, not too slouchy, too much metal or multiple outside pouches.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      This bag doesn’t read “professional” at all to me, I’m sorry.

      Coach & Kate Spade have more of the “spare” look you seem to be leaning towards. Try shopping the outlets – that’ll be in your stated price range.

    • bananagram :

      I’d also recommend thrift stores in nice neighborhoods. There are a lot of people who love bags and donate some with very little wear! For myself, I got a great deal, but at the cost of a lot of leg work. Basically, I checked out the local discount store weekly for a month or two until they had something I wanted.

      • Lady Harriet :

        +1 I find nice leather bags at thrift stores for less than the cost of a new Target bag. You have to be patient to find something you really like, but it’s worth it to me to save money.

    • IT Chick in MN :

      Try looking at satchels – they can be found with similar capacity but have more structure and thus “read” as more professional. I’ve had a Fossil satchel for 2 years now and I love it. It stands by itself. It has a top zipper. It holds way more than it looks like it should. They don’t have mine any more, but I’ll post a link below. List price is a bit above your range, but I found mine on sale in the store for about $100.

      • IT Chick in MN :

        This is the Sydney satchel: http://www.fossil.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=12052&langId=-1&catalogId=25005&categoryId=331139&cm_vc=331139&pn=&productId=22456433&imagePath=ZB5486001

        If I had to replace mine now, this is what I’d get. It looks like they had some lovely saturated colors which are likely still available in stores (and probably on sale!)

  19. Hey there, does anyone know of a reliable but quick and dirty way to estimate your approximate tax refund?

    My taxes are pretty simple- 2 W2s, filing status is single, no mortgage, income under $35k and I am claiming the max student loan interest deduction of $2500.

    I just want to get an idea for tenatative budgeting purposes, recognizing that a quick and dirty estimate is no guaranteed. Plus having an idea of the refund will hopefully motivate me to file sooner.

    • Seattle Freeze :

      Do you have your W-2s yet? Assuming you file a 1040-A to claim the student loan interest deduction, and have a copy of your 2012 return, filling out a form should take about 10-15 minutes – then you’ll have your estimate, and can file when you’re done :)

      • wildkitten :

        You can file as early as tomorrow, and with your income you can free-file.

      • Anonymous :

        If you don’t have your W-2 yet you can use your last check stub of 2013 as an estimate (W-2 should reflect same but I’d wait to receive it). Your paystub should show your federal and state tax withholding and your taxable earnings (gross pay less pretax items like health ins. premiums, 401k contributions, HSA contributions, etc.).

    • I think you could do your taxes on H&R Block online – they don’t charge anything until you’re actually ready to file. You could just go through and answer the questions and it’ll give you an amount of your federal and state refund/payment.

    • Maybe this?

      https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/calculators/taxcaster/

  20. boon for the day :

    Ordered some bras from amazon, some were from a 3rd party. Got one (of 2) packages last night, bra didn’t fit–the cup was too big. I looked at the packing slip from the third party (fresh pair, if anyone is interested), and the slip said the item was non-returnable. It was on super discount, but nothing in the ordering information when I placed the order said it would be non-returnable.

    Called FP, and the dude who answered said that they would credit my Amazon account, but that I could keep the bra! I am wondering if it is a minor-enough fit discrepancy that I could make it work–I will have to try on again.

    If not, I’ll have a 30DD to sell to someone who needs it!

    • Anonymous :

      Maybe add a pair of chicken cutlets (ahem, inserts)?

      • That’s kind of what I was thinking. When I tried it on, I also didn’t do a whole lot of adjusting, so there may be some play with the straps and whatnot. I don’t really want the girls to be bigger, but filling out the cup would be nice. Poor, sad, post-nursing b00bs.

    • yay boon for the day. i wear 30dd and it’s such a hard-to-find size that i would welcome more information about discounted one!

  21. I legit love this jacket but too bad it’s nude for me.

  22. Nasty Neighbor :

    My nasty upstairs neighbor has been sending accusatory passive aggressive texts for the past year, and the other night I replied to her text about leaving the gate unlocked for ten minutes by explaining I was in the middle of taking out the trash, and mentioned btw, if she wanted, she could use the ice melt in the hallway during bad weather, to which she replied that she did her own back porch and back door, and she wasn’t going to do the front steps (which we both use). I’ve already tried to kill her with kindness, invited her to parties (to which she came for ten minutes and was perfectly pleasant), brought her casserole when she broke her leg, and brought dog treats for her massive dog (that gallops across the floor above at all hours of the night). I was getting too angry to deal with her the other night, so I blocked her phone number on my phone, figuring if she actually had anything important to say, she could come downstairs, and I was only going to say something I regretted if I kept getting her texts. Now she’s put a complaint in at the property management company about storing personal items in the hallway (ie the ice melt). Should I confront her about the complaint?

    • Anon in NYC :

      No. Ignore her. Refuse to engage. Speak with your management company if they ask you about it (explain what the item is, state that she’s actually used the personal property she’s been complaining of, etc.). But I think it’s a good idea to block her phone number and generally act like she doesn’t exist while still being polite. She sounds like she has some problems and the best thing to do is disengage.

    • Anonymous :

      No, and put away the ice melt. Stop engaging her so much. Just be civil and stop being so involved. And stop texting.

    • I have a really difficult neighbour and I tried all the things you listed (being nice, socializing, etc.) but last year realized how much of a suck on my energy it was. She blamed me for water damage in her place (I’m above) – it was her furnace and she didn’t tell me for weeks (I think she didn’t want to admit she was in the wrong). Stop engaging. Let the property managers deal with it.

    • I’ll definitely be moving the ice melt, thanks for confirming I should just ignore her for now.

  23. new york associate :

    Does anybody have an idea of what might be going on with Talbots? For years, I avoided the store because everything was too matronly for my taste. Then about four years ago, I totally fell in love with the store and spent a ton of money on business clothes there. (I’m plus-sized, so Talbots is a true godsend.) But in the last year, it seems like they just don’t have anything I want anymore. Have they gone back to their prior, more matronly cuts and styles? Or am I just being especially picky? Would love to know if anyone else is feeling frustrated with the store.

    • They have reversed course. They did try to skew younger for a while but I think they didn’t get many new customers that way and their older customers complained A LOT. So it’s back to the old ways now. It’s actually too bad because I think before the “change” you could find some really cute stuff there if you just looked through it all, but now it’s frumpier than ever. Almost as if they’re trying to make up for their infidelity.

    • Yes, what AIMS wrote. There are some good things there, but you can’t really see it by looking at the looks put together in the catalogues. It has definitely trended back to the (very) older customers. Sigh.

      • I feel the need to qualify: “unfashionable, boring-dressing older customers” bc i see some older ladies sometimes who look FABULOUS, but those Talbot clothes don’t look fabulous on anyone. ;oP

    • I can’t say anything about Talbots specifically, but I have that with other stores. One year I loved everything at Loft, then didn’t buy anything for years. Same with Limited – I bought at least a dozen things three years ago, then nothing again until I bought several pairs of pants and some sweaters this fall. I have no idea if it’s my tastes or the store itself, but glad to know it happens to other people.

  24. Shopping TJ - work tote :

    Vicarious Shopping TJ.

    I just got my first bonus. 95% is going towards loans, but I want to buy one thing for myself to commemorate my first year as a lawyer.

    I’m looking for something nice that will last. Budget is $500 (will go higher but not too much higher). I want something that is black, leather, and unique.

    Anyone have any great suggestions??

    • Shopping TJ - work tote :

      PS if it wasn’t clear, I’m looking for a nice work bag. Preferably one that can hold a lap top (but no lap top sleeve necessary).

      • I think this is gorgeous and you can get $50 off with code Jan50. Not sure how comfortably it will fit your laptop though.
        http://tinyurl.com/n355whn

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      MZ Wallace Kate.

      I recommended MZ Wallace up-thread to someone else as well – basically, I’ve been carrying the Kate for months in NYC (and I’m not kind at all to my bags), and it looks as nice as the day I bought it. I routinely carry my laptop in it without a sleeve with no worries, and it has a TON of space. The only catch is that it’s nylon, not leather as you requested, but I find the nylon’s a plus, because it’s much lighter than a leather bag of the same size would be.

    • IT Chick in MN :

      Someday, I’m going to treat myself to one of the Bomber Leather bags at Levengers. I indulged in a wallet when it was on sale years ago and fell in love.

  25. Anonymous :

    I have Coach giftcard I need to spend. What would you purchase? I’m not a huge purse/clothing/accessories person. I already have the Coach Madison Small phoebe in black leather and am looking to get something tan/brown/brown burgundy. I don’t have a long commute anymore so don’t need something huge. Any suggestions?

    • Sunglasses

    • A crossbody bag like this would be great for weekends: http://www.coach.com/online/handbags/Product-coach_classic_city_bag-10551-10051-9790-en?cs=tan&catId=5000000000000015030&navCatId=7100000000000000595

  26. Anonymous :

    Has anyone else noticed that The Limited’s quality has gone to crap? I won’t spend more than $25 bucks on a sweater there because they don’t last. One that I bought for $25 last week now has a huge hole in the armpit after the first wear. I’m at work, life my arm up, and huge hole! It looks like the seam wasn’t stitched together as it’s a perfect separation, not a tear. Even though it was cheap I’m going to take it back because it just pisses me off! I hate wasting time returning clothes that are crappy. This just supports my thoughts on shopping at only Nordstrom and similar level stores.

  27. GlobalEmily :

    TJ – Does anybody have a SO that has a much different schedule than you (eg. you work 9-6 or so, SO works noon-11, and your days off don’t always line up)? Any tips on finding time to spend together, balancing responsibilities, etc.?

    For the first year + of our relationship this wasn’t difficult (I was underemployed for a portion, then we moved for my job and he was unemployed for awhile) but now that we’re both working it’s hard to find quality time to spend together.

    • Muddy Buddy :

      Mine worked nights for a few years (I work days).

      We made a point to spend serious quality time together on the weekends or his days off. We pretty much just passed each other in the mornings, but I would try to leave work in time to have dinner with him before his shift almost every night. We both ended up liking it because the time we spent together was always really great because we’d really focus on being together and having fun. Plus we each got our own alone time, which was really nice.

      As for balancing responsibilities, I did a lot of things that could be done whenever, like laundry, and he ended up with a lot of errands that are easier during the day (cobbler, dry cleaning, groceries). We have a house keeper, which helps a ton. I highly recommend one if you can afford it just so you don’t have to spend your time together sweeping or arguing about who’s washing dishes.

  28. So I use a padfolio for everyday work (tax accountant, constantly meeting with clients and going out to proposals, etc). I like to have a padfolio that I can add normal notepads to, not the circle/disk ones that require you to purchase their paper. I also don’t like padfolios that have the zipper enclosure – I want something sleek, simple, easy to fold over so I have a hard surface to write on yet looks higher end.

    I am currently looking at the Tyler Bomber Jacket folio on Levenger (http://www.levenger.com/bomber-jacket-tyler-folio-6134.aspx)
    but being the designer bag lover I am, am wondering if there are any nicer ones or better brand names that people would recommend? I see this as an investment and during work hours use this more than I use my every day bag.

    Any recommendations anyone? Or would the Bomber Jacket Tyler folio be my best option?

    Thanks!

    Erin

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