Frugal Friday’s Workwear Report: Long-Sleeved Top

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

I’m seeing more and more of this sort of flared top that’s like a peplum style but not quite — and I like it. This one from H&M is machine washable and only $35, and it’s part of their very interesting workwear collection. The top comes in sizes 2–16, but only lucky sizes are left at this point. Long-Sleeved Top

Here’s an option in plus sizes (also machine washable).

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Comments

  1. Yay Kat and Kate! You are BOTH to be comended for putting up such a great buy on Fruegel Friday! There’s a great H&M up near Rockefeller Centre for all of the MANHATTAN, NY HIVETTES so we can see this in person and try them on. For $35, I am NOT even goeing to waste time getting the manageing partner’s approval, and will buy for both Rosa and me. The flare is perfect for peeople like me with a tuchus, so because the bottom is NOT tapered, hopefully no one will notice my tuchus! More importantely, it IS Machine Washeable, so my cleaning lady will NOT be abel to destroy them when I put them in the hamper for her to clean!!! YAY!

  2. Talk to me about LinkedIn, how important it is in this day and age of job searching, and whether it’s acceptable to cold contact a recruiter at a corporate company in which you’ve submitted an application. I currently do not have a LinkedIn (I’ve been staying under the radar in general with all social media and also don’t want my current company to know that I’m looking). However, I’m not getting many call backs on applications and wish that I had someone to contact and follow up with. I recently applied to an AMAZING position – I am interested in everything about it (type of position, prestige of company, location near family, etc.) I found a recruiter for this company on LinkedIn and I am considering creating one and contacting her, but what are the rules here? Do people do this? Buzz about LinkedIn at my office makes me feel like I am missing some great networking opportunity and that expecting a call back with an application alone doesn’t happen anymore. FWIW, I work in banking.

    Separate questions – can I hide my LinkedIn from my current coworkers? What about making it private to anyone I’m not connected with? Is it still beneficial to have a private LinkedIn?

    • I get contacted by recruiters all the time on linkedin and that’s how I found my current job. You can check a box that says you are interested and they will hide your profile from recruiters at your company (but keep in mind that it may not be one hundred percent). I think it’s vital these days, but I’m not sure about contacting recruiters cold via linkedin. you can make it private but i think that defeats the purpose.

    • S in Chicago :

      I think it’s standard to have an account and doesn’t mean you are looking. It’s so normal these days that it’s like having a phone number.

      • +1. Having an account does not mean you’re looking. It really IS just like having a phone number – it’s a way to stay in touch with colleagues, it’s a way to remember job history, it’s a way to look up someone’s skills.

        Create an account and connect with as many people as you legitimately know. If anyone asks, you can say “Oh I thought I’d dip a toe in the social media waters, and LinkedIn seemed like a harmless enough way to do that.”

        It is seen as a very vanilla type of social media, and you’ll probably just get a lot of comments back like “Yeah I barely check it!” or “Oh make sure to connect with so-and-so” or “I just used it to remember the name of that guy who worked here 4 years ago, remember him?”

      • +1 – I k it’s critical. Not having one says to me you’re probably not someone who keeps up on trends and probably isn’t going to be a thought leader or someone who brings creative ideas to us. I also think what else aren’t you up on. Harsh, I’m sure, and I’m kind of waiting for the flame, but sharing because I think it’s important to know if you’re searching. Fwiw, I do a lot of hiring and am not alone in this view.
        Beyond that, it’s just incredibly useful for figuring out how you might have an “in” – you might not realize who knows who and it just shows you. It’s so much easier to get out of the slush pile with a personal connection and this is the easiest place to do it. For that reason alone I cannot imagine job searching without it.

        • Anonattorney :

          I agree with this. I’m on the hiring committee at my firm and one of the first things I do when I review a resume is look at their LinkedIn page. Not because it’s mandatory, but just because I want to know if there’s anything else I can glean from their page that doesn’t come through in a resume and cover letter. When someone doesn’t have a LinkedIn page, I don’t automatically eliminate them as a prospect, but it just ends up being a lost opportunity to further promote yourself to a potential employer.

          • Linda from HR :

            Honestly, sometimes a LinkedIn page is easier for me to read than a resume, depending on how well written and formatted the resume is.

    • Anonymous :

      I got my current position by being found on LinkedIn. It is not something I would’ve found or applied to on my own, but it’s been a great fit. Honestly I think “staying under the radar” on social media is no longer a great career move for most people. I think I’ve read a few articles that if you can’t be found on LinkedIn it’s actually detrimental to your job search. My LinkedIn profile is not an exact replica of my resume (there are plenty of articles online on creating a great profile). Look into articles on privacy settings for job searching. So yeh, I would create one, and I’d also contact a recruiter if it’s a position you are really interested in. What’s the worse that can happen? They continue to say no?

    • Linda from HR :

      I’m a big believer in at least having a profile. Doesn’t mean you’re job hunting, just means you’re open to networking, it could also help generate referrals to the company you’re working for now. But if you are hunting, I’d refrain from cold messaging recruiters, it’s similar to following up via email which recruiters also don’t really want people to do anymore. But you could connect with recruiters at companies you’re interested in, so that when they’re looking to fill positions you’re qualified for, you have a better chance of coming into their line of sight.It might also be beneficial to connect with managers you might want to work for.

    • My company actually encourages its leaders to create and maintain their profiles on Linkedin. We often post vacancies on Linkedin and potential candidates nearly always check profiles of the key people in the company.

      If you want to find a job through Linkedin, I would recommend to spend some time on creating a great profile. Your search results will be much higher if your profile is complete (photo, edu & work history, zip code, summary etc). You can play with privacy settings, but I would not bother – you will be limiting your search results. I would connect with key recruiters /companies within your region and with your existing network.
      Often, companies are looking for candidates with similar profile (prof experience), so it helps to stay connected with your network as well as to have a complete and relevant profile.

    • I doubt that not having LinkedIn is making or breaking your applications. But having one doesn’t mean that you’re looking — no need to hide it from your coworkers.

    • Anon in Real Estate :

      When a candidate doesn’t have one, I think it’s weird. We are in a relationship-centric industry. I don’t use LinkedIn for prospecting and it’s merely an online resume as far as I’m concerned, but being able to verify someone’s legitimacy by seeing in-common contacts is extremely helpful.

    • LinkedIn does not need to be kept private. Most of your coworkers have a LinkedIn profile. Having one does not mean you’re job hunting. It’s just an online Rolodex.

      You’re being way too paranoid about it. Yes, you need a LinkedIn profile for job hunting.

    • I would not contact an HR recruiter via linked in. That would be weird. A headhunter, sure. An inside recruiter, no. There will be opportunities to get in front of the right people during the interview process. An inside recruiter would be less valuable than a line-role person in terms of explaining the role and whatnot. If you have other contacts at that company, normal. But HR is a “line of defense.” They’re not there to chat about your job search until you’ve applied.

      • I have already applied and I’ve been looking for a year without a single interview, so I’m at the point where I don’t see what I have to lose with contacting someone.

        • Linda from HR :

          If that’s the case, either you’re not being realistic about what you’re qualified for, or you are qualified for the roles but your application materials aren’t properly highlighting that fact. You might be getting really outdated advice on how to format your resume or what goes on a cover letter, have you checked out Ask a Manager?

          • I’ve had my materials scrutinized by people in my industry who all say that my resume looks great and that they would hire me if they had a position open. It’s just a very very niche field within a broader industry and its competitive.

      • Hmm, one of my good work friends is the internal recruiter for the company I work for. Most of his leads come from LinkedIn. People do contact him on LinkedIn, all the time, and he doesn’t think it’s weird at all. He’s mostly placing tech candidates – maybe it’s specific to tech?

    • Personally I deleted my linked in because it was all recruiters asking me about 40k jobs (like what?!? I have gov experience and a degree, what makes you think I’d take such a huge step down to the private sector) it was also lots of guys hitting on me (why does my suited headshot illicit such messages?!?). Anyway I hate linkedin. FWIW I’m a 25yo PYT.

      • I did get a couple of call backs that didn’t come anywhere close to my current salary so I passed. Same industry, different city, but not worth the huge step down in pay.

    • Coach Laura :

      I’m on my phone so please excuse any disjointed responses.

      Yes you can keep parts of your profile private. For example you can keep your contacts private or private except to your own contacts. Many people have notifications turned on so that every time they add a contact it sends out an annoying announcement to all their contacts. I have that turned off, turning it on briefly if I get a new job or join a nonprofit board or something like that. But if the intent is to connect, why be private?

      So explore the settings but don’t lock it down entirely. Bill Gates has a profile but his says not open to job requests and not open to friend requests. You should want to be open.

      If you’ve already applied for a job contacting an in-house recruiter probably isn’t going to help. What you want is to have connections to people who work in the departments and companies that you are targeting. Building contacts can do that. I have 500+ contacts and can find a contact in most mid- to large-sized companies where I live in Seattle but also across the country.

      Reach out on LinkedIn to outside recruiters in your city and industry. Other recruiters will see that and then will want to connect to you.

      LinkedIn doesn’t spill much or any about your private life if you don’t want it to. It’s not Facebook. Use it as a tool.

      • Related question: a recruiter from a large, known corporate contacted me through LinkedIn at the beginning of the week saying they were looking for a profile that matched mine and that they’d be happy to tell me more about their offer. I replied saying that I was interested and giving my phone number, but got no answer. I followed up again via email, and still no answer. This seems weird to me. Should I insist more?

        • Coach Laura :

          Sylvia – in my experience, recruiters are so busy that they often move quickly on to the next person. I’d try again to reach them and then tell them what you’re interested in and ask that they keep you in mind. I’ve had the most success with them when it’s part of a long-term relationship.

    • Yes, you need a LinkedIn profile. It’s also extremely helpful for keeping track of professional contacts as they move around. Otherwise you get the first email blast when they leave, but you’re not able to see where they go after that (unless you’re a close enough friend to get further emails). I’ve often found that acquaintances are the most valuable in terms of networking, and LinkedIn helps you effortlessly keep track of a much larger group of acquaintances than you’d be able to keep track of on your own.

      I also second what others have said — I always look up someone’s LinkedIn profile who I’ll be interviewing and I will frequently look up professional contacts’ profiles for other reasons (considering them for a panel, looking to talk to someone who’s an expert in XYZ, looking at someone’s background before or after I’m in a meeting with them). And I’ve also used it to figure out if I have anyone in my network, or who is friends with someone in my network, at a particular company that I am targeting.

      I get not being super active on social media, and I don’t use social media much on the social side (Facebook, etc.), but you’re really hurting yourself professionally by not having a LinkedIn profile, if only considering the opportunity cost.

    • Anon for this :

      Not sure if you’re still reading, but I am a corporate recruiter. You said you already applied to the role. That’s great. Nothing annoys me more than people who ask to talk to me but don’t think they need to apply on our website. If someone contacts me on LinkedIn, the first thing I will say is that they should apply so their skillset can be evaluated with the rest of the pool. Whether a recruiter responds really depends on how busy they are, whether you’re a fit for the role, and whether your profile is a good general fit for the org, especially in a niche area. If you apply to the role and are a fit, I’ll contact you regardless of the extra outreach on Linked In. It really doesn’t put you at the top of the pile, especially considering a lot of people apply to roles that are not the right fit. However, if you do the research on the orgs you’re applying to and are a match for general skill sets they hire for, you might get an offer to talk for future opportunities. For example, we periodically hire a specific type of finance skill. I wouldn’t engage with someone who had a general background (easy enough to find those people when I need them) but if you had that niche skill, I may proactively cultivate you for the next time we have an opening in that area if you’re not a fit for the current role you applied to. Linked In has monetized itself as a recruiting platform and is a top choice for recruiters to find you. As a job seeker you can also browse postings and Linked In will send you ones that match your skills. As others have said, it would be a minor flag for me to not be able to find an applicant on Linked In – I’d think they have something to hide.

  3. Baconpancakes :

    It feels like fall here!

    What is your favorite early fall outfit, for those chilly mornings and warm afternoons?

    • cat socks :

      I work in a casual office, so I usually wear a knit top and cardigan with skinny jeans and lats. If it’s really cold, I’ll wear a scarf. I take off the scarf/cardigan in the afternoon. I finally bought a couple of pairs of booties, but it’s still in the 60s so I haven’t worn them yet.

      • At what temp do you starry wearing booties then? 60s seems pretty reasonable to me.

        • Probably in the 50s. I drive to work and have a short walk into the building so flats work for me in this situation. I think I’m also trying to hold on to the last bits of summer and I’m not ready to start wearing real socks and shoes just yet.

        • Agreed. Fully wearing booties today. Was 51 degrees when I left the house, 61 degrees now.

    • Wool Skirt Weather! :

      It was quite chilly on Wednesday, and I wore my favorite knee length wool skirt, oxford flats, and a thin sweater. I felt peak me in the outfit because fall is the best!

    • Anonymous :

      I love when I can start wearing booties and a military jacket!

      • What’s your favorite military jacket? Do you wear it as outerwear or like a blazer?

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          I got mine from Gap. I wear it as a blazer. Mine has zero patches, etc. on it, which is the only reason I’ll wear it.

    • Marshmallow :

      I broke out my teal Etsuko today for the first time in many months! I wore it with Vans and a long cardigan for my commute and switched into black heels when I got to the office. Love.

      • I loved it in that color! I have black and light gray and had they had it in my size in that color, would have loved to be on a 100% Etsuko wardrobe :)

    • A normal late summer outfit worn with a big wrap or scarf because it will be chilly in the morning but boiling in the afternoon.

  4. Is there an App that you recommend for tracking nutrition/diet/weight for someone trying to gain weight and increase protein intake?

    I am taking care of an elderly family member that has had to make a drastic diet change due to a medical problem, and I am struggling in preparing healthy and nutritious food. He is loosing weight, which is not good.

    I will see a nutritionist in the next couple weeks for advice, but I thought it would be good to bring her some data about what I have been doing, Is there an App that works well for one trying to gain weight that keeps track of protein/calories/weight etc? I add a lot of protein powder, milk powder etc.. to things to increase protein, so I want the flexibility of entering these items too.

    Thanks!

    • Anonymous :

      I’d still use MyFitnessPal for this, you can set it up for weight gain or custom macros (the “pro” version for $49.99 a year is TOTALLY WORTH IT) even though most people think of it for weight loss.

      • Anonymous :

        +1. I agree with My Fitness Pal

      • +1, I really like the scanner that just scans in the food label and populates the info

      • Thanks all!

        I was quickly looking at the App…. and it looks like it won’t tell me the daily total protein intake unless I pay for the apgrade. Is that right? It will tell me the total calories, I think.

        • No, not correct (sorry, that sounds harsh and I don’t mean to be–just trying to be very clear!). You can see daily total protein/fat/carbs (plus the percentage of your calories that came from each) in the free version. What I believe the free version does not tell you is (i) the total grams or percentage breakdown of protein/carbs/fat per *meal* and (ii) the percentage breakdown per individual food (though each food’s nutrition page will tell you how many grams of protein, how many of carbs, and how many of fat). I’m not sure exactly what of those things the pro version adds on–I don’t have it–but the free version will for sure give you the info for a given day.

    • In case it helps, when I had a family member in the same situation we modified food she would normally eat to make it higher cal. For example, hot chocolate was made with half and half, not skim milk. Good luck!

      • Thanks for this. I have been trying whole milk similarly, and I do have some half in half as well. I should use that more.

        One hard part is that right now most things have to be liquid or very very puréed, which can be less appetizing. It also makes it harder for to to keep track of portion size etc… I think I just have to start weighing more things…..

        • ice cream? milkshakes!

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          Peanut butter in milkshakes.
          Butter in anything you can.
          Full fat yoghurt in smoothies.
          Full fat ice cream in milkshakes.
          Whole milk in milkshakes and smoothies.
          Scrambled eggs made with cream cheese and cheese, if soft enough.
          Thick soups made with cream.

          Search “cystic fibrosis high fat diet tips” for more ideas.

      • Food thoughts :

        Peanut butter, avocados (holy guacomole!), oatmeal made with half & half, cashews (as a snack), and rice made with a can of coconut milk in place of some of the water are some of my go-tos for weight gain.

        Is it possible your person is having digestive issues from the protein powder? All the calories in the world won’t do any good if they’re not getting absorbed.

        Fat is where you get the most bang for your buck (and per serving). Protein is good, but if your person is getting full before they’ve eaten enough calories, you’re going to need to increase fat content.

        Are they able to maintain their previous level of activity?

        • Good points. I am worried I am overloading protein and that he might not be able to absorb so much so fast. I am not sure if things are getting absorbed since by my rough rough estimations he should be gaining, but is still losing.

          He has only been on the new diet for a few weeks.

          Also, his activity has decreased in the last 6 months due to medical issues, but is now increasing with rehab.

          I worry he has a hidden malignancy that is contributing to weight loss, but work-up so far is ok. He does have GI issues that could be contributing though.

          Honestly, none of his docs know much about nutrition and gave me no guidelines other than supplement with Boost/ensure. I had to ask for a referral to Nutrition. They don’t even follow his weight because he is disabled and almost none of the docs have an accessible scale. Don’t get me started on the flaws in our medical care, the more disabled you are…….

          • Food thoughts :

            Yep… I hear you on that.
            My main experience is in on the veterinary side (though not a vet!)… but what works for dogs, generally works for people and vice versa. My organic chem professor *LOVED* to tell the Nutrition majors that theirs was a ‘soft science’.
            On the K9 side of things, B-12 injections are dirt cheap, relatively painless, have next to no side effects and do wonders with weight maintenance/gain. I suspect humans respond similarly.
            As for the activity levels, his lack of activity can contribute to his weight loss, despite his increase in calories, if this is all taking place in a short amount of time. It can take a while to get activity/calories stabilized enough to tell exactly how much a person needs.

    • I had to gain weight in college because my team was working out so much. Add peanut butter to things. Drink ensure or add energy bars in addition to or after meals. Switch to whole milk. Say yes to dessert. Eat all the cereal.

      Separately, it is worth discussing if this is an issue with appetite versus intake–your relative may need to learn to eat at set times, regardless of whether hungry.

      In addition, my elderly relatives had problems “remembering” to eat because they couldn’t recall if they had or had not just had breakfast or that midday meant it was time for lunch, because their grasp of time was a little shaky and their ST memory was shot. If this is an issue, three different alarm clocks (clearly labeled) “Lunch clock” “Dinner clock” etc will help with this.

      IMHO, a tracker like MyFitnessPal might be way too high tech for an elderly person, so you might try the old pen and paper and put notes around the kitchen that say, “WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU EAT ON THE PAD”. We had to do things like that for my grandparents because they’d, for instance, see the pad, but forget day to day what it was for.

      GL!

      • Great advice. Thanks you!

        The amount of fat I am giving him is crazy high right now, so I worry a little. We’ll see what the nutritionist says. He loves the peanut butter smoothies fortunately and ensure!

        I think I will need to start the App use. I hear you.

        Many thanks.

      • Ha. As I generally always say yes to dessert, drink whole milk, add peanut butter to things, and eat all the cereal, I suppose it should come as no surprise to me that I’m gaining weight…

    • I just started using EatThisMuch, which is great because it gives you a calibrated meal plan (with recipes and shopping lists) you can follow to meet nutritional goals. You can program the plan for weight loss, gain or maintenance. You can also set it to exclude certain foods, and also follow a Paleo, Mediterranean, or Atkins plan (there are some other choices as well). I was struggling with meal ideas and this has helped a lot with not just tracking what I eat, but also giving me a program of meals to follow.

    • Fwiw Boost was recommended for a family member struggling to get their nutritional goals through eating. I think it’s designed specifically for people who don’t have an appetite.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Ymmv but I find Boost ridiculously unpalatable. Even when mixed into milkshakes. Then it just ruins the milkshake.

        I went through a period of massive weight loss and no appetite (plus lots of nausea/vomiting) in winter 2016 and lived on cheese tortellini with extra cheese, scrambled eggs made with cream cheese and whole milk, and risotto with cheese topped with cheese.

        Lots and lots of cheese.

        • Thanks guys.

          My Dad actually really likes the ensure Enlive, which has 360 calories and ?30g protein, in less than 250cc of fluid. I do use Boost/ensure in smoothies too in place of whole milk.

          He is not a fan of creamed soups, but I am sneaking in milk powder (low fat) at least, which seems to be palatable. I am adding cheese to scrambled eggs.

          I am going to start gaining a lot of weight soon….

  5. I’m going to a bachelorette party this weekend – first one I’ve ever been to. And both the bride and maid of honor were really close friends of mine all through middle and high school, I’m excited, but also nervous that I’ll unknowingly break some sort of etiquette rule people will get mad at me. So I’m wondering, what are some important etiquette rules that guests (not necessarily bridesmaids) of a bachelorette party be aware of? I’m aware I shouldn’t wear white or upstage the bride, shouldn’t draw too much attention to myself, shouldn’t bring up anything that would bring down the mood, and shouldn’t bother the maid of honor because she has enough to worry about. I’ve already paid the fixed costs as well. Am I missing anything?

    • Just remember to default to any decision of the bride and have a fun time! E.g. If the bride wants to eat lobster for every meal — you all eat lobster for every meal (or at least go to a restaurant that has lobster).

      • Linda from HR :

        Lobster for every meal would probably be the best thing ever! Not the best thing for my wallet, but hey, it’s one weekend.

    • It sounds like you’re mixing up the guidelines for weddings (don’t wear white or upstage the bride, don’t bug the maid of honor), bridal showers, and bachelorette parties. Which are you attending – a shower or a bachelorette party? The former is usually a more restrained sit-down affair, often with the bride’s family present. The latter can be a wilder celebration (although for my college bestie’s bachelorette we had high tea and watched a late screening of one of the Marvel movies…it’s really up to the bride!)

      • I’m just going off what I’ve read in other etiquette articles. I honestly have no idea if my friend is going to opt for a white outfit, or the “bride to be” sash and tiara or any of that, but especially since I’m a bit of a Fancy Nancy sometimes, being overdressed or dressing inappropriately is one of my concerns.

    • Whoa dude, calm down. It’s a party and you’re overthinking it. Get drunk and have fun.

    • Don’t be the one who gets so drunk they have to be taken care of. Don’t bicker about money – you are going to spend more than you expected to. Don’t forget to bring plenty of cash. Don’t make the bride do embarrassing things she isn’t game for. Don’t wear uncomfortable shoes. Don’t post pics or video without everyone’s permission. Don’t get involved in drama.

      • +1 to all of this. Especially #1 and #2. Those people are regrettably memorable.

      • Oh yikes, yeah, I’ve heard #1 before. I’ve been that girl in my earlier 20’s at not-wedding-related parties, but I know better now.

    • AnonMidwest :

      I’ll add in some advice from my experiences. I’ve been the MOH twice and at both bachelorette parties, none of the other guests ever offered to chip in to pay the tab of the Bride and in one I was sitting next to the Mother of the Bride (brunch started the festivities) and no one stepped in to help me with that tab.

      If you’re financially able to do so, help make sure the bride’s tab is covered as you go through the evening.

      • That is a good thing to bring up, because I might assume that the MOH would take charge of that and ask people to put in extra to cover the bride’s tab if they wanted people to do that. I don’t think I going keep covering her tab myself, but I can definitely ask the MOH if she wants us to do that. And buy her some drinks in the later part of the evening!

        • *I don’t think I could keep covering her tab. Apparently I’m Cookie Monster this morning.

          • AnonMidwest :

            No worries. You should be good, and much appreciated if you just check in with the MOH before hand and maybe as the night goes on.

            The cookie monster thing cracked me up.

      • Really? Everyone just paid their own tab instead of one bill split n-1 ways? What a bunch of cheapskates!

        • OMG it’s almost like not everyone in their early -mid 20s (or generally) has tons of extra spare cash to budget for your expensive tastes and drinking problem! what a bunch of b*tches.

          • Where’d the expensive tastes and drinking problem come from, anon? I don’t see those seriously mentioned anywhere.

            It’s a party in honor of someone, and it’s not uncommon–nor is it required–for attendees to chip in to cover the honoree. It’s ok to be on a budget at these things, just make it clear to the organizer what your limitations are and roll with it.

          • anon may have had to split a tab with a group where lots of people ordered cocktails and entrees, and anon was trying to stick to a budget with an inexpensive glass of wine and an appetizer, which is kind of a crappy situation. I would say that if the plan is to split the bill, or split it n-1 ways, that should be stated up front (I may actually tone down my ordering if I know ahead of time that that’s going to happen, and/or order last and follow other people’s lead), a budget-conscious person should talk to either the organizer, or the waitress, about getting their own check discretely.

            But I will also acknowledge that, as others have said, these parties tend to cost money, I definitely had a little sticker shock when I found out how much my fixed portion would be, but I’m just making the party a priority money-wise.

          • Dude, I’m not trying to start yet another comment thread on the age-old and unpleasant question about whether and when tabs should be split n ways. I just thought Anon at 11:08’s insult to people who might be disinclined to split the tab was tacky and rude. The common complaint about splitting tabs is that some people order more stuff (inc. drinks) than others. Shocked you didn’t realize I was speaking in the abstract. I’m aware of how to split tabs at celebratory events, and I do, but thanks for the etiquette lesson. (also lol at the idea that you’re going to commit the other faux pas of not attending your good friends b__ party because you’re on a budget. She’ll say “nooo come! we just want you to be there!!!)

        • AnonMidwest :

          Yes, split tabs all around, which i don’t mind, but the bride, or mother of the bride should not be presented with a tab that day and apparently I was the only one paying them, despite myself being in between jobs at the time.

          And honestly anon at 11:10, if they couldn’t afford to at least chip in to some of the tab some of the time, they had no business going to the party in the first place.

    • Someone needs to stay sober enough to keep everyone safe – doesn’t have to be you, but have that person identified early on. I spent the last 4 hours of my best friend’s bachelorette party at her bedside in the hospital while she was treated for alcohol poisoning … I was sober enough to recognize a medical emergency, flag a cab, fill out her paperwork upon arrival etc.

      I certainly hope for your sake nothing so dire happens … but someone sober enough to, for example, fend off creepy dudes at the bar benefits everyone.

      • On a similar note, although this doesn’t qualify as an etiquette issue, make sure someone is watching out for the bride if you’re out at bars. People like to buy the bride drinks, and it’s easy for things to escalate quickly. Decline drinks on her behalf, or pass them off to other people, or bring her club soda when she cant’ tell the difference. Yes, she should be able to take care of herself, but it doesn’t always happen.

    • Sneezy/Linda from HR/etc. – Kindly, between this and your overreaction to other normal roommate, workplace, and social situations, it is obvious that you wayyy overthink even the simplest things. When you post, I feel like I’m reading the inner thoughts of Girls’ season 1 Shoshanna. I think you will be a lot happier if you take a deep breath and stop trying to plan for/control/analyze everything.

      • Not everybody can easily do that, and – I speak only from my own experience here – some people can better approach a situation equipped with details and expected outcomes.

      • Dear Anon, from reading your post I am going to conclude you are not a very nice person, and probably spend too much time judging others. If you stop doing that, you will probably lead a happier and more productive life.

      • Frozen Peach :

        Anon, this is kind of a space for those of us who are high-achieving, in part due to our tendencies to overthink, overplan, and anticipate problems and risk.

        Your input on this subject is not necessary. I wish you a change in life circumstances that allows you to receive people different from you with compassion and kindness.

        • Woah, that’s the best explanation I’ve heard. It does seem like people here fall into one of two categories: 1) overthinkers and 2) people who are annoyed by overthinkers.

          Fact is, some of us don’t have that much life experience yet, so we’re hoping to get some hindsight perspective from people who’ve been there.

          • This community is an amazing resource for exactly what you’re looking for–getting the benefit of some hindsight from other women who have been there, done that. We didn’t all pop out of the womb knowing exactly how to handle ourselves in every situation, and it would be great if anon at 11:01 could remember that.

      • assume you’re the same bitter t r oll from above who called everyone a bunch of b*tches. You need to find a new hobby.

        • I think that comment was sarcastic.

          • It was, in response to calling women who (all apparently agreed to) split the tabs by what they ordered ‘a bunch of cheapskates!’

            also i’m not anon at 11:01. I concur that one of the best things about this s*te is taking advantage of everyone else’s hindsight about situations they have so thoroughly thought through and analyzed.

      • Eh – I kind of agree with anon. The comment was meant kindly. I mean, I get it – I can also be an over thinker/planner. But you can be high achieving and a planner without overthinking every decision. Outloud. With other people’s input. There is something to be said for learning to roll with it and not crowd sourcing every single scenario.

        Sometimes you just have to live life to get those life experiences. And yes, maybe sometimes you make mistakes – but that’s okay. I learn more from my mistakes than my successes. The important thing isn’t to avoid mistakes, its to not make the same ones twice.

        • Anonymous :

          +1

          Lbr, this is a bachelorette party, it’s not a reason to overthink and panic about “etiquette.”

    • I think you are correct about not wearing white. Further, the bride might want everyone else to wear a certain color, not complaining about it is always nice (not judging: i hate hate hate wearing matching outfits).

      Venmo and splitswise are easy ways to get paid/split the tab as you go around.

      I always am cross about going to bach parties but end up having a fun time, so enjoy!

    • Yeah. You’re missing your chill! It’s a party just enjoy it.

  6. Outfit Help :

    I’m taking engagement photos with my fiance and I asked the photographer for recommendations on what to wear. She said something flowy works well to give some movement. I bought the Lydia Swing Dress that was at Anthro (link to follow in case it gets in moderation) and it’s STUNNING. However, I’m broad-shouldered and busty, so I almost never buy this type of swing dress. Should I a) find a beaded belt and nip in the waist b) let it be or c) find something else. I’m a little concerned people may think I’m pregnant because of the flowyness (and the context that it’s an engagement shoot). Thoughts?

    • Outfit Help :

      http://www.leopardmartini.com/2016/12/birthday-girl.html

    • Chicaganon :

      Could you try it on and have your fiance/a friend snap a few test pictures with and without a belt? It’s a beautiful dress, and if the pattern works with what he’s wearing and your location, I think it would be stunning!

      For what it’s worth, I wore a flowy blouse for my engagement pictures and while a few shots made me look like I had a slight bump, we had plenty to choose from that didn’t. The picture we ended up loving most had a lot of “movement” (I feel like a judge on ANTM, ha), so your photographer might be on to something!

    • Baconpancakes :

      Beautiful dress! But yes, I would find a belt and ask the photographer to take some photos with the belt on and some with it off. Depending on your shape, I might wonder if you were pregnant based on the dress – not that there’s anything wrong with that – but if you want to avoid questions from some judgmental family members, I might belt. Particularly since this isn’t your normal style.

    • Shopaholic :

      I would find something else… I think you want something a bit more classic/you for an engagement photo shoot and if it’s not your normal style, you may not love the pictures as much.

      The dress is pretty though! I have seen a lot of amazing engagement photo shoots where the bride wears something a step up from what she would normally wear and they’re definitely my favourite.

      • Legally Brunette :

        +1 Definitely find something else. I find that if I’m concerned that an outfit makes me look preggers than the reality is that it DOES make me look pregnant. It’s a pretty dress but very very hard for most people to pull off without looking pregnant.

        I would stick to an outfit that you feel great it and you know that flatters you, and is the type of silhouette that you know looks good in pictures.

    • I have the same body type and I would find something else. I wouldn’t be able to get that to work for me and I would feel so uncomfortable.

      • I will also say that I just don’t think it will look as good belted.

        • Also, also: I wouldn’t get so hung up on “flowy”. I think the more important consideration for photos are what kinds of colors/prints to wear, and whether you feel comfortable in the clothes. Don’t get stuck on a certain image of flowy if it’s not normally you.

      • I agree – I don’t think it is going to look great. I am broad shouldered and busty and just do not look good in skirts with a gathered waist, including voluminous dresses like this that is belted. I can get away with an a-line skirt, although pencil/sheaths are better, but only if the waist is pretty fitted and not gathered.

        Maybe a flowy skirt and a more fitted top would work, or even a sheath with a flowy cardigan?

      • There are plenty of flowy dresses that have more shape to them.

        https://www.anntaylor.com/tulip-tiered-dress/436604?skuId=23709140&defaultColor=1246&colorExplode=true&catid=cata000012

        https://www.anntaylor.com/tropical-garden-pleated-midi-dress/439902?skuId=23342323&defaultColor=1246&colorExplode=true&catid=cata000012

        http://bananarepublic.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=1005911&pcid=69883&vid=1&pid=797645002

    • I’d wear something else that you feel 100 percent flatters you. Look at other photos you like from a variety of photographers–what makes them timeless? I usually think bright and simple and body flattering.

    • Anonymous :

      It’s a gorgeous dress but it makes even that skinny tiny model look big.

    • I would say no – looks for a flowy long wrap dress or at least something with a v-neck

    • I think you want a more fitted dress for photos. A flowy dress will not be as flattering, regardless of whether you’re tiny or big. Also, I’m almost 6 months pregnant and I could probably fit into that dress in my normal size, so yes, it will definitely invite pregnancy speculation.

    • I would aim for one of the structural, 3-4″ leather belts to bring it back in at the waist. It would destroy the swing aspect of the dress but would be able to control enough of the fabric to create the shape you probably want. A thin belt might just create awkward bunching of the fabric.

      Not sure if weather allows it, but I’ve done a great coat or other layers over fitted clothing to create movement in the photos. It also adds more dimension to the photos.

      • Kindly, I would not do this as because at best, it is a very 2007 look and at worst, it will make the fabric bunch and balloon out on either end of the belt. Do what others have recommended: find a dress (or outfit) that makes you feel bangin’ and amazing and wear that, not something you have to McGyver into something flattering. These photo shoots aren’t cheap, so pick an outfit that you know you will feel awesome in and not an outfit that will do for casual wear but that you don’t 100000% love. (Some good suggestions have been made – something A line or something that is actually fitted at the waist or something more close to what you do actually wear since you indicated this isn’t a typical style for you. Also if you never wear dresses, you could do a fabulous wide-leg jumpsuit or beautiful wide-leg trousers with a fitted sweater tucked in or go casual with a jean-outfit a little more polished than your normal getup…)

    • Um no.

    • “Flowy” might mean a skirt that twirl a bit – think of the wardrobes of black & white movies – they were well-tailored but had movement.

      This dress looks super comfortable and has fabulous patterns and color, but may make you look boxy. if you are going for a dress, try an A – line cut with a waist line. There are plenty of pinup gals in days of yore who are wearing modest-enough and flattering tops, or dresses with the same. Think flowy sheer sleeves as part of off-setting shoulders and chest, maybe?

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I agree with the people who are saying that you can find something more fitted/structured that nonetheless has some movement.

      I wore something like this (with a brightly colored sweater over it) and felt great: https://lookastic.com/women/white-lace-skater-dress/shop/ambros-lace-fit-flare-dress-232865

    • Yeah I would not wear that dress for the photos. Generally speaking, when dressing for a photo you want to keep for a long time, you wear a classic style in a solid color. You might go with a very light color like ivory or blush in order to convey bride (without specifically being bridal) but I would not wear a bright solid color. You want the picture to focus on you, not what you’re wearing.

    • Miz Swizz :

      If you’re at all uncomfortable with/in the dress, it will come out in the pictures. I took my engagement pics in jeans with a knit top and blazer and I felt fantastic. We were able to goof around and I felt like me. I think the best pics were the ones where we were genuinely smiling. The photographer was a friend of mine who was starting her business and she agreed to drive us to a couple different places so we could be a little tipsy to loosen up and I think that helped too since neither my husband nor I are very comfortable in front of a camera.

    • That’s a gorgeous dress! But I’m with the other commenters who cautioned against it. I have narrow shoulders but a large bust and I’d definitely look pregnant in that dress, even with a belt. I generally need a v neck or a clean waist in a dress. Wrap dresses, fit and flare with swingy skirts are all good.

    • I’m also broad-shouldered and busty and this would look terrible on me, even with a belt. Lots of stuff at Anthro looks gorgeous on the rack but tends to be less than flattering on my body shape. If you’re built anything like me, you should ignore the flowy advice and wear a structured sheath dress that shows your curves.

    • Find something else that is more flattering to your shape

  7. Gas Leak Contractor Recs :

    Ugh we confirmed we have a gas leak in the old house we just bought and now need a gas leak contractor to come find the source of the leak and fix it since Washington Gas is unhelpful as usual. Anyone in the DC/VA/MD area know of a good gas leak contractor?

    • Michael & Sons does gas work. I have only used them for plumbing, but their service was reasonably priced and top notch.

      • Gas Leak Contractor Recs :

        Great, thank you for the recommendation!!! I know I can check Angie’s List or google it but appreciate hearing from the ladies on this site what their experiences are!

  8. Hmm, so this Equifax hack. Aside from freezing my credit and monitoring credit reports, is there anything else I can be doing?

    • Green Hat :

      Equifax is offering free identity theft protection via the site they set up about the breach, equifaxsecurity2017.com. Be warned, the site has received a huge volume of traffic, so there have been a lot of hiccups – the site had an SSL certificate error last night, and now when you go to enroll in the service it says come back on September 13. The credit monitoring product is also by Equifax itself, so there’s that. But despite all this, I don’t think it could hurt, so I would advise signing up in addition to the other steps you mentioned.

    • Did you sign up for the TrustedID Premier service through Equifax? It also offers a service that will monitor if your SSN is posted on suspicious sites, whatever that means.

      But yes, watching your accounts/credit reports and reporting anything suspicious is your best course of action right now.

    • There were commenters on the radio this morning saying basically…all this stuff is already out there and there’s not much to do except change passwords everywhere (esp your phone apps), make sure you’re using two-step authentication, and check your statements more than usual. They sounded dejected, like “yeah, sorry, we got nothing. This is the new normal.” which is terrible.

    • Don’t sign up for the credit monitoring service they offer unless you are okay with waiving your right to sue.

      • While true, I think a lot of people have been saying this as if the obvious answer is don’t sign up. But I really think the credit monitoring service is likely more valuable than the small payout you’d get (if anything) if you were part of a class action against Equifax.

      • I keep hearing this, but didn’t see a class-action waiver statement on the site. Am I missing something?

    • Why would I want credit monitoring from a company that has proven it can’t manage data to begin with??

      • They have your data already. The only additional item you’d be giving them is an email address.

  9. Anonymous :

    Out of the blue two days ago I started experiencing pain in my lower belly. It’s like I had been punched in the stomach. Not cramping, but soreness. It’s worse when walking or bending over. No nausea, no other stomach issues, but I do think I’m bloated. Pretty sure it’s not appendicitis…is this what gas pain feels like??

    I’ve done lots of googling which has me convinced I have cancer, haha.

    • Anonymous :

      any chance you are pregnant?

    • could be an ovarian cyst? I would go to the dr.

    • Green Hat :

      I’d schedule an OB/GYN appt ASAP. Sounds like the pain is in your uterus/ovaries.

    • Why are you sure it’s not appendicitis? Mine started as pain in my stomach, although I guess more mid-stomach. It wasn’t even all that bad, but I called my mom (a nurse) and she recommended I go to the ER since it was such an off feeling for me. My appendix ruptured just before surgery a few hours later. Call your doc.

      • Yeah it sounds like appendicitis to me.

      • Linda from HR :

        I have some hypochondriac tendencies, so I usually tell myself it’s only appendicitis if I have a fever and/or the pain is accompanied by vomiting and/or the runs.

        There’s also this test a doctor showed me. Go up on your toes, then let yourself “fall” down onto your heels. If that makes the pain significantly worse, go to the ER. If it doesn’t really impact the pain, don’t worry.

        • Min Donner :

          I also have hypochondriac tendencies, but I had to have an emergency appendectomy a few years ago, and I can tell you I didn’t have a fever, wasn’t vomiting, didn’t have the runs, and actually drove myself to urgent care and then to the ER, which shocked all the doctors. My symptoms were some stomach pains/gas (I thought it was some bad crab cakes or something from a reception the night before), and it felt unusually tender when I pressed on the lower right abdomen, and I may have been a bit constipated. I think the tenderness/pain if you press on the lower right abdomen is a key indicator.

    • Thanks all, you gave me the kick in the pants to call my dr.

    • Mittelschmirzt? (sp? apologies German language)

      • I’ve never heard of that or experienced it before but it does seem like a good candidate! Now I should stop self-diagnosing before I see my dr…

    • It could definitely be a hidden hernia – hernias present differently in women, are hard to diagnose, and they are not on most doctors’ radars. Links to follow.

      • http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/17/health/17brody.html?mcubz=1

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/i-had-terrible-groin-pain-if-id-been-a-man-they-wouldve-figured-it-out-sooner/2017/03/31/e3018864-ea51-11e6-80c2-30e57e57e05d_story.html

        https://www.etsu.edu/com/medicalmystery/archive/spigelian.php

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I had this!!! I went to the doctor and she was like ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and then it went away. I suspect it was (another) ovarian cyst but I think it was worth going just so it’s in my chart in case it becomes a recurring thing.

    • I hope you can get in to see your doc. He/she should send you for a pelvic ultrasound. It sounds to me like an ovarian cyst, and while there’s not much they can do about those most of the time, they can rupture or torsion (both are pretty painful) and it’s good to know if you have one, because then if you do end up in the ER they won’t have to spend as much time figuring out what’s happening. How do I know this, you might ask? In my early 20s I had several bouts with big ol’ ovarian cyst and ended up in the ER a few times. Glad those days are over.

      I agree it could also be appendicitis – that doesn’t always present like people anticipate.

    • Mary Ann Singleton :

      Any UTI symptoms? My main UTI symptom is lower abdomen pain.

    • I had pain on and off like that for 3 months before I got around to seeing the doctor. Turned out it was appendicitis.

  10. Another YNAB Question :

    I have searched YNAB reddit threads and the videos and haven’t been able to find the answer: How do you get to the point where you are paying this month’s bill’s with last month’s money, i.e. be a month ahead? I am always behind, I think because I charge almost all of my expenses besides utilities and rent to my credit cards, and then pay them off in full. When I budget for the month, I am always in the red, but not by more than I know that I will get paid during that month. At the end of the month, I have about $1000-$1500 for the next month, but my expenses are more like $5000. I could save less (about $700/mo) until I am a month ahead, but I … don’t want to. I am trying to get my emergency fund funded (about half way). Would it help if I moved more expenses to my debit card?

    • Why are your expenses $5,000 per month?

      Many people spend that much money, but they can afford to. If you’re constantly a month behind and have $60,000 a year in bills, you’re living above your means.

      • Another YNAB Question :

        I misspoke – my expenses aren’t $5000 month, my budget is. I’m not sure from your comment if you also use YNAB, but my budget also includes allocating small amounts to infrequent expenses (i.e., buying contacts 2X per year, insurance payments 2X per you) but not spending them in that month (i.e., mini-savings piles), as well saving long- and short-term saving. This system is working well for me so far and I feel like I do have the cash on hand to pay for those expenses when the come up.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Not the original poster, but I think you misunderstood. She’s not overspending, she’s on a different budget timeline. And let’s not cast judgement on a single number that she states is within her budget when you don’t know what’s going on. And honestly, in a HCOL area, you could easily spend $2k on housing, $1k on childcare, $1k on post-tax savings, and $1k on student loans a month.

        To the OP, the answer is you cut back a little on some things and snowball it. You spend less than your budget every month until that “less” adds up to a full month’s income. It’s pretty difficult, but doable.

    • It sounds like you’re “riding the float” on your credit card? YNAB’s premise is you budget only the dollars you have. So if you are budgeting the month on your CC knowing you won’t have the money to pay it off until the end of the month, you’re floating yourself that money.

      The building a “buffer” for the month ahead is exactly what YNAB would advise you to do. (whether or not you want to do that is completely your call)

      I guess if you wanted a work-around, you could budget yourself “inflow” off your credit card at the beginning of the month? Maybe? Not really what it’s designed to do so not sure how this would work.

      • So this is totally what I struggle with in trying to use YNAB – because it’s not that I won’t have the money to pay of my cc until the end of the month, it’s that I just *don’t* pay off my credit card until the end of the month. It feels kind of like the numbers in YNAB are only accurate if you pay off your credit card every day or something like that. IDK, I think it’s pretty common to use a credit card to pay all your monthly expenses and then pay it off at month end, and yet somehow that doesn’t seem to work with YNAB.

        • Another YNAB Question :

          This. It’s not even that I pay them off at the end of the month – I pay them when they are due, and there is plenty of money for making those payments because the payments are “saved up” in my credit card budget items. In the past, I have had to move money around to make payments work, so knowing that I can pay my CC bills w/o checking my checking account is a huge improvement over how I started out using YNAB. The system is really working for me and the last piece is the buffer.

        • cbackson, did you see my response on the thread yesterday? Not trying to be passive aggressive if you did, but I answered exactly that question (just a bit late so understandable if no one was checking). You don’t have to pay your credit cards every day! You pay them once a month, and once a month you make a transfer in YNAB between your checking account and your credit card account.

          Here’s the post from yesterday:
          I have conquered credits cards in nYNAB so I think I can help you! I also do all of my spending on a card for points. First thing I learned, you should never put anything in the budget line under “credit card payments” unless you’re coming in with a balance or need to enter a reconciliation balance.

          Instead, let’s say you want to make all of your purchases with your Chase Visa, which you have set up as a credit card in nYNAB. You go to buy $50 in groceries. Create a transaction for $50 in your grocery category, and then make sure that under Account, you have Chase Visa selected. (I don’t F with Payee for outgoing transactions and nYNAB support said that was fine.) That will take $50 out of your Grocery category, and you will see $50 populate into the green “available” category for the Chase Visa line on your budget. The goal should always be for the number that’s available in the budget line for your card, to match the card balance listed in your account on the left-hand bar.

          That’s all you do until it’s time to pay off the card. When you want to pay the card, you create a balance transfer between your checking account and your credit card for the amount that you’re paying (which should be the full balance because we’re all aiming to be responsible adults who pay our bills).

          • Ahhhhh I totally didn’t see it – THANK YOU! This is much easier to understand than their online stuff!

          • Another YNAB Question :

            This is what I do, and it mostly works well. BUT every once in a while, after I make a payment, the CC budget line turns red, and I cannot figure out why. Any ideas? This time it is the amount of a cleared transactions that was entered/occurred after the statement closing date but before I paid my statement balance.

          • Another YNAB Question :

            Hmm, this magically resolved itself when I imported and cleared some transactions…must have to do with that.

            Also, thanks to all of you for your help – this community is awesome and less intimidating than reddit. :)

    • You get to that point by living below your means for a while and building up a buffet in your checking account that eventually exceeds your monthly needs. What might help would be if you logged credit card spends as if they were coming out of your checking account right then.

      • A buffer! I wish I had a buffet in my checking account….

        • same!

          • Another YNAB Question :

            If there was a buffet in my checking account I would go out to eat a lot less ;)

            Yes, I think patience is the key. And perhaps spend more on my debit card and less on credit cards.

      • Baconpancakes :

        I don’t use YNAB, but this is what I do in Mint. (I think I use a lot of the same techniques as YNAB, just on my own.) My credit card transactions get pulled into Mint the same as checking transactions. As long as I have the amount of monthly cc spending in my checking account, it’s spending the same money I have, just with a 2% cash back bonus.

        • Yeah, I use Goodbudget rather than YNAB. Have just passed the five year milestone of tracking all my spending, first on paper and then with an app.

        • Yes. This. I use YNAB, and I have my credit card synced, as well as my debit card. I just do a transfer between accounts once a month to cover my credit card bill (paid in full, every month).

          to the OP: I agree with everyone else — it sounds like you’re riding the float. When we were starting out with YNAB, we basically applied all our “savings” ahead a month and didn’t bank them, while also cutting out/way down discretionary spending. This allowed us to catch up, (quickly, too, because we were never overspending for our goals).

          Now that we’re comfortably living off “last month’s money” (and have been for a few years), we just transfer any extra cash from our categories that aren’t save to spend (house repairs, car repairs, etc) to one of our savings goals, rather than roll them over/allocate them generally to the “to be budgeted” for the next month. I’ve found that doing this creates more of an incentive to “beat” my budget in my categories that can get large (looking at you, groceries and dining out!). I know that if I don’t spend it, I get to put even more in my savings goal, and we’re getting close to a milestone.

    • I know that YNAB encourages paying this month’s bills with last month’s money, but it’s not 1) feasible for all people to do that and have savings and 2) doesn’t make sense if you pay off your credit card every month; especially if you’re trying to save up an emergency fund which would help you get to the point of having next month’s money if something happens. Someone recommended yesterday not classifying the credit card as a credit card, but rather logging the expenses straight and not putting in the credit card payment. Maybe if any credit is carried over to the next month, you can manually enter it as a debt, to keep track.

      YNAB doesn’t seem to know what to do with credit cards (at least not in a simple way).

      • We couldn’t make YNAB work for us for this reason. Last year we were trying to accumulate the last 12,000 airline miles we’d need to get upgraded on our family trip to Hawaii, so for three months we put every bit of spending on a credit card and paid it off twice a month, when we got paid. We had started using YNAB about six months prior to this, and the system freaked out when we had no spending out of our bank accounts, but huge CC payments. I think that YNAB has some kind of “never ever use credit cards” mentality programmed into it. Which may work for some people but did not work for us. I went back to using Mint.

        • I just have my credit card set up like a bank account in my YNAB and do a transfer between accounts when I pay it. I don’t use my debit card for anything else. The only things that don’t go on my credit card are 1) mortgage 2) student loans 3) life insurance (this one only b/c they wouldn’t do it). Everything else goes on the card, and I just treat it like a checking account. It’s got a negative balance most of the time, but YNAB doesn’t get mad at me.

    • If I’m understanding your issue correctly, you technically already have a buffer (your emergency fund), but it’s just not shown that way in your budget, since all those funds are budgeted for your e-fund. I had a similar issue, where I wasn’t reliant on this month’s paychecks to pay this month’s expenses, but because of the way I fund my accounts, it looked like it in YNAB.

      What I did is pulled that $5k out of my emergency fund (both in my real accounts and in YNAB) and budgeted it for this month’s expenses. I then used the paychecks I received this month to budget for next month’s expenses. With this system, it feels like you have less in savings, but you’ve already got whatever is in your emergency fund, plus one full month of savings (what’s budgeted for next month).

      Alternatively, you could stop funding your emergency fund and use the money you’d put towards that towards next month’s budget until you’re fully buffered. Either way, it’ll seem like your emergency fund is lower than it is because you’re keeping an additional month of funds in your checking account to cover next month. Hope that makes sense!

      • Another YNAB Question :

        It does, thank you! It did not occur to me that being fully buffered is equivalent to a one-month emergency fund, but you’re right, it is! That is a really helpful way of thinking of it and may help me buffer a little better – thank you!

    • I added a comment that’s stuck in mod. I’ve been using YNAB for about five years (three for classic, two for nYNAB) and there’s absolutely a steep learning curve for some of these things. Feel free to email me at ginjuryr3tte at google mail (replace the 3 with an e) if you want more help.

    • I’m the poster from yesterday and find this convo really helpful! Definitely the credit card issue is one of the most frustrating things for me to tackle in here, as I also use my card for the points and pay in full each month. I liked yesterday’s suggestion (mentioned again above) about entering not-as-a-credit-card.

      • I’d really encourage you to follow emeralds’ advice about using credit cards in YNAB instead. She had a really good explanation of how to use them. I’ve found that YNAB is a lot easier to use when you use it correctly and everything in your budget matches up against your actual accounts. Listing a CC as a checking account will just cause issues with your actual checking account since the balances will be off.

        As emeralds suggested, you shouldn’t fund anything in your budget under credit card payments unless you’re coming in with a balance. If you start with a balance (which I think most people who use their credit card for all expenses do), you just fund it so the available amount matches the balance due on the card. If your other categories are adequately funded, you can pretty much ignore your cc budget items since there should always be enough to pay them off based off of your budgeting of other categories.

      • Do not do what I did in old YNAB with nYNAB!! It’s totally unnecessary. Please, just figure out how to use the credit card feature in nYNAB. They fixed it. I promise you that they fixed it! If you can’t figure out email me. For real. I will be your personal nYNAB guru. anona re t t e at the gmail

        • I was referring to your post yesterday that you also pasted in response to cbackson above. I’ve switched over to calling nYNAB just YNAB since it doesn’t feel so new anymore. I think we’re in agreement about how to use it though!

          • I was responding to YNAB help’s post about not entering credit card transactions as credit card transactions :) Totally on board with your post.

          • And I think it also gets confusing because there are people who are like “I tried YNAB two years ago and it sucked!” but the credit card interface is so transformed, I feel like I need to call out the fact that New YNAB is totally different for cards.

    • I did this at one point. I basically wanted to pay my bills when I got them rather than when they were due, which was something like a 20-30 day period. I just started doing it one bill at at time, starting with the one with the shortest grace period. I had to do a shopping ban for a month to do this with my credit card.

      I think you may need a few months where you don’t put everything on your credit card but instead pay individual bills in order to make this happen, and the only way it can happen is to spend less for a month.

  11. scone shades? :

    We bought a new house and repainted to cooler shades. The shades on both the chandelier in the dining room and the wall sconces look too warm against the new colors. I have no idea where to buy these – especially since I prefer looking at stuff in person. I poked around online and didn’t have much luck. Any ideas?

    • sconce shades? :

      ahem, SCONCE shades.

    • yum, warm scones! I would check out West Elm and Crate and Barrel. What price range are you looking for?

    • A seemingly-utilitarian lighting supply shop could be the best answer.

      • sconce shades? :

        Yes, I was thinking the same. The lighting store I have shopped at in the past has apparently recently closed but I guess I can actually drive out to the suburbs…

        As for price range, I’m really not even sure what to expect! I guess I don’t want to spend a ton of money, but I also don’t want them to look like garbage.

    • Ballard Designs, search “chandelier shade”. Hey have a pretty good variety of shades.

      • sconce shades? :

        Ahhhh, I think using the phrase “chandelier shade” will help. I couldn’t think of what they were called other than “sconce shade” and that’s clearly not a technical term.

    • nylon girl :

      Check out Ballard Design online. They have a good selection.

    • In addition to the recommendations here, also considered that if it looks too warm when the bulb is on but fine otherwise, you can buy cooler-white bulbs that are less of a yellow glow to fix that.

    • Shades of Light

    • Mmmmmm scones

    • Home Depot has the Home Decorators line (I don’t think it’s its own site anymore? idk) but check there.

  12. Legally Brunette :

    Just a shout out to thank whomever recommended Fitness Blender videos. After trying a whole bunch of various ways of working out I’ve decided that working at home works the best for me, and these videos are excellent (and free!). What a great resource. Thank you.

  13. San Diego Recs? :

    Looking for some San Diego recommendations! I will be there in early November, traveling alone but staying with friends who recently moved out there. I haven’t had a vacation without my now 2.5 year old (who was born in the middle of law school, and I’ve been out for a year+ so just know that I am REALLY looking forward to some stress-free traveling and relaxing) and my husband doesn’t like to travel.

    I only have five days, and plan to mostly walk around, eat fish tacos and drink cold beers. I don’t want to really “do” too much, but I do want to spend one day at Balboa Park. What would be the best places to hit at Balboa if you only have one day? I’m a big history and literature nerd who also loves natural beauty, if that helps. I will almost certainly be taking the toddler out there later next year, so the non-kid friendly highlights for this time around.

    Will be staying in Pacific Beach a 10 minute walk from the beach, and aside from the day at Balboa, will probably stick around there/La Jolla.

    • El Agave – Mexican restaurant with massive tequila menu
      Hotel Del Coranado – beach, shops, restaurants
      Padre’s game

    • The Natural History Museum at Balboa Park is really neat and some of the exhibits are hard to focus on with young children, so I would go there. I also like to stroll through Spanish village which has the artists shops. The Japanese Friendship Garden is nice too.

      My favorite place for breakfast is Kono’s on Pacific Beach. The line can get long, but the food comes out fast once you order.

    • Hike at Torrey Pines. Gorgeous. A bit dangerous for a little one – steep cliff – but so worth a visit.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      Well beer and fish tacos are the most important part!

      Definitely hike Torrey Pines — the hike to the beach (down the cliff) is the best best best.

      Balboa Park is lovely just to walk around. Read up about the Panama California Exhibition before you go.

      Ah you’re going to have such fun!

      • San Diego Recs? :

        The absolute most important part!

        Thanks all for the recommendations! I am clearly VERY excited about this trip! Hopefully all of the beautiful hikes will counteract at least some of the beer + tacos.

    • Search Sunset Magazine San Deigo Guide. T hey have a guide from 2010 that’s a long pdf that’s still great, and a more up to date website with articles, incl. SD with kids!

    • Senior Attorney :

      If you like to ride bikes, there is a great bike path all the way around Coronado Island.

    • Anonymous :

      I had the most legit breakfast at Las Cuatro Milpas. It involves waiting in line, but it is truly authentic Mexican food. I still dream about that place.

      I also frequently go up to Pizza Port in Ocean Beach to hang out for some drinks. From there you can walk to Hodads for a burger and shake and then sleep off your food coma on a beach like a true beach bum. (There’s a dog beach there too if that’s your thing – it is very much mine.)

  14. Is anyone a soccer fan/can explain the different types of jerseys? My husband hinted he’d like a USMNT jersey but I’m confused why there are three versions of the same jersey at different price points. Is a third stadium jersey poorer quality? Or just not as official?

    I’m tempted to get him the cheapest one, as he’ll only be wearing it during games. But I can’t tell by Googling if I’m missing something here. TIA!

    • soccer anon :

      The most simple answer I have is that they occasionally put out new jerseys for special events, but otherwise stick to a 2 year schedule for the jerseys. So the white with blue shoulders/sleeves is the standard 2016/17 home jersey (probably the best option to buy tbh) and the black with red and white sleeves is the away jersey (my personal fave). Then for the gold cup they wore red and navy stripes (a new take on the “waldo” jersey that was from a few years ago that a lot of people love) and there’s also a full red kit (I don’t think I’ve actually ever seen them wear those). They’ll probably have new jerseys in early 2018/world cup time but I wouldn’t bother waiting and people wear old jerseys all the time.

    • I think that they are different fabrics- they are all wicking/technical material, but the more expensive ones are fancier fabrics. This may matter for comfort and performance reasons when you are actually playing, but probably doesn’t affect you as much sitting in the stands or on the couch.

      • Thanks for confirming – I anticipate he’ll only be wearing it for purely lounging on the couch reasons :)

    • Is there one that is less drapey than the othes? Husband wants something similar and he is larger than he used to be and something less drapy would be better. Otherwise, they emphasize his curves. He is very self-conscious and has a closet full of clothes he won’t wear.

      • Anonymous :

        Honestly, I’d size up. Soccer jerseys tend to run small to begin with. The non-authentic ones tend to be less fitted ime.

    • I worked for Footlocker order processing years ago, and another possibility (that was true of football jerseys anyway) is that there could be a quality element (e.g., whether numbers/logos are screen printed on or sewn-on patches; the latter was more expensive because elements were less likely to crack and show wear).

    • Anonymous :

      National teams (as well as club teams) will put out three different jerseys: one “home” kit, one “away” kit, and one “third” kit, which is generally only used if they’re playing a team whose colors match both the home and away kits of their own. Generally, you’ll see these refreshed for each season (or annually for a national team) but multinational tournaments like the World Cup or the Copa America may push a federation to create another set of jerseys (literally just because it encourages people to buy more.)

      If you’re not sure on which jersey to buy, you can always get him a USMNT scarf instead. These don’t get retired after each season and are just as important in terms of fan apparel in the world of soccer.

  15. Hello all,

    Thank you to everyone who provided me with helpful (and much needed) advice yesterday when I wrote about supporting a partner through unemployment. It made me realise that I absolutely had to have the tough conversation with him to avoid letting any resentment build. He was pretty much horrified at the idea that I had been prioritising his needs over my own, and we had a really good discussion about needs going forward. At the end of the day, the conversation wasn’t so tough to have after all.

    As one commenter pointed out, I think that depression may have played a role in this – he’s normally a very perceptive person, but it seemed like he had blinkers on for the past while. I’m certain that being back at work will help this, but it’s already heartening that we are having positive, constructive discussions about it. Makes me wish I’d sat down with him and talked about this sooner!

    • Nelly Yuki :

      Love these happy updates! Congrats on pushing through!

    • Legally Brunette :

      So glad that you had this talk!

    • Good for you! Keep us updated!

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I’m so glad that you had this talk!

      One thing that I learned in therapy was that I sometimes make demands of myself, pretending it’s the other person making the demand. “I can’t ___ because my husband will get mad.” But then if I ask him, “hey, will you be mad if I ____?” he is like “What?!!? No! You should do things like that!!!”

      It helps me to reframe my thinking in terms of generosity — it’s more generous/kind to believe that my husband is the good guy I married (and not the scummy guy I dated before him). It’s better to give my husband respect/trust (that he wants the best for me!) than to make masochistic sacrifices that would probably ultimately make him sad if he knew how they made me feel. (Hope this isn’t overstepping — just wanted to share what worked for me!)

      • Nelly Yuki :

        I do the same thing. I also remind myself it’s SO’s responsibility (as an adult, basically) to tell me if I’m doing something annoying/enraging, etc. It is NOT my responsibility to anxiously anticipate how he might feel. (Caveat: with our known issues, I counter balance, i.e., I know we’re doing a lot of family stuff in X month so I think we should plan to go to away for the weekend the month before to make sure we have some time for ourselves.)

      • TO Junior :

        Rainbow Hair, that’s actually really helpful to remember! I think good communication is key – I’m trying to focus on just asking him how he’d feel rather than jump ahead to a conclusion of my own.

      • Tech Comm Geek :

        Very late to the party but this a great re-framing. I need to start learning this.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Hooray! Go, you!

    • Awesome — really happy it worked out so well!

  16. Lazy lawyer :

    Questions for the NOVA ladies re: DC traffic. I need to drive into DC one morning next week from my home in central VA, arriving in DC by 10 a.m. I can go either I-66 or I-95. Is one generally better than the other, or does it totally depend on the day? Also, is there a time by which morning rush “hour” clears out, or is it just solid traffic from 6:30-10 a.m.? For some reason this is really stressing me out (probably bc I also have to coordinate pumping, which I’m not looking forward to). Thanks so much!

    • 95 is better. More lanes. Not HOV. Whereas 66 is 2 lanes and thus if you run into one accident, you’re stuck. No rush hour isn’t constant. It lightens up a LOT starting around 9 am — I have no idea how far south you’re coming from though. And traffic isn’t a constant in that there are days where you’ll wonder why there is so much more traffic and days where it’ll be so empty that you’ll wonder if something awful is going on and no one is going into the city that day. So it’s hit or miss.

    • 66 from the beltway in to the city is HOV-2 ONLY during rush hour as well, so if it’s just you, you wouldn’t even be able to drive your car in on 66.

      It is hit or miss, but on an “average” day traffic gets increasingly worse through the morning, but I find gets extra-bad after about 7-7:30 until 10-ish as traffic has a trickle-down effect. But like 2 weeks ago there was a deadly crash that shut down the HOV lanes on 395 and everybody was effed, and there is no predicting things like that. Also rain.

      No chance you could drive in and stay the night prior?

      • Lazy lawyer :

        Thank you both — these are helpful replies. In the past I’ve driven in the night before to avoid this exact problem, but that’s not an option this time. I checked Amtrak but that won’t work either. So I’ll just plan to sit on 95 and hope I get lucky!

        • Depending on where you are coming from, you could also consider driving to a VRE station and taking that in. Those trains have set schedules, so you could plan much better and avoid most traffic in nova.

    • Does the GPS map on your phone do real time predictions? Mine shows me the path they think is the fastest, with other options grayed out and tagged +5 min etc. The roads are also color-coded in both directions, red for congested, yellow for so so, and greeb for free flow. So you’ll get an idea which one is better. Of course, there’s no telling something else will crop up along the way.

    • anon a mouse :

      Check google before you leave. Generally I think 95 will be better, but there’s always a risk of an accident. It seems like things generally ease up around 10 — “rush hour” ends around 9-9:15ish but there’s always backups because street parking opens at 9, so you there’s a bottleneck effect until the tail end of volume clears out. It also depends where in DC you are going.

    • Download Waze, plan your drive the night before (when you enter the destination you can hit go now or go later.) Waze will tell you what time it thinks you should leave.

      Then be ready to go 15-20 minutes before that, because the morning of, Waze will update the time you have to leave based on current traffic conditions.

      Waze may also delay your arrival time during your drive due to new traffic conditions, or suggest an alternative route. For that reason, I suggest you also make the planned arrival time 15-20 minutes earlier than you really need to be there.

      • I should add that I’m not in DC, I’m in SF which has terrible traffic during rush hour. I regularly have to get to SFO driving through commute traffic, over the Bay Bridge.

        What I actually do is the Waze tip above, but also plan to spend up to a full hour at the airport, after allowing for security etc, before my boarding time. It’s extreme, but I missed a flight once and almost missed a flight another time, so my preference is now to be super early and enjoy a light meal at an airport restaurant before my flight.

        So in my specific case, I set the intended arrival time way early. For an 11:00 AM flight, boarding at 10:30, I’d plan to be at the airport parking lot by 9:00, half an hour to ride the parking shuttle and go through security (I have TSA pre) and wander around or have a meal from 9:30 to 10:30. If traffic goes really badly or security sucks, I have a nice buffer built in.

        I’d do the same for your DC meeting, especially since you don’t do this all the time. Find a place to have a coffee and read the news if you’re super early.

    • Do you have an EZ Pass? If so, you can take the 95 Hot Lanes.

      Whichever route you take, give yourself plenty of time. You may want to give yourself an hour plus buffer and anticipate camping out in a Starbucks.

    • Lazy lawyer :

      Thanks all. I do have EZ Pass and will download Waze! Really appreciate the tips — feeling a bit better about this trip.

  17. New Practice Area :

    Has anyone in law considered changing their practice to a completely unrelated area, say from M&A to immigration? Like many I know, I came to law school with one idea of what I’d be doing upon graduation and ended up doing something completely different (I took the path of least resistance – biglaw). After a decade of pushing paper for corporate America, I’m considering going back to my original area of interest. I’d like to make the move in a year or so and am trying to make myself more marketable by taking CLEs, attending relevant bar events, networking and generally just getting more exposure and experience. Is this a totally insane idea? Has anyone done this before?

    • I’ve seen a couple of people do this:

      tax to securitization
      bankruptcy to tax
      banking to securitization to inhouse generalist (that evolved to litigation)

      I haven’t seen biglaw to small firm family law but I have seen biglaw to legal aid and biglaw to government

      I used to want to be Raoul Felder. I think I’d be good at what he does but I can leave him to it.

    • It is possible, but if you are able to take a case and learn/ gain experience that’s best. If you have a pro bono department and want to move to immigration — take a pro bono immigration case. Then, meet the practitioners who do immigration and make connections. Moving to a new area of law will mean having a network of practitioners for trickier situations. Doing pro bono work is a good way to get “street cred” and gain contacts in that area. I am much more likely to talk to someone who has done pro bono work in my niche area and became interested, than someone who just thought it would be fun and switched willy nilly. Especially someone in biglaw.

    • Big law to state prosecutor’s office. I did relevant pro bono experience while at my law firm and talked it up a lot in my interview.

    • I went business litigation to estate planning/trust admin./tax. Did it by getting an LL.M. in tax at the local law school downtown in evening classes. I know a few people who took the same path out of litigation. It helped that I had some fiduciary litigation experience.

  18. So has anyone followed this Equifax thing closely? My question – is there any way to know whose data was affected — i.e. is it people who have ever had any dealings with Equifax or would it be anyone who has a credit report with Equifax (which would literally be the entire population since you don’t choose to have a credit report, you just have one). I suspect it’s the latter.

    • You’re supposed to be able to enter your name and the last 6 numbers of your social and they tell you if you are affected. But I did that and it gave no information on whether my information was released and just gave me an enrollment date for the identity protection. So yeah. I’m not happy about any of it.

      Did anyone else get an actual answer about whether their information was released?

      • I put in my current (married) last name and 6 digits and it said no info disclosed.

        Then i put in my maiden name and 6 digits and it said maybe.

        So take that for what it is worth.

      • Anonattorney :

        I put my info in and it told me “we believe that your personal information may have been impacted by this incident.” Then it told me to enroll.

    • Am I the only one who doesn’t worry about this stuff that much? It has happened so many times from so many major sources (the federal gov’t; major health insurers; now a credit reporting agency) that you just have to assume your stuff is out there, no? Sign up for some credit monitoring (not thru the company that breached), change passwords esp for financial records, and just keep an eye on things generally.

      • Nope. Right there with you – fact of modern life.

      • My husband and I both work for defense contractors and have security clearance. Our info was in the OPM data breach, which included not just personal and financial information, but our fingerprints. After that, basically we decided everything about us is already out there, so I’m not going to worry anymore. We’ve been on credit monitoring for years and so far have not had bad luck (*knocks wood*) but between the automatic monitoring and the monitoring we do ourselves, I feel confident we could catch something quickly.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I just posted the exact same thing on another blog. I’m part of the gov’t background breach via my spouse, my health insurance had a breach, a local health center had a breach and the list goes on. I just keep on top of my stuff to catch something quickly.

    • I’ve had both credit card fraud and actual identity theft (where someone impersonated me, cleaned out my bank account, and then was caught and went to jail)

      It’s not fun to deal with but I got all of my money back and moved on with my life. In the case of the actual identity theft, it was someone who worked for a bank feeding a co-conspirator names and account numbers. It could have happened in 1950 – there was really nothing high tech about it.

      I keep an eye on this stuff but I feel like some of it is just part of modern life. I’m happy that there are structures in place now to detect fraud early, and most credit card companies and banks bend over backward to get you your money back ASAP.

  19. casual house hunting turns to heartbreak :

    Hey, any tips on getting over a heartbreak over being out-bid for our dream home? It is a competitive market, and we knew that, but its our first house so we didn’t want to go crazy with an escalation clause since we are also comfortable where we are living and are in no hurry to move – were just casually looking, came across something awesome, and went for it. Someone else beat us by only 7k, which is a real bummer. I am now full of regret but have no interest in anything else that is currently on the market. I know I need to be patient, and I can’t help but hope that something will go awry with the current contract and the house will become available again, but the type A in me wants to resolve this right away!

    • CatLadyInTraining :

      Same thing happened to us, we ended up with a much better house in a neighborhood we really like. Those were not a pleasant few months, though. Set your Zillow alerts! We got our house because we were the first people to view it.

    • I lost out on the perfect lakehouse (bid the offered price and the owners countered –WTH). Then they sold it for lower than our bid to someone else after pulling it off the market.

      It’s on airbnb now and I want to stay there just to find something I’d wind up hating, but I might be too bitter right now.

      Too bad we can’t curse the darkness in a bar right now. Misery loves company, no?

      • I wasn’t also in that situation, not with a lake house, but the house we’d be living in full time. Feel madly, deeply in love, bid full asking price despite some serious fixer upper issues, and the seller countered with a price well above asking. I was so frustrated – why list a price you aren’t willing to sell for?

        But the house we ended up in is better in a lot of ways, so I only do the wistful drive by of the other house a couple of times a year now :)

        I console myself that the sellers would have been a nightmare to deal with.

        • “I was so frustrated – why list a price you aren’t willing to sell for?”

          For lots of reasons. To drive foot traffic at open houses, creating a sense of urgency among bidders, causing them to bid higher and higher, creating a bidding war to the benefit of seller/broker. Also so brokers can say to prospective clients, “I sold this other house for $XX,XXX above asking. hire me!”

          No homes go for asking price in my particularity market. A complete tear down in my neighborhood just went for $5ok above asking.

          • I get that they go for above asking in a competitive bid situation but I think there’s something sleazy about listing a price you would not accept in a one-bid situation (which was my situation with the fixer upper)

    • We were devastated when we didn’t get our first house which was, naturally, the greatest house there ever was. 10 offers/homes later, we won the one we’re currently in and I couldn’t picture us being any where else (even though there were 9 other ‘dream homes’ before winning #10).

      All this to say, it’s a hard process, and even more hard to not be emotional about it….. but, don’t be emotional about it because it will be so much harder on you. There is more than one ‘perfect’ house out there for you, so don’t lose hope.

    • It’s happened to me, and I ended up with a place I liked sooooo much more. I think of them as shiny ex-boyfriends. They looked great at first, and ended up frogs.

    • I lost the bid to someone who went 8k lower, all because he was paying cash. And of course he was an investor who was renting it out rather than me who was actually going to live in it. I sometimes think about it but in the end there were things that weren’t perfect about it and I was somewhat settling because it was a “starter” townhouse. Now I can afford a single family unit with a garage and a driveway.

      My cousin who lives in California has lost out to all cash bidders on million dollar homes for years. Then just last year she finally got one just because the elderly homeowner prefers that it was going to a family raising young children.

      These things can be random. You just have to repeat to yourself that it wasn’t meant to be.

    • When I bought my first home, it took the fourth offer/home to finally get my home and as others have said, I love it! There isn’t a one-and-only home, I promise. And the one I ended up in was way better than the others.

      But I can also commiserate currently as my husband and I have been looking on and off for a year now and were pretty bummed about the most recent one two months ago. There is definitely that feeling immediately after of ‘there’s nothing good on the market’ as our market has been a little slow. But we remember, that there isn’t just one house for us and that there were good reasons to not have the other ones. By the way, one was way overpriced and ended up selling to a neighbor. We frankly felt that we would feel a little uncomfortable with how much we had paid if we kept up with the bidding way. Another one we had a ridiculous counter-war with the sellers and ended up walking away because they were hardly moving in their counters and we felt it just wasn’t worth that. We were right and a month after we walked away, they reached out again to us desperately, we weren’t interested, and they finally sold it $40k under our last offer so clearly that was a bullet dodged. The most recent one was another endless counter-negotiation with the sellers moving an inch for our every mile. They leveraged our offer into a counter offer for $5k more, but then trying to beat that would have resulted in a further escalating bidding war and we just felt uncomfortable at that price. By the way, that was a new construction meant to finish 2 months ago and still isn’t finished/closed. What can ya do! Just know that you will end up in the right place for the right reasons. And unless you are downsizing, be glad to have those extra months not paying higher mortgage payments :)

    • MrsBlandings :

      Would a cautionary tale help? We won the bid for our (presumed) dream house. Then the inspection came. It needed $20k electrical work, the tub had been installed incorrectly, the roof was about to go and there was evidence of regular basement flooding. We moved on. Agree with the previous commenters who said it was probably a frog.

    • Fellow short straw :

      Happened to me. Prices have since almost doubled, while my budget has not. I cannot believe that IF I buy at this point I will be getting a 2 bedroom condo for the same price that I almost paid for a 4 bedroom home with a rentable MIL and garage. Will likely be forced out of my city and career. All because I didn’t bid $2500 more on a house in 2013.

    • We had a very similar experience in December but found an even better house in April! One tip: Use realtor.com instead of Zillow or others. Homes for sale post to realtor.com sometimes one whole day earlier!

  20. The recent Hawaii threads (plus pictures from my friends’ honeymoon in Hawaii) have me wondering – would it be completely unreasonable to go to Hawaii alone? I would be traveling from the East Coast, so it would be a long flight.

    • Totally not! Travelling alone is wonderful! (With the caveat that I always go to places where there will be lots of other solos and groups so that if I want to socialise I can)

      • I’d do some legwork re hotels/activities. While Hawaii is beautiful and there’s tons to enjoy with or without a travel buddy, it’s also a place that is a HUGE honeymoon destination — I know I’m fine with traveling alone but get weirded out in places where everyone is snuggled up with their honey everywhere I look.

    • No!

      I used to travel for work and would often tack on an extra day just to explore. I was always flying alone and 100% alone (even at work) but am outgoing and make the best of the experience.

      Hawaii is awesome! Beach and mountains!

    • No! Hawaii is awesome. I might stay in more of a condo/AirBNB place rather than a resort, since the resorts tend to be overrun with couples.

    • GO GO GO.

      Everyone needs to see Hawaii. It’s the only place I’ve ever been that really looks like he postcards.

      You’ll have a great time. Bring some books and read them on the beach with a mai tai. (This was also my suggestion in yesterday’s post)

    • I’ve gone alone, perfect place to do that. I love staying alone at a resort with a great pool. If you choose Maui, my favorite is the Ritz, the Four Seasons is nice too, but farther from town and very honeymoon.

    • Nope! I did the Big Island by myself and really enjoyed it.

  21. Baby shower perspectives :

    I am expecting my first baby in a few months and a sister and a friend have expressed that they’d like to throw a shower together for me. However, aside from my family and this close friend I haven’t been in close contact with most of my other friends in a few years. We have long histories together of grade school/college and share social media pleasantries regularly, but just haven’t kept up close relationships as adulthood and jobs took us our own ways. I don’t know if these friends would feel like an invitation was gift-grabby or if they’d be excited to get together for this great occasion. I typically am not an overthinker, but this is such a gray area to me and I could use some additional perspective. If it would be inappropriate to invite these friends, I would want to decline a shower altogether and just stick with a few family events.

    • Your shower can be as big or as small as you want it to be. You can invite pretty much anyone who came to your wedding, assuming it was recent, assuming you had a wedding. They might be friends of your mother or your mother in law. They might be friends you haven’t seen in a while.

      Your sister and friend should do the inviting, not you, and you should just give them an idea of the size of group you’d be comfortable with.

      I had a large shower and a small shower (non work friends vs work friends) and I personally preferred the small. The large shower was a super fun party but I ended up with way too much stuff.

      • Baby shower perspectives :

        I shouldn’t do the inviting, but I should be giving them a list of prospective guests right? We don’t share many mutual friends so they’d need some guidance.

        • Yes that’s correct. You give them a list with contact info but then you leave it in their hands. Let them do the following up, inviting B list members etc.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I don’t know the exact contours of your relationships, but if there was a friend I loved, but who sort of drifted out of my orbit for a bit because of life stuff, and I got invited to her baby shower, I would be really happy!

      • I was invited to a shower for a high school friend I hadn’t seen in years. I was thrilled to go – both because I was happy for her because it was fun to see some other old friends I hadn’t seen in a long time. Don’t overthink it. If it’s really a concern, maybe make an effort to register for some lower price items so your registry has lots of options that aren’t, say, a fancy stroller.

    • BabyAssociate :

      I’m sure it’s perfectly appropriate to invite these non-close friends. If I was the friend, I would certainly think it was gift grabby, but I’m sure others, like Rainbow Hair, would be happy for the chance to reconnect!

      • Chicaganon :

        This. Maybe some will see it as gift grabby, but they’ll likely decline the invite with no hard feelings. Others (myself included) would be happy for the chance to celebrate with you!

    • Anonymous :

      I just had a shower and my MIL invited people I had literally never met, and they seemed very happy to be there. It may be a regional thing but in the south (where I live now) and midwest (where I grew up) people tend to love to get together to celebrate a baby! I would invite anyone you’d like to see; if they don’t want to come, they will just RSVP no. And congratulations!

  22. Question about having a “buffer” (not a buffet, although I love a good buffet :-) in your checking account.

    So – we don’t do this. The balance on our checking accounts never drops below about $250 but we don’t leave thousands in our checking accounts. I move money, as it accumulates, into our money-market savings account that is our linked account for overdraft protection. Then, once every few months I take everything but about $3k of that money and move it into our mutual fund investment account or I buy Series I savings bonds with it. We also have a separate money-market emergency fund that is (by my calculations) fully funded; I haven’t added to it once we hit our 12-months-of-expenses number.

    I was taught that it doesn’t do you any good to leave lots of money in a non-interest-bearing accounts; you should have a small cushion in your checking account but large amounts of money need to be working for you earning interest. Am I missing something? We closely monitor our spending and haven’t had an overdraft in 15 years…is there a reason why I’d want to keep a few thousand dollars in my checking account at all times?

    • For me, it’s a convenience factor. I don’t like to monitor accounts and move money on a daily/weekly basis. We do a monthly check in to review savings / set goals for the next month.

      All of our money is deposited so that we never need to move it. So a % of our checks go into our high interest savings account (down payment savings), a % goes into our investment account, a % goes to our 401(k)s, and the balance goes to checking to cover monthly expenses. All of our expenses are paid by credit card except for our rent.

      As a result, we keep a few thousand in our checking account. It’s part emergency fund and part savings for one time expenses (e.g., vacation, christmas gifts, one-time home expenses).

      • where do you get a high interest savings account?

        • “High interest” is relative. I have the account with the highest interest that’s available right now (1.3%), so it’s still low in the grand scheme of things. As interest rates go up, the rate will increase. Since we’re saving for a down payment that we’ll need in the next 1-2 years, I’m not interested in keeping that money in the market.

          After we buy a house, that account will be limited to our emergency fund.

        • Check out any online bank (Ally, Goldman Sachs, etc)

        • Boston Legal Eagle :

          Not sure if you would consider this high, but Ally is offering 1.20% now. This is the highest I’ve found in this market.

    • Anon in NYC :

      So long as you have easily accessible money in the event of an emergency, I think you should do what works for you.

      • Agreed! If it’s worked for you for 15 years, I wouldn’t change what you’re doing now.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I keep several thousand in my checking account. I get a very tiny bit of interest on it but it’s worth foregoing the percent or so in order to not have to keep super close tabs on the balance. And with overdraft fees being what they are, one false move would wipe out a year’s worth of interest!

  23. Hurricaine :

    Any other Atlanta ladies want to swap surmising about the storm? We’re stocked with batteries and bottled water and candles, but I am having trouble figuring out how worried I should reasonably be. Obviously our issues pale in comparison to anyone trying to get out of or survive in Florida right now.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Not in Atlanta, but my family is a bit south of it. I wouldn’t worry too much but prepare for some power outages. It will probably only be tropical storm strength by the time it gets to Atlanta. Of course, having said that, my hometown once had no running water for 3 weeks when I was growing up thanks to a tropical storm that stalled and caused massive flooding and knocked out our water treatment plant, so anything’s possible, but that was unusual.

    • My husband is buying plastic sheeting and giant trash bags in case the neighbor’s sketchy trees fall on our house. I am grocery shopping as normal tomorrow but will probably buy some extras – I need to check our water jugs in the freezer, etc. And wine, definitely wine. So basically we are each doing some small things that make us feel better, but nothing major. If it gets bad we’ll make sure to check in with neighbors, particularly those who live alone, and with some older relatives.

    • I thinking it’s probably going to just be a lot of rain and some power outages when it hits Atlanta. I’m actually flying back into ATL Monday, so I’m hoping that’s all it is, at least. When I was growing up in Atlanta, we lost power ALL THE TIME due to thunderstorms, so I instinctively keep lots of batteries/flashlights/headlamps/candles around…

      I’m not focusing on bottled water; at least in the city itself I don’t see a big risk that we’ll have trouble with the water system. That’s not something we typically have trouble with during storms, even very bad ones. I can imagine that in the outer counties where there’s a possibility of flooding that could be an issue.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I’m not in the storm’s path but live in the northeast in an area prone to winter power outages. I like to plan a few fun things to do and make sure I have the stuff in an easy accessible spot before hand. Nothing like digging through a basement closet with a headlamp to find the dice that goes with the game. It take about 4 minutes with no power for us to think hmmm, what do we do now to stay busy? If you have any old laptops with DVD drives, charge them up. You can get a few episodes out of it. If there is high chance of losing power over at least one meal, plan a meal that you would actually like to eat rather than just “rations.” The rations are more for the oh crap, we are going to be out longer than we thought. It’s nice if you can have something to look forward to eating instead.

    • N FLA Anon :

      I wouldn’t even worry about the storm in ATL. It’s going to be a day or two of crappy weather, but no biggie. If you tend to have power outages during afternoon thunderstorms, you’ll probably have some power outages. If you’ve had a bunch of rain already, the ground may get soft enough from the extra rain that some big trees fall over. Infrastructure, roads, first responders, etc will be more overtaxed from all the out-of-towners there from down south.

      I’m in N. FL and don’t anticipate it being any worse than Hermine once it gets here (yeah, that pretty much outs my location). I worry more about people being stupid than about the storm itself. It’s a pain in the butt, but no cause for alarm. It’s going to rain, the power will probably go out, some trees will fall over. Given that Hermine knocked the most vulnerable ones over last year, if Irma is the same intensity once it gets up here, it’ll probably cause less damage.

      Tl;dr- don’t worry about it. Get some beer and some board games and enjoy the sound of rain and thunder.

  24. Label makers :

    In my ongoing quest for organization, I’m thinking about buying a label maker. Anyone have a favorite?

  25. Question for the Litigators :

    My state is a bit behind the times and we are just starting the fight over whether people have to produce their entire FB archive in personal injury / employment litigation or whether they just have to produce any relevant material. I’m curious what the norm is where you practice. Do you give over the whole archive? My practice so far has been to get the whole archive from my client and I review for relevant/irrelevant and I produce the relevant. I think there is a decent argument though that the whole thing should be produced. On the flip side though, why not your entire email box? It’s a fascinating area of law for sure.

    • Anonymous :

      following… very very interesting!

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t practice in this area, but I guess my view depends on whether each post gets exported as a single document or if it is all just one log. If they are different documents, I don’t see why you wouldn’t review for responsiveness as you do with emails and paper documents. If it is all one log, then I would be for producing the whole thing, especially since there are not any privilege or confidentiality concerns.

    • This is incredibly dependent on the exact nature of the lawsuit and the injuries being claimed. In my jurisdiction, it is common for the request and/or response to exclude (1) posts that are simply “liking” or “sharing” someone else’s post; (2) comments on other people’s posts; (3) photographs showing only minors (unless plaintiff is a minor). There is often a huge fight over what is relevant, so with those three exceptions, I usually (on the defense side) want to see everything and not leave it to opposing counsel to decide what is “relevant.” In one case with purported privacy concerns, we agreed on a discovery referee to review and make that determination.

  26. I’m pregnant but not having a shower and not planning to register. Friends have started asking us where we’re registered. What is the appropriate response? Just saying “We’re not registered anywhere” feels a bit blunt, but I don’t want to say anything about what sorts of things we could use, because that could be interpreted as gift-grabby.
    Also am I terribly rude for not registering? My MIL has suggested it is rude to not register, but I’m really uncomfortable with it. My parents have saved basically everything from my childhood and are giving us huge quantities of used books, toys and clothes, so really all we need are large furniture items (which I think are way too $$$$ to register for, especially because I have expensive tastes and want nice stuff) and disposable things, like diapers, wipes, n*pple cream etc. and I feel uncomfortable registering for stuff that personal. If a friend wants to get me some new books or clothes I’d be touched, but I really don’t need it and don’t want to register for it.

    • “Oh, we’re not registered anywhere. Friends and family have given us almost everything we need, so we’re all set for baby! Thank you so much for thinking of us, though.”

    • Green Hat :

      I don’t think it’s rude not to register anywhere, but I’d reconsider if I were you. Clothes and books and toys are great, but those aren’t the things on most people’s registries. What about a car seat, stroller, baby carrier, changing pad, diaper bag, high chair, crib sheets, pack n play, rock n play, bottles, pacifiers, baby monitor, cooler (for breastmilk transport), teething rings, infant bathtub, and infant thermometer (just off the top of my head)? Even if your parents have saved some of these things from your childhood, they likely don’t meet today’s safety standards. However, if you’re convinced that you don’t want a registry, I would just tell people that you’re getting a lot of used stuff so you didn’t register. They will still likely send you clothes, toys, books, or a gift card anyway.

      • Linda from HR :

        +1

        OP, if you have any friends who’ve recently had babies, ask them what sort of things they wish they’d thought of buying or registering for before the baby came, and then create a small registry of those things for the people who are asking. That’s not “gift grabby,” especially if you only tell the people who ask.

    • Thank them for thinking of you but you have everything you need.

      If you want to let your friends throw a shower for you, you can make it a giftless shower or tell people that if they really want to bring something, they can bring things that can be donated to your nearest Children’s Hospital.

    • You say, “Oh we’re so fortunate to be getting a complete nursery hand-me-down, we didn’t feel comfortable registering.” If someone pushes that they’d like to get you something, then have two or three things you can name. “Hmmm maybe some diapers? We don’t have a specific brand yet.” “Who can say no to new books?” “Oh the essentials like wipes and thermometers are all we have left.” etc. And if you truly get too many, those are the sort of things that are great to donate to local shelters.

    • Anonymous :

      I would register – people often want to gift you something and if you have a registry you avoid getting 6 copies of ‘popular children’s book’. Include disposable items such as diapers, wipes, creams, a few outfits and books. You will still need a car seat and likely a stroller or baby wearing carrier and either BF supplies or bottles. You may find a few friends go in on a larger item together or that someone does up a basket of disposable items.

      As an fyi – check the old toys – many do not meet today’s safety standards for plastics (BPA) or choking (original fisherprice little people).

    • We put together an Amazon registry with ONLY books we wanted. You can say you are so fortunate to have all your baby could need, but you’d love a book and have a registry with some ideas for books, or you’d just love a copy of their favorite book.

      • Bumblebee :

        That’s a great idea. Also, I never minded having a couple copies of the same book. One can always be the car copy, or the grandma copy, or whatever. And kids are hard on books to a degree I never realized before I had to make the sad decision to throw away “But not the hippopotamus.”

        • Right. When we got extra copies they went into the car or to the grandparents’ house, or gifted to a friend or donated. But mainly it was to divert random gift giving into books.

    • I didn’t register nor had a baby shower. When asked about a shower, I welcomed people to come visit after the baby was born and most people took me up on that. I received a lot of books, toys, diaper and blankets as gifts. Even though I didn’t initially think I needed much, redundancy was helpful.

      Have you already sorted through all the items you’re going to be gifted? You might find that things haven’t aged as well as you might have hoped.

    • You will also get a percentage off anything on the registry that you plan to buy yourself, so that alone is reason to make one for the big ticket items, IMO. As pp have noted, there are also smaller things that you’d likely want new/updated that you can put on to balance it out. I don’t think it seems gift-grabby in the slightest; people expect and ask because they genuinely want to get you something useful.

    • Anonymous :

      I would register; even if people don’t buy the things off of it, you get a completion discount of 15% or so from most places so it will save you $ on those larger items and the disposable stuff. If people are asking, that means they want to buy you a present, and if you don’t give any guidance you’ll end up with tons of silly stuff you don’t need or want. They may still do that, but at least a few well-wishers will give you practical items. And you may be surprised once you get in there by how much you need. Want any nursing covers? What about swaddles? A new crib mattress? Storage solutions for the nursery? A baby carrier or ring sling?

  27. Has anyone seen any other tops with this cut? :

    I don’t like peplums where it’s basically a ruffle attached to the bottom of the top, but I LOVE this cut where the top basically follows the curve of your body and flares just slightly out around your hips.

    Has anyone seen this type of cut on tops at other retailers?

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