Coffee Break: Maya Calfskin Shoulder Bag

I love the boxy look of this classic shoulder bag from All Saints, and I continue to be really impressed with All Saints as a leather bag company. The lack of lining is a little interesting, but I like it, although the removable ruffle detail is probably something I’d take off immediately. I like the hidden magnetic snap closure and interior wall pocket, as well as the mix of leather and suede. It’s slouchy but cool, and its boxiness almost reminds me of the Loewe puzzle bag. It’s a beautiful bag! For $298 (at Nordstrom), if you’re looking for a classic bag with old-school appeal for the summer or interview season (it may be a little small for that, but YMMV), this just looks like a great bag. Maya Calfskin Shoulder Bag

Not finding a close match at the moment, but two lower-priced options are here and here.

SALE ALERT! I know it’s not Suit of the Week yet but I just noticed that Nordstrom has just marked down the entire suit that I picked out for tomorrow — and I’m totally gaga over the sheath dress (pieced-together navy pinstripe! tell me you don’t want that!), so I’m going to give you a link right here because the whole navy pinstripe suit is 40% off with lots of sizes left and I’m a little worried it may or may not hold out for tomorrow.  Dress, blazer, pants, skirt.

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Comments

  1. Anon in NYC :

    Graduation season! A relative is graduating from HS and headed to college. I’m not close with him, but would like to get him a gift card. What is the most helpful – Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond, some other place?

    • Anonymous :

      Amazon, you can get literally anything there.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I’d go with Amazon. They have pretty much everything and they deliver. In the alternative you might want to get a GC to his college bookstore. That might be fun.

      • Anon in NYC :

        I thought about his college bookstore, but I couldn’t find a way to buy stuff except through a s!ite bkstr.com — is this how colleges are managing their bookstores nowadays? I feel like such an old.

        • If the store is owned by Barnes and Noble you can get a Barnes and Noble card that would work there or for textbooks, but Amazon if still probably the best route. Independent college bookstores vary a lot in how they manage their online stuff and it gets really tricky to navigate.

          • That’s what I did for my nephew. His bookstore was Barnes & Noble, so I just got a B&N giftcard and he could use it for textbooks or a shirt or whatever.

            Target is also usually a good option for college students.

    • Cookbooks :

      When I graduated from high school, I found Bed, Bath & Beyond and Target gift cards to be really useful. It covered a lot of basic dorm items–sheets, towels, shower caddy, shower shoes, etc.

    • Cash is the most useful gift in this scenario.

      • Yeah, for sure. I’m close with my nephews and don’t have kids, so I gave each of them a substantial check when they graduated from high school. I also bought them school shirts when they were accepted and decided on a college. I know I got one of them a school bookstore (B&N) giftcard later – I think it was for his birthday, which was the summer before he started.

  2. NYC Renter :

    This is a bit different than the regular questions people get here, but I want an unbiased 3rd party opinion.

    I live in NYC and am moving apartments. I am moving June 15th to a new apartment with friends that I am so excited to live with. The problem is that my current sublease goes until June 30th. I am working with the person I live with to find a replacement for June 1st at least, but we haven’t had anyone sign on yet. I would be okay if I had to pay for two places, but it would dip into my savings. I would rather not end up paying double rent, but I am desperate to be out of this apartment for so many reasons. Some of my issues include the neighborhood being not the best, the apartment above us made our bathroom ceiling leak, and the other roommate is a total slob with no respect for the common areas. I moved because I was desperate for housing in the winter. It is very possible that I will find a replacement because NYC apartments move fast and last minute.

    So my question boils down to, do I move June 1st and hope I can find someone, or do I wait and stick with my original move date of the 15th and still risk not finding anyone? I need to let my new apartment mates know by the end of today, so thanks in advance!

    • Veronica Mars :

      Move out ASAP. Your sanity is worth the dip in savings. Plus, it will be easier to find a new roommate when the space is clean & empty, and you are calm and ready to tackle the challenge.

      • Agree. Sanity is worth more bucks than anything else you could spend them on.

      • Anon in NYC :

        I agree, except if dipping into your savings = substantially depleting your savings.

        If this is an expense that you can absorb and easily pay yourself back, consider it an investment in your mental health and happiness.

    • It will be so much easier to pay double rent. Trying to find subletters is always such a stressful experience and, at least in my case, hardly ever works out anyway. So, that’s what I’d do if possible, although I realize that could be too much of a hardship.

    • I guess we’re all different personalities but…. sounds like you are living on shoestring. I would pull up my big girl pants and stay there until you definitely have a replacement roommate and save the $$.

      Really…. you can’t make it another 2 weeks? I might understand if it was 2 months…. or if you just broke up with your boyfriend and were moving away from him…. but you’re issues are not really that big a deal or uncommon.

      • I agree.

        June in NYC? Someone will take that room if you make an effort. Or else I’d just make myself scarce, visit friends a lot, work in coffee shops, hang out in my room etc… and wait the 2 weeks out.

    • I would keep trying to find someone, but plan on moving June 1 regardless and don’t pay rent for June. Yes, you’re screwing the roommate, but they sound like they’ve been pretty terrible to live with, and they’re realistically not going to sue you for the rent. The roommate should be able to find someone new pretty quickly.

      • Anonshmanon :

        Really? This is a crappy move and you know it, as evidenced by the “they won’t realistically sue you” argument. Not ok.

      • Really? I would consider this a jerk move. You subleased until June 30- you owe until June 30 unless you find someone to take over before that. Yes, maybe you could get away with breaching that contract, but its unethical.

    • NYC Renter :

      I forgot to include that I told my roommate on May 15th that my new apartment was open, so she already had a week to search. So it wasn’t a super last minute thing popping up, there’s been time to search.

      • Move out June 1. Prepare to pay for the full month of June, but you are likely to find a new person before that. And, honestly, it’s not your responsibility to back fill your space if your lease is already expiring 6/30. It’s short dollars to pay for an added month of sanity in my opinion. You gave current roommate plenty of notice – no reason you shouldn’t be able to sleep at night.

        • * it’s not either of your responsibilities… to echo Anon in NYC below. You’re a rent-paying tenant until 6/30. It is what it is.

      • Anon in NYC :

        You’re annoyed that your roommate hasn’t found a new tenant to take over your sublease within the past 8 days? Why is it your roommate’s responsibility?

        As I said above, if you can afford to take the financial hit and it wouldn’t be huge hardship for you, sure, move out because it sounds like you’re miserable where you are, but I think you should expect to pay double rent. Your roommate has very little incentive to find someone else until June 30 because you’re on the hook for the money. I don’t think any of the things you mentioned are absolute dealbreakers, unless you feel unsafe in your neighborhood.

  3. You guys, I just got all new underwear and it’s basically my favorite online purchase in months. I don’t know why I don’t do it every year. Something about getting dressed in the morning is so much better when everything is new and not ragged.

    (Soma modern brief $36 for 6 deal, which I did x 2)

    • Oh wait, no, it’s the embraceable super soft brief, with the lace on top.

    • BeenThatGuy :

      I feel your excitement! I love buying new underwear. It’s truly the little things in life!

    • Senior Attorney :

      Yes! I love new undies!!

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I was just thinking this morning how happy new undies would make me (…I know, I live an exciting life), because I hate all of my underwear except for like, six pairs. For the cost, I should probably just go for it.

    • We are moving and I am taking this opportunity to throw away every pair of underwear that is ragged/has a hole/worn/elastic issues…..there is not a lot left. Makes me feel like this was long overdue. I might snag this Soma deal after we move!

    • Now I’m feeling inspired to re-vamp my underwear drawer too! Thanks, all!

    • Time for some new undies – now what’s on sale? :)

  4. Normalization :

    I just overheard two of my male coworkers having a conversation in the hall about the teeth-whitening and health benefits of coconut oil. I know nothing on this subject and wasn’t really paying attention, but then I heard one man say, “If you’re breastfeeding, and your body loses fat too fast, you can absorb toxins and it will come out in your milk.” Again, I know nothing about this, I’m just so impressed that men worked breastfeeding into a conversation! And the man who didn’t make the original comment carried on like normal! One has an older child, and the other has young children.

    • So funny what your reaction was.

      Mine was…. what a lot of unsubstantiated unnecessary hooey.

      signed,
      MD

      • Ha! I think my reaction would be a combination of both.

        • To be honest, mine would be too.

          I don’t think I’ve ever walked by two men talking and overheard the word “breastfeeding”.

      • I definitely thought “what magical thinking!”

      • Environmental Scientist :

        Not hooey at all! You spend your entire life accumulating persistent organic pollutants soluble in fat (DDT, PCBs, PBDEs, etc.), and one of the few ways you get rid of them is in breastmilk. There are some truly horrifying studies in marine mammals, which are worse off than humans because of their place in the food chain and the amount of fat in their milk, but this definitely happens in people too.

    • Thanks for sharing this! I would also notice if I overheard men who aren’t physicians talking with interest and concern about something specific to women’s health. This seems so much healthier than being intimidated, avoidant, or blissfully ignorant (the patterns I’m used to!).

      • Anonymous :

        The cynical side of me thinks they weren’t concerned with women’s health at all, but with children’s health. Lots of men are very “supportive” of (really insistent upon) bf’ing, not because they want to empower their partners but because they want the benefits for their offspring.

        • +1 some of the worst shame I got for formula feeding came from men

        • As a currently breastfeeding mother, I had no idea just what a burden it is until the past seven months. And, yeah, I am beginning to suspect that the changing cultural tide is strongly tied to women’s increasing power in the workforce.

  5. This totally outs me to anyone who knows me, but oh well. I have an undergrad degree in engineering. I decided not to pursue engineering as a career and ended up becoming a science writer for a university communications office. I really enjoy the work I do on a daily basis (talking to our science/engineering faculty about their research and writing stories about it) and the lifestyle is great (40 hours/week, low stress, great benefits, etc.) The only thing that’s not great is the pay, and that’s pretty low on my list of priorities since my spouse has a very good job. But lately I have been feeling like I’ve failed – society generally and my daughter specifically – by being yet another woman who’s opted out of STEM when I know I have the capability to do it. Objectively I believe that enjoying life in a less prestigious role is better than being a miserable role model and I don’t think I would be happy working in engineering, but it stings every time someone refers to me as a “PR person” or mentions my (assumed but actually non-existent) marketing degree. I think the vast majority of these comments are made with good intentions and the speaker is not trying to put me down, but it is just a fact that very few people in my role have a hard science or engineering background and I am seen by my colleagues and internal clients as a marketing person, not a STEM person. It has been a tough adjustment for someone who always excelled at math and science and got an engineering degree from a top university, and although I was hoping I’d get used to it, it seems to bug me more the longer I work here.

    I have the option to take classes at the university I work at for minimal cost but the ones that are relevant to my job (communications, generic professional writing) aren’t things I want to study and coursework in science or engineering isn’t really very relevant to my job. Plus my daughter is still very young (three) so I don’t think I can commit the time required to earn a degree and I’m not sure just taking a random engineering class or two would give me the validation I’m seeking. I’m also in my mid-30s and intimidated about being in class with teenagers.

    I know there have been a lot of “I leaned out and I hate it” questions lately, but this isn’t really about being bored or unfulfilled by my job – I really enjoy my job and frankly I also really enjoy having a lot of free time to spend with my family and travel and read. I guess the root of the problem is essentially that I like my job and my life, but I feel like I have failed somehow by leaving STEM and/or not having an advanced degree (and the fact that I regularly meet and write about successful women in STEM and the awards they win probably doesn’t help my self-esteem). Any advice or suggestions?

    • But you are doing STEM. Your life sounds perfect to me.

      Perhaps your insecurites come from elsewhere…. my brother comments at least once a week about “but if I had my PhD…..” and it makes me sad. No one around him could care less and he is very happy and successful in his (lower paying but important and impactful) career. But because everyone in my family has a PhD he is always comparing himself, and his baseline insecurity makes it worse.

      Step away from the bonds of youthful pressures and expectations, and be grateful you figured out early in life what makes you happy. You are really fortunate. Give it time.

      • +1 – you are still doing STEM! You are communicating about STEM and that sh!t is hard. Lots of people get it wrong. You get to help control the narrative about what STEM is and how people perceive it. You get to tell the stories of people (women!) succeeding in STEM. That is power.

        If you are feeling disconnected, maybe see what volunteering opportunities are available in elementary, middle or high school classes.

      • Anonymous :

        I agree with this, there is more than one way to be in a STEM field. This is one of them. The grass is always greener on the other side..or so it seems. If you enjoy the work that’s all that matters.

      • Not that Anne, the other Anne :

        I agree. You are doing STEM, and you have not failed anyone by finding a job that suits you and your life. I think there’s too much focus and pressure on women women not to be part of the “leaky pipeline” and too little focus on reasons the pipeline leaks in the first place. And I say that as someone who has been told multiple times that I have leaked out of that pipeline since I’m not tenure-track academia. My response to that is more or less polite depending on the circumstances.

        If you want to keep your brain bendy, take some classes. Enjoy learning about whatever it is. You probably won’t be the only non-traditional student in the class.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I am in a not-dissimilar position (feel a sting from time to time for different reasons), and I often say “I have the perfect job and lifestyle, and all I had to give up was my pride.” I just acknowledge it and count my many blessings and shake it off. But I feel you. The sting is real.

      • Right there with you both. My life is great and my job is great. But ow, my pride.

        • Senior Attorney :

          This makes me feel so. much. better. Thanks for chiming in!

        • Ha, same. Different field, same ‘marketing/PR’ chic type comments, when my undergrad is in something very different (totally cool actually!) that I very much miss not using as much. Super flexible job, incredible team, great boss, and good (but not great) money, and all I had to give up was my pride. Totally agree with an earlier poster – I don’t have golden handcuffs, I have flexibility handcuffs.

    • Marie Curie :

      I have a PhD in physics and work as a physicist. Lots and lots of people from a huge variety of backgrounds leave science for an incredible variety of reasons. There are people who are too extroverted to enjoy lab work. Folks who want a faster pace than (snail-like) science. People who wanted more geographical freedom than academica typically allows. The most important thing is to find a profession that suits your talents and temperament. Don’t sacrifice your happiness to a theoretical societal gain.

      • Marie Curie :

        Of the people I entered graduate school with, less than half are now doing physics. And those are people who entered the PhD program believing they would make physics their life’s work.

        • Not that Anne, the other Anne :

          Same. My undergrad research program tracked what the former program members chose for their ultimate career. The number of people who were in tenure-track academia was pretty small, and the wide variety of other jobs and careers was fascinating.

    • Anonymous :

      “I really enjoy my job and frankly I also really enjoy having a lot of free time to spend with my family and travel and read. ”

      This is great! You haven’t failed anyone by having a job you love. You’re still STEM related if you’re writing about science. And you’re in a great position to do the important work of highlighting less traditional STEM professionals like women and religious and/or racial minorities. It’s so important that groups other than white males not just be active in STEM but be SEEN to be active STEM and as a science writer you’re a huge part of helping them get a higher profile in your academic community. Very important work.

      • Anonshmanon :

        This. You are doing such important work. Not only offering different views on who can be a scientist, but also the outreach is crucial, especially today!
        It sounds like you have to come to terms with what your vision of yourself used to be vs. what you are doing now. Only you can do that, really.

    • Agree with post above that says you ARE a woman in STEM. You’re doing one of the most important things- promoting STEM to other women! If you decide you really want to go back to school and get a PhD at some point by all means do it, but don’t do it out of guilt. The goal is to be happy with where you are and what you’re doing, and it sounds like you’ve achieved that!

    • Cookbooks :

      I was a STEM major, too, and a bench scientist for a while before I decided to go to law school. I used to feel like I failed in the same way you did–leaving and not pursing an advanced degree in science–especially because I would be making more money than I am now if I hadn’t shifted gears and sometime I miss the lab.

      But because of my background, I look at and approach things in a different way than my coworkers do. So while I may not be in a STEM field, I’m still benefiting from having a STEM education. And I still think of myself as a scientist, even if I’m not regularly tooling around in a lab anymore.

    • I don’t buy the narrative that women owe it to society to do any particular thing or get any particular degree. The whole point of feminism that is that we should all have the same opportunities, regardless of gender, so that we can pick and choose from those opportunities in order to build the lives we want for ourselves. You’ve done that. Point me again to where the failure part of this is?

      • YES. THIS. Live your life according to your own terms and values, not some arbitrary idea of what youre obligated to do.

    • fellow engineer has-been :

      I totally understand. I graduated with an engineering degree and immediately went into the consulting-bschool-more consulting-corporate life route much to my professors’ chagrin. I haven’t forgotten the other options I gave up, and your words about “But lately I have been feeling like I’ve failed – society generally and my daughter specifically – by being yet another woman who’s opted out of STEM when I know I have the capability to do it” ring so true to me too. Remember that you’re doing great things for future women in STEM: communicating the exciting things going on in research and the diverse range of people who are doing them!

      If you feel like you need more of a role, could your office partner with undergrad SWE or Women in Science groups to help broadcast community outreach programming they are putting on (like earn-a-girl-scout-badge days or high school visit days for local girls)? This presumably wouldn’t be an excessive time commitment for you. Or could you volunteer for local library-run or musuem-run Saturday science activity days? Your combination of engineering background and marketing know-how sound like a much-desired combo to me! Finally, what my mother – another engineer – always tells me is that once you’re an engineer, you are always one: it’s a toolbox you bring to any career, not a career path in and of itself!

    • STEMarketer :

      I have the opposite perspective. I work in marketing for a STEM-based association and so sooo wish that I had a STEM background instead of a marketing background so that I had a better handle on what our members do – and thus what I’m marketing about them and to them. Not being able to truly understand the nuance of what our members do is my biggest hurdle every single day. Your background is incredibly valuable to your role and to your organization.

      • +1. I’m in a position where I’m communicating science to the public and often feel like a huge fraud because I don’t have a scientific background. My degree is in journalism.

    • Environmental Scientist :

      If it makes you feel any better, I’m a tenure track STEM faculty member and completely miserable. I’d love to have a job that doesn’t involve unrelenting stress and the constant battle for funding! But it does seem like you might be in a good position to start working informally on science outreach. If you know faculty members doing outreach, see if they’re interested in your help on a small project that could use your communication skills.

    • Anonymous :

      Communicating science to the public is absolutely advancing STEM!

    • Anonymous :

      Do you actually want to do STEM work? You could freelance and market yourself as a science writer, which there is a notable lack of in professional journalism. The downside of course is that is more work for you. I do get the feeling. There’s a ton of pressure to succeed when you’re the only woman in class. Try not to be so hard on yourself – you don’t have to be a rep for women and there’s nothing wrong with being thought of as a PR/Marketing person. And honestly — take the fun classes at the college! Art, gym, whatever your personal fun thing is. You don’t need to further your career.

    • I think you are STEMish.

      But what do I know about staying true to my field? I was a philosophy major.

      [Seriously: I think you’ve got a great gig going. We are all more than our job and resume.]

    • Got busy this afternoon, but thanks so much everyone for all the kind words. Knowing that others are in the same boat and hearing all your practical suggestions about ways to get more involved with STEM/take pride in what I do really helped.

    • Anonymous :

      I may be the only one, but I feel like the “lean in” book has created a ton of pressure for women who now have to define themselves as having leaned in or — by default — they have let down the side by “leaning out.” What happened simply to the freedom to live our lives in a way that works? Doing a job you like in a setting you like that gives you a life you like isn’t letting anyone down.

  6. Small classic purse search :

    Read my mind on this post… searching for a bag similar to the Camille mentioned as a lower cost option. Need to replace an ancient black leather cross body (worn as shoulder bag) – favorite feature is an outside pocket. This classic squared off tidy look and size is what I’m seeking… just not in love with the flap on the Camille. Up to $300… thanks!

    • I don’t know if this is up your alley, but recently I realized I missed my classic old Coach shoulder bag that I used to wear either cross body or as a shoulder bag, and gave away about 10 years ago. I carry my work tote around all the time but I decided I wanted something easier for the weekends.

      I looked around and didn’t find anything I thought was well made, so I went onto eBay and bought a vintage coach bag in the same style for $55. I had this same bag in black back in the day, but I bought it in a natural/tan brown, which feels more modern to me right now. I love it. I now appreciate how well Coach bags used to be made.

      The key is searching on the terms Coach and Cashin (Bonnie Cashin, their original designer) and you’ll find lots of options.

    • Minnie Beebe :

      I recently bought a Lo & Sons Pearl, which can be worn as a shoulder bag, clutch, or cross-body. There is no true outside pocket, but it does have easily-accessible pockets, two with zippers, and one big center pocket. I only wish I’d bought one sooner (but I waited for a sale.) I have the black saffiano leather, with gold hardware.

      I LOVE IT! So much!

      • +1! LOVE

      • I just got the Pearl in black napa leather. I love it, too. The center pocket makes it easy to slip my phone in and out. I can carry by itself as a purse, but it is small enough to slip inside a tote when I have more stuff with me.

  7. real estate agent? :

    Has anyone left their career to pursue being a real estate agent? I am an in-house attorney and we have been looking for a house for several months now and I just feel like I could do this. It feels like every house we visit, we are more knowledgeable about the home than the agent and the agent is unable to answer basic questions. We are looking for a new agent at the moment because in the last several months our agent has dropped the ball on what seem like basic realtor skills- not following up with listing agents and losing a house to other buyers (multiple times), not pulling up comps when we make offers, etc. Obviously, I would not be licensed in time for when we (hopefully) buy a home, but it’s something I’ve thought about for the future. I’ve also been studying the market for months and have correctly predicted the closing prices for houses our agent has grossly overestimated.

    A little background about me: we are in the lucky position that I don’t *have* to work but want to as I like adding to our income and challenging my brain. We have purchased two condos, sold one, and have made several offers on single family homes, so we are familiar with the laws, inspections, attorney review process, and offers (which in our state are all template). As mentioned, we have been looking actively for a while and I have been lurking online for even longer and tracking the initial list vs final closing price of homes and thus have been better at predicting the market.

    Just curious if anyone has done this. The commission from 4 homes could easily beat my current salary. I also grew up in the suburbs we are looking at and am great at networking. My husband also works for a large company, where many of his colleagues and clients also live in the same suburbs, so that could be another great network.

    And if anyone has a good recommendation for a realtor in the north suburbs of Chicago, please let me know!

    • I have a friend who is professor (!) at an excellent university and is getting her real estate license on the side. She has a ton of talents and side interests/gigs and I think she would have a fabulous life in real estate.

    • Also….

      I know a lawyer who transitioned into real estate law and became a realtor, and then did everything in his one private practice/real estate practice.

      Years later, he went back and became a judge!

    • Senior Attorney :

      I haven’t done it but I know people who do. If you are going to do residential real estate, keep in mind that it’s (almost) all evening and weekend showings. And last-minute showings and issues that can make it hard to plan. You don’t say if you have children but I feel like it would be tough unless your husband works regular hours.

      • real estate agent? :

        Good point – we are newly married and on the one hand hope to have kids soon, but on the other hand, if I pursued this, I would be working in the suburb I am living in, so it would be just a different consideration as I wouldn’t be commuting into the city like I would if I stayed in-house. It’s likely my mom will be nearby and able to help, but also who knows what my husband’s schedule will look like, so maybe just something to keep in the back pocket, particularly as kids get closer to school age.

        • Your office may be based in your suburb, but unless you turn away clients who aren’t buying or selling in your suburb you will end up working wherever the clients take you on any given day.

    • Anonymous :

      A few things –

      – at its heart, it’s about people, not about houses. A sales job. Are you a salesperson?
      – Those commissions get spent pretty quick on fees, expenses, and the like.
      – It’s pretty tough to make a lot of money as a part time realtor. Are you interested in making it a full time job?

      • Anonymous :

        I was a real estate agent for a while when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do job wise. Getting started is a lot of hard work and hard hours and not glamorous. You have to really like working with difficult people. Will you have great clients? Absolutely. Will you have difficult clients? ALL THE YES. Will you constantly be asked to cut your rate? YES. Will you be able to even if you want to? Not always as the broker sets that it most jurisdictions. Will people ask you to show them houses at a million times that are inconvenient for you? Absolutely. You have to set boundaries really early on, but doing that can also cost you clients. In a hot market you have to be okay with writing contracts late at night when perhaps you had other plans with your family.

        If you really are interested in doing this, set up informational interviews with agents who are part of long-standing successful teams. It’s so much easier to manage as a new agent if you join an established team that has all of the marketing in place and pays for all expenses but where you get a smaller cut than you would if you were doing it on your own. I worked for a solo before I got my license and she had so many expenses. When I moved over to a well-established team, I paid for non of my own expenses and the split was only a little bit worse than with the solo.

        Also, starting out you probably won’t get listings, which is where the money is (when you are looking at it on an hourly rate basis). You will have to work with buyers and probably renters, which is fine, but you may not close transactions with some of them and renters are time sucks for not much money. Now, you do it anyway, because they may end up buying and you want to be the agent who took the time to make them feel important (many agents won’t help renters at all), but working with renters is a PITA.

        • Anonymous :

          I should add, I am a lawyer so when I saw badly done contracts it was frustrating.

          There are parts of the job that are fulfilling, but at the end of the day, the time commitment was worse than my law firm schedule because I was trying to hustle hard because you make zero money until a house closes.

    • I looked into this several years ago. I love real estate and thought it would be a good fit. What I learned in my research is that loving real estate is actually a very small part of it. The job is, first and foremost, sales and client relations. Bending over backwards to help clients. Being ready at a moment’s notice for whatever. Sacrificing evenings and weekends because that is when clients have availability. If that sounds like something that you would be up for, godspeed! It wasn’t for me.

    • The barrier to entry to being a realtor is very low. To be a good one takes a lot of work and market knowledge and a good rolodex of supporters–contractors, home inspectors, mortgage brokers, escrow agents, handymen, cleaning services, etc. You have already experienced that it’s not hard to be a so-so or bad realtor–it’s harder to be a great realtor.

      My mom did it. You can too. My mom transitioned from being a SAHM (after having a career pre-kids) to a residential RE agent when I was 10 and my brother was 12. We lived in a fancy part of the country on a coast where million dollar houses were typical. This was a hard transition for my family because my dad was used to my mom having dinner on the table, but, as Senior Attorney mentioned, all of a sudden she was busy at nights and on weekends. She dealt with non-serious buyers who sucked her time, but also sometimes had huge listings or divorces fall into her lap (divorce = $$$ for realtors, especially if both sides of the couple still love the realtor!)

      My mom is a go-getter and not a natural salesperson. She is a meticulous Type A organizer. She is always on the ball and has a very friendly, no pressure demeanor, except when she negotiates, at which point she turns into a tiger.

      She has now been a realtor for almost thirty years, many times coming in the top two or three realtors in her office of 300+ agents. All of her business is referrals–she keeps meaning to retire but can’t because the referrals keep rolling in.

      My vote is that if you are willing to give up the times that your family might want you around, then do it. It’s quite hard to get established, but once you do…it’s great. My mom makes a killer amount of money and works really hard for it. Part of the reason this works is because houses are so expensive! If you live in a part of the country where houses are more modest, you will make more modest commissions.

      Good luck.

    • For the vast majority of people, myself included, buying a home is far and away the most expensive thing you’ll ever do. I found it extremely stressful. I worked hard not to take any of that out on my realtor, but I imagine lots of clients probably do take things out on them. I wouldn’t want my job to be dealing with extremely stressed-out people day-in and day-out.

    • Anonymous :

      My mother is a Realtor and I think you are looking at it through rose-colored glasses. It’s typically not a lucrative job and it doesn’t matter if you can predict average prices because you’re not the buyer or the seller – all you do is advise. You’re going to working evenings and weekends, often last minute, and will deal with all sorts of people — good and bad. Some people will want to look for years without buying — not a joke. But if you don’t need the money and have a flexible schedule, there’s no reason you couldn’t try it out.

    • I also considered this option. My dad is a custom homebuilder and real estate has always been in my blood. However, after buying a home, selling it FSBO, and buying a new home with many setbacks, I learned a few things that changed my mind. Ultimately, it wasn’t the fun house tour guide career I wanted it to be, and I suspect that’s the case for many people.

      – Very little of the job is about showings or knowing a house. Much more of the job is about aggressive negotiations skills. After you negotiate the sale price, you’re spending the next 30-45 days continuing to negotiate back and forth about items discovered from inspections. You will learn how unreasonable so many people can be. If negotiating makes you uncomfortable in any way, do not pass go, do not collect $200, do not pursue this career.
      – When you start out, you will have a provisional license and work under a Broker In Charge. Much like a pyramid scheme, they will get a huge chunk of your commission. Fledgling realtors don’t keep very much of their commission after all fees, cuts, and expenses are considered.
      – Part time realtors are generally not successful. You are still at the whim of your clients’ schedules and the majority of it is nights, weekends, and long holidays. As you begin under Broker In Charge, you’ll also be expected to house sit at Open Houses every weekend. If you’re going to do it, you have to go all in.
      – You will have to network like crazy, which is also why it is difficult to be part time.

    • In my opinion, liking real estate and knowing things as a result of your own search will not make you a successful RE agent. Both are true for me and I actually worked in RE and realized it wasn’t for me. I sold two places so I wasn’t unsuccessful but it was frequently a miserable experience.

      Like others said, it’s basically a sales job with lots of clients who are not serious and you work on commission which makes for a lot of frustration. Every appointment that leads to nothing just feels like a giant waste of time. The incompetent brokers that frustrate you now will be not just your competition but also people you have to work with and rely on. And, yes, you will have to give up all your Sundays. It can be a great job but it’s definitely not as easy or simple as it looks. There are a lot of agents but not as many who manage to make a 10+ year real career of it, much less longer (kudos to the poster’s mom above who’s managed to be a success for 30 years now!). I’ll also add that it’s easier to break in if you will have people who are willing to list a house with you vs. just people who you can help find a house b/c the former are much more likely to actually close whereas many clients who are looking are unreliable and will give up or end up going with someone else.

    • I know two people who left their first careers (one PR/marketing, one in finance) to become Realtors, and they both love it. But they are both comfortable selling, and they both were able to weather a couple of lean years while they built their referral business. One woman has made enough money that she’s now moving into commercial real estate investment, and doing well. Real Estate can be a great career while the market is up or stable. In a down market – like in 2009 – it’s awful. If you can weather the ups and downs, you can take rejection, and on some level you like selling and are comfortable selling yourself, it’s worth exploring. Taking marketing classes would be a good idea, if you don’t have any background in marketing.

  8. Certificate in Public Administration? :

    Hi, all- I’m currently an attorney in a nonprofit role and I hope to move into a JD-preferred funding role in local or state government within the next 1.5-2 years. I graduated in 2016 with my JD and am in a prestigious fellowship position right now that ends in fall, 2018. In particular, I’d like to work with the county or state human services department to better distribute and leverage public funds- our county government is extremely innovative in its administration of levy funds to provide support for dozens of local programs, and I’d like to be involved with its management of these funds. As an attorney, I’ve realized that so many of the issues my clients face can’t be solved on the micro level. They require macro-level changes in the way housing and social supports are provided. A client who keeps getting evicted for issues stemming from drug or alcohol addiction would be better served by stronger supported housing programs, rather than constant intervention by an attorney to overcome housing denials. The public sector can provide funds to make those programs a reality. I only act as a stopgap.

    With all that being said, I’m increasingly becoming interested in pursuing a certificate in Public Administration from my undergrad. It would be $8400 total- 12 credits. I’d likely take out $4200 in loans and pay the other $4200 out of pocket. The program is online.

    Any experiences? What should I be looking at? For those of you who are in the public sector, do certificates (in addition to local involvement and a strong resume, of course) prove a leg up in hiring or is it not worth it?

    • Anonymous :

      What specifically do you hope to gain from this certificate?

      • Certificate :

        I don’t have any knowledge right now as to how the public sector functions, other than what I’ve picked up in my work so far. So, I’d like to gain that knowledge, as well as specific knowledge around budget and financial management. I’d also like to have a better idea of the ways and methods by which the local and state governments can impact local systems and communities.

    • Anonymous :

      I would focus on trying to get hired without the additional qualification. You may be able to pursue it later on through continuing education budgets. Within our state level government there is funding available to help further develop the careers of those identified as candidates to be future public service/public admin leaders.

      • +1. As a local government employee (legal department), I wouldn’t incur more cost now. I don’t think we would care about a certificate, and frankly, so much of the budgetary process varies from locality to locality that it’s not necessarily going to bring you in with lots of knowledge that’s transferable, anyway.

        I’d focus on networking, learning what you can about the things you are interested in (attend local legislative body meetings!). Being a known entity, having good credentials, and having a tie to the area you’re applying to are much more important, IME.

      • I direct a state department responsible for hiring in our 50,000 person state workforce.

        You do not need to spend $ on this certificate. It is not a min or pref qual for any of our human services / housing positions.

    • Certificate :

      Thanks so much, all! I may just take some free online courses to get the info I want.

  9. Shopaholic :

    This bag looks remarkably similar to the (now discontinued) Celine Edge bag… I love bags that easily fit over your shoulder.

  10. Cookbooks :

    I was a STEM major, too, and a bench scientist for a while before I decided to go to law school. I used to feel like I failed in the same way you did–leaving and not pursing an advanced degree in science–especially because I would be making more money than I am now if I hadn’t shifted gears and sometime I miss the lab.

    But because of my background, I look at and approach things in a different way than my coworkers do. So while I may not be in a STEM field, I’m still benefiting from having a STEM education. And I still think of myself as a scientist, even if I’m not regularly tooling around in a lab anymore.

  11. Marks and Spencer :

    Can anyone comment on the Marks and Spencer sizing, particularly for dresses? I take a 14 (UK) in Boden, but the M&S size chart has me at a 22 or a 24. Do they really run that small?

    • Anonymous :

      Did you by any chance mix up UK and US sizes? I don’t have any dresses but my M&S fare is size 6 while River Island puts me at 10. I would say you have to try it on, or check for free shipping

    • oil in houston :

      I find Boden and M&S to generally be rather well aligned sizing wise

    • I thin you may have read the sizing wrong. I’d say Marks is slightly larger than Boden.

    • AnonLondon :

      Ditto the above. I take a 10 US usually and find a 14 from M&S (theoretically equivalent) to be too big generally.

    • Aquae Sulis :

      I’ve always thought that M&S runs a little large.

  12. I bought all healthy foods this week and made an awesome thai quinoa salad to bring for lunch after too many weeks of eating take out. It was delicious but I’m starving again already despite the edamame, peanuts and all the vegetables. My stomach actually feels empty. What am I missing that I can add tomorrow so I don’t end up raiding the snack closet?

    • More fat. How about some avocado or a hardboiled egg?

    • More fat. How about some avocado or a hardboiled egg?

      • I had eggs for breakfast :( I love avocado but that is such a pain to deal with at work. Why hasn’t anyone figured out how to store cut avocado yet?

        • They do sell pre-cut, vacuum packed avocado halves, but I wouldn’t recommend it. I don’t think they’re too bad to deal with at work. If I need one, I usually bring an uncut one with me. You can cut a ripe one with a plastic knife and scoop out the insides with a spoon.

        • Anonymous :

          Trader Joe’s sells mini avocados, for when you can’t eat a whole avocado in one sitting.

        • Anonymous :

          cut avocado in half, leave pit in the half you want to store, smoosh a square of plastic wrap down around pit and pat it down onto all the exposed green parts. Not perfect, but certainly keeps for a day. The key is to keep air from getting to it.

          • I do this all the time. Half an avocado will keep for a couple of days. It also goes bad from the outside in, so you can cut off the brown parts and there’s still plenty of green avocado left after 3 or even 4 days.

        • Just bring an avocado and cut it at work. It’s truly not that much of a pain. Did it today. Takes 45 seconds, if that. That way it won’t brown and get gross. The only danger is transport- I’ve been known to leave an avocado in my purse all day and bruise it (yeah, yeah, can’t have nice things).

        • Senior Attorney :

          And if you want to eat it for lunch, you can cut it up and then toss the cut-up pieces in some lemon juice or vinegary salad dressing and it should keep it from turning brown during the morning.

        • You can make guacamole, or just mashed avo, include lemon or lime juice and salt. Then squeeze the last bit of juice over the top when it’s in your lunch container and apply plastic wrap right on top, touching the guac, as you would do for pudding or custard.

          May not keep it green for a week, but it will certainly keep it till lunch.

        • AvoSaver FTW :

          They have. It’s on amazon and is called the Avo-Saver. I’m thinking of buying a second one so I can keep one at work!

    • I’d add tofu, but I may be in the minority with that preference. If you’re not vegetarian, maybe a little grilled chicken?

    • Avocado?

    • I would just bring some more snacks to work. I usually have a greek yogurt with fruit in the afternoon to tide me over until dinner.

    • Fat– cheese, avocado. Maybe even more protein.

      When I bring quinoa for a work lunch it usually has roasted red peppers, goat cheese (lots), olives (in spades) and tomatoes. Or, I’ll mix in beans/chick peas, and add avocado, corn, olives. It sounds indulgent, but frankly I lost weight doing this (v. eating pasta/bread, and slowly over the course of months).

      If there’s no fat on it, I won’t feel full, no matter how much I eat.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I also find bananas nicely filling and satisfying.

  13. I’m looking at the dagne dover essentials clutch and the slim wallet- does anyone have experience with either? Do you have a coupon code or referral link to share?

  14. Anonymous :

    How do you know when it’s time to say goodbye to a suit that has served you well but you don’t love anymore? It’s in good condition and fits, I just choose any other suit in my closet before that one, so I’m wondering if it’s time to say goodbye.

    • Yes. Onward and upward

    • Especially if it’s still in good condition and style, look for somewhere you can donate it. I supported a clothing drive for women’s business clothes once and it was so depressing how much got donated that was in either terrible condition or was obviously someone cleaning out their closet for the first time since about 1985.

    • Marshmallow :

      Yep! Let it go. Donate it and think of how useful it will be for a woman who couldn’t typically afford a suit but really needs to go on job interviews or look sharp for her job.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      What about keeping it in your office as your “emergency suit” in case you need one (like a last minute request to take a meeting)?

    • Depends what you do, how many suits you have, and how much storage you have. I rarely have to wear suits for more than 2-3 days at a time, but I could get staffed on a long trial that would “require” (read: I’d want) a better wardrobe rotation. I keep 3 suits in my bedroom closet and store the rest with off-season clothes. If I were pressed for space I’d probably keep 5 total. I go through a lot of trouble and expense to get properly-fitting suits. You can pry my spares out of my cold dead hands.

      • I “break” the suits that aren’t working into separates and wear the skirts with sweaters and boots, and work the jackets in on jeans day.

  15. Delta Dawn :

    Just dragged my shirt hem across my blue ballpoint pen. Any suggestions for quick shirt rehab, or is it a total loss? 94% rayon 6% spandex. Thanks for any help!

  16. I recently went the physical therapy and had a not great experience. The PT did not monitor the PT assistant who was brand new out of school and she ended up doing significantly more harm than good (think going from a sore elbow to not being able to use the arm at all without crying levels of pain that radiate up into the shoulder and back). At my quarterly check-in with my GP, I asked for a recommendation for a different practice or route for my injury because of this, and she urged me to talk to the practice manager of the PT practice that hurt me.

    Well she apparently sent my information to him to call me, and we discussed how dissatisfied I was. Fast forward a few weeks and apparently he refunded me my co-pay for my PT sessions, but they aren’t refunding my insurance.

    Now in a normal situation, I guess I wouldn’t care. At the risk of outing myself though, I work at a non-profit and we self insure. So essentially the insurance company just handles the billing/haggling over medical prices and the non profit pays the insurance what was owed. Should I say something to my insurance about this? I feel like if the practice manager is admitting that the care wasn’t at the standard that the patient for pay for it, my insurance (and therefore my non-profit) shouldn’t have to either. It an amount that is in the thousands though whereas my portion was $125.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m inclined to say no. People have bad or non-outcomes all the time with their doctors, etc. (think of cancer meds that don’t work) and insurance still pays for it. I’m surprised you got your copay back, in fact.

      (Did you keep going even while it was starting to hurt?)

      • Her treatments were just not effective until the very last one when she decided to adjust my back and then all h#ll broke loose. I would be in a lot of pain after each session, but she said that was ok, and I was back to baseline about 5 days after and then I would go in for another session.

        The other issue is that my medical records at not even close to being complete, and some of it is just flat out lies, so I have to piece together what I remember the pain levels being by memory instead of being able to look at my chart.

  17. inspired by an episode of Master of None – do you have a go-to “opening line” you use on dating apps? Is it quippy? Generic? I usually try to ask a question about something in their profile but really have no idea what I’m doing.

    • I think the really obvious canned ones are tacky, so I wouldn’t worry about it. Plus they’re very obviously sent to every single match that person is interacting with. It’s nice to see somebody’s actually spent some time reading your profile.

    • I made fun of my husband’s profile – seemed to work.

    • Anonymous :

      I asked for their favorite element of the periodic table.

      1. I am a chem major, so it let them know something about me.
      2. I figured out who knew what the periodic table was
      3. I could weed out anyone who thought smart/nerdy women weren’t their thing.
      4. I figured no one else was asking it.

      It turned into an odd sort of psychological test.

    • “Hi how’s your day going?”

      • YMMV but I always hated getting this. I vastly prefer something that mentions something about my profile. I tended to not respond to people unless their message was somehow personalized.

    • I usually started with a specific thing on their profile that caught my interest, typically phrased as, “Hi! When I saw XYZ on your profile, I knew I should drop you a line! :)” Usually they would respond with more detail about the thing I mentioned, or at the very least they would just say, “Oh, why is that?”

      Resist the urge to go into lots of detail in your initial message, like “…I knew I should drop you a line, because I was just in Argentina last summer, and we went to Iguazu Falls too, and the bus trip there was so crazy…”

      I didn’t really like getting cutesy questions because I felt a lot of pressure to think of a clever answer, so I never sent those to people.

    • The worst line I ever got was “I joined this service just so I could meet you, are you flattered enough.?” This was back in the day when you could look for free but had to pay to message.

      It seemed slightly hostile but I met the guy for coffee anyway (my philosophy was, everyone is worth a cup of coffee) and indeed, it was true, but it was also true that he was hostile. Weird, weird encounter.

  18. travel bags :

    Can someone tell me the benefits of a hard-sided suitcase over a soft-sided one? Considering replacing my current beloved soft-sided one as the seams are popping. I figure that wouldn’t happen with a hard-sided one, but I have never used one.

    • I started using the away suitcase (the bigger carryon) after years of travel with various soft sided suitcases, and I’m loving it. It’s very light, and easy to use. I love that I know immediately that it will fit in an overhead- either it does or it doesnt, and there’s no squishing (and eventual damage to a softsided suitcase) to stuff it in. For this particular case, I also really like the perfectly flat top, so that I can rest a bag on top of it, and any scuff marks have just wiped clean.

      The lack of outside pockets doesnt bother me at all, but that might be a consideration for you. My one real downside is the clamshell shape- it takes twice the space to open up on the floor, and is awkward to balance on a luggage rack.

      • Anonymous :

        I also just got the Away and although I like it in general (especially the fact that it charges my phone!!!) I was actually surprised by how easily it scuffs and I haven’t been able to get all the scuff marks off with soap and water.

    • Counterintuitively, hard sided bags are often lighter. You can fit more into them without the sides bulging out and stressing the seams.

      I love my tumi tegra lite. I missed the outside pocket when I first switched to hard side so I bought a newer one that has a slim outer zip pocket and I often shove my laptop in there on my homeward leg. The older model is still going strong for my husband. (Both are tumi tegra lite in case that is not clear)

    • I love my hard-sided roll-aboard. It is quite light and very durable – the seams don’t get stressed and there’s less stress on the zippers, as well, which is where my soft cases always seemed to break first. I don’t worry when I look out the window on the tarmac and see the baggage handlers tossing the bags around roughly. I also just think it looks better – clean lines without any bulges.

    • People who travel in developing countries often prefer hard sided suitcases because they are more difficult to break into. I know someone who travels in Africa quite often and she has seen soft ones slashed open with knives.

    • I like soft sided bags because they’re easier to jam in.

    • Thanks, all!

  19. PSA on skirt link for tomorrow’s suit — the thing that looks like a ruffle is a strip of unhemmed cloth. It looks like a Home Ec fail.

  20. I prefer bags with adjustable straps that are long enough to make it cross body like the Von Baer Business City Leather Laptop Bag.

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