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Kat’s Favorite Accessories of 2014

Corporette-2014-review Like our workwear recommendations, we recommend one accessory appropriate for the office on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. On Mondays I try to pick a budget-friendly piece, and the price rises on Tuesday and Thursday. I generally try to include one shoe and one bag each week, but the third item varies — we’ve done watches, wallets, scarves, hair accessories, office accessories, coats, and more.  These were my favorites of 2014 — if you’re curious for older ones, here were my favorites from 2013, 2012, and 2010.  (We didn’t do year-end roundups in 2011!)

Comments

  1. Idea for a new subscription service :

    Instead of getting a box of thoughtfully-picked out things delivered to me, could I have a service that gives me an empty box each month to fill and ship to them?

    It would be nice if it contained thoughtful advice like:
    That black dress that sits in your closet has sat there for years. Yes, it would be a nice modest humid-weather outfit if you were ever to visit the Vatican again. But, honey, you will not feel so lovely in it and when you go to Italy you will want something that does you more favors than that. It is time for it to find a new home. Ciao.

    • Anonymous :

      Yessssssssssssssssssss. I want this.

    • This is brilliant.

    • My version of that is scheduling charity pickups. No matter how much I tell myself I will change, every single time I end up staying up late, trying to fill up the number of boxes I had agreed to donate.

    • Senior Attorney :

      That’s hilarious. Good thinking!

    • Wildkitten :

      I love to get rid of stuff, and this book has pointed out to me that I should be discarding even more (like buttons I still have from sweaters I no longer own…): http://www.amazon.com/The-Life-Changing-Magic-Tidying-Decluttering/dp/1607747308

      • Late to the party, but thank you for sharing this!

      • Green Skittles :

        I’ve read tons of cleaning and organizing books, and this one is one of my absolute favorites.

    • Thredup(.com) will send you a clean out bag for free and even pay you for sending them your stuff! I tend to hoard anything that fits and that I can conceive of any possible future use for, but getting money out of the deal helps me let go. Try it!

  2. I love this column also, Kat. It is NOT onley the dresse’s that I must wear, but thing’s like belt’s and shoe’s and handbag’s (especialy COACH bag’s). DOUBEL YAY TO YOU AND KATE for keeping us up to speed with these one’s. Just remember to keep p’osting about Coach bags. They are my fave b/c I had those in DC when I first started as a grown up!

    Things are VERY slow here today. I do NOT know who I will be abel to bill my time here today to. I have already maxxed out my hour’s with most cleint’s, and the flow of new case’s is “ebbeing” the manageing partner say’s. I told him that my DAD says with the economy pickeing up, that there will be more peeople working and more peeople trying to fake workeplace injurie’s in order to make WC claim’s. He is already seeing more ad’s on CABLE TV on LI, and he think’s that there are more goldbricks then ever, includeing those that work within the 5 boro’s of NYC, especialy Manhattan, where I get most of my cases! YAY b/c I will need to do 300 more hours in 2015 for a total of 7500 next year. I am already at 7344 this year, even takeing off for a few day’s for the holiday’s, but that is OVER my requirement for 2014, so I will be getting a clotheing bonus that I can use next year! YAY! The manageing partner has NOT yet told me exactely what he is thinkeing of, but he said that he had consulted with my dad and the judge b/f comeing up with my suprize! DOUBEL YAY!

    If Onley I could be so lucky with other men MY age! It seem’s that men who realy want to do thing’s for me are old enough to be my dad (or older). Where are the 30 something’s I keep watcheing on TV? Why dont they show up and ask me to MARRY them? At this point I would consider a computer geek, as long as he made alot of money and would be willing to support me and our children in a home in Chapaqua near Rosa.

    I am still excerciseing my tuchus off, walkeing into work even tho its cold outside. Dad is happy b/c he is abel to see my walkeing pattern’s and he knows I am trying to get my tuchus down to a size 0 again, but that is VERY tough for me b/c I do NOT have a personal trainer like Rosa, and the onley guy’s in the gym that ooogle me are guy’s that think the best excercise is SEX and therefore just want to grunt at me and then have sex with me. FOOEY on that!

    Anyway, I have to get to work on findeing new cleint’s so that I can keep my billeings up for 2015! YAY!!!

  3. Salary negotiations :

    I posted yesterday about negotiating for the first time. Thanks to all for responses. A couple of people and the links provided talked about asking for considerably more than my goal in order to reach a “compromise” that’s close to what I want. I’m in government, and this job I’m thinking about accepting is capped at a grade that’s lower than where I should be on the scale. For a number of good reasons I don’t feel comfortable sharing, I think it’s a good career move to take the job anyway. The issue is that the cap is actually my goal, and I can make an excellent case for it. It seems not reasonable to ask for something higher that isn’t actually authorized to be offered to anyone in this position- fiscal environment and all. Do I just ask for the cap, hope I get it, and expect to get something a bit lower? Or do I ask for something I know is unreasonable and we’ve discussed as such in order to make getting the max salary most likely?

    • Anonymous :

      I think it being a set salary governed job makes it a completely different calculation. I wouldn’t rely on any advice you got when people didn’t know that part.

      I think asking for more than the cap will look out of touch. How far down is it? Are they aware that you’re stepping down?

      • Agree

      • Anonymous :

        That’s what I’m worried about- seeming out of touch or unreasonable. It’s far enough down to be problematic, and they are aware of it.

        After talking to a lot of people -including HR people-a round here yesterday, it does seem that a lot of things about salary negotiations are transferrable to government- there just tend to be more (and particular) parameters than one would find elsewhere. As far as I can tell, much of your advice was still quite helpful. Is there any reason to think that government vs. private should change the words I use to suggest a higher salary?

        • Yes. Because you know exactly the parameters they are working with. That makes it a completely different playing field. Why, knowing that you’re already taking a big step down, didn’t they offer more to begin with? I don’t think it’s appropriate to ask for more than the cap here. Just make a case of why you should get it.

    • Government capped salary is a totally different ballgame. For the federal system – and I’m guessing a lot of states are set up the same way – each GS level corresponds with certain education, skill, or experience requirements. You need to make the case that you meet those requirements to get the top of the salary scale. If they don’t budge from something lower, I think you can try to negotiate how fast you can move up the ladder – e.g., you’ll make the higher salary after a 1-year probation period or something like that.

      • Agree with this.

        If you are going in as “less than,” it would be important to have your reports on board with recognizing this and having a plan for moving you up (or an expectation for how moving up will occur). I know that for the fed job I had wanted, no one ever got hired in as anything but a GS-12 (even if they could have been a 14) and that’s just how it went. If someone demanded a 14 or even mentioned it, it would have been seen as entitled and/or out of touch. To get in the door, you needed to go as a 12. But then you wanted a plan for advancement, whether you’d be detailed anywhere interesting, what your portfolio of work would be.

        I never went (thanks, hiring freeze) but wanted to badly for long-term career advancement.

      • Salary negotiations :

        Yes I’m aware of that, and I far exceed the education/skill/experience requirements for the cap, and I can make that case quite easily. The question lies in my expectation that they are almost certainly going to counter with something lower regardless, and I’m attempting to determine how to (or whether I can at all) factor that into my approach. I suspect that this is one of those parameters I mentioned that differ from private sector, and if I get offered something lower I’ll have to decide to take it or move on instead to starting with something that’s higher than my target as has been suggested.

        • Spirograph :

          I’m assuming this is a position with a GS + step pay scale or similar. If so, it might be helpful to think of it as negotiating your step rather than your salary, and phrase your counteroffer in those terms. If the position is open to two different GS levels and they offered you the lower one, definitely express that your experience warrants the higher level. I also know several people who used their current private sector salary as a negotiating tool – ie, submitted a paystub and the government office matched it or got as close as they could within the salary limits.

          As far as I understand, you can’t speed up your step promotions much once you’ve started, even if your work is stellar, so definitely get as much as you can from the outset.

          • I used my private sector salary to negotiate a higher step than I was initially offered for my government job. It was still within the range for the position, though.

            And this – you can’t speed up your step promotions much once you’ve started – I am finding to be very true. I wish I had pressed to start at an even higher step. Pretty much the only way for me to get a serious jump in salary now is to find another position. So, I think there’s nothing wrong with trying to negotiate to the top of the cap, in a respectful way. I also think it’s possible to negotiate a quicker move up the ladder, but I do think you have to negotiate this before you start.

        • I think it’s a bit unrealistic to think you can change the grade or get a salary at the top of the grade. I’d see if there’s a little more they can offer you but if it’s not to your liking, I’d move on and look elsewhere.

    • I would also spend some time on legistorm (assuming this is a fed position) to check out the range of salaries for people with this job (assuming that you are not the only one with this title.) I think this would give you a good “feel” for where the salaries are in your agency. Then I would check out the resumes of people who have salaries close to what you want and then use that as talking points as to why you deserve that salary.

      Unless this job is to do something specifically cool with either a really cool person that you think could open new doors for you or that manages a project with discreet deliverables you can claim as your own, I would be very hesitant to move drastically down in pay. Govt pegs you in ways that the private sector does not since salaries are so transparent and it’s just such a different situation, particularly in these bad budget climates.

    • lucy stone :

      I negotiate salaries with entering local government employees all the time. We are bound by our grade and step system. Where we can be flexible is PTO. Are you open to asking for more PTO?

  4. Similar to the above: Any tips for negotiating a salary increase when moving to a much higher COL city for the same company? Think southern city to NYC or San Francisco. I would be doing the same work. I really want to move cities, and my company has expressed that they’d like to have me there too.

    • Large companies with multiple locations typically would have a COL adjustment that HR is aware of, but that is not widely disseminated. I would just straight out ask for a COL salary adjustment. Sometimes whether they award it depends on who initiated the move, so if you asked for the move then be aware that you have less negotiating leverage. Moving expenses (or a fixed sum) are another thing you could request, but again I’ve typically seen this paid out when the company asks you to move.

      • My company also has standard COL increases. Not sure if they would offer it by default or if you’d have to ask, but I want to say that several years ago it was something like 13% for NYC, 11% for San Fran, etc. If you have numbers to back up something higher than that, you could always ask for more, but they may not be able to go above a certain cap. I think you’d just ask when you are ironing out the details with HR, unless your move would be contingent on an increase, then I’d bring it up ASAP.

    • If you’re doing the exact same work with no additional skills or qualifications, it would be a hard sell to get an actual raise. You’d have to go with, “I really want to take this position, will there be a cost of living adjustment or any relocation assistance available?”

      Not sure about your industry but when I was looking for engineering jobs right out of school I saw no correlation between COL and salary. Not sure if this is true, but I think sometimes higher salaries get paid in less desirable locations (middle of nowhere Louisiana, for example) where actually you’d expect a lower COL as a way to lure people there from the cities.

      • Agree. It’s easier to find staff in bigger cities, so more rural areas sometimes need to pay better to keep good employees.

      • My company’s baseline is X. Cities in that base range include Denver, Baltimore, Atlanta, Chicago (suburbs- not downtown) and Boston. We have an office in the greater NYC area (in Jersey) and in Orange County, CA; COLA adjustment for those two cities is X+3%. We have Pheonix, St. Louis, Boise and Memphis offices- those are $x-3%. I can tell you…the COL in Atlanta and Boston are not equal; nor is it 6% different between Phoenix and NYC (ish).

        I live in one of the more expensive areas and my peers (and reports) in the lower COLA offices live like kings/queens.

        • This is one of the reasons I didn’t relocate to Boston for work, even if it would be better for my career prospects. In other office locations, I know young families very similar to ours on the coasts struggling to pay for a condo or a small house and those of us in the dreaded flyover states can easily afford a nice large house in the suburbs with a 20-30 minute commute into the city. The increase in pay would have to be substantially more than they’d be willing to give me to not take a serious downgrade in our [not very high] standards of living.

  5. Shopping help!

    I recently sold a few of my bags and want to use the money to invest in a classic, timeless, quality piece. I’m thinking brown but potentially gray. I got $800 from selling my purses so I’d like to keep it around there.

    Thanks ladies!

  6. Rogue Banker :

    I’d almost forgotten how much I want those Charlotte Olympia pumps… alas, maybe for my birthday. :P

    What are the Hive’s New Year’s resolutions? Mine’s pretty straight-forward this year – 13 lbs down, 72 to go to get back to my high school weight. Finally gonna get it done this time!

    • Boston Legal Eagle :

      My resolutions for the year are to pay off the bulk of my student loans by the end of this year and to cut cable. Waiting on HBO to offer its subscription-only service…

      • Just drop cable. Join Amazon prime and get most of the older HBO shows with that. You can check out the rest from your local library, or pay for them via prime if you just can’t wait….

        You can do it!! You will feel so much better when you do.

      • My Comcast service has an Internet Plus option – basically I get internet access and can add an HBO subscription for an add’l monthly charge ($10/mth). I can also add Starz and Showtime for a charge each. I think I technically have basic cable plus HBO, but its as close as I’ve found to stand alone HBO.

        They set you up with a receiver, but since HBO is compatible with Chromecast, I just use that (gets me HD picture without paying for an HD receiver).

        • Boston Legal Eagle :

          Thanks! You both are inspiring me to do this sooner rather than later. I have Comcast too, I’ll have too check on that Internet Plus option.

        • I tried to change to an Internet Plus option (which sounded perfect!) and the rep on the phone pretended not to know what I was talking about. Good luck!

          • I totally did the change online. I think I ended up having to call into customer service to finalize, but by then the order was already in the queue so they had to go with it. I do recall having to correct the pricing/terms – so definitely watch that.

    • My resolution is to read for pleasure more. I stopped reading for pleasure except on vacations five years ago (when I started law school) because I was/am so fatigued from reading for my job all day. But I really miss it and don’t like that I’m defaulting to TV every night for entertainment.

      • anon a mouse :

        I had a similar resolution a few years ago. I forced myself to go to bed at a set time every night, and then read in bed until I got tired. Some nights I read a book and others just flipped through a magazine, but now I really need that quiet non-screen time to help wind down.

      • I love this resolution! I want this to be one of mine as well!

      • I read a lot for pleasure, but in the past I’ve made the following book-related resolutions which some people might find helpful

        1. Read 100 books in the calendar year
        2. Make sure at least 75% of the books I read are new-to-me
        3. Make sure at least 20% of the books I read are by people of color (I know, this should be higher)
        4. Read at least 5 works of literary fiction/mysteries/other genre I don’t typically read

        For me reading serves much the same function that TV or movies seem to do for other people, so I find myself frequently rereading books that I know will be relaxing. But I like to branch out and try new things as well, which the resolutions help with.

      • Ugh this was one of mine this year and I failed. I blame work and Twitter.

    • Diana Barry :

      Figure out a way to get more exercise while still getting enough sleep.

      • Please post back if you figure it out :)

        • Agreed. Exercise without further sleep deprivation feels like the magical unicorn of FT work + multiple kids.

          • hoola hoopa :

            Yes! Add not reducing time with kids to the list.

            It’s on my list for 2015, too, though.

            Also, increase retirement savings.

      • Get a little eliptical thingy for under your desk so you can work/exercise during the day and use nights exclusively for sleeeeeping?

    • Clementine :

      Be kinder and more forgiving to myself.

      • +1. Trying to let go of stress about things I can’t change instead of letting it take over and damage my relationships.

      • For the past few months, I’ve been saying no to guilt. Every time guilty thoughts creep into my mind, I whisper, “no guilt” and re-direct my thoughts to a handful of stock thoughts, which include thinking about my favorite characters from a book, my favorite scenes in my favorite movie, and trying to think of the next chapter of the book I’m mentally writing. I think this will be my New Year resolution.

    • Go to more museums, movies, and theatre.

    • To finally sort through “the piles”, and put them away….

      And to hire a cleaning service, after the piles are gone…. as my reward!

      • Ok, so that was my goal forever too. And then I just hired a cleaning service before doing the piles and it was magic. She did some reorg, but mainly just having everything spotless made the piles so much easier to tackle.

    • Run a half-marathon. I’d love to drop some weight in the process (as always), but this year my goal is to focus on what my body can do rather than fighting with what it looks like.

      • Clementine :

        I would highly recommend the Hal Higdon training plans. They’re free and online. I used a modified version to train for a half and his Novice 2 version to train for a marathon this year.

        And I’ll tell you- I may have lost exactly one (ONE) pound running (yes, I was counting calories as well, no I was no overcompensating for exercise, yes I am totally serious that running 40 miles a week I didn’t lose any more) but I feel strong and look absolutely great nak3d.

        • Thanks. His plans definitely have some good suggestions for cross-training and the weekly mileages line up with the plan I am using now. I think adding in some strength and flexibility work will help with the injury prevention.
          Now that the holidays are winding down, I’m going to review my diet and make sure I am getting enough of each macro. I wake up hungry at night which isn’t fun. I have already learned that I can’t drink much or the next day’s workout will be sub-par.

          • Wildkitten :

            I lost weight with a half. I think it’s harder to lose weight for a full.

          • I am also running a half marathon this year and using a Hal Higdon plan. I too, would like to drop a few pounds, and while running doesn’t help the scale move much in my case, I miss the confidence I had when I was running more. Just knowing I was “strong” helped me carry myself better. Good luck with your training!

    • Go to bed earlier. (And get up earlier, too).

    • Senior Attorney :

      Get the house project finished.
      Figure out the budget for “the new normal” after completion of the house project, and stick to it.
      Increase gym time from average 2-3x/week to average 4-5x/week.
      Read more books.
      Don’t screw things up with New Guy. ;)

    • Stop spending money on stuff I don’t need. I used to be in the habit where every time I resisted my urge to buy something that I wanted, but didn’t really need, I would put the same sum of money into my savings account. It added up quickly!

    • Jenna Rink :

      I like to set a theme for the year that sets the tone for a number of goals. 2015’s theme is to nurture myself. I’m dealing with some burnout at work, and I think that if I focus on taking care of myself outside of work a lot of the work issues will resolve themselves. Goals from that theme will include things like averaging 8 hours of sleep a night, meal planning for both dinners and packed lunches weekly so that I don’t end up eating takeout all the time, training for my first half marathon, setting a better weekend routine so that I get the chores out of the way early, and prioritizing my hobbies. I have a goal journal where I write out my goals for the year and do checkins every few months (which includes adjusting goals if they aren’t working for me). I also set goals at the beginning of each month – some that relate to my yearly goals and some that stand on their own. I started doing this a few years ago and it really works for me. I don’t succeed at all my goals, but it gives me a direction to work in and some accountability. It also helps me see patterns in terms of productive times and times when I need to give myself a break.

      • I love this goal journal idea. I think that’s super neat.

      • Anonymous :

        I do the same w/r/t the journal. I’ll also note how I’m doing at 6 months and 1 year. If I don’t meet the goal, I’ll write down what is causing the problem and brainstorm ideas to re-work the goal. For example, I know that a goal of loss 10 lbs doesn’t work for me. But Ia goal of work out 30 minutes a day for 3 days a week does

    • I don’t usually have resolutions or set an annual theme for myself, but I am for this year.
      The theme is “Open Space”.
      This means creating open space in my closet and in my heart, clarity in my mind, uncluttering my home, creating time to do things that are meaningful to me and freeing myself from negative things. I just feel generally so *cluttered* these days and need to do something about it.

    • Wildkitten :

      Pay off my credit cards.
      Run a marathon.

      And like 20 other smaller ones. I use New Years as a time to clear out my old “to do” list and make my new one.

    • Become more organized overall, which will hopefully lead to: 1) Getting more sleep; 2) Going to the gym more consistently and seeing more consistent gains 3) Eating at home (and therefore healthier) more often; and 4) spending more time focusing on my hobbies and waste less time playing games on my phone.

    • Go to the gym more than 1x per week. To do this, I have to wake up with my SO who works a 6-3 shift (wake up = 5AM). Woof.

      Make my actual spending look more like what I told Mint my “budgets” are. I should have a ton of money left over at the end of each month, yet it’s mysteriously not there (I know exactly where it went, so it’s not really mysterious).

      Eat healthier. I usually “eat healthier” by getting sushi for dinner. But, see resolution #2, supra.

      • I cured a lot of this in the last few years by automating transfers into a savings account on payday. When I check my balances and realize I’m approaching the line where whats in my account won’t cover my credit card, it’s the optional stuff that mysteriously disappears rather than the savings.

    • My big resolution is to get back to the region of the country my family is in.
      I moved to the east coast after college (kind of on a whim) to live with my sister, but now she is moving to West Coast. This holiday season it was so obvious how much time with family I’ve been sacrificing because it’s so expensive and time-consuming to fly back and forth. My job is fine, my friends here are fine, but I’ve never really felt at home in DC and I want to be in a city I can picture myself in long-term. I also am not in a relationship but would eventually like to be, and I think part of the problem is the itch to be somewhere else without a defined timeline.
      Since I prefer smaller goals to big nebulous ones: my resolution is to apply to one job a week in cities I’m interested in, and (even if I don’t get interviews) take some vacations to those cities and get a better feel for them.

    • I’ve tracked mine for the past 10 years now. I accomplish about half of them each year (and those change each year) but those other half are always the same. Read more for pleasure (I’ve read maybe 3 books since law school for pleasure?). Get to places on time. Be more patient (helps when I am not always late). Keep a budget.

      Maybe I can be hypnotized…

      I did get rid of my button down shirts as previously promised. Most of them…

  7. Bonus/Retirement Question :

    For those fortunate enough to get a bonus (of any size) this year I need some advice.

    I’m inclined to turn off my 401k contribution for the check that will include the bonus. I’m saving for a down payment and a car upgrade, so I feel that that cash in my pocket today is more valuable than in my 401k. The contribution could be as much as a couple grand, so it’s impact in my pocket today would be felt. Generally speaking, I am a saver and contribute to my retirement (401k and IRA) religiously. I am in my late 20s.

    Thoughts?

    • Don’t do it. Your 65 year old self will also like having a nice car and a nice place to live and will be thanking you.

    • It sounds like you’re at least a few thousand from maxing out your 401K for this year? I think the more conservative option is to max out 401K first, especially if your home purchase is at least a few months away & your current car is functioning. Car upgrade should probably be priority #3 if your current car is functioning.

      How about splitting the amount between downpayment & 401K?

      ETA: Anonymous above says what I probably should have said in a pithier & more clever manner! :)

    • Boston Legal Eagle :

      It’s my understanding that bonus checks are usually separate from regular paychecks and are not part of 401k contributions (although you still pay the regular taxes on these bonuses) At least, that has been my experience. In any case, the couple of grand now will still be more in the future thanks to the lovely compounding interest feature – how about splitting half for retirement contributions (e.g. IRA) and half for down payment/car saving?

      • I think whether 401K elections apply automatically is plan/employer specific — one firm I worked at automatically applied your 401K contribution rate to bonus; the other firm gave you an opportunity to elect to do so or not, and I believe you affirmatively had to choose to have anything taken out.

        • This has also been my experience at different firms–one automatically applied the election in force for regular paychecks and processed so quickly that you didn’t have time to change it unless you had inside info one day prior to bonuses dropping, the other sent payroll around to check with each person if they wanted a different percentage.

      • My 401K was automatically deducted percentage wise from my bonus. I didn’t know I could change it. I know a couple of people change their tax status for December so the bonus doesn’t get eaten by taxes and then they do not get a refund. I just went through the same thing with a car and my first inclination was to pay off the car loan first. But after further review, it wouldn’t lower my insurance by very much and I have other debt that has a much higher rate (credit union car loan rate is pretty low). Also, if some idiot hits you, you’ll just lose that money.

        Don’t change the 401K, save 10% in regular savings, put the rest toward car savings and other debt and do one nice thing for yourself.

    • Spirograph :

      My first thought is: it never occurred to me that my bonus would be figured in for my 401k contribution (I just checked, and of course it is. My bonuses are just too small for me to notice).

      To your question, though, that sounds like a reasonable plan to me IF you will still max your pretax 401k contribution for the year. If not, remember that (if you’re in the US) your bonus is probably taxed at 25%, so you’re paying a substantial amount in taxes to have some money now instead of shielding it and having more (+its growth) later.

    • I wouldn’t turn it off if your employer matches – make sure you still contribute up to the match amount because that will be a significant extra chunk of 401K money from your employer.

      Other than that, you do you. Are you still maxing out?

    • Hate to say it, but max out your 401(k). Use your bonus to do this if you’re far off – you can put the max percentage for just that paycheck as high as you want, I think (as long as it won’t cause your 401(k) to go over the max).

      Next year, just set up your contributions so that by December, you’ve hit your max and any bonus will feel like it goes straight to your pocket! (even though you’re really just saving earlier in the year). I did that this year and it was so nice to see the extra money at Christmas!

  8. Blonde Lawyer :

    Quick privacy PSA related to my SoFi guest post. SoFi recently changed their widget where users can track referrals. In the past there would just be a transaction number and I could see that (made up numbers) 50 people had clicked on my link and 20 had registered and 2 had approved apps, etc, but it was all anonymous. They now have an upgraded widget and instead of just transaction numbers, I am now seeing the email addresses of the people that have used the link. Because I share my link in a lot of venues, it is still rather anonymous to me. I can’t say oh, “Julie Sue is from this blog.” However, if someone else just shares it in one locale, they are likely to be able to identify members. I think this is a privacy issue particularly where many people use their real names in their email addresses. It makes me concerned about other referral links I have used in the past like to get a credit card. Obviously, I’m just a person so I’m not gathering the data and selling it. But I have used links to get credit cards from finance blogs where I could see that business aggregating email addresses and selling them (assuming there is a market for that). I’ll be emailing SoFi that I’m not a fan of the change but also wanted to let you all know as a PSA. I had no idea that when I used referral links, the person who referred me could be getting information about me aside from a commission.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I posted this on another forum and other people don’t have the same new widget I have and are likewise appalled I would have such info. Since it seems like it is just me there is a chance this is a fluke and not a system wide change. I’ll let you know what I hear from SoFi.

  9. starting IVF :

    I’m starting IVF stim next week and these slow days at the office are giving me more than enough time to think about it. I generally panic with needles and other medical things, so I’m planning to have my husband do the injections (I will only be doing the subcue injections).

    Can anyone weigh in on whether this is a good idea? I’m wondering if it’s better to be able to turn away or if I’d feel better to be in control?

    Any other advice for getting through what I’m assuming will be an intense few weeks with as little (physical and emotional) pain as possible?

    Thank you!

    • (former) preg 3L :

      No advice but big hugs!

    • I’m doing injections through my current pregnancy for different reasons (not an IVF baby) but it’s the same general concept. I like having my husband do the injections. It’s quick, easy and doesn’t require much forethought. We have it in our calendars, our phones ding with the reminder, he preps the shot and does it. Takes a few minutes total. I usually get a little antsy in the 30 seconds right before he does the injection, but that’s it. Also, he helps me focus on why we’re doing the injections. As in: “Breathe. This is worth it for a healthy pregnancy. I’ll be quick.” Jab. All over. Hug.

      On the other hand, my sister did all of her own injections for 3 IVF pregnancies and wouldn’t have it any other way. So it’s doable. But after sitting through her tutorial, I decided I wasn’t stoic enough and would be happier relinquishing control to my husband.

      Good luck!

      • Diana Barry :

        I had to have injections every day for my 3 pregnancies. I did them myself. But as a caveat, I am not at all squeamish.

    • I think once you start getting the injections regularly, you’ll find what’s good for you. I don’t like needles either, but I have to take a shot weekly that I can now administer myself. After doing this for seven years, I still get nervous, but my tolerance has built up a bit. Good luck!

    • I’d say try doing it yourself at the office with the nurse there watching/helping you the first time. If you really, really can’t do it, ask DH to.

    • No advice but hugs. And a funny (or not) office story. A former boss was doing injections to be a surrogate and her husband didn’t want to give the shots. So she had her direct-report (my peer) do them every morning in her office! And my kids always wondered why I didn’t find “The Office” to be a funny TV show – too close to reality!

    • Good luck! I’ve done IVF once before, too, and it really isn’t nearly as scary as you’re probably imagining it to be. The emotional side varies, depending on your circumstances, of course, but the needles aren’t that bad. I did all of mine myself except for the final trigger shot (because that was in my arm and hard to reach). My husband offered to do the other ones but was a bit of a “‘fraidy cat” so I preferred to keep doing it myself rather than have him do it nervously. I’m kind of mixed on what I would do a second time around (now that he’s done the HCG shot at the end). I trusted myself to do it quickly and at a straight angle, but it was also really hard (surprisingly hard) to just push it in sometimes. It’s like your body knows it’s going to hurt so every time was a little bit harder for me. It’s just sort of against human nature to want to give yourself an injection, even if there’s not much pain at all.

      If I were you, I’d do the first one myself and see how I felt. The follistim ones (from the pen) are really easy to do. Menopur and Ganirelix sting a bit more but aren’t bad either. Finally, I accidentally injected into a tiny vein once and freaked out–turns out that that really isn’t the big deal that you’d think it was, though I had a huge bruise.

      My only other advice would be to ask your doctor exactly what area to inject into and what parts to avoid (near belly button) so that you know what you’re working with and then have a system for rotating around your belly. By the end, I had so many small bruises and sore spots that I’d wished I’d had a system to space them out better. It really isn’t that bad, just not super pretty–especially when you start feeling bloated. Also, I would really be religious about doing the 3…2…1 method and inject on 1 no matter what. I did a lot of “2 and 1/2…2 and 3/4…” and that just drags it out.

      As for the retrieval, everyone’s experiences will surely differ and I only had 7 eggs to extract (which may mean less pain), but I was shocked at how easy it was. I felt some mild cramping (not even as bad as a period) and then felt groggy from the anesthesia. I felt 100% fine by the end of the day. Maybe took a few advil, but that was it.

      Good luck! I know this seems scary!

      • Thanks to everyone who has replied — it makes it better to feel (in additional to knowing it intellectually) that I’m not the only one who has been in this position, and it sounds like you all have handled it well!

        Really appreciate it, and would welcome any other responses!

        • Another IVFer :

          Cheers! I am starting stims tomorrow for my second round of IVF. My husband is scared of needles so I did the injections myself, which I actually really liked. I would get up, grab the pen from the fridge, put it on the bathroom counter, shower, then do my injection on the clean skin right away. Took almost no time and, after the first time, didn’t feel like a big deal.

          That said, I only did self-injections for the gonal-f, which came in a pen. I’m doing this in Germany, where they favor suppositories or long-lasting injections (like one injection of Decapeptyl that lasts three months rather than daily Lupron injections), so there aren’t any other meds for me to inject. If it wasn’t in a pen, or the needle were much thicker, or if I needed to inject in a more awkward place than my belly fat, I would probably feel differently.

          Best of luck to you- drink a lot of water and plan a lot of self-care. When I’m doing a cycle I think of taking care of myself as my “second job,” and I basically do nothing but work and self-pampering.

          • Another IVFer :

            And for that “alone in this” feeling, I really recommend alittlepregnant.com and her IVF archives (starting here: http://www.alittlepregnant.com/alittlepregnant/2003/03/the_story_so_fa.html) . She is a hilarious and eloquent writer, and the comments are pretty good too.

    • I went through this last year. Emotionally it was worse than physically, despite a distaste for needles. I ended up doing the injections myself, but had my husband help with prep and laying everything out so he still felt involved. There were one or two nights he wasn’t able to be there so I thought it was best to learn to do it myself. The first time was definitely the hardest but it got routine soon enough. I had ice on hand to numb the area and a relaxing play list to help relax.
      It’s not fun, but you can do this! I’m now writing this while nursing my baby twins

    • For the first few rounds, I had DH do my shots. By the end, I preferred to do the stomach ones myself but he did the butt ones.

    • I do my own allergy shot injections in my butt. I’m not usually bothered by needles but it freaked me out at first and I had someone else do them. Once you get used to where to stick it, it’s not so painful. What freaked me out once I switched to doing my own was you have to stick it in and then you can’t look away! But I am over it now. It’s up to you!

  10. (former) preg 3L :

    No one seems to be over on the moms page today, so if this mom post is going to offend, please skip!

    Looks like I’m going to have to wean soon. I’m not happy about this but also not devastated. I plan to wean myself off my pump and continue nursing in the mornings as long as my body will allow. Baby is almost 11 months. I firmly believe she has a dairy allergy and will have her tested as soon as her pediatrician allows me to, so I guess we’ll do unsweetened soy milk instead of cows milk once she’s done with formula? I’m a little nervous about making the leap from pumping to not pumping — any advice? I currently pump 2x/day. Just cut down to once/day for a week and then be done pumping? Also, any advice about my changing br@ size? At what point do I invest in yet another size? (Now, 3 months from now, 6 months from now, etc.?) TIA!

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I’m not a doctor or a mom but I want to commend you for trusting your gut regarding allergies/intolerances. I unfortunately have many and only a couple can be definitively documented by traditional medical means. I have been tested (via skin prick) for my strawberry allergy and tested negative yet every single time I eat one I get hives. Even if it can’t be considered a “real” allergy, I prefer to avoid hives so I don’t eat strawberries. Same issue with gluten. I don’t test positive for Celiac but when I’m gluten free my pain and bloat go away and my Crohn’s goes into remission.

      The best part of becoming an adult was getting to make the choice to stop eating things that made me sick. My parents were more of the mindset that unless the doctor said I should avoid it, there was no point and it couldn’t be making me sick. I saw correlations in my own body that my doctors couldn’t explain. Obviously with kids and drastic diet changes you should listen to what your pediatrician has to say because there are huge ramifications but I learned the tests do not always equal my realty.

      • (former) preg 3L :

        Thanks for this, Blonde Lawyer. That’s such a good point that even the tests might not be accurate. My biggest issue right now is that nobody believes me about Baby’s dairy intolerance — daycare and her father continue to give her dairy! Drives me crazy! It makes her so fussy and everyone says it’s just in my head. Grrr. /endrant

    • I think your approach would work. Just follow your body’s lead and take the time it needs. Kellymom probably has some advice of lessening any discomfort associated with dropping a feeding/pumping session. FWIW, my band size never went back to its pre-pregnancy size so I’d hold off on spending a fortune on bras until you know.

    • Can’t help with the food allergies, but can with weaning / pumping.

      The first thing I did before dropping a pumping session was to stop pumping to empty. So if I had pumped for 10 minutes, I’d pump for 7 and a while. It’s tricky when you then drop a session, but pumping less simulates demanding less (while making you less about-to-pop or leak). It’s a tricky balance, but I used to pump 3x at work and once before going to bed to take the pressure off (I am tiny, even nursing) and this helped get down to zero in about 2 weeks (at that point, it was 2 pumping sessions in the day, then, 1; and the third and night pumpings got dropped prior to starting the official wind-down).

    • Disclaimer: not a doctor, but a mom who has done some research. I would be wary of giving that much soy milk to a baby, i.e., more than a serving or two a day. You might want to try goats milk (which I’ve seen at Trader Joes) — apparently that was the old-fashioned solution to baby lactose intolerance. Or consider the formula intended for kids over 1. I’ve never used it, but it might be worth a discussion with the pediatrician.

      • (former) preg 3L :

        Awesome; thank you so much for the suggestions!

        • If you think it’s lactose intolerance rather than a dairy allergy, maybe you can convince them to buy lactaid milk? Then you both win until it’s tested. However, it is extremely unlikely for a child who is less than a year old and still not weaned to be lactose intolerant. It’s something that is typically developed when a child is older, usually 2 at the earliest, and even later for Caucasians. Breast milk has more lactose in it than cow’s milk.

      • SoCalAtty :

        I’ll second that. Do your research but I have read that soy isn’t a great idea. There is a product called Fortisips that has an infant line, that works, and you could go with the goat’s milk, or maybe even almond or coconut milk?

    • It sounds like lactose intolerance and not an actual dairy allergy, which can be much more serious. I’d ask her doctor about what she should drink if she’s not having cow’s milk. Also, sometimes you can have an intolerance for drinking plain milk but still be okay with dairy products like yogurt or cheese, which could be an option for her if she can handle those.

      As for weaning off the pump… you could just shorten the amount of time you pump, and/or stretch out time between pumping sessions, whatever is more comfortable for you. I didn’t really have much discomfort when I stopped pumping at around the same age, since they are eating so much food at that point. As far as bra size, everyone is different but I’d guess after a couple months there wouldn’t be too many more changes.

    • Manhattanite :

      I had to wean at about 11 months when I was prepping to go to trial and my DD suddenly refused to nurse. I followed kellymom and slowly reduced the frequency and amount I pumped. Make sure to pump when you are truly uncomfortable or feel like you’re getting a clogged duct.

      My DD has multiple food allergies, including dairy. We got her on soy formula at 11 months and them soy milk a 2-3 months later. I was concerned she wasn’t going to get enough fat in her diet from soy milk, so when we put her on soy milk, I tried to get a lot sunbutter and avocado in her. For soy milk, silk makes a calcium enriched, unsweetened one that’s available both refrigerated and shelf stable.

      Be careful removing all diary from your child’s diet without real cause. It is possible that without the challenge of lactose, a person can stop producing the necessary enzyme.

      • Manhattanite :

        Also, invest in one or two new bras soon. It’ll make you feel wonderful. I settled into my regular size pretty fast after I finished weaning. Like days.

    • The biggest thing that helped me as I weaned was to do it SLOWLY. Do a step approach. Reduce the time you pump, then when you feel comfortable, drop one pumping session, then the second, then nurse in the morning for as long as you and baby feel comfortable and follow her cues as she loses interest or gets distracted (i.e. if she forgets one day, let it go).
      If you have multiple nursing sessions, drop the one that baby is least interested in first. Bedtime or morning time tend to be the last to go for most moms I know, but in the evening the baby is often distracted or energetic and less interested.
      This approach (rather than sticking to any kind of timetable) helped to reduce the stress and pressure, and also helps your body adjust to the reduced demand on its own schedule, which prevents mastitis and other issues.
      Also, you may find that once you drop pumping, you enjoy the morning nursing sessions and let that go on for several months more than you intended. That’s fine too.
      Kellymom is the best resource on all things lactation related that I know of.

    • I pumped for both my kids until 12 months. They both nursed when I was not at work for a while longer and I think because of this my milk production adjusted easily to no more pumping. I did wear breast pads to work for a little while because at first it caused some leaking, but I was never uncomfortable. I would just see how your body reacts and if you need to continue pumping once a day for a week or so then do that.

    • marketingchic :

      I would get your baby allergy tested sooner than later – maybe look for a pediatric allergist. One of my kids was tested at 13 months. I was later convinced my second child also had food allergies around that age, but testing proved otherwise and she’s since outgrown the symptoms that concerned me. I guess what I’m saying is trust your gut, but back it up with data.

      I also recommend finding a support group (I’m in a local Facebook food allergy group)- other parents can be really good resources.

      • (former) preg 3L :

        Yep I plan to get her tested asap, but the pediatrician said I have to wait til she’s 12 months!

    • hoola hoopa :

      Weaning: I’ve done both gradual and cold-turkey approaches. Both had their pros/cons, so I’d do whatever jives with you in the moment. Briefly, cold turkey is short-term pain and gradual is longer-term inconvenience and discomfort. If you do cold turkey, wear a tight sports bra and have lots of pads on hand. IME, it’s a good idea to do the same with gradual. My bra size has adjusted quite quickly – within a month?

      Dairy allergy: First off, straighten out whether it’s cow milk allergy (protein) or lactose intolerance (carbohydrate). If it’s protein allergy, then goat products are a great substitute since the proteins are different and often people are not allergic to both. A bit harder to find and more expensive, but nutritionally comparable and tasty. If it’s lactose intolerance, you may be able to just buy lactose-free milk (not 100% lactose-free, but often tolerable). If that’s not tolerable, then goat milk will not be a viable option because while the protein is different, the lactose is not. If you know baby’s nut-allergy status, then I’d strongly consider almond milk. Soy has some scary stuff on the internet but medical/chemistry friends have told me that it’s not really anything concerning if baby is eating table foods (ie, soy is not their sole diet). Either almond or soy would get around both allergy/intolerance issues.

      One of mine was both cow allergic and lactose intolerant, so we used goat kefir for baking, goat yogurt for eating, and rice milk for cereal/oatmeal (nutritionally it’s useless but she’s allergic to most nuts and didn’t like soy), and water for drinking. We focused on getting her calcium and fat through other foods. Thankfully she was able to gradually increase her lactose (she’s now 5 yrs) and her allergy seems to have diminished with age (not uncommon) so we’ve been able to integrate more and more cow milk and regular milk options. Starting cow milk in baked goods is a good approach. Note that some lactose-intolerant people find yogurt easier and others harder – full fat versions will have lower lactose proportions, so choose those.

      • (former) preg 3L :

        Thanks for this lengthy explanation! I firmly believe the problem is the cow’s milk protein, not lactose, but we will have to figure it out. She’s only 11 months.

        • hoola hoopa :

          Trust your gut. I’m not discouraging testing via skin, blood, or elimination diets (for dairy, we found elimination diet most helpful fwiw), but for whatever reason it was really challenging to get people – even our trustworthy pedis – to accept that she was allergic to cow milk. It was like they thought we were making it up because it wasn’t sending her to the ER. IME cow milk allergy doesn’t have much awareness and people assume/confuse you mean lactose intolerance or dismiss all together.

          FYI if your daycare uses the USDA program: I found it easier to just send our milk substitute and let them count her as a milk drinker because the process of getting an exception was a total PITA in practice and I didn’t want to screw my daycare provider. Apparently they won’t reimburse at all if milk isn’t served.

    • Wildkitten :

      I normally spend like $80 on [email protected] at Bloomingdales, but I recently purchased some $20 ones at Target. I was pleasantly surprised at their support and comfort. I’m sure they won’t last as long, but since you might be changing sizes, I would suggest checking out Target.

    • Anonymous :

      I am a pediatrician. Allergy tests are really not able to be correctly interpreted until kids are 1 to 2 years old and even then please, please get a referral to a dedicated pediatric allergist-immunologist and not just to a general pediatrician who, even if well-intentioned, may shot-gun labs, leaving you with a crying baby, expensive bill, and no real answers.

      • (former) preg 3L :

        Thank you. I have been referred to a pediatric allergist practice and plan to use them.

    • I’ve started weaning too and am reducing frequency and length, as others suggested. I dropped from 5 pumps/day to three, and now to two. I haven’t felt any discomfort, and am already wearing an old bra that hasn’t fit me since early pregnancy (smaller cup, but same band size). My thought was to give it a few weeks or month before investing in new, nice bras.

  11. I need a new charity!! I just discovered tht the one I’ve been donating to for years (decades!) has a poor administrative cost ratio. What isyour favorite charity and why?

    • A Nonny Moose :

      My local food bank and animal shelter. I cannot afford to give a lot, and I think my $200 a year means more to them than to a large org. And I like knowing I’m helping out my neighborhood.

      • Agreed – I donate to the local food bank, the local animal rescue league, and also a legal services fund in my city. While I admire organizations with a broader mission, I think my money can go the farthest to help those in my community.

      • hoola hoopa :

        I also like to give local, partly because I like knowing that I helped people in my community and partly because I feel like I have a better insight into how well the organization uses their funds. My regulars are food bank, an organization that assists foster children, and an org affiliated with my children’s school district that provides school clothes to children in need. (And local public radio stations – although I agree with poster further down that I don’t really see that as charitable but just paying for a service that I use, like our tax-deductible zoo membership).

        National/international orgs that I support are Red Cross, Doctors Without Borders, and Mercy Corps. I couldn’t tell you the administrative ratio, but I’ve know people affiliated with them enough to feel that it’s well spent.

    • I’m not sure what your charity is, but I read this article recently and it made me rethink the whole high admin cost ratio = bad theory (not that it isn’t true in some cases, but shouldn’t be an assumption).

      http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120178/problem-international-development-and-plan-fix-it

      It makes total sense to me that certain charities do better with higher cost ratios because they really need the overhead help. I work in a for-profit, but in a totally non-direct, overhead role and I think my company would be a lot poorer without my role, so why shouldn’t non-profits also need “overhead”?

      • Was just thinking the same thing–and about the same article. I do work for a major non-profit and am not sure what our ratio is, but I think people incorrectly assume that low overhead is a good thing. Sometimes investing in talent and management means you’re spending the rest of your funds wisely and strategically.

    • Administrative cost ratio is not the only measure of a charity’s value. What’s most important is whether the charity makes an impact on its mission. Do you think it does? Can you tell what is factored into the admin cost? If it’s lavish parties for donors, that’s one thing, but hiring (and paying) effective managers can be well worth it.

      Anyway, to your actual question: I give to my city’s legal services agency, my neighborhood food bank and the metro-area food bank. Addressing hunger is a key priority for me, and I’m a lawyer and see donating to legal aid as an ethical obligation. I also give to my high school and college and to my daughters’ schools but I don’t really think of those donations as charitable (even though they’re deductible).

      • Yeah, I agree with this. I trust that you’ve done your research, but please don’t use administrative cost ratios as the only way to judge an organization’s effectiveness. Can you imagine doing your job without the appropriate infrastructure and human resources? Or at 1/2 to 2/3 the market rate? I believe that as a whole, society’s tolerance for admin costs in nonprofits is CRAZY lower than it is in a normal corporate environment. I understand that nonprofits need to be lean, efficient and smart, but it shouldn’t be at the cost of (a) a living wage or (b) having the right people/number of people in the correct job.

        Sorry if this comes off poorly — I work in a nonprofit and it touches a nerve for me. And, good for you for doing your research AND for making charitable gifts!

    • Feeding America (formerly Second Harvest) or your local Feeding America-affiliated food bank. These organizations provide food support to other non-profits who support communities in numerous ways. For example, a Boys and Girls Club and a local battered women’s shelter and a substance abuse recovery center can all sign up to participate in the food bank (as long as they are 501(c)(3)) so they can minimize the costs of providing the food services associated with their program and spend their money on other aspects of the program. So when you give to the food bank/Feeding America, you are actually supporting a lot of local programs all at once.

    • No, not a charity that needs high overhead. Goes to fundraising and senior management.

      • I guess I would want to know more (again, I’m sorry if this isn’t where you wanted the conversation to go — see my earlier comment above). Fundraising is an important part of keeping a nonprofit alive — and often, if the organization is investing its resources in something like planned and estate giving, doesn’t have an immediate payout (which would, ergo, reduce the administrative cost ratios by bringing cash in the door today). However, planned giving is extraordinarily cost-effective but necessitates human resources, which of course go back to overhead.

        • Really not the help I was hoping for, but, among othe things, the charity got embroiled recently in some scandals including giving sweetheart deals to business parters and board members. It has also done somethings that are clearly against its purported mandate. I already give to local food bank and MercyCorp. I’d love to hear about 2 types of charities specifically: direct giving charities and environmental/conservation charities.

          • Nope, I totally get it. This just really touches a huge nerve for me! Looks like you’ve done your research and I applaud you for it.

    • My local animal shelter. Animals are far and away the closest charity to my heart. <3

      • This just reminded me that I need to send some money to Animals Asia, and now it’s done. Thanks! :)

    • The philosopher and writer Peter Singer also runs a site called “The Life You Can Save” that has a list of highly effective charities, focused on global poverty and health issues. Your dollars can go a long way with some of these organizations.

      http://www.thelifeyoucansave.org/where-to-donate

    • I donate to Heifer International (I know people have different opinions on Heifer, but I think it does great work and if some of my donations are spent to send out calendars and fundraising letters I’m more than ok with that) and my local public radio station, which I don’t really think of as charity, but more as payment for a service I use. I would like to do more, but my husband and I have very different attitudes regarding charitable giving, and these are two that we can both agree on while we work out a compromise.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      I’m a big fan of the Lutheran Comfort Dogs and I’m not even Lutheran. This is a charity that travels the country going to various disasters with golden retrievers to visit with and comfort people dealing with the tragedy/disaster. They put dogs in Sandy Hook, Boston, NY/NJ after Sandy – they go to everything. They also take do a completely separate fundraiser at the end of the year for their administrative costs.

    • Local statewide children’s hunger organization
      Soup Kitchen
      Animal Shelter
      Rape Crisis community center (not the name but essentially support for rape victims to get counseling, not like a church abortion organization)
      All have very little overhead/admin cost

    • Piggybacking off of Jules’s comment and Singer’s recommendations, Fistula Foundation gives you the opportunity to change absolutely the course of a woman’s life for a relatively low amount. If you are unfamiliar with obstetrical fistulas, google the film “A Walk to Beautiful.” I give to several other charities I feel strongly about, and I know this doesn’t qualify for your direct giving prong, but it is hard to argue with the strong work Fistula Foundation does.

      • I also donate to Fistula Foundation. I think their work is incredibly meaningful and powerful. (They also score really well in the admin cost category on Charity Navigator!)

        Another organization I like supporting is Project Night Night, which gives homeless kids books and stuffed toys and blankets.

  12. Anon - Personal :

    I hope 2015 turns positive for all of us. I was shocked and dismayed when I revisited my post the other day to discover the degree of animosity and cattiness that some exhibited toward me. I can only think that those posters are reveling in my heartache — possibly because they’ve been there themselves, or just because some people are heartless when it comes to others’ misfortunes. Yes, I admit that I did not wait until my beau’s divorce became final before becoming intimate with him, but that should hardly be a sin these days, and besides, he was the one who was pressing for it, and I made this clear. Yet, like any of us longing for a carnal connection, I capitulated and enjoyed 3 months of a relationship that was both cerebral as well as sexual. I suppose that had I not walked in on him while he was preparing to do god-knows-what with the junior associate, I might have gone on in the same way, with the thought that my own ignorance could have led to far worse problems. Yes, thanks to the poster who told me to get tested for STDs, and those are now in process. But for those who branded me as a whiner or a fake, I can assure you that if you were ever to walk a mile in my shoes, you would also be bitter. How many of you had both a personal and professional relationship shattered by a thoughless ex, who determined unilaterally that you would no longer be suitable after having professed their undying love and after having wormed their way into your heart (and personal areas normally reserved for bona fide lovers)? I say try to those love-snipers to try and be a little kinder in 2015, and be thankful if you have a stable relationship with a mate that does not cheat behind your back. You all have my best wishes for a happy new year.

    • It is not a life changing event to give up your virginity to a man you will not marry. Join the club. It would be a different story if he procured your consent by fraud in the factum, but there is no evidence of same. Your 2015 resolution should, now that you are no longer chaste, be to avoid all other forms of sexual contact until after marriage.

    • oh good grief.

      a lot of people gave you a ton of empathy and advice.

      some people questioned your story, because there are some unusual/ unlikely elements. Not because they are bitter harpies.

      what you have experienced sucks, but you can recover emotionally. it may take time, but you’ll live.

    • Yup, still fake. Stop it. “Beau”? “Carnal connection”? Is Ellen’s whiny little sister posting now?

      • And Eva is her clucking grandmother. (When did virginity enter the story?)

      • At least this one uses proper grammar. Because of this, I’m going to guess she’s actually Ellen’s cousin. I’ve always assumed everyone in Ellen’s family is borderline illiterate.

    • You lost me at home phone. Now go get yourself a bridge.

      • Wow, that’s seriously abusive trolling. When did this community become Reddit or 4Chan?

  13. Other blog recs? :

    It’s been a boring couple days in the office, and the rest of the week isn’t looking much livelier. I’m running out of reading material…. what other blogs can I use to kill time? Doesn’t have to be fashion-focused. I also follow Apartment Therapy/the Kitchn, Askamanger, and various design blogs. Other ideas?

    • I don’t have a lot of blog recs, but if you’re interested in reading articles, this is a pretty good list
      http://blog.longreads.com/2014/12/01/longreads-best-of-2014-here-are-all-of-our-no-1-story-picks-from-this-year/

    • I love PBFingers, Fitnessista, PinkPeonies, and CupcakesandCashmere. :)

      • Wildkitten :

        On the other hand, I just removed PBFingers and Fitnessista from my Feedly this morning, upon realizing they didn’t add value to my life.

        • newbattny :

          agreed. all 4 of these have become (IMO) a bit soul-sucking. fake and lacking any real content or value.

    • Have some decorum…written by a woman with ALS. Funny and sad at the same time, well written, honest.

    • There are a ton of free, high quality short story venues on the web as well. In scifi and fantasy (my area) you can go to Tor.com, Strange Horizons, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, to name a few. That’s what I’d be doing if I didn’t have work today.

  14. I just received the Boden City Jacket in navy, and my expected size 10 is too big. The site is now out of all but size 2. I’m guessing the alterations on it would be more money than it’s worth. If anyone has a size 8 they’ve been planning to return, please let me know — happy to buy it from you. Email is chapelthrill1983 [at] mail at google. Thanks in advance!

  15. Gail the Goldfish :

    To yesterday’s poster who was looking for one-piece swimsuit suggestions, I just posted another for you on that thread.

    • OP from yesterday :

      Thank you–and thank you to everyone else who posted yesterday. I wasn’t able to check until last night, but I now have a list of suits to order/try. I’ll try to report back…

  16. Lactose intolerance? :

    I have never had a problem with food – no intolerances, no allergies, etc. But recently – in the last month – every time I eat ice cream or drink milk, I have the worst stomach problems – cramping, gas, bloating, gross. Obviously, the answer is to avoid ice cream and milk, which I’ve been doing, and that seems to solve it. But it just seems so weird to me. I’ve been perusing the internet, and haven’t found anything useful, so I thought I’d canvass the crowd.

    Does this sound like lactose intolerance? (I don’t seem to have problems with yogurt, cheese, or butter.) Is it possible to get a sudden attack of lactose intolerance at the age of 37? I just have no experience with this kind of stuff and am hoping to hear personal stories or other experiences.

    Disclaimer: Yes, I will contact my doctor if I continue to have difficulties.

    • Another IVFer :

      Sounds like lactose intolerance to me- that’s how mine presented. I turned 25 and suddenly I had all the same symptoms you did. Try picking up some over-the-counter lactaid or other med that helps with lactose intolerance. If it works, you know! If it doesn’t, you’re out five bucks.

    • This is a second hand story… but I just met a woman over Christmas who seemed to develop a dairy intolerance in her early 40s. It manifested in sinus issues for her. I feel for you- cheese is the light of my life :/

    • You can get new allergies as an adult. Oral Allergy Syndrome is one common form. I learned about this after my throat began to swell shut while I was eating an apple at work.

      • ugh, another OAS sufferer here. I can’t have ANY stone fruits anymore. It sucks. It started probably when I was 28 or 29.

    • This is about how mine presented in my early twenties. Yogurt, most cheeses, and most cooked dairy was ok; but ice cream, milk, and some softer cheeses destroyed my gut. My theory is that the more “cultured” the dairy the fewer problems it causes, but I have zero medical evidence to support this. I also find that if I only consume a small amount over the course of the day it is easier to avoid the issues (i.e. I never use dairy in my coffee and substitute when cooking as much as possible, if I know I’m eating something with dairy for dinner I will avoid it at lunch and vice versa).
      Be aware that it can keep changing over time -mine recently started manifesting as a tingly throat and mouth reaction, particularly in things with powdered milk (don’t judge, kraft macaroni and cheese is/was my favorite “i’m-too exhausted-to-make-a-real-dinner” dinner).

      • Lactose intolerance? :

        Thanks, everybody – this is really helpful. It was such a sudden shift that I was surprised, but apparently, that can happen. (Literally: one day ice cream is delicious, the next day it was a Bowl of Terror.) I will test out some LactAid.

        • Meg Murry :

          Did you have the stomach bug that was going around? I am mildly lactose intolerant (self diagnosed) and find that it is always much worse after I have a stomach bug or take antibiotics. Taking daily probiotics, in addition to lactaid (or the generic) helps me, as does making sure to have dairy with other foods – so ice cream as dessert after a moderate dinner = ok, ice cream as mid-afternoon snack = not ok

        • Anonattorney :

          I have lactose intolerance if I don’t eat much dairy for a while. When I do — BOOM, discomfort. If I regularly eat dairy then I don’t have any problems. Just a thought.

          • SoCalAtty :

            That’s true! I was doing a Whole30 and cut out dairy, and my GI looked at me and said, “you know, if you cut out dairy for too long you might make yourself intolerant!”

            I got ice cream on the way home.

    • I developed lactose intolerance in my mid-30s.

    • Yep, sounds like lactose intolerance. I developed it spontaneously about a year ago. Milk, cream, and ice cream only.

    • It can be a side effect of Zoloft (which I found out long after the fact). It lasted about a year for me. Also, have you taken any antibiotics recently? Good luck!

  17. Yes, it sounds like lactose intolerance. Some people can tolerate some types of dairy but not others.

    • Wildkitten :

      Different dairy items have different amounts of lactose in them.

      • Yes, when milk is processed to make cheese, sour cream, yogurt, butter, etc, the lactose is often lessened (I had it explained to me before but I can’t remember exactly how… I think through enzymes being broken down?). So that is why straight milk may bother you but cheeses and other altered dairy may not. There are lists out there on the interwebs that provide the lactose contents of varying dairy products that may be helpful to reference since they don’t necessarily make logical sense, unless you know far more than the average person about dairy processing!

  18. I have a random question that I hope you guys can help me with. I’m an attorney, and I work remotely so my only interactions w/the partners at my firm are by email. The outgoing managing partner just emailed to let me know that a new partner is taking over as managing partner. He cc’ed all other partners on this email. I was thinking of replying to just the old and new managing partners to say congratulations, or something similar, but I’m not sure if that’s the appropriate sentiment. I also don’t know the reason for the change – I don’t know if there are health problems for the former managing partner or what. How should I respond? Am I overthinking this? If it matters, I had a good working relationship with the outgoing managing partner, but barely know the new one.

    • I also didn’t mean to post that as a reply to the previous comment.

      • Wildkitten :

        I’d send congrats just to the new managing partner since you don’t know if the old managing partner is leaving because of something congratulatory. You can also say you look forward to working with him, and snd an email to the previous saying you enjoyed working with him and wish him the best.

  19. NYE styling q :

    How would you style a sparkly, rose-gold Badgley Mischka dress for NYE if the wearer (that would be me) has recently had knee surgery and can’t wear heels?

    I was thinking nude for me pointy ballet flats, but is that totally wrong?

    • Well, I would probably do snow boots, but that’s only because we are anticipating sub-zero temps.

      I don’t see anything wrong with the shoes you suggested.

    • Cream Tea :

      I’d go black patent flats? Pointy ones – maybe even with a bit of rhinestone…

    • hoola hoopa :

      I like the idea of nude flats.

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