Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Striped Open-Front Blazer

Striped Blazer: Tahari ASL Striped Open-Front BlazerOur daily workwear reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Oooh: this blazer looks a lot more expensive than $104. (I’m reminded of this Hugo Boss suit!) I wish the skirt were still available, but by itself the blazer is pretty great. I’d keep the rest of my outfit neutral, and avoid overthinking it — a white blouse, a black base like a pencil skirt or trousers, and there you go. I will say a pop of kelly green might be fun as a necklace or pair of shoes, but that’s me. The blazer was $139 but is now $104 at Macy’s. Tahari ASL Striped Open-Front Blazer

Here’s an open-front, striped blazer in plus sizes.

Seen a great piece you’d like to recommend? Please e-mail [email protected] 

(L-3)

Comments

  1. Anonymous :

    This jacket is nice.

    Just wanted to say I got the Ellen Tracy dress featured last week and I love it. I ordered it in the petite size and it fits well although I will need it hemmed an inch. The color and seaming is very nice & it’s lined. I didn’t realize when I ordered it that it was machine washable. I’ll have to check out more dresses from this maker.

  2. Sydney Bristow :

    If you have billable hours, what do you stop the clock for?

    I asked a question last night that sparked a bit of discussion about stopping the clock to use the bathroom, which I do but it seems like not everyone does.

    My situation may be a bit different in that although I’m a lawyer, my position is technically a staff position and I’m doing document review stuff. Normally I’m not in the position where I’m thinking about the document I left off on while using the bathroom, so that’s why I stop the clock.

    Unless I’m waiting for a document to load or my review platform to unfreeze, I stop it for bathroom breaks, runs to the pantry for a snack or to refill my water bottle, and time spent here or elsewhere online. I don’t ever shave my time though. What do you stop it for?

    • I don’t stop for bathroom breaks or other interruptions lasting less than a couple minutes. My theory on this is that billable hours are a way to allocate your time and expense among your clients – not a mandate to become a robot and obsess over every last second. I treat them as I would any other hour I’d work at a company – I check the start and stop times carefully for a particular task, but some distraction or interruption is to be expected.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m one of those terrible people who does my time at the end of the month and reconstructs it from emails and document histories. That said I work primarily on one matter, so I try to keep track of how much time I’m working each day and make that my time entry. I do make an attempt to deduct for all breaks, including bathroom, food and internet breaks. I definitely think about my case in the shower, while commuting, etc., but don’t bill for that time unless I have a very specific, productive thought in one of those places (this happens pretty rarely, but it has happened).

    • Tangential but I’m doing Laura Vanderkam’s time tracking challenge and ugh… I do not use my transition time / gaps in my schedule well.

      • Anonymous :

        I love her. If I wasn’t on maternity leave, I’d be doing the challenge too.

    • Meg Murry :

      Not a lawyer, but I come from a manufacturing adjacent industry where there are lots of positions that are hourly and have official paid breaks, and lost of positions that bill time to clients – but usually in big multi-hour chunks, not 5 minute increments.

      I think a huge part of this is whether you are working on any one billable item/project for long blocks at a time or whether is 10 minutes billing to this line item and then 15 to that all morning long. If you are working on one task for a solid hour or two, I think stopping the clock for 5 minutes so you bill for 55 minutes instead of 60 is unnecessary – after all, if you sat their for another hour wiggling thinking “gotta pee but can’t, gotta keep billing” instead of taking a bathroom break, you might wind up billing for 120 minutes, but only do the amount of work you would have in 60-90 truly productive minutes.

      However, if you are billing in tiny increments having a task balloon from 5 minutes to 10 might actually be a bigger deal – but I think you can mitigate that by dooing what you mentioned, like downloading a large file to work on later before heading to the bathroom.

      All of this is also assuming you are quickly walking to the bathroom, using it and walking back and going straight back to work without much more than a nod or “hi” to people you pass. If you are socializing with people along the way, fixing your hair and makeup in the bathroom, etc – that’s a stop the clock time. This is an issue I have with hourly employees that get breaks at fixed times – if Person A is otherwise a hard worker and stops for a quick bathroom break at a time other than the “official break time” – no big deal. Person B who stops work at 9:30 to stroll to the bathroom, stops and chats in 5 different cubicals, takes her time and comes back to her desk at 9:45 where she checks her phone for 10 minutes before getting back to work at 9:55, and then still goes on her “official” break for the full 15 minutes at 10:30-10:45 gets a talking to about not taking 2 morning breaks on company time unless she is a super efficient worker banging out much more work in a day than Person A.

    • In-house now, but I didn’t stop my timer for bathroom breaks, pantry runs, or conversations with coworkers walking by that may last 2 or 3 minutes. I also didn’t religiously bill for the 2 or 3 emails every night that I would read and respond to, so I assume it all washes out in the end.

      As an in-house lawyer, I’m only looking at time that seems “off” or duplication of work, etc. If one of my lawyers keeps her timer running while she’s using the restroom, I wouldn’t mind.

      • Also in-house- when I review external fees, I’m also looking for time that seems really high, duplication, etc.

        If it takes 3.5 vs. 3.7 to write a memo that I think should have taken around that long, I’m not going to flag that. Or if I think a memo is going to take 5 hours to write, and it comes back at 2 or at 15, I’m probably going to call to see what happened – was a nuance of my question missed? Or is the question more detailed than I realize? To be honest, it’s usually pretty clear from work product if the timing is around right, I won’t notice an hour here and there.

      • This was how I always billed. Bathroom break, run to the floor kitchen for a water refill, 2 min talking to my secretary about her weekend on the way back to my desk — none of that stopped the clock. But I also didn’t bill for the emails I sent while in line at grocery on the weekend or for the shower thinking I did (and I was usually really honestly thinking through cases while I was getting ready in the morning to make sure I had a handle on all my deadlines and things that needed a final re-check without dropping any balls).

        I tend to think of billing the way LwyrChk does. It’s not a scientific process of actually recording what you were doing at precisely 9:12am, but a way to turn your work into something that can be sold, taking into account the fact that two pieces of writing — two 2d Cir appellate briefs for example — can require wildly different amounts of work depending on the particulars of both the facts and law at issue. It’s an imperfect system with strange side effects and incentives, and every year 20 articles predict the Death of the Billable Hour and yet every year there are still billable hours and every year more billables are expected. Man, I do not miss billing my time.

      • lucy stone :

        Gov’t in house. I review similarly. I get irritated if something seems v. high or v. low, or if I get billed for things that didn’t happen. I don’t even mind being billed for a little chit chat that takes our call from a .3 to a .4, but I fired a firm and refuse to use them again because they double billed me for a call that didn’t occur.

    • I used to stop for bathroom breaks, but now I don’t unless it turns into a 15-minute detour to chat with coworkers or something. I manage my time using Excel (calculating the minutes based on stop/start time) and I think it’s way more exact than most people at my (non-law-firm company) do. It’s also annoying and inherently stressful to me, but I don’t see a way around it. I work on very tightly budgeted projects and can’t just go “oh, probably about 2 hours” when it was really 1.7. I just hate being at the office for 9 hours and then somehow having the billable time only add up to 6.5 when I know I’ve been working nonstop. I’m probably not capturing a lot of miscellaneous email time or something.

    • Yay! I love Tahari and this blazer, but the manageing partner want’s me in a SUIT so that I look profesional, even in the office. He does let us do causal Friday’s when we can wear what we want, but we STILL have to look profesional.

      As for the OP, we bill PORTAL TO PORTAL, meaning that once we start on a matter, the clock starts, and when we are finished with a matter, the clock stops. If we deal on multipel matters, the clock keep’s running on all matters. That is how I got to be the overall TOP biller last year! YAY!

      I MUST tell the hive about this schmoe that was standeing in the lobby of our buildeing this morning, with a sign asking peeople to kiss him in exchange for a chance at the lottery winnings. He had bought 15 ticket’s (for $30), and if we kissed him, he would add our name’s to a list, and if he won, he would share with us. I did NOT want to kiss him b/c he was scruffey and I am not even sure he would share if he won, b/c I did NOT even know him. I think it was a RUZE to get pretty women to kiss him.

      What does the HIVE think? Is he above board’s? The manageing partner says NO but Frank says yes. Myrna said she would NEVER kiss a guy who she did NOT know, especialy in cold season, but there were women who were kissing him! FOOEY!

    • For the record, I think doc review work is a different type of billing than everyday writing and counseling. When I supervised doc reviewers, we had such detailed data on how many documents were review per hour, which ones took longer, etc., that I think stopping the clock even for bathroom breaks is appropriate lest you look like you’re slacking. Sucks, but that’s the way it worked when my firm hired reviewers.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        That’s true. There are a lot of metrics for what I do. I’m planning to keep doing it but was curious what others did.

    • Not gonna lie: the fact that so many commenters bill their clients for time they spend peeing disturbs me greatly.

      • It’s like 2 minutes!

        • Anon for this :

          And if you have to bill in 6 minute increments anyway, there is no way to deduct that time from a less than 6 minute task.

      • Why, though? If I bill in tenth-hour increments that get rounded up (a 4-minute call is billed as 6 minutes), why do you care that the two minutes were spent peeing? Either way, with rounding, you are always paying for some minutes that were not spent working. If I work for 56 minutes on your brief, you get billed for 1 hour. Every hour has some soft time built into it since I only have to work for 51 minutes to charge it.

      • Why? Hopefully clients recognize that they are hiring organic humans, not robots. They are paying for much more than the time my fingers are actually typing on the keyboard. They pay for me thinking and also pay for the time I spend breathing while working for them, and eating if I’m working through lunch or dinner and expensing my meals. Until we do away with all basic biological functions, ultimately, the client covers some of those.

      • IDK, I have to say that I would not want a client that was nickel and dime-ing the bill to the level that they wanted to be sure that every millisecond not spent directly generating billable work was deducted.

        We’re humans, not billable-hours-generating machines.

        • Anonymous :

          Not everyone is fortunate enough to work for their ideal client.

          More of you are probably having time written off than you realize. If you’re not, your block billing is probably going to bite you in the @$$ eventually.

    • Anon for this :

      Working with mostly older lawyers, they still keep their time by hand, estimate things and give it to their secretary to enter. There is no “clock” to stop or start. I use a tracking software and tend to recreate my time every couple days using it. One of the older lawyers actually complained that the reason associates hours are lower is because they use such precise methods now that were never around in years passed. I’m somewhere in the middle and here’s why. I don’t bill for every 2 minute chat with another lawyer about their case. I don’t bill for quickly looking at pieces of mail that take 2 minutes to read. I don’t bill for every single quick reply email. I believe that it all works out even that way. I’m also very careful not to bill the same time to two clients but when your minimum billable entry is .1 – 6 minutes, sometimes that becomes an issue so the two .1s end up covering my pee break or my website break.

      This probably makes no sense to non lawyers so I’ll explain a bit more. I’m supposed to bill for everything I do and if it takes less than 6 minutes I still bill for 6 minutes. Some stuff I let slide but other stuff like a phone call I usually have to bill for to document it occurred. So, if I take 2 three minute phone calls for 2 different clients I’m billing 2 .1s which works out to 12 minutes. Other firms, their minimum billable increment is a .2 or 12 minutes. That doesn’t mean you don’t bill if the time you spent doesn’t reach that threshold. It means anything you do on the case is rounded up to that threshold.

      So, when you use tracking software like me, or any other time keeping method that uses a time line, you don’t want to be billing for two clients over the same time frame. So, I use the extra .1 in my otherwise non-billable time like running to the bathroom or here.

  3. Sydney Bristow :

    Also, I love the Kelly green suggestion. It’s my favorite color to wear but I haven’t seen much of it lately. Has anyone seen any great Kelly green pieces lately? Clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. doesn’t matter what it is. I’m always on the lookout.

    • I always think of it as a spring colour so hopefully things will be hitting the stores soon? I once had a kelly green leather bag and it magically went with everything.

    • Wildkitten :

      That was Kate Spade’s preferred green for a while:

      https://www.katespade.com/products/2016-17-month-medium-agenda–quick-and-curious/153152.html

      http://shop.nordstrom.com/c/all-kate-spade-new-york?origin=srcontent?keyword=kate+spade+new+york#category=b60153744&type=category&defaultsize3=&size=&width=&color=green&price=&stores=&instoreavailability=false&lastfilter=color&sizeFinderId=0&resultsmode=&segmentId=0&page=1

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I did get some great Kate Spade green earrings as a bridesmaids gift last year. Is like to buy all the Kate Spade things.

    • Same! I’m cool toned with hazel green eyes and love the way green looks on me. WHBM had a beautiful dark green color used in a lot of pieces this year, but Kelly green is a little harder to find. The Limited has a pretty lace sheath dress, but I also really like this skirt of theirs in a Kelly green: http://www.thelimited.com/product/buttoned-high-waist-pencil-skirt/7324972.html?q=green&srule=search-relevance&start=28&dwvar_7324972_colorCode=836&ppid=s28

      • Actually, after poking around, the Limited has a a LOT of Kelly green. Simply use the search term green, and towards the bottom there are several tops, dresses, and skirts.

    • I have the Boden Ravella top in kelly green and I love it. Looks great under a navy blazer.

    • Check out Boden. I have a gorgeous Kelly green dress from a few years ago, and they usually have a good amount of green and other fun, bright colors. If not now, look in the spring for sure.

  4. I just finished some binge-watching of Girls and I am truly horrified. S*x and the City I took as distilled fiction (like my and my friends’ experiences for a year, with some liberties taken for effect) would have filled an episode. But those characters worked and weren’t on the parental dole. How is Girls received by 20-somethings — more fiction or documentary?

    • Wildkitten :

      I never got into the show, but I think people who graduated into the recession with well-to-do parents were on their parents dole for a while because it was really hard to find jobs that paid enough to live on (and had benefits, etc).

    • Anonymous :

      Girls is awful. I know it’s popular, but I don’t know anyone in real life who likes it, so I’m confused as to where all the support is coming from. (I’m 30 and didn’t know anyone who got parental support after graduate school, and most of my friends didn’t get any after college).

      • I watched the first season of Girls because it seemed so popular. I hated it. I just assumed I wasn’t cool enough for the show, but I couldn’t stand any of the characters.

        • +1. I’m 46 — thought that might be part of it! I just wanted to shake all the characters (or worse).

    • Miz Swizz :

      I don’t get Girls either and I’m glad you drew the comparison between it and SATC. Neither show is/was representative of my life but I feel like SATC was a glamorized version of single life in New York while Girls is just a bunch of entitled and kind of awful girls. Granted, I only made it through 2 episodes before I called it quits.

      • Wait, so Charlotte wasn’t spoiled? Samantha wasn’t entitled? Oh and obvi Miranda is a totes realistic portrayal of a lawyer.

        Nope. You just liked to more, it wasn’t all that different.

        • Nah, they are incredibly different. SATC characters had flaws, for sure, but they were all self-sufficient adults who worked hard and were good at their jobs. The portrayal of Miranda’s job may not always have been realistic but she was always portrayed as competent and hard-working. I don’t think anyone is arguing SATC is realistic, but the characters were waaaaaaaaaay more likeable than the characters on Girls.

          • ” self-sufficient adults who worked hard”

            Right. Carrie’s job as a blogger surely was sufficient to support her lifestyle. I’ll by that (kidding).

            There’s a lot to be said for the argument that Girls girls are not likable, not very mature, and entitled. I think the main character’s attitude about work is just egregious and I wanted to smack her. I would never be close friends with a person who behaved that way. On the other hand, she is living a life that a lot of upper class millennials are (or at least, are stereotyped to be living)-trying to “follow your dream” as we were all told to do but realizing that it’s really difficult (obviously, her story is exaggerated, privileged, and full of shock value). But I also think that that’s intentional- part of the focus of this show is to play up/explore the stereotype of privileged millennial women. I think, as someone in this age group, that the show has strong notes of truth about the new economic/cultural reality for privileged young (21-24, much younger than on SATC) women trying to figure out what life after school is like. The episode I’m thinking of the most is the one where the main character gets a job doing advertorial writing at a magazine- and she talks with her colleagues about how its been so long since they’ve focused on their writing outside of work, because they’re always so tired. But, people need paychecks. You can see the despair wash over her as she tries to reconcile needing a paycheck with wanting to pursue her goals. That hit home. And then I went to work the next day without complaint and grateful that I had a job, because my parents don’t pay my bills.

    • I’m 25 and enjoyed Girls in the early seasons. I didn’t take it as being exactly like my life experience but rather a more exaggerated version. I know many people who graduated with a four year degree and then somewhat “floundered” and their parents supported them. But my personal experience and that of my immediate friend group is very different.

    • I just finished watching the first season of Girls and I’m not going to watch more than that. I’m in my late 20s, for reference. It’s an incredibly silly fictional show and all the girls are self-centered, which makes it really hard to watch, because most of my friends/peers in real life really aren’t that self-centered and dramatic about everything!

      In one of the DVD commentaries/features, the actresses say that the show is about “smart girls making stupid choices,” and I agree with the “making stupid choices” part of it.

    • I’m 27 and I think it varies a lot by location and socioeconomic status. I do know people who are very much in the Girls demographic, including two of my best friends in the entire world (who are now solidly self-supporting and have the fanciest non-STEM/law job in my peer group, after a 180 from Girls-type career aspirations). But then you go to Starbucks in Manhattan and get served coffee by a 25 year old mother who’s working there full-time because it’s one of the few service industry, no-degree-required jobs that provides benefits. That is not the 20-something female experiences Girls is speaking to, but it’s a lot closer to the reality that most women in America live. Less pearl-clutching about the fraction of women that Girls speaks directly to would be great, because honestly–you might find their life choices undesirable and baffling, but for the most part, they are going to be fine because they have so many safety nets.

      • Also I hated the show and didn’t think it was funny.

      • I’m the same age and I agree with emeralds. I know a few people who are totally living the Girls life, but I found a lot of the show to be kind of repulsive and didn’t speak to me at all. I also just don’t like Lena. I HATE that she is something considered the “voice” of women in my generation, when pretty much nothing about her reflects my views.

        • Shopaholic :

          +1 – I find her really irritating. I also hated Girls but I listened to Lena’s buzzfeed podcast and I didn’t hate that so maybe it really is just a character she was putting on for Girls…

        • Yep. I can’t stand Lena Dunham and resent that she is supposed to “speak” for me.

        • I cannot stand Lena Dunham either and hate the idea that if you’re a 20- or 30-something feminist she’s supposed to be one of your heroes.

        • +1 not a fan of Lena Dunham. Her opinions are hers, not mine too because I’m in her demographic.

        • Anonymous :

          I don’t think she’s supposed to be the voice of your generation – you’re supposed to laugh at her entitled character thinking she’s the voice of the generation.

        • Anonymous :

          Anon @ 3:08, I don’t think they’re referring to her character, they’re referring to Lena herself, who has been outspoken on a number of topics as a “millennial female.”

      • oh, is it supposed to be funny?

        I watched the first season, and I thought it was depressing. I just couldn’t relate, they were so terribly pathetic. And I know there are young women out there in real life who CAN relate, and that thought just makes me so sad.

        • Apparently. I watched a few episodes and didn’t laugh once. Do not get the hype at all.

        • This is how I felt about Friends. It was supposed to be a comedy?

          Also adding my voice to the chorus of Lena Dunham haters.

    • Platinomad :

      Pretty harsh on Girls around here, lol.

      My friend group is in our mid/late twenties, mostly upper middle class background with a smattering on either side of that (super rich to more working class), and to be honest a lot of people I know got at least supplemental(some more) support from their parents for a few years out of school. These were mostly people pursing less lucrative professions living in expensive cities (like Hanna haha). I actually found the first season to be super funny and relateable (I have a friend who is basically exactly like first season Hanna in the best and worst ways). It’s gotten a bit more ridiculous and less enjoyable for me, but I continue to watch it because it does sort of speak to the lost, bad behavior of many of my peers and friends.

      At least they live in shitty apartments and wear awful clothes, Friends always enrages me. There is no way Monica and Rachel afford that apartment in New York with their jobs..

      • At least on Friends they kind of grew up though…they started out spoiled (especially Rachel) but I don’t think the show was really condoning that, so much as it was making fun of that. And by the time the show had been on the air a few years Rachel had a successful career in fashion and Monica had a successful career as a chef. I agree that Friends, SATC and other shows about NY definitely show the characters (especially those in artsy professions) having things they could never in a million years afford, but I’d rather watch likeable characters enjoy some unrealistic material things than watch a more realistic portrayal of ridiculously unlikeable characters.

      • Monica inherited the apartment from her grandmother. It was rent controlled from her grandmother’s time there, so conceivably it could have been quite affordable. Now the rest of the characters and their apartments… no telling haha.

        • I’m no expert on rent control, but I was always under the impression that there was an illegal abuse of the system going on there.

          • Anonymous :

            There was a blog that (can’t remember how) calculated that Monica’s apartment with rent control was around $250/mo, and Chandler and Joey’s was around $2,000. I have no idea how Ross afforded such nice ones or generally had so much money on the show, given his career.

            And as Lyssa mentions, it’s mentioned several times that Monica’s apartment should’ve been vacated when her grandmother died, but the super never reported it to the landlord.

      • I agree. I find it similar to Friends or SATC, just not primetime ha-ha funny. Not a documentary and not entirely fiction. I think of it as an exaggeration but with a kernel of truth: I know lots of liberal arts grads who graduated around 2008 who needed help from parents to get by. I know the vicious cycle of not hiring without experience but never getting hired to get that experience as well as the unpaid intern gig. I know crappy apartments very well. I know lack of insurance. I know how hookup culture and later online/app dating has changed relationships. Sure plenty of thithings from that show don’t resonate with me but you know what else doesn’t? Having breakfast with my friends everyday as a lawyer. Living in a huge rent-controlled apartment where all of my friends live nearby and can meet whenever. Having a car in NYC! Having a closet full of Manolos. S*x without consequences for every character for multiple seasons. TV shows can still be ridiculous and fictional.

        Friends and SATC were smart and fun, but they were written by teams of older, mostly male writers. Why can’t you just view it as art – appreciate that Lena is the same age as the Girls cast, wrote her own screenplays/movies, and view it as one person’s take. It’s art — you don’t have to like it just like how plenty of people just never got into SATC or Friends. Why does it have to be piled on to the millennial complaints??? (BTW, the Girls cast and SATC cast are a full decade apart – doesn’t SATC start at age young 30something, whereas the Girls start at 24, I think? Didn’t you know people who made bad choices and struggled to ‘make it’ when you were 23?)

      • I agree about the harshness related to Girls and the characters. Has anyone watched Transparent? Such an amazing show, I’m told. I find those characters to be more self centered and unlikable than the characters on Girls. But I watch both because I enjoy watching well-made TV with good direction and acting and writing and well-drawn characters that don’t necessarily reflect my life or experience. (But I also get the rejection of one voice speaking for a generation. I think Dunham is interesting, but I’m also not in my twenties and so don’t have to deal with that part of the popularity of Girls.)

        • Anonymous :

          I dislike Transparent for the same reason (unlikable characters), fwiw.

    • Obviously fiction. Like S*x and the City, this is not how real people live. But, every few episodes there is a moment of real emotional truth for me in it, so I watch. Like all fiction, I think Lena Dunham is taking real experiences, running with the past the bounds of reality, and using that exaggerated fictional world to say something interesting about human emotion.

      I don’t understand all the fuss of oh is this real?!?! Like, no? It’s a drama not a documentary. Was The Catcher In the Rye “real”? Does it matter?

    • Anon Obie Townie :

      I live in Oberlin, where Lena Dunham went to college, and while a lot of it is fictionalized, there are definitely enough students at Oberlin that live that kind of life on the parental dole that I can see where she got the characters from – and now it’s even worse, because that character has now become normalized.

      When I went to a different college, your senior year was spent finding a post graduation job or otherwise making a life plan. A huge portion of Oberlin College students I’ve talked to seem to have the “plan” of just going back to NYC and living on mom and dad for a while while they figure out what to do next.

      And even better/worse for me are the students who’s parents pay for them to just stay in Oberlin after graduation, because you can rent an entire house here for the cost of a tiny studio in NYC. Good, because we maintain rental properties here and always have at least a few go to students who’s parents are paying the rent while they work minimum wage jobs or not at all. Bad, because it means that prices for everything in our town (rent, restaurants, etc) are way inflated compared to the surrounding communities because it’s still so much cheaper than NYC or California. And it means that all the no-degree required jobs like waitstaff are held by recent grads, which makes it hard for the lower income townies to be able to afford the inflated rents.

      The common term used around town for these students that stick around without a job (or only a restaurant job) is FTL for failure to launch.

      I know there are plenty of liberal arts students who don’t fit the “Girls” stereotype – but the ones that do are very prominent, and are giving the good ones a bad name.

      • I am 23, and at least a year younger than most my friends (but I have a solid group of friends that ranges from 23-35 between college) Most of my friends are upper middle class. 100% is this the world I live in. Do I like the show? No, but I am the only person I know under the age of 30, including several married couples, that is not taking money from their parents. This applies to both people I met in college and my friends from high school. I feel like I am the only non-FTL young adult I know. Many of my friends are waiting around to go to grad school or the like, but I am literally the only person other than my brother that had a job lined up before I graduated. I got a lib art degree FWIW. I am also one of the few people I know that did not plan to move back home with mommy and daddy after graduation, even for those who thought they could get a job or got a job after a few months.

    • Fiction. That’s nothing like my life, or the lives of any of my friends in Boston or New York City. I don’t know a single person who lived on their own on their parents’ dime after college. In the real world, 20-somethings either make their own money to pay bills or they move back in with their parents.

    • You’re not supposed to like the characters. They are narcissistic in the way 20 somethings who think they know everything about everything can be, before life knocks you down and teaches you humility. If I could go back now and observe my 20 something self I am sure I would laugh my a ss off at how much I thought I knew, and how certain I was about what my life would be.

  5. Hair help! :

    Two hair related questions-

    I tried the Suave dry shampoo and it made my hair feel stiff and left white residue all over my brush that was hard to wash off. It doesn’t look or feel much better that before. Is this user error? Are more expensive brands better? Which ones?

    Is there a way to make the hair half up look good without spending more than 30 seconds on it? I love the feel of having hair out of my face but not all the way up, but when I look in the mirror I see myself in middle school. I’ve tried tortoiseshell clips and rubber bands, and still feel middle school-y.

    TIA!

    • Wildkitten :

      You’re supposed to spray the dry shampoo and then fluff it so it distributes and absorbs oil. Are you doing the fluffing part? There are probably youtubes.

    • The Suave dry shampoo is awful, IMO. I much prefer Psst or Bumble’s dry shampoo.

      For the half up, quite honestly some people just can’t do it without looking costumey or young. I can’t wear any kind of headband or half up style without looking like a prim middle schooler. It doesn’t matter if I do it straight, curly, super volumey, super sleek, just 12.

    • I like the Lush dry shampoo, I put it on before breakfast, let it sit and then fluff and comb it through (over the bath).

    • Maddie Ross :

      Is it the Suave in the gold bottle or the silver? Of the two, I think the gold one is better. Even better still is Psst… (my fav). Batiste is ok. I also really like Tigi Rockaholic.

      Some of it though is user related. You have to have a light hand, spraying from a good distance away. And you really need to get up under the roots, not just right at your part/around your face, IME.

      As far as your second question, I haven’t really figured out a “half-way up” style that works for me. As you say, it makes me feel like I looked in middle school. I do sometimes wear a single bobby-pin pulling just the hair back from my face on one side (the side opposite the part with more hair, if that makes sense). That works, esp. for growing out bangs, but doesn’t seem as severe/80s.

  6. First Year Anon :

    Has anyone been to Curacao? Looking for a fun/different winter vacation spot. I love beaches and warm weather, but I also need things to do otherwise I go stir crazy.

    • I just (within in the past 10 minutes) booked a trip to Vieques. I went last year and loved it. It’s beautiful and cheap.

    • I went to Curacao on a cruise and didn’t love it. Obviously on a cruise you don’t see a place in much depth, but there are places I’ve visited on cruises and immediately felt “I have to come back here and see this country more thoroughly” (for example, Costa Rica and the Bahamas) and I didn’t have that feeling in Curacao at all.

      • First Year Anon :

        Costa Rica is also on my list, and the flight is around the same length- maybe it’s more worth it to go there.

        • Costa Rica is a great place if you want beaches plus a lot of other stuff to do. That and Hawaii would be my top choices if that’s your #1 priority.

          • Costa Rica is not my cup of tea :

            Whereas I went to four separate areas of Costa Rica, spending 3-4 days at each, all at very nice resorts and hotels and will not go back. I wasn’t impressed at all. Went to multiples beaches in two areas, and all were very rocky, hard to access, and had strong undertow areas (and one of them was closed for two days due to crocodiles). Food was extremely bland at every restaurant from the high-end at a resort to roadside places to the venues locals suggested. And in 3 of the places we went, mosquitos so bad (even when totally covered with DEEt, which I hate using) were so bad I had 30-40 bites. Did love seeing the animals in various regions and activities like ziplining, but that’s about it.

          • Wildkitten :

            Agreed – Food is bland. Ticos love bland food.

          • I disagree! If you are expecting Mexcian food, you’ll be disappointed. It’s not spicy, but it’s not bland. It’s savory and rich and delicious and I wish I could cook some for all of you to try again because this makes me sad!

      • Same. I LOVED Bonaire and highly recommend it. I was just there for a day on my cruise though. I thought the beaches on Grand Caymen were really awesome too but you want to either go to a private beach resort or one a public one when there are NOT 6 cruises in port.

    • If you are interested in scuba diving, the best dive operator I have ever dove with is in Curacao: The Dive Bus. I can’t recommend them highly enough!

      • Double-Bingo :

        If you’re interested in in scuba, I HIGHLY recommend Curacao’s little neighbor Bonaire – some of the best diving in the world, and you can do it right from shore without needing to stick to a boat schedule. Not a lot of white sand beaches, although the Sorobon is gorgeous.

  7. boston anon :

    Can I get some life advice or a verbal smack on the head to get back to reality? I just finished a MS in an energy related field and had been working in the area for 2 years prior. I was unhappy at my job due to hours and stress (~40-80 hours a week depending on the time of year) but really liked the subject and people, which is why I went to graduate school. I have been terribly unhappy at graduate school because of the stress and pressure of research at a really intense and prestigious tech institution, but once again have liked my classmates and other parts of my life. I feel like at this point I still have the potential option of switching careers entirely because I just have not loved energy research, and the best paying jobs in my field are in consulting or in research related positions, but I know the work is hard (for me at least) and stressful (for me at least). For instance, I’ve been looking at going back to school for medical dosimetry (1 year certification, then several years of practice). But I also wonder how much of this is just a problem with ME – perhaps I will be stressed in any field of work and that is my problem to fix. But perhaps I have been stubbornly refusing to leave research/energy because it is all I’ve known and it’s not the right fit.

    I would appreciate any advice people have – perhaps I am just being childish about this and need to suck it up? I go back and forth between thinking that I should keep trying to find something that makes me happier work-wise and that this is what being an adult is about and I should just deal with it. I have been going to therapy for 3 years pretty regularly (mostly relationship/family stuff) and would not consider myself depressed since day-to-day I am pretty happy with my overall life, just not the research part of it. However, I don’t discount that as a possibility. Thank you!

    • For me, grad school was really tough (statistics, in a theory-heavy program whereas I am more a nuts & bolts type). Like, really tough to the point where it was one of the worst times of my life. I have a job I like now that uses that degree to some extent but it took a while to find my level.

      I think in terms of suck it up/try to find something that makes you happy, I would always advise to go for the happiness. If you don’t have kids or other family obligations (like, you’re the main breadwinner for a household with large expenses or whatever), I think you should DEFNITELY look. You should look into restructuring so you don’t have to deal with the one part you like (research, sounds like) as well as a total career change (dosimetry).

      Life’s too short to spend it hating work. You only get this one shot at it as you. If you’re not happy, yes, you do deserve to be happy and being happy in a job is totally possible. Go get it.

      • Yeah, I think in many fields, the ‘research’ that you do in grad school is much more stressful than the ‘research’ that you do in a real job in that field, for many reasons. Give a job in your field a try before you switch.

        • I feel like her question is “I’m not happy even though I’m trying, am I allowed to want to be happy or is life just [email protected]?”

          Life is not horrible constantly all the time (for those of us not in extreme circumstances). You are allowed to want more. You are allowed to try and maybe fail and try again and keep trying until you get where you want to be. Even if, or especially if, your current options are work all the time and do stuff you don’t much like.

    • If you just graduated, I’d try finding a less stressful and/or demanding (maybe simply working fewer hours will fix the problem) job in your field and see how it goes. Personally, I like my work, except when I’m so swamped that I’m constantly stressed about it. Maybe you’re experiencing a similar phenomenon.

      • +1. You just finished the degree–give it another job/couple of years before you decide. I know that I’m not someone who will be happy working 50-60 hours every single week, so I carefully screen jobs for work/life balance. It’s possible!

        You also talk about the “stress and pressure of research at a really intense and prestigious tech institution,” and were clearly in a high-stress position before. Have you considered dialing down the focus on having a prestigious position, in favor of a lower-in-fanciness job with work/life balance?

        • This. Get a job, work at it, move somewhere less stressful, and get therapy. Yup. I see you rolling your eyes. But getting therapy just to check if it’s you or the job seems better than wasting all the time and money you’ve put in so far with yet another degree.

          Your job isn’t coal mining right? Try learning to manage stress instead of hopping on a new train.

    • Do you need a best paying job in the field? If you like the field, find a role that plays to what you are interested in doing. Or do it for a year and network and move on.

      Total example- my dad left sales (he was an SVP of sales selling widgets) and ended up as the co-president/head of sales for a company that does energy audits and retrofits. They have a huge lobbying function to get state credits etc passed. He has to do the most random stuff during the day and has people of all backgrounds in his team- government people, ex resarchers, electricians, whatever. And he makes 300k+ per year working a pretty darn light schedule.

    • Spirograph :

      It is so easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you can change careers to something that you enjoy more, or interests you more, and magically your life will be better. But it sounds like you have already invested time, money, and energy (ha, no pun intended) into this career path, and IMHO you should give it a chance before sinking more time and money into education to change direction. I say this as someone who sank a lot of time, money, and energy into a potential career change before realizing that I had options within my current field that achieved 80% of the things that appealed to me about the new field, and 100% of those related work-life balance. Definitely try tweaking the way you use your current skills/qualifications by seeking out a less demanding role or a more relaxed environment first. You have already fought through grad school; it will get better from here!

      That said, if you still hate your work a year from now, go do your career change before life gets in the way.

    • TravelAnon :

      Hugs. Congratulations on your MS. What a long and lonely slog! I’ve been there. 5 years after getting a research-based BS in physics I’m only *just* starting to think that science is cool again. It took me that long to recover from the insane pressure and ambiguity of very lonely research with an advisor with whom I didn’t mesh. I’m so sorry that you had that kind of passion-killing stress as well!

      So yes, it’s possible the field’s not the right fit. You could probably kill it in the energy industry, and you could probably kill it in dosimetry, and it’s a toss-up as to which hypothesis you have more data to support. But you might also just be totally worn out, and more grad school is almost definitely not going to solve that. You know that you’ve hated the stress. Can you reduce that first? That makes it easier to test the hypothesis that it’s the field, not the hours, that is making the hole in your heart.

  8. Freezing Floridian :

    I just found out that I have to be in Minneapolis on Friday for a federal court hearing. I’m from central Florida, so I have virtually no cold-weather clothes. I have a wool peacoat I can wear over my skirt suit, but I have no idea how to keep warm otherwise. Can I get away with black tights in federal court? Can I wear black boots with my skirt suit, or do I need to stick with pumps? The weather forecast says that the high will be in the 20s, the low will be subzero, and no snow is predicted. Any tips are much appreciated!

    • Wildkitten :

      Do you have to go outside? If you can go from hotel to car to court you can avoid the worst of the cold.

      • Freezing Floridian :

        Fortunately, I won’t be outside other than going from the hotel to car to court.

    • You’ll be fine in black tights. When Minneapolis has subzero lows, everyone is pretty forgiving. I wouldn’t wear black boots, just wear pumps. As for staying warm, a peacoat will not be very warm for jaunts outside, but luckily you shouldn’t have to go outside much at all. The courthouse is connected to the Skyway. I’d recommend staying in a Skyway connected hotel (there are a lot, but off the top of my head and near to the courthouse, the Marquette and Hotel Minneapolis are good options). The SkyWay is also connected to Macys, food, and just about anything else you could possibly need. The only time you’ll have to be outside is Uber-ing to/from the airport.

      Good luck!

      • +1 If you have to go outside, make sure you have a scarf, gloves and a hat. Layers (long sleeve shirt, sweater that fits under your coat) will help.

        Also know that in the winter, sometimes the “high” is in the middle of the night/early morning and it just gets progressively colder during the day. I only mention this because it looks like Friday may be coming off a warm streak this week and dipping into an over-all frigid weekend where the temp is supposed to continually drop from Friday into Saturday.

    • Edna Mazur :

      Isn’t the courthouse connected to the skyway? You should be fine with pumps, the skyways stay pretty warm.

      • +1

        Mistake #1 for visiting Minneapolis in December: not using the Skyway to get places. We learned our lesson pretty quickly, you barely have to go outside to get around downtown.

    • No experience with that courthouse but I wear tights and boots for status in federal court elsewhere all the time. Keep in mind that the courthouse itself will be fairly warm so you don’t want to get overheated inside. If it’s a longer hearing and you have to be outside for a longer period of time, you could wear leggings over your tights and take them off in the bathroom before your hearing.

      • I do too. I really fail to understand how tights are a problem in federal court. As long as you are properly dressed in a suit, they are absolutely fine.

      • shamlet96 :

        Agreed with all of this. I practice in a year-round warm climate and still wear tights to federal court in winter – nobody raises an eyebrow. I did the same when i clerked in NYC and it was similarly fine.

    • Are you going in on Thursday. Stop at a Mall (the Mall of America is officially Not Bad if you’re going for a quick run-in on a weekday or evening) at get a coat!!

      I’ve done it.

    • Minneapolis Patent Litigator :

      Don’t forget to check whether your hearing is in the Minneapolis federal courthouse or the St. Paul federal courthouse! Which courthouse it is depends on your judge. If it’s in Minneapolis, you can get there through the skyway from almost any downtown hotel, but be sure you have a guide (local counsel) or allot plenty of time to get there, because the Minneapolis federal courthouse is on the edge of the system and it’s a rather confusing route.

      • +1 – a map can help, but you’ll definitely need the extra time. It looks like there may also be a tunnel (?) that runs from the county court (Hennepin County) building to city hall to the federal building, but I’ve never used it, so I cannot confirm it’s existence

        Map: http://www.skywaydirectory.com/minneapolis-skyway.php.

      • Freezing Floridian :

        Thanks! I’ll be in St. Paul, so I am just renting a car to take from the hotel airport. I live in a city without public transportation, and I don’t trust myself to use the skyway.

        • Minneapolis Patent Litigator :

          Hopefully your hotel is in downtown St. Paul!

        • Minneapolis Patent Litigator :

          I just re-read this and see that you’re staying at the hotel airport. Not sure what hotel that is, but depending on when your hearing is you might just want to get an Uber from the hotel to the St. Paul courthouse. Parking can be difficult around the courthouse and St. Paul is not the best city to drive in.

    • Yes on tights, I would do pumps not boots. I suggest wearing layers, even under your suit. I always wear a long-sleeve shirt and a black sweater that cannot be seen under my suit jacket. If the room ends up being warm, you can always take off the sweater. Also, gloves and scarf. If you don’t have a great coat, you could also layer a down vest under your coat, which is what I do on super-cold days. And if you don’t want to wear a hat because you are going to court and don’t want it to ruin your hair (which is the case for some people), wear a hood you can pull up.

  9. May I celebrate a bit?

    My bonus check just cleared and I will use it to close out my last student loan (law 2010). The money I had been directing towards payments on that loan will now go to a 529 for my second child, born this fall. Woo hoo!

  10. This might be a long shot, but does anyone have experience with a MS in Finance?

    I’m a mid-level associate in an energy legal practice and have been considering getting an MS in Finance with an “energy certification”. Partly because I think it would supplement my legal practice and partly because I like the idea of transitioning to a business development/A&D role with an energy company one day.

    Anyone with thoughts on making this transition or with experience doing something similar (getting a masters after getting a JD)?

    • Why an MS in Finance as opposed to an MBA? I’m all for it and have considered the MBA many times, as I think it’s a good way to launch into an industry. But honestly I’ve never been able to pull the trigger due to cost. Top MBA programs are near 100k/yr — and my employer certainly has NO interest in paying to prepare me for my next step. So I think — does 200k actually get me anything or would I be able to land in the same/similar spot if I just networked enough, given that I already have a Wharton undergrad degree and a top 10 JD?

  11. Ellen Tracy Dress Review :

    I got ordered Ellen Tracy dress featured last week and received it yesterday. I love it! Can’t wait to wear it. I didn’t realize it was machine washable. The fabric and lining are nice and while it gives me the effect of an hourglass figure it’s definitely work appropriate. The color is gorgeous!

  12. Living Room Style :

    We have a chocolate brown couch and light oak floors with an 8 ft ceiling. There is no overhead light, either. The walls will be light gray after this weekend. Those things aren’t changing, but the rest is up for debate. I need a coffee table and curtains for a 10 ft long (average height) window. Help?

    What do you use for inspiration? I’m focusing on coffee/end tables and the rug right now. I also want a pop of color in throw pillows and curtains (I think?!?). Gah. I’m so, so bad at this stuff and Houzz/Pinterest aren’t helping.

    Also, has anyone had to return furniture to Wayfair? How does that work – how do I ship back a coffee table if I don’t like it??

    • I’m having a hard time picturing a chocolate brown couch with light grey walls…. do the shades somehow complement?

      I would recommend accents in throw pills in shades of blues and/or greens to add interest. Those colors will complement the grey/brown. Then the rug and possibly the curtains will pull all the colors together, by ideally combining the colors somehow.

    • Why? Why are the walls going to be grey? That sounds terrible with chocolate brown.

      • Lol what? Gray walls sound beautiful with a brown couch. Very sophisticated and stylish.

      • I think gray can definitely work with chocolate brown if it’s a warm gray or a darker, more espresso-y brown. We have espresso kitchen cabinets and they look fantastic with our gray walls.

    • With warm neutrals like brown and grey I’d use marigold as a color accent.

    • Google image search light warm grey walls. White, yellow and orange might go well.

      http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/44305132/list/color-of-the-week-decorating-with-warm-gray

    • This blog (and book) are good inspiration for gray walls: http://www.elementsofstyleblog.com/2016/01/popular-home-internet-right-now.html

      I would recommend Homegoods for pillows/ decorations. You could get a few throw pillows in different colors and see what looks best in the room and return the rest. I’m envisioning white and navy pillows.

    • Buy the rug before the curtains and pillows — if you have several colors in the rug, you can pull them out with your pops of color and it will coordinate beautifully. Have fun!

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      When we moved into our house, I was given “The Perfectly Imperfect Home” by Deborah Needleman, and I found it to be really helpful in figuring out how to put a room together.

      And as for Wayfair, their furniture is flat-pack – so basically, you get it, you put it together, and if you hate it, you disassemble, stick it back in the box, print a return label, and send it back (ask me how I know this). I had only one bad Wayfair purchase out of at least a dozen Wayfair purchases that I made when we furnished the house, and it was a measurement fail on my part, not a quality fail on theirs, so I’d definitely recommend shopping there. (But seriously, check the measurements!)

      Also, I found the Target Threshold line to be surprisingly decent quality for the price, and it was good for accent pieces that I wanted, but didn’t necessarily want to be married to for the next 20 years (looking at you, turquoise end table that is probably going to seem horribly dated in the next 5 years).

      • +1 to Target’s Threshold line. Stylish and reasonably well made, especially for the price. It’s a great option for trendier pieces.

      • Wayfair caveat :

        Not all of their furniture is flatpack – I just bought two dressers from them that are finished items that had to be delivered by a freight company. Fortunately I love them and they were undamaged so I don’t have to return them, but for items that like that, a return would be an ordeal (and expensive).

        However, they have amazing customer service. My parents bought a storage ottoman from them (also not a flatpack) that was defective in a fairly minor way. They told her to keep it and they’d just send a replacement – she’d actually just called to ask if they’d pay for a repair or do a small discount on the item. She was able to get the defective one repaired, so now has 2 in perfect condition.

    • I’d start with a patterned area rug with some intense colors. Then you can pick colors from the rug for your accent colors. Since you are starting with one warm (brown) and one cool (grey) neutral, I would go with a color triad for the accents, such as an emerald green, saffron yellow, and deep rose. Or navy/apricot/olive. Or plum/orange/turquoise. But I like a lot of color – ymmv.

      • I’m terrified of adding color myself, but LOVE IT. I need to step away form the neutral rugs and try something with color! Thanks for the input!

        • In the Pink :

          reposting as it seems my original never showed up…

          houzz dot com is a great resource. You can also look at color wheels/theory on line and see wic complementary colors strike you well.

          Mixing in metals will help. Vases, lamp bases, dish on table, tables themseles. I”m thinking bronze or a matte silver.

          Blues and purples will go with the chocolate brown as well as the blonde floors. Sounds stunning!

          I would do pillows first and return them once you’ve decided on the colors. Then really purchase the rug and go from there as others have suggested.

          You can also”shop” your own closets and those of your friends. Drape a solid color top, sweater, throw, towel onto the floor and/or couch and see what you think.

          Patterns will be your friend. Either in the rug or the pillows, not both. What do you like? What do you wear? florals, stripes, geometrics, animal, tribal, dots? that may guide you to a pattern for the soft goods.

          Have fun!

    • I like reading Emily Henderson’s blog. really great and practical tips.

    • Start with the rug. I just googled “blue brown oriental rug” and clicked on images. Lots of really pretty rugs. Go large on the rug if you can afford it. I don’t think anyone ever wished their rug were smaller but the vice versus happens a lot.

      The rug is usually patterned (hides stains!) so you can pick up on colors in the rug for pillow and drapery colors.

      I would go with dark wood for your tables. Consider an unusual coffee table and more standard end tables. The coffee table and end tables don’t have to match each other, though it would be nice if the two end tables matched.

      Finally, choose lots of lamps. Overhead lighting is just not as inviting and cozy as lamp light.

    • Add some deep orange or garnet accents, like throw pillows or blanket.

      I like the idea of warm metals, too, to tie the room together.

  13. Looking for reassurance :

    Just had an uncomfortable meeting with the team on one of my cases and I’m looking for some comfort/reassurance. There are three lawyers on the team, and I’m the most junior. I’ve also done most of the work, which isn’t always a given in government. At a strategy meeting we just had, I felt like my opinions kept being dismissed, even though I could support them on both law and facts. The more I tried to defend my positions though, the more I started to feel like the others were “ganging up” on me. My anxiety started to rise and finally I drew attention to the fact that things went off the rails somewhere, rather than pretend like everything was fine. I’m sure I was starting to respond in tense, defensive ways, and they were responding in kind. Anyway, the senior attorney’s immediate reaction was to tell me to “take it down a notch” and that we were just having a discussion. The meeting went on longer and I apologized for my behavior. By the end, we were joking about other topics. I now feel terrible though. I’ve never had a meeting like that. I know I should’ve had better control on my emotions at the time, and it was definitely a learning experience. Can anyone reassure me though that sometimes there are some tense meetings like this? Or does this never happen? Bleh.

    • I’ve regularly had if not screaming then very very loud and heated arguments with other attorneys on my matters. It goes with the territory. We’d yell, yell, yell, then someone would say “ohhh — okay, yeah, I think that works, I hear you” and we’d go from there. But ultimately it’s the responsibility both of the attorney signing off on the matter and the attorney supervising that attorney to make sure they’re on board with the work. It can sometimes take a thorough debate to make that happen.

      It’s hard to say not having been there but I suspect they were just trying to drill down to make sure your arguments were all sound. They wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they didn’t run things to ground. Also while your positions may be textbook that doesn’t mean they hold up in real life. They may have been dismissing your opinions because they’re more experienced and therefore know that while your answer might be law school perfect it just ain’t gonna fly. It’s less about controlling your emotions and more about knowing when it’s really, really not personal.

      • Grr, name didn’t show up. This is me. Also, some (many?) attorneys are more comfortable with a more confrontational style than normal people are. I certainly am. I’m not saying it has to be that way, but you should be prepared for it.

    • I’ve never had a meeting like that, although I can imagine they would happen. I can’t offer comfort or reassurance, but now that you’re out of it you should look not just at why you became so defensive but whether you went into it by assuming that you knew the most because you’d done the legwork. Strategy isn’t a clear-cut equation of law and facts. It sounds like you may have taken the other attorneys’ comments too personally because you assumed that your knowledge of this case trumps their experience.

      I would not bring up the awkwardness again unless they do. Keep your head down, do good work, be open to opinions that differ from yours, and communicate the reasons behind your thoughts calmly and clearly.

  14. Does anyone have a successful approach for cutting down on snailmail?

    • heatherskib :

      You can unsubscribe to most non bill stuff and do online billing for the bills and such. Outside of that, I don’t know what else to tell you.

    • The Paper Karma app purports to stop junk mail if you take a picture with your phone.

      Free for three mos., then paid. I didn’t pay, as it didn’t seem to make that much difference, but it’s worth a try.

  15. Just wanted to sing the praises of this dress:
    http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/bobeau-cowl-neck-shift-dress/4119910?origin=keywordsearch-personalizedsort&contextualcategoryid=0&fashionColor=Grey&resultback=0

    I realize it won’t work in many offices, but it’s super soft and cozy. I’m wearing it today and I think I could wear it right to bed at the end of the day. I have it in the green. I originally ordered it for my sister-in-law for xmas, but after it arrived, I decided I needed one, too

    • Oooh I love that, and could totally wear it in my office. I’ve actually been vaguely looking for more casual dresses, so I might put the green in my shopping bag and see how my budget numbers look when I get paid tomorrow. How’s the fit?

    • Ooh, nice. I get a lot of use out of similar casual, cozy dresses at my office.

      I’m a pear with large bust, though… It looks wide in shoulders and narrow in hips. The positive reviews from hourglass women might make it worth a try.

  16. In the Pink :

    Blues and purples. They go well with greys, blonde woods, and the chocolate sofa.

    You might also want to throw in some mixed metals…either in tables, vases, lamp bases, or threads in pillows. I’m thinking bronze tones so that the yellows in the flooring and silvers in the paint will “go.”

    To tie it all togther, you could use a pattern – stripe, floral, geometric, circle, etc. in the pillows, throws, rug, lampshade instead of focusing upon colors.

    For me, I’d put the colors and patterns in the throw pillows and a rug (if not terribly expensive) as they are easier to change out.

    Domino magazine is good. Elle Decor. Architectural Digest.

    On line: Houzz dot com (lots of things and advice in general and specific)

    Happy paint rolling!

  17. Another grad school/financial question – I inherited funds that will help me pay off my undergrad loans. I had been saving it for the “if and when” I go to grad school, but now I’m not sure if I will go to grad school. It’s not necessary in my field (which I enjoy), but something I thought would supplement my career upwards. Would you pay off your undergrad loans or save it for possible future grad school?

    • I would pay off my loans and invest/save the money that was going to payments so that I had funds available in the future.

      • I’d do a tweak of this–I would pay off the loans and put the money that was otherwise going to loan payments into fully funding your retirement. If you do go to a grad school that administers its own private aid, better to have your assets in retirement-specific vehicles (which Financial Aid is less likely to expect you to liquidate) than an ordinary savings account.

        • Nevermind, ignore this. I just checked my school and they still count retirement accounts as assets, but only expect you to contribute 50% in recognition of the tax hit and penalties you’d incur taking the money out. Probably better to have it outside that.

    • Pay off undergrad. Bank the monthly amount that would otherwise have gone to repaying undergrad as a “future grad school fund”!

    • depends on the interest rate of the UG loans. If it’s super cheap (1%) just keep them? but if higher (5%+) I’d just pay it off.

      • This. Or if you don’t have an emergency fund, pay them off all but what you keep for an emergency fund, and hopefully that would only leave you a year or two of payments.

        Then +1 to continuing to put your monthly payment amount into a savings or retirement account.

        I’m assuming if you have UG loans you aren’t one of the posters here with a super high annual salary. If you don’t make over the cap, putting your monthly amount into a Roth IRA isn’t a bad idea, because you can either keep it as retirement funds OR you can pull out up to your original contribution (but not money it has since earned) on either qualified education expenses or a down payment on a first house.

        But I’m not a financial advisor. If it was a big inheritance or you make big money – talk to a pro.

    • Thanks all!

  18. W-2 Question :

    I worked part of 2015 for an employer that’s no longer in business (absorbed by another firm, though I don’t know the specifics of the deal; it folded after I jumped ship). I know I could probably Google this for my own lazy self, but does anybody know if I’ll get a W-2 for that employer?

    • Spirograph :

      Yes. Or at least that was my experience in similar situations.

    • It sounds like you at least know the name of the firm that absorbed it–can you look up an HR number to call there? I think that’s a safer bet than waiting until Jan 31 only to find out it got lost in the shuffle and there may be even more of a delay.

  19. Ooh, thanks for this suggestion. I just got the jacket for $83.40 with my 20% off coupon.

  20. 7-10 day trip to Iceland next month, main goal of seeing Northern Lights. Any Iceland advice and what would you pack. Definitely not the overpacker type, but I want to make sure I’m warm and don’t end up spending money on clothes when I get there. Going with a girlfriend.

    • Hidey Hole :

      I would plan to buy a Lopapeysa sweater when you’re there and wear it a lot–one less thing to pack!

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      Extremely warm coat, a good underlayer (we wore Uniqlo’s heattech line) and make sure all of your cold-weather gear is waterproof. We went in November (so, quite cold, but it’s of course colder now), and the difference between who was comfortable on day trips and the night trip to see the Northern Lights and who was miserable was 100% who was wearing waterproof stuff and who wasn’t. Even if it’s not raining/snowing, it can get really, really windy, and the waterproof gear blocked the wind really well.

      As for going out, we didn’t go to any clubs (went with my H, we’re not the clubby type), but we went out to a bunch of different bars and restaurants, and the “uniform” for women seemed to be dark jeans, Chelsea or ankle boots, and sweaters, so I wouldn’t waste a ton of packing space on “going out” clothes.

      • Really co-sign the “find stuff that’s windproof” advice. Iceland is one of the windiest places I’ve ever been.

    • Famouscait :

      I went to Iceland with my husband over New Year’s 2012. We rented a car so we could drive around and get out of the city to see the lights. We took blankets from our hotel room to bundle with because no matter how warmly you dress, sitting in the cold at night will chill you out. Hiking boots or other snow-proof footwear in a must if you’ll be visiting outside the city.

    • Anonymous :

      Get some warm, waterproof boots – hiking boots will do, if you have goretex hiking boots. Wear them with casual dresses and fleece tights/leggings and wool socks. There are lots of tourists in outdoorsy wear.

  21. RegularAnon :

    OK, ladies, I’m a regular but anon for this. For the past several months I have been having an intense emotional affair with a married man. (I’m married too). I just broke it off definitively. I know it’s the right thing, but right now I need lots and lots of hugs.

    Pile on about the bad stuff if you will, but I will try to avoid reading those comments.

    • I actually had a heterosexual married friend recently sad because her married girlfriend – yes THAT kind of girlfriend – was moving across the country.

      No judgment. It was a mess, you got through it, you’re in a better place now. You can think about Next Steps (your marriage, your therapy) next week.

    • You know you did the right thing. This has to be a hard time for you, but it will pass. All the hugs you want.

    • Spirograph :

      Good for you. It is really hard at first, but will get a lot easier with time. Stick to your decision, no matter what; waffling only makes it worse when you have to make the same decision again X months down the road. I hope this is someone you can avoid seeing in your day-to-day life. Change your routines if you need to, and no “just checking in” on social media!
      *hugs*

    • From what you wrote it sounds like it was not physical? Am I wrong? In any event, it sounds like you made the right decision – good for you. Focus on the next steps, and the positive changes.

    • I’m proud of you for breaking it off. It wasn’t good for you. Here’s to a brighter future!

    • Good for you. Take the time for a few days to wallow. Be gentle on yourself. In the coming weeks, address your future plans.

    • Red Velvet :

      Good for letting him go, but you should think about whether you want to now go back to being Mrs Happily Married (on the outside). Why did you have an emotional affair? Can you, and should you, fix your marriage?

      (Not expecting you to answer these questions here, just things to ponder!)

      • Thanks Red Velvet and all who replied.

        The affair was not physical, but was getting in that direction.

        I didn’t break it off because it was morally wrong (although it was), but because the stress and secrecy were too hard on me.

        The marriage is OK and always will be… there are issues like any other marriage, but they are out in the open and always evolving. The affair just kind of happened – it wasn’t something I was looking for or pursuing.

        I know I will feel better, but right now keep the hugs coming.

        • If you just had an affair that nearly got physical, the marriage is not ok. If you haven’t told your husband about the affair, the secrecy isn’t over. If you think this is something that just kind of happens, you have a lot more reflecting to do.

          Good luck.

        • Coach Laura :

          sending you lots of hugs!

        • Senior Attorney :

          Hugs, hugs, hugs!!!

          You are doing the right thing!

          Be strong.

          Your task now is to break the emotional attachment (which you know), and that means Absolutely No Contact with Other Guy.

          Hugs, hugs, hugs!!!

        • Senior Attorney :

          Oh, and since telling your husband has been mentioned, I am in the camp that says not everything has to be confessed. Work on your marriage, resolve to do better, but don’t dump it on your husband and make him pay the consequences for your mistake.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Also: Hugs, hugs, hugs!!

          • Anonymous :

            +1. Been there. Love to you.

          • Spirograph :

            +1 more. Work on your marriage, absolutely, but don’t burden your husband with this unnecessarily. Or to “clear your conscience.” Think long and hard about whether it is something he needs to know (and he may suspect anyway, but confirmation might be needlessly hurtful if the relationship is over).

        • AnonMidwest :

          Be gentle and do some good self care. The end of something like this is like a death but the body is still walking around (trust me) You cannot grieve properly and yet still need to do so. Be prepared for a long slow healing.

          When you are ready please address your long term happiness. It will make a world of difference.

    • +1 to Spirograph’s advice. If you stick to this decision without relapsing you won’t have to waste energy later on in retracing the same journey.

      I have faith that you will be okay, even though right now you are in pain. Proof: By ending the emotional affair you have taken the first step in a better direction.

      Hugs. P.S. You’re not the only person who has lost her moral balance. Good for you for stopping before the situation got physical. Some people can’t summon the willpower to resume standing upright until after they fall down completely.

  22. I don’t think this posted, so trying again.

    Looking at a 7-10 day trip to Iceland next month. Big goal of seeing Northern Lights, so plenty of outside time. Any Iceland tips in general and then my bigger question is what would you pack (i.e how many pants, shirts long/short, etc), I know layering will be key? I don’t want to be dragging extra luggage around but want to make sure I’m warm and comfortable, and not going to buy clothes during the trip.

    • It posted. I’m jealous. You’re lucky. We’re all jealous, and hoping we win big in the Powerball tonight.
      I have no suggestions because I’m fairly educated and still confuse Ireland and Iceland and haven’t been to either.
      Have fun.

    • I’m jealous too. I love Iceland but have never been in the winter. The travel blogger Dangerous Business has written a lot recently about winter trips to Iceland. I think she has packing tips too. Just an FYI, I’ve heard even if you go with the express purpose of seeing the Northern Lights, it’s by no means a sure thing. I hope you will see them, but you might try to moderate your expectations so that the NL will be the icing on the cake if you do see them, rather than rendering the whole trip a dud if you don’t see them.

    • Yep, layers. I went in May so the weather was a little different, but there were days I wore a running base layer + down vest + my down parka, and days I only wore a light running jacket from lululemon. It was sometimes very windy and I was grateful for my hat, gloves and scarf. We stayed in an Airbnb so I could have easily done laundry – that may be your best bet, depending on your lodging situation. I only took a small carry-on and at the end of 5 days I was totally out of clean clothes.

      Comfortable shoes. I walked a LOT. I wore my snow boots, sneakers, and flats in equal rotation, but there was not snow on the ground in the city so you may want a boot for walking around downtown.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      To add on to what I wrote before, for 7-10 days, I’d pack:

      – 3 sets of base layers (tops and bottoms, you can hand wash them for re-wearing)
      – 7-10 pairs of warm wool socks
      – 2 pairs dark jeans
      – 1-2 pairs waterproof ski pants (depending on how much you’ll be doing outside vs. in Reykjavik)
      – 7-10 warm tops (one per day)
      – waterproof parka (seemed like folks wore warm coats everywhere, so you won’t look totally weird going to dinner in a ski coat, so I wouldn’t bother with bringing a second coat)
      – waterproof snow boots
      – waterproof casual boots (you wouldn’t look totally weird in knee boots, but it seemed like locals were definitely in ankle boots, Chelsea boots, etc., not knee boots)
      – hat, gloves, scarf
      – bathing suit (you’ll want to check out a hot spring somewhere at some point)

      Things I packed and didn’t wear: dresses for going out, tights to go with the dresses

    • Anonymous :

      We just went (but were not lucky enough to see the Northern Lights–I hope you have better luck!). We got YakTrax (crampons) and were glad we had them. Particularly near waterfalls, in parking lots, etc, the ground was very slick.

      KKH’s list looks good to me — generally at night I wore an oversized Goretex coat, with a wool sweater, turtleneck and long underwear on top and hiking pants and long underwear on the bottom. I didn’t take as many tops because I figured I was changing my base layer (long underwear) every day. Warm scarf and hat were key.

      I only took Danskos (for the city) and snow boots (everywhere else) as footwear.

      Hope you have a fantastic trip!

  23. Those of you with significant others/spouses who have turned 40, what did you do to celebrate? I’d like to take a trip, but we have a toddler and are trying for another, so I’m not sure how feasible a big trip would be. My mom got my dad a car, and I just can’t afford that. But I’d like to do something special to mark the occasion. Any suggestions or thoughts?

    • Big dinner at a great place?

      Host a party (surprise or otherwise) with lots of friends?

      • Maybe the first. I should probably add that we really don’t have a ton of local friends. While we’re very happy with where we live, we didn’t grow up or go to school here, and beyond work colleagues, we don’t really have friends here. So a party with “lots of friends” would be like 5 people. So yeah. A party is out. I don’t even have enough people to invite to a 2nd birthday for our toddler.

        • off topic, but does your toddler go to daycare? I’d invite all the daycare kids — we did that with our kids’ birthdays and found at least a handful of couples among the parents that we really clicked with.

          Back to the original question, though. Can you call in a favor with the grandparents to watch the kid for a night or two and have a mini-vacation? Even just a fancy dinner and night in a hotel afterward is a HUGE treat for me.

    • I’ve heard of people doing a card or photo shower where you ask friends from various stages of his life to send in their memories or photos.

      Even if a big trip is not feasible, could you do a weekend getaway or a staycation without the toddler?

      • We did this for my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary. Everyone loves getting mail! And it’s really, really fun to see the pictures people come up with that you haven’t seen before.

        I second the idea of a fancy dinner – maybe with an overnight in a downtown hotel? (If you live in a city.) Or have the toddler kept by family so you have the evening at home together.

      • My step-mom did something similar for my dads’ 50th, where she had people send her photos that they had of my dad from different stages of life and then put them all together in a book for him. There were some nice ones that came from when he was younger and when my brother and I were younger as well.

      • I made a photo book with Blurb for my husband’s 40th.

        I emailed friends from all over, many stages of his life, and family members requesting photos from any stage, or wishes for the next 40. People sent awesome stuff! Priceless baby photos, sweet words, wishes, memories. It’s a great keepsake!

        Our daughter was one at the time, so we were clearly not going out for a big date or weekend away (grandparent live in other states). I was so sleep deprived that I misspelled a word on the book’s cover – be sure to double check everything!

    • I took him to dinner at a fancy restaurant in our city and got a car service (not an uber), which made the whole evening feel fancier & more special (not to mention logistically so much easier).

      I also made him a “40 things I love about you” list as a part of his gift. (To be honest, now I don’t even remember what “thing” he got as a gift— it was not major). That was a big hit.

      • Thanks, I like that suggestion. Or the one of dinner and a night at a hotel in town. That’s probably more feasible logistically and financially at this point in our lives. I think I’m just totally blinded by mom’s gift for my dad (all those years ago) and some other stories I’ve heard. I feel like it needs to be major, but you’re probably right that “special” is just as good as “major.” Thanks, all!

        • I know you’re not interested in a big trip but is there a short sentimental trip (e.g. long weekend in the town where you met/his fave vacation spot that you’ve never been too?)that you could take either with or without toddler?

          If you don’t want to go somewhere, what about flying someone in for the big day (BFF, brother, mom etc) as a surprise?

      • I did the exact same thing… Fancy dinner and a booklet of “40 things I love about you.” We also did a few nights at a nice hotel in the nearby major city.

        I had a lot of fun planning, and it was all very low maintenance. It turned out to be very memorable.

    • Meg Murry :

      Another +1 for dinner plus night alone – either get an overnight babysitter and spend the night in a hotel or ship off the toddler and sleep in your own bed (and sleep in as late as you want). Maybe you’ll wind up with baby #2 out of it – that would certainly be a memorable gift!

  24. Something is going on with the heating in our offices and it’s in the low 60s in my office…even colder by the window with a nice crisp breeze coming in (it’s 9 degrees outside). I’m already wearing my commuting boots and have my office sweater on. BRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

  25. Like the jacket – and love the collarless look. However, none at Macy’s in my size. :(

  26. Anonymous :

    I saw a woman on the street today in San Francisco in the most amazing olive green coat. It was made of a slightly shiny fabric (maybe a scuba or ponte?) and had an amazing, dramatic shawl collar, a wide open neck, and then was wrapped and belted. It was really striking. I couldn’t tell how high-end it was. Google hasn’t helped me find this coat, but I’d love to track it down (and even better if I can find a plus-sized variant.) Any vicarious shopping help?

  27. I got into a car accident this morning on the way to work. This, naturally, happened when I was already running late because my car wouldn’t start and I had to call AAA for a jump. Now my bumper’s gone, my car’s in the shop for the rest of the week and the repair’s gonna cost just over $1000 (I have limited collision, and the crash wasn’t my fault, but my deductible is $1000 so the insurance won’t be *that* helpful). I’ve been trying to be frugal so I can pay off my credit card debt and rebuild my savings, so this is awful timing.

    And I had such a cute outfit on, too. Got a new taupe cardigan (on sale for $8) that goes great with my favorite red skirt. Now no one’s gonna see that outfit until next week. Barnacles!

    • Anonymous :

      1) At least you are okay! Bumpers can be replaced. People cannot.
      2) I’ve been in this situation. It sucks. But if you are found not at fault, your deductible shouldn’t apply at all – the other person’s insurance should pick it up. So, wait and see what happens.

  28. London Bound :

    This might be too late to post here but I’ll give it a try.
    I am going to London in a week for a 1-week corporate training (basically my induction into a top 3 consulting company as a new hire). I will be the only woman with 8 males and I asked organisers for dress code: business casual.
    I live in a very sunny country and am petite so all of my pants are ankle length.
    What should I pack for the 7 days?
    I already packed a thick cashmere/wool theory coat, tons of uniqlo heat tech undershirts and long underpants, 5 silk shirts and 1 cashmere jumper. Do you think I would survive wearing my ankle pants and simple flat shoes or should I invest in long pants so I can wear socks that are not concealed?
    I could also consider dresses but all my dresses are sleeveless, meaning I would have to wear a blazer on top or buy a black cardigan.
    Help?

    • Anonymous :

      It’s not the tundra! You don’t need long underwear for London.

      Do not wear ankle pants and flats without socks though. That will be miserable. Either buy long pants or wear dresses with tights.

      • As a rule I would agree with you about London not being the tundra but right now it’s surprisingly cold (the ‘feels like’ temperature where I am has a daily high of about 1 degree Celsius) and if you’re from a warm country that’s horrible.

    • Colorful socks that show in the ankle pants / flats? I bet your male colleagues will not know whether or not it’s in fashion, and may be wearing colorful socks themselves. Plus socks are cheaper than new pants. Or go with Oxfords – a cute wingtip shoe will at least cover up your feet and you can wear socks under them.

      • Meg Murry :

        Or if you are super paranoid about your socks showing, perhaps trouser socks in a color that is close to nude for you? Don’t do bare feet in flats in winter – cold feet = cold rest of body. Or you can even wear tights or hose under your pants.

        Depending on the sleeveless dresses cut you can also layer a plain thin long sleeved tee or turtleneck under the dress and wear that under the blazer or cardigan – if you google image search “long sleeve shirt under sleeveless dress” (or replace dress with sheath) you get some good results. Do you have any blazers or suit coats? Try them on with one of your dresses and see how it looks. Just make sure you can wear the blazer under your wool coat, or you’ll have to carry around the blazer and change into it.

        You also may want to take a scarf or two – not wool outdoor scarves, but the kind of scarf you can wear all day long indoors – that will help with warmth a little bit.

    • I would plan to wear lots of layers, especially if the training is in an older building. When I was in London for a conference in March, there was some unusually cold weather and the building did not turn on the heat.

      I wouldn’t wear a suit, just smart business casual, which it sounds like you are planning.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 to layers, and layers that you can remove – I would actually suggest a skirt and tights, rather than pants and long underwear, and double up on the tights if you feel cold. If you are actually warm inside, you can always remove a pair of tights, but you are definitely committing with the long underwear.

  29. Any tips on staying focused in the weeks prior to leaving a job? I have about two weeks left before going to a new opportunity and it is really hard to stay focused!

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