Weekend Open Thread

Collection cashmere raglan sweater in stripeSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

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  1. another attorney :

    There is an interesting discussion over on Cap Hill Style about a somewhat different spin on topic that has been discussed here over the last few weeks. Essentially the idea of whether prudent, career-focused women of any age who want to have children keep that goal in mind. Do we limit our career options by planning for families we don’t yet have as opposed to pursuing our careers vigorously until family planning becomes an imminent reality, given that many women are predisposed to see themselves as the primary caregiver.

    So, I wonder how many of us changed the way we pursued our careers BEFORE we had kids or even a husband.

    • another attorney :

      I will start things off:
      I dont think I approached things differently. By way of background, I am about 10 years out of law school. I clerked for three years and then moved into biglaw, where I am now a partner. My husband has been in biglaw the whole time. We have two children, ages 6 and 2.

      I believe I went about my career the same way I would have regardless of whether I was married and/or had children or not, with the one exception being that the cities I chose live in were chosen solely with my family in mind (If I was on my own, I would not have chosen the two cities we have lived in over the past ten years, though I have grown to love both). When we had our second baby, I went on a reduced schedule (80%), but I am now full time again. As a partner in a law firm, though, I have the ability to control my schedule to some extent, work from home when I feel like it, and have time with my family when I want. I also have good support/day care.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      I am positive I approach things differently than men my age, due to a future desire to have children even though I am WAY premature in thinking about them. Hopefully not to the level of Sheryl Sandberg’s extreme example but —

      I applied to graduate school while in college, and will start next fall (deferred). Even though my current job gave me the opportunity to stay, for a higher salary, and defer further, as of now, I’ll finish when I’m 27. I’d rather graduate earlier than later, have a few years of establishing myself in my post-grad-school career, and then start having kids. Many of the women I was accepted with are doing the same thing.

      I know several people who are foregoing graduate school altogether (mostly men). Part of the reason I’d like to go is that if I do ever decide to take a few years off from the workforce, I want the benefit of my graduate school credential when reentering (my mom attended the same school I will attend, and the credential has allowed her to pop in and out of the workforce while raising kids, with relative ease). There’s no guarantee this would happen, but I believe (based on the degree and school reputation) that it would be a substantial boon.

      Am I holding myself back from promotions, etc because of some magical future family ten years from now? No, I don’t think so. But I do think I spend much more time than men my age thinking about how my decisions in my career will affect a future family timeline and lifestyle. In a perfect world, I’d want my relationship/family life to chart a certain course, and I recognize that decisions I’m making today will put me in a different position in terms of that course. So I try to make those decisions thoughtfully and carefully.

      Can it all change? Of course. In an instant. It probably will change in a million different ways before I actually get to the point of being married and having kids. But I’ve got to make decisions based on the information and the plan that I have today – so I do.

    • I’m married and I don’t have kids, and I plan to either (1) never have kids or (2) have them in my late 30s, after I’ve paid off my student loans, so that I can step back from my career and work very part time. I have no interest in working full time while having kids at home. I’m glad that I went to law school early, because if I had had kids young, I don’t think I would have had the energy to go back to school.

      Even though I’m not 100% sure I want to have kids, I’m pretty sure I do, and I think about it constantly, even though it will hopefully happen 8-9 years down the road from now, if ever.

      But sometimes I don’t feel like I belong on this site, because I’m not that much of an overachieving lady. My legal career is great, and I get satisfaction from it, but I’m not super driven to be the best lawyer ever, and I think that I could be just as happy doing something else. Plus, I need lots of downtime to feel happy and balanced. I work 40-45 hours a week and the rest of the time, I’m chilling with a book and some white wine, completely ignoring work and feeling fine about it.

    • TO Lawyer :

      I’m not sure if I want kids so I’m not necessarily planning for that but I’m considering moving to be with my SO in the relative short-term. Sometimes I wonder if I’m potentially short-changing my career by thinking about/planning this now.

      I’m also a little concerned because I really like the current practice area I’m in but it’s very male-dominated and I’m not sure how/if it would be possible to succeed in this practice area with childcare obligations.

      I guess that’s a little off-topic but it’s something I’ve been thinking about recently and is something I’m considering as I try to plan my career from hereon out.

    • I didn’t make any choices with children in mind until I was married — which happened in my mid-30s, so I knew were were going to try to have kids soon. I’m at a Biglaw firm, and I had an offer from another Biglaw firm. I turned the offer down in part because I knew were were going to try to get pregnant soon, and I thought it would be bad form to be at the firm for only a year or 18 months and then go out on maternity leave. The other firm was also noticeably less family-friendly than my current firm (not that any Biglaw firm is super family friendly, but there were marked differences in sheer numbers of part-time associates and maternity leave policies). I think I made the right choice, since I ended up getting pregnant within the year, but who knows . . .

    • I guess that you could say that I did the opposite of what most people would expect. Wanting to have kids was a factor (not the only one, of course) in my deciding to go to law school, as I was seeking a job that would be lucrative enough to support a family on one income. (Yes, I do now see the flaws in said plan, but it seemed like a great idea pre-recession.) Before that we (husband and I) were doing fairly well as DINKs earning close to the same amount, but definitely couldn’t have gone without either income.

      I wish that more women (and men, and couples) would look at it this way, personally, rather than just assuming that the wife has to be the one to “lean out.”

      My copy of “Lean In” is waiting for me at home. Can’t wait.

    • As a medical student choosing a specialty, I assumed that I would delay marriage and children to after I was done with training. Once I made the choice to be a surgeon I was pretty locked in; when I got pregnant as a resident I essentially had the choice to finish training at the pace/rate I was previously working or give up on surgery. There was no consideration of leaving before I left; it was stay or leave. The 18 months that I was a resident and mother was brutal and exhausting but in the end totally totally worth it. I now make good money doing good work and largely control my schedule. As a medical student I might have chosen a more “family friendly” specialty but I would have probably ended up working the same amount making less money doing work that was not as interesting to me. One piece of advice Id give younger women starting out is work as hard as you possibly can and be as good as you possibly can be before you have kids; the cred you gain by doing that will be rewarded when its time for you to reproduce ( if that is your choice). I had made my reputation prior to getting pregnant; when I needed a little bit of support while pregnant I was given it with no ill will.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      I think the only consideration I had was asking was the place family friendly, and this was OCI so I wasn’t thinking anything soon, although I was in my 30’s. I ended up getting pregnant in my 3rd year, and I did have a 5 minute meeting with my judge to see if it was an issue, and he said of course not. I went into BigLaw as a parent so I never needed to consider much in advance of or in thought of motherhood, when it was upon me.

    • I LOVE OPEN THREAD”s and This is a GREAT Thread! Yay!!!! Kat highlighted this in the mid day post with alot of professional ladie’s like us b/c we have to make CHOICES in what it is that we do and what kind of effort WE want to put in as WELL AS what kind of RETURN we get for doeing it.

      The Erin Callan post is very important, b/c Erin is now sad that she OVER worked, even tho she became CFO of LEHMAN when she was in her EARLY 40’s. But it wore her down and now she is tryieng to have a BABY through INVITRO fertilizeation but so far not a thing. FOOEY for that! Keep tryeing, Erin. You can do it hopefully.

      I am thinking that mabye I will do the INVITRO thing if I can NOT find a boyfreind in a coupel of year’s b/c so many men just want to ooogle me w/o my clothe’s on but do NOT want to marry me and have children. FOOEY on them. I do NOT care for men that just want to ooogle me. How can I be a judge when I am 40 if I can NOT have a child by the time I am 35? I need to do that so that the baby will be in school b/f I go back to the BENCH. FOOEY!

      I ordered the ear ring’s for Myrna and told her I am getting those for her birthday. She is getting me something special, she said. I am so glad I met Myrna, b/c I never would have met her if I did NOT move to the City. YAY!!!!

      The manageing partner says the 2 supermarket guy’s are close to sending over 33 case’s to us. They really liked me and my power POINT, that the manageing partner had me do for them and the guy in Baltimore. I have to go back there mabye Friday of next week, but I do NOT want to spend the weekend there b/c my MOM is haveing a VERY late baby shower for Rosa. If she holds out that is. I thought she was suposed to be DUE already, but I am NOT sure. She looks so big! But Ed says she is still the MOST beautiful woman in the WORLD. Ed is lucky to have married her b/c dad was NOT to impressed with him. He wanted an INVESTEMENT BANKER for ROSA, but Ed is a stock broker. To me their the same. Merrill Lynch is Merrill Lynch, but NOT to dad. He say’s he know’s the difference.

      Happy FRIDAY to the HIVE and to Kat! Have a great ST PATRICKS DAY weekend b/c I am just goeing to be workeing out at NYSC this weekend and eateing SODA BREAD! YAY!!!!!!!

    • Diana Barry :

      I didn’t change it. My then-BF (now DH) followed me to my biglaw job/city when I moved after law school. We got married when I was a 3rd year and had our first kid when I was a 6th year. I then changed jobs because my firm wasn’t making any partners in my practice area and there was a glass ceiling on advancement, basically. I also wanted to spend more time with my kids. So I didn’t “lean out” until the kids arrived.

    • Absolutely. I’m an attorney and not that I’m cut out for BigLaw but I went into law school wanting to work at the “family-friendly” law firm where I had interned during college because I knew I wanted to someday get married and have 2 kids and had dreams of being a stay at home mom for about 5 years before going back to work. What I failed to pick up on until I was firmly settled in the firm’s litigation practice group was that every female partner in the firm with kids was not in litigation. I soured on litigation for a variety of reasons but in choosing my next career move, I actively sought a “job” and not a “career” because I had realized that for me, a job is just something you do to pass time and pay the bills. I just don’t think I’m the type of person who will ever feel fulfilled (or cares if they feel fulfilled) by her job. (Which I feel is sacreligious to say on this blog…). I ended up marrying someone who will likely always make less money than I do so the job I now have was chosen largely because it will allow me to be the family breadwinner while working 40 hours per week with a predictable schedule in which I am able to use leave to attend school events, doctor’s appointments, etc. and I will never have to worry about work outside of work. I would never describe my current job as fulfilling or interesting but I am extremely happy here and we plan to TTC soon because I feel like this job is an excellent fit for a working mother.

      • A Nonny Moose :

        This sounds like my dream job, FWIW. I always feel lazy or less worthy by craving a job that has a predictable, 40 hour work week. I don’t even have kids yet, but my free time outside of the office is just too important to me.

    • HappyHoya :

      I have a husband, no kids, and I definitely approached things differently, and I’m really glad I did. I won’t say I planned for an imaginary family- I know lots of women who did things like: didn’t plan for their own retirement, to buy a home, underachieved with jobs, always assumed prince charming would come come- I made sure I would be fine whether I was on my own or if I got married. My reasoning was that most people do get married, and many have kids, so it was part of being prepared just like my retirement account and education were. I also really valued my time outside work when I was single, and now being married without kids. It took a lot of work (and far too many degrees) to end up with a flexible-ish job where my time is perceived by others as being valuable enough that I can make a respectable living without working around the clock, but I’m glad I did. I feel like I can continue to push hard to advance if I want, but I am also challenged in my current role and can afford to pay my loans and live reasonably without pressure to get promoted. I suspect my imaginary family plan worked out differently than most, though, since there are many days when my dream imaginary family includes a stay-at-home husband.

      Women are not the only ones who do this, even if they are the ones usually talking about it and answering surveys honestly. My husband gave up a profession he really loved because he realized that traveling 80% of the time ruled out having a normal family life (this was in his early 20s, before we met, and when he had not yet had a serious girlfriend).

      When I look at other dual income couples in our workaholic city, I am not surprised when one member of a couple opts out of the workforce altogether. Although I joked about wanting a stay-at-home husband, my hope is that both my husband’s and my willingness to not be full-throttle at work all the time will allow us both to stay in the workforce, and have longer careers than those who don’t, which is closer to my vision of success than shooting to the top and burning out.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        My husband is in a government job instead of private sector b/c he would rather have a mandatory 40 hour work week (as in no overtime) where he can work 7:30-3:30, and telecommute when he wants. We have no kids. He just sees work as a job to pay the bills and would rather not devote his life to it. He also turned down a travel heavy promotion b/c he thought he’d be miserable on the road all the time. I’m glad. I’d rather have him here cooking me dinner every night. :)

      • Wannabe Runner :

        My husband also quit grad school for this reason. He didn’t see academia as a stable way to support a family, especially since you’re at the whim of job openings anywhere in the country, and it could be a decade before you get tenure. If you publish (which you have to), then it’s not a 40-hour/week job either. He made this decision before he moved back to his home state and I met him.

        He now also works for the state in a job that he’s not super-excited about. But he is done at 4:30, makes more money than he would have in academia, and carries health insurance for our family.

    • I have a different take on this–I had my first daughter when I was a teenager. I worked very hard and finished school (up through graduating law school.) I was single for most of college and worked nights at a restuarant to support myself and my daughter. I saw the older women waitressing and knew that I needed to finish school so I could have more marketable skills. I also wanted to prove to everyone who said I had ruined my life by having my precious baby, that I had not and that I would still accomplish something (law school had always kind of been in the back of my mind, but I was not one of those people who had always wanted to be a lawyer.)

      Anyways, so I graduated law school and took the bar and got a job working for the government, which has good hours, good benefits and decent pay. Along the way, I also got married and had two more kids. My husband works part-time and takes care of our children while I am at work.

      So, even deciding to go to law school was a decision I made with my child in mind and really for my child. I wanted a job that would make her proud and that would support us. She is now 12 years old and I think it does make her proud to say that her mom is a lawyer.

      It is really interesting to be thinking about these things now, because when my daughter was young, there really was no choice but to work and to work the hours that I was scheduled. Our livlihood completely depended on it. I suppose since I am the main breadwinner even now that I am married, the same is true, but I have so much more power now. It’s humbling.

      • This is a great story, you should be so proud. Thanks for sharing it.

      • Wannabe Runner :

        Agreed. This is awesome. You’re amazing. :)

      • Way to go! Your story gave me chills. What you did is not easy.

      • Anonymous :

        Good for you!!! I also think that having a baby when you are a teen is not ideal, but I don’t think women should wait until they are in their late 30s either. We can accomplish so much when we are in our 20s and 30s! Now that I am in my 40s. I get tired much quicker and the demands of raising my son are hard, made harder by my elderly parents. I think we need to move toward NOT taking birth control for all the years we are fertile only to do IVF when we get almost too old to have babies. Let’s move to support women and men who are in college or starting out in their family lives.

      • Wow, you did it w/o a man, and your still probabeley younger then me? Kudo’s to you. Mabye I will have a baby w/o a man!

    • So Anon for This :

      I love this discussion, because I’m about to interview for DreamJob at a small company where every last employee or partner is male. Maybe it’s the industry (though, really?), but maybe there are other reasons they’ve yet to hire a woman… How do you tell the difference between a Lean In situation, and a Potentially Toxic one?

      • The more relevant questions for you may be : what’s the path to success in this role ? Is it sales targets, specialist technical skills, product breakthroughs, clients (bringing in new ones or maintaining existing ones) and so on ? Does it play to my own strengths ? Does the role/ company have the kind of profile that allows me to readily market myself and my achievements elsewhere if the company turns out to be less supportive than I had hoped ?

        Also bear in mind that you are really very unlikely to get a definitive answer to your first question during the interview process.

        • So Anon for This :

          This is a really helpful way of thinking of things–thank you!

    • I think that I’m in a slightly different position than many women of my age, because I’m divorced. When I was married, I wanted to be successful professionally, but I just sort of drifted into thinking that it wouldn’t be possible to become a partner and have kids – there was just no way that would work with my husband’s demanding (private equity) career.

      Then I got divorced, which was a big surprise to me. And given the opportunity to start over, I realized to what extent I’d been “leaving before I left”, and how much I wanted that professional success. So now, to the extent that I have a plan at all, that plan is to hold off on children until after I make partner. I’ll have more resources, and options, then than I do now, when I’m busting my tail trying to prove myself.

    • Anon for now :

      For those who were single after law school, any advice? Part of me really wants to go back to school (in a night program) in order to move in the direction of my career interests, but it would interfere with getting to know potential suitors. Not to mention, as someone in the early 30s who moved to a job to an area with few single adults, meeting people is more challenging compared to areas with more adult transplants.

      • Former Frog-Kisser :

        I was also single for like 5 years after law school.

        I lived in a city where I didn’t have any family, so I partied a good amount. I would sometimes go to a bar after work with friends, and stay until it closed or I left with a random guy. I was a public defender, so I worked really long hours and “fought for justice.” I had a ton of friends in my office, and we partied hard together all the time.

        But I finally realized that I didn’t want to live that life forever.

        My mom eventually moved to town, and I started eating dinners with her. I stopped drinking so much, and stopped the one-night-stands.

        Once I was being much better to my body and treating myself well with regard to men, I found a guy online who was also looking for a LTR. We dated and got married.

        If you’re in an area with only a few single guys, and you actually want to settle down, then do whatever you can to meet them. Do whatever you can to meet their friends, so you can get introduced to them. I have a close friend who joined a beginner hockey league, and she has met several guys through that.

      • If you’re in an area with few single guys, you’re going to want to meet guys online anyway and I’ve found online dating requires substantially less of a time commitment than hitting the bars or getting involved in activities with the hope of meeting dudes IRL. And there will always be men after law school. I was married in my twenties, went back to law school at night, graduated, got divorced, and now have both a job and a man that I love. Obviously, everyone is different, but you will be a different person by the time you graduate and you will be able to find people who are a good fit for you, even if you end up being effectively off the market during law school.

      • A Nonny Moose :

        I met my DH in night program grad school. Might not be such a bad way to meet suitors! ;)

    • Although I do want kids, I haven’t made decisions with children in mind. However, relationships/marriage has influenced my decisions. For example, I chose to attend law school in the US (instead of another country) because my then-bf and I expected to get married eventually and he’s American. I am considering moving to another country to work, but if I stay with my current company the job is likely to be in Asia, Africa or South America. The concern that I won’t be able to meet someone when the language/culture barrier is so great is definitely a factor in my decision.

      On the other hand, my decision to work in-house had everything to do with my need for a balanced life and nothing to do with a hypothetical husband or kids.

  2. Charlotte, NC? :

    DH and I are contemplating a move to Charlotte. We’re both lawyers, no kids yet. I would appreciate any and all info about the legal environment there as well as pros/cons of living in the area. We currently live in a mid-sized Mid-Atlantic city.

    • Hello! I just moved to the Charlotte area last summer. I’m not a lawyer, but can give you my perspective from our relocation process in terms of pro/cons. Pros: Large enough city that you can find most things you want (food, shopping, good doctors, etc.), hub airport, close to the mountains if you like outdoor activities, lots of transplants so easier to meet people. Cons: Very spread out, Mecklenburg County schools are spotty, no central residential/commercial area. We moved from Richmond, VA and we do miss the character of Richmond – Charlotte seems newer and more sterile. We also live in the far burbs because of the school situation. Overall, I just had a lot of trouble wrapping my head around the various residential areas here, and no one area really stood out. Happy to answer questions if you have them, although I’m no expert. Good luck!

      • Thanks so much for your response. We are definitely in the very early stages of thinking about this. From what I can tell from my perusing on zillow, there are lots of residential options. It is hard to tell which ones are best, so any specific recommendations would be appreciated. I’m not sure I care so much about school systems, at least at the moment. I have family in Mooresville but I think that is too far from where we’d want to live if we end up with jobs downtown (which seems most likely).

        • Just saw this response — I wrote more below. Don’t know your particular price point/housing preference, but I would strongly advise against Mooresville if you are commuting to uptown. You will live on Interstate 77 for a couple of hours each day. Some good high schools in the area (to the south of uptown) are Myers Park, Providence, Ardrey Kell… there are others, but those are a starting point.

    • CLT lawyer and a transplant from another city. Lots of transplants here. Like the other poster said, the county alone is huge, nevermind outlying towns. Small downtown city area. Watch some of Homeland – it really does look like that.

      It is a company town — the banks sneeze and we all catch colds. At least it’s not 2008!

      Schools are spotty. You may not care, but it affects the housing mix, what things cost, and how much trouble you might have when selling. The close-in areas weren’t that much less expensive than the city I left (but my house / lot was much larger).

      Overall, high QOL. It can seem vanilla on the surface, but overall much more welcoming that other smaller cities. And it is less vanilla if you poke around a bit.

      • Thanks both for the post! I just applied to a job in Charlotte, knowing almost nothing about it, except that it fits the vague parameters the hubs and I are looking for.

        • My brother and SIL have lived there for about 14 years, transplanted from PA. As others have said, lots of transplants. My brother has often randomly run into people he knows from PA. They live in the southern outlying area, which is booming. They had to add a second Target because the first one had outpaced the selling limits of one store. Lots of shopping, many subdivisions. Fairly cookie-cutter houses, but nice houses and good neighborhoods. The school system my nephews are in is good. They’re getting a good education, I think, although college is very competitive. Some decent restaurants but a lot of chains. As Anon says, high QOL and seems like relatively low COL.

          • Yes — it is wild with the transplants. There are Steelers bars and Buffalo bars during NFL season. I lived abroad once and refer to the expat community here because there are so many transplants. I run into someone from here and it’s all WOW — you’re FROM here (not such a big deal if they are <30 though; but it's odd to think that my children are Charlotteans).

            My husband and I have a joke about how soon into the day we see a piece of UVA swag (and then a re-joke if it is another Virginia school swag that we see first). [That's because we aren't college basketball fans for the local teams, so we have nothing to talk about in the spring.]

          • I thought I would get a break from that other Virgnia school’s paraphernalia when I moved to Charlotte. Um, no.

      • Yes–this is hilarious! Brody lives in Mountainbrook, Claire lives uptown, the Saudi Ambassador is in Eastover, and Claire’s sister/dad are in Elizabeth. There has been a lot set in Mooresville too.

        My husband and I still can’t figure out where Saul’s house is, but we guess it’s Dilworth or Myers Park.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Adding on to this question, are there any NC lawyers out there that have insight into the current job market in the state? BF and I just signed up for the July bar knowing it may be difficult to find a job, but wanting to have the option to move as soon as we could (we both have a couple of years before reciprocity would kick in). Is it going to be impossible to find something? We’d prefer the triangle area but realize Charlotte may have more job opportunities.

      • I think that Raleigh/CH/RTP are very good for in-house opportunities, but most firms there have smaller offices (lots of biotech / IP / etc.). I am in CLT and the legal market here is thawing, but not great (my firm keeps deferring 1Ls from fall start to January start due to utilization concerns). Raleigh may be a bit ahead of us in terms of utilization / over all busy-ness. Not a lot in house around here unless it’s finance, healthcare, or maybe IP (so I will be at a firm forever). Not a ton of federal government spots, either (there are local ones as you’d expect in a large city, but not a ton of state legal jobs here that I’ve seen).

    • Can’t speak to the legal market, but I have lived in Charlotte about 10 years. Great location — proximate to mountains and the gorgeous NC/SC beaches. Fairly low cost of living. Most big city amenities (decent, diverse restaurants; decent number of cultural activities; nice downtown with a couple of beautiful new museums). We chose to live close to downtown in an older neighborhood which is zoned for good schools, but the tradeoff is a smaller house and lot. The “close in” neighborhoods have beautiful older homes and very short commutes (i.e. to do an errand at lunchtime, I can leave my desk at a big building in uptown and be home in 15 minutes) and good schools (exception being the Plaza Midwood neighborhood, although I think the elementary school situation is improving there, if not the high school situation). There are great day care/private school options as well, at tuition which makes my big city friends envious. There are also a lot of housing options further out from uptown, but those come with terrible commutes, so you can live at Lake Norman or Mountain Island Lake but pay the price on Interstate 77 every morning. Lots of transplants, so people are friendly/welcoming to new folks. Our particular neighborhood is fairly diverse and liberal leaning. Much of Charlotte is not. I don’t know how I would have liked it as a single in my 20s, but it is great for a family. The thing I like least about it strong current of provincialism/narrow-mindedness/red state that comes out in various settings.

      If you have other specific questions, please post and I will try to answer!

  3. Saving for Grad School :

    Question for the Hive:

    How did you approach saving for grad school? How early did you start, what investments did you consider, and how much of the expense did you intend to cover?


    • wintergreen126 :

      I knew I wanted to go to law school (or grad school) just before graduating from college. So I looked for jobs near my parents so I could live at home. Granted, I know this isn’t an option for everyone, and really, by the end of 2 years everyone was ready for me to move out, but it helped me save a ton of money. I knew that I wasn’t going to be working long enough to cover all of my law school expenses, so the goal was to not take out any more loans than I needed.

      Also, while working, I didn’t touch any of the money my parents had previously invested in my name, to be used after college. Some of it was lost when the market crashed in 08, but I kept it there to be used for law school.

      Good luck!

      • I did something similar. I lived at home and saved as much as I could, eventually saving half of every paycheck. I had it invested in a mix of bonds and “stable” mutual funds. I was so blessed that I started school in 2007, so I took it all out before the market crashed.

    • I approached saving for grad school by only holding low-paying jobs after undergrad, thus allowing me to qualify for more student loans. One of those jobs was also for Americorps, so I’ll be able to cover about a third of my cost of attendance with a Segal Education Award. And I’ll get work-study funds for an internship component (thanks to the R e t t e who tipped me off about this!).

      That is probably not what you were looking for, though :)

      I will say, though, that despite my financial woes, my program is comparatively inexpensive (it’s accelerated, so fewer semesters to pay for); at a school where I’ll get in-state tuition (as opposed to higher-ranked schools, that I’d have to pay out the nose for); and in an area with a not-insane cost of living. I wish I didn’t have to be shackling myself to the student loan beast at all, but unfortunately, a master’s is a prerequisite to get into the field I want to work in.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I didn’t really save at all and it was a huge mistake. Good for you that you’re thinking about this ahead of time!

      If I had to do it all over again, I would have paid off all other debt i had first the. figured out what it actually cost me to live and at the very very very least saved up the difference between that number and the amount I could receive in federal loans. Do whatever it takes to avoid needing to take private loans of any kind! I’d also try to guesstimate what sort of salary was actually reasonable and determine how much I could afford in loan payments based on that salary and estimated living expenses and then not borrow more than what that loan would work out to be.

      Good luck!

    • Although I’ve known basically forever that I wanted to go to grad school, I didn’t do any saving especially for that goal – and frankly, didn’t do much saving at all (besides my 401(k)) for far too long. My parents were generous enough to pay for my undergrad, so loans were a completely new experience for me, which I thought the university’s financial aid department would help me navigate. Not so – I was completely on my own. Now with my 20/20 hindsight I’m convinced that I could have financed my education in a more responsible way. Live and learn, I guess. Kudos to you, OP, for planning ahead!

    • East Coast Anon :

      I worked full-time while going to grad school. I used savings for the first semester and tuition reimbursement for the rest.

    • I went to law school right after undergrad. I had a scholarship the covered most of my tuition for my first year, although tuition rose a LOT while I was there and the scholarship stayed at the same fixed amount. I covered my living expenses (and in later years a chunk of my tuition) by taking out the yearly maximum govt loan amount (around $8k a year) and using money I had saved in college and during summer internships (at least in law school, these can be very lucrative and allow you to save $20K or more). I also worked a very little bit (<10 hours a week, off and on) as an LSAT tutor during the academic year. My parents paid my health & car insurance, my cell phone and bought me plane tickets home to visit. My advice is to try to minimize the loans you take out – even the $25K I had felt burdensome enough and I had classmates who had 8 times that. I know I was really lucky to have both a scholarship + parental support but I really recommend doing anything you can to reduce your loan debt, including going to a slightly lower ranked school that will fund you or working while you're in school.

    • I realized I wanted to go to law school when I was a freshman in college, and chose to work pretty seriously (had a retail job where I put in 20-30 hours/week during the school year, 50-60 hours/week over the summer, moved my way up to manager before I graduated), even though I had a scholarship and my parents were paying a lot of my living expenses. I put most of this money into CDs and had a pretty decent return because I knew I didn’t want to use it for a long time (there are no >5% 2-year CDs anymore, sadly). I worked for a few years between college and law school, although I made less money at my entry-level “career” job than I did managing retail. I had the same strategy then, just to save as much as possible and put the money in interest-earning accounts. It was pretty easy to live very inexpensively since I knew I was going back to school. I had fewer work clothes than I would have otherwise had, and when my car bit the dust the year before I was going to go to law school, I did a 55 minute bike commute twice a day (in a suburban state that’s fairly hostile to bikers. I don’t know that I would recommend this. I am seriously lucky to still be alive). I gradually sold a lot of stuff I didn’t want to move on ebay or craigslist. Although I did borrow the full cost of law school tuition, my savings paid for me to relocate and for a substantial amount of my living expenses during the three years I was in school. Additionally, when I realized my ideal legal job required additional coursework beyond law school, I was able to pay for that with my savings, rather than stretch out the the time I was in school by having to find a job for a while and then repeat the save-to-go-back-to-school-later routine.

      I did graduate with some cash in the bank, and I am not sure whether that was smart/necessary or not. I had no family support in law school and no one who could have bailed me out of a crisis situation, so I maintained my own emergency fund at all times. Fortunately, nothing happened to necessitate me drawing from the emergency fund. If I was willing to put that money (which came from working before law school) towards tuition, I would have borrowed less.

    • I’m lucky enough to get a low-interest student loan from the UK government that I don’t actually need to live on while I’m in undergrad, so I’m saving that.

  4. I am a new attorney in a job I love that pays very little. I wear nice-to-me suits like Banana and JCrew but have been having issues where the elbows get shiny and then tear. Is there some trick to not putting this much wear and tear into my elbows? I am trying to remember to remove my suit jacket whenever possible so I wear it out as slowly as possible but are there other tips I don’t know? Suit jackets are expensive…Thanks!

    • phillygirlruns :

      no tips, but i get this on ALL of my jackets – jcrew, express, banana, theory.

    • I don’t know, I’ve never had that problem, but I only get wool (not wool blend) suits and jackets, so it sounds more like a quality issue (perhaps compounded by something fitting too tightly in the arms). Have you tried thrift shops or consignment stores? Many cities have junior leagues (and such) that sponsor a thrift shop. You just want a place where the people donating are donating high quality things (most are what people don’t like, not things that are worn out).

    • Wannabe Runner :

      You could try those iron-on elbow patches. Safety-pin them to the inside lining.

    • I’ve had this on all jackets too, even quality ones. It has to do with whether you lean on your elbows when you’re working! I try to rememember not to do that and my jackets have lasted longer since then.

    • This is why you don’t see guys working in suit jackets. It used to be that men’s suits came with two pairs of pants, because the pants were the only part that got any wear.

      Would you consider wearing more coverage underneath your jackets (blouse, sleeved sweater) and removing your jacket while working at your desk? Most men I know only put on their jackets when headed to meetings.

  5. Tailoring :

    I just received a blazer from Zara, and I like it, but I’m petite, so it’s a liiiiitle bit big. It’s basic black, and it was a good price, so I figured what the heck, and ordered it, because I don’t have any non-suit blazers.

    I’m wondering, though…is it worth taking to my tailor for adjustments? Or should I just call it a wash and return it?

    • Orangerie :

      Will the tailoring costs represent a significant portion of how much you actually paid for the blazer? If it’s more than ~30–40%, I’d say return it and keep looking. My guess is that you’ll be able to find a petite-friendly, basic black blazer that doesn’t require expensive alterations.

      • Fashion-loving Esq. :

        A lot of people consider tailoring costs in this way, but I suggest thinking about it differently:

        First, as AIMS suggests, find out what is involved in the tailoring you will need, including the cost. If that cost is in your budget (w/o regards to the cost of the garmet itslef), move on to second inquiry.

        Second, with the tailoring, will the item be one you wear frequently/enough to make the purchase + alterations worthwhile. As part of that, consider the total cost of the item + alterations.

        • Tailoring :

          I decided I’m going to take it to my tailor this weekend and get an idea of how much it will cost to get it to fit properly.

          It’s your second inquiry that has me thinking of just returning it. I bought it more as a solid basic to have on hand; I don’t know how much use it will get right off the bat. I’m afraid of falling into that trap of “if I have it, I’ll wear it,” but then never actually doing so.

          Luckily, the tailor is on the same street as the store, which accepts returns from online buys.

    • Take it to the tailor and find out what it will cost and how complicated it will be. They can usually tell you if it’s worth the alterations.

      • I went to the tailor, and I expressed my concern over the price. They were actually willing to give me 30% off, but once she had be put it on and really looked at, she was like, no, don’t keep this. It will cost you more than the price of the blazer, even with the discount, to get it to a proper fit.

        So it went back. And now I’m hunting for a petite size blazer. But thanks for the advice!!

  6. I’m looking into buying a nice purse with my first bonus check. I’d like to spend between 200 and 300 dollars, and I’ve been eyeing the Coach Legacy Collection or Kate Spade purses. How is the quality on either brand? I want to get something that will last a long time, both style-wise and material-wise. Any opinions (or other brands that you’d recommend)?

    • Anonymous :

      Kate Spade can be hit or miss. I’ve had paint peel off some of their leather bags before. That said, I am still obsessed and buy their bags regularly. I stick to sample sale or outlet prices though.

      I’ve had nothing but good experience with the nice, leather Coach bags I’ve purchased. I didn’t get ones specifically from legacy collection, but did get 2 big tote bags in that style several years ago; they’ve held up wonderfully.

      • anonypotamus :

        I have some Kate Spade purses that I absolutely love, and some that I have been meh about in terms of quality. I purchased one through a department store, on sale, one through a flash sale site, and one through the KS outlets. I’m not sure if it is true for all the KS Outlet items, but I noticed the fine print on many of them said something along the lines of “manufactured for the outlet.” To me that would be a sign of potentially lower quality rather than something made for the regular line that ended up getting move to the outlet. Just something to consider.

    • Just an fyi, some of the Legacy collection is on sale (50-60% off) through the Coach Factory website today. You have to sign up to access the sale, which basically just puts you on their email list.

      • Anonymous :

        Not the OP but a question I’ve always had. Are the bags at the Coach outlet just retail purses that made it down to outlet? Or are they completely different items the way that outlet clothes are?

        • It depends, I think. I have a wallet that was originally retail, purchased at an outlet. I also have a bag that was made specifically for the outlet, but the quality is great (after over a year of daily wear it still looks new). Both were leather, so I can’t comment on the fabric/logo bags.

          Of course, a sample size of two is pretty small, so I’d be curious if others have had positive experiences with the quality as well.

        • It would appear that you are not the only one who wonders this. Check out: http://www.brandculture.com/when-is-a-coach-bag-not-really-a-coach-bag-when-its-from-the-coach-factory-store/

        • HappyHoya :

          A friend of mine who love Coach purses and owns quite a few (retail and outlet purchases) seconded what KC said, and what the article Coalea linked to said. Most of the items are made for outlet, but some of the items are off-season or liquidated original retail merchandise. I’ve noticed that the location of the outlets seem to make a huge difference. Every time I’ve gone to the outlet is a busier location where Coach might me more popular (the Premium Outlets outside of NYC and DC), it seemed like all of the merchandise was made for outlet. I’ve been a few Coach outlets while on vacation in smaller towns or more touristy places, and they had a lot of products where they only had one of them and the design was notable different than the outlet line, or it was distinctively off-season or a recently passed trend, which I took to mean it was a retail cast-off.

          I have been getting coupons from Coach retail stores lately, on a fairly regular basis (every other month or so). I don’t know how I got on this mailing list, because I have never purchased a bag from a Coach retail store, but if one comes in the mail soon I will look into it and share on this thread. They are usually 20 or 25% off purchase price of any one item.

    • Anon in NYC :

      I have a purse from the Coach Legacy Collection (maybe 6 months – 1 year), and I really like it. I think the leather is really nice, soft, and it seems durable. If I were choosing between Coach and Kate Spade, I think I would choose Coach for a few reasons: 1) My DH purchased a Coach tote for me 8+ years ago that started to wear out in one spot that wasn’t easily fixable. He took the purse to a store (8 years later!) and asked them to fix it. They sent it out, determined that they couldn’t fix it, and gave me something like 50% off a new purse. To me, that demonstrated a commitment to quality and customer service that you don’t often find. 2) I personally like the style of Coach’s simple, non-logo’d bags more than Kate Spade bags. Just my personal preference. And 3) My mom has had Coach purses since before I was born that are still going strong. Granted, there are arguments that quality has deteriorated since then, but I think they’re making an effort to get back to that level with the Legacy Collection.

      Either way, if you have access to both stores, you should go in and look at what they have and feel the bags! Plus, if you expect you’ll frequently be carrying things of a certain size (notebooks, etc.), bring one with you so you get a sense of how much room you’d have.

    • (Some of) the Coach Legacy bags are 50% off at the online Coach factory right now.

    • I had a Kate Spade leather bag that changed color, and I sent it back and they gave me a full refund which I used to purchase another Kate Spade leather bag that has remained beautiful for years. So I highly recommend Kate Spade and if something terrible happens let them know so they can fix it for you. Make sure you get leather conditioner and regularly condition your bag to keep it looking nice.

    • And to answer you question about Coach bags, I have a lot of them and they have generally held up well. The only exception was a patchwork bag (patches of fabric, leather and suede leather) that got frayed and acquired color from my clothes (the bag was light so I think when I wore it with dark denim some of the color transferred). I took it to the Coach store and they said they could not do anything about it because I bought it at the Factory, even though it was a Coach bag not a Coach Factory bag (the Factory sells both overstock from the real company and also their own brand of bags). But the plain leather bags I have have held up pretty well, although they do tend to lose their shape a bit.

    • I don’t know if you’re tied to a new bag, but there’s an incredibly strong secondary market for Coach on eBay. I recently snagged a vintage bag of a classic style in great condition for under $50. It may not be what you’re looking for, but just in case…

    • I personally love Michael Kors bags. I bought a bag when I started my job that just fits file folders, and have gotten a ton of compliments on it. Its very classic, and leather, so hopefully will last. (Can’t find a link – maybe only sold in stores). I think I paid between 400-500, but if you can find a good Kors bag on sale, I’d highly recommend.

      • I have a Michael Kors Hamilton tote and it has not held up well at all. I’ve had it less than a year and the paint is already peeling on the handles and there’s a break in the tubing (or whatever they use to make the handles stiff), so that the handle flops over in that spot. I don’t know if it’s lesser quality because it’s the outlet version of the purse. I have another Michael Kors purse that’s only a few months old that also has a similar break in the handle support. That purse has a push lock that gets stuck on a regular basis, so that I can’t open it.

        Has anyone had similar issues with Michael Kors purse? Any suggestions for addressing them with MK?

    • I have three Kate Spade bags. The first one lost a piece off of it and the stitching came undone after about 6 months. I didn’t get around to taking it into a Kate Spade store until a year had passed, so I ended up paying for repairs that took 8 months to complete. Very unhappy with the customer service. The lining of the second bag came open along the seam within 6 months. I have not attempted to have that repaired. The third bag has had a lot of use for about 9 months now and is going strong with no issues. I have also had a phone case completely fall apart after a month.

      If I were going to buy another Kate Spade piece, I would get it on sale and only from Nordstrom where the customer service is better for defective items.

      • I have a KS (which I bought on sale at Nordie’s) which I have carried literally every weekday and some weekends for the past 13 months. Other than being less rigidly structured than when I first got it (probably my fault), it’s holding up beautifully despite how the zero effort I make to take care of it. I expect to carry it daily for at least another year.

  7. The intern with a Birkin scenario popped up in this Levo League piece: http://www.levoleague.com/fashion/what-your-work-clothes-say-about-you

    Most of the points have come up here before, but I’d never really thought about the “psychological effects of colors”. I can’t recall an interaction where a clothing color may have influenced the mood, but now I’m curious. Do any of you ever shy away from a color (or specifically pick a color) because of the potential psychological attributes?

    • Statutesq :

      I do in certain situations. For example, when deposing hostile witnesses I want to get a lot of information out of, I stay away from red or all black and try to wear something soft and calming. In situations where I want to convey more assertiveness I do the opposite (and I wear really really high heels). I have no idea if it makes any difference though.

  8. I may have to ask for a leave of absence for less than 2 months’ duration for what is essentially personal enrichment (intensive class unrelated to my employment). Wondering if any other biglaw ladies have asked for unpaid leaves for things other than health or family and how you did it. TIA

    • Someone at my biglaw firm did that and he framed it as a sabbatical. He was kind of burned out and went traveling around the world for 2 months, but the firm didn’t seem to have a problem with it.

    • I have seen a very well-regarded partner track associate take a longer leave (using banked vacations) in the Fall after she had an absolutely absurd year. She went to Africa to work at an orphanage and see the mountain gorillas. The orphanage portion in particular was super-smart, as she essentially put the partners in a position that they had to say, “F the orphans, we need you!” or let her go.

      Alternately, I have seen firms take a hard line of “we don’t allow unpaid leave and will not hold your job for you” when they are lukewarm on an employee or looking for an excuse to get rid of an-OK -but-not-stellar employee.

      Be prepared for either response…this would really depend on your firm and how you are regarded. The firm has no legal obligation to hold your job if you are not leaving for a govt-protected leave situation (FMLA, pregnancy, etc.)

      I think how they react would be related to how you couch the “personal enrichment”–for instance, if you want them to hold your job while you get certified to be a yoga teacher so you can be less dedicated to your job/move/leave, etc., don’t expect your firm to be supportive.

  9. Boston Therapists? :

    Reposting from earlier in the week: Do any of you ladies in the Greater Boston Area have any recommendations for a therapist? TIA!

    • Anonymous :

      I went to Tapestry Feminist Counseling for a bit and found Debby quite professional and helpful.

  10. Anonymous :

    I need a pair of LINED wool pants. I realize that perhaps I should be asking in August-September. What stores actually have these? I’d like a step up from BR but am trying to spend under $150 preferably. Also, I need a 35-36” inseam.

    • Talbots has lined wool pants (not all wool are lined but some) and also have talls.

    • Orangerie :

      I think Ann Taylor’s tropical wool suiting pants are nicer than BR, and are all lined (some don’t have front pockets though, which may or may not bug you). AT always has great sales/extra % off, so you should be able to find quite a few options well within your budget.

      • Anonymous :

        Thank you. I actually prefer no pockets so I will definitely have to check it out. (I even hate the pockets that are already sewn shut for you – because they are never 100% sewn shut and the part that isn’t sewn puckers!)

        • Orangerie :

          Their suiting pants run around $130 full price, but you should definitely be able to score them with a discount. The site has a dedicated Tall sizes section, which is a nice feature.

    • Back when pants fit, I loved AT because they lined them and they fit my butt well.

  11. Anybody have a rec for a NYC therapist?

  12. Accidental Pregnancy OP :

    Hi ladies,

    I’m the one with the accidental pregnancy who decided to keep the baby. I just have to share…I decided to get genetic counseling (some commenters on this site gave me good advice) and I got the results this week- they are great! I’m so relieved. Also, I got to see the baby on the ultrasound and he/she/it is SO cute!! I never thought I would feel that way about what is essentially an x-ray, but I walked out of there with a huge grin on my face. Still haven’t told people yet except my best friend (planning to tell family soon) but I want to shout it from the rooftops: I’m pregnant, my baby is okay (so far) and he’s so cute!

    That is all. :)

    Happy st. pattys everyone!

    • Congratulations! And glad you’ve been getting helpful advice here. This is a big decision and it sounds like you’re dealing with it really well.

    • Congratulations! Those first ultrasounds are so strange, aren’t they?. I don’t know what I expected, but I was really surprised at how much my son was moving. Punching his little arms and kind of rolling side to side like a little boxer. A little lime-sized boxer. Just wait till you can feel movement. It’s like someone set a goldfish loose right above your pelvis. Darn it, Internet stranger, don’t make me want another baby!

      • Accidental Pregnancy OP :

        Totally! He/she got the hiccups during the ultrasound and it was hilarious/touching/so strange to see…

    • Hooray and congratulations!

      I went around showing off pictures of every ultrasound, and still have the 3-D one framed on my desk. It’s all just so amazing.

    • Statutesq :

      This makes me smile too. Congrats!

    • So glad to hear you are happy and healthy!
      I’ve never been sure about having kids and always wonder how soon my mind will change if/when I get pregnant.

    • I was totally shocked when I got pregnant, and still getting used to the whole idea, but when I saw my baby somersault in the ultrasound I fell in love with him. It was just so adorable.

  13. RosieAims :

    Re-posting from this morning’s thread:
    Thread-jack — My brother (who is my BFF and only sib) and his wonderful girlfriend just learned that they matched for medical residency programs in Houston, TX. They currently live near me in the Bay Area and while I know that this is fantastic news, I can’t seem to stop crying. I’m not seeing them in person until Sunday, and I would love to put together some kind of gesture/gift for them. I’m trying to think of Houston or Texas specific treats, jokes, or useful information to maybe put in a little gift basket with some champagne? Maybe flexible tickets to entertainment or groupons for area restaurants? The problem is that I know very little about Houston or Texas in general . . . other than making some plays on the saying that “everything is bigger in Texas”, I’m not sure where to start. If anyone has ideas, I would really love to hear them!

    • Anonymous :

      Here’s some Texas stuff that may spark an idea: cowboy boots, yellow roses, prickly pears, oil rigs, NASA, armadillo, bluebonnets, trucks, the gulf, Houston Texans, Houston Astros, mexican food….this is making me miss home!

      • A cake shaped like any of the above would be awesome!

      • Here’s a bakery in SF that apparently knows how to make an armadillo cake (row 4 column 3): http://www.butterflycakes.com/cakes4.htm

    • Gift certificate to Ninfa’s. om nom nom nom.

      • Anonymous :


      • Or if they want to celebrate the move with a nice big steak, gift certificate to Taste of Texas. Though you can never go wrong with Tex Mex too, yum!

        Other non-Texas ideas:
        -Since they’ll experience lots of Texas when they get there, you could get them something to remind them of home instead (food from a favorite bakery, Bay Area-themed print/other decoration, etc.).
        -Housewarming type gift for new apartment/house/whatever their living situation will be.

    • new york associate :

      Bring them a big bouquet of yellow roses! I’d be psyched to get that.

      Also, I just want to empathize with your feelings. This is great news for them, but a real loss for you. It’s okay to feel happy and sad all at once (I bet they feel the same way!).

    • Hooray for them! Houston is a really great place to live (and did you see it was on the NYTimes list of places to visit in 2013?). A few suggestions: If you do a gift certificate to Ninfa’s, it must be to the Ninfa’s on Navigation (other locations are no longer family owned). Another TexMex gift certificate option would be to El Tiempo (any location). A membership to the Houston Museum of Natural Science would be a fun thing (assuming they like science, but they appear to be doctors so . . . ). They have great exhibits, and it is a fun place to escape the Texas heat! Both the HMNS and the MFAH have frequent trendy social events that give discounts or are free to members.

    • Gift certificates- Trader Joe’s (there’s one near the Med Center), Central Market/HEB- gourmet and regular groceries throughout town; Goode Company-local chain with great food of various varieties; Starbucks giftcards (most of the Med Center hospitals have Starbucks on-site). Spec’s-booze chain-hey, Med Students need to relax too!

      I know most of the GME programs here from professinal and personal dealings, and they really can’t go wrong. This is a great medical community.

    • Love all of Anon’s suggestions. Also, if you’re looking for something very special, a gift certificate to Uchi.

    • Hey there…I’m sorry you’re feeling this way, although I don’t blame you one bit. Maybe when they finish residency they will move back? In any case, you’re lucky to have a sib that you cherish so much!

      I don’t know anything about Texas but I just had another idea: what about the opposite- gifts from the bay area? When I moved across the country to go to law school, my two best friends bought me a beautiful framed graphic map of our home city. I hung it on my wall and looked at it every day of law school and thought of them. I still have it–hangs in my office! So that’s just an idea…food/photos/or some little thing to remind them of the bay area when they’re in a strange place might be appreciated. :)

    • RosieAims :

      Thank you so much, everyone! What thoughtful and helpful ideas. I’ll keep brainstorming, but I’m thinking that for Sunday I’ll do a bouquet of yellow roses, an armadillo cake, a magnum bottle of champagne (“everything is bigger”), and a card. When they move in May I’ll give them some restaurant/coffee/museum gift certificates and some sort of Bay Area token of awesomeness (love this idea!). I think focusing on celebrating this transition will help my emotions catch up with my mind. You all are fantastic!

      • In the Pink :

        There’s lots to do in this big town…they will enjoy scoping out fav restaurants. I agree with food from “home” maybe through internet company gift certificates. Be sure to plan a visit in the fall or spring months. Summer will be hot and humid…maybe a great fan for their new place as a housewarming? You can also get tickets to the opera, symphony, ballet, theatre – all in one area of downtown. Even during summer months there is something, so it’s another way to go from ac home to ac car to ac event!

        We aren’t all cowboys here, fwiw :)

  14. Question for you all about summer beach vacation in So Cal. I’m curious about suggestions for decent hotels walking distance to beach in Ventura, LA, or Orange county. I’ll be going with my husband and two sons (18, about to leave for college, and 22, just finishing college). The sons love just getting out with a boogie board all day and don’t need fancy amenities. The husband and I don’t want to stay in some noisy, sand-filled dumpy place. We’ve tried this before and not terribly successfully, probably because we are from Northern Calif and just aren’t familiar enough with the “style” of the various beach towns. We’d need inexpensive enough for 2 double-rooms or else a good size 1-bedroom suite with pull out couch. THANK YOU!

    • The only one I’m familiar with and would recommend is Santa Monica, and Georgian Hotel. Its right by the beach and promenade. If I recall though prices are in the low/mid $200s, not sure if that’s in your range.

      • Thank you. I will look into this one.

        • Senior Attorney :

          +1 for the Georgian

          Mr. Senior Attorney and I stayed there for our anniversary a while back and loved it. Pricey but worth it.

    • SoCal Beaches :

      My favorite beach hotels in Santa Monica are Casa del Mar and Loews. Both are right on the beach and walking distance to Santa Monica Place mall and Third Street Promenade. A new hotel called the Shore opened in the same area within the last year — perhaps they have some deals?

      In Orange County, Surf and Sand Resort and the Montage (both in Laguna Beach) can’t be beat. In Huntington Beach, the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and the Waterfront Hilton are both across the street from the beach. Newport Beach is lacking a bit in the walking-distance-to-the-beach type hotels, though there are lots of vacation rentals (homes) on the Peninsula.

      I am much less familiar with Ventura county. Santa Barbara is a great area though, but the only hotel I have stayed at there is quite pricey (the Biltmore).

      Unfortunately, I do not think that any of these options will be particularly inexpensive during the summer months though. :(

      • Hotel Carmel is just one very short block down from Ocean (where the Georgian and the (new) shore hotel are), and it offered lower prices than nearby hotels when I last stayed there.

        • There is also a Holiday Inn on Colorado & Second in Santa Monica but I’ve never stayed there (It may now be a Westin). You might consider looking into it.

      • There’s also a Doubletree Suites in Santa Momica–not right in the beach, but just a block or two off. Not cheap (I’ve stayed there for work lots) but since its suites, might work.

    • I would do some water quality research before booking a place in Santa Monica. As someone who lived on the beach in Santa Monica and Venice for years, I would be reluctant to plan a vacation involving boogie boarding there. Santa Monica and Venice are really fun beach towns, and have great hotels, but if you want to get in the water, I would head further north (Malibu and north), or further south to Laguna Niguel or somewhere down there.

      • Agree. I live in Santa Monica and always head north out of town if I want to actually get IN the water.

    • I would suggest that you stick with the OC, and look on VRBO for a place near the beach in South OC, like Huntington or Laguna Beach.

      • The Hyatt in Huntington Beach is really nice and literally across the street from the sand (they even have a above-the-street bridge that takes you directly from the hotel to the beach). Sadly, Newport Beach doesn’t have a lot of hotels with direct beach access. The Surf & Sand in Laguna is beautiful – it might be a little pricey, but it’s directly on the water.

  15. Has anyone tried E-Meals? It sounds like a fantastic way to make life easier, but I’m wondering how it works in real life. Essentially, you tell it what grocery store and what kind of meals (low fat, paleo, etc.) and it creates a weekly grocery list and meal plan.

    • Seattleite :

      Yes, I subscribed for about a year. I stopped because my family shrunk and I wasn’t cooking as formally any more, not because I was dissatisfied with the service. I’ve recommended it to other friends who still use it. One nice thing is that each of the “recipes” is pretty quick and dirty – the directions take about 1″x1″ of space, so weeknight dinners end up being fast and easy.

      FYI, E-Mealz is heavy on frozen veggies. I realize they are cheaper and, depending on where you live, may be more nutritious, too. I just almost always prefer fresh, so swapped those out instead. However, in my baby-birds-clamoring-for-dinner-days, I didn’t, and wouldn’t now were baby birds to reappear.

      • Just FYI, frozen veg actually has a shorter field-to-fork time than fresh, because freezing it effectively pauses the clock.

  16. eShakti feedback? I’m feeling like I *need* this dress.

    • I’ve liked the majority of the stuff I’ve purchased from them. I’m a little ticked off at their customer service lately though.

    • I have a friend who really likes eShakti, but I’ve never ordered anything from them personally. However, that dress is adorable! I love the color, the neckline, and the bikes.

      • Now I’m just drooling over everything on their website. I love this dress: http://www.eshakti.com/Product/CL0023933/Embellished-tulle-overlayer-dress and think it would be fantastic for a summer wedding.

        • Oh, I love it.

        • Please get that dress. That is gorgeous. (it reminds me of the dresses I used to draw when I was a little girl and got a new set of colored pencils)

    • Anonymous :

      I have seen this dress in person (in cherry red) and it was freaking adorable.

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve ordered one dress from eShakti – I ordered a standard size but customized the length/sleeves. The dress arrived surprisingly quickly, I thought, considering it was custom made for me halfway across the world (about ten days) and the quality (fabric, construction, etc.) was unobjectionable. I’ve had it for a few years now and, while I admittedly don’t wear it all that often (it’s too casual for work, and on the weekends I live in jeans), it’s held up well, despite machine washing/drying. Don’t pay full price for anything there, though – they are constantly running promotions and sending out gift coupons (I think you automatically get a gift coupon with your first purchase).

  17. Curious George :

    Adorable and a nice bright color for summer.

  18. hoola hoopa :

    The down in my comforter has shifted to the outer edges, where it hangs off the bed. It’s only six years old and fairly high quality. It has a large grid of stitching intended to keep in in place.

    Is there any saving it? If not, what should I look for in my next?

    • hoola hoopa :

      PS – We’ve been fluffing it regularly and I’ve tried to shake the feathers back.

    • Throw it in the dryer with some clean tennis balls and run it on air only (or low heat/cool down mode) for…30 minutes, maybe more. It will help revive the down.

    • I’ve run into this problem too. My SO and I have found that if we just rotate the blanket every couple days, the feathers tend to even out. No idea how the feathers move between the stitching so freely, but seems to work for us!

  19. controlling anon :

    Ladies, I am struggling with an issue and I’m sure I’m not the only “over-achieving” type to have this problem, so I come here for advice.

    I have recently come to terms with the fact that I’m a controlling person. I have all sorts of reasons for why (childhood abuse, parental addiction, cheating boyfriends, etc.) but want I want now is a solution. I find that when I think about “just letting things go” and giving my loved ones the reins in their lives, I get so depressed and afraid and uneasy. Also, I’ve found that I’ve come to dislike myself in a way that has always been just below the surface in the past, but now is bubbling up into full-on low self esteem.

    My husband is kind and willing to work with me on these issues, but I don’t even know where to begin. Just the other day I recommended he read a book I really enjoyed, and when he read the first few chapters and told me that it wasn’t his taste, I felt myself holding back from manipulating him to read the whole thing (I often use guilt, but then I give the silent treatment if that doesn’t work). All this over A BOOK. And now I notice all the subtle ways I try to control people and it is driving me crazy, but when I hold back, I feel awful too.

    Google searching the issue (and looking for books on Amazon) has left me feeling pretty hopeless. Most articles are about how to get away from people like me, and how to spot us and avoid us. My only saving grace is that I’ve never been physically violent to get my way, though I’ve often felt a strong urge to hit someone when they “cross” me.

    • controlling anon :

      And I forgot to add, I cannot afford therapy now, but will possibly be able to do so in two years or so.

      • Anne Shirley :

        Therapy. Get rid of cable. Trade down to a dumb phone. Sell stuff. One or both of you change jobs. Pay the bills late. Run up debt.

        Really, this is that important. If you had to come up with an equivalent amount of money to bail your husband out of jail, how would you get it?

        • Do you live near a university? You can often get free or cheap therapy from students getting their Ph.Ds in clinical psychology and they’re supervised by a professor who is licensed. Just call the psych department and ask if they offer it.

      • This is a serious problem. Over time, you will become physically ill. Or your loved one will. Your loved ones may leave you, or at minimum, neither of you will have the quality and beauty and and grace that you each deserve.

        I have a husband like you, and I am like your husband. I always ask my husband (re the issue he is currently p*ssed about “how important is it, really? One day we will be old, and gray, weak, and setting on the porch, seeing the end of our lives. Is the fact that I forgot the milk that day, or whatever is the issue du jour is, gonna really matter?” Is it really?

        I had an upbringing like yours: mom a drunk and drug addict; dad left when I was 6 for another guy (Never saw him again); was in and out of foster care. I had no control over my life. I had no relatives, no money, had never heard of insurance, etc, but I got a major scholarship to a wonderful university, and my life began. (I don’t mean to be mean, but this is why I’m in stitches when poster after poster goes on and on about their big weddings. I swear to you I had no idea what finger the ring went on, and I swear to you I got married on the steps of L.A City Hall– we meant to give the judge $20, but gave him the hundred dollar bill and there went our honeymoon at one of the off –waaaaaay off–Hollywood blvd.motels.

        The one who you can gain control over is yourself. But you have our affections and sympathy and hugs! cause you know we are on your side and you have analyzed yourself well. And it’s all gonna be good.

        You cannot wait two years and you cannot wait two months for therapy. I got some at school, but the best therapy I ever got was an AA group — called adult children of alcoholics. It was there I really learned to let go over issues I can’t control.Hell, go to AA if you’ve never had an egg nog in your life. take care. be well.

        However, people like me wear out, too. I’ve presently got one foot out the door (with the kid and the dogs and birds and bunnies.O

        • I agree that Adult Children of Alcoholics might be helpful. Individual therapy would be even better.

    • I’m pretty controlling too and am lucky to have a kind, loving husband who puts up with me. It’s very stupid things – like me getting pissed about him buying expensive groceries or not planning out errands to do them in a logical manner without driving in circles. Unfortunately I don’t have any great solutions but recognizing and acknowledging you have a problem is a good start. Also reminding myself it’s not that big a deal, and that I’m lucky he is helping with these chores.

    • anon for this :

      I am very much the same way and am curious to hear other’s thoughts/responses.

    • 12 step groups? Al anon or over eaters anon or something else anon?

    • This is not an instant solution but I am a controller by nature and have had some success with Buddhist ideas (‘my unhappiness is not due to my husband’s failure to read his book but my own desire that he should do so’) and techniques (meditation in particular).

      There are many ways to get familiar with some of these ideas to see if they are helpful for you. I am not religious at all and am not really the type to go in for therapy or self-help books, but found my way in from casual reading about Asian history and comparative religion, a short-lived attempt at yoga classes and a well-conducted meditation retreat a few years ago.

    • I don’t know if this will be helpful, but my mother has a tendency toward being really controlling, and I noticed in high school that I had those tendencies and have worked at curbing them ever since. It doesn’t help that I’m kind of like a guy in responding to all problems will potential solutions, and then getting upset when people don’t enact my solutions. I have a couple of rules/mantras that I use multiple times a day.

      The first is a general rule in our household (between adults) that if you complain about the way someone is doing something, you should either suck it up or do it yourself. If one of us starts complaining about what the other is doing, the person doing the task just takes a step back and asks “Do you want to do it yourself?” Ninety percent of the time, the answer is no.

      The second is the mantra, “They’re an adult and fully capable of making their own decisions.” My life became so much less stressful when I started applying this in every situation. The friend who never keeps a job more than four months and always quits in a dramatic manner? He’s an adult and fully capable of making his own decisions. I think they’re stupid decisions, but the thing about being an adult is that you have the right to make stupid decisions if you want to. In other words, it’s not my problem. For this to work, you do have to repeat it to yourself over and over again even when you’re dealing with a situation that you really think is just so wrong that this mantra doesn’t apply.

      But just so you know, the two areas I struggle the most are food and books. So I don’t think you should just assume that if you’re that way about a book, you’re exponentially worse in every other area of your life. Someone wants to ruin their life, I can stand back and watch, someone makes the mistake of telling me they’ve never had Thai food? I’ve got them halfway to the nearest Thai restaurant before they know what’s happening.

  20. 1L Summer :

    Do any of you lovely attorneys have suggestions for 1Ls looking for summer positions? I’m really trying to intern in-house somewhere (have other possibilities and not ruling anything out, but I am hoping to get an in-house 1L position), which I know have not all posted yet, but I was hoping some of you might have ideas as to where to find postings (beyond school sites). I’ve been on a few of the typical job boards, LinkedIn, and some random posting sites, but I am wondering if I might be missing any that you might suggest.


    • Sign up for The Posse List (google it). It’ll be a ton of contract job postings but there are enough internship postings (at least in my city) that it would be worth it.

    • Oatmeal Cookie :


      I actually found my 1L summer job on Craigslist! While most of the legal postings on Craigslist are for paralegals, there’s no harm in looking.

    • 1L Summer :

      Thank you both – I had not heard of The Posse List before and have now signed up. I also had not thought of Craiglist (I don’t know why, as I know people who have gotten great jobs that way). I will definitely use both and really appreciate you taking the time to reply!

    • Work your network! I worked in house my 1L year and found my job through an hr contact at my pre-law school job, who had subsequently moved to the company that I ended up working for. They had never had a legal intern before, but I convinced them to take me on and in the end we both benefited from it.

    • Try lawstudentjobs dot net.

      • 1L Summer :

        Thanks – I’ve found some jobs posted on there that weren’t anywhere else. It’s a great site!

    • If you can, I would consider doing something that you don’t think you’ll ever do. On the one hand, you can use the summer to do something that will put you on the path to your dream career trajectory, or you can do something you didn’t expect to do. For example, I really regret not doing some crazy public service law thing in SE Asia, or DA’s office because now I’m in the trajectory I am, but I kinda wish I had “tried” those other things during 1L summer. At the time, I decided to intern for a judge, but I could have done that during the school year, so that was silly of me (although AMAZING experience nevertheless).

  21. Ergonomics question. I am short and have an oversized “standard” office chair, ie puffy leather and not herman miller or his lookalikes. I can’t scoot all the way into my desk b/c the tall armrests prevent that. My lower back hurts! How do I politely ask for another chair, and if that’s not possible, any thoughts on what to purchase to bump up the lower back support?? ty!

    • “My chair doesn’t fit, who do I talk about getting a new one? Or getting reimbursed for one?”

      In the meantime, you can try rolling up a towel for the lower back.

    • Remove the armrests. They are useless and bad for you. Then scoot all the way in.

      • +1. And if you’re short you need a footrest. A cardboard box will do if your employers won’t pay for one :-).

        I’d first try to lean on the employer. But failing that, consider buying yourself a chair that fits you. It’s not a big investment, but it’ll make a huge difference to the majority of your awake life. I’ve only ever had one employer who insisted on every chair matching exactly (and that jerk had already had 2 back surgeries, no wonder!). Go to an office chair place, a professional one not Ikea, and sit in everything possible till you feel good, really good. Then see if you can rent one for a month just to be certain it’s perfect for you, or whether you can return it for credit within a certaine amount of time. Just be sure to get a formal invoice and keep a copy, so you can get your chair out when you finally quit your job, 3 office managers down the line.

        • I use a yoga block as my footrest! But see if you can get a new chair. Also, if you’re petite, consider getting a smaller keyboard and mouse. An 80% size keyboard has helped my wrist/carpal tunnel problems a lot!

  22. reposting from a late posting on earlier thread: I want to frame some 5×7 wedding pics in a frame together to hang. I’d like a wood frame that is good quality and will really last and am having trouble finding anything a step up from pottery barn level. Any suggestions? TIA!

    • Anonymous :

      A photographer in my hometown also does custom framing. His studio is a converted house and one of the rooms is devoted to framing materials. You can go in and physically touch and inspect what he offers. Would something like that be available where you are?

    • funkybroad :

      Room & Board has some funky asymmetrical wooden frames (modern style) and I like their displays with groups of them.

      If you’re looking for a more classic style and if you’re OK with doing some math for figuring out what size the frame should be when you include mats and ordering the mats too, check out PictureFrames.com. They have tons to choose from, whether you’re looking for standard or custom sizes. I have framed some of my artwork in the Plein Air Gallery line and I love the style, though it’s a bit of a thick frame (over 3″ wide).

      Alternatively, sometimes places like FastFrame or your local framing store will have ready-made frames for photos.

  23. hoola hoopa :

    Does closing a savings and/or checking account affect credit score?

    I want to change banks and close our accounts with soon-to-be former bank. My husband is worried that it will adversely affect our (excellent) credit scores. I thought that was only true of credit accounts.

    • No. Savings and checking accounts don’t show on a credit history.

      But the better question is: why are you worried about your credit score? Unless you plan to buy a house or car in the next 6 months, any effect on your score doesn’t really matter. Plus, if you have excellent scores (e.g., >700-750), a 10-point decrease isn’t going to affect your credit worthiness. A person with a 765 score gets the same credit cards and car loans as the person with the 795 credit score.

      If you do plan to buy a house in the next year, and have good credit, the best thing to do is start simplifying your finances now–liquidate your down payment, organize your financial paperwork, and keep day-to-day expenses low. Mortgage lenders demand documentation for everything and the fewer explanation letters you need to write, the better.

  24. Calibrachoa :

    Thanks to my friend the enabler, I came home with metallic green 14 inch faux croc doc martens today. Whoops. My next shoe purchase was meant to be something nice for work…

    • NOM! from where? Angels & Vixens? I am soooo jealous!
      PS_ sounds like your shoe purchase IS something nice for work :)

  25. Rock and a hard place :

    Who wants to give me career advice?

    I’m a litigator at a very small firm (under 10 lawyers). I’ve been here for just over 3 years (out of law school for 5). I went to law school later in life and now I’m 34.

    I like what I do, and I have AMAZING work/life balance (including low billables, 10 minute commute, and the ability to work from home regularly) It’s as good as it gets. But I’ve come to the conclusion that this firm isn’t right for me long term for a lot of reasons. But to sum it up, while I want to be a partner somewhere, I don’t want to be a partner here. It’s basically a square peg/round hole. While my reviews and bonuses are good, they don’t address any of my concerns because they are set in their ways and just pretty lackadaisical about management in general. So little things, like “our calendar system doesn’t really work for me – can I propose a change?” get met with flat out rejection, and bigger things get talked about but never happen – for example, for three years, they’ve been talking setting up a 401k program and hiring another support staff person, but have yet to do it or take up my offers to spearhead these things. Associates either go with the flow, or they leave. Because they can offer something no other litigation firm can (good work life balance), they have a steady supply of good applicants, and therefore zero incentive to change their ways.

    For the first couple years, I was able to say to myself that any other job would just be trading one set of problems for another, and I wasn’t willing to make that trade off. Some things have happened recently where I’ve reached my breaking point, and I know I need to be somewhere else because while I like my life, I need more structure and challenge. I think I need to get somewhere else soon so I can get myself on a partner track somewhere where I want to be long term.

    But, my husband and I have been putting off kids because time was never right with my career. We are now actively trying. (had one chemical pregnancy two months ago) Because I’m 34 and my mother hit menopause at 40, we can’t really put it off any longer.

    Anywhere I go, I will have far worse balance. I will undoubtedly have higher billables and a longer commute (this is the only firm in my field in my suburb, I will have to commute downtown at 45 min each way). Plus the whole maybe being pregnant while interviewing/starting and balancing a new, harder job with pregnancy/new baby.

    My field is not a lucrative one – I don’t make six figures, I have SL debt, and I live in an expensive metro area, so nannies and other luxuries are out (so is staying home or any part time work). I would probably get a much needed pay bump from a new job. My H makes more and works long hours, so financially, it’s not feasible for him to cut back, but because he is at the top of his career, I will likely outearn him in 3-5 years (at which point maybe a nanny/housekeeper/other support might be financially feasible), so it’s just not smart for me to be the one to hold back.

    Would you suck it up and deal with the crappy job for a little longer (how much longer?) Or would you follow Sandberg’s advice and just keep gunning for what I want?

    • I think it’s perfectly fine to pursue another job, but the reasons you mentioned for not liking your current firm don’t sound especially compelling, at least to me. It’s very common for companies to take a long time to change or improve things or to reject an employee’s desire to alter a system like a calendar. Sure, if this stuff really gets to you, apply for other jobs and try to find a better one, more power to you. But I think you may be better off adjusting your attitude and embracing all the great things your job has to offer. Do you like the work you do? Do you have solid relationships with your co-workers? How important is it for you to have balance in your life and to have a manageable work load? Think about what your priorities are and if these frustrations really matter in the scheme of things.

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Not sure which is more amusing – late 20’s being late in life or your reasons for wanting to leave. You don’t like the calendaring system, so you want to leave? Is that really a criteria for your job? It sounds like you are focusing on pebbles when the big rocks work in your favor…..

    • Brunette Elle Woods :

      The same thing happens in my small 3 attorney office. Nothing gets done for months or ever. It’s just the way it is when there are more pressing issues to tackle. If you are planning to have children then the 10 minute commute and ability to work from home seem like things you shouldn’t give up.

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