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Wednesday’s Workwear Report: Check-Stitch Top

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

Reiss is having a great sale — tons of low prices on sophisticated tops and sweaters, particularly. I’m always a sucker for a good white check blouse like this, either to be worn with a white or nude-for-you camisole — I love the way it’s not quite a t-shirt, not quite a blouse, not quite a sweater (although it does have 3% wool and 4% cashmere in the fabric blend).  It was $180, but is now marked to $113. Check-Stitch Top, Off White

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

(L-all)

Comments

  1. Oh, Kat, I love this Reiss cami! I am goeing to show the manageing partner this RIGHT AWAY! I would like to wear this next week when we are goeing to the Lamb’s Club for our MLK day celabration with our cleint’s. I hope I can get it EXPIDEITED! YAY!!!!

  2. anon-for-this - obviously :

    Semi-see through shirts just don’t do it for me.

    Immediate Threadjack – can anyone recommend a headhunter to help with an attorney job search in Philadelphia. Preferably for an in-house position.

    • Also it’s a crop top? I think it’s only the high-waisted skirt keeping the midsection fully covered.

      • It’s tucked in. If you click through, you can see the length.

        But I’m with OP on semi-sheer tops.

    • I actually *just* got off the phone with a recruiter looking to bring someone in-house (to Vanguard, in their benefits group) in Philadelphia. Ryan Belville, of Lateral Link. I haven’t worked with him before, to my recollection, but he seemed nice enough.

    • Philly recruiters :

      Try Abelson (mostly firms) and Coleman Nourian.

  3. So one of my NY resolutions is to finally find a financial planner, but the process is seriously intimidating for me. I know the basics I guess – I should look for a fee-only person, not a broker, someone with fiduciary responsibility…but how do I know I get someone who will give me good advice? Should I just start with one of the big firms? Are they likely to vet their people more?

    For context: in Boston area, ~150K in assets excluding mortgage + retirement

    • Diana Barry :

      What do you want the financial planner to do? Just curious. Is it just for asset allocation, or future cash flow planning, or something else? That said, I haven’t found many around, but you could try David Keefe at 4 Point Financial.

      • Honestly, it’s a bit of everything right now because it will be my first time speaking with one (and really first time thinking of doing anything with my money beyond “stick it in a savings account”) Basically, I want to discuss my financial/retirement goals and then figure out where I should put my money.

    • Anonymous :

      I think this is a minority opinion here, but I don’t think everyone needs a financial planner. Sock away the maximum for retirement, put six months living expenses into a liquid emergency fund and put the rest in a Vanguard index fund.

      • Anonymous :

        +1

      • Diana Barry :

        This is what I would recommend too. Vanguard index fund with all the non-retirement, non-emergency money.

        Vanguard also has an advisor service for 30 basis points, which is pretty low for that kind of thing.

        • Basis points?

        • And its not an advisor but the vanguard customer service is incredible – they will stay on the phone with you for hours if necessary, giving you advice and walking you through setting up accounts etc. I agree with everyone else saying that you don’t need a financial planner unless you’re in a particularly complicated financial or tax situation.

      • anonshmanon :

        +3. Even if you end up meeting with a pro, I recommend taking the investing course from YNAB (free, 10 emails). This covers the broad basics (what to consider, what the possibilities are, how to do the investing practically). Then you won’t be overwhelmed with all the things if you decide to speak to an adviser.

        • This sounds great! But I’m having a bit of trouble finding it on their website…is it part of the workshops? Podcast? Guides? Thanks!

          • anonshmanon :

            http://cdn.youneedabudget.com/courses/investing

          • anonshmanon :

            huh, I also had trouble finding it through the website. Google gave me the direct page, I hope the course is still being offered.

            http://cdn.youneedabudget.com/courses/investing

          • anonshmanon :

            the filter is eating the links I am posting. I also had trouble finding it. But you can google YNAB investing course and it will take you there.

        • YNAB = You Need a Budget if that helps

      • I get that this is basic advice, but is this really what I should be doing as my liquid assets go up to 300K? 500K? I think the adviser would likely tell me exactly what you just said for right now, but I’d like to know what my future options are too.

        • Yes – same advice.

          This is what I do with my close to 1 million.

          It isn’t that complicated. Every time I have tried to play with individual stocks, I do worse compared with my Vanguard index. I don’t want to invest in/manage real estate, since I don’t have the time and handy skills.

        • anonshmanon :

          It depends on when you expect to need your savings. Only at retirement age? Invest. Do you see yourself buy a house in 10 years? Keep some money in a place with less volatility (which means less potential value increase).
          How much to save and how much to invest also depends on your mentality. If you put everything in stocks and they drop 20%, are you going to panick and sell at a loss? For me, this was the most important tip that I read somewhere. Look at your savings, think about how much they might suddenly depreciate with you keeping calm. That amount times two is what you can gamble on the stock market, since a 50% crash is a possibility. The rest should go into lower-risk options so you can sleep at night.

        • It doesn’t really change with increasing net worth. It’s still good advice even if you have $10 million to invest. If you have specific goals, e.g., you want to buy a house in five years then it might be worth changing the strategy a bit and that’s where the planner can be helpful. But the same basic advice to fund retirement, keep an emergency fund and then invest everything else in index funds holds true for any amount of money.

      • +3

      • stephanie :

        This makes me feel better because that’s what we do, and we’re older (mid-40s) with a decent income (mid six figure all together), house/mortgage, kids, etc. We have a ton in retirement accounts and tuition savings plans. The rest is just in Vanguard in a prime money market and then a handful of stock and bond funds I picked. We have good life and disability insurance through work. I hear about other people getting financial planners and I feel like I’m doing things wrong.

    • Following. About $150-175k in liquid non retirement money split between cash and a brokerage account I don’t manage well.

      I want someone to tell me what to do with the $100k cash we are sitting on, and to make sure the ~75k is invested wisely. We have a cash glut because I took a buy out 5 months ago to work part time and SAH part time, so we didn’t want it all in the market.

      In the north/ western Boston burbs.

      • Is your retirement fully funded? If not, throw it at that. With working part-time I’m presuming you don’t have a fully indexed defined benefit pension plan? If not, definitely retirement savings until they are at a comfortable level.

      • VEGAS!!!

      • Yes, DH maxed out his 401(k), i contributed to my 401(k) until I left my company, then opened a solo 401(k) and contributed the rest to max out the year. We both fully funded IRAs.

        Prior to this year we’d been at minimum maxing out 401ks and most often fully funding IRAs too (exception being the year our first kid was born and the year DH was unemployed for a bit AND we bought a house.) for 7 years. Before that we contributed between $5k-max depending on the year. We’re 32 and have been socking $ away for retirement since undergrad graduation- at about $375k-400k combined now- so I’m pretty comfortable with where we are and our go-forward plan for retirement.

        (FWIW neither of us are in big law).

    • Also following. From Boston. Slightly less in net assets, but not far off. Thinking about doing the same because we just ‘sock it in savings’, too!

    • I can’t believe you’d pay for advice re what to do with 150k — or 300k or 500k. What do you think the person will tell you that warrants their fee?

      Put it in the market — not all of it, but whatever proportion you’re comfortable with — which only YOU can decide. If you’re not an active investor type — then an S&P index fund is all you need. And yes this is what you’d do when that number reaches 200k or 400k as well. If you think you have too much in the market at some point, that’s when you start to look at alternative income generating investments like real estate.

      • I think increasing financial literacy is important and if finding a financial advisor is how to do that, then go for it. I wouldn’t build my own house if I’m not a contractor so why would I think I could appropriately invest my money. Yes you pay for those services, just like you pay for any other service.

        I’m not an investment advisor. I’m a CPA, so have a fairly good understanding of the market, etc. I still have a financial advisor. He watches the market for me, and advises me. I’m not that interested in watching, nor do I have time.

        • SuziStockbroker :

          Thanks Sydney.

          Some of us are actually good at what we do. Others are sales people interested only in how much they can make.

          I pay for expert advice in other areas of my life (law, accounting etc), and I think there is value in paying for expert advice to invest.

          FWIW, I think my industry does a terrible job of articulating that, and that the compensation system has historically been tied to sales and not to advice, so it is our own fault we are often regarded this way.

          Women make up about 10% of my industry. Just sayin’

      • Well – it would be nice to have a professional explain why an index fund is all you need and when you should consider doing something else. That’s why you do the fee only – you want someone to educate you and give you advice for a set of facts and figure out what those inputs are, but don’t need active management of money.

        Yes, this may be all most people need in terms of advice, but understanding the *why* is important to be sure it makes sense for your particular situation.

        For OP – ask your friends for recommendations.

    • Bogleheads :

      You could get a financial planner, but I recommend reading the Bogleheads Guide to Investing and posting on the Bogleheads message board with any individual questions you have after reading (or even just to confirm that you’re on the right path). They’re super helpful. I have about $120K in non-mortgage/non-retirement assets and I’m very comfortable with my investment/financial plan without ever having spoken to an advisor. Unless you have complicated family/personal considerations or a lot more money, I don’t think you need one.

      • Thanks, I will definitely check this out. I do have some interesting personal considerations, which I’d rather not out myself with here. Not super unique, and probably results in the same answer, but I do have some non-average timing issues to deal with.

      • anon a mouse :

        The Bogleheads Guide to Investing is a fantastic resource. A three- or four-fund plan covers the basics for most people, and you can tweak the amounts to better reflect your risk tolerance over time. My father picked it up 30 years ago and was able to retire early with substantial assets using the principles in the book, despite never making more than $50K a year and raising four children.

        • anon a mouse :

          (To clarify – he found the bogleheads groups/principles all that time ago, I don’t think the book is actually 30 years old!)

    • AnonInfinity :

      I don’t have any specific recommendations for a financial planner in Boston, but just chiming in to say that my husband and I did this last year, and it was so worth it. We have only slightly more in assets than you do, so the advice to just put it in an index fund was good advice, but the financial planner helps with a lot more than that. They’ve advised us about how much life insurance we need, helped us find folks to refinance the mortgage to get a much better rate, and helped us figure out how to best handle our debt. They’ve even talked to us a little about budgeting.

      Is it all stuff that we could have figured out? Sure. But having a professional advise us helped us feel a lot more secure in our choices, and it has saved a ton of time to find someone who can help us find other financial services (life insurance, mortgage, etc.).

      We use a fee-only planner that we found by asking around and then searching for someone who wanted to help young professionals. I say young professionals because a lot of the bigger firms in my area really cater to clients with $1,000,000+ in assets, whereas those who help younger folks would talk a lot more to us about growing our small nest egg into something larger.

      • Yes! Thank you! You just put into words everything I was hoping to get with a planner. The time saving thing is big for me – I will pay to not have to do all my own digging and finding…well, other than trying to find this planner :)

      • We have a close family friend we use as a fee-only financial planner. He set up a Roth IRA when I was at my first job that didn’t have a 401k, has gotten both my husband and I life insurance (neither of us have it through work), and has set up several 529 plans for my kid and nieces/nephews. He has even given me advice regarding decisions with my 401k through my current employer, even though he isn’t profiting from it. It is nice to have a competent one-stop shop for help with this stuff.

      • Can I ask how much the planner charged for doing this sort of thing? We have less socked away than most on this board, but we have a few complicating factors that make our finances a bit complicated (the usual, I guess — student loans, 529 we want to fund, not-completely-funded retirement accounts), and a deposit for a home we are planning to buy this year. The issue is more “which do we fund/pay down first” so I would like some advice but not if it’s going to cost us thousands.

        • AnonInfinity :

          Our planner charged $4,800 last year to get everything set up. She actively manages our retirement accounts through work, our Roth IRAs, and 2 other investment accounts. Plus the advice on life insurance, etc., that I mentioned upthread.

          On a yearly basis now that we’re all set up, they’re going to charge about $2,500 unless something major happens and we need more services than normal one year.

          • AnonInfinity :

            Oh, she also calculated what we’d need at retirement to have our current standard of living, taking into account that the mortgage would be paid off, etc. Then she set investment/savings goals for us, which are very motivating. So, to be on track we should have $2M by a certain age, and so on.

            Again, I know we could have figured all this out ourselves, but the time saved by going to her and the reassurance that we’re on the right track from a professional giving us personalized advice is completely worth it to me.

          • Thanks, this is very helpful! Good luck meeting your goals!

      • Lazy lawyer :

        Yes, this. Our financial planner has given us comprehensive advice for our overall finances — retirement savings, non-retirement savings, employee stock purchase plan options, 529 plans (they’re not all created equal), specifically *what* index funds to allocate money to, insurance coverage, advice on charitable giving to maximize tax benefits. All of which has resulted in a significant increase in our net worth, far more than the fee we’ve paid so far. We outsource cleaning, childcare, and dog-walking; I don’t see how this is any different.

      • Anonymous :

        Any recommendations for this type of planner in the Silicon Valley?

      • grilled cheez :

        We did exactly this, and we are in Boston! If you’re still reading – Tom Fisher, Fisher Financial Services. He analyzed all of our 401K options and told us how to change our allocations for better return and lower service fees, helped us balance our risk across all of our investments, and advised the coverage we needed for life insurance. The OP didn’t mention whether she was partnered, but Tom also gave my spouse and me a lengthy questionnaire to clarify our goals and risk tolerance so we could come up with a plan that made us both comfortable.

    • I live in Boston, and while I’m now in law, I started out in finance. If you have $150K in assets, you’re not going to get great service at any normal brokerage house. I would read a few books, like “Get a Financial Life” (Kobliner) or “Smart Women Finish Rich” (heavy on the don’t have a latte a day, but good overall advice) to get your feet under you. Then you can start supplementing.

      I think it’s hard for anyone to give credible advice re the markets until we see what Trump does, honestly. There’s a lot of hope re deregulation and a lot of fear re how he’s going to interact with (or gut) the Fed. Time will tell.

      • af dsadf s :

        Yeah. I’m also in finance and was trying to figure out where to put some of my dad’s money over the holidays – it’s hard to say right now. And there aren’t many great mutual fund that aren’t US-heavy.

      • Anonymous :

        +1

        Good points.

        My brother actually pulled the majority of his $$ out of the market in December, as he suspects things are going to get volatile. I don’t disagree.

  4. I’m struggling to figure out how this could be styled for work – it’s the cropped-ness I would find hard to work with.

    • If you click through it’s not actually cropped. Beautiful piece.

      • Ooh, I like it WAY better on the click-through. I would wear this with black pants on one of the days when I’m feeling more edgy at work.

    • Anonymous :

      Is it cropped? I assumed it was tucked into the high-waisted skirt. I still think it’s too see-through for work, even with a cami.

      • Diana Barry :

        It is tucked, but when you click on the untucked picture it looks loose, so they must have some pinning wizardry going on in the tucked picture.

    • I’m not a fan of cropped tops but have seen them look beautiful with high-waisted pants.

  5. D.C. Rookie :

    I’m new to D.C. and am on the hunt for recommendations for… well, basically everything, but particularly doctors. If anyone knows of a primary care doc, eye doctor, or dentist that they’d recommend, I would be grateful.

    And any other D.C. tips for newcomers would of course be appreciated!

    • I highly recommend Watergate Dental. I see Dr. Gluck but I think all their dentists have great reviews if you search online. I also really like Reiter Hill Johnson & Nevin for your OB/GYN needs.

      • A second for Reiter Hill!!! I go to the Falls Church location, but they are always great, get me in quickly. I’ve seen Drs Busch, Nicole Johnson (I think there is another Dr. Johnson) and some of the PA’s as well. All have been great.
        Dentist – Ideal Dental solutions has been great, but it’s in Arlington, dk if you want to come on over to the commonwealth:)

      • Seconding Reiter Hill Johnson & Nevin for OB/GYN. I saw Dr. King in Friendship Heights, and my friend likes Dr. Milberg in their downtown location.

        Divine Smiles dentistry in Bethesda is good too, but a good 10 minute walk from the metro.

    • Here’s my doctor lineup, found through extensive trial and error over the past 6 years. I live in the West End/Dupont area, so that’s where all of my docs are located as well.

      Primary doc – One Medical. You have to pay a membership fee, but for me, it has been worth the piece of mind of knowing that I can always get an appointment when I need one, that my appointment will start on time, and that the doctors are kind and competent. You can choose your primary doc online, make appointments on their app, all of the payments are online, etc.

      Obgyn – Capital Womens Care. I see Dr. Schichor. She is beyond wonderful. Their front desk staff is kind of a pain to deal with, but I only go once a year for my annual, so it’s fine.

      Dermatologist – Dr. Chang at Integrated Dermatology of K Street. I used to go for acne and now just go to get an annual skin cancer check. Everyone in the office is friendly and efficient; I’ve never waited too long for an appointment, and the appointments are always quick.

      Eye doctor – MyEyeDr on Connecticut Avenue. The staff is super friendly and helpful when picking out glasses, ordering contacts, etc.

      Dentist – Dr. George Baird in Dupont. It’s fairly no-frills, but my teeth are low maintenance. If you have more specific/complicated dental needs, I’d look elsewhere.

      Also happy to provide recs for gyms, neighborhoods, etc!

      • Second Capital Womens’ Care! I go to the Bethesda location and see Dr. Alam – shes great.

        • I used to go to the Forest Glen location and it was great, but then my provider went on leave and it was impossible to get an appointment with anyone else for months :( They are very popular!

      • If you have CareFirst insurance, you can have your One Medical membership fee waived.

      • I agree One Medical is great for peace of mind for a DC newcomer — but I have found that the doctors are VERY young/inexperienced; the few that are experienced and well regarded are never taking new patients; and more often than not all the available appointments are with PAs/NPs not with MDs — though when your MD option has 6 months of post residency experience, maybe it doesn’t matter?? I would still get on board with it initially bc it is HARD to find good doctors in DC taking new patients, but I’d keep the search if any of the preceding concern you — which it did for me coming from a city with a bunch of top academic health systems where you get to see MDs with 20 yrs experience for minor complaints, so I’m not used to/cool with lack of experience.

        • Fwiw, the NPs that I’ve seen at One Medical have been great, youth notwithstanding. One of them helped me figure out the cause of a series of weird and very concerning symptoms that I was having. She was even emailing me on weekends and calling other doctors that I’d seen to get their records. I’ve never had a doctor be so thorough or persistent.

        • I wouldn’t rely on One Medical if you had a complicated or chronic condition. But for “minor complaints,” I personally don’t feel like I need an MD with 20+ years of experience. A doctor 6 months out of residency is perfectly capable of diagnosing and treating minor illnesses and injuries, so I’d rather have the convenience of going to One Medical and having appointments that start on time. I also love that one of their offices is open late on any given weekday – I once had an injury around 6 PM and was able to get an appointment at 9:30 that night to have it looked at. Great avoiding the emergency room when I can!

        • I use One Medical as well, and I have the same frustrations with the inexperienced MDs. For me, it’s been total lack of bedside manner, escalation of minor issues, and wonky administrative policies. I still go because I’ve found the convenience outweighs the frustrations, and they are competent, just irritating. It also helps that the office I go to is across the street from my office. I also echo Anon at 10:49– go with an older doctor. But if they aren’t accepting new patients online, just call and say they are they only person you’d like to see.

          Escalation of minor issues example: Last year I cut the tip of my finger off cooking. I went to One Medical initially, and they asked for updates on the healing process to make sure it wasn’t infected. Over the next month they recommended I go to the ER four times when I sent in pictures of my finger. I went to the ER twice where they told me my finger was healing nicely, it was just bruising from the type of cut. My ER co-pays are high, so this was mega frustrating (plus one ER visit was on vacation). The takeaway from this is to avoid their Virtual Medical team or take any escalation from them with a grain of salt. I think this is where the practical inexperience is most troublesome because they treat everything seriously.

          Wonky administrative policies: They use their national nurse network for a lot of things like answering patient questions, delivering test results, doing pre-procedure reminders, so there’s not really personalization. It’s not the person who did your procedure telling you about the results or even a nurse that works with them. And you aren’t able to talk to your doctor over the phone– you can only email or schedule an appointment. I was in a weird limbo where I wanted to talk to my doctor after the test results and before scheduling a procedure and they basically wouldn’t let me. I ended up scheduling a visit and paying my co-pay to ask my doctor to explain the procedure to me. Their emails explaining the procedures are a bit condescending and specific to their NYC offices (we minimize discomfort with our beautiful landscape painting that you can immerse yourself in–how spa like! and our exposed brick helps make our space comfy and inviting.)

  6. I recently (this summer) had my second baby. I’m gearing up to return to work, but my clothes still don’t fit. I gained a truely incredible amount of weight (65lbs) with the pregnancy, and though it has been coming off, it’s been slow and steady (I don’t have time to do anything other than eat well and nurse and chase around 2 kids..would come off faster if I exercised). As of this AM I have 11lbs left to get back to Post partum, plus another 5 before my wardrobe really fits well because my clothes we’re getting a little snug before I got pregnant.

    So, I need some interim pieces for the season. I’m carrying extra weight around in my thighs/hips, atomach and boobs. I’m normally a pear, but now I’m sort of like a pear with a bigger gut and also boobs. But my waist is still the narrowest part, then boobs, then hips.

    I’m thinking wrap dresses are the way to go. DVF has not traditionally for me, and is also more $ than I want to spend right now. Any wrap ideas? Or other basics?

    I work from home and in a casual (jeans OK) office most of the time, but do need to dress up (not full suit) for industry events and client visits, of which I have several, this quarter.

    My non suit jackets fit- they are Royal blue, purple, and brown…so, not seasonal. Suit jacket is too smug in the chest/arms and looks odd open. A size up is the right size but I’m too cheap to buy one.

    Also, I’m tall, so dresses can’t be ok the short side.

    TIA!!

    • Now is the time to hit all the clearance sales online. I just went through Ann Taylor’s sale section, and some beautiful pieces are available (at 70% off!). Don’t spend a pile of money if you don’t have to because you’ll resent those clothes every day for not being in your “normal” size and being expensive to boot.

    • Would those inexpensive shift and swing dresses from Old Navy be too casual? You could dress them up with a jacket, tights, and boots. ON even has some blazers, although I’m sure they aren’t high quality. But they might get the job done until your other stuff fits.

    • I have a similar problem and have found Old Navy’s skinny pants in the dressier fabrics to be a lifesaver. They have tall sizes, are cheap enough that I can buy multiple pairs to cover all the neutral colors, and have held up amazingly well for 6 months now and still going strong. Not the ankle pants – the full length ones. Pair with a flowy blouse (and a cardigan or blazer) that can be worn regardless of weight and you’re done.

    • Frozen Peach :

      Similar shoes here about a year ago. The Jennifer Lopez skinny high-rise pants at Kohls’ (jeans and black pants, etc) have been really kind to me. Definitely room for my hips and a high enough waistband to keep my pooch tucked in for about $30 a pair.

    • I like Ann Taylor wrap dresses in tall sizes (I’m only 5’7″ but the regular sizes hit me too high on the waist – if you’re tall, I expect the tall size would fit better). I don’t see any on their website right now, but you could keep an eye open for when they have another 40% off the whole store deal, they should be getting new spring stuff in. Same with Banana Republic wrap dresses, again in tall sizes. Talbots has some good deals on faux-wrap dresses right now, they have some ruching along the waist that works well if you have a belly. Amazon frequently has great deals on Anne Klein faux-wrap dresses, if you’re not picky about the print, and a lot of the sellers have free returns if you have Prime.

    • Still on the pricey side, but I’ve had luck with DVF wrap dresses on ebay

    • If I were you I’d snatch up a ponte pencil skirt and one of the flowy tops that are out there, then top with one of your blazers or a longer cardigan. The ponte has a good chance of still fitting you as you move down in weight.

  7. Everyone seems to be satisfied with Vanguard index fund. Can anyone go into further detail about why they like it so much? Just return on investment? TIA

    • Low fees

      Good corporate philosophy

    • Compared to other options it’s got low fees and is diversified.

    • Anonattorney :

      Low fees.

    • Low fees and it doesn’t try to beat the market, which is actually pretty difficult to do, so it’s potentially less risky than an actively traded fund.

      • Agree with all of the above, plus kind and competent customer service for the rare occasions that it’s necessary.

      • How can an index fund be diversified? Or “not try to beat the market?” I mean, it’s tied to an index. There’s no analysis, no research. Just consists of the stocks that listed in an index.

        • Anonymous :

          That is exactly how it doesn’t try to beat the market–it is tied to an index. Actively managed funds try to beat the index, which incurs lots of management expenses and transaction costs and doesn’t necessarily produce any better returns.

    • Can someone explain what ‘Vanguard index fund’ refers to? Like, any Vanguard managed index fund? A specific one?

      • anonshmanon :

        yes, it refers to all index funds offered by Vanguard. Other companies also offer index funds, but Vanguard has the lowest fees. Fees compound over time in a similar way like interest, that’s why they are to be avoided to get optimal returns on your investment.

      • In my case, I mostly mean the Total Stock Market and Total Bond Market funds. It’s a simple portfolio that you can’t go wrong with (adjusting the proportion of your money in each fund based on your risk tolerance, goals, timeframe, etc).

      • And if you don’t have a Vanguard account — Fidelity has these as well for the same fees as Vanguard — look at the Fidelity 500 Index which is the S&P fund.

    • AttiredAttorney :

      Check out the blog post by Budgets are Se * y on Vanguard Index Funds and the comments. They were helpful for me to get an overview of why Vanguard and which funds.

    • stephanie :

      I’ve had Vanguard as my main investment account for about 20 years and love it. My parents use them too. They are just a great company- solid, great customer service, good website. I use their prime money market as my savings account, then set it up to automatically invest monthly in a couple stock and bond funds. It’s pretty idiot-proof, which I need. They have planners if you want them, and all the tools and calculators online.

  8. Any travel or sightseeing tips for Hong Kong? Spending 4 days there with my parents (late 50s) so some laid back stuff would be nice… This is the first trip that I’m taking them on, instead of the other way around. But so far all I have is a list of places to eat. It is going to be from the 26-30 so it runs into CNY too.

    • Check out Extra Pet1te’s blog – she’s been to HK at least once if not twice in the last few years.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Go see the Tian Tan Buddha (Big Buddha). You can do a pretty strenuous hike to get there or ride up in a gondola. The hike is awesome, but I can see your parents not wanting to do that!

      In the hiking vein, the Morning Trail is beautiful, not too hard, and you have great views of the city. Check out Victoria Peak (great views and you can take a tram there).

      Lamma island is a nice place to get a picnic and walk around a bit.

      Man Mo temple is the oldest temple in the city, and just cool to see. It’s not necessarily a destination unto itself, but if you’re in the neighborhood, it’s worth a stop.

    • Go to one of the outlying islands! (I lived in HK for 3 years) Really, you can’t go wrong with any of them, even if it’s just the rural part of Lantau, where the airport is. There are some really tiny ones you can research if you want, but I think the easiest is probably Cheung Chau or Peng Chau. Many of them have traditional fishing villages and are very quiet, perfect for being laid back. Totally different from all the skyscrapers. The ferry rides are fun too.

    • Taking the ferry across the bay at night is cheap and easy and lovely! I took my MIL up to the peak and I think as a one-time thing it was worth it for the views. You can have fun riding the escalators too! I also liked the Hong Kong History Museum (I might be getting the name wrong).

    • Seconding the buddha – it is next to a monastery which is very interesting to visit. I liked the Hong Kong History museum well enough but managed to go on a free day which made it much more worth it.

      I really enjoyed just wandering around the different neighbourhoods (indeed riding the escalators), tried to eat as authentically as possible (but it was hard with the language gap). Bargaining in the markets was quite an experience but I got some really great pearls for great prices.

      And riding the ferry is key.

    • If they – or you – are foodies at all, highly recommend doing a walking foodie tour. Highlight of our trip last year. Link to follow.

    • My favorite place in Hong Kong was the Wong Tai Sin monastery (there’s a gorgeous garden and you can get your fortune told!) My mom loved the Chi Lin nunnery and said it was her very favorite part of a 3-week trip. (Aside from seeing my niece, of course.)

      Victoria Park is lovely in the morning, lots of elderly people doing tai chi and sword dancing. The Ladies’ Market in Mong Kok was kind of overwhelming for me–I’m not good at bargaining and just wanted something to eat–but I really liked some of the smaller markets in Wang Chai. See if you can get tickets to the junk boat cruise at night–the “‘Symphony of Lights” is spectacular.

      Also, whatever you do, don’t miss a waffle with peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk!

  9. Help me decide where to stay in Montreal?

    Going for a long weekend in February and overwhelmed with the number of AirBnb options — what neighborhood downtown would you ladies recommend for first-time visitors looking for good restaurants and ease of walking/subway access to tourist stuff, but that isn’t unbeknownst-to-us in the middle of the business district and deserted at night?

    (Not super interested in trendy “nightlife” i.e. bars/clubs — I’m looking for the Philly equivalent of Rittenhouse/Wash Square as opposed to, say, Old City or Northern Libs or – god forbid – Convention Center district)

  10. One of my New year’s resolutions is to get serious and systematic about professional networking. Heretofore, my efforts at networking have always been very spontaneous and have begun mostly in person. I regularly run into the same cast of characters at conferences and always make an effort to chat briefly. I take advantage of every opportunity to give presentations and sit on panels, and regularly volunteer to serve as a discussant, moderator, or facilitator. I have sometimes been able to provide advice and guidance to contacts who are embarking on projects closely related to the type of work I do. But that’s about it. Meeting new people and maintaining regular communication with contacts is extremely difficult for me. I’m always worried about interrupting conversations, saying the wrong thing, or bothering people by e-mailing them. I don’t want people to think I’m just trolling for business (I do consulting-type work). I’m not even on LinkedIn because I’m afraid to send connection requests. The only time I’m comfortable initiating contact is when I have some type of natural connection with the person–I have a genuine follow-up question or comment about a presentation the person just gave, we share a strong interest, etc.

    I think my first step towards better networking should be to get set up on LinkedIn, but I have no idea how to begin. What needs to be in my profile? What pitfalls should I watch out for? How exactly do I go about asking people to link in a way that’s not off-putting, and how widely should I cast my net? For example, is it appropriate to link with former clients who were also semi-collaborators on projects? Once I have some links, what else should I be using LinkedIn for? How can I go about all of this this without its seeming unnatural and forced?

    • They want to network with you too, so first of all try to look at it as mutually beneficial, not as you bugging them. I think anyone you legitimately know is fair for networking on Linked In. Like you’ve met them. You don’t need to feel a connection or have had a working relationship, but if you know who they are and vice versa then go for it. (I do get requests from people I don’t think I know on Linked In. If we have connections in common sometimes I ask how we know each other, otherwise I don’t accept.) Then after that you sound good re the events and conferences. Maybe have a goal for one work lunch or coffee a month that doesn’t have a specific purpose (other than networking?). Good luck.

  11. super anon :

    Someone from my past that I was friends with in college but kind of phased out about a decade ago randomly reached out wanting to get together. I wish her well, but I don’t really want to see her. I phased her out for a reason. What should I do?

    • Reply with polite email/message. Say you are too busy.

    • “It’s great to hear from you! I’m super busy at work right now as we’re gearing back up from the holidays. Hope all is well with you and yours.”

    • I don’t know if I would even reply. It’s easier to pretend you didn’t get an email when it’s someone you haven’t talked to for forever.

      • super anon :

        It was a text, strangely. Felt more intrusive that way.

      • AnotherAnon :

        +1
        I reached out to a work friend six months after he left the company. It was just a “hello..how is you new job going” email. He didn’t respond to me. I took it as he doesn’t want to respond to me for whatever reason and end of story. I absolutely didn’t feel bad or sad.

  12. So after an injury, I’m finally starting to get back into shape. I started running again, which I hate. But with the frigid temps in the Midwest, I’m realizing I need to revamp my workout clothes (aka gym shorts and tanks won’t cut it). Where do people go to get their exercise clothes? I’m not looking to spend a ton of money, but I do want to keep warm. TIA!

    • I tend to buy workout clothes at TJmaxx but have really been loving the gapfit leggings, nice high waist, thick fabric, cheap if you catch a sale.

      • I always start at TJ Maxx/Marshalls; Running Warehouse is another good place to look. But if you’re running outside in the winter in the Midwest, I would strongly suggest that this is not an area where you want to cut too many corners: there really is a difference between my legit fleece-lined running tights and the Zellas I happily wear to barre. I like Under Armour’s ColdGear. Other than that, wear a hat or headband, gloves or mittens, and base layer + long sleeves + fleece or performance jacket.

        Also, if you hate running in ideal conditions, maybe consider another workout? Starting a Midwest-level outdoor running wardrobe from scratch is not going to be cheap.

        • +1 to all of this. If you hate it you could risk hurting yourself again in less-than-ideal conditions. I might consider an indoor workout or – if the running bug gets you – get serious on quality layers that cover you, some reflective gear as it will be darker out, and (if you can afford them and can break them in) a second pair of running shoes for when your other ones are drying.

    • Target’s C9 line is actually pretty good. Nike Outlets if you have a nearby outlet mall (under armor outlet too, but those tend to be harder to find). I’ve heard good things about Old Navy’s activewear, for the price, but I haven’t tried myself. The key with cold and running though, is to remember my college coach (in upstate NY)’s 20 degree rule – when you run outside, whatever the temp actually is, add 20 degrees to it, and dress for it. You will prevent overdressing and be so much more comfortable!

      • numbersmouse :

        Old Navy isn’t durable at all. Their yoga capris started coming apart at the seams after less than a year. I’d pick C9 or, surprisingly, H&M over ON.

    • If you are going to run outside in the cold, I’d highly recommend looking at a site like road runner sports and their winter gear. Stay clear of anything cotton, and go with thicker tights and a similar top layered over a moisture wicking shirt. Their customer service is great. I’d call and talk to them about the temps you plan to run in and what they recommend. I have gap/old navy tights that are great for fall running but just won’t cut it for a New England winter run.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      A headband and buff, to protect ears and throat, go a long way to help me stay warm outside.

      • If I can keep my head, hands, and feet warm, I am good to go in frigid temps. I got a pair of running mittens for Christmas and those are the bomb.

        Otherwise, I use regular running tights, calf compression sleeves over that for warmth, a wicking baselayer on top, with a mid-weight layer over that, then an easily removable windbreaker type thing. 99% of my running clothes come from Target (C9) with the exception of socks. I have Balega and Smartwool socks.

        • Smartwool socks are the only winter running socks. All others are just not as good.

          Actually I’m a fan of smartwool base layers too. They’re not cheap but I agree with others on not cheaping out on winter running clothes. You won’t be comfortable, and if you’re not comfortable you’re going to hate it even more than you already do.

    • BeenThatGuy :

      I know this answer isn’t for the question you asked, but why in the world are you running if you hate it? There’s tons of other exercise options so why do something you hate?

      • Yeah…running outside in the winter in Virginia is pretty miserable for me, and I love running…

        • Also the summer. A treadmill is necessary if you want to run in VA without feeling like you are going to die for 6-8 months out of the year.

      • OP here. The running is necessary for the sport that I got injured playing and wish to return to when my protocol allows it. Also, my physical therapist says it’s required. Believe me, I would absolutely love to cut running for the sake of running out, but no go at this point. I would run indoors, but my dog would be very upset and jealous about that. :)

        • ponte python's flying circus :

          Gotcha. Fair enough. Good luck and wishing you a triumphant return to (sport)!

          As for the running gear, look in the Running Warehouse sale section for specialized gear and Target’s C9 section for other stuff. I don’t skimp on sports bras, fleece-lined tights, and one good solid winter running jacket (eg Saucony Vitarun); everything else can get picked up from clearance sites/ lower-end stores.

          Ah, winter running…when you want to wear an entire load of laundry in one go. I had to build a winter running wardrobe from scratch when I moved to the Northeast, and here’s a sample capsule wardobe for Northeast/ Midwest weather, assuming you’re on top of laundry:
          Running 3 days a week – 1-2 pairs tights, 2 long-sleeved shirts, 2 tanks, 3 bras, 1 jacket, 1 pair gloves/ mittens, 1 headband. Optional – neck gaiter. 3 pairs wool socks.
          Running 5-6 days a week – 3-4 pairs tights, 3-4 long-sleeved shirts, 4 tanks, 4 bras, 1 jacket, 2 pairs gloves, 2 headbands. Optional neck gaiter. 4-5 pairs wool socks.
          Depending on weather and pace I layer tank + shirt + jacket (20s), or tank + shirt / shirt alone (high 30s-40s), or shirt + jacket (30s). Outer layers don’t need to be washed every time; even tights might not need to, depending whether you break a sweat/ run through slush. HTH

    • I like Target, Old Navy, and random sales at our chain sporting goods stores. I have a couple of pairs of Reebok running tights that I love and have lasted.

    • You don’t have to run to get in shape. Why not pick something you can enjoy instead of torturing yourself?

    • I have bought my running gear online [different brands and stores] several years ago. Surprisingly, the clothes are great quality and they look as good as new. I usually wear layers, since you can add/remove them as needed, usually, my winter outfit looks like this:
      * thermal underwear [mine is basic merino shorties from Icebreaker],
      * warm leggings [mine are Nike – bought them on sale directly from their online shop], please note that in super freezing temperatures, I wear compression leggings underneath [the brand is 2XU, bought them on Amazon]
      * running bra [mine is Nike, I like the compression and the way it “holds” everything]
      * thin longsleeve merino top [mine is Icebreaker from Amazon]
      * top layer, which is either a windproof thin running jacket or a thick hoodie [Gap Fit Orbit Fleece]. When it is cold, I add a vest underneath [Gap Fit Knitted Vest]
      * neckwarmer [Gap fleece neckwarmer], headband [Buff], gloves [any technical gloves] -> I stash these in the hoodie pockets and pull them on when needed
      The only 2 items I am very specific about are bra [it must be well fitted and does not cause any scratching] and leggings [I am willing to pay more, as I know that the stitches will not fall apart and there will be no rubbing in problem areas]. Everything else you can buy as cheap as you feel like.

    • Anonymous :

      Lululemon. Nothing compares.

  13. mascara hunt :

    My 2016 resolution was to get better at mascara, and now that I’m in the groove I need to re-stock.

    Any recommendations for favorite very liquid-y mascaras? Waterproof preferred. I like the liquid-y texture much more than thicker formulas. Drugstore and Sephora recommendations both welcome!

    • Frozen Peach :

      I just started using Blinc mascara at the Hive’s recommendation, and it has CHANGED MY LIFE.

      • Minnie Beebe :

        +1000

        It’s all I can wear, because it’s the only mascara I’ve ever tried that does not give me raccoon eyes. Love it!

      • YES!! I did this too due to Hive’s rec! I buy it 2 at a time from Sephora now (to get the free shipping and because I find the only downside is that it dries out around the 2 month mark) and it is awesome. Not sure I would call it a “liquidy” mascara though, but definitely worth a try.

      • TorontoNewbie :

        I’ve started wearing the MAC equivalent to Blinc (tubing or tube or tubular or whatever it is). Don’t remember what the name of it is, but the tube is blue and it’s great.

      • I love tubey mascara but I didn’t like the Blinc. I like Trish McEvoy. It’s much liquid-ier out of the tube and I can use the same tube for several months. I like the “high volume” one.

    • My two best mascara tips:

      – Be aggressive with replacement! My mascara always goes on best when it’s a fresh tube, and gets thicker and clumpier within a month or so. I have had better luck with buying drugstore brands and tossing the tube as soon as it starts to thicken up. Also, samples / trial sizes at Sephora are my best friend. They even have some box sets where you can buy 6 or so sample sizes to find which one you like best.

      – Apply the mascara a little warm. I tuck the tube into my bra while I’m doing the rest of my makeup, or you can put it in a cup of warm water. That softens it and makes it go on smoother.

    • If you’re looking to be particularly low-investment, the ELF mascara is surprisingly good. I put it on after using an eyelash curler though.

    • The Lancome Volume-a-Porter mascara is a liquid-y formula and such a good all-round mascara – good for definition, good for volume, good for lengthening. It has a plastic brush which I usually hate, but it lets me get all the little lashes in my inner corner and along my lower lash line.

  14. investment pieces vs. frugality :

    My SO and I need a new mattress, and my family generously offered to buy us one as a belated housewarming gift. We’re currently sleeping on my full-sized IKEA mattress from 8th grade (we’re 28…). We’d like to upgrade to a queen, but that means a new bed. All of our furniture is hand-me-down or purchased for less than $300, since while we make a fine combined salary for our city, we’re as comfortable as we are because we happily live like we’re in grad school (so we’re making ~$85k combined, not six figures). I would prefer to not get another semi-throwaway from IKEA, and instead invest in a beautiful, well-made piece that will last basically forever.

    But looking at the prices of American-made, solid-wood furniture that isn’t hideous is making my shoulders go up around my ears. No hand-me-down queen (or king) beds are available through either of our families, and we can’t find anything that looks halfway decent in any of the second hand stores in our area. Even IKEA is in the $375-$450 range, which is clearly cheaper than $1,000-$2,000 but still not chump change when you consider that it would probably need to be replaced again in 10-15 years.

    Help. All of my values around frugality, environmentalism, and consumer ethics are in conflict. My SO has no opinion since I’d be funding the majority of any purchase price above $500 (he has student loans so I have more disposable income).

    • I think lasting forever is a mirage. Times change, styles change, tastes change, the layout of your living space changes. I wouldn’t call a bed that you keep 10-15 years semi throw-away at all. If there’s an IKEA bed you like, go for it. If not, I’d look around for something on sale in a style you like, and yes, if you insist on solid wood and American made it will be expensive.

      • investment pieces vs. frugality :

        With all respect, this is exactly where my ethics and environmentalism throw up a roadblock to IKEA. I don’t want to buy a new bed because trends are different in 15 years. My parents sleep in a classic, beautiful bed that they bought 40 years ago; you could still buy a similar one at an upscale retailer today, because it’s a timeless style. I don’t view furniture as disposable goods to be upgraded because shabby-chic is no longer the “it” style.

        • ? Some Ikea stuff is inexpensively made but they also have solid wood pieces that are classic. My European in-laws still have a bed and a number of wardrobes from Ikea that are 30 years old and still look great.

          • Yeah me too. That’s why I said I don’t think IKEA is semi throw-away. My parents bought me an IKEA dresser when I was 5 because it was what they could afford. Still have it, still works.

          • investment pieces vs. frugality :

            Our bedframe and my dresser are also IKEA, and I have no plans to change out the dresser and wouldn’t be swapping out the bed if it we didn’t want a bigger one anyway. But my dresser is clearly not going to be around in 15 more years–it’s already looking ragged, and so is the bed. Maybe it’s because of the number of times they’ve been taken apart and put back together in my semi-nomadic post-undergrad lifestyle, but I have hand-me-down solid wood pieces (desk, chairs, coffee table) that have moved the same number of times and still look lovely.

          • If you want your things to last you need to treat them well. For IKEA, that means not disassembling them, since they aren’t designed for that. Not really sure what answer you want here. If you value solid wood that much pay for it.

          • I think the fact that IKEA is more affordable means that some people perceive it as disposable because you’ve “gotten your money’s worth” after 5 years or so, but it seldom falls apart and actually requires replacing. We have a lot of IKEA furniture that we’ve had for 10+ years and plan to keep using for the foreseeable future.

        • Ok, thanks for the condescending response to my attempt to be helpful. Then spend the money on what you want! Ethically sourced goods aren’t cheap.

          • How on earth was that condescending? I used a question mark to express confusion at all Ikea products being anti-environmental. I related personal experience with Ikea product as non-disposable. Literally nothing I said was condescending.

          • No no not you! I agree with you. Original poster being all “respectfully.”

          • investment pieces vs. frugality :

            I didn’t mean to be condescending, and I was responding more to the “times and styles change” part of your post than trying to throw shade on Ikea in particular. (Although from my understanding, Ikea has a spotty record on sourcing wood sustainably, which is certainly not a problem unique to them.) But they are indubitably part of the movement that sees furniture and homegoods as disposable things to be swapped out for the newer, shinier colors and prints and shapes.

            I think this whole exchange has clarified for me that Ikea is definitely out, though, so thank you!

        • You need to shop around more at second hand stores if you don’t want to pay a lot for new. Period.

    • For now, can you get a new mattress set and use a plain metal frame? Then you can continue your search for a new bed.
      Well made wood furniture isn’t cheap. You can get the price down some with buying secondhand, negotiating or waiting for sales. But at the end of the day, it’s going to cost money. That said, it does last a lifetime if you treat it well and tend towards classic designs. $2,000 isn’t that much when you expect to use something for 30 years.

      • I’m glad I refreshed before commenting because this was my suggestion – buy a metal frame for the interim and keep looking. I think waiting for something secondhand that you love will actually end up lasting you longer than a lot of the stuff you can buy new today.

      • Agreed that solid furniture is not cheap…nor should it be. You’re paying for hours and hours of skilled labor and good materials. With your environmentalism, I also assume you’d want American made to cut down on the shipping pollution maybe (assuming you’re in US), so that creates additional cost because our skilled labor is expensive. I think your best bet is doing the metal frame and waiting for an amazing deal to come through. Maybe a floor piece at Room and Board or something like that?

      • investment pieces vs. frugality :

        This is actually my sole concession to being a princess about this purchase, and I probably should have clarified but it was getting long. If we get a metal frame, my SO’s father will immediately start constructing us a headboard. He’s a skilled hobbyist woodworker and we use multiple pieces that he’s made, but he has a very specific style and look that is not always to my taste. I don’t want to be the future DIL who nixed his opportunity to thoughtfully craft us a gift, and I also don’t want to cringe internally every time I look at my bed, like I do when I look at the end tables in my living room…

      • investment pieces vs. frugality :

        Original comment got eaten. I should have clarified that this was my sole concession to being a princess about this purchase, but it was already getting long. If we get an interim metal frame, the writing’s on the wall that my SO’s father will build us a headboard. He’s a skilled hobbyist woodworker and we use multiple pieces that he’s made, but he has a very specific style that is not always (okay, full honesty under the cover of anonymity, almost never) to my taste. I don’t want to be the future DIL who nixed his opportunity to thoughtfully craft us a gift, and I also don’t want to cringe internally every time I look at my bed, like I do when I look at the end tables in my living room…and the coat rack next to my front door…and the coffee table he made my SO that would have kicked off WWIII in a less conflict-avoidant family when it got hidden in a guest room…

      • investment pieces vs. frugality :

        Can’t figure out why my comments keep getting eaten, but TL/DR an interim metal frame would result in my SO’s father making us a headboard as a surprise. He’s a skilled hobbyist woodworker but we do not share the same taste. At all. There’s no way I would be able to get out of using it without starting WWIII, and I don’t want to cringe internally every time I look at my bed.

        • Then buy a metal frame with a headboard included. This one, which a friend has, doesn’t even need a box spring. Could easily transition to a guest room down the road, or be sold on Craigslist.

          https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B01GFQU62E/ref=twister_B01MU4Y8B8?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

        • so don’t tell FIL that you’re getting a new bed? Why would be in your bedroom? I guess if your DH was sick and he was visiting?

        • JuniorMinion :

          I got a great tufted headboard at Costco for ~$300. I have a memory foam mattress + base and it looks great for not much money. You can also thrift old wooden headboards more easily than whole bed frames. My guest bedroom has one that was that awful 70s wood and I spray painted it a neon color and now it looks retro chic…. $30 for the headboard plus ~$10 in spray paint.

        • There is no option here to tell your father-in-law that you appreciate his work and would love for him to make you something that looks like X, and then give him a picture of the style that you like? Presumably, he wants to give you something that you like and just doesn’t know that you don’t like everything that he’s giving you to date.

      • +1 – get a metal frame (which can often be resized to fit twin, full, or queen sized beds) and look for head boards, or get a metal frame which can be reused when you find the perfect wood frame bed.

    • You’re going to use your bed every day for the next 20+ years. Even if you drop $2k (or more), your price per use will be pennies.

      If you’re concerned about environmentalism and consumer ethics, then don’t buy from a place like Ikea. Either look at better second hand stores or start looking at handmade products. Is there an Amish market near you? Some other small craftsman? Idk if Etsy might have something this size.

    • try wayfair or overstock?

    • This doesn’t help with the cost question, but we got a lovely all-wood queen bed for about $1500, including delivery, from Great Windsor Chairs in Pennsylvania. We have a similar household income and decided that a good bed was an investment we wanted to prioritize. It was worth it.

    • cake batter :

      Try the Ikea Hemnes bed. It’s solid pine, fairly simple frame (so you’re not likely to get sick of it), and under $300. I’m planning on buying one soon for my guest bedroom.

      • This. I had one of these and it was super solid. Gave it to a friend when I moved in with the rocket scientist, but I loved it. Still have the matching nightstands.

    • I knew I wanted to upgrade to a queen, but hadn’t gotten a bed yet, so I did what mascot suggested and just got a mattress and box springs on a metal frame. Not too long after that, a friend of mine was moving and no longer needed his beautiful queen bed that I helped him pick out. I bought it from him and swapped the full bed into my guest room.

      • pugsnbourbon :

        We have a king mattress + box spring on a metal frame and have done this for years. Then again, I don’t really care how my bed looks.

        • Not to be creepy, but, uh, does it stay quiet when you garden? I have a ridiculously expensive wooden bed frame that was a gift from my mother that is just really not terribly well built and it makes too much noise. We’ve tried a number of things to stabilize and silence it, none of which have worked that well. I’ve been considering just selling it and replacing it with a metal frame if that will at least be freaking _quieter_ because the noise drives me insane.

          • MargaretO :

            Get a platform bed and ditch your box spring! That’s what tends to make a lot of the noise. Especially look for a bed frame that is a more of a cube rather than something with legs, if that makes sense. I have something similar to this and its really quiet: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/S79129608/

          • pugsnbourbon :

            This made me giggle – I’m trying to think because we don’t have kids and therefore I’m not really … paying attention to other sounds? There’s always a little noise associated with the box spring, but it’s not intrusive.

          • Anonymous :

            It’s definitely the bed not the box spring. The rails don’t slot into place securely like they’re supposed to. I might not be so annoyed by it if it was solely during gardening but it also makes a fair bit of noise when one of us or the dog rolls over and changes position.

            MargaretO thanks for the tip on platform beds though. It does look more stable. I think I’m going to save up and replace it at some point this year.

    • Try craigslist?

      • Absolutely – also antique stores and consignment stores. The costs are time rather than monetary.

        • JuniorMinion :

          Second! I got a great double sized bookshelf at salvation army… solid wood for ~$250. My husband commented that he wouldnt have been able to purchase the materials alone for $250.

      • AttiredAttorney :

        X1000 to Craigslist. There are tons of gorgeous all wood queen beds on there for less than $400 in my market. Splurge on a great new mattress for it.

      • Craigslist and Kijiji in my area always seem to have endless bed frames and dining sets for sale. (But we found our solid oak Queen sleigh bed frame on the side of the road on large item pick up day!)

    • You don’t have to get a fancy bed. I’ve always used mattress + box spring + metal frame (buy from the mattress store, sometimes can get it thrown in or get the fanciest one for the cost of the cheapest one as part of “negotiations”). If you like having a bed, nothing wrong with that, just wanted to point out that you don’t have to spend a lot right now to upgrade if you’re being gifted the mattress.

      (Incidentally, I am likely going to be parting with a very lightly used, decent quality queen mattress + box + frame in the near future, so if you happen to be in the DC area and might be interested in the mattress or the set, please post an email address and I’ll reach out to you. That way your family could get the bed as your gift, if that’s what you end up wanting.)

    • FrankieCat :

      A great place for beds is Charles P Rogers. It’s a great time to buy furniture in Jan/Feb- most pieces are marked down. Start hunting for beds you like and hopefully they should go on sale later this month.

    • I don’t know how you define frugality, but there’s a difference between frugality and cheapness. And as a frugal person, I think I sometimes veer into cheap territory and always regret it.

      To me, being frugal is not about setting some kind of arbitrary number like $375 and saying anything over that is too much. Being frugal is about thinking about your purchases carefully, and sometimes that means that buying a $1,000 bed is the right answer because it will last many years longer than a $375 one, therefore being cheaper overall. I have an ikea table and chairs that have lasted 10 years. But the chairs were the cheapest ones available, one has cracked, and they are uncomfortable and flimsy. I got a nicer table and it’s held up well. The table was a frugal purchase. The chairs were a cheap purchase.

      • This.

      • investment pieces vs. frugality :

        I’m a frugal person who just bought a $200 piece of Le Creuset, so ;) To keep the kitchen metaphor going, my SO is the one with the $30 block of knives who just can’t understand why mine work so much better. I’d rather spend more to get the best thing I can, and then never have to think about it again.

      • Constant Reader :

        CPA Lady, I couldn’t agree with you more. My grandmother grew up in the depression, and remained frugal throughout her life, but her philosophy was buy the best you can afford and use the hell out of it on a daily basis instead of buying what’s cheap/convenient/will have to be replaced often.

        OP, I’d look at Room and Board because they tell you where their furniture comes from. Or somewhere like Vermont Wood Studios. But you will pay prices that reflect the craftmanship, living wage, and cost of environmental regulations of being made in the US.

        That being said, we sleep on an IKEA all wood Hemnes bed that has survived two moves. Be aware that antique beds are often non-standard sizes, and nobody slept in a queen, much less a king, in the 19th century.

    • Try Bedworks of Maine for a frame and look at entry-level latex mattresses for the mattress. You’ll just need one (no boxspring), they last forever, environmentally friendly (no petrochemicals in the decent brands), and as long as you don’t get them too firm, they’re very comfortable.

    • Veronica Mars :

      Try Costco’s furniture. They’re all really good quality, backed by the Costco guarantee if not all American made (you need to check each individual furniture maker on the item to be sure and/or call). I think their bedroom sets are really pretty classic. There are plenty of sets from the $1k-$3k rage with delivery included, and they normally include the matching nightstands, dressers, etc. I think for the money it’s a really solid, nice option. I was going to buy my set through them, but I ended up finding a steal on craigslist that was exactly what I wanted for $500.

    • Blonde Consultant :

      If you are looking for wooden bed frames, we have found luck with Craiglist

    • Honestly, I have looked a long time for the perfect wooden bedframe that wasn’t a crazy high price (to me), bought the metal frame to tide me over, etc, and in the end of the day I’ve decided to just buy IKEA. It’s simpler and you can get good quality stuff if you don’t buy the cheapest option they have. I’ve bought other furniture there that has lasted well and I won’t feel terrible if in 10 years we move or redo our house and it’s not the “perfect” bed for that situation. It’ll be good enough for now and for the next while and it’ll be done. I’m now just waiting for the next sale on beds which I expect to be in February based on last year’s sale.
      Maybe different as prices in Canada are much higher than in the US for furniture and I don’t have the flexibility to drive out to the Mennonite areas, so it needs to be online or easily accessible in my city.

    • My mattress is just on a metal frame with a separate headboard I’ve had for years. It looks just fine. Actual beds are SO much money, it doesn’t seem worth it to me unless there’s a really specific look you’re going for.

    • I’ve had my Ethan Allen bedroom pieces for over 20 years. I’m not tired of it. The bed doesn’t freak. The drawers are solid. Nothing is made of particle board/mdf. I will probably die in this bed. Good stuff does last forever and is worth an investment.

      One thing you might do is go to your local unfinished furniture store (since you live like a college student I know you know where this is) and see what they have and what they can order for you. And being able to order it is the key. You can usually choose the wood (go for a solid hard wood) and style (go simple/shaker if you want timeless) and ask them how much they charge to finish it for you. We did this for bookshelves we needed in an custom size and it worked so well we went back for furniture for another bedroom.

      • investment pieces vs. frugality :

        Ohhh I hadn’t even thought of the unfinished furniture store! Finishing something could actually be a great project for the SO and future FIL–they both love anything involving woodworking (and there would be no opportunities to get out of control with the reclaimed barn wood).

      • SuziStockbroker :

        We do this too.

        We bought our bedroom furniture in a shaker style and I can’t imagine ever getting tired of it.

        We also have bought good furniture unfinished and then finished it ourselves, or had the store finish it.

        I am of the “buy the best you can, and only buy once” for certain items (I also love my Le Creuset frying pan).

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Our bed (actually, most of our wood furniture) is from Gothic Cabinet Craft. My husband bought it all before we met and I think the bed is 15 years old at this point and still in fantastic shape. I’d recommend looking there. It is pricey but worth it.

    • Why don’t you look at second hand stores, then? Environmentally friendly, and older furniture was often built to last. Plus it’s less likely to be ‘trendy’ so much as classic. You can go to antique stores, but I actually got the bulk of my furniture off of Craigslist, including a perfect condition $3k Ligne Roset bed for only $300 (the couple was getting rid of it so they could upgrade to a king, and I was upgrading from full to queen).

  15. Clean Office? :

    I work in-house in a small legal department. I have a large U-shaped desk, a conference table, and a file cabinet in my office. I try to keep my space relatively organized and clean. The only things out on my desk are what I am working on today, and I try to file papers away at least once per week. My conundrum is that my fellow attorney is the exact opposite: prints everything and his office is literally covered in two feet tall stacks of papers. He states that he has to print everything (including the random news stories that are sent to both of us on occasion). How he keeps his office is his challenge. However, I have received comments that I must not be as busy/in-demand because I have time to organize and keep my office clean. Alternatively, I receive work because individuals have said that they are concerned it will get lost in coworker’s office. I am sensitive to the optics of both aspects of these comments as coworker and I could both be applying for our boss’s job in the coming months. Any thoughts? Am I hurting myself with a clean office?

    • Sounds like you are helping yourself if you get work instead of him

    • In-House in Houston :

      I think maybe keep a few more files on your desk to reach a happy medium? I agree that they should see you as more organized/professional but we all know we can’t change others perceptions.

    • I have had people make similar comments to me about my clean office, but I am one of the highest producers in our office, so over time I have shown that I am actually really busy. I am just also really organized and neat. I do spread out whatever I am currently working on (and put it all away at the end of the day) so if someone came in randomly during the day they would see I do have work out.

    • If people mention it, tell them that the documents and things you’re working on are confidential and privileged and you don’t keep them out on your desk as a matter of practice. How long have you been at your job? If you’re good and competent and people work well with you, this probably won’t be a problem for long.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      I’d say in balance, you are helping yourself. If you get the comments about not being as busy/in-demand directly, I’d give a response about how you’ve found that you work better/more efficiently with a clean office.

    • If having a clean office makes you happy and productive, then do it. It sounds like it is not hurting if you are getting more work. I’ve also read studies that say people don’t like to work with people with disorganized offices.

  16. I fell asleep on my couch last night at 10pm, so I woke up at 5:30am today, 1.5hrs earlier than normal. I cleaned my apt (which I should have done the night before), went for a run, ran an errand. Maybe I should try doing this instead of my usual staying up until 1am. And now I have nothing I have to specifically do after work!

    Are there any night owls here who have successfully switched to waking up early and doing stuff before work?

    • I’m a night owl and have made this change. I hate the entire world in the 5 minutes or so after I wake up, but it’s sooo worth it to have the extra time in the morning. One thing that has worked for me is scheduling early morning work outs. I use Classpass, and there’s a fee if you cancel a class less than 12 hours in advance or don’t show up to the class. So when my alarm goes off in the morning, I have no choice but to get up and haul myself to barre or yoga. On mornings when I’m not working out, I go straight into the shower and then put on a nice fuzzy robe while I make my coffee. It really does lessen the blow of being out of bed.

      I try to be in bed reading by 10 and have lights out by 10:15 or 10:30. I get up around 6 if I’m working out, 6:30 if I’m not. Depending on what time I need to be at work, getting up early gives me time to take care of random items on my to-do list or do simple prep for dinner (chop veggies or whatever). I also eat healthier because I have time to eat breakfast at home.

      • I just read a book for about 20 minutes. Do you find that this makes your day at work seem longer?

        • Not particularly, actually. After awhile, you just kind of get used to it.

          A bigger problem for me has been that I’m a lot hungrier throughout the day, especially after working out in the morning. I need to make sure that I’m well-stocked with snacks at work in order to not become excessively hangry by late afternoon.

          • Yeah I noticed today that I was hungry for a breakfast today when I usually never am. If I’m already up for a few hours by “breakfast time” it makes me feel a lot more like its actual mealtime.

    • I am a reformed night owl who became an early bird out of necessity after having a kid. Now I can’t stay awake past 10:00 and am usually asleep by 9:00. The secret is having my husband bring me coffee in bed at 5:00 a.m. If I’m on my own, I have to set the timer on the coffee machine.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      There was a time a few summers ago when a friend of mine was across the country (West Coast, me, East Coast, him) and having a very, very rough breakup for which I ended up being his main support. Although I would probably be more assertive now and say “Dude, no,” at the time, I would wake up when he started texting me/messaging me/calling me between 7 and 7:30 his time and be up for the day. I was getting into work before 7, leaving around 3 or running errands, cleaning, etc. in the mornings. It was a pretty terrible situation, but that part of it was great. I love, love, love getting up early, but I also need 9-10 hours of sleep a night, which makes getting up early pretty difficult.

      • New Tampanian :

        I need 9 as well! I haaaaate mornings. Today I was up at 7 am (*early for me) and actually felt awake soon after getting to work. Usually I am still trying to wake up around 9:30 -10 am.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          Same here. I was out of the house by 8, which is about 30 minutes earlier than usual. Not totally awake yet (West Coast, it’s only 8:45), but getting there. With the help of coffee.
          I hate mornings and love sleep but also love how productive I am in the mornings. I’ll have a stretch where I’m up by 6 each day and then it goes sideways and I’m back to “Oh god I actually have to get up now or I’ll be way late.”

    • Yes, to exercise. I’m in biglaw and it’s just too hard to regularly work out in the evenings. Two things have helped. First, go to bed early. I try to start my nighttime routine around 9 (which often means getting ready for bed as soon as I walk in the door) so I can be asleep by 10ish. Second, maintain a strict meal schedule. I can’t feel ready to go to bed at 9 if I finished dinner at 8:30. This can be tough when I’m working with a team in the office because people like to wait to order until 7/7:30, which is too late for me. I keep a couple of frozen meals on hand just in case.

    • Glad it works for you but waking up at 530 am would ruin the entire day for me — all those “extra” hours after work — would be spent being miserable bc I’ve been up since 530 am but don’t want to go to bed at 7 pm. And there is zero chance I’d clean my house or chop veggies upon waking up. I don’t see what’s so bad about being a night owl actually.

      • ? There’s nothing inherently good or bad about being a night owl or a morning person, but the OP specifically asked whether people had made the change to getting up early, so we’re sharing our experiences. If it’s not for you, no need to comment.

      • Wasn’t saying its bad – I’m the ultimate night owl! Like I usually sleep at 2am.

        The thinking for me was that yes, I’ d be losing a couple of hours at night when I do actually get things done (my apartment usually gets cleaned in the middle of the night, all through college I wrote every essay in the middle of the night), but by waking up early I would have some free time to myself during the day, actually have the energy to go for a run versus after work when I just want to raid the fridge, and be more awake by the time I got to work. I figure I’ll get used to the change, but if not oh well. I also think I’ll be more willing to go to sleep earlier (10pm) if I know that I will have some free time, some me time in the morning – I often stay up because I want to read or watch netflix or whatever.

  17. For those of you that have had a fitness tracker for a while, have you found it useful? Do you really use it consistently? I’m thinking about buying a misfit phase, but I want to know if fitness trackers are actually all they’re cracked up to be. What about Fitbits? I just like that the misfit looks like a regular watch

    • I started using a Fitbit four years ago and have found it makes an enormous difference. I was working in a stressful and sedentary job and moved for grad school to a great walking city but was struggling with my level of fitness and motivation to take advantage of it. I bought one and committed to 10,000 steps a day which was hard at first but is now quite easy. I found myself getting fitter and moved into more strenuous exercise (hiking, yoga, although I won’t run unless someone is chasing me) and lost weight. I’m pretty consistent about it now (first trimester excepted) and find it helpful to encourage me to get a proper walk at lunchtime which is key for my mental and physical health, especially during the dark winter months. I’ve settled at a higher end but healthy weight and really feel able to do most things.

      So I’m a total Fitbit shill but I will note, I am incredibly externally motivated, I’m an obliger, and challenges and tick boxes work well for me.

    • I got a Fitbit a little over a year ago. I am a runner so I thought I was already pretty active, but why not take advantage of the good deal our HR group was offering on them. It has been eye-opening how inactive I am on non-running days, how little sleep I get, etc. I love wearing mine to track my numbers and it’s an extra motivator to get up and move – walk at lunch, walk the dog longer, go to the grocery. I have the Alta and don’t find the look of it obtrusive, but we also have a work culture of wearing them, so YMMV.

    • I had the really basic one, and then I won a fancier one (a Surge, I think?) and wore that for a while. But a year later, I don’t remember the last time I wore it. I run almost daily, have a walking commute, and have a dog, so I’m very active – I didn’t need to get more active, and I didn’t find my daily steps to be interesting enough information to make wearing it worthwhile.

      I wore the Surge for a while as a running watch after I stopped wearing the basic one daily, but (although it connected to GPS quickly) it wasn’t a great running watch. I got a mid-level Garmin for running and the Surge is in a drawer somewhere.

      • This was my experience. I was fairly active and became more active over time, not due to wearing the FitBit, but due to having specific running goals. I have two in drawers somewhere. I bought a fancy running watch and that does what I need for my running stuff and I don’t have that much interest in the rest of it. YMMV.

      • I had thought about getting one to replace a broken running watch, but this information confirms my suspicion that it wouldn’t really be a great replacement for what I wanted it to do. Thanks!

    • New Tampanian :

      I wear a Fitbit Alta and use it mostly for the sleep tracking. I need to back a better commitment to steps.

  18. Any suggestions for sleeper sofas that are comfy as a couch and a queen bed for a few nights? And hopefully under $2k, although less much preferred. Would like NOT leather. Reverse recommendations/warnings also welcome. Thanks!

    • Look for sleeper sofas by American Leather. Their branded ones are crazy expensive, but they manufacture for Crate & Barrel and Room & Board. We found ours on craigslist. West Elm has a similar version (their “Deluxe”) sleeper sofa line that goes on sale to within your price range. The benefit is that they are not spring & bar–so much more comfortable.

    • American Leather has Tempurpedic, full based pull out sofas (as in, no bar). Despite the name of the company, they have lots of fabric options.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      I’ve slept on a couple of the sleepers that have the combined mattress that partially inflates. Those are startlingly comfortable! I’ve also slept on a sleeper that my hostess put a memory foam mattress topper on; that significantly increased the comfort for me.

    • I just received my couch from Carolina Chair. Downside is that they are strictly online- upside is that you can customize anything in the couch – including adding the inflating mattress which makes is so much more comfortable. They are going to come in around your price point, but delivery is included and all fabric choices are included with no special charges. My couch is incredibly comfortable and well constructed – and the sofa bed is very comfortable (my over 60 year old parents just stayed on it and said it was more comfortable then the hotel they had stayed in the night before) www.carolinachair.com

  19. My doctor has told me I am a candidate for getting Botox for my chronic headaches. To get this treatment (and have insurance pay it), you have to have tried a ton of headache medicine without relief – it’s a bit of a last resort, and it’s where I am at.

    Has anyone had Botox for headaches or migraines? The injections go into your scalp, temples, and forehead – and apparently they do usually have an “added benefit” of wrinkle reduction. I am only 27 and wouldn’t consider Botox for cosmetic purposes, though I do have beginnings of forehead wrinkles and “11”s. Will it give me a robotic face? Will it make my skin look fabulous? Has anyone had Botox in their 20s? Looking for any general info around the physical/cosmetic side effects of this medical procedure.

    • Tech Comm Geek :

      I have a friend in her 30s who was in the same boat. I honestly haven’t noticed any significant physical/cosmetic changes in her since she began treatment, but she says it has been very helpful for the migraines.

    • I get Botox for chronic migraines/tension headaches. It’s honestly a G0dsend. It really and truly is. The injections HURT. They do. And sometimes trigger migraines, so it’s not a bad idea to pregame with the nSAID and/or triptan of your choice. I am not able to raise my eyebrows and can barely scrunch them together. I have a very smooth forehead. It’s kinda cool when a headache is coming on because I can feel my muscles trying to do something but the botox resisting. It feels like duct tape in your skin for the first 72 hours or so. I started the injections when I was 27 or so (I’m 31 now). I’m at the point where I can start “weaning” – from 13 weeks to 15 weeks and so on. I went from constant head pain to just one or two migraines a month.

      • I will say that I miss raising my eyebrow(s). I tell my friends that I’m raising my eyebrow at their shenanigans and they laugh because I use to have such expressive eyebrows before. Alas.

      • Wanderlust :

        I’ve also gotten Botox for migraines for several years, after trying a cornucopia of migraine meds to no effect. It’s about 30 injections over 50 minutes in various spots on your hairline, neck, shoulders, and they do hurt if they hit a specifically tender point. I found it to be pretty helpful, although I can tell when I’m due for the next round (after 10-12 weeks) when my headaches increase and I can move my eyebrows.

        • My migraines do come back with most triggers as soon as the 12-13 weeks wear off and my eyebrows can move in. But the longer I’ve been doing it, the longer the botox has lasted. I get 30-40 injections on my forehead, temple, behind the ears, neck, and shoulders.

        • Anonymous :

          Were you able to cut back on meds at all due to the Botox? I currently take topamax, propanapol, and noratryptaline daily along with a plethora triptans at the onset of a migraine, and the side effects are, well I’m sure you know how that is.

    • I get tension headaches; the frequency depends on my stress levels, and I’ve never been a candidate for Botox for headaches. But once I started getting Botox for my wrinkles (late 20s), I stopped getting tension headaches. Completely. Changed my quality of life. I get the shots in my forehead, not in the places you mentioned, but I wouldn’t hesitate to try it.

    • punctuates :

      Not what you asked, but I got my daith pierced for migraines. It cost $40 at the piercing shop and I haven’t had a migraine since February when I got it done.

      • I’m really curious about this. It actually worked for you? What were your migraine triggers and what did your migraine feel like?

        • punctuates :

          Definitely stress-triggered. Maybe other things, but I was never able to fully correlate them. For the most part, I would go to bed feeling fatigued and wake up with a headache that started at the base of my skull and radiated toward my eye. This came with vertigo and nausea, which would quickly escalate into vomiting. (This was the main reason I got pierced; I couldn’t take medicine because I would always throw it up.)

          I only got migraines on my right side and had my right side pierced. No migraines since!

      • I learned a new word today!

    • botox lover :

      I have been getting botox for a couple years for my migraines when nothing but popping triptans like candy worked at all. It’s been incredibly helpful. I’m about the same age and haven’t noticed much difference in my forehead (the only visible place I get them… the rest is on the scalp/back of neck) aside from the fact that I can’t scrunch my brows together. I can still raise them and make normal facial expressions.

      I don’t like needles at all, so I ask for and receive some anti-anxiety meds to take day of.

    • Oh so anon :

      I had horrible migraines to the extent that I had to take a year off in undergrad. Triptans put me in the emergency room with scary side effects and I developed an allergy to my anti-nausea meds. Botox in my early 20s (from a neurologist) helped bring me back to normal. I can still move my eyebrows, et cetera. I would definitely recommend it.

  20. I know some people here don’t like discussing specific body weights, so please skip over this post if that’s you.

    I’m getting married in 6 weeks! I’m really excited but also having some worries about looking my best. My first dress fitting was a month ago, when I weighed 126 lbs. This was the result of watching what I ate (kind of) for a couple months beforehand, and losing about 4 lbs. My seamstress said the dress would look great, but that I should be careful not to gain any weight before my next dress fitting (which is January 17) because then she’d have to take the dress out, etc. I am now at 128, and about to go on my bachelorette party where I’m sure I’ll be drinking, snacking, etc.

    I guess my question is: I have never crash dieted. For those who have, for a wedding or other event, what have you found to be most effective? I need to be down to 126 by Jan 17 for the dress fitting, and I’d like to lose another 5 lbs between the second dress fitting and the third or fourth (so about a 3-week period).

    I get that crash dieting is not a sustainable diet. I really don’t need general health tips because I’m generally a pretty healthy person. I just really want to be at my ideal weight for the wedding. My body likes being around 128-130, so this will require some effort.

    TIA!

    • JuniorMinion :

      Worth noting 2 lbs could be time of the month / water weight / random fluctuations….

      If you really want to cut bloat / trim down without losing muscle mass /having your body retain fats (because you can lose weight in muscle mass and retain fat and end up actually a bit larger) you need to eliminate sugars as well as most carbs (things like black beans / sweet potatoes tend to be ok in moderation). Below is my basic plan culled through trial and error

      Try to avoid:
      high sugar fruits (basically everything other than raspberries / blueberries / blackberries)
      cheese (if you are dying i go with a little bit of a hard cheese – think few sprinkles of parmigiana)
      low fat dairy (has more sugar than full fat dairy and keeps you less full)
      most snack foods unless you are sure they have minimal / no sugar (think plain nuts, low / no sugar protein bars, plain yogurt)
      Bread / pasta / processed carbohydrates
      Prepared salad dressings unless you are vigilant about the sugar content
      Alcohol
      Partially hydrogenated oils (canola / vegetable)

      Yes:
      Lean proteins
      Vegetables
      Avocado in moderation
      Eggs (although may want to go 2 whites for every yolk. I don’t like taking out all the yolks
      Limited amount of full fat dairy with no sugar added (plain yogurt / whole milk)
      Nuts in moderation (avoid nut butters if you are really trying to lean out immediately)
      Complex carbs in moderation
      coconut oil / olive oil / avocado oil although be vigilant about how much you use and either spritz it in the pan or measure it out with a measuring spoon
      Consume lots of H20

      Heres what I would do / have done:
      AM Meal 1: Smoothie (I like 3/4C milk + 2 shots espresso + 1 scoop protein powder) / egg+egg white scramble with spinach or you can just have some meat and veg
      AM Meal 2: ~200 calories of plain almonds (can sub with protein bar in a pinch but won’t get the same fat content
      Lunch / Meal 3: 4 oz lean protein of choice, vegetables, 1/2 avocado OR 1 Tbs olive oil based dressing
      Meal 4: ~200 calorie plain yogurt
      Dinner / Meal 5: 4 oz lean protein of choice, vegetables, 1/2 sweet potato or serving of black beans
      Treat – 3x per week: 1C halotop protein ice cream / 1-2 squares dark chocolate / 4 oz pour of wine

      I screw around with this depending on when I am working out / how much anaerobic vs aerobic exercise I am doing (anaerobic makes me want to have a porterhouse steak as a midmorning snack) but this is my basic life formula to which I adhere most strictly when i need to lean out (that last 5 lbs). Make sure your protein / fat intake is high enough – if its not you are likely to crave carbs / sugar. There are some great resources that are quasi paleo that make nutritious food fun – I like skinnytaste, paleomg and lexi’s clean kitchen if you want to get fance about it. I also like fitnessblender for workouts – they’ve got some great 30 minute workouts that combine heavy lifts with interval cardio.

      • JuniorMinion :

        Also could cut out the 3x per week treats but I am weak…. the above is just what has worked well for me.

    • Anonymous :

      Low carb.

  21. I know some people here don’t like discussing specific body weights, so please skip over this post if that’s you.

    I’m getting married in 6 weeks! I’m really excited but also having some worries about looking my best. My first dress fitting was a month ago, when I weighed 126 lbs. This was the result of watching what I ate (kind of) for a couple months beforehand, and losing about 4 lbs. My seamstress said the dress would look great, but that I should be careful not to gain any weight before my next dress fitting (which is January 17) because then she’d have to take the dress out, etc. I am now at 128, and about to go on my bachelor*tte party where I’m sure I’ll be drinking, snacking, etc.

    I guess my question is: I have never crash dieted. For those who have, for a wedding or other event, what have you found to be most effective? I need to be down to 126 by Jan 17 for the dress fitting, and I’d like to lose another 5 lbs between the second dress fitting and the third or fourth (so about a 3-week period).

    I get that crash dieting is not a sustainable diet. I really don’t need general health tips because I’m generally a pretty healthy person. I just really want to be at my ideal weight for the wedding. My body likes being around 128-130, so this will require some effort.

    TIA!

    • Cut carbs. No alcohol or juice except for b* party. Plan a week’s worth of meals that are low carb and stick with that from now until your wedding. Enjoy getting back up to 128 on your honeymoon.

      • thanks- suggestions for staying focused at work while cutting carbs? I’m a vegetarian so I find cutting carbs to be tough. Can I eat more fats to replace carbs (cheese, peanut butter)?

        • Not if you want to lose vanity weight! As Gretchen Weiners learned, butter may not be a carb but it will plump you up.

        • It really depends on your body. If you have any kind of dairy sensitivity then cheese/yogurt/any dairy will bloat you. Nut butters tend to have salts that will bloat you. Unsalted nuts and seeds are probably your best bet. Look for high protein veggies too, like maybe peas. I’d also increase healthy oils to keep you full longer. Avocados and coconut oil are going to be your new BFFs.

          • how does one eat coconut oil?

          • I use it to cook with and as a butter/mayo replacement. I love the stuff so I’ll even have it on crackers or with chopped veggies but ymmv on that. I have friends who swear by it as a hangover remedy.

          • I love coconut oil. I put some in my oatmeal in the morning, sometimes I spread it on toast and sprinkle with cinnamon, I cook eggs in it, I add it to some recipes in place of butter (depends on the recipe). I limit any added fat to 2 tablespoons per day, and generally eat low fat foods, so I just keep track of it.

    • Is 2 lbs really going to make a difference? You know your body best obvi but I have a really hard time imagining that such a small amount will looks any kind of significant. As far as actual advice, drink lots of water, avoid foods that bloat you, like salt, carbs, and starches. Eat fresh veggies and lean protein.

      • I tend to pack any weight on in my belly and since it’s a sheath dress, I’m concerned it will make a difference. I just really want to avoid showing up to my dress fitting and making the poor tailor take out the dress!

        good advice re: avoiding bloat-inducing foods. as a vegetarian I eat a ton of beans and veggies like broccoli and brussels sprouts, but I’ll try to avoid those in the next 6 weeks.

        • Get good shape wear? Honestly if you’re this concerned over 2 lbs I really worry that you’re going to feel stressed and uncomfortable no matter what the scale says. Invest in some good shape wear and cut yourself some slack.

        • Shopaholic :

          What about a juice diet the week leading up to your wedding? Its not the healthiest option but a friend of mine lost about 5 pounds in water weight before her wedding.

          I second the recommendation to avoid beans – what about a low FODMAP diet? Or one of the elimination diets?

          • I will look into that- thanks!

          • You can do a juice diet but you will be either (or all): (1) a bridezilla the week before and likely day of (2)disappointed when you don’t have time to eat at the reception because you are greeting guests (3) if you do have time to eat, disappointed if the meat cooked in huge quantities is a little overcooked (4) disappointed when your belly bloats because it’s been waiting to be fed and (5) likely very drunk and/or hungover the following day because people drink on their wedding day, are dehydrated, and you haven’t eaten a real meal.

            Ask me how this bridesmaid knows.

            Eat balanced food, sleep, exercise, be happy at your wedding. Stop worrying about the scale – it’s your measurements the tailor is working on, not your gravitational pull on this earth. And if your measurements change, *that’s what the tailor is for!*

          • Oh yeah, I forgot to say – (6) faint!

          • By the way, I have never heard a married woman look back on her wedding photos and say, “I looked so fat.” They comment how young and thin they were and how HAPPY and excited for the future they were (or ’70s brides ponder why they wore a big floppy bridal hat and ’80s brides ponder the puffy sleeves, but all with fondness). Let the tailor and the dress make you look fabulous (after all, it’s her job) and you focus on feeling fabulous!

    • You want to lose 2 pounds this bad? Have a poop or two. There’s no way your dress won’t fit between 128 and 126. Or just don’t eat btwn now and your wedding. Sounds super fun and not at all completely pointless.

    • I’m not sure 2 lbs will make a difference, but cut carbs and dairy. No bread, no cheese, no alcohol. Eat protein and veggies at EVERY meal (basically do a Whole30, but don’t OD on the fat/calories). I could lose 2 lbs in 2 days doing this and I never lose weight trying anything else.

    • Cut salt and drink tons of water.

    • Just make up a strict plan and stick to it. Eat healthily, stick to a certain number of net calories (decide on a number that’s right for you, like 1400/1500), exercise (remember to include that in your calorie total), and realize that you’ll go off it for your bachelorette party and that’s fine. As a vegetarian there’s no point in doing low carb, but you could do low-GI.

    • You don’t mention exercise, but I have found that when I just want to lose a few pounds, moderate exercise is better than really strenuous exercise. Just walking 20 minutes a day and 20 minutes of light weights every other day seems to work better than running or a really hard gym workout. Maybe not the same for everyone, but really strenuous exercise just makes me ravenous, and seems to cause my body to hang on to calories. I lost a lot of weight limiting carbs (under 100 grams per day), keeping my calories at about 1200, and moderate exercise. Use a food journal. Save the strenuous workouts for after you get to your goal weight.

    • Anon for this :

      I have a friend that took extreme measures to look “her best” at her wedding and regrets it in retrospect. She hates people complimenting her pictures because she knows that is not really “her.” The only way she can look like that is being unhealthy. Do you always want to look at your wedding pics and see an unattainable you? If you are just trying to hide a little pouch, I get it, we all do that but don’t try to be someone you are not.

      • +1. Plus, you don’t want to make yourself ill on your wedding day. I had a friend who starved herself leading up to the day. She dropped a few pounds and looked unusually slim, but she felt sick all day and fainted at the reception.

      • And what’s the worse case? The seamstress needs to let out a few seams? That’s not the end of the world and any added cost of doing so will probably be worth avoiding excessive stress trying to stay at certain weight.

    • Up your fiber intake, drink half your body weight in ounces of water and add more water if you exercise strenuously. If beans and brussels sprouts don’t normally make you bloated I wouldn’t worry about cutting them out.

      As to the final 5lbs, I can say as a person who stress eats normally, the week before my wedding I lost 5lbs without trying. There was a lot of running around and I just never felt hungry. This also happened to most of my good girlfriends.

      • that is very nice to hear!

      • Legally Brunette :

        This is very true. I lost a few pounds leading up to the wedding due to nerves/excitement/stress. Agree with others that you should not drastically cut calories. Tons of water, no salt, exercise. It will come off.

    • No one other than you will notice those 2 pounds. But if you will notice and it matters to you, cut carbs (especially alcohol), increase fiber, and realize that you’re going to be hungry if you want to lose vanity weight quickly.

      Also, get the shapewear as a backup and try to relax and enjoy your wedding!

    • Exercise (specifically cardio). No carbs or sugars, no sodas and limited salt. Spanx.

    • If your body likes being 128-130, why not just let your seamstress let the dress out so that you can be comfortable and healthy on your wedding day?

      Leading up to my wedding, my concern was breaking out, since I’m acne-prone when I’m stressed. I cut out all alcohol (except for wedding-related events like my bridal shower and such); desserts except for dark chocolate; most bread; caffeine; and red meat. The only dairy that I ate was Greek yogurt. I basically lived off of green smoothies, massive salads, and fish. I also worked out almost every day (running and barre classes). I mention all of this because one good side effect of this regimen was that my stomach was always flat and I never got bloated, so I would recommend just figuring out what foods make you bloated and then avoiding those. (Disclaimer: the day after my wedding, I ordered waffles for breakfast, and I have never had a green smoothie or gotten on a treadmill since.)

      But please don’t crash diet! As others have said, you will be stressed and busy enough that depriving your body of food is a recipe for disaster.

    • Remember that if you starve yourself before the wedding, you will get drunk much faster at the reception.

  22. Update: I went to a fancy schmancy place and told them to find me glasses that make me look awesome. I’m not sure how I feel about these but in case someone was looking:

    https://dita.com/women/ – the Dita frames I tried on were not on this s!te but I like the ones online better.

    https://www.designereyes.com/products/oliver-peoples-unisex-theadora-red-clear-lens-eyeglasses – Everyone in the store voted for these. I’m not convinced by the bottom portion being round.

    The hunt continues.

    • I have no suggestions, but you are making me want to shop for glasses and I don’t really need a new pair! Plus, I wear contacts most of the time. Although, I do wear reading glasses now . . . maybe time to find some fun reading glasses for the office?

    • I saw this yesterday and didn’t comment, but I have Oliver Goldsmith glasses (the Pelota, according to the arm) that I got at an optical boutique and highly recommend–they’re the only frames I’ve had that don’t feel flimsy with my super strong lenses, and the arms aren’t loose or wobbly after 2+ yrs of solid wear. Also, still getting compliments and the rivets are shaped like stars!

      • anon anon armani :

        Rawr. I see the pointy ends on the edge of each frame, Godzilla. I remember you saying “cat eyes” don’t suit you. Me neither, so I’m pointing that out. (pun intended). I have to remind myself to focus upon the part where the front attaches to the earpiece so be sure it’s not pointy.

        If I misunderstood, sorry….

    • Those red ones may not be for you, but you may have picked out my next pair!

    • Godzilla, I am nearly blind without my glasses, so it’s really hard for me to pick frames by myself. However, I’ve been going to a fancy place near me for the past 3 pairs I’ve had and I’ve found a shape that works well for me. I look terrible in glasses that go straight across the top. I have to have some shape above the eye.

      The brand that has been working best for me is Jean Lafont: https://www.lafont.com/the-collection/WOMAN/ALL/ALL/

      • THANK YOU FOR THIS REC! I’M IN LOVE WITH ALL OF THESE!

        • Lol. I love them, too. I just wish they weren’t quite so pricey. I just tell myself they are an accessory I wear every single day and they have to look good.

  23. Uncomfortable :

    I have what I guess is a good problem? I’ve been trying to lose weight forever and I’m feeling really discouraged. The scale isn’t moving, my clothes aren’t fitting better, and I got off track with my exercise routine about a month and a half ago. I was trying SO HARD for so long and I’m struggling to get back to it. But that’s all sort of background, here’s my issue – over the past week or two a bunch of people have asked me if I’ve lost weight. I’m sure it’s well intentioned but I haven’t and the questioning is really stressing me out because I know how badly I need to get back to exercising and eating better. How do I respond to these comments in a way that is polite but also shuts down further inquiry?

    • Even though you don’t feel better about how you look, presumably these people are trying to give you a compliment. I would work on reframing your thinking about it and in your head treat it like a compliment and then just shrug and move on. I wouldn’t say anything if you don’t want it to be a topic of conversation.

      • Maybe your body shape has changed (particularly in your face) even though you haven’t lost weight and your clothes aren’t fitting differently. I would use it as motivation to get back into your fitness and eating regime.

    • Accept the compliments that you look better than you think you do.

      Take a tip from your friends and treat yourself like your friends treat you and be kind to yourself. You clearly look better than you think you do! Choosing to befriend your own body may just give you the confidence boost to start a routine again. If you want to get back into it, maybe find a routine that is fun that you will want to do (like a local barre class or power walking to a favorite podcast or a video workout at home with your favorite 90s music blasting). Or set very small goals like “sleep 9 hours for 3 nights this week” or “drink water instead of diet soda today” and feel accomplished when you hit all of these small goals. Keep setting them and get a little bigger along the way and you will be back in a routine eventually, but in the meantime you can start with baby steps, i.e., just tell yourself you will start exercising for 10 minutes twice a week and you will feel awesome when you do that and super awesome when you do it for 12 minutes, then 15 then 20. Start small as opposed to launching with a crazy goal like “I will work out 6 times a week for 3 months and will not touch dairy or carbs” or you will feel massively discouraged about not seeing immediate results or feel like quitting at the smallest hiccup – hey, life happens!

  24. Anyone else going through mad dash fed gov onboarding right now?

  25. Shopping help - Sam Edelman booties? :

    The Sam Edelman Petty or Paige: worth it?

    I’m looking for something to wear with dresses, jeans, leggings, and cropped trousers, for both work (casual side of business casual) and casual wear.

    The fringe is cute on the Paige but I’m not sure if it’s still on-trend.

    Are the Sam Edelman’s comfortable? Have they held up well? Do you have another bootie you prefer in a leg-like color (taupe, putty, etc.)?

    • I have the Petty in two colors and I wear them to death. Super comfortable, have held over two seasons of regular wear. The brown leather ones I have will live on. The black suede ones could go on another season but will replace only because the suede isn’t as clean looking anymore after wearing them a few nights out and getting drinks spilled on them.

    • Veronica Mars :

      I have the Paige and they are adorable and super comfortable. I saw the fringe and thought it was fun. Is it on trend, maybe, maybe not. But I think they’re cute and I’ve gotten a ton of compliments. I also figured since the fringe is suede I could always cut it off if I want a classic boot.

    • The Petty is super comfortable for me, and I have terrible foot pain and flat feet. BUT they haven’t held up super well. Maybe for people who think shoes should only really last a season or two with frequent use, but they’re starting to wear down on the back of the heel (not on the part that hits the ground, but they must scrape when I sit?).

    • Anonymous :

      I have the petty and I think that they’re just ok. The ankle part is huge – I wish I had looked around a little more before buying them. I needed to use tongue pads because my foot kept sliding down and my toes were getting mashed.

  26. I’ve been out of law school since 2013. Due to my husband’s job relocation, I went from a terrible in house position to a district court clerkship position. My year here is coming to a close and I’d really like to get into a situation where I can work from home either all the time or most of the time. From time to time I’ve seen commenters that work from home and I’m curious what type of legal jobs allow for this type of work arrangement.

  27. I have to get a colposcopy/cervical biopsy and I’m a bit nervous. My doctor already told me I have to get the more invasive biopsy (inside instead of outside) and they recommended that I take the next day off of work and use the weekend to recuperate. My doctor is also pretty blunt–she told me it’s going to suck, but that it won’t take very long (I think the whole procedure is less than 30 minutes). One of my friends got it done at another doctor and they used local pain meds. My doctor won’t, claiming that they need me to gauge my sensitivity when doing the biopsy. Has anyone gotten it done? Any advice/tips? All I’m allowed to do is to take 3-4 ibuprofen the morning of. I want nitrous oxide for this!

    • I had a colposcopy done years ago and while it was definitely not my favorite experience of all time, it wasn’t that bad. They biopsied one or two suspicious spots that turned out to be totally fine – the biopsy part was the most uncomfortable but it was over very quickly (almost like getting a shot). I went back to work the same day and didn’t need any recovery/recuperation time, though do be prepared for some bleeding/spotting afterwards. The entire procedure for me took less than 10 minutes.

      Definitely take the ibuprofen an hour or two before (I think my doctor told me to take 6, which equals a prescription painkiller). Maybe plan a treat for yourself afterward, like a mani/pedi or a glass of wine with a friend for getting through it?

    • I have. I also had the LEEP to remove abnormal cells. I didn’t think it was terrible and I did not have local. Everyone’s pain threshold is different though. Neither of mine took anywhere near 30 minutes. The scrape/LEEP is pretty quick IIRC. I definitely had bad cramping after both of the procedures, but I don’t recall taking the next day off of work or needing a lot of time to recover (apologies, the colposcopy and LEEP were 12 years ago).

      Definitely take the ibuprofin! Do you have someone that can go with you? That might help.

    • Anonymous :

      I had a colposcopy and I was surprised by how much it did not hurt (and IUD insertion was the most painful thing that ever happened to me – this is nothing compared to that because they don’t go up as far, or at least that is what the nurse said). I was scared because people were dramatic about it on the internet, but it felt like a more involved pap. It’s comparable to getting a shot or getting your ears pierced, or stung by a bee. Annoying, but you will shake it off quickly. You’ll bleed after, but only lightly. I don’t know how much tissue they will take on yours, but I would be surprised if you needed time to recuperate from it.

    • I have the vasovagal response to having my cervix manipulated. I told my ob this and she gave me Valium to take before the procedure. The downside is that I couldn’t drive myself but her office is a 20 minute walk from my house so I walked both ways. The Valium definitely helped. What didn’t help was that I sent a lot of emails on my blackberry under the influence of Valium so watch out for that!

      Good luck with the procedure and I hope the results are fine.

    • Midtown ATL Attorney :

      I had a colposcopy about 2 months ago. I chose not to have the procedure described to me in detail beforehand (because I knew I would worry more if I knew the details), so I did not take any pain medication ahead of time. My gynecologist used some sort of numbing agent for the procedure, so the biopsy itself wasn’t bad (to me it felt like a dull snip). I had no problems with going right back to work, although I did have some cramping that day and the next morning that just felt like a bad period (I took several Aleve, which took care of most of the pain). I also had a fair amount of spotting for two or three days, and then very light spotting for several days after that, for a total of about a week of spotting.

      So while it wasn’t fun, it wasn’t awful, either. My best advice is to relax as much as possible–I told my doctor to just keep talking to me about anything BUT the procedure so I’d be distracted, which I definitely thought was helpful!

    • I bet your doctor will tell you this, but mine didn’t — the stuff they put on the incision site looks like a weird period/miscarriage-like thing when it comes out. My doctor offhandedly mentioned that it would look like coffee grounds, but did not mention the latex-y (I think? I’m not sure what exactly it is) stuff they also use. It freaked me out the first time I saw it. The procedure was uncomfortable for me and painful for a few moments and I did have cramps afterwards, but it wasn’t that terrible.

      • Thanks, everyone for the insight. I definitely feel more informed going into it. I’m getting an IUD 4 weeks after the procedure so thanks for the comparison!

    • For my LEEP and biopsy, I found it really helpful to have some essential oils or nice perfume on my wrists to sniff and distract myself with. The smell of the LEEP can be sort of gross. Having something nice to sniff helped me focus on my breathing. Good luck!

  28. This may have been covered earlier, but I’m really in need of a mentor for my career development. I have about 8 yrs experience, in Finance, and at a stage where I’m always thinking “what’s next?” I’m in a group where there are a lot of older people who are still at my level (or even lower; think this is more due to the department I’m in as this is not the case in other banks and departments I worked previously). I’m very shy so walking up to somebody and asking them to be my mentor is something I may not be comfortable doing. I should perhaps start with developing a good relationship and evaluate if that person is a good fit for me. Any tips that helped with finding mentors? Finding career coach/mentor is my resolution for this year and I want to make sure I start doing the right things to be able to find one.

    • Views vary on this — but I have NEVER found random mentors (i.e. bc we went to the same school or are in the same group or whatever) helpful. If they are interested at all, they give very general advice that I typically already knew. To me the best mentors are the people who’ve worked with me a lot and our styles have clicked; I’m in law so for me that means — ppl who’ve done 1 or more trial teams with me bc they truly know how I react when we need to take 10 depos in 8 days; or pull yet another all nighter or whatever it may be. They know my work but they also know my personality/likes/dislikes and it’s not bc I told them — it’s their own observations of it. With those people — it is easier to discuss next steps/opportunities bc they can genuinely say — I do/don’t think you’ll be happy with x part of that job — bc they have an inherent sense of what I do/don’t like.

      So long way of saying — anyone who you’ve worked with a LOT currently or in the past who you could bounce ideas off of?

      • I did work closely with one of the managing directors here for the last 6 months. He’s a great guy and happens to be my boss’s boss’s peer. I was the only one working for him on the project so I have a good working relationship with him. I think he would be great as my mentor. I especially liked parts where he sometimes coached me (e.g. “and that’s how you talk to senior management in this tricky situation!” etc.). I can also see him being my sponsor eventually as he is very influential. But I’m really, really hesitant about going up to him and asking him if he can be my mentor – I somehow feel it may change things for us. I’m perhaps feeling this way because my previous manager “matched” me with a mentor whom he knew – she was fantastic but it just didn’t click between us. And then it felt very awkward whenever I saw her. I just don’t want this to happen again.

        • Why would you go up to him and say “wanna be my mentor?” Of course that’s weird. Why wouldn’t you say (in person or email) — I know it’s been a while since we worked on x and I really enjoyed working with you, I wanted to know whether it may be possible to grab coffee and pick your brain re career issues.

          Then go in there prepared — esp since this guy could become a mentor or sponsor. Figure out what you want to talk about; if his career path is of interest, ask about that etc.

          • Didn’t finish — and then if that coffee goes well, you keep in touch; i.e. if he says, you need to gain experience on x type of project — when you get that type of project, you let him know and talk to him about it etc. That also allows him to be directly aware of what you’re doing/learning and that you’re taking his advice.

            If it doesn’t go well – he seems like he just met with you out of courtesy and isn’t interested – then you say thanks after the coffee and move on without awkwardness bc you haven’t teed this up as a formal mentor relationship where you expect to have coffee 4 times a yr or whatever.

    • My most successful mentorships have always been informal. If I find I click with a senior person while working with them on a project or assignment, I’ll generally email to see if I can stop by their office for a few minutes to pick their brain on something (if I’m still working with them) or ask them to meet for coffee/lunch 2-3x per year (if they are busier or we no longer work in the same organization). Also, I typically only do this with people whom I know already think of highly of me (they’ve praised my work or others in the organization tell me that Senior Person has complimented me, etc.). I feel like they’re more likely to give me their time and honest advice that way.

      Mentorships that have been more formal seem forced and haven’t been as successful for me. It feels less genuine and some senior people may not feel they have time for true “mentorship”, but an occasional coffee meeting or 30-minute advice/pep talk seems much more reasonable.

    • AnotherAnon :

      I think I have few mentors (not formal mentors). Most of them are the managers with whom I worked and had a good relationship. I continue to keep in touch (by meeting them twice a year over coffee). I consult them when I have some situation at work where I need guidance or during a job change or for references. A few are people who were introduced to me by friends to consult for a specific issue and I continue to maintain the very informal relationship. On occasions when they need something , I try my very best to accommodate their request.

    • in case you happen to be in Canada, I had a great experience with the Women In Capital Markets mentorship program. If you’re not in Canada, maybe there is a similar industry association group that has a mentor matching program in your area?

  29. I just got a callback for a job. The first-round interviewer wants to meet me at a coffee shop and told me to dress casually, repeated sternly not to dress up, and said she doesn’t care what I look like. The problem is, I recently lost 25 lbs and have no casual clothes that fit. I have time to go shopping. What would you wear?

    • What’s the weather like? I would stick with dark jeans, a solid silk top, a sweater and some simple jewelry with flats. And carry a nice bag.

      • Weather is nice – sunny, will probably be about 60 degrees. That outfit sounds perfect.

        Good tip on the nice bag! I have nice bags, but I probably would not have thought of it until it was too late.

      • +1

        This is basically what I wear on casual Fridays, and as my default “I’m not sure how fancy I’m supposed to look for this thing I’m going to but I’m reasonably sure it’s casual” outfit.

      • I like this advice. I would probably swap out the sweater and necklace for a pretty scarf (because I hate sweaters), but that sounds spot on!

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