Thursday’s TPS Report: Blazer with Waterfall Front

ASOS Blazer with Waterfall Front | CorporetteOur daily TPS reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.

Waterfall blazers have been around for a few years (the classic silk version, the Becky, is still around) — I must admit I’m still warming to the idea for a conservative office. (What can I say, I just prefer a structured blazer!) This version from ASOS is lovely, though, and only $81 — a great way to try the trend without investing in something that’s very expensive and tough to care for. (Interesting point: this one is machine washable.) As mentioned, it’s $81 at ASOS, available in sizes 1 through 10. ASOS Blazer with Waterfall Front

Here’s a plus-size option.

Psst: Ann Taylor’s Friends & Family Event has started! Save 40% on your entire purchase with code FRIENDS40 — perhaps you could use it on the sheath dress we featured yesterday?

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



  1. Anonymous :

    Beautiful blazer but it isn’t what I think of as a waterfall blazer such as the Becky.

    Contractor etiquette question:
    We worked with a single contractor on our kitchen remodel from the design phase through building. They did a beautiful job and we paid handsomely for it (and it went waaaay over our initial budget). Now the kitchen is done except for backsplash. Our contractor suggested I go to Lowes to look at possible tiles. I did and found one I like. While there, Lowes mentioned they can install it for $300. It’s hard to get an exact quote from our contractor but my understanding is we would be paying him on the order of $2000 just for the installation, excluding materials. Is it ok to have Lowes do it? I don’t want to throw money down the drain especially because the project already went so over budget but I don’t want to tick our contractor off or make him feel like I took advantage of his services without compensation (he did suggest some possible tiles early on in the process but they were out of my budget and I didn’t end up using them).
    FWIW, I know Lowes probably won’t do as good a job but I don’t really care that much and figure $300 is not a huge investment if it’s done wrong and needs to be fixed.

    • Did you have the backsplash listed in your scope of work with the contractor? If you didn’t, then of course you can use Lowe’s to do it. It’s your money! You say, “Thank you for your work contractor, it looks beautiful and we love it. We are going to use a different installer for our backsplash due to cost. “

      • Also, backsplashes are easy – my sister installed the one in my parents’ kitchen and it looks great. I have had numerous friends do their own as well. Unless you are doing something crazy complicated, there is no reason to pay thousands of dollars to have someone slap up the backsplash that comes in panels from Lowes IMO.

        • Ditto – backsplashes with those pre-set panels are easy IF your sizing is standard/fits their panel sizing. If you have a weird size, or need to cut tiles to fit, it may be easier to have the contractor do it.

      • Anonymous :

        Yes it’s in the scope of work but it’s an estimate and he indicated he would credit us if we went with something cheaper, etc. I don’t know if that applies to having it done by someone else. I would certainly confirm before I hired someone else to do it.

    • Meg Murry :

      Can you just ask him? I’d say “I’m not trying to lowball you, but Lowes quoted me only $300 for the installation. Is there something your installation covers that theirs doesn’t?”

      Is there already drywall up where the backsplash would go? Are the electric outlets and switches already in? My guess is that the Lowes installation includes only sticking tiles to the wall and grouting them – you may be expected to take the outlet covers off yourself and put them back on when done, and possibly seal it yourself – and Lowes may not be able to do it if you don’t already have a smooth surface there like undamaged plaster or drywall (or Hardiboard would probably be even better).

      I’m guessing the $2000 quote includes more than the Lowes quote, or the contractor may be assuming you are picking out more difficult to install tiles – for instance, glass tiles that aren’t backed with white require more work and a special grout, individual tiles require more work than the ones that come connected in a sheet, and slate or stone that isn’t level is a pain in the neck. He may have been quoting for the tiles he suggested – so show him what you’ve picked out and ask if that changes anything.

      Just talk to your contractor. You aren’t screwing him or being rude by asking what his quote entails.

      One other factor – are you comfortable with your current contractor being in your home when you aren’t there to supervise? I’m guessing you would have to take a day (or more) off to be there when the Lowe’s contractors are there.

      FYI, if it is done wrong and needs fixed, it may cost you more than $300 to fix it. Chances are the tiles will be ruined by removing them, and the wall behind the tiles will need patched at best or redrywalled at worst. Not to scare you one way or the other (we’ve had Lowes do things before and it was ok) but keep that in mind that it could be an expensive fix.

      • Anonymous :

        I will ask him, but honestly, I don’t think his quote includes much more. He does great work but has a history of absolutely absurd quotes (he quoted me $13,000 for painting the interior of a 2300 sq foot home – I got a quote from a painter for $6,000 and they did literally everything he would have done).
        I’m not working right now so being home to supervise is not an issue.

        • Have you gotten any bills from him yet? Does he generally bill what he quotes, or does he tend to quote high in case of unforeseen difficulty and then bill lower once the job is actually done?

      • Yes, you definitely need to find out exactly what is included in the Lowe’s quote and your contractor’s quote. The contractor may be including installation of backerboard, moving electrical boxes out, and other work that needs to be done but is not included in the Lowe’s quote.

        Even if the Lowe’s estimate includes all the necessary work, I wouldn’t trust it unless their contractor had actually come out to the house to assess the situation. We once contracted for installation of a light fixture through Home Depot and the contractor ended up charging us something like four times the original quote because the ceiling was very high, even though we’d given Home Depot the exact height of the ceiling when they worked up the quote.

    • My dad owns a construction company so I have a keen eye for this stuff. I always make note when I see someone has shoddy grouting or bad edges. When someone tells me to look at their reno I’ll always say “wow it looks beautiful” but in my head all I can think is man the work and labor is awful

      • I hate home maintenance... :

        Do you have any pointers for those of us who are intimidated and taken advantage of by contractors so that we get better quality work for our money.

        We have constant problems with people we hire. I have given up…..

  2. Sleepless in Seattle :

    Headed to Seattle tomorrow morning! We’ll be there for four days, meeting up with SIL, not from Seattle, who we haven’t seen for a while. So none of the three of us know much about the area. Any must-dos outside of the usual tourist attractions (Pike Place, Needle, etc)? Cute, local neighborhoods with shopping?

    We’re thinking of taking a day to drive the Olympic Peninsula on Saturday – renting a car and making it a day, albeit a longer one. I’ve found a few routes online that are recommended. If you have experiences or thoughts about that I’d love to hear it! Thanks!

    • Cute neighborhoods: Fremont, Wallingford, Capital Hill, Ballard.

      To the Olympic Peninsula: Either via Tacoma or a ferry to Bremerton or Bainbridge Island. If you like driving, I’d go through Tacoma and over the Narrows bridge through Bremerton and over the Hood Canal bridge to Port Townsend. But it depends on ferry schedules, drive times, and what you want to see on the Peninsula.

    • go to pikes market. They throw fish around but they do NOT smell funny. That is good b/c dad does not like smelley fish. Dad wants me to get married so he insists I work out EVERYDAY. Yay!

    • Freemont has a cute shopping district and a bunch of great craft breweries–ditto for Ballard

      Capital Hill is packed (packed!) with amazing restaurants, bars, and quirky shops

      Go to Pike’s Place Market early or late–expect huge, too-packed-to move crowds after 10:30am

      Walk along Elliot Bay, starting at the Olympic Sculpture Garden

      Take the Ferry to Bainbridge Island and go to the farmer’s market on Saturday

      Ballard has an excellent farmers’ market on Sunday

      Go to West Seattle by way of the water taxi from downtown (weekdays only I believe) and walk along the beach–grab drinks and Hawaiian food at Marination.

      Walk through the neighborhood on the top of Queen Anne Hill for cute bakeries, lovely craftsman houses and Tudor style mansions, and stunning views of the water and mountains

      Take an ice cream cruise on South Lake Union on Sunday

      • Also, the last time I was at Pike’s Place, I bought a spice bottle of their fish rub. I use it all the time, and it is such a sweet, lovely reminder of the time I spent there with good friends. Highly recommend as a stocking stuffer or souvenir. Have fun!

        I also love Top Pot Doughnuts which is walking distance. It’s GOOD. (Like Ellen good!)

    • Drive 2 hours north and visit Vancouver for a day. It’s beautiful this time of year.

      • I would say longer than a two hour drive, especially if the wait at the border is a long one.

    • We had lots of people visit us in Seattle this summer, here are the biggest hits:

      -Underground Tour in Pioneer Square
      -Theo Chocolate Factory Tour in Fremont, followed by Moule Frites at Brouwer’s across the street. If you’re not into Belgian food, go to Revel for Korean Fusion
      -Ballard Locks, the salmon should be running right now, so you’ll see them in the fish ladder
      -Gasworks Park for a picnic
      -Ferry to Bremerton, lunch or drinks at Toro Lounge or Bremerton Bar and Grill (could be combined with your trip to Olympic Penninsula)

    • A day trip to Bainbridge Island is always great — you can walk or drive on the ferry (35 minute trip) and they have an adorable main street walking distance from the ferry terminal. Lots of shopping and good restaurants, too.

    • Travelanon :

      If you’re looking for food: Toulouse Petit (near the Space Needle!) and Pie Bar (Capitol Hill).

      Have you considered parks? Discovery Park is phenomenal– pine forest, deciduous forest, grassland, bluffs, and beach in a 40 minute walk.

      Sunsets over the Cascades are beautiful from Volunteer Park

  3. Feeling exposed in a shirtdress :

    I’m wearing a shirtdress for the first time, and my legs feel….exposed. I’m uncomfortable with the bottom part (below the last button) moving open when I walk. Sitting down isn’t as much of a problem. What does everyone do for this? Use double sided tape at the bottom? Sew it shut? The dress is really flattering so I’d like to make it work. I’ll definitely feel more comfortable in the fall/winter when I can wear tights with it. Staff at my workplace make some questionably appropriate fashion choices, so I think this is more of a personal comfort issue rather than a “is that appropriate?” issue.

    • Wear a slip?

      • Or slipshorts.

        • But with the slipshorts her co-workers will still have the sensation that they can see into her dress, even if they can’t see anything when they see in there. I say double stick tape today, and then have it sewn shut or hidden inside snaps installed.

          • Feeling exposed in a shirtdress :

            Yes I don’t want anyone to see the slip/slipshorts. Snaps are a great idea! Thanks. There’s also a good tailor down the street from my work, maybe I’ll bring it into her next week…

    • Veronica Mars :

      I’d have it sewn shut at the tailors.

    • You can have the bottom of it sewn shut. See how many buttons you need to open in order to take the dress on and off and have everything else sewn shut. It looks neater too.

  4. Stormtrooper :

    Any tips for organizing flash drives? I have what seems like a billion in a pile. I can’t come up with easy ways to label them or store them.

    • I am a horrible horrible nerd, so bare with me.

      I keep my flash drives in a wide but slim tupperware. I used a dollar-store utensil organizer to set up dividers for the flash drives. I use a P-touch Label maker to label each one: Event photos, Backup PowerPoints, Client 1 documents, personal photos, etc”.

      Blank extras I keep in a zip-lock bag labeled of course “extras”.

      • Meg Murry :

        We also have a PTouch labeler at work that I use to try to put at least something on the drive that will trigger my memory – at a minimum, my name because we all have flash drives with our company name on them, and often the date if I am using them as a backup.

        For quick and easy though, you can also just sharpie on a number (silver sharpie works on black) and then keep a list either on paper or in Google Docs or your email of what is on each drive. A piece of scotch or packing tape over the Sharpie keeps it from rubbing off in your bag. At least that way you can think “ok, I’m putting these files on Flash Drive #4” so you know which one to grab later.

        I hear you though – I have at least 4 within reach on my desk right now, 2 more in my purse and I just found 2 more in my car when I was digging for change this morning. Plus a whole bunch in my desk drawer left behind by my predecessor that I’ve only looked at about half of. I swear they breed like rabbits when I’m not looking.

        • Stormtrooper :

          Thank you so much!! Both of you provided such great ideas. I’m immediately buying a little container and a silver sharpie. They do breed like rabbits. This morning, I was trying to find one that I used yesterday and literally pulled out six from my bag, not counting the pile on my desk, in my desk drawer and in my purse.

  5. For anyone who was talking about where to buy quality items yesterday- Brooks Brothers just launched their 70% off clearance sale online today. Lots of lovely work things, and a bunch of good fall clothing. Sizes seem to be going fast though – I’m probably not the only one who has stalked some of these pieces for months waiting for this sale.

  6. anonymous :

    Is faux leather (or the leather look in general) okay for a nicer business casual office? I’m thinking a pencil skirt in particular

    • How does leather go over in your office otherwise? In my office, leather anything but shoes is strictly forbidden (leather trim, leather blazers, leather shoulder pads that were a fad for like a day) so a leather pencil skirt would mean a trip home to change.

      Business casual office.

      • anonymous :

        I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone wear leather, but we also never received any instructions about dress code, just that its’ business casual. I think I’d have to come in naked for someone to send me home. That doesn’t mean that my career development wouldn’t suffer from being poorly dressed, though, and I would probably never know. people tend to not be very snappy dressers in general here, so I sort of wonder if they would even notice.

    • Anonymous :

      If you look at the higher-end ones (Lafayette, etc.), they are just like pencil skirts and not too shiny (and they are lined). But they are real leather.

      I think that plastic is just not a fabric and when used as clothing it is done not just to lower the cost, but maybe with more of a fast-fashion vibe (so: fabric with issues + perhaps questionable design) that isn’t with an eye for office wearing (too short, too shiny, other club-wear type choices). I think if you want a leather skirt for the office, do you maybe just really want a leather skirt for non-office wear? If you want a leather skirt for the office, maybe getting something higher-end and more conservative is the answer (thrifting / e-bay / sale stalking)?

      FWIW, I have one from Talbots of all places that is truly conservative in length and cut (and it is lined and doesn’t squeak or make me sweat) and I do wear to the office on Fridays in the fall (but styled very conservatively). I’ve had it for 10+ years and it has been a good investment piece (so: Talbots outlet for the win there).

      Good luck!

    • I wouldn’t wear an entirely faux (or actual) leather skirt to the office – too much of a sexy vibe, I think. But I’ve work skirts and blazers with a subtle leather trim before, and it’s always been just fine.

    • I’ve worn a leather pencil skirt to the office with a large, bulky sweater and tights in the winter. This was in academia, so YMMV. I would feel comfortable wearing it in the winter in my current business casual (erring on the side of casual) office, but it would need to be with a decidedly un-sexy top, shoes, etc. I think as long as the leather is not shiny and the skirt is not too tight, you could get away with it – office specific of course.

    • Rural Juror :

      I think you can do this tastefully. A partner at my former firm often wore a black, knee length, leather skirt (or good faux, who knows) with a black turtleneck sweater and it always looked like a great outfit to me. We were dressy business casual. I think the trick is having the skirt be long enough and not too tight, and being conservative on top.

    • Maddie Ross :

      I love leather in the winter in a business casual environment. I have several leather jackets that I wear in place of blazers and a black leather pencil skirt (Halogen from Nordstrom). As has been pointed out, the key is to keep the rest of the look classic and covered – so I usually wear the leather skirt with a black or dark colored turtleneck sweater and dark tights and more sedate shoes (ballet flats or chunkier booties).

  7. A heartfelt thank you is in order.

    Corporette represented a donated quite a bit to the fund I posted yesterday about the Animal Control Officer who saved a Rottie who had been shot. We flew past our original goal of $500, so I opted to close the campaign since it was more than I ever expected. The money has been transferred to him.

    In his usual fashion, he’s refusing to keep it himself (GRRRRRR), and is instead donating to Animal Aid, who provides medical care and transportation to dogs found in awful situations. I think he ended up keeping less than $100 to pay for gas to transport the Rottie.

    The Rottie has been flown home to her breeder where she will never leave again. She has a long road ahead of her in terms of recuperating, but her prognosis good and she’s never lost her sweet temperament.

    • Great outcome — your friend is awesome, as are the ‘r*ettes — thanks letting us know. And glad to hear the dog will be in a safe place forever (even if it’s with the breeder who sold her to someone unreliable, fooey).

      • The poor woman is sick over it and is pursuing legal action towards the family for violating the contract. I don’t think anyone is more upset than she is with herself :(

    • Thank you for the update!

  8. Do I really need to follow the dry clean only label for silk blouses? It seems so expensive because I’ll have to wash them after only two wears. If not, what’s the best way to wash them and preserve the silk. I’ve googled it but would love some recs before risking ruining clothes. TIA!

    • Sink, tepid water, swish, gentle detergent, swish, squeeze (do not wring), lay flat or hang to dry.

      • +1 to KittyKat’s list. I usually use a washbasin (molded plastic from Target), just because I don’t want to have to clean the sink before I clean my clothes.

        If natural fibers (cotton, silk) weren’t prewashed prior to the making of the garment, you may risk some shrinkage. In those cases, you can still wet-wash, but limit the amount of agitation (so, hand wash over machine wash, even on the gentle cycle).

        • Oh! That sounds like exactly what I need and for just the reason you described, but it hadn’t occurred to me before now. Where in Target did you find the washbasin, and was it labeled as a washbasin? I can certainly just go poking around the store, but it would be great to have an idea of the most promising area in which to start.

          • I’m thinking it was in the aisle with the mops and brooms, usually in the home goods section? They are usually sized so the fit in a standard sink. Though, I’ve gone back to buy another one and remember having trouble finding one. My back up would be to check The Container Store if I couldn’t find it at Target.

          • Great; thank you!

    • Just plain 100% silk, all one color? No. Hand wash, cold water (color may bleed some), with gentle detergent, squeeze, hang dry.

    • This is probably heresy, but I just throw mine in the washing machine, lay on a rack to dry, and steam them to get the wrinkles out. Occasionally I’ll take them in to be professionally steamed, but I just prefer the clean you get from washing.

    • That sounds like really frequent washing – I wear a camp under my blouses which makes them last longer and I steam them at home but I don’t wash them at home. They go to the dry cleaner about twice a year with this method. (I also live in a cool climate where sweating isn’t an issue.)

      • A cami not a camp

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        Eh, I wash mine ever one or two wears. Warm climate, and for some reason silk makes me sweat more.

        • Clementine :

          Yeah, I usually wash mine every one or two wears as well.

          A large part of that is I just never want to be the stinky kid, specifically when it comes to BO.

          • Clementine :

            (Note: more issue of self consciousness than actual fact in all likelihood)

    • I sew tops and dresses in silk and wash them in cool water using a very mild white ( so it won’t discolour) soap. Sometimes I use a bar soap, or liquid soap, and I have on occasion used shampoo– just use soapy soaps– that don’t have added moisturizers or are antibacterial ingredients. Rinse gently — some like to add a small amount of vinegar to restore shine, but I usually omit this– don’t wring the silk, and just gently shake it, or press excess water out on a towel, and hang to dry. I iron it with a bit of steam and place a kitchen towel or cloth napkin over the silk, but if you use a lower setting you could probably iron right on top of the silk. This sounds time consuming, but it usually takes me no more than ten minutes.

    • Thanks all! I’m going to try the sink wash method suggested.

  9. Has anyone here moved from one of the major cities to a small, regional city to be closer to family? DH and I are contemplating a move to be closer to my aging parents. I’m not from the city — my parents retired there — so we’d have to make friends and build a network from scratch. The city itself is fantastic though. Low cost of living (houses cost about 1/3 of what we pay in our current city), great weather, wonderful schools, fantastic restaurants, surrounded by nature… For work, DH can work remotely, so he’d stay at his job. I would have to find a legal job, probably at a small law firm. Has anyone done something similar? Any inspiration / regrets / things to consider?

    • Newmomanon :

      Doing this now so following. Job searching has been more frustrating than expected – I left as a third year associate though, which I think was a little too early. You need to be okay with work feeling a bit – lower stakes? Otherwise its been great and was definitely the way to go for our family. We have made some friends – expect we will make more as our son gets older and we get to know his classmates families, etc.

      • Also following – we are planning to do this in about eight months. Awfully nervous about job searching from afar, but a bit leery of moving with no jobs and a kid!

    • Moonstone :

      What size city — something in the Des Moines/St. Louis/Fresno/Charleston size or more like Peoria? Probably my answer is the same: If you have a positive impression of the smaller city, the move would probably be great after a transition year. I moved back to my home city after 15 years away and really enjoyed having more time with my parents.

      • More like a Charleston. That’s a good comparison.

        • Anon for this :

          Charleston size, or insular like Charleston? I would be wary of certain cities – like Charleston for one, or Savannah for instance – where it can be very hard to break-in as a new resident. Beyond that caveat, my husband and I moved to our mid-sized city completely blind just because we wanted to be there. Both of us had come from transient families and we didn’t really have roots beyond the college town where we met, which we just felt was too small for our career aspirations. I won’t lie, the first couple years were rough. We talked about moving (either back to the small college town or to one of the cities where our families were at that point) just to have some support and friends. But ultimately, I’m so glad we stayed.

          • insular city anon :

            It’s not necessarily impossible. We made a move from big city to insular town a few years ago and it’s been fine.
            The thing about small towns is that there are only so many social activities/churches/schools. If you are willing and able to find your place in those, you will meet a decent number of people, including other professional transplants. Admittedly, there are certain social groups that we will likely not be invited to “old family from insular town” types, but we don’t really miss that scene.

          • +1 to finding the other transplants

    • I think about that sometimes, but my parents really need to move back to where they are from (not me to them, which is a place that is more-expensive and has bad weather / long commutes). Barring that, we’ve decided that they need to move to where I live (which isnt’ as inexpensive as where they are from, but has excellent doctors and lots of great things for before when doctors are terribly important). Think of the difference between Chicago (where they live) and Texas Hill Country (where they are from) and outside of Austin (where I live now).

      My worry is that if I leave I can’t come back and I might really not want to abandon a good city (we have school-aged children) that we might not be able to return to (abandoning current big-city big-firm law practice for a smaller-town one). But moving to the Chicago area wouldn’t be an option for us to be closer to them — life is hectic but workable where we are and I don’t think we could manage elsewhere (esp. when we are caregiving on both ends).

      I’ve got about a 5-10 year window before this becomes an accute issue (but am focusing now b/c of a parental health issue from last year).

    • I moved from the Bay Area to a Midwest college town (population around 100K) recently for DH’s job. I haven’t started work at my new small firm yet, so can’t say how that’s going (although I was burned out and ready to leave Big Law anyway), but the quality of life here is SOOOOOO much better. Our mortgage on our 4 bedroom home is way less than our rent on our 1 bedroom apartment was, it takes me 3 minutes to drive the mile to grocery store instead of 15-20 minutes, the people are so friendly, when I go to the mall it doesn’t take me 45 minutes to find parking, etc. etc. Life is just EASY and pleasant here in a way that it wasn’t in California. Of course California has a ton to do and see, both natural and cultural, and I will certainly miss that stuff, but honestly with working Big Law hours its not like we were taking much advantage of Yosemite or Tahoe anyway. My parents are also driving distance from us now, which is a huge plus, especially as they age. I loved living in California and am so glad I got to experience that beautiful state but I can’t imagine raising my family anywhere but this sort of environment and am so glad we got to come home.

    • I moved from a major city to a smaller city near where I went to college, not to be closer to family (I’m still a day’s drive, but at least they don’t have to fly), just because while as much as I enjoyed major city, I couldn’t live there forever (because I had no time and no money thanks to the work culture and cost of living). I waited until after I got a job to move and ended up at a bigger firm with much better pay, actually, so it worked out really well. BF moved with me and worked remotely for a while. He’s had a hard time finding a job and is actually doing a federal clerkship starting soon in another city that’s about an hour and a half away. I think the key is one partner needs a job before you move. I’ll confess I’ve been really bad about meeting new people in the over a year I’ve been here–we had a handful of friends from college still in the area, but other than that, I haven’t really met many people outside of work. But I’ve also put no effort into that. Other than that, though, it’s been a great decision. Cost of living is so much better and people are much, much more laid back (one of the partners I work with yesterday mentioned he was concerned I was working too much because I’d billed something like 200 hours last month. Imagine a biglaw partner being legitimately concerned you worked too much because you billed a mere 200 hours one month). I think on the whole I may actually work more hours, but my commute is 15 minutes instead of 45 and things like going to the grocery store are so much easier that it feels like I have more time.

    • If you fit in with the local demographics regarding ethnicity, religion, hobbies and life plans, it will be an easier transition. If not, not so much. For example, a former coworker was active in her church community, and eventually realized that when others said they were praying for her, they assumed that she and her husband were infertile rather than deliberately without children.

      Also, in smaller communities, people’s social circles are often less porous. Many people spend time with their family and still have the same friends they did in grade school or college. Generally, they’re not looking to meet new people, and most of the people they know are in the same boat, so they are less likely to think to invite a newcomer to a holiday cookout, for example. It’s often easier to make friends with other transplants, but there aren’t many of them. Making new friends as an adult is hard. It’s even harder in a small city.

      As for the job, a degree from a T10 school carries less weight, as most practitioners attended local schools.

      • These are good insights re. fitting in and meeting people. We moved from a large city to a smaller city in another region shortly after we were married so we could afford to live in a good school district and didn’t have to spend our entire lives commuting. We do not fit in at all in terms of general values, educational level, and political beliefs. Even within our religious denomination, we are still struggling to find a congregation where we feel comfortable. After we had our child, I was never really able to break into the “mom” circle because I work and can’t participate in the usual daytime “mom” activities (volunteering in the school, planning Girl Scout events, mothers’ groups, etc.). After-school child care, extracurricular activities, and summer day camp are also a huge struggle. There are very few after-school care providers and the quality is terrible. Most day camps with an enrichment component (e.g., science camp, art camp) run something like 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and do not provide extended care hours. During the summer, kids’ sports practices are scheduled in the morning.

        Another reason we moved was to be closer to my husband’s parents, not for elder care reasons but because we thought it would be nice for our child to grow up with a set of grandparents nearby. But then my in-laws retired right after we moved and began to spend most of their time traveling, so we see them maybe once every couple of months.

    • Wanderlust :

      Doing this now… moving from NYC to a smaller town still in the northeast. So far it’s taken about 6 months to get admitted to the bar (I’m trying to waive in), but in the meantime, I landed a clerkship with a state court judge in the new town. I figure it will help me get to know the legal community and decide where I want to move next.

    • We’ve done a similar move (for my job, not for family). My husband works remotely. It has definitely stopped his career progression – his boss just left, and he was very strongly encouraged to apply for that job, but with the caveat that he would have to move back to the main office. However, he’s in tech, so he’s pretty happy in his current position and might not have wanted the promotion anyway.

      The small city itself has been great (although our weather is terrible). So much easier to have a kid here than in the Bay Area, where we used to live. We didn’t own there, and by now we’d be priced out to the far suburbs; our total payment on a 5 bedroom house is literally half of the market rent for a 1 bedroom apartment in our former neighborhood ($1500 v. $3500 – and we have a 15 year mortgage and are in a pretty high tax state). It’s easier to get around. Daycare is also cheap, even for high-quality centers. So are babysitters, house cleaners, etc. You know all this stuff, I’m sure, but it turns out that it is SO NICE to not feel stressed about money.

      I do think that there’s a bit less mobility in smaller cities, so the social aspect can be challenging. We’ve made it work, mostly because we live near a big university; many of our friends are also transplants. I also made good connections through moms groups after our daughter was born – lots of duds, but a few real gems whom I’ve become close to. It’s been harder for my husband, in part because he works from home, in part because there’s no ‘dad group’ equivalent, and in part because he’s just a huge introvert. If you still have connections from the area, it will probably be easier for you, though.

    • I did this 23 years ago, moved because then-H got a tenure-track job at a college in his smallish hometown, in our mutual home state, and we knew his parents would need elder care sooner rather than later. I was four years out of law school (1 year clerking, 3 in a firm), so early enough that I could relocate and even change practice areas with no problem. I got lucky, sending out cold letters in the pre-internet era, and found a job in a small firm in the nearest small city (30 minutes from where H works) in what turned out to be niche that I LOVE and have made my career.

      Can’t speak so much to friends and social lives; we had a built in group among the college faculty but also I lived in one town and worked elsewhere so felt kind of disconnected. But after two years moved to our current location, a very small town in between our jobs, that has been really wonderful.

      If you’re going to relocate, I definitely recommend doing it early in your career, so you’re not giving up a client base, etc. Good luck!

  10. Calling Maryland Wedding planner from yesterday – to answer your question, our venue was Herrington on the Bay.

  11. My husband and I are looking to buy our first car, and I have no idea where to start. I’ve never owned a car before – I know how to drive, but have been living in cities my entire adult life and drive maybe 1-2 times a year, so I have no idea what I’m looking for. My only criteria is that 1) it is relatively fuel efficient, and 2) it is on the small side while still having a trunk big enough for large items, like a stroller. Anyone have any thoughts on how I should start researching?

    • My sister adores her Honda Fit! She regularly puts bikes in the car, so I’d assume most strollers would fit.

      • honda fit for life! :

        OMG we love our Honda Fit. We have transported all kinds of things in it, including a treadmill. Stroller fits just fine. I researched pretty heavily before buying whether carseats would fit, and some people apparently have fit 3 carseats. We currently have 1 rear-facing, in the middle; I think it wouldn’t be that comfortable with a rear-facing on one of the sides, though. Mileage in major city commuting traffic isn’t quit as amazing as I hoped, but highway mileage is.

        If you are buying new, get quotes from a bunch of dealers by phone (following up over email) ahead of time. We were able to get an excellent price this way, very easily.

      • I third the Honda Fit recommendation. Love it.

      • Lyra Silvetongue :

        +1 to the Honda Fit. I have a turquoise Honda Fit Sport and I’m in love.

    • Moonstone :

      Let me save you 20 hours of research: Subaru Impreza. Or, start at Consumer Reports to narrow down vehicles by price and feature.

      • Veronica Mars :

        I want this car too! It’s a long ways off but it looks really nice and fuel efficient. You might also look into the Crosstek too since it’s the same build just 4″ higher off the ground (but lower mpg, unfortunately).

        • I get about 29 mpg on my crosstrek and it’s NOT a hybrid.

          • NewMomAnon :

            I have a hybrid Subaru Crosstrek, and honestly, the hybrid doesn’t do much to increase the fuel economy. When I’m on the freeway on a warm day (not a winter day), I get 35-37 mpg; in the city, it drops significantly and the mpg in the winter is not great. BUT the mpg is still better than my old non-hybrid hatchback, and the car is GREAT for hauling things.

      • Our ’99 Subaru is still going strong! (Forrester, not Impreza). They are built to last.

      • Gail the Goldfish :

        BF was car shopping for cars a few months ago and I really, really wanted him to end up with the Impreza. I really liked the way it looked and drove. He ended up with a Honda Accord Sport, which is perfectly fine and slightly more fuel efficient, I just don’t like it as much. I drive a Toyota from the 90s that will not die, so Toyota’s got that going for it.

      • I have a 2012 Impreza with over 90K miles on it. We chose the Impreza after test-driving multiple Prius models and the Mazda 3 hatchback. I have been pretty happy with the Impreza, although I don’t love it as much as I thought I would. It handles well and I appreciate the all-wheel drive because our region is not good at plowing roads in the winter. The only major repair issue we’ve had so far is that the air conditioner evaporator sprung a leak earlier this summer and had to be replaced. It’s fun to drive and plenty roomy for our family of three with luggage in the trunk. I think a jogging stroller would fit in the trunk. Downsides:

        – Somewhat noisy, although it was less noisy than the Mazda and no car in this price range is ever going to be super quiet. Replacing the “racing” tires that it came with reduced the road noise.
        – Does not accelerate as quickly as I would like on the highway, but again I don’t think you’re going to get great acceleration from any car in this price range.
        – Tends to consume an extra quart or two of oil between oil changes. The dealer claims this is “normal” because it uses a lightweight synthetic oil and the interval between oil changes is long (7,500 miles), but I have never had a car need to be topped off between oil changes and I am skeptical.
        – I absolutely hate the service department at the only Subaru dealership in town. If I had a Honda or a Toyota, I would have more dealerships to choose from.

        My research process for new car purchasing is to start with Consumer Reports and, along with the NHTSA and IIHS crash test ratings. I will not even test-drive cars that do not receive top ratings for safety and reliability. Then my husband and I will test-drive the top contenders. Some people like to go to CarMax to test-drive recent models from multiple manufacturers in one place, but I prefer just to go to the individual dealerships. Make sure you are comfortable with handling and visibility. Test car seat installation, and positioning of the front seats with the car seats installed. Once you have found the car you like, shop around for financing. We financed our last two cars through our credit union at better rates than the dealer was quoting. I always negotiate each element of the deal separately: price first, then trade-in, then financing. I try to get the price to come in at or lower than the Edmunds “true market value.” You can keep the fact that you have competing trade-in (although it sounds like you don’t have to deal with this) and financing offers secret until you see what the dealer is offering, then reveal them for additional leverage to get a better offer from the dealer. If you are paying cash (I would like to do this for our next car if possible!) or want to finance through another source, don’t reveal this before you have negotiated the price, because the dealer may try to jack up the price to make up for the fact that they won’t be making money off of the financing. Be prepared for the dealer to exert a lot of pressure to purchase add-ons such as carpet stain protection, an extended warranty, and a prepaid service plan.

        This is a good time of year to get a good deal on a 2015 model because the dealers are trying to clear them out to make way for the 2016s, especially if you don’t have your heart set on a specific color or trim level that is difficult to find. Good luck and have fun!

      • LOVE our Impreza!

    • “A stroller” often is just an umbrella stroller ($20 item) that you keep in the car just in case.

      If your stroller is more involved (BOB, any double-stroller), you often can’t get that AND a case of diapers in the trunk.

      Would recommend something low (not Tahoe-level high) so the lifting is easy. Subaru wagons, minivan, Honda FIT.

      I got a minivan and it made my life so easy once I had two children.

    • I’ve always had Toyotas and think they are super reliable. My mid-90s Toyota is running great (knock on wood) and hasn’t required any major repairs.

    • I love my Honda Civic and am always impressed with the amount of stuff I can fit in the trunk. A regular sized stroller fits with room to spare.

      • Loved our Civic but it got tight with just us and the dog. I think it would be too small for two adults, a kid, a stroller and anything else. We moved up to a CRV.

        • We have a Highlander that we use for the majority of our travel with our family (me, hubby, and three kids). But I have found the Civic fine for around town schlepping of the kids and their stuff. It is too small for the five of us to comfortably go places, but for me, my teenager (who sits in the front) and then the two kids in car seats in the back, it works fine and I prefer to drive the smaller car as opposed to the Highlander.

        • Anon also :

          We have a Honda Insight, which is a little smaller than the Civic but has a hatchback, and it’s fine for us plus 2 young kids, and I never had trouble putting a stroller in it. Overall love the Hondas we’ve had – this Insight and the Civic we had before that. Honestly, we got the Insight because the current Civics felt too big to me – I think too big vs too small is all relative. It was fine for a 1 week family trip with all our luggage, and as long as I’m not keeping my whole life in the trunk it can easily handle a run to Target and Cosco with a small to moderate stroller still in the back

          The Insight is being discontinued after this year – not sure if that means you can find a better deal on them, or if you won’t be able to find them on lots at all. Rumor also has it that Honda is bringing back the Civic Hatchback in 2016, if you want the extra space of a hatch.

    • You have more criteria; you just don’t know it yet. :)

      Inside size? Do either you or your husband need a smaller vehicle to accommodate a petite frame, or a larger vehicle because he’s 6’4?

      Ease of getting a car seat in and out? Adding dogs, children, etc? Do you want fold-down rear seats or a station wagon (for, example, transporting a bike or skis)?

      Durability versus price. How many miles are you intending on driving the thing every year? How long do you want it to last? If you want your kid to learn to drive using it, then Toyota or Honda. If you’re going to drive it to and from the grocery store and your kid’s school, then get a Nissan or a Ford.

      Extras. Sunroof? Heated seats? On-board nav? Some cars make you go up a very expensive trim level to get those extras (so getting a sunroof would actually cost an extra $5k), while some cars are easier to customize.

      So, yeah, budget. And new or used?

      Ease of mechanical repair. Are you taking it to a shop for maintenance, or is that something you do at home? Are you okay with expensive repairs for a higher-quality car (e.g. BMW)?

      • Wow, thanks for this! You’re right, I didn’t know these were things to think about.

        Our major size limitation is the exterior of the car, because we have a very small parking space for our house. A Honda Civic fits with just a tiny bit of room to spare. No real restrictions on interior space – we are both average-sized.

        We don’t have a kid yet, but this will be the car when we do have one in (fingers crossed) the near future. So ease of getting a car seat in and out is a big plus, as well as other kid-related items. We’re not really adventurers though, so no other bulky gear except everyday stuff, like groceries.

        We will not be commuting daily in the car, but will likely use it to take out-of-town trips (think a 2-3 hour trip 4 or 5 times a year, an 8 hour trip twice a year), as well as short drives within the city.

        No frills/extras needed. Just something I can feel safe in with a baby/child. Neither husband or I have the first clue about repairs, so I think we’d have to take it into a shop should the need arise.

        We are flexible on price but it seems silly to spend a lot on a car we won’t use often. Honestly, the cheapest thing we can get while fulfilling the above criteria is fine by me. Used is OK if it still has a lot of life left in it.


        • A Honda Civic is 178 inches long. That’s an option – and they last forever.

          Look at a Mazda 3. The trunk space is pretty good and they are one of the best on the “five year cost-to-own” metrics. Everyone I know who has had one really likes them.

          Above suggestions are also good.

          Pick three to five types of cars (based on cost, size, availability of extras, etc.) and test-drive them. You’ll end up figuring out what you really like – and what feels really bad.

        • Oh, right: climate? Do you need something that handles well in the snow?

          • I would posit, that unless you have an area that doesn’t plow very well, any front wheel drive car will do fine. I say that as someone who has been driving in MN metro winters for 20 years and has never had an AWD vehicle or snow tires. Though, I do drive a manual so I have the downshifting instead of braking option in icy conditions. And Mpls/St. Paul are pretty good about plowing (compared to some other snowy cities – the residents still like to moan about how their street didn’t get sufficiently plowed).

        • SuziStockbroker :

          If you are using it that infrequently, have you considered just renting?

          • Anon also :

            Yes – for that cost, renting a car for 1 week at a time would be way cheaper. Or renting a car plus getting a Zipcar subscription if that is available in your area.

            When doing the math, don’t forget to count maintenance and insurance in the cost of having a car to use a few times a year.

    • If fuel efficiency is important, get a Prius. You can fit a stroller, no problem (we have a BOB in an early model Prius). They are incredibly low-maintenance and last forever – we are at 160k miles and going strong. So you can buy used.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      The Toyota Prius C or Prius V – the Prius C might be a little small if you’re talking heavy-duty infant stroller, but would be fine for a smaller umbrella-style stroller + diaper bag or similar. The Prius V looks like the C on steroids, and is more of a family car. Both are amazing on gas mileage and have a low deck for easy loading.

      I’ve had the Prius C for three years now – I regularly get 55-60+ mpg in highway miles, and it is a really comfortable ride. Only downside I’ve noticed is that it’s a bit extra-slippy in snow because it’s super lightweight, but I was also transitioning from a big SUV to the Prius, so I’m not sure how much of the extra-slippiness that I’ve observed is attributable to just going from an SUV to a small car, as opposed to being Prius-specific.

    • I don’t have advice on the specific car because we had very different criteria (mid-size SUV). But when you decide on a car, I highly recommend a service called Fighting Chance for advice on the actual buying process. They send an information packet on the car you want, how the manufacturer is doing, how the vehicle you want is selling, average prices paid for it, etc. (All of this is available from other services too.) And they give you lots of advice on how to get the best price for the car you want. We found it to be well worth the money ($40 or $50 I think) and paid about $1900 under the dealer’s invoice price for our Nissan Pathfinder in July.

    • Stormtrooper :

      I have a Chevy Volt, and I’m a total, complete nerd about it. It’s gets about 40 miles on electric charge, then converts to gas use. I rarely tap into the gas tank, but when I do, I still get more than 35 mpg. I checked online, and I liked the safety stats. It rides really well, and I can’t tell a difference when it switches off the electric charge to the gas motor. You can get one slightly used (I would consider this with any car – if it’s two years old, you can save yourself a significant amount of money without sacrificing the useful life too much). There is plenty of trunk space, too. You’d need access to a regular three prong plug (like you plug your computer into).

    • Diana Barry :

      I think you should test drive some cars first. It is unfortunately time-consuming, but if you have a general price range and type of car in mind, you can narrow down before you start driving cars.

      Example: I was looking for a new work car for the commute, couldn’t stand the lack of acceleration in the Prius. The Honda Fit felt cheesy and made out of plastic. Subarus and Mazdas ride too jerky for me. I ended up with an Audi A3, which is nice enough to feel non-cheesy, but wasn’t *too* expensive.

    • Thank you so much everyone! This is great info to start with.

      As far as renting vs. buying, until now we have been using zipcar or renting for longer trips, but we’ve reached a point where we’d prefer the convenience of having our own car, particularly for running errands and the like. We also are fairly comfortable financially so we feel it’s a convenience we can afford.

      We will make the time for research and test drives in the near future!

    • Another Honda Fit recommendation!

    • Anonymous :

      Forester or Impreza. I have owned 1 Impreza (used, purchased with only 10K miles), and 2 Foresters (one from new, one from used) and there have been 2 other Foresters in our family. 2016 Forester just came out, so there should be deals on the 2015 model. Good in all weather, reliable, long wearing, big enough to haul a bunch but small enough to maneuver in urban settings. If you have more to spend you can upgrade with leather seats etc.

    • Yet another Honda fit rec. Mine gets 35mpg, has really good pickup and tight handling. ALSO, the back seats not only fold down to give you a huge flat trunk, but you can also fold them UP to make a tall (though narrow) space for those odd items. Also, my family always buys Hondas and they always last with minimal problems well over 200K miles. (just be sure to do regular maintenance, esp oil change).

  12. Question About Success :

    How would you guys define success? I think true success if having some sort of balance between work, friends, family, and sense of self, which is pretty broad. I know some people who have a very specific definition of success. Do you guys think it has more to do with career, successful relationships (platonic, romantic, family, etc.), or material things, etc.? Would you guys call yourself successful at this point in your life?

    • Veronica Mars :

      I don’t put a lot of stock into external factors that are outside my control. I focus on “swimming in my own lane” and thinking about how much I’ve grown/developed/accomplished as an individual. I feel successful as long as I’m challenging myself to improve (in areas like career, health, friends/ family, etc) and have a baseline level of financial independence.

      • +1 I used to compare myself to others when it came to success and that made me miserable and anxious. My definition of success is based on my internal metrics – am I a good person, do I treat people properly, can I pay my bills, do I play well with others when it is appropriate, do I work hard, do I make healthy choices for myself, etc.

        • Veronica Mars :

          Exactly! I think you did a better job articulating it than I did.

        • CountC, I really appreciate your posts.

          I’ve been working on this all year in therapy–on shifting the metrics inward. It’s not easy, but I’m getting there.

          • Do you have any tools or exercises to recommend? I spent a lot of time in therapy working on setting reasonable expectations, which is an outshoot of this, but have had trouble putting it into practice day to day. I seem to get stuck on doing the best possible, rather than an internal “good enough”.

          • Killer Kitten Heels :

            I know you were asking Marie, but I’ve been working on this too, and for me, it was realizing that I was using external markers because I wasn’t doing anything I cared about – I wasn’t connected to my pursuits at all in any meaningful way, so the external accolades were the only “point” I could see in it, making it really difficult to develop internal metrics. The shift to internal metrics has ended up being a side effect of pursuing things I actually care about, as opposed to things I think I *should* care about.

          • Not Marie, but hopefully this helps a little bit.

            I struggled for a long time with unrealistic expectations I set for myself. These expectations came out of an impression that developed throughout my childhood that I had to be the best at things and failure was not acceptable. Although they were my own unrealistic expectations, they were not entirely separable from comparison to those around me and developed from a feeling that others were expecting it of me as well.

            I am trying to think of specific exercises or tools that helped me, but I think it was more of a realization and understanding that developed over time (through therapy) that the worst that could happen if I failed was really not all that bad. My therapist would always ask me what is the worst that could happen if you weren’t the best at X? I honestly never had a good answer because the answer was usually something along the lines of people will think badly of me. Drilling that down further provided almost no concrete real life examples of when people actually did think worse of me for not being perfect at something. It really ended up that it was me who would think badly about myself in these circumstances of perceived failure. I had to work hard on self acceptance by thinking about what made me a good person and the contributions I provided to my own life and to those around me, as well as accepting that I was doing the best I could with what I was given. I also needed to think long and hard about why I needed external validation of what I was doing. Once I drilled down into the whys, it was easier to be able to introspectively look at my motivations and anxieties.

          • Also, thanks Marie!

          • Oh! And I also finally accepted that it’s completely OKAY to not want to be the Big Law Partner or in the corner office and instead completely OKAY to want to work a job that allows me to have a life even if it means I won’t win awards or be recognized in the 40 under 40 or that makes some meaningful contribution to society as a whole. That was HUGE to me. I was Ms. Super Ambitious feeling like I had to be ALL THE THINGS and it burned me right the hell out.

        • Hey, I highly recommend “The Gift of Imperfection” for this. :o)

    • I think it’s different for every person. Both in terms of your own goals/values and what you consider to be big accomplishments. I would consider myself relatively successful at this point in my life because I am generally happy, I like my job/chosen career path, I feel content in my personal life and I am generally content with who I am as a person and where my life is headed. But when I was 20, I probably would have thought I need much more to be “successful.”

    • I have thought a lot about this I am a very goal oriented person and had so many goals set for myself (educational, financial, career, personal relationships etc etc) when I as younger and if I didn’t reach them, I would consider myself a failed person (in fact very intense feeling of failure). However as the time passed, life threw lot of curve balls and lot of my energy had to be spent dealing with those and could not do whatever I wanted to do to fullest possible extent. I have felt like a failure many times due to that. As few more years passed, I have realized that I really don’t have control over success or failure of anything. However, I do have control over my actions. So I tend to focus of that. As long as I give I best to anything I want to achieve, whatever the outcome is, I consider that a success.

      I am an Indian and a Hindu and I always heard a Sanskrit verse which translates to “You only have the right to act but never to its fruits. Let the fruits of action not be your motive nor get attached to inaction”. I absolutely hated this verse. I always thought it was unfair that we can only act and not expect the fruits. However as I have gained life experiences, I have come to accept it completely. It has been great for my sanity and quality of life in general.

      As a last point, I never had accumulating material things as a measure of success.

    • SF in House :

      As an in house attorney, I went to a networking event where clearly every one else defined success as Big Law Partner. I remember saying to the group “wow, before coming here it hadn’t occurred to me that I was not successful, I do interesting work and have time to do the things that I enjoy.” That still holds true and I find myself more concerned with how I am doing on the personal side — am I a good mother? am I raising my kids to be responsible, caring individuals? am I treating my spouse with the respect and love that he deserves? My focus has shifted, and yet I have continued to move up the ranks professionally. So, maybe I wouldn’t consider myself “successful” because I am very aware that my life is a journey and I am not done yet!

    • From my mom: :

      A happy life is when in the morning, you want to go to work and in the evening, you want to go home.

    • I hate the way this may sound, but I consider myself successful. I enjoy being a lawyer, and I enjoy my job even more now that I’m in-house. I let go of the thought that “success = Big Law Partner” and I’m so much better for it. I’m happily married, with two awesome kids that we’re trying to raise to be responsible, independent, thoughtful people. We can afford the lifestyle we want, we’re saving for early retirement, and we’ve all been blessed with good health. I’m happy with my life, with my family, with my job, and am learning to let things that do not affect go. I consider that successful.

    • In thinking about success, I find it helps to think about who you admire and what you admire about them, rather than be defined whatever is most current of the challenges encountered in your own daily life. How else does a person set big goals for herself ?

  13. I’m looking for a large blotter-style desktop calendar that is (1) professional, (2) beautiful, and (3) well made. I’d like it to have individual boxes for each day, and I’d like those boxes to be big enough to write in. I have small, but not tiny, handwriting. I’d like it to be 17 months (Aug/Sept-Dec 2016) if possible. There are lots of options that are designed for kids going back to school, but not a lot out there for a professional starting a new job. I’ve only found one possible option (link below), and I’m hoping the hive mind is aware of a few other options–you all have good taste. Thanks!

    • Papersource option.

  14. Luggage Help :

    We’re leaving for a weeklong trip tomorrow and I realized last night that we need new suitcases. Any recommendations for roller bags (the big size) that I can buy at someplace like Bed, Bath & Beyond? We only travel a few times a year, so doesn’t need to be super high quality.

    • Delsey, Bric’s, and High Sierra all make nice, sturdy bags.

    • TJMaxx or Marshalls!

      • Second this – I’ve gotten several pieces of cute DVF luggage at TJ Maxx and/or Marshall’s. (I like bright, unique luggage so it’s easy to pick out on the carousel.)

      • Yes, but check for odors (generally, I guess) – bought a name-brand suitcase recently from TJMaxx and a month of airing/vinegar/etc. later, it still has new suitcase smell. This is a known thing if you google it, and I wonder if TJMaxx and the like get more of these than other retailers.

    • I’ve had success at TJ Maxx for things like this. My London Fog suitcase from TJx has done quite well for me – lasting just as long as my Samsonite.

    • Look on eBags or luggagefactory. Even though you don’t use it super often, I’d still steer clear of luggage from designers (DVF, Nicole Miller, etc) that look cute – you’re paying a premium for the name without the durability to back it up. American Tourister is really good quality for occasional travel, and if you can get a good sale, TravelPro and Samonsite are even better.

      • I’d just echo got super cheap DVF luggage and it has honestly held up really well! To me, the “cute” part is worth it because I like recognizing my bag from afar. So I’ve actually had great experience with the DVF luggage – but I agree it would be silly to pay full price.

    • SF in House :

      Costco always has luggage and it is generally good quality.

    • Costco carries these. They have sets of 2 roller bags (one large, one small) that are cheaper than many places charge for a single large bag. The set we got is Samsonite and it’s holding up very well.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      I have gotten good, inexpensive bags at Kohls (the Ricardo brand) that have lasted a pretty long time (5+ years of several-times-per-year travel).

  15. For the plus size option you link to a cardigan. In a post about Blazers. Really Kat?

    • Agree. While I appreciate the inclusion of a plus sized option, if you’re going to do it, please include something comparable to the original. A sheer waterfall cardigan is not equivalent to a blazer.

      • Cute alternatives:–1–1

      • I linked to a few alternatives. I think they’re in moderation. Sigh.

    • I had the same disappointed reaction. Not the same at all. And I actually own a plus size waterfall blazer, so I know they exist!

  16. Night School With Kids :

    Has anyone gone to get their MBA or Law degree at night with kids and working full time? Or maybe known someone who has? I am applying to Georgetown this fall for their part time program, but I don’t know how feasible it will be to juggle everything.

    Also, do you have experience starting work as an MBA or Law Grad with kids? I am trying to pick between the two and a little insight into this would be really helpful. I love both programs and would be happy doing either, I am just interested in how things with kids work (under the understanding that the beginning will be almost guaranteed rough hours).

    • I started in the PT program at Georgetown, but switched To FT after the first year. The people who were most successful in the program had jobs with some flexibility so they could do some studying during the day and could take at least a couple of day classes at some point during law school. You will likely want to take a class or two during the day for a special elective or professor. It stinks to pay all that tuition and miss out. You also don’t really get the option of doing a clinic or journal (unless you’re really sadistic).

      It is really tough to work a “real” FT job and do the PT law program. Really tough. People survive for a semester or two, but then burn out and either their grades crash or they quit their job. Really you want a flexible job that is 25-30 hours per week. Being able to take time around finals is key.

      It can also be restrictive on post graduation employment to not be able to do a firm summer program at least one summer. Consider how to make this happen your 3E summer.

      If you work a full time job be prepared to give up all friends and hobbies for four years. You will also likely need to use all your vacation time around finals for extra time to study. People do it, but it’s a huge commitment.

      • This is really helpful – thank you! I actually kinda gave up a lot of friends and hobbies with kids, so that is not a big deal to me (sigh). But I will save up vacation and look into moving maybe to part time. Thanks for the input!

        • You really won’t get to see your kids. If you work during the day, you’ll need to start your work day early so that you can leave at 5 PM to get to class. Then you’ll have 3-4 hours of class per night. We even had class until after 9 PM on Friday nights–it was a looong week. Then most people either do their reading or go to study groups until midnight or 1 AM. Weekends are spent reading, working on writing assignments and doing laundry. It really is relentless.

          If you work fewer hours you may be able to do some reading during the week days, which will free up your weekend a bit. But you’ll never be home for bedtime at least during 1E.

          The PT program is only 1 fewer class per semester than the FT program.

      • DisenchantedinDC :

        Oh, can you talk some more about the transition from part-time to FT at Georgetown Law? I’m considering this option too and it doesn’t even seem doable to me (not and maintain any semblance of a life) while working full-time. Also, did you look at any other PT programs in the area?

        • I think they’ve changed the PT to FT policy since I did it, so I can’t really comment about transitioning. I also looked at GW for PT, but opted for the higher ranked school. I needed a PT program because I was writing my dissertation during 1L. I switch to FT after I filed.

          As I remember, there was always a lot of tension about people switching because it’s viewed as an advantage to be the PT program but not work so that you can get better grades during 1L. Folks who do PT just for the advantage want to transition to the FT program for 2L. This causes resentment among FT students who had to take an extra class as a 1L and PT students who had to work. FT students also often resent the PT students because they are viewed as having lower admission “stats.” There is also always resentment because folks who are working FT have less time to study so they (unspokenly) resent the FT students who have more time during 2L and 3L. It’s a warm and loving place–ha.

          It comes down to the fact that grades really, really matter at Georgetown and people are really sensitive about others getting a competitive advantage.

          If you have good stats, also note that the PT program does not offer merit scholarships or grants (to the best of my knowledge). Those are only available to FT students.

        • Anon 4 this :

          I did PT law school at GW. At work now so can’t post a full comment, but happy to later tonight when I’m at home if that’d be helpful to anyone.

          • Thank you for all the great insight, and I welcome more from others who did PT. I actually work at Georgetown now, so I get the 100% tuition assistance (why I’m applying to their programs). Mostly I wanted to know what the experience is like. Ready to tough it out, but good to know about study groups until 1 and things like that. Helps prep me and my family. On the bright side, there will not be traffic at that time getting home!

          • Some of the people who were happiest with the PT program were Georgetown employees. The tuition break is great. Many did quit at the end of 3E so that they could summer at a firm after 3E and take day classes during their last year. This also let them have the option of taking an externship or clinic their last year. Other kept working part time at the firm where they summered part time during their final year.

          • Anonymous :

            I did PT at night for 4 years, but only worked 4 days a week for my first 2 years, just so I could catch up on sleep one day a week. My kids were in their teens and I definitely didn’t get to see them enough. I had a long commute as well. Some days were up at 5 am, home at midnight, up at 5 am the next day I didn’t burn out though, graduated with honors and did fine at work. I was just always tired. I missed out on alot of law school activities, I didn’t even try for moot court, journal etc. which made job hunting harder, but it eventually worked out. My spouse was super supportive, he would make 3 DD runs a day if I needed and helped me study and never made me feel bad for never being home.

  17. DC area ‘rettes – where do you work out? I am starting at a law firm near metro center in a few weeks. There is a gym in the building, but after working out in the fitness room at my clerkship this year I’m getting an itch for a space with more equipment and maybe some classes. For money saving reasons I may just stick to the workout center in the building but figured I’d ask around first.

    Convenience is key, so I’m looking for a gym near metro center (close to work) or near Columbia Heights (close to home). I’ve heard nothing but terrible things about the WSC at columbia heights, and unfortunately there seems to be no Vida near either place.

    • It sucks that DC doesn’t have the variety of all-in-one gyms that a lot of places do (no shortage of boutique places though, ugh). Depending on where in Columbia Heights you live, the YMCA at 13th and W might be convenient – it’s very nice, if a bit crowded. Near Metro Center, I’ve heard decent things about Crunch around 11th and E – that might be the most convenient option for you. The Vida at Gallery Place isn’t terribly far from there, and might be on your way home if you take the green/yellow line back to CoHi.

      Do not go to WSC under any circumstances. It sucks.

    • Oh and one more thing – you might want to stick with your fitness center for regular workouts and then just use your money to do boutique gym classes around town. There are a ton – happy to give recs for whatever you happen to like, as I’ve done a lot!

    • Crossfit Metro Center! If you decide to go the class route, try using ClassPass. I know a few people who use it and love it.

      • DisenchantedinDC :

        I crossfit too, not at this location, but recommend classpass to basically everybody who doesn’t want to commit. It does require some preplanning, but that can be good accountability!

    • The WSC in Col Hts isn’t great but it’s pretty cheap comparatively. Last I checked, they had a good variety of classes. They will give you a guest pass for a few days if you want to check it out. Having a gym close to home is so convenient. I miss being able to get up, go to the gym and then go home to get dressed.

      • You can also buy a month membership on living social

  18. Waiting game :

    I think I need some calming words. We applied for a mortgage for our first place, and it was sent to underwriting last week. They told us it would be around 5 days. It’s now business day 6 and the waiting for a response is seriously killing me! Reasonably, I know our application was good, but I can’t help wondering if something is wrong.

    • Be calm!! Remember, lenders are in the business of ..well.. lending money! So, they WANT to make this loan, and will if they can. If you had a strong application you’ll be just fine!

    • I work for a mortgage company and I can tell you that MANY companies are very understaffed in departments like underwriting for the current mortgage demand nationwide. Take deep breaths! They want to lend you money, it just may be as simple as administratively taking longer to do that.

    • I’ve mortgaged and refinanced multiple times. Think of those timelines they give you as “a general sort of idea when you might expect to hear back, plus or minus a few days”. It’s certainly reasonable to call and nicely inquire how things are going, maybe once or twice a week starting on the date they gave you. So many times, I did that and it turned out they needed 1 more document (which took me 30 seconds to send out), but they just somehow wouldn’t call me about it. And this is with a company that overall was pretty good.

    • I bought a house a few months ago — I’m one of the apparatnly several regulars here going through divorce! — and it took something like four weeks. I was using a small local CU that outsources its underwriting, big mistake. (I wish I’d gone with a big lender and not cared about supporting our local nonprofit CU.) The underwriters kept asking for the same documentation over and over and also asked stupid questions. (Do you have a letter from the IRS granting your request for an automatic extensions of time to file? Um, no, it’s automatic. Do you have the cancelled checks for X & Y deposits to your account? Um, no because the drawer of a check gets the cancelled check back.) It was maddening and I even ended up bumping the closing date by two days because of the slow approval process. I am a partner in a law firm, have a six-figure income and a credit score above 800, have paid off multiple loans from this same CU in the past and was putting down about a 28% down payment and was borrowing not much more than one year’s income, so I knew my application was good, but I was utterly stressed out waiting for the final decision. Hang in there.

      • Should have said, it was four weeks after the CU officer purportedly gave everything to the lender. The whole process from initial application to approval was eight weeks. I was jumping out of my skin at the end. But you will be fine, it just will take time.

      • Meg Murry :

        I had a similarly horrible experience with a local bank getting a mortgage processed where they kept losing our paperwork because they were faxing it to the underwriter and some pages wouldn’t go through – who faxes today? Not scan to email, actual old school fax. And then it was a game of telephone of underwriter->bank employee -> my husband -> me and back.

        And then because it took so long they no longer had our most current bank statements and paystubs, so they wanted those as well. That time I downloaded and pdf’d everything, and scanned what I couldn’t and sent it all electronically, in clearly labeled files with our name, the name and type of account and date of the statement and they stopped f’ing up.

        For advice to the OP – I’d call and make sure there aren’t any outstanding pieces of paper they are waiting on. Chances are it’s just slower than their original estimate, but it can’t hurt to call once since its past when they told you.

    • Waiting game :

      Thanks everyone! I worked with a broker who has their own underwriting and they had us submit all the docs and have them checked for completeness in advance, so hopefully it’s not missing docs. I’m dying to email them and ask how it’s going, but am going to at least wait a couple of hours :)

    • Clementine :

      1) Waiting sucks. ESPECIALLY mortgage waiting. Wine and
      2) I’m pretty sure all mortgage companies always say ‘about 5 days’, just like all pilots say the delay is ‘about 30 minutes’ (see 30 Rock episode with Matt Damon as Carroll, Liz’ pilot boyfriend for full reference)
      3) Assuming you’re in the Northern Hemisphere: It’s summer. This is a HUGE vacation time for getaways and sending kids back to school. I know my office is looking a little empty, I’m assuming theirs is too.
      4) If there was a major problem, you would know by now. Somebody would have asked you for more info
      5) Seriously, they WANT to lend to you. This is their business.

    • Underwriting delays are completely normal.

      At one point, I was 5 days from closing and underwriting was telling me it would be another 14 days! That would have put me in breach and, knowing the seller was not patient, I was risking some kind of penalty (I have no idea where the penalty came from-my broker explained it after I closed and I wasn’t paying attention).

      Get on the phone with your mortgage broker, have your agent call your mortgage broker, heck, get the seller’s agent to call the broker. My mortgage broker escalated my underwriting to the c-suite (he was a very important broker in the company and brought in a lot of business). We ended up closing 4 days early.

    • First off, if there were something wrong with your ap they would have an answer for you (eg, “no because your credit score is too low). If they have an answer for you there is no reason to postpone giving it to you – they just move on to the next customer. So more likely, a bunch of people are out on vacay or something and just haven’t finished reviewing your application.

      Second, I know this is easier said than done, but just try to let go of worrying about this because it is out of your control right now. You have done what you can do, and literally you have no other options than to wait.

      Third, my BF applied for a loan and it took about 3x as long as they said it would for him to get approved.

  19. I posted about a month ago about being dumped via note by my live-in SO and resulting suicide attempt. I am doing so much better and want to thank you for your support!

    I’m now living alone for the first time in a long time, and struggling with both some practical and emotional issues. Any advice for living solo?

    One big issue is cooking. I love to cook and am very skilled at it, but struggling to find the motivation to cook for just myself. It’s been a lot of expensive and unhealthy takeout.

    I also just feel really lonely when I’m at home. I have a dog, lots of friends, hobbies/classes, but there is still just so much time by myself. So I’ve just been watching a ton of TV, which feels like a waste of my life.

    Yep, in therapy, on all kinds of psychiatric drugs, exercising! Just looking for more day-to-day anecdotes about living alone. Thanks ladies.

    • I’m so glad to hear you’re doing better.

      For cooking. I like to make recipes that are enough for 4+ people, and when I was cooking for me, that’s obviously too much food. I stored the excess in mason jars and froze it (two servings per large mason jar, or one serving in a small mason jar). Then later I could bring the food for lunch and heat it up at work. That way I could have some for dinner the night I made it, but I wouldn’t have to eat same meal every day for lunch that week. Instead I could just grab whatever I fancied out of the freezer. So you’re not cooking just for you, you’re cooking for today-you and future-you.

      No advice on the rest of the things. Just good wishes and internet hugs.

      • I cook on Sunday afternoons and freeze individual portions in GladWare freezer containers. I generally cook in my crockpot so that it makes a ton. That way I have ~8 servings of a hearty soup or lasagna to put up. Then I can pull them out and have my own quick dinner whenever I want, knowing that it’s healthy and homemade :)

    • BeenThatGuy :

      I’m happy you are doing well. During the post yesterday that asked for people’s updates, I hoped you would chime in. Glad you posted today!

      My advice is book your calendar. Reach out to anyone and everyone you know and make plans. Even stuff you don’t want to do. It’s honestly better than sitting at home (at least that’s my experience when I am in crisis).

    • Well, lonely is different than alone. If you aren’t used to spending a lot of time by yourself, it might take some time to get used to it. But it is worthwhile to figure out how to be comfortable being alone. If they silence seems oppressive, turn on the radio or the TV. Putter around the house, sing along to the radio while cooking. Talk to your dog. Invite people over. Plan something for every other night of the week, even if its just for an hour to have coffee or workout.

    • Schedule regular or semi-regular low-key hangouts with friends on weekdays at your place or theirs to cook dinner together, watch the Amazing Race, etc. I did this a LOT when I was single, and still do it now that I’m married.

      • my friends and I have a weekly dinner together, usually on a monday or tuesday night. We each bring a low key dish – i.e. bread and cheese, starter, entree, side, dessert, and wine. It’s lovely. Maybe you can start something like this?

    • Cooking: Splitting meals is a great idea. Also, I’d consider treating yourself to something like Blue Apron if you can. Makes it a little more festive.

      As for the time alone, consider an online course you can do from home. Also consider themed nights (spa night, cleaning night, cheese night). Set yourself up with something to look forward to (I like a fancy bubble bath). Also, sometimes it’s perfectly okay to just flop on the couch and watch whatever you want on TV. Invite friends over to watch a TV show. My friend and I used to have pj cocktail night; we watched trashy tv and drank wine in yoga pants.

      If you feel lonely and the weather is decent, take the pup out for a walk or to the local dog park. If nothing else, fresh air, a change of scenery, and animals can make the world seem a bit better.

    • espresso bean :

      Glad to hear you’re doing better. As a fellow solo dweller, I cannot recommend podcasts enough. I really like listening to them while I’m doing some mundane but necessary task like laundry or emptying the dishwasher. I can still be active and productive in my home but also engage with the world (as opposed to flopping on the couch to watch TV, which has its place but sometimes leaves me feeling gross after awhile). Hope things continue to improve for you.

    • I have the same problem with cooking for just myself. I gravitate towards super-easy meals; I think the solution is just to plan for that. I make a lot of Greek salads, omelettes, easy pastas, etc. I’m not going to do an elaborate dinner for just me, but I can try to have an easy option that’s also healthy, rather than just frozen food all the time.

    • I would second cooking a meal for 4 and freezing leftovers or inviting a friend over for dinner. Also second filling your calendar. I would suggest taking a class (at a local college or a new workout/painting/whatever class), volunteering (you said you have a dog – maybe check out the local humane society or a rescue), reconnecting with friends via a weekly happy hour/dinner/coffee (doesn’t have to be the same person every week). If your friends are busy, consider joining a meet up group or attending networking events and meet some new people. Having a weekly routine (even if it is just having something to do a few nights every week) will help you feel less alone. It sounds like you are already doing the right things to take care of yourself.

      • America’s Test Kitchen has a small portion cookbook that has great ideas.

        • Yes, I have several of the Cooking for Two cookbooks from ATK and there are some great recipes in small portions for one or two people. There are some recipes I really like, and it’s easy to double those if I want more. See if your local library has them so you can give them a test run first. Some libraries have e-books also, which I’ve found is very convenient.

    • My favorite day-to-day anecdote about living alone is NO PANTS!!! I never wear pants around the house and for some reason it makes me incredibly happy to do so.

      I agree with the cooking advice you have received so far, as well as the stay busy advice. I love to read, so instead of sitting at home reading, I go read outside in a park, or in a coffee shop, or at a bar, just something to get me out of the house. I am still by myself, which I love, but I don’t feel as lonely because I am surrounded by people and not home alone.

    • To offer something slightly different from the cooking advice which you’ve already gotten (which I think is excellent and is consistent with what I often try to do): give yourself permission to make really simple things. I, like you, like to cook and am a good cook, but when it’s just me, I eat a lot of egg/cheese/meat sandwiches with a really simple side salad (like, lettuce and dressing. Other veggies if they happen to be around) or sauteed spinach or something.

      Other options include: a more serious salad with hard boiled egg and/or tuna and/or cheese and/or cut up genoa salami on top, maybe Cheez-Its on the side; cereal with fruit and yogurt; cheese and crackers with a side salad or fruit; grilled cheese sandwich with some kind of soup or salad; egg salad or tuna salad on a bed of lettuce or a sandwich with a side salad or fruit: BLT. Cooking doesn’t have to be A Big Thing You Do To Put In The Freezer, it can just be putting together things you decide to keep around the house (I always have cheese, eggs, some kind of Italian cured meat, milk, and usually Trader Joe’s romaine hearts, which I find last a really long time) and which will be less expensive and better for you than take-out all the time.

    • I’m glad you’re doing better! I struggled a bit with feeling lonely when I first began living alone. You will get used to it, but it just takes some time. As I’m sure your therapist has told you – be patient with yourself. It certainly sounds like you’re doing all the right things, but you’ve been through a lot so it’ll simply take time to figure out the “new normal”.

      Like a lot of other posters, I tend to cook larger meals and stock my fridge and freezer with leftovers to take to work or for nights when I just don’t feel like cooking. It’s fun to try recipes I’ve always wanted to try, and if I make a huge mess, nobody else has to look at it! Though I like to bake, I do notice that I don’t bake as often now that I don’t have roommates to share the treats with (as I’m far too tempted and WILL eat them all myself if no one else is around), but when I do make cookies, I give a lot of them to my neighbor and friends. I also second the suggestion of podcasts! For some reason I feel engaged with podcasts in a way that I don’t if I’m just watching TV.

      You mentioned that you’re exercising – not sure what you like to do for exercise, but if you haven’t considered taking workout classes (Zumba, spinning, barre, whatever you happen to enjoy), where there’s at least a little bit of interaction with other people (at least in my case, my spin instructor is super personable, and in Zumba, there’s usually a bit of good-natured laughing going on when one or all of us messes up the steps).

      Definitely try to set up a weekly dinner with friends. Or perhaps a book club. My “book club” really does deserve the quotations around it as we spend maybe 10 minutes talking about the book and the rest of the night drinking wine and catching up, but it gives me something to look forward to and is nice to get people together.

      Really happy you’re on the mend, and I hope you’ll keep us posted on your progress! Rooting for you.

  20. I’m looking for shorts to wear under dresses. I wear dresses every day to work. With kids in daycare, I wear compression shorts underneath to prevent the inevitable wardrobe malfunctions. I’ve been wearing Nike Pro Combat shorts, but I think they’re irritating my skin. I’m looking for something similar but cotton. Any ideas?

    • I was looking for similar shorts a couple years ago and didn’t find much. Found one cotton pair by Joe’s Boxers (?) but they stretched out and were a little thicker than I preferred. I now wear the Jockey Skimmies.

    • Batch cook meals so that way you can come home and heat it up. I used to make Sunday my cooking day, then it made the rest of the week pretty mindless–I could come home, throw it in the microwave, and chow down.

      How about volunteering? That got me out and it seriously did make me feel better to help others. Animal shelter, meals on wheels, etc.

  21. leave of absence to travel? :

    Has anyone ever taken a temporary leave of absence from work to travel? I assume this would never happen in BigLaw (not a lawyer), but what about at smaller firms or non-law industries?

    I ask because I would love to take a 2-3 month break (unpaid, of course) to travel and do some language immersion. I love my job and would not want to risk losing it. I just wonder if this is even something I could/should ask for.

    I have enough saved that money would not be an issue. I just really want that chunk of time. The most I can ever take off is two weeks at a time, and sometimes that doesn’t feel like enough.

    But will it hurt how I’m perceived? I am a top performer and (I think) pretty well liked at my org. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think 2-3 months is a long time over the stretch of a 30-40 year career. But I don’t know if they would see it that way.

    • At my job we get a certain amount of leave per year. Some people save up their leave and use it to take a couple months at a time to travel. Obviously since it has to be saved up, this can only happen once every couple of years. And most people only do this sort of thing once or twice (and take leave more regularly otherwise.) But no one complains because we all have the same amount of leave it just depends on how you take it.

    • Coach Laura :

      People in the corporate world do take these breaks, but there is no set process outside of academia. Some companies give their employees “sabbaticals” after 5-10-15 years of service and so I’d call it a sabbatical. So much depends on your organization and your particular job. Are you a key person and how valuable are you to your company? What happens to your work if you’re on vacation or for example if you had to be out 6-8 weeks for surgery? Are you the only person at your org in your position or are there multiple people with the same role? Are you up for a promotion or a job change?

      If someone else can take your work for 2-3 months, that helps. If you’re the only one who can do your job – the work just piles up if you’re gone – then perhaps the company can hire a contractor that you could train before you leave: Perhaps there is a recent retiree that could come back temporarily. If you were going to get a promotion or change jobs, perhaps you could train your replacement, take your sabbatical and return to a new job.

      Selling it to your management would be like getting approval to work remotely, job share or work part-time or some other accommodation, so you’ll want to decide how to approach it, then anticipate your boss’s objections and develop a plan that will work for the company. Without knowing your job it’s hard to advise. Figure out a way to keep them happy so that they’re going to welcome you back happily at the end of your time away.

      I’ll post an interesting Forbes article in a reply.

      • Coach Laura :

        Here’s the Forbes article:

  22. Are ankle booties stil on trend? :

    I just bought these booties for fall/winter:

    They’re very comfortable and I like the mix of materials. However, now I’m questioning if ankle booties are still on trend to wear with tights and skirt? Or is this trend on its way out?

    • I think latest iteration of the trend is flat or low heeled booties, but you’re definitely still fine. Those are cute. I have a similar pair that I often wear with work dresses in the fall. Enjoy.

  23. Traditionalist :

    I’m looking for advice about storing/keeping what I will just call memories. I just moved and, after donating a TON of clothes, dishes, etc., I realized that the majority of my “what do I do with this??” stuff is in the form of memories — ticket stubs, yearbooks, letters/cards, birth announcements, wedding invitations, small keepsake gifts, t-shirts, etc. I don’t take very many pictures (and neither does my family), so I truly enjoy going back through these things on occasion and remembering fun times. But where to put all of it? Right now it’s scattered in various boxes and bins. I could pare it down, but it seems like this problem will only continue as I do more things and collect more memories. Part of the fun is stumbling across it, and I don’t think I have the skills/time to commit to some elaborate scrapbooking-type project.

    Is this a Marie Kondo thing? I’m otherwise extremely organized, so it’s not so much the clutter as realizing I have 5+ boxes of these things. Any thoughts? TIA!

    • If you enjoy going through the boxes from time to time, and you have space for them, my vote is to keep your “memories” until the size of your collection is actually a problem. If you want or need to pare down, could you take photos of the ticket stubs, birth announcements, wedding invitations, etc. and store the photos on your computer? My parents used this method when down-sizing our house, and DH just let me throw away his X-Box games (from the first X-Box, which he played in college, over 10 years ago) by taking photos of the discs. It’s a nice in-between of keeping the items and an elaborate scrapbook project. But you also say you don’t take very many photos, so I don’t know if you’d connect with the photos the same way.

      • By “downsizing our house,” I meant their (my parents’) house, but it was the one I grew up in. Bittersweet, but I’m happy my parents are happy with their condo in a new city :-)

    • I used to scrapbook in high school and college. I finished my freshman, sophomore, and junior year of college scrapbooks, and finally had to force myself to suck it up and finish my senior year one several years after I graduated. At that point scrapbooking was not fun anymore, and I dreaded it.

      So after I got through forcing myself to finish that scrapbook, I just stopped acquiring new paper “memories”. If you don’t take a program home from a wedding, you wont have to figure out what to do with it. I have a small album made especially for concert tickets, and I kept all my scrapbooks, but you can halt the growth of the giant paper pile by deciding to be very purposeful about what else you bring in.

  24. How many times can a former intern contact you for professional advice/job leads/references before you get annoyed?

    I’ve been leaning heavily on someone who’s my main contact in a city I’m moving to. We work in a very small field. In the past year, we’ve met 3 times for coffee (October, April, July) and I feel like that’s being beyond a pest. In the spring (at the second coffee meeting), he recommended me to take over his old job, so we also had contact during that interview process. (The job ultimately went to someone with more experience than I have.) Now I’d like to list him as a reference for other job applications and need his phone number. I’m so worried he’ll be annoyed by this request! I don’t want to wear out my good graces with him.

    • I think it’s fine, and well within the scope of what I’d expect to do for a former intern. Just asking for his phone number (and maybe to take a few reference phone calls) is hardly a huge time sink, and it sounds like he believes in you (or he wouldn’t have recommended you for the other job). I probably wouldn’t propose getting coffee again anytime soon though, as that does require more time/energy.

      • Forgot to say – when you contact him for the phone number, please don’t act super-apologetic about it. I always cringe at getting emails like “I’m so so sorry to bother you! I know I’ve taken up so much of your time lately, and you’re so busy, but…” Just ask in a normal, friendly, polite email. If you don’t make a big deal out of it, then he’s less likely to think that way too.

        • +1 It sounds totally appropriate given the context of the relationship but acting as if it is an inconvenience is going make everything awkward.

  25. Anyone else sad about Jimmy Carter’s diagnosis? Logically I know I have no personal connection to him, he’s very old and lived a very good life, etc, but he seems like such a wonderful human being (he may not have been a very good president, but probably one of the best men to be president in recent history, if that makes sense) that I’m still a bit sad about it.

  26. One of my favorite dress makers said they’ll be reducing the number of pockets incorporated with their designs moving forward because women don’t like them because they gape and add bulk to sensitive spots ( waist/thighs). I suspect it’s a cost cutting move.

    I adore pockets in dresses because it’s great for holding a badge, pen, cell phone or something else. Am I alone in this?

    Pockets in dresses. Yay or nay?

    • They look adorable and are convenient, but I have that exact problem described, and won’t buy them. Based on threads on this s!te I know I’m not alone. But, I’m not sure I’d alter my entire business plan over this as I think the design/cut looks great on lots of people.

      Who’s the dress maker?

    • If placed correctly, yay. I had a skirt with two pockets in the front and I wore them out! So convenient for my small phone, a key, etc.

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