Thursday’s Workwear Report: Asymmetrical Pleated Dress

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

This Eloquii dress looks great. I like the look of the asymmetrical pleating, and although the neckline is not my favorite (I’ve never been a fan of crewnecks), it looks lovely on the model. It has a lot more going for it: It has a hidden back zip, is machine washable, and is getting great reviews. The dress comes in the pictured purple as well as black, yellow, and a dark coral. It’s $89.90 full price, but right now you can get 50% off with the code ITSAWRAP. Asymmetrical Pleated Dress

An option in straight sizes is at Nordstrom.

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  1. Makingachange :

    Does anyone have experience as a coverage attorney or working in as an in house lawyer at an insurance company? I’m looking at an opportunity as a coverage lawyer at an insurance company and I’m trying to gauge what the growth potential is, whether I’d like it, etc. I’m a litigator now.

    • Anonymous :

      A lot of my friends have done that. It’s boring easy work that pays decently and is mostly 9-5. Not a ton of growth potential in terms of salary or responsibilities but a good landing spot.

      • Makingachange :

        Thanks for the reply. I’m current at a captured firm for an insurance company. My sense is this would be a better opportunity but I don’t have a lot of familiarity with it either.

        • I’d make this move. Getting out of litigation is hard, let alone captured insurance lit. This at least gets you in-house where you have the possibility of growing your role. And you can leverage your knowledge of coverage to potentially move to another company. Fwiw, I did coverage before law school and it was surprisingly interesting.

      • I enjoyed being a coverage attorney. As mentioned, it was basically 9-5 but there was a lot of autonomy in handling your own (large) caseload. At my company, there wasn’t pressure about quotas or accepting/denying/cheaping out on claims. Would do it again. In terms of growth, you could move up in terms of additional authority and supervising others.

    • I’ve seen a few in house postings at insurance companies that I’ve been interested in but don’t know anyone in the industry. Can you explain what exactly a coverage attorney does?

      • I’m curious too.

        After a family member was in serious accident, and his insurance company refused to pay…. just denying he had coverage for this event….we had to hire an attorney to force the insurance company to pay. So I guess, to sue them. The insurance company paid in the end. Because it was covered. So you would probably be that attorney fighting on behalf of the insurance company?

        The actual insurance documents were very complicated and difficult to understand and full of legalese…. Worse then trying to parse out medical insurance coverage in some cases! I’m sure that’s how the insurance companies like it.

        State Farm Insurance. They lied over the phone repeatedly saying the event was not covered, and stalled for months sending the complete detailed coverage book. Remember, most insurance policies get updated all the time (do you read all of those little addendums you get sent periodically? And keep all of them?) and you never have an updated “book” with all of the details. They are changing your coverage all the time and none of us tend to actually have the coverage details for our own car/home/umbrella insurance).

      • A coverage attorney at a simplified level looks into whether an incident is covered. This doesn’t usually come into play on personal lines insurance, like the above, but in commercial lines (insurance businesses buy) it can be a big deal, especially when it comes to things like medical malpractice, Construction Defect and high layers of excess insurance. Some of it is figuring out when there are multiple insurers on one risk (this is common) how the defense expenses are allocated, who takes the lead, etc.

        I’m not an attorney, but I’m a senior level actuary, and I work with coverage attorneys a lot. I find what they do really interesting, and I think they do too.

        • I am a coverage attorney at one of those companies that advertises on TV… so F100. We handle more stuff on the personal lines side than the commercial lines side (because we write more personal policies), but have opportunities for people to do either type of work. It is basically “is this claim covered based on [weird thing that happened]?” or questions such as “what is the law on [subject] in [state]?” Any litigation as a result of coverage work is NOT handled by my team but goes to outside counsel that is managed by a separate internal team. Upward growth depends on whether you are interested more in management and less in “legal work” because the opportunities as you move up the food chain are for managing attorneys. These opportunities may depend on whether you are willing to locate to the main office of your company if you are at a satellite office. We have a large number of people with no interest in moving up who seem content to stay in their current roles forever. The work is mostly 9-5 unless there is a CAT. I came into this job after a decade of insurance defense litigation, which has been helpful in too many ways to list.

          • Makingachange :

            Thanks for this response. Very helpful perspective. I’d be at the main office which I perceive to be better in terms of growth opportunities. I’m at a satelittle office now and my interactions are definitely limited. In terms of what I want, isn’t that always the question?? I like litigation but I like coverage too. Litigation can be a real grind and the only track I see where I am is to manage this office. Having other possibilities (and better still exposure to what the possibilities are) is attractive.

    • I am a coverage attorney at a small- to mid-size regional firm, primarily on the insurer side. I am also a litigator. AMA! :)

      To answer Curious’s question, a coverage attorney evaluates whether a claim is covered under the terms, conditions, and exclusions of an insurance policy. When a claim comes in, I am generally asked to provide an opinion as to the availability of coverage under a policy and whether an insurer is obligated to defend or indemnify its insured.

      I frequently file declaratory judgment actions because of the insurance and bad faith law in my state. That is where the litigation comes in. I like handling coverage cases because they are often in federal court and are more academic and analytical. While we do conduct discovery and take depositions, the cases are almost always resolved on the briefs. I like to write, so that appeals to me. I am also a defense attorney in the traditional sense of the word – my practice is pretty broad.

      I think if I were to go in-house, I would very much miss being in court. But that is not as appealing to a lot of people who have any interest in coverage – it is often viewed as more transactional in nature.

    • I am a coverage attorney but on the policyholder side. I find the work to be surprisingly interesting and fun. It is intellectually engaging and because I’m on the policyholder side, I’m usually a plaintiff (unless the insurance company jumps us with a DJ!) It can be surprisingly contentious on the policyholder side because insurers have infinite resources and most policyholders do not, which creates significant challenges. But you would have the advantage in working for an insurance company. In general, coverage is its own world and the learning curve is steep, but there are a ton of resources to get there and once you get started, I think you’ll like it. For what it’s worth, I do think it’s demanding – it raises hard legal questions and you have to be someone who really likes to write and think.

    • In House Lobbyist :

      I work for a large insurance company. We have in house attorneys for a variety of areas – regulatory (since insurance is still state regulated); corporate attorneys to handle all areas not unique to an insurance companies, litigation attorneys and line of business (think auto, home or life). I work in government relations so I don’t practice anymore but we are still part of the legal office. I see their jobs as being very stable and very 9-5 but not very much room for advancement. Sure, there are promotions and people to supervise but there can only be on GC.

  2. Baconpancakes :

    Is anyone else on the first week of the outfit challenge? I’m doing a men’s wear pattern (plaid) shirt buttoned down and tied at the waist over a tweed-ish sheath dress. It’s meh.

    • I thought everyone was supposed to do the challenge on the same day? It probably would be more fun if you did that (and you can always go back and do the first week afterwards).

      • Baconpancakes :

        Whenever you sign up, it starts you on the first week’s challenge. I signed up on the Monday it started, so I didn’t get the “Week 1” email until the next Sunday, when everyone else was getting their Week 2 email. I emailed Kat, but no response. There’s no way to get the challenges without another poster forwarding it to you, and since it’s many weeks long, it seems like too much of an ask to rely on another poster every single week.

    • I’m doing Week 1 still! I didn’t start until 1/30 and I’m all sorts of out of order but (I think) I’m pattern-mixing today in my fave work colors of white/black/purple. Your menswear take sounds cute and feminine! I usually take it pretty far with buttoning my top collar button and wearing loafers.
      PS. Kat I’m willing to share my outfits but I don’t have Instagram so I’ve snapchatted them at you! Yes… millennial.

      • Anonymous :

        Also on week one and also mixing patterns today! Grey-blue snakeskin flats, jeans, navy and white polka-dotted blouse with grey cardigan. I’m loving it and would never have done that on my own.

    • Today's clothing challenge :

      Here is today (and tomorrow’s challenge). Anyone do it today and if so, what are you wearing? I wanted to but I own zero belts.

      Text from Kat:

      DAY 9: Sheath Dress Challenge #2!

      Truthfully, you can take just about any sheath dress you own — or jumpsuit, or skirt+top or pants+top combo you own to do this challenge. Still, this is a great example of how you can get more wears out of the clothes you own — and it’s a great way to mix up a capsule wardrobe (or a traveling wardrobe). Here’s the challenge: take a sheath dress. Take a cardigan. Now add a skinny belt over the cardigan. Voila: a very different outfit than Sheath Dress Challenge #1 (monotone + pop of color) or your typical sheath dress + suiting blazer.

      DAY 10: STATEMENT!
      One hopes you can have a bit of fun on a Friday — so today it’s all about being EXTRA. Think like Coco Chanel and drape yourself in multiple pearls (or, in more modern terms, do the ManRepeller arm party if it won’t annoy the ever-living crap out of your colleagues who hear you jangling all day). Add a scarf if you’re normally not a scarf girl.

      If you’re just not that comfortable with a statement as big as this, scale it back, but still try something new for you, like a statement necklace, wearing a long necklace as a bracelet (or if circumstances permit, as a belt), wearing a few brooches together on a suit jacket or cardigan, or a pair of geek chic glasses, wear a crazy bright color of lip you wouldn’t normally wear. You shouldn’t look as if you’re wearing eveningwear during daytime — the point is that you’re wearing MORE, in some way, than you might otherwise.

      This day’s challenge is, admittedly, more of a “vibe” than an outfit, but I will note that if you’re going for a sophisticated statement (and not, say, Carrie Bradshaw in a tutu), you can’t go wrong by keeping the rest of your outfit simple. White blouse + gray pants. Black on black. Gray sheath dress. If it’s Casual Friday at your office, go for dark rinse jeans, a black or white sweater, and then your STATEMENT.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        So not into either of these. I’ll see what I can do, but belting over a cardigan rarely works on me and none of my cardigans lend themselves to being belted.

        • I seriously hate the belted cardigan look. That wore out its welcome in 2010 and I never liked how I had to constantly adjust my clothes to make it work. And I’m not into loud accessories at all, so tomorrow’s challenge is a bust, too.

          Overall, I’m a little disappointed with the challenges so far. I’ve tried a few things that I liked OK, which is maybe all I can expect, but some of these are just not my style at all.

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            agreed on tomorrow’s challenge. I am not extra. I do not like being super extra. And I am not going to work looking like I’m going to a costume party. Maybe I’ll wear bright pink lip stain.

          • Ooh I love being extra. I’m here for it. I will be wearing All The Pearls.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          I ended up in a wine-colored cap sleeve dress from Gap, a black and grey poncho, belted with a braided black belt and black riding boots with fleece tights and gold hoop earrings. Close enough.

      • Senior Attorney :

        I was skeptical about today’s challenge because cardigans are not my thing, but lo and behold I found one that looks great with the fit-and-flare dress I wore for the last Sheath Dress Challenge. And I even found a coordinating belt so I am good to go. Dress is black with an interesting v-neck, cardi is black with white and yellow little embroidered circles, also v-neck and zips up and the neckline plays nicely with the dress, belt is yellow and skinny. And I’m wearing my fave Michael Kors black suede pumps with little gold stars all over. I am surprisingly pleased with my outfit today, and Lovely Husband loved it.

        • Interview question :

          That does too!

        • Sounds pretty! I posted in the wrong place but I am wearing a thin long cardigan over a sheath dress and have it belted above my waist. I didn’t expect to like it but I do.

    • These challenge-related posts, like why? Nobody can see what you’re wearing. This is silly.

      If this were like youlookfab where people could post photos, that’d be one thing, but whatever. I’ll keep skipping through.

      • not like godzilla to be whiny about something you can simply scroll past.

        I like these posts and get outfit inspo from them.

      • I don’t know, I find it kind of interesting to hear other people’s take on the inspiration.

      • Relatedly, I feel this way about cooking competition shows on TV. I can see the food and how pretty it is after a challenge is complete, but I can’t taste it myself so I, like you, think “like why?” Nobody can taste what the contestants cooked except for the judges, and 99% of the time even they’re getting the cold version of it to cooperate with How TV Is. How am I supposed to be engaged in a show like that? How did they get popular?

        • FWIW, I like seeing the preparation, the different ingredients (especially those I might not use), getting tips that I may not have known about. I LOVE Chopped!

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            Me too! I also love watching it when I’m sick and have no appetite- it tends to make me hungry, which is good. Usually I end up with frozen pizza or tortellini but food is food.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        Collapse them, Godzilla.

        I love hearing what other people are wearing and getting outfit inspiration. It helps me think of new ways to put my clothes together to hear what other people do with the challenge.

      • I’m only casually glancing at the challenge, but I still find these posts very interesting. I also love reading what others are wearing regardless of whether there is a challenge or not. It’s a fashion blog after all!

      • Actually, somebody over at You Look Fab is posting her outfits from Cat’s challenge. If you’re a member there you could join in.

      • +1000000

  3. That color is gorgeous!

    Does anyone do a Getting Things Done-style weekly review? I’m just back from mat leave and made a master list of projects and next steps and it felt so good to have everything down in one place. I am working on setting up a weekly review process and am curious about whether this has worked for others.

    • Yes, and it is amazing. Once or twice a year, I fall off the wagon and stop doing it, and things immediately start to fall through the cracks, or projects start to fall behind.

    • In-House in Houston :

      Please explain what this is!! TIA!

      • It’s really something that works best within the Getting Things Done system (GTD). I recommend reading the book, but you can also find many summaries of the system online.

  4. Spring getaway :

    Anyone been to Now Sapphire in Riveria Maya Mexico? Any feedback good bad or otherwise is appreciated!

    • My sister and bro-in-law went there about 5 years ago and really enjoyed it, though it was their first trip to an all-inclusive. Don’t have any more recent info.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      No, but I am just back from my second visit to El Dorado Sensimar/Seaside Suites which is adults only and has the best food of ay all inclusive I have ever been to anywhere. Only caveat is that if you are a beach person, it is not that great for swimming.

  5. Frumpy Cousin :

    What do you wear when you think you’ll look frump-tastic regardless? I have a family wedding coming up and basically every female on that side of the family looks like an instagram fitness model with a personal stylist. I’m an average size, healthy person and usually feel pretty good about my body, but whenever I’m around them I feel like the before picture in a weight loss infomercial. It doesn’t help that we have similar features, mine are just in a size 8 body while theirs are in a size 0. I have a pick a dress to wear to this thing and there just doesn’t seem to be any point in making an effort.

    • Anonymous :

      Please stop. A size 8 is nowhere near fat or a “before picture.”

      • Frumpy Cousin :

        I know, that’s my point. I never said I was fat. I said that I’m healthy, average, and generally happy with my body. I’m just trying to deal with a situation where I feel I look worse than I actually do.

        • Anonymous :

          Oh hey. Buy a cute dress, get your hair done, and get over it. Y’all ain’t in a beauty pageant.

          • Anonymous :

            Yes — get your hair did.

          • Senior Attorney :

            And your makeup. I had my makeup professionally done for a fancy party a while back and OMG I felt like a million bucks!

        • In your shoes :

          I don’t have much advice, because I feel the same way around my two sisters, who I see all the dang time. I’m attractive enough, but they’re just much prettier, skinnier and trendier than I am. When I take the time to do things according to *my* style, I feel better about myself than when I try to match their style, if that makes sense. Aim for being the best version of yourself and accepting that it’s good enough.

          I don’t like that people are piling on you, so I’m sorry you’re getting that kind of feedback. It’s a hard situation, emotionally, even if the logical side of you knows it doesn’t matter and that you’re completely healthy and OK as you are. My sisters are my best friends and I still feel pangs of jealousy that they get to be the “pretty ones.”

          • +1 to the first paragraph. I used to feel frumpy wearing flats and jeans around people who wear heels and (casual) dresses. But then I found some great fitting jeans and flats I like and it doesn’t bother me anymore. Wear something you love and feel great in. Get your hair and make up done if that makes you feel better.

      • Anonymous :

        For any sizes, there can be a 8, a good 8, and a great 8. Every size can be solid (or not, at either extreme).

    • Anonymous :

      I would go with something classic and fitted rather than floaty, have it tailored to fit you perfectly, wear awesome shoes, get a manicure, and have your hair and makeup professionally done if possible. And then just be yourself. Do not underestimate the power of good tailoring to make you feel fabulous and confident.

      • Legally Brunette :

        + 1

        One of the most stylish women I ever met was a former colleague who was probably around a size 18/20. She always look amazing, way better than the rest of us. Don’t underestimate yourself! At your size you can find plenty of great options. Wear a color and dress that makes you feel great. I don’t know what your body type is but I LOVE Maggy London dresses (look at Nordstrom) — really made for a curvy hourglass.

      • Anonymous :

        Adding—what I am trying to say is just to be your best self without trying to compete with the insta-look. If you are happy and confident you will look radiant.

        • And if you dress like YOU, you will feel more comfortable, which will come through as being more confident. Which will come thru as looking good :)

        • Rainbow Hair :

          Yes! Dress like *yourself* — if there’s a way you can lean into the style you really love (like for me, currently, it’s like somewhere between Alicia Florrick and Elvira) where you’ll feel like, “Yeah, I don’t look like my cousins, I look like ME!” I think that’s your best bet to feel awesome.

          Also, get a friend or two into shopping with you. Email links to dresses, send selfies when you try them on. Having a friend say, “oh damn that’s amazing!” will put some pep in your step!

      • Yes. I have a great structured dress that fits me and flares out at just the right place – I look amazing in it. Find something that is cut really well.

        • I realize this is too late for many people to see, but I’m a 00 and feel the same way about certain inlaws. They are probably size 8-10 and have beautiful flowing hair, flawless makeup (like seriously how are their eyelashes so long) and their clothes are so trendy. I always feel frumpy next to them—it has nothing to do with size!

    • Anonymous :

      Oh I’m sooo with you on the cousin thing. My cousins’ playful nicknames for me even highlight the differences in our body types.

      I was thinking about how I handle that with clothes, and I guess I make a point of wearing things they wouldn’t. I’m not proud to say I do that by dressing less modestly (they tend to be jealous of my rack- it goes with weighing 2x what they do). But I also choose different colors and textures then they would- they tend to dress very preppy, so I play up my artsy side.

      • Anonymous :

        Fwiw, I’m also a size 8 and like my shape, so I believe you when you say this is about context.

    • Anonymous :

      If you MUST compare yourself to someone, get a different picture in your mind to compare yourself to. I suggest a woman who is 30 or 40 years older than you, and is looking at your trim size 8 figure with envy and wistfulness. That woman is YOU, 30 or 40 years from now, who is saying, “Oh… I wish I’d just gone out and bought a fabulous dress and gone dancing and had FUN, when I had that cute, younger figure to do it with!”

      • Anonymous :

        Hey now. I’m that older woman (or within a decade of being her). I want to grow up to be Helen Mirren.

        Go to Amour Vert and find a pretty dress that you feel fantastic in.

        • Anonymous :

          I also want to grow up to be Helen Mirren. Or my regal, gorgeous ballet teacher who is over 70 and still performs.

        • Anonymous :

          Amour Vert is sadly pretty frump-tastic. I think Maggy London is a better bet.

          • Disagree — some of their silk pieces are gorgeous (and tactile-y delicious). Maggy London can be good, but I hate ponte that pills and have decided on some fabric upgrades.

            Leota has a lot of cute dresses in all sizes. DVF shifts are cute (size up at least 1-2 sizes) and you can get a lot on eBay. Maybe Boden works for you (it doesn’t work at all for me). Find something fantastic — I guarantee something is out there that works for you.

    • Anonymous :

      Can we please not call girls/women “females”?

      • Why not? Isn’t there that slogan “the future is female?”

        • Anonymous :

          Different usage

        • Aunt Jamesina :

          The difference is in how it’s used. Female as an adjective, as it’s used in that slogan, is perfectly fine. Female as a noun outside of describing animals or in a biological context is not.

        • Anonymous :

          Because female is an adjective, not a noun.

          • except it is a noun… and also an adjective.

          • It’s a rude noun, because for females who are human beings we have a special word, Women.

          • I’d argue it’s not even a rude noun. It’s an adjective people use as a noun and reduces a person to one aspect of their being. Female is a descriptor of one gender of a species. When you are referring to female humans, we call them women (like Anon 10:03 notes).

          • Anon at 10:01

            Female whales are called cows
            Female horses are called mares.
            Every species has a particular word – ours is woman/women, not female.

      • Can we please not police every single word people use around here? The trend to do this around here is ridiculous.

        And FWIW, trust me, I get that in some contexts it can be used in a derogatory way, especially if said with a certain tone, but that is not even close to how I read it here. Also, she could be referring to cousins of multiple age ranges – teenagers to older women. There is nothing wrong with her using the word in this context, IMHO.

        • Frumpy Cousin :

          You’re exactly right! I’m referring to a large range of ages, as well as some people who identify as female, so that’s just the word that came to mind. Apologies if it offended anyone, I’ll try to be more careful with my language!

      • Also please stop calling women ‘girls.’

      • +100000

        Even when it’s from other women — actually, especially when it’s from other women — it drives me up the wall!

    • anon for this :

      Get a blowout before the wedding and then have fun. I’m not sure if this would work for anyone else, but I have a relative who had kids roughly when I did (including multiples, just like me, which is my excuse for myself as to why my body will never look like it did pre-kids) and looks fantastic. She also happens to have implants. If I feel jealous, I tell myself, if it mattered that much to me, I could go out and buy a tummy tuck/implants/ whatever. I don’t, so I might as well get over it. For me, quantifying it like that helps me just put it out of my mind.

      • Anon for this :

        I look at a lot of medical records as part of my job. I’m quickly learning that a lot of those perfect looking beautiful women have had a lot of work done. Many will never admit it either. Compare apples to apples. I don’t dye my hair. I don’t spray tan. I don’t wear colored contacts. I don’t get botox. I haven’t had a nose job. I haven’t had a boob job. If I take all of those things off the other person, I look just as good if not better than them.

        • That’s why the current saying is ‘you aren’t ugly, you’re poor.’

        • In your shoes :

          I was absolutely shocked when I learned that some of the cute, pretty moms at my kids’ school have had work done. I never would’ve guessed because a) it’s just not that common in my area, and b) nobody talks about it! It made me feel better about myself because of course I can’t compete with that, and I don’t want to! My idea of a “mommy makeover” was a new bra and some eyeshadow and I am 100% OK with not going to extreme lengths to look good.

    • Shopaholic :

      Honestly I feel this way around my sister so I totally get the context issue.

      I second the recommendations for a blow out, and manicure. Spend some time finding a dress you love and wear amazing shoes. It is honestly a huge help.

    • Huh, just realized I’m probably the frumpy cousin. Oh well. I really take to heart that comparison is the thief of joy and my best advice is to figure out how to stop comparing yourself to your cousins. Dress so you feel your best. Helps if you have your own sense of style/ signature look that’s nor reliant on trends.

      • KS IT Chick :

        Compared to my California cousins, I’m the frumpy one. Compared to the Georgia cousins, I’m the glamorous one. It’s all in the perspective, I think…

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        This summer my 16-year old cousin and I were shopping for a dress she was wearing to a wedding. She adores me, but our styles do not mesh well, which makes sense seeing as how she’s 16 and likes short and tight sparkly things and I have always trended towards classic and simple. She looked at a dress I adored and thought would be beautiful on her and I said I would wear myself and said in only the way a 16 year old can “I. Would rather. DIE. than wear THAT.” At Christmas she looked at my outfit and asked if I’d borrowed clothes from my mom’s closet. I asked if the bottom of her jeans had been cut off on purpose. I kind of just own that she thinks I’m the frumpy cousin, because I’m the only girl cousin on our side she’s got and we otherwise get along great.

        • Like Sr Atty below, Sloan, I have met you: NOT the frumpy cousin! You have excellent style!

        • Why are you making or permitting fashion comparisons between yourself and your 16-year-old cousin? You are a grown-up lawyer, right? She’s just a kid. Of course she takes delight in calling a grown-up frumpy and getting away with it.

          I am learning how to shop with my 11-year-old. Successful shopping with a teen or tween involves asking questions more than giving suggestions (what specifically do you hate about this dress? why do you like that one?), commenting on the positive aspects of things she tries on and likes in an attempt to help her define what exactly her preferences are, and putting my foot down firmly when her selections are inappropriate (no, you cannot wear a party dress to school or a school dress to the formal dance). It’s not about what you like, it’s about what she likes that you can live with.

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            It was a half-joke. I would never in a million, billion years dress like her. And, vice versa. Works out for both of us. I like how I dress. She likes how she dresses. I dislike how she dresses. She would never dress like me. :)

            There was a certain amount of putting my foot down (No, your mother would kill me. No, you cannot wear jeans to the wedding. No, you ABSOLUTELY cannot wear that.) We ended up finding a very cute dress (two days of marathon shopping) at Nordstrom that everyone was happy with. Not my style, but she looked cute in it.

            I also really feel for my family who used to have to shop with me. I was never into the same styles as my cousin now, but I’m sure it was the same level of pickiness in my own special way.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Scarlett, I have seen you in person.

        You are not the frumpy cousin.

        • Lol!! Thanks Senior Attorney!! When I think of my cousins though, I am – they’re like the OPs, a decade younger, etc – honestly though, at some point I just realized that comparing myself to others serves no purpose at all. It’s hard not to sometimes, but I really try to stop the negative self thinking.

    • I have this problem, too. I agree with making sure to wear something that is your own style in a very flattering color and not feeling pressured to dress more like them.

      And I always feel a little better about the pictures when I’m wearing something with more structure (a ponte blazer) that doesn’t make me feel like a shapeless blob next to my super fit family members.

      • Oh, I just realized this is for a wedding. Maybe a no on the ponte blazer, but I’d rock a long sleeve solid dress with an interesting wide neckline to balance out my hips. And great shoes.

    • Go buy a new dress you’d be thrilled to wear to another event (a gala, your friend’s wedding, something else). Get your makeup professionally done. The other people there might make you feel insecure in the moment, but you’ll look back at pics of yourself and think you look hot (as I’m sure you will).

  6. Jewelry shopping :

    I would like to buy some small aquamarine or blue topaz stud earrings set in white gold for my petite 11-year-old daughter, as a first piece of “real” jewelry. My first thought was Blue Nile, but they only offer one size that would be comically huge on her. I looked at some other on-line retailers (Kohl’s, Jared) and the product reviews were not encouraging. Where should I be shopping? We have one locally owned brick-and-mortar jewelry store, but I am worried that prices may be inflated and I don’t know whether I am expected to negotiate. Suggestions or advice, anyone?

    • If you can do sterling silver instead,
      I’ve had good luck with their jewelry and the price point is affordable.

    • Frumpy Cousin :

      Gemvara seems to have a good variety of styles and sizes for both aquamarine and topaz. The smallest ones I saw were 4mm, which definitely wouldn’t be too big for her.

      • Anonymous :

        I haven’t done earrings, but have done some rings with Gemvara/Gemma Gray and recommend them for their customization ability, options, and general customer service.

        Sign up for the emails to get notified of sales. I feel like at least once a month or so there’s a notification of a 10-15% coupon.

        • Lana Del Raygun :

          My engagement/wedding ring is from Gemvara, with a blue topaz! It’s very beautiful. :)

      • Jewelry shopping :

        Gemvara looks great—thank you!

    • Anonymous :

      Sams Club or Costco has cute and affordable jewelry, including lab made gems.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      When I was about her age, I got lots of real jewelry from Kohl’s and JCP. I’m sure it’s certainly not the best quality stuff, but I imagine the price was right. It wasn’t too showy for a kid. And it probably wouldn’t have mattered much if I’d lost any of them. I still have all of it, by the way, and wear some of those pieces frequently!

      • I like Yvonne Raley on etsy. She has lots of nice stud earrings and can custom make you something if she doesnt have quote what you want already set.

    • I buy a lot of my jewelry at Macy’s and have been pleased with the quality for the price. They have a lot of nice blue topaz earrings.

  7. This color is so pretty but at first I thought this model was pregnant. The waistline does her no favors.

    • Anonymous :

      I really like the way it highlights her natural waist, actually.

      We’re deeply socialized with images of thin models. I’m trying not to take offense at the fact that your response to a plus-size model is to say she look “pregnant”, but that is difficult.

      • Anonymous :

        I am neither plus-sized nor pregnant, but some items have unfortunate waist placement that do non-flat tummies no favors.

        • For me, this is Boden. I love them, but they amplify my stomach and don’t care to field the baby comments.

          • + 1 So true. I loved my bright green fit and flare Boden dress when I had a flat stomach. Now that I no longer have said stomach, the dress looks off.

          • wildkitten :


      • pugsnbourbon :

        Love the color and love the waistline, too.

        I’m starting to push back (at least in my own mind) on the idea that for something to be “flattering” it must make one look thin. And that the goal of dressing myself is to look thin.

        • “Flattering” does not mean “makes you look thin,” but it does mean “highlights the features you want to highlight.” So if this dress shows off a person’s waistline and that’s what she wants to show off, it flatters her. If it makes her look pregnant and she doesn’t want to look pregnant, it doesn’t flatter her. If it shows off the arm or leg muscles she’s proud of, it’s flattering. If it covers up her awesome muscles it’s not flattering. Etc.

        • I think this is quite flattering on the model. Great pick.

        • Different anon :


          The dress looks lovely and the model looks amazing.

      • I didn’t mean to offend. There are certain waistlines (like empire) that make the vast majority of us look pregnant, irrespective of size. This is by no means an issue limited to plus size women.

        • Yes, that is correct. However, I don’t think she looks pregnant. The fit looks pretty great, IMO.

        • As someone who is currently pregnant, I don’t think she looks pregnant at all. She has curves, but I think it’s a flattering dress.

          • Yeah she doesn’t look pregnant, she looks like a healthy woman who doesn’t starve herself skinny. Our perceptions about bodies are so skewed!

          • As someone who is currently 30 weeks, I thought I accidentally went to Cmoms, which I go to occasionally, rather than this page.

          • The dress looks like a maternity dress because the waist is high and the skirt is voluminous.

        • That model absolutely does not look pregnant.

      • Agree with anonymous af 9:42. I feel like every time there’s a plus size pick there’s someone who says omg she looks fat! Like that is the worst possible thing in the world. Can we just stop?

      • I agree. I think we all ought to look VERY favorable on plus size models, b/c even tho we are svelte when we are young, eventually we will look like our mothers, who have larger tuchuses and heavier overall then we are. I know that when Grandma Trudy looks at me, she told me she sees herself as a little girl. Right now, she is very large, and even mom has a big tuchus and will look like Grandma Trudy before I do. That is why I need to get married quick, while I am still relativeley svelte, even though Dad is already complaining about my own tuchus (at age 36, no less!) FOOEY on men that patronize us women just to get what they want from us! DOUBEL FOOEY!

    • I think she looks great in it.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I actually own this dress in this colour and it is a really flattering, well cut piece. The fabric is a heavy knit that skims and does not cling and really highlight an hourglass figure.

      I will say that the neck on mine is a tad bit more open so a more open crew than it looks here.

      • Tech Comm Geek :

        Good to know! This one is going on my list. My style tends to run more classic the Eloquii, but I like this one!

    • biglawanon :

      I assumed this was a maternity pick.

    • I also think that people don’t know what pregnant women look like. I gained a total of 25 lbs, and was treated like I had gained 80. I had people, including complete strangers, coming up and talking about how huge I was, and a partner joked about me having twins so many times that he was confused when I only brought one baby to a firm family event. This model does not look pregnant.

      • Oh come on. I’ve had three kids. I think I know what pregnant women look like by now.

        Never intended this to be so controversial. Sorry all.

      • Anonymous :

        I feel ya, Anon at 1:23. I’m officially “low maternal weight gain” and people have been using adjectives like “huge” and “enormous” to describe me since I was about 5 months along…I mean, I’m 38 weeks now so I look very obviously pregnant but I don’t think I look bigger than average and I certainly haven’t gained too much weight (technically I haven’t gained enough!!). And yet people are reacting like I’ve absolutely let myself go and completely blown up. Even my husband has made some comments like he can’t believe how big I am. It’s so rude and I don’t think you should ever say anything about a pregnant woman’s appearance except “you look great!”

  8. Favorite brands for non-work clothes? My wardrobe has gotten to a weird spot where my work clothes are on point, but I don’t have a lot of items I feel great about for weekend/vacation/general casual wear. Everything casual I have seems to be from Target, Old Navy, or H&M, and I’m ready to upgrade my casual stuff the same way I’ve upgraded my work wardrobe since I started working (late 20s here) but I’m not even sure where to look.

    • I think those stores are fine, you may just want to think about the pieces you buy. For example, switching from Mossimo to whatever replaced Merona, etc. I’m mid-30s and my casual clothes are J.Crew Factory and Old Navy, with a dash of Columbia, LL Bean, and Eddie Bauer thrown in for outdoorsy casual.

    • In-House in Houston :

      Ooh…great question. My weekend/casual wear is jeans and tshirts, shorts in hotter weather. That’s it!!

    • Start looking for better-quality versions of things you already like to wear. It can be hard to swallow the cost of paying $25 for a t-shirt instead of $8, but the good news is you probably don’t need a ton of weekend wear options so you can go with quality over quantity.

      My favorite weekend clothes have come from Stitch Fix (mostly sweaters), BR Factory, Athleta (on sale), and athleisure brands like Lole.

    • Atheta

    • Testing out StitchFix can be fun for this purpose

    • I was in your spot and I signed up for a couple of trunk club boxes just for this. I did it two years ago and still wear all those pieces most weekends. They cost more than I would have spent on my own, but they’ve actually saved me money because I haven’t bought a lot of target/old navy stuff that I end up getting rid of since then.

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      After idly flipping through the Garnet Hill catalog last night, I realized I wanted a lot of their fancier versions of t-shirts. Never actually bought anything from them, but for a nicer version of old navy jeans+tshirt, they might work.

      • I love their A-line pima tees–they are breezy, comfortable, do not pill and are well worth the ~$25 per that I pay for them on sale. I am a very slight pear and they fit me much better than traditional t-shirts (and I love how breathable they are). My go-to for weekends with shorts and cute sandals in summer. I also agree that if you buy some slightly nicer weekend basics, you don’t impulse buy Old Navy stuff that only lasts a season. I also _try_ to subscribe to the roughtly 5/2 split of workwear versus play clothes in my wardrobe. That was a big shift for me to understand post-grad school. I need to wear work clothes most of the time, and I need play clothes only for nights and weekends! This is hard where I live because of extreme seasonal changes (Boston), but I have done a better job of culling my closet with 5/2 in mind and it helps!

        The other place that has really gorgeous elevated t-shirts is a British catalog called Poetry, as well as a British chain called Jigsaw. Some of my cutest, most-worn tees are from these places too. Poetry specializes in very high-end linen.

    • biglawanon :

      LOVE Stateside for this. And also Vince and James Perse.

  9. Legally Brunette - PSA :

    You stylish women likely already know about this, but just in case. Do you have necklaces that you love but they’re just a tad bit too short for your liking? Enter necklace extenders! I had no idea this was even a thing, but for $7 you can buy a variety of extenders in several sizes. The extender doesn’t have to match exactly to the chain you have (although if it does, even better) because the extender is around the nape of your neck, so it won’t show if your hair is covering it.

    I bought two packs so that I can use two identically sized extenders on each side of the necklace so that it looks symmetrical.

    I can now wear 4 necklaces that I wasn’t wearing before, so that’s a big win. Here’s the one I bought but there are tons of options:


    • Baconpancakes :

      I am wearing one right now to make a choker pearl station necklace from 10th grade actually a quite nice piece.

    • Big fan of necklace extenders. They have lengthened the life of a Tiffany graduated bead choker from the 90s that now looks like a dog collar unless I extend it. (My 22 year old neck was skinnier, too!)

      Not gonna lie – I also use ponytail holders for this. Today I’m wearing blush/beige layered pearls with a beige pony holder making it the right length.

      I also use extenders because different necklaces look better at different lengths with different tops.

      Good find!

      • yes! I also use safety pins in a pinch (with hair down though.)

        • You can use a safety pin to double a long strand of beads or pearls that is at least 36″ long.

          Think of your necklace laid out like a clock. Put the clasp, if there is one, at 3 o’clock. Grab the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions and bring them together behind your neck. Pin them together with a safety pin between the beads at the back of your neck.

          This is a better way to double a necklace than wrapping it twice, because it will stay the way you pinned it rather than having one loop try to choke you while the other hangs longer. It’s also the only way to double a strand that doesn’t have a clasp if the second loop is too small to get over your head.

  10. Extra Bedroom :

    We are in the process of buying a house with 5 bedrooms plus an office (doesn’t count as bedroom because no closet). For now, it’s DH and me and a baby due this summer. One of the five bedrooms is on the first floor and will be a guest/nanny room. Of the 4 upstairs bedrooms, one is the master, the second largest will be the nursery, and the smallest will be a second office (DH and I both work from home occasionally). That leaves one extra room that’s about 17 x 12. We’re planning on a second kid in 2-4 years but are at a loss of what to do with that room for now. We’ll have a gym in the basement and don’t have any indoor hobbies (like art or crafting). I’ll use the closet in there for storing extra clothes but am not sure of what furniture to actually put in the room. Should we leave it empty and close off the heat to it? That seems odd. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • Diana Barry :

      Starting when baby is 1, you can use it as a playroom and sequester all the kids’ toys in there!

      • Anonymous :

        +1. This is what we do with our bonus room. It’s really really nice not to have kiddo’s toys and books strewn all over the house.

      • Having a playroom makes a huge difference in keeping the rest of our house from being overrun with kid stuff. Train tables and play kitchens take up a lot of space. Admittedly, they probably won’t be able to play unsupervised in it for a few years, but it’s great when that day comes.

        • +1. I am incredibly grateful to have a playroom in our current house. That’s where most of the toys live. Although I wasn’t such a fan a few weeks ago when my 3-year-old got into her older brother’s art cart and cut off her bangs.

      • Even before the baby is 1, you may be surprised how much baby stuff doesn’t fit well in the nursery. Maybe our bedrooms are smaller than yours, but after we set up a full-size crib, dresser and glider the nursery was pretty full. We started using our playroom immediately for all the other baby gear we had, including swings, activity mats, bouncers, etc.

    • Honestly, in my experience you should live in the house a bit before you decide. If you’re living there and find you need a room for *something*, it’s easier to start outfitting an empty room than to redo a room you have decided is Xyz room, and much more practical budget and timewise. We have an extra room and determined that it would be an office only to find…we prefer working at the dining table, and now we have an office that is full of office stuff that never gets used. It would have been better used as a hobbies room, but we didn’t realize that until after settling in.

      • +1 It’s also nice to have a place to put the “i’m not sure what to do with this/this needs to go to goodwill” type of things.

        If it were me, I wouldn’t invest any money or time into it until I know for sure about baby #2. Turning a house into a home is a process.

    • What about another guest room? I miss that the most since we converted our two extra rooms into offices for each of us (I’d still make this choice as we both need offices regularly and a guest room once in a while) – it was delightful to just be able to have a place for guests to stay on a moments notice that didn’t disrupt anything. Bedrooms are pretty cheap to set up too – target and overstock are your friends here.

      • Senior Attorney :


        We have a guest room but often wish we had two!

      • Anonymous :


        Have a proper guest room on the main floor but have backup extra bedroom on your upper floor. This was a life saver if I was nursing or co-sleeping or pumping in the master and DH wanted to get up early for a meeting. We took turns with nighttime wake ups and sometimes whoever wasn’t ‘on’ would sleep in the extra bedroom with earplugs to get a solid 8 hours (or 3 hours then nurse, then 3 hours before I weaned).

        • In House Lobbyist :

          I have loved having an extra guestroom – we have 2 currently because our kids share a room. It is so nice if one of us is sick or one of us has to sleep with a sick kid to have the guest room. We can keep one perfect all the time and use the other when we need it.

    • Extra Bedroom - OP :

      Thanks for the suggestions. I guess I thought a playroom would be odd because it’s right across the hall from the nursery (that’s about 17 x 15). So it wouldn’t be a first floor playroom where kiddo can be while I’m in the kitchen or something (when he’s older). But I can see the point that we’ll have so much baby stuff like swings that the nursery will fill up fast. I also didn’t want to invest in an extra bedroom set for another guest room because we hopefully will use that room for another child sometime soon and also don’t have many guests stay with us. We’re local to our families and both went to school locally so most friends are in the area. I think this may be a case of leaving it empty until we see a natural use for it after moving in.

      On a related note, am I crazy to move while 7.5/8 months pregnant? I almost have a full nursery set up in our current house. But the deal on this one was just too good to pass up when we randomly went to the open house last weekend! Any tips to make this move? We’ll also do some renovating – change carpets in the bedrooms to wood flooring and redo the master bath. The plan is to move into the guest room on the first floor while the renovations are on the second floor.

      • I moved 10 days before I gave birth! You’re not crazy at all. Just do it and enjoy your new house.

      • Anonymous :

        I moved when 36 weeks pregnant with twins and the living room floor was installed when they were two weeks old. Crazy time but still easier than trying to move with a newborn. If possible, go to a hotel room on the day of the move and just rest. Let your DH and family handle the logistics.

  11. One of my favorite fashion tips I’ve gotten from this site is that a third piece/topper makes a work outfit look much better, and I’ve used this a lot over the years. My office recently switched to a casual dress code and I’m struggling to figure out what a good third piece/topper looks like for casual outfits. Any thoughts?

    • Anonymous :

      Leather jacket, jean jacket (blue or white), military jacket, casual blazer, cardigan. Anthro has some jacket options.

      • Seeking Denim Jacket :

        I’m looking for an denim jacket that’s: a) not too baggy/boxy; b) has full-length sleeves that will work for longer arms; c) can be worn in a business casual environment; d) under $70. Suggestions?

        • I have one from Madewell that ticks all those boxes except that the arms run a tad short. That was the best I could do after extensive shopping.

        • If you are really tall, try Long Tall Sally. I have monkey arms and their jackets are often even too long in the arms for me! Eddie Bauer often carries tall jean jackets–maybe wait a month or two if they’re not there yet, but they reliably have them each year.

        • Love my J Crew denim jacket, which should check all those boxes.

    • Not sure if you are looking for toppers exclusively but I use scarves for a third piece quite a bit.

    • Also in a casual office but can’t bring myself to go all the way casual. My 3rd pieces are: cardigans (in more casual shapes like cocoon or waterfall, or an interesting print if the shape is more streamlined/traditional), “swackets” (I hate that word but love these items – am wearing one right this minute), and ponte blazers/jackets.

      • Swacket links?

        • Haven’t made any recent purchases, so can’t offer specifics/links, sorry! They’re often just pushed into the cardigan category so it takes some browsing.

          I’ve found them at Macy’s in the past – Alfani & JM Collection brands, specifically.

    • I have a casual office and find a ponte blazer or a big cotton scarf helps.

    • Mostly cardigans I’m afraid. But I like to keep my eye open for cardigans with some structure – like waist shaping or princess seams, or a knit blazer that is basically a cardigan with lapels.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Big scarf. I have a purple/grey/green/gold one from India that I wear with pretty much anything. Ponte/stretchy blazer, like an MM LaFleur jardigan, can go over a nice tee and jeans. Or, if you’re a purse person, a well-designed purse in a great color can serve as a third piece when you’re not at your desk.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I have a couple of long vests, one olive and one navy, and they are great as a casual third piece. They both have a lot of pockets and make me feel like an intrepid photojournalist!

    • Metallica :

      I like [email protected] jewelry as a third piece (necklace or doorknocker earrings or a giant cuff, etc.) Admittedly though, I could serve as an index subject in a National Geographic documentary on the human need to adorn.

  12. Elegant Giraffe :

    I’m lucky to have always been very close with my grandmother. She lives by herself (several states away), she’s in her 80s, and her mind is fine other than just the expected slowing down that comes with age. I visit her several times a year. I call her probably 3 times a week. In the last six months or so, our conversations seem to go nowhere. She doesn’t have much to say and neither do I. Any suggestions for ways to liven up our conversations? I want to keep speaking with her frequently, but our phone calls are filled with lots of awkward silences. Would appreciate any advice. Thanks.

    • With old people sometimes its the hearing going or maybe something else is up–e.g. distraction, focus issues. Sometimes they aren’t the storyteller type rather more listener type, maybe she doesn’t know what you’d be interested in. Maybe she feels in a rut, there isn’t anything fun going on for her to share.

      Ask her stuff about her life: movies, dance styles, what she thought of specific world events
      Come up with things to tell her about. Stuff in your life, neat things you’ve recently learned.
      Ask for advice. On anything that you have an issue with, even if you think she has no experience with the topic.

      • Elegant Giraffe :

        Oh, I particularly like the idea about asking her for advice. She tends to say “oh gosh, I’m not sure, you know so much more than I do” but maybe I will try pushing her on that a bit :)

    • Ask her questions about her life – her parents/cousins/friends growing up; what was her first job like (if she worked); what was her wedding like (if she was married); is there anything about her life she wishes she’d done differently; what invention in her lifetime changed her life the most (my grandmother’s was the washing machine); what was the most memorable events that happened in her life and where was she when they happened.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yes, this. You may even want to start writing this stuff down so you’ll have it when she’s gone.

        • Elegant Giraffe :

          bittersweet :)

        • I did this with my late grandfather and treasured every moment. “How did you meet Grandma? What was life like in the ’40s? What was my parent like as a kid?” So much to learn there…

    • This is not uncommon.

      You are actually talking really, really frequently for a relative in their 80’s. My Dad now gets a little tired with too many / too long phone calls. Maybe you can shorten them a little? Maybe 3x per week is too frequent?

      I find that the longer conversations about events in their lives/past are better done in person. The phone calls are best for you to give interesting highlights about your life (I always have one story prepared), ask how they are doing and let them tell what they feel up to telling (always have a question or two for them prepared), and letting them know you are thinking about them and love them.

      And sometimes when the calls are faltering, I wind things up early. And I actually end with….. is it ok to call you again on Saturday, or should we talk next week? And this gives them an out if they need a bit more space.

      Finally, she could be depressed. And her cognitive decline could be making these conversations more challenging. These are other things to explore with your relatives who live near her and might be active in her health care, or during your next visit.

      • And I agree with the issue about her hearing. Does she need hearing aids, but doesn’t have them? Then encourage her to get them. Dementia progresses more rapidly when you don’t get hearing aids.

        • Elegant Giraffe :

          Thanks. Her hearing isn’t the problem. She probably is a bit depressed. For a variety of factors (her attitude toward healthcare, the fact that I’m the relative most involved in her life/healthcare and I’m still hundreds of miles away…), I probably can’t do much about that, unfortunately.

          You’ve given me some good ideas for specific things to discuss, and perhaps I will try lessening the frequency of calls – or asking her to call me the next time she wants to chat.

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            I disagree about lessening them. Hearing from me, even when we don’t have much to talk about, is the highlight of my grandparents’ week (any of the grandkids, but my brother and I are best about it and also the favorites :P).

    • Ask her questions about her life growing up, how she became who she is, etc. I was SO close to my grandmother who passed away a year ago, and there are so many things I wish I knew about her. I realized that I didn’t really know her as a person separate and apart from her role as a grandmother. I don’t know how she knew my grandfather was the one, how they got engaged, what motherhood was like for her, what her relationships were like with various relatives, how she and my grandfather developed and kept such an incredibly strong relationship, etc. I’d give just about anything to speak with her again and learn more about her as a person.

      • Elegant Giraffe :

        You must miss her so much! I feel for you. I do think of her only as “grandma,” so I will try to expand my perspective and learn more about her in other contexts. Thank you for this.

    • I have the exact same relationship with my grandmother who is in perfect health at 94. I’ve found it’s worked out better to call her once a week and that way I have lots to tell her and we can have a really fun, hour-long conversation instead of the sort of mopey, “what’s new with you?” “oh, the cafeteria served spinach tonight. it was good.” chats that we have when I call more often. My grandmother rarely talks about her childhood or the old days, so that would go nowhere with her, but we have a blast talking about Hallmark movies and how cute the plot was and that so and so is our favorite actress and did you see her in that other one, etc (if that’s your thing…If you need me on a winter’s day, I’ll be curled up with cocoa, my pup, and a Hallmark movie – no shame haha).

      • Elegant Giraffe :

        Thanks – nice to hear from someone else in the same situation. Maybe I will try lessening the frequency a bit. I think I feel obligated to call her frequently because I know she’s pretty lonely.

        • Oh, my grandmother is so lonely since Grandpa died last year, so I try to send her just-because cards and flowers too. (My grandmother loves getting potted bulbs that bloom – she enjoys watching and waiting for them to open up. If you think about it, your excitement at that age is pretty limited – so getting up in the morning to see if the tulips bloomed can be a little bit of a thrill.)

          And I find ways to talk to her about mundane stuff, too – “Can you believe detergent is up to $20/carton?! I went to Target the other day and just couldn’t believe it!” And my job, but pairing down a lot to make it sound interesting “Oh, so we’ve got this new project I’m looking forward to! We’ll do X.” And I update her on puppy antics, “Pup made a new friend at daycare this week!”

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            I’m going to drop a just because card in the mail to my grandparents today after reading this.

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            My grandma (who has Alzheimer’s) also loves puppy stories, and just the mundane details of my life. “I went to dinner with my friends last night! We went to a great place by my apartment and I had some really amazing enchiladas. They reminded me of the enchiladas we used to have for dinner at your house.” “The pup learned how to hop straight up and down! I’ll send you a photo.” “How was dinner with the Smiths last night? Did you end up seeing a movie afterwards?” And, the perennial favorite, “I’ll be home in a month to visit! I’ll be home in two weeks! I’ll be home in a week! I leave tomorrow!”

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            Also- she literally watches Downton Abbey on repeat. I dislike it IMMENSELY but I’ve watched quite a lot of it so that I can talk to her about it.

      • I talk to Grandma Trudy and Grandma Leyeh about 3x a week each, with 1 day off for me (Saturday). By talking to both, I keep asking them what they think about thing’s, and both give me good advise, tho NOT necesarily the same advise. Both were married alot of years, so they know alot about men and what their quirkes are. Grandma Trudy is more conservative at this point, while Grandma Leyeh basically wants me to parade around 1/2 naked to attract a husband! FOOEY on that! It is cold outside!

        But both want the best for me, and they know that b/c I am a profesional, I cannot just marry any schlub, so they understand why, at age 36, I am still singel! FOOEY!

    • Questions I wish I could still ask my grandma:

      Why did you name your children what you did?
      When did you know you wanted to marry Grandpa?
      Do you know where your name came from (her name was extremely odd)?
      What’s your favorite memory of your sister/brother?
      As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? When did that change?

      You’re so lucky to have this opportunity!

    • Clementine :

      Sometimes it’s nice to have something in common that you both just read or watched. What about sending her podcasts or articles or a book, or even get her set up with a series!

      A good friend of mine has gotten her 90-something grandmother HOOKED on Game of Thrones of all things. It’s hilarious to hear their updates and what a nonagenarian’s take is on this show.

      • Elegant Giraffe :

        hahaha – I don’t think GoT is going to work for my grandma, but I bet that is hysterical!!!

      • My grandmother, now deceased, told me that when she was 17 she read the bible cover to cover and nothing had shocked her since. Her take on Game of Thrones would have been fantastic (and hilariously dry).

    • It sounds like you got good advice about reducing the frequency of your calls. I’d encourage you to maybe add a cute, nonspecific cards. Since you’re so close you may feel odd talking to her less and a friendly card may brighten her day without having to do a whole conversation.

      • Elegant Giraffe :

        Ahhh yes thank you! It would feel weird to suddenly lessen the contact (though I may try it out anyway). Thanks for naming that. I’m adding “cute stationery” to my shopping list right now!

  13. For those of you who work in either law or the private sector, was there a point at which your base pay just continued for multiple years without any increase? I’m a brand new income partner at a firm in a MCOL area and I thought I would get at least a 3% cost of living adjustment but my pay is exactly the same as last year. I should be glad because about a third of the partners had decreases (it was not a great year for the firm compared to the previous year but the firm was still profitable). I just assumed my pay would go up at least a tiny bit each year, especially during a good economy, but maybe that was just kind of an entitled point of view? Have any of your salaries just flattened out and how do you feel about it?

    • Anonymous :

      As a partner I think the calculus is different.

    • As an income partner, I’ve had my comp go down. There are some metrics, so if the firm does worse or I do worse (hours/collections), I do worse. It’s not fun having a sudden 3K/mo hole in your budget, but I’ve weathered it. At least I sort of see it coming (and would prefer that to staff layoffs b/c they often have the least control over anything that’s RIF-related (vs being let go for cause)).

    • Could depend on your contract with the firm. It could be flat for a period of time. Also, not all firms even give cost of living increases year to year.

    • Anonymous :

      Ha, nope. As a partner – even an income partner – your pay is based on your profitability to the firm and the profitability of the firm overall. As an income partner, that’s a guaranteed amount each year, as opposed to an equity partner who shares in actual profits at the end of the day, but the only way to get your pay to increase is to be individually more profitable to the firm. As was said above, many income partners are stagnant for years. And sometimes cut. COL is irrelevant.

    • My experience is that you hit a certain level of seniority where (unless you are bringing in work) the amount of money you earn the firm flattens out. Your receivables have hit maximum (the firm is no longer writing off your time due to learning curve and inefficiencies) and you are billing at their highest rate for your level. Unless your hourly rate went up 3% or you billed 3% more time (with accompanying increase in receivables), they did not earn more money on you and therefore have no reason to pay you more. In fact, since their other expenses probably went up, they probably earned less. At my firm the only time senior attorneys who are not income partners make more is if they bring in business or the equity partners are afraid they are about to quit (and want to keep them).

      One of the reasons for up or out!

    • Anon equity partner :

      Did the firm hit its budget and did the budget show an increase in net income over last year’s net income? Those are the key metrics, not whether the firm could cover its costs. If net income increased over the previous year and the firm achieved budget, it’s reasonable to expect an increase. Ask an equity partner you work with regularly.

  14. Pretty dress!!

  15. Cleaning products? :

    I know there are lots of other Type A folks here. What are your favorite cleaning products?

    • Wine.

      After a glass, I don’t care so much.

    • White vinegar! I use it in the kettle and on the stainless steel sink. Makes the house smell like a chippy but at least it is clean.

    • I like Method (specifically cucumber, lavender or grapefruit all purpose spray) or Mrs. Meyers Clean Day in Rosemary (and, if they have it Peony, which is a seasonal, very floral scent). I use Windex for mirrors, Murphy’s Oil Soap for Wood floors and Barkeeper’s Friend for the kitchen sink, and that’s about it.

    • lysol wipes

    • I LOVE fantastik. I used it in kitchen, bathrooms, dusting, etc. I don’t think my house feels clean without it and I can’t get on board with the all-natural eco vinegar tricks (sorry planet earth)

    • For all-purpose cleaners, I like Mrs. Meyers and Method products. I mostly use these for countertops and small jobs.

      My bathrooms are stocked with Clorox wipes. I like to be green where I can, but toilets skeeve me out and I refuse to use a sponge to wipe down toilet seats.

      For dusting, I’ve had good luck with using a *slightly* damp microfiber cloth. (The key word is slightly so you don’t ruin your furniture!) It catches all the stuff with no cleaner needed. Every couple of weeks, though, I use a specially formulated wood product. I like Method’s “wood for good” cleaner and/or Pledge multi-surface spray.

      For tile floors and windows, I use a vinegar and water solution.

      For wood floors, I like Bona.

      What I like best of all is the first Wednesday of the month, when a cleaner scrubs the house from top to bottom. :) I can maintain it pretty well between cleanings, but it’s nice to start with a clean slate, especially if I get behind.

    • I like all the Mrs. Meyer’s stuff. And then the 409 Stainless Steel cleaner for those surfaces.

    • Scrubbing Bubbles and Magic Erasers.

    • Magic erasers

    • BeenThatGuy :

      Good old PineSol and anything with bleach for the bathrooms.

    • My husband.

      I jest.

      Simple Green.

    • Oh boy.

      For laundry, de-stinking clothes, gunky drains, litterboxes – white vinegar.
      Lysol lemon spray for kitchen countertops.
      Method or nice-smelling non-disinfectant spray for dresser tops, mirrors.
      Clorox wipes for bathroom sink and sink area.
      Lysol, lysol, lysol, lysol. Mattresses, pillows, light switches, doorknobs, bannister, sink handles, toilet lids and seats, remotes, garbage cans, everything.
      Bona for wood floors.
      Also baking soda to sprinkle on rugs, mattresses, pillows for occasional freshening.

      This makes me want to go home and clean.

      • Talk to me about white vinegar for litter boxes. Are you talking about emptying the box in its entirety and wiping down with white vinegar or actually putting it in the litter box?

    • $150/week for a housecleaner. $30/week for my daughter to do laundry. $30/week for my son to do dishes.

    • Betterandbetter :

      Rubbing alkyhol in a spray bottle instead of Windex and also for refreshing clothes and sneakers.

    • Barkeeper’s friend
      Magic Erasers
      Mrs. Meyer’s lavender all-purpose spray
      Oxy Clean versatile
      Soft scrub with bleach (when all else fails)
      Ikea dish brush
      Oxo glasses brush
      Copper scrubber

    • Kaboom with oxyclean. Cuts through soap scum on my glass shower door so well.

    • wildkitten :

      Nature’s Miracle. :-)

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      Barkeeper’s Friend and Magic Erasers

    • biglawanon :

      A housekeeper.

    • Anonymous :

      after getting a kitten, i switched to mostly natural:
      baking soda
      method’s lavender and cedar detergent. LOVE it. it gets out sweat smells without trouble but is gentle enough to wash cashmere and suits; i like it so much better than tide or smelling other detergents after a wash… i just smell clean fiber, no “extras” on the clean clothes

      and clorox or kirkland wipes for things like toilets, knobs, cat vomit, post-raw chicken.

  16. THIS COLOR! Love it.

  17. Shopaholic :

    Tomorrow is my last day and I wanted to bring some treats in to the office. Any advice for something that’s easy to pick up that is better than a box of donuts?

    • Bagels.

    • I think a box of donuts sounds amazing, particularly if you have a fancy/artisan donut place near you.

    • Anything mini, gourmet & pretty: iced cookies, macarons, cupcakes, popsicles. Depending where you are vegan sweets (generally skew healthier) are on trend right now.

      • What makes you think vegan products are healthier? I have heard several people make reference to this perception, and I don’t understand it.

        • Yeah, most vegan bakeries just use oil/shortening instead of butter and applesauce instead of eggs. Those are not necessarily healthier or lower calorie substitutions. There are healthy vegan recipes for baked goods, but there are healthy non-vegan dessert recipes too.

        • Cornellian :

          I wouldn’t claim all vegan products are healthier, but they do tend to have lower amount of saturated fat because animal products are out. I don’t know that it matters much if 80% of the dessert is sugar anyway.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Blech, there’s a vegan, gluten free bakery in my town that seems to bake to make Instagram-worthy treats instead of delicious ones. Tried one of their chocolate donuts once, and it was so dry and tasteless I actually threw it out. I am not a person who throws out half a donut, so you know it was bad. I think they also don’t use refined sugar.

        I’m sure there are vegan bakeries that are good, but make sure you try the offerings first, no matter how lovely they look.

    • Bagels and cream cheese, or scones from Panera.

    • Fruit is always a big hit in my office.

    • Panera bagels with a fruit tray.

    • Senior Attorney :

      There’s a place between my house and office that has amazing, huge breakfast burritos. A few times a year I stop off and buy half a dozen and have the place cut them in thirds. Everybody loves it.

    • Pen and Pencil :

      Breakfast tacos!

  18. Anon for this :

    Looking for guidance from those who married someone who was not their most memorable gardening partner. I am happily engaged to someone, and I love our connection intellectually, emotionally, physically, etc–this is the person for me, and I have no doubts about that. But there was one person who I had a better physical connection with a while ago, and I find myself thinking about it from time to time. It was amazingly passionate in the bedroom, but we had no chemistry out of the bedroom, something we both recognized. It ended mutually and I have no desire to be with him now–I am 100% happy with the path my life took. I think about some of our gardening moments from time to time, and I enjoy those thoughts, but every time I do I feel guilty. My fiance and I have a great gardening life and it’s not that it’s deficient, but the connection with the other person was just magnetic and intense. Is this common?

    • I don’t think it’s uncommon and frankly I think it’s healthy to fantasi*e from time to time. As you said – you don’t want to actually be with this person (if you did then there would be an issue)

    • Yes, very common. Honestly part of the excitement of gardening with certain people, at least for me, was an element of uncertainty/nerves/danger/drama/whatever you want to call it. I don’t have that with my husband, which is fine. You probably wouldn’t have it with that person if you married them, either.

      • Baconpancakes :

        Yes, this. The boyfriend I had the most exciting gardening with was the one I had the most fights with.

        Overwhelmingly, though, gardening with my SO is “better” because it’s more fulfilling, more mutually respectful and with more blossoming, and since I feel completely safe, I can feel 100% comfortable asking my SO to do some of the things that “exciting” boyfriend did, and I can give feedback without feeling awkward, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. That doesn’t mean I don’t fantasize about my ex sometimes, though.

    • I would say very. There is a reason we pick life partners based on factors other than love and/or passion, creating a life with someone takes work! To not be discouraged remember 1) it is normal and healthy to think about or even fantasize about other people’s gardening skills, you don’t lose your desire to garden with multiple varieties of plant when you choose a life partner, you just decide to only grow corn, and 2) gardening skills can improve with time and practice, especially with someone who you trust and communicate well with.

      • “You don’t lose your desire to garden with multiple varieties of plant when you choose a life partner, you just decide to only grow corn.”

        Killing it with this metaphor! I love this one! Very, very true.

    • It is common. DH wasn’t the most ‘exciting’ partner of my 20s but we had a great gardening life and he has seen me through many seasons of life since then. Life is long and adapting your gardening style for pregnancy, post-childbirth and aging requires a generous, patient and loving partner not just lots of sparks.

    • hmmmmmmmm well I will disagree, especially since you’re not married yet. I feel like great s3x is what holds a marriage together when everything else is going wrong. And there will definitely be times when everything else is going wrong.

      I’ve been married twice. My first husband was basically my best friend from college and the bedroom stuff was just OK. When we divorced, I sl*tted around like I had missed out on in college and got to try it with a bunch of different men. And I ended up marrying the man who made my toes curl. Still the right decision more than a decade later. Because even when I’m so mad at him I can’t see straight, I still want him to grab my a55 in the kitchen.

      • “I feel like great s3x is what holds a marriage together when everything else is going wrong. ”
        But on the flip side, there will be times in your life when you really *can’t* have great s*x (especially so if you want kids, but everybody ages and goes through hormonal changes that come with that) and you need something else to hold the marriage together then. I don’t think anyone is advising her to marry someone she has a lukewarm bedroom life with – she said it’s great, just not the best ever, and I don’t think it has to be the best ever to hold a marriage together.

        • +1

          I wouldn’t have responded the same way if she said her current situation was unsatisfactory or just okay but she said it was great.

        • biglawanon :

          Yeah, I disagree with the quoted statement whoteheartedly.

    • Rainbow Hair :

      I think your situation, OP, sounds a bit different from Anon 10:53’s first marriage. There’s like, “damn, you’re hot, but you’re not that one person who [explosion gif]” and then there’s “well, there’s nothing *wrong* with you…” The first, I think, is more likely to last than the second.

      Having some perspective on The One Who You Aren’t With could help too. Like mine — I do know very clearly who mine is — was unsustainable. In fact, definitely the very things that allowed us to [ahemahem] would have been a problem if we were together in a serious way. So does that guy ever haunt my dreams? YEAP. But I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything, because 1/2 the time I see my husband I want to climb him like a tree. And after a decade of practicing exclusively with one another, I’d say my husband and I are pretty good at making one another’s toes curl.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        P.S. Want to hear something really cheesy? When I think about That One Other Person I’m less smitten as time goes on. My brain says, “but you *love* your husband so much. how hot could it possibly be with someone who doesn’t do the gentle, taking care of you stuff that your husband does?”

    • Following with interest. I am a little worried that my girlfriend sees me in the way you see your husband. I came out as gay later in life (26) and she is the first and only woman I have been with. She came out as gay at 16 and had an entire decade of exploring her 5exuality before we even met. I just feel so far behind, like no matter how good I get I am never going to be her best partner.

    • There’s an episode of S3x and the city where Samantha meets up with the guy that broke her heart. She gets together with him in the present and fantasy fulfilled realizes she’s better than he is now/it wasn’t as good as she remembered. Something like that.

  19. Swimming In Everything :

    Over the last several months, I have lost quite a bit of weight, to the point that my entire professional wardrobe is too big. But, I have no money to spend on new clothes or even to prioritize in my savings right now.

    Does anyone have advice for easy adjustments I can make to not swim in my clothes? No money for a tailor, but I have some basic sewing skills and access to a sewing machine. Which items of clothing have you found easiest to take in?

    • You can take a basic pencil skirt in at the side seams. Just take in an equal amount on each side. I’d also cut the waistband and take it in at the same points, rather than taking the whole thing off and reattaching it. You could also take it in at the back seam but if there’s a zipper there it will be a pain.

      I would not say a home sewer (? sewist? what is the word?) can take in a blazer. I’m not even convinced most tailors do a credible job, so I would skip that.

      I would also go to Ross or TJ Maxx and buy a couple of inexpensive stretchy black skirts or pants and a couple of matching tops in your new smaller size. With a base of basic black that currently fits you, your larger cardigans etc are going to look better. maybe you can employ today’s trick of adding a belt.

      Congratulations on your weight loss!

    • Is it possible to take a large portion of your wardrobe to a consignment shop and buy a handful of pieces to tide you over until you have money to buy more? I understand that you won’t get much, but for larger but good quality clothing, you can probably get 1/4 of what you purchased them for and go to Ross or Marshalls to tide you over with basic neutral pants, skirts, and a few shirts.

    • Congratulations! I totally agree with the suggestion about getting a basic black layer that actually fits you. No trick I’ve ever used with pants (rolling the waists, taking them in) has ever really done the trick. Whether it’s Ross or Old Navy or TJ Maxx or a thrift store, go find yourself a black pair of pants and a black shell that really work.

      I think cardigans, dresses, and tops are much more forgiving. With sleeveless tops, I have occasionally taken up the shoulders at the shoulder seam, especially when the front starts to look too droopy. With cardigans and dresses, a belt that fits you can go a long way to give you a shape and make the outfit look intentional.

    • I used to take in shirts and dresses by turning it inside out and just kind of tracing along the seams with my sewing machine, going in more where I needed it. For shirts, I often used a shirt that fit well as a template, so I’d turn both inside out, lay the good shirt on top, trace the line with a fabric marker, sew along the line, try on, and adjust as needed. It worked pretty well. I also added darts to a few things -I would iron them in and pin them, try on, and then sew.

    • Anonymous :

      extra petite has some sewing tutorials on her blogs.
      i know you said no budget, but talbots i having a great sale where you can get lined suit pants for $25

  20. Short puffer coat :

    I’m looking for a warm, short puffer coat to wear to go skiing in a few weeks (I only have a long puffer coat).

    I know Northface is great quality but the fit is a bit too boxy for me. Looking for a more tailored fit, with at least 550/600 down. Any suggestions? I’ve looked at Nordstrom Rack and while there are some cute options the down fill is not listed, and I want to make sure I buy something warm.

    • Lole has a more tailored fit puffer that was really flattering when I tried it on.

    • Where are you going skiing? Is this your first time? Do you care about fitting in on the slopes?

      As a frequent skiier, I wouldnt wear a puffer to go skiing- typically, theyre not quite as waterproof and breathable. When I’m skiing, I get cold on the chair and hot while I’m skiing, so I wear a shell (waterproof with pit zips and a hood), with an insulation layer (super light down, sometimes midweight fleece or merino), and a base layer. These layers hold heat in while moving sweat away from my body. I like Arcteryx stuff- in about 20-30 degree weather, I wear a sentinel shell with a atom hoody, and a lululemon longsleeve crewneck, usually with a merino buff and a helmet. This is probably overkill for you!

      If you dont plan to ski a lot, or dont care about looking like you’ve been there before, the Patagonia down sweater is a warm, flattering, and awesome jacket. I would wear it under a waterproof shell, but if its a dry day and you’re not falling down a lot, it’s probably weatherproof enough for you.

      The patagonia snowbelle jacket is a really good entry level ski jacket- its insulated and will keep you warm and dry. Dont forget to wear a helmet and a buff (face gator), and to keep your hands dry – mittens will do this better than gloves. Wear warm, thin wool socks (I like the superthin smartwool ones) and have fun!

      • Thanks. I haven’t been skiing in 10 years, we’re going mostly to get my kids introduced to skiing for the first time. So I don’t care too much about fitting in, but I thought a puffer would be good because I can also use it in my everyday life (DC woman here). Appreciate the insight.

        • I just posted below with the Columbia links. I live in the DMV, too, and picked up all these things at the National Harbor location. Because everything was so affordable, I’m not too worried about wearing it only rarely.

        • Got it! Ski fashion varies greatly by region- where I ski, it’s fashionable to be highly technical. I think in some areas (aspen, vermont) people care more about looking cute. By region, it also depends if you’re dealing with wet or dry cold.

          Check out the patagonia downtown parka- it’s on sale in last years colors/model, and looks flattering and warm.

      • I concur with this advice. Down is really way too hot if you get hot while skiing and doesn’t breathe well if you are sweaty. Heavy fleece plus a topper coat (even a hiking-type raincoat will work fine, unless you need a helmet-compatible hood).

        I really light the downlight parkas from Eddie Bauer and they’re probably on sale. They are the fill level you are looking for. Mine are warm, but not terribly windproof (still need to wear a shell on top).

        • Also, if you are looking for cheap, try The Clymb,, Moosejaw, Sierra Trading Post and REI-outlet (a different tab on their website). GL!

    • It’s probably not warm enough for skiing but I like my Patagonia down jacket that I bought two or three years ago off Steep and Cheap (Backcountry).

    • If you have an outlet mall near you, hit up Columbia. I’m not a skiier (it’s resulted in broken bones every time I’ve tried) and I live somewhere without a lot of snow, but I love winter and wanted to take a winter vacation. I got snow pants, a parka, a fleece, a beanie, and snow mittens for $160 just before MLK weekend. I was insanely warm the whole weekend, even when temps were negative.



      Mittens – my hands were SO WARM! (mine were black and gray):


      • To be clear, these are links to Columbia’s regular website and prices are much cheaper (for the same items) in their outlet stores.

  21. Question: when people on this site refer to HCOL areas, MCOL areas and LCOL, which areas fall into each category? To me NY, SF, Boston are definitely HCOL. Is DC area also HCOL? Where do places like Chicago, LA, Seattle, Houston, Miami etc. fall?

    • I’d say DC is definitely HCOL, and Seattle seems to be getting to that point (at least the re market from what I read!).

    • Seattle Freeze :

      Seattle is definitely HCOL, though not as much as NYC & the Bay Area (yet!). Housing costs are the biggest driver there, but everything else is expensive too. There’s no state income tax but sales tax is over 10% and property taxes account for about 30% of state and local revenue.

    • To me, there are HCOL cities and then there are “super HCOL cities.” NYC and the entire Bay Area (not just the city of SF) are “super HCOL.” LA, Boston, Seattle, DC, Chicago are HCOL. Not sure about Houston and Miami – I suspect they are cheaper than the other cities you named but maybe not cheap enough to qualify as “MCOL.”

      • That’s funny…. I’ve lived in NYC/SF/Boston, and Chicago is a bargain compared to those. The high end of the COL spectrum puts a few cities by themselves.

        • givemyregards :

          Agreed, and I think part of my way of thinking about it depends on whether you *can* live medium or low cost, even if you wouldn’t necessarily choose to. Although Chicago probably still qualifies as HCOL, I think you can technically choose more medium cost options, versus NYC or SF where it’s pretty close to impossible at this point.

        • Anonymous :

          Having lived in all three places, I don’t think Boston belongs in the same breath as NYC and SF. It’s definitely closer in price to other major cities like LA and Seattle than it is to the crazy exorbitant NYC & SF.

    • I live in H-town so I can only speak to that. I think of it as being HCOL, although to be fair, it’s inexpensive to live in the burbs (compared to say, Austin). Property taxes are still pretty high.

      • haha no. Houston? not high cost.

        I work for a company with headquarters in NYC and a second HQ in the Bay Area. There’s a “back office” in Houston where everyone who wants to live large on a smaller budget wants to get transferred. And when people get transferred from Houston to SF or NYC, they are hating life.

        • It’s relative, though. Houston’s COL is low compared to NYC or the Bay Area, but it’s high compared to a place like OKC or Kansas City or Omaha.

          • Anonymous :

            I’ve lived in Houston and live in KC and trust me, they are the same COL, in fact people in KC would say you can buy more house for less in Houston.

        • Cornellian :

          I love Houston but it is not remotely HCOL.

          • Y’all grouchy! Anonymous at 10:57 put it better than I did: it’s all relative.

          • Anonymous :

            Well, yes, it’s relative. NYC and Bay area are the high end. Houston is probably highER than some places, but that’s not the same as being HCOL. If you are talking a national scale, then it doesn’t sounds like Houston falls in the same category as NYC and Bay area.

            It might be HCOL for the state (maybe? I don’t live there), but not for the country. Which was the point of the question.

      • Live in Houston as well. Compared to coastal cities, it is MCOL. Compared to Texas cities, it is HCOL, but really only centrally. In the burbs, it is LCOL. For example, you can still buy a new build, freestanding 2500 sq ft house within 20 min driving of downtown for under $400k, but can get a mini-mansion in some of the lesser suburbs within 45 min to an 1hr of downtown.

        • right, $400K is not High Cost. My 2500 sq ft fixer upper 12 miles and 45 minutes from San Francisco is worth $2.5mm according to zillow (which I can’t believe, but makes me really glad I’m not buying now.)

          There is no way Houston is in the same category as SF or NYC.

        • Not in a good school district, you can’t. I’m currently house shopping in Houston and every 3-4 br house within 20 minutes of downtown and zoned to a good elementary school is $650K+.

          • JuniorMinion :

            Right but if you are saying Houston isn’t LCOL because you have to be in Memorial / Harvard elementary in a big new house that is like looking at the West Village as a proxy for all of NYC. You are picking the most expensive slice of Houston.

            You could totally get an older smaller home in some of these areas for cheaper – Spring Valley Village has some stuff in the $300 – $500k range if you are willing to live in a 3/2 older non-updated home.

          • Anon from 1:00 :

            I think Houston is probably MCOL. It’s only LCOL if you include the suburbs, which I don’t think is reasonable. I just felt compelled to point out (for any non-Houston folks who may be considering a move based on COL) that $400K won’t buy you a house close-in that is zoned to a good school. It just won’t (I’ve looked). I am in one of those sub-$400K houses and am going to have to either move or put my kids in private school. A large number of the less expensive neighborhoods (anything near Meyerland or Bellaire especially) were devastated in Harvey. Even Oak Forest is well outside that range now. The Houston housing market has changed a lot in the past year.

        • Anonymous :

          I live in Houston too. Yes, it’s more expensive to live in-town, but we are very content to live in the burbs. We have a 5000+ sq ft house we bought during the housing crash for $400K, it’s now worth $700K, and we love it. We have everything we could want in the burbs, and on the weekend, a 30 minutes drive to the city to play. Yes, my commute in the morning is 45 minutes, and hour in the evening, but for us, it’s totally worth it for our lovely home/life in the burbs.

    • In my view, there need to be more than three categories here. Like ultra, high, medium, and low. NYC, SF, and maybe Boston/DC would be UHCOL. Chicago, Philly, LA would be HCOL. There are tons of cities in the medium bracket. LCOL would be rural areas and a lot of midwestern/southern towns.

      • This. NYC and SF are on par with London/Tokyo/Zurich etc. Most large US cities are high, secondary cities are medium and LCOL is smaller cities and towns. Smaller cities and towns may be high or medium if they are commuting distance to ultra high cost cities.

      • +1

        Agree with this.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yeah, cosign this.

    • Am I the only one who doesn’t view DC as HCOL? Maybe it’s bc I compare it to nyc – dc is where nyc was 10-12 yrs ago so still “reasonable” IMO. At most dc is the lower end of HCOL if nyc is ultra HCOL.

    • NYC/SF > Boston > DC > Chicago, with the caveat that some of DC is as bad as Boston, but there are *options* and also that while you might pay the same for approx the same sq footage, the DC place will be nicer.

      I have lived in all of the above but SF. I’m not sure where I’d plug LA in (as bad as Boston?), but I’d probably put philly after DC and probably on par with Chicago.

      I once worked for a company that put Boston and St Louis in the same COLA bracket. I actually literally LOL’d when they told me that and walked away from the offer until they boosted it 18%.

      • SF might be even worse than NYC. There are a lot of aspects of living in New York that are secretly cheaper than in other places. Nannies. Dry cleaning. Manicures. You really, really don’t need a car. Commuting is cheaper. SF is more expensive on all those fronts, and commuting in SF is insanely expensive, plus you mostly need a car. We moved from NYC to SF and while our housing costs stayed similar, all of our other costs (except for maybe food) went up.

      • I think the issue with DC compared to other places is if you actually want to live in DC in a part of town where the schools are good through highschool that restricts you to NW and not even all of NW. Otherwise, if you have kids you are looking at $30-40k per kid for non-parochial private school. If you include the inside the beltway suburbs that are close to metro in good school districts it is just as expensive as DC and you don’t get more space in your house but you might get more room on your lot.

      • LA > Chicago…maybe close to DC

    • All of this is why those posts about how much do you make and do you feel wealthy just p1ss me off. Someone will say she makes 6 figures and is barely making it and then people will shame her and say they’re making $40k a year and saving half of it or whatever.

      But if the six figure person lives in SF oR NYC and tear down 2br/1ba houses are going for over a mil and rent starts at $5000, she may well feel stretched.

      And it’s not like she could move to KC and make the same.

      Regional differences are so, so important.

  22. I have a second date tonight. I felt very lukewarm about him on the first date and his texts since then have been sort of odd and he seems to realllly like me already which is weirding me out, but it was a set up through a friend and I’ve already agreed to the second date and can’t cancel. I assume my feelings won’t change and that I won’t want a third date. But what do I do if he asks me tonight if I want to go out again? He asked me about a second date on the first date, so it’s totally possible that he’ll do the same thing again. It feels rude to reject someone in person on a second date (outing myself as a millennial here, I think!). I’d appreciate any tips – thanks!

    • I’m thinking through your options and I can’t think of a good solution that won’t be a bit uncomfortable. I’m curious to here what advice you’ll get because I don’t think what I’d do in your situation is the right answer for anyone.

    • You know you can cancel, right? Don’t even go on the date if you’re not feeling it. That’s not fair to him.

    • “So, would you like to go out again, maybe Saturday?”

      “You know, it’s been great meeting you, but I’m really looking for that spark and I’m just not feeling it.”


      “Yeah, you know we’re all looking for That Thing. We’ll find it some day :) I wish you the best out there! Tell [Susan] hi for me the next time you see her!”

      Guys can’t argue with you not feeling a spark. I had men try to argue a number of reasons, but they never argued me on the spark rejection.

      • ugh I did have the last guy argue with me on the spark rejection. He basically told me I was making a huge mistake and didn’t understand my own feelings. Sigh. But that was the only time that has happened.

        • givemyregards :

          Cosigned. I have had multiple dudes argue this point with me (one even sent me a text saying I was a ____ and accusing me of leading him on…we had been on one coffee date) until I just block their phone numbers.

      • I’m not crazy about the spark line, but mostly because it isn’t fun to be on the receiving end of it. (What? Was I not interesting enough for you??)

    • Well since you are going on the date anyway, try to keep an open mind about whether you like this guy. If you’re still not feeling it at the end of the date (and maybe give yourself a minute in the ladies room to think about this), you might hope he doesn’t ask you again, but if he does you’re going to have to say no. “Thank you so much, but I don’t think this is a match.”

      Practice it in the mirror. Get comfortable saying it. It’s not going to feel great but if you’re old enough to date, you’re old enough to be direct.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      “I’ve enjoyed getting to know you, but I don’t think we’re a good match.” Smile, exit gracefully. You’re done! It will be uncomfortable for literally five seconds.

      • This. But wait until the end of the date to decide. Don’t go in assuming you’ll feel lukewarm again. DH and I went on about 4 ‘friendly’ dates in a month. He was clearly much more into me than I was to him but okay with taking it slow. Something just clicked during the 4th date and I knew he was going to be a great boyfriend.

      • Lana Del Raygun :

        Yes, this! It’s only super uncomfortable if there’s a lot of hanging around afterwards. So, for instance, don’t do this right before you get on the same subway. :P

    • Cancel. You can always cancel. Will it be uncomfortable? Yes. Will your friend maybe be a bit miffed? Maybe (although, if this person is a true friend and you tell them you were not feeling it and didn’t want to go they should respect that).

      No one is running your life but you. Take control and say no to things you do not want to do! It will be much more “painful” for you to go than to politely cancel. The other people will get over it and if they don’t that’s on them.

      • Senior Attorney :

        This. I think it’s kinder to cancel if you know for sure you’re not going to want to see him again.

        “Hey, Joe, so sorry but I’m going to have to cancel tonight. On reflection I just don’t think we’re a match and I don’t want to waste your time!”

        It will sting but then it will be over.

        • I like this approach a lot.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          Agreed. It’s also going to be awkward if you go through the whole date certain you’re going to be telling him you’re not into it. If you think there’s a chance your feelings will shift, that’s different. But if you’re sure, yes, cancel.

          • I’ve delivered this very sentiment, particularly the “I don’t want to waste your time” and actually had the guy THANK me for being honest and respectful of his time and energy. It truly wasn’t awkward, and if I ever did run into him again, I’m 100% confident it wouldn’t be weird now either. Someone can be a great person but not great for YOU. Delivered with kindness and respect, it’s really not awkward.

      • 100% this. If you aren’t feeling it, don’t go. Cancel. Order takeout & watch TV tonight & enjoy yourself. You don’t owe this guy a date & you don’t owe your friend any obligation to go out with him again.

    • It might be sort of rude to say “I don’t want to see you again” out of the blue, but if he asks about a third date, I think it’s totally polite to say something like “I’ve enjoyed getting to know you but I don’t feel a romantic connection.” It’s certainly an awkward/uncomfortable thing to say, I’m not denying that, but I don’t think it’s rude at all to tell him the truth if he asks for a third date.

    • Smile and say “No, thank you,” then wish him the best.

      • My friend has a text template that she uses in situations like this, and a few of our other friends have used it with success. I think the guy may be temporarily disappointed now, but think of how awful it would be if he thought you really liked him (3+ dates?!) and then found out you weren’t into it in the first place. Feel free to copy, paste, and send:

        “Hi, this week has been pretty insane. I think you’re a nice guy and I want to be honest with you- I liked spending time with you but I dont think it will work out as anything more than friends and I dont want to mislead you.”

    • Why can’t you cancel the second date? “I don’t want to go” is a good enough excuse not to go (although you can make one up if you feel better).

      Don’t get stuck in a loop of going on dates with someone you don’t particularly like out of politeness. There is NO WAY to reject someone without a bit of discomfort, it’s perfectly fine and totally normal in the dating arena, it’s how you find your one. Shoot a text (you don’t owe a call you barely know him) to cancel and don’t raincheck it.

  23. Finally taking care of my nails for the first time in my life and they look great! But I feel like I’ve rotated through all the baby pinks and light colors that I ever want to while I’ve been babying them. I want something fun and trendy, since the rest of my wardrobe is pretty timeless.

    What are you wearing on your nails?

    • Sally Hansen miracle gel, Lilac Insomniac. It’s a true orchid.

      When I go and get a real gel manicure, I tend to go for the sparkly colors (not frosts, but the colors with actual car-paint type sparkles in them) in reds, purples and dark pinks this time of year. In warmer months, I love all the off blue shades, from turquoise to teal.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        I love it when my fingers look like a fancy car.

        • Same!!

          • They actually test new paint colors on nail polish before they roll them out to the automotive industry, because the testing process for new car paint colors is long (cars can sit out in the weather for multiple years, vs. your nails) So you’re like a fancy car a few years in advance!

          • Didn’t know that. Super cool!

          • Rainbow Hair :

            Wow, that’s my favorite nail fact for sure!

    • OPI Krona-logical Order. It’s a brownish purple dark neutral color that I feel like I see on everyone right now. I have pale skin with warmish undertones and I really like the way it looks.

    • Essie Chinchilla is a fantastic gray.

    • BeenThatGuy :

      I have short nails and currently have silver polish on (with the ring finger accented with silver sparkles). I’m calling it Tin Man-chic.

      • Always short nails. Yes. I love a short nail with dark or bright polish. Not true for long nails.

    • Clementine :

      I got a manicure and was looking for a coral color but I ended up with something called papaya which is kind of an orange-y pink and it’s been so fun! It also looks really great with Navy (which I wear a lot of).

    • Smith & Cult Subnormal :)

    • I’m wearing a dark gray color. Not sure specifically what it is.

    • Baconpancakes :

      Right now I’m wearing a boring sheer pink (Essie Gel Couture Fairy Tailor) but one of my regular colors is navy! I just got Essie Gel Couture Caviar Bar, which has no sparkle, and is almost a bit violet in undertone. I’d prefer a true navy with grey undertones, but the fake gel polishes are the only ones that last longer than 48 hours on me.

      • Another EG Couture fan! I’m wearing EG Couture Galavanting…it’s a pretty deep wine color. Love it!

    • Anonymous :

      I’m working on keeping my nails nice, too! I’m trying out a gold Revlon polish that was 50% off.

    • My left hand is black with the ring finger bright red, and my right hand is red with a black ring finger. they re short right now though, so it isn’t as crazy as it sounds.

  24. Great answers to this last night but curious if others will chime in — did your professional life turn out how you thought/hoped/expected/dreamt it would when you were first starting out (whether in college, first year on the job, wherever)? If not, how has it exceeded or fallen short?

    • I had no idea what I wanted to do/be for a long time. I changed my major twice in college, ending up in the college of business. I took a few years off and then went to law school, still not knowing for sure what I wanted to do but fell victim to the “you can do anything with a law degree” mindset. I never thought I was a good writer (because I wasn’t into creative-type of writing), but I hated the thought of litigating or being in front of people in a courtroom. Fortunately, a professor encouraged me to apply for a clerkship after I graduated. I got it and loved it. I am now a career clerk for an appellate judge and LOVE it. My judge is so awesome to work for and I love the work I do. I don’t make very much money, but it’s worth it. So my professional life has fallen short of my financial expectations, but far exceeded it in terms of finding something that I really enjoy and am good at.

    • Nope, definitely did not. I am pretty low on a totem pole (an attorney) in my early 30s and feel like so many people are so far ahead of me.

      On the other hand, my family life is awesome. I look around my office at other people and I don’t think I’d trade places with them. But yeah… my professional life is definitely a disappointment and I’m not exactly sure how to fix it.

    • Vastly exceeded. I got a liberal arts degree and ended up working in a call center. After a couple years of hating my job, I started going to law school at night. I was incredibly motivated, did extremely well, and ended up getting a great job when I graduated. I’ve moved jobs a number of times and am now in-house doing work that I love with excellent compensation. The 22 year old version of me would not have even been able to contemplate being where I am now. I still think about this from time to time and it makes me smile.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Nope. I have a great job but I am near the bottom rung of the great job ladder and will probably remain here until I retire in 5-6 years. I thought I would climb quite a bit higher so it stings a little. However, I tell people I have the very best job situation in the world (for a variety of reasons including location close to home, hours flexible and predictable, nice colleagues, good pay) and all I had to give up was my pride.

      And like anon at 12:18 p.m., my personal life is beyond awesome (finally, after all these years!). I wouldn’t trade, either.

    • Nope. I never thought I’d go to law school and then when I did go to law school, I thought I’d be one of those people that jumps into policy and government jobs and lives on the East Coast forever and – frankly – I also thought I’d be a stay at home mom for a long time, just like my mom was. Instead I’m a litigation partner back in my home state at a giant law firm with two small children.

      But while there were hard choices and difficult times in getting here, including some really trying years as a junior associate, I’m really happy. I love my work. I feel challenged every single day. I love my office and [most of] my colleagues. I love my kids and feel like partnership gives me a lot of control over my life. I miss the part of me that wanted to go out there and save the world, but I put a lot of time into pro bono work which helps me feel a little better about that. It’s taken me a LONG time to get to the point where I can say that I’m really happy working in BigLaw, but somehow it’s worked. I am constantly surprised by that fact!

    • I’ve been successful professionally in a way I didn’t expect. I went to law school expecting to practice for maybe 3 years and then move into a policy job. I went to a great law school, where I was a solid B+ student; I was EIC of a secondary journal and well-liked by my profs, but I didn’t get a clerkship, didn’t make law review, and I was not a star of my graduating class for sure. All of that was fine with me because I didn’t plan to be in biglaw long-term.

      Well, the joke was on me. It turned out I was really good at being a corporate lawyer. I made partner a few years ago (which was very early for my firm). I’m 10 years into biglaw and right now, I plan to stay although there are lots of other things I’m interested in. I thought I would have a successful career, but I did *not* think it would be this path. And neither did anyone in my law school class – there’s definitely significant surprise that of the people who made partner, one of them is me.

      Men propose, the stars dispose. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that.

      • Senior Attorney :

        We used to say in law school, “The A students make the professors, the B students make the judges, and the C students make all the money!” ;)

        • It is a great example of how poorly law school success works as a proxy for success as a practicing lawyer. The skills are just so different in most cases. (In general, I think legal education needs a wholesale revamping – but that’s a topic for another thread!)

          Also, when I graduated in 2008, elite law schools had what I called the “biglaw conveyor belt.” You stepped on it when you arrived for orientation, and it moved you through 1L receptions to early interview week to a summer association position to graduation, whereupon it deposited you, a newly minted lawyer, in NY/DC/Chicago/LA biglaw.

          It was great in terms of being employed on graduation, but I (and lots of my friends) never really stopped to think about whether that was what we wanted. Two of my friends were laid off within 9 months of our graduation, because of the financial crisis. Both of them went through a terrible time, both because there were no jobs for first-year associates and because they’d never had to think about what they would do if they weren’t in biglaw. 10 years after graduation, they’re both in jobs that are such better fits for their interests and skills than biglaw was – one works at a really amazing nonprofit that does impact litigation and policy work in the tech space and the other is a senior litigator for a federal agency. And I, the person everyone thought was congenitally unsuited to biglaw (bc I was a sort of international humanitarian type with a problem with authority), ended up staying. It’s been an odd journey.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Yup. I graduated in 1988 and it was the same biglaw conveyor belt with the same results. And now, 30 years later, it’s just amazing where everybody has ended up. (And this is making me think, randomly, of how mad I used to get at my former husband for calling my classmate who was the General Counsel of an international financial institution “the girl who works at the bank…”)

    • N/A, no, and no.

      N/A is for college. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I started college. I changed majors three times in one year and ended up with sports marketing. I worked in sports all through college and for three years afterwards, but the salary was so terrible I decided to back to school. I had no idea what I wanted to do, so naturally, decided on law school.

      Other than knowing I didn’t want to litigate, I really had no idea what I wanted to do because I didn’t know what lawyers did (super smart). I ended up in corporate finance/general business law in a firm where I was sure I wanted to be partner. The firm was large enough that my lifestyle sucked, so two years later I gave up the partnership dream (ha!) and moved to state government. Super toxic work environment so after two years there, took two years where I did everything from substitute teach to sell real estate.

      I really like working with contracts and started looking for positions that allowed me to be on the business side of things but work with contracts. That’s how I fell into contract management. I’ve been doing that for 3.5 years now and really enjoy it. I am in an organization where I have lots of upward potential, the employer is supportive of its employees, there is a great work-life balance, good benefits, and the organization has a solid business growth/strategy.

      If you’d asked me in HS or college or even law school if this is where I would be at 37, I would have told you that I didn’t even know what a contract manager does! I have the opportunity and plan to pursue moving into an executive position here and am really excited about it.

    • Pretty Much :

      Yes and no. Always loved writing and wanted to be an author, but writing and an English degree landed me in communications. Got my master’s, suffered years of underemployment, but now am squarely in my wheelhouse and area of expertise, earning six figures, which is not as common in the field. The job can be stressful but it’s what I love to do and what I’m good at, and it’s a very influential position.

      I wanted to live and work abroad, but things didn’t work out that way, so now I travel often to Europe (about once every two months) and it’s the best of both worlds.

      • I’m curious where you landed. Publishing? We have the same background, but I still feel like I’m floundering.

    • No, but I’m content where I am.
      I was very highly academically motivated and won several awards, got a national rank in high school and ended up getting a masters and a Ph.D. by age 27. I started off in investment banking but both due to positive (got married, had a child) and negative reasons (had a bad boss and an unfortunate work issue, got disillusioned at the work) reasons my career went sideways for a while. I scaled down to a different role and then a lower paying one. I was so disappointed at that time and thought I could have done so much more.

      But then I got a good break and a good boss and a short commute and was able to have some successes at work and that brought me to a newer and step-up role in a couple years. I never got back to my IBanking salary but feel like I am doing somewhat interesting work (don’t need a graduate degree for it but still) with good freedom to make decisions and balance my workload. Plus I am so satisfied in my personal life that the balance makes it all worth it.

  25. Vanguard devotees :

    Those of you using a conservative investment style with Vanguard, which index fund or ETF are you investing in these days? Why that one?

    Also, I was considering moving all of my money from Fidelity to Vanguard. I have money in both places now.
    The only reason I haven’t is that I use Fidelity as my online bank, and have their 2% cash back Fidelity credit card as well. It’s kind of nice having all of that on the same webpage…. Does Vanguard have a checking account option now? I don’t use a brick and mortar bank.


  26. Heist Tights Review? :

    Has anyone tried Heist Tights? How do they hold up? Any comments on sizing, waistband, etc.?

    • They’re fine, I sized up IIRC. My holy grail are the high-waisted Spanx tights, which are high af and also compressive without being uncomfortable. The high-waist comes just to my natural waist (I am very short-waisted if you have shorter legs it may be uncomfortable). The waistband is hand-stitched to the legs so there are two “nubbly” spots on each hip that I find annoying. The waistband is not very durable and they note to be careful about pulling them in that area.

      They are a solid option for more sheer tights, but for higher deniers I’ll stick to my Spanx.

  27. Have any of you purchased a home that was a short sale? Found my dream house in a unicorn neighborhood with great schools. Downside for me would be the commute. Curious to hear the H!ve’s perspective.

    • Are you sure it is your dream house? As your interest in great schools means you have or will have kids, and kids + bad commute are a quick way to go psycho.

      And short sale…… I gave up on one. It took more than a year. Maybe it depends on market/bank etc..

      • More than a year! Yikes! Yes, it is absolutely my dream house. We have a one year old so I guess we could sit on a short sale for a year but sheesh. That’s a long time. I’m planning to quit working at the end of the year, so nightmare commute might not even be in the cards. We currently live behind an elementary school where 98% of students are failing the pathetic state standardized test, so I’d like to be in a district where only 2% of students are failing the pathetic state standardized test. Thanks for your input!

        • Anonymous :

          You can also go through that year and the bank decides it doesn’t want to accept the offer. There are two layers here – the owners have to accept then the bank makes a separate analysis and decides it wants or doesn’t want to accept the offer. I have seen situations where the owners accept, the buyers hang on for a long time, and then the bank says no.

          I’d never do it personally.

    • I didn’t, but my best friend did, and my mom’s a realtor, so I know a lot about this stuff. Just know that you are likely going to have to take the house “as-is”–there’s very little room for negotiation to fix things as banks just want to unload the house. So your great deal may become more expensive if there’s serious repairs that need to be made. I would be extremely careful in your home inspection so you know what you are getting into. Also, if this was a flip in any way, make sure the construction is sound and not “cosmetically acceptable but not well done.” Hope that helps.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes, I bought one before it was really done (at beginning of market crash). It took 4-5 months and a lot of work, but it was a steal and I’m so glad I bought it.

  28. I want a relationship, but I haven’t found one. What I have found is a guy who is not a good person, who I don’t respect, and who does not care about me as a person… but who I am very attracted to in spite of all this.

    I have so far been trying to keep him at a distance, but after another bust of a first date, I’m starting to wonder if this other guy is the best it’s going to get. I KNOW I will regret sleeping with him and yet I’m considering it because I’m lonely and miss the physical stuff. All my friends are married and deep in the throes of baby raising, so they’re don’t understand.

    Please talk me out of it.

    • He is absolutely NOT the best you will ever get. Block him immediately/delete his information/unfriend, etc.

      The hurt and damage to your psyche and self-esteem is not worth the lust. That is all it is, lust. I can promise you he doesn’t want a relationship. He wants a f*$k buddy.

      STAY AWAY.

    • Don’t do it. Get on tinder or ok Cupid and put yourself out there. You’ll have plenty of first dates and you can even sleep with some of them if you want to, and then whether you sleep with someone who is not ideal won’t matter as much. But i would not sleep with someone who didn’t care for me as a person. At the very least I’d want them to think I was funny and sexy.

    • I mean, honestly, is it really so bad to sleep with someone you don’t like? I never regretted it. You can still actively search for people you want to date at the same time.

      • I replied above. I personally wouldn’t sleep with a guy that I didn’t feel even liked me, because I wouldn’t be able to be s3xually attracted to him knowing that.

        But I don’t think it’s a bad thing to sleep with anyone.

        I just think it would be bad for OP because it sounds like she’s thinking this is the only guy she can sleep with. Which is not true.

        I think diluting it, like if you want to sleep with him, do it, but also sleep with some other people is a fine approach.

      • No, but she wants more than $ex here. I do think it’s bad to sleep with someone who doesn’t respect you because that can manifest itself in nasty ways in a $exual context.

    • Lana Del Raygun :

      Nooooo don’t do it! You and your emotional well-being are worth more than that. He is not the best you’ll ever be able to find, I promise.

    • DO NOT sleep with someone who is not a good person. He’ll make you feel bad about yourself and you’ll regret it. You’re better off sleeping with some rando off Tinder who is at least really into you.

      • Anonymous :

        Yeah agreed. I’d honestly be concerned about my physical safety. If you already know he’s not a good person then don’t put yourself in a vulnerable position with him. At the very best, it’s not going to be a fun time. Go find someone fun.

    • Senior Attorney :

      OMG don’t do it.

      I was married to that guy for 15 years and believe me when I say it was horrible beyond belief.

      When I was dating my rule was “I don’t date anybody who is not crazy about me.” It cut way down on the options but it only took one…

      • That piece of advice, which I’ve seen on here from you several times, is what got me to ended my most recent fling. (:

    • No, he is NOT the best you’re going to get.

      The best for me until about age 29 was… a lot of misery. Dating got a bit better after that – men seemed to appreciate that I don’t bludgeon them over the head when I articulated a need, rather than assuming I could be steamrolled on the issue because I was being nice.

      Being single was always better than being in a bad relationship. Always. Being single left me to be free to meet the right person when he finally came along (I think I had turned down… 10 men? in the year preceeding when we met), and, more importantly, *not an emotional wreck.*

      • Senior Attorney :

        Oh so much this. When I left my second husband I thought I would be single forever but OMG I was SO MUCH HAPPIER in my own little house by my own self, doing my own thing, than I ever was when I was married to Mr. Not a Good Person.

    • You didn’t ask for advice on this, but here goes.

      “What I have found is a guy who is not a good person, who I don’t respect, and who does not care about me as a person… but who I am very attracted to in spite of all this.”

      There’s a bit of attraction that is just physical, but the emotional part is about your values and history. It’s not healthy to be attracted to people who aren’t good people and don’t respect you. That doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or worth any less than any other woman, but it is something you should consider. Where does that come from? What in your history leads you to this attraction? Why do you find him attractive despite having suc an unattractive character?

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yes, I was in grad school for psychology for a while and the one thing I learned that has stuck with me is that if you have a strong instant attraction to someone (as in “OMG we just met but I feel like I’ve known you all my life!”) it’s not because of them (because you don’t really know them yet) but because they remind you of someone in your life. Which is great if you have the best parents in the world and this guy is just like your dad. But it’s less great if the “someone in your life” is, say, your mom who always told you that you were too fat and too loud and you weren’t really good enough in any way.

        So beware. It took a lot of therapy for me to get over being attracted to bad people but it was worth it.

  29. I’m 27 and working at a small firm that doesn’t offer any sort of employer match/retirement accounts or anything. My salary is pretty mediocre (~$52k), but I have no law school debt and my COL is low. I’ve been maxing out a Roth IRA since graduating law school and feel like I could be doing more to save for retirement(not a ton more, but something). I also have savings for an emergency fund, and I save separately for things like vacation, splurge clothing and makeup, etc. Any tips on another savings vehicle for retirement besides a Roth IRA given the circumstances? I’ve been contemplating a Vanguard target fund or a 401 (obviously without any match). Thanks, financially savvy ‘rettes!

    • You can do your own 401k if your employer doesn’t offer one – so you also have a vehicle for putting in 18.5k pre tax. Fidelity/vanguard can set you up. Btw – no match is fairly standard in law firms – small or biglaw.

      • No, you can’t. If you’re an employee and your firm doesn’t offer a 401(k), your only tax advantaged retirement savings options are an IRA or Roth IRA with a max contribution of $5500.

        If I were you, I’d leave and go to a larger company that offers a 401(k). You’ll probably be able to make more money too. Most companies offer some type of 401(k) match. Law firms are unusual in that they generally have crappy benefits and you’re expected to just be okay with getting all of your comp in your salary.

        • Anonymous @ 12:00 pm :

          I also just realized that you said you have a law degree. Unless you’re delighted with your current job, I would definitely focus on making a move with the aim of increasing your salary. You’re doing a great job saving money with what you have, but there is only so much you can save on a salary of $52k, and you likely have a lot more upside.

    • I do love Vanguard so I’m not trying to talk you out of doing that, but I think you’re doing pretty well. FWIW, I do not think 52k is mediocre for a 27 y/o, even after law school. Would it be completely inappropriate to talk to your firm about matching?

      • Yes, it would be pretty inappropriate. I’ve never heard of a law firm – big or small – that matches.

        • Mine does for associates and non-equity partners.

        • Yep, mine too.

        • Anonymous :

          Can you share which firms? Thinking of lateraling within Am100 and this would be persuasive info..

        • It is not industry standard for law firms to match though (unlike, say some larger company who may or may not); it is actually pretty unheard of, even in big law.

          Also, you might not like hearing this, but if you don’t see a strong trend upward in compensation, or are only using this position to gain strong skills prior to jumping ship, you should look for a new position. $52k is fairly low compensation for an attorney in private practice, unless you live in an extremely LCOL area (like small town in North Dakota low).

          • Tell me about it. Not LCOL, a large city. IDK if your billable hour is anywhere indicative of what your salary should be, but I’m billed at $250/hour!

          • Anonymous :

            OP, FWIW I made ~$150k at a large city small firm when my billable rate was $250. Caveat that it sounds like your firm’s overall rate structure is higher than mine because I was a 4th year billing at that, not a recent grad (junior paralegals at my previous also small firm billed higher than I did when I moved to my current firm). Also FWIW, both of my small firms have matched up to 3%. Matching is certainly not the norm particularly at larger firms, but it’s also not a “OMG I’VE NEVER EVER EVER HEARD OF A LAW FIRM THAT MATCHES” thing. That’s not to say I’d ask at your current firm, because it does seem like just looking for a higher overall comp is your best move. As someone already said, unless you’re in super super small public interest law or a tiny remote location, $52k is really low for a law degree. You can find more.

          • Wait, what?? :

            OP, did you just say that they’re billing you out at $250/hour and you’re making $52k??? You need to leave… The general rule of thumb is that your salary should be roughly one-third of your billables. So if you’re billing 1500 hours a year at $250/hour (i.e., the law firm is making $375k from your work), you should be making approximately $125k.

            Sounds like you’re being pretty badly underpaid. I would leave soon. It gets harder to leave a low-paying legal job the longer you stay.

  30. Mid 30s, single, no kids — for those of you in this boat, do you feel your life has meaning? I don’t even necessarily want kids so I’m not pining away and maybe it’s just that I’ve internalized the societal message that you only matter if you’re married and a mom or maybe it’s because I’m surrounded by parents all day at work — but how do you find meaning/value/importance in your own life. A friend had a baby this morning and it’s not that I want to have a newborn but I’m like — and I’m STILL working on the same meaningless case as yesterday and my accomplishment is making money. Anyone feel like this?

    • I definitely feel like this, but my constant mantra is “good for her. Not for me.” I know that my life wouldn’t necessarily magically improve if I had a husband and kids.

      I try to find meaning in the things I enjoy, my hobbies, being a good daughter to my parents, and my friendships.

      What about a pet, or volunteering for a cause that’s important to you?

    • Mid-30s here as well, and I am in a very similar rut. I feel like my career is going nowhere and we are going through fertility treatments for children but are not hopeful. I find what helps is to actively make myself think about the little things that I am grateful for/that are going well (even where the “big” things feel like they aren’t——but they actually are because I have a great family and fantastic and supportive marriage!). I just allow myself to have those moments of celebrating having my day “made” by something as small as my cat wanting a snuggle, or a recipe turning out really well, or a compliment on a piece of clothing, and instead of brushing those aside as “trivial” I remember that those are what makes up a majority of your life. Trying my best at positivity, but it’s hard at times!

      • Ouch that hurts! :

        The “Five Minute Journal” is a great tool for focusing upon the little bits of gratitude. Got me through a tough time, including reading most of “Unbound.” Hugs to you … from a psychologist who though she “knew better” than to get knotted up and feeling alone.

    • I’m mid 30s, married, no kids. Someone made a comment on the “how to decide whether to have kids” thread the other week that really resonated with me. It was something to the effect of that having kids forces a lot of personal growth, and that if you are someone who struggles to seek personal growth in your life otherwise, then that aspect of having kids ends up providing a lot of meaning and significance that you wouldn’t otherwise get. On the other hand, if you’re someone who is constantly seeking growth experiences in your life without kids, then yes having kids might also be great, but you’re going to be okay not having them as well.

      That comment tracks with what I’ve seen in others who do or do not have kids. Having kids is an “easy” way to create meaning and focus in your life. Not having kids means you have to find other ways to create that meaning and focus. In my personal experience, I get that meaning from focusing on a combo of helping others and finding ways to stretch myself in ways that aren’t comfortable but where I can then feel extremely satisfied about eventually succeeding.

    • I’m married, no kids, and recently went through this. A few appointments with my therapist helped me identify that I had really fallen into a rut – with work, with my personal life, everything. I started making an effort to change my routine, try new things, and just say yes to things in general. Started a fun, new workout, joined a volunteer league that keeps me really busy, started taking more frequent but shorter trips instead of just one long trip a year, made more of an effort to keep things exciting and interesting with my husband, and so on.

      I still have occasional pangs of feeling like what I’m doing doesn’t really matter to anyone but me, but for the most part I feel much better.

    • +1 and following. I don’t want kids, yet at least and work in a non-profit that makes my work very meaningful and still I feel this way often!

    • JuniorMinion :

      So I’m married but no kids and potentially not having any as well as no extended family. There is value in work – without some kind of work to do, whether it is volunteer or paid, human beings tend to be less happy. Additionally, think of the colleagues / people who work under you whose lives are positively impacted by having you in their lives.

      Finally I think meaning in life comes from accomplishing difficult things. Raising a child successfully and doing a good job has huge meaning, but I’m sorry my narcissistic mother just completed a biological process that most female members of most mammal species do.

    • I’m married with kids so not sure my perspective matters here but husband and kids are just one type of relationship. Meaning isn’t just found in a marriage and kids -there are many equally meaningful friendships or family relationships and there can be a lot of meaning in a career to exceling at hobbies as well. One of my colleagues turned from a hobby artist into a full time painter and left his legal practice.

      In my own life, my aunt is unmarried with no kids and is one of the most important people in my life. She had an awesome career too. My BFF is married and childfree by choice and she’s super important to me.

    • Mid thirties, single, no kids. I’m living my best life and have never wanted children. My life has meaning because I have the time to think about what I want to do with it (I’m not convinced my friends with kids feel like their lives have more meaning—I think they’re just a lot busier because their kids take all their free time). I love my job and can’t believe I get paid really well to help people and work with great colleagues.

      It sounds like maybe this is a good time to reflect on what you want out of your life and maybe make some changes. Maybe volunteering or a new hobby would add to your life.

    • Although your circumstances may not be your first choice, it helps to remember that in the past, and in many places around the world in the present, women have no choice but to marry someone of their family’s choosing and bear children.

      It helps to choose to live in accordance with what is important to you. I am also unmarried without children, and felt moved to tears when I heard how a former coworker was inspired by my life choices (frugal with environmental and minimalist aspirations). She voluntarily downsized her belongings and rented out most of her property, and it worked out for her.

  31. Rescheduler :

    What do you do about a friend who is a serial rescheduler? I have had lunch plans with a former coworker who keeps rescheduling over and over again. I’m not upset or anything – we are both litigators so I totally get it. But almost every week I turn down other lunch plans because I have lunch with her blocked off on my calendar, and every week she reschedules (an hour or two before we’re supposed to meet). What can I do about this (if anything)? We are not close friends, but I don’t really want to burn this bridge.

    • Biglaw Associate :

      As a junior litigation associate this is very real. Have you considered meeting over a weekend?

    • Stop meeting for lunch. Meet for drinks instead; less likely she’ll cancel at the end of the day. Don’t mention the reason why.

    • Meet for breakfast instead…

    • Don’t schedule ahead with her, just ask her out on the spur of the moment.

    • Have you tried planning to meet after work instead, or over the weekend?

    • I think you answered this yourself: “we’re not close friends.” She doesn’t want to be friends with you or value your time. Yes, she has a crazy work schedule, but then she (and you) should stop trying to make lunch (or this lunch date) happen. Try to schedule another time, and if she blows you off again, know that she just doesn’t actually want to be friends, but isn’t good at giving you a flat no.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I feel really bad but kind of did this to someone. I should have handled it better. No excuses. I was just a jerk. I agree that it sounds like she doesn’t really want to be friends.

    • Anonymous :

      cancel on her every time you get a better offer.

  32. My coworkers celebrate birthdays (nothing fancy, we treat the birthday person to lunch and then have some baked goods at the office). I had my first baby last fall and no one did anything to acknowledge it, which bummed me out a little but I figured “whatever, we just celebrate birthdays.” But in the last six months or so (while I was super pregnant, then out on leave and now recently returned from leave) they’ve had similar celebrations for a bunch of non-birthday milestones, including a co-worker’s new house and someone else’s graduation from a certificate program. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to celebrate these other life events – I don’t think marriage and babies are the only things that deserve to be celebrated – but it stings that nobody acknowledged this huge life event I just had. It’s probably partly the postpartum hormones, but I feel like I’m always the unpopular/ignored girl and I’m just feeling really sad about it. Womp womp.

    • Aww, I’m sorry. I think your feelings are probably totally valid, even if you can’t do anything about it.

    • Anonymous :

      That’s a bummer, but it’s also a timing/bandwidth thing. probably not personal.

      If the person who usually handles such things is underwater, or in a bad place but can’t talk about it, they’re not going to be able to organize as per usual; or if someone is new and wanting a reason, then it works out.

      One year, a belated karaoke with a smaller group of work friends turned into a group wide outing for a birthday, the next year, nothing.

  33. Well it is not my favorite look ever but I am wearing a belt over my cardigan over a sheath dress. My cardigan is thin and almost as long as the dress. This was the only way it worked, to my eye.

    I am not small of waist but I think it still looks pretty flattering – nice surprise!

    I’m really enjoying these challenges.

  34. Sloan Sabbith :

    Kat, one of the bottom-of-the-screen ads (which, on mobile, are incredibly annoying) is scrolling up and down the page as I scroll and I can’t reply or post anything until I zoom all the way in and manage to hit the X. It happens every single time I refresh. I haven’t tested it on the nonmobile site, but I read primarily on mobile so this is a problem. These new ads are awful.

    • Yes, I’ve hit that ad a few times this morning trying to post. My mouse looks like it’s on the post button but when I click, it pops up the ad. Very annoying.

    • I’ve X’d it out so many times this morning and it keeps popping back up (without me refreshing the page or anything). So annoying that it finally drove me to install ad block.

  35. Etiquette- wedding :

    Has anyone ever had an out-of-town bridal shower? Some of my fiancé’s family doesn’t live near us and wants me to fly to a bridal shower (a 2.5 hour flight). I haven’t suggested this, in fact they haven’t even discussed it with me directly yet. Is this odd? It would be a pricey flight (around 400), I don’t think I should have to pay for that. I’m not even asking for this party! FWIW, my mother is hosting a local bridal shower.

    • Senior Attorney :

      If you don’t want to do it, just say “you’re so sweet but I just can’t make that happen with all the wedding stuff going on and all!”

      That said, you obviously shouldn’t expect them to fly to your local bridal shower.

    • Anonymous :

      Fiance’s mother suggested doing this and asked fiance’s opinion. He obviously then just asked me. I didn’t want to and didn’t have the time to fly for a bridal shower, so he politely told his mother it wasn’t a good idea. So, if they haven’t even asked you directly, I say you can get fiance to politely convey that it’s not necessary/wanted.

    • Anonymous :

      You have to pay for your flight if you accept the shower. If you don’t want to, then tell them no thank you.

    • Etiquette point: one possible problem is that everyone invited to a bridal shower should be invited to the wedding. (Exceptions for work showers and such are just that.) Are all these people coming to your wedding? Do your future in-laws expect you to invite them all?

      • Etiquette- wedding :

        Yup, I would make sure of that. I don’t foresee that being an issue. And of course I don’t expect anyone out of town to fly in for my shower- tbh, I feel like I’m doing a shower to appease family, I am fine not having one at all (I find the idea of an event to buy me presents awkward).

        I am struggling with this because fiancé’s family doesn’t feel like I’m involving them enough in the wedding, and I guess this is one way to do it, but I am spending a LOT on this wedding already and I can’t stomach another $400.

        • Anonymous :

          If the majority of the guests at the shower would be fiance’s family who will be invited to the wedding but unlikely to attend (elderly/cost prohibitive etc) I would be inclined to agree and go.

          It will likely be the main celebration of welcoming you into his side of the family. You’re likely to end up being gifted more than $400 so that should help offset. Do your registry before the shower so you don’t end up with random stuff. Think of it an investment in your relationship with his family.

    • Yes you should travel to that shower. You are going to have two families now. One of them lives a 2.5 hour flight away. You should get used to traveling to see them. It would make a lot less sense for them all to travel to your local shower. This is not about the $400. This is about recognizing both families as equal.

      • Etiquette- wedding :

        If this influences your opinion, this is extended family that my fiancé sees less than once a year. The immediate family all lives locally. And like I said, no expectation for them to fly to see me (and in fact most of my BMs aren’t flying in to see me either).

        • Anonymous :

          I think it depends a lot on who the family are. If it’s his grandmother who can’t fly but could attend the local shower, or the cousins he was very close with growing up but who can’t afford to fly to the wedding then I would do it. If it’s cousins or aunts he rarely sees – like wouldn’t necessarily call if he was in town, I’d pass.

          • Etiquette- wedding :

            I’m in the latter situation. I think this is why I am struggling with it.

          • Anonymous :

            Is your MIL offering to host/suggesting it or is is that you’re wondering if you should have one organized? If she’s offering to host I think it’s hard to say yes to your mom hosting a shower, and no to MIL hosting a shower just because of the flight. View it as relationship building with your MIL. She may be thinking of it as her chance to show you off to family.

            If you’re worried about gifting – try to see it as meeting family. If you know they likely can’t attend the wedding, I think it’s actually seems less ‘gift grabby’ to attend the shower vs. say no to a shower and still invite them to the wedding knowing they probably can’t attend and will send a gift.

        • Yes that changes things. I thought it was fiancée’s mom and all her friends. Cousins I wouldn’t fly for.

          • Etiquette- wedding :

            Oh 100% I would be doing things differently if it was his mom and siblings, etc.

  36. Interview question :

    I hear this question a lot and I wonder if anyone can help me with what exactly they are asking. And please no one suggest I’m an eejit for not understanding.

    How do you organize your time, particularly when you have a number of deadlines around the same time?

    • “Tell us how you get things done on time, even when you’re juggling multiple things that are due around the same time.”

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I keep a running to do list of everything I have to do and the deadlines. I also plan backwards from long-term deadlines and impose due dates on myself that I treat as nonnegotiable. I also review my to-do list and calendar daily and block out time for specific tasks or projects based on what the priorities are that day. Last, I calendar everything and categorize it so that I have a good view of how I’m spending my time and on what.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I misread your question. I’m sorry. But I agree with anon at 12:41- they’re asking how you get things done, keep track of deadlines, and prioritize tasks.

    • Senior Attorney :

      And give them an example of when you have done just that, and how you did it: “This one time I had a trial coming up and motions in limine were due and we were doing some last-minute discovery and I also had to contact and prep my witnesses, and I handled it by doing X Y and Z things…”

      • Interview question :

        I don’t know the answer to it other than “I just do it.” I never drop balls or let things fall through the cracks. I don’t have elaborate spreadsheets or reminders.

        It seems like if they like you, they’ll ask your references about it?

        • Senior Attorney :

          Then again, give examples. “I don’t really have any particular systems but I never ever drop balls or let things fall through the cracks. I don’t have elaborate spreadsheets or reminders, I am just on top of everything all the time. For example, this one time I had a trial coming up and motions in limine were due and we were doing some last-minute discovery and I had to contact and prep my witnesses, and I just kept a very close eye on the file and the calendar and made it happen. The partner on the case was amazed that I barely even broke a sweat!”

        • I hear you. I’ve asked a variation on this question before (non-lawyer) and I want to hear that you are used to this kind of environment. So tell me an example that shows you aren’t fazed by this, similar to Senior Attorney’s example, and that you’ll just do it.

          Just tell me about how you had X, Y, Z, all due within 3 days, and here are some other issues that popped up (like you needed the same sign off on 2 of the 3), so you prioritized and set mini deadlines and made sure to keep your supervisor on top of your progress. If you hit a roadblock, you did X to resolve it. And then you hit all the deadlines.

          You don’t need to have spreadsheets or reminders or a system. You just need to understand this happens, and let me know that you aren’t going to freak out and drop the balls and not even tell me about it. That’s it.

        • Anonymous :

          I’m sure you do the common sense things – you do things in order according to their deliverable dates, you do regular check ins with other people who may be producing artifacts that your tasks are dependent on, you’re willing to flex time to make sure items get finished when they need, etc.

        • They want you to explain it so you can duplicate your performance when you are their employee.

          They could be thinking: If you “just do it” maybe you’ve been lucky so far. Maybe your current employer isn’t working you all that hard.

          These folks want to know how you stay organized so they have some guarantee that you’ll continue to do so when you join their firm. Come up with something to say – do you keep a running to do list? Review your calendar daily? Use a monthly calendar and a weekly? Email flagging system? You can’t be remembering all this stuff. Think about your method for preparing/prioritizing and that’s your answer.

    • Elegant Giraffe :

      I ask this question in interviews and am (still!) amazed at how many people will say things like, “oh well actually I missed a big deadline last month that I had forgotten about” or “organization isn’t my strength, but I’m great with X.” So now I ask it for two reasons: 1) I do want to know what your org system is (and as written above, I want examples), and 2) I want to assess how smart/strategic you are about answering interview questions! I mean, I appreciate the honesty…but come on people!

  37. Talk to me about after tax 401K contributions. My firms 401k plan does not allow them currently and I am trying to get them to change their position. If you work in BigLaw or midLaw does your firm have this option? Are there structural barriers? I’ve read there are rules about highly compensated employees and non-discrimination tests employed by the IRS to ensure that the top compensated folks don’t disproportionately see the benefits of the 401K plan but I don’t fully understand how these work.

    • This is a good discussion of the non-discrimination rules and HCEs:

      And here’s a good article about how that plays out in the workplace:

      If your employer is complying with the non-discrimination rules for their traditional 401(k), the same rules apply to Roth 401(k)s. Contributions aren’t a problem because employees can only contribute $18,500 collectively for the year, whether that’s pre- or post-tax.

      It’s not terribly difficult to add a Roth feature to a plan – your employer just tells their recordkeeper (Fidelity, Vanguard, etc) that they’d like to.

      Re: numbers of employers offering Roth: (from this fall when Congress was considering big retirement changes during tax reform)

      • Thanks, but I was specifically asking about after tax 401K contributions that allow you to contribute up to around 53k. We have a Roth 401K option just not the option that allows the contributions up to 53k.

  38. Any employment lawyers or others who have seen this happen?

    I have been interviewing with a competitor for a few months now. I applied and interviewed through a recruiter but my old boss is at this new place. I think the world of him but we have all been very careful for him not to talk to me so as not to violate his non-solicit, which is up in a few months. I specifically asked about flexibility on starting and they said they were definitely flexible. This is a startup and while they want me to start as soon as possible, they are still building everything out, so it’s not like there is one job that once filled that is it. My reasons for needing more time are a few: (1) I need to lay the ground work with my clients for a few more months before I leave. I won’t be able to solicit them for a year when I leave but they can come to me and I need to solidify the relationships a little bit more until then. New place agreed with this because ultimately, they succeed when I am successful. This is the most important factor by far. (2) We are closing on a house soon and it’s very possible the new place gets sued (maybe even me- would that happen??) and I don’t want that holding up our mortgage approvals.

    I signed an offer letter that left my start date open-ended with the agreement that we would discuss that this week. Then this week I got a call – there are others coming from my company and they are resigning all at the same time, two weeks from tomorrow. New place says they think when those people all resign that my employer might file an injunction against them, barring them from hiring more of us. And that I could get left out in the cold. So they are pressuring me to resign with the rest of them and not in a couple months as originally planned. The same factors exist – I am worried about my ability to bring over clients if it’s cut at the wrong time and after looking for a year, we’ve finally found a great house and had our offer accepted (we lost out several times).

    But I’m confused – would I be sued personally? They can’t bar people from being hired perpetually, right? I responded to a recruiter, not my old boss. Does that account for anything or is this just a war that will be waged and both sides decide how much they are willing to fight?

    • Anonymous :

      You need a lawyer stat. Yes you would be sued personally potentially.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m an employment lawyer. You need a lawyer. Agree that yes you would be sued personally.

      • Can you help me understand why? The new company already has lawyers ready in anticipation of this, do I need a separate one?

        As I see it, my options are: (1) resign when they are asking me to (2) resign later as originally intended, but I don’t know if there will be work for me (3) walk away – can I do that? I signed an offer letter, not an employment agreement and they did not countersign yet.

        • Anonymous :

          Their lawyers are tasked with protecting the company. Your lawyer protects you.

        • If the start-up’s lawyers are given the choice between protecting their client and protecting you, they will make the argument that throws you under the bus.

    • Anonymous :

      Would I be sued personally? Yes, likely.

      They can’t bar people from being hired perpetually, right? No, not perpetually, but this kind of thing is litigated To. Death. How restrictive non-competes can be will be dependent on your jurisdiction, but this kind of thing happens all the time.

      Is this just a war that will be waged and both sides will decide how much they are willing to fight. Yes, absolutely.

      • Anonymous :

        For your options above, it depends on how much you want this job. Based on my experience, if I were an employee, I wouldn’t want to touch this with a ten-foot pole. Agree with all of the above, you need a lawyer – your OWN lawyer.

  39. My experience is that you hit a certain level of seniority where (unless you are bringing in work) the amount of money you earn the firm flattens out. Your receivables have hit maximum (the firm is no longer writing off your time due to learning curve and inefficiencies) and you are billing at their highest rate for your level. Unless your hourly rate went up 3% or you billed 3% more time (with accompanying increase in receivables), they did not earn more money on you and therefore have no reason to pay you more. In fact, since their other expenses probably went up, they probably earned less. At my firm the only time senior attorneys who are not income partners make more is if they bring in business or the equity partners are afraid they are about to quit (and want to keep them).

    One of the reasons for up or out!

  40. Necklines like that are very flattering to and well liked by many of your readers. So discouraging to keep seeing comments such as “not my favorite.” Is that really necessary? Why do you want to discourage readers from the dress?

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