Frugal Friday’s Workwear Report: Beacon Blazer

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

We’re featuring this Lands’ End blazer in pink (available in regular and petite), but it also comes in a few other colors and a velvet plus-size version. It looks like a great basic blazer in a nice, fun pink with your basic twill texture (as well as felt trim under the collar). It’s got a lot of really good reviews, and it’s machine washable (which is par for the course for Lands’ End). There are still a lot of sizes in stock, and for the price, I would definitely give it a try. It was $159 full price, then down to $49.99, and with code CELEBRATE it’s only $37.49 today. Beacon Blazer

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  1. Anonymous :

    Has anyone ever purchased jewelry from Vrai & Oro? I’m searching for unique engagement ring styles and fell in love with their mixed diamond cuff ring, but I’m apprehensive about ordering something so special from a company I found on instagram…

    • S in Chicago :

      i haven’t. But their website notes free home try-on.

    • Anonymous :

      No advice but I love that ring.

    • Veronica Mars :

      I haven’t– the ring is a very nice style! I also think it’s well priced. However, the lack of documentation on the diamonds may be off putting to some (they’re under .5ct each so they wouldn’t necessarily get a GIA report anyway, more like a diamond dossier at best). My recommendation is buy it, try it on, and see if you’re personally happy with the cut/sparkle in person. I have a few other food for thought for you–baguette diamonds are not going to have as much sparkle as an emerald cut because of the fewer facets. They chose the style, clearly, to get that long and lean look, but just be aware. In addition, it looks like the marquise diamond is only secured by 2 prongs. That could come loose. Also, the setting looks like it covers the sides of the diamond, so less light can get in. That may also affect the sparkle factor. I’m really all for crediting and buying from designers when they create a design, so that’s why I’d say buy it and see if you’re happy (because recreating it custom would be more expensive and again, they made the design). If I were going to make this my ering, again, I’d try it on to make sure I like the style and then I’d get it custom made (I can recommend jewelers if needed) with a higher quality marquise and elongated emerald. In addition, personally I’d get both bezel set for additional durability with a more open gallery to let light in. Those are just the tweaks I would personally make, but wanted to throw them out there.

      • Veronica Mars :

        ALSO! One last thing to consider— are you planning on a wedding band? If so, it will be a pain in the behind to find something to go with the ring. I chose my ering without thinking about the wedding band, and lo and behold, my style wasn’t meant to go with a wedding band. So… I’m just wearing my ering for eternity!

        • Senior Attorney :

          I have an engagement ring that doesn’t play nicely with my wedding band so I wear e-ring on my right hand and wedding band on my left hand.

        • Anonymous :

          I’m not planning to get a wedding band so I actually prefer an engagement ring that works better as a standalone, but this is good advice! And thanks for the notes about the settings- I basically know nothing about fine jewelry and have been going solely on whether or not I like the ring styles!

      • Katherine Coonradt :

        Re: the diamonds. They are “lab cultivated”. Hence the pricing.

        Sustainably grown through technology in Silicon Valley, Diamond Foundry is supplying a closed door industry with a traceable, sustainable, real alternative to mined diamonds. All diamonds are D-I color and SI+ quality.

    • Veronica Mars :

      In moderation, comment coming soon!

    • They accept returns, and since that’s not in their engagement ring section it looks like there’s no restocking fee. I say go for it. If you don’t like it when you get it, send it back.

    • I have earrings from Vrai and oro that I love. Legit!

    • my husband gifted me a beautiful small diamond necklace from there that i LOVE and wear every day. go for it.

    • They sell rings up to a size 10. I think I just started sobbing with happiness.

    • I have a small diamond necklace from there- mine is the marquise diamond in yellow gold. I bought it myself after a big bonus at work and it was a limited run. I love it and wear it every day- I’ve received compliments on it. V&O has free shipping and returns- I’d originally ordered the bezel diamond necklace and found it a little short on me. Although both necklaces are 16″, I like the small weight of the marquise pendant pulling the chain down. I’ve had great experiences with them all around!

  2. Victoria’s Secret sports [email protected]: how are they? Do they work for high-impact activity?

    • I use them for running, cross-fit etc and really like them. I’m a 34D/DD.

    • the ones that have cups and then a top part that zips up are great.

      • Yay! Fruegel Friday’s! I love Fruegel Fridays and this blazer from Land’s End! Great pick, Kat! I also love the sale at Victoria’s Secret this weekend. They have panties for $3.99. All of my VS panties have either been destroyed in the wash, or stolen by my cousin from EasternEurope who brought them home to show his freinds. FOOEY b/c I have nothing to wear if I go to the meetup this weekend at the JCC! Dad wants me to find a guy there, but I need VS panties which I ordered, but won’t get for a few days! DOUBEL FOOEY!

    • Linda from HR :

      I have two that I wear for dance classes, I really like them! They’re the basic pushup ones, no zipper or anything, but I don’t know much about the newer ones. I kinda like having some, ahem, definition while still keeping them in place.

    • I hate their regular bras, but I really like the sports ones. The ones I have hold but don’t smush them together.

  3. I’m currently TTC and am three months in and no dice yet. I know that isn’t a long time in the grand scheme of things but I’m 35 so it’s stressing me out. Both because it could be indicative of a larger problem and because I keep thinking that the longer it takes the older I’ll be when the baby is finally born. Any advice on being in it for the long haul and on not getting totally distracted with anxiety during this period of limbo?

    • I haven’t worried about this particular thing, but I am a worrier as well and all I can say is that feeding your worry generally doesn’t help a situation. You’re statistically VERY very early in the process. Can you give yourself a time limit of “I refuse to indulge these anxious thoughts until I’ve been trying for X months” where X is the medically advisable time to start looking into fertility issues? I think it’s probably a year or so. And before that time has passed, direct your mind to how you can increase the odds of conceiving, ie, enjoying more gardening with your SO.

      • This is what I do. ‘I won’t worry about this today. I will worry about this in September. In the meantime I a, going to try to enjoy the process and my summer.’

    • I was 34 when I got pregnant. It took us 8 months. During that time I focused on eating well and exercising, but I also made sure to take real enjoyment from the things that I would not be able to as frequently after I had a kid. Spontaneous Tuesday date with my husband? Sure! Leisurely hours-long walk through our city, with a late lunch and mid-day drinks? Of course! Splitting a bottle of sparkling wine just because we wanted to drink it? Definitely!

      We still do those things now, post-kid, but it’s harder to find the time and a babysitter (or endure the hangover).

    • Ovulation strips. Timing is everything.

      • +1

      • I agree. I tried for six months, and then started using the ovulation test strips (bought an inexpensive pack on Amazon) and it took only a couple months after that. It really eased my mind too because I knew the effort we put in at least had a better chance. Also, try to lighten things up and make it fun and romantic. Buy some lingerie, if that appeals to you.

    • You don’t have to follow conventional wisdom and wait a certain time period before seeking medical help – if you’re anxious, want to get it done now, go to a fertility doc of you can afford it and see if they can help you.

      • +1. I would particularly recommend having your husband’s/partner’s sperm tested. It’s quick, it’s non-invasive, it’s cheap, and it is (or should be) a necessary step before any major tests or fertility treatments for you.

      • +1
        This is what I did. I was the age as you. I also got ovulation strips and wore the Ava bracelet to track my cycle since timing is key.
        Im due in 19 days :)

      • I’m 36, my husband is 40, and we made the mental decision that we’d go seek help if we hadn’t conceived after 3 months. We struck out last month (our first month trying) and the second opportunity is coming up here shortly. I’ve read TCOYF cover-to-cover and follow its steps, I use ovulation test strips…but I also didn’t conceive after 4 months of TCOYF trying with my ex-husband when I was 29 (which was probably a blessing from above, but…). I’d follow all the guidance out there so you can go into your doctor prepared and say, “I’ve tried XYZ and it’s been X months and it still hasn’t happened.”

    • I know a lot of people do the ovulation testing strips. Tracking my cycle so closely just stressed me out and stress isn’t good for fertility so we used the every other day method that per What to Expect Before You Are Expecting has a good success rate. Bascially you DTD every other day for your whole cycle. Got pregnant within 6 months both times.

    • Took me 8 months the first time and 6 the second. And I was 28 and 33 at conception. Sometimes it just takes a while!

      • caveat/caution: I got pregnant the first month with my 3rd so #2 and #3 are way closer than we thought they’d be!! And I was 36 that time.

    • If you’re looking for something to “do” you can either do the ovulation strips (you need to pee on them during your “first elimination” every morning) and do them to see a difference. I found the clearblueeasy ovulation predictor kit (still have to pee on them every morning) much easier for results. Took us 7 months cause I had wacky cycles due to stress (family death), but the month it worked was when we timed our gardening with the positive OPK result.

      • Actually, it is not usually recommended to use the first morning urine for OPKs. The LH surge starts early in the morning is often not apparent until afternoon. Most commonly recommended time is after lunch because it is easily missed if you do it early in the a.m.

    • No advice but i’m in a similar boat. Both 38 and this is month 5. I’ve been using ovulation strips since day 1, so the timing is right (also temping so i know i’m ovulating). It’s frustrating and hard to keep the anxiety at bay some days.

  4. cat videos on the internet

    good luck!

  5. Has anyone had an enema? What was your experience; pain, length of time, process…? Would you do it again? Was it worth it?

    • Never too many shoes... :

      No….but I haven’t had treatment with leeches to cure my hysteria either.

      • Actually it’s org8asm therapy that was used to cure hysteria. That led to the development of v1br8tors.

    • Like, a simple over the counter Fleets enema or water enema? Or one of those crazy cleanse things?

      Sure have had one (over the counter), and a family member unfortunately needs one regularly. No pain. There should never be pain. No discomfort. Takes…. a few minutes, or longer. Babies and children have these done regularly. They aren’t a big deal.

      Of course it is worth it if it works. Yes, I would do it again.

      Would never do a crazy cleanse.

      • What planet are you living on that babies and children have these regularly?!!

        • No she’s right – the doctor told us we had to give our 3 year old a series of 3 enemas when we had problems potty training. Look up encopresis (not around lunchtime). I’ve since met a bunch of moms who had to do it.

        • Come back when you have a child with severe constipation.

          • +1

            Constipation is actually pretty common in kids, and even sometimes in babies.

            And a simple enema is safer then loading them up on medications.

          • “Babies and children have these regularly” is not the same as “Some babies and kids struggle with severe constipation, in particular during potty training, and require occasional enemas as a result.” I wouldn’t say that most babies/toddlers require regular enemas.

            OP, not sure what info or health outcome you’re looking for. Ask your doctor.

          • But it is true that babies and children tolerate enemas fine. That poster’s statement seemed fine to me, and the long descriptor was not needed for the OP. I’m familiar with enemas for kids too.

            An adult woman is asking about how much pain to expect from an enema.. If a baby and child can handle it regularly (and yes, there are many babies and children that have these regularly…. be grateful if yours don’t!), then this response hopefully reassures the OP that she need not be so nervous.

    • A little confused by this question but I’ll bite. I’ve done OTC enemas in preparation for procedures: some discomfort inserting, and then almost instant (within a couple of minutes) extreme need to go, so that’s not the most fun sensation. However, no lingering pain or stomach cramps or anything. If you’re doing this for some kind of medical prep, don’t stress, they’re not that bad.

    • Certain communities use the OTC varieties on a regular basis for certain gardening activities, so it’s really not a big deal and there’s no much ‘process’, time, or pain. Pro tip: if using for gardening, get the kind that’s not a [email protected], which you may have to search for.
      But I guess it depends on what you’re try achieve?

    • Anon-nah-nah :

      I had an enema when I was about 4 or 5. I remember screaming at the top of my lungs. It is unclear whether it was from the fear of it hurting or that it actually did hurt. If I recall correctly, my mom aborted the mission altogether.

  6. Linda from HR :

    Oh, this blazer looks good. I have been wanting to get a basic, black, machine washable blazer – used to wear them all the time, but my old ones don’t fit anymore – and I actually just bought a really good one at Express. They’re on sale this weekend, mine was 40% off and the checkout girl commented that the jackets are never on sale, so I’m glad I popped in. I’ll grab this one too, can’t beat that price!

    And now I feel okay donating my old ones.

    • Which one did you buy at express? What is your shape?


      • Linda from HR :

        The one without the buttons (or front enclosure), and the 3/4ish length sleeves. I, uh, don’t know how to describe my shape. I’m petite, generally wear size 8-12 depending on the brand (size 10 for this blazer), and I guess I’m a bit . . . fortunate, in the boob department.

        • Thanks – very helpful. I’m really flat and short waisted and a bit petite in the shoulders, and have a hard time finding blazers I like.

  7. When I first saw the title for this post I thought it said Bacon Blazer.

  8. Yet another friend is pregnant…this particular friend didn’t even seem keen on having kids anytime soon, but here we are. I am soon going to be the only single and childless person in my close friend group. I feel like I’m in mourning. I’m so happy for my friend but I’m so sad that our friendship is never going to be the same. I’m usually quite content being single, but now I feel like I’m missing out and being left behind. I’m sad today.

    • Hug?

      Your friendships with your mom friends will get better in a few years. At least in my experience, my mom friends (very understandably!) went AWOL for a few years, and some had a bit of a personality change (i.e., trying to mommy me, which was a pile of not-fun), but things settled down when their oldest hit kindergarten or so.

      • I’m the mom friend who disappeared for 5 years. My oldest is going to start K in the fall, my second starts preschool, and this summer feels like a new world for me. I have energy, I have reliable babysitters, I don’t change diapers any more, no one relies on my body personally for their food, and (knock on wood) all of us are sleeping through the night.

        I feel super awkward calling friends and saying “Sorry I’ve been a shite friend the last few years, but do you want to hang out? I’ll come to you whenever/ wherever it’s convenient.” But your post is motivation to do it. I know I’ve been an awful friend but I still want to be part of their lives. I feel like I’m the one who missed out, who didn’t do anything fun in the last 5 years and who has nothing to talk about anymore because no one else wants to hear about my kids. Hopefully they’ll let me back in, and hopefully I won’t be so uncool that I won’t have anything to say anymore.

        • Call! Do it! We miss you! Find a class or specific event you want to do and invite friends. Have a game night. I feel like having a specific something to focus on helps avoid all kids all the time convos.

        • I’m the Anon at 10:14 am. Please, please do it. Maybe a friend or two will be snotty, but most will be thrilled to hear from you!

          Yes, we want to hear about your kids! It’s so much more fun to hear about kids in kindergarten than when they were infants – the subject matter is not just poopy diapers. “Little Johnny had a big poo today that smelled bad because of what I ate – b-feeding does that” is just… not nearly as good conversation as hearing about how little Hannah is learning to read and has a best friend.

        • Another Anon :

          Yes, yes, yes please call!

          I have “lost” my best friend to the early years of parenting and I miss her terribly. I offered to come to her house and go on kid outings, but the meetups haven’t happened so I haven’t pursued further. I know it’s not about me, but it still hard. It’s also super hard to know that she isn’t able to be there for me if I need some consolation or support because she has more important priorities (understandably).

          I’m fortunate that I have another close friend in the area whose life is more in the same phase and we have become even closer, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t miss my bff!

        • I’m the mom friend who’s single childless friends disappeared. I haven’t gone anywhere; they stopped calling/texting. I’m absolutely game to hang out with them. Just be aware that I’ll have LO with me and I will have to tend to him.

          Also, being a first time mom can be extremely isolating and lonely, especially when you’re on maternity leave and home “alone” for most of the day. I was very grateful to my friends who visited me while I was on maternity leave. I didn’t want help so much as company.

          • I’m sorry that’s happened to you. I text my friends with kids all the time, I’m interested in their lives, I want to see them. But they are just so focused on their families. Weekends are spent with their families. Holidays are spent with their families. It’s exhausting trying to be friends with them and not getting anything in return.

          • Have you let them know that? Like, insistently? I’m the single childless friend and I’ve stopped asking a lot of my mom friends to hang out regularly because requests to set plans often go unaccepted, or brushed off. #notallmoms. But when we constantly ask if we can schedule a brunch, we’re happy to do it at your place or out, your choice, just let us know what’s easiest with kiddo, and we’re met with “yes we’d love to!” but never any follow up, or always saying no b/c kid…. we’re going to stop asking. Especially when we know you want to spend your limited spare time with your kid. But I’m still pretty connected to my mom friends who are pretty assertive about wanting to hang out and actively make plans, even if it means going to the park/museum/dinner at 6pm/netflix at the house.

          • Another Anon :

            Unfortunately, I don’t text my mom friend as much because she rarely is able to respond when I text (although I try to be mindful of dinnertime/bedtime, etc.) and because sometimes it takes days to get a response, if at all. It’s not that I don’t want to talk to my friend it’s that history has shown me it’s an unreliable two-way communication street for the time being. At some point, I have to look out for me too and that means finding someone else to rely on when I need communication in a timely manner.

          • I find that I get a lot “in return” when a friend with kids is kind of becoming a “pillar of the community” family. I love being invited to big gatherings and meeting the people they’ve met through parenting. A family can become a kind of center of gravity, and it’s fun to be one of the satellites. I also sometimes feel like there are opportunities to be genuinely helpful in ways that cost me little or nothing.

            Things that make it harder for me are when the parents get adamant about protecting family time from non-family, or when they get really attached to a church community and the church has a kind of exclusive vibe, or when they get overwhelmed and retreat without asking for help (which is 100% what I would do, so I get it).

        • Another Anon: I feel the same way. It really sucks not having that support any longer.

        • As someone who has been on the other end of this, please don’t get offended if they don’t respond or aren’t enthusiastic about restarting the friendship. Your absence is understandable, but they have moved on with their lives, as have you, and you may have been pushed into acquaintance or “old friend who I only track on social media” category.

          I say this time and time again. Mother friends have every understanding that they are busy and don’t have much time to socialize. But you dropping off the face of the Earth going little to no contact for five years is not acceptable – my busiest friends with crazy jobs and kids can text every now and then. It is a very clear sign of someone’s importance in your life whether they care about your well being enough to check in to see if you’re still alive and well.

          • I’m the Anon at 10:23 and I totally understand if I’m not on their friend list anymore.

            And yep it’s hard to admit, but totally true that many of my friends got pushed to the bottom of my importance list. (My own self got taken off the list completely, so at least they were still above me.) But as someone said above, I got overwhelmed and retreated to the work/ kids/ occasional family bubble until I could deal with my life again. That sucks, and I wish I was one of those people you mentioned who could have a crazy job and kids and still have friends too, but I couldn’t manage to make it all work.

            Thanks for all the encouragement to try, everyone. I’ll do exactly that this weekend.

          • Another Anon :

            I would be fine with that too if I didn’t get the “I MISS YOU!!” text every so often. Never followed up by a “Want to grab lunch with me and kiddo on _______” or want to come over for a movie night after kiddo goes to bed. But when I extend a hey I’d love to see you and kiddo let me know what you guys are up to and I can swing by or join or whatever and get no follow-up or help with how to be involved it’s much harder than just being put to the bottom of the pile.

    • Jumping in to say I commiserate. While I have one other never having kids friend, she lives far away, and I am definitely on the fast track to being the only childless one of my local group of friends (I’ve already been the only single one for a while). I still have great friendships with my mom friends, but they are definitely different then they once were. Hugs!

    • I’m sorry. I can relate. I’m childless by choice, but I remember when one of my best friends from high school got pregnant, I felt left out and…less than somehow for not having kids. I thought she might end up not having kids so it was kind of nice that we were in similar situations. When she told me she was pregnant it was definitely a mix of feelings. *hugs*

    • One thing I did was start to seek out other friends like me – look for the child free people of you don’t want to have kids either. I’ve now got a healthy circle of both friends w kids but a lot without and that makes socializing easier.

      • I’m in this same situation… so many of my friends are new moms and I am the only without a kid (and not planning on it). How did you go about finding child free friends? I am so exhausted putting in the work to make new friends just to find out a few months later they are pregnant.

        • Ditto – how do y0u find other folks who don’t have kids and aren’t going to?? I’m in my 40s, and thought that at least if I made friends my own age who didn’t have kids, we’d probably be childless together… but that has not at all been true. I only have one friend (male or female) who doesn’t have kids.

          While it definitely gets better once kids are slightly older, even now when many of my friends have elementary-age children, they’re just in a different place than I am. And also they spend a TON of time on kid activities.

          • Truthfully, I find that this dilemma doesn’t solve itself with getting older. I don’t have children, and have had to continue to flex for my friends who do. Now, many of my peers are becoming grandmothers, and I’m flexing again for tiny children because they (the grandmothers) are busy providing childcare while the kids’ parents are working. Or out of town for the weekend. Or going on vacation. Or sick. Or…


      • I am really lucky that two of my best friends don’t have kids yet, so I spend a lot of time with them. But who knows how long that’s going to last!

    • You are me in another year or two. (My friends all just got married, no one has announced a pregnancy yet).

  9. Own or lease? New or used? :

    Looking to buy a Ford C-max this weekend, but can’t decide whether to lease a new one, buy a new one or buy a used one. If we do buy used, don’t know if we should take out a loan or pay cash. Up until now we have bought our cars used and paid cash. Would be nice to have a new car. My daily commute is short. What should we do?

    • If your priority is saving the most money, buy used and pay cash.

      • +1 If you have the cash to do this, this is the best option. If you can be patient, you might be able to find one with a few years but very low mileage. We recently bought a 5 year old car with only 20k miles on it.

        • +1

          Never lease. Keep being smart like you are and buy gently pre-owned cash.

          Nice job doing that so far.

    • We’ve always bought certified pre owned. Except my husband’s current car, which is a luxury sports car we don’t plan to keep around. That’s leased. It’s obviously not the cheap choice, but it’s the equivalent of a splurge handbag buy: he got a big promo, wanted to drive a fancy car, but the practical in us knows that these cars are money pits we want nothing to do with in 5 years, and we have 3 young kids and next car of his will probably be some kind of family sedan. So he’s enjoying it and knows it’s on a clock ;).

      • Uhm, not sure what kind of handbags you buy, but for me, a luxury car is NOT the equivalent of a splurge handbag!

        • Anonymous :

          I meant the cost difference between buy vs lease is a splurge handbag- not the cost of a car. Eg the lease is the “splurge”. So maybe $1500-2000.

    • Late but maybe you’ll see this (and if you don’t I’m sure any decision is fine) but I wanted to point out that a lot of the conventional wisdom in favor of buying used instead of leasing doesn’t always hold true in current markets. I leased <1 year ago and at that point even the car experts (newspapers, car blogs) were admitting that the math has changed. The comparison of buying v. leasing generally assumes you'll keep re-leasing for as long as you would have a car that you drive into the ground, but leasing now doesn't mean you lease forever. For me the cost was better for leasing, for some (poster above) it's the cost of a pricey handbag, for others it maybe so large that buying is the better choice. You need to do the math based on your circumstances.

      I would consider
      – mileage – google distance to work and other places you go regularly and calculate how much mileage you use a month, leave some wiggle room for longer weekend trips. Short commute will work well with a lease but if you know you'll blow through the mileage buying will be better

      – how long you'll have it – will your needs potentially change in 3 years, 5 years, 10 years? Keep in mind that while 10-20 years ago any mechanic could fix your car, much of the technology in newer cars requires specialized computers and more expensive parts so your cost to "own" your car will continue to go up and there are fewer options to get around that (i.e., fixing yourself or with your choice of mechanic).

      – technology/features – They are changing so fast now that current models may have many things that a prior year model doesn't. It may not feel like a big difference now but in 5 years it may feel like you're a decade behind in features (as compared to the rate of change in the past).

  10. Paris pickpockets? :

    Can anyone comment on how bad pickpockets are in Paris? I see lots of warnings about them (and scams involving petitions where they are trying to distract you while they do their thing). On the other hand, I also saw tons of warnings about Rome, but never once felt worried or unsafe once I was there.

    I also read things about it being extra bad for Asians since Chinese tourists are more clueless + carry lots of cash. I’m Asian American, and dress very “Western.” I also tend to dress less touristy – no cameras or backpacks hanging around etc. I guess I doubt I’d be mistaken for a Chinese tourist if you look at me for more than 5 seconds, but kind of concerned now that just my face is going to make me more of a target.

    • I walked all over Paris with my SLR (and Chinese husband) and felt completely fine. I didn’t hang around some of the more crowded areas (in front of the Louvre, behind the Eiffel Tower) much, though. Do you live in a big city now? Be smart, keep an eye on your surroundings, and you’ll likely be fine.

    • I lived in Paris for 5 months, was clearly American and sometimes very tourist-y, and never got pickpocketed. So, there’s that but YMMV. I usually use a crossbody bag when traveling and kept the purse in the front rather than behind my back. And if you’re really concerned, you can always separate out items into different pockets (credit card in one, cash in another, other items in purse).

    • I highly recommend listening to this David Sedaris story lol (Three Kinds of Deception, act three Accidental Deception)

      • I love David Sedaris…

      • Oh I love this, cracks me up every time. Personal anecdote is that my dad, who travels all over the developing world and doesn’t usually get things stolen, had his pocket picked in Paris, twice I believe! So just keep your eyes open and generally be street smart. I like to use a cross-body generally.

    • Use common street smarts, and you should be fine. Regardless of how you may visually appear, you’ll almost certainly walk and carry yourself like an American, so I doubt there would be added risk.

      Fun fact, though — watch the taxi drivers! We mostly had normal/uneventful trips, but one guy tried to charge us the airport flat rate when we weren’t going to/from the airport (would have more than doubled the fare), and then he argued with us/really stuck to the scam for a while when we objected. Again, nothing normal tourist sense can’t handle, but be aware.

      • Obviously not everyone loves rideshares, but this is one of the reasons I love using rideshares (lyft, uber, etc) abroad- you can enter the address and follow along on your screen and know that they aren’t taking you on a circuitous route, aren’t upping the price, etc.

    • Paris pickpockets? :

      Phew! Thanks everyone! Sounds like it’s like any other huge city with tourist spots. (And thanks for the David Sedaris rec! I totally forgot that he lives in Paris!)

    • I recently returned from Paris. I personally felt fine, and nothing happened but there were a couple of times when I felt like I was being watched for more than a passing glance. I’m Asian and can be mistaken for Chinese, but mostly I think it’s because I’m pretty petite so that can make people think I’m an easy target. Though really, they would’ve had to yank the sling bag from my dead body. There was no quick and easy way to take my stuff. As far as scammers went, I didn’t talk to strangers or asked for help or even made eye contact with most people. The most common scam I’ve heard is people pretending to help you at the train station but no one approached me there.

    • I’ve never been to Paris. My strategy when studying abroad in Rome was to put low-value items in easily accessed places. Many hands entered the outer pocket of my bag on public transit, but none of the pickpockets wanted my tissues or feminine products (or if they did take ever them, I didn’t notice, and honestly I would be fine with that!).

      The main zipper compartment of my backpack purse was against my back, so I could actually feel and step aside if a hand got anywhere near the compartment that had actual stuff in it. (If you’re thinking, “Just how unsubtle were these thieves?”, keep in mind that a lot of them were kids.) Perhaps a zippered bag tucked under your shoulder would be even more effective.

      I kept my actual passport in a pouch under my shirt. People who didn’t take any particular precautions did have things stolen, so I didn’t think this was too much effort towards prevention. It was definitely more of an issue in Rome than in any US city I’ve visited.

    • I have never had trouble with pickpockets in Paris; I think it’s not too different from other big cities in terms of risk. I did get pickpocketed once in Lima, but I had put my phone in a front blazer pocket. I think just don’t keep your valuables in easy reach, and you should be fine…

      I did buy a slash-proof crossbody bag for my trip to Rome, which gave me some extra peace of mind. Maybe look into a travel bag if you’re worried? Link to follow for the bag I have – I really like it, in addition tot he slash-proof fabric, it also has locking zippers and is RFID blocking.

    • Only issue I’ve ever had was in a crowded metro car — it was wall-to-wall people where you couldn’t avoid being pressed up against someone else. I looked down just in time to see a young girl (probably 12-13 years old) with her hand all the way inside my crossbody purse. She had very carefully opened it without me noticing. Luckily I was able to stop her — she had her hand around my wallet when I noticed.

    • When in Rome :

      I went to Rome last year with my Lo & Sons Pearl and felt very safe. I carried my passport, debit card, back up credit card, and larger denomination bills in a money pouch (really a re-purposed running belt) under my clothes. And kept the zippers on my bag zipped and the bag in front of me (with my hand on it on public transportation/crowds). My very expensive camera was in its camera bag (which takes an Act of Congress to open) unless I was actually using it.

      Given the number of completely clueless people walking around with their wallets half sticking out of their pockets, open bags on their backs, etc., I think the trick is to be aware and make sure you are not the easiest mark in the crowd.

    • Paris pickpockets? :

      These replies bring up another question…do you carry your passport around everywhere? I’ve traveled a ton (this is my first time to Paris, but I’ve been to 5-10 other European cities and multiple Asian ones), and never done this. I usually just lock the passport up in the hotel safe before I go out (and to be fair, these are all large mid-to high end hotels, not hostels). When I first started traveling, I think I used to carry a copy of my passport front page, but haven’t done this in years.

      • Anon in NYC :

        I typically do not.

      • I also do not.

        I think I am like you (Asian ethnically but v. American in terms of dress/behavior, and so is my husband), and we didn’t have any issue compared to any other large city.

      • In this day and age, it might not be a bad idea. There are lots of things happening and you may find yourself unable to get back to your hotel/ need to leave the vicinity. When I travel abroad I have been keeping my passport with me. I hope I never need it, but if I do, I will be glad to have it.

      • When in Rome :

        I was told by multiple sources that Italy requires all adults to have a “recognized” photo ID (which for non-EU citizens pretty much means a passport). I carried mine all of the time, partly because of that and partly because my 17-year old child was with me and I needed proof of age for discount admission to the various sites where she was entitled to that.

    • Min Donner :

      I’ve travelled extensively for the past 25 years, in both developed and developing locations, exercising recommended precautions, and have luckily never had anything stolen until… earlier this year in Spain. I was not in a tourist area and there were no signs (though once we were in the tourist area signs warning about pickpockets were everywhere). We had stopped for coffee and I had my phone on the table in front of me at a cafe because I was waiting for a text from people we were meeting. A beggar came in with a hand written sign on an A4 sheet of paper and was waving it in front of us, and while doing so she managed to swipe my phone. I didn’t notice until after she was gone. So my advice would be to take all the usual precautions, don’t let anyone put a bracelet on your wrist or hand you flowers, and don’t ever leave valuables on the table.

  11. Where are people buying cute running clothes these days? Bonus if it doesn’t cost more than my work clothes. I’ve got a few things from Old Navy, but their athletic wear always fits me a bit off. Thanks!

    • I absolutely love my The North Face shorts! I am not in love with the name – Better Than Naked – but they are comfortable, have a zip pocket in the back and two open side pockets that are great for gels during a race. I also really love how the drawstring is designed: if it comes out of the little holes in the front of the shorts, you just flip the shorts over and it’s incredibly easy to put back in.

    • I’ve recently bought workout shirts at Target and Athleta, and workout leggings from Aerie.

    • I have tried a few places and have found that Target has the best workout clothes.

    • Zella leggings have looked the best and held up the longest for me. They are essentially knock off lululemon (former designer started the brand), but are thicker and half the price – very legit, sold at Nordstroms. My Target workout gear holds up well but looks rather worn after about a year.

      • Min Donner :

        I have leggings from Zella, Gap, Costco, Nike, Adidas, and a few others, and the Zellas are the only ones that start to drag/inch down shortly after putting them on. I otherwise love them – they are comfortable and hold their shape and wash well and look good… but I am constantly having to pull them up from the thighs up and I haven’t had that problem from any other brand. If they work for you though, they are great – I have the live-in and I love the fabric, it doesn’t pill or fade and it’s not shiny or overly seamed.

    • I agree with the Target suggestion. I work out a lot but refuse to spend tons of money on fancy athletic clothes and have found Target’s clothes to be great. I also like the Nike Tempo shorts for running because they reliably don’t bunch up, you can find those almost anywhere (Amazon, Modells, Macys). I’ve also purchased a few Nike and Adidas shirts and capri leggings from 6pm at a good discount that have held up very well.

    • You probably know this, but running expos are great places to buy less-expensive running clothes. You don’t even have to be registered at the race to attend many of the expos. Clothes are often 30% to 50% off, bringing them in line with Target prices, and sneakers are discounted.

    • Some of my favourite pieces come from Winners/TJ Maxx. Great brands, great prices. I also have some good stuff from Costco. I tend to spend my money on bottoms and buy cheap tops when it comes to running clothes.

    • BigLaw Sr Assoc :

      REI house brand is great for this. I also use a lot of tri brands and they last forever – particularly like Zoot for pricing and style.

    • Anonymous :

      skirt sports

  12. All my leggings come from Marika lately and they are constantly having sales. I’ve gotten a few super cute tanks from them as well.

  13. pugsnbourbon :

    I like the 90 Degrees by Reflex brand for full-length leggings (~$20). Their prints are weird so I stick with plain gray and black. I don’t know if they have shorts – I usually buy those at Target (booty shorts).

    90 Degrees also has some very basic tanks that are stretchy and fitted (~$10). My other tanks and most of my bras are from Marshalls. While I love the colors and features of higher-brand tops, I just can’t justify spending a ton of cash on an item that I will literally destroy with sweat.

  14. Oh, I love today’s pick! I can’t decide which color to buy… I love the pink, but I know it won’t get worn.

  15. Hi! I’m looking to buy and ship a baby gift for a close family friend’s new baby. I want to spend $50ish. The caveats are: they don’t need a ton of stuff, as this is not their first; I already have stuff for the Mom; and a contribution to the kid’s college fund seems silly because they are fairly wealthy. Any good ideas?

    • A really nice baby towel and washcloth set. I loved getting new ones of those, as the ones from my first were getting a little icky from use, but not enough that it was worth buying more myself.

      • Great suggestion. Socks are the same, and there’s some pretty adorable ones out there. A board book or two.

    • I love a board book by jelly cat and the matching jellycat animal (each kid will want their own, I promise). Or a nice outfit in a 6 or 9 month size for the new kid so not everything is a handmedown – I’m partial to the kissy kissy brand. Kids (at least mine) chew on board books like crazy so they don’t stay in great shape. Consumables are always helpful too – diapers, wipes, pacifiers, sippy cups.

      • +1. All I really wanted as presents when my third came along were a few quality pieces of clothing so he wasn’t wearing worn out and stained stuff from his brothers all the time. Personally, I asked for Hanna Andersson sleepers in a few sizes up from the newborn size.

    • In this situation, books are my go-to.

    • I like gifting books and clothes because you can never really have enough of those and they often don’t survive to be passed on to subsequent kids (clothes get bodily fluids on them, board books get chewed up). Consumables are good in theory but only if you know their preferences (we needed sensitive wipes and probably would have tossed regular ones in the trash and some people cloth diaper and wouldn’t have any use for disposables).

    • Baby Moccs! Practical and adorable. Someone got us nice baby moccasins (size 3 ~6month) that my kid has worn every single day since she started crawling at daycare. Baby shoes get destroyed so I don’t think we’ll get to use them for the next kid and we haven’t really gotten any hand-me-down shoes from family or friends.

    • BeenThatGuy :

      Personalized burp cloths are my go-to for this situation. Check out Moonbeam Baby. They are SUPER soft and totally frivolous.

    • JuniorMinion :

      I brought a big sister gift for my friend’s older child – I figured everyone was giving her baby stuff so brought her newly minted 2 year old some duplos because women in stem…

  16. Question about applying for a mortgage.
    We’re starting to look for a new house but haven’t started applying for mortgages yet. We have about $70k equity in our current home; we have $50k in cash savings (outside our retirement and emergency funds) we can use for a down payment also. We have excellent credit (the last score we pulled was 825).
    Our Realtor is a little worried though, because:
    – My husband and I both changed jobs in the last year. We’re now both working for government contractors and making good money (HHI will be around $180k this year just from our day jobs), but it is a recent change for both of us.
    – I still have a student loan I’m paying off, the balance is down to $25k but it’s still there. It’s a subsidized Stafford, so the interest rate isn’t high; we also still get the interest deduction, so we haven’t prioritized paying it off vs. saving.
    – My husband, in addition to his day job, has a contract gig with a client for a former employer. The contract, as written, is for $90k over 3 years, but the work is intermittent. Sometimes he has no work for months and then he’ll do a ton of work for them and bring in $5k in one month. Apparently, mortgage lenders don’t like situations like this? Our Realtor is advising us not to even bring up the contract income to the bank, but if they see our bank statements and my husband’s gotten payments from his client, the bank will see it?
    – This seems minor to me, but – I travel frequently for work, and the travel reimbursements come into my personal bank account from my company, and then I pay off my work travel card. So, once every few weeks I’ll get a deposit of, say, $3000 and it goes right back out to pay off the travel card. Apparently banks don’t like this either?
    We haven’t applied for a mortgage in 15 years and so a lot of the new rules are news to me. If anyone has advice on navigating this process, I would appreciate hearing it. I thought having cash, equity and good credit would be enough for people to want to lend to us, but apparently maybe not.

    • A lot of that is totally explainable, that’s the thing.

      At the time we bought our house, my husband had been at his job for only a year but had been in his field (very common to move around – it’s all within one union) for significantly longer. The company he worked for also paid him in an odd way so that he’d get paid $3000/month and then at certain intervals would get huge checks – like up to $28K – which weren’t bonus and were just normal salary.

      We had to write a letter explaining that. We also had to provide more background info than others – like 4 years of tax returns to show a steady income and 3 years of bank statements to demonstrate the same.

      If you can get the lender to have a comfort level that you’re ‘stable’, that’s what you’re looking for.

      • +1 to this. If your loan officer shows any indication that they’re not comfortable that your stable (or not capable of understanding your explanation), get a new one ASAP.

    • You’ll have to provide more documentation that someone who hasn’t changed jobs recently, has large chunks of money coming in and out, etc., but you should be fine. Find a loan officer to talk to NOW, so that you can (1) get a pre-approval letter to submit with your offer if needed and (2) to get a list of documentation you will need to start compiling for your loan application.

      My personal preference is to find a local loan officer that works in a shop that does the underwriting in-house. My mortgage was through a large financial institution and I was just an application number to the 800 number CSR. When I refi’d I went through a local credit union and everyone was right there in the admin HQ and I was an actual person to them. Much easier to deal with.

      • Anon in NYC :

        Yeah, I agree – realistically, you both have steady jobs with some extra stuff that where you’ll just need to provide additional documentation. Find a good mortgage broker. He or she will be able to run through all of these various items and explain to you exactly what the bank needs to give you a loan!

      • We went through a local credit union and it was a fairly easy experience. As long as you can document the reimbursements and your husband’s side gig income, you shouldn’t have issues with that. Do you have expense reports that you submit? And yeah, the bank will see those payments to your husband and ask. I got asked about a small quarterly check that I got from my company for cell phone reimbursement. Might as well let them see that he’s got additional income coming in.

        • Anonymous :

          Yes, they keep a central repository with all our expense reports and I can definitely show that the expense reports match the reimbursements. I’ll make sure to print these off. Thanks for the suggestion!

    • I’m not clear on what your realtor is worried about here, frankly. Especially so long as you are shopping for a property that is affordable on the $180K. You may need to explain some of that to your mortgage broker or bank, but none of that should be disqualifying. I have a weird setup with my draw schedule and I had someone from my business write a letter of explanation about it, and it was no problem at all.

      • Yeah this. I was concerned because I took a 50% pay cut several months before we bought a house (~300 to ~150). Terrible timing, but was afraid this job wouldn’t come along again so I took it. I wasn’t even asked to explain the change. However, we were also taking a small mortgage given our income (700k mortgage, 300k HHI after my paycut).

    • I don’t think any of this is a big deal at all. We got our pre-approval letter based on about 15 minutes of questions and our credit scores (admittedly I was like “this is how housing crises happen!”). My husband hadn’t even started his new job, but his offer letter was sufficient for the loan officer. Our HHI is lower than yours, but my 17K in student loans was zero problem. I can’t really speak to the contract work or the travel reimbursements, but I’m certain it’s nothing the bank hasn’t seen before and had a way to deal with. I literally don’t know anyone who was prevented from getting a loan for weird financial stuff – just start talking to the bank now and ignore your realtor’s worries.

      • On the other hand, our loan officer initially said a job offer letter was fine (for a job that was the same type of work as before and at a much higher salary), but once we had an offer accepted on a house, he changed his mind about the pre-approval. It was a nightmarish scramble to get to closing.

        So, the realtor is probably right to worry, but this is all doable with the right loan officer.

    • I recommend using a mortgage broker/firm rather than a bank. I have had better experience with them and they have been more clear in what I do and dont need to explain. They also worked hard to continue to find the best loan/rates for us after supplying our pre-approval letter. I do not work in that industry and am just speaking from my experience. YMMV.

    • Piggybacking on the question, how many months of bank statements does the bank usually ask for?

    • I second the commentary to 1) get started now with a loan officer so that you can work through any extra documentation you’ll, 2) work with a local bank if you can – preferably one where you have an account and 3) it’ll all be fine, just a little extra work. We just closed on a new house yesterday (!) and had a very smooth process working with our local credit union despite lots of odd things on our finances ($500K mortgage that doesn’t appear on our credit report, switching jobs, additional side income with odd frequency/increments). Four years ago when we bought the last house we worked with a mortgage broker that we didn’t have any relationship with it got done but was a bit of a hassle and required some stern emails.

      • The loan officer makes a world of difference. I’ve bought and refinanced many times, most recently closed on a house with merely a job offer in hand with two weeks until I even started.

        My suggestion is to push to get pre-underwritten so you start working through all the leg work on your specific situation before you’re on a time line to close. Be prepared to document anything that has occurred in the last three months.

        If your loan officer requires anything in paper or you showing up at an office, find a new one.

    • Anonymous :

      Thank you for the advice, everyone. Yes, we are looking at houses in the $300K range which is less than half of what we actually qualify for. I have access to a credit union affiliated with my place of employment where, according to my coworkers, they understand a lot about the situations many of us find ourselves in (side gig income, large expense reimbursements coming in, etc.). Our Realtor had said she thought it would be best to go through the banks we already have accounts with – Bank of America and Wells Fargo – but I am going to call my work credit union today and make an appointment to talk to them. It won’t be that hard to open up an account and then use them to get our mortgage. I appreciate everyone’s advice! I was starting to think this was going to be a real problem and everyone’s responses were a relief. :-)

      • Anonymous :

        Your realtor is a loon. You can put 50% down on a $300k house. You need a $150k loan. You could qualify for that with <$100k in HHI.

  17. I posted several times over the last year about working at a small law firm that was completely abusive and was making me miserable. It was my first associate position. I’ve been at my new firm for about a month and a half. The first month or so at my new firm I had a difficult time engaging in work, I was in the same mental place as when I was at the abusive firm. I was overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety/depression over if I should ask for clarification when I didn’t understand something (I would get reamed for this at old firm), if it’s okay to go to a dentist appointment (this too), etc. Suddenly though I feel like I’ve acclimated. I just feel so…happy. Happy and normal. I reread some emails I screenshotted from my old boss and I cannot believe I was being talked to like that on a regular basis. I cannot believe I was in such a horrible mental place for such a long time. Anyway, happy Friday! Hope this happiness lasts!

    • YAY!!! Congratulations!!

      One commenter here – I think it was Rainbow Hair – said something a few months back that really changed my perspective on this. Paraphrased, “No one gets to yell at me. My toddler can yell at me, but she has to go to her room after.” It was so simple, but so true: adults don’t have the right to treat me badly.

    • Minnie Beebe :

      Hopefully you see this, even though it’s the morning thread, but Congratulations!

      I have a similar story, years of being treated poorly by my boss and many of my peers. My boss (this is the ONLY helpful thing he ever did for me, quite honestly, in like 7 years) arranged for me to get laid off, with a 20-week severance.

      It was THE BEST THING EVER! I found a new job within a few weeks, and though it’s not perfect, I’m in a much better place these days. I work with people who tell me I’m doing a good job, who listen to what I have to say, who give me autonomy to do my job. As you said, normal.

      So virtual fist bump to you! Congratulations on recognizing the non-sustainability of your old situation, and doing something about it. That takes courage and strength, and you’ve proven you have both.

      Also, Anon: I love that sentiment, from whoever first brought it up here. Other adults do not get to treat me poorly. I’m going to remember that. Thank you!

  18. For those of you who took loans either for college or grad school, when you were taking them did you know what your monthly payment would be and/or did you understand what type of income you’d need to service the debt while living how you wanted to? And did you look into how common/uncommon it was to graduate from your school making the kind of income you needed?

    • Anonymous :

      Honestly, I didn’t. I was very clueless in high school. Even though I was pretty bright as a kid, worked since I was 12 and saved, I really did not have a good sense of extrapolating to the future for college planning and loan payback.

      Maybe my parents thought about it more? But when I was in college, they gave more grant than loans for need. I had to work every summer and during school to contribute, then I had grant, then a small loan every year. I went to Stanford.

      But when I went to medical school, I knew I would never ever be willing to take out a quarter of a million dollars in loans at the time (and that was 25 years ago…. it’s a lot more now). I knew that the only way I would go would be if I got a scholarship or loan forgiveness. I did go for free after being accepted to a medical research + med school program. I did go to the best school I could, knowing it would help my long term employment (true in my field). I did not choose a specific medical specialty/job based on income projection, but I knew my chances of being employed long term were good.

    • Anonymous :

      It is impossible to know any of this up front unless your school promises not to raise its tuition. I was not planning to take out loans, but my law school nearly doubled its tuition while I was in school without raising my scholarship.

    • As a first gen college student in the 2000s, I had no idea. I did specifically pick a business major because I figured it had a high likelihood of a decent salary upon graduation, but I didn’t understand the scale of what I was taking on.

      When I graduated college, I went straight into the working world because a) I needed a salary and health insurance and b) I started to have a sense of how expensive those grad school loans would be. I’m now in my mid 30s and while I’d love to get my masters/MBA, at this point I will never go back. The loss of income combined with the cost of a degree would never ever break even with my likely increase in salary.

    • Yes, although the loan payments were definitely higher than I expected (I think the numbers they gave us were based on a 2.5% interest rate, and when that interest rate is over 6%, the math doesn’t work). The larger problem was graduating into the recession of 2008, from a law school that went through a horrible time at Career Services in the years immediately preceding and following my graduation (i.e. substantially worse than peer schools). That double whammy ensured that the facts upon which I made decisions in 2005 were substantially different than the facts of 2008.

    • Yes? I would never take out large amounts of money (heck, even smaller amounts like a car loan) without knowing at least roughly what the picture was on the other end. This also factored into my strategy for pursuing scholarships and deciding what law school to attend. I probably could have gone to a slightly higher ranked school (mid or upper T10) but I would have gotten less of a scholarship. I attended a lower T10 and got nearly a full scholarship. I couldn’t have told you to the dollar what my loan payments would be coming out but had a reasonable ballpark + understanding of what portion of my projected salary this would constitute.

    • Anonymous :

      Hah! No. I was woefully uninformed of a) the cost of grad school and b) the impact the interest rate had on my monthly payments/how much of that payment would go to the principle.

    • Shenandoah :

      I was fortunate to finish undergrad with minimal student loan debt (<$10k). My monthly payment amount was very manageable even after I got laid off and had to piece together an income from several part-time gigs. I then went to grad school and took out about $25k for that degree. But it has landed me a career with a decent salary. And that was my reasoning for going to grad school. I felt reasonably confident that I would be able to secure some form of employment that would allow me to pay off my debt without feeling overwhelmed. If I had had more undergraduate debt, I may not have chosen to go to grad school.

      What I didn't fully understand, even once I went to grad school, was how much of your monthly payment goes toward interest in the first several years. And that was incredibly hard mentally to see. You felt like you were never going to make any real progress.

    • Anonymous :

      No, I had absolutely no idea when I took out loans for law school. Even during law school, the amounts were so large that everything felt like monopoly money. But after I graduated, I had a good job and lived cheaply to pay off my student loans quickly–I wanted to finish paying off my loans before I had a child and had to pay for childcare. So my monthly payments were larger than the minimum monthly payments would have been.

    • Minnie Beebe :

      Team Nope here. I left undergrad with a relatively (in today’s terms) low value amount of debt (under $20k, I think.)

      I did not borrow money for grad school, but I was STEM and was given the (great!) advice that borrowing money for grad school was wholly unnecessary– if I didn’t get a good offer (tuition/stipend for research/TA,) that meant I wasn’t applying to the right school. I chose not to go to Stanford for this reason (would’ve required 100% loans), and instead entered an excellent Big-10 program that was fully paid for. No additional debt afterward, but also no savings. It was not a fun 2 years.

      But still, I was pretty dumb with money then, and when I started working. Not wasteful– I wasn’t buying fancy clothes or bags, and paid my bills on time (and student loans took ~5 years), but did not save much of anything.

    • Anonymous :

      I absolutely researched my loan amount/payment amount vs. the amount of money I thought I would end up making. I took out only the amount of loan I knew I could afford to pay back (affordable monthly payment). I ended up in a better job than I even thought I would get, and so have been able to affordably almost double the required payment, and the loan’s getting paid off pretty fast.

    • Anonymous :

      No. My influences were my mother and her father. He was rich. She was raised rich and had an expectation of an inheritance. They inherently valued private education (but I went to public elementary/secondary school bc my parents were not actually rich). When I went to college, we co-borrowed with the expectation that my parents would be paying the loans off. When I went to law school, I was encouraged to go to the private choice. I was aware there was a big price difference, and my boyfriend at the time made some extremely poor efforts to discuss it, but I was getting so much feedback that the private school was the way to go that I just proceeded. In the end, my mother decided I would be immediately rich so I should take over all of the loans for all of the schooling. I still have massive debt, much at a fairly high interest rate. It has dictated my life choices substantially, and my mother is confused as to why I do not live a life of luxury. I know I have not been as frugal as I could, but I also don’t understand where I am going so wrong.

    • Pretty Primadonna :

      I graduated undergrad with no loans. In law school, at my mother’s urging, I took out the 18,500 maximum Direct Loans per year and nothing else. Thank heavens I did!

      I didn’t know how much payments on those loans would be and franky, thought it would be a drop in the bucket relative to how much I assumed I would be making after graduation. My payments aren’t much compared to many lawyers, BUT, what I never considered was just how long 20 years is in terms of making montly payments. I am only halfway there. :-/

  19. Rainbow Hair :

    Does anyone have a brand rec for me? I’m looking for a cute, cheap [email protected] that’ll work for my large cup size (but standard-ish band size) bod. Doesn’t have to be supportive enough for jogging or anything, just cute and fits.

    Mostly I want like, something strappy and colorful and fun! Something that’ll look cute when it shows under summer tank tops and dresses cut too low on the sides!

    • cosabella has a “curvy bralette” that I like.

    • I’m similarly built and just got this, love it. It’s good enough for day drinking and walking to my kids school. The straps had to be fussed with a bit to get them all comfortable, but I really like that they are all four adjustable.

      • Rainbow Hair :

        OMG so pretty!!! Nothing in an xl at all though :'(

        • I checked earlier and thought there were a few colors left! Be sure to check a few other retailers of FP stuff: Revolve and Nordstrom’s

    • Not sure your definition of cheap, but Wacoal has [email protected] and soft-cups that come in cup sizes. (I specifically have the “Embrace Lace” one and it’s so nice to have no, uh, spillover or be smooshed into a [email protected] type)

  20. I work at a “cool” federal agency — you can buy shirts with our logo from Target, etc, we have a visitor center and gift shop that the public actually go to, etc.

    Is it weird to give non-work people stuff from my work gift shop, or does that seem like a gift that’s more about me than about the recipient? (I’m asking because I just found out about a friend’s baby shower TONIGHT, but I don’t actually know her that well yet so I don’t know how to personalize something for her, and I don’t know if I’ll have time to go to a regular store.)

    • I would be more concerned that it could come off as more political than you are intending. Like I would not want my child to wear a CIA -emblazoned t-shirt. And in this climate, people may feel the same way about the FBI.

    • I am assuming you work at NASA. NASA stuff would be the coolest baby gift ever.

      • Yup, you got me.

        • Clementine :

          I would 400% love a NASA onesie from my friend who works at NASA.

          I would literally cry and would put my little turd in that every dang chance I got.

          Seriously – a NASA onesie + board book about Space + the space shuttle stuffed toy or any combo of those would make my shower.

        • Anonymous :

          Get Mom the “I need my space” short. That’s legit the only pajama shirt I’ve ever considered buying at a gift shop!

      • Omg yes!! I am a space nerd but I would LOVE this. I really think it would be the hit of the baby shower.

      • Yes I want NASA stuff too. So awesome. Wide appeal.

    • I personally would think this was awesome. “Why does your baby’s onesie say [federal agency] on it?” “Oh, my friend who works at [federal agency] gave us that.” Way better than the same item sourced from Target, anyway!

      • +1. That would be the hit of the baby shower, and I’d wear that onesie to the ground. If you got some in a variety of sizes so I could get mileage out of it for the next year or so, I think I’d love you forever.

        Also if your gift shop has any NASA board books, those would be a perfect addition to a couple onesies.

        • I just went to the shop nasa site. That plush space shuttle, with any of the onesies, would be so cool I would probably have started crying when I was pregnant. Especially if I could say “oh my friend who works there gave it to me” so it was more personal than a random store-buy.

    • Run by a drug store and grab a gift card. Agency swag is weird for a baby shower.

    • I think this only works for NASA! I would LOVE a NASA baby onesie and so would my nerd husband (I specifically sought out rocket ship/space PJs for our daughter, despite my MIL commenting on how “boyish” there were).

    • Anonymous :

      NASA onesie would be ADORABLE

    • Anonymous :

      are you a lawyer for NASA? that is the coolest job, ever.

      • SRSLY

        • pugsnbourbon :

          SPACE LAWYER!

          • Even though I am not remotely qualified (I’m a cancer surgeon) I stalk the NASA website and apply for any job I’m remotely qualified for (anything with biological in the title basically). I have a fantasy where one day they interview me and fly me out to Houston and I get to meet the astronauts (I know, i know… but if you wish upon a star…..)

          • Hey guys, so I was just surfing the NASA job board, as I sometimes do. I have zero appropriate qualifications, because I’m a cancer surgeon and we don’t study cancer in space (…yet), but I basically check the job board at intervals and apply for every biological scientist job I see, and maintain a fantasy where they fly me out to Houston for the interview and I get to meet astronauts. It hasn’t happened yet, but if you wish upon a star….

            However, as I was surfing the job postings today, I saw a SPACE LAWYER job posting and just wanted to point it out in case some of you talented, space enthusiastic legal ladies would be interested.


            The Office of Chief Counsel provides comprehensive legal services for the Johnson Space Center (JSC). The Office of Chief Counsel provides Center clients with a full range of legal services across these practive areas: procurement law including associated litigation; fiscal law; avoidance of fraud, waste and abuse; ethics and standards of conduct; environmental matters; civilian personnel law; Equal EmploymentOpportunity (EEO) and employee relations law; general litigation; labor law; Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act matters; export control; international law; and real and personal property. JSC procurements include high technology research and development, major space systems, support services, and hardware and software.This position is in the excepted service and exempt from competitive appointment procedures. Should a competitive service employee be selected for the position, they will be required to convert to the excepted service upon appointment. It is excluded from provisions of the Career Transition (CTAP) and Interagency Career Transition Assistance Plan (ICTAP).To receive consideration, you must submit a resume and answer NASA-specific questions. The NASA questions appear after you submit your resume and are transferred to the NASA web site. If you successfully apply, USAJOBS will show your application status as ‘Received’. If your status is ‘Application Status Not Available’, you have not successfully applied. Do not rely on a USAJOBS email to confirm successful application. Only an email from NASA confirms a successful application.

            Center: Johnson Space Center
            Location: Houston, TX
            Salary: $117,736.00 to $164,200.00
            Open Period: 5/22/2018 to 5/31/2018

            If you get the space lawyering job, consider pitching a space doctor opportunity:)

  21. I just ordered a light-colored tote from Cuyana. Do I need to worry about water spots in the rain? Should I apply a leather protectant?

    • I apply leather protector to all my bags, regardless of color.

    • I have the light coloured work tote and I have done zero anything to protect it.
      Carried it through rain and snow
      Set it on the ground
      I spill coffee on it with great frequency
      And it still looks great.

  22. What are your go-to summer weekend or evening outfits? I am single and am trying to put a little more effort into my appearance this summer and could use some inspiration! Bonus points for looks you can wear in a hot and humid climate without turning into a sweaty mess.

    • Anonymous :

      T-shirt dress.

      • Aunt Jamesina :

        OP, if you go this route, Everlane has nice, substantial t-shirt dresses that are 100% cotton and NOT see-through!

    • Anonymous :

      Athleta dresses with comfy sandals or converse for weekend day. If it’s a casual night, I step up my shoes. Summer night outfits… sun dresses.

      Day dress like this, you can dress it up or down. I usually buy on sale, but have found I wear this look enough to get a good cost/wear ratio:

      I’m clearly on a FP kick right now, so YMMV but I’ve been eyeing this to replace my current Summer night outfit:

    • Anonymous :

      Cool, sleeveless maxi dresses, as I am not a shorts person.

      Otherwise, a little bit oversized T-shirts with ankle pants (NOT capris) with cute shoes/flats/sandals/sneakers.

    • Anonymous :

      Dresses. Old Navy is great for casual, cheap summer dresses. I also love distressed denim shorts.

    • If you browse the Target casual dress section, you will see literally my entire summer wardrobe.

  23. New to RA :

    After several months of joint pain, fatigue, etc., I just received a preliminary diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. I am 37, and this will be my second autoimmune disease (celiac). There seems to be a 3 month wait to get into rheumatologists in my state, which isn’t frustrating. I would love to hear from others who have experienced this (or have a loved one who has). Are there changes to my diet that could help? I already swim 4-5 time so per week, and plan to keep that up. Other exercise recommendations? What is the best way to handle the fatigue? Should I take periodic naps? Thank you!

    • No personal experience, but vitamin D supplements help my autoimmune disease (Raynaud’s) and reportedly help some people with RA.

    • Functional medicine docs and naturopaths are usually helpful in customizing an anti-inflammatory diet. Different people respond differently but sometimes cutting out certain foods can be helpful in reducing joint pain symptoms.

      Re: fatigue: I don’t have RA but I do have a different chronic illness that causes fatigue. You just have to do what you need to do. What works for me is: very regular/strict sleep schedule at night, naps as needed/as possible during the day (unfortunately, not very often at work, but on the weekends for sure), and then careful pacing of food, caffeine, etc. If you use a food diary you might be able to track which foods/beverages cause fatigue or which make you feel energized, what times of day are best for you to eat, etc. After a few years I am pretty good at this for myself and I plan accordingly (for example, depending on what I have going on at work, I will be careful about what I eat or don’t eat for lunch so that I feel less fatigued in the afternoon). I also find that alcohol affects me a lot even the next day. Etc. You will find what works for you.

    • Anonymous :

      I don’t have a diagnosis, but a few symptoms and have been doing some reading while waiting for a doctors appointment. There is a quite a bit out there on the impact of diet on RA, so you may want to check that aspect out.

    • My mother has severe psoriatic arthritis (which mimics rheumatoid) (she’s on Enbrel) and I likely have the beginning stages as well due to a pregnancy induced flare up but unconfirmed on xrays and we got it under control before I bothered with a CT scan. At least for PA, my rheumatologist told me the first line of defense is a routine of anti-inflammatories. She put me on 400 mg of ibuprofen morning and evening for a consistent 3 weeks and that managed to get my flare under control (as well as likely the passage of time – pregnancy induced flares can go up a year post-partum). Getting the inflammation under control can make a huge different in how tired you are. Gentle walking and swimming are key. You have to keep the joints moving. My mother got tested and is gluten sensitive but not full celiac. Going gluten free helped her psoriasis but not enough for her to maintain the diet. Sounds like you already are though for the celiac’s. I will tell you the picture is a lot more hopeful now than it was when my mom got diagnosed 20+ years ago. The biologics out there are really impressive and do an amazing job of managing symptoms and (key) preventing further damage. Mom tried Humira and it didn’t work at all, so stay positive if you have to try a couple to find one that fits. They even have one that is rumored to be safe (relatively speaking) to take while pregnant and breastfeeding, which was a question I had for my rheumatologist. I’m not at that point yet, but recognize a lot can happen between kid 1 and kids 2, maybe 3 in the next few years.

  24. Does anyone wear Jo Malone perfume? I spritzed on a couple of samples today on my lunch break and I’m in love and want all of them, now. But some reviews say they don’t last long. Has anyone had experience with that? I’d hate to spend a lot of money on a scent that fades in three hours.

    • Anonymous :

      Yeah, I love my Jo Malone fragrances but they don’t last long. It’s because they’re colognes and not parfums/perfumes. Lower concentration of frangrance oils. You could layer with the matching lotion.

      Their candles are WONDERFUL, though.

    • Anonymous :

      Ugh I’m in mod for some reason. Short answer: no, they don’t last long. Still love them.

    • Anonymous :

      i think it depends on the scent. The stronger ones (pom noir) last all day, while the lighter ones (mimosa cardamom) dont last quite as long

    • I use them and like them. Couple of things.

      They do fade quickly. You can help them last by spraying them on oil (like lotioned skin) or on your clothing. The French like to spray a little on one’s scarf so that the fragrance wafts as the scarf moves.

      Two, you might have just gone nose blind to the scent after wearing it for a couple of hours.

    • Yes, I love them! The body cream is also amazing, and I think the scent lasts longer.

  25. Ugh, did anyone read the NYT article interviewing the cast of arrested development, where basically all the male cast members interrupted a crying 77 year old Jessica Walters in order to mansplain why no one was upset about Jeffrey Tambor verbally abusing her on set? It was disgusting.

    I know that Jason Bateman has now apologized, but only after a social media uproar. It seems like if the backlash hadn’t taken place he’d have thought his behavior was perfectly OK.

    We still have so far to go.

    • Here’s the original article

  26. Nice one.

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