Workwear Hall of Fame Cashmere Faux-Wrap Sweater

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

The cashmere sales have begun (including this old favorite gray cardigan), which is great if you’re a fan of cashmere sweaters for work (for when it’s actually cold outside, not this unseasonably warm weather we’re having!). Neiman Marcus has had some reader-favorite cashmere styles in the past, and this surplice faux-wrap sweater is a long-standing stalwart at NM. It’s there every season in new colors, and it looks great if you want a very classy but fashionable look. It’s currently available in seven colors in sizes S-XL, and in plus sizes as well, for $137 (from $275). Cashmere Faux-Wrap Sweater

This post contains affiliate links and Corporette® may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more details see here. Thank you so much for your support!

2017 Update: We’re adding this dress to our Workwear Hall of Fame because it keeps coming out in more colors and getting rave reviews. Neiman Marcus has the most options, but occasionally Last Call has the sweater as well.

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  1. Liebeskind Berlin :

    Does anyone have a Liebeskind Berlin bag? I just found a lovely purse and the leather is so soft. I was thinking of getting a bag but I’m not familiar with the quality.

    • anonshmanon :

      I love mine. I got a small-ish purse for going out over two years ago, and it looks like new (I probably only use it once a month though). The zipper and all the details are really nicely done. A friend of mine has had hers for ages and still loves it. The leather really is super duper soft!

      • I have a large handbag that’s five and a half years old which is only now starting to show its age. It’s been around the world more than a few times, and has held up remarkably (considering how soft the leather is and that mine is pale grey!). Can only recommend.

  2. Any recommendations for a carry-on suitcase for weekly travel? Tumi has been recommended to me, but are they really worth that much? Are there lower cost alternatives that are in the ballpark of the same quality?

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I’m really happy with the quality of my Victorinox suitcase. They are expensive too, but I’m not sure how much compared to Tumi. They do go on sale when they upgrade the styles though.

      • Anonymous :

        I too like my wheelie Victorinox suitcase, which I HAD to buy at Philadelphia airport on my way to a wedding in Europe. The hinge on the non-wheeled suitcase I had been using for years collapsed! There was little choice but I had to have something. The Victorinox was the only one of its kind at the store, but I really like it. Simple, well-designed, just the right size for carry-on, fits most aircraft bins, very light but sturdy. And it was on sale. I had been eyeing Tuma cases for some time but .

    • Anonymous :

      Yes, they are nicer and last longer. I have a Tumi and Victorinox and I love them both. Before that, I had a suitcase literally fall apart (coming apart at the seams) from use. If you travel a lot, the better quality is worth it.

    • I have a Delsey suitcase I really like. Travelpro is another good brand that’s not crazy expensive. It was started by a pilot (I think) and it’s the one that you’ll see actual pilots and flight attendants toting around, which seems like a pretty stellar endorsement to me.

      • Shenandoah :

        +1 to Travelpro. I was able to get mine very affordably from Amazon. I’ve had it for a few years now and have had zero issues with it. Quality is great. And while I haven’t been traveling too frequently the past year, the luggage has held up to some rough treatment and still looks brand new.

        • Anonymous :

          I have also had great luck with both Delsey and Travelpro.

        • Anonymous :

          I have a travelpro rollaboard that has been all over the world with me and I love dearly, but somehow Frontier (UGHHHH how did this bag make it through days of delays and 7 countries but couldn’t make it from IAD to MCO?) managed to bang up the handle so I am looking at replacing it. I got it VERY affordably on Amazon in the warehouse deals section because……… who cares if a suitcase is open box?

          I am lusting over an Away, though.

          • My Travelpro had the same problem and I took it to an authorized dealer — they replaced the handle for me for free and it works great.

      • +1 to Delsey. I did a lot of research hunting for my new carry-on and it’s holding up well after a year. The bag itself is remarkably light, but sturdy.

        • BeenThatGuy :

          Another plus to Delsey. I have multiple sizes. They take a beating, are stylish, and very light.

      • I have a TravelPro bag from the “crew” collection, which is designed for airline employees that obviously travel all the time. It has held up amazingly.

        • AnonInfinity :

          This is also what I have, and I love it. I did buy two and end up alternating quite a bit.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I love my Travelpro bags- I have two of them, a carry-on roller and a bigger actual suitcase. Both are from their Crew collection and have held up great- trains, planes, automobiles, moving 6-7 times, etc.

    • Take a look at Briggs and Riley. It’s a nice middle-level, cheaper than Tumi but still fantastic quality – my husband has a victorinox and we have had Hayes before – it’s a significant step-up in quality from these brands.
      I have had my Briggs and Riley for 10 years, and I travel a lot for work. All of my pieces (carry-on rollerboard, smaller roller overnight, laptop bag) have held up extremely well.

      I also think the design is done very well. For example, the carry-on is very square and the handle’s frame is exterior. This makes the case very easy to pack because there are no nooks and crannies. The laptop bag has great pockets and organization for things like pens, USB keys, business cards, and receipts. And the strap has a tiny bit of stretch to it.

      • anon in SV :

        +1 to Briggs and Riley. Fantastic quality, a great value, and very well designed. I have the regular carry on and my husband has the wide-body carry on, which I steal whenever I am traveling solo.

        • Anonymous :


          Lifetime warranty and takes a beating. Also they make sizes for international cabin carryon which is critical when you have, say, a [email protected] pump and laptop etc and have to get on a tiny European puddle jumper connection. I would have taken the train before I let them gate check my pump (and 5L of pumped milk), but my cabin bag did the job and fit fine under the seat in front of me.

          Signed, fly >100k miles/year

    • I have a Briggs & Riley. Same price point as Tumi, but full, forever lifetime warranty on everything. I will never, ever have to buy another suitcase again. Ever. Kind of amazing. My favorite thing about it is that it has this special pocket out of which zips a little net which can corral your overcoat, if you travel in Winter in cold climes. That alone is worth it!

      • my comment is in moderation, but +1 to Briggs and Riley

      • +1

        I was given one of these bags by a relative that travels constantly, internationally for work. He also described it as the last carry-on suitcase you will ever need to buy.

      • 4th for Briggs & Rilly.

      • JuniorMinion :

        I have a Briggs & Riley international set as well (small duffel + rolling suitcase) and I love it. I lucked out and found it at the outlet and have had it for almost 10 years.

      • I had a Briggs and Riley for several years. I liked it a lot and it will probably last forever but it was pretty heavy.

        I’m now using a Tumi Tegra Lite and I love it. The hard sided suitcases are the most lightweight, and the hard sides do a good job of compression your packed items so you never have a bulging bag that is hard to fit in the overhead bin.

        In have the continental carry-on size and there’s room for me to put a coat on top in most overhead bins. I can and have packed for two weeks in it

    • away dot com

      I have the rollaboard. I sprung for the monogram so no one walks off with it.

    • I like my Samsonite Lift.
      I have a bunch of pieces but when I was commuting to another city weekly for awhile, I always used the wheeled boarding bag. It fit perfectly into the overhead compartment and fit everything I needed for the workweek (as long as you’re ok packing light).

    • You can frequently find Victorinox and Tumi at places like Marshalls.

    • Not sure where you are flying to – my recent travel has been on smaller planes where the classic roller-board doesn’t fit and therefore has to be gate-checked.

      After a thorough search, I found the Lipault 50/18 that fits the small regional jets without issue and no gate check. I’m a fairly proficient packer so can get a 3-day work trip or 7-day vacation trip in one.

      Price was affordable around $100-125

  3. vacation suggestions? :

    Hi, I’m looking for a warm vacation spot for me and my boyfriend for late March for 7 – 10 days, flying out of Boston or NYC.

    The ideal spot would have water warm enough to swim but also other stuff so we could do more than just spending a week on the beach…things like good food, hiking, snorkeling, exploring cities. We went to Costa Rica last year, which was great. We are adventurous travelers but ideally would go somewhere we don’t need to worry too much about getting sick from food/water. Not TTC.

    • Anonymous :


      • YES! My boss married a Colombian and they go here a lot. The pics are amazing and she has amazing things to say about it. There is a resort on an island off the coast that looks amazing and you can only get there by boat. Look into it!

    • Anonymous :

      Thailand, if you’re up for that long a flight. Spend some time in Bangkok and/or Chiang Mai and then head to the beaches.

    • Hawaii!

      • +1 – I’ve done Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Belize, Carribbean, but I’d never been to Hawaii. Fiance and I are taking a week on Maui with a pitstop in LA on the way. Coming from Boston, too.

      • Ooh…great idea, never been.

    • I haven’t been there myself, but what about Croatia? It seems to be a popular choice for my family that lives in Europe.

      • Not warm enough to swim in March though. I love European beach vacations but the earliest you can go is really June if you want reliable swimming weather.

        • I usually start swimming in late April, but I admit I have a very high tolerance for cold water. (Also, people look at you very oddly in Croatia/Italy etc if you swim before June/July. I’ve usually been the only one in the water. Oddly, there are more people around if I go to the north sea!)

          Would recommend Croatia highly from mid-May for the average sunseeker.

      • I loved Croatia–in the summer though! Would recommend to anyone.

    • Galapagos/Ecuador?

    • Wanderlust :

      IIRC, you can fly direct from Boston to the Azores

  4. Sassyfras :

    What’s the environment like at your workplace? I just started a new job last month and was told the hours were 8:30-5. I get in around 8:00 because I like to arrive early and settle in before starting my day. It seems that most people get here closer to 9 and leave starting around 4:30. This is so unlike anywhere else that I’ve ever worked – I was previously at a place where you were given a hard time if you left one minute early – so I’m curious what other people’s experiences are. My husband thinks this is what an average workplace is like but he’s been at the same place for ten years.

    • Anonymous :

      My co-workers mostly arrive between 8:30 and 9 and leave between 5 and 5:30, with some correlation between who leaves early and arrives early, but it’s uniform and there are people who just do 9-5ish. I am not a morning person so I typically get in closer to 9:30 and stay til 6. 9 to 4:30 sounds a little short, but not that abnormal. Every professional I know in an exempt job has no problem ducking out a few minutes early, or even an hour early if they’re getting their work done and there’s nothing on their calendar at that time.

    • This is typical in a sane office. People stagger their hours a bit to avoid traffic or just have other things they need to do on workdays. No one stresses about ~30 minutes on the front or back end of the day.

      • +1 This is normal workplace behaviour unless you’re in a crazy biglaw office or something.

        • I actually think Big Law offices are typically very flexible in this regard, because you’re billing your time so the partners know exactly how much you’re working. I never got flack for coming in late or leaving early as long as my hours remained high. You’re definitely expected to be logged on basically 24/7 but that’s a different issue.

          • Agreed. The most miserable associates I know work at firms that expect both face time and 24/7 remote availability. Those firms tend to have high turnover.

          • TupeloHoney :

            I recently left a firm that required both for a firm that requires only the latter and I am way happier.

      • Agree.

        My boss is likely to notice if I’m not here by 9:30. I like to be in by 9, but for example this morning got here at 9:06. No one noticed. I leave at 5, or even 10 minutes prior.

        I get my work done efficiently and I don’t expect to be questioned about my time. If there were a problem with my work, maybe questions would be appropriate.

        • Anonymous :

          “If there were a problem with my work, maybe questions would be appropriate.”

          This, exactly. And this is also how I counsel my employer clients to view staff time. My question to them is always, are you managing for time, or are you managing for results? If someone can’t get their work done, and they’re leaving early every day,it’s time for a conversation. But requiring people to have their butt in a seat at exactly 9 and make them stay till exactly 5 does not create greater productivity – actually, the opposite is true.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      We’re supposed to be here from 9:30-5:30 but there is wiggle room on either side. It seems like there is more wiggle room in the mornings though, although it might just be my own feelings as a rule follower who doesn’t feel super comfortable leaving too early. Most people get in between 10-10:30 and leave after 5:30. I prefer to get in between 6-7 and leave between 5:15-5:30 so I’m not sure how much later people normally stay.

      Aside from fast food/retail jobs and the one place I worked where someone had to be there to open the door at a specific time, I haven’t worked in an office that has super strict start and stop times. There has always been at least a few minutes of flexibility.

      • You get to work 3+ hours early and leave at roughly the same time as everyone else? My goodness! I hope you at least take a lunch hour.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          I have a base salary and get overtime pay. Aside from a couple of months last year, I can work as much overtime as I want. I aim to work 55-65 hours per week and do my best to get them done within the 5 day workweek and still go home to have dinner with my husband. So lots of 11-13 hour days with 9+ happening in the office. I could obviously go in later, but I prefer getting up early and avoiding the subway when it gets busier in the morning.

    • My office hours are 8-4:30. I usually work more like 7:30-4 because of some oddball commuting logistics; the woman next door to me is usually more like 8:15-4:45. We do have to make sure that we’re staffed from 9-4:30 because of student traffic, but as long as there’s at least one human here no one really cares. Unusually for this s*te, I’m a classified employee (large state university, extremely strict HR), so I’m out once I hit my 40 hours. My department is also overall very focused on work/life balance. It’s going to be a struggle to go back…

      • I always thought there was something patronising about a time clock but my husband is in management at a government organisation and they have to log their time. They get flexitime and it is tracked and enforced (we’re taking a day off at easter and he didn’t need to use holiday). If someone is working too late, it prompts a discussion about workloads and priorities. It seems to sane particularly in contrast to academia where you can do your hours anytime, but there are still 60 of them.

    • Some likely have kids to drop off/ pick up. Perhaps they work through lunch, or monitor email remotely? Or the culture is simply not to stress about 30 minutes on either end.

      • I also have a kid who I need to drop off/pick up from daycare so I get it and I’m not saying being in this environment is unwelcome. It’s just very different from what I’m used to and I was wondering whether I’ve previously worked in relatively ‘strict’ places… sounds like it!

    • Anonymous :

      We’re supposed to be roughly 9-5 but there is variation. I’m 9:30- 6 some days and 8:30-4:30 on others depending on childcare arrangements etc. I may come in late and leave early on one day if I’ve put in a couple longer days already that week.

      • The manageing partner gives me 100% flexebility in when I come and go as long as I bill 600 hours a month. I can even work from home if I do not have court apearances. I love it! Yay!!!

    • Anonymous :

      I work for the government, so with that caveat, my agency’s core hours are 9:30-2:30. Outside of that, people come and go anywhere between 6 am and 6 pm, and whatever happens with your exact schedule to get your 80 hours in biweekly is between you and your manager.

      I like to get in around 7, 7:30 and have some quiet time in the morning, if I have to I’ll take it in the evening — I stay until 4:30 or 5 on a normal day, and have every other Monday off in exchange for my longer days.

    • Concerned Friend :

      Same here. We’re salaried and need to work 35 hours a week. Its expected to be 9-5 with an hour lunch, but I usually come in around 9:15 (today was 9:30) and leave around 5:15 or 5:30. I often work through lunch and then walk to a coffee shop on the corner for a coffee break. Its pretty flexible. Some people come in at 8:30 and leave at 4:30.

    • Ugh, hit refresh and it deleted my comment.

      TLD post – the managers in the building where I work are generally flexible, although less so with hourly employees and with those that staff the customer service lines. My manager doesn’t care about 15 – 30 minutes here and there, although I still feel crazy guilty about it from the intense law offices I worked in, so I do not generally take advantage of it.

      • I’m a fed now and before this I was on a client site with a client who was an INTENSE micromanager. I still have problems not accounting for 7 or 8 minutes here or there on my timecard, even though my boss DOES NOT CARE (I think especially because I check my email at home at night, sometimes we work through lunch, etc). I try to let somebody know if I’m going to lunch for more than an hour, which is almost always a networking deal, and I still think they don’t care. But man, the micromanager hangover is real.

        • Frozen Peach :

          THIS! “micromanager hangover”! A term for what I’ve been dealing with for almost a year since leaving Biglaw…

          • Frozen Peach :

            I think I need a new mantra–

            “The only reason my boss would care is if I project micromanagement onto her”

        • YES! I went from being on cal 24/7 at a law firm to an INTENSE micromanager in government. I had to take two years off of law to regroup, am two years into my current job, and even now I still experience micromanager hangover!

    • In my office people come in anywhere from 8:00am – 9:30am and then leave from 6:00pm – 8:00pm, usually whenever they have been there for 9 hrs with lunch. As long as you show up by 9:30 I don’t think anyone cares. I usually come in by 9.

    • I’ve worked in two different departments in the same organization, with wildly different results. The first one was mostly older people in laid-back positions who got in at 8 AM and left at 4 PM on the dot. The head of the department definitely didn’t count minutes by any means, but routine lateness arriving or early departure would be noticed and probably reprimanded. My current department is a bit more high-powered, and it really varies; some coworkers get in as early as 7 or 8 and stay until 6 or 7, others show up at 10 AM and leave at 6, our executive assistant gets in at 8:15 and leaves at 4:15, and I’m 9:30 to 5:30 with some variation for metro making me late or leaving early for a school project or meeting (I’m in grad school part time). The head of department has never once questioned when I arrive, when I leave, when I take vacation, etc. – he (rightly) assumes that as long as we are all getting our work done and attending all meetings we need to be at, then he doesn’t need to keep time.

    • Tech in Texas :

      My department has a strong “butts in seats” policy from 8-5:30 M-F. When it was rolled out, our CTO would come down to our floor for inspections (but otherwise didn’t know any details about the ins and outs of what we actually did). A few of us managers banded together to fight for 5pm “early release” on payday Fridays. Pretty sure my soul is being sucked out of my body.

      • Ugh, that’s terrible! And sounds very similar to where I used to work. Someone (not even my manager) would walk around at 4:59 and if anyone had already stepped out, you would not hear the end of it the next day. It’s a really demoralizing thing to not be treated like an adult who can be responsible for their work.

        • I worked for a crazy person who required attorneys in be physically in the office from 7 am to 6 pm every day, and available to work “on call” once or twice a week until 10 pm and every third weekend (8 am to 10 pm) to respond immediately to prospective clients. He would have the ‘lead’ associate wander around the office at 7 am and text the crazy person with a report of who had not yet arrive.

          Also, the pay was terrible.

    • My office is open from 8-4:30 but most people work 7:30-4. I’m one of the later people so I usually get here around 8:30 and leave around 5. I’m not customer facing so I get some flexibility in regards to my start time but would feel weird leaving before I hit my 8 hours for the day unless I had some sort of pre-approval from my boss.

    • Anon in NOVA :

      This is pretty standard, especially for exempt employees. Usually, in places that function like this, this flexibility is granted with the knowledge that sometimes you’ll have to work MORE than your 40 hours and won’t be compensated.

      • Anon in NOVA :

        Although, to put this in context, my current job and last job handled this very differently.
        Last job: came in a minute late or leave 15 minutes early? needed to account for it. They ask you to stay a few hours late? Just part of being exempt!
        New job: Provides a (bit) more flexibility to employees, recognizing that they will occasionally expect that flexibility in return.

      • Anonymous :

        In my last job, crazy hours were normal (and not at biglaw salaries either). I recall one summer where i was arriving in the dark, and leaving in the dark. I thought this was normal.
        Current nonprofit has a lot of flexibility… plenty of flexing early/late depending on personal needs and job duties. I heard recently that the average weekly hours across the board are ~41 or so? Which is shockingly low to me, but apparently there are a lot of professionals who Will. Not. Work more than 40. I flex early (i do daycare pickup, DH does dropoff) and honestly have never gotten any flack for declining a 4:30 or 5:00 meeting. Plenty of regular WFH as well. My typical hours are 7-4, with one day/week 6-4. Sometimes 4:30. Sometimes I log on at night for an hour. Nobody, not even my current lunatic boss, has EVER said anything. In fact I was counseled to stop using vacation hours once my timesheet hit 80

    • This is fascinating! Midsize not-for-profit, west coast.

      For exempt employees, there are basically two shifts: 7:00-4:00, and 8:00-5:00. My boss is pretty much on the dot for the later of those times, while I tend to get in around 7:45 and leave just before 5:00. A lot of people also really take their lunch hours, including going home to eat. I don’t usually, but will hang out in the break room for 30 minutes or read the New Yorker on my computer while I eat.

    • Not that Anne, the other Anne :

      Our official business hours are 8-5, but depending on job function, people come in as early as 6 am and leave commensurately early. I arrive between 8 and 8:15, leave about 5, and take a half-hour lunch. They’re big on work/life balance, so if I stay too late, I will be scolded and my boss has suggested I take a longer lunch more than once.

      My boss is pretty flexible on when we get to work as long as we get the job done, so if I need to leave early or come in late, no one worries about it. I don’t even file for PTO unless I need to take off more than 2 hours. It’ll all come out even in the end, generally.

    • My boss doesn’t care when I come and go (as long as I get my work done), so I arrive at 8:45am and leave just before 4pm because of the public transit schedule. I have a long commute and will get some work done on the train. We have some flexibility with our hours, and I would say everyone arrives between 7-9am and leaves between 3-6pm.

      Generally, meetings are scheduled between 9-3pm with the understanding that most people will be in the office during those hours.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      People get in between 8:30 and 10 and leave between 4:30 and 6. Doesn’t always line up- for example, people with kids tend to get here later and leave earlier to make daycare pickup/dropoff a bit easier, and then work at home a bit. It all evens out. We’re expected to work 35 hours/week, generally 9-5ish with an hour for lunch, but loooooots of flexibility.

      I tend to get here between 9:15 and 9:35 and leave between 5:15 and 6:30. I don’t put in for PTO unless I’m out more than a half day AND don’t have any hours to make up for it the rest of the pay period- so if I work 4 hours one day and 9 hours the next, I don’t put in for 3 hours of PT for the 4 hour day, because I know I just need to make up another hour somewhere in the two weeks before timesheets are due.

      I usually end up at about 75-80 hours every two weeks. Nonprofit, West Coast, exempt.

    • Calibrachoa :

      We have pretty strict start/end times because we need to guarantee coverage 24/7, but most of the time we can take “time for time” without using PTO, because they know we’ll be asked to do overtime on a regular basis. it works for everyone because we get flexibility and they avoid paying us OT :D

    • I’m in-house. The lawyers don’t have set schedules (support staff has set schedules to make sure there is full coverage). The lawyers tend to arrive at 8:30ish and leave at 5ish, although people work more when they are busy and less when they’re not. I prefer a more 9-6 pm schedule with a lunch and it’s never been an issue.

  5. Sydney Bristow :

    This sweater is really pretty and that is one of my favorite colors right now. Outside of my budget though and I don’t stay the same size long enough to justify spending that much on a sweater. Someday when my weight stops fluctuating I want to get a super luxurious version of this sweater in black.

  6. Academic Pay Info :

    Is there a site or resource that compiles information on salary ranges for the world of academia? I’m particularly interested in pay for university faculty.

    • Anonymous :

      All public universities have their salary data published in the local newspaper (because it’s a matter of public record) so you can look it up. When my husband was job-hunting, we’d pick someone in his potential department at approximately his level and look up that person’s salary to get a sense of things. That’s pretty time consuming though.

      • In my state, the largest paper mantains a searchable database of all public employee salary info (including unversities, colleges, and community colleges). You can search by name, department, title, or salary.

    • Chronicle of Higher Ed might have some info.

    • The Chronicle of Higher Education publishes a faculty salary survey every year, and the data can be sorted in a variety of ways.

    • CUPA:

    • Thanks all!

  7. Anonymous :

    Is there a polite way to tell my parents “don’t buy oodles of cheap cr*p for the baby?” I’m expecting and my parents have already started giving us stuff and I know there is a lot more on the way. The problem is their taste is totally opposite to mine (they like loud, garish stuff and I am all about subtle prints and neutrals), and they love to buy cheap stuff while I would much rather spend the same amount on one fancier, higher quality item. I’d love it if they would put all the money they spend on lots of cheap stuff towards one nicer gift, but at this point I’d gladly settle for them not giving us anything at all, because I don’t want to get a ton of junk that I’m going to have to display in the baby’s room or store in the basement at the risk of offending them.
    I know this is what registries are for, but we’re not having a baby shower and I’m pretty sure my mom would flip if I registered “just because” (she was hesitant about me creating a *wedding* registry because she thought it was tacky and I think those are way more common than baby registries…)

    • I don’t think it’s wrong to explain to your mother what your tastes are. My SIL was very clear–no brights, only pastels for the baby. No logos, no cute sayings. My parents (and I) got the message.

      I don’t think you can stop her buying a lot of stuff though. This is her way of showing love. However, I think you can channel it. I would subtly say, “Oh, we were hoping for this swing, or this (fancy) stroller” and maybe get her to go in the direction of fewer larger gifts.

    • The short answer is no. My MIL is like that, too. You don’t have to use their stuff all the time. When you use something, take a photo and text them. Plus, I’m sorry to say that the baby is going to spit up on whatever you use, and you will need back-ups, so the “one fancier, higher quality item” philosophy only goes so far in babyland. Your main crib sheets should be ones you like, for instance, but there will be plenty of need for anything to serve as a burp cloth/ blanket/ whatever.

      • I could have written this exact post. Agree, the answer is no. Unfortunately. I’m okay with garish toys, but the toys from the dollar store and the dollar spot just kill me. So. Much. Waste. So. Much. Crap. And the clothes she buys for the babies are just out of control ugly. They’re all from super cheap stores, so they are itchy fabric. She’ll go to TJ Maxx and say I wanted to buy him a swimsuit but this is the only one they had, so sorry it’s not very cute. ??? Not to mention that my kids have hand me downs from my sister, so they already have plenty of things, which she knows. I would ADORE it if she just bought one special thing a season, or something like that.

        • +1. We haven’t even had kids yet, but this will be my MIL.

          My consolation is that they don’t live locally so they won’t see if baby only wears their outfit when they visit. It’s like the pink bunny rabbit pjs from A Christmas Story.

    • Anonymous :

      Create a registry. There’s no way to tell her to stop what she’s doing that isn’t offensive. A baby registry is perfectly acceptable. If she flips out hang up. You don’t need to engage with her about it. But you don’t get to tell her how to spend her money. Say thank you and donate whatever you don’t want. If you have a basement there’s really not a huge downside to just keeping the stuff and using it if it comes in handy. In general fancy is wasted on babies.

    • Anonymous :

      No idea. I just passive aggressively like becomingminimalist or Konmari articles on Facebook. I also say that the three kids ‘break’ toys a lot to explain why they have disappear.

    • Is it decorative “keepsake” stuff or toys? Because you’re in for a bit of a rude awakening with the latter – babies love the garish, brightly colored plastic crap. My entire home is in subtle neutrals, except all the toys, which are brightly colored plastic.

      To actually answer your question, would it work to say something like, “let’s see what we actually need once the baby gets here”?

      • Ha, this – babies can actually only see high contrast for a time. Subtle neutrals are lovely, but… Also there’s a reason fischer price is so dominant. I have no idea why but a lot of these garish toys are magical.

        Same with music. I’d love it if my kids liked the beatles. But instead, we love Old McDonald.

        Get cute storage bins. We have the woven ones from Pottery Barn. That’s my number one tip!

      • One of my kiddos favorite toys was a cheap-o egg set from Walgreens. That six dollar toys has remained a fan favorite for nearly a year now. Accept gifts graciously and if they are truly awful, just tuck them away.

      • This is kind of true, but 1) you can actually buy stuff that is brightly colored but also made out of higher quality materials, and 2) you don’t have to have stuff in your house just because your kid likes it. You may decide that the entertainment value is worth having gaudy cr*p all around your living room, or you may not. We are a year into our second kid, and we still have a strict no-battery-toys policy. Because yes, our kids love them (and play with them whenever we visit other houses), but they drive me bananas.

    • Can you tell them that you’re already getting so many things for the baby as gifts and hand-me-downs that you would hate to have duplicates and would they please not get you stuff/check with you before buying?

      Are these things clothing, toys or something else? I think with clothing you just have to stress how much you already have and how fast they grow and suck it up for the occasional horrible outfit they just “couldn’t resist.” With other things, you can always say that you already have something in mind. I basically avoided your problem by claiming to have everything. Maybe you can steer them towards buying you the one big item like a stroller or crib or high chair so that they spend the money and then to the extent they buy a crappy outfit or two just suck it up/return/regift.

    • Can’t you create a wishlist on Amazon that isn’t a “registry”? If the list is only geared to your parents then maybe mom wouldn’t find it so objectionable.

      • I thought of this as well. Amazon wishlists are awesome.

        You could also just tell them you don’t have the space for any more stuff, while thanking them for their generosity? They might be offended. I don’t know them. But if they’re really buying you THAT much stuff, I would think this would be true. I hate clutter and I think not having space is a pretty legitimate reason to request a stop to the constant flow of stuff.

    • No.

      The baby will grow out of things quickly.

      You need lots anyway, for reasons already described.

      When you DO need ch at basics, tell them exactly what you want. I also like the Amazon wish list strategy.

      Please be kind to grandparents….. They really, really enjoy doing this.

      • My husband has gotten a bit grumpy at my mom b/c she wants to buy us loads of stuff for the baby. We finally discussed it this weekend and I explained (a) she lives far away and knows she can’t physically help us out so buying us stuff is the next best thing; (b) this will be her only grandbaby and it brings her joy; (c) we don’t have to pay for it so zip it and enjoy!

        • Nicely done. You are a good daughter.

          My mother was in a similar long distance situation with the only grandchild, and it gave her such joy ….. I cannot even describe, because she was really, really sad she missed most of the child’s life.

          • It makes me so, so sad, particularly as I had such a lovely, close relationship with my grandmother. I know if we were local, she’d be making us dinner on busy weeks so for her, buying us an instantpot or sending us a gift voucher for a restaurant is the next best thing.

            Husband and I had a good chat about it and I think it’s a combination of concern that my parents don’t think we can take care of ourselves/he can take care of me (totally untrue, they are nurturers, they do this to everyone) and guilt that his family isn’t the same way.

          • I totally understand.

            Are you staying overseas forever?

            If so, let’s hope your Mom can in the future take trips to stay with you guys for a longer period of time to bond a little, and likewise… that your child may fly home when he/she is older and spend a ?month in the summer living in the US with the grandparents. My friends who grew up in the US with extended family overseas have really wonderful, strong bonds with their families back “in the home country”, with a tradition of going home for a big vacation (often without their parents) every summer.

    • Could you funnel their resources into one larger gift that you can pick out? Say that you really want something special that will remind you of them versus a million little things.

    • For what it’s worth, I was determined to have subtle prints and neutrals, and it turns out 1) it didn’t matter because I couldn’t have cared less what color something was as long as it worked to sooth crying baby – see rainforest bouncer and 2) they grow so quickly that I was so glad to have the cheap stuff and not feel bad about only using something for 4-6 weeks – see rainforest bouncer.

      • that rainforest bouncer is my son’s jam.

        • Mine hated it and I gleefully sent it back to its rightful home in our storage room.

        • I don’t have kids yet but I googled that and I don’t think I could ever bring myself to buy something that ugly. My future kid can do without it.

          • ?? have you met kids??

          • Not likely. Bouncers are the bomb and they all look like that. If I hadn’t had a bouncer, I’d never have been able to take a shower.

          • My daughter never had a bouncy seat thing like that and she survived. There is so much STUFF you can buy for babies and most of it is optional. We live in a small townhouse and so we bought stuff we really needed, we didn’t buy every toy or accessory that was out there on the market. If you send your kids to daycare, they will get to play with all this stuff there, and they won’t be at home for that many of their waking hours.

          • I thought that too. And then my kid was that age, so I bought one used, she enjoyed it for a few months while I enjoyed peaceful showers, and then I resold it used. All of this is so temporary.

          • Bouncers are game changers for a lot of parents and they don’t all look like that. I just got a Jonathan Adler one that looks great!

          • I was SO against it but a friend gave it to us for free and we put it in the back of a closet, only to pull it out 2 weeks later. Kiddo loved it for 2 months, after which we passed it along to someone else for free.

          • Anonymous :

            Haha..everybody talks a big game until the kid comes…and then reality hits. Plan all you want…reality will fix it.

    • What about an Amazon wishlist instead of a registry?

    • Delta Dawn :

      My parents are like this, too– I have a basket in the baby’s closet where I keep “Nana extras” that I don’t think I will use. I have reached into it more than I expected, to grab an extra burp cloth that I first deemed too garish but then ran out, or find a “new” toy when baby seemed bored with his current toys. I made sure to keep out a few of the things they gave us– no, not everything was my taste, but how much could it hurt to have one picture frame on a shelf? I wouldn’t have picked it myself, but it’s sweet that my mom picked it and makes me think of how much she loves my baby.

      One thing that helped A LOT was me explaining to my mom that I really wanted my nursery to be calm, soothing, etc., and my mom is awesome but is, ah, none of those things. So she did a nursery in their own house (this is their first grandchild and I have a lot of siblings, so they expect to use their nursery a lot) in the brightest colors ever– and that helped her not funnel all of that over to my house. Not sure if that’s an option for your parents, but maybe you could suggest it? Maybe not a full-on nursery at their house, but if baby will visit them, they might like to have their own changing pad, crib in a guest room, etc., that they could decorate to their taste (and consequently spare you).

      • What a great idea.

      • My sister did this with our parents too. My mom LOVES buying things. She told my mom anything she bought was staying at Mimi’s house for the baby to play with/wear. Worked like a charm.

    • When I was pregnant, I thought the amount of stuff I got was ludicrous. I’m talking like 20 burp cloths. Then I had the baby and she was a spitter upper. I went through three or four outfits per day frequently. Often times I couldn’t find a clean burp cloth or bib. I did laundry constantly.

      I get it. I hate lots of clutter and nonsense, and I hate ugly frilly crap for babies. But this is not a good time to be a minimalist. Actually, the first few years are not, unless you love doing laundry or are okay with your child wearing visibly stained clothes all the time. Maybe my kid is just particularly messy, but she’s 2.5 right now and her clothes she wears to daycare just get so trashed.

      There are some clothing items I have donated to goodwill immediately (I’m looking at you, bedazzled pastel pink fake fur vest), but a lot of stuff I just put her in and let her play hard and get messy without caring that she’s messing up a $47 organic cotton swedish whatever.

    • This could be me future problem as well (I’m not pregnant yet, but planning to TTC soon and my mum 1. loves buing stuff for family members, 2. adores babies, 3. has different taste than mine, 4. lives abroad so could want to compensate with gifts).

      The answers that you’ve got so far make me dissapointed. Is there really no way of setting such a boundary? I’m team Marie Kondo, keeping what sparks joy and I’d really, genuinely enjoy picking up clothes and toys for my baby. In addition, I have small living space. I’m having crazy thoughts about negotiating this before getting pregnant…

      One more point, what if you want toys and books that are, say, in accordance with Montessori principles? Is this a sensible request?

      • don’t be disappointed! your outlook is just going to change. but change isn’t necessarily a bad thing! it’s kind of awesome how your priorities change. this thing is totally bright and ugly but my baby loves it? i love to see baby happy so i love it too now! think of it more that way.

      • I’m team Marie Kondo also, but the things that spark joy for my kid are not the same things that spark joy for me.

      • I will tell you a story. One of my colleagues lives in a 1 bedroom manhattan apartment. She and her husband decided to tough it out and raise an urban baby rather than fleeing to the suburbs.

        Grandma bought their now 2 year old a tent-like thing – a series of flexible nylon covered tubes that all lead to a largish tent – that covers their entire living room. They would like to have said no, but their son LOVES it.

        Grandparents. What are you gonna do?

      • (1) I think you can set some boundaries with grandparents buying stuff, but if the grandparents are really into gift-giving, you may want to compromise on that boundary for the sake of the relationship. My kid has three sets of grandparents, and only one set (my parents) really buy much “stuff.” (The other grandparents are also very generous but give larger items or experience gifts or put money in a college fund.)
        (2) I’m sure this isn’t universal, but in our family, the grandparents’ stuff peaked during pregnancy and really slowed down after the first 6 months. So it may just not be the hill to die on.
        (3) People are correctly pointing out that babies need more stuff than you may think. You go through a lot of laundry, sometimes all at once. My toddler went through all three of his crib sheets one night a couple of weeks ago, and at 2 am, you really don’t care what the third crib sheet looks like. So, it may be worth listening to relatives who have been through it before and say, “No, really, you need this, or you need more of this.”
        (4) People are also correctly pointing out that what brings *you* joy may not be what brings a baby joy. Babies like bright colors, cheap plastic, noise-making toys. And you get to a point where having a garish play mat that entertains a baby for 8 minutes is super worth it because that means you get a 5-minute shower!

      • Know your family. I posted above, but both sides of our family have responded well to our efforts to channel their buying in specific ways. The animatronic dog comes from an uncle that we never, ever see, so I haven’t bothered to talk to him about it – we just donate. For our parents and siblings, we told them up front that we strongly preferred wood toys & no battery powered anything. We made an Amazon list, and people mostly bought from that or bought stuff that fit our requests. No hard feelings involved.

      • Omg. No. Please stop. You cannot request only toys in accordance with Montessori principles. That’s absurd. They are gifts. You say thank you, you use or donate as you see fit, but no, you cannot set this boundary without being rude.

        • PatsyStone :

          +1 Making rules about gifts of love is not a good look. Turns out my kid loves all the hideous crap from my MIL.

        • How would people know what toys are compliant with Montessori principles? This seems to anticipate that all the people buying gifts for your baby would have to read up on Montessori and then agonize over whether Sophie the Giraffe conforms or not, which is a bit nuts.

        • Senior Attorney :

          You can totally make that request.

          And when you do, (almost) everybody will totally laugh at you behind your back or in front of your face. Some people will accede to your request and many people will not, and almost everybody will think you are totally ridiculous and stuck up.

          • I didn’t mean to tell each and every person that we accept Montessori gifts only. More like “Hey, mum/dad/MIL, you’re getting us tons of stuff for the baby. Thanks a lot. Actually, for future reference, we’d really appreciate X Y and Z [say X, Y and Z are Montessori toys in different price points]”.

            And, seriously, if grandparents are in any way involved in kids life, they would inevitably know basics of Montessori (given that children are brought up this way).

          • Senior Attorney :

            Well that is far more sensible. Carry on. :)

          • Senior Attorney :

            But really, with all love and respect, kids come into the world with their own personalities and their own ideas and you can plan all you want about how you are going to bring them up XYZ way, and that may or may not be a good fit for your particular kid. I’d just gently urge you to get to know your kid a little before you set his or her upbringing in stone, you know?

      • layered bob :

        We immediately sell, donate, or throw away 50% of what we get from the grandparents. We suggest things in a variety of price ranges on an Amazon wishlist that we’ve hinted/suggested they check when they want to buy something.

        We live in a city and our needs are different than the suburban/rural grandparents’ experiences, so they just don’t get it sometimes. But relentless culling means we have been able to maintain a home where there is “nothing that we do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful,” and all our kids’ indoor materials fit on one (long) Montessori-style shelf.

        And sometimes the grandparents surprise us with a perfect gift – stainless-steel play pots and pans, a set of play silks, a roll of butcher paper – in between the tie-dye fleece, inappropriately s 3 x ualized baby swimsuits, dollar store trash and noisy light-up plastic monstrosities.

        • Minnie Beebe :

          This. I returned/donated so many outfits we were gifted when DS was born– Gifts were so, incredibly thoughful. DS was the first grandchild on DHs side, and his family and his parents friends were so generous. It was lovely. But. I didn’t really like the idea of dressing my child in sports-themed clothes, nor in clothes with ears on the hood, or animals on the butt. Just wasn’t my jam. So I returned things and got things that we actually did use.

      • lol. You can buy all the hippy dippy toys you want, your kid will still want to play with battery powered plastic crap.

        • My son made friends in Kindergarten with the son of a couple of artists. Their son came over for a playdate with this nice hand hewn wooden boat toy.

          Without my knowing it, over the course of the playdate he traded it with my son for a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy. I only found out several days later when I found the boat on my son’s toy box. I am still embarrassed about this!

      • layered bob :

        long comment in moderation, but yes, you can absolutely keep a Montessori home.

    • Just on the colors, if you’re talking about toys for the baby, bright primary colors are better than soft neutrals. It helps them develop their color vision.

      • I agree. Can you try to shift your thinking on this a bit? I just leaned into my kid’s stuff being a joyful, exciting rainbow. I have some lovely pictures of her in the jungle-themed play gym, wearing a white onesie with rainbow balloons on it, grinning that toothless baby grin at the colorful dangling toys… it’s so BRIGHT and busy and alive, and just thinking of that photo makes me smile.

        She’s a little older now (two) and she has a play area in our family room. While my preferred palette would be more muted, I got a wild colorful rug for the floor (hides stains!), brightly colored storage bins for her toys, etc. And it makes everything more cohesive, not fighting against the reality of how kids’ toys look.

        That being said, as far as volume, something that really helped my parents was seeing the limited storage space we had. Like “this is where the toys will go, so you need to ask us if you’re gonna get something big, because that will mean something else gets given away.”

        • Will own up to some hypocrisy here (and totally out myself to my friends who might be reading, HI). I got it into my head to redecorate an Ikea kitchen for kiddo for xmas, in her favorite colors but in an aesthetic I dug (mediterranean tile (stickers) backsplash, marble (contact paper) counter, oil rubbed bronze (spray painted) fixtures, etc). When I found out MIL had ordered her a giant plastic pink kitchen, also as an xmas present, I put everything possible in motion to stop it from arriving, and then I ended up returning it to Toys R Us the same day it was delivered. But seriously, MIL, don’t buy what amounts to *furniture* for my house without running it by me.

    • On the volume of stuff, I agree with others that you’ll need more than you think you need. You can’t really know till baby is here, but I was surprised by how much laundry I did, despite everyone telling me “you’ll do laundry all the time”

      Keep baby clothing in boxes labeled by size – newborn, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, etc. Wash it all and put the boxes in the closet before baby comes. Then when baby comes just empty the appropriate sized box into your dresser.

      Keep the box. When baby grows out of a certain item, throw it back into the box. Then when the baby is fully in the next size up, advertise this on craigslist: Box of (boy/girl/neutral) baby clothes, size 3 months. $20. (or free, lots of poor people need baby stuff) and someone will be at your door the same day to take it off your hands. Or you can meet them in the Target parking lot, where, believe me, you will spend a lot of time.

      • This. Kids grow out of stuff so fast and always need to be changed. I buy all of our son’s clothing on deep discount because he doesn’t wear out anything before he grown out of it. Buying one quality item instead of five cheaper items does not work for kids.

      • This comment is genius.

      • Senior Attorney :

        That’s great! And OMG the part about Target is so true!

    • Kids have terrible design aesthetics. Trust me – you may have lofty notions of beige and cream, but your toddler will want neon. Your parents may be giving you that stuff because they have experience with what kids wants already.

      • But does OP really need toddler stuff now? I think it’s normal to want a cute nursery for an infant who doesn’t care and then start buying the brightly colored Fisher-Price stuff when the kid is old enough to enjoy it.

        • It’s not just toddlers. Baby developmental toys like mobiles should be brightly colored, though there is some thought that black/white is best for a very short amount of time (like a few months) when they’re newborns.

          Yeah, you can decorate the rest of your space the way you like, but soon enough it will look like Toys R Us barfed all over your house. You’re going to have to learn to relax your standards about a lot of stuff, and frankly this is the least of it. Like, I used to have a standard that said I would never go to work with snot on my suit jacket.

    • Nope. You can’t dictate taste. If your mom asks your preference on a certain item, I think you can steer her in this direction but that’s about it. I, too, would much prefer fewer high-quality items but the ILs are all about quantity. I’m seven years into this parenting gig and after lots of fretting about it, I’ve given up on trying to police this stuff.

      • “You can’t dictate taste.” Exactly this. I don’t have children, but my parents are like this in their gifts to me and I know that after 7 decades on this earth they’re just not going to change. And it’s not the hill I want to die on, so I just graciously accept their gifts and usually end up giving them away.

    • If your parents don’t already know that you’re particular about what you keep in your home, they won’t learn now. I am well-known amoung my family and friends for being extremely picky and purging things I don’t like/won’t use, and even I have struggled to stem the flow of ugly baby stuff. I have told people generally that I don’t have room for much baby stuff because we live in a tiny condo, and I have suggested that baby stuff that isn’t to my taste (without saying that it isn’t to my taste) stay at my parents’ or in-laws’ place for when the baby visits.

    • Man plans, G-d laughs.

      That’s how parenthood works.

      Go with the flow.

    • You can tell ’em, but they won’t listen. We have all kinds of crap from the grands — cheap plastic stuff from the dollar store from the ILs (plus a wide assortment of “treasure boxes” in odd shapes and patterns, because what small boy DOESN’T want a nineinch square box with pastel flowers all over it???) and things that my parents send that I am convinced have been in their attic since my brothers and I were kids (see: beige orlon v-neck sweater, remote control car with batteries with 1985 expiration date, old Little Golden Books with the covers torn off and pages colored on, etc.).

      We regularly purge and donate. The Kid’s old daycare always needs toys, extra sheets and burp cloths, and spare clothes.

      And when asked where things are, I tell the truth — if they do not like the result, then they can pick one of the things on The Kid’s Amazon wishlist that actually will get played with or worn. It actually is starting to work — my parents actually got The Kid the R2D2 suitcase that he wanted last year!

    • We keep a running Amazon wish list. Sometimes parents use it, sometimes they don’t. But it helps.

  8. Cold Brew Coffee Pods? :

    Any recs for good cold brew coffee bags/pods? I’m so over dealing with coffee grounds all over my kitchen at 5:30 in the morning.

    • This might not be what you were looking for, but Trader Joe’s sells a cold brew concentrate. You just add water and drink it at whatever temperature you want. Definitely the lazy solution (which is my way!)

    • I don’t love the waste of those coffee pods (Atlantic had an article about this, you can google it, but it’s really insane) so I like January’s idea.

      • Cold Brew Coffee Pods? : :

        Like the Kuerigs? Same. I was imagining something tea bag like & compostable. Sorry I wasn’t clear.

    • I just make my cold brew (or drip, or french press) on the weekend enough to have for the week and store it in the fridge (obviously, though I have a friend who used to keep his coffee pot in the machine and warm it up on the second day – actual vomit…) — this only works if you like cold coffee, but if you’re asking about cold brew I guess you do?

      I also like my Nespresso, but don’t come near to daily use on it.

    • Making a concentrate or buying it are the best options. I also make iced coffee with instant coffee. There are better options on the market now.

    • Why not make at night and either push the button or get a timer? If I tried to make my coffee in the morning it would be a terrible mess (physically and emotionally)

    • I just got a Primula Cold Brew maker and loving it so far. I made a pot over the weekend (it steeps for 24 hours) and it will last me all week.

    • cake batter :

      Amazon has a couple types of cold brew pods, and the ones I’ve tried have been decent. Not as good as the beans I’d use if I were doing it myself, but definitely better than nothing.

    • I use this Hario cold brew pitcher and it lasts me 4ish days. I’m totally obssessed–washable filter, so no waste. I use normal, regular coffee, and it makes delicious cold brew in 12 hours overnight.

  9. I’d like to go for a few days with my mom and toddler somewhere warm, beachy and zika-free in mid April. Looking for a nice clean beach, warm weather, maybe a pool, and a few options for non-beach things to do – and not a full on Spring Break atmosphere. Walkable would be ideal, but we could deal with driving. Our dates are flexible, so we could do the middle of the week. We’ll be flying out of NYC and want to minimize travel time.

    I’ve seen St. Petersburg Florida mentioned here before – any specific recommendations there or elsewhere?

    • Folly Beach.

    • Edisto!

    • I grew up near St. Petersburg FL. The water will be warm enough to swim, but mid-April is (or used to be) stingray season. (Can anyone who lives there now confirm or deny?) We always had to shuffle our feet in the sand when we got in the water, but I don’t know how a toddler would react.

    • The Don Cesar or Tradewinds are great options on St. Pete beach, if you want a true beach vacation. Or the Vinoy in downtown St. Pete- not exactly a beach but a lot of great parks and waterfront right outside the hotel, plus just a block away from many great restaurants and things to do and only a 10min drive to St. Pete beach or Fort de Soto.

    • Anon living in St. Petersburg, FL :

      St. Petersburg is an amazing place to visit (and live)! The Vinoy is great and located near great restaurants, parks, and museums. The Don Cesar is on St. Pete Beach and is also beautiful. You really cannot bet the beaches here (at least within the U.S.).
      BUT and this is a big but for you… there were reports of Zika in Pinellas County (the county where St. Petersburg is situated) back in the late summer/early fall. I haven’t heard anything about it recently, but I would certainly look into it more before visiting if you are looking for a zika-free area.

      • Anon for this :

        I’m TTC and my doc told me NO FLORIDA. Emphatically. I was really annoyed and thought he was being ridiculous considering there have only been a few cases in Florida and really only in one part of Florida. He again reiterated he wanted me to stay out of all of Florida. I don’t have any plans to go there right now but I just wanted you to know this was the advice I literally got yesterday. My doc very well could be wrong.

    • HappyWriter :

      Key West is wonderful in April!

    • Anonymous :

      I love Siesta Key. A little south of St. Petersburg.

  10. For the first time in 5+ years, I’m in the market for a laptop. I’m a Mac person so will probably go in that direction. Will use it mostly for Netflix, browsing online, and occasional weekend work. Was just wondering if any of you have strong preferences or recommendations…for example, Macbook Air v. Pro?

    • Marshmallow :

      I am strongly on Team Pro. I’ve only owned two of them over the past ten years because they just last forever and ever. BUT! I bought mine before the specs on the Air started really catching up. Compare the specs because I think the Air might be a better value now than it was a few years ago.

    • I’m holding on for dear life to my 2011 Pro that I can still throw RAM into and do crazy stuff with the drives. But if that fully croaked tomorrow I would go with an Air, I think. After leaving school I rarely do anything more intensive than Netflix on it and I haven’t put a DVD in it in years, so having a weight advantage is better.

      • Anonymous :

        I bought my pro and maxed everything out during the 2012 refresh (and while my bff was working at apple and passed along her 25% discount) and it is seriously dragging, and it’s heavy. I am really debating replacing it. I have a new inspiron laptop at work that is totally totally fine, but everything else in my life is apple and I just can’t decide…

    • Depending on what “occasional weekend work” means, have you considered a Chromebook? They’re insanely cheap, and if all you do with it is Netflix and internet, all you need. I use mine to log-in to our webmail server occasionally and can do most of what I need to do on the weekends on it, but most of what I would need to do involves look at at documents, not heavy editing, and I very rarely need to use it for that anyway. If I had to do heavy substantive work I’d have to go to the office and use my work computer.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I’m a Mac person and bought a cheap laptop (not technically a Chromebook) and HATED it. I stuck with it for about a month and my husband got tired of my complaining and pushed me to just buy a Mac again. I got a refurbished Air last year and it is exactly what I wanted.

        • Yeah our Chromebook was less expensive than a Mac, but when added to the price of the Mac we bough soon after because the Chromebook sucked, way too expensive

      • I have mad love for my Lenovo Chromebook. It’s light, charges fast, uses power sparingly (charges get me over 10 hours of use if I do not stream video or music), and does everything I want (except “delete” — for some reason, the keyboard does not have a “delete” key, so I do a lot of backspacing). It is great for weekend use and has replaced my office laptop for business travel where I do not have to do a lot of writing (e.g. CLE conferences, bar functions, mediations, etc.).

        • Love mine for all the reasons you listed. Mine is a Toshiba.

          I do miss my delete keys and my capslock keys though!

      • +1 for Chromebooks! I have had mine for 3 years now. Mine is super light, portable, battery charges fast and lasts, does what I need it to do and not one thing more.

        Mine is starting to randomly restart but I never lose any work, thank Google. I will definitely be buying another!

    • I owned the original Macbook Air and upgraded to the newest one in 2015. They’re perfect for general internet use.

    • I have the Macbook (not air, just macbook) that’s 12″ and I LOVE it. very very light, and a great screen. there’s only one port so you have to get a dongle but honestly, not a big deal and it’s worth it!

      • Anonymous :

        I just bought this exact one a few weeks ago and also love it! The guy at Apple said there is absolutely no reason to upgrade to the Pro unless you are a big gamer or do massive amounts of photo editing. He said I would never be able to tell the difference doing “normal” stuff.

        • Baconpancakes :

          I’d say even light photo editing requires the pro, but light to me is opening photoshop from inside Indesign, so you are probably right.

    • anon a mouse :

      Air. I was waffling between the two and got the air, and I have never missed the features that the Pro offered.

    • Don’t get a Pro if all you’re mainly just using it for internet browsing/Netflix watching. A Pro is overkill for that.

      • Agree with this. I had an Air, and now have a Pro. The only noticeable difference is when doing photo editing (which I do a lot of as part of my job).

        • Anonymous :

          Do you think an Air could handle light photo processing/photoshop? like, hobby photojournalist every couple weekends kinda stuff, assuming all my photos ended up stored either externally or on the cloud? basic cropping/editing/retouching.

  11. What do I say to a male coworker who keeps offering to intercede and “help” me by talking to others in the organization on my behalf in case it could be “helpful”? The offer has been made several times lately, in the context of a problem or an issue that he thinks he might be able to solve for me – ie, that I lack the requisite authority or skills necessary to communicate/resolve the issue (I don’t – and even if I did, I wouldn’t acquire that authority if I let a peer of mine step in repeatedly). I believe it is both sexist but also an attempt to establish/demonstrate his superiority. I need something sharp, witty and effective.

  12. There’s a WashPo piece today on the ever-lengthening American commute. So, for fun, how long is your commute and do you think it’s worth it?

    In the last five years I went from a job where I had a 90 minute commute (just 10 miles, but epic traffic), to a 30 minute public transit commute, to a 15-minute walking commute. This has also correlated with my career progression, and now I can’t possibly imagine having a longer commute – I literally don’t know where the time would come from. But I also know I was able to rationalize the longer commutes at the time I had them, so who knows.

    • Mine is about a 20 minute drive and a 20 minute walk, this is a recent change though, it used to be 40 minutes walk + bus combination. Neither are particularly bad but it helps that I’m not the one driving. After I resisted getting a car for so long, I have to admit, getting picked up on rainy days / when I’m poorly is lovely.

    • Old commute: 25-40 minutes drive each way (depending on traffic). 12 miles but bad traffic (Atlanta).

      New commute: I work from home (relocated for my husband’s job and work remotely for the same employer)

      • My Atlanta commute is about 35 minutes driving for 4.5 miles, not even on the highways.

        DC commute was 1.25 – 1.5 hours by metro for my first job out of school, and about 45-60 minutes by metro for my next job.

        I’m slowly getting a shorter commute!

    • About 15 minutes of actual driving, 20 minutes door to door. It’s only 3 miles so I feel like it should be less but it’s all through city streets and it’s just really slow.

    • Marshmallow :

      I have a 25 minute walking/public transit commute and it’s heaven. I also have some options for the mix of walking vs. transit so I walk as much as I can depending on the weather.

    • I have a 15 – 20 minute commute now, depending on traffic. When I lived in NoVA it was at least 2 hours each way to my office in DC – drive to commuter bus lot, bus to metro, walk to office from metro. There is no effing way I would go back to that nonsense.

    • I mostly work from home, so none! But when I go into work, anywhere between 1 and 3 days a week, its about a half hour door to door, mostly by bus. I hate hate hate commuting and this is part of why I chose my job.

    • A 10 minute walk and a 25 min bus ride (can stretch to an hour or more on bad winter days, ugh). I don’t mind it, but I don’t have a car so it’s my only option.

      I could walk 10 minutes to my last job and that was heavenly.

    • Anon in NYC :

      Currently have a 25 minute public transit commute. It’s great. It’s one of those things that makes me want to never leave the city.

      • Legally Brunette :

        + This. I don’t think we’re ever leaving the city because I can’t deal with a long commute. I used to have a 12-15 walking commute and it was HEAVEN. Now it’s more like 30-35 minutes door to door on the metro, and even that is too long for me. Kids’ preschool is one block away, library is across the street, toddler playground is a block away, metro 2 blocks away. We’re not going anywhere, unless it means moving closer to work (which is unlikely due to the public school situation).

      • Marshmallow :

        ++ Yes. People keep telling us that one day we will go to the suburbs so our kids can have a yard. But… wouldn’t my kids rather have an extra 1.5 hours a day of their parents being home? Also, parks and museums and the river and the amazing variety of people and experiences! We love it here.

      • Also NYC and I have the same feelings about the same commute. I also have the longest commute of all my roommates – two walk to work, and one has a shorter train ride. The only thing that would be better is if I could walk… but even then, I kind of like the train.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Same. It used to be an hour, but I still enjoyed getting to read on my commute instead of driving. Now it is 25 minutes door to door unless there is some stupid MTA issue. I’d of course love for it to be shorter but I love our apartment so it all works great for me.

    • Anonitynon :

      I used to have a commute of around ~60 min on public transit that was terrible (involved a suburban bus route), and now I’m down to around ~40 min, also on public transit, but to a more urban area. It’s not much extra time every day but it does make a difference. Would love to be able to walk to work!

    • Currently a 20-30 minute drive depending on traffic and which route I take. I’ve been with the same company for about 6 years and have lived in four places during that and it’s been the same just about everywhere I go (which is more about the neighborhoods I choose to live in than the traffic in my general area because different areas are notorious for taking an hour in the morning what takes about ten minutes at other times).

    • 5 minute drive but 20 minutes door to door because I drop my twins at daycare at my office building.

      We specifically moved back to my hometown smaller city from the big city where I went to law school in order to be able to live/work in close proximity. We paid a lot to live close to work/downtown vs. larger house in the suburbs. I think of it as buying time with my family and the kids are only small once.

      Downsides: (1) I can’t handle more than 20 minutes in traffic anymore, (2) I have to make a conscious effort to leave the work day stress at work because I don’t have much time to transition to home.

    • I used to have a 5 minute walk, and now I have a 45′- 1hr (or more, depending on traffic) drive. Public transportation is … possible, but takes longer and I can’t read or listen to podcasts (get motion sick, train too loud for me to hear on headphones)

      The longer commute is really brutal because I work very long hours (hospital), frequently over 12 hour days.

      I am only living where I am for family reasons, and will move as soon as these responsibilities change.

      For me, a short commute is essential to quality of life.

      I am single, no kids.

    • 60 minutes driving. Hate the commute, love the job and the apartment, totally worth it.

      • Been there done that :

        Can I ask you why a 2 hour commute daily is worth it? Are you choosing to live closer to family or your SO’s work? That commute seems insane to me unless you have no other choice.

        • Originally I lived 20 minutes from work on public transit. But I hated my job. I found a new one that’s great 30 miles away (there’s a ton of traffic- takes 60 mins in the morning, 40 at night). I really like the community where I live (basically, I commute from right next to NYC to the suburbs). I have a ton of friends close by and great options for going out. If I moved to office suburb I’d be incredibly lonely. At this stage in my life, single and looking, it’s completely worth it to have a longer drive and live someplace I love. And new job is significantly less stress than old job- arrive at 9, leave 6:30ish. Ideally I would have found a new job closer to where I lived, but I applied for those jobs and didn’t get them.

        • lost academic :

          When you’re from places like LA or Atlanta where car commuting is the norm and often a necessity, a 60 minute drive isn’t abnormal. Having spent many years commuting in those cities, I’d be fine with a longer commute if I were living in the country on a sizable piece of land.

    • My commute is 19 miles each way by car, which equates to 25-45 minutes each way (longer in the afternoon). I work from home 2 days a week and only work 9-5/530. I’ve had much shorter commutes (less than 10 minutes), but the hours were much longer and less predictable (litigation), I couldn’t work from home, and I lived in an apartment instead of a house. If I had stayed at that job after buying a house, my commute would be 15-20 minutes. The additional time spent commuting is worth it to be at a job I love doing, with great coworkers, little stress, and tons of flexibility.

    • 20 minute drive 4 days a week and one at home. This coming from an hour plus across the entire metro area for 12 years makes me a very happy person!

    • 7 minutes door to door. I walk. It is amazing.

      And I live in Atlanta, where any kind of walking commute is rare, so I feel extra lucky.

    • 10 minute drive to the T, 45 minutes on the T and then 10 minute walk to my office. That’s assuming the T is running on schedule, which isn’t a guarantee in winter. I work from home on Mondays and Fridays, though. And I only work 8 to 4.

      Previous job was similar, except I went one further stop on the T. Couldn’t work from home as much and made more than $10k less money than I do now (although only $5k less than I did when I was hired), but I was only there for a couple of months before they announced that they were closing their North American offices so then I “worked” from home for the next couple of months while I looked for a new job…

      Before that, it was 10 minute drive and half hour on the T, and more than $20k less. Work from home only if weather was bad, plus lots of work on weekends.

      And before that was more than $30 k less than I make now, but only 10 minute drive. Could never work from home.

      I’m in IT for a university. These 4 jobs cover 6.5 years. I left the first job 9/1/2010. I’ve been at my current job for 4.5 years.

    • Shopaholic :

      I used to be a 10 min walk from work and now I’m 15-20 mins on public transit. I actually prefer it because it gives me time to disconnect from work. When the weather is nice, I walk it home, which is about 45 mins and is a nice way to decompress.

    • JuniorMinion :

      ~30 – 40 minutes. 7ish miles (!!) I am in Houston and my current office means I have to do the I-10 / 610 / 59N gauntlet every day. My previous commute was 10-15 minutes but I reverse commuted out towards the energy corridor.

      I work 10-12 hour days. Some of my life is a bit in flux, and I own a home but am contemplating if I stay with this employer longer term (likely) a potential move.

      • So many sympathies on this commute!

      • TupeloHoney :

        That is brutal. I do a 40 mile commute from one Houston suburb to another and it’s about an hour each way. But I’m really happy at my job. And it beats the 25 mile, 1.5 hour each way commute I had when going from the suburbs into downtown.

      • Anonymous :

        I live in Montrose and work downtown, so I take Memorial in for about six minutes (then add another 10 for going up in the garage and then down into the tunnel and then up into my building). It’s my very favorite thing. Part of me thinks about moving to West U or the Heights for more of a neighborhood feel for our three kids, but I don’t think I can give up my commute.

    • 20-30 minute walk to work (NYC)

      Have previously had a commute that that 1.5-2 hrs each way via a mixture of public transportation (walking, bus, subway) and it was terrible. I would be tired before I even did one thing at work. Never again

      • I envy your walking commute! I used to walk to work for 4 years and really loved it, even in the dead of winter. I was also in a lot better shape when I walked. Even if it was just 1 mile each way to work, those miles add up.

        • I agree – I’m so grateful for the 2ish miles each day because it makes me feel better about skipping the gym as often as I do ;)

          • What do you wear on your feet (summer/fall/winter)?

          • Marshmallow :

            My commute also involves a lot of walking. Summer: Vans, Sperrys, Mephisto sandals. Spring/fall: Vans or insulated high-top Tretorns. Winter: Sorel riding boots, leather ankle boots if not that cold. I wear my commute shoes up to the office and change as soon as I get in.

        • Back when I walked, I wore AGL flats in fall/spring. So so comfortable, albeit pricey. In the winter (Boston), I wore REI snow boots.

    • 15-25 minutes door-to-door. 5ish-minute drive, 10ish-minute walk. I walk the whole thing occasionally, which is around 35 minutes, but part of it goes through a borderline area where I wouldn’t feel comfortable walking at night. Bus schedules are okay to get me to work, but can’t get me home anywhere near the end of my workday. My goal for the summer is to bus in the mornings and walk home once it’s staying light out longer.

      Last year was a 25 minute walking commute. Job before that was a 20-minute drive. My first job out of college was a 35-40 minute drive, to which I said, never again.

    • My commute is about 10 minutes by car.

    • 45min commute door-to-door, 15 min of that is walking, the rest via subway. In NYC, I think this is a pretty good commute. I have another option that takes about the same overall time and involves less walking but requires me to transfer trains, so I only do that one when the weather is bad. I like it– I get a brisk walk in and get to read my kindle twice a day.

    • BabyAssociate :

      2o minute walking commute and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

    • 15-20 minutes by car if I drive, or 25 minutes by bike if the weather cooperates (commute is about 4.5 miles). I much, much prefer to bike.

      I pay through the nose for property taxes to live in the city center almost entirely because I refuse to commute a long distance. I also love my neighborhood, but that’s secondary. I’ve done hour+ each way commutes before. Never. Again.

    • I live about 22 miles (thank you, map app!) from my job. I live in a rural-ish community, and work in a suburban one. It’s about 35-40 minutes door to door.

      For me, it’s worth it, because I love my house. I would love to eventually move to the suburban area, but our housing costs are low and we’ve got the house in a way we like it, so for now we’re staying put. Moving the 22 miles would mean paying about $70K more for a comparable house, which we’re not super excited about, after looking at housing stock in the area.

    • Either a 10-minute bike ride or, if it’s sleeting or below 15 degrees, a ~15 minute transit ride (depending on wait time and street traffic). Previous commute was also a 10-minute bike ride or 20-minute walk, albeit in the other direction. We live in a major city and when we were looking to buy a house I was pretty firm about living in a central neighborhood so that regardless of future job changes, we’d always have the option of short bike/walk/transit commutes.

      I think a lot of my (probably unrealistic for many) expectations about commutes come from my childhood. I grew up in a place with a very significant commuter culture–loads of people navigating 90-minute (or longer) train or car commutes–but I had one parent who worked from home and one with a 5-minute walk to work. I know it’s a real privilege to live where I live and to set these kinds of expectations for my commute. I salute those of you who gear up for more every day.

    • I’m about half an hour to 45 minutes from my office, despite only being 4 geographic miles (yay DC.) That’s done via a combo of driving, metro and uber, depending on the day/week/time/other priorities. Before this I had a 20 mile drive that took me about the same amount of time.

      Also, I had a 10 minute commute to my first job and I didn’t appreciate it.

      • could you explain why you didn’t like the 10 minute commute?

        • I think she means she didn’t realize how good she had it with only a 10-minute commute compared to her longer commute now.

        • Anonymous :

          Oh, it was great – it was my first real job and I just had no appreciation for being 1.5 suburban miles from my office. If I had it again now, I’d walk more. :-)

    • DC Commute :

      Mine is an 8 minute walk! I’m considering a position that would require me to commute from Capitol Hill NE to Chevy Chase. My research says it’s about 45 minutes, but it took me closer to an hour this week. Any tips? Horror stories?

    • I live in the Bay area and have a terrible commute across the San Mateo Bridge. It sucks. But I used to commute to NYC so it’s an improvement.

    • 15 minute walk. I used to have 50 minutes in a car (necessary at the time because of my husband’s job location) and it was horrible. So happy never to do that again.

    • anon a mouse :

      40 minutes solo drive each way, NoVa, 6 miles. I hate it and it’s only bearable because I talk to family members or friends half the time, and I work from home 1-2 days a week.

    • 5-minute drive, 25-minute boat ride, 20-minute walk. The boat would be heaven anyway, but coming from an excruciating 2 years of 3 hours of driving per day, it is pure eye-rolling, toe-curling bliss.

      A short or at least non-driving commute is important to me, but my dumb self is trying to go into academia, fully knowing the job market and how much driving is going to come into my life. It wouldn’t be so bad if we weren’t a half-hour of high-density city/suburb driving from the highway. And not just any part of the highway, but the gnarliest traffic interchange in my state.

    • I am so, so lucky. Twin cities, for reference.

      Old job: 25 minutes door to door, light rail and a 1 block walk on either end.

      Current job: 25 minutes, driving, including daycare drop off. 15 minutes in a car on days I don’t do drop off. Parking ramp attached to building.

    • h8 commuting :

      2 miles to work (no traffic: as fast as the stoplights can turn; can take an hour though if there is a game at the arena / politician in town / construction / rush hour with accident (which is often)). I try to leave my desk by 4:15.

      2.5 miles to children’s school (short if no traffic; miserable in city driving if soemthing goes wrong).

      summers: camps can be all over town and add an extra half hour to hour to my commute, depending on which week it is. HATE SUMMERS. Getting a nanny for 4 weeks this summer and am SO HAPPY ALREADY!!!!!!!

      In a prior life, I was NJ Transit / PATH train to NYC and had a 90-minute commute each way. UGH.

    • Old: 20 min drive to train station, 20 min train ride, 10 min combined waiting for train and walking from station to building = 50 min

      New: 20 min drive

      Newest: 20 min drive at 6:30 am and 3:30 pm, 50 min drive outside of those hours

    • On the way in: 20-25 minute drive + 10-15 minutes of daycare drop off.
      On the way home: 10 minutes daycare pickup (whyyy, toddler) + 20-35 minutes driving (reliably 20 if it’s 4:50 when I get on the freeway, reliably 35 if it’s 5:00 when I get on)

    • DC, 12 minute walk each way and it’s the best part of my day. I picked an apartment close to the office so I wouldn’t have to stress about a commute and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

    • I have to leave really early before rush hour in the morning and I’m anxiously running out the door in the afternoon to beat traffic. Usually I’m looking at 25 min in the morning and 40 min in the afternoon. I’d love to live closer to work, but my office is in one of the most expensive areas of my city and outside my price range. I do love my neighborhood and my LO’s daycare so from that perspective it’s “worth it”. If it gets any longer though (a real possibility; my city is growing like crazy and there’s always development), I’ll start exploring other options.

      It’s really annoying to me that most US cities developed in such a way that makes car commuting necessary. I’d love to be able to walk to work or anywhere from my house, for that matter.

      • h8 commuting :

        IDK that it’s the cities’ fault.

        When I was single, it was home work and maybe dinner / drinks / gym close to one end or the other.

        Throw a baby in there and a mom who works outside of the house (esp. if she works in the business district of a city) and THEN it’s a disaster. That pricey home that you can walk to the metro from? Useless when you need a car to get to daycare and elementary school and any camp location.

        I live in an old expensive non-fabulous small house and I will never leave it b/c everything else is further out and not necessarily cheaper (it just gets larger).

    • Gail the Goldfish :

      20 minutes out the door to in my chair at work. Driving. Used to be 45 mins-an hour on the subway in NYC, which was theoretically fine if I had a day I could get a seat to read on the subway, but that almost never happened. Current commute is much better. I do wish I could walk, though.

    • It used to be 2 minutes walking door-t0-door and the longest part was waiting for the elevator. Now I drive about 15 minutes one way. Will soon go back to about a 10 minute walk in each direction when my office moves. There are a lot of things I don’t like about living in a small-ish city, but my short commute is not one of them.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I’ve got a 20 minute door to door bus commute right now and it’s awesome. About 45 minutes if I walk, which I’ll do during the summer.
      I’ve had up to an hour, which was actually fine- I would read or screw around on my phone on the bus, but this is perfect.

    • Not that Anne, the other Anne :

      30 minute drive if I’m dropping the spouse off, 15 if I’m not. I can also bike in about 25 minutes or, if I really feel like torturing myself, do a 60 minute public transit commute.

      I don’t usually take public transit, not surprisingly.

    • Senior Attorney :

      5.6 miles, about 20 minutes door to door on the worst days, but can be as little as 12 minutes door to door if traffic is unusually light. The best thing is I have a reserved parking place just steps from my office. This is about double the commute time from before I married Lovely Husband, even though it’s just one freeway exit further out. I tell him I moved from the city to the ‘burbs for him!

      I worked in downtown LA for years, and the commute was 40 minutes on a good day and 90 minutes or more on a bad day. I still pinch myself that I get to work so close to home! (For a while, a couple of years ago, I had an apartment half a mile from work and that was just amazing.)

    • 50 minute walk, or a 15 min uber, or a 15 min bike ride, or 35 min if I walk to the metro, or a 45 min bus ride.

    • 5 blocks. Same time to drive as walk but if I need my car later in the day or I am travelling, I drive.

    • Anonymous :

      My commute just changed, and I hate it. I went from a 25-minute commute in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening, to an hour in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening. The hour in the morning kills me, but there’s nothing to do about it. I have to do the dropoff (husband goes to work at 6:30a) and kiddo’s school is hell and gone from where we both live and work. If it wasn’t the best school for him in our entire city, we’d be making a change. As it is, I’m pressuring my husband to sell our house and move.

    • Uusally – 5 min walk, 15 min train, 5 min walk; or 40 min walk if the weather’s nice.

      Currently – 10 min taxi, 2hrs on the train, 5 min walk. Gotta love client secondments! Three months down, three to go…

  13. Blonde Lawyer :

    Silly dog question but figured someone here might have experience. We adopted a Plott Hound mix a few months ago. She was 7 months when we got her and came from a Paws in Prison program in Arkansas. Amazing program. I can’t imagine she had any hunting experience at such a young age particularly in that environment. We are not hunters. However, it must just be ingrained in her breed instincts because this dog points. When she points, she looks back at me expecting something. The first time it happened, geese were flying over head and she froze, made her stance, and kept looking back at me like “aren’t you going to do something about these things?” Today she was frozen and pointing at a tree and wouldn’t follow any other commands until I went to the tree.

    So, for anyone with experience with hunting dogs, what reaction does the dog expect from me? I’ve tried praising her when she does it and sometimes that’s enough. Other times she seems to want me to come see what she’s pointing at. If she’s expecting me to shoot it and let her capture it, she’s going to be disappointed lol. I’m thinking of praising her and then tossing a toy in front of her to “capture.”

    • I don’t really have good advice, I have a herding dog who similarly has never worked a day in her life but likes to herd me + inanimate objects, or even more hilariously yet, me + uncomfortable strangers at the dog park. But this is hilarious. In my case I just let her run out her energy, she went through a short nipping phase but got over it quickly. If your dog doesn’t calm down a little bit as she ages out of her puppy stage, or if she is driving you bananas, spring for a couple of sessions with a behaviorist. Working dogs have pretty intense traits I would skip the regular trainers – it sounds like if anything she is too well trained.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        She’s not driving me nuts. I don’t mind the behavior at all. Well, I guess if I tell her to come, I’d like her to come even if she’s pointing but that’s not really the issue. I just feel bad that she’s not getting the reaction from me that she is expecting. She stares back at me like “you aren’t doing what you are supposed to!” And I stare back like “I have no idea what you want from me!”

        • MargaretO :

          It seems like you got good advice below and your dog sounds adorable! I also have those interactions with my dog regularly – she clearly wants something, I have no idea what it is, she stares at me perplexed for a bit and then…she’s a dog, her attention drifts. Who knows what’s going on in their little brains!

    • I have a hunting dog breed that points out of instinct. I do not. I did a ton of reading and self-education on hunting breeds and had successful modifying some “release” commands for my use. When we were out trail walking, he would run ahead of me . When I got to his position, if I found him “on point” I would praise him and then “release” him with a command and we would continue on our way.

    • Woah, many worlds colliding, and it’s blowing my mind. I also have a hunting dog from the Arkansas Paws in Prison program, and she does the same thing. We do the same thing as Peach Pye and just say, “Good girl! OK!” which is how we also release her from a stay. I don’t think it’s completely satisfying for her, but we’re not going to shoot a bird and let her go get it.

      We also have friends with a plott hound, and that is the most intense dog I’ve ever met. Similarly, they’ve never hunted with him, but his instincts are very very ingrained. And he is such a good food burglar.

      As an aside, we love the PIP program! It was a great thing for our dog and the inmates.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Food burglar is such a good description. We have to keep a meticulous kitchen or it gets cleaned with a tongue when we aren’t looking. She hoovered half a loaf of banana bread the second weekend we had her. She ate it length wise like corn on the cob. We knew she was too quiet in the other room!

        I like your idea of using the stay release as a point release. I’ll work on practicing the stay release a bit more so she is used to it and then work it over.

        The Arkansas PIP program is amazing. I love their FB page. For anyone else reading, you don’t have to live in Arkansas to get a graduate. We used a transport program to get ours. I loved that she came with a journal from her inmate all about her training program.

        • I seriously cried reading that dang journal. I can’t even talk about it without getting choked up. All the inmates wrote a goodbye message to my dog on the last few pages. Ack!

          • Blonde Lawyer :

            I have to remind myself that they get another dog and I didn’t take their dog away!

    • I didn’t have a pointer but I had an Airedale Terrier. Terriers are hunters. They were bred to hunt rats and other vermin, up to and including skunks – learned that one the hard way.

      You have to teach your dog to hold on your command. That way you can also teach her the release command. Then, when your dog points, you can say “Good girl! Now release” or whatever your release word is.

      It seems counterintuitive. I had to teach my dog to bark on command so that I could also command him to stop barking.

      We learned all of this at AKC obedience school, which I highly recommend. These classes are offered at community centers and places like that just about everywhere.

    • Anonymous :

      I adopted a mutt who also points. She is from New Orleans and likely never hunted because we got her as a puppy, so its just an innate trait. We got her from a pitbull rescue, but she’s 36 lbs. and looks like a Jack Russell/pointer mix.

      She loves to point at seagulls, ducks, and squirrels. Luckily, we have 2 cats who she loves (a bit too much, for the cats’ comfort), no prey drive.

      When she points, I tell her “leave it” and make her sit, putting my hand out to hold her, and then release her. She will whimper in confusion, poor thing, but there’s no way I’m going to hunt any ducks for her!

      • Anonymous :

        I mean, luckily for the cats, she has no prey drive! I wish there were an edit button here…

  14. My grandmother passed away a few days ago, and this is my first day back in the office. We were really close and I’m having a hard time. She had a long and wonderful life, but I am just so sad. I would appreciate any good thoughts today– thank you guys.

    • I’m sorry for your loss. Be gentle with yourself today… sending good thoughts.

    • Marshmallow :

      Aw, sending you all the good thoughts. I hope you can have a treat for lunch or otherwise do something to take care of yourself today.

    • This happened to me a couple of years ago. I still think about her and her death often. I don’t have any major pieces of wisdom for you other than time really does heal. You’ll just used to her physically being gone, but she’ll always live in you. I had heard people say that before, but I was really surprised how true it was for me. For me, it really helped to indulge myself in all sorts of thoughts about what a lovely person she was. There were tidbits of happy things that gave me temporary relief from feeling sad. I still do that even now and it makes me smile.

    • Anon in NYC :

      I’m so sorry for your loss. Thinking of you.

    • I’m sorry for your loss. My condolences to you and your family.

    • I’m so sorry for your loss. I had a similar relationship with my grandmother, who passed away two months ago. Even though she lived a long life, it still hurts deeply. I miss her every day, but I can talk about her without sobbing more than I could two months ago. Be gentle on yourself as you adjust, and cherish the precious memories you shared with her.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      Sending good thoughts your way. Sorry for your loss. It’s so hard to return to “normal” at work when life stuff happens.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      I’m so sorry, hon. I can’t imagine- I’m so close with my grandma and the thought of losing her and having to do normal things kills.
      I saw this poem on here a few months ago, and as a non-religious, non-spiritual person, it really spoke to me. Death is something- but she’s still with you, you and her relationship will always be as wonderful as it was. Sending so much love to you.

      Death is nothing at all.
      It does not count.
      I have only slipped away into the next room.
      Nothing has happened.

      Everything remains exactly as it was.
      I am I, and you are you,
      and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
      Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.

      Call me by the old familiar name.
      Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
      Put no difference into your tone.
      Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.

      Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
      Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
      Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
      Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.

      Life means all that it ever meant.
      It is the same as it ever was.
      There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
      What is this death but a negligible accident?

      Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
      I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
      somewhere very near,
      just round the corner.

      All is well.
      Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
      One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
      How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

    • Anonymous :

      So sorry for your loss. Remember that it’s okay to let yourself be sad. If it’s not okay for you to be sad at work, let yourself be sad at home. You lost someone, it takes time to feel better. Big hugs.

      • Losing a family member that you’re so close to is always difficult and it takes time to deal with it. There is no time limit on grief. Sending condolences and caring thoughts.

  15. Clearwater Beach, Florida sounds perfect for you!

  16. The thread above about work/office environments is making me envious of the sane hours (mine are currently 8:30ish – whenever my manager says). I’m in my first job out of undergrad and working 70+ hours/week regularly. It’s starting to take a toll on my mental/spiritual and physical health, and I’m unsure whether I can keep this up for the 2-3 years I had planned to be at my specific company, let alone an entire career trajectory in this field. I’m starting to think I chose the wrong field because I don’t see the higher ups at my company working fewer hours or hear that my my friends in different companies are faring much better (some work fewer hours, but not markedly so). I’m trying to learn about fields I can transition into, but can’t find useful information online about the hours/work-life balance, and I don’t know anyone in those fields that I’d be comfortable asking such questions.

    Would you ladies that work less than 60 hrs/week be willing to share what you do? (and approximately how much you make? Part of why I took my current job was that I grew up in a family without money, so I jumped at a job that made $70K right out of school like it was the lottery and am now afraid of going back to anything that resembles the financial stability I’ve experienced before. For cultural and financial reasons, I’ll need to support elderly parents and potentially even in-laws someday, so I feel trapped in a job that makes me anxious and depressed for the sake of my family.) I guess my question is twofold – what do you all do that it’s 60ish hours a week or less? and where can I find realistic information about working hours and salary without asking LinkedIn connections unprofessional questions?

    • Glassdoor is a good resource for salary info.

    • $50K

      (40 hours when boss is not around)
      50 hours usually


    • What is your industry?

    • I work in higher ed in communications. I make $50k and work 40 hours a week. Very LCOL.

      • Also higher ed, non-entry level, $42k, 40 hours a week, LCOL. I get pretty good benefits as a state employee, though.

      • Anonymous4 :

        Also higher ed, in advancement. I, too, make $50K and work 40 hours a week. Very LCOL. I have superiors who make more, but for the most part we strive to keep to 40 hours when at all possible.

        I say that with a caveat. I could go elsewhere in higher ed advancement, make the same or less, and be expected to put in 50+ hours. I happen to work at a school that places a deep value on work/life balance and enforces 40 hours, comp time if you have to work late, PTO time and weekends. It is organizational culture here that isn’t found in similar jobs elsewhere.

      • $80K per year in low cost of living city in VA. I am in accounting and three years out of school. 40 hour work week.

    • 70 hours a week out of undergrad?? What is your industry??

      I work for a nonprofit. Terrible money but the work/life balance is the biggest perk. 40 hours a week, very flexible hours, I never take work home.

    • The most overtime I work is maybe 10-15 hours a week, but that’s just in March and the beginning of April. Other than that it’s a straight 40 hr week. I make $65k in a LCOL area. I do taxes, and love it. I left a large regional public accounting firm because I was sick of the hours.

    • JuniorMinion :

      $130k salary / ~$200k all in (bonus + extremely generous retirement program + healthcare overwhelmingly paid for)

      ~45 – 50 hours a week with every other Friday off. Sometimes I work a bit longer if something is urgent.

      I do Corporate / Business development (M&A) at the HQ office in a specific global industry based in a LCOL area

      Worth noting to get this job I worked as Jr. Investment banker working ~80+ hours a week. If you are in any portion of finance, check out wallstreetoasis dot com, they will have realistic comp numbers in some of the relevant threads. Glassdoor is sometimes less than helpful because some of the titles in finance are extremely generic (financial analyst / associate doesn’t tell you much…).

      One suggestion I have for you is to understand what skills / benefits you are getting from this job. Its one thing to work a ton on something interesting / extremely remunerative / that will set you up for future success (this road is common in banking, tons of people go work in banking to get to corp dev / PE / HF / other interesting jobs which they now have a leg up on), however there are some jobs which are pretty demanding which may not give you the same opportunities.

    • Industry is consulting (I know, I know, I should have known what I signed up for… but I made it a point after I received the job offer to ask employees to tell me candidly about their work/life balance after having a panic attack in college from stress. They said 55-60 was the norm, not 70+ and that was why I chose this specific company over others.)

      • What type of consulting?

      • JuniorMinion :

        If you are in consulting that will set you up well for future well paid positions working less hours in corporate strategy for a client / corporate. A lot of interesting jobs in the corp strat / dev world are looking for investment bankers or strategy consultants. My personal advice to you would be to try to make it to 3 years in order to take advantage of exit opps. Few tips from an anxiety sufferer who has been down that road:

        1) Exercise as much as you can. This is how I became a person with dumbbells in my house. Youtube has some good stuff, I like fitnessblender a lot. Doing it at home means even if ive only got 20 minutes before bed I can knock something out

        2) Make healthy choices when ordering dinner at work at night and try to resist the pizza / chinese temptation

        3) When you have it, take some time for yourself to watch a movie / get a coffee / take a mini refresh

        4) Try to get outside once a day. Even if you just do a lap of the block at 11 PM.

        5) This is really hard but distance yourself / cut out / set better boundaries with friends and family who put tons of additional stress / outside of work commitments on you or are a drain on you

        Also definitely check out wallstreetoasis dot com if you haven’t – they have a specific consulting forum.

        • As someone who regularly works 70+ hours a week and has for a while, I think this is all good advice. Sticking with it for a few years (assuming you are learning and it’s not a truly horrible experience) will likely pay dividends. You also say that you work “until your manager says” at night. If you are in a position to, I would try to get some flexibility so that you have a due date for a particular element of a project rather than, let’s work until we can’t see our computer screens any more and see how it goes. Sometimes managers need to be gently pushed on this, and it’s better for everyone. If other people in the firm say they work 55-60 hours, maybe you just got unlucky with your current manager and/or need to focus more on managing up.

          • consulting grunt. :

            Any advice on avoiding the “working until the manager leaves”? My team works until 9:30pm at the latest, so not awful, but also sometimes unnecessary. My manager has spent countless hours editing powerpoint slides with the senior – instead of telling the senior to do it and then review it – which of course delays everything else.

            I’ve also sometimes not had work but felt like I can’t leave before the manager does, and there are a lot of people on my team/adjacent teams, so it feels like a whole game every night.

            I especially wonder about this when I have something like a political meeting at 8pm, which I don’t want to tell my team about and is a perfectly fine time to leave by . . but manager is still there

          • Not sure what your company is like, but typically you don’t need to sit there not working just for the sake of it. When my colleagues do it, I assume they’re just hanging out or are working on something. Ask what needs to be done – check in and say that you’ve accomplished X, Y, and Z and ask if there is anything else that you can assist with tonight. When the answer is no, leave.

          • 11:26 poster here. consultingrunt, could you just say, “I’m at a good stopping place, so I think I’m going to head out”? Are you on the road so it is awkward not to leave together? Has he/she said or conveyed that it’s not acceptable to do this? I think a lot of the “face time” junior people end up putting in is self imposed because they think it’s some sort of unspoken requirement.

          • consultingrunt :

            Thanks for the responses!

            Generally, I’ve been thinking that if its past 6pm, I can say something like what you both wrote and leave. I think I’m influenced by the other consultants sticking around, but that may very well be self-imposed. I get all my work done, I’m very responsive, and my team has even remarked (positively) that I work “fast” – which should be all that matters. Thanks!

        • Thanks! These are helpful survival strategies. My current plan is to start looking for other opportunities once I’ve been here a year, but to be very intentional in what kind of position I leave for. Even if I start looking after a year, it could very well take up to 6 months to find something like that. I think I need to think a bit more about how long I am willing to stick it out here for those great opportunities that usually require 2-3 years of consulting experience vs. leaving after 1-1.5 years to protect my sanity.

    • Life insurance analyst at a trade organization
      ~40 hrs/week

    • Been there done that :

      Attorney in federal gov’t
      40 hours a work

      • Similar. Attorney in state gov’t. ~$105,000, 9 years out of school. Typically 40 hours, 50 on a rare occasion.

        My first jobs out of law school were easily 70 – 80 hours a week, pay varied between 50 – 70K. Terrible market for attorneys when I graduated, also made the (dumb in retrospect) decision to pursue jobs that on paper looked to be helping out the little guy vs. the big guy (plaintiffs’ side class action, employment) but in reality were just factories that churned through associates at the same rate as Big Law but with none of the financial (or other) perks.

      • same as to all except my salary is slightly lower.

    • I assume you just graduated in May? So you’ve been at this job for 9 months max? Try to make it work for another 3-6 months and then start looking. I’m not a consultant but am in law (considered consulting as well) — this is just what client service businesses are like. They pay you a lot to be on 24-7. For a strategy consultant – look to go “in house” — i.e. working for a operating company in a strategy, marketing etc. type of department. Almost guaranteed to be a better work life balance and I don’t think it’s as huge a pay cut as you’re thinking. It’s perfectly ok to do something for 12-15 months and decide you’d rather take those skills and be in an environment where you aren’t traveling weekly and are working for 1 client . . . . Of course you’ll have to stick around at your next job longer so that you don’t have a job hopping kind of resume, but I don’t imagine you’ll have trouble sticking around if you are generally happier with work/life.

    • ~ 270K (salary plus cash bonus plus equity bonus)

      in-house attorney

      ~45-50 hours per week.

    • Public affairs/communications

      To give you an idea of my salary progression in my field:
      37k for 2 years at my first nonprofit job, very locked in 40 hours and generous comp time when we went over. Finished my master’s degree while at this job, which may have impacted my next salary jump.

      Moved to contracting for 1.5 years, 60-65k, worked for a small business that was pretty locked in to the 40 hour week, occasionally a little over.

      Now a GS-12 fed, making $80k with 5 years of work experience.

      Are you in consulting/contracting? My friends who went to Big 4 firms out of undergrad made more money but also for sure put in the time, especially at the junior level. (this is also super common in the PR industry, to go to a firm, but you just put in the hours there and don’t make the money as an inten/assistant account exec)

    • Branding/tech
      40-45 hours a week
      almost 6 weeks PTO

      I love it. Not perfect (what job is?) but the PTO is amazing and the people are great. And it’s more than enough money for me.

    • Also 2016 grad. $60k inc. bonus, research, HCOL. 45 hrs/week normally up to probably 60 with very flexible PTO. I really like it here even when it’s crazy. (Don’t want to give too many more details cause I’d probably out myself, but feel free to reply if this peaks your interest at all.)

      FWIW, I turned down a $70k job in consulting for this due to location, kind of work, and flexibility. I also did not negotiate salary because I’m an idiot, so I probably could have started higher here. Glassdoor is not that helpful in my field because it varies so much by employer/region, but it seems as though I’m making a lot more than I would be at other companies that I was considering (aside from the aforementioned consulting job).

      • If you have an anon e mail, I can reach out!

        • I think I’m doing this right – feel free to try to email me at 6n50q7+1uocaan8iof3g AT

        • Heads up that I think this temp email service deletes emails after an hour so if you try to email and don’t hear anything back within the hour just try again :)

        • Anonymous :

          Hey anon, hope you got my reply. Just heads up that I’ll be AWOL from the inbox for a few hours starting now. I’ll probably make an anon Gmail tonight so if you email me again sometime I’ll email you back from a less transient email

    • Big 4 audit, 2nd year, NYC, masters degree, CPA, $60K
      Work ~45 hours per week normally, 55+ hours per week 4 months per year (maybe 1 week/yr is 70 hrs, max)

    • Financial services sales. $100k salary + $40k-$80k bonus, depending on commissions/sales. I normally work 50-hour weeks, though it can be 60-70 hour weeks when traveling for client meetings.

    • Anonymous :

      Here’s my career progression for the last few years:
      -HR/payroll/benefits admin for a small business. I made a pathetic amount of money -$30k – but usually worked 35 hours a week with two days a week working from home. It allowed me to take care of my son when he was small, and also get my masters. Then…
      -Consultant at a non-profit. Started out at $48k, got two raises while I was there, to $57k and then $62k. Worked 9-5 M-F but then also had evening commitments at least twice a week and also was expected to respond to clients from home. I also had to work one weekend a month. So worked about 55 hours a week, all told.
      -New job. $74k working for a governmental agency as a specialist in a particular area. I work 9-6 and have every other Friday off. Never have to work late (and as I understand it, probably never will) or work weekends. It’s bliss. I love this area of specialty and the pace is sooo much slower than my previous job.

      We’re in a MCOL area.

      Only you can weigh money against life sanity. It is possible to have both, but for most people not until later in your career. Absolutely agree that hanging in there for 2-3 yrs will probably reap rewards later, but no job is worth your health. I also agree with some of the limit-setting and boundary-creating advice you’ve gotten. You always have the power to make your own life work for you; the choices aren’t always easy but they’re always there. Good luck.

    • In Canada, so wages are higher.

      I’m the controller (accountant) for a construction subtrade. $110k base salary. Rarely work more than 40 hours per week.

  17. Famouscait :

    Does anyone here have experience with being landlord and neighbor? We are considering buying a duplex, to live in one unit ourselves and rent out the other. The goal would be to purchase an additional property in another 1 – 2 years that would become our primary residence, and then we would rent out both units of the duplex. The property we’re considering is a historic home that is already configured into two units. Things to consider? Things to avoid?

    • My husband and I own a triplex where we live in one unit and rent the other two. For the most part, we’ve found good tenants. The most important thing, I think, it to realize that you can be friendly, but you can’t be friends. You may have to set boundaries or even evict a tenant one day–make sure your relationship is distant enough that you are OK doing that.

      • Famouscait :

        What expenses do you have specifically associated with being a landlord that don’t have to do with the physical unit? I don’t mean the cost of repairs, etc. but additional insurance on your home owners policy, a lawyer to review a lease or help with a problem tenant, etc. Do you keep any amount of liquid cash to help with these?

        • Famouscait :

          I’m editing my own comment to add that I’ve owned homes twice before, so I understand cost of upkeep, property taxes, etc. associated with owning a physical property.

    • Also a landlord, although not a neighbor. Be sure you don’t have too much attachment to how the tenants live in “your” house. I’ve definitely had times, with a house I previously lived in/loved, where it was a little painful to see it treated as a rental. Even with good tenants, they just won’t treat it the same – wear and tear, messy lifestyle, etc. As a neighbor, that will kind of be in your face.

    • I own a duplex and live in one side and rent the other out. If either unit is currently occupied, look into how long is left on the lease. Talk to the tenants if possible, are they interested in staying? Having tenants who wanted to renew their lease allowed me to focus on moving in and fixing my side instead of trying to fix up the other unit and find new renters. What is the prime rental season in your area? I had a vacancy in the winter and it took a bit longer to find a tenant, but I was able to get them to sign a 1.5 year lease to coincide with the better rental season in my market. Determine your screening criteria and rental guidelines and include those in your ad. The No Nonsense Landlord website has some helpful posts on this.

    • Screen tenants carefully.

      Always call the last TWO landlords where they have lived for references, in addition to reviewing finances/employment/background checks.

      The last place I rented was from a young couple of lawyers. Previous to me, they rented to an older woman lawyer, who on paper looked like the perfect tenant (you often hear that single middle aged women are the best tenants!). However, this lawyer knew the eviction system in her city well, and stopped paying rent and played every game in the book prior to getting formally evicted. The owners lost many thousands of dollars.

      After the woman was gone, they called her prior landlord to ask about her. Old landlord said …. “why didn’t you call me sooner…?” The landlord said she had done the exact thing to him.

      Screen tenants carefully.

      FYI – every time I leave a rental apartment, I ask my landlord to provide me with a letter stating that I was a good tenant. In general, they add that I always pay on time, am quiet and that my security deposit was returned to me. Those are powerful letters.

    • Calibrachoa :

      From the other side, I used to live next door to my landlord; ye ole georgian style buildings with a shard back “yard” so I’d see him regularly when I was taking out the trash, etc. We were not friends, but there were definite benefits to this, because he would do things like hold our mail for us while we were on holidays and check on us if the power went out in the area and bring candles to anyone who didn’t have any – and in return in the 3 years I lived in that house there was never a single complaint he made to me or any of my neighbours. So familiarity did not breed contempt.

      One memorable occasion, I came home from the holidays to find out he’d cut off the electricity to my flat from the mains because he’d seen through the window that the hot water heater’s light was on – somehow I’d failed to turn it off, and since he knew I’d be gone for three weeks (And did not have a freezer as it was a furnished apartment with no space for that sort of a thing) he’d turned it off so I would not come home to a humongous electric bill.

      I moved out in 2010 and I still think that was a mistake.

  18. Interesting thread on another site that many here read so I figured I’d ask the ladies here to chime in — what are the best and worst financial decisions you’ve ever made?

    Can be anything – selling a house and having it double in value the next yr; maxing out on a 401k since age 18; betting it all on a horse etc . . . .

    • I think a lot of people are going to say the worst was law school, lol. That’s certainly the case for me.

      • Nope, that was my best decision. But, I went to law school with nearly a full ride, and now I’m an extremely happy and content lawyer.

        Worst was buying a townhome in 2007 at the peak of the housing market in the suburbs where I couldn’t walk to anything. And then the market crashed and we were stuck in that house for far longer than I wanted.

      • Yep. Best decision for me. Top 10 law school to 8 yrs in biglaw even though I knew around yr 6 that I wouldn’t make partner bc of internal economics/politics. Lots of people say biglaw isn’t a great way to make money – bc banking, tech, medicine are better. Having worked with a ton of banking clients, I’m confident in saying I wouldn’t have lasted past the 2-3 yr analyst program – which isn’t where the big money is; and I would’ve been pushed out like so many women I saw in the same situation. And I knew from HS that tech and medicine had no appeal to me. Going to biglaw AND not leaving just bc it was stressful and when all my friends jumped ship in yr 4 or 5 for work life balance reasons worked out for me.

      • Law school was definitely my worst financial decision. It was made worse by the fact that my scholarship was based on the cost of tuition at the time when I was admitted, but remained constant even though tuition went up by approximately 70% while I was enrolled.

        Buying a house would be the second worst. Our house is costly to maintain and the value has only risen slightly over the 13 years we’ve owned it. We would have come out about the same if we’d stayed in an apartment and saved all the money we’ve spent on maintenance.

        • +Same, got a law school scholarship for a fixed amount. First year it covered about 80% of my tuition. Third year it only covered half. I still escaped with a lot less debt than I could have but it’s insane how much they raised tuition over the course of two years.

    • Best – starting my 401(k) 5 years ago, even though part of me thought I should wait until I’d paid off my student loan debt first. My 401(k) balance is 150K now and my student loans will be paid off later this year.

      Worst – I had some Apple stock in my IRA that I bought in 2006. When I was laid off in 2008, I cashed it out and took the penalty because I needed the cash. Aaaarrrrgggg! This is why I should have had an emergency fund, people.

      • Do you mind sharing how old you are? I’m wondering how much I should have in my 401k. I increased the contribution this year but I’m thinking I need to do more.

        • Ideally you’re maxing out and that works out to about $18K per year (up to $18.5K per year now, I think). Match is also a variable as are market returns.

          E.g., I have about $120K in for the job I’ve worked for 5+ years after maxing out every year, no match.

    • Buying the worst house (that we could barely afford) in an up and coming neighborhood. We thought we’d fix it up slowly but were hit with a major storm 6 months later and got to redo the entire exterior. We also got the Home Service Plus program for the appliances and they replaced all but the dryer and water heater in the first year. Now if we sold (2ish years later) we’d double our investment and get to move back into our old house mortgage free, but we love it here!

    • Best financial decision – never saying no to a promotion or opportunity for advancement.

      In terms of personal finance, making the maximum 15% contributions to my 401K when I was in my 20s.

      Second best, buying my first house, which doubled in 10 years.

      • I missed the worst

        Worst financial decisions – running up credit card debt right out of college
        Current worst financial decision, repeated weekly – running out of time or ingredients for making dinner and going out or ordering grub hub

        • We solve this by keeping one or two frozen Trader Joes Asian entrees in the freezer (some kind of chicken stir fry thing, beef with broccoli, etc) and their frozen jasmine rice, plus frozen spinach. If we’re having a rushed night or are out of fresh ingredients, we can have dinner on the table in 15 minutes for $10.

          But we’re also a big fan of breakfast for dinner on those nights – eggs, bacon or sausage, and oatmeal with sautéed bananas on top. Probably about the same time and cost.

          Which isn’t to say there are $40 thai or $70 indian takeout nights – but they are less frequent.

    • Interesting question. My best financial decisions are 1) to have consistently had a rainy day fund since I graduated from college, and 2) lived at home during grad school and therefore squeaked my way out loan-free.

      I’ve been very, very lucky to not have any huge financial busts, but 2016 was a really hard year financially. I was paying a lot in housing costs after having to move quickly for a job; had committed to two non-cancellable vacations; and then had a series of back-to-back emergency expenditures. It would have been a real problem if I didn’t have a slush fund. Said slush fund was barely over $1,000 by the time I got through the worst of it, but thank god, it did get me through. (And is now topped back up.)

    • Worst: being an idiot and driving drunk and getting a DUI when I was 24. I never had credit card debt before that, but did not have the cash on hand with my $28k salary in a HCOL to front for the lawyer. I ended up racking up $12k by the time I finished law school 4 years later.

      Best: paying my credit cards off with my law firm salary before I bought my house and then funneling that “extra” money into savings.

    • Best financial decision was buying a house 3 years ago – I am gone for long stretches and rent it out on Airbnb when I’m gone, which pays for all the tax, insurance and utilities for the house. The basement apartment tenants pay the mortgage. I have to keep an apartment in the town where my work is, but once I can give that up I can basically live rent/mortgage free if all works out well.

      Worst financial decision (but still worth it) was buying a horse (and then a second horse, gasp!). I already knew it would be a money pit but it adds so much to my life that it’s something I prioritize. It’s more of a lifestyle than a hobby.

      Second worst decision may be the 5-plex rental property I bought a few months ago. It needs SO much more work than I ever anticipated, and it will be a long long time before it cashflows. I hope it will be a good investment for the future. It’s in a great location and the demand for rentals far outweigh the supply in this university town, but I still wake up in a cold sweat over the amount of money I’m spending fixing it up.

      • The rental property will be worth it in the end. A friend of mine was laid off a few years ago and it took him over a year to get another job, but he never had any stress because his rental property paid his bills while he was looking for work. It’s a LOT of work to be a landlord but once you get it all up and running, you can have that income and then hopefully leverage the property into future property buys. You could be the next Barbara Corcoran. :)

    • Worst: buying a house that needed a ton of work when I could just barely afford it based on certain salary increase expectations that did not at all happen. I made it work but my ability to save while I was doing it was almost nil (threw some money at 401k and otherwise no savings) and it was very stressful. Good news is work/renovations are mostly done, and maintenance from here on should be much more reasonable.

      Best: never had any cc debt, and live reasonably frugally other than my house spending.

    • Worst: refinancing student loans with a spouse, when his were 10 times what mine were, and we needed to refinance in my name because his credit was crap. We divorced after 2 years, almost 10 years ago, but all of his loans are still in my name. He’s been making the payments, but if he ever can’t for whatever reason I’m on the hook.

      Best: living like a student for 5 years after law school and paying $3000 per month towards loans.

    • Worst – relying on credit cards during long periods of unemployment/underemployment. Not sure how I’m ever going to dig myself out of this hole.

      • Hire an attorney to negotiate them down. There are tax consequences. Your credit takes a hit but it’s not as bad as a bankruptcy. Consultations are free. I did this and this will be my last year of consequences and it was totally worth it.

    • Best- no credit card debt ever.

      Worst- not living with roommates after law school. I could have sucked it up for a year or two.

    • Marshmallow :

      Best: law school. I love, love being a lawyer and I make far better money than I thought was possible growing up.

      Worst: running up credit card debt in college and again in law school when we were hit with a natural disaster. We’re paying it off now and the end is in sight this year but it’s like an albatross. I will be SO happy when it’s gone!

    • Best – This isn’t me, but I have to credit my parents for paying for my college tuition. I didn’t realize it at the time, but not having undergrad debt has been the most contributing factor in my financial health today.

      Also best – This is me, but probably possible due to having no debt – Always having some sort of savings account so if something happened (like car repairs or medical bills) I’d be able to pay for it. This meant/means not having the latest and greatest but worth it for the peace of mind.

    • Worst: law school at full price instead of lower ranked (but still good) school with a half scholarship.

      Best: Leaving NYC for a lower cost of living area.

    • Best: maxing out 401(k) and IRA contributions, pursuing higher education (and associated loans) to get a job I love, living well below our means and paying off 150k in student loans within 5 years of graduation, saving money so we can travel around the world

      Worst: racking up CC debt in college (made for an unfortunate reality check/great learning experience once I started working full-time and cut up the CCs), buying a brand new car (although my DH loves it and would probably put this under his “best” decisions so YMMV)

    • Best- being frugal. Also going back to school, and spending a total of $10k to become a CPA. I doubled my salary my first year as a CPA. So that paid off really quickly. I also have job security basically for the rest of my life and a really flexible career.

      Worst- being cheap. This is the other side of the coin to being frugal. I hate spending too much when I don’t have to. Because of this, so many things in my life have been a mish-mash patchwork of things that almost work, but don’t quite, delayed maintenance that ends up causing problems, etc. I’m working on this. I have spent a lot of money on cheap crap.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Best: Saving my grad $ to put more than 80% down on a new car, knowing mine was going to die. Ended up with a $2500 loan that I’ll be able to pay off almost a year early.
      Worst: Living in too expensive of an apartment 3L year.

    • Calibrachoa :

      Best: No student loans!
      Worst: Without going into detail, depression wiped out the entirety of my savings.

    • Best — Law school! I love my job and am able to save a lot of money with my current salary. I also went to a state school at night, so I was able to keep my loan burden low. Also getting rid of my car about 8 years ago.

      Worst — Buying a house in 2005 and then losing a bunch of money on it when I sold it. Cashing out my 401(k) in my late 20s to pay for law school tuition.

    • Best: selecting my college and grad school based on where I could go on scholarship/fully funded. Went to a top 10 grad school funded by my employer, have minimal school debt from college based on scholarship. Generally speaking I’ve made frugal choices – lived inexpensively with roommates, contributed for max 401k, built an emergency fund.
      Worst: Might say selecting a field that doesn’t pay all that much (international affairs). I have great healthcare benefits, pretax transit, free catered lunch, pension, etc, but my salary is low in a HCOL city. This means there is only so much you can save/invest/build your wealth regardless of how frugal you are.
      Bigger picture: finances are only part of my general life satisfaction and there are a lot of intangibles that are difficult to put a dollar value on.

    • Worst – racking up credit card debt in my 20’s. Took quite a while to pay it all off.
      Best – buying our house in the Bay Area in the late 90’s. It seemed crazy expensive at the time but has quadrupled in value. Mortgage will be paid off next month!

    • Anonymous :

      Best: not buying more house than we could afford. Every realtor tried to upsell us on our first home and I was having none of it.
      Worst: letting my husband have any access to our money. Love him dearly but he does not get it and i have to budget “around” him

    • best was probably that we bought our first house when I was only 26. We bought for $500 and sold for $950k five years later.

      I can’t think of worst….

    • Worst decision: investing an inheritance in single-company tech and financial stocks prior to the 2008 market crash. We took a big risk (hoping, of course, for big returns) and we paid for it, big-time. I try not to think too much about the money we lost.

      Best decision: buying a low-priced fixer-upper house in 2001 and staying here. We only have 5 years left on the mortgage, house is worth triple what we paid and our monthly mortgage payment is about half what apartment rent is in our area.

  19. Worst: Buying a house without knowing for sure that we were going to stay in the area long term. We owned it for two years. Didn’t lose a ton of money, but only because we spent weeks of our life renovating it. We would have come out better financially by just renting, with much less stress.

    Best: Marrying my husband? More seriously, maxing my 401k from the minute I started my first professional job.

  20. Pants help! I am generally a 5′ 4′ pear: small shoulders and flat chest, big in the hips and thighs. When I was thin, I would buy a 4 on top and a 6 on the bottom. But now that I am older, I have a belly, too. Not quite an apple, just a pear with a belly. What are the go-to business casual slacks for me?

    • You sound like me. :) I wear my Express Editor pants (buy a size up or two if needed) to work and I also really like Classiques Entier pants from Nordstrom (look for a sale online).

    • JuniorMinion :

      I don’t have an entirely analogous situation to you but I am on the curvier side without being tall / plus size. I’ve had good luck with some of the Charter Club items at Macy’s – the pants I have bought have some stretch in them and seem to fit well (they are the pull on pants) and are rather forgiving.

      I have also had good luck with Talbots curvy fit pants – they have a bit of stretch and are cut in such a way that they flatter a broader array of body shapes than most dress pants I have found.

      Other pants I have had good luck with are some of the old navy pants – the harper cut in particular.

    • My body type is like yours (although I’m much bigger overall) and I like the Editor pants and the LOFT Marisa fit.

      • +1

        I also have done well with Nordstrom Halogen pants.

        Avoid low rise and high rise pants. Mid rise is what you need, with a bit of stretch in the fabric.

        I am XS petite on top, and size 6 with long legs/tall on the bottom. It’s rough.

    • BR Logan fit pants work for me.

  21. Migraines as a professional :

    Looking for wisdom, advice, any tips you have at all.

    I got the occasional migraine a few times a year before I had kids. Now the week of my period is pretty reliably at least 5 bad migraine days with aura, nausea, etc. as well as sporadic other days throughout the month. I can usually keep the discomfort managed by suffering through the day (usually not eating to avoid vomiting) and then taking meds at night. I can’t drive after taking imitrex, and I don’t feel great about practicing law after taking it either. It’s not great, but I’ve been seeing a PT who has really helped cut down on the frequency/severity with work on the muscles in my neck and upper back.

    I know other ladies here have struggled with chronic migraine. I recently went in-house and I’m concerned about handling this the right way as an employee. I’m missing an hour or so of work in the morning once a week for PT right now, plus doc appts. And at least every few months I have one so bad that I either have to leave very suddenly or call in sick. Please tell me what to do. Do I need to report this as a disability to HR? My manager doesn’t seem concerned/ is generally very supportive, but I really do not want this to be a problem for my career other than the obvious suffering/ missed time/ playing catch up. How do I manage having this condition professionally?

    • I’ve never been told I can’t drive after taking a triptan (in my case Maxalt, but same deal as Imitrex) — are you sure that’s right? I don’t find my cognitive abilities impaired at all.

      • My cognitive abilities are impaired not just during but after. I’m quite sure. I tried to get behind the wheel once and nearly took out our mailbox. Apparently the side effects are very different for different people.

        • Agreed – when I was on Maxalt, I fell asleep in class – like my head hit the laptop. I just dropped. I had to leave class and sleep on the couches in the law school lobby for like 4 hours until I could drive home safely. That was when I learned I couldn’t take it while expected to do things, so either before bed or on a weekend where I could nap all day. Due to insurance stuff I got switched to Rizatriptan and it works great and doesn’t make me groggy at all. It’s awesome. Migraine medications are so tricky and really upsetting when the best way to get over them is with medication and rest (for most) and yet you have to work. (And sometimes the one that doesn’t make you groggy doesn’t do anything for your migraine.)

    • Why are you getting your period monthly? Are you TTC? Isn’t standard hormonal migraine protocol just taking the pill back to back so you don’t have the period week? I don’t have any advice about the work thing but I don’t understand your treatment plan at all.

      • Yes, I do this for precisely this reason. It works like a charm and the bonus is the steady hormones rather than ricocheting ones means I don’t have mood swings and my acne is always under control.

    • Are you taking a hormonal BCP? If yes, try stopping. If no, try starting. If you can pin your migraine down to the week of your period, it’s definitely hormonal, and you should be trying to treat it with hormones.

      • I can’t take hormonal BC for other reasons, so that may be why my neuros haven’t brought it up. But I’ve seen multiple very well-regarded board-certified doctors who specialize in migraines, and none of them have raised this as anything close to the standard treatment protocol.

        Maybe I should clarify. Looking for advice about how to handle the work/life/professionalism aspect of things. Not looking for medical advice.

        • Also, if you have migraines with aura you should NOT take estrogen-containing birth control as it can increase your risk of stroke.

          • This would be why. Mine are with aura and they have discussed that risk. I take blood pressure meds as preventatives daily.

          • AusLawyer :

            Clearly they are hormonal and you can go on progesterone only BC. No oestrogen. I’m also a migraine suffering and a lawyer and have a number of different medications to prevent and treat my migraines. Botox is also an option.

    • When I first started getting migraines I took two daily preventatives until they were under control. Now I just take Treximet as-needed. Can you see if your neuro will put you on daily preventative meds – which may not have the same side effects for you as the Imitrex? I was on Bystolic and Topamax for over a year before I was able to get off of them. High blood pressure medications can also be used as a migraine preventative.

      • Preventative meds and PT have gotten me down to where I’m really only having a bad leave-work headache/ take imitrex once every few months, and only during the week of my period. So I’m pretty happy with my medical treatments, and I’m confident this is going to continue to improve.

        Longterm, I think this is going to get under control by preventative meds and the PT work– which has a definite end point. But I am new to being in-house and I want to be on top of the issue instead of feeling like a reactive hot mess.

        • I’m so sorry for you! I have definitely been there, and feel your pain. I was missing work several times a month before mine were under control. I would definitely let your direct supervisor know about it, and what measures you’re taking so that it doesn’t affect your work. Also, are there any little things that help to relieve the pain that you could bring into your office? Ice pack, heat compress, screen shield on your computer? If you’re having to suffer through, maybe some little comforts might help.

        • Also – one other note. If the Imitrex is new to you, you may eventually not have as severe of side effects. My side effects from Treximet have reduced significantly after eight years of being on the medication, and now I can continue working as normal after taking it.

          • Thank you! My manager is supportive and I’m going to let HR know just as a CYA.

            This is my first professional job where I haven’t worked for a “problem partner” in a very consulting-style firm. I’m used to having to cancel doc appointments multiple times, then spend the actual appointment answering emails and calls from the exam room. So transitioning to “just get your work done, really” is difficult mentally.

            And yes, I no longer turn into a loopy oversharer with one or even two pills. I won’t drive because my commute is on what is literally the most dangerous highway in America, and the meds mess with my depth perception. But I’ve definitely noticed that the side effects have waned. The fog happens only when I have to take the max dose of triptans.

    • I would report it to HR, just in case your currently supportive boss starts to give you a hard time. There is no harm that I see to have documentation of a disabling condition that will require some intermittent accommodation.

      Those dang kids. Before kids I would barely notice when my period came and went and now I’m a hormonal mess the week prior and in crippling pain with a super heavy flow during. WTF, reproductive system?

      • Have you tried an IUD? I had periods like you’re describing prior to having kids and let me tell you, not having to worry about any of that nonsense any more is a huge relief. I used to bleed through my clothes even wearing a tampon AND a pad; I used to have to set an alarm to get up in the night to change out things. And let’s not even talk about cramping. I still remember the black-tie event I spent on the floor of the ladie’s room crying, after two Vicodin and three Midol. I’m on my third Mirena and I love it so much. It totally changed my life for the better.

    • I’m going to second the others who advise you to revisit your treatment plan. I get migraines and once I finally went to a neurologist, I tested a variety of medicines to see what worked best for me. Now I take a triptan at the first sign of a migraine and rarely miss work (I’m an attorney and the medicine I take does not make me sleepy or otherwise affect my ability to function).

      • I will definitely be asking some more questions the next time I see my doc. It’s only been a year since this started, so maybe I’m still in the testing to see what works stage. I’ve tried some of the slower-release triptans and they don’t make me sleepy or foggy, but they also don’t really affect the migraine at all.

        • I know you said you’re not looking for medical advice, so sorry to pile on…I also don’t like to drive after taking Imitrex, though I feel comfortable doing so if I need to unexpectedly. I typically take 50mg but once my doctor accidentally prescribed 100mg and the side effects were much worse. It comes in 25mg doses too. On the off chance you’re taking the largest dosage, maybe you could try the smaller dosages and see if that helps with the side effects? Someone else mentioned Treximet – I take 400mg of naproxen with my 50mg generic Imitrex and it works very well.

          I just let my manager know if I’m having problems and they’ve been great about it; it happens less than once per year though. Could you have a conversation with him about whether you should talk to HR before you jump to disability accommodations?

    • I’m really sorry this is troubling you!

      But I’m not sure what problem you’re having with managing the professional aspect of this? If your boss is supportive and you have the sick time, where is the issue…? My assistant has chronic migraines and I don’t think anyone has ever questioned her leaving when she leaves because of one. I know I haven’t. It also doesn’t really sound like you’re missing that much work (1 hour a week + 1 day every few months).

      I think you might be worrying that people will think you’re a slacker, but I really don’t think that they will.

      • Thank you Torin. You are absolutely right– I’m very anxious about this and your last sentence is exactly what I needed to hear.

        • Seattle Freeze :

          OP, I also struggle with balancing workload and my chronic migraines, and Torin speaks the truth – if your work is of good quality and your boss is supportive, you have good groundwork in place for being flexible when you need to deal with a migraine or with the supportive care to help prevent more.

          If you’re eligible for FMLA, you could look into intermittent FMLA for appointments and missing work due to migraine. My employer is too small for FMLA or ADA protection, so I get by on goodwill and a track record as the person who gets sh!t done – I use up all my sick time every year and am grateful that my employer understands that that’s part of what’s needed to keep me working. Sometimes I don’t perform at the same high level for a while, like right now when I’m in a pattern of near-daily migraines. I made sure my boss knew what was going on, she asked me to focus on keeping critical projects on track but otherwise doing the minimum, and I gave myself permission to stay/go/work from home when I need to. Maybe that’s more than ideal right now, but it will even out at some point.

          When I get really worried and panic about how to keep up when I’m really not able to function well, I remind myself that while I’ve had this problem the entire time I’ve worked here, I’ve kept performing well and been promoted several times. They can all tell when I have a migraine and am hurting, and nobody here expects me to push through when I can’t. It sounds like your manager is supportive and willing to work with you on this – you don’t have to give any medical details, but sometimes saying “I have this health issue that can sometimes affect my work, I’m working with my doctors on effective treatment options to reduce how often that happens, and here’s what my plan is for the meantime.”

    • Are you seeing a neurologist that focuses only on headache? For how long?

      Have you identified all of your triggers?

      Have you experimented with other tryptans/deliver modes (ex. many people cannot tolerate injectable 100mg imitrex, although it can be very effective). There are many other sister medicines that may not give you the same side effects. There are also different modes (pill, dissolvable pill under tongue, nasal spray) that also may work.

      You need a real change in treatments. You must find an abortive that you can take early, or you’ve already lost the fight. You need to change your preventative med.

      My Mom had severe migraines, and worked full time in a firm and almost never missed a day, but it was grueling. You need an excellent doctor that can work with you

    • I can’t function when I get migraines. I just have to go home, medicate and wait for it to pass. I think migraines are common enough that people understand how bad they are. I wouldn’t report it as a disability, especially since it seems like your supervisor is sympathetic. Consider aids other than meds too. My migraines have decreased by about 90% since I started taking magnesium supplements. There’s quite a bit of research correlating the two. I’ve also discovered that dry office air is a trigger for me and was able to reduce the frequency of my migraines even more by using a humidifier in the office. If yours are triggered by hormones, taking Excedrin migraine (Excedrin + caffeine) during your cycle may prevent them. For some, drinking coffee at the beginning helps

    • Anonymous :

      I’ve had migraines for over 25 years, and have taken every drug available to try to treat them. Mine are what I would term “well-controlled” right now (2-3 migraine days per month). Here’s what works for me.
      – I did report it as a disability to my work because I have peripheral vision loss with mine (been well-investigated; it’s not a tumor, AVM or aneurysm) and I also then cannot drive when I have a migraine. And that counts as something that “significantly interferes with activities of daily life.” Which is the definition of an ADA-qualifying disability. No one made a big deal about it but I wanted the protection in case my migraine pattern changes. In my organization, it meant I got put in an area where I can adjust the overhead lighting and do other things that help when I feel one coming on.
      – if your treatment plan has not reduced your headache days down to a point that is manageable for you, try a new plan. See an alternative specialist for new ideas. Going gluten-free and cutting out artificial sweeteners really helped me. Then I cut sugar. Then I tried acupuncture. Then I got a Mirena IUD so my hormones would be more regulated. Etc. Etc. Etc. Don’t settle for “well, I’m down to 10 days a month and can take imitrex, I guess this is as good as it gets.” Maybe not. Keep trying.
      – Lastly, stop feeling guilty. You didn’t ask for this and you cannot control it. If you need to take time, take time. Work hard when you can and people won’t care. Almost everyone I know has migraines or knows someone who does; there shouldn’t be a stigma.
      You totally got this! If you do want more advice on controlling your migraines, just ask.

  22. New Tampanian - Tampa Meetup? :

    Tampa area ladies… would you be interested in doing a meet-up in the near future?

  23. Starting a Podcast :

    I know we have talked about podcasts previously. I am thinking of starting my own in the near future. It would be industry specific and highlight women who work in said industry and every once in a while men in the industry who have made a point to give women a shot or mentor them. It’s a very male-dominated industry. So as not to give too much away about my identity, I’m being purposely vague. It will not be a wonkish podcast, more business related.

    SO…. would y’all mind helping me out a bit by answering a couple of questions? I feel like these are general enough and would be helpful to me.

    1) What are your favorite podcast formats?
    2) Who are your favorite podcast hosts and why?
    3) How often do you think is *just right* for new “episodes”?
    4) What questions would you want answered by someone successful in business, particularly women?
    5) Do you have any general thoughts/pet peeves/preferences related to podcasts?

    And for anyone who has a podcast themselves:

    A) what equipment do you use?
    B) what format do you prefer?
    C) Tips for anyone starting out?

    Thank you so much! Looking forward to your responses.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I like podcasts that are interviews that feel a lot more like a conversation. I think Bryan Callen and Hunter Maats (on the Bryan Callen Show) are great at this as is Chris Hardwick for the Nerdist. Tim Ferriss has gotten better at it over time. Joe Rogan is also great at this although I think that most of the time he actually is just talking with people he already knows fairly well so it already feels comfortable.

      Once a week episodes are just right for me, although anything as long as it sort of sticks to a schedule is fine.

      I have 2 big pet peeves. The first is related to why conversations are my favorites. I get uncomfortable when I can tell the host is uncomfortable. It feels like it reaches out through my headphones. The second one sometimes is a result of the first, but not always. If you are interviewing someone who has written something and you ask about it, make sure you’ve actually read it! Too many times the interviewer has skimmed something and either comes away with incorrect impressions or clearly hasn’t done their homework and asks the exact same questions that everyone else has already asked. Do research on your guests ahead of time!

      • I actually find Chris Hardwick on The Nerdist really annoying. This is purely subjective complaint, so take it with as much salt as you want. His conversational style seems to lean more towards him sharing a lot of personal anecdotes and reactions, so we get a lot more host than I’d like.

        Other than that, big +1 to all of this!

    • I think HowThingsWork has good podcasts on a lot of topics. Stuff you should know, stuff you didn’t learn in history class etc . .

      I usually listen to podcasts through the Podcasts app on the iphone. How do you listen to them online?

    • I think this is a great idea! There are way too many mediocre men with podcasts and not nearly enough women making them. I think weekly is my ideal timing, but I realize that would be quite a bit of work so I would be okay subscribing to a podcast that was biweekly. The worst thing you could do would be to produce episodes with no consistent schedule. I think my biggest pet peeve is poor production value. I’d invest in some decent recording equipment so your listeners can hear clearly.

      Good luck!!

    • AnonInfinity :

      Great idea. I listen to a lot of podcasts, and my #1 pet peeve is when the hosts aren’t prepared. You don’t have to script out every word, but when the hosts meander all over the place or have pointless conversations, I usually don’t listen to subsequent episodes.

    • I went to a presentation once by Grammar Girl. She was asked about how she makes the podcast, and I recall something about sitting in her closet b/c it was the quietest place, and her laptop, and some sort of cover on the mic that made her consonants sound better. I thought it was funny and now I always picture her in her closet when I listen to that podcast. And FWIW, I prefer to listen to shows that are professional, informative, and get to the point. I hate most interview formats because there is so much wasted time, but some Fresh Air interviews are ok. I also hate podcasts with poor sound quality, such as interviews over the telephone. I’m not going to put up with anything over a half an hour, unless it’s This American Life.

    • Moonstone :

      You might be surprised at the amount of time it takes to turn out a really interesting, high-quality episode. It’s easy to spend 5 hours writing and producing a 30-minute podcast – more if you plan to interview guests. I am not saying this to be discouraging but I’ve had friends lose interest after just a few episodes because it was so much work.

  24. pear earrings suggestions? :

    I’m sure this has been addressed before, but wondering if anyone can suggest specific pearl earrings (real or faux) that are reasonably priced (~under 100)? Only catch is that I have sensitive ears and can only tolerate gold, platinum and titanium. TIA!


      Or just send Sarah an email (under “contact” on the left bar) and tell her what kinds of pearls you want (round, white?) and ask her what she can do for $100 or less with the metals you require. I think you’ll be pleased.

      I don’t work there but I am a repeat customer and they are great. Much cheaper than a department store and higher quality.

    • I’d look at Costco.

      Best bang for your buck.

      • Senior Attorney :


        Costco’s fine jewelry department is great if you can find what you’re looking for. And you should definitely be able to find some nice pearls.

        That said, I bought these on Amazon recently and have been wearing the heck out of them: (you can really go down the rabbit hole looking at jewelry on Amazon so don’t say I didn’t warn you…)

  25. Be Gentle? :

    I regularly see advice on here to “be kind to yourself” or to “be gentle to yourself.” I like the idea of this advice and I think I would likely benefit from applying this to myself; however, I don’t understand what that means in practice. I’d really appreciate specific examples of how you are kind or gentle to yourself.

    • tips on being gentle with one's self :

      I also love this advice and try to practice it in a few ways. For example, by talking to myself as I would a dear friend or even a small child. Tara Brach (psychologist and meditation teacher) advises placing your hand over your heart and saying aloud or just thinking such things as “It’s okay sweetheart.” I also take long showers, put on nice lotion, or go for a long walk or have a cup of tea and just sit. Only positive self-talk and finding ways to pamper myself without spending money! Good luck darling

      • PatsyStone :

        Tara Brach is a great recommendation. Her Radical Self-Acceptance audio book has helped me so much in the past and I listen to it now when my anxiety is peaking. I visualize adult me hugging child me and telling my vulnerable self that I am safe and protected.

    • This is obviously person specific, but it really just means taking care of yourself. Which could mean eating pizza 4 days in a row or relying on grocery store pre-made salads for all your meals. It could mean daily yoga or daily netflix (maybe both). It could mean hiring help to clean or just letting your house get messy and live with it. Personally it means keeping up with pedicures and yoga and house work and letting some other things slide (like friendships because I’m an introvert).

    • For me, it’s not beating myself up when things go wrong. It’s giving myself time to rest when I need to, rather than powering through (my personal tendency). It means prioritizing my well-being, whether it’s physical, mental or spiritual.

      I’ll give you one example. Last night, I was completely wiped out from not sleeping well the night before, work stress and other stuff. Instead of tackling the mountain of laundry that needed my attention or cooking an elaborate dinner, I asked DH to make a simple dinner. I skipped doing the laundry and other chores that technically needed to be done. I went to bed at 9 p.m.

    • Sometimes when I’m being lazy and loafing around on the weekend, I feel guilty. Then I tell myself, Self, you work 50+ hours a week, you commute 1 1/2 hours each way, you do all the cooking and dishwashing, you are raising two pretty cool kids. Take a break, Self. Watch a movie.

      Like that.

    • New Tampanian :

      +1 to all of the above. Mostly, for me, it means putting myself first and truly engaging in self-care. This includes how my internal dialogue is worded. Allowing myself to feel sad, to not set expectations on a given day too high because of something I’m going through, letting myself just be without guilt/shame., taking myself out of situations that may require a higher level of emotional strength than I can currently withstand.

    • Don’t talk to yourself the way you wouldn’t let anyone else talk to you. For example, if you wouldn’t let someone call you so stupid, don’t call yourself so stupid. Don’t talk to yourself the way you would never talk to someone else.

  26. Anonymous :

    My job situation has really gone south and I’m having trouble dealing with the stress because I think I’m going to get pushed out.
    I posted a couple of weeks ago that my direct manager cornered me in an office and screamed at me, kept repeating “Why do you think I’m mad at you?” and wouldn’t give me an answer when I asked her to please tell me (it turns out she was mad I took a meeting, which upper management has confirmed I was correct to take). Obviously she’s lashing out about something else, and I can’t figure out exactly where things went so wrong and she decided she had a vendetta against me…
    Now I’ve reported the harassment to upper management and they… seem to be closing ranks against me. Suddenly pointing out complaints against me and critiques of my performance, when all my performance evaluations up until now have been positive.

    I’m looking for a new job but I’m so stressed on a day to day basis and it feels terribly unfair. I’m just upset and was hoping to commiserate.

    • Look at the self-care thread above. I’ve been stuck in an awful, harassment-filled job too (I posted about it a few months ago) and do timing/health insurance have had to stick it out. (Although that *finally* looks like it’s coming to an end!)

      Things that helped me: yoga weekends, hitting things (boxing, kickboxing, self defense workshops), keeping a 5 minute a day journal that asks questions to help you focus on the positive from a cognitive behavioral perspective (on really bad days that didn’t help, at all), being honest with people you’re close to that you’re struggling, reaching out to people you trust in your professional network, and job hunting like it’s your second career

      Your situation sucks. It will not suck forever.

    • Anonymous :

      Hugs. I’m so sorry this is happening. I’ve been there too. It was a truly miserable place to be. I worked my tail off to find another job and did. Life on the other side was so wonderful.

  27. Spanish Language Podcasts :

    So this is very specific – but any recommendations for podcasts in Spanish?

    I speak Spanish pretty well, studied abroad etc, but don’t hear much in daily life. I know that watching soccer games in Spanish and other such things helped me a lot, and I like listening to podcasts (especially about history or politics) so thought this could be worth a try.

    • NPR’s Radio Ambulante? I don’t speak Spanish so I don’t listen but I am a fan of their politics reporting in English.

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