Coffee Break: Clarison Shoes

I was intrigued to get a press release from new company Clarison, where they have a ton of shoes, bags, and gloves in matching pastel colors — very Jackie O. Just looking at the homepage made me feel more ladylike! Some of their shoes are on sale — these gray ones with a 1.25″ heel look fab for work, particularly if you want SOME heel but not a ton.  They’re normally $250, but they’re on sale for $179. Jackie Heel


  1. dental woes :

    I just returned my my 6-month dental cleaning and it seems that the hygenist chipped the top of one of my bottom front teeth. I noticed her spending an awfully long time on this tooth with the ultrasonic tool that removes plaque (not sure what it’s technically called), but didn’t notice until I was walking back to work that the top of the tooth felt funny/unfamiliar to my tongue. I looked in the mirror when I returned to the office and YEP, it’s definitely chipped right in the middle, making the top of the tooth look uneven (like there is a divot in the middle).

    What should I do now? Call the dentist? Demand that they fill it? I don’t think I can 100% prove that it was the cleaning that caused the chip (it would be my word against theirs), but I’m certain the unevenness were not there prior to my appointment. GAH.

    • I don’t know whether the dentist will do it for free, but my front teeth are very thin on the bottom and I’ve been getting sealant for years to prevent chipping. I went too long one time and got a chip (no idea where). I got it filled and the filling matches the color of my teeth is completely invisible–even to me when I’m inches from the mirror. I can’t remember what I paid, but it wasn’t exorbitant. Maybe $100 or so. If you’re having the same problem with thin teeth (and I’m guessing you do since teeth don’t normally chip during a cleaning), you might ask about sealants too.

      • dental woes :

        Thanks – I will do that. Genetics definitely aren’t on my side here – my mother has very chip-prone teeth and I guess I must as well (though this has never been an issue for me before and I’m in my 30s). For this time, would you expect the dentist to fill the chip at no cost since they caused it, or would you just chalk this up to bad luck and pay whatever they charge to fix the issue? (Not sure if I should be prepared to make a stink, ha)

        • Anonymous :

          Why not just call immediately, describe the situation, and see whether they offer to fix the chip free of charge? I wouldn’t mention that you think your teeth are prone to chipping. Just tell them what happened: I just had a cleaning, and right afterwards I noticed a chip.

        • I would ask if they would do it for free, but wouldn’t raise a stink if they say no.

    • My daughter and son were asked to be in a family wedding when they were 5 and 3 years old, respectively. My daughter was a flower girl. My son was supposed to be a junior groomsman. It was a somewhat casual outdoor wedding but we bought him the full outfit (in his case, navy cuffed shorts – not easy to find for a 3 year old! – a short sleeved white dress shirt – ditto! – and a bow tie.)

      The wedding day was chaotic. We showed up with our kids dressed in their outfits, on time and ready to go. The bride was in a tizzy about her hair and ignored us. The groomsmen ignored my son. When it was time for the bride to march in, my son was still standing there not knowing what to do, and she just told him to go sit down. He came and found us where we were sitting and was very bummed out that his sister was standing up front with the bridesmaids, and he hadn’t actually gotten to do anything. It kind of broke my heart.

      All this to say, three year olds know enough to know what’s going on, and it’s not your three year old niece’s fault that her mother is being a jerk and you are being offended (and clearly favor your own family.) Please try to think of something for this little girl to do at your wedding, whether she wears a dress or pants, and try for a moment to look at it from her point of view.

    • Depending on how small the chip is, they might suggest just shaving the area a tiny bit to even it out. I was skeptical, but it worked for me in a similar situation. (my chip was tiny and on the corner of my tooth)

  2. Bridezilla :

    Posted here previously about my future SIL, who strongly dislikes me and has made it clear. A lot of other context here from my previous posts, but main point at the moment is that she is consistently difficult and dramatic. This post is SO FRIVOLOUS but I am obsessing about it.

    My sister’s 6-year old twins are going to be in our ceremony (flower girl and ring bearer). They’re both adorably excited about it and about the “dress-up” clothes they get to wear.

    Future SIL has a 3-year-old daughter. My fiancé and I thought it would be sweet if she were a co-flower-girl with my niece. It also just seemed like a nice gesture, so that everyone is included. I don’t think the 3-year-old cares, so the gesture was more toward the mother/SIL (one of many attempts at peace).

    Fiancé asked his sister yesterday (via text) if her daughter could be a flower girl. She responded: “Fine, but she won’t wear a dress.”

    Generally the kid dresses in sweatpants/leggings, but she has worn dresses on holidays, like Christmas and Easter. She’s not a tomboy, is obsessed with Frozen, princesses, etc. Our interpretation here is “she won’t want to wear a dress, and we won’t make her.” Is it crazy to say, “she can only be a flower girl if she wears a dress”? The wedding is formal. The other flower girl will be in a dress. I can’t think of any formal outfit for a 3-year-old girl that isn’t a dress so frankly, I think that SIL is basically saying she will walk down the aisle in sweatpants.

    Generally the wedding planning has been easy-going and I don’t think of myself as controlling. But it feels reasonable to me to want the flower girls in formal dresses and to consider it part of the “duty.” Honestly, I feel like this is my SIL trying to stir up drama, turn me into the bad guy, etc. Why couldn’t she just say “what a lovely thought!” when asked?

    Should I jut let this go and let the girl wear casual clothes? My mom moaned at this idea, noting that she’d be wearing casual clothes in all of the wedding party pictures and that we’ll always have to remember my SIL’s absurdity.

    I hate that I have to be someone caring about toddlers in dresses. Why is this even an issue? What should I do? Am I being a bridezilla?

    FWIW, fiancé is on the same page and says that they should make the child wear a dress or not allow her in the wedding. I’m just so tired of stirring this pot of drama.

    • Yes you are :

      Don’t die on this hill. It’s slightly annoying and if you were closer, an explanation would be nice. But seriously, Flower Girl # 2 is not a starring role; it’s a bit part that you admittedly offered somewhat grudgingly. A 3 year old is not going to be in many posed pictures, anyway, and if she is, there is a certain charm in non-perfection.

      Also, the reason your SIL didn’t react that way is because she “strongly dislikes” you. You asked for her to get embroiled in your big event knowing that. Why wouldn’t she be confused or suspicious?

      Finally, take it easy on displaying clear favoritism for your niece. It’s not the toddler’s fault you don’t like her mom; you asked for her participation.

    • Oooh, ouch. First, I would have your fiancé do all the talking. It is his family. He can say to his bro & SIL, “there is a dress code.” If the wedding day appears and the kid isn’t dressed properly…then she doesn’t participate. He can take the heat and yell at his brother, “This is MY wedding!” He can be a groomzilla with his family. (Although he really isn’t, he’s just drawing boundary lines with his SIL.)

    • Anonymous :

      I think it’s totally reasonable to ask any wedding participant to wear a dress – or even a specific color/style of dress – including a three year old flower girl. But I’d let fiance handle the communication with his sister about this, since you guys don’t have a good relationship.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes I think you are being a bridezilla. Why on earth would you ask if you thought she was dramatic. Just have your fiancé say “ok- we had dresses in mind but a formal pant outfit is ok too- just let us know what you have in mind so we can coordinate everything”

      • I agree with this. Don’t force a little girl to wear a dress if she doesn’t want to wear a dress. Ask the mom what she would like to wear. Also say something along the lines of, “if you think she’d rather not be a flower girl, that’s OK too”

    • Have your fiancée deal with this but the kid should definitely be dressed up in an outfit that matches the colors of your wedding. Depending on the season, you could think of an alternative to a dress like bloomers or shorts and a fancy top in the same colors as the other girls.

      • Yes you are :

        “but t the kid should definitely be dressed up in an outfit that matches the colors of your wedding”

        No. That is what this bride wants, fine. But it’s not a “should.” Modern weddings are not matchy-matchy. If she’s having a throwback vibe, fine. But lots of people just don’t assume a 3-year-old is bound by this silly & outdated style of wedding.

        • I don’t think it’s outdated. If the wedding party is all dressed in one color, I don’t want a kid in chartreuse in the portrait.

        • Marshmallow :

          I think it’s totally reasonable to want the kid to be in some kind of dressy outfit that flows with the rest of the wedding party.

        • Anonymous :

          I think it’s totally reasonable to want the flower girls to be coordinated with the rest of the wedding party. Matchy-matchy may not be super “on trend” right now but all the weddings I’ve gone to in the last few years have still had the wedding party dressed in the same one or two colors. Plus, OP didn’t say she wanted a matching dress, just that she wanted the kid in a dress, which is a completely reasonable request for a three year old girl who is going to have a visible role in the wedding.

    • Wow, this seems really out of left field. I can see if this were a 10 year old working through gender identity, but I really can’t think of why this would be her reaction regarding a 3 year old. I would probably say something like “well, we’ve already picked out this outfit (picture/link) that we were hoping she would wear. I don’t want to put you (or her!) out, though, so let me know if this is a deal breaker and she doesn’t have to be in the wedding. No hard feelings either way!” And then let her choose. She sounds very rude and awful, honestly!

    • OCAssociate :

      I don’t think you’re being a bridezilla. I’d find a tactful way to tell SIL (or have fiance do it) that if your niece is too young to accept wearing a dress (without a tantrum/fight), she’s probably too young to be a flower girl.

      If she won’t wear a dress, will she walk down the aisle without crying? Will she spread flower petals or just dump the basket? If the dress is a fight, everything else will be, too. (I was supposed to be a flower girl at that age and completely freaked out and refused to do it at all.) Three is right on the border of being old enough to do this.

      • Anonymous :

        This. My daughter was a flower girl at age 4 and was just old enough to handle the responsibility without drama. 3 is awfully young, and I have never seen it work out well with a kid younger than 3 y 6 mo. Even if she makes it through the rehearsal just fine, she may freeze when the church is full of people.

    • 3-year-olds can be difficult to manage. What was the plan for the child to wear if she wasn’t a flower girl? Or was it their plan to not bring the little one? I don’t know how your fiance asked, but just like asking an adult to be a bridesmaid, it maybe should have been phrased as a decision for your SIL to make. i.e. instead of “Will Maya be a flower girl?” perhaps the better question would have been “Would Maya like to be a flower girl, since her big siblings will be involved? We know it can be hard to corral a 3-year-old, so we leave it up to you if she would like to be included!”

      I am getting married soon, too, and told my nieces/nephew they could wear whatever they wanted – even Frozen princess dresses were OK by me! – but they wanted to wear matching traditional flower girl dresses. I picked out a few choices and let them pick which of those they wanted, that weren’t itchy, etc. But I am not someone who likes telling people what to wear, which is why I am not having any bridesmaids. Maybe your SIL is one of those people who doesn’t like being a bridesmaid and it feels the same for her kids – having to buy an outfit, bringing them whereas maybe they would have stayed home, getting a babysitter or having to chase them on a night she’d rather be enjoying kid-free? I don’t know, but I know this is not worth your stress. Maybe assign it to your fiance to patch it up, making it clear you just want them (with or without kids) to enjoy the day.

    • Oh no! The dress is the best part of being a flower girl. That’s so awkward of your SIL, the poor little girl will be confused about why she didn’t get a dress to wear.

      • OMG, you’re not serious are you? Or are you like, 80 years old? Those kinds of stereotypical gender roles are thankfully on their way out!

    • Anon for this :

      When people are being passive aggressive with me, I will sometimes amp the passive aggressive right back. In this case, I’d respond “oh, there is no need to conform to gender norms in this family. Formal attire is required though. If she doesn’t do dresses, this tuxedo will do just fine.”

      • Anonymous :

        I love this response, even though we all know it’s not about gender or wanting the kid in a suit.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I hope you all haven’t responded to the text yet. Because this is easy:

      “Well, the flower girls are wearing dresses. Let us know if you and she are in!”

    • Anonymous :

      My lesbian cousin who was in our wedding party wanted to wear a suit instead of a dress and we accommodated her, but she was 1) a teenager with a known gender identity and s*xual orientation, not a 3 year old and 2) she asked politely IF she could wear a suit and didn’t just inform us she was wearing one. Your fiance’s sister sounds terrible. I would honestly just have him reply that you have a dress picked out already for the flower girls (even if not true) and so the kid won’t be in the wedding.

    • Your SIL said the kid wouldn’t wear a DRESS, not that she wouldn’t wear formal attire. The obvious response is, “OK awesome, so she’ll be in a tux. That sounds super cute!”

      If SIL refuses to put the kid in any formal attire then yes, your fiance should tell her that the kid can’t be in the wedding.

    • Fiance should write back, “Dress is a must. We understand if you’d rather not have 3 Year Old in the wedding. It’s up to you!”

      I actually think it’s a bad idea to toss the 3 year old into the mix. The twins will have to coach her along, and if she doesn’t know them/like them she won’t cooperate. It’s also stressful for Mom to have to make sure the 3 year old behaves, performs, etc. in front of everyone at the ceremony. The terrible threes are REAL.

      You could demote her to handing out rice/bubbles/programs/whatever with Mom before or after the ceremony. She’ll have a role, she can wear whatever, she won’t be in formal pictures, and Mom can be right with her.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yeah, honestly your mistake here was asking her to participate in the first place. If SIL is a pill, inviting her daughter to be in the wedding isn’t going to make her any less of a pill. I’m not trying to pile on, I promise, but note this for the future. If your choices are “SIL is bent out of shape because you didn’t include her in something” or “you included SIL in something and she was horrible and caused problems,” the first option may often be your best bet.

      • My 3 year old nephew was our ring bearer. In the middle of the ceremony he plopped right down beside me on the top step, sighed, and made bored faces. The church laughed. I laughed, because he was my adorable nephew, but if he wasn’t “mine” I probably would have been angry.

        Now that I’m a mom, my sister probably hated me for picking him to be ring bearer. I remember her doing that half-crouched run after him and trying to reach for him from the first row.

        • Haha! Our ring bearer walked up the aisle, threw himself into my husband’s arms and then marched back and forth. I’m just bitter I missed it as apparently it was adorable,

    • It sounds like SIL is less than thrilled. Maybe ask your fiancé to call her, ask her if it’s going to be a pain for her to buy special clothes and worry about her possibly-too -young daughter doing this, and say, maybe this was a bad idea, sorry to have brought it up, let’s not have her be flower girl. This can only be done in a call though.

    • I find the tone of SIL’s response kind of odd? “Fine” sounds like a response to a demand, not an acceptance of a request. But, text can be hard to interpret.

      I agree with those who had said your fiance should take charge of responding, and that you can specify that the toddler be formally attired in whatever non-gender-specific-not-a-dress SIL chooses, but insisting on formal attire is your right. I would also suggest though that your fiance call his sister and talk to her with words rather than text, because the interaction so far has been … kind of strange.

      • This. I can’t tell if it’s “she will not wear a dress” or “she cannot wear a dress” or “she may not wear a dress” or “she must not wear a dress” — you/your fiancee should definitely clearify what you’re dealing with here!

    • Marshmallow :

      We had attire issues in our wedding party, too. My husband chose his sister as his best person. We told her she could wear either the same dress as the bridesmaids, or simply a long black dress. She opted for black to blend in more with the guys. The problem is, MIL took over the dress shopping and kept sending us pictures of ridiculous pageant-worthy gowns. Slits up to here, full-length sequins and glitter, rhinestones all over, patterns, you name it. Everything was overtly sexy with a LOT of skin.

      I told Husband this was 100% his issue. Referred MIL and SIL to Husband every time they asked me about it. Husband vetoed his mom’s choices, and wound up taking his sister shopping himself. They had a great time and found a lovely, appropriate dress under budget in like an hour. SIL looked and felt great and I never had to fight with anybody about it.

      Bottom line– his family, his issue. Men are totally capable of handling wedding issues, even female attire-related wedding issues!

    • Thanks for all the thoughtful responses, this is really helpful. I think the tux suggestion is a little off– the issue isn’t gender, I don’t think, just overall comfort/desire for the sister to complain–but I’ll suggest it to FH. He will definitely be the one to deal with this! Agree that 3 is probably too young, but it was important to fiancé and the SIL would have been upset if we hadn’t asked.

      By the way, the SIL had 5 bridesmaids in matching dresses in her wedding and made the groomsmen (including her brother) buy $900 seersucker suits that no one ever wore again. Groan

      • OMG if my sister were asking me to buy a $900 dress for her wedding I would refuse!! That is so completely, entirely, and in all other ways unreasonable!

      • Sydney Bristow :

        He should treat it like no big deal and that SIL isn’t really just picking a fight (even if she is). “If she doesn’t want to wear the dress, we’ll need her to wear xyz. It will be fun to include her!” If SIL pushes back that she wants the kid to wear something inappropriate, just let her know that the options are dress, non-dress option, or just being a guest and its up to her and any of those are fine with you guys.

      • Your niece doesn’t have to be questioning her gender to not feel comfortable in a dress. Your first step should absolutely be to ask what kind of formal pants option she’ll be wearing instead.

        • Anonymous :

          I mean my three year old sometimes wants to go outside naked but that doesn’t mean she should be allowed to…on the day of the wedding the kid very well may “not feel comfortable” in whatever outfit has been picked, whether it’s a formal dress or a tracksuit, because she’s three and three year olds are unreasonable all the time. Since the niece wears dresses on holidays the family is obviously cool with traditional gender normative clothing when it suits their whims, so I don’t see why she can’t wear a dress now.

    • Anonymous :

      “She doesn’t have to wear a dress! Here’s an adorb suit for her. If that won’t work no problem we are happy to have her as a guest.”

      Also stoppppp. Why you be inviting drama?!?

    • I posted this in the wrong place above

      My daughter and son were asked to be in a family wedding when they were 5 and 3 years old, respectively. My daughter was a flower girl. My son was supposed to be a junior groomsman. It was a somewhat casual outdoor wedding but we bought him the full outfit (in his case, navy cuffed shorts – not easy to find for a 3 year old! – a short sleeved white dress shirt – ditto! – and a bow tie.)

      The wedding day was chaotic. We showed up with our kids dressed in their outfits, on time and ready to go. The bride was in a tizzy about her hair and ignored us. The groomsmen ignored my son. When it was time for the bride to march in, my son was still standing there not knowing what to do, and she just told him to go sit down. He came and found us where we were sitting and was very bummed out that his sister was standing up front with the bridesmaids, and he hadn’t actually gotten to do anything. It kind of broke my heart.

      All this to say, three year olds know enough to know what’s going on, and it’s not your three year old niece’s fault that her mother is being a jerk and you are being offended (and clearly favor your own family.) Please try to think of something for this little girl to do at your wedding, whether she wears a dress or pants, and try for a moment to look at it from her point of view.

    • A tutu/leggings, teeshirt combo. This website addresses it here

      Is money the issue?Or was the couple hoping on a kid free evening? Lots of moving parts here.

    • Esperanza :

      You aren’t being a bridezilla at all. It’s your wedding, you should have it your way. This is the one time you get to do this in your life, so feel free to dictate the clothing of your bridal party. Just this once allow yourself to indulge in control freakishness since you’ll never have an opportunity quite as good again. Given that the question was already asked and answered, this sounds like an attempt by SIL to get some attention. Don’t let her have it. I would just say that all members of the bridal party need to be dressed formally for the occasion, and if SIL’s child doesn’t want to dress up, she is welcome as a guest.

    • 1) Your fiance asking by text was probably irksome to SIL. It would be to me. My brother’s wife asked me herself to read at the wedding. You really should have asked her yourself, with a phone call. Not scolding, just gently giving you the POV of the older (presumed) sister – perhaps a “generation” gap has left both of you with unmet expectations, particularly about communication.

      2) Let the kid wear what she wants. Who cares? If she wears sweatpants everyone will assume it was the hissyfit of a 3 year old, which everyone understands. Literally, the second you walk in the door, she will be forgotten.

      The most important lesson I learned during the planning of my wedding was that once I realized the day was not about me but about pleasing everyone else, I could enjoy it more. No one will care what the flower girl is wearing but they will remember if they had a good time. Your SIL will not have a good time if her kid is in a dress that you insisted on and she and the kid do not want or like – she will be stewing. You will have a good time pretty much no matter what, if you let go a little.

    • Why does a girl have to wear a dress to be dressed up?

      Think of what her parents might be able to wrangle her into for the wedding if she wasn’t a flower girl. I can’t think of anyone who would let a kid wear sweats to a wedding just because they refused to dress properly. This is the kind of situation where a parent should say “honey, this is a special occasion, you need to look nice,” and give the kid the option of wearing a dress, or nice pants and a blouse – no idea what they’re making for kids today, but there’s bound to be a less feminine way for a kid to dress for a wedding. I hated dresses as a kid, but I remember having a pair of dressy, velvet pants I’d wear for holidays, school chorus performances, etc.

      I don’t get why people assume that if a girl doesn’t want to wear a dress, it means she’s going to show up in sweats. Or jeans. Or something else casual.

      Don’t insist on a dress, but feel free to insist on the kid being dressed up.

  3. Casper the Friendly Ghost :

    Has anyone done Global Entry? I have my interview coming up and want to know what to expect. Especially helpful if anyone has done their interview post-inauguration.

    • Anonymous :

      Pre inauguration, but for mine they just verbally verified some information and took a picture. Took only a few minutes.

      • Same for me, but that was over a year ago and I am white and a native born citizen. I was expecting to get questions confirming the information on my application and possibly questions about my ‘character,’ but it was none of that – it was literally “can you spell your name” so he didn’t have to read it while typing it. I gave my fingerprints, he cracked jokes, and I was done in less than 5 minutes; I waited in the waiting room for longer. I know this is not as easy for a lot of my friends, so it made me sad how easy it was for me.

        If you have Chase Sapphire Reserve or other credit cards, they may cover this fee, fyi.

      • Yep. Literally took 5 minutes. Showed them some forms of ID. Just make sure you double-triple check all the documents you need to bring. The woman in line behind me forgot to bring something…I think it was her passport maybe?…and had to reschedule.

    • anonymous :

      I have done it pre-inauguration. The interview seemed to be a mere formality – they checked my passport, asked me my name and birthday, and stamped me for approval. It took about 2 minutes. FWIW, I’m white.

      • Yup. This was my experience. White, asked my occupation, remarked on my unusual first name (hint: not MJ) and then said, voila. There was a wait, even though my appointment was timed, so bring a book.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes. Pre-inauguration. “Interview” is a loose word. They checked my passport for my name, took my photo for the border crossing card, and I dropped my work ID which had fallen in between the pages of my passport and the guy doing the interview asked me if I worked for the (agency) when the card fell out and he handed it back to me, and I said yes, but I don’t think he would have asked otherwise. This was at CBP headquarters in downtown DC. It was an early morning appointment, but took less than 10 minutes start to finish.

    • My interview was with a very nice female officer who was more interested in mild chit chat than any probing questions. She was just checking my documents.

      My kids had to go in by themselves, but we could see them from where we were sitting.

      All in all it was a fine experience. We took a little trip to the airport, had our interviews, had some lunch and went home. ALL worth it for waltzing past the long lines to come home from Ireland.

    • I did both my Global Entry and my Nexus interviews pre-inauguration, but the questions were straightforward and I was done in five minutes.


      – Confirm bio details (name, birthdate, etc)
      – Provide required documents
      – Are you going to be travelling internationally more for business or pleasure?
      – (Since I said business) what do you do? Who is your employer?
      – Are you planning on driving across the US/Mexico or US/Canada border with any frequency?

      And, done.

      FWIW, US born and Caucasian. But it was similarly quick and painless for my now-US citizen but foreign born husband (who has olive skin and dark hair and has to shave before heading to the airport for a trip b/c otherwise his facial hair plus complexion will mysteriously get him selected for “random screening”).

    • Blond white lady :

      I did it a few years ago and had to answer a long string of rather silly questions about my vacation to Turkey a few years earlier. The person doing the interview seemed kind of clueless about where Istanbul is in relation to the Syrian border, as if I’d been there to join ISIS rather than look at ruins and sit on the beach. He also had this weird mannerism of asking chatty sounding questions and then turning all tinpot dictator “only answer the question I asked you!” if I responded in kind. It was not pleasant, but short and worth it.

    • Yep, about a year ago (white). The longest part of the interview was explaining that I checked Netherlands because I’d been to St Maarten but that wasn’t an option to check in the “visited in the last X years” part of the application. I got the approval literally while driving back home from the airport.

    • Anonymous :

      I just did my Nexus interview a few weeks ago, which is the Canadian equivalent and gives me Global Entry/Pre-check. I had to interview with a Canadian border agent, and an American one. The American one was less chatty/friendly, the Canadian one was genial.

      The interview was basically a formality to check ID, ask why I wanted Nexus, confirm my employer and job, and they did my iris scan and fingerprints. They didn’t ask about my trip to Turkey (I went in 2015) or Russia (also in 2015). It took less than 10 minutes.

      I’m not white, but I’m Canadian-born. They told me that I was good right away, I got the email approval before I was home from the airport, and my card arrived last week.

    • lost academic :

      I talked about comparative weather in Miami, Atlanta and Winnipeg for 5 minutes and got my picture taken. That was it.

    • Anonymous :

      Yes. Last week in D.C. Took 5 minutes. Just make sure you have your passport, license with current address, and application number.

      Literally – 5 min. Alarmingly easy. Had my approval via email before I got back to my office.

  4. These shoes seem aggressively frumpy to me. I may just be in a foul mood at the moment since all clothes right now look like the visual representation of clinical depression– giant shapeless bags in blah colors. And then we get shoes like this. It feels like there is nothing out there for me right now. I need something with a waist. My kingdom for a waist!!! And shoes that don’t make me look like I’m 85!

    • Marshmallow :

      I’m not in a foul mood and can confirm “aggressively frumpy.” I know grandma shoes are kind of in lately, but these are extreme.

      • Wanderlust :


      • +1

        The the poster from a week or so back asking at which point block heels turn into grandma shoes, I give you Exhibit A.

      • Meg March :

        These are awful.

      • PrettyPrimadonna :

        This. Not cute to me at all.

      • I am SO glad I did NOT come right out and say this. These look like Grandma Trudy’s shoes. She was an LPN aide in the 1950’s and wore white uniform’s even after she retired so that everyone thought she was a nurse. I would NEVER wear these to court, or the judge would tell me to go back home and change. He prefer’s 4″ pumps and these would make me look to dumpy. Dad told me the same thing when I showed him these shoes. Unless you are naturally 5″11″ or more, stay away from dumpy shoes he said. And I agree with him. I need all the help I can get with 4″ pumps to attract a man with my l’egs. FOOEY if I am still singel a year from now! I need to get MARRIED this year and have a baby! YAY!!!

    • cake batter :

      These are hideous. My grandma wears far more fashionable shoes than this. To each her own, I guess!

    • Shopaholic :

      Ya between the heel height and the square toe… these are just terrible.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Super duper frumptastic.

    • Anonymous :

      I think they would probably look different on an actual foot. They look like they run narrow, though.

    • Anonymouse :

      Agreed. The square toe is what really sinks it in my book.

    • look at the whole website. I don’t work there but I really like the bags, particularly this one

      • Marshmallow :

        The shape is pretty but it doesn’t look very special for $650 or even $450. And modeled with a full-length fur coat? Nope.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      The blunt toe and the cut and the color and the heel….it’s all just really, really bad.

    • Agreed! U.S. English speakers need to appropriate the term “mumsy” from the Brits. And use it to describe these shoes.

      • Never too many shoes... :

        Perfect! My first thought actually was that these look like something that the Queen might wear…which is, not a compliment on a fashion choice.

    • Seattle Freeze :

      Thank you so much for this: “…all clothes right now look like the visual representation of clinical depression– giant shapeless bags in blah colors.” I’ve been dressing all winter in shades of grey, dark green, and black comfy clothes – essentially the equivalent of PNW garanimals for grownups – and must have been rebelling against that when I went shopping this weekend. I wanted structure! bright colors! clothes that make me feel vibrant, not like I could go straight to bed. I ended up with some pointy-toe red heels and the hot-pink lightweight wool suit from BR and it was the best day ever the end.

    • I personally love these shoes. This is how a style blogger wears them:

  5. Can we please not use the words “old lady” or “menopausal” to describe clothing items?

    There are many older women on here who provide many of you younger women with sage advice.

    Age doesn’t mean we’re not interested in style.

    • anonymous :

      +1. I was going to say that they’re ugly AF.

    • I’m not sure I’ve ever seen or heard “menopausal” used, if so that’s inappropriate, but I’ll defend “old lady.” Old is a state of mind, not an age. My great grandmother died at 102 wearing shoes more fashionable than those featured today.

      • Menopausal was used this morning to describe the green dress with the sash belt.

        And I think you can find a better description than “old lady” – being old is not the issue.

      • Senior Attorney :

        Except that old is a word that has a meaning, and means something that is… not young or not new. It’s not a synonym for “frumpy” or “unfashionable” or “bad” any more than “young” is a synonym for “good” or “fashionable” or “cool.”

      • I take “old lady” as shorthand for a certain look, a look which women with a lot of birthdays behind them may or may not sport. When I was young, I dressed in an “old lady”ish style, but now that I’ve got some age on me I avoid it like the plague. Just my opinion, but I don’t find the term offensive. Much like the above poster with the 102 year old great grandmother, I have a great aunt who, on her 90th birthday, danced the jitterbug in 4 inch stiletto heels. Using menopausal however, stings a little bit to me. Maybe it’s because you can choose, or not, to sport an “old lady” style, but menopause is a non-negotiable, occasionally unpleasant state of being.

        • Again, I think you can come up with something non-ageist to describe this look. You wouldn’t say this looks like handicapped fashion or this looks like fashion. Knock it off with the “old.”

          There are so many wonderful, descriptive words in our language. Be more inventive.

          • (the word “race” was supposed to be before the second fashion. I guess using brackets made it disappear)

    • Concerned Friend :

      These shoes are super ugly.

      My mom is 64, and she has great style! Better than me at times. I think old lady is a state of mind!

    • My boss is 60 and has way, way, way more sense of style than I do (I’m 32). She would never wear these shoes.

      I prefer CPA Lady’s much more amusing description: visual representation of clinical depression.

  6. Has anyone ever gotten screened for any head/neck cancers based upon longstanding (months-long) cold-like symptoms, including persistent cough and sore throat (one side only)? I’ve been treated with antibiotics (ear infection & sinus infection) three times in 3 months without the symptoms abating. The sore throat is very painful (confirmed not strep by doc) and the cough will not go away. Apparently I also have some kind of soar in my sinus.

    I am scaring myself with Dr. Google. I made an ENT appointment but it’s not for a couple weeks.

    • Anonymous :

      Good for you! You made the appointment, so now get off Dr. Google. Said with love.

    • Breathe. I can think of two times when I was really sick and antibiotics were not working and it ended up being nothing serious. You can try calling the ENT in the mornings to ask about cancellations.

      • Anonymous :

        agree about calling the ENT’s office and asking about cancellations. Try to get in sooner!

    • Anon for this :

      As a malpractice attorney, I’d say trust your gut and get a second opinion. There are plenty of misdiagnoses out there to make it worth your piece of mind to get it re-checked. If you are very worried, you can ask why they have not done a scope/biopsy. Do you have a history of HPV?

    • No, you don’t have cancer.

      I agree that an ENT visit is perfectly appropriate.

    • I think allergies are way more likely than cancer. Some people (me included) get serious sinus inflammation and sore throats from allergies. Sometimes mine make my lymph nodes swell up so badly it causes jaw pain.

      • +1 to allergies. I’m currently off my normal year round allergy regime due to pregnancy and I’ve ended up with all of the infections, colds, etc.

    • Have you gotten a full throat culture or just rapid strep? There’s many types of infections that the rapid strep doesn’t test for.

    • Yes. And in my case it WAS cancer.

      I am not saying this to scare you. But because people simply responding “no, you don’t have cancer” is how many, many young, otherwise healthy, individuals are diagnosed with a late-sage lymphoma.

      Ask me how I know.

      Go to the ENT. Be aggressive about the care your body receives. Not paranoid – but when you know something is wrong, you need to speak up.

      • Anonymous :

        Yes – a friend’s parent just passed away very shortly after receiving a late-stage cancer diagnosis. The symptoms, up until the more urgent ones, were mostly cold-like.

        I don’t want to scare the OP, but speaking as someone who has generally been very blase about seeing a doctor, I’m no longer going to be that nonchalant.

      • Late but please get this checked. My beloved stepmother ignored symptoms exactly like yours for a long time. When she finally went to the doctor, she was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer and passed away six months later. If you feel like something is wrong, LISTEN.

    • I just had a pretty extensive sinus surgery to remedy antibiotic-resistant sinus infections that lingered even after I had a negative culture for bacteria. The combination of a deviated septum and years of infections had created permanent inflammation and blockage. The procedure is sometimes referred to as having your sinuses “roto rootered.”

      So, get proper screening, but it could absolutely be a non-cancerous kind of blockage in your sinuses. (Not fun, but not life threatening.)

  7. Coffee Trouble :

    Note: I am not an assistant or anything of the sort. I go to Starbucks about once a week during my lunch break. My boss notices and asks for a drink on occasion. The problem is she never pays. So I sneak out when I go now because I’m not subsidizing the coffee habit of someone who earns triple my salary. Today she asked me if I was going (and I wasn’t) then she threw a fit that it was too cold for her to go herself. Shes been snappy all afternoon and I just want to scream at her spoiled *ss

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Ugh, that’s so frustrating. I would never, ever- I’ll buy my colleagues coffee on occasion, BUT THEY DO THE SAME FOR ME. I don’t know what to tell you other than that my head would explode.

    • I would take all my starbucks breaks sitting at starbucks if I were you, and I’d also say “I’m not your assistant” to the boss.

    • Ask for money before going. Also, tell your boss that their current tab is X.

    • Anonymous :

      If you hand her the coffee and say “that was $3”, what does she say? It’s rude that she’s not offering up money, but you should also be asking her for it point blank.

      • Agree with this. I would never ask someone to bring me coffee without paying them back and find it incredibly rude that your boss does this to you. But you certainly have a right to ask her to pay you and you absolutely should.

      • Coffee Trouble :

        She sees others giving me cash, she’s not oblivious. It’s just not a fight I want to have so now I quietly slip out

    • Any chance she thinks you’re charging your coffee on your corporate card? We get team coffee some afternoons and charge it.

  8. Anonymous :

    Lo and Sons Waverly. Thoughts? Cute? I like that it’s versatile. I’m not sure it’s not too “jack of all trades/master of not much.” Looking for a small travel bag/clutch that can go in my larger bag/etc.

    • Minnie Beebe :

      It looks lovely! I don’ t have one, but I do have one of the wristlets, and it’s very nicely-constructed, and this looks similar. I use the wristlet as my wallet.

  9. I’m curious based on the Canadian immigration thread from this morning, but figured now is too late to jump into that thread. What are my options as a spouse of a Canadian citizen? Husband was born in Canada to American parents. If we had to up and flee to Canada, do I automatically “get in”? Do I get work authorization?

    • Anonymous :

      Is he actually a Canadian citizen? Because neither of his parents are Canadian…

      • Anonymous :

        It’s like the US…if you were born there, you’re a citizen regardless of citizenship of your parents.

    • Anononope :

      I’m a Canadian (and American) citizen with an American husband and child. My “escape kit” includes my Canadian passport, their IDs, and kid’s birth certificate and our marriage certificate. I figure (/hope) that ought to be plenty to get us through the door.

      • You should get your kids their citizenships now. Its some paperwork and a 6 month wait, really easy.

        • Anononope :

          She’s not eligible because I haven’t lived the last X out of Y years in Canada. She might be eligible to naturalize if we lived there, but I don’t think she gets it automatically just by being my child.

          • Really? When I did it Canadian parent hadnt lived in Canada for over 20 years

          • If you were born in Canada you can pass citizenship to your child. She doesn’t have to live there and it doesn’t matter how long you have been out of the country. If you were born outside Canada but got it through your parents then I think the rules are more limited. I’d get the citizenship sorted now but if you needed to enter quickly she would just be in as an American tourist and you could apply from inside Canada.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      As a Canadian married to an immigrant, he can sponsor you as a spouse for permanent residency (path to citizenship). They are attempting to process all applications within 12 months. CIC has an excellent guide with all the details if you are interested in starting the process…

    • You can come in like any other American tourist. To be able to reside or work in Canada you would need to be sponsored by your husband and the wait times for that paperwork processing are months to years long.

      • Yes, this. You will be allowed to enter at the border, but as someone who currently lives in Canada and is marrying a Canadian in July, waiting times for sponsorship average 1-2 years right now. Thankfully I got my residency another way (Canadian university degree). Don’t underestimate the complexity of Canadian immigration – it’s a little better than US immigration, but demand is high, bureaucrats have all sorts of fussy requirements and the waiting time is insanely long.

  10. I just went to the website and read the “about us” page. The owner of the company is a female attorney who has had foot surgery and can’t wear high heels. I like the cognac 2″ heeled pumps and I kind of love the idea of having matching gloves. That feels totally badass to me. I may pull the trigger!

    No use for the handbag because I carry a giant tote bag everywhere, but the handbags are really pretty structured bags for those who like things like that.

    • Anonymous :

      I think I’m the only one here who legit likes the shoes. But this is what happens when you have arthritis in your back at 25! Can’t afford, natch.

    • I like the other style of shoes (in fact they look like an old favorite pair that bit the dust several years ago!), but the square toe pair in the post is just a bit too frumpy for me. I dont really like square toes on any shoes though so ymmv…

  11. Anonymous :

    Pastel suede seems very frumpy to me too but I appreciate the 1.25″ heel height. I am always on the hunt for stylish professional shoes in the 1″ to 2″ heel range. Are there any go-to brands for this height?

    • Munro has decent option in that range.

    • I posted right above you. Check out the 2″ heels on the same site. I like the cognac color, which is not pastel. They also have black.

    • Legally Brunette :

      Louis et vie. Way more stylish than these!!

    • M Gemi Penna?

      Probably not a go-to though. Most of their heels are taller.

    • I like Fidji shoes for slightly more funky styles, though their offerings in the US have fallen off this year – not sure why.

      I bought some pointy-toed square-heeled Linea Paolo pumps over the holidays. (nordstrom) They are low heeled and feel pretty fashion-forward. I also had some lower heeled pumps made for me by shoes of prey.

      • I was just looking at Fluevog. Some cute options there too.

        The Zappos website can help you. You can search by heel height quite easily.

    • I have some really cool pointy-toe low block heel pumps from Topshop. But looking at their website today, I saw higher block heels. Still worth checking out. The ones at Nordstrom are frumptastic, in my opinion, but the Topshop s!te has better choices.

  12. Pastel suede seems very frumpy to me too but I appreciate the 1.25″ heel height. I am always on the hunt for stylish professional shoes in the 1″ to 2″ heel range. Are there any go-to brands for this height?

  13. Losing it :

    I’m going to London/Paris during the first week of March and am in first world panic about what kind of jacket I might need. Reports show low 50s during the day/low 40s at night. I understand rain at that time of year is sporadic. I can’t stand umbrellas so I need a hood, and I can really only pack one jacket.

    Over the past few weeks I have bought and returned jackets from Ralph Lauren (A-line was too bell-like), Halogen (too tight), Gap (no back vent so it rode up on my butt), Barbour (too mumsy and heavy), and London Fog (liked but didn’t love).

    I tried on (and subsequently ordered online) two jackets from Athleta (and ordered 3 others I didn’t try) – the Downpour Coat (knee length, lined rain coat with drawsrtring waist); the City Slicker Jacket – a long windbreaker water resistant thing with a packable hood, the misty jacket which is somewhat indistinquishable from the city slicker, and a 3 in 1 jacket with a removable puffer liner and waterproof shell.

    So my question to all of you is – will the City slicker jacket (which I like best) be warm enough with a merino underlayer? Would a lined raincoat (not at all heavy) still leave me freezing? Am I going to want to cry when I get to Paris and I’m wearing athleisure and everyone else is in couture?

    Also, I apparently have no ability to remember what temperatures feel like because I am always wrong on outerwear.

    • Bring a rainjacket and a packable down puffer. London can be very cold that time of year due to the damp, kind of like SF. But down plus topper raincoat and you should be fine.

    • Anonymouse :

      When I lived in the UK, I wore a wool peacoat Sept.-Mar. and a waterproof trench with a removable liner (London Fog) from late March-Aug.

      • AnonLondon :

        Ditto that, only peacoat and faux-leather bomber alternating with my trench.

        • Native Parisian. Would recommend wool peacoat or trench + umbrella + scarf (there is a reason why we wear a lot of those, and it’s not just style – they add some nice warmth and can be removed if it’s warmer than expected). Parisians tend to steer clear of anything too blatantly outdoorsy (such as certain kinds of raincoats) but you do you. The weather can be vary variable at that time of year – you may have lovely, sunny days suddenly following by miserable rain showers.

    • Take a deep breath, calm down, and maybe think about how ridiculous you’re being? It’s a coat. Don’t lose sleep over it.

      • cake batter :

        LOL this is a fashion blog and she asked a fashion question. Hope you got some sleep last night and are less cranky today! *kisses*

  14. Anonymous :

    Ugh. This makes me feels so dirty and I know he’s an evil person, but that guy Milo is kind of hot to me. Someone smack me.

    • Bill Maher? Is that you?

    • :-o

      Normally I think it’s cool to like what you like, but . . . I guess I’ll just say that I definitely don’t see it.

    • Anonymous :

      Kind of right there with you. I had no idea what to expect on Bill Maher but he was terribly engaging and enchanting.

      • Really? I thought he was desperately needy. He needed to be outrageous, and he really needed Bill Maher’s approval. Watch it again. There’s some serious neurosis going on there.

      • You say enchanting, I say creepy.

    • Anonymous :


    • No. Forest / Trees.
      Despite what 50% of the electorate says, there is no such thing as “evil, BUT…”

    • Imagine his interest in older men assaukting young boys?

      But psychopaths are charming. I don’t think he’s a psychopath, I was just looking up the signs of psychopathy after watching a documentary on Lance Armstrong, and in general awful people can be very charming.

  15. How do I quit? :

    How do you quit a job? I graduated undergrad in May and started working at a big 4 firm in August. Since then I realized that I wanted to pursue a different field and started applying for masters program in that unrelated field. I have started receiving acceptances (!) and starting to think of how to quit. I feel slightly bad that they probably expect me to be here next here and I am agreeing to “next year on this project” stuff, but gotta do what you gotta do. I’m not going to say anything until I’ve completely finalized and confirmed my plans, which will likely be in late April.

    One program starts in June but the rest start in August or September. I have been working mainly with one small team. Do I just give them 2 weeks notice? More than that? I doubt they would fire me early or anything but more than 2 weeks would just be more awkward?

    • Just give two weeks. If you had a lot more tenure there, I’d say you could make it more complicated, but honestly at just about a year’s tenure, two weeks is plenty.

      I sincerely doubt a Big 4 firm is planning its future around you.

      • How do I quit? :

        They definitely don’t care at all but I’m overthinking.

      • Esperanza :

        I agree with this. Don’t over think it. Two weeks and then adios. You don’t owe them an explanation beyond that you have other career plans. They can replace you easily– they don’t tell you this, and they don’t want you to know but its 100% true.

    • Anonymous :

      Two weeks notice is fine. They might very well walk you out the door the day you give notice, so unless you want to go five or six months without any salary, don’t say anything in April, and certainly don’t say anything until you’ve committed to a specific grad program and know when and where you’ll be starting. Don’t worry about the “next year you’ll work on this project” kind of comment. They expect a large number of junior people to leave.

      On the day you give notice, start with your direct supervisor or the person who assigns you the most work. Go speak to them in person or on the phone if they’re in a different office. Say something like “Hi Jane, I wanted to let you know that I’ve accepted an offer at X school to get my master’s degree in Y and am going to be starting in September, so my last day here will be in two weeks. I’ve learned so much working with you and am very grateful for the opportunity.” That person can probably tell you what you need to do as far as formal notice (probably talking to HR and/or writing a formal resignation letter) but a good rule of thumb is that anyone you’d want to hear the news from you directly (an assistant if you have one, other colleagues staffed on current projects, any formal mentor you’ve been assigned) should be told as soon as possible, because news travels ridiculously fast.

    • baseballfan :

      I work in Big 4 and have for most of my career. A first year associate leaving is NBD. People at that level (well, all levels really) leave every day. Two weeks notice is fine.

      Being walked out on your last day and/or having your notice cut short is very unusual unless you are going to work for a competitor, in which case I have seen it happen a time or two.

    • Are you me?
      Planning my escape from a Big 4 is what I dream about every night.

    • Two weeks is fine. I had a staff member who came and told me confidentially that she would be resigning about two months before she did, and I really appreciated it as she was valuable to me and I could quietly make arrangements to cover her.

  16. cabi - ugh :

    Is this as bad as all the other MLMs? My dear friend is doing this and I want to support her but god those clothes are expensive.

    • I used to work with a woman who looked fairly put-together and she got all of her clothes from a friend who did Cabi. This was back in the late 1990s so if it’s an MLM, it’s certainly one of the older ones.

      My colleague used it because she hated shopping and had little spare time. Over time, I noticed she had about a 10 day repeat of outfits, down to the accessories, but the idea of doing that seemed kind of nice to me. I was then at a point where I always felt like I had nothing to wear.

      I just went to the website and I don’t see anything like she used to wear. Her stuff tended to be solid skirt with tweed jacket kind of looks. Maybe they’re more casual now.

      • Anonymous :

        I have a few things from Cabi that I like a lot. They’re several years old; I haven’t worn them a ton because they are unique pieces, but they’ve held up well.

        • I’m glad the hear the quality is decent. I bought a blazer I will definitely wear a lot but I’m usually a sale shopper so I had a bit of sticker shock.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Is it the navy blazer with the brass buttons? I just bought that one. Very expensive but a friend of mine just would. not. let. up. until I agreed to go to the party. We had fun and the clothes were nice if pricey. Fortunately she’s the only one in my circle who is doing that kind of thing.

          • cabi - ugh :

            I almost got that one! But actually it was the striped trench/jacket. So I guess not technically a blazer.

          • Senior Attorney :

            Ha! I almost got that one! Again, the clothes are very cute! But the prices…

    • MLM or not, I wouldn’t buy expensive clothes I don’t want to support a friend’s business. It’s nice of you to want to support her, but you shouldn’t feel obligated to buy.

  17. Paging cbackson – you posted this this morning: “FWIW, a US citizen who is not a dual citizen cannot legally be denied entry into the US. That is without regard to religion or any other factor. It is, full stop, not legal. Doesn’t mean it can’t happen, but it happens so rarely and under such complex circumstances that it ends up being a big deal from a news perspective when it does.”

    Are you sure that the standard is different for dual citizens? My husband is a dual Russian citizen and I wasn’t aware of this.

    • So the nuances of dual citizens’ status in US immigration law are beyond my (limited to pro bono immigration work) understanding. But I think the issue is that US law doesn’t actually recognize dual citizenship. So how you implement something like the Trump ban gets complex given that US law doesn’t address the interaction of the two citizenship statuses.

      • Hmm, interesting. Thanks for checking back in. I’ll need to investigate this more!

      • That’s my understanding too. I was told that although my birth country may recognize my dual citizenship, the U.S. does not. In taking the citizenship oath, you have to renounce allegiance to any other country.

    • Away game :

      Cbackson is correct. You are legally a US citizen and have the right to enter or you are not a US citizen and CBP can decide. If you are a US citizen, your second, third, fourth citizenships are not legally relevant. CBP is, however, allowed to check that you are a US citizen. (In a previous job, not CBP, I was asked to verify if the passport in front of me belonged to the person presenting it. The photo was Saran wrapped on top of the real passport holders photo. Um, nope.)

      • Yeah, I’m a dual citizen a was always told I could not be denied entry into the US – my understanding is that the US ignores my other citizenship and that for US purposes, I am a US citizen, period.
        I know there are contexts in which you have to renounce any other citizenship (certain diplomatic and military positions?) which is hard because a lot of countries (including the US) don’t make it very easy to renounce… I’m always very upfront about my dual citizenship at the border and have never had a problem (although I am admittedly white and my other citizenship is not a “problematic” country).

  18. I wrote the guest post awhile back about refinancing my student loans with SoFi. Just under a month ago, I paid them off. Today’s the day my auto-payment used to get deducted. I can’t believe I’m done. Now I need to ramp up my retirement savings and all sorts of other important adult things. I really could not have done this without getting a better interest rate. Since my old guest post, so many other companies have come out offering refinancing. If you are stuck in a high interest private loan like I was, this is your kick in the butt to check out interest rates elsewhere. In addition to SoFi, I’ve heard good things about Common Bond and Darien Rowaton.

    • Credit Woes :

      congrats!! I’m sooo jealous. I don’t quite have the credit score needed (working on it) for them to allow me in without a cosigner. Argh.

    • Marshmallow :

      Congratulations!!! That’s incredible! I am also jealous, also working on my credit score.

      What are the Hive’s thoughts about refinancing federal (not private) student loans? I’m at 6.8% interest so I know I would be saving on interest, but losing some of the protection makes me nervous. I’m currently taking advantage of income-based repayment while clerking, and I like the safety net of going back to IBR if needed. But I have a feeling I’m going to hear that the interest savings are worth it, and it’s stupid to continue paying higher interest just “in case.”

      I won’t have the necessary credit score until probably this fall anyway, so it’s kind of moot for the time being, but I’m starting to think about it.

      • Hunting in Boston :

        I’m the same and interested to hear what people say – I too fall back on the *perceived* protections of the federal programs (all my loans are FED). but ultimately, me + husband have too high an AGI for me to qualify for any of the sweet forgiveness plans.

        And those programs could be swept away down the road regardless! That’s when I wonder if I should just refinance with someone like SoFi

        The problem comes up now because it’s our first married-tax year and I’m struggling to decide MFJ or MFS to hide his AGI from the law loans. I guess it’s really just deciding do I want to pay Uncle Sam filing separately, or do I want to pay down my loans filing jointly. ugh. I am not a math person…

        • Marshmallow :

          Wait a minute– you are trying to “hide” your husband’s income from the federal government so that if you want IBR, you can have a lower payment? That seems… not right.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            That’s what my husband and I do (along with a ton of other people with IBR payment plans). Married filing separately means that only your income is counted when calculating monthly payments. It may not have been a frequently used filing status in the past, but it is a perfectly valid way to file.

            Hunting in Boston, run the numbers both way. It isn’t hard in Turbo Tax. If you file separetely, there is nothing stopping you from paying down your loans faster anyway.

          • Sydney Bristow :

            Although, it looks like Hunting in Boston hasn’t already signed up for IBR. In my case, I was on IBR for years before getting married. I would assume that your husband’s income wouldn’t be included in the calculation when applying for IBR in the first place, but I’m not positive that is the case. There are other repayment options where it is included regardless of filing status (I think the REPAYE program includes both).

          • FedLoan Servicing suggested that I file separately when we were both Federal employees. You lose other deductions by filing separately, but if you’re on an income-contingent loan repayment program hoping for the 10 year public service loan forgiveness, it’s the only way to not have you payments double when you get married.

      • I refinanced both federal and private. Click the link in my name and it will take you to a blog post I wrote about it. I haven’t yet updated it to say paid off though! It really just depends on your individual situation. I didn’t see myself going to a non-profit, my husband and I wanted to continue filing joint, we wouldn’t really use IBR then. I also liked that the loans were forgiven on death or disability and they had job search assistance and a forbearance option – at least at the time I refinanced. I’ve heard some question over whether that is still a current benefit or not.

        If you read Mister Money Mustache, someone recently posted on that forum about a service that will review a variety of refinance options for you and tell you the best one. I don’t remember what it was called though.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I have a reply in mod. Check back later.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        So I have a very large amount of federal loans (nearly $200k) and most are at 6.8% or 7.9%. I also have an 800+ credit score. I had already refinanced my private loans with Sofi and it was painless and worth it. I plugged in all my federal loans and the difference in interest rates and therefore overall savings were very small so I didn’t think it was worth giving up the protection of IBR. Just plugging in your info doesn’t commit you to anything, so why not run the numbers and see what you can get and then decide whether or not it is worth it.

        Congratulations Blonde Lawyer!!!

  19. narcissistic personality disorder relationships :

    Glad we keep talking about these so we can support each other through them, honor ourselves for the ones we’ve left, and so we act as cautionary tales to those at the brink of entering one. I know people make lots of Melania jokes (though maybe they’re not jokes, all things considered) but I am glad we continue to bring this to light since it helps those of us who were taught that women should be subservient or accept whatever we can get or stop misbehaving so he stops acting this way.

    • Senior Attorney :

      “Stop misbehaving so he stops acting this way.” That was me for so many years! Ugh. So crazy…

  20. better to sell or to donate? :

    For those who have sold a lot of furniture, do you think it is better to sell or to donate? A friend is moving from her 1 bdrm furnished apartment across the country. Furniture is a mix of some solid pieces and some ikea/target quality. She lives in an apt. complex so a yard sale is not allowed. Is it worth her having people traipse through her house and possibly try to nickel/dime her so she has some cash or is it typically wiser to donate it to a place that benefits women that picks it up and gives her a tax document? Neither of us have done either so I thought I would ask here.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Donate all the way. If she can find a place to pick it up, so much the better.

    • No, I always give stuff away precisely so that I don’t have to have strangers in my home. (and a good 50% of craigs list respondents never show up, leaving me waiting for them for 2 hours and fuming)

    • Anonymous :

      That’s what Craigslist is for. I’ve sold some things for more than I paid for them, and they were things like a basic desk from Office Max, not any type of nice or valuable furniture.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      I sold everything on Craigslist when I moved across the country, but I needed all the money that I could get. It actually wasn’t too bad having people come through. I negotiated up front over email and once we agreed on a price they came to pick it up. Hardly anyone tried to change the price in person.

      I never scheduled anyone to come over when I had other plans. I’d only do it on days when I was going to be home studying anyway so that my time wasn’t wasted. In my city, I think everything was sold within about 1.5 weeks so it wasn’t even that much to deal with. Taking pictures of everything and posting it definitely took the most time.

    • Anonymous :

      Keep in mind that unless you itemize your taxes you cannot deduct charitable donations, and in the absence of some other reason to itemize the standard deduction is usually a better choice, especially for people who have lower/moderate incomes (this s!te is very skewed towards high earners and itemizing makes more sense in the highest income brackets). That said, I would still donate the Target/Ikea stuff, because the money you’re going to make from a sale of that is not worth the time it would take to sell it. I would definitely Craigslist the higher end furniture.

  21. How Different Would It Be? :

    If you made 10k more per year, how different would your life be than what it is now and in what ways?

    • I would be able to go on vacation which is really important for my quality of life. Thats the only difference it would make though. I already save appropriately and have an apartment I love .

    • Senior Attorney :

      Honestly? I’m super fortunate in that $10K wouldn’t be life-changing for me. But I’m old…

    • $10K wouldn’t make a difference. $50k would mean I’d go somewhere really nice on vacation.

    • anonymous :

      Not at all. Fortunately, it would be a very small fraction of our household income and unlikely to be noticed. Even before that was the case, it would go directly into savings/investments and be forgotten about until some later date. I live on only slightly more than I did as a grad student.

    • Seattle Freeze :

      Honestly? I’d drop to part-time so I could work less and get paid the same as I do now. I like my job and employer, but chronic pain makes most days awful and I don’t think I can keep working full-time as long as I’d like to.

    • Anononope :

      It’d be a big help to me in terms of building up our savings. When I see people posting here about saving $4k/month or whatever, I’m so overwhelmed. I save about $400/month in a house-emergency-repairs fund, and about the same in a general savings account, but $10k would feel like such a huge cushion.

    • Anonymous :

      We’d have slightly more money in the bank and take slightly nicer/more frequent vacations, but it wouldn’t be life-changing or really affect our day to day lives.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      My student loan servicer would be getting an extra whatever $10k is after taxes. So it wouldn’t change my day to day life at all but it would make a good dent in my loans each year and ultimately make a big difference in my life.

      Assuming it worked out to be somewhere around $625/month and I otherwise paid as agreed on my loans, that would shave off about 10 years (12.5 if I added that to the extra I’m already paying most months).

    • Anonymous :

      I just started a new job where I got a raise that was about $10,000. I doubled my 401k contribution, signed up for some benefits that weren’t available at my old job, and increased payment amounts on my car and student loans. So, grand total, after all is said and done I am getting about $100 more per paycheck. Which will probably get put towards house repairs or my kid’s activities, so not really life-changing. It was a reality check, for sure!

    • Anonymous :

      I could actually pay all my bills AND be able to save a substantial amount each month. It would be amazing.

  22. Broken heater - rent reduction :


    We had issues with our radiator this past month (we rent). Landlords sent over repairman multiple times (always prompt) but took a while to pinpoint the problem (which kept reoccurring).

    Landlords offered to reduce our rent for the month to make up for the hassle factor. They asked us what we think would be fair.

    What would you propose?

    Salient facts:
    Number of days we had no/unreliable heat in the past month – 5 to 6 days (in New England, so we needed it)
    Rent – $3300/month

    • Did you have to miss work to meet the repairmen?

      I’d ask for $800 to $1000 off the rent and see what they say. That’s about 1/4 of a month and that’s about how long you were without heat.

      • Broken heater - rent reduction :

        I work from home, so my day was interrupted but I didn’t have to be out of the office.

    • Anonymous :

      6/31sts or 6/28ths of a months rent. So if this is February, reduce by $700.

    • Marshmallow :

      I would count each day you had to interrupt to meet the repairman and add it to the number of days without heat, then figure out the proportion of rent. So if you interrupted three days of work and had no heat for 6 days, that’s 9/28 days, 32% of your monthly rent, or $1,061.

  23. PSA posted in wrong post!


    Everyone should get a cat. I’m working from home and my fat, lazy grey kitty just roused himself from his usual sleeping position, and killed and partially ate a HUGE spider. I have no idea where it came from and I have never seen a spider that huge in my house. Right now he’s playing with it to try to get it to come back to life so he can kill it again (barf) but jeezus, I will clean litter boxes forever if I never have to have a spider like that in my house again!


    • I love spiders. I love the giant webs they weave and I LOVE watching the stink bugs get caught in them.

    • One of mine was sitting on my desk next to me the other day and suddenly sat up and starting squalling. Look around I noticed the stink bug 2 feet from me on top of the tissue box. He didn’t attack it but just sounded the alarm.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        My cat freezes and stares at bug intruders. Kind of like a pointer dog…but not really since she also stands still and stares when there aren’t bugs around. I think she is just afraid of roaches as I am.

  24. Just got a cat a few months ago, using the clumping litter (tidy cat or something), but someone mentioned they regularly dump all of the litter and start over. Is this standard and no one told me? I thought you just remove the clumps and deposits and add more as the level gets low in the box. Have I been harming my cat this whole time?

    • lost academic :

      No, lord no. My husband, when I moved in with him, did that. Because he wouldn’t change the box and his cats all tolerated it (and he kept 4 boxes for 4 cats all in the kitchen!) so he and his roommate just dumped the boxes monthly. This is not good for the cats. I’m sure there’s some theoretical litter you can get where dumping it is necessary, but that’s not why you use clumping litter. You are doing the right thing, and also not wasting a ton of money.

    • I think you’re technically supposed to, but I do it maybe once every four or five months? I do like to thoroughly clean the litter box every once in a while, so I just wait til it gets kinda low and then dump it all out.

    • My experience has been that the pieces that fall off the clumps start to be the entirety of the non-clumped litter over time, and it gets pretty smelly. I changed the entire box every now and again when I used clumping litter.

      Now I use crystal litter, because I have an aggressive digger (but excellent spider killer/eater) and the clumps are no match for his claws. I like the crystal litter. The crystals absorb the wet stuff and somehow don’t smell, and you scoop out the solid stuff whenever (if I’m home, as soon as he lays an egg.) Then you change the whole thing every 2 weeks.

    • Definitely dump the litter periodically, scrub the litter box with soap/water or 409, and add new litter. I do this every 2-3 weeks. Even with clumping litter, the pan still gets dirty. I think of it this way: I scrub my toilet even though I flush it every time I use it.

      • Maybe too late in the day for this, but where do you scrub your litter box out at? I’m in an apartment and don’t have a good place to dump the dirty water besides my tub which would thrill the plumbe I’m sure…

        • When I lived in an apartment, I dumped the old litter into a trash bag, then used 409 and paper towels. Now that I’m in a house, I can just use the hose outside.

        • I just buy a new box tbh. Fwiw the litterbox I use doesn’t have a lid; it’s basically a big tupperware container.

  25. Modded, here you go

    My experience has been that the pieces that fall off the clumps start to be the entirety of the non-clumped litter over time, and it gets pretty smelly. I changed the entire box every now and again when I used clumping litter.

    Now I use crystal litter, because I have an aggressive digger (but excel lent spider killer/eater) and the clumps are no match for his claws. I like the crystal litter. The crystals absorb the wet stuff and somehow don’t smell, and you scoop out the solid stuff whenever (if I’m home, as soon as he lays an egg.) Then you change the whole thing every 2 weeks.

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