Splurge Monday’s Workwear Report: Dawini Sash Tie Sheath Dress

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

Happy Monday! This gorgeous sheath dress looks awesome for work and beyond — the sash tie looks sophisticated but fun. (And, hooray for a hidden back zip!) As a girl who largely prefers V-necks, when presented with a crew neck like this I’ll wear a nice 18″ necklace (so it hits solidly in the middle of the fabric) or even a brooch, worn high on one side of my clavicle. The wool dress is $625 at Nordstrom, available in sizes 2-14.   BOSS Dawini Sash Tie Sheath Dress

This black plus-size sheath dress is somewhat similar, and on sale. If you’re looking for a more affordable black dress, try this $65 one from Amazon; our “Hall of Fame” roundup of classic sheath dresses for work would also be a good place to check.

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



  1. In-House in Houston :

    Gorgeous dress but a little outside my budget.

    • Anonymous :


      • Love, love. But will wait for this to go on sale, as Boss dresses usually do.

      • Me too. I do love it, but Dad would hit the cieling if he found out that I spent this kind of cash on a singel dress. Plus, there is no way I could tell someone I spent this unless it was for a SUIT at Brook’s Brother’s. Once I am MARRIED, all bet’s will be OFF, but for now, I at least have to appear that I am FRUEGEL! YAY!!!!!

    • Search for Tahari by ASL Women’s Crepe Side-Tie 3/4 Sleeve Sheath on Amazon. I have this dress and love it, and it looks very similar. Of course it’s not Boss quality but it’s still pretty great.

      • Anonymous :

        I bought that dress after it was featured here and thought it looked super cheap and low quality (even considering the affordable price). It’s didn’t look like Limited/GAP quality to me, let alone Boss. I ended up returning it.

      • I have an Ellen Tracey dress very similar to this. Scored it at a Nordstrom’s Rack. It’s white and machine washable.

    • I like the dress, but the sash reads “home ec project where the waist doesn’t quite fit.”

      Do they even have home ec? I really respect my small-town high school where everyone had to take shop and home ec and learn to sew (no matter what your SATs were). I can remember the boys being not happy about learning to type and now I am so glad I was made to learn it (why? I’m not going to be a secretary (although I knew that Katherine Gibbs School was where you needed to go to become an executive assistant).

      But in home ec, it was a sign that you couldn’t fit a waist or do darts the right way.

      • I was an honors student who voluntarily took home ec. I am not a master chef or seamstress, but I know how to fix rip in a seam, resew a button, and read a recipe so I consider it to have been well worth it. (I had to skip AP calculus one day/cycle for the home ec lab though – the semester we did sewing I just went to AP calc but when we started cooking I had to actually miss my math class!).

        we did typing too – and a basic computer skills class (focusing on Word, Excel, and Powerpoint).

        this was in the early 2000s.

      • Anonymous :

        We did home ec in Middle school (mid-90s), in a rotation with shop and art. The sewing unit was pillows. In my area, a garment would have been more of a 4H project than a home-ec one. Too advanced for home ec.

        Keyboarding/computer skills was a separate class I took in high school.

  2. this dress looks so familiar to me! I feel like maybe I saw it on tv?

    Question of the day- my husband got a notice that he will have to transfer out of his former employers 401(k). He does not have one with his current employer. Any recommendations on where to start or who to go see?


    • JuniorMinion :

      I roll former 401ks into an IRA. Mine is just with Scottrade and gives me more flexibility than a 401k in terms of investment options. After years spent working in finance I am very leery of financial advisors who work on commission as they are incentivized to sell you higher fee load products. If you don’t like active investing index funds are a great way to get market exposure.

      You should be able to call the former employers 401k as well as your local scottrade (or other discount brokerage) office and they will let you know what forms etc you need.

    • If you don’t have a 401(k) to do a rollover into, you should roll it into an IRA. You can call any of the major fund providers (Schwab, Fidelity, Vanguard) to do this. They are very familiar with the process. Takes about 20 mins. The harder part after you’ve opened the account to roll it over into, is how to allocate it. We’ve had all the discussions about this lately, but index funds or target-date retirement funds (which would likely be very similar to what the choices in his 401(k) were) are good places to start. Most places will help you with allocation for free. How you allocate depends on your investment horizon, risk tolerance, need for liquidity, etc. Good luck.

      • +1 for rolling into an IRA. I do this with all my former employer Retirement money, rather than roll it into my current 401k, mostly because the IRA had lower fees than whatever the current employer’s 401k did. I also had a former employer with some weird (but legal) rules on the timing of removing money that I didn’t want all my retirement funds subject to.

        FWIW, both my IRA and current 401k are through Vanguard.

    • I’ve been very happy with Fidelity. They have good customer service and a variety of low fee index funds. Vanguard would be my second choice – they also have excellent low fee funds – but I find their customer service isn’t as good as Fidelity.

    • Late to the thread, but I did this with Vanguard. I got a little confused about the process, so I called them, and the help desk was impressively good at talking me through it.

  3. Random sports question :

    I grew up going to HBCU sporting events and really enjoyed the bands and step shows. I’m not black. I have moved to the SE US where there are lots of HBCUs. Is there any etiquette to attending a basketball game or tournament to watch the bands or go to a step show? I have this fear of being the only white people there and not doing it right.

    [If I were closer to NOLA, I’d just take my children to the parades b/c the high school bands are usually awesome.]

    • anonbajan :

      nope. Anyone can attend. You wont be the only white people there.

    • You can also go to the annual battle of the bands in Atlanta.


    • what is a “HCBU”? anyone else find non-universal acronyms tiresome?

      • AnonInfinity :

        It’s HBCU, and it is a universal acronym for Historically Black College or University.

      • Not only is it universal, it’s easy to google. Historically Black Universities and Colleges.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I find people’s unwillingness to Google acronyms with which they’re not familiar tiresome, actually. It would have taken less time than it took for you to write that comment.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          Plus google saves you the embarrassment of a public flub like that which occurred on Twitter regarding AAVE. And Gary Johnson regarding Aleppo though he couldn’t exactly google it then and there.

        • Anonymous :

          I find it tiresome that people can’t clearly communicate what they mean.

        • Anonymous :

          I find it tiresome that people do not take the time to communicate what they mean.

      • Legally Brunette :

        IMO, this is a very well known acronym.

        • Never heard it before as an acronym

          I’ve lived in Chicago, NYC, Boston, SF… never South.

          • Liz in healthcare :

            HBCU are not only located in the south but in states such as Maryland, Ohio, and Pennsylvania as well FWIW.

      • I googled “HCBU” and 9 of the 10 results that came up on the first page referenced Historically Black Colleges or Universities, which also made sense in the context of the question, so I went with that.

        No acronyms are universal, so maybe you just mean to say that acronyms are generally tiresome to you.

        • Would it have been be so hard for her to type out the words historically black university? Not every communication is a text.

          • Acronyms have been around much longer than text messages. Everything does not need to be spelled out all the time FYI.

            I mean for your information.

          • This acronym itself is part of the vernacular. It’s not something like “idk” that people don’t actually say.

  4. Hi, salary negotiations question. I just got an offer for my first full time position after law school!! The salary was a little lower than I had hoped and earlier expressed to hiring partner i initially interviewed with. I am unsure of who to extend counter offer to. I did initial interview with hiring partner at one location. I had second interview with senior associate I would be working under.

    The offer came via emailed letter from hiring partners legal assistant on behalf of hiring partner. HR is CC’d to email. Th offer letter tells me to reach out to “us” with any questions. But offer letter is signed off by hiring partner. I’ve never spoken with HR. Is hiring partner or HR appropriate person to make counter offer to? Is email or phone best?

    • Anonymous :

      I would reply to hiring partner via email with a cc to HR. Leave off the legal assistant.

    • Reach out to hiring partner using whichever communication method that you feel more comfortable with.

    • Anonymous :

      I really think you need to pick up the phone and call the hiring partner. I don’t think email is appropriate for salary negotiations.

      • In-House in Houston :

        Agreed 100%

      • But if you pick up the phone, have a script prepared. And, “this is lower than I’d hoped” is not a very cogent argument. You need to say why you deserve X not why Y is lower than you expected. Google Ask a Manager for help with salary negotiations. Good luck and congrats on the offer!

        Also–protip–never negotiate with a range. Give a hard number. If you give a range, the other side anchors on the low end, while you anchor on the high end. Instead, aim a little higher than you are comfortable with, and then you can compromise down. It’s pretty rare to “compromise up.”

      • Frozen Peach :


      • Thanks all. I’m gonna work a script and channel all my inner confidence for the phone call!

    • Anon for this :

      You should definitely negotiate! I recently did this for a position following clerkship and secured the salary I asked for, which is 10K more than what was offered (I would have accepted the original offer, or anything in between, so I was very pleased to get the first # I asked for). I first did my research by talking with an associate I had interviewed with about the firm’s bonus structure. Then I wrote out my bullet points and called the hiring partner. After asking him a few unrelated questions about the firm, my script basically went like this:

      – I really want to work for you
      – I spoke with [Associate] and I think I have a great understanding of the salary and bonus structure, and it’s something about your firm that is very attractive to me
      – That being said, I want to revisit the salary issue I briefly mentioned in our last conversation
      – Given that I have X and Y experience, I’m confident I’m going to be able to hit the ground running when I start
      – So, I am asking for [Salary]

      The partner asked if it would be acceptable if they made the $10K a guaranteed bonus for the first year. Obviously, that is not as good, so I asked what that would mean for year 2. He then replied that that was a good point and he’d have to check with the other managing partner. I said that was fine and that if the answer was “yes” I would sign the paperwork that day. Lo and behold, a few hours later, he emailed me to say that the answer was yes!

      In our call, he also mentioned that he was glad I had asked for more money and that’s something the firm likes to see because he wouldn’t want me to be shy about asking for more money when it’s a client on the line.

      Before doing the call, I spoke with a relative who works in HR and she was adamant that I HAD to ask for more $$ at this stage, because it’s the only time you’re going to have the opportunity. It might be possible to ask for raises or w/e later, but that’s different because at that point you’re starting from a baseline. I’ve also gotten the advice that, if they can’t offer a higher salary, you should consider what other benefits they might be able to offer (e.g. paid parking space, make sure they will pay for your bar membership fees, paid CLE, transportation reimbursement, etc).

  5. Country music concert :

    Y’all: I’m going to a country music concert later this month. What do I wear???

    I’m used to the 9:30 Club, the Birchmere, and the symphony. I’m guessing this is more of Birchmere (cowboy boots, dark boot cut jeans, some sort of black sweater). But should I be in something sparkly? Or does no one really care?

    It’s a family event, not a date night, so I don’t need to look hot or extra cute.

    • The Birchmere outfit would be fine. Have fun!

    • Anonymous :

      Your suggested outfit for Birchmere sounds just fine. No need to wear something sparkly – people won’t care. Last time I wore flannel and dark wash jeans with chucks. You’ll see a variety.

    • Anonymous :

      You’ll see pretty a huge range of attire. I wouldn’t wear something sparkly unless it’s Taylor Swift or something like that. The outfit you described sounds a lot more common for a typical country music concert than a sparkly dress.

  6. Anonymous :

    It’s so comforting that our president-elect doesn’t have time for security briefings, but he can find time to let us all know that Meryl Streep is an overrated actress. All the eyerolls in the world.

    • In-House in Houston :

      And he doesn’t believe the US intelligence reports about Russia, but when Nielsen rated the first episode of Celebrity Apprentice without him….he believe that!! He’s a buffoon!!

    • What an effing disaster this is.

      • Sloan Sabbith :

        I go back and forth between heartbroken and terrified.

      • Anonymous :

        I never thought I would admire George W. Bush, but I long for the days when Hollywood criticized him and he behaved like an adult and didn’t go on public rants in retaliation. If Meryl can get under Trump’s skin so easily, imagine what foreign leaders can do… I’m genuinely so scared he will start WWIII.

        • Sloan Sabbith :

          I was too young to really pay much attention to Bush, but I wasn’t too young to recognize the class and integrity that McCain and Romney both showed. If this was Romney being elected, or McCain, I probably would not be on Facebook right now writing about how they’re not my president. I’d be disappointed, sure, but not terrified. I’d respect the process and the person, if not the beliefs they hold.

          • Were you one of those who made fun of Romney for saying Russia was our biggest threat?

          • Sloan Sabbith :

            Look over there! It’s an attempt to distract from the point at hand!


      • I am still shell-shocked and in a bit of disbelief. I keep hoping to wake up and have it all be a distant memory where he has grown up and realized that being POTUS is not a reality show game.

      • What do we DO, though? Is there anything we can do? I’m already donating to the causes that will take him on, calling my reps, staying engaged and politically active. But I cannot accept the fact that our country’s future is in the hands of this buffoon. I just can’t.

        Every day I wake up and want someone to be the grown-up in the room and tell him to shut up, and no one does anything.

        • Here’s one option: Bend the Arc, a Jewish progressive organization, is holding community meetings nationwide to plan ways to resist the agenda of our pres-elect and allies. Link to follow.
          All are welcome. You don’t have to be Jewish to attend.

        • http(colon, slash, slash) www(d0t) jewishaction(dot)us(slash)actions(slash)jewish-community-meetings-resist-trump

        • I forgot to mention this: attend the Women’s March on Washington, either in D.C. or in a local version. See their web site for more information.

          • The march will accomplish nothing. Nothing will come of it. It’s not going to keep him out of the presidency. It’s not going to kick him out of it once he’s in. He’s not going to care that a bunch of women are marching. The only point of the march is to make you feel better, like you’re doing something, when you’re really not. I’m not saying you shouldn’t go; I’m just saying the march is not the answer to anon12’s question about what can be done.

          • Sorry Anon- I’m late to the party, but the point of going to the march is to show we are here and we aren’t going away. It is to show those folks that are isolated in the red parts of the countries that although they might feel alone, they aren’t alone. The more in his face we can be, the less he will be able to ignore us.

          • Defeatist much? :

            ANon, how silly. No one thinks that a protest will keep him out or magically remove him from office. And his personal feelings about it are irrelevant. If these are the only reasons you can come up with to justify a protest, you have a great opportunity to learn more about effective civil disobedience and the history of protest movements.

            Or you can sit at home and roll over and let the world go on its merry way without you, which apparently makes you feel as if you are doing something, when you’re really not.

            At the very least, this is a massive networking opportunity for people to meet others who are actively engaged within their communities, doing the type of work that will help get everyone through this as best we can.

    • lawsuited :

      I think 140 characters is more in line with his ability-level.

    • Sloan Sabbith :

      Called it, the moment I heard her last night. I said was going to be calling her overrated.

      What a terrible person he is.

      • Anonymous :

        +1 As soon as I heard what he said, I said to my husband “This is exactly what the script would have said in the SNL skit about this.”

    • No kidding. I’m trying to have a mental policy that I’m just not going to pay attention when he does stuff like this, but it’s hard.

    • 2016 was terrible

      2017 will be worse

      By 2018, either a) Trump will no longer be President, or b) we will all be dead

      • +1. This isn’t just silly Trump-being-Trump stuff. I am seriously concerned that a major narcissist and bully is going to have so much power. Our only hope is to monitor, monitor, monitor and do everything we can to provide a bulwalk in the media (formal and informal).

      • b) is an exaggeration and, I think, causes people to tune out vs. more pointed criticisms. While it’s possible that Trump will get us into a nuclear war and we will all die, it’s not likely. Likelier is that thousands of the most vulnerable people will die because they lost their health insurance and couldn’t get medical treatment, or they were deported back to a violent country where they have few, if any, ties, or they were in a violent country and weren’t allowed to come to the US in the first place because we stopped accepting asylum applications, or they were the victims of hate crimes or police brutality committed by hateful people emboldened by Trump’s hateful messages…

        • +1 to — “Likelier is that thousands of the most vulnerable people will die because they lost their health insurance and couldn’t get medical treatment, or they were deported back to a violent country where they have few, if any, ties, or they were in a violent country and weren’t allowed to come to the US in the first place because we stopped accepting asylum applications, or they were the victims of hate crimes or police brutality committed by hateful people emboldened by Trump’s hateful messages…”

          Most terrifying for me is that many, many people will suffer as a result of this presidency, and I worry that the suffering will be largely invisible or ignored. I also worry endlessly for my children, and their children, b/c I think devastating changes related to ignoring or exacerbating climate insecurity will in our not so distant future.

        • Except that ignoring climate change or the threat of nuclear war is sticking your head in the sand. It would be naive to think that destruction isn’t possible, even if the effects of climate change may take longer than a 4-year term.

          • I didn’t say it wasn’t possible – it is, and that is terrifying. But it’s not likely, whereas the other scenario I outlined definitely is per Trump’s stated policy goals. So I think it’s more effective to focus on the most likely terrible scenarios, because saying “we’re all definitely going to die” causes a lot of people to tune out.

  7. Atlanta Shopping Question :

    I live in a small southern city with all the normal mid-range mall stores– J Crew, Talbots, Ann Taylor, etc, but nothing beyond those. I’m kind of bored with these options and was looking at the brands mentioned over the weekend in the responses to the OP who was looking for something like a toned down Lilly Pulitzer. Some of the brands mentioned were J McLaughlin, Trina Turk, and Gretchen Scott. Where would I even go to try those clothes on? Boutiques? A big department store?

    Lets say I have a day to take a day trip to Atlanta to go shopping. What should I do to get the greatest familiarity with the most new-to-me number of brands so I can get a better idea which of them would fit and what size to get? I just want to kind of get an idea so that it’s not a complete shot in the dark when I order stuff online.

    Also, if anyone who commented on those Lilly-like brands, do you know if any of these brands are particularly flattering for a petite hourglass? My body type works well in Talbots and Ann Taylor, but looks awful in J Crew, FWIW.

    • Check out Amazon or Zappos – you’d be surprised what brands you can find there. So you can try risk-free w/r/t shipping costs. Trina Turk is also carried at major dept stores like Bloomie’s.

      J McLaughlin is curve-friendly – the fabrics have awesome stretch and suck-in properties. I wore a S there when I was a 6 at JCrew.

      Trina Turk seems built for quintessential LA types – so curves are OK as long as they’re exactly the same places as Barbie’s.

    • Anonymous :

      If there is a Monkees store near you, they tend to stock thinks like Elizabeth McKay, etc. They are sprinkled throughout the southeast but not in Atlanta or Georgia.

      JMcLaughlin has its own stores (so you can check their site).

      If you start with the largest Belk, they may have a lot of things with the same vibe (ours has a Lilly Boutique in store with better sales than our Lilly stand-alone store and it is next to a Vineyard Vines display that is about as large as the VV store in our mall). So . . . personal shopper at Belk’s? Devote an hour to Belk’s? And then try to find a boutique nearby also? I don’t shop in Atlanta — I seem to just to there to party or to the aqarium.

      It’s not Atlanta, but Charlotte Smarty Pants is a mommy blog and I know about most of my adult fun clothes brands from reading them.

      • I agree with the poster below re Belk being mumsy. But the big ones are much better / broader than the tiny ones. It’s the one chain that rings very southern.

    • I think it is going to be a mix. Perimeter mall has decent department stores- Nordstrom, Dillards, Von Maur, and Macys. There’s also another Nordstrom and higher end Belks at Phipps. I think each of those brands have their own stand alone boutiques (or are a featured line) in Atl.

    • So if you go to Atlanta, the answer to this question is Phipps and Lenox, hands down. Phipps maybe first, because it is less overwhelming and you’ll get good standalone boutiques (Trina Turk, Rebecca Taylor, Lilly, LK Bennett) as well as a good Belk that carries a lot of what you seem to be thinking about (in my mind, Belk is a very mumsy store, but the one at Phipps is good). Lenox will give you big editions of standard mall stores, as well as good, large department stores (I’m thinking Saks for what you’re focused one). You might also cruise the fab’rik and Tootsies at the Shops Around Lenox, which are curated multi brand boutiques, although may be too high a price point.

      Note that Phipps and Lenox are across the street from each other. Lenox is a more traditional mall, but has Neiman Marcus and the SE flagship for some luxury brands; Phipps is smaller/quieter and higher end.

      • If you’re going to Phipps or Lenox, let me know and I’m happy to meet you for coffee. I’m more of a Perimeter Mall girl myself haha

  8. Pregnant Floridian :

    I’m headed to CT for a mediation soon, and I need to buy a maternity coat and tights. Sadly, I don’t have any cold weather clothes that will fit. I won’t have occasion to wear these again, so I don’t want to spend much money. Any recommendations??

    • Anonymous :

      Can you still fit into your regular coat? Assuming here that you have a regular (non-maternity) coat that is warm enough – you can buy a belly panel insert to zip in. They are like a triangle shape and you can flip it around to wear when babywearing if you ever need to babywear somewhere cold. try makemybellyfit (dot) com.

      No advice on tights. Standard maternity tights should be fine – do they not carry them in stores in Florida (I have never maternity shopped in a place without cold weather – sorry if that sounds dense).

      • Pregnant Floridian :

        I have a non-maternity peacoat, but it won’t button up anymore. It doesn’t have a zipper, just buttons, but maybe there is a similar solution. I’ll check it out, thanks!

        • I’m not sure whether a peacoat would have been warm enough regardless. Uniqlo has cheap down coats!

      • Do you have a friend who you might borrow them from? Or try Old Navy?

        • If you do Facebook or other social media, might want to just put a message out asking if anyone has one they could lend/sell/give away. I’ll bet that a few people do.

    • Does your husband have a winter coat that fits you? It’s not the sharpest look in the world, but assuming you just need something to between buildings and then take it off immediately, you could get by. At least then you wouldn’t have to spend the money on a coat you will barely wear.

      • This or wear your coat open below your bust, those were my techniques

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          With a big blanket scarf. I forget what they ware called but they are the giant scarfs that look more like a blanket. Shawl?

    • Never too many shoes... :

      I would honestly invest in a large blanket scarf/wrap and cross it over your chest under your unbuttoned coat. Unless you are spending a lot of time outside, I think it will be fine.

      • That’s what I would do. I never once wore the cute maternity coat I bought, even though it gets cold where I live. I ended up wearing a regular coat with a scarf.

        • Minnie Beebe :

          Or a poncho under the coat. You’d be able to wear blanket scarf or poncho post-pregnancy, so it wouldn’t be money wasted. I assume that you’ll be driving wherever you are though– CT is largely a car-centric state, even downtown Hartford. You won’t need to be as bundled up as you would if you were going to NY or Chicago.

      • Edna Mazur :

        This is what I do and I live in a cold weather place.

    • big orange drink :

      Depending on how much time you have, you may want to check eBay. I got my maternity coat there for $11. I hardly wore it in my southern city, but it was nice to have for the few days I needed it through my two pregnancies. I also found that it was a nice option over suit blazers post-partum.

    • I bought a wool swing coat on sale from Lands End that I have been wearing through my pregnancy. I can wear it post-pregnancy if I want, but I am so sick of it already that I doubt I will.


    • Also preggo Floridian :

      Amazon ( just do a search and look for something highly rated) or Thread Up.

    • I was in Old Navy yesterday (love their cheap workout gear!) and saw they had wool coats, both single and double breasted, on sale for $20. It wasn’t the best quality wool (think it was only 40% wool) but it would be completely serviceable for a one time trip.

    • Berkshire brand maternity tights are awesome.

  9. Wedding Planner Recs (DC) :

    Any recommendations for DC area wedding planners? Both of us are in Biglaw and we want to get married in the fall in DC or NoVa. Based on time constraints, we can use all the help we can get. Also, stories of pulling off a wedding in 9 months in a city where things book up well in advance are welcome. Thanks ladies!

    • Not DC, but a good friend got married in the Bay Area and planned the wedding in about 5 months. You just need to outsource and be really flexible. If you are really attached to one particular venue/photographer/caterer etc. it may be tough, but as long as you’re open to working with whatever vendors your planner recommends, it can totally be done.

      • Biglaw here too. We got married in four months in a city where things book up quickly as well. We were able to have our choice of vendors and venues because we got married on Thursday, instead of Friday/Saturday. Most vendors were quite happy to work with us because it meant they got to squeeze in an extra wedding during the wedding season. We also used a planner, who was essentially given the direction of here is a mood board of what we like, go forth and send me the bill.

    • Bright Occasions (google it and its the first result) is excellent and reasonably priced for the area. You need to pick a planner and venue hunt this week. If you are open to a hotel that will make it a lot easier or a non-Saturday wedding.

    • Bright Occasions (google it and it is the first result) is excellent and reasonably priced for the area. You need to pick a planner and venue hunt this week. If you are open to a hotel or a non-Saturday wedding that will make it easier. Also some of the very large and very expensive venues book later as well as the very small slightly non-traditional venues.

    • Veronica Mars :

      I’d pick whatever is most important to you (photographer, caterer, venue) and seeing if you can grab a cancellation. And/or be willing to be married on a Friday.

    • Emilie at Bliss Weddings and Events. We used her 5 years ago and she was great.

    • Bride to be :

      The later in the fall, the easier it will be to plan, not because you’re buying more time, but because I think September is the most popular wedding month. I’m in a city where wedding venues/vendors frequently get booked over a year in advance. I’m getting married in March and we’ve been planning for only 5 months, but because it isn’t as popular a month, we have had zero problems with availability so far (don’t want to jinx myself!).

    • I’d recommend getting your venue booked and go from there – the venue might recommend a planner, and you won’t be able to book anything else without your date set. I used Capitol Romance for a wedding coordinator and they were fantastic. I planned my DC wedding in about 9 months and didn’t run into any issues with getting vendors, but I had a pretty small wedding and we DIY’ed the flowers.

    • Senior Attorney :

      I pulled off a wedding for 250 in 6 months in the Los Angeles area and lived to tell the tale, with the help of a wonderful wedding planner. The trick was I knew what I wanted in broad terms and let her pick one or two vendors for each component of the day and then just went with it. If she hadn’t really gotten what we were going for, or if I’d had to micromanage everything, it would never have happened. And you will need to be flexible on dates and times. We ended up doing earlier in the day than we wanted, and a week earlier than we wanted, but it still all worked out fine. Better than fine…

    • Wedding Planner Recs (DC) :

      Thanks very much. I’ll add these to my list to reach out to. We know this will be an exercise in flexibility and just rolling with it.

    • Fat Bottom Girl :

      I might be too late answering, but I’m a wedding planner “hobbyist,” if you will. I’m in D.C. and am planning my sister’s wedding for her in the area with the same time frame. I don’t have an established business, but if you’re interested in hearing more, I’m happy to connect over email. I have corporate event planning experience and did my own wedding. I also know what big law life looks like, so might be a good fit. Good luck planning!

  10. Anonymous :

    I was going to hang a gallery wall over the couch in my home office, but I had to put a tall (6′) bookshelf next to the couch and now I’m worried that the gallery wall will look imbalanced next to a piece of furniture that’s basically at the same height or even higher. Will it look ok as long as the art doesn’t extend over the bookshelf? I’m going for something like this (https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/7d/23/0d/7d230d5cef8e1c928de29bc9f444d78b.jpg) except one of the end tables will be replaced by a tall bookshelf of about the same width.

    • Veronica Mars :

      Personally I think it’ll look a little weird unless there are 2 bookshelves on either side.

    • I think you’ll be okay – I have pretty much the same set up in my living room. The bookshelf is shorter, probably 4′ high, but nothing extends over the bookshelf. It’s just over my TV right next to it.

    • anon anon armani :

      I would just make the gallery wall’s upper edge about a foot lower than the top of the bookcase so it looks intentional.

      In other words, if you make a rectangle from the top of the sofa to both sides and the top of the bookcase …

      then the gallery wall would be inset xxx many inches on all four sides.

      Hope that helps; hard to describe in text while I’m gesturing and pointing to no one in particular.

    • Senior Attorney :

      Here are a couple of things I found while googling around:


      https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1057/2730/files/wallclassiccasualhome_large.JPG?14539289832494697137 (interesting — shelves in the middle and pictures on the sides)


      I think you can make it work!

    • Anonattorney :

      I would shift your gallery wall to take up similar amount of space on the other side of the couch, and use a big round piece in the upper far corner to balance the weight of the bookcase. I would also put some vases, objet d’art, etc. on top of the bookcase (and maybe in the top couple of shelves) to incorporate it into the gallery wall.

      • Anonattorney :

        This one is good – they also used a floor lamp on the far side to balance out the bookshelf. You can’t see the whole image because it’s broken up into two different pics, but it looks like it might work for you:


  11. Friend Break Up :

    So, last week, I had asked for advice on a friend break up, and the person who recommended that I needed to accept her apology hit the nail on the head around why I felt like such an a-hole in just ignoring her. What is the script that I should use for this? Should it be a call/text, or what?

    I don’t have any ill will towards her, and I do accept her apology, but I just don’t really want to spend my free time investing in the relationship. It feels like even more of a jerk move to call and say, “hey, I accept your apology, but I don’t want to spend time anymore on the friendship.” Any suggestions?

    • I wouldn’t respond at all, but since you do just send a message that says “Apology accepted.”

    • I wouldn’t respond. If you do, keep it formal not friendly.

      Thank you for your apology.
      Regards, Name.”

    • But why do you need to accept her apology? Isn’t that something you do for yourself and for that person so that you can move on ASSUMING you want to continue having a relationship with one another? I don’t know the back story (didn’t see the original thread) so don’t know the extent of any hurt she might of caused, but unless it was particularly terrible I don’t think you need to accept her apology before moving on with your life.

    • I don’t remember the details of your original post well enough to recall how she tendered the apology. I would not call. I would text or email (email would be very good for this). I’d say something like, “Thanks for your apology – it’s great appreciated. I wish you all the best in the future. Take care, [OP].” If there was a more express indication in her communication to you that she wanted to be friends again, I’d say “Thanks for your apology – it’s greatly appreciated. I wish you all the best in the future, but I’m not ready to renew our friendship. I hope you can understand that. Take care, [OP].”

      You can also just not respond; personally, being clear about my desire to end certain relationships has been something that has been good for me. That said, again, I don’t recall all the details of your prior post.

      • Just saw this after posting below–I think this is a great approach.

      • +10000. Given that you feel poorly for having not responding, I think these scripts will do the most to make you feel at peace with an accepted apology, and also give her some peace with having apologized and it being well-taken. The very curt one-liners will not make you feel at peace, and you will not be in a good position to move forward.

    • Wow, I don’t know what the original issue was, but all of these responses sound so cold for a former friend. I’ve been in this situation before, and my approach to an email like this would have been “Thank you for sending this. I really appreciate it.” And then leave it at that. If she initiates trying to get together again, I would either beg off until she stops or pointedly say “You know, I really appreciated our friendship, and I appreciated your apology, but I don’t see us having a friendship together anymore. I am sorry, and I really wish you the best.”

    • You feel like an A-hole ignoring her because ignoring somebody totally is an A-hole thing to do. You definitely don’t have to be her friend, but I’d do her the courtesy of saying you received it and if you don’t want to be friends any more… just say that. This isn’t a situation that will allow for a slow fade.


      Been there, been ghosted like that (possibly also currently being ignored by somebody I thought was a “friend”)

      • +1,000,000. Your friendly response will make the friend think you want to be friends again. If you will be ignoring her future attempts to keep in touch, it’s kind of cruel to give her that hope that you are back on good terms. Just think of it as a break-up and tell her that you two have “grown apart” and while you appreciate her apology, you think your “friendship has run its course.”

  12. Recommendation for a boot / bootie that would be best for: living in northern virginia climate, more slush than snow typically, rain (so waterproof for sure), some days I have to walk across a (muddy) yard to get to my car, and I typically change shoes when I get to work every day, but would still like something black / sleek for when I’m getting in. Interested in investing in aquatalia or a la canadienne boot, but overwhelmed by options. Low heel preferably.

    • I would just get a Sperry bean boot-style booties. I have a pair of Aquatalia boots that I thought would be great for trudging through bad weather and that would still be good for getting into the office and honestly anything with muck on it just needs to be taken off immediately and you’ll get way more use out of something like this.


      • I’m wearing the Sperry boots today (in tan and blue) and they are so comfortable and I really do feel more stable in slippery conditions.

    • numbersmouse :

      I have a pair of Blondo Valente boots. They’re waterproof leather and they’re just simple knee-high riding boots, so they look quite sleek. Highly recommend them. They’re also much cheaper than the brands you’ve mentioned, so not quite an investment on that level (I got mine for $150 on DSW).

  13. Calling Emily Post :

    Hoping the wiser-than-I ladies here can help. We recently bought a place and my old boss/mentor’s son who is a great lawyer helped us with the closing at old boss/mentor’s suggestion. When it came time to pay him, he wouldn’t take any money from us saying we’d sort it out later and then old boss called me up to say that the whole thing is a housewarming present from him and he’d sort it out with his son himself.

    Our lawyer really was just fantastic in helping us over many months as we looked at various properties and helped us above and beyond. I’d still like to show our appreciation somehow Especially because he really did this as a favor and not because this is his main thing that he does. There is also another lawyer in his office that that helped at one point so I’d like to thank him, too. Ideas on how to thank everyone? Should I also thank my boss somehow beyond just telling him how much we appreciate him in a note? TIA.

    • AnonInfinity :

      I would give everyone some good wine (or whatever they drink if you know of something other than wine) and a nice note.

      • +1

      • In addition to this, make sure your realtor (and anyone else you know who’s buying a house) knows how pleased you were with the lawyer’s work. Nothing says thank you like referral business.

  14. Monday money motivation :

    Please post your 2016 financial accomplushments and 2017 financial goals! I need some motivation!

    • 2016 financial accomplishments: saving ~30k for our wedding; maxing out 401(k)
      2017 financial goals: start to aggressively pay down student loans (~$5k/month); continue to max out 401(k); be more frugal and save at least $1k/month in cash; accumulate at least 4 months living expenses in cash (~40k)

    • I saved 40% of my income and now have more than 250k in my brokerage account! Also paid off student loans.

    • 2016 was a struggle. I ended up spending significantly more on my house than I expected to have to and otherwise just didn’t really keep my shopping and food budgets under control.

      2017: my goal is to max out my 401K and save 20% of my take-home income on top of that. For me most of this savings is going to have to come out of my general shopping and food spending (including eating out, drinking out, and my expensive cheese habit) but it’s doable.

      • Mary Ann Singleton :

        Oh man, the expensive cheese habit. I hear you.

        • It’s so tasty!! Cheddar is just not as good if it’s less than 3 years old!

          • Cheese makes it really hard to commit to making the jump from vegetarian to vegan! I buy from local farms where I can see the animals which makes it an even more expensive habit!

    • In 2016 we refinanced our mortgage to 2.5% interest and dropped PMI payments in the process. We also moved kiddo into a substantially lower priced daycare. To absorb the extra cash flow, we set our 401k contributions at a level that will max them out in 2017. So, for 2017, we’re maxing out two 401ks, an HSA, and, if the stars align, perhaps our Roth IRA’s as well. Not counting too hard on that one though, because the previous two savings goals are quite a bit for us.

      • Can you explain a little more about your refinance and how you dropped your PMI payments? I would like to refinance our mortgage but we have very little equity. We purchased in 2014 with basically no down payment but did not have to do PMI b/c our loan is with a credit union. I have assumed a refi is not possible with our equity position. Maybe I’m right, or maybe I don’t know as much as I thought…

        • I bought my current house before I sold my previous one, so I put minimal down initially and then once I sold the other house, I had a ton of cash on hand. The easiest way to get to my 20% down and waive PMI was to refinance and take advantage of the interest rate crash the week after Brexit.

          If you’re in a loan without PMI through a credit union, I’m not sure why you’d want to refinance out unless you’re paying a higher-than-market interest rate?

    • In June I left my stinking rotten lousy job that was killing me from the inside out and took a small pay cut to join a smaller company. The work is not more interesting but my life is so, so much better, and it turns out that money really can’t buy you happiness.

      • AustinLaw :

        I really needed to read this. I’ve been debating taking a job that pays less. It’s good to know that you don’t regret your decision! What good is a high paying job if it’s a soul killer?

    • 2016 was a struggle for us as well financially. Husband was hospitalized twice, which resulted in hefty medical bills. We had a childcare crisis, which coincided with hospitalizations, so more money thrown at the problems (childcare, take-out food, etc.). In the fall, our son was diagnosed with a chronic illness that requires expensive medications. And we ended the year with a massive plumbing issue. We basically depleted our emergency fund, but the good news is that we had that fund rather than plunge into debt.

      So our 2017 Goal is to rebuild our emergency fund. We also switched to a high deductible health plan, which given our use of the medical system, will actually result in savings.

      • You’ve had a ton – good for you on doing so well with all that on your plate.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I hope your husband is doing better and that your son’s illness is managed. That’s a ton to deal with!

      • Thanks!! It is incredibly easy to get discouraged when I look at our finances, but I do realize that it was good planning and spending in prior years that prevented us from having massive debt in 2016. And yes, 2016 was a giant ball of suck. Here’s hoping that 2017 is restorative in many ways (health, finances, sanity for me…)

    • 2016: paid off student loan and began seriously saving for our own home/wedding
      2017: continue to move aggressively save for the house and wedding, to successfully pay for wedding and honeymoon without resorting to credit cards (apart from maybe travel things to then be paid off immediately)

    • Saved $100k, or 50% of our income.

      • That is amazing. Can you share strategies? Was that 50% of pre-tax?

      • I have a question when people say they save X percent of their income, is that savings before or after taxes?

      • Yes, please please share tips. This is an incredible accomplishment. Congrats.

      • I’m the poster above that saved $100k. I’m a CPA so well versed in these strategies. Most of it was pre-tax. How we do it:

        1) Max out i401k at $53,000 (I was self employed in 2016)
        2) Husband maxes out his 401k – $18,500
        3) Max out dependent care FSA – we have twins so the $5k max goes quickly. HSA and FSA is not subject to FICA/Mcare tax so that’s an immediate 7.65% tax savings on top of regular and state tax so for us that’s a 37.65% tax savings.
        4) Max out HSA through husband’s employer
        5) Husband buys the max for employer stock purchase plan ($21,000 I think) at 15% discount – automatic 15% gain
        6) Live in a cheap house for our income – mortgage payment of $1,000 per month.

        We have been fortunate in that we have no student loan or other debt besides our mortgage so we kind of started out ahead. I realize not everyone is so fortunate. Our plan is to keep saving $100k a year until our twins go to school in 3 years. At that point we are projecting that we should have $1M in investment accounts and we will then upgrade our house a bit. Read Mr Money Mustache, he’ll get your there!

    • Fixer Upper :

      2016: Fully fund 401(k), throw money into index funds, buy investment rental property

      2017: Renovating the rental property will seriously deplete my savings, so once that is done I will focus on building up a more robust emergency fund. I will set aside money to renovate each unit in the rental property as tenants turn over. Will definitely make a loss on it for a few years with the renovations, but I’m hoping long term it will be a nice income producer.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      2016: Paid about $4700 extra towards student loans and handled 4 months of low paychecks because work was slow without dipping into my emergency fund.

      2017: I want to build a 30 day buffer in YNAB and then pay any income that is above my budgeted expenses towards my student loans.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I just looked at the total that I paid for student loans in 2016 including my regular payments and the extra because I was feeling like I paid less extra than I wanted to and it was nearly $20,000. I feel a little better about that now but want to do better in 2017.

    • 2016 financial wins: 1) Began fully funding my 401(k) after neglecting it for a long time because I don’t get an employer match, 2) (with husband) paid for a $75k home remodel with cash

      2017 goals: 1) Rebuild our emergency fund which is running low since some of the money was used for the home remodel, 2) save save save for baby and childcare expenses since we plan to TTC this year.

    • 2016 – Solid retirement savings for both my husband and me. Managed to cover two very expensive childcare set-ups, but in doing so, chipped away at savings somewhat. Transitioned both kids to a lower-paying care set-up in Q4 of 2016, and tried to squirrel a little money to extra savings outside of retirement post-transition.

      2017 – Keep putting money back into savings to get emergency fund robust again, and then after getting back to a $50K goal, start throwing extra money into a Vanguard index fund. Putting a lid on unnecessary discretionary spending to do so.

      Not expressly financial, but getting out ahead of house issues – old home, expensive fixes. More regular maintenance services = maybe fewer issues?

    • 2016: took wonderful vacation; maxed-out Roth 401k plus employer contribution; bought first house (which was NOT a 2016 goal)
      2017: furnish and fix said house with no net additional debt at end of 2017; keep job; get a bonus for saving

    • Here’s a small financial success that I feel really good about: I went from eating out for lunch 4-5 days a week to eating out twice or thrice a MONTH. My new rule is that I will only pay for lunch if I’m being social and meeting up with a friend. If I’m going to just eat lunch at my desk, there is no reason why I can’t pack a sandwich rather than pay $10 for a sandwich at the deli.

      And for anyone who feels they don’t have the time to pack a lunch, most days I just grab two slices of bread, an avocado and some hummus and make my sandwich at my desk. Easy peasy. Throw in a fruit and greek yoghurt and I find it yummy and satisfying.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        Nice! I’m trying to stick to a goal of packing my lunch 4 days a week by prepping everything on Sundays. Both for financial and weight loss reasons.

    • Anonattorney :

      I maxed my 401k for the first time ever! Husband isn’t maxing yet, but he is contributing 12% of salary. Paid off my student loans. Husband’s loans will be paid off in March. Made it through a whole year of daycare and did not increase our debt.

    • 2016 success: Had enough saved that we could absorb approx. $12,000 in mostly unexpected house repairs. We had to replace our entire HVAC, hot water heater, had a new fence installed, etc. Also paid an extra $10k in principal on our mortgage and saved 15% for retirement.

      2017 goal: budget for a couple small trips and probably new kitchen counter-tops (fingers crossed). Keep up the good work with retirement and mortgage pay off process.

    • Meg March :

      2016 success: paid for our approx. $25k wedding essentially in cash (we put things on credit cards, but only for the points and paid them off right away), without dipping into our savings– so we “saved” an extra $25k last year!

      2017 goal: I’m going to be going to law school in the fall, so we’ll be moving out of NYC, going down to one income, and possibly buying a house. So a lot of “goal” there.

      • Meg March :

        Related to going to law school, a goal is to get big scholarships and negotiate in order to minimize loans.

    • Anonymous :

      2016 accomplishments: Maxing out my 401(k) and purchasing a condo.

      2017 goals: Save 60% of my after-tax income (I include my 401(k) in the savings counted). I can do this if I keep my monthly expenditures under $3500 (doesn’t include mortgage/condo fees).

    • 2016 Accomplishments: 2016 was a tough year for us, but we made it through my husband’s 5-month unemployment without having to dip into our savings at all, thanks to his severance package and my job. I also managed to save an additional $10k simply by drastically cutting our spending during those down months for him, which showed me how much we really “need” and what are “wants”.

      2017 Goals: Stick to our budget, as we’re going down to one income again for awhile (his while we relocate for his new job and I look for a new position). We’ve always been a DINK couple with two healthy incomes, so “budgeting” was never really a thing for us (we just maxed our retirements accounts and contributed a healthy amount to savings, so we could spend the rest). Find a new job that’s more fulfilling for me, even if it pays less, and save 50% of my income.

    • PrettyPrimadonna :

      2016: Resolved to stick to a strict budget and pay off credit card debt. :-/

      2017: Pay off credit card debt. Pack a lunch (and actually eat it…) 4 times a week. Save 20% of income. Build emergency fund.

    • 2016: Was unemployed for ~9 months and managed to squeak out with ~5k in credit card debt (mostly from an unexpected health scare and hospital bill)/zeroed out 6 mo emergency fund.
      2017: replenish 3 mo of emergency fund, pay of credit card debt, be grateful for health insurance once again.

    • Anonymous :

      it is great to hear of all of these success stories. And, at the same time, I can’t help but feel a bit down. I just simply don’t make as much money as most of the commenters on this site. It does impact my feelings of success to hear others talk about saving 40 or 50k last year as if it was no big deal. I keep my head above water, and don’t spend beyond my means, but man, my means are so much more limited than others here. As I get older, and more people that i know talk about mortgages and vacation homes and travel, I realize more and more that there is just a certain class that I will never belong to. I feel like not having money means that I am missing out on all of these milestones that others talk about…makes me feel like my life is so small compared to others…

      • Anonymama :

        You can’t worry about missing out on things just because of what other people are doing: no matter what you do there will be many many things that you pass up. You have to get satisfaction from where you are on your own personal scale of what you really want for yourself, and what your choices are. If you really want to go on a great vacation, you can make it happen, no matter what your income is, but it sounds like you otherwise are pretty happy with where you are other than the grass/social media is always greener sort of envy. Don’t let it get you down!

  15. Another 401k Question :

    My husband and I both have 401ks through our employers, although he has yet to roll over his 401k from a previous employer and set up contributions. Mine has a match and his does not. Due to debt pay down, we are nowhere close to maxing out either of our 401ks, although I have been contributing enough to get the match and then some. Is there any reason why we couldn’t just make contributions to mine and ignore his for the time being? Mine was opened after we were married and our state splits 401ks 50% between divorced spouses, so he would get half of it anyway if we divorced.

    • I would actually print out the form 1040 and figure out what the tax consequences of doing this are. I don’t know what your debt levels are or what kind of debt you’re talking about (eg if it’s a high interest CC vs a low interest mortgage) so it’s hard to say if it’s a good idea or not but filling out the 1040 under both circumstances (contributing vs not contributing t0 401k) shouldn’t take more than an hour at the absolute most and will give you concrete numbers to work with in making this decision.

    • Be careful about losing the years of compounding interest by delaying retirement saving. You don’t have to go crazy, just 3-5% contributions will add up over time.

    • CPA here – Assuming you’re going to contribute the same amount to your 401k as your would separately to both 401ks there will be no impact to your tax return. The only thing I would consider is whether the investment options are better for one account than the other.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        Check the fees too! We are not quite in a place where we can max out both and we put far more in my husband’s than mine. His has way lower fees and far better performance overall.

  16. Classic art and architecture :

    I’d like to learn a little more about classic art and architecture before an upcoming trip to Europe this summer (France and Germany). Can anyone recommend a coffee table book, a documentary, or some other kind of material that would explain the different major eras, styles, major artists, etc. for someone with no background in the classics or art history? I’d basically like to be just a little more knowledgeable when tour guides say “and this building in the Baroque style…” TIA!

    • This is a weird one – but my grandmother got me the National Georgaphic Knowledge book when I was briefly unemployed so that “I’d have something to do” and it’s exactly great for this sort of thing. http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/knowledge-book-national-geographic/1101752561?ean=9781426201240

    • anon anon armani :

      Perhaps look for a college art history textbook?

    • Try a “Great Course” on Art History via audible? They are college courses (so a series of lectures) on a particular topic.

    • Pricey but Janson’s History of Art is sort of the standard textbook – and Art History texts are beautiful!

      • +1.

      • This. Janson’s is used in lots of intro college classes and advanced high school classes. Easily digestible but thorough and descriptions of art, artists, major movements, surrounding social and political contexts (so key!!). You can get an old version on amazon for prob not that much money (its not like renaissance art changed dramatically from 2009 to 2016) :)

        Have fun learning!!!!!!!!!! I love art history so much. Life goal is to take an art history tour of Europe.

    • I’ve seen page-a-day calendars that cover art.

    • Moonstone :

      Rick Steves Europe 101. It’s very engaging and covers exactly the type of thing you will be seeing.

  17. I think I found this blog originally via a suggestion from another poster here, but if anyone is looking for a Lawyer Who Dresses Just Interestingly Enough and has a smart-but-funny tone, may I recommend The Directrice?

    (This seems random, but I’ve become a regular reader of hers, and in today’s post she asked readers to help her out! She’s a Biglaw (I think) partner in DC and it’s refreshing that she blogs for enjoyment vs. excessive affiliate-linking.)

    • She’s cute. Thanks for the reminder to check her out again.

    • just scrolled through and like her writing and clothing choices — agree it’s “just interestingly enough”! Thank you!

    • Shopaholic :

      Thanks for the recommendation!

    • Senior Attorney :

      Thanks for this! In addition to the fun fashion, I like how she dares to rock her curly hair!

    • Anonymous :

      I really like her blog too. Not quite my style, but very interesting, and I really appreciate her attention to detail .

      • I love The Directrice blog. Interesting though the threadjacks are in the Corporette blog, sometimes I just want interesting outfits & related comments. Plus she’s a terrific writer.

    • Lorelai Gilmore :

      I am a little obsessed with her outfit today – black short sleeved sweater over a voluminous pale blue blouse. I love it. And it also reminds me that I used to own a sleeveless black crew neck sweater that I wore over blouses and adored. It gave me the sharp lines of the blouse collar and cuffs while streamlining the look through the torso. Cute AND flattering. I wonder if the look would hold up today?

    • Anonymous :

      Thanks for posting this, Cat. I saw your comment on her blog earlier this afternoon and would have done the same thing! I love The Directrice’s blog and often laugh out loud at her comments. Her writing is wonderful and her eye for detail, fabric and construction is so interesting. I highly recommend it!

  18. Last year in June I applied for a number of postdoctoral fellowships. I got the news that I was awarded one in Country X towards the end of the year. At the same time as I got this news, I had been offered a research position in another country, I’ll call it Country Y. I had to pick one and when I made the decision, I communicated with the awarding foundation in Country X and also wrote to the lady who would have been my mentor. She did not reply. But today she sent me an email, one line “Bad news and waste of time”. I understand her anger and disappointment but to be honest I wrote the proposal on my own and coordinated how to submit the application with the postdoc administrator at her university. The only input I had were some comments from another faculty (unrelated to my proposed project) member that the postdoc administrator sent my proposal to. I say this because if she had helped me write the proposal I would have understood the sentiments.

    I am writing this because I just don’t know what to make of this email. I cannot think of an appropriate response at this time. Most of the advice I have seen on this forum revolves around always keeping your options open and communicating when you have multiple offers. Last year was not a particularly easy year for me, I was also dealing with some personal problems but I did try to communicate with all involved with email as much as possible all through.

    I should say that I am in a very male dominated field and finding female mentors is not easy. I am writing this partly to vent but also partly to seek advice. What else could I have done differently? Just asking so that if I am faced with similar situations in future I know what to do. Has anyone else faced something similar in the job market? Thanks in advance

    • Gosh! I don’t think you could have done anything differently, you’re clearly a super competitive candidate and they should have expected you to have multiple offers. I’m not at the postdoc stage yet but have heard senior colleagues focus on what they (as the host institution) could do differently when someone takes a better offer. Maybe consider it a bullet dodged, can you imagine what it would be like working with someone who would send such a rude email?

      Don’t beat yourself up over this – you’ve done great to get two competitive offers!

    • First Year Anon :

      I don’t know much about academia but her response is really petty and immature- who sends one line emails, and especially ones like that? I don’t think you could have done anything differently.

    • Don’t respond and do t change. You did nothing wrong, she is extremely unprofessional.

    • From what you described, you did everything right. So brush it off, don’t let her bother you. Respond with kindness since academia is a small world and you have a long career ahead of you. “Dear Prof. X, I’m sorry you feel that way. I look forward to reading more about your work on topic XYZ in the future. All the best, Me.”

    • You say a million thanks that you did not actually end up with this person as your postdoc mentor. Bullet dodged! If she can’t take this kind of disappointment, how is she doing to react when your first set of experiments don’t pan out (or whatever the equivalent is in your field)?

      That said, I’d write her back something short just because academia is a small world and it pays to keep on as good terms with everyone in it as possible. But now you know that this woman would be a terrible mentor, and you should keep as much distance as reasonable.

    • Any chance the email wasn’t meant for you? The long time lag (6+ months!) makes me think she wasn’t intending to say this to you. If she’d responded immediately after you turned her down, that would be a different story. Either way, I agree you did nothing wrong and it sounds like you dodged a bullet.

    • Just wondering, since this person is in a different country, is it possible that something was lost in translation?

  19. shopping help? :

    Heading to Mexico in March with my husband and would like something fun and off the shoulder, not too expensive in case I don’t have many opportunities to wear it. I’m thinking a blouse or a dress, under $100 for sure. I am loving this dress from Nordstrom but thinking it’s too heavy for Mexico (link below). I’m also post partum so would love something that’s not too slinky. 5’10” and wear a size 12/L typically.

    • shopping help? :


    • anon anon armani :

      Have you looked at some of the items offered by Roberta Roller Rabbit? Although I think she’s out of the east coast, such items translate well here in the Gulf Coast and folk’s vacays to Mexico. There are some brick and mortar shops out there as well as on line.

    • where in Mexico? it’s a huge country. If you mean the Caribbean coast, then no, I don’t think that dress is too heavy for nighttime, unless you are somewhere very casual (like Tulum).

      • shopping help? :

        Cabo – never been, so not sure what to expect other than hot days.

        • I think the dress will be fine, if it’s to wear out at night to dinner. If it’s for daytime/beach, then it’s too formal.

    • I’d try the trend from a cheaper retailer, here’s a similar one: http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=91340&vid=2&pid=660414002
      Definitely not too much for dinner.

    • If you’ve never tried off the shoulder, give it a test run before snipping the tags off… I was all excited to try the trend this summer, but apparently move my arms WAY too much for the top to stay in its intended location!

    • Lorelai Gilmore :

      I like Old Navy for resort clothing – and was just about to post the same dress Bonnie found. I also like this one from Madewell. https://www.madewell.com/madewell_category/DRESSES/shiftdresses/PRDOVR~F9714/F9714.jsp

  20. small changes, big wins :

    Just have to report that a few very small changes have significantly improved my mornings. I took the opportunity to sit by a huge window with sun pouring in instead of my usual windowless cube area and it makes starting the day so much more pleasant, especially in the dead of winter.

    Per a commenter’s recommendation last week, I also switched my breakfasts from oatmeal to eggs and fruit and I feel much fuller and lighter. Small changes, but I feel good!

    • Great changes!

      These are small, but actually…. can have a huge impact on how you feel when you start your day.

      Good job.

  21. TJ… Has anyone had any experiences they can share with online interior design services? I am looking at using either Laurel and Wolf or Havenly. We just closed on our new house and I want to start with our bedroom since we are starting from scratch there and literally only have a mattress and a bed frame.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m currently using HomePolish and am liking the experience so far. I have a friend who used Havenly which is less expensive and doesn’t involve someone coming to your place in person. Her place turned out amazing and she was very happy with the service.

      • I haven’t heard of HomePolish, will look into that one. We are living in Germany right now so we don’t know anyone that has done this sort of thing before – great to hear about positive experiences.

    • Anonymous :

      Are you in CLT?

      I highly *highly* HIGHLY recommend Kimberlie Wade from Laurel & Wolf (she was featured in the WSJ article on that company). She is actually in Charlotte.

      • We are moving to Charlotte in two weeks! Thanks for the recommendation, it’s not a big cost commitment so we are leaning towards trying it for one room and seeing how it goes.

  22. Anon Writer Wannabe :

    Has anyone explored creative writing as a hobby and have resources they would recommend?

    I recently rediscovered old journals from my teenage years that reminded me of my long forgotten desire to be a writer. Writing, specifically fiction, used to be hugely important to me but it got lost years ago in favor of things like an MBA and steady, predictable income. I would love to reignite that part of my brain again that used to be creative to get lost in writing stories. Short of simply writing, I’m not sure where to start. I would like to find some trustworthy resources or support, like an online writer’s group or something. Google is failing me because everything looks gimmicky to me. Also, time is limited with my actual full time job, young child, etc.

    Thanks in advance for your insight!

    • This might be a strange suggestion, but if you’ve ever used reddit, /r/writingprompts can be a good place to get some ideas or at least see what others are writing.

    • Another wanna be writer :

      This is something I have always wanted to do as well. I used to write stories as a teenager and would mainly share them with my brother. Online I have looked at Gotham writers workshop. You can also look into your local library, some have writing groups

    • Habitual Novelist :

      Try National Novel Writing Month. The main event is in November, but the forms stay active most of the year. Camp NaNoWriMo also features month-long writing challenges in the spring and summer.

      • Anon Writer Wannabe :

        Thank you, Habitual Novelist! I checked out the website and am so excited to explore more tonight. That is exactly what I wanted!

    • I love the online courses at UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. You don’t have to live in LA to take them and the instructors are very high caliber.

    • I was a creative writing major back in the day, and one of the most important things you can do is prime your brain. How do you prime your brain? By reading. So you need to start reading again, if you’ve stopped doing so, and you want to read good examples of stuff that you want to write. Then I’d start by keeping a journal – I think that helps ease you back into translating thoughts into words, and then eventually your creative side will sort of reemerge.

    • Anon Writer Wannabe :

      Thank you to everyone who took the time to answer! I am so excited to explore these suggestions. This place is so very helpful all the time!

  23. Bride to be :

    Looking for advice from the hive. My fiance and I are setting up our wedding registries. Any suggestions for wedding presents that you love/still use years later? We’re in our mid 30s so have a lot of things already (though perhaps not the best quality). We’re having trouble figuring out what we might need and use more as our family grows and (hopefully) we do more cooking at home (though I’m not only looking for kitchen-related suggestions) and maybe entertaining at home too.

    • espresso machine. Good cordless drill. Pretty yet sturdy apron and potholder set.

    • anon anon armani :

      30+ years later, we still use

      wood salad bowl set
      enamelled bakers (we just upgraded ourselves to LeCruset)
      set of small to enormous metal mixing bowls
      hot water boiling “carafe”
      tall wide heavy glass vase – can be filled with items for decor/holidays in a pinch
      swingline standing mixer (adore the wide/free opening to put stuff into the bowl – won’t go to kitchenaid ever

      We bought this about five years ago for ourselves but it will be forever …. the airplane grade aluminum folding stepladder from Frontgate

      Congratulations on your impending wedding!

    • Veronica Mars :

      Nora Fleming platters and register for the individual holiday charms as well. You probably only need 2 platters (a flat one and a chip/dip or bowl one) and they’ll be the only ones you ever need. They’re plain and classic. And the nice thing about the charms is that they’re all like $10 each, so they’re a nice low price point item to add to your registry. You may think it’s kind of silly but there are ALWAYS holiday parties, birthday parties, etc. It’s nice to have a coordinating platter that’s fun.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      We got a Vitamix as a wedding present and it is one of our most used gifts.

      We also got the Oneida Paul Revere silverware set. The reviews on that particular set are amazing. Most of the people also got them as wedding gifts 30 years ago. I really like them a lot and am glad they will hold up nicely.

      Since we were also in our 30s, we chose to register for upgraded items that we already use frequently.

      • Anonymous :

        I got a Vitamix for my birthday a few years ago from some very very generous and awesome friends, but I find I never use it. Help? Everybody says they use it all the time and I find I just…. don’t.

        • Would like answers on this myself.

        • Sydney Bristow :

          My husband and I make smoothies several times a week. We’ll drink them or in the summer turn them into popsicles. It takes maybe 5 minutes total from pulling out the ingredients to cleaning the Vitamix.

          The go-to recipe for us is to put about 10 frozen strawberries in the bottom, add milk to cover the strawberries, add a banana, and add 3-4 tablespoons of sugar.

          I really like frozen drinks though and my husband used to get a smoothie for lunch every day until his favorite place closed, so maybe we just have more use for one than you do? I’ve used it several times for baking/cooking purposes (butternut squash soup and grinding up fruit for ice cream recipes) but the vast majority is just smoothies.

          • This describes how I use mine too. I go through smoothie phases where I have one several days a week. Sometimes I use it to puree soup or a sauce. I also use it to make cashew milk sometimes. I might go a couple weeks without using it though, and then use it 3 times in one day for some reason.

            Mine was a gift. I will say it’s miles better than any other blender I’ve ever owned, but it would’ve been far, far outside of my price range if I had been shopping for a blender for myself.

    • Wildkitten :


    • Only married two years but stuff we use frequently or otherwise enjoy:
      -Nice pots to cook in (we have stainless steel with a copper core but I think what you want is sort of personal)
      -Le Cruset dutch oven
      -White everyday dishes (set of 12)
      -Stainless steel flatware and matching serving spoons
      -Good quality steak knives
      -Nice sheets
      -Nice towels
      -bookcases for our house (a matching pair)

    • We still use a lot of the things we got as wedding presents (we only got married 7 years ago), but the things I’m happiest about having are a full set (12 place settings) of dishware I love and a great set of knives. We use both things all the time and would never have been willing to splurge on 12 place settings of dishware all at once or on really nice knives. I wish I had also registered for 12 place settings of cutlery. I already have a Kitchenaid mixer so didn’t register for one, but I do use mine a lot, so if you don’t have one that might be something to consider. My sister would tell you that the best thing she registered for was her Dyson vacuum.

      • Sydney Bristow :

        What knives do you have that you love? We took a wrong path on those and I hate the ones we got so I’d like to start switching them out.

        • lawsuited :

          We registered for a Henckels knife block and various individual Henckels knives to go in it (this strategy was largely to make them more affordable gifts – an entire Henckels knife set would have been a prohibitively expensive wedding gift!), and have purchased 2 additional Henckels knives since we got married. I think you do get more bang for your buck if you buy a knife set rather than individual knives.

        • Never too many shoes... :

          Wusthof. I also have Henckels but I have come to prefer the Wusthofs, especially the Santoku.

    • Two dozen wine glasses in a style you like (some will get broken along the way). Sets of highball and rocks glasses (with initials etched). Steak knives. Fireplace andirons. Serving platters and bowls. Wine bucket. Ice bucket. Silver picture frames for wedding pictures. Ceramic plant holders.

    • Senior Attorney :

      We’ve only been married for four months but we registered for and received a Nest thermostat and oh my gosh we love it so much!! It’s expensive enough that I don’t think we would have pulled the trigger on our own dime, but it’s just the super best, especially when paired with the Amazon Echo: “Alexa, set thermostat to 70.” Said from the comfort of the warm bed.

    • Got married 13 years ago. I wish I’d registered for more every day or nicer, but not China, serving dishes, platters, bowls. We only got 2 or 3 and they’ve all broken in our many moves (but our China is intact and hardly ever used, and I feel like I use it a lot!). So I wish I’d gotten more serving platters that complement or match the every day dishes, or nicer.
      We just threw a casual get-together over the holidays (latkes + TexMex buffet) and I ended up using a lot of China to serve.

    • Only married 2 years, but our most-used registry items:

      12-cup food processor(making my own pesto is a revelation)
      Mesh strainers in various sizes from Crate & Barrel
      Nice picture frames for wedding photos (I think ours are from Pottery Barn)
      Nice coasters (we got them monogrammed with our last initial, also from PB)
      Serving platters/dishes of various sizes
      Any wine-related item (fancy corkscrew, foil cutter, aerator, etc.)

    • Serving dishes & utensils, if you do or will host dinner parties or holiday gatherings. We have a full set of China but not enough trays/dishes for a thanksgiving with 20 guests.

      Related, enameled or cast bakeware. I’m a Cast iron (non enamel) Staub girl myself but enameled and LeCruset are lovely too. These can often double as serving in a pinch (they do for us since we are lacking).

      Really good cookie sheets with rack trays.

      • Bride to be :

        Thanks so much for all the great ideas! I knew I could count on the hive for advice, and you all did not disappoint :)

    • Miz Swizz :

      Second the serveware. We didn’t register for much and I find that now that I host small get-togethers (brunch, book club, etc) I’ve gone out and bought nice, medium-sized platters and bowls.

      Also, nice sheets! And if you’re thinking of registering for sheets or towels, make sure you’ve felt them in person. We registered online for some dish towels and I found myself in the store a few weeks later and actually felt them and they were much cuter than they were soft, so keep that in mind.

    • Platters! So nice to have for holidays and dinner parties

  24. France Recs :

    DH and I are planning a 7-day trip to France. Fly in/out of Paris. We tentatively are spending 3 nights in Paris and will rent a car to see the D-Day beaches in Normandy (TBD exact location – will be were my grandfather came ashore but need to do some more research into that). We’d stay overnight there.

    Since we have a car, where else should we stop if we want to fill the rest of our itinerary? We love small, off the beaten path towns/cities that have a draw (winery? especially great local culture/food/experience). Ideas? TIA!

    • Mont St. Michel. Very touristy so attend a mass if possible (even if you’re not religious) to get a feel for the mystery of the site.

    • unless you have already been to Paris, I would stay there for more than 3 nights. There is just so much to do. 4 or 5 nights would be better (but still not enough!)

      • Disagree. I love Paris, but you can see the highlights as a first time visitor in 3 nights and 3-4 days. I wouldn’t try to do Paris + D-Day beaches + Mont St. Michel in one week though. MSM is not that close to the D-Day beaches.

        • I think they’re less than 2 hours apart by car, so it’s all relative to what style of travel you prefer.

          • A 2-3, even 4, hour drive doesn’t faze us. We’ve been known to take the back roads for some small town sightseeing, with stops along the way at anything that piques our interest, even if it adds another 2 hours to a trip. Google Maps driving time between Omaha Beach and MSM is 1:45 so no issues there. Thanks for input so far!

    • GIVERNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Go see Monet’s gardens – the town is incredible! You can take the train there. You can also take the train to… VERSAILLES!!!!!!!!!!!!! So beautiful! Both are en route to Normandy.

      • Yes! Did a 10 day trip to France last summer and this was a favorite. A nice town to visit is Honfleur. I spent a morning there as part of a tour and could have easily spent a whole day.

    • Mont St. Michel is amazing, so that’s totally worth it. While you’re down there, I’d recommend Saint-Malo. Beautiful city surrounded by ramparts.

      In the other direction, there’s also Honfleur, a beautiful little harbor town.

    • My best piece of advice is to rent a place to stay in a small town and then use it as your home base to explore the area. My husband’s uncle rents places through gites de France and then invites the family to stay. It is wonderful. I am sorry to say I can’t remember the town in which we stayed in Normandy. Here is a link so you can browse and dream:

    • If you’re interested in history and willing to drive, I did a lengthy WWI tour and thought it was fascinating and eye-opening. Here is the company I toured with: http://thebattleofthesomme.co.uk/
      I would highly recommend them for their expertise and organization, but you could look at their itineraries and plan for yourself based on those. A highlight for me was the town of Arras (don’t miss the Wellington Quarry museum) which was located near several major battlefields and memorials. It also had a charming square and was an enjoyable visit.

    • Frozen Peach :

      These are two very off-the-beaten track places, but they were my favorites in France:

      Matisse’s Chappelle du Rosaire is small, but entirely, entirely worth the journey:


      Nicely combined with a trip here: http://www.fondation-maeght.com/en/

    • Sunflower :

      To prepare for visiting the D-Day beaches, buy an episode of NOVA called “D-Day’s Sunken Secrets.” It’s really informative and interesting. Available from Amazon, iTunes, or the PBS.org website.

    • Auvers sur Oise, where van Gogh painted many of his masterworks and died. You can get there on the train from Paris, but a car couldn’t hurt. Eat at the Auberge Ravoux!

  25. Just venting about suits:

    I don’t like suits. Right now I am wearing a black suit from Express where I like the pant and the jacket each individually – the jacket is one of my favorites actually. But wearing it together in a suit I just feel frumpier than normal.

    • I feel frumpy in suits too, even though mine are all perfectly tailored. I have given up on pantsuits entirely and wear skirt suits only when absolutely required. Whenever possible, I wear a sheath dress with sleeves or a blazer.

    • pugsnbourbon :

      I feel like I look ridiculous in blazers and suit jackets that have buttons and traditional collars. My “interview suit” is a 3/4 sleeve collarless, open blazer over a matching sheath dress.

    • Blonde Lawyer :

      If it helps, I’ve never seen someone in a suit and thought “ugh, they look ridiculous in a suit!” You just don’t feel like yourself yet. The more you wear it, the more you will get used to it, like a uniform.

      • Um…without getting into a political debate, have you seen the incoming President in a suit? Love him or #nevertrump alike, I think we can all agree that he does NOT wear a suit well. At least not the suits he currently owns. He looks disheveled and awkward.

        • Anonymous :

          This is intentional though on his part – it obscures his weight. He’s actually borderline obese but tries to obscure it with what he wears. He wears very expensive suits a few sizes too large and this is also why his ties are way too large (see picture of him meeting Obama).

        • Never too many shoes... :

          I feel gross just typing this even, but Trump would look fine if he wore suits that *fit* him well. He has succumbed to the idea that if his clothes are looser, he will look thinner. Which is definitely not true.

          • fad afd s :

            I’m trying to think of other heavy politicians . . .Chris Christie doesn’t look as ridiculous as Trump in a suit. Although I have 0 clue what his ties and them being held down by scotch tape (he sells tie clips!) have to do with weight.

  26. Itching - Cholestasis in Pregnancy :

    Cross-posting from the Moms site. Has anyone had experience with cholestasis in pregnancy? I just learned of this delightful condition via Dr. G o o gle. Long story short I am just beginning my third trimester and have severe itching and a raised, red rash on the backs of my hands (although not palms) as well as intermittent intense itching on my arms, legs, back, face, and other random spots. It’s bad enough that I’m constantly scratching and even do so in my sleep. I didn’t think anything of this but did an internet search on it today and learned (yay) that intense itching can sometimes be a symptom of this condition which can be quite serious. I have left a message for my doctor’s office but am still freaking out, which I realize is not super helpful or rational. Anyone have knowledge to share about this condition? Thanks.

    • I had severe itching on the backs of my hands w/ the raised red rash at the end of my last pregnancy but did not realize this was a thing. I chalked it up to being an obsessive hand-washer who is not an equally obsessive hand-moisturizer. At any rate, I used the medicated gold bond lotion (teal tube w/ red cap) multiple times a day and that would always clear it up quickly.

      • Itching - Cholestasis in Pregnancy :

        Thanks! Will give that lotion a try. Other lotions, including cortisone, have not had much effect.

    • Anonymous :

      If you’re in some of the areas having a cold snap, it’s likely that you have dry skin brought on by the weather. The dry air from heaters can do a number on your skin.

    • I hesitate to write this, since you say you’re already freaking out, but definitely follow through with a check from your doctor. My best friend’s sister lost her late-term pregnancy and almost her life from cholestasis. The odds are overwhelmingly in your favor that everything will be fine, and there are so many things that can cause intense itching in pregnancy (and post-partum too, which is fun) but it’s very much worth it to check with that specific set of symptoms.

    • I had cholestasis with both of my pregnancies. Basically, you need to ask your doctor to test your bile acids — it’s not a regular liver panel, it’s a special blood test, and it takes a few extra days to get results back. With my first pregnancy, the same day I got results, I was told to come to the hospital and deliver right away. I was at 37.5 weeks, had my baby that day (it was kind of a crazy day!), and everything was fine — the itching had been very intense but was pretty much instantly better after delivering. With my second pregnancy, I was on the lookout for the itching, so we tested earlier, and there were a few weeks between the diagnosis and when I could deliver (again at 37.5 weeks). Because of that extra time, I was put on 2x/week non-stress tests, and had a steroid injection a week or so before delivery in order to ensure my baby’s lungs would be fully developed at birth. Luckily the itching was way less intense during the second pregnancy, so I was able to survive that time without losing my mind! Practically, I don’t think there’s much you can do if you have it. Obviously, it can be kind of stressful (I didn’t have the stress with the first one, since I didn’t know what cholestasis was or that I had it until the very end, but I was definitely concerned with the second), but you go to your monitoring, pay attention to kick counts, and just get the baby out as early as can safely be done. For the itching, I bought an anti-itch lotion called Sarna that helped a bit, but for the really intense itching, it wasn’t super effective for me. I also read that high-cholesterol foods can make the itching worse, and I think I did notice a correlation (e.g., after eating a hamburger = more itching), so try eating low fat / low cholesterol and see if that helps. Good luck!

      • Itching - Cholestasis in Pregnancy :

        Thanks to everyone who responded. I really appreciate you taking the time to do so.

    • I had this level of itching and it was just itching. Summer pregnancy. Not suggesting your case is nothing- definitely speak to your doc- but it might not be a big deal. I also woke up with a bloody nose every morning my entire 3rd tri. If it were the bone dry winter, I’d understand…but it was hot sticky summer and we had the humidifiers cranking. No help. Bodies are weird.

    • If your doctor clears you for cholestasis – I would break out in red itchy welts all over my body when I ate frozen pizza while pregnant. It was something to do with the preservatives in the crust. I used a Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap and avoided highly processed foods.

  27. Baconpancakes :

    Is there any reason not to roll over my 401k from a previous job into a Roth IRA (as I’m currently not eligible for a 401k)?

    I feel like I have to be missing something, like paying money on the rollover, since the 401k wasn’t taxed, and contributions to my Roth are supposed to be taxed before they go in. It seems like cheating?

    • You still have to pay income tax to get out of a pre-tax 401k into a Roth fund. That’s just part of the rollover.

    • The basic answer is that you will have to pay taxes on the conversion. But there are lots of ways you can work the conversion to your advantage – here’s an article that goes over some options:


      But if you don’t want to pay taxes on the conversion right now, then rollover into a Traditional IRA.

  28. Emergency Fund :

    How big is your emergency fund (both in dollars and in what the represents – number of months etc)? Where do you live, and what is your family status (sole breadwinner, 2-income household, do you have children?)

    • Anon4 this :

      I have about $14k in my savings account, which is what I use as my EF essentially. I ear mark a bit of it for non-EF stuff, so let’s say $12k is solidly EF. If I am being very generous, that covers 7 months of expenses. The expenses I include in that are mortgage, groceries at current levels, gas for the car, utilities for the house, and about $100 of buffer per month. I am single, no children, LCOL.

    • $25k. We have no mortgage or student loan debt, so it’s probably two or three years of bare minimum living expenses (assuming we cut out all vacays and luxuries and our cars kept working and nobody got sick), but it would only last about a year if we maintained our current lifestyle. It might seem like a lot of money given our low daily cost of living, but replacing either of our cars would cost ~$20k and our dog has had $15k vet bills before so we feel like we need that much in the bank to be prepared for emergencies.
      Two working adults, no kids.

    • Just over $10k, which is at least 6 months of expenses (rent and utilities + buffer, food, transport). NYC, single with roommates, no debt. Just moved it all to a high yield (1%) savings account, and I’m just going to leave it as-is unless my lifestyle changes dramatically.

    • $50k. DINK. We have a mortgage, very low-rate car loans. No other debt. It was recently fully funded so we’re now building up liquid savings in other vehicles (money market accounts, etc).

      I figure we spend $75k annually on all expenses. In a true emergency scenario that could absolutely be shaved down. So, we have about 8 months of non-emergency living, and I’d guess 10 or more if we were to cut dining out, house cleaner, and other non-essential spending. I’m commission only and breadwinner by a big margin, so I’d like to grow it to $100k and have it sit at that level permanently, but that will take another few years.

    • $50k which covers about 8 months of average for us. In a true emergency, I could easily make that fund last longer than a year.

    • We’ve got about $55K in ours right now. We’re DINKS in a LCOL area, but have massive educational debt, and a small mortgage. It represents about 10 months of non-emergency spending for us, including vacations, eating out, clothes shopping, etc.

    • Roughly $350k, but this is our Emergency/Down Payment fund. We keep adding to it and anticipate pulling a good chunk of it out to buy a home in a few years (with hopefully a $100k cushion left). We live in a HCOL area, where we’ll probably need to put $400k-$500k down to buy.

    • We have 80k in cash and 100k in index funds. Will be putting 60 of the cash into funds once the market calms down a bit leaving us with 20-30k pure cash.

      DH and I are 33, 2 young kids. We had been approx equal breadwinners (combined 350-400k depending on bonuses) but recently DH got a promotion and I left my
      Job to be home more with the kids and do PT consulting. Now we are more like a 300k household, with DH making 230-240.

      We used to be set up to live off only one income (200k) and socked the rest into savings/paid down loans. Now with my role changing, we are set up where we need to make 130/year to pay our basic expenses: preschool, mortgage, utilities, food, remaining loan payments. To max out all retirement and meet our savings goals, we need to make 280k.

    • $12K in a M-LCOL area. This would cover six months of expenses. Dual income, one child. We have a mortgage and one student loan for debt. We currently have twice as much in another account that isn’t earmarked as “emergency” that we could use first. I don’t count that with our emergency fund because we use it for down payments or major purchases.

      • I’m impressed that with a three person household, even in a LCOL area, you’re only spendking $2K, with a mortgage and student loan payment.

        Kudos to you, my friend. If you have any tips on how you make that work, I’m 100% all ears.

    • Literally $11 because the past couple of years have presented emergency after emergency. Feels like every time I save a few thousand dollars, something unexpected and emergent happens. Single parent. M-LCOL.

  29. Would you invite?

    I had a college friend with whom I have had some ups and downs. Backstory is that she is more of the clingy type of friend and had these great ideas that we would have this ‘awesome’ senior year. I graduated early and ended up working fulltime my senior year, getting up at 6am to go to work and studying for the LSAT, so that didn’t really happen. (I am also not a big party animal anyway.) Added to it that I had a crummy boyfriend at the time (first serious boyfriend really) and when he started to treat me poorly, I, not knowing any better, tried harder to make it work, which upset my friend that I was wasting my time with him and not going out to bars with her (newly single). So we graduated not friends. About 6 months-year after graduation, it bothered me that the friendship had soured and fizzled the way it had and I reached out to say that and that I had been sorry for any pain I caused and wished her well. She said the same. By then, she had moved from NYC to Munich (and then all over Europe). We tried on occasion to keep up with emails, but she would call me or IM me when I really couldn’t talk and be upset that I couldn’t. Or she would be upset that I wasn’t emailing her as often. Whenever she would come to town, I would make almost every effort to see her, even when it was usually a get together of 20 people and we didn’t get to talk much and I had to leave work early or school. She would be upset, too, that I wasn’t visiting her in Europe, but with law school, I had very little time to travel and when I did, it was to go home. The same pattern continued upon graduating and working in big law.

    A year ago, she got married and asked me to be her bridesmaid. I initially said yes, but then freaked out and had to back out. Her wedding was on a Friday night overseas, and about a 2 hr drive from a major city/airport. I was miserable in biglaw at the time, pouring every moment into finding another job while also trying to do my best at work so that my absences in interviewing were made up for. (I actually wound up in the hospital from my job being so terrible.) It actually turned out that my interview/offer at my current job happened the same weekend as her wedding (my interview was the day of her wedding, and I got the job offer two days later). I had not taken a real vacation (other than 3-day weekends over president’s day, etc.) and had had to cancel two booked vacations at that point, so trying to take off for this wedding added to the anxiety. Not to mention the cost– I was already in 3 local weddings that same year and had already told my friends I wasn’t traveling for anything else (showers, bach parties, etc.) due to the combined cost of it all, but would attend everything local that I could. My fiance and I knew we would be planning a wedding soon, too, and also knew we were paying for it ourselves, so have been working to save for that and other milestones. (A situation neither she or any of the other brides were in.)

    It gave me a ton of anxiety to back out. Knowing her, it meant she would cut me out and indeed that was what happened. We remained friends on social media, though, so I would write comments on her photos so that she knew I was happy for her. When we got engaged, I emailed her to tell her. I was unsure but my fiance said it was probably best to tell her myself than her to find out on social media. After all, it was happy news and I wasn’t trying to slight her, just be friendly.

    Since she got married, she and her husband moved to the US (a different state than us). The problem is that I do not know her address or even her phone number. None of our mutual friends have really stayed in touch either, so nobody else knows her address. So to send her an invite, I would have to email her to ask for her address. I would like to be friendly, but knowing our past, I fear it will launch into the same dynamic of why aren’t I calling her more and visiting her more. It just seems like there is no middle ground for a friendship that takes into account adult obligations. (She does not have a job yet either at the moment.)

    What do you ladies think? Should I invite her or let this out of my mind?

    • I’d just let it go.

    • If you don’t invite her and it’s a large wedding, it will be a definitive “end” to being friends vs. acquaintances. You wouldn’t be “rude” not to invite her, it just is a clear relationship marker.

      If you want to try to rekindle the friendship, invite.

    • Generally speaking, if I/you/anyone needs to write a lengthy explanation of backstory and current issues in order to put a question about whether or not to do a thing into context, then then answer is – do not do the thing.

    • I wouldn’t invite her. I eloped and had a very small dinner party six months later and that necessitated really culling our guest list. I was torn between the “this is your life” friends (people I’d been close to in high school, college, etc. and still kept up with but in a few times a year sense and not regularly but we’re old, dear friends) and people I’ve met more recently and talk to and do things with all the time. In the end, I went with the newer friends (my rule was to look at my text messages and phone log and if someone wasn’t in the string, they didn’t get invited) and I’m so glad I did. I was able to share something exciting with the people I’m actively engaged with and I’ve gotten even closer to some of the “newer” friends as a result. In short, invite from the life you’re living now and not a past life.

    • Never too many shoes... :

      Definitely do not invite.

    • Telling that the mutual friends you’ve had also did not keep with her… wonder what their 3-paragraph dramatic letter would read like…?

    • numbersmouse :

      I mean, you’ve made it clear over and over again that her friendship was just not a priority for you. Not inviting her to your wedding probably won’t come as a shock to her, more a final confirmation of what she already knew about you, but it will hurt her.

      • Well, I know she thinks that. The truth is that I do prioritize friendships, we just had differing levels of what it meant to be a good friend.

    • lawsuited :

      I don’t think emailing her to get her address so you can send a wedding invitation is weird. Some of my closest friends who live in the same city as me and see me regularly still email me for my address when they want to send me anything in the mail.

      • Anonymous :

        +1, I think everyone except my BFF I had to email to get an address for wedding invites.

  30. Hoping for some career advice!! Have any of you ladies landed in house counsel jobs without working in big law? How did you get there? I’m a 1st year associate at a small firm (5 lawyers). I handle a little bit of everything (litigation, transactions, real estate), so I have no specialty yet. I think where I’d like to end up is in house in higher education, hospital, or a corporation, but the path is so unclear!

    • My first job after law school was a contract manager gig for a major government contractor. Despite going to a t-25 law school, most recruiters treated me like toxic nuclear waste – after all, what could a person possibly bring to the table if they had not done big law, right…Right? A woman from Robert Haft sanctimoniously told me that “there was nothing wrong with being a paralegal -it will intimidate men less in the dating world”! Well f*ck her! Several years later I am now a VP/Associate General Counsel at a company that went through an IPO a couple of years ago. Your best bet is to Network, Network, Network! Reach out to people on LinkedIn. Attend industry events. Use a couple of your PTO days to draft cover letters and letters of intro that you would be too tired to do after coming home from work. Go to an ACC (Association of Corporate Counsel) meeting, if there is a chapter in your area. You need to consider your job search as a second job, and invest as much time and energy into it.

  31. The Limited is closing! Everything on the website 50% off.

    • Anonymous :

      Do we think it might go higher? I have my eye on some pieces that (with shipping costs) I don’t want to nab immediately at this price but would definitely go for it at 75% off…

  32. I work for a nonprofit where most staff are unionized, but I’m in admin and not a union member. I’ve been here 2 years.

    When I started, I received a copy of the collective bargaining agreement and was told all my benefits would match the union. This is true. I was also told my salary corresponded to X step on the union side, which was also true.

    I’ve been here 2 years and haven’t gotten a raise. My 2 year anniversary is coming up next month, and I would like to negotiate an increase. The union got a 4% “cost of living” increase last year. Admin has gotten nothing. We were told the Board decides whether to similarly increase our salaries, and they declined.

    I took a $3K paycut for this job, and now I’m frustrated. Previous positions gave me modest, 3-5% raises yearly. If I’d stayed in my previous job and gotten a 3% yearly raise, I’d be making $9K more than I do now (a lot at a nonprofit).

    Suggestions on how to negotiate a raise? I’m afraid my boss will blow me off saying its up to the Board to increase all admin salaries. I’ve never worked in a unionized/partially unionized workplace, so this is somewhat new to me.

    • Macademia :

      I work in higher ed in an office that works a lot with nonprofits, not in the nonprofit field directly. So please take my advice with a grain of salt. I wonder if you can make it more of a general issue. Can you point out to your Executive Director (or to the ED via your boss) that this is hurting the organization? a) It is hard to see others get raises and must make for some bitterness & an uncomfortable work environment. b) Your ED is not advocating for their people and rewarding their professional development. c) Turnover due to salary is a huge problem for nonprofits, they could lose a lot of staff at once if they keep going in this way. d) Turnover costs are a big deal: https://cnmsocal.org/featured/true-cost-of-employee-turnover/

      I can’t find the article I read about how turnover related to chasing a better salary is a problem in the sector but I found this one on leadership development instead:

      • Macademia :

        I wrote all this as the step for after your Boss offers the excuse about the Board. Which is the easy answer for them.

  33. London/Paris restaurants :

    My husband and I are heading to London and Paris in March for vacation. I have a million ideas for things to do, but zero info about places to eat (other than Ina’s favorite place in Paris that she is always going on about).

    I’d like to do at least one “nice” dinner in each city and several casual but delicious ones (think pubs, street food, inexpensive cafes). It would be cool to add a Michelin-starred place to our roster, since we have never been to one. We like everything. Would not want to spend more than 200-300 for dinner for 2 at one of the fancy places.

    Also, every guidebook/website in the world says to “grab a baguette and some cheese and have a picnic on the grass near the Eifel Tower!” Do people actually do that? Are we going to look like the Griswolds out there eating cheese in our berets if we do? How exactly does one eat cheese and a baguette with no utensils or napkins? Do you just sit on the wet grass or do I need to bring/purchase some sort of picnic blanket? This all sounds like a big hassle, but I keep hearing it so maybe I am missing something.

    Any other food things I should not miss? A pastry shop or high tea somewhere?

    I look forward to your suggestions!

    • I’m cracking up at the wine and cheese idea, I have no idea on that as I’ve never done that! Just got back from London and at the encouragement of people on this board, went to high tea at Sketch and loved it – really modern (and pink) interior, which my husband forgave because there are tons of David Shrigley sketches on the walls, which kept it from being too precious. They did a proper tea and the food was great (even unlimited tea sandwiches, which I adore). I highly recommend it. Also see if London Leisure Year will send you her restaurant recommendations – that was a go-to source for us. We didn’t end up doing any fancy restaurants this trip, but as big fans of the Ottolenghi cook books, we did go to his casual spot in Islington, which was fantastic. Have a wonderful trip!

      • Senior Attorney :

        SKETCH!! OMG it was so amazing and Lovely Husband and I got to say “hi” to Scarlett and her lovely husband it oh my gosh the sketches were amazing. A. maze. ing. And don’t forget to visit the bathroom because it is just a whole nother level of amazing.

        *waving at Scarlett*

        In London we also loved:

        The Wolsley (make sure to make a reservation — very fun room and great food for afternoon tea — very different from Sketch)
        Drinks at the bar in the Dukes Hotel — Ian Fleming is said to have come up with “shaken, not stirred” there and the martinis are delish and the setting is clubby and divine. And order the “canapes,” which include a Scotch egg made with a quail egg — so fancy!!
        Dean Street Townhouse in the West End — great atmosphere, great steaks
        Sake no hana for sushi — fab prix fixe menu and not as expensive as you might expect
        St. George’s Tavern for fish and chips
        There’s a good chain called Bella Italia that has good pizza and Italian food
        Also we had good Southeast Asian food at a casual place called the Banana Tree, which is also a chain, I think
        We had great seafood at Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Grill
        The food hall in the basement at Fortnum & Mason is amazing and fun and far less crowded than Harrod’s
        Le Caprice was delish and fun with a live piano player
        There was a great pub around the corner from the Palace Theatre but I’m not remembering the name — will ask LH and get back to you.

        I don’t think we came close to 300 pounds at any of these places and we had cocktails and wine with every dinner.

        Have fun!!

        • Hi!!! It was wonderful getting to meet you, too!!! I love that we can meet people this way in real life. Sooo cool

        • Sketch is on the list for my next London trip! Might sneak down for the day and meet a friend.

    • You can also just get a brie sandwich on a baguette from just about everywhere and do that if you prefer.
      I’m not sure how warm march will be for sitting on grass anyway. But you can certain find a nice bench near the Seine or in a pretty spot in the Luxembourg Gardens. Pick up some wine while you’re at it.

      And stop by for Café Angelina for hot chocolate and dessert at some point, pref. after the Louvre if you go. Worth it.

      Also, at least in Paris, you can’t really go too wrong with the food as long as you stay away from the exclusively for tourists places. Paris is very spread out so you will end up going to places near your hotel more than anything. Ask your concierge for some recs. Also I think the Time Out Paris app had pretty good suggestions from what I recall.

    • LondonLeisureYear :

      I have a ton of Paris and London restaurant recommendations but it would be easier for me to email them if you want to share your email! They are already written up as google docs.

      • Greensleeves :

        No the OP, but also traveling to London and Paris this spring and would love to have your recommendations! Email is greenrette at the google mail. Thanks!

      • Get this! And big shout out and thank you LLY for your tips, so appreciated and fantastic!

      • London/Paris restaurants :

        Thanks so much! You can email me at [email protected] I really appreciate it!

      • London/Paris restaurants :

        Oops ended up in moderation. Anyway, I would be grateful for your info. You can email me at ellengriswoldisonvacation at the mail that starts with G period com. Thanks in advance! I really appreciate it.

    • anon anon armani :

      High tea at Harrods or Claridge’s is wonderful.

      If you like indian food, Light of India … it’s in Kensington, in the floor level of the Montana Hotel. It’s been great for us in our repeat visits over 15 years now – when we get to London from the US.


    • numbersmouse :

      Are you kidding me? How does one eat cheese and bread without utensils? Um, they’re called sandwiches. You’re overthinking this. The point of that suggestion is that grocery-store-quality cheese and bread are wonderful in France and make for a delicious lunch (I’d add a half-bottle of wine and some saucisson, but that’s just me).

      • London/Paris restaurants :

        Right, but the sandwich is presumably already *made* when I and my beret-wearing Clark Griswold sit on a blanket or bench to eat! I wouldn’t bring peanut butter and jelly and bread to a bench and make my sandwich there. This whole baguette and cheese thing just sounds made up. I don’t believe people really do it, and that the Parisians laugh at the ones who do (not that people laughing would ever stop me, but…)

        • Anonymous :

          You are way too worked up about this. I lived in France twice and I would routinely buy grocery store cheese and bread and go sit by the Seine or the Loire. Probably wouldn’t do it under the Eiffel Tower or in the Champ de Mars because there are a few too many buskers and pickpockets for my taste. But if it’s nice out, take a walk by the Seine and count the hordes of people doing what you currently deem ridiculous.

        • ** Frequent Paris park meal-enjoyer here

          You have a small paring knife that you use to slice the cheese (as well as pears/apples, or whatever other seasonal fruit you buy). You tear off chunks of the bread. You put a sliver of cheese on top of a mouthful-sized piece of bread, and consume. Repeat until full. You don’t make a sandwich.

          You bring a corkscrew for the wine.

          • +1

            I did this all the time in Paris. It was my favorite way to eat. It would end with a few delicate macaroons, or I would walk to one of the crepe street vendors and have a simple sugar and butter crepe to go!

    • On the lines of Angelina, Laduree is gorgeous and the Mariage Freres tea rooms are incredible. I like the one near the Musee d’orsay. On a more casual note, I had amazing Tibetan food somewhere on the left bank (tiny, tiny restaurant) but google is failing me.

    • In Paris, check out L’Avant Comptoir (9 Carrefour de l’Odéon, 6th arr.; Métro: Odéon). It’s a standing room only (seriously, there are no chairs) crepe stand and hors d’oeuvres bar. The salmon croquettes and the waffles with artichoke and cured ham were ineffably savory and delicious, and I have dreams about the fresh-churned butter that tasted more like a mild cheese.

    • In Paris:
      Chez Janou, 2 rue Roger Verlomme, is delicious and fun. Excellent mussels appetizer, a chocolate mousse you have to see to believe, and over 30 different varieties of pastis.
      Carette is a beautiful tea room on the Place des Vosges with an additional location near Trocadero. Not quite as touristy as Laduree or Angelina’s. Good for breakfast/brunch or a late-day tea spot.
      Le Coupe-Chou, 11 rue du Lanneau, near the Pantheon. Gorgeous, intimate dining rooms with blazing fires on cold days. Good service with a traditional french menu.
      Mariage Freres has several tea rooms that are amazing but we thought the prices were over the top for the food. Definitely worth a visit to buy tea, though.

  34. I have a bad case of nerves from wedding planning and work deadlines. Telling myself – one thing at a time….

    • Okay, I don’t KNOW if you are my BFF, who is in this exact position, but let’s pretend you are. Girl, you have this. You are going to get this work stuff done. All you have to do is the next thing. You don’t have to do ALL OF THE THINGS RIGHT NOW. You just have to do whatever is next. Do that, and eventually ALL OF THE THINGS will be done. Work deadlines: crushed!

      Your wedding: it is going to be awesome. I (or the equivalent of me if you’re not my BFF) am so psyched for your wedding. Are you stressed about the string quartet? I DO NOT EVEN CARE ABOUT THE STRING QUARTET. I am just so psyched to see you tie the knot with Awesome Dude (or Awesome Lady, in case you’re not my BFF and you’re a lesbian!). It is going to be great. Sure, I bet the seating chart/uplighting/favors/whatever you’re stressed about seems like a big deal, but 10 years from now when we are getting drunk on girl’s weekend, all I’m going to talk about was HOW D*MN FUN it was and how great you and Awesome Dude/Awesome Lady looked and how in love you were.

      In short, it’s all going to be okay. You’ve got this.

      • This is awesome. Well said CBackson.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I needed this one thing at a time advice today too re: work deadlines. Coming on here was my “ahhhh I don’t know what to do next so I’ll do nothing” coping skill.

      • numbersmouse :

        I love this comment.

      • Marshmallow :

        I needed this today, too! Awesome!

        • LOVE THIS COMMUNITY! CBackson… thanks! Just what I needed to hear. My Awesome Dude just reminded me that most people (other than lawyers) don’t respond to voicemails/emails within the hour and I should not freak out that the church office hasn’t responded to my 9am message. If our first pick church gets booked for our August wedding, then we’ll just go one of the other 3 Catholic churches within a 30 minute drive. If its too late to order a specific wedding dress, then eff it, its not meant to be. And…. I’m plugging away on revising discovery responses and drafting meet and confer correspondence.

          • Fat Bottom Girl :

            Yes to all of this! And also just wanted to reinforce that from experience planning a wedding in the same calendar year as an engagement… for June… there are a surprising amount of available options. I think the pressure and fear that everything will be booked is perpetuated by the wedding industry and not as big of a problem as brides are lead to believe. You’ll be fine!

  35. Senior Attorney :

    I just got back from a week in London, where I stumbled into Hobbs and discovered that their dresses fit me perfectly and snapped up four of them on sale for far less than the prices on their US web site. I have generally been one to wear a jacket to work every single day, but these dresses are awesome and covered up (with non-exposed zippers, huzzah!) and I am thinking about declaring my jacket independence and declaring A Dress Alone Is An Outfit, aat least for non-court, non-meeting days. I’d say my office is on the casual side of business formal or the dressy side of business casual.

    Thoughts? Have any of you foregone the jacket and lived to tell the tale?

    • I absolutely do this for non-Big Event days – it’s pretty much my uniform. Think Kate Middleton in one of her business-y/suit-y dresses. That’s what I emulate.

    • Anonymous :

      I wear sheath dresses with sleeves even for Big Events (I do not appear in court). Go for it!

      How is the brand cut (curvy/straight, short-waisted, etc.)?

      • Senior Attorney :

        Definitely curvy, short-waisted, and short overall. I’m 5’2″, large bust, small hips. The dresses with flared skirts fit me perfectly and hit about at or right above the knee. The straighter-cut dresses were a bit big in the hips, so I’d say they are generally cut for an hourglass figure. And if you’re tall, they’re going to be quite short.

    • Anonymous :

      A dress alone IS an outfit! Why? Because I’m not a man, and I don’t have to mimic a man’s suit to be dressed appropriately for the office.

    • I am a dresses everyday person, too. And only wear jackets for interviews, court, or big-time boss meetings. I love that Hobbs has SLEEVES because those retailers seem few and far between nowadays. Any help as to sizing? How does it compare to, say, J.Crew?

      • Senior Attorney :

        I’d say maybe cut a size larger than J Crew. So if you’re an 8 in J Crew you might be a 6 in Hobbs. And I’d say more hourglassy.

    • lawsuited :

      I find it hard to embrace that a dress alone is an outfit but easy to embrace that a dress plus an accessory is an outfit – so I add a scarf or statement necklace as my security blanket :P

  36. Favorite Golden globes pantsuit? :

    I think Felicity Huffman and Evan Rachel Wood tied, with Olivia Spencer in second. Opinions? Most of the giwns were lively but the pantsuits really look new.

    • Favorite Golden globes pantsuit? :

      Oops- Octavia Spencer. Give me the Hidden Fences award I guess :(

      • Anonymous :

        Off topic, but I feel so bad for Jenna Bush Hager. It was a stupid mistake but everyone makes dumb mistakes like that once in a while (it was her first red carpet!) and she is getting sooooo much backlash, being called racist, etc.

        • fence tied :

          I don’t think it was intentionally racist but it is certainly tone deaf and imo shows an unconscious bias. I think that’s what twitter is pointing out to her and she should graciously accept that and not make it all about herself by crying. of course she feels awful. She should. Just apologize, recognize how she can do better next time and move on. Everyone has had a moment when they stuck their foot in it. I was just recalling a time where I had done that years ago and what I learned from it. It only continues to be a reflection of her if she handles the aftermath poorly.

        • Anonymous :

          I agree with the backlash. There were literally two movies with a primarily black cast and people can’t keep them straight? It’s literally Jenna’s job to know about the movies!

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