July 2022 Update: This blazer is included in the 2022 Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (XXS-XXL only) for $46; after the sale ends it’ll go back up to $69.
Our daily workwear reports suggest one piece of work-appropriate attire in a range of prices.
This lovely drapey knit blazer falls somewhere in between “business casual” and “casual.” It would be perfect with slim-fitting pants on a casual Friday in a business casual office, but would also look great with jeans if you’re trying to dress up a bit in a more casual setting.
I like the grey, but the “green beetle” color seems like it would be surprisingly versatile, as well.
The blazer is $69 and available in sizes XS–XXL, petite sizes XXS–XL, and plus sizes 1X–4X. Drape-Collar Knit Blazer
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2020 Update: We’re adding this knit blazer to our Workwear Hall of Fame because after it’s still around, coming out in new colors, and getting rave reviews.
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Workwear sales of note for 6.02.23:
- Nordstrom – The Half-Yearly Sale has started! See our thoughts here.
- Ann Taylor – $50 off $150; $100 off $250+; extra 30% off all sale styles
- Banana Republic Factory – Up to 50% off everything + extra 25% off purchase
- Boden – Sale, up to 50% off
- Cole Haan – Up to 50% off select styles; extra 20% off sandals & sneakers
- Eloquii – 60% off all tops
- Express – 30% off all dresses, tops, shorts & more; extra 50% off clearance
- H&M – Up to 60% off online and in-store.
- J.Crew – Up to 50% off “dressed up” styles (lots of cute dresses!); extra 50% off select sale
- J.Crew Factory – Up to 60% off everything; 60% off 100s of summer faves; extra 60% off clearance
- J.McLaughlin – The Sale Event: extra 30% off
- Loft – 40% off tops; 30% off full-price styles
- Sephora – Up to 50% off select beauty.
- Shopbop – Up to 60% off sale
- Sue Sartor – Lots of cute dresses on sale!
- Talbots – 25-40% off select styles
Other noteworthy sales:
- CB2.com – Up to 40% off; pop-up sale up to 30% off
- Joss & Main – Up to 60% off, plus an extra 20% off with code
- Tuft & Needle – Save up to $775 on mattresses (Reader-favorite brand; Kat really likes hers!)
- West Elm – Up to 25% off in-stock furniture; up to 60% off clearance
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This board has so many great recipe recommendations, I’m hoping someone has something for me! One guest is pescatarian, the other hates fish, so I’m probably looking vegetarian. The fish-hater is low-carb so no pasta and it has to be a substantial meal without relying on rice or potatoes to fill up. I don’t do well with spice so don’t eat curries or many chillis. I was thinking about maybe sweet potato, lentils, or eggs.
On hard mode, I was hoping to make it in a slow cooker – I can follow a recipe but I’m not a great cook so I don’t want to spend hours or have difficult techniques. Any ideas for me?
I’d do some sort of frittata – super easy.
This – with a nice salad and a baguette.
Along the lines of breakfast for dinner, how about a breakfast hash? When I need a quick dinner, I sauté some sweet potato, red bell peppers, and onion (broccoli or kale if I have it too) then make some wells in the mixture while its still in the pan to crack some eggs in. Lid on with a little bit of water and the yolks are perfectly runny. You could also do a shakshuka! Either way, get some good crusty sourdough to go along. I loveee egg dishes like this for dinner. These aren’t slow cooker things but are both very easy.
Taco bar or DIY burrito bowl? That’s my go-to with weird food restrictions or allergies.
Same here! Taco/burrito bar is always a huge hit with folks I invite over and is infinitely customizable. You can cook chicken or pork in the slow cooker if you want to to offer meat to the other guests if there are more than two!
I don’t know if a recipe off the too of my head, but you could do vegetarian chili in a slow cooker.
You say you don’t do chili’s but a vegetarian chili in the crockpot is one of the easiest things ever and there are tons of recipes online that involve chopping some veggies and using cans of beans, tomatoes and East spices. Serve with loaf of nice bread, have cheese to put on top…super easy.
I meant to say “Easy spices”
This isn’t a slow cooker recipe, but it could be make ahead: Caesar salads, with grilled chicken and salmon/shrimp and croutons on the side according to each guest’s preference.
NYT “Shakshuka with Feta” recipe. Shakshuka is a tomato-based sauce and you poach eggs in it. It’s easy, doesn’t take a lot of time,and is super delicious. It’s flavored – not spicy – and can be served with baguette on the side or maybe a steamed low-carb veggie.
Whoops, didn’t mean to respond to the other anon.
Most Caesar dressings have anchovies in them and vegetarians wouldn’t eat that. So you’re serving lettuce, some shredded Parm, and croutons.
Most vegetarians I know are not this level of annoying-AF that they’d reject Caesar dressing with anchovies in it.
Oh god can we not?
If someone doesn’t eat meat and they decline to eat a dish that contains meat, that’s not annoying AF – it’s them following the restrictions they told you they have. Behaving in a way that is consistent with how you tell people you’ll behave isn’t being high maintenance.
If someone doesn’t eat meat but they have some sort of wiggle room around it, like “Oh anchovies in dressing don’t count so it’s fine,” then they have every right to approach their dietary restrictions that way.
Judgemental omnivores are no better than holier than thou vegetarians.
OP said the “vegetarian” is a pescatarian. Anchovies are fish.
The suggestion could be for any kind of filling salad, anyway.
Vietnamese spring rolls. Super easy, especially if you have a mandolin. Get some rice paper wraps, chop a ton of different vegetables, make some vermicelli, fry some tofu or shrimp. People assemble their own.
I’m an old and a partner, probably at the kind of firm where you currently work. That’s great that you are working big law hours – are you bringing in big law money for the firm? What, you’re not? If you need to make $250K, move back to big law. What everyone forgets is that firms can’t just throw money at people for working hard. You need to make money working hard. If you’re actually bringing in the kind of money that should justify you making $250K, then maybe have a conversation with a mentor or partner you trust about the metrics and what it would look like for you to get to that kind of salary. All said though, you sound unhappy and just making more won’t help. If you don’t like your experience, don’t stay for one or two nice partners. Find a new firm.
I second shakshuka. There are red and green versions, the latter including a bed of greens. Ottolenghi has great versions.
Stuffed squash could work. Something with grains and greens and cheese could be delicious. I would just google that. Butternut, acorn, and zucchini all would work.
This West African Peanut stew from Budget bytes is great – there are some spices (ginger, cumin, garlic), but no chili – so depending on why you don’t enjoy spices it may or may not be for you. The main ingredients are sweet potato, peanut butter and collard greens (I use kale). It’s a hearty stew, and fairly low-carb.
It’s a filling, creamy and warming stew in itself, and it also tastes very nice with some added cheese (crumbly chevre, e.g.) added to taste, as well as peanuts (for the crunch) and some coriander or parsley (for the fresh). Bread or rice for the non-low-carbers would go well, but isn’t necessary (in my opinion).
You do need to do a little sauteing, so better on the stove than a crockpot, but it’s one-pot and easy.
I moved from biglaw to a litigation boutique in a HCOL city a few years ago for more responsibilities and reasonable hours. But as the firm had gotten more busy, I find that my hours are now similar to those in big law, while my pay has remained the same. My salary stays around $160,000 every year, with a bonus of about $10,000. Meanwhile, friends in biglaw /in-house are making a minimum of $250,000. In terms of responsibilities, I still have not had a chance to do oral argument, or first chair depositions. I am drafting briefs in some cases though, but still mostly work under a senior associate even though I’m more than 6 years out. Some of the senior associates are not good writers, so I don’t feel like my writing has improved or that I can learn anything new from them. The firm is also expanding, but this has also introduced more politics, which I dislike. The only saving grace is that most of the partners I work with are nice people, and I feel that one or two partners have been particularly good to me. However, most of the cases I’ve handled are state rather than federal cases, so I feel like I’m missing out on procedural experience for federal cases. Overall, my biggest dissatisfaction has been that I am now getting paid the same for biglaw hours and without the level of responsibilities I should be getting.
Given the above, I’m wondering if it’s time to explore in house options. If I’m not going to get the substantive experience here, I might as well go somewhere where I can get better hours or higher pay. Govt is not an option. Can anyone who has made a move from a boutique to in house share your take?
What are your hours now roughly per week? I am in house, and everybody thinks it lala land over here, but the schedule and work is super demanding. Plus it can be political because unlike law firms, there is no objective measure to your work. In firms, if you bring in $$, there’s at least one yardstick. In house departments tend toward more intrigue, which is maddening.
The original Scarlett
That’s not really the right motivation to go in-house, it’s a fundamentally different kind of practice that’s much more business focused. If you’re working biglaw hours and just don’t like the pay aspect, why not lateral back to biglaw? Agree with the poster below that in-hours can be just as intense, you just don’t have to track them (usually).
Absolutely. I went from a boutique (12 lawyers) in a niche area to in-house at a client of the firm. I actually got a raise moving in house, so it was a no-brainer. Lifestyle wise, it has been a huge game changer. I don’t have the face-time flexibility I had at the firm, but not billing my hours has more than made up for it. I can easily step out for lunch without watching the clock the whole time. I can take a walk to get coffee. I can post on Corporette (hi!).
The job is much more task-oriented (did you turn a draft of this agreement by the date promised) than hours-oriented, which for someone who is efficient like me is a much better fit. Also, working in a company, directly with non-lawyers, is really nice, as they inherently respect your role and you feel much more a part of the team.
Level of responsibility and type of work will vary hugely by company, so it’s impossible to comment on that specifically. But my move from a boutique firm to in-house has been 100% positive.
Not the OP, but I am also at a niche boutique and am thinking about an eventual transition in-house. Is your practice area now broader than your former niche area? Was that an issue in the interview process?
I have not gone in house but I work at a small firm that serves as counsel for a lot of small businesses. One issue I imagine in house lawyers have to deal with is your “client” ie: your employer, not liking your answer that they can’t do something they want to do or that they have to do something they don’t want to do. When my clients ignore my advice and get into trouble I can think “well, I tried” but I have some distance because I’m outside counsel. I think would have a ton of anxiety being in-house counsel with my name tied to only one client if they were ignoring my advice and getting themselves in trouble. I suspect it happens often.
You know, it’s not that bad. Usually, by the time that somebody makes it to senior leadership, they have been through some part of the litigation process, including depositions, or a government investigation. So they have a good sense of risk and will listen to you. There are times that they listen to my advice, but don’t take it. But it’s never a legal v illegal issue. It’s more a balancing of legal v. business risk. I never mind because I know they are weighing a lot of factors and making an informed decision.
But, your experience as in house counsel is only as good as how your company views the legal function. If they don’t respect you, or listen to you, then GTFO
I suspect small business, which I assume have no in-house counsel, have a very different understanding than mid and large businesses that have in-house counsel. Generally, if you are able to grow a business to be large enough to support in-house counsel or if you are chosen to be CEO, you have sufficient experience to understand that you have to weigh legal risks and not do anything clearly illegal.
If not, and your company ignores your advice and does illegal things, you find a new job and quit.
In house former litigator
I did exactly this–I moved from a litigation boutique (where I actually got tons of substantive experience but just hated the grind and stress) to in-house at a Fortune 500 company. It was a steep learning curve to go from litigation to corporate, but it was definitely a huge lifestyle change with much better hours and flexibility. Now I am making way more money than I did at the firm. However, to be honest, the novelty has worn off and as I advance through the ranks, the politics and drama have increased. Also, the work is a lot of issue spotting and common sense. There is very little legal research and analytical writing, so if that is the part of litigation you enjoy, I suspect you will find in-house life to be a major letdown.
How did you make the transition from litigation to corporate? As a litigator, it seems impossible to get an in-house corporate position. Did you start litigationg in house then transition to corporate? Or corporate from the start (how!?)? TIS!
In house former litigator
I had zero corporate experience aside from my 1L summer associate position. I happened to find a company where a lot of the attorneys were former litigators so they didn’t think it was weird at all to make that transition.
I’d start by talking to the partners who have been particularly good to you. Make sure you’re shouting from the rooftops that you want more experience on your feet, in federal court, etc. You would think it’d be obvious but ime it’s apparently not. The more you talk about it, the more it will be at the top of everyone’s mind, and you’re likely to get those assignments. Your mentors should also actively advocate for you to get these assignments.
Of course the down side of that is you’re likely to get more work and you’ll still be at the same pay. Tbh I think that’s just a trade off of getting out of biglaw. Most of the lawyers I know in boutique firms work just as hard as biglaw lawyers but they get paid a lot less. The upside is you’re supposed to get more experience, be able to take real vacations and spend time with family, and have the opportunity to develop your own book because your rates aren’t pricing you out.
Small Law Partner
This is good advice.
Another option is to look for another boutique. I was lucky that I landed a job at a boutique where I work less hours (~1800-1900), have better work, and consistently make more than biglaw (structured differently – lower base, bigger but variable bonus). I’d be a 7th year associate in biglaw, but a non-equity partner at my firm.
I suppose this “blazer” may work at the sort of extremely casual tech startup where you can wear a hoodie or fleece. with the exposed, curled seams and t-shirt knit, I don’t think it works for business casual, even on a Friday. I wear this sort of thing for lounging around with pajama bottoms in the evening–at home only!
I think you can for sure dress this up! This looks perfect for my casual business casual office, and it is definitely not a hoodie kind of place!
I can also see it being “dressed up” weekend wear, but not at all lounge wear for anyone but the chicest among us!
You wear a blazer at home?
You don’t? #mycatisbusinessformal
LOL. I love this community
Nope. This open cardigan is called a blazer, but it is not one.
I’m pretty sure I have a very similar open cardigan from Danskin that I got from Target for about $15, and I definitely wear it for lounging around the house. Drapey, knit material, super comfortable.
Even in a business casual environment, I’d go with something more distinctly blazer-y, like the Gibson blazer from Nordstrom.
Honestly, this would be perfect for my workplace, an engineering company (possibly considered tech but definitely not a startup). My coworkers and I are PhDs who spend a lot of time in the lab, with very rare client-facing moments. Although it’s firmly a jeans environment it still pays to look put together (since we’re all primates, after all, and apparently hard-wired to have social rituals). I suspect the above commentators underestimate the number of people who work in a very casual environment.
Same, I work in higher ed and definitely could/would wear this.
Agreed, I really like it.
There’s a similar one available at Nordstrom Rack for $30. Still reads easy/casual, but would work in a lot of offices.
Worry About Yourself
Same. I realize this is primarily aimed at accountants and lawyers who work in conservative fields, but a lot of regulars work in slightly more casual industries, but maybe prefer to dress up in order to elevate our careers, or are perhaps looking for a sense of community in the comments. I’m wearing an open blazer/”jardigan” today with a collared shirt and slacks, but lots of people around me are in jeans and leggings.
Not to mention, tech companies employ lawyers, accountants, and management consultants too!
This, I think. And I suspect (albeit with no real data) that this sit e has shifted from the tagline, a bit.
Also, I think that this si te used to be more conservative/formal in dress because many industries, functions, employers were in 2008 (when I started reading). But 12 years on, a recession, major shifts in the work world, and more, and many of us have different careers than we did then, or at the very least, different dress codes. I know that’s not true everywhere, and that there are still major bastions of business formal out there. I’m always interested to see the differing opinions here, because it helps me see where things are now!
(the old tagline, I guess! It has evolved over time! Used to be very lawyer/finance focused, or am I remembering that wrong?)
I think it’s always been overachieving chicks and you definitely don’t have to be in law or finance to overachieve! Kay used to be a Big Law lawyer so it had a very law-heavy crowd at the beginning. But I don’t remember any tag line that was aimed at lawyers.
well the name Corporette suggests a narrow clientele.
Worry About Yourself
Very true! It’s weird, I’ve moved to more casual offices over the years, but I’ve wanted to dress more professionally as I’ve gotten older and I genuinely like how I feel in classy sheath dresses and blazers from Ann Taylor and WHBM – but I’m definitely more on the Frugal Fridays end of things than Splurge Mondays, if you know what I mean.
Anon at 12:14, you’re right. It wasn’t in the tagline, but there used to be a blurb or something visible in one of the earlier designs that referenced some specific careers; or, it was used a lot as a description in Kat’s posts. And I would agree, the blog name in and of itself used to support that notion that it was much more formal, corporate career fashion. It worked! We’ve all just changed a little as time’s gone by.
Same. This is business casual for east-coast biotech.
It would be perfectly fine at my government office where anything above pajamas or exercise clothing is acceptable on days without court.
I would have to see it in person, but I think I could wear this on casual Fridays with no client meetings. (In-house, West Coast)
Could totally wear this in our business casual office on days when I didn’t have any external meetings.
You sound kind of snooty! This would totally fly in my business casual leaning casual office on the west coast, and even my last job at a business casual leaning business job in NYC. I don’t suppose I’d wear it on a big meeting or presentation day, but for every day I don’t see the problem.
This is a hard question to word…but is anyone else paranoid about their thoughts/words “jinxing” the ultimate outcome? For example, I’m going through something right now and I truly want it to work out in X way, but because of some other thought tendencies of mine I’m working through in therapy, this morning I thought to myself “well, if Y happens, it’s not the end of the world…” And I know very, very few events would be the “end of my world” so in the scope of things I know things will always be fine. I’m a characteristically negative person when it comes to my own life, so usually I automatically jump to the worst case scenario so I can mentally start to get over it and plan for the next step. But now I have almost like…Catholic guilt over thinking the opposite way of how I have been/crying over/manifesting for the past few days. Like this is some sign from the Universe that Y will happen and I’m okay with that versus X…and I get worried I’ve “jinxed” myself.
Yes. It’s a manifestation of anxiety.
100%. It’s a common symptom of anxiety disorders, but also some US cultural groups socially transmit it (looking at you culturally Irish Catholic family narrative that required therapy to dismantle).
Hi, are you me? I always say I have a disease that makes me jump to the worst case scenario, then I hate myself for even thinking about the possibility and thinking I have “jinxed” it. It is like I spend my time constructing disaster scenarios for everything I hope will happen, with increasingly far-fetched chain of events leading to me getting fired, evicted, deported, rejected, told off, causing me to miss out etc etc… I feel like the older I get, the worse this has got, but it could also be because the older I get, the higher the stakes get or the more I recognize my ridiculous patterns. I wish I had advice, following.
OP here: I’m in therapy and I adore him. He’s been off for a few weeks because of the holidays, so maybe why this is particularly bad right now. But then I also get guilty for thinking that I can’t handle these things myself! My therapist always says, for things like this (worse case scenario situations) to look at the evidence and work backwards. What can you connect that has actually happened that would make you think the outcome you think is going to happen will occur. That usually works for me, unless I’m blindsided by something, which is the case for me right now. I am fully aware I can’t “jinx” things with my thoughts but it’s such a hard habit to kick. It’s very hard to explain the pit of guilt I get in my stomach with situations like this and the guilt I fear, but we are not alone!
It’s not at all hard to explain or understand! That’s what we are all saying. This is super common, it’s a symptom of anxiety, and it goes away with therapy and meds. You aren’t alone.
I think perhaps your focus is on the wrong place. Rather than worrying about jinxing things, focus on diminishing your anxiety about the situation itself. The jinxing stuff is just avoidance of that anxiety.
It sounds like an anxiety symptom. I’d check out the Anxieties and Phobias workbook by Dr. Bourne for some practical ways to curtail invasive thoughts.
Ya hon this is your anxiety talking. You’re fine. You can’t jinx things with your thoughts. Tell your therapist.
I am like this (except I am a very positive/pragmatic person, so our mileage may vary a bit). I realized, quite non-dramatically, that this was a symptom of my anxiety.
This is a really common train of thought for me and yep, it’s anxiety.
It’s called magical thinking. It’s trying to think we can control things that we don’t actually have control over.
If I say, I probably have cancer, it scares me into thinking I caused myself to have cancer by saying that. As bad and as mean to myself as that sounds, we as humans find that more comforting than accepting that much of it is random and beyond our control.
Randomness and the idea that we can’t control everything is very, very hard to accept for humans, and a big reason why superstition is so popular in every culture.
Ikea Dresser Platform Bed?
Has anyone tried making platform beds out of Ikea dressers? Is it safe? I recently graduated and moved across the country to a HCOL city. My starter apartment is tiny (300 square feet), and I’m tempted to put together four MALM dressers, screw them together with a couple of wooden planks and throw my queen-sized matteress on top to make a captain’s bunk of sorts.
The Ikea hacks on the web (link to follow) makes it seem quite nice and a good way to capitalize on space — my only concern is, I have no idea how safe it would be. I do an okay job of handing electric tools for furniture assembly, but it’s more the structural integrity of the materials / quality of the boards’ fit that I’m concerned about.
Ikea Dresser Platform Bed?
Thinking something like the third picture, but with four drawers to accomodate a queen mattress:
How expensive would that be? Have you considered the Pottery Barn Stratton Platform bed? It’s $1400 full price without any coupons (25% off and free shipping could make this really competitive). We have it in the King version and it’s really sturdy (however, you will not get any storage in the middle section of the bed, it’s 3 long dresser components (one on the left side, ride side, and front of the bed) and a cover for the back section. The only other thing we’ve noticed about it is that you shouldn’t leave the drawers open to load/unload them– we open them fully and lean on the floor. We were noticing some wear to the glides when we were leaving them on the track to load/unload.
I’d just buy the Brimnes or Nordli bed from Ikea with the 4 huge storage drawers built in.
That looks like something for a broke college kid…you are a grownup now. Buy a real bed. You can even get beds with storage at Ikea.
This: Real bed with storage underneath the platform.
I saw somebody recently who did this in a youtube video!
Wayfair also has a ton of storage beds. You could even do a low loft queen bed and put a couple dressers under that.
…I think you should just declutter some stuff if you need 4 dressers worth of storage.
I am in a similar position to OP (tiny studio apartment) and unfortunately there just isn’t the storage space. I have one small closet and that’s it. So a lot of stuff goes in containers under my bed.
I wouldn’t do it. I had an Ikea bed break even without try to hack it.
You don’t have to do some sort of IKEA hack. Queen storage beds exist. Check your local FB Marketplace for options on a budget.
Ask yourself: would I want to bring a man back to my apartment to have sex on this bed?
Would it even be able to hold the weight of two adults, especially in activity? It’s a dresser…
…or a woman or non-binary individual.
But yes, this.
Go with the man for stress-testing though. 200+ pounds of thrashing + me = would expect structural failure.
So, not related to the dresser/bed idea, but unless you already have a queen mattress, you might consider getting a full instead. A queen bed is a big piece of furniture for a small space. My current house is a typical 1960’s starter house and the bedrooms are just not sized for something larger than a full. I already had a queen mattress and make it work, but it leaves precious little room for my dresser or anything else. When it’s time to replace that mattress, I’ll be opting for a full (The bed will accommodate either). A king bed would only fit if pushed up against 2 walls.
Just get a queen platform bed used…why are you going to so much trouble for something that already exists. And I’m going to call it out – you probably don’t have room for a queen size bed in a 300 sq fit apartment. Unless you’re exceptionally tall or have a significant other that is over 6’1, get a full.
You can also buy a full or queen loft bed if you want to preserve more floor space. There are some on wayfair. And IKEA has one I think.
To answer your question- I think it could work, but I think you would need a lot of braces on it. By the time you buy the dressers, the braces, and do the work- I think you could have purchased a pre-made option. Also, if it doesn’t work, you are in the hole. It’s not like you can return the dressers once you’ve drilled into them.
Not sure why people are being so rude. If you can’t afford it right now, I would put my mattress on the floor until I could get something sturdier.
If she can buy 4 Malm dressers, she can definitely buy one of the many storage bed options. They’re the same or less cost.
You want a queen bed, girl, you get one! I would not do the Ikea hack thing for a queen bed that might hold 300 pounds, or more, in a vigorous activity. There are lots of storage beds, and with some strategic purchasing, you can get some good deals. I live in 385 square feet, and have a queen bed–sleeping and bedtime are super important! Use the walls for storage, too, lots of shelves and such. Enjoy!
What are everyone’s financials goals for 2020? Share your age, salary, maybe location, and what you’re going for this year!
My answer: I’m 25, and I’m now making 95k in DC. My aims for the year:
– contribute 10% of my salary to my 401k (I get a 4% match.)
– max out my roth ira.
– put 25% of my take home income in a HYSA OR investment account (goes with the below.)
– figure out investing. I want to start either using a vanguard account or CDs but I’ve been really chicken about pulling the trigger on those because I don’t understand them.
32, 140k, in DC
– get student loans under 10k
– get emergency savings to 15k
I already max out my retirement so making debt a priority for 2020.
Why wouldn’t you max your 401(k) before investigating a HYSA?
Not the OP but I saved substantial money in an HYSA before maxing my 401k because I anticipated needing it for (1) down-payment/moving expenses, (2) gov’t shutdowns, (3) IVF/adoption. Basically, I needed liquid cash for some contingencies that weren’t certain.
Right. So many people on this board knee-jerk to the “max your 401k!” recommendation and it does not work for everyone. If people have other goals – saving for a down payment, saving for fertility treatment or other medical treatment needed in the future that is either not covered by insurance or requires a large coinsurance amount, saving to help support elderly or sick relatives, funding home renovations, etc., a 401k is not the right place for all of their money. Blindly dumping money into a 401k without considering other goals leads to people taking non-hardship withdrawals or loans from 401ks to fund things that weren’t meant to be funded by a 401k – or worse, taking on debt to fund those things. This is advice any financial advisor would give. People need to consider their own goals and life trajectory and conditions before putting every spare cent into retirement – that’s not always the best/smartest choice. That approach does greatly benefit financial firms who make more money when people have more assets under management. A bank or investment firm will always make more money from money invested in a 401k vs. money sitting in a CD, money market account, or otherwise not invested and available for other expenses.
Because I want to buy a house one day, mostly. I’m trying to get 100k in the HYSA before I turn 30 and that will turn into my down payment. I’m 25 and after the company match I’m saving over 20% of my salary for retirement – I feel like I’m in good shape there for the moment. There’s also a chance I will want to go back to school for an MBA in the next 5ish years so if I choose to do that, I want to have some cash on hand.
34, almost 90k, NYC, single parent (shared custody)
– 20% into retirement, which isn’t quite maxing out but close.
– Max out ROTH IRA ($500 per month) and put $250 a month into 529 for kid.
– Save $10-20k cash towards a downpayment – a very distant goal!
My emergency fund is fully funded and I have no debt.
I’m 34 with a HHI of $160k (married) in a LCOL area. Our big financial goal in 2020 is paying off our mortgage and becoming completely debt-free! We have $15k left on the mortgage and usually pay $3k/month, so we should hit it in May-June. Once the mortgage is gone, most of that money will be redirected to savings, but we’re also excited to upgrade our lifestyles a bit and take some bucket list vacations.
Congratulations! We’re on track to get our mortgage under 6 figures later this year, and even that has me excited – can’t wait til we’re in your shoes!
I’m married, 42, HHI around $250k (depends on bonuses). Goals for the year are to continue paying an extra $1k/month toward our mortgage principal while maxing out all our pre-tax savings options. Also looking to take every other month as a ‘no spend’ month and put the extra money toward our vacation fund.
30, 190k, HCOL-ish city in Asia.
– 10% of gross salary into retirement accounts.
– 10% of take home in investment or savings accounts.
– Throw 40% of take home at my mortgage. A few years ago, I bought a small apartment that I could afford at 25% of my salary (30-year mortgage), but I hate paying so much interest. I have no prepayment fees at this point, so I’m trying to pay it down aggressively while I’m still working crazy hours in consulting.
– Get over my risk aversion and start investing more. I had been mostly keeping money in savings accounts that returned 3% – 4.5% in interest, but interest rates have tanked in recent years.
I have no debt other than mortgage, and I have a small emergency fund.
31, HHI $220k, VHCOL area, aiming to spend on great experiences while maximizing investments. Specifically need to explore a backdoor Roth IRA in addition to my 401k and taxable investments.
Whoops, should add no debt and emergency fund is (more than) fully funded. It’s sort of a down payment fund too without any immediate plans to buy.
age, salary, maybe location, and what you’re going for this year!
33, 150k before modest bonus, HCOL-ish Southern US
Goal – build a home without touching any “non down payment” savings
Max out 401k and IRA
Build emergency fund to 1 yr expenses (which thanks to frugality is much lower than income)
Learn about more into alternative investments other than my 401k (ETFs, Reits, Buy and hold properties, franchising, etc)
Mine are much more modest than a lot of posters’ goals!
I‘m 37 and make $82,500 in a LCOL.
My financial goal for January is to check YNAB before every purchase to reinforce my priorities. I’ll come up with another small step at the end of January.
My financial goal for the whole year is to pay $100 extra each month toward my mortgage (current balance is just south of $120k).
Stop spending so much on clothes and indulging whims on Amazon prime.
I assume this is your own goal but it’s amusing to read this as an order to the poster at 10:40 ;)
Haha, my first thought was, “Wow, way harsh!” … then I realized you meant for yourself.
Anon at 10:40
Haha! For a moment, I thought, “I don’t have Amazon Prime, and the YNAB thing is a way to cut down on clothing spend!!” Then I realized there’s no way Housecounsel knows about my clothing addiction. But also, same on clothes.
AAACCCCCKKKKK I am sorry! Yes, the spending on clothes/Amazon advice was my own goal!
Haha you can come to my house and give this advice any old time!
Same as SA! I need the same advice!
Can I hire you to follow me around and slap potential (unneeded) clothing purchases out of my hands? ;-)
honestly, Housecounsel, I’d probably PAY you to do this for a while until the habit is broken.
39, DC – continue to max out 401k to 19.5k; save 35-40% of net on top of that (which is ultimately invested not just sitting in a savings account). Pulled this off in 2019 so basically seeing if I can do it over again.
I’m 35, and make 157,509 in DC (pretty easy to see I’m a fed).
My financial goals for the year are:
– Max out my TSP (like a 401k).
– Save an additional 1,500 a month, some of which will be for a backdoor Roth IRA and the rest in to my investment account.
– Don’t order any delivery food when I’m home alone, unless I’m sick. I never enjoy it that much and it gets to be so expensive once you factor in the delivery fee and tip. I would rather spend that money eating out with friends.
– Not exactly financial, but I want to start tracking all non-consumable items purchased. I’ve been tracking my spending for over 5 years, so I know where my money is going in generally but I still couldn’t really tell you what the $1,000 I spent on clothing last year was for.
The last is one of my goals too. I’ve kept a list of clothing I buy for a few years and it’s extremely helpful. This year I’m also listing all non-consumables purchased.
38, 145K before 10% bonus, HCOL Northeast area (single – no roommates)
– Knock out about 10K in non-student loan debt
– $3K to emergency fund
– Create “savings buckets”
– Work my Financial Gym plan
40, $410k before bonus (last year total comp was $535k, will probably be close this year, VHCOL CA, single dog mom
Always max out 401k, typically by June/July
Buy condo in my VHCOL area. Will require a ginormous mortgage but I’m soooo beyond over my rental.
Knock out a $40k HELOC on my investment property in a LCOL area
Throw anything extra to my Vanguard funds (primarily VTSAX)
If I buy a condo that will require depleting a good chunk of my emergency fund for the down payment, but I have a large undrawn HELOC available to me so I’m OK with it.
Stop ordering all the take out (unless expensed). My obsessive Mint tracking showed I spent a staggering amount on this category in 2019. I was lazy and unmotivated to cook.
Anon 4 this
age, salary, maybe location, and what you’re going for this year!
37, HHI ~$1 mil, DC
– Max out 401Ks, backdoor Roth IRA contributions
– Save 100k toward retirement outside 401K, Roth
– Pay down mortgage principal (in addition to our regular monthly payments) by 100k (we’re allowed to recast twice per year)
– Save 40k for kiddo college education
– Increase emergency fund to account for addition of kiddo (not sure how much yet but maybe 30k?)
– Spend less on convenience food (delivery, lunch out, coffee out, etc)
If you’re having a kid in 2020, this is not the year to cut back on convenience food! Especially with that kind of household income. You can afford it and trust me, you don’t want to be trying to cut back on little luxuries with a newborn/toddler at home.
Anon 4 this
I had a kid in 2019. I basically don’t cook anymore, which I miss both because I like cooking and because I think we end up eating a lot of food that doesn’t taste that great and is expensive and isn’t especially nutritious. And delivery generally creates so much packaging waste, which I also dislike. Finally, its basically our biggest expense after the mortgage and childcare and petcare. I have no aspirations of cutting it back drastically but it just doesn’t make me feel good when I look at the number. I made a small change in 2019 which was to sign up for Freshly, which is a lot more cost effective than delivery every day and maybe a bit healthier? The packaging is also almost all recyclable. If I could find another option like that I’d be happy and maybe cook once a week.
Recycling isn’t good enough, sadly. It’s basically all going into the trash. Plastic companies have oversold how much stuff actually gets recycled and it’s less than ever now that China won’t buy it from the U.S.
I had a kid in 2018. You will cook again! Don’t stress it. The first year is hard but DS can sort of stir a bowl now and is pretty entertained what I’m doing on the kitchen counter.
Anon 4 this
Only the lids and a small amount of the packing materials are plastic. The box is cardboard, the container sleeve is cardstock, the container bottoms are that compostable paper stuff, the container lid is plastic, the ice bag outer is plastic and inner is trash, the insulation is some type of shredded cloth encased in plastic. Sometimes I save the plastic from the icebag and insulation to use as dog poop bags, so I buy fewer of those. Nothing is perfect but its better than the 100% plastic wrapped in multiple plastic bags that I tend to get when I order take out.
34, 199k (HHI about 325k, depending on husband’s bonus), MCOL city in the south
-max out 401(k), backdoor Roth, HSA
-save a good chunk of my income beyond that
-figure out how to invest that extra savings
Finally paid off student loans in 2019 and husband will finish his this year, so we’re basically trying to figure out how to best invest all this extra money so we can retire as early as possible (no kids and no plans to ever have them, which helps a lot on the saving/early retirement front). I am sure the answer is just throw it in an index fund, but which one?
23, 60K (slated to go up to 72K this year due to scheduled GS increase), Arlington, VA
– increase my TSP contribution to 12%
– increase take-home savings percentage from 50% to…whatever i can afford haha
– learn how to invest (just like OP…i look into Vanguard sporadically and then get overwhelmed)
– figure out a down-payment strategy for when I hit 25, which is when I’m hoping to have enough saved. Although, I’ve been advised that under the new tax law, renting and buying is basically a wash. Who knows!
Does anyone have suggestions for how to get better at legal citations? Is there a workbook I can buy or an online class I can take that would help with this? Ideally something that’s interactive so I can try to cite something then check my work. I somehow escaped law school without getting very good at this and it’s a weakness I’d like to improve upon.
Like formatting citations? I’d recommend the same thing I recommend to people looking to improve writing, understanding of the rules, etc. Buy a Bluebook (or an online subscription to Bluebook, which I find really useful), and set aside 5 minutes a day to read a rule. When you get to the end, start over and do it again. Over time, you will pick up all the nuances, start to incorporate them in your citations, and improve. If you add in looking things up when you don’t know, you’ll improve in no time.
I think the same works for grammar (Grammar Girl wrote a daily grammar “devotional” that is particularly good for this) or the rules of civil procedure. Spend time with the rules you are trying to learn, a little bit a day, and before you know it, you’ll be an expert.
I agree with this. Get a bluebook and start checking your citations.
Is it more case citations or other authority? Do you use one of the major legal research platforms? I have found that westlaw’s “copy with citation” is fine for my state-level authority when citing caselaw, but does not format statutes or rules correctly. I keep a copy of our local citation rule saved and refer to it often (especially for citing new opinions that do not have a formal citation yet.) I use the Bluebook when citing legislative history, websites, law review articles, etc.
Sorry, I don’t know of an interactive resource that you can use. Do you use Westlaw? if so, when you copy text out of a case, it provides you with a citation, which you can customize to your state. I start with that, and then refer to the Bluebook to make sure I have all of my abbreviations correct. Honestly, I think the best way to do this is to practice – check all your citations when you write something to make sure they’re ok. As you go along, you’ll get better at it.
One way I got better was to lower my standards, honestly. I was on the board of my law review, so I knew all the tiny rules at some point, but once I was in practice, I decided it was a waste of time to always look up whether to abbreviate “School” in a case name. I have a blue book in case I need to refresh something basic, but the purpose of a citation is so a reader can find the document, and an italicized (or not) period doesn’t serve that purpose.
I write this, assuming those tiny rules are the ones you’re looking to improve. If you want to make sure you have the basics, the above advice is good, as is just spending time doing it. The more you do it, the better you’ll get.
This or delegate to an assistant/paralegal/first year who can look stuff up and double check it for you.
Help. I am in-house counsel for a very large organization that operates 24/7 and am being told 3 of us will need to take call for the entire organization. We’ve done this before. Multiple calls nearly every night and at all hours. 70% of the phone calls weren’t urgent (could have been an email, could easily wait until the next morning) and 90% of the phone calls aren’t even legal questions (questions that don’t require a lawyer to answer, can and should be answered by someone else). But for some reason it is falling to our little team to deal with this for the entire company, while of course still maintaining our normal working hours/expectations during the day.
Last time we did this it nearly killed me. I’ve tried and tried to push back from every angle I can think of (broadening the group of people who take call, shifting expectations around for the times we are on call, creating a hierarchy so only employees of a certain level can call, creating internal resources and training so people can answer their own questions without needing to call, at least some kind of extra compensation for the nights we are constantly on the phone) and I’m getting nowhere. What it seems to come down to is my boss thinks this is important, thinks this is an appropriate use of legal services and thinks this is our role. I disagree, but she’s the boss.
I don’t know what to do. Any thoughts or commiseration from others who have to take call would be appreciated. Do any other in-house lawyers here take call? What does that look like?
No. Also in house counsel for a very large international company. This is not normal and your boss sounds stupid.
Create a plan to leave.
That is bonkers. I think all you can do is start looking for another job and when you get an offer you are excited about, tell your boss you are not physically able to be on-call 24/7 and unless some constraints csnnne places around that role you simply have to move on.
Can you get some kind of automated voice message that routes callers like they have at doctors offices? Like, “Thanks for calling XYZ. If you’d prefer to email us, we’ll get back to you within the next business day. Press 1 for urgent legal questions. Press 2 for…” Or an after hours answering service? Otherwise, I’d see if this is something that’s going to be permanent and if so, brush up on the resume. I’m sorry. That’s really frustrating. The only other thing would be to do it for a week and demonstrate to your boss how 90% of the calls were not relevant. If you and your team all came together with the same concern, that it’s not relevant and unbearable, the power of the group may be a last resort.
Yes, we sort of have that already. Problem is, everybody thinks their problem is urgent and that they have to talk to a lawyer immediately (they don’t). I’ve explained this to my boss up and down and she can’t be swayed.
Is your boss a lawyer? My husband is in house and would never have to do anything like this, but part of the culture of where he works and what he does is based on this thought process: a large amount (if not all) of the value that lawyers have is their brain/ability to think. If you’re not getting sufficient sleep or are too stressed to function, that has a direct impact on you doing your job. If they want you working on no sleep and not being able to give sound legal advice, then that doesn’t sound like a great culture.
Could you provide specific examples in the message of common problems that people contact you for but can wait?
Like for questions, involving X, Y, or Z matters, please leave a message and someone will follow up with you shortly.
Then you can have someone listen to the messages each morning and triage them as appropriate, including directing them to another person to answer.
Find a new job. That’s your only solution.
If the calls are coming in the middle of the night, I assume they’re from other geos worldwide. Are you qualified to provide legal advice to those geos? Could you take that approach with your boss? Speaking as someone who also works for a large multinational, this plan seems batsh*t crazy to me, and I’m sorry you’re in this position.
Are you on a rotation for being on call? Is it for a short period of time for a commercial project? If my boss told me I had to keep normal workng hours and be on call 24/7 for an indefinite period of time, I’d start looking for a new job asap. You’re not a doctor, you really don’t need to be on call, especially not without rotations. There’s not enough money in the world.
anon for this
Hmmmm…. even doctors don’t take Q3 call (every 3 nights) …. forever.
It is time to talk to the other two people and present a united front. And time to look for a new job.
Honestly, if this as you describe, it may be one of the few times I would be blunt with my boss. This almost killed me before, was not in my Job profile, and I will leave if my job now requires it with no compensation (and honestly, extra compensation will never be enough).
Who is doing the call now?
I am at a non profit where we have real emergencies and have an on call system. We have an answering service that takes the information, then the info gets texted to the on call person from the service. The on call person can then triage. I find having an answering service really sliced our calls in half. Something about having to go through an emergency- type system made people think twice about calling — i think those people who had a “real quick easy question” were the ones who waited until our business hours to call. It also keeps a record, the answering service emails a report every morning. If you have the same employee/ department calling for non-emergency issues, you have the data to show the manager.
Your boss is working you to death to make herself look good. Job hunt in earnest.
The only in-house lawyers I know of that are on call 24/7 for periods of time work for hospitals and they do not get a lot of calls but when they do it, it truly is urgent and it can involve filing an emergency petition in the middle of the night. Little known fact, hospitals and police departments often have emergency lines to judges in the middle of the night. Think a child is brought in that needs emergency life saving treatment and the parents are not consenting to the treatment and arguing it is not life or death. The attorney will get a call.
I totally feel you though on people not knowing how to prioritize “emergency.” I’m outside counsel but I’ve had clients call right before a holiday with an “emergency” that they want to fire someone they’ve been complaining about for 6 months. Absent extreme circumstances, there is no reason it can’t wait until after the holiday. People need to be trained as to what a real emergency is.
If your boss doesn’t support you in doing that, you need to find other work.
OP here, I do work for a large healthcare system and I would be fine with being on-call if the calls were like what you describe – rare and true emergencies. The problem is the vast majority of them are not – they’re not urgent and they don’t require a lawyer. We’re sort of being used as pseudo risk management.
Is it Friday yet?
This is atypical and not something you should have to be doing. I’d look for a new job.
anon a mouse
Then your company needs to hire a dedicated person/people who will staff the phones and have the expertise to resolve or escalate issues. It is crazy bananapants to ask a team of 3(!) to cover.
There was a recent AAM post on something similar, where the poster had been doing two jobs for months. The advice was to be blunt that it was unsustainable.
I’m sorry—that stinks. It’s weird that so many people want to talk to any lawyer in the department after hours.
Maybe work on the messaging around the hotline (“this is for company legal emergencies like if law enforcement shows up to a facility with a search warrant. otherwise, please email xyz or wait for normal business hours”), not widely advertising the number if possible, and more widely advertising better 24/7 company resources? Everyone with safety sensitive positions should know who can really help—it’s bad for everyone if the first call after a chemical spill is to a lawyer.
I’d start job hunting immediately but in the meantime can you get an answering service in place that triages stuff a bit? You can sell it to your boss as wanting to track the types and locations of calls incoming so you all can be better able to provide the needed service.
LIke ‘press 1 regarding search warrants currently being served at your site’, Press 2 for “applications for a court order which must be filed prior to the next business day’, Press 3 for ‘other urgent and scary sounding thing’, Press 4 to leave a message for other concerns – to receive a return call, you must provide the name of your supervisor who authorized the call.’ And have the calls go to a number only circulated to higher level people.
Wow. So DH runs operations at a company, which includes support. The company decided that they needed to move to a 24×7 support model for clients and of course, wanted to go live immediately. So DH had to work with the support team to design a way to rotate being on call. Where they landed was 1. immediately put out job recs to bolster the team and specified that on call would be a requirement 2. in the interim, taking the existing team and shifting around working hours to be more shift-like, so instead of all 6 people working 9-5, they had one group working 7-3 and one group working 10-7 (this was an opt-in model). To cover 7pm-7am, they had one person designated as on call for a week at a time. if a call came in on your call time, you came in later the next day. Eg. if you were working 10-7 but took a call at midnight, then you’d come in at noon or so. Or come in regular time and leave early.
People didn’t like it, and frankly, neither did leadership, but it was messaged as “we are doing all we can to fix this long-term, this is a band-aid.” And my husband, who was the COO at the time, took shifts himself as well.
In-house at global manufacturing company with 80k employees and none of the segments of our law department do this. There is a 24/7 ethics hotline that people can call, but that’s outsourced.
If my boss told me I had to do this, I would find another job lickety split.
What would happen if you just… don’t do it? Obviously you need to find another job, but in the meantime, what is the worst case scenario for just quietly ignoring this absolutely insane requirement? How long will it take to get back to your boss that you’re not answering the calls? Obviously it won’t be good if/when boss finds out. Would you just be reprimanded? Fired? I’d immediately plan my escape, but I’d also probably not do this stupid thing in the meantime.
Echoing everyone that this is insane. I serve in an on-call rotation (work in IT) but I only have to do it every ~6 weeks for a week at a time and I only get called with true emergencies. The calls are very, very rare. I can’t imagine doing what you have to do.
The solution to this is not the telephone. Barring getting a new job, the solution to this is a legal intake system, via software. You can purchase something like SimpleLegal for about 10K, or if your company already uses JIRA, you could use a ticketing system from there.
Legal problems are not best explained over the phone. Business partners/clients should be forced to think through what they are asking for, and you can even set up guardrails so that if someone asks for X, it is routed to the X cue, and they are prompted to put in all of the intake information you could need, and then they get a ticket back that says, “Our SLA for requests of this nature take 2-3 business days.”
You must train your organization. Get some support from white papers or surveys from CLOC or the ACC that bears this out. There are lots of surveys and anecdotal evidence that if you force business partners to do a little legwork and actually type out the intricacies of an issue, they will bother Legal less–like 20-30% less. OTOH, if your boss wants to you run an “any business partner can spitball any legal issue to a trained lawyer” hotline…you’re going to spend a lot of time chasing weird legal issues that may not have great ROI for the company! If your boss is a GC, I seriously question whether he or she is up on the latest in terms of Legal Ops.
I cannot, even as an atty who was worked on many multi-billion dollar deals, and who has been in-house for quite a while, understand what type of global law (absent some kind of humanitarian international law in a war zone) which could possibly merit round-the-clock legal staffing.
Also, sidenote–I would also come at this from a malpractice and authorization to practice law standpoint. Surely you are not your sharpest at 4am when you are roused from a deep sleep, and surely you are not licensed to give advice in all of these global jurisdictions.
Yeah, new job.
There is an aspect of my work that involves taking calls at all hours, but until recently it was split up so that everybody only had to do it once or twice a year for half a week at a time, and when you were on call you didn’t have to go in to the office during the day. More recently it was decided to institute a dedicated team to this, so that all they do is take calls at all hours (in 8-hour shifts). Much better for everybody.
Your company is nuts.
Does anyone have recommendations for reusable plastic storage bags? One of my resolutions is to move away from single use plastics, and this seems like a good first step. Would love to hear if there are any people here have used and loved. Thanks!
Not sure what you mean exactly. My guest duvets store in the plastic bags that you can remove the air from to save space, that’s reusable. The larger size Hefty ziplock bags are sturdy enough to reuse.
Sorry for the confusion. I mean more like reusable ziplocs.
Worry About Yourself
I got some silicone storage bags off Amazon, I can’t think of the name but they came in a few colors and you use this hard plastic stick to seal them. They’re fine for storing snacks and veggies and stuff, but they can be kind of a pain to wash, and not great for marinading. They’re dishwasher safe but you basically need to turn them inside out and then there’s water and food sediment in the top after.
Stashers are the high end model (silicone). Lots of other little ones exist (check your local TJMaxx, etc.) There are tons of models out there.
Honestly, ziploc freezer bags are pretty darn reusable. I use rubbermaid plastic or glass storage for most things, but ziplocs work much better for the freezer because they collapse to minimize air space. I just wash them out and use them over and over.
This. I have a pretty strict rule against buying more stuff to be greener. It has to be a rare situation where I know for sure that i will use it enough to make it worth it (ie, my diva cup but even then I really thought about it). Anyway, my point is that you should look around your house for solutions. I think reusing ziplocs is a great one, or Tupperware works for almost anything except maybe freezing. I just decided to give up ziplocs one day and have not really missed them.
Same — the freezer bags are super sturdy, I’ve rarely thrown one out.
+1, I wash ziplocs of all sizes. Pretty sure we haven’t bought freezer bags in at least 5 years.
Does anyone successfully wash them in the dishwasher? I hate handwashing them (and especially drying them).
I have washed freezer bags in my dishwasher. I wouldn’t do the ordinary storage bags, probably.
I use silicone bags rather than plastic because they can be used at a wider temperature range and seem sturdier than reusable plastic bags. I like the kind with a wide bottom that can stand on their own (easier to use and clean than flat bags)
The Zip Top brand are very good and easy to clean.
Stasher brand bags are great!
The best response I have gotten to this question is “don’t buy something. use what you have.” Think of all the plastic bags that are already coming into your house: bags of bread, those zippered plastic bags sandwich meat comes in, produce bags (if you use them), the plastic bags baby carrots come in, etc.
Once someone pointed that out to me, I made a conscious effort to squirrel away these plastic bags and I didn’t need to buy anything!
Lemon Stripes is doing a challenge on this topic. I just read her post yesterday, so you should be able to find it with a search pretty easily.
Would this blazer work for a large bust body type? Or would the additional fabric of the extended collars make you look even bustier? I’m small framed but busty.
Anon for This One
Looking for some advice from the Hive. I have an opportunity to go to an event this summer. It’ll require a Thursday and Friday off work for a 4-day weekend and I need to buy the tickets tomorrow if I’m going to do this. It’s also the kind of event that is going to sell out FAST, so if I’m going to do this, I can’t wait on getting tickets.
Here’s the issue. I’m job hunting. I plan to be in a new position before this event and likely will not have time off. Before this event came up, I was planning to request only two days for two family events coming up. One is possibly negotiable, or able to manage with just a half-day. The other, not so much. Would it be a problem to get the tickets and plan to go to this event? I may be able to cut the two days down to a day and a half if absolutely necessary.
I’m stuck. Suggestions?
Buy the tickets! You never know what’ll happen between now and summer.
Couldn’t you sell the tickets if you can’t go? I would buy the tickets.
This. If the tickets sell out that fast, they have resale value close to what you paid for them.
If not higher.
Bonnaroo? Just buy the tickets. If you really really can’t go, I’ll guarantee you can re-sell.
Buy the tickets. People arrive at new jobs with preplanned travel all the time. Managers work it out.
Worry About Yourself
I’d get the tickets, and assuming you get a new job before the concert, just say you have a trip planned that you cannot cancel, employers generally understand people can’t put their entire lives on hold for job hunts. You just might need to take unpaid time off, or dip into future accruals.
Employers (should) expect that lateral hires will have summer/holiday plans. If a potential employer won’t allow you to take time off for this (though maybe unpaid) then question whether you would want to work for them.
Buy the tickets. Best case: you can take PTO at the new job. Other scenarios: you don’t get a new job. You get a new job and you can’t take PTO but you can take unpaid time off. You can’t take time off at all but resell the tix.
Worst case: you’re out the cost of the tickets but you have a new job you love. Unless your tickets cost $10k, i think this is a totally reasonable risk to take.
I’d get the tickets. I think I’m understanding you that you already have two other trips planned that you’ll have to ask for timeoff as well. To me as a hiring manager, that’s not a problem. Once you get to the offer stage, I would say something like “I have a few short trips already planned for the summer months – can we talk about busy periods in the role and whether these will conflict with any work deadlines?” You should already have an understanding of vacation time at that point, but if it’s unclear then once you find out whether it’s a work deal breaker to miss those (and weigh against whether it’s a deal breaker to you to miss the trips) then you can ask how it’ll be handled from a leave perspective – are you able to borrow against upcoming PTO or will it need to be unpaid, etc.
I think you all talked me into it. The other two days are in the fall and would each be one day only (and one would likely be negotiable — I could possibly skip it or whittle it down to a half day if necessary, so it may not be a really big deal, so…) Looks like I’m buying tickets tomorrow!
Thank you all! :)
A younger relative in college who previously wanted to go into Profession M (lots of extra expensive schooling that is hard to get accepted into, not earning real $ into mid-30s) now wants to go to law school. I think it is because graduation will be approaching next year and relative realizes that Profession M won’t likely happen on the first try and there isn’t really a plan to start working. Relative is a great (but clueless) kid with decent grades. Relative has talked to a recruiter about JAGC and is assured that relative would get hired, but I didn’t thing that these are jobs that you can just get if you want them (and not every law job is suitable for everyone).
My first thought: just don’t go to law school. The debt will kill you if JAGC doesn’t pan out.
My second: maybe the math works if you can get public loan forgiveness for JAGC.
My worry is that because some law school somewhere will accept relative, that law school will happen.
No opinion on med vs. law except I don’t see why kids see these as interchangeable professions except for money/prestige — i.e. if I don’t get into med school, there’s always law school. The work and skill set are very very different. But I’d say with a 3.5% unemployment rate, a college grad can get employed pretty easily right now esp if they are will to go work for a business and NOT worry about their major — i.e. I’m a history major, I MUST work at a museum, rather than say the engineering co. in town which is just looking for a few recent college grads with a BA in handle their accounts or whatever. Encourage her/him to work for a bit, prep for the LSAT (MCAT?), and take it when ready to do their best and get into a good school because we all know how rough life is in law if you just go to any school anywhere that accepts you. Plus IME work experience going into law school is a good thing — helps you focus/structure law school as a job; gives you something to talk about in interviews for real jobs esp if your post college/pre law school job isn’t something like paralegal which thousands of people do; and it shows you whether you really want to go because who knows maybe that job at the engineering company makes you realize that infrastructure is where it’s at and while you can’t get into that w/o an engineering degree, maybe you decide that an MBA that’ll lead you to a mgmt. job in that space is what you want.
I have some friends in JAG. IME, they care a lot less than most legal jobs about where you went to law school and a lot more about why you want to be in the military. Assuming that your relative gets in to a first tier law school (like, one of the top 50 in the country, not a top 14) and has a compelling story about why they want to be in the military, I wouldn’t worry too much. And the money works out pretty well, based on my limited experience.
My bigger question is why do they want to be in the military. JAG may be different than a lot of other military jobs, but it is still the military, you still gets sent to war zones, and you still have the life style issues that come with consistent reassignments and moves. These are real issues that create a whole different lifestyle than the average person, and especially the average attorney.
Idk maybe to serve and protect the country?
I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. I’m saying it’s a question they need to be able to answer for themselves.
Right. And if the undergrad has ROTC and relative isn’t already going it, I think that raises a red flag, especially if you are in the SEUS where there isn’t the institutional stigma and hostility to ROTC that exists at HYP-type schools. If relative is doing ROTC, that makes a huge difference. Not sure if upperclassmen can just join at will.
+1. My husband is JAG and does interviewing interviewing for JAG Corps at law schools. Being accepted to JAG is not a sure bet (especially if there’s an economic downturn) and wanting to be part of the military is just as important as having a good law school resume. My husband has deployed multiple times and probably will again, and we move all the damn time. But there’re lots of upsides if it’s the right fit; my husband absolutely loves his career (how many lawyers can say that?). If you or your relative is interested in hearing more, I’d be happy to chat if you post an anon email address.
I, ahem, graduated from a sub-100 law school (state school) and three of my classmates are JAGs. I’m a veteran myself (I wasn’t a JAG), but I think it’s easier to get to be a JAG than many people think. It’s never a sure bet – and I wouldn’t go into law school if that’s the ONLY thing I wanted to do – but especially when unemployment is as low as it is, the military is always looking for people. (Alternatively, why doesn’t Relative just join the military as an officer? Either OCS or he could always talk to the ROTC dept on campus – there are ways to squeeze the curriculum in in a condensed fashion – I did it in 3 semesters. Then he can go to law school after the service – if that’s what he wants to do – for free, like I did.)
I think this depends somewhat on when you graduate. In my extremely limited experience, it was harder to get in JAG during the great recession, when I graduated. Since we would probably be in another recession before this kid finished law school, I wouldn’t assume that unemployment would still be so low.
My thought: your relative is doing what a lot of 22 year olds do, which is assume they need to figure out the rest of their lives right now. What you can do is to have a talk with him/her about the value of grad school, the mess that has been made out of student loans, the availability of debt forgiveness (remember, it’s something the government is currently offering, not a contractual obligation imposed upon the lender), and, holistically, good ways to structure a life.
The decision to go to college is almost always a good one, provided that the student graduates in a reasonable amount of time with a reasonable amount of debt. But the decision to go to graduate school is very different: it has lifelong implications in terms of cost, opportunity cost, being pigeonholed into that field (no, you cannot do “anything” with a law degree), and the fact that it’s hard to switch career tracks later in life. So it’s worth taking time to figure out graduate school in a far more thoughtful and strategic way than all the decisions that have been made thusfar in life.
Worry About Yourself
Michael Dukakis repeatedly tells poli-sci students to ONLY go to law school if they actually want to be lawyers, you don’t need a law degree to become a senator. And honestly, I still briefly considered law school until someone told me that even if I wanted to be a lawyer, there’s a surplus of people with law degrees looking for work and there’s a good chance I’d end up working in a law library unless I graduated top of my class as a prestigious school, and I could’ve taken the risk and gone for it anyway, but decided not to and I’m glad I did.
A lot of people around my age went to grad school because they wanted to wait out the recession, and/or make themselves more marketable in a competitive landscape, but it didn’t turn out so well for a lot of them.
That advice doesn’t go far enough. Only go to law school if:
1. You want to be a lawyer,
2. You get into a very, very top school (HYSCCN), or
2a. You get a really fantastic scholarship, and the school you are attending has strong ties to the region you want to be in.
And I would expand no. 1 to include “you know for a fact, up close and personal, for reals, what lawyers actually do all day, and you want to do that.”
what is profession M? Medical School? the default should not then be go to law school. this student is currently a junior? first of all, many people take gap years to beef up their med school applications and do everything from working in a lab, medical scribe, etc. there are also a lot of other health fields that might allow student to do something adjacent (PA, physical therapist) i work in higher ed and this young relative needs to go and talk to their career center at school.
I wanted to be a lawyer (I thought) because I lived overseas as a kid where we lived under martial law. Then in the US we read the Bill of Rights in grade school and I was hooked on this “y’all have laws” thing and was obsessed. It colored everything going forward. I think whatever you do, you need to be on fire for or at least have some plausible explanation for the person who interviews you for that job (see supra). It doesn’t sound like this is anywhere close or has even been explored. It sounds like a pat answer to a person asking an upperclassman (-woman) “what are you going to do.” “Going to law school” is just a dressed-up way of saying that they have no real idea.
The immediate pivot from medicine to law is the most concerning part of this to me. They’re so incredibly different fields, and it suggests to me that the person is more concerned with prestige and/or pay than actually wanting to be a doctor or lawyer. If med school isn’t doable in the next year or two, why not try to work in healthcare or biology in some other capacity?
Has anyone done the drive from Charlotte to Asheville? Is it a fairly easy drive (i.e. interstate highway) or is it more like mountain roads? We’re wanting to go to Asheville in March/April and are debating flying directly there or flying to Charlotte and driving from there, as we’d like to spend some time in NC generally. WWYD?
Following! We’re going to Asheville this fall and probably just flying to Charlotte, since Charlotte is a non-stop flight for us and we figure we’ll want a car in Asheville anyway. Also curious about Asheville recs more generally.
I’ve done the drive from Raleigh to Asheville, and the drive from the city to Asheville itself is fairly smooth, but once you start driving into the mountains, it quickly gets steep and windy (it’s a highway, but there are also “runaway truck” ramps which of course makes me more nervous. We also did a lot of wear on our breakpads going down the mountains. So I’d say, the last 30-min (or the first, if you’re coming from Asheville to Charlotte) wasn’t pleasant but was doable.
This. Did this drive the weekend before Xmas and my DH, who was driving, did not appreciate me pointing out and asking about those runaway truck ramps haha. He is a very good driver, and was a little white-knuckly around that spot. But the rest is just normal highway.
It’s interstate and it’s an easy drive.
I live in CLT and do this all the time. Easy drive.
So do I, we should meet up !
It is interstate the whole way. You do go through the mountains on the Interstate, so maybe try not to do this at night… but I’m not a great driver and have done this drive several times.
my sister lives in Asheville and flies out of Charlotte all the time. Easy drive.
As the disparity in responses reveals, I think this is a matter of perspective. Do you want only straight 4 lane roads? This won’t be that, it’s Asheville, there are mountains. But compared to other mountain drives in N.C. and elsewhere it’s not bad. Source: NYC-licensed driver who moved to N.C.
I have the opportunity to customize my open concept kitchen a bit as we’re building a house and I have no idea where to start. What’s on trend? Any recommendations of kitchen looks – specifically cabinet/island/floor/countertop color combos? All I know is that style wise we’re somewhere between contemporary and traditional (I hate rooms where everything is sharp edges or starkly white or black and will look dated in 5 yrs) and want the room to be brighter after coming from dark cabinets, dark floor, and dark countertop in previous house.
Check out Houzz. The category you like is called “transitional” – but just check out the articles about most-saved kitchens, etc. You’ll get a good feel for what’s current and doable on a reasonable budget.
Look at blogs, especially Colour Me Happy, Laurel Bern, and Emily Henderson Interior Design Blog. Consider whether you want to be tied into trends that will date the kitchen.
Thanks, OP here. I specifically don’t want to be tied to super trendy designs because the chances of us doing any extensive renovations on this home are very low. I do want a kitchen that present date is “wow this is a nice kitchen” but I’ve seen kitchens that were clearly done in the 90s but done in such a classic style that the thought isnt’ “wow this is old” but rather “oh what a comfy home”.
Right now I see a lot of white cabinets, gray-toned countertops, dark-wood floors and simple backsplashes. Also in the equation is whether this is a forever home for you or if you’re planning to sell in 5-10 years.
One current trend that drives me kinda nuts is the “waterfall” island where the countertop surface extends over one or both vertical sides. It’s such a weird flex. “Look at this money we spent on an expensive material that is in no way functional!”
I had this in a prior home to show off a slab of marble that I *loved*. To this day the thing I miss most about my former marriage is that waterfall counter. Actually, the only thing I miss.
I love that look. It didn’t even occur to me that it was a money brag – granite/marble is expensive, but so are high-quality wood cabinets.
To be totally fair this is a pet peeve of mine. You do you. Maybe I’ve been watching too much House Hunters :)
When we had our kitchen cabinets refaced, I matched the style/color of the cabinets to the dining room furniture, since the kitchen and dining room are next to each other and separated by a large, open arched door. (Our dining room furniture is very classic, and not likely to be replaced soon, if ever). It gives our downstairs a nice cohesive look. Since you mention open concept, you could use the decor that will be close to the kitchen as a starting point.
I am looking to refinance my student loans from grad school. I see people on this board mention loan interest rates at 2% or similar. If you have a loan rate that low, where did you get it from?? I am open to looking at any type of lender.
I can’t find anything that low now and would really love some help. My credit and debt to income ratio are both excellent so I should generally be a good candidate, but I just can’t find anything that low.
Many (most?) with loans that low took them out in the early 2000s. Mine from 2005 were at 1.7%. And that means that a lot of us aren’t chomping at the bit to pay them down any more quickly than needed bc of that rate.
Holy cow. Mine from 2007 were at 8%. They’re long gone but I can’t believe it went up that much in just two years.
In my experience, rates that low tend to go to people who have amazing credit and also graduated from a very top school/program. I had over an 800 credit score and graduated from a Top 25 law school, and never found anything for less than 4.5%.
Interest rates vary by where you went to school?? Had no idea. I had a 2.875% rate myself (Penn grad) via Citigroup though I doubt that helps you because this was 15 years ago and I think student interest rates are just higher across the board right now.
I have amazing credit and graduated from a T5 school and now have a very well paying job. (If my loans are x, my annual salary is 3x). I STILL cannot find loans below 4. Even if I were to commit to a 5 year repayment plan.
Did people just get these loan rates during the economic crash? I honestly don’t know where to find them.
Even my home equity line of credit is not that low.
I am so envious of loan terms that good. I currently have federal loans since I was debating going into public service post graduation and the 7% interest rate is killer.
Uh you think credit was cheap during the economic crash? Did you forget that lenders weren’t lending or were charging astronomical rates if they were? Let me guess – lawyer?
yes, home equity rates were very low, as were cash-out refis. As I said in my original post, i am agnostic to how to refinance my loans and am looking at a variety of options.
2% is very low and I think unrealistic. I have 2.35% (7-year repayment term) from First Republic Bank, but they only operate in a handful of markets (Boston, San Fran, and maybe a few others). I think 3% or higher is probably more likely.
Depending on how high your balance is and how quickly you can pay it off, you might be able to transfer it to a credit card that doesn’t charge interest on balance transfers for a certain number of months. A friend of mine did that and I am thinking of doing the same thing when I am down to only a year or so of payments left.
I question whether 2% student loans are available anymore. Most people I know who have rates that low graduated 15+ years ago. I graduated in 2010 and was able to refi with Sofi for somewhere in the 4% range.
I think those interest rates were based on timing of the loans more than anything else. Some of us who went to school in other decades didn’t get so lucky. I can refi my 6.375 fed loan rate with SoFi, but they will never offer to drop it to 2%. If the fed rate when I took the loan had been 2.5, though, they might.
Mine are all around 6%. I went to a T18 school and took out a modest amount of loans (for law school) during the recession. Most of my friends’ loan rates were much higher than mine. I haven’t found anything significantly lower unless I pretty much double my loan payment each month, which I’m not willing to commit to doing since I’m planning on TTC soon. (I am paying significantly over my required amount right now, but being able to change how much I pay on a federal loan is worth a lot to me if baby costs more than I’m expecting, etc.)
I have 1.95% from First Republic. Done about 2 years ago. I had to commit to 5 year repayment, have very high credit, and use First Republic for auto deposit of my paychecks. I do believe they’re still offering that rate (or something not marginally higher) on the 5 year loan. The drawback is that you must be in a region where First Republic has actual banks, and i think you have to refi at least $60k.
i just checked and they are not available in my region!! bummer, but thanks for this info.
^^ I will also advocate for First Republic if you’re in a city they service. They’re still advertising 1.95% as the lowest rate possible on loan refinancing through them. Mine was 2.550% refinanced in early 2018, but I did a 7-year refinancing for about $190k in loans (biglaw lawyer, graduated from top-tier school). I think they looked not only at my credit score and debt/income ratio but also what law firm I was at, law school and even college. I just paid it off this week though! So I should have gone more aggressive with the 5 year repayment. No prepayment penalty is amazing!
I think 2 or 3% were mostly for adjustable rates. I refi-ed mine with Laurel Road in May and got 4.46%. My situation sounds similar to you and that’s the best I could find. I also looked at Sofi, Lending Tree, Common Bond, and local banks. If you want to get real creative maybe you have a friend or family member who’d refi them for you at 3%. (I wish!) My undergrad loans were at 2.19% back in 2005, but law school averaged them out to 6.8% (2011 grad).
Does anyone have a gym backpack they love? Looking for something light but with room for a change of clothes, lunch, water bottle, etc. to go from gym to office.
I’ve been eyeing this one (with a 15% off coupon). I have another one of their bags and it’s amazing, but more of an office than a gym bag.
REI has some great backpacks with external pockets that expand to fit shoes! This is the one I use, however the color might not be your taste.
Advice on how to communicate with BF about vacation planning? We’ve gone on shorter trips (up to a week) but now we’re planning a longer trip (2 weeks) and he’s driving me nuts. There are two issues:
1. Every time I think we’ve made a decision, he’ll rethink it endlessly. It’s almost as if he views our plans as brainstorming. Recently, I put together a draft itinerary for locations in Europe we’d discussed and agreed on (many of which he suggested) – currently spread across 4 countries. I told him I think we’re doing too much and we need to cut some things, could he please think about which locations to cut. This prompted – well maybe Thailand or New Zealand or South America.
2. During our trips, he’ll want to do something wholly incompatible with our already-made plans. For example, he’ll want to visit City that’s not reachable without a car and would consume a full day, even though we don’t have a car or a spare day. I’m trying to allow more time in the schedule to accommodate spontaneity, but see 1 on my frustrations with that.
This is getting super last minute for me – we’re less than 6 months away from our trip. I know he’s not as planner-y as I am but I need to nail down at least major things like what countries are we visiting. I’m getting anxious and frustrated. How can I communicate about this constructively and get him to focus?
DH does this to some extent– the only thing that really worked on our last trip was being firm with him about a deadline to make a decision or to explain why I had chosen x itinerary stop, etc. So basically to involve him more with the planning aspect.
1. Give him a short deadline of when the trip needs to be booked by and make it non-negotiable. Like you won’t be going on any trip if you don’t book the flight.
2. I am also a planner and will typically already have made an itinerary, then DH will go and find somewhere cool he wants to go that is not on the itinerary. Sometimes it is somewhere I considered and rejected for logistical reasons, which I will then explain to him. Sometimes it is not. On recent trip, he found somewhere halfway across the country he was super into going to. Per suggestions on this forum, I found a similar area that fit into our itinerary better, and it was our favorite part of the trip.
Another suggestion– DH seems to do better if he feels like the day is spontaneous, so I normally have a list of things I want to do that day and know what my priorities are but try not to have us be super scheduled.
6 mos is super last minute? LOL
I’m coming at this much more from your boyfriend’s camp, and you’re much more in my ex-husband’s camp (travel differences are not why we split). I honestly don’t think you’re being completely reasonable in wanting to get a fully itinerary worked out 6 months in advance, and I would similarly be pushing back on it like your boyfriend is (albeit passively aggressively).
It is totally reasonable for you to want to nail down the general destination this far in advance to make sure you can get good prices on flights and lodging, so I agree with the above poster to give him a short deadline on those and tell him you’re booking X on Y date unless he wants a different location y’all can discuss. Then really do follow through and book. One major component of this is that you have to book it. If he would be ok paying more to have more flexibility, I don’t really thin it’s fair to say he has to book it by Y date. This is what my ex did, and it worked well for me because I could think about it as much (or as little) as I wanted, but once it was booked, I knew I shouldn’t/couldn’t think about destination anymore.
My ex and I would then kind of alternate days based on how long we were staying somewhere. We both had a travel style that we liked to do a few things at a more leisurely pace rather than breakneck speed every day. If we had a five day beach vacation, we’d do this: Day 1, beach. Day 2, we do whatever ex wants. Day 3, we agree on an activity. Day 4, we do what I want. Day 5, beach. For Day 2 and Day 4, whoever picked the activities that day had to plan and make reservations. Since he was much more of a planner, that meant his days got planned way in advance and he felt less stressed because he could make the reservations months in advance. For my days, I enjoyed thinking about what to do more, and then would usually end up booking at the last minute, and if the thing I wanted to do was full, I’d just pick something else. If I never got around to planning, I might make arrangements for us to walk around the downtown area that day or something else that can be done on the fly. The biggest rule was that whoever planned that day got complete discretion, and the other person was not allowed to complain about the logistics or activities. Also since he was the planner, he’d be the one to make reservations for the day that we agree on the activity. He’d usually tell me a bunch of things he’d been thinking about that he knew I’d enjoy as well and would tell me something like, “I’m going to book this on Z date, so let me know by then the best one or I’m probably going to pick X.” This system worked really really well for us, and we arrived at it after lots of trial and error, including your situation above where he wanted a detailed itinerary months in advance, and my brain just doesn’t work that way. For city vacations, we’d usually just alternate days, but I’d cede more of the planning over to him and take fewer days where I got complete pick of what we did.
Now that I’m typing all of this out, I think another reason the system worked well for us is because we arrived at it together. From your post above, it seems like you want to impose some sort of plan on him. For people who rebel a little against structure, that is the best way to get him to waffle and resist planning so far in advance.
I’m not asking him to commit to a detailed itinerary 6 months out and I never said I was. I’m asking him to pick which countries we’re going to; based on the interests he’s expressed, I suspect we will need open jaw flights. I need to start tracking flights now. We’re also coming from 2 different countries, so there is always a lot of back and forth about which airports work best and how we’re going to meet up. Six months out to start looking at flights is simply not unreasonable.
I agree (and stated that nailing down destination for flights and lodging isn’t unreasonable at this stage)! Anyway, the point is that you just have to talk about when you want to commit to a destination and why, and then have a real conversation with him about the process or destination or the sticking point, and actually listen to his response and take that into consideration. He should be doing the same for you. If you both can’t meet somewhere in the middle, or he won’t just let you plan everything, then you might not be good travel companions.
Yeah, I was with you until you said 6 months out is super last minute. 6 days is super last minute.
I don’t know that I’d say this is”super last minute” but it would annoy me too if someone wasn’t ready to make concrete plans for flights for an international trip six months out. She’s not talking about making dinner reservations and booking city walking tours; she wants to nail down flights, which strikes me as totally reasonable.
Stop. Just stop. I am you, and this won’t work. It’s 6 months away. You don’t in any way need to know where you are going. You don’t know if you’ll be dating this guy in 6 months! You are currently serving as his travel mom. Stop.
Does he actually care where you guys go? My brother gives loads of ideas but doesn’t actually care to look into logistics and is generally a very wishy washy last minute type of traveler, so I plan all our family trips with some of his inputs and that’s that. He gets some of what he’s looking for, but not everything because he’s not the only one I’m trying to accommodate. You can ask the BF for his top 3 on the wishlist and be firm about the rest of the plans, because what YOU want matters too. And let him know it’s okay to not hit everything because there will be other trips. Repeating destinations isn’t forbidden.
How direct have you been about this? ‘BF, it seems that we have very different styles when it comes to vacation planning. All this back and forth is super stressful for me, and I once we make firm plans, I need to trust that we’ll stick with them. What maybe fun and spontaneity for you is unpredictability and stress for me.’
But also, your specific examples suggest there is a middle between your two styles, where you could probably meet. 6 months is a lot of time still. It’s reasonable to hire a car for a day when on vacation. The draft itinerary could be seen as ‘lets see how a trip through Europe could look like and then compare to what we could do in other destinations with similar time and money’. Unless you verbally came to an agreement that Europe is it and now you’ll get into the details, you could look at it as brainstorming.
The process I’ve found helpful: first agree on a destination, then make a list of things to see or do. Both can pick a few must-dos , ideally only scheduling out half-days and leaving the other half of the time for exploring/lingering/rainy days. I took over hotel booking ever since that one time we were leaving for a trip he was in charge of and he had decided you could call around the same day for hotel rooms. It took a couple calls, of course we didn’t sleep in our cars, but it was super stressful for me.
Yeah we verbally came to an agreement on ABCD countries. I put together a loose itinerary of what it would look like to get from A to D – basically a compilation of the things we each want to see, plus travel time/distance and some options for stopping points for overnights. I could do the trip on my own, but I think it’ll be too fast paced for him. It definitely wouldn’t allow the spontaneity he likes; there’s just too much travel almost every day. So I said, I think this distance is too far, please think about which countries we can cut out and where we want to focus our time. I really need to start looking at flights, which I expect will be open jaw, so I need to know our starting and ending countries/rough locations.
You need to spell it out for him that this is problematic for you. My now-husband, then BF who didn’t book that hotel until the morning of looked at me all surprised when I told him I found this stressful.
Really good point. I’ve tried to approach this from a pragmatic standpoint – I want to start tracking flight prices now so I can get a good deal. But I need to communicate the emotional part – that it’s stressful for me to think we’ve agreed on a location and then he changes continents on me.
You really don’t need to book flights yet. You WANT to book flights, which is fine but is only a preference. I agree with the others that you need to have a conversation with bf, but approaching this like it is super last minute will just turn most people off because it isn’t.
We take turns “owning” trips. We agree on a general area – like Germany/France – a budget, and a timeframe – leave early morning Sat June 5th and return no later than Sun 5pm June 13th. Then we agree on structured/sight-seeing vs relax/lounge style, and say who is the planner. Non-planner gets to say 1-3 items that are on their must-see list for that area.
Planner gets to own all the rest of the details. Planner involves NP on any decisions around their must-sees, and obviously we like each other so we try to incorporate things we both like, but ultimate decisions all come down to Planner. I’m honestly torn on which role I like better – I like doing things my own way of course, but it’s been so fun to see places through his eyes.
+1 – my DH is happy to let me plan trips, so long as he has very general input about location/budget, but if he weren’t we’d have to alternate. I don’t think I could joint plan with someone else.
We take turns and it’s great.
I don’t even know where to start. This sounds beyond annoying. I plan like you do, and your BF sounds like someone I would never, ever want to travel with. If travel is an important part of your life, and you want to be able to enjoy it with your partner, this may not be the guy for you.
I think this is actually a preference and you are framing it as a problem. It’s not actually inherently a problem to book a vacation less than 6 months out.
It’s just your preference that you plan everything very early and it’s his preference that you plan things later and/or keep plans looser to allow for spontaneity.
You don’t just get to impose your preferences on him and he doesn’t get to impose his preferences on him.
Have a conversation about this with him and come to a mutual agreement as to how to plan travel.
I appreciate your phrasing here. Preference vs problem is an insightful way to describe this, and that’s a big transferable take away for me from this discussion.
I have taken dozens of international trips, most to developing worlds. I don’t think I’ve booked anything for a single one of those trips 6 months out.
You will need to decide on a method for planning with your boyfriend, but it can’t be that you dictate the method because your way is the “right” way (both because it isn’t and because that is no way to have a relationship).
to be fair, the OP added a comment saying she merely wants to begin tracking flights now, which is reasonable. But for that you need a destination.
Worry About Yourself
He sees it as brainstorming because 5 months out is still the time to keep brainstorming! I don’t think you need to commit to anything right now! But I do get feeling frustrated with his indecisiveness, and I get you wanting to narrow down the destinations so you can focus that brainstorming on where you’re actually going, so maybe communicate that, and put anything not in Europe on the backburner for the next major trip; I do think changing the continent when you’d been talking about Europe can put stress on the planning process.
I’m also not sure why day trips are out of the question at this stage of the process? Are car rentals out of the question? Would the train really not be an option? Maybe tell him that if there’s anything he’d like to do, it’ll be his responsibility to research the specifics and make any necessary arrangements when the time comes to nail down specific activities.
Re your second paragraph – My #2 describes what happens during the trip. So, we’re either on the trip or it’s literally the day before we get on a plane. Everything is finalized, we already have tickets, tours, dinner reservations booked, we have zero 100% free days left, and he decides he wants to do a day trip to some faraway place. The time to decide to do that was back when we were booking tickets, not after our time is mostly spoken for. My compromise is to make sure to build in some extra unplanned time. Of course, it’s hard to do that when he won’t focus on the front end. We can’t build in much free time if you insist on traveling across the better part of a continent in 2 weeks! Even if we did zero planned activities, we’re losing a lot of hours to travel time.
You need to tell your boyfreind to be more definitive and decisive. He sounds like he needs to be wound up and pointed in the right direction and will march, as long as you provide guidance. I think indecisive men are a real liability, kind of like a limp noodle. You need crisp decisive actions with a man, and it is not impossible to get men to become more decisive. Good luck as it sounds like you will have your work cut out for you.
Six months away?! There is nothing at this point you need nailed down. Absolutely nothing.
This is a bit of a shot in the dark, but I appreciate other recommendations of the people here – so I’m hoping to luck out!
My husband and I are planning to do a large-ish renovation project on our home. The budget is between $200,000 and $250,000 and will include a master bedroom addition, a kitchen reno, two bathroom renos, and changing some of the main floor layout. We’re in Northern Virginia, and would love recommendations on a contractor for this work.
anon a mouse
No specific recs other than look on your local NextDoor or make note of contractor signs in your neighborhood. Where I am, there are 5-8 names that pop up again and again.
We are also considering a large renovation including a one-room addition and kitchen. Can you share whether you have an architect or are looking for design-build? The cursory research I’ve done suggests we may be looking more like $300K, but of course we don’t have plans or a quote yet.
We worked with an architect. He works closely with one particular contractor, but they are separate entities. We’ve gotten a quote from the contractor that he often works with, but something about them rubs me the wrong way. It’s really an issue of being overwhelmed by options. I really just want someone I know (or someone similarly situated to me) to say “we worked with X, and had a great experience.”
We just did a (barf) $350k reno. FWIW we went with a mid-tier bidder and only went over budget at our discretion (eg. we added to the scope). He took a bunch of stuff that popped up along the way in stride, as it was priced into the bid.
Talk to your town and see who they work with regularly for contractors. The permit people and the inspector people will have be able to give you some names of “people we see in here all the time and know well and like to work with.” you can get references from them directly.
I am in a slightly less expensive part of the country and I feel that your budget for this is low. These are the most expensive parts of a house and do-able if you put in Ikea cabinets and formica.
I posed about about spending $350k and I agree with this- but didn’t want to get into costs :). We did a garage addition, finished the basement, added a bath (plumbing was mostly already there) and mudroom. We built a new driveway. Of our budget, $75k was driveway/earth moving so cut that out. But we didnt ‘do a kitchen which would have been $$$$. Our bathroom was a basement bathroom with a plopped in tub/shower thing, fairly low end tile, etc. and was still nearly $20k. If this were a master bath, had a tile shower, etc. it easily would have been $40k in my area.
I am just curious, and I live in an HCOL so I totally understand, but if I read this correctly, $255K was spent on a garage addition, mudroom and finishing a basement. Is this a normal cost, or was there extenuating circumstances that added up to $255K?
I guess I over simplified the project. We built a garage [3 car, finished- so insulated and drywalled) and mudroom (included a new stairway), and took the walk-out basement, which was a garage, and converted it to living space [1200 sq feet, french doors, 8 new windows] and added a full bathroom. We also had them rebuild a set of stairs and refinish the floors in the room where the addition came in. They added a new heat zone, AC in the mudroom.
We had bids ranging $300-600k (including the driveway work, which was pretty substantial- figure 75-100k).
When we built the addition, it’s basically like building a house. Foundation, walls, etc.
So we spent $400k (after planning to spend $200-$250k) in a large southern city doing a master bedroom addition, two bathroom renos, reworking some layout, and some cosmetic changes elsewhere. We also finished our attic. Admittedly, we used nice tile and went higher end on some stuff.
Given this includes kitchen, I’d be wary – not that your budget couldn’t do this necessarily but that you will have budget creep. Be ready for that!
I agree with the above commenters that your budget is likely low on this. We are in the DMV area as well, and are finishing a renovation/addition with Case Design. The work has been fast and of high quality. Of the various contractors we have worked with over the years, I have been impressed with the level of communication and responsiveness. I recommend checking them out.
OP here. Thanks, all! I realize that our budget is likely low – we’ve gotten one that comes in at $260,000 – so you’re spot on. I appreciate the thoughts and suggestions!
What would you wear to a wedding reception at a brewery with the attire on the invitation described as, “wear what makes you feel good, and something that also might be considered dressy casual”? I feel like this is a group in which it’s easy to overdress.
Fav c0cktail dress with toned down accessories – think black tights and booties vs. gold high heels.
What time of year? What general geography? More urban or more rural? Check sincerely jules’s instagram for loads of inspiration. Something along the lines of combining party and casual like jumpsuit and booties or sequins and motorcycle boots or cowboy (girl?) boots or the blazer above over a longish dress and sneakers…
Seconding a jumpsuit! But that’s always my suggestion.
If cold, I’d do a sweater dress with tights and boots/booties. If transitional, long sleeved dress with bare legs and peep-toe booties. If summer, I’d go with a casual sundress and flat sandals.
A casual day dress.
Like this with booties:
I went to something like this in September and wore skinny jeans and a nice silk blouse but like a fun going out one (low cut with a slight slit up the back) with fun heels. I worried about being under dressed but felt it was spot on at the event.
This is the perfect occasion for a jumpsuit.
Assuming it’s cold weather, I’d consider a sweater dress and boots.
Assuming the weather would be cold and it’s a daytime event, I would go for a sweater dress and tights and boots/booties. It’s a dress, so it’s a little dressier than pants, but the sweater aspect makes it casual.
What is the weather? If it’s cold, I’d go with a sweater dress and boots. If it’s summer and warm, a sundress. If in between, a shirtdress and boots (or whatever shoes you want).
You could probably also get away with black jeans (maybe even super dark blue jeans) and a dressier, fun top.
It kind of sounds like they don’t want things to be formal, but want people to look stylish.
I’d do half casual, half dressy. Like a dressy skirt with a chambray blouse, or jeans with a going-out top.
Has anyone had undereye filler? I’m considering it and would love to hear some anecdata. I am 29, definitely have dark circles/bags, but not an extreme case. I have a really hard time with undereye concealer for some reason, I’ve tried every trick under the sun and it just always looks terrible and cakey. I had my brows microbladed in 2019 and it has been such a boost to my self esteem, looks so natural, and has completely removed the most taxing part of my morning routine, I’m thinking undereye filler might be similar and if so I would definitely want to try it. Thanks!
I look into it heavily because I naturally have hollows under the eye due to my bone structure. If you get it done, get it done by a plastic surgeon, not some medispa that also does fillers. The thing that turned me off of it was mostly that on the off chance they knick a blood vessel, it can cause a hematoma under your eye that looks like you got punched and, depending on severity, may leave you with permanent hemosiderin staining that is muuuuch worse than the shadows under your eye.
I’d keep searching for a good concealer and maybe get a lesson with a professional makeup artist on how best to apply it.
I’ve had under eye filler. You MUST go to a reputable plastic surgeon and, at least for your first time, I strongly STRONLY recommend using one of the fillers that can be dissolved by an injection of saline.
Because of the sensitive nature of under eye filler not every plastic surgeon does this. Do you research.
There is a new technique that involves making a teeny tiny (as in almost immediately closes up) incision in the cheekbone area and using a very small catheter to inject the filler under eye. Compared to the standard method of direct injections it is SO MUCH BETTER (although, frankly, a bit unpleasant feeling). The direct injections left me mild bruising for a week. NO bruising AT ALL with the catheter – just immediate improvement.
Finally, or perhaps firstly, you mentioned “bags.” Filler is appropriate for getting rid of under eye circles that are due to hollowing out from fat loss (mine were cause by a combo of extreme morning sickness and aging). Bags most likely require surgery. They are different problems. Under eye filler does a small bit to resolve dark circles from veins that are near the surface but it is not the big difference that filling in hollows results in.
You need to assess the cause of your dark circles to know how to best address them.
Why the rec for a plastic surgeon instead of board-certified dermatologist with a cosmetics practice? I get the rec to avoid a medispa, but derms do this all the time?
Sorry for the late reply – the under eye is a very delicate area so I would not mess around. Plastic surgeons have a better understanding of facial anatomy than derms. I’d be surprised if you could find a derm who does the catheter technique either since I’ve only seen top-end plastic surgeons doing it – much more complicated that just an injection.
Where is this geographically? I think the answer would be very different if it were in Montana v. South Georgia v. Brooklyn
Where should I go for spring break with my family? Based in the DC area. Kids are toddler through 1st grade range. Could be international or not. So far my thoughts are New Orleans, Mexico City or elsewhere in Mexico that is reasonably accessible from here, and that’s about where I’m at. At least one of us speaks Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, so not a lot of language barriers within this hemisphere or Europe.
New Orleans with kids in the spring? Uh what exactly do you want to show them?
New Orleans is a really fun city for kids! There are lots of parks and botanical gardens, a fantastic children’s museum, zoo, aquarium, great food, WWII museum might interest her oldest kid, I’m sure that’s not everything… I don’t live there but have visited with a toddler and had a great time. There’s much to the city than Bourbon St drunkenness.
Yep and the Children’s Museum is updated and there’s the insectarium and the streetcar to the park. Stay away from Bourbon Street!
What do you like? Where have you not been? I travel a lot with kids younger than 5 and most destinations can be pretty kid-friendly if you do your research and have the right attitude (slow pace of travel, etc.). We’ve had great trips to many US/European cities, as well as to beach resorts in the US, Mexico and Caribbean.
Buying Car All Cash
We’re going to buy a car all cash, likely toward the end of this quarter. The car is going to be probably certified pre owned. Maybe a new 2019 model that a dealer is just trying to move off the lot come March and there’s a deal to be had. There will be a trade in.
Anyway, buying a car all cash is new to me. Trust when I say it’s the right thing for us – that’s not the part that I’m asking about here. Obviously dealerships want financing because it can be profitable to them. Should I expect any sort of different negotiation since we’ll be buying all cash? Will they really be THAT disappointed and less willing to haggle because we’re not financing or is that a myth?
I just bought a similar car with cash, and the dealer did not give a sh*t that I wasn’t financing. Negotiations of the price were the same as with financing. Get your trade in valued at CarMax ahead of time so you can compare that to what the dealer offers. We test drove, negotiated the price, and then drove the car home. Since we didn’t have a cashier’s check to pay with, we filled out financing paperwork, which the dealer held onto for a day until I came back with the cashier’s check. The dealer then shredded the financing paperwork in my presence.
Whether you are financing or paying cash, you should always negotiate the price of the vehicle separately and first. From the moment of first contact with the sales rep, you should be talking about the price of the vehicle. If they try to talk monthly payments or financing, firmly state that you’d like to settle on the price of the vehicle first. Don’t reveal that you are not planning to finance until after you have the price you want in writing.
They totally negotiate for cash sales — it moves a car off the lot RIGHT NOW. That is a positive for them (not every dealership makes $$$ for financing — depends on who their financial sponsor is etc.) so they do like moving cars for full cash when they can plus it helps with sales quotas etc. You can play the — I will buy this right now for x and start with an x that’s a good discount.
I haven’t done it myself but I’ve heard they will penalize you for paying all cash and you should take a loan and just immediately pay it off (obviously you need to confirm the loan has no pre-payment penalties).
on the other hand, some dealers might give you a discount/rebate for paying them immediately.
I bought my current car with cash, and the dealership didn’t care whether I paid cash or did financing. We negotiated a dollar amount first, and then discussed cash vs. financing. The salesperson said the sale price wouldn’t change either way. Obviously ymmv. FWIW, this was at a Honda dealership at the very end of 2017 when they were trying to get the 2017 models off the lot. (I’d gone in thinking I would get certified pre-owned, but it ended up being a better deal to buy a new 2017 model based on what was in stock at the time.)
I bought an Audi for cash last year, and the dealer didn’t even blink. The advice I was given was to get the pricing agreed, and then tell them. However, the Audi dealer didn’t even bring up financing until later in the process. I think if you tell them once, clearly, they back off as they really want to sell a car.
It may depends on the car/dealer. A higher end or otherwise fairly expensive car bought new or nearly new- they aren’t really going to care. We financed a $70k BMW (at .9%) and we bought a $45k minivan (ugh) outright. both times we got the car price settled first and talked financing later.
When I was buying fairly used cars, it mattered a lot more. Showing up with a $10k check and taking the car off the lot was attractive.
We are buying a car today and got off the phone after a quick discussion since we could pay it in cash, or finance. Dealer said “up to you, just tell us if you want our finance guy at the table or not.” it had no bearing on price.
We just bought a car and were intending to pay in cash, but ultimately after we’d settled on the price, the financing they offered was ridiculously cheap (less than half of the rate on our mortgage) so we took it anyway (and plowed the extra cash into a mortgage prepayment since we were about to recast anyway). Our approach was to tell them we wanted to settle on price, had a financing option from our credit union and cash available and that we would take the best price and then go from there on what made the most sense for us. We found the C*stco auto program to be a great price for the car we wanted (shopped around), and the most pain-free approach, fwiw.
Go buy towards the end of the month. Dealers need to hit their sales targets, and will be more willing to negotiate.
We’ve bought 2 pre-owned cars with cash and got 10% off each just by saying: “I’ll buy it cash today for $X” on the 28th or 29th of the month.
Yes! We’ve always purchased our car at the end of the first quarter. We’re in the northeast and I’ve always assumed that between month and quarter-end goals, coupled with a snowy winter where inventory probably moves more slowly off the lots, there are deals to be had. I’ve always felt that we’ve come out ahead when buying our cars at this time of year.
I’ve done this twice but both with new cars. In both cases I test drove and decided what model I wanted. Then I contacted all the semi-local dealers online and asked for their best price on the exact model I wanted. Don’t remember if I mentioned it was a cash purchase at that point. After that, I just went with the lowest one. I realize you said pre-owned but if it’s a common recent model this could still work.
I have this cardigan/blazer and it makes me look dumpy (larger bust/recent weight gain in stomach and it emphasizes both of those in an unflattering way). I also don’t love the stitching. I do think it would be fun on others in casual offices though.
That’s a really helpful review. Thanks for sharing! I too am larger busted — sometimes extra fabric is good for camouflage, sometimes it just adds even more bulk…
Pregnancy and Unemployment
I posted late on the thread yesterday- thanks for those that replied and hoping to get a bit more insight. I am being laid off at the end of January. I have known for several months that this would happen as the grant that funds my position was not renewed and there are no similar roles that I can transition into. While I have been networking and applied jobs, I am also expecting a baby in mid-February. Am I eligible to apply for unemployment? If so, when should I do it? One thought would be to apply for the few weeks before the baby is born, not claim benefits for a month or so, and then pick it up again if needed once I could work again. Alternatively, I could wait to file a month or so after the baby arrives to file but wouldn’t want to lose my window of eligibility. I have health insurance through my husband and my company does not have a STD policy. I am in DC. We don’t desperately need the money and a period of unemployment that lasted more than 6 months would get tricky. Appreciate the insights as I want to comply with the legal restrictions of the program and this seems to be a gray area. Thank you!
If eligible generally, why wouldn’t you be able to collect unemployment before and after the baby is born? Why would you not claim benefits in between? You know there is no “maternity leave” when you’re unemployed, right?
Honestly, asking about eligibility from this board is not going to be useful to you you need to consult the state website for eligibility then make an appointment to apply.
You have to be actively looking for work to collect unemployment. Doubtful she’s going to be doing that with a three day old baby (understandably) so it seems dishonest at best to continuously claim the benefits.
You should apply for unemployment. In my state, this was followed up by a phone interview with a counselor, who told me when my benefits would start and what I needed to do. They may tell you that you need to look for a job, I think it was five applications or calls or interviews a week. You can either do those while you are on leave, or there is a process where you don’t claim for a week (say you were on vacation) and then you start claiming when you start looking. You have nothing to lose by applying and getting information from a counselor.
Unemployment laws vary GREATLY based on location, and there are usually lots of little technical rules to comply with. I know you give your location here, but there’s no way to know if the person responding is familiar with DC unemployment law or if the person is basing the response on a general understanding of how the system works in their jurisdiction. Because of that and because you specify you’re wanting to comply with the legal restrictions, you’re probably going to be best either calling whatever office administers the unemployment system in DC or a lawyer in the area. I hate to be that person, but if you’re concerned about losing eligibility, etc., you’d have to double check the responses here anyway, so it’ll save time and potential heartache to seek actual legal advice on this now.
Can you call the unemployment agency and ask?
I think it matters a lot by state. You may want to consult an employment lawyer. IANAL but I was laid off while 6 months pregnant. I got a full year severance package. I met with an employment lawyer who helped me negotiate my severance package and as an aside, she told me I was fully eligible to collect unemployment in parallel with my severance. Basically as long as it wasn’t during a time when I literally could not work (week of having the baby) and I could show that I was making efforts to find work, it was fair game. This was in MA but again, I had someone review the specifics of my situation. I think it had to do with the language in my severance agreement and the reason they gave for laying me off.
I had not thought I was eligible for unemployment, so it made my consult extra worthwhile (she also got an additional 3 months added to my package).
For what it’s worth- Last time I collected unemployment in DC (eight years ago or so), you had to apply for three jobs a week to continue to collect. I also never actually met with anyone in the employment office in person- the paperwork was all done online, including a form where you listed what jobs you applied for. I wasn’t seriously job searching because I had another job lined up a couple months away, so to fulfill the job search requirement, I would just submit three random online job applications a week, and call it done- most of the time it has nothing to do with my field, and were random retail jobs or things I found online. It was tedious, but once I got the routine down, it only took a couple hours a week to do. Anyhow, you should definitely call, because things probably have changed since then, but that as my experience.
Cute, supportive flats? I broke my ankle in August, and I can’t wear heels. I’m in PT right now, hopefully I can wear them some day. For now, I’ve primarily been wearing booties or boots. I’d like to add in a pair of flats that I can wear with a dress and tights. Suggestions? It is heartbreaking to open my closet and see so many beautiful heels wasting away.
When I broke my foot, Dansko shoes were a lifesaver. Not the most elegant footwear, but they enabled me to walk so I considered that a win. :) I ended up going with a mary jane style rather than the clogs. Good luck!!
How supportive and how casual?
Option 1: basically a sneaker disguised as a flat (though may be too bulky to wear with skirts). It’s pretty casual though. https://www.zappos.com/p/munro-lulu-black-snake-print/product/8833198/color/21250
Option 2: the dressy version of option 1, but probably less supportive.
Option 3: oxfords. I love this look but, at 42, think I need to be either older or younger for it. You should wear it on my behalf.
Option 4: Flats with a strap. This is the most formal version I could (quickly) find
My extremely stylish former boss broke her foot and wore lots of shoes like option 1 with her usual wardrobe. It looked great and very intentional.
I found ballet flats with elastic helpful, because they adapted to the amount of swelling in my foot. I added SuperFeet to them for support.
You need to tell your boyfreind to be more definitive and decisive. He sounds like he needs to be wound up and pointed in the right direction and will march, as long as you provide guidance. I think indecisive men are a real liability, kind of like a limp noodle. You need crisp decisive actions with a man, and it is not impossible to get men to become more decisive. Good luck as it sounds like you will have your work cut out for you.