Coffee Break: Emery Camel Suede

Fitzwell Emery Camel SuedeI realize these are not the most fashionable shoes — but for some reason I keep coming back to them. I like the muted suede colors, the comfortable heel height (2.25″) and stable heel, and I really like the kilt/belt feature on the vamp. It doesn’t hurt that they’re $56 and available in four colors (camel, black, grey taupe, and olive). Fitzwell Emery Camel Suede



  1. Wedding planning threadjack (not my own): Hair & makeup artists for the bride & bridal party? How much per person is customary in the NY/NJ area? How long before the ceremony is this done? How does the makeup stay fresh for all the pictures and still fresh for the ceremony? At my own wedding I did my own hair and makeup, which may not have been the wisest move, but it was certainly simpler.

    • Not in NY/NJ area, so can’t speak to costs, but in terms of timing:

      Hair is done super early – about 9:00/9:30ish. For my wedding, it was me + 3 sisters getting hair done – I went first and then zipped off with my mom to get other stuff done. LOTS of hairspray – it lasted until partway through dancing at which point it started getting wispy and pieces starting pulling out.

      Makeup was around lunchtime, I think. They do an excellent job and part of that is they put much more than you ever would on your own, plus primer, so it lasts. My makeup person told me to buy a blotting powder (I had the MAC one which I use for my regular makeup anyway) plus lipstick. Those were the only things that needed touch-ups.

      Do you have a wedding planner or day-of coordinator? They should have a schedule of all these things. If you don’t – I’d be happy to email you my old schedules as I can guess you may have a similar schedule/ceremony.

      • I just checked back and my makeup was done later – around 2 or 3 – but started earlier, around 12, with my sisters first. More people had makeup done than hair.

        • I think we’re on the same schedule – reception at 5:00 and ceremony at 6:00. I’m not using a coordinator because it’s not a gigantic wedding (by our standards :)), but getting stressed out nonetheless!

          • Exactly. Separate family photos were from about 2 to about 4:30 (couple/together photos between ceremony and dinner). Makeup from about 12 to about 3:30 depending on which photos people needed to be in. Hair from 9 to 12:30. Good luck planning :)

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      NYC suburbs – hair would probably be $100-150 for bridesmaids, depending on how complicated, and $150+ for the bride. Makeup artists (I visited/priced many) ranged from as little as $75pp for conventional makeup to up to $150 for airbrush. The woman I chose charged $100 for the bride’s airbrush, and $85pp for everyone else (and $65 for everyone else for non-airbrush). Makeup stayed fresh because it was airbrushed.

      • Thanks for the price info! Very useful.

        • I’m getting married in NYC – $300 for the bride’s hair, $85 for the bride’s makeup. For the bridesmaids – $100 for hair, $55 for makeup. We are having 3 people come to do hair and make-up for us (bride, 3 BMs, 1 jr. BM). We’ll start at 1pm, finish at 3:30. Photos are from 4pm to 5:45. Then off to the church. 6:30 pm ceremony.

          • Mind sharing who you are using?

          •….used them for my engagement photos and I was very happy with the results. They also have excellent on-line reviews.

    • Just want to add: Urban Decay Makeup Setting Spray is AWESOME!!!!

    • I got married on LI just over 3 years ago. The prices everyone else quoted for NYC was about right (I don’t remember because my mom paid the bill that day). We did hair at 10-12. Then makeup (our own), dressing, preliminary pictures btw. 1-3. Ceremony was at 4.

      I was just in a wedding (Totowa, NJ). An updo for the bridesmaids was $85. Blowout was $40. Makeup was only for the bride (we did our own or had one of the more talented bridesmaids do it). Hair at 9 a.m. Makeup & dressed by 1. Ceremony at 2:30.

  2. I really like these shoes.

    Just need to vent. Struggling to stay focused at work while pregnant, dealing with custody issues, and a stepkid who feels like taking everything out on me right now. Every day is just physically and emotionally exhausting and I hate feeling like I leave each day without getting enough accomplished.

    • TO Lawyer :

      I’m so sorry. I’ve never been pregnant or dealt with custody/stepkid issues but all I can say is cut yourself a bit of slack – you are growing an entire human! That is exhausting in the best of circumstances and you seem to be in an especially tough situation right now.

      Vent away – I have no constructive advice for you but I think you’re dealing with a lot right now. Can you maybe take some time away from the stepkid/custody problem? or try doing something to relax you? pre-natal massage?

    • KLG, I’m so sorry you’re in this boat, but I’m so glad I’m not alone. I too leave each day without getting much accomplished and am tired of it. I’m not dealing with custody issues, but I am pregnant and it hasn’t been “easy” (is it ever, really?). What I’m battling with the pregnancy really puts work/life in perspective and I’ve just got no motivation for the trivial tasks at work that I know need to be done (and on any other day I wouldn’t hate doing so much). I’m generally really happy with my career, and I know this is a phase. But, even when I dig down deep, I end up perusing these comments for something to entertain me or wishing I could just get home to my kid. It doesn’t help that we are *really* slow right now–so there’s no pressing brief to write or some deadline I need to cowboy up for.

      I’m at a loss…what do others here do to combat a lack of motivation? I’m generally all for tough love “just get to work” attitudes, but that isn’t working this time.

    • Congratulations on the pregnancy! I’m also with TO Lawyer — not sure what to advise, other than to vent away here. I hope your spouse is helping as much as possible with regard to keeping your stepkid in line in a loving manner. Yes, it’s a confusing time for her, but that doesn’t absolve her of the need to treat you (and her father) with respect.

    • My Stepkids' Mom :

      Dear KLG,

      We became empty nesters this fall when my younger stepkid left for college. Just want you to know that there *is* a light at the end of the tunnel. We still have many of the same issues (SD emotionally identifies with mom and blames us when we mention facts that she finds upsetting even though mom created those facts etc.), but we are not dealing with them

      I did not have kids with my husband, so I can’t comment on how that changes the dynamic in terms of the propaganda that your SD is hearing about you and how she will, in turn, treat you. But please know that there is, eventually, a let up.

      • Thanks all. My husband is definitely doing the heavy lifting where custody/stepkid are concerned and I appreciate the reminder that this isn’t forever. It’s just been a long couple of weeks and I hate that it’s all negatively impacting my ability to focus on work.

      • Could you clarify a little? It almost sounds like you’re saying things got better because SD went to college, but I’m sure you don’t mean it like that.

        As a step-daughter myself, I can say that I really hated my step-dad at first. No real reason. Just because he was there at all, I guess. He gave me my space and didn’t try to force a relationship, just waited it out. Things got much better after the first two years (long, long before college or even high school).

        OP, please just be empathetic to what your SD is going through. Honestly, this is probably much harder on her than you, because you have choice over certain things (like entering the family at all) and she does not.

        Congratulations on your pregnancy!

        • I agree. I was/am a stepchild. My stepmom bonded with us, let my dad do the dirty work for a while, and eased into a relationship. She read books about step-parenting and gave us space emotionally while still loving us, and let us come to her. Twenty-two years later, I consider her a parent and we have a great relationship; she’s “Grandma” to my kids. Doesn’t mean we never fought, but we argued as a parent-child: there was no resentment or fear on my part. I knew she loved me.

          Let’s just say my stepdad and I had the opposite experience.

          This is all to say: hang in there, OP. I remember being flummoxed as a kid when I’d hear adults essentially tell my mom that she dictated the terms of our interaction, not me. I was 8, I was confused, I was (not unjustifiably) angry, and I had zero control. The adults who loved me were my only place to vent this frustration, and I needed a safe place to do it. Keep being a rock, and it will someday pay off.

          • I think the frustration is that we’ve gotten along relatively well for 2.5 years (I married her dad 2 years ago) and then in last 2-3 months, I cannot say anything with her making a rude comment (and this includes when I am having a conversation with her dad or my mother in law and not even speaking to or about her and includes innocuous topics like how my eyes have been too dry to wear my contacts). I tried to fix it by reading in my room and then she complained to my husband that I wasn’t spending time with them. I am very empathetic but it just sucks to be treated like crap all the time even if she may have justifiable reasons for being angry about her situation.

    • Hug’s, but at least you are MARRIED and haveing a baby! YAY!!!!

      Like my dad say’s you can NOT sweat the littel thing’s, so just say FOOEY and move on!

      I understand thing’s are lookeing down, but be strong and you will get through it. I have to run now, so can’t give you to much advise, but HANG IN THERE! I see other’s have already given the same advise I give so I can just incorporate their coment’s by reference. YAY!!!!!!

  3. Fee for 1 hour consulting :

    Immediate TJ: I held a previous job in a somewhat niche industry XYZ, and a research firm contacted me via Linkedin because they have a client who wants to speak with “executives in XYZ”. They asked me whether I am interested and to tell them how much I charge for 1 hour of speaking (on the phone, share my experience, etc., nothing proprietary).

    They have a profile I have to fill out with my company and job title, and then a rate.

    Here are my questions 1. I wasn’t an executive at my company – should I still fill out the profile, and 2. how much should I say is my rate? I will of course be honest about my title, but if they still want to talk to me after that I’m certainly not opposed. I was thinking $75/hour.


    • amberwitch :

      I don’t know the market or going rate in the US, but I think you are seriously undervaluing your time. I wouldn’t go below 200$. But then I pay > 50% taxes so what do I know:-)

    • I’ve been on the other end of this a lot, paying these firms to talk to experts in their database. $75 does seem kind of low. I’ve paid anything from around $200 – thousands of dollars for an hour long interview (I guess the agency gets a cut of the money too). I think we once gave out $100 gift cards to people just for a 15 minute survey.

      Also, you probably know this, but don’t share any non-publicly available info about your company when you do talk to this client.

    • Med Consultant :

      I have paid for these types of interviews before and the rate depended on the credentials of the person. I went through an agency and these expert interviews were all medically related. Talking to physicians with 10-20 years experience cost about $750/hr, with $600 of that going to the expert and $150 to the agency. Nurses were less, about $250-300 total, with $200-$250 to the nurse and $50-100 to the agency. And specialist physicians were more.

      So $75 is way too low if you have at least a few years of expert experience. Hope this helps!

  4. New house or grad school :

    Hello, Hive. I’m currently debating whether or not I should prioritize buying a house or going to grad school (part time) this year. FI and I have saved up enough for a down payment and have been looking at homes. We are getting married next year so this would be our first place together. I originally wanted to plan for part time MBA this fall but as life happens, I’m behind on applications (deadline is in May) with the possibility of retaking the GMAT. I just feel overwhelmed, like I’m doing too much at once. I want to slow down but at the same time, I don’t want to look back and think I’ve wasted another year that could’ve been used towards completing my degree. Should I put off grad school for another year or start now since time is of the essence (FWIW, I’m 26 and FI is 27)?

    • Orangerie :

      Are you very certain you want to live in your current area for the foreseeable future? If you’re seriously considering grad school, you might also want to consider the possibility of a post-grad opportunity that requires relocation.

      My advice would be to work diligently on your applications for the next month and see how comfortable you feel submitting when May comes around. If you decide to apply this year, wait for the decision(s) to come back and take a big-picture look at your finances then.

    • Anonymous :

      Time is not of the essence for a part-time MBA at 26. This is silly talk.

      • Olivia Pope :

        I was going to say this (in a different tone!) Time does not seem to be of the essence for buying a home or going to grad school.

        Do you feel like time is of the essence because the part time program takes longer?

        Also, compare the financials for renting vs. buying for the next few years. DH and I bought our house because if we live in it for just three years, we will save compared to renting. Neither one of us will relocate out our area (basically ever).

      • Orangerie :

        Eh, I respectfully disagree. There was a thread about this late last week and I think there’s merits to pursuing a part-time MBA around that age, especially since the programs are often take year longer to complete than their full-time counterparts. Depending on when OP’s birthday falls, she could potentially be 30 by the time she graduates. That would put her in a great position to advance her career and still give her some breathing room to think about starting a family, if that’s what she wants.

        • Orangerie :

          Argh, there are* merits

        • Joanna Toews :

          A good point.

          Desperately trying to finish up my masters degree before the baby arrives in July

          • There’s a woman in my program whose due date is the week after graduation. I literally do not know how she is surviving the end of this semester and I admire her so much for powering through.

    • One very practical question — would you get financial aid for business school? And if so, would equity in your house be taken into account? If you have a big pile of downpayment cash sitting in your bank account, the school might assume you can put all of that towards tuition. I don’t know offhand what the rule is for equity, but you might want to look into it as it could make a big difference for your financial future.

    • For whatever it might be worth, I would definitely not recommend buying a house with a fiance before you’re married, at least not without a very tight contractual agreement that says what happens if you split up. I’ve seen people get into a lot of trouble that way, and neither the courts nor the mortgage companies are very helpful when it comes to dealing with splitting up an asset between unmarried folks. At the very least, don’t do it unless you can afford the mortgage on your own, because there’s nothing to force him to keep paying his half if he decides he’s OK with the credit hit.

      I also think that Orangerie makes a good point about potential relocation.

    • Meg Murry :

      I commented this on the last thread about part-time grad school, but I’ll add it again – you might be able to start taking the required classes before formally being admitted. The school I started at allowed you to take classes without pre-reqs before being formally admitted, so I took a stats class and an intro (but MBA-level) business course – the stats class was online, so it was even easier, and my company paid for part of it as tuition remission since it was work related. I would suggest looking into what classes you can take before “officially” starting the program, and if you can just jump into them while working on your application and GMAT.

      As to the house – are you planning to stay in the area for 5 to 7 years? Do you have enough money saved up for the house you want for the next 7-10 years (or more if the market falls out again)? I know many people advise that buying is better than renting, but I’ve known several people that lost a ton of money buying “starter” homes and then having to sell at a loss or break even when they wanted to trade up to a bigger house – and when you add in closing costs, realtor fees, taxes and improvements they made they would have been further ahead just renting for those 5-7 years. Or they were stuck in the “starter” home for way longer than they wanted to be because they weren’t willing to sell at a loss/break even in a down economy.

    • Thanks for all the replies so far! FI and I are putting down 50% down payment. The house size is large enough in case we decide to have kids in the future. I remember in last week’s thread, the poster had worries about being a reapplicant which is why I’m debating on holding off for one more year.

      • Anonymous :

        Why are you putting down 50 %? That’s a really odd choice in light of the low mortgage interest rates. Will you be borrowing to attend school? It probably makes more sense to pay less on your house and borrow less for school.

        • Kontraktor :

          Agreed at that. 50% down seems a little odd. I might look into a 25-30% down payment (or at least as much to avoid extra mortgage insurance) and then maybe a 15 year fixed mortgage? Of course I have no idea about the financial situation of the OP, but I imagine putting 50% down might liquidiate much of available savings, which might not make much sense in the midst of paying off a wedding, potentially borrowing for school, etc.

        • No, I’ll be using my savings for grad school. I’ll talk to FI about signing the papers now before we buy the house and having the ceremony next year as planned.

    • Sounds to me like you want to get moving on everything in your life at once. I would recommend one major life change at a time.

      And highly recommend not buying a house before you are married.

  5. I’m feeling the need for a fun thread to get my mind of stabby-feeling-inducing work, so how ’bout a round of: “my life does not suck today because ___” ??

    My life does not suck today because I just superduper love my apartment, I think it is my favorite place in the entire world right now, and the jasmine is blooming outside my door so it smells delicious everytime I step outside. And because I am getting ready for a fun-only trip to New Orleans in a few weeks. And because Netflix. ;o)

    Ok, your turn!!

    • Sydney Bristow :

      My life does not suck today because it looks like my JCrew pants that were on backorder until April 2nd are back in stock and should arrive in time for my trip!

    • Baconpancakes :

      My life does not suck because even though I was super sick last week, could barely eat anything, and was in pain most of the week, I feel way better now! Not sure if this really counts for this exercise, but in no small part due to my lack of eating last week, my clothes feel looser and look much better on me, so yay?

      • Meg Murry :

        to quote The Devil Wears Prada – “I’m just one stomach flu away from my goal weight!”

    • My life does not suck today because, although I am in the middle of two weeks in hell at work, I can look forward to visiting my son at college on Friday and going with him to hear Keb’ Mo. I can only stay there one night and so will have to do the 17-hour round-trip drive in two consecutive days (see aforesaid mention of work hell) but it will be worth it.

      • Oh, I am so envious of your jasmine plant. I used to have one outside my bedroom window and loved it.

        My day does not suck today because I am very happy with the lunch salad I cobbled together from leftover quinoa and roast chicken, and because I had Girl Guide cookies for breakfast.

      • Anon for this :

        My life does not suck today because I found that (I think) my SO called my father in the past couple of days to ask for his permission.

        OK, that sounded kind of like a Taylor Swift song, but seriously, eeeee!!!

    • My life does not suck today because even though I’m bored to tears at my job, I’m starting a new job I really want in just a few short weeks!

    • Miss Behaved :

      My life doesn’t suck because my Caribbean vacation starts next Wednesday (T – 7 days!). Unfortunately, there’s a snowstorm in the forecast for this evening.

    • My life does not suck because Trader Joe Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups exist.

      • You may have changed my life.

        • Hopefully for the better. Beware, those little suckers are addictive!

          • I got them for my BF but have resorted to putting them on the top shelf of my cabinet so I’m separated from them by a stepladder and a closed door.

          • anon-oh-no :

            the step-ladder and closed closet door does nothing to stop my consumption of those.

          • Stepladders and closed doors also present no obstacle to me.

            Did any of you ever read _Frog and Toad Together_ by Arnold Lobel? One of the stories in that book is when they baked a ton of cookies together. The cookies turned out to be super-delicious, and Frog and Toad couldn’t stop eating them, even if they put them in a box, tied a string around the box, and put the box on a really high shelf that required a stepladder…. I think of that story whenever I get past these artificial obstacles I’ve tried to put in front of myself. :-)

          • Silvercurls :

            Frog and Toad are wonderful literary companions. I enjoyed reading them to my son when he was younger. When he outgrew the books, I kept them. Yes, I’m sentimental (when not ranting) and a packrat.

      • Amen!

    • My life does not suck because I get to do volunteer work tonight (NEVER happens with little kids/crazy work schedules in a two-career household). It also doesn’t suck because we’re moving into a new house on Friday. Hurrah!

    • My life doesn’t suck because even though I’m a bit stressed at work, it’s still fun working with the students… and I have two fun guests coming in the next few weeks – my SO and the person who started this thread!

    • kjoirishlastname :

      My life does not suck today because I was distraught earlier (since Friday) with stress, and begged a vent session with a girlfriend. We ended up talking for over an hour (before I even left for work! Mental Health time!), and she was able to both listen, and reinforce some things that I needed help with. My life does not suck today because I have wonderful friends who love me a lot. Despite all the stressful things in my life right now.

      My life does not suck today because despite my overwhelming workload at my office, it is a chance for me to prove to my boss that I am worthy of the money that I am fixing-to-get-ready-to ask for (a big fat raise), while doing another employee’s work who left for a different job. It is job security for me.

    • My life does not suck because I ran an awesome videoconferenced meeting today and at least 3 people who attended said good things about it to me afterwards.
      Also, I put in some extra effort today with my makeup (eyeliner, mascara) and I like how it looks!

    • Senior Attorney :

      My life doesn’t suck today because I went home for lunch today on the spur of the moment and found my son all manned up and taking care of business after having procrastinated for the past couple of weeks about some things that need to be done before he reports to his next duty station. Yay!

    • Anonymous :

      its my wedding anniversary and the first time my dad has managed to wish me a happy anniversary. we had a huge falling out over my wedding/marriage (9yrs ago), and he didn’t come to our reception and we weren’t on speaking terms for a number of years. this means a whole whole whole lot to me.

    • My life doesn’t suck today because I have a husband and cat that mean the world to me. I love our little family and look forward to coming home to them every day.

    • My life does not suck today because while I have been working past midnight every day for the past two weeks, my husband has sent me to work every morning with a lunchbox of home-cooked food with enough to last for both lunch and dinner. Which he has been making between 9pm and midnight, after he gets home from work. (I should note that I have a severe dairy and soy allergy, and therefore Seamless is not a good option for me.)

    • My life does not suck today because I just accepted a job offer and will be moving to the UK after Easter. I’m part scared, part excited!

    • Maggie P. Dixon :

      My life does not suck today because for the first time in many months, my IBD is under control (due less to medication — although I’ve been taking my meds diligently, they didn’t work as they have in the past. It was by getting, reading, and following the advice in the book “What to Eat with IBD” which entailed cutting out all fiber — that things settled down. Finally feeling healthy after months of feeling like total crap! Invisible chronic illnesses suck. But today I feel healthy so to quote that great philosopher Ellen, FOOEY to IBD and YAY that today I’m feeleing well!

  6. Anyone know if/how I can cancel part of an Amtrak ticket?

    Husband and I are going on a weekend trip. He bought round trip train tickets for us together (one reservation), but I’ve just found out that I need to travel for work and am flying out of the vacation city directly. Not sure if Amtrak will refund us the 1 return trip ticket (or if I should risk them accidentally cancelling the whole reservation).

  7. Budget thread :

    What is your monthly budget for clothing/shoes/accessories/beauty/makeup purchases? What is your position and industry?

    I’m curious because I recently started using Mint and realized that I’m spending $300 a month and DH thinks that is “really high.” I’m a 5th year in BigLaw.

    • How are the choices of other readers–whose income, position, values, tastes, and marriages vary from your own–relevant to your household budget or your spouse’s concerns regarding your spending?

      • They’re relevant because sometimes, people want context. Not necessarily to slavishly follow the pack, whatever that might be.

        • Exactly, thank you Susedna. Just as a means of comparison.

        • This is an interesting question because I have been thinking that I need to put myself on a clothing/shoes budget. Not because I am spending beyond my means, but I feel like I’m just buying too much because I like to shop and I love new clothes and shoes. I’d like to put the brakes on a bit because I’d like to save more. Susedna, I like the fact that you have a quarterly budget for this rather than monthly because it allows for some larger expenditures over a longer period of time.

          • Senior Attorney :

            I have cut way back this year and have found I’ve been a lot more discerning in my purchases now that I’m actually taking my budget seriously.

            Also, I made a spreadsheet and I’m entering all my 2014 purchases and am keeping track of how often I wear them and the declining cost per wear of each item. It’s been fun and interesting and kind of surprising.

          • More on the quarterly budget, for folks who want to do that. These are my general practices, in case people want to collect more data!

            1) I don’t do a level budget for each quarter — it really should depend on your own consumption patterns and what you need.

            For example, I give myself a little bit more for Q1, which includes January, because I like to have a bit of extra spending power for the January sales. My Q2 and Q3 budgets are a lot smaller, because I have a glut of spring clothes and summer dresses. Q4 is larger because sometimes, really gorgeous things show up around the holiday season.

            2) I allow rollover. If I didn’t spend everything in Q1, the remainder gets rolled into Q2.

            3) The total expenditure for all 4 quarters = X% of my annual net income. That X% is something I am comfortable with and something my DH is comfortable with.

            The DH and I sit down each year to do our budget, and setting our respective “play/entertainment/non-necessary-but-fun expenditures” is one of the things we do. Neither of us has set an X% that has caused any objections. And once we’ve both accepted and “approved” our budget, there’s no backseat shopping or second-guessing of purchases. That’d be petty, micromanagey, and if it continued, it’d be a fast-track to a few really hard conversations with me. And at this point in life, I know most people would consider “hard conversation with me vs time spent with the Stasi” to be a toss-up.

            We do quarterly check-ins (these are brief chats!) just to see if we’re doing well — mostly to see if we’re meeting our savings targets and whether we think there’ll be any big expenditures that we have to adjust our budgeting for. This is, tops, a 30-min conversation.

    • I’ve probably spent approx. $300 since January 1st. However, I make no where near as much as someone in BigLaw (gov’t attorney), and I’ve been really focused on paying down credit card debt (one payment away from being cc debt free: holla). So FWIW I don’t think that $300 a month for someone with your (presumably large) salary is unreasonable at all, provided that your finances are otherwise in order and you don’t have any outstanding credit card debt, for example.

    • baseballfan :

      I average about $150. Manager in corporate tax dept (fairly tenured vs. my title; my previous job involved responsibilies different enough that I had to take a step back to make the…I earn more than most others with my same title).

    • Mine is about $120 per month. I’m a regional controller (accountant) in a large international company.

    • I used to have $200 as a budget but lately $300 is more realistic. I’m in management in the finance industry, not in NY/LA/Chicago and probably make less than you do in BigLaw.

    • Anon for this :

      $500 a month, senior associate in BigLaw. This includes everything like waxes, haircuts, moisturizer, etc. I don’t always spend that much but 75% of the time I do.

    • hahahaha $300 a month is “really high”? I spend between $1000-1500. also in biglaw, slightly more junior. not saying my budget is desirable, but I think you are not out of line (depending, of course, on all your other financial considerations).

      there have been a few long threads on this in the past.

    • Anon BigLaw :

      I’m a partner in BigLaw and I’ve never spent anywhere near $300/month. Not that I haven’t wanted to, but if it wasn’t working all sorts of crazy hours when I was Bridget Jones, it was working all sorts of crazy hours b/c I have small kids and a big juggle. I’ve ordered (and returned) a lot of clothing and shoes and have dream-shopped for accessories. I’m a season late on a haircut. I’d like to have results like that in terms of successful shopping :)

      But if it has been that over your 5 years in BigLaw, are you sure you’re buying quality items / not emotional-shopping / making sure to shop your closet first / stuffing your apartment full of things you don’t wear? Maybe that’s what he’s getting at? If it’s all quality and it’s all getting worn regularly and you have room for it, maybe that’s the right #. And if you’ve changed sizes at all or your workplace went from business formal (easy but expensive — just buy suits) to casual or business casual (harder and more expensive and more prone to making buying choices that don’t work), tha tmay make sense. [I have old house = no closet space = this wouldn’t work for me.]

    • I break my budget down into subcategories, so it’s $300 for clothing, $100 for shoes and accessories, and $175 for “personal care” (includes all toiletries, makeup, and hair–I don’t get waxes or mani/pedis, but if I decided to splurge it would have to be squeezed into this category).

      I have these budgets set to rollover because some months I’ll spend nothing, and then in other months it seems like all of my expenses happen like hair appt and makeup running out.

      I’m a third year attorney in a market that pays a little under major market Biglaw.

      I agree with the other comments that all of this is relative. I’ve had friends judge what I spend in the above categories, while totally ignoring that I spend $20 max (if anything) per month on eating out and entertainment while they eat out nearly every night and go to ticketed events every weekend. Just different preferences.

    • Anonymous :

      My clothing spending probably works out to somewhere between $100 and $150 a month (I’m also a Biglaw associate, a bit more junior than you). However, I’m aware that compared to my peers I have really cheap clothing tastes – I buy a lot of work staples at The Limited, Target and Payless and the only thing I have that remotely resembles ‘designer’ clothing is a few high-quality leather Coach purses. I’ve also been trying to save pretty aggressively and would rather cut clothing than travel or nice restaurants from my budget. Your clothing budget seems fairly typical for people in your situation, based on my experience. I know people who spend a lot more.

      • This is me

      • This is very similar to me too. I spend $150 on clothes per month. I probably make about a third of what you make. I don’t buy shoes, accessories, or makeup very often at all (once a year?).

        Depends on the beauty product, but I lump shampoo, moisturizer, etc. in with groceries on

    • Anonymous :

      Probably $75/month. Midlevel research.

      If I added up everything I’d spend in a perfect world, it would be maybe $200/month.

    • My monthly “allowance” for unnecessaries is $250/mo, which DH also thinks is a lot (I am a junior associate in small law). I think you are well within reason, provided you are not living on the outer limits of your means. In general, I think people who do not clothes shop absent a specific need (i.e. my favorite pants have a hole in them, must acquire new pants) just have a hard time with the idea of spending money on clothes/jewelry/shoes, etc. on a regular basis. However, I would venture to guess that there is something your DH spends money on that isn’t strictly necessary either (for example, my H doesn’t think twice about going out for lunch almost every day of the week, which probably costs more than $250/mo). I am not saying to figure out what that thing is a throw it in his face, but I do think you should have a conversation about how you each spend money and come to an agreement on an amount that *each* of you can spend each month on whatever you want without repercussion.

    • AnonLawMom :

      Similar situation to you. Just forced myself to a $300/mo clothing budget (using Mint too). I think this is really low but I like to buy items in the $300 range so it limits me to really one purchase per month most of the time (like, one nice dress or one nice pair of shoes). In a few months I’ll loosen up to $400/mo once I have met some other financial goals.

    • Senior Attorney :

      My budget is $300/month for clothing/shoes/accessories and about $200/month for hair. Mani/pedi’s come out of my “personal spending” allowance but have pretty much gone by the wayside at this point.

      The clothing budget is about half what it’s been over the past few years but I am in Reduced Circumstances due to the marital separation, plus my closets are full and I want to be more discerning about what I buy going forward.

      And also? I think those shoes are fugly! Sorry, Kat!

    • anon-oh-no :

      I tried to figure this out last year, and i really dont have a budget. That said, averaging my spending across the year for clothing/shoes/accessories, I’d say its about $800 a month. I’m a biglaw partner. who likes clothes. a lot.

    • Killer Kitten Heels :

      4th year boutique firm lawyer with a biglaw salary in NYC, and I spend around $300/$350 month on clothes/shoes/accessories/beauty, not including the cost of my hair and esthetician appointments. I don’t actually spend the same amount every month though – I usually make big purchases ($600-800) once per season, and then supplement with occasional random things between large purchases.

      I also find my expenditures are slowing down as I’ve succeeded in replacing cheaper, “disposable” stuff with better-quality items (i.e. I have one amazing bag that I carry to work every day instead of a rotating cast of 3-4 cheap bags that I’m not totally happy with and that need to be replaced frequently).

    • $300/month ($3600/year) for all of that sounds incredibly reasonable, given your salary + bonus as a fifth year, which I’m assuming is close to or more than $200K if you’re in a major market.

    • Kontraktor :

      Hard to say. Maybe $200-400 / month, depending on what I need to buy. I may average buying anywhere from 1 to 5 clothes/shoes/handbag/workout items per month, depending on what events I have, what I’m cleaning out, what’s on sale, etc. I usually only buy things on sale, relative to wardrobe holes or things I need, so some months there aren’t any deals and others there seem to be a lot of wish list items at a good price point. My makeup/hair purchases sometimes seem to run out at the same time. I buy drugstore brand makup, but go through a $12 bottle of foundation about once every 4 weeks and a $14 compact of powder every 3 weeks or so. Hairspray, razors, etc. all seem to run out sort of quickly too. I thread eyebrows maybe every 3 weeks at a cost of $12 and when my nails are longer, I may get hand polish changes every 2 weeks or so at $10 each. Rarely get haircuts (trying to grow out), don’t wax regularly or do massages/facials/etc. I’m a financial consultant in the bay area.

    • Director level at a tech company. I spend mayyyyube $200/quarter. I work from home a lot, though so my work clothes vary from yoga pants to full suits.

    • 1k/mo on clothes and shoes, doesn’t include hair, makeup etc.

  8. I…really don’t like these shoes. I think the heel is too delicate for the rest of the shoe. Or maybe the toe is too pointy for the ruggedness of the suede/fringe? IDK. They just seem sort of…confused to me.

    • I think you’re right – the proportions seem off and I think it’s the pointy toe’s fault.

      • I purchased these shoes off of Zappos and returned them. They look a little…weird. And, in my 25 year old brain, a little old lady-ish.

        The fringe was also really weird…

  9. Brand Recs? My spring-break tan is fading :( Bonus points if it’s good for sensitive skin, I tried Covergirl and broke out like crazy.

    • embrace your fading tan as a sign that it is still March?

      For what it’s worth, when I want a little sun-kissed look (on my blonde/hazel/fair Irish skin), I usually use Bare Escentuals Warmth just on the bridge of my nose, tops of my cheeks and tip of my chin.

      • Why? That’s why bronzer exists.

        My favorite two are NARS Laguna and Givenchy Poudre Bonne Mine Healthy Glow Powder. Both have been fine for my semi-sensitive skin.

  10. Miz Swizz :

    We’ve been saving up for a down payment and closing costs and are dangerously close to putting an offer on a house. Which I now realize we’ll need to furnish, so we’re trying to cut way back on spending for a couple of months so we can buy a couch and window treatments and a few other incidentals. Does anyone have a sneaky way of cutting expenses for the short term? Obviously eating out and coffee shops are the first to go.

    • Anonymous :

      Cancel cable. It’s only a few months and you’ll be busy anyway. Start selling stuff you don’t want to move. Stop eating out entirely, ever. It really adds up. Drink less/cheaper. Buy the cheapest possible toiletries.

    • Orangerie :

      Gym membership? Maybe exercise more outside if the weather is beginning to warm up in your area.

      Also, since you’re planning to move soon, perhaps consider cancelling the cable bill a few months early.

    • hoola hoopa :

      You don’t pay mortgage the first month, so you may be able to count the rent or previous mortgage that you would have paid that month depending on move timing.

    • Window coverings are so much more expensive than they should be. Consider going with cheap but functional roller or pleated shades until you get more settled. You can easily spend thousands on just a few windows, and not even the most expensive stuff!

      • Hmm, not more expensive than they “should be”, but more expensive than most people expect.

    • Meg Murry :

      Give yourself a cash only budget envelope for anything you consider splurge-y, and when its gone, its gone. Its amazing how much less I want fancy coffee or food from a drive through or even a fancy dinner out when I have to part with cold hard cash for it instead of just mindlessly swiping a card.

      Also consider having a certain amount of money directly transferred from your checking account to a new savings account on set intervals (like payday). If the money isn’t there, you can’t spend it, right?

    • Senior Attorney :

      I urge you to keep saving until you have a good amount of cash on hand after closing. You are going to want to furnish and decorate the house, plus you never know what repairs might suddenly become urgent. If you’ve spent every penny on the down payment/closing costs you are going to be frustrated at best and in a jam at worst.

      That said, when I got close to buying my house years ago I decreased my federal income tax withholding to raise some extra cash, on the theory that the mortgage interest over the second half of the year would even things out at tax time. It’s risky and you should talk to a tax advisor, but it’s something to think about.

      • Miz Swizz :

        We’ve got enough money to cover our costs and have a little extra but I’m thinking we could stand to build up our cushion a little, hence the question. I’m sure we’ll live more frugally in general while we get used to paying for owning a home too.

    • Cornellian :

      gym memberships, anything monthly you can pick back up, hair/nails/etc, maybe cut down on any sort of service (landscaping or cleaning) that you currently get.

      You have good instincts. I moved in to my empty new apartment and slept on the couch for weeks until i could afford a bed, and am still paying off move-in credit card debt 6 mos later :/

  11. Houston Hair Help :

    I just moved to Houston and am due for a hair appointment-I have no idea where to go! Any recs? I am more picky about the color (highlights) than the cut (long layers).

  12. Gail the Goldfish :

    This morning’s thread made me realize I need suggestions for easy yet healthy lunch and dinner. My vegetable intake is really low and carbs higher than I’d like. Right now I usually just eat a lean cuisine for lunch and/or dinner, because I’m lazy and microwaving is easy. (though I have been making omelets for dinner a lot). What are some things I could make that are quick but healthy and not a salad and could be easily take work for lunch? (because I get bored with salads quickly and they go bad)

    • Vegetable soups, stews, chili, or bean salads are easy.

    • Orangerie :

      What about making a batch of couscous or quinoa mixed with a lot of veggies early in the week, and bringing it for lunch with leftover protein from dinner the night before? Grilling a chicken breast or two takes a minimal amount of time (probably about the same as an omelet).

    • Canned chickpeas are a great, filling side dish. I mix them with quinoa or brown rice – can add marinara sauce or eat plain.

      • Clementine :

        I have a bigger list, but suggested putting a vinegar based dressing on something and am lost in moderation limbo…

        Brief list: Parfaits, switch to sprouted grain bread for more protein (if you go for carbs), buy a rotisserie chicken and use it to make fajitas, chicken salad, etc.

    • Clementine :

      Big pot of quinoa- eat on everything. Avocado and tuna mashed together and eaten on salad/crackers/cucumber slices/sprouted grain bread. Heck- mix together chunks of avocado, tomato, and chicken with quinoa and add a vinegarette. Buy a rotisserie chicken and make fajitas/soup/chicken salad/etc. from that. Make a pot of chili and freeze individual portions. Freeze a bunch of chicken breasts in individual ziplocs already marinated and cooked so all you need to do is zap ’em and cut ’em up and you have a chicken breast. Throw some frozen broccoli on the side and you’re good. Oatmeal or a sweet potato (both of which you make in the microwave) are great for lunch.

      …My husband travels very frequently for work and although I say all these things, I definitely had yogurt for dinner last night. OH! Yogurt parfaits. Frozen berries, yogurt, nuts or granola all put in a container. That’s another good lunch.

    • This doesn’t work for lunch, but for dinner my husband and I have been really enjoying what we call “Scrounging” or “Platter Dinners” for the past year. Basically, we get out a cutting board and fill it up with whatever fresh fruits and veggies we have around, plus some nice cheese and maybe some high end cured meats, if we have them. So, for example, a typical night might include some bleu cheese, crackers, raspberries, carrots, a cut-up avocado, and a sliced bell pepper. It’s quick, it’s healthy, its delicious, it’s not a salad, and it means that we actually eat all of the veggies we buy.

      • I could eat like that every day (with some good bread if I have it around). We’ll often do pickles, olives, slices of cheese, oranges, sometimes salami, and anything other quick and easy items we might have around. So easy and so good!

    • Check out the recipe for “Zoodles” on the site Nom Nom Paleo. It’s zucchini noodles with marinara sauce and meatballs, which you could easily take in a thermos and get in vegetables, protein, and nutrients.

    • My easy lunch is an apple and maybe a slice of Wasa with peanut butter. My easy dinner is either sauteed chicken or chicken and apple sausage with green beans, carrots, and grape tomatoes with a little hummus.

    • I love sauteed frozen spinach. Mixed with garlic, olive oil, and some feta or goat cheese I’ll eat it for lunch/dinner along with some bread or quinoa. Its also yummy thrown into scrambled eggs.
      Otherwise bean soups/chicken chili is the way I sneak veggies into my lunches.

    • I alternately between leftovers and salads. If I make a soup/chili/gumbo, I package up a couple of lunch portions in glasslock containers that either go to the freezer or into the fridge for easy to grab lunches. I also made stuffed peppers this week (ground turkey and mushrooms with some cheese on top) that will travel well for a lunch. We hard-boil a dozen eggs each week for quick breakfast, egg salad, or chopped up on lettuce.

    • This recipe: with a side of veggies of some kind. It’s yummy, healthy, and incredibly fast and easy.

    • I find that having a strategy can be more helpful than prescribing recipes:

      1) Buy the kinds of produce that last longer. Kale, cauliflower, squash, eggplant, onion all come to mind. Roast vegetables that you prefer eating roasted at the beginning of the week and they’ll be ready to heat up.

      2) Think of creative ways to eat your veggies. Mashed cauliflower and pureed butternut squash are replacements for mashed potatoes. Green wraps instead of tortillas for making lunch wraps, which you can stuff with anything.

      3) Make protein the center of your meal and build from there. This can be a meat or veggie protein, like beans, tofu, or greek yogurt.

      4) If your protein source does not have fat, add a source of a small amount of healthy fat: avocado, nuts, or high-quality cheese.

      5) Add your veggies! You can incorporate them into your main dish (stir fry, wraps, sandwich, etc) or have them as a separate side.

      6) Add a high-quality carb. Feeling super healthy? Have a big piece of fruit. Want something heartier? Select whole wheat bread or a small portion of pasta.

      7) Flavor with no-calorie condiments and spices. Put some balsamic vinegar in that salad or sandwich. Sprinkle lemon juice on your veggies. Spice up your soups with curry. Get creative.

    • Stir fries are easy, especially if you use pre cut or frozen veggies from the grocery store.

    • Not a meal but I’ve been trying to snack more on baby carrots or add them to my lunch (because it’s easy to throw a handful in a sandwich bag and run out the door).

    • I’ve started making healthy lunches since I realised what I was eating at the cafeteria was 90% refined carbohydrates and sodium. This is what works for me (lunch or dinner): packs of pre-packaged vegetables you can microwave in the bag to steam (i’m sure there must be a US equivalent?) . I buy two/three packets of week and eat half a pack for lunch every day. I get packs with a different mix of veg, so I don’t get sick of just one veg. This is assuming you have a fridge and microwave at work.

      Then I’ll just bring a cooked protein everyday from home to reheat at the office. If you don’t want to cook anything the night before, just buy a pack of chicken breasts, rub each one with a different spice (oriental mix, curry, italian herbs …etc.) and bake them all the Sunday night. They keep in the fridge until the Friday, and I find that using different spices make it more interesting. Otherwise, a can of tuna mixed with some cottage cheese (as the mayo). Or buy a rotisserie chicken and eat that all week. For some reason I don’t like cooking red meat ahead of time, but I will buy a pack of burgers and cook one the night before to bring into work. You could also cook a big pot of rice/quinoa/couscous/pasta and bring that in as well.Oh, and a healthy relish for burgers/chicken that I love is some greek/bulgarian yoghurt with cucumber, garlic and lemon juice (homemade tzatziki). Smoked chicken and avo is another easy lunch which will full you up.

      For dinner, I also buy pre-packaged stirfry veg and fry that up with some chicken/beef/eggs/tofu and some eggs. Pre-packaged (mixed chopped veg) soup mix is also good in winter.

      As you can tell I’m a big fan of prepared veg packs. Expensive, but as a single person with a tiny kitchen, they are the most convenient and an easy way to get all my veg in. I’m not really a sauce person, and don’t mind eating the same thing days on end, so this might not work for you if you like proper ‘meals’ or lots of variety.

    • Lentils. So good and so filling. You can get the precooked ones at TJ or just make a big batch once a week.

      Also, canned chickpeas – I make a “salad” with cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and avocado + what herbs I have on hand.

      If you like omelets, make frittatas or tortilla Española for lunch – great at room temperature.

  13. Has anyone tried Bodybrite and willing to share their experience?

  14. D'Orsay for Dummies :

    Seriously, why can’t I wear these shoes without them falling off? Is there secret shoe glue? Do you size down for D’Orsay style? What gives – I have to know because I’m liking the new Tory Burch Viv flats.

    • I have never been able to wear D’orsay pumps and I’m not even a narrow width. Just can’t walk in them, they fall off, flop around, etc. I thought it was just me!

    • I just looked at the Viv and it’s open on BOTH sides – forget it. I can’t even wear the ones that are open on one side. Alas.

    • I think it depends on your foot. I can wear D’Orsay pumps with nary an incident and yet my feet pop out of almost all ballet flats within a few wears. I will say that it’s easier with a bare foot and I don’t size up because I assume the shoe will stretch a bit.

      • I also do much better in d’Orsays than shoes that have a side all the way around. FWIW, I have a wide toebox, narrow heels, and very high arches that do not collapse.

    • Could you have wide feet and be buying shoes that are too long? Signed, size 9W who used to buy size 10M.

  15. Would you apply? :

    I saw a job posting for an in-house employer who would be my dream employer. The organization is in the field in which I work, but they are looking for a transactional attorney, whereas my background is almost all litigation. Is it worthwhile to apply based on my background in the field and general good lawyer pedigree, or should I wait for a posting from them that’s litigation-based? FWIW, this is the first posting from this employer that I’ve seen in the 2.5 years or so that I’ve been looking at in-house jobs. I’m a mid-to-senior level law firm associate.

    • Anonymous :

      Absolutely apply. Worst case scenario , they don’t hire you. And a year down the road when they are looking for someone more like you, it will be clear you’re interested in them.

    • It can’t hurt to apply, but to be honest, if they’re looking for a transactional person, your chances of snagging the job are slim. There is a big difference in skills between a transactional (at least commercial) and litigation associate, and unless you have some of those contract drafting, risk assessment, and negotiation skills, you’re at a significant disadvantage; please disregard if the position is more governance or compliance oriented. Chances are there will be plenty of people with transactional experience looking to move in-house (most of my friends at large firms are).

    • Normally I’m on team apply, but I’m in-house and whenever we post a transactional job, we get thousands of litigator resumes that we don’t even look at because there are thousands of transactional lawyers applying too. I’d just not bother wasting your time unless you’re in some geography where you think this company won’t be able to get many applicants at all.

    • Apply. I was a litigation associate at a firm that landed a transactional in-house position about 5 years into my career. I thought carefully about all the different ways my litigation background had exposed me to the transactional skills the company was seeking. In the end, like with a lot of jobs, it can depend on how big/small the department is, how much they need someone to walk in with a specific skill set, and how much the department values fit. You won’t know unless you apply.

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