Tuesday’s Workwear Report: Lois Dress

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

I spied this pretty green flare dress from Hobbs a few weeks ago while doing one of our Hunt roundups, and even though I doubt it would work on my curvy body type (self-belted looks never do), I still think it’s a pretty look for work if you like the way it fits you. I love that there are pockets and sleeves, and the keyhole neckline is interesting without being revealing. It’s $290, but you can take an additional 20% off online until Feb. 25 with code PRES20. Lois Dress

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

(Looking for more Presidents’ Day sales for workwear (many of which are still going on)? Here’s our full post. Notably, the Nordstrom Winter Sale continues until Feb. 26, and the Uniqlo sale we blogged about yesterday ($9 for cashmere!) is still going on.)

(FYI: we’re in the midst of updating our affiliate link disclosures. This post doesn’t actually contain any.)


  1. Paris Attire :

    I’m going to Paris for a week in the first half of April and I need advice on what to pack (and what to buy). I work in a business professional/formal environment – sheath dresses for days over here. My non-work wardrobe isn’t frumpy, but isn’t a whole lot more than skinny jeans, ballet flats, tshirts, sweaters, and the occasional nice silk-y shirt from BR or JCrew). BR, JCrew and Loft are my typical go-tos, mostly out of convenience.

    We’re spending 5 nights in Paris proper, which will include a fancy river boat dinner cruise (‘formal attire’). The other nights will be a mix of low key dining out and maybe 1-2 other nicer dinners, although not necessarily ‘formal.’

    I have no idea where to start. I used to be generally stylish, I think, but the 60+ hr week, business professional office has taken over my wardrobe, and I love me some leggings and yoga pants on the weekends. Suggestions on general style to help me not stick out like an American tourist when we are not at otherwise touristy locations would be most helpful.

    • Anonymous :

      dark skinny jeans or black leggings with a black/dark sweater/top + ballet flat or boots/booties won’t make you stick out. Europeans generally, and French especially, tend to wear dark colors.

    • Your current wardrobe sounds great for Paris! When I studied there, go to day clothes were skinny jeans, cute booties/flats, sweater/silk shirt, topped with a blazer. I never wore leggings in public except to run and I still got stared down on the walking parts of my run. Also — shopping =)

    • What about to dinner (the formal boat dinner aside)?

      • In addition to your basics, my Parisian travel basics include a black dress (that doesn’t wrinkle, and can be dressed down), trench + umbrella, and a few scarves.

        • Can you or anyone share a link to a dress similar to what you have in mind?

          • http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/eliza-j-bell-sleeve-dress-regular-petite/4568090?origin=category-personalizedsort&fashioncolor=BLACK

            http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/kendall-kylie-open-back-body-con-dress/4546264?origin=category-personalizedsort&fashioncolor=BLACK (throw on a jacket for daywear)

            Basically, you’re looking for just a nice, packable black dress that could go from day to night.

    • Be prepared for showers and bring shoes which can take a bit of wet. Jeans, a blazer and cool sporty shoes (Stan Smiths and the like) are functional for sightseeing and will be fine for dinner in most places short of the very poshest/ most bourgeois. On not sticking out : consider moderating your speaking volume if it seems like yours is the only conversation that is audible across the room.

      And yes, other posters are correct in that leggings are not pants in France.

    • Anonymous :

      Buy perfume. Annick Goutal, Serge Lutens, Frederic Malle.

    • Also, just keep in mind that Paris is pretty cold in April. Think more winter than spring in your layers! We were there in June last year and I was thankful for my sweater cardigans.

      • Yes, we were in Paris in April last year and I was so glad I had my coat. Not a puffer coat, but a wool coat. I also had gloves and a scarf, which if I weren’t touristing I probably wouldn’t have needed, but when you are outside for 7 hours a day, you want to be comfortable. It rained off and on, so bring proper shoes and an umbrella. Enjoy the shorter lines and take long leisurely breaks to sit at a cafe if you are caught by a shower.

    • Parisian women always look polished and tailored- most of all. Bring clothes that have good shape- your professional wardrobe should help with this. Bring flats- even walking surfaces aren’t really a “thing” there.

      Shoes that can take wet! All the shoes I had on my last trip got soaked through.

      Buy Pierre Herme macaroons! They’re the best! I know people claim it’s Laduree, but I’ve tried them all and that claim is bogus. I’d pay good money to get real Pierre Herme macaroons here.

    • If you have scarves, definitely bring a few. There’s a reason they’re a fashion basic in Paris and Belgium, and it’s not just that they’re cute. The weather tends to be a bit windy and cold, not enough to require a heavy coat, but enough that having something around your neck is enough to fend of illness. I liked my smaller scarves (~16″x16″) for not standing out on French streets, and I tended to pair them with a short-cut jacket or trench. Both blended in.

    • If you have scarves, definitely bring a few. There’s a reason they’re a fashion basic in Paris and Belgium, and it’s not just that they’re cute. The weather tends to be a bit windy and cold, not enough to require a heavy coat, but enough that having something around your neck is good to fend of illness. I liked my smaller scarves (~16″x16″) for not standing out on French streets, and I tended to pair them with a short-cut jacket or trench. Both blended in.

    • Calibrachoa :

      Check out the Vivienne Files blog – there is a lot of stuff about Paris specifically there, and capsule wardsobes and travel! :)

      • SwimmerShoulders :

        I love to shop at drugstores in Paris — they have reasonably priced lotions, etc., from lines not available here. The staff will try to help you. Let them. The Maille store has mustard in crazy flavors — truffle anyone? The food halls have terrific jam.

        • omg, yes! all the drugstores. I stock up on Klorane dry shampoo, personally. If you can, leave a few hours for a Monoprix shopping spree, too. It’s like the Euro Target, but so much better.

          Your wardrobe sounds absolutely perfect already for Paris. I’d say leave the heels at home unless your dinners are going to be uberfancy, like top of the Eiffel Tower fancy. Go more towards the skinny jeans/ballet flats and layers — +1 to scarves, too. A pair of boots you don’t mind getting a bit damp (bc they have layers of protective spray on them :) could go from workwear to day wear to poor weather wear. I always find I am too J. Crew when I first go back to Europe, but then end up leaving my twee pieces in the apartment and wearing the more chic basics.

  2. Recs for an orthodontist in northern va? Preferably Arlington or Tysons. Basically I had braces for years as a teen, now in my 20s and after lapsing with the retainer, things have gotten out of alignment again (plus my regular dentist recommended I do it again, in an effort to avoid jaw issues later in life). Does anyone have any general advice for adult orthodontistry? I know invisalign type stuff is not an option with my issues, so I’m bracing (hah) for my options.

    • No recs for your region, but I have braces right now and my advice is go to as many ortho consultations as necessary (they’re usually free) to compare their approaches and prices and flexibility. I went to over 8 consultations before I decided on my orthodontist. Follow your ortho’s instructions closely, including how often and how to brush, and with wearing rubber bands. Also, braces make me look like a teenager, so I’ve been refining my makeup more, and wearing lipstick (which I usually don’t do). And eat all the fried chicken wings you can now, because when those front teeth get brackets on them it’s hard to eat anything with those teeth.

  3. Mat leave help :

    I need to decide when to start my maternity leave ASAP and I haven’t even thought about it (due late July). I get 39 weeks fully or partially paid – UK, the statutory pay and socialised medicine almost makes up for the weather.

    I’m teaching on an adjunct contract and my teaching and marking will be wrapped up by the first week of June at the latest and unless a grant comes through, my paid work will come to an end then. There is a chance I’ll go back before 39 weeks, forfeiting any remaining statutory pay so my temptation is to start it quite early.

    Any thoughts on this? If a grant does come through, I can likely move back my leave period, but how late might be reasonable for me to work?

    • Anonymous :

      I worked until I went into labor. The last few days were pretty miserable, but mainly because my coworkers wouldn’t shut up about how huge and late I was. Can you work from home at all?

      • Mat leave help :

        I can but I’ve got a DVT history and the specialist implied she wants me out and about versus lounging at home. If I don’t have any paid work, my plan was to work on publications and do lots of prenatal yoga if physically okay.

        • Anonymous :

          I’d keep going as long as you can then! I couldn’t stay home early as I only had 12 weeks’ leave and wanted them for post-birth, but I think I would have gone crazy at home. I would have been so bored.

    • In the US where I had a much shorter leave. I worked pretty much a full day, went into labor that night, delivered the next morning at 39w5d so I think you can work as far along as you want barring medical complications. If I had the option to start leave early, I’d probably go out a couple of weeks before you are due. Gives you some time to prepare and rest.

      • This is what happened to me with my first. I have a desk job. No reason you can’t work right until the end if you want to, barring any other health issues.

      • Same here. Worked until 38.5 weeks (had planned to ‘take the 40th week off’ but it didn’t happen), wrapped up work on a Friday night, went into labor that night, baby the next day. Working up until the end didn’t cause any problems (and the extra $ was nice).

    • Anonymous :

      With my son, I was able to start leave a month before I was due and it was so nice to be able to get things ready, rest, and just relax leading up to the birth. With my daughter, I worked up until I had her including the day she was born. I worked a full day and then went into labor that evening and she was born at 11pm. Those last few weeks were hard and I wished that I could have taken a few weeks off (though in part because I also had a toddler to take care of.) I wanted to save all my leave to spend with the baby though.

    • I took an extra two weeks before the due date (ended up being a week and a half before she was born) and I appreciated the time at home – I would aim for at least a few days at home. But on the other side of things I found the time at the end of mat leave getting ready to go back and transitioning baby to daycare to be far more precious. I wouldn’t count on wanting to go back early. (Personal considerations though – my mat leave was a full year, BUT my mat leave year was also a caregiving year for my mom who had cancer. If I had had a normal mat leave I might have been more done with being home and ready to go back but as it was I would have loved more time to just be with my baby during the day and mourn, instead of juggling daycare, work, and pension/funeral bureaucracy all at once.)

    • lawsuited :

      I’m 35 weeks pregnant and a litigator. I planned to work until I go into labour because I want to spend all 12 weeks of my mat leave with the baby, and I’m not regretting that decision per se but I am finding it really difficult. I am not sleeping well, standing/walking for more than 20 minutes is painful, and sitting for more than an hour is very uncomfortable so court days are terrible and even quiet days in the office are a real grind. All that to say, if I had 39 weeks, I would absolutely plan to take the 2-3 weeks before my due date off work to rest up before the baby arrives.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m in Canada where we get a year. It’s pretty common to take the last two weeks of pregnancy off. Some women will take a few vacation days before officially starting leave. Like a month before due date – take two weeks vacation and roll into two weeks of mat leave before due date.

      I’ve had two pregnancies and each time, by around week 36, going to work was a real hassle and I just felt uncomfortable sitting all day – sort of depends on your job. If your grant comes through and you can work from home while researching, you might be comfortable to go longer. I walked/exercised and meal prepped. Baby came at 38 weeks both times so I was glad I had gone off at 37 weeks.

      • Mat leave help :

        Two weeks sounds like a good balance. I’m going to take a week holiday in late May as my mom is coming over to help me do some baby prep as well. I can work from home and my office is comfortable as well, we’ve got a little room where I could have a rest if I needed to.

        I guess I’m terrified of sitting around on my lonesome waiting for the baby. I get cabin fever after two days at home and I don’t have any local family who’ll come and entertain me.

        • If you don’t have local family, you can definitely keep yourself busy for a few weeks. Cook up a whole bunch of freezer meals. Stock your fridge and freezer with ingredients for smoothies (great for one handed eating). Bake and freeze muffins/lasagna etc. Get all your laundry and housecleaning in order. There’s a reason a lot of women have a strong nesting instinct in the weeks before birth. After baby comes, you’re so occupied with keeping yourself and baby fed and rested that everything else falls away in the first weeks.

    • If you finished in mid June an attempt at scrolling through Outlook has you ending your leave in March 2018. How would that fit into the academic year?

      • Mat leave help :

        Very, very short terms! I only have 5 more weeks of teaching for this term. So I wouldn’t teach in term 1 or 2 next year but would go back in a research capacity in the spring or a teaching capacity in the autumn.

    • Play it by ear as much as you can. I also only had 12 weeks of leave, so I wanted to maximize time at home with baby boy. I was able to work through my due date (which was a Friday). I took the following Monday and Tuesday off, and labor started Tuesday night. I was a mess at home on Monday and Tuesday. My house was ready. My body was ready. I thought I was going to lose it. You’ll go nuts at home waiting for baby to come. Just make sure you have people lined up to cover your work in case labor starts early. Obviously, if you need to stop earlier for medical reasons that’s different!

    • UK based here – my co-workers (solicitors) have tended to go 2 to 3 weeks before their due dates. General consensus is that no-one regretted taking a little extra time before – and a couple of them ended up leaving earlier than initially anticipated because they were finding working fairly long hours more tiring than they could handle.

  4. How do you deal with extreme nepotism in the work place? Some background, at a company I work with (not for) the boss hired his son to over see a 10 million dollar project. His son is 26 and currently working on completing his second year of undergrad, he started school late because he travelled europe partying for a few years first. Hes just so incompetent and its so clear daddy gave him the job. Hes not even done school yet?!? I can’t get away from him and I’m so tired of his incoherent emails and ‘misplacing’ documents. This is mainly just complaining because I know I can’t actually do anything since it’s not my company and I just work with him. But still… RAWR

    • no family connections :

      Start an email folder on him and document, document, document. I have lived this at three companies with the most recent being the worst- the son reported to me. Data is your best defense.

    • Anonymous :

      Does the company provide services to yours? If so, I actually think you have good standing to document his errors and complain and demand a competent manager/contact. They are not providing you appropriate services as you agreed to pay them for. Of course, you need to find the right tone and (depending on your corporate culture) get your manager on board.

      If your company was hired by them, I think you just have to suck it up. Still document, as you will likely need that record when they dispute the bill (I’m assuming his incompetent is increasing costs, but good to document even if that is not true).

      • He provides us with a service but his dad is basically the only service provider there is. So we can’t p*ss off his dad.

        • That sucks. If they are really the only company that can provide the service, it limits what you can do. I would document and, if they bill on an hourly rate, push back on the bills if they are out of line with expectations bacauce of his errors. Your company shouldn’t have to pay more because they picked an incompetent person to run the project.

    • Anonymous :

      Ugh. I’m living through something similar now. Daddy hired son who is just a moron but then dad’s company hit a Bernie Madoff type demise. Dad’s buddy owns my company and we hired him. The lack of work ethic is astounding. Mondays we have nearly back to back meetings and he came to me early to ask/tell me he couldn’t stay at work for the meetings today because it was his birthday. My response “HOW OLD ARE YOU??? 7???” instead his wife and kids came in with pizza and monopolized the conference room.

      • Marshmallow :

        Wait. His wife and kids BROUGHT PIZZA TO THE OFFICE? For a grown man’s birthday???

        • Anonymous :

          YES! And ate it in the conference room! We only have one conference room big enough for my 1:00 meeting and they monopolized it. My boss had me push it off until 130 and got him out of there, but he left a giant mess and the rest of us were stuck in the room with pizza leftovers until almost 3. He is such a tool.

  5. Leaving the country :

    I have the opportunity to spend 8 weeks this summer abroad in South Africa for work. I’m not nervous about going there per se, but I’m nervous about being so far from my family and friends under Trump. I honestly don’t know what might happen while I’m gone or whether I could get stuck in a situation where I can’t get back in as part of some broad crack-down at the airport or something. Is anyone else having similar fears and have you heard any compelling reasons why you shouldn’t be nervous?

    • Are you a US citizen?

    • Unless you’re Muslim (which I am – I wouldn’t go even as a US citizen), I don’t think you’ll be prevented from returning.

    • Are you a white us citizen? Then you shouldn’t have any fears about not getting back in. I’ve still been traveling abround without a single thought about it. Sadely, I’m just the kind of person they want (at least on paper, I would totally fail any viewpoint test)

      Are you a non-white US citizen? I might have some fears, but legally they have to let you in. I would realistically worry about being harassed at the airport, but don’t think there is a realistic chance of more. (But I’m white, and would be interested in/and open to hearing that minorities disagree)

      Are you a minority green-card holder? I would have some fears, and may not go if I had kids or family in the US. Most likely, I don’t think it would be a problem. But I may not want to risk it

    • I would only be nervous if I were not a citizen or a Muslim. If you’re a non-Muslim US citizen, there is no way you’ll have any problem returning to the country.

      • I generally agree with this. What I do wonder about is how they’d know someone is Muslim. I can think of a couple more obvious indicators, but how can someone really know? I’m a non-white US citizen (brown of ambiguous racial or ethnic background) and I worry about this.

        • Honestly, I would be careful and take at least some of the precautions that are advised for muslims if you are anything that an ignorant person might mistake for Muslim and/or Arab. I would certainly expect a politically based interrogation at the border if you aren’t white.

        • yeah a more accurate caution would be: are you a non-US citizen from a Muslim country/have a Muslim sounding name AND/OR are you brown? I have Indian friends who are super Christian and get stopped at TSA every other time they are at the airport and Iranian friends who are white passing but are Muslim/ have sounding names that get stopped as well…

          • But there’s stopped and then there is actually having an issue.

            If you get “randomly selected” that’s annoying and awful but you’ll be fine, versus actually being not allowed in.

    • It's not just you :

      I am a white U.S. citizen as is my brother and I have a few reservations. My brother is studying Arabic and has visited a few Muslim countries and has written about political issues in Muslim countries. My brother is an academic. He has been detained by Homeland Security before and extensively questioned about his travel, his research and what he teaches. This was pre-Trump.

      I have been outspoken on social media about being unhappy with this current administration and being adamantly against the “travel ban.” Now that I know I have some international travel coming up, I’m scaling back what I say on social media. I’ve heard customs/border patrol is asking some people “do you support Trump?” I’m not sure what happens when you say no. My planned answer is “I disagree with his policies but I respect the position of President.”

      My other concern would be what airlines decide to do in the face of immigration policies. If airlines incur the cost of returning you from the US if the US doesn’t let you in then they are getting pickier about who they will let fly. If the majority of their travelers to the US are non-citizens and non-citizens are now not allowed, they might significantly cut their flight schedules.

      So, to answer your questions, I am considering the issues even as a non-Muslim U.S. citizen but I think the risk for me is slim compared to others.

      • “I’ve heard customs/border patrol is asking some people “do you support Trump?””

        Where did you hear this?

        • I don’t think it’s super common but it has happened and has been reported in the media. There was a Canadian woman who was stopped at the border and interrogated about her views on Trump and eventually turned away. CBC covered it: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/canadian-woman-turned-away-from-u-s-border-after-questions-about-religion-trump-1.3972019
          I saw similar anecdotes in US media including CNN I think but don’t remember specifics.

        • There have been extensive reports of this via attorneys who represent immigration clients. Many, many reports. I folow the L4GG – Immigration Ban group in FB, and there’s plenty in there.

        • Have any citizens been asked this?

          It’s reprehensible that they are asking non-citizens, but it takes it to another level if they are asking citizens

          • Yes. There have been many reports of citizens being asked this discussed in the L4GG group.

          • It's not just you :

            What’s the general advice if you are asked this question?

          • MargaretO :

            Some precautions to take (learned from dealing with Israeli customs/airport security, which seems to be what the current interrogation method is being modeled on):
            – delete social media and email from your phone and log out of them on your computer
            – store photos, research, etc. on the cloud and delete them from your devices
            – password protect everything and do your best to refuse to give them the password if it comes to that
            – expect them to repeat the same question over and over again with slightly different phrasing, do you best to make your answers very consistent

            If you are a dual citizen and traveling with two passports I would also be cautious about keeping the second passport separate, making sure you have all relevant stamps in your American passport (if you are leaving the US on your American and entering another country on the other passport, have them stamp both) so there isn’t anything missing from the America passport that makes them ask if there is another one.

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

      Now, that doesn’t prohibit CBP from holding you at the border, interrogating you, or even arresting you, but if you are a US citizen without dual citizenship, they can’t put you on a plane and send you back to the country you came from. I used to travel back and forth between the US and a Latin American country frequently, typically on tickets purchased last-minute and by a third party, and I have extensive experience with CBP’s ability to take up your time as you’re trying to enter the US (whether via questioning you, searching your baggage, disappearing to conduct long searches of records relating to your travel, etc.). They can make it very un-fun (and they’ve always been able to), but ultimately they have to let you in.

      The US does not formally recognize dual citizenship, so some complications can arise relating to whether you end up treated as a US or foreign national at the US border, and that’s beyond my limited immigration-law knowledge.

    • Muslim Citizen :

      I am Muslim and a citizen of the USA. I would still go.

  6. Any restaurant and/or sightseeing recommendations for Ft. Lauderdale? We’ll be there for a few days at the end of March staying at the Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach.

    Open to all types of food suggestions and don’t have any dietary restrictions. We like to try local, non-chain restaurants when traveling.

    • Anonymous :

      Coconuts is always great for any meal. Blue Moon Fish Co. is a favorite and has amazing brunches and delicious dinners. A water taxi tour is fun. Also, you may want to try paddleboarding if you haven’t. There are places along the middle river that give lessons.

    • I have spent a lot of time in FLL. Favourite restaurants (some are chains, but not major chains…might not have them in your city):

      Alexanders, Houstons (although gotten fairly pricey), Blue Moon as stated above, Canyon, Kaluz.

      Most places have happy hours where you can get pretty good deals on food- i.e., half price apps from 5-8pm and you can make a meal out of it.

      It is stone crab season if that is your thing- I highly recommend trying some!

    • Wanderlust :

      Jaxson’s for ice cream!

    • Thanks so much for the recommendations! We will definitely try stone crabs. Don’t get much of those here in the Midwest!

    • Senior Attorney :

      If you like to look at big fancy houses, check out Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. It’s about a 40 minute drive from Fort Lauderdale but well worth it. Similar to Hearst Castle or the Biltmore Estate.

  7. Jazz Fest Experiences? Never been to Nola before, but my SO grew up there and surprised me with tickets. I’m not sure I’m a music fest type of person, but a bunch of our fave indie artists/bands are playing, so I’m excited. What did you wear (especially shoes, heard it’s muddy on the infield)? Other tips for the fest?

    • Oh wow. Well, make sure you know how you’ll get there. The Fairgrounds aren’t anywhere near downtown. It can be rained out. Dress in light clothes with sun screen (it’ll be hot) and wear a hat. Flipflops or shrimp boots if it’s raining and muddy. Otherwise, make sure you wear shoes you don’t mind getting dirty. I haven’t been in years. It’s so crowded. It’s hard to get to the bands you really want to see. You’ll want a blanket or beach towel to stake out a spot. There are rules about what you can and can’t bring in. Be sure to bring cash because you will want to eat EVERYTHING. Crawfish Monica, Cochon de lait poboy, etc. etc. http://www.nojazzfest.com/info/faq/

    • Invest in good, comfortable rain boots now and break them in. Most people pair sundresses with them. It always pours during Jazz fest and it turns the fairgrounds into a mud pit. Other tips: how are you getting to the fairgrounds? Traffic and parking are nightmares. Bathroom facilities are severely lacking, so either find an “in” at one of the corporate tents, or be prepared to suspend hygiene ideals.

      But also Jazz fest is awesome. Do not miss the Gospel tent!

      • totally agree with the sundress and rain boots. that will be your best option. as for getting there, when we went a few years ago, we took the street car at the recommendation of our hotel. It was great. It probably took a little longer than a cab, but it was enjoyable, cheep, and we had no problem getting one when it was time to leave. Cabs, on the other hand, were impossible to find.

    • Anonymous :

      bring a tall and unique flag so you can find your way back to your people.

    • Getting Older & Better :

      I love jazz Fest! It will be crowded, often is hot sometimes rainy. Must brings: Sunscreen, a hat, comfortable shoes… if it is rainy boots and a rain poncho. Bring toilet paper. Plan transportation, your SO should know about this.
      When the specific schedule with times/days for bands is released called the CUBES, take a look at where you want to be when. You can bring food into music tents so I like to have lunch to Gospel. It is fun to just wander early in the day, it gets super crowded when the big name acts are about to go on stage

      Have a Fab time!!

    • Mrs. Jones :

      Sunscreen and a hat!!!

    • I have been to NOLA many times and Jazz Fest was my very favorite. It is crowded but not at all like Mardi Gras. I recall taking a very convenient trolley to the grounds from Canal in the Quarter. There was maybe a short walk but not a long one. Do expect to find amazing food at the festival. I was caught off guard and unprepared (I.e. ate too much breakfast). Agree with advice about confirming what you can’t bring in and to bring something to sit on. Also check out the local clubs’ lineups in the evenings because you can see great shows during the festival at more intimate venues. Wear comfortable clothes you don’t mind getting wet or dirty.

  8. weekender :

    Favorite overnight bag for under $150?

  9. Washing hair :

    How do you start the process of washing your hair less? I wash every day and would like to get that down. Are there any recommended ways to make it work without being a greaseball? Do you still wet your hair on days you don’t wash it with shampoo? I would prefer not to use dry shampoo and just get a routine of washing less overall going. TIA!

    • BabyAssociate :

      You accept that it’s going to look gross until your hair re-acclimates. I also used to wash my hair everyday, this time of year I usually wash it once a week, in the summer 2-3 times. I do get it wet on days I don’t wash it, but there’s really no rhyme or reason to it.

    • I found that “washing” with just water on no-wash days helped in the beginning. I brushed all the time and I also wore a lot of braids. I found that dry shampoo was useless/made my hair feel dirtier.

    • I used to wash it everyday and thought I would be a grease ball but that wasn’t really the case until day 3 for my hair. Going from every day to every other day was NBD and my hair was not greasy at all. The third day I use a little dry shampoo. The fourth day, a little more dry shampoo, and then I wash it that night. I can’t go longer than 4 days and I think the product buildup starts to outweigh the health benefits of not washing.

    • Dry shampoo every other day unless I get massively sweaty or something. Dry ‘poo days = ponytail, but I spend some time teasing and styling so I don’t look like a greasy mess. When my hair was a little longer, I often used those half up bun things to make a whole bun with my shoulder length hair. I do not wet my hair on those days – I bought a shower cap.

      I like Living Proof dry shampoo best but it’s expensive. Batiste and Psssst make decent cheaper alternatives.

      On wash days, I try not to use product that weighs my hair down or makes it oily. I also had to try a couple of different conditioners. My Rusk conditioner made my hair so oily that dry shampoo didn’t help. I switched back to Biolage.

      When I wash I try just to wash the roots and not the ends, then condition the ends and not the roots.

      Obvi, I have pretty oily hair so not washing means managing the oil without shampoo.

      • BabyAssociate :

        +1 to Living Proof dry shampoo, it’s amazing! Not Your Mother’s Dry Shampoo is a good cheap alternative too.

        • Meg March :

          On this note, if one dry shampoo isn’t working for you, try some others. I have friends who also swear by Not Your Mothers, but it just never worked for me. I like Living Proof best too, followed by Pssst.

    • Day one, blow dry hair as usual
      Day two, hot rollers
      Day three, dry shampoo and maybe a claw clip for the afternoon
      Day four, either wash hair or feel guilty about not washing hair. Employ claw clip again.

      • Similar.

        Also, I find that dry shampoo out of a can is not useful to me at all. I have been a huge fan of Bumble and Bumble Pret a Powder, which is just powder you put near your scalp and brush through.

        I have tried nearly every dry shampoo in spray form, and find that they all end up making my hair feel sticky and don’t really absorb any excess oil.

        • Have you tried Oribe? It’s a spray and it’s pretty good. I don’t like any of the other sprays. I also only use dry shampoo on the day before I definitely either wash or feel guilty about not washing. :)

        • +1 for Pret a Powder. It avoids all the stickiness of spray dry shampoos.

    • I wash once a week and built up to that over a period of a year or two. I don’t use dry shampoo, but tended to wear my hair up and used bobby pins to clip any particularly greasy sections in ways that didn’t look as greasy when I’d get to the last day before a wash. FWIW, I still generally wash every time after a sweaty workout or an intense yard work session.

    • Honest question: Why has infrequent hair washing become such a thing? I get that washing everyday isn’t great, but trying to go 4-5 days in between shampoos is definitely not my cup of tea. Dirty hair has a certain smell that dry shampoo isn’t going to touch.

      • This depends on your hair texture. My thick, course hair used to be a frizz disaster before switching to washing less. Now my hair’s natural oil keeps it pretty well in check without nearly as much daily maintenance and zero product.

        • Anonymous :

          +1 – this is going to be different for everyone. I’ll go 2-4 days between washing (4 in the winter), mostly because it’s a pain in the butt to wash and dry my hair (long and thick).

          And just because you haven’t washed it for 4-5 days doesn’t mean it’s necessarily dirty. Again – this is different for different people/hair types, so YMMV.

      • Daily washing + heat treatments that many use (blow dry, curling iron, straightener) are quite damaging.

        For me, the extra washing/styling takes up precious time in my morning routine.

        My hairdressers all my life (now in my 40’s) all tried to convince me to wash my greasy hair less often. Now I wash it every other day, rarely skip to a 3rd day on weekends. They were right. Not only that, but second day hair actually looks better for me, and is much easier to style.

        If it is really smelly, well, I agree that is a problem. That might be your own chemistry, or with time it will diminish.

        I also have had good results when I use dry shampoo at night, distribute well at the roots, and the next morning the texture/lack of smell is great. That’s my 3rd day hair.

      • I don’t think everyone’s dirty head has a smell.

        My 14 year old son’s head smells bad after one day. I could probably go a week without washing and no smell. I’m not a head-sweater. I’m actually not much of a sweater at all.

  10. I like the looks of this dress and would order it if I knew that I could return it at a modest cost. The last time I considered returning items to Hobbs I was faced with a huge international shipping bill that approached half the cost of the items. Now I only order items that I’m certain I will keep. Shame because Hobbs has some great workwear.

    • Oh, that is good to know…I love this dress but maybe I need to wait until I’m some place that has a Hobbs so I can figure out my size.

  11. red acne scars :

    I have some red acne scars from breakouts. This is from recentish adult acne on one cheek (but not the other). Will they fade? I have a Retin-A prescription from my derm (but once the days get longer and sunnier, I will likely stop that until next fall). If there is something that is a cosmetic derm procedure that I’d just pay for out of pocket that would fix this, I’d probably do it. My skin is pale, so it really stands out and I have to cover it up.

    • Are these old, or new?

      Retin-A at night and start very slowly so you tolerate. Lotion over retin-A. High SPF lotion during day.

      Stay out of sun. Best thing for your skin.

      What did your derm say? Why aren’t you following that?

    • Anonymous :

      This is called “PIH.” You can google that acronym for suggestions. Regin-A alternated by chemical exfoliation plus niacinamide and overall skin care is your best bet, plus daily sunscreen to prevent it from getting worse.

  12. I don't like the sash :

    I just don’t like sash belts. They remind me of home ec sewing projects where we didn’t know how to place or fit a waist and used a self-fabric tie belt because it was cheap and easy to make. A deliberate and fitted belt of the same fabric might work (like a cumberbund-style thing). But it’s like a Project Runway fail to me. This would look like a menopausal shift without the defined waist. Do better, Hobbs!

    • First of all, I don’t love the term “menopausal shift” – I’m perimenopausal and I feel like you just fat shamed me.

      Second, sash belts look great on very thin people. They’re not always awful.

    • Um – 38 and going through menopause here. And I have a pretty rocking body if I say so myself.* So can we lay off the use of the term “menopausal” to indicate something wrong with womens bodies and/or the clothing society says they can wear?

      *All women’s bodies are amazing and beautiful, menopausal or not. And the idea that the fact that my hormones shifting gives me a bit more of a pooch some how makes my body lesser possibly makes my blood boil hotter than the hot flash I just had.

  13. Can anyone recommend an air freshener/diffuser (both brand and scent) for my office? I’m hoping to just order one online but want a scent that is pleasant and office appropriate. Thanks!

    • Please check with people around you first before you order! Many people are sensitive to fragrances or just don’t like them, regardless of how they smell. I’m tempted to say there are no office-appropriate scents for this reason.

    • Scented air freshener is inappropriate for the office. If your office is stinky, try an air filter.

    • I think they are in general not office appropriate. You could use one of those charcoal air filters though that is supposed to clear unpleasant odors.

    • What about one of those small EO diffusers? You can manage the amount of “smell”, so it’s not too strong.

    • Thanks so much for all the input! They’re very common in my office but I will avoid.

    • I think this is office specific. Definitely no scents if you are in a cubicle. If you have your own office, I think subtle scents are ok. I have a reed diffuser from Bliss that is very light.

    • I don’t put any oils in this, but I use it to filter the air in my office. You could use some drops of essential oil if you prefer scent. I use this to filter out allergens and to reduce odors in my office. It plugs into USB and is super quiet. https://www.sharperimage.com/si/view/product/Lighted+Globe+HEPA+Air+Purifier/203182?trail=

    • Very allergic to perfumes, so I really prefer when people don’t use scents at work.

      But, if you really want an office scent: try a diffuser from Soapology in NYC. All natural, doesn’t aggravate allergies (I use them in my home- no issues yet), and the fragrances are really light. My old boss use to have the lavender one in his office, and I was very surprised when it didn’t bother me.

  14. Handbag suggestions? :

    I’m looking for a new handbag for spring and I would really like to buy a brand that is new to me and not a major brand. I realized that I almost always buy kate spade bags, but also have some older coach bags and a couple Michael kors bags. I don’t want to spend more than $200 and am thinking of a red or coral color. Any obscure or smaller brands or stores that I should check out? My style is classic, a little retro when it comes to bags and fun/different. I would prefer leather and need something that can be worn over my shoulder, so a strap drop that’s long enough for that.

    • Check out Radley in the UK. It should be right up your alley.

    • I’d also recommend Radley. Excellent quality bags though some styles can appear dated so choose carefully.

    • Look at Laurel Dasso on etsy

    • Have you tried Brahmin? I haven’t bought any new ones in the last 2-3 years, but that’s because they hold up so well. I have a brown leather tote I bought in 2011, and the leather just keeps getting better and better, like a fine wine. Definitely great quality, and wears well.

    • Check out Patricia Nash. The leathers are beautiful and the prices really reasonable for what you get.

  15. How much do you save per month BESIDES 401k/IRA/retirement? So just liquid savings – whatever’s left after bills which you may leave in the account, invest etc.? Second question – would you be ok/are you ok considering a job or industry switch that you wanted that took you from saving x amount liquid (whatever x is for you) to saving nothing or only a few hundred/month? Assume retirement wouldn’t be affected and you could still max out.

    It’d be helpful if you’d share where you live (or HCOL/MCOL etc.) and your current income range. Bc obviously the considerations are different if you’re in Michigan making 200k and saving 30% of your salary vs. if you’re in NYC saving $500/month.

    • LCOL area. Our joint (two jobs) post-tax, post-retirement income is $8k/month, we typically spend about half of that (required mortgage payment, utilities, groceries and fun spending) and have about $4k/month left over. The last couple of years we have put that money towards two big home renovations and our mortgage. This is assuming our emergency fund is fully funded, if we have to dip into it because of an unexpected expense, the first thing the $4k/month goes to is recouping the emergency fund, and then once the emergency fund is back to normal we resume paying more to the mortgage or the home renovation fund. We don’t currently have kids but are TTC and anticipate baby and childcare expenses eating a big portion of that $4k but not all of it – any extra will go to our mortgage now since we’re done with planned home renovations.
      If you have fully funded retirement and a sizable emergency fund I wouldn’t be too concerned about having liquid savings.

    • MCOL (Chicago)
      Income: 90K
      Max out 401k (21% of salary)
      Invest additional 200/month of remaining monthly income
      Aim to save 8-25% of remaining monthly income in cash. It’s a wide range.

    • My goal is to max out my 401K and save an additional 20% (calculated post-tax) in cash. I didn’t hit that goal in January because of a large (planned) expense, but without that expense I would have, and I should be able to for the rest of the year.

      I would not take a job that allowed me to save less, no. I live in Houston and currently made approx $130k including benefits and bonus last year.

    • I just finished paying off my law school loans (which I consider kind of like savings). So now I’m saving about 6-7k a month, and about 98% of my bonus (which was 52k after taxes this year). I also pay a few hundred extra per month towards my mortgage principal.

      I’m biglaw in DC. Part of the reason I save so much is that I don’t expect to continue in the job and hence live on less than 50% of my pre-bonus salary. I would love to go to federal government (or at least I would have before November). I expect that my next job will be at least a 50%, maybe closer to 75%, pay cut.

      Assuming I could max out my 401k, I would be ok considering a job that only left a few hundred or less in savings a month. But only if there was an option for salary growth. For something like government (where I would come in toward the top of the scale with little/no room for growth) I would want at least a 500 cushion a month. I would probably be ok with a smaller monthly cushion once I have a decent non-retirement investment account, which I’m just staring. But I also know I’m very financially conservative.

      • Congrats on paying off your loans!

        • Thank you. It’s been my main goal and I know it’s only possible at this time cause of biglaw. If I had a dollar for every time I told myself the long hours and other biglaw-ness was worth it so I could pay off my loans …

    • I’m in the $60k range and save $200/month outside of retirement savings and education (saving for/paying off student loans). I’m in a HCOL area. I’d be fine switching to a job that let me continue this (albeit small) amount, but if it went down to $0 I would be really nervous. I have a good amount of savings built up, but I want to continue saving!

    • Salary: high $80ks
      COL: LCOL
      After Tax Takehome: just shy of $4k
      Savings outside of retirement: regular savings – $250/mo autopay, house repair/improvement savings account – $150/mo

      (FWIW, monthly student loan payments are ~$700)

      I have already moved from regional “big” law to gov’t, now to JD-preferred. I have a good base of savings built up, but if/when something happens to deplete that, I would be uncomfortable voluntarily switching jobs to one that would not allow me to build my savings back up.

      • Salary: $60K
        I save $250/biweekly pay period, automatically direct deposited to a savings account. This is a challenge with student loans and other expenses. I wish I could save more, but I don’t make very much.

        • Anon for this :

          Are you me?

          Salary: $60K
          6% pre-tax to 401K
          $1000/mo student loan payments (so about $2K/mo takehome after loan payments)
          Save $250/biweekly pay period, automatically direct deposited to savings account

          I live with my family, but if I didn’t, then there would be essentially no way for me to save more than a few $ per month.

    • Follow-up question:

      When people say that they have a good amount of savings built up, are you talking emergency fund savings or emergency fund plus non-earmarked general savings?

      (Also I can tell I’m tired today because I very nearly typed “Thanks, My Name” at the end of this post…

      • I’m talking about non-emergency fund general savings. Ideally, that will be extra retirement savings but would also use if for an amazing, unexpected travel opportunity for example

      • I only have two savings accounts (for better or for worse). One is my house repairs/improvements savings account (which is also what I pay my mortgage out of). The other is my everything else I could possibly need savings account – emergency fund, vacation money, once-a-year horse show money, etc. I am good about leaving it alone, so I don’t feel the need to have multiple accounts.

        • Mary Ann Singleton :

          I support the horse show money savings. Very important priority. :)

          • Absolutely! :) I had a saddle savings account going for a while – used that one last year!

        • Meg March :

          Haha, I initially read this as your two accounts were “for better” and “for worse”– ithe first is for repairs and improvements and generally making things better, the second is emergency fund, for when things go bad. Seemed like a good system :)

    • I think this really depends… How much do you have in emergency savings already? Do you have debt? Do you have major obligations like a house or a child, or are you saving money to do something expensive like having a child or buying a house? How much do you have in retirement already (big difference if you’ve been working/saving since 22 vs. went to grad school and started working/saving at 27 or 30)? Do you have a low-deductible health insurance plan or a well-funded HSA? Does the new job come with good benefits, like good health insurance, short-term disability insurance, and/or paid maternity leave?

      FWIW, I live in a LCOL city with my husband and toddler. We own our home, and we also get rental income from it, which pays our mortgage and is not included in the percentages below. We recently spent almost all of our liquid savings during 6 months of unemployment, so we are starting over there. We are saving $1000/month in our emergency fund (12%), plus retirement (10%), plus some money (5%) for long-term fun stuff like Christmas presents and vacation (which, of course, is also available for emergencies). However, since we’re rebuilding, we’re using money from our emergency fund for things like paying for medical expenses, car repairs (and eventually a new used car), etc. We’re not at a point yet where we can put 3-6 months’ of emergency expenses in a separate account and leave it there in case of a job loss, etc.–it’s a goal though.

    • We max out our 401ks and IRAs, but don’t save substantially on top of that. We *do* allocate money for future spending, so we “save” each month for future vacations, house maintenance, car replacement, etc – but that is all money that I expect we will spend in the next 6 months to four years. I don’t really think of it as savings.

      Caveat that we are probably at our maximally costly life stage – two kids in daycare, just bought a house. Over the next five years, I anticipate that our incomes will go up moderately, and our costs will go down significantly. I’m comfortable with no extra savings at this particular moment. I would not be as comfortable if we hadn’t already saved up the house downpayment and a solid emergency fund, or if we were planning on having more kids.

      • Oh, and if it helps: combined salary $180k, MCOL city, two kids, mortgage as our only debt.

        • Our incomes are similar, but due to student loans, we’re just now maxing my 401K (Hubs, who makes more, was maxing his from the start).

          We have an emergency fund, but now we don’t save much that we’re not planning on spending within 6mo – 3 years.

    • Anon for this :

      I always feel like the responses to these threads are skewed because the super responsible, wise, frugal people post. I’ll mix it up a bit.

      Husband and I, plus toddler, live in MCOL. Combined salaries are about 180k. Take home, after retirement (max for me, 12% for him) are a little over $8k a month. Emergency fund is fully funded. We have about $3500 in debt we need to pay each month (incl mortgage). We also pay about $1800/mo for childcare. So that means we regularly spend about $1700 on groceries, utilities, stuff, gym membership, housecleaning, house stuff, etc.

      Our non-emergency savings is at about $12k right now. We’ll use it for next vacation or house splurge.

    • LCOL – We put about 33% of our take home into a “savings to spend” account. We max out our 401ks and have a fully funded emergency fund. I don’t have much of a burning desire to save more in addition so that 3k will go toward vacations, splurges and irregular expenses such as property taxes and annual insurance policies. I keep an excel list of future anticipated expenses and allocate the balance of my savings to spend account across the various items.

  16. I’ve been thinking a lot about Canada re immigration issues. Canada, as I understand it, is a really big country. It is cold. And it has a population that would be shrinking without immigration (not as bad as Japan, but worse than the US).

    I think that unlike the US, Canada doesn’t have quite the same demographic issues that we do. It doesn’t grapple with the remnants of slavery (so the U.S. has a large population of people waiting to move up the rungs that we haven’t adequately helped or addressed). And it doesn’t have a large porous border with a less-advantaged country which further depresses the lower end of the wage spectrum. To judge from what I hear on NPR, Canada lets in lots of immigrants, but screens and awards points for economic favorability (so if we let in a lot of foreign MDs and PHDs and even middle-class people), so perhaps its immigrants aren’t adding to the demands of government as much as they are funding it for the rest of the country.

    I think it’s no apples to apples comparison. But maybe Canada has the same problems in its inner-city and poor rural populations that make it just as complex as in the U.S.

    [Don’t get me wrong, I am pro-immigration. But I think in the U.S., we have vast inequality that immigration probably contributes. Depressing wages among the least-skilled probably benefits the 1% the most.]

    [FWIW, I’ve noticed that we have whole communities where you can’t get a full-time [Catholic] priest at all b/c there are none left. The few ones we have where my parents are from have to ride a circuit whenever there is a funeral in their smallish farming towns. Those are almost all immigrants.]

    • Not sure what the lack of Catholic priests has to do with the rest of the discussion?

      • It’s a no-wage job, due to the vow of poverty, so it doesn’t depress wages any more. Maybe it is a job that Americans won’t do? I can recall older generations where at least one child was a priest or a nun (but those were usually active orders, not contemplative ones — if you wanted to be a teacher or nurse but couldn’t afford school, being a nun might be the only way you could do that). But people had many more children then, too.

        • Eh – not all priests take a vow of poverty. Certain orders do (Franciscans, I think), but it’s not universal. But, yes, there’s been a real decline in numbers of men taking orders, and even in the US, you get priests rotating in from outside the US (India, Africa, Latin America), as well as serving more than one parish communities. So my understanding is that in the case of the Catholic Church, it’s more about priests immigrating, rather than immigrants becoming priests.

          • This is my understanding too. My in-laws are practicing Catholics in rural Germany and the majority of priests are Eastern European or African immigrants. They were brought in as priests because no local priests were available. It’s been challenging for the congregation as the priests have often had a more conservative view of Catholicism than was practiced locally.

        • Yes, exactly. Lots of families had 6 children or more, and not every kid was able to go to college. It’s also why someone in the family probably enlisted, too. Keep in mind that Catholic priests also make a vow of celibacy. Religions where the leaders are allowed to marry are still surviving. I’m also unclear where this relates to immigration in the US v. Canada.

          • We have an oversupply of Episcopal priests, in fact. Many more people are willing to take up their call if that also allows marriage, or having two X chromosomes.

    • Canada has a problem just as bad as slavery, Native Americans. We stole their children and put them in abusive residential schools and now lots of Native Amerians live on reserves without drinkable water and incredible poverty and substance abuse. I will say our immigration is great we take in amazing talented PhDs, almost all my university professors were immigrants. I think the reason immigration works here is socialized medicine, a decent safety net, maternity/paternity leave, a generally secular society and the accompanying liberal ideologies, gun control, regulated university tuition and being officially bilingual.

      • Also Canada is a ‘we’ society not a ‘me’ society. People care about the greater good and improving society as a whole.

      • If you let in mainly highly skilled immigrants, that doesn’t quite make you humanitarians. I don’t think that Emma Lazarus wrote about huddles masses of . . . anesthesiologists . . . yearning to breathe free.

        In the U.S., we have a lot of immigrants who aren’t that literate in their native language and maybe didn’t progress beyond grade school. And then they live in an area where the schools are not good even if you didn’t have the language barrier. And if they are not legal, they are unbanked and magnets for being robbed because they are thought to have a lot of cash on them every Friday.

        My sense is that the post-Lehman crash wiped out a lot of people from the job market permanently. So there are the unemployed #s and then the truly unemployed #s (of people who’ve given up on work). And the ballooning number of people on disability who will probably never go back to work. I don’t get so many people not working and just sitting it out (maybe they can’t move, but a lot of these people seem to be in prime working age — 35-45). I almost think that if immigrants aren’t here working, NO ONE else is going to be here earning money and paying taxes with our aging population (who would be running up costs due to social security and medicare, not to mention who will be working in the nursing homes, etc.).

        • We also take in huge amounts of refugees in proportion to our population, more than 25,000 syrian refugees so far. We also have the largest percentage of immigrants in our population. I do think that’s pretty humanitarian. Our boarder patrol is currently rescuing people at the boarder fleeing America. People walking hours through snow because they are scared for their lives

          • I think that the Syrian refugees are coming from a place where until recently they were educated (not leaving school at sixth grade) and contributing members of a functioning society.

            I think that that is not what the U.S.’s immigration challenge is at all. The U.S. could let in people who are truly desperately poor and poorly educated all day long and is ill-equipped to help them progress in life on that scale (esp. when the burden isn’t spread throughout the country where maybe they aren’t so overwhelmed and could actually help — n.b., that is what we do with refugees — sprinkle with lots of willing local assistance (often faith based, usually an interfaith effort)).

          • I responded below with the link comparing Canadian and American refugee systems.

            I’m located east of Ontario and the Syrian families we received were mostly farm labourers. Some but not all had secondary education. It wasn’t just well off or well educated people who fled Daesh. They are lovely people working very hard to learn English and find employment.

            Canada certainly does not have the challenges of illegal immigration faced by the United States but there has also been programs set up to direct those seeking to come here who do not qualify as refugees or economic class immigrants- e.g. almost 20 000 Mexican farm labourers come for up to 8 months every year under the seasonal agricultural worker program – they are eligible for Canadian social programs including paid maternity leave.

          • Alright we get it, you think Canadian immigration and refugees are a sham

        • Canada takes a lot of refugees as well. The points system is for immigrants not refugees. This is a good comparison: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/syrian-refugees-canada-united-states-comparison-1.3340852

          I find in the US News, discussions about legal immigrants, illegal immigrants, and refugees seem to get grouped together. I would say that those issues are viewed separately in Canada.

      • For Canada, what is the First Nation population, as a %. Is it mainly in the non-city areas?

        In the US, I think of it as what should be all over, but is sparesely found in the Eastern US. Lots in the mid-central and northern mid-west (like from Oklahoma north into the Dakotas), then in the PNW. But a lot of the SW US that is Hispanic is also native (but the native part seems to be ignored and they get lumped in with Hispanic). So complicated.

        Is the presence much bigger in Canada? Like in the SE US, a very high % of many states is black and then there was a migration out after WW2 (and then a migration back after many industrial areas of the NE and Detroit were in decline). I’m one of those returnees — one generation removed from the farm in a big SE US city now.

        • It’s mainly a rural problem because that’s where reserves are. Being ‘native’ is usually cut off at around 1/16th so numbers aren’t exactly accurate and lots of people opt not to get status. Though Ottawa and many large cities are primarily on what used to be native land… Before the government used alcohol to coerce them into signing land deeds effectively stealing it

          • IndigenousAnon :

            1) Depends where you are. The prairie cities have a large indigenous population.
            2) “Native” isn’t cut off based on blood quantum. Holding Indian Status isn’t based on blood quantum either.
            3) Some people opt to not register for status, other are ineligible due to gendered restrictions that specified that men conferred status on their wives but women lost by marrying out. There is also a sizeable Metis or mixed blood population, particularly in the west.
            4) All of Canada is Native land.

        • Right now Indigenous Canadians are about 4% of the overall population – but growing quickly. Only about 50% of those live on reserve, they are becoming more prevalent in urban areas (more in the west). Canada is indeed based mainly on land that was effectively stolen or procured through less than honest means when historic treaties were signed.

          • Anonymous :

            Interesting. My sense of Canada is that it is big cities near the US border that punctuate the vast emptiness. Was it not empty before?

          • Um, no, just like North America was not empty when Europeans arrived – there were hundreds of distinct societies (and likely millions of people) who were wiped out by disease and colonialism. It’s true that most Canadians live relatively near the American border as that is where most trade/business happens but we’re a country of resource development and there are people fairly distributed throughout the provinces (less so in the Territories)- here are some recent stats http: //www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/170208/dq170208a-eng.htm

    • Canada has a number of different ways to immigrate.

      1. Economic class immigrants: points systems which gives points for education level, language fluency, and work or education in a field where jobs need to be filled – if you have a job offer in hand it’s easier to get in. E.g. my European Phd graduated husband qualified ten years ago even without a job offer because he was fluent in English and had a degree in a priority field – it’s no longer on the priority list and he wouldn’t qualify despite having a PhD and speaking fluent English unless he had a job offer. To offer a job to a non-citizen/non-permanent resident you must prove that you have offered it to citizens/permanent residents first and no one suitable was found.

      2. Family class immigrants: A family member (who arrived as a refugee or economic class immigrant) can sponsor (commit to providing financial support) for other family members to immigrate.

      3. Refugees – (1) government sponsored refugees (e.g. 40 000 Syrian refugees) -pre screened (2) privately sponsored refugees – pre screened (3) refugees who arrive and claim refugee status (e.g. get off flight and claim status at customs) – receive government sponsorship until their hearing decision is made – not pre-screened.

      4. Other programs – for example – many farmer workers are brought in under the Seasonal Agricultural worker program – allows them to work here for up to 8 months per year (https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/foreign-workers/hire/agricultural/seasonal-agricultural.html) Also, students visas – if you graduate from a Canadian university – there is a ‘fast track’ process to become a Canadian resident. The thinking being that those educated here will more easily find work/create a job(s). Also, working holiday visas: lots of Brits and Australians – some end up staying if they like it here/meet a Canadian partner.

      Canada still has a lot of problems -there’s a Black Lives Matter movement in Canada as well and Indigenous Canadians faced many challenges, but a solid public school system, health care system and low crime levels means that most immigrants and refugees are able to do well when they come. They are often very motivated for their children to receive a good education and appreciate the clean environment despite the cold.

      • Thanks for this. Very helpful.

        Isn’t there also a way to invest your way in? My sibling’s in laws are very wealthy, and I believe emigrated from Asia to Canada using this back door.

        • Yes. There are a lot of wealthy Chinese immigrants, especially in BC and Toronto who have invested in order to get in, but I think they recently upped the investment requirements and limited the program’s availability. It’s not cheap so it’s not a big source compared to the other categories.

          Immigration is a really hard issue for any country to tackle but I think it’s best approached with a belief that immigrants want to work hard and add value and the government has to figure out how to best make that happen.

      • Anon for this :

        They recently changed things somewhat I think late last year, regarding the job offer. Now it only needs to be for a year at minimum after getting residency. Before you had to have a permanent job offer which in some fields can be a challenge and if you were moving from elsewhere would be hard to get from anyone if you are far away. So your PhD husband may still qualify though the PhD may not add as much points as would one expect since they consider other factors too.

      • Anon for this :

        This is very interesting to me as i am condsidering immigrating from Europe to Canada to be closer to family in the near future

  17. That’s really interesting. Canada does seem to have quite a sensible immigration policy. Some of it is controlled by the individual provinces, Quebec can pick and choose its migrants and privileges those from Francophone countries. Some issues around the ethics of this…contributing to brain drain, is Canada taking its fair share of the “difficult” migrants, etc?

    We had a day without migrants here in the UK and I struggled with some of the narratives, particularly reducing people to their economic contributions. But then I got home to my tax statement and grumbled about the amount of tax I paid while having no recourse to public funds and being subject to an additional healthcare surcharge so maybe that is the argument that resonates most with people.

    • Replied above but Canada takes refugees (financial sponsorship for one year after arrival) in addition to economic class immigrants. Canada has not been as challenged by illegal immigration as the United States and has not been as challenged on the refugee issue as Europe because it does not share the land border.

  18. Bar trip planning :

    Currently working on planning my bar trip. My SO works, so we are planning a 1-2 week trip together. I’m hoping to tack on trips with friends/family before after. Anywhere you’d recommend I go, either with my SO or friends? We are in analysis paralysis mode because we want to go somewhere we’d never be able to again once I’m at the firm, but we don’t want to shove several days of travel into such a short trip. So far I think Japan, Australia/New Zealand, and South Africa are out.

    Tangentially related: does anyone have advice for what they wish they did during their bar trip or bar vacation, or things they did that they really benefitted from? I fully recognize that I am about to work my butt off, so I’m committed to making my post-bar down time as fulfilling as possible. One thing on my list is to get back into knitting and make some cool scarves for everyone for holiday gifts. I also want to do some wardrobe updates for my office’s dress code. Anything else I should add to my list?

    • I didn’t take a bar trip, but as someone in Big Law I recommend doing something where you’re off the grid, since that’s the hardest kind of vacation to take in Big Law. Maybe a cruise if you like those. Or just travel somewhere really remote, which might not require going that far away? There’s better wi-fi coverage in many developing countries than there is in a lot of rural Maine.

      • Oh also Cuba if you have any interest in going there. It’s one of the most off-the-grid places in the entire world.

        • Honestly, I was in Cuba this summer, and I really wouldn’t recommend it for a relaxing vacation. Yes, it’s a fascinating time in the country’s history; yes, the nineteenth-century architecture and retro cars are cool; and yes, the Cubans are a lovely people (and phenomenal musicians), but I found it really hard to spend time there without feeling deeply troubled by the past century’s politics and how much misery that has wrought on the Cuban community. (Fwiw, I include the U.S.’s politics in that, too, as the U.S. has put a lot of time and energy into trying to make Cuba fail.)

          Also, because food scarcity is still a problem, no matter how hard you try you will wind up eating a lot of mediocre meals.

          Also also, you can definitely still get email and all your standard online media in Cuba. Many large hotels have free WiFi.

          • I loved my trip to Cuba last month, and honestly don’t think the ethical issues are any different from a lot of popular destinations (Vietnam, South Africa, Cambodia, and frankly most (all) places if you go back far enough). And I had amazing meals, you just need to avoid the government retaurants.

            Having said that, I would not go for a bar trip cause the flight is short and there is widespread wifi and American phones having roaming service

          • Anonymous :

            I was there two months ago and stayed in a major tourist hotel and there was “free wi-fi” but it did not work at all. I managed to download email only once the entire week. Nobody else in our tour group could reliably connect either, so I know it wasn’t just my technology. That said, I didn’t try to use my phone’s roaming service so that might work (but I remember the Kardashians whining about how their phones didn’t work and they went within the last year or two). Most places I’ve been in the developing world – including SE Asia and a lot of other Caribbean countries – have much better wi-fi access than Cuba, since the wi-fi in hotels is actually functional.

    • Do you prefer city-y traveling or sitting on a beach or…?

      I would want to bop around SE Asia, particularly Vietnam (Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, Saigon), Cambodia (Phnom Penh and Siem Reap/Angkor Watt), Laos (Vientiane, Phon Savon, Luang Prabang, maybe an eco-lodge type place somewhere) and Thailand (Bangkok I guess, maybe Chang Mai and some beaches)?

    • The best advice I would give people is to not go into further debt on your bar trip. You should definitely do something fun, but you can have relaxing, great vacations that won’t break the bank. This drove me crazy becaue one of my colleagues once said to a summer associate, “What’s another $20,ooo in debt? It’s just a drop in the bucket.” And my head nearly exploded. Another $20k in debt is literally $20k in debt! She said this essentially to shame a summer associate who wanted to do something relaxing in upstate NY after the bar instead of going someplace exotic. People have different ideas of what a vacation is to them. And you will wish you took a $4k vacation when you are shackled to your job that doesn’t let you take vacations because you are still paying off your debt and can’t take another job.

      As for your actual trip, do you feel energized or tired from doing so many things? You will be fried after your exam. For me, that meant a relaxing beach vacation, but for others, it meant 3 weeks traveling to ‘somewhere new’ every 3 days. That would have stressed me out further. (A good indicator is asking yourself what you like to do after your exams now – do you like to go party or are you glad to finally have time to sleep and have free time guilt-free? That should help you decide what kind of trip to take.)

      • +1 Do something you can afford without taking on more debt. If that means a road trip all across the US to visit friends and National Parks, so be it (that actually sounds super fun to me and is definitely not something you could do in the standard one week vacation from a firm).

        • Bar trip planning :

          Totally agree to not taking on debt for the trip. I have money set aside for the trip that will cover a reasonably nice trip, depending on how much airfare is. I think a US road trip would be AWESOME, but I’m struggling to talk my SO into it. He wants us to go “big” because we won’t have the opportunity for a big trip for several years.

          I’m definitely going to want to relax, but I do get bored at resorts or beach towns. I like the idea of having a slow paced place where we can have a home base and do day trips or just explore the city based on our energy level.

      • Definitely agree with not going overboard or further into debt for a bar trip. Definitely do something you want to do – but that can come at a lot of different price points. Graduated in 2005 when it was all the rage to spend 10k+ on a bar trip; I believe my firm offered an advance of 10k-20k (intended mostly to help you get set up in NYC where brokerage fees etc are high and I believe you paid it back thru salary deductions over 6-12 months). I was shocked how many of my classmates took all of it and used the vast majority for fun. Back then there was a lot of “confidence” in biglaw — i.e. I’m 25 yrs old and signed an offer to make HOW MUCH MONEY, time to vacation like I’m old money . . . . This continued for several yrs and then the class starting in 2008-09 was left holding the bag as they had taken the advances, were on their 20k vacation, when the economy crashed that Sept and some firms deferred people until Jan, others re-negged offers altogether and associates were left scrambling for new jobs (if unlucky) or scrambling to figure out how to pay the bills for an extra 6 months with no start date (if luck). I would think after that experience, people are a lot more careful. And yet I’m seeing the same excesses in biglaw again — probably bc the height of that suffering was 2008-2012 and the current 25 yr olds were only 16-20 yrs old then and completely insulated in high school and college.

        • +1 million to your last sentence. It’s amazing to me how today’s college and law school graduates have no understanding of the recession or concern about repeating it. It makes sense, they were in middle or high school when it began, but it is still mind-blowing to me as a 2010 law grad.

        • At least at my firm – we are once again (and have been for the last 3-4 yrs) fueling the excesses — as if we’ve never seen a downturn before (and I’m venturing to guess the 50 yr old partners in charge have seen many many downturns not just 2008-2011). 2009-2012-ish we had small summer classes; we went down from like 50-60 a class to like 20-30. Every yr that number rises again to the point that we are past the ~65 summer associate range that was normal for us when cash was flowing in 2007. Also for 3-4 yrs in the downturn the small summer classes had low key activities – still extremely nice for students but not the highest end everything. We are now back to top shelf everything – multiple broadway shows, concerts, games, after parties after every event etc. It’s like the partners don’t want to acknowledge that after a growth cycle of 7+ yrs — we could be looking at a recession soon; they do everything possible to quietly push out senior associates so they don’t have to make partners; and things now just aren’t like they were in 2005 bc every client is demanding negotiated rates, using multiple law firms etc. Gone are the days where you were THE counsel for Goldman and could bill $800 for anything at any time. Now you get a call asking whether you really need 2 senior associates staffed on something and whether you can outsource document production to a vendor to save money . . . . Yet let the booze roll at the summer events and don’t say a word to them . . . .

      • Holy sh*t, are there really people who spend $20K on bar trips???

        • Yeah, it blew my mind, too. That’s why that comment has stuck with me years later. We aren’t even spending $20k on our honeymoon and we are going to Europe and staying at nice places (thanks, points!). She and a few of my other peers had terrible money management practices and were also miserable about their debts and being shackled to biglaw to pay them down. I made very sure to re-assure that summer associate that upstate NY was a great idea for her bar trip if that was what she wanted and to not buy in to a ‘big law culture.’ I’m so glad I left.

      • How the hell do you spend $20k on a normal bar trip? When I graduated in 2010, I had 6 months after the bar before I started work in January. I put my stuff in my parent’s basement and traveled that whole time – went to Africa for over 2 months, Southeast Asia for almost 2 months, Alaska, and a road trip in the US. That didn’t even cost me close to 20k

        And for what it’s worth, I think it was the best decision I made to spend that full time traveling. I will almost positively not get another opportunity to travel for 6 mts at a time until retirement

        • Bar trip planning :

          Definitely not planning to spend $20k. My budget is around a fourth of that, but I think my parents are planning on gifting a portion of my travel as a graduation gift (probably the airfare or something). I’m hoping to travel for ~3 weeks so I can spend the remainder of the time getting into the zone for biglaw life.

    • I did not take a big bar trip. But I did go visit my grandmother, who lived in a rural area and little internet access, for a few days. I am so, so glad I did because I was unable to visit while working for my law firm (see remote area), and she died suddenly about two years after I started my job. I would have regretted not making that time, and I have zero regrets about not traveling somewhere exotic. My advice is to take time to see your friends and family members because it’s so hard once you start working.

      If you have time for a great vacation too, I’d go to Argentina. It’ll be winter, you can do it without spending a fortune, and it has a good mix of city + nature/remote/relaxing.

      • Bar trip planning :

        Argentina is actually the #1 spot we’re considering! There, Barcelona, or a road trip in the US (or maybe just Cali coast). Have you been in the winter? All of my family has only been in the summer so I’m not sure what to expect in the off season.

    • Not a bar trip issue – but re the bar vacation. Make sure you are 100% set up before you job starts. This isn’t like regular jobs — as a 1st yr you will have ZERO control of your schedule. Sure it’s possible to start off slow so that it isn’t a huge deal to go home for 2 hrs in your 2nd week to wait for the cable guy. And yet for every person who has that kind of start — there’s an associate you stays until midnight on their first day . . . . So make sure all cable, utilities that involve anyone coming to your place, internet (bc you need to be able to log in from home if needed), furniture shopping and delivery, suit shopping and alterations are taken care of before day 1. And by doing this you will jinx yourself into a situation where your first few weeks will be slow!

      • Ha, I was staffed on doc review literally my first day — calling my BF like “actually that dinner we planned is off.” But I was much better off than my colleague who figured the first day couldn’t be much work and ended up hungoverAF trying to white knuckle through 12 hours of doc review.

        • Bar trip planning :

          Good advice! I am already living in the city where I’ll be working, but I am definitely planning on getting all of my doctors appointments and obscure errands done beforehand. I’m also going to try to streamline my meal planning and exercise schedule as much as possible.

    • Anonymous :

      I didn’t have a lot of money or time for my bar trip, but I craved to be outdoors and “disconnected”. I went to the PNW, Portland and surrounding area and it was absolutely perfect for me. Light hiking, beach, mountains, forests. Total change of scenery from my midwestern city. I loved it.

  19. In Canada and considering an Amazon Prime membership, for those who have it do you think it’s value for money?

    • I tried the free trial and didn’t find it worthwhile. Delivery is usually pretty quick anyway and I always buy enough to get free shipping. That was before they added access to the Amazon video service though so that might change the calculation for you.

    • Totally worth it for our family. We have pockets of family throughout the country, and prior to Prime easily spent well over the annual membership fee on shipping costs for holiday and birthday gifts. We use the streaming t.v. and Prime movie services multiple times per week, and love that we can download things for free when we travel (helps keep the toddler entertained on long flights.) Save a ton of scarce ‘free time’ by being able to place Prime orders in the evening after kid is in bed, knowing that items will arrive within a couple of days. Totally worth it.

    • Not sure how Prime differs in Canada, but I’m in the US and don’t know how I ever got along without it :) So many products I never would have come across, and would not order if I had to pay for shipping as well as product not carried at my local stores. Prime has gotten me out of a jam a few times when I needed items quickly. It’s also helpful because your delivery date is guaranteed. Outside of the shipping, access to streaming seems to be dwindling.

    • Given amazon’s vast selection, I LOVE it. It just saves. E so much time when I would otherwise need to run out to the store. Running low on cat food and don’t have time to run to the pet store a 20 min drive away; order it on amazon and it’s at my door the next day. Running out of my speciality curly hair conditioner and don’t have time to run to the salon, order it on amazon and it’s at my door two days later. It just saves me so much time running errands

    • Anonymous :

      Totally worth it for my family. In addition to the free shipping, the Amazon music and streaming are fantastic. I also like the free book borrowing on my kindle.

      it seriously helps in the last minute things with kids, i.e. kid comes home on Monday and needs XYZ item by Wednesday for school. I just use prime and cross an annoying last minute errand off my list.

  20. If we’ve already signed a client engagement letter to work with a CPA through our lawyer’s fancy firm but if they haven’t yet started work, it’s not appropriate for us to break that engagement because the CPA apparently can’t receive password-protected PDFs via email, right? I am seriously horrified at being asked to fax tax documents. (More because of the hassle than because of the security risk but–isn’t this a security risk?)

    Unfortunately the only thing more horrifying would be finding a new CPA at this point in the year. UGH.

    • I don’t think it’s a security risk, no. PITA, yes.

    • No, faxes are safer than any emailed attachments. This is why you usually can’t get medical information emailed. They always want to fax it.

    • How is faxing a security risk? In order to get a copy of the faxed document you’d have to tap the actual phone line, I think. Or pick it up off the machine and make a copy after it’s received, but if you’re sending it to your CPA I wouldn’t think that would be a concern?

      I wouldn’t fire a firm I’d already hired for this but I’d consider not using them again.

    • Faxing is safer than any kind of email. Not sure why this would be a security risk.

      • It is not safer than emailing an encrypted document. I don’t understand how the person can’t receive protected documents via email, unless possibly they don’t understand how to open the documents. If they are not very technically literate, I would find that concerning.

        • I’m not sure this is true. IS security experts at my work say faxes (fax machine to fax machine) are the safest.

          • Sending something unencrypted across the wire is always less secure than sending something encrypted.

    • You realize most faxes show up on screen now as email PDFs right? Long gone are the days where you fax will be sitting on a machine for days until some goes and grabs it.

      • I did not realize this! Yeah, I was definitely imagining a fax machine sitting in some central office location. Obviously I don’t fax that often . . .

      • Yeah, when someone “faxes” me something, it comes to my email. That said, IDK why someone wouldn’t be able to get a pdf. Everywhere I’ve worked has also had the option of some kind of secure portal.

  21. I got a Theory blazer at Nordstrom Rack this weekend for $83. I just had to tell somebody. The original price tag said $445 and while I have my doubts it was ever sold for that much I am quite pleased with my find. Also, the Anchorage Nordstrom Rack is the best one I’ve ever been in. Who knew?

  22. You guys I just ordered so much stuff from the Nordstrom sale. I’m still in my PJs and I’ve spent $500. Ha. Hopefully for my wallet at least half won’t work in person and I will send them back, but OMG it’s a really good sale.

    • I feel you. I spent $500 at the Patagonia semi-annual sale and while I’m slightly horrified, I’ve never been happier with my purchases!

    • I got four (!!!) dresses from Clear the Rack on Friday and I’m already wearing one today!

  23. I have a black leather purse I love and have no desire to replace, but the leather on the edges is starting to lose its color. Any recs for ways to address this? I was thinking maybe something made for touching up color problems on shoes might be what I’m looking for? I’ve never tried to fix something like this before and hope the hive can give me some tips.

    • If it’s a name brand, go back to the manufacturer. A few years ago, my mom’s leather Coach bag was showing signs of wear, so she took it to the store to find out how to fix it. They actually offered to either replace the entire bag or give her store credit for a new one. If you don’t want to see if the manufacturer or store will replace it, then I’d take it to a cobbler and see what they recommend since they repair leather shoes.

      • Oh, actually it’s Coach! I will definitely take it to them and ask what they are willing to do.

    • Sharpee?

      Or bring it to your cobbler.

  24. I posted yesterday asking for advice about marriage counseling (due to my husband spending all his time writing). I made the appointment with the therapist I found and blocked out time to talk to him about it last night. I was braced for a big argument.

    It turns out he had, the previous week, gone to a counselor by himself. He admitted he has been really withdrawn and says he’s been depressed for some time. There’s a lot going on – we ended up talking for four hours – but basically, he feels like a gigantic failure and the more he felt like he had failed, the farther away he pulled. When his first attempts at writing failed he felt like he had to “double down” on effort to make something happen. He no longer wants to quit his job and write, but he does hate his job and we agreed we will work together to rewrite his resume and get him going looking for something else. His therapist gave him a prescription for Wellbutrin and I encouraged him to fill it. I’m hoping that will help.

    He’s going back to see his therapist again and we’re going to see the marriage counselor on Friday. We have a long way to go but I feel hopeful for the first time in about two years. I had talked to him about depression previously, but there is a real stigma in his family about “psych drugs” and he was reluctant to get help. He’s past that now, he says. One thing I did find out, he is adamantly against getting divorced and says he is willing to put the work in to make things better. He asked me to give it six months and I said if I see real effort being made to change, I will hang in there.

    I don’t know if I would have had the courage to finally confront him without being able to post and read responses here first. So thanks to everyone who read yesterday and responded. To be continued…

    • I hope things work out! I’m pleased for you that lines of communication are open and steps are being taken.

    • This is great news! A step in a hopefully positive direction. Good luck, and I hope things work out for you!

    • I’m so happy to hear this!

    • This is really good news!! I think his attitude towards this is very good and I am glad that you are feeling hopeful. Keep us updated please.

    • Aw, that’s love. It’s not easy but it’s worth it.

    • My husband says Wellbutrin saved his life. I don’t think either of us really realized how bad his depression had gotten, but once he started on the meds it was like a cloud had lifted and suddenly he was again the man I met 15 years ago. Therapy is great, and being happy in a job is obviously essential. But for him, the medication made a huge, noticeable difference pretty quickly, and put him in the frame of mind to look into a better job and better self-care.

      • Anonymous :

        Thank you so much for sharing this. I have thought for a long, long time he needed drug therapy but he was totally resistant. I think something must have happened (that I have not gotten to the bottom of yet, and maybe I won’t) to change his mind. I don’t mean this to sound insensitive, but I really do need something to change sooner rather than later and I think honestly, the meds will help him so, so much. Nothing is an overnight fix but I was more relieved to hear about the antidepressant than I was to hear he was willing to go to therapy. His mom has clinical depression and says antidepressants literally saved her life, and he’s a lot like her.

    • That’s great. Sounds very positive. I responded yesterday mentioning Gottman and I just saw that they have a free email newsletter – https://www.gottman.com/the-marriage-minute/

    • Wow. This is so amazing. I almost can’t believe it.

      It is literally the best possible outcome you could have hoped for.

      Kudos to both of you.

      Keep us posted.

      • Anonymous :

        Not quite. I didn’t want to write a wall of text earlier (and don’t want to now either), but let’s just say we have a long road ahead of us in terms of ownership of choices, i.e., there were some things said last night that made me feel like I was being blamed for not working harder to make him pay attention to me. :-( It wasn’t like I heard, “I know I have been a jerk, I’m so sorry, please forgive me.” More like “I know we have problems and I know I am part of creating those problems and I’m willing to talk to someone about it.” Since this isn’t a Disney movie, there are no instantaneous happy endings. I hope in therapy we can get to the root of some of his passivity, and a general pessimism and defeatist attitude, which I honestly don’t know if I can live with forever. But, he still loves me and I love him, and I’m praying, praying, praying the antidepressant will help. A big part of this is my fault for not having the lady-stones to do what I did last night for TWO YEARS. I don’t even know what I was thinking.

        • Please don’t assign blame to yourself! What happened in the past happened in the past. This is a good step in the present looking to the future, but you should try to live in the present. People always make mistakes, but it’s how they react and move forward that is important IMO. You chose to bring this up now and you should feel good about that.

    • This sounds like a very positive first step!

    • Senior Attorney :

      That’s a great update! Thanks so much for letting us know!

    • Mrs. Jones :

      Good luck!

    • Oh, I’m so glad he’s willing to meet you halfway on this and do the work. Hope matters. Keep us posted!

    • This is great news. My experience is mine alone, but I did want to share. I found myself in a very similar situation – a marriage that was often good but not great. We went to counseling, but by the time we got there, I was already pretty checked out. I think this made it difficult to reap many benefits to counseling. Looking back, I wish I had gone in with a more positive attitude. It wouldn’t have cost me anything to put all of my energy into trying to make the marriage work for six months and at least temporarily taking divorce totally off the table. After all, I had made a commitment. I wish I had thought more seriously about the negative consequences of divorce. I especially wish that I had considered how incredibly difficult it can be on children – even when both parents co-parent well, remain friendly, etc. I’m not saying anyone should stay in a marriage that is abusive or just plain bad, but, in my case, I left an okay marriage. My day-to-day living situation became somewhat less challenging, but my children’s lives became sadder and more difficult despite the fact that their father and I stayed in the same town and co-parented easily. I also wasn’t prepared for the sadness of not kissing my children goodnight every evening. All of this is to say – give therapy your all too. Also, if you separate, don’t forget about counseling for your son.

      • Anonymous :

        Anon at 4:37 – thanks for sharing your experience. I have had several friends go through divorce and then co-parenting (either by their own choice, or because their husband left) and just seeing their experiences has given me a lot of pause about divorce. I think in a macro sense, in most cases the divorce was for the better. But the mechanics of trying to split up the household and get through those early days of co-parenting were tough, tough, tough on some of my friends. Especially if the divorce was higher-conflict. And especially for my friends who were super-involved moms and now are in the situation where they don’t see their kid half the week, have to cope with their kids being gone on holidays, etc.

        If it comes down to it, I will leave, but I really want to try to postpone that if at all possible. My son is a really sensitive kid, he needs a lot of emotional support and quality time, and he has told me in the past that his worst fear is that his parents will get divorced. :-( He’s going into middle school which was a very challenging time for me, when I was a kid, and as I understand it, most kids still have challenges with it. I am willing to hang in there a little longer just to see if we can make it work. I would never stay in a bad marriage for my son and I don’t think people should stay together “for the kids,” but I have also seen that divorce when you have kids is not a picnic and there are long-lasting repercussions and challenges. Again, thanks for your comment. I am going into this wholeheartedly and with hope it will work; time will tell but your encouragement and advice means a lot to me.

  25. I usually don’t wear lipstick, but have fallen in love with the e.l.f. moisturizing lipstick, especially in “red carpet”. Somehow it seems to stay on for a long time, but also if anything touches it (coffee cup, hand) immediately leaves a mark. I assume the “moisturizing” part is why it’s staying on – but any suggestions for something that won’t leave a mark on absolutely everything.

    • Ha – this is why I kind of gave up on lipstick. Moisturizing lipsticks usually don’t stay on, in my experience. You could get a longwear stain or something, which might rub off less, but I find those extremely drying, and I have dry lips already.

      • Yeah, I think the moisturizing part is probably the problem. The pigments create the stain/color, but the moisturizer probably goes all over.

    • Marshmallow :

      I love experimenting with beauty products and have yet to find a truly moisturizing lipstick that stays on and doesn’t leave a mark. Anything that is dry enough not to mark up your coffee cups is going to feel dry on your lips. Liquid lipsticks will have more staying power than bullets. Some options to try: ColourPop Ultra Matte (will stay on literally all day but feels like cement on your lips, try at your own risk); ColourPop Ultra Satin (more comfortable but leaves a tiny mark); Tarte liquid lipstick (my favorite, but sometimes gets gunky/ smudged after eating lunch); Sephora cream lip stain (the most comfortable on the list, but most likely to mark up your cup).

      • I’ll try the Tarte liquid lipstick and Sephora cream lip stain – I don’t mind if it leaves a bit of a mark. I had used the covergirl outlast lip stain before but thought it was too drying to use on a daily basis.

    • Anonymous :

      Heya – this is late, but you may still see it.

      I mainly wear NARS lipsticks these days, in a variety of colors, and love them so much. Re: red, for example, my go-to is Afghan Red (I am of a blue/cool undertone), but if you do a search, there are a lot of blogs and sites that explain other NARS matches for different skin-tones. Oh, another thing is that the NARS Audacious Lipstic line is so good. I put it on once in the morning (and, um, again after running at lunch), and it stays put through a lot of eating and drinking. I think it’s simply unavoidable that a lipstick will leave a small mark on a cup or something, but I actually don’t really notice that much. Once these bad boys dry, I don’t even think about it again.

  26. I am looking for a wallet on a chain to carry my wallet stuff in card slots, phone, keys and sunglasses. Does such a thing exist?

    • Wildkitten :

      You had me until sunglasses. You are describing a purse, no? Kate Spade has some with chains.

    • Hmm maybe no sunglasses then. I want something smaller than a shoulder bag

    • Something like this? https://www.thegrommet.com/eyepockit-all-in-one-glasses-case-clutch?utm_source=googlepla&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=shoppingfeed&utm_content=2122-S-106&gclid=Cj0KEQiA56_FBRDYpqGa2p_e1MgBEiQAVEZ6-xctBWM6oC2cBqxCEio1KIP_jUuEYVqhH1XV38zycaEaAqwX8P8HAQ#color=camel+croc

    • What about a clutch with a cross body strap? Depending on the bulk of your keys it could work.

  27. Hi, my name is CountC and I have a used book buying problem. They are so cheap, and ABEbooks makes it so eeeeeasy. Eeek!

    • My name is Your Future and I have run out of bookcases (and I have a room lined with bookcases, as well as bookcases scattered all over the house wherever I can fit them.)

    • Baconpancakes :

      Only buy something you are going to read in the next two months. If you don’t read it in the next two months, you have to donate it.

      • That was my Konmari takeaway… for me, some of the joy of buying books is the novelty factor.

        For me, it’s such a treat to buy a book and head to a cafe where I can drink something nice and dive into it. If I buy a book and add it to the pile of things I should read first, you lose that spark.

        • Baconpancakes :

          I’ve had a couple of books on my “to-read” shelf for a couple years that just don’t seem interesting anymore, then I see the book in the library or bookstore and think, “hey, that looks good! Wait, I already have it and have passed it over in favor of other things multiple times now…”

      • I actually really like looking at books. I have done purges the last few times I have moved. This is a new slow build up of a sparse collection. I get joy both from seeing them and from reading them. :)

        • Future You again. I always say books are my decor. I love a first or second edition hardcover. You can take my first edition Steinbecks out of my cold, dead hands.

    • I buy used books super cheap at our local library book sale because then I don’t feel bad about giving away most of them after I’ve read them. If I spend $20 on a new hardcover then I have to make room for it in our house, but if I spend 50 cents on a paperback then I view that as no more costly than borrowing a book (it’s basically the cost of gas to and from the library, not even factoring in my time) and give it away when I’ve read it (unless it turns out to be one of my favorite books EVER).

      • I’ve been better about selling/donating/giving away books since I realized I like to buy super cheap used ones (my used bookstore has radically changed my price point for books) and read them when I feel like it. For me, it’s the access to books in a variety of genres when I’m looking for something to read.

        But yeah, if you’re not going to reread it, then don’t feel like you need to keep it.

    • I volunteer in a charity bookshop at the weekends. It’s not been good for the state of my bookshelf.

  28. Fed Pensions :

    There was a post a few days ago, maybe a week now, about the upcoming budget and whether federal employees felt secure in their jobs. Someone posted that the pension contribution may increase and someone else responded that they didn’t care about their pension and neither did their other younger coworkers. Why is that? My husband is a federal employee and his pension is an important part of our retirement planning. I guess if you plan on job hopping you won’t care about your pension. There are also concerns it might not be there anymore in the requisite number of years. It’s not enough to live on entirely but it will surely supplement our income and require less saving. We anticipate his pension will be around $35,000/year.

    • Because I don’t have any confidence that it will be there by the time I retire. That’s the main reason. I also don’t plan on spending my whole career at one employer. Why would I? They’re freezing pay this year and I don’t have any confidence that will be reversed anytime soon. (I’m in a state gov, not federal, but my reasons for disregarding the pension are the same as they would be if I were a fed.)

      • Same. I’m mid-30s and I don’t really have confidence that it will be there when I retire, nor do I think that I’m going to stay at my current place of employment long enough to fully vest in the pension.

    • Ignorance?


      The current mindset that people have that pensions don’t really have a future, so they are giving up without a fight?

      Because Americans are in general, very poor planners for the future?

      This has perennially been a problem in unions that employers take advantage of. They try to pit the younger employee against the older employee. The classic is cutting pensions for new/younger workers, and older Union folks let that sacrifice slide because they are at least preserving their own benefit.

      And yes, the current generation is becoming accustomed to frequent job changes, moves, and less employer loyalty. The employer that you work for for 35 years and the retire from with a good pension is a thing of the past. And the federal/state employers will be the last to offer pensions, I predict…….

    • I’m the poster who said that. First I’m paying 4.4% per paycheck not 0.9% like the old folks so it’s not insignificant. Second I can’t stand the job or working for the gov’t and I pray I’m out soon so no – a pension 30 yrs from now is not appealing to me bc it’d been 20 or 30 more yrs of collecting a paycheck as if it’s welfare.

      • Fed Pensions :

        That makes sense. Thanks. The people I know who care about their pensions are in law enforcement type roles that have no real private sector equivalent.

      • Anonymous :

        Same – I’m under FERS-FRAE and coming in to this system took a chunk of raise I didn’t anticipate transitioning from private sector.

        I plan to retire as a fed, but still would rather have that 4.4% to put in to my TSP (not to mention the significant chunk funded by my agency). And it being post-tax sucks extra. I assume some of this is the younger generation funding the older generation, so somebody’s lack of planning is now my problem — and crap rolls downhill, so I assume the FERS rate will only go up further.

        • Anon pensioner-to-be :

          I’m a state employee and I care about my pension. It will be nice to receive about $50K per year (if I retire early; more if I’m 65) and continue to have the state contribute to my healthcare costs.

          • The healthcare benefit is huge.

            Another thing that many young people choosing careers can’t appreciate yet, and perhaps, may not exist by the time they get there.

    • I have a pension, and I don’t care about it (in a sense) because I don’t use it in any of my retirement calculations. There are regulations regarding pensions that protect workers, but I don’t look at it as guaranteed money because it’s really not.

      That said, I hope that everything works out with my pension and I receive the full benefits at retirement. We plan to use any pension income as “slush money” for fun vacations and the like.

    • Maybe this is naive but i think it’d be pretty shocking for the fed govt (or state, though maybe less so) to actually default on their pension obligations. I’d say if it happens we have way bigger problems.

      I do think people are more transient these days and especially with some of the more prestigious fed jobs, people are not aiming to make a career out of it, which is probably a contributing factor to pension contribution resentment.

      • I think you are definitely being naive about the risk of defaults.

      • Anon pensioner-to-be :

        I agree it would be shocking. those who think you’re naive may be thinking of cities and counties defaulting. Much less likely for federal or state government.

      • Blonde Lawyer :

        I find it interesting that many of the people who don’t trust gov’t pensions (and the laws that protect them) trust student loan forgiveness/IBR/REPAYE and vice versa. Many people that don’t trust loan forgiveness believe that their pension will be there.

    • Anyone who joined Federal Service in the past few years has been told repeatedly that the pension changes would make the benefits negligible, and that we were tragically unlucky to have been born so young. (H3ll, I think most of these curmudgeons were probably referring to the 1987 change to FERS, based on cursory googling.) TSP has been much more strongly emphasized. That combined with the rocky ride federal employees have faced through sequestration, furloughs and agency-wide freezes on promotions, it doesn’t feel that unrealistic that they’ll break promises regarding pensions as well. Most Trump voters would probably support a punitive dismantling of “swamp”-dwelling public servants’ remaining pensions.

    • I’ll give you an older and wiser comment here. I never thought I’d see my pension dollars. I worked for two companies that offered them but I largely ignored everything.

      To my great surprise they actually are worth something. I turned 52 and eligible to start payments. I’m still working so I don’t want payments, but I am also eligible to roll over a lump sum into an IRA, which I am doing with alacrity (for someone of my advanced age) and the amounts are not negligible. I am very pleased.

      It may surprise you to hear that someday you, too, will be 52. Pensions are definitely worth something. Don’t ignore them.

      • It’s not that people are surprised they might be 52 someday. It’s that the chances of something still being there by the time they turn 52 feels shockingly small. Today’s 20 and 30 year olds have seen if not actual cuts, then lots of talk about cuts, to every long-term benefit available. It hurt their parents and grandparents right as these kids were starting in the work world.

        Add in that we’re all paying SS but will likely see almost none of that back, and you can see where the cynical view of retirement benefits comes in. It’s the whole “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” theory – give me the dollars upfront in real money so I can do it myself, because I don’t trust that it’ll still be there when I need it.

  29. Baconpancakes :

    HELP! I am about to kill my colleague. I don’t want to go to jail but he’s suddenly turned into a mini (incompetent) dictator and I really think the world would be better off without him. Someone talk me down.

  30. Anonymous :

    Can someone provide resources or guidance on a financial planning strategy for me? I’m 26 and my take home pay is about $1515 every two weeks (after taxes). I split all of my bills with my SO (mortgage, health insurance, internet, cable, dog care) which is $1400 a month. I am aiming to max out my Roth IRA this year, since my employer doesn’t contribute, so I pay $229 into it each pay period. I also just opened an Ally savings bank, contributing $100 per pay period. No loans, no debt. Is there anything else I should be doing? Am I on the right track?

    • You sound awesome. Way to go.

    • Anonymous :

      Same poster as above, I should also add, I have a hard time talking myself out of buying splurge purchases just because I can “technically” afford it, in favor of saving. I feel like I’m constantly trying to talk myself out of some M.M. Lafleur dress or Cuyana handbag, expensive face serum, etc. It’s exhausting because I feel like I can afford those things, but it’s not in line with my savings priorities/ its reckless and unnecessary spending.

      • Ahh, interesting. Do you need to restrict your own access to money, like funneling more of it into automatic savings, so that the shopping temptation isn’t as immediately gratified?

        My partner and I have started occasionally checking in with each other not just on financial goals but on how we want to deal with money. That’s been really illuminating–we’re generally on the same page about goals, but we have pretty divergent personal preferences on how we want to handle money, how often we want to think about it, what kind of structure supports us to make short-term choices in accordance with our long-term goals, etc. Maybe that’s a conversation that you need to have with yourself, especially if you are feeling anxious or reckless.

        • This is what I find that I need to do. I actually find Ally is really fantastic for this. They let you open as many savings accounts as you want, and you can name them. So for instance, I have accounts for: vacation savings, gifts (for Christmas, weddings, etc.), home savings, etc.

          I also have a savings account where I throw in anything that’s left over from my checking account before the next pay day, and then I use it when I have enough and I want to splurge on something fun! Maybe this would work for you?

          • Forgot to add that I have direct deposit amounts going into each account, so that the amount that ends up in my checking account is what I actually anticipate spending (and if I spend less than planned, I’m ok with spending anything leftover on something fun)

      • Anonymous :

        I don’t want to seem like an enabler, but why don’t you give yourself a budget line item that rolls over every month so that you can buy those things? So, instead of buying that dress or handbag in the instant that you want it, you can “save” and splurge on it the following month or after 3 months or something.

      • Agree with others. Give yourself a budget that you can afford for purchases. And maybe don’t spend a lot of time around these parts, because those brands you mention are like je sus on this board. Lots of proselytizing.

    • Can you afford to kick in another $100/month to your Ally savings account? Saving $1200/year seems low to me. Otherwise, sounds good.

      • Anonymous :

        its actually $200/month, so $2400 a year. Is that still a bit low?

        • Yes, depending on your financial goals. I would check out LearnVest (link to come) — they’re really good at walking you through financial priorities.

          • https://www.learnvest.com/knowledge-center/financial-goals-guide-money-to-dos-for-your-20s-30s-40s-and-50s/

        • https://www.learnvest.com/knowledge-center/financial-goals-guide-money-to-dos-for-your-20s-30s-40s-and-50s/

        • For just starting out, you’re doing awesome! However, don’t delude yourself into thinking that you shouldn’t do more if you can afford to do more. Just contributing to a Roth IRA isn’t going to garner enough savings to retire someday, so you might want to think about doing another type of retirement account also. You’ll also want to think about saving for a down payment, future vehicle, and building an emergency fund to carry you for 6 to 12 months of expenses. Compound interest is your best friend at 26.

    • Do you have an emergency savings account? I can’t tell if the $1400 is your half, but say you lost your job and your SO left you. How much would you need to survive 6 months on your own? (Yes that’s aggressive, I know, but I’m a saver so I can truly enjoy my fun money.) Let’s say it would be $2000/month since you could downsize or eliminate some things in a true emergency. So that’s $12K. I would aim to get there in 12-24 months, so somewhere between $500-$1000 a month should be going into your e-savings. If I’m reading your budget right, you still have ~$480 left each paycheck, so you could set a goal to put one paycheck in savings, then one can be spent on fun, next one in savings, etc, until you have your emergency fund. Then you start saving for your next goal, like a down payment or a wedding or kids or pied a terre in Italy or a trip around the world.

  31. Anonymous :

    A retailer (frequently discussed on this s ! te) is going to replace a tote bag I have from them due to peeling and cracking of the leather handles. Is it okay for me to ask if they could replace my 13″ with a 15″? I am happy to pay the difference but found I actually don’t use this bag as much because my new laptop doesn’t fit well. Or is that weird/rude/presumptuous for me to ask for a replacement in a different size?

    • Worst they can say is no. I’d ask!

    • Anonymous :

      Are they actually replacing the bag or just the handles? If they’re giving you a brand new bag, it seems like a reasonable ask to get a bigger size if you pay the difference. But I suspect they’re just replacing the handles in which case the request seems a little off to me.

    • Legally Brunette :

      Dagne Dover?

      • I suspected the same. I know everyone is over the moon about their customer service in replacing all of these bags whose handles cracked, but I dunno. I’d prefer a bag whose handles don’t crack.

        • Anonymous :

          Yep. And I agree, I don’t think I’ll be purchasing again from them, though I otherwise like the bag.

    • Totally fair to ask. If it’s Lo & Sons, I’d be shocked if they didn’t accommodate you — at worst, maybe they have you pay the difference in cost?

    • I have to know if it is a Coach bag? I’ve had my saffiano leather tote for almost four years now and am having the same problem with the handles and have been considering contacting them about it.

  32. fudged credentials :

    I have accidentally discovered that a very high-flying colleague of mine previously misrepresented their academic credentials. (No, I don’t work in the White House.) They are very competent and a great asset in their role, which requires significant soft skills rather than any particular institutional accreditation. Because their role is public-facing, I occasionally supply bios for them and other high-level public-facing colleagues, so I have copies of everyone’s CV, and every few years I ask everyone to review their bio for currency.

    Recently, while chatting with this colleague, they made a point of mentioning that they had not completed college. I knew that our in-house bio for this person–which they have previously approved–included a statement that said otherwise, so I clarified and corrected the bio. That conversation was very casual, with no impression on either side that there had been a misunderstanding or misrepresentation.

    However, while working on something related, I just unearthed my earliest copy of this colleague’s CV, which clearly lists a degree and graduation date from a local and well-known institution. I’m reassured that I didn’t completely invent their educational history, but I’m not sure how to feel about the fact that they apparently intentionally misled me (and likely our employer) when they started at this organization. Again, this person is fantastic in their role, and it makes no difference to me whether or not they graduated from college. My hunch is that perhaps, given their current professional success, they now feel more comfortable being honest about their credentials–but I have a hard time squaring that motivation with the fact that only a few years ago, they chose to lie.


    • Oh well? What are you going to do about it now? Is it really worth firing a top performer over this esp since you say it’s not a job/industry that requires a degree? This isn’t like a lawyer who didn’t graduate law school. Maybe your firm should do more diligence up front before hiring?

    • Anonymous :

      Do you provide just the bio (which I take to be accurate) and not the inaccurate CV? If it’s just the bio, and the job does not require college graduation as a term/condition of employment, I’d let it go.

    • Anonymous :

      Is a college degree a requirement for the job? Does she create a liability for the company due to not actually having this degree?

      If not, I wouldn’t pursue it. She has apparently come clean and hopefully learned her lesson.

      • fudged credentials :

        Yeah, I don’t want to pursue anything. I guess it’s more about how I think of my relationship with this person, whom I hadn’t previously had cause to think of as less than trustworthy.

        Oh, also: this person is planning to run for (local) office within the next two years.

    • Anonymous :

      I know multiple people who were a class or two short of graduating. A few years ago our HR department went through and did some audit and wanted everyone who was short a credit to finish it, but even then nobody really did because taking freshman english is not so important in the workplace. I guess it depends what lying about having a degree meant — if they didn’t attend classes at all then it’s a problem, but if it’s mostly finished, then I don’t care.

  33. Calibrachoa :

    Have they been there long enough that it is possible they were expected to graduate on date X but ended up working instead?

    • fudged credentials :

      Nope. Out of school and working for about a decade by the time they got to my org, so the exaggerated resume has probably been used in other settings.

  34. Anonymous :

    A friend has confessed she’s dealing with some pretty severe depression to the point of having dark thoughts of hurting herself. Her mom is on hospice, and I’ve encouraged her to go to a hospice support group for family members. She also lost her job, her unemployment is about to run out, and she feels she can’t start a new job because any day or week her mom could pass. She wants to spend her last days with her mom.

    I’ve talked with her, said I care about her and don’t want her to hurt herself, and encouraged her to see a doctor. She previously took medication, and she did see a therapist 2 weeks ago with another appointment this week.

    Is there anything else I can do? I took her out to lunch, and I encouraged her to call me if she has dark thoughts. She replied its every day and admitted she is feeling totally hopeless. I don’t know what else to do.

    • Are you in a position to stay with her for a while or have her stay with you?

      This sounds so hard–thank you for being there for your friend while she gets through this.

    • Calibrachoa :

      As someone who has issues with depression, a lot of the things people say you can do to someone with a new baby also help those who are depressed since both involve dealing with a wriggling, screaming thing that poops on everything you love and consumes all your time and attention.

      Visit her and help picking up around the house. Take out the recycling, do the dishes, put on a load of laundry, bring a casserole. Offer her a ride to the support group if you can. Help with the practical aspects of her life because those can so quickly become overwhelming and feel like there’s no way out of them.

    • Veronica Mars :

      Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) ASAP. They can help you figure out a plan to help her, and can connect you to mental health resources in your state you may not be aware of.

    • Concerned Friend :

      Thanks for the ideas. I offered to make dinner at her apartment or mine tonight, and even pick up groceries if needed, but she said she’s busy till 7 and then wants to take a nap because she’s exhausted. I did just see her at lunch, so maybe she is in fact busy (I hope). But she appreciated the offer, so I’ll follow up another day. She’s a great person, and I’m happy to help with the mundane chores if that’s helpful. We are pretty close friends.

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