Tuesday’s TPS Report: Rose Print Dress

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

Karen Millen Rose Print DressI go back and forth on floral sheath dresses. On the plus side: this is a gorgeous dress, and the pleating and ruching details give it structure as well as a bit of artistry. I, of course, love the blues and greens, and even the whites. On the con side: floral dresses are memorable — you can’t wear them once a week you can, say, with a black sheath dress; you also can’t style them fifteen different ways the way you can a black sheath dress. Still, this one is too lovely not to mention — it’s $299, available in UK sizes 6-16. Karen Millen Rose Print Dress

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  1. Sydney Bristow :

    I love this dress. It fits in my dream dress wardrobe a la Wilhemina from Ugly Betty and Victoria from Revenge. If I didn’t have a ton of packages arriving from all the holiday sales I’d actually consider buying this one. I might stalk it hoping it goes on clearance…

    • With global warming and stuff, there are still seasons in much of the world, no? It’s pretty, but if it is approaching Christmas (so, dresses with sleeves to start with) what will you wear for Spring?

      I think that this is lovely, but a bit delicate for now (and speaking of delicate — have you seen the care instructions on the fabric? I think my odds of inadvertently ruining this are astronomical (but maybe with the print you can see neither wrinkles nor stains)).

      • Sydney Bristow :

        This one does look like something I would wear more in spring. I wear cardigans pretty much every day though so I’d wear this with a cardigan and could be warm enough. I don’t own any dresses with sleeves anyway.

      • Care instructions – it’s the acetate. It’s a b!tch to clean without ruining the fabric. You can wet wash anything else except this. It’s a stupid fabric.

    • This is definitely a dress for the warmer months. I think it would look odd with hosiery. I have a skirt in a similar print and was kind of sad to put it away until spring.

    • Daughter-In-Law :

      I think the deep rich colors are actually really nice for this time of year. In the spring I want pastels, and in the summer I want brighter colors. Add a gray blazer and black or brown boots to wear it in a colder climate.

    • I adore this. It would probably be a three-season dress for me…I’d retire it for winter. Karen Millen is slightly exasperating, though – I find their UK sizing to be quite small. I have a gorgeous Karen Millen black pencil skirt but had to size up from my usual UK size, and in other Karen Millen items I just haven’t been able to figure out the sizing at all.

    • I like it too (though the pattern might be too upholstery-esque), but it’s not remotely appropriate for my office. Could be good for a summer wedding.

  2. Beginning Lifting :

    Any advice on how to begin weight lifting and strength training?

    • I found that it was easier to get started with a trainer. I learned better form and how to gauge how much weight to start with. Since then, I work on my own. I try new things here and there but it works for me.

      • I just wanted to add (now that I’m back at my desk) that I have really enjoyed strength training. I love being stronger and seeing the muscle build (although not bulky at all). It’s much more challenging and interesting to me than cardio, although I still do that, too.

        • I am right there with you. I really enjoy strength training – I do a group personal training thing and it’s really been worth it for me. Strength training changed my body shape for the better and it just makes me happy. Plus it’s nice to be able to lift things and not have to ask for help all the time.

          I did notice that I went through a slightly “beefy” phase, where it seemed like I was building muscle but the fat wasn’t quite going away yet. But that lasted just a brief time, and soon I could see muscles! Especially in my arms and back!

          • I agree that I did go through a beefier phase but I had gained some weight. I started eating better (less snacky stuff, more veggies) and I’ve lost 18 lbs now and the cool thing is that it’s showing off my muscle definition!

        • I love strength training too (though at 35 weeks pregnant I’m not doing any right now!), and found it so much more rewarding once I acquired a good understanding of form and progression. New Rules of Lifting for Women is pretty good to start with, but I would also recommend asking your trainer LOTS of questions. Can’t wait to get back to my strength training in a few months.

    • New Rules of Lifting for Women is a good book.

      • I have this one – and like it. The “for Women” part is really just to say “don’t be scared of weightlifting” and not special “for Women” exercises.

        I don’t recommend buying it on your Kindle, though. This is one that I think would work better in paper.

      • wildkitten :

        I like the Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises.

    • If you don’t go the trainer route (which I think is a very good idea) — try stumptuous.net. Lots of plain-English introductory material for weightlifting. After you get into it, I relied on exrx.net for years to pick up ideas about training, new exercises to vary my routine, etc. It’s reaaallly information dense, but there are a ton of gifs that show you how to do each exercise.

      Now I just do Crossfit and rely on the coaches for programming, but exrx.net was great when I was more actively interested in learning about lifting.

    • backgrounder :

      +1 on finding a trainer in the beginning. I joined a women’s bootcamp which has been absolutely fundamental in teaching me proper form and helping me to lift heavier.

    • I use Jillian Michael’s 30 day shred for my strength training. I skip the cardio parts and just do the lifting exercises. Then I throw in some squats. I would start with 2-3lb weights and then work your way up (don’t be afraid of heavier weights!!). Don’t be scared of “bulking up” as most women don’t have enough testosterone to bulk up.

    • I agree wholeheartedly with the trainer. But I’m cheap and went with a bootcamp style class (the kind using weights). It’s been good for learning the fundamentals.

      • Yes, I found that bootcamp-style classes teach you some moves that you can use on your own. I’m sure it’s more effective to have a trainer because I know I’m not using enough weight/doing enough reps, but something is better than nothing.

    • Equity's Darling :

      If you get a trainer, just make sure you really click with them. I’ve had two, the first one was just terrible, and I didn’t like him at all. The one I have now is great- he pushes me to lift heavier, doesn’t underestimate me, etc. I have no desire to give him up, though he’s taught me a lot so if I needed to, I totally could.

      The new rules of lifting for women is great too, and the workouts are pretty speedy and I saw results quite quickly- get the hard copy though.

    • I’m a fan of Bodypump classes. I got bored of it after a few months, but it’s great for building a lifting foundation.

    • Beginning Lifting :

      Thanks all, this is very helpful! I’ll look into finding a trainer and maybe a few classes on the side for motivation. Appreciate it!

    • Joanna Toews :

      Absolutely start with a trainer… at least for two sessions so you can a) learn proper form during the first session and b) get proper form reenforced during the second session (as the body forgets).

      Good luck! Weight training is SO. MUCH. FUN. It’s amazing what your body can do.

    • Find a “Body Pump” class. These classes are awesome, the instructors are knowledgeable and the weight routines are set to music. I lost ten pounds and changed my body after going to classes once a week–no joke.

      • saltylady :

        Careful on the bodypump. I loved it, but I am now sitting here dealing with low back pain that might be related to it. It didn’t hurt while I was doing it, but perhaps my form wasn’t spot on for those nine gazillion squats. I later found out that two other women I know (also late 30s/early 40s) had to quit because of injuries.

    • Finding a trainer is probably the easiest way to do this. You can be upfront and say that you want to begin a weight-training regimen on your own, but you want to figure out some routines and programs. If you don’t want to get a trainer or can’t afford one, then stumptuous.net is really excellent. Krista knows what’s up with weight training!

      Weight training is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It will help you build muscle and make it easier to lose/maintain your weight. It will also help protect your joints as you become stronger. I have lost almost 80lbs and the majority of it is due to diet (Paleo, baby) and weight training. I do cardio occasionally, but not a lot. Lifting weights rocks.

  3. This dress would never, ever work with my curves. I’d be asked to go home and change. Sometimes I wish there was a post on tips for professional dressing for very curvy women.

    I work in an area where there is absolutely no value to any name brand or designer brand clothing or bags. I am looking for a very good tote bag (think 2-3 files, maybe a laptop, 1-2 other things). Does anyone have recommendations for the highest quality ‘non-brand’ bag out there? I am definitely looking to spend less than $200.

    • If things are that utilitarian, I can’t say enough good things about the LLBean messenger bag. I’ve had black one for 10+ years that is just now showing any wear. They run around $80 for the large one. I had to move to something less utilitarian lately and kind of hate that I’ve had to care about looking pretty (when in Rome. . .).

      And, le sigh, I am a scrawny little pear and only in my dreams do I get sent home from work for dressing in a too va-va-voom manner.

      • Fellow scrawny one here. Joining the collective sigh.

        Although I bristle on behalf of anyone who gets sent home because of curves. If it’s acceptable for a less curvy person to wear, then it should be acceptable for a curvy person to wear, too. Otherwise, it’s just hating on women’s bodies.

        This is related to the way women are socialized to try to minimize their presence in all ways. (You’ve seen the videos about how dudebros sit on subway seats with their legs spread out, hogging 2-3 seats, vs how women try to scrunch themselves up in as tiny a space as possible?) It’s all f–d up and it needs to stop.

      • +1 on the LL Bean messenger bag. Mine is 20 years old, no exaggeration, and is still going strong. I take it as my carryon every time I travel.

        • JoanHolloway :

          As another super-curvy gal, I agree, it would be great if someone did a guide. But no one does, because no one knows what to do with us.

          I pretty much have to choose between looking frumpy/matronly or looking like I’m about to star in some fantasy video.

          Like my namesake ;), when you have that type of curve, you look like you’re trying to be sexy in EVERYTHING unless it obscures your shape entirely. It’s obnoxious.

    • I don’t have time to search the archives, but I am pretty certain Kat has done a post on dressing professionally when you’re curvy. I know she’s done them on individual body parts (if you’re busty, if you have an ample bum, etc.).

    • Flying Squirrel :

      If you want something more feminine, I think that Talbots is great for this sort of thing. I continue to find their quality very good. There are several that might meet your needs on sale right now, and there are also a few full-price that are still under $200.

    • Baconpancakes :

      I’m pretty va-va-voom (dressed as Joan from Mad Men for Halloween and it really worked!), and I actually prefer sheath dresses, property fitted. I think they look much more professional than most circle skirts on curves, since the extra curve empasizes the flounce of extra fabric as if you were wearing a petticoat. As long as I wear a cardigan or blazer, and don’t tightly belt or wear 4″ heels, sheaths look fine. Also, wearing your hair down minimizes the curves, if it’s reasonably long and professional. (Did the opposite of all these recommendations for the Joan costume.)

    • I love totes from Target. Yes, they’re probably <$50, and if you use it every day it probably won't last more than 6-8 months. But they are my go-to court bags. I have bought them in maroon, brown croc, black, and my current one is camel. They fit laptops, files, and have room for some gym clothes, lunch, wallet, or water bottle.

    • Coach Laura :

      I think that Baggallini totes are exceptionally long wearing and useful! Look on eBags for the Kindred tote. eBags is having a sale now, always has discount periods.

    • Anonymous :

      I absolutely love the bags I have from timbuk2. I have a messenger, two suitcase, and a tote. They are all extremely well made, durable, and waterproof. Plus, they come in really fun color combinations. Some bags also have a laptop sleeve in them too.

  4. Miss Behaved :

    Wow. I love this dress and might have to stalk it, but I can’t afford it and could not possibly justify buying it for myself at this time of year.

  5. Dear Lady Who Had a Double Mastectomy Yesterday, HUGS AND RAWRS

    • Wannabe Runner :

      I’ve been thinking about this person too. She posted about some issues in the Weekend Thread. Hope everything is going ok.

  6. Jenna Rink :

    I work with college students and have a good sized handful who are in the annoying habit of sending an email and then resending the same email in a slightly more frantic tone within less than 24 hours. These aren’t time sensitive issues. Usually I just reply to the first email and ignore the second (or third…) email. Is there a way I can correct this behavior without coming off as snarky?

    • In what capacity do you work with them? Are you a teacher, administrator? I would look for some way to make it clear up front what your timelines are for responding to emails. If you’re a teacher, you could put this in the course outline. (i.e. – “I respond to emails within 24-48 hours.” How long do you typically take to reply to emails?) And in your reply back email, you could of course write “I saw your email but haven’t had a chance to reply yet” so they get the message you’re busy.

    • Do you work with them in person as well? Also, in what capacity do you work with them? It sounds like these students might be a bit more anxious than most, so it should be handled delicately. You could try pulling them aside and framing it as them doing you a favor by sending less emails. For instance, “when you send me multiple emails about the same thing, I have trouble actually adressing the emails I need to respond to” or something along those lines so they understand that it’s an inconveneince to you.

    • Jenna Rink :

      I work with them in an administrative capacity, and the ones who do this tend to be students I don’t see in person often. The ones I see in person just come see me if they feel the need for an immediate answer. When I’m really busy it might take me 2 or 3 days to respond.

      • Anne Shirley :

        3 days to respond sounds long to me. If you aren’t acknowledging receipt of the first email, they may be concerned you didnt receive it. And if your college is anything like mine, they’re used to administrators ignoring them from time to time. If their emails are just getting frantic, and not rude, I don’t think you should say anything.

      • 2-3 days seems like a long time to not respond (even to say that you’ve received their email and will get back to them with more info).

        I have students who are late for a deadline and get freaked out. They email me, I respond early in the morning, then they show up looking for me and say “I emailed you!” and I say “yes, and I responded…”

      • Sydney Bristow :

        I think it might be helpful to respond to those people who follow up within 24 hours by saying you received their first request and generally respond within 24 hours and will get back to them. If you’re in a busy period could you respond right away to their 1st email saying that you’re very busy and will get back to them within 72 hours and they should follow up if they haven’t heard from you by then?

      • Senior Attorney :

        Yeah, I think the way to correct this behavior is to respond to emails within a day, even if it’s only to say “your email has been received and I’ll respond substantively within 3 days.”

        • But I don’t think this is going to correct the behavior, I think it just enables it. Because you are then conditioning them that they WILL always get a response *before* 24 hours have elapsed. Which is an unreasonable expectation, IMO

    • Are you sure it’s not time sensitive for them? College students have a lot going on and the more studious ones will often need to complete a project ahead of schedule if everything is due at the end of a semester.

      Also, I generally expect emails to be answered within a day. . .everyone works at their computer, right?

      • Yes, but that doesn’t mean that her job is responding to emails from students.

        Often issues are emailed to me and they deserve a thoughtful and considerate response. Not something I can rush off within 30 minutes.

        • If she’s in Admin at a college, and her job involves working with students, I’m fairly certain responding to emails from students probably IS part of her job.

          It’s part of what they PAY FOR.

    • Amelia Pond :

      Speaking as a student it can be frustrating when you have one professor who emails you back within an hour, another that responds within a day or two and another who takes weeks to respond or never responds at all unless you track them down in their office and you aren’t sure where a particular professor (or person in general) falls in those categories. I think you just need to set out clearly what your policy for emails are and make it clear that if you don’t respond within x number of days that is when it is appropriate for the person to follow up with you. I think people get spoiled by those who respond to emails within seconds and forget that not everyone works like that.

      • Very true – I agree with your first sentence and the last as well! Especially in our generation we expect pretty speedy email responses, which isn’t always reasonable. But I like the idea of responding with an interim email letting them know you’ll get back to them within X timeframe.

      • prof on a bike :

        Amelia Pond, if you’re still reading — I’m interested to hear your thoughts on what limits professors can place on email that still work for students. I have several large lecture classes, and so the volume of email that I get during the semester can be insane. I usually tell students that I only answer emails during business hours (eg, not after 5pm, not on weekends), and I tell students with more substantive questions that they should come to my office hours (instead of me typing out long replies). But even so, I get tons of student questions via, and honestly much of it students could answer themselves by reading the syllabus or the assignment more closely (eg due dates, where to drop off assignments, etc). I really struggle with how to reply to these questions that students should be able to answer for themselves, but are sending to me anyway.

        • This would drive me nuts. Part of growing up is learning how to follow directions and being able to exercise judgment. I think that e-mail is the lazy/passive person’s best friend and worst enemy. I think e-mail is fine in a work setting b/w co-workers and from clients / customers, but I don’t think that student / prof or student / admin (or worse: student’s parent / school person) is the same. Part of what you’re trying to get them to do is be responsible for themselves.

          Will the hierarchy of:
          stop by office
          call and talk to a live person
          call and leave a v-mail saying that they will follow-up by e-mail (etc.)
          not work here? That even works in offices — if you can see a person in person and you just e-mail from down the hall, it gives a bad impression (not if it’s after hours, etc.).

          But you get the idea. Or on the next syllabus, maybe put in e-mails re topics covered on the syllabus will result in a lowered grade and no grad school recommendations?

          To the OP, maybe have a perpetual out of office message saying that your message has been received and will be responded to by X; if this is urgent, please stop by (etc., as appropriate).

        • Why not just say something like: “Thank you for your email. The answer to your question can be found in the class syllabus/assignment memo.”? That way, you’re telling them where to find the information but not making life easier for people who are making life harder for you.

          • prof on a bike :

            This is what I would really like to say, and perhaps even should say, but in practice I find students just perceive this as me being rude. They aren’t thinking from my perspective, of course, and so they don’t realize that if even a fraction of them just pop off a quick email to ask about the drop-off location, I end up with a dozen emails in my inbox asking the same question. Imposing some sort of a time lag helps because I find students are more likely to look for the answers themselves if they know they’re not going to get a quick response, but my current systems is far from a perfect solution…

          • Anonymous :

            I usually wait, and if I receive several of these emails, I send out a reminder to the whole class rather than individual replays. For instance, “I have received several emails about the upcoming assignment and I want to remind you all to turn in it to my mailbox in the department office by ten am on Thursday. This information is also found on the assignment.”

            This way I write one reply instead of several and it gets the message across.

        • If you have a course website (Blackboard/Canvas/Moodle/whatever), I find it helps to have an FAQ section where students can post questions and I’ll post answers. I can then respond to these emails with either ‘check the FAQ’ or ‘post it in the FAQ so the whole class can benefit from seeing the answer.’ It would be great if everyone could just read the syllabus, but I’m not convinced that’s a realistic answer. You can even have a macro that lets you autofill those sentences into your emails.

          FWIW, I also have a policy of ‘I’ll get back to you in one business day’ that I put in my syllabi.

          • prof on a bike :

            Ah, that’s a great idea. Then I could get the TAs or even other students to answer these kinds of easy questions. I think for next semester I’ll try this in combination with Amelia Pond’s suggestion of restricting email to setting up appointments only. That seems like it might work!

        • Amelia Pond :

          I think professors just have to be clear about what they will and will not do by email preferably set out in the syllabus and on the first day of class. I have some professors who state in the syllabus that the only thing they will do via email is to set up appointments if you can’t attend office hours. I think if you have stated clearly in the syllabus that you won’t do things over email then students shouldn’t expect you to answer any questions over email and you would be justified in ignoring the email.

          Some students will not respect this of course, but as long as you state clearly your policies students have no reasonable expectations otherwise. I am also a fan of the google template setting–I used to use this a lot to answer the easy form questions I would get when I was a student worker in the admissions office. That way it takes two seconds to send an email that says–“please refer to the syllabus or stop by at office hours” for those students that don’t get the picture.

          • You should also be aware that students also may have many profs (as I do) who say EMAIL ME , do NOT call me, I don’t listen to voicemail, and if you want to talk to me, you have to email me to make an appointment.

            If profs don’t have preferences in their syllabus, it’s hard sometimes to remember who had which preference, and email seems less intrusive, so students may default to that. If you really want email to be a last resort, you should definitely make that clear both in the syllabus and verbally on the first day of class, because it’s directly contrary to what a lot of profs ask for.

        • @w0w x1000

          Communicating with university profs and staff is not like texting with your BFF. They do not have to give you a reply right away. And if it’s urgent, call or go in person. Sheesh. A little impulse control goes a long way. Some of these requests are just.not.that.urgent.

          @prof on a bike – that’s pretty annoying. esp. since you already explicitly stated that if someone has a more substantive question, s/he should use office hours.

    • Traditionalist :

      I tend to agree with everyone above that 2-3 days is probably a bit long for responses, but you did say that the students send more than one email within 24 hours, which is excessive in my opinion.

      Maybe this is a case where people assume you work like they do, and they would want to be reminded of something to have it sent back to the top of their inbox. I, on the other hand, keep an extremely clean inbox (less than 5 emails at a time) and find it irritating and rude to be reminded of something that’s already on my list. So maybe just explaining how your “system” works would comfort them that you’ll get to it in relatively short order.

      Of course, that does rely on your getting to it in relatively short order. FWIW, I’ve never found much success in the “I’ll get back to you substantively soon” replies, especially if it’s any longer than that one sentence. For the overwhelming majority of emails, it’s a better use of my time to just devote the time to reply once with the substantive answer and be done with it.

      • I agree with Trad’s last paragraph. I think sending more than one email, just to keep them from freaking out is just a bigger waste of time in the long run.

        And I think that sending someone more than one email in a 24 hour period is totally ridiculous, if it’s THAT urgent you should be calling. These students need to chillax. But I don’t know how to explain that to them without being snarky. Mostly because I am just always snarky.

  7. Finance TJ:
    Sorry for the early threadjack, but I wanted to post while it’s on my mind. My grandparents set up a Vanguard mutual fund for me that they contributed to during my childhood. It’s been fully in my name for the past 6 years, but I haven’ touched it at all. The fund shares are at the highest point they’ve been in the last decade so I’m wondering if I should just sell them now while they’re worth more and put that money in a savings account or CD. I plan to use the money to help with a down payment on a house within the next 3-5 years so I’m concerned about losing the high value since it’s a high risk fund. I also understand there are tax implications to selling my shares, but haven’t been able to fully understand how that works. Do you all have any advice for me or perhaps recommendations for who I should talk to about this? Thanks!

    • Divaliscious11 :

      Why would you cash out now? Why take the tax liability now without the offsetting that may come from your home purchase? why go from a growth strategy to essentially just sitting in a CD/Savings account earning .00000125%?
      It sounds like you need to do some basic financial planning education. There are lots of posts on the board around good books to read etc…
      Then, if you need to talk with your accountant….

      • My concern is that the stocks won’t be worth as much when I actually need to sell them so I’ll essentially lose money. I’d like to offset that risk since I know I want to use this money for a downpayment and I don’t think that’s something I’d want to risk. Is that crazy?

        • Anne Shirley :

          Yup. You’re only looking at one risk-this value decreasing. You’re not factoring the other “risk”- failing to get the mist out if your funds by leaving them in the market, losing value in a conservative investment against the market and due to inflation.

          • This sounds really fuzzy and possibly wrong to me.

            To be clearer
            : Ginjury’s risk is that real-estate prices in her preferred area rise rapidly in the next 3 – 5 years and the current contents of her investment fund won’t be enough for a down-payment when she is ready to buy.
            : Maintaining her fund investment is ‘kind of’ a hedge against rising asset prices but it’s a pretty imperfect one – equity valuations and Ginjury’s local property prices may move together in the long term but it’s not a fail-safe relationship to rely on over the 3 – 5 year period in question.
            : Inflation is a red herring – it is currently 1% p.a. and at this low level, not a variable that Ginjury needs to worry about.
            : ‘Getting the most out of your funds’ and performing ‘against the market’ are also red herrings. If Ginjury has earmarked these funds for her down-payment, then the market that matters is her local real-estate market, not the broader equity market.

            Sorry Ginjury if I’ve made this unnecessarily complicated ! Fwiw, I think your rationale is fine but also that you do need to consider the whole picture with some tax advice.

          • Anne Shirley :

            @ss- it’s absolutely fuzzy and quite possibly wrong, but it is something to consider before selling the shares.

        • I agree that cashing out now seems foolish. Is there any way to put the stocks in a lower risk fund?

        • If you need the $ in 3-5 years, you might want to sell 1/3 before 12/31 to put 1/3 of the capital gains in 2013, then 1/3 in 2014 and 1/3 in 2015. I wouldn’t liquidate anything all at once (esp. when you can so easily spread the tax hit over >1 year) unless you needed cash today. And figure out where you’ll put it — money market? CDs? The rates are awful, so you might want to have a plan for where to park your cash.

          • I’m confused as to how this would work. What difference does it make if I cash it out all at once or over the course of a few years?

          • A big capital gain could put you into a higher tax bracket, so this minimizes that. Plus, this is a bit of dollar-cost-averaging (you can google that) in reverse.

            You could probably write a treatise on “when to sell” and another on “what do you do once you’ve sold.”

          • Because you have to pay taxes on the investments’ increase in value. This is called capital gains tax. It is a tax that is paid when you sell stocks or investments (or real estate too, and other things).

            She’s just advising that you can spread that tax you have to pay out over several years. You don’t want it all in one year because that will put you in a higher tax bracket, and you’ll have to pay a higher percentage of it.

            You should talk to a financial adviser more about your personal situation. You need some basic financial education. Some people can get that from books and websites, but I like someone explaining it to me.

          • There is no affect on tax bracket with long term capital gains, see my post below. Long term capital gains are taxed at a flat 15% assuming your income is within levels described below.

      • I don’t see OP’s interest in exiting her volatile investment in favour of a savings account as odd/ unsound/ in need of basic financial education, given that she has already earmarked these funds for something as specific as her down-payment.

        US equity markets are up nearly 30% this year and could certainly give up some of those gains within OP’s 3 – 5 year horizon, even if their long-term return will very likely be higher than the current yield on a savings deposit.

        • Exactly. It sounds like this is money she can no longer afford to lose (as a specific earmark), so moving to a lower risk investment – whether a savings account or other low-risk vehicle – makes sense.

          • I agree with this. I was expecting to just get 15K out of it, but since it has risen to 20K, I feel like I should just take it while I can. A lower risk investment sounds like a good option. To be clear though, this will only be part of my down payment. I have other savings as well. On that note, where do most people keep their down payment savings? It just seems risky to keep it in the market.

          • There are lower-risk funds. Some people keep their investments in bonds. Your entire portfolio should be diversified.

    • I would strongly recommend seeing a fee-based financial advisor. (“FA”)

      That type of arrangement means – you pay a flat fee for them to give you advice on what to do with all your accounts, and waht to do w/this Vanguard one. They may refer you to an accountant for tax issues, but will know some of the basics.

      A fee-based FA is generally a better arrangement than someone who takes fees for trading your account (just about any brokerage has FAs who do this.) This is to better align your interests. If someone just gets fees for making as many trades as possible, then there’s no incentive for them to guide you (or trade your account well), since they’re being compensated for how many trades they make, not whether any of those trades make money for you.

      • Any recommendation where I can find or look for a fee-based financial advisor? Someone who is not pushing the latest investment products and is genuinely giving advice. What type of institutions do they work for? Sorry, I am really clueless about this but need to do better financial planning than just 401k and saving as much as possible.

      • Does anyone have a recommendation for one in the Boston area? My only concern is that it’s not a really huge chunk of money ($20k) so I don’t know that it’s worth it. I’m terribly clueless about any sort of investment stuff though so I really don’t know.

        • Divaliscious11 :

          Before you talk to a planner, you need to make sure you educate yourself. A planner gives advice…
          How do you know if the advice is sound if you don’t understand?

        • You can get a fee-based advisor through Vanguard. I haven’t done it so can’t speak to quality, but they could definitely give you advice on how to reshuffle your investments within Vanguard funds (and Vanguard has enough good options that this is a reasonable course to take).

        • This is a later response, but hopefully you’re still checking! The National Association of Personal Finance Advisors (NAPFA) has a registry of fee-only advisors that you can search through to find someone in your area. There is also the Financial Planning Association which has a searchable database of people who are Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designated. Financial planners take a broader look at your finances and goals (like taxes, estate planning, savings) while financial advisors tend to be more oriented towards investments and portfolios. Good luck!

        • I’m not an expert but I’ve been practicing law for 30 plus years and I can tell you that there are many financial advisors very happy to help you with $20k advice. For one thing, they hope that you will keep coming to them over the years, when you have larger sums to invest, and that is in fact a good idea. Don’t be embarrassed over the relatively small amount, as these guys are trained to take someone beginning to invest and help them over their career.

      • Any recommendations for a specific person/way to find one in NYC? This is something I resolve to do every year and I never actually do it because I have no idea who is worthwhile to see.

        • The DH and I sit down and make a lot of these decisions ourselves. We do the spreadsheets, do check-ins 1x/quarter, but do a big review every year. So I have no idea who to recommend, though.

          However, one idea is — do you have a good accountant? If you hire out your tax preparation, a good accountant in your state or region, can often point you to a decent fee-based FA in your region, too.

          • Hmm, I will ask our accountant, thanks! If anyone has another rec in the area though, please post. I feel like there should be a Yelp or Zocdocs for this sort of thing!

      • I highly recommend using Edward Jones. They are commission-based, not fee based, but I have had several financial advisers over the years and they have never pressured me to buy. On the contrary, they have a pulse on the best performing investments for my money.

        I just went on edwardjones.com and found the closest one to me that was a woman. In my experience, EJ advisers have been extremely friendly and knowledgeable.

        • Lady Harriet :

          +1 I’ve had good luck with them too, even with a very small amount (<$5k) in investments.

    • Nice Dress, Cat, but a little pricey for me. Also, Frank would be grabbeing at my tuchus (which he already is doeing), because he calls it his early Christmas present. I think it is sexist, but I let it go. FOOEY on him!

      As for the OP, Yay that your grandparent’s put money into a fund for you — my Grandma Leyeh did that for me, but she has my DAD manageing it for me so I do NOT have to even think about it. She told me a long time ago that we should ALWAYS leave the financeial decision’s to the MEN in our live’s b/c we have more important thing’s to think about, includeing, this time of year, getting the BEST sale’s on clotheing and haveing babie’s and doeing DOMESTIC thing’s. She is of course NOT 100% right, but she is on the financeial thing’s. Dad does EVERYTHING for me and my 401K has grown alot b/c he is manageing it for me! He want’s me to get MARRIED so that my HUSBAND can do this already, but he like’s makeing it grow for me and showeing me how smart he is with my finaneaces! YAY Dad!!!!

      I am trying to FEND off WILLEM, who is fixeated on getting a picture of me to send home. What is it about these men? What is he telling his family about me? He said he did NOT tell them I was his girlfreind, but if that is TRUE, why such a fixeation on getting a photo to send back to Belgum? There MUST be plenty of other girl’s he can take picture’s of at work — since I am NOT his girlfreind, I said I will NOT let him take my picture. Myrna said that Men photoshop picture’s of us with NAKED women and then put it up on FACEBOOK! FOOEY! I do NOT want to be photoshoped onto a naked woman for his Facebook page! DOUBEL FOOEY!

      I am goeing with Fred to the Barclay’s Center and he want’s to take me out to eat first. Because I ate so much I need to find a place in Brooklyn that has good salad’s. Does the HIVE know a place near there we can eat? I do NOT want a bigger tuchus then normal, so I MUST have salad. HELP!

    • CPA here. You will be taxed on the gain on the sale (sales prices minus cost basis). Your cost basis could get a little bit tricky…

      So if I’m understanding this correctly, your grandparents bought the shares in their name and then transferred the shares to your name? OR was it at UTMA account (you are the owner of the account but your grandparent’s managed it when you were a child)?

      There are other things to consider besides whether or not you own a home. Did you sell other securities at a loss during 2013 that you could use to offset the gain on the mutual funds? Etc.

      • I believe it was a UTMA account. I thinks it’s always been in my name, but they were also on it until they turned it completely over to me when I turned 18.

        • Okay if it was an UTMA there is no gifting issue because you always owned the shares. Your basis will be what the shares were bought for. You held them for more than one year so the treatment is long term capital gain. Assuming you make less than $450k per year, the gain will be taxed at 15%. If you make more than $200k you’ll have to pay the new Medicare surtax of 3.8% on top of the 15%.

          Hopefully this helps and you are able to calculate approximate tax on the gain should you sell.

          • If you don’t know what the shares were purchased for you can contact the brokerage firm that holds the account, they should have this information if the shares were purchased through them. If they were purchased through a different brokerage firm it might get a bit tricky to find the cost basis.

    • FWIW, I used to work in investments, and I would sell. I think the market is really overvalued. The mainstream advice — always be fully invested, you can’t time the market, blah blah blah – I think it’s a load of crock. I have most of my investments in cash…and I’m in my twenties. Once I’m in a position to buy a house, I’ll invest there.

  8. frosty the snowgal :

    Cold-weather wardrobe advice needed stat! I live in the south and own mostly skirt suits and sheath dresses. I currently have just one pantsuit, and no short boots that can be worn under trousers in a work setting. I will be traveling to meet with legal, legislative, and judicial bigwigs in a frozen Midwestern/Great Plains state next week–highs will be in the 20s and lows in the low teens. What do attorneys wear in this climate? Will I look ridiculous if I show up in a skirt because everyone else is wearing pants to stay warm? And do I need to worry about buildings being overheated?

    • A skirt will only look ridiculous if you are also bare legged because you’ll look like you didn’t understand the weather forecast. Wear tights (and boots if you want) or wear pants. Building heating will vary – highly unlikely that it will be heated over 70 or 72 degrees, but you’ll probably have various hot spots. Older building may vary more – depending on if the boiler is working overtime or limping along. You’ll probably get a blast of hot air in the vestibule between the double doors, but then the offices themselves will vary. The north side of a building will be cooler, the south side warmer (if there are windows and it’s sunny). Dress in layers, have a scarf that works with your suit – keeping the draft off the back of you neck is very helpful for staying warm.

    • (Former) Clueless Summer :

      I actually wear skirts almost all winter. They are much easier to deal with in winter than pants. Wear opaque tights, a knee-length coat and knee-high boots with the skirts. That should leave about 2 inches of knee getting cold. You’ll be fine. If there is somewhere to check your coat, you can check your boots at the same time, or change in your car/lobby/whatever. Pants aren’t much warmer than thick tights honestly, the wind goes right through them. Buildings will likely be warm, I wouldn’t wear anything you wouldn’t normally wear to work (i.e. don’t put a heavy sweater under your blazer or layer up).

    • I agree with the skirts/tights/boots suggestions. If you’re really cold, try fleece-lined tights – they look like normal opaque tights but they are much warmer.

      I also like the suggestion of wearing a scarf that you can throw on with your suit – I have a couple cashmere/wool/silk scarves that are really warm and you can wear under a jacket but are not too wintery so they also look good over my work outfits and a scarf makes a huge difference in warmth I find

      • frosty the snowgal :

        Thanks, everyone! So it is all right to wear tall boots and tights with a suit?

        • Yes. You can also wear leggings under a pant suit for warmth. Then you can wear a light sweater on top, or a light sweater with a layer under it under your suit jacket.

          The key for northern climates is extra layering under your clothes as much as over.

          Do you have a winter coat? I went to college in the northeast, and dated a guy freshman year who came from North Carolina. He only had a baggy zip-up fleece and no winter coat. Also take gloves and a hat for warmth. (If you can find a cute winter hat, great, but you’ll want one so bad that cute doesn’t matter.)

    • I’m in Wisconsin. I wear a skirt to work every day. Best way to do it is to grab your regular skirt suit and go to Target and find some black/brown/grey opaque tights. Normally I would say that you should wear knee-high boots with this ensemble, but since you’re meeting with judicial bigwigs and legislators, I think a pair of heels or flats is probably more appropriate since it’s dressier. However, if you know these people or it’s a less-formal gathering – go for it with the tall boots. It will definitely keep you warmer. Also, do you have a winter coat, gloves, and a hat? Because you’re going to need them.

      Good luck!

      • frosty the snowgal :

        I do have a real winter coat, gloves, and hat. I do quite a bit of travel but just not usually to places where it is much below 30 degrees, which is a lot different from 15 degrees!

  9. Anne Shirley :

    This dress is clearly intended to be worn to a daytime wedding, right? Perhaps with a fascinator? If someone turned up in this at work, even with a blazer on, it would look like she ran out of clean work clothes.

    • Agree. I was just thinking of the fascinator that would go well with this.

    • hellskitchen :

      My thoughts exactly. I don’t mind rocking a floral dress at work but I stick to darker colors. This one is just too daytime wedding for me.

    • anon-oh-no :

      I’d totally wear this to work. Probably with a green blazer in the spring; maybe a blue belted cardi in the late winter; and a white linnen blazer in the summer.

    • Yes, the first year of day care is the worst for illness. Then it gets much better – until the first year of college. My son and has girlfriend (at separate colleges) have been sick almost constantly in their first semester.

      • Okay, so obviously this was supposed to be posted below the following comment, sorry.

  10. I have a general question for the working moms out there regarding day care. I’ve had my toddler in day care since the beginning of August, when he was then 18 months old. I actually love his day care and teachers, and he really enjoys being there. Prior to starting day care, we had a nanny (who moved; hence, the change) and my son was generally very healthy and rarely sick.

    Now, however, he is probably sick more often than not. I know that whenever kids start day care, they get sick often because they’re exposed to more germs than they were before. But how often is too often? He’s going to need tubes in his ears because he has ear infections at least once a month. I’m ok with the tubes, but it’s the upper respiratory infections, fevers, and colds that are really doing a number on our son and on our schedule and finding back up care for the days that he’s contagious. And now that we have a 4-month old, it’s even more difficult trying to keep them separated and the baby healthy (baby is in day care and so far hasn’t had anything more than general congestion).

    Basically, for others with kids in day care, does it ever slow down regarding how often kids get sick? Does it take a few months? I keep hoping for light at the end of the tunnel and just feel so bad that my little guy is sick more often than not.

    • Probably the first year of daycare or preschool is the worst, but there will still be a bunch of illnesses throughout the early childhood years. Gets better by age 4 or 5, for sure. By the time they’re in grade school they don’t get sick much more often than adults, in my experience.

    • I can only speak to my own experience . . . but my son was frequently sick in his preschool/daycare years, and it didn’t let up until he started kindergarten. He’s now in 5th grade and rarely sick. No idea of the reasons for that timing — maybe there’s an MD here who can explain. My daughter, on the other hand, has never been prone to illness/ seems to have a stronger immune system.

    • Not sure what’s “average” or “normal”, but my son was in day care since he was 3 months old. He got sick a lot between 6 and 15 months – maybe once every two months we had to keep him out for a day or two for something. But after that, we’ve only had general congestion that everyone has in the winter time and he hasn’t had to stay home for anything more severe or contagious.

      • This was our experience too. We were told to expect 6-9 colds/illnesses that first year or so. My child is three now and goes 6-9 months between illnesses that require sick visits to the doctor and days out of school.

    • anon-oh-no :

      it totally slowed down — way, way down — for us. The first year was the worst. And it sucks that year becuase you are trying to get used to things, and you are generally less stable/confident at work so more concerned about missing time, etc. But since then, i dont think my son (now 6) has missed more days than i can count on one hand. And my daughter has not missed that many her whole life — I’m convinced that its becuase she built up immunity from being around an older brother (and all his germs). In fairness, she does have a runny nose often, but nothing more serious.

    • Yes, the first year (especially the part of the year that coincides with flu season) is the worst. Backup care is a huge problem on sick days as well. Once a month sounds about average to me during the winter months, and hopefully this should all get better in the summer months, and after he has ear tubes. What does his pediatrician say about the frequency of infection?
      You may also want to have a little talk with his teachers about enforcing hand-washing, and about trying to make sure they don’t drink from each others’ sippy cups, etc. (which I’ve noticed is a huge problem in the toddler classes).

      • Anonymous :

        And about what the classroom/toy cleaning procedures are. Some day cares are better than others.

    • Mrs. Jones :

      Get the tubes installed asap and then you will be good to go.

    • It’s gotten much better for us. My daughter (21 months) has been in daycare since she was about 3 months old. She didn’t get sick too often until about 9 months, then she started having frequent cold -> ear infection -> antibiotics cycles. She got tubes when she was 13 months and since then she has only been out sick 1-2 days. For reference, I was out for THREE WEEKS (off and on) in the first three months of the year before she got the tubes. I hope our healthy streak continues through the winter months (fingers crossed). I know that our daycare is very good about cleaning toys and washing hands many times a day, so that may help as well. She was at a different daycare when she was getting sick all the time. So….it should get better and tubes will definitely help a lot in my experience. Good luck!!

      • Thanks, everyone. This was so helpful. I knew in theory that daycare kids get sick often, but had no idea, in practice, how long that applied. My son is out sick again today with what I suspect is an ear infection, so we’ll be talking to the doctor today about tubes in the very near future.

        • Our pediatrician told us to expect two illnesses a month for the first two years of day care, and that was almost exactly what we experienced. The baby was sick more than 50% of the time, and I caught everything she had so I was also sick for most of my 2L and 3L years (she was a law school baby). Things improved a lot after the first two years of day care, and even more after she entered public school. Hang in there–it is hard to watch your child suffering, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

        • My son is two and has been in daycare since he was 2 months old. The first year he got a lot of infections that required antibiotics and lots of time home from daycare (like pneumonia and RSV). Now he seems to get a new cold about every 3 weeks from October through April.

      • Our doctor also told us the ‘even health kids get sick once a month’ rule – and suggested we double that for kids in daycare. I will say the first year of daycare (we started at 5.5 months) was the worst. He got tubes at 8 months and it got much better from there. We’re gearing up for this year’s cold/flu season and its already much better than it was last year (even with a sick baby with a cough home as I type). The intensity of the colds/flus seems to lessen a bit as they get older too.

    • It’s bad for the first year to year and a half, and then it tapers off. My daughter had constant ear infections when she was young, culminating in tubes at around 20 months (after which, no ear infections at all until one of the tubes came out (which is expected) when she was four). Tubes were fabulous for us! At 5, my kids are almost never sick, and that’s been the case for the last several years. I literally can’t even remember the last sick day one of the had–actually, I think it was January because I was sick enough to be out of work too.

    • I hope hope hope I’m not too late for you to see this! We have a four year old daughter and a ten month old son, both in daycare 3-4 days per week. We’ve had our share of illnesses but between my son’s 3 month and ten month birthdays, he was literally getting an ear infection EVERY time he had the sniffles — eight or nine in total. It sucked, and my husband and I were going bananas trying to get coverage, work from home, etc. Our daughter never had this issue, so it was all new to us. We got tired of the sickness, the sleepless nights and all of the antibiotics, so we scheduled him to have tubes inserted the week of Thanksgiving…and then a family friend called. He’s a retired chiropractor and told me that chiro care is often used to treat chronic health issues LIKE EAR INFECTIONS in little kids. This is someone I trust (he’s like my husband’s second dad) and he was very no-pressure — just wanted me to have the info, and gave me a referral to a gal in town who specializes in women, prenatal care and infants.

      Now, I have no previous experience with chiropractors but I will tell you that our son has been going to see this lady chiro roughly 2x/week for the past month…and he’s been ear infection free! My husband and I figured we’d try anything once, and although we’re not inherently opposed to ear tubes our feeling was that if we could avoid a surgery why not? Anyway, this is by the longest stretch we’ve had since our son began daycare at three months, and he even had a stomach bug last week but no ear infection. (I realize that stomach bugs don’t usually lead to ear troubles but this kid could literally look at a picture of a germ and develop an infection. Seriously.) I’m a complete and total believer now, and in fact we’ve pushed his surgery back until just prior to year end. If I were a wagering woman, I’d guess we’d take it off the calendar indefinitely as long as he continues to stay healthy (ear-wise).

      Anyway, this is just one person’s opinion, so take it with a grain of salt. But it works! There’s an added bonus, too, that he’s always super-relaxed after his chiro appointments and falls asleep like a dream on those nights. He’s been a horrible sleeper since birth so that’s been encouraging as well.

      • Thanks for this, ANP. My son sounds similar (just got diagnosed with his 4th ear infection in as many months). Maybe I’ll ask around about chiro care, as well.

        • Just FYI, our regular pediatrician was not into it — I mean, he didn’t speak against it but said there was no proven research, etc. But I know what I know as a mom and it’s helping my kiddo. That said, we’ll certainly entertain the idea of tubes if we need to — but for now we’ve got a good thing going. Good luck!

  11. Another financial question. Has anyone ever borrowed against permanent life insurance to make a house downpayment? I’ve heard it can have very low to no interest? I am young with no kids, so not worried about taking the hit in my death benefit if it can’t be paid back right away.

    • anon a mouse :

      I cashed out a whole life plan to help with a house purchase. It made more sense for me at that point (young, no kids, no other debt). Borrowing against it seemed odd – I didn’t want to compromise the death benefits. Instead, I bought a very cheap term life policy instead and have no regrets.

  12. I’m not sure if this is going to sound really stupid, but here it goes. My best friend lives far away. We email back and forth, usually a couple times a week. For the past six months or so her emails have taken a different tone. They’re shorter and don’t include any exclamation points, expressions of sentiment (I miss you!, etc) or other stuff that they used to. I know I sound like Elaine from Seinfeld about the exclamation points… (hope other people get that reference).

    Do you think this means anything? Should I ask her if something is wrong? The only thing that has changed in the past six months is that she is pregnant. I have wracked my brain and can’t think of anything I could have done to upset her.

    Any ideas? Am I crazy? It’s okay if the answer is yes.

    • Anne Shirley :

      Sure, I think it means that she’s pregnant, quite possibly tired, and less emotionally invested in your relationship than she used to be. I don’t think it means you’ve done anything wrong, just a natural shift. For me, the great thing about my best friend is that the bumps along the road change how we communicate, but they don’t change how we feel.

    • You aren’t crazy to be hurt, but definitely don’t read into it. If it were me, I’d try to set up a time to talk to her on the phone where you can read her tone better and possibly figure out if she’s stressed about being pregnant or something else you can try to help her through.

    • I’d cut your friend some slack. She might be barely keeping up — pregnancy means a lot of doctor’s appointments, plus, who knows how much physical discomfort she’s feeling? It could be all the energy she has just to keep her relationships together and to work and stay afloat.

      That she still takes the time to write you back, albeit, without the same oomph and energy as before, is a good sign.

      While we absolutely do get validation and affirmation from our friends, sometimes, we need to relax that a bit. As I’m reading your post, all I hear is: “I am looking at others [my best friend in this case] to see what they think of me,” rather than, “I am looking at others to see exactly how they are doing, how they might be feeling.”

      Are you going through a tough time yourself? If so, sometimes, one has to pick a different friend to get affirmation from if you’re going through a tough time, and your best friend is crushed by exhaustion or otherwise unavailable for this. If you’re not going through a tough time– then try to focus on her feelings.

      Ask about what’s going on in her life, and be willing to accept that she may be too exhausted to give you the play-byplay rundown she might have done 10yrs ago. But for your own peace of mind, given that she hasn’t responded harshly or ignored you, I’d let go of the idea that it’s “something you did,” and I’d definitely let go (and avoid) trying to prod her further just to confirm your fears that it was something you did.

      • I’m not going through a hard time and my concern is less about getting affirmation from her (I get plenty from my husband and others in my life) and more about the sudden shift in tone.

        I always ask updates about her pregnancy and about how everything is going. She shares some about what’s going on with her, but honestly not that much. That was part of the reason I thought she might be mad at me or something, but now that I think about it, she may be unsure of how much she wants to share about her pregnancy. Or she’s freaked out about what’s going on with her body. Or she is tired or stressed out or something. She just hasn’t really opened up about that and so that’s why I was starting to think I did something wrong.

        • maybe it’s one of those things where she really just wants to save her “opening up” energy to open up with people who are going through the same thing or have gone through the same thing- not sure if you’ve had kids yourself. maybe she feels like you can’t relate, and maybe you can’t. I would just be there for her and reevaluate once her pregnancy is over. obviously you don’t want to be in a one-sided relationship, but recognize she is going through a unique period in her life that will eventually be over.

        • I just wanted to chime in and say, pregnancy is hard. It’s uncomfortable to admit or discuss with non-pregnant people because so many people have trouble becoming pregnant, among other things. If she recently found out her baby’s gender, she might be realizing fears about that too. Cut her some slack and be glad she’s still making the effort to respond — every last activity feels 10x harder (in my pregnancy) and answering emails are one of the first things to forget about.

        • As a pregnant person – I am very careful to avoid talking to friends without kids about pregnancy. I’ve had it drilled into me so hard (by reading forums like this one, mostly) that NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR KID OR YOUR PREGNANCY SHUT UP YOU BORE that I studiously avoid talking about it. But because (1) I think about it all the time and (2) I am exhausted and nauseous all the time and therefore do a lot less with my free time, this means I have very little to say.

  13. hellskitchen :

    Are infinity scarves as warm as regular scarves tucked into a coat? In my mind infinity scarves wouldn’t be as warm because they sit atop a coat rather than being tucked in, but perhaps I am wrong. Do they look professional or are they just for casual wear?

    • I don’t think they would look any more or less professional than a regular scarf, because ideally no one would be able to tell it’s an infinity scarf if it’s tucked in. The problem is that you would have a hard time getting the scarf to lie flat under your coat once it’s tucked in, because it’s a loop and doesn’t have 2 ends to it. The reason I like infinity scarves is that they’re easier to wear generally- I hate wearing regular scarves because when it’s windy they always end up every which way on my neck/shoulders, and I personally don’t like tucking in scarves, I think they look more chic when they’re untucked. So I guess my answer is, I would err on the side of a regular scarf if you just want to tuck it into your coat- no point in getting an infinity scarf for that.

    • and to answer your question re: warmth, I think they’re just as warm and possibly warmer because they cover more area (if there are 2 loops especially) and stay put, but I also button my jackets pretty far up my neck.

    • Equity's Darling :

      You can still tuck in infinity scarvesm you just put one loop into your coat and one out, or both in, whichever. I also don’t see them as casual/professional, it depends a lot on the print, material and styling.

      Regardless, I think warmth depends more on material than whether the scarf has open ends or is a loop.

      This morning I wore a chunky knit wool infinity scarf over my jacket, in -16C/feels like -25C weather (this is literally blizzard weather, though thankfully it will be back up to 7C on Saturday), and my neck and face were warm, just my knees froze because they’re below the length of my jacket but not covered by my boots. This infinity scarf is quite long and wide and allows for three loops around the neck and is wide enough to cover my face.

      • I actually like them for colder weather because the thicker ones (that wouldn’t tuck into your coat anyway) will stand up on their own and make it easier to tuck my chin and nose into it’s warmth. They also come up farther on the back of my neck.

    • hellskitchen :

      Thanks ladies. I want one because I think they would be easier to wear/remove but was concerned it wouldn’t be warm enough, but sounds like I don’t have any reason to worry. So… any particular brand or style you all would recommend?

  14. NewAssociate :

    Threadjack. My office has a tradition where everyone brings food/a treat for the holidays on a certain day. Tomorrow is my day (along with about 10 other people). What should I bring? From what I hear, people bring in both sweets and treats. So far I think I have heard that a veggie dip will be brought. Someone brought in swedish meatballs in a crockpot last year. I’m sure there are christmas cookies brought. Any ideas/recipes/hits?


    • Cut-up fruit or a really nice bowl of grapes? Cheese and cracker plate?

    • Our office has a similar tradition and people bring in anything from cookies to kebabs to bacon and eggs from the diner across the street! Usually the people sharing a day get together and come up with a theme (cookies, healthy breakfast, diner breakfast..). I think cookies, banana bread, cinnamon rolls will always be safe. Or a pot of coffee if your office doesn’t have free coffee for employees – ours doesn’t and whoever is most kitchen-challenged in the group will order in coffee for everyone.

    • Clementine :

      What about like chips/salsa/guac??

      A friend of mine actually just calls a great local Mexican restaurant and then picks up to-go containers of salsa, their fresh guac, and another great dip they make and then brings a giant bag of their homemade tortilla chips. If you have a Moe’s (chain that’s in the Northeast), they do this too I hear.

      Grocery store style, Wholly Guacamole is good and there are lots of tasty jarred salsas.

  15. Shopping challenge. I’m looking for a pair of black booties, no more than 3 inches high, that dip or split in the front to elongate the leg. A lower version of this: http://www.shopbop.com/leather-bootie-alexandre-birman/vp/v=1/1591515623.htm?folderID=2534374302052549&colorId=11630&extid=affprg-2178999

    • Size, price, leather (patent?)… I LOVE boot shopping.

      • I will post links sep. but if you go to Piperlime, I like

        Nine West Castillma and the “Libman” by Report.

    • 8.5 under $150. I’m open on material so long as they can be worn to work.

    • I love the look of both but they’re too high. :-(

      • I almost bought these this morning. I find this brand to be fairly comfortable for my feet.

  16. Work question TJ: I am a consultant and I am up for a promotion. I want to ask the people I interact with at my client company to send good feedback to my home company. Anyone have any idea on wording for this in an email?
    It would be hard in my case to do it in person because people are often travelling or at other offices.

    • I’ve always gone with a standard “Dear So-and-So, Thank you for the help/it has been a pleasure working with you on X, X, and X. I would appreciate the opportunity to hear your feedback on my successes with X, X, and X to include in my annual review file. An email to me is sufficient, but please let me know if you’d prefer another means. Thank you in advance and please let me know if there’s anything I can do to facilitate. Regards, Esquared”

  17. Holiday cards? :

    I usually send 40-50 (old-school, snail mail) cards. Any ideas for sources besides the usual suspects? I love everything at Paper Source, but it’s kind of expensive.

    • Wow! That’s fun although it sounds like a lot of work. I like some of the charity cards, and bonus point for going to a good cause.

      Too late for this year but could you stock up for the following in the post-Christmas sales.

    • I just got mine from Barnes and Noble, since they carry local cards.

    • CapHillAnon :

      I do this too! We are a dying breed. The MoMA shop has some nice ones (and sells last year’s at a steep discount– I just got some cute ones there for $4 for 12). And there is always Unicef. Good luck.

      • Hey, fellow dinosaur here. Some of the larger grocery stores will sell holiday cards. Second the Target suggestion earlier in the thread.

        I always wait till after Xmas and go to Papyrus and other stationery places and scoop up everything at heavily discounted prices so I have a huge stash of cards.

      • Holiday cards? :

        I looked at MOMA, and they have some great cards, but I can’t find last year’s! Are they on the site or somewhere else?

    • Anon in NYC :

      I love Minted and they usually have coupon codes.

    • hoola hoopa :

      Target. Maybe that’s usual suspect for you, but I hadn’t thought to buy stationary there.

      Ditto buying the day after Christmas for the following year.

    • I use Tiny Prints – lots of options and they’re running a 30% off sale through midnight tonight.

  18. Necklace help? :

    I just ordered this dress to wear to my company holiday party this weekend. Hopefully the neckline won’t be too low. Can anyone suggest a necklace? TIA!


    • No ideas for necklaces but I’d suggest a camisole. Pretty dress.

    • I think it depends on your personal style. If I was wearing that dress, the deep v-neck would encourage me to wear a long pendant and since the dress is just plain black I would probably pick something with a little sparkle. I am not much given to costume jewelry, so I would probably pick a long gold necklace with an elongated pendant that would highlight the cleavage you’re probably going to be rocking.

      IF you decide to wear a camisole, you’re going to want to go shorter. The other option is to wear a so-called statement necklace. I’d still go with a sparkly choice to dress it all up, though. I don’t know if you’re looking for suggestions with links or just ideas.

  19. Newly Preg Anon. :

    Does anyone have any experience running longer distances while pregnant? I just found out I am pregnant (yay!). I have been a runner for a long time, and have a couple of races scheduled in what would be me my first trimester. Health of the baby comes first, but assuming i have the energy (and I know I didn’t for my first pregnancy), has anyone run longer races (1/2 or full marathon)…and if so, was your doc ok with it?

    • Wannabe Runner :

      I’ve never been pregnant, but I hear a lot (on here and from friends) that they are really tired the first trimester. If you feel up to it, the fetus is like tiny, so it shouldn’t hurt. But make sure to rest if that’s what your body tells you it needs.

    • wildkitten :

      YMMV, literally, but here’s an example (not me): http://www.healthontherun.net/

    • What I got was to do what you normally do (so daily or at least weekly activities were OK). I think that a half-marathon or full marathon would be out b/c it’s normal for you but not something that is what your pregnant body will be used to (so on the body strain / fatigue / ordeal scale, it’s up there). I don’t think you’d get an outright blessing, even if you are a regular runner (you’d get blessings on continuing your usual routine, just not the events). I did a second-trimester biking event, but eventually opted out after seeing how crowded the course was (so I probably would have been fine, but for the eventual crash, that could have been catastrophic and I have the rest of my life for that). I think that that’s the medical community’s view: even if things probably will be OK, why risk it when there’s no need to?

      • Well, the last line of reasoning doesn’t really work – ultimately, getting in a car every day is far riskier than any other activity the OP is contemplating. It’s about risk tolerance, and there’s been a lot of conversation lately around the fact that advice given to pregnant women about exercise has been far more conservative than is necessary.

        OP, one of my close friends ran a half-marathon while pregnant, and a couple of years ago, a woman ran the Chicago marathon at nine months pregnant (well, she walked a lot of the race, but she completed the distance), went into labor after finishing, and delivered a healthy, full-term child.

        Ultimately, it’s going to come down to how you feel – some women can run longer distances while pregnant (especially early in pregnancy) and some find that they’re just too tired, or balance is off. I have a lot of running friends who are mothers, and many of them ran middle distances 10Ks and half-marathons while pregnant.

    • I know someone who ran a marathon when 3 1/2 months pregnant. I think the advice is not to radically increase your exercise level when pregnant (so don’t start running if you’ve never been a runner before) but I’ve known several people who have run while pregnant. I’d still check with your doctor just to be sure there’s nothing unusual about your circumstances that would cause you to have to deviate from the norm.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m pregnant and have been a runner for 10+ years. I’m 30 weeks and have continued running throughout, but the longest distance I’ve run is about 8 miles. I’m running between 15 and 25 miles per week. One thing you will notice is that your running will slow down considerably. Like 90 seconds to 2 minutes per mile slower.

      There is a good book by James Clapp about running during pregnancy. Personally, I would not run a marathon while pregnant. Having run many of them throughout my life as a runner, they are just too physically demanding. Those last 6 or so miles are so hard on your body, I can’t imagine doing that to myself while pregnant. However, I would run a half if I felt up to it. I also wouldn’t race any distance or do any workouts. Having said that, everyone is different, so you may feel differently.

      I’ve been covering the distance I want to cover in whatever pace feels good to me and not worrying about it. I love the time to myself and the way I feel when I’m done, so its worth it to me to continue doing it.

      Ironically, I ran the least during my first trimester because I felt so tired and nauseated all the time. I ran a little, but second trimester was the glory days for pregnant running. I managed to get 100 miles per month 3 times and felt great doing it.

      I recommend a belly band for when you get a little bigger. Its like a little support bra for your belly. I also notice that running bothers my pelvic bones a little, but not enough to make me stop doing it and it goes away if I stretch a little afterwards.

    • As long as you do similar distances to what you did before you were pregnant and listen to your body, you should definitely be able to run (barring any kind of specific medical contraindication, of course). There are plenty of bloggers who have run marathons while pregnant. One tip I remember reading was DON’T run a big city marathon with tons of cheering people – the crowds can pressure you to push faster than your body is really comfortable with. A small-town marathon might be better. Also, there are lots of health benefits to exercising while pregnant – don’t forget that you’re making a GOOD choice by figuring out what exercise to do and you’re going to improve your chances of having a healthy baby and a strong recovery. Congrats on the pregnancy!

    • AnonInfinity :

      I know several women who did a half at various stages of pregnancy. Each one had her doctor’s blessing. I don’t personally know anyone who has done a marathon, but I imagine many docs would be fine with it, depending on your fitness before pregnancy. If you’re interested, the Runners World forum has a page for women, and there are tons of women posting there who have done halves and fulls while pregnant (with no ill effects to themselves or the baby).

    • Friend of mine ran Boston at 16w. In 3:21.

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